Raw Library

Admittedly, the picture looks more like brains then pasta…. but the taste is quite enjoyable. Not much different than the pasta primavera recipe listed earlier, but I added marinated mushrooms and pine nuts and the marinara has fewer sundried tomatoes, no jalapeno, and more fresh basil.

I reserved a ton of books from the library and just picked them up – 22 in total. What a great way to go. Last night I read the Raw Family book – it’s a quick read and an interesting account of one family’s journey into raw. You can read more about them at www.rawfamily.com. I’m now diving into more recipe books, and it is interesting to me to see how they differ. For example, one book has many recipes where you boil water, then pour it on, for example, asparagus, or broccoli…..isn’t that cheating? The only thing I’ve been boiling water for is tea and feel somewhat guilty about that but I’m not willing to give it up – afterall, I’ve already sacrificed coffee. Others use lots of oats and other grains (sprouted). Some foresake all of this for just fruit and vegetables. Fun reading, I tell ya.

I’m off to start some new pizza crust for tomorrow night. Time to defrost the rest of the strawberry shortcake too!

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Half Way Point

I have a confession – no I didn’t cheat, but yesterday, or really last night I was super cranky. I don’t know why or what happened, I just felt down in the dumps. I was ready to go to sleep at 7:30 pm, which is definitely unusual for me. Woke up feeling much better, and excited for the next half of my raw adventure. I just reserved 22 books from the library so that I can expand my raw repertoire. Don’t worry local peeps, I won’t keep the books out any longer than necessary and I will likely look at half of them in the library and not check them out.

In writing an article on nutritional yeast I learned that it isn’t truly raw, but it is used by a lot of raw folks and in “raw” recipes. Raw oats are also used, but I haven’t gone there yet since I know they are steamed. I did add ground up steel cut oats to one cookie recipe that I made in the dehydrator with ground walnuts, raw rice protein, cacao nibs, vanilla and a little agave and I’ve had a few of those and they are delicious!! But then I found out that the steel cut oats are probably not raw – here is a good article on it http://prettysmartrawfoodideas.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/are-the-oats-you-are-buying-raw/ (so I’m not going to eat those anymore – good news is the kids actually like them and they are super healthy!)

What I have enjoyed most so far about the raw food experiment is the consciousness I have gained around my eating habits. I am eating more mindfully. I am eating less than I normally eat. I have dropped about 6 pounds. My skin looks better than usual, although those darn wrinkles are still there. I have plenty of energy, aside from last night of course. And I am excited about the second half of the month. I’m moving on from the Cafe Gratitude recipes, which have been so wonderful.

Chiles Rellenos

Last night’s dinner was Chiles Rellenos – these were easier than some of the earlier entrees – again just need to prepare in advance for some of the dehydrator time. Ingredients:

For the stuffing (“cheeze”):

4 mild green chiles with stems attached

1 1/2 cups soaked cashews

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the “batter”:

1 cup macadamia nuts

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno

1/2 teaspon salt

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Rise and drain soaked cashews. Place cashews and other cheeze ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape this mixture into a small bowl. Set aside.

Puree batter ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a measuring cup or something deep enough to dip chiles into for coating (note: I still needed to use a spoon to get the chiles completely coated).

Soak chiles in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them up. Make a slit in each side from under the stem to just above the bottom tip.

Stuff each chile using a spoon with one fourth of the cheeze mixture. Hold onto the stem, dip the chiles into the cup of batter, coating them well. Place them on a dehydrator tray with a Teflex and grid sheet. Dehydrate at 110-155 for about 3 hours. Top with avocado salsa (see Enchiladas recipe) and feel free to experiment with adding your own homemade salsa.

If you desire more heat in terms of spice, feel free to increase the jalapeno – mine turned out rather mild.

 

Strawberry Shortcake

This cake is fabulous. I have been putting off publishing the recipe just because it took a lot of time and ingredients and it exhausted me to think about it, but here it is (with my alterations next to original recipe), once again, thanks to Cafe Gratitude (see, you really do need to buy the cookbook!):

I Am Rapture Strawberry Shortcake

(warning: this cake weighs about 20 pounds!)

For the cake:

2 cups finely chopped dates

3/4 cup raw unscented coconut butter (the brand I used is called Artisana organic raw coconut butter)

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh strawberries

9 cups almond flour (I used leftover almond pulp plus finely ground almonds and finely ground hazelnuts)

For the Whipped Cream

2 cups cashews

2 1/2 cups fresh coconut milk

1/2 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla

pinch of salt

2 tablespoons lecithin poweder

1 cup raw unscented coconut butter (I used a little less)

Between the layers

3 cups finely chopped strawberries (I used a little less)

Start by making the whipped cream. Blend all ingredients except the lecithin and coconut butter until smooth. Add the lecithin and coconut butter and blend until smooth. Pour into a wide shallow pan and set in fridge for about an hour (note: I skipped the putting in the pan and fridge steps).

To make the cake, chop up the dates in the food processor until they reach a smooth paste (you may need to add a little bit of water here). Transfer the dates to a stand up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and add coconut butter, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth. Add the “flour” a little at a time until well incorporated. Prepare a 9 inch springform cake pan with removable sides – use a little coconut oil on the sides to prevent sticking (note: I also lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper). Form the cake batter into 2 to 3 balls for the layers. Pat one layer into the pan and top with half of the chopped strawberries and pour 1/3 of the whipped cream on top. Set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes until firm before adding the next layer. Continue with the next one to two layers (I ended up with just 2 layers because I used a larger springform pan). Allow the final layer to set in the fridge another 30 minutes to an hour before removing the cake from the pan by sliding a thin knife around its edge. Top with remaining whipped cream and decorate with whole or sliced strawberries.

Primo Pizza – Raw and Totally Satisfying

I browsed many raw pizza recipes before taking the big leap and diving in. I had eaten raw pizza once or twice before – once at a raw dinner in Evergreen when Whispering Weeds was still doing their monthly raw dinner night and I believe I tried the pizza at Juliano’s Raw restaurant in Santa Monica. Many of the recipes called for sprouted buckwheat groats, which I didn’t have. I bought some buckwheat from Vitamin Cottage and when I got home realized that it was “toasted” so it’s going back. What I liked the best I found on http://www.rawlifecoaching.com. I definitely altered the recipe a lot, so I will post the changes that I made in bold parentheses. But in all fairness to give them credit, go check out their blog for more raw info then I am providing here.

To have real success with this recipe, a food dehydrator is absolutely mandatory. I suppose you could do it at low temperature in the oven, but technically it isn’t going to be “raw” or “live.”

Ingredients:

3 Large Yellow Onions (I used one large onion)

2/3 Cup Flax Seeds, ground

1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds, ground (remember to soak)

1/4 Cup Almond Flour, (dehydrated almond pulp)

1/3 Cup Nama Shoyu (I eliminated this and used pure water)

1/4 Cup Olive Oil (cold pressed or non-pressed)

2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast

1 Tbs Oregano

1 teaspoon fresh basil

1 Clove Garlic, minced (1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)

1 (1/2) Tsp Himalayan Crystal Salt (more or less to taste) (I added more to make up for the lack of Nama Shoyu)

Equipment Needed:

Coffee Grinder

Food Processor

Dehydrator with non-stick sheets

Start by grinding all of the seeds into a fine powder.  I use an inexpensive electric coffee grinder which works well on smaller seeds like flax, which can be difficult to fine grind.  Place the dry ground flax, sunflower, and almond flour into a large bowl and stir around to mix well.   Add the remaining dry ingredients, the nutritional yeast, oregano and Himalayan salt, to the bowl and again mix well.

Raw Pizza Crust Flipped

Clean and peel the three large onions and cut into quarters.  In a food processor slice all of the onions into slivers using the slicing disc.(Note: I opted to slice the onions as written, but I added to the food processor with the other ingredients so that I wouldn’t have the noticeable chunks of onion in the dough).

Break up any large pieces so you are left with mostly onion slivers.  Place the onion slivers a large clump at a time into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and toss until all of the onions are well coated.   Mix together the nama shoyu, olive oil, and minced garlic, then incorporate into the dry ingredients insuring an even consistency.   Set this bowl aside for five minutes or so to allow the dry mixture to soak up the wet ingredients. (I basically added everything to the food processor).

On a non-stick sheet over a dehydrator tray spread out half of the mixture to about 1/8 – 1/4 inch in thickness.   A flexible spatula works well for this.  Take some time to spread the crust evenly and insure there are no holes or high spots.    Repeat on another tray with the remaining mixture and place both into the dehydrator at 110° for 12 or so hours.

To flip the crust, place another dehydrator screen and tray on top of the crust and hold both together firmly, then in a smooth controlled motion flip both over and set down on the counter.   This should hold the crust in place while you turn it over.   Remove the bottom tray (which is now on top) and peel back the non-stick sheet revealing the portion of crust that was previously facing down.   Repeat for the second crust.

Place both crusts back into the dehydrator for another 10-12 hours, or until ready to use.    Next up, Ultimate Raw Pizza – Part II:  The Cheese and Sauce!

Note: It definitely takes 24 hours of prep for this crust, so plan accordingly. I made the sauce and the cheese in advance so that just about 1/2 hour before guests came over I assembled the pizzas and put them back in the dehydrator just to keep them warm.

Tomato Sauce

8 roma tomatoes (chopped)(I used about 15 baby plum tomatoes)

1 cup sun dried tomatoes (soaked for 2 hrs., save soaked water)

3 tsp. dried basil (I used fresh – about 10 leaves)

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. thyme

2 cloves garlic (chopped)(I used garlic powder again (about a teaspoon), preferring less garlic breath after the meal)

2 tbs. olive oil

3 dates (pitted)

1 tbs. lemon juice

Salt to taste

How to: Put everything in a blender, add the tomato soak water (taste first to make sure it isn’t too bitter and if so substitute water or tomato juice) and blend till thick. Set aside.

Macadamia Nut Ricotta:

1 Cup Raw Macadamia nuts

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews

1/4 Cup Raw Pine nuts

1/3 Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon juice

1 Clove Garlic, minced

3 Tbls Nutritional Yeast

1 Tsp Himalayan Salt (to taste)

<1 Tsp Cold Pressed Olive Oil (just a drizzle)

Soak 3/4 cup of the macadamia nuts and all of the cashews together in approximately 3 cups fresh, filtered water for 20 minutes.    Drain and rinse.  In a food processor, chop the remaining 1/4 cup of dry macadamia nuts and all of the pine nuts into a fine meal.  Set this aside.

Chop the soaked macadamia nuts and cashews into a fine meal and add the lemon juice, garlic and drizzle of olive oil and blend until smooth.  Add a few tablespoons of filtered water to aid in blending smooth if needed.  You’ll want to get this mixture as smooth as possible while keeping it fairly thick.  Add the dry macadamia and pinenut mixture, along with the nutritional yeast and blend until mixed well.  Season with salt to taste.

NOTE: We had a lot of leftover “cheese” mixture so I am now adding it to salads……….

Toppings

I used kalamata olives, fresh thinly sliced fennel, zucchini, and marinated mushrooms (* see recipe)

Green Soup

I loved the taste of this soup but it was much thicker than I would have wanted. I ran out of carrots so I didn’t really have enough juice to start with and ended up adding a little water to try and thin it out. I’m going to post the recipe with the correct amount of carrot juice.

2 1/2 cups carrot juice (fresh pressed)

1/2 cup celery juice

1 inch fresh ginger – juiced

1/2 lime (juiced)

plus juice expressed from one whole lime

1 avocado

1/4 jalapeno pepper

Use a juicer to extract carrot, celery, ginger and 1/2 lime juice.  Combine this in a blender with extra lime juice, avocado and jalapeno and puree until smooth and creamy. Serve in fancy drinking glasses or small bowls.

                                                                                                 Melody enjoying her green soup!

Beyond the Bakery

Eating raw has just become a part of the day to day for me  now, feels totally normal, no big deal. Not craving anything outside the raw realm, but I also don’t feel compelled to make this a permanent lifestyle, but rather something I will incorporate into my lifestyle either once a week or one week a month and so forth. I am still totally committed to this month and having fun with it. Last night we hosted our dear friends and neighbors, Joe and Melody for a night of raw. The menu looked something like this:

Appetizers: Chips (dehyrated yams and zucchini rounds), Green Soup (carrot & celery juice, ginger, lime, avocado), and Zucchini/Daikon “pasta” salad

Main course: Pizza and kale salad (provided by Melody)

Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake

I’m happy to report that there were no “flops” but the preparation for the pizza and the dessert was quite time consuming. I must have spent five hours in the kitchen Friday evening preparing things for Saturday and another hour Saturday on just the dessert and pizza. But it was worth it. The pizza came out great – I’ll post the recipe.

I have plenty of energy – though it doesn’t feel much different than usual. My workouts haven’t changed. Overall it’s just not a big deal. It’s fun. It’s different. It’s challenging in the sense that I am thinking ahead more than usual in terms of being prepared away from home. It’s all good. Anyone else going to take this ride with me?

Bar with Me

I like to reinvent the bar every time I make them. Here are just a few examples.

Tropical Treasure Bar:(on the left)

1 cup macadamia nuts

1 cup walnuts (soaked)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (soaked)

6 dates

2 tablespoons ground flax

Process everything in the food processor. Form into a log and slice into desired size/shape bars. Dehydrate for 8 hours (at 100 degrees). You can dehydrate these longer depending on the consistency of bar that you desire. Monitor and taste frequently.

Green B Bar

1 cup Brazil nuts

1 cup pumpkin seeds (soaked)

5 organic dates

6 organic dried apricots

2 tablespoons raw rice protein

1 tablespoon raw honey

Same as above:  Process everything in the food processor. Form into a log and slice into desired size/shape bars. Dehydrate for 8 hours (at 100 degrees).

 

Day 8 Feeling Great Plus Bunny Lunch

Day 8 of the Raw fest, all is well. There have been a few days where my diet hasn’t felt as nourishing as I’d like, actually just not eating enough, but today I feel like I’m back on track after a good grocery shop this morning (another $200). I may have said this before, and this morning it was really apparent to me how much more conscious I am about what I am putting in my mouth. I feel a bit like a raw food extremist as opposed to a raw food enthusiast. Here’s what I noticed. I was really hungry when I went to the grocery store this morning. What happened is that at 7 am I had a mini-physical for life insurance purposes. I hadn’t eaten since 6 pm and I’m embarrassed to say that all I really ate yesterday afternoon were some carrot and celery sticks and a homemade “bar.” So other than water, that was it. The funny news is that the person doing the mini physical took my height and weight and somehow I’ve grown 2 inches (note: James’ height was the same). I’ve never been 5’4″ in my life – always 5’2, maybe 5’2 1/2″ on a good day. Today I am taller and down about 5 pounds (also surprising since it’s only been a week – then again, it could have been his scale, but I was wearing clothes whereas I am naked when I weigh myself). That is a long detour to tell you that rather than grabbing something starchy or tearing into the Fig Newmans, I just munched on some fresh organic raspberries during the drive home.

I am noticing how much I used to snack without realizing I am snacking. Especially during those car moments or dinner moments or preparing breakfast for kids moments where I usually grab a bite here and there, which really adds up. For the past week I haven’t eaten anything that wasn’t intentional.

Yesterday I spent about 5 hours in the car – drove down to Manitou Springs for our daughter’s volleyball game. I packed some of my dehydrated veggie “crackers,” the carrot and celery sticks that I mentioned, and a bar. The bars are great for emergency situations when I just need something. I stopped at Chipotle on the way home, with a car full of hungry teenagers, so the car had that familiar smell – you may know what I’m talking about. I’m not gonna lie, it was slightly torturing me, but I just kept sipping my water, snacking on my bar here and there. That morning I had made homemade waffles for the girls and that smell was even more tantalizing. I’m a breakfast food person, for sure. I also made bacon the day before, so again, the smells. I’m not sure why I keep doing this to myself; it must be a personal test of willpower, but so far I haven’t really been tempted, just amused.

I have been doing more reading into what’s considered raw, what isn’t and I am noticing that wow, I’ve been as I said before mostly a raw extremist. For example, recipes that call for oats or maple syrup – I haven’t done that since oats are usually steamed and maple syrup is boiled. Like one of my last posts where I shared the link to someone’s website who discusses what’s raw, what’s not, I have really sunk my feet into this thing called raw food.  Do you think I should lighten up and put some oats into my bars (obviously I’m tempted to or I wouldn’t be asking).

The picture here is what I’m calling Bunny Lunch. It wasn’t very impressive – just like the picture. I took the recipe from the Whole Foods website. It is basically:

2 shredded carrots

1/2 red bell pepper thinly sliced

1/4 cup raisins (which was way too many, recipe called for 1/2 cup)

I added some fresh avocado and thinly sliced fresh basil

(Whole foods uses fresh cilantro, but I was out)

Dressing was:

1/4 cup almond butter

1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu (I subbed Celtic salt and a little water)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon agave nectar

pinch red pepper flakes

I shredded the carrots and added the other ingredients; mixed all the dressing ingredients together and stirred that into the carrot mixture. I just found it very clumpy and not so flavorful.

Dried Veggies

Since I was tiring of the nuts and dried fruits I wizened up and decided to slice up some veggies for the dehydrator. Now I can snack on these all day without the heaviness of the nuts. I used my mandolin to thinly slice one small yam and one zucchini. I also tore up a few stems of kale. I drizzled all of the veggies with a tiny amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper and then I dehydrated them at 115 degrees for about 5 hours. The results are delicious, healthy, and crunchy. Loaded with vitamins and a small percentage of calories compared to the nuts.