Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food


Summer Mango Salad

SaladLina LiwagComment

It's definitely the height of Summer here in Toronto.  It's so hot and humid!  Some people complain but I definitely love this kind of weather.  Tropical is the word.  It reminds me of beach days in the Philippines.  I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can 'cuz I know that down the road snow will becoming.  

This is the also the season for lighter meals.  Lots of water, green juices, smoothies, fruits and veggies are what our bodies naturally crave at this time.  Hydration is the key.  We've been cranking our old but reliable Blendtec these days and chopping fruits and veggies for salads and snacks.  

Mangoes have been showing up at the markets in their best form lately - the ripe and juicy kind with the smoothest flesh - best enjoyed by self-proclaimed mango connoisseurs like me.  I grew up in a mango growing region in the Philippines and I've eaten tons, that's my only qualification I must say.  I love a great tasting mango!

So it's not so surprising that we've been using them in our favourite recipes while they're here: smoothies, popsicles and of course, salads.  Yesterday, my friends Sam and Rowena came over to learn how to make more plant-based meals and this is one of the salad recipes that I shared with them.  Light and refreshing is how I would describe Summer Mango Salad.  It's also nut-free and soy-free.

Summer Mango Salad


2 large ripe but firm mangoes, cut into matchsticks size
2 cups purple cabbage, cut into julienne size strips
1 large or 2 small carrots, julienned
1/2 of a cucumber, julienned  
1 small sweet pepper, julienned
8-10 mint leaves, sliced thinly
3 Tbsp. minced red onions
1/3 c. pumpkin seeds, toasted

Wash and prep all ingredients.  I used a mandolin to cut the mangoes, carrots and cucumber in uniform thickness then I sliced them into julienne sizes.   I also used it to shred the purple cabbage in the same thickness.  It's such a helpful tool.  Toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan on medium heat for about 3 to 4 mins. and to watch carefully making sure they do not burn. 


1/3 c. avocado or walnut  oil
3 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. stone ground mustard (I used this)
2 tsp. maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a NutriBullet or a blender and whizz briefly until the dressing turns smooth.  Adjust the taste if necessary,  

In a large bowl, mix the carrots, purple cabbage, sweet peppers and red onions.  Add some dressing.  Let it sit for 15-20 mins. for them to soften.   Before plating and serving, add the mangoes, cucumber and some of the mint with more dressing.  Top with pumpkin seeds and the rest of the mint.  Enjoy!

You can also add greens and slices of avocado if you want this to be more substantial.  

Hope you're having a fabulous Summer. You'll see more mangoes in the next few posts, I promise. I'm trying my best to take 'blog worthy' photos in between my busy schedule at my 9-5 job and my family.  I'm looking forward to sharing them soon.    Cheers!




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!



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!



Radicchio and Corn Salad with Sweet Lime and Cumin

Raw, Salad, Dinner, LunchLina LiwagComment

Happy Canada Day!  Yay to Summer too!  And what better way to celebrate  at Freshncrunchy  than share the colours red (and white)  with our food.  Here's a lovely salad that we enjoyed at lunch.   We also made some mini berry tarts for dessert which was shared at my Instagram page here  and here.  Mind you, our boy was enjoying them more than my husband and I. 

Our veggie star today comes in with that lovely red wine colour.  It's known as radicchio, a member of the chicory family and it became popular in the Veneto regions of  Italy.   It looks like a small coloured cabbage and if you're not too familiar with this wonderful leaf, take a look at these different images. It's a bit bitter but it's  a good source of Vitamin K which helps in bone formation and strength.  Radicchio is also an excellent source of  antioxidants such as zea-xanthin and lutein which are known to offer protection to age related macular disease by filtering harmful ultraviolet rays.  And let's not forget these other good stuff it brings: selenium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, B-vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E and folate.

So the colours in our produce are much more than just aesthetics.  I wrote a bit about this on this earlier post here.  That's the reason why I love purple cabbage and cauliflower, blood orange, cherries, blueberries and of course radicchio!   Here is a good article to read  from N. C. State  University about this topic.  

It's good for us so let's enjoy it!.  I'm mixing  it with fresh and local organic corn, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onions, cilantro and a wonderful dressing to compliment them.  If bitter is not your thing, simply substitute the radicchio with other greens like romaine or spinach and maybe arugula for some peppery flavour.  Bitter greens require sweet and also tart items to balance that strong taste.  Berries, peach or mango are great to try.  Orange or grapefruit are other options too.


Radicchio and Corn Salad with Sweet Lime and Cumin Dressing

Ingredients (Preferably Organic)

Two big handfuls of radicchio leaves, washed, torn and spun dried
1 1/2 c. fresh organic corn, cleaned, shucked and rinsed
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, halved, pitted and sliced
1/4 c. cilantro, washed and stems removed
2 Tbsp. red onions, minced

1/4 c. lime juice
3 Tbsp. avocado oil
2 1/4  Tbsp. maple syrup or coconut nectar
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
A pinch (or two) of cumin powder
A pinch of cayenne or slices of jalapeno pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar or a bowl and mix or shake well until fully incorporated.  Adjust the taste.  Wash and prep all salad ingredients.  It's a must to use fresh organic corn as this is one of those produce that's on the GMO list.  To assemble, toss the salad but only add the avocado as you plate individually so they don't get mushy.  Save some of the cilantro for the decoration as well.  Enjoy! 


Summer is also the time when we can take advantage of our  local produce.  Going to farmer's market to meet the source of the food we eat is something I love to do.  One of the great places to visit in Toronto is the Evergreen Brick Works.  This year, they're open from May 3, 2014 to November 1, 2014.  It was great to meet several of the organic farmers of Ontario last Saturday.  Here's a link to their vendors.  

Hoping you enjoyed Canada Day celebrations with family and friends.  The weather was a bit testy but it started to clear up later.  To all my relatives and friends in the U. S., have a Happy 4th of July too!  Our son is turning 17 that day and we're hoping to be able to share our celebratory food here on Freshncrunchy next week.  



Raw Mango Cheesecake

Cheesecake, DessertLina Liwag2 Comments

It's Father's Day and it's a time to celebrate!  And what  better way than a cake!  

This time of year reminds me of all the tropical fruits in the Philippines and mango comes in on top of the list.  We have so many in our backyard back home and every summer we have mango overload!   As a little kid, I loved it so much.  In the heat of summer, I would just have it for lunch, not caring too much of cooked food.  Of course at this time, I also remember my dear Papang who planted all those mangoes and fruit trees for us.  He's the best!  I  remember him as a great teacher, community worker, the original Mr. DIY.  He can fix everything even your lack of Math skills.  


I've got these perfect Manila mangoes and so I thought, why not a mango cheesecake.  So here it is, my first try and I'm happy it was enjoyed by both of my boys  (I call my hubby as one of the boys too) and as I write this post, my teenager has asked me to make another one.  It's now in the freezer and he's waiting patiently for it to set.  

Raw Mango Cheesecake

3/4 cup raw almonds
1 c. coconut flakes
4 Medjool dates
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. water 

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until mixture gets sticky.  Transfer and press into a 7" Springform pan.  

1 c. young coconut meat
1 c. raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours
1/4 c. coconut water or nut milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or powder
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/3 c. coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted

On a high speed blender, blend everything except for the coconut oil until smooth.  Add the oil and continue blending until well combined.  Adjust the taste.  Pour filling into the crust.

Mango Swirl
1 c.  ripe mango (Manila or Ataulfo varieties are the best)
1 Tbsp. lime

Blend both ingredients until smooth. Pour the sauce on top of the cake and using a chopstick, create swirls of your own design.  I'm not really a pro on this but I found that any design would look pretty.  Freeze for 4-6 hours or until cake is solid.   Remove  the cake from  the pan while it's still frozen is best (prevents it from sticking into the sides) then let it sit for 30 mins. before serving.  Or if you prefer it frozen like me, you can just run a knife in hot water and cut the cake to serve.  Enjoy!


1.  If young coconut meat is not available,  use 1 1/2 c. of raw cashews.  
2.  Any fruit of your choice can be used instead of mangoes.

I hope you had a great Father's Day celebration.  It was great to have lunch and hang out with friends today.  And as we thank and celebrate all earthly fathers, let's not forget the greatest Father of all...from whom all blessings flow :)