Monday, June 30, 2008

Herbs and Greens and Edible Flowers!

Mom & I have been keeping busy - Today, Mom indulged my whim to get window boxes for my balcony and came with me all around town, to several garden centers to get the boxes, brackets, soil and plants.. it took us 3 trips in the elevator to get it all up here!

I'll take some pics later when we get planting but its too dark to now.
My plan changed though as we were shopping - My 1st intention was that I wanted just lots of green (& purple) leafy plants to eat - salads, green smoothies - like kale, collard, chard, lettuces..

but I soon realized that it was late in the season and most of the plants were picked over.

However, I did find a store with lots of beautiful herbs, all marked down from 2.99 to 99 cents each - and of course, an herb garden makes perfect sense out there - then I got the idea for herbs, some greens and lots of edible flowers!! It's going to be great!!

We picked lots of pansies and their smaller cousin, violas (which look just like little pansies), and marigolds, which I was never really crazy about in a flower garden, but I saw some in a salad mix at the market the other day and they were really quite beautiful in there, and nasturtiums, which are also really quite spectacular in salads, they have this amazing, slightly peppery flavour.. if you've never tried eating a nasturtium, do so asap! - there is something that is illuminating for the soul about eating something so rich and brightly coloured and beautiful!

It may take us a few days to get it planted - Tomorrow we have a huge day planned - early morning walk in High Park - an friend's art studio to visit, Chocosol's headquarters - the Cacao Loft, down Yonge st & over to Chinatown - Kensington Market if time permits - we'll just be flowing by mid-afternoon - Oh, and fireworks tomorrow evening!! : ) Yay!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Power smoothies, Organic bouquets, Tropical fruit and Exotic meditations!

ok, Mom says I can blame her for not being here posting the last few days.. lol.. but how can I do that when she is in the kitchen creating a power smoothie for me right now as I type! : )

It's so great to have her here.. the last few nights we have stayed up late talking about everything , and it has been wonderful because Daniella, raw foodist-dancer, from Brazil has been staying here also.. so its kind of like a girl's sleepover party.. where we stay up late talking metaphysics, energy, love, etc etc.. all the important things in life!

Mmm.. its great having someone else create a smoothie for you - very different from mine.
This one has: Strawberries, blueberries, apple, mango, banana, black & purple kale, parsley, bee pollen, maca, fo-ti, goji berries, cayenne, flax, chia seeds & lemon. This is her morning power smoothie which is based on the 5 elements, commonly used in Oriental teachings and the foods which correspond to them - using sweet, bitter, sour, salty and spicy.

We bought a huge basket of sweet freshly picked organic strawberries from the market - we came home with bags full.. including a big bunch of wild flowers which are sitting on my desk beside me - So beautiful!! The kale & parley and lots more is from there - It was my first time going to the Brickworks market - it's harder to get to but its a great one.

& we bought a case of the most delicious mangoes from Little India yesterday afternoon.. and rambutans and mangosteens - they are all so delicious! It was a great place to bring mom - Its lively and colourful there - I love the Indian fabrics and saris - I was an affluent Indian woman in a past life (past life regression - very interesting - Deborah Skye - love her!!) Anyway, I have bit of a thing for Little India. ; )

OK, the meditating woman here is to inspire me.
I have found being raw harder this past winter and it seems especially for the past month.
I want to get more into this and talk about it, but not now. My Mom's here.
But essentially the main thing I have realized is that I am speeding around doing so many things and not taking time to think & slow down.. & that is also very important to living a rich full life.

Last night we went downtown to the the World's Biggest Bookstore to get a copy of Tor Norretranders 'The User Illusion' (what we think is a base for the understanding of Ho'oponopono) and got to walk Yonge Street - Which I love. It was the 2nd annual Mexican Festival at Dundas Square -(I was actually at the 1st one last year with Marie, surprisingly for the amount of times I actually get down there, not very often!)

But I love it downtown - it's so lively!

We watched a machete juggler - here it's hard to see but he's juggling them on a unicyle!

I love summer! It's great having Mom here! We walked up to Rawlicious yesterday also & got rawkalicious cookies and other great treats.. and she is waiting for me now. The rain has stopped - which is good - the huge Gay Pride Parade is this afternoon downtown - not sure if we will make it there or not!??? Maybe the organic market & a walk through High Park, it will be wonderful whatever we decide! : ) Cheers!! Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tamarind, Agua Fresca & Chicha

This is what Tamarind looks like fresh - well, ours is from a box and not straight off the trees - Which Daniela tells me they used to eat when they were young in Brazil (& probably many tropical places in the world!).

Tamarind is sooo delicious and it was so wonderful and sweet tasting eating it fresh like this. This box was especially sweet and not as tart as usual. It was also not as sticky as some and easy to peel and eat it..

Tamarind is a very popular flavouring in many dishes ands sauces - it is used in Worcestershire, HP sauce, Pickapeppa and many other savory sauces. It is also commonly eaten sweetened as a candy.

In Mexico it is used to make a drink called agua fresca, which I think is a lot like our lemonade but using tamarind instead of lemons. Daniela showed us how to make it and we made some from the left over pulp we had from making out special Rawlicious Tamarind Sauce.
I forget what Daniela told me it was called in Portuguese..

But I think it is similar to the Chicha, which Arline was telling me about in Panama. She told me they make chicha out of everything, lots of fruits, they blend the fruit and strain it and mix with water and honey ( or sugar) & in our case we mixed it with agave.

Chicha can be made with: guava, mangoes, melons, papayas, lemons, oranges, cashew fruits, strawberries,pineapples.. etc etc.. just blend with water and a sweetener!

I remember getting a drink from a local place last year and you could pick any 2 fruits and they blended them with water and honey - I picked mango and jackfruit - it was very delicious & so simple - Now I realize that this is a very common drink in many parts of the world - and easy way to make juice!

The delicious tamarind..
You break off a piece and eat it - but inside are hard seeds .. these tamarind pods are quite small.

We mix the pulp in with water and then after straining & removing seeds get this (..which then gets mixed with other ingredients to make our special sauce! )

Today we mixed the left over pulp, which often gets tossed, with water..let it sit awhile and then strained it again..
Mix in some agave & Voila!! Tamarind Chicha.

This is the beautiful & wonderful Daniela, whom we love having in the kitchen with us!! making this special tamarind juice for us.
She is with us for only a few more weeks, and then is off to California, work exchange at another raw restaurant there!, before heading back to Brazil.

I ate and drank so much tamarind today - It was wonderful - What an excellent summer treat!

Mmm.. I think I need to go buy another box of tamarind - very, very soon!!

Trippy Optical Illusions and Symbology

(ok, so this is not the rawest blog posting - ((but it is cool! )) - rushing off to work to get lots of time in there before Mom comes, on Friday!!! - yay! - I still have so many other things I want to post - but Time!!! - ok, bbs! ~Hugs!~ )
(ps. just posted a link to my mom's art/raw food website, click the link above. ciaoooooo.........)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Beautiful Tanglewood Wellness Center

We had the good fortune of contacting Loren Lockman, who runs a tropical paradise fasting center - Tanglewood - an hour and a bit outside of Panama city and he graciously accepted our request to come visit and interview him about his wellness center and about his Perfect Health ideology - which makes perfect sense, as he looks to nature for the answers. His program is one similar to the Natural Hygienists, which practices following a very clean pure fruit based diet, but where he differs, it's only in following the laws of nature more closely.

I would love one day to go on a long supervised fast and this was inspiring to do so.
However, doing this, as well as long silent retreats seem challenging and a bit scary to me -
What? Stay quiet for days at a time???? Yikes!!! ..but I know it would be incredibly healthy and great to get more in tune and in touch with yourself and spirit.
On a long water fast, the whole idea is to rest, stay quiet and let you body heal.
I think it would be an incredibly healthy, empowering, and enlightening thing to do.
One day!!

It was so beautiful here!

This trees roots ran out along the ground for a long way, in some places fencing off beds of flowers - I think this might be the namesake Tanglewood!

Beautiful view up in the Panamanian Mountains!

The compost pile - there were lots of papaya trees growing from seeds out of the former compost pile nearby.

Seedlings being protected from the hot sun..

The cashew (Marinion) tree!! In this area there are stands and kids selling bags of cashews by the side of the road for 1$ each.. but they are not raw, they have to be heated to open up the shell. I have heard some people say that the inside doesn't get hot enough, only the outside.. but we bought a bag I had to try them!! - they were very, very soft, but they did look like they had been cooked. O well!! (theres lots of other great raw tropical things to eat here - plenty - this is paradise!!)

The many names of the cashew!:
"Nunca había escuchado anacardo, para mi es marañón. Pero encontré todos estos nombres para "cashew": marañón, merey, alcayoiba, nuez de la india, nuez de cajú, caujil, o anacardo."

The pineapple patch..
Passionfruit!! We tried some, they were delicious!!

This is the passionfruit vine.
Ginger flowers..
I forget, maybe guava..?? (there were breadfruit also in here somewhere) many plants and fruits and trees!!!
Lots of different trees growing in a row..

This is a banan tree. I found this pic interesting, shjowing the base of how the banana trees grow. They have shoots that grow up from the base where a new banana tree will start.They are sort of like Hostas, and more keep growing out from the base mother tree.. I think he said he had about 200 banana trees on the property..!
There are lots of banana trees everywhere in Panama.
& they are very beautiful!

Arlene (our beautiful Panamanian hostess) showing me a fruit, she had lots of good traditional stories about the plants and fruits growing..
Millions of mangoes!

View out the window of mountains on the way home..

..and we stopped and got Arlene to pick us some banana mangoes, a kind I haven't tried (& still haven't, they were not ripe enough & I couldn't bring them on the plane) But I hear they are one of the best kinds..
I'll just have to go back to try another time!