chocolate-cherry almond balls

I love the flavour combination of chocolate, cherry and almond.  Each on its own is good but when combined together is just heavenly.  So chocolate-cherry almond balls seem perfect right?

Maybe a visual is necessary to illustrate my point…

chocolate-cherry almond balls

Convinced?  Good.

I think these are one of the tastiest creations to ever come out of my kitchen.

Make them now and thank me later.

chocolate-cherry balls
CHOCOLATE-CHERRY ALMOND BALLS

1 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bars, chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries (the no sugar, no sulfite variety)
1 tsp raw cacao powder
pinch of sea salt

Add almonds and cashews to a food processor and process until crumbly.  Careful not to over-process, this will let too much oil out of the nuts.  Remove, place in a large bowl and set aside.

Add dates, chocolate chips, dried cherries, raw cacao powder and sea salt to food processor and process until well combined.  Remove and add to bowl of nuts.

Using a wooden spoon or fork combine nuts with date mixture.  You can use your hands too to help combine the ingredients. Once all the ingredients are combined, roll into small balls and top with a whole almond and chocolate chip.

Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes before serving. Makes about 15-18 small balls.

 

1

going vegan : part one

VEG 101

You’ve decided to go vegan or explore the idea of plant-based living. Congratulations! You’ve made a great choice for yourself and the planet. Veg eating uses less resources such as water, food and reduces your carbon footprint. There is also a huge emotional and spiritual component to plant-based living as well.

Veganism has become increasingly popular and as such, there are plentiful resources about transitioning to being plant-based. Adopting a veg diet and / or lifestyle may seem overwhelming at first.  Most people cut meat out of their diet and look down at their dinner plates only to realize that the plate is half empty and wonder what the heck they are suppose to eat. This series of posts are a condensed version that I hope will set you on the right path to a healthy and meaningful veg lifestyle.

going vegan

When I first decided I would stop eating meat – March 1, 2008 – the night before I decided to commit to a vegetarian lifestyle I got a quarter chicken dinner from Swiss Chalet and chowed down. It wasn’t my finest moment, but it was what I needed to do at the time. My journey to veganism stemmed from a traumatic and sad experience; I saw someone end their life and it profoundly affected me. I came to really understand the value of life – all life, whether human or animal. Life is precious and fragile and for me it no longer made sense to eat what was once a life.

There are many reasons why people choose to go vegan; namely ethical, health and the environment. Whatever the reason, it is a completely personal life choice. At first, your friends and family may question you decision and think you’ve totally lost it. When family and friends find out about your new lifestyle they are going to have questions.  Your 83-year old great aunt might not get it when you tell her you no longer eat meat or want ice cream.  Have patience with them, it might take some getting used to. It is my feeling that if I want tolerance towards my beliefs than I need to practice tolerance for others, no matter how much I may disagree with them. Sure, it is absolutely annoying to be teased and constantly questioned about your lifestyle – life choices are a funny thing, everyone seems to have an opinion on things that don’t really concern them.  At the root of it, the vegan lifestyle is based in compassion for all beings that roam the Earth. Exhibiting compassion to all only makes the world a kinder place and makes people more receptive and responsive to your veg-loving message.

grapefruit

WHAT KIND OF VEGGIE ARE YOU?

When it comes to the various veg lifestyles, there are two camps – the ones whom want to have clearly identified “labels” and the ones who think that these “labels” don’t matter. Both have valid points though I tend to be on the side of choose what is best for you, understanding the various terms in the veg community may help with your long term goals and if you like labels, you’ll have one!  There is a fairly broad spectrum within the world of vegetarianism and where you fall in said spectrum is totally your choice. Do what works best for you and your body, both physically and emotionally. You are of course, never confined to these categories and this is what make labels challenging.

Here’s a run down of the different types of veg lifestyles that exist:

VEGETARIAN – Includes animals products like eggs, dairy and honey.  Within this there is Lacto-vegetarian, includes dairy but not eggs and Ovo-vegetarian, includes eggs but not dairy.

VEGAN – Abstains from all products that come from an animal, this includes meat, dairy, eggs, leather, fur, feathers, products tested on animals, products with animal ingredients and honey.

RAW - Can be vegan or not.  A raw diet means no food is heated above 118 degrees and diet consists of 75-80% raw foods.

Other diets that tend to get lumped into this group are…

PESCATARIAN – Avoid all meat products with the exception of fish. From an ethical standpoint, this is not a true vegetarian diet…fish are animals.

SEMI-VEGETARIAN / FLEXITARIAN – Let’s call it like it is…you’re technically an omnivore who eats more plants. I don’t know where all these strange terms came from.

cauliflower

When it comes down to it, veganism is not a diet based on restriction, deprivation or dedication. It is based on choice and values. The choices YOU make and the values YOU want to live by. At the end of the day, you need to eat however it is that brings you the most health and happiness. Some non-veg folks make the assumption that we’re somehow…missing out by eating this way. I have never once felt like I was missing it, because if I did want say, a steak well then I’d eat it. Except I don’t want that and haven’t in all my years as being vegan. It’s a choice and I choose to live this way. When people ask you silly questions like, “don’t you miss [insert food here - usually cheese or meat]” or the classic, “where do you get your protein from?” just role with it and take it as an opportunity to educate and not preach.

Transition in a way that works for you. If you want to go all in, go it! If you want to start slowly by cutting down your meat consumption or becoming more aware of what cosmetics you have that test on animals, do it! Find the thing that works for you and continuously learn and build on it.

“It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind.” – Albert Einstein

0

lentil + vegetable soup

I love soup. I don’t care that it’s August and 27C plus humidity outside. Soup makes me happy. Soup is easy to make, easy to transport, easy to digest and very grounding.

The boyfriend and I receive a weekly produce delivery of organic fruits and vegetables from the fabulous Mama Earth Organics. The fridge was stocked full of gorgeous vegetables perfect for making a light yet chunky soup. I like this recipe because it is extremely versatile based on what ingredients you have.

lentil and vegetable soup by danielle felip

LENTIL + VEGETABLE SOUP

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup sweet potato, chopped
½ cup dried brown lentils
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3-4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup broccoli florets
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium heavy bottom pot. Add the diced onions and cook on medium heat until soft. Add garlic, carrots and sweet potato and sauté for about 30 seconds. Next add the lentils and cumin and stir for 10 seconds.

Pour in 3 cups of vegetable stock. Depending upon how thick or thin you prefer your soup, feel free to add 1 more cup of broth. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the lentils are soft – about 30 minutes. Add broccoli, stir and cover for another 5 mins until broccoli is bright green and tender. Add salt to taste. Serve with crackers or gluten-free bread.

0

must-have accessories for the modern hippie

As much as I consider myself a hippie chick, working as an Executive Assistant with a corporate job means I need to be a less Stevie Nicks and a little more put together. I try where I can to bring a bit of ethical, eco-friendly and mindful style into my look through accessories, loose flowing tops with skinny jeans and shoes with a conscience.

I do believe that you can be a fashionista with a heart. It can be extremely frustrating at times to find vegan clothes that are both stylish and ethical. I still don’t quite understand why a large percentage of veg-friendly shoes are chunky and clunky. Shopping on Etsy, second-hand and vintage shops + online at eco-friendly boutiques are a few great ways to find unique pieces that won’t break the bank and go with your cruelty-free lifestyle.

We know accessories make the outfit. Here are 5 of my favourite accessories that are beautiful, eco-friendly and office appropriate:

mindful accessories

1. MATT & NAT

Matt & Nat is a really cool, super stylish handbag company based out of Montreal. The bags are made from vegan leather, cork and recycled materials – the lining of the bags are made from recycled pop bottles! The majority of Matt & Nat bags come well under the $200 mark, making them affordable and they remain quite durable unlike many of the cheaper, polyurethane bags out there. They have a large selection of styles and come out with new colours a few times a year. Another cool tidbit is they are a vegan company and have potlucks at the end of each month (we vegans love our potlucks!)  www.mattandnat.ca

2. MALA COLLECTIVE

I can’t say enough positive things about Mala Collective. This Vancouver-based company is ethical and fair-trade in partnership with residents of Bali, where the malas are handmade. Mala beads, both necklaces and bracelets are traditionally used for meditation and prayer although as of late they have become a fashionable item to wear. I purchased several mala bracelets for myself and some girlfriends, whom I knew would love them as much as I do. Wearing a mala bracelet is a great reminder to stay mindful and present during often hectic and stressful workdays. Mala Collective offers a variety of different gemstones and intentions to choose from so you can find the one that is just right for you! www.malacollective.com

3. TOMS

Vegan shoes. Often hard to find. Often hard to find nice ones. That is just one reason I love Toms. This company is known for their One For One movement. You buy a pair of Toms shoes or glasses and Toms gives a pair of shoes or glasses to a child in need. Doesn’t get much better than that! Not all Toms are vegan. This is a source of contention for me because if they have a vegan collection, why not just make all the shoes vegan? On the bright side, they do have a collection of vegan shoes that are cute and ethical.
www.toms.com

4. TINY DEVOTIONS

Every boho babe needs a Tiny Devotions mala necklace. This company knows what they’re doing from design to branding. They have truly created a lifestyle and community of mindful, intention based living. They have a large assortment of mala bracelets and necklace each with their own intention. I feel Tiny Devotions malas are the perfect accessory for the mindful girl to inspire positivity and peace and act as a gorgeous piece of jewelry.
www.lovetinydevotions.com

5. SOYOUNG

The lunch bag. Maybe not an accessory in the traditional sense of the word but carrying around your quinoa salad and fruit in a cute cooler bag is definitely a nicer option than a plastic bag. SoYoung offers a selection of small and large cooler bags (and diaper bags, but I have no use for that) with gorgeous prints appropriate for both children and adults. These bags are made of coated linen and are PVC, Pthalate, and BPA-Free. Mindfully eat in style!
www.soyoung.ca

What are your favourite must-have accessories?

0

chai-spiced no-oatmeal

Very early this morning when I woke up, there was an overcast sky, rain and cool temperature resembling Fall more than Summer. A warm and nourishing breakfast was most certainly in order!

I love the below recipe because it is such an interesting take on breakfast. Very hearty and satisfying as well as rich in nutrients and fibre. It can be enjoyed anytime as it is not too heavy feeling. It resembles oatmeal and yet does not contain any so its great for those who limit or avoid grains.

Despite squash being a “Fall” food, I tend to buy them year round and so, needing to use up the acorn squash in my fridge, today was the perfect day for this breakfast!

chai spiced no oatmeal by danielle felip

CHAI-SPICED NO-OATMEAL

1 medium acorn squash
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 apple, diced
maple syrup, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half. Fill a roasting pan with 1 inch of water and place squash flesh-side down. Roast for 45 mins or until very soft. Scrape out seeds and discard. Spoon squash into a food processor. Add coconut milk, coconut flakes, chia and spices. Blend until smooth and top with diced apple, sweeten with maple syrup.

0