Sunday, August 28, 2011

Toasted Nori Rolls!

My attempt at Nori Rolls

  Last night I made nori rolls for the first time ever.  I am so proud of myself!! :)  I've only ever had sushi once and it was for my Aunts birthday this past year.  I tried both the vegetarian and raw fish kind and I wasn't a fan of either.  I'm still not a huge fan of the nori, but I loved everything I put inside it!
   The reason I decided to have nori rolls is a) They look so delicious! b) I love wraps of any kind! and c) Sea vegetables are packed with all kinds of nutritional goodies!  For example, nori is high in fiber, protein, vitamin C, calcium, iodine and zinc.  Also, for us vegans and those of you with dairy free diets (good for you!), nori provides up to ten times more calcium and iron by weight than milk. Yay for sea vegetables!
   Lately I have been noticing that an unusually large amount of hair is attaching itself to my brush, hair elastics, bathroom floor, shower drain, etc. and it's freaking me out a little.  In fact it's freaked me out enough that I've had to 'Google it' (man I love Google!).  I've also noticed that my nails have become super brittle which is really strange because I have super strong nails.  It sounds like I might be bragging, but I'm not.  I've always been complimented on my nails and now they look like crap!  (Sorry for the poor word choice, but they really do look like crap!)  Anyway, so here I am, eating this super healthy 'diet' rich in vitamins and nutrients and my hair is falling out and my nails are cracking!  What?!?!  So, like I said, I Googled it and read tons of forums and blogs, etc. about why this might be happening.  And wow, there are lot's of different reasons and opinions!  For weeks I've sifted through tons of information and came up with a few possible reasons.  1. I've made a drastic change in diet (duh).  And although it's been about 6 months I can see how it might still be affecting me.  Plus, I continue to take things out of my diet and add new and yummy things in, so my body continues to go through lots of changes. 2. My body may be lacking certain vitamins or nutrients. 3. A few months ago I stopped taking a super strong medication which could also be a factor.
   So, for all of these possible reasons I've decided to up my vitamin intake which, for now, I only get through the foods that I eat and the green powders that I add to my shakes.  Enter sea vegetables.  When it was still cold out I was adding small strips of Kombu (another sea veggie) to my soups and to my soaking and cooking water for my beans.  But since the summer started I kinda forgot about it.  I figured nori rolls would be refreshing in the warmer weather and seriously how bad can they be if I control what goes in them?  This is what I kept telling myself so that I'd be psyched to eat them! Ha!
  Anyway, here is my 'recipe' for the toasted nori rolls that I made.  I basically just used what I had on hand in the refrigerator.  I also wanted to marinate my veggies a bit so that I could add flavor while simultaneously masking the taste of the sea.  I'm not really selling this dish, am I? :)  I actually had my step-dad try them and he said, "they're not bad!" and then he asked, "why does it taste like fish?"  I think I rolled my eyes a bit and then told him, rather loudly: it's not fish, it's the sea! 

Toasted Nori Rolls
Serves 1-2
Nori Rolls with a Shoyu and Lime juice Dip

3-4 Nori sheets (You can use toasted or raw.  I used toasted because that's all I could find)
1-2 cups of veggies (any kind) cut into match-stick pieces - I used carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber, tomato and avocado
A handful of sprouts or watercress 

Marinade: (Adapted from a recipe in Polly Noble's 7 Day Quickstart)
2 tbsp Shoyu (or Tamari, Bragg's, any kind of soy sauce)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 or 2 green onions, chopped

Chop all of your veggies and place them in a bowl with the marinade.  (I didn't add the avocado, watercress, or the tomatoes to the marinade.)  Let sit for about 20 minutes.  Place one nori sheet on a flat surface like a cutting board or on a bamboo mat if you have one.  (I don't have one and I had no issues rolling).  Spread whatever kind of sauce you have onto the nori sheet leaving a little bit of space at the front and end of the sheet.  I just made one up using some almond butter, sun-dried tomatoes, lime and avocado blended together.  Add the watercress, tomato, and avocado slices.
   Squeeze your veggies a bit to get rid of some of that excess liquid and then layer them across your sheet width-wise, leaving some room at the front of your sheet for rolling. Starting from the side closest to you fold the nori sheet over your veggies and then start rolling away from you until you get to the end.  Once you get to the bit of space at the end, dip your fingers in some water or lime juice, wet the strip and finish the roll.  Make sure you squeeze it a bit so that it stays closed.  You just made sushi! Repeat with the rest of the nori sheets and veggies.
   If you want to be fancy you can cut your roll into smaller pieces.  I did this mostly because I didn't want to be holding onto a giant piece of sushi. Make sure you wet the blade of your knife before each cut.
   As a dipping sauce I just used the leftover marinade.  It was so yummy that I didn't want to waste it. 

   My final verdict is that I loved the filling of my sushi.  Also, the avocado slices helped to tone down the sea taste.  Next time I make them I'll maybe add some rice and see if that makes a difference.  I know that lot's of people love and crave sushi - I am not one of them.  But, since I have leftover Nori sheets I will find a way to make them and love them! Ha! 

Ves xx

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I ♥ Breakfast!

   I woke up this morning thinking about the big breakfasts my family would have on the weekends and was really craving something decadent.  Weekend breakfasts weren't necessarily huge, but definitely yummy food that we didn't have time to make on a work/school day.  Some of my favorites included: Crepes filled with marmalade, raspberry jam or feta cheese; creamy polenta; Eggs Benedict; french toast; pancakes; and the list goes on.  Even though I don't eat most of those foods anymore I still wanted something yummy, indulgent and different from the norm.  Usually I have a green smoothie or chia seeds with almond milk and berries.  So this morning I made myself some blueberry yoghurt and pan-fried Mochi.  As some of you know, I have been on a raw food kick lately and, while the blueberry yoghurt was definitely raw, the Mochi definitely wasn't.  Hey, I'm a Libra... it's all about balance!  Anyway, if you don't know what Mochi is, let me introduce you to something so delicious you'll wonder why you haven't tried it before.  The recipe that I used was adapted from Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet.  Mochi is made from brown rice and that's actually the only ingredient. 

This is the kind that I buy, but there are other kinds out there.
I usually cut the mochi in quarters or in half when I pan fry it.  Be careful not to let the mochi touch because they will stick together:
Cover the pan, turn the heat down low and cook for about 4 - 5 min.  Then flip the mochi pieces over and add a couple of drops of Shoyu (organic soy sauce) to them.
Cover and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes and then transfer to a plate.
Drizzle with Brown Rice Syrup, pure Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar and serve hot.
Mochi will be ooey gooey and delicious!
The last time I made Mochi, I ate it with scrambled tofu - so good!
But this morning I ate it with this.

   I cut up some cantaloupe and grapes, sprinkled some ground flax seed, coconuts, and goji berries and added about two tablespoons of the blueberry yoghurt.  It was so good and so filling!  I made the yoghurt with avocado, fresh-squeezed orange juice, blueberries, cinnamon, vanilla and agave nectar. The Blueberry Yoghurt comes from Polly Noble's 7 Day Quickstart the beginners guide to eating more raw.


   So, even though I wasn't eating one of the more decadent breakfast choices I mentioned earlier, this was so good that I kind of wanted to eat the same thing for lunch!  I didn't though.  Ha!

What's your favorite breakfast food?

Ves xx

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...

  Check out this article about what's really in Chicken McNuggets.  Yikes!  It's scary to think that this used to be my 'go-to' item on the menu.  Mind you, the amount of times I've frequented McDonalds for food is pretty small.  What's scarier is that this is the #1 food that the kids in my class tell me they love to order when they go there.  And I can bet that a lot of those children have been there more times this year than I have my whole life.

   I know it's 'quick and easy' to grab take-away, but so is throwing some beans, vegetables and even meat (if you choose to eat it, choose organic!) into a crockpot and letting it cook while you're at work.  The plus side is that you get to come home to a house full of yummy smells!

 Ps: We all enjoy getting take-out now and then and with so many options out there we don't have to sacrifice our health for convenience.  Just because it's a treat doesn't mean it has to be bad for us! :-)

Happy and Healthy eating everyone!
Ves xx

Monday, August 01, 2011

Go Green or Go Home

  Today I made my first green juice.  Yay me!  Did I mention I don't have a juicer?  How did I do it, you ask?  Well, I've learned that you can juice fruits and vegetables without a juicer, it just takes a little longer.  I used my blender to blend all of the ingredients and then I strained them through a sieve.  So it was more work but definitely worth it.  Through this process I learned two things: 1. I will definitely be investing in a Vitamix and a Juicer in the future and 2. I love Green Juice! For now my little blender will have to pull double duty.
   In case you are wondering, juicing is super healthy!  It is the fastest and easiest way to get all that nutritional goodness into our system.  When you juice you use more fruits and vegetables then you can actually eat in one sitting.  And by separating the fiber from the fruit or vegetable we have access to all the amazing vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which get absorbed that much quicker than if we were to actually eat the fruits and veggies.  Why green, you ask?  Well, making the juice green is especially good for us.  nerd alert--> Chlorophyll delivers a stack of nutrients and oxygen to the body helping to build red blood cells, boost the immune system, detoxify the body, alkalize blood pH, and improve circulation. (Wow!)  So the question is really, why not green? 

Here's the green juice that I made:

This juice looked so pretty I couldn't resist drinking it out of a fancy glass.

Recipe adapted from: Polly Noble's 7 Day Quickstart
1 zucchini
1/2 cucumber
2 apples
1/2 lime
3 large kale leaves (or use whatever leafy greens you have)

Place the lime, cucumber, zucchini, kale and apples through the juicer.  If you don't have a juicer put everything in a high speed blender and then strain through a sieve and drink immediately. 

nerd alert--> Juice tends to oxidize quickly so it's best to drink juice as soon as possible after you make it.

Happy juicing!
Ves xx
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