Tuesday, January 13

Kale Craver and a This Rawsome Vegan Life Give-a-way!!!


Another give-a-way? Let me explain!

When I first began to blog, I would spend hours on the computer each and every night perusing others food sites. I would pour over the little details in order to learn how to improve my own blog and style.I would examine the layout of blog headers, the angle at which they photographed the dish, the colour, the composition, you name it. In the midst of being metaphorically knee deep in food blogs and fumbling for direction, I stumbled across the most gorgeous cake photo on Pinterest. With some frantic searching I found the origin of the culinary masterpiece and was introduced to the gorgeous blog and world of This Rawsome Vegan Life. Finding the site was like falling down the rabbit hole and landing in a world comprised of the most mouthwatering cashew cheesecakes, rainbow coloured smoothies, and electric salads I could have ever imagined. 

After finding out that the blog's creator, Emily von Euw, was a fellow British Columbian who lived no more than one-hundred kilometers away from me, I suddenly felt compelled to send her message. My note was a little silly (probably due to that glass of wine I had before writing it, which we all know is a bad idea!) and as soon as I hit 'send', I sat back on the couch and thought to myself  "what did I just do?". Insecurity and anxiety began to grow - "did I spell everything correct", "did that even make sense?", "will she even read it?". By the next day I had forgotten all about the uneasiness I felt about the email the night before, and routinely went around to check my messages. Much to my excitement, awe, shock, and utter amazement, there was a message in my inbox and it was from her! It was full of the sweetest comments, supporting words, and loving advice I could have imagined. For the last two years our little blogging friendship has blossomed. We have joined forces on blog posts, supported each other along the way, and she remains a wonderful source of blogging support to me. But enough about me, lets talk about Emily!


Last year I was thrilled when Emily released her first book which I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! So when I heard she was releasing another book, I was overjoyed. Luckily for me I was sent a copy of her new book 100 Best Juices, Smoothies, and Healthy Snacks, along with a copy to give-a-way to one of my lovely readers! Like her first book, 100 Juices is overflowing with the most mouthwatering photographs (see below) that will make you dream of smoothies every night. Beyond being a bright, charismatic, funny, and all around lovely human, Emily has a way with veggies that few people could master. She is passionate about her ingredients and doesn't bother messing around with a good thing. Her recipes are simple, natural, and best of all, easy! Upon opening 100 Smoothies, my attention was quickly drawn straight to the juice section. While I have always made juice in the past using my old dinosaur of a blender, I just received a Vitamix from a very special somebody, and desperately wanted to try it out...so juice seemed like the best possible option.


***To be entered to win a copy of Emily's new book, please let me know your favorite juice or smoothie flavour in the comments below. The winner will be chosen at random on Monday, January 19th at 9 a.m. PST. My condolences, but this contest is open to Canadian and U.S. addresses only.***


Photos courtesy of Page St. Publishing

While there were a spectacular array of juices to choose from, I narrowed it down to the kale one, because what can I say, I'm just such a sucker for a green juice. This one is a perfect balance of sweet and savory, with a touch of spice from raw garlic and ginger. Sometimes green juice tastes too healthy, or too much like celery for my liking, but this one combines juicy apples and cucumbers along with the classic kale and celery combo to make a nourishing and delicious drink. I pureed the ingredients in my Vitamix in three different batches, then strained through a nut milk bag (or cheese cloth). If you don't have a juicer or a high-speed blender, try blending in your conventional blender (again, in small batches) with just enough water to help the contents move. Strain this mixture through cheese cloth or a nut milk bag before serving. 



Kale Craver


Recipe: (Serves 2-4)

by Emily von Euw
printed with permission of Page St. Publishing

2 Green Apples
3 Cups Kale
6 Celery Sticks
1 Cucumber
1 Garlic Clove
1 tbsp Ginger
1 Lemon

Procedure:

1. Wash, peel, and chop the veggies and if needed, remove any seeds.
2. Put everything through a juicer or blender, straining as needed. 


xox Sophie

Thursday, January 8

Sweet Potato Hash, Surprise Smoothie, and a Give-a-Way!


Happy New Years, everyone! I can't believe it's 2015 already, Y2K feels like only yesterday. But here we are another year later and a fresh start. And what better way to start off the year than with a giveaway!

A few weeks back I was asked by the lovely folks over at Sasquatch Books if I would be willing to giveaway copies of their brand new cook books, and obviously I jumped at the opportunity. I was beyond delighted when I received Fresh & Fermented and Anti-Inflammatory Eating in the mail. While both books are not strictly veggie, they contain quite a few vegetable based recipes and recipes that can easily be veggie-fied (see below). The first time I opened Fresh & Fermented, I actually squealed (cookbook nerd, or what?). Beyond being full of mouthwatering photos and simple step-by-step recipes for kimchi, sauerkraut, and fermented carrots, the book is totally ingenious. I'm talking recipes here that include adding fermented foods into cakes, popsicle, and breakfast, including smoothies and oatmeal - I know, you're all thinking "why didn't I think of that?", well me too! 

While the idea of adding something as pickley as sauerkraut to something as sweet and, well, drink-like such as a smoothie may be be a little questionable, I knew that that was the recipe I had to try. The natural sweetness of berries, banana, and soft fruit, magically mask any lacto-fermentation flavour one could pick up on, while the addition of the sauerkraut provides you with healthy probiotics that will make your tummy happy. This drink is perfect for kids, picky eaters, or those just looking for some extra awesomeness to include in their diet. You'd be hard-pressed to even notice the sneaky sauerkraut addition, cabbage haters and all.


Now to the Giveaway!

To win a copy of both Fresh & Fermented and Anti-Inflammatory Eating, simply tell me your favourite breakfast food, or anything else you like to cook for that matter, in the comment section below. The winner will be chosen at random from the entries. Contest closes on this Tuesday at 9 a.m Pacific time. My apologies, but this contest is open to Canada and the U.S. only.


Classic Kraut Smoothie

From Fresh and Fermented by O'Brien and Climenhage
Reprinted with permission form Sasquatch Books

This is a basic smoothie recipe which lends itself wonderfully to your own favourite additions. Try adding such boosters as hemp seeds, coconut oil, or bee pollen.

Recipe: Serves 2-3

1 Medium Banana 
1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries)
1 Apple, Nectarine, or Pear (quartered and cored)
1/4 Cup Plain Sauerkraut (drained)
1 Cup Plant Milk, or more to taste

Procedure:

1. Combine the banana, berries, apple/pear, sauerkraut, and milk in a blender and puree until smooth and desired consistency is reached.
2. Garnish with your favourite smoothie topper.  




Sweet Potato Hash

Reprinted with permission form Sasquatch Books

While the original recipe called for sausages, I turned this dish vegan by subbing them out with double the mushrooms. If that suits your fancy however, reduce the amount of mushrooms by half and begin by browning the contents of two sausages in the pan, removing them from the skillet before adding the onions. Return them to the pan prior to popping the dish in the oven. If your are looking for an ovo-vegetarian dish, try serving the hash with a poached or fried egg on top.

Recipe: Serves 2-4

1 Large Onion, thinly sliced into half rings
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
2 Cup Chopped Cremini Mushrooms
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Unpeeled Yams, cut into 1 cm (just over 1/4 inch) cubes
1 Cup Packed Finely Chopped Kale
1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme
1 Thsp. Fresh Oregano
1 tsp. Dried Sage
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. Ground Pepper

Serve along with

  • toast, avocado, eggs, chili flakes, or hot sauce.

Procedure:

1. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium, add the oil and onion and saute until the onions begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190 C (375 F)
2. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook just until softened, about three more minutes.
3. Stir in the yams and the kale, along with the herbs and seasoning.
4. Transfer the pan to the oven and continue to cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the yams are tender. 


xox Sophie

Sunday, December 21

Fresh Gingerbread Cookies

When it comes to the holidays, I'm a bit of the Charlie Brown type. No matter how hard I try, it just doesn't feel as 'holiday-ish' as I'd like it to. So following the sage advice of Mr. Brown, I can simply remedy this by getting involved, and for me, that means baking! Since I've been away from home for the last four months, I haven't had time to put much planning or energy into my holiday treat menu. So this year, it's going to be a super simple, fuss free baking fest, and what better way to begin than with some classic ginger bread cookies. 

Unlike the typical gingerbread cookies which rely on powdered ginger, these utilize the warming spice and zestiness of fresh ginger. With the addition of cardamon and black pepper a Nordic spin and a little bit of a bite rounds out the spices. While we don't often think about spices as being healing, the classic holiday spices found in these cookies help make an often decadent time of year a little more balanced.  


Ginger - One of my favourite spices, ginger is an all around powerhouse. Mostly known as a stomach sedative, ginger can help reduce motion sickness and nausea. A little lesser known fact, ginger is an anti-inflammatory and can help reduce swelling due to arthritis.

Cinnamon - An essential spice for Gingerbread, cinnamon helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol as well as being anti-viral. 

Clove - Cloves are a great spice to help prevent the winter colds and flu's as well as an expectorant to help bring up mucociliary secretions (aka. phlegm - yuck!).

Nutmeg - Beyond being delicious, nutmeg has a team of therapeutic properties which vary from digestive to anti-fungal and anti-depressant. 

Cardamon - Much like ginger and turmeric, cardamon is anti-inflammatory as well as a detoxifier and as a diuretic helping maintain healthy kidneys and urinary tract.

Black Pepper - While we don't often think of our everyday pepper as being good for us, black pepper is full of manganese. Having enough manganese in your diet helps support bone development and healing.     


Fresh Gingerbread Cookies

Recipe: (Makes 30 or so Cookies)

1 Tbsp. Ground Chia Seed or Flax mixed with 3 Tbsp. Water
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
6 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
2 Tbsp. Almond Butter
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp. Grated Fresh Ginger
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1/8 tsp. Ground Clove
4 Tbsp. Black strap Molasses
2 Cups Spelt Flour, I used half Whole and half White

Procedure:

1. Begin by making the chia egg by combining the ground chia with the water. Let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Combine the chia egg with the melted oil, almond butter, grated ginger, and molasses. 

3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, ground cloves, cardamon, nutmeg, and cinnamon, along with the baking soda and salt. Mix well before adding the coconut sugar. 

4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a electric beater until the dough is well combined. Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment until it is about 1/2 a cm (1/4 of an inch) thick then refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

5. Once chilled cut shapes out of the dough using cookie cutters. Bake cookies on parchment lined trays (keeping about 3 cm of space between cookies) and bake in a 175 C (350 C) oven for 6-8 minutes, or until they just start to brown.

6. Roll and chill remaining dough before cutting more cookies.

7. Let cookies cool before icing. 

Coconut Icing Two Ways

For these cookies I made up two icings to choose from. The first one uses the creaminess of soaked cashews instead of icing sugar, while the second recipe is a simple vegan version of a classic icing.

Cashew Coconut Icing Recipe:

1/2 Cup Cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
2-3 tsp. Liquid Sweetened (I used maple syrup, but it will affect the end colour)
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted 
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Procedure:

1. Begin by soaking the cashews ahead of time. Combine the drained cashews with the melted coconut oil, vanilla, and liquid sweetener in a high speed blender. 

2. Puree until smooth.

3. Pipe the cookies and let set up or put in the refrigerator to set before placing in a airtight container. 

Classic Icing Recipe:

2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, melted
1 Tbsp. Plant Milk
8 Tbsp. Organic Icing Sugar 
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Procedure:

1. Begin by stirring the melted coconut oil, plant milk, and 4 Tbsp. icing sugar until smooth. Slowly add the rest of the icing sugar until the icing is smooth, then add the vanilla.

2. Using a piping bag or a sandwich bag, outline cookies. Let the icing dry before putting the cookies in an airtight container.  

xox Sophie