Cook Lively by Laura-Jane Koers | Cookbook review + Recipe + Giveaway

Whether you believe in a raw food diet or not, I think we can all agree that we need to bring more raw food into our everyday meals. Since most of the time, the nutrients are destroyed from high-temperature cooking, adding more raw food to your diet can be more nourishing and, yes, lively. Cook Lively: 100 Quick and Easy Plant-Based Recipes for High Energy, Glowing Skin, and Vibant Living Using 10 ingredients or Less by Laura-Jane Koers (the creator behind the popular Canadian vegan food blog, The Rawtarian) is a great introduction to raw, plant-based food and is the perfect book for anyone interested in eating better and learning healthier ways to cook your food. 
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Spring Pea Soup with Orzo and Mint 青豆薄荷濃湯與Orzo義大利麵

Though the local English peas can't usually be found at this time, can you blame me for being a little bored with root vegetables after five winter months?! Every spring I'm always itching for something green and springy. The weather is still chilly here and the local spring vegetables won't appear for nearly another month. This's is a time when I'm dying to have soups like this. Luckily, I can find frozen peas all year round.


Instant Pot Hearty Vegetable and Lentil Soup 法式綠扁豆與薏米蔬食湯[電子壓力鍋版]

There have been several snow storms in Quebec this winter. I was especially happy when I received my friend's text and invitation for a lunch at his home on a very cold and snowy day a little while back. If you ever tasted my friend's cooking, you would know why I was happy to be invited. You see, my friend is a very good cook. His food is simple but homey at the same time, which is exactly what I love to have during the cold weather. As a local, he's proud of his culture and heritage, and he often likes to share with me the traditional Québécois cooking that he grew up with.


Instant Pot Vegetable Broth 蔬菜高湯 [電子壓力鍋版]

I don't know why I never shared this recipe with you before, but vegetable broth is one of the things I make at home all the time, and it's also something I prefer homemade. It's not just easy to make, but the great thing is that it'll help you to put those leftover ingredients or vegetable scraps to good use -- like kale or mushrooms stems, green leek tops, the trimmings of cauliflower, broccoli, celery, carrots, or onions, etc. I'm always trying to find ways to use the entire vegetable as much as possible without letting it go to waste. You'd be surprised how much flavour they can add to the broth!


Gluten-Free Cranberry-Orange Millet Muffins 橘香蔓越莓小米馬芬

I can't believe that it's been more than half a year since the last time I blogged here! Life has been changing so much this past year. With some new work and a new schedule, I was completely overwhelmed. But don't get me wrong, it was a very good year! I felt very productive and happy to go back to what I used to do in NY: being a personal chef for someone who has special dietary needs and playing harp in various musical projects. Though my mind was mostly occupied, there was never a moment where I stopped thinking about, writing, and testing recipes; it's just that finding the time to photograph and actually put together a post was the most challenging part! This year, there are some new musical projects that are coming up, plus some possible other exciting things on the horizon. I'll still be busy, but no matter what, I'll be posting every month or so.


Breakfast Taco with Avocado and Chipotle Bean Salsa + Que Pasa Foods GIVEAWAY 墨西哥(Taco)塔克餅早餐

Every once in a while, I like to have some fun with different ethnic foods, and since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, I thought I'd make an easy and tasty breakfast taco recipe. Besides, I really want to share my new favourite organic products with you - Que Pasa tortilla chips and salsas, and when I say share with you, I mean you'll have a chance to win a yummy prize pack that's filled with Que Pasa goodies! (See details below!) This is a great recipe for your weekend breakfast, brunch, or weekday lunch. Even though it's vegetarian, there is plenty of protein in this delicious taco, thanks to the beans, egg, cheese, and avocado! (In case you'd like to know all the health benefits of avocado, check out this great and useful article here from Health & Fitness Shops.) Be sure to read the giveaway details below. With the prize, you can easily make this delicious breakfast, like I did, in no time!


Green Spring Sushi Rolls with Miso Tofu and Edamame-Lime Cream 味噌豆干與生菜養生壽司和青檸檬毛豆醬

One of the reasons why I love making vegan/vegetarian sushi at home is because good ones are not easy to find. Typically, rice is one of the key ingredients for sushi, but sometimes I like leaving it out, especially in the spring or summer time. This recipe, which I created for Sabatier Santoku knife, is a really good example! The kale filling gives it a wholesome, crunchy texture and a very refreshing taste, while keeping it light. Since April is Earth Month, I wanted to make something vegan, green and springy. With the rice paper and all the veggie filling, it's across between a spring roll and a sushi roll. Though the roll tastes perfectly good by itself with the miso tofu filling, the edamame-lime cream adds a nice, creamy texture as well as an interesting and subtle flavour. Besides tasting great, it's an excellent way to get your daily veggies!


Purple Power Salad 紫色養生沙拉

I love foods that have deep colours, and some days I just crave for a particular colour. This is a salad that I made one day when I was in the mood for something purple (yes, purple is actually one of my favourite colours!). I wanted something very nutritious and hearty, yet light in terms of taste. It'll help boost your immune system and lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer. It turns out to be a truly satisfying meal that I can have again and again without getting tired of it. Besides all the health benefits, it tastes really delicious and looks beautiful, too! It has become one of my all-time favourite salads, and this is why I want to share this special recipe with you. Perhaps it'll become one of yours as well!


Homemade Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette 自製藍莓巴薩米可醋沙拉醬

The intense, sweet flavour of balsamic is probably what makes it one of my favourite vinegars. Since the flavour pairs so well with fruits, you often find different flavours of fruity balsamic vinegars/vinaigrettes in stores, but if you look at the ingredients from their labels, cane sugar is usually among the first few ingredients. To make a fruity vinegar is quite easy (see my Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette). You don't need many ingredients or thickening agents, and it tastes much more natural.  With just a touch of maple syrup, real fresh blueberries, balsamic vinegar, and a good extra virgin olive oil, you can make your own vinaigrette that tastes better than just about anything you can find in a store!


Gluten-Free Cheddar-Scallion Potato Scones 巧達起司蘇格蘭馬鈴薯煎餅

When I think of Irish food, besides the cabbage, the beef stew, the Guinness beer, I think of potatoes. For St-Patrick's Day last year, I made some potato scones for my Instagram that were adapted from a recipe at Martha Stewart. I added some parsley and extra cheddar cheese in the recipe. Since the scones were so yummy, I thought I'd make them again this year with a different twist.


Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Crunchy Granola 巧克力花生醬香蕉蛋糕

My husband and I both love banana bread, but when it comes to peanut butter, we're not quite on the same page. As a typical American, he naturally loves anything that has to do with peanut butter - from peanut butter and jelly, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, he loves them all! As for me, peanut butter wasn't something I grew up with in Taiwan. In my childhood memory, peanut butter wasn't as popular at the time and the Western food was just starting to come into the market. I don't recall that we had much peanut butter at our house. Therefore, I guess I never quite developed a palate for it, but occasionally there are some peanut butter flavoured things that I like. For example, any peanut butter cereal or cinnamon flavoured peanut butter, and this bread here is also one of those rare occasions where peanut butter becomes my good friend.


Red Bean Tang Yuan in Red Bean & Black Glutinous Rice Soup 紅豆湯圓與紫米紅豆湯

Growing up in Taiwan, I naturally ate a lot of tang yuan (glutenous rice balls or sticky rice balls). Traditionally, we eat them on both the Winter Solstice Festival (Dong Zhi) and the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao). There are two kinds of tang yuan: smaller balls without filling and lager ones with filling. At home, my mom would either make it herself or buy them freshly made from the farmers market. After moving to New York alone, I would buy the frozen packages in Asian markets. Of course it wasn't ideal, but it was good enough to fulfill my craving and my homesickness during the holidays, until one day, I saw my roommate making some homemade tang yuan, and it made me very curious. She was always a good homemaker and she loved making everything herself. I, on the other hand, wasn't such a good cook at the time, and thought that it would be good to learn how to make them from her.