2013 was my first full year blogging for YMC about all things green and eco-friendly. I started in January with a post called 25 Ways to be Green in 2013 and the goal to share information with you throughout the year about how you could do simple things to be more eco-friendly in your every day life. I'm pretty confident that I met that goal and I hope you agree!
Truthfully, all of my posts are favourites, but if I have to pick a few to highlight, here they are:
Harmful ingredients are everywhere in our daily lives, but sometimes they are not so easy to recognize. These posts shed light on things you may come into contact with on a regular basis and easy ways to rid yourself of them:
I KNOW...this isn't a food blog, BUT, did you know that eating a plant-based diet is not only good for you, but that it's also a really great thing for the environment? This is why I like to mix things up and share a recipe or a food-related post every now and then. These were a few favourites I shared in 2013:
BONUS: This recipe is not one you will want to eat, it's for a natural, organic body butter that I LOVE (and it has been saving my skin this winter):
There are two ways to clean: the expensive, chemical-filled way, or the cheaper, natural ingredient way. I always choose the cheaper, natural-ingredient way when possible.
Getting the kids involved and teaching them from a young age about the environment is the key to building a healthier planet.
I always recommend starting out with the small things when it comes to making your life more green. Here are four simple ways you can do just that:
I already have a list of topics I plan on sharing with you in the coming year. If there are things you would like to read about, please let me know! Thanks for reading in 2013; I look forward to sharing more in 2014!
Not long ago, I sent out this tweet:
Thankfully, I am speaking of it again because it was a sucess.
But we need to talk about this recipe because, let's face it...the shortbread we are all used to is made from butter and white flour. Period. End of story. But...this is me. I always have the curiousity to re-create my favourites to make them a bit healthier and to give people with allergies to certain ingredients, special, diets, and food restrictions the chance to once again enjoy things they once loved. Not to mention, the fact that I am using all plant-based products (hello, planet-friendly recipe!) makes me happy.
Before I put together my recipe, I did a little research to get an idea of how to go about this task and admittedly it kinda felt like I was trying to re-invent the wheel, who does that? Luckily, I'm stubborn—why not have two different types of wheels so everyone can partake?
Now before you try this recipe, let me tell you this...you are not going to fool anyone into thinking these are the traditional thing. They ARE rich and crumbly and have the same texture and mouth-feel as the regular stuff but they have a different flavour—slightly coconutty, but yummy. Pair them up with a cup on tea.
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
1/4 cup applesauce (room temperature...and don't worry, the cookies won't have an applesauce taste)
1/3 cup maple syrup
granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 300°F
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt and baking powder and mix well.
In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil, applesauce, and maple syrup. Mix well to form a dough.
Flatten dough in a 10-inch tart pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Pierce several times with a fork and sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
While still warm, remove the outside of the tart pan and slice into wedges using a pizza cutter.
Note: This recipe does not have to be made in a tart pan, the dough can be chilled and rolled out if you prefer shapes. Just be sure to use plenty of rice flour for dusting so the dough remains workable and if it becomes too soft when you are working with it, take a break and chill it again. And FYI, applesauce is used in this recipe as a subsitute for more oil (in case you were wondering why applesauce is in this recipe).
Makes 16 wedges (if using a tart pan)
For me (and you too, I'm sure) the holidays are one of the times during the year when I (mindfully) indulge in almost anything I want to eat. I also indulge during vacations. On my birthday. Friends' birthdays...bottom line is, I like to eat, but I try my best during these times to not let what I can't eat too much of get in the way.
I have a weakness for baked goods, which I'm sure I've mentioned before at some point. But nowadays, over-indulging in those delicious baked goods is not the best thing for me because of wheat and other things that I have become sensitive to. So, when it comes to the cookies and treats I make at Christmas, I now do a mix of traditional recipes along with some modified recipes.
Chewy, chocolaty gingerbread cookies are one of my favourites, because well, GINGERBREAD + CHOCOLATE! So I took one of the traditional recipes I used to make, made a few modifications to make them vegan, gluten-free, and a little bit on the less refined side. What I came up with was the deliciousness you see in the pictures.
1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup gluten free flour blend (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened coconut oil (don't worry, the coconut flavour does not come through in these cookies at all!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
3/4 cup chocolate chips
white granulated sugar for rolling
Preheat oven to 350°F
Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Whisk the tablespoons of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water. Let the mixture sit until it thickens. This mixture is known as a "flax egg" and is used as an egg replacement in vegan baking.
In a medium bowl, add the gluten free flour, almond flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
In a large bowl, add the coconut oil, coconut sugar, flax mixture, molasses, vanilla, and grated ginger. Mix well to combine.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture a little at a time and mix well until they are both incorporated into each other.
Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
Refrigerate the dough in the mixing bowl for 30 minutes.
Using a spoon, scoop up a small amount of the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball in the white granulated sugar. Place on cookie sheet.
Refrigerate again for about 20 minutes. Remove from fridge and bake for 10-12 minutes.
When the cookies come out of the oven, they will have that festive, sparkly, cracked appearance.
Let them cool a bit before digging in. Once you take a bite, you'll see just how gooey and delicious they are.
Makes 32 cookies