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 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.