Category: everything non-food

Notification: My Trip To OZ – Australia With Lots Of Photos

Notification: My Trip To OZ – Australia With Lots Of Photos

Hi everyone!

It’s been a busy weekend and quite a lot is going on in my private life right now (nothing bad, don’t worry). As a consequence, I can’t fall asleep. What do bloggers do when they can’t sleep? They add a new post to their blog.

But this post in going to be a bit different, because I wanted to let you guys know that I added a new page to IAMB, which features lots of photos that I made on my trip to and around Australia.

You can find the photos including some more information about my journey here and there also is a new link in the main navigation of my site.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

Clean Water For Your Kitchen & Healthy Spring Salad Recipe

Clean Water For Your Kitchen & Healthy Spring Salad Recipe

Updated Version

Hey guuyyys and welcome to my new 2-part post about clean water for your kitchen plus a refreshing and healthy spring salad recipe that I created a couple of days ago.

In the first half of the post I’m going to ramble a bit about how important it is to use clean tap water for cooking and how you can get an unlimited supply of it. In the second half of the post I’m going to present to you my new recipe for a healthy spring salad, which is so refreshing and delicious and can be done in under 10 minutes; easy as pie!

Part 1: Clean Water For Your Kitchen

Living in Canada, I somehow always expected that our public drinking water would be superb. Very recently though, I found out that it’s not. It REALLY isn’t. Agricultural fertilizers and heavy metals in our tap water; how is that even possible? Pesticides and herbicides; I thought that stuff was “only” in our food. You’ve got to be kidding me!

The only good thing about this is that we’re not living in the “best-in-the-world” country south from us, where the situation is clearly far worse (I told you that I was going to ramble)…

Okay, let’s be real here for a second. What’s the state of the affairs?

  • Pesticides that were banned in Europe were found in Toronto’s tap water.
  • Every year, 300,000+ Canadians contract a stomach bug by consuming municipal tap water.
  • A few years back, thousands of Canadians were warned to not drink their tap water. 2 reasons for this were that it may have been contaminated with E. coli and inadequately disinfected.

To be honest with you, I don’t like the sound of this. When did our precious Canadian tap water get so bad? Did I miss a meeting? The situation seems to be out of hand and it’s getting worse each week. What is our government doing about this? Not much as far as I can tell.

Anyway, it is what it is and as long as it doesn’t change, you have to get active yourself. If you want to protect your family from dirty drinking water like I do, I recommend you to do the following: Filter your tap water. It’s the only solution.

You could buy bottled water for drinking, but then there still is the problem that you also need a lot of water for cooking. Otherwise, what water are you going to be using to boil your potatoes or your whole-grain rice? It doesn’t stop there. How are you going to wash your carrots and apples and pears and beans and peas? You would have to place a big water tank right in the middle of your kitchen, if you don’t want to be using water from your tap.

But I’m getting a bit lost here; sorry! To get back on track, I want to talk about the only solution for this imminent problem, which I already mentioned and which is filtering your tap water yourself. If you do this right, you won’t have to worry about E. coli, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers anymore. The approach is pretty straightforward, because there is only one type of water filter that can eliminate all these dangerous substances in our water. They are called “Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems”.

You can be rest assured, the most complicated thing about them is their overlong name. You can find them literally everywhere online, they are affordable for the average Joe and if you have a husband who’s fingers are not all thumbs, he will be able to attach it to your home’s water system in less than a day!

Please understand that this is not a buy-and-forget-about-it issue. This is about your health. If you don’t want to be using polluted tap water in your kitchen anymore, you have to sacrifice next Saturday or Sunday or another day off and read up on this stuff. When you are done, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What contaminants do you want to remove from your tap water?
  2. What is the best reverse osmosis water filter system for the job, what does it cost and where can you buy it?
  3. Is it possible to self-install the system in your kitchen?

I think we can agree that improving the quality of your tap water by means of a filter is no rocket science.

Okay, enough on tap water. Now it’s time for the fun part!

Part 2: Healthy Spring Salad

I had the idea for this refreshing and healthy salad when I came back from the gym earlier this week and didn’t feel like eating a lot of calories. I mean, I just burned some of my belly fat, so why put it right back on?

I had some salad, spinach and cucumber left in the fridge as well as 1 avocado that was almost overripe, so I added everything together and put a nice dressing with extra virgin olive oil, some seeds and fresh herbs on top. Viola.

Healthy Spring Salad

  • Crispy green lettuce
  • Spinach
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or other oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Cut the lettuce, spinach and cucumber and add into bowl. Cut avocado in half and spoon out. Cut into tiny cubes and add to bowl.

Chop fresh herbs and mix with seeds and your oil of choice. Add dressing into bowl.

Enjoy!

References:

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

Prepare For Getting Outside And Into The Garden

Prepare For Getting Outside And Into The Garden

Hello everyone!

The weather is starting to get just a tiny bit warmer and I’m looking forward to be getting outside and into the garden to grow all my favorite herbs and veggies this year.

The prep is coming along quite nicely. I’ve ripped up my back yard, which involved a lot of hard work, to make room to plant all those tomatoes, beans, peppers, radish… you name it.

If you have no idea about when to plant different veggies in the Ottawa area, here’s a little guidance for you:

Late Winter

Feb:

  • 8 to 12 weeks before the last frost you should start to grow stuff inside, onions for example

March:

  • 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost you should start to grow everything that takes a long time to germ

Early Spring

Mid March:

  • Cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers

April:

  • If it’s already warm, which is not always guaranteed at this time of the year, you can start planting radish, spinach, peas, all sorts of lettuce, beets

May:

  • Time for potatoes, beans, cucumbers. Possibly tomatoes (check weather forecast first).

Summer + Autumn

June/July:

  • If you like kale, you can put it into the ground now. The same goes for sprouts, sweet potatoes, your peppers, tomatoes.

September + October:

  • You should have harvested most by now. Plant up what will be overwintered and take cuttings. Polytunnels are great for fall crops. If father frost turns up, remember to put plants inside over night.

All in all, there are many different sources that will tell you different things about when to plant, grow and harvest what kind of crops. And the weather also varies from one year to another. So take these instructions with a grain of salt and always do your own thinking about what would probably be the next move going forward.

The Community Garden Council of the Waterloo Region has also created this really cool planting calendar, which tells you exactly when to plant seeds in Ontario – or Southwestern Ontario to be even more precise.

It has literally saved my crops many times over the years and has prevented me from planting too early or too late. The calendar also tells you when to start indoor and outdoor seeding, when it’s time to transplant any how many grams of seeds you are going to need for growing carrots, garlic, pumkin, delicious cucumber, cauliflower…

Why Planting Your Own Vegetables?

Here are a couple of reasons why I plant vegetables in my own garden and why you should do so, too:

  • Lawn is pretty much good for nothing, except if you have kids and they want to play outside. Veggies and herbs feed your family and they are much more healthy than stuff from the supermarket, unless you stick to buying organic food only.
  • What better way is there to get access to food with all the nutrients that you need on a daily basis and without pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals.
  • Bees are endangered and they love diversity. You are doing them a huge favor.
  • In the grocery store the offer is usually very limited.
  • Planting your own vegetables is also great to learn new stuff, teach your children about it, and have a great conversation starter with your neighbours.

Enjoy!

J.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

Staying Vegan In Japan And Reading Japanese Food Labels

Staying Vegan In Japan And Reading Japanese Food Labels

Hey guys,

at the moment I have a lot of things going on in my life, which is why I don’t have the time to find and try out new recipes to post them on my blog. Sorry for that!

But I’d like to share something else with you today…

I’d love to visit Japan this year! I’m super interested in the Japanese culture and I’ve heard a lot of great things about Japanese food.

But doing some reading online I realized that if you are a vegan and want to keep it that way, Japan might not be the best travel destination that you could choose.

Food labels in Japan are written in, guess what, Japanese! And as I don’t speak a word of Japanese, that could become a big problem for me. So what to do?

Get some help online, of course!

I stumbled upon this great blog which provides a lot of useful information on living in Japan as a vegan. One of the blog posts teaches you how to tell if a product is vegan.

Here are a couple of things that I’ve learned from the post:

  1. Of course the best solution is to learn how to read Japanese food labels. That doesn’t mean that you have to learn the language itself, but know what kanji symbols to look out for.
  2. Asking people about a product isn’t always helpful. If something contains emulsifier, a cashier might tell you that it’s not vegan, although the majority of emulsifier in Japan is made from soy.
  3. Japanese food labeling is not consistent, which makes it even harder for a foreigner like me to find something suitable.
  4. Google Translate is your friend. Use a smartphone to quickly find out what a label says.

I also found out that many times manufacturers do not have to add all the ingredients of a product to the ingredients lists. That’s a very strange rule and I really don’t like it.

It looks like I have to spend a lot more of my time reading up on this topic than I expected. Things were so much easier in Australia, but I want to visit Japan and other parts of Asia so bad, that not being able to read a food label won’t hold me back from doing this journey!

Be that as it may, I’d like to thank you for taking the time and actually reading what is going on in my brain right now. I hope I didn’t bore you and promise that I’m going to publish another super delicious vegan recipe sooooon!!!

Until then,

J.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

I’m back and I’m here to stay!

I’m back and I’m here to stay!

Hey folks, it’s me J. I decided to re-launch my blog and from now, I’m planning to post some of my new recipes every once in a while. How often? I don’t know yet. Maybe once a month, maybe less. This mainly depends on how much spare time I have. I also wanted to thank everyone who’s been following “It Ain’t Meat, Babe” for the last couple of years and would like to invite you guys to, again, follow me on my journey.

As you also may have seen, the site has had a little makeover. Nothing too fancy, but it looks much nicer now and it’s also much easier to handle in the backend. Also, page load time has improved a lot and according to an expert friend of mine, this is something that search engines really value. Apart from that I’ve also published some of the receipts from the old blog, those that were most popular. Feel free to take a look…

What else is there to say? Nothing that I can think of right now. Except, I’m working on my first receipt at the moment. It’s going to be a modification of one of the earlier receipts I had on the old blog. So, stay tuned and I’m trying to post it as soon as I can.

J.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

I say goodbye. I say hello.

I say goodbye. I say hello.

Heeeeeeey, everybody. So, it’s been a while. Maybe you’ve wondered what happened to this blog or what happened to me. Good question. Well, mostly what happened is that I had a second child. Yes! He’s amazing. His name is Joey and he’s now almost two and hilarious and sweet and can’t sleep through the night for anything. Milo, Mr. First Kid, is now almost four and smart and fun and also hilarious. But hey, who knew two kids under four would be such hard work? Everyone, I guess. The number one thing people say to me when I tell them the ages of my kids is, “Wow, so you’re BUSY.”

Yes I am busy. Too busy to write recipes and blog and take photos. But, thankfully, not to busy to cook, eat, and use Instagram. So, please, if you still want to see what I cook, and especially if you want to learn expert ways to hide vegetables in meals, come follow me on Instagram. I’m there as “itaintmeatbabe”. No recipes, but lots of ideas and maybe some griping here and there.

xoxoJ.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!

love, love, love

love, love, love

Warning: This post is not about food.

Do you want to know about my first date with The Man of Science?

I remember it well, because he teases me about it constantly. It was a blind date, and we’d arranged to take our dogs for a walk in a park near my apartment. I was weirdly nervous. My hair wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. When he knocked on the door I rushed to answer it.

“Jennifer?” He asked. He was wearing boots with no laces in them and full-length, torn wool coat covered in dog hair. He had a toque pulled over his head at a strange angle.

My first thought, “Well, this isn’t going anywhere.”

When he bugs me about that now, I try to defend myself. “You looked like acrazy person,” I tell him.

The thing was, we had a really great time. It only took us about 20 minutes to get past the awkward, small-talk portion of the date. After the walk we dropped the dogs off at our respective homes and went out for beer and french fries. On his way to pay the bill he walked past me and put his hand on my shoulder. It was nice. After that he drove me home and walked me to the door of my apartment.

“So, uh, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to be dating anyone, but you know, I really like you and I’d like to see you again, Susan.”

Susan?

Luckily he corrected himself quickly.

When I went inside, my roommate Pam asked me how the date had gone.

“I think I’m going to marry this guy,” I said. She looked surprised. I felt a bit shocked myself.

“Really? Why?” she asked.

“He’s just so… reasonable.”

It sounds like an underwhelming thing to say, and I meant it to be so much more than that. I meant that he was responsible and respectful. That he was smart and interesting. That he paid attention to what I was saying when I talked and that he had his shit together. Not to mention, under the dog hair and the crooked hat, he was damn cute.

So, three years and a few months later, just this past Saturday, we went out to celebrate my birthday at Zen Kitchen. We chatted and laughed through dinner, just like we usually do. And then, with dessert, came something else.

A sapphire ring on a plate in front of me. The next five minutes are a bit of a blur. You know that laugh-cry thing? Does that happen to you? I think it’s from the same neighbourhood as hyperventilating. And for once in my life I had no handkerchief with me.

The Man of Science put the ring on my finger and asked if I’d marry him. I stopped laugh-crying long enough to say yes.

“Good,” he said, “Because we’re leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow.”

I’ve been pretty clear all along that if we were to get married I wanted to elope. The thought of planning a wedding gave me hives, and I’d seen too many friends get stressed out and watched it take some of the joy out of a day meant to be so fun and amazing. Since having a big wedding didn’t matter to me I wanted to avoid all of that stress. And the craziness of planning it all. But even an elopement takes planning, doesn’t it?

Not for me. The Man of Science planned it ALL. Keeping in mind my love of 1950’s and 60’s culture he found a chapel with a room decorated to look like an old style diner. He bought three different retro dresses for me to choose from. And shoes. And a little veil. And gloves. He booked an appointment for me to get my hair all done up like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And he rented a 1959 cherry red Cadillac convertible and drove us to the chapel in it. A very kind Elvis impersonator sang “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” while we walked down the aisle and then led us in our vows.

It was way more touching that I’d imagined. I don’t even know how to explain it except to say that big wedding or small, what is supposed to matter is the two people who are getting married. And looking at him while we said those vows was not goofy, or tacky, or funny. It was just wonderful. I’ve never felt so rightabout anything in my life.

Our friends and families were able to watch the whole thing on the internet while it was happening, which made them very happy. The congratulations came pouring in. It all made me feel so loved.

And so, I’m married. Ring on my finger and everything. We have two more days to “honeymoon” in Vegas before coming home.

I am a happy, happy girl.

Next post will be about food again, I promise.

My name is Jennifer and I am the head cook here at It Ain’t Meat, Babe. I was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, but did a lot of traveling in my early life. I developed a passion for cooking a couple of years ago when I started to get more into healthy nutrition due to suffering from chronic, antibiotic-induced gut inflammation. Shortly after my diagnose, I decided to try cutting meat entirely out of my diet – and succeeded. I’ve been living without it ever since. And I’m the biggest fan of OZ (Australia)!