Vegetarian Cooking at Lepp Farm Market

Happy Sunday, everyone! On Tuesday March 8, I’ll be demonstrating 4 recipes at Lepp Farm Market in Abbotsford, BC. The event will run from 7-9ish, and will include a signed copy of Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

So sign up today HERE!

I’ve decided to post the recipes we’ll be making here instead of handing out recipe cards, because it’s more eco-friendly, and easier to find than a lost piece of paper.

Right?!

It’s also noteworthy to mention that while 3 of the 4 recipes are from Vegetarian Comfort Foods, the smoothie is from my latest book, Baby Nosh.

So here are the 4 recipes we’ll be going through, and I hope you love them! Xo

Recipe #1: Green Goodness Smoothie (From Baby Nosh)

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1 kale leaf
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. hemp hearts (optional)
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds (optional)

Method

  • Combine first 6 ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • Sprinkle with hemp hearts and chia seeds for extra awesomeness.

Recipe #2: Mediterranean Sprouted Endive Boats (from Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ zucchini
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup sprouted beans
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. Greek salad dressing (Rendezvous is perfect!)
  • 2 endive spears

Method

  • Clean the veggies, and throw the mushrooms, pepper, and zucchini in a food processor.
  • Process until piece are small, but not quite minced. Set aside.
  • Peel the carrot and set aside.
  • Peel layers off endive spears, and arrange on platter so the cavity is face-up, resembling boats. Set aside.
  • Place ¼ cup of water in skillet and heat to medium.
  • Once simmering, add processed veggies (not the carrots) and sprouted beans, and sauté for 2 minutes to soften, slightly.
  • Remove from heat and drain any remaining water. Add tamari to the heated mixture, toss to coat, and scoop into endive cavities.
  • Garnish with 2-3 strips of carrot, and serve.

Recipe #3: Squashed Puttanesca (From Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 3 cooked artichoke hearts
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. capers
  • ½ cup sliced black olives
  • ½ cup fresh, chopped parsley

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut squash lengthwise into two halves.
  • Grease cookie sheet with half the oil, and place squash flat-side down on sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice the onion, mince the garlic, slice fennel into “v” shapes, and quarter your artichokes.
  • Place pot on stove, and heat on medium. Once hot, add remaining oil, and throw in onion and garlic.
  • Let them brown while pushing around with spatula for about 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat down to medium and add tomatoes and fennel. Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove cover and add artichokes, capers, and olives, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove squash from oven, and flip over. Set two plates close to stove.
  • Remove the middle stringy, seedy part of the squash using a large spoon.
  • Using a fork, scrape the cavity of the squash so that it comes out in strips, like spaghetti.
  • Once squash is plated, it should resemble spaghetti noodles. Top with sauce and then garnish with chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe #4: Coconut Bliss Balls (From Vegetarian Comfort Foods)

(Makes approximately 36 balls)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Method

  • Mix all ingredients except for coconut together in food processor, until well combined.
  • Form into balls, roll in coconut, and place on parchment paper or in mini-muffin cups as you go.
  • Store in mini-muffin cups in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I hope to see you at Lepp Farm Market in a couple of days! For more vegetarian recipe ideas, check out Vegetarian Comfort Foods. xo

Vegetarian Comfort Foods

Recipes for The Wellness Show

Hey, everyone! I just wanted to share the two recipes I’ll be demonstrating for The Wellness Show this weekend. This event is taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre, located at 999 Canada Place. It runs from Friday to Sunday, and it’s awesome, so you should be there!

I’ll be on the Healthy Families Cooking Stage on Saturday, February 13th at 3:00 making Raw, Nut-Free Bliss Balls. I’ll also be making Sprouted Endive Boats on the same stage on Sunday, February 14th (Happy Valentine’s Day!) at 3:00. Both recipe are from my recipe book, Vegetarian Comfort Foods.

Here are the full recipes:

Raw, Nut-Free Bliss Balls (vegan and gluten-free)

Makes approximately 36 balls   

The original name for this recipe was “Nut Balls,” but I got very made fun of for it. Bliss Balls sounds a little better, I guess. (Not as much fun, though.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut OR chia seeds

Method

Mix all ingredients except for coconut together in food processor, until well combined. Form into balls, roll in coconut or chia seeds, and place on parchment paper or in mini-muffin cups as you go. Store in mini-muffin cups in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Sprouted Endive Boats (vegan and gluten-free)

Makes approximately 16

These cute little two-biters are super nutritious and look cool plated. They have tons of flavor, with the benefit of being wholesome and vegan. (My kinda tapa.) Note: sometimes it’s hard to find endive spears, so ask around.

Ingredients

  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ zucchini
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 cup sprouted beans
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. gluten-free tamari
  • 2 endive spears

Method

  1. Clean the veggies, and throw the mushrooms, pepper, and zucchini in a food processor. Process until piece are small, but not quite minced. Set aside.
  2. Peel the carrot and set aside. Peel layers off endive spears, and arrange on platter so the cavity is face-up, resembling boats. Set aside.
  3. Place ¼ cup of water in skillet and heat to medium. Once simmering, add processed veggies (not the carrots) and sprouted beans, and sauté for 2 minutes to soften, slightly.
  4. Remove from heat and drain any remaining water. Add tamari to the heated mixture, toss to coat, and scoop into endive cavities. Garnish with 2-3 strips of carrot, and serve.

Hope to see you all at The Wellness Show! xo

 

Fruit & Nut Smoothie Bowl

It all started because I went to Booster Juice for a green juice before my yoga class. After ordering, a saw a picture of a newly promoted smoothie bowl, and wanted that instead, but I had already ordered the juice.

I know. First world problems, right?

So after yoga, I raced home to make a smoothie bowl, and this is what happened:

Awesome, right? It was soooooo good, and I want to share the recipe. So here you go!

Fruit & Nut Smoothie Bowl

There’s everything you need in here for a blustery, rainy, dark, crazy Vancouver day. Eat it first; thank me later. xo

Ingredients for Smoothie:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 scoop Vega vanilla protein powder
  • 1/3 cup NutraCleanse™
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Ingredients for Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp. hemp hearts
  • 4 chopped dates
  • Other half of banana

Method

  1. Using a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), blend all of the smoothie ingredients together until thick and creamy.
  2. Spoon into bowl, and layer garnish ingredients over top.
  3. Take a picture (skip this if you’re not an Instagram freak like I am).
  4. Eat immediately.
  5. Feel full and happy and energized.

Are You a Dirty Vegan?

As Canadians and Americans increasingly make the move towards veganism, some are doing it right, and others are…not. It seems pretty straight-forward, right? Vegan equals no animal products. But just because you aren’t consuming animal products, doesn’t mean you’re making healthy choices that are synonymous with veganism.

Three Major Reasons People are Taking the Plunge

Health

Health

One reason people decide to cut animal products from their diet, is to reap the health rewards that come with eating mindfully. Those who view their bodies as temples and are reluctant to consume foods that harm rather than help, are more likely to give veganism a try. By cutting down on animal products, you automatically shave many processed foods (deli meat, hotdogs, pepperoni sticks, beef jerky), trans-fats, hormones, and unnecessary antibiotics from your diet.

Sustainability

Another reason to go vegan, is to stop contributing to unsustainable farming practices and the inevitable catastrophic results that occur from mass factory farming. The stats on land decimation caused by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) is devastating, and the water used to hydrate food animals directly takes away from water that could be saving the lives of thirsty human beings.

The system doesn’t work, and more and more consumers are recognizing that.

Ethics

The third reason people explore veganism, is an ethical one. Why kill animals if we don’t have to? Sure, in some parts of the world, animal products are mainstays and necessary to the survival of that area’s inhabitants, but not in most of North America. (There are some northern regions, where the people living there rely on animal blubber and meat to survive.) Unnecessary suffering seems…unnecessary.

Since more people than ever before are becoming open to veganism, it’s interesting to take a look at their eating practices. Despite point number one above (health), many vegans are unhealthy people, and there are a variety of factors that contribute to one becoming a ‘dirty’ vegan.

Three Signs that You’re a Dirty Vegan

Dirty vegan

You consume A LOT of sugar.  As in, waaaaaayy too much. A bowl of saltwater taffy is definitely vegan (I think…), but it has zero nutrition. If you have a sugar addiction, don’t hide behind your new-found veganism—kick it to the curb with a fruit replacement, or, if you drink soda, convert to sparkling water.

You rely on processed foods. Again, a box of Oreos is vegan—this one I know for sure. But nutrition-wise? Another zero. Homemade granola or even grainy crackers are a better alternative. You have to be careful to not fall into the “it’s vegan—I’m good” trap. Just because it doesn’t contain animal products, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Don’t assume a processed veggie dog has the same quality protein as a cup of chickpeas. It doesn’t.

You’re unaware of your nutrient intake. Many may feel that a stellar diet might consist of consuming only apples and carrots, but that’s incorrect. Remember that we, as human beings, require carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, millet, and other whole grains, fruits, seeds), protein (beans, tofu, nuts, seeds), and fat (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts). Consciously consuming a great variety of the above foods as well as a plethora of vegetables and water is what makes your body happy and healthy, and that’s the main purpose of anyone’s intent when going vegan—to make the environment, animals, and ourselves happier and healthier.

So don’t be a dirty vegan. Remind yourself what your initial motivation was, why it’s important to you, what other amazing reasons there are for going vegan, and what your ultimate goal is.

Being dirty can be fun, but not at the expense of your health.

Book Launch + Foodie Stuff

Events and book launch

Excuses + Announcements + Events 

Hey, friends! I’ve been a busy girl. Actually, if it’s possible to be both lazy and busy at the same time, then that’s what I’ve been. Because I don’t feel particularly productive, lately…but I’ll think about that, later.

Anyway, I’m SUPER excited to announce the book launch for Vegetarian Comfort Foods! The book is being released on August 4th, but the launch will take place on August 20th at (drumroll, please!)…Wildflower Artisan Collective, in Abbotsford, BC!

The super cool part of this announcement is that this venue isn’t even open yet. It’s brand-spankin’ new–just like the book!

If you’re in the Vancouver/Fraser Valley area and feel the need to show off the fact that you spend your Thursday nights attending literary events (hehehe), then show your face, ladies and gents! There will be vino from a very generous yet-to-be-named wine sponsor, and goodies, and general awesomeness.

A bit about Wildflower: this very new business will be housing ONLY hand-crafted, locally-produced goods made by the citizens surrounding Abbotsford, BC. How cool is that?! The amazing ladies who are running the show are no joke–their first baby (aside from their actual babies) is Twine Abode, which is an eco-friendly skincare line.

I’m just so excited to be part of this whole thing, and I hope you can make it, so you feel the same way. Stay tuned for more details and the launch grows nearer, and in the meantime, I might try and post more than I have been lately. Admittedly, Fresh + Fit and the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC) and Baby Nosh are taking up all my time.

I’m lovin’ me a few great projects right now.

Enjoy the rest of May, and let me leave you with a recipe for a kick-ass smoothie. xo

Banana oatmeal smoothie

Deliciously Date-able Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 8 frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 pitted dates

Method

Blend until seemingly smooth. (You’ll probably still get a few tiny date chunks, which are delicious.) Drink up and smile! xo

Ditch the Dairy + Go Nutty for Nuts!

Raw Unsalted Cashews

As a wannabe vegan (I consume seafood, but no other meats, and very rarely dairy, but no eggs—how’s that for confusing?), I’ve come to love the benefits of nuts in my diet. These tiny protein and good-fat powerhouses make a fabulous replacement for dairy products, and this post intends to convince you of that. There are even DIY videos for making nut cheese are the end!

Here we go…

Whole Nuts

Nuts are an amazing way to pack protein and good quality fats into your plant-based diet. Adding a handful of almonds to a salad, or eating a few walnuts with a banana for your morning snack is crazy healthy. The key is to only consume 6-10 nuts at a time—they are high in calories, and it’s very easy to throw back your entire day’s caloric intake by snacking on a whole bag.

Best nuts to consume? I love raw, organic, unflavoured almonds, cashews, walnuts, beech nuts, and pecans.

Nut Butters

Ditch the boring peanut butter, and say hello to a whole new world of other nut and seed butters. Cashew, almond, sesame seed (tahini), sunflower, and brown pea butters are my absolute faves. Always be sure to purchase organic nut products, because unfortunately, nuts are one of those crops that are usually soaked in pesticides.

Yuck. Go organic, all the way.

almond milk  

Nut Milks

Ok—you’re in Jen-Land, now. I am the absolute connoisseur on milk alternatives. (Cow milk is nasty—even the organic stuff. It does not work well with our bodies, and is usually full of hormones, additives, antibiotics, and even (gulp) pus from the animals’ mastitis issues. Gross.)

Anyway…

Milk alternatives have come a long, long way. In the past, the only alternatives available were soy (but not organic, and tasted very chalky), and goat’s milk, which was incredibly wild and pungent tasting. Welcome to 2015—where milk alternatives rule the universe!

Although there are many notable brands that make a fab milk alternatives (Silk, So Nice, So Good, etc), my go-to is Vancouver’s Earth’s Own. They make an insanely delish cashew and almond milk, as well as other types. SERIOUSLY—try these products. They’re to die for.

It’s also pretty simple to make your own nut milk using soaked nuts, a Vitamix, and a cheesecloth, but honestly, I just prefer to purchase it ready-made.

Nut Cheese

For the non-vegans out there, I can almost hear you think “Errr…what? Nut Cheese?!”

Nuts make a great base for homemade, plant-based cheeses. My favourite way to make nut cheese, is to soak 1 cup of raw, organic cashews in water for 2 hours. Ditch the water, and place in Vitamix or other high-powered blender. Add 2 tbsp. almond or cashew milk, a pinch of sea salt, and 1 tbsp. or nutritional yeast (Red Star is my fave). Blend until smooth, and use to top steamed or raw veggies, in pasta, or anything else you want.

If you’re looking for a hard cheese, check this awesome 3-part series on YouTube:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNpqqE25RYI]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3eYP6EmWWU]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSTAfaFeT5k]

You’re welcome! xo

This Year's Top 10 Wellness Trends

WellnessShowBanner

The Wellness Show is a weekend-long celebration of health and wellness, hosted each year in Vancouver. This year’s dates are the 13th-15th, and I’ll be there as a blogger on behalf on My Van City on the Sunday.

Feel free to hunt me down and say hi!

This year’s wellness experts put a lot of time and effort into researching the latest health trends, which I’m finding SUPER interesting. Some are surprising (I thought sprouting was in a couple of years ago),  but most are not (being more zen is definitely on trend). 😉 The rest of this post was written and passed along for The Happy Healthy Life to share by The Wellness Show, so without further adieu:

Here are the top trends we’re currently seeing in health and wellness:

1- Sprouting: Sprouting raw nuts, seeds, beans and grains is one of the quickest, easiest ways to pack a group of   nutrients into your body in just one handful. Eating sprouted foods also aids in digestion and helps to make your body’s PH more alkaline. Chat with the experts from Sprout Growers Dome at the show.

2- Non-GMOs: Not only are genetically modified foods unkind to the environment, but they are also bad for our bodies. You’ll find non-GMO-verified exhibitors at the Wellness Show. You¹ll also find kinder, better tasting, and better for you meat options, like local, grass-fed, free range beef and pork. Learn how to cook it, too, at one of our cooking demos!

3- Healthy snacking and smoothies/juices: Cold-pressed juices and smoothies are a great way to get a ton of vitamins and minerals in a very portable package. Vitamix will be one of the exhibitors at the show, and we’ll also have juices to sample from Bremner Juices, and supplements like vegan protein powders and Greens+ Superfood to boost your juice. Learn about healthy snacking on the run from our very own Liz Pearson, and discover the newest trend: Smoothie Bowls. They incorporate a smoothie, along with additional fresh fruit, and granola.

Happy Healthy Gut

4- Good for your gut: Fermented foods are great for us, because they contain helpful bacteria that help with immunity and digestion. While at the Wellness Show, sample some saurkraut, sip some kombucha, try some sourdough bread or yogurt from Liberte and Yoplait. You can also try the latest probiotics at Nature’s Fare and Pure Pharmacy.

5- Bone Broth: one of the newest and most popular health food trends right now, this nutrient-dense, inexpensive and easy to make consume is thought to be excellent for bones and teeth, due to its high collagen content.

cabbage

6- Cruciferous vegetables: Cauliflower is the current reigning king of cruciferous. You can make it into rice, you can mash it, and you can roast it whole. It takes on spices and flavouring incredibly well, and it¹s low in carbs. Other cruciferous veg that the world is currently loving? Brussels sprouts and other cabbages, for their ability to fill you up and their high fiber and vitamin content.

7- Stealthy Healthy: A fantastic new trend in eating out is healthy upscale restaurants. You no longer have to resort to ordering a salad when eating out if you want to be healthy. Restaurants are now dedicated to creating healthy food that looks and tastes amazing. Attend cooking demos by the chefs from Graze, Calabash, Tojos, and Top Chefs to learn new, healthy recipes and techniques.

8- Wearable tech: One of the biggest fitness trends is wearable tech that monitors your daily steps, how much you sleep, how much you eat, and how many calories you burn on your workout. Your tech is linked to your home computer or your smartphone. Another trend is apps‹your smartphone can now source your healthy lunch, prompt you to drink water, or help you to workout.

Beautiful healthy Young Woman lying on the green grass

9- Connecting with your inner Zen: We need calm and peace more than ever in today’s busy world with never-ending emails and Facebook updates. Take a class on how to meditate, and learn how to better manage your stress. Learn about floating at Pure Float, and block out the world for a few moments to focus and centre.

10- New fun workouts:  Instead of hour-long workouts, the trend is to shorter, 20 or 30 minute, high-intensity workouts. Take a dance fit class at the show, or, learn how to set up your own home gym from Flaman Fitnness. Outdoor workouts are another great trend happening right now being outdoors has wonderful benefits to add to exercise. Connect with The Pole Lady to find out how you can take your daily walk to the next level!

If you want to connect with the amazing people who put all these stats into a fun way to see if you’re on trend, visit The Wellness Show, which runs Friday, February 13 (noon to 7 pm), Saturday, February 14 (10 am to 7 pm) and Sunday, February 15 (10 am to 6 pm) at the Vancouver Convention Centre, East Building Exhibit Hall B & C, 999 Canada Place. Ticket prices are: $14.50 (General Admission), $12.50 (Seniors & Students), $6.00 (Children 6-15), and FREE (Children 5 & Under), 3 Day Passes are available for $30. Admission is available at the door, or may be purchased in advance online at www.thewellnessshow.com.

Be well, amigos! xo

Better than Botox: 10 Hacks for Younger-Looking Skin

Beauty Skin Care

Maybe I’m writing this because my birthday is today. As each year goes by, I notice more and more fine lines on my forehead and grey in my hair. I also swore I would NEVER get botox, but I’ve caught myself staring into the mirror on more than a couple (or a hundred) occasions, physically pulling the skin on my face taut in order to see what I’d look like if I did have it done.

And not that this is even related to this post, but WHY do men only get better looking as they age? (Grey hair? Wrinkles? No problem–it’s hot!) Wtf?! Ugh.

Aging skin can be depressing, but here are 10 hacks that can make a massive difference to the youthfulness of your body’s largest organ, sans chemical peels, injections, and/or other invasive procedures:

Cucumber Water

  • Drink a TON of water. It goes without saying that hydrated skin is happy skin. It’s able to detox better, and people who stay hydrated experience less acne and dry skin.
  • Limit alcohol. Because it’s dehydrating. See how that works? Alcohol starves your skin of oxygen, and makes your face appear swollen and unhealthy the day after a bender. Consistent use can make your skin grey and listless, and enhance the appearance of wrinkles, tiny blood vessels, and permanently ruddy-looking cheeks.
  • Exfoliate your face twice a week. This is to remove dead skin cells, which is important for proper skin regeneration. If old cells don’t get whisked away, new ones are produced more slowly and then tend to build up under the old ones, which causes acne and a dull appearance.
  • Steam once a week. Your skin loves this! It forces the detoxification process, and results in healthier, glowing skin.
  • Use cold gel masks. This hack reduces swelling and tightens pores. You can also use cold cucumber and tea bags on the eyes for 4-5 minutes—it reduces puffiness in all the right places.
  • Don’t get sunburnt. Sunburnt skin is damaged skin, and damaged skin looks like crap. Just sayin’. I hate promoting sunscreen, because there can be a lot of crazy shit in there, so I’m just to advise against getting burnt, instead.

Beet Juice

  • Eat (or drink) your vegetables. Vegetables contain water, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that your skin loves. They also encourage waste removal via the colon, which keeps the entire body healthy, including your skin.
  • Make use of herbs that contain silica. Horsetail, rosemary, sage, and yarrow are all amazing herbs for your hair, skin, and nails. You can take them in capsule form, or make your own tea from them.
  • SWEAT regularly. Again, sweating (via regular exercise) encourages the detoxification process, which leads to healthy, younger-looking skin. It also increases circulation, and gives your face that healthy glow that fit people generally have.
  • Get lots of sleep. This is more important that most people realize, but it’s easier said than done. Your body repairs and reboots when you sleep, and adequate sleep is vital to your health. Because stress and other factors may impede great zzz’s, it’s imperative to prioritize de-stressing and hitting the hay for at least 8 hours a night. Reading, meditation, and sex all help to power your brain down before you close your eyes.

So there you have it—hack away to younger-looking skin in no time. Happy Meatless Monday! xo

Win a Free Copy of The Vegiterranean Diet!

Vegiterranean-Diet-Cover-200x300

Hey, friends! Happy Sunday!

As many of you already know, a new healthy book giveaway is introduced on the first day of each month, and February’s is a goodie! This month, enter to win a free copy of The Vegiterranean Diet by Julieanna Hever (the Plant-Based Dietician) HERE!

Good luck; the winner will be announced on March 1st. xo