Monday, October 31, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #19 - halloween day

Happy Halloween everyone! 

There are so many fantastic Halloween inspired recipes circulating in the blogosphere these days. Everything from Halloween themed cookies, cakes, pastries, and drinks - the creative possibilities are endless when it comes to Halloween treats.

If I had to choose some of my favourite Halloween and fall inspired recipes from barefoot and frolicking, they would have to include:

I will leave you with one of my favourite Halloween-inspired songs, an early demo from those lovely 90s alt-rockers, Veruca Salt, entitled "Halloween Day."

Have a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #18 - smoothie sunday: sweet potato and sesame bliss smoothie

With Vegan Mofo slowly drawing to a close, I have just a few more daily posts to share - two to be precise, in order to meet my twenty posts, or five days a week post quota (not to worry, I am going to try to keep up my blogging momentum). Today, I'm back with another installment of Smoothie Sunday. This time, I've experimented with our favourite festive root veggie, the sweet potato, as well as ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha.....ashwagandha. It has such a nice ring to it - the word just rolls of the tongue, no?. Except for the fact that the word translates from Sanskrit to English as "horse's smell" or "the smell of a horse" which most likely originated from either the odor of the root or the stallion-like power that the root imparts when taken internally.

Personally, I don't find the powder has too much of a harsh smell (nothing compares to maca, am I right?). Otherwise known as "Indian Ginseng," ashwagandha is a poweful herb used in ayurvedic healing practices. It has an incredibly calming effect, and can help top alleviate levels of anxiety and stress. In fact, the first time I used this potent herb in my morning smoothies, I noticed an immediate calming effect, unaware of the fact that this was one of its therapeutic properties.

Seeing as autumn is a major time of energetic transition, ashwagandha is a perfect herb to add to your smoothie repertoire (note: woman who are pregnant should not take this herb. You can read more about the benefits of ashwagandha here).

Sweet Potato and Sesame Bliss Smoothie
Serves 1-2

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup sesame seed mylk (fresh and homemade)
1/2 cup water
2 heaping tablespoons lucuma powder
2-3 dates (optional - if you desire more sweetness)
1 tsp ashwaghanda
1 tsp maca (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon + cinnamon for dusting

Blend ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon and enjoy. 

No need to fret about eating raw sweet potato - once it is blended, it will take on the creamy and sweet flavours of the other ingredients and will be easy to digest.

Sesame seeds can also make for a fun pattern-making activity -
flowers, stars, even spelling out the name of your special someone.

Friday, October 28, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #17 - flipping for flapjacks

The other day, I was flipping for flapjacks - you know, the moist and dense, fluffy cousin to the pancake. It's funny, because I've never been much of a fan of pancakes and flapjacks until I realized that buckwheat and quinoa could be used instead of overly processed wheat for the flour.

These gluten-free beauties pack some serious protein punch with the almond mylk and quinoa, and only take a minute or two to be cooked. Whats more, you could also try dehydrating these for a few hours for a raw flapjack-crepe variation.

Apple Flip Flapjacks
Makes 4 small flapjacks

1 cup almond milk (I used homemade)
1/4 cup water
2-3 dates
1/2 of a golden delicious apple, sliced
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked (I used a combination of black and white)
1/2 cup ground buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Blend ingredients together in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Transfer mixture to a bowl or container. Using a non-stick pan or skillet, melt 1-2 tsp coconut oil. Pour mixture into two small circular forms, and let cook in the pan for a minute or two (or until the mixture starts to form bubbles). When ready, flip the flapjack and do the same on the other side. When finished, serve immediately with side of fruit, dash of cinnamon, and.or maple syrup.

Happy Flapjack Friday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #16 - detoxifying beet elixir

Ahh, precious beetroot. I can tell my British heritage is kicking in whenever I crave one of these sweet roots. During my last trip to London, I was surprised to encounter sliced beetroot (beets to us North American folk) in bagged salad mixes. I thought to myself, "what an excellent way to sneak in this nutritious root vegetable."

Flash forward to this autumn, and I am also sneaking in some red beets in fresh juices, rotating between green juice blends and this Detoxifying Beet Elixir. Named for the combination of beets with some apple and carrot, this is a surefire way to detoxify those cells and to 'cleanse our palates', so to speak, in order to transition into the cooler winter months.

Detoxifying Beet Elixir
Serves 1 (approximately 2 cups)

3 small red beets, or 1/2 large beet
4 carrots
1 small cucumber (or 1/2 of a large cucumber)
1 apple
1 inch knob of fresh ginger
4 leaves of beet greens (optional)
1/2 lemon (optional)

Wash and prepare produce. Juice using your personal juicer, straining any pulp if necessary. 

Nutritional powerhouses, beets are an excellent source of antioxidants, help to regulate digestion, cleanse the liver and detoxify our cells. The leaves are also edible, and are chocked full of beta-carotene. What better way to alkalize the bod than with beets?

So, the next time you need a little sweetness in your life, hug a beet and put a little love in your heart. Your body will thank you!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #15 - raw artistry at the naked sprout

Raw cuisine is such an amazing and creative art form. Initially, I was drawn to raw foods because of the beauty and kindness I saw being used during the preparation of recipes (coupled with the major health benefits); the colors and stylings of the food was so inviting and pleasing to the eye.

The best experience is when this energy can be found at raw food restaurants, and The Naked Sprout is no exception. I've extolled about my great dining experiences here before, and thought I would share some of their raw food artistry with pictures from our last few trips there (notice the plural).

The tacos

The Wild Seed Massaged Kale Salad

Tacos again

The Nachos

The Wild Seed Massaged Kale Salad - I loved this salad so much that I ordered it during another recent visit to the restaurant. So satisfying and chocked full of delicious ingredients (kale, sundried tomatoes, goji berries, cabbage, sprouts) and tossed with the most vibrant and delicious dressing.

Enjoy with your eyes, or better yet, get thee to The Naked Sprout to try this food for yourself! They just celebrated their Grand Opening, and I wish them all the best and look forward to many more dining experiences at the restaurant.

Monday, October 24, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #14 - potluck guest post at

Hey everyone, just wanted to direct you to a second guest post I've contributed to for Vegan Mofo.

The post is entitled "Potluckin'" and talks about the power of raw and vegan potlucks. Learn how you can unleash your own "potluck power" and organize your own meetup group here

Saturday, October 22, 2011

vegam mofo 2011 #13 - warming pumpkin chai

The days are getting shorter, the weather a little colder. Nothing feels more like autumn than curling up with a warm blanket, a good book and a warm, soothing drink. 

This Warming Pumpkin Chai is inspired by the ayurvedic principles that we need to stay grounded during the autumn, which is a frenetic time of transition and can effect our stress levels. Pumpkin and nutmeg are nourishing and seasonal ingredients that help soothe us during the weather change. The combination of fresh homemade almond mylk with coconut butter makes this an extra creamy drink to soothe ones soul.

Warming Pumpkin Chai
lightly inspired by a recipe on 
Serves 2

1 cup fresh almond milk   
1 1/2 cups pureed steamed pie pumpkin
1 tbsp coconut butter  
2-3 dates
1 inch knob of ginger root
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves   
dash of pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Steam the pumpkin and mash into a puree. Combine the pumpkin with the rest of the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Option: you can warm this drink on low heat in a saucepan on the stove for about 10 minutes after blending, or drink directly after blending. If the mixture is not sweet enough, you can add in 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Serve with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon. 

Pumpkin Chai is an excellent way to de-stress, enjoy the changing colours of the leaves outside, and a way to warm ourselves up from the inside out; the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg stimulate our circulation and help to activate proper digestion. There is nothing like a warming, nourishing elixir to compliment ones day.

A beautiful acoustic instrumental that reflects the wondrous energy of autumn:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #12 - an autumnal cooking class

I'd like to interrupt what is slowly becoming my vegan month of smoothies (what can I say? I just love smoothies) to share some photos from a recent cooking class I taught as part of the PC Cooking School culinary series.

For this autumnal-themed cooking class, I demonstrated three raw and vegan recipes for a lovely group of people (some familiar faces from previous classes, and some new friends as well). This cooking class used in season ingredients such as sweet potatoes, beets, and apples - the best in comforting fall fare.

Our menu featured a Sweet Potato Hummus, followed by a raw Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad, and a raw Pear and Apple Crumble for dessert.

The Sweet Potato Hummus was inspired by Gena Hemshaw's fabulous recipe, with a few alterations modifications; I increased the sesame oil to 1 tbsp, and added in a dash more of paprika.

I sought inspiration for the Beet, Carrot, Apple salad from the lovely Angela Liddon; this recipe just needed to be shared with the world. A few more modifications here; I used red beets only, just a pinch of sea salt, and just a dash of maple syrup for the dressing.

Last but not least, the Pear and Apple Crumble was a combination of pears, apples, dates, cinnamon with an almond, date crumble.

A sample of the day's menu

Serving the Pear and Apple Crumble

Everyone really enjoyed the day's menu, especially the Beet, Carrot, and Apple Salad; one woman said she couldn't stand the taste of raw beets, and after having the salad, thanked me for helping her to like beets again. She said the salad was delicious!

Thank you to everyone for making the class such a fun experience and success - enjoy the recipes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #11 - smoothie sunday - smashing pumpkin smoothie

Hey folks, I'm here with a Smoothie Sunday recipe to share on a Monday of all days (a tad behind in my posts).

I don't know about you, but I am really enjoying the autumn weather lately. Not too warm, not too cold, we had our first autumnal weekend, complete with falling leaves, whirring trees, and gusts of cool breeze. As I'm one to scour farmers markets for the most seasonal of ingredients, I couldn't ring in autumn without getting my hands on some delicious pumpkin.

Pumpkin is one of those gourds/squashes/fruits that I enjoy cooked over raw (unless it is prepared properly in a fabulous raw pumpkin pie). That being said, you can prepare pumpkin a few different ways. Here are some of my tips and tricks:

* for most recipes, you will want to use a pie pumpkin, which is a tad sweeter and more palatable than traditional carving pumpkins.

* to prepare your pumpkin, wash the skin and carve a circle around the top, lifting the 'lid', so to speak, and removing the inner flesh and seeds.

* you can choose to peel your pumpkin, or leave the skin on. It's your call. Either way, you will want to slice the pumpkin into halves and quarters, and into small cubed pieces.

* to bake the pumpkin, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

* to steam the pumpkin (my preferred method), steam the pumpkin in a rice steamer or stove steamer.

One way to sneak in some pumpkin is in a smoothie. Coupled with your favourite nut mylk and natural sweetener, pumpkin can taste absolutely thrilling as a breakfast or snack option.

This smoothie recipe was inspired by all of the fabulous pumpkin smoothie recipes I've been encountering as part of Vegan Mofo, but also partly inspired by one of the favourite bands from my youth (The) Smashing Pumpkins. I won't get into my deep appreciation for the group's music (particularly with the original line-up), as it would take up this if not another post (plus, we all know how I grew up wanting to be D'arcy, so that should certainly reinforce my geekdom fandom).

Smashing Pumpkin Smoothie
Serves 1-2

1 frozen banana
1/2 cup pureed pie pumpkin (cooked - could try raw if you prefer, as well as increase to 1 cup for a thicker smoothie)
3 dates, soaked
1 cup homemade hemp mylk
1/2 cup water (optional - depending on the desired thickness of the smoothie)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash of nutmeg
dash of cloves

Combine steamed pumpkin with ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve in a glass with a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg and enjoy. 

I shared some photos of this smoothie on Facebook, and a friend who shall remain anonymous left the most hilarious comment/description which I just had to share with you. It touches on the changing line-up of the band over the years, as well as the grandiose stylings of frontman Billy Corgan - a sort of smoothie/band parallel if you will:

"So it tastes great the first time you have one. The second time, everyone really likes it. So then you super size the recipe, and everyone realizes how indulgent your whole smoothie is. 
Then nobody cares any more no matter how many changes you make to the ingredients. You take some ingredients out, then put them back in. Then you try to go with just the one main ingredient on its own- but that tastes really awful and nobody seems to like it."

Tis true, the band has gone through multiple line-ups and Billy Corgan's harrowing vocals are an acquired taste, and the many changes in their music sometimes alienated fans, but there are so many gems in their discography. Since I am currently on a Fleetwood Mac kick these days, here is a cover of "Landslide," performed by Billy Corgan/the band, from 1995.  

Coming up next, yet another autumnal drink that features pumpkin with an ayurvedic twist (and perhaps another Smashing Pumpkins punkin. Stay tuned! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #10 - green smoothie guest post on

Hey everyone, I've contributed a guest post to the fabulous gluten-free vegan resource as part of Vegan Mofo 2011!

In my post, "Green Smoothie Lovin'" I talk about the health benefits of green smoothies and how you can jazz up your own green creations with certain superfoods.

So for those of you who might have reservations about trying this amazing detoxifying drink option, you can read my post here for some fun and helpful tips and tricks. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #9 - having fun at a new raw vegan potluck

First off, a resounding wow and thank you to everyone for their kind comments on my last post (Happy Birthday Barefoot and Frolicking). I'm glad you enjoy visiting my blog as much as I do, and I'm happy to keep writing and sharing with you all!

Speaking of sharing, I attended a new raw vegan potluck a few weeks ago that gave new meaning to the word potluck. The Burlington-Oakville-Mississauga Raw Vegan Meetup Group was started to fill in a gap between some of the other meetup groups in the area. 

Organized by Jan, Dave, and Pam, this group meets at different raw restaurants in the area (we are fortunate to have more than a handful around here) every month or so; while the restaurants are closed during the potluck, attendees bring some of their favourite raw dishes to share with the group.


The first meetup was held at Nzyme, a new living foods bistro and juice bar in Oakville (check them out on Facebook). Conveniently located above a cute hot yoga studio (love that!), Nzyme serves the most delicious raw vegan fare in a gorgeously intimate environment; wood floors, refurbished wood for their tables, reclaimed chairs, and an open kitchen setting.

Once we arrived, we were treated to a delightful sparkling beet and apple mocktail... well as some mushroom cap appetizers.

Jan (left) shared some fantastic raw resources with the group.

You can see the amazing wood table underneath our potluck dishes.

Nzyme is owned by Kevin (above and below) and his wife Angie. Kevin was the most gracious of hosts, and gave a little talk abouttheir interest in raw foods and inspiration for opening the restaurant.

Nzyme also provided two dishes to our potluck; their infamous mock egg salad, and some spirulina chocolate truffle balls for dessert. They were delicious! Other dishes at the potluck included some green salads, a beet and carrot salad, fettucine alfredo, and some garden patties.

Lee and I brought two dessert dishes; I made a pear and apple crumble, and Lee made mulberry bars with coconut icing. Other desserts included raw cupcakes, ice cream bars (incredible artistry!), almond cookies, chocolate pudding, pumpkin pie, and more.

Pear and Apple Crumble
Serves 6-8

For the Crumble
1/2 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup raw walnuts
3 dates, unsoaked
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the Filling
4 cups thinly sliced, peeled, cored ripe pears (Bartlett work best)
2 cups thinly sliced, peeled, cored apples
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
dash of pumpkin pie spice
4 dates, pitted and soaked for 1 hour

To make the crisp, place almonds in a food processor with an S blade and process until coarse. Add walnuts, dates, cinnamon and process until the mixture begins to stick together. Remove mixture and set aside.

To make the filling, place the pears and apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Remove one cup of this filling and place in the food processor. Add the soaked dates and the nutmeg to the food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary.

Stir mixture into the bowl of sliced fruit along with the raisins. Spread the filling in a 8" x 8" pan or large pie dish and top with the crumble. Serve immediately or refrigerate. The Pear and Apple Crumble will keep for several days in the fridge.

We had a great time meeting some new friendly faces, sampling delicious food, and relaxing rather than organizing (I have to say, it is a very different experience to attend a potluck instead of organizing one lol). All in all, a fun new experience that we were glad to be a part of.

Have you been to a raw potluck before?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

vegan mofo 2011 #8 - happy birthday, barefoot and frolicking!

Happy Birthday Barefoot and Frolicking

Yesterday marks the official two year anniversary of my blog. Although I signed up for my Blogger account almost a year prior, for some reason I either wasn't compelled or ready to start officially blogging until October 11th, 2009 (you can read my first post here, appropriately titled 'a vegan thanksgiving').

I wasn't sure what to expect from blogging, but I did know that I wanted to start a blog so I could 'join in on the health conversation' with other like-minded people interested in raw and vegan foods. I was also so inspired by some of the blogs I had started to encounter, that I felt compelled to start my own.

Writing here on Barefoot and Frolicking has been such a treat, and I am so fortunate to have met many great people (either online or in person), created delicious recipes, and reported on fun foodie related events and restaurants. I look forward to sharing many more posts, adventures, and recipes with you and am so pleased to have such a supportive community out there. The fact that we take the time to follow each others blogs and contribute comments to posts is both encouraging and inspiring!

I thought I'd honour this two year anniversary with a look back at some of my favourite food photos and recipes I've shared on the blog. Enjoy!

I love, love, luvv green smoothies - they are my favourite go-to breakfast in the morning. I especially like topping said smoothies with multiple superfoods, like cacao nibs, goji berries, hemp seeds, etc.

Since starting my blog, I tried kale for the first time and absolutely fell in love with this cruciferous leafy green. There is nothing more satisfying then a well-prepared and marinated kale salad for lunch or dinner.

Also since starting my blog, I've become a fan of green juice. I had never encountered green juice before in my health journey (I grew up with the standard apple and carrot juice), so exploring different ingredient combinations (broccoli stems and apple, say whaat?) has been really fun!

Ahh yes, the infamous cake pops - what a treat (no pun intended) these are to make. I was thrilled to have won Lisa and Nicole's Raw Cake Pop Challenge in April; it inspired me to make raw cake pops for different food events over the past few months. The cake pops were written about in some local magazines, and I even had the opportunity to make a few orders for clients for bridal showers.

And where would cake pops be without raw cacao? I love making raw chocolates for people - nothing says 'a gift' better than raw cacao. I also had the chance to make and sell these as part of Truly Organic Foods table this summer at various farmers markets.

Mr. Owl became our unofficial cacao mascot this past summer 
("Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a raw cacao cake pop?")

Cacao Truffles make the perfect gift

Cherry Vanilla Tarts - these little delights are a super easy raw dessert recipe; one of my favourites. 

I'm a fan of using local, fresh produce and ingredients whenever possible. This Pink Moon Peach Cobbler with a Quinoa Flake Crumble uses fresh peaches and quinoa flakes as part of the topping. A delicious and healthy dessert (or breakfast, snack, dinner) option. Lots of possibilities here.