Super Sprouting (Super Recipe Included)

SPROUT SOME GOOD

There is something so empowering about the word “superfood”. Although lately the word may have been distastefully regurgitated by health-food product advertisers, I still perk up when I hear of a new product that may give me a new “superpower”. While items like goji berries, golden berries and kombucha have all been discovered and highly promoted, I was surprised that something as power-packed as sprouted grains and legumes wasn’t already on my radar. And well, let’s just say my health food trend-meter is always on high alert.

I first came across a neatly pressed package of sprouted broccoli several months ago at a local vegan festival. After the vendor presented his pitch, I shelled out $5 and made the purchase. After the package arrived home, it sat unopened for months. Primarily because I had no idea what it was, how to eat it, or what benefits it provided. But during a sporadic kitchen cleaning, the lovely green box came back into my life. I became eager, and after a quick internet search I discovered I had a superfood in my cabinet (Yay!). To my splendid surprise I learned that adding a fabulous taste  and flavour to classic dishes, salads and sandwiches wasn’t the sprout’s only role. Sprouted grains and legumes such as broccoli, chickpeas, quinoa and buckwheat are considered to be an easy, meat-free and highly digestible protein source. They also have a distinctively crunchy texture and juicy, sweet but subtle taste. Packed with minerals, vitamins, healthy disease-averting compounds as well as protein, they are also great for overall digestion. In addition sprouts allow for better absorption of key minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. And if all that wasn’t enough, many will be glad to know that the uncomfortable, bloated feeling that can follow a meal of lentils or soy will be averted if you opt for the sprouted version!

So that’s all great right? But how do you incorporate sprouts into your diet? I brought my researching skills to the kitchen and found a DELICIOUS Broccoli Sprout Salad Recipe that seriously made me feel a little more like superwoman. This recipe makes a great side dish or main course. Try it out tonight!

Broccoli Sprout and Arugula Salad with Blackberries and Papaya (serves 4)

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons all-fruit blackberries preserves
2 tablespoon flaxseed oil (optional)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces broccoli sprouts
6 cups of baby arugula (about 3 ounces)
1 cup cubed papaya
1/2 cup chopped almonds

1 cup fresh blackberries

Preparation:

1. In a small bowl, combine grapefruit juice, blackberry preserves, flaxseed oil and olive oil. Whisk together until the well blended and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper and set aside

2. In a large bowl, combine broccoli sprouts, arugula, papaya, and almonds; toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat. (Refrigerate remaining dressing for another use)

3. Divide greens among four serving plates. Top with blackberries and serve!

To find out more information about a variety of sprouted grains/legumes, and instructions on how to sprout your own at home  (as well as other delicious recipes) check out Alive Magazine’s September issue here .
 
So, the reason I love “superfoods” is this: although there is no magical potion or powder (that I’ve discovered) to give me superwoman wings, these tasty new sprouted alternatives sure make me feel pretty fly 🙂
Happy Sprouting Lovelies!
-Elina
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DIY – All Natural Green Cleaner!

I recently wrote an article on how to detox your home while keeping it clean, beautiful and fresh Living Green Magazine “How to live in a Toxic Free Haven”. I singled out household cleaners and air fresheners as toxic and unnecessary items that we all harbour in our homes. Without realizing their potential harmful effects on our health. In lieu of the article I wanted to share a very simple and easy way to make an all natural, antibacterial, aromatic multi-purpose cleaner/ air freshener that is easy on our bodies and doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. Live clean and stay fresh with my version of a Witch-Hazel Lavender spray. Here’s what you will need:
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup water (purified or distilled if possible)
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 6 drops of other essential oils (lavender, lemon grass, rosemary, whatever your heart desires)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in your spray bottle, shake and clean!
Use it on your surfaces (add baking soda for a little extra scrubbing power), spray into the air to get rid of odors (or just to wake up your senses), clean windows and mirrors and even use it to wipe down and disinfect your yoga mat! The possibilities are endless. Tea tree oil  and witch hazel are both natural antibacterials, and they also have numerous healing and medicinal qualities. Breath this stuff in, its good for you! And of course just a few drops of an essential oil (I prefer lavender) will make you forever forget that artificially scented Fabreeze forever! The best part: It’s NOT expensive and you can continue to mix batches whenever your heart desires. Or your home requires!
Happy Cleaning!
Elina

Vegan Pesto Pita Pizza

Eat Your Greens!

When I first became a vegan, pizza was the one food I truly missed. But I was fearless and determined. Thus, I found amazing new ways to create vegan versions of my old favorites while experimenting with new topping ideas. Rewind to 7pm last night; I was hungry and frankly a little lazy to cook a real meal. Naturally pizza was a tempting fast food option. But dough and time were items I did not have. So I adjusted accordingly. The result was a chewy “cheesy” , tangy and fresh new take on a regular gourmet pesto pizza.  Easy to assemble, and ready in 10 minutes. Best part: Yummy and good for you! Here is what you need:

Ingredients:

2 white or whole wheat plain pitas

2 Tablespoons of vegan basil pesto

1 yellow zucchini, thinly sliced

Half a small tomato, sliced

1/4 of a red, orange or yellow bell pepper

BBQ flavoured organic tofu, cubed

1/2 cup of Daiya dairy free shredded “cheese”

1 Tablespoon pine nuts, crushed

handful of chopped parsley

handful of green olives

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 C

2) Place the pitas on a flat oven pan or cookie sheet

3) Evenly spread the pesto over the pitas

4) Sprinkle the “cheese” over the pitas

5) Evenly top the pizza with zucchini, tofu, peppers, tomato, olives

6) Sprinkle with chopped parsley and pine-nuts

7) Place in oven for 10 minutes

VOILA! Easy breezy and deliciously cheesy. A pizza that takes vegan gourmet to the next level. Shhh…don’t tell anyone the crust is pita bread! With pizza like this, slices from local pizza stores will never tempt you again.  Prepare with LOVE for even better results 🙂

Happy Pizza-Making!

Elina

Express Yourself!

Style Meets Compassion

As if waiting for the perfect owner, it just sat there. On the shelf it looked perfectly pretty, but lonely. Surrounded by the typical brand name labels and tacky sparkly attention-grabbers, I knew this one was different.

Strolling down the purse aisles at a Winners in Montreal, the last thing I expected to find was a beautiful, trendy and Peta friendly clutch. But tucked away behind Coach and Guess was this Urban Expressions gem. Spring/Summer 2012 has brought back big oversized clutches and this one couldn’t be more perfect for dressing up for late nights out or dressing down for casual strolls. Completely ecstatic about my unexpected shopping find, I wanted to know more about the products this brand offered. Turns out this certified Vegan purse was just one of many trendy, sustainable and affordable products that Urban Expressions has perfected.

Perfectly compassionate, and perfectly high-fashion, these purses are allowing eco-conscious shoppers like ourselves, to meet our style needs while being environmentally and socially responsible. And of-course if clutches aren’t your thing, there are are plenty of other options. From coral totes, to classy evening handbags, to fun and colorful over the shoulder satchels, there’s something in the mix that is bound to suit your style. L-O-V-E (Let Out your Vegan Expression)!

Check them out : http://urbanexpressions.net/

Happy Eco-Conscious Shopping! XOXO

Elina

The Down-Low on GMO

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I’ll make this simple, short and sweet. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are bad. Research has shown GMO products are dangerous to our health. The unpretty results have created much controversy and debate regarding the actual dangers. Food companies and agencies are defending their modification process as “genius technology”, while some researchers are saying that GMOs are the single biggest threat to human health. I’ll side with the researchers. Plus, in my experience, anything that doesn’t beat to the tune of nature is usually harmful in one way or another. I also don’t like the idea of my tomato looking and tasting like plastic.

In our savvy tech world, food has become the main experiment. Avoid being a guinea-pig by choosing to buy ORGANIC, especially when buying these top 10 GM foods:

1)  Soy – Yes tofu, is healthy. Yes, soy milk is good for you. But beware, and make sure your products contain soybeans which are organic.

2) Corn – Corn is rich in its taste and in its historical recipe uses. We love corn but it’s better to love organic corn.

3) Tomatoes – Basically the poster image for GMO foods, tomatoes were one of the first products to be modified. Let’s take back our tomatoes. Take them back to real.

4) Papayas – GMO papayas are banned from the European Union, yet marked safe for consumption in North America. If you can can find an organic papaya, you’re lucky there are not many out there!

5) Potatoes – Delicious and filling, but only if they’re not killing. Studies have shown adverse effects on mice consuming genetically modified potatoes. Steer clear and once again, purchase organic.

6) Cotton – For food purposes, the emphasis is on cottonseed oil. Avoid the regular versions and watch out for it as an ingredient in many dressings, baked goods and snack foods.

7) Sugar Beets – Watch your sweet tooth. When it comes to sugar beware and be smart, choose sugar alternatives or buy organic.

8) Canola – Often over-processed and altered for pesticide resistance, canola is another typical ingredient in many foods. Avoid it by reading the labels.

9) Salmon (for all the non-vegans out there!) – GMO salmon was called “monster fish” by some European fishermen, and for good reason. It can survive during any season and grow to full size twice as fast. Fishy business..

10) Zucchini– I love this green cucumber-looking vegetable! It goes so well with so many foods, and it can be used in an variety of recipes! It’s also really good for you…when organic.

Be safe, eat an assortment, and opt for organic, especially when purchasing the products on this list. Value your health and if required, shell out the extra dollar.  Most importantly say “NO!” to GMOs!

Happy GREEN Grocery Shopping!!! 🙂

Elina

Happy Monday!!!

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Well folks, another weekend has just ended and we are starting a new week. So instead of sulking in the Monday blues, look forward to all the wonderful things you are going to accomplish! Recognize all the opportunities that will come your way and take advantage of them! Remember there are “NO ACCIDENTS IN THE UNIVERSE”, so observe everything that happens and make the best of every situation!

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

– Thomas A Edison

Here is a funny video that puts everything in perspective:

https://www.youtube.com/v/J7Y6WXioVnw?version=3&hl=en_US

Happy Monday Everyone, Namaste!

-Elina

Yummy Apple Pecan Maple Pancakes (Vegan Of-course!!)

I stumbled upon this apple pecan pancake recipe a few months ago. However since I’m not a big “breakfast-food” type, I never got around to trying these out.  As luck would have it , this cloudy Sunday afternoon fate stepped in. As my i-pod shuffled to Jack Johnson’s Banana Pancakes, I remembered  this recipe and decided to give it a go. Weekend brunch will never be the same (this is how food addictions begin). Try them with some strawberry garnish for an extra boost of flavour. The combination of berries mingling with the maple syrup and pecans create an amazing crisp texture and fresh taste. Yum-factor was a 10 and they were pretty simple to make 🙂

Here is what you need:

1 1/2 cups soy milk

1/2 cup soft silken tofu

1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and quartered

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely crushed

Vegetable oil, for frying

Earth-Balance margarine, as a condiment

Maple syrup, as a condiment

Strawberries (optional, as a condiment)

• Put the soy milk, tofu, vegetable shortening, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and apples into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients are blended and the apples are finely chopped. Fold in the pecans.

• Heat a griddle or large frying pan coated with a thin layer of vegetable oil over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear then flip the pancake and cook it until it is lightly browned.

• Serve immediately with earth balance margarine,maple syrup and strawberries. Enjoy!

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes

Happy Breakfast-making!!

Elina