Thursday, 27 October 2011

basic nut milk

Why no dairy? Read this.

This is a very simple recipe for any basic nut milk. I love cinnamon and like things sweet, so I add cinnamon and a date. My favourite nut to use is sprouted cashews, because of their creaminess.

Non-dairy milks are delicious and I recommend anyone to buy EdenSoy Organic Soy Milk. It's totally non-GMO and about as nutritious and environmentally sustainable as you can get. In fact, I wrote an entire university paper on this product. If you don't want to make your own vegan milk - BUY THIS! =) I love supporting great companies.

Having said that, raw vegan milks aren't actually a big part of my diet. But that's just becuase I didn't drink much milk before I was vegan.
If you are (or were) a big milk drinker, then this recipe and other non-dairy milks are a must. It's super easy to make in bulk and tastes divine after it's been in a the fridge for an hour.

Cashew Milk: makes one glass
Small handful cashews or any other nut
Dash of cinnamon
Sweetener if desired (dates, maple syrup, agave)
1-2 cups water

Blend all those guys all together in your high-speed blender and enjoy! Best after being refrigerated for a bit: tall, cold glass o' milk!
(If you want really smooth nut milk, put it through a sieve before drinking.)

carving pumpkins; still love gourds

My friends, Eva and Peki (two really wonderful people), came over today to carve pumpkins for Halloween weekend. Eva brought a lovely Kabocha squash.

I usually don't like pumpkin-carving (I know, call me a loser) but somehow it's way funner with friends... and soup! I had a great time and with all the pumpkin seeds, we made a yummy snack.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds:

Drizzle a little olive oil on the seeds, then sprinkle on some salt. Toast them at 325 degrees Celsius for around 15-20 minutes until they smell good and are browning. Take 'em out and eat 'em up! Everybody loves pumpkin seeds. Yay for protein and delicious simplicity! 

beautiful butternut squash; i love gourds

A couple weeks ago, I began to get the Autumn Soup Cravings. And I wanted a warming soup made from some sort of gourd, with curry spices and coconut milk. I was at the farmer's market last Saturday and when we saw butternut squash, I decided to make it the star of the soup.
I bought two, just to be sure I'd have enough. A nice thing about gourds is you can let them sit around FOREVER. We've had this spaghetti squash in the kitchen for like a month now. They keep extremely well... They're tough little guys. So it was fine that I wasn't able to make the soup until today.

My family ate this soup right up, even my little carnivorous brother. They said they weren't crazy about the texture, because it is a little chunky... but that's the fibre! If you prefer it smoother however, just strain it.  No biggie. I suggest using the fibrous stuff left over in baked goods, raw crackers, even cookies, etc.
I also made a simple cashew cream that really complemented the colours and flavours of the soup; sweet and cool while the soup was spicy and warm. 

I actually had about 3 cups of squash left over so I made muffins (baked)! They were delicious. Sometimes ya just need a muffin and some soup. Oh, and some good friends to carve pumpkins with =)

Raw Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Cashew Cream: makes about 8 cups (8 or so servings)

5 cups peeled, cubed raw butternut squash
2 cups coconut milk
1 orange, peeled
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/4 raisins or bit of agave/honey (to sweeten)
1 Tbsp your fave curry powder
3 T ginger, peeled (or more, to taste)
1 clove of peeled garlic
1 t cinnamon 
1/2 cup vegetable stock (not raw, but adds to the flavour)
Water or orange juice as needed

Blend all ingredients together in Vita-mix or other high-speed blender until smooth, adding water as needed. Taste it and see what you think. Add more/other ingredients until you like what you taste. Put into bowls. 

Cashew Cream:
3/4 cup cashews
3 dates
1/2 t cinnamon 
1/2 t garlic powder and onion powder - don't use too much, you want the cream to be a little sweet
Water as needed

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth, adding water as needed. It should be about the same consistency as the soup, and a little sweet, not very spicy.

Drizzle onto soup in bowls and top with a sprig of carrot greens, or other pretty herbs you have around. Enjoy!

I love how this soup is raw, but warms you up anyway because of the ginger, onion, garlic, and curry. I also love how nicely the sweet cashew cream contrasts. And I love that it's all mostly squash! Which is just water, vitamins, nutrients and fibre! I hope you like it.
Remember, if it's too chunky: just strain it. It will become like creamy cooked soup.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Best Banana Split - Raw & Vegan, BABY!

Why's it the best? Because it's got more nutrients, vitamins and minerals than your multi-vitamin. BAM!

Why should dessert make you feel GUILTY?!
What is that?!
Everything you eat should make you happy, in all ways - inside and out.

This banana split is glorious because it's just a bunch of healthy fats to keep my hair and skin glowing; plus fibre, iron, amino acids, protein, potassium, magnesium, electrolytes, B vitamins for your brain, zinc... I mean I could go on for ever. Needless to say, this is one healthy banana split.

All it is is the raw coconut ice cream, with some almond butter, cashews, goji berries, coconut flakes, and of course - an organic banana.
Scoop out maybe 3 scoops or so of your fave ice cream. Sprinkle with cashews, coconut, goji berries, and spoon on some almond butter. Add whatever else ya want, like cinnamon, cocoa, other fruit, etc. Then chop up a banana and enjoy!


the dairy dilemma

You must forget everything the media and your momma (who's only been influenced by the media) have told you about milk. The dairy board is extremely powerful. Plain and simple.

All dairy is, is nasty antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals they pump into the poor dairy cows to keep them alive in their disgusting factory farms. If they didn't have all these drugs in them, they'd die immediately because the conditions are so dirty and gross.
They don't even feed them the right food, so the milk you're drinking isn't from a healthy animal. All their stress, pain and fear while alive creates disease in their bodies. I don't want that in mine. I also don't want to support the immoral treatment of dairy cows.

If you don't believe dairy cows are treating cruelly, watch Earthlings
Beware though, it's not for the faint of heart... it's reality. 
So even if you don't care that the cows were treated like dirt, I would hope you care about your own body. Milk causes all sorts of serious health problems. From osteoporosis (you heard me), to cancer, to diabetes, to kidney stones, the list goes on and on. I'm not kidding, people.

Why do we drink milk? Vitamin D, calcium, and protein, mainly.
Vitamin D: We should really only get from the sun, period. Maybe 10-20 minutes a day in sunlight. So go for a walk.
Calcium: Because milk is acidifying, and our bodies require an alkaline environment; we try to buffer the acidity with calcium.We can't use the calcium in milk anyways so our bodies have to LEECH CALCIUM FROM OUR BONES. Yep, that's right. Over time, milk thins your bones, doesn't strengthen them.
The very-absorbable calcium found in broccoli, other greens and plant foods strengthens your bones.
Protein: Ever heard of a protein deficiency? Me either. That's because we hardly need any protein to survive. Many call it the Protein Myth. It's just not something you need to worry about, unless you're a bodybuilder. In which case, eat some hemp seeds and spinach.

If you want to learn more about the TRUE FACTS of what milk does to your body, read The China Study. It is called the "the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted" for a reason.

Milk is not meant for us. Firstly: we aren't weening babies anymore so we shouldn't be drinking any kind of milk anymore. Secondly: WHY ARE WE DRINKING THE MILK OF ANOTHER SPECIES? Do you see piglets suckling at the tit of lions? No, because that wouldn't make any sense... see my point?

Would you do this? Of course not.. Then why do you drink milk?

If you must indulge on dairy, I seriously recommend you only buy local, non-pasteurized, humanely-milked dairy. If not for the cows - do it for YOUR HEALTH and the health of your FAMILY!
"Too expensive", you say? Then buy almond/rice/coconut/soy/cashew or any other non-dairy milk! It's cheaper and doesn't go bad. You can even make it yourself in bulk and save more money. This is far better for you than the best organic milk out there.
"Non-pasteurized - that's not safe", you say? If the only way you feel comfortable eating something is if it's been heated so that it basically kills the food and all it's nutrients... maybe you just shouldn't eat that food.

So what should you have INSTEAD of dairy? I mean, who doesn't like cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, or butter?! As humans, we love creamy fats. It's only natural. I will be posting a ton of raw vegan better-than-dairy recipes, and...
Luckily, there are countless other delicious plant-based alternatives. You won't miss a thing. Right now, I'm currently making two wheels of aged nut cheeses for X-mas! Recipe soon!

Here are two sites that list a few alternatives:
If you've got any questions about dairy or anything else, please contact me! =) 
Now, on to banana splits!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

raw chocolate pudding: eat it for breakfast!

*Also check out avocado pudding - it's insane.

Today my friend Emily came over and we studied for our Philosophy midterm... somewhat successfully. But then it was time for a distraction and Emily wanted some chocolate pudding.

Well, rather than making sugary, chemically-flavoured pudding from a "milk ingredient"-derived powder like Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Disodium Phosphate (For Thickening), Contains less than 2% of Natural and Artificial Flavor, Salt, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate (For Thickening), Mono- and Diglycerides (Prevent Foaming), Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Artificial Color, Bha (Preservative) - Yum?

I made a delicious concoction out of bananas, chia seeds, raisins, agave and cocoa. We also added some cinnamon and almond butter. It was creamy and very satisfying.

It seriously took just a few minutes, so if you're short on time and want a healthy, filling and rad breakfast/lunch/snack/even dinner pudding - this is for YOU =)
And as with EVERY RAW RECIPE: it's so friggin' easy and totally adaptable to anything your little heart desires.

Chocolate Pudding: Makes 2 servings, though I could eat it all myself

2 bananas
2 T almond or other nut butter
1 t vanilla extract
2 T agave (or to taste)
1/4 cup raisins (try to find no sugar added, ex. Sun Maid)
3 T chia seeds, gelled with water (explained in recipe)
Cinnamon (to taste, I added maybe 1 t)
Cocoa (to taste, I added maybe 1/6 cup or so)

I think that's all we put in there... 
Cover the chia seeds with water (maybe 1/4 cup or more) and as they're gelling, process the other ingredients until smooth. When chia is gelled - it only take a couple minutes - add them. Taste it and add what ya want.
Serve in bowls topped with coconut flakes and goji berries and/or other fruit - tasty in my tummy!

This is one chocolate pudding you can feel GOOD about eating!

durian durian

Raw fooders definitely have some common favourite foods. Some that come to mind are avocado, banana, some swear by fruit, some by nuts/seeds, etc. One raw food that's always a topic of controversy and discussion is the illustrious durian.

Half of us love it, half of us loathe it. In any case, it's smell is infamous and nobody likes it.
Durians are grown in Thailand and are so smelly that they're illegal indoors. They also have to be frozen when shipped overseas for the same reason.

I have been wondering for many months now what my opinion of the durian would be. I tend to like foods and smells others find a little unusual, so I was optimistic.

Well, I finally found where they keep the durians in the T&T Asian Market and bought one. They were hiding in a giant freezer behind a pillar in the meat section... hmm.
We probably looked a little strange walking through the market, my mom and me; two white women on a mission holding a giant spiky, tropical fruit. But then that's Vancouver culture for you, and I love it.

Okay - so my durian experience. It began to smell a lot more once it thawed, and my dad immediately recognized the scent. My mom and dad lived in Thailand for many years and ate a lot of durian. They both love it, but like most people, my dad can't stand the smell. I personally think it smells like really sweet rotting fruit... not as bad as it sounds!

We sliced it open after I noticed it starting to split - a sign of ripeness - and I got my first look at the guts. They were giant yellowish pods and they had the texture of custard. In each pod there's a seed.

I had my first bite... YUM!

I liked it! Wouldn't use the word love, as I thought I would... but it was very tasty. Like nothing you have EVER tasted. I can only describe it as fruity, almond-y, and toasty and the same time. I advise everyone to try a durian. Whether you like it or not, it's a unique and fun experience. My brothers' reactions were absolutely hysterical - we were literally all on the ground laughing.

Sufficed to say, they did not like the durian. 

Now what can you actually DO with durian? We just ate it plain, but apparently there are tons of options. It is often used in baking and desserts. Some great raw options are to add it to smoothies and make raw milkshakes. Or you can make durian custard, flavouring as you want. Next time we buy a durian, I think I'll get creative.

Monday, 24 October 2011

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

This Is How I Roll

*Check out the general recipe for this, here.

On Friday my mom went grocery shopping and bought rice paper because she couldn't find any nori sheets. Rice paper isn't raw but I was interested because it's a common raw food ingredient in dishes. I'd never used it before so I wasn't sure how my Saturday night dinner would turn out... but it went deliciously well!
I suggest you try it ASAP, seeing how easy and yummy it is.

 I have an adoration for bad translations.

I had a ripe avocado handy (don't you love it when that happens?) so I added that to some other chopped veggies - bell pepper, corn, and tomato - and put a bit of Bragg's and walnut-parma on them. Then I soaked the rice paper for a minute in warm water and it got REALLY soft and pliable. I rolled up the veggies in the paper with no major mishaps and had the rolls with some fresh-made kale chips and small glass of red wine while I waited for my friend to come over.

You can never eat too many kale chips.
My friend, Eva, got to my house and we listened to jazz and drank wine for awhile - lovely. Then it was time to party! I had quite a fun night, but this morning...

Not so good.

What could possibly cure the all-too-well-known hangover? A GREEN SMOOTHIE!

Just look at all the life in there!

I'm finishing it now and already feel a million times better. That and a shower are really all I need to get back to normal. Now, about that Philosophy studying I was gonna do...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

"it tastes like christmas!"

Today was my wonderful, funny, strange, and vegetarian friend Emily's birthday (yes, one of my best friends names is the same as mine). I gave her numerous hugs and a tart.

The crust tasted like crumbly Reeses, even though the only nuts in it were sprouted walnuts. That and some dates, cinnamon and cocoa. I molded that into a tart shell (remembering my mom's b-day present, anyone?) and then filled it with a chia seed caramel sauce. Which was just gelled chia seeds added to the caramel recipe.

I let it refrigerate overnight and then decorated it before I ran to meet her at the SkyTrain station.

It's a wonderful world we live in, when you can make something that tastes THIS GOOD, and is also crazy-good for your fabulous bod at the same time. Plus, it's easy to make and turns out really cute! The prefect gift for that special someone, an impressive dessert, or an (uber healthy) treat for yourself.

So go on, make this tart and enjoy life. What's not to like?

Goji Berry Caramel Tart: makes 4-5 or so, but you won't have any problems with leftovers

1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup soaked dates
1/4 cup cocoa/cacao
1 t cinnamon 
1 t vanilla
1 T coconut oil, if it's too crumbly

Process all ingredients until it's like dough (but a little crumbly). Press it into your favourite tart shells and freeze while you're making the filling.

Caramel Filling:
Handful Brazil nuts
2-3 T raw honey/agave
1 t vanilla extract
7-10 dates, soaked for 30 minutes or so if you can - but don't dump the water!
3 T almond butter
2 T tahini
2-3 T coconut butter, melted 
1/2 t cinnamon
Pinch salt 
Water as needed (preferably the date water)
1/6 cup or so coconut flakes (doesn't really matter, you be the judge)
2 T chia seeds gelled with water

Process Brazil nuts into fine pieces, add all other ingredients EXCEPT coconut flakes and chia seeds. Process until it has a caramel-y consistency. You may need to add some water or more of the other ingredients. Try it. Your mind should be exploding now. If not, continue tampering until it reaches the mind-blowing stage. Add the coconut flakes and gelled chia.
Spoon this into the frozen tart shell crusts and let it freeze for maybe another 30 minutes. Then carefully take the crust out of the mold, not letting it break! Chill until you need them, and decorate with goji berries or anything else!

Friday, 21 October 2011

peanut butter cups! reeses SCHMEESES. pff.

DANG THESE ARE GOOD. (I have another recipe here for them)

I am an admitted chocoholic, as well as a peanut-butter-holic. So these are pure bliss bites.

As I've said, I simply cannot afford raw jungle peanuts from strange and beautiful lands... no matter how much I wish I could. So I use toasted peanuts and make 'em into butter in the Vita-Mix.

Peanut Butter Cups: makes around 5-6

4oz chocolate (I used Lindt, about 1 bar)
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 T nutritional yeast

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Meanwhile, mix the nutritional yeast with the peanut butter until smooth. Get bendable cupcake molds (I use reusable silicon ones, they're cute and very handy) and pour a wee bit of chocolate into the bottom of each mold - you should have used nearly half the chocolate all together when finished with this step.

Next, put almost a tablespoon of PB in mold, but don't let it touch the sides. Then pour the rest of the chocolate into each mold, making sure it covers all the PB and touches the sides. Chill for a couple hours until they're hard and you can take them out of their molds. 

Maybe I should tell you not to eat too many of these or something... but honestly - stuff yo face. They're worth it and c'mon people, it's organic dark chocolate and homemade peanut butter. Let's enjoy life, not moderate it. YUM!


Ladies and gentleman, I may have found a match for my ice cream.

I'm calling it raw caramel, because that's what I had in mind when I began making it. As usual, I didn't have a plan so some raw magic happened and this wonderful caramel thing came out of it. It tastes sooo much better than caramel, and all that's in it is sprouted nuts/seeds, raw agave (or maple syrup), cinnamon and coconut butter!


I originally made up this caramel filling for my friends birthday (will be posted after this); I'm going to put it in a tart shell and make it all perdy for her =)

But it's so good I had to write down the recipe and get it on to my blog ASAP. I need to inform the world of this incredible substance. Make it now!!! It will change you.

*Remember with raw food, measurements are not precise so just add enough of everything to get the consistency, flavour and texture you want. 

THE Best Raw Vegan Caramel Sauce: makes around 1 cup, easy to make more/less

Handful Brazil nuts
2-3 Tb raw agave/maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract
10 dates, soaked for 30 minutes or so if you can - but don't dump the water!
3 Tb almond butter
2 Tb tahini
2-3 Tb coconut butter, melted 
1/2 t cinnamon
Pinch salt 
Water as needed (preferably the date water)
1/6 cup or so coconut flakes

2 Tb chia seeds gelled with water (see note)

Process Brazil nuts into fine pieces, add all other ingredients EXCEPT coconut flakes and chia seeds. Process until it has a caramel-y consistency. You may need to add some water or more of the other ingredients. Try it. Your mind should be exploding now. If not, continue tampering until it reaches the mind-blowing stage. 

NOTE: Now if ya want, add the coconut flakes and gelled chia. This basically just dilutes the sweetness and gives you more. I did this to make the filling of the b-day tart. It's up to you, depending on what you're gonna use it for. Personally, I could just eat it all straight-up.

*Is this recipe too complicated? Another SUPER easy raw caramel is just dates, melted coconut oil and water, maybe with a bit of agave all blended together. 

This song was on the radio and it sums up my feelings pretty well =)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

an addiction

OMG. I have a problem.

When you ask someone what their favourite crunchy, salty indulgence is: chances are they're gonna say chips. And why not? They do SEEM satisfying. But are they really? I don't particularly want GMO potatoes deep fried in processed oils covered in chemical salts and fake flavours - no matter how good they may taste.

Having said that - there are really great brands of chips out there. Lots are organic, non-GMO, made in small batches, locally sourced, and only have 3-5 or so whole food ingredients that you can actually read. For example: Hippie Chips, and Food Should Taste Good Chips.Yay for them! But I have something even BETTER! It's dark, leafy, and green. Can ya guess?


Now, kale on it's own isn't crunchy or salty... in fact, for most people, it's a pretty bitter bother (see what I did there?) But there is a way out, my friends! A delicious, so-healthy-it's-silly way out. Kale Chips.

They're cheap, easy, practically calorie-free, and absolutely addicting in the best way possible! Last weekend, I ate three huge heads of kale. Alone. In a day. And I wanted more.
Sadly, most people don't get that many greens in their system in 2 months. But kale chips will change that! Once you try them, you'll understand. There's not much else to say.

Kale Chips: serves... probably just you, even though you won't believe me at the beginning

 3/4 cup sprouted nuts (I like cashews for their creaminess)
1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 T curry powder, or any other spicy powder you adore - this and the yeast are key
1 T miso
Splash of Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt and pepper
Clove of garlic, chopped
2-3 heads/bunches of fave kale

Blend all ingredients except kale in small blender until smooth. It should turn into a thick, delicious, saucy thing... unless you or I forgot an ingredient. Add other things to your liking. Set aside.
Wash kale and break into large chip sized pieces (they will shrink a lot). Put in your biggest bowl and throw in the sauce. Mix it in with your hands - this is surprisingly enjoyable - until all the pieces are evenly coated. Try one...

Yep. I know. You're gonna eat 'em all.

Try not to though! Get them in the dehydrator for around 3-4 hours until they're crispy. I like them when some are really crispy and others still have the warm, nutty goo on them.

MMMMMMM! I think come Saturday, Emily will be purchasing 6 heads of kale from the market. They will be gone by Sunday.

rainbow sushi

Have conventional ideas about Japanese-North American Cuisine? Throw 'em out. There's no reason you have to eat imitation crab and cooked white rice - or worse, deep-fried tempura - to enjoy sushi. For me, sushi can basically have the contents of a fresh salad in a different form, and be even MORE delicious. You can get all the flavours and textures of the real thing - while eating your greens, grains veggies.

I make this ALL the time since it's so easy and as long as you have a ripe avocado, the rest of the ingredients should be hanging around your kitchen anyways. You can even make it without an avocado, but personally I think it makes the dish; nothing like those creamy omega 3's (NOT from poor little fishies). I can literally feel my hair and skin start to glow!

I had pictures of one time when I made sushi and it was just gorgeous, very gorumet-cuisine-looking; but it seems I've lost them. Oh well, I'll make it again soon I assure you!

These tasted just as good. And I think they're beautiful in their own way. I didn't have any nori sheets (a type of seaweed, very nutritious) so I used some organic rainbow chard from the farmer's market (3 huge bunches for $5! Who says bein' raw is expensive?)

Rainbow chard has got to be one of my favourite greens. The beautiful, vibrant colours of the stems that run through the leaves like living veins; it's one of those foods I don't want disrupt by eating! But I do =) That and dino kale. It's a split.

Rainbow Sushi: serves 3 

3 big leaves of greens, or nori sheets
1/2 cup of your fave raw thick sauce or spread (I'll provide recipes for all my sauces eventually...)
A big handful of sprouts (you can even use sprouted/cooked whole grains like buckwheat or quinoa)
Bell pepper
Celery stick
1/2 avocado
1/2 tomato (optional) 

Cut all the veggies and avocado into sticks. Spread thick sauce onto inside of each big leaf. Put on the sprouts next (all over the leaf), followed by the veg sticks and avocado, on one side. Put a bit more sauce on the opposite side and roll up. The sauce keeps the rolled over leaf stuck to it so it doesn't fall apart. (You're basically making a burrito here, people.) Then cut the roll into sushi-sized pieces, plate, and sprinkle on walnut-parma. Yum!

elixir of life

I drink this everyday and if I can't, I crave it. It gives me energy to gets me through my day until dinner, hours later. It keeps me full, lean, energetic, happy, glowing, and ALIVE!
I buy my greens from our farmer's market or pick them from our garden, and you should too! =)
Who wants pesticide soup? Not Me. Support organic, local produce.

This is a super-duper basic recipe, I never measure anything, just add things according to taste. Don't add too many greens at once because if it's too bitter you'll have to add more banana, water, dates or other stuff and before you know it you have a pitcher of smoothie that you can't finish yourself and that's only good fresh... uh oh. Don't wanna waste those precious greenies. 

Green Smoothie of LIFE: makes 1 monster smoothie (about 4 cups)

Handful of dino kale (or any other edible dark, leafy green)
Handful of rainbow chard (or any other edible green)
Stick of Celery
Half cucumber
Small handful cilantro or other herbs
Bit of ginger, chopped
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon/lime
1 cup coconut water (electrolytes!) or water
1/8 teaspoon stevia, or a few dates, or a bit of agave - I like things sweet =)
Frozen banana, chopped
2 frozen strawberries, optional

That's all, folks! Blend them all up 'til it's smooth and creamy and sip away. I drink them in my mason jar with a straw and before I know it, the jar is empty.

Like I said, the possibilities here are endless, there's no use in even naming a few because that list will never end! Have fun and enjoy the vitality these smoothies bring.
Let me know your favourite recipe!

want long life and good health? drink your greens!

Do you want to have more energy without the crash? Do you want beautiful, glowing skin? Do you want strong nails, hair and a lean, mean fat-burning body? Do you want to say good-bye to mood swings, stress, headaches, sleepiness and depression? Do you want to live a long, healthy and happy life? DO YOU JUST WANT TO FEEL AMAZING? (If not... You're bananas.)

Well folks, you can have all those things and more. I'm not talking about some superfood David Wolfe just discovered in Bhutan, or some expensive powder at the health food store.

I'm talking about DINOSAURS.

Dinosaur KALE, that is. And spinach and lettuce and swiss chard rainbow chard, bok choy, arugula, cilantro, parsley, carrot greens, beet greens, dandelion greens, even broccoli; I mean the list goes on and on. DARK LEAFY GREENS HOLD THE THE SECRET TO LONGEVITY AND HEALTH.
But who wants to chew 6 cups of spinach? Not me. So what is there to do?  
Blend Green Smoothies. (What about juice? Check out my note at the end.)
Which blender is the best? There's no question: the Vita-Mix. It can literally liquefy a wooden block.
When we blend greens into a deliciously smooth drink, we are able to absorb them much faster because we're saving our bodies the digestive work.  

Did you know? Digestion takes the most energy out of any other biological function? Let's use that energy for other things!

We are able to assimilate those vital nutrients almost immediately. Now, we ALL know we should eat our greens (or drink them, in this case!) but most of us don't. Why is that? Because they don't taste that great to the majority of people. I personally find them delicious, but that's just me. Green Smoothies are not only one of the best things you can put in your body, they also taste FABULOUS! And if you get bored of one flavour, the other possibilities are endless. My smoothies usually have the same basics, but they taste different everyday because everyday I feel a bit different. Sometimes I want it sweeter, sometimes I want it more sour, some days I just wanna taste that fresh green kale.
In any case, the taste of your greens in smoothies is simply not an issue. You will learn to crave them, as I do.

I could ramble on about this FOREVER, so instead of typing down all the wonderful facts about greens, I'll let you find them for yourself. Seriously, just Google it. Basically, they are the most nutrient-dense, healthful foods on the planet. That's really all ya gotta know.
I will up this post with a simple green smoothie recipe.

Did you know?  Greens are full of chlorophyll (which is just like hemoglobin). And coconut water is almost identical to blood plasma.  Blood is made up of 55% plasma, and 45% hemoglobin - so when you blend a drink of 55% coconut water and 45% green smoothie - you get a blood transfusion!

NOTE - To Blend or Juice? That is the Question.
Personally I am a blender, not a juicer. (Nevermind! Check out all my juice recipes and read my posts about how I fell in love with fresh juice!) There are generally those two camps when it comes to greens and liquefying veggies. I agree that juicing allows the nutrients to enter your blood stream incredibly fast (about 15 minutes!) but the fiber - in the pulp - of those plants is thrown in the compost or added to crackers or other dishes later. I believe the fiber should be consumed with the food it came from, as nature intended. I don't like the idea of separating the elements of my food =/ It just doesn't make me feel totally comfortable. If I'm not 100% comfortable with the substances I'm about to make a part of me, I won't eat/drink them. But this is just MY OPINION.
When it comes down to it, there's no nutritional loss as long as you use that pulp eventually. It's more of a philosophical standpoint than anything else.
The best juicer, hands down, is the Green Star or any Omega Juicer. (unless you are crazy-rich and can afford a Norwalk, they're around $2,000 - Luuckky!)

banana ice cream cupcakes with chocolate-peanut butter icing

Everybody loved these.

My little brother and parents started eating them and immediately proclaimed it was one of the best raw desserts I'd ever made! I agree they were pretty tasty... maybe not the best thing I've ever made though (that will always be my vanilla coconut ice cream, hehe).

Actually, this dessert is one of the things that planted the blog-idea seed. My family couldn't believe I made it up, and they said I should start a blog to show people how easy and delicious raw food can be. At first I wasn't too keen on it, but after a few weeks it sounded like not a bad plan. And so, here I am.

The crust is a mix of sprouted almonds and buckwheat, coconut oil and agave nectar. I just pressed that into cupcake molds. 

Then I filled them with a banana ice cream made of blended frozen bananas, vanilla, and cinnamon. 

The chocolate-PB icing was a blend of cocoa, peanuts, agave nectar, and water... or something like that.

I admit the topping is not 100% raw, 'cause I used toasted peanuts (and cocoa). As much as I would love to say I bought a big bag of raw jungle peanuts and cacao online and used those... I cannot =( But I like to think that my readers are pretty open minded and some toasted peanuts won't destroy their day.

Besides, there's nothing like chocolate and peanut butter! The icing was just that - it tasted like Reeses.

They're really good when you let the banana ice cream melt just a wee bit. Then the whole thing becomes a nutty, Reeses-y, banana mess... a delicious mess.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

make your own parma

This is a staple for me, but mostly my mom! She used to put Parmesan on her popcorn all the time, but she didn't like the smell. Once I went vegan my family also started eating way less meat and dairy (yes, everybody feels better and has lost weight) so now she won't even eat it because she says it stinks - true - and makes her feel sick - not surprising.

But she missed her cheesy topping, so she was in Karmavore and bought Parma. When I saw it I told her I could just make it myself! So I invented our own Parma.

Usually I do use walnuts, but I've tried other nuts as well. Although nutritional yeast isn't raw, it meets my standards because it has a lot of nutrients and is close to a whole food. Plus it gives you that cheesy, rich flavour, some B12 and protein (NOT THAT WE VEGANS ARE DEFICIENT).

We make it in bulk because we eat so much...
Walnut Parmesan "Cheese" (Homemade Parma): makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 cup walnuts (soaked and dehydrated if possible)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or more to taste
I like to add curry powder or other spicy mixes - woo hoo!

Process walnuts into a rough floury mix, add in other ingredients until you have a crumbled Parmesan cheese texture. Taste it and add other things according to your palate. 
I put this stuff on almost all my savoury dishes.

RAW PASTA with tomato sauce, spicy nut balls & "parmesan cheese"

Mmm Mmm Mmm. I really love the presentation of food, and I had fun with this dish. The noodles were ridiculously easy to make, just slice them on the mandoline and you have the most beautiful, living, fresh pasta you've ever laid eyes on. Sauces for me are usually a blend of tahini or other raw sprouted nut butter, some miso, some spices and herbs. For this dish it was more focused on tomatoes to get that spaghetti and tomato sauce with meatballs feel.

My family was having spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs (organic, local beef JUST so you know) the same night, thus my inspiration.
The nut balls were a mix of nuts (duh) and a bunch of spices. I put curry powder on almost every savory meal I make, as well as cinnamon. And chopped garlic, of course! I shaped them into balls and dehydrated them the day before.

The "Parmesan cheese" is a staple for me and my mom. Here's the recipe
We had two gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market lying around so I used them on the outside of the noodle pile for a "frame". Pinched off some basil from the garden, set up the nut balls, and voila! I think my family may have been a bit jealous.

Raw Pasta with Nut Balls and Tomato Sauce: makes 2-4 servings

1 Carrot
1 Bell Pepper
1 Zucchini 

1/4 cup Almonds 
1/4 cup Walnuts
Cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, etc. and other spices 
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil (or water)
Pinch of salt & pepper

1 Tomato
Basil, Oregano, other spices
1 clove garlic
2 Tb sun-dried tomatoes
Olive oil (or water)
Pinch of salt & pepper
1/2 cup mushrooms

Noodles: Slice all the veggies very thin on a mandoline (or by hand), into noodles. Sprinkle on a little olive oil an salt and set aside. 

Nut Balls: In food processor, pulse almonds, walnuts and garlic until they're in a very rough flour size.  Add spices of your choice and salt (cumin makes a big difference... it makes it taste like taco meat!) Then add olive oil until the mixture is crumbly, but sticks together when you shape it. 
Shape it all into nut balls and refrigerate for an hour or so. Or you can dehydrate them for 2-4 hours (what I did).

Sauce: Process tomato, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatos, garlic, salt, and your choice of spices until it's like a thick sauce. Add olive oil until you get the consistency you want.

Assembly: Pour sauce onto noodles and mix well, until all are coated. Serve with the nut balls. Enjoy!

raw beets with pesto and carrot & bell pepper puree

I adapted this recipe from - a great site, do check it out! - and really loved how it turned out. The pesto is the star. It's sooo yummy. Even my older brother who is a pesto/cheese LOVER said it was great! He couldn't stop eating it. The beets were also yummy, I chose to soften them by dehydrating for an hour or so. I also didn't put any oil on them, just salt.

I added more basil and less parsley to the pesto because we have basil growing on our deck. (I'll be posting more on growing your own herbs and food later.) I also used sun-dried-tomato-infused extra virgin olive oil and that stepped up the whole thang. I used carrots from our garden in the puree and it actually became a general sauce for the rest of dinner that night. Way better than gravy, that's for sure.

Beets are one of those foods that taste very different raw than cooked. They're crunchy, refreshing, and even more earthy. I truly love beets. Their colour is ever-impressive. Speaking of...

Did you know? You can use beets for your lips! Instead of smearing animal-tested chemicals and Red 41 on your lovely lips, swipe a beet across them! You can also use them for blush. Nature's first lipstick, edible of course.

Birthday Love Caramel Tart

So it was my Mom's 50th birthday a couple weeks ago and instead of making her a big cake full of white flour, bleached sugar, and the processed milk of another species - I gave her love! In the adorable form of a raw tart. If you have tart shells these are super easy, fun, and impressive looking 'cause of the shape. But all you gotta do is press it into the mold! As usual, raw crusts are about the simplest thing in the world to make, you really cannot mess up. Too sticky? Add more nuts/sprouted flour. Too crumbly? Add more dates/agave/coconut butter. I will be providing a basic raw crust recipe later on.

The filling of this tart was also an on-the-spot creation (you may notice I tend to make my recipes up... as I'm making them up) so I can't reaalllly remember what's in it. But I know it was a delicious concoction of dates, coconut butter, and a lot of cinnamon. Somehow it came out tasting just like caramel! The goji berries on top were for presentation. My mum loved it! And all her friends thought it was great too. The best gifts are from the heart. Not to mention good FOR your heart =)

best raw vegan ice cream

Also check out this ice cream recipeor this one.

Leave the So Good, Rice Dream and even Coconut Bliss in the store, boys and girls. True bliss resides in THIS ice cream. It's actually dangerous, it is so good. Even compared to all the dairy ice creams I had before going vegan and raw, this is the best. You must make it for yourself to understand.

Luckily it's pretty affordable and very easy, because you'll be making a lot of it. I usually have at least two pints in the freezer. It's really easy to change up too!

Whether you like it simple, chocolate-y, a mash up of a bunch of things (ex. chocolate swirl, caramel, chunks of nuts, nut butter, or raw cookie dough) or fancy flavors like lavender and basil; this recipe is the perfect base for all types. The flavour shown is vanilla with a chocolate swirl (just chocolate sauce stirred in after the vanilla ice cream thickens up a little.)

raw vegan coconut ice cream: makes about 3-6 servings

2 cups soaked raw cashews 
Coconut meat from 2 young Thai coconuts (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup non-dairy milk
3/4 cup agave/honey/maple syrup
Seeds from 1/2 - 1 vanilla bean (I love vanilla so I use a whole one)
2 T vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 T or so of coconut oil, melted

Blend all ingredients except coconut oil in your blender (Vita-Mix works best!) until lusciously smooth and creamy. Melt coconut oil in a bowl that's sitting in a larger bowl filled with hot water. Add in and blend until mixed. Try it now... Yeah. I know. 

Now try to resist eating it all before it's frozen: if you have an ice cream maker use that. 

But if you're like me and don't have one, put the batter in several small jars or freezable containers (single servings!) and stick them in the freezer. Check back every 30-60 minutes and stir until they are eventually frozen, creamy delights.
If you're adding a chocolate or caramel swirl, or nuts or chunks of banana or WHATEVER you wanna add, mix in your goodies when the ice cream is quite thick but not frozen and they won't sink to the bottom or completely mix into the vanilla ice cream. This is how you get that swirl/ribbon effect. Can you say lovely?!

banana-choco-coconut cream pie: they asked for it!

The other night, my family and I were just finishing up dinner and clearing the table when my Dad asked:

"So what'd you make us tonight, Em?"  He, of course, was referring to dessert.

I usually have made some sort of sweet treat for after dinner because my father and I both share the von Euw sweet tooth. But not tonight! So I promised my brothers and Dad I would make them whatever they wanted... TOMORROW night. They asked for some sort of cream pie, they didn't care if it was cooked or raw.

So the next day I basically just fiddled around and kept adding yummy things into the food processor and before I knew it - I had created a delicious cream pie filled with cocoa (not raw, can't afford cacao yet), bananas, chia seeds, coconut, dates, cinnamon, agave, and a few other things too.

I like to add chia seeds for their gelatin-like properties, not to mention their fibre and protein. When you add chia seeds to a bit of water, they almost immediately start gelling; this is has to do with their high content of soluble fiber. So they're a perfect addition to raw cream pies, or anything else you want to thicken up.

I added an AMAZINGLY simple chocolate (recipe below) sauce on top before serving it to my very impressed (if I do say so myself) boys. They ate it up as if it was a conventional dairy-filled pie! Little did my 14 year old brother know he was devouring fruits and seeds!!! Mwa ha ha... I love raw food.

Chocolate Sauce: Makes a small bowl

3-4 T cocoa/cacao
3-4 T melted coconut oil
2-4 T agave/honey/maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract 
Pinch of cinnamon and salt, if you want
Coconut flakes, if you want 

Mix it all together and enjoy! Feel free to add anything you want to it, the possibilities are endless. This is great for dipping in fruit, swirling in ice cream, putting in or on cakes, cookies, or pies... it's great for just about anything. I am known to eat it right outta the bowl... 

Did you know?  
Chia seeds are the seeds used for growing Chia Pets! Ya know... "Ch-ch-ch-chia" 
Who knew that the base of a fun household decoration is actually one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet?! Go figure. 

thankful for raw pumpkin pie!

*Here's the recipe.* This October I was lucky enough to find a raw potluck downtown. They meet every last Sunday of the month at Eternal Abundance in Vancouver. Each person is supposed to bring a dish to share and I was inspired by the season to make pumpkin pie - rawafied! I found a beautiful sugar pumpkin at the farmer's market and was able to make quite a delicious and pretty pie.  In fact, I had enough pumpkin to make two! One for my family's thanksgiving dinner, and one for the potluck (which is next Sunday).

My family seemed to really enjoy the pie. As always, they have trouble believing me when I tell them it's healthier than a bowl of "whole grain" cereal! It's a wonderful world we live in when we can eat pumpkin pie and fill ourselves with living enzymes and nutrients at the same time. I served it with the MOST DELICIOUS "ICE CREAM" EVER.
I'm making pumpkin pie 2.0 this week I suppose, for the potluck. Until then I've just let the cubed pumpkin sit in the freezer. I presume it might be even better for processing because it will be a little softened after thawing.

I lightly toasted the pumpkin seeds for my family with a little olive and salt. Mmm, nothing like the smell of toasting pumpkin seeds, you know it's Fall!
this also best choice to make beef bourguignon if you are have party