Delicious Vegan Egg (Chickpea) Salad Sandwiches

I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth one can make vegan egg salad without eggs. It’s actually a straightforward and delicious vegan hack that will save you from all of that harmful cholesterol found in eggs. This quick and easy recipe is kid-approved and free from nuts making it a great lunch option for school as it can easily be tucked into a wrap, sandwich, or pita pocket! My kids go crazy for it! We go through so much of it in fact that I’ve taken to buying flats of chickpeas to keep up with the demand.

What’s even more exciting is that this recipe is totally free from gluten for those who have dietary restrictions, and it’s bursting with so much flavour you won’t miss traditional egg salad ever again!

I’d love to hear in the comments how this recipe worked out for you!

Natasha x

Vegan Egg (Chickpea) Salad

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Ingredients

  • 2 Cans of Chickpeas
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 1/3 Cup Vegan Mayo
  • 2 Tbsp Old Style Mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 Tsp Black Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a food processor and mix until desired consistency is reached
  • Serve on bread with mustard, and top with paprika and fresh basil

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I Got Rid of 95% of my Children Toys and Restored their Imaginations

In the years that I have been keeping this blog, I have written very little about parenting; I suppose I was focused on the recipes and also felt that I wasn’t qualified to tell anyone how to raise their kids. Yet, I find I have people asking me how I manage so well as a single mother of six. Life is extraordinarily chaotic, and with the addition of children to the family, the chaos only grows. I remember a time a few years back when I felt overwhelmed as a mother, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to keep up with all of the duties expected of me. I knew there had to be some kinds of life hack but had no idea where to find it and had accepted the fact that life with kids was just in general messy all the time.

 Somehow by some magical force, I stumbled upon the simplest solution to deal with the chaos and felt rather silly that I hadn’t thought of it sooner or on my own. So I’m a huge documentary buff and am always interested in topics like climate change, human rights issues, ethical treatment of animals, and happiness in general. The documentary The Minimalists came up in my recommendations on Netflix, and I figured why not try something different… cue life change. From the beginning, I was fascinated with the idea of living with less, the simplicity of it, the money-saving side effects of the lifestyle change. 

Early the next morning I woke up and got down to business, you know those major cleaning jobs where you have to make a massive mess in order to sort everything out? Well, that was my life for the next two weeks… I’m sure my ex-husband thought I’d completely lost it. As the week wore on, I managed to donate about 95% of what we owned and no longer used to charity. In total it was 48 large boxes and bags! I remember vividly the day the truck came to pick everything up; I remember the tension in my chest as I watched all of my “stuff” go. I had to fight hard to resist the urge to run outside and take it all back. I’m not going to lie, that feeling of loss stayed with me for a few days, and I was almost sad until I realized I couldn’t name even ten things I’d donated. Clearly, all of that stuff didn’t mean that much to me after all.

So here is where this applies to the kids; initially, I didn’t touch the kid’s things. I felt it wasn’t up to me to decide to donate their belongings, but after a few weeks in my decluttered home, I realized how much happier I’d become. I wasn’t wasting time on cleaning, there was no clutter to stress me out, I felt free, and I wanted that for my children too.

 I’m sure every parent out there has heard the dreaded “I’m bored” said in a whiney voice, and I’m also sure you looked at your child scratching your head as you said, “You have a ton of toys, what do you mean you’re bored!?” Here’s what I discovered, kids are just as overwhelmed by clutter as adults are, the more toys they have, the less they will play with. So I sat down with the kids and helped them go through their rooms, they each kept ten stuffies (out of the hundreds they had), and we carefully chose to keep the toys they loved and used the most. I had expected a battle, but they surprised me and were more than willing to part with their toys, knowing another child would get to enjoy them. 

Here are a few facts that help explain this a little better:

  1. If a toy is in a place the child cannot directly access or see, they won’t play with it.
  2. Toy boxes are great in theory, but most of the toys are never played with as they are living at the bottom of the box.
  3. If one toy in a collection is broken, children will often stop playing with the entire set.
  4. Clutter kills imagination.
  5. More toys equals more boredom; more choices leads to overwhelm and shut down.

Just a few points worth thinking about, I do believe its extremely important to include your children in the minimizing process, what may seem like junk to you could be very special to them. I think it is important is to keep all of the donated toys for a month in the garage before donating just in case your child starts asking for a specific toy that is special that they had forgotten about. In our case, we only pulled one toy out of the donation boxes during the month we waited; the kids haven’t asked about the toys since.

Here is what we kept:

1.Books

2. Imagination encouraging items like dress-up clothes, dollhouses, lego, car mat and cars.

3. Special Stuffies

4.Active items like skipping ropes, bikes, skates

 

A few great rules:

1. Keep toys where they can be seen

2. If it’s broken and can’t be fixed, it goes

3. Let the kids help with the decluttering

4. If it has to be stuffed in a closet, ask yourself if you really need it.

5. Remember: If it’s out of sight it is out of mind and won’t be played with

6. Make sure everything has it’s place

In the months after decluttering, I noticed a massive change in my children; nobody was bored anymore. They played with everything they had (because it was in a place where they could see it). The bedroom stayed clean!!! A decluttered bedroom is extremely easy for children to keep clean on their own as everything as its place. The kid’s interests shifted quite quickly to playing more outdoors, arts and crafts, imaginative play, and reading their books. The kids started playing together more as well, and their bond as siblings has grown in the most beautiful way. 

This alone has been one of the best parenting decisions I have ever made; it has given us freedom. There is no fighting over the cleaning of bedrooms, I am no longer exhausted trying to keep up with the cleaning and now have time to spend with the kids. Plus I have saved SO much money embracing minimalism and am no longer chasing the latest trend. I am so glad I did this before I became a single mother, I’m not sure I’d have managed if I hadn’t!

I’m not going to lie and tell you this was a quick and easy process, it usually takes people longer than I did to declutter (I have a touch of OCD, so that worked in my favour haha). Baby steps are still progress, start in one room and remember that: Your home is not a storage locker.

I’d love to hear about your adventures in minimalism in the comments!

Natasha xx

Simple Vegan Irish Soda Bread

Okay! If I’m honest, I would tell you that I loved bread, and once upon a time, I could eat a loaf all to myself! But those days have passed for me as I’ve developed a little bit of a gluten intolerance… which makes me so mad! But just because I can’t indulge anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t! So here is my super simple and incredibly delicious Vegan Irish Soda Bread!
Irish soda bread goes way back to pre-Christian Ireland when the Celts would bake bread in honour of the Goddess Brigit. The cross on the top of the bread was meant to bless the bread, and emulate the cross of the Goddess. Fast forward to the rise of Christianity, and we find that the Catholics absorbed the Goddess into their beliefs. It was far easier to convert Pagans to Christianity while keeping some of their most cherished deities according to theological records.

Today you will still see the Goddess Brigit honoured in Ireland as a Catholic Saint. With her conversion from Goddess to Saint, you will also see the tradition of blessing the bread a common practice in many households today.

Natasha xoxo

Simple Vegan Irish Soda Bread

Vegan            Oil Free             Prep Time: 10 mins             Bake Time: 45 mins           Bake Temp: 350

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 400 ml Dairy Free Milk
  • 2 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  • In a small bowl mix Dairy Free Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar and allow to sit while you prepare the dry ingredients.
  • In a large bowl mix Flour, Sea Salt, and Baking Soda.
  • Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.
  • Mix until dough comes together by hand, and form a nice round loaf.
  • Place on parchment lined baking sheet or Irish Bread Pan.
  • Score the top of the bread with a cross.
  • Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes.

Enjoy!

I’ve Missed You!

It’s been a while!…. It’s probably been over a year since I’ve posted on my blog, so first let me say I’m sorry for neglecting you it’s been quite the year for me to say the least! Now that I’ve had a chance to regroup a little, I am hoping to make a few changes in this blog and renew my commitment to posting regularly and with complete transparency.

The new and improved blog is about new beginnings which is precisely where I am in my life right now and where I imagine many people find themselves currently. Nearly a year ago my ex-husband and I made the difficult decision to separate, neither of us had been happy for a long time. I think traveling through Europe last summer really allowed me to see how truly unhappy I was. I came home wanting more in my life, I wanted to feel valued and special to the person I was with, and I knew I had a ton of self-loving to do. 

 In March, I moved from the beautiful new big house on the hill into a small, old, and cozy townhouse that screams divorcee. The first few nights in my new home felt very bipolar, one second I was blissfully happy with my new found space and then the next moment it was the sheer terror of “What have I done!?” This went on for weeks, but my gut still told me I made the right choice and that I was a strong woman who would be able to manage being a single mom just fine.

 I had to figure out how to juggle all of the children and their various schedules while still finding quiet moments to reflect on myself and my life so far. I’ve had to learn to be gentle with myself and forgiving when I think of the many mistakes I’ve made in the past. In all honesty, this isn’t my first failed marriage, but my third and I never wanted to find myself in this place ever again. Sometimes you have to value yourself enough to know when its time to walk away and while I have moments where I feel ashamed of having failed at marriage more than once I have to stop apologizing for myself and my flaws. Marriage is a two-way street, and I am not looking to blame anyone, I know I have my share of guilt in these failures but all I can do is learn from them and be the best version of myself I can be moving forward.

So much has changed for me in the last few months, I’ve grown and evolved in some pretty surprising ways. I’ve discovered that most people aren’t there for you when you need them and that expectation only leads to disappointment. I’ve had to rely on myself making me a stronger person, and learn that self-love is what will get you through in the end. You must learn to love yourself because at the end of the day you are the only person you can count on. Everyone else is busy fighting their own battles.

I’m no longer afraid of being on my own and am embracing it with open arms, should someone one day come into my life and fit into the chaos beautifully I am open to that, but I am done putting myself out there for now. I refuse to give any more pieces of myself to anyone who doesn’t value me. I wish I had learnt this earlier in my life, so perhaps it’s something someone reading this will take into their heart and mind. 

From now on, this blog is about transparency; it’s about reclaiming life and learning to fall in love with one’s self. This blog is about what works for me as a single mother of six; it’s about finding happiness in minimalism, it’s about zero waste living, vegan food, and general hippie stuff I think will be of value to my readers. So if you’re a busy mom, a single mom, a stay at home mom, a hippie, a vegan, a citizen of planet earth then there should be something here for you!

My commitment to you and to myself is to write twice a week and just see where it goes. I’ve missed you guys!

Tasha

Zesty Vegan Nacho Cheeze

Over the weekend we held a birthday party for my son Logan who was turning 11, Logan is an appies kind of guy so he asked me to create something special for his party. I had just returned from shopping for the party when his request came in and I was not keen on having to leave the house again so I pulled open the cupboards in search of ingredient to create something new.

Cashews, spices, nutritional yeast… it looked like the makings of a great cheeze sauce! I had the tortilla chips so I figured I could try and pull together a vegan nacho cheeze, little could we have known that it would turn out amazing! Once the guests arrived this last minute nacho dip became the talk of the party… next to the birthday boy of course!

I’m absolutely thrilled to share this recipe with you! It’s truly one of my best creations and I hope you will love it as much as we did!

Natasha xoxo

Zesty vegan Nacho Cheeze

Vegan                Gluten Free                  Oil Free               Sugar Free                Prep: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 Cup Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Tbsp Chopped Red Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Shiro Miso
  • 1 Tsp Smoked Salt  ( I used Alder Smoked Sea Salt by The San Francisco Salt Co.)
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Smokey Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice

METHOD

  • Place all ingredients into high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy
  • Serve room temperature or warmed in a mini crockpot
  • Great for dipping tortilla chips and veggies in!

Cinnamon Peach Summer Scones

As summer comes to a close and the smoke from the second worst fire season British Columbia has ever seen finally starts to clear, I realized how much I have been neglecting my blog. This Summer has been a mix of bittersweet for me, from lazy days with the kids playing in the back garden in the early weeks; to having to put our beloved dog ‘Deefer’ to sleep in mid-July which left me a wreck for weeks and still hurts my heart every time I glance at his favourite spot on the floor next to the fireplace.

Then I was off to Europe for a little over two weeks which was just what I needed at the time, I made some fantastic new friends, saw some of the most beautiful places in the world, and knocked a few experiences off of my bucket list. Then I returned home feeling full, yet empty and missing the new friends I had made. It has taken me a week to get back into the swing of things, and I finally found my motivation start creating recipes for you again thanks to my Mum who brought me a beautiful box of peaches.

So here it is, a sweet Summer creation just for you!

Natasha xoxo

Cinnamon Peach Summer Scones

Vegan          Prep Time: 10 mins             Bake Time: 25 mins           Bake Temp: 400 F

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
  • 3 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 Cup Dairy Free Milk
  • 1 Large Peach Cut in small cubes

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  • In a large bowl combine Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder,  Sea Salt, and Cinnamon. Whisk to mix evenly.
  • Add Vegan Margarine and cut in with pastry cutter or hands until fine granules appear.
  • Make a well and add Dairy Free Milk, mix with hands until mix comes together.
  • Add Peach Pieces and mix with hands until evenly dispersed.
  • On a baking pan lines with parchment and dusted with flour place ball of dough flattening it into a large pancake shape. Cut creating 8 triangular pieces. Spread the pieces out so they are at least an inch away from each other to allow for growth during baking.
  • Bake for 25mins at 400F, check on the scones at 20min to make sure they do not over bake.
  • Enjoy!

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cheeze Soup

If you’re a vegan then one of the things you may really miss from your pre-vegan days is Broccoli Cheddar soup, but fear not, you can still have your soup and eat it too! My whole foods Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cheeze soup will make your tummy smile with fond memories but this time its free from any harm to animals…. not to mention harmful cholesterol!

Being completely oil free this recipe is ultra healthy and with the addition of nutritional yeast you will get your fill of B vitamins while still enjoying this creamy comfort food! I suggest serving it with a thick slice of my Vegan Irish Soda Bread for an extra helping of happiness!

Enjoy Natasha xoxo

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cheeze Soup

Vegan          Oil Free          Gluten Free           Prep Time: 15 mins               Cook Time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Onion Chopped
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove Minced
  • 5 Cups Chopped Broccoli
  • 5 Cups Chopped Potato
  • 1 Cup Chopped Carrot
  • 7 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Tsp Sea Salt

Method

  • In a large pot add just enough water to cover the base and cook Chopped Onion and Minced Garlic until Onion is translucent.
  • Add Broccoli, Potato, and Carrot and cook for ten minutes, add more water if needed to base of pot.
  • Add Veggie Broth, Nutritional Yeast, Turmeric, and Sea Salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes.
  • With a hand blender puree the soup until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve with a nice think slice of my Vegan Irish Soda Bread!
  • Enjoy!

 

Rich Vegan Chocolate Cinnamon Loaf

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, I am not much of a summer person. I love colder weather, rainy days and snow; so when the Summer heat kicks in I often have to turn to recipes that give me the familiar comfort of colder days that I adore. My Chocolate Cinnamon Loaf is the perfect mix of rich and spicy that takes me back to more festive seasons while still being a great summer treat!

This melt in your mouth loaf is chocolaty, moist, and the perfect pair to a lovely cup of tea! My children love this recipe so much that they often ask for this loaf instead of birthday cake as it is oh so good!  Another plus for this recipe is that it’s lower in oil or oil free depending on the variation you choose!

Absolutely kid approved, I know your family and friend will love this delicious treat!

Natasha xoxo

Rich Vegan Chocolate Cinnamon Loaf

Vegan         Prep Time: 10 mins           Bake Time: 50 mins            Bake Temp: 350°F

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Coconut Sugar or Organic Cane Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Dairy Free Milk
  • 1/4 Cup of Grape Seed Oil or Apple Sauce
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Flax Egg (1tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp warm water, allow to sit for 5-10 mins)
  • 1/3 Cup Cacao
  • 1 1/4 Cup of Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips

The Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  • Prepare Flax Egg 1tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp warm water, allow to sit for 5-10 mins.
  • Mix Sugar, Almond Milk, Grape Seed Oil, Vanilla, Apple Cider Vinegar, Flax Egg in a medium bowl.
  • Mix Flour, Cocoa, Salt, Baking Powder, Cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture, combine very well and add chocolate chips.
  • Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheezy Broccoli Asparagus Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Quiche

When I was young I was never much of an egg fan so when I went vegan I didn’t really miss them… except in the case of a nice quiche. Unfortunately quiche is quite heavy on cholesterol and not the best choice if you’re trying to eat healthier. But fear not! My Cheezy Broccoli Asparagus Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Quiche ( wow that was a mouth fun… or it will be when you try out this recipe, I crack myself up LOL) is free from harmful cholesterol and full or protein due to the chickpea flour! Now that is a pretty darn good trade I think!

One quick note to those of you new to using chickpea flour, it is a wonderful and versatile ingredient but has the tendency to dry out a little as it cools so my recommendation to you if you plan to re-heat this quiche is to sprinkle a little water over the quiche before you reheat to add moisture back in. Either way it will still taste great but that is just a little chickpea flour pro tip for you!

Enjoy! Natasha xoxo

Cheezy Broccoli Asparagus Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Quiche

Vegan         Gluten Free        Sugar Free        Prep Time: 15 minutes      Bake at 475 for 30 minutes

Serves 8 (155 Cal per serving)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Grape Seed Oil
  • 1 Cup Broccoli Chopped
  • 1 1/2  Cup Asparagus Chopped
  • 1 Small Red Onion Diced
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove Crushed
  • 3 Tbsp Sun Dried Tomatoes Chopped
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chickpea Flour
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Paprika
  • 1 Tsp Black Salt
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Black Pepper

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 475
  • In a large cast iron pan fry Onion, Broccoli, and Asparagus in Oil on medium for 2 minutes
  • Add Garlic and Sun Dried Tomatoes and fry on low for 5- 10 minutes
  • As veggies are frying mix remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisk until smooth.
  • Pour batter over veggies and stir
  • Place cast iron pan into the oven for 30 minutes
  • Pierce with a toothpick, if toothpick comes out clean then quiche is ready
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving
  • Enjoy!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cheeze Cake

In the winter my guilty pleasure is always a very nice cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate, I love the creamy zing of the cayenne and cacao flirting with each other in my cup. Alas Summer is just around the corner and it has been way to hot for hot chocolate! So in the spirit of one of my favourite Winter delights I have created a Summer version in cake form!

My creamy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cheeze Cake is decadent, delicious, and the perfect addition to any Summer feast! Being gluten free, vegan, and free from refined sugars this cashew based dessert is protein packed and will leave you swooning!

Enjoy! Natasha xoxo

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cheeze Cake

Vegan         Gluten Free           Refined Sugar Free              Prep Time: 10 mins            Set Time: 1 Hour

The Crust

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Raw Pecans
  • 1/8 Cup Cacao Powder
  • 6 Medjool Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Water

METHOD

  • Toss all ingredients into a food processor
  • Process until dough ball forms

The Mexican Hot Chocolate Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Raw Cashew Pieces
  • 1 1/2 Cups Dairy Free Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Cacao Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

Method

  • Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender
  • Blend until smooth an creamy
  • Pour over Crust and tap to remove any bubbles
  • Place in freezer or fridge for at least an hour to set
  • Garnish with mini marshmallows and chocolate drizzle