29 Nov 2012

spiced chocolate layered with kiwi, figs & orange

I have been enlightened. Never again will I make raw chocolate without orange! It is incredibly delicious, and I mean literally incredible. I added the zest of one orange to the chocolate to include a fruity component so it would pair well with the layered fruit - what a wonderful decision it was.

My boyfriend says these taste like "amazing flying chocolate fruit saucers of deliciousness" and I can go with that. It sounds like a compliment... right? Right.

Originally I was going to sprinkle some nutmeg and cinnamon on bananas and use them instead of the kiwi. I was also going to use fresh figs. But I wanted to make this recipe (it's been floating around in my lofty brain for quite some time now) today and fresh figs and bananas were not available; to my momentary dismay. Then I decided I could just use kiwi and dried figs instead. Nothing lost and gorgeous green colour gained!

I'm certainly in an orange phase right now, as you might have seen my previous recipe was an orange & blueberry "cheesecake". We get the treat of juicy, sweet mandarin oranges here in winter time for the holidays and I intend to take advantage of this. One thing I love to do with oranges after watching mum do it for years each Christmas is gently simmer orange peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg on the stove all day. It creates this vibrant, festive aroma that has come to immediately remind me what time of year it is.

spiced orange chocolate layered with fresh kiwi, orange & dried figs: serves 3

raw orange chocolate:
3 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1-2 tablespoons agave/maple syrup
2 tablespoons cacao powder
zest of one orange
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

fruit layers:
1 kiwi
1 orange
4 figs (fresh or dried)

goji berry coulis:
1/4 cup dried goji berries covered with water
1 tablespoon agave/maple syrup

To make the chocolate: stir all ingredients together by hand until smooth and SO YUMMY. On parchment paper, take a spoonful of the chocolate and spread it into a circle about 2 inches in diameter. Do this until you run out, you should end up with 6 or so. Put in the freezer.

To make the fruit layers: slice all the fruit... duh. 

To make the berry coulis: blend the berries with the sweetener and water until smooth. If you have other berries add those if you like. I did not have any. 

Now put it all together: Take the chocolate out of the freezer, they should now be solid. Decorate plates with coulis as you desire, then layer on the chocolate discs and fruit slices. 

Beautiful. Raw. Love.

28 Nov 2012

orange & blueberry cheesecake

this is delectable! i am so proud of myself because i haven't used chocolate in a recipe for a few times now. this is all fruit, all the time. the colour of chocolate desserts gets boring after a while because it's always brown... ya know? this cake has a vibrant array of colours that are naturally pleasing to your pretty little eyes.

as winter continues to draw nearer, i do the same with my warm clothing and scarves (draw them nearer, that is). the cold weather creates a crisp and refreshing environment that always reminds me to be grateful for what i have been given by the wonderful and mystical forces of our universe. fate is seemingly random, yet also seems absolutely premeditated at times, and i cannot help wondering if our destiny is real or imagined. was i always meant to end up here in this moment; feeling as i do and being what i am?

these are questions that are unanswerable and often this is a cause for frustration, but usually simple awe and appreciation for the mysteries of our reality suffice. returning to my main point: the starkness of winter allows me to contemplate deeper these thoughts and i find myself indebted to my loved ones, my environment, the trees and my own spirit for providing me with such a wonderful life! it's a wonderful life. 

we are all such spiritual beings; inherently, essentially, fundamentally and naturally so. we are all-one, connected by the life of the cosmos and the energy of the world. isn't it wonderful we have evolved to this finite point - where loving one another and doing good is beneficial for every one; where watching a sunset is still one of the most gratifying experiences one may have; where we want to teach the best for our children and make a better world for tomorrow?

this season surround yourself with positive energy, creatures of the earth whom you love (and who love you), and many plants. find enlightenment in the small and beautiful moments, and finally peace in knowing you are a finite participant in this infinite galaxy. i see the light in you.

now onto raw vegan cheesecake. 

orange & blueberry cheesecake: makes one cake

2 cups raw nuts
1 cup dates or raisins
pinch of salt 

orange cheesecake:
3 cups cashews
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup agave/maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
juice of one lemon
zest of all the oranges you juiced
pinch of salt

blueberry layer:
2 cups organic blueberries (i used frozen)
1/4 cup of the orange cheesecake mixture

to make the crust: process the nuts and dates/raisins in your food processor until the nuts have become crumbs and the mixture sticks together when you press it. press into the bottom of a springform pan and put in the fridge. 

to make the orange cheesecake: blend all ingredients (except orange zest) in your high speed blender until very smooth, then add in the orange zest with a spoon. reserve 1/4 cup of this mixture for the blueberry topping - pour the rest onto your crust and put in the freezer. 

to make the blueberry layer: blend the blueberries and the 1/4 cup of cheesecake mixture in your food processor or blender until creamy but still with small pieces of blueberry for texture. spread this over your cheesecake and keep in the freezer or fridge overnight. if you can wait a day - this is best after 2 days (and not frozen, of course) enjoy with sliced oranges and blueberries!

25 Nov 2012

raw pizza with spinach pesto & marinated vegetables

every saturday for as long as i can remember, we have family video night. this entails pizza for everyone and a good movie or two. it's the night of the week where we can all relax and be together. since adopting a vegan diet, my family has naturally stopped eat most processed foods as well as most animal products. most of the time our meals are vegan now. yahoo! so as you would assume, our pizza nights now include vegan pizza (which is always delicious). the carnivorous men of my family are usually merrily surprised with the taste. this week i decided to make a raw version because, ya know... raw food is totally rad and stuff.

i wish we had some raw cheese to top this off with but alas, not this time - anyway it was delectable sans aged nut cheese. i could seriously eat a bowl of the pesto by itself, i luuuurve me some spinach. and as for the crust - i was schnarfing spoonfuls while i put it in the dehydrator. if you don't have a dehydrator then just use your oven at its lowest temperature. i do this all the time and never fret; work with what ya got. 

one thing (of the plethora of things) i LOVE about raw food - you can eat as much as you want, but often that isn't as much as you might predict because the food is so nutrient dense! it fills you up super fast. so as you can see, these pizzas are pretty small, but very satisfying. i do warn you, don't expect this to taste just like cooked pizza. in all honesty it has nothing to do with it except the inspiration and general shape. it is DIFFERENT and delicious... 

so open your mind (and your mouth). 

raw pizza with garlic & seed crust, spinach pesto and marinated veggies: makes four small pizzas

1/2 cup each of hemp seeds, raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon salt & pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil (or a handful of fresh, lucky you)
1 tablespoon agave/maple syrup or a few dates
1-2 tablespoons water, as needed
1/2 onion, sliced
4 peeled garlic cloves

spinach pesto:
4-5 cups organic spinach
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
1 peeled garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper
1/4-1/2 cup water, as needed
1 teaspoon agave/maple syrup or a couple dates

3 mushrooms
1 bell pepper
1 tomato 
1 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon fave dried herb blend

to make the crust: pulse all ingredients in your food processor until it sticks together (and tastes delicious!) now divide the mixture into four and shape each of them into your desired pizza crust shape with your hands on dehydrator trays or parchment paper. dehydrate (or cook in your oven at the lowest temperature) for 4-5 hours, or until crispy. 

to make the pesto: put all the ingredients in your food processor (no need to wash it after making the crust) and process until it reaches that yummy pesto consistency - not totally smooth, but still quite creamy. mmm. put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. 

to prepare the veggies: cut them all into thin slices and mix in with the tamari and herb blend.  marinate them in your dehydrator (or oven) until they are soft and taste freaking amazing. 

put it all together: when the crusts are finished, gently spread the pesto on all of them, followed by the veggies. if you have any raw vegan cheese that would be a tantalizing addition for your taste buds. 


22 Nov 2012

blueberry hemp smoothie

i love my blue blue blueberries. 

ours have, of course, stopped growing for the winter season and i've already eaten all the extra ones we froze. but yesterday my mom bought a giant bag of frozen organic blueberries! organic is always better (i don't want my food having nasty chemicals on it that the military originally used to kill their opponents in the first world war... no way) but for berries, spinach and apples - organic is EXTRA SUPER awesome because otherwise they are some of the most contaminated foods. check it out here, homies

and hey, lucky me - i've also got organic spinach. be jealous. so i threw all these magical ingredients together in my vita-mix blender and out came a delicious dark purple concoction that i will call a blueberry hemp smoothie from this day forward. it makes the spinach seem like a secret... shhh.

blueberry hemp smoothie with secret sneaky spinach: serves one

1 banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
1-2 cups water/vegan milk
2-3 cups organic spinach
1/8 teaspoon stevia (or a few dates)

blend. sip. smile.

20 Nov 2012

raw vanilla coffee creme pie with a chocolate crust

i don't even LIKE coffee; yet this is one of my new favourite recipes. my opinions on coffee are what you might expect: it's acceptable in moderation! i do not think it is a good idea for your mind or your body to chug 5 cups of cream- and sugar-laden coffee every day; but the occasional mug of organic black coffee can be beneficial. i prefer getting my caffeine from green tea simply for the flavour. now that i think about it - i bet this recipe would be delicious with some potent green tea substituted in for coffee! 

hmm... i may have to try that.

this recipe is delightful and - i give you fair warning here - difficult to stop eating. the crust is a mix of nuts, dates, cacao and cinnamon so it is like a spiced chocolate base; then the creme layer is a smooth blend of black coffee, cashews, and a whole food sweetener of your choice (everyone has their preference). i drizzled a salted caramel sauce on top made from date paste and sea salt and for the finishing touch added some goji berries, raw pumpkin seeds and coffee beans for colour and contrast. HECK YA.

bathe in the lusciousness of the creme layer mixed with the crunchy bite of the cinnamon chocolate crust. OH MA GERD - IT'S SO GOOD. i should buy some restraints when i make this from now on to control myself.  i predict the family will enjoy it as much as me and my boyfriend did this morning. yep, that's right. we ate it for breakfast... after some fresh juice of course.

how's the weather where you live? it has been raining here for days and i'm lovin' every minute - i'm lovin' it. (no affiliation to mcdonalds here.) as long as i wear a good pair of boots and bring an umbrella the rain don't bother me none. plus it's really cozy when you're inside with a fire, special people, two cats and this creme pie...

i suggest eating this at most a few hours before you go to sleep otherwise it might keep you up if you are sensitive to caffeine. try it for breakfast! it was perfect. 

cashew coffee vanilla creme cake with a cinnamon chocolate crust: serves 8 or so

cashew coffee vanilla creme:
2 cups raw cashews
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave/raw honey/date paste)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very strong, brewed organic coffee

cinnamon chocolate crust:
1 cup pecans
1 cup dates
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

salted caramel drizzle:
1/2 cup dates covered in enough water (or coffee) to cover them
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon nut butter (optional)

to make the creme, blend all ingredients until smooth. set aside. 

to make the crust, process the nuts into a rough flour in your food processor and add all the other ingredients until you can press it together, then press it into the bottom of lined small spring-form pan. scoop on the creme and let it set in the fridge or freezer. 

to make the caramel drizzle, blend the dates, water/coffee, salt and nut butter (if using) until smooth and pretty liquid. if it is too thick - add more water; if too thin - add more dates. drizzle on top of your creme pie and garnish with coffee beans, goji berries and pumpkin seeds. it is better - but difficult - to wait until the next day to eat this, let the flavours get to know each other. then DEVOUR. 

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17 Nov 2012

glorious juice

i've been at my boyfriend's place this weekend so i took these photos before i left to share them with you now, since otherwise i'd have nothing to show ya today. sadly his little kitchen does not have the room nor does he have the budget for all the wonderful equipment my family has in OUR well-endowed kitchen; like an omega juicer, vitamix blender, dehydrator, food processor, mandoline, and so on.

i mean, technically you don't NEED any of those semi-expensive appliances to enjoy a raw vegan diet, but it sure makes it more fun and interesting. case and point: raw pasta. they're all worth buying if you can afford them, but if not - simple fruit bowls and salads rocks too! personally, i gotta have my juice... and so does my cat, sugar, apparently.

enjoy this recipe and the good health and happiness it brings!

colourful concoction juice: serves one or two

3 carrots
1 cucumber
chunk of ginger
1 tomato
1 lime
1 bell pepper
4 beets
1 green apple
1 orange

wash, cut, slice and peel as needed. juice it and drink! mmm... live 4 juice; juice 4 life!

 one last thing - don't you love everything about compost? (except maybe the fruit flies...)