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 puréed, 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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Day Four: The One Thing

With a family of five visiting a city full of iconic, interesting and novel things to do, it can be very challenging to make sure that everyone comes away feeling fulfilled and happy. The way we have chosen to deal with this on our trip to New York City is to have each of the boys choose one thing they want to do each day.

This is my fourth visit to New York City and, frankly, I have happily taken a back seat to the three boys for their very first one. There are certainly things that I would like to do in the city but I figure that they can all wait until Simon and I are down here on our own in the future.

And, we have been so enjoying watching the boys fall in love with this amazing city!

IMG_1650As we were planning our day this morning, it was decided that Simon and I would each have some time alone today. As much as we are enjoying our family togetherness, we felt that we each needed a little break from the kids. And so, I took the kids up the Empire State Building this morning and Simon is taking them to the Yankees game tonight.

Zachary was so cute this morning asking me what I would do with my time. He wanted to know what my ‘one thing’ would be…

I hadn’t even dared to hope for my ‘one thing’!

IMG_1682Do you remember a few months back when I told you that Raw Food Real World is my favourite raw food cookbook (in a post called Time With My Guy)? Well, tonight I am at Sarma Melngailis and Matthew Kenney’s restaurant called Pure Food and Wine and I feel as if I am in the middle of a celebrity sighting!

As I was walked through the restaurant out into the back garden a few moments ago, Sarma Melngailis was seated in the restaurant meeting with one of her staff. I so wanted to rush up to her and say…”I just LOVE what you do, I LOVE your book and I now LOVE your restaurant!!!!!

Needless to say, I did not make a complete fool of myself but I sure thought about it!

IMG_1683And so, here I sit on the stunningly beautiful patio in the back of the restaurant with my glass of organic red wine and my beautiful plate of Zucchini and Heirloom Tomato Lasagna. I am pretty sure that the Mint Sundae with Chocolate Mint Cookies and a cup of organic peppermint tea will be my dessert.

Oh, I just could not feel more appreciative to be here on this beautiful patio tonight watching people drift in and out while I savour this delicious food that is nourishing not just my body but my spirit as well!

Who knew that I would actually get my ‘one thing’ on this trip…talk about Radically and extraordinarily happy!!!!!!!!!! 🙂IMG_1681

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

 

 

To Juice or Not to Juice…

…that is the question!

BrevilleIt has been one of those days…three loads of laundry, three coaching calls, grocery shopping, errands, four days of e-mail and, thanks to our lovely holiday Monday, two days of work crammed into one!

Now…before I tackle feeding the kids, making lunches, preparing for my workshop tomorrow, folding laundry, ironing my shirt and trying to get to bed in decent time…

Do I attempt to gather my scattered thoughts and treat my audience to some deeply profound pearls of wisdom? Or do I just cut the crap, haul out my trusty Breville and treat myself to an out-of-this-world dinner?

It’s not really hard when I put it that way!

Juice for dinner…that’s the extraordinary in my anything-but-ordinary day!

Bottoms up…!!! 🙂Green Juice for Dinner

Kapow…!!!!

When I watched Super Juice Me a few weeks ago I was transfixed by the fascinating healing journey of the eight individuals in the film. Super Juice Me inspired me and, since watching it, I have incorporated fresh juice into my daily regimen. And now it is even more fun because Simon and I are juicing together.

Ginger ShotOne of the juices I noticed in Super Juice Me was a ginger shot. I had never heard of a ginger shot before and was intrigued. I knew that ginger was good for me but I wasn’t exactly sure why. And so, being the nutrition-fact-hound that I have become lately, I decided to do some research.

And here is the result of my research on the health properties of ginger;

  • Anti-inflamatory
  • Liver cleanser
  • Inhibits the growth of colorectal cancer cells
  • Kills ovarian cancer cells
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Fires up the digestive system
  • Improves absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body
  • Clears the ‘microcirculatory channels’ of the body (including the sinuses)
  • Helps reduce flatulence
  • Helps with nausea and motion sickness
  • Can affect hypertension
  • Effectively treats migraine symptoms

Health Benefits GingerThere seemed to be a zillion sites which wanted to wax poetic about the health benefits of ginger. However, I decided that I was entirely convinced and so ginger shots have become another part of our morning juice regimen.

Our ‘Kapow’ recipe for the two of us is;

  • Two small lemons
  • Two healthy ‘thumbs’ of ginger
  • Two good sized garlic cloves

And why do I call it Kapow?

Because the shot is so spicy and so pungent that you simply cannot help but exclaim in some very loud way as it kicks into the system! Our kids think we are completely nuts as we down our morning shot and do our crazy ginger dance around the kitchen.

But it’s delicious, funny and, extremely healthy, so we’ll keep it up! 🙂Kapow

Naked Chocolate

Okay, it’s time to come clean. It’s time to start telling the truth. I simply cannot keep it hidden any longer…

imagesI have a massive ‘foodie crush‘!

Yes, indeed, I am head-over-heels. And his name is David Wolfe!

My crush started as a mild interest a few weeks ago when I stumbled across one of his videos on YouTube. And I have logged hours ‘at his feet‘ ever since. I have bought two of his books, have watched hours and hours of video footage, and have adapted many of his suggestions, especially concerning Superfoods.

So…I was already well on my way to falling in love when, last night, my crush spiralled into an all-out, losing sleep, can’t-stop-thinking-about-it crush.

So, you ask, what happened last night to catapult me into the realm of the star-struck teenage girl?

5155466780_db1587a735_bI watched David Wolfe’s Tedx Talk on raw chocolate!

Ooh la la!

I am a die-hard chocolate lover! And, at 8:00 last night, I was told, in no uncertain terms, that my absolute all-time favourite food in the whole-wide-world is ridiculously good for me! And, he does it all in The Second Circle which is just that much more delicious!

Now, tell me, wouldn’t you be in love too? I think it’s kind of the opposite of ‘don’t shoot the messenger…!’

I could continue to wax poetic but, really, what more is there to say? If you feel about chocolate the way that I do, I just need you to go and watch that Tedx Talk.

And then get back to me…!!! 🙂download

What’s for Dinner?

What’s for dinner?

mercredi3Isn’t that the question that every parent is greeted with at the end of the day?! And, for some of us, a question that we dread?!?!

I used to love to cook. When Simon and I were first married I used to spend Sunday mornings browsing new recipes in my various cookbooks while relaxing and drinking coffee. I would then plan out a menu for the week, make a shopping list and then Simon and I would head to our local grocery store to do the shopping.

And, back then, even grocery shopping was fun!

Flash forward eighteen years and the story looks slightly different. I have left all my cookbooks behind, I no longer browse recipes (well, traditional ones, anyway) and I no longer love to cook. Most nights, cooking dinner ranks up there with cleaning the bathroom. It has to be done but I sure don’t love it.

That is, until now.

bloveFor the past week, most of my dinners have been juiced. Even as I write I am enjoying my beet, broccoli, ginger, spinach, lemon, celery, and cucumber concoction as a late afternoon snack. And for dinner I have made Raw Tacos. I learned this recipe from Barb Maccaroni who is the wizard behind the B.Love brand. Barb is a raw food chef extraordinaire and four years ago she gently guided me into the wonders of  raw food.

My first foray into raw food was a class at Barb’s house with a group of strangers. When I arrived at Barb’s I felt out of place and conspicuous as most of them were already die-hard raw foodies. And, only a week before, I thought raw food was just carrots and celery sticks. I had no idea there was such a thing as raw food much less that there were specially trained chefs. I mean, really, how much training does one need to cut carrots and celery?!

9-Tray-Excalibur-Food-DehydratorBy the time I left Barb’s house that night I was absolutely intrigued with the preparation of raw food and satiated in a way that I had never been following a big meal. Looking back, I realize that this past four years has been a winding road to where I find myself now. I am now eating mostly raw vegan, I am juicing, I am eating sprouts and superfoods on a daily basis, and I am just about to dust off my Excalibur dehydrator for the first time in two years.

And…I am feeling better than I ever have!

I was thinking of Barb as I prepared my dinner for tonight and reflecting on my intriguing food journey these past four years. And while I chopped, crushed, juiced and blended, I was appreciating the fresh and vibrant ingredients that I was using. Not to mention the aromas, the tastes and the textures and the fact that my body was going to feel wonderful afterwards.

If only all my ‘cooking’ could feel this resonant and aligned with my values.

Now, for those of you who are wondering what the heck a raw taco is…here you go:

  • 1 large romaine leaf
  • Nut meat (Google nut meat and you will find all kinds of ideas)
  • Guacamole (mine is just avocado, fresh lemon juice, garlic and Celtic sea salt)
  • Salsa (your favourite one- my local health food store sells one that is ‘raw-some’!!!)

Fill the romaine leaf with the nut meat, guacamole and salsa, roll it up and dig in.

Absolutely delicious!

If only my kids would eat them…they are having hamburgers and a fresh green salad for their dinner. Who knows, maybe one of these days they will be thrilled to hear that Raw Tacos are on the menu for dinner. In the meantime, I will continue to love my raw food time in the kitchen and to deeply appreciate all the wonderful people who have come into my life over the past four years to gently show me the way! 🙂heathly_heart_vegetables_400_400_s