Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"What's in your frig" wraps.

 If you ever have a day where you're looking to clean out the veggie bins in your frig, be creative and make something like these:

Possible Ingredients:

romaine lettuce leaves or Swiss chard as bread
bell peppers
red cabbage
broccoli sprouts

Cut and shape the veggies anyway that you like and layer into a romaine or Swiss chard leaf. I really love balsamic vinegar, but d/t to the fact that it's more acidic than apple cider vinegar, I try to add just a touch of my favorite oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a little spritz of apple cider vinegar. You could be creative with a dressing too. Cilantro always adds a great flavor to a dressing!
Simple, but rawfully (awfully) delicious!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

What a fabulous time of year! I hate snow (it's pretty though) and cold weather, but I love Christmas! I am currently enjoying Christmas celebrations with my family in Illinois, so I will be taking a short "blogging break!" The Internet connection is down here and blogging on a small phone just isn't going to work for me!! So, I hope you all have a "rawfully wonderful"holiday season!! I am very much looking forward to a new year and hope you'll be back to join me! You don't want to miss out because I'll be arranging for a couple of small give aways!! I'll also be adding a new topic once per week, but you'll have to come back to find out what it will be!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp from Do Eat Raw App 

Apple crisp

golden delicious apples 5
pecans 1 cup 
macadamia nuts 1/2 cup 
dates 2/3 cup
raisins, soaked 3 hours 1/2 cup 
agave nectar 2 tablespoons 
lemon, juiced 1/2
vanilla 1 teaspoon 
Himalayan salt pinch of

Description :
Place one unpeeled apple along with the drained raisins, cinnamon (this recipe left out the amount of cinnamon so I just used 2 teaspoons) lemon juice, agave, vanilla and salt in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside. Peel and thinly slice remaining apples and place them in a bowl. Add the pureed mix and toss gently. In a food processor grind finely the pecans and macadamia nuts, then add the dates and continue blending until well mixed. Place the apples in a ceramic dish and top with the pecan mix. Position the pan in the dehydrator at 105° for about 4-5 hours and serve warm. 

I also did not place mine in the dehydrator to warm it. It was a late night impulse make and so we ate it room temperature. This recipe is E approved by the way!

I have found several raw apple pie/crisp recipes, and I'm definitely looking forward to trying more out. Comparison is always a good excuse to try another recipe! (wink)

My dad recently emailed me to tell me he's going to attempt a raw apple pie for Christmas. This is extremely exciting to me (obviously) and look forward to try something made by someone else:) Good luck Dad!!!

A healthier alternative to a conventional cooked apple pie!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Persimmon and Coconut Cream Parfait

 Persimmon and Coconut Cream Parfait by The Sunny Raw Kitchen

Persimmon Layer
4 very ripe persimmon blended until smooth. (leave the skins on)

Persimmon is a fruit that you may have never heard of or maybe just never tasted. I first tried them myself several months ago. My first impression was that they were very unpretentious and mild. When picking them out at the grocery store, especially if you're going to use them right away, you want to make sure they are very soft. They have the feel of a tomato, but you want them to almost feel as if they will smash in your fingers.

Add caption
 Bavarian Cream
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water (add last in case cream isn't thick enough, may omit)
2 tbs orange juice
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
pinch tumeric for color
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup agave nectar or more to taste
1 tbs lecithin
1 tbs coconut butter

Blend until smooth and refrigerate until cool.

Using a spoon, layer in a nice glass. A taller glass will work better. You can change it up and layer them with bavarian cream first and persimmon first. Top with some coconut flakes and goji berries.
 Of course, the truly raw way to have coconut milk is to make it using a coconut, and mix the meat and water together. However, coconuts aren't the easiest to open so you could always do the "almost raw" way and use a can of organic coconut milk. Just remember that it has been processed. Click here to see how to open a coconut.
 Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
 This little fella was my first attempt. I was in a hurry and didn't put my cream in the refrigerator first.

 My 2nd attempt was slightly better, but using a taller glass would make it much prettier!
Persimmons are a low calorie fruit that originated in China, however are now grown all over. They make a great snack and have a very mild flavor. They contain an abundance of healthy nutrients to help fight diseases. They're rich in phytochemicals and cancer fighting betulinic acids.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup
Do you ever open the frig and just stare? Then try to remind yourself of what you were looking for in the first place? I did that today. I was trying to decide what I could throw together for a quick lunch using some alfalfa spouts, and then got stuck in a black abyss. What I was actually going in there for in the first place, (the alfalfa sprouts) was not what I ended up with. I found some tomatoes and basil that according to my memory, which is not very good, had taken up residence in our frig for longer than they should have. Now, I'm not saying that they were spoiled or anything, just ready to be evicted! So, thanks to the black abyss, here's a little version of Tomato Basil Soup that I came up with. And it's good:) Even with the jalapenos, my son loved it too!

Tomato Basil Soup

4 large tomatoes, (fresh heirloom if in season)
1 cup fresh basil leaves (don't pack)
1 large garlic clove
1 avocado
2 green onions
3 slices jalapeno pepper
1/2 cup water
1/2-1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
pepper to taste

Blend everything together in a food processor and consume!

Although that might be the worst picture of a bowl of soup I've ever seen, it really is good. Don't forget that I'm not a photographer!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cilantro Tomato Salad

Ingredients  Makes two small bowls of salad or one large bowl.

1 roma tomato
7 (roughly) grape tomatoes cut in half
1 celery stalk cut into small slices
several small slices of fennel
1/2 of an avocado
1 small bunch of cilantro
several small slices of zucchini (cut into small pieces)
juice from 1/2 a lime
2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

It was my son's 2nd birthday last Monday, and the request for dinner was home made pizza.  Cooked of course! It's what we ate the night he was born. Isn't that just cute! I wanted to make a raw pizza too, but it calls for several hours of prep time d/t the making of the crust. I was just not prepared for that. I ended up throwing this salad together for myself, and it turned out quite tasty. I've made it a couple of times since because it's so easy and good! And no, it doesn't have any leafy greens in it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Acidity vs. Alkalinity

From www.vegetarian-nutrition.info
You can read about this subject (and I definitely have) all over the Internet, but sometimes it's not explained well. I have to give kudos to Trevor Justice from the Vegetarian Health Institute for doing such an amazing job explaining this whole pH thing! So, I will do my best to bring this info to you in the least complicated blog post I can!

I've been mentioning pH, acidity, and alkalinity in several posts, so as promised, let's get started! Let me start off by telling you that you don't want a large acid load in you diet. Your body will have to work extra hard to neutralize these acids, and it does that by leaching alkaline minerals (calcium and magnesium) from your teeth, bones, and muscle. This does not mean that you shouldn't eat citrus fruits. That's where it gets slightly complicated.

Let's go back to high school for just a second to review pH. pH is expressed on a scale where a pH of 7 is neutral, which is the pH of pure distilled water. Anything less than 7 is acidic, and anything greater than 7 is alkaline. Got it?!

Here's some examples: (again, thanks to Trevor Justice)

 pH                         Substance
Acidic Substances:
1.0                         Stomach acid
2.2                         Lemon juice
2.4                         Vinegar
4.0                         Wine and Beer
4.5                         Tomatoes
6.6                         Milk
Neutral Substances:
7.0                         Distilled water
Alkaline Substances:
7.4                         Human blood
8.0                         Sea water
8.3                         Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)
10.5                        Milk of Magnesia
11.0                        Ammonia
12.0                        Soapy water
13.0                        Lye (“drain cleaner”)
14.0                        Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)

In case anyone ever tells you to take a product to make you more alkaline, it's not really true. Only your diet can do this. Your body is very talented at keeping your blood's pH between a tight range of 7.35-7.45.  Our blood is rich in powerful acid-buffering molecules, like bicarbonate and hemoglobin, that immediately help neutralize the acids that are generated from food or metabolism.

When referring to "acidic foods," it doesn't mean that their pH is lower than 7, in fact it doesn't really matter what their pH is to begin with, because it's dropped into our stomach which contains hydrochloric acid. Due to the extreme acidity of your stomach, nothing can change the pH of your stomach or your blood for that matter. Foods consumed, especially those high in protein, cause the stomach wall to excrete hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is so potent it can eat through linoleum. Hydrochloric acid allows the protein-splitting enzyme, pepsin, to break down protein into it's amino acids building blocks. These amino acids will then be reassembled by your liver. Because everything that enters your stomach is mixed with hydrochloric acid, it's all acidic. Next, they will travel to your small intestine, where they are mixed with bicarbonate-rich secretions from your pancreas. This helps to neutralize them. These secretions bring the pH range of the food to 8, where they can be easily digested. So, no matter what you eat, it's acidic in your stomach and alkaline in your intestine.

So, why are some foods "acid forming?" Proteins like meats and dairy, along with flour, most beans, nuts, and grains contain a large amount of sulfur-containing amino acids. (this is a condensed version) They also contain high energy-phosphorus containing compounds. When combined with water, both of these (sulfur and phosphorus) create acidic compounds. (sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid) So, when these high protein foods are metabolized the sulfur and phosphorus left behind combine with cellular water and sulfurous and phosphoric acids. This leaves an "acid ash," which is why they are "acid forming." This acid must be neutralized to protect the pH of our blood.

This neutralization takes place almost instantaneous and occurs in two places: your blood stream and your bones. In your blood stream, albumin and hemoglobin along with other molecules, quench the acidic hydrogen ions to maintain a safe blood pH of 7.35-7.45. Next, bone surfaces of your skeleton take up the acidic hydrogen ions through the blood that flows into your bone matrix and neutralizes them. This neutralization in your bones happens because calcium atoms are borrowed from your bone tissue, hence paying a high price. This steady drain of calcium leads to osteoporosis, which is quite common, especially among women. Hormone imbalances, lack of weight-bearing exercise, deficiency of vitamin D, K, boron, and manganese also lend to the increase risk of osteoporosis. So, the reason you want to reduce your intake of acid-forming foods (meat, dairy, sugar, refined flour,grains) is to protect your bones.

So, getting back to the pH of food. Most foods that are acid-forming, (sugars, meat, and dairy products) taste good to most people, but the produce that "acid ash" once eaten.  Although citrus fruits like grapefruit and lemons taste acidic, they are actually alkaline-forming once eaten.

Alkaline forming foods should make up about 80% of your diet to help pay benefit to strong bones and healthy bodies. It's also better for your kidneys since they are responsible for excreting these acids. Eating a high alkaline diet has even been shown to restore bone health.

Here's an example of an acid/alkaline food chart that can be very useful in making healthy choices for that 80% alkaline-producing foods you need to consume! I have this same chart hanging inside one of my cupboard doors.

Here's some simple solutions to help you get started:
Juice lots of vegetables, especially green varieties.
Supplement with a morning green powder
substitute table salt for sea salt
substitute almond butter for peanut butter
substitute apple cider vinegar for balsamic vinegar
stay away from dairy and animal proteins as much as possible

Well, I certainly hope you feel educated and not overwhelmed! I tried to present the least complicated information on this topic. Whether you make any changes or not, it's great to just be informed of how certain foods will negatively or positively affect your body. Have an alkaline day!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Raw Food Night and a Christmas party!

Maybe I started my week of posts out with good choices and healthy alternatives because I've apparently have been to a lot of parties lately. Well, at least it feels that way. 

As you know, the 2nd Thursday of every month is one of my favorite nights of the month! It's raw food night at the Green Owl Cafe, right here in Madison!! When I realized that my work Christmas party was scheduled on that same night, I had to devise a plan quickly because, you should know by now, that I do not like to miss raw food night! My plan ended including my "picky" husband. I made reservations for both of us to eat the raw food meal prior to us going to the Christmas party. Eric was not real happy about this at first, but it has a happy ending!

Carrot and pineapple juice.

My handsome hubby just wondering what his wife got him into!

Me, thrilled to be just minutes away from some raw food:) And, I am not above finishing the food on Eric's plate if he decides not to eat it!!

 Creamy corn chowder (in the white dish on the plate)
Seasonal salad with beets, pumpkin seeds, red onion, and a creamy cilantro vinaigrette. (on the right, and possibly my favorite)
Stuffed mini pepper "poppers" with cheesy filling
Marinated red cabbage slaw (on the left)
Taco plate with carrot-nut spiced taco filling in a romaine lettuce "shell" with diced tomatoes, yellow squash, guacamole, and pico de gallo. (in the black dishes below)
Mexican cauliflower "rice" (also in one of the small black dishes)

 I am still in shock that Eric not only had a great attitude about eating raw food with me, but he ate every single bite on his plate! This was an excellent start to our night!
 Mexican spiced chocolate cheesecake--- a nut and raw cacao dessert with a hint of Mexican spices served with raspberry sauce.  The sauce was fantastic! I liked the cheesecake as well, but it did have a bit of spicy kick to it. I of course didn't leave a crumb behind!
 The meal above, made it super easy for me to avoid bad choices at the party. I did fill my free drink ticket, but I passed on the cake! My husband however, did not!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another party!

Yes, we had another party last night! It's that time of year!! I just wanted to post about it and show you that it is possible to eat out on occasion and stray too far away from a raw diet. I chose this vegetarian salad below. Now, I typically don't eat dairy, and this salad did have fresh mozzarella, which was quite delicious, but it was a great option for a salad. As you can see below, I moved all of the little tortilla pieces to the side and skipped out on those. 

A bed of fresh spinach and mixed greens topped with fresh mozzarella, cherry and yellow grape tomatoes, fire roasted red peppers and asparagus seasoned with olive oil then tossed with garlic pita. Served with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

 None the less, it's a much better choice than what my husband had. Not saying that it probably didn't taste good, but it's really straying from a raw diet in a big way:)
I happen to love french fries, but do you know that oil becomes rancid when cooked? Yep, there's rancid oil all over those fries! And a dap of high fructose corn syrup to dip them and who would ever know?! Let's not even talk about that non-organic slab of meat or the flour bun! Wait, I do see a piece of lettuce back there, but it's been removed from the burger. Hmmm. Looks like my hubby's plate!!

Good times!! Enjoy your parties this holiday season whatever you choose to eat!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A healthy alternative.

It seems as though I'm starting off this week preaching, "healthy alternatives" so maybe it will help you prepare for the holidays!!

As I mentioned yesterday, I consume about 80-90% of my meals raw. Some days are higher than others. I frequent our local food coop like snow plows frequent the streets of this frozen tundra (Wisconsin). Sadly, it's probably one of my favorite things to do. I'm often there around lunch time(funny how that happens), and can't pass on one of my favorite sandwiches. I'm telling you this, so you can see that there are plenty of healthy choices out there when you can't maintain a 100% raw diet, or just don't want too. It's a vegetable sandwich with a sun dried tomato dressing. It has roasted red bell peppers, tomato, mixed greens, alfalfa sprouts, cucumbers, and red onion. This particular sandwich can be made on gluten free bread, which I think is a healthier option. It is so delicious! Shockingly enough, my son actually eats several bites every time I get it. I don't think most 2-year olds like alfalfa sprouts and onions, but he doesn't seem to mind. He tends to want things that my husband and I are eating, which is great if he's not wanting my husband occasional pop! "pop,pop,pop." Almost makes me cringe thinking about it!

So, this is even something that can be made at home with any veggies you have in the frig. Don't get down on yourself if you aren't perfect when trying to eat raw. Just make smart choices, and if you slip up, get back on track!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Parties, Parties

Well, I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I spent mine, hosting a bridal shower on Saturday, followed by a dinner out. We then went to a comedy club right off the square in downtown Madison, which was actually quite funny! Hmmm, imagine that! It was absolutely freezing out, so walking around the square to get from place to place was quite cold! I'm just grateful there's no snow yet. Sorry to you snow lovers out there, I am not one of you!

Anyway, it's always a bit challenging maintaining a raw food diet when you have events like this that are unavoidable. I can honestly say that I follow my advice as I posted on Friday and just do my best! Fortunately, we served raw veggies and fruit kabobs, so I had plenty of those at the shower. I also drank lots of water with lemon in it to help my body stay more alkaline. I still promise to blog about the whole Ph and acidity vs. alkalinity soon!  I had ordered some pretty amazing cake from a local bakery, so I did partake in that, but it was a small piece!!

 At the restaurant on Saturday night, Jolly Bob's,  I was fully expecting to just order some type of salad and stay away from a huge chunk of meat! The serve a Caribbean inspired menu. I ended up finding a jicama and orange salad that was actually amazing! It was just sliced up jicama with mandarin oranges and some seasonings. It had some type of very spicy vinaigrette, but I really enjoyed it. I also had a bowl of a mushroom bisque soup, that was meat free, however it was cooked. For a dinner out, that was pretty good. And, it only cost $7.50! Not too shabby.

 I spent the day on Sunday recovering from a great day and very little sleep Saturday night. The bridal party, along with some other friends, stayed in a hotel on the square after the nights festivities wrapped up. A hotel room with 3 other chickadees is not a great combo for restful sleep. At least not for me. I'm too light of a sleeper. I made sure to drink lots of water today, drink my raw veggie juice, took a green powdered supplement, and I ate a huge salad for dinner. The weekend was well worth it and a weekend we will always remember!

Today, is another very special party! This one is a private family (just the 3 of us) party for our son's 2nd birthday! These kinds of small family parties are much easier to control in terms of food choices. I haven't come up with the menu for tonight yet, but I'm working on it. It's very possible we may have a mixed raw/cooked meal, but we shall see!

My main reason for sharing my weekend with you is to let you know that you don't have to be perfect every single day! I eat about 80-90% raw with some days at 100%, and I still have those "not so great days" every once in a while.  So, if you have parties coming up for the holidays,  remember to make smart food choices!   If you don't or can't for some reason, don't feel so defeated you stop with your goals altogether. Just get back on your plan ASAP!!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting started.

I have had tons of questions lately about how to get started with a raw food diet. I had one more recipe to share with you this week, but I'll save that for next week. This post is too important to delay!!

What do I eat?
Where do I begin?
What kinds of things do I buy at the grocery store? Click here for a list I compiled, although you don't need to go crazy when you're first getting started.
How do you stay disciplined?
What if I eat something I'm not supposed too?

So, here's a fairly shortened version of my answers for you!

First of all, let me just say that starting on a raw food diet can be pretty overwhelming at first. It's a huge lifestyle change, and it's very different than what the general population eats. Ask yourself a few questions about why you want to get started.

Increased energy, better overall health, disease prevention, healing of some chronic ailment, clearer skin, weight loss, anti-aging, decreasing the intake of harmful chemicals found in conventional foods, or maybe you just want to be good to your body for a change etc.

There are so many reasons why people decide to go raw. Not only will you get the benefit of achieving your primary goal, but you'll have the added benefits of all of the other things I listed above and then some! It's a win win situation and that's exciting! I can also tell you from personal experience that you will feel better.

If you are genuinely serious about improving your health and well being, you have to make that commitment to yourself and do the best you can. If you mess up, don't beat yourself up. Figure out why it is that you messed up, and learn from it. If you trip and fall, you aren't likely going to just lay there. Supposing you didn't break anything, you get up and move whatever it was you tripped on. I can tell you that when you're eating a high raw diet, you don't have so many cravings. That seems to be such a huge problem among women in particular. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense as to why the cravings are so diminished. If you feed your body good fuel and it gets the vitamins and minerals it needs, it doesn't make you crave the bad stuff in an attempt to get the good stuff. Many cravings are also driven by chemicals that are found in conventional and processed foods. Whenever possible, try very hard to eat organic. Organic produce is grown in a richer nutrient soil, so your food will be higher in those good nutrients. Throw away ALL plastic containers and switch to glass too. The chemicals in the plastic, that leech onto your food, can mimic hormones!

Self control. How do you control yourself? Here's a scenario: Say you see a fabulous pair of boots, priced at $1500. You make an impulsive buy with money that you don't have. What happens next?  Despite the fact that the boots might look and feel really great at first, you might start feeling guilty or even resentful. You may even realize that they aren't that fabulous at the cost of how they make you feel inside. You suddenly realize that now you have to work 10 times harder, picking up extra hours to pay for them, totally stressing you out, or cut out other things that you had planned to do with that money. Our bodies work in a similar way. If we make an impulse decision to eat something bad for us, despite the fact that it looks really good, our body has to pay for it. Our body is an incredible creation and goes to work immediately to repair the damage you just did. It may even have to sacrifice in other areas, like our immune system, to make up for that damage. And many times, we realize that what we ate wasn't really that great or worth it.

I find that self control for me comes from a desire to take care of my body. After all, I only have one, although having a couple extras sure would be nice at times:) I consciously think about what that "thing" is that I'm about to eat and how it will affect my body. Most likely, I will not feel good after I eat it, my skin may break out, I could get a headache, my immune system weakens, or maybe it will leech much needed minerals from my body. (Like meat, but that's a whole separate blog post people, and one that personally took me a LONG time to comprehend, d/t my loves of building muscle. Check it out here.) Most people probably don't think like this though, so just remember those $1500 boots!

You can make getting started really easy on yourself. First, start out by drinking lots of water. Raw food guru, David Wolfe, suggests starting your day with 1 liter of water (before anything else) to help get your colon moving. I know, I know, no one likes to talk about poop, (I'm an ER nurse so unfortunately, I have to worry about other people's poop) but it's really important. If you have stool sitting in your colon, it's likely releasing toxins back into your body that are making you sick! It's more disgusting thinking that people have sludge in their colon as opposed to people who have more frequent bowel movements and have a cleaner, healthier colon. Just sayin!! Second, don't forget to remind yourself that raw food is not and does not have to be complicated! Carrots and celery, a piece of fruit, a salad, or even some homemade trail mix is all raw. You do not have to go overboard in trying to add raw foods to your diet. When getting started, just add a leafy green salad with/for lunch and dinner. That's not that complicated! Pick a raw snack, like an apple, or better yet, some veggies. You can work up to the more complicated (only because they require a dehydrator to be raw) stuff like Kale chips, which I'm shoving into my mouth as I type and dropping them all over my computer, which my husband loathes! Not the kale chips, but the dropping of food particles on my computer. I use it in the kitchen all of the time! Third, you can also add other things throughout the day, like a smoothie, and don't forget to throw in some spinach or something else green. So, pick one or two things to start with and go from there. The more raw you add, the better you will feel and the more your body will thank you. No kidding! Here's another fabulous way to add in something small to get you started, and it tastes like normal food.

I forgot to add in one question above. What if I don't like the taste of healthy foods? This is PART of my husbands problem. And I emphasize part because most of the time if he, or I rather,(wink, wink) forces himself to try something, he actually likes it.  I did read some interesting information in one of David Wolfe's books, "Eating for Beauty" that dealt with this issue. "Eating raw foods increases one's taste sensations and the sensitivity of the taste buds. Many people cannot taste properly for two reasons. The first reason is that their taste buds have been dulled by eating cooked foods. The second reason is that they have a zinc deficiency. Eating zinc-rich raw foods over time (such as poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pecans) gradually returns one's taste buds back to normal, allowing for more heightened taste pleasure."  He also wrote, "When you eat raw plant-foods and choose to move away from animal food for a considerable period of time, you become more alkaline and eventually reacquire your true sense of taste and smell." Wolfe, D. (2009). Eating for Beauty. Berkely: North Atlantic Books. (BTW, I'll go into the whole "more alkaline" issue in another post. It's lengthy, but fascinating!)

If you are up for adding one new appliance to your kitchen, I strongly recommend getting yourself a juicer. Click here to read why.

Two other great motivators, that really got me started were the documentaries, "Food Matters" and "Food Inc." Fabulous! Must watch!! I sometimes go back and watch them again and again to remind myself of why it is that I do what I do!

Alrighty then! This is a lot of information to take in, but I hope that it helps you feel motivated. You can do anything that you set your mind too, just come up with a plan and start slowly. I'm happy to share any knowledge I've learned along the way, and hope you can enjoy the process as much as I have!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cocoa Crispies


Buckwheat Groats
Since buckwheat is actually a fruit seed, it's a great substitute for people who are sensitive to wheat. It's great for the cardiovascular system because rutin and other compounds in it help to lower lipid level. They help maintain blood flow and help keep the platelets from clumping together. Buckwheat is also a great source of magnesium and can help fight diabetes. It is a great source of insoluble fiber, which has been shown to decrease the risk of gallstones and colon cancer. The protein in buckwheat is a high quality protein, containing all eight essential amino acids including lysine. Buckwheat has also been  referred to as a fertility food.

Cocoa Crispies from Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis.

2 cups buckwheat groats, soaked for at least 1 hour
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (heaping) cocoa or carob powder
2 packets of stevia (I personally do not like stevia so I substituted about 2 teaspoons agave nectar. Yacon syrup would probably work as well.)
2 teaspoon sea salt

Rinse the starch off buckwheat groats after they have soaked. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until it looks like a soupy oatmeal. Divide between 2 teflex dehydrator sheets and spread to about 1/8 inch thick. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8-12 hours. They should be brittle so turning them over in one sheet might be hard. It's best to turn them over in pieces and dehydrate for another few hours until crunchy.

Place in a bowl with bananas or any favorite fruit and top with almond milk. To be honest, I didn't like them when I first tasted them. Once I put them in a bowl with banana and almond milk, I fell in love! These are a fun sweet, but healthy twist for breakfast!

The cocoa crispies were another raw meal that my mom got to taste. She liked them. We had raw oatmeal, which is consumed about 5-6 mornings a week at our house.

Make sure to rinse.

I will make them a bit thicker next time.

 As you can see, they were a hit with my little guy! He shoved them in his mouth so fast, I doubt he even tasted them! We do very little dairy at our house, so I topped them with almond milk.
 Please ignore the fact that he's eating his cocoa crispies out of a pink bowl. Although it's my favorite color, it is not his! They came in a pack of multi-colored bowls:) Pink just happened to be clean that day! Oh yeah, and he's much cuter when his hand isn't half way down his throat;) HeHe! Apparently he needs he to work on his spoon skills!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

S&P Lacinato Kale Chips

One of my favorite things, is a big bowl of kale chips. I love the taste, and I can eat as many as I want without feeling guilty about how bad they are for me.  My favorite recipe that I've tried is rather addicting, and I like them so much that it's hard to try other recipes out there. I did however, make my own sea salt and black pepper version for my mom this past weekend. I wasn't sure she'd like my favorites, so I tried some plain ones.

A couple of large bunches of Lacinato Kale (dino kale) . Remove leaves from center stem.
Toss in a bowl with about 1/8-1/4 cup sunflower oil depending on how much kale you make.
Black pepper, a few twists of Himalayan Sea salt, and garlic salt to taste.

Place in dehydrator at 115 degrees for about 3-4 hours. 

Click here to see the healthy benefits of kale!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chocolate (Cacao) Coconut Ganache Tart

Chocolate Coconut Ganache Tart
By Susan from Rawmazing! She's amazing and so is this dessert of hers!
These are SO amazing!!

1 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup soaked almonds

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pat into two 4 inch tart pans and refrigerate.


1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup coconut oil

Melt coconut oil over hot water. Whisk together cacao powder, agave nectar, and coconut oil. Pour into tart shells and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Makes 4-6 servings.

Of course if you look at these from Susan's website, hers are much prettier! You need to pour the filling in right away or it starts to solidify from the coconut oil. I learned my lesson. Next time, I'll add the filling quickly so it stays smooth. I am SUPER excited to share these with my hubby! I LOVE them. My mom took one home to my dad, and he loved them too! They will definitely be a staple dessert around here.

You do need to remember that these are still dessert, but a much healthier version that can be consumed with less guilt! Coconut is great for you and cacao is full of antioxidants. They taste guilty, and I like to be fooled in this case!

Coconut oil 
Hair care, skin care, weight control, increased immunity, stress relief, maintaining good cholesterol levels,  diabetes, and bone strength are just a few health benefits of coconut oil. The health benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. It contains properties such as antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, and soothing. Click here to read more from Kiran Patil at organic facts.

Cacao has more antioxidant flavanoids that blueberries, wine, and black and green teas. It would take me forever to tell you why raw cacao is food for you, so I copied this from www.livesuperfoods.com. It will make you want to eat some cacao. I get mine from www.longevitywarehouse.com.

Why Unprocessed Chocolate is Good for You from Livesuperfoods.com

Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Health benefits of these antioxidants include:
  • Promote cardiovascular health - Help dilate bloods vessels, reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
  • Protect from environmental and metabolic toxins - Help repair and resist damage caused by free radicals, and may reduce risk of certain cancers.
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
  • Serotonin - Cacao raises the level of serotonin in the brain; thus acts as an anti-depressant, helps reduce PMS symptoms, and promotes a sense of well-being.
  • Endorphins - Cacao stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the “runner’s high” a jogger feels after running several miles.
  • Phenylethylamine - Found in chocolate, phenylethylamine is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. Acts as mild mood elevator and anti-depressant, and helps increase focus and alertness.
  • Anandamide - Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released by the brain when we are feeling great. Cacao contains both N-acylethanolamines, believed to temporarily increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, and enzyme inhibitors that slow its breakdown. Promotes relaxation, and helps us feel good longer.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
  • Magnesium - Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with PMT, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.
  • Sulfur - Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails and hair, promotes beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning.
Essential fats: There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil, that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
Important note- To fully benefit from chocolate’s wide array of nutrients, eat chocolate that is as close to its natural state as possible. Whole cacao beans and nibs are best. You lose many of the health benefits when you eat commercially produced chocolate.

So, go make a good healthy dessert that tastes like it's bad for you!!