Farm Fresh Greens

One of the basic philosophies of the raw food movement is that since humans evolved from primates, our most natural and health giving diet consists mainly of fruit. I love that philosophy…in theory.

Fruit is sweet and luscious and so delicious that I wholeheartedly embraced this way of eating  for the past few months. I embraced it until I noticed that I began severely lacking in energy and I kept getting sick (three times this winter compared to my usual one), and my skin wasn’t looking better, as all the raw food lessons, books and articles said it would. In fact it was looking a little worse. And I was craving protein. Even as I was studying my “Peak Performance” lesson which stated that protein was over-rated, I was severely craving protein…Something had to give. And so it did.

One day the image of a succulent, savoury piece of salmon wouldn’t leave my mind. No matter what I did or how I tried to lead my thoughts down another path, a path filled with raw carrots and bananas and mangoes, I couldn’t stop thinking about salmon. So, after much deliberation, I did what I had to do. I had to be real with myself and admit that the 80 -100% raw vegan life is not for me. Then I went out a bought the biggest wild salmon steak I could find. I jogged home with it, ripped my coat off, raced to the kitchen and covered my fish in lemon and capers and a thin layer of mayo. Then I proceeded to slow cook it at 180 degrees. The aroma was heavenly.

A little later as I was eating my succulent salmon, I remembered my love of fresh, local food and how energized and awesome I feel when eating food that isn’t pumped full of preservatives and has travelled halfway around the world to get to my kitchen.

I also really loved eating all of the recipes filled with sweet tropical fruit, honey and maple syrup but clearly I was consuming a bit more sugar, even if it was natural sugar, than my body could handle. So, as much as I like the ‘gorilla food’ theory there is also a theory that you should be eating food that is natural to your environment. So, if you’re living in the Yukon it would not be natural for you to be chowing down on kiwis and pineapple and if you’re living in Vancouver, eating wild salmon and greens and fruit that is indigenous to your environment would be the healthiest fare. Makes sense to me.

So, after a visit to the local farmer’s market, where I found the freshest greens and spouts I’ve tasted in a while, I have a farm fresh salad to share with you.  Enjoy.

Farm Fresh Greens

  • 1 cup fresh organic spinach or greens of your choice
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1/4 cup various sprouts
  • sprinkle of Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
  • Dressing of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, mixed herbs and fresh apple (all ingredients to taste, blended together)

Nothing beats the taste of home.

Farmers Markets & Mojitos

A visit to the Farmer’s Market is a summer Sunday tradition and the later in the season, the better it gets. Big, juicy, Okanagan peaches were proudly on display at almost every stall. Their sweet, peachy goodness is so irresistible this time of year, I had to grab a few to take home with me.

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You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” – Dita von Teese

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After the market I wandered home through the community garden, stopping to munch on a few raspberries and chase after the gorgeous, but grumpy, neighborhood cat in a vain attempt to pet him. I always try to tempt him with various morsels from the Farmer’s Market but he’s a tough customer.

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Once home, I retrieve my little Okanagan gems from the bottom of my bag, un-bruised and un-squashed (yay) and settled down with my laptop to decide what to do with them. I stumbled on this recipe on Jillian Harris’s blog and decided to make my own version of her delicious, BC celebrating cocktail. After a gorgeous day spent buying fruit, smelling flowers and soaking up the sun, a fresh peach mojito on the patio is the perfect ending to this Sunday story.

Sweet Peach Mojitos

  • 2 cups BC peaches
  • Handful fresh mint
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 4 ounces dark rum
  • 2 ounces peach schnapps
  • Club soda

Directions

  1. Muddle the peaches, fresh mint and limes
  2. Add rum and peach schnapps
  3. Top with club soda and serve!

Serves four if you’re and normal person and serves two if you’re like me.

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There are two kinds of people I don’t trust: people who don’t drink and people who collect stickers – Chelsea Handler

Flowers in the Rain

I took an extra day off last weekend to squeeze in as much beach time as possible before summer fades into a distant memory. And, guess what? The weather report lied. It had shown a sky full of a happy, smiling, bright yellow sunshine and what the weather gods delivered was a misty, grey Vancouver day accompanied by the gentle pitter patter of mellow but constant raindrops.

So, after taking some time to be annoyed at not being able to spend my day strolling on the seawall, I took Nick for a walk in the neighborhood and found this…

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My neighbor’s zucchini garden. The bright, sunshine-y flowers were almost shocking against the muted greys and greens of the rest of my world. My neighbor had already told me to help myself to his garden, so I obliged.

Pan-fried zucchini florets are one of my favourite things and they are so easy to prepare:

Fresh Zucchini Florets with Blue Cheese

  • Pour a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan
  • add as many florets as you have or will fit into the pan
  • fry until soft
  • add crumbled blue cheese at the very end (local, organic is always best)
  • put on a pretty plate and serve

One word of warning: When you start growing your own food and/or foraging, bugs often make an unwanted appearance. Unlike conventional food which is radiated, gmo and/or sprayed to within an inch of it’s life with pesticides, real food is a yummy home for a number of insects. After I thoroughly washed the outside of my florets, I put them in the pan and, guess what? Two slugs quickly appeared and ran around, as if to say “Why is it getting hot in here? What the heck is going on?” I grabbed a piece of paper and guided them out of the frying pan and into a pot in my balcony garden, screaming periodically whenever they crawled towards my hand.

Anyway, this can happen with fresh, organic food so be prepared. I think it’s a small price to pay for the exquisite, just picked taste and health benefits of real, unaltered, honest to goodness food.

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Gillian Aldrich started growing vegetables in her backyard three years ago, and she’s now working on planting a bed of hydrangeas along one side of her property. As she digs in the garden, her 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son often play around her, sometimes taking a break to dig for worms or pick strawberries. Instead of watching them, Aldrich is playing, too — “my kind of play,” she says.

“When you sit at a desk all day, there’s something about literally putting your hands in the dirt, digging and actually creating something that’s really beautiful,” says Aldrich, 42, a magazine editor in Maplewood, New Jersey. “There’s something about just being out there that feels kind of elemental.”

Aldrich isn’t the only one who feels this way. Many gardeners view their hobby as the perfect antidote to the modern world, a way of reclaiming some of the intangible things we’ve lost in our busy, dirt-free lives. – Health.com

Wild Berries

Berries are unbelievably good for you. They’re full of anti-aging anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals and are also “juicy foods”, meaning that they are mostly water and, therefore, incredibly hydrating. Freshly picked berries are also full of live food enzymes that are so good for every single cell in your body.beach and berries2

Wild blackberries grow in abundance at the beach near my home and I decided it was time to have one last berry-picking afternoon before the season was over.

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Nick, the camouflage dog,  always finds a lot to investigate on a nature walk/berry hunt.

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We made it to the path leading to the berry bushes.

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Forget the berries, let’s play!

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The beautiful decay of fall is starting already.

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Uh oh, the ripe ones have been picked over by birds (or pesky humans).

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But these haven’t…

At home, I mix the wild blackberries with raspberries from the local Farmer’s Market. Then I add Rain or Shine Apricot Blackberry Sorbet (the pint of vegan Chocolate Chunk is for later). Rain or Shine just opened in the neighborhood and make their ice cream from local, organic ingredients right in the back of their store. This local love is reflected in the ice cream’s incredible flavour and their ice-cream is a little like crack cocaine for foodies.  Next I add Frostbites, a Whistler, BC company that makes unbelievably delicious fruit cordials from local, organic produce.

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And, voila, a fresh, local, wild, extra special Sunday dessert.

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#eatmoresugaryourenotquitesweetenough