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! 🙂

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! 🙂

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! 🙂


Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Blending Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: about 10 minutes



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

¼ 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! 🙂  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/)



  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! 🙂

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


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



Finding Joy in Unexpected Places!

There really is joy and pleasure in discovering new places or things in our everyday life, unexpectedly.  Such is the case when I discovered two neat places that specialize in delicious, healthy & gluten-free food. 🙂

I would like to briefly share with you these two places I found in my own city with some friends.  If you’re a resident of or a visitor to Toronto or the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and have time to spare, check out the following places!

1. The Victorian Tea Room in Thornhill

It was easy to see the difference between the "regular" and gluten-free treats, and to take it as well because it was divided (gluten-free treats are on the right side).

It was easy to see the difference between the “regular” and gluten-free treats, and to take it as well because it was divided (gluten-free treats are on the right side); and the gluten-free pastries were on a separate plate.

If I had to choose to eat only one meal in a day, it would have to be English High Tea or Afternoon Tea.  High Tea originated from England and refers to the mini meal accompanied by tea, served between lunch and dinner. This is my favourite meal of the day because I love its combination of sweet and savoury, ranging from scones with sinfully thick and smooth Devonshire cream and sweet jam, to delightful finger sandwiches and scrumptious tiny pastries.  Aside from the obvious enjoyment of munching on these afternoon treats, the best part is drinking the aromatic tea, presented in the prettiest teapots and cups and saucers, in a cozy and relaxing environment with close friends and/or family members! 🙂

Anyways, now that I’m gluten-free, I thought I had to forego this little indulgence, unless I work hard in learning how to make gluten-free scones and the rest.  To my absolute delight I heard about this new tea place that opened about 6 months ago, and I learned it offered a gluten-free menu!!  It was also perfect timing to check it out as I had a friend who recently came back from England so we thought it would be lovely and very “English” to go for high tea there, and reminisced about good times we both experienced in England. 🙂  I really liked how the gluten-free treats were divided from the regular treats clearly.  Also, I thought the gluten-free treats still tasted delicious, and after eating them, I did not feel as full as I used to after eating my high tea bite sized food.  This tea place also had over 40 different types of tea from around the world to choose from and we had fun deciding on which one to drink! When I’m in the mood, now I know where to go to for my high tea craving!

To learn more about the Victorian Tea Room, see: http://www.victoriantearoom.ca


2. Goodbye Gluten  in Toronto

Despite its small space, it is very well stocked with all kinds of gluten-free products from fresh baked goods to prepared foods.

Despite its small space, it is very well stocked with all kinds of gluten-free products from fresh baked goods to prepared foods.

This place was definitely an unexpected surprise.  We were going to try out one of the best Indian restaurants in the city, and got lucky and found a parking spot right in front of the restaurant.  As we got out of the car, we saw this store, which was right beside the restaurant, and of course we went in!  Despite its small space, it was very well stocked with all kinds of gluten-free products that you can think of, from noodles to desserts to health food and freshly made food.  It’s really a gluten-free foodie’s paradise and an one stop gluten-free grocery shopping experience!!  They also have a mini gluten-free bakery section, producing freshly baked goods daily as they have a kitchen downstairs.  The desserts looked really yummy, but we couldn’t buy any since we had a big dinner ahead of us.  I will most definitely keep this shop in mind if I ever need a gluten-free cake for any special occasion or need to buy some gluten-free essentials. 🙂

Here’s this store’s website if you’re interested in getting more details: http://www.goodbyegluten.com

Aside having 100% gluten-free food items, this store also has food products that are nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, egg-free and carry vegan products!  What's not to love about this store?? :)

Aside having 100% gluten-free food items, this store also has food products that are nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free, egg-free and carries vegan products! What’s not to love about this store?? 🙂

Avo-Banana-Chocolate Mousse

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

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. 🙂


Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Blending Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: about 10 minutes



1 avocado

1/2 banana

4 tablespoons natural maple syrup

1 teaspoon of cocoa powder

¼ 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



  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! 🙂


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. 🙂


The Largest Vegetarian Food Festival in North America!!


On the weekend I attended the 29th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival in Toronto, organized by the Toronto Vegetarian Association. (see: http://festival.veg.ca) This festival is a 3 day event, and according to the booklet given to all visitors, this festival “is the largest event of its kind in the world, attracting 40, 000 visitors over three days.  It was located at my favourite place in the heart of the city: the beautiful Harbourfront (part of Toronto’s waterfront).  I went with my dear friend Marla, who is on her own journey into becoming vegetarian/vegan after watching a documentary on the horrendous truth about how farm animals are treated.  Both of us found out about this festival when we went to this fabulous Farmers’ Market in town (which I will blog about later) a few weeks ago.

Both of us had no idea what to expect from this festival since it was our first time.  Well, let me tell you, when we arrived, we were very impressed!  It was indeed LARGE.  It was held inside buildings and in outdoor tents as well. There were presentations, workshops (yoga, belly dancing etc.), chef demos AND 140 exhibits, showcasing a variety of healthy and green products, where you can shop to your vegetarian or vegan’s heart content!!

For beginners into the plant-based diet, this is like an educational paradise for both of us.  We got free food, freebies, and learned so much from experts!

Here are some of the highlights from our visit that I would like to share with you:


Even though it was a rainy morning, nothing deterred us from exploring and walking in the rain from place to place at the festival.  We were lucky to drop by a Chef Demo, featuring 1 of the 8 amazing chefs at the festival this year.  We saw Jenné Claiborne, a personal chef and health coach, as she demonstrated how easy it is to whip up a fast healthy vegan meal and dessert using only 5 ingredients in her “Five Ingredient Cooking” demo.  She told us that the best kitchen equipment and cooking investment for anyone is the food processor.  Then she showed us how effortless it was to create 2 things in minutes using the food processor: the Chickpea Avocado Parsley Tartine and the Chocolate Date Bar.  I swear, for a novice cook like me, her approach in making delicious and healthy vegan dishes is appealing and practical, so I will definitely try making more of them whenever I have time.  Also, we found out that she created “The 21-Day Vegan Blueprint Program”; it’s ideal for people who are considering in becoming vegan. 🙂

Check her out at: http://www.thenourishingvegan.com and http://www.sweetpotatosoul.com



I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Laurie Sadowski as she walked as step by step in her workshop “Gluten-Free Baking”.  I learned a lot about gluten-free baking and different gluten-free flours, egg and diary replacers.  After listening to her, I now understand why sometimes my gluten-free baking experiments in the kitchen don’t turn out well.  One key thing I learned that needs to be in gluten-free baking is xanthum gum, which binds the ingredients very well, and the baked goods will not be all crumbly.  Another secret to successful gluten-free baking is knowing how to use combinations of gluten-free flours for certain baked good recipes and individual nutritional needs.  I’m super excited to read and try her recipes from the 2 books I bought!!  I’m especially looking forward to her “Bakes Bread” book as I can now explore and make my own fresh gluten-free bread to eat! 🙂

To get to know Laurie and her books more, please visit her website at: http://www.lauriesadowski.com



At this evening Chef Demo, I learned how to make 2 delicious autumn classic treats a la gluten-free and vegan: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and Apple Pie.  These treats were demonstrated by Ashley Wittig, co-owner of Toronto’s only 100% vegan and gluten-free bakeshop, Bunner’s.  After tasting the delicious muffin, I’m excited for Thanksgiving and will try to make at least one of these goodies, and will definitely visit Bunner’s sometime soon! 🙂

To find out more about Bunner’s, see http://www.bunners.ca/shop



We ended the night at the festival on a sweet note with these cupcakes by Sweets From The Earth.  Sweets From The Earth is a company, with 2 facilities, making baked goods that are all natural, vegan, peanut and nut free, and gluten-free.  The Cookies ‘n” Cream cupcake and Lavender cupcake were definitely “sinfully delicious” as they claim. 🙂

See http://www.sweetsfromtheearth.com for more information on its many sweet and yummy products.


Aside from these highlights, my favourite part was being able to browse through the exhibits and to be able to sample its products, and the most fun was of course SHOPPING there!!  I’m a shopaholic at heart, and some of my friends often joke that I can be in the middle of nowhere, and I can still manage to buy something that pleases me.  Believe me, it has happened before when I was in Africa and Asia, and my friends were astounded I found something when they thought there was nothing to buy at all. Ah, the joy of shopping!  So it is no surprise that I bought quite a few awesome items. 😉  Marla claims that I bought the entire Vegetarian Festival, which is of course an exaggeration!  I simply couldn’t pass up on some very good deals and to be fair, I tried samples of these products before buying them.  I like them because they are healthy, organic, vegan, gluten-free and green products!!  Plus, I learned about new healthy food choices I can include into my balanced diet such as hemp seeds and rice milk. 🙂

Below you will see some favourite products I bought and samples I got from the festival.  I’m looking forward to reading Healthy Eating For Life: To Prevent and Treat Cancer and trying some cultural recipes from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World.


One lesson I learned from my first time at this festival is that I definitely need to bring several reusable bags to carry all the purchases and samples for next year.  I have a feeling it’s gonna be super special since they are celebrating its’ 30th anniversary!  I can’t wait for next year’s festival and will be fully prepared! 😉


*Here are some more fantastic places to check out for (these are all Canadian companies)…

-Raw, Organic and Gluten-Free Snacks: http://www.nudfud.com/index.php

– Organic, Fair trade, Non-GMO (genetically modified organism) and Raw Products:  http://www.giddyyoyo.com/ (I buy my raw cacao nibs here, and love the taste of them!)

-Hemp Seeds: http://www.manitobaharvest.com/

-Non-Dairy Milk: http://www.nutrisoya.com/index.php

Quinoa for Breakfast!

Quinoa Breakfast

I first tasted quinoa when I was travelling throughout Peru in 2011 and learned that it was a staple to the Peruvian diet.  While I was in Peru, I really enjoyed quinoa in a variety of culinary ways, from hearty soups to delicious desserts.  In fact, my favourite memory of eating quinoa was having it as a scrumptious strawberry quinoa pudding for dessert after dinner on top of a mountain, as we settle in for the night, eagerly awaiting to see Machu Picchu at sunrise the next day. 🙂

Fast forward 2 years later, quinoa seems to be the new health buzz word in North America.  Everywhere I go, it is on restaurants’ menus and in grocery stores.  It is even included in all the health books and magazines I’m hungrily reading to learn more about healthy food and diet.

To sum it up: Quinoa is a seed (many people assume it is a grain, but it isn’t!!) that comes in white, red or black.  It is a superfood because it is a good source of protein, fibre, complex carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamins B and E.  It is also gluten-free!  Therefore, it is perfect for vegetarians, vegans and people with gluten sensitivity or celiacs.

As I’m now gluten-free and also trying to cut down on my meat consumption, quinoa is another great alternative I can turn to for protein, and substitute for rice or pasta.  I am by no means an expert in cooking quinoa, and have been reading books and websites to learn how to cook it well, and getting some more recipe ideas.

Anyways, I got really excited when I was chatting with my vegetarian friend Mythili and she mentioned she eats quinoa for breakfast!  I thought what a wonderful way to start off the day with energy and happiness!!

I will now share with you a recipe Mythili passed on to me, and I tweaked it a bit with whatever I found in my kitchen, and as you know, I like to experiment with some of the ingredients in recipes.  After all, creativity in the kitchen is so much fun!! 😀


Makes: 1 serving

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Total TIme: about 25 minutes


Special notes:

-Turmeric- has health and beauty properties, mostly anti-inflammatory effects and helps increase blood circulation thus contributing to healthier and radiant looking skin!

Milk- you can replace the unsweetened almond milk with any other type of non-dairy milk you like!  For example, Mythili used rice milk for this recipe.

-Spice- instead of turmeric, you can replace it with cinnamon if you prefer a more flavourful tang, as turmeric is slightly bitter to taste

-Fruit toppings- you can put any fruits you like on top!  Mythili put blueberries in hers.



1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup unsweetend almond milk

1/2 cup filtered water

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 banana, sliced

handful of sliced strawberries



  1. Mix the quinoa, almond milk, water and ground turmeric into a pan at medium heat.
  2. Mix contents once in a while.
  3. Add sliced banana into the pan.  When the quinoa is cooked, take the pan off the stove.
  4. Plate the food and add a handful of strawberries.
  5. Enjoy! 🙂


Resources I used on learning about and how to cook quinoa:

The Power of Food: 100 Essential Recipes for Abundant Health and Happiness by Adam Hart, page 111





Korean Cuisine: Homemade Healthy Bibimbap

When I was teaching English in South Korea a few summers ago, I fell in love with the Korean culture especially its food.  I found the food delectable, diverse and healthy.  I learned that Hansik (Korean cuisine) is known for its healthy and well-balanced meal, using fresh and natural ingredients.  For example, the vegetables are almost always lightly blanched which means they have retained most of their natural nutrients.  Hansik uses less meat than most cultural cuisines.  Also, the meats are usually boiled or steamed which indicate they are low in fat and calorie.  Fermented foods are a large part of Hansik, and as research demonstrates, fermented foods benefit our health and digestion, because they are rich in probiotics (friendly bacteria), enzymes and minerals.  Kimchi, the most well-known Korean side dish and the staple of the Koreans (aside from boiled rice), is an example of fermented food.  In fact, it is considered one of the world’s top 5 health foods. ( http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410299,00.html)

According to Han Bok-ryeo, the Director of the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine: “Korean food is a great source of energy, and for Koreans, energy goes beyond physical strength, it pertains to strength of the mind and soul.”  Also, Korean traditional wisdom states that “food and medicine are grown from the same root,” and therefore “there is no better medicine than food.” (taken from Korean Cuisine: Refresh Your Senses by Korea Tourism Organization, December 2009)  This philosophy demonstrates that food is very important to the Koreans, and it is made with care and thought into the overall well-being and health of its people.

After discovering I am gluten sensitive, my naturopathic doctor said that I can still have rice, because it has no gluten.  Thank goodness I can still eat rice, since rice is a staple of Korean food, and I especially love its signature dish: Bibimbap!

The direct translation of Bibimbap is “mixed rice”.  It is steamed/boiled rice mixed with a variety of vegetables and/or meat and Korean chili paste (a.k.a hot pepper paste).  I find the taste so delicious, nutritious and healthy for my body, mind and soul.  It’s like comfort food. 😀

This weekend I decided to give it a try, making homemade Bibimbap, as I’m discovering I enjoy cooking more and more, and this version is so much healthier than eating out!

The following recipe is taught and given to me by my dearest Korean friend Chris.


Serves: 4-6 people

Preparation Time: 40 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


Special Notes:

-I decided to make this bibimbap vegetarian; you can add a bit of ground meat (beef/chicken/pork); sautéed first if you like to have your meat. 🙂

Vegetables: You can substitute the vegetables in this recipe with any veggies you like.  The idea is to make it as colourful as possible so the bibimbap looks beautiful and eating a rainbow of vegetables is good for you!!

Rice: Make water less than normal in the rice cooker/pot so the rice is not as soft as usual, since after you still need to cook it in a big pan.

Spicy level: You can adjust the spiciness of the chili/hot pepper paste to your preference by either decreasing or increasing the tablespoons used for flavouring.

Egg: You can cook it sunny-side up if you like.

Optional: Roasted seaweed.  I personally like putting it in the bibimbap because it gives that extra crunch and flavour!


Ingredients for Bibimbap: 

All the vegetables needed for the bibimbap.  Only spinach is missing.

All the vegetables needed for the bibimbap. Only spinach is missing.

1 white radish, peeled and sliced into small, thin strips about 5 cm long

1 package of soy bean sprouts, washed and drained

1 big carrot, peeled and sliced into small, thin strips about 5 cm long

2 big zucchinis, peeled and sliced (see photo above)

1 big eggplant, washed and sliced (see photo above)

1 box/bag enoki mushrooms, washed and drained

1 bunch/bag spinach, washed and drained

4 tablespoons sesame oil (this is an approximate, but it is up to you to decide how much sesame oil you want to drizzle on top of the vegetables)

2 1/2 cups cooked white rice

a dash of salt

4-6 eggs

2-4 big sheets of roasted seaweed


Ingredients for Hot Pepper Sauce:

You can get this from any Korean supermarket and my friend recommended buying a big tub, since it can be refrigerated and lasts for 6 months!

You can get this from any Korean supermarket and my friend recommended buying a big tub, since it can be refrigerated and lasts for 6 months!

2 tablespoons hot pepper paste

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon sesame seeds


Unlike the bibimbap I'm used to eating in Korean restaurants, where the vegetables are on top of the cooked rice in a bowl (and I need to mix everything), this bibimbap's toppings are already mixed in while cooking!

Unlike the bibimbap I’m used to eating in Korean restaurants, where the vegetables are on top of the cooked rice in a bowl (and I need to mix everything), this bibimbap’s toppings are already mixed in while cooking!



1. Lightly blanch (about 30 seconds, and for the carrots, a bit longer like approximately 60 seconds or less) each vegetable in boiling water, and drain.

2. Put all vegetables in a big pan.

3. Pour sesame oil all around the vegetables, but not too much.

4. Put rice into pan with vegetables and start mixing on medium heat.

5. Slowly add salt to the mix for seasoning.

6. Add hot pepper sauce all around and start mixing until evenly distributed and cooked.  Set aside and it’s best to cover the bibimbap in the pan with a lid so when you serve it, it’s still hot.

7. Fry eggs in a frying pan.  One egg per person/bowl.

8. Cut seaweed into strips or squares.

9. Place bibimbap into bowls, sprinkle some seaweed and put an egg on top of each bowl.

10. Masissge Deseuyo!! ^^ (Korean for Bon Appetit!)


One simple hot bowl of nutritious, delicious meal for yourself, family and/or friends! :)

One simple hearty hot bowl of nutritious and delicious meal for yourself, family and/or friends! 🙂


*If you want to find out more bibimbap (and get another recipe) and its history, check out this site: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/FO/FO_EN_6_5_2_3.jsp