Luminance Skin Care (Review)

I was recently sent some wonderful goodies to try from Luminance Skin Care. I was actually quite excited by this. I have to admit that I normally go to Whole Foods, grab whatever cleanser & moisturizer are on sale, use it, regret it and try something else. Terry and I have a bit of a budget with only one income, so I would prefer to spend my dollars on other things. Like raw cacao powder, vanilla beans and delicious vegan cheese.

This is so very wrong so many reasons.

1) Every skin care product I try inevitably gives my skin a rash (that fortunately goes away by the time I leave the house – but who wants to use something on their skin that gives them a rash?!)

2) I can’t pronounce a lot of the ingredients in these things! Try as I might to by clean, vegan products, they still have scary sounding things in them.

3) Why on earth cheap out on something that goes on my body when I would never cheap out on something that goes in it? Our skin is a valuable resource and should be taken care of.

4) My mom always told me to take great care of my skin. This was right up there with always wearing clean underwear when you leave the house in case you somehow got in an accident and had to go to the hospital. You wouldn’t want those EMS peeps to see your dirty undies would you? Skin care is also important!

5) Treat yourself (and your skin!) to good products. It’s as simple as that.


I actually got a chance to have a chat with Kim, the creator of these amazing skincare line. He started all of this for his wife =)

When Kim’s wife started experiencing menopause, she became incredibly sensitive to a lot of skincare products, perfumes, dyes to the point of getting migraines. This set them on a quest to try dozens of products to find one that wouldn’t irritate the skin, but couldn’t find any. Kim found that commercially made things are made for the ease of making, not to help with skin care at all. So he thought he would try his hand at making some himself. It started out as a hobby, then he did some research by having people try out his creations and then finally making a product. Pretty great husband huh?

Now, I actually am one of those folks that has super sensitive skin. I haven’t really managed to find any sort of facial cleaning product that doesn’t irritate my skin and/or give me a bit of a rash. I am definitely sensitive the perfumes and go for the unscented, but even then, I come out with blotchy skin from some other ingredient, but from my educational convo with Kim – pretty well all products on the market have scents and they add a masking scent to hide the fact that they added a scent. Crazy, right? He wanted to be different, to create a different product. A product that specifically would not harm anyone or anything.

Which brings me to the vegan side. These awesome-sauce products are 100% vegan. They are organic and wildcrafted and therapeutic grade. The best thing for your skin does not come from animal products, our skin thrives on things derived from plants. Oh and these gems are raw to boot! Heat tends to break up molecules and tears things down – but no heat is used when preparing these beautiful concoctions. These ingredients are responsible. I can actually pronounce everything! You could actually eat them if you wanted to – how many of you could safely say that of your current skin care products?

I love how my skin sings when I use these products. Now that I’ve tried it out, I know I can’t go back to my regular, cheap, whatever is on sale stuff. Although I would not consider this stuff inexpensive, it doesn’t break the bank and the stuff lasts forever!

And there will be a giveaway!! This is a preview of the giveaway, I need you to check back Friday to score some free stuff so you can try it out too!

Can’t wait ’till Friday?? Go check out their website here.


Healthy Vegan Friday #18

Happy Friday!!! I hope you have had a fantastic week and are gearing up for an even better weekend ;) In the meantime, Robin and I are so excited to see your super awesome recipes today =)

New to HVF? Check out the deets here.

**Side note for next week. As Hallowe’en is fast approaching, Robin and I are hosting a holiday-themed HVF next week. We want to see your spooktacular creations in time to try them out for Hallowe’en (we will also still accept normal recipes ;p). 

Next week we’re also going to have a cool giveaway, so stay tuned!

Now, let’s check out your favs from last week:

Strawberry, Kiwi, Chia & Kale Green Smoothie from Urban Naturale:

Oh man! Does this not sound like the best combo for a smoothie??? The kiwi would give a good citrus-y, almost sour taste which I love. And the strawberries lend that sweetness. Mmmm.

Apple Spice Cake with Coconut Cream from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes:

This is the perfect treat. Not only is it vegan, but it’s gluten-free & refined sugar free. And anything topped with delicious, delicious coconut cream is automatically tasty in my books.

Figs Almond Custard Pie from Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen:

This sounds like a wonderful dessert too. And I love that it’s sweetened with figs – I use dates for everything, I really need to switch it up. Sounds divine…

This week, I’m sharing my Tofu Crumble Burrito Bowl:

So link on up! Don’t forget to link back. We’ll catch ‘ya next week with some hallowe’en recipes =D And don’t forget about the upcoming giveaway!

Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie (soy & bean free!)

Still feeling that happy glow from thanksgiving? I am =D We had a wonderful thanksgiving. It was small and intimate, just 5 of us total. A nice potluck style meal by the beach. And I tired my hand at shepherd’s pie… and it was glorious ;p

I have about a zillion pics to share with you of our nice get together, but I will share the recipe first and you can scroll down after to see our fun day =)

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie (serves 8)

Potato Layer

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled & chopped

2-4 tbsp of vegan butter (I used 3 tbsp of earth balance)

a splash of your favourite plain nut mylk

salt & pepper to taste

Place the yukon gold potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and put on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Add your chopped sweet potatoes and cook another 5 minutes. Pierce potatoes with a fork to make sure they are done (they should be soft, but not falling apart). Drain your potatoes, put them back in the pot, add the earth balance, mylk & salt & pepper and mash the heck out of it until they are perfectly smooth and creamy (unless you are one of those weirdos that actually likes lumps). Set this aside.

Veggie layer

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 carrots, peeled & thinly sliced

3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

2 cups of mushrooms, chopped

2 cups of peas (if frozen, just place in warm water and drain before adding to the other veggies)

1/2 cup of vegetable broth

1 tsp each of oregano, thyme, parsley, salt & pepper

Heat a large wok on medium heat. Add olive oil, the carrots & celery, allowing to sautée for 8 minutes. Add your mushrooms and sautée another few minutes. Now add all the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a low boil and cook until the veggie broth has evaporated.  Preheat the oven to 350 before making your breadcrumb topping.

Breadcrumb topping

2 small slices of bread (I used gluten-free multigrain – I like using the end pieces for this)

2 tbsp of Earth Balance

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast

a sprinkle of herbamere (or sea salt)

Place the bread slices in your food processor and whiz until broken down into fine crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.

Now to assemble your pie!

Place the veggie mixture in a large, oven-safe casserole dish. Scoop the mashed potatoes on top and spread across the dish. Lastly, sprinkle your bread crumb mixture on top. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and broil for a couple of minutes to make the top crispy.

This recipe is a little late for Canadians – but Americans can enjoy this next month. You can actually make this whenever you want, not just at thanksgiving.

And now for pictures =D

The spread was amazing. The company was also pretty great ;) And the view…

San Francisco World Vegetarian Festival

Good morning! This post is brought to you by my being super busy getting a meal ready for the thanksgiving dinner I’m attending tonight (and am SO EXCITED about). One of the sad things about moving to a different country where none of your family is present are the holiday meals. You can wallow in the depressing thoughts of your family getting together and enjoying each others company, catching up & eating delicious food together. I thought this would be my first thanksgiving in California. Fortunately, it wasn’t. I was invited to enjoy a dinner with a friend I had from university that had moved to NorCal a few years before I did and we reconnected. We’ve been celebrating together ever since =) If you come back here Wednesday, you’ll find an epically delicious thanksgiving recipe.

Anyway! On to veg fest. Ms. Robin and I checked out the fun event this year with our vegan girls group that we co-host. That’s right, when we aren’t busy little bees blogging and working on Healthy Vegan Fridays, we are trying to come up with fun things to do with our veg group – events like these.

I will admit that on the way to the actual festival, I was cursing and considering turning around and just going home. The event took place in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and normally this would take about 45 minutes to drive there. However, it also happened to share the weekend with Fleet Week and the air show meant heavy than the already ridiculous traffic heading into the city. We sat on the Bay Bridge for an hour. Fun times.

BUT! We arrived safe & sound and had a blast =) I unfortunately didn’t take many pictures, but snagged some of lunch.

Terry tried a vegan fried rice:

I went for a lighter, raw nori roll options as  I was full from all of the awesome free samples:

Some exciting things to be on the look out for: Seaweed Chips from Ocean’s Halo. These tasty little morsels are free of MSG and GMOs, are low in fat, gluten-free and protein-rific. No potatoes involved! They still aren’t super healthy, but they are a fun snack to enjoy once in awhile and the first ingredient is dried seaweed.

Ooh and anyone a fan of Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner? I am! But to be honest… I get lazy and tend not to want to make rejeuvelac. So how excited was I when I found samples of her vegan cheese at the festival? So excited! You’ll be finding packages of these in Northern California Wholefoods with expansion to come more in the fall and winter. I can’t wait. The samples were unbelievable!

Robin had fun too:

 All in all, a great veggie day =)

Healthy Vegan Friday #17

Happy Friday!!!! And what a Friday! Loooooonnnnnng weekend anyone? My Canadian peeps know what I’m talking about. It’s Thanksgiving weekend =D Woot! A very happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow canucks. Miss you guys. Not your weather though ;p

Let’s celebrate by sharing some super awesome vegan recipes with our friends and family in this 17th edition of Healthy Vegan Fridays. Robin and I have been eagerly awaiting to see what you have for us.

New to HVF? Check out all the info here.

Let’s start by seeing your favs from last week:

Zucchini Chickpea Fritters from Yes! I’m Vegan:

Is this not seriously drool-worthy??? OMG. I want to eat it right off of my laptop screen. Sadly I cannot, so I think I’ll settle for making these as part of our thanksgiving meal this weekend. This looks great as a meal on it’s own, but I think it will make an especially cute appetizer =)

Tomato Basil Cauliflower Rice from Strength & Sunshine:

I am seeing so many tomatoes at the market right now! And all of these fun varieties – heirloom is my favourite and this is the only time of year they are really affordable. Love this awesome seasonal dish!

Peaches & Almond Cream Smoothie from Urban Naturale:

Mmmmm! And speaking of seasonal finds – hello peaches! Peach season is coming to a close, so stock up my friends. And make this smoothie a few times while you’re at it. Doesn’t it sound dreamy?

This week I’m sharing my BBQ Black Eyed Peas. Although it’s not traditional, I think this would make an excellent dish to share over our thanksgiving table this year =)

Link on up & don’t forget to link back. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebeook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter

Tofu Crumble Burrito Bowl

I love me a good burrito bowl. The beans, the rice, the veggies, the guacamole – bring it on! And although my hubby has made excellent progress with his elimination diet (we have re-introduced a ton of food so far!), beans are still a no-go. They are just so darned hard to digest. I try to keep most of our meals soy-free, but have upped the tofu & tempeh in recent months to ensure we’re getting enough protein without the beans.

Tofu Crumble Burrito Bowl (serves 4)

2/3 of a cup of quinoa – rinse & place in a pot with double the amount of water, bring to a boil and simmer until the water has cooked off

Tofu Crumbles

1/2 of an 8 oz package of firm tofu, crumbled

1 tbsp of coconut aminos

1 tsp of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of chili powder

a pinch of cayenne

salt & pepper to taste

While your quinoa is cooking, heat a wok on the stove to medium heat. I added a bit of water, the tofu, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar & spices and sautéed it for 7 minutes until it looked cooked through.

Remove your tofu from heat, give your wok a quick wipe down.

Sautéed Veggies

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 small zucchini, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 small, red jalapeno, de-seeded & chopped

2 large handful of spinach, roughly chopped

I added a bit of olive oil to the pan this time and sautéed the zucchini & garlic for a few minutes. I then added the pepper and continued to cook for a few more minutes. Lastly, I added the spinach and just cooked for 1 minute until it wilted a bit.

Raw Veggies

2 parisian cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise & sliced (or just chop up whatever kind of cucumber you have on hand)

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

Layer the quinoa in your bowl first, then your sautéed veggies, tofu crumbles finishing it off with your raw veggies. I garnished ours with a bit of cilantro, fresh lime wedges and chopped avocado. You could also add some vegan sour cream.

I have shared this at my favourite bloghops: Healthy Vegan Fridays & Plant Based Potluck Party

Adventures in California with my sister

I am so very fortunate to have a lot of great people in my life. My family, my friends, those I’ve met through volunteering, people in my meet up groups. But I have to admit that my sister is tied for first place as my favourite person on this planet and she is my very best friend. I love her so much and couldn’t imagine life without her. She makes me laugh, has been my biggest cheerleader in every decision I’ve ever made (even the not so wise ones) and just makes life easier. I know we can’t pick our family, but we are definitely soul sisters through and through =) I hope you have someone in your life like that too, whether they are a blood relative or not.

OK – enough cheese! I was lucky enough to have her come visit me recently and we had a blast exploring my area of the world.

We went to Great America as she loves amusement parks (not my thing, so I go my friend Brie to tag along to go on the scary rides with her):

Me going on this was not going to happen.

We went wine tasting (took Terry along for this one so she’d have someone to enjoy the grape juice with):

We checked out some sights:

And local attractions (according to my sister anyway… I am so not a football fan):

And last, but certainly not least, the excuse for her visit – a Katy Perry concert (amazing show!!!):

 I already can’t wait for her next visit =)

Healthy Vegan Friday #16

Good morning world! The sun is shining and it’s a bee-u-ti-ful day. I hope you are gearing up for a fantastic weekend, I will be a busy bee as usual. Before we think too far ahead though, let’s share some recipes. Robin and I are excited to see what you have for us this weekend.

New to HVF? Check out the deets here.

Let’s get to your favourite recipes from last week.

Cinnamon Raisin Yeast Bread from Strength & Sunshine:

Mmmm this makes me think of “fall” food. So good! I am not actually a huge raisin person, but can be enticed if it’s in a delicious sounding bread like this! Rebecca scores extra points for winging this recipe and have it turn out awesome =)

5-Minute Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from Sandi’s Allergy-Free Recipes:

I am all over quick & easy meals, but they normally aren’t so pretty – gotta love the contrast of red sauce on top of gorgeous, green zucchini noodles. I wasn’t a big roasted red pepper fan until fairly recent, maybe it’s a grown-up taste thing and the addition of fresh basil (which is all over the farmer’s market right now!) will really enhance the taste.

Beet Muesli Cake from Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen:

I remember the first time I tried a vegetable in a dessert. I wrinkled my nose in preparation for the icky taste… but it never came. I have since grown fond of enjoying veggies in dessert. And it’s sneaky to get the kiddos eating more veggies too!

This week, I’m sharing my Lavish Lasagna (gluten-free!). It’s a little labour intensive, but totally worth it.

Link up with your recipes this week. And don’t forget to link back ;)

Enjoy your weekend!

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram & Twitter

Simple Kale Salad (and how I failed at Vegan Mofo)

I’ll start with the failure part. Read on through and then you can be rewarded with my favourite kale salad recipe (that takes all of 5 minutes to make).

Is it just me, or did anyone else have a hard time with vegan mofo? This was my first time participating and it was a pretty big failure to me. Did I post every. single. day. Yes, yes I did! Did I meet my goal of posting a minimum of 4 recipes a week. You betcha! And I actually surpassed that goal by posting 5 recipes a week. Did I spend a TON of time on thinking up cool recipes, doing food prep, recipe testing and capturing good food shots? Holy hell yes!

So, you may ask why I feel I failed? I was so focused on making sure I had a good post ready to go every day, that I didn’t find a chance to look at other bloggers who participated in Mofo. I didn’t make any mofo friends :( And keeping on top of this and Healthy Vegan Fridays was enough to let me completely slack on keeping up with all of the blogs I regularly follow. This bums me out as the whole point of starting this blog in the first place was to not just share recipes, but to meet other like minded people out there and share foodie and life experiences.

Utter fail.

I, Kimmythevegan, take this moment to pledge to sign up for vegan mofo next year and not only post again and post at least 5 recipes a week, but to be more involved!!

How was vegan mofo for you?

Alright – on to Kale Salad!

Since I spent so much of mofo bringing you a decent amount of time-consuming & complex meals, I’m heading back to the basics. Quick, easy and utterly delicious.

Simple Kale Salad (makes 4 lunch-sized salads)

1 head of kale, washed, dried, de-stemmed & torn into bite-size pieces

4 tbsp of olive oil

the juice of a lemon

1 tsp of salt

1 bell pepper, roughly chopped

4 tsp of sunflower seeds

Place your prepared kale in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice & salt. Massage your kale. Love it. Think happy, kale-licious thoughts. Now you can either have this as one big salad, or you can throw this into 4 medium containers for lunches for the week. Add your pepper and sunflower seeds on as garnish. I find that it tastes better & better as the week goes on as the lemon juice really sets in and make the kale burst with lemon-y goodness.

Breakfast for Supper

Is it the last day of mofo already???? I remember a month ago panicking that there was no way I could possibly post every day for a month. And how on earth would I be able to meet my “5 recipes a week” goal? I did it!!! And to celebrate with you – I present my “Breakfast for Supper” recipe.

One of my “Canadian-isms” is calling dinner “supper”. Robin likes to make fun of me for my Canadianess.  But she thinks I’m cute, so that’s ok =) Although I don’t this theme very often, one of my most favourite supper things is breakfast.

This meal came together in about 45 minutes including prep time – a definite win for a quick supper during the week.

Breakfast for Supper (serves 4)

Tofu Scramble

1 8 oz. package of tofu, crumbled

2 tbsp of nutritional yeast

1 tsp of salt (I used black himalaya which gave it that sulfur “eggy” taste)

1 tsp of pepper

1 tsp of turmeric (this helps with taste and colour)

1 tsp of paprika

a pinch of cayenne

1 tbsp of coconut aminos

a few drops of liquid smoke

Start by heating a wok on your stove on medium heat. Add a bit of olive oil and cook your tofu, stirring often for about a minute. Then add the coconut aminos and liquid smoke. As your tofu cooks, mix all of your spices in a small bowl. Season the tofu with half of your spice mixture.  Once the tofu is cooked through (5-7 minutes), set aside.


1 clove of garlic, minced

1 cup of sliced mushrooms

1 large bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 large tomato, roughly chopped

4 sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for a few minutes to rehydrate, drain and slice

4 baby bok choy, ends removed & sliced into ribbons

1/4 cup of artichoke hearts, sliced

1 tbsp coconut aminos

a couple of drops of liquid smoke

Prepare your veggies while your tofu is cooking. Once the tofu is done cooking, remove the wok from heat without turning the the heat off, give the wok a quick wipe down and add a bit more oil and sautée your garlic and mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Add your bell pepper and sautée another couple of minutes. Add your your tomatoes, bok choy & artichoke hearts along with your  coconut aminos, liquid smoke and the rest of your spice mixture from the tofu scramble and stirfry for another minute or two.

Sweet Home Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped

While your veggies are cooking, throw your chopped sweet potato into a medium pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook the sweet potatoes for just 5 minutes. Drain them, add them back into your pot with a bit of olive oil and allow them to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, flip them and cook for another 5 minutes.

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