Tuesday, March 29, 2011

smoothie saturday - strawberry fields forever

"Let me take you down, cause I'm going to Strawberry Fields.
Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about. Strawberry Fields Forever." 

I'm sure you are all familiar with those very famous and eloquent song lyrics. John Lennon sang them way back in 1967 on The Beatles incredible single, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever which deals with themes of childhood memories and nostalgia for the group's hometown, Liverpool.

I had the chance to visit Strawberry Field, the site of a now demolished Salvation Army home, in Liverpool this past May (absolute dream come true!). Lennon's lyrics are inspired by his childhood memories of attending garden fetes at the home, but claimed "he took the name as an image" for the song.

It's amazing how different the studio version of this song is when compared to Lennon's early home demos of the track - they exhibit such a tender, almost melancholic side to Lennon's lyrics and his vulnerable exploration of identity in the song. Here is an excerpt from The Beatles Anthology:

Taking the song "as an image," I have created a delicious smoothie tribute to this iconic song. Strawberries are such a beautiful symbol for all things fresh, abundant, and inspiring. I love to use local strawberries when in season, and they would be a welcomed addition to this recipe when made in the summer months. 

"Strawberry Fields Forever" smoothie

1 large, frozen banana
4-5 large strawberries (preferably local when in season)
4 ice cubes
1/4 cup cashew mylk (optional)
1 tbsp lucuma
1/2 tsp vanilla
dash of water
1 tbsp goji berries
1 tbsp shredded coconut

Wash strawberries quite well in warm water and rinse. Process ingredients together in a personal blender. Top with dried goji berries and shredded, unsweetened coconut. Enjoy while watching the fantastic promo film for the song below (starting at :14 seconds in).

In regards to the name of this post, Smoothie Saturday and/or Sunday, will be a new feature on barefoot and frolicking, where I will be sharing fun smoothie recipes every weekend. I couldn't resist sharing this post early, as I will be busy this weekend preparing for the Conscious Eating Niagara potluck and demonstration on Sunday.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

one lovely blog award

I have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by the equally lovely Nelly from from nelly...with love.... Thank you SO much for the award girl - your kindness is very much appreciated (made my day!). This is a such fun way to get to know our fellow bloggers.
For the one lovely blog award:

* thank and link the blogger who has given you the award.
* copy and paste the logo in your blog.
* share 7 things about yourself.
* nominate 15 other great bloggers.
* comment and let them know of the award.

Seven things about me:
(Are you ready? Let me peel away some layers of the onion for you):

1. Apart from being a living foods chef and health writer/blogger, I am also an instructor, and am so blessed to have the opportunity to share my passion for teaching with academia and raw food cuisine.

2. Growing up, I dreamed about becoming a rock star. I idolized Nina Gordon and Louise Post from the Chicago rock group Veruca Salt and D'Arcy from The Smashing Pumpkins and taught myself to play the guitar when I was 12. I have played on and off for years, but lack the dedication to practice much these days.

3. I have been interested in health and nutrition from a very young age. I became a vegetarian at ten years old, vegan at sixteen years old, and mostly raw-vegan (and 100% gluten free) at twenty five.

4. I have been told I look like Emily Haines from the Canadian band Metric many times (I take this as a huge compliment!).

Emily vs. Marlie - any thoughts?

5. I love music: my favorites include The Beatles, John Lennon, The Smashing Pumpkins, Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, Billy Corgan, Joni Mitchell, Veruca Salt, Liz Phair. I've also walked across Abbey Road in London and taken in The Beatles' sights and sounds in Liverpool.

6. I met Albert Hoffman when I was 17 years old. While staying in Switzerland, my uncle and I looked up Dr. Hoffman's number in the phone book and called him, asking if we could visit for an autograph (he said yes). We went and had an hour visit and conversation with Dr. Hoffman and his wife at their home - such a surreal experience.

7. Sometimes, I wonder if I was born in the wrong era because I have such an affinity for 1960s culture and music (maybe I lived in Haight Ashbury - San Francisco, or shopped on the King's Road - London during that decade ;). Just call me an anachronist with contemporary leanings and interests!

Passing on the One Lovely Blog Award accolades, I nominate these lovely ladies whose blogs I frequent most often:

Angela @ Oh She Glows
Heather @ Sweetly Raw
Kelli @ Animal Friendly Eating
Lee @ Truly Organic Foods
Carmella @ The Sunny Raw Kitchen
Tiffany @ Eating Niagara
Lisa @Vegan Culinary Crusade
Amber @ Almost Vegan
Lauren @ Ginger is the NewPink
Robyn @ Girl on Raw
Bitt @ Bitt of Raw
Gillian @ Confessions of a Young Woman
Courtney @ Radical Radiance AND Spirulina Junkie
Michelle @ Glow Green Girl
Angela @ Hol-Fit

If I have forgotten anyone and their fabulous blog, my apologies - I'm certain you will be nominated!

Wishing you a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

barefoot and frolicking through march

Happy Spring Equinox everyone. What a month this has been - I have been barefoot and frolicking through March at a whirlwind speed. The days seem to get busier as the weather gets nicer - all in all, a nice combination.

March saw me finishing up a very large writing project, trying to get on this ol' blog as much as possible, and taking in the rays of spring sunlight with some long hikes and outdoor jogging endeavors. Because this month moved so quickly, I thought I would reflect on some fun moments to keep you all up to speed with my little corner of the earth.

On March, the fabulous Angela Liddon featured my recipe for Delectable Cherry Vanilla Tarts as part of her Vegan Recipe Link Love project for March 5th on her blog, Oh She Glows. If you haven't been to her blog, you must - she is such an inspiring tour de force.

This was such an honor for me - I have been following her blog for quite some time now, and was elated to have my recipe featured alongside some amazing vegan dishes. The mention of my recipe on her site attracted quite a few visitors and new followers to my blog, so much so that my blog post that linked the photo is now the second highest visited post on my blog. Thanks again Angela, and a big hello and welcome to you new 'barefoot frolickers'!

At the beginning of the month, I finally connected in person with Lee-Anne and Kent Ozust, the owners of Truly Organic Foods. They are such lovely and wonderful people! It felt like we had known each other already for years, and had a great gab fest about raw foods, health, nutrition over a vegan potluck held by Niagara Action for Animals.

For the potluck, I made my newest obsession - a Marinated Kale Salad with Tomato, Avocado, Hemp Seeds, and Flax-Lemon Vinaigrette adapted from a recipe in Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet (more on Kris in a later post!). The salad was such a success that it was gone within minutes.

Lee-Anne made the most scrumptious raw vegan chocolate with maple walnuts (available on their site) and infused with an assortment of superfood powders. These included some lucuma, mesquite, and maca powder, and he sho wu, a Chinese super herb. These chocolates were so luscious and infused with such wonderful flavors - what an inspiring and creative approach to raw chocolate making!

I can't wait to meet with Lee-Anne and Kent again for the first Conscious Eating Niagara potluck, to be held April 3rd. I will be doing a raw dessert uncooking demonstration and talk (so excited!). For more information on the event, check out the fantastic poster made by Lee-Anne If you are in the area and are interested in attending, check out our meetup page to sign up.

For the demonstration, I'm thinking of making the Cherry Vanilla tarts, but I would love to hear your suggestions re:

What are some of your favorite
'easy to make in under one hour' 
raw vegan desserts?

Friday, March 18, 2011

the beauty of basil

There is something so inviting about fresh basil. Unfortunately, this time of year sees most of us purchasing basil grown incredibly far from home, but I can't wait to start growing some basil seedlings on my windowsill in a few weeks time (from the seeds I purchased at a fantastic, local Seedy Saturday event a month ago).

Here is a picture of my very first 'crop' of fresh, homegrown basil, a few summers ago on my deck garden. Check out that basil (Italian large leaf and Red rubin), commingling with some dill and oregano. Green is all around us:

Perhaps I've been craving the summer months lately, because I've been enraptured with making two recipes that use a basic basil pesto in varying ways; with zucchini (or 'courgette') noodles, and as a sumptuous spread for some raw vegan sushi. You can easily modify the pesto to use different seeds or nuts (although I prefer hemp seeds or walnuts). You could even try this pesto with parsley instead of basil.

Basic Basil Pesto

1 bunch/handful of basil (or 1 cup, approx.)
1/4 cup hemp seeds (or walnuts)
1-2 tbsp flax or olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
dash of sea salt

Process ingredients together in a personal blender until well-mixed, and enjoy with the following recipes. pesto will keep for 4 days in the fridge, or a few weeks in the freezer. 

Courgette Pasta with Basil Pesto, Avocado, and Tomato

2 zucchinis (or 'courgettes')
3 tbsp basic basil pesto
handful of chopped spinach
1 tomato, diced
1/2 an avocado, diced
sprinkle of hemp seeds

Wash and peel zucchinis. Spiralize into long noodles using your trusty spiralizer. Toss noodles in a large bowl with 3 tbsp of the basic basil pesto until well-mixed. Add in rest of the ingredients, and toss. Serve with a sprinkle of hemp seeds and enjoy immediately (noodles tend to go soggy after they have been marinated for too long).

Raw Vegan Sushi with Buckwheat
gf-vegan (grains are cooked)

2 nori rolls
alfalfa sprouts
2 tbsp basic basil pesto
steamed buckwheat grains

Cook buckwheat in a rice steamer or stove top for approximately 20-30 minutes (until the grains are soft and have absorbed most of the cooking water). Place a sheet of nori on a sushi roller, and spread a layer of basil pesto, followed by layers of spinach, sprouts, buckwheat grains. Play around with the filler ingredients with what you have on hand (sliced carrot, cucumber, red pepper). Slice into 1 inch pieces, and serve with a dash of gluten-free soy sauce. Makes approximately 8 small pieces.

Enjoy these basil-rific recipes, folks and 
best wishes to you on this balmy Friday

Monday, March 14, 2011

raw awareness for our mother earth

By now, we have all be affected and touched by the tsunami and earthquake that have ravaged Japan's people and landscape. The media images and reportage on the ecological devastation in Japan are overwhelmingly powerful and disturbing.

Like so many bloggers before me, I urge you to donate to the Red Cross or other relief efforts sending help to Japan. In times like these, we need to mobilize and support those in need; we are all connected in this world.

UPDATE - 03/16/11

Angela Liddon (from Oh She Glows) is holding a Japan Disaster Relief Glo Bar fundraiser, with all proceeds going directly to the Canadian Red Cross. $5 enters you one ticket into the raffle for a selection of her amazing Glo Bars. This is such a great way to donate to the cause with a chance to win some healthy, vegan goodies. The Fundraiser ends tonight, Wednesday March 16th, 2011 at 10pm. Click here to donate online.

I often wonder if these recent ecological disasters are connected to our impact on mother Earth and the environment. If only there was something we could do to stop environmental degradation such as pollution, global warming and changes to the Earth's atmosphere and ecology; perhaps we could lessen and stop these catastrophic events. I realize earthquakes occur naturally (keep in mind, I am no scientist), but there is a definite ecological connection between our 'being in the world' and the environment.

Environmentalism is a cause close to my heart, particularly the counterculture environmentalism 'movement' that occurred in the late 1960s in America. I have taught this topic in a few of my courses this year, and find it fascinating how  counterculture environmentalists, such as Stewart Brand, radically changed our conceptualizations of Earth and views on the environment.

Brand was a member of The Merry Pranksters, a collective involved with various countercultural activities in San Francisco in the mid 1960s. In 1966, Brand began a button campaign that asked a simple question: "Why haven't we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?"

His questioning was a response to the lack of a publicly released photo of the entire Earth by NASA. This was 1966. Can you imagine how radically different your conceptualization of the world would be without seeing our now recognizable images of the Earth? Brand sent buttons to public leaders and thinkers, such as Marshall McLuhan, and as the story goes, his campaign had a definite impact on NASA, who released some of the first images of Earth to the public in 1968:

Brand adopted this 'whole Earth' image for his next project: The Whole Earth Catalog, which was an "access to tools" database for those interested in the use of "appropriate technology" to help sustain our 'carbon footprint' on Earth. Published between 1968-1972, the WEC suggested that technology could be used to support, rather than ravage, the environment. You can view electronic copies of the original WEC editions on their website. The original print catalog's are incredibly large, and were also revolutionary in terms of print media.

Last night, I watched a fantastic documentary on scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki entitled "Force of Nature." I was amazed with how his ideas about the environment completely resonate with my views: his regard for ecology, environment, and our being in the world as part of a whole, interconnected system. I couldn't help make connections to how this documentary was being aired on the CBC, with his visits to Hiroshima, in light of the recent environmental devastation in Japan. I highly recommend this documentary, and urge you to check it out if your are interested in his inspiring work.  

I apologize if this post is a tad too academic for a raw/food blog, but I truly felt the need to express my response to these recent events. I feel this post has a particular resonance: we need to have a raw awareness for our mother Earth in order to spark social change. My thoughts are with all of those affected with the recent ecological devastation of our mother Earth, and I always keep hope that  

"there is always a little bit of heaven 
in a disaster area" 
(Hugh Romney).