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.