Molasses (don’t) Cry (these) Babies (are vegan)!

My mom has been making these cookies for as long as i can remember.  The recipe makes a huge batch (about 5 dozen) and she would fill ice cream buckets to bring them to holiday potlucks – and they were always the first to go.  Great on their own, amazing dunked in egg’less nog (spiked with bourbon of course!), radical as a a breakfast cookie (that’s a thing) with coffee.  When i first went vegan i hoped against hope that these would turn out, and sure as sugar they did, and i’ll go ahead and say they are better.  These freeze well, either baked or as dough.

My Moms Molasses Crybabies

2 cups sugar (plus more for rolling)
1 1/2 cup Earth Balance
2 egg re-placers – i use Bob’s Red Mill, and am tempted to try flax eggs but haven’t yet! Please let me know if you use another re-placer in the comments!!
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 warm water
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1-2 tsp cloves
1/2-1 tsp ginger
4 tsp cinnamon

IMG_7269 IMG_7271 IMG_7272


1. Pre-heat oven 300 C degrees.

2. Put on some Christmas-y tunes, don a festive apron and pour yourself a boozy Noel Nog.  These steps are mandatory.

3. Cream together the sugar and Earth Balance.  Sometimes i use a mixer for this, sometimes i don’t.  The times i don’t i spend the whole time thinking “why the eff didn’t i use a mixer!??!” learn from me people.

4. Add the egg re-placers and the molasses to the creamed sugar.

5. Mix all dry ingredients together, then add the wet and mix.  You can start with a spoon but you really should finish with your hands.  It’s easier and this is how you infuse your baking with love, holiday good cheer and wishes for the future.  I AM SERIOUS, take off your rings and INFUSE!  Also, the good news is these puppies are salmonella free so you can lick your hands clean when you’re done.   Just be sure to wash them before rolling the balls…

6. Roll the dough into smallish balls, roll balls in sugar, place on un-greased baking sheet.    Please don’t get hung up on the shape of your balls.  No ones balls are ever perfect, and once rolled in sugar who cares how your balls look!  If they start to look like Dreidels that is OK!  These cookies also make fabulous Hannukah gifts!  I think…i am not boned up on my Hanukkah rules…but i think they’d be ok.  Oh, and don’t place to close together as they spread out, i get 12 to a tray.

7. Bake for 14min.  Cool on newspaper (this is crucial!! use that Georgia Straight you picked up and are not reading.)

8. Try to wait until cooled to eat 🙂


HAIL TO THE KALE! Salad! This will change your life….

Can a salad change your life?  This one can. I think it originated at Planet Organic, and it is the most amazing salad you will ever eat.


Because I said so.

Why else?

It’s EASY.  Kale, sliced red cabbage, shredded carrot, and toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds (but feel free to be as lazy as me and eat the seeds raw).

The dressing is as crave worthy as it is simple.  1/2 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos, 5 TBSP’s Balsamic Vinegar and a few shakes (or more) or oregano.  The dressing breaks down the kale making it easy to eat, meaning, you’ll LIKE eating kale raw!

It tastes good the next day, even after sitting in the dressing overnight – and what other salad can say that?!?!

It’s crazy good for you.  Did you know that kale is 45% protein?  That red cabbage is 22% protein?  BEEF IS ONLY 25.8% and CHICKEN IS ONLY 23% protein!  Kale and Cabbage and Carrots are alkaline foods, meat is acidic (what is this?  A meat bashing session?  Yes). Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds are just good for you, i’m not going to name all of the ways.

So go….now….make this salad and rejoice!  Sorry about the terrible photo….


My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I had too much to say to do it in a Facebook status…also there is some cursing involved.

1. Let this be a reminder to my future self to always wear a bra on camera.  Not for anyone else’s sake but my own really.

2. I challenge Yandi Kwa, Sierra and Jaelyn Spavor (or Melissa Paul Spavor if they’re chicken) and David Jordan.  You have 48 hours.

3. Please don’t just dump a bucket of ice over your heads, or laugh at funny videos.  Learn more, help more, do more.  ALS is not a sexy disease.  It’s scary as fuck and not something that anyone wants to think about.  This marketing campaign is simply brilliant and this disease deserves your time, if only a few extra moments.  In his Ice Bucket video this guy talks about how ALS doesn’t get pharmaceutical money because it doesn’t affect enough people, so it’s not profitable.  Well, it may not be profitable, but we can see that the disease certainly does affect A LOT of people.  I am excited my just how many people are getting behind this challenge.  Sure it starts out as a funny prank to pull on your friends, and then a way to stand up and show how funny, cool, brave you are – on social media no less, where people love to be in the spotlight.   But I think it’s becoming something more.  People are empathizing with the survivors and grieving for those taken.  Everyone’s compassion is showing and I love it…because compassion is invincible.

If you love this Herbivore sells stickers and shirts and magnets - oh my!
If you love this message, Herbivore sells stickers and shirts and magnets – oh my!

4. Once you’ve completed the challenge, watched a few videos or read a few articles, and donated to the cause please don’t stick your compassion in your back pocket and wait for the next internet sensation to grab your attention.  Make changing the world for the better part of your every day life.  Step up to as many challenges as you see!  Pick a cause that is near and dear to you and work it!  Donate monthly to something you believe deserves your latte money more than Starbucks! Stop doing something you know doesn’t match with your values and start doing something that does!  Get your kids and your parents and your friends involved.  This is your community, your city, your country, your world….be the change.

I sit on the board of the Vancouver Fringe Festival and recently attended a workshop about fundraising.  In it we discussed talking more about what causes we are involved in; how we volunteer, where we donate, what we’re passionate about.  I don’t get out to very many cocktail parties so this is where I’d like to have that talk, if you’re interested.  Tell me what you’re involved in, i’d love to know.

And now…without further ado…me, in my pajamas –  trying to help….in a small, icy-cold way.

Robyn’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – VEGAN!

I have a friend…we’ll call her Angela Rivard (because that’s her name) who is picky as hell when it comes to food.  Not picky as in won’t eat tomatoes or can’t have one food touching another, picky as in…wait, she’s not picky…she’s a snob!  Not a snob as in “i can’t possibly eat that without a brulee of truffle oil coulis” … what I mean is that she likes her eats and she likes them the best they can be.  When she ate meat, she scoured the city for the best hand formed patties.  She has been test baking for the perfect, exact awesome consistency chocolate chip cookies for years.  When she says “this caramel is the bomb”…it is.  So, if you’re looking for a #cheapandeasy muffin recipe, one that can be made with the stuff you already have in your pantry and freezer, and tastes amazing – look no further.  Adapted from Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnards Delightful Banana Nut Muffins (from The Garden of Vegan <– a must own for any vegan…or person) I present to you…


Ange’s Muffins ….Never Tasted So Good
2 cups flour (1 whole wheat, 1 all purpose)
½ cup dry sweetener (I read this and was like…what’s that?!?!  Ange was like..sugar dummy.  Oh yeah…lol  I’m not the chef in this friendship.  Ange prefers rapadura or turbinado)
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (or oat bran)
Just under ½ chocolate chips
2-3 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 t vanilla extract
2/3 cup soy, rice, or almond milk

If you’re thinking “where’s the nuts” – then i’ll giggle and tell you, Ange has subbed choco chips for nuts.  She likes her nuts….well, not in this recipe for one.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flax or oat bran.  In a small bowl, combine the bananas, oil, vanilla, milk, and chocolate chips.  Pour the liquid ingredients with the dry and mix together gently until “just mixed”. Spoon into a lightly oiled muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 mmmmmuffins.

You don’t need to keep flaxseed AND ground flaxseed in your pantry.  Simply use a clean coffee grinder (dirty if you want a bit of a kick!) or a food processor to grind your flax.  Once ground I like to keep them in the freezer so they last longer.

I once had a dude roommate who was dumbfounded at how girls always kept bananas in the freezer.  I always chop my banana’s up and freeze them in bags for smoothies but Angela recommends freezing your extra ripe ones whole for baking.   Thawed from frozen are easiest because they turn to complete mush and liquid banana gold.  Just cut the end off the peel with scissors and squeeze everything into your mixing bowl.  Another of Angela’s characteristics?  She doesn’t love extra pointless work and says “I find mashing bananas that weren’t previously frozen to be a pain.”  Agreed yo.

Look for chocolate chips that read ‘may contain traces of milk or dairy’ which means that it doesn’t actually contain dairy (think about it) and you don’t have to decipher the technical terms!  That’s a little tip for non-vegans who are dating vegans and want to make a good impression.  Another tip?  Find him/her a great bottle of vegan beer/wine…he/she will love you for the effort!  And maybe marry you…right J?? 😉

So…I’m reading the email Ange sent me with her recipe and I get to this:
“add a little nutmeg and pinch of instant coffee sometimes”
and I..out loud…said “ooooooh, nice one!”  So I’m in favor of this tip for sure.

And that’s that.  Ange uses these muffins for bake sales to earn money for the causes she’s into (like the Vancouver Walk for Farm Animals), for her friends and family, but mostly she uses them to show the world how yummy vegan baking really is.  She likes to spring it on people, like a ginger-activist-baking-ninja…”So you like my muffins?!?!  Cruelty free!  Hawzaw!” Fighting the good fight never tasted so damn good!  Oh, and did I mention these bad boys fight cancer.  So there’s that.



Reason #1 Why Having Twins is Radical Thing

I must admit, I don’t usually like talking to strangers on the bus.  I find it awkward and i’d much rather do what everyone else is doing…staring ahead, or out the window, or more than likely at our phones.  Not only do we not engage our fellow passengers, we secretly hope and pray they don’t engage with us.  Having twins means you no longer have a choice, you will be engaged with, but now you’ve got something to talk about!  Everywhere we go, my boys are the stars of the show.  Everyone wants to know; are they twins?  Are they identical?  We get these questions in every store, at the bank, walking down the street.  On the bus however, there’s nowhere to run off to and so the questions keep coming; how old are they?  Do they act alike?  Are they walking?  Did I know I was having twins?  And soon the questions become an actual conversation.  About kids (mine and theirs), psychology, the world and where we’re headed…every day it’s different and goes in a different direction.  Today my boys started a conversation that included people in their 20’s, 30-40’s and 50’s and a few elderly people.  This group of people, who lived or worked or were visiting someone or something or somewhere, on or near the #99 included; someone white, someone Indian, someone Asian and someone with a heavy European accent.  We all chatted like old friends over coffee, as the boys – totally unaware of their power looked on and smiled and laughed and touched the hands of these new friends – none of which were looking down or away or at a screen.  Reason #1 why having twins is rad?  They have the power to form little communities out of strangers, who are really neighbors.

#cheapandeasy My Big Bad Hydro Bill

Eeeeeegad! BC Hydro bills us the same amount every month, pro-rated based on our usage from last year. Well yesterday I opened a bill which was the amount we went over…and it was a lot. I knew adding 2 babies to the household would drive our usage up but Whoa Nelly….it’s time to make some changes. But frst, I have to admit I don’t fully understand what usage counts as Hydro and what is Fortis BC. Is Hydro electricity and Fortis is gas? What uses what? I am seriously a dummy when it comes to this, I just pay the bill (or to be even more passive, let it come out my account). So, for today’s challenge I am asking for help! I need to bring my Hydro bill down…what am I doing that is using Hydro, and what are some #cheapandeasy ways to cut usage. Anyone?!? Please comment here as well as post to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #cheapandeasy #cheapandeasychallenge and #cheapandeasy(yourcityhere). Thanks!

I Googled "scared about a bill" hoping to get someone looking at a bill and doing a Kevin Arnold face...but this was too good.  It's what Doc Huxtable would have looked like if he had known how dumb I am about my bills, and then he would have sat me down and given me a lecture on being a grown up.
I Googled “scared about a bill” hoping to get someone looking at a bill and doing a Kevin McCallister face…but this was too good. It’s what Doc Huxtable would have looked like if he had known how dumb I am about my bills, and then he would have sat me down and given me a lecture on being a grown up.


Confession:  I am a stay at home mom, but I really can’t afford to be.

I had always planned on going back to work, I never thought I’d be the mom who wanted to stay home with a kid.  But then I had two kids, at the same time (what was I thinking?!?) which changed the game.  J and I didn’t like the idea of daycare, it seemed to difficult to manage getting 2 kids (babies!) ready every day, to daycare, and us to work.  Also we had double the chances of one being sick and so not being able to send them at all.  We looked for a nanny who we could afford, but hiring someone to take care of 2 babies is EXPENSIVE.  Not only that, start a nanny search and suddenly everyone is telling you their horror stories about their kids, or their friends kids and a terrible nanny….and thanks for nothing Downton Abbey, I really didn’t need to see a “wonderful English nanny” being mean to a baby as I was Googling “nannies that won’t call my kids bastards because their parents weren’t married when they were born”.  The expense wasn’t the only thing that made me decide to stay home, I honestly felt like “I made these kids, THEY WILL BE MY ONLY KIDS (you hear that universe?!?  I am serious!) I really want to see them grow up!  And while I get bored on the daily (ok, hourly) I am excited by my kids and how they are developing…..ok wait, this is turning into a post about being a SAHM and not about how poor I am…look for the SAHM post coming soon 🙂

So, we’re poor.  We own an amazing half duplex, in an amazing neighborhood in East Vancouver.  My husband makes good money, but we bought the house when I also made good money.  And now I do not.  So, when my bestie Angela (aka Fall Fancy, aka @slowpokeginger) had her hours cut at work we decided to challenge each other to be as #cheap as possible and make being cheap #easy.  We’re wicked immature and so we decided to call the challenge #cheapandeasy because it sounds dirty.

So, for every day in June, while we’re trying to save money anywhere we can, we’re posting ideas on instagram (I’m eastvanveganmama and she’s slowpokeginger) and twitter (@eastvanmom) and asking for you to do the same.  We want to know what you’re doing to keep it #cheapandeasy … and if you can also be #green you get bonus points 🙂  Post using the hashtage #cheapandeasy #cheapandeasychallenge and #cheapandeasy(yourcityhere) so we can find you, now go get posting!