27 July 2012

vegan pregnancy: 22 week update

the whole keeping track of "how" pregnant one is is a little confusing.  it all starts with being considered 2 weeks pregnant the moment you conceive - what?!  how is that even possible...  from there i guess it's not all that complicated -- just a matter of counting more weeks.  but whatever you do, don't ask me how many months along i am, because my brain cannot process that.  i am pregnant and can only discuss weeks.  {unless of course you take me out for vegan ice cream, and in that case we'll talk.}  and today i'm 22 weeks along!

when i told you all i was expecting i also mentioned that i had been feeling amazing - and i can say that this is still the case.  i feel so lucky to have had an easy go too because i have friends who were so ill for the first third of their pregnancies if not longer.  now that's not to say that i didn't notice any changes in how i felt, but for the most part what i experienced was really manageable.  the worst of it for me was the fatigue - from about week 7 to 11 i couldn't get enough sleep.  i was getting at least 8 or 9 hours every night and without fail, 3pm would hit me like i ton of bricks and no matter where i was or what i was doing i was unable to function & needed to nap!  i hated feeling like i was sleeping away a lovely part of the day so i was relieved when the fatigue eventually up and left me.  as far as morning sickness, i did have a 3 or 4 little random pangs of nausea where i thought, uh oh here we go, but those never lasted longer than a minute or two and thankfully never led to me loosing my cookies --- or rather i should say pineapple.  because one thing i certainly haven't been imune to are cravings....

for me it's been a fruity love affair.  first there was pineapple.  this is a fruit that i had always classified as a luxury -- one that i might splurge on twice a year.  by about 8 weeks into this pregnancy it became clear that this was no longer the case because i needed pineapple and i needed it yesterday!  although i'm no longer munching through 1 (sometimes 2!) a week, i still keep some on hand in the fridge in case of emergencies.  but now do you know what i've moved on to?  watermelon.  fresh, juicy watermelon dripping down my chin as i eat it over the sink, cubed and kept in the fridge for grazing every time i pass by or even tossed in a salad.

there's only problem about watermelon, is that it makes me bloated.  we're talkin' i look like i'm 7 months preggers bloated.  oh well, such is life and the sacrifices we make!!  

as for aversions, there really haven't been any to speak of, and from what i understand i think i'm in the clear {aside from the fact that i totally just jinxed myself}.  that said, until about week 15 sometimes m's smoothie concoctions were beyond my ability to stomach.  but i'm not sure if that was a factor of the pregnancy or a factor of his recipes.  hah.  {sorry love if you're reading this!}

and the little bump under my shirt, it's coming along just fine... although i've been pretty slow to pack on the pounds thus far {i'm hovering around 5-6 pounds gained}, the bump keeps growing bit by bit and i now look pregnant to the outside world instead of just looking like i've been scarfing a few too many veggie reubens!  i'm fairly certain that it's only a matter of time before the little vegan bun has a crazy growth spurt though.  oh dear.

oh yeah, and this: instead of going to the movies the other night, m & i scrubbed the oven.  let the nesting games begin!  and also... i swear i have to pee every 20 minutes.

next week we've got another appointment coming up with our midwives {whom i adore!} and i'll catch you up on how that goes too.

for now though, have yourselves a sweet weekend.


25 July 2012

watermelon & tofu feta salad


i'm back from what was, once again, the highlight weekend of my summer.  it's taken a few days to come back down to earth and regroup, catch up on sleep & get the dirt out from under my nails {am i alone in being unable to avoid this every time i go camping???}, but now i can sit back and reflect on it all.  and it's been magical catching sneaks of other folks' photos as they share them on facebook -- especially because i. forgot. my. camera. at home.  but luckily my rad brother had his along for the ride so once i get my hands on some of those shots you will likely see another little flashback post.

one of other other things i forgot over the course of the weekend {pregnancy brain strikes again!} was to eat the beautiful watermelon i brought along and instead it sat in the car the entire time.  oh well, more for me now that i'm home.

i remember a few years ago hearing a lot about watermelon & feta cheese salads being all the rage.  obviously being vegan, i have never tried one myself, but i decided to make a go of it:  sweet, juicy bursts of watermelon along with pungent, briney tofu feta cheese & aromatic fresh basil?  sign me up!

i used the recipe for herbed feta found in the may/june vegnews magazine and it's awesome -- fooled me some omni's with it too when i made it last month -- i highly recommend trying it out.  and if you don't yet subscribe to vegnews, what are you waiting for?!  the recipe hasn't been published online but if you live in sudbury, i'd be happy to lend you my copy {or any back issue really, as i keep them all} for a few days - just ask!

but on to the salad:

watermelon & tofu feta salad
serves 4-6
4 cups watermelon, cubed
1 cup herbed tofu feta (vegnews may/june 2012 page 59)
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn or chiffonaded

toss all ingredients together and serve.  if not eating immediately, reserve the basil, refrigerate and toss in before enjoying with friends.  if you like you can add a drizzle of olive oil or a splash of balsamic vinegar but i found it didn't need a thing.  the perfect compliment to a backyard bbq!

the verdict: if you love savoury salads with fruit you will love this.  i've always been a bit of a bit of a "get that fruit out of my salad!" kind of girl, but i still thought this was good even {though i found myself eating all the watermelon first and then going for the feta}.  m thought it was just plain weird and said "get that fruit out of my salad!".

were we meant to be, or what?

submitted to ricki`s wellness weekend

18 July 2012

lavender agave cake

oh sweet, fragrant lavender...  i planted a small lavender plant in my garden last summer and it's come back in full swing this year much to my delight.  i can't help but run my hand through it's soft green leaves as i pass by it {a bit of a habit i picked up from my lovely friend}.  and then there are the gorgeous purple flower buds just screaming, "put me in a cake!!"

okay, fine.  if you insist.

so i took this pretty little number, removed all of the animal-based ingredients & filled it up with compassionate ones.

this makes for a super tender cake with just the faintest hint of lavender.  perfect for a warm summer's eve.

lavender agave cake
makes one 10" cake
13 tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup agave 
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy creamer
2 tbsp lavender flowers (fresh or dried)
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp hot water)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

start by preheating the oven to 325f and greasing a cake pan.  (i used a 10" springform pan but use whatever you have.)  prepare the flax eggs by whisking together the flax and water and setting it aside to thicken.  combine the butter, applesauce, cream and agave in a large bowl and work them together with a fork or a whisk.  stir in the lavender.  add in the flax eggs and cane sugar and mix well.  sift in the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  pour the batter into your greased and place in the oven for 1 hour (or until slightly browned on top and a knife comes out clean).  remove and allow it to fully cool before removing it from the cake pan and drenching in the lemon glaze.

lemon glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon

16 July 2012

almond granola parfaits

you all are far too sweet.  thank you SO much for your kind words & happy wishes on my last post for us during this exciting time!  it also sounds as though at least of few of you won't mind reading a pregnancy update here and there which means i won't feel too self-indulgent when i throw one in every couple of weeks :)

it was a pretty busy weekend around here so i didn't have the chance to get any groceries, which meant that we were without smoothie fixings this morning.  but as luck would have it, i got a craving for granola yesterday and last night i baked up some almond & cranberry granola.  this morning we had some layered parfaits as a bit of a breakfast switch up.  i finally picked up some so delicious cultured coconut milk yogurt last week and i have to say it's amazing!  it has a real richness to it and doesn't have a funky aftertaste like some of the soy-based yogurts i've tried.

layered up with cherries it was a real treat.  in fact, i'd happily eat this for dessert if someone served it to me.

almond granola parfaits
serves 2
3/4 cup almond cranberry granola
1 cup coconut yogurt {i used vanilla}
1/2 cup cherries, pitted & quartered

layer each glass with a few heaping tablespoons of yogurt followed by a nice layer of granola, followed by more yogurt and then the cherries.  finally top with the remaining yogurt and granola and any remaining fruit.

so simple and so good.

i've included the recipe for my granola because it's really yummy.  it's a slight take-off from my usual go-to granola but i wanted to try something new.  it didn't get quite as crunchy as i would have liked but it clumps together nicely, and as i said it gets an A+ on flavour so i'm over the hit & miss crunch of it.  something tells me if i just baked it on a cookie sheet instead of a pyrex dish (what were you thinking miss pregnancy brain?) it'll crisp up just fine.

almond cranberry granola
3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup flaxmeal
1 cup almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup agave
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries

chop up half of the almonds and then combine the oats, flax, nuts & seeds in a large bowl.  add the oil, milk, sweeteners, extract & salt in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar melts.  stir it well and then pour it over the dry ingredients.  mix it all up so that it's all coated and then then transfer to a 9x13 baking dish or baking sheet.  pop it in the oven at 325f for 30 minutes.  take it out of the oven, fold in the cranberries and then return it to continue baking.  lower the heat to 300f and let it cook for 40-60 minutes, checking on it every 20 minutes or so.  remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely (we're talking at least an hour, if not two).  then break it up into delicious chunks of goodness. 

14 July 2012

spilling the beans

i've got some fessing up to do.

i'm usually pretty open here on cupcakes and kale but it's time to come clean.  i've been keeping a little something from you.  excitement got the best of me a while back and i made reference on facebook to being beyond excited about things to come but i've kept my lips sealed ever since. 

and well, now i'm ready to spill the beans and i'm giddy to share this little bit of news with you...

we're expecting a wee little vegan! 

i'm 20 weeks already which is all kinds of crazy since i'm already halfway there.  {and holy moly, that means only 20 weeks to go!}  i've been super lucky to be feeling amazing the entire time too, and i can't help but wonder if it has anything to do with my vegan diet...  can any vegan mamas out there offer any perspective on this?  anyways, if any of you are interested i'll throw an update up on the blog every little while.  but who's kidding who -- as a really excited first time mama-to-be i'll probably share an update {or twenty} either way.

phew, feels good to get that off my belly chest. let's never keep secrets again.


aside from that i hope you have a super weekend!  here are some link to make you think & pretty things i'm coveting this week.

in case you missed it making its rounds, mark bittman shared an informative (& entertaining) piece on milk this week.  definitely worth the quick read.

do you have any edible flowers in your garden this year?  i planted some nasturtiums in a big pot for the first time this summer and i love how much they brighten up my deck.  if i can bear to part with the brightly coloured flowers i think i'll have to make a big salad soon.

i might just have to treat myself to something from white feather designs.... breanne is so talented and there is so much prettiness happening here!  i think this fringe necklace is on my hit list but also i'm swooning for the chevrons the model is sporting here too.

and this cake is so pretty but it's filled with butter & eggs & honey which just won't cut it for me.  with the gorgeous lavender in my garden blooming, i think i need to veganize it pronto and put it in my big round belly.

happy weekend!


10 July 2012

peachy keen smoothie

there are some morning when i wake up and all i want is coffee.  on morning like this i am so thankful that i've gotten m so addicted to smoothies.  he always insists that we start the day with a smoothie and he swears by it being the first thing to hit the stomach, so we start the day off right.  i had one of those mornings recently and m came to the rescue with this beauty of a concoction.  it was a winner and just what i needed to get going.

yep, i think i'll keep him.

here's what went into it if you want to make it yourself have someone make it for you too.
and before you say anything, i realize that this smoothie is maybe inappropriately named given that there isn't a peach in sight in the ingredient list, but come on - look at that colour!  i just couldnt' help myself with the cutesy name.  

peachy keen smoothie
serves 2
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
2 big stalks of celery
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup apricot juice
1 teaspoon maca root powder

add everything into a blender and blend away!

on mornings such as this i'm also thankful that m's smoothie making abilities have significantly improved over the past year (cause who's kidding who, there were some totally bizarre ones in there too!)

what about you, do you have a tried and tested way to start your day?

submitted to wellness weekend

06 July 2012

wishing you a sunny weekend

happy friday & happy weekend friends.  are you up to anything extra special?  i think m & i will be spending most of our weekend down at the northern lights festival.  lots of music & sunshine to take in.  oh yes, and some stage hosting to earn our keep - eeep!  i hate speaking into microphones! 

here are some lovely links to take you into your weekend...

i don't have an excuse or reason to party (yet) but when i get one, i think i need to make these streamers.

i've been loving succulents since forever {or at least since my wedding where we had them scattered on tables}, but these vertical garden displays are making me swoon.

this cold treat, because even after my melon margarita ice last week i still want more.

on a more serious note, i love bob barker & wish that calagary stampede would follow his recommendation of celebrating its 100th anniversary by ending animal cruelty.  my heart goes out to those animals.

this song.  i only wish there was a video along with it because not only is jenny omnichord super cute but it's awesome to see her work her magic on the ominichord.  she played this pixies cover 'round the campfire at last years river & sky festival and it was one of my weekend highlights.

ps - on that note, if you live anywhere remotely close to me {or within a days drive} you should seriously consider getting yourself some tickets to this years river & sky camping and music festival.  it. will. rock.

03 July 2012

melon margarita ice

do you ever have those days in the summer where you can get enough water & fruit to cool down?  this was me on the weekend after working my little garden heart out, weeding, digging and planting. 

water: check. 
a sliced up ida red: check. 
pineapple: check. 
more water: check. 

and yet it just wasn't cutting it - i needed ice!  so to the freezer i marched only to find right before my eyes a ziplock bag of frozen honeydew melon waiting for me.  hallelujah!  this called for celebrations.  and some melon margarita ice.

into the food processor went 2 cups of frozen melon and the juice of one freshly squeezed lime.  that's it.  blend it away, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times as you go until no chunks of melon remain.  then scoop it into a bowl, or margarita glass if you have one, and top it with a little lime zest and a sprinkle of sea salt.  serves two.

so fresh.

so refreshing.

and booze-free so no hangover to boot!  giddy up.

next up though - watermelon.  come to mama.