Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Busy Holiday Weekend!! Lots of Yummies

What a busy holiday weekend.  I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. 

Instead of barbequing, we had a nice raw dinner on the front patio.   Pesto with zucchini pasta and garlic toasts

Click on the link above for the garlic toast recipe.  The picture above is a pretty sad picture with just one toast ... we'd nearly finished them off before I thought to take the picture.  These toasts are made in the dehydrator and are a bit like bruschetta.   Here's a picture of the left overs that I put in the refridgerator.  They'd been in the dehydrator a bit longer (perhaps too long) so the edges were curled up.  The "toast" is made out of jicama:

For desert we had cherry vanilla ice cream.  I used the vanilla ice cream recipe in this Raw Food Talk post and added fresh cherries.   Unfortunately, it didn't freeze very solid in the ice cream maker.  I think this might have been because my dehydrator was running and it was heating my kitchen a bit.   Here's how it looked the first night - delicious, but really more like a thick shake or very loose soft serve:

I put the left-overs in the freezer and it looked a lot more like ice cream when we had it for desert to finish off the pesto-pasta meal.  Next time, I am thinking I might just try to make the ice cream the night before I plan to eat it and just freeze it so it is more solid. 

All that said, the ice cream was delicious!!!  The recipe uses the seeds of two vanilla beans. I got organic ones at Whole Foods and they were nearly $14.  So this ice cream had a lot to live up to - since it cost so much money to make!!  I'm happy to say, it lived up to every penny I spent on it.  AND, I also promptly ordered some more vanilla beans online.   I ordered from http://www.beanilla.com/ and spent just about twice what I spent at Whole Foods and instead of just two beans, I'll be getting a full half pound of vanilla beans!  Once my vanilla beans arrive I'll definitely be making this recipe again.

I also dehydrated some figs and made some watermelon candy.  Here's a photo of the watermelon candy:

The watermelon candy is just about the easiest thing in the world to make and it reminds me a bit of Laffy Taffy and those watermelon Jolly Ranchers from my childhood - but a whole lot healthier!   I am thinking it'd be fun to get some cute cookie cutters and cut the watermelon into fun shapes to dehydrate, but even square, they taste delicious.

I also made the Kaia kale crackers again.  This time I was tracking the ingredients so I could post the quantities for you, but I don't think I've quite got it right yet so I may need a few more attempts before I post the recipe. That said, they did turn out pretty tasty.   This time I made not just the barbeque flavor, but I also made some cheesy ones:

And, if all that wasn't enough, after dinner we walked to the edge of town to watch the Macy's fireworks display. It was probably a 3 mile walk round trip, so a great opportunity to work off some of that ice cream!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spirooli Review

I bought a Spirooli last week.  As I mentioned when I reviewed my Joyce Chen spiral slicer, it had a few issues in that the "angel hair pasta" pieces didn't always separate completely.

When I was in Martha's Vineyard, we used the Spirooli to make pasta with marinara sauce.  I was really impressed by the noodles it created.  They are considerably thicker noodles - more like spaghetti, but the noodles cut very cleanly and evenly.

Both machines basically do the same thing, but if you're not in need of really tiny noodles, you'll probably be really pleased with the performance of the Spirooli.

To give you a little review of how the Spirooli works, here are a couple pictures of cucumber "noodles" being made.

As you can see, unlike the Joyce Chen that allows a maximum 3 inch long piece of vegetable to be used in the machine, the Spirooli allows for a much longer piece of vegetable to be used.   In fact, for this cucumber, we only needed to slice off the ends to make sure that they were both parallel to each other so they would work in the machine.

Here is a picture once some of the "noodles" have been made so you can see how they come out of the machine.  One thing I learned is it's very important that you turn the crank with your right hand and also hold tight to the lever with your left hand and use the left hand lever to push the vegetable forward into the slicer.

Once entire vegetable is spiralized, there'll be a little core left over with about 1/4 inch of vegetable left at the end.  It sort of looks like a really long skinny mushroom.  You can save this for juicing or just snack on it while you're preparing your raw meal:

Here's a picture of the bowl of finished Spirooli Zucchini Pasta.  Some of the pasta noodles were close to 6 feet long!  I ran a knife across the diameter of the bowl just to shorten some of the noodles.  I think I'd have a tough time twirling 6 feet of noodles around a fork!

Compare that with the bowl of Joyce Chen Pasta below.  You can really see the difference in noodle size.  If you look closely, you'll also see that some of the Joyce Chen noodles have not completely separated from each other.  A lot of the noodles are thick perforated pieces, but they are not really "noodles"

We served the Spirooli zucchini noodles with homemade pesto sauce.  I was really happy to discover that Trader Joes had raw pine nuts back in stock (at a reasonable price), and I found organic basil at Wal-mart (of all places!)

These noodles were a huge hit!   I eat zucchini noodles pretty regularly, so I'm excited that I can have these now.  I will probably alternate with the Joyce Chen from time to time for variety.

After my raw food gathering on Saturday my friend sent me a link to this video on the Lurch Dyskus slicer.  I had never heard of it, but I think I might have to buy it!! It's not too pricey and it does so much!  Look at those really cute wavy zucchini pasta pieces it makes - not noodles but something that really looks like a fancy shaped pasta, about the size of Ziti.  That'd be nice with pesto sauce or in a pasta salad ... !

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ice Cream!!!

I went to visit with some friends this afternoon and we had a fabulous feast.

We had nori rolls, "pasta" with pesto sauce, onion bread, sunflower cheese, stuffed baby peppers (with the sunflower cheese), salad, and for dessert we had puchased raw gourmet truffles, home made raw brownie bites and ICE CREAM!!!

It's getting late and I have work tomorrow so I'll focus tonight's post on my favorite part of the day ... the ice cream.

I haven't made ice cream since I was a little kid.  I remember it was such an ordeal we really didn't do it all that often, but I remember sitting outside with my dad where we had an old time ice cream maker (yikes, might have even been one you had to crank ...).  It required rock salt and ice in order to turn the milky mixture into ice cream and it seemed to take forever.

A couple weeks ago, I purchased the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker.  I had been a bit busy on the weekends so I never got around to tackling the ice cream.  I decided I wanted to make this mint chocolate ice cream for my first attempt. 

I followed the recipe to the letter except we used cashews instead of brazil nuts.  I've had cashew ice cream before at Pure Food and Wine and loved it so I figured that was the safest bet.  Maybe next time I'll try Brazil nuts.

I mixed all the ingredients in the Vita-Mix, including mint from my own garden.

Here we are pouring the ice cream mix into the ice cream maker:

It says it makes ice cream in less than 20 minutes and it really does!! I think I blinked and it turned into a super thick ice cream mixture.  We added some cacao nibs at the end to make "mint chip" ice cream.

Here is the ice cream in the maker as it was finishing up:

The ice cream was a huge hit!!  I had my bowl topped off with one of the gourmet truffles:

If you've been pondering the idea of making raw ice cream but thought maybe it was too difficult or time consuming, let me put those fears to rest.  It was super simple!!!  It was as simple as making a smoothie.  The ice cream maker literally does all the work, and it doesn't take that long.

I'm looking for ideas for my next ice cream adventure. 

Any ideas or favorite recipes?

BBQ Kale Crackers

Kaia Foods has these fabulous Kale Chips that I just adore.  They're really Crackers though, not chips. :)

I wish I had a copy of the bag, but these BBQ Kale Chips are the ones that I really like.

I was at Whole Foods yesterday and took a picture of the ingredients list to try to replicate them today.  The picture is a little blurry, but hopefully you can make everything out:

I had some Kale, so I put the Kale, Sprouted Sunflower seeds, (non-sprouted) sesame seeds, and all the other ingredients into the Vita-Mix.  Then I blended to get everything mixed together and tasted tested a bit along the way. 

The result looked promising:

I started them at 145 degrees for an hour to get a lot of the moisture removed. There is research that shows the food does not get to 145 if you have the dehydrator set to that temperature for just an hour and it greatly reduces the time to dehydrate.  I know some people who read this will not have seen that research, so once I find it again, I'll add it to the comments.   Anyway, since I wanted to bring them to my get-together today I decided to give this a try.  Otherwise, I'd probably just leave them at 105 degrees for the whole time.

I started these chips/crackers fairly early in the evening so I removed the Teflex sheet and flipped them right before heading to bed.  This is what they looked like this morning:

I let them go in the dehydrator a couple more hours and this is what they look like now.  I sampled a couple and they were very similar to the Kaia Foods chips I was wanting to recreate, so I'd call this a success!!!  Next time I make them, I'll measure out the ingredients to share with everyone.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kombucha and Dinner Outdoors

I have to confess to a long standing fear of Kombucha.

I'm not really sure why I was afraid of it.  I guess it had to do with the probiotics that are in it. 

Well, about a year ago my friend Loren asked me if I wanted to try some Kombucha that he brought into the office.  It was a new flavor he discovered that he really liked - Apple.  I gave it a try and was so repulsed I wanted to spit it out - it tasted just like fizzy Apple Cider Vinegar.   Apple Cider Vinegar is okay, but I'm not really into drinking it and that one sip put me off Kombucha almost for good.

Well, now that I've been raw for three months, I decided it was time to give Kombucha another try.   Today I was at Whole Foods so decided to check out the Kombuchas.   I found this Mango flavored bottle that appealed to me:

I poured it in a glass over ice and I have to say .... OMG!!! I loved it.  This was really super tasty.  I loved the fizzy mango flavor.  I'll definitely have it again.  This is my new favorite raw drink.   If you haven't tried it, I definitely recommend you give it a try.

Since the weather was nice this afternoon, I decided to eat outside on my back deck.   We got a new bistro table and chairs for the deck but hadn't eaten out there yet so tonight was the night:

We had Mexican Salads.  That's why I call it.  It's a bit high in fat - it has both cashew "cheese" and guacamole.  In addition the salad also has romaine lettuce, raw corn, tomatoes and onions (if I have salsa available, I usually use that instead of the tomatoes and onions).  It's super tasty and very filling.

I also got to experimenting in the kitchen this afternoon.   I'll keep it a suprise for now, but if all goes well, I'll be posting pictures of my creation tomorrow night.  I'm also getting together with some friends tomorrow for a nice raw meal  - we're having Nori Wraps, Zucchini Pasta with Pesto, Onion Bread, Chocolate Mint Ice Cream and brownie bites.  I'll try to remember to take some pictures.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brownie Bites & Donut Holes

Today I decided to modify the Fudge Ball recipe that I tried a while ago.

The fudge balls were amazing, but I've seen recipes for raw brownies that basically mimic the fudge ball recipe (1/4 cup of cashews, 1/2 cup dates, 1 Tbsp cacao), but the brownie recipes use walnuts instead of cashews.

So tonight I decided to make brownies!!  They turned out fantastic, but either I used too many dates or they needed a greater ratio of walnuts - my "batter" turned out with the consistency of raw brownie batter - super sticky.   I put the batter in the refrigerator for a few minutes before attempting to roll it into balls.  They turned out delicious, but the whole project was just a little messier than it needed to be.  :-)

The brownie bites are on the left - they are rolled in ground walnuts.  The donut holes are on the on the right - they are rolled in a mixture of coconut flour and coconut sugar.  The donut hole idea was inspired from my raw uncooking retreat in Martha's Vineyard.   There we made Raisin Walnut truffles that we turned into donut holes.  I decided to try the idea with the fudge ball/brownie recipe.

Both are the brownie bites and donut holes are delicious so I decided to make equal amounts of both.  I'm getting together with a group of friends and making raw food this weekend.  I quadrupled the recipe and I'm planning to bring some of these yummy treats along to show how amazing, tasty (and simple) raw food can be.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

String Beans

My co-worker Lisa is always having string beans for lunch.   I can't remember the last time I had string beans, but I'm guessing it was a Thanksgiving dinner a couple years ago.

After work I stopped by the Asian market across the street and they had a ton of string beans out, so I bought a bag.  These were not the cleaned up, cut up type of string beans in a sealed bag like you might get in a typical grocery store.  These were the bulk kind like my mom used to get.

String beans are one of my most vivid childhood memories!  I remember my mom sitting at the kitchen table with a big pile of string beans snapping off the ends and breaking them in half for our Sunday dinner.  Such a time consuming task, but she never complained.   Well, tonight I probably spent half an hour to forty-five minutes snapping string beans for dinner!

I wasn't really too sure what to do with them, so I bought some mung bean sprouts and portobella mushrooms.  I added those in with my string beans and added some thinly sliced massaged onions, olive oil and aminos.   The result was pretty tasty:

There were a lot of beans in that bag I bought, so I think I'll be having string beans for lunch for the next few days.  Luckily my creation turned out pretty good.

It got me thinking though ... I wonder if I could make a mushroom soup or gravy.  I was thinking I could potentially add some cashews and blend with the portabella mushrooms.  Or I could try Ani Phyo's recipe for mushroom ragout (in her book the recipe goes with polenta ...).   Anyway, I was thinking if I made a mushroom gravy/soup and mixed in with the green beans, I could then add my dehydrated onion snacks to the top to try to create a raw version of the famous Thanksgiving green bean cassarole!

I spent a lot of time in the kitchen tonight.  After the beans were finished I made a couple batches of the Rawvolution Famous Onion Bread.   I haven't made it in a while and I thought it might be tasty to eat with the string beans.  The onion bread will be finished tomorrow night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Matthew Kenney TED Talk on the Health Benefits of Raw Food

Today will be a short post, but for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, I wanted to share this TED talk video by raw food chef Matthew Kenney.

The video goes into some of the benefits of the raw food diet and why the standard American diet is contributing to disease in our society:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summertime Creations

I am loving summer.  I am loving all the fresh produce that is so easy to get.

It's really strange too because the longer I have been raw, the easier it is. 

I have so much I want to share, but this would be a really long, unorganized post if I did, so I'll save some for next time.

Today, I just want to share with you some of the super simple creations I've been enjoying lately.

In addition to enjoying raw corn on the cob, I've also been adding corn to my lunch.   My avocados went bad so last week so instead of adding tomato & avocado to my zucchini pasta, I made a salad with the zucchini.  The dressing was coconut vinegar & olive oil, sometimes a touch of aminos for extra flavor.  And cayenne for zing.   This is super simple - no recipe needed - zucchini noodles, corn, spinach & fresh tomato.    I use frozen spinach and corn because it just makes it a little easier getting everything ready for lunch.  Then I just set it out for a half hour or so to ensure it's thawed before I'm ready to eat:

I wanted to make ice cream this weekend but never got around to it.  No worries though - I'm getting together with some friends next weekend and we have ice cream on the menu.  :-)

Instead of ice cream, I made a chocolate shake this weekend.  The chocolate shake recipe is available on Uncooking101.com.   It's super simple and really tasty. 

I also made a watermelon drink today.  It's really easy - just blend watermelon & ice in the Vita-Mix!!

And finally, I tried Koren melon again today.   I posted a picture of the melon a while ago, but here's what the fruit looks like inside (cut up):

I've also been busy making granola and soaking nuts!!   I bought buckwheat and learned to sprout it.   I bought the buckwheat and sprouting jar/lids from Sprout People.   It was so easy to the sprout the buckwheat.

The picture above is buckwheat (in the mason jar) and walnuts soaking.   Sprouting the buckwheat starts after they've soaked for half an hour.  The walnuts get soaked for about 8 hours to remove the enzyme inhibitors.  Happily this also remove the bitter taste that the walnuts have.  I dehydrated the walnuts so now I have them ready any time for a healthy snack or recipe.

I also made some granola which I enjoyed for breakfast this morning with super easy cashew milk (so simple - cashews + water in the Vita-Mix = cashew milk.)

The granola recipe is super simple - soaked & dehydrated pumpkin seeds, dehydrated buckwheat sprouts and raisins mixed in some coconut nectar.  I also added some ceylon cinnamon dates and coconut shavings.  It was delicious.  I had some for breakfast this morning. 

So, while I haven't posted much lately, I am still raw & doing great.  I've just been busy.  Staying raw really does get a lot easier as you get used to it.  And trying new recipes really helps keep things interesting.   I have so many recipes I want to try that it's simple to stay raw.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A nice raw southern meal!

Last weekend, I stumbled unto a couple YouTube videos for raw "fried okra"  Neither video really gave the recipe so I just did my best.

It starts with fresh okra, cut into thin slices.  I found some at a market right down the street. 

Then, coat the okra with some olive oil, add some ground sunflower seeds, then some ground flax seeds and seasonings. I used salt, ground black pepper, cumin, onion and garlic powders for the seasonings.  Mix everything all together to evenly coat the okra.  Taste test to make sure you're happy with the flavors. 

Here's what mine looked like before dehydrating:

I bought some organic Kale yesterday.  I got two kinds - one was green and not as tough as most kale. The other was red kale - it was red (surprise!) and was a bit tougher.  I decided to use some of both kinds and make a massaged kale salad out of it.  I added some thin sliced vadalia onions and massaged in some aminos & olive oil until the kale was tender.  It was really tasty!!!

I found some gorgeous red corn at the market this morning so decided to have the corn on the cob with my okra and greens ....

It was delicious!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Korean Melon, Cheap Produce and some Product reviews

There is a Korean market right across the street from my office.  Since becoming a raw vegan, I have a whole new appreciation for the place ... their produce section is huge, including a significant organic section.  In addition, their prices are unbelievable.  Sunday morning I was able to get a get blackberries for 99 cents a pint, and I got a pineapple for just $1.99!!!   

Monday morning I stopped by before work to get some more blackberries, and wouldn't you know it, they were out.  But yesterday they had blackberries and raspberries 2 for $3.  I got 2 pints of blackberries and 2 pints of raspberries.

I also bought something new.  Korean melon.  It looks like this:

I wish I'd taken some pictures of what it looks like inside. It's actually similar to any other melon, but lighter in color - sort of like an apple. The flesh is also firmer and slightly less sweet than other melons.  Very tasty though!!  I'll definitely buy one again.

I have been super busy lately with gardening projects with the nice weather so I haven't had quite as much time to spend in the kitchen, so I've been keeping things pretty simple but supplementing with some prepared raw food snacks.   I loved the Rawbundant sun-dried tomato flax crackers so much that I picked up the "Two Moms in the Raw" brand sun-dried tomato flax crackers at Whole Foods.  They were okay, but not nearly as flavorful as the Rawbundant variety.

Of all the Rawbundant products I bought, the sun-dried tomato flax crackers were by far my favorite.  I liked the grawnola a lot ... but it still seems so pricey for such a small amount.  I had some for dinner one night this week with almond milk.   I'm not a fan of the Rosemary Raisin Buckwheat crackers at all.  I've had about two of them, and they are not calling my name to finish the bag.  They'll do for a snack in a pinch, but I didn't really care much for them so won't order them again.

I've had two of my sunburgers.  I had the first one on my onion bread with the tomato "ketchup" that I made from my leftover marinara sauce and the second one I added to my lunch salad at work to make it a little more substantial.  The burgers were pretty tasty and I have the last two in my freezer to have later.

I also have tried a couple new products I found at Whole Foods.  I was really surprised (and delighted!) to see two new raw food lines carried at my local Whole Foods.

The first that I tried was Hyacinth's Macaroons.  I believe this is the same Hyacinth that leads the raw food meet-up in Montclair, NJ.   I'm a member of that meet-up but have never gone, but her new product line was mentioned in the last invite.  Anyway, here's a picture of a half empty bag of the chocolate macaroons:

The packaging is really professional - it is actually the same bag that the Two Moms in the Raw snacks are packaged in.  I'm sure of this because I got Two Moms in the Raw crackers the same day. 

Anyway, first thing I noticed is the price is right - they are $9.99 for 9 macaroons.  If you're not a raw foodist, this may seem pricey, but it's actually a pretty good deal.  I think the Rawbundant ones are more like 3 for $4 - so Hyacinth's are a good deal for 9 pieces. 

They are pretty good but the first thing I noticed is they are salty.  I've never had salty macaroons before.  That said, as you can see, the bag is half gone.  I guess I like salty macaroons ... the sweet and salty flavor is a bit remincent of chocolate covered pretzels (one of my favorites ....).    These macaroons do seem a bit drier than ones I've had before.  Not a problem really but they fall apart as you take the last couple of bites. 

The next thing I found were New York Natural's Kale Chips.  Whole Foods had about 30 boxes of these by the express lane - but no price on the shelf so I went to customer service to check.  They were $7.99, same as Brad's Raw chips, but they had a Bombay Ranch flavor.  I've had every variety of Brad's cheesy kale chips, so I decided to go ahead and give thes a try to.  Here's what they looked like:
A couple notes about these.  First they seem to generously pack them.  You get 3.2 ounces.  I think Brad's is 3 ounches.  You can tell when looking at them that there is not any extra space in the packaging like with Brad's.  My box above had already been opened but it was packed tight when I bought it.  That said, the flavor of the Bombay Ranch was really tasty, but there is something I didn't like.  With other Kale Chips I've tried, you don't get stalks.  These had the kale stalks - those thick pieces that when the dry are really hard and pointy like a thin wooden stick.  I've read that Kale Chips shouldn't really include the stalks as they can be dangerous and you could potentially cut yourself on the hard pointy stalk.  I agree with this which is why when I make my own Kale Chips I cut off the stalks.  So while the chips are tasty and packed generously, the process needs to be refined a bit before they'll really be able to compete with Brad's.   I'd buy them again if I were in the mood for that ranch flavoring but I think the Brad's have a slight edge since they don't tend to include the stalks.

It's hard to believe that in less than a week I'll be driving to Martha's Vineyard for the raw Bed and Breakfast.  I've got a lot I want to do this weekend to get ready for the trip so if I don't write anything for a week or so that's why.   I'll definitely post when I get back from Martha's Vineyard.  I can't wait.  :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sunburgers, onion bread and other goodies

Since last week got me a little out of my routine with juicing rather than preparing raw food, I decided to take it a little easier on myself.

This week I did make a bunch of zucchini pasta to bring to lunch or so I'd have something quick and easy to make for dinner. 

I had some of the pasta tonight.  I decided to try doing it a little differently and lined my pasta bowl with baby spinach and then put the pasta in the dehydrator at 105 to warm it up a little bit.  That wilted the spinach a bit to make it more tender.  I could have done it longer, but I think it was a successful experiment!!

I made marinara sauce for the pasta.  I wanted to keep it a little simpler and lo-cal to accelerate my weight loss path a bit.  I lost 5 lbs last week on my juice fast so I want to take advantage of that momentum.  Within the last two days at least three people have commented on how they can tell I lost weight and my face looks thinnner (yay!!!). 

Anyway, dinner was delicious.  I wish I'd have taken a picture to share with you.

Monday night I made some onion bread.  The onion bread just finished this morning since it takes a day and a half to dehydrate.  Besides the wraps and tortillas, this was my first attempt at making "bread".  I used the Rawvolution onion bread recipe.  I have the book, but you can find the recipe here if you want to give it a try for yourself. 

I had a little difficulty with this one since the recipe says to use the slicing blade in your food processor.  Well, I actually don't have a food processor yet so I used my madaline, but on a medium thickness.  I think I should have used the ultra-thin setting because when I went to mix in the olive oil, tamari (I actually used Bragg's), flax seeds and ground sunflower seeds, I ended up with a bunch of slicked onions and everything else in the bottom of the bowl - definitely not how it was supposed to work!  So I decided I had nothing to lose and I split the mixture into two batches, tossed them in the Vita-Mix and then mixed everything together to form a sort of batter.  It worked like a charm!!!!  The onions are not sliced like the pictures in Matt Amsden's book, but the bread worked out just fine and tastes amazing (although a bit salty).

Here's a picture of a couple slices:

Part of why I wanted to make the onion bread is I decided to do a little ordering of some already prepared raw foods and I ordered these Portobella Sunburgers from Rawbundant.  They look delicious and I can't wait to give them a try!!

Tonight I made a little extra marinara sauce and then added a few extra sun-dried tomatoes, a little apple cider vinegar, some chili powder and cayenne to make a zesty catchup for the burgers.  Since there wasn't too much left in the Vita-Mix, it didn't blend perfectly (I had to use the spatula a couple times to move the stuff back into the blades to try to blend it), but I think it worked out okay.  It actually sort of tastes like catchup.  :-)  Tomorrow I'm planning to bring a sunburger, the catchup & some onion bread to the office to have a burger for lunch.  I'll head down to the cafeteria and make a small salad to go with it and get some lettuce for my sandwich.  I can't wait for lunch tomorrow!!

I also bought a few other goodies from Rawbundant to add a little variety to my week - tomato flax crackers, raisin rosemary buckwheat crackers and granola:

The great thing about the Rawbundant products is that they are very fresh.  Zoe, the founder, makes them herself and everything is shipped out fresh.  The burgers are even shipped in an insulated package with ice packs.  I opened up the tomato crackers and tried them out ... they're very good!! I'll try the buckwheat crackers later.  I'm sure the granola is good, but I won't order it again - I was disappointed to see how little you get for $7.   Next time I'll just get the Kaia foods buckwhat granola (that I love) from Whole Foods.  That's $7.99, but you get 12 ounces.  I love their Cocoa Bliss granola!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Breaking the Fast

My five day cleanse went just great.  In fact, I can honestly say I was never hungry.

The first two days with the citrus seemed a bit harsh - the citrus was so acidic.  Hopefully it did it's job detoxing though.  Because I've been raw I really didn't notice any detox symptoms like last time I did the cleanse.

And the Cooler Cleanse was really tasty.  My friend Lisa recommended mixing a little cayenne pepper into the green juice ... YUM!!! What a difference.  The green juice was okay by itself, but a little bland.  The cayenne really kicked it up a notch.   Blue Print Cleanse's cashew milk is a lot tastier though than Cooler Cleanse's almond milk for that nice end of day treat.

This morning I broke the fast with some watermelon and ran some errands.  I had a Two Moms in the Raw bar from Starbucks when I was out running errands and then a little more watermelon before my afternoon yoga class in New York City.  After class, I talked my sister and friend into going to Blossom du Jour as it came highly recommended to me.  I had their raw burrito.  It was pretty tasty (although, I thought my raw tacos are a lot better if I do say so myself ...!!).  My sister and friend were not so excited by their cooked burritos so next time we eat out after yoga we probably won't be trying the other raw restaurant that was recommended to me and is near my yoga - Bonobos.  Hopefully I can make it there at least to get a little takeout.  I make it into the city so rarely, it's nice to sneak in a little raw excursion while I'm there.

Anyway, overall the cleanse was a success!! I'd do it again and I really do think that being raw before starting made a huge difference to me.

Oh, and I chicked out on the colonics and decided to save the money instead ...

Monday, May 9, 2011


No wonderful food discoveries today.  I'm fasting!!!

Every spring my boss organizes a cleanse for people in our company and other people that he knows who ask him for health advice.  I participated in the fast two years ago.  I was pretty reluctant then and didn't really prepare much for it in advance so I probably had a lot of detoxing to do.

This year, I have been 100% raw for nearly two months prior to the cleanse, so I feel a lot more prepared for it.   The first two days of the fast is a citrus cleanse.   I'm sipping on this tart citrus cocktail right now.   Here's the recipe if you're interested:

  • 13 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 42 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 32 ounces fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • distilled water to fill the rest of a gallon container

So far so good!!

After the first two days, we order a cleanse online.  Officially, we are supposed to order Blue Print Cleanse.  I did that last time, but this year I found a great deal on GiltCity.com for their relatively new competior, Cooler Cleanse.   The deal was 40% off, so only $105 (plus shipping) for the three day cleanse.  It's really very similar to Blue Print, so I decided to go for it.  My cleanse will be delivered to the office on Wednesday morning.

Along with the fasting, it was also recommended that we schedule colonics.  I skipped that part two years ago when I did the clenase.

This year though, I thought I'd be a little more brave.  I called/emailed quite a few places today and ultimately decided to go to a more expensive place because I liked the lady when I spoke with her and she's a registered nurse.  For my first time at least, that makes me feel a little better.   I'm going to go on Thursday after work and then have a follow up on Saturday morning.  I hope it's a good experience.  This will definitely be a first for me!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gray Squash Pasta

The Korean grocery store across the street from my office sells a lot of "Gray Squash" and some zucchini.  The gray squash is much better priced and looks a lot fresher than the zucchini, so last time I was there I decided to give the gray squash a try.   This is what it looks like:

I also decided to finally break out the spiral slicer I bought more than a year ago.  Until now I have just been using an julienne peeler, but that gets a little tedious if you want to do more than one or two squash.  This week, I decided to make a big batch of "pasta" to have in the fridge to take to work for lunch (I add in a little avocado and tomato, salt and cayenne pepper ... it's delish!!). 

You can see here what the spiralizer looks like with some zucchini noodles in it:

My review?  I like the "pasta" better from the peeler - the "spaghetti" is a bit thicker.  With this spiral slicer, the results were inconsistent.  I got some perfect strands of "angel hair" pasta, but also a bunch of very thin slices that looked like they were just scored where they should have been cut to make the pasta.

Here's the bowl of pasta I have in the fridge for lunch:

All that said, using this thing, even if the results are not perfect, was sooo easy, I'll definitely be using this spiral slicer a bunch in the future.  I did a little googling today to see if I made a mistake in getting this particular type of slicer (the Joyce Chen spiral slicer).  Turns out the issue I had with the spaghetti not really being spaghetti is a fairly common issue.  

I also did a little searching for discussions on Raw Food talk and apparently the Cuisinart food processors have an attachment you can get to make spiral noodles in seconds right in the food processor!  I don't have a food processor yet, but I have a Cuisinart food processor saved in my Amazon cart to buy when I feel ready to spend more money on raw appliances.  For now, I've just been using my Vita-Mix - it seems to work in place of a food processor for most recipes I've been making.  But there are definitely lots of recipes that a food processor would do better & be much easier to clean. 

All that said, this was a pretty inexpensive tool for about $30 and definitely worth it for me to be able to make fast and easy noodles - I love the zucchini noodles!!

And by the way - the gray squash tastes pretty much exactly like zucchini - at least to me!!  I'll buy it again.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Benefits of Raw & Eating a Plant Based Diet

I saw the trailer for this movie earlier in the week and I thought it was worth sharing. It is for the movie "Forks Over Knives" which seeks to explain why a plant based vegan diet is the best way to prevent disease and further, how consuming animal protein is a leading cause of most of the illnesses plaguing our western civilazations. It's a short two minute trailer:

In case you're looking for some validation of the benefits of a raw diet, I also stumbled upon this article which was a footnote in a blog post I read earlier this week. I thought article was really useful and helped validate for me why I embarked on this raw journey more than 43 days ago.

The article is a quick read:


I was busy in the kitchen today making zucchini pasta (with gray squash), fudge balls and cheesy onions. I've got an early morning tomorrow so I'll post more about that tomorrow, including my review of my spiral slicer vs. a julienne peeler.

So Excited!!!

I am so excited because last night I booked a stay at the Raw Vegan B&B run by the lovely Eva of Uncooking101.com in Martha's Vineyard!

I'm going May 31st-June 3rd. I've never been to Martha's Vineyard before. I am so excited. Here's some info about it:


Notice the days I am going includes the raw chef certification. I am so psyched! I'm not planning to quit my day job to become a raw chef, but this certification will be great to have so I can have the skills to keep my own diet interesting and also help others do the same.

Martha's Vineyard is a little bit of a hike from the NYC area (5 hours-ish + the ferry over to the island), but I think flying would take just as long, and lots of sitting and waiting. I dislike long car rides, but I'll just get out and stop frequently and make sure I have an awesome playlist ready on my iPod!!

I can't wait. Today is day 43 of me being raw. (so hard to believe!). At the moment, staying raw is pretty much a no-brainer for me. I definitely know it is making me feel a lot better, so I have no desire to mess with what's working.

Next Monday (in just a little over a week!!) my company is having a group cleanse. It's optional, but I signed up. I did it a couple years ago. This year is for 5 days and the first two days are a citrus cleanse, then you buy juices from a company that prepares juice cleanses. Normally we get from Blue Print Cleanse, but this years I found an AWESOME deal on GiltCity.com for 40% off of their competitor, Cooler Cleanse. I'm going to do Cooler Cleanse this year because the cleanses are very comparable and the price difference is huge - I just paid $104 plus shipping for my 3 day cleanse. Blueprint Cleanse is $195 + shipping.

I'm both scared and excited about next week's juice cleanse. But I'm super excited about the raw B&B!!!

Speaking of raw "cooking" - I've been keeping it simple this week but today I plan to make some Zuccini wraps, zucchini pasta and some fudge balls. I've got a dog walk tomorrow to raise money for cancer research so I thought the fudge balls would be fun to share with my team mates. (we'll be super careful though as dogs & chocolate do not mix!).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Yummy Desserts - Fudge Balls & Oatmeal Cookies

I took off work today to give myself a three day holiday.  When I finished with the various errands that inevitably fill a "day off" I came home and the mail man rang my door bell to deliver me with a box of delicious raw oat flakes and oat flour from Sunrise Flour Mill.

So I couldn't wait to make some oatmeal cookies.  I found the recipe on Rawmazing.com.   I urge you to click the link and try it out.   They are still in the dehydrator, but I have to confess to eating one raw ... I mean "wet" ... they're still going to be raw even when they get out of the dehydratror!  They're really delicious, but next time I'd probably add a little more agave (or use sweeter apples) and also add some shaved almonds for added crunch.

Here's what they look like right now ...

The recipe made about two dozen cookies.  I can't wait until they are done and I can taste a finished cookie.   Other than macaroons, these are the first cookies I've made.

This week has been all about deserts.  Yesterday was one of my coworkers last day at our office.  She's moving on to another job.  Everyone loves her and she'll be very missed so we had a little party for her in the office to send her off in style.   I stumbled upon this recipe for fudge balls and decided to give them a try and bring them to her party.  They are super simple and literally take just about 5 minutes and three simple ingredients - cashews, dates & cacao. 

Since the recipe is on my computer I usually jot down the recipe to take to the kitchen.  Well, this time I should have read a little more closely.  Instead of grinding the cashews to a fine powder before adding the dates I put everything in the vitamix at once.   I ended up with these crunch fudge balls:

Even if they didn't follow the recipe, they turned out amazing.  Everyone loved them - no one could believe they were raw.  They didn't take long to disappear. 

I'm looking forward to making this recipe again.  There are so many things you could do with this recipe ... adding coconut for example ... how delicious would that be!

This weekend, I've decided to give Kelp noodles another try.  I have them soaking right now and later tonight or tomorrow morning I'm planning to make a simple pad thai type sauce for them.   Looking forward to trying pad thai with kelp noodles.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Enter to win a FREE Raw Getaway - Amazing Opportunity

I am so excited today because one of my favorite websites, Uncooking101.com is giving away an absolutely FREE vacation for a full week at a B&B in Martha's Vineyard.

And it's not just any vacation - it's a RAW vacation the week of May 1-8, 2011.  The vacation includes raw meals and several classes - even a class on building your own business around raw foods.

If you are into raw food or even have an interest and want to find out more this is an amazing opportunity.  Click here to find out more and how to enter to win:


Please hurry if you are interested - this opportunity was announced earlier this afternoon and it's only valid for 24 hours.

I've entered - I'd absolutely love to win, meet the wonderful women behind http://www.uncooking101/, learn some new recipes and find out more about how to build a business around raw food to share what I've learned and help others become and stay healthy with raw food.

Good luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

BLTA's and Raw Chocolate Ice Cream

Yesterday I made raw "bacon," lettuce and tomato sandwiches.  They were delicious.  I used avocado instead of the mayo.  I'm sure you could make them with a raw mayonaisse as well, but the avocado was simple and tasted great.   

I made the eggplant bacon on Saturday.  I used a combination of Ani Phyo's and Alissa Cohen's recipes.  I basically used Alissa's technique of using a vegetable peeler to get the thin bacon strips, and Ani's marinade.

This is what they looked like at the start of the dehydrating time:

And here's what the bacon looks like finished:

The bacon is not really all the amazing on it's own . I thought it was just extremely salty.  That said, on the sandwich with the lettuce, tomato and avocado, the bacon doesn't taste as salty and has a very texture very similar ot bacon.  It was delicious.

The wraps are zucchini wraps - I googled and found them online at this site:

The wraps were really simple to make!!  Mine look a little different than those posted on the website because I peeled the zucchini.  They were actually pretty dry right out of the dehyrator.  There seemed to be no middle ground, they either were sticky/wet or crispy.  But today I had them for lunch and they were a lot more flexible and were actually usable as a "wrap."   So my advice on these is to try to make them a day ahead if you can - the wraps may work out better.

I shared them with my coworker who is also raw.  She gave them my best review yet.  She emailed me after lunch and said:  "The sandwich was delicious!!!!  You are an amazing raw cook...seriously everything you have made has been much better than anything i have ordered from the so called Raw Food Chefs!!!"

Okay, I am bragging and blushing all at the same time.  Because really, all I am doing is finding recipes online and making them.  I think raw food preparation is really pretty easy once you have the equipment - it's just not something we were trained to do growing up so it's a bit of a foreign concept to put foods together and combine flavors in their raw state.

I was thinking about it when I was starting out on raw.  I remember how when I was in seventh grade and took a home-economics class, the things they teach you how to cook are not healthy at all.  I can't remember what all we cooked - except cookies!  But I do know none of it was really all that healthy.   Imagine if schools taught kids how to make healthy raw food ... now that would be amazing!

Changing topics a bit, last night I also decided to try this One Minute chocolate ice cream that was posted on Raw Food Talk.  It is made of just frozen bananas and cacao.  It was very simple to make in the Vita-Mix and has the consistency of soft-serve ice cream:

My review ... delicious!!

If you want to give it a try, you can find the recipe here: