Saturday, September 29, 2007

Scrumptious Smoothies!


The other day, I made such a yummy fruit smoothie and decided that it would look nice photographed in the fallen leaves....well that got me thinking about how much I love smoothies and how awesome they are. I eat one every day, usually for breaky - or after my veggie juice... sometimes as an afternoon snack...for dinner...or an evening snack. It all depends, but I always get a smoothie in! The best thing is the speed and ease at which they can be made. Throw some ingredients, without measuring, into a blender and whiz together until smooth. Voila! A meal in under five minutes!

I admit that I prefer the "sweet" smoothies, but being aware of the importance of getting my greens (like a good girl) I usually have a smoothie consisting of: water, spinach or romaine, frozen wild blueberries, goji berries, msm, bee pollen, cacao beans, and sometimes maca and ginger. No one else I know will drink this because they think its disgusting, but I find it to have quite a neutral and pleasant flavour as long as I add enough water. I won't bother posting a pic either, because doesnt look very pretty!

So here are a few of the "fun", and healthy smoothies I've created.


Berry Licious Smoothie

nectarine

frozen mango

frozen strawberries

raspberries

goji berries

water


This is frosty and sweet! I drizzled strawberry lime sauce inside the glass for a nice effect. Mmm!


*Orange juice would be a nice replacement for the water if you want a sweeter drink.

Here is what my dear friend Carmella said about this smoothie after I posted it on her forum, Raw Freedom Community:

"I'm sipping on this right now and oh my! I used a mixture of frozen mango and papaya and added a banana to sweeten it a little. Oh, and the juice of one lime, as I didn't have no fancy strawberry-lime sauce. Sooooooo yummy! A nice change from our usual green smoothies. "


Now, living in the great north, we have an abundance of wild blueberries growing every summer, pretty much in the back yard. So we pick gallons upon gallons to freeze for use all winter. Its pretty awesome!


Here's my Dark Blue Smoothie

with no measurements...

spinach

wild blueberries

papaya

bit of apple

water

cacao beans

hemp seeds

squirt agave



I made this delightful Paw-Paw Smoothie at Blythe's, in Australia after we bought a bunch of paw paws (much like papaya). Unfortunately we used coconuts that were past their date, and felt sick the next day...but at the time this smoothie tasted great and we didn't notice that anything was wrong! Oops! Note to self: use a FRESH coconut next time ;)

paw paw or papaya
fresh orange juice
young coconut water
young coconut pulp

I called this one, Pretty In Pink Smoothie, hehe.
I think its adorable – well mostly because I love the colour. Plus its extra creamy from the coconut!

Water of 1 young coconut

Pulp of ½ the coconut (my pulp was firm)

Few large strawberries

1 cup diced papaya

Sprinkle of bee pollen on top (optional)




Next up is Ginger's Best Iced Coffee Ever, and while I've never in my life been a coffee drinker, I love love love this drink!!!! It is a divine creation! I make it without the yacon and fo-ti, and it still turns out amazingly!




a scoop of cacao powder


add a few capsules of Fo-Ti, minus the capsules!


a scoop of maca


tbsp of lucuma


a squirt of yacon


a squirt of agave


1/4 inch vanilla bean


dash of nutmeg


handful of cashews


cup of ice


cup or so of water

Chocolate sauce for lining the glass and topping the drink:cacao and a capsule of ho shou wu & a dash of sea salt mixed with agave.


One day in the summer when I had heaps of fresh rasberries, I came up with this, Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie.


lots of icewater

raspberries

avocado

cacao powder

agave

maca

msm (optional)

vanilla bean


The other day I made this Bubble Gum Swirly smoothie and I wish I had written down an actual recipe because it was wonderful.



First, I blended:

young coconut water

young coconut pulp

frozen mango

frozen banana

I then added frozen strawberries to half of that mix, and swirled it into the first part.



This Raspberry Nectarine Smoothie is so simple, yet yummy and frosty during a hot afternoon.

A combo of:

fresh rasperries
nectarine
strawberries
ice




This Tropical Treat Smoothie, was my attempt to bring summer back even though fall has definately come for a visit.


Young coconut water

Fresh pineapple

Frozen mango

Bit of frozen banana


Frosty Cinnamon Shake- creamy and satisfying! This is the easiest thing to throw together.

Frozen bananas

water

cinnamon

cashews

So what wraps up the smoothies for now...with more to come on an ongoing basis! Here are many more fabulous smoothie recipes !

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Simply Raw Food Festival

The most wonderful gift came my way one morning at the retreat. I mentioned that I would be attending the Simply Raw Food Festival in Ottawa on Saturday, and that I'd wanted to enter the pie contest but that it was already full with entries. Two days before the festival, Jens recieved an email with the exact rules and regs, and their pie registration number. Well, there had been some kind of mix-up because the owner of the retreat never had an intention to enter a pie. My dream came true! I was given the opportunity to quickly think up, and throw something together. Actually, I was finishing up the pie just minutes before leaving the retreat Friday evening.

Darwin and I travelled to Ottawa that evening to enjoy a feast at The Table, vegetarian restaurant which sponsored the festival. It was really yummy food, with way too many options to try at one time (buffet style) - I'd definately go back again. We took a nice stroll around the area after dinner and then headed to his sisters place to crash for the nite.



Fortunately, Jens and his Mom brought my pie and garnishes to the festival, so I didn't need to worry about a thing on the day - so nice of them!
It was a freeeeezing cold day! The coldest it had been yet this fall (about 12C)...I was wearing 5 layers of clothing!! There were lots of great booths set up and very quickly I was spending money. I bought the new chrome omega 8003 juicer - it was on sale for a good price and this way I didnt need to worry about shipping costs, yay! Also got my hands on some lucuma powder at last, and a new sprout bag. There were samples up the ying-yang everywhere- BUT none for me because i was holding out for the pie tasting, hehe! The lara bar stand was giving away heaps of free samples- of every kind they have - so I got Darwin and his sister, Kristen onto them. Umm yeah, lets just say that after a few visits to the booth, we had a LOT of bars :) Its my mom's new snack for work!


The guest speakers started right away. I really enjoyed hearing Brendan Brazier speak about his experience which led him to write The Thrive Diet. Matt Monarch, and Angela Stokes were great....my favourite was Dorit. I love her energy! I got the chance to talk with her and she gave me some really wonderful thoughts to chew on. Then, she gave me the gift of her "un-cooking show" dvd! She did a food demo of a yummy pate to try with celery and her line of flax crackers (which are divine).





So back to the pie contest. There were so many wondeful looking ones in display! After the judging, samples were available and I tried so many of them. Some were amazingly delicious, while others were just ok, and some were ..ummm...lets just say that looks can be deceiving.


What did I make?

Strawberry Mm-Rawgarita Pie!
Made up of:

A nut and date crust,
Green lime cream,
Layer of sliced strawberries,
Thick strawberry-lime topping,
Strawberry sauce swirled on the top,
Shredded coconut as the "salt" around the rim



Me and my pie!



In my personal opinion, a young woman named Caroline should have won (but still took third place) - she had the most outstanding pie! Layers of chocolate, caramel, and strawberry cream. Mmm!!!! This was by far my favourite pie!


All in all it was a fabulous experience and I look forward to the two day festival next year! I have all year to think about another pie ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Life Retreat



I recently had the wonderful opportunity to spend time at the New Life Retreat in Lanark, Ontario. I'd never even heard of Lanark until Darwin said he was interested in a log home building course there...and then I stumbled across the retreat website and it all seemed perfect.


Darwin and I hopped on the road early in the morning on September 5 and drove 20 hours straight to his hometown, Deep River. It was my first time, and a very busy few days, visiting all his family (I didnt know someone could have so many relatives), and touring the area, which is really pretty.




It was a fun afternoon, swimming and soaking up the sun here with Dar and his cousins.



















Next, we were back on the road, travelling to Lanark. Being fall, things slow down at the retreat center and so I was the only guest during my stay! Woo hoo! My purpose was to cleanse my body, mind, and spirit. I consumed mostly vegetable juices, with the addition of a few salads and smoothies. I did lots of yoga and breathing, exercise on the trampoline outside, reading, journal writing, resting, spending time in the hot tub, and when I felt like socializing, Jens, the manager was a great person to chat with. He and his mom even brought me along to the most wonderful natural food store one afternoon in Perth.









Love love love, this beautiful wooden staircase! Can't wait until Darwin can make these!




My staple juice was a combo of: celery, carrot, cucumber, parsley, beet, kale, apple, and ginger. Mmmmm!!! Very delish!




One morning I felt like something different and so whipped up this green juice of: apple, cucumber, celery, lime, ginger, and mint.





...and with a very ripe canteloupe, this frothy blend was perfect. Canteloupe, lime, and mint.



On the last evening, I decided to make dinner. Tomato basil salad with the different varieties of tomatoes from their garden, and nori rolls with a ginger maple pate. Simple and yummy!




And I can't forget dessert! I used what was around to come up with these chocolate banana squares. They were a real hit!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Australia - Part 2

So right before leaving Canada, I recieved a lovely email from a woman, saying that she saw my raw food pics online, really liked them, and needed a few tips with some of her recipes. I went to her website to find out that Blythe is a beautiful harpist and singer....in Brisbane, Australia! Go figure! I emailed back to thank her for the compliment and tell her that I'd be in OZ in the coming months. We arranged for a visit, and the next thing I knew, I was at her house for about 5 days. I quickly befriended Blythe, her husband Pete, and their 2 young sons, and felt so at home! We got excited picking out various recipes and talking all things raw food.



Ah, new friendship (but really we are kindred spirits!)

Some of the things on our "to do" list included: veggie pizza with cheddar sauce, pumpkin pie, pesto veggie pies, spinach quiche, grawnola, salads, ice cream, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, spring rolls, smoothies, chocolate turtles, zucchini rollups...and more, if you can believe. And YES, Im proud to say we accomplished everything we indended! yay!


Mmm, enjoying a meal of raw pizza and salad!


I was especially eager to try Vanessa Sherwood's (G Living Network) 2 cheesecake recipes: White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake , along with Black Forest Cheesecake. She comes up with the most amazing raw creations that taste far superior to the cooked kind!

White Chocolate-Strawberry Cheesecake

Filling:
2 cups fresh chopped strawberries
1 cup cashews (they do not have to be soaked)
3 oz melted coconut butter
1 oz melted cacao butter
¼ cup light floral honey or agave
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt

Blend all of the ingredients in a vita mix or high speed blender until completely smooth.

Crust:

½ cup brazil nuts
½ cup shredded coconut
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons agave
1-2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Seeds from ¼ vanilla bean

Process the brazil nuts, shredded coconut, salt, cocoa powder and vanilla bean seeds in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add the agave and cacao nibs until the mixture just starts to stick together. Press into the bottom of a springform pan.

If you are making a large cheesecake, feel free to double or even triple the recipe (crust and filling).
Pour the filling over the crust and chill or freeze until ready to serve.

This recipe made two 4 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch cheesecakes.

Strawberry sauce:

1 cup strawberries
Agave nectar to taste

Blend or mash the strawberries and agave together. Pour over slices of strawberry cheesecake.

And here is how mine turned out...this was amaaazingly delicious!




















Blackforest Chocolate Cheesecake

Filling:

2 cups cashews, soaked 1 hour or more
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cacao butter, melted
1/4 cup coconut butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons coffee extract (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa powder
1 10oz package frozen cherries, thawed

Blend everything together except for the cocoa powder and cherries until completely smooth. At this point, if your blender can take it, blend in the cocoa powder. Otherwise scrape the mixture into a mixing bowl and whisk the cocoa powder in by hand. Hand mix in the thawed cherries. If you want to make a sauce out of the cherries, either set some aside or use an additional package.

*About the coffee extract. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. I use Java Juice- Pure Organic Coffee Extract. The website is www.javajuiceextract.com. If you don’t want to use it, substitute more vanilla extract or just leave it out.

Crust:

1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Pinch of salt
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons agave
1-2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean

Process the brazil nuts, shredded coconut, salt, cocoa powder and vanilla bean seeds in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add the agave and cacao nibs until the mixture just starts to stick together. Press into the bottom of a springform pan. If you are making a large cheesecake, feel free to double or even triple the recipe (crust and filling).Pour the filling over the crust and chill or freeze until ready to serve.

I'm a real chocolate lover, so this Blackforest Chocolate Cheesecake was high priority! I didn't use the coffee extract or cherries, so it was just a chocolate cheesecake, that I drizzled with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Here's mine...I swear I could eat this every day!























Next thing on the agenda was Pure Food and Wine's pumpkin tarts. You can find the recipe here. Now, I've made raw pumpkin pie before with yams, but this recipe is better than grrrrreat! We made a pie with caramelized pecans and the best vanilla ice cream by Blythey, and little tartlets.







OH, and I cant forget about the magnificent pizza we made. Blythe made the best cheese sauce I'd ever tasted!

A nut and veggie pulp crust, sundried tomato marinara sauce, basil pesto, an assortment of marinated veggies, sprouts, and cheese. Mmm!
We also made spinach quiche, which is absolutely to LIVE for! Creamy spinach filling in a dehydrated nut and flax seed crust. You can find the recipe here !

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Australia - Part 1


Ive wanted to visit Australia since I was a child...and i finally got the chance in April! My journey Down Under began with a visit to see old friends. Pam and John Cowan lived in my little town of Sioux Lookout 13 years ago, just down the street from my home. Their daughter Lizzie, and I were the best of friends during their year here, so it was unfortunate that she was on the other side of the world, when i was in OZ. I had enjoyed camping, hiking in the forest, lwalks along the beach, picking fresh food from the garden, being in the kitchen, and sharing old memories, among other things, with the Cowans.





BYRON BAY


Next on my agenda was a visit to Byron Bay which became a very extended visit, as i totally fell in love with the place. Beautiful beaches, health conscious people, lots of yoga, shops, cafes, and the best organic farmers market ive ever been to! Every type of fruit, vegetable, herb, nut, etc that was in season. My new favourite - jakfruit, omg its so great! Tastes exactly like juicy fruit gum!!!!


I spent heaps of time on the beach, often bringing a durian with me. I was seriously in heaven!
A lot of my other time was spent in my friend, Paul's kitchen, creating new raw food recipes and playing with cacao products. He has created raw food recipe and hemp books, a dvd, and owns a hemp company - needless to say, I learned a LOT from him and am so greatful.

Tropical abundance! Most of these my friend and I picked straight from the tree: mandarin oranges, jakfruit, avocadoes, custard apples, star fruit, champagne fruit, ice cream beans, tamarillos, baby bananas, chocolate pudding fruit...yummmy!!!!


Yes, this is a REAL sandcastle - i watched a guy build it on Byron Beach!

Im sure you can see why I loved the area so much!!!! Paradise!


Towards the end of my stay, it was nearing "winter", hence the jacket and pants, it was cooling down in temperature, but still nothing of what i know winter to be!