Brownies are a girl’s best friend.

browniesbaby

 

2 Tbsp. flax meal + 3 Tbsp. water ( combine in a small bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes until it becomes gelatinous)

11/4 cups white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup coconut sugar

3/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

1 cup brewed coffee (strong and hot)

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup applesauce

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

Whisk flours, baking soda, cocoa,sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large measuring cup, stir the coffee with the chocolate chips until they melt and then pour into the flour mixture.  Scrape the flax “egg” into the mixture and stir to blend. In the same measuring cup, blend the applesauce with the oil. Scrape into the bowl with the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add an extra spoonful of oil if the batter is too dry.  Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.

Bake in a square pan, lined with parchment paper (criss-crossed pieces with excess folded over the sides) in a 350° oven for 35 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Lift the brownies out of the pan with the parchment paper ends. Cut into squares and sink your teeth into them!

 

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Veganism: It’s not just about the food!

toothy

 

The notion of “vegan” seems to evoke primarily the idea of eating plant-based food that doesn’t involve animals or animal products, but if you’re really going to practice veganism then you have to embrace a plant-based lifestyle across the board. It’s not just the food on your plate.

I’ve been moving over to cruelty-free and organic personal products over the years, and one of the last things I’ve switched is our toothpaste.  Yes, I’ve been mindful of the use of Triclosan and other chemicals, and carefully looked at the labels on my Colgate and Crest boxes for years, but to make that absolute change to a rather foreign-tasting paste that I use every day – at least three times, well that has been a bit of a challenge.  I’m still trying to settle on a brand I really like that doesn’t cost a fortune.

I remember I tried a Tom’s of Maine kids’ strawberry flavoured one a number of years ago, and that was pleasant, but I didn’t stick with it.  Now, I’m committed to making the change for the rest of my life, so I’m trying out a few.

Now, I have to admit, that somewhere in my psyche, I’m conditioned to believe that fluoride has kept my teeth in pretty good shape, and though I’ve tried to use a couple of brands without this ingredient, I am leaning towards using one that has it again. Call me paranoid, but I’d hate to go through the cavity-nightmare I had as a child. (This was the 1960s and 70s, you understand. Sugar was everywhere, and candy was dirt cheap!  We used to empty Pixie Stix filled with powdered, fruit-flavoured sugar down our throats every chance we got. Seriously. And don’t even start on the Bazooka Joe bubble gum!)

So far, I’ve tried Kiss My Face Whitening toothpaste, which is a clear gel and has an almost mystical quality for me, since it contains “Iceland Moss Extract”.  I just think that is so cool! It does not contain fluoride.

The next one we bought was a Canadian brand, Green Beaver Star Anise ( the black tube – it’s in French in the photo).  This is a very licorice-tasting paste, and it’s pleasant enough, if you like licorice. I’m not a huge fan, but I do like fennel, so I’m not as put off by it as I once was.  ( I was never a Good’n’Plenty candy fan.) My husband loves it since his background is Danish and they love their licorice! (even in their alcohol!)

Recently, I’ve gone back to Tom’s of Maine and this time, it’s one with the fluoride. It is also more conventionally pasty and is a traditional peppermint flavour although it tastes more like over-chewed gum. Not that it’s bad, it just isn’t something I look forward to like the Kiss My Face type.

I have found that something in the toothpastes is disagreeing with my stomach first thing in the morning.  When I brush my teeth at night and then am horizontal for 7 hours, it appears xylitol is not happy with mixing with caffeine from my coffee.  It does go away after a few minutes, but I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced the same thing?

I’d love to hear what toothpaste you choose to put on your brush. Maybe there’s a great one out there that I am missing.  It’s good to dialogue about these things because some of us are rookies on the road to being true vegans.

I’ll be back soon with a recipe for cake, but I do want to periodically deviate from food-related discussion or images to talk about the other elements of this life we have chosen and why we do it.

 

Kat