The Power of Food and Organic Lives Cafe

I had the most amazing morning on Sunday. First, it was a gorgeous day, that began with a run on the seawall in the crisp fall air. Then I had breakfast at Organic Lives Cafe in Vancouver, off of 2nd. It was AMAZING: the best smoothie I have ever drank, followed by the most amazing cinnamon toast… Just see for yourself:

The Strawberry Blonde smoothie: to die for!

The Strawberry Blonde smoothie: it was smooth, the perfect thickness and filled with goodness of strawberries, bananas, and coconut milk... Just to die for!

Top: sinfully healthy fruit crepe; and bottom: the heavenly cinnamon toast

Top: sinfully healthy fruit crepe; and bottom: the heavenly cinnamon toast

I cannot wait to return for more amazing, healthy, heavenly food from Organic Lives. You simply must go, that’s all I have to say.

After my breakfast, I experienced a chocolate cooking class instructed by the awesome Adam Hart (@PowerofFood). We basically ate chocolate for two hours  and I’ve never felt more healthy or energized in my life. I learned all about the benefits of raw cocoa and now I’m equipped with some smart snacking chocolate recipes to satisfy my frequent chocolate-sweet cravings.  We even made natural chocolate bars:

Adam Hart's homemade healthy chocolate brittle

Adam Hart's homemade healthy chocolate brittle

In September, I attended Adam Heart’s Achieving Vibrant Health workshop and have been following him ever since, via his website and cookbook. He is an inspiration for, literally, achieving vibrant health. I recommend everything his website, events, cookbook, and all of his recipes.

FREE PASS GIVEAWAY: So that you can experience what I am talking about, I have an extra pass that I would like to giveaway (for you plus one) to attend one of Adam’s upcoming workshops. Simply tell me about your Organic Lives cafe experience by commenting on this post; then I will draw one winner (on Nov 20th) to send a pass to Adam’s next Achieving Vibrant Health workshop on December 4, 2011, in downtown Vancouver.

Healthy eating!

Lesley beStowes us with a new cookie

Lesley Stowe has recently expanded her product line to bring us an all-natural cookie: Raincoast Cookies.

Famous for her Raincoast Crisps, which you’ve likely tried several times: perhaps at a brunch, or as part of a cheese plate, where you returns for seconds and even thirds! Her crisps sell for around $7 a box, but I am still a fan!

I recently tried her new cookie line, and have to say, they don’t quite measure up to the crisp. But they were decent. I think its the texture for me, when I am looking for a cookie I prefer the crunchy-chewy, over a more chewy-cakey cookie – which is how these tasted to me.

Two of Lesley Stowe's new Raincoast cookie flavours

Two of Lesley Stowe's new Raincoast cookie flavours: (L) dark chocolate, tart cherry and pecan (R) Apricot, ginger and slivered almond

The cookies come in three varieties and certainly are better than your average grocery cookie product. Let me breakdown the pros and cons for you:

I always look at the ingredients list when trying a new treat. Raincoast Cookies’ ingredients are natural and simple, which is nice to see. They are baked in small batches and Lesley says they “are made with the finest ingredients,” which is true to her product line in general.

The packaging is a bit excessive really considering it is a single cookie packaged to-go. I couldn’t help think of the English Bay cookie packaging, you see in vending machines, or on BC Ferries; I would likely opt for a Raincoast Cookie because they are a healthier selection.

Each of the three flavour combinations are paired well: dark chocolate, tart cherry and pecan; apricot, ginger and slivered almond;  or dried cranberry and toasted hazelnut.  The latter is my preferred of the three flavours.

Raincoast Cookie packaging

Raincoast Cookie packaging

When you tear open the package, the cookie feels a bit sticky to touch and is more on the chewy, than crunchy. They cookies are higher in fibre and protein, and thus a bit better for you than other cookie options you might find in the same fine food retailers around B.C. – where you can find the new Raincoast Cookies. When I shared them with some colleagues and friends, most said they liked them: two of the eight people I shared them with were not fans.  I recommend at least trying the Raincoast Cookies for yourself though.

While this new cookie line is exciting for Lesley, I think I’ll stick to the infamous Raincoast crisps – tried, tested, and true.

Raincoast Cookie texture

Raincoast Cookie texture

Karen Barnaby’s “‘I want to be alone!’ Banana chocolate pancake”

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I religiously read the Vancouver Sun’s Food section every wednesday. And every wednesday it is a different feature of fun recipes, food trends, tricks and tips. Check it out sometime, if you haven’t recently.

So, on a recent wednesday Karen Barnaby featured the Triple Threat: Flour, Milk, and Eggs and included this awesome recipe for a sensational-single-serving breakfast… to die for: The I want to be alone banana chocolate pancake!

As I have shared previously, I love breakfast at all hours of the day and sometimes I do enjoy a pancake here but i’m not a fan of having to make a large batch of them and deal with a bunch of leftovers. I just want to enjoy a pancake here and there, and now that I’ve found this awesome recipe it’s possible.

Karen describes, “This large, single serving pancake is not gender-specific. Breakfast, dinner or dessert. Maybe even lunch.”

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rolled oats, any type
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) baking soda pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced banana
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vegetable oil
  • The rest of the banana

Whisk the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Beat the egg, yogurt and butter together. Mix into the dry ingredients only until blended. The batter will be thick. Fold in the chocolate chips and banana slices. Heat the oil in a medium, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Pour in the pancake batter and spread it out to around 8 inches (20 cm). Cook until bubbles form and pop on the surface of the pancake then flip it over. Continue cooking until golden brown on the bottom. Slice the rest of the banana and use it to garnish the pancake.

Makes 1 large (8-inch) pancake, or you could make 2 regular size pancakes for a mini-stack… MMM!

Awesome Apple Festival at UBC Botanical Garden!

I made the trek out to UBC Botanical Garden for their annual Apple Festival on Saturday, and I a great time!  Apples have been my favourite fruit for as long as I can remember, so I may have had more fun than you average festival goer – I confess.  Proof: I dont eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away, I eat them daily just because I love me a good apple to start my day.

THe festival was a great family-feeling day, the sun was out and the air was crisp – a perfect fall day – fitting for this fruit du jour. For the low entry fee of $4, we were given access to top local Apple producers and fresh orchard apples.  There were tons of apples available to choose from, here is the list from their website.

Every year  44,000 lbs of apples are sold at this festival in 2 days, including more than 70 varieties, new and old, conventionally grown or organically. Amazing.

On my way out of the festival, apples and some homemade apple turnovers in hand!

On my way out of the festival, apples and some homemade apple turnovers in hand!

We had the most amazing pocket-pies, sold by a Squamish baker in the middle of the apple market. They were to die for, flaky but dense pastry, filled with the perfect ratio of fresh apple filling to pie crust. I will return next year just to have another apple-pocket.  I went for the classic apple, but there was also rasberry-apple, and blackberry-apple combos, among others.

Apple Festival pies and pastries

Apple Festival pies and pastries

My yummy apple pocket pie...

My yummy apple pocket pie...

The whole festival was like being at a giant farmer’s market, but the only thing people had to sell were apples. They did have the popular Ambrosia apple – did you know that this particular apple was hybridized in Cawston, British Columbia? Pretty cool!

Ambrosia facts

Ambrosia facts

I ended up choosing three apple types: the Ambrosia, Gloster and Topaz. All of them are great in different ways. Ambrosia I knew would be wonderful because I’ve had them before. Topaz and Gloster are also good, Topaz being more tart but tasty. Gloster reminded me of a red delicious a little bit, a mellow flavour. I brought the latter two to work to share with some colleagues and the Topaz won the taste test there!

The Topaz

The Topaz: A dessert apple, best when just picked. Tart but sweet, and crisp. Smaller in size, like a macintosh sort of (but the fruit is more dense)

The Gloster

The Gloster: a dessert and cooking apple, tasty but not as sweet as the Topaz.

I highly recommend this festival, and I plan to go next year for sure. MMM Apples…

Introducing Pinkberry @ Park Royal!

My food blogging efforts have gone into hybernation over the past few months, but the dormancy breaks for this breaking news: PINKBERRY has arrived at Park Royal Village in West Vancouver.

I confess, I just learned about Pinkberry and how cool it is, how awesome it is, how trendy it is with celebs and on twitter, and yadda yadda yadda.

Bottom line, its just another frozen yogurt place. Do we need another frozen yogurt place in Vancouver? Really? ….well the short answer is YES, and especially if it is Pinkberry.

Continue reading

A little education in refrigeration

David Suzuki's help end food waste now guide

David Suzuki's help end food waste now guide

This weekend I was looking up some things on the David Suzuki Foundation website (which I love, its a brilliant resource for so many things) and happily stumbled upon this document called Help end Food Waste Now. I found this little education in refrigeration helpful for preventing excess kitchen waste by smartly storing my produce, and ultimately helping save a few pennies…  Naturally I wanted to share this find with you.

“Fruits and vegetables are still breathing even after they’ve been pulled out of the earth, or off the vine or tree. In general, warmth speeds up respiration and cold slows it down – that’s why refrigeration makes some foods last longer,” I think this line summarizes the guide the best. These simple guidelines of what to store together or not in your produce drawer boil down to what produce emits gas and what doesn’t.

I have never been a fan of putting my produce in plastic bags when shopping at the grocery store, and now I have some scientific reason behind it. For example, unripe bananas emit gas, and putting them in a plastic bag essentially suffocates them, and rapidly speeds up the ripening process (not always ideal).

I love food science… One of my favourite Food TV programs is Alton Brown’s Good Eats, I can never watch enough episodes!

Alton Brown's Good Eats

Alton Brown's Good Eats

Hopefully this produce guide helps you all and please do share any other tips you’ve learned  —> I just eat this stuff up (pun intended, of course)! 😉

OK, Kraft know’s what’s cooking

Kraft Foods has a free quarterly cooking magazine called What’s Cooking that features their products in an array of seasonal recipes for every meal of the day.

If you are looking for some extra food inspiration in your mailbox every few months, then check out this magazine. I have been on their mailing list for years, so I can say with honesty that it is a good freebie – especially if you already like Kraft products.

I love it when What’s Cooking arrives in the mail each season, and although it is a fun read I dont always make the recipes. But this latest issue has some rocking salad recipes and hit the mark for me. This one I am having for lunch tomorrow: Bulgar & Beans.

Beans & Bulgar salad

Beans & Bulgar salad: I made this earlier tonight, easy-peasy on American Idol commercial breaks. Yup.

What's Cooking magazine

What's Cooking magazine

Beans & Bulgar salad, page 35

Beans & Bulgar salad, page 35

Here is the recipe link: click here. Note: I swapped chickpeas for extra kidney beans, which is the great thing about these recipes – their flexibility.

Let me know if you try any other recipes from this issue?!

Happy Holidays with Vancouver’s Largest Gingerbread House!

Largest Gingerbread House in Vancouver

Largest Gingerbread House in Vancouver

A SWEET and HAPPY HOLIDAY WISH TO ALL! May you feast well with loved ones!

Here is a treat I saw recently, Vancouver’s largest gingerbread house, found in Gingerbread Lane at the Hyatt Vancouver (open until December 27, 2010). The house is made with 1400 egg whites (yes as in well over 100 dozen!)) , 400 pounds of icing sugar, and 500 pounds of gingerbread dough. It is life size, 11 feet tall, 16 feet wide and is difficult to photograph all in one frame! If you can make it there in the next few days it is worth a trip, and to see all the other gingerbread houses on display. Either way….

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to everyone!

Stay tuned for new adventures from Beyond The Dough in 2011…

Movember ends in Stachoff @thecornersuite!

Live twitter feed shown throughout the event

Live tweets shown throughout the event

Movember ended earlier this week, and I attended my first Tweetup! Hosted by The CornerSuite Bistro in downtown Vancouver, known for their signature blue chairs, it was a fun post-work event to check out the 30-day-upper-lip-mogression! Ladies attending had the option to buy fake-stache by donation, and some of them began to fall off throughout the event which added to the entertainment.

The CornerSuite Bistro's blue chairs

Some of CornerSuite Bistro's signature blue chairs

Here is a clip of a couple of the contests who competed in the stachoff where the top three winners received gift cards to a barber shop.

Have you been to a tweetup before, if so, where was it?

#19 – Foodosophy

Foodosophy

Foodosophy

Foodosophy is a diverse food blog that includes content from all over the world, as their eight contributors travel and share their food experiences.  They have many posts from all over, but their most heavily covered city is ours – Vancouver.

I like the title of this blog, yet another pun (love it!), and then their tag line, “Eat, Sleep… Dream… Food”.  I could not relate more to that mantra!

For my Blog or Bust #19 share, check out Foodosophy.  See where they have traveled – its an extensive list!