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Posts tagged ‘Vegan’

Photo Journal of Seattle, Raw Food & Forest Fun

We are deep into late summer. Autumn sneaks just around the corner, teasing us with amber and crimson leaves that dangle from Sonoma County’s twisted old trees. Fall has come early this year, and I couldn’t be happier. I love this time of year; I love autumn and everything it embodies. But, before I cast my farewell kisses to our beloved sweet summer, I would like to share one of my highlights from the season of the sun.

In August, near Lammas, I traveled to Seattle to visit friends and family. As you may know, I used to live in Western Washington, in Seattle and in Bellingham. I love this entire area, for it brims with woodland magic, luscious gardens, deep azul waters and the mystical, tree-clad San Juan Islands. The whole area feels like the womb of Mother Earth- vibrant, abundant, beautiful and pregnant with life.

My time spent in this area was chock full of raw food gatherings, spiritual events and forest frolickings- everything I love! Here is a photo journal, a small taste, of my time in the Pacific Northwest with my spirit sister, Giacinta.

*Note: Most of these photos were taken either by me or my dear friend, Giacinta, with our iPhone cameras. Enjoy the perfect and a few not-so-perfect shots of some very perfect moments. 🙂

 

First off, I’d like to say thank you to the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for offering raw food snacks. I found vegan raw bars and kombucha while waiting for my plane. A great way to start my travels off right!

Raw Food Snacks at SFO

Raw Food Snacks at SFO

Kombucha at SFO

Kombucha at SFO

 

On my first day in Seattle, synchronicity would have it that a recipe for a Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte should fall into our laps. Of course, we went right out, bought the ingredients and got to work. This is it…

Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte

Raw Vegan Orange Chocolate Torte

Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind

Garnished with Shaved Chocolate and Curled Orange Rind

The original recipe for this torte can be found HERE. We made the exact recipe, tasted it, and decided it needed more. To this recipe we increased the raw cacao then added carob, cinnamon, cayenne and vanilla for depth of flavor. We also exchanged the agave for maple syrup. In hindsight, dates would have been the best choice for sweetener. At some point in the future, I will remake this torte and post a proper recipe. Until then, know it was delicious and made a grand appearance at a few raw food gatherings with some very happy friends.

Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss

Shana & Giacinta in Orange Chocolate Bliss

 

During one of our in-state journeys, we made our way to North Bend to pick fresh organic blueberries from Bybee Farms nestled at the base of gorgeous Mount Si. (Pictured Below). If you are in the North Bend area and would like to learn more about how you can pick your own berries, click HERE.

Mount Si

A field of Blueberries at Mount Si

This day was one of my favorite days, a highlight indeed. I was surrounded by rows and rows of blueberry bushes and clear skies filled with sunbeams, bumble bees and the sweet scent of fruits and leaves all coddled by the majestic Mount Si. It was incredibly soul-filling!

Organic Blueberries

Organic Blueberries

Shana Picking Organic Blueberries

Shana Picking Organic Blueberries

If you could zoom in on my Café Gratitude shirt, you would see that it reads, “What are you grateful for?” My answer, “Blueberries!” 🙂

A Bounty of Organic Blueberries

A Bounty of Organic Blueberries

As you can imagine, we ate blueberries for days. This is one of the meals we enjoyed among friends, each one of us contributing fruits and vegetables for this shared offering of fresh picked garden greens, blueberries, mango salsa, avocado and zucchini in pesto. Delish!

Summer Foods

Summer Foods

 

We were serendipitously blessed by a full moon during my time in Seattle. I love full moon energy and love to channel this powerful force during my meditations and healing Reiki sessions. With this being said, we participated in a full moon group meditation to honor Mother Moon in the height of summer as symbolized by my favorite flower, the sunflower. This is the candlelit, celestial altar that centered the meditation.

Full August Moon Altar

Full August Moon Altar

 

Another amazing evening we shared, and one of my top highlights, was a shamanic full moon drum circle at New Earth Farm in Redmond, WA. (Click HERE to learn more about New Earth Farm) This drum circle took place on private property that held an organic garden and lots of deeply sacred energy. Snuggled in a ring of redwoods and lush ferns, surrounding a fire pit was a circle of stone seats. The fire was lit; we each took our places, called the corners, and drummed, rattled and rolled into the warm moonlit night. The energy that was generated from our primal music and our collective, harmonious presence was magical and not to be forgotten any time soon! I hold the healing vibration and memory of this evening near and dear to my heart.

Drum Circle Venue

Drum Circle at New Earth Farm – Photo by Tom Armstrong

 

When we weren’t gathering for potlucks, meditation or drumming, we were out and about in Seattle, eating. Three great vegan restaurants I would recommend in Seattle are Café Flora, Chaco Canyon, and Jodee’s. Here are some of the dishes from each restaurant…

Café Flora

Café Flora

This was one of the best things I ate the entire time I was in Seattle. This is Café Flora’s Beet Gnocchi in Pesto with an Herbed Nut Cream, (pictured above) which I shared with Giacinta and my sister, Angel. This was ridiculously delicious and I couldn’t recommend it more!

Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon

Above is a photo of some of the offerings at Chaco Canyon in Seattle. We noshed on raw vegan enchiladas, salads and green juice. Delish!

Jodee's

Jodee’s

And lastly, the above photo is of Jodee’s raw vegan pizza. Jodee’s, in Green Lake, specializes in raw vegan deserts and smoothies but once in a while she offers up Friday night pizza. This is a yummy slice of her Mexican Pizza.

The abundance of good, healthy, vibrant food gave us energy to run around and play in the forests. Carkeek Park in Seattle is one of my favorite little spots to visit. When I lived in Seattle, I would visit this park often to commune with the nature spirits, walk among the greenlings, hug trees and meditate. When I was here with Giacinta, we came and did much of the same…

Shana Lying Over a Creekbed on a Fallen Tree, Communing with the Leaves

Shana lying across a creek bed on a fallen tree, communing with the leaves

Shana giggling with the forest

Shana giggling with the forest

Giacinta in a creekbed at Carkeek Park

Giacinta in the creek bed, dotted in light

 

For me, no trip to Seattle is complete without gathering friends for a raw vegan ice cream party and who better to host this type of a gathering than my friend Jeff Rogers, AKA the Naughty Vegan. You can read more about Jeff HERE. Jeff is an amazing ice cream artisan. If you love ice cream, I highly recommend his recipe book, Vice Cream, found HERE. Jeff whipped up a Coconut Peach Ice Cream, Giacinta and I brought frozen bananas and durian, and everyone else brought a variety of frozen summer fruits. Another friend, who, like myself, graduated as a raw chef from Living Light, brought raw vegan caramel and chocolate sauces to drizzle over all the ice cream.

Jeff passed all the frozen fruit through his Champion Juicer to create a soft-serve style ice cream. (The Champion Juicer is an excellent machine to use to turn frozen fruit into ice cream.) This is the delightful mess we made in his kitchen and the yumminess that ensued…

Raw Vegan Ice Cream Party

The makings of a raw vegan ice cream party

A swirling bowl of ice cream

A swirling bowl of fruity ice cream

 

My last day in the Pacific Northwest was spent in Bellingham, one of my favorite places in Washington. I have lived in Bellingham and have spent much time in this area. This magical, quaint town and the surrounding woodlands have crept into my veins and won’t let me go. I love it here. Giacinta and I went to one of my favorite spots, to Larrabee State Park. It was here we soaked up the grounding energy of the boulders, the vitalizing energy of the ocean and the mystical energy of the rich forest.

Shana in Larrabee State Park

Shana in Larrabee State Park

Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss :)

Shana sprouting out of a tree stump in bliss 🙂

Magical Trails...

A magical trail…

I’ll close this travel journal entry with one of my favorite photos, taken by Giacinta. Here I am in my favorite place, in the forest, becoming One with everything around me. There is no place I would rather be, truly!

Shana in the emerald forest

Shana in the emerald forest

My time in Western Washington this summer was abundantly full of my favorite things. I am brimming with gratitude for everything I experienced and for everyone who shared my journey. I am deeply grateful for Giacinta who walked with me along the way. Until the next time, dear enchanted Washington, I hold you in my emerald heart. Thank you. I love you.

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Being the Light of Winter

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter Solstice Blessings

Winter has kissed us crisply on our cheeks. December 21st  marked the winter solstice. As the sun sunk into the sky that brisk day, daylight reached its minimum. For three days, the sun lingered along the horizon, coddling us with the longest nights of the year. Now, the sun begins its ascent into the northern sky. The days grow incrementally longer, slowly tempting us with the promise of sweet spring as each day passes. This time of year invites emotional comfort, new beginnings and cleansing traditions.

Consider transitioning from holiday feasts to that of a gentle cleanse. I am a proponent of cleansing by way of nutrient dense juicing. Vegetable juice offers a high concentration of nutrients that your body can readily assimilate. Incorporating daily juices will help fend off illness during the cold months ahead. Juicing is also an affective platform to launch better eating habits. Often, a short three-day juice feast will encourage your body to crave healthier foods. Many times a cleanse of this nature is exactly what your body needs to purify from the rich holiday menus, gently guiding your diet towards fresher, lighter meals and wholesome raw foods. You may drink four to six quarts of juices during a proper juice feast. Hunger should not be an issue, for your body is flooded with pure nutrition. If you choose to undergo a juice feast, please click HERE to learn more. Whether you are inspired by a full juice cleanse or simply want to add a juice or two to your current daily diet, the following green juice recipe will be a wonderful staple in your regimen.

Green Juice

2 apples

1 bunch celery

½ inch fresh ginger

1 lemon

1 cucumber

1 bunch greens of choice (try kale, spinach, chard, parsley, etc.)

Wash then cut all the ingredients into a size and shape that will fit through your juicer. Push the vegetables through the juicer. Collect all the juice in a bowl, cup or jar and drink immediately. Refrigerate any remaining juice in an airtight container, and be sure to drink it within the day.

Yields approximately one quart of juice.

The Green Star GS1000 is the juicer I personally and professionally use. It is a twin gear juicer designed to press the juice out of vegetables. In doing so, the nutritional integrity of juice stays intact. Juice pressed from this machine oxidizes at a slow rate. Because of this, you can make your juices in the morning, store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and they will stay fresh and nutritious throughout the day. The Green Star is ideal for juicing green leafy vegetables like kale, herbs and spinach. It produces the highest yield of juice from fruits and vegetables, giving you the most out of your produce in both quantity and quality. I love my Green Star! It is, by far, the best juicer I have used. It is the juicer of choice for many raw food restaurants, schools and chefs.

Winter Shana

Winter Shana

You are all wrapped up, cloaked from head to toe, snuggled warmly from Winter’s chill. Realize your body lives, it breathes, under all those threads and layers. Don’t neglect what you can’t see. There are many things you can do to keep your body vibrant during these cold months. Juicing is clearly one of the best habits to embrace, keeping you healthy and beautiful from the inside out. However, you should also nurture yourself topically, because caring for your skin will keep you looking and feeling young. Staying hydrated with supple skin in the winter can be easy.

For a silky, soft body, lavish yourself in moisture. Your skin is the body’s largest organ. It has the ability to absorb nutrients, filtering it directly into your bloodstream. Be aware of how you choose to moisturize yourself. Are you buttering yourself up with seductively scented toxins (from name-brand lotions) or nature’s purest ingredients? Where your skin is concerned, it makes a difference. Though you are not slathering your favorite lotions on your morning toast, if you apply it to your skin or lips, you are indeed consuming it. Try using edible oils on your body. Coconut oil is a simple and deliciously refreshing alternative to manufactured moisturizers. Coconut oil is one of the most moisturizing oils while not leaving a greasy feeling. It is pure and smells like sweet dreamy summers. Avocado oil is another luxurious oil. It’s said to be excellent for problem skin such as extreme dryness and eczema. It softens, increases elasticity and leaves no greasy residue while moisturizing the skin. Experiment with various oils of your liking, gifting your body a healthy, NATURAL luster.

Be Light & Play

Be Light & Play

As you settle into this darkened season, it is important to kindle the LIGHT within yourself. Learn to see the magic and beauty in everything around you. As merry as the holiday season was, don’t rely on it solely for positivism and joy. Reach within for true solace and enchantment. By doing so, you will begin to see your world through sparkling fresh eyes. Embrace the gifts of the winter. Allow yourself to love what you may have resisted in the past. Shed preconceived thought patterns. Begin anew. Renew and awaken right this very moment.

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, and learn to live in the world like a lighthearted child. The next time it rains, get wet. Few things are more memorable then hiking in the rain, smelling the pine filtered air, sensing the dense quite of the landscape, knowing you are alone but amidst everything at once. Play. Jump in a puddle to see how big of a splash you can make. Laugh. Forget your umbrella. Or, on a thick foggy morning, walk along the ocean, listening to the unseen waves, feeling the sting of mist on your cheeks. Or, simply stay home, safe and cozy. Build a fire and light candles. Be grateful for weather that promotes snuggles, rest and quiet moments. If you are bright within, you will create a brilliant world around you. Practice seeing, feeling and expressing joyous light in every moment.

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Raw Vegan Mango Torte

Season’s greetings, or rather, season’s eatings. As those around you invest in their favorite weight gain strategies, take a moment to consider the bigger picture. Is it health and vitality that will greet you on the other side of 2010 or will you face the promise of a renewed gym membership and dietary angst? If weight management and health often grace the top of your resolution list, take heed of your deepest wishes. Do this now and every day. Live in the moment. Desire better for yourself, and provide yourself the same attention, nurturing and support you would give a dear friend or loved one. You are important. Treat yourself like it, and honor yourself with compassionate LOVE and deep RESPECT.

Blessings in radiant health, renewal and peace!

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