Friday, December 31, 2010

Plans for 2011

I've never been big on resolutions. I'm not a good list maker or goal maker (or keeper).

Part of that is just my personality and when it matters I overcome it and I get things done. We all have things we must struggle with, things that just seem to be ingrained as part of our personality. The older I get, the more I learn....and having learned more about myself and life in 2010 - I do know that the things that I am passionate about somehow get my attention. I've always struggled with organization and so in a sense that is going to be a focus for this year. FO-CUS.

And with oganization comes planning - with planning comes puh-lannnnns.
So yes. All of a sudden now I have plans! Good ones too I hope!

I plan on being more consistent here - sharing more recipes, more insights from my raw journey thus far. Part of what that means is to share from my distinct perspective and lifestyle. There are people who focus on raw on a budget, on certain health restrictions and raw, on sweets and raw, etc. . .
So just what is my perspective? Well, its about being raw as a single parent in the midst of a non-raw household. Its about a hectic schedule, working full time, and trying to make raw and cooked food (for part of the family) and all on a limited budget.
Let's face it - there are some inherent struggles in that, but if I can do it - so can others. I'm not going to tell anyone how THEY should do it. NO way - NO how. I'll share how I am going about it - my successes and my struggles. The good and the bad.

Hopefully there will be something of use for others and something that might even inspire someone else.

yay plans!

To start it off - I'm going to share my take on a recipe that you can find all over the raw net.

Kale Chips

Mine are very similar to what else you will find out there, and yes, it does require a dehydrator.

I have to say that while the dehydrator is not a necessity of the raw kitchen, it is nice to have. The dehydrator is inspiring to me. I did fine without it for more than a year, but I'm really glad to have it now and explore some foods that I couldn't previously try.

When I share my recipes I will try to provide photos and also a download at the end.

Here is what went into the chips I made the other day:

Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsalmic Vinegar
Nama Shoyu
Rice Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt
Nutritional Yeast
Chili Powder

First tip - do not buy preprocessed kale. I don't know why but it just isn't the same, it doesn't come out tasting right. Buy WHOLE leaves, long stems in.
I prepare mine by removing the stem first.

I do this by folding the leaf over and grasping the leaf part with one hand and the stem/vein with the other
and carefully pulling the two apart.
Discard stem.

the defrocked, errrr, deveined leaf
Next, I tear the leaf into small pieces.
Not necessarily bite sized, but not more than two bites or one large ‘stuffing’ of a bite. ;-)

As I am tearing up the kale, I place the pieces I am going to use in a salad spinner.
This I use to clean and dry my kale.
I do about two very full spinners for a batch of kale chips.

The spinner just makes it really convenient!
The photo is without the lid, I give it a little rinse without the lid, then place the lid on, allowing the water to run through the hole in the lid and I spin the knob heartily to remove dirt.
Lifting the spinner to rest on the middle ledge of the sink, I then spin without water to dry the kale.

Once the kale is spun clean and dry I just set it aside and get to work on my coating.
In a VERY large bowl I mix all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the nutrional yeast.
I use a wisk and give it a quick beating.
Then I add the nutrional yeast
I do not have measurements, I just eyeball it keeping in mind what flavors I enjoy most.
You want enough of a sauce to get in all those lovely ruffles on the kale leaves.
Once the sauce is mixed - dump in the kale.

I normally begin mixing gently with a large wooden spoon or spatula.
But then I get in there with my hands, massaging the sauce into the leaves to ensure a good coating.

Once this is all mixed I will typically add another heaping spoonful or two of nutritional yeast.
The yeast really gives a nice flavor as well as a nice visual on the resulting chips.

I like to let the kale sit for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to develop a little, but this is not necessary.

Using tongs, I carefully place the kale in a single layer in the dehydrator.
I try to give the kale some room, but I don't mind them touching or even overlapping a little.
I use two trays in my tray Excalibur dehydrator.
I like to leave some space in between the trays to allow for plenty of circulation.
I also will rotate the trays (upper for lower) about half way through.
I dehydrate them at about 115 degrees for 2-3 hours - until they are nice and crispy!
I check them each hour, sometimes they need less time, sometimes they need more time.
I suspect it has to do with how much marinade is on them and what the temperature/humidity conditions are in the house.
Everyone in my house has tasted these and confirms they are good.
Not everyone likes them enough to choose them over other snacks, but 3 of us REALLY enjoy them.

YUM! SOOOO good!
They have a little tang from the vinegars and soy...
and a cheesiness with a touch of saltiness.
Oh my. I really enjoy these!
Not to mention that kale is REALLY REALLY good for you!

I aim to phase out more of the pre-packaged snack foods in the house during 2011 so these may become more appealing as time goes on.

Click here for the recipe as a free download. (download will be up by Jan. 1, 2011!)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Failures and Successes

As noted, I've had many failed recipes and meals but I have also had some great successes!

One thing I have tried before that I wasn't too crazy about was kale chips. They were just 'ehhh-ok' the first time I made them and they weren't very good the second time I made them -- BUT - the third time apparently really IS the charm! I made kale chips a week or so ago and they were FABULOUS. I mean REALLY good. Everyone in the family liked them. Some of us more than others.....true. But still, everyone ate them and said they'd eat more.

One of the differences was the kale. the first two go rounds I used pre-chopped 'packaged' kale. "fresh" but nos o fresh if you knwo what I mean. This last time I used whole kale that looked to have been bagged locally. I cut the stem out and then tore the remaining leaves into fairly large pieces.

The dressing was a combination of:
  • a touch of oil
  • a dash of balsamic
  • a few grinds of salt
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic
  • cashew flour
I coated the kale with the above mixture and then dehydrated for a couple of hours. That is all it took to have CRUNCHY salty yummy cheesy kale chips!

I want to make more!!! Need to find some kale.

This experience as well as the wrappers that I made are giving me high hopes for my dehydrator. It wasn't a wasted money purchase!!

I've also made some yummy cashew cheese which I thickened in the dehydrator. YUM.

Next I am going to try a raw bread or cake in the D. I have made a 'cake' raw and chilled but I'd like to try one that is a little bit more dry. I have some fresh cranberries at home and I am contemplating soaking them in a water stevia combination or maybe a water/medjool date combination - to soften them and also sweeten them a bit - they are SUPER tart!!

I'll post the results. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I have NOT fallen

off the face of the earth that is.

I may have fallen off the blogging bandwagon. But I'm still alive and breathing! and eating more raw, though still not nearing 100% as I was before.

this is a quick post with some photos of recent food I've made. I'll come back and share recipes/methods later.

First is this peach pie.

SO incredibly tasty with fresh summer ripe peaches. Add some goji berries, a little cinnamon, stevia, some nuts - and top with a yummy crumb topping made with dates and nuts.

But wait - that's not really the top!

The fun thing is turning it out and the top becomes a crust.

And here it is ready for slicing.



In a previous post I mentioned purchasing a dehydrator.

To be honest, I have not had a ton of success with it. A few things I made ended up being tossed.


but this one - these wraps.


I got the basic recipe for the wrappers from Matthew Kenney's Everyday Raw.

I altered it a fair amount and the wrappers still came out fine!

I can NOT remember what I filled these with.

I think it was a mix of 'minced' or 'riced' jicama in a tangy dressing. and some lettuce...trying to look at the photo and see what else was tucked in there.

Not completely sure. I just know it was pretty good!

ok, found another picture that might help...

looks like shredded carrot and some onion. Chopped lettuce or kale or something.

It was good, right now that is the only thing of which I'm certain!

I hope to have time to post in depth about these recipes soon!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So very lovely!

I may have mentioned that I finally purchased a dehydrator.

An EXCALIBUR! dehydrator.

It's so very lovely!!!!!!

I got mine here. Decent price from what I've seen around.

I waited a year from going raw to actually purchase one.

Mostly due to the price.

But also, was I really going to STAY raw?

Well, after a year...with how I feel and the routine I've gotten into.....Yes, I'm staying raw.

HIGH raw.

So, I went ahead and got one. And after letting it sit for a couple of weeks - I finally began using it!

You may wonder what the big deal is -- especially if you're not into the raw scene - well, the dehydrator is nice because it can intensify flavors of some foods and offers different textures in food.

Texture is something that I missed. Not that there aren't different textures in what I was eating raw. There are - from smooth and creamy puddings and sauces to crunchy fruit and veggies and nuts.

But there isn't really anything like the crunch of crackers or the chewiness of some foods. (dates are chewy but not quite the same thing).

So although I am not trying to mimic certain foods or a SAD recipe or diet, I am hoping to increase the variety in texture.

I can't say that I was bored with my food, but I did miss these textures. For me I think that is a big part of the food experience.

So I am now able to begin experimenting with that experience.

I have only begun to play with my D, but I've already had some success.

I made my regular cashew 'cheese' and divided part out into a shallow container and put it in the dehydrator for a few hours. It thickened it a bit, deepened the flavor, and after refrigerating it is the consistency of cream cheese! Maybe not QUITE as smooth, which is fine, I don't mind that its a little different, I wasn't setting out to make cream cheeze......but the thickness of it after the little trip in the fridge - LOVE IT!!

I have had a mild success with a sort of cracker and am working on a sort of burger thing.....ohhh, and 'tortillas' -- I'd love to have an alternate 'wrapper' than leaves or seaweed.

Back to my cheese - I make my cashew 'cheese' just a little different than the standard recipes out there so I'll share my HIDI:

Cashew "Cheese" Spread

  • cashews
  • nutritional yeast
  • lemon juice (FRESH!)
  • water
  • salt
  • paprika
  • dry mustard

  • Soak the cashews for a few hours, rinse.
  • Place cashews in processor and begin processing.
  • Add juice of half a lemon (or more - to taste) and add a little water if needed to improve mixing and consistency.
  • Process until mixture begins to get smooth.
  • Add the remainder of your ingredients. [And again - its to taste. Your preference may be for a little more or a little less of something. Go with it.]
  • Process until you reach consistency

You may want to add a little more water once you add the nutritional yeast. It depends on how thick or thin you want it.

You can make this as a sauce or leave it thick for a dip or even thicker (dehydrator anyone?) for a spread.


Wondering why there is an avocado up there? We'll get to that in the next post. :)


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Background and Change

Not only was my birth birthday this week (yesterday) - but
it has been just about 1 year since I went raw.

Time sure does fly.

I began raw near the beginning of August last year.

I went 100% raw, 100% overnight. When I say 100%, I mean as close to that as it matters to me. There were some non-raws such as the tiniest amount that you'd use in a salad dressing of vinegar and some oils. Eventually I found some replacements for my old oils and switched my soy to nama shoyu in an effort to be even more raw.

But I haven't been raw the entire time. I'm not entirely raw right now.

There have been times when I haven't even been close. I try not to stress on it, I go with the flow at times.

I enjoy life - I want quality of life. Which, for me, means eating as high raw as I can. Right now I'm not satisfied with where I am so I'll make some changes.


Despite being low- to no- raw (ok, I doubt anyone is 'no-raw'. If you eat fruit you're part raw! If you have a salad or some lettuce on a sandwich - part raw!!) Anyway, despite the ups and downs of the past year, I have noticed some really wonderful benefits of the shift in my daily diet. And these are evaluable differences. Not a 'feeling' or something that can't be quantified. These are measurable things.

First of all - I have brought my glucose (blood sugar) under control (mostly). I do not say that I reversed my diabetes or that it is cured. I don't think that is the case. If I go on and overeat a bunch of cooked carbs and/or candies, then my sugar will be high. Too high. My body has not miraculously gone back to being able to process that like it could pre-diabetes. BUT - we have control. With NO meds and NO exercise! (not that I recommend no exercise! Its just that I haven't managed to fit in an exercise schedule for the past year). So YAY! Glucose control!

Next, and this is important to me - I've been migraine free since going raw. COMPLETELY. I haven't had one single migraine. In fact, I've hardly had a headache - just a couple of slight normal tension type headaches. I am THRILLED beyond words about that. I believe this is totally attributable to going raw. I was having migraines at an alarming rate and had even undergone an MRI of my brain at one point due to a migraine that was associated with subsequent confusion and a sort of aphasia (confused language, word salad, repetition). It was scary. I have been told that people with diabetes can suffer migraines, so regulating my glucose may have also alleviated the migraines. All in all - the migraines are gone (YAY!) and its in some form or fashion thanks to raw.

Finally. Weight loss. I am uncertain as to how much, nor is that important. What is important is that I had gained a LOT of weight over the years, aging, pregnancy, a sedentary job, catered lunches, and going raw effortlessly took some weight off. I do know that I was down about 45 pounds from my highest point ever, though some of that came off pre-raw. I have also, in the past couple of months, slowly found about ten of the pounds that I had 'lost'. ;-) I know much of that comes from the high sugar, high fat, high processed food I have 'indulged in' over the past 2 months.

There are some changes that I can't measure - things like mental clarity and an increase in energy, better mood, and overall sense of wellbeing. and they count! Its just that I can't fully defend or explain those. They are real, they just can't be measured very well - its not quite as objective.

To get back to being more high raw, I have recently purchased a dehydrator. I am just barely beginning to experiment with that. Thinking about making wrappers (similar to tortilla shells) and various other items has me excited about 'un-cooking' again. I did try a made up recipe for crackers in the dehydrator while on vacation (yes, I lugged that darn thing on vacation!) and although they never got crisp, they were edible and had a nice flavor. I suspect the consistency has to do with ingredients. I have now amassed a sizable collection of wraps, 'burgers', chips, crackers and other things to try in the dehydrator.

I'll leave you with a lovely little un-recipe. Or raw HIDI (How I Do It - acronym stolen from my friend Hans Meevis - google him, he's amazing) I would say recipe, but so much of what I do in the kitchen is un-measured so I trust you to eyeball ingredients to mix according to your palate.

Pear Crumble HIDI

Pears (2)
A TBS or two of agave (realized later, this could very well be omitted)
sprinkle (or 2) of cinnamon
dash of sea salt
splash of vanilla
zest of one lemon
a few walnuts and/or pecans
flax seed (or just start with flax meal)
2 medjool dates

I mixed the agave, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla in a medium bowl.

next, I cut up the pears and added them to the bowl, stirring to coat.

Finally, everything else went into the mini-processor to create a nice crumble.

Assembly: scoop pears into a single serving bowl and top with crumble. ENJOY!

you can place the pears in the dehydrator fro 30 minutes or so to gently warm. And you could make some lovely whipped cashew cream as a topping -- or raw ice cream! YUM! but its fine the plain jane way too.

I also found that if you mix some pears and crumble together and refrigerate for a few hours it firms up into a nice treat. You may not enjoy the resulting consistency, put I thought it was quite good!

So what have you made raw lately?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Almond butter update

I am so thankful that so many people commented here and via email about my rancid almond butter. I received the kindest email from Jennifer Barney of Barney’s Premium Foods who confirmed what I had kind of figured - that it was the added water.

Jennifer and I exchanged a few emails and I have to say she was really really nice and informative. Her products are not raw however they look to be really great and I am hoping to do a taste test soon!

I could have used oil but I was trying to keep it oil free. But now I know that I REALLY should have used oil! Or nothing and just kept processing. One problem was that the butter was heating up so much in the food processor and I didn't want it to keep heating (raw concern), thats when I reached for the water. I just wanted to get to the creamy stage quickly!

I am not the most patient person in the world. Gardening KILLS me. I have such a hard time waiting for the plants to grow, then bud, and then the baby veggies to begin to take shape. And THEN, waiting for them to grow and ripen ? ARGH!! Pain, I tell you - pain pain pain!!!

Our garden is pitiful again this year. Last year we changed locations and the new plot failed to yield much (might also have something to do with my lack of constant care) but we thought it would be better this year (the plot AND my tending it). Umm, nadda. On both counts. The ground is again rock hard.....and just doesn't seem grow-friendly. I am also not convinced that it gets enough sunlight so this weekend I am going to be tracking that. I also have not tended the garden closely again. It got weedy part way through and we were very busy and I just didn't set aside time (or make myself) weed etc. We also have some severe weather - bad storms, tons of maybe its just a combination of things and next year will be better.

One can hope. 'eh?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's up with that? Almond Butter

I am perplexed.

I made some yummy almond butter.

and to my utter disappointment

it went bad in less than 3 days.

Whats up with that?

I began with raw almonds - a couple of good sized handfuls. I placed those in the food processor and let them zip around the container for quite a while.

A lovely lump of mushed almonds formed. I scraped down the sides and processed some more.

I added a touch of sea salt and processed some more.

A really gooey (read sticky) 'butter' formed. But not quite what I wanted.

So I processed some more.

Almost there.

But not quite.

So I added a tablespoon of water.

Ahhhhhh. Success.

Well, at least for 2 or three days.

I did not refrigerate this. Maybe that is the problem? I don't refrigerate store bought raw almond butter though. So maybe this is not the problem?

Can't be that the life of homemade raw almond butter is less than 3 full days.

Can it?

Thoughts? Help?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It seems I took a much needed break from this blog - from the 'raw world' in general - a 'fast' lets say.

Thank goodness I did so. I ran into some ugliness and needed to take a step back not to mention some family issues causing havoc, not to mention some binge eating.....'not to mention' ......
but then I did mention it all, huh?.....language is funny.

Anyway, when I last blogged I mentioned online communities and possibly starting one - well thank the GOOD Lord THAT insanity passed! I simply do not have time to add another commitment. No way, no how. So I am really thankful that the absurdity of that left my mind and I'm just motoring along connecting with folks via email mostly and through blogs.

The last blogpost before THAT one...or sometime in the not too distant past....I mentioned sources. Where do I get my raw products?

I buy some locally - at ROOTS market and at David's Natural Market.

Online I have ordered from:

All 3 have ease of ordering, quick delivery, and products as stated. YAY! Sirova is the only one of the 3 that is specifically a RAW foods store, so with the others you need to check the descriptions (if raw is what you are going for).

A recent box from Nuts Online contained all of this - hazelnuts, oat groats (whole oats), dates, cashews, macadamia nuts. MMMMMMMMMM. such good stuff!

I use some of these ingredients when I make my breakfast oatmealish dish.

It goes something like this -

Grind oat groats in coffee grinder
(they really don't seem to grind well in my mini-processor)
I grind into a coarse meal.

In minichop processor, process a couple of dates and a variety of nuts

It will look something like this - coarse, crumbly

Next I put the oat meal into a bowl

and add the date and nut mixture

give it a quick stir

then decide what fruit to add - here I have added part of an apple and an overly ripe banana

the inside of the nanner does NOT look as bad as the outside!

the meal mixture goes back into the processor

and the cut up fruit goes in on top

and it gets a good whir to blend. I like to leave some texture in there so I try to not overdo it!

Sometimes I will add some chia or cocao nibs.

The cocao nibs are EXTREMELY hard but when mixed
with the oatmealish dish, they soften up and are so yummy!

Here is what it looks like with some chia and cocoa nibs in there

I had a lovely fresh pineapple on hand so I chunked a bit of that and placed it on the top

I also gave it a tiny drizzle of agave and a little dollop of almond butter

AND a sprinkle of coconut!

MMMMMM, this was SO good!

I have this or some variation of this a few times a week.

Keeps me satisfied and going strong ALL day.

More later - lunch time is over and I need to get back to work!!