Monday, 21 December 2009

Raw & Healthy Travel Goodies

I love to see what other raw foodies take with them on extended travels, so I thought I'd share some of the things I'm taking with me ...

First up, Lonely Planet's guide to South India. These guides really do help when you're travelling. It's packed with info, maps, phone numbers and Hindi phrases. There's also a bag of Pure Fun's organic ginger spice hard candies. These candies aren't raw, but after almost 19 hours of travel (including 1 stop in Abu Dhabi) and inhaling all that recycled airplane air, the chances of me getting a cold are pretty high. So I'm bringing these candies along to help soothe my potential sore throat. There's also my revamped passport wallet hiding in the back.

I also made several baggies of raw trail mix. Normally I HATE these plastic, disposable, landfill loving baggies, and would opt for a reusable container instead. But since there's a weight limit for my luggage (not to mention a limited amount of space) and the heavier it is, the more fuel needed to propel the plane, I decided the best option was to use these light weight baggies. Once I eat the contents I plan on washing the baggies and re-using them, so there's hope for the planet yet!
The trail mix contains:
  • raw almonds
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • raw walnut pieces
  • raw cashews
  • dried goji berries
  • dried cranberries
  • dried cherries
  • dried blueberries
  • dried apricots
  • dried & unsweetened dessicated coconut

Like most things these days, the trail mix is pretty much me trying to use up things I have in my cupboard. Although I did purchase some of the dried fruit specifically for this trip. I used a straw to try to suck out as much of the air as I could from each bag to help them stay fresh.

Of course I'm also taking my Diva Cup, a girl's best friend if you ask me (it's the small purple bag, top middle). I'm so glad I don't have to waste space in my suitcase with pads, tampons, liners, etc. If you haven't switched to a Diva Cup, do it today and you won't be sorry!

I'll also be stocking my suitcase with raw bars. These bars can be a little expensive, but if you choose your bar carefully, it can be a great quick & healthy snack. My usual bar has been LÄRAbar, but I've recently discovered a new raw bar, Perfect 10 that are made in Canada (see the little Canadian flag in the bottom left corner?).

Since the average temperature in the part of India I'll be in is 30 degrees Celsius, I'll need something to protect my Canadian skin from all those rays. I looked up the least toxic sunscreens on EWG's Skin Deep. I ended up purchasing Badger's SPF 30 because it scored the coveted 0 on Skin Deep's scale and is reasonably priced. Some of the reviews said the cream doesn't absorb into the skin easily and leaves a white film on the skin, which I admit is true. But I still prefer that over using some chemical cocktail Coppertone.
Lastly is my rose quartz mala. A mala, or prayer beads are used to keep count for those lengthy 108 chants. I'm sure I'll be making good use of the necklace (there's also Lonely Planet's The Travel Book in the picture. I'm not taking it with me. I just needed another item for the picture that could add height and I thought this book worked).
Before I head off to India, I'll be spending the holidays with my family. A new niece or nephew is due any day now. Hope everyone has a peaceful bliss filled season!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Raw Vegan Cookies, Teeccino & Soba Noodles

First up is a raw vegan salad ... and then I'll get to the raw cookies!

Raw Broccoli Slaw Salad

This is a simple easy one for when you're away from home. I used 1 bag of pre-cut broccoli slaw (broccoli stems, carrots and red cabbage) + 1 chopped cuke. Then dress it up with some cold-pressed sesame oil, a splash of Bragg's and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Now on to the cookies ...

Raw Cashew Cacao Chip Cookie

  • raw cashew butter
  • raw cacao powder
  • raw sweetener (agave or honey)
Combine everything in a bowl until well mixed. Sorry I don't have exact measurements, I pretty much just winged it on this one. I like dark chocolate so I added quite a bit of cacao, but you can make it to suit your tastes.

Form small balls with the dough and flatten into rounds. To keep the cookie 100% raw, use cacao nibs or chopped raw nuts (I used carob chips because that's what I had). Refrigerate until firm.

Raw Gingerbread Sandwich Cookie

This was one of those things where everything goes wrong, but you love it anyway! My initial goal was to make a raw mock whipped cream using cashews. I've successfully done this several times in the past using whole cashews. But for some reason today I decided to experiment with cashew butter. I should have stayed with the whole cashews! The cashew mixture was tasty, but not whipped cream-like at all. It was just basically sweetened cashew butter. But I went ahead with my cookie idea anyhow.

I combined raw cashew butter with raw honey in the food processor (again sorry no exact measurements). Then cut a ginger snap flavoured LÄRABAR in half (if you're a purist you can make your own). Form the LÄRABAR into two balls and then flatten into a cookie shape. Layer on the sweetened cashew butter on one cookie and place the other on top to create a sandwich. Refrigerate until firm.

The end result was creamy with a hint of gingery deliciousness, even if it wasn't what I was aiming for. Ah, life! :)

"Coffee" with Sweetened Cashew Butter

Yup, you guessed it. I tossed some of that raw sweetened cashew butter in a warm mug of Teeccino herbal "coffee". Teeccino is a great option for late at night if you're hankering for a coffee, but want something that's caffeine free so you won't be up until 3 AM (like I was last night thanks to an invigorating late yoga class).

Cold Soba Noodles with Wasabi Sauce

The wasabi sauce added just enough kick to these buckwheat soba noodles without over powering it with too much spice.

I'm still having my daily green smoothie first thing in the morning. The recipe is pretty simple (greens + fruit + water), so I didn't post one today.

Hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season and making some time for healthy raw vegan food (well at least a little bit).

Thursday, 17 December 2009

New Canada Organic Logo Sighting # 3

They're all coming out of the woodwork now. Yes, it's another new Canada Organic logo (I know the picture is a bit blurry and the logo is small, but trust me it's the Canada Organic logo).

This one was found on the 355 mL glass bottles of Kiju organic juice. The one in the picture is their new flavour, pomegranate cherry, but the logo was on the bottles of all 5 flavours. The day I took this picture I purchased a mango orange juice and it was delicious!!
To read about why this new logo is so important, read my previous posts on this topic here and here.
& happy logo hunting (although I'm probably the only one hunting for these logos)!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Simple Vegan Recipes

Here are a few of the vegan dishes I've been eating. Most are raw, but there's one cooked dish sneaked in there too ;)

Raw Carrot (cup)Cake (recipe from Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)

Remember the raw carrot soup I made last week? Well I made Ani's carrot cake with the leftover pulp. Since I didn't make a lot of soup, I cut the recipe by 3/4 and just made two small carrot cupcakes. The result was a light, but filling dessert (my favourite part was the creamy frosting that was surprisingly reminiscent of real cream cheese frosting!). Ani doesn't have the recipe on her website or YouTube, so you'll have to purchase her book for this one.

Raw Cranberry Zinger (recipe from Hamilton Beach)

I love this raw, healthy alternative to wine for holiday gatherings (or any other time of the year). The lemon also gives it just a touch of zing that will make your mouth sing!
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples (I used honey crisp)
Toss everything in your juicer and enjoy the cranberry goodness that seeps out!

Raw Chocolate Fudge (recipe from gone raw)

  • 4 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw almond butter (I omitted this and used 2 tablespoons of cashew butter)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix everything in a bowl until well combined.

I molded the entire batch into a square, set it in the fridge overnight and cut it into four pieces the next day. Here's my first bite - rich, decadent and oh so fudgey!

Stuffed Roasted Turban Squash (inspired by Big Raw Vegan Blog)

When my mother received an organic turban squash grown by a friend, she asked me, "what am I going to do with it?" I remembered seeing a post on the Big Raw Vegan blog about stuffed squash, so I decided to try it out.

I simply cut off the top turban part (or cut an acorn or butternut squash in half), scooped out the seeds, coated the inside & outside with olive oil and stuffed the cavity with a vegan stuffing (ideally the stuffing would have been homemade, but I just used a vegan boxed one).

Toss in a 350 oven and bake for 1 hour or until tender. The turban needed more like 1 and a half, but I think that's because it was whole.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, peel off the skin (it should just slide right off now), and flip it so the stuffing side is down. The slice and serve. In the picture you can see a cross section of the yummy squash with stuffing.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

DIY # 8: Eco Meditation Cushion

Have you seen the prices for a meditation cushion lately?! They're certainly not very zen ;) That's why I was super excited when I found this tutorial on how to make my own. I kept the cost nil by using leftover fabric both for the cushion itself and the stuffing. Traditionally hulled buckwheat is used for the filling, but I couldn't find a supplier for the buckwheat near me. So instead I used up my entire supply of fabric scraps filling the cushion. These scraps were too small, stained or faded to use in sewing, so I was glad to use them up without adding to the landfills. That means this project is made 100% from recycled materials and cost absolutely nothing!!

Start to finish this project took about 2 hours, but it's well worth the effort. Here's what you'll need:
  • 59 inches of heavy fabric
  • measuring tape
  • straight pins
  • Filling (fabric, buckwheat or other filling)
Start off by cutting 3 (or 4 if you want a handle) pieces of fabric. I used a heavy linen because that's what I had on hand, but any heavy fabric will do.
  • 1 long strip - 59 inches long, 6-9 inches wide (this will determine the height of your cushion)
  • 2 circles - 11-13 inches in diameter (this will determine the size of your cushion)
  • 1 rectangular strip - 10 inches long & 3 inches wide (this is the handle) OPTIONAL
Steam iron all the pieces. Then begin making the pleats on the long strip. Starting 6 inches from the edge, make 3 marks on the fabric that are 3/4 inch away from each other (See diagram). Measure 3 inches from the last mark and make another set of 3 marks that are 3/4 inch away from each other. Continue in this pattern until you have 14 sets of pleats. Pin the pleats so they are all facing the same way and steam iron them in place.

Next you'll need to sew the edges of the pleated strip together to form the cushion. Fold it in half with the pleats in the inside and match up the raw edges. I chose to leave a space here in this seam for stuffing, so I didn't completely sew the entire seam. You can choose any seam to leave open though.

Then take 1 round piece and begin pinning it to the pleated strip right sides facing each other. By now your cushion should be taking shape. You can also choose to leave an opening here for the stuffing if you wish. If you are including a handle on your cushion you'll need to attach it here. Simply sew the long edges of the small rectangular piece you cut and turn inside out. Steam iron flat with the seam in the middle.

If you're really particular you can embroider the handle now, so the wrong side of the stitches will be hidden inside the handle. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to embroider, so I left this part until the end.

I chose to use a handle to "mask" my hand-stitched seam, so I inserted over the open seam in the pleated strip. Pin in the inside of the cushion with right sides together (so if you pulled the handle out the side with the seam should be facing you). Pin the handle in place.

Stitch on both circles and turn inside out using the seam you've left open. Stuff with filling. Hand stitch the opening closed.

If you can find hulled buckwheat it's the ideal filling for a meditation cushion. Aside from being natural (as opposed to the acrylic stuffing you buy in a plastic bag at the craft store) it also naturally repels dust mites and other critters that may be lurking in your cushions. It's allergy friendly and keeps its shape well, even after years of use.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Another New Canada Organic Logo Sighting

Hurray! The new Canada Organic logo is steadily proliferating among Canadian organic products. This one was seen on a bag of Salba Smart Organic White Corn Tortilla Chips. I almost missed it because the logo is in black and white. The red, white and green one is definitely more eye catching, but I guess it's up to the company as to whether they use the logo in colour or not.

I'm particularly happy to see this logo on tortilla chips, as I've seen chips sold in this same store labelled "organic" only to find when I read the ingredients on the back that only one or two ingredients are actually certified organic. This does not an organic chip make.

Remember when you see the Canada Organic logo you can rest assured that the product is 100% certified organic by a third party certifier (& at least 95% organic for non food products). To read more about this exciting new logo, read my post explaining the logo, or my post on Nature's Baby products, a company that is trying to fool customers into believing all their products are organic.

I wonder if anyone else in this world loves hunting for organic logos like I do ;)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Raw Food Recipes

I'll get right to the good stuff ... the recipes!

Fine & Dandelion Green Smoothie

Continuing with the raw green smoothies, I tried dandelion greens this week.
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, leaves & stems
  • 1 banana
  • 2 handfuls mixed frozen fruit
  • 1 cup water
Combine everything in the blender until green and delicious!

Raw Cinny Pudding

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • agave or raw honey (to taste) I used 2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • water (to make it blend to your desired consistency)
Combine everything in the blender until smooth. I topped it with a pinch more cinnamon.

I'm finally getting a bit more creative in the raw kitchen and coming up with my own recipes! My pudding creation came out so thick & creamy with just a hint of cinnamony flavour. I absolutely loved it! At first whiff it really reminded me of a spiced rice pudding (even though there's not a grain of rice in it).

Raw Creamy Carrot Soup

I really wanted to make a raw carrot cake, which required the pulp from juicing carrots, so I whipped up this creamy soup with the juice and a few other ingredients.
  • 1 cup fresh carrot juice
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • dash of fresh thyme leaves
  • splash of olive oil (cold-pressed)
  • sea salt (to taste) I added 1/2 teaspoon
Combine everything in a blender until smooth.

If you have a high speed blender you probably won't need to juice the carrots first, they can go right into the blender. Last summer I tried to make a carrot soup without juicing the carrots and it didn't turn out well. This method (juicing) works best for me.

Averie's Peanut Butter Cups (recipe from Love Veggies and Yoga blog)

I instantly fell in love with these quick and easy peanut butter cups when I read the recipe on Averie's blog. If you want to make them raw you can use the chocolate recipe I posted previously with a raw nut butter filling. I had some carob chips leftover that I wanted to use up before my trip, so I went with that. I also didn't have any nutritional yeast as is used in the original recipe, so I used the thicker peanut butter at the bottom of my jar. This recipe makes 2 desserts. CAUTION: Carob has a distinctively bolder taste than dark chocolate, which not everyone enjoys. You can easily sub in a dark vegan chocolate chips instead. So many possibilities with this recipe!!
  • 1 cup carob chips
  • 2 teaspoons nut butter
  • 2 paper muffin liners
Heat half the carob chips in a double boiler (or microwave). Be careful not to burn! When the carob is liquefied, pour a layer into the bottom of the muffin cups and spread evenly. Set aside for a few minutes to harden. Then spoon the nut butter into the middle. Heat the other half of the carob and pour into the muffin cups on top of the nut butter. Spread the carob evenly. Set aside for about half an hour to harden completely. I put mine in the fridge, but I think that made it too hard. When you're ready to eat, simply peel off the paper cup and consume.

Looks surprisingly like the candy you buy in the store, but tastes a lot better!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Passport Wallet Revamp

I'm getting ready for my trip to India. Dusting off my luggage, hunting for a paraben free sunblock and revamping my passport wallet! I bought this a few years ago, but I'm not diggin' the pale purple colour anymore. Instead of buying a new one I tried to figure out a way to make-over this one.

I went to the craft store and found this non-toxic & water based paint. I was skeptical that a water based paint would stick to the mock leather wallet, but it worked beautifully!

BEFORE (well almost before - I started painting and then remembered I needed to take a before pic).

AFTER - a beautiful deep purple (achieved after 2 coats of paint). I love it!

I personalized the back zipper with a blinged out A

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Raw Food Nation Post

This afternoon I was browsing the Raw Food Nation website, when suddenly I see a very familiar looking raw vegan Thanksgiving plate - mine!! The kind folks there posted a pic and a link back here to my site in their Raw Thanksgiving Round Up. Thanks raw friends xoxo.

If you aren't familiar with the Raw Food Nation site, head over there now and check out their raw recipes page (the raw tacos look yummy!), inspirational stories, and other great info.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

5 Eco-Friendly Toys

Remember when we were young and toy trucks were metal and dolls were made out of cotton? If you have kids or visit friends with kids, it doesn't take long to realize that most children's toys today are made out of plastic and come from China. Why not give the kiddos a BPA-free holiday this year and buy them a toy that makes a difference in this world? Here are some suggestions ...
  1. HaPe Bamboo Race Car - My nephew was given this car last December and it was a hit! The metal handles on top are great for allowing little fingers to give this car a push, and the ergonomic design helps put the petal to the metal. And since it's made from a quick growing plant, the bamboo used to make this toy will probably grow back faster than your child out grows it.

  2. Under the Nile Organic Cotton Toys - With so many beautiful certified organic cotton toys to choose from, you'll want to just buy them all. My personal favourites are the fruits and veggies. What better way to teach your kids early about the importance of good eating habits, than have them chew on an organic green bean when they're teething. Although I'm partial to the monkey too of course!

  3. Plan Toys Ring Set - Remember ring towers? Kids must place the largest ring on the tower and then continue with the next largest ring and so on until all the rings are on. When is the last time you saw one that wasn't plastic? Not only does this toy teach your child about sizes and colours, but its also made of recycled rubber tree wood. All of their toys use soy and water based biodegradable ink. As an added bonus the tower is collapsible in case anyone happens to fall on it. Of course your kids never fall ;) [I also love the fruit and veggies that your child can "cut" and serve].

  4. Yellow Label Kids Teapot - Your children are probably too young to play with a ceramic tea set, but you definitely don't want them playing with (& maybe drinking out of) a plastic set either. So buy them this darling hand crocheted 5 piece tea set. The women who knit each of Yellow Label's toys are paid a fair wage, so there's no detail overlooked. Of course there's also some fruit and veggie crochet rattles that are adorable too.
  5. I saved the best and most thoughtful gift idea for last. Make your own! Get out your knitting needles, crochet hook, sewing machine or bottle of glue and get crafty. There are fabulous organic cotton and bamboo knitting yarns available at most craft stores. Or use some leftover fabric and sew up a storm. Last year I made my niece and nephew toys made from socks. Sure it was more work than going to a store and picking something off the shelf, but they're worth it and I bet your kids are too.

**Don't forget to vote in my first web poll ** (located on the right).

                      Tuesday, 1 December 2009

                      Yoga Asana of the Month (December)

                      I'm shaking it up this month with a video of acroyoga (part acrobatics & part yoga asanas). See if you can pick out the yoga poses in this incredible video ...

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