Archive for March, 2010

March 30, 2010

Mad about mint!

Hello friends!

For whatever reason, I’ve been on a total mint kick lately. It started one stressed out night last week, after I realized it had been unwise of me to take on a certain last-minute, time-intensive extracurricular activity so close to exams! So I consoled myself with a pint of Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Mint Chip ice cream.

The next night, I was inspired to create my own raw version of that minty treat, and it all went downhill (uphill?) from there! After the raw ice cream, which I dressed up with a chocolate cookie crumble, I moved on to the Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies from Sarma Melngailis’ Living Raw Food. And this morning, my breakfast was the best raw minty creation yet: the After Eight smoothie. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic of the After Eight goodness because I forgot downed it too fast! But some Twitter friends are asking for the recipe, so I’m posting it here. One of the best things about this smoothie is that it’s packed with leafy greens, so it’s ultra healthy and perfect for post-work out refueling due to the high protein. I’ve included the ice cream recipe, too. Luckily, I managed to snap pics of the ice cream and the thin mint cookies 🙂

After Eight Smoothie

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups kale

1 cup nut milk (I used almond, but macadamia, hemp or even coconut would all be great)

1/2 of one banana, frozen

1 1/2 scoops Chocolate Sun Warrior Raw Protein Powder (my new fave!)

1/2 cup ice cubes

15 mint leaves

1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. Enjoy!

Note: if you don’t have any chocolate Sun Warrior, you could simply add a tablespoon of raw cacao powder, plus a packet of stevia or a tablespoon of agave. Some form of sweetener is relatively important if you sub out the Sun Warrior, since it contains stevia. For an extra chocolaty kick, you could also throw in some raw cacao nibs.

Raw Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie Crumble

1 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for two hours or more

3/4 cup filtered water

2 tbsp agave nectar

1 tbsp melted coconut butter

2 packets stevia

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp peppermint extract

pinch sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator, then process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Chocolate Cookie Crumble

1/2 cup finely ground almonds

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

3 tbsp agave nectar

3 tbsp melted coconut butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir until very well combined. Spread the dough evenly across a parchment-lined pan or a Teflex sheet, and place in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes — the coconut oil will help the dough firm up. Break the hardened cookie into small pieces, and add them to the ice cream when it is at the frozen-but-still-soft stage.

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March 19, 2010

UliMana chocolates rock my taste buds

First, sorry for not posting for awhile! To be honest, I haven’t been making much in the way of fun raw food because I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard and cleaning up my diet. My meals have been mostly big green smoothies with Sun Warrior protein, massive kale salads, fruit, sprouts and nuts.

Now, onto more exciting stuff. The awesome people at UliMana recently sent me some of their tasty treats (thank you, UliMana!!!), and I loved them so much that I have to share their deliciousness with you.

First off, what a great company! All of their chocolate treats and other sweets are handmade, raw, vegan and organic. The UliMana website also has a great wealth of information on the benefits of their pure, superfood ingredients, like raw cacao, coconut oil, gojis, maca and hemp. Yummy. But as nice as their website is, the real reason I like UliMana is for their mind-blowing chocolates. Here’s what I got to test out from the Tao of Cacao package they sent:

Goji Cherry Truffle & Dark Cacao Truffle. These babies were pure, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Made with raw organic chocolate, they were creamy and just the right size for a small, sweet, after-dinner treat.

Hemp Brownies. Yum! The hemp gave this brownie a sweet and nuttier flavour.

Date Roll with Chocolate. I was surprised that this was my favourite item! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because the combination of dates and chocolate is always killer… roll them in coconut flakes, and you’ve got a winner.

Chia Moon Drop. This was also a close contender for favourite treat! The dominance of cashews gave it a majorly smooth and creamy texture.

Lemon Fig Pecan Bar. After so much chocolate, it was refreshing to taste something fruit and nut-based. I loved this one so much that I was inspired to create my own version!

Clockwise from top: Chia Moon Drop, Hemp Brownie, Lemon Fig Bar, Dark Cacao Truffle, Goji Cherry Truffle, Chocolate Date Roll

My sweet tooth was satiated after these goodies, but what might have been even better is that I felt light, healthy and energetic after eating them. Raw sweets, eaten in moderation, never have the same effect on me as sugar, flour and animal product-laced desserts used to. The take-home story is that if you haven’t tried UliMana’s raw chocolaty goodness yet, you should go for it. I haven’t seen UliMana on any Toronto store shelves yet, but I’m hoping to track them down in my city soon. They also sell raw chocolate mixes and spreads, which sound equally fantastic. Happy chocolate eating!

March 7, 2010

Four minute freezer fudge

I’m excited to share a recipe that I threw together yesterday afternoon: four-minute freezer fudge. What was the occasion? My in-laws were in town for a brief visit. They like vegan things I’ve made for them over the years (like a non-raw egg nog cheesecake one holiday season), and generally enjoy eating at the various veg restaurants we’ve taken them to (like Fressen, last night). But I don’t think they quite get the whole raw thing. So I figured, what better way to show them than by feeding them raw desserts?

I’ve been making various versions of this freezer fudge for awhile — it’s impossibly easy, delicious, rich and chocolaty. My in-laws loved the fudge, and had no idea such a thing could be made raw until I explained how! I poured the fudge mixture into mini silicone muffin cups, and I really love that they deliver perfect, individualized chunks of fudge without the mess of cutting a whole pan into squares. Usually, I don’t even bother to measure out the ingredients, but I did today, just for you folks. Here’s the recipe.

Four Minute Freezer Fudge

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp agave nectar

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

pinch of sea salt

chia seeds

coconut flakes

cashews

Directions

Combine almond butter, coconut oil, cacao powder, agave, walnuts and sea salt in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Spoon fudge mixture into mini silicone muffin cups. Top each cup with one cashew and sprinkle with chia seeds and coconut flakes. Place cups in freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Peel off the muffin cups once fudge is firm, and enjoy!

March 5, 2010

Nourish Tea + some things I’ve been eating

I was super excited to win my first blog giveaway contest the other week — a tin of Yummy Chai flavoured Nourish Tea from holistic nutritionist and chef Marni Wasserman, over at Fully Nourished. Marni’s a fellow Torontonian and I look forward to meeting her in person some day soon.

Nourish Tea is a Toronto-based organic tea company, and I can attest to the fact that their Yummy Chai tea is appropriately named! The spices blend together beautifully and no one flavour is overpowering — something I often find with chai. I’ll definitely be picking up some of their other varieties next time I’m in Whole Foods. Thanks again, Marni!

I’ve been doing some dehydrating lately and now have some treats sitting in the fridge — the onion bread I used for my CLT sandwich the other night, and some rosemary crackers.

As I mentioned the other day, this onion bread tastes amazing — just like caramelized onions. I used a recipe floating around online from Matt Amsden’s cookbook Rawvolution (I don’t own it yet myself). I was fortunate enough to eat at the restaurant that inspired the cookbook — Euphoria Loves Rawvolution in Santa Monica, California. I spent a good chunk of last summer in Santa Monica, staying with a friend who literally lives a block away form the restaurant. Their relaxed, cozy, west coast vibe and good raw eats were enough to keep me coming back, and Euphoria’s green juice became a habit. They also served this amazing coconut curry jerky which I will definitely attempt to replicate some day! It’s not in the cookbook, but I’ll probably pick it up soon anyway 🙂

My other dehydrated treat was almond-flax-rosemary crackers, based on One Lucky Duck’s Rosemary Quackers. I loved them so much when I tried them in NYC that I figured it would be smart to make them on my own at home. It was a good decision — they’re deliciously salty and crunchy, go really well in salads, and appear to have a very long shelf life (although how I might know this is unclear, since they’re always scarfed down pretty quickly).

And finally, just because it looked pretty and tasted yummy, here’s a pic of my breakfast smoothie the other morning. I have a big green smoothie every morning with various different greens/fruits combos. On this particular morning, I was also blending up a strawberry-blueberry-banana protein smoothie to bring to campus and drink later in the day after my workout. But I made too much, and it wouldn’t all fit in my glass jar… so I stirred it into the green smoothie instead. It added a great punch of fruitiness to the green goodness. Yum!

March 2, 2010

The CLT: Coconut, Lettuce & Tomato sandwich

I don’t really miss foods I used to eat pre-veg, but it’s still a lot of fun to recreate the familiar comfort foods we grew up with. So prepare to be amazed: this is one of the best sandwiches ever. It’s a raw take on the classic BLT, but with coconut instead of bacon (ew). I first tried something like this at a vegan restaurant in Montreal a few years ago, and it wasn’t hard to copy the (cooked) recipe at home. I often made mini CLTs for vegan potlucks, and they were always a huge hit. Raw-ifying the sandwich was the next step, and I think this is a damn good approximation.

It starts with raw onion bread — I used Matt Amsden’s recipe from Rawvolution. I made it for the first time the other night, and it’s fantastic! Highly recommend. Top it off with some specially-marinated coconut, raw cashew mayo, tomatoes and spinach, and you’re ready to eat.

Some points to keep in mind: the liquid smoke is obviously key to imparting the smoky flavour that combines so well with the sweetness and crunch of the coconut chips and the saltiness of nama shoyu. If you can’t find it, leave it out, but it adds to the dish immensely. Also, if you’d rather not put the time into making the mayo, you can use sliced avocado for a similar effect. Finally, if you don’t have time to dehydrate bread, you can always roll this up in a big green collard leaf or a sheet or nori.

Here’s the recipe!

Coconut, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich

Coconut

1/2 cup coconut chips (not the flakes, but like these)

1 tsp nama shoyu

a few drops of liquid smoke

Toss the coconut in a bowl with the nama shoyu and liquid smoke.

Mayo

3/4 cup cashews (preferably soaked for 2 hours beforehand)

juice of one lemon

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp agave nectar

generous pinch dry mustard powder

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

Blend all ingredients except olive oil until smooth in a high-speed blender. With blender still running, drizzle in the olive oil in a thin stream until completely emulsified.

Other ingredients

two slices of raw bread

1/2 small tomato, sliced

handful of spinach or lettuce

Assembly

Spread desired amount of raw mayo on each slice of bread. Layer tomatoes, coconut and spinach on bottom slice, and top it off with the other slice. Enjoy!