Friday, 30 December 2011

eat to live

Hey guys and gals, I wanna tell you about the book I just finished reading. It's called Eat To Live, by Joel, M.D. Fuhrman. I highly recommend reading it; especially if you want to lose weight. It's great for every type of person to read. It basically explains why a mainly raw and vegan diet is best for everyone, along with some mild exercise. Fuhrman says to eat a lot of greens and veggies, along with some fruit and occasionally raw nuts, seeds and avocado.

He says his most important piece of advice is that "salad is the main dish". I love it. It's a great way to think about your diet. Because for most, a salad is something on the side that we must get through to enjoy our burger (if we even order the salad). 
Greens should be the BIGGEST part of our diet! Look at every other herbivore and omnivore out there.

I used to be a salad lover, then I found green smoothies and my love reached a whole nother level.  
But this book turned me on to salad again! I've been eating gargantuan salads everyday since I read it. They're wonderful, just like green smoothies, and a nice change-up. I just need to chew more =)

If you have read the China Study, you will like this book. If you haven't read the China Study, run to the nearest bookstore or library RIGHT NOW and get it. 
Eat To Live is similar in that it gives a non-biased, valid, and proven scientific explanation for why this diet is superior. At the same time, the language is still easy for most to understand.

There are chapters on cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other health problems; along with in-depth chapters about why raw plants are the perfect food for us; as well as success stories and before and after photos of people who have achieved amazing results with the diet. There's also recipes and a FAQ section, which I found useful. 

The only qualm I might have with the book is that Fuhrman says to avoid coconut because of it's high saturated fat content =(  
I understand why he says this, because the demographic that's reading this book is usually over-weight, middle-aged people who have tried everything to lose weight and regain health... not exactly me. 
For these people, if they want that weight gone as soon as possible, then I suppose avoiding coconut isn't bad advice. But it's not great advice either. Coconut oil has many benefits, as does it's meat. It's saturated fat is in fact quite healthy for us, unlike most other foods with saturated fat. Read more and get a recipe here.

Other than that one little thing, the book is excellent. Everyone should read this!

aged raw nut cheese

Check out my more recent recipe here.
I made this for the Christmas holiday, and it was HUGE hit! =) So flavourful.

I aged the cheese for a couple weeks, then got nervous it wouldn't keep until Christmas so... I froze it - I KNOW, terrible. I'm bad. I really shouldn't have. But I did. It turned out fine though.

I recommend aging your cheese a couple weeks before you want to serve it. Age it that whole time. For the first 2 days, leave it on top of your fridge, then for the rest of the 2 weeks keep it sealed in the fridge. The day you want to serve it, warm it up in the oven or dehydrator to give it a firmer exterior and creamy center. 

The cheese had amazing flavour, really delicious. The only qualm people had was the texture. (They still loved it though) I think it would've been creamier if I hadn't froze it. Next time... *sigh*

The darker one (below) is almond with sun-dried tomatoes. The lighter one is cashew with garlic.
I personally preferred the cashew wheel.

As for the type of nut to use, it depends on what you want. Cashews make a really creamy, smooth consistency. Almonds aren't so smooth, but they give it more texture and a different flavour. I can't afford pine nuts or macadamias, but apparently they're incredible for cheese.

Aged Raw Nut Cheese: makes 1 wheel

1 cup nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamia, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.)
1-2 cloves garlic
Pinch of salt & pepper
2-3 Tb sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
2 Tb olive oil 
2-3 Tb lemon juice
3/4 cup water, as needed 
Other herbs and spices, as desired (basil, etc. would be lovely

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Put in cheese cloth that's draped in a colander, sitting in a bowl. Let this sit on top of your fridge for 2 days, then store it in glassware and keep in fridge for about 2 weeks, more or less. Dehydrate or warm in oven before serving to make a firmer exterior. Enjoy! 
The flava is killa!

P.S. I dyed my hair pink! More specifically, my friend did. In grade 7 I dyed my hair pink 'cause it's a great colour, why not?! Then the other day I found the bottle in my bathroom and impulsively decided to use it again. I know, I know... ew chemicals, it's un-natural, etc. Part of me is in complete agreement. But I thought "what the heck, let's change things up". So I just did it. 
Don't worry - it's not tested on animals!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Protein Chia Pudding

I had this after my workout a few days ago. It was very tasty and full of protein to rebuild the muscle tissue I just broke down =) If you like chia - and it's unusual texture - you'll love this.

Chia is a superfood. It has tons of protein, healthy fats, fibre, and gives you long-lasting energy. And yes, it IS the seed that grows those goofy ch-ch-chia pets. Who knew one of the most nutritious foods on the planet is only used to decorate our porches?

I want to talk more about chia and it's benefits but I gotta go workout!
Here's what some are saying!
Here's another good site talking about it's benefits.
Or just google it.ORR read Brendan Brazier's books. He is an elite endurance athlete who is a vegan and mainly raw. He talks loads about hemp, chia, flax, etc.

Muscle-building Chia Pudding: makes 1 serving
2 Tb chia seeds
1/2 cup water
1 Tb hemp
1 Tb ground flaxseed
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract 
Handful of raisins
Honey (optional)
Mix water with chia and let it gelatinize a little, add other ingredients and flavour to your liking. Enjoy!

salad is superior

Your food should make you sing and dance, and want to share your joy with the world. My food does! =)

Every time I make a green smoothie, I want to take a picture of it and show it to everyone 'cause they're so beautiful, health-giving and delicious! It's the same for salads. They're always SO gorgeous and green.

So here's some pictures =) This salad had kale, some bell pepper, tomato, pecans, a little bit of tofu, and I topped it with hemp seed and dried cranberries. The dressing was just miso, water and garlic, blended. YUM!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

banana bread

This is a family recipe and I remember many good times in the kitchen as a little kid, with my mom whipping this up in the Kitchen-Aid. I wasn't tall enough to see over the counter in the big, whirling metal bowl but I knew that it's contents were always delicious, and if I was lucky that day - I'd get a spoonful of the batter =) Banana bread was my favourite, topping cookie dough!

The secret is to use overly ripe bananas: I'm talkin' brown, slimy bananas. They have the most flavour. My mom usually would wait til they were pretty brown then stick them in the freezer until she had time to make the bread. Yesterday, we just had some really ripe nanners kickin' around so I used those.

Obviously, I also veganized the recipe... Earth Balance wasn't around 50 years ago.
The WORD "vegan" wasn't even in existence until 1944!
Anyways, this bread is truly delicious, it's crispy on the top and over-loaded with nuts and cinnamon, while the bread itself is SUPER moist and flavourful. MMM! You can make it fairly healthy too!

Moist Banana Bread: makes one loaf 

1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup vegetable "shortening"
1 cup brown sugar/raw sugar or other sweetener 
1 t cinnamon and nutmeg mix
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 1/4 cups flour 
2 Tb ground flax mixed with 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together until you have a pretty smooth batter. Try it! Yummaaayy. Pour it into a loaf pan.
Now if you want to totally step up the whole game: roughly mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 t cinnamon, 1 Tb olive oil and 1/3 cup chopped pecans. Sprinkle this on top of the batter in the loaf pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, doing the tooth pick test to make sure it's ready. Let it cool for around 20 minutes and then slice and enjoy with loved ones!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

pecan bars

So. I know this blog is supposed to be centered around RAW vegan foods, but I cannot resist my addiction to baking. I've always loved baking. Now I just love vegan baking! =)
Plus, with the holidays and all, there's really no way I'm not gonna be making all sorts of delicious and semi-healthy baked goods for family and friends.

Who doesn't want a vegan pecan bar made with love and coconut oil? I have yet to meet such a person.

As you may have guessed, today I'm sharing a pecan bar recipe. I made them yesterday and everyone says they're amazing! As a bonus, they're pretty good for ya too! 

They're all whole wheat, and there's not a lot of sugar at all, but they taste as good as (or better!) than any old cream-, egg- and sugar-loaded bar.
They can EASILY be sugar-free, but I currently don't have any honey, agave or maple syrup.

Decadent Disappearing Pecan Bars: makes 9-16 bars

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tb raw sugar (or other less refined sugar/sweetener)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil/olive oil or both
Pinch of salt
Water, as needed

1/4 - 1/3 raw sugar (or other)
1/4 cup coconut oil/olive oil
1-2 t vanilla extract
2 Tb ground flax seeds
1 t arrowroot powder
3 Tb nut milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups roughly chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients from first list until it's like shortbread dough. Press into bottom of 9X9 baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it's brown around edges. 
While it's cooling, heat sugar and oil together over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, stirring often. Let it cool down a bit.
In another bowl, mix flaxseed, vanilla, arrowroot powder and nut milk together. Add to sugar/oil mixture. Stir together and add chopped pecans. Pour this onto the bottom shortbread layer and refrigerate for an hour or so, til the caramel hardens a bit. 
Cut into squares and enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

frankie FINALLY says relax

Sorry... haven't posted in awhile.

Anyways, my final exams are almost OVER! And I am so excited. Lately (as you could tell from my posts) I've had the case of winter blues; basically I was down-in-the-dumps for no good reason. What can ya do.
Well, this week has helped me get out of that a little. For some reason the universe chose to give me a great mood and a simple, wonderful day! Ironically, it was looking to be a bit of a bad day.

I had to wake up at the unimaginable hour of *gasp* - 7:00 AM. I know, I know. It's insanity. Keep in mind I am just not a morning person, never have been. Night time is my love. As is chocolate, and cats... but back to the point. I had to get up that early for my math exam (yuck). But that's when the day took a turn for the better. The exam went great! I feel awesome about it. Plus since I got up so early, I got to see the moon slowly going back to sleep in the sky until the next night, as the dark winter morning turned lighter. Beautiful.

Then on the way home from my exam, I saw a coyote running through the forest! I saw it as a great sign, a blessing. I wonder what he's doin' now... I literally couldn't stop smiling at that point =D

Then I got home, did some house chores, and listened to some classical music. I started making more christmas presents for the fam (shh don't tell... oh wait, they can read this) and just sat around, watching the trees and birds. Ahhhh. Frankie FINALLY says relax ;)
I've been having so much trouble with that lately. It's crazy... because I think of myself as the calmest, most laid back person I know... and I think all my loved ones would agree.

All I do is meditate, practice yoga, and eat fruit. 

But since university it's been a little hectic =S
POINT BEING: I am back, Chill World (fingers crossed?)

Now onto what you're actually interested in: FOOD. Because - let's be honest - I'm sure my personal level of mental and physical activity and daily chore regime is not that exciting.
Onto the yumminess. (I don't provide the recipes here, but if you email me I can get them for you!)

 Stir-Fry Broccoli with Peppers & Mushrooms

Bok Choy with Sweet Sauce and Fried Tofu

Eggplant & Onion Coconut Curry

Sauteed Eggplant, Onions & Cucumber 

I admit, I haven't made anything too exciting in a few days, but I did bake an apple pie! =) And the other day my mom made a wonderful vegan feast to say goodbye to a swiss guy who's been living with us for months. It was bountiful. I love life.

 I ask you: who doesn't like apple pie? WHO?

I hope you have the BEST. DAY. EVER.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

3-Day Apple Fast: Complete

Well... that was easy!

I was contemplating going a few more days this morning, but I decided against it for family reasons. My parents worry. I understand why, but I know myself better than anyone else does so I know what's best for me!

I would say yesterday was my best day. I was very uplifted, spiritually speaking; and experienced several personal insights. Physically, I had tons of energy and hardly needed any sleep. When you aren't concentrated on food, it frees up a lot of time and energy that you can focus on other things. For me, I focus it on inner knowledge, personal development, spirituality, and I do this through meditation and dreaming.

Speaking of dreams... during the fast I had pretty unusual dreams (for me) and not in a good way! They were all fairly dark and negative. I don't view this as a bad thing. Balance is always needed and 99% of the time I have great dreams, so as well as with other detox symptoms, strange dreams is one I experienced. I look at it as repressed emotions unveiling themselves and being eliminated.

The only thing I really did not like about the past 3 days was my body temperature. I was cold! I used to always be slightly cold. It got worse when I went raw for the first time. That was a year ago. Now I'm always slightly WARM! It was a great transformation. I was basically never cold, no matter my environment or clothing. Raw vegan super powers? =)
But after beginning my fast, I got cold again! I know it's just my blood going away from my skin towards my internal organs, to do some serious house-cleaning. Now that I'm eating other foods again however, I am back to normal. So nothing lost, a lot gained!
As gar as food goes: I began the day slowly with a grapefruit a few hours after waking (after a bunch of water of course), then some more fruit later. I know I should've stayed totally raw and quite light all day buuuuuuut  things don't always go according to plan =S 
I went over to my friends house later and ate some couscous sushi. Delicious and mostly raw so I don't feel bad. But still, my body probably would've preferred nothing. Ah well. No biggie.

I'm not sure when I'll begin my grapefruit fast, but it will most likely be soon.
As much as I'd LOVE to say "I'm gonna stay totally raw through the holidays" - I know I'd just let myself down, ha ha.
I love baking so I'll be making all sorts of delicious wholesome goodies, plus I'm sure my mom will make a bunch of vegan dishes for Christmas. I can't resist! So some serious cleansing before and after will be perfect. And at the end of the day, some whole wheat cookies and steamed veggies aren't bad for me, they allow me to share those moments with my family.

I don't think Christmas would be quite the same if at Christmas morning, my family is all sitting at the table eating our traditional cinnamon buns while I crouch in the corner, sipping my green smoothie...

It's situations like that that keep me eating a percentage of cooked food =) And it's NOT A BAD THING. I need to keep remembering that, because sometimes I get carried away with raw foodism. It's not a religion. I won't die if I eat cooked food! >.<

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

apple fast: day 3

Hey guys. Today's the third of my apple fast. I feel okay.
I think tomorrow I'll start eating other food again. I'll start with a green smoothie (YAY! I miss you, smoothies!) and then later probably have some raw soup... mmm =)

I've been looking into doing a grapefruit fast as well. Same idea, but instead of apples - grapefruit! I love grapefruit and I've read about some really amazing results as far as detoxing goes. Apparently it's supposed to help get rid of cellulite as well, but this isn't really a concern of mine... I'm 18 and pretty fit if I do say so myself.
I'm sure my parents won't be happy about it, but then... like I said in my previous post: you don't understand the philosophy and effects of fasting/cleansing - until you've tried it!

Anyway for now, my apple fast is almost done, and I feel better in general. I'd like to do it longer but my parents get worried. It's okay, I'll do longer cleanses when I move out!

Speaking of which... I have a great idea for my house when I move out. You'll love it. I'll write about it tomorrow! 

I wrote my final this morning and felt great mentally and physically, not weak at all, as my friends and mother were worried about. The third day of fasting is often my fave =) And this is one of the shortest fasts I've done. Because usually towards the end, it gets kinda hard because you really wanna eat. But since this one was only 3 days, I know I could go several more days.

When you fast, the thing people might think is the hardest part is hunger. Ironically this is the least of the discomforts. After the first night you really don't feel hungry at all. It becomes a feeling of lightness, clarity and cleanliness.

Yes, depending on the day and length of the cleanse/fast, you might feel weak sometimes, or even lightheaded.This doesn't sound good. But no pain, no gain!  

Having said that, there ARE many ways you can do a fast wrong, and it can be VERY dangerous. So please know what you're doing before you begin.

 You know it's organic when it looks this gnarly. 
No fake shiny wax coating or GMO red colour here! 

Some other things you might experience are a runny nose, headaches, weird body odor, sweatiness, feeling too hot/cold, unusual and strong emotions, and others.

Basically; these are all signs of detox - so be happy!  Generally speaking, when your system is digesting food, it's eliminating toxins. So when you fast it gives your body the best chance at detoxing as much as possible. It's kind of a dream come true for your system.

Your body is having to stir up all those built up toxins (including repressed/unconscious emotions, as strange as that sounds). When they're stirred up, you feel them! Also, your body is trying to get these toxins out in every way - through your skin, nose, and the main exit, if ya know what I mean. Everyone poops =)
Of course, use your common sense. If any of these symptoms persists or gets really serious, talk to a professional and stop fasting for now. Get informed before  you fast.

Alright, I'm gonna go enjoy my last apple now! Around the dinner table with my family. I think they're having a beef casserole. Ah well, it's local, humane and organic meat. So I don't have a problem =)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

apple fast: day 2

Today is going well so far. I slept a looong time (13 hours) because classes are OVER! Yes! One month holiday break, baby =) Having said that... my Philosophy final is tomorrow =S

So after my restful slumber, I drank a ton of water as usual, and studied a little until I was hungry. Then I ate an apple! Later my friend came over and we studied together... then got tired of it and watched TERRIBLE "reality" television. It is amazing how weird people are (we watched My Strange Addiction), you won't believe it.
I had a couple more apples throughout the day and will probably have one more before the day is done, along with some tea. It goes without being said that I'm drinking buttloads of H2O. At least a gallon of water per day, if not more. It's crucial to ANY FAST or CLEANSE.

I feel good. For me, with the previous fasts/cleanses I've done (usually smoothie/juice fasts), the first day is the hardest. It's so easy to think "meh I don't feel like doing this anymore..." and you also feel a little weird and weak: your body's like "hey, what're doing?!". But by the second day I feel good and proud of myself. Unless you've fasted before... you can't really understand the emotional side of it.
You know your body is being given a chance to do some major de-cluttering. Spiritually, you feel freed and lighter. Emotionally, it's also a time of de-cluttering, emotions you don't usually feel come out and are eliminated. Mentally, you have this sense of clarity and pride about what you're accomplishing.

At the end of the day a challenge is always good, if it's not seriously harmful. Even if you don't love it while it's happening, you're so proud when you're done. Moreover, you appreciate your blessings that much more. Do I want to eat the AMAZING smelling lentil-veggie soup my mom is making for dinner?


(Darn you, mother. She decides to make delicious vegan meals both of my fast nights so far... Yippie.) 

But ya know what, I almost always get to eat whatever and however much I want. This is great, and I'm thankful. But once and awhile you need to fast. Be it from computers, tv, sugar, solid food, ANY food, or whatever! If you're Christian, you should be familiar with Lent. Though I'm not religious, I believe in the idea behind Lent. It calls for people to give up something they love for a period of time, so they can appreciate it more and realize their blessings.
It's the same philosophy here.

On top of that, there's the very important health aspect. You give your system the opportunity to finally get rid of all that build-up and whatever else is stuck in you. It's a total detox.

Bottom line: fasting is healthy for anyone. It doesn't have to be for a month, or even a week; and it doesn't have to be from food.
It gives you a chance to clear your mind, body and soul; as well as learn to appreciate things you take for granted.

Monday, 5 December 2011

apple fast: day 1

Today so far is fine. It was SFU's last day of classes, not including finals. So THAT'S something to rejoice about. I need a break.
I feel okay at the moment, a little tired but that's because I AM tired, and I've only eaten 2 apples today =S Not enough, even for a cleanse. I'm gonna go snarf down another as soon as I'm done writing this. I'm drinking tons of water, as usual. This is really important for pretty much any kind of cleanse/fast I can think of.

I had a lovely walk around our yard and took in the beginning of winter: manifesting itself in the crisp air, curled up brown leaves and flowers, stiff vines, icey pond surface, and the quiet; as nature gets ready to hunker down for another BC winter.
It was sunny today, but I'm really hoping for a storm! They are so fun. On Christmas morning I'm secretly wishing for a crazy blizzard to whip through here. =)

I also had a relaxing, much-needed bath, accompanied by some nice music. You can never go wrong with a hot bath and your favourite calming music. Never.
I am not a shower person =/
OH! And I started watching Modern Family! If you don't watch this show... you SHOULD. It is so funny. My friend and I are gonna get caught up together (it's on it's 3rd season) and I probably won't have to do abdominal workouts anymore because we will be laughing so much. 

Now, I guess I'll eat another apple and (ugh) study more philosophy...  I can't wait til the exam is over. I love what we learn about but it does make your brain kinda tired. So much remembering; something I am not good at.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings. And don't fret! I will be making delicious raw desserts as soon as I'm done with the cleanse. I have thought of lots of great recipe ideas... just you wait ;)
Peace out until tomorrow!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

apple fast

*Sorry this post is a little long... I ramble. 

Hey all you good people. Lately I've been feeling a little down, partially because the term is ending and finals are coming up; and also because life just hasn't been that interesting lately!
Don't get me wrong, because you probably just did. I mean that in a special kind of way. Life is ALWAYS absolutely fascinating, miraculous, exciting, sensational and dynamic - it's amazing!

BUT in another kind of way, you also have your own life, in your house, at work and school, etc. See what I'm saying? Life as a whole is forever incredible. But my own specific life, as Emily von Euw in Burnaby... is a little less exciting than the life of the universe as whole. Although, I could even disagree with that and say everyone's own single life is just as intricate, interesting and important... but for the sake of this post, I'll keep it simple.

I am bored.

And I  don't GET bored! So it makes it that much worse. I feel like nothing exciting or new has happened in awhile.
Mentally:  I haven't had enough time to think about things (philosophize) as much, so I am not as in tune with myself as I normally am. I don't like this. I always need to be thinking, and it messes me up when I can't!
Physically:  I've also been too busy to focus on my food and body. Again, this is unusual for me and I am not okay with it. I've been exercising and eating well, that's not the problem. But my mindset has been pretty apathetic about the whole thing; like I don't really care

I suppose you could sum up my attitude and behavior of recent weeks as unmotivated.
It's not that I'm depressed or anything dramatic like that. Quite the contrary: I'm just flat out bored! Bored of my diet, bored of my exercise regime, bored of school, bored of (dare I say it?) my friends...
For that last one, I still love all my friends and family to pieces. Really I do. But I want someone new to come into my life, that's all I'm saying. =)

I think the holidays are definitely going to help with this. That includes the one month break we get as well. YES!!! I'm looking forward to making presents for all my friends and family, decorating, thinking of amazing raw dishes to make for the season, maybe meeting new people?
I also need to remember: this is how I work. I go through waves of mindsets. Usually  I am a very happy girl, sometimes a little dark/sad, and sometimes just unmotivated!

I wrote WAY more than I intended to, sorry =S
But there's something liberating about writing all this down... even if no one reads it. Ha ha.
This brings me to the actual TOPIC of this post: my apple cleanse!

As said, I want something new and refreshing to mix my lack of excitement up. I've decided to go on an apple cleanse for a few days. Why? After I fast or cleanse I feel renewed, lively, and totally motivated in life. So it's actually the perfect thing for me to do in this case.
Plus, we have barrels of local organic apples in our garage, which we pick up via CSA box every two weeks. They are outta-this-world delicious of course, but we can only eat so many!
So we've got a bunch extra right now. I think I'll bake an apple pie as well. But right now we don't have Earth Balance and I don't want to work with dairy butter.
Don't worry, I'll also make a raw apple pie - they are SO GOOD.

All of the above withstanding: an apple cleanse is the perfect solution to my present boredom dilemma. And when I'm finished with it - I'll be on holidays!
I think I'll go for about 3 days or longer, depending on how I feel. I'll probably eat around 10 apples per day (or more, or less!), again it depends on how I feel.
For my workouts, I'll mellow them out a LOT, and just do yoga and some trampolining each day.

So that's that! We'll see how this goes.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

raw hot chocolate: OMG!

I've made raw hot chocolate (I'm just gonna call it hot chocolate, okay) before so I know it's delicious. But I guess tonight the universe just wanted it to taste more out-of-this-world decadent than normal. So it did! I also haven't made it in awhile, so it was extra yummy.

This hot chocolate warmed me up and was the perfect accompaniment to the cold winter's night AND for the lame 90's movie I watched - Clueless. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME. I am not embarrassed to admit: I love this movie and have watched it at least 3 times. Don't worry, I otherwise have very good taste in cinematography.

So indulge in this wonderful winter treat, without the guilt! No sugar, no dairy; just healthy fats, cocoa and spices. You won't believe how yummy this is. And easy to make in big batches for the whole family around the holidays =) Enjoy!

Warm Cocoa -Raw Hot Chocolate: makes about 2 cups (I drank it all myself)

1 1/2 cups hot water
1 T honey/agave/maple syrup
Handful nuts (I used a mix of brazil nuts and cashews)
Handful dried coconut (I used chunks of coconut they sell at the health food store - so tasty)
1/2 t of cinnamon (or to taste)
2 T cacoa/cocoa 
Pinch of cayenne - TO TASTE
I also added 1 or 2 of my chocolate truffles, because they were there... and, well, chocolate. 

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth and creamy... mmm. Sip up the foam and then delight in the chocolatey goodness of health.

sweet corn, garlic & tomato soup with avocado and dill

"Happiness is this!" was the first thing I said when I had a spoonful of this soup. Not only had it been a long day on campus, and I had had a really hard workout (my leg muscles are crying), but it was also the beginning of my three day weekend.

So, when I finally was able to sit down with this glorious bowl of soup - you can imagine my excitement and shear blissful mind-state. As I'm writing this, I feel almost euphoric! It must be a mix of my workout high (which I'm able to enjoy daily) plus more endorphins being released because of the deliciousness of this SOUP.

I haven't made raw soup in quite some time, it's more of a winter thing for me. I love soups that are warming, smooth and rich. I can't do cold chunky gazpachos. Yilk. Sorry.

Now that the BC winter is coming, I'm getting my comforting-soup cravings! Raw soups are divine, really. They are so creamy, flavourful and totally satisfying. And all they are is veggies with maybe some nuts, spices, oil and water. MMM!

Blended foods are great because not only are raw smoothies and soups FANTASTIC, they are also waaaay easier on your digestive system. Your stomach doesn't have to do anything! So you save that energy, and get those nutrients into your blood faster.

Tonight I had a ripe avocado, some frozen organic sweet corn, and tomatoes. We always have garlic. You should too.
You may want to put in just one clove of garlic to start, and see if that's good enough. I am garlic junkie so watch out, as I put in three. Also, start with a small amount of water and add until you get the consistency you want. Personally, I don't like watery soup.

Sweet Corn, Garlic & Tomato Soup with Avocado and Dill: serves 1

1 tomato
1/3 cup organic sweet corn kernels
1-3 cloves garlic
Handful walnuts
Spoonful hemp seeds
1-2 t Tamari/Bragg's
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 or whole avocado, chopped
Salt & Pepper 
Fresh or dried Dill

Blend tomato, corn, garlic, walnuts, hemp seeds, Tamari, water, and HALF of whatever amount of avocado you're using until smooth. Pour into bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste, and top with remaining chopped avocado and dill. I added some raw, organic honey for good measure.

I had forgotten how much I LOVE raw soups. They are soooo friggin' good. Nuff said.
Now go make your own.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

pumpkin chocolate chip cookie dough

I got this recipe idea from ChocolateCoveredKatie. I liked how it turned out, and it's almost totally raw as well. Maybe I'm just not having a pumpkin day but next time I think I won't use pumpkin. I just want that pure chocolate chip cookie dough taste. I probably had too much pumpkin in October.

The main reason I made this today was for the protein. This actually has A LOT of it. I used navy beans (all beans and legumes are full of protein and fibre); oats and pumpkin also have a fair bit. And I put in a few peanuts too.

I think if I make this again, I'll add some protein powder as well.
So it served as a pretty good post-workout snack, awhile after my green smoothie of course =)
It is very filling.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: makes a lot! about 6-8 servings
1 can (2 cups) pureed pumpkin
1 can (2 cups) navy beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup dates
1/4 cup raisins
3 T maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup water, if/as needed
2 T cacoa/cocoa 
Peanuts and protein powder if desired

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 oats
1/2 cup raisins

Process all ingredients from first list until smooth. Then mix in the chocolate chips, oats and raisins by hand.

Friday, 25 November 2011

chocolate protein truffles & green smoothie recipe

Not that I'm back to my crazy workouts (it was just a matter of time... I'm an addict), I have to make sure I get enough protein. If I weren't raw, it wouldn't be something I'd have to think about.

Most people actually get 5 times more protein than they need everyday (USDA, 2005).

But the fact that I am raw PLUS my workouts are really intense, my protein intake is something I need to watch. Mostly because I love muscle, and always want more =)

One way I do this is by adding protein powder to my already protein-packed green smoothies, with hempseed and flax. I DO prefer getting protein from unrefined sources; even though my protein powder is high quality, it's still processed.

When I'm done with this container of powder, I'm not buying anymore. From now on I'll just be getting protein from nuts, seeds and greens (which I partly do already).

Yay! In nature, there aren't protein powder trees. Wouldn't that be nice though?

After my workout today - which involved plyo-metrics, kickboxing, yoga and weight training - I made a DELICIOUS green smoothie and gulped it down. Then I stretched and watched the end of a Doris Day movie.

I could feel my muscles calling for some more building materials, so I decided to make a chocolate-y treat with mostly oats, nuts and rice protein powder. They're turned out like truffles because I rolled them into balls and coated them with cocoa =)

Protein Truffle Bombs: makes about 50 small balls
1 cup oats
1 cup mix of brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts or whatever nuts you like
1/4 cup cocoa/cacoa
2-3 scoops of fave protein powder
3 Tb agave
1/2 cup soaked dates
1/4 cup water (or more/less as needed)
1 t vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/8-1/4 cup coconut oil
Cocoa/cacoa for rolling

Process all dry ingredients until they're like a super hefty flour. Add all other ingredients and process/mix by hand until they're like cookie dough. Roll into balls and roll in the cocoa until coated. 
Chill for an hour or so. Or just eat them right away. I probably devoured half the batter while I was making them... 

Berry Green Smoothie: makes around 3 1/2 cups
3 loose cups of spinach
4-5 leaves of kale
Grapefruit, peeled
Lime, peeled
Banana, frozen
1/4 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
Stevia if desired
2 T peeled ginger 
Handful cilantro 

Blend all ingredients until smooth! Sip and enjoy good health! Dang IT'S SO GOOD.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

spontaneous chocolate cake (baked)

When a few of my friends came over on the weekend, I suddenly had the intense urge to make a layered chocolate cake, with yummy chocolate ganache icing. I know, I know. Not raw or even particularly healthy at all. But I'm fine with that.

I used to be totally infatuated with baking, and actually got quite good at it! I was making puff pastry, eclairs, fondant-laden cakes, and other fancy things. I could whip up the perfect apple pie in a couple hours. Those days were lovely and fun, but of course those foods weren't vegan (sooo much butter), and not doing anything good for my body or anyone else's.

That being said, I still love to bake! I can't explain why... something about it is just so comforting, it's like a form of meditation for me. So I decided to make a cake for me and my friends to enjoy together.

I whipped the batter, laughing and dancing with my friends, to Eminem, N'Sync and LMFAO songs... yes, I am lame; and yes, it was fun. =)
It turned out deliciously. The cake was SO moist and the icing was off da hook. (I added peanut butter for good measure... was the right choice).

It's rustic, okay?

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter-Chocolate Ganache: serves 8-12, depending on how much you like cake 

2 cups cashew milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup cane sugar/brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cocoa/cacao 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix wet ingredients together, and let sit for 5 minutes. Sift in dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Taste it... yes. Orgasmic, probably because of the straight-up sugar. 
Pour evenly into two circular cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, but check it yourself every few minutes after 20 minutes or so. 
When they look done, do the tooth-pick test to see if it comes out clean. Let them sit out in the pans for 10 minutes or so and then "naked" on a cooling rack for 5 minutes or so. 

While they're baking, make the ganache:
1 cup cashew milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup Earth Balance 
3/4 cup cocoa/cacoa 
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of cayenne, or however much you want
1 teaspoon salt

Melt earth balance and blend it into all the other ingredients until smooth... like icing. Refrigerate until the cakes are ready to be iced.
When the cakes are ready, spread 1/3 of the icing on to the top of the first layer. Put on the second layer and do the same. Then spread the rest all around the top and sides. Enjoy!

Saturday, 19 November 2011


Have you ever heard of Kombucha tea? Neither had I. Until my friend told me about this crazy mushroom tea her dad always makes. Apparently he's been doin' it forever, and it's totally weird and healthy. So of course, I'd be interested.

Basically, you take a baby Kombucha mushroom, and let it ferment in prepared tea for 10-15 days, or longer. It grows in the tea and actually has a baby mushroom. With this, you can start a new pot of Kombucha, or give the baby to a friend! The beverage you end up with does look a little off-putting if you don't know what it is. My parents thought it was science project. BUT the tea tastes delicious! Think of a cocktail of apple cider, champagne, and a little bit of vinegar. Since it's fermented, it's has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It is also very easy for your body to absorb, as well as detoxifying and enzyme/nutrient-rich. Some other choices for fermented foods are kimchi, miso, wine, sauerkraut, and aged nut cheeses.

Check out just SOME benefits of fermentation here. 

When I went to my first raw potluck a few weeks ago, they were serving Kombucha! My friend also lent me a book about it, which calls it "The Health Drink Sweeping America" (Pryor & Holst, 1995). America, here, means mostly California =) I guess it was a huge thing in the 60's onward.
SO, yesterday my friend's mushroom finally had a baby that was ready to be given away! Since she's the best person in the world, she gave me this baby mushroom! In fact, it's a pretty big baby... it's actually already starting to grow it's own offspring. She gave it to me in a giant jug of tea that's been fermenting for 16 days, that I now have sitting in my kitchen. Personally, I think it's quite a pretty tea, especially with the funky-looking growth on top =)

I am sipping away at my Kombucha now, in a wine glass, enjoying life. Yay for fermentation and mushrooms! Here's a site that gives the recipe.

nature's fertility (in our own backyard)

This season we had an in interesting collection of harvests.
Our kiwis have finally started to grow! We've had the plant for about 7 years and it's never produced fruit before... or even flowered. But this summer we were getting itsy bitsy, baby kiwis! Perhaps next year they'll be edible! It's one of my favourite fruits so I am quite anxious.
We were able to pick all our grapes... getting the last of them today. They make the most refreshing juice you've ever tasted. Unfortunately it wasn't a very hot summer so they didn't get as much sun as they should. But they're still tasty, just not as dark. I think they're so lovely-looking.

Much to my despair; our figs did not ripen before the winter came =( I was really looking forward to eating fresh figs from our yard. But again, there just wasn't enough sun to get them past their green stage. And figs are one of those fruits that don't ripen after being picked. So... maybe next year I'll get to taste that fresh fig =/
I also picked the last of the kale and swiss chard, and that's about it. Last of the season's abundance! See you in spring, garden.

Had to add this last picture =) I WISH it were from our yard... but we cut down our apple tree a few years ago because it was infected. These are from the CSA that we get bi-weekly - fresh, local, organic apples!!! You really can tell the difference. 
In addition to grapes, kiwis, figs, and greens; in the according seasons we also grow/have grown blueberries (the reason I live!), strawberries (oh yeah... I live for these too), carrots, onions, garlic, pumpkins, pears, cherries, apples, potatoes, beets, beans, and many more plants I can't remember at the moment. Who says you can't grow your own food in the city!?

this also best choice to make beef bourguignon if you are have party