Woman In Real Life: The Art of the Everyday

http://womaninreallife.blogspot.com/

I am exploring the art in everyday domestic life. I quit my long-time communications job and work as a freelance writer from home. My blog examines the simple pleasures of family life, including yummy vegetarian food.

Joann is a winner of Top 25 Vegan & Vegetarian Moms - 2013

What's your favorite vegan or vegetarian friendly product?

That's a tough one. Over the years, I have discovered so many wonderful products. Extra-firm tofu is a necessity in my house. We use it for stir-frys and pizzas and all kinds of other recipes. Daiya brand vegan cheese is another favorite. I put the shredded “mozzarella” on tortilla chips and bake it in the oven.

What's the biggest misconception people have about being a vegan or vegetarian?

I don’t know what misconceptions people in real life have, but on television vegetarians (and especially vegans) are often portrayed as crazy. I’m a regular mom who just happens to be vegetarian. Yes, I care about animals, eat organic when possible and gave birth to my babies at home, but I’m also very sane...most of the time.

What's your best tip for families who want to start living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?

Read lots of blogs, websites and cookbooks. Start by modifying your regular recipes (like tomato sauce and pizza) and build from there. I have built up my knowledge of vegetarian eating over almost 20 years, but I started off by just replacing meat with tofu, veggie burgers and beans.

What's your favorite muffin, scone, or bread recipe? Please share a link to the recipe and a photo if you have one.

JoKnows

These delicious, fluffy strawberry muffins are vegan, but you would never know it! The Earth Balance margarine gives them a nice “buttery” taste. I use light spelt flour, but regular flour would be fine too. I would probably add some nuts if the kids weren’t taking the muffins to school. Muffins are great, healthy, portable snacks for kids and adults alike! http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/06/strawberry-muffins.html
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Please share a link to a photo of a great birthday cake you made or bought.

JoKnows

I really enjoyed making this lollipop flower garden birthday cake for my daughter, because it was easy, no pressure and the kids loved it. My two children were able to help me with the decorating because it was no fuss and involved lots of candy! http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2011/10/kids-in-kitchen.html
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Can you recommend a great summer snack to feed kids on break or to pack for days at camp? (Please include a link to the recipe.)

JoKnows

My favourite vegan berry oat bars are quick to prepare, delicious, full of fruit and nut-free. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/01/insta-friday-in-real-life_06.html
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From peach pies and berry cobbler to lemon shortcake and watermelon popsicles, fruity desserts are perfect for summer. Please share your favorite fruit-based dessert, and include a link to the recipe and photo.

JoKnows

I can't get enough of these berry oat bars! They are simple and quick to make, delicious, and vegan to boot. Fresh or frozen berries will work. These bars freeze nicely and defrost quickly, so you can enjoy them with a cup of tea at a moment's notice. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/p/recipes_30.html?recipe_id=6017949
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What's a family-friendly recipe that would be perfect for a summer or Fourth of July gathering -- whether it's a grilled dish, a simple side or festive treat? (Please share a link to a photo)

JoKnows

My go-to party recipe is lentils and rice. This classic recipe has very few ingredients and is so simple to prepare, yet it turns out to be delicious. People often request that I bring it to parties. This recipe makes a large amount and it is suitable for vegetarians, vegans, people with gluten sensitivities and just about everybody else! My kids love it too, and they are super picky! http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2011/08/favourite-foods-part-one.html
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What's a great finger food that your kids love? Please include a link.

JoKnows

My daughter's favorite finger food is my “All or Nothing Granola Bars.” They are perfect for a healthy, filling, portable snack to take anywhere this summer. They also make a great at-work snack for adults. I call them "All or Nothing Granola Bars" because I like to go heavy on the add-ins: some raisins, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Oh, and some ground flaxseed for good measure. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/02/all-or-nothing-granola-bars.html
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What's one of your favorite one-pot recipes? (Soup, casseroles, etc.)

JoKnows

The lentils and rice recipe given to me by my friend Tina and her mom Violet is possibly my favourite recipe EVER. I got this recipe from them many years ago, after one of their wonderful parties with lots of delicious food. Isn’t that the best kind of party? Since then, I’ve made lentils and rice for countless events, including birthday parties, baptisms and potlucks at work. If you know me, there is a good chance I have served you lentils and rice. One of the things I like about this recipe is there is a fair amount of cooking time, but little prep work. You can prepare other dishes while it cooks. It also makes a large quantity, so it’s great for a party. It is deceptively simple with few ingredients. Give it a try. I bet you’ll love it too! http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2011/08/favourite-foods-part-one.html
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What's a great school lunch box meal your kids love? Include a link to a photo if you have one!

JoKnows

These non-dairy, nut-free vegan chocolate chip cookie wedges are a great homemade lunch box treat. They are chewy, with a dense oat-y texture and a yummy chocolate chip cookie taste. I love the combination of oats and chocolate. My kids love them too! http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/01/chocolate-chip-cookie-wedges_29.html
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How do you store your child's toys? Please include a link to a photo if you have one.

JoKnows

I use a rack of colorful bins to store not only toys, but clothes! My daughter chooses her outfits for the school week and carefully puts one outfit in each of the bins, in order of the days. It keeps things neat and saves a bunch of time on busy mornings. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/09/break-times-over.html
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Nothing says fall like the flavor of cinnamon! What's one of your favoritie recipes that has cinnamon in it? Please share a link with a photo.

JoKnows

This pumpkin banana date loaf is the perfect fall treat. It benefits from a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. It also features the warm, comforting taste of pumpkin, along with yummy banana and sweet dates. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/09/pumpkin-banana-date-loaf.html
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What's a great recipe that uses cranberries?

JoKnows

I call these cookies Oatmeal Everything Cookies, because they have a bunch of fun added ingredients, including dried cranberries for an extra sweet treat! I pumped up the nutritional value in these cookies by adding ground flaxseed and sunflower seeds. They also have a good portion of healthy oats. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/10/oatmeal-everything-cookies.html
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Can you recommend a great hot lunchbox meal for kids for the cold weather months? Please include a link to your recipe.

JoKnows

I recommend my Black Bean and Sweet Potato Slow Cooker Soup because my kids actually like it! That's saying a lot...trust me! You can put it in the slow cooker to cook overnight and it will be hot and ready for your little one's thermos the next day. http://www.womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/11/what-i-ate-wednesday-soups-onand-winner.html
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What's a great, freezable dish to bring to a new mom? Please share a link to your recipe.

JoKnows

For a sweet but healthy little treat for a new mom, share these freezable peanut butter chocolate cereal bars. They are a great quick nutrient fix when you are up breastfeeding during the night. Trust me, I've done it! All that breastfeeding makes you hungry! http://www.womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/10/what-i-ate-wednesday-thanksgiving-week.html
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What's a light, Springtime meal your kids like to eat? Please share a link to your recipe.

JoKnows

When the temperature starts to rise, we look for simple, light meals and snacks. After all, the kids (and I) want to spend more time outdoors than in the kitchen. For a quick mid-afternoon boost, this sweet and delicious smoothie does the trick. http://womaninreallife.blogspot.ca/2012/04/cherry-lemonade-smoothie.html
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What's your go-to family meal made entirely with pantry staples? Please share a link to the recipe and photo if you have one.

JoKnows

My all-time favorite dish is lentils and rice. Everybody loves it and it uses ingredients I always have in my kitchen: lentils, rice, olive oil, salt and onions. That's it! And it's delicious!
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What's your family's favorite, healthy homemade summer treat that's NOT a popsicle? Please share a link to a recipe and picture if you have one.

JoKnows

For a great summer dessert that uses any fruit you happen to have found at the Farmer's Market, try this Anything Goes Fruit Crisp. It includes healthy fruit and oats...and it's delicious!
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Please share a favorite recipes for a yummy smoothie your kids love and may not realize is good for them.

JoKnows

My son once asked me to make him a "pink" smoothie. I looked around the kitchen and spotted some pears that needed to be used up. Add some strawberries and raspberries and you've got pink! It became my "Pink Pear Smoothie" and my son loves it!
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