Raw Vegan Cashew Cheese

This recipe is a great place to start for people venturing into the raw unknown. Raw cheeses are not generally that difficult to make where rejuvelac isn’t a factor. This quick and fun recipe will give you a flair for the creative. 
You can serve this with pretty much anything. I like it with pickles and crackers and a little zest. 
Ingredients:
2 cups cashews – soaked for at least 2 hours
2 tbsp miso
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 cloves garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1/2 cup water if needed
Method: 
Place all ingredients with the exception of water in food processor. Combine with pulse until creamy texture is achieved. If you didn’t soak your nuts, you’ll definitely need water. 
Spicing it up:
Think about some cool additions like: herbs de provence, mexican mix, garam masala, fresh diced jalepenos, chopped cranberries etc…
Form into a ball or brick, or use a miniature spring form pan to create a round of cheese. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to reach harder consistency. 
Enjoy!

Vegan & gluten free burrito salad

On a cleanse or clean eating program I find it really difficult to create meals that satiate. After a weekend of hiking and golfing (pull carts only), by the time dinner rolled around on the Sunday ~ we were both famished. 
Most of my recipes come from staring into the pantry and wondering what spices can conjure plain food into a good meal. This day, I had all the makings of Mexican spice, a can of organic black beans, some soy cheese and a few veggies. Behold: Burritos. 
I picked up some rice tortillas at the store however, they broke apart trying to roll these bad boys up, ended up morphing into a salad. 
Ingredients: 
1 can black beans rinsed
1 can cooked quinoa
1 avocado sliced
3 cups lettuce
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 sliced tomato
1 bunch cilantro
1/4 cup green onions
1 tbsp olive oil 
1/2 cup grated vegan/conventional cheese
Fresh pico de gallo 
Mexican spice: ** I love to mix a batch of this together when I have time to have it handy for quick use rather than pulling out all the spice jars. **
Mix together 1.5 tbsp each: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Store in air tight glass jar. 

Method: 
Heat beans in small pot on stovetop until warm. Set aside on lowest warming setting.

Place 1/2 oil in pan & heat at medium add cooked quinoa and sauté with a pinch of salt for 1-3 minutes. Add diced cilantro and sauté 2-3 minutes more. Set to warm. 
Place other 1/2 of oil in pan and add garlic and onions. Sauté until onions begin to clarify. Add 1 tbsp *mexican spice* and saute for a further 2-3 minutes. 
Ensure remainder of ingredients are sliced and diced the way you like. 
Salad: Plate lettuce, layer with quinoa, onion mix, beans, veggies & cheese. Top with pico de gallo & cracked pepper. 
Burrito: Layer fillings on rice tortilla (heat for approx 2 minutes in frying pan to create softer shell), place items near one corner of the burrito. Begin to roll, then tuck in each end of the burrito and lock into place by finishing off the roll. 
GREAT instructions (visual) here: ROLL THE PERFECT BURRITO
Serves 2-4 depending on how starved you are!!

Vegan Mushroom Risotto

This is a great recipe it can go either vegan or vegetarian just so you’re aware. This is a great comfort recipe especially for those of you who love Italian food.
Mushrooms are great source of vitamin D for vegans and vegetarians, quinoa, a good source of Omega’s.
This is a pretty quick recipe and can generally be done in one dish.
Ingredients:
2 cups sliced white mushrooms

1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
1.5 cups cooked quinoa
2.5 to 3 cups veggie broth

1 tablespoon (heaping) whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1.5 tablespoons coconut oil

Half teaspoon sea salt

Cracked pepper to taste

Optional: Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Method:

Cook quinoa in a large saucepan. 2 cups of vegetable broth to 1 cup quinoa.

Sauté onion in heated oil for two minutes until it softens, then add mushrooms and stir occasionally for five minutes until browned.

Add garlic thyme and flour two mixture, stirring constantly for one minute.

I cooked quinoa, balsamic vinegar and veggie broth making sure to use the veggie broth to enhance creaminess of the dish. Add more broth to your liking.
You may stop here, plate and top with fresh cracked pepper or, stir in some grated Parmesan cheese and blend well on the stovetop. 
Following this, plate, sprinkle with more fresh grated Parmesan and top with fresh cracked pepper.
Recipe adapted from Rosemary Supervielle.

Vegan Zucchini Boats

I’ve nearly conceded that fall is on the way ~ so we’ve booked a preemptive trip to Cabo for November. What does this mean to a recipe? Well friends, lets just say because the summer didn’t show up this year, neither did the bikini body. 
Cue panic mode. 
It’s time for some serious work: weight training, running, clean diet, no booze and lots of water. That, and some MEAN recipes to keep cut and full. This bad boy is a favourite I adapted quite heavily from a quinoa cook book in my pantry. 
INGREDIENTS
3 large zukes
2 cups fresh spinach
4 large RIPE tomatoes diced
1 large carrot shredded
1 med yellow onion diced
2 large cloves garlic pressed or diced
1.5 cups quinoa rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pecans chopped
handful of fresh parsley chopped
1/2-1 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
*OPTIONAL* Grated cheese/vegan cheese 1 cup
METHOD
Pre-heat oven to 400. 
In large pan heat coconut oil (olive in a pinch) to med/med high heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots. Sautee for 3 minutes. 
Add 3/4 of the diced tomatoes & salt to the mixture. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. 
Add quinoa and veggie broth & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for a minimum of 15 minutes. You *may* need to add more liquid if your quinoa is not becoming tender, then cook for additional time. 
In the meantime half and scoop out zucchini as pictured below. Do not make too thin/shallow or the zuke will burn!!! Keep middle for adding to a veggie soup broth mix or other dishes. 
Once quinoa is completed, add spinach and cook until wilted – approx 2-3 minutes. 
Scoop out mixture into boats, sprinkle with fresh tomato. Top with cheese/cheese substitute if desired. Place on baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes. Check for tenderness. If as desired, remove from oven and top with cracked pepper and parsley. 
Serves 4-6. 

Raw Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing

I feel like it’s been forever since I posted a recipe. In fact, it nearly has been. There has been so much going on this spring and summer I’ve barely been able to blog at all.

Recently, I was toying around in the kitchen and decided to make a vegan/raw kale caesar. Here’s what I came up with.

Equipment:

– Knife
– Cutting board
– Food processor – or hand blender
– Bowl for soaking  – Optional
– Citrus juicer – Optional

Ingredients:

– 6 cloves garlic
– Juice of 3 large lemons or equivalent of 1/4 cup of lemon juice minimum
– 1.5 cups macadamia nuts *soaked for 1-2 hours
– 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
– 1 tsp himalayan salt
– 2 tsp namashoyu / tamari
– 5 large dates (medjool) or 8-10 small dates – if you like a sweeter dressing
– 6-12 fresh basil leaves
– 1 tsp dulse flakes – opt
– 1/2 tsp cracked pepper

Method:

Add all ingredients to blending machine of your choice, process until smooth. Add water if too chunky. Do not over process without adding liquid as macadamia nuts can turn into a cheese/boursin type substance.

The dirty dozen

After attending the Monsanto protest with my family this past Saturday, I inevitably had to make a trip to the grocery store to stock up – while my gardening is on hold for deck renovations.

I found, that even I was forgetting about what is most important to buy organic, and what can be skipped….mainly because I usually buy all organic or nothing.

So, to help those out who are on a budget or for those who just want to know, I put up a little blog on the dirty dozen.

What you’re trying to avoid after GMO’s is high pesticide residue. Some stores sell fruit & veg washes – those are chemicals too!!

Natural Fruit and Veg wash is the way to go – RECIPE: 

– Fill sink with water
– add 1 cup of vinegar & stir
– add fruit & veg
– soak for 1 hour
– rinse & store

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a great site where you can download apps etc…for quick reference while you’re on the go.

EWG Link – Click Here

Get read, be aware, question everything you put on and in your body!!

**************************************************************

Some other ways to prevent exposure to toxic chemicals is by auditing your makeup cupboard. Here is some info from David Suzuki.org:

Check out this link for a printable carry along while shopping: SHOPPERS GUIDE

1. BHA and BHT

Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number

In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).
Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1” or “Blue 1”). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain. 

3. DEA-related ingredients

Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicalsMEA and TEA. 

4. Dibutyl phthalate

Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives

Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. 

6. Parabens

Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. 

7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)

Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.

8. PEG compounds

Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol). 

9. Petrolatum

Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer. 

10. Siloxanes

Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

11. Sodium laureth sulfate

Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).

12. Triclosan

Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

May 25th – March Against Monsanto

I decided to write this blog as a way to pass on a lot of information in one concentrated venue, rather than a million Facebook shares. Tomorrow, May 25th I will be marching against Monsanto in Calgary, Alberta, with my family.

Why march against Monsanto? Who is/are Monsanto?

Well, there are a million good reasons…the most important to me? Food Security. There is no need for us to engineer food in a lab, there is no need to genetically modify food to look, taste or smell better than it does….there is also no reason to engineer seeds to terminate after one successful germination, so that farmers cannot even save their own, heirloom seeds.

THERE IS NO NEED FOR ANY ONE PERSON, OR ANY ONE THING, TO RULE THE WORLD – that means you too Beyonce.

What is a GMO? 

Click HERE . Remember all that hullabaloo over Dolly, the cloned sheep? Do you remember how or if you felt about that? Well….imagine eating a clone, in everything.

Great articles on how GMO’s effect stock, people and the global economy:

Organic Consumers Association

Does a company that made AGENT ORANGE deserve our trust?


What was Agent Orange?

Agent Orange was a herbicide developed for military use. Chemically, the product was a 50/50 mix of two herbicides, 2,4,-D (2,4, dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2,4,5-T (2,4,5 trichlorophenoxyacetic acid). These herbicides were both developed as weed killers in the 1940′s, and were effective against broad leaf plants and several crops.

Why was it being used?
Herbicides were developed to be deployed in enemy areas to defoliate dense jungles that provided cover for the North Vietnamese Army. More than 5 million acres of jungle and forest were destroyed when troops deployed Agent Orange. Approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides were used in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971.

As well as DDT, a powerful insecticide, with questionable results:

“…A group of or all the following: Acute gastro-enteritis occurs, with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea usually associated with extreme tenesmus. Coryza, cough and persistent sore throat are common, often followed by a persistent or recurrent feeling of constriction or of a ‘lump’ in the throat; occasionally the sensation of constriction extends substernally and to the back and may be associated with severe pain in either arm. In some cases the hyoid bone becomes acutely painful to pressure for a few days. Pain in the joints, generalized muscle weakness and exhausting fatigue are usual; the latter are often so severe in the acute stage as to be described by some patients as ‘paralysis.’ Pain and stiffness in the back of the neck is a frequent complaint. Sometimes the initial attack is ushered in by vertigo and syncope. Intractable headache and giddiness are not uncommon. Occasionally herpes zoster appears. Paresthesias of various kinds occur in most of the cases; areas of skin become exquisitely hypersensitive1 and after a few days this hyperesthesia disappears only to recur elsewhere, or irregular numbness, tingling sensation is, pruritus or formication may occur. Erratic fibrillary twitching of voluntary muscles is common. Usually there is diminution of vibratory sense in the extremities.”

You might use their inventions in your yard – RoundUp anyone? 
What is roundup? Well by definition: Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially annual broadleaf weeds and grasses known to compete with commercial crops grown around the globe.

What’s the big deal? Well, aside from there not being enough testing to assure it’s safety for human exposure, large retail disbursement of “Round Up Ready” seed like corn, soy, wheat and cotton have been created and sold to farmers worldwide. Under the guise of pest resistance, Monsanto has been able to nearly single handedly corner the worlds seed market.

Suicides by cotton farmers of India –

Seed Saving Bans in North America – Percy Schmieser, Canadian Farmer VS Monsanto:


What about our Farmers?

Many farmers have begun to use Roundup Ready crops.  Farmers are now being encouraged to use multiple herbicides by Monsanto due to the resistance crops are showing. It is unclear how this will impact the use of Roundup Ready crops, as these crops are only resistant to Roundup.

Farmers have found themselves stuck between Monsanto and a hard place. It has become increasingly difficult for farmers to grow non-genetically engineered crops, as contamination has become a big issue. 

Additionally, it is very difficult for a farmer to advertise that their products are organic, and as such using home-grown seeds might not be able to be as profitable as using genetically engineered seeds. In one case, a farmer used to growing his own canola was sued by Monsanto when his canola seeds became contaminated by their Roundup Ready genes.

Food is family, love, togetherness, hope, life, creativity, soul, memory, passion, curiosity.

Food is an experience. Not a task or a trifling feed bag to strap on. Society has lost all attachment to pleasure in most things. And the most delicious, exotic and beautiful of all – their food source.

Linger in the garden, in the shopping aisles and at the stove top. Make food beautiful again.

Barack Obama has passed – and has not been opposed – the new Monsanto Protection Act. There is no doubt that the pig-headed and right wing Satan Stephen Harper will follow suit. Have we all forgotten about the shame of Kyoto????

Video here:

Who else supports Monsanto? 

Bill Gates – ARTICLE 
Barack Obama – ARTICLE 
Disneyland

Read more here: Monsanto Boycott . com

Do your part, wherever you are in the world – even just for one day. March for your health, march for your freedom from oppression, march against Monsanto.

Vote every day. Buy and eat organic as often as you can. Grow your own food – everywhere! Stop giving your hard earned money to companies that are killing you. Ask questions, spread the word.

Power, love and wisdom.

Sasha

Sources: 

Wikipedia
Whale.to
Millions Against Monsanto
World Truth TV
Youth Leader Magazine
Google
MIT Web
RT

Vegan Maple Glazed Tofu with Soba



This recipe was a do it yourselfer after trying to learn a few new ones – that never ended up working out. I have slowly begun to leave the realm of food creativity fear when following a recipe – some recipes aren’t for everyone. I’m ok with that. 

Soba has a *bit* of an acquired taste, so if you’re not sure you like it you could substitute with any long noodle of your choice, that is of course if it’s healthy, right? 

Enjoy this one. It’s great served hot or cold I find. 


Ingredients: 

  • cucumber
  • carrots
  • 2 green onions
  • block firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 bag soba noodles
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bunches spinach
  • 2 tsp tamari/nama shoyu

Method: 


               Start with a marinade of syrup, rice vinegar, ginger and sesame oil. Coat     
               thickly sliced tofu in this mixture and set aside. 

               Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. 
  • Slice cucumber and carrot into thin sticks with a sharp knife or a mandolin. Thinly slice green onions diagonally. Set aside. 
  • Toast sesame seeds until lightly golden in a small frying pan set over medium. Set aside. 
  • Add marinated tofu to pan and grill until browned on all sides – you can also opt to eat this cold. 
  • Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add garlic & stir for one minute. Add spinach in small handfuls until it is all wilted. Ensure you stir often to avoid sticking. Add tamari/nama shoyu and cook for another minute or two. Set on low/warm. 
  • While you are working with the spinach add soba noodles in a large pot of boiling water. Cook until tender, about 3 to 4 min. 
  • Rinse with cold running water to cool and remove starch. 
  • First add noodles to bowl, then top with tofu, onion & veggies. Sprinkle all with toasted sesame seeds. 
  • Serves 4. 

Vegan/Vegetarian French Onion Soup

For most of you, it’s probably NOT snowing like it is here in YYC…..lucky you. However, it’s realistically still cold in most of Canada. 
I scoured the cupboards to try and figure out what to make for dinner tonight – and all the ingredients seemed to be here for a DELISH homemade French Onion Soup. 
You need about 1.5 hours to get this ready at least…….enjoy. 
Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter OR earth balance
2 tbsp coconut oil
5 large onions sliced thinly
8 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
2 tbsp all purpose organic flour
6 cups homemade veggie broth (or store bought) here is a RECIPE from another blog post
1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 cup grated gruyere OR vegan cheese substitute (smoky cheese preferred)
Sourdough bread sliced & toasted
Cracked pepper
* I don’t add salt to this recipe as I add salt in my broth however, you can if you wish
Method: 
Melt “butter” & oil
Add onion & garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on high. Turn down to around #2 or simmer and continue to cook for 60 minutes or until onions are browned & tender
Add flour to mixture and stir well for around 3 minutes
Add 6 cups of broth, vinegar, dijon & stir well

Simmer covered for 15 minutes

Toast sourdough bread & grate cheese

Ladle out into oven safe dishes, top with toast & cheese. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. 
Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, top with cracked pepper & serve
**This recipe will make at least 6 of these soups. 1/2 the recipe if need be. I like to save/freeze the mix to make at a later date. 

Are you breathing just a little – and calling it a life?

I fell out of touch with my Yoga. I know, that everyone does at a certain point ~ or maybe not everyone starts. In my heart, so much healing came from giving myself the gift of a whole person challenge at least 1.5 hours each day.

For a while now, I’ve only been able to muster up 1 hour per week. Some weeks – nothing.

Lately, that has shifted and I’ve been blessing myself with inspiration and comforting solitude. Today, a poem inspired me to write this blog post to in turn, try to pass on the inspiration to you.

After all, who on earth would equate the involuntary act of breathing to living?

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO ENTER THE LONG BLACK BRANCHES
~ Mary Oliver~

Have you ever tried to enter the long black branches of other lives —
tried to imagine what the crisp fringes, full of honey, hanging
from the branches of the young locust trees, in early morning, feel like?

Do you think this world was only an entertainment for you?

Never to enter the sea and notice how the water divides
with perfect courtesy, to let you in!
Never to lie down on the grass, as though you were the grass!
Never to leap to the air as you open your wings over the dark acorn of your heart!

No wonder we hear, in your mournful voice, the complaint
that something is missing from your life!

Who can open the door who does not reach for the latch?
Who can travel the miles who does not put one foot
in front of the other, all attentive to what presents itself
continually?
Who will behold the inner chamber who has not observed
with admiration, even with rapture, the outer stone?

Well, there is time left —
fields everywhere invite you into them.

And who will care, who will chide you if you wander away
from wherever you are, to look for your soul?

Quickly, then, get up, put on your coat, leave your desk!

To put one’s foot into the door of the grass, which is
the mystery, which is death as well as life, and
not be afraid!

To set one’s foot in the door of death, and be overcome
with amazement!

To sit down in front of the weeds, and imagine
god the ten-fingered, sailing out of his house of straw,
nodding this way and that way, to the flowers of the
present hour,
to the song falling out of the mockingbird’s pink mouth,
to the tippets of the honeysuckle, that have opened

in the night

To sit down, like a weed among weeds, and rustle in the wind!

Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?

While the soul, after all, is only a window,

and the opening of the window no more difficult
than the wakening from a little sleep.

Only last week I went out among the thorns and said
to the wild roses:
deny me not,
     but suffer my devotion.
Then, all afternoon, I sat among them. Maybe

I even heard a curl or tow of music, damp and rouge red,
hurrying from their stubby buds, from their delicate watery bodies.

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in!

A woman standing in the weeds.
A small boat flounders in the deep waves, and what’s coming next
is coming with its own heave and grace.

Meanwhile, once in a while, I have chanced, among the quick things,
upon the immutable.
What more could one ask?

And I would touch the faces of the daises,
and I would bow down
to think about it.

That was then, which hasn’t ended yet.

Now the sun begins to swing down. Under the peach-light,
I cross the fields and the dunes, I follow the ocean’s edge.

I climb, I backtrack.
I float.
I ramble my way home.