UnReFiNeD

January 25, 2012

Love Of Zines

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Kate @ 8:24 am

All my life I`ve loved making little books and panflets about various things – When I was a kid I made a nice little book on our galaxy, with color pictures and everything, using my dad`s computer. Unfortunately I lost it, but I remember the great joy that I had in making it and in informing people about various stuff. Many years later I made a zine on how to care for gerbils, when I used to have a dozen and couldn`t keep them all anymore. Although it was a simple little beefy zine printed only on one side of the papers, I had a blast making it and I knew that thanks to it, my gerbils would always be in good hands and the owners wouldn`t get any nasty surprises.

Since I changed my eating habits over 3 years ago I`ve often had the desire to make zines dedicated to food. I wanted to help people start making good choices in their life with something I had experience in. I wanted to inspire people with new ideas, but for various reasons I just couldn`t put my zines togehter. At one point I printed out a 22-full-page, one-sided food zine of this blog but it wasn`t quite what I wanted. While those I gave it to were highly pleased and appreciative, it wasn`t made the way I wanted it and it didn`t contain all the information I would like to have in it. Now that I`m settled back in Montreal and am getting serious with food again, and after being inspired from going to Montreal`s zine fair, I`m happy to say that I`m finally putting my food zine plan into action!

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At first I thought about making a big fat zine that included everything, but now I`ve decided to make a Food Zine Collection of about 6 zines. With time I will evaluate which are most popular and make a higher-quality, beefier recipe zine with more information from the more popular zines. For now, these are the 6 food zine topics that I plan to put into print:

#1 UnReFiNeD Recipe Book: A bunch of wholesome recipes of mixed variety, meaning some will be vegan (all will be vegetarian), some will be raw, and some will be gluten-free (and easily labeled as such). There will be photos and some nutritional value information. Knowing me, there will probably be a bit more desserts than anything else, but still a nice mix =P. There will be basic cooking and food storage tips, plus a glossary explaining less-common ingredients and kitchen equipment. The zine will also include an informative summary of my other food zine topics.

#2 Rawesome!: An introduction to eating a raw food diet and the benefits of doing so, without the need to buy extremely expensive ingredients and kitchen equipment. This zine will include various tips for beginners, as well as a big handful of simple raw recipes and a bunch of information on growing sprouts.

#3 Food Politics: A look into today`s problematic food system and what to consider with the growing, shipping and packaging of what becomes our food. There will be an informational list of dangerous ingredients, as well as lots of information on eating a healthier, wholesome diet.

#4 Eating On A Budget: Various tips on eating inexpensively while eating healthy, and trying to do so in not too much time. Dumpster diving (etiquette, what to watch out for), eating healthy while traveling (plus my own travel stories), and foraging are the main topics that will be discussed.

#5 Be Proavtive!: Suggestions on how you can help your community by gathering, cooking and serving food to the public, and teaching good food habits to those you care about. Also, various funny stories and odd combinations included.

#6 Growing Greens & Remedial Herbs: A look into growing simple gardens, indoors and out. There will be a section on growing sprouts, along with a handful of sprout recipes, and a section dedicated to the growth and use of remedial herbs.

I hope you`re as excited about these as I am! As you see, they will basically be a nicely-categorized, updated version of my blog with added goodies, in paper. I plan on printing them into the usual half-page-sized zine and hope to color code the covers. The inside will most likely be black and white to cut down on costs. They will be available in person and by mail once they are completed and will cost approximately 1$-5$ each, with a special price for all zines purchased together. Stay tuned for the release date!

If you want to help me decide which recipes I should include in my recipe book, you can review my recipes you`ve tried on food.com (under the name Ravenhood) and allrecipes (these are waiting approval right now), or simply review them on the pages they`re on here. I`d also be really appreciative of your thoughts on my food zine collection and topic selections. Thanks in advance!

July 25, 2010

Woof! Woof! Woof!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Kate @ 10:23 pm

While in Prince Edward Island, I did some unofficial Wwoofing. I had previously done some research on organic farms in the Maritimes and came across a couple of them that were into Wwoofing, so I contacted Margie, who specializes in greens and sprouts, and went to her little farm.

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What is Wwoofing you ask? Their mission statement is: “WWOOF Canada’s mission is to raise consciousness about ecological solutions to environmental issues through support of a community of people who are passionate about sustainable organic stewardship of food, animals and land while respecting nature and protecting natural resources.”. Basically, it’s an exchange of labour and ideas for shelter, food, and knowledge. It’s a great way of learning about sustainable gardening and living, and a great way to make new friends. It involves no money, but the use of the site itself is not free – There’s an annual fee. Wwoofing has been happening for a while now, and all over the world too! For more information, check out their website.

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I got to meet another Wwoofer called Mizuho, from Japan, who’d started her journey in Vancouver. She was a really sweet and polite girl and she gave me some awesome gifts, including the cutest bunny charm which now hangs in the van – It’s a plushie with sheets pinned onto its stomach – All in Japanese, it says “safe driving” on the first page, my name on the second, and Mizuho’s name on the third. She reminded me of how much I can’t wait to travel to Japan. One day, I will!

We did various things – harvested some greens and bagged them for the farmers market, put compost around the raspberry bushes, dug weeds out of the compost piles. I strained myself working hard at first and, after not having done much physical work in a while, I really overdid it. I couldn’t run even if I needed to.

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I left the biggest for last, after having pulled out various weeds and mushrooms from this compost hill. It was lots of fun! I also relieved a peach tree from its overabundance in unripe fruit. I don’t know why, but I felt the strangest satisfaction in doing this. A deep, comforting, peaceful, familiar satisfaction, but I’ve never done this kind of thing before.

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On one sunny evening we all went out for a picnic on the South Eastern edge of P.E.I. and it was fantastically refreshing. We dined on sprouts and salad, strawberries, bread and guacamole. While at Margie’s, I got to dive into her many sprout books and came across some amazing recipes, especially in Sproutman’s books, with Essene bread and Mochi being high on my “to-make” list. I finally got to read some of Simply Raw too! She has some great recipes, such as: Ketchup, Indian carrot soup, Cashew cheese icing, Tomato marinara sauce and Chili.

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What’s this, a plate of scrambled egg!? Yes indeed. Margie’s brother has his own big farm full of various produce and animals and supplies her with free-range, almost-organic eggs. I’ve been a strict vegan for about 9 months now but allowed myself to eat some local organic eggs.

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While in Charlottetown, I visited The Root Cellar, a health food store located downtown – 34 Queen Street. It’s a small health food store with not much in it but still better than nothing considering where it’s located. The farmer’s market on the other hand is pretty impressive; It’s always packed with both sellers and buyers, local produce and meats and truly hand-made  products.

June 24, 2010

Crudessence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Kate @ 10:29 pm

I’ve been lucky to dine at a raw food restaurant TWO times in less than one week! The first time was with friends, of which who informed me of such a wonderful restaurant, situated at 105 Rachel Street West (Thanks Purna!). Expensive but definitely worth the experience, Crudessence (which means “Raw Essence” in English) packs their tiny little restaurant and veranda with loads of delicious healthy raw vegan food. Their menu and the taste of their food is quite different from what Live in Toronto has to offer, which makes things fun. They will be opening a second restaurant in the downtown area next summer, so that means that business is going well!

During these two outings I got to try all kinds of things from the menu! Here they are:

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Lasagna, made primarily with zucchini and tomatoes, along with sprouts and salad and the most delicious, slightly spicy sauce. It wasn’t as amazing as I thought it’d be, but it was really tasty nonetheless.

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I also got to sample a salty crepe – Made with sprouts, cream sauce and an amazing cheese mimic.

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Robin got some spring rolls. They were huge and very tasty. The same delicious sauce was served as my lasagna.

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This cheesecake alone is worth the trip to Crudessence, and it’s worth the 6.75$ price tag! It is absolute bliss. Both Purna and I never thought we would ever taste real cheesecake again, but this hits the spot. It tastes JUST like real cheesecake. It is sooooooo gooooood. I’m pretty sure it’s made with coconut oil, cashews and agave nectar. Honestly though, I don’t think the goji berries and orange zest look good on it.

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I shared a brownie but unfortunately it wasn’t like the one that I had sampled at the Raw Festival – It simply had way too many walnuts.

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We did some MAJOR sampling when we went out to eat with my mother and her boyfriend on our second outing there.

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Again, the same spring rolls that Robin purchased last time, but cut into four pieces. These are really simple and mostly made of veggies but I find them super tasty.

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The sushi was awesome! No fishy taste. It was actually very soft in texture, and the mustard sauce in the sushi (and spring rolls) was super delicious.

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Robin, on another occasion, got some sushi-to-go, as they are well known for their take-outs. A great idea considering their store is so small.

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We all got drinks. My mom got a refreshing minty drink called something like “combo-mojito”, I got a delicious Elixir drink made with bananas, strawberries and a bunch of superfoods, and Alain got what got dubbed the salad drink, made with kale, parsely, fennel, apple and lemon juice – None of us really liked it, it was really strong in flavor.

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It was pretty though! And eventually it started separating. We were curious about what ingredient turned part of the drink pink but forgot to ask to find out.

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Robin enjoyed some Passion Kombucha (fermented sparkling tea, made locally) which I must say was Very sparkly and zippy! Very enjoyable but not something I would drink regularly. They come in 3.50$ bottles, in three flavors.

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We got the nachos and they were okay. Honestly they weren’t amazing at all, and the nachos weren’t crunchy at all which we all assumed they’d be.

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But THESE. Oh yes these were delicious! I forget the name of it, it’s something like “Chapiti-Zaatar” – hummus with “yogurt” and the most amazing soft crackers ever. I would Definitely buy this again.

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Robin got himself the miso soup. It was warm and loaded with mushrooms, goji berries and seaweed. Pretty salty, the flavor was nice I guess, but it’s not something I would order myself. It’s not entirely raw – They boil water and then throw the veggies in before serving it to you.

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The cheese pizza “Pizzuki” is AMAZING! It’s super flavorful and what makes it extra special is the olives and capers on it. There’s lots of cheesy filling on it, and the olive oil crust makes it all the more flavorful – ~Mmmmm! It also came with zucchini pasta, which was really nice, but could’ve been even better with a more flavorful sauce.

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This was “couscous” made with cauliflower and I think the same amazing hummus, sauce and crackers from the Chapiti-Zaatar appetizer.

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Since the last time I’d been at Crudessence, I had my eyes set on this – Banana chocolate hazelnut crepe. How could I say no!? It was super delicious. I feel like it should be a couple of bucks cheaper though.

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We were really sad to hear that they were out of cheesecake, but we got other delicious desserts. We got the “Noir-Desir/Black Craving” which was a super rich fudgey chocolate cake – Yum!, but I personally found the flavor and texture of the chocolate mousse especially astounding, and the raspberry sauce on top is the best I’ve tasted so far. The chocolates were fun – We all got to try a piece of each, and we all ended up with the same feedback: The rich fudge chocolate, orange chocolate, and mint chocolate were delicious, the maca one left a bad aftertaste in your mouth, and the spirulina one was just plain bad. My favorite one was the orange chocolate one, but I’m a sucker for that stuff.

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That’s right. I’m a plate licker.

So what would I order if I went again, now that I’ve tried most of the stuff on the menu? I’d definitely go for the Chapiti-Zaatar thing (whatever it’s called!), with a small side dish of sushi and spring roll. As for desserts, well, I feel highly tempted by the cheesecake, but I’d probably go with the chocolate raspberry mousse and finish it off with one orange chocolate.  I got to try their brownie at the Raw Festival (I didn’t see it on the menu at the restaurant and forgot about it until now) and must say it’s surprisingly rich and flavorful and of course very chocolatey. That would be nice too…

On a side note… I know that raw food is an aquired taste for those who are unfamiliar with raw vegan eating, but I have experimented with it a lot and nonetheless, there were a couple of items on the menu that I and others found unpleasant in taste (like the spirulina chocolate), or way too salty (like the miso soup). What I was a little disappointed about was their reaction to this feedback. On two different ocassions and with two different waitresses, we expressed how we felt about the foods we didn’t like and they in no way tried to make up for it. Most restaurants will offer a replacement or something of the sort when something like this happens (especially when a whole table of four people have the same feedback about a certain food) but nothing was offered, just a “I’ll tell the cook in the kitchen” from one of the waitresses. This is something they could work on.

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