Canada Day Parfait

parfait 011This pretty, red and white parfait is a yummy way to start the birthday celebrations of our True North, strong and free.

All of the ingredients are either homemade or bought at the local Farmer’s Market and are simple, natural and delicious.

And, although some of the items on my ingredient list are very Vancouver specific, I’m hoping the pure, organic equivalent can be found at your local farmer’s market… eh!

Canada Day Parfait

  • Fresh local, organice strawberries or  raspberries
  • Homemade granola (see Happy Hippie Granola recipe)
  • Berry flavoured fromage frais from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
  • Strawberry or Raspberry Vanilla cordial from Frostbites in Whistler, BC (Canadian maple syrup can be substituted)

Grab a glass and start layering. Berries first, then fromage frais, then a bit of granola. Repeat the process, pour delicious strawberry cordial over everything, top with a fresh berry and, voila! Canada Day Parfait

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It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw. – Emily Carr
The Canada we see today does not reflect the one we hold in our hearts. Canadians expect more and they expect better. We should be outraged that environmentally we are among the worst in the industrialized world.David Suzuki
Canada’s the best country in the world. – Justin Beiber
Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die.
– Pierre Trudeau
 

 

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The Summery Scent of Coconut

S’mores, salty ocean breezes, veggie burgers on the grill — what’s the smell you associate the most with summer?

The sweet, sexy scent of coconut tanning oil slathered on beach bodies is my signal that summer has arrived. Could there be anything better? Every time a whiff of delicious coconut oil wafts through the air, I feel like I’ve been magically transported to an exotic spot with swaying palm trees, sweet ocean waves and fruit-filled cocktails…

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Since we’re discussing coconuts, how could I not list the beautiful health benefits of coconut water, milk and meat? Here they are:

  • Coconut meat helps prevent obesity by being high in fiber
  • All coconut products improve heart health
  • Coconut has a subtle sweetness with a low glycemic index
  • All coconut products help reduce a craving for sweetness
  • Milk, oil and water help improve digestion
  • Helps give a quick energy boost
  • Coconut oil is a smooth, sexy, natural massage oil
  • Coconut fat is good for you.
  • Coconut oil can be used on skin and hair to soften and moisturize
  • Coconut oil is proven to be antiviral, antifungal and anti-bacterial (and possibly anti-aging too!)
  • All coconut products give a boost to the immune system

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Raw Vegan-licious Pea Soup

raw peasI’ve been experimenting with a bunch of raw recipes lately, which is making my blender work over-time and my taste buds very happy.

This raw soup is one of my faves. I made it for the first time last Sunday and thought it was perfect for patio dining. Add a fresh, crunchy salad, a chilled glass of white wine and, presto, an uber-healthy, vegan-licious meal!

 Raw Vegan Pea Soup

Ingredients
2 cups fresh, raw sugar peas
150 ml organic coconut cream
100 ml cold water
1 small onion
2 sprigs fresh mint
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
spritz of fresh lemon juice
1/2 avocado
1 tsp. pink Himalayan or sea salt to taste

Place above ingredients in blender and blend thoroughly. Chill and serve.

You can also find this recipe and others like it on foodgawker.com

raw vegan soup

I remember, around age three, peas growing in the back garden. Pinching them from their pods and popping them in the mouth was my first realisation that food came from somewhere other than a shelf.” – Caitlin Moran

 

Factory Farms

Last week a video surfaced from a dairy farm in Chilliwack showing beautiful black and white cows with gorgeous, soulful brown eyes being punched, hit with a stick, kicked and strung up by a chain around their neck (still alive). When the video showed the terrified cow being strung up, it’s legs desperately kicking the air, a voice in the background shouted “leave her hanging!” Undeniably heartbreaking and horrific and, on some level, we all know that this has become the norm for animals used for food production. The abuse of the animals in this video isn’t an anomaly, actually getting it on video is the anomaly. Factory farms are infamous for keeping their doors locked to the public. If you want an idea of what the horror behind the locked doors looks like, google “factory farms” and press images. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I posted the link to the Chilliwack farm video on Facebook to spread the word that our cheap meat from Costco and the supermarket chain comes with a nightmarish existence for the animals, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Not nearly enough.

I know humans have a huge capacity for denial. I only have to look at myself to know that but, at some point, we have to lift the curtain and actually see what our society is doing. And, after taking a good, long look, if we find that we’ve become monsters, we then need to instigate change.

What is the one benefit of factory farming? Cheap meat prices. McDonald’s has been caught using factory farms with horrifically abusive practices, over and over again, as I’m sure all other fast food shops with $2.00 burgers do as well. I actually have a big question about this. As North Americans become more and more overweight and obese with every passing year, and since over-consumption of animal products has been proven to come with a host of health problems, is cheaper and cheaper meat (with animals pumped full of steroids, fed unnatural diets to gain weight quickly and sometimes even fed the carcasses of other animals) something that our society needs? Isn’t it the opposite path to the one we should be heading down right now?

This dairy farm video pushed me over the edge. As my friend Sam says, there is too much of a disconnect between us, the consumer, and what the animals went through to become the shiny, wrapped in plastic, beef tenderloin in the butcher case of our supermarket. Way too much. Since the images from the video are seared into my brain, I’m giving up animal products for awhile, just to see how it feels and how long I can do it. If and when I feel I absolutely have to have a steak (and I hope I don’t), I’m buying from Pemberton Farms, the local Farmer’s Market or the cruelty rated meats from Whole Foods.

And as for dairy products, there are still amazing local farms like Avalon in the Lower Mainland and Moonstruck Organic Cheese on Salt Spring Island. The owners of Moonstruck name all of their cows, the cows have ample room to run and play outside and are basically treated like pets. The way it should be. Oh, and btw, their cheese is sublime, fresh and full of melt in your mouth flavour. The kind of flavour that can only be found on a real, old-school farm.

So, knowledge is power, and there is no way I’m giving my dollars and support to this horror for animals called factory farming and I urge you to do the same.

If we all stop buying the cheapest cuts of meat from God knows where, eat less meat and dairy and support local, family farms, then the hellish factory farms will be forced to shut down due to lack of business. It’s that simple.

Think about it. And please sign the Dairyland/Saputo Petition Here

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Ghandi

My friend, Simone, hanging out with happy German cows

My friend, Simone, hanging out with happy German cows

Hiking, Biking and Granola

So, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but I am coming out of the most “slack-off on fitness” winter/spring that I can remember.

I’m not sure why my complete lack of motivation happened. I’ve been going pretty hard at my part time marketing courses so that could be part of it. I’m also a fairweather runner and biker and have been known to hibernate like a bear in the winter. And, on top of this, I was also worried that my disappearing motivation was just my age. Is this what happens at 51? I wondered to myself as the sluggish months continued…Happily I can say “hell no!” since my desire to move by body and challenge myself has come back in full force. Yes!!

So, after a winter of running 2-3k once a week and trying to sprint with my dog, who btw is not a runner or a sprinter…

I only run if a coyote is chasing me or there's a squirrel in front of me.

I only run if a coyote is chasing me or there’s a squirrel in front of me.

…I’m realizing that I need to tweak my eating habits to support my increased activity. And I’ve found that clean eating and big, healthy breakfasts are the best way to do this.

During the week I make old fashioned oatmeal, add some fruit and berries and take it to the office in a large mason jar to get me through the morning but on the weekends, I want something a little special. I want hippie girl granola. Delicious, nutritious, crunchy granola, mixed with berries and fruit and homemade, probiotic yogourt or almond milk. Now that is good fuel.

And, out of all the recipes I’ve tried, this one is my fave. Add a little hemp, chia, or any other delicious superfood and you’ve got it made!

Laurel’s Happy Hippie Granola

  • 4 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries

Mix above ingredients together and bake in a 350 degrees oven for approximately 30 minutes or until oats are golden brown.

granola