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Eating nut butter is a big part of my daily routine, however, for the last year or so, I've been making my own as I go through it at such an alarming rate, I would nut butter-myself out of house and home. This is why I was genuinely thrilled when Windy City Organics sent me a care package of specialty nut butters. These weren't just any nut butters, oh no, the package was filled with ones I've never made, ones I've never tasted, and ones I've never even heard of. To my delight, I received, Rawmio (aka healthy Nutella consisting of raw cacao and hazelnuts -dreams really do come true!), Dastony Coconut Butter (a completely different product than coconut oil), and Dastony Sprouted Pumpkin Seed Butter. My nut butter world has been sufficiently rocked.      

 
 
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Today's post is going to be a little different. I was asked by Mode Media (the nice people that provide the moving advertisements for this blog), to participate in a recipe roundup. I got to make a snazzy slideshow, so hello, I simply had to participate. I'm a sucker for a slideshow and they make it easy for me to feel HTML-competent, which is just icing on the cake. 

 
 
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Can you tell that it was a rainy day when I was taking these photos? The lighting is a bit dark for what I was going for, but think of these burritos as that multicoloured arc lighting up the sky after a summer rain. Was that too cheesy? Yes, yes it was. I picked up this candy-coated rainbow chard at a local produce barn over the weekend and happily snacked on a leaf while driving home. I'd never tried rainbow chard before, but like its jelly bean palette, it turned out to be surprisingly sweet. Not saccharine, but pleasant. If you've ever tried to snack on raw kale, it's umm... pungent. Yes, let's stick with that. Raw kale needs a massage, some lemon or balsamic, sea salt, and a bit of marinating time to make it sing. I was pleasantly surprised that raw chard does not -welcome to Lazytown! It's irony, rich, and makes a beautiful burrito (two words that felt extremely weird typing next to each other) that can be eaten warm or cold, raw (without an overly-pungent "green" taste) or steamed. Options, options, options!    

 
 
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I read many food blogs and I'm always amazed at the beautiful recipes, photos, and flavour combinations dreamt up by my fellow fbs. Something that I've felt rather upset about lately is the fact that Canada doesn't have a Trader Joe's and every US food blogger talks about Trader Joe's or "TJ's," as it's affectionately referred to, on a regular basis. I wish they'd just come up here already! After reading Alexis' fabulous Trader Joe's post, I was craving a good-old fashioned field trip. Off to Whole Foods I went!    

 
 
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First off, my internet decided to stop working today. I called tech support and was informed the part I required was a 30 minute drive (have I mentioned I live far away from things?). Nevertheless, I did some sleuthing around town, talked to some technology dudes, and finally got the part I needed. I'm happy to report that my modem is now lit up like a Rockefeller Center evergreen. During this exercise, I learned that I'm very attached to the internet, but it did force me to turn off for a bit and just Word-it for a solid couple of hours, so even steven. 

I'm not done yet! Yesterday, some of my Winter 2013 and Spring 2014 posts decided to do a disappearing act. Good grief. I think I've recovered most of it, but some bits and pieces seem to have floated away into outer space or wherever lost blog bits go. I think it's a problem with my host, which is constantly toying with my emotions. Oh well, thank goodness for backups. When it rains, it pours. Something else that's been doing a disappearing act around here is this zippy tomato chutney (how's that for a super segue?). 

 
 
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It's been far too long since my last buddha bowl instalment and you all know how much I love BIG healthy meals in bowls. More is more, that's my motto. When I posted the chili a couple of weeks ago, I was all gung-ho about autumn and I know there's quite a few summer lovers out there, which is why I've named this bowl in your honour (it also happens to be a "swell" surf documentary from the 60s). While I'm not partial to the heat that comes along with summer, I am partial to the produce that comes along with it.

 
 
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I don't know if you can tell, but my trusty camera is going. I've been looking to upgrade for a while now but haven't been able to justify a purchase quite yet. It's producing very grainy photos, no matter what the lighting condition, and they seem to be immune to any photoshopping I try. Every time I make an adjustment that's supposed to help, it only makes the graininess grow stronger! Moreover, the actual button that's used to capture the photo is also going, it's sticky and needs to be asked twice to take a shot. In with the new, I say.

At least these cupcakes soothed my soul. I've wanted to perfect a cashew buttercream for some time now and I think I've finally cracked the cashew code. It's all in the repetitious chill and whip technique. At last, I've achieved non-grainy cashew frosting and now must deal with grainy photos -c'est la vie.     

 
 
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Another recipe, another nut. I took a little inventory of my refrigerator and freezer nut and seed situation, finding about 2 lbs+ each of the following raw varieties: sesame seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, tahini, and homemade almond hazelnut butter. Other types that have graced me with their presence include: peanuts, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin seeds. I go through this amount in just under two months. I buy raw, unsalted, shelled, whole varieties from my local bulk store and Costco (the best place to buy colossal bags of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts), to ensure a high turnover rate, avoiding rancidity. Nuts and seeds are a big source of protein and whole-food, healthy fats in my diet. They're also ultra-multifaceted little guys. Let me explain.  

Over the last couple of years on this blog, I've used nuts and seeds in the following fun ways and beyond: blended into creamy buddha bowl sauces and more buddha bowl sauces and salad dressings; created the best classic hummus; sprinkled on salads, soups, buddha bowls, and pasta; made into raw cheesecake and pie squares; thrown into granola for major crunch; rolled a few raw cookie dough bites; ground into homemade gluten-free flour for carrot cake with frosting; puréed into homemade nut butter; baked up in a batch of cookies; stirred into chickpea fudge; frozen into dairy-free fudgesicles; whirled them into dreamy puddings and yogurts; created dairy-free milk and more dairy-free milk and even more dairy-free milk; used them as an ice cream cup base; prepared easy homemade pesto and more pesto; and whipped 'em into ethereal, cloud-like mousses, like I did for you today. 

Nuts and seeds are like those kids in school that were good at everything -sports, speaking, science, english, socializing, math, council, and of course, they had those Derek Zoolander good-looks, especially pistachios, the prom queen nut, if you will. Green, globular, gorgeous, goodies of the gods. The last time I used pistachios was back in 2012 for my Goji Berry Pistachio Cookies, so I thought it was time to revisit the glam green goddess. 

 
 
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I had big plans to plant an herb garden this year. I wanted herbs. Lots of herbs. However, life got wonderfully busy with wonderful projects and I forgot about being a gardener. The only herb I have right now is the unplanned mint beast along the side of the house, so that's what we've been eating around here. With no herbs and a giant head of field cauliflower in my refrigerator, it felt very natural for me to create a pesto out of this cruciferous king. I was worried about the name of this dish, but according to Mario Batali, you can indeed make pesto out of cauliflower! I was tickled. Cauliflower pesto is besto.  

Something else that's been taking me away from herb gardening is setting up an office. I work from home and have been using the dining room table, kitchen table, couch, kitchen island, bed, back deck -anywhere with a chair, really. I was really in need of a space to call my own where I can close the door and get down to business with my dog at my feet. This weekend, I went out on a little mission, purchased a few things, and set up my new home office, which I'm typing from right now. Want a little peak? 

 
 
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I made this veggie-packed, plant-based, meatless, fiery, in-yo-face, totally rockin' chili the other day using the delectable bounty of fresh produce that's popping up all over my neighbourhood. I normally make chili using canned San Marzano tomatoes, but I thought I'd give it a try with the local field tomatoes that have taken over my kitchen counter. The result was much lighter, perfect for summertime feasting. I also tossed in my current food obsession -walnuts. They add the most incredible texture and give this chili a healthy dose of omega-3s, protein, and lend a hand in making it look authentically chili-esque.