Bring on the Sunshine!

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Today marks the last predicted day of our deep freeze (for now..), move over frigid air, get outta here wind chill – sun’s a-comin’ and I can’t wait!  I’m welcoming some not so crazy cold days with a really simple citrus set up. A Sunshine Salad, if you will.  Sweet and tart, with a boosted vitamin C drizzle.  Yum.  Well…. unless you’re my unsuspecting love, biting straight into a drizzle-less lemon. Hehe, oops!

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A few months ago, back in the very early grips of winter – I spent the afternoon foraging for enough wild sage to make a number of smudge bundles. During my foraging journey, I happened across hundreds and hundreds of wild roses. Or well, rose hips. The fruit, rose fruit. I know from my upbringing that the best time to harvest rose hips is after the first frost, the zap of ol’ Jack Frost leaves the fruit a touch sweeter. Well, the morning I set out may not have been the first frost, but it was certainly frosty. Perfect.

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Wild roses are one of my favorite plants! They are so beautiful, so fragrant, so lifting, I love them. I love walking through the trees just outside the city and happening upon bush after bush. All blooming and full of life, emitting the softest yet strongest aroma and immediately lifting my spirit. I love this plant. I connect with this plant. The wild rose offers much in the way of healing, may it be a vibrational healing or a physical healing. The hips are antibacterial, antispasmatic, mineral rich, and of course the high vitamin C content is always welcome, especially in the cold and dark months of an Albertan winter. Brrr!

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The hips can be dried and ground into a powder, they can be made into jelly, or one of my favorite uses – they can infuse honey or be used to make a rosehip syrup. Rosehip syrup is one of my favorite ways to gently sweeten my home brew kombucha! Buttt….  that’s a different post. Right now, I am talking about ground rosehips, powdery soft and the slightest tinge of orange. Really beautiful and delicate stuff, of course, coming from such a beautiful plant. (Even kitties love them, notice top right!).

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We all know and associate citrus with vitamin C, right? Yes, great. Okay. Well now, we can associate rosehips with it as well, loads of it. Pair the two together and people I tell you, you will feel like a super star. A super star shot right out out of this universe and into the next! Seriously simple, super yummy, and healthy to boot. Use whatever citrus is around, kumquats, navel, grapefruit,lemon, pomelo. Any! All! Don’t be scared to add the funny face inducing ones like lemons and limes. The tang is refreshing and the detoxing effects are well worth it. Plus, with a pinch of salt in the drizzle that graces the top of this citrus salad, all different types of fruit get sweeter. Really! Don’t love grapefruit? Try dipping it in salt. Just a touch.  Sounds strange, I know, but it’s a tip I picked up from a teaching kitchen and it works like a charm.

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Sunshine Citrus Salad

2 Limes
2 Lemons
1 Large Grapefruit
3 Blood Oranges
3 Navel Oranges
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
2 Tsp Rosehip Powder
Raw Honey
Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Carefully slice each of the citrus fruits at the top and the bottom, this provides a flat working surface. Begin at the top and slowly remove the rinds (rinds which can be kept and dried, chopped up and used for infusions!). Once the rinds have been removed, slice thinly and arrange on a serving plate. In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, rosehip powder, honey to taste and the pinch of salt. Pour over top of arranged citrus slices and enjoy!

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It’s a Celebration!

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It’s been a long time coming…. this celebration.

I had been planning to write a food blog for a while, didn’t really know how… figured it would be super complicated…  I’m not at all tech savvy, so basically I put it off because I was afraid of it. I had been creating recipes, taking pictures, saving files – you name it. I was doing it. Then, in an emotional tantrum I accidentally deleted everything I had been saving up. Absolutely all of it. From that day, it took me another four months to even consider starting up this blog. I suppose, maybe I had taken it as a sign from the universe that I just wasn’t ready to write (yes, sometimes I am unreasonably emotional).

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So finally, I did it.  I told myself that I would not register a domain until I had had the blog for a full year, and had made more than five or six posts.  It’s not that I typically give up on projects, it’s just this one had given me some grief and I was starting it up in a personally vulnerable time.  In reality, it ended up being the outlet that I needed to get myself up and at ‘er and I have since clearly made more than five or six posts.   In fact, in this first year (and a bit) I have filled a bound journal with double sided pages of hand written recipes, some successes and some flops.  I have begun a photography certification course, originally starting because I wanted to learn how to photograph food of course; a certification that has now blossomed into a whole secondary passion. Another wonderful creative outlet that makes me so happy, and is so rewarding.

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Starting this blog has made me realize so many things about myself. It has been freeing personally, and has helped me grow exponentially. Having a creative outlet is one of the best things we can do for ourselves, seriously. The first year anniversary of my blog was in September, this celebration as I said – has been a long time coming.  Finally this morning I have made good on that promise and have purchased my domain. Woo! Hooray! Yippeee! http://www.sproutinganoldsoul.com exists! In celebration, I paired together ingredients from some of my older dessert recipes (Avo Cacao Pudding & Banana Chocolate Tarts) and created a *nut free* raw chocolate mousse cake.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Crust

1 Cup Dried Black Mission Figs
3/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
Pinch of Himalayan Salt
6 Tbsp Water

Mousse

3 Ripe Avocados
1 Ripe Banana
2 Heaping Tbsp Raw Honey
1/2 Cup Cacao Powder

Plating

1/3 Cup Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Splash of Water
Cacao Powder for Dusting

Soak the figs in warm water until they are squishy. Add the figs, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, and salt to a food processor – start with two tablespoons of water. Give the crust a whirl. Continue adding one tablespoon of water at a time while the food processor is running until the crust forms a thick paste. Six teaspoons may not be required depending on the moisture in the figs, but six was how many it took for me. Start with less, you don’t want the crust to be too squishy! Line a small-medium spring-form cake pan with wax paper. Push the figgy crust into the pan or shape into small tart shells by hand, then place it in the freezer to set.

To make the mousse, simply add all ingredients into a fresh food processor and whirl until there are no chunks of avocado or banana and a thick mousse has formed. Gently scoop it into the crust, cover, and let it set up in the freezer overnight or for at least six hours. This will ensure the mousse will be able to slice.

Depending on the temperature indoors, remove the cake from the fridge 1 to 2 hours before serving. Blend the raspberries with a touch of water and spread on a plate to be used as a garnish under the cake, or use as a drizzle over top. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the extra cacao powder and slice it into pieces.

Voila!

Balsamic Beads & Alien Veggies

Romanesco…

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Roma-whaa?  Romanesco.  Rad, eh?  I’m a sucker for treasures of the produce section.. Seriously.

A few years ago I saw a whole pile of these alien looking broccoli-cauliflower-whatever-the-heck’s, just tucked casually between the sprouts and the beans. No biggie, just a friggin’ UFO hybrid.  I didn’t buy one, I just tucked my basket in a little closer and scooted my butt on by never to see one again.  Until this week. There was one left, I went for it.

So what the bleep is it!? It’s a relative of cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, a dense spirally flower.  Tastes more like cauliflower, than broccoli, and breaks apart like it too.  It works well sauteed, steamed, and of course – raw.

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I love and absolutely can’t get over these beautiful tasty spirals. So stunning to look at, shocking even. I sent a photo of my first romanesco experience to le boyfriend and he gave me the “…” type response.  Something along the lines of “What the……” – Perfect. It’s perfect! We had the exact same response, years apart. What better way to get creative with food, than to add in something that is so unusual?!

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Let’s add to the unusual.  Balsamic beads. Pearls. Balls.  Whatever you want to call them. It’s called molecular gastronomy. Science+Food. I had the absolute pleasure of assisting Chef Pierre Lamielle in a molecular gastronomy class a few weeks back, a class I had been suuuper pumped about.  I put my name into the bid for which classes I would get to volunteer for, choosing 18 total. The only one I really, really had to make sure I somehow got to – was the molecular class. Ding ding! What fun it was! He talked a bit about the different components used in molecular gastronomy, different ingredients to make foams and spheres.  He mentioned his favorite to work with is agar, which was thrilling for me – as I am familiar with agar agar and being that it is a seaweed product, am happy to use it in my own kitchen.

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Molecular kits can be purchased online, and sometimes in specialty kitchen stores; agar agar can be found powdered or flaked in some health food stores and in most Asian markets. So if making “caviar” out of vinegar, fruit juices or whatever liquid you fancy is the goal – simple agar powder is the way to go. Since the molecular class, I have been using Chef Pierre Lamielle’s instructions for making balsamic “caviar” but have altered the measurements a tad seeing as I do not own a molecular kit.

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Tomato & Romanesco Salad with Balsamic Beads

1 Handful of Yellow Grape Tomatoes
1 Handful of Red Grape Tomatoes
1 Small Head of Romanesco
2-3 Tbsp Chia Oil (flax oil, or good quality oil of choice)
1 Tbsp Fresh Chive – sliced thin
1/4 Cup Shredded Basil
6-7 Chunks of Chevre (omit for vegan option)
Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1-1.5 Tsp Agar Powder
3 Cups Cheap Olive Oil
Syringe

Slice the tomatoes in half, and pull apart the romanesco – leaving it chunky. Toss the tomatoes, romanesco, chia oil, sliced chives and shredded basil in a large glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt and as much fresh pepper as desired. Toss the salad, then add the chunks of chevre. Allow this to sit out while making the balsamic beads. Fill a large pint glass or jar with the olive oil and pop it in the freezer to chill for about 30-45 minutes. The key is cheap oil, which is usually heat pressed and therefore won’t solidify as quickly in cold temperatures. In a small pot combine the agar and the balsamic vinegar, bring it to a simmer – stirring to dissolve the powder. Once dissolved, transfer to a bowl or cup and set aside. Take the chilled olive oil from the freezer, pull the balsamic liquid up into a syringe and drip it one drop at a time into the oil. The beads will fall to the bottom of the jar, forming as they chill. Stir gently to unstick if necessary. Drain the oil from the glass into another container and sprinkle as many of the balsamic beads as desired over the salad.

Voila!

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Flowers, Bees, Workouts and Love.

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Goooooooood Morning!

Rising with the sun is just one of those perfect things. It’s something so simple, and yet we very infrequently have the time or the willingness to do it. I am completely guilty of this.  When the winter begins winding down and spring sets in, I am up and ready to go at 5am as the sun starts peeking through my windows….but now, now that it’s summer that is coming to a close, I am in no way ready get up early.  Each day getting shorter and shorter, I find that it’s so difficult to fully wake. Today was different, today I was up with the sun (which was a bit of a sleep in, considering the season change). Today I greeted the morning with a juicy Canadian pear, and a real butt kicking spin class..  butt kicking, quad kicking, arm and chest kicking.  Man, I really got my sweat on!

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Wandering around the neighborhood afterwards,  I really started to warm up to the fast approaching fall. The sight and smell of yellowing leaves, plants and flowers in various stages of blossom and rest, the crispness in the air…  Fall used to be one of my favorite seasons. This beautiful Saturday morning really reminded me of that.

Post workout recovery is something that I have recently vowed to get better at, in particular – refueling with the right ingredients and pushing myself to deepen my stretching. I know that both of these are super important,  however I am known to forget to do one, or sometimes even both.  Today I got after it, I cooled off – walked the streets engaging and really noticing my muscles and how they were operating; and I had a SUPERpower packed breakfast smoothie to reinforce and nourish my whole body, mind and spirit.

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A few nights ago I attended a lecture on bees and bee products. The healing medicines that come from a hive, and I’m not just talking honey here.  Bee pollen is one of my favorite treasures from the hive, from the bees, from the plants of this earth.  We all know the importance of reducing completely eliminating GMO products from our kitchens, we know that altering plant DNA and tarnishing our natural fields have negatively influenced bees,  but how many people have thought about those two things together at once?  GMO plants…  produce GMO pollen, GMO honey, and all kinds of alterations that impact my beloved honeybee. An article I read a while back in VegNews magazine about bees and GMO plants really shook me to my core. “Poland recently banned a genetically engineered crop in an effort to save the country’s native honeybee population. Monsanto Mon810, a strain of GE corn that self-produces the popular insecticide neonicotinoid, can no longer be grown in the country after research found that it triggers Colony Collapse Disorder – a worldwide plague that has caused honeybees to die en masse since 2006.” Disgusting, no? This is what plants are doing to the bees, what the heck do we think they’re going to do to us? Before I get off on too much of a tangent….  In my opinion, and this was reinforced and agreed upon by everyone at the lecture I attended – buying non GMO bee products is incredibly important. Buying honey that comes from wildflowers, buying honey that is local, buying honey that is cruelty free. All so important. It can only improve our health (and the health of the plant).

Bee pollen increases strength, and energy – both important after a workout. It helps to rebuild muscle and tissue, it’s a great source of a plethora of vitamins, and is super high in protein.  I had a heaping tablespoon this morning! Nothing like tasting the pure love of a flower, delicately gathered by a tiny, fuzzy, striped angel.  Have I mentioned… I love bees? Love them. Love them love them love them.

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Recovery smoothies that you can buy in stores tend to taste a bit off to me. I don’t like the taste of strong protein powders, and I very much try to avoid any packs with added sugars, or even other added beneficial nutrients.  I like just plain, raw hemp powder. High protein, nothing extra.  That way….   I can make it into something so super delicious all you can do is drink it down and giggle with delight. Yep, giggle – that’s exactly what I did this morning.  My recovery smoothie this morning was reminiscent of a almond butter cookie.. with chocolate.. and espresso.  Umm… YUM! I had the pleasure of drinking a chocolate mylk elixir at the Light Cellar, I have been thinking about it ever since… so I made my own version of it, recovery style.

SUPERpower Recovery Smoothie

1 Tbsp Maca Powder
2 Scoops of Raw Hemp Protein Powder
1 Tsp Dried Reishi Mushroom Powder
1 Tsp Dried Chaga Mushroom Powder
8-10 Cacao Whole Beans
1 Vanilla Bean – Scraped
1.5 Bananas
1/2 Cup Young Coconut Meat
2 Tbsp Raw Almond Butter
1 8oz Glass of Purified Water

Layer everything in a blender, start with adding about half a cup of water – just to allow the blades to get working and grind up the cacao immediately. Adding in a full glass of water right at the beginning will just make the cacao whirl and float! Once the mixture is smooth, add in the rest of the water and enjoy!

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Talk About a Chlorophyll Hit!

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Last week I was in Vegas for the 70.3 Ironman World Championship! Oh.. no no…. I wasn’t racing, but my really super special somebody was!!  We had a very relaxing trip, in addition to the race we did lots of reading, sunning, and a went on a stunner of a kayak ride from the Hoover Dam along the Colorado river! We paddled back and forth from Nevada to Arizona, stopping at hot pools and bath-water warm waterfalls; The twenty-some kilometer glide was a real adventure, winding through ancient lava and stone formations – not a bad way to introduce me to the United States (seeing as this was my first trip to this neighboring country).

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the company, and the race itself… although, I did spend over half of it in traffic trying to actually get to where I was able to spectate.  One thing that I did not enjoy, was the realization that I do not function as optimally as I would like – while outside of my comfort zone. Outside of my home, my space, my sanctuary. Not that anyone who doesn’t know me would be able to tell, but those close sure could.  My system was all out of sorts, my regular inner schedule was completely off. I felt like I was in a time warp, the days were so much longer than they are at home, and I was eating things that I otherwise very rarely would have.  I suppose maybe this wasn’t a new realization, more of a reminder.  As spontaneous and carefree as I would like to imagine I can be – I am just one of those people who likes to have a schedule. It doesn’t at all need to be a schedule that is always the same, but a simple guideline that keeps me on track both mentally and physically.  Perhaps, next time I travel I should remember to take time in the morning to ritualistically map out some space for just me.  Some space in which I can regroup, reflect and rejuvenate all at once.

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Now that I have been back for a few days and have had a chance to regroup, my body very clearly screamed at me to replenish. My typical nutrient dense food intake needed a giant kick-start, a big whack of pure awesomeness delivered as quickly as possible.  I’ve been loading up on fresh pressed juices, cleansing with lemon, raw honey and spices, and tonight for dinner I made a supercharged cold soup.  I thought about making a green smoothie, but a green sort of gazpacho won out. Something in a bowl, not a glass. Something that required a spoon. Nothing sweet, only herbs and greens with a touch of citrus.

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 Kick Butt Chlorophyll Gazpacho

1 Medium Zucchini
1 Medium Avocado
1 Large Lemon
1 Bunch of Lacinato Kale
1 Cup Baby Spinach
1 Cup Baby Red Chard
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Purple Bell Pepper
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Cup of Water
Splash of Chia or Flax Oil
Fresh Black Pepper & Chunky Himalayan Salt

Wash up all the greens, the lemon, zucchini and the pepper. Zest and juice the lemon, chop the pepper, zucchini and avocado. Put everything into a blender, reserving a bit of both the zest and the avocado for garnish. Add the water, then whirl away until it’s smooth and beautiful. Drizzle with oil, dust with fresh ground black pepper and the chunky pink salt, top with remaining avocado and lemon zest – enjoy!

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Raw Rainbow Wraps

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One of my favorite things to eat as I entered my twenties was a really garlicky, spicy falafel wrap.   The combination of flavors, the balance of nutritionally dense vegetables – both fresh and fermented, and the crisp crunch with every bite.  I loved it. I still do, although I definitely have it a lot less frequently these days.  One of my favorite parts of a perfectly wrapped falafel is the pickled purple cabbage and turnip. The purple, it really adds something for me.  There aren’t many places that add such a strong purple punch to their foods, especially places that are typically more “main stream”… not around here, anyway.

I figured this weekend, that I could create a raw version… one that is packed with nutrition, fermented awesomeness, protein and the added element of healthy living food.  I wanted it to have a somewhat Asian flavor,  reminiscent of a traditional lettuce wrap, with that strong punchy purple.

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The only real problem, was that I had a very limited window of time available in which to create said wrap.  Driving home from hiking in Canmore, I weighed my options… Either make a real falafel, or improvise with something a bit quicker.  Something a bit quicker won the debate.  Something a bit quicker… turned out so totally awesome.

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The fillings for my beautiful, punchy purple wraps have a few key, but very simple ingredients that showcase each flavor component without overpowering one another. A delicious mix of spiced walnuts, fresh cherry tomato and avocado salsa, sprouted green lentils and sprouted chickpeas, golden beet noodles, and a simply divine vegan sauce.   Using fresh citrus juice and zest in the salsa, perfectly sweet honey, warm sesame and spices with the walnuts, and super alkaline umeboshi paste in the finishing sauce….  all adds well complimented flavors and super nutritional powers to the whole meal.

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Sprouting the lentils and chickpeas will take two days, so make them ahead if you don’t typically have sprouted beans & legumes handy.

Sprouting is so incredibly easy, and the health benefits attached to eating whole, living, enzyme rich legumes and beans is just amazing.  To sprout lentils & chickpeas, simply rinse and soak them overnight in filtered water. Rinse again in the morning, then drain. Place them in a sprouting tray, or a jar with cheesecloth fastened over top of the opening. Allow them to sit in a dark place like a cupboard, for the day, rinsing again before bed… Be careful not to break off any of the sprout tails that have formed. Follow the same steps the next day, once there are centimeter length sprout tails popping out of each chickpea and lentil, you’re good to go!

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Sweet & Spicy Walnuts

1 Cup Raw Soaked Walnuts
3 Tbsp Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice)
2 Tbsp Raw Honey

Smash, crush, or pulse the walnuts until most of them have been broken at least once. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Tomato Avocado Salsa

1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
1 Avocado
2 Green Onions
1/2 Lime
Szechuan Pepper*

*If you do not have Szechuan peppercorns, sub black pepper and a touch more lime.

Chop the green onion, cut each cherry tomato in half, cube up the avocado and mix all three ingredients into a small bowl. Zest the lime, then squeeze out the juice, adding both to the bowl. Add fresh ground Szechuan pepper to taste and set aside.

Creamy Umeboshi Sauce

2-3 Tbsp Sunflower Seed Butter
1/3 Cup Warm Water
1/2 Tsp Umeboshi Paste

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl, adding water a touch at at time until the sauce is liquid enough to pour off of a spoon.

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Raw Rainbow Wraps

1 Head of Organic Purple Cabbage
1 Golden Beet
Tomato & Avocado Salsa
Sweet & Spicy Walnuts
Creamy Umeboshi Sauce
Fresh Basil

To assemble – cut the head of cabbage in half, this makes for smaller wraps that are more manageable.  Using a spiralizer or a hand peeler, twirl the beet into thin noodle like strips.  Prepare the Tomato Avocado Salsa, the Sweet & Spicy Walnuts, and the Umeboshi Sauce. Layer the beet noodles, then the other assorted toppings, finishing with the Umeboshi sauce and some fresh basil.  Fold up the bowl like cabbage head and sink your teeth right in!

Yum!  Enjoy!

A Raw Chocolate Adventure!

You’d think I have a sweet tooth…. Wouldn’t you?

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Having a growing fascination of cacao, the logical next step in my kitchen was to make chocolate.   Not melt already pressed chocolate chips, or squares…  actually make it.   I searched all over the city for a metate, I mean….  might as well go all out right? A metate is essentially a pestle and mortar that is a flat. It’s been used traditionally for milling grain, and more importantly by the Mayans – for making chocolate.  Grinding the raw cacao on a metate until it turns to a shining smooth liquid…  perfection. Of course I need one.   Unfortunately, my search yielded no such luck…  this left me with two choices: pestle and mortar or my antique spice grinder (enter my determination to not go the easiest route and use cacao powder…).  I tried both.  I do not recommend a spice or coffee grinder, there is just way too much fat in the cacao, it really gummed up inside.  Pestle and mortar… worked a whole heck of a lot better.. I have the blistered hand to prove it!

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I wanted to make my chocolate with a mix of raw cacao butter, and raw coconut butter… I’m on a bit of a coconut butter kick. I find it so sinful, it’s so tropical and amazing..  and with added health benefits. I just love it. Why wouldn’t I add it? A touch of flare to my little raw chocolate making madness.

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The raw chocolate movement is becoming so widespread, people wanting to know about the cacao plant itself, about the legends that surround chocolate, not just picking up a “candy” bar in the convenient store based on it’s wrapper. It’s amazing, I love it.  I feel that the shift in the global mind of the world towards being familiar with your food, the ingredients and energy that go into it… it’s perfect. It’s about time. If we are becoming more interested in adding raw, creative foods into our diets – why not start with something as delicious, nutrient dense and famed… as chocolate!? Just reading about how it was used as an ancient currency is enough to suck me into researching for hours.  I am fully able to have my very own ancient adventure… just by biting into one of these babies.

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Raw & Dark – Crunchy Chocolate Bites

3/4 Cup Raw Cacao Butter
3 Tbsp Raw Coconut Butter
1 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
3 Tbsp Raw Honey (agave, stevia, maple syrup for fully vegan options)
2-4 Tbsp Raw Cacao Nibs

Optional Super Awesome Toppings:
Cassia/Cinnamon
Marash Chili
Bee Pollen
Tiny Roses or Lavender Flowers
Maca Powder
Spirulina Powder
Goji Berries

Heat up a pot of water on the stove, remove it from the heat once it’s starting to steam. Place a glass bowl over top of the pot, allowing the bowl to heat up as well.  Gently melt the cacao butter and the coconut butter in the warmed bowl. Be patient, this can take some time depending on how large your bowl is. Both coconut and cacao butters/oils melt easily with little heat.  Once it has fully melted, add the cacao powder and the raw honey, stirring and incorporating as you add. Toss in the cacao nibs and give one final fold. Pour the liquid chocolate into cups or trays,  sprinkle with optional toppings if you so desire. Place in the fridge or freezer to set.  Store in the fridge.

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*Note – if cacao butter is not something you’re able to find, using coconut oil is another great option.  Coconut oil melts much faster than cacao butter does, so be absolutely sure to keep the chocolate refrigerated.

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Mean, Green & Delicious Raw Spaghetti

Lately I have been all about the zucchini noodles, I will have on any given day at least four zucchinis in my fridge… just waiting to be spun into perfect crisp noodles.  I know a lot of people who are not a fan of this delightful squash…  Reminiscing, fearing even – over cooked, squishy, tasteless summer squash – now that appeals to very few… if any. Luckily raw zucchini is absolutely wonderful, soaks up whatever tastes it’s paired with, and gives a nice juicy crunch with every bite.

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Using a spiralizer is the easiest way to make zucchini noodles..  well noodles out of any vegetable for that matter. You attach it on one end, spin towards the blade on the opposite end.. and voila!  So simple! It uses no electricity, just the power of your hand, which not only makes the earth smile… it of course is a wonder in the summer…  I for one do not wish to turn my stove on when it’s soaring upwards of 28 degrees.  Of course, adding the benefit of eating all sorts of spiralized vegetables –  raw…..

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This is a huge nutritional bonus, and is vital in the summer time. Being able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that have not traveled such a distance to get to our tables is so important. Huge nutrients are lost during the travel and storage of produce not in season. Here in Canada we are blessed with nutritive soil and (mostly) cooperative climate to enable all sorts of stone fruits, berries, greens, roots, etc in the summer season.  Sinking my teeth into a cherry that traveled no more than a day tops…  well, that’s the next best thing for someone like me who lives in the city and cannot have a large garden!

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Feeling something creamy as opposed to tomato, I dreamed up a green sort of Alfredo sauce. I wanted to add some spice to my “spaghetti” sauce without it being something fiery and hot. I didn’t want chili or big punchy pepper…  I opted instead for a very Canadian maple grainy mustard. Balancing out the spice in the mustard with some good ol’ maple was just perfect. Combine that with the sweetness of roasted garlic, the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast and I was basically in heaven.

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Green Spaghetti Alfredo

1 Large Zucchini
1 Ripe Avocado
5 Cloves of Roasted Garlic
1 Tbsp Maple Grainy Mustard
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp of Water
Salt & Pepper

Using a spiralizer, a vegetable peeler, or a very sharp knife – form your zucchini into a thin spaghetti shape, set aside in a bowl.  In a small blender, or using a pestle and mortar combine all remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper as desired. Dollop the creamy avocado Alfredo on top of the zucchini noodles and enjoy!

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Lemon Macaroons… the perfect blend of sweet and tart!

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Yum.   Really….  seriously… yum!

I have made macaroons a grand total of twice.. ever.  Once cooked, and I didn’t like them at all – and these ones.  Which are divine. An exceptional blend of exotic coconut, tart lemon and raw honey.  They are just perfect, especially for the summer season.

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Coconut is so super healthy, especially for those following a vegan diet as vegans can often be lacking medium-chain fatty acids. Coconut is antiviral and can be particularly helpful countering viral flare ups in those with a lowered or compromised immune system. Coconut is antimicrobial, antifungal, and boasts a high antioxidant content, all around just a fantastic tropical nut.  I recently purchased a jar of raw coconut butter, as well as my typical raw coconut oil…  the smell of that butter, oh my…  it’s so rich and beautiful.   I feel so lucky that my store shelves are every week becoming more and more stocked with amazing raw finds like that.  The awareness that is reaching people all over, encircling anyone who is willing to listen – it’s perfect.  Being able to choose between raw, unrefined, natural foods.. and processed foods.  Having the literature readily available whether in print, or online about what heavily processed foods do to the body, and having science to back it up.. it’s so helpful.  I think that the combination of dollar voting for organic, whole, raw, ethical, local etc… and the abundant information available virtually everywhere is an amazing start to a nourishment shift. A food shift.  A life, humanity, planetary shift.  I love it!

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Lemon Macaroons

1 Cup Raw Almond Meal
1 Cup Raw Dried Coconut Flakes (plus a bit extra for rolling)
4 Tbsp Raw Coconut Butter
2 Tbsp Raw Coconut Oil
1 Lemon
2-4 Tbsp Raw Honey

As with lots of raw treats, assembling these macaroons is incredibly simple. If your almonds are whole, blitz them in a food processor until they are finely ground. Zest and juice the lemon. In a large bowl mix the almond meal, lemon zest, coconut flakes, coconut butter and coconut oil. The mixture will be a bit crumbly – then add the lemon juice. The addition of the lemon juice will obviously moisten your mixture, then begin adding the honey 1 tablespoon at a time. I’d suggest tasting after 2 tablespoons of honey, depending on whether you are wanting a sweet or more of a tart treat.  Once it’s to your desired sweetness, form into small bite sized balls and roll in a touch more dried coconut flakes. Sit them on some wax paper in the fridge to firm up.  Store them in the fridge if they are not going to be used right away.

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Superpower Mint & Cacao Ice Cream

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I went to the farmers market a couple of days ago and walked out with such an abundance of fresh herbs… it was astounding. So delightful! My car smelled like heaven. Tiny bubbles of essential oils bursting off my lemon basil, Thai basil, apple mint, peppermint, cilantro and parsley.  Pure heaven. Something about the smell of basil…   I absolutely love it.  Basil and mint are definitely two of my favorites, and I buy them very frequently.

I had so much mint left over after infusing my water, making tea, glorifying salads…  you name it. The next logical venture was ice cream.  I won an ice cream maker at work some time ago and used it regularly for a while, after veering more towards an extremely limited animal product lifestyle I feel like I haven’t put that baby to use in ages!  With such a hot start to the weekend I was totally craving something icy and smooth…

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It had to be an ultra healthy ice cream…  but I really didn’t want it to be a banana base. I felt that banana would be a bit over powering, and I really wanted the beauty of the mint to shine. I also was bent on it being green, I considered macerating the mint leaves but opted for spirulina powder instead. It’s faster, greener, and with the added superpower nutrients.. the addition was a complete a no-brainer! Honey is always my first choice for sweetener, followed closely by maple syrup. I understand that honey is an animal product.. and strict vegans don’t eat it. Also I understand that maple syrup is not technically raw, stevia or agave are fine substitutes! This recipe is very straight forward, it does not require an ice cream maker…. although I did use mine because it was a lot easier than waiting for my tasty treat to freeze and I wanted to have some straight away!  Yum…  coconut, cacao, raw honey, and spirulina…  Could make Superfood Sundaes!

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Superpower Mint & Cacao Ice Cream

2 or 3 Cups of Young Coconut Meat*
1.5 Cups of Fresh Coconut Water*
Handful of Torn Mint Leaves
2 Tbsp Spirulina Powder
1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Nibs
3 Tbsp Raw Honey
(or agave, stevia, or whatever other sweetener you enjoy)

* If you cannot find young coconut meat & water or do not want to crack open your own young coconut…you could use 2 cans of coconut milk!

Blitz the young coconut meat, coconut water and honey in a blender until smooth and frothy. Transfer to a large chilled bowl. Add the mint, rubbing each leaf slightly before adding it into the bowl. This helps the oils release and will quickly infuse the coconut mixture with a minty taste and aroma, once the mint is finished add in the spirulina and stir well. Place the bowl in the fridge and allow it to get nice and cold, adding the cacao nibs right before you pour the mixture into the ice cream maker/freezer safe container. If using an ice cream maker, watch it after about 7 minutes because of the high water content it will start to freeze up in the middle while the outsides are still only slush.  Whether using an ice cream maker or not, I recommend freezing in a container such as a loaf pan, this will enable you to get a full rolling scoop once it’s frozen!

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