Sunday, 12 December 2010

Gluten-Free Gift Ideas

Here's a great gift for the holidays for that gluten avoider in your life. I made this last year for my sister-in-law who avoids gluten like Superman & cryptonite :)

First find a great gluten-free recipe. I used a recipe for a baked macaroni & "cheese" from the Gluten Free Goddess blog (lots of great recipes there). Find something that suites the recipient. Type up the recipe and print it out on fun paper or a cute recipe card.

Collect a few ingredients from the recipe and assemble them together in a baking dish or something relevant to the recipe (use a cake pan for a cake recipe, a salad bowl for a salad recipe ... you get the idea).

It's actually quite fun to hunt for things. I found this gluten-free mustard in my local health food store. I don't know if regular mustard has gluten in it, but this one sure doesn't! I also added a few other cooking related things (there's some pot holders, a matching dish towel and a pot scrapper in there).

Then just wrap it up and tie a pretty ribbon around the whole thing. A thoughtful, personalized gluten-free gift that the recipient is sure to enjoy ... or you could just give them a fruit cake.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

2010 Holiday Green Gifts Guide

It's time again for Angelic Monkey's green gifts guide (the third year in a row I might add. Check out the lists from 2009 & 2008, lots of good stuff that's still available). Without further ado, here's this years list:
Eco minded kids will love this little recycling set that comes with the truck, driver and sorting bins for recycling, compost and garbage. Children that grow up with toys like this are destined save this planet when they grow up! All of PlanToys (& they have a lot!) are made from rubber trees that no longer produce rubber. The wood is dyed with water-based non toxic dyes and eco friendly glue (E-Zero glue).
The list goes on & on why these toys by animal lover, Jane Goodall are good for you, your child, the environment and the people who make the toys. Each plush animal is made from non-toxic cotton that hasn't been bleached or doused with harsh chemicals. Low eco impact dyes are used from natural minerals and soy. In addition the workers who make these toys are paid a fair wage, and enjoy the ethics and equality that most of us take for granted in the first world (as an aside, I couldn't find exactly where these toys are made). And of course the proceeds from the sale of each toy will go to the Jane Goodall Institute to support her research.

I love, love love this clock (I also posted it on my Facebook profile). No batteries required. This niffy clock runs on tap water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (the lemony water needs to be replaced every 8-12 weeks). Perfect for camping, travelling or just all around general tree hugging-ness!
UPDATE: Bedol has just launched a line of similar clocks that DO NOT need lemon added. Eco friendly time keeping just got easier.
Made from pure, cold-pressed cacao bean oil, I first found out about this chocolaty lip balm from Averie over at Love Veggies and Yoga. The balm is made from raw, vegan & certified organic cacao butter. It really leaves your smackers soft and velvety.

I NEVER send out greeting cards because I think it's a waste of paper and a waste of resources to ship them ... but I know the majority of people out there do send cards for the holidays, and these plantable ones seem like a great alternative. The receiver of your holiday greeting can plant the card in soil, water and in a few short weeks watch it bloom. There's lots of designs to choose from, but the yogi in me is partial to this peace (in Sanskrit: om) design.

Rawganique Eco Slumber Masks (in hemp or organic cotton)
Don't you just hate those polyester slumber masks they give you on an airplane? Not very relaxing. Give the gift of natural rest & rejuvenation with these slumber masks made of natural fibres like hemp & organic cotton.

Dr. Alkaitis Travel Kit

Dr. Alkaitis' motto is "if you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin". Makes sense to me! Every one of these products are made with fresh ingredients that are raw, organic and plant derived. No trans-fats, no harsh chemicals and never tested on animals. The products also don't contain water (often used as a filler in lower quality products), so a little goes a long way. This travel kit contains: day creme, night creme, eye creme, facial cleanser, nourishing treatment oil, soothing gel, herbal toner and a mask. Don't eat it all at once ... I mean use it all at once :p The kit should last for 7-12 days.

Infrared Sauna

Okay, this one is a bit of a splurge (almost $1000), but if you can afford it, it's completely worth it! The place where I was teaching yoga this summer has a similar infrared sauna, and it was heaven (although hot as hell!!). Research shows that infrared saunas are good for cleaning out toxins, increasing circulation, speedy recovery from injuries, weight loss, improving the immune system and it's also incredibly relaxing! Great after a long day of karma yoga.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Sweet Sesame Sattvic Smoothie

I created this one late night when I had soaked a lot of dates and I just couldn't bring myself to dump the date soak water down the drain ...

Sweet Sesame Smoothie
  • 1 handful of dates, soaked for a few hours in 1 cup of fresh filtered water
  • 1/2 cup raw tahini (make sure there is only one ingredient listed on the label: sesame seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Combine everything (including the date soak water) in the blender and mix until frothy. Add more/less dates depending on the sweetness you like.

Enjoy the sweet sesame goodness!


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A Few Things I Think Are Just Great ...

- playing with my niece & nephew (usually yoga related) -

- trees - all kinds, everywhere, always -

- thrift stores -

- strawberry picking with my dad (& then we make jam) -

- long silent walks @ 6 AM -

- Martha Stewart crafts -

- (raw) honey facials -

- big glass of greenie goodness (but you already knew that) -
Ah simple pleasures ...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Solar Powered Art

Bonjour art aficionados! I recently spotted this unique solar panel in London, Ontario Canada. The "solar tree" as it's called, is designed to mimic the city's logo (seen below), and provides energy to power the local tourist information centre ... okay well with the help of 3 larger panels behind the tree. But there's even more good news; this eco-art structure cost the city's taxpayers a grand total of $0. The provincial power authority provided a loan and the city is using the GREEN that they're saving (pun totally intended!) to pay for the contact. Here's some more info on the solar tree:
  • The "tree" is 23 feet high with 27 power generating "leaves"
  • All the solar panels together generate 10,000 kWh's per year
  • When the sun is shining the amount of powered generated by the entire system is enough to power 7 homes!
  • It is estimated that the city will save over $165,000 over a twenty year period
  • Up to 10 tonnes of CO2 will be offset each year

I can't wait to see what other eco ideas this city has in store ...

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Carob, Carob & Carob: 3 Recipes

I love carob! Not everyone does, but I do. It has a sharper taste than chocolate, but isn't as bitter. Most importantly it's naturally caffeine-free, which makes it a great sattvic substitute for chocolate! Here are some ways to enjoy carob:

Carob Chip Ice "Cream"

Another one of my raw serve concoctions. This time topped with a sprinkling of carob chips.

Carob Clusters
Using a double boiler, heat some carob until melted & gooey. Toss in a few nuts (I used peanuts in this picture). You could also use dried fruit or a combination of nuts & fruit. I also made almond raisin clusters. Mix everything in the double boiler until everything is coated in the melted carob. Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and let sit until the carob hardens.

Here's a cross section of one of the peanut carob clusters ...

Carob PB Cups

This is my second attempt at making my own peanut butter cups. The recipe is from Averie's Love Veggies and Yoga blog (fabulous blog by the way. Check it out for TONS of vegan recipes, lots are raw).

The recipe is super quick & easy! Simply melt the carob chips in a double boiler. Pour half the melted carob into paper muffin cups. Wait a few minutes for the carob to harden. Mix a few tablespoons of peanut butter (make sure there is only ONE ingredient on the label: peanuts) with 1 teaspoon of nutritional yeast. Spoon the PB nutritional yeast mixture into the muffin cup. Then top with the rest of the melted carob. Let sit until completely hardened.

If you don't have (or don't like) nutritional yeast, you can skip that ingredient, but the PB might be too gooey. In my first attempt I skipped the nutritional yeast and used the thicker PB at the bottom of the jar and that worked just fine.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

DIY # 9: Travel Sewing Kit

Are you ready for another quick & easy craft using my new favourite medium, felt? This summer I made a present for my niece with pink felt. Felt is so easy to work with (& inexpensive too!). I've been a busy bee packing for my trip and figuring out what I need and what I want to take with me. Well I definitely need to pack some crafting supplies, so I whipped up this little travel sewing kit booklet. Isn't it cute?

I was inspired by a charming sewing kit featured on Nini Makes that I first saw years ago. I love how customizable this is, and you can use scrap felt that you already have. Here's how I made it:

Cut the felt into a rectangular shape. Turn the bottom long edge up 2-3 inches to create a pocket. Pin in place and sew (I sewed around the felt creating 2 squares shapes in a contrasting thread colour for a decorative effect. This will be the back & front of the booklet).

Cut another rectangular piece of felt that is 1-1.5 inches smaller than the first piece. This will be the pages of the booklet. I only put 2 pages in my book because it's for travelling and I didn't want it to be too thick (& take up too much space in my suitcase), but you can add as many pages as you'd like. Centre the pages in the cover piece and sew down the centre.

And that's pretty much it! The rest is up to you to embellish and fill your booklet with all your sewing goodies. I tucked this paper measuring tape (the ones they have at Ikea) into the front pocket ...

Okay, it looks extremely plain jane now, but I plan on embroidering and decorating the kit when I'm gone. Here is the before shot of the front cover:

I'm thinking of embroidering the words 'sewing kit' onto the front. This will be one of my projects while I'm away. I can't wait to reveal the after shots!!

*UPDATE:  check out the finished kit here.

Do you like to craft things for your travels? I like being able to personalize things, so I often end up making what ever I need. Here are some other travel crafts that I've used in the past:
And check out some of my other pre-flight crafts & goodies from last year's trip ...
If you're planning a trip this winter, may your journey be blissful & safe ...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Raw Vegan Flax Yum Porridge

When I asked my friend and fellow yoga teacher: "What raw dish can you make with ground flax?" She told me to make a raw porridge! Why didn't I think of that? Here's the simple & easy recipe (of course it's sattvic too).

Flax Yum Porridge
  • 2-3 tablespoons ground flax
  • handful of raisins
  • handful of dates, pitted
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of walnuts, chopped (or other raw nut/seed)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini (or other raw nut butter)
  • 1 banana, sliced

Combine everything in a bowl & mix well. Next add some warm water and continue mixing. The water will help mix all the ingredients and soften the raisins. Add as much water for the consistency you desire.

After my friend suggested it to me, I think I ate this porridge for breakfast everyday in August!! Yes, it's that good.

In case you're wondering, here's some FAQ's from the Flax Council of Canada ... yes, there's a council in Canada especially for FLAX.

  • Flax seeds are high in fibre and contain more than 50% alpha-linolenic acid, which is an Omega-3 fatty acid.
  • Ground flax is more nutritious than whole flax seeds. The outer shell of flax seeds are very tough and it's hard to crack them with your teeth when chewing. Grinding up the seeds makes them easier to digest and thus easier for the body absorb the nutrients. Whole seeds may pass through the body undigested.
  • Whole flax seeds can be kept for up to one year at room temperature. Ground flax, on the other hand must be kept in the fridge in an airtight container. Ground flax will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  • There are no nutritional differences between brown or golden flax seeds.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Fall Fotos

Here's a little eye candy to brighten up your day. Sometimes I'm less than thrilled to be living somewhere so cold (hence my winter trips to India). But there's also a lot of beauty in the changing of the seasons, and Summer becoming Fall is my favourite.

These photos were all taken where I've been teaching yoga these past few months.  

How would you like to get your downward dog on in this beautiful yoga shala??

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Organic Canada Logo Spotted Once More

Remember my obsession with finding the new Canada Organic logo?? Well I've fallen back on my old ways, and the obsession has begun again (LOL! Good thing I'm leaving for India soon). This time the logo was spotted on Natur-a organic soy milk individual drink boxes. I'm so incredibly happy to see this logo proliferating, and helping consumers identify products that are genuinely organic. In case you missed this post, there's lots of fakers out there pretending to be organic and using their marketing cons to make your believe their product is organic. To learn more about organics read my previous posts on the Canada Organic logo, or visit the Canadian Organic Grower's (COG) website.
See more products that I've spotted the new logo on:

'Til next time organic fans (or maybe I'm the only organic nerd who loves this stuff??)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Yet Another Raw Serve Variation

Enjoy this simple, nutritious, raw, vegan & sattvic snack ...

Raw Vegan Peaches & (ice) "Cream"

  • 1 banana, peeled, cut up into small pieces & frozen
  • 1 peach, half fresh, half frozen
Combine the frozen fruit in a food processor until it looks like soft serve ice cream (don't blend too long or it will melt). Spoon the mixture into a chilled bowl and top with the fresh peaches.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

What's New This Winter for Angelic Monkey

Each day another leaf falls off the tree in my front yard. The once warm air is becoming cool and crisp. Soon there will be icicles hanging from the roof and we'll be able to see our breath in the cold icy air. What does all this mean? That I'm going to India of course!!

This will be my second winter in India. Last year I left in January. This year I'm getting a head start on escaping the harsh Canadian winter and leaving in November. I have a few posts already written and scheduled to release after I'm gone, so don't think this is the last you've heard from me in a while.

I'll be going to the same place in southern India that I went last year. I'll be teaching yoga and basking in the warm Indian sunshine for 6 whole months. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for having this opportunity present itself into my life. I am blessed. I plan on enjoying every single second in India, working, teaching, learning and growing spiritually.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Check Out My New Pages

Hello Bloggy Friends (& anonymous lurkers!). I've added 4 new pages to the blog - located on the right. Now you'll have super quick access to links of my favourite vegan recipes (mostly raw), raw vegan green smoothie recipes, crafts and of course yoga (did you know I'm a certified yoga instructor?).

Happy surfin' ...

Friday, 29 October 2010

Raw Vegan Sattvic Sauce Recipe

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
  • Fresh, filtered water (enough to allow the mixture to blend)
This is the first time I've experimented with nutritional yeast, and it turned out fantastic! I poured this cheezy sauce over zucchini noodles with julienne carrots and 1/2 avocado. Garnished with freshly ground black pepper.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Raw Vegan Donut Hole Recipes

These donut holes are sooOoo super easy to make I can't believe I haven't done it sooner! For any of you Canadians out there ... don't they look like Timbits??

The basic recipe is raw nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, etc ...) ground up into a flour and then mixed with dates (or raisins) that have been soaked and drained. Combine everything well in the food processor until the 'dough' begins to form a ball (add the dates slowly with the processor running). Roll into balls and refrigerate. Here are some variations on this basic recipe:

Almond Orange Donut Holes
  • 1 cup raw almonds, ground
  • 1 cup dates, soaked and drained
  • 1 orange, zested then juiced
  • raw sweetener (if desired)
Grind the almonds in the food processor. Add the orange zest and juice (and sweetener if using) and combine well. Then begin to add the soaked dates. You should see the mixture begin to take form. If needed you can also add a bit of the date soak water.

Some of them I also rolled in shredded, dried coconut!

Cardamom Spice Donut Holes

  • 1 cup almonds, ground
  • 1 cup dates, soaked & drained
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom, ground
  • raw sweetener (if desired, I think I put 1 tablespoon of raw honey in these)
You can roll a few of them in coconut for some variety (& it looks pretty too).

Chocolate Carob Donut Holes

  • 1 cup almonds, ground
  • 1 cup dates, soaked & drained
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw carob powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or agave
It makes a very sticky "dough", but it is delicious!!

Middle Eastern Tahini Balls

  • 1 cup raw sesame seeds, ground in the blender
  • 1/2 cup dates, soaked & drained
  • 1/2 cup raw tahini
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw honey or agave
  • dash of vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
In a bowl mix the tahini, honey & vanilla. In the food processor combine the ground sesame seeds with the tahini mixture. Blend well and then start adding in the dates. Tahini can be quite bitter, so taste and add more honey if desired. Roll in whole sesame seeds.
I also made a batch of Ani Phyo's oatmeal raisin cookies, but I guess I didn't take a picture. The recipe is super simple and can made into balls or formed into the more traditional cookie shape.
  • 1/2 cup raw oats
  • 1/4 cup dates, soaked & drained
  • 1/4 raisins
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla extract (alcohol-free)
Blend the oats in a food processor. Add the dates and combine well. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend. If the mixture is too dry add some of the date soak water.

The possibilities here are endless really. I mostly used almonds as the base because that's what we had, but you can also experiment with seeds like flax and pumpkin. Other add-ins I might play around with in the future are fresh, grated ginger, fresh cherries, lime zest and other spices like nutmeg!
I made these treats for the guests (& staff) where I have been teaching yoga. The majority of these people don't eat raw, and probably didn't even realize they were raw, but enjoyed them anyway. I received lots of compliments.

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