Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food


Cauliflower & Hemp Couscous on Romaine Boats + More Culinary Training in Raw Cuisine

Lunch, Dinner, RawLina LiwagComment

It's Summer!  And what best way to celebrate the hot and sunny days than making food from fresh and local produce.  Cauliflower is not just meant for dishes like "Aloo Gobi" (which I love by the way) but can also be eaten raw!   

Cauliflower Couscous -  what is it anyway?  It's raw cauliflower processed into  "couscous-like" size by using a food processor, usually served as a salad or as a component of a salad.   It may not be too appealing to some but with the right ingredients, it actually tastes rad.  Here's one of my favourite recipes. 

Cauliflower and Hemp Couscous 0n Romaine Boats

1 small cauliflower, any variety (I used an orange one),
chopped (approx. 3 cups or 383 g.)
1/2 c. hemp hearts
1/3 c. parsley, roughly chopped
1/3 c. basil, cut into chiffonade
1/4 c. chives, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts ( or increase hemp hearts)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional, gives it a "cheesy taste") 
Salt and pepper to taste 

In a food processor, place the cauliflower and all the other ingredients except the hemp hearts.  Pulse until the mixture turns into grain-like or couscous-like size (see above photo).  Add the hemp hearts and pulse briefly.  Adjust the taste.  Leave for 30 minutes to marinate.  It even tastes better the next day.  

Romaine Boats:
A few romaine hearts (Boston bibb or butter lettuce leaves can also be used)
1 -  1 1/2 avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or pieces
A few microgreens
Edible flowers if available
quick red onion pickles (or any pickles of choice)

Red Onion Pickles:
 medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. maple syrup
1½ teaspoons Himalayan salt
A few peppercorns and coriander seeds

In a small bowl, combine the water, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and spices and stir to dissolve the salt and sweetener.  Place the onions in a clean mason jar and pour the liquid over.  Let it marinate for one hour to use in this recipe but overnight is better. 

Sauce: (optional but tastes great)
Tahini sauce, see the recipe here

To Assemble:
Spread the couscous on the romaine leaves.  If using the sauce, add a few dollops on over the couscous  then add the rest of the toppings.  It can also be served with greens on a salad.  Enjoy!

Basil, one of my fav herbs

Basil, one of my fav herbs

Annabelle hydrangea from our backyard

Annabelle hydrangea from our backyard

In addition to fresh produce, there's tons of lovely flowers around us these days.  I love my walks as I get to visit a mini-forest in our neighbourhood which has various wild varieties of flowers.  I hope Summer won't fly too fast!  

I received my Certification in Advanced Raw Cuisine from the Matthew Kenney Culinary in April.  With this comes 270 hours of training including a Plant-based Desserts course.

 In May, I also had the opportunity to go to England and train further in Raw Cuisine with Deborah Durrant.  The program was called "Taste."   It was an intensive one week course held in the beautiful city of Bath.   Deb is a teacher that everyone would want to have: passionate, inspirational and kind hearted.  Her courses in Raw Cuisine are not just about teaching recipes but more so on practical techniques and real life application.  You can check her website here.

While in London, I also met  Amy Levin, the awesome raw chocolate guru.  I spent an afternoon with her learning about raw chocolate making.

I have such  great memories in Bath, Kent and London meeting new friends, reconnecting with relatives and childhood friends and most of all learning new things.  Below are some of the photos.  For more, please visit my Instagram page here.

Carrot Pate.  English Veggies.  Celery and Fennel Gastrique.  Balsamic Reduction.  One of my final projects in Bath, England.  Photo courtesy of Dawn Langley.

Carrot Pate.  English Veggies.  Celery and Fennel Gastrique.  Balsamic Reduction.  One of my final projects in Bath, England.  Photo courtesy of Dawn Langley.

Lavender & Citrus Ice Cream.  English Strawberries.  Berry Coulis.  Hazelnut & Ginger Crumb.  Photo by Dawn Langley.

Lavender & Citrus Ice Cream.  English Strawberries.  Berry Coulis.  Hazelnut & Ginger Crumb.  Photo by Dawn Langley.

And here are some photos that I took as a Canadian tourist.  

Bath, such a beautiful and romantic place. 

Bath, such a beautiful and romantic place. 

I hope you're enjoying your Summer!  Recently, I threw a "Mini-Raw Cafe" at home for some of my friends.  We all had a blast and enjoyed raw snacks and sweets.  I will be sharing that on my next post.   Hope to touch base soon!



Matcha Pina Colada Green Smoothie + "Advanced Raw Cuisine Course"

Smoothies, RawLina LiwagComment

This looks like a "matcha green tea sequel" but it wasn't intentional.   It was one of those instantaneous inspiration in the kitchen.   Since  the snow has melted and some warmer weather is upon us, green smoothies are just perfect these days.

This mix is great even to those who are still newer in adding veggies to their drink.  Pineapple + greens  is refreshing and yummy at the same time.  I know mint can be intimidating to some...the thought of toothpaste is usually associated  with it but trust me, it's awesome.  I put it in my smoothies all the time!

Matcha Pina Colada Green Smoothie

1 handful organic baby spinach 
1 handful sunflower sprouts
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1  1/2 cups homemade coconut milk (recipe below)
6 -8 mint leaves
1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4  - 1/3 of an avocado
2 tsp. matcha green tea powder (I used this)

Blend until smooth.  You can also add some ice before serving. Serves 2.

Homemade Coconut Milk
1 cup coconut flakes, soaked in 2 cups of water for 15-30 mins until soft. Use the same water to blend.  Strain in a nut milk bag or wire sieve. 

You can also substitute coconut milk on this recipe by using 1  1/2 cups water and 2 1/2 Tbsp. softened coconut butter.  


Advanced Raw Cuisine at Matthew Kenney Culinary 

I'm back to culinary school again!  This time, I'm taking the online Advanced Raw Cuisine at the Matthew Kenney Culinary School.  I am almost finished.  Hence my absence from the blog for a while now.  Here are some of the dishes that I've made in the last few weeks.

   New Style Miso Soup using carrot juice, infused with herbs.  I used lemongrass on my recipe.


New Style Miso Soup using carrot juice, infused with herbs.  I used lemongrass on my recipe.

   Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce


Beet Gnocchi with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce

   Green Curry Kelp Noodles.  


Green Curry Kelp Noodles.  

   Vanilla Panna Cotta.  I made my own sauce of blood orange, strawberry and raspberry sauce with cardamom and orange zest.


Vanilla Panna Cotta.  I made my own sauce of blood orange, strawberry and raspberry sauce with cardamom and orange zest.

I will  be wrapping up this course very soon and will have time to develop some products and host some events.

Enjoy Spring!



Three Shades Of Red (Vibrant Drinks Using Red/Purple Cabbage)

Raw, JuicingLina LiwagComment

Hello and Happy 2015!  I went back to culinary school again... taking courses with the Matthew Kenney Culinary School, the same school that  I went to in Santa Monica, California where I took Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine in March of last year.  This time, I can't personally leave town so I've been doing it in my own kitchen and at my own pace with the use of my computer.  Isn't that awesome?  Hence, my absence on the blog recently.  I took "Plant-based Desserts" which was so much fun and of course yummy at the same time.  On the next post, I will show all the goodness that I've made and share some of the new skills that I've learned as well.

In the meantime, I'd love to share these three great juice recipes using one of the most nutritious, colourful and beautiful vegetables around - Red or Purple Cabbage.  I've been asked many times what my favourite juice recipes were and I just realized that I've only been posting them on my Instagram page and that I've  never really shared any here.  So here I am's Superbowl Sunday and I'm supposed to be sharing some game snacks but I've done that before and so let's just tackle these vibrant RED|PURPLE|FUSCHIA drinks instead!

Let's face it, a lot of people think that cabbage is just not as rad as kale.  However, this humble vegetable, has high  nutrition value. And who wouldn't admire this colour?  This is what's being said of red cabbage: The rich red color of red cabbage reflects its concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which contribute to red cabbage containing significantly more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. Interest in anthocyanin pigments continues to intensify because of their health benefits as dietary antioxidants, as an anti-inflammatory, and their potentially protective, preventative, and therapeutic roles in a number of human diseases.  A recent study showed that a 100 gram (about 3 ounces) serving of raw red cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanin. The vitamin C equivalent, a measure of antioxidant capacity, of red cabbage is also six to eight times higher than that of green cabbage."  Cabbage is also a good source of  Vitamins K, B6, manganese and potassium.  

There have been research and studies that link cabbage juice in helping heal stomach ulcers.  For me personally, using red cabbage in my juice recipes has helped me to be more energetic and able to develop higher resistance to even colds and flu.  Other benefits are: cancer prevention, cholesterol lowering benefits and cardiovascular support.

Pretty In Pink

3/4 medium cabbage
1 large or 2 small Fuji apples, cored and seeds removed
2 small limes, peeled leaving the pith
1"-2" ginger

Makes approximately 2 cups.

For extra nutrition, 1"-2" turmeric  can be added (the colour of the juice will change to reddish)

"Violets are Blue"

1/2 medium red cabbage
6 celery stalks
2 green apples, cored and seeds removed
1/2 -1 bunch cilantro
1 lemon, peeled leaving pith
2" ginger (you can increase it to 3" if you love it to be spicy)

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.



"Lady in Red" (Hot and Spicy)

1/2 medium red cabbage
2 fennel bulbs
6 carrots
3 blood orange, peeled leaving the pith
1 lime, peeled leaving the pith
3" ginger
2" turmeric
pinch of cayenne

Makes approximately 3 1/2 cups.

I also have a few green juice recipes primarily using kale.  The samples can be checked at my Instagram page:  here, here  and here.  There's also something great here for those looking for a "liver-friendly" drink, dandelion and cilantro being the primary ingredients.

Happy February!  We are in the midst of a deep freeze here in Toronto.  Hopefully, we'll get a bit of warmer breaks in between all the cold days.  If you ask me, I can't really wait for Spring!  I hope you're getting ready and excited for Valentine's Day.  I am preparing to host a private Valentine's dinner for some of my friends  and to be followed a week later by a workshop for busy moms and career women.  I  will definitely update the blog on how these events will turn out.   Warm wishes for you if you are experiencing the same kind of weather.  To all my family and relatives in much warmer places, I'm jealous and hopefully, I'll be visiting you soon!



Creamy Spiced Apple and Maqui Berry Kale Chips

Snacks, RawLina LiwagComment

This Summer, we've seen the best organic Ontario kale in great abundance.  I’ve been turning them into salads like this or juicing them with other Ontario produce as shown here.  Sometimes when we had cold weather, I added the greens into an Asian miso bowl like this one.  At other times,  I just quickly sauteed them with grated ginger and a bit of lemon juice. But as the season is quickly coming to and end... I’m wishing for an "Endless Summer" - kale chips came to mind.

Ahh.. kale chips!  Aren't they awesome to snack on?  But they cost so much...they range from $6.99 - $7.99 for a 2.5 oz. pack depending on what brand you're buying.  The owner of the reliable Brad's Kale Chips, Mr. Brad Gruno explains it here.  And now more and more people are making their own kale chips like me.  It's the best time to make them while kale is still abundant locally.

Personally, I like to be a little creative.  I'm inspired by my childhood memories, places I've visited, a current craving or maybe with just what's available in my kitchen. About five months ago when I attended Matthew Kenney Culinary, we created our own flavour of kale chips and then sampled the varied and interesting creations afterward (for those of you who maybe interested in taking either in-class or online courses at the culinary school, check them out at this link).

So this is the same flavour that I made on that Project except I used lacinato kale and acai berry powder at that time (check this photo). My hubby regularly buys organic freeze dried maqui berry for his daily smoothies and so I thought it would be a great sub for acai. Other freeze dried berry powder would work too.  If this is not available to you, not to worry as it’s optional.  It just gives the recipe an added dimension so to speak.  And  a bit of that wonderful purple colour.   And apple?  Yes, it works so well, it’s delicious!  My husband gave it a two thumbs up I might add.  As a note, please use organic kale and apple as they are high in pesticide residues and part of the on the Dirty Dozen+ List  as shown here.


Creamy Spiced Apple And Maqui Berry Kale Chips

1 bunch curly green kale, washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
 cup raw cashews, soaked for 6 hours to overnight
1 green apple, cored and cubed 
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1/2 - 3/4  tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt
pinch (or more) chipotle or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Maqui berry or other freeze dried berry powder


1. Wash the kale then strip the green leaves off the tough center stems then tear leaves into large bite size pieces (note they will shrink in size as they dehydrate) and dry them in a salad spinner or with a clean tea towel.  Transfer them into a big mixing bowl where you plan to mix the sauce later.
2.  In a high speed blender, add the cashews with the rest of the other ingredients and blend until smooth.  Adjust the taste as you may want it more hot, spicy or more tart.
3.  Pour the sauce into the kale leaves and massage them with your hands making sure they are fully coated.
4. Lay the coated leaves flat on dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 115F until crisp, approximately 10-12 hours.  
Some dehydrate their kale on teflex sheets.  I like doing them just on the screens as I think the air flows freely this way.  If you don't have a dehydrator, check this link out for helpful tips in baking them.


You can try other varieties of kale for this recipe like Lacinato, Red Russian or Redbor.  The creaminess of the end product depends on how big your bunch of kale is.  You will have to increase the cashew accordingly with how much leaves to coat.  Mine had 12 small leaves and the consistency was just perfect.    Remember, a recipe is just a guide so don't be afraid to be creative. Add your own spice or special ingredients. Experiment.  And don't forget to taste it. Enjoy!

As August winds down and we embrace a new month,  my tendency is to want to hold on longer to warmer weather, lots of sunshine and abundant local produce.  I also wish my favourite hydrangea flower can withstand all seasons.  However, I am yet again reminded of Ecclesiastes 3 that I read on my uncle's funeral in Arizona recently. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..."  

Happy Labour Day and welcome September!




Tri-colour Raw Cheesecake (Happy 17th to our 4th of July Baby)

Dessert, Raw, Raw Dessert, CheesecakeLina Liwag4 Comments

The 4th of July is not only a grand celebration at the South of the border but also at our home.  Our boy was born on the 4th of July seventeen years ago.  My, how time flies!  At first, I was just like any other mum, very excited and at the same time tired or a bit confused on being a new mother.  Sleep was elusive as he was an active baby with no set routine. He loved to interact, played a lot and constantly needed company.   I thought I would never survive the early part of motherhood.  Then, as if I just blinked and he's a grown young man, taller than his 5'9" dad.  And he's 17.  How cool is that!  

These last few days, I've been reflecting on how much God has blessed my husband and I with this wonderful gift!   We had him 4 years after we were married, something we thought would never happen as we had a few hurdles to overcome, mostly me in trying to conceive.  Psalm 127:3  says "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.  It's a scripture that I hold dear to my heart.

So to  celebrate, I made a 3-layered vanilla and berries raw cheesecake.  The closest we can get to to red, white and blue.  He loves berries and of course the cheesecakes that I've been making lately.  It's a variation of this earlier postmy own birthday day cake in January...except it's a bit bigger.   Berries are currently in season and many of them are locally available.  Just make sure to pick up organic varieties if you can.  Strawberries are on the list here of produce with high pesticides called the Dirty Dozen +.

Vanilla and Berries Tri-colour Raw Cheesecake
Ingredients: (Preferably Organic)


1 1/2 c. raw almonds
1 c. coconut flakes
6 Medjool dates, pitted

Place all ingredients in  a food processor and pulse until mixture becomes sticky.  Transfer into an 8" Springform pan and press firmly.  You can also use a 9" and the cake will be just a tad thinner than this one.


3 c. raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours then rinsed
1 /4 c. coconut butter, softened
1 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
1  c. coconut nectar or maple syrup
1 1/2 vanilla pods, scraped or 1/2 tsp. ground vanilla 
3/4 c. lemon juice
1  1/2 c. fresh strawberries, chopped
1 c. fresh blueberries, 
1/2 c. frozen blueberries, thawed (it gives it a much deeper purple colour)

3/4 c. blueberries
1 c. strawberries, sliced


 In a high speed blender, combine the first 6 ingredients and blend until smooth.  Divide the mixture into thirds.  Put back 1/3 into the blender, add the strawberries and blend until incorporated.  Adjust the taste if necessary.  Pour into the crust.  Place the pan in the freezer for 10 mins. to firm up.  Next, pour the other 1/3 (vanilla layer) over the strawberry layer.  Place it back into the freezer for another 10 mins.   Rinse the blender and add the last third with the blueberries and blend until smooth.  Adjust the taste.  Bring out the pan again and pour over. the vanilla layer.  Freeze for 6 hours.

To serve, pop out the cake from the pan while it's still frozen.  This will keep the cake from sticking into the sides of the pan.  Let it soften for 20-30 mins.  Run a knife through hot water then cut the cake.  Top with berries. I love this cake when it's semi-frozen.  It tastes like ice cream!


The  sweetener can be reduced to 3/4 cup.   I'm serving this to our extended family who would enjoy a much sweeter dessert.  Other kinds berries can also be used like raspberries and blackberries.  For these types, it's a good idea to strain the seeds for a smoother consistency.



Did you celebrate the 4th of July?  When I made this cake, I also gathered some wild flowers near our home.  They are so pretty!  Summer is such a fun season.  I'm trying to enjoy every bit of it since the warmer months in Canada are too short.   I hope you are having your own share of Summer fun!