Vegan Flower Salad

For the past two weeks I was enclosed in a magical nature place called Te Moata Retreat Centre, where every day I lived and breathed yoga, and ate healthy wholesome delicious vegetarian or vegan meals.

The following vegan salad recipe is inspired by the talented creative chefs at Te Moata who made us beautiful salads daily. It is from them that I learned flowers can be put into salad and eaten. I never knew that flowers had so many variety of tastes, from spicy to sweet!

A few days ago, when I saw edible flowers being sold at a farmer’s market near my friend’s home in Auckland, I let my creative culinary juices run and created my version of a vegan flower side salad, inspired by the kitchen crew at Te Moata!

My friends who ate this salad loved it a lot and it actually took us longer to take photos of it than to eat it! They said it was too gorgeous to eat! ūüôā

I hope you’ll enjoy this simple salad recipe and will be inspired to include edible flowers into your own recipes from now on!

 

IMG_2948

Serves: 4 people

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 bag of kale

1 box of cherry tomatoes

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 apple, sliced

1 box of edible flowers

Optional: your favourite nuts and seeds as toppings, and salad dressing

*My favourite homemade salad dressing is a mixture of olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 

Instructions:

  1. Wash, drain and dry kale.
  2. Toss all ingredients together in a salad bowl.
  3. Decorate salad with edible flowers as garnish.
  4. Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Mango Chocado Mousse

A few days ago I went grocery shopping for some much needed greens and local produce. ¬†As I passed by the front of the store, I couldn’t help but notice the mangoes from Brazil were on sale. ¬†The reason they were on sale, in my opinion, was because they were quite ripe. ¬†Usually I would stay away from overly ripe fruits unless I really want to eat them immediately. ¬†From previous experiences, I also know that sometimes an overly ripe fruit may be more rotten than you think. ¬†When you peel it off, perhaps you can only eat 10-20% of it! ¬†However, I also learned a very handy trick from my mom on how to tell when a mango is ready to be eaten, so I decided to give it a test (for some reason that day the mangoes were calling out to me, and I couldn’t step away from it! lol). ¬†Thanks to my mom’s wise trick, I brought home a few of these perfectly ripe sweet mangoes! ūüôā

Anyways,  I was planning to eat one on its own today as an afternoon snack, but then I  saw the ripe avocado and I was suddenly craving for something chocolatey as well.  Therefore, I thought about mixing all of them together.  Below, you will find the recipe to my successful Raw Mango Chocado Mousse, a refreshing twist to my Avo-Banana-Chocolate Mousse! (see https://violetseverydayadventure.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/avo-banana-chocolate-mousse/)

Whether you have it for a snack or dessert, on your own or served to your loved ones and/or friends, I hope you will enjoy its flavours as much as I did! ūüôā

A perfect blend of tangy and sweet healthiness using only 6 ingredients !

A perfect blend of tangy and sweet healthiness using only 7 raw ingredients! ¬†Plus, the combination of avocado, mango and flaxseeds contributes to beautiful glowing skin! ūüôā

 

Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Blending Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: about 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 small ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, diced

1 ripe mango, peeled, seeded, diced

2 tablespoons flaxseeds

1 tablespoon cacao powder

2-3 tablespoons natural maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¬ľ cup filtered water

Optional: use a few remaining mango cubes and a handful of raw cacao nibs as topping

 

Special Notes: 

Sweetness- You can control the degree of sweetness by reducing the amount of maple syrup to your preference.

Avocado- It is filled with fiber and healthy fats, lowers cholesterol,  and keeps skin smooth and youthful.  It helps protect the body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases. (info taken from my Avocado, Blueberry & Kale Salad Recipe: https://violetseverydayadventure.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/a-scrumptious-simple-satisfying-superfoods-salad/)

Mango- Eating this nutritionally rich fruit is good for you in so many ways!   To name a few health benefits from eating it: it is anti-cancer, alkalizing and has a low glycemic index (regulates blood sugar level).  Also, it aids in digestion and clears the skin!

Flaxseeds- ¬†I love adding them into almost anything! ūüôā ¬†They are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (good fats), lignans and fibre. ¬†In fact, they have among the highest level of fibre in any food. ¬†They help stabilize blood sugar, promoting cleansing. ¬†Also, including them into your diet will help in having radiant and youthful skin. ¬†However, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid consuming them. (info taken from my Super Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Balls Recipe:¬†https://violetseverydayadventure.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/super-bite-sized-peanut-butter-balls/)

 

Instructions:

  1. Put avocado, mango, flaxseeds, cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a blender.
  2. Add water slowly, one tablespoon of water at a time to achieve creamy consistency.
  3. Sprinkle a handful of raw cacao nibs (along with remaining mango if you like) at the top.
  4. Enjoy immediately! ūüôā

Storage: can be refrigerated up to 2 hours, then must be consumed.

 

*To find out more about nutritional and health benefits of mangoes, read:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-mangos.html

http://healthmeup.com/photogallery-healthy-living/mango-health-benefits-15-healthy-reasons-to-eat-mangoes/20986

Avo-Banana-Chocolate Mousse

It’s back to school and it means packing energizing healthy snacks for the day! ūüôā

I’m determined to continue to eat natural whole foods and stay away from processed food, so usually I will bring some fruits and/or veggies for snacks. ¬†However, sometimes I do crave for something sweeter than a fruit but not as heavy as a muffin. ¬†I used to bring a bowl of yogurt with fruits and raw cacao nibs as my morning snack back in the days when I was still eating dairy. ¬†As I’m now dairy-free, I’m trying to find new healthy snacks to satisfy my sometimes sweet tooth.

I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered this awesome website http://thenourishedself.ca¬†(The Nourished Self) that is totally right up my alley: nourishing and nurturing one’s health and well-being through natural whole foods and yoga.

Anyways, I learned from this site how to make a “sensible snack”. ¬†A sensible snack needs to have all 3 macro nutrients: good fat, clean protein and unrefined carbohydrates. ¬†According to The Nourished Self, having these macro nutrients in a snack will help to:

  • maintain balanced blood sugar levels
  • absorb vitamins and nutrients
  • satisfy hunger
  • maintain weight
  • maintain energy levels

(taken from http://thenourishedself.ca/index.php?page=sensible-snacks)

 

Here’s a delicious and sensible snack that I’ve been bringing to school on days I feel I need some natural sweetness and chocolate; it definitely satisfies my sweet tooth and energizes me until lunch time!

The recipe is inspired by The Nourished Self (original recipe is found here: ¬†http://thenourishedself.ca/index.php?page=super-food-snacking-recipes)¬†and I slightly adjusted it according to my own dietary needs and preference. ūüôā

 

Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Blending Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: about 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 avocado

1/2 banana

4 tablespoons natural maple syrup

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder

¬ľ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt (to taste)

a handful of (or 1-2 tablespoons) raw cacao nibs

Optional: use the remaining half of the banana (sliced) as topping, along with the raw cacao nibs

 

Instructions:

  1. Put avocado, banana, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sea salt in a blender.
  2. Add water slowly, one tablespoon of water at a time to achieve creamy consistency.
  3. Sprinkle a handful of raw cacao nibs (along with sliced bananas if you like) at the top.
  4. Enjoy immediately! ūüôā

 

Storage: can be refrigerated up to 2 hours, then must be consumed.

 

This healthy and yummy mousse can also be a delightful dessert!  I have divided 1 serving (bowl) of this mousse into my 3 tiny dessert cups. :)

This healthy and yummy mousse can also be a delightful dessert! I have divided 1 serving (bowl) of this mousse into my 3 tiny dessert cups. ūüôā

 

Super Bite-Sized Peanut Butter Balls

Suddenly I’m thinking about those very yummy sugary peanut butter balls I used to make with my cousins when we were younger, and since I had time on my hands this week, I decided to try it with a healthy twist.

Here’s the easy no-bake recipe, that you can make in about 10 minutes.

 

Makes: 30

 

Special Notes:

-I call these balls “super” because many of the ingredients used are natural and considered “superfoods” (e.g. honey, goji berries, flaxseeds)

Flaxseeds- They are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (good fats), lignans and fibre.  In fact, they have among the highest level of fibre in any food.  They help stabilize blood sugar, promoting cleansing.  Also, including them into your diet will help in having radiant and youthful skin.  However, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid consuming them.

Goji Berries- They are high in fibre, Vitamins A and C, and has 15 times the amount of iron in spinach.  They apparently have the highest concentration of protein than any other fruits.  Also, they have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  They can help boost the immune system as well.  However, they do not interact well with diabetes and blood pressure drugs.

Unsweetened Shredded Coconut- It is high in fibre and minerals, and has natural fruit sugar which can add natural sweetness to food.

Storage- Keep up to 3 days in airtight glass container in the fridge, and best consumed within 3 days.

Sweetness- You can control the degree of sweetness by reducing the amount of manuka honey and chocolate chips to your preference.

 

Ingredients:

PB_Ingredients

1 1/2 cups organic creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup manuka honey

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup rolled oats (wheat-free & dairy-free)

1/2 cup organic ground flaxseeds

1/2 cup organic goji berries

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

PB_mix

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Use a tablespoon to scoop out mixture and roll into small balls.
  3. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1-3 hours, or you can eat immediately if you prefer them to be room temperature.
  4. Enjoy treats! ūüôā

 

Having 3 of these high-protein & fibre-packed filling peanut butter balls as my afternoon snack are good enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and chocolate craving!  Plus, I don't feel guilty indulging, since I know they are made of mostly wholesome natural ingredients. :)

Having 3 of these high-protein & fibre-packed filling peanut butter balls as my afternoon snack are good enough to satisfy my sweet tooth and chocolate craving! Plus, I don’t feel guilty indulging, since I know they are made of mostly wholesome natural ingredients. ūüôā

 

Resources I used for following ingredients & if you want to learn more:

 

Superfoods: http://foodmatters.tv/superfoods

 

Flaxseeds:    http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/alternative/flax-seed.htm

                         The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods that Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You by Kimberly Snyder, page 103

 

Goji Berries: http://www.webmd.com/balance/goji-berries-health-benefits-and-side-effects

http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/the-health-benefits-of-goji-berries/

 

Unsweetened Shredded Coconut: http://www.livestrong.com/article/487458-does-unsweetened-shredded-coconut-have-any-good-health-benefits/

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-shredded-coconut-4027.html

Summertime Appetizer Salad

Spring Mix Salad

Here’s a delightful appetizer salad that’s great for any summertime occasion. ¬†I brought it to a potluck party over the weekend and everyone loved it! ūüôā

 

Serves: 8-10 people

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: about 1 minute

 

Ingredients:

1 package/box organic spring mix

2 cups blueberries

2 cups raspberries

1 large ripe papaya

2/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar

 

Special Note: You can also simply drizzle the salad with olive oil, instead of tossing it in raw apple cider vinegar.

 

Instructions:

  1. Wash, drain and dry spring mix, blueberries and raspberries.
  2. Chop papayas into cubes.
  3. Toss spring mix, blueberries, raspberries and papaya in a salad bowl with the apple cider vinegar.
  4. Enjoy!

A Summer-Inspired Salad!

Simple and healthy ingredients: baby spinach, strawberries, walnuts, black sesame seeds and apple cider vinegar.

Simple and healthy ingredients: baby spinach, strawberries, walnuts, black sesame seeds and apple cider vinegar.

Since strawberries are in abundance during this summer season, and it was Canada Day yesterday, I really wanted to make a healthy and light salad to go with the red patriotic theme (minus white!) for my guests. ¬†It was so simple to make and quick, and it was a hit at the party! ūüôā

Here’s the recipe:

VIOLET’S STRAWBERRY, WALNUT & BABY SPINACH SALAD

Serves: 8-10 people

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: about 1 minute

Ingredients:

1 package/bag organic baby spinach

1 cup sliced organic strawberries

1 cup chopped walnuts (you can also get raw walnuts in a package that are already in pieces)

4 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Wash, drain and dry baby spinach and strawberries.
  2. Slice strawberries into quarters.
  3. Chop walnuts if you need to.
  4. Toss baby spinach, strawberries and walnuts in a salad bowl with the apple cider vinegar.
  5. Sprinkle black sesame seeds into the salad as garnish.
  6. Enjoy!

 

Special healthy and important facts I learned from the following food:

Strawberries- One serving of strawberries provides 51.5 mg of Vitamin C, about half of our daily requirements.  They are also good for our eyes and prevent wrinkles!

Walnuts- They are high in protein, vitamin E (helps protect dry skin from environment), fibre, some B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and potassium.  Also, they contain melatonin, a hormone that helps ensure good sleep (good sleep = radiant, supple skin) and increases antioxidant activity.

Baby Spinach- It is low in calories and high in water content. ¬†According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, it is among the top 12 foods where pesticide residues are found, which is detrimental to our health. ¬†Therefore, it’s best to buy and eat only organically grown baby spinach!

Apple Cider Vinegar (raw)-¬†It helps promote the growth of probiotics (good bacteria in our intestines that aid in digestion) and helps balance the yeasts and bacteria in our bodies that feed off sugar. ¬†According to Kimberly Snyder, eating it may help alleviate sugar cravings. ¬†You have to buy a brand labelled “raw” and “unfiltered” to reap the many health benefits of it.

Black Sesame Seeds-They benefit us in increased energy and longevity!

 

If you like to learn more about any of the food, please check out where I got the information:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/healthy-eating/10-health-benefits-of-strawberries

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods that Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You by Kimberly Snyder

http://www.livestrong.com/article/258415-what-is-the-nutritional-value-of-baby-spinach/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5875/15-Reasons-to-Use-Apple-Cider-Vinegar-Every-Day.html

http://krisheeter.hubpages.com/hub/Black-Sesame-Seeds-a-fountain-of-youth

 

Happy Summer!! ūüėÄ

Cheers, Violet

A Simple & Satisfying Superfoods Salad!

My Avocado, Blueberry and Kale Salad, minus the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds.  In my haste to eat it, I forgot to add them for the photo!

My Avocado, Blueberry and Kale Salad, minus the chia seeds and pumpkin seeds. In my haste to eat it, I forgot to add them for the photo!

Lately, I’ve been absorbed in reading about the kinds of healthy food we should eat to maintain good health and nutrition. ¬†I learned about the “superfoods”. ¬†It is a term coined for food that have many health and healing benefits and nutrients for the body. ¬†I have been slowly adding some of them into my daily diet. ¬†Of course, there are so many of them, that one can get overwhelmed. ¬†Therefore, it’s one day at a time for me!

Anyways, the other night I was flipping through my newly purchased book written by Kimberly Snyder called The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods that Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You, and was excited to try her Blueberry & Avocado Salad recipe, since I love both of these superfoods, and knew I had them in stock.  Today seemed like the perfect day to try it out as I felt like having something light and refreshing for lunch.

In my journey of healthy eating so far, I learned that making your own food is so much better because you control what goes into your mouth, and ultimately your body!

Without further ado, please enjoy my version of the salad, inspired by Kimberly Snyder, using some other superfoods.  I guarantee that you will find this salad simple to taste and make, but very satisfying!

VIOLET’S AVOCADO, BLUEBERRY & KALE SALAD

Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: about 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup blueberries

1/2 or 1 peeled and chopped into cubes/sliced avocado (the amount depends on how filling you want your salad)

1-2 wedges of lemon

1 tablespoon of chia seeds or pumpkin seeds (or both if you prefer, both are a source of protein; if you prefer to eat your salad without them, you can also leave them out)

Instructions:

  1. Wash, drain and dry blueberries and kale.
  2. Toss kale and blueberries together in a salad bowl with freshly squeezed lemon juice from the wedge of lemon.
  3. Place chopped/sliced avocado on top of the salad, and if you prefer, you can also squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on them.
  4. If you have chia seeds and/or pumpkin seeds, sprinkle them into the salad as well.
  5. Mix the salad and enjoy!

Special Information on Each Superfood & Its Benefits:

Avocado- It is filled with fiber and healthy fats, lowers cholesterol,  and keeps skin smooth and youthful.  It helps protect the body from heart disease, cancer, degenerative eye and brain diseases.

Blueberries- They are high in water and fiber, which help to cut down sugar cravings.  They make eyes (the antioxidant anthocyanin strengthens eyes and vision) and skin beautiful, plus promote brain function, lower stress level, and boost energy.  They also help to prevent the body from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stomach ulcers and high blood pressure.

Chia Seeds- They are high in fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fats, protein, calcium, potassium and iron.  They are a good workout food, as they supply the body with strengthening and toning nutrients.  They also help with digestion.  The most amazing thing about this superfood is that they swell more than 5 times their weight in liquid so it means when you add 1-2 tablespoons of them to meals, you will feel fuller faster, and have a long burning source of energy.

Kale- ¬†It is rich in iron, copper, minerals, vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, ¬†calcium, and omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. ¬†It is high in fiber so it helps to tone up the body, and make it strong and resilient. ¬†Also, it is an anti-cancer and anti-aging food! ¬†One cup of kale provides about 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders. ¬†Other interesting facts about this superfood is that per calorie, it has more iron than beef, and more calcium than milk! ¬†No wonder it is called “the new beef” and “the queen of greens”!!

Lemon- It is rich in vitamin C, balances our pH level, detoxifies the liver, helps to eliminate waste in our body and improves our digestion.

Pumpkin Seeds- They are¬†rich in zinc, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, sulfur, vitamins A, B, C, E, K, fatty acids, and protein, and contribute to the growth of healthy and shiny hair. ¬†The high zinc content helps in avoiding acne and other skin imbalances.¬† They help stabilize blood sugar which means weight loss. ¬†Like the lemon, they balance the body’s pH level. ¬†A great fact to know, if you’re looking into moving away from getting protein from meat, is that a 1/4 cup serving of pumpkin seeds provides approximately 16 percent of your daily value of protein.

Sources I took information from, and if you would like to read more about each superfood:

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods that Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You by Kimberly Snyder

http://www.naturalnews.com/038324_food_superfood_nutritional_density.html

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2012/03/31/12-superfoods-for-a-healthier-lifestyle/

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2011/08/23/5-superfoods-that-improve-your-memory/

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2011/06/07/25-snacks-that-will-give-you-energy-througout-the-day/

http://www.drfranklipman.com/the-super-7-foods-with-benefits/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8354/5-amazing-benefits-of-drinking-lemon-water.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/16-health-benefits-of-lemons.html

http://getmotivatedpaige.blogspot.ca/2013/01/10-reasons-lemon-juice-is-superfood.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-pumpkin-seeds.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/253658-what-are-the-benefits-of-eating-pumpkin-seeds/

What are your favourite superfoods, and how do you eat them?

I would love to hear how you add them into your diet, and learn some new recipes for my healthy eating lifestyle!

Thanks & Love, Violet