finger lickin’ cauliflower buffalo wings

There are a lot of people who think that switching to a plant based diet is extreme for various reasons but a big  one is that they think they can’t eat exciting & tasty food that is super satisfying.  Well this appy will prove them all wrong.  Not only is it bursting with flavour, it’s nutrient dense.  What’s not to love?! Eat up! And we guarantee, you’ll be licking your fingers.

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Let’s get started.  Here’s what you’ll need for the “wings” :

3/4 cup brown rice flour ( I used oat flour and it worked perfectly so just use a flour with a similar consistency to brown rice flour.  Example – almond flour will not work )

1 cup water

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder ( I added this to the existing recipe )

as much salt & pepper as you like

1 head cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces

3/4 cup cayenne hot sauce ( my fave is Franks red )

Here’s what you’ll need for the vegan ranch dip :

1 cup tofutti sour cream

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

as much salt and pepper as you like

2 tbsp dill pickle sour kraut ( I used the brand called Farm house culture that you can find at whole foods, or you could also use a few pickles ) Chop up kraut or pickles

a few chives chopped up

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Alright, this recipe is super simple so you’ll be demolishing these in no time.  First, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Second, take all of the ingredients for the “wings” except for the Franks & cauliflower and put in a mixing bowl.  Mix it all together until all the clumps are gone.  Then cut your cauliflower into bite sized bits and add these to the mixing bowl.  Saturate each piece of cauliflower in the mix and let any excess drip off.  Then place them on your cookie sheet and put in the oven.

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Bake them for 20 minutes, flipping once in the middle so that each side gets 10 minutes.

Once your wings are baked take your hot sauce and cauliflower and mix them both together in a bowl.  Make sure every piece is covered for optimal taste.

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Now for the vegan ranch sauce, take all of the ingredients and mix them together in a bowl & voila! Pretty easy & delish for dipping!

And that’s it friends.  A very simple, crowd pleasing appy that will have everyone coming back for more…guaranteed!!  This appetizer is a great way to get your meat eating friends to try something that you know they will love and maybe open their eyes to more amazing plant based food.  Happy lickin’!

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We’d love to say that we invented this amazing dish, but that wouldn’t be conscious or in good taste.  So – giving credit where credit is due : We discovered this recipe at http://www.myvega.com & the ranch dip is our own recipe!

Namaste, my muse and I.

Photographs by Iulia Agnew, of Vancouver, BC.

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the secrets to glowing summer skin…

Sitting by the ocean with the wind blowing in your hair, late summer nights when the air is so warm, walks along the water… take me there.  Summer is right around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited.  Scratch that – excited about all of it except the dreaded sun damage.  Sometimes it happens when we forget we’ve been in the sun too long and those harsh rays can do some fierce damage.  I’ve got some favourite products that will keep your skin damage free and your skin looking smooth & glowing all spring and summer long.

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Smooth skin starts with exfoliation.  And there are so many ways to do that… Right now my favourite routine is using my sea sponge with my fave body wash.

Some cool facts about sea sponges are that when they are harvested they are trimmed on the outer edges ( like pruning trees ) and this actually makes them regenerate!  I love that.  They are also hyp0 -allergenic and toxin – free.   Synthetic sponges are often made from petroleum bi-products and are normally treated with toxic substances. Organic sea sponges are actually filled with natural enzymes that inhibit the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria.  All of these features are huge bonuses on top of the fact that they gently exfoliate your skin every time you use them…they are little ocean gems.

The body wash that I love using with my sea sponge is the Korres shower gel in “fig”.  The scent is intoxicating and it is free of mineral oil, silicones, ethanolamines, parabens and propylene glycol.  It has moisturizing ingredients, emollients and humectants to keep your skin feeling soft, smooth and moisturized.  I love it in my bath too!

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Next step to your summer glow is St. Tropez self tanners.  Self tanning at its finest.  I have been using this line for many years and the results are consistently amazing.  They have really nailed the formula down so perfectly so that your skin will never look orange like an oompa loompa or come out looking streaky.  It will just look natural and gorgeous.   Another big thing for me is the smell.  So many of the other brands out there wreak once they are on your skin and trying to sleep with a stench steaming off your body is not pleasant to say the least!

Some of my other favourite features is that it dries quickly after you apply so that you can put your clothes on shortly after.  I’ve put a white shirt on right after and it’s been totally fine.  If you’re ever scared because you see that some of the colour has rubbed off onto your clothes if you’ve sweated or had a long day, don’t be alarmed because it’s an all natural product and it washes out no problem.  I actually spilled an entire bottle on white sheets one time and of course I had a freak out but to my surprise it washed right out!  Pretty cool.

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The two products in the above picture are my two favourite products from the line.  They are the Gradual tan everyday body moisturizer and the Gradual tan tinted everyday body lotion.

I love being able to just jump out of the shower, quickly rub one of these on, put my clothes on and run out the door.  After I do my makeup and hair of course… The tinted moisturizer is new and I’m in love with the fact that you can see where your putting it on & how quickly it gives results.  The tinted one will give more colour, more quickly.

The gradual moisturizer is actually just a great moisturizer to use a few times a week to keep up that slight golden glow.  It doesn’t give a ton of colour but is just makes your skin look super pretty and it’s great if you’re fair and are scared to use the darker ones.  All of the St. Tropez products go on beautifully and fade beautifully.  You’ll never be left with ugly blotches everywhere.

Now ladies, I know if feels nice to lay out in the sun…but let’s be serious.  The damaging rays are just getting worse and worse and our skin is not getting any younger..A real tan may look & feel amazing for a few months but the long term results of sun damage can be pretty horrific.  We can all read between the lines.  St. Tropez is an amazing alternative to beautiful looking skin all year round without acquiring any of the negative effects of the sun.

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Last but not least.  Moisturizer.  Such an important part of our skins health.  My absolute favourite moisturizer is from Harlow.  Harlow is a Vancouver based clean beauty brand that uses all natural ingredients that are ethically sourced from all over the world, free from preservatives and other unnecessary additives and chemicals.   The brand is all about health and well being, which completely aligns with conscious beauty and health awareness.  My absolute favourite product from the line is the body whip.  It’s the most amazing texture that melts once you start rubbing it into your skin and oh my you won’t want to stop.  The smells are intoxicating & so relaxing I could sniff them all day, no joke.  Your skin will be left feeling soft, smooth and so nourished.  I really could go on and on about how much I love them but you get the point…

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Are you craving the ocean yet?  I am.  Imagine yourself sitting under a big umbrella with a beach hat, sunglasses and looking like a bronzed, glowing goddess without laying in the sun.  No one will know our secrets…wink wink.

Namaste.  My muse and I.

Lovely photography by Iulia Agnew, of Vancouver,  BC.

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creamy vegan garlic alfredo

Garlic alfredo…what could be better?  Plant based garlic alfredo that tastes better than the original “cowy “one! This sauce has been a favourite of ours for about the last year and we’ve made it more times than we can count.  We’ve brought it to functions where there are non vegans there and – every time, without fail I get asked “what is in this?, this is the best alfredo sauce I’ve ever had”.  It really is, the best alfredo sauce you will ever have and on top of that, it’s so easy to make and  it will keep the peeps comin back for more – time and time again which is what I like.  We really will change the world one meal at a time.

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I love this sauce because it takes such few ingredients and you will have leftovers for a few days after, love!   Let’s get started with ingredients.  You’ll need :

1 medium onion (make sure it’s at least 1 1/2 cups chopped.  We usually use a large white onion instead of a medium one so to have extra sauce for leftovers.

1-2 cups low sodium vegetable broth ( will use a total of this amount in the recipe )

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or himalayan

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 large garlic cloves ( I add more for extra garliciness )

1/2 heaping cup of raw cashews ( soaked overnight if you don’t have a high powered blender )

1 tablespoon lemon juice or more, but don’t forget this – makes a big difference

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast ( we add a touch more for extra cheesiness )

1/4 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves

1 cup  (100 grams) of Whole grain Penne pasta

2 cups of fresh broccoli (or more – we like a lot!)

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First, pour 1 cup of the veggie broth into your frying pan, and warming  up at at medium to low heat.  Have your onions and garlic all chopped up and add them to your veggie broth.  Keep on stirring in your pan until your veggie broth has evaporated completely and your onions are nice and tender.  Add some salt and pepper while they are simmering in the broth too, for some flavouring.

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Next, it’s time to get your blender out and start to add ingredients.  As an aside we use a Vitamix which is hands down the best blender on the market, because it makes the sauce so smooth and uniform, like it was done by a master chef.  We have become Vitamix evangelists ( and we didn’t get paid to say that, no affiliation, blah blah)  They’re pricey but worth it!  but we digress.

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Put your onions and garlic in the blender first, then add about 3/4 cup – 1 cup of the remaining veggie broth.  We usually do 1 cup just so we have a little extra sauce for later.  Then add your salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, rosemary leaves, lemon and cashews and blend on high for a few mins.  When you open that lid you will be blown away by the amazing aroma this sauce makes…it will take your breath away!  In the original recipe, it does not call for rosemary leaves but we started adding them awhile ago and it adds just the slightest flavour that enhances all the other ingredients,  We just love the end result.  You will too!

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Now can you believe it?! Your sauce is done in no time and now you can boil up some water and start making some pasta.  Our favourite right now is a pasta called ” Organic Ancient Grain Pasta Penne by New Roots ” It’s made with organic brown rice, quinoa, amaranth & corn.  It’s also whole grain and gluten free.  We are not gluten free, but this pasta just happens to be one that we love and ended up being gluten free.  It’s so delicious and satisfying, and the pasta alone – without even counting the other ingredients – contains almost 10 grams of protein!

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Last step is to pick your veggies that you would like to add to your pasta and sauce.  Our favourite is broccoli.  We just can’t get enough broccoli these days, it’s so good!  Steam your broccoli for 5-10 minutes.  We usually end up steaming a few heads of broccoli which is enough for one or two people.  Once your veggies & pasta are all cooked up place on a plate and pour your sauce over them and voila! Dinner is served.

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You can now eat a guilt free garlic alfredo that you can feel good about eating.  It’s not only so easy to make, it’s oil free and dairy free, and above rather importantly – cruelty free.  Three of our favourite as none of them are healthy – for anyone.

You will go back for seconds and thirds and you won’t be able to stop eating this.  We dream about it…no lie.

Enjoy!

Namaste.  My muse and I.

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We’d love to say that we invented this amazing dish, but that wouldn’t be conscious or in good taste.  So – giving credit where credit is due: We discovered this recipe at http://www.thevegan8.com

Lovely photography by Iulia Agnew, of Vancouver, BC.

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revealed!…the secret to the perfect winged eyeliner.

Oh perfect winged liner..Why must you be so unattainable in our heads?  This is really what comes to mind, even after 15 years of trying to perfect it.  The first key to debunking this thought is to remember is that is never going to be 100% perfect and that’s ok.  The second key is to learn the simple steps so that it doesn’t have to be such a difficult task to master over time.  And last but not least the third key is practice.  Just like anything else you want to master, trying to perfect it takes a lot of practice.

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First things first. Become conscious. How?  Take 5 deep breaths each one being longer than the last.  Relax your body because this will help you not only maintain a steady hand when applying your liner but it will also help “untense” and relax the many tiny little muscles in your face that will allow for the smooth application of your makeup.

Lets start with an eye shadow base.  I find using a base is great because most of us have a little redness on our lids which can make us look tired.  Using a base cuts out any discoloration and it can be applied with something as simple as your finger.  Also if you wanted to add shadow on top they make your shadows more vivid and longer lasting.  I love the Cargo HD picture perfect shadow primer and the Dior mono fusion cream shadow in Chemire #821. In the above picture I’m wearing the Dior primer.  It works great as a primer as well if you need a 1 minute eye look.  Put this on with some mascara and you can be out the door in no time.

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Now let’s tackle the liquid liner.  Winged liner is my absolute favorite look on anyone including myself.  I feel most like me when I wear it and personally it’s easier for me to apply than shadow.  Before you start, remember you do not have to draw the entire line at once and hope you get it right.  Draw little lines and connect them all.  One may be a bit thicker, one thinner… just go back and thicken the thinner spots and tweak where you need to.  The outside corner, where the wings happen…is the most daunting for most.  For me, I let my head fall back and pull out the liner from the corner of my eye as though I would be drawing where my eye would continue.  That way it’s following the same shape and lines.  I find doing it this way also looks most natural, which I like.  e3

In the above pic it looks like the line is going up, but if I were to tilt my head back it would flow with my eye shape, which you will see at the end.  So complete this line, and don’t be afraid to go out a little further than you’re comfortable with.  Because remember you want your look to be impactful, yet subtle…my kind of look.  Next take your liner, and from the end of your liner draw back to your eyeball so that the two connect as you can see in the picture.  Remember if you go in too thick somewhere you can always take a dampened q-tip and touch things up in the end. Don’t feel defeated if you’re not happy right away because once you get mascara on, you may impress yourself as it really completes the look.

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A rule of thumb I always have is to go a little thinner in the inner corner of the eye and gradually go thicker.  If you’re going out and want it to be a little more dramatized you can go really thick on the end and glam up your look.  That’s why I love the winged liner look.  You can make it super natural and go thin and short, or go really glam and go thicker and longer.  So much versatility with one touch of a pen.  Once you’ve connected your lines, tweaked your thin and thicker spots and your happy with your “line” its time to line the “tightline” aka the waterline.

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Lining the waterline kind of freaks people out so let me make it simple for you.  Doing this will change your life.  You will never be able to go out without it after you’ve tried it once.  It makes your lashes look longer, your eyes look bigger & more awake, emphasizes the colour of your eyes…my list could go on.  Have I convinced you yet?! I hope so.  For the winged liner look it is absolutely necessary as if you weren’t going to line it, your look will not look complete as you will see bare skin in between your lashes and the skin under that.  The key is with lining the water line is to have an smooth and soft liner that is waterproof so that you don’t look like a tired raccoon by the end of the day.  So just take your liner, ( I like to tilt my head back when I do this ) and just wiggle it in all of the places where you see skin.  At the end, between your liquid and smudgy liner you will be left with no skin showing….only a gorgeous lined eye.

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Voila! Here is the look and you can see the mascara really finishes it off and even if you felt like your lines weren’t even on both sides, the mascara really hides any mistakes.  I love this look and I hope my steps have made you feel comfortable enough for you to try yourself!

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These are the products I used for this easy look.  Having the right tools is really important to make your job easier in the process and so that your look will stay on as long as you want it to.  Hit me up on Insta @theconscioustaste or in the comments below with any comments or questions.

From left to right :

Fusion : XXL LASH FUSION, Stila : Stila smudge stick in stingray, Stila : Stila stay all day liquid liner in black, Dior : Dior mono fusion creme shadow in Chemire 821.

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Namaste. My muse and I.

 

All photos by Iulia Agnew, photographer in Vancouver BC.

guilt free creamy lemon bars

Love biting into a big piece of fresh lemon cheesecake ? – only to be overwhelmed by guilt only 30 seconds later ?  Well we’ve got the perfect solution for you here at the conscious taste.  All of the taste (and then some) – and none of the guilt.

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Follow these quick and easy steps and you’ll be enjoying these mouth wateringly delicious lemon bars with  your favourite cup of tea in no time

First step.  Get your ingredients together for the crust & filling :

Crust :

1 cup (90 g) oats

1 cup (112 g) almonds

1/4 cup sea salt

2 tbsp (24 g) coconut sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup

4-5 tbsp (60-75 g) pumpkin puree,

(please note we substituted pumpkin puree for oil as oil of any kind is the most calorie dense food on the planet, and has other health concerns also (another post for another day)  So while we are not completely oil free –  we try to avoid using oil wherever possible, and the substitute worked BETTER than oil in this recipe )

Filling :

1 cup (120 g) raw cashews

1 cup (240 g)  coconut cream * (the hardened portion a the top of the full fat coconut milk, I prefer trader joes thick coconut cream)

2 tbsp (14 g) arrowroot or cornstarch

1/2 cup (120 ml) lemon juice (2 large lemons)

1 heaping tbsp (4 g) lemon zest (1 large lemon)

1 pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup, plus more to taste

optional : 2 tbsp powdered sugar, for topping

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First place your cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water, letting them sit for one hour.  Then preheat your oven to 350 degrees (176 C) and line your 8×8 pan with parchment paper. I found that if you really try and make the parchment paper go as close to the edge of the pan as possible you will get more pretty looking squares in the end.

Next take all of your dry ingredients and place in your blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix and it’s a dream – but that’s a post for another day).  Mix these all together on the highest speed setting until it becomes a finely ground meal.

2Next, combine your dry meal and your wet crust ingredients,  mixing together to make a thick paste.  Remember to only add your dry ingredients into the blender. I goofed the first time I made these by adding the dry & wet ingredients together resulting a bit of a mess!.  Thank goodness I was using a Vitamix because it still mixed everything together in the end, it just took some guns moving that tamper around.

Once you’ve mixed everything together and you have the right consistancy place it in your pan and push down flat with some parchment paper.  The parchment paper will keep your hand from getting covered in the mix.

Now, place your crust in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then turn up your heat to 375 degrees and bake for 5-8 more mins or until the edges are slightly browned to perfection.

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The filling.  Its time for the good stuff and OMG is it ever lickable, or even drinkable for that matter.  Take your cashews, drain them and place them in your blender.  Next take the rest of your filling ingredients with the exception of the powdered sugar, and also place them in your blender.  We will add the powdered sugar at the end to make them look pretty.   Mix your ingredients on high, until creamy & smooth.  Taste it, it will blow your mind.  Remember just to taste it and not start eating by the spoonful or you won’t have enough for the recipe.  Just sayin’…

Once you’ve tried it and perfected the taste adding a bit more maple syrup or lemon zest, pour it over your crust and then bake for 20-23 mins.  You will know when it’s ready because it will be firm, but still moves a little in the middle.

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Once that’s all done let your baby rest for about 10 mins and then put in your fridge, uncovered for 3-4 hours.  I couldn’t wait the first time and dug in at 3 hours because it was killing me, I had to try.  Be prepared – they will blow your mind.  They taste like the best version of any lemon cheesecake you have ever tried.  I ate the entire pan to myself and have done that many times. It’s the little (or big) things in life that keep us happy.  Enjoy.

Namaste – my muse & I.

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We’d love to say that we invented these, but that wouldn’t be conscious or in good taste.  So- giving credit where credit is due: We discovered this recipe at http://www.theminimalistbaker.com.

Photos by Iulia Agnew of Vancouver, BC.

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inaugural post of the conscious taste.

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“One who regards with equanimity the happiness and distress of all others as if it were their own is considered the best of yogis” – Bhagavad Gita 6, 32

Welcome to the inaugural post of the conscious taste.

So how and what does it mean to be conscious?

There are many ways to be conscious. To be conscious is to be present – aware of cause and effect in your life. Not being perfect, but stopping to think that “If I do this, what impact will it have? on the planet; on other beings ? – be they of the human or animal variety; and on my immediate environment and beyond. When we are in a state of heightened consciousness we are kinder to ourselves, each other, the planet & all of our fellow souls.

What do we mean when we say taste?

Taste can mean so many things. Taste in food. Taste in fashion. Taste in beauty products. Taste in makeup looks. How our tastes can evolve over time. Taste is all of these things, and yet so much more – it’s a means by which we experience and perceive the world. Our journey will explore many nuances of taste, the conscious, and ultimately the conscious taste.

My muse and I invite you along on our journey at the conscious taste – we hope to provoke thought and have some fashionable fun doing it.

Namaste.

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