Friday, September 24, 2010

A Happy Friday Giveaway!

Nothing says TGIF like a giveaway! To help you celebrate this Friday, I'm giving away a $50 gift certificate to CSN Stores! With over 200 online stores to choose from, you can find everything and anything from dinnerware to awesome wall decals - I'm a sucker for a good wall decal - to portable planetarium projectors.

Here are some things from their stores that I particularly fell in love with (all under $50!!):
Starting at top left: WallCandy Arts Deerly Beloved Removable Wall Decals, ferm LIVING Mr. Robot Pillow, Banana Boys Set of Three Bottle Stoppers by Stefano Giovannoni for Alessi, ferm LIVING Small Stem Bowl, Alessi Mediterraneo Kitchen Jar Collection, notneutral City on a Plate Set, OWI Robots Solar Peppy Orangutan Kit, Zevro Wall-Mount Magnetic Spice Rack 12 Piece Set, Hadaki 15.4' Eva Laptop Case.

So many amazing things! I want them all! ...But especially that coral jar or the city on the plates - even just Berlin will do! Or the stem bowl! Definitely my top three. ...And the wall decals and Mr. Robot pillow...Top five...

How to enter
There are many ways to enter and you can get up to five entries:
1. stop by one of CSN Store's 200 websites and leave me a comment telling me what you'd spend the $50 on;
2. become a follower of my blog;
3. blog about the giveaway;
4. post the giveaway on twitter; and/or
5. post the giveaway on facebook.

Just leave me a comment telling me what you did so I know how many entries to give you. And if you're already a follower of my blog, leave a comment saying so so that I can count you for the extra entry.

And please make sure that I will be able to easily contact you when you win!! I'm cool with doing a bit of internet creeping to have to find an email address, but when I'm googling your blogger profile name with the name of your dog you mentioned in a comment on a long-ago post...well, I start to feel a bit too creepy.

The giveaway will be open until 9pm October 10, 2010.

Please note: This contest is open to US and Canadian readers only, as CSN Stores only ship to these two countries. Sorry!

Good luck everyone!!



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

wilted raw kale salad and a kale round up!

I've moved! Please visit me at my new home at for more recipes and healthy tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks! xoxoxo

I love kale. It's one of my favourite foods, my preferred leafy green and the last name of one of my best friends.

Kale, also known as borecole, is a a member of cabbage family (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group), along with broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussel sprouts. Easy to grow and full of nutrients, kale was a choice vegetable for England's Dig for Victory campaign during World Way II.

The history of this magnificent leafy green dates back at least 2000 years, when Sabellian kale, the ancestor to the kale we know today, was cultivated by the Greeks and the Romans in the fourth century BC. It was the most widely eaten green vegetable in Europe until the end of the Middle Ages, when cabbage eclipsed it in popularity. In fact, in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 13th centuries it found its way into the works of European writers.

In the 19th century, Kale finally found its way to North America – making its first stop in Canada – at the hands of Russian traders.

An outstanding source of vitamin K, a cup of boiled kale can proved over 1300% of your daily requirement (don't worry, it's super super hard to get too much vitamin K from food sources). Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with coagulation, or blood clotting. This tasty veggie is also high in vitamins A and C.
Full of glucosinolates, a sulfur-containing phytonutrient with anti-inflammatory, anticancer, immunosupportive, and antibiotic properties, kale – like many of the cruciferous vegetables – has been connected to cancer preventative benefits. In particular, studies have shown a positive benefit for cancers of the bladder, breast, colon, ovaries, and prostate.

Sadly, kale has lately been cropping up on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen, a list of the 12 foods with the most pesticide residue (after washed and cleaned). So you might want to go for organic, or grow your own. Its appearance on this list is surprising as kale is historically easy to grow, without the need for pesticides. In fact, many of its relatives in the brassica family have made it onto the Clean 15 – a list of the least toxic foods*.

There are lots of ways to enjoy this green god of a food (I see kale as male for some reason...), raw or cooked. I've selected some recipes from around the blogging world to help you make the most of your rendezvous' with this leafy green.
Clockwise from top left:
Kale and almond pesto over at Elana's Pantry
Avocado and kale soup by raw food crafting
Nine ways to make raw kale chips by rawmazing 
Cheesy kale-hemp-onion bread from Raw Sierra

Raw wilted kale salad
Serves 2

To eat kale raw, you need to make it into small, easily digestible pieces. You can do this by blending or pureeing it, or you can do this by wilting it. I've shown you how to wilt spinach, by letting it marinate. Well, kale, being tougher is much easier to wilt if you put some elbow grease into it.

To make
1 head of kale
1tbsp sea salt
tomato, chopped
cucumber, chopped
mushrooms, sliced
olives, pitted and sliced
...anything else you like in salad!

cut out the thickest parts of the stem, wash, dry, and put in your freezer to use in a future veggie broth. Cut the leafs into pieces, I usually do 1” strips or smaller. Put in a large bowl – don't worry about washing yet, we'll get to that later; dry kale wilts much more easily.

Massage the salt into the leaves – adding a bit more if needed – until the leaves wilt. Be careful if you have any cuts on your fingers...ow.

Once the kale has wilted, rinse very well in cold water and dry in a salad spinner.

Add in the other veggies and the dressing of your choice, maybe some hemp seeds or pecans, toss and enjoy. I usually dress my kale salads with a lemon juice, jalapeno (seeded), cayenne, olive oil blended mix, or with blended spinach, lemon juice and tomato, or spinach, tomato and avocado...the combinations are endless!

What are your favourite ways to eat kale?


p.s. pssst...That giveaway I was telling you about is coming up soon!!

*Check out Devan's post over at No More Cheeze to learn more about the veggies and fruits to splurge on for organic and those that you're ok to cheap out on.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

SNEAK PEEK: Blueberry explosion muffins

My guest-blog post for The Daily Dietribe's Gluten-Free Fall Specials is now up!

When I think fall, I think warm, oven-fresh baked goods. In celebration, I whipped up some gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, oil-free, incredibly flavour-full blueberry explosion muffins. Wanting to make a muffin that was light and fluffy with a natural sweetness and lots of flavour, I swapped out the oil for applesauce and the sugar for bananas and added in one of my fave tastes of fall: cinnamon.

The Daily Dietribe is a great gluten-free, sometimes vegan blog. Iris, the gluten-free genius behind the blog, shares her journey through gluten-freedom along with the tasty recipes she creates and encounters along the way. Basically that's a long way of saying "yum". She also has tons of fun blogging events, like the Adopt-a-Blogger event I somewhat recently participated in.

Here are some poser artsy muffin glamour shots for a little sneak preview (taste?) of the deliciousness this recipe has in store.

Check out the awesome monkey mug my friend Sarah got me for my birthday! On the back is the back of the monkey!!!

Using frozen blueberries will give your muffins a purple colour swirl.

Blueberries exploding!
A stolen muffin. I <3 you too Sabrina bean!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair

This weekend is the weekend of the 26th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair here in Toronto. Wow, that means that there's actually been one almost every year of my life!! That's crazy when you think about it that way!

It's held down at Harbourfront Centre and is free, free, free! It's put on by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, which also produces the free Vegetarian Directory. There are tons of vendors all selling their delicious wares at wonderful prices. And non-food vendors too but you all know how my mind works...There is live entertainment, and if you're at all involved even in a minor way in the Toronto veg*n scene, you'll see tons of people that you know! In fact, I even bumped into my neighbour from first and second year university, how's that for craziness!!

Anyway, it was my first time going (!!!) and it's an important event as for me it always marks the end of summer. I went with my friend Kristyna, who I'm happy to say had the same priority as I of making ourselves sick by eating more delicious food than we should. I had three things I had to do, get a nanaimo bar from LPK Culinary Groove, buy Daiya Cheese, and get some kung pao chicken from King's Cafe. Sadly, there were no exhibitors selling any cheese, LPK was out of everything but non-vegan brownies and King's Cafe only had some curry chicken, though that was pretty amazing. BUT! That's ok! Because it was still awesome.

Kristyna at the Food Fair

I introduced Kristyna to tofu from Ying Ying Soy Foods, which I feel is my duty to people unsure about tofu everywhere. They offer only Nigari Tofu that is processed like cheese curds, a 2,000-year-old method using sea water and natural salts. My fave flavour is the sweet and spicy one, but we discovered the curry flavour is also delicious. You can get their tofu year round at the St. Lawrence Market or at Essence of Life Organics in Kensington Market, or a bunch of other stores according to their website. We also tried the gardenin "beef tips". It tasted a little too much like actual beef to us, so I'm not the hugest fan. And it's like pure gluten, but if you're ok with gluten and miss the flavour and texture of actual meat, then I highly recommend!

Kristyna shared an amazing double chocolate chocolate chip cookie from Sweets From The Earth with me. WOW. I later got a brownie from them, which despite it`s smaller size absolutely slayed me with its richness. Like, I actually had to leave after eating it, it was that intense. Luckily I waited until late in the day to have it. It was delicious, don`t get me wrong, and I highly recommend it, but it's definitely to be shared with a friend! Or maybe just enjoyed when you haven't already eaten everything in sight...

We rocked out to lightsweetcrude, an awesome jam band. It was here that we really saw that the fair attracted a very eclectic crowd. There was everyone from elderly people in scooters to a woman dancing using a hula hoop.

We found a mexican place that sold vegan food, such as mushroom tacos!! I feel like they're called El Cinto...?? They're not in the programme so unfortunately I can't be sure. I'll try and track down the name. I also tried a vegan jamaican patty. Even though there was so so much gluten, I had to try it! I was obsessed with Jamaican patties when I was younger. While it was was a bit of a disappointment as it wasn't anything like the Jamaican patty I remember. I think that they could have pulled it off better with TVP and lots of spiciness! It was instead made of beans. Even that would have been fine, but it wasn't spicy at all. Became very delicious though when i put some of the super spicy Pav Bhaji Kristyna got from an Indian booth on it.

We laughed at this. If you know Toronto, you'll know that this is a tiny enclosed cement wading pool type of thing. And that the water isn't more than a foot deep. And that ten feet or so away is the lake. And that another little while off are the islands, with a huge beach. So, lots of places nearby to actually paddle. Yet these people chose to paddle here. So so very much a Toronto thing to do. Just like the fake grass everywhere! The grass at harbourfront is synthetic, and we got very nervous when we saw someone smoking on it. Such a Toronto thing. Sigh.

We ran into my friends Peter and Sarah and their friend, whose name I've forgotten...sorry guy!

And, perhaps most importantly, I got to hug a giant chicken man!!! If there's one thing I LOVE, it's mascots. With big cartoon faces. And they always give the best hugs! Now the exception are mascots like the giant pod of peas we saw. But that's because it had no cartoon face, it was just a guy dressed up like a pod of peas! Cool...but also a little unsettling. Though we did get to witness him hitting on a girl, which was stunning.

There's still time to go and experience the fun! And and and (!!) today they're having vegan iron chef!! And LPK Culinary Groove promised more nanaimo bars. exciting! Hope to see you there next year!!


SESSY UPDATE!! fixed the link to lightsweetcrude. sigh myspace is way too confusing for me. i feel old...

Hello September, Goodbye Summer

Camping in Northern Ontario

I know, I know...I've been a bad blogger. I kept starting to write a post, but then would get distracted by the fleeting summer. Sigh, summer...what happened summer? You let me down! Why have you been so cold??

I don't claim to be a weather expert, or even to know anything about weather patterns, in any way, but I blame Earl. Around the time that the hurricane started coming toward the Maritimes, it became super cold, very windy, and the flash torrential downpours started here in Toronto. Darn you, Earl, darn you!!

I kept hoping (I think we all did) that the warmth would come back...but the serious signs of the end of summer have since happened: the CNE and the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair. Sure signs of fall.

I've also been a bad blogger because I've just been bad when it comes to food. I have not been a very healthy girl at all. Or an inspired girl, when it comes to food.

BUT I'm back and there are a lot of exciting things coming up:
  • I am going to be guest blogging for Iris at The Daily Dietribe on September 19 to welcome the fall (will I overcome my bitterness about fall by then? That remains to be seen...).
  • There will be a GIVEAWAY(!!!) from a CSN store.
  • There will be a SNEAK PREVIEW from Victoria Boutenko's new book, Green for Life.
  • And I'm going back to school! To become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, which means that there will be a lot more food-and-health related content! 
 So stay tuned for all the fun things to come!!