Thursday, March 31, 2011

Juicer & saving money on produce

Even before I saw the trailer for "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead," I have been thinking of getting a juicer.  It'd be nice to make carrot juice, and green juice that does not get diluted with water.   That movie trailer is pretty compelling for the power of juicing!

Anyway, on the advice of one of the Raw Food Talk forum members, I went online to look at the YouTube videos uploaded by  The videos were so helpful.  This one in particular really helped me figure out what juicer I wanted for myself.

Based on this video and a couple others that I watched.  I decided I want to get the Omega VRT 330 HD juicer.    They seem to have it at Bed Bath and Beyond.  The name on Bed Bath & Beyond doesn't say HD in the name, but the description says Heavy Duty, so I assume they quit making the non-HD version.   Anyway, I have a 20% online coupon for Bed Bath and Beyond so I decided I am going to take the plunge and order it tonight.  Then I can even do juice fasts for a couple days, which I think would be great for me!

Speaking of juice - you need produce to make it and I've discovered two great sources of produce lately that are so much cheaper than the big grocery store chains.  First there is a little neighborhood produce market that is walking distance from my house.  They are small, but have a great selection of produce at good prices and I really like to support the neighborhood businesses.

Next, there is the Korean grocery store across from my office.  I hadn't been there before today, but I went in today and WOW!  They had Thai young coconuts for about $3.99, and they even had Durian, and the price of much of the produce was so much cheaper than I am used to paying, so I am thinking I might just go there after work a couple days a week to get my produce.  That way I can buy it just before I'm going to use it and minimize waste.  I'm really excited to have discovered this place.  I am wondering if they have Kelp Noodles - I've got to ask because I really want to try them.  They did have another sort of sea vegetable noodle - I think they were called Sea Tangle noodles. I actually just googled and it looks like they ARE actually Kelp noodles.  So I'm excited.  I'll do a little more googling.  If they are, and they are raw, maybe I'll buy a bag of them to try over the weekend. They were very thin and transparant - they looked like glass noodles. 

No super new exciting recipe discoveries today - but I do have some more corn tortillas in the dehydrator.  I plan to make them crispy this time and use them as chips that I can dip into Salsa.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 11

Yesterday was a take it easy day.  For some reason, I was really tired yesterday.  

I think it may be my allergies.  Raw diets are supposed to help a lot with allergies, but I think you have to be raw for a long time to really see the results.  Right now, mine are pretty bad, despite still taking Zyrtec every night and doing a nasal rinse twice a day now.   Supposedly I am not allergic to pollens (according to the allergy tests) but my house is no more dusty than usual.   Anyway, last night I made dinner simple.  I just had a green smoothie.

I am seriously thinking of getting a juicer.  Now that I have been doing raw for a while, I can totally get the benefit of juicing.  And now that I don't have my carb cravings anymore, I think I could actually have nothing but juice all day and be totally fine with it.

Speaking of juicing, yesterday I saw this trailer for the documentary "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" ... wow, it was really eye opening as to what you can accomplish by juicing.  I added it to the top of my Netflix queue so I'll get it as soon as it's available to watch.

For dinner tonight, I kept it simple with a zucchini noodles avocado & tomato salad.  I wish I had some fresh basil .... that would have been wonderful.  Instead, I just added a little salt and pepper and a tad bit of olive oil.   It was really nice and fresh!  Also very easy to make - I used my julienne peeler to make the noodles.

I am thinking I might make some flax crackers in the dehydrator tonight.  It would be nice to have some crackers and they cost so much money in the stores when they are really so simple to make.

Well, with that said, I'm going to go hunting for Flax cracker recipes!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 9 - Yesterday's Raw Tacos

Today is Sunday and I'm planning to take it fairly easy today.  I have some asparagus that needs to be eaten so for lunch today, I might try making an asparagus soup or putting the asparagus in the dehydrator for a while to see how it does. 

For dinner, I'll probably have left over tacos and then prepare some zucchini pasta to bring to work tomorrow or have ready to eat after work.

Yesterday I spent a good amount of time in and out of the kitchen.  I had been thinking of making wraps for sandwiches, but given I had some corn I needed to use, I decided to make tacos.  They were delicious!!!

The tortillas were soft, so I was able to fold them like a taco.  I just didn't bother cutting them round  - it was easier to just cut them in fourths after they were taken off the dehydrator sheets. 

The tortilla recipe is apparently from Matthew Kenney's Raw Food for Everyone.  I say apparently because I just googled "raw corn tortillas" and found the recipe online.   Here it is in case you want to try it:

I also made some walnut taco meat. It's amazing how much it was like taco meat.  Almost unbelievable.  Next time though, I'd make it less salty by using less Bragg's or Nama Shoyu.  This is the receipe I used(

I also figured, what's a taco without cheese?  So I used the same cheese sauce that I used in the cheesy Kale/Onions recipe.

Overall, I'll say this recipe was a raving success!  I will definitely make it again.

Last night I also started another batch of the onion rings.  My sister likes them and I'm going to share some with my coworkers at work, so I made two onion's worth.  They are still in the dehydrator getting crispy, but should be "done" soon:

These are really tasty treats!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 8 - What's Going on with Our Food Supply?

I'm making my grocery list for the day.  I was planning to make some wraps for dinner and I also wanted to make some corn chips.   I am already wishing I'd gotten more than 4 Paraflex sheets for my dehydrator.

Well, given the limited space in my dehydrator, I decided I am going to make corn tortillas and use them as wraps to make raw tacos.  I am going to try to make some raw taco "meat" too if I can. 

On a more serious note, Uncooking101 shared this video on their Facebook wall earlier today.  It's absolutely fascinating.  And explains so much of the mystery of why cancer rates in the US are so much higher than in other developed countries and why childhood food allergies are now so rampant in our country.

It's 18 minutes, but I hope you will take the time to watch:

Scary stuff, but important for us to be aware.  I hope people will take the time to watch it and share so that something can be done to make a difference.

After watching this, I'm really glad the corn I'm using from my raw tacos is organic.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 7 - Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato chips are done!!!  I think they turned out pretty nice.

I didn't really follow a recipe.   I just took one large sweet potato and sliced it on the thinnest slicing on my mandoline.  The setting on mine is 1.5 mm, which is actually perfect for chips. 

The step that I missed, that I will make sure I do next time is rinse the "chips" under some water to remove the starch.  I didn't do that step, but just read that I should have.  I think they'd be even better if I did, but they still seem pretty good.

Next, (after the rinsing step I missed), I massaged in some Olive Oil, making sure each chip had at least a little oil on each side.  Then I put in the dehydrator for about 22 hours or so until they are really crispy.   My understanding is you cannot over dehydrate sweet potato chips.   I plan to save some to bring to work on Monday, so I might put them back in the dehydrator for a couple minutes when I wake up to make sure they are staying crispy.

No big dehyrator plans for this evening.  I think I might give my dehydrator a night off.  It's been serving me well ever since I opened the box.   The next thing I'll be making is corn chips and perhaps some bread and eggplant bacon.  Ever since I saw the recipes for Eggplant bacon I'm wanting a nice fresh BLT.  :-)

I guess I need to find a recipe for raw mayonaisse as well ...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 6 - Macaroons!!

Last night I made macaroons.  I wanted to make Chocolate Banana macaroons, but I couldn't find a recipe for that so I just found a recipe and did my best to adapt.

This is the recipe I cam up with:
  • 2 cups of dry coconut
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • A bunch of raw cacao (maybe 1/2 a cup??)
  • Coconut oil to make it sticky so the ingredients can be mixed together

After mixing all the ingredients above I added some almond meal until it made a nice scoopable mix.  I probably put in about 1 cup, but if you try this, you should add gradually and stir in until it seems like it a good consistency to put in the cookie dough scooper.  The recipe makes about 16 macaroons & they need to dehydrate at 105 for 3 hours.

The aroma while they were dehydrating permeated my whole house ... it's was heavenly!
Here's a picture of them - I added dehydrated tart cherries to the top of some of them - I was thinking banana split macaroons, but I decided I needed sweeter cherries.  If I try this again I'll cut them into small pieces and put the little pieces inside the "dough".
I brought half the macaroons to the office and my coworkers really liked them too!
By the way, I am really liking Alissa Cohen's second book "Raw Food for Everyone".   That said, I am a little overwhelmed by it - it's just packed with information but I'm really glad I got it.  I think of the five raw "cookbooks" I have, it's the only one that really goes into the benefits of raw food to explain why it's a good idea.   I hear her first book is great too, but I can only buy so many books at one time and the other book is about 7 years old so I decided to order the newer one. 
Anyway, there are 97 pages of just information, plus 300 receipes, so I'm definitely going to read it.  She has a ton of different juice recipes too.  And her recipes seems to be written quite simply.  I don't have a juicer right now, but I can see getting on in a couple months.  I just want to spread out the big investments a little bit.  
I was looking at the recipes in "Raw Food for Everyone" and there is a recipe for "Eggplant Bacon".  I think this weekend I might make some dehydrated "bread" and "eggplant bacon".   I guess I'll need to do Mayo too.  I'd LOVE a BLT!!! 

Tonight my dehydrator is busy dehydrating thin slicked sweet potato chips for me and thick slicked sweet potato treats for the dogs.  We'll see how they turn out.  I just added a little olive oil to my thin chips.  It's an experiment.  Once they are dehydrated I might try adding a bit of cinnamon to them.  We'll see.    I hope they turn out good.

Tomorrow night I want to make corn chips and then maybe I'll have a big mexican salad with guacamole again over the weekend with chips and salsa.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 5!! (a confession and more)

Today I need to start with a confession.  I slipped.

My coworker who is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet (in his 70's, formerly retired, super active) came into work today with macaroons, but not raw ones.

I ate one. OMG!!! It was delicious, but must have had regular sugar in it because it did a serious number on me. I was on a total sugar high after I ate it.

I stopped with that one and I won't have another.  I didn't want to make him feel bad because he made them especially for me and my co-worker.    I haven't eaten anything with real sugar in it for almost two months, so I guess the fact that ONE cooked macaroon can affect me that way means the raw diet is really working!

Anyway ... Onward & upward!!  :-)  

Today I came home to two fun treats.

First, my dehydrated goodies were ready for me.  They are mighty tasty!!!  I have to apologize for the poor color in the pictures.  They were taken with my iPhone.  Unfortunately it's and older generation without Flash, so we'll have to make due until June when hopefully iPhone 5 will be out and I can post better quanlity pictures.

Onion Ring Snacks:

Cheesy Kale Chips:

They both have the same cheesy sauce from the recipe I linked to yesterday.  They are both delicious!!

Two things I noticed ...

1) the onion snacks I had before were more salty than these and less cheesy.  I think I might tweak the onions again if I were just making onions.  Ani Phyo also has an onion ring recipe which I think uses buckwheat or something to create the crunch.  I might try that in the future too.

2) some of the kale stems are tough.  I thought they'd be okay but they weren't.  Next time, I would cut some of the bigger leaves and remove the stem in the bottom part of each leaf as you can't really chew them.

Still, they will both be great snacks when I want something crunch to snack on.  I plan to have the onions on a topping for salads and I'm also going to bring both to share with my coworkers tomorrow.

What a day.  And there's more !!

My other fun treat was the two new books that were delivered today  - Jennifer Cornbleet's "Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People" and Alissa Cohen "Raw Food for Everyone."    I'm a bit sad about the lack of pictures, but both have some good recipes I want to try.  The main reason I got Alissa's is that I joined a Raw Food Forum which has been great (, and it's Alissa's forum.  The forum is definitely a lot about her recipes and her philosophy so I thought it'd be helpful to get the book.  She does have nearly 100 pages of just information about raw foods which will be great to read.  And over 300 recipes on top of that. 

Speaking of the raw food forum, one thing that really struck me today is how great it is that I've built myself such a wonderful support system around raw foods.  I think that is critical for me in making this work.  I tinkered in raw food last year but it never got anyway.  I think the differnence is that then I was really on my own to a large degree, and I think the support is so helpful!   Raw Food Talk is a good place to start but I also a network of wonderful people who listen to my challenges and weigh in with advice when I ask them.   This is so important so thank you, Linda, Mercer, Lisa, Eryn, Alison, Iris and anyone I've left off.  It's wonderful to be surrounded by people who want to help me succeed.

Tonight I am planning to make Macaroons to try making sweets in the dehydrator.  Pictures tomorrow if that happens.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 4 ... My Excalibur Dehydrator has arrived!!

Today is day 4 of eating 100% raw.  I've been eating mostly raw for close to a month now, so other than giving up coffee and my vegan (not raw) protein powder in my morning smoothie, it hasn't really been too hard for me.  

Tonight I decided to make Ani Phyo's Polenta with Mushroom Ragout.  I have made it before and it is amazing.  I brought it to work to share with my vegetarian co-workers and they LOVED it.   Tonight I was a bit distracted because I'd just unpacked my brand-spakin' new Excalibur dehydrator.  I was a bit lax in measuring ingredients tonight (I did my best guestimates!), but it was a bit rich so I didn't eat a lot.  I should probably have somethign else to eat ... maybe a green salad.   Anyway, the Polenta is not a very colorful dish (looks a bit "blah,") but it is very tasty!   I modified the recipe a bit so it's a gravy instead of the Ragout that Ani has in her recipe.

I have cashews soaking right now to make some dehydrated onion snacks and cheesy kale chips.  I've cut the onions into nice rings on my brand new Oxo mandoline (which is really cool, but what a pain to disassemble and clean!).  The kale is cleaned and the leaves all separated with the thick stems removed.  It's going to be a late night!

Oh, and I'm using this recipe for the kale chips & also the onions.

I also really like the kale chips just with olive oil, a little sea salt, cayenne pepper and garlic powder too, so I'll do some of the kale chips without the cashew mixture.  

I'll let you know tomorrow how it all turns out.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why "Raw Inspiring?"

Because as of Saturday, March 20th, I've embarked on an experiment to stay on a 100% raw vegan diet for at least 30 days.

This is a big deal for me, because my previous diet tended to be composed of "healthy" boxed microwave meals and too frequently also sweet treats like Reeses Peanut Butter cups (my love & also my nemisis!!).

I've been experimenting with degrees of raw for a while. I've invested some good money into cookbooks but what's really worked to keep me motivated has been all the success stories I've read online the websites and blogs I've stumbled upon while trying to find recipes that inspire me to get into the kitchen and start creating delicious raw recipes. When I make a recipe that I love, I want to share it and inspire others to give it a try.

Raw inspiring. That's what this blog is about