Monday, October 31, 2011

☺ Motivational Mondays! 12 Reasons to Smile! ☺

Happy Halloween everyone!!! I hope your weekend has been as awesome and exciting as mine! 
I've noticed already that, despite the fun of Halloween, this Monday appears to be a mixture of adoration of the Halloween weekend but also a mix of frowny-pants attitudes. So let's liven it up shall we? 

Let's discuss… 10 Reasons to Smile Right Now! 
#1: You're Alive! Seriously, what better reason to smile than that? This is Your Life!!! How awesome is that?! You can do whatever you want with it! You can Choose to do and make it whatever you want! Dude, you're alive!!! 
#2: Love! It's all around us, as long as you choose to see it, to embrace it, and to share it with others. Love comes in so many forms so express it and receive it. The best way to bring more love into your life is to be loving.    
#3: Because it feels better to Smile than to Frown! You know what I'm talking about! Fake it 'til you make it! Just smile for no other reason than just to smile and try to tell me that you don't start feeling good! 
#4: Chocolate! Oh come on, you know you love it too! Why can't chocolate be a reason to smile? Anything can be a reason to smile and I say chocolate is a reason to smile! ;)   
#5: Because life is Exciting! Have you ever taken a moment to actually stop and consider how exciting your life is? Imagine if everything was always the same and nothing "unfavourable" ever happened? That would be boring! Life is a roller coaster and if you can't appreciate the lows you won't embrace the highs. 
#6:   Other People's Smiles! Smiling is contagious! If you see someone with a big huge smile on their face you can't help but also smile! You smile, I smile, we all smile! 
#7: Because of this guy! Look at that face, how freakin adorable is that?!! ;)

#8: Because You can Choose to! Oh hello, what's this? Free will? No way! Say what? You get to Choose to smile and to be happy? Why didn't someone tell you that sooner?! Yes, yes, you get to choose everything in your life, give yourself some credit, take some responsibility, and take charge of that beautiful life that is Yours! You Can choose to smile!
 #9: Hugs! Nothing feels better than a nice warm comforting hug. Hug everyone and everything! It feels good!!! 
#10: Because you don't need to Act like Mr. or Mrs Frumpy Pants over there! Just because someone else is upset or down doesn't mean that You have to join them and feel the same way. You are allowed to still be Happy no matter what is happening around you. It doesn't do the other person any good by you having the same bad attitude. Be Happy and Optimistic and maybe that will pass on to them!         
#11: Swings! They're so much fun and something you can totally do without feeling silly. Or, if you're like me then you won't care if you feel and look silly and you'll play on the whole playground anyways. Being a kid is fun! 
#12: Because there's no Time like the Present! You do, you do, you do deserve to be Happy! And Happiness is in the moment, in the present, in the Now! So be in the moment and live each day to it's fullest and smile every single day forever! 

I love you all and have a beautiful wonderful amazing day! 


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Orange Nutty Raw Granola! Ⓥ

This is super easy to make, no cooking at all, and ridiculously delicious! The ingredients are a bit pricey to get started but it's totally worth the cost for your health and, well, because raw granola is one of the best things ever. Ever!

Raw Granola

1 cup Buckwheat Groats
1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup Almonds, chopped
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
2 Tbsp Raisins
1-2 Tbsp dried Apple or Pear
1 Tbsp Coconut, shredded unsweetened
1 tsp Cinnamon 
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Orange Flavour
5 drops Stevia
1-2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (or Brown Rice syrup or Maple Syrup)

Mix all the ingredients (except the Agave) together first in a large bowl or straight into a sealable storage container until well mixed. Add the Agave and stir evenly into granola. Voila! Raw yummy granola! Makes 4-6 servings depending on how much you eat, but it is super filling so you won't need as much. 

You can also add less or more of whatever you'd like into this granola mixture. I've made raw granola a couple times before but the hint of orange flavour is what makes this so perfect. I don't know how I ever had this granola without it!  

Great topped over fresh fruit and my "Soygurt" recipes! (Matcha & Peanut Butter Cocoa)


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Friday, October 28, 2011

☀ My Birthday Wish! ☀

Last year for my Birthday I discovered an awesome cause on Facebook in which you could raise money for the charity of your choice. I thought it was such a wonderful idea and, hey, even if just a little money is raised that's awesome, so what's to lose? 
Anyway, it's that time of year again so this year I am doing the same thing! This Birthday Fundraiser is for Animal Farm Sanctuary. 

Because I got to visit the farm recently and personally experience and see just how much good they do. I got to see how many animal lives have been changed and saved thanks to this wonderful place and it inspires me to do more for them!

So, this is my proposal. Give $1. That's right, $1 (or more of course). But I say this number because it's so easy to just give One Dollar. Will you notice that dollar is gone? Not likely. Hey, maybe there's even a dollar hiding under your couch cushions. If everyone I knew gave whatever they could then I'd easily reach my goal. 
So pretty please consider giving to my Birthday Wish, and together we can help countless abused animals find health & happiness again! And if you can't give now, I'd really appreciate if you'd share this page with your friends. :) 

And if you want to see more about Farm Sanctuary and my experience there, check out my video blog. :) 

Thanks so much!!


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☆ What's Going On: What Are GMOs? (simply put) ☆

Another interesting find to share with you all. Obviously these are basic points, there is a lot to be said about GMOs but the fact there are bans and restrictions in so many countries is a sure warning sign not to ingest them. 


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

☺ Inspirational; "Good" & "Bad"--& the Reality ☺

There is no such thing as "Right" or "Wrong."
As such, there is no such thing as "Good" or "Bad." 
It's all in your head. It's all Perception. It's all in your Attitude. 

"When you see beyond 'good' and 'bad,' you are much better able to recognize and make the most of What's There."

Part of applying a Positive Mental Attitude is developing the realization that there is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" experience or thing. Things just Are. The Universe is not out to get you. Life presents us with all sorts of experiences, it is up to us to use those experiences wisely, to our greatest benefit and to aid our growth, or we could let those experiences crumble the world at our feet. All of those trials and tribulations are gifts in disguise, if only we open our eyes and our hearts and receive what they have to offer us. 

"Maybe the 'good' things are tests, possibly rather difficult ones at that, and the 'bad' things are gifts to help us grow."

Those "bad" experiences are the ones from which we grow the most, without them our lives would be static and stagnant. So they aren't "bad" after all. They present us with problems to solve and work through, situations to learn from and possibly avoid in the future, habits to change, transformations and self-building needed, conditions to accept, and so forth. In all of these trials, we gain more than what we went in with. They are all part of the process providing us with Wisdom, Truth, Growth, Love, and Happiness. 
Once we can push past the concept of these being "good" or "bad" and that they simply do not exist then we become open to what is actually There. We are able to see Things As They Are. And it is a beautiful world full of opportunity and potential. 

Good could turn out to be Bad. And Bad could turn out to be Good. It's all in your head. It's whatever you perceive it to be. At the end of our perception, Things just Are. And so, in accepting Things as They Are, life becomes much smoother to simply go along for the ride and take things as they come. Don't so easily jump to thinking some situations are Bad. They are only bad if you make them bad, if you see them as bad, and feel them as bad. Instead recognize that it simply Is and welcome the experience it has to offer. Everything happens for a reason and if you can have a positive attitude towards something, the "bad" will quickly pass and more good things will come along in it's place. 

Never allow the power of Positive Thinking to go overlooked. Life is what you make it. Open your eyes and see beyond the concepts of "good" and "bad" and fully accept any experience to provide you with Wisdom, Love, and Happiness. 

"'Treat gain and loss as the same.' They mean don't be Intimidated. Don't make a Big Deal of anything--just accept things as they come to you." 
~Benjamin Hoff (The Te of Piglet)


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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

☺ WINNER of the Madd Style Cosmetix Giveaway! ☺

After tallying up all the entries a number has been selected as the winner through a random number generator.

Congratulations to Elmo!! You have been emailed so you can go claim your prize! 

A big huge thank you to everyone who entered! 
And for all those who didn't win, you deserve to treat yourself to some fabulous new makeup anyway so if you haven't yet, hop over to Madd Style Cosmetix and buy yourself a treat. ;)  

Thanks again! 


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☯ What's in My Closet; Friends Not Fashion Sweater by Vaute Couture ☯

This is what I have practically been living in these days! So I am too excited to share my amazing Vaute Couture "Friends Not Fashion" Sweater with you and this awesome company! 

I loved these sweaters the second I first lay eyes on them. I loved the entire company, and what's not to love? Absolutely ethical & vegan, and environmentally sustainable! I mean this company really has it together. They spent months researching fabrics to create the perfect winter jackets which are part of their new line now available for pre-order and going Fast! 

While I want everything in their shop, I had to start somewhere so I finally treated myself to an awesome "Friend Not Fashion" Sweater. These sweaters are amazing!! Made from super soft fleece that is recycled polyester and organic cotton and printed with water-based inks. There are also lots of colors and prints to choose from in this "The Friends Series favourite Sweatshirt," including…

The Friends not Entertainment Sweatshirt (elephants), Friends not Test Subjects (rabbits), Friends not Food (chicks), and of course the original Friends not Fashion (sheep) Sweatshirt 
"to show others how sweet it is to be compassionate & cruelty free."

Be warned, these sweaters sell out fast! So make sure you keep your eyes out for them when they are in stock and don't hesitate! I just have to say that one (or more) of these sweaters is a MUST for your wardrobe. I have practically been living in mine! It is so ridiculously comfy, warm and cozy, and looks fantastic! 

One recommendation I do have is to order a couple sizes up. I'm usually a small and it says on the site to order a size up for it to be extra oversized, so I ordered the medium, even though I was a touch hesitant. I am super glad that I did because a small wouldn't have been oversized on me, it would have probably been a bit tight. So my recommendation is if you want it extra oversized go two sizes up. Don't get me wrong, I still love the size I chose (hence practically living in it) but I just felt I should give you a heads up on the sizes. ;) 

Thank you so much Vaute Couture for making such awesome couture that has such an awesome message and is so earth-friendly!! 

Now go get yourself some Vaute Couture!! 

"Animals are our friends, & we don't wear our friends."


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Monday, October 24, 2011

☺ Inspirational: Motivational Mondays! ☺

Back to Basics...

Alrighty, I'm hoping you're all still pumped after an epic weekend, and after taking the advice of last week's Motivation Monday post. I made it extra special, so if you didn't see it for whatever reason last week it's worth a second look. And hopefully there are still smiles on your faces after having watched the youtube video I made to cheer you all up as well. What can I say? I do try to make you all smile, and by the sounds of it I am successful at it. If not… stop taking life so seriously! Mwuah! 

Anyways, this Monday I am doing something a little different yet again, trying to add a little extra spunk to these posts to keep you all entertained and happy. ;)

This week's Motivational Monday post is about getting back into a few routines that greatly increase the positivity and awesomeness of your life. I'm not really one for habits and "routines," I think it's good to change things up and go with the flow otherwise things become stagnant. These steps however are things that should be a part of your every day, so they are not some boring mundane secure routine that will hide you away from experiencing new things. Rather, these steps will push you towards new experiences, raise your vibrations, and keep you on that positive track in life. 
So! Without further ado...

Step #1: Wake up and appreciate your life. Start each day with a smile--meaning start your day off right! Focus on positive intentions and set the tone for the day. 
Step #2: Appreciate all the positive things that you already have in your life. Think about all the things you should be grateful for--even if they are small. If you are grateful for what you already have then you will bring more good things into your life, perhaps even in epic proportions! 
Step #3: Be Healthy! Get back into regularly exercising. It's easy to fall out of good-for-you tasks such as exercising. But aside from the obvious benefits of being fit and healthy, exercise also feeds the brain with happy endorphins, essential to maintaining a positive attitude. Also, feed your body healthy foods instead of junk. Food is fuel for the body, so properly fuel it! 
Step #4: Don't get stuck in a bad mood. Let it go and do something that will turn your mood around! I love to just crank some silly pop music and dance around like a fool. But everyone has their own tricks, find something that works for you. 
Step #5: Dig out that Happy Diary. You know the one I'm talking about. Again, it's sometimes too easy to fall out of good-for-you routines. Dig out that Happy Diary and write in it everyday, logging down all the amazing things you have in your life, all the awesome adventures you've been up to, and all the things you are manifesting. 
Step #6: Be kind to others. Be kind to everyone. Don't be judgmental. Look at every person with positivity. Wish only good things for other people. Be supportive and loving to everyone. 
Step #7: Be a "Yes" Person!! Always say yes! Don't miss out on opportunities and social invitations. Get back into the habit of saying "Yes!" 
Step #8: Smile, laugh, play. Be Happy Now. Repeat.
Step #9: Love Yourself. Remember to love yourself every single day. Think about the things that make you you and that you love about you. Loving anything else in the world starts with yourself. Need a refresher course? 
Step #10: Every night before bed make sure you focus once again on Positive Affirmations. Ending the day with a positive mindset is just as crucial as waking up with one. Go to sleep with only happy feel-good thoughts. And have a good night! xo
Step #11: Always always always see the positive in any situation. It's always there. Choose to see it. 

Let me know what your intentions for the week are! What are some of your Positive Affirmations at the moment? 
I love you all! Have a wonderful week filled with love and happiness--and lots of hugs!! :)


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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Pumpkin Pudding with Chocolate! Ⓥ

Yes, it's still time for Pumpkins! This delicious dessert is super good and super easy! 

Pumpkin Pudding:

1 lbs Silken or Medium Tofu
1/2 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Agave
1 cup Canned Pumpkin, unsweetened
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger

Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. The mixture may be watery if using silken tofu, but placing it in the fridge or freezer will firm it up a bit.
Set aside. 

Chocolate Pudding Topping:
2 very heaped Tbsp Chocolate Peanut Butter (or you can use regular Peanut Butter, tsp of Cocoa, and sweeten to taste)
1 Tbsp Vegan Cream Cheese (I use Tofutti)
1/2 cup Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk)

In a small saucepan, heat up the Peanut Butter and the Cream Cheese and add Milk, slowly, until you receive your desired consistency. Should be smooth and creamy. You may need less or more milk--I admittedly didn't measure. ;)

Gather up your little cups, dishes, or whatever you will be serving these in. Even distribute the Pumpkin Pudding into each dish, and then evenly top with the Chocolate mixture. Place in fridge or serve immediately. 

You could easily just have the Pumpkin Pudding as well without the Chocolate Topping. Or even top it with some vegan ice cream. The choice is yours! 

Makes approximately 3 servings. 



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Ⓥ Vegan Kitchen: Cashew Cheez Sauce! Ⓥ


This is easily THE BEST "cheese" sauce in existence! My excitement for this sauce I simply cannot put into words! 

Out of all the vegan cheese sauces I've ever made this is by far the most amazing one! Super creamy, super delicious, and who knew, without cheese at all! 

This recipe has been adapted from the "Mac & Shews" recipe over at Post Punk Kitchen.

Cashew Cheez Sauce:

1 1/2 cup Cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 6 hours.
4 cups Vegetable Broth, divided
4 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
1/3 cup Rice Flour (or any other flour)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
dashes of black pepper
1 heaped tsp of Nutritional Yeast (optional)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (optional)

If you are making this with pasta or anything else then go ahead and get that pasta boiling and cook as instructed. While that's cooking…

Place soaked cashews and 2 cups of broth in a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides with a spatula occasionally to get everything. Takes approx. 5 minutes. 
Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsps of oil along with the flour, stir together. It should become a gooey clump. Add a little more oil if necessary. Toast for approx. 15 minutes in the pan until it smells toasty and turns a medium brown colour. Stir practically the entire time so it cooks evenly.

Stream in remaining 2 cups of broth, whisking constantly so it doesn't clump--the trick is to add the broth slowly, if you do it too quickly it will clump. Whisk until it's thick and smooth. 
Stream in cashew mixture, once again, whisking the entire time until well blended. Add turmeric, pepper, salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Heat through and stir occasionally, allowing to thicken. 

At this point you can either toss the sauce in with the pasta, or add in cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, chickpeas, or whatever else your heart may desire. And serve! 

Or... you can bake it in the oven, so follow these directions...  

Preheat oven to 350  and lightly grease a large casserole dish. 
Transfer pasta and sauce into the casserole dish, cover with tinfoil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot! 

The first time making this I did pasta and cauliflower in the oven. It was amazing! However, especially if you have leftovers and have to reheat the next day, it gets a bit drier and less creamy. 
The second time making this I didn't put it in the oven. I also didn't have much for veggies (and I'm one of those nuts who just doesn't feel like a meal is complete without some sort of veggie) so I added a couple sweet potatoes and a can of chickpeas along with spaghetti pasta. It was soooo intensely amazing. My husband even said it was the best mac n cheese ever! Between the two I way prefer it not being in the oven, it keeps that lovely creaminess and intense flavour that way. :)

Really you can add whatever you'd like into this awesome sauce, or serve this sauce over anything. 

Hope you enjoy this as much as I do! I served this at out Thanksgiving potluck as well and everyone loved it!  


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