Chew Your Smoothie

Drink your food and chew your drink. What does this mean? An important part of digestion happens in your mouth where initial enzymes are released to break down carbohydrates. So, it is vitally important that with each bite and sip, we take time to chew and savour what is in our mouth before swallowing. If you are a devotee of this practice, then ideally, you should be chewing each bite 40 times. That bite of food becomes liquid at the end. You may think you don’t have time (well, who does?), but this is really the proper way to make your food count. On most occasions, I’m the last to finish my plate when dining out with friends. In this age of fast food and dining, I’m considered a super slow eater but I don’t mind as quality takes time!

Blueberry Coconut Smoothie by Kake2Kale.com Continue reading

Gung Hei Fat Prawns

Gung Hei Fat Choy! I love Chinese New Year!  Lots of eating with family, friends, lucky money, special treats, and new clothes (on the first day of the New Year you should wear new clothes to give yourself a fresh start).   But I also love that Chinese New Year for me is where I get to have a “do over”.  If there were any resolutions made on Jan 1 that haven’t started, then I can try again.  And, to all of you who also had good intentions to ie.  give up sugar, start a new workout, read more, floss every day, and/or eat more superfoods, well, don’t be discouraged as you can try again in the Lunar New Year….even if you aren’t Chinese!

My  Chinese New Year recipe is quite unconventional, in that the ingredients aren’t your standard New Year’s fare.  Because, frankly, most of the “special” dishes eaten at this time are not delicious to my North American palate, such as dried oysters, black moss (looks like a clump of black hair), jai (vegetarian gluten dish).  Doesn’t sound too appetizing, does it?  But I hope this Gung Hei Fat Prawns does! And, it’s loaded with superfoods.

Chinese New Year 2 Kake2Kale

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Celebrating at Chau

Kale and I are celebrating the 6-month anniversary of our blog so we wanted to go to a restaurant that represented who we are.  Kale and I are Asian and consider ourselves to be modern and have good taste, so I thought Chau (in Vancouver) would be the perfect place to go to.  Having been there before, I knew Kale would like it.  I had just returned from sunny, though sub-zero, Ottawa and woke up to a gloomy dreary rain-whipped day in Vancouver, aiyah!  But the blue sky poked through the angry clouds on our way to Chau and we felt the heavens smiling down upon with us.

Kake2kale @ Chau 1

Chau is a hip and contemporary, vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant that serves fresh, flavourful and satisfying dishes.   Vegan and gluten free options are also available.  We started off with taro chips served with a fragrant tofu dip.  Then we had my favourite dish, the Golden Temple (top picture below).   It is a light turmeric curry broth with tofu, broccoli, yam, lotus root, taro, kale, and herbs. I enjoy it best with quinoa and a side of free range eggs.  We also ordered the Moonlit Midnight Swim (right-hand image, below superfoods list), which is a wild rice blend with tofu, kale, mushrooms, lotus root, a spiced peanut mushroom sauce, and topped with roasted peanuts and seeds.  These dishes are filled to the brim with superfoods – kale, yam, broccoli, herbs, egg, quinoa, and turmeric broth.

Kake2kale @ Chau 2

Here are some of the superfoods we had:

Kale:  Has over 45 different flavonoids which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as loads of calcium.
Quinoa:  Contains quercetin which is a natural anti-histamine (helps with allergies), and quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
Turmeric:  Anti-inflammatory and has anti-cancer properties.
Taro:  It has a low glycemic level, which means, it won’t spike your blood sugar, high in fiber, high in B vitamins and minerals.

Kake2kale @ Chau 3

We toasted our achievement with the Coconut Shake, a creamy coconutty, refreshing  counterpoint to the savoury food.  The meal felt like we’d been whisked away to a tropical island, which was perfect since yesterday I was in Ottawa with my face frozen numb.  Check out Chau at chowatchau.ca, particularly their menu.

Kake2kale @ Chau 4

As I reflect upon the last six months since starting our blog, my first thought is how my friendship with Kale is being enriched, it is going better than I could’ve expected.  We seem to have the perfect partnership.  First, while I enjoy writing, Kale prefers  taking photographs (I’ve tried, but I am definitely not talented with a camera).   Second, it’s fun to share my healthful, tasty recipes and use ingredients that are foreign in my kitchen.  Thirdly, I have a greater appreciation for photography and Kathy’s great “eye” for getting the right angle.  Lastly, I am intimidated by social media, but Kale embraces technology.  I look forward to another six months of more superfoods adventures!

Eat well!  Live great! {Kake}

By design, the past year was meant to be a time of change, transition and discovery.  I had no idea that I would be involved in a blog, let alone working on it with my sister-in-law; but our collaboration has turned out to be one of the best experiences of 2014!  I love that our skills and interests are complementary, allowing our creative process to flow naturally.   We are also having fun with it, together, and I couldn’t imagine a better partnership. And,  even though we’ve been friends since the age of eight, we’re still learning new things about each other.  I continue to be impressed with Kake’s nutritional knowledge, culinary and writing abilities.  Just as important, Kake2kale has allowed me to do what I love – photography, food and travel!

I believe we are staying true to our mantra – to share our adventures searching for tasty and healthy superfoods, through our recipes, travels, photography, and stories.  We’re excited about the months and years ahead for the blog, particularly with new ideas and more interviews with people making a difference in wellness and superfoods.  We thank you for enjoying and following Kake2kale!

Travel Far, Explore More! {Kale}

Getting our Hands Dirty in SoMa

How would you spend a couple of hours on a drizzly, gloomy day in Vancouver with a good friend?

Binge watch Game of Thrones?

Find pins to add to my Pinterest boards?

Curl up by the fire and devour this year’s Man Booker prize winner?

Polish my silverware (this would take 5 minutes)?

Nope, {Kale} and I did none of those, instead, we donned our rain gear and braved the wild terrain of South Main Street, also known as SoMa in Vancouver.  It is a multi-ethnic neighbourhood that is rapidly shedding its rundown image and becoming trendier by the minute.  Old junk shops, used book stores, and second-hand stores are giving way to funky new eateries, one-of-a kind designer boutiques, and modern food shops.  There are still lots of original shops to find, and hopefully the hip and the modern won’t crowd them out.

{Kale} and I headed to SoMa with the sole purpose of finding superfoodie fare that we could only eat with our hands.  Because some say that foods taste better when eaten with your hands.  So, armed with {Kale’s} hand sanitizer, we went ready to get our hands dirty and to give our taste buds a thrill.

SoMa Vegie Pie 2 kake2kale

First stop was a shop that I have driven by numerous times and have always found their name, Yek O Yek, amusing. How can you forget a name like that!  It is a Mediterranean grocery store that also sells pastries and serves hot food.  While perusing the pastries our eyes immediately landed on a pastry version of Princess Leia’s hairstyle.  It even had the requisite superfoods in the filling – cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots.

It is simply called the “Veggie Pie”. Because the filling is rolled into the filo pastry there is quite a good ratio of pastry to filling. My motto is – “you can never have too much pastry”.  We declared it simply delicious when we took a bit.  What a great deal as it was only $3.99 and the serving was generous.  Once the pie was devoured, we pushed on.

SoMa Salmonito kake2kale

The Fish Counter drew us in, because we could see people happily eating in the window.  That is a good sign in and of itself.  It is half seafood shop and half fish & chips counter.  But besides fish & chips, they also serve tacos, Oyster Po Boy’s and more.  For the sake of this post, we ordered the Salmonito, as it was one of the few items not deep-fried.  This tasty tortilla was stuffed with superfoods, from the omega-3 rich salmon, to a slaw made with fennel, onion, and cilantro.  The crunch of the slaw balanced out the tenderness of the fish.  Even though we shared the Salmonito, it was a handful, as they were very generous with the salmon!

SoMa Candied Smoked Sable Fish kake2kale

While we were waiting for our Salmonito we perused the seafood shop and saw they had a candied smoked sablefish…intriguing.  Who hasn’t tried candied salmon?  But sablefish?  So we got a small piece and to be honest, it tasted very similar to candied salmon.  Nonetheless, it was still scrumptious.  We got our omega-3 dose for sure that day.

SoMa Bird's Nest Baghlawa kake2kale

We saw this eye catching treat at Yek O Yek, called Bird’s Nest Pistachio Baklava, and just had to have it.  It is aptly named, as it looks like delicate little eggs in a bird’s nest.  It is a variation on the usual baklava that we normally see, with layers upon layers of filo, ground up nuts, honey and butter.  This bird’s nest was less rich but just as satisfying, with the finely wrought circle of crispy filo cupping the honey drizzled whole superfood pistachios.  Finger licking good!

SoMa chocolates kake2kale

The final place we bumbled into was Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France, a mouthful to say, but if you are a serious chocolate connoisseur, this is the place pour vous!  Having chocolate was the perfect way to our day, especially dark chocolate as it has a host of antioxidants, minerals and increases serotonin, which lifts your mood.

Once you are inside the shop you feel transported to a special place where you know they don’t take chocolate lightly.  The décor is sparse in the compact space, with just a handful of chairs and tables.  The chocolate is the star, whether in a display case or in wide-bellied glass jars.  The owner makes them by hand and she really knows her stuff. You can tell she is passionate about what she does and it comes through in her chocolates.  {Kale} and I decided to try her drinking chocolate (made with dark chocolate) with almond milk.  I wanted to be adventurous and so I asked for my drinking chocolate to be infused with jasmine, as I love jasmine tea.  My expectations weren’t too high, as I thought the pairing would be a little mismatched, but to my surprise the slight floral note to the chocolate was very uplifting.  But I must say, though we each ordered the half size, it was plenty rich.  {Kale} and I probably could’ve shared one order and be satisfied.

We each had a milk chocolate square. {Kale’s} was the coconut, almond and fleur de sel, and mine was the same but without the coconut.  It was the perfect thickness, and melted in your mouth with the fleur de sel cutting through the sweetness of the chocolate.  What a wonderful way to bring our hands-on adventure to a close.  With our friendship and our bodies nourished, {Kale} and I bid a fond farewell and knew that not even the relentless Vancouver rain could dampen our spirits that day.   C’est magnifique!

Eat healthy, live great! {Kake}

p.s. The places we mention above are just a small sample of places to explore in SoMa, which makes me want to go back sooner for another adventure.

Banana Coconut Bread with Chocolate Chunks

One summer when I was a teenager obsessed with my macramé handbag and wearing bell bottoms, our family went on a road trip to the Eastern seaboard and stopped in Boston.  Whilst there, we visited the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and as usual went into the gift shop afterwards.  And there my Mom bought me the most beautiful cookbook I had ever seen, it was a cookbook that compiled recipes of dishes made for special functions at the museum and along with the recipes were pictures of the art from the museum.  Appealing to my love of art and food I consider this cookbook one of my treasures.  The recipe that I made the most often from it is a banana bread.  It is the only banana bread recipe I’ve seen where the bananas are not mashed but sliced, which to me is less work. Mom and I have made this recipe many times, always to spectacular results.

These days I have been baking a lot with almond flour; I love it, but not the cost.  So I decided to add coconut flour to the mix, because coconut flour, though not cheap, is still less than almond flour. By adding coconut flour I am not only bumping up the fiber and nutrition but I also get more of a dense, pound cake-like texture.  This banana bread, which I’ve renamed to include coconut, can be eaten any time – as a quick breakfast that gives you lots of energy or an afternoon snack to stave off junk food cravings. My recipe is inspired by Elana’s Pantry.

Superfoods in it are:

Almonds: Good source of vitamin B’s, magnesium, vitamin E and zinc. It also contains some Omega 3’s. The B’s and magnesium both help with feeling calm and collected because they help the body produce serotonin, which is sometimes called the happy hormone. Serotonin affects many functions of the body like, sleep, appetite, aging, memory, just to name some benefits.

Coconut:  Contains protein, vitamins A and E, lauric acid which is in mother’s milk and help to fight off infections.  It’s fat is in the form of MCT’s which are medium chain-triglycerides which has been proven to be turned into an immediate source of fuel and not stored as fat.  A bonus for all you fiber lovers like me, a tablespoon of coconut flour has 5 grams of fiber!

Bananas:  Contains Vitamin C, fiber, a significant amount of potassium. High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.

Dark Chocolate: High in vitamin B’s and magnesium, both of which supports the nervous system. It also has phenylethylamine, which stirs up happy feelings, and releases stress.

This recipe is gluten free, dairy free and does not have added sugar.

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Cake

Banana Coconut Bread with Chocolate Chunks Serves 12

  • 2 ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • ½ t. sea salt
  • ¼ c. melted coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chunks, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F, then line a 9-inch pan with parchment paper, set aside.
  • Into a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Then mix this into the dry ingredients.  Then fold the bananas and the chocolate into the batter and pour into lined pan.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly, it is done.  I don’t usually wait for it to cool, because it is soooo darn good warm out of the oven!!  Let cool, if you have patience.

Eat well, feel great! – {Kake}

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Cake 2