Veggie Barley Salad

Loaded with all kinds of super nutritious and wholesome ingredients, this sturdy Veggie Barley Salad is a veritable explosion of flavors and textures! Perfect for potlucks, picnics or no-fuss lunch at the office.

Loaded with all kinds of super nutritious and wholesome ingredients, this sturdy Veggie Barley Salad is a veritable explosion of flavors and textures! Perfect for potlucks, picnics or no-fuss lunch at the office.

Man, I love barley! Really I don’t understand why it is that it’s so unpopular, this grain. It has the coolest texture, so much flavor, and is so crazy uncomplicated, too! 

Unlike rice, barley is super easy to cook… you just can’t mess it up! And unlike rice, it’s equally delicious hot or cold, making it a perfect contender for cold salads. Why people still use cold rice in salads is beyond me. I mean, the thing gets totally unpalatable after it’s been in the fridge for a while. It becomes hard and dry and totally tasteless. But barley? Barley stays supple, crunchy and chewy and has the coolest of textures, even when cold. Not to mention the fact that it remains super tasty, too! 

Granted, it may take a little bit longer to cook than rice, but it’s so much worth the extra time. Plus, you can totally make a bigger batch and reheat it later, or use the leftovers to make all kinds of dishes, like this very salad, for instance. Me, I even like to throw some in my morning cereal; it gives it tons of texture, and much nutritional benefits, too! 

Why not go ahead and cook a batch now, and then whip up this super delicious and nutritious salad? 

If you’re not sold on it yet, give it a try. I’m sure that you too, will totally adopt it. 

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Vegan Vegetable Lentil Soup

Don’t settle for canned soup; homemade is so much better – and saves cans, too! Plus, this one-pot Vegan Vegetable Lentil Soup recipe is so easy to make and tastes so good, it’s undoubtedly going to become a family favorite! If you’re willing to share, that is… 

Don't settle for canned soup; homemade is so much better - and saves cans, too! Plus, this one-pot Vegan Vegetable Lentil Soup recipe is so easy to make and tastes so good, it's undoubtebly going to become a family favorite!

I’ve been on a crazy Lentil Soup kick lately… I must have had it for lunch at least 3-4 times a week for the past 2 months… 

Only, I’d made it a habit of eating it from a canyes, yes, really: straight out of a can! — which I would buy by the case at Costco. Surprisingly, despite the overall mushiness and “overcookedness” (I  totally just made up that word) of the lentils, the soup is still decent enough to keep me coming back for more. But then I started thinking about all the waste that I was generating, between the cans themselves and the cardboard box that held all the cans together. 

So I thought hey, why not make a big batch of homemade lentil soup on the week-end instead and have it last me all week, if I’m going to eat this much Lentil Soup? Not only is my soup going to taste that much better, but I’m also going to save all this waste, too! Not to mention be done with the mushy lentils! 

And so I went through with this plan and figured I would log the recipe, while I was at it… because I get the feeling I’ll be making this soup time and time again! Indeed, this homemade version is so good, I may very well find myself eating it every day, now! 

Or well, at least for a couple more weeks, or months! 

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Where is the Best Place to Buy Organic Produce?

best organic produceMy in-depth review of Earth Fare caused several people to email asking about organic produce.

Why hadn’t I compared the quality and price of the produce? Which big box retailer do I like best to buy organic fruits and veggies for my family?

Organic Produce and Mega-Retailers

The hard truth is that big box retailers like Earth Fare,

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Plant Based Milk. What You Need to Know Before Buying

plant based milk in bottlesHave you noticed that plant based milk seems to be everywhere in both supermarkets and healthfood stores? In some places, the alternative milk brands on offer exceed those for dairy!

Is any of this stuff good for you or your kids? What things should you be looking for if you are unable to tolerate dairy milk and want to use it in your home?

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Does Borax Make the Cut for a Green Home?

borax usesWhen I was a kid, I was always intrigued by the boxes and bottles under grandma’s kitchen sink. One of those boxes that was prominently emblazoned with a Mr. Yuck sticker was “20 Mule Team Borax.” What a strange name, I thought as a kid (and still kind of do as an adult).

Just because Grandma used borax and she lived to be 95,

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Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Treat yourself to one of these Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re soft and tender and filled with tons of chocolate goodness submerged in subtle notes of rich and buttery peanut butter.

Treat yourself to one of these Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They're soft and tender and filled with tons of chocolate goodness submerged in subtle notes of rich and buttery peanut butter.

So I had a major craving for a good chocolate chip cookie… Being fairly new at this whole vegan baking thing, I had to scour the Internet in search of ideas and inspiration, so I could whip me up a batch.  

One thing I quickly came to realize is that “vegan” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “healthy”… There are TONS of really yummy looking vegan dessert recipes out there, but as soon as you start to read the ingredient list, they quickly loose their appeal! Indeed, a lot of them call for standard ingredients, such as vegan butter or margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, etc.  

Hmpft. While I understand that there is no real way to create a truly healthy chocolate chip cookie, I still wanted to indulge in a somewhat healthier treat. So I went ahead and crafted my own recipe. And while I’m still new at this, I think I managed to whip up a pretty decent batch of vegan cookies, seriously! 

Those cookies are loaded with flavor, super soft, tender, slightly chewy, and all kinds of yummy! And while they do contain peanut butter, the peanut taste is very subtle and not at all overwhelming… it just contributes in making the cookies taste super rich and buttery

One thing’s for sure: they totally, positively took care of my craving!  

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Creamy Vegan Mac and Cheese

You won’t believe how creamy, rich and actually cheesy this Vegan Mac and Cheese is! So tasty, even the kids will fall for it! No need to let them know it also happens to be healthy…

You won't believe how creamy, rich and actually cheesy this Vegan Mac and Cheese is! So tasty, even the kids will fall for it! No need to let them know it also happens to be healthy...

I’m not gonna lie to you and try to sell you the idea that this Vegan Mac and Cheese tastes exactly like the real thing. Cuz no, it doesn’t. But I can honestly tell you that it tastes darn good, though! And it’s rich and creamy. And yes, cheesy too! 

In fact, despite not being an exact replica of a classic Mac and Cheese, this vegan version has so much to offer in the flavor and texture department, you might very well end up liking it as much, if not more, than the real thing! 

The sauce is made from butternut squash, white kidney beans and nutritional yeast, which gives it a slightly sweet and nutty, tangy and cheesy flavor. As for its consistency, it’s so crazy smooth and silky that it would totally make any traditional cheese bechamel super envious! To top things off, a little sprinkle of ground hazelnuts mixed with a handful of vegan cheddar shreds provide an agreeable little crunch, with an extra dose of interesting flavors, to boot . 

One thing’s for sure, this baby beats the other one hands down in the nutrition and compassion areas. And this can’t be a bad thing now, can it? 

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9 Reasons Earth Fare is the Best Big Box Natural Foods Retailer

earth fare storeThe natural foods industry in North America continues to pick up steam as mega-chains rapidly expand into metro markets both large and small. Sometimes, they set up shop right across the street from each other! As someone who has mostly patronized small, locally owned healthfood stores since 1990, the speed of this development is a bit overwhelming.

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