Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Memories From Thailand

My life is filled with duties I never thought I wanted, people I never cared existed and places I never dreamed I would go.  I went to Thailand to help teach a yoga teacher's training course, and this is what I found:

Freshly made vegetarian Thai style food, everyday for a month: HEAVEN
Yoga shala thata way!

The beautiful mountain scapes of Chiang Rai

The sweetest thing
A completely egotistical souvenir I took home.  On the last day of the course, the students held their own awards ceremony giving out handmade origami "trophies".  Some of the recipients were bestowed with honours such as Mr./Mrs. Popular, Toughest Asana Teacher, Most Flexible, etc ...  I walked home with the above accolades, an origami-folded heart.  I kept it because I really wanted to do my best while there, but I also didn't want to fake it and act like some of the other senior teachers.  I wanted to be myself ... and I guess they found that pretty sweet after all.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Pre-Flight Green Smoothie

The last green smoothie ... well for a while at least. 

As you read this pre-scheduled post, I am sitting in a tiny airplane seat taking off for a land I've only dreamed of.  The length of my entire trip from my door in Canada to the door of the resort where I'll be teaching in Thailand is probably 48 hours.  YIKES!  Of course I need something in my belly that will be easy to digest, nutritionally dense and give me a little energy. 

When I'm home I drink a large green smoothie every morning, but alas, a quick search of my blog revealed that the last time I posted a green smoothie recipe was over a year ago!!  Here's what I tossed into the blender this morning ...

Pre-Flight Green Smoothie

  • 2 cups fresh spinach (or another leafy green)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • water, enough to make everything go 'round
I like my smoothies to taste green, so you may need to add more fruit if a cuppa grass ain't your style.  Try raspberries or mango.

I love the creamy decadence that the avocado brings to this drink, and the banana adds just a touch of sweetness.  Being my third winter now, travelling to the east, this just may be the start of an old tradition of mine - the annual pre-flight green smoothie.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Thailand, Here I Come!

Did the picture in my previous post tip you off?  That's right yoga fans, I'm off to Thailand in just one week's time.  Somewhat of a detour on my way to India, I'll be helping with a yoga teacher training in beautiful Northern Thailand.  I've never visited Thailand before, so as you can imagine, I'm super excited and nervous all at the same time.  My itinerary this winter is Thailand for one month and then straight to south India, where I'll spend some time and then take an advanced yoga teacher training course in February.  I should be back in Canada earlier this year, mid-April.  What's the plan after that?  Only the outcome of my time in Thailand & India will determine that ...   

Monday, 26 September 2011

Yoga Shows the Way ...

Super exciting announcement about where I'll be going next ... stay tuned!

(can you guess by the picture??)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

My Secret Ingredient for Raw Carrot Cake

I've made raw carrot cake in the past.  It was good, but it didn't exactly knock my raw socks off (or anyone else's socks).  So I decided to experiment and create my own.  When I started out on my raw food journey I didn't have much experience and I wasn't confident enough to create my own recipes.  I relied heavily on recipes I found in uncook books and websites like goneraw.com

Oh how times have changed.  This time I couldn't wait to get out my food processor and play!

I've made a few raw carrot cakes these past few weeks and I've been carefully refining my recipe.  In an effort to use up some produce that I had on my counter, this secret ingredient was born.  Here's what I did:

Secret Ingredient Raw Carrot Cake

Grind 3/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds in a food processor.  Keep processing until the seeds are ground into a powder.

Then run one large carrot through a juice extractor and scoop out the pulp.  This is raw cake gold!  I always scoop out the pulp and run it through a second time.  It gets the maximum amount of juice out and also a drier pulp is good for making raw cakes (especially if you're dehydrator free like me).

But wait, before you run off to liquefy your carrots, there's one more thing - the super secret ingredient.  Are you ready?

Along with the carrot, juice one apple too.  Easy peasy, right?  It will give your cake an extra kick of sweetness and the apple compliments the carrot so well.

Mix the carrot-apple pulp with the ground sunflower seeds and 2-3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon.  With the processor running add some soaked raisins until the mixture begins to form balls in the food processor.

Spread the cake "batter" into a pan and place in the fridge to harden.  Really pack the batter in tightly to make a nice dense cake.  I hate when raw cakes don't cut well and then fall apart when you try to serve individual slices.  This cake is not like that at all.  It cuts beautifully.

For a super simple raw frosting I used coconut oil mixed with a touch of honey.  Spread on the cake and place in the fridge for a few hours to harden.

Beautiful isn't it?

Even my mom, who usually stays away from my raw dessert experiments, kept asking me if she could have a piece.  She liked this version infinitely more than my non-secret ingredient raw carrot cake.       

Now my mind is turning .... what else can I make with this secret ingredient?  To be continued ...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

I Like Her Style: Lauren Bush

This girl's got style.  Fashion with a message is something I whole-heartily support.  Let's face it, all us girls need to carry a purse or bag of some sort.  Your bag can either be something mindlessly bought at the mall or you can express yourself with your fashion choices.  I choose the latter and I hope you will too.

What I admire about Lauren Bush (yes, that Bush family) is that whether she's causally shopping or hitting up a star studded Hollywood movie premiere, she's always sporting a Feed Bag.

Feed is a non-profit organization co-founded by Lauren to help address the world's growing problem of starvation and malnutrition.  Ingeniously using the concept of a burlap animal feed bag, in 2006 Lauren designed a tote bag that could be sold as a fundraiser for the United Nations world food program.  Originally bearing the logo "Feed 1" the profits from each bag was said to feed one child in school for one year. 

Feed now offers several different bags, t-shirts, scarfs and many other accessories, each bearing the number of people that will be fed with the purchase of the product. 

Of course all the bags are also made from environmentally friendly materials using fair and ethical labour practices.  What's the use of feeding starving children if the bag's production exploits people and the environment, right?

I adore this clutch Lauren carried to a Unicef event:

She's even convinced her Ralph Lauren heir boyfriend, David Lauren to wear one - a man feed bag!

I can't wait to see what this humanitarian will do next ...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Lost Photos From India

In case you missed it, here's the story of what happened to the original first blog post I did when I got back from India in May. 

When Blogger "restored" the post, most of the photos were gone and ALL the text (that took me hours to write about all the lessons I learned and how much I grew spiritually during this time) was erased.  But hey I'm not bitter or anything ;)

Here's some of those lost photos:

One of the yoga teacher training courses in session. An army of yoga teachers - gotta love it!

Pranayama (breathing exercises) in progress. inhaaaaaaale ...

A photo from Sivarti. Prayers started at 7:30 that night. We stayed up until 4:30 AM chanting, drumming, dancing and eating sweet prasad (blessed food). Good times!

The famous loooooooooong chai pour.  Helps to mix the tea with sugar, cool it down and also makes the tea taste so much better for some reason.

Shortly after I arrived in India, a fellow teacher announced she was getting married!  They had a traditional, simple, small wedding (not the big flashy kind of wedding you see in Bollywood movies.  And no the groom didn't ride in on an elephant).  BTW, see those cascading white things in front on either side? They're coconut flowers!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Travel Sewing Kit UPDATE

I know you've all been kept up at night wondering how I decorated the cover of my travel sewing kit that I made a few months ago for my trip to India.  So here is the final reveal:

I had an afternoon off from teaching, so I grabbed my sewing kit, a needle and some embroidery thread, and headed for my favourite mango tree (it was my favourite because there were 2 hammocks hanging there).  Darn I should have taken a picture of it!

First I started embroidering the lettering.  I used a straight stitch with gaps to give it that sewing kind of look.  I brought a lot of embroidery thread with me on that trip, but unfortunately this was the only embroidery I did.  Not enough hours in the day ...

But I didn't want to just leave it plain like that.  So I used a pattern from Bugs and Fishes' book Super-cute Felt for the spool of thread (tons of cute felt projects in there by the way).

All that embroidering left quite a mess of stitches and knots on the back of the cover.  So I decided to use a bit more felt to cover it all up.  I used this piece of felt with a heart attached.  The heart encases my favourite sewing needle (yes, I have favourites).

Then I added some co-ordinating ribbon to each flap to keep my kit closed.

If you missed my tutorial on how to make your own sewing kit, check it out here.

It's much easier to make than you may think, and allows you to have all your crafty supplies with you when you travel.  I'm sure glad that I had this kit with me because shortly after arriving at the airport the zipper pull came off my carry on bag.  It just zzzzzzzzzzipped right off the end of the zipper.  I used the big safety pin in this kit to secure the end of the zipper, so it wouldn't fall off for the rest of my 30+ hour journey to India (layover in Abu Dhabi).

This would make a cute gift too for that world traveller in your life.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

5 Pinteresting Links

Are you on Pinterest?  It's a cyber cornucopia of craft ideas, eco inspiration and beautifully shot photography.  It's also incredibly addictive, more so than Facebook I'd say. 

Anyhow you can judge for yourself.  Here are some of my favourite things I've seen on Pinterest lately:

When I was growing up we used to have dozens of these wooden spools in our backyard.  I love this idea of bringing them inside to use as a side table/book storage.  All you need are a few strategically placed dowels, wheels and a coat of paint.

These are just adorable and seem so simple to make.  I think my favourite part of this craft will be hunting for the stones.  I'm going to walk down to the lake as soon as I hit 'publish' on this post.

Must try this tonight ...

Raw vegan ice cream bars, need I say more?

This pin reminded me of a fellow yoga teacher I met last summer.  Before he went back home to New Zealand he told me he had to give me is business card.  Wow, I thought, he has a business card?  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a torn piece of cardboard with his name and email address written on it!  This stamp makes his idea so much more classy.

Honestly I could find 10+ things on this site everyday that interests me.  Genius!.  Are you on Pinterest?


Monday, 1 August 2011

Raw Vegan Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

It's blueberry season!  Let's celebrate with a frosty bowl of blueberry soft raw serve, shall we?

If you missed my raw serve highlight post, check it out for tons of variations on raw, vegan & sattvic ice cream like treats.

Raw Blueberry Pie Ice Cream

  • 1 banana, cut up into small pieces and then frozen
  • 1 pint blueberries, frozen (reserve some fresh berries for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (optional)
Whiz the frozen fruit (& cardamom) in a food processor until it resembles ice cream.  Scoop into a chilled dish and top with the fresh blueberries.

The frozen blueberries didn't combine as well as the frozen strawberries in my strawberry version, but the dish is still absolutely heavenly.  I love cardamon, especially with blueberries, so I might have put more like 3/4 teaspoon in mine.  Use it to suit your tastes.  Cinnamon would also be lovely I think.

Is your heart crying out for more blueberry recipes?  Try my Raw Vegan Sattvic Blueberry Cardamom Pudding or if a smoothie is more your scene, my Banana Blueberry Mint Raw Smoothie.

I'm having such a great summer this year, teaching yoga, enjoying nature, meeting new people and learning all the lessons I was destined to learn (some lessons are harder to learn than others, but I'm still smiling).  I hope you all are enjoying your summer too!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Wild Raspberry Raw Pie

What I did today:

Walked outside & picked some wild raspberries, no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. 

& then made a pie with them!

I love days like these.  Shouldn't all food be this simple?  Here's the recipe:

Wild Raspberry Raw Pie

  • 1 cup raw nuts (I used a mix of almonds and sunflower seeds)
  • soaked raisins
  • 1 cup raspberries (it's nice if their wild, but I know this isn't possible for everyone)
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked until soft & then rinsed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Raw sweetener (honey, agave, stevia), added as desired
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
First make the pie crust by grinding the raw nuts into a powder using a food processor.  With the food processor running add the raisins slowly until the mixture begins to form a ball.  You may need to occasionally stop the machine to scrap down the sides.  Press the crust into a cake pan and put in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

It almost seemed a shame to mash up these little ruby spheres of raspberry goodness.  Nothing like the ones you get in the grocery store.

But ya can't make wild raspberry raw pie without breaking some raspberries. 

Okay so for the filling, simply blend everything in a blender until creamy & smooth.  If you don't have a high speed blender (as I don't), you'll have to do a bit more work.  Add a little bit of fresh water to the blender and add the cashews one handful at a time.  You will have to keep stopping the blender and stirring quite frequently.  If you add more water it will blend faster, but then you will have a less dense pie that falls apart when it's cut.  So try to add as little water as you can - it's worth it in the end.  Once the cashews are blended well, add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the filling into the crust and leave in the fridge for a few hours to set up.

I've heard rumours that there's blackberries around these parts too.  Mmmmm wild blackberry raw pie!  Possibly a future post (unless I find something else creative to do with them).

But for now I'm enjoying the wild raspberry raw pie goodness ...

Who wants the last piece?

As I mentioned before, I don't have a high speed blender (Bullet budget, Vita-Mix dreams), so I had to slowly add the cashews and stop the blender constantly to stir.  But it was completely worth it, when I cut that first dense, decadent piece.

I bet those wild raspberries would be good in my raspberry raw serve too.

Have you ever scavenged in your backyard for edibles?  This was my first time using wild raspberries, but definitely not my last.

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