Tuesday, March 13, 2012

so hood

I normally don't color-adjust pictures but when I saw how these turned out, I felt the colors weren't really doing the surrealism of the overexposure justice.  And at first I hated that the white balance was completely off, but then I thought it was kind of funny what a literal translation this turned out to be: lost in the snow, almost dissolving into the wrath of our merciless winters.  Anyway, I thought the Sepia tone took the pictures from "this is what I'm wearing" to something unrealistic, almost as if someone had drawn a picture of me (or three). Spring is just around the corner, so I won't be wearing this coat very much longer.  Thanks for a great season.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

impermanence pangs

A friend of mine came up with the term Impermanence Pangs to describe the uneasiness of being aware of something that you know won't last - a relationship, a great date with a person soon to leave town permanently, or a few moments with a cat that's about to be adopted.  While I think that accepting (and somehow finding happiness in) the general impermanence of life is one of the coolest ways to live however many years we have left, I can see where she's coming from.  I mean, I'm not anywhere near the whole "be happy with or without" idea, but I aim towards it every day.   Today, there's this blazer, for example.  I wore it to a show once and got a few compliments on it, which was nice, but then I hung it up and immediately forgot about it for two years.  Then I found it again, wore it again, and back in the closet it went. In other words, I don't care about it, one way or another. Impermanence Pangs hit me when I fear losing something irreplaceable, but ultimately, let's be real: every feeling is replaceable, every memory foreshadows an even greater one, and every day is a new way to find irrevocable elation.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

crystal clear

I haven't thought about crystals since my Sailor Moon days.  Well actually there was also a brief stint with a girlfriend when we thought we could use white magic to bring our boyfriends back.  Days of reciting spells while tying ribbons around dollar-store candles and aligning aforementioned crystals into magic shapes and all that we got out of it was a pillow covered in wax and a room that smelled like a 70s porno.  Fast-forward twenty years (okay seven) and I'm found staring at a bag of white top-drilled quartz stones I ordered in bulk.  Since banning myself from shopping I've found ways to bypass the rule by making (almost) everything I've been tempted to buy, and so far...well, so good. If you're interested in making this necklace, make sure to thread it with a metal wire and use crimping beads to stop the threads at both ends.  Also, use a good quality chain because you don't want your crystals falling all over the place (misaligned) giving you twenty-eight years of bad luck. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mezi surprises

A few months ago I had the incredible luck of winning a give-away held by the most stylish and e-stalkable woman I've had the pleasure of coming across in fashion blogs - Sandra Hagelstam of 5inchandup .
Thrilled to just be able to comment on how fantastic (yet another) one of her photographs was, I didn't even dare imagine hearing from her, but then I did, and here I am today with a beautiful piece from the Australian handmade jewellery line Mezi. I absolutely love this bracelet, from the watercolor paper-esque box it arrived in, to how heavy it is, to the un-apologetically exaggerated detailing.  The coarse rhinestones remind me of beetles you find in bushes at dusk, and its sturdiness has a sort of handsome masculinity to it, which I also adore.  What a wonderful surprise :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

fond farewells

As January (and my official month of raw food) comes to an end, I thought I'd celebrate with the most beautiful and delicious creation I've made yet.  Naturally, it's a dessert, albeit a breakfast-type of dessert, and it takes so long to prepare that I won't even bother with a recipe.  Instead, I thought I'd put together a list of tips for anyone looking to try going raw. I wish someone had made a list for me - I learned it all the hard way. 

I) If you're committed to doing it, be well prepared.  Have everything you need before you start the diet, because searching for macadamia nuts on an empty stomach is the last thing anyone wants to do, ever.

II) Don't throw away any leftover ingredients. If a recipe calls for 3/4 of an onion, don't chuck the remnants. You can always throw it into a salad, or, as was the case for me, miraculously the next recipe will call for exactly (or close to) what you have left.

III) Wear plastic gloves when you squeeze all those lemons, and you'll be squeezing a lot of those, let me tell you. My fingers are cracking and it's not a pretty sight - citric acid is not very pleasant. 

IV) Don't be afraid to try green smoothies. They don't look fabulous but they taste really great and it sure beats shoving a handful of collards in your mouth like a moron.

V) Make sure you read the entire recipe before you start making it. Often, people will mention AT THE END that the last thing you need to put into the mix is a cup of pre-soaked nuts. Oh, did you have 7 hours to wait for that to happen? Didn't think so. Pre-soak everything and don't be a chump.  Ugh, still haven't fully learned this lesson, to be honest.

VI) Always have snacks available.  Kale chips, flaxseed crackers, whatever. Just make sure you have them on hand cause nothing's worse than having to wait 3 hrs for something to dehydrate while you're starving.

VII) Keep in mind that you'll basically be living in your kitchen for the duration of your diet. Oh, just me? Okay.

VIII) Invest in a blender and dehydrator. There is just no way around it if you want to make it through a significant amount of time doing this.  Salads ain't gonna cut it, sorry.

IX) On the subject of investing, invest in some good quality Chlorella, hemp, and chia seeds. Take the Chlorella as a supplement, and throw the hemp and chia into smoothies and salads, like a boss. 

I have a few photos left of some cute things I've made, so they'll likely be popping up here and there in the coming months (sorry Tyler...).  A recent BeSleek article I wrote talks about the idea of a detox diet, and how we force ourselves to do something for a certain period of time and give up shortly thereafter.  I don't think that's the best way to go about that, so I'll likely be keeping a lot of this raw diet in the 'regular world', interspersed with ridiculous French food and cakes, of course. But for now, without further ado, I present you with banana crepes filled with vanilla cream, with mixed berries and raspberry coulis.  Merveilleux.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

sometimes things look up

A while ago, I was walking around my local health food store like a zombie (a tradition since I've gone raw) clawing at anything that looked legitimate, haphazardly chewing on wrappers in hopes of alleviating my hunger when I came across what I can only describe as the light at the end of the tunnel.  It was then and there that I knew I could make it to the end of this month because I had found chocolate. Real, raw chocolate. I bought every kind they had, ignoring the cost, and have since then sampled all of them.  All were bittersweet (obviously it wasn't milk chocolate) and absolutely delicious, except for the Olivia Chocolat with almonds, which not only looked gross on the inside (reminding me of my chocolate/spider fiasco) but tasted like if a chocolate bar went tanning and didn't moisturize- dry, flaky and trying too hard.  Although at the same time it wasn't trying too hard at all-it wasn't trying enough: whoever made the chocolate bar threw four almonds into it just as it solidified, not even caring for their proper immersion in the mould. The result: an awkwardly lumpy, tumor like countenance. 
That's all I'll say on raw chocolate, aside from the fact that it tastes just like regular dark chocolate, but this discovery did take me closer to the thought that yes, I could do this forever if I had to.
By the way, Olivia Chocolat, here is what almonds should look like (I soaked these about eight hours), in case you ever decide to switch from the dehydrated-testicle shape you have opted for in your creations.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

of something more than peanuts

A while ago I was talking to a friend  about the dichotomy of thought, and more importantly, the exact moment where an idea splits between that which is unsaid and that which we express.  It often happens to me that I think a million things but can't verbalize them quite as they are in my mind, however confident I may be in their existence or wholesomeness. My friend said that this is because when we think, we automatically glaze over the blanks (or the parts that we don't actually know) without realizing it, but when we verbalize our thoughts, obviously we can't do that.  He said that the gaps in our thoughts become transparent when our thoughts leave the mouth, and that made me wonder: how much of what we think we know do we actually know? What if we were to recite everything we think we're sure of- how many complete sentences could we form?  I suppose this could be the ego, or self-preservation...but dissecting that would be breaking its very core, right?
Then I decided to make a raw peanut butter chocolate pie because I was really craving something chocolatey.  Yeah, enjoy that non sequitur.

Warning: this mufucka real dense. First, you take about 2 cups of raw cocoa, then you take a bunch of soaked peanuts that you've blended until they turned into peanut butter, then you mix those up and add about half a cup of agave nectar.  Then you blend more unsoaked peanuts and pack them down in your pie tray, pouring the chocolatey mixture over your gansta nut crust, and let it solidify in the fridge. Then you get really fat and wonder what this whole thing is about anyway.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

one coconut, three ways

A few years ago I was laying on the beach in Cuba when I heard a sort of chant, with the volume escalating in a tunnel-like way: "Coco coco! Cooooconut!" A few seconds later, the same words were exclaimed once more, and I opened my eyes to find a little old man riding a little old rusty bicycle along the water, with a basket of coconuts strapped to the seat.  We bought some for just a peso each, and he sliced them open with a sword right there and then (don't ask me where he kept it), then he stuck straws in and handed them to us and we instantly looked like people on the covers of those vacation magazines.  Thus began my love of coconuts.
I was pretty happy to realize it's a staple in a lot of raw food, from smoothies to jerky.  Unfortunately, I'm having the hardest time finding the right type of coconut (young thai) for the jerky and other exciting recipes, but there's plenty of unsweetened dessicated coconut at my local health food store which is perfect for the three creations below. The first is a Thai Coconut Soup, which I found amazing but a little on the sour side, and the other two are what you'd expect me to make: desserts.

I really love the unexpected ingredients in this soup: julienned carrots, baby bok choy, and lemongrass, among others.  Posting the recipe would probably require me to start another blog just to accommodate the entire method, but I will say that the work is worth the final product.  It's funny, I've actually stopped noticing that the soup is cold. 

 I often present the double-o version of the macaron (the macaroon) as the Parisian's ugly step-sister, because it tastes/looks/is nothing like the dainty creations I so often ramble about.  This time, however, I've turned a blind eye as I am in dire need of something rich and chocolatey, and can actually say they are incredibly delicious. Just mix together a cup of melted coconut oil with a cup of raw cocoa and 2-3 cups of dessicated raw unsweetened coconut. Add a tablespoon of agave nectar to sweeten the deal, and freeze for 5-10 minutes. They melt quickly so keep them in a tight container in the fridge or things will start getting funky.

The Coconut Pie turned out to be very light and fluffy, and could've easily been eaten in one sitting, but I have a gown to wear in the near future, so I showed some restraint and spaced it out over an hour.  I unfortunately lost the recipe for it, but it's mainly coconut, cashews and agave syrup, and the crust is almond flour mixed with Medjool dates. 

So there it is - one coconut, three different ideas.  On that subject, it has come to my attention that the last Vita Coco retailers (GNC and Kardish) no longer carry the drink I love so much, which is devastating. I normally buy my stash in the states (and look ridiculously awkward transporting a crate of tetra packs across the border) but it was nice knowing I had a last resort here in Ottawa. Not anymore though. Maybe that old man on the bicycle will make it down here eventually.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

is that hummus in your title or are you just happy to have made hummus?

One of the most gratifying moments of this entire raw food experience was the first time I successfully dehydrated something. It was this batch of flax seed crackers (a mix of raw tamari and soaked dark and light seeds), and it felt very much like Christmas, waking up in the morning to find a perfectly dry, flat bunch of treats waiting for me in the mesh trays.  The second most gratifying moment was making something I actually really like: zucchini hummus.  It tastes better than the packaged (and often processed) hummus you find at the store, and is really easy to make - just blend 1 cup of zucchini with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, and pinch of cayenne pepper.  When it looks like it can't take it anymore (and is well blended), add 1/2 cup of raw tahini paste, and blend until it's well mixed.  Transfer to a bowl and mix in some parsley if you're into that sort of thing (2 teaspoons if you're gonna go for it).  You can also take things to the next level with some za'atar seasoning and pine nuts, but za'atar kinda freaks me out and sounds too much like Atari so I skipped it.  Anyway, I'll definitely be making my own hummus from now on and would strongly recommend everyone else do the same. Or don't. But do, though. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

green with envy, but not really though

If I had to pick the coolest kitchen utensil out of all the ones I have, I'd pick my juicer. I got it for Christmas and I seriously can't get over what a bad-ass it is.  One moment it's a carrot and the next it's a pile of orange fibers next to a glass of glowing juice - you can't beat that.  The only thing that sucks about it is the laborious process of cleaning it after every use.  Regardless, I've used it a few times over these past couple of weeks, and one of those times was to make an amazing breakfast juice concoction otherwise known as a Pear Parsley Lemonade.  The recipe couldn't be easier: juice 1 pear, a handful of parsley, a few pieces of celery, 1/2 a lemon, and if you really wanna be a thug - 1 medium sized cucumber.  Then drink up. Yeah, I won't say it takes like a dream, but it's really, really good for you, and quite honestly, it has easily replaced my morning coffee, if only for the adrenaline pumping through my veins as I realize I managed to keep down whatever ungodly thing I just swallowed. That's what she said. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

you are what you eat

Today I heard the words "apple cider vinegar is what makes this recipe fun!" escape my mouth and realized that I'm a pair of Birkenstocks away from living in a tree. I also felt a wild rush of excitement flow through my chest at the though of lighting a candle to watch while I ate my dinner- a feast for the eyes, I thought.  I guess this is how it happens: a few days of nuts and grains and you become what you eat: granola. And speaking of granola, I made an (actually) delicious breakfast which is super simple too, if you have a dehydrator.  They're called scones, though they taste nothing like them, so instead I'd call them chewy triangles (or bars or decahedrons, whatever you cut them into).  They're orange-cranberry, and they're just the perfect way to start the day or if you wanna be a little naughty with a cup of tea.  god, there's another line I never thought I'd write. Anyway, here they are, with a recipe below.


1 1/2 cups raw oats, soaked 8-12 hours and well drained  (will yield 2 cups)
3/4 cup soft Medjool dates
1 tsp grated orange zest (but you can go a little crazy and do more, it only makes it better..)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked 6-8 hours and dehydrated, chopped

Place the well-drained oats into a food processor and process until the oats are broken up and get sticky (doesn't matter who initiated the break up). Add dates and orange zest and process until the mixture gets a bit more dough-like. Transfer to mixing bowl and add in the walnuts and cranberries. Put the dough onto a parchment-paper covered dehydrator tray and flatten until it's flat like planet earth. Wait, what? Dehydrate at 110F or 43C for 5-6 hours or until scones are as hard as you'd like them to be. I kept mine overnight. While they're still soft and warm, slice them the way you'd like them to look. Then it's scone time! ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a sack and a bed and a bit of basil

Last night I was laying in bed with the lights turned off when suddenly my foot grazed something that had the strangest texture.  Grainy, hard, flaky in parts…like a sack of shriveled up brains.  I ran through a mental list of things it could be- make up, clothes, jewelry...but nothing fit the description of the mound I was now tapping with my toes.  Tapping didn’t help identify it any further, and I was too scared to turn the lights on to find something like the Doodle Jump creature staring up at me, so I gave it a swift kick and it went flying against the wall.  I finally turned on the lights and saw that it was a bag of walnuts, and that’s when I realized that I really can’t do this raw food thing for the rest of my life.  I’ve been craving homemade pizza basically thirty hours a day, and a few nights ago I dreamt of a loaf of bread.  I find myself looking forward to my typical after-dinner treat: a hot shower, and someone recently commented on the fact that my coat smells like vegetables (thanks, dehydrator). Health be damned, this just isn’t the lifestyle for me.  Of course I’ll continue this adventure for as long as I initially planned to, but I won’t be buying a year’s supply of hemp seeds after all.  Ah well, there’s always tomato basil soup.  This soup is actually really delicious and is definitely one of the few things I'll keep for after the diet. Also, I just really love basil. It makes everything taste like a trip to Italy.

The soup is really, really easy to make: Place 1.5 cups of Basic Nut Milk (recipe below),6 medium-sized tomatoes, ½ teaspoon of crushed garlic, 1/4 cup of fresh basil, 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano, 1 tablespoon of agave nectar (or 2 Medjool dates), and 1 ½ teaspoons of sea salt into a blender the process until smooth. While it’s all blending, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if you’re a pompous ass. Ta-da!

Basic Nut Milk: soak 1 cup nuts (your choice, but I prefer almonds) 8 hours, then process in a blender with 4 cups of water until you get a milky consistency.  Then, strain using a nut milk bag- but let's face it, nobody has one -so really, just use a sieve or cheesecloth.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

raw beginnings

2011, you kicked my ass. It appears I've finally awoken from my hangover coma and decided to punish myself start the year right by going raw for the month of January.  Aimed at detoxifying the system and charging it full of wholesome nutrients and vitamins, the raw diet ensures you eat everything in its natural state, which seems simple enough but often takes a ridiculous amount of prep work (but more on that some other time).  I have my wonderful friend Amy to thank for giving me a gift card to Chapters for my birthday back in September. I wanted to use it one night and was thinking about the right book to remember Amy by when I stumbled upon the raw food section and my idea materialized.  I bought an awesome book by Judita Wignall called "Going Raw" and it's been great, except the smile on her face in every recipe photo kinda makes me want to retch- yeah, four hours of dicing zucchini and smearing them with tamari and freshly hand-grated cashew powder ....I'm just beaming. Anyway all of that BS aside, a week later and I can say it truly hasn't been that difficult, although I have headaches every day. But who cares about headaches when you have a Blueberry Banana Smoothie!!!!!!!!! Am I right? *cue incomprehensible smile*
This bad boy can be achieved by blending together 1 banana, a handful of blueberries, a handful of kale, 1/2 cup of coconut water and a tablespoon of coconut oil. You can leave the coconut oil out but it just fills you up more.

Anyway, yay 2012!