Friday, April 30, 2010

Food Revolution intertwined

Hey all!

Happy Friday! I hope you are all having wonderful day:) I'm going to do a quickie post right now and hopefully I'll be back later with my documentary reviews!

I'm a huge fan of Jamie Oliver and his show, his message, and his flair. I don't care that I don't eat what he does, I share the same passion about getting the WORLD to eat better and become healthier. So, when I was checking out Julie Lynn's blog Gluten Free Vegan Family she mentioned Dianne's own food revolution that she has going on at her blog The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Dianne has a different healthy cooking blogger (and recipe!) for 30 days. Cool hey? So, I was reading some of the past entries and one of them was Kelly from The Spunky Coconut. In her awesome post she mentioned Jamie's TED speech and so I immediately watched it (he was so passionate let me tell you- you wouldn't expect anything less, right?) and thought that you would enjoy it too! Also, please keep checking in at The W.H.O.L.E Gang for more great bloggers and recipes.

Chow for now:)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adaptogens Part 4 : Elixer of Life

Happy Thursday Everyone!

I'm very excited to complete the adaptogen series, albeit I'm very delayed in doing so:) I've only recently heard about my final powerplayer in the series from Kevin and Annmarie Gianni and their super cool video blog called Renegade Health. Kevin loves this stuff and I know you will too!

I wanted to share with you first off some beautiful piano music that I heard on Caitlin's blog. You can listen to this while reading the rest of the post as it is so relaxing! I also wanted to send this out to Bitt and Zuki. I'm praying and sending good vibes your way:)

So, what is the Elixer of Life? It's called Holy Basil or Tulsi and it is one of the most holiest of herbs used in the Orient and India. Tulsi is in the mint family and is a close cousin to sweet basil which we are more familiar with. There are many different varieties of holy basil some tasting like peppermint or cloves, others like licorice and lemon. It is the leaves that are mainly used for medicinal purposes , although the other parts of the plant (root, stem, seed, flower) also have strong medicinal properties and are also used for religious purposes (rosaries etc).

As an adaptogen, holy basil is extremely powerful at helping individuals "adapt" to stress. But, there are many more amazing benefits that holy basil has to offer us:
  • improves stamina and endurance
  • boosts immunity
  • reduces symptoms of flus and colds
  • reduces inflammation
  • antioxident
  • blood purifying
  • antiparasitic, antiviral, antibiotic
  • digestive aid
  • supports the hearts, lungs, and the liver
  • reduces nausea, vomiting, and cramping
  • helps to manage blood-glucose
  • supports your pearly whites
  • lowers cortisol
  • encourages efficient use of oxygen
  • Plus many more!
Holy basil uses a complicated system of biologically active compounds and its synergy with many different phytochemicals. Holy basil contains vitamin A and C, calcium, zinc, iron, chlorophyll, and many other phytonutrients. Recent studies have shown that holy basil may also be a COX-2 inhibitor like many modern day painkillers. Another study completed way back in 1991 in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that when comparing holy basil with Siberian Ginseng and Asian Ginseng, holy basil was the most successful at acting against stress out of the three. You remember how powerful ginseng was, right? No? Okay here is the link to my post on ginseng. Finally, another study was published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology that showed great reductions in blood sugar in diabetics who were given holy basil. Let food be thy medicine becomes more clearer to me everyday!

Due to its powerful clove-like taste, its not recommended to cook with holy basil like you would with its cousin, sweet basil. I'm going to taste some and see if it would go with any dish I never know. Alternatively, can get it in powder and add it to your smoothies (Kevin says the fruit masks its flavor) or make a tea. It is okay to drink 3-5 cups of the tea per day or you could take 2-4 capsules. Consult your MD, ND, or health food store if you want to add holy basil to your herbal repertoire.

I was so impressed by holy basil that I decided to try planting some of it. We shall see how it goes. The little sprouts have just emerged! PS if you are wondering about a simple homemade fertilizer for your garden or house plants, try kelp powder. In my line of work we use kelp fertilizers but I was wondering if I could somehow use the powder that I have from the coop. The answer to that is YES. I read an article on and they explained it really well!

Have a wonderful afternoon! I'm going to be giving a review of two amazing documentaries in the next day or two so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The little seed that DOES!

Happy Humpday everyone,

Hope your week is going fabulous! Mine is going pretty well, the usual really! Yet, lately my mind has been racing with project ideas and career plans and so I've been doing a lot of thinking. I need to stop thinking and start doing as life won't wait for me. I'll let you know what's circulating in my mind soon:) Ive been listening to a lot of goal-making and positive thinking material lately. Actually right now I'm listening to Tony Robbins' book Awaken The Giant Within and its powerful stuff but only if I decide to use it...and I plan to:) Do you listen or read about motivations speakers, positive affirmations, or the law of attraction? I never did before but lately I've been gobbling it up and I think its helped my to be more driven and know that I can do whatever I want in life.

Anywho, I wanted to share with you some goodies I made and which seed made it all possible.

You know this glorious plant as the sunflower. I absolutely love sunflower plants! They are huge, come in a variety of colors (ever seen the purple ones?), and they produce one of my all-time favorite seeds to eat.

I remember taking the seeds out of the sunflower head as a kid and eating them right out of the shell. I plan on growing some sunflowers in my garden this year so maybe I can bring that memory to life once again:) Sunflower seeds are real powerhouses of nutrition. Brigitte Mars states in her book Rawsome that sunflower seeds are rich in zinc (men, eat up if you want to protect that prostate). They are also rich in B-Complex vitamins, and linoleic acid. Medicinally, sunflower seeds are hard workers as they are an antioxident, diuretic, expectorant ( promotes discharge of fluid from the respiratory tract), and nutritive. Here is a list of some other facts about these powerful seeds:
  • Made up of 22% protein
  • The high high B-Complex vitamin content makes them excellent for strengthening the nervous system and for building up the kidneys
  • The linoleic acid content helps to reduce cholesterol
  • Considered a tonic for the eye because they decrease light sensitivity and prevent eye degeneration
  • They lube up the intestines
  • Increase sexual vigor in men and women (last but definitely not least:)
Yet, some of the reasons why I truly love this seed are because they are available in most grocery stores, most of the time you can get a raw version, and they are relatively inexpensive compared to most other nuts and seeds.

So, when I ran out of cashews for a recipes I wanted to make..I gave this little seed the benefit of the doubt!

I make Averie's high raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls often....err..twice weekly? So, earlier this week I really wanted them but I only had half of the required cashews. As I wasn't going to go without, I used sunflower seeds for the rest of the nut/seed base. The result was fantastic! I think I will even make them like this from now on. They weren't as smooth as the all-cashew version but I like me a little crunch.

Oh baby these were good! Again, Averie knows how to rock the little bundles of goodness. Check out all her other little bundle (ball) recipes. So now you know..substitutions are A-okay in this recipe.

For another Averie creation, I decided to make my own sunflower seed butter to use as a replacement for the peanut butter in her no-bake peanut butter chocolate chip PROTEIN balls. Long title, easy recipe:) I followed the simple directions from Gone Raw for making the sunflower butter ( I basically just wanted to know how much oil to add). I didn't add any salt or agave to it as I was going to use it in recipes that were going to be sweetened anyways. I also added only 2 tablespoons olive oil instead of flax oil.

It turned out pretty good considering I only have my low-powered food processor. I probably should have added more fat but I wanted to experiment with less. So, using this butter instead of peanut was still pretty descent, although not as creamy as the peanutty stuff is famous for. The balls were pretty good but I used a protein powder that was flavored and so it was a bit overpowering. I can't wait to try these again with a neutral powder and a more fattened sunflower seed butter...I think this might be my new thing.

OOooh so good. Those chocolaty chippers really make these! What a delicious way to eat your protein.

And going way back to last week, I made another recipe from Meghan's 5 Days Healing With Everyday Superfoods tutorial. Meghan calls them Super Love Seed Treats and I absolutely do feel the love with these treats. I don't know if you have seen them before, but remember those round browny/orange sesame covered treats that you see in Chinese markets? Those round treats that was basically sesame seeds set into sugar? Well, the taste really reminds me of these love seed treats. I loved these! So simple to make and they turned out delicious even without the cacao and goji berries.

mmmm...chewy goodness with just a slight crunch!

So, do you like your sunflower seeds? I sure hope so because you are missing out otherwise!

PS Julia of Sassy Kitchen is having a sweet giveaway so head on over to her blog and check it out!

PPS Canadian Natural Mama is having a sweet giveaway of an awesome T-shirt from Zen Threads. (PS this is for Canadian and US residents, in case you were wondering)

Have a great rest of your day:)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend in Review

Happy Monday!

How was your Earth weekend? Mine was jam-packed with some great local art, good deeds, and good eats!

We started Friday off with a trip to the local college as the independent film students were having their year-end show. We would have never known about it except during one of our latest trips to Oso we saw our old neighbor (we lived in a duplex in Nelson before we moved to our current apartment). Her and her husband were actually in the film program together and they had a short film that was going to be shown that night. They came all the way from Vermont too which I thought was so cool! We usually just watch a movie on weekends but it felt good to do something different and support the local students. The show was by donation and all the monies went to a scholarship fund. I have to say before Ry came to attend his Fine Woodworking program at Selkirk, I really didn't appreciate art. I always wondered why that canvas painting of a bird was $1ooo. Sometimes I still don't get it, but I appreciate it because I have a little more understanding as to the effort and the hard work that goes into a piece.

So, we watched around 10 short films and they were fantastic. There were dramadies, noires, documentaries, and comedies. I was amazed at what they produced in a year. It just shows you that AMAZING things can be done when you put your mind (and camera) to it! Oh and no movie is quite the same without a treatsie or two! The hubby was kind enough to pick up some medjool dates (AKA heaven!) for me. He picked up some chocolate covered almonds for himself.
I'm not going to lie..we also shared a small baggie of organic smarties (gotta love Nelson!) that they were selling at the school. But, speaking of putting your mind to it...

This whole week I had this thought tugging at me. I wanted to do something around Nelson to help Mother Nature out a little bit. So, I decided that I would go to an area that had a lot of garbage and I would pick it up. I remembered walking by this one street and was pretty disgusted by all the trash... so this was my target! I got up a little after 6AM and got organized. I still had one rubber glove left from work so that worked out perfectly! I headed out with my tunes and my garbage and recycling bag. I hit up my target street and to my happy surprise it was all cleaned up! No garbage anywhere:) So, as I was still determined to help the earth that morning I walked around to see if there was another area that needed some attention. I decided to go next to the rail-road tracks and oh golly was there trash...trash that was really, really, old.

This is what an old plastic shopping bag looks like after awhile on the ground. I tried to pick it up and chunks of it "flaked off" onto the ground. This is detrimental. Please do not throw away your plastic bags and better yet, don't use them.

How long do you think that can has been leeching into the ground?

What's that hiding in the grass? Yep, I found one shoe. Wonder how that person liked walking lop-sided? I hope this wasn't a part of some criminal know throwing away the evidence? Okay, so probably unlikely. I've been watching way to much of The Wire lately, please forgive me lol!

I think this was a baking pan of some sort. Crazy hey?

Here's my sleepy self. And no I didn't just have a shower it poured on my when I was out there:) Check out that white garbage bag..its in a million different pieces. Who knows what those things leech into the ground.

I got a good sized bag of junk. I thought I would be able to chuck it into a garbage bin nearby but they were all I took it back to the pad with me! It really felt good to take that garbage out of the felt like a cleansing to me on so many levels. What do you give your time to that is good for the planet and your heart and soul?

After my little adventure I went home and did a little studying (It was around 7:30 at this point and the hubby was still sleeping) of The Language of Medicine.

This book is huge but it's fantastic! It's organized so you get a lot of practice with the terminology and anatomy. It's been a great review so far!

After the hubby got up we went to the gym and I got my booty whooped by my Turbulance Training workout. If you have ever done tabatha sprints (perform an exercise for 20 seconds on, followed by 10 seconds rest X 8 rounds) you know they are KILLER. It's funny how these exercises make me more out of breath than doing intervals on the treadmill. I left the gym sweaty and beat...I like this feeling as I know I've worked it:)

After the gym we hit up the Kootenay School of the Arts as they were having a show on year-end projects from classes like textiles, fabrics, pottery, jewelery making and metal. Again, some fantastic pieces were on display, some amazing talent out there!

This dress was so funky! I don't know what it's made out of, but the design is so cool! I know someone else who saw some amazing fashion this weekend too:)

Pottery amazes me! I would love to take a class one day. I thought this mug was stunning and nothing like I had ever seen before.

This piece makes me think of Alice In Wonderland. Imagine bringing this out when you have afternoon tea..definitely a conversation piece if you ask me!

Love those tea pots! I don't see an exact similarity to these tea pots and the clay beauty but there is some influence I think:) At least that's my! Am I getting artsy yet? There were hundreds of other pottery pieces and beautiful jewellery and went on and on. I really loved seeing all the handmade stuff as they were so unique.

After the show we headed out to do our weekly shopping and once we got home I was pretty tired. I haven't taken a nap during the day for a long time..but I slowly drifted off and it felt good:) After the nap we headed out for an appreciation dinner for SPCA volunteers. There was fantastic food! Everything from veggie sushi to potstickers to hummus, and even chocolate-dipped strawberries (sorry no picts this time:( It was a delicious night and there were lots of good stories too! It also made me feel like I made a small difference to the world. Then on Sunday I worked and hung out at the pad where I took another Getting up at 5:30 everyday took a toll on me I guess. All in all a very fulfilling weekend!

I mentioned last week that I might take part in Meghan's 3 Day smoothie cleanse..well I just couldn't do it. I was already over my budget and to buy so much more produce was going to cost too much. I want to do a smoothie cleanse soon...once all the markets are open again and I have access to better,local, and cheaper goods.

Also, I have not finished my adapatogens series yet. Shame on me, I know! I'm going to get to it this week and finish it off with a BANG! So, stay tuned.

PS DK Mommy is having a giveaway of the Clean Food cookbook. So go check it out!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Homemade Vegan Sausages

Happy Sunday everyone!

I had a wonderful weekend but I'm not in the mood for a long post so I'm going to save it for tomorrow. Hope that's okay with y'all:) Today I wanted to tell you about an amazing eat that is perfect for the upcoming/current BBQ and camping season. Burgers are awesome and the homemade veggie kind are beyond delish. For some great recipes check out these rawkin sites. Yet, sometimes you just want to roast a hot dog in the fire and call it dinner...with all the condiments of course. I also like to have veggie sausages for some of my cooked meals sometimes. I never thought that I could actually make my own sausages...easily! When I first became interested in vegetarianism and veganism I found the blog called Vegan Dad. His site became a refuge for me as his recipes use simple ingredients, take little time to prepare, and they taste delicious. If you are a beginner or you are more advanced in the vegan kitchen, Vegan Dad is the place to go for some great inspiration. So, when I came across his vegan sausages, I knew I had to try them. The verdict....perfect! They are flavorful, they fry up perfectly (if you want to have a crispy texture), and they have just the right consistency (not too chewy, not too soft). I loved these (and many of his other recipes) so I bought his recipe book which contains other sausage recipes including breakfast sausages, Italian sausages, andouille sausages, and others. Last summer we had the breakfast sausages for our camping trip and they were fantastic. I was pretty low on eats as it was the day before my regular shopping day and so I remembered his sausage recipe and it lucked out that I had all the ingredients:)

The sausages come together in minutes and then you just steam them for 45 minutes.

Sorry for the ugly pict but I wanted to show you what the consistency looked like. The flour-like stuff is the wheat gluten.

one sausage ready to be steamed!

They don't look like anything edible but trust me they steam up perfectly!

One batch makes 6-7 sausages and you can make them ahead of time and freeze them! I steam them in a bamboo steamer but any steamer will work.

Here's one hot out of the steamer. Vegan Dad uses pinto beans but I didn't have any so I used kidneys instead.

Sausages ready for a pantry dinner!

I ate them right out of the steamer and placed them in my salad. It was surprisingly good!

mmm..sausages, veggies, and loads of sprouts with a dijon mustard dressing!

I fried up the onions and sausages for the hubby's dish..check out the final product...

This dish had onions, kidney beans, veggie sausages, pasta sauce, and Italian seasonings. I think it would be fabulous if you left out the seasoning and maybe put in some pineapple..mmm!

To top off our dinners I decided to go with some banana-blueberry softserve. This was amazing, so much so, that I just made another batch:)

You have to try this! Just place one banana and about a 1/2 cup of blueberries in a food processor and pulse away until you get the consistency of softserve.
What are you favorite raw softserve combos?

Hope you enjoy the rest of your evening and stay tuned to hear about my good deed over the weekend!

PS Averie is having a fabulous coconut oil giveaway. So get on over to her site and enter:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Hope you are all having a fabulous Thursday and are getting your green on! I actually forgot that it was today because Nelson is celebrating on Saturday. What's another two days of celebration , right? Is your town doing anything for Earth Week? In Nelson its actually a whole day and night affair. There is yoga and a run early in the morning, then they have vendors and info set up for the afternoon, and finally in the evening there are a bunch of local bands performing. Sounds like a lot of fun to me:)
As it is Mother Earth's spotlight day, I thought I would show you some picts from my favorite places that bring me joy and keep me appreciative of what this beautiful planet has to offer:)
But First I need to share with you some more Green Week Challenge entries.
1. I made my own laundry detergent. I've talked about this before and so head on over to my post here for a super duper simple recipe:) One cool cleaning trick that I heard from Ani Phyo is to save your lemon peels and place them in your half-filled tub and leave overnight. The next time the grime should be gone. I need to try this as I usually forget and compost my peels:) Which brings me to my next entry.

soap cheese?

3 ingredient laundry detergent, now that's what I'm talking about!

The mix ready to go! Super easy:)

2. I have a compost and I produce more compostable materials than I do garbage every week. I think everyone should strive for this because that means you are eating less processed foods and are going the whole foods way!

The bacteria feast..yumm!

3. I know I showed you earlier on, but when we go to Oso we always bring our own mugs for the java (or tea in my case:)

Dandelion tea latte with rice new obsession:)

Okay so now onto some picts! Hope you enjoy:)

HOME!- ahh the Okanagan in summer is my favorite place. Sun, beaches, wineries, and all around good times. I never realized what a beautiful place I got to grew up in..until I moved away. Now, I try to visit as much as I can in the summer. We try to go every other weekend as its only a 3.5 hour drive from us. Have you ever been to the Okanagan?

This is Okanagan lake. It stretches from Penticton and goes all the way to Kelowna:)

The tiny one is me:) I'm hanging with cool cousins at Skaha Lake.. Good Times!

My home town has a man-made channel running from one lake to the next (yes, there are two lakes in my town) and its a huge tourist attraction in the summer. You get your floatie and some beer (or lots with some crazy people) and off you go. It's fun, you get a tan, you chat, and you laugh for 4 hours straight (when the water is low it can take longer so usually people stop at the halfway point). It's a must try if you are visiting.

For two years I worked for viticulture (wine grape) researchers during the summers I was off from college. I've never had so much from at the workplace and obviously the scenery didn't help either:) We did a lot of research in Oliver and Osoyoos which are the wine capital regions of Canada. Some seriously good wine coming out of this region. Ever heard of Jackson Triggs, Nk'Mip Cellars, or Tinhorn Creek Vineyards? These are some of the biggies that reside in the area.

Camping around B.C - I absolutely love to camp! I always feel like I can never cram enough trips in the summer and fall months. This picture was taken near Lytton, BC. I took the hubby camping for his birthday and we went river rafting. I don't know why I chose this adventure as I'm pretty freaked out by water. I had a great time although there was a freaky moment when I was in the water riding some mini-waves and my "buddy" couldn't pull me up. The guide had to grab me and within seconds we were in some massive waves..what a rush I tell you!

Here is a huge rock that has a crazy current around it.It doesn't look that intimidating until you are eye to eye! Apparently its a very famous area for kayakers. The tour we did was called the Legiondary Thompson River. We went in September so the river was pretty low so if you are the brave at heart, go earlier on in the summer:)

This is a beautiful spot near Maple Ridge, BC and its free camping. Score! Its a government campsite that they no longer take care of. So, you have to bring your own tp and there's nobody to complain to if someone gets rowdy. Luckily we didn't have the latter problem.

Glorious Mexico!-
We went to Playa Del Carmen for our honeymoon and I just loved it (even though I caught a cold on the way down..ya nothing more romantic than an abundance of The color of the water blew me away and it was so warm. I stayed in there as much as I could. I swear even the salt helped with the cold:)

Such a beautiful place. It was our first time there and I took in as much as my stuffy head would allow! Next place I would love to visit would be Costa Rica. I've heard its one of the most eco-friendly countries too!

Golden Ears Park - This park holds a special place in my heart as this is where Ry purposed..ahh! But I loved it before that (hence the reason he asked the question here:) It's stunning, it has a lot of trails, its got camping, and its only an hours drive to get there!

Sorry I couldn't resist! I'll tell you the whole proposal story another time but this is what greeted me when we made it to the top of the trail. Love it!

This past spring we hiked a different trail. We were told to turn around due to the trail still being buried by snow but we carried on. Every 10-15 feet there were sections that were completely melted so there was of descending and climbing back up that day. Yet, the end result was totally worth it!

Grouse Grind - This has become our little obsession over the past couple of years. There is even some competition between our friends to see who can climb up this crazy mountain in the least amount of time. It's a 2.9 km trail that is straight up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. I love it and its fun to see how fast you can get up! We usually finish up with a trip to our favorite restaurant, The Naam (24 vegetarian fare..ya, baby!)

Check out that view! This is from the top of the grind. That's part of the gondola in the picture that takes you back down the mountain.

Ahh..I love this place and its such fantastic food. If you ever come to Vancouver you must try this place!

The Chief - This is another mountain hike located in Squamish, BC ( near Whistler). This one is quite challenging as you need a rope/chain to pull yourself up in some parts.It took a lot of convincing on my part to get me to the very top (with the view) but I'm so glad I went:)

Stunning! This is a very popular mountain with climbers as it has a flat face:)

This was the hike that brought out the confidence in me as it was the most challenging hike I'd ever done. I can't wait to go again! That's the joy of hiking, I find, no matter how many times you take a trail, its always different...and you get to do more challenging hikes:)

I have a lot of other cool places that I love (including Nelson) but I'll leave that for another day. Hope you liked my fav places. Have a great Thursday!