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Miraculous Reishi Tea

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Since my recent move to the Bay Area, many people tell me I'm so lucky. One of the reasons is that this is "superfood heaven" and I have access to a myraid of goods that health freaks like me obsess over. Still, I didn't expect a find such as this one. I have never (that I know of) seen Reishi mushrooms before but the other day I came across some at a San Francisco health food store and screamed! I couldn't believe it. Needless to to say I couldn't leave without putting one in the basket. Reishi is known for exceptional health benefits and has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. This is NOT the kind of mushroom you add to soups or stews. It is consumed as a hot water extract, or tea, and should be treated as medicine.

Health Benefits
This miraculous fungus is ever so touted for its anti-tumor activities. Like mushrooms in general it can be used to boost your immune system and both, for preventing tumor growth or the formation of cancer cells and for treating them or inhibiting their further development Reishi could come to your rescue. It's also valued for its ability to help balance blood sugar levels and lower blood pressure.

The question of course is how to get a cup of tea out of this hard, wood-like thing? A grater worked for me pretty well. It takes some work but it doesn't take much to get a teaspoon/tablespoon of it. Of course, the alternative is buying some in a sliced or powder form.

1 teaspoon ground Reishi
2-3 cups of water

Simmer it all for a few hours turning the heat on for a couple of minutes at a time while letting the mushroom steep. Whenever it starts cooling off you can give it some more heat. If you don't mind boiling it and keep simmering it, you're welcome to do that. If you are a strict raw foodie you'll want to be gentle and make sure you don't exceed ~160 F / 70 °C. Even though I eat some cooked food every now and then (and beat myself up over it) I prepared it by intermittent short simmer sessions.
You should end up with a cup of tea or so left once it's done.
Strain it and enjoy by itself or to help the somewhat bitter and strong woody, mushroom taste add some of your favorite sweetener. If you have cancer, I recommend consuming it by itself or maybe mixed with other teas but try not adding any sweeteners. Get stronger, heal faster.

Strawberry Cashew Cream Pie

Sunday, February 19, 2012

...Or cheesecake, should I say? I know, everybody calls them that but they have no cheese?! Instead they're a nutty goodness full of healthy fats and natural sweetness so this is what I call them.

It was my birthday yesterday and I couldn't imagine what the urgency was when my husband, who doesn't have a sweet tooth but loves cheesecake, asked me to make some. Well, it so happened that I didn't get to soak cashews the night before and there was no way I could get to this till last night which was just too late for making cake and it made no sense, so I thought. The moment my friends walked in the door though I understood everything. I had never had a surprise party thrown for me. Last night was the first time, yes, and as much as I was happy to see my friends we had to serve them (store bought) raw vegan ice cream for dessert because there was no cake. So guess who gets to eat it all again? Me, of course. As much as I love sweets, a whole cake is just too much even for me but oh well, after all, it's my birthday...
It's unbelievable how smooth and creamy they come out when you use a good blender. I'm inspired to make different versions of this and find people to share it with! Till then, try this one whenever you feel like you have a cheesecake deficiency (because there must exist such a thing).

(For a 9 in/23 cm ∅ pie dish)

For the crust:
1/2 cup dates/raisins/any dried fruit
3/4 cup walnuts/cashews/almonds (substitute some of it with buckwheaties if you wish to use less nuts)
pinch of salt

For the filling:
1 1/2 cup cashews
~1/2 cup (or to taste) agave/honey (not vegan)/maple syrup (not raw)
1/2 cup coconut oil
juice of 1 1/2 lemon(add more of this or berries if you're blender needs a little help)
3 large strawberries
1 whole vanilla bean (you may use vanilla extract if you wish)
pinch of salt

For the "frosting":
5-6 large strawberries
2 dates (soak them if you have time)
4-5 tsp  coconut oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

0. Soak the cashew for a few hours or overnight and discard the soaking water before using the nuts.

1. Grind all of the "crust" ingredients in a food processor until you get a somewhat sticky paste that can be pressed into a pie shell. Add more dates to the mixture if necessary. Press it all into a 9 in pie shell as evenly as you can on the bottom as well as up the sides. It will be very easy and mess-free to remove slices when serving the cake.
2. In a blender, process all of the "filling" ingredients till you get a creamy and smooth consistency.
3. pour the filling into your crust and spread it around, leaving a little crust showing on the edges.

4. Process the "strawberry sauce/frosting" in the blender (I didn't bother to rinse it) adding a little water if necessary but don't overdo it.
5. Spread the sauce on top of the cake leaving a little bit of the cashew cream filling showing on the edges.
6. Put your cake in the freezer for a couple of hours and remove 15 minutes before serving.
If you happen to have any leftovers, store it in the fridge because it becomes rather hard in the freezer.

Yummy Breakfast That's Quick & Easy

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I don't ever get to eat breakfast at home anymore and for some reason I quit making smoothies for a while so that's not what I've been taking along. Here's my new favorite. I like it so much that I'm looking forward to my breakfast break every day at work. It's so quick to put together that even the busiest person who has two minutes to prepare something when rushing in the morning will have no excuse to skip it! Of course, the possibilities are endless. I'm talking about putting fruits and seeds in a bowl, maybe even nuts or any topping your heart desires...but here's my version. They just go well together. Enjoy! : )

(Serves 1)
1 red Anjou pear
2 bananas
handful of blueberries*
2-3 tbsp ground golden flax seeds*
cinnamon to taste
optional: melted coconut oil & your favorite sweetener

*excellent brain foods

Cut up the pear and the bananas into small chunks. Add everything but the blueberries and mix well so that all of the fruit is coated with the seeds. Top it all with the blueberries and devour!
Your body will thank you for the antioxidants in the berries and the anti-inflammatory qualities of flax seeds that are loaded with Omega 3's. Good (and yummy) way to start the day, isn't it? By the way, it's also a great snack any time of the day...