Thursday, 19 June 2014

CASHEW SAGE COOKIES WITH LEMON DRIZZLE


Sage cookies? Huh? Maybe you think it's a weird combo, but I say: try the cookies first! They taste surprisingly delicious. My mom and my friend Amanda love them! Amanda - a brand new vegetarian - actually asked if she could eat them all, and I think she was serious. I got these sage leaves at the farmer's market last weekend, and was procrastinating all week from using them in a recipe. They were lookin' a little worse for wear so today I finally picked out the leaves that had passed their prime, and use the rest for this recipe. I used cashews and Medjool dates from Prana and I have to say, they are unbelievably good. The cashews basically melt into cashew butter upon entering your mouth. Un. Real. 

And that's it! The only ingredients in the cookies are dates, cashews and sage leaves! Sometimes I think nomalicious healthy food is almost TOO simple. The drizzle is just lemon juice, coconut oil, and banana (you can use cashews instead of banana if you don't like banana flavour). You'd think after making all the raw vegan desserts that I have, I'd have gotten accustomed to the fact that you can make amazingly decadent, beautiful, healthful recipes from just a handful of ingredients like nuts and dried fruit... nope. I am still impressed everyday by the magic that takes place in my food processor when I whirl together some cashews, sage leaves and dates. My mission is to share this fact with everyone who will lend an ear (or an eye). You can have your cake and eat it too! Heck, I will eat TWO cakes! Get it? Heh heh heeeh... I take the puns where I can get them, okay. 

I am pretty much out of thoughts to type down today, so I will tell you about my childhood. Currently I am listening to Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin and it is taking me baaaaack to when I used to watch Fantasia 2000 on the reg. As a consequence of loving it so dearly, my life is now filled with daily associations of animated musical scenes from that awesome film. Baby whales finding their way home, Teenage Mother Nature fighting Grumpy Father Destruction (I made up those names), flowers dancing in ponds... these images had a huge impact in my development. The music did too, of course, and it's probably a reason I love classical so much. I didn't really have a point to this rambling, but now you know something more about me... and I reckon - yes, I "reckon" - that a lot of you can relate. After linking all those YouTube clips, I just wanna watch Fantasia now. 


CASHEW SAGE COOKIES WITH LEMON DRIZZLE

Cookies:
1 cup cashews
1 cup dates
1 tablespoon sage leaves

Drizzle:
1 banana (or small handful of cashews if you don't want banana flavour)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil 

To make the cookies: process the cashews and sage leaves into powder in a food processor. Add the dates and process until it all begins to get sticky. Roll into balls, then press into cookies. Put in the fridge. 

To make the drizzle: blend everything until smooth. I used cashews but that's only because I have no ripe bananas at the moment (I KNOW, IT HAS BEEN A ROUGH DAY). 

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Saturday, 14 June 2014

BANANA STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM CAKE


Hello, all. How's everyone doing? This is a glorious recipe that is sure to brighten up anyone's day - who doesn't love ice cream cake? And what? It's HEALTHY, you say? Well, I'll be! It's a miracle! Actually it's not really a miracle, it's just momma nature treatin' us well and providing all the sustenance we need in the form of juicy fruits. Life is good when you've got ripe plants to eat. I am very happy with these photos, if I am being honest (and I am.) Then again, it's not hard to take beautiful photos when you have beautiful subjects to take photos of. The vibrant colours of nature are the thing to be admired here. I found these flowers at the farmer's market this morning, where a vendor was selling bunches of edible plants: 3 for $5.00! She recommended dipping the sage leaves in coconut oil then baking them with a pinch of salt until crispy... she is a genius.

Today I share with you a simple yet beautiful recipe for a sweet, creamy, fresh ice cream cake. It is made of 100% fresh fruit, and nothing else. Because when you care about the world, animals, and yourself - why eat anything but plants? Enjoying a plant-based diet is the best choice you can make to have the most positive impact on the health of our planet, our animal friends, and your own well-being. It is the intelligent decision, and the compassionate one. If you are a lover, you should let go of meat, dairy, and other animal products; it is that simple. I hope I don't sound preachy or judgemental in this post, I only want to spread a message of peace and equality. I have just been sobbing for an hour over the state of humanity. We support the systemized murder and torture of billions everyday, just to say "mmm... bacon!" It is literally insane and it must stop. I know the majority of people are not aware of the impact of their simple meal choices, and that is because there are huge corporations and massive amounts of money and power intentionally masking the truth and parading lies to the public. I do not blame the public. But I do think it's fair to demand an end to the killing. A sane person understands murder is wrong, so why eat meat? An animal is an animal - we are all animals. There is no categorical difference between us and all other living beings, so why kill one and love another? It doesn't make sense. I love my friends, so I do not eat them. Instead, I eat fruit. Let's eat cake, hug pigs, save the earth, regain our health, and love each other.


BANANA STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM CAKE

Ice cream layers:
4 frozen bananas
1 cup strawberries

Banana layers:
3 thinly sliced bananas

Slice the frozen bananas, then blend in a high speed blender until they get to the consistency of soft serve ice cream; it will take a minute but suddenly you'll have that perfect thick, creamy, fluffy texture. Add the strawberries one by one, until the mixture is pink but still thick. 

Now in a 4-inch cake mold, or other small mold, layer the sliced banana pieces with the ice cream mixture. Set in the freezer just long enough to make it hold together. Then cut around the edge of cake with a knife so it separates from the mold, then carefully take it out and enjoy! I decorated mine with edible flowers and sage leaves. 

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Thursday, 12 June 2014

CHOCOLATE COCO MINT BARS


Hello, my love. Yes, you. How are you today? I am genuinely curious.

In case the interest is mutual, I'll let you know I am feeling swell. I mean, I've got these chocolate coco mint bars in my fridge... so what could REALLY be wrong, right? Even when I am not considering these healthfully decadent wonders, my week has been going very well. My Oma and Opa are visiting from Ontario, so the family has been spending a lot of time together. My younger brother recently graduated from high school, and my older one has just graduated from university, wasting no time in getting accepted into law school two days ago! So in September he will be moving a few hours north and be living on residence for 3 years. It will be unfamiliar territory without all of us here. Although we have our issues, my family is close, and we've always been in one big house together. Now as we get older, we are starting to head out and find our places in the world. Greg is leaving for law school, I am planning on moving out soon so I can have my own space... Daniel is a very independent person so I know once he has enough money, he'll be off. My parents, I think, are happy to see us each succeed in our own paths, but they must be a little nostalgic seeing us grow up as well. At the same time, this means a new chapter in their lives! One free from the endless verbal, physical and emotional noise that comes with three children. One filled with each other, and the prospect of this thing called "free time", which they probably cannot remember exists since they haven't experienced it in 23 some odd years. My dad is excited to retire soon, and my mom is having almost too much fun swinging back into her acting and theatre career, which she put on hold while she raised a family. They are looking at little islands around the coast to buy property on, but I think they may end up a bit north somewhere, close to the ocean, where they can have a big garden, and where there are great hiking and off road trails for my dad to bring his motorcycle on.

It's surreal, unsettling, and exciting to understand that where I am now in time - and where my brothers are, even where my family is - is so very temporary and still just the beginning! I feel like everything is the beginning until it's really over. (Although is anything ever really over?) The morning of the day I die, I will probably be thinking "it's just the beginning!" I don't say this out of naivety, but rather optimism; it is my way of looking at the world. Humans seem to have this tendency of seeing everything as finally complete in the moment. In other words, we look to the past and think "Hah! I was so young then, I am much older now and actually mature." I suppose what I am trying to say is that we see and consider ourselves in the past and present, but don't look to the future and consider it's influence. Of course, I believe deeply in the living in the moment. I have "BE HERE NOW" tattooed on my wrist! At the same time, I think it can be important and useful to think of ourselves as at a point in time, and never at the end! Another example is how we think this is the most modern and civilized time of all, but certainly 100 years from now people will look back and think "I am amazed they actually wrote on paper and used pens!?" Just like how we are fascinated by horse-drawn carriages from 100 years ago today.   We are in a timeline of infinity, and I like to think about that often. So in that sense, it's exciting to be experiencing all these changes in the dynamic of my family and our home. Where will we go and where we will be 5 years from now? 10, 20, 50 years? I have so much yet to experience, at times it seems overwhelming, but as I said said earlier; I strive for optimism, and so I am mostly excited for whatever is to come.

This is just the beginning.


CHOCOLATE COCO MINT BARS

Chocolate layer:
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates
1 tablespoon cacao powder

Coco mint layer:
2 cups dried coconut flakes
1 tablespoon coconut nectar (optional) 
1-5 drops peppermint oil, as desired

To make the chocolate layer: put the walnuts in a food processor and process until they turn into a powdery consistency. Add the dates and process until it all begins to get sticky. Add the cacao powder until fully incorporated. Press half this mixture into the bottom of a small lined bread pan and put in the fridge. 

To make the coco mint layer: put everything in the food processor and process until the dried coconut flakes turn into a crumbly buttery-like mixture; this can take a few minutes, so be patient. Press this mixture onto your first chocolate layer. Refrigerate for until it's solid. Add the remaining half of the chocolate mixture on top and press down evenly. Refrigerate until solid. Sprinkle with coconut flakes if you like. Slice and serve!

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Vitamin B12: Are You Getting Yours? {by The Rawtarian, Laura-Jane}

Today’s hot topic is Vitamin B12. Most of us are aware of our daily nutritional requirements: vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbs, etc. However, one vitamin that is often overlooked is—you guessed it—Vitamin B12! I learned about Vitamin B12 the hard way (but more on that later!). Let’s take a closer look at this extremely important vitamin…
Vitamin B12 – In a Nutshell
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy, as well as preventing anaemia. Its absorption is facilitated by stomach acid during the course of digestion. It can be stored in our body for years. B12 is mainly found in animal sources, fortified foods, and supplements. 
Primary Sources of B12 
B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products. Some foods are fortified with B12, such as cereals and meal-replacement shakes.
Alternate sources of B12
There are claims that B12 can be found in fermented or other alternative foods such as inca berries and blue algae. If you want to use alternate sources, make sure you’ve researched that they do, indeed, contain B12, and make sure you are eating enough to get your daily requirement! 
However, if you are diagnosed with a deficiency, these sources will likely not be enough to restore your levels to normal. Supplements will probably be required, especially if you are exhibiting deficiency symptoms. Make sure you discuss your options with your doctor.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency
Last year I noticed an unpleasant tingling in my hands and feet, that didn’t go away. Blood tests showed a B12 deficiency. I promptly went on supplements, because if a B12 deficiency isn’t properly and quickly treated, neurological symptoms (like the tingling) may be irreversible—and I didn’t want to risk that! Even “low normal” levels of B12 can cause symptoms.
Some symptoms you may notice:
  • Neurological symptoms such as tingling in hands and feet 
  • Difficulty walking
  • Depression
  • Mental impairment (memory loss, confusion)
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Anaemia

Types of supplements 
There are all sorts of supplements available. B12 comes in pill, liquid, sublingual (dissolved beneath the tongue), nasal, and injection. 
If you are not deficient, you can supplement with a ‘normal’ daily dosage of B12 which is actually quite low. The daily recommendation for B12 is minimum 2.4 mcg for adults (higher for pregnant/lactating women). Look for the methylcobalamin form of B12 in your supplement.
If you are low or deficient, or suffer from malabsorption issues, then  nasal, sublingual, or injections might be indicated. Some factors that prevent absorption are anaemia, illness, bowel disease, or chronic use of antacids like Zantac & Pepcid.
Bottom line: make sure you’re getting your B12!
If you choose not to supplement, make sure you are getting the recommended amount of B12, whatever source you’re using. I recommend having your B12 levels tested to make absolutely sure you are not becoming deficient. If you are deficient, follow your doctor’s advice and take the required supplements. 

My experience with B12 deficiency certainly opened my eyes—I certainly didn’t expect to be deficient in anything! Thankfully my symptoms did disappear, and I now take a daily supplement. What about you—are you getting enough B12 in your diet? 
~

Laura-Jane Koers is a dedicated raw vegan who delights in sharing her passion. Her decision to ‘go raw’ five years ago transformed her life. She now hosts a popular raw food recipe site, The Rawtarian [http://www.therawtarian.com/]. There you will find 100+ simple, satisfying recipes, as well as a wide variety of podcasts, video tutorials, e-books and online courses.

When not uncooking in the kitchen, Laura-Jane lives the good life in the country, tending her garden, and hiking with her husband and dog.

You can also connect with Laura-Jane on Twitter [https://twitter.com/therawtarian] and Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/therawtarian].

~

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Friday, 6 June 2014

BANANA ICE CREAM CAKE with MATCHA, BLUEBERRY + VANILLA LAYERS


Heyo! To be honest, I wasn't too stoked on how this cake turned out, appearance-wise. I am still trying to develop my skills as a swirler (it's a word, shh), and you can really tell. If you wanna find the worlds best swirler, check out Fragrant Vanilla Cake! I am always in awe of her talent level of swirling. Anyhoo, back to my mishap: I messed up in the middle of the top of the cake, so I tried covering up my mistake with pumpkin seeds (don't we all? ... No.) Fortunately the lighting was nice today so the cake looks alright, but it still doesn't quite meet my standards in terms of prettiness. However, I am sharing it anyways because I love you. And since I love you, I of course want to give you as many delicious and healthy recipes as I can! Here's another one, folks. 

This is mostly bananas! As you may have learned from my reading my past posts and checkin' me out on Instagram - YES, I GOT INSTAGRAM! - I am eating essentially 80/10/10 now. That is, 80% carbs, 10% each for protein and fat. My diet looks a lot like *smoothiemania* all day (10 bananas per smoothie wasssapp!?) plus giant bowls of rice and vegetables for dinner. I ain't missing out on a thing! Even dessert! I love this lifestyle. I am so excited to eat everything all the time. And I have energy out the wazoo (we still do not have confirmation on the precise definition of wazoo though). Here I show you that you can have a tasty raw vegan treat, but it doesn't have to be filled with nuts and coconut oil! Those foods are awesome, but we don't need much of them; only a handful a day. You get just that with this cake. Actually, I'm gonna let you in on a secret - this cake is, for all practical purposes, a smoothie that is frozen in a cake mold. If that makes it seem unappealing to you, pretend I never said it. Blot it out from your mind forever. But if that fact makes it even MORE enticing... well, you're welcome. I think it's cool. Get it? 'Cause it's frozen? "OMG Em you are soooo funny!" Aw shucks, you're too kind. 


BANANA ICE CREAM CAKE with MATCHA, BLUEBERRY + VANILLA LAYERS

Matcha layer:
3 frozen bananas
1 teaspoon matcha powder
5 Medjool dates (optional)

Blueberry layer:
2 frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Handful cashews
Handful dried coconut flakes

Vanilla layer:
3 frozen bananas
1/2 vanilla bean
2 tablespoon coconut nectar or other sweetener
Handful dried coconut shreds (optional) 

For each layer: just blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and very thick! If your blender cannot handle it, add some coconut milk to keep things moving, and keep things creamy (if you add water it'll just make it icy). Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the matcha and blueberry mixtures. Spread each layer evenly into a 6 inch cake pan (mine is adjustable), with the vanilla layer being on top. Now drop little dots of the matcha and blueberry mixtures onto the top of the cake. Use a toothpick or chopstick and drag the tip through the dots - it makes hearts! Freeze until sold. When you wanna serve this, I recommend letting it thaw for a bit so it gets creamy. 

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