Posts tagged ‘chai’

May 1, 2010

Catching up! Gardening & Chocolate Chai smoothie

Hello all!

I was a very bad blogger last month, but it’s not my fault: I was forced to write five law school exams and one paper. It’s a good excuse, right? Anyway, I don’t have many photos of delicious eats to share with you, as I had no time to make much of anything exciting. Apart from the mouth-watering strawberry moon pies, of course, which were a runner-up in Heathy’s Moonie Pie contest. Congrats to fellow Torontonian Lisa, whose amazing-looking lemon ginger moon pies took the win!

On that note, Heathy’s latest dessert challenge is shaping up to be fun: a contest make the Ultimate Raw Ice Cream Cake! I’m super excited for this one, as Dairy Queen ice cream cakes were always a childhood favourite. The thought of a dairy cake with tons of added sugar and other crap now turns my stomach, but a raw ice cream cake made with natural raw ingredients, like cashews and coconut, is much more appealing. The “challenge” part of this event refers to the fact that we have to come up with our own twist on one of Heathy’s recipes, and I’m mulling over a few ideas. I promise you it will be good – and will be accompanied by lots of photos!

Speaking of contest, I just won one – the Purely Delicious magazine giveaway on In The Raw! The prize is a year-long subscription to the magazine, which is totally awesome because I never see it on newsstands near me. Thanks again, Earth Mother!

Now that I’ve reclaimed my life post-exams, I’ve been working on various gardening projects for the summer. I was lucky enough to get a plot in a community garden not far from my place, and I’m currently planning out which veggies to grow. Kale is an obvious choice, as is chard — both greens are hardy and do well in mid-summer heat, unlike a lot of other more tender greens which flower and go to seed early if it gets too hot for them. I also picked up some heirloom carrot seeds, and I’ll probably also grow beats, green beans, fennel, possibly cabbage, maybe some broccoli, and whatever else seems like a good idea. This will be the first year I’ve gardened on my own, so it will be a learning experience: my goal is to have a steady stream of garden-fresh produce all summer. Thankfully, my mom has decades of gardening experience under her belt and is only a phone call away. I’d also be very grateful for gardening tips and suggestions from you!

I also have a herb garden underway on my rooftop patio. I spent a good part of today potting herbs, and they are looking great! I threw in extra cilantro because I love it, and there’s basil, sage, chives, peppermint, chocolate mint (which will go well in my smoothies!), rosemary and parsley. I’m also going to grow container peas on the patio, since there’s is a pre-existing lattice for them to climb, and they will be perfect for snacking throughout the summer. And finally, a pot or two of kale for emergencies. Although most of my kale will be in my actual garden plot, I know there will be days when I won’t want to bike all the way over to the garden to harvest the green kale goodness!

I’ll leave you with a recipe for a new smoothie I created today – the Chocolate Chai Smoothie. It contains Sun Warrior protein, because it’s a post-gym creation, but feel free to omit it if that’s not your thing. But you may want to add some extra raw cacao powder. Sorry, no picture – I was too hungry!

Chocolate Chai Smoothie

Ingredients

1 frozen banana

1 cup strongly brewed chai tea, chilled (I used one tea bag for this, steeped for 15 minutes)

1/2 cup almond milk

1 scoop chocolate Sun Warrior raw vegan protein powder

1 scoop Amazing Grass Chocolate Green SuperFood

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup ice cubes

Instructions

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Slurp it down!

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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!

February 5, 2010

Indian-spiced dinner party!

I’ve always loved entertaining friends. I adore creating big, elaborate dinners, complete with wine, dessert and good conversation. Even after I started eating mostly raw foods, I still used to cook up vegan dishes for my omnivorous friends, unsure of what they might think of the raw eats. But as I got more into the raw lifestyle and mastered more and more gourmet raw recipes, I started testing them out at dinner parties. And guess what? My friends love the raw cuisine! When you think about it, what’s not to love? Fresh ingredients, crisp flavours, and all of this without the after-dinner heaviness that we used to experience after eating a rich, cooked meal.

A few weeks ago, we had some friends over for a delicious Indian-themed feast. We kicked off the evening with Black Sesame Paratha, Spiced Cucumbers, and Mango-Green Papaya Chutney from Matthew Kenney’s Entertaining in the Raw. These were tasty little bites! The paratha (bread) base was my least favourite part — the rounds were made from flax, nuts, zucchini and spices, and they were a little on the bland side, but were better in combination with the cukes and chutney.

Next up on the menu was Biryani with Coconut-Curry Sauce from Sarma Melngailis’ most recent book Living Raw Food. (As a side note, this is totally one of my favourite books — every single recipe is a hit!) The biryani is somewhat complex to make, as it involves turning jicama and other ingredients into the rice, dehydrating some veggies, and blending up a coconut curry sauce. It is totally worth the effort, and was a hit with our dinner guests!

Jicama "rice" with nuts, raisins and spices

The real star of the evening, as usual, was dessert — a recipe of my own creation. With the Indian theme in mind, I whipped up two kinds of raw ice cream — vanilla chai, and chocolate — sprinkled on a coconut-pistachio-cardamom brittle, and topped off the creation with chocolate sauce. Delicious!! Here are some photos and the recipe.

Coconut-pistachio-cardamom brittle on its way into the dehydrator

Vanilla Chai Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 cup cashews

1 cup young coconut meat

3/4 cup strongly brewed chai tea

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract, or seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean

1/4 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender untl completely smooth. Chill in the refrigerator, then run through an ice cream maker as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

For chocolate ice cream, replace the chai tea with water, and add 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder. Add extra agave to taste, if desired.

Coconut-Pistachio-Cardamom Brittle

Ingredients

1 cup pistachios

1 cup dried coconut

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine ingredients into a food processor until just combined. Spread on dehydrator sheets in a thin layer and dehydrate 8-10 hours, or overnight. Flip onto screens and dehydrate a further 8-10 hours. Break into smaller pieces and dehydrate a few more hours, or until sufficiently brittle.

For the chocolate sauce, I blended up melted coconut oil with raw cacao powder, some agave, and a pinch of sea salt, then poured the sauce on top of the ice cream and brittle. The great thing about using a coconut oil-based chocolate sauce is that it hardens on top of the cold ice cream, just like one of those chocolate-dipped soft serve ice cream cones I used to eat in the summer as a kid!