Sunday, 22 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Sleepy Sunday's Buffalo Cauliflower

When I think of snack food, it's funny that the actual items that I crave and make now are completely different than what they used to be. Although I went through a thousand phases diet-wise before settling into (very comfortably) veganism, there were certain items that I always loved. The realization I come to today, is that those greasy oil-rich foods I was eating weren't loved for what they actually were, but really for the sauces and spices they were made with. Or the dip, I am a big big fan of dipping things.

When I went vegetarian, I discovered the amazing world of spices. I truly found out what it was to cook amazing food, whereas before I mostly relied on packages foods, or easy to make meals. I started discovering an amazing world where I could make even more amazing food! I used to be the person who couldn't even make boxed mac and cheese well haha.

I can only attribute my love of food and making it to changing my lifestyle and discovering the whole foods, plant based way of living.

This recipe is super simple and the flavors can really be adjusted to whatever you want. Want asian inspired bites? Go for a peanuty sauce, or a sticky sweet garlic concoction. Thinking indian? A yellow curry would be delish. Go wherever your imagination takes you.




Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Ingredients:

- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4-1/2 cup hot sauce of choice.
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp paprika

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Spread cauliflower florets onto parchment paper over a cookie sheet. Roast for about 25  minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, combine all other ingredient in a large bowl. (you need enough room to toss the cauliflower in as well)

Remove the cauliflower from the over, carefully putting them into the big bowl and toss well to coat all the pieces. Return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and roast another 15-20 minutes, until slightly crispy.

Serve alone or with a dipping sauce of choice!

(The dip pictured didn't turn out as good as I thought it would, so it still needs a few changes)

Enjoy!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Thirsty Thursday's presents The Green Smoothie

So I totally went MIA and all. I caught what they call the MoFo flu, or at least that's what I'm calling it! I was too busy with too little organization and just derailed a little on the postings. I also had a week of clean super simple to the basics eating where nothing that involved more than a blender or boiling water was used.

But hey, the blender got good use for smoothies, which I tend to have everyday lately. My usually combo is bananas, greens and some coconut sugar, but today we had some awesome ripe pineapple that I just had to use, well really this one is mostly my partner's making but I did have some input.

I like to get in as many tender leafy greens as possible, it makes such a difference in how I feel and in my training regiment. on a day to day basis, I try to get in at least a pound of greens, up to two. This may seem like a lot, but really all it takes is a large smoothie and a decent sized salad and I attain my goal easily. Plus, greens go well with any starch, especially baby spinach.

The blast of nutrients you get from consuming greens will make your body hum with happiness. Seriously. I used to be really picky with them, until I started making green smoothies, where you don't really taste them at all if that's a block. Then came the awesome salads, once I went 80/10/10 I discovered how to make awesome dressing and combos that worked for me without added a ton of fat or oils to my daily diet. AND then I started making green juices, which are next level, although I haven't made much of them in the past few months after doing a green juice cleanse in the spring.

All this to say, eat your greens, it's not that hard and you'll feel awesome.






Pineapple Green Madness

Ingredients:
(Serves 1)

- 1 pineapple, cut in pieces.
- 2-3 bananas
- 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 large handfuls of spinach or half a bunch of kale.

Put all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth.
Drink it up!

Enjoy.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Fruity Friday's: The Banana and 5 ways to eat it.

I totally spazzed on yesterday's post. It was written and edited, just needed pictures and somehow it flew out of my mind and didn't come back until this morning after I had to get ready to go to work. I will be posting it at some point, but right now it's banana time.


Bananas are a huge staple for me. I will eat on average about 10 a day, but my record as of right now is 27. They are delicious, cheap and a great source of not only calories but also phytonutrients. Win-win-win.

With mostly following the principles behind the 80-10-10 "diet", eating a high carbohydrate diet and high fruit diet is where it's at in this household. Since bananas are available year round, they become something that you learn to love... and find many many ways of eating.


Since we had 80 lbs of them ripe at the same time (oops) the past few days have been filled with bananas, having close to 20 a day for me and much more for my partner. We both have our favorite ways to eat them, but certainly agree on the simple smoothie.  Simply bananas blended with water, or if we want to get fancy about it, some greens or berries. My combo of choice would have to be 6-8 bananas, 2 large handfuls of baby spinach and a rounded cup of frozen strawberries. That would qualify as Option 1.

Our 80lbs are almost half gone 2 days later.
Option 2 I would say whole, but is that cheating? I mean who doesn't love the convenience of the simplicity of eat a banana out of the peel. Nature provided it with it's own packaging, totally compostable and no waste. Plus it's easily transportable. I remember in University my lunch would just consist of a hand of bananas that I could easily have in my backpack, on top pf my books all safe from bruising.

Now this next one is actually my favorite way to eat bananas, just freeze them peeled and in chunks and blend away in the food processor for some amazing banana ice cream. I have a full post dedicated to it here.



I used to make banana pudding all the time, it's a quick high cal meal that's easy to eat and can be made ahead of time. It's basically just mashed bananas cinnamon and either dates or raisins, although you can easily use any kind of dried fruit.

Last but not least, banana mylk. I love the versatility of this, since it was easily replace milks in any of its non-cooked uses, like in cereal. Just blend the bananas with a generous quantity of filtered water as needed. It doesn't keep and has to be made to order, but the freshness is worth the extra minutes it takes to prepare. You can make it as thick or runny as you want and adjust it to everyones preferences easily.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Web Wednesday's: Spicy Peanut Sauce

Words for today's Web Wednesday's were peanut butter and broccoli. Mainly because the broccoli was needing to be used and I had a random craving for peanut butter, although I never usually buy the stuff I found an awesome new one at Veg Fest that I felt the need to test out. I might talk a bit more about when I've used it more.

Now broccolli and peanutd together automatically got me thinking something spicy and asian. So of course the simplest recipe came to mind, spicy peanut sauce served over broccoli and rice noodles. Off to the kitchen I went and with a few simple steps and less than 30 minutes, diner was served!

Quick and easy meals are somewhat of an essential in the society that we live in and making sure that they are healthy, plant based and whole really isn't complicated. Following KISS(keep is simple sweetheart) is a core foundation of how I eat and cook on a daily basis. I do love making a complex meal, but realistically it;s something thats done once in a while. I want good tasting nutritious awesome food without to much effort and within budget. Most of the recipes I post are exactly that!

Onto the sauce...








Spicy Peanut Sauce
Ingredients:

- 1 cup peanut butter.
- 1-2 cups water
- 1/3 cup tamari
- 1-3 tbsp hot sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1tbsp minced ginger

In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together. You want the consistency to be much more liquid han you want the final product to be, I used about 2 cups of water total.  Transfer to a pot or pan and heat on medium until thickened and ginger is fragrant, about 5-6 minutes.

Serve over steamed veggies and rice noodles or rice.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: TV Tueday's: Dexter's Kill Room Lettuce Wraps

Although TV and I have a on again, off again relationship (Let's just say I prefer the version without all the commercials), Dexter is definitely one of those shows that caught my eye. It's soon over though! Which is probably a good thing for me, since I have no clue and have no desire to know what's new out there, it means less time spent in front of a screen!

One of the most iconic foods, after doughnuts and breakfast, on the show is Cuban food. The culture is clearly present and they are often seen munching on sandwiches from the food truck. I decided to put a whole food raw twist on those and came up with a pretty darn good lettuce wrap (which totally appeals to my geek side and ties into the whole plastic wrap kill room deal)

Now that I think of it, a drizzle of hot sauce would have brought these to the next level visually...

There are also a few things I would do differently, like adding avocado slices and more mushroom, perhaps some cilantro if that floats your boat.

I actually never enjoyed raw mushrooms until I learned how to marinate them properly. With this technique, they transform and have a cooked texture and tons of flavor.




Somebody just couldn't wait until I was done taking pictures. 

Dexter's Kill Room Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

Mushrooms:
- 3-4 portobella mushroom caps, sliced thickly.
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/4 cup tamari
- Cumin, oregano, cayenne, pepper.

Marinate mushrooms for at least 1 hour, preferably 4-6 hours or overnight.

Wraps:

- Romaine lettuce leaves
- Shredded carrot
- Thinly sliced celery
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped cilantro
- Sliced avocado
- Mushroom slices

Assemble lettuce wraps and devour!


Monday, 9 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Metal Monday's: Guns n' Roses Incidental Spaghetti Squash

What with the weekend having been a medley of so many different foods, I am so happy to be back to eating clean whole foods. So tonight when I had a craving for some spaghetti (mostly sauce to be honest) I figured I should use some of the 10 spaghetti squash I got at the food terminal on Sunday morning. They are definitely my favorite squash, the texture is just too awesome, plus they taste great as is.

I did use a pre-made jarred tomato and basil sauce, reduced sodium of course as well as low fat and all that jazz. 

I love that a whole food can be used in place of the usually much more processed pastas. Although the one I usually buy is made solely of whole brown rice and water, this is much easier to digest and is packed full of so many more phytonutrients and all the good stuff. 

Of course what would metal monday's be without an awesome song to accompany it. I found the perfect album from Guns n' Roses awesomely named The Spaghetti Incident? which just perfectly worked, with the added bonus of classic awesome music. This was my pick simply because it talked about vegetables:



Without further adieu...






How to cook the perfect Spaghetti Squash

1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Cut the squash (or 3 in my case) in half from end to end and scoop out all the seeds
3. Lie the squah cut side down on a baking sheet and cook for about 40 minutes or until a fork pierces through the skin and flesh easily.
4. Using a fork, extract the flesh into a bowl and serve with your choice of seasonings or sauces. 

Enjoy!!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Sleepy Sunday's: 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival, Toronto.

This weekend was amaaaazing.

I ate so much amazing food, saw some amazing products, sampled a gazillion things and went to some very informative and inspiring talks.

Back to the food... I'll let the pictures talk on this one.























...Then I came home and had nothing but liters of water, clementines and went for a 9km run.

I loved it, but am very glad it only happens once a year!

I'll be going more into detail about the entire weekend and some of the things pictured above when the themes of this week correspond to it. Cause this girl is going to be eating tons of raw simple fruit and veggies this week. Since I'm seriously considering running my first half marathon (eek) at the end of October, this kind of eating just won't do! I love it, don't get me wrong, but we enjoy each others company so much more when we see each other sparingly.

And thus, I give massive kudos to the TVA who organizes such amazing events here in Toronto! It was truly the best veg even I've ever been to.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Vegan MoFo 2013: Fruity Friday AND Rawkin Saturday Combo Post: What I eat.

Since my planned recipe for yesterday didn't work out, I figured I'd do a combo post that showcases what it is exactly that I eat, what defines my food philosophy and also defines what this blog is all about.

I became plant based as on January 1st 2010, starting off with a slightly pescatarian diet and quickly progressing to vegetarian to vegan to high raw in a matter of about 7 months. Since then my diet has varied a bit, but has fundamentally followed certain guidelines. I've had a ton of success on it and have regained my health as well as shed 70 pounds (so far). But that's a whole story for another post!


These days, my ideal day starts off with a liter of water, sometimes with lemon. Then I have a breakfast consisting of fruit, sometimes a smoothie, sometimes just a generous quantity of whole ripe fresh awesomeness. When I say generous, I mean 7-10 bananas blended with strawberries, or 2 liters of fresh pressed orange juice. I prefer to stick with what's in season, but bananas are always a staple since they are easy to find, consistent and affordable. For lunch, it's usually also fruit, but sometimes a large salad with tons of greens (my faves being romaine, spinach and baby lettuces). If I feel like a snack it's again fruit, or veggies but sometimes rice crackers, or a bowl of rice. Dinners are by far my most complex meal, which is what most of the recipes here consist of.



I like to keep my cooked meal on the whole food plant based side of things. My meals are generally high carb and low fat, although I do deviate from that. My goal is more to keep an average of 80% carbs, 10% protein and fats. I feel my best when I stick to it and have found so many other that have as well, including people that I've coached. I also love being gluten-free and oil-free, low salt and low processed anything. I do occasionally deviate from this, generally when I go out to restaurants I am a bit more lenient but still keep it vegan and gluten free.

So dinner is often also very simple, like baked potatoes with salsa, or rice with steamed veggies.


Seasonality means that I try to stick to what's in season at all times, preferably local but since the winters here don;t have much to offer, I keep in mind what is in season around the world at that time.  I love peaches, berries and melons in the summer; dates, apples and pomegranates in the fall; citrus of all kinds, papayas and persimmons in the winter, as well as mangoes; and last but not least mangos, pineapple and the last of the oranges in the spring. Of course my diet varies much more than that, but since those are the best quality fruits at that time, they usually consist of my main sources of calories at that time along with bananas.


There are days where I will eat completely raw, and others when I might only have one meal of fruit, rarely does it happen that I have a day without raw foods.

My goals for the day food wise also include drinking 3 liters of water and eating over 2500 calories a day. It may seem like a lot to many people who are so used to calorie restricting, which I am far too familiar with, but the reality is that low calorie meals do not work long term. They are unsustainable and honestly who wants to live on will power alone?

I want to live an abundant life, a healthy life and a life filled with adventure and projects. In order to have the energy to do so, you have to eat. Plain and simple. The whole calories in, calories out rubbish has been debunked. I've never felt better or had so little issues losing excess weight than when I chose to eat more of the right foods instead of less of everything.

So rejoice and fill yourself with the delicacies of nature!