Self-Improvement

The 40s!

December 14, 2016

My 40th birthday is in less than a month and yes, I’m thinking about it probably more than I should. And I’m not comfortable with it. So, I did what I do best: rationalized things.

Pros/Cons of turning 40, anyone?

  1. (PRO) I’ve learned that if you really want something and are willing to pay the price for it, anything is achievable. When I first thought about immigrating to Canada I was only 18. I had no money, no work experience and no way to make it happen. 20 years later, I’ve moved to Toronto. It’s probably been the most difficult 4 years of my life. Would I do it again? Hell yes.
  2. (PRO) I’m no longer afraid of what other people think. For example, I’ve never had the urge to be a mom, but I was too afraid to admit. I remember being a teenager and my friends wanted to have kids soon. I never felt that way but I thought it would change overtime. It didn’t. And I’m no longer afraid to say it aloud.
  3. (CON) I thought I would have it all figured out when I reached 40, but I’ve learned that most people are winging it, including myself. I’ve achieved many important goals, but some of them I thought I would be way ahead. I’m not. I guess I still have a lot to learn and do.
  4. (PRO) I tell people what I think. I grew up with parents that were always arguing so naturally I always avoided conflict. Now I’m still not a fan of endless arguments but whenever needed I tell people what I think and if it causes conflict, so be it. I don’t run away from it anymore.
  5. (PRO)I’ve accepted my own values and I’m not apologetic about them. I’ve always felt bad for how animals are treated in our society. After years struggling with it, I’ve finally became vegan and it was one of the best decisions in my life. I feel in peace with my daily choices and I don’t hide them.
  6. (CON) I’ve never dreamt of a big wedding, but I thought that by now, I would have found someone that would be my partner in crime. Turns out this is much harder than I thought! Finding someone you love, that shares the same interests and goals in life and there’s a deep connection is almost like winning the lottery. Amiright?
  7. (CON) The whole story that when you’re 40 you finally make peace with your body is definitely not true. At least not for me. I still look at the mirror and after putting on weight because of health issues, I can barely recognize myself. And I don’t like it. Who’s going to add that old and well-known new year’s resolution to lose weight in 2017? I am.
  8. (PRO) You finally realize you’re not going to be super rich and have an extraordinary super instagramable life. And that’s Ok. You’re more concerned about living a life in alignment with your values, have as little negative impact on the planet as possible and treat people well.
In the Kitchen

Yuca Cake with Coconut – Lots of Coconut

August 25, 2016

Still on my vegan adventures in the kitchen: Yuca Cake with Coconut, a delicacy I used to have when I was a kid. Looking at the recipe, I thought I would never be able to recreate a vegan version, but the flax egg came to save me! The cake is very moist and much better on the second day. I hope you enjoy as much my mom and I did, I didn’t last 24 hours!

 

  • 500g de raw yuca, cut into squares (I bought mine in a portuguese grocery store in Mississauga)
  • ½ cup plant-based milk (I used soy)
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 3 flaxseed eggs (3 tbsp flaxseed meal + 9 tbsp water, mix well and wait 5 minutes or until it thickens)
  • 50g vegan butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 100g coconut flakes
  • pinch of salt

Mix well in a blender the yuca, milk, coconut milk, flaxseed eggs and vegan butter

Transfer it to a bowl and incorporate the other ingredients

Pour it in a greased pan and bake it at 180C for about 40-45 minutes or until it starts to brown.

Enjoy!

DSC_0093

In the Kitchen, Vegan

The Brazilian in me will never leave

June 9, 2016

Brigadeiro

It’s been almost three years since I’ve moved to Canada.  Three years that I’m living in my dream country, a country that I’m proud of and that I hope to never leave. It’s been a long journey until here which makes me even happier when I realize it’s all true, that driving by the CN Tower is real and things do happen in life if you believe and work for it.

Having said that, there’s something that will never change: I’m Brazilian. Most of my life I lived in the gorgeous sunny warm place with incredible food. Food that I miss dearly. Before I went vegan, I used to go to a fantastic Brazilian restaurant here in Toronto which food tasted exactly like the one I used to have back home. Now that I’m vegan, I’m happy to find a vegan restaurant, no chance to find a Brazilian vegan restaurant – after all Brazilians are well known for their churrasco, something completely out of question for me now. The bright side of this story is that my cooking skills are being developed in the speed of light! Me, who used to eat out almost everyday, is now cooking 95-98% of times. And that’s a good thing!

In these 8 months that I’m vegan, I’ve tried hard to replicate the meals I loved the most before I cut all animal products. And I have to say, most of the times, the food tastes the same or even better! Today I was craving brigadeiros. A delicacy made with condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder. Since I couldn’t find vegan condensed milk anywhere in Toronto, I started looking for recipes. By far, the one from PETA is the best! Very similar to the original one. And that alone, my friends, made it all possible!

 

Vegan Brigadeiros

  • 2 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp earth balance
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Mix it all well and let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. You should see that the brigadeiro stick together and you can see the bottom of the pot. Transfer it to a greased plate and let it cool.

Make small brigadeiros and roll them in chocolate sprinkles. Enjoy!

In the Kitchen, Vegan

Vegan Vanilla Cupcake

April 15, 2016

I have a sweet tooth and I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone. Before becoming vegan, I had my true and tried recipes, cakes I used to bake since I was a teenager and recipes that my whole family used. Becoming vegan hasn’t changed my sweet tooth or how I feel about delicious cupcakes and desserts. The difference now is that I don’t want to enjoy my food at the expense of an animal. So, this opened a new world of possibilities and desire to try new recipes. I had recently found a great condensed milk recipe from the Peta site that was waiting on the fridge to be used up. Yes, I could have had it all by the spoon (and not be ashamed!) but I decided I wanted to try with some delicious vanilla cake.

Off I went to google to find a recipe that could give me the same results I used to have on my pre-vegan times. And boy, I have to say this one exceeded all my expectations. Easy to make, fluffy and moist. What else could someone ask for?

The recipe is from the Minimalist Baker and I didn’t use the sprinkles or the frosting. I’ve topped it with the condensed milk instead. Needless the say I wasn’t able to save a single cupcake to freeze for a future time. Maybe it’s time to bake some more!

 

Beauty, Vegan

A new vegan nail polish in my collection

February 15, 2016

I am a nude nail polish kind of girl, but once in a while I want to rock a good classic red polish. And that was the case for this long, freezing cold weekend in Toronto. Maybe unconsciously I was trying to bring some color to the grey weekend?

Among the vegan brands, I’ve tried Trust Fund Beauty (which I adore!), NCLA and Zoya, but never Pacifica. Let me tell you I really appreaciate companies that are clear about their ingredients and what their positions are on being cruelty free and vegan, so when I was at Whole Foods looking for a red nail polish, I didn’t think twice about buying it. Pacifica is an easy choice, as they are a completely vegan and cruelty free company. I didn’t want to spend hours looking on my phone trying to find out if Mineral Fusion or the Nails Inc. they had were vegan and let me tell you, I’m glad I did.

I bought Crimson Kimono and it’s a classic red. It applies beautifully, pretty much opaque in one coat and not streaky. If you’re on the market for a classic red nail polish, regardless if you’re vegan or not, this is a great choice.

btw, I’ve just applied it so I cannot speak about its duration. But I’ll update this post by the end of the week with how it goes.

In the Kitchen, Vegan

It’s Pancake Day!

February 9, 2016

Since moving to Canada 3 years ago, I’ve started my love affair with pancakes. The syrupy, sweet and fluffy one (In Brazil pancakes are more like crepes and usually salty). Pair it with maple syrup and butter and you’re in heaven! Since becoming vegan 4 months ago, I wondered if I would ever be able to replicate the fluffiness. And yes, it’s possible and let me tell you, it tastes E-X-A-C-T-L-Y the same. No eggs, no dairy, no butter. Nothing from an animal. Plant-based yumminess.

As if I needed an excuse to make a new batch of pancakes, I took advantage of “Pancake Day” and off I went to the kitchen. Not for long, I have to admit. This recipe is super easy and delicious. It will be ready in less than 10 minutes. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plant milk (I’ve used cashew milk)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted or vegetable oil (I’ve used Earth Balance)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer (or any other egg replacer) + 2 tablespoons of warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • Any toppings you want to use: I’m a bit vegan butter and maple syrup fan!

Directions

  1. Start with the egg replacer by mixing the warm water with the ener-g egg replacer. Mix well. Add the plant milk and melted vegan butter. Mix well. Add all the other ingredients but do not over-mix as the pancakes won’t be fluffy if you do so. You will see lumps in the batter but that’s Ok.
  2. Heat up a skillet, add a bit of vegetable oil or vegan butter. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the batter. Cook until the surface of the pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1-2 minutes. Flip it with a spatula and cook until browned on the other side.
  3. Serve warm with the desired toppings.

 

Beauty, Vegan

My Vegan Nail Care

December 26, 2015
From left to right: Zoya Dakota, TFB Boy Tears, TFB I look good nude, TFB Put a ring on it, Zoya nail polish remover, NCLA first base, NCLA Model Behavior, NCLA Gelous?, NCLA So rich

I’ve been vegan for about 2 months now and if you told me how easy it would be, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I have to admit veganism has to the power to change you completely. Not only what you eat, wear and everything you put in your body, but you see the world in a different manner. Today everything I do, I think about the impact on other people, animals and environment. Choosing a nail polish is not a simple matter of picking the right color. Now, I want to make sure no other being has been hurt in the process of making the product. There’s no need to an animal to be hurt, so my nails look good. It’s just not right.

Below you can find my current favorite nail polishes. They are all vegan and most of them do not contain harsh chemicals like regular nail polishes. None of them contains the fat brush type that I love, but they are all good nail polishes. I hope it helps you 🙂

  • Trust Fund Beauty: TFB is my favorite brand of vegan nail polish! It looks great, it’s not streaky and lasts forever!
  • NCLA:  I love NCLA, they are an upscale nail polish brand comparable to any other regular nail polish). Their cuticle oil is great! The smell is divine and I love the packaging.
  • Zoya: Zoya is well-known as a vegan brand. I just have one of their nail polish and I have to say I’m not fond of their brush. It’s skinny and it takes forever to paint my nails, but I like the color and what the brand stands for.
Lifestyle, Vegan

My Favorite Cruelty-Free and Vegan Products Sold in Sephora

December 8, 2015

Shopping in Sephora after I became vegan has become a daunting adventure. Most high-end companies are not clear about their policies or when they are clearly classified as cruelty-free, it is hard to know which products are vegan. So I have decided to list here my favorite cruelty-free, vegan products from Sephora, as well as links to useful information I’ve found during my research. It’s important to note that while I don’t have an issue buying from a company whose parent company tests in animals, you might do. Money is a powerful way to send messages to companies and I believe if the cruelty-free, vegan segment of a multinational has growing sales, it will send an important message to parent companies that will see a substantial opportunity to not only invest on the segment, but also understand (and replicate) why the sales are growing. That’s my rational of buying from these companies.

I hope this list helps you during your search and transition to a kinder, more environment-friendly lifestyle. Namaste!

 

I also LOVE and appreciate when companies make it easier for us and are very clear on what’s vegan and cruelty-free and what’s not. So here are a few links from these companies:

Lifestyle, Vegan

Becoming Vegan

November 10, 2015

It’s been about a month that I’ve started my transition to a vegan lifestyle. Dare I say I’ve never felt so good! I’ve been thinking about stopping having meat for years now. In 2012, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to become vegetarian. I’ve lived in Brazil back then and with the absence of meat, I over-ate cheese. Not a good choice. At all. I felt horrible and was always nauseous. I started putting on weight and blamed the diet. So I went back to my old habits but never stopped thinking about stopping eating meat.  Continue Reading…