Saturday, 26 July 2014

MANGO SORBET with BANANA + PINEAPPLE


Hey, guys! I have not been around for an entire week! I miss you all so much, simply keeping connected helps me stay sane... thus not communicating with you for 7 days is leaving me feeling a little ungrounded. Having said that, I am having the best time. The past week I stayed in a small town called Wells (9 hours north of Vancouver) with my partner, in his grandparents antique-y house. It was exactly what we both needed; time away from the city, just us too in a charmingly quiet home surrounded by trees and mountains. I will be posting photos from this adventure soon, but first I need to go on another one! I got back from Wells this evening, and tomorrow at 4 am I leave on a family road trip to Minnesota with my parents and younger brother! I am equally excited for this journey. But while I have a second on the computer before I disconnect for another 11 days; I figured I should share a recipe. Here is one that I offered up to the lovely Amy from Fragrant Vanilla Cake. She has the recipe featured on her site. Get the recipe here.

I have been obsessed - no, scratch that, addicted - to this recipe since I made it a few weeks ago. It has been SO hot here (30c+ degrees  everyday) and the only way the fam and I can bear it is with cold drinks! Mom realized early on that frozen fruit and booze do the trick for her and my dad. I took note of that, but swapped the vodka for bananas! You can add water (or better yet, coconut milk) to this to make it the BEST smoothie ever, or leave as is to create the perfect sorbet: creamy, cold, sweet and luscious. Who needs added sugar when you have the sweetness of the fruit!? I am quickly realizing mango will define my summer, and there ain't nothing wrong with that. Get the recipe here! 


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

STEAMED SWEET POTATOES with WILD RICE, BASIL + TOMATO CHILI SAUCE


A lot of you have been asking for more savoury recipes and more low-fat dinners. My job as I see it is to give you what ya want. So here we go. This is also a good representation of my actual diet; since I do not simply live off raw vegan chocolate cake (although sometimes I wish I could), but in reality enjoy mostly fruit all day in the form of smoothies followed by a dinner of lots of steamed or baked veggies with rice! Check out my Instagram to see more on this... and also to see my PMS face.  I do love my raw vegan desserts recipes, and I definitely eat as much of them as I want, but I see them as a fun and delicious way to get in my fats for the day, so in the rest of my diet I keep fat content to a minimum. Fat is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but I just don't need much of it. So in this recipe, I only use a handful of nuts (or 1 tablespoon of nut butter if you prefer). It provides the perfect amount of creaminess and richness without making me feel sluggish afterwards, which happens when I eat too many nuts in a day. I have learned my limits.

As many of you may know, I have gradually transitioned into an 80/10/10 diet (a high carb diet) and for me that basically meant just increasing the amounts of fruits and starchy veggies I was eating. Instead of 3 bananas a day; I eat anywhere from 5 to 15 now. Instead of 3/4 cup of rice; I eat 2 cups, etc. When I eat this way I find I don't crave the rich foods that I used to. I don't want to eat the entire tray of raw vegan brownies, I am satisfied with one. I have learned that my body does best with minimal amounts of fat. As I stated a moment ago, I feel weighed down and head-achey when I eat too much fat in a day. All I need to keep me energized and strong is a handful of nuts, 1 avocado, or 1 tablespoon of nut butter or coconut oil a day. Am I saying this is the ideal diet for everyone? Of course not! You know your body better than I do! So experiment and find what works for you. I have a friend who does best on a high fat diet, and so that right there is proof that we all require different percentages of macronutrients to fuel ourselves right. Having said that, it DOES make sense to me from an evolutionary perspective that most of us would do best with a diet high in fruit, greens, and starchy veggies.

My logic is simple: we all know fruits and vegetables are good for us, so let's eat as many as we can!

Now, onto this meal! I am in love with sweet potatoes. They are excellent for your brain and eye health, as well as overall wellness. Basil is called The Sacred Goddess Herb and is thought to be the embodiment of femininity and holiness itself, tomato is great for the prostate (holla to the males out there), and the whole recipe is just freaking yummy altogether... so make it.


STEAMED SWEET POTATOES with WILD RICE, BASIL + TOMATO CHILI SAUCE

Sauce:
1 tomato
1 tablespoon nut butter (optional) 
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 teaspoon chili powder, to taste 
1 garlic clove

Other ingredients:
1 large sweet potato, sliced and steamed until soft and tender
2 cups cooked wild rice
1/4 cup basil leaves

To make the sauce: blend all the ingredients until smooth. Mix the sauce into your rice and sweet potatoes in a bowl, then top with basil leaves and enjoy! 

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

LUMINANCE SKIN CARE GIVEAWAY + REVIEW


Hey, all! So today I am sharing my review of some Luminance Skin Care products the lovely company was generous enough to send me. Oh aaaand I am hosting a giveaway of their goodies, so read on for your chance to win! All their ingredients are certified organic, or wildcrafted (AKA organic but not certified). I have been using their cleanser, toner and moisturizer for a couple weeks now and my skin is clear and glowing every day, even in this crazy heat when I am sweating in my sleep! The products smell divine because they are made of essential oils and rose water, mostly. In fact I have learned a little something about skin care by using these products. Apparently tap water has a pH that is not suitable for our skin, but Luminance's toner made from rosewater, has almost the exact same pH level as your skin! Huh! Even though I am about as healthy as a girl can be I still have very sensitive skin, yet I can confidently say that using these products has been delightful; I can use them daily with only positive results. They are so gentle and nourishing, and my skin can tell. The people behind the company are also wonderful. They genuinely care about you, the environment, and the animals. Their products are NEVER tested on animals, except in a phone call with the head of Luminance, Kim, he admitted HE is the one animal they test on. Chuckle chuckle. 

That is my short but sweet review. I love these products, and I highly recommend them. If you want a chance to win some for yourself, enter below by commenting on this post with a question about their products. Luminance Skin Care will be checking out the comments and picking a winner soon!

If you don't end up winning, Luminance still wants you to try their products! They are giving you 20% off all products with the discount code "VEGAN". Woohoo! Use it on their site right here. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 11 July 2014

BANANA OATMEAL with HAZELNUT BUTTER, RAISINS + BAOBAB POWDER


First thing's first: listen to this. Hopefully that improved your day, as long as we disregard the painfully conventional gender norms going on and just enjoy the track for the sweet beat that it is. Moving on. To oatmeal. I think my period is coming... soon. My lower back hurts, my muscles are sore and I am TIRED even though I got a good sleep last night. I suppose it seems like I talk about my menstruation cycle all the time, but that is not true! I only talk about it MOST of the time. Gimme a break (read: pass the heat pad). If you are a woman, you understand the significance and thus why I mention my moon flow so often. If you don't got a uterus, you may as well try to empathize and respect the #$%& we go through every month as fertile ladies.

This morning I woke up and wanted oatmeal. So I made oatmeal. That is the simple story behind todays recipe. I wish it was more exciting but at this point "exciting" does not sound appealing. I just wanna lay in bed with my cat, Dante, the chocolate maca bars Vega was so kind to send me - people ALWAYS send me chocolate at the right time of the month, at least I've got that going for me - and a marathon of Downton Abbey. That show is ADDICTING. Now, I say that is all I want to do; but in reality what I probably end up doing is just wandering around the house whining and rolling on the floor sporadically. I think I'm staying at my partners place tonight so he can be victim to my moans and lack of motivation to move. I am also planning on forcing him to massage my back. This is why I am in a relationship: it's all about the rubbin'. I used a special ingredient in this bowl of oatmeal: baobab powder! It comes from the gorgeous baobab tree and is super nutritious. I tried some from Kaibae and loved it! It adds a lovely flavour.

I feel like I have written so much but I only see a measly two paragraphs... well too bad. I can't think of anything else witty to say (have I even said anything witty yet?) so I'm calling it a day. Or, blog post.

Just make the oatmeal. Wait, also listen to this.


BANANA OATMEAL with HAZELNUT BUTTER, RAISINS + BAOBAB POWDER

1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons steel cut oats
Pinch himalayan salt
1 tablespoon hazelnut butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup or preferred sweetener
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baobab fruit powder
1/4 cup raisins
1 large sliced banana
1 tablespoon hemp seeds

Pour the water into a pot and stir in the salt. Throw in all the oats and bring the water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, bring the temperate down to low and simmer until the oats absorb the water, I like my oatmeal thin so I don't cook it for that long, around 20-30 minutes. Throw all the other ingredients - except the banana and raisins, into the bottom of a bowl, then pour on your oatmeal and mix everything together. Top with banana slices, raisins, and hemp seeds. Ahhh. Yum. 

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

FRESH TABBOULEH with PEARL BARLEY


You asked for it. Or at least someone asked for it at one point in time... because it is on my "Recipes To Make" list, which is full of recipe ideas you guys want me to make (you may have already guessed as much from the very non-mysterious title of the list). Now that I am getting back into the groove of making and photographing recipes for my blog (it takes awhile after you write a cookbook) I am wanting to share recipes that I know you all want. So I have been checking out my to-do list of recipe ideas and this one seemed to be just right for today. Just so you know: the past two recipes I have posted (Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches and Carrot Cake Cookies) were on the list too. I'm getting #$%& done, folks. But back to tabbouleh. I have been soaking up the unusually sunny days we are getting here and for whatever reason tabbouleh felt very fitting for my dinner after another day of sun bathing on the beach. As my dad says "Wow, Em, the life of a blogger/author is tough!" The von Euws are a sarcastic bunch.

I have never eaten traditional tabbouleh, only the adaptions to it that are very common these days in trendy spots; quinoa tabbouleh with sautéed eggplant, for example. Although this stuff is DELICIOUS, it isn't really tabbouleh. Apparently - according to Wikipedia - tabbouleh is traditionally mostly parsley, along with lemon juice, salt, onions, mint, a tiny amount of bulgar or cous cous, and a bit of oil. It's essentially a parsley salad. YUM. It originated in a region near Egypt that also gave us magical foods like hummus and baba ghanoush. Best place ever, basically. In my recipe today I used pearl barley instead of bulgar because that is all I had and it turned out wonderfully, even if it isn't strictly in the original tabbouleh style. Dangit. So that means I STILL have not eaten legit authentic tabbouleh. One day... one day. I think this dish is so desirable in warmer months because it tastes fresh with the lemon juice, parsley and min; and is served cold. This is a perfect meal on it's own, but I bet it would be splendid as a side/salad with another dish!


TABBOULEH with BARLEY: serves one

1-2 cups cooked pearl barley 
1 cup packed parsley leaves
Handful mint leaves
2 tomatoes
1 garlic clove
Juice from 1 lemon
2 small onions
Salt, as desired
Olive oil, as desired 

Roughly chop all the veggies, then pulse in your food processor until they are finely diced. You can also finely chop them by hand... but a food processor saves a lot of time and does the job just as well. Mix the sliced veg and barley together then season with olive oil, salt and lemon juice as you like! Enjoy. 

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Saturday, 5 July 2014

CARROT CAKE COOKIES with LEMON CREAM FROSTING


Ever since enjoying all the amazing food and people at Eternal Abundance's raw potluck last week, I have not been able to get one dish someone brought off my mind. They were carrot cake cookies with cashew cream cheese frosting, and they were heavenly. I have made raw vegan carrot cakes before. In fact, they are my most popular recipe! So it's not like the idea is new to me. Yet something about these cookies was special. I realized it was that the carrots were shredded into strands, not simply grated into crumb-sized pieces. This inexplicably excited me and I have not been able to stop thinking about them since; so today I made them for you (okay... they're mostly for me (and my partner) (brackets on brackets) (bracket inception) (I will stop now)). I don't know why such a simple difference would have such an impact on the deliciousness of the recipe but I think it may be because it gives you a heartier bite. You have to chew, like a real cookie! It adds more texture, and makes for a more interesting cookie experience overall. Yes, a "cookie experience". We're getting snobby. Let's come back down to the chill level and just enjoy these orange bad boys together... they taste UNBELIEVABLE. I don't know why on earth anyone would eat a cake with white sugar, processed cream cheese from a package, or even baking soda; when you know you can make an even tastier version from WHOLE FOODS! Nobody gets hurt, you get healthy, the world gets better. All because of these cookies.

They are chewy, sweet but not too sweet, and bursting with flavour because they are mostly just straight up carrots. The frosting isn't even necessary but who can REALLY say no to raw vegan lemon cashew cream? The answer is: no one I have ever met. I could eat these for days. I plan to. The recipe makes 12 large cookies, and you will probably have leftover frosting. This will not be an issue. Make sure to spice them right! I think nutmeg is the magic ingredient in these, but cinnamon is equally important. If you don't want to add more than a couple tablespoons of coconut oil or maple syrup in total, you can substitute them with water, or leave them out entirely (see my notes in the ingredient list). Having said that, I have them listed for a reason. They make the flavour and texture top notch. I also gave rolled oats as low fat alternative to cashews in the cookies. See? I got your back.

In other news: anybody else heard of Boiler Room? UGH IT IS AMAZING. Basically the authority of underground DJ music. I could listen to the different bumpin' sets all day- oh wait. I do. Solo dance party in room? Done. That was my workout. Dancing is the best kind of therapy; I always walk (read: boogie) away with sweat dripping off my smiling face. Musical medication. Is it just me or am I really funny today? Hmm... I think I am just in a good mood because I have been jamming to the grooviest tunes since rising. Okay - make these cookies. Love me (You KNOW I already love you, baby). Peace out for now.


CARROT CAKE COOKIES with LEMON CREAM FROSTING

Cookies:
2 cups shredded carrots 
1 cup cashews or rolled oats
1 cup raisins 
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or water) 
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or water) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch Himalayan salt (optional) 

Frosting:
1 cup cashews 
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional) 
2 tablespoons coconut oil (optional) 
Water, as needed 

To make the cookies: put the cashews or rolled oats in a food processor and pulse until they become powder. Add the rest of the ingredients - except the carrots and raisins - and process into a thick wet mixture. Add the raisins and pulse a few times until you have them incorporated, but still have some whole raisins. Throw this mixture into a large bowl with the carrot shreds and mix with a wooden spoon until it all sticks together. Form into cookies and place in the dehydrator, or use your oven at it's lowest temperature. I "baked" mine at the lowest temperature (200 degrees) in my convection oven for about 2 1/2 hours.

To make the frosting: blend all the ingredients together until smooth, adding the water as needed to get the texture you want: thick and creamy! Refrigerate overnight, then frost your cookies and enjoy! 

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Thursday, 3 July 2014

MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM SANDWICHES


I know what you are thinking: "Emily told us she was gonna lay off the desserts!" Well, you are right. I did say that. I was burnt out after writing an entire book on raw vegan desserts in 4 months... so I thought I wasn't going to want to make any for a looong time. Then this past weekend, I visited my friend in Victoria (on Vancouver Island) while camping nearby with my beau (it was a fab trip) and we ate at this fantastic restaurant called be love. I will be posting a review on our experience there soon. We all loved our meals so much that we ordered dessert too. Eva was given this amazing plate featuring a cherry ice cream sandwich and it reminded me of why I love[d] raw vegan desserts so very passionately! My meals and recipes have been so simple lately, and personally I have been loving that. Yet at the same time, none of them have the capacity to make people swoon and moan with pleasure, and simply be wowed at the sight of the dish, like raw vegan desserts do. My sweet treat creativity got flowing once more and I couldn't wait to get home and whip up all these ideas I have for raw vegan desserts! No, really. I have a lengthy list. This was one of the items on said list, and since it was reminiscent of the yumminess in Victoria, it felt like the perfect fit. I can confidently say they turned out wonderfully, and the whole family loved them; even some friends from Switzerland who are visiting right now! I mean, they KNOW their chocolate. 

I used chocolate mint leaves from the garden, but you can use any kind of mint leaf you like. I also used some beautiful peppermint oil from doTERRA, because it's so organic you can eat it! Highly recommended. Top secret info that is no longer secret because I am typing it out on a very public blog: I used a little bit of spirulina powder to give the ice cream that classic mint ice cream colour we all learned to love as kids. You cannot even taste it but it worked perfectly. Nobody knew... mwahaha. Call me the devious nutritionist. But don't actually, 'cause I ain't certified; I am just a crazy girl in a kitchen who likes eating plants and photographing everything. If you wanna keep this recipe low-fat, I give a few adaptions you can make in the recipe directions. As for me? Even though I am super into the whole high carb thing right now, I still love me some fats and I adore nothing more than getting my daily recommend intake of them in desserts like this. We should all be eating some healthy plant-based fat everyday, we just don't need much! So that being said: please enjoy the heck outta these, and share them with those you love. Or those you don't love, so you can improve that relationship. Or let's be real - you might just hoard them in your freezer and not tell anyone, so you can devour them all in stealth mode. I know you. 


MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP ICE CREAM SANDWICHES 

Cookie:
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates
1 tablespoon cacao powder
Pinch Himalayan salt

Chocolate chips:
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Ice cream:
1 cup young coconut meat 
1 cup cashews 
2 cups water 
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup mint leaves 
3 drops doTERRA peppermint oil
Spirulina powder, as needed (optional) 

ADAPTIONS: if you wanna make this low-fat, use rolled oats instead of walnuts; use bananas instead of cashews; and use date paste instead of coconut oil. 

To make the cookies: pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they become a fine powder. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it all begins to stick together. On parchment paper, shape the dough into cookies however you like. I used a circular cookie cutter and dropped a spoonful into it, pressed it down, then gently tugged the cookie cutter off and made another. Set these in the fridge overnight. 

To make the chocolate chips: whisk together the ingredients, then pour onto a flat plate and freeze until solid. Chop into small pieces and stir into the ice cream when it's thick enough (otherwise the pieces will just sink to the bottom). 

To make the ice cream: blend all the ingredients until smooth, adding tiny amounts of spirulina until the mixture is the colour you want. Put this mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the instructions of the machine. If you don't have an ice cream maker (like me), simply pour the mixture into a metal pan and stick it in the freezer, whisking it up every 30 minutes until it's transformed. Remember to add your chocolate chips! 

Assembly: cookie, scoop of ice cream, cookie. 

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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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