Dinner of Champions

Red PepperWhile my family has been doing the Saturday thing; hockey, running, working, playing with friends and hanging out, I have been stretched out on the couch watching back-to-back movies and doing my best to recuperate from my bout of pneumonia.

At this moment, Simon is out with the boys for chicken wings and the first period of the Leafs game at our local pub.

And, what, I am thinking to myself, can I scrounge up for my dinner?

Raw CashewsThere is just nothing that I love more than a crisp, cold red pepper and, fortunately for me, I made a batch of Cashew Cheese last week before I got sick. Cashew Cheese is one of the yummiest raw snacks I have discovered in the past few years. It is savoury, creamy and just downright delicious with any cracker or crunchy veggie. And so, between the red pepper and the Cashew Cheese, I have found the perfect dinner.

As I settle in to enjoy yet another movie, I am compelled to share my recipe. Don’t forget to soak your raw cashews for at least three hours before whipping together this yummy snack.

Enjoy! 🙂

Cashew Cheese 

– 190 grams (1 1/2 cups) raw cashew nuts (not roasted or salted)
– 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
– 2 tablespoons dry white wine (optional; substitute water if preferred)
– 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
– 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
– 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
– 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
– freshly ground pepper

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Place the nuts in a salad bowl, cover with fresh water, and let stand for 3 hours.

Drain the nuts and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add 60 ml (1/4 cup) water and the rest of the ingredients, and mix until thoroughly purĂŠed, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl every once in a while. Add a little more water if necessary and blend again to adjust the consistency; the cheese will get a little more solid as it sets.

Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

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Sunday Omelette

Hot Water BottleI am stretched out on the living room couch with my hot water bottle, a cozy blanket and my book. Simon returned home a little while ago from his jaunt into the woods at the Royal Botanical Gardens with Michael, Zachary and two friends. They had a blast feeding chipmunks and chickadees and were full of stories and smiles as they bundled through the front door.

These is a real nip in the air today so when the kids got home they were both chilly and hungry. Michael and his friend Jacob were the first to raid the kitchen for a snack. Their choice was to open a pack of rice crackers to accompany their hummus and a couple of Macintosh apples. They rushed through their food and were finished just in time to answer the door to three giggly 12-year-old girls. Omlette

Zachary and his friend, Briar, are a little more discerning in their choice of snack. For them, it is a fresh Sunday afternoon omelette.

Their first stop was my wallet to collect the needed resources for the visit to our butcher on the corner. They arrived home a little while ago with black forest ham, country style ham, a red pepper and two massive smiles.

I am now listening to the omelette preparation currently underway in the kitchen. At the moment they are weighing the pros and cons of the various spices they are considering for their gourmet creation (including, I might add, whether Pink Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt is their preference).

And, truly, I’m not sure I have ever heard anything more adorable!

All I can say is…if gourmet omelettes is their snack of choice at ten years of age, what the heck will they be making after a night of partying in university?

Lobster bisque? 😉

Lobster Bisque

My New BFF

I have fallen head-over-heels for my Crock Pot!

I know, I know, not very sexy, right?!?

Crock PotWrong!

There is just something so wonderful about throwing all kinds of fresh and yummy ingredients into my Crock Pot in the morning and having dinner perfectly cooked for me eight hours later.

My Crock Pot relationship has always been tepid at best. However, we have really ‘turned up the heat’ since I started experimenting with vegan cooking. At the moment, I have a quinoa and red lentil stew slowly bubbling away on my counter and filling the house with a mouth-watering aroma.

Just gotta share my recipe.

As with all my recipes, I have combined a few to come up with this version. I am still tweaking so this might not be the final version but I couldn’t wait to share. I like to serve it on a bed of chopped raw kale.

Enjoy! 🙂

Crock Pot Quinoa Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raw quinoa
  • 1C cup raw small red lentils (masoor dhal)
  • 2 med onions
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1” piece of fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 6 cups water or unsalted soup stock
  • 2 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • ½ head fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. gr cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste and fresh ground black pepper

Crockpot Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and red lentils in a bowl or pan, then drain into a colander and, when drained, add to Crock Pot
  2. Peel the carrots, slice lengthwise, then slice in chunky pieces
  3. Chop the onions
  4. Cut the cauliflower into large chunks – these will break up into smaller pieces as they cook
  5. Combine quinoa, lentils, herbs & spices and fresh ginger in the crockpot
  6. Add all the vegetables and cover with the 6 cups water or stock
  7. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or more if needed
  8. 20 minutes before serving, turn the heat up to high and stir in optional greens (like kale, spinach or swiss chard)

Just before serving, add salt & pepper to taste and remove the bay leaf

Bounty

August FoodWe are heading home tomorrow morning to prep for our end-of-summer family trip to New York City.

As we sat down to our dinner tonight, I was hit by a feeling of deep appreciation for the bounty of August. Fresh corn, sweet peaches and divine field tomatoes that actually taste like sunshine. And straight from the farmers field a few hours ago.

Aren’t we lucky to live in a corner of the world with such incredible and delicious bounty?!?

Mom and I are, at this very moment, tucking into fresh peaches with my homemade vanilla cream…absolutely and exceptionally divine! 🙂

It’s Official

Oh She Glows CookbookI am now the proud owner of, not one, but two vegan cookbooks and I just have to share.

The first one is a beautiful book called The Oh She Glows Cookbook and is full of delicious and elegant recipes like Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons or Grilled Portobello Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Kale-Hemp Pesto. The second one is called Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week and is chock-full of yummy, funky and seriously tasty-sounding recipes like Chimichuri-Pumpkin Bowl or Nirvana Enchilada Casserole.

Isa Does ItAs much as I am loving my mostly raw/live diet, every so often I just need something hot. So, even though the humidex is currently sitting at 32 degrees Celcious,  at the moment I have a quinoa, lentil and kale stew (from the Isa book) simmering yummily on the stove and smelling delicious. I am going to serve it with roasted sweet potatoes (from the Glow cookbook).

So now I figure it’s official and I am a card-carrying vegan.

Funny how I needed the cookbooks to really be able to say that! 🙂

Better Together

My hubby has been away for almost a week and I am badly missing my partner-in-crime!

My diet has not shifted in the slightest with Simon’s absence. I am still juicing, making my smoothies, creating raw desserts and preparing raw meals. I am still eating gigantic salads at odd times of the day and plowing through my chaga tea.

Better TogetherWhat I am not doing is enjoying it all quite as much.

Simon’s absence has reminded me that maintaining a Radical diet is way more fun with a buddy. I love starting our day with a ginger shot and doing the crazy dance around the kitchen while it kicks in. I love creating our fresh juice together in the mornings, packing super foods into our smoothies, enjoying a cup of tea and a raw dessert in the afternoon and sharing whatever dinner creation makes its way out of our fridge at night.

And I love the feeling of wellness and transformation that we are sharing as it evolves in all its miraculousness.

It is always good to have the opportunity to appreciate the most special relationships in our lives as, ironically, they are the ones that can get overlooked.

And so, here is my conscious and intentional message to my husband, parenting partner, juicing partner, life partner and my love…’you rock, dude, and I LOVE sharing this journey with you!’ 🙂img_a1605112aa1

Who Knew?

Puzzle PieceFor the past fourteen weeks I have been eating ‘clean’;  mostly raw, all vegan, juicing every day, lots of super foods, super herbs, and tons of sprouts.

And, feeling like a million bucks, I might add.

And so, I wonder, why is my eczema still flaring? What is it that my body is still trying to tell me? Could it possibly be the natural process of detoxification? Or is there something else that I haven’t quite figured out?

Well, yesterday’s wellness fair just may have given me the next piece in the puzzle in my quest for audacious health!

And that piece is called…carrageenan.

Spring WaterI start my day with at least three glasses of spring water with a dash of Celtic sea salt, then a ginger shot with my hubby and a fresh green juice. I do not need any food. Around 11:00am when I am feeling hungry, I make myself a chocolate Sun Warrior smoothie which I pack with superfoods; maca, ashwaganda, hemp hearts, acai, bee pollen, coconut milk and organic coconut water.

This, apparently, is where I have been going wrong.

The organic coconut milk which I have been buying contains carrageenan. And after doing a fair amount of research last night, I have discovered that carrageenan is causing quite an uproar in the organic foods industry. It is used to thicken foods and to keep them from separating and, apparently, causes inflammation, among other things. And inflammation in the body has all kinds of negative health effects, including exacerbating eczema.

And, I would not have known about carrageenan had I not been in the right place at the right time yesterday watching my friend Loren give an amazing presentation on raw almond milk at the wellness fair!

Raw Almond MilkI continue to be in complete awe of the incredible food and health journey that I am walking day by day. It seems that just when I am ready for the next piece of information to take my health to the next level, there it is.

So…here is my solution to the coconut milk dilemma. On my way home from the wellness fair yesterday I stopped at Whole Foods and stocked up on raw organic almonds. I soaked them overnight and made a delicious, creamy and sweet raw almond milk this morning. And, incidentally, making nut milk happens to be yet another one of those things that I said I would never do because it is too much work. And it was one of the easiest raw food preparations I have encountered to date.

Go figure!

I am going to sneak in another batch just before I put the kids to bed so we have cold, fresh, and carrageenan-free milk for our smoothies tomorrow.

That’s my wildly Radical Act for today! Living on the edge, huh?!?! 🙂Living on the Edge