28 Oct 2013

RAW VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE with WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM


If you wish to find nirvana, search no further, fortunate fellow. I've made a couple raw pumpkin pie recipes before. In fact, raw pumpkin pie holds a special place in my heart because it's one of the first raw dessert recipes I ever made, over 3 years ago, and my memories of those times are still clear in my mind. Ah, the beginning of my journey; way back when I didn't think anyone read my blog (and no one really did) and my photos were just depressingly bad. I think my writing style hasn't changed much - I still ramble about nothing in particular. You guys seems to like my stream-of-consciousness prose though, and that is probably why it has survived. Of course, it's also just part of who I am, and it's very useful to me to write in this way; it provides me with a direct reflection of my inner being.


I write quite a lot of "poetry" or whatever you want to call it, and the amount of writing I do has increased in the past month or so. Mostly due to me getting out of a heart-breaking relationship and knowing that I need to reconquer my independence; not merely as a girl or human, but as a spiritual, living unit of energy in this universe. I am happy to say I have been successfully rediscovering old pastimes and finding renewed fulfillment in them. Some are yoga, meditation, writing, reading, and general arts and crafts. Music has also been playing a paramount role. Music done right is, in my humble opinion, the sound of the human condition, often begging a reaction. Fortunately I have friends who are offering up some amazing artists and albums, and currently my favourite way to spend an evening is by myself, lights out, incense and and candles lit, lying in corpse pose (or low-back Savasana) and meditating on an entire album.


My happiness comes down to my selfishness. I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a selfish person; because I think we all are, it's part of being human, but many of us don't want to admit as much. I care for others' and their well being deeply, but ultimately I put myself first. My logic is: I can't love anyone if I don't love myself. So, I am constantly working on improving me, so I can love myself in a more fundamental way. It seems (to me) that a lot of people don't love themselves enough or at all, so they don't feel whole unless they are with others who give them validation and affection. Obviously this is not practical. On the other end of the spectrum, we have those who only love themselves in an inflated way, and they don't give love to anyone else. The solution is a balance: find wholeness in you and you alone, then progress to sharing that wholeness with others. Be happy in being yourself, and love whatever you are. If you don't love what you are, work out what you would like to change and go from there. But certainly everyone deserves all the love in the world, there are no exceptions in my opinion. 


Now, where were we!? Ah yes, pumpkin pie. This Autumn, get healthy/jiggy with it and serve up a pie filled with whole food goodness and mind-blowing flavour. My mom bought a couple sugar pumpkins at the farmers' market and I immediately chopped them up, threw them on a raw pie crust and voila. Bliss in a bowl/plate/whatever. For real, all that is in this is walnuts, raisins, pumpkin, coconut oil, spices, and whatever sweetener you like. THAT'S IT. Ain't life magical? Here's where you answer, "Yes"! This recipe gets simpler every time I make it, and what we've got here is the truly bare-bones version. So go ahead and change it up as you want to. It's all about what you want. Let's eat.


RAW VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE with WHIPPED COCONUT CREAM

Crust:
2 cups walnuts
2 cups raisins
Pinch of salt (optional) 

Pie filling:
1 sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 6-7 cups) 
1/4 cup melted coconut oil 
3-5 tablespoons coconut nectar or other preferred sweetener
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeg, ginger and cloves 

Whipped coconut cream or cashew cream

To make the crust: pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they're crumbs, add the raisins and salt and process until it begins to stick together. Press into a pie dish and put in the fridge.

To make the filling: blend all the ingredients until smooth, adding however much of the spices you like. If it's quite runny, let it thicken in a bowl in the fridge. Spread into your crust and refrigerate overnight until it's set. Slice and serve with whipped coconut cream, cashew cream or your fave vegan ice cream!

23 Oct 2013

AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE with GOJI BERRIES


If you like avocados and you like chocolate; you will appreciate this recipe. Its creaminess is thanks to those magical green monsters that are full of healthy fats, protein and fiber, all wrapped up in one delicious package. When I eat avocados, I like to massage the seed on my face and neck, it feels good and it simultaneously rubs the avocado meat on my skin which is great for it. Just remember to wash it off, otherwise people will think you are turning into a goblin...

But hey, maybe it's been a dream of yours to look like a goblin. In that case, you're welcome.


I was gonna make these into individual cakes but decided that I'd throw everything together in a large spring form pan just because I haven't done that in awhile and it DOES seem more impressive. Don't you agree? If not, too bad. What's done is done, buddy. And what's done is also deliciouusss. I didn't add too much sweetener to this, so the flavour of the avocado comes through and combines with the cacao powder and raisin-walnut crust to create a smooth, decadent, uber nutritious experience in your mouth. Yes, it is an EXPERIENCE.


I kinda sorta made this cake as a happy birthday present for my friend (whose name is ALSO Emily, go figure). Almost all my friends are 20 now! We be growin' up, yo. I think my soul is like 72 years old though, and I've always felt that way. These days, instead of wishing my loved ones a "happy birthday", I tend to say "happy continuation day" instead. It's a Buddhist thing. See, in Buddhism it is taught that we are all part of the universe and the universe is equally part of all of us; it has been this way for eternity. Thus, we are never really born and likewise never really die. We simply continue to be! I dig it.


And what better way to "continue to be", than with raw vegan chocolate mousse cake? No better way - this is it, people. So make this recipe, nom it down and thank the universe and your own creative spirit for the gifts of life and ability! I hope you are having an amazing week; I know I am. It's safe to say that things are going swell, even swimmingly! And you know when ANYBODY says "swimmingly", they must be feeling freaking fantastic... listening to this mix doesn't hurt either.


AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CAKE with GOJI BERRIES 

Crust:
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins

Mousse cake:
2 avocados
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
3-4 tablespoons coconut nectar or date paste
Pinch of salt

Topping:
1 tablespoon each of almond butter, cacao powder and coconut nectar
1/4 cup dried goji berries

To make the crust: pulse the walnuts into powder in a food processor, then add the raisins and process until it begins to stick together. Press into the bottom of a small spring form pan. Put in the fridge.

To make the cake: blend or process all the ingredients until smooth and thick. Spread evenly on your crust and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. 

When ready to serve: take our your cake. Make the chocolate sauce by stirring the almond butter, cacao powder and coconut nectar together until smooth. Drizzle over your cake and garnish with goji berries. Slice. Ain't it nice? Oh, I also sprinkled some chia seeds on there.

21 Oct 2013

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOM CASHEW CHEESE BURGERS


If you think these look good, they taste even better than they look. If you think they look weird, they still taste better than they look... (in this case, much better?) I ate them all by myself because I'm a wild, greedy animal like that. You should know this by now.

My mom bought portobello mushrooms and organic spinach from the farmers market on the weekend so I wanted to make a recipe with them for you guys. Eat local! Yeah, baby! I initially planned on making portobello "steaks" with spinach pesto and cashew cheese but wound up not making pesto (instead simply serving the mushrooms with crisp spinach leaves) and calling them burgers because I stacked 'em like sandwiches. What up, simplicity.



Maybe I make things up in my mind - well, I DEFINITELY make things up in my mind, but I mean in this particular instance - because I thought the cashew cheese tasted a little bit like mustard, which conveniently paired deliciously with the fresh tomatoes, herbs and marinated mushrooms. Serve these "burgers" with salad and a raw dessert (look no further than this blog, hint hint) and you will plausibly be able to convince your most critical skeptics that raw vegan grub is actually kick-ass. 'Cause it is.


The weekend was pretty crazy for me. Friday night I went to a classical music concert that my medieval European history professor told me about; it was performed in a church and was beautiful and moving. Then I headed to a club to see my friend's fashion show and dance like it was the end of the world (in a good way). I licked some celebrities and some people licked me; a great night. I went to sleep at 3 AM and got up at 7 AM - an ungodly hour for me, normally - to jump on my dads motorcycle with him and ride up to Lilooet and back! It took about 8 hours and we had gorgeous weather for most of it. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking, empowering and humbling all at once; the autumn mist and colours made it extra special. I love this province. We stopped in at an Oktoberfest my dad's friends were throwing in West Van just so he could say hi and steal some veggie burgers and strudel.

Got home that night at about 8 PM, had a quick shower, gulped down some raw hot chocolate and headed over to my romantic partner's house for a Halloween party with my friends. It was... eventful and entertaining. Slept for a few hours after FINALLY getting to sleep at like 5 AM, then went for ridiculously delicious Indian food. No seriously, it didn't even make SENSE how good that chana masala tasted. I also have a theory that food tastes better when someone else pays for it. Got home that evening and studied for my history mid term exam, which I wrote this morning.

That was my weekend. Today, I enjoyed the majestic foggy weather up on campus then headed home to be crafty with beads AND creative with mushrooms. Made these. Photographed 'em. Here they are for you.

Much love. 

///

marinated portobello cashew cheese burgers with herbs & tomatoes

Marinated mushrooms:
4 portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon liquid aminos (or soy sauce) 

Cashew cheese:
1 3/4 cups cashews
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup nutritional yeast 
Juice from 1 lemon
2 peeled garlic cloves
2 tablespoons miso
Salt and herbes de provence, to taste 

Toppings:
Sliced tomatoes
Fresh chopped chives, spinach and parsley 
Anything else your heart desires 

To marinate the mushrooms: rub them down with the olive oil and liquid aminos then place in your dehydrator or oven at its lowest temperature for about 3 hours, or until they have softened and darkened and smell amazing. 

While they are marinating, make the cashew cheese: blend all the ingredients until smooth and thick. Taste and adjust accordingly. Scoop into a bowl lined with cheesecloth and let it sit somewhere for at least 2 hours (or, if you've got time, let it age for a few days).

When everything is ready, spread your cheese onto your mushrooms and layer with herbs and tomatoes. You can double-shroom it (that is now a term) if you want, and/or use fresh mushrooms instead of marinated. Note: you're gonna have lots of left over cashew cheese. Let it sit in a quiet spot overnight then put in the fridge and eat within a week.


12 Oct 2013

CHOCOLATE FUDGE BARS with PECANS & MACA


I made these with the sole goal of pleasing my non-vegan extended family members on pizza and movie night. Yes, we have pizza and movie night EVERY Saturday and we've done it since before I even knew the days of the week. My fam is the coolest. 


These are just delicious. 100% pleasing and 100% good for you. Make them for your loved ones (or not-loved ones) to show them that the raw vegan world of food and flavour is not all carrot sticks and grass! These are creamy, chocolatey, pecan-y (it's a word, okay) delight wrapped into cute little squares and anyone who doesn't like them is crazy.

Maybe that was a little critical. I'm sorry. I just love chocolate. But you already know this.


The base of this recipe is made up of raisins and pecans. Flavour-wise, pecans are probably my favourite nut... they might be tied with walnuts though. I also added a splash of homemade vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to bring out da flavas. The chocolate fudge is mainly dates, cacao powder, almond butter and coconut oil. I added some maca for secret hidden extra nutrition (did I just rhyme? Let's say yes).


I'd like to take a moment to THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for the amazing and heartwarming messages I received after my last post. I cannot possibly show my gratitude enough. You guys are so special to me and now that I have you in my life - I don't wanna let go! Big cyber hug and kisses. P.S. you must listen to this song... I've had it on repeat for awhile.


CHOCOLATE FUDGE BARS with PECANS & MACA

Base:
1 cup pecans
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt

Chocolate fudge:
1 3/4 cups dates
2 tablespoons cacao powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter (or any other seed or nut butter you like)
1/4-3/4 cup water, use as needed

To make the base: pulse the pecans into powder in your food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it begins to stick together. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan and put in the fridge. 

To make the fudge: process or blend all the ingredients together until smooth and thick, adding as little water as possible. It will thicken up a little more in the fridge. Spread onto your base, decorate with pecans if you want, and refrigerate for 3 hours or over night. Cut and chomp! 

9 Oct 2013

MINTY GREEN CHOCOLATE CREAM BARS + A LITTLE HEARTBREAK


Note: I know I usually keep things light and cheery on my blog but I lay my heart out a little bit in this post; I hope that's okay with you. It just kinda happened.

I got an email from a reader a couple (?) weeks ago, in which they asked me to recreate a raw treat served at their local cafe. This treat was a "delicious choc mint slice cake" and it looks like this. Oh and apparently some of the ingredients are green powders. That is what I had to go on. Into the kitchen I went! Ended up with these bad boys and BOY, ARE THEY BAD (in a good way).


The base is an oat and date crust, the middle is a raw chocolate-maca mixture, and the top is an avocado/mint/green powder concoction. All together they make one amazing result. And they are SUPER nutritious. Think of this recipe as a health supplement and dessert all in one. I know, life seems too good to be true sometimes. Just like my cat, Dante, seems too adorable to be real. He is currently trying to divert my attention to me rubbing his ears and kissing his nose. He does this by pulling my hand away from the computer mouse and to his face. CAN HE GET ANY CUTER? No.


Back to food. I won't lie; I made these a couple days ago and since I never write down my recipes, the precise amounts of ingredients are now slightly foggy in my confusingly and consistently fluid mind. This means your recipe may not turn out EXACTLY as what you see in these photos, but that's cool, right!? Life is about variety. Try making the recipe and adjusting it to your liking. I mean, you should always do this but you know... just sayin'. If it turns out horribly, please tell me - because maybe I forgot to write an ingredient down. 


Well, since there's nothing left to discuss concerning the recipe, I am going to rant a little about my personal life right now, because I'm feeling kinda low. Maybe it's just the change of seasons (hello, Autumn); maybe I'm getting bored with my day-to-day routine; or maybe, subconsciously, I don't WANT to be happy all the time! In any case, I'm glum as a chum. What's a chum. Irrelevant. 

I'm having a lot of mixed emotions involving past and current lovers, what they mean to me, and how they make me feel and think (compared to how I would on my own). You have to understand that I'm an independent person. I have always valued time by myself and often cancel or avoid plans with friends so I can have MORE time alone. It's not that I don't like my friends, I simply am most comfortable when left by myself, in my own head space. I have trouble - more so lately - expressing myself to others successfully and this usually makes me just want to give up communicating. Fortunately there's a few people in my life who understand this, and we can spend time together not saying a word. As recently acknowledged with a newly intimate partner, you don't have to talk to have beautiful conversations with another person. 


Having said that, I still feel that no one really gets me, but me. Thus I prefer to be left alone because that is where I am most comfortable. And yet I find myself missing certain people from my past. Are they thinking about me? Do they still love me? Do they still hate me? Do they think I am a terrible or beautiful person? Regardless, I can't be with them anymore... we had too much passion for two people. They knew me as much as any person possibly could but ultimately they didn't like what they saw, and neither did I. 

Talk about "fate"; this person literally just called me as I was typing that last sentence. Apparently they do love me, but we will "never be speaking again". Now I am almost in tears. Too much emotion for one person

With all that going on (and now being done with, apparently...), I have also struck up a new flame. Whether it's a rebound or not, I do not know. But either way it's nothing serious, and mostly for pure and simple fun. It's very pleasant having a partner you can be candid and affectionate with. I think we can all benefit from being completely naked with someone (literally and/or figuratively). It's therapeutic and can be healing if you allow it. But now I am polarized: I am starting to care about this person in a serious way so I want to spend more time with them while at the same time, I am wanting to cut things off because of the same reason. 

Here is where we return to my need for independence. I believe I shouldn't have to depend on any external substance to be happy, and that includes people. When I begin getting very close with a romantic partner, I find that I quickly become "addicted" to them; I want to spend all my time with them, give them everything I can, and simultaneously throw all my other responsibilities out the window. Obviously this is not healthy, so I don't want it to be this way. Perhaps this is a reason I love being alone: it stamps out any chance of me becoming dependent on another person. Ah, who knows. Not I. So I am left unsure of what to do about this new individual, my heart and brain being pulled in opposing directions; while I am still recovering from a very trying, emotionally-charged and painful relationship with another that is now "officially" over. 

I suppose that wasn't a conclusive story at all... but that's fitting, since my thoughts and decisions on these situations and relationships aren't conclusive either. I'm in the dark midst of figuring out what to do and think and how to feel about all this. 

No matter, here's a healthy recipe for you guys. Thank you for always being here for me and giving me your love and support. It's very helpful for me to write out my thoughts and I hope they are in someway useful to you; whether you can relate, contrast, or simply sympathize. You're my rock! 


minty green chocolate cream bars 

Base:
1 cup oats or buckwheat groats
1 cup dates
1 teaspoon cacao powder (optional) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional) 

Chocolate layer:
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 cup melted cacao butter
1/4 cup dates
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 tablespoon lucuma powder
1 banana (optional, to add bulk) 

Mint layer:
1 avocado
3-4 tablespoons greens powder (I used this one)
1/6 cup coconut nectar (or other preferred liquid sweetener) 
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil 
1/8 cup packed mint leaves (or approximately 10 drops of peppermint oil) 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
Pinch of salt (optional) 

To make the base layer: pulse the oats or buckwheat groats in your food processor until you have a rough flour. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it all begins to stick together. Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan and put in the fridge. 

To make the chocolate: blend all the ingredients together until smooth. If it's too thick, add some water. Pour onto your base and put in the freezer until solid, about 1 hour. 

To make the mint layer: blend all the ingredients until smooth. Spread onto your chocolate layer and refrigerate overnight until it's set. Decorate with mint leaves and cacao nibs if you wish.