Saturday, August 8, 2009

What happened to global warming?

Usually in the summer we seek cool foods to combat heat - Popsicle, ice cream, cold soups, and fresh salads. This summer, after three blazing days of record heat, the thermometer swung to the other extreme and left me shivering and wondering why on earth I was turning the heater on in August. So what can you do with summer crops that will warm you up? We turned to soup.

Corn Chowder- serves 2-4
I like this recipe because it reminds me of a soup my mom makes in the winter. I found this recipe in Ani Phyo's recipe book.

3 ears sweet corn
3/4 cup walnuts (I used sunflower seeds)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
I cup corn kernals, set aside
1 avocado, diced
1/3 bunch cilantro, diced
1tsp black pepper

1) Blend first 6 ingredients. I heat the water up on the stove until it feels pleasantly warm to the touch, like a jacuzzi. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't put your fingers in the water and be comfortable for more than 4 seconds, the water is too hot.
2) Pour into bowls and top with corn, avocado, cilantro, and pepper. Enjoy while warm!

Some other yummies that we've been enjoying:
We found a slew of yellow and orange bell peppers for 30 cents apiece at our local natural food stores. So it was "chips" and salsa from our garden (yay, tomatoes are here!) and a guacomole, the most expensive item.

Sandwiches with sprouts and cucumberWatermelon Gazpacho - a beauty and probably my favorite dish so far this summer. I feel so lucky to have a local fruit stand selling watermelons for cheap right across the street from my house! The secret to this dish is a watermelon base, diced tomato, cucumber, and bellpepper, a little pepper and- 1 tablespoon diced ginger!

Hope your summer's sunny!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Rob's new favorite food is...cinnamon rolls!
Fluffy white bread that dissolves in your mouth, gooey raisin insides, and thatsweet crisp white glaze, its all too much for a man to deny!
So we made our own cinnamon rolls! Based off another recipe I found on I used the dates I got in California :) My landlord has asked me to include the recipe with my next month's rent. These must be good!

Grain-free Raw Cinnamon Rolls

Bread-y part
  • 1 1/4 cups almond pulp leftover from making mylk
  • 1 1/4 cup ground golden flax
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dates or raisins ( I used half and half)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • more raisins
  • cinnamon
  • chopped nuts
1)Combine everything in your blender until it forms a thick dough. Add as many dates as you deem appropriate for sweetness/stickiness
2) Spread the dough evenly on a cookie sheet, like this one my mom gave me for my birthday.
3) Now make the filling and spread it evenly over the dough, sprinkling on raisins, chopped nuts and extra cinnamon.

4) Rolling!

Using a rubber spatula or other flatish tool, pry the dough away in sections from the cookie sheet and slowly roll into a spiral. I actually sprinkled a little cinnamon on the cookie sheet before putting the dough down to aid in non-stickiness.

5. Slicing

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 9 or 10 3/4 inch to 1 inch tall rounds. Aren't they pretty?

6. Top with frosting

I used a combination of soaked cashews, dates, vanilla and a squirt of lemon juice. As long as its sweet and white, its good.

7. Enjoy!

These can even be eaten in the generally preferred unrolling fashion (who just bites into a cinnamon roll?).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dessert in the desert

I have never met anyone who doesn't like dates. There are people out there who claim not to like chocolate, or cheesecake, or even peanut-butter cookies, but dates? They're universally irresistible. With their moist yet chewy consistency, satisfying level of sticky, and a straight-up sugar shot that even Hershey can't rival. There's no competition when it comes to dates.

Not even our first ancestors could resist the sweet temptation of dates. In Islamic tradition the date palm was the original tree that Adam and Eve ate of, not the apple. Mary supposedly was given shelther in a date oasis, providing baby Jesus with his first taste of sugar while in-utero.

Dates are even good for you. They are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and have more potassium per ounce than a banana (100 mg vs 195 mg). Dates also contain smaller amounts of iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. They contain on average 23 calories each, although larger varieties such as medjools can have around 60 (how do they measure calories anyway?)

When used as a sweetener, dates are an awesome choice. One ounce of so-called "healthy choice" brown sugar contains a third more calories than dates and half the essential minerals and vitamins, as well as supplying NO fiber or protein. Why should we ingest calories that provide nothing useful to the body when there is something just as tasty that's a fruit?

Sound too good to be true? It kind of is. Dates grow in the middle of the desert, like this one in the Indio area of California. It's a three hour drive from Los Angeles that includes advisory warnings to turnoff your air conditioning to avoid overheating. Turning the AC off in the middle of a 110 degree fahrenheit desert seemed to me to go against logic, but that's car mechanics for you.

Indio is still one Southern California's most important agricultural area and at one time provided nearly all the dates commercially sold in the United States. Growing industrial and residential areas have restricted Even today, if you are in the US and are eating a date, chances are that it was grown in Indio.

Mom, my sis and I visited Shields Date farm, one of the oldest date groves left unscathed by development. Located across the street from the suburban desert sprawl and an outdoor shopping mall, the tiny oasis and its towering wooden knight seemed out of place.But I am so glad Shields has not succumbed to urban development! I had no idea there were so many kinds of dates - including two varieties developed by and exclusively grown by Floyd Shields. The store had samples set out for at least 20 different dates, and I tried them all! We all left the shop feeling a little giddy from our sugar high. I tried to bring home a few different varieties for Rob to try, but of course I couldn't bring home them all! Of the kinds we tried, here is our opinion:

Abbada: a dark, nearly blue-black date, the abbada is longer and dryer than most dates, meaning that you get less date for each pit. I liked its mild sweetness, plus its fun to have more than one color of date to choose from!

Honey date: My mom's favorite pick. The honey date is small and gushy inside with a really creamy sweetness. I liked it, but thought it was like small bahri.

Bahri: One of my favorites, bahris are large soft dates but a little drier than medjools and with a flavor like caramel candy. Not quite as rich as medjools maybe, but I think I like them better. They also have inverted sugar which Shields claim can be useful for diabetics and people with sugar sensitivities. Inverted sugar takes longer for the body to process than other sugars.

Khadrawi: I ultimately purchased 5 pounds of khadrawi dates because I liked them so much and I thought they would be the best for making desserts. Khadrawi is said to be good for diabetics because they contain the highest amount of inverted sugars.

Blonde: My favorite, this variety was developed by Floyd Shields and so is only grown by Shields Date garden. It is a golden color with a creamy inside and a slight crystal crunch. I highly recommend trying to get a hold of some if you are ever in the Indio area!

We also tried Shield's Brunettes, four different kinds of medjools (royal, soft, sweet, petite - who knew!?), Halawis, Zahidis, deglet noors, and a bunch of others I can't remember. I love dates!

We stopped by Hadley's date farm as well because my mom remembered it from when she was a little girl. But it. was. lame. It was a giant pre-packaged Trader-Joe's-esque retail shop with only two varieties of dates and no samples. So if you're driving out into the California desert to find some dates, don't stop at Hadley's. Find Shields and try so many different kinds of dates you feel kinda funny after. And you can actually see the date palms themselves growing behind the store. Now if only they didn't need so much water from the Colorado River....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The dehydrator arrives - and I'm not sure I'm ready for it

After the series of mishaps concerning the dehydrator Rob ordered over two months ago, it finally arrived while we were at the Raw Union fest in Southern Oregon. I am happy to finally have it, but uncertain of what to do with it. After the abundance of creativity at the Raw Union, I think I am gourmeted-out.

I completely enjoyed the ability to purchase raw tostadas, tacos, pizza, ice cream (my Achilles heel) and brownies. It felt over-the-top amazing to be in a place where everything was raw
and there was nothing I felt I couldn't have. There were somethings, however, I felt I shouldn't have.

I was very surprised by the presence of Agave at the festival - almost everything contained Agave! Not just the brownies, ice cream, and wedding cakes, but the smoothies and the taco spreads as well. I had thought that the majority of the raw community felt uncertain about agave, as I do. I find the taste entirely unappealing, a kind of crawly metallic tang on the back right of my tongue that gives me an immediately unsettled feeling. So imagine my displeasure when nearly everything that a girl with a serious sweet-teeth would like (ice cream, cookies, doughnuts!) contained agave.

I had the pleasure of meeting John, the man behind He agrees that agave has far too much prevalence in raw foods. This is what he says about agave on his website :

"While this "concentrated sweetner" is very popular in raw cuisine, I believe it has no place in a truly "raw" diet. This is primarily due to the fact that it is a concentrated sweetner. The "nectar" is collected or "cooked" out of the agave plant, then must be "cooked" or dehydrated down, much like "boiling down" maply syrup. There is even some rumors about "corn syrup" and other sweeteners being added to "raw" agave nectar to give it the sweet taste. In any case, it is a processed, product, and not a raw, whole food in my opinion."

I was also very suprised at the prevalence of "superfoods" such as raw cocoa, various powders, oils, supplements and other things that I consider very highly processed and therefore not exactly the optimal thing to eat. I was under the impression that the entire point of the raw lifestyle was the avoidance of highly processed foods that are not as they would be found in nature. On what basis can we promote and defend the raw food diet if it is primarily composed of isolated and concentrated compounds that have been broken down and manipulated by human technology? On the one hand, I understand this superfood craze as it involves so many miraculous plants and promises concerning nutrition and health. But on the other hand, I have read many arguments for eating our food whole and in its naturally balanced state. It is true that scientists still do not have a good understanding ofhow the ratio of different nutrients in our food aid in absorption of different minerals and vitamins. A good example of this is that the presence of vitamin C aids the absoprtion of iron.

I will be thinking more about what degree of processing I would like to include in my diet and I hope others will too. I will see how I like using the dehydrator. After the abundance of dehydrated and gourmet foods at the wedding, I am feeling an even greater attraction to a diet more akin to fruitarianism or the 80/10/10 diet. For our first go-round, Rob made us some buckwheat sandwiches. Here's what we made for din-din tonight.

Mashed Mexican Potato
I copied this recipe into my notebook from somewhere online, I really can't recall where now. But it is quite reminiscent of mashed potatoes, only a little sweeter. It will definitly come in handy during the cold comfort-craving months in winter.

  • 4 cups Jicama, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups soaked cashews
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt (the recipe called for 1 tsp, but I feel that is far too much salt for anyone's health)
  • black pepper to taste

Blend it all up in whatever you have with a motor. The texture is pleasing, slightly crunchy and fluffy. I also added chopped up spinach for a little color.

Rob loved eating his first sandwich since going raw, but said my jicama mash was the best thing on the menu :)

So there's your food for thought from me, the cabbage patch kid.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Diet pepsi - my new pet peeve!

Rob and I are headed down to Southern Oregon for the Raw Union fest. Hope to see you there!

While I was down visiting the folks I brought my dad a delicious raw lunch. This was what was on the menu:
  • Cauliflower spanish rice
  • sunflower seed "refried beans"
  • guacamole
  • organic lettuce from my mom's coworker's garden
I brought some Tabasco for my daddy-o too because I suspected that raw might not please his SAD palette. I really wanted to impress him so that he might think about incorporating more raw veggies into his diet. Now that he's been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, (which he is convinced is primarily genetic, aka not his fault) its important that he make changes now before he has to go on insulin.

My family's diet is primarily bread: toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, bread with a dinner of pasta. For my dad, that includes a beer. How many simple, crazy processed carbohydrates is that?? I don't even want to try to approximate the numbers. Now that my dad is trying to change his diet, he is cutting out the breads. My mom has bought him special "low-carb" tortillas to help him out. This is a great transition food, but I sure hope he won't continue feeling good about "low-carb" stuff. I want to know how they make it "low-carb". Do they just replace the carbohydrates with chemicals the body can't assimilate? What the heck is this "low-carb"?

After brining my daddy all that scrumptious food, you can imagine my upset when he bought himself a diet Pepsi as a drink. Diet pepsi? AAAAAAHHH! It is my pet peeve in nearly every way.

1. I hate Diet anything. I wish my dad could recognize that Soda is what caused his diabetes and JUST QUIT DRINKING SODA. It's got to be some kind of corporate conspiracy that they get people hooked on drinking sugar with every meal, and then once the people are so sick they can't drink that stuff anymore, they offer an equivelently bad alternative!! This alternative even makes people think they are being healthy. Diet my ass.

2. Aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener composed of two amino acids. Or as my dad said when I fussed at him "It's a protein". I'm not sure why anyone would think that aspartame would be a better source of sweet for diabetics than any other sugar, except that it is marketed this way. It's a chemical; something's wrong there. It's been a subject of controversy since its FDA approval in 1974 concerning some shady events around its release. It has also been linked to being a source of brain tumors, lesions, and other cancers, although the Aspartame Information Center says these are merely internet email hoaxes.

3. Aspartame is produced by Monsanto. Isn't that enough incentive to avoid aspartame at all costs right there? I mean, Monsanto was the one who manufactured DDT and used it on children and soldiers during WWII to kill lice. A swiss guy even got a Nobel Prize in 1939 for discovering that DDT kills insects (while they were using it to kill lice). Should we trust Monsanto that aspartame is safe? Hell, no. It took over 40 years for people to figure out that Agent Orange is really bad for people. Should we wait again to find out the effects of aspartame? I won't.

All in all, lunch with my dad was a success. He didn't say he liked it exactly, but he did suggest to my mom that she make the cauliflower rice sometime, and when I left for home he was dipping carrots into the leftover sunflower spread. I'll try again next time. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Breakfast of Champions

Like most American children, I was a habitual cereal eater. My mom new better than to pay out the extra cash for a box of brand-name sugar (Lucky Charms, anyone?), but our cabinet was full of square cardboard boxes that supposedly contained healthy food. They had all the colorful squares, circles, and leaping humanoid shapes that announced high fiber, heart health, or vitamin fortified. I'm not sure what any of that means anymore, but at least the mom's of my generation were trying.

I found from the beginning of my raw journey that grains were not appealing. I don't miss wheat, rice, or corn (unless you mean fresh corn on the cob). It's interesting to think about the number of grains I could have been eating my whole life, like rye, barleyt, kamut, spelt, teff, or amaranth, except for the monotony of the standard american diet. Why is it that nearly all breads are made from wheat, even the ones that advertise the other grains as part of the reason you should buy them? You would think that when buying barley or rye bread the bread would be made from rye flour, instead of wheat flour with a few handfuls of rye and carraway thrown in for flavor?

And then I discovered Buckwheat. Different from wheat berries or rice berries, the raw buckwheat groat can be eaten without soaking. It's a little crunchy, but it tastes good and isn't difficult to chew. It also softens easily in water, with a sweet mild taste. It sprouts in only a day or so, growing a little white tail that shouts "Eat me! I'm delicious!"

Sprouted buckwheat is one of my favorite meals.
At first I thought I liked buckwheat cereal so much because it reminds of what my mom used to give me for breakfast. I don't care for any other grain - so why buckwheat?

As it turns out buckwheat isn't a grain - ha! Its actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb and sorrel.Buckwheat used to be quite popular in the US, until the advent of modern agriculture in the 1950's shrank U.S. crops from 1 million acres to 50,000 acres in the 1960's.

Buckwheat is thought to have originated in central and western China. Yes, the Chinese at one time ate a greater variety of grains than rice. They might still eat a variety of grains, but since I haven't been to China I couldn't say.

So why should we eat buckwheat? For one, recent studies show that eating buckwheat lowers blood glucose levels in animals with type 1 diabetes and may lower the risk of developing diabetes. Canadian researchers published a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showing that the compound chiro-inositol in buckwheat appears to increase sensitivity to insulin and even act as an insulin mimic. While this study was conducted on animals, which I don't condone, it does give me an excuse to sing the praises of my raw buckwheat breakfast to my newly diabetic father, who has been told not to eat carbohydrates. Who knew? Raw whole grains could have positive effects on glucose levels. Maybe not all carbs are created equal.

Buckwheat is also a great source of flavonoids, especially the nutrient called rutin. Rutin is sometimes used in home remedies as an anti-inflammatory for people who suffer from hemmorhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, varicose veins, and other problems with the cardiovascular system.

Buckwheat is one of the highest sources of magnesium, packing 86 milligrams a cup. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow, lowering blood pressur. To my lady friends: Have you ever craved a chocolate bar during your cycle? It's not only the comfort of chocolate and theobromine your body's craving, its magnesium. So maybe next time you get the full moon munchies, pass on the guilt of a chocolate bar and go for a nice bowl of buckwheat.
It's cheap too, my co-op carries it for $1.29 a pound.

For more info on buckwheat, follow this link:

Or do your own research and tell me what you find out!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

What's in Your Fridge?

I'll tell you what's in ours...Strawberries!

Summer is almost here, although it's still raining in typical Oregon-fashion. Which means that the first fruit of the year is finally hitting the Saturday Market. Strawberries!! Hooray!

As a kid, I could never get enough strawberries. Mom would buy two pints of strawberries at the Growers Market each week and we three kids would carefully divide them up between a few lunchtimes. Now that I'm a big kid, I went to the market and bought a whole box just for me. heh-heh.

I also found a couple stalks of rhubarb on the distressed shelf of my co-op. So its strawberry rhubarb pie for this week! I'm still working on the recipe, as it didn't come out quite as I had hoped. Here's a pic of the first go around:

What didn't work was that I added an orange to the filling, which made it too watery. The filling also wasn't quite sweet enough to balance a crust of plain sprouted buckwheat. I'm thinking about making this again tomorrow and using a rhubarb compote recipe that has been really delicious in the past. This made a terrific breakfast, but as a late night sugar-splurge it was a bit of a disappointment.

Here's what else has been uncooking in my kitchen:

Mango and tomato stuffed Red Bell Peppers

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado

On another note, my computer has made its peace with this world and left us. Rob has kindly been letting me use his until I can find a new one. With the onset of final papers and term projects, its been a little hard finding the computer time to put up a post. So until the universe allows me to meet with a computer of my own, I'll keep posting from Rob's.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ice Cream

My family has always had an ice cream fetish. Growing up, I ate ice cream nearly every day, and sometimes twice a day! It's amazing I never developed weight problems given the amount of sugary goodness I consumed. My senior year I came down with the dreaded mononucleosis, and practically lived on milkshakes for nearly a month- losing enough weight that by the time prom rolled around the strapless dress (my first, I might add) I had purchased pre-mono was too loose! No wonder I have some attachment to ice cream...

Since going vegan a year and a half ago my obsession with ice cream has diminished somewhat, for which I am glad. Addictions in any form are not particularly helpful to healthy and liberated lifestyles. But with the weather warming up, I still enjoy a nice bowl of creamy sweetness. I've never been a fan of neopolitan (don't like the strawberry flavored part), but I am a sucker for colors! Enjoy the recipe and give yourself a treat.

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked and sprouted
  • meat of 2 young coconuts
  • dates for sweetness, whatever kind is presently cheapest
  • 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups water
Blend everything till smooth. Pour out 2/3 of the mix into a bowl.
  • carob powder and cocoa powder to taste
Blend again. Pour into another bowl or jar and put in the freezer.
Pour 1/2 of leftover vanilla batter to blender.
  • strawberries! mmm-hmmm.
Put strawberry ice cream into a separate bowl and put all three bowls in the freezer to harden up a bit. You'll want to stir whenever you remember so that they don't turn into creamsicles. When the ice cream has thickened enough you can put all three into one container like I did so they look all pretty. Since I've never bought neopolitan, I have no idea what order the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are supposed to go. I hope I did it right!

I made a chocolate sauce to go on top by blending a banana with some carob and cocoa powders. It added a very nice touch.

And here is Rob enjoying his ice cream sundae! Yum-meeeee!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Temptation Strikes

You Never Know Where It Might Happen to You:

The Art of Basic: That's what Stacy's Brand Pita Chips have to say about their chips. Synonyms listed on their site: simple, uncluttered, uncomplicated. But just how simple are these chips?

My mom visited, which means a Costco size bag of Stacy's "Nothing But Sea Salt" pita chips entered my home. These chips, a family favorite, are nothing short of addiction itself. When I lived at home my family of 5 could go through a bag this size in two days. I'm not kidding. As far as chips go, they are probably a healthy alternative, if you want to use the word healthy to describe a plastic and metallic bag of white bread doused in salt. (But it was sweet of my mom to bring us something yummy and vegan!)

I am being honest in saying that these chips are delicious. But will they feel delicious later on? Probably not.

Obviously these pita chips are not "nothing but sea salt". If they were, they would taste like the ocean and no one would like them.

Check out the ingredients list:
Ingredients: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sunflower Oil (Ascorbic Acid, Rosemary, Citric Acid, Canola Oil), Sea Salt, Whole Wheat Flour, and Less than 2% of the following: Organic Cane sugar, Oat Fiber, Active Yeast, Compressed Yeast, Inactive Yeast, and Malted Barley Flour

I have to say I am impressed that they neglect to use the American favorite, corn, in at least one of its many forms, and they use organic cane sugar which makes the product vegan-friendly. But seriously Stacy, nothing but sea salt?

First off, why is canola oil included in the ingredients of sunflower oil? Are they implying that their sunflower oil is really a concoction of canola and other chemicals (probably gmo, btw, thanks to canola's pollination habits). Secondly, why on earth do flat crispy pita chips need three kinds of yeast? Wouldn't regular active yeast cut it for baking purposes?

With all the crazy unknown chemical nomenclature in the ingredients list, no wonder my hunny got a tummy ache.

There is nothing simple about Stacy's Pita Chips. They are a remarkable result of technology, marketing, and general cultural ignorance about what comprises food.

If you want basic, eat some fruit. With parsley.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mommy Days

Today was a beautiful day in Eugene which was great because my Mom came up to visit. I think it is the first time it didn't rain when she has visited, so I got to take her up on the butte and show her that I actually do live in a beautiful place. I felt so happy to be able to share such a gorgeous day with someone like my mom.
Since my mom was visiting today was not a 100% raw day, but since I consider myself as transitioning I am okay with it. It is much more important to me to have a good time and flow with the day than to make a fuss and cause stress. Stress can cause just as much of a health hazard and energy block as less nutrient available food. My mom has just finally gotten the whole vegan thing down (she's even started cooking more vegan foods at home for my family!) and I think that as we continue to get to know each other my "weird" eating habits will begin to feel more normal.
That's not to say that I didn't have some interesting reactions to cooked food. For one, I got all spacey and high just as if I had smoked pot (which I hadn't). It is such a learning experience for me to go back and eat something I would have considered quite healthy and normal a year and a half ago, and these experiences definitely reinforce my feelings about eating raw. So I'll feel a little funky tonight, probably tomorrow too, but I trust that my body can deal with the weirdness. It's so funny though, after eating a large cooked meal both Rob and I were left craving fruit!! I ate a nice sweet mango and felt better.

I also got to announce to my mom that Rob and I are getting married in August. So in honor of Rob, here is a quite magical Durian pie that Rob concocted the other night. The crust is by far the best raw pie crust I have ever had!! It is nut free and sits nice and light in my tum. We found the durian at an asian food market. It was a little spendy ($6) but well worth the treat.

2 cups soaked buckwheat
handful cocoa beans
pinch of sea salt

2 bananas
1 cup dry raisins, then soaked
1/2 inch vanilla bean
4 pods of durian
Strawberries for decoration

1. Blend until well mixed but still chunky. Press into pie pan.
2. Slice 1 banana and layer crust with banana slices
3. Blend durian, raisins, vanilla bean, and 1 banana. Pour over banana slices and crust and smooth with spoon.
4. Decorate the top with strawberries or other nice fruits.
5. Eat right away or refrigerate to help it firm up a bit.

This pie is awesome as breakfast, lunch, or a late night snack. I know, because I tried it for all three!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fruit envy

I have fruit envy!

I have been reading a lot about fruitarianism. I have been reading around on mango's blog and am so jealous of everyone who lives in places where there is fruit! I have lived in rainy Oregon since I was a baby and have to wait until nearly August every year before we have glorious amounts of fresh peaches, blueberries, blackberries, huckleberries...yum-yumberries. I have been trying to imagine what it would be like to live in a place where beautiful ripe fruit grew on trees all the time! Of course, I don't know that fruit does grow year-round in tropical places, but I imagine that it does. It's called a tropical paradise for a reason, right?

I'm all for local food. Globalization has had a dire effect on nearly everything - human rights, the environment, the economy. But I have to wonder - does eating locally take care of our body's nutritional needs? Which is more important, taking care of our bodies or making a slight difference (I say slight because the modern diet is so global; rice, beans, wheat, etc) in how much pollution and suffering is caused by purchasing tropical fruit while living in the northern hemisphere?

Out of all the creatures on this planet, humans are the only ones who manage to scrape out an existence in all biomes. What marvelously strange and stupid creatures we are! I read that in some places in Africa and Mongolia people live primarily on animal milk and blood. Now why should we want to live in places where milk and blood are the only food available? I say yuck! I think most of us would say that such a diet does not lead to optimum health and is not natural, to say the least. But who knows? What is natural?

I think my logic is starting to circle.

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of my ice cream, because we ate it all first IT WAS THAT GOOD! yumyum in my tum..

Ice cream base:
1 young coconut meat
4 cups pistachio milk (2 cups soaked pistachios, 4 cups water, blended and strained through a cheesecloth)
1/4 vanilla bean
1 cup dates, pitted and soaked

1. Stab open your young coconut and pour the water off into a glass to sip while you are waiting for the ice cream.
2. Blend all ingredients
3. Pour half of the ice cream off into a bowl and set aside to make two different flavors. I blended cocoa beans into one half of my mixture, and blended 1/8 cup fresh mint leaves into the other. The mint was by far our favorite flavor.
3. Refridgerate and then use an ice cream maker if you have one. I don't, so I poured mine into mason jars and stirred them with a spoon to try to keep them from turning into ice-cream-cubes. It kinda worked.

It was my first time working with pistachios. They made a far creamier and thicker milk than any other nut milk I have ever made. I was quite pleased.

Tomorrow Rob and I are journeying up to Portland to go on an adventure, so I'm sure I will have some fun pictures plus a review of the raw food restaurant up there, called The Blossoming Lotus.

Have a loverly end of the week!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Yesterday I did not have much time for food prep as it was a dreaded Sunday, the day when all my homework must get done. I went to yoga first thing in the morning, so I also got a late start on eating which usually sets me up for snacking. But I love snacky days! They are so fun and random. When I got home Rob made me some carrot juice. For a long time I absolutely loved carrot juice, but lately it has been leaving a very bitter taste on the outsides of my tongue that make me not want to drink it. Not sure what's up.

This is what I snacked on:
1. Grapes and kiwi
2. 1 banana and some dates
3. leftover pesto and crackers, strawberries, parsley (my favorite green!)
4. More bananas and dates

Lately I have been feeling iffy about dehydrated foods, which is silly as I have been repeatedly craving raw pizza and crackers. So yesterday as a surprise Rob bought me some raw rye crackers from the store, the kind I'd been eyeing but been too cheap to purchase. But once I got the crackers, I found that I was disappointed and would have rather just eat some more yummy fruit with parsley. Last night I wished I had more strawberries so I could make a strawberry parsley fruit salad! Yum!

My phone call home to mom and dad yesterday revealed that my dad has just been diagnosed with diabetes. NOOOO!!!! It was fascinating though, because the day before I had read what Dr. Douglas Graham had to say about what causes diabetes. Knowing my family's diet, I can totally see what what happened. My family persists on mainly bread, cereal, rice, potatoes, and dairy products. My mom has chronic fat-phobia, so the low-fat part of the diet would be no problem for my family. But I have no idea how to get them off the highly processed low-quality grains that are probably the root cause of my Dad's diabetes.

According to Graham, diabetes results from not just eating too much sugar or too much fat, but eating too the combination of too much fat and sugar. Fat blocks insulin receptors in the cells, so that the cells are unable to get the energy they need from the sugar. The sugar remains in the blood, feeding a growing population of candida culture. The pancreas gets the message from the cells that they are not getting the sugar they need to function and starts cranking out the insulin...and ta-da, diabetes and chronic fatigue, among other symptoms.

I will seriously be considering my affection for raw desserts, which are generally a combination of fat (nuts) and sugar (dried fruit), but not before I try the chocolate and mint pistachio ice creams I just put in the freezer! I'll put the recipe for my ice cream in my next post. Until then, enjoy this recipe for some totally raw hostess cupcakes I made a few weeks ago. I got the idea for them online somewhere, but I totally forget where now. I am such a prolific internet stalker.

Hostess style cupcakes
Chocolate cake:
1 cup soaked cashews
a handful of soaked apricots and raisins
1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
2 tsp. psylium powder
Enough water to make a thick batter

Blend and spoon into cupcake tins. Freeze while you prepare the cream and chocolate sauce.

Cream filling:
1 cup soaked cashews
1/4 vanilla bean
6 or 7 honey dates, to taste, or other sweetener if you like

Blend. Remove chocolate cakes from freezer. Use a spoon to create an indent. Make it pretty deep, the cream filling is the best part :). Fill with cream and put back in the freezer. You can mound the top of the cupcakes to look like they rose in the oven, if you like.

Chocolate Sauce:
Cocoa powder
10 dates
1/2 cup water

Blend and pour over cupcakes. It will be more watery than the others, but don't worry it'll harden up.

Freeze until fairly solid and remove cupcakes from tin. You'll prolly want to let them thaw a little before enjoying. This was one of Rob's favorite treats- he ate almost all of them that same night! Maybe yours will last a little longer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Gourmet's last dance? nah...

Today I decided to start a blog for the sole reason that I have been a blog-stalker long enough that I would like to add another raw food community. It is time for my vampiric information sucking habits to shift and let the energy flow back into the vast unknown of the cyberworld. That's what the raw peace lifestyle is about...learning to have enough to give back!

I just checked out Douglas Graham's 80/10/10 book at the library, so I'm feeling like gourmet raw already made its brief introduction to my life and is about to say farewell...but not completely!!

It feels appropriate that I am starting this blog with a recipe for an alfredo-pesto-ravioli-pasta thing that I made for my Rob this evening. We just got an order of really raw cashews in from and I was SO EXCITED that I had to use some cashews to make a creamy alfredo sauce. I used to eat alfredo pasta at the Olive Garden with my track team the night before the State meet - I can't believe our coaches let us -even encouraged us- to eat such fatty, mucus-inducing foods the night before our most important race of the year! I made up this version myself, based on what we had around. I even made some apple-beet juice to look like wine! I actually think the juice was my favorite part.

Alfredo Pasta and Beet Ravioli's
1 cup soaked and well-rinsed cashews
1/2 small avocado
1 green onion
1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dill
1/4 tsp cayenne
3/4 cup rejuvulac
salt, if you like

4 small zucchinis or more...more is probably better
1 tomato
1 beet
2 cups spinach
1 bunch basil

1. Spiralize the zucchinis and set aside. Cut the beet into rounds as thin as you can. I think the concentric circles are pretty.
2. Blend ingredients of the alfredo sauce. It should be fairly creamy, not at all runny. Remove half the sauce and mix into the zucchini noodles. Put a dollop of cream on half of the beet slices.
3. Remove a couple basil leaves for decoration and set aside. Blend the remainder of the alfredo sauce with the spinach and basil. If your spinach is nice you can set some aside and chop it really small to mix in with pasta. My spinach was discounted damaged produce and was not nice.
4. Spoon pesto on top of pasta and a little on the beet rounds. Careful not to get too much or it will squish out of the beet sammiches and make a mess. Top pasta with diced tomato and basil leaves.