Monthly Archives: January 2013

Favourite Non Dairy Beverages: Coconut Dream and Pacific Hazelnut

I regularly use a non dairy beverages to help create vegan meals. I have tried many different types of non dairy beverages and one test I have is to see if a carton actually gets finished. My favourite remains Coconut Dream Original for the taste. Interestingly, this product is fortified with calcium, vitamin A, D and B12 in the version sold in the US, but not in Canada. The easily metabolized medium chain fatty acids from coconut are a nutritional benefit in addition to the taste.

Another non dairy beverage I discovered recently and really enjoyed the taste of is Pacific Hazelnut Original non dairy beverage. I found this product in a grocery store on Kauai. The colour is not the most appealing. However, the taste excellent, perhaps from its slightly higher sugar content.

If you regularly use non dairy beverages, give Coconut Dream or Pacific Hazelnut a try to add variety to your diet.

Recipe: Cucumber and Sea Asparagus Salad

This is a recipe I put together over the holidays in Hawaii. Sea asparagus or samphire is a veggie (or succulent herb) that grows between salt water and fresh water. It has a natural saltiness and crunch that lends itself well to a simple salad like this one. Sea asparagus is an excellent natural source of iodine. Sea asparagus in available seasonally, when harvested wild in Canada and Europe. Fresh sea asparagus is cultivated year round on the north shore of Oahu and is available at farmers markets throughout the island and at Foodland.

Fresh sea asparagus grown on the north shore of oahu

Fresh sea asparagus grown on the north shore of oahu-the best sea asparagus for taste and texture

1 japanese cucumber, chopped

1 cup fresh sea asparagus, rinsed and roughly chopped

1/4 maui onion, finely chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

fresh lime juice to taste

1 tablespoon Pele’s Fire chili infused macadamia oil (or any other oil you like, spice is adds great flavour to the salad)

chopped fresh cilantro to taste, or chopped shiso for those that don’t like cilantro (thank you Sharon S.)

In a bowl, toss together cucumber, sea asparagus, onion, tomato, and chili oil. Season with lime juice to taste. Top with chopped cilantro or shiso. Enjoy any time with breakfast, lunch or dinner.




Making Life Good-Chocolate Finds

Chocolate can be a healthy food with its antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, minerals (potassium, magnesium, zinc) and feel good effects that most people experience. Dark chocolate is a better choice with its higher content of cocoa and lower sugar content. It takes some taste testing to find one that you like, so enjoy the process.

Years ago, I was introduced to Purdys chocolate in Calgary. They have the best freshly dipped icecream bars. They are dipped in chocolate and rolled in fresh nuts right before your eyes-yum! And they are a reasonable portion size. Purdys makes the best ‘turtle’ (chocolate, caramel and pecan) confection, called Sweet Georgia Browns. Just popping in yesterday, I found their new single origin dark chocolate Peru, made with TCHO chocolate (which I came across during a run in San Francisco). In addition, their Goji Berry dark chocolate bar with cocoa nibs is delicious and slightly addictive. Purdys is a proud Canadian business with high quality product and service


delicious and healthy choices from Purdys

TCHO chocolate is a nicely packaged, delicious product with innovative business practices for the world of chocolate making from bean to finished product. I discovered their product on a run by their Pier 17 location. I like the Pure Notes ‘chocolatey’ bar and it was a great stocking stuffer with its mini CD like packaging-chocolate music:

My pick of TCHO

Recipe: Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is a side dish that I have always enjoyed. Sticky coconut rice is even more fun with it’s chewy texture and almost dessert like sweetness. I noticed coconut rice served as a side to a menu item at Hawker Bar in Toronto last summer. We ordered some and it was outstanding, in addition to the chili tofu, wings and greens. I was inspired to try and make coconut rice at home. Here is my easy version, using creamed coconut and coconut oil for the rich taste and nutritional value of medium chain fatty acids.

1 cup Thai jasmine rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 tablespoon creamed coconut (available at health food stores)

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil

Rinse rice in a strainer under cold water. Place rice into a medium saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Stir in coconut coconut oil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid and allow rice to continue cooking for 15 minutes or so. Remove from heat, let stand for another 10 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork and enjoy. This rice is great with sauteed callaloo and spicy shrimp or fish. Also great with curries.

On Inspiration

Inspiration, if it is to amount to anything more than a pleasant experience, that is, if it is to be put to real use for the benefit of human beings-and that is certainly its purpose-must come as high moments in the momentum of work. It results from a habit of awareness, a habit of positive receptivity, that is, a receptivity that is actively transforming, that looks for ideas and impressions and high visions as grist for the creative mill. -Lawren Harris 

Inspiration is a word I like to use regularly. This quote got me to consider the true meaning of the word. Building habits of awareness and positive receptivity can lead us to find true inspiration within ourselves for our work and our lives. What an insightful and inspiring reflection from great Canadian artist, Lawren Harris.


Coconut: A Healthy Food to Try

 I found a fresh coconut in the grocery store today and I bought it immediately, even though I was clueless as to how to crack into it to extract the flesh. And, I do not happen to own a machete. I did find this video, courtesy of Gourmet which offers great instruction:

I had to have the coconut today, because I was fortunate enough to buy some (pre-prepared) from a roadside fruit stand recently on the North Shore of Oahu, close to the Fumis shrimp truck. I really enjoy the mild taste and crunchy texture of fresh coconut. Fresh coconut is the ultimate anytime, anywhere snack, with beachside being my favourite location.

Fresh coconut is also a great source of energy in form of easy to digest medium chain fatty acids. The lauric and capryllic acid in coconut has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. The saturated fat found in coconut is plant based and therefore chemically different, with different properties than saturated fat found in animal fat. I consider coconut oil to be a healthy fat, with its numerous health boosting properties. Enjoy the tropical taste of fresh coconut wherever you can.

Thoughts to start 2013

Genius is the art of taking pains

What is the secret of success? Just the daring which led me to abandon safety for uncertainty

Claude C Hopkins, My Life in Advertising 

My Life in Advertising is a book that I found on the Prince Charming’s bookshelf and promptly borrowed. I loved it and I am still amazed that the book was first published in 1923. The two statements above really spoke to me and I’m passing them on as inspiration to start 2013. What genius is within you to take pains to create? What would inspire you to have the daring to abandon safety for uncertainty?