Saturday, October 29, 2011

Green Monsters

The first time I ever made a green smoothie the results were disastrous. I had read so many things extolling the virtues of green shakes and I couldn't wait to try them, despite warnings that it was an 'acquired taste'. It was a taste I wanted to acquire, and so I set about trying a recipe I found in a book. The blender I was using at the time was definitely not up to the task of grinding up all those leafy greens into something tasty(I'm pretty sure the blender was older than I am. An egg whisk might have done a better job). I put way too many things into it in one go, as well as too much cilantro(BAD IDEA). It was gross, and I was put off and have been mildly terrified of green shakes since. Now I love me some greens, and I love green juice. I also love tossing a handful or 3 of spinach or kale into a more conventional fruit smoothie. Tonight I'm leaving for NYC(HOORAY!), and I had a bunch of spinach hanging out in the fridge that needed to be used. I decided today was the day, I was going to try green shakes again. This is a big deal. I think in the raw food world we sometimes eat some things that seem really strange to the rest of the world, and I've prided myself on trying as many of these things as I can(who says veganism is boring?) But after the green shake incident I hadn't even looked at one since. I put the spinach, a banana, some frozen pineapple, Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein Powder, stevia, and a splash of cashew milk into the vitamix(this is crucial! Not properly blended green shakes are, as I can say from experience, gag-reflex inducing. To this girl at least.). It was delicious, my faith in green shakes was restored, and I can foresee lots more of these in my future! Facing your fears is a good thing.

I rarely drink shakes in a cup, I like putting them in a bowl over some grapes(today's were green to keep with the theme), or other fruit and topping it with buckwheat groats, oats, hemp seeds, and goji berries.

Happy Halloweekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving and Pumpkins

Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us and in Toronto we're celebrating with a lovely temperate 27 degree weekend. In an attempt to make October feel more like October, I decided to purchase some pumpkins and see what I could do with them. Roasting your own pumpkin tastes a million times better, although you can use canned if you're lazy. Canned food scares me however. Roasting pumpkins turned out to be a lot simpler than I thought, and it's cheaper in the long run. When you're using pumpkins for eating and not jack-o-latern-ing, you want to buy smaller(usually marked as Sugar Pie) Pumpkins. The larger the pumpkins are the stringier and less sweet they are, so save those for carving. You want to pick ones that are on the smaller side, and that feel heavy than they look.

Jack and Jill, unsuspecting of their fates.

To roast your pumpkins preheat the oven to 345, then slice off the tops of the pumpkins. Scoop out the seeds and save them in a bowl. Quarter each pumpkin and place on a baking tray(it's fine if they're a little crowded). Bake for about 45 mins-1 hour, depending on the size of your pumpkin. When they're done the skins should look a little shrivelled. Remove from oven and let cool, then pull the skins off. Chop the pumpkin then puree in a food processor or blender. Or mash it with a potato masher.

Rinse your pumpkin seeds in a colander, and place in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and roast in an oven at 345 for 45 minutes. I added Cajun seasoning to mine as well, curry powder, garlic powder, or other herbs would be good too. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, iron, zinc and magnesium.

Pumpkin Guts

Maple Pumpkin Muffins
2 1/4 cups flour(I used spelt)
1 cup Sucanat(Or you could use brown sugar, demerera, ect)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tblspn cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tblspns Maple Syrup Powder(optional)
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cups almond milk
1/3 cup vegan margarine(melted)
1 cup chocolate chips
Maple Syrup Powder for sprinkling(optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 345 degrees.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger.

In a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, almond milk and vegan margarine.

Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in the pumpkin mixture. Fold until just mixed, and add the chocolate chips. Scoop into muffin cups, sprinkle with maple syrup powder.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Perfect muffin enjoying weather.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Easter Eggs

I decided to try my hand at making some Easter Eggs after seeing a post on them at G0lubka. There wasn't a recipe posted for them, so I figured I'd just wing it and hope they turned out okay. I ended up making a regular chocolate instead of white since I didn't have any Lucuma or dried bananas, but they still tasted pretty good! For the molds I went to Charlie's Chocolate Factory, a chocolate store that's been around for as long as I can remember(it was near my elementary school and we went there on a field trip once), and is actually owned by a guy named Charlie. It was my dad's first time ever visiting, and we ooh'd and ahh'd over all the different shapes of chocolate they have. Finally I got my molds, and some foil to wrap my eggs in, and we were on our way.

For the filling I used a Coconut Macadamia Cream, and some pureed mango.

My wrapping job is definitely not up to par with Cadbury's.

1/3 Cup Cocoa Butter
1/3 Cup Cacao Powder
3 tblspns Agave Syrup

Melt the Cocoa Butter in a double boiler, mix in Cacao powder and agave syrup. Paint a layer on molds, then place in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Repeat 3-4 times, or so that when you hold the mold up to the light you can't see any cracks.

Coconut Macadamia Filling:
Flesh from 1 young coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
2 packets stevia
Coconut water
1 tblspn coconut butter, melted

Blend all of the above in a blender, adding about 1/4 cup coconut water. When smooth add in coconut butter and blend until emulsified.

1 mango
1/2 cup dried mango, soaked in water for 30 mins then drained
stevia to taste

Blend all of the above until smooth.

When chocolate is hardened fill egg halves with Coconut Macadamia Cream. Leave some room for when you're attaching them together.

Put a dollop of 'Yolk' in middle, freeze for about half an hour.

Carefully pop egg halves out of mold, paint some melted chocolate around edges and gently press together, put in freezer for about 10 minutes. Shave off any uneven edges with a knife.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Zucchini and Nut Crackers

Raw crackers are something I always find nice to have on hand, they're usually quick to throw together, you can make them in large batches and they last a very very long time. Proof: I made a batch of Flax Crackers near the beginning of my going raw(about a year ago), I discovered them lurking in the back of my cupboard about a month ago and tried one, and they tasted fine. A little crisper than previously, but definitely still edible!

1/2 cup ground flax
3/4 cup water
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cups nuts (I used a mix of almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds)
handful of fresh mint
2 tsps salt
hemp/poppy/sesame seeds for sprinkling

Combine water and flax until all the water is absorbed

In a food processor, process zucchini until it's in small pieces and add to flax.

Chop nuts in food processor until finely ground, add to the bowl and stir in mint.

Spread on Teflex sheets and sprinkle with seeds, score into desired shapes.

Dehydrate for about 6 hours at 115, remove teflex sheets and flip, then dehydrate til completely dry.

Double Sesame Hummus

The last week I had was kind of a bummer, I got into a car accident, my car is now a write off, I had some issues with work and it felt a bit like stress was coming in from all around. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and a shoot that I did a month ago got published in the West Ender(a local Vancouver paper)! Every time I see a box on a street corner I'm tempted to yell at everyone in the vicinity 'I TOOK THAT PHOTO'! But I don't, cause I'd rather not frighten them.

Anyways, with all that going on I really haven't been eating/making anything exciting, I've been pretty much just eating Hummus, dippable veggies, smoothies and crackers all week. Hummus is like crack for me, I could eat it all day every day. I made up a sort of asian inspired version with Toasted Sesame Oil, my new favorite ingredient. (Yeah yeah, it's not raw but at 1 tablespoon in the whole recipe I think I can sneak by the Raw Police. Un-toasted just isn't the same). Sort of the equivalent of fast/lazy food for me.

2 small or 1 large zucchini(peeled if you don't want it green)
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4-1/2 cup tahini
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon EVOO
1-2 cloves garlic

Mix all in a blender until smooth.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Couscous and Sushi

Jicamas may possibly be one of my new favorite vegetables. Ground up really small they resemble the texture/look of rice, and can be used in place of rice pretty much everywhere you could think. It has a slight natural sweetness and a little bit of crunch. I used one and split it up to make raisin studded 'couscous', drizzled with some macadamia nut oil, and served with a jalapeno Harissa(a tomato and pepper sauce). The other half went into making sushi rolls with avocado and mushrooms. Every time I attempt to make sushi I find that someone has thrown out my bamboo rolling mat. Every. Single. Time. By the time I realized it this round, I was halfway through making it and not in the mood to run out and buy one, so I used a large freezer bag. Oddly enough it rolled better than any bamboo mat I've ever used.

Jicama Rice:
1/2 jicama (usually produces about 3 cups cubed), peeled and diced

Place in a food processor and whirl until it resembles rice, place into a strainer and squeeze out as much water as you can. You can flavor it at this point and use it, or you can dry it for a few hours in the dehydrator to get rid of some of the moisture. If you're making sushi you'll want to use this option, otherwise your nori will fall apart.

For the Couscous:
Add a couple handfuls of raisins and a tablespoon or two of macadamia nut oil, and a pinch of salt.

For Sushi:
Mix in 2 tblspns agave, 1 tblspn brown rice vinegar, and 1 tblspn mirin, as well as a pinch of salt.

Baba Ganoush

To be honest, I've never eaten the conventional version of Baba Ganoush(an eggplant garlic dip), so I have nothing to compare it to. But I like this one a lot, freezing then unfreezing the eggplant helps remove some of the bitterness.

1 Eggplant(large)
1 zucchini(peel removed if you don't want a weird green dip)
1/2 cup soaked cashews
1-2 cloves garlic
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1/4 cup tahini
2 tblspns olive oil

Dice the eggplant and freeze, then defrost completely.

Place all ingredients into a food processor, process until smooth.

How to Be A Lazy Vegan

Granted most people don't work mostly from home like I do and have lots of time to prepare food most days. I find I spend about half my time like that, and the other half my time out and about without much time to eat. So I'm going to try and share with you everything I know about eating vegan when you don't have a lot of time, or are too lazy or hungry to make anything exciting or time consuming.

1) Being prepared: Carrying snacks with you(nuts are dried food are nice and portable, larabars, apples, oranges, bananas, dried crackers/flat bread/wraps) if you know you're not going to get a chance to really sit down and eat something, or have the time to buy something. Or having these things at home when you're really hungry from a long day.

2) Plan your meals: I try and do one huge grocery trip once a week, and usually make some kind of salad dressing or dip in a large batch to have in my fridge. Buying boxes of salad mix, or making your own and leaving it in the fridge is nice cause then all you need to do is mix the two together. I usually make a big batch of crackers or flatbread as well to have for snacking. Avocados can be made into guacamole pretty quick as well.

3) Run out of ideas: I read blogs, cookbooks, ect. I try to make a point of trying something that sounds weird to me just to see if I like it, and if you do, well you've found something new! Another thing I love about raw food is that usually nothing goes terribly wrong if you substitute most ingredients. When I first started eating raw I used to search high and low for all the exact ingredients, and once I brought them all home I would usually forget what exactly I bought them for and end up not knowing how to use them. I've gotten better at this now. I have a habit of making 1 thing a week, then only wanting to eat that so I end up eating it for a whole week. Then I get bored of it and move on. I'm not really sure why. Trying a new vegetable/fruit a week keeps things interesting as well.

Things that taste good but don't take long to make:
Zucchini Noodles: Run them through a spiralizer, and toss them with salad dressing, thinned out dip, tomato sauce, pesto, veggies, nuts,
Soups: Toss all the ingredients in a blender until they get warm, and chop some more veggies to mix in.
Salads: Pretty self explanatory, and lots of variety.
Wraps: Like a salad but you can carry it with one hand.

Some recipes can be made into several different things, for example: cashew cheese. It can be flavored pretty much any way you like, and used as a dip, spread, sauce, dressing, filling, eaten on it's own, or dried and made into a cracker. It's also ridiculously easy to make:

1 C Cashews
1/2 C Pine Nuts
1/2 Lemon
1/2 Shallot (about 2 T)
1 Clove Garlic
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add some water to thin if desired.
You could add herbs, sundried tomatoes, other nuts, spices, whatever your heart desires.

Examples of foods that serve more than one purpose:

Burger Patties! Without dehydration they're sort of like a pâté, you can use them as burgers(obviously), crumble them up over 'spaghetti', stuff them in a wrap, eat them on their own...

Baba Ganoush: (Although this applies to all dip-like things), eat it with crackers, put it in wraps, thin it with some water and use as a sauce.

Banana Ice Cream: Eat on it's own, make a sundae, top a fruit salad with it, put it in a smoothie, make parfaits...

Hopefully this was somewhat helpful!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nachos and Taco Salad

My friend Steph is in town for the week, so we met up yesterday to make a short film, hang out, shop, and eat. We went to Foundation, a tasty veg restaurant on Main St. that has Vancouver's best nachos. The only sad part is they are slathered in cheese, which I don't eat. So I got a delicious salad instead, but it left me with a hankering for some corn chips to call my own. So I made my own version with some corn chips I had, heartbreakingly spicy salsa(just the way I like it), and mounds of guac, with a little sour cream. Food heaven.

Spicy Corn Chips

3 C. Frozen Corn
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp Paprika

Blend all of the above in a food processor, and spread on a teflex sheet. You want it a bit on the thick side, so they hold up to dipping. Score into triangles, and dehydrate at 115 for about 10 hours. Flip over and dry for another hour.

2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 c onion, chopped
juice from a lime
1/2 jalapeno, seeds to taste
salt to taste

Mix all in a bowl.

1 avocado
juice from 1 lime


Sour Cream
Flesh from 1 coconut
1/4 cup soaked cashews
1 tblspn lemon juice
1 tblspn cider vinegar
1 Tsp white Miso
1/2 C water
Combine all ingredients in vitamix blender. Blend until smooth.

Taco salads are just an excuse for me to eat salsa with a spoon,I can never get enough.

After that my mouth was somewhat on fire, so I cooled it down with some Chocolate Maple Chia Pudding.

Have Food, Will Travel

I recently just booked a trip to Hawaii for a photography workshop held by one of my favorite photographers, Lara Jade. So I figured I would blog a bit about eating raw/vegan while travelling. I haven't been every single place in the world, so this is only pertinent to places that I've been so far. Research where you're going, what kinds of foods are popular there, grocery stores that may be near where you're staying, whether your accommodations have a refrigerator/kitchen, ect. A site that has been invaluable to me(it has an iphone app as well. Of course.), is Happy Cow. You type in the address(or the app can locate where you are by GPS), and it'll give you all the vegan/vegetarian/veg friendly/health food stores that are within a radius of your choosing. You have access to reviews, the phone number/contact info of the place, and sometimes the hours of operation. It's amazing. When I travel(depending where I'm going), I usually rather make my own food than eat out. Which sometimes helps save money also. If the hotel you're staying at has a fridge, that's a major plus as well!

Being prepared is also invaluable, most major airports are equipped with Starbucks though, and you can always find a fairly fresh fruit cup there. Bringing crackers, nuts, dried fruit, and fruit that travels well(such as apples/bananas/oranges) is handy too. Whenever I travel I usually bring enough snacks to feed the whole airport, since when I'm tired I usually get hungry, and then grumpy, and don't usually want to wander around looking for something to eat. Some airlines offer vegetarian meals if you ask ahead, some are good, others not so much.

Since I'm not a raw food nazi really it doesn't bother me too much if I eat some cooked food once in a while, as long as it's vegan I'm happy. In the past few trips I haven't really found it to be a problem, searching out grocery stores and greenmarkets is one of the easiest ways I've found to stay raw while travelling. Trying out vegetarian restaurants in different places is one of my favorite activities, although it's a bit depressing since most places I've been to seem to have better Veg restaurants than Vancouver, and it irks me. The thought of going to Hawaii is thrilling for me, however. I'm going to eat pineapples, coconuts and avocados all day and I will probably need to be rolled home.

A few of my favorite restaurants abroad:
Pure Food And Wine/Raw Vegan-If you've been reading my blog at all you'll probably know that I worship at the shrine that is Pure Food and Wine. Haute Cuisine Raw fare that leaves everyone else in the dust. Located in New York City, this is my favorite restaurant ever.

Hangawi/Korean/Vegan-Also in New York, this restaurant has wonderful veggie bowls that is served with the best kimchi ever. Their ginger tea is amazing. Last time I was in NYC I braved a snowstorm to walk 15 blocks to get here and it was completely worth it.

Aux Vivres/Vegan-In Montreal, they serve Rice bowls, salads, burgers, sammies, desserts, and all of it delicious. The chapatis are mouth watering, and I'm drooling on my keyboard just thinking of it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Portobello Corn Dumplings

Today was a day for experiments. I wanted to make a dumpling kinda thing, so I cobbled together various parts from other recipes into these. I had made some coconut wrappers previously for samosas, and they were so tasty that I almost ended up eating just them without the filling, so I figured something similar would work for these. I mixed the coconut with some zucchini to make them a little firmer, blended with coconut water and spread super thin and dehydrated for a few hours. The filling was some chopped portobellos and corn, marinated in olive oil and nama shoyu then popped into the dehydrator. I served them with Celery Root Soup as a sauce, with a little truffle oil drizzled in it.

Coconut Wrappers
1 3/4 cups coconut meat
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups coconut water
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all in a blender until smooth, spread super thin on teflex sheets for about 2-4 hours at 115 or until tops are dry, flip over carefully and peel away teflex. Let dry for 15-30 mins more. They should be pliable and almost transparent.

2 portobello mushrooms, gills removed and chopped into tiny pieces
1/2 cup corn
1/4 olive oil
1/8 cup nama shoyu
1 tblpn lemon juice

Toss all ingredients in a bowl, dehydrate at 115 for about an hour or until the mixture looks sauteed.

Cut each sheet of the coconut wrappers into 4, place about 2 tblpsns filling in the center, then bring the sides up and twist slightly to form bundles. A bit of water helps them stick together if they don't want to stay.

Noodle-ized a coconut and tossed it with some fruit and cinnamon for breakfast.

Yesterday's truffles again

The Butternut Squash Soup is even better on the third day. I made some lemon shortbread to dip in it using leftover Pine Nut 'Goat Cheese'.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I made some Butternut Squash Soup yesterday, but it felt like it needed something else. It was tasting a little too squash-y, for lack of a better adjective. I decided putting it in a blender again with an avocado and some ginger was what it was missing, so that's what I did(and warmed it up while I was at it). Since I am a ginger whore I added a lot, but if you don't like it you could use less. Fresh herbs would be good as well. Then chopped up some corn, tomatoes, celery, and mushrooms, tossed them with lemon juice and olive oil and put them in the dehydrator for about 20 mins. Consumed the whole thing with some kale chips, and it was pretty tasty. Trying out raw soups has been a slow process for me, I find they just taste a bit weird most of the time, or they have so much oil involved that my mouth feels greasy after eating them. This one made me happy though.

You could serve it without the veggies as well as an appetizer.

Butternut Squash Soup

3 cups Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed(about half of 1 large)
1 1/2 cups water
1 avocado
1/8 tsp each of dried garlic, onion, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper(or to taste)
1/4 cup agave syrup
juice from 1 lemon
Knob of ginger, minced if you're not using a high speed blender
Salt to taste

Blend all in a blender until warm

(This part makes enough for 1 bowl)
1 tblspn olive oil
juice from half a lemon
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup corn
3 mushrooms, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
half an avocado, cubed

Toss corn, tomato, and mushrooms with olive oil, lemon S&P, dehydrate at 120 for 20 mins or until warm and slightly softened.

Pour soup in bowls, top with veggies.

Chocolate Truffles and Coconut Snowballs

Since I have a huge lump of cacao butter sitting in my cupboard, and by sheer luck there was hardly any clients at work today so my boss let me leave early, the obvious thing to do was to go home and start making some chocolate truffles. People are generally surprised when I tell them how just how much I adore chocolate. They give me this weird look and say 'Aren't you a vegan?'. Not really sure of when people started believing vegans don't like chocolate. Or that all chocolate contains milk? Maybe all the gross stuff like Aeros, Kit Kats, that kind of thing. But I'm sort of a chocolate snob, and I really rather eat a little bit of super dark, super expensive chocolate than a bag of Oh Henrys any day. Most chocolate isn't raw(although you can find raw bars), but I generally make an exception for it. Or you can make your own. It's fairly simple, all you do is re-unite cocoa butter and powder, along with some sweetener and whatever other goodies to choose to throw in.

For the truffles I made 2 different types, chocolate ones and coconut snowballs. The coconut snowballs didn't take to being dipped in the chocolate too well, they didn't really firm up properly so I rolled them in some more coconut afterwards and it seemed pretty tasty.

Chocolate Truffles
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup maple syrup/agave
1 cup cacao powder

Blend everything except the cacao powder in a blender, then mix the cacao powder in by hand in a bowl. Let set in the fridge for about half an hour(or in the freezer if you're impatient as I always am). If you use the freezer check on them in about 15, you don't want rocks. Scoop into balls and roll in more cacao powder, or dip in melted chocolate then place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and place in fridge/freezer to set.

Coconut Snowballs

1 cup nuts(I used almonds and brazil nuts, but macadamias, cashews, hazelnuts, anything really would work also)
1 1/2 cups plus 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded, dried coconut
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup/agave

Process the nuts in a food processor until they're finely ground. Add 1 1/2 cups coconut, coconut oil, and maple syrup, then process until the mixture is a sticky paste. Place in the fridge/freezer until slightly firm. Roll into balls and then roll in additional coconut.

1/3 cup melted cacao butter(in a bowl over boiling water, or in a dehydrator set at 120 degrees)
1/3 cup plus 1 tblspn cacao powder
3 tblspns agave/maple syrup

Mix all together in a bowl, dip truffles in!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creamy Basil Kelp Noodles

I've been searching both far and wide, high and low for kelp noodles in Vancouver, and I finally found them today. The hunt was completely worth it, I'm happy to say. (For the record I found them at Organic Lives)They taste a bit like rice/vermicelli noodles, and not the least little bit fishy. They smell a bit interesting in the bag, but a rinse gets rid of that pretty quickly. Picked up some other goodies from Organic Lives like cacao butter, I want to experiment with attempting to make some chocolate truffles. Cacao butter was also surprisingly elusive, I didn't think it was that uncommon an ingredient but I haven't seen it anywhere else yet. Perhaps I just don't know where to look.

I also went to this neat little homewares store I discovered on 4th Ave called Paboom, and bought 1 of every dish I thought was pretty. As well as a couple different place mats just for some variety. I get excited over the strangest things. This morning I rose at the ungodly hour of 6am today for a photoshoot, and when I got home all I wanted to do was make delicious things. Cooking(or un-cooking) is turning into meditation for me, it's kind of relaxing. I had to fight my mom to make dinner for her and my dad, I think she was pleased. I kindly left half the dishes for my dad to clean up though.

The kelp noodles ended up in a salad as well.

Creamy Basil Kelp Noodles

1/3 of a package of kelp noodles, rinsed
1/4 cup pesto
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4-1/2 cup water
juice from a lemon
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Combine everything but the noodles in a blender, then mix with noodles. Add whatever veggies you like, I used cherry tomatoes and hemp seeds.

Experimented with some Butternut Squash Soup, with somewhat southwestern seasonings, corn, and a dollop of lemon cream. I think it might taste better tomorrow when it's had a chance to sit.

I bought a truckload of avocados when I was at Granville Island yesterday, so they got made into chocolate pudding. With Vanilla Cream on top.

(we ran out of spoons)

Summer Squash Pasta with Truffled Cream Sauce from Raw Food Real World.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Not Okay to Kill Dogs But Cows are Fine?

Today I was having tea with a friend, and she brought up how a friend of her's mentioned how people are so outraged at the massacre of 100 healthy sled dogs(more on that here) in Whistler. What she didn't, and I don't, understand is how people are so enraged at this, yet it doesn't seem to make as much as a difference to them that thousands of cows, pigs, chickens, ect. are brutally murdered and kept in deplorable conditions. Are they not animals as well? Last I checked they were all sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and all equally deserving of proper living conditions, the right to mother their young, to enjoy being outdoors, to eat the food they were meant to eat. In my opinion, no matter what anyone says there is no 'compassionate' way of killing something. Just because cows are not necessarily kept as 'house' pets doesn't mean they should be treated differently than your cat or dog. Why the double standard?

Usually I try not to force my views on others, or attempt to stay as far away from the 'preachy vegan' stereotype as much as possible. Desire to not rock the boat, or make others uncomfortable. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, are they not? But in this case I really can't abide that point of view. While yes, I believe it's fair to allow others to come to their own educated conclusions without me breathing down their shoulders, I think the key word is educated. The majority of people I've met have no interest in educating themselves to the cruelty that most animals are subjected to, the unethical treatment of workers in slaughter houses, and the extreme waste of potential farmland and damage to the environment that is factory farming. It's an absolute waste of resources, the amount of land needed to feed a non-vegetarian compared to a vegetarian(3 acres vs 1). Plants feed the earth, the air, they keep the soil healthy in a sustainable manner. Even if you don't happen to care about the death of an animal, wouldn't it make sense, to borrow a phrase, not to shit where you eat? Everyone needs to live someplace, and earth is the only place we have.

The protest I hear the most often when discussing meat eating(and non eating), is that people miss the taste of meat. To put it bluntly, I believe that's selfish. You can't imagine forfeiting a few moments of your pleasure for the greater good of the wellbeing of the planet, the life of another sentient being, your own health even? The tradition of eating it, family meals, not wanting to be the odd one out? Sure it may be difficult, and sometimes you might want to eat meat. To be honest, my tastes have changed completely. I never crave meat, and never want to eat it. Somewhere in the back of my head I could imagine perhaps it tastes good, but the cons far outweigh the pros to me. To my health, and the knowledge that I couldn't sit comfortably eating something that was murdered in a cruel manner so I could eat it. I'm not expecting this of everyone, but even little steps help. Eating less meat, consuming less animal byproducts. Even just educating yourself on where it comes from, and it's impact on the planet. Does it not deserve even that? I'm not trying to say I'm perfect, or that you have to be either. it's unrealistic to expect that you can go through life without touching a single animal byproduct, they lurk in places you can't even imagine. I'm just trying to stress the point that you should attempt to at least educate yourself on a topic before making a decision based on simply your comfort levels, or what's just convenient to you. Choosing to be ignorant is a huge shame.

A couple books that I found really interesting on this topic:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Marinated Kale Salad

Kale is an amazingly nutritional vegetable. It's actually a type of cabbage, and is loaded with fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and a plethora of vitamin K. It's full of phytonutrients, and produces sulforaphane which a natural cancer fighter. It helps protect your eyes from cataracts, and ultraviolet light. Despite all these wonderful things I've always had kind of a hard time eating it on it's own. I love it as chips, in smoothies, juiced, ect. But eating on it's own was just something that hasn't really appealed to me. Too green, funny texture, hard to chew, whatever. Leftover fear from my childhood aversion to vegetables perhaps. I kept reading about other blogger's love of 'massaged' kale salad(describing it that way is just kind of creepy for me. Even if it's true, I don't know if I like my food to be massaged. I rather have a massage myself.), so I figured I'd try it out. I made a dressing with lemon and macadamia nut oil(One of my faves!), salt, agave and a touch of garlic. I performed the prerequisite massaging, and it wilted down nicely. Then tossed with cherry tomatoes, avocado, hemp seeds, sprouts and cucumbers. And I actually liked it. A ton. As in I could have eaten 4 more bowls of it. Amazing what a little massaging can do. Kale, I am no longer afraid of you. This is definitely something I'm going to try again!

Marinated Kale Salad:

Juice from 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil(or any oil)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

1 bunch Kale, ripped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 avocado, chopped,
1/4 cup hemp seeds
handful of sprouts
1/2 cup chopped cucumber

Pour dressing over kale and massage until it begins to look wilted, toss all other vegetables in bowl together.

Served the Kale salad alongside some 'mashed potatoes', which were actually marinated cauliflower dehydrated, then run through a food processor.