Friday, 19 December 2014

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT and PEANUT BUTTER CREAM CAKE (aka THE ORGASM CAKE)


Oh yeah, I went there. Again. I made this cake for my mum's party, so fingers crossed that her friends like it. I'm also saving a piece as my secret santa gift for a party tomorrow night. Double fingers crossed. Or... fingers crossed on both hands; that's more comfortable. I am still on my Mariah Carey binge so please make this cake then eat it while listening to this (just wait for the chorus). 

I want to talk about a new habit I've been trying to form lately. I will start by letting you know I am a very cynical, sarcastic person. I get this largely from my family, the von Euws have a dry sense of humour. In itself this isn't necessarily a bad thing; but I let it turn into judging others very quickly. Not in a serious way, but just in off-handed thoughts in my head or casual comments in conversation. I never mean anything important by them, but they are thought or said nonetheless. An example: Jack and I were in his car when he was bringing me to the airport several weeks ago and the car in front of us had a mini disco ball hanging from the rear view mirror. Jack said, "Look at that." And I responded with a scoff and, "That's obnoxious..." Another example: I was on the bus a few days ago and the driver pulled up about a metre past where he should have, to pick a few people up at a stop. I sarcastically thought, "Good job, buddy." Maybe these instances don't sound like a big deal, and in most ways, my responses were harmless. All my life I've taken this sort of judging, sarcastic attitude for granted, never analyzing it or questioning if it was good or bad. But as I spend more time with Jack - who is very calm and non-judgemental - and researching meditation techniques, I realize that it is kind of a bad habit to allow myself to have these automatic cynical judgements, no matter how casual they are. 

This is because they are not positive and usually not fair. Instead of making fun of the people with the disco ball, why can't I simply say, "Hmm. Interesting! I wouldn't hang a disco ball from my rear view mirror but good for them." Or instead of negatively judging the bus driver's skills, think, "Oh, he pulled up a bit past the stop. I suppose he didn't see the people waiting." Jack has really helped me to realize how immediately judging I can seem, with the nonchalant comments I make; and this in turn helps me register when I simply have an automatically judgemental thought about something or someone. I also watched this TED Talk recently and it was inspiring for me, in terms of how we should allow thoughts to enter and leave our minds without getting caught up in them. Finally, I am also reading The Secret which essentially promotes trying to feel and think happy thoughts no matter what your situation is (there's more to it, but that's the message I am choosing to take away from it). The book talks about how positive, happy thoughts bring more positivity and happiness into your life, and negative thoughts foster negativity. So with all these things considered, in the past week or so I have been focusing a lot of mental energy into not allowing myself to manifest those negative thoughts or say those judgemental comments. When I have a negative or judgemental thought, I recognize it as such and then rethink it into something non-judging and positive. I saw an older, rather dirty man with a very... bright, unique outfit a couple days and ago and my automatic reaction was to think, "Oh God, what are you doing with your life?" Now since I am working on getting rid of this negative habit and replacing it with a positive one, I realized how judgy this was to think and so corrected my thought to, "Woah! Cool outfit, you must be a very original, independent person." 

I'm trying to use this technique with familiar people and situations as well, not merely strangers in passing. When a friend or family member frustrates me (or vice versa) I try to remember to take a deep breathe and put myself in their shoes. I tell myself there's no reason I need to feel irritated, and the person(s) has an understandable reason for acting the way they are. None of us are right, wrong, good or bad. We are all simply organisms, thrown into this life by surprise, trying to find a comfortable mental, emotional and physical space in this world. There is no need to judge others cruelly or harbour negative thoughts or feelings within you. 

I wanted to share all this with you because I imagine a lot of us probably do this; that is, have automatic judgements to people and things we see around us (or it could be that I am just a total jerk and the only one who does/did this). I think it is useful for us all to recognize, analyze and then correct our cognitive patterns when they are negative. For the good of your mental health, life outlook and - if you believe in thoughts having effective, external energy - those around us. All it takes is a little practice. Just a week in, I am already thinking fewer and fewer negative thoughts and thinking before I judge. Everyday I strive to improve myself, not because I don't currently love myself. I do, very deeply. But because I want to be even better, do even more, than the day before. Whether this be by being more helpful to others, developing my awareness of my own spirituality and personality, or simply finding deeper avenues of joy while experiencing this crazy thing called life. Get happy! Eat raw vegan cake! 


CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT and PEANUT BUTTER CREAM CAKE with WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM

Crust:
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Chocolate hazelnut swirl:
1 cup hazelnuts
1 cup dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Peanut butter swirl:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup 

Whipped coco cream:
Follow this recipe. 

1/4 hemp seeds (optional)

To make the crust: mix the ingredients together until they aren't crumbly. If the mixture stays crumbly, add some more coconut oil or water, then press into the bottom of a 6 inch springform pan and put in the fridge.

To make the chocolate hazelnut swirl: blend all the ingredients together until smooth and similar to thick yogurt in consistency. Pour into a separate bowl and set aside.

To make the peanut butter swirl: stir together the ingredients until smooth.

Assembly: make the first layer by dropping alternating dollops of the chocolate and peanut butter mixtures onto your crust, then swirl them together gently with a chopstick. Continue doing this with each layer until you have used up your mixtures. Put in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Then coat the edges with hemp seeds if you like, and serve with the coco cream!

Alternative options: use cocoa or carob powder instead of cacao; use any other nut butter instead of peanut butter; use date paste instead of maple syrup; use cacao butter instead of coconut oil; use buckwheat flour or almond flour instead of oat flour. Substitutions are limitless!

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE


Ey, babes! This is the first holiday gift guide I have ever done, mostly because in past years I have been lazy. But the past has passed! This year I have put together a nice little collection of my favourite objects, sounds, tastes and tools. [Almost] all of these gift ideas are from awesome companies that are doing a great job promoting veganism, environmentalism, wellbeing and yumminess; they are worthy of your dollar. I also tried to balance the collection out: I have clothing, food, books, kitchenware and even a calendar! I think as long as you have at least one cool person in your life, you will find something useful in my guide. Hehe. Okay let's get onto what is IN IT! From the bottom right hand corner, going left up the rows...

Edgar's Mission 2015 Calendar: Edgar's Mission is an animal sanctuary in Australia that does some amazing work, and you can support their important mission to save innocent creatures from ending up on a dinner plate by getting their calendar. It's full of the CUTEST pictures ever. You kinda have to get it just to see the baby pig learning to walk again with training wheels. It's printed on recycled paper using veg-based ink in a solar-powered plant. Grab it here for $20.00!

Dr. Martens Vegan Leather 3-eye Gibson Shoes: I love these, and it's hard to tell they are vegan leather. I have run into some folks who don't believe it! They are great for basically any outfit, fancy or casual. They will last you a lifetime, so think of them as an investment. I wish the company was 100% vegan, but I feel like buying their vegan shoes is still a positive move, since it nudges them in the right direction. "Psst.. Doc Martens! Go vegan!" I got mine at Nice Shoes.

Gray and Pink Dress from Maya Epler: Maya is an inspiring woman. She designs and makes all the pieces from her clothing line herself, and she is now Peta-approved as a totally vegan company! I love the dress she sent to me, it's unique, comfortable and sexy. Check out all her fab items here.

Harmonic Arts (Ginger Root Powder): Harmonic Arts Botanical Dispensary is right by me! They are located on Vancouver Island and source many of their ingredients from the wild, or at least organic farms. I love all their products and recently featured their coconut in this recipe. They have an extensive selection of healing, medicinal tea blends. Take a look at all their products here.

Park Woodshop (Spoon and Cutting Board): I LOVE everything Park and his partner, Leslie, do. They take gorgeous photos, consume lots of tea and super foods, and create stunning, functional wooden tools from sustainably harvested trees. Who doesn't want a hand-carved spoon for Christmas!? See more from them here.

The Veggie Republic Bracelet: vegan jewelry for everyone! This bracelet is wooden and each bead is embedded with a picture of a different vegetable. The company is run by a mum and daughter, and for every bracelet you buy, they donate 5 lbs of fresh produce to a local family in need! Gifts that give to more than one person are the best kind. Get a better look at the $14.99 bracelets here.

The Soap Dispensary (Jars): The Soap Dispensary is a lovely little shop on Main Street run by Lihn and her husband. They sell EVERYTHING that is home, bath and body related with an eco-friendly, organic, local vibe. They have a great selection of jars and everything else. See more from them here. The jar + lid I bought was $1.75.

Organic Burst Superfoods (Baobab and Wheatgrass): Organic Burst is terrific company selling high quality organic super food powders and supplements. Their products are vibrant, delicious, and fun to add to raw desserts, oatmeal, smoothies and juices. If you know someone who needs an extra nutrition boost, consider buying some goodies from Organic Burst.

Rawsome Vegan Baking: my first and bestselling cookbook! It's full of over 100 raw, vegan, gluten-free dessert recipes along with a full page colour photo on every second page. Pretty much perfect for everyone. *shameless self-promotion cough cough* Buy it here or here!

The Songs of Leonard Cohen: he makes me weep with his words. Buy the masterful album here if you have a record player, or download it on the web if you don't. It needs to be in your life.

Hippie Chips (Raw Vegan Veggie Chips): I could eat about 7 bags of these if I had them on hand. They are SO flavourful and all the ingredients are organic and super wholesome. They currently have 3 different flavours and I suggest you try them all. Hippie Foods is the company that makes them, and they rawk. Check out their products and locations here.

100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks: more shameless self-promo. Don't judge me. This is my second cookbook, and it is BRAND-NEW. Seriously, it was officially published just a few days ago, worldwide. The title kinda gives away the contents, so I don't have to explain much about what's in it; but if you or anyone ya know is interested in getting healthier, this is the book for you. Buy it here or here.

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Monday, 15 December 2014

AVOCADO ZUCCHINI SUSHI with BROWN RICE


So technically this isn't sushi, it's maki. But shh. 

I could eat this all day long, and sometimes I do. Avocado is one of my true loves (alongside Jack, Dante, my record player, papayas and raw chocolate) and with good reason - it's creamy, rich, and super good your body and mind. It goes really well with zucchini because they're kind of opposites, when you disregard their shared colour. Zucchini is light, fresh and juicy so the avo balances it out. Wrap it all up in seaweed and brown rice and you have made one happy girl outta me. Or I guess I did that myself... because no one ever cooks for me. Sad face. I am kind of joking but also semi-serious. Someone make me dinner, please. 

I don't have too much to say today because A) I woke up at 7 am this morning to do a radio interview about my new cookbook and that was really early for me, B) I am itching to go for a bike ride while the sun shine lasts and before I fall back to sleep, and C) I am craving a smoothie. 

Eat as much of this as you care for, really. It's all good. And change it up as much as you want! Try quinoa instead of rice, add some carrots or bell peppers, and make different dipping sauces! Spicy chili peanut sauce + pseudo-sushi!? YES, PLEASE. By the way, that is the second time I have said please in this post. I am feeling polite. The ingredient list and instructions for this recipe are so simple it's almost unbelievable, but that is what happens when you can appreciate whole foods. You don't have to do much to them! Okay we can ALL tell the quality of my writing has quickly gone from a C+ to a D in the last three very short paragraphs so I am going to say adieu until next time, my lovelies. Enjoy the sushi maki.



AVOCADO ZUCCHINI SUSHI with BROWN RICE

2 cups brown rice or other grain, cooked according to instructions on package
1 avocado, sliced
1 zucchini, cut into thin strips with a mandolin or spiralizer 
3-5 nori seaweed sheets

Sauce ideas: 

Set out all the ingredients and get going! Use these instructions to roll it all up because they are more useful than anything I could type. But P.S. why does the video has so many dislikes!? Did I miss something obviously wrong? She's just making sushi! Anyways. Enjoy. I love to serve mine with coconut aminos or peanut sauce. 

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

BERRY MANGO SORBET with BANANA and PINEAPPLE


Apparently it's National Hot Chocolate Day... I am doing it wrong.

But don't worry! You can still grab my healthy recipe for hot cacao here. I personally went in the opposite direction and made a cold, fruity treat. It was delicious nonetheless. I need to announce that as I write this my record player is spinning the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever. I thought that was important for you to know, as it might affect the content and quality of my writing. The Bee Gees can do that to me.

Well let's see, how can I connect a disco movie to sorbet... oh! This recipe is as vibrant as the leather platform boots John Travolta wears in Saturday Night Fever. There! (Seriously though, they are like 3 inches high.) This recipe is a mix between banana ice cream and sorbet, if I am being 100% honest - and I am. That's because the base is walnut milk, and there's also 2 bananas in here, making it oh-so-creamy. The pineapple and mango add sweetness, and the berries add colour. Yes! No refined foods required to make this baby sing. Speaking of singing... do yo have carollers  yet? I've seen and heard some a few times now. I personally wouldn't carol, but I do appreciate that other people do. Kind of like how I feel about neurosurgeons. Good thing SOMEONE wants to do it. And it does create a nice, cheery mood when you're out 'on the town' (the carollers I mean, not the neurosurgeons, although I am sure they do their part). I'm not really that into Christmas, but I do love the joy it brings to [some] people's faces. Happier folks around Emily = happier Emily. City people can look downright depressed most days, and I can only try to compensate for them with my own smile so much. Stay strong, carollers, you're making a difference.

What are your weekend plans? I'm gonna go see my mom's Christmas play with Jack, then we will probably go check out some locally-made pottery that I want for my food photos, maybe walk in a park, and eventually go out for pizza! Vegan, of course. One thing that is priceless about treating your body and mind right is waking up EVERY morning excited to be alive to experience another miraculous day. Now let's eat/spoon.


BERRY MANGO SORBET with BANANA and PINEAPPLE

1/4 cup walnuts
1 cup water
1 cup frozen mango
2 frozen bananas
3/4 cup pineapple
3/4 cup frozen berries 

Blend the walnuts together with the water until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth and thick. Feel free to add whatever else you want. I topped mine off with goji berries, coconut, cacao nibs and later some carob syrup. Yum. 

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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WIN A BOX OF RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATES!


Raw. Vegan. Chocolate. Bliss. This is what Heather Pace - the creator of Sweetly Raw - does all day. She has made it her mission to healthify the world one superfood chocolate truffle at a time, and I dig it. I hope you all know the blog Sweetly Raw already, it was one of the first sources of inspiration for me when I started my own blog in 2011. Lo and behold, she recently moved to my city! We met up at my November Vegan Potluck and she gave me a few boxes of chocolates to try out. Needless to say I squealed with excitement. It should also be needless to say that the chocolates are INCREDIBLE! So rich and decadent, and also 100% raw and vegan. There ain't anything bad here, folks. The best news is that YOU can also enjoy a box of raw chocolates! I am having a giveaway for Heather's divine treats; you can win a box of 6 truffles plus an OMG macaroon (I threw in the OMG because I know they will really make you say "OMG"). Just enter the giveaway below and cross your pretty fingers. They make the BEST Christmas present ever and even if ya don't win, it is never a bad time to receive a box of good-for-you chocolate in the mail. P.S. I know I have been posting a lot of chocolate stuff lately, if you're tired of it - lemme know. 

UPDATE: congrats to Zack in the US who the won the box of chocolates! 


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Monday, 8 December 2014

ALOHA, SUPERFOOD CHOCOLATES!


This recipe was inspired by Aloha's superfood chocolate bar. Their chocolate is some of the best I have ever put in my mouth, so I HAD to recreate it in my kitchen. I think the superior taste must come from the magical ingredients - spirulina, mushrooms, berries, coconut, cashews, vanilla - that develop this ridiculously satisfying flavour. It just tastes... real. It's like a vitamin pill in the form of decadent, sweet, dark chocolate. Share these with the ones you love, because it'll give 'em long life and good vibes.

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