Manitoba Harvest, Sprinkle Love

I’m not sure the brand I originally tried, I just know I bought it from the farmers market 3 or 4 years ago. Kinda hard to believe that such a small little seed can pack a lot of flavor and omega 3&6, not to mention protein. When I ran out, the hunt was on……

I can’t really call it a hunt because I could easily find Manitoba Harvest. I ran into a lot of people who didn’t know what hemp was. Ok, let me rephrase that. When I mentioned hemp, they thought I wanted to make pot brownies or something crazy like that. As much “fun” as that may sound that’s not want I wanted. I wanted a complete plant based protein, that’s close to ideal Omega 3&6 ratio and easy to digest.  With Manitoba Harvest Hemp I get all that and it’s packed with other nutrients such as iron, magnesium, fiber plus more.

You may be wondering “what do you use hemp in?” Well, let me tell you. It has a nice nutty flavor to it so it makes a really nice addition to vegan Parmesan cheese (think mixing it with almond meal and nooch or grinding cashews or Brazil nuts  instead of almonds), sprinkle it on salads, pasta, garlic bread, soups, in smoothies- check out my double decker onion rings. The options are only limited by a lack of imagination. I’ve been known to take a handful and eat it as is 😄

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Manitoba Harvest hemp was established in 1998. Mike started the company with his friends Martin and Alex. Mike was an unhealthy teen, but through hemp foods he learned about the good essential nutrients- lost weight became healthy and a lot happier.

Manitoba Harvest can say “quality seed to shelf” as they have complete control from the seeds that are planted, manufacturing, packing to distribution.

*fun fact- Manitoba Harvest is the largest vertical integrated hemp food manufacturer in the WORLD!!

The company offers certified organic (meaning seed has been grown on certified organic land) and natural (meaning they used conventional farming techniques).  They offer hemp hearts, hemp pro 70, hemp protein, hemp oil and hemp milk.

*fun fact- per 30g serving of hemp, there’s 10g protein, 10g omega 3&6, and 3g carbs.

Hemp seed doesn’t contain gluten naturally- they don’t want to say it’s gluten free, in case a barley or wheat kernel somehow gets in the hemp seed. It only take one kernel in 50,000 hemp seeds to test positive for gluten. Instead they say “This product is made in our dedicated Hemp Food facility”. Seriously, regardless of what anyone tells you- you WILL NOT fail a drug test by consuming Manitoba Harvest hemp.

Congratulations to Brenda P 🙂 She won our giveaway!!

Manitoba Harvest sent me out a pack of hemp seed – Thank you 🙂 and they want to send one lucky winner a pack. Click here to enter. Contest is open to residents of Canada and America. We will contact the winner by email, you will have 24 hrs to email of your mailing info.

Follow  Manitoba Harvest on Facebook, Twitter to see what’s going on. Use the hashtag #sprinklelove so I can see how you’re getting your hemp on!!

Tell us, what do you sprinkle love on?



Mama Tried- Interview, review, recipe and giveaway.

Traditional Italian cooking for the screwed, crude, vegan and tattooed by Cecilia Granata. Cecilia was born in Italy back in the early 80’s. Her book Mama Tried, takes on her two of her many passions, cooking and tattoos.We are excited to have been able to interview Cecilia Granata. She is such a down to earth person, and very likeable. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy 🙂

img_1785(my picture)

A HUGE thank you Cecilia for letting us interview you, for allowing us to post a recipe and the photographs of your  food and tattoo’s.  We wish you all the best with Mama Tried and all your future projects!

1.  When did you decide to become vegan?  What was your ah ha moment?

Since I was a little girl I was in empathy with animals and I didn’t like the idea of their pain. I was some sort of Lisa Simpson but not vegetarian yet. Then at 15, waken up decisively by some ideas in the punk hardcore lyrics and attitudes, I went vegetarian. My mom with some reluctance, ended up adapting brilliantly and helped me figure out delicious nutrients. Nevertheless, I started performing terrible propaganda actions to my meat-eater parents (friends/relatives/strangers) like printing out images of slaughterhouses and place them in front of their meal forcing to eat every last bite, for that creature died in their name! (which is true by the way). It worked: both my parents and a bunch of friends actually went vegetarian. I became fully vegan and cruelty free a couple of years later, it was 2002. I basically turned into a full version of Lisa Simpson then.

2.  Why did you decide to showcase your amazing tat work instead of food photos?

The original idea for this project came when I was studying illustration in college (School of Visual Arts, NY) from my lifelong obsession for the alphabet. So I decided I was gonna base a project on it. The way the creative process works, at least for me, is that I find themes that interest me for whatever reason, and I start to explore them, giving myself some guidelines. Apparently, one of the things that interested me the most was food, which is fair enough, and that was the concept: I was gonna do a collection of recipes -vegan- because I had a message – Italian-because you can’t really go wrong with Italian food, unless you put pineapple over pizza -illustrated- because I had to put some art in my art project -in alphabetical order-so that every chapter would be a letter, and only contain recipes starting with that letter, and related illustrations.

The project took years and I became a tattoo artist in the meantime. At some point during the final developments of the book I came to realize how many broccoli and carrots tattoos I was getting to do at work: positioning myself as a Vegan Tattoo Artist, a lot of people where coming to me to get their animal rights tattoo, or just a cruelty free tattoo that didn’t use animal ingredients, just similarly to food. I came to realize that these two words, Veganism and Tattoos, maybe weren’t that far apart as it may seem, and I decided to exploit this cute combo and transform all the original illustrations into Tattoo Flash. Having photos was  actually never part of the plan, although I love photos of food, don’t take me wrong 🙂 but this was born as an illustrated book.

3.  How do you stay creative in the kitchen?  Who was your role model/mentor?

I still call my mom in Italy all the time asking her advices, she’s a great cook and she knows so many recipes! Then I tend to improvise a lot depending on what I have in the kitchen or what’s seasonally available and find inspiration in many blogs or cookbooks. It’s very relaxing for me to cook so I take pleasure out of it and that inspires me, even when things don’t come out as expected or even plain-failures. Cooking is a delicate and mindful art of balance, an act of listening, waiting, infusing and playing with your food. I think of it as witchcraft and love potions, and that has plenty to keep me creative in the kitchen!

4.  What is your favorite go to meal?

I’d say either any kind of vegan omelette. I always have chickpea flour in my cabinet and it literally takes 5 minutes to pull out a mouth watering and filling meal. Or definitely some recipes for pasta, from the super simple “pasta aglio olio e peperoncino” -garlic, oil and chili pepper- to a quick saffron-zucchini or whatever sauce, to a classic pasta al pesto, which can be ready in literally 9 minutes.

If I am REALLY lazy, my meal can easily be a loaf of (good) bread covered in extra virgin olive oil.

5.  Seeing as how some of your cooking instructions seem a bit vague, what would you suggest to people who are new to cooking?  How would they go about cooking the recipes?

Good point! As I said, part of the reasons is that this was in between an art book and a cookbook, so I took some freedom with it. On top of that, very often in Italy, you’ll find (or ask your grandma) recipes without quantities and pretty intuitive; it’s just the style, and that got definitely evident in my book. I ask people’s help because food changes and asks you slightly different things each time, and you have to listen and go along, regardless of the precise amounts or instructions. Follow your very instinct and decide what’s good for you and for the plate, eyeball basically. I understand that the illustrations definitely don’t leave space for hints about the dish, so a good idea would be to look up on the internet or in cookbooks what the recipe looks like. Or find english translations of the actual recipe from other sources, to get a more visual and comparable sense of the process.

That’s also exactly how I approach food research, by comparing different recipes and modify and combine.

Or e-mail me!

It’s all about having fun at the end.

6.  How do you like to spend your free time?  Is it in the kitchen, or inking?  You have incredible talent.  How do you find the balance?

Thank you 🙂  Well I would say that I don’t consider spending time in the kitchen as free time, just because it’s only a natural part of my daily routine, like brushing my teeth.

Although there are definitely times when I just do it as a meditation or thing that makes me happy and relaxed, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, while I play a record.

In my free time though, I really tend to adventure outside, to travel -India- is one of my favorites, to spend time with my husband, friends and family (sometimes cooking and eating together indeed); to watch movies from the nineties or to take classes and learn new things; and last but not least, to practice yoga with devotion. That’s how I DON’T balance at all, but I somehow keep it all together.

7.  Which came first?  The love of cooking or the love of drawing/tatting/inking?

Oh you know, I think they were both just always infused with my life experience. As an Italian, food and cooking are always a priority, ahah I mean, they are just a very precise and fundamental daily routine. You just constantly see people around you cooking and you start picking it up when you need it, pretty much every Italian cooks daily for themselves. And I’ve always had a personal fascination for it and for the magic element it contains. I used to write little notebooks with vegetarian recipes for all my friends in high school, and collage them with pictures and drawings. As for drawing, again, I was exposed early. My mom would draw and teach me to draw and I’ve always been creative in that sense. She would draw me beautiful mermaids with colored pencils of which I have a framed collection, and I just wanted to do the same! Little we knew that after all I became a tattoo artist, and ended up drawing and tattooing a lot of mermaids all the time!  I started getting interested in tattoos after hip-hop and punk rock imagery hit my teens and since then it’s been -obviously- irreversible.

8. Is there a recipe you can share with us?



1 small golden onion

1+ 1/2 cups arborio rice

Vegetable broth as needed (just make a big pot, you can save the rest)

1 glass dry white wine

1 large pinch saffron


Nutritional yeast

Olive oil

Slice the onion thin, drop some oil in a casserole and let the onion become translucent on medium/low heat. Meanwhile, warm up the broth and keep it almost boiling until the recipe is done. Throw the rice in the casserole and stir well for 1 minute. Add the wine and keep stirring (on low heat).  Add the saffron and slowly add the broth using a dipper. Every time it absorbs (keep stirring with a wooden spoon), add some more broth (maintaining the boil) until the rice is ready (about 30 min). When the rice is soft and all the water is absorbed, turn off the heat for few minutes. Put back on low heat add 1 tbsp margarine, sprinkle with nutritional yeast, stir well and serve.

Risotto alla Milanese

(Picture was used with permission)
It’s important to keep the broth as warm as possible so the risotto cooks faster. Also the wine should be room temperature. If you are using cold liquids, it will slow down the cooking process. Here’s  my take on the recipe
 My thoughts on her book: You won’t find any food pictures which I do (did) find disappointing because I like the visual of seeing a dish before I make it, however she does have lots of images of her tattoo style. Cecilia has taken some of her family’s traditional recipes and made them vegan and she’s sharing with us some read – over 100  “senza sofferenza,” without suffering,  flavor packed Italian recipes. (After interviewing her, I completely understand why there’s no food pictures in the book.)

The recipes themselves are great for those who like a recipe but still like to put their own creative spin on things. This is a use your judgement kind of book. From Cecilia’s explanation in the intro of her book,  Italians are use to winging it, and it’s not uncommon just to have a list of ingredients and no measurements. It’s all done by eyeing things out, and testing as you go along. Thankfully, there’s measurements- so don’t worry about that.  As an “experienced” home cook, I appreciate the fact that dishes are easy, open ended and doesn’t sacrifice flavor. At the end of the book she has an ingredient index, so it’s uber easy to find what your looking for.

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I received a copy of Mama Tried, and one lucky person will be able to win a copy. Good Luck. The winner will be contacted by email, and will have 24 hours to respond. If we know how to get a hold of you on SM, then we will send you a private message. Click on the link. I’m having problem with being able to post the image. Mama Tried

Contest CLOSED!!!! Congratulations Samantha O! She is the lucky winner of Mama Tried!

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Visit Cecilia on her website: Cecilia Granata on facebook, twitter, tumblr,  instagram pinterest to see more of her work.

Her shop is located  at sacred rose tattoo, 1503 Solano Avenue, Albany, CA. If you live in or around that area, or a planning a visit, why not call her up and book your appointment?

Recipe and all pictures (except the book cover, which I took) are used with permission by Cecilia.

If you have this book, what have you tried?