Christmas Gift Guide 2016!

Christmas is coming! After such a grueling month of November, I am overly excited for Christmas. I’m really looking forward to doing nothing over the holidays. Yeah, that’s right, just lounging in my pj’s with my family and my cat. Glorious days are coming!

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Christmas is a great opportunity to give people you love things that they need or enjoy. So, I thought I would give you some recommendations. These gifts are made by passionate people and in ethical ways. I’m also including ideas for your minimalist friends because that’s pretty cool too. My advice when Christmas shopping: don’t go overboard. Keep things simple. I will also be posting a handmade Christmas gift guide pretty soon, so stay posted for that!

Books

You can’t go wrong by giving a good book for Christmas. After all, there is nothing better than staying in bed with some good reading. Here is my selection of great books to give this year!

  1. The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz: I love her recipes! Every single one that I tried (and that’s a lot) turned out delicious and crowd pleasers. They are often very simple to prepare, yet extremely satisfying and amazing. I have to say this book is very exciting: beautiful pictures, fun recipes and more down-to-earth advice from the vegan queen Isa Chandra Moskowitz. If you have a cook in the family, this is the book to gift them.
  2. Deliciously Ella Every Day, by Ella Woodward: This is a staple in my kitchen. I love Ella’s plant-based (she uses honey, which I replace by maple syrup) and gluten-free recipes because they are made with whole foods that are easily found. Her recipes are very simple to prepare but always look incredibly sophisticated. I’m really excited to see her next book, Deliciously Ella with Friends, but as it is only coming out in 2017, this one is a great one to cook from as we are waiting.
  3. Wanderlust, by Jeff Krasno: For all yoga or wellness lovers on your list, this book is filled with exercises, mindfulness tips, yoga sequences and very interesting articles written by a variety of passionate individuals. It’s perfect if you are just getting into yoga or want to take your life in a different direction because it offers advice and guidance to find your true self. Sounds like an ambitious project, right? Well, this book is also greatly put together and features wonderful inspiring quotes and photograph. For that reason alone, it makes me feel happy everytime I look at time.
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the illustrated edition, by J.K. Rowling: For all the Potterheads out there, this is a must! The beloved story is beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay and is just so wonderful to read. This would also make a great gift for parents of story-telling-aged children. But really, I bought one for myself and love to look at it. They have released the second book, The Chamber of Secrets, this year and the others are coming. You could make this a gift for the years to come!

Art and clothing

Art and clothing, or art for clothing!

  1. Vegan weaving by FarFromtheSeaQc: This Montreal-based visual artist is exploring textures and colours in her very original and fun woven wall hangings. These beautiful and unique pieces are also vegan! They would make a great addition to any decor.
  2. LiveNLetLive T-Shirts: Based in Laval, Quebec, this team makes wonderfully cute t-shirts with the powerful “Live and let live” quote. I bought one last year and love it! I received so many compliments when wearing it. The images are printed on soft coton shirts that are easily washed and so comfortable to wear. Great piece to give to your vegan activist friend!
  3. T-shirt, hoodies or accessories by Anabel Roy: Another Montreal-based artist! Anabel makes wonderfully witty and funny pieces from her drawings. I bought one of her sweaters last year (can you guess which one?), and I love it. It’s my go-to piece for when I’m feeling cold or in need for comfortable and easy to wear clothes. The quality is also very high, but really, will you look at these designs?

For your minimalist friend

Minimalism and Christmas might seem like an oxymoron. However, there are plenty of things you can gift your minimalist (or any, really) friend.

  1. Food: Think fancy chocolates, or a basket of their favorite nuts and spreads. Extra points if you can make it zero waste! If they are into healthy foods, you can also buy them items they go through a lot like a rich raw cacao powder or an extra-virgin coconut oil. They will love these as they won’t be cluttering their homes, and they’ll think of you every time they eat!
  2. Gift cards: Get to know what items they do still consume and get them gift cards to relevant stores. For example, if your friend is an artist and goes through a lot of paper or pens, give them a gift card to an art supply store.
  3. Events: Instead of gifting them something, why not pamper them to the luxury of an afternoon in your company? I have to say, I have a soft spot for this kind of gift because it means that I’ll get to spend time with someone I like doing something fun! Why not channel your inner Dowager Countess of Grantham and try out the afternoon tea at The Parloir? Their vegan option is apparently divine!

For your pampering-obsessed friend

  1. Soins Materia: I raved about these products a few posts ago, and I’m still completely obsessed with them. Very luxurious and incredibly rich, these products are made locally and are completely vegan! Cheers to that!
  2. Outer Happiness: These products are so much fun and completely vegan! I raved about them too, but since then, new amazing products have been created! The bath salts are incredible!
  3. Northern Delights herbal teas: Because there really isn’t anything better than lounging in a hot bath with a good book and a cup of herbal tea. Especially when the tea is made locally and fairly by Inuit communities. These are incredibly delicious and come in beautiful wooden boxes that are perfect for gifting.
  4. Oneka products: If your friend is a shower-lover, why not try out Oneka products? Again these are locally made and completely vegan. They are also made by the cutest couple in a beautiful village. Make a day out of it! I really love their shampoos, but they have just came up with new soap bars, so that’s something new to try out!

I hope this list gives you some gift ideas. If you are looking for greeting cards, I’ll be selling some at the Concordia Greenhouse this Wednesday, but also on Etsy starting next week.

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Fun holiday times! Remember that time and attention are the greatest gifts there are and don’t go overboard!

 

 

 

Materia vegan body care products, a review \\ Les soins Materia, des produits pour le corps véganes, je teste!

(Version en français plus bas!)

My skin is not my friend. As a teenager, I had horrible acne, and my skin is still prone to breakouts, to being oily and just a pain. So over the years, I have tested about all the products that are out there for getting rid of pimples, drying out my skin from excess oil, and re-moisturizing it to avoid it being too dry. At some point, though, I realized that what I was doing to my skin was not making any sense at all. So I tried to find a more holistic approach: I changed my diet, exercised more, drank more and my skin felt better. I also got rid of all my skincare product and turned to the kitchen as my source of beauty products: if it’s good enough to be eaten, it’s good enough to be on my skin! Even though I love my simple and minimalistic skincare routine, it’s good, once in a while, to try out a product that will make me feel pampered and like I’m doing something more for myself. Come in, Materia products.

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I was really excited to stumble upon the Materia body care products on Etsy. I was even happier when I realized that they were vegan, and handmade in Montreal! After I met with Jolyane, the mastermind and maker of these beautiful products, I was more than convinced that they were amazing. Jolyane works with plants as a horticulturist and wanted to create products that matched her views on self-care, but also the environment and animal rights. As I vegan herself, she felt it was important to bring something that used the wonderful properties of plants, while also using cruelty-free ingredients. Fast forward a few years later and Materia was born!

All her soaps, creams, balms, scrubs and bath products (to name a few of the many treasures you can find in her Etsy shop) are handmade with the highest quality ingredients Jolyane can find. She also tries to work with Canadian sources as much as possible. Her attention to details is palpable, and it shows in the great quality of her products. She generously gave me three products to try out, and I have to say they are becoming favourites as I’m using them.

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The first product that I tried out was the carrot and lemongrass soap. Now this smells incredible! The lemongrass makes this soap refreshing and perfect for early showers, while the carrot juice makes it soothing and relaxing. Most of the ingredients of this soap are organic and all feel super luxurious: shea butter and coconut oil leave my skin hydrated and ready for the day, while ginger essential oil makes this soap energizing and zingy. This is really a great soap that will leave your skin moisturized and your mind fresh and clear.

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To follow up on the theme of hydration, I also tested out Materia’s amazing Damascus rose facial cream. Now, I love Damascus rose: it is intensely floral, very soothing for the skin and extremely luxurious. I love using rose water on my face because it helps with redness. So, you can imagine that I was almost jumping up and down in my bathroom before I tried this. Well, I started jumping the moment I opened this little pot: fresh, fragrant and delicious, this cream smelled like a walk in a rose garden. Even if it is formulated for dry or mature skin, it left my combination skin soothed and well moisturized without being oily. It was a perfect night cream. Plus, major bonus points for the fact that it did not break me out. As if organic ingredients were not enough, the packaging of this cream is great: a glass container and a beautifully drawn rose make this a product I like to keep out in my bathroom for everyone to see.

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Finally, the last product that I tested is the Lemonade lip scrub. This is the perfect product for winter time, and I’m really happy to have it on hand for the next few months. Made with sugar cane, this is a serious lip exfoliator that will get rid of all that extra skin. However, because it also contains  rich moisturizers like shea butter, castor oil, and jojoba oil it also leaves the lips feeling soft and hydrated. Lastly, the lemon essential oil makes this product smell like lemon candy which is great! Your lips will feel ready to do anything after this treatment!

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I’m really glad I got to test out these amazing products, and they will definitively be part of my Christmas gift guides (that are coming very soon!). It’s always amazing to find great products made by people who have high quality standards while also being very respectful about their choices. The Materia body products are just perfect. You can really feel that a lot of reflection, thought and passion are being them. I really hope you’ll go visit Jolyane and her Etsy store. You should also fallow her on Facebook because she will be announcing the winter fairs in which she will be participating as well as revealing new products! Exciting!

Thank you Jolyane for letting me test your products!



Ma peau n’est pas mon amie. Lorsque j’étais ado, j’avais un acné incroyable, et, encore aujourd’hui, ma peau est encore difficile, tend à être huileuse et est vraiment capricieuse. Au cours des dernières années, j’ai dû tester tous les produits disponibles sur le marché pour me débarrasser des boutons, assécher ma peau pour éviter les excès de sébum et réhydrater ma peau pour éviter qu’elle ne sèche après tous ces traitements. Au bout d’un certain temps, je me suis rendue compte que ce que j’infligeais à ma peau ne faisait pas le moindre sens. J’ai donc cherché une approche plus douce et plus holistique : j’ai changé mon alimentation, j’ai fait plus de sport, je me suis mise à boire plus d’eau et finalement, ma peau a commencé à aller mieux. Je me suis débarrassée de tous mes produits et je les ai remplacés par des trouvailles faites en cuisine : si c’est assez bon pour être manger, c’est assez bon pour ma peau! Même si j’adore ma routine simple et minimaliste, il est agréable de temps en temps d’utiliser des produits qui me font me sentir chouchoutée. Je vous présente les produits Materia.

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J’étais vraiment excitée de tomber sur les produits corporels Materia sur Etsy. J’étais encore plus excitée quand j’ai réalisé que tous ces beaux produits sont véganes et faits à la main à Montréal! Après avoir rencontré Jolyane, le cerveau et les petites mains derrière Materia, j’étais encore plus convaincue qu’ils étaient extraordinaires. Jolyane est horticultrice et passe donc beaucoup de temps avec les plantes. Elle a eu envie d’occuper ses hivers à la création de produits pour le corps qui correspondent à ces opinions en matière de soins du corps, mais également de son amour de l’environnement et de ces convictions en matière de protection animale. En tant que végane, elle trouvait important de créer des produits qui utilisent les merveilleuses propriétés des plantes, tout en était sans cruauté. On zappe quelques années plus tard, et Materia est né!

Tous ses savons, crèmes, baumes, exfoliants et produits pour le bain (pour ne nommer que quelques un des trésors que vous pouvez trouver dans sa boutique) sont faits à la main avec des ingrédients de la plus haute qualité possible. Jolyane essaie également de faire affaire avec des fournisseurs Canadiens autant que possible et la majorité de ces ingrédients sont bios. Son attention aux détails est palpable et transparait dans la haute qualité de ces produits. Elle a été très généreuse et m’a permis de tester trois produits qui sont petits à petits devenus des incontournables.

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Le premier produit que j’ai testé est le savon à la carotte et à la citronnelle. Ce savon sent tellement bon! La citronnelle le rend rafraichissant et parfait pour les douches matinales, alors que le jus de carotte lui donne un côté réconfortant et apaisant. La grande majorité des ingrédients de ce savon sont bios et laissent tous une impression de luxe et de chouchoutage incroyable : le beurre de karité et l’huile de coco laisse la peu hydratée et douce, alors que l’huile essentielle de gingembre rend ce savon énergisant et presque pétillant. Ce savon est vraiment incroyable car il laisse la peau douce et prête pour la journée, et rend l’esprit frais et alerte.

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On continue avec une autre produit très hydratant et très luxueux : la crème pour le visage à la rose de Damas. Alors, déjà, la rose de Damas est incroyable : hydratant, apaisant et incroyablement floral, son hydrolat est parfait pour les peaux irritées ou à rougeurs. J’adore l’utiliser! Vous pouvez vous imaginer que j’étais vraiment excitée à l’idée de tester une crème faite à partir d’un de mes produits préférés. Eh bien, j’ai pratiquement sauté de joie lorsque j’ai ouvert ce petit pot de crème : une odeur fraîche, douce et délicieuse m’a transportée au milieu d’une roseraie. Même si cette crème est formulée pour les peaux sèches ou matures, elle a très bien convenue à ma peu mixte. Ma peau était hydratée, sans être huileuse, et pas de boutons! En fait, c’était vraiment la crème de nuit idéale. Et comme si ce n’était pas assez d’avoir des ingrédients luxueux, de haute qualité et bios, ce petit pot de crème est trop joli! Fait en verre et arborant une magnifique rose dessinée, ce petit pot trône dans ma salle de bain pour être admiré de tous!

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Finalement, le dernier produit que j’ai testé est l’exfoliant pour les lèvres à la limonade. Ce produit est parfait pour l’hiver et les lèvres sèches. Fait avec du sucre de canne, on parle d’une exfoliation en profondeur. Comme il contient également des ingrédients extrèmement hydratants comme l’huile de jojoba, l’huile de ricin et le beurre de karité, cet exfoliant laisse les lèvres apaisées et douces. L’huile essentielle de citron, quant à elle, donne à ce produit une odeur de bonbon incroyable! Vos lèvres seront prêtes à tout après ce traitement!

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Je suis vraiment heureuse d’avoir pu tester ces superbes produits, et ils seront absolument de retour dans mes guides cadeaux (qui arrivent très bientôt!). C’est toujours si agréable de trouver des produits faits par des gens passionnés qui ont de hauts standards de qualité tout en étant respectueux dans leurs choix. La ligne de produits corporels Materia est simplement parfaite. On peut vraiment sentir que beaucoup de réflexion a été mise dans l’élaboration de ces produits. J’espère vraiment que vous rendrez visite à Jolyane dans sa boutique Etsy et que vous la suivrez sur Facebook. Elle va bientôt annoncer ces marchés de Noël et dévoilera de nouveaux produits! C’est pas mal excitant tout ça!

Merci beaucoup Jolyane de m’avoir permis de tester tes produits!

 

 

Vegan Fest Montreal 2016 + blog announcement // Festival végane de Montréal et nouvel horaire de blog

(Version française plus bas!)

I’m super excited to let you know that Montreal’s vegan festival is coming back this week-end at the Marché Bonsecours in the Old Port. Last year I had a lot of fun perusing the different stands and came back home with quite a lot of spices and an excellent book. I wasn’t too happy about the long queue I had to endure to get in, but this year, they are extending the festival to two days instead of just one, so it should be much better. How exciting!

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This year’s schedule is quite extensive! At the festival, you can find all vegan foods from restaurants, farmers, and specialty products. There will also be quite a lot of very exciting guest speakers and food demos to learn new techniques! You will also be able to get in touch with animal protection associations and like-minded people. I really hope you’ll have a chance to go check this FREE festival out. See you there!

I also wanted to let you know about the blog’s new schedule. I really want to bring you with the best content possible, but it takes me a lot of time to come up with recipes, try them out, take pictures and write down the posts. As I also need to work, I’m changing the daily posting schedule to a Monday, Wednesday and Friday posting schedule. That way I’ll be able to bring you high quality content and still buy food… Cheers to that!


Je suis super excitée de vous annoncer que le Festival végane de Motréal débarque en ville cette fin de semaine au Marché Bonsecours du Vieux Port de Montréal! L’année dernière j’avais adoré me promener parmis les stands et j’étais repartie avec une tonne d’épices et un excellent livre. Je n’avais pas trop aimé la langue file que j’avais du faire pour rentrer, mais cette année le festival est étendu sur deux jours, ce qui devrait le rendre beaucoup plus agréable! C’est tellement chouette!

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L’horaire de cette année est encore bien chargé avec des stands de bouffe à visiter et pleins de conférences et de démos culinaires pour en apprendre toujours plus! Il sera également possible de rencontrer différentes organisation de protection des animaux. Bref, une belle fin de semaine en perspective! Surtout que le festival est GRATUIT! On se voit sur place!

J’en profites aussi pour vous annoncer que je change l’horaire de publication des billets pour le blog. Parce que je veux vous offrir un contenu de qualité, mais que ca prend pas mal de temps à produire, je vais maintenant publier des articles le lundi, le mercredi et le vendredi. En passant, je suis déjà dans le mood de Noel alors préparez-vous!

 

 

Terra Nova Burgers, a rave review

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon Terra Nova burgers at my then local natural food store. The packaging of these is just so gorgeous, you just have to stop and look at it. I feel like this is sometimes lacking in the vegan world: great packaging. Everything is green and brown for some reason. Anyways, after I was done batting my eyelashes at the packaging, I realized these burgers were something completely new to me: lupine burgers? This is really interesting because the lupines I knew were beautiful flowers. I realized that lupines are all part of the legume family, but some actually produce beans. Yum! So I quickly brought some of these burgers home, and I was really excited to try them out.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I contacted the founder  of Terra Nova and asked if I could write this review. He kindly accepted and gave me all three flavors to test out. This is how I prepared these wonderful burgers. Overall, I have to say that they are a really nice change to other vegan burgers you can find: they are gluten-free, have amazing flavors and colours, and their texture makes them very versatile.

  • Aztèque/Chipotle: Corn and Millet Flavour: terra-nova1These were the first ones that I tried out. I thought I’d go with the Mexican theme and use them in tacos. Great idea! I pan fried the burgers and crumbled them in the pan until I had nice golden flakes of goodness. I paired them with a simple tomato salsa, a cucumber salad, some greens and hot sauce. It was so much fun to eat these! The lupine crumbs were nicely toasted and had some heat to them, while also being crunchy and delicious. A completely delicious way to destroy burgers! terra-nova2

 

  • Nordique/Quinoa: Kale and Beet Flavour: terra-nova3Now, this is probably the one flavour I was crazy excited to try out simply because of the wonderful colour. I mean, who doesn’t want to have a nice bright pink burger? It’s so pretty! I kept this one really simple: some garlic sautéed mushrooms with a sweet mustard sauce in a bun. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! My boyfriend ate his and was so disappointed that there wasn’t more. The burger is nice and moist and stays together well when cooked in the pan. Of all three, I think this one is my favourite. terra-nova4

 

  • Indienne/Sweet Potato: Spices and Rice Flavour: terra-nova5Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for the last few weeks, you know that I have been waiting for my fridge to come in. We do however have a mini-freezer. So in the freezer these burgers went! When I was ready to eat them, I placed them directly in the oven. They came out nice and golden on the outside, and tender on the inside. Perfection! The Indian spices gave this a really special and wonderful flavour. We really enjoyed this one as well. I paired this with some corn salad and bread, which my boyfriend turned into a very beautiful open sandwich. Yum!terra-nova6

I’m really glad I got to test out these wonderful burgers! I know that the recipes are still being tweaked because they are not completely satisfied with the textures, but I have to say I really enjoyed them as they are now. I find them very tender and full of flavour. I also enjoy that you can transform them easily to make up different recipes depending on your mood. Of course, I’m very curious to see how they evolve and become even more amazing. If I were you, I would keep my eyes open for these pretty burgers. They are available around Montreal right now, so go try them out!

Urban Agriculture Summer School

Last week, I had the chance to participate to ‘L’école d’été d’agriculture urbaine‘ that is organized every year by the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), the most rebellious of Montreal’s universities. If you are interested in gardening, changing the world, growing your own mushrooms, or taking care of bees, this week is perfect for you. For an entire week, you are visiting urban farms, listening to passionate guest speakers, and participate in some really fun and interesting workshops. Just to give you an idea of what my week was, here is a glimpse at my favourite activities from last week’s urban agriculture school.

  1. Favourite visit: The Hospitalières’ Garden Tour: I really enjoyed visiting the nun’s gardens that are situated behind the Hôtel-Dieum hospital in Montreal because it has had such an important role in the city’s history. I was really surprised to see how involved and dynamic this community of cloistered nun was. It was also great to stumble upon such a big garden right in the middle of really busy neighbourhoods. It was particularly interesting to learn that the nuns used to have a big medicinal plant patch and used the gardens as part of their patients’ therapy. How very modern! urban-agricultureurban-agriculture2urban-agriculture3
  2. Favourite workshop: Mycelium propagation by Champignons Maison: I loved how Geoffroy Renaud was so enthusiastic and passionate about mycelium and mushrooms! It was really inspiring to listen to him explaining how to take care of mycelium because he does not have a formal training in biology or agriculture. Now, this may seem weird, but it really was encouraging to meet someone who has built an entire successful business and created his job by being passionate and persistent. He also had a more relaxed approach to growing mushrooms which made everyone in the workshop just want to start right away. urban-agriculture4
  3. Favourite guest speaker: Serge Mongeau: Writer and simple living advocate, Serge Mongeau’s closing speech was very inspirational and reassuring. He talked about the necessity of changing our perspective on our consumption of goods. He supports the idea that by really thinking about what makes us happy and fulfilled, we can identify our real needs and adjust our relationship to money and work in consequence. This particular speech touched a delicate string in my heart because I have lived through two really intense years work-wise, and I feel like I’m a little off-balanced and disconnected. Hearing the particular guest speaker gave my ideas and inspiration.
  4. Unexpected fascinating workshop: Beekeeping 101: I really didn’t think I would find bees so fascinating! It was incredible to learn about how they live and work. I still don’t know if I’m completely comfortable with the way we use bees in modern farming, but it was really interesting to learn more about these hard workers.

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Of course this is just a glimpse of all the acitivities and learning that took place along the week. If you are in the Montreal area, and speak French, I would really recommend checking it out for next year because it is such a dense, inspiring and enjoyable week.  Cheers!

 

 

Because Outer Happiness is pretty great!

A few days ago, I contacted Outer Happiness, an Montreal-based Etsy store specialized in vegan body products like bath salts, body scrubs, masks and even candles. The products looked really cute, and the scent combinations sounded amazing! Marina, the shop owner, was kind enough to give me a few samples to try out: how exciting!

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I took advantage of the rainy week-end to pamper myself. It is so important to take a break from time to time and just take care of ourselves! The first product I tried out was the white tea and ginger revitalizing boy scrub.

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Now, I have to tell you the smell of this is INCREDIBLE! The ginger makes this scrub super energizing and fresh. Made with Himalayan and Dead Sea salts, this is a perfect body scrub as it is quite chunky. Enriched with vitamin E, avocado oil and almond oil, it is also super hydrating and soothing to the skin. It left it smooth and so soft!

After that amazing scrub, I relaxed a bit with a strawberries and champagne bath. Doesn’t this sound amazing? Well it was!

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The smell of this is wonderful: you feel like you are bathing in a giant strawberry candy! Made with Epsom salt and bicarbonate of soda, this bath salt is super detoxifying and relaxing. I felt like my muscles were unclenching one by one. It was great!

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Once out of the bath, the Argan oil left my skin soft and hydrated. Plus the strawberry smell lingered too, which was fun! I can’t wait to use this salt in my bath again! It’s so great!

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If you like pampering yourself, I really encourage you to try out Outer Happiness products because they are AMAZING! The packaging is reusable and super cute, and they really make you feel like you are using luxurious products, while not breaking your bank. These little wonders are very affordable and are also helping the world be a better place as one dollar per sale goes to Save the Children. How great? I will totally be buying some of her products in the future as I think they would make perfect gifts. Marina is super friendly so don’t hesitate to get in touch with her if you have an idea for a custom order. Make sure to go check her store out! It’s amazing! And support her amazing work by liking her Facebook page. Let me know if you try out some of her products!

L’Gros Luxe 100% Végé, a new staple?

This week-end is supposed to be one of the worst rainy week-end of the summer. What did we do to make it better? Easy: Brunch! This week, my friend Thao from La Végé d’à Côté wrote an amazing review on a new vegetarian and vegan spot in Montreal: L’Gros Luxe 100% Végé. It looked like they had really fun food, and so I was really excited when I saw that they were starting to serve brunch this week-end. Out we went!

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When we entered, I was really surprised by the cool vintage decor of this restaurant. It really has a cozy and comfortable feel. I was really excited to see the brunch menu: scrambled tofu eggs, benedict eggs, breakfast burritos, poutine and waffles… and fried chicken! Now, I had to try that out! So we ordered the waffles and fried chicken and the breakfast poutine. Our waitress was super friendly and casual. She was really nice! So we ordered, and then we waited, waited and waited. It took a while for our food to arrive, and our neighbors, who were there before us, were still waiting for theirs when we started eating.

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I have to say I was expecting a little bit more food for the price, but everything was delicious. The pear-bourbon maple syrup was really flavourful, and it is something I’d like to make again at home. The gluten-free waffles were good, but really dense. However, they were not too sweet, and so I got to enjoy the wonderful syrup with them. The real star of this plate was the vegan chicken: super crispy, perfect texture and amazing taste. It really felt like the real thing, while still being an incredible mix of soy protein and shiitake mushrooms. Delicious!

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Overall, we liked the food, but it was a bummer to have to wait so long for it to arrive. Would we go back? Well, probably if we had omni friends around because they do have fun veganized staple foods. I would maybe want to try out their evening menu which looks amazing. It’s also great that they offer vegan alternatives for most of their vegetarian dishes, and that many of them are gluten-free. It’s still great to see more and more vegetarian and vegan restaurant pop up around the city. Let me know if you went there for brunch or for diner, and what you thought of it! And don’t forget to check out La Végé d’à Côté for her review!

 

Iceplant and Salicornia, two market finds

This week-end we went to the Laurier Farmers’ Market, as usual. We found some pretty unusual greens: iceplant and salicornia!

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Both were really fresh and super tasty. Salicornia is an old favourite. It grows along the shore of the ocean or rivers so it takes on a really salty taste. It is super crunchy, and frankly it eats itself up in a flash! I love munching on salicornia on it’s own: it’s so fresh and marine. It makes me feel like I’m on the seaside, which is great!

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If you are interested in looking at more wild plants, I really suggest checking out Forêts et Papilles. They prepare amazing teas, seasonings and sugars with wild plants. They also have amazing fresh produce every week at the market. Worth checking them out!

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The second find is something completely new and unknown to me, grown by the Jardins d’Ambroisie: iceplant. Apparently, this plant has been traditionally used in the southern part of France, but it was rediscovered by famous chefs in recent year. Well, I can see why! The main thing about this plant is its crazy texture: as it is a succulent the leaves are quite thick and chunky. The fun thing is that they are covered in little bubbles filled with a salty and sour liquid. Sounds alien, right? Well it’s wonderful!

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This plant has a a rich salty and sour taste that is so refreshing. I love how the little bubbles just explode with every bite. It’s truly something to try out!

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If you don’t feel like munching on these just like this, you can chop them up and add them to any salad. They can easily replace salt and vinegar in any dressing. It’s amazing! If you have a chance you should really give them a try! Let me know if you have any market finds I should be on the lookout for!

 

Floramama and beautiful organic flowers

In my ideal world, my house would be filled with flowers all year long, in every room, multiple bouquets per room, in all colors, all the time and for no particular reason but to enjoy them. Flowers are so wonderful in their variety and simple elegance. I feel that adding flowers to any room suddenly makes everything more fun and lively. However, even if all flowers are beautiful, they are not equal when it comes to their environmental footprint. Think of it a minute. Flowers are plants, cultivated in fields and are therefore treated in ways similar to ‘regular’ agriculture and all that implies. That’s why I try to buy local and organic flowers when I can. And, luckily enough Floramama is here to save the day!

Floramama is a flower farm in the Eastern Townships that has been created a few years ago by Chloé, a passionate young farmer. Since then, she has put a lot of time and energy into producing exceptional fresh flowers. I have a particular soft spot for her ranunculus and anemones.

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She too brings her flowers to the Laurier Farmers Market every week. Check out her facebook page to see when she’s coming and also have an idea of the flowers that will be ready for the market. I love her flowers because they have a simple charm to them: I don’t know if it’s because they are not your typical flowers or if it’s because they are so fresh, but they make me feel shabby chic just looking at them. They also keep a lot longer than most flowers you can find at your florist.

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If you fall in love with these beauties, Chloé offers a ‘basket’ option where you get to support her farm through a CSA kind off system: you can subscribe to receive bouquets every week or every two weeks. I did this last summer and loved it: fresh, beautifully composed flowers every week! What a dream!

I really suggest checking her out if you are in the Montreal region, or if you love flowers! Even if it’s just to take a look at her wonderfully colourful market stand, you won’t be disappointed. And, as you will probably succumb to the temptation and buy a few flowers, take a minute to thank Chloe for her amazing work. It’s so inspiring!

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An afternoon in Montreal: Les Jardins d’Ambroisie and strawberries in the park

Summer is definitively in Montreal! The sun was out this morning, the breeze was refreshing, and it was just the perfect day for a picnic. So I put my ginormous pile of need-to-be-corrected exams, and went for a stroll with my boyfriend.

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We were really excited because today the Marché Fermier was starting again! Near the Laurier metro, the marché is made out of different stands were you can find fresh vegetables and fruits, baked goods, cider and even fermented vegetables. We really like buying our produce there in the summer because we find the freshest and best vegetables and fruits for a good price directly from the producer. Win-win-win situation!

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We have two favourite stands at the market: La Ferme des Petits Cailloux for their wonderfully juicy and flavourful strawberries, and Les Jardins d’Ambroisie for the incredible quality and freshness of their organic greens and vegetables. Seriously, Francis, the owner of the farm, is an incredible farmer who always has new or unknown species to offer: at his stand we discovered lemon cucumbers, which are deliciously crunchy and fresh, and purple potatoes that are the best pan-fried and served with a chutney. He also has great recommendations as to how to prepare his produce. If you are out of ideas, I strongly recommend going to visit his stand: you will leave with loads of incredible veggies, recipes and ideas!

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If you are interested in trying out these fantastic products, you can support the Jardins d’Ambroisie as they offer market shares and CSA baskets. You can of course visit the market every Thursday and Sunday afternoons as well. For more details, visit the Marché Fermier’s page. After finding some greens and strawberries, we continued our stroll and ended-up in a park where we got to feast on our delicious finds! Summer, I’m really glad your finally here!

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Let me know if you have a farmer’s market where you like to go or what you do to take advantage of every drop of summer!