Saturday, January 31, 2009

Living bread.. first try

I have to admit 'living bread' is not the easiest thing I've uncooked.. but it's not the hardest, either. It was actually much easier than I thought! Plus, I've got enough extra sprouted kamut and spelt that I can tweek the recipe tomorrow and make another batch after this one is finished (in about 10 hours.)

Simply speaking, living breads are made of sprouted (living) seeds along with spices and most-likely, a juice or two. I started with the 'real toast' recipe from 'RAW the uncook book' and changed only a few minor things. We'll see how it turns out!

In case you're wondering, I don't have any fancy kitchen equipment - except for my Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator that we splurged on a few weeks ago. This experience has definitely taught me that I need more than a tiny blender. Also, a juicer will come in handy in this kitchen... BUT I'm not going to go appliance-crazy and buy anything and everything I want. I've made a commitment to only purchasing 1 new kitchen appliance a month (at most) until I have the things I want. They don't even need to be new!

Kitchen appliance wish list:
1) Sturdy blender
2) Large-capacity juicer
3) Food processor

Right now my eyes are burning from the onions I'm dehydrating. It's permeating the entire house! You know, when I dehydrated and ground fresh jalapenoes the other day it wasn't even half this bad. I did sneeze a lot. But this onion smell is making my eyes burn! (And I can't even smell the pineapple or toast in the dehydrator. Only the onions. Yuck!)

Okay.. so far, my living toast/bread recipe includes:

Juice of 2 oranges, 2 lemons and 1 lime equal to 1.5 cups
1.5 c sprouted kamut
1 c sprouted spelt
1/2 c fresh cilantro (because I have this on hand)
1/2 c dried parsley (because I have this on hand)
1 t chili powder
1 t jalapeno
1 t paprika
1 t kelp granules
BLEND above ingredients. Then, add the following by hand:
1/2 c sprouted kamut
1 c flax seed

Before you ask - yes, I hand squeezed the oranges, lemons and lime. See! It actually didn't take very long, either.


Then, I formed the "dough" into pieces of bread. I only made one batch, which looks to be about 12 pieces. Once I have the recipe down I'll probably quadruple the recipe at once and fill the dehydrator. The book says it'll last about a month, so it'll be easier if I just make a huge batch every now and then.


When you're cooking 'living foods' or raw foods, it's best to take advantage of the foods you can actually make a lot of and keep that on hand.. because you're always cooking with fresh fruits and veggies.. and that takes time! (But it's worth every minute!) Plus, we enjoy the time together.

I'll let you know how it turns out!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dr. Fuhrman's rules

Right now I'm working on adding as many raw foods to my family's diet as I can. While Dr. Fuhrman isn't a proponent of totally raw foods, he knows what he's talking about. So on my own road of discovery I'm trying my hardest to follow his three simple rules for health excellence:

Rule #1: Avoid concentrated calories, excess nutrients and refined foods. These include sugar, salt, white flour, oils, cheese, butter and margarine.

Rule #2: Eat whole foods, raw, steamed or made into soup. Eat as many vegetables as possible. They should form the cornerstone of your diet.

Rule #3: Eat lots of fresh fruit, especially berries.

Basically - he advocates discontinuing or weaning yourself off of caffeine, salt, alcohol, sweets, butter, cheese, processed foods and soft drinks and all teas except non-caffeinated herbal teas.

That doesn't seem so hard, does it?


My problems (besides the fact that I love red wine and tequila):

.... well, I dehydrate my own fresh fruit. That means the calories in the fruit are more concentrated than natural. I wonder if those are supposed to be avoided as well. Of course dehydrated, packaged, sugared fruits available at supermarkets are excess, concentrated, empty calories... but are my own dried fruits in the same category?

... many of the raw food books I'm reading advocate celtic sea salt. In fact, they use it in tons of recipes. How much salt is actually required by the human body? Celtic sea salt contains so many healthy micronutrients so when we use it, that's the kind we use. How much do I need?

... I love dates. They're the perfect dessert. They're unbelievably sweet - but it's a natural sweet. The sugars are (of course) not refined so contain all of the micronutrients that we don't even know about yet. They're used in most of the raw desserts I read about. I wonder how many is too many.. (or if that's possible.) I hope not!

Two sweet drinks

The point of making your own desserts and smoothies is not to avoid sweets altogether... the point is to feed your body healthy sweets. YES, they do exist!

I discovered aloe vera yesterday.. and it was delicious! In the mood for a smoothie drink I threw my aloe vera (juice and chunks) into the blender. Since I had a few fresh cherries lying around I also threw those in, along with a few spoons of raw sugar. I pulsed a few times and had the most amazing, refreshing drink! Not only is it pretty but it's light and tasty.


We were looking for a sweet, rich and chocolate-y dessert last night so I decided to make a milk shake!

About 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
4 frozen strawberries
4 chopped dates (any variety)
1-2 T raw cocoa
1-2 ice cubes

All you have to do is blend (adding more ice or frozen fruit for a more slushy drink)!


Burger and fries!

My husband is always saying things are better fried than, well, not fried. I just don't buy it! Some things are great fried: tofu, chips, yes. But some things are great even if they're not fried - and french fries are one of them! So, last night I baked our black bean burgers along with (my personal favorite) sweet and red potato fries!

Preheat your oven to 375. Cut potatoes first, they take longer to cook. Throw them into the oven and make your black bean patties. You'll cook them together.

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The best sweet and red potato fries you'll ever have!
2 med new potatoes
1 large or 2 med sweet potatoes
2T olive oil
spices: chili powder, red pepper, pepper, oregano (use the spices to match your meal!)

Peel sweet potatoes. Do not peel new potatoes. Slice quickly. Put into gallon ziplock bag or reusable container with lid. Pour in olive oil and spices. SHAKE! Once coated, put onto baking sheet and into the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes. You'll check on the potatoes and flip them every 15 minutes until done. This usually takes about 45 minutes.

Now move onto the burgers:

Baked black bean burgers
1 can black beans
1/4 - 1/2 cup wheat germ (or you could use wheat flour or gluten)
dash of soy milk, lemon or lime juice or water (as needed)
spices: oregano, rosemary, chili powder, red pepper, garlic

baked black bean burgers

Rinse beans and pour into bowl. Add wheat, spices and mash with a fork. That's it! You don't want them runny like refried beans and you don't want them whole, either. Add a little moisture if it's needed. I used a bunch of red pepper, rosemary and oregano and a touch of chili powder and garlic. Form into patties... one can will make 3 black bean patties. You can see we had leftover vegan cheese that I threw on top of the burgers when they were almost done.

Put patties into oven. Continue checking and flipping patties and fries every 15 minutes. If you have chreese, nutritional yeast sauce or vegan cheese, you'll want to put it on top of the burger for the last 5 minutes on broil. Voila! You're done!

Quick lunch (and rich dessert!)

I bought baby portobello mushrooms a few days ago. The packages may not seem that big on the store shelf.. but have you noticed how they start turning dark brown immediately after you open the package? Surely I can't be the only one who has trouble finishing them before they turn into mush. My husband hates mushrooms (yes, I don't get it either) so I've got to gobble them up all by myself. It's a sacrifice.. but I'm a giver. So, today I decided to throw them together in a simple, fresh burrito made with other random leftovers in the fridge.

I threw a handful of the baby portobellos in the cast iron skillet and sprinkled a little balsamic vinegar on top. The beauty of cooking with cast iron: all you have to do is turn the heat to medium and stir every now and then. Now, raid your fridge and see what you've got! For lunch today I found the hummus we made last night, half a cucumber and a ripe avocado. I layered half the avocado, several slices of cucumber and lots of hummus. In less than 5 minutes everything was ready for the mushrooms!

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When eating a meal by myself I'm always reluctant to open a perfectly good, perfectly ripe avocado (until dinner when I can share with Tyler) because I'm usually full after only half of the avocado. Avocados are so wonderful, I can't bear letting them to go waste! Until now I've never known what to do with the other half of an avocado when I'm eating alone. NOTE: If you said 'make guacamole' .. please, bite your tongue. Why would I ruin a perfectly ripe, perfectly soft avocado by turning it into guacamole???

I don't know why but I just hate the stuff.

WELL... I've found a much better, much yummier solution to my problem. Raw pudding! YUM!

Basically, throw your avocado into the blender (or into a bowl and use a hand blender.) Now add about 2T raw cocoa and 1-2T maple syrup or agave nectar:

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BLEND! It's that easy. Throw a few strawberries on top and you've got a wonderful, easy chocolate dessert. You won't believe how tasty this is.

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See how easy a fast, healthy, freaking tasty meal is?

Sprouting is easy

I know changing your diet.. or just thinking about changing your eating-style... can seem daunting. But please don't worry too much, you don't want to get the yips!

I've been looking for the cheapest, easiest way to add sprouts to our diet... and I think that I've found it.

COSTS (total should be less than $20)
1) drain board for the side of your sink
2) inexpensive colanders (the ones that come in a set of 3, stainless steel)
3) seeds to sprout


I prefer buckwheat, zesty sprout mixes and quinoa. Purchase from the bulk isle of your grocery store.. you don't even need a lot to start. Why not buy about 2 cups of your favorites and begin soaking and sprouting? I love the buckwheat for cereal and quinoa sprouts are great on almost everything! They're lightly flavored and quick to sprout. Other great things to start sprouting: lentils, black-eyed peas and chickpeas! Yes, sprout your beans for a great addition to your meals! You can throw them into soups or onto your sandwiches or salads. They're heartier than smaller sprouts (that you normally buy pre-sprouted at the grocery store) but still light enough in flavor not to overpower the spices in your dish. You'll love them!

Do you prefer the clover or alfalfa sprouts at the store? You can sprout those, too!

Here's a short list of soaking and sprouting times. This information is easy to find and may even come with the seeds you purchase.

SHORT LIST: (with soaking time in hours / sprouting time in days)
Buckwheat 6 / 2
Quinoa 2 / 1
Chickpea overnight / 2-3 days
'zesty' mix overnight / 3 days

Once you learn how long to soak your seeds in water, it's easy!

To start, I'd suggest putting about 1/2 cup of your preferred seeds into a bowl or jar and cover completely with water (by several inches, as some of your seeds with expand greatly.) At the end of the required soaking time, simply pour them into your strainers, rinse and place on the drain board. You'll want to rinse them 2-3 times a day until the required sprouting time is over.


Then you're ready to eat, dehydrate or refrigerate the sprouts until you need them.

The only thing you need to remember is that fresh food, because it's not full of preservatives or processed, does not have a long shelf life. So, dig in! Add sprouts to sandwiches, salads, burritos or have them as a snack. There are many recipes I'll share later that include sprouts... but simply learning to sprout and adding them to your meals everyday is a great way to start! Once you're comfortable with the process, you can try something more difficult.


All good things begin with dessert

This is my first blog, so hopefully it'll just get better from here. I thought it was about time I shared my fun in the kitchen with, well, everyone. I'll share my 'comfort food' recipes, simply healthy recipes (that also taste great!) along with my new raw experiments.

I suppose I'll just post my new favorite recipes and foods as I discover them. Last night was my first raw dessert, taken mostly from "RAW the uncook book." I wish I had taken a photo! For a healthy, quick, super sweet treat simply do the following.

For two people:
1) Start by making the chocolate syrup. (note: I have found that plastic forks mix cocoa + maple syrup very easily.) So, in a small bowl mix 3 T maple syrup or agave with 1.5 T cocoa and a dash of almond oil. The oil helps it mix.


2) slice 2 bananas onto a plate
3) drizzle raw almond/cashew or your other favorite nut butter over the sliced bananas so that each piece has at least some nut butter
4) pour the maple syrup topping all over bananas

Now grab your forks and ENJOY!

If this doesn't cure your sweet tooth, nothing will. Besides, you can enjoy it guilt-free! There are no preservatives, processed sugars or foods in this amazingly easy dessert.