Thursday, 18 September 2014

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE + BANANA ICE CREAM SANDWICHES


Oh yeah. This is happening. Too epic to handle? No. I believe in you. Just take a breathe and allow the fact to sink in that you can make giant peanut butter cookies, sandwich them with soft serve banana ice cream... and it's healthy. THIS WORLD IS SO FREAKING AWESOME.

The only ingredients in these deliciously sexy treats are nuts, oats, fruit and... oh - that's it! Don't believe me? Make them yourself and find out. And you only need to use oats if you don't like using lots of nuts. But if "the more nuts, the better!" is your motto, then by all means the only ingredients you require are nuts and fruit. (I really, REALLY hope someone out there actually has that as their life motto.)

How did these come into existence? My friend Amanda is a genius and it was all her idea. A few weeks ago she suggested we make peanut butter cookies with banana ice cream (she has tried my banana ice cream before and quickly realized its magical qualities). Obviously I loved the idea so she came over yesterday and I whipped these up as we talked about stuff in the kitchen. 'Stuff' is such a great word. But back on track: this recipe is simple, delicious, healthy and quick to make (what else is new?) We both agreed that the cookies remind us intensely of those Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars that we enjoyed as kids. As long as you love peanut butter and bananas, you should consider this heaven in your hand. And ya know what? Since I love everyone I am gonna be accommodating so even if you hate peanut butter and bananas (what is wrong with you though) you can still make this recipe kick-ass and suitable to your taste preferences! Just use any other kind of nut butter, and make coconut ice cream or mango sorbet instead. Done.

Yet another wonderful feature of this seemingly perfect treat? If you have something against the sandwich format or are just lazy, you can simply throw it all into a bowl and chow down. I rolled the extra cookie dough into balls and threw it on the leftover ice cream along with some coconut sugar. This was my dinner. #perfectlife #bananaicecreamforever

Note: even though I just called this a 'treat', you can seriously eat it any time of the day and in whatever quantity you desire. That's the best part about eating healthy food. No restrictions, yo. Okay I have probably babbled enough about this so let's get to it. WE ALL SCREAM FOR BANANA ICE CREAM! And we can probably scream louder and longer because the wholesome ingredients in our ice cream provide us with energy and high quality nutrition. I'm just SAYING. Okay seriously I will leave now. Enjoy the recipe.

x


PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE + BANANA ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Cookies:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats or walnuts
2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups dates

Ice cream:
3 frozen bananas

To make the cookies: throw the oats or walnuts into a food processor until they become like rough flour. Add the rest of the ingredients to this and process until it all begins to stick together. Put a piece of parchment on a baking pan. Scoop on your cookie dough, then place another piece of parchment paper on top of that. Roll the cookie dough out between the two pieces of parchment (no mess!) then cut out your cookies. Use the extra dough to roll into balls. Refrigerate all this until the cookies can hold their shape (a couple hours).

To make the ice cream: blend the bananas until they turn into soft serve ice cream. (The texture will change suddenly.) Sandwich the ice cream between your cookies and enjoy! Makes approximately 4-6 sandwiches. 

Notes: you can use any kind of nut butter you like. You can make the ice cream in a food processor. You can add a pinch of salt to the cookies, and vanilla to the ice cream. You can really do whatever you want. 

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I WROTE ANOTHER BOOK! (AND IT'S AVAILABLE NOW FOR $15)


Hey, guys. Guess what. I wrote another book!

"Wow, I wasn't expecting THAT after reading the title."


Okay fair enough, that was a lame surprise. But still! I am so excited! Let me tell you about the cookbook. It is called 100 Best Juices, Smoothies & Healthy Snacks and it is just that! I give you 100 recipes for the best juices, smoothies, nut milks, energy bars and easy vegan snacks. All there recipes are vegan, gluten-free and soy-free. And with the exception of some savoury smoothie recipes (think of them as soups) where some veggies need to be steamed, all the recipes are RAW too! There is a full page colour photo for every recipe (all photos are taken by me, as per usual) and I think they are some of the best pictures I have done yet. I am really proud of this cookbook and I cannot wait for you to get it in your hands and start making healthy, wholesome, vegan delights in the kitchen! While my first book, Rawsome Vegan Baking, featured more decadent - but still healthy - recipes, this book focuses more on foods you can make everyday. Most of my diet is composed of the recipes in this book! Of course I also have written chapters on what equipment you need, and explain some of the superfood ingredients I use. But don't worry! The majority of the ingredients are commonly known, easy to find, and affordable. I also have a comprehensive list of useful resources for living a more informed, sustainable, healthy lifestyle. The binding of the book allows the page you're on to stay open, so when you're making a recipe in the kitchen it won't close on you. YAY! FINALLY.

This book will be published internationally in early December 2014 (just in time for Christmas presents and New Years resolutions, eh?) and you will be able to buy it wherever books are sold. For now, it is available for pre-order. Rawsome Vegan Baking sold out in just a few days so I recommend you pre-order your copy right now! It is available in both hard copy and kindle (e-book) format. How much is it, you ask? Only $15.00! You can pre-order at:

Amazon
The Book Depository
Chapters
Barnes & Noble
Wherever else books are sold!

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!



Saturday, 13 September 2014

WALKING ON TWO FEET: THOUGHTS ON A CRUELTY-FREE FUTURE


Today's post is not specifically about food. It is more generally about life.

At the beginning of summer (4 months ago) I walked around my university campus with camera in tow. I thought it was time to photographically capture the beautiful, minimalist shapes and colours of the area. A lot of students say that our campus is dreary and depressing; but I think it's inspiring and the perfect blank canvas for academic and personal creativity. I couldn't have designed it more elegantly myself. The architect was fellow Canadian Arthur Erickson, a favourite of mine. In all his projects it seems to me that he saw the intricate design lines in nature and recreated them as simply as possible, constructing humble yet mesmerizing functional forms where you, your work, and nature were the real focus. I could talk about his architecture forever though. Moving on.

I adore the aesthetic contrasts on my campus. The buildings are cold, concrete, grey, geometrical slabs with large glass windows showing themselves every now and them. But all that greyness lives so well in harmony with all the green! Moss abounds, blossoming trees grow out of seemingly dead cement blocks, and the campus itself is on the top of a mountain, thus surrounded by forests, rivers, and other mountains. The bleak buildings are the frame of vibrant life! This is why I love minimalist design, it provides a surface for you to evolve. I want the spaces I inhabit to be as simple and functional as possible; they don't need to be fancy or try to mimic nature. Nothing human-made can successfully mimic real flowers, fruit, forests or anything else one finds in the wilderness. This is also why I don't usually wear bright colours; I leave it to nature to show us how to do that.

I also love how life is able to spring up from anywhere and everywhere. I smile when I see weeds sprouting up from the cracks in sidewalks, and when I spot trees growing out of rock faces. It's the perseverance of plants that so often inspires me. And on that same train of thought I wonder why we have consistently tried so hard to crush all these rebellious seeds. I hope one day the human species will realize working WITH wilderness is incomparably more productive than working against it. We are not separate from nature; we ARE nature. It's all connected. We are all one. I am not even speaking from a personal perspective; it's fact! Our entire planet and all that came from it (including us) previously was derived from other stars that had died out and exploded into the 13.8 billion year old universe we breathe in. There is no such reality as humans vs. nature because it's all simply nature. Perhaps if we learn to see ourselves as a component of this global ecosystem instead of the dominators of it, we can finally look at one another and see each other as brothers and sisters instead of enemies. We can celebrate differences instead of fighting them. We can nurture environmental, personal and mental health instead of destroying and drugging it.

Basically put: when we realize we're all one, we can finally grow up. Humans are wonderfully unique in how intellectually evolved our brains are, and yet at this point most of the net cranial energy seems to be directed at short term money making and social control. Of course it's needless to say that there are millions of people working hard to create the world I have been describing, but they are all in minority groups. I firmly believe - and must believe - that in a sense we are still in the Dark Ages of human development; we are in our species' infancy. I'd like to think that one day in the future, children in school will study our time and be shocked by the irrationality of so much we consider normal; war, poverty, lifestyle diseases, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, religious oppression, government and corporate corruption, imperialism, and more. Call me a naive vegan hippie (although I'd rather you didn't) but my logic is: we're headed for Utopia or bust. An unhappy and unhealthy global population cannot be sustained. It's that simple. It will take a long time and seemingly endless struggle for the rights of ALL OF US to finally be weighted equally, but we will get there as long as we don't kill the planet before that point (unfortunately that is a very high possibility). I understand that it's human nature to be selfish and greedy, but there are definitely ways those traits can be utilized in positive avenues. Instead of Walmart being rich from slave labour and GMO's, it can easily be just as wealthy from locally made clothing lines and organic plant-based foods. If you think that sounds unrealistic, take a step back 100 years ago to when - in colonial European culture - people with darker skin were believed to be biologically inferior to their lighter skinned counterparts. Of course a huge percentage of the world is still dealing with intense racism on a daily basis. I am not saying by any means ethnic prejudice is a thing of the past. I am merely saying that our moral evolution does seem to be going in the right direction, albeit slowly. My point is: things change. Things improve. The powers that be don't let revolution happen easily but when the public wants something bad enough, they will get it.

My partner has fallen asleep because I told him to leave me alone while I finished writing this, so it's time for me to clock out and dive into bed for a good spooning session. Just know that I don't mean to offend with these words. These are my opinions that have been developed because of my own experiences in life. I hope you can find inspiration in my thoughts, and imagine the possibility of a future where human life is seen as part of - and equal to - all life.

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

SWEET POTATO WEDGES with GARDEN SALAD + SWEET CORN (NO OIL OR SALT)


This is a perfect example of what my dinners look like these days: loads of baked sweet potatoes, greens and fresh veggies. I don't use any oil or salt and yet the whole meal ends up being so flavourful and delicious I can hardly believe it! My secret? Lemon or lime juice and herbs and spices!  Feel free to add a pinch of Himalayan salt if you want to, but I am JUST SAYIN: I don't use any when I make this. I also used to think I HAD to use oil to get my potatoes just right, but I was wrong! I have learned that if you bake them on parchment paper and spray them with a bit of lemon or lime juice (this adds flavour too) they will turn out perfectly crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside - exactly how I love them. You might be thinking: "But Emily - those aren't sweet potatoes because they aren't orange!" Well, my friend, they actually are! Sweet potatoes come in many varieties. There are white ones (my favourite), orange ones, purple ones, and all kinds of variations in skin colour, flavour and more. Also, yams and sweet potatoes are NOT the same! Go figure.

In case you didn't know - I eat a whole foods, plant based, high carb diet. What the heck does that actually MEAN? Basically I just eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. I also enjoy a bit of nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, and super foods like cacao, coconut oil, spirulina, maca, and more. And I eat as much as I freaking want, because why restrict foods that are good for me!? I have always loved eating huge amounts, and this diet allows me to do that with only positive effects. I am strong, healthy and happy! The key to a healthy diet is simply whole foods, lots of fruits and veggies, and eating enough for you. If you think you're full after a meal like this but then craving a donut later... you should eat more of this! I notice that when I eat as much as I desire throughout my day, I don't crave richer foods later on. But when I don't eat enough, I start thinking about how good some greasy vegan burgers would taste. In those cases I just stuff my face with a giant smoothie or a huge plate of something like this recipe and my mind is back to normal. It is simply about fuelling your body with what it needs. Your brain is an organ, and your diet and lifestyle affect it like any other organ. If you suffer from chronic anger, depression or stress - check out what your diet, sleep schedule and exercise regime look like. I am no doctor but it seems like common sense that eating well can improve these mental (i.e. physical) problems. For example, ADHD is correlated with high processed sugar consumption. I could give countless examples of a psychological disorder being related to poor diet and lack of exercise. Again, I have no certification in nutrition or medicine, but the data speaks for itself. Of course sometimes a healthy lifestyle will not solve all your problems, but the evidence is there that is can solve quite a few. Check out documentaries like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days, and SuperJuice Me! to learn more about this. And if you are into books read Eat To Live by Joel Fuhrman. Let thy food be thy medicine!

SWEET POTATO FRIES with GARDEN SALAD + SWEET CORN

Wedges:
2 sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 lemon or lime

Salad:
3 cups swiss chard leaves
1/2 cup sweet corn 
1/2 cup sliced tomatoes
1 thinly slice shallot
1 lemon or lime
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Make the wedges: preheat your oven to 420 degrees. Slice the potatoes into wedges, circles, or whatever shape you like. I don't peel them. Put the slices into a large bowl and dump on the herbs, spices and then spray on the lemon or lime juice. Shake it all up until they are evenly coated. Bake on parchment paper for 15 minutes, then flip them all and bake until they are lightly browned. I usually just stick a fork in one and bite it to see when they are done. 

Make the salad: toss everything together and spray on the lemon or lime juice! Yum!

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!

Friday, 5 September 2014

RAW VEGAN BLOODY MARY


I was really surprised at how delicious this tasted. Then again, if I thought a moment longer I would've realized it shouldn't be surprising at all. I love tomatoes, garlic, lemon and spices! But I've never been into alcoholic drinks, so the idea of Bloody Mary was not exactly a turn on. However, it's one of my moms favourite cocktails so I decided to make a healthy vegan version just for the challenge. It turned out splendidly. I actually didn't want to hand the glass over to mom because I wanted it for myself! I didn't add any booze (to my mothers dismay) but if you want to, don't let me stop you. This is great a juice recipe on it's own, or a terrific healthy base for a real cocktail.

I basically just researched what a Bloody Mary actually is (mostly tomato juice with booze) and added my own twist by juicing it all fresh. I rimmed the glass with salt, pepper and chili; and used garlic and ginger in the juice to add a spicy punch. It kinda tastes like V8... but approximately ten million times more flavourful and vibrant. Enjoy this before summer is over (here in North America)!

P.S. if you're on the market for a new juicer, check out this page from Williams-Sonoma that lists some of the best juicers and blender available. Yes! You can make juice with a Vitamix!


RAW VEGAN BLOODY MARY

3 large field tomatoes
3 celery stalks 
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon chunk ginger
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and chili powder (mixed together)

Put the tomatoes, 2 of the celery stalks, garlic, ginger and 1/2 of the lemon into your juicer. Wet the rim of a glass and dip into the salt, pepper and chili mix. Pour in your juice and decorate with a lemon slice and celery stalk! 

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

COME TO MY VEGAN MEET-UP + POTLUCK!

BIG NEWS! If you live near or in Vancouver, BC, Canada I would love if you could make it out to my first ever vegan potluck! We will be gathering at a lovely home in East Van with a big garden and dining area. Please bring whatever vegan dish you like (raw or cooked, sweet or savoury, crunchy or creamy, etc.), although I would ask that it's made with mostly whole foods (so I can try it!) and list the ingredients in case there are people with food sensitivities or certain preferences. Also feel free to bring vegan wine, beer, tea, kombucha, or whatever! The meet-up will be commencing in the evening around 6:15 pm and we can hang out as late as we please. We can make this event into whatever you want it to be. Vegan dance party? Hell yeah! Calm philosophical moral discussion? Alright! Just stuffing our faces with magical food? It's all good. I would love to meet you, so come on over if you can! This is a great opportunity for me to connect with all of you, but more importantly for all of us to connect with each other! Who doesn't want more vegan friends!?

Note: you do not have to be vegan or even vegetarian to come. As long as you have an open and accepting mind, EVERYONE IS WELCOME! Having said that, this will be a no-hate zone. Discrimination of any kind will not be accepted. But that probably goes without saying because I know you're all pretty much the coolest homo sapiens ever.

///

Date: Saturday, September 13th 2014
Time: 6:30 pm until whenever  
Location: email me at emilyvoneuw@gmail.com to get the address 


Sunday, 31 August 2014

OAT & PECAN CAKE with VANILLA GINGER FROSTING


I wanted to keep this recipe simple and beautiful; those two features often go hand-in-hand, incidentally. The ingredients are wholesome, nutritious gifts from nature and the cake they end up making is a delightful treat to enjoy and share with those you care for. I imagine this cake being eaten in a sunny garden where flowers bloom, golden rays shine on skin moisturized with coconut oil, and a comfortable atmosphere invites subtle waves of laughter and easy conversation.

Was that way too corny? And what's with the language here? Hyper-emotional moments are always categorized with words like "cheesy", "corny", "mushy"... what's goin' on there? I'm just being honest about how I feel. Seriously though... opening my heart has nothing to do with maize (or dairy, for that matter).


Back to the cake. I love oats! I love the word 'oat', as well as the actual thing the word points to in the real world. They are full of fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron and a ton of other good stuff. The taste of oats is really comforting to me, as I loved oatmeal growing up and still enjoy a warm bowl every now and then. Another fave flavour of mine comes from pecans. They've got loads of healthy fats, oleic acid, vitamin E and other minerals and vitamins essential to keeping your bodacious bod happy.

The frosting is outta this world. It's like a super creamy, sweet, ginger cashew yogurt or something. Actually, if you let it sit in the fridge for a week or so, it probably would become a kind of yogurt because of the fermentation... mmm... I should try that next time. It's light and fresh and sweet and simple, just like a baby bird in the morning. Or maybe not. I dunno.


OAT & PECAN CAKE with VANILLA GINGER FROSTING 

Frosting:
1 1/2 cups cashews
2 tablespoons coconut nectar
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla powder 
2 tablespoons peeled ginger 
1/2 cup water, as needed
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Cake:
1 cup pecans
1 cup oats
2 cups dates
2 tablespoons coconut butter 

Note: you can use young coconut meat instead of cashews; vanilla extract instead of vanilla powder; and the coconut butter is optional but recommended.

To make the frosting: in a high-speed blender, blend all the ingredients together until smooth and yogurt-like in consistency. Store in the fridge in sealed glassware overnight.

To make the cake: pulse the pecans and oats into flour in a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and process until you can press pieces of the mixture together and it holds. Press half the mixture into a lined, small spring form pan (mine is about 4 inches). Take this out of the pan and put in the fridge. Do the same with the remaining half of the mixture.

Assembly: take the cakes out of their lining, and place one on a plate. Frost the top, then place on the second cake. Frost the top and sides, then decorate with whatever you like; dried flowers, nuts, seeds, fruit and berries... 

GOOD MORNING, GREEN JUICE


Today's post is a delicious, easy recipe for green juice because I think many of us could use a bit more dark leafy greens in our diet. Obviously a lot of the people reading this (hey there, sexy) are already very interested and in control of their health. But at the same time, I know many of you are just starting out on a new journey to well-being, or maybe you're like me and have just been plain forgetting to eat/drink your greens lately. I used to LIVE for my green smoothies but lately I've been fruiting it up hard core, and have incidentally left the kale and spinach crying at the sidelines, asking "WHY DOESN'T SHE LOVE US ANYMORE!?" Don't fret, my dear leaves! I still care for you and your chlorophyl deeply. But I got kinda carried away with my fruit smoothies and high carb dinners of rice and sweet potatoes. I hadn't eaten a salad in months, and would only occasionally throw a handful of greens into my blender or stir-frys. Well, things are back on track now. I am again head over heels with salad, and I love the taste and colour of spinach in my smoothies. 

Dark leafy greens are SO important for long term health. You don't need huge amounts but a few cups everyday is going to make such a difference in all aspects of how you feel and how your system runs. Green leaves in your diet are basically amazing for every cell in your entire body (that's TRILLIONS of little hard-working universes). Honestly, I could write several books on the benefits of eating greens, but we have this handy thing called the world wide web, so I suggest you simply Google "benefits of dark leafy greens"! There are definitely whole books that have already been written on the subject, as well as countless articles. Besides, that little splash of green is an excellent garnish on any dish! Eat the rainbow! Let's get green and groovy. 

GLORIOUS GREEN JUICE

5 cups spinach
2 cups cilantro
1 green bell pepper
2 green apples
2 oranges
1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons ginger
1-2 garlic cloves
1 cucumber (optional) 

Wash, peel and chop the produce as needed. Put through your juicer, strain if desired, then sip up the splendidness (shh it's a word okay). Note: if you do not have a juicer, simply blend all the ingredients together, then strain through a sieve, cheese cloth or nut milk bag. Use the leftover pulp for crackers, breads, and more!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

OAT & CASHEW THUMBPRINT COOKIES with BERRY CHIA JAM


Note: I am honoured to say this recipe was featured in Vegetarian Times!

These are almost dangerously tasty. You've got a heavenly cookie base mainly made up of cashews and oats, creating a nest for fresher-than-fresh berry jam with chia seeds. That's it. Simple, right? Definitely. But simple doesn't mean boring. This recipe will blow your mind and your mouth will cry for more. I just gobbled up two and almost didn't stop to breathe. Fortunately, the planet is awesome and allows these cookies to be super healthy, raw and vegan without compromising on flavour or sexy looks.

Yeah, I just called these cookies sexy.


Okay I just drank a giant green smoothie and NEED TO PEE. Be right back.

Thoughts while in the bathroom: my world is way too trippy lately but at least I have people who care what I have to say. Speaking of what I have to say... the following is a bit of a ramble through my mind and what's been going on in there lately. Let's jump in.

I'm in the middle of this weird identity "crisis". As my blog and myself become more and more popular, and I'm working on promoting my cookbooks (you can find them here and here); I'm beginning to realize my life is rapidly changing and I am at the start of a new phase IN my life. I'm going to increasingly be in the public eye as a symbol of veganism and health and I will largely be defined by my diet and how I present myself through my blog and book(s). I've been in radio and TV interviews and meeting with local businesses, and in those situations my appearance really matters. On a personal scale, this means I need to start dressing a bit more professional and taking care with my appearance. This is slightly uncomfortable because for the past two-ish years, I've basically become a radical feminist only shopping at thrift stores, buying over-sized men's clothing, not shaving [anything], boycotting make-up and shampoo, etc. Well the fact of the matter is I have to put that phase behind me and look forward to actually LOOKING like the 'business woman' I have, in a sense, made myself into. I got rid of all my old clothes and am now slowly rebuilding my wardrobe with good quality, NEW clothes that actually fit my figure. I was showing my parents a dress after I bought it a few months ago and my dad proclaimed, "You look like a girl, again! When did that happen!?"

Until the past year and more specifically the last eight months, the reality that I have created my own business, have a blog that is popular enough to (mostly) live off of and am a published best-selling author all before the age of 21 hadn't hit me fully. I started this blog about four years ago as a hobby and mostly at the suggestion of family and friends. Sure, I daydreamed that maybe it'd get a few readers; and when I walked by the vegan section in bookstores it was fun to pretend my name was on one of the book spines... but now these dreams have literally become true and I am FINALLY letting that settle in. Like I said, this is the beginning of a new phase in my life... one that I think will be mainly defined by fame and fortune professionalism and the message of veganism. I am genuinely excited for the future and also the fact that I have no idea what it holds. What am I going to do next? I feel like things are just going to keep improving because I actively put positive energy into my environment and my work... and clearly that has been paying off!? At the same time, I need to stay realistic and not get ahead of myself. A great mantra is: expect the worst and hope for the best. I do that every day; I'd say I'm an optimistic realist. Another one I need to remember is: BE HERE NOW! I have tattooed on my wrist but too often I forgot to take a breath and appreciate the moment at hand for what it is, for all it is!

But it's also not like I'm just sitting here and just desperately hoping all this good fortune lands in my lap. I was talking to a friend the other day and she was asking how you get to where I am (I think the term she used was "vegan famous") and she answered her own question by saying it must just be good karma. I'm not saying that I haven't been extremely fortunate and blessed on my journey thus far, because I have greatly. But it was a little offensive to hear that because I don't think many of my friends are really aware of how much time, thought and effort I put into this blog. Yes, I LOVE my "work". It feels wrong calling it work because it's my passion! But no, that doesn't mean it's effortless. I am dedicated to you and making the world a better place through wholesome eating and living, and that dedication is official now. There ain't no goin' back! I am only going to work harder to inspire as many people as I can.

Right now though, I'm gonna go eat another cookie.


OAT & CASHEW THUMBPRINT COOKIES with BERRY CHIA JAM 

Cookies:
2/3 cup cashews
3/4 cup oats (I used plain rolled oats, you can find raw oats if you like) 
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Pinch Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Jam:
1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 dates, cut into small pieces
Water, as needed (I used about 3 tablespoons) 

To make the cookies: process all the ingredients but the oats together in a food processor until they form a thick, chunky kind of cashew butter. Add the oats and pulse until it all starts sticking together. Form into thumbprint cookies and put in the fridge for a few hours so they can set. 

To make the jam: put all the ingredients except the chia seeds in a food processor and process until it's as smooth as desired. Mix in the chia seeds with a spoon, then fill each thumbprint cookie with the jam. Yussss. 


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

INTELLIBED: PRETTY MUCH THE BEST MATTRESS EVER (IT'S NON-TOXIC TOO)


Heyo, here comes Emily with another post about an amazing company and their amazing product! Although my blog is regularly focused on food, it is more broadly focused on helping people achieve a healthy, happy life and long term wellness (through food)! Equally important to eating whole foods, is exercising regularly, getting enough sunshine, laughter, relaxation, water and SLEEP! All these factors help you find that wonderful place called well-being. In this post I will be sharing my experience with my new mattress, how it has affected me, and how beneficial it could be for you. If you have back problems, neck problems, sore muscles when you wake up, trouble with tossing and turning all night or waking up still feeling tired, then this mattress is your saviour. If you are concerned with toxins in your mattress, just wanna sleep better or are looking for a new bed, this will also be very relevant read.

Note: if you click on any of the "IntelliBED" or IntelliGEL" links in this post, it will take you to the IntelliBED website where you can check out their mattresses and if you want to buy one, you get a discount because you came through my blog!

PART I: THE AMAZING NON-TOXIC INTELLIBED

Meet the best mattress ever. It's called an IntelliBED and I love mine dearly. A handful of months ago, I was learning on the internet about toxic products most of us unknowingly have in our homes that we use everyday and that are no good for the planet or possibly our health. That was when I discovered most conventional mattresses from big brands are made with potentially harmful ingredients that can leak out... into our skin and homes. Yikes! In the US, it is legally required of mattress companies to include fire retardants in their beds. Great, right? Nope, not the way it's being done. The fire retardants many companies use can contain asbestos, formaldehyde, and other cancer-casing materials. Naturally this freaked me right out and I decided I should start looking into non-toxic mattresses that won't pollute my body or air while I sleep.

That's when the magic happened.

I had been checking out non-toxic mattress company websites and comparing prices, but it seemed like I was gonna have to pay $5,000 for a decent queen size mattress. Then I got an email from a guy named Justin who started telling me about the mattress company he works for: IntelliBED. He informed me that their non-toxic mattresses are designed based on scientific studies and medical research focusing on back health, made mostly of organic cotton and food grade mineral oil, and that they wanted me to try one out for myself. It's times like this that make me believe in something like karma. Justin used to have serious back problems and couldn't sleep at night until he discovered IntelliBED, and then everything changed. He loved the mattress so much that he started working for the company himself. After several phone calls and emails, they eventually had their queen size mattress delivered to my house, and now my parents are very jealous. I have never slept better in my life. I would like to point out that I had always taken a long time to fall asleep, even after becoming vegan. It could take me anywhere from 1-3 hours every night, lying awake, staring at the ceiling. When I became vegan my sleep definitely improved, but I'd still wake up with soreness and be tossing and turning much of the night. Relatively speaking I slept well, but not great. Now I do not need as much sleep as I did before, and I have no soreness when I wake up in the morning. I can comfortably lie on my side without messing up my shoulders, or I can lie on my back all night without feeling the need to move.

This mattress really is like no other, because it is made with IntelliGEL, the main ingredient of which is, like I said, food grade mineral oil. This company designs their products based on scientific research and studies. Their main mission is to precipitate proper posture while you sleep. When they first told me this it was like an "Ah-ha!" moment; I'd never thought about my posture while I slept even though I make sure I always pay attention to it while I am awake. When you think about it, it's because of poor posture in our beds that we can wind up with soreness upon waking, or that we toss and turn during the night. When you have a hard mattress, it forces your hips to be pushed up; messing up your posture and misaligning your body. If your mattress is soft, it lets your hips sink in and ultimately causes the same problem. With other mattresses the design and shape of the bed gradually wear down and after 5-7 years, and you're left with a less than suitable place to sleep because your body has completely changed the shape of the bed. IntelliGEL is special: it's gel! It allows your body to have good posture while you sleep because it takes pressure off those normally pressure-heavy points (shoulders, hips, etc.) It becomes soft - but not too soft - with pressure, pushes up the natural curve of your back, and doesn't mould or contour with your body too much. These beds have been proven in various studies to cure pressure sores in hospitals, due to the fact that they let your blood flow throughout your body while you sleep, instead of limiting blood flow like many beds can do. Although the mattresses also include foam and fire blockers, these materials are certified to be non-toxic.

With IntelliBED, their trademarked main ingredient - IntelliGEL - doesn't break down. You will see about a 5% softening within the first little while of sleeping on it but after that it won't wear down any further. The bed comes with a 30 year warranty, meaning I will be 50 years old (!!!) when my warranty expires. When 700 medical professionals recommend IntelliBED, it's hard to ignore. Finally, I learned - or relearned, since I vaguely recall this from psychology class - that during stage 3 and 4 of sleep (also called REM) is when your body releases hormones to heal, rebuild and recover. Unfortunately, if you're tossing and turning because you can't get comfortable in bed it disrupts this stage of sleep and your body does not have sufficient time or effectiveness in doing those repairs. Uh-oh. This really caught my attention because I personally would often be tossing and turning all night. When I started sleeping on my new mattress, this changed. I hardly move a muscle all night now.

PART II: BUYING THE AMAZING NON-TOXIC INTELLIBED

You're probably thinking, "Well it's easy for you to recommend this bed - you didn't have to pay for it!" But honestly, even if I had to pay for this bed, I would. It's worth it. You have to ask yourself how much healthy, deep sleep means to you. This bed will last a lifetime, and it will probably provide you with countless hours of more life, because you will not need as much sleep! But anyways - down to the nitty gritty. How much does it actually cost? They sent me one of their most expensive beds and it is in $3,000 or $4,000 range. After having done my own research, this is an amazingly fair price because you won't find a better mattress on the market, and most mattresses actually cost more than these. But even if $3,000 or $4,000 isn't in your budget you can find more affordable ones in their product line. And if it's not the right time for you to buy a new bed, you can consider getting their pillows. They sent me a pillow as well - made with IntelliGEL just like the mattress - and I like to bring it everywhere I sleep now because otherwise I get a sore neck with normal pillows! Finally, you get 60 days to try the bed and if you aren't impressed (doubtful) you can return it with no charges.

*FIND YOUR NEW MATTRESS HERE*
(with a discount code from me!)

Jack and I both sleep so much deeper at my place that when we sleep at his - and he just got a new mattress, by the way - I've noticed we both need more sleep, and we both wake up groggier. I can't wait to move in with him so we can jump into MY bed every night! Cheers to deep sleep and uninterrupted dreams!

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!

Monday, 25 August 2014

RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE


This is it. A simple, quick, and easy recipe for the best raw vegan chocolate cake. I whipped this up for my lover's birthday celebration / family dinner and his whole clan loved it! I wasn't planning on posting it but I figured I may as well. I mean: chocolate. cake. Need I say more? I wanna give you guys every opportunity to create healthy and delicious desserts and meals whenever possible.

If you are new to the whole 'raw vegan dessert' thing, then this cake recipe is perfect for you. This is almost as basic as you can get. Although you can add anything else you want to this dark brown creamy bad boy (ex: ginger, cinnamon, berries), I am keepin' it real and leaving ingredients at a minimum so no one gets confused or overwhelmed. Sure, this recipe could be lower fat and blah blah blah, but my mentality when I create food for non-veg folks (Jack's family) is to wow them with flavour and texture, thus I add a little more coconut oil and maple syrup than I normally would. My palate is very different from someone who doesn't usually eat many plants - let alone whole foods - so I wanna give them something even THEIR taste buds will appreciate! That means making this cake a bit richer than if I were making it for just myself. What is healthy is relative. A pure raw foodist would feel sick if they suddenly ate cooked food; I feel weird when I eat too MUCH cooked food or fat-dense food (nuts, etc.) in a day; my mom feels weird if she eats too much meat. Does that mean that cooked food or nuts are unhealthy? No! It just means that my body has acclimatized to a mostly low-fat raw foods diet with a cooked dinner so if I suddenly eat cooked food all day it's gonna be like "WTF!?" (Where's the fruit!?) If you drank nothing but water for 7 days, then gorged on fruit, you'd feel ill. Does that mean FRUIT is unhealthy? No! It's like the healthiest thing... ever. All it implies is that your body has become sensitive to something because of the diet it has grown accustomed to. So to round this back to my first point: I made this recipe a bit more decadent than usual because of the audience it would be catered to. Nuff said (I think?)

Note: if the ingredients look kinda pricey to you, don't worry! You can use oats instead of walnuts, cocoa powder instead of cacao powder, and almonds instead of cashews. Using almonds instead of cashews will make it a bit less creamy, but still delicious.

RAW VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

Crust: 
1 cup walnuts 
1 1/2 cups dates

Cake:
2 cups cashews
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 cup water
Juice from 1 lemon
1 cup dates
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

To make the crust: pulse oats or walnuts into powder in a food processor, then add the dates and keep processing until it all starts to stick together. Press into the bottom of a springform cake pan, or adjustable pan (I used an adjustable pan set to about 7 inches). Put in fridge. 

To make the cake: blend everything until smooth, thick and creamy! It should be the consistency of yogurt, kinda. If it's watery; add more dates, coconut oil or nuts. If it's too thick; add more water or maple syrup. Pour onto your crust and let it set overnight or for at least 12 hours (this lets it set and develop flavour). Slice and enjoy! I decorated mine with hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds. 

Did you like this post? Then *subscribe to my blog* and get all my posts by email!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...