Archive for June, 2010

June 19, 2010

Good eats and good friends

I had the great pleasure of spending time today with a few fabulous ladies, including Nelly, Lisa, Patrizia and Jenny at our long-planned and highly anticipated get together! Part of the reason I started blogging in the first place was to connect with other like-minded foodies, so spending the day with a bunch of awesome raw-oriented vegans was a total treat. I’m very grateful the thunder showers forecast for today held off because we were able to enjoy a delicious meal on the patio and sip on some sangria.

We snacked on some pretty awesome food, much of it from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. They were pretty much all hits – so many winning recipes in this book!

I made cheddar kale chips, onion rings, and mango salad. It’s hard to go wrong with kale chips! The onion rings were OK, but just OK. They didn’t wow me… the buckwheat breading was too thick, perhaps? At any rate, probably my least favourite recipe from Ani’s new book so far, but with so many other stand-outs, it’s no big deal.

Nelly made tostadas – corn-based tortilla, topped with chipotle cheese, lettuce, salsa, walnut-based taco meat, and sour cream. So delicious!!!

Lisa brought some amazing blueberry lavender ice cream. It reminded me that I really need to start using lavender more often! Topped with some of my leftover cashew lemon cream, it was divine.

Patrizia brought vegan chocolate fudge cake and I am a lucky girl because the leftovers are now in my fridge 🙂 And Nelly, moon pie machine that she is, brought some of those babies.

I also made some amaretti cookies. Yum.

Thankfully, I was able to convince Jenny to take some of the goodies home with her so I wasn’t responsible for eathing all the leftovers! My waistline is thankful.

Kristin was supposed to join us but something came up at the last minute, so we didn’t get to sample the chocolate torte she was planning to bring. Next time! And there will definitely be a next time, so even more can join us. Wish all of you were here with us! Thanks ladies, for a wonderful afternoon!

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June 14, 2010

Raw crepes from Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Essentials

Like pretty much every other raw foodie out there, I had been eagerly anticipating the release of Ani Phyo‘s new un-cookbook, Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. I finally bought it last weekend and have been planning out what to make ever since.

The first thing I dished up was raw coconut bacon – yum! I’ve been making my own version of coconut bacon for ages, but I always used coconut chips for instant gratification. Ani’s recipe uses young coconut meat, which, after dehydrating, becomes deliciously smoky, salty and chewy. I brought some in for my carnivorous co-workers and it got rave reviews. Sorry, no photos of the bacon, but I do have this photo of the young coconuts I picked up for coconut bacon purposes. The husk was trimmed all the way down to the shell! I didn’t recognize them at first. Even after the grocer was kind enough to point them out to me, I had to stare at them for a minute before it clicked that these white spheres truly were young coconuts. Has anyone else seen these? They seemed extra tough to crack, but I did like that they took up less space in my grocery bags.

On Sunday, I tried my hand at Ani’s raw crepes. I made two kinds – apple and banana flax. They were both great, but I think I preferred the apple variety, as they were lighter and seemed to fold slightly better. Both kinds were dead easy. Blend up the ingredients, dehydrate overnight, and brunch is served!

I also made two kinds of fillings – lemon cream and a Nutella-like chocolate hazelnut cream. (As an aside note, they’re spelled “kream” in the book but for some reason words like “kream” and “mylk” just drive me nuts. So I will stubbornly continue with “cream”.)

I filled these babies with the two kinds of cream, and organic peaches and strawberries. In my opinion, the best combination was apple crepes/lemon cream/peaches! The chocolate hazelnut cream was awesome too, but something about the tart lemon + succulent, juicy peach combo is just perfect for summer.

We ate these babies upstairs on the rooftop patio and it was glorious. Happy Monday, everyone!

June 13, 2010

Almost raw frappuccino

I’ve never been much of coffee person. I love the smell, and like the taste, but coffee isn’t something I crave, think about or consume with any regularity. I guess there was a brief stint in high school where my friends and I ate disgusting fast food every day for lunch and drank lots of Tim Horton’s iced cappuccinos. But I think I liked those not so much because of the coffee, but because of the sugar and fat. Yuck! (For non-Canadian readers, Tim Horton’s is basically like Dunkin Donuts. Classy.)

Anyway, I recently got it into my head that it would be fun to create a frozen coffee beverage. I keep hearing about how good the new Starbucks vegan frappuccinos taste, and Lisa posted an awesome-looking recreation a couple of weeks ago, so I figured it would be fun to make my own healthier version at home.

Before we go on… yes, I know coffee isn’t raw, and it’s supposedly acidifying and therefore not great for you. And do I care? Not particularly. I have so few bad habits these days that a cup of coffee once a week or so isn’t going to do much damage.

This recipe is actually almost raw, with the obvious exception of the coffee. It includes Sun Warrior protein, because I like drinking this after my morning gym sessions on the weekend. I find the Sun Warrior also helps thicken up this frosty treat. If you want to skip the protein, go ahead — just add more banana, cashews and/or chia instead.

Raw-ish Frappuccino

1/2 cup almond milk (preferably raw, or use Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze if you’re lazy like I sometimes am)

3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, chilled (preferably organic and fair trade!)

1/4 cup cashews

1 tbsp chia seeds

1.5 scoops vanilla Sun Warrior protein

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp maca powder

1 cup ice

Instructions

Blend the almond milk, coffee, cashews and chia seeds in a high speed blender until silky smooth. Add protein, frozen banana, maca and ice, and blend until ice is completely pulverized.

A fun variation on this is a Chocolate Raw-ish Frappuccino: simply add 1 tbsp raw cacao powder and/or use chocolate Sun Warrior instead. Add some agave or stevia if you find the cacao makes it too bitter for your taste.

Hope you enjoy! For someone who is an infrequent coffee drinker, I’ve always found it strange that the caffeine in coffee never gives me a buzz. Am I the only one who seems immune to the caffeine?

June 12, 2010

Girls night out at Rawlicious

I was lucky enough to hang out with one of my favourite blogger friends last night, fellow Torontonian Nelly! We hit up the backyard patio at Rawlicious for some tasty raw food, tea and conversation. It’s so fun to meet someone in person whose life you’ve been following online for ages. There is always so much to talk about! In fact we kept yakking way after the restaurant closed and eventually started to worry we were keeping them there for us (although they said we weren’t). Jenny was planning to join us, too, but sadly could not make it in the end.

We started out with the nachos, which came with olives, hot banana peppers, green onions, salsa, guacamole and raw vegan sour cream. Totally tasty.

Nelly had the nightly special, the meatloaf. (It sounds funny saying “meatloaf” instead of “nutloaf” but that’s what they called it!) WOW. It was stellar and we are both dying to find a similar recipe. Does anyone have a good raw nutloaf recipe?

I had the caesar wrap with a side salad. It was equally delicious! It was wrapped in a yummy collard leaf and included some nice, chewy croutons.

Perhaps surprisingly, given the usual dessert-focused fare on our blogs, we were both too full to stuff in any sweets. But Nelly had kindly brought me some of her moonies (this girl is a moon pie machine). We tried to bribe the restaurant staff with a moonie in exchange for the meatloaf recipe but no such luck. We left them one anyway 🙂

Nelly’s awesome moonies weren’t the only thing I left with after our Rawlicious feast… I also bought a new spiralizer – the lovely Paderno kind that makes the very best veggie noodles. I already have a Saldacco spiralizer but the thin noodles it produces are no match for the thick ones the Paderno spits out! It’s not like I really needed another kitchen appliance but what can you do… now I just have to find some cupboard space for it.

Now, for some other fun news. A few of us raw/vegan/food blogger girls from Toronto have been planning a little get together next weekend at my place to share raw desserts and any other yummy food that anyone wants to bring. We’re thinking next Saturday afternoon would be good, and we can enjoy the sunshine on my patio if the weather cooperates. So if you want to come, leave a comment or email me at rawcandyblog@gmail.com.

June 6, 2010

Raw goodies in the mail + Veggie Pride

Last week was chocolate-filled for me, thanks to Heathy! My prize for winning her ice cream cake challenge was a package of raw treats prepared by the lovely lady herself. I’m not sure if I could possibly have been much more excited when I learned the parcel had arrived that day in the mail. There was some of Heathy’s coconut vanilla crunch granola (wow), some raw chocolate caramel turtles (amazing), an orange chocolate bar with gojis (delish), chocolate hemp butter-filled cups (decadent), chocolate truffles (mmm), and fruit and nut chocolate clusters (awesome). Here’s a photographic recap for your viewing pleasure. Thanks, Heather!!

Yesterday I had a great time walking in Toronto’s inaugural Veggie Pride Parade. The best part was finally getting to meet my bloggie/Twitter friend Lisa, the Vegan Cookbook Critic! She’s every bit as sweet in person as she seems on her blog. Thanks for the walk, Lisa! It was a beautiful day outside, and was made even more wonderful by the positive energy exuded by Toronto’s enthusiastic veg community.

Me and Lisa, choosing compassion

After the parade, we went to a potluck at my community garden (I made socca!), and I had the pleasure of meeting two fellow gardener ladies who are also into raw food. We chatted green smoothies, dehydration, sprouting and raw carrot cake. I ended the day feeling lucky for good friends and good food. Here’s a photo of my plot at the garden – everything is growing so well!

From left to right, I have brussels sprouts, collard greens, carrots, beets, celeriac, chard, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, dinosaur kale, regular kale, and red cabbage. My patio garden is growing equally well – the kale is totally massive, and so is the rainbow chard. My patio peas are getting big, and my chickpeas are really taking off. I became obsessed with trying green chickpeas after reading this article – apparently they’re the new edamame. I’m pestering my local Whole Foods to start stocking them. But in the mean time, since I couldn’t find them in stores, I figured I’d grow my own.

I’ll end on this note: Nelly, Lisa and I agree us Toronto raw girls need to have a raw dessert party sometime soon. If you’re in the city and might like to join, let me know.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!