Sarah Lambert


What’s in your child’s lunch?

With public school students across the country already back in class, the release of Good Food to Go could not have come at the better time. Co-authors Brenda Bradshaw and Dr. Cheryl Mutch, who also wrote The Good Food Book for Families, are here to show that packing a healthy lunch your child will enjoy does not have to be difficult. Together they’ve create the ultimate resource in lunch packing, including recipes, tips, and the latest in health research, and medical studies. From using lettuce as a barrier against soggy bread to a demystification of the Canada Food Guide this book includes all of the knowledge necessary to make any parent into a lunch packing expert. And Bradshaw insists this is something everyone can do, no matter how busy their schedule is. All it takes is some time spent on meal planning and a weekly trip to the grocery store.

Research has shown that children are more likely to eat food that they have helped prepare. Bradshaw suggests involving kids in every stage of the process, including meal planning. Talk to children about the different food groups and help them brainstorm a list of foods that they like from each category. Let them pick out a few of these foods at the grocery store each week and find ways of involving them in their preparation, whether it be washing veggies or mixing up sandwich spreads.

Packing an age-appropriate lunch increases the likelihood that it will get eaten. For young children Bradshaw suggests picnic-style lunches, which incorporate small pieces of different foods that their short attention spans are less likely to find overwhelming. For older children sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads offer endless possibilities for variety.

Although it can be tempting to opt for processed options to save time, Bradshaw insists that homemade is always better. A recent study shows that 89 percent of foods marketed towards children are poor in terms of their nutritional content. They are usually high in sugar, low in fibre and almost none of them live up to the nutritional claims designed to entice health-conscious parents. Instead Bradshaw encourages making foods from scratch whenever possible. However, she explains that there are healthy grocery store options for some foods, like hummus, but notes the importance of always reading the labels.

Not only are most processed foods unhealthy, they all generate a lot of waste.  With the average school-aged lunchbox producing 67 pounds of garbage, Bradshaw and Mutch promote packing litterless lunches. This means that the only thing leftover when your child is finished eating is compostable, meaning that it will breakdown over time rather than spending decades or centuries in a landfill. By buying a reusable lunchbox and filling it with packaging-free, homemade foods parents can create lunches that are healthy for their children and the environment.

Although it may seem overwhelming, Bradshaw and Mutch have put together a guide that makes packing a child’s lunch fun and you might even find some inspiration for your own lunchbox.

This article was previously published on September 12, 2011.


GOOD GOSH: We try out lash extensions!

Amanda and I have both heard from friends how addictive lash extensions can be and we’re excited to try the latest beauty craze ourselves. Deciding to indulge in a Friday after-work treat, we walk over to Good Gosh Beauty, Toronto’s hottest new beauty studio. Although we both express a concern over having someone work so closely to our eyes, shop owner, Lauren Kurtz, instantly puts us at ease.

Originally trained as a professional makeup artist for television and film at Toronto’s own Complections International Makeup School, Lauren eventually moved into permanent cosmetics. She realized she could master the technique in order to create the same elegant, natural effects she achieved with traditional makeup. “From there, lash extensions were a natural progression,” she explains, “It makes sense that they’ve become so popular; they allow you to cut down on the time you spend on your daily beauty routine and the results are stunning.”

The price of a set of lash extensions depends on the style you choose – with options ranging from the MacGraw, with 35 lashes per eye, to the Kardashian, which boasts 75 plus lashes per eye. I’m instantly drawn to the Audrey, named after my favourite beauty icon, while Amanda opts for a bolder look.

Before and after:

Click to enlarge.

Lauren only uses premium synthetic mink eyelashes, as they’re natural and weightless, and act like real lashes. She carefully selects the thickness and curl of the extensions she applies based on our natural lashes. She works meticulously as each one is individually glued to an existing lash to ensure a look that mimics the real thing – only better, longer, and more luscious, of course. Whereas mascara can only add up to one millimeter of length to your lashes, extensions add a much more dramatic effect.

Despite our initial fears, there is no discomfort from the procedure and Lauren tells us that many of her clients fall asleep while she does the application. Instead, the three of us chat about everything from fashion to our love lives, while humming along to the songs playing from Lauren’s iPod. Although it takes nearly an hour and a half each, it feels like no time before we’re winking at ourselves in the mirror, admiring our new lashes that seem to go on for miles.

Before we leave, Lauren hands us each an aftercare kit and goes over the instructions for keeping them looking great. She recommends a refill after two weeks and is careful to explain that we must avoid getting them wet while the glue sets over the next 24-48 hours – this means wearing goggles in the shower and sad movies are strictly forbidden.

Walking home, Amanda and I agree – while lash extensions may seem like an indulgent treat – they’ve left us feeling flirty and feminine, and never having to worry about running mascara again could certainly justify the expense.



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RECIPE: Crunchy Vegan Anzac Biscuits

I tried my first Anzac biscuit a few months ago while visiting Detroit. However, these cookies have a long history. It’s rumoured that wives in Australia and New Zealand sent these cookies to soldiers who were fighting abroad because the ingredients don’t spoil, so they were able to survive the journey overseas.

The basic ingredients really couldn’t be simpler and with a few tweaks I was able to create a healthier, vegan version without sacrificing taste. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, give these crunchy, chewy, almost-caramelized biscuits a try.

Crunchy Vegan Anzac Biscuits


  • 1 cup buckwheat flour + pinch xanthum gum (the original recipe calls for “plain” flour and normally I would have used whole wheat pastry flour but I was all out, so just use whatever you have on hand. If you’re using a flour that contains gluten, omit the xanthum gum.)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dessicated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup sucanut
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water


  1.  Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together your dry ingredients (minus the baking soda) and set aside
  3. Melt the coconut oil, Earth Balance, and agave nectar over low heat. When melted, mix in the baking soda and hot water.
  4. When the oil mixture starts to froth, quickly mix it in with dry ingredients
  5. Shape dough into walnut sized balls and flatten them onto a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.


Enjoy with a hot cup of tea or your morning cup of coffee!


RECIPE: Sesame miso soba noodle salad

I came up with this recipe when I went home from work to get changed and needed something in my belly before running out the door to an event. It came together quickly as I madly applied mascara and slipped into pantyhose in between chopping veggies. It’s both vegan and gluten-free, so it should accommodate most food sensitivities. With lots of veggies to keep you glowing, healthy fats to keep you full, and a hefty dose of protein, this salad has got you covered on all fronts. Topped off with a delicious sesame miso dressing, this healthy dish is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. Try it out next time you’re in a rush to get a healthy dinner on the table and be sure to make extras as the leftovers are perfect for a brown bag lunch.


  • 1 package soba noodles (I like ginger/pumpkin/rice for this recipe)
  • 1 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/3 lb. tofu, diced

Sesame Miso Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup miso
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Steam broccoli until bright green and fork tender but still firm.
  3. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
  4. Mix noodles together with veggies, sunflower seeds, and tofu.
  5. Pour dressing over the salad and mix well.
  6. Serve warm or cold.


RECIPE: Homemade cream eggs

We’re celebrating Recipe Week by finding our favourite recipes from the archives and some brand new favourites! Check out this treat from the Easter season that would be delicious all year long!

It’s no secret around the office that I have a sweet tooth. While I pride myself on bringing in healthy, homemade lunches, my 3pm sweet treat is a non-negotiable. However, as I try to eat more foods, less dairy, and cut out all nasty artificial preservatives, I’ve taken to making my own confections at home. This allows me to accommodate any food allergies or preferences of the lucky recipients of my homemade goodies and gives me complete control over the ingredients that are going into my body without depriving my sweet tooth.

Just in time for Easter, here’s a recipe for recreating the iconic cream eggs – no dairy needed. Give the bunny a break, and make some treats at home.


  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp carrot juice (or a combination of 4 drops yellow food colouring +2 drops red food colouring)
  • 1 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil


  1. Combine brown rice syrup, margarine, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix with electric beaters until well combined
  2. Add powdered sugar one third at a time. Mix after each addition until creamy.
  3. Remove about 1/3 of the mixture and place it into a small bowl. Add the carrot juice or food colouring and stir well to combine.
  4. Cover both mixtures and refrigerate until firm (at least two hours).
  5. When mixtures are firm, roll a small, marble-size ball from the orange filling, and wrap around it a portion of the white filling that is roughly twice the size. Form this filling into the shape of an egg and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining filling ingredients and then refrigerate until firm (approximately three hours).
  6. Combine the chocolate chips with the coconut oil on the top of a double boiler over medium heat until melted. Stir often to prevent burning.
  7. Use a fork to dip each center into the chocolate, tap the fork on the side of the bowl before placing them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Chill until chocolate has hardened (at least an hour).
  8. Remove candies from fridge and repeat the dipping process. Chill for several hours, or until completely firm.

Enjoy and happy Easter!


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RECIPE: Greek lentil soup

This recipe was passed down to me from my mom and we’ve both made our own tweaks to it along the way to better our suit our taste and diet preferences. With the satiating density of whole grains, and a serving of green, kale goodness, this warming dish is a staple in my winter diet. However, as temperatures in Toronto have gotten cooler this week, I’ve found myself craving it again. I like making a big batch at the beginning of the week so that I have a quick go-to meal for the rest of the week. I hope you’ll give it a try too!

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium to large onions (leeks), chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup tomato broth, or 8 Tomato cubes, or 1 tablespoon tomato paste diluted with water, or equal parts tomato juice and water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups shredded spinach or other dark, leafy green
  • 1 cup small whole wheat shells, macaroni, or broken spaghetti, or 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar

Heat oil in 5-quart pot and sauté onion about 3 minutes until limp.  Add celery, lentils, liquid, and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat about 45 minutes until lentils are just tender.

Add salt, greens, and grain, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until grains and beans are tender.  If soup appears to be too dry at this time, add more liquid.  (This should be a thick stew-like soup, but if heat is too high there may be too much evaporation).

When fully cooked, stir in lemon juice or vinegar to taste.

Bon appetit!


RECIPE: The homemade granola formula

The first time I decided to make my own, I felt like some sort of domestic goddess. The truth is, making this tasty cereal at home couldn’t be easier and, because it’s endlessly customizable, you’ll never get bored and can tailor each batch to suit whatever you’re in the mood for. Try using the basic formula below to make your own blend (share it in the comments below if you do!), or try my favourite spring-time mix.

Yummy homemade granola

3 cups of rolled grains
1.5 cups nuts and seeds
3/4 cups dried fruit
6 tablespoons liquid sweetener
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp dried spices
1 teaspoons salt
Optional mix-ins, like dried coconut and chocolate chips

Springtime granola mix

3 cups rolled oats 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sun dried raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
4 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tea spoon sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 300F.
2. Mix all ingredients together (except dried fruit and chocolate if you’re using it) in a large mixing bowl.
3. Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
4. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, checking every 5 until it starts to get golden brown. It won’t be crunchy yet.
5. Remove from oven and allow to cool, at which point you can mix in your additional ingredients.
6. Store in airtight containers. Enjoy with milk, yogurt, or all on its own as a great snack.

So you think you can blog?

Blogs have become an important tool for personal and business development. I’ve been blogging off and on since the early days of LiveJournal, but when I decided last year that I wanted to get more serious about lifestyle blogging, I felt a little bit lost. How much of myself am I willing to share? How often do I need to be posting? Will anyone want to read it? How will I live up to the gorgeous photography and beautiful prose of my favourite bloggers? Of course, the most important step was to just get started and learn through experience, but here are a few resources that will give you the knowledge and vision you need when starting your own blog.

Blogging for Bliss by Tina Frey 

Blogging for Bliss is a beautifully laid out book with gorgeous full-colour photos and jam packed with helpful tips. Although it’s specifically geared towards crafters and artists, the information it contains is useful for anyone looking to create a beautiful and engaging blog. Using screenshots from the best-of-the-best that the blogosphere has to offer, author Tara Frey demonstrates what works in blogging and what doesn’t. Easy to follow tutorials walk you through the steps for simple photo editing and web design techniques to take your blog to the next level. Some of the most popular creative bloggers also grace its pages, sharing their wisdom on creating great posts and attracting a loyal readership.

Available from Amazon.

Bloggin tips from Problogger

Problogger is the ultimate resource for anyone looking to make money from blogging. Articles are posted daily, offering tips from the world’s greatest blogging experts. The site also offers specialized workbooks and a brand new book that you can purchase, if you’re looking for even more information.

Fairy Tales for Writers by Lawrence Schimel 

Sometimes the hardest part of blogging is finding the inspiration. If you’re trying to post everyday it can be easy to fall into a rut and start posting things that you think you should because everyone else does, but it’s not something that really inspires you. For that reason, I’ve started keeping this magical little book in my bag at all times. In this chapbook of whimsical poetry, Schimel holds up the mirror to the joys and struggles of the creative process. Somehow, these tongue-in-cheek fairytales about the publishing world and woes of writing always puts a smile on my face, and inevitably I’m scribbling down ideas again in no time. So, if you can find a pocket-sized source of inspiration, I recommend taking it with you everywhere.

Available from Amazon.

If you have any blogging tips or would like to leave a comment with a link to your blog, I’d love to read them!