Monday, 27 June 2011

Raw Vegan Sattvic Dinner (with dessert too!)

Here's a simple, but absolutely delicious dinner menu for tonight.

First start making the dessert:

Raw Blackberry Parfait

Yes, we're starting with dessert.  Not eating it first, but blending it and putting it into the fridge to chill and set up so it's ready to eat after dinner.  You can even do this the night before.  Into the blender goes:
  • 1 pint of blackberries
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • pinch of cinnamon
The perfect light summer berry dessert.  Aren't luscious berries the best part of spring turning into summer??

Next up is a raw, vegan, sattvic salad dressing to drizzle on your favourite salad.  A lot of salad dressings use vinegar, which is fermented and a no-no if you're following the yogic way of eating.  This vinegar free dressing is easy to make with just a knife and a citrus juicer.

Sattvic Lemon Poppy seed Dressing

In a jar with a lid combine:
  • 2 lemons, freshly squeezed, no seeds plz!
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, cold pressed
  • drizzle of honey or agave, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds
Secure the lid on tightly and shaky-shaky-shake until well combined.

This dressing was so good I almost forgot to take a picture before the whole jar was used up.

I put this lemony dressing on a high raw salad with fresh greens, carrots, cucumbers, 1/2 an avocado, tomatoes, broccoli and lightly stemmed brussel sprouts.  Ooooh how I love brussel sprouts, but not raw.

I hope you all enjoyed the sneak peak at my dinner tonight.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

India Spiced Chia Pudding

The word chai isn't used a lot in raw, vegan & sattvic conversations.  Chai, meaning tea in India, is usually cow's milk mixed with water heated on the stove and then mixed with hot black tea - not raw, not vegan and since it's caffeinated, not sattvic either.  In the south they add LOTS of white sugar too.  You can't even walk a few feet without seeing a small chai shop.  They're everywhere, and you can get a freshly made steaming hot cup of chai for 5 rupees (roughly 11 cents in US dollars). 

But hey, no one reading this blog wants to hear about that kind of chai.  I'm talking about the raw, vegan sattvic kind today.  Yep, that's right it's chai spiced chia pudding.  All you need is some chia seeds, a liquid, a tea bag and sweetener (if desired).  Here's the recipe:

Sattvic India Spiced Chia Pudding 

Start by flavouring the liquid you will soak your chia seeds in.  I used a homemade raw almond milk.  You could also use water or banana "milk" which is a banana liquefied with some water in the blender.  The ratio I use is one cup of liquid for 1/3 cup chia seeds.  Now grab your favourite non-caffeinated tea bag and let it soak in the milk for a few hours.  I received a free sample of Four O'Clock's rooibos chai with a magazine, so I decided to try it out.  Four O'Clock's tea is not only organic, but also fair trade certified and they have lots of naturally caffeine-free varieties.  It's also a Canada company, which I love ;)

After the milk is flavoured you can stir in the chia seeds and sweetener (if desired).  Mix everything well.  Keep in the refrigerator for a few hours to thicken up.  Keep checking on the mixture occasionally and stirring to make sure lumps of seeds don't form.  No one likes a lumpy pudding.

I finished my pudding off with a sprinkling of dried shredded coconut reminiscent of my time in South India.  Coconut trees were everywhere in the part of India I was in.  So I couldn't go a single day without eating something with fresh coconut in it.  But hey I'm not complaining.

As you can see there are lots of possibilities of different combinations using different tea.  I'm thinking a peppermint flavoured one would be lovely.  Four O'Clock also has a chocolate spice tea that uses carob, not chocolate, so it's caffeine free (can you tell I'm in love with this company now?).

Stay tuned for another India spiced recipe, cookie balls ....

Monday, 20 June 2011

Flashback to 2009, Juice Recipe & Food Definitions

Way back in 2009 (it seems like just yesterday) I posted this list called "The Vegan One Hundred".  It's a list of 100 food items and you mark the ones that you've tried.  I think I've been fairly adventurous in my eating sampling over the years.  There was a good number of items on that list that I've had.  But there was also several things that I hadn't tried ... or even heard of!

Today when I was looking over this list I realized I have everything to make #49: Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh pressed juice ... with Extra Ginger.  It's so simple and easy!  Why didn't I make this way back in 2009??!!

Ah well, the past is done.  Now is the present and it's time for Apple-Lemon-Ginger juice!!  Here's what went into the juice extractor:

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
To get the maximum amount of juice I scoop out the pulp and run it through the juicer a second time.  Then pour 1/2 cup of water through the juicer.  Yes, this juice is that good.  I need to get every last drop ;)

Stir in a pinch of cayenne and consume!  Don't let your freshly extracted juice sit around too long.  It will start to oxidize fairly quickly and start to turn brown, not to mention that the vitamins and nutrients diminish the longer you wait to gulp it down.

After I had my juice I felt energized, so I decided to do a quick Blackle search and find out what some of those unfamiliar items are.  Here's what I discovered:
  • #2 Nopales - also known as prickly pear, this pink-ish fruit grows on the cactus plant.  Hey I have tried this, but I think my mom called it "ugly fruit".
  • #7 Arepas - mini corn cakes made with large kernel cornmeal. 
  • #12 Umeboshi - Japanese pickled plum.  Since it's pickled, it's not considered sattvic, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't try it at least once.  Often sold as a type of vinegar too.
  • #26 Scotch Bonnet - an extremely hot (but very cute looking) chile pepper.  I love that whoever made the list put the qualifier "raw" in front.  I've had lots of cooked hot peppers, but not raw.  I'll have to try to make a raw sauce with this one day.
  • #46 Fuyu - hey I've had this too!  I sure am learning a lot.  It's a type of persimmon that's hard when eaten.  The other type of persimmon, hacheeya is soft when ripe.
  • #54 Ramps - otherwise known as wild onion or wild leeks.  It's said to have a strong flavour of garlic and onion ... another one I think I'll stay away from.
  • #60 Poi - I crossed it out because for some reason I thought it was fish, but then I realized it's a vegan list.  A quick search revealed that poi is actually a Hawaiian pudding-like dish made from the stem of taro.  Poi is also a type of fire dance (I haven't tried that either)
  • #70 Mache - a dark lefty green!  Oooh I have to try this in a green smoothie!! 
  • #79 Lapsang Souchong - Chinese tea with a smoky flavour.  I'm not really a fan of the smoky taste. 
  • #93 Harissa - another hot & spicy one.  A hot sauce made from chiles, garlic, cumin and caraway seeds.
Wow, I really learned a lot.  Hopefully all my dear readers have found this research helpful too.  Have you done the Vegan 100?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Get Crafty For Charity

I wanted to have this post published a few weeks ago, so anyone interested could also donate a bracelet to the charity, but I've still been having problems with Blogger.  Since I've been away, there was quite a few changes to the way posts are created and how to insert pictures.  But I think I have gotten the hang of it now, so look out for lots of new posts from now on :)

For quite a while now I have wanted to create something for Craft Hope.  This crafty website combines handmade items and helping others in need.  The idea is to gather as many handmade items and then the website distributes them to different charities and non-profit organizations.  The first project sent pillowcase dresses to impoverished children in Brazil.  Another project made sock monkeys for child burn victims in California.

Project 12 is making friendship bracelets for an orphanage in Russia.  For a long time I have wanted to donate something, but I either missed the deadline, didn't have the time or the project was something I've never made (project 5 was quilts).  When I saw this friendship bracelet, I knew it had to do it!

The bracelet is easy (and of course) environmentally friendly.  I used an old shirt and ribbon remnants.  Here's what I did:

I have a shirt in a pretty colour that didn't fit right anymore ...

So I cut it up!  Into 3 long strips.

And then braided them ...

Then using a sewing machine I stitched the ends together (you could probably do this by hand as well).  Trim away the excess fabric.  To make sure the ends don't fray I used a little bit of fabric glue.  Now you should have a long braided loop (kinda like a necklace).  Wrap it around your wrist a few times.  The number of wraps will depend on how long your loop is and how big your wrists are.

I have freakishly small wrists, so I made this bracelet to fit me because I know it will also fit children at that size.

Now you just need something to cover the seam.  I used a small piece of leftover ribbon I had in a matching colour.  A contrasting colour would also look nice.  Or you could use a big decorative button and hand sew it on. 

Wrap the ribbon (right sides facing) around the bracelet over the seam.  Stitch, trim ends and then turn right side out.

Easy peasy, right?  I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I mailed it out to Craft Hope the next day.  In a recycled paper box of course.

I hope this bracelet brings a smile to the child in Russia who receives it.

Have you ever participated in a Craft Hope project?  If not, make something today!  The deadline for this project has already passed.  But the next project (security blankets for tornado survivors) is in full swing. 


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Raw Vegan Sattvic Summer Strawberry Recipes

It's strawberry season, and I love a fresh, ruby red strawberry picked right off the plant.  There's lots of "pick-your-own" farms around here. 

I have lots of fond memories from my childhood of strawberry picking with my dad (now deceased).  We used to make our own homemade jam with the strawberries we collected on the weekends.  We even made our own labels for the jam and distributed it out to family and friends as gifts. 

I can't make jam with my father anymore, but I can make these healthy, raw, vegan desserts in honour of his memory.  It just so happens that father's day is during peak strawberry season ;)

Here are some of the strawberry recipes featured on my blog.

Raw Strawberry Pie

When I first started my raw journey I was famous for just making the pie filling (sans crust) and calling it a pudding.  This was my first attempt at an actual pie back in 2009.  It's a super quick and easy raw pie with a few basic ingredients and appliances.  I got hooked on making pies after that!  Get the recipe here.

Raw Strawberries & Dream

An equally easy and delicious recipe that can be whipped up in no time (pun intended).  Get the recipe here.

Double Strawberry Raw Serve

I recently had some strawberry flavoured ice cream while taking care of my nieces, and let me tell you, it tasted nothing like actual strawberries!  This quick "soft serve" type ice cream does.  Get the recipe here.

So like any good auntie I made them a pink princess strawberry smoothie.  As you can see from the picture they opted to eat it with a spoon.

Strawberry Mandarin Spinach Salad
All the ingredients are pretty much in the name of this one, but if you want see my original post for this salad back in 2009 which includes a raw salad dressing to pour on top, click here.

Strawberry Post Yoga Snack
Here's one for the coconut lovers!  I called it my post yoga snack because it's not too heavy, but absolutely delicious.  I ate loooOooots of coconut in India when I was there teaching yoga.  Everything from coconut in curry, chutney, rice pudding and of course fresh coconut water.  Get the recipe here.

Raw Strawberry "Cheese" Parfait

HA HA This is a strawberry "cheesecake" where I neglected making the crust and called it a parfait.  Despite my laziness, it's amazing and one of my all time favourite raw vegan recipes.  Get the recipe here.

Pretty in Pink Smoothie

Wow, I had no idea how many strawberry recipes I have on my blog until just now!  This last one is near and dear to my heart.  I posted this back in 2009 before I went hard core with my green smoothies, but I also like non green smoothies occasionally for a quick snack.  This smoothie uses strawberries and mango, one of my favourite fruit combinations.  Get the recipe here.

I hope you enjoy my strawberry highlights post.  I really enjoyed putting it together.  I will have to do another one soon for another ingredient (suggestions?).  If you are celebrating father's day this Sunday, have a great time with your dad and dad-type people in your life.

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