Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sweet Heart Hanger Craft

I made this adorable door hanger a few weeks ago for my niece's baptism, which is today! I was inspired by a similar hanger featured on Nini Makes.

It's very simple and if you're the crafty type, you can probably use materials that you already have lying around - that's what I did. I didn't have to buy a single thing for this project. The whole thing took me approximately 3 hours, but that's because I kept re-doing the embroidery, ripping out the stitches and it took me a while to figure out what I was going to do for the hanger. Here's what you need:
  • felt, at least 2 colours
  • embroidery thread & needle
  • ribbon, string or beads for the hanger
  • filling (optional)
  • decorative buttons for embellishments
Start by cutting two large pieces for the hanger. You can't see it in the picture, but the back is actually made out of the beige felt. Embellish the front piece with flowers, shapes, words, anything you'd like. I was inspired by Little Birdie Secrets' felt needle books for the flower and butterfly that I made (BTW I really want to make a needle book too - great for travelling). I used a vintage button for the centre of the flower.

As I mentioned above, it took me a while to decide what to do about the hanger part of the project. The original project used ribbon, but I didn't have any that I liked with this craft. I thought about using faux suede strips or decorative rope, but I didn't like those either. I decided to go through my beads and I found these blush pink little hearts. Perfect-o! I strung them on crotchet string and pin it to the top of the heart.

Now you can either use a decorative stitch to sew both hearts together, or place right sides together and stitch on the machine. I chose to machine stitch, leaving a 3 inch gap to turn right side out. I stuffed the finished piece with filling and then hand stitched the gap closed.

I'm really happy with how it turned out, and I think my niece (who's only a few months old) will really appreciate it when she gets older.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Raw Vegan Sattvic Ice "Cream"

Celebrate the summer solstice today with a bowl of raw vegan sattvic ice "cream" (or as I call it raw serve, since it resembles soft serve ice cream). The basic recipe is so simple, quick and easy and makes a delicious, smooth dessert. Simply puree one frozen banana in the food processor ... and that's it!!

Here's a snap shot of my very first raw serve:

There's tons of variations on this basic recipe. The sky is the limit!

Remember my pistachio raw serve? I added one cut up pistachio flavoured Lärabar (apparently this flavour is no longer sold).

Walnut Cinny Raw Ice "Cream"

Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (along with the frozen banana of course) and blend in the food processor. Top with raw walnut pieces.

Fresh Raspberry Raw Ice "Cream"


Double Strawberry Raw Ice "Cream"

This one is my new favourite raw ice cream. Toss 1 frozen banana and a large handful of frozen strawberries in the food processor. Blend until well combined. Scoop out the raw serve and place in a chilled bowl (to prevent it from melting too fast) and top with fresh strawberries. Absolutely to live for!
Now get out there and enjoy the first day of summer!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Raw Vegan Sattvic Recipes Galore!

Hello raw food lovers! Here's what I've been chowing on for the past few days. Photos and recipes for 3 salads, 2 mains and 2 desserts. Enjoy!

Simple Diced Salad
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, julienned (odd one out!)
  • sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves
  • dash of sea salt (if desired)
Combine everything in a large bowl and toss with cold-pressed olive oil. Crunchy raw goodness!

Simple Shaved Salad
  Pretty much the same as above, but the carrot and cucumber are shaved. I love cutting up fresh raw veggies in different shapes, the different textures help break up the monotony of eating the same veggies everyday.

Raw Vegan Sattvic Cherry-Apple Salad

  • hearts of romaine lettuce, torn
  • large handful of cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1 apple (I used royal gala), cored and chopped
  • 1/2 lime
Combine everything in a large bowl. Give the lime a good squeeze over everything and serve. Great refreshing summer salad.

Raw Vegan Sattvic Thai Noodles (sauce recipe adapted from Love Veggies and Yoga blog)

I've been wanting to try this one for a while, and since I was almost finished my jar of MaraNatha raw almond butter (delicious raw nut butter by the way), I decided to try it out.

I only made one serving and didn't measure, so this recipe isn't exact - it's more of a guideline.
  • raw almond butter (a little bit left in the bottom of the jar is easiest)
  • freshly squeezed orange juice
  • maple syrup
  • cold-pressed sesame oil
  • pinch of ground ginger
Combine everything in the nut butter jar and stir until well combined.

I served the sauce over julienned zucchini, cucumber and carrot. To be honest I could have just eaten the sauce by itself. Yes, it's that good!! Definitely making this one again (& again!).

Raw Vegan Sattvic Chili (recipe adapted from gone raw)

  • 1 large tomato (or 2 small ones)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked until soft
  • handful of cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • splash of lime juice
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cob of corn, kernels shaved off
In a food processor, combine the tomato, half the avocado, sun dried tomatoes, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, salt, olive oil and lime. Blend until smooth and creamy. In a large bowl mix the diced bell pepper and corn (diced celery might be nice here too). Add the tomato puree to the bowl and mix well. Top with the other half of the avocado.

This recipe got rave reviews on gone raw, so I decided to see how it would taste if I made it sattvic (omitted the onion and decreased the chili powder). I like corn in my chili so I also added some fresh raw corn cut from the cob. The verdict? Sattvic heaven! The sauce was creamy with just a hint of spice and the corn gave it a yummy crunch. Check out this scrumptious spoonful:

Ani's Summer Berry Cobbler (recipe from Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Food Kitchen)

This book never fails. I haven't been disappointed yet. For the recipe, check out page 214 of Ani's book. The recipe suggests using blueberries. I used strawberries for the syrup and whole fresh raspberries for the topping. The cobbler is made with a mixture of pumpkin seeds and almonds. This picture is just a single serving I made with some extra cobbler I had leftover. The recipe makes a full sized dessert.

Sweet Potato Dream Pudding (recipe from Spark Recipes)

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3-4 handfuls of raisins or dates
Peel and grate the sweet potato. Combine everything in the food processor and blend well. For a smoother texture transfer to the blender and mix. Chill in the fridge for a few hours. To make it look pretty I sprinkled some shredded coconut on top and added a cherry.

This one is okay, but I definitely won't be making it again. Mine didn't look anything like the pudding in the picture. It tasted okay, but for all the effort in peeling and grating the sweet potato and then having to use both my food processor and blender, the end result just wasn't worth it. The pudding was sweet, but 2 tablespoons of coconut oil was way too much, and the coconut taste was overpowering.

If you've made it to the end of this post, thanks for stopping by my blog and happy uncooking ...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

More Raw Vegan Sattvic Recipes

No chit-chat today, just raw vegan sattvic recipes. Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful weather and pranic sunshine! :)

Raw Vegan Sattvic Green Monster Smoothie

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2-3 leaves of romaine lettuce
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 2 bananas
  • 1-2 handfuls of frozen fruit
  • 1 cup of water (to make everything blend)
Whiz everything together in the blender until smooth. I was hesitant to use cilantro in my smoothies ... until now. It gave the smoothie a pleasant flavour.

Raw Vegan Sattvic Breakfast Oats (adapted from Love Veggies and Yoga's recipe)

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup dry oats
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine everything in a covered bowl and refrigerate overnight. I've made this recipe before with chocolate brown rice protein powder (therefore not sattvic as it's processed, not to mention the chocolate). But I like this version even more. It tastes more pure and I didn't even need any sweetener this time - the banana was sweet enough. YUM!

Raw Vegan Sattvic Peachy Chia Seed Puddin'

Remember the raw nut "milk" I made for my Crunch n' Munch cereal? Well this recipe uses that same "milk" to soak the chia seeds (looooOoove that "milk"). Here is the recipe again if you missed that post:

Soak a handful of raisins in 1 cup filtered water. Let soak for a few hours or until the raisins are plump. In a blender combine the soaking water with 2 teaspoons of raw nut butter (I used almond butter). Blend until well combined. Strain if necessary.
  • 1 cup raw nut "milk"
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • few dashes of vanilla extract (alcohol free of course!)
  • fresh peaches, sliced
Combine everything (except the peaches) in a large bowl and mix until all the chia seeds are incorporated. Store in the fridge. After about 10 minutes stir again, making sure the chia seeds didn't lump together. If the mixture seems too thick for your liking, you can add some water to thin it out. Refrigerate for another 2-3 hours or overnight. When ready to eat stir in the peaches. So refreshing and filling!!

Raw Vegan Sattvic Blueberry Cardamom Pudding

  • 1 banana
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 4-5 dates, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cardamom
  • water (if needed to blend)
Combine everything in a food processor and blend. Save a few blueberries for garnish. Irresistible, quick and easy!

Raw Vegan Sattvic Lemon Chiffon Pudding (recipe from Choosing Raw)

Yes, another pudding recipe! This one looks suspiciously like the key lime pudding I've made before, but it's actually lemon - the avocado gives it it's greenish colour).
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • honey (sweeten to taste)
You can either combine everything by hand (which is what I did - came out a little lumpy though) or use a food processor or blender. Choosing Raw suggests to let the pudding chill & thicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Oops! I didn't see that until just now.

More raw vegan & sattvic recipes to come ...

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Sattvic Food: The Yogic Way of Eating

Since this blog is now committed to sattvic recipes, I thought I'd better explain what exactly sattvic food is.

Often called the yogic diet (although it's not a diet per se, but rather a lifestyle), yogis believe that everything and everyone is made up of 3 qualities (also called the 3 gunas). One of these 3 gunas will be predominant. The 3 gunas are:
  1. Sattva, which is purity (example: an apple)
  2. Raja, which is activity (example: applesauce)
  3. Tamas, which is inactivity (example: apple cider vinegar)

Sattvic food is considered the most pure and wholesome food. Yogis (and by "yogis" I mean those that practice any form of yoga, be it hatha, karma, bhakti or jnana yoga) can benefit greatly by consuming mostly sattvic food. It calms the mind and nourishes the body making it strong. Sattvic food gives the body maximum energy, reducing fatigue and increasing strength. It also allows the vital energy to flow more freely.

Types of sattvic foods include:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Dried fruits
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Fresh vegetables (best eaten raw or lightly steamed)
  • Legumes
  • Pulses, nuts and seeds
  • Honey, molasses & maple syrup (used as sweeteners)
  • Herbal teas
  • Grains (such as corn, barley, wheat, rice, oats, millet & quinoa)
  • Wholegrain breads
  • Milk, butter, cheese & yogurt (not considered sattvic by me, but the texts do advise to use them in moderation and only organic forms)
  • Food should be eaten in as natural state as possible, which means no pre-packaged foods, canned food and no preservatives or artificial colourings.
  • The texts encourage food to be eaten raw (YAY!), steamed or lightly cooked

Rajasic foods, on the other hand, are spicy, bitter, sour or salty. This kind of food overstimulates the mind, what is often referred to as "monkey mind". It makes body & mind over active, restless and unable to focus in concentration. Eating rajasic food will disturb the mind-body balance.

Types of rajasic foods includes:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Radishes
  • Hot spices
  • Pungent herbs
  • Coffee and caffeinated teas
  • Chocolate
  • Salty foods
  • White sugar
  • Soft drinks (sodas)
  • Prepared mustards
  • Eating sattvic food in a hurry is also considered rajasic

Lastly, tamasic food withdraws the body's energy, leaving the body inactive, lazy and dull. The mind is clouded and a general sense of inertia is experienced.

Types of tamasic foods include:
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat, fish & eggs
  • Fermented foods (such as vinegar)
  • Alcohol, tobacco & drugs
  • Stale, overripe or unclean foods
  • Food that has been burned, fried, barbecued or reheated
  • Canned, processed and pre-packaged foods
  • Eating too much sattvic food is also considered tamasic

It's important to remember that each individual must find their own balance of sattva, rajas and tamas. I'm taking a course next week, so I've chosen to eat only sattvic food to prepare for my spiritual journey in June. If you eat a mushroom here or there or BBQ up some fresh veggies for a family gathering, don't sweat it! When your diet is balanced, you'll soon find your body and mind follow.

Any questions ...?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Travel Photos

Don't worry I'm not going to bore you with all 600 of my photos from my trip to India. Here are a select few of my trip.

This is where I was staying for the duration of my 5 months abroad. I miss it already.

Sunny, green and beautiful
A stunning Radha Krishna fresco in the garden
Every Thursday there was an Indian cultural program, either a musical concert, traditional dance, martial arts performance or talk. It's not all hatha yoga, we have fun too.

Kerala's famous Kathakali, hard to explain so click on the link to learn more
This night we were treated to a veena concert

Here's a photo from the Kids Camp program.This little girl was one of the most flexible kids at the camp, and more flexible than most of her teachers too!  It is kind of hard to see, but she has her foot behind her head.

Twice a week there was a silent walk to a nearby lake. Meditation and chanting while watching the sunrise (or sunset) over the mountains. Pure bliss

Just another beautiful sunrise in paradise

The sun bursting through the coconut trees
And finally here are some of my photos from the nearby beach, Kovalam, which is kind of famous if you go to Southern Kerala:

Lighthouse Beach in Kovalam
The Indian bathing suit. Believe it or  not local women wear a sari when swimming
The men dress much more causally. Here's a soccer football game in progress
A handy instructional sign in the washroom of the seaside German Bakery Cafe

I do hope you all enjoyed my photos.  In case you missed it, check out my photos from the Taj Mahal too.

Stay tuned for more raw vegan sattvic recipes coming up very soon ...

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