Tag Archive: raw food

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Currently in my little kitchen there is Christmas cake in the oven and Christmas pudding on the stove along with a batch of delicious peanut butter cookies on the bench. It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in my kitchen!

Speaking of food, I never got around to blogging about my American food experiences so you'll have to put up with it now. It was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. I went in with high hopes and they were dashed pretty quickly when we couldn't find bread that tasted, well, anything like the bread we know and love here. It was hard enough trying to find bread without dairy in it and when we did it had a weird texture and tasted sweet. Ugh.

In Boulder M and I did a lot of our shopping at Alfalfa's as it was close to where we were staying (Chautauqua which was amazing as we were right at the start of the trails leading up into the Flatirons - although an hour and a half run in the hot sun the morning after we arrived might have been a bit much for my jetlagged body!). The variety was pretty cool but it did make me appreciate what we have at home. I really wanted to be a fan but couldn't.

We had more luck at restaurants and cafes though. One lunch I got a takeaway reuben sandwich (it sounded very American - I've never seen anything like it on a menu in NZ) from Leaf which was pretty good. Different, but good.

We checked out Wholefoods in a few places...they are so huge it was a bit frightening but the salad bar things are pretty cool!

There is also a pretty impressive range of vegan frozen desserts in these type of places, of which we tried a couple...

Once in Salt Lake City we attempted to visit every vegan eatery in town (well, all the ones that were open during our stay). First up was the Vertical Diner. After spending far too much at REI (not for the first or the last time on our trip!) A then took us there for lunch. I loved this place from the moment we walked in. The menu is fun and the food was super yummy. I wished we could have gone back.

Clockwise from top left: a burger but I can't remember which one, Jerk Chicken Burrito and another burger of some description!

Dessert was definitely a must (hey, we had to try as much food as possible!)...

A banana split sundae and a strawberry brownie sundae - delicious.

Next up was the City Cakes Cafe for lunch whilst exploring Salt Lake City on our own. This place looks like it provides a lot of the vegan cabinet food we saw in other cafes and Wholefoods in the area. The lemon bar was delicious but I wasn't a fan of the more lunch-type food we ordered.

Clockwise from top left: a lemon bar, Mac n' Chezah and a Black Bean Burger

One evening M and I headed into town to Sage's Cafe a more fancy dinner. M ordered the mushroom stroganoff and I ordered the raw cashew pad thai and we agreed they were both exceptional. Plus the service, from memory, was excellent. If you find yourself in Salt Lake City I would really recommend Sage's.

Again, dessert was essential...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Madness and the Tiramisu. Definitely worth it,especially the tiramisu.

The final cafe I checked out was the Frisch Compassionate Eatery where I got the special of the day which was some kind of spicy 'chicken' nacho dish and the most giant cookie I have ever seen in my life! The nachos were pretty good but I think I would have preferred plain beans to the mock chicken and by the time I came to eat the cookie I think I was over sweet food. The menu here looked pretty awesome though.

You couldn't really go wrong with Mexican though, even in the City Creek Mall. And corn chips here are so much more delicious than most we can buy at home.

On the whole though we did most of our own cooking. After Boulder we camped in Leadville for some altitude training before the rogaine (when you live at sea level it's a bit of an adjustment!).

The first morning we cooked up some terribly awful pancakes made from some boxed mix we found at a supermarket. They may have looked all fluffy but they tasted pretty awful! But the boys did try their hand at flipping them much to our entertainment.

Camping by Turquoise Lake was beautiful with the added bonus of a track going right past our tent for an easy morning run...followed by a swim in the lake.

Back in Salt Lake City we made pizza once my parents arrived and I got to try out some vegan cheese. It sort of melted but not like some of the pictures I'd seen and it kind of tasted a little bit plasticy (am I being too fussy here? Give me some of the European or British vegan cheeses any day...I don't care if they don't melt). The pizza was delicious though despite the cheese and the weird mock bacon we tried.

The best food of the whole trip though was definitely all the fresh summer berries, especially when out adventuring...or lazing in the sun!

Mountain biking in the hills above Park City. Perfect riding for me as it started with a big long climb up to the top (and then a punnet of raspberries of course!).

Exploring Mt Wolverine in the rain then meeting my parents and R checking out all the lakes.

And the best bit? Lazing around by a lake after eating far too many berries (if that is actually possible).

There, no more USA trip posts now. I think I'm done (and now hopelessly behind on everything since then!).

Mint chocolate paradise

Chocolate! Now that's something we haven't had on the blog for a little while. Time to remedy that.

My work is near Liberty Market so most weeks I head over there to check out what they've got. Their stock seems to be fairly sporadic and you'll often find things you like only to have them never get them in again (sign). But they do always have a steady supply of interesting chocolates and this particular day my eye was caught...

Pana Mint Chocolate

Vegan mint chocolate? You've basically sold me already! It wasn't until I got it home that I realised it was raw chocolate (I must be going blind because it says it nice and bold on the front of the box) which did have me a little anxious at first because I've only tried one brand of raw chocolate I liked (and I have tried several). But from the moment I unwrapped it and the beautiful minty chocolate smell wafted out I was in chocolate heaven!

The texture is super smooth and creamy and it had a pretty strong mint flavour which I love. No point in being mint flavoured if you can't really taste it. It's quite soft so you do know you're not eating regular chocolate but I guess it's kind of like a truffle texture.

And I must have really liked it since I bought another box of this Pana Chocolate on my latest trip to Liberty! In the interests of being a good blogger I probably should have bought a different flavour but I guess the other flavours don't tempt me enough to spend that kind of money. The way to my heart is clearly through mint chocolate!

Delighting in a food coma

"...silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly. — It depends upon the character of those who handle it."
- Emma by Jane Austen

Hello! We're busy playing the 'guess how big that aftershock was' game after a rather large shake (it knocked a few things out of our pantry so it's got to be at least a 5. Extra points for guessing where it was centred. You might laugh but some people had bets on one at work once!).

M and I have spent most of the day in a food coma after eating up large at the vegetarian expo and then eating lots of cake and bread at his parents' house (his Mum made this vegan orange cake especially for us. I think I'm going to have to get the recipe off her because it was delicious). I have to say though, a food coma is a bit more pleasant than the total exhaustion state we were both in last night after a rogaine based out of Castle Hill (it was crazy - we started in a snowfall and finished in beautiful sunshine a few hours later!).

First up, before we even got inside, we got vegetarian sausages with all the trimmings (mustard, sweet chilli sauce, onions and tomato sauce). I devoured mine in no time because I was starving (only having an apple for breakfast will do that for you...but I was determined to eat far too much at the expo so had to make sure there was going to be room). I think the sausages they used were the Frys ones. Later, inside the expo, I had a good chat to the people from Frys about their new products which are coming soon and I got all excited!

Next up I got all excited by these tiny little cupcakes and the vegan society stall so I had to get one of the lemon ones. It was eaten in no time (you could have eaten the whole thing in one go but I tried to make it last a bit longer).

I then downed a shot glass of vegan beer from the Cassels & Sons Brewery. Now that was quite nice and I might have to pop out there and get some but it was a bit early for me and alcohol to meet (11am). I think I got a whole lot more giggly after that.

Then it was time for some serious browsing of the stalls (while I giggled continuously and got all excited at the smallest of things). This didn't last all that long because I stumbled across another stall selling the most amazing looking vegan baking. Cat Rescue Christchurch had a big table filled with delicious-looking home baking but my eye was instantly caught by the ginger crunch so I had to have some of that.

After the mini sugar coma I was now in we decided something savoury was in order. We'd thought about pies but ended up going for samosas with chutney from, well I can't remember where from but they were delicious and very spicy.

Drink was definitely required after that but when we wandered over to The Lotus Heart stall I got carried away and ended up getting a slice of raw lemon cheesecake instead!! It was divine. They have got this whole raw dessert thing down to a T (or is it a little t? I've never written that phrase down before). Luckily M was a bit more sensible and bought us some sparkling orange and ginger drink to share.

You'd think we'd be full by now but the pies were still calling. We ended up getting a Country Pie to share from the Linda McCartney Foods stall. The pastry was delicious but the filling was slightly too 'meaty' for my taste. M seemed to like it though.

Then just to top it off, I'd come to the realisation I hadn't gotten anything chocolaty yet so I headed back to the lovely ladies at Cat Rescue Christchurch. I don't know who you ladies are but you do amazing work and are incredible bakers. When we have somewhere where I can have a cat I am totally heading your way. Anyway, I picked up a slice of peppermint chocolate cake which I picked at once we got home (it was incredible).

So yeah, basically the vegetarian expo was awesome and I'm most grateful for the lady at work who told me about it. As you can probably guess by this post (and like I said on the feedback form afterwards), I was pretty much just there for the food and it did not disappoint.

By the way, for those who were curious, the official quake magnitude is now up and it was a 5.5. Exciting!

Late night mumbling

"Bring me apples, Danby, and chestnuts too. Run, Danby, run. Bring me crab apples and horse chestnuts before it's too late, and get some for yourself."
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Well here I am, up far too late cooking black beans because I, well, didn't get on to it earlier! I also just pulled a loaf of banana bread (the one from Veganomicon if you were interested) out of the oven and am now procrastinating writing this post while I gchat with M. You see, life has been a little crazy lately. Oh fine, my life is always crazy...but I love it!!

So basically, it's been a couple of weeks since I got back from Christchurch but I still haven't told you about our awesome dinner at The Lotus Heart...because you can't really go down there and not have a fine dining experience!

We got a starter to share which, because I am a bit bossy, I chose...cashew cheese and crackers. The menu describes it as house cured cashew cheese served with grapes and rosemary almond flax crackers and it's raw!

SO good. I just wish you got more. I loved the cashew cheese. It was so creamy and awesome! Of course, I had to get their ginger beer because it is truly awesome as well...I need some new words to describe all the awesomeness!!!

For our mains we got a couple of dishes to share. I've pretty much tried everything on the vegan menu so they weren't anything new but that doesn't make them any more delicious. First up, the Portobello Magic which is portobello mushrooms served on golden brown potato rosti with wilted greens and grilled vegetables (I stole that description from the menu too!).

It is so ridiculously filling and delicious although perhaps a little overboard on the orange sauce. And then we had to get pizza...the veganio pizza in fact with its delicious cashew nut aioli. They clearly work magic with cashews here.

Anyway, I almost wished we'd got the large size so we could have taken the leftovers home. I love pizza! But you can't come all the way to The Lotus Heart and not have dessert. I mean, there is more than one vegan option on the menu! In fact, there are, like, 3 (out of 4) vegan options!!! First up, (raw) banana-nut pie with raw vegan ice cream.

I remember ordering something of the same name here a couple of years ago and it being okay but this time it was incredible. And there is no words to describe how good this raw ice cream was. We also got a slice of vegan chocolate cake, also served with the rather incredible ice cream.

I love cake! Anyway, basically The Lotus Heart makes the most awesomest of food and I can't wait for my summer holiday and the next trip there.

Chips chips chips chips, we like chips

He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold hearted, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Sing the title as a round...it's great fun (then try singing happy birthday followed by 'For she's a jolly good fellow' also as a round...that's even more fun although we may have drunk a fair amount of wine by then)!

A little celebration was called for, despite the fact it was a couple of weeks late so my kiwi brother (as opposed to my American brother), my lovely cousin D and I trouped off to my parents place for delicious food and good times.

Dinner was tofu stir-fry and oven chips (kumara chips for me but there were potato chips too). Mum seasoned them with kelp salt which was super delicious, and I convinced her to leave the skins on...I've now made my parents converts. Awesome.

I've been dying to try a raw dessert for ages so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I ended up deciding on The Real Cheezecake from Ani Phyo's book
Ani's Raw Food Kitchen. Very costly to make so I'd been saving it for a special occasion but it is super easy.

It was sensational (better than I expected to be honest)...very filling but not too rich and everyone loved it which was cool. I thought they might think it was a little too weird or something but no, it was welcomed into everyone's stomaches with open mouths.

Wine and apple cider...they do say don't mix your drinks and they may be right! Also not so good when you have a race the next day but I couldn't stop laughing most of the night so that can't be a bad thing right?

Oh, and just in case anyone else was interested...Beauty and the Beast in 3D was awesome. I may or may not have needed tissues.

It's all very exciting...

But he could not move. He could not make the effort. He lay there with his face turned into the gentle stream of falling water and did not stir again.
Angel - Seeker by Sharon Shinn
...otherwise known as Saturday in Christchurch.

It started with coffee...or, more specifically, since I've never drunk a cup of coffee in my life, a ginger chai latte with rice milk from The Orange Tree.

I then wanted vegan pancakes and nobody was going to stop me...I doused them in maple syrup and they really didn't last long at all. I love pancakes (oh, and they can make them gluten free too if you so desire)!

I've only just recently started climbing again after various injuries and events got in the way. Unfortunately winter is not really the best time for climbing outside so we just hit up The Roxx. Just so you know, I don't normally climb in socks (or polypro pants for that matter) but my feet were too cold.

There was an emergency peanut butter sandwich consumed partway through (well, not partway through a climb because that might be a little crazy).

Yes, I have chalk all over my hands...they don't normally look that weird.

Climbing makes me hungry so we went exploring for a stop of lunch/afternoon tea. And what did we find?

Yep, it's
Eternal Delight - a raw vegan cafe. I didn't even know they existed (well, in New Zealand anyway). It was all terribly exciting but I had to remember we were going out for a fancy dinner so we couldn't eat too much so we decided to split a main and a dessert. B chose the Italian pizza and salad.

Seriously this was amazing. I don't know how they did it but just looking at the photo right now makes me want it again real bad. The salad especially was very impressive (yes, the pizza was great but there was something about that salad...).

As a sweet treat I picked the Superfood Black Forest Cake which uses goji berries instead of cherries. The guy gave us a discount because it had fallen over. He said that normally it stands tall and proud. Again it was pretty awesome. We decided we'd have to come back here for their Friday night fine dining next time I'm down.

And then we raced home to check trademe (like eBay I guess but specifically for us here in New Zealand). You see, I had placed an auto bid on a road bike as the auction was going to close while we were out so I had no idea if I'd won or not. But guess what?! I won!!! This is exciting news number 1 (more to follow in the next post). I will probably post photos of it everywhere at some point. It's awesome!

Anyway, moving on! Dinner was a special occasion made even more special because B and I were joined by my beautiful cousin D and her boyfriend. So basically, it was dinner with my bestest friends in the whole world and it really can't get much better than that. We decided to go to The Lotus Heart because it's fancy and they do awesome food.

Fries first...you can't really go wrong with that (plus their homemade tomato sauce is real good...they should bottle and sell it 'cause I'd definitely buy it). B ordered tea and I had to take a photo...I
want this tea set.

D and I went with their homemade ginger beer...you also can't go wrong with that. I order it every single time.

For our mains B and I decided to order a couple of different things and share (D and her boyfriend did the same). We got the vegan pizza which had their special cashew vegan aioli on it...I have to try this 'cause it tasted super cheesy (well, at least my memory of cheesy).

We also ordered the curry of the day. Somehow I have managed to delete the photo I took of this...oops! Anyway, I can't remember now what it was but it was tasty which is really all that counts. I think the waiter was quite impressed that we polished off all this food with such ease (and then casually asked for the dessert menu too).

Dessert...raw pumpkin pie with raw ice cream. Oh my god! This was really REALLY good. So good that I was very surprised. It was also a ridiculously large portion and I couldn't even finish it which is quite a rare thing for me. I had to take the leftovers home (there was no way I was letting it go to waste!).

And to finish off an awesome night? We went to live comedy...a perfect night (especially because B and I tried to book too late so they'd sold out but somehow 2 people cancelled right before the show was about to start so we got their tickets).