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Sesame-Kale Wafers

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The taste (or, rather, the memories) of a batch of similar chips stayed with me for so long that I had to create my own. Boy, was that a good idea! As the last batch of chips/crackers this year, I couldn't possibly imagine a greater new favorite. I had to label them wafers because they came out so thin and delicate and they have a "melt-in-your-mouth" feeling to them. Tart and spicy, green and nourishing, these crackers are light and yet, incredibly satisfying and addictive. Yes, they're hard to quit....hmm, ok that's a downside, but that's about it.

Sesame Seed Nutrition
As the main ingredients, these little seeds deserve some attention. Being so rich in bone-strengthening minerals, especially magnesium, phosphorous and calcium, is not all they have to offer. They're high in good quality protein and antioxidants as well. So tasty and so nutritious....you can't go wrong with them. Enjoy!

Incredible Kale Chips
(Ingredients for two sheets of chips)
1 cup sesame seeds
juice of 5 limes
1-2 cayenne peppers (or substitute powder)
1 large kale leaf
1/2 onion
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
your choice of sweetener to taste
water as needed

0. Soak the sesame seeds beforehand if you have the time. 4 hours will do.
1. Chop up the pepper(s), onion, and kale into somewhat smaller chunks and process all ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy. Most likely, you will need to help the blender get started by adding a little bit of water and keep tamping the contents down.
2. Taste test and add salt or sweetener if needed.
3. Pour the mixture onto two teflex sheets and spread it out as thin as you can.
4. Score it for square shape or use a glass or a cookie-cutter to make round shapes or whatever else you might prefer.
5. Dehydrate your batch at 140˚F (~60˚C) for an hour then lower the temperature to 115˚F (~46˚C) and dehydrate for several hours longer, till you have crispy thin wafers.

You're in for a treat!

It's almost the end of this year. Is there anything you'd like to leave behind? Is there anything new you'd like to start with the beginning of the new year?

Biscotti In The Raw

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Having turned vegan at such a young age, there are many recipes I never made, cooked or baked the traditional way. While a vegan lifestyle is well-catered to by restaurants and health-food stores I have never seen and/or tried even vegan biscotti, not to mention raw and living vegan biscotti. For some reason though it popped into my head about two weeks ago when I started brainstorming and trying to figure out what to make during the holidays. And then...everything started late (yes, so late that I just started this morning, two days before Christmas, crazy!) because of long hours at work and our busy little life getting in the way of life. While I haven't seen the sun in our beautiful valley for days and the rain won't stop coming down I was courageous enough to attempt to take some photos of these fresh out of the "oven" and here are the results. A double batch of incredibly flavorful (much more so than I expected) biscotti and pictures that will not hurt the reader's eyes, I hope ('sigh'). It could be worse, right!??
I've made two flavors, the classic, Italian version, of course for one. And I planned on making something else for the other but changed my mind in favor of the Carob-Hazelnut variety. Go ahead and substitute cacao for the carob if you prefer a chocolatey version, I probably would too, normally, but I'm avoiding caffeine this week. Ok, too much unnecessary information...here are the recipes, preceded by a health-note:

Almonds, one of the well-known cancer-fighting miracles of nature, are the main ingredients I'm using. Remember to save your pulp every time you make nut mylk, that's where your cheap, eco-friendly, almond flour will come from. And what better way to use almond flour!?
Anise seeds, like most spices/tiny seeds, are very rich in minerals and most B-vitamins, and they're known to be a digestive aid.
And if you go with carob, as I've mentioned before, this caffein-free bean is very rich in calcium, practically fat-free, has no oxalic acid to interfere with absorption of nutrients, and is naturally sweet so you'll probably use less sweetener in your recipes when using carob.

Classic Biscotti The Raw Way
(Makes 8 slices)
6 cups almond flour
6 tbsp golden flax seeds
2 cups raisins (soak them in orange juice or water beforehand)
sweetener (honey/maple syrup/agave syrup) to taste
optional: ~1 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp anise seeds
zest of 1/2 to 1 orange
little salt
soaking liquid

Raw Carob-Hazelnut Biscotti
(Makes 8 slices)
6 cups almond flour
6 tbsp golden flax seeds
2 cups raisins (soak them in orange juice or water beforehand)
1/2 cup carob powder
sweetener (honey/maple syrup/agave syrup) to taste
optional: ~1 tsp coconut oil
few dashes of cinnamon
little salt
soaking liquid

1/2 cup hazelnuts 

1. Soak the raisins beforehand for a little while, half an hour will do. I used orange juice but you can use water just as well. Whatever you're using, save the soaking liquid to add to your batter if needed.
2. Grind the flax seeds and put all ingredients (except for the chopped hazelnut, if you're making that version) in the food processor and run it to get an evenly crumbly mixture. Pinch test it, if it sticks together between your fingers you don't need to add more liquids, otherwise add some but just a spoonful at a time because it's very easy to overdo it with these kind of batters.
3. Pour your mixture into a bowl and by kneading it a couple of times form it into a loaf. If this is not happening because your batter is too crumbly, again, add a little liquid.
4. Place your "loaf" onto a teflex sheet and shape it into a flattened, firm, log. Slice it carefully, on the diagonal, making about half inch or a little thicker (~1.5 cm) slices. 
5. Stand them up on a sheet and dehydrate them for an hour at 140˚F (~60˚C) and then lay them flat on a screen and dehydrate them for a few more hours at 115˚F (~46˚C). 

If you have kids, they'll keep asking you "When are they gonna be done?" so make sure to keep them busy with something else. When they are done, have some fresh, while still warm, with a cup of mylk and/or a fruit spread if desired. Once they're cooled off, consider wrapping some for a Christmas present for someone. There's nothing like a home-made present you put your love into! You might want to save a couple so your kids can put them out there on Christmas Eve for Santa too. You never know...one day he might be inspired to go raw and refuse all the cookies at other households ; )

Happy "Baking"!

Herbed Olive-Walnut Bread

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not a typical raw food recipe but it still makes it to the scene. Bread is one of the hardest foods to cut out while transitioning to a raw, living lifestyle. This bread is nothing like the fluffy wheat bread you remember vaguely from back in the cooked and baked days. It's kind of a substitute for the already dipped-into-herbed-olive-oil-and-toasted bread. All in one loaf. Seeds, small amount of nuts, olives and herbs create a perfect harmony and it takes but a little "kneading" and shaping and slicing. That's it.

Herbed Olive-Walnut Bread
(Makes 1 small loaf: about 6 slices)
1 cup golden flax seeds
3/4 cup walnuts
6-8 sun-dried olives
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
oregano, rosemary
1.5 to 2 tbsp olive oil
5-6 tbsp water

1. Grind the flax seeds, chop the olives and the walnuts into small pieces, mince or press the garlic and chop up your herbs very finely.
2. Somehow my intuition was suggesting I should use the greatest method I learned from watching my grandmother making different kinds of pastry dough. Some of those buttery, crumbly mixes require this kind of mixing by hand and it works perfectly for this recipe: In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients but the water. Scoop up a handful at a time and rub your hands together coating all of the mixture evenly with the oil and herbs.
3. Add water little by little until your dough is starting to hold together when you try to shape it into a loaf. Start folding and kneading the dough by pressing down on it and folding it again...similar to when you're kneading bread dough. This is not an easy task because it will be losing crumbs and constantly wanting to fall apart but just be patient and if you accidentally added too much water you know you can always add some more flax seeds to the mix to save yourself.

4. Once you have your desired shape, place the loaf on a teflex sheet gently and, using your sharpest knife, carefully slice it on the diagonal about an inch or two centimeters thick each. I ended up with six slices and a small corner this way : )
5. Lay out the slices on the sheet and dehydrate for a few hours at 115˚F (~46˚C). You can turn them and even transfer them onto a screen after a little while.

Flax seeds and walnuts are both amazing brain-boosting food, full of Omega-3 fatty acids and very high in fiber of course. Given the high percentage of golden flax seeds, this bread is exceptionally rich in most minerals and very high vitamins B1 (thiamin) and B6. Soothing to the body, nourishing the brain, mineralizing the blood and bones....probably more than you'd expect from bread, isn't it?

Your herbed slices will be perfect with salads and light soups. This holiday break I will have to spend the time to make variations of it. It sure is nice to have around especially when expecting guests! Happy "baking"!

Carob Buckwheat gRAWnola

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cooler weather calls for warming foods. Does that mean you have to give up on your raw lifestyle? Absolutely not. There are plenty of foods out there with great warming energy. Buckwheat is one of  them. So why not use some buckwheat in recipes this season? Aside from its warming energy buckwheat has many health benefits. It's very high in minerals in general, especially such as manganese, magnesium, copper and phosphorous and some of those minerals are hard to get enough of. At least it seems that a large percentage of the population is deficient in magnesium, for example.
These seeds (buckwheat is actually a seed, not a grain) happen to have a very high fiber content, and are a complete protein too, not to mention their high niacin (vitamin B3) content, which is a natural antidepressant. Another food that's good for your bones, your skin, might help reverse gray hair, benefits your digestive tract and might even elevate your mood besides being an exceptional source of healthy protein (can you believe you'll get more protein from a 100g of raw buckwheat than cooked beef, for example?!!) A pretty good choice for breakfast or a snack and combined with the rest of the ingredients below you can make delicious winter granola with it. If you're feeding more than 1-2 people you might want to make a double batch so you don't need to do it twice a week : )

Raw Carob Buckwheat gRAWnola
2 cups buckwheat
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp golden flax seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup (or more) raisins
1/2 cup (or more, to taste) carob powder
handful of coconut shavings / 3 tbsp shredded coconut
3-4 tbsp melted coconut oil / other oil of your preference
Add your favorite sweetener, nuts, different dried fruits, additional spices, etc.

1. Soak the buckwheat for 8 hours or overnight rinsing it a couple of times thoroughly. If you have time  you can sprout them too before using them in this recipe.
2. Grind the sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds briefly, just enough that they're coarsely "chopped".
3. Chop the raisins and other dried fruits you're using into smaller pieces.
4. Mix all the ingredients really well so that the salt and all the flavors are evenly distributed.
5. Taste test your batch and add more sweetener, etc. if necessary
6. Spread on two trays and dehydrate them for a couple of hours at 140˚F then lower the temperature to 115˚F and dehydrate for several hours longer.

Your house will smell unbelievably heavenly, I promise!
Serve while still warm with your favorite nut mylk or dry, as is. I never liked my food soaked so I always eat muesli, granola, and cereals dry and crunchy.
Pack some into your lunch box, or take on travel. This is a great warming and high energy food.
Happy gRAWnola making!

P.S: Have you noticed the ladybug?? : )

Nuts Dressed for The Holidays

Monday, November 26, 2012

While I'm a huge fan of roasted chestnuts, and do indulge every year, they're not the only warming holiday treat I can think of, not to mention that they can't be eaten raw. I figured it would be nice to have cupfuls of different kinds of flavored nuts on the table. They're so satisfying to have around and they can be done raw. No roasting or toasting required. They only take a few minutes of preparation and then the dehydrator takes care of the rest. Voilà, your family and friends and your guests can reach for just a handful of savory or sweet goodness amidst the, you know, everything else that's going on...
The savory ones are still being made so here are some sweet versions for now.

Chocolate Almonds
To be coated:
1 1/2 cups almonds
1/2 cup raisins

For the coating:
3-4 tsp honey / agave syrup / other sweetener
2 tsp melted coconut oil / other oil
2-3 tsp cacao powder
tiny pinch of salt
optional: pinch of vanilla, pinch of cayenne

1. Mix the oil, sweetener, and salt and then add cacao little by little. Taste test and adjust the amount of sweetener. Raw cacao is quite bitter so if you're not used to that you might need to add more sweetener to your mixture or simply use less cacao.
2. Optional: Chop up the raisins into smaller pieces.
3. Add the almonds and raisins to your mixture and make sure all of them are coated well.
4. Spread them out on a teflex sheet and dehydrate for a few hours at 115˚F (46˚C).

Maple Walnuts
To be coated:
Walnuts that have been soaked for a couple of hours OR rinsed. The ingredients will only stick to wet walnuts. You may use maple syrup instead of solid sweeteners and then you can keep your walnuts dry. If you go that route the end result will have a glazed look instead of what's pictured here.

For the coating:
4 tbsp maple crystals / coconut sugar / other solid state sweetener in crystal form
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 - 1 tsp mesquite powder*
tiny pinch of salt
optional: add lucuma powder to your mixture for a hint of "caramel"

1. Mix your coating ingredients. Taste test and adjust the amount of cinnamon, you might want to add more if you're a huge fan of cinnamon like myself. Mesquite has a unique flavor so use less if it's new to you and add more if you like it.
2. Add the wet (really damp but not dripping wet) walnuts to your mixture and make sure all of them are coated well. Because of their shape this might take some moving them around with your hands or a fork so that you get the mixture in the grooves as well. 
4. Spread them out on a teflex sheet and dehydrate for a few hours at 115˚F (46˚C), until crispy.

By the way, good luck having an untouched batch at the end! You might want to make a double batch to start with because the smell and just knowing that they're in the dehydrator might invite more visitors, like Cookie Monster, etc. whom will make sure only about a portion of these nuts will get all the way dehydrated and crunchy. Either way, if by any chance you ended up with empty trays at least you made your house smell like a healthy cake shop :)

*Magical Mesquite
What's used to be a staple food for Native Americans is available in health-food stores now in a powder form. It's a nutritious way to add a very distinct, somewhat sweet and malty, or even caramel-like flavor. Mesquite helps balance one's blood sugar level, which makes this superfood an excellent choice for those healing from diabetes. Very high in protein, fiber, minerals, and the hard-to-get amino acid, lysine, it's no surprise it has been pronounced a "superfood". Use it in desserts, smoothies, mylkshakes, even soups, etc.

2 For 1: To Dress Your Salads

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Most of us have our favorite dressings, I admit I'm no exception. In fact, I usually vary two different kinds for a period of time before I set out to create new versions. I guess a period has just ended because I recently came up with a couple of new ones. Here they are. You get two recipes today. They're both rich and creamy and they're both quick and easy to make.

Creamy Green Goodness 
Approximate ingredients:
1 avocado
generous handful of cilantro
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
splash or two of olive oil
1/4 hot sauce*
1 tbsp mustard
2 cloves of garlic
1/2-1 tsp salt 
ground black pepper to taste
water as needed

* I use some of my homemade hot sauce. If you don't have any handy, you can substitute half a jalapeno and some water.
Blend all of the ingredients, taste test, adjust seasoning, and add more vinegar or water if it's too thick. Use on your favorite salad ingredients.

Horseradish Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soak beforehand for a few hours if possible)
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup of juice)
2 tbs tamari / soy sauce 
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbs shredded horseradish
1 small jalapeno chopped up
sprigs of fresh dill
1/2-1 tsp salt
ground black pepper

Blend the above ingredients until you get a very smooth consistency, taste test, adjust seasoning, and add more vinegar or water if needed.
Another tip: If you see a good amount of your dressing stuck to the bottom or the walls of your blender, rinse it out with some water or vinegar and add whatever you save that way to your batch. Nothing wasted :)
I haven't talked about hemp seeds and what good they have to offer so let's touch on their health benefits.

Hemp Hearts (Shelled Hemp Seeds) for your Heart
These precious seeds are a very good source of complete protein and are extremely rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc, and iron. A very good source of essential fatty acids, they're a good addition to your diet for a healthier heart and skin as well.

The spicy, fibrous root will spice up your kitchen but that's not all. It's high in vitamin C and rich in antioxidants, has antibiotic properties, cancer-preventing characteristics, and sure can come to the rescue when one is suffering from a stuffy nose, respiratory/chest congestion, etc. and you need such a small amount to get these benefits. It is truly are a wonderful food to try out, experiment with, and add to recipes. You might shed some tears while shredding some but it's worth it. I promise! : )

Soft & Crunchy Carob Energy Bars

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's a Bio store (organic health food grocery store) in Budapest that carries some cookies that are filled with a carob-sesame-honey filling. I lived on those for a while when I was there. Aside from the honey, they're vegan and whole grain and organic but of course not raw. That was perfect for me back then when I was a vegan whole foods enthusiasts and had not even heard of the strange concept ; ) of eating raw yet. So I was in heaven when they had them and was quite upset whenever they were out. They sold like hotcakes so you had to be on top of things and learn when they were delivered and be there shortly after. But that was then....and THIS is now.

It's been long overdue that I combined the above described flavors and created a raw delicacy and without further ado I'll share with you the "rawsome" outcome of my trial-and-error snack bars.

Crunchy Carob Energy Bars
(Makes 5 bars)
1/4 cup and 2 tsp carob powder
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup buckwheaties*
2 tsp lucuma powder
1/4 cup and 3 tsp tahini
3 tsp honey (not vegan) or maple syrup (not raw) or agave syrup
juice of 1 small carrot and a 1 in (~2 cm) piece ginger

For coating: cinnamon or extra carob powder or lucuma powder

* Buckwheaties are sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat. You could just soak and dehydrate them to be qicker. I usually make a big batch to have them around whenever I need to use them in a recipe.

1. Optional: grind the sesame seeds just a little bit to break them up.
2. Using a fork, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl adding the juice little by little.
3. Add more juice if the mixture is too dry to handle and add more carob powder if it gets too wet. Taste test and add more sweetener if desired.
4. Form bars or any other shapes out of the mixture. It will be a sticky experience but it's so worth it. Roll each bar into cinnamon or carob powder.
5. Store them in the fridge if you prefer them firm, leave them out for a softer snack.

Carob's benefits
This caffein-free bean that's commonly used instead of cacao in desserts is very rich in calcium, practically fat-free, has no oxalic acid to interfere with absorption of nutrients, and is naturally sweet so you'll probably use less sweetener in your recipes when using carob.

Buckwheat and ginger have warming energy, a perfect cold-weather food. Sesame seeds and tahini are extremely rich in minerals and B-vitamins and will nourish your bones, your hair and skin.

That's right, these bars are not only yummy but quite nourishing as well. I took one a day with me to work last week and looked forward to my after-lunch dessert more than ever :) They're great for traveling too. Enjoy!

Proposition 37: Label GMO Foods!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Let's just say I have never been a huge fan of politics and that is an understatement. From what I've seen most politicians, if not all, never tell you the truth, or at least not the entire truth. Well, that's why I never think politics is even worth my time. BUT this is something completely different!

The elections are just around the corner and unless you already had your chance to cast your vote early you'll be given the choice to mark little boxes (?) next to propositions, yep, not just who you'd like to be the next president of the United States. And if you're registered to vote in California you'll see Proposition 37 on the list. THAT is the one you want to say YES on. WHY?

Would you eat anything without knowing whether it's been in contact, or has any ingredients from genetically modified (GMO) foods? Chances are, since you're reading an article on this site, that you're aware of at least some of the reasons why it's not a good idea to consume GMO foods but if you still need to be convinced here are a few points that I've collected:

What Does Genetically Modified Mean?
Genetically modified plants have had foreign genes forced into their DNA. These genes come form species like bacteria and viruses and are inserted into plants to help them survive deadly doses of weed killers.

Why Is It Only A Problem Now?
It's not that it was safe before but, as it usually happens, political appointees who were under orders from the White House to promote GMOs did their best to hide the truth from the public. Twenty years ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claimed that it had no information showing the dangers of GM foods and that they were safe to consume. Interestingly, Michael Taylor, the former attorney (and later VP) for Monsanto, the largest biotech company, was the FDA official in charge.

Health Risks and Consequences of Genetically Engineered Foods
GMO foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in laboratory tests performed on animals.

Farmers use a much larger amount of herbicides on GM crops, in other words, GM foods have a much higher amount of herbicide residue.

GM soy cause allergic reactions

BT (made by Monsanto) corn and cotton are linked to allergic reactions

BT cotton is forced on farmers in India and with devastating results. Watch the movie "Bitter Seeds"

GMOs might cause liver problems. It does in laboratory tests. Rats and mice have suffered due to altered liver cells caused by GMO feed.

GMOs also affect the reproductive systems of laboratory animals. How they affect the human body is unpredictable.

The French team has released shocking images of tumours in mice caused by exclusively eating GM corn. However, the research has been criticised as being of 'no value' by other scientists

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2205509/Cancer-row-GM-foods-French-study-claims-did-THIS-rats--cause-organ-damage-early-death-humans.html#ixzz2BJh7CZLp 

BT crops are linked to sterility, disease, and death. Thousands of farm animals in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. have fallen victims to GM foods and Filipinos in several villages got sick when nearby BT corn was pollinating.

DISTURBING: There are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function.

More Relevant Facts
Over 60 countries require labeling of GE foods.
Labeling didn't increase the cost of food in those countries.
About 68% of GM crops are herbicide tolerant. - what do you think that may do to your health?
About 19% of GM crops produce their own pesticide secreted by the inserted genes in every cell. When this pesticide is eaten by a worm its stomach breaks open, killing the worm. - How do you think this might affect your body?
Good news: thousands of California Farmers and all major natural and sustainable food businesses and leading labor groups are saying YES on Proposition 37 : )

Foods That Are Most Likely Genetically Engineered In The U.S.
Sugar beets
Hawaiian papaya
Yellow crookneck squash
GE salmon  is on its way to people's dinner plates too!

Source: Some of the above information I've been aware of for a while and the rest I acquired from a Responsible Technology Flyer.

For more information, go to: www.ResponsibleTechnology.org

Please share this with family and friends for your own health's sake, for the planet, for all of its creatures and to help stop the poison from spreading! 
If you know of additional information that should be included here, feel free to share in a comment below and I'll be happy to add it to the above.

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Monday, October 29, 2012

This time of the year, with holidays approaching, is also about the time when (at least on the Northern hemisphere) the temperature is starting to take a bigger dip. Cooler mornings might call for a cup of warm chocolate and cooler evenings for a bowl of warming soup to cozy up on the couch with. Lucky us, spices of warm energy are available most places year-round and on top of that it's pumpkin season, yay! I'm pretty sure these bright orange squashes are not just for Jack-O Lanterns or pies. Some can be made into soups or stews. And so I do...

Pumpkins' Treat
Pumpkins are very filling and highly nutritious. Being rich in fiber, extremely high in vitamin A, high in vitamin C,  and rich in minerals like potassium, iron and manganese, the favorite holiday squash will nourish your eyes and skin, has anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities, and will help keep your bones strong.

Pumpkin Curry
(Makes 4 bowls)
1 small pumpkin*
1 small carrot
2 stalks green onion
1 small piece ginger
1/4 cup coconut butter
1 fresh cayenne pepper (or use some ground cayenne)
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups water

* I know this is relative but I didn't weigh or measure this squash. It was one of those "personal" size pumpkins, about 6-7 in (15-18 cm) across.

1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and slice into wedges. It's easier to peel the wedges one by one in my opinion.
2. Shred your wedges and place all of it into a pot along with the carrot, the onion, the ginger, and the pepper chopped. Add 3 cups water (or enough to cover the ingredients).
3. Gently warm it up on a very low flame while stirring it.
4. Place the contents of the pot and the rest of the ingredients, salt and spices, in a blender and process until you get a creamy and smooth texture.
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon or garnish with thinly sliced onions, etc.

If it's really cold where you are, sit by the fire and slurp away...

Happy raw & cozy times! : )

What's New? Persimmons!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

At least they are to me since I never had them until a couple of weeks ago when I was given a bagful of them - I know, I'm such a lucky gal. : ) If they're new to you too I'm pretty sure you'll like them. The stem and the leaves lift right off like a cap and the edge of the skin is exposed. Once you remove the peel you're presented with a soft matter that might remind you of a very ripe mango crossed with some apricots and flavored with dates. Its beautiful, moist, dark orange meat tastes sweet and makes everything incredibly creamy.....yes, perfect for smoothies...but it won't stop there!

The Super Nutritious Persimmons
Persimmons are rich in fiber, very high in vitamins A and C and are good sources of vitamins E and B6. How do they score in the minerals department? As you might have guessed, they're are an excellent source of potassium but would you have figured that one fruit provides you with 9%DV of copper????? That is unheard of among fruits! Copper, in general, is abundant in nuts and seeds but a fruit being so rich in this mineral is a god-given! To top it all, they're extremely rich in manganese and believe it or not, a persimmon is a complete protein too. Ok, so what does all this gibberish translate to? You should get some for its antioxidants and wonderful gut-cleaning properties, eye sight protection, gray-hair reversal qualities, skin nourishment, etc, besides the taste and fun of it all...
For an easy start, why not make a persimmon smoothie?

Persimmon Smoothie
(Makes 1 pint)
2 persimmons
1 banana
1 large peach or 1 cup frozen peach chunks
1-2 cups water / juice of your choice*
1 tsp cacao powder

* Depending on how thick you like your smoothies (some rather drink it some like to make it into a pudding-like consistency and spoon it up) you will want to add more liquid to any smoothie you make with persimmons than you usually do because it will come out VERY creamy and NOT pourable with the same amount of liquid added when other ingredients are used.

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Ok, I'm off to make pie... Happy Sunday! : )

From Tortillas to Tostadas

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Whether it's Summer or Winter, whether it's breakfast-time or closer to dinner, you can hardly go wrong the Mexican way. The type of cuisine that's known for its freshness, vibrant colors, and fun-loving family gatherings to prepare festive meals together can be made part of a raw household too.  Most of the wonderfully flavorful dishes that, more often than not, rely on simple ingredients can be prepared the raw (or at least highly raw) way to refresh you in the heat or warm you up on colder days. The challenging part for a raw food enthusiast of course is not so much the right combination of fresh vegetables and spices. It's more the chips you eat with salsa or dip into guacamole, the tortillas, tamales, etc.
Making tortillas may seem like an especially intimidating task to embark on because you want them to be firm enough to hold food when you make tacos, but also pliable to make "wraps" or more like burritos and roll them up for single-serve enchiladas, for example. I've already given examples on how to make chips before. Today it's time to make tortillas! Corn ones, that is.

Why Eat Corn?
The pearl-like kernels can help maintain good vision, add anti-oxidants to your diet, aid in digestion, provide fiber, folate, and other essential vitamins and minerals that can even help prevent anemia. In other words, corn is quite nutritious.

Corn Tortillas
(Makes 5 tortillas)
2 ears fresh corn, yellow or white
3-4 tbsp ground golden flax seeds
1 finger-size hot pepper*
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
pinch of cumin

*Any pepper will do. I grabbed mine from the garden and I forget what kind they are but cerranos and other small peppers will be just fine. If you can find red ones the color will add to the richness of the tortillas.

1. Cut the kernels off the cobs and place all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
2. Make a paste as smooth as you prefer (I prefer mine with a good amount of "texture" left) and add a little water if you can't manage without. Some blenders need more liquid to handle the ingredients while others do well with hardly any in there. Note: add as little as possible to save time in the dehydrator.
3. Pour the mixture into 5 little lumps on a teflex sheet and spread them out fairly thin, as thin as you can/prefer but thick enough so that you can still work with them when you make tacos, etc. 0.1 in (or about 3 mm) is a good thickness.
4. Dehydrate them for 1-2 hours at 110-115 °F (43-46 °C) and then flip them onto a screen and dehydrate them for several hours longer, until they resemble the dryness of tortillas and they feel "workable".

Here comes the fun part. Now that you have the base, what yummy stuff you are going to pile on them, fill them with, dip them into is up to you but here's what I chose to make this time.

Tostadas the Raw Way
corn tortillas (recipe at the top of the page)
guacamole (see recipe here)

Keeping it so simple by combining such delicious ingredients always works : ) Layer your ingredients in a presentable way and serve immediately. One of those snacks that are great for Summer gathering so if you have people coming over this could be a way to introduce them to the delightfulness of raw foods. Enjoy!

Figs Got Shaken Up

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I was given figs again. This time two different kinds, the black mission variety and some Kalamata (?) and I decided to "shake them up" with other fruits and unique flavors. Needless to say, the outcome is so delicious that it's worth sharing with you : )

Fruit & Spice Mylk Shake
(Serves 1 but you could split it with a friend : ) )
2 cups almond mylk / your choice of nut mylk 
1 peeled banana 
3 figs
handful of strawberries
seeds out of 1-2 pods cardamon
dash of vanilla
optional: 1 tbsp flax seed meal

Whirl it all up in a high-speed blender and enjoy the healing benefits of figs, cardamon and vanilla. Cardamon is extremely rich in the hard-to-get mineral, manganese and vanilla has antioxidant, anti-cancer and antibacterial qualities. I haven't tried it but many people even use it as a food preservative....a good-to-know fact. It's a spice with more than just a fabulous scent and aroma. Get a high quality. I know it can get very expensive but it's worth the price and only a pinch or so is used at a time usually so your batch will last a while.
Have a wonderful Sunday! : )

Soup That's Worth the Tears

Sunday, October 7, 2012

As the weather has taken quite a sudden turn and the temperature's dropping the heat's getting turned up in my kitchen. I love my food spicy year round and will enjoy some raw dishes warm during the colder months but this is more than just a warm soup.  

Consider yourself warned: it's one thing that chopping onions will make you cry but this is also a sinus cleanser alright. It would be a great soup on a cold, rainy day when you're wrapped up on the couch in "under the weather" mode. Warm, savory, and memorably strong. I love spicy, hot, pungent, etc, foods but I even think it's quite strong. You may use less of the onions and/or add more water and more tahini (or oil) to cut the sharpness of it all.

Onion's Magic
These tear jerkers are high in vitamins C and B6 (pyridoxine), manganese, a fairly hard-to-get mineral, and rich in fiber. Besides being a strong anti-inflammatory, they're known for their sulfur content and being hosts of the enzyme allinase. This enzyme, also present in garlic, is what gives them their pungent chemicals, makes you "cry" while chopping them, makes you "smell" like onions, and defends the plant from animals that get the idea that they should be their next snack. The B6 helps efficient metabolism and prevent heart disease, is important for brain function, and it's mood-elevating. Sulfur is very good for your liver, will benefit your hair, skin, brain, and bones. Quercitin, a flavonoid you'll find more of in onions than anything else, has a myraid of health benefits. It's what's responsible for the blood-thinning effect of onions, it will help you fight asthma and bronchitis and help with diabetes. It has antibiotic and antiviral characteristics, and provides this vegetable with powerful anti-cancer properties.

So here's what you do for a wonderful-smelling kitchen and a healthy, warming soup:

French Onion Soup
(Serves 3-4)
1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup shoyu sauce (contains soy!)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp raw tahini
4-5 cups gently heated (NOT hot or boiling) water
1/4 cup vinegar / lemon juice

0. Slice the onion and the garlic as thinly as you can, place them on a plate, drizzle them with the shoyu sauce, and let them marinate in the dehydrator for about an hour at 115°F (46°C).
1. You may follow or skip "step 0" and then, in a high-speed blender, process all (save a little bit of the marinated onions for garnish if you like) ingredients until creamy.
2. Pour small servings in cups or bowls, garnish, and offer crackers, croutons, bread, etc. on the side.
Don't forget the box of tissue either!
...and have a good week : )

Corn Off The Cob

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In my mind it's still summer time and seeing the abundance of beautiful fruits and veggies at the farmers market just adds to that feeling. End of the season also means there's fresh corn available and if you're lucky you may find some that's organic (which would ensure that it's non-GMO). If you've established a relationship with vendors you can trust you can just ask them and you may find that theirs is pesticide-free and they do NOT use Monsato's seeds, and / or that their corn is an heirloom variety.

Corn Nutrition...You Might Be Surprised!
While the pearl-like white/yellow/red/blue kernels are notorious for being high in carbohydrates they really shouldn't be on your "do not eat" list. First of all, carbohydrates are not evil at all. They're very important, and contrary to what some believe (probably because of misleading media), will NOT make you fat. And that's not all. Corn is especially high in vitamin A, B vitamins, pantothenic acid, folate, and all minerals, even the harder-to-get  manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Surely, it deserves some respect! On top of all this it's very rich in fiber...in summary, this cereal crop takes the trophy for its health benefits. Eat it to help maintain good vision, to add anti-oxidants to your diet, for its qualities in aiding digestive health, providing you with folate, an essential vitamin if you're planning on getting pregnant, for maintaining strong bones, preventing anemia, etc.....doesn't it seem like a never-ending list? So don't be afraid of corn, unless it's GMO, of course ; )

Summer Corn Salad
(Serves 1 for lunch / 2 as a side dish / more as one of several dishes)
2-3 Ears of corn
Handful of cherry tomatoes
Wedge of red onion
Few sprigs of cilantro / parsley / dill
Juice of 1/2 or 1 lime
Splash of olive oil
pinch or two of salt
optional: sprinkle of black pepper or cayenne

* completely different flavors but I'm aware that some don't like one or the other and this salad is great with any one of those so use whichever you prefer : )

0. Husk the corn and, if you prefer, place in hot (but not boiling) water for a few minutes. Let the corn cool.
1. Cut the kernels off the cobs (be ready, they're going to fly all over the place) and put them in your mixing bowl.
3. Add quartered cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, chopped herbs, lime juice, olive oil, and seasoning to taste.
4. Toss and serve immediately as a side dish, with soup or crackers, or pack some for lunch.

This is a great dish for summer gatherings too. I don't think you have to be a raw foodie to like this, and it's always a great opportunity to introduce the crowd to a simple but delicious salad along with some raw soup and / or crackers! Bon Appetite : )

The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This year's list is out. Certain produce items are "ok" to buy conventional if you need to. You might be trying to save money and pay the extra bucks for some fruits and vegetables but not others, or you might just simply not able to find some of your favorite items among your favorite vendor's layout or in the organic section of the store. "The Dirty Dozen" list has those to insist on being organic and "The Clean Fifteen" list has the ones you may want to choose and decide whether it's something you'd like to save on or whether you should sweat it if you can't find it organic.  

The Dirty Dozen, etc...

1.  Apples
2.  Celery
3.  Sweet Bell Peppers
4.  Peaches
5.  Strawberries 
6.  Nectarines (imported)
7.  Grapes (imported)
8.  Spinach
9.  Lettuce 
10. Cucumber 
11. Blueberries (domestic)
12. Potatoes .....Kale & Collard Greens*


 ...and The Clean 15

 1.  Onions 
 2.  Sweet Corn**
 3.  Pineapples
 4.  Avocado
 5.  Cabbage 
 6.  Sweet Peas (frozen)
 7.  Asparagus 
 8.  Mangoes 
 9.  Eggplant 
10. Kiwi
11. Cantaloupe (domestic)
12. Sweet Potatoes
13. Grapefruit
14. Watermelon
15. Mushrooms  ......Winter Squash, etc... 

*NOTE: Forty-five produce items are examined by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for pesticide residue. The dirty dozen is simply the top 12 of that list, meaning, highest in pesticide residue and the Clean Fifteen are those starting at the bottom of the list, and so on, with the least amount of chemicals left on them.

**If you live in the U.S. almost all corn (~ 85 %) you will find is Genetically Modified (GMO). Unless it's certified organic, you won't know whether what you're buying has or hasn't had its DNA "messed with". Therefore, even though they're on the "clean" list I don't recommend conventional corn....due to a lack of regulations. 

There are a lot of people working really hard on changing this and make it into a law to label GMO produce. Please take your time and do some research and consider signing the petition for the sake of your and the planet's health.
You may sign at:


Produce list reference: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/

Rawsagna Made Easy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My fridge was still full of zucchini a while back (yes, I know, I didn't have the chance to put this up before now) and so all I needed was some mushrooms because, as you probably agree, the rest of the ingredients are regulars in every raw foodie's pantry. Lasagna is definitely not an everyday dish at my home but it's great food for entertainment. Even guests who are not familiar with raw food will appreciate it. And the best part: it's sooo easy to make, you will not spend all day in the kitchen.

(Serves 2)
1 large zucchini, for the "pasta"

~10 button mushrooms
1/4 red onion
shoyu sauce
optional: bell pepper, other veggies

6 sundried tomatoes
1 large heirloom (or other kind) tomato
chunk of onion
2 cloves garlic
few leaves of fresh basil
1-3 tbsp shoyu sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Nut Cheese:
1/2 cup Brazil nuts
sliver of onion/clove of garlic
optional: salt

1. Start by soaking the sundried tomatoes in a bowl of water for several hours (or at least as much time as you have).
2. Chop the mushrooms and the onion into small pieces. In a bowl, mix them with shoyu sauce and marinate your filling in the dehydrator for a couple of hours.
3 Peel and then slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin, lasagna pasta-like sheets. Place them on a mesh tray and dehydrate them for an hour or two but check on them every so often to make sure they don't dry out.
4. Blend all of the sauce ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency, taste test and add more seasoning if necessary.
5. An hour before serving time, spread layers of the marinated mushroom, thinly sliced vegetables (if you're using any) and some sauce on the zucchini sheets (except for a couple top layers) and dehydrate them further for an hour at 118 °F (48 °C). Spread only tomato sauce on the top layers. 
6. For each serving, layer 3 sheets with filling and top with a layer of zucchini with the sauce only. 
7. Grind the Brazil nuts, onion/garlic, and salt in a spice grinder or make a larger batch and then you can use a food processor. The extra nut "cheese" you'll have will last several days in the refrigerator. 
8. Sprinkle the lasagna servings with the "cheese" crumbs and decorate them with fresh basil leaves.

It sounds like a lot "to do" but it really is effortless and worth the while. If you want to make a savory dish for lunch, dinner, to impress guests you have over, or to take to work the next day....you might just want to make this.

Figs In Thumbprints

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I got figs! My dear colleague keeps bringing me goodies and a few days ago freshly picked black mission figs were hiding at the bottom of the brown bag he walked in with. Can you believe I had never had fresh figs in my life? Somehow, I never felt the urge to try. Well, that's the past. The now is filled with cookies because my very favorite cookies were teff cookies that were filled with figs. I'm still dying to have the recipe but I can't get a hold of the person who made them for a co-op in the Southwest. Oh well, they were not raw anyway. You know what's next, right? One day I'm going to try to recreate them with either teff flour or sprouted teff grains. That's the future. But to concentrate on the "now", I'll share with you these almond based cookies...

Almond-Fig Thumbprint Cookies
(Makes 16 cookies)

6 pieces of fresh figs/other seasonal fruit/perhaps rehydrated dried fruit

Aren't they beautiful?!?

Cookie Dough:
2 cups almonds*
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup ground golden flax seeds
1-2 tbsp (or more) coconut sugar / other sweetener
1-2 tbsp water
pinch of salt
Optional: seeds from 2 pods of cardamon

* I soaked mine, which adds moisture so if you skip the soaking you'll need to add more water / liquid sweetener. Use your judgement.

1. Process the figs into a jam-like paste, remove from the food processor and put it aside.
2. Without rinsing the processor, place all of the cookie dough ingredients, except for the water, in the processor and make them into a paste. Keep an eye on it while it's being processed and add water as necessary.
3. Roll your dough paste into a ball and divide into quarters, then repeat. This way you'll end up with 16 cookies of the same size. Roll the chunks into balls now and press down at the center of each with your thumb. Do this before transferring them onto the dehydrator screens, that way you can make corrections if a cookie spreads open too much, etc. When done, place them all on a screen.
4. With a tiny spoon, scoop some filling into each dimple.
5. Place cookies in the dehydrator and dehydrate them at 115 °F (46 °C) for a few hours, depending on how moist you like them. They stay very soft on the inside even after 5-6 hours of "baking" but the time depends on your location, machine, how much food you have in there all at once, etc.

In you haven't eaten them all yet while checking on them every now and then...they're great cookies to add to a lunchbox. These cookies are also perfect when having people over who have never tried raw foods. It's time to inspire them.
Enjoy!!! : )

Notes on Nutrition
Both main ingredients, figs and almonds, are high in fiber, rich in antioxidants and minerals, and have anti-cancer properties.
Traditionally, figs are known for enhancing sexual desire but that's not all! They're rich in calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. They will strengthen your bones, keep your eyes healthy, and some claim they even help provide relief from a sore throat. I haven't tried this remedy yet. Have you? If you have, please comment below! Thanks in advance. : )
And, as far as almonds, here's what I wrote about them before: they are among the most nutritious nuts. They have loads of fiber and are especially high in manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin E and riboflavin (vitamin B2). Their high mineral content helps build and maintain strong bones, while the fiber helps in the prevention of colon cancer. B vitamins and vitamin E (an antioxidant), along with calcium, magnesium, and zinc are very important brain foods. A lot of us are deficient in magnesium (do tight muscles or muscle spasms/quivers sound familiar?), which is not so hard to acquire, but it’s a water-soluble mineral so it’s important to replenish your body with adequate amounts on a daily basis! What foods are good sources of magnesium? Good news: nuts and dark chocolate are among the richest sources of this essential mineral! Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which will help you keep your heart healthy. They’re a really good snack choice for diabetics too, because they’re high in protein and low in carbohydrates. 

From Basil to "HemPesto"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A few days ago a dear colleague of mine surprised me with some freshly picked zucchini squashes from his garden. Yes, I know, I work with such nice people : )
Well, that meant I had to get to work and go out of my way to make something other than a salad for once... And since it's basil season too, here's the outcome. 

(Makes about 1/2 cup)
 large bunch of fresh basil
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup walnuts
2-3 cloves garlic
splash of olive oil
salt to taste

Remove the basil leaves from the stems and process them with just half the hemp seeds and half the walnuts, a splash of olive oil, the garlic, and salt. Depending on how thick/runny you prefer your sauce (runny is easier to mix with pasta) add more nuts/seeds or oil to the mixture. Taste test and add some salt if needed. 
To make zucchini pasta just cut grooves all the way lengthwise the zucchinis and then shave them into pastaCheck out the Pad Thai recipe for more details on this...
In a large bowl, toss the pasta in the sauce, cut up some tomatoes to go with it and decorate the servings with basil leaves. Hmmm, sooo satisfying...

Basil Nutrition
This lovely herb has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it's high in vitamin K and A, and the bone strengthening mineral, manganese. It can provide relief from arthritis and protect you from cancer.
Yes, the bursting aroma is not all...

Serving Suggestion
Needless to say, pasta is not the only way to enjoy pesto. Serve this as a dip with crackers or veggie sticks. Spread it on canapés, sandwiches, or pizza. You can even make it really liquidy and use it as a salad dressing. So good so many ways...