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My Year in Review

December 31, 2012

2012 was a big year. With only one day left of December and 2012, I wanted to share with you this landmark year. For me, 2012 has been a year of major life changes, travel, thrilling excitement and powerful personal transformation.

Throughout the year I got the chance to travel to Amsterdam, Rome, Dublin, New York City and Des Moines.


I attended my first Irish horse race.


I launched this blog.


I sold my vegan baked goods to a local cafe in Cork.


I spent weekends in the countryside relaxing, hiking and taking things slowly.


I celebrated my 25th birthday with my beloved in Italy.


I spent some time at the beach with my sister and her partner. I smiled and laughed until my cheeks hurt and my belly ached.


I celebrated one year living in the green hills of Ireland.


(My partner Gavin and I. This was taken a year and a half ago after moving to Ireland.)

I discovered my passion for raw food and began working as a raw food chef.


I joined a beginners ballet course and fell in love with the art of movement. I also met some wonderful people along the way.


I completed my first international marathon and third full marathon.


I spent my first Christmas away from home at my new home in Ireland. I learned the importance of love and family.


2012 has been a fabulous year. Sharing recipes, photos and words makes me happier than I can say. I’m infinitely grateful for the many wonderful people I’ve met through this little page on the internet. Starting this blog is one of the best things I’ve ever done thanks to you, dear readers. Thank you for your constant love and support – it means the world to me. Happy New Year! xo

New York City – Part 3 & Recipe

August 29, 2012


A great trip lingers with you long after you return home. A successful holiday is one where memories are unpacked long after the suitcase is emptied and the laundry is done. It’s been more than a few weeks since I came back from New York City and I’m starting to realize that my trip reorganized a few things in my life while I was away: I’ve got a travel bug to foster and a whole new set of cravings to grapple with.

The city has instilled in me more purpose and inspiration in the every day, which are ultimately great things. NYC is where trends are set, tastemakers abound, and culture flourishes. I find inspiration comes from noticing what’s around…the sites, sounds and even smells. From the graffiti on the street to wandering local markets –  it’s a wake up call for my senses. I take this newly refreshed outlook with me to the kitchen and other areas of my life in the hopes I can inspire others to lead full, happy lives.

Since my return to Ireland, my imagination whirls over gems of stories of the NYC food world. I ate pretty amazingly on this trip. We tried the brand new raw eatery of Gingersnap’s Organic, had fresh baked treats from Life Thyme Natural Market, had a picnic salad in Central Park courtesy of Whole Foods, ate exotic cuisine (Thai, Japanese, Pakistani), purshaced a quinoa falafel while browsing Smorgasburg Flea Food Market in Brooklyn, drank a delicious smoothie on the boardwalk from Rippers and devoured a homemade meal while sipping on cocktails on my sister’s rooftop oasis. In sum: we ate great food.

One of my favorite things to do at this time of year to find inspiration is to visit the local farmer’s markets – especially the ones that are so abundant in New York City. From the rows of fresh fruit and produce to bundles of cut flowers, it’s as much a treat just to visit as the fresh produce I take home with me is to eat. My last day in New York was spent with my sister wandering the Union Square Greenmarket. Hundreds of regional farmers, fishermen, and bakers descend upon Union Square to sell their products. The atmosphere on a market day is electric with bustling crowds and farmed culinary treasures as far as the eye can see. After a thorough perusal of the goods up for sale, I settled on the ripest mango, fresh berries, limes and the most beautiful flower arrangement.






Those memories have been just the reason why I’ve been spending so much time in my kitchen trying to recreate some of my culinary experiences. One of my favorite things I tried while on my travels were the Nori Rolls from Gingersnap’s Organic in the East Village. My sister and I popped in for a quick lunch and quite enjoyed the nori rolls, which were light but definitely flavorful and actually very reminiscent of veggie sushi. The dish features avocado, bell pepper, and sprouts, all tucked inside “rice” made from finely chopped cauliflower. Soy, pickled ginger, and wasabi stand guard to add additional flavor. I’ve attempted making this dish at home since returning from NYC. Though my version was almost nearly as delicious, my rolling skills could use some practice. It is a very simple recipe if you can master the art of rolling the nori. Why not give it a go the next time you’re in the mood for a raw meal?


Raw Cauliflower “Sushi Rice” 

Makes approx. 3 cups


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. nama shoyu, or to taste
  • Pinch sea salt
  • a little squeeze of lemon juice


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is ground up small. Be careful not to over-process, stop when it looks like rice.

Nori Rolls

Makes two large rolls which can be cut into 8 pieces each


  • 1 bamboo sushi mat
  • 2 nori sheets (if you want to keep it 100% raw make sure you get un-toasted)
  • 2 cups cauliflower “rice”
  • 1/2 large avocado or 1 small, sliced length ways
  • choice of vegetables, finely sliced and/or grated (I used sliced carrot, cucumber and grated beetroot)
  • sprouts of choice
  • sesame seeds for garnishing (optional)
  • low sodium gluten-free tamari or nam shoyu sauce, to serve (optional)


  1. Prepare your work station with all ingredients ready to go into the nori rolls.
  2. Lie the nori sheet on your bamboo mat, with the smoother side face down and spread 1 cup of “rice” evenly over a section of it.
  3. Press the rice down firmly and top with veggies, avocado and sprouts in layers down the center.
  4. Take the side of the mat closest to you with only the small bit of seaweed exposed and gently roll over the mound of filling, squeezing lightly. Then continue to roll up tightly until you meet the other edge of the nori. Wet a thin strip at the far end to seal the roll together.
  5. Take a sharp knife with a serrated blade and carefully slice the roll into 8 pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy with tamari or shoyu dipping sauce.


New York City – Part 2

August 16, 2012

No trip to New York City would be complete without exploring Chinatown. Chinatown provides a fascinating historical and cultural experience not found anywhere else in the world. It is almost like a unique city-within-a-city, offering a completely diverse array of regional cuisines, interesting stores and unique sights.

Though this may not have been my first visit to Chinatown, I still can recall my initial impression of Chinatown was an overwhelming feeling of the unfamiliar and mysterious. There were huge piles of fish and strange produce glistening on the sidewalk in cardboard boxes, the pungent smells, impenetrable language and strange customs. Yet as I grew more comfortable with this intriguing neighborhood, its many charms were slowly revealed. It was no longer an area of cheap designer knock-off handbags and pork fried rice. I saw it as an indispensable part of the city – a neighborhood that was just as integral to my view of New York as the Statue of Liberty or the East Village.

We spent hours that day exploring the many streets of Chinatown. One of our historical experiences included a visit to the colorful Mahayana Buddhist Temple, seated at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge. Within this temple lies a large urn full of burning incense; for a dollar donation, you can get your very own rolled, rubber-banded fortune. Deeper in the building is what is believed to be the largest Buddha in the city: a 16-foot gold statue resting on a lotus flower. It is a beautiful and tranquil spot in the middle of NYC.

The streets of Chinatown are great for wandering — there are fabulous stores for buying Asian groceries and goods -which make great souvenirs. The exotic fruits available at many street stands throughout Chinatown are beautiful to look at and delicious to experience.

Dragon Fruit


Dragon fruit, otherwise known as the pitaya fruit, is an exotic fruit with a beautifully intense color and shape. It is grown in a cactus, this cactus blooms only at night when they reveal their dazzling flowers. There are a few varieties of dragon fruit – while some are dark pink, others are yellow or white. To eat dragon fruit just cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. I think the texture and taste is similar to that of kiwi fruit. The flavor is mild, yet very refreshing.

The dragon fruit’s nutritional profile boasts high concentrations of certain nutrients, offering a plethora of health benefits. It is an excellent antioxidant, which helps prevent the spread of free radicals within the body. It is able to lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure naturally. Dragon fruit also provides a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3. This vitamin helps to increase energy levels, metabolize food and even improve the quality of one’s skin. Dragon fruit seeds are also very beneficial as they provide a source of essential fatty acids. What’s more, the fruits are very low in calories and high in fiber. Because of its ability to lower blood glucose levels naturally, those suffering from diabetes can also benefit from eating dragon fruit.

This versatile fruit can be served whole or as a beverage if squeezed. It can also be used to make spreads, jams and preserves.



Lychee is a sweet and tasty  fruit that is a symbol of love and romance in China. From a nutritional standpoint, lychee fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, high in vitamin B complex and vitamin C and loaded with minerals such as potassium. To get at the fruit, you peel off a leather-like skin. The fruit surrounds a rather large seed in the middle. The taste somewhat resembles that of grapes and is also quite juicy. If the fact that lychee is delicious doesn’t convince you to try it, maybe learning more about some of the health benefits will make you give this tropical fruit a second look.

Apart from its sweet and tangy flavor, Lychee has significant health and nutritional benefits. It is a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and folates. These vitamins are essential since they function by acting as co-factors to help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats. Research studies suggest that oligonol – a polyphenol found abundantly in lychee fruit has been found to have several anti-oxidant, anti-influenza virus actions. In addition, it helps improve blood flow in organs, reduce weight, and protect skin from harmful UV rays.

I like eating lychee fruit fresh. There’s something so satisfying about peeling off the skin to get to the fruit. But if you fancy trying something more adventurous, they make a natural addition to fruit salads and desserts. They can be used in sweet-and-sour sauces as well as dessert sauces. Lychee fruit also makes a great tasting addition to smoothies.


(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

New York City – Part 1

August 7, 2012


This trip was incredible. It was so good in fact, that I hardly want to put words to it, since that would require thinking too analytically about the whole thing (and I’m still far too jet-lagged for that!). We spent our days eating, walking, swimming, biking, laughing, dancing and exploring. The photos, above, are just a snippet of what we got up to.