Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Beans Save Money!

This is another money saving tip from me. Beans. They save you a lot of money! Not only are they a ton cheaper than flesh foods, more versatile, but they expand, they are easy, you just can't go wrong with beans!

It is not nearly as cheap if you buy them canned, though. So here's the deal. With the exception of kidney beans (which need to be boiled for ten minutes first), throw them in your crock pot! Cover them with a few inches of water and cook them for 6-8 hours. So, if you do it by 8 or 9 am, they will be ready to use for dinner time. This also means no horrid soaking overnight. Everytime I soak beans overnight, they sit in the fridge un-used until I have to toss them out. THIS does NOT save me money. I like this crock method MUCH better.

Here is what I used:

           It cost us about $2.50 for a small (2 lb) bag of black beans. That bag, expanded into..

That gave us roughly 1.5 cans per bag. At four bags, that is 6 cans worth. Here, a can of black beans is around $1.30! Which means that a $2.50 bag of beans made $7.80 worth of canned beans. That is over a $5.00 savings! I LOVE beans. I didn't have anything smaller to freeze the beans in, excuse the excessive plastic!

Not only did we save a ton of money, but we reserved the liquid in the bottom of the crock after cooking the beans to make gravy. There was about three cups of brown beany liquid left. To this I will be adding some Miso paste, spices and a variety of other delicious items (garlic, mushrooms, a bit of thickener). This saves us another $2 on gravy! I'll be freezing the jar for later use.

Refried beans for breakfast, anyone??
My husband makes them and we put them over rice. With tomatoes, garlic, onion and the rest is a mystery to me.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

TEJA's Animal Refuge

I recieved an email today from a Toronto friend. This is what she wrote:

Hey everyone!!!

This is an urgent call to help a sanctuary in dire need... some of you may have heard of Tejas but most of you have not.

When I first visited Tejas (and it's founder Nicole) I was shocked... shocked that most of us folks in Ontario and specifically Toronto have never heard of a sanctuary so close to us (that houses HUNDREDS of animals) ... and shocked that a woman in her late sixties was not only running the place alone, but lived in such extreme poverty. 

This past month a bunch of us have formed an Onatario based group to help out Tejas  (I've coped and pasted the Facebook event page below in case some of you are not connected to FB)... We're excited to be working with the OADL folks to help out!!!

Please read the below event, donate if you can.... and most importantly please please spread the word about this incredible sanctuary. 

If any of you have any building skills, access to raw material, access to companies that could donate money, supplies, or animal feed. or even are willing to have a donation jar in their place of work... please connect with me. OR if you would like to help us out with marketing and fundraising please email me as well. 

Look for us at the ARKII and All Creatures Rescue table.. come say hi AND if you want to donate any of the following items we will be accepting them at the table (and all month long at our home and bringing them to Nicole beginning of October)

- money
- towels/blankets
- dog/cat food
- screws/nails
- tools (electric drill and other things)


The goat portrayed in this event's photo is doing pretty great. The lady in red, not so much.

Can you help her?

Portrayed is Carl the goat, in good health and spirits after being rescued from factory farming; and his keeper, Nicole Joncas, 67, founder and operator of Teja's Animal Refuge, east of Ottawa. For 23 years, Nicole has always ensured that animals come first at Teja's, which over that span has provided a home for thousands of goats, sheep, horses, cows, hens, ducks, geese, pigs, dogs and cats res
cued from abusive situations like factory farms, and brought to a new home at Teja's.

And because the animals come first, little if any funding is ever left over for Nicole, and so her state of poverty grows and grows...

Because she won't spend the animals' money on herself, Nicole can't afford to: pay her phone bill, and so her service was cut on August 28; fix her leaky tattered roof; repair her smoke-belching home heating; replace faulty wiring that's cut off electricity on her main floor; insulate her home (she tapes plastic bags to her windows); replace her dilapidated windows and torn screens that allow cold and flies inside her home; and just generally renovate her 150-year-old country home and her 23-year-old sanctuary-keeper existence.

Helping Nicole is good for her, and essential for the animals.

And for the animals directly, $ is needed for food, vet bills, sterilization, enclosure maintenance, hired labour, repairs to fencing and pasture, replacement of the pig barn's stolen block heater, purchase of a tractor, and more.

And GREAT news too: Concerned, experienced activists from Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto are working to change fortunes at Teja's, by boosting public promotion of the sanctuary, and its funding. One of the initial steps will be a visit to Teja's shortly by renowned animal rights photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. Activists will also utilize online fundraising platforms, revamp Teja's website, and produce a Teja's brochure. Please share your ideas and talents and post a comment or send a message if you want to get involved!

While that's all being worked on for the medium and long term, in the short term any donation you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Whether it's $5 or $500, any help is valuable. Let's pool our resources and give some relief to Nicole and her rescued animals.

********************* TO DONATE ************************
-- ONLINE via http://tejasanimalrefuge.ca/?page=donate
-- CHEQUE, payable to Teja's Animal Refuge, sent to: Teja's Animal Refuge, 21511 McCormick, Glen Robertson ON K0B 1H0
-- CASH in person during volunteer days, first Sunday of every month from 1-4.https://www.facebook.com/events/376536982419902/

Donations of $25+ receive a tax receipt.

***************** ITEMS ALWAYS NEEDED *****************
- Sheets & blankets to provide bedding & warmth for the animals
- Dog food, watermelons, cukes, bananas, apples, grapes, tomatoes for the animals
- Large-print books and an e-reader so Nicole can read
- Hundreds of screws (3.5 inch)
- An electric drill to use on the volunteer day or to donate
- A sturdy pickaxe made of strong wood

My family and I will be hosting a fundraiser next spring for this sanctuary. If there is a way that you can help out with it please contact me HERE

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cookbook Review!

Yesterday I enthusiastically travelled to our local library to pick up my books "on hold." I couldn't wait to pick up The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester and start flipping through it right away! Seriously, this book did not even make it into my book bag.

My first impression was how beautiful the pictures are. My mouth was watering already! My eye caught on a few recipes as I skimmed the pages, including the Subtly Spicy Peanut Coconut Fondue. The next thing I noticed was breads, brownies, and even pizza. In a slow cooker! Who knew?

I love that each page has a label of gluten free or soy free under the title of the recipe. That really simplifies everything for us, since we are cooking all gluten free foods now and prefer to avoid soy when possible. The recipes in The Vegan Slow Cooker are simple, hearty, do not take much time or preparation to make, and because there are very little processed foods the ingredients are cheap to buy! Big bonus for my family, being on such a tight budget. 

Basically, I LOVE this book. It is easy to follow, it is gorgeous and mouthwatering. Really, you can NOT go wrong with this one. It works for all seasons, and is essential for the busy parent or working vegan. But don't feel that you have to be vegan to enjoy it, with these scrumptious recipes anybody can indulge!

I really want to try making the Split Pea And Apple Soup for my Mom, who loves the stuff (though I bet she's never had it with apple!) and the Citrus Rum BBQ Sauce. I know my husband will be waiting in great anticipation for that peanut coconut fondue.