28 Jun 2013

LEMON & FIG CHEESECAKE


This recipe is being featured on The Vegan Woman as a special birthday present for Sivan. I'm so honoured to be on the site! It's an excellent place for recipes, articles, resources and everything else you'd want to know about the plant-based life. Keep in mind that my adoration may be slightly biased because they voted me first place for best vegan food blog of 2013. Teehee.

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LEMON & FIG CHEESECAKE
[ makes 8-12 servings ]

Crust ingredients:
1 cup pecans
1 cup raisins


Cheesecake ingredients:
2 cups cashews
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup dried figs
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup water, as needed
1/4 cup maple syrup


Topping:
Fresh sliced figs

To make the crust: process the pecans into a rough flour in your food processor. Add the raisins and process until everything begins to stick together. Press into the bottom a small spring form pan.

To make the cheesecake: blend all the ingredients until smooth, adding the coconut oil last and making sure it all combines completely. The mixture should be very thick and creamy. Scoop onto your crust and spread evenly. Put in the fridge, covered for 1-2 days so the flavours can develop. Garnish with the fresh figs and enjoy with ones you love!


22 Jun 2013

e-book review: in the raw {by sarah mcminn}

Today I am doing a quick review of an e-book! It's called In The Raw, and it's written by the awesome, intelligent and beautiful Sarah McMinn from The Sweet Life. I salivate over her recipe photos quite often already so when she asked if I wanted to review her book, I was very excited. 


The woman is a genius! She provides you with loads of useful, practical tips about eating raw and making her recipes. She gives you a list of necessary ingredients and products, with links for every item, some with a discount for you! I really appreciated her list of sweetener options and the explanations of each, since there's so much controversy around agave nectar, raw honey, maple syrup, etc. She lets you decide what you're comfortable with and I have mad respect for that.

Sarah is no food newbie - she has grown up with a passion for cooking - and now, uncooking - and her background in food shines through in her recipes. Some of my favourites are her caramel sauce, raw Nutella-inspired hazelnut chocolate spread, banana cream tarts, Neapolitan frozen custard, Turtle brownie bites, and chocolate almond marble fudge... I KNOW RIGHT. Drooling yet?

You can buy the e-book here for a very reasonable price, especially considering what you are getting. Hurray for raw desserts that nourish and sustain us! Hurray for Sarah!

21 Jun 2013

product review: pana chocolate


I am in love. Today I gleefully received nine bars of Pana Chocolate in the mail to review. In this case, review literally means eat. Yes, on this glorious day my job is to eat chocolate. Indeed, I be living dat high life. I must say that the chocolate is absolutely delicious (I did say I was in love, didn't I?) and basically it's what I make at home, which is perfect because I don't like putting anything mysterious into my body. All we've got here is some cacao powder, coconut oil, and dark agave. With each different flavour there are other ones added like orange essential oil, cinnamon, nuts, and other goodies you crave.


All the ingredients are raw, organic and - I felt the vibes - made with love. Plus you cannot resist their adorable packaging. Look at the little mascot! He loves cacao, I love cacao, we got zero problems. Another bonus is how many mind-blowing flavours they offer! Just look at the first picture to see some options. If you don't like things too sweet, then Pana is perfect for you. You get just a hint of agave as an aftertaste, but the cacao is the shining star. My mom is NOT big on sweets so I think she appreciated this. 

Think chocolate cannot fit into a healthy lifestyle? Think again. I rant all the time about how raw chocolate is the greatest thing since green smoothies and I mean it. Is cacao the secret to long life like some people claim? Probably not, but it sure tastes delicious, and it's great for you. It has outrageous amounts of fibre, magnesium and iron. and can provide lots of energy for your busy day. I think of it in a similar way as coffee - it's a terrific supplement to enjoy every few days in moderation, if you like it. 

If you're looking for high quality, kind, wholesome sweet treats - check out Pana Chocolate. They've got you covered... in chocolate. 

20 Jun 2013

foods that feed the skin, hair and nails, and nourish the body

Beauty on the outside begins – naturally – on the inside. To have glowing skin, strong nails and shining hair you must feed your body the right foods so it can thrive. What kinds of foods are these? They are whole, raw, nourishing ones. Cooked whole foods can do wonders for your body but often raw foods deliver more nutrients and hydration and obviously – less processing is required.

Fruits and greens are the most important foods to eat raw. Vegetables, beans and grains can be cooked gently (preferably without oil). If you want to achieve natural, radiant beauty, you need to eat wholesome, honest foods that will build that beauty for you. We literally are what we eat; if you eat processed junk food, it will show in your skin!

Excellent methods of getting the most nutrition out of your food are juicing and blending. Juicing extracts just the liquids so the nutrients from the foods enter your blood stream within minutes. Blending helps make digestion easier because your food is already ready to be absorbed!


























The first step to finding your unique, special beauty is creating a foundation of health by eating healthful foods. When you fuel your body properly and respectfully, it will thank you. By eating right and exercising regularly you can achieve your ideal weight and look amazing. When you look amazing – you feel even better. Real beauty is confidence, and confidence starts with health and happiness... so let’s get started!

When you want lustrous hair, strong nails and radiant skin, all you have to do is eat foods that nourish your body! You want foods that are hydrating, with large amounts of vitamins, healthy fats and minerals.



Vitamin C plays a role in building collagen which keeps your skin smooth and tight; so citrus fruits and other fruits and veggies are excellent for healthy skin. Examples are grapefruit, bell peppers, oranges, and lemons.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant and therefore it helps with anti-aging and cell repair. Foods with vitamin A are usually red, orange or green (think sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, and leafy greens).

Moving on to those healthy fats! Nuts, seeds and avocados contain vitamin E as well as Omega 3’s; they are excellent at keeping the skin youthful and soft by protecting it from sun damage and keeping it moisturized. Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, quinoa and hemp seeds are excellent choices.






Some minerals that are necessary for healthy skin, hair and nails are selenium, zinc. Selenium maintains your skins elasticity can be found in mushrooms and whole grains. Zinc protects cell membranes and plays a role in collagen production; great sources of zinc are nuts (peanuts, cashews, pine nuts, etc.), beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc.) and whole grains like brown rice.

Hope you enjoyed reading! This post was sponsored by Fresh.

18 Jun 2013

gifs & gifs & gifs


You guys are gonna love me extra lots today, even though I'm not sharing any recipes. I collected all my GIFs and put them in one post for you! Look at the food! It's moving! The one above is brand new and will be featured in my cookbook. It's a ginger lime cheesecake swirled with berry ice cream, all raw and vegan of course. The ones below you may or may not have seen already, but personally I could stare at them for hours so they don't get old. The ice cream sandwiches and fruit tarts have their recipes linked to them so just click 'em.
 

17 Jun 2013

pizza with red pepper flax crust, sun-dried tomato sauce, pine nut cheese & veggies


Hey there, pretty people. Today I share one mega delish recipe with you, and it's not dessert (finally)! This pizza is gonna blow your mind; I ate almost the entire thing myself. I recommend you it with avocado slices and parma on top.

pizza with red pepper flax crust, sun-dried tomato sauce, pine nut cheese & veggies

Ingredients:
Cheese:
1c. pine nuts (can try macadamia nuts or cashews)
juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
2tsp herbes de provence (or other herbs)
2T rejuvelac (or water)
2T nutritional yeast
salt, to taste
Crust:
1 red bell pepper
1/3c. each sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds
salt and pepper, to taste
Sauce:
3/4c. chopped tomatoes
3T sundried tomatoes
1/2tsp lemon juice
1-2 dates
1T miso (or less sea salt)
1 small garlic clove
Basil and oregano, to taste
Toppings:
Any vegetable you want + 1tsp each olive oil and tamari
Directions:
Blend all of the cheese ingredients. Place in cheesecloth and place in bowl. Let sit 2-5 days (can be less, but it has better flavor this way). Process all of your crust ingredients in a food processor. Bake in oven at lowest setting for 3-5 hours. Coat vegetables in olive oil and tamari, let marinade in lowest oven setting for an hour. Blend sauce ingredients, spread on crust. Top with cheese, then vegetables. Enjoy!

16 Jun 2013

double energy smoothie with pink & green layers


































I got the idea for this smoothie from the magnificent Lauren over at Ascension Kitchen. The ingredients are basically the same as my regular smoothie recipe; all you're doing is keep some separate from others and layering them to make it look pretty. I had this after a gorgeous morning run/walk around Burnaby Lake, where I happily picked salmon berries and watched baby geese swim around.


































double energy smoothie: serves one or two

Green layer:
2 cups spinach
3/4 cup frozen pineapple
1 banana
Water, as needed (around 3/4 cup) 

Pink layer:
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 banana
Water, as needed (around 3/4 cup) 

Blend each layer separately then layer them on top of each other in a glass. Slurp!


15 Jun 2013

banana date nut shake {praise the heavens}


































This one's a beaut. Easy, filling, energy-giving deliciousness all in the form of a milkshake!? Can life get any better? The answer would be no, except that I am going to continue my spree of Disney movies tonight with The Emperor's New Groove... that's really the only improvement that can be made here.

This shake was my dinner yesterday, before one crazy night in 'da club'. It kept me dancing and smiling until 4 am. Sometimes when I go out to party I will have a beer or a glass of wine, but often I'll just chug water the entire night. I sweat my booty off the whole time so keeping hydrated is mandatory! Anyhoo, no matter what you're or doing - or when you're doing it - this is an excellent THE BEST option for a snack, meal or sweet treat.



banana date nut shake: serves... me

2 frozen bananas 
1/2 cup dates (add according to your taste, I like things sweet)
1 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon nut butter (optional)
Water or nut milk, as needed (1-2 cups probably)

Blend it all up. Feel free to add some cacao powder or whatever else you love. I like when there are chunks of dates in the shake because they are bite-sized happiness. Top off with cinnamon and nom it down. Or nom it up? I dunno. Just get it in you.

12 Jun 2013

raw nori wraps with red cabbage, cucumber, carrots, zucchini & spicy dipping sauce


I forgot to add avocado but the recipe was wonderful even without my creamy green friend. Having said that, if you've got an avocado handy, use it. I ran out of nori sheets so I used rice paper to wrap some as well. Rice paper is so fun and easy to use, and it lets you get a sneak peek of what's inside your roll! Colours abound in the plant kingdom. 

I was pretty busy in the kitchen today - I made four recipes (this one for you, and three for my cookbook) so I am looking forward to a relaxing evening hanging out with an old friend... and maybe watching Tarzan or Aladdin. Shh... Disney movies are great okay (you cannot argue). Actually, last night I watched Atlantis with my girl friend and it was awesome. Sure, there are plot holes - but what is a plot hole when you get to relive your childhood in technicolour with an original soundtrack!? Also... yikes, Disney flicks are problematic as heck. But everything is. You just gotta acknowledge it and take the bad with the good I guess? Anyhoo - this recipe is bomb, try it! XO


raw nori wraps with red cabbage, cucumber, carrots, zucchini & spicy dipping sauce 

Wraps:
1/2 head red cabbage
1 carrot
1 small zucchini
1/2 cucumber
2 kale leaves 
1 avocado
3-4 nori sheets and/or rice paper sheets

Sauce: 
1 tablespoon tahini
Chili powder, to taste
1 tablespoon miso
2 dates
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove
Water, as needed to make it creamy and smooth

Make the sauce by blending all the ingredients together until smooth. Now make your wraps: shred the veggies thinly on a mandolin, but chop the cucumber by hand. Tear up the kale leaves and slice the avocado. Lay your desired fillings on one side of your nori sheet, and on the opposite side spread a little sauce to seal together the ends when you roll it up. Roll everything up tight and set aside. If you're using rice paper, dip the paper in hot water until it's pliable, then place everything you want in the middle. Wrap up like a burrito. Dip your wraps in your sauce and get this party started.

11 Jun 2013

interview with brian patton (AKA the sexy vegan)

Howdy, peoples. Today's post is something special (not that all my posts are sub-special but... anyway), it's special because it's actually an interview with a too-cool-for-school vegan celebrity instead of me ranting about food and cats. Brian Patton (AKA The Sexy Vegan) has just released his newest cookbook - The Sexy Vegan's Happy hour at Home - that's all about vegan cocktail parties, in which he gives you several glorious happy hour menus to choose from. My mom and I are rather excited, because I know every recipe is going to go a long way in continuing to win over the men of the family. The drinks all look divine as well, they are going take girls night to a whole nother level. If you love vegan comfort food, big flavours, colourful drinks and good times, buy his book. He is basically perfect except for the fact he thinks dogs are better than cats... PFFF AS IF. Enjoy his wit below.


Q: What inspires you to keep creating these deliciously meat-free recipes?

A: My biggest inspiration is when I get emails from people who say, “I couldn’t get my kid to eat vegan until I started using your recipes” or “your book helped me make the transition to a vegan diet.” Knowing that what I’m doing is actually having an effect keeps my wheels turning.

Q: Tying into the first question, what was your inspiration to become vegan? Do you have an awesome story about it?

A: I switched to a vegan diet as an experimental kick start in hopes of losing weight. I was around 260 pounds and I felt terrible all the time. And since I was the only meat eater working for a vegan company (Vegin’ Out, L.A.’s premier vegan meal delivery service, where I’m now executive chef, www.veginout.com), I thought I’d give it a try for a month. I started to feel better and lost a few pounds, so I went another month, and another month. Ten months later, I had lost 60 pounds and felt better than I had in my entire life. But just because I had adopted a vegan diet didn’t mean I was a full-on, level 10 vegan. I had been gradually becoming conscious about the other aspects, like not buying leather belts or wool socks. And let me tell you, my silk underwear collection took a big hit in that first year. Then one day, I instinctively trapped an interloping spider with a cup and a piece of cardboard instead of stomping on it. My roommate walked into the room while I was escorting it outside and said, “Dude what are you doing?” I said, “I don’t know, but I guess I don’t kill spiders anymore either.” My perspective had shifted. In that moment, I saw a being just trying to go about its day, like we all do. I thought, “We, earthlings don’t really know what we are in the grand scheme of things...maybe we’re just a lucky spider that hasn’t gotten stepped on yet.” I finally saw what it meant to “do no harm.” And I think that was the moment when I fully defined veganism in my own head. My “spider moment.”



Q: Where did you get your sense of humour from? I was cracking up from the first to last pages.

A:Oh, thanks! Mostly from my family…a bunch of quick witted, Italian ball breakers. Always a lot of joking and laughter happening, especially when everyone gets together around the holidays. I also must give nods to my comedy gods, George Carlin, Howard Stern, and The Three Stooges. True, original, comedic geniuses, each in their distinct ways.

Q: Do you see another cookbook in the future?

A: Oh yes! I’ve got a pretty excellent and original idea for my next book. I’m hoping it all works out, because it will be a game changer. Top secret, though.

Q: If you could go back in time about 15 years (with or without a DeLorean and Michael J. Fox) and then predict where you’d be now, what would you have said?

A: Oh jeez, that would’ve been around my sophomore year in college. Let’s see…I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, drank a dozen beers every night, and ate nothing but pizza and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Umm…probably dead, or at least being fork-lifted out of my house. Things were ugly back then. Anyway, if I could have a DeLorean, I would request the Mr. Fusion model, since it’s a more eco-friendly version of time travel than its plutonium-powered predecessor.



Q: What is your favourite meal, snack, food, or recipe? Oh, gimme your fave drink too.

A: My favorite food overall is pizza. Pizza has everything, and can be made with anything. That’s what excites me about it. There are so many possibilities. One of my other favorite things is something called Easter Pie. It’s an Italian quiche type thing with ham, sausage, egg, ricottoa, and mozzarella, baked into a pie crust. My personal crowning achievement was veganizing it. You can see the recipe here: http://youtu.be/L2R2UDG21xA
For drink? I’m a Hendrick’s gin and tonic guy. Sometimes a dirty martini. There’s a cocktail in my Happy Hour book that might take over as #1 though…It’s called The Bloody Vulcan. It’s made with juiced tomatillos, tequila, lime and agave nectar. It’s green. Like Vulcan blood.

Q: As a public vegan celebrity do you have a particular aim (“I wanna make errbody vegan!”) or are you just going with the flow (“I made this food, it was good, try the recipe, you sexy person.”)?

A: As a celebrity, my only aim is to become a bigger celebrity. I’ve been trying to get Kanye West to impregnate me for some time now, but to no avail. While I work on a new plan for that, I suppose I will try to make everybody vegan by making vegan cooking easy, accessible, and fun. I wonder if that Ray-J guy is busy these days.

Q: I think your food can be appreciated by every kind of person, especially meat-eaters. Do you have one recipe in particular that really showcases this?


A: The Lasagna Fauxlognese recipe from my first book is my go to meat-eater-pleasing recipe. You’ve got to appeal to all senses. First, it looks and smells just like lasagna. Second, they take a bite, and the textures of the cashew ricotta and the tofu fauxlognese sauce are so reminiscent of the non-vegan versions that they won’t even register a difference. Finally, their taste buds kick in, and guess what? They taste a meaty, cheesy lasagna! Partly because it actually does taste like a meaty cheesy lasagna, but also because you have attacked all of their senses. That is the key.


Q: You wake up to discover you are stranded on a desert island with no hope of escape. Pick five things you’d want there with you. Go. Oh – and this island is special because it has electrical outlets (I would take my Vita-mix for sure).

A: Oh, man, in case this is a trick question somehow planted by my wife, I’ll say: my two dogs, my wife, my unborn child, and a comfortable chair for my wife to sit on. If I’m to assume they will already be there with me, or they do not exist, I will say: an ipod loaded with my entire Pearl Jam bootleg collection and Howard Stern show archive (ipod, earbuds, and wall charger count as one thing), a ukulele, a vitamix, a lighter, and a pair of ice skates(which have proven to be very useful in such situations).

Q: Finally I give you not a question, but a choice: cats or dogs. Pressure’s on, bro.


A: Pfft. No pressure here. The choice is unequivocal: Dogs. Man’s best friend. Cats are their own best friend. Who needs that? Sorry cat people, but this pic sums it up.

You can check out Brian on facebook, twitter, youtube, and his website
Note: I got all the photos of Brian's angelic face from the interwebs.

10 Jun 2013

a day in the life {for real this time}

Heyo. I wrote a post a few days ago and titled it "a day in the life" but then went on to write basically nothing about a day in my life these days. So on this day, I will try harder to stick with the topic. Here is an average day in my life, while I am in cookbook-writing mode.


I sleep in (I've always been a night owl) and immediately drink a bunch of water, then check my emails and notifications on the good ole computer. Then I work out - I am loving Fitness Blender at the moment - take a shower if I feel like it, and make a giant glass of juice. Right now this is my favourite recipe. I sip this juice either walking around the garden or while I begin to make my recipe of the day. If I have a recipe prepared and ready to photograph, I get that set up. I also take pictures of adorable things that are close by; namely my cat, Dante. Set-up, photography, and take-down generally takes about one hour. To save time, I will occasionally photograph two recipes in a day.


I am not perfect (far from it, if we're being honest here) so my recipes sometimes don't turn out how I'd like them to. Luckily today the second try was the charm so it wasn't a big deal. But in any case I let the custard-type recipe stay out too long and it reverted back into pudding. Oh well, now I have a bowl of strawberry cream pudding. No biggie, bro.


After taking photos of a recipe and putting everything away again, it's time to edit. This usually takes about an hour because I take a LOT of photos. Oh, I also type up the recipe for my manuscript. I really enjoy editing my photos (not that I do much to them but adjust the brightness, contrast, etc.) because it's purely an aesthetically pleasing experience and since I am not typing anything but just using my eyes, I can blast tunes at the same time. I am loving this track currently.


My mom has made some gorgeous bouquets in the last few days with flowers from the garden; I can't help but photograph them. After I am finished typing up the recipe and editing photos, it's "break" time. I'll usually just clean something, brainstorm recipe ideas, listen to music, hang out with friends, or plan dinner. And of course, check my computer for emails, comments, etc. That part of being a blogger is never-ending.

Last night I made a GLORIOUS raw pizza and practically ate the entire thing by myself... #yolo? The recipe for the pizza will be up by Thursday, or so I am told, because it's going on another website as a guest post. Don't worry - I'll let you know as soon as it's available. After dinner I relax somehow; whether it be with friends, nature, music, a movie, or whatever. I eventually force myself into bed around midnight (although it varies...). I think my sleep schedule is the only aspect of my life that I'm not thrilled with. Ah, well. It'll happen.

P.S. today my juice was made with basil and mint instead of spinach and holy moly was it delish. Try adding fresh herbs to your juice and see what you think.