Monday, December 19, 2011

My Christmas Mission

This Christmas holiday, I have a really fantastic mission: 

Create as many raw, vegan versions of traditional/favorite Christmas treats as I can! 

What's your favorite? :)


Sunday, December 18, 2011

I upgraded :D

I'm improving so much at silks! I never used to be strong enough to do any tricks high up on the silks because I couldn't hold myself up for that long and I have to jump down if my wrists become weak, but not any more! 

Inverted foot hang

Splits, up high!

Middle splits, also up high :D

video
Back chest roll without hands 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Neat new stuff!

Since school is over for this semester, I've had a lot of free time to browse around health food stores to see what's new, and also to play around with new recipes :)  Since I have a dehydrator now, this is just the beginning of a very exciting holiday season because I can finally make all the raw treats that I love!

So recently......

I discovered a new product--
 I found this raw bar at Healthy Planet up in Markham. It contains cacao powder, all kinds of organic veggies and sprouts, and coated with dark chocolate (the only part that's not raw). I never expected it to taste good at first because of the ingredients, but I was very wrong! It tasted like a chocolate brownie cookie! A must try!

Next, I went to Fresh again because I love their food so much--

 This time I ordered their Mushroom Onion burger (served on greens instead of buns). Their signature grain burger is topped with sauteed mushrooms and onion, plus their super duper delicious house mayo. The burger is really meaty (it also has pinkish and chewy bits inside due to red beets and TVP so it really resembles meat) and the sauce is rich and creamy, so if they don't tell you they're vegan, it would fool a lot of people! 5 stars!

Then, I created some new recipes--

 Black Sesame Walnut milk with Rose
  • 1 cup soaked walnuts and black sesame seeds
  •  4 cups water (or coconut water to make it extra special)
  • 3 or more/less dates or other natural sweeteners), depending on how sweet you like it
  • 3 tablespoons rosewater
  • 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
Blend everything in a high powered blender until smooth. If your blender is not very powerful, you may have to strain the milk to make it smooth...Enjoy!


 A cup for my mom (topped with cardamom powder and black sesame seeds)

 I used it for my raw Asian granola that I made last week. The recipe is here. Make the raw version of it by grinding buckwheat into powder instead of using flour (if you have a dehydrator). If not, you can bake it. This milk and the granola compliment each other so well! This is truly one of the most delicious breakfast I've ever had!! I also added sliced bananas, goji berries, cacao nibs, and cinnamon. Mmmm....

Now for the savoury stuff--

 Cilantro Pesto soup topped with sprouts, avocado, green peppers and mushrooms, sprinkled with parsley flakes, dried chili flakes and nutritional yeast

First, make the pesto-
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup raw nuts/seeds of choice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp curry paste or miso depending on your taste bud
  • 2 dates or 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Blend everything together in a high powered blender or food processor. Stop when your desired "chunkiness" or texture of the pesto is achieved. To make the soup, simply add water to the pesto and blend until very smooth (this has to be done with a blender). Because this recipe makes a lot of pesto, save some for later use and add about 1/4 cup of pesto for each bowl/serving of soup. The amount of water to add depends on how creamy you like your soup to be. Remember, recipes are just guidelines! Once you're done making the soup, pour into pretty bowls and top with anything you like!  :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Super long update

I have SO much to blog about the past 2-3 weeks I don't know where to start! 

First off, The soup and salad combo at Fresh! 
I think I had this meal 2 weeks ago...but it was so delicious and reasonably priced that I just had to share! The soup of the day was Pesto, white bean and kale soup. For only $9 I get a cup of delicious soup, 2 pieces of  vegan cornbread, and "Eat your greens" salad with wasabi dill dressing. This is actually the "small" combo, large is $11! 

Secondly, I want to thank the person who invented the amazing Spiralizer! I've had it for a long time and it's one of the best investments I've made. It turns veggies like carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, etc into long strands of angel hair "pasta"! Another setting also turns onions into long onion rings plus other cool designs :D


I mixed my carrot "pasta" with kelp noodles and some "honey" mustard dressing (subbed honey with agave) and sprinkled with kelp buds and currants. Sweet and savoury!

Now I have my eye on the bigger Spiralizer, which makes thicker noodles!

Next up, The Tomato (randomness, LOL)! I decided to take a picture of this because it just looks so perfect and cute! I'm a foodie and a very mindful eater so I tend to notice things like that, plus the flavour, smell, etc.
.

Beware of the Vegan! 
~nomnomnom~

A very exciting news-- The Stare-off competition with my Excaliber dehydrator is finally OVER!
It came in the mail a few weeks ago but I was "afraid" to use it ahahaa...Then, last week while I was studying for exams in the kitchen (and I was VERY determined to spend the entire day studying), I realized that my sprouts are due for eating and I had lots and lots of them, especially sprouted wheat! Without further ado, I decided to make Sprouted bread (and other yummies)! There goes my studying plan....
(I recently got back my exam results, and I passed with flying colours :D I want to thank all the teachers at my "Asian invaded" high school for making the tests so challenging, so right now, exams at college doesn't seem any harder! I've also learned a lot of the materials before, so much of it is just review, but in more details.)

All ready to go! Sprouts, ground flax, Vitamix...

Ever since I got into raw food-ism, the stove kinda became my prepping and chopping place xD

Behold the Excalibur dehydrator! This is the newest Series 3000 model with upgraded electrical and plastic parts. I used to believe that dehydrators use a lot of electricity since it operates for such a long time, but according to Cynthia from silkpurse.blogspot.com (and many other raw foodists), it only costed a few cents! Myth or truth? I'll find out soon! :S 

Because my dehydrator was the larger 9 tray model, I could make a lot of stuff! This is Orange-Coconut-Goji flax cracker :) 

While I was blending sprouted wheat in the Vitamix dry container, it ate my spatula! :O
I ended up composting my batter because silicon got blended into it. I know, such a waste!!! :'( Learned my lesson the hard way...

No more sprouted bread for me.... But I still had to fill up the dehydrator, so pancake it is!
This is Superpower Banana Carob pancakes, right out of the dehydrator. Why Superpower? Well, there's all kinds of superfood in it, like maca, chia seed, sprouted flax seed with blueberries, brazil nuts and cocoa nibs! This newly invented recipe is a must-keep! The texture is less like a pancake and more like a super duper fudgey wudgey brownie. Guess what's next? This recipe shall be used to make raw brownies next time! Because I'm always looking for new ways to make and eat food, this pancake can also be turned into a very, very, extremely decadent dessert. How? Make it into a "Layered Brownie"! Just whip up some cashews, agave nectar, vanilla and lemon juice to make "cream", top one pancake with the cream, layer on some berries or other sliced fruits, top with another layer of pancake, and end with a generous dollop of "cream". To make it extra delicious, blend some fresh fruits with agave to make fruit sauce to drizzle on top, or drizzle on chocolate sauce by blending extra virgin coconut oil, cacao powder and agave nectar. See how simple making raw food is? :D

(P.S. I had this Superpower pancake after a tough workout! (desserts for refueling, anyone?) I was greedy and decided to have two pieces, and man was it filling! I wasn't even hungry hours later! This is what they call "nutrient dense food"! Imagine eating those sugary, refined, conventional pancakes from the freezer! They provide barely any nutrients, raise your blood sugar quickly, and are not filling at all, plus they make you crave more sugary, unhealthy stuff. yuck!)


Beside the pancakes is my oh-so-delicious raw pizza! I also consider this a "Superpower" because the crust was made with ground flax, olives and carrots, the tomato sauce was made with sundried tomatoes and red peppers,  the "cheese" was made with soaked almonds and sunflower seeds, and I topped it generously with red peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. Not to mention most of the ingredients I use are organic!

More food! This is what I call The raw Asian granola made with buckwheat groats, almonds, extra virgin coconut oil, sesame seeds, red dates, and almond extract. yum yum!

Orange-Coconut-Goji flax cracker, Red pepper-tomato "wrap". (i had lots of red peppers on hand, that's why they appear in many things)

Close up of the Superpower pancakes

Oh my, this pizza is SO DELICIOUS I don't have any more words to describe it. Thank you to Fresh restaurant's newest recipe book for the delectably raw tomato sauce! 

Had it for dinner! I topped my slices with avocados, sprouts, and basil. Once again, two slices of such a nutrient dense pizza is way more than enough! 

Then, after the exams (last day of school!)----

We threw a "retirement party" for our Kinesiology professor, John C. Griffin. He's a really good teacher! He also gave me a t-shirt for getting perfect on my Kinesiology test! Too bad he's retiring... :(

Cute cake xD

Me and the prof

How I wish it was a vegan cake :(

And at Cirque, more new tricks :) ---

Getting into the bottom pose...

Ta-da! It looks really cool but kinda hurts the top of my foot! Honestly, most skills and tricks on the aerial apparatus hurt, and so does doing acro on hard wood floor, but when you're really passionate about something, the love overpowers the pain :)

------

It was Terra Madre day last Saturday! This little "food fair/exhibition" was hosted by Slow Food Toronto and features local food vendors and lets people sample their food to promote "locavore-ism". Almost every booth had samples! Although this was not a vegan expo, there were still a lot of samples that were meat/dairy free. Best of all, it was free admission :) I went there with my mom because I really missed spending time with her! Since going to college and starting work, I barely hang out with here anymore because I spend so much time downtown, and whenever I shop for groceries and see something exciting, I don't have anyone to talk to....Now that exams are over and it was a free day, I jumped at the opportunity!

                                      

To illustrate how much food sampling there were---
Apples, pears, chestnuts, hazelnuts, baby kiwis

Marinated garlic stem

Chefs cooking up some stuff, not sure what it was because it was meat so I didn't really pay attention to them

Vegan red beet dip. The colour of the dip was really pretty!

Corn pasta dish

Marinated pears and peppers, berry preserves

Mashed garlic dip

Artisan bread

More fruit preserves

Organic fair trade chocolate

There were even cutlery, cups and plates for people to get samples to reduce waste. Not only that, these stuff are fully compostable :D

Organic ice cream

Carrot jam on sliced beets. So unique!

Ying ying's organic tofu

Cheese. Not much to say here :/

homemade pickles and relishes 

More chefs cooking up some stuff. I had no idea what they are.

Sandwiches with pesto and cheese

Huge slices of apple cake! Unfortunately they were not vegan so I didn't eat them.

Magic Oven restaurant was there too! These were yummy! They're curried beans on sliced beets

more local food

This is the booth where I learned something pretty amazing. They were selling Kombucha mushroom culture! I've always thought that Kombucha is really difficult to make on our own but the opposite is true! If you don't know what that is, it's fermented tea :)

This booth was super generous! they had bowls and cups so I thought the soup was for sale but when I asked, they told me they're samples and also asked me if I wanted a cup or bowl! It's Miso-mushroom soup

More pickles

More preserves and jams

Dumplings!

This was a really cool booth. At the entrance of the Terra Madre fair was a booth that lets people test their knowledge about food using all 5 senses.

The most amazing part of all? I got 99% of all the tests right! The only one that I couldn't guess, but was very, very close was the smell of pure vanilla powder (not the very distinguishable extract). I couldn't tell what it was but was very sure that I've smelled it before! So eventually I guessed anise, which was pretty close to vanilla!

The hearing part was about cooking sounds, and we had to listen to the sounds and determine what the sound was created by, i.e. pan frying. Because I'm such a foodie, I got all of them correct, right down to setting the table and popping open wine bottles! (although I don't drink and have never opened a single wine bottle xD)

Different kinds of apples and carrots to taste the differences in texture, sweetness, crunchiness, etc.

After the food fair, there were still tons of time left, so I brought my mom to Eaton Centre.

~Its the most wonderful time of the year...~

Beautiful reindeer deco

A gigantic one

My mommy

Then for dinner we went to Freshii for take out because I had a $40 gift card that I bought from Dealfind website for only $20! The thing I love about them is that I can customize my own meal for a very good price, and their "unlimited toppings" section has so much to choose from! I checked off pretty much all of them xD

This is the Kombucha culture that I bought from the fair for $15 and it lasts for a very, very long time if you take care of it :) (its like the bacteria in yogurt, they keep reproducing)

And the last picture to end off this update---
My first batch of microgreens! I've never grown microgreens before, usually I just eat them once the seeds have sprouted. So excited! Whenever I make a salad, I can just harvest them right from the container! Talk about freshness!