Thursday, 28 July 2011

About Addiction

One of my favorite treats ever is a Brazilian sweet called "brigadeiro".

 It's basically condensed milk mixed with cocoa and butter and cooked until it's nice and gooey. And you just roll it in a ball with chocolate sprinkles or whatever you want (shredded coconut, ground nuts, just use your imagination). It's really to die for!

I learned how to make a vegan version and it's pretty awesome. I use soy milk powder and earth balance instead of the regular ingredients and it's really good. I made some a while ago and gave it to my grandma to try and she said it tasted funny. So, that got stuck in my mind. How could it taste awesome to me and "funny" to someone else? And it hit me that my taste buds changed or better yet, adapted to the vegan flavours. My friend Dani helped me put the pieces together when she commented how fast people can adapt to almost anything in life.
It's so true! We can adapt to lack of light, change of temperature, so many things really! So why is it that it is so hard to get used to good things for our body? Like sugar addiction and the totally nasty stuff, like drugs? I know, it's all about chemistry and I won't get into that. But when I see people poisoning themselves and being unable to get out of that situation, I just do not understand the motivation to even start in that lifestyle.
I was on twitter when I found out about Amy Winehouse's sudden death and I was really sad. When you see someone so talented with so much potential just end up like that is very disturbing. I think life is something we should be grateful for and that we should embrace the good stuff and bad stuff. And learn everyday a bit more about it. I myself use songwriting as an outlet. I know some people paint or play sports. And it's cool that people can vent that way. I just wish it was as easy to adapt to doing positive things than getting into trouble.
Gonna miss you, Amy...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Food Revolution

faux "meat" loaf

Some may think that being vegan equals eating boring and untasty food. I just want to share some of the awesome stuff I've been eating lately.
First of all, it does take a bit of planning to eat healthy. So it's not like I eat veggie dogs and burgers everyday. And as much as I really like french fries, I don't eat them often either. I usually eat beans, rice, couscous, quinoa and loads of vegetables everyday. And lots of cool salads too - raw kale is amazing and so is raw collard green. Mix them with beets, carrots, whatever you have in your fridge and you got a great meal. I help my mom in the kitchen all the time and it's fun to be part of our cooking adventure.
What I discovered since I switched to a plant-based diet is that food can actually taste amazing just raw, the way nature gave it to us. It's so cool to re-discover all these incredible new flavours!
Here are some pictures that are going to make you very hungry:

Arugula salad with edamame

Lots of yummy stuff from the buffet at Commensal

I eat nuts all day, so there you have it ;)

Salads are easy and great!

Mom's Brazilian beans. So good and so good for you!

Noodles. Hot and delicious!

Another easy salad!

I love arugula!


Seared dumplings: Vegetarian Haven 

Moroccan Pad Thai (Vegetarian Haven)

Raw Kale Salad (Vegetarian Haven)

Chocolate Fudge Cake (VH)

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Spicy Coconut Curry "Seafood" Bowl (VH)

Miso Dumpling Souper Bowl (VH)

My dad ordered this and it was so good! (VH)

One of my favorite things is caesar salad and I was totally stoked to get a great recipe in Alicia Silverstone's book.
It's a great read and she's really inspiring. So I won't post the recipe here, but I did find this video. Check it out:
Places I've been and loved: Vegetarian Haven (Toronto), KindFood (Burlington), The Naked Sprout (Burlington), Baldwin Natural-Organics Food Market (Toronto), Whole Foods (Oakville). 

Monday, 4 July 2011

All that and a bag of chips!

I love Grand Bend! Every summer I look forward to getting there. Lake Huron is super inviting and the beach is awesome. My dad used to live in Sarnia when he was about my age and I'm kinda jealous he got to spend the whole summer by the lake. Guess he probably wishes he were somewhere else at the time. But trust me, Grand Bend is great! It's about 3 hours from Burlington, so not too far.

I was so inspired a couple of years ago, that I composed one of my songs there.

And I wasn't the only one that got inspired. Local musician Brian Dale also wrote a really cool song about Grand Bend.

The first time I saw Brian was at the Oakwood Inn where he gigs regularly all through the summer. 

summer 2009

He's a really nice guy. And can play anything that he's requested. For real, he has this amazing memory for lyrics and can sing whatever people want to hear. I never saw anything like this! No wonder he's known as the "human iPod". He's incredible!

On one occasion, he told the story of a girl he was dating and that she always used the expression "all that and a bag of chips". So, he wrote a song for her (how totally cute is that!). They ended up breaking up. But the song is great and you gotta listen to it!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Nina Folino IS the voice!

Nina Folino is a Canadian singer/songwriter from my city, Burlington. I saw Nina for the first time at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival in 2009. Her music producer, Steve McPhail was hosting the open jam at the festival and I was getting ready to play with my cover band at the time. Nina took the stage before we did and I saw her from "backstage". My first impression was she was young and pretty. I also thought she was a great singer.
I liked her songs, so I bought her EP. And the more I listened, the more I loved it.

I think her songs have an unique originality. She's grounded without having lost the artistic sensibility.
Nina's writing and sense of emotion probably come from having travelled a lot when she was young. It's hard to have friends when you're always moving around. Nina told me she was a very imaginative kid. Music and singing became part of who she was and when her parents decided to live in Burlington, Nina joined the drama club and chorus at school. When she was in college, she wrote her first EP (the awesome one I was talking about) .

Nina's writing is honest and clear. And she has a fantastic voice!
She told me she's taking acting classes and playing with a few bands as a featured guest recently. I think any band should be lucky to have her singing with them :)
If you'd like to find out more about her, I suggest you go to her youtube channel and "like" her on facebook cause she's awesome!