Wednesday, May 23, 2012

EAT: WIAW Same old, same old...

Time for another What I Ate Wednesday post! I've only done one other before... The problem with any WIAW post of mine is that they'd all probably end up looking pretty much the same, changing up maybe only every season... conveniently, my constance means when I forget to take pictures, I can just recycle some old ones.
Breakfast: My favourite Green Smoothie
(note the obvious photo recycling thanks to the
dead giveaway of the Christmas table runner)

At this point, I've probably had this smoothie over 500 times in my life considering it's been my go-to breakfast for a few years now. I would do something different, but I don't, because it's just so yummy.

Mid-Day Snack: Raw Granola Crunchies
These crunchies have also become my replacement cereal option since I went raw. I now cut the liquid sweetener all together from the recipe and just used pureed dates (dates and little bit of water to make it mixable). The batch I had today were the same as the recipe I just linked above, but without the spirulina and sunflower seeds.

For my daily dark chocolate fix, I also had a Cocoa Camino Dark Chocolate mini.

Dinner: Collard Wraps with Thai Peanut Sauce
Guess what? I ate collard wraps... again... This time I filled them with carrots, celery, beets, cukes, and my most recent favourite sauce. It's a peanut sauce made up of duh, peanut butter (or raw almond butter), lime, salt (or tamari) and apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar). Sooooo delicious...

Late Night Snack: These babies...

along with a small bowl of massaged kale salad! I don't know if it's the adrenaline, but I'm always super hungry when I come back from rehearsals!!!

So there you have it folk, another WIAW post from Eat Dance Live! Hope you had a food fabulous day too :) To end off, here's a picture of our kitty acting like a jungle king (the beauty of this pic is that I've had that necklace since I was a little kid and it was one of my favourites for dress up... think warrior princess?)

Monday, May 21, 2012

High Raw Pumpkin Ice Cream

I actually find it really bizarre to eat certain foods out of season. I think it's my body recalling the ancestral days when we could only eat what was only readily available given the time of the year. Eating watermelon and strawberries in the winter? As much as I love them, that's just plain wrong... so is eating pumpkin in the late spring/summer.

Okay, so I know lots of you out there love pumpkin, so you might disagree and want to eat it at all hours of the day and all seasons of the year. That's totally cool, and also exactly why I busted out this high raw pumpkin ice cream recipe yesterday to make Andrew happy:

High Raw Pumpkin Ice Cream
Yield: About 4 servings.

2 C cashews, soaked
2 C water
1 T of coconut oil, melted
2 T maple syrup
1 inch chunk of ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of salt

1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend til smooth.
2. Place in an ice cream maker and follow directions!
3. Once it's done, top with "candied nuts"*.

*pecans or walnuts mix with salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup (if you have time, they're better dehydrated)!

For those who might be wondering if it's necessary, xanthan gum is apparently used in a lot of low-fat ice cream recipes to keep the creamy factor in, while leaving all the actual fatness out... 

This recipe was a little higher in fat than I would personally prefer (I wouldn't mix cashews AND coconut oil), but it was modelled after the world's best raw ice cream by Cashewtopia. We tried a bunch of their flavours in DC a couple weeks ago and it changed my raw ice cream world forever. They both used gums and multiple sources of vegan fats, so I thought it was time to up my creaminess game and imitate them. It worked!

Have a great week and Happy Victoria day to all you Commonwealth folk!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pesto Kale Salad

I had a sudden urge for pesto when I saw some at the Wild Oat Bakery yesterday. I've made vegan pesto a few times before, but the way I make it, it never tastes as good nor is ever worth the hassle so I usually just buy it. Immediately after I did, I figured out that I could concoct the best thing to do with kale since I discovered the joys of my kelp noodle kale salad! Creaminess, oh yeah...

Pesto Kale Salad
Yield: Serves 1 or 2.

1 head of massaged kale
1/2 to 3/4 C pesto
veggies of choice
(I used peppers, celery, carrots, and tomatoes)

1. Once you've massaged your kale (click here for a how-to), stir in pesto.
2. Add in chopped veggies.
3. Eat! 
Yep, it's that simple!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Best Raw Cookies Ever Recipe

I don't know what to call these cookies, but they are by far my favourite raw cookie of all time. When it comes to my sweet tooth preferences, I've always been fairly vanilla. I'll choose the fruit pie over the decadent chocolate ganache cake any day. I'll choose the ginger snap over the chocolate chip butter pecan cookie. So for those who prefer those latter choices, this is definitely a fairly understated cookie. However, in its simplicity and elegance lies deliciousness.

My Favourite Raw Cookie
Yields: 12 cookies

3 C shredded coconut
1 C fresh dates, blended into a paste
3 tablespoons of raw almond butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup)

1. In a food processor or Vitamix dry blender, blend coconut first 
until its powdered and clumping together.
(for those who know, the point when it's about turning to coconut butter)
2. Scrape down the sides, and add in all the other ingredients.
3. Blend until it makes a uniform dough.
4. Flatten out into 12 cookies and place in the dehydrator overnight (or 8-12 hours).
5. Devour.
(6. I really love to put these in the freezer so they're extra crunchy!)

An interesting read for the day: The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness) 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ottawa Eats: Simply Raw Express

FINALLY! A place to get some raw eats in Ottawa! On Saturday, Natasha Kyssa's Simply Raw Express opened its doors in the Hintonburg neighbourhood (989 Wellington West to be exact). It's a welcome change from the pubs and meat joints lining up the rest of the street, except the Table Vegetarian Restaurant which was our Hintonburg haunt until now.

Whenever I check out a new place making the "healthy" claim, I'm always curious to see how far they take their ethic and Simply Raw Express definitely goes the whole mile. Aside from offering fresh and organic raw vegan foods to go, the restaurant really lives up to its claim: reclaimed wood tables and service counter, compostable to-go containers, cork lamps, eco-friendly washroom products, and more.

If you're not a raw vegan, don't be frightened! To bring health and veggies to the Ottawa area, Simply Raw also offers some cooked vegan options including a daily soup or a quinoa bowl. If you have any questions, Natasha is a wonderful woman who I'm sure will guide you through the novelties. If you're looking to incorporate more raw foods into your diet though, you have lots of choice, juices, smoothies, kale salads, and I can't wait to try their raw cauliflower rice sushi. Oh, and a whole display of raw desserts of course.

What I love most about raw (or almost nearly mostly raw) restaurants is how fresh and light they feel. One could more mundanely say it's probably because of the lack of heat coming off from the cooking process, but I think it also has something to more metaphysically do with the energy of a place that serves happy living foods.

We were pretty stoked to see that by the time we got there, about half an hour until closing, the restaurant was practically wiped out aka. we knew it meant they had a fantastic first day! I opted for one of their green smoothies, a delicious blend of cucumber, romaine, banana, and other yummy things (I omitted the agave). Andrew had their Strawberry Fields (strawberries, dates, coconut oil, and agave) and picked up a pack of his favourite dark chocolate almonds. Both of them were deeeelicious.
However, the piece de resistance was definitely the dessert. We first shared their Raspberry Linzer Square. It was really yummy, as is anything that's raspberry flavoured, but that's not where it ends. For anyone who knows me, saying dessert was best, especially if it's raw, is a huge thing for me to say. As much as I love making raw desserts for others, I don't usually enjoy them that much myself. I'm not generally a fan of the sweetener/dried fruit and nut/fat food combination, but these were aaaamazing.

Now everyone under the sun whose been on a raw diet long enough has either bought or tried their hand at making raw macaroons. Ladies and gentlemen, Simply Raw's macaroons are the Platonic axiomatic ideal of raw macaroons*. I kid you not. If you live in Ottawa, you must try them now. Well, not now, they're closed on Mondays, but tomorrow... or sometime very soon. (I recommend the vanilla flavour.)

*for political theory and philosophy dorks buffs, this is what I'm talking about.

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Current LFRV Obsession: Bananas, Apples, and Date Bowl

One month, I'll eat collard wraps for dinner every single night. Another, I'll just eat banana soft serves all day long. This week it's cinnamon sprinkled bananas, apples, dates, and granola crunchies every night. Even though I probably have bananas in some form in most of my meals, sometimes the slightest change can make the biggest difference. It's like eating starchy carbs as bread vs. pasta, same thing but big difference. The secret to this recipe? Cutting your bananas laterally instead of in slices... ooOoOOoo, wild and crazy, I know.

In my continuous pursuit to remain as LFRV as possible, this dinner combination definitely fits the mold. The granola crunchies are probably LFRV sub-par, but I need crunchy texture in my food, especially when I mostly eat blended fruits and greens... So yep, this has been my dinner for about a week now. I tend not to question what my body feels it wants to eat at this point, so I just go with it.

Banana Apple Date Bowl
Yield: Serves 1.

2 bananas
1 apple
3-4 medjool dates
cinnamon, to taste
raw buckwheat/granola crunchies of your choice, to taste

1. Halve bananas and thinly slice them laterally (aka. length-wise).
2. Thinly slice apples however you wish.
3. Either blend dates into a paste or chop them really fine.
4. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with cinnamon.
5. Top with granola crunchies, and enjoy a texture and shape extravaganza.

(For non-LFRVers, on some nights, I've also been enjoying putting 1 teaspoon of my peanut butter powder on top or one teaspoon of vegan protein powder... weird maybe, but tasty!)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weekly Stuff I love

Just wanted to share some recent finds from our trip to DC last weekend! Our favourite health food store in Rockville, MOM's, moved to a bigger location down the road. The bonus (aside from a gorgeous new store) is that everything at their old location was 50% off. This was a serious score because MOM's is really conscious about vetting all their products to make sure they are all super healthy to both us and the environment. Essentially, you can really trust anything you buy there!

Here are some of my favourite goods:

1. Just Great Stuff's Peanut Butter Powder

With supposedly 85% less fat than peanut butter, this organic peanut butter powder just needs to be mixed with a couple tablespoons of water to turn back in its creamy original state.

That being said, this stuff is so tasty, I actually prefer to eat it by the spoonful and have been making ridiculously delicious banana soft serves with it.

It only has a few ingredients: organic peanut butter powder, organic coconut sugar, and sea salt. What's not too love (or get addicted to)?

2. Better than Roasted's Sprouted Almonds

These are by far the tastiest almonds ever... Organic, unpasturized, sprouted and dehydrated nuts (so they're raw), they are crunchy and fantastic. Obviously, the process of sprouting and dehydrating unpasteurized almonds increases the bioavailability of a food's vitamins and minerals.

They're from Italy, where they are sane enough to allow for non-pasteurized foods to be on the market. They are also hard-shelled almonds from Sicily, which are suppose to be extra special and extra almond-y flavoured. As far as I know, they definitely are!

I'd never heard of this brand before, but they apparently carry other nuts and seeds, butter, and other goodies too! With this first taste of what they can do, I'd love to try them all!

3. Kookie Karma's Goji Lime Krunchies
For me, it can be easy to go fairly blah when it comes to raw granolas on the market... These granola crunchies were fantastic though! Goji lime gives just as much kick to your taste buds as you might expect in the best of ways.

It also has your usual organic raw granola suspects: sprouted buckwheat, coconut, pistachio, goji berries, agave, lime, and sea salt... but blended at the perfect ratio!

I love short and trustworthy ingredient lists... especially when they taste this good!

4. Salazon's Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper

We fell in love with this version of Salazon's chocolate when we first moved to DC, and have bought some every time we gone back since.

Salazon's goods are always organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified (which also includes elements of Fair Trade) and give some of their proceeds go to environmental organizations. If you check out their website, I love how conscious they even are of the chocolate making process!

There is something divine about the sea salt, dark chocolate, black pepper combination. Enough said.

5. Andalou Natural's Enzyme Masks

Not edible per say, but the ingredients are edible enough that I'm sure it wouldn't hurt if you tried. I've alway said that I want to be able to eat anything I put on my skin... seems a fair thing to say, doesn't it?

I've been seeing Andalou Natural products in all the health food stores over the last little while, and a 50% discount at MOM's gave me the push I needed to try them out. I also have the bias that I tend to trust natural products from Europe more...

I'm trying out their BioActive 8 Berry Enzyme Mask and their Avocado Cocoa Skin Food Mask. The berry mask smells like my morning smoothie. It has CO Q10 and fruit stem cells to make it high in anti-oxidants, to repair cellular damage, and stimulate collagen and elastin.

The avocado one smells like the chocolate pudding I always make for Andrew... yum! Avocado is rich in Vitamin E, the cacao has lots of antioxidants as well leaving your skin moisturized and smooth.

Andalou Natural is based on Stem Cell research that renews your skin at the cellular level. I'm not familiar with all the science behind it, but all I know is that it leaves my skin feeling fantastic. So far so good!

Yay, for new natural product finds!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

Yay!!! They're finally carrying organic mixed berries at the Loblaws now. We celebrated last week with this recipe. The base of these overnight oats are very similar to the chocolate-chip cookie dough flavoured ones I made a couple weeks ago, but cherry-fied and delicious:

Vegan Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats
Yields: 1 serving

For oats:
3/4 C rolled oats
2 tablespoons of chia
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
1/2 C frozen cherries, halved
1/2 teaspoon of raw honey/maple syrup (optional)
1 and 1/4 C non-dairy chocolate milk (almond, soy, it's your pick!) 
+ 1/4 C of milk in the morning (depends on consistency)

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Cover and leave overnight. It might look like there's a lot of liquid,
but the chia seeds will soak it right up by morning.
3. In the morning, if it's too clumpy, add another 1/4 C of your "milk."
4. Top with more cherries, bananas, candied walnuts, and more!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jokes, Creepers, and "Apple Nachos"

Just a couple funnies before the weekend, and I'll be back with some "real" content on Monday: 
So... this is what my cat does when I'm on the computer.
He'll hear clicking sounds and randomly pounce, claws fully drawn,
or will slowly creep his paw around the screen like so.
He makes a slow grating sound against the metal... and it really creeps me out.

Hehehe... saw this on campus.

And because there has to be a food-related something, 
here's the recipe to try for this weekend: Apple Nachos!
(photo from Manifest Vegan)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ottawa Eats: Colour, Taste and Texture at La Belle Verte

Aside from feeling energetic, happy, and awesome, there's something about raw food that really just makes me smile. I've often talked about the Chinese cooking elements of taste, texture, colour, smell, and flavour. The ideal dish has all five, along with being nutritionally maximizing. Raw food is often able to hit all of those things to perfection, but I have to say, our trip to la Belle Verte across the bridge in Gatineau took that concept to a whole new level.
We've been wanting to try this place since we moved here, mostly because it's kind of the only raw vegan restaurant in the area right now. On the downside, because it's in Gatineau and we're car-free, it's a little hard to get to. However, since we had to rent a car this weekend to go help out some friends anyway, a trip to la Belle Verte became a top priority.

The food there is just so beautiful. I already love my veggies to begin with, but their platage actually made me giggle and do my little yummy food dance with delight whenever something was brought to the table. The portions were really generous, but given that it's mostly all veggies you don't get stuffed, just happily full. Everything was so flavourful and just so bright! There's no way you can't be put into a good mood eating this kind of food. If my life could be a never ending bowl of Belle Verte salad, I would be quite content. We kept thinking that if everyone could have veggies this way, the world would be such a healthier place.

Knowing Andrew and I, we couldn't just go there once. We ended up going with a friend on Friday night before another one of our theatre performances and again on Sunday for lunch. Here were our eats on Friday:
Our starter: La Belle Verte Platter
(heaps of veggies with their flax crackers, and a sample of their pesto and "nacho" sauce)
See, you've got your colour, your different textures, tastes, etc. Beautiful!

Andrew's Plate: The Greek Pizza
(Tomato olive tapenade, raw Zorba cheese, pesto, veggies, olives, 
kale bits, caramelized onions on a flax bread crust)

My Plate: The "Well-Dressed" Pizza

(Tomato olive tapenade, pesto, veggies, 
"bacon" and kale bits, caramelized onions on a flax bread crust)

While it was undeniably delicious, it was the kind of raw that was just a tad 
too heavy of me because of the amount of nut cheeses and sauces 
+ flax bread... Even though I knew that, I did eat the whole 
thing, so I'm probably also responsible for that...

Kristen's Plate: The Raw Sushi
(A beautiful rainbow wheel of veggies wrapped in nori with a ginger tamari dressing)

Andrew's Dessert: Raw Chocolate Pie w/ Raspberry Sauce
(FYI: Anything with raspberry sauce is delicious)

As you can probably see, the one thing I would mention is that all the menu items are essentially similar versions of the same combination of ingredients. The platters, salads, and pizzas are essentially a reshuffling of the same sauces, flax breads/crackers, and veggies in different ratios. That being said, they are so good that I really didn't care.

And then for our Sunday brunch date excursion, we had:

My Plate: "Le Grand Cru" Platter
(Platter of heaped veggies, flax crackers, the best sauerkraut EVER,
and a sample of tapenade and cashew cheese)

It was easily my favourite because it was mostly veggies, had sauerkraut,
and the right amount of everything else.

Andrew's Plate: The Raw Quiche
(Their 3 raw spreads over an almond bread with veggies)

 Andrew's Dessert: The Raw Cheesecake
(I had a bite, and it had an excellent texture)

If you're in town, go have a healthy meal! You can find them at 166 Rue Eddy in Gatineau. Given the abundance of the food, La Belle Verte is actually very very affordable. They're not open every day but do check their hours before hand because they do have a tendency to change up a bit.