I Have a Confession

Hi! My name is Brandie, and I’m a DIY junkie. Not in the way of traditional Pinterest DIY junkie, but as in store-bought kits. My daughter loves to make things. All of the things. Does it not make sense to buy kits with everything you need, in one nice little package instead of searching  for everything you need? I keep thinking that’s the best way to go.. LIES!!!! They all lie. The slime is more like a pile of unplayable dough, the volcano doesn’t explode, the bath bombs? Well they’re bombs, expired, lifeless bombs.. I know better, yet I keep buying kits, hoping that maybe just MAYBE “this kit will be THE one!”

The other day I was surfing Amazon, (that seems to be my favourite hobby these days, because Amazon Prime you know what I mean?) and came across this Canadian company that has fun looking kits. I know what you’re thinking,  “Brandie, are you really going to waste your money on another kit that will most likely fail you again? Do you want your daughter to be disappointed? Will your daughter even want to try one more kit that will most likely frustrate both of you?” Don’t worry, I asked myself all of those question plus more. I’m harder on myself then you ever could be. I’m a seasoned professional at being hard on myself.

So, I reached out to the company and asked them some questions. A few days later a package from Amazon Prime showed up in the mail. I got excited. My daughter was with me and wanted to open up the box to see what was inside. She got excited and asked if we could make the soap once we got home. Forgetting everything I knew about our experiences with past failures, I smiled and quickly said yes. When we returned home, we went to the craft room, carefully open the package then panic sets in. I’m talking real life anxiety. The kind where, your heart beats a little faster, your hands get a little shaky and sweaty, your breathing is more sharp yet shallow. All of the negative feels one can have when one has been deeply disappointed in the past. What IF this doesn’t work? When my daughter gets upset, I get upset. I slowly moved my glaze from the box and looked at Em, who was beaming with excitement. I smiled, and decided, experimenting was going to be fun. I decided, that I’m not going to give my power away to some ingredients that may or may not work. With a refreshed point of view, we got to play.

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The above photo is from Kiss Naturals website. The picture I took is missing in action somewhere.

I have to tell you, I’m glad we received this Clear glycerine soap all natural soap making kit from Kiss Naturals. Kiss Naturals is a Canadian company located in Montreal, Quebec. We can thank their daughters for taking in interest in skin care and their parents for caring what goes into products aimed at kids. They didn’t want all the chemicals and crap that traditional skin care companies load into their products.  Kiss Naturals has created lip blam (contains bees-wax), bubble bath, soap, lip gloss and bath fizzes (to name a few) that are safe, natural and Canadian made.

O.k, back to the soap. We took it out of the package, daughter’s eyes were devouring the contents. We read the instructions, put the glycerine in the container, microwaved it, put into molds after adding some fragrance, and waited for 15 mins. GUESS WHAT GUYS??? IT WORKED!!!! Sorry for yelling, but I’m sure you feel our pain when it comes it most kits. The final product felt like soap, bubbled up like soap, kept their shape, even after a couple of times using them. Yes, they are a little small, but with that being said WORTH IT!!

Take a look at some photo’s.

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Have you used this soap making kit before? I want to hear about it. If you haven’t, tell me your experiences with kits.

 

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January Eats

January is the month for soups, slow cooking and fat free living. Who doesn’t love a good creamy potato soup? Or a cream of broccoli soup? And the slow cooker is the perfect way to make soups thats hands off. For a comprehensive list of recipes please visit Kathy over at Heathy Slow Cooking and Susan over at Fat Free Vegan.

Here’s a sampling of yummy, easy recipes to help start your January.

  1. Creamy Potato Soup will hit the spot. It’s made on the stove top, but it takes less than 30 mins to make, so you can have a healthful satisfying, effortless meal on your table before you know it, even on a night where you don’t have a lot of time to cook. Photo credit goes to Sam from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.

creamy-vegan-potato-soup

2. Easy Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup. Another soup that will be on your table from prep to cooked in 30 minutes or less. She has a vegan beef soup recipe link on her chicken noodle soup page that I’m wanting to try. Photo credit goes to Marly from Namely Marly.

3. Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup. Depending on how long it takes you to chop broccoli this soup can be on your table within 40-45 mins. It will be worth the wait. Photo credit goes to Shannon from Yep it’s Vegan.

4. Slow Cooker Whole Wheat Spelt Potato Rolls. Oh you read that right! Plus you need a good bun for your soup. Best part is it’s cooked in the slow cooker- brilliant. Photo credit goes to Kathy from Healthy Slow Cooking.

5. With only 144 calories per muffin- these Banana Date Walnut Muffins will hit the spot. Freeze some for a quick healthful grab and go breakfast. Photo credit goes to Susan from Fat Free Vegan.

If you are still wanting more recipes check out the following books:

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons Paperback  by Nava Atlas.

Awesome Vegan Soups: 80 Easy, Affordable Whole Food Stews, Chilis and Chowders for Good Health Paperback  by Vanessa Croessmann.

Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You: More than 100 Delicious One-Pot Meals for Your 1.5-Quart/Litre Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker: 200 Ultra-Convenient, Super-Tasty, Completely Animal-Free Recipes Paperback by Robin Robertson .

Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year  by  Del Sroufe.

If you would like any more recommendations or would like to recommend a book, contact me or leave a comment.

Hope you enjoy New Year’s resolution friendly January!!

xx

Happy Holidays

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! We hope that your 2018 is even better than 2017. Think off the things you want to accomplish this New Year, write it down, and go for it. Dream big. Push out the negative thoughts, they will only hurt you. You are entitled to dream!

Want to lose weight? Cut out the toxic people in your life, and find a buddy to hit the gym with at least a few times a week or create a workout at home and connect with your buddy to hold each other accountable. Want to cook more meals at home? Set your kitchen up for success. Dust off your crockpot, that is going to be your BFF or invest in an InstantPot. Sit down and menu plan- or see what’s on sale and plan your meals around that. Prep your food the night before- you have this! Also, double the quantity and freeze half for later. Take a Sunday to prep veggies for the week. Don’t store them in some plastic container, invest in Mason Jars, trust me- your veggies stay fresh longer.

I have been MIA lately, but it’s all for a good cause. ME! Well, my family and I. We have moved into a larger space, now everyone has their own bedroom and bathroom!! We have less battles trying to get ready in the mornings. My kitchen is still half packed, same with my office, ok everything is still kinda packed. We’ve taken a few mini vacations in the last few months. Which was much needed.

We have BIG plans for 2018!! Not willing to share them yet- but I believe and will achieve the Year of Team Bloggins world domination! 🙂 Stay tuned to find out what the heck we’re up to!

Take care of yourself, stay safe and if you ever want to talk about recipes, or tips on how to stay on track or want advice on anything, head over to our page and contact us there. Or leave a comment here.

XOXO

Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just You by Kathy Hester Giveaway


I’ll admit, when I heard about this book, I was thinking, “Why Kathy? Why such small portions?” You have to understand that I am a lover of leftovers so it didn’t make sense to me. Feeling disappointed, I borrowed the book from the library and WOW!!!!! My feelings were way off the mark. This book is perfect, yes, you can double all the recipes if you want leftovers, but you can make more dishes, have more variety with smaller servings. I should’ve trusted my gut feeling that Kathy knows what she’s doing and doesn’t disappoint.

Like with all her books and recipes on her blog Healthy Slow Cooking, Healthy Slow Cooking for two to just you will have you making easy down to earth meals, snacks, sides, drinks and treats that are flavourful and doesn’t call for ingredients you have to turn to the google to research what it is. Don’t worry, if you are a new vegan she does explain things for you.

The book has 10 chapters.

1. The Little Slow Cooker That Can (that’s where you can find info on new to you ingredients).

2. Budget Rescuers: Easy DIY Staples. 16 DIY recipes including Italian seitan coins, a bunch of homemade spices, nut ricotta and more.

3. Morning Delights – Wake up to Breakfast. I’m making scrambled tofu breakfast burrito for tomorrow. There’s also oatmeal, French toast, polenta and tofu roasted vegetable hash to name a few. (Oh and it’s just not plain boring oatmeal or French toast either).

4. Dip Dinners: Appetizers or a Meal.  I bet the easier-than-pizza-dip is amazing!! She has a few other dips and a fondue and more.

5. Soul Satisfiers: Soups for all Seasons. Talk about comfort! 13 soups that basically make themselves. You can never go wrong with a minestrone, creamy celery soup, Autumn Harvest Veggie Soup would hit the spot after an afternoon of raking leafs.

6. International Eats: Stews, Curries and Chili. Unstuffed potatoes? Yes please!! Italian soy curls, clean-out-the-fridge curry, this chapter screams healthy comfort!

7. Tasty Fillings: Sandwiches, Tacos and More. Carolina BBQ soy curls, lentil quinoa taco filling, New England tofu rolls- they look like THE game night supper.

8. Family Favourites: One-Pot Pastas, Risotto and Pasta Sauces. Cheesy butternut squash macaroni, caulifredo, 3 different risotto recipes, AND no-more-jarred-pasta sauce!! If you read my pervious post you would know that I used my Slow Cooker only to heat up the jarred stuff many moons ago.

9. Vegan Squares: Full Meals Layered in the Slow Cooker. Tofu braised with Peas and Brussels Sprouts, all-in one Thanksgiving dinner, Italian seitan coins with mashed cauliflower and gravy. Yummy!!

10. Sweet Treats: Drinks, Syrup, Desserts. Chocolate chip cookie for 2, blueberry lemon cake, small batch of basic brownies.

Cooking for 1 or 2 people has never been easier. Just because you live solo or with a roommate or partner, and don’t have a family to feed doesn’t mean you can’t feed yourself well. (Put down those chips.)

All recipes are clearly labelled so you can easily glance to see if the recipe is gluten free, soy free or oil free.

Today, I’m not going to share a recipe with you BUT-I’m sharing a link to the blog tour that happened for her book. (A blog tour is basically a virtual book tour. People write a review, share a recipe and sometimes there’s a giveaway but not always within a month or two of the books release. Its fun!)

You can always purchase a copy for yourself or a friend here or go over to my giveaway page for full details on how you can enter for your chance to win Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just You.

What can’t you cook in your slow cooker?

 

The Vegan Slow Cooker Book Giveaway

“Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour” by Kathy Hester. 


This is the very first book I bought by Kathy. Before I came across her blog Healthy Slow Cooking, the only thing I used my crockpot for was jarred pasta sauce 😂. Sadly that’s a true story. Today I have 4 slow cookers and my Instant Pot has a slow cooking feature and I use them for everything except jarred sauce. 

There’s 8 chapters in this book. Slower cooker basics, Staples you’ll want to know: make your own bouillon, seitan, sauces and more, Simmering soups that cook while you’re away, Steamy stews and curries that save the day, Casseroles (and loaves) you wish your mother made, Easy to make pasta and grain dishes, Mouth watering meatless mains, Super easy side dishes, Sandwich, tortilla, and taco fillings, Beautiful breads NOT from your oven, Party Snacks that cook while your getting ready, Breakfast worth waking up for, Decadent desserts and delightful drinks. 

I never knew you could make bread and pizza in a slow cooker before I bought this book, I’ve been hooked on her recipes since then. One thing  you can always count on Kathy for is  easy, heathy, delicious recipes that everyone can enjoy!

All of the  recipes include the night before prep so all you have to do in the morning is put the ingredients in the crockpot and set the timer, go to work, run errands, or do chores- whatever you do in the day and come home to a house that smells wonderful and you have something  hot and healthy to eat. It takes all of 10 mins to prep nightly. One of my cheats is to figure out what I want to make for the week, chop all the veggies on a Sunday (it’s a day I don’t have to work) and store in mason jars. Boom- 1/2 hr to an hour of prep and that’s it!! 

With permission from Kathy Hester I’m able to share a recipe with you. Seriously- it doesn’t get any easier than this! I hope you enjoy. Also check out her recipes if you haven’t done so already- she’s the Master of the Slow Cooking! Don’t tell her I said that! 😉 
SLOW COOKER INDIAN SPICED CHICKPEA QUINOA STEW
by Kathy Hester

gluten-free, soy-free
INGREDIENTS

4 to 5 cups water

1 can diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup red lentils

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 cup peeled turnip, chopped

1 cup sweet potato, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 1 stalk)

1 tablespoon not-chicken bouillon

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons garam masala

salt, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

THE NIGHT BEFORE:

Chop veggies and store in the fridge.

IN THE MORNING:

Put everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 9 hours.

Taste, re-season if needed (you may not even need the salt if your bouillon is salty.)

RECIPE NOTES

This is a good one to make if you are going to be away from the house a little longer than usual. If your slow cooker runs hot add a little extra water if it will be cooking longer than 9 hours.

Now time for the giveaway! This is not a sponsored post. I just really enjoy this book so I’m having a new copy of The Vegan Slow Cooker book shipped to you!! Exciting right? Click HERE for the giveaway and rules. Good luck. 

What is the 1 slow cooker dish you want to learn how to make?