Saturday, February 27, 2010

NYC Adventures - Part 2

The NYC saga continues with more wining & dining, great friends, shopping, walking, and heaps of fun! My good friend Courtney Pool also came up for a visit, all the way from Patagonia, AZ. You might like to check out her trip post here. It was so great to see her again (the last time was a few years ago when I visited The Tree of Life).

I honestly don't know where to begin because I have soooo many great pics, but I'll give a quick overview. I enjoyed another dinner at Pure Food & Wine with Philip Mc Cluskey, Courtney Pool, Dhrumil Purohit, and Ben Tseitlin.

Enjoying our girlie berry drinks!
Courtney ordered the Tamales - don't they look awesome?!

I enjoyed a White Light Tini - lemongrass, ginger, green tea, sake
I had the S&M Salad (Named after Sarma & Matthew when they started the restaurant and the name stuck). This is the best salad ever: loads of greens, avocado, dulse, and rosemary quackers (which are sold in One Lucky Duck).
On the house: Mini Mushroom Patty Burger - on ezekiel bread, with kraut, and other toppings.
Philip and I
Pure's Kitchen - Can you see a few of them giving a wave?! I also met their cool dessert chef, Patricia, who happened to recognize me! Go figure! It was cool to meet her - I'm totally envious of her job!
We had a stop at One Lucky Duck (just around the corner from Pure), after dinner to pick up some ice cream for dessert. As you can see, Court can't contain herself - yes it's that good!
Goodies galore: From left to right: Mallomars, moonpies, chocolate ganache torte, & linzer tarte
Cookies, Key Lime Pies, Chocolate Banana Cream Pies (I've had the banana ones before - they're uber good!)
Lemon Bars & Tiramisu
OK...just one more pichy of the yumminess...
We indulged in most of OLD's ice cream flavours, back at Dhru's.

Of course I had to get a moon pie! I enjoyed half of it over top my ice cream. Yum!
That's all for now... a trip to Quintessence, cake making, and more good times still to come!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Adventures in NYC - Part 1

As you already know from my previous post, I've had the great fortune of taking another trip to New York City! I had so much fun there in the Fall that I just had to come again. The winter blues can get the best of me in the north, so this refreshing time away has been just what I needed. Dining at some of the greatest raw restaurants is in order here. My first dinner was at Pure Food & Wine with my friend Philip - this is probably the best raw resto on the planet.

The cocktail special was in order. Strawberry Raspberry Aloe- Tini with Rose Petals. Yes it tasted as great as it looks!
So happy to be here! Cheers!
I ordered the Nori Rolls - filled with spinach, kim chi, nut cheese, and ginger.
I also chose the Arugula/Frisee Salad with pear, some kind of yummy dressing, and shaved nut cheese on the top.
Philip is finishing a 60 day juice/smoothie fast, so he enjoyed this delicious smoothie.
A little something on the house, Nut Cheese Tartlets with mushrooms, caramelized onions, and apricot sauce. These are amaaaazing! I coulda eaten a whole plate of them!

Dessert, always my favorite. I went with the Classic Sundae - vanilla and chocolate ice creams, whipped creme, chocolate sauce, caramelized almonds, and banana. This is fabulouso!
Great dinner at Pure
I enjoyed lunch at One Lucky Duck a few days later with my good friend Deana. We were sure to split a half pint of Vanilla Mint Chip Ice Cream for dessert... didn't even think to snap a pic before we eagerly dove in.
She enjoyed the Thai Lettuce Wraps
I enjoyed a huge Simple Green Salad, with all kinds of fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, and parsley.
That's just the start... much more coming soon... another dinner at Pure, a trip to Quintessence, and a dessert feast from One Lucky Duck!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Travel News and a Recipe

Looks like I'm jetting off again... as you probably know, I can't sit still for long, especially in the winter. I barely go outside when it's this cold so I tend to get cabin fever.

Where am I off to this time? Back to New York City baby! The land of the best raw food restaurants in the world, great shopping, sights, etc etc... You might remember that I traveled there in October and had a really amazing time. I dined at Pure Food and Wine twice, enjoyed heaps of goodies from One Lucky Duck, and went to Quintessence twice as well. Guess I can't stay away - I'm going back for more. (This pic is of myself, my long time friend Deana, and new friend Mary, enjoying dinner at Pure Food).

Since I live in such a remote place, I have quite the trek to go anywhere. Tomorrow I drive 1 hour to hop on a bus and ride to Winnipeg which takes 5 hours. Friends will pick me up and take me back to their place where I'll stay overnight and the following morning hop on a plane, fly to Minneapolis, and then finally fly to NYC. Whew! Fortunately I'll be in good hands upon arrival. I'll be wining and dining at one of the city's finest raw restaurants. I'll be visiting with friends, including my dear Courtney who will be up from Arizona, going shopping, doing yoga, and trying P90X for the first time which I'm looking forward to.

Now for a quick recipe, here's a yummy pudding I enjoyed last week

Hempy Vanilly Pudding

0.25 oz soaked irish moss
1 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup hemp seeds
2 Tbs lucuma powder
1 Tbs pure vanilla
1 Tbs agave powder
2 tsp lecithin
1/4 cup coconut oil

Chop the irish moss and blend it with the water/ maple syrup until smooth and warm (scrape down the sides a few times in between blending).
Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Off to finish packing my bags now... oy, I have a terrible habit of overpacking - I have to remind myself that I'll be shopping in the city, so I need to keep space for all the goods!

OH, and Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you had a great one! How did you spend your day? I spent it making and eating raw chocolate with my mom in addition to watching the Olympics - I am so proud to be Canadian!!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Random things

This is a bit of a random post with the latest happenings around here...

Last weekend I taught a raw food class which is always fun. I love to share this lifestyle with people. We plowed through heaps of recipes for the beginner who wants to incorporate easy recipes and ideas into their lifestyle.

Hands-on portion... making lasagna!
Me showing the nut milk bag... it's fun showing people how to milk the vegan cow.

In the kitchie... we had nori rolls goin on, choco berry pie, drinks, dips, etc etc...

Back in the kitchie, I played with chocolate covered granola bars! I used the Super Granola Bar recipe and Basic Dark Chocolate recipe both from Just Desserts. I didn't dehydrate the bars, but instead pressed the dough into a seran wrap lined pan, froze it for a few hours then sliced into bars and dipped into the chocolate. The result is hard chocolate on the outside and a nice soft oatmeal granola bar on the inside. Mmmm!

Made mini cakes for an event: Black & Whites, and Strawberry.
A friend came for dinner this week... simple and quick nori rolls were on the menu. Since I'm not a fan of cauliflower, I prefer a parsnip rice (parsnips, cashews, lemon juice, salt zapped in the food processor), rolled with red pepper, avocado, spinach, and carrot. We enjoyed these with caesar salad. The jackfruit ice cream was for dessert.

Some exciting news and a recipe coming soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jackfruit Talk

I've always been a fan of tropical fruit, in fact, a lot of the time I center my vacations around the beach, heat, and fruit. Three years ago while in Fiji and Australia, I had the most amazing pleasure of indulging in fresh jack fruit. I would often treat myself to a morning at the beach with a breakfast of jack fruit from the Byron Bay farmers market. Two words to describe it - juicy heaven. It is said that jackfruit is the inspiration behind juicy fruit gum, so that might gives you an idea of the taste (I loved it growing up).

Here's a bunch of amazing fruit that I picked and ate in Australia. You can see the big jack fruit on the bottom left... also pictured (in random order) are sapotes, avocados, atemoyas, cherimoyas (another of my fave fruits), star fruit, baby bananas, tamarillos, persimmons, mandarin oranges, kiwi, paw paw (like papaya), and ice cream beans (which are totally amazing - like little "melt in your mouth" cotton balls).

Jack fruit is the largest tree borne fruit in the world, and can weight up to 100 lbs each! I was in awe of them hanging off the trees in Fiji like decorations (very heavy ones!). The fruit contains heaps of bright yellowy/orange chewy, sweet, pulp covered seeds - Some fruits had firmer pods, while others were softer - I prefer the firm ones.
A unique property of the fruit is it's extremely sticky sap which is used as an adhesive! Despite knowing this, I accidently got some on me one day... let me say, it's damn annoying because nothing gets it off! I tried coconut oil, olive oil, soap.... nope... just had to wait a few days as I kept trying to scrape it off my skin with my finger nails.

This past Christmas my amazing friend Courtney (Radical Radiance) sent me 2 bags of dried jackfruit from Viva Pura - the only raw food store I've seen who carries the dried fruit. I was seeeriously excited! She knows me well and said I'd like it dipped in dark chocolate. I tried it - oh man, even MORE heavenly!

I also soaked some for use in a pudding. Soaking it reminds me of eating the fresh stuff... ah, again one day... anyway, my pudding was a mixture of:

Soaked jackfruit
Young coconut pulp
Goji berries

I couldn't resist making jackfruit ice cream! I served this up for dessert last evening when a friend was over for dinner - I told her about the juicy fruit gum connection and she was like "omg yeah, it totally does taste like that!" I topped it with cacao nibs, macadamias, and placed the scoops on top of chopped bananas. I would like to make it again with the addition of mango.

Jackfruit Ice Cream

1/2 cup packed, dried jackfruit
Soaked in 1 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups cashews
1 medium orange, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup agave
2 tsp lemon juice
Turmeric, for colour

Allow the jackfruit to soak for 6 hours, or as long as 12 hours.
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Chill for a few hours in the fridge.
Process through an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Have you tried jack fruit, or any other really cool tropical fruits?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cleanse Update and Some History

I'm happy to say that I've successfully finished my short fast & cleanse - all on my own this time :)

I really appreciate all the comments with your thoughts, feelings, and fasting stories. I enjoyed reading the range of experiences, from people who are inspired to give it a try... to those who have dabbled... to those who are fasting veterans (one woman just finished a 21 day water fast - now THAT is inspiring!).

The past 8 days have been really amazing, and quite effortless. For me this is a testament to the importance of readiness...

I learned about raw food 10 years ago (went to a raw restaurant) when I was a vegetarian (I became veg overnight at the age of 14 after reading the book Fit For Life but still couldn't resist baked goodies that contained dairy). I looked into raw a bit - read Shazzie's blog, thought it sounded cool, and tried some recipes. When I was 17 I got really into it and then went to Belgium for an exchange program. I continued to eat raw, however my host family thought it was totally strange. I ended up on a fruit diet with a simple salad for dinner that summer. They knew I loved cherries, so brought home a cherry tart and were offended that I didn't want eat it. They really didn't get it.

I took a year off in between high school and college, and during that time went to a raw retreat for 1 month in Ojai California, put on by The Garden Diet folks. It was totally eye opening and incredible in every way - all the top raw speakers at the time came to lecture throughout the month: David Wolfe, Fred Bisci, Doug Graham/Rozi, Paul Nison, Victoria Boutenko, Elaina Love, and Nomi Shannon. I learned, lived it, and decided I would go 100% raw. After being home for one week in -30C (-20 F) winter temperatures and lack of support, I well off the wagon - and it wasn't always healthy cooked food either. I held a lot of guilt for not being able to live the raw lifestyle - the guilt always caused more havoc which ended up in overdosing on sugar - fruit sugar, white sugar products, you name it. *Sigh*

I still desired to move toward a raw diet so would experiment here and there. With a passion for healthy cooking, I looked into various holistic cooking programs but settled on a conventional culinary school - I got my classmates to taste my meat/dairy dishes, but I enjoyed some of the goodies bake lab had to offer. The program provided me with invaluable tools though. I worked in the restaurant industry for a while but never liked the fast-paced, artery clogging, "slap food on a plate" environment. Fortunately I got out of that and have worked at various other things that are in alignment with my desires. I teach as a certified yoga instructor, teach raw food classes, work as a personal chef, and have cooked for the past 5 years at a summer camp for teen girls (fortunately I run the kitchen the way I want to).

All throughout those years I've gone back and forth from %100 raw, high raw, low raw, to everything in between. I've been through cycles of eating what my definition of "perfect" was, and then would swing out of control on sweets as a result of the control, deprivation, and emotional issues.

I never noticed it in the moment, but over time I've progressed. "Baby steps" I like to tell people at my classes who think they can't do it. Some people can go 100% overnight, and for others it takes years. Well, it's taken me years to get where I am - and I'm still working on it. I'm not 100% raw - I let go of that idea a while ago. I eat raw vegan most of the time, but for me I feel it's best not to put a label or restriction on myself. Funny how the psychology works - tell yourself you can't have something and suddenly it's all you can think about. I am learning to trust my inner guidance. My body craves things like baked squash and yams when the cold weather hits, and I like to eat cooked dark chocolate when I don't have any raw choccie on hand, and I like to drink real margaritas or martinis occasionally. The difference now is that I've come to accept things these as ok for me. This new belief releases the emotional pressure that comes from unrealistic expectations. As I continue to work on self love and acceptance I naturally want to take better care for myself - no force, only ease - I think that's the main reason I was able to take on the fast alone and succeed. I realized I can do this, and anything else really, on my own. It's liberating considering I've thought for years that I have to look outside of myself for the things I desire.

That being said, here are some of the things I noticed throughout the experience:

-I felt so much more at peace - with myself, with others, with life. Of course I still had my down moments, but over all, I felt grounded and peaceful.

-I had zero cravings - not even for chocolate!

-My only noticeable detox symptom was fatigue - it would come and go. Fortunately I was in the position to rest when I needed to... although I was a little draggy to go and teach yoga, lol.

-I wasn't hung up on my physical imperfections the way I normally am. I felt better about my body when I look in the mirror.

-I thought about food, and looked forward to eating my usual goodies again, but I felt totally satisfied on the liquids.

-I required less sleep

-I felt strong most of the time and worked out daily on my rebounder and did yoga.

-I did experience some hunger, but it was like I didn't care too much, and would drink and be fine again.

Another little victory was doing 2 dehydrator marathons during the cleanse(it needed to be done, but not the most ideal time to do this). Savory goodies a few days ago, and sweet stuff today - I didn't feel the need to snack as I went along, as I normally would, which was pretty cool. I had a second of temptation when making granola, but reminded myself I can have it in a few days when my body is ready.

In my last post I concluded with my plan to break the fast with a grapefruit on day 4. I did that and enjoyed every juice bite! I proceeded to eat 2 more grapefruits that day. I felt completely satisfied.

Day 5

-Juice: celery, cucumber, apple, spinach, parsley
-Juice: grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime (this was so delish and refreshing!)
-1 Grapefruit
-1 Grapefruit
-Pot of super tea - probably 40 oz.

This is a highly nourishing tea blend of: reishi mushroom, pau d'arco, cat's claw, oatstraw, milk thistle. To that I added some vanilla water, schisandra berry powder, ashwaganda powder, cinnamon, aloe powder, stevia, and lecithin.

Day 6

-Celery, apple, parsley, cucumber, ginger
- 1 grapefruit
- Colosan w water/lemon juice (bowel cleanser)
-Green smoothie: 1 apple, 1 large handful spinach, chilled super tea, 1 teaspoon lecithin (for my liver)
-Green smoothie: 1 large handful spinach, 1/2 apple, 1 large chard leaf, 1 handful frozen strawberries, 1/4 banana, chilled super tea, lecithin

Day 7

-Green smoothie: 1/2 apple, spinach, frozen strawberries, young coconut water
- 2 grapefruits
- Peppermint tea
- Miso broth - with ginger/apple cider vinegar

Day 8

- Colosan in water/lemon
-Juice: celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, beet
-Smoothie: water, few pieces soaked jack fruit & 1 tbs goji berries, 1/2 banana, handful spinach, 1 small orange, big chunk of young coconut (firm) (pictured at the top before I added the spinach :)
- Sarsaparilla tea
-Salad! Yay! So excited to eat it again... greens, sauerkraut, spirulina, red pepper, tomato dressing.
-Pudding - young coconut pulp, strawberries, lucuma, 1 date, water, goji berries, mullberries

Sorry there was only one pic - I ended up not feeling inspired to take pics of green juices and smoothies, but I wanted at least one pic so thought today's smoothie was perfect - before adding the spinach. I'm excited to make and eat choccie again within the next few days!

If you're thinking about embarking on your first fast, three cheers to you! I've found that even one day is beneficial. I loved hearing your stories, so please keep sharing... I feel like we can all inspire each other!