Thursday, February 19, 2009

Raw cookies (with not-raw chocolate chips)

To blend first:
1 c pecans
1/2 c almonds
1 t cinnamon
2 t raw cane sugar
dash of celtic sea salt
1 T vanilla

to add 2nd:
15 dates

to add 3rd:
5 t water

to add last:
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c flax seeds
1/2 c chocolate chips

In the food processor blend all ingredients in first section. (This will not take long.)

2nd: Add dates and blend until sticky.

3rd: Add water and pulse a few times.

4th: Now, hand-mix in sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chocolate chips.

Form into cookies. Dehydrate 4 hours at 105 degrees. I made 10 big cookies from this recipe. *If you turn up the heat to 115 degrees for the last hour, they'll be crunchier on the outside.

YUM! If you eat them right out of the dehydrator, the chips will be melted and gooey!

They're sort of like oatmeal cookies... without the oatmeal. They're GREAT as they are.. next time I'll blend some more of the nuts, maybe into a powder and add it into the mixture.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gluten-free trial

We have a sneaking suspicion that I may be gluten-intolerant.. so for the next 3-6 months all of my recipes will be gluten-free!

Most of my previous recipes, especially the raw recipes, are flour free and most-likely gluten-free anyway.. but now I'm also going to try making breads with buckwheat and other gluten-free flours. My great hubby is giving up gluten at home, too, so we're getting all of it out of the house during the trial.. and he loves breads, rolls and anything else made of flour so I'll be experimenting. I haven't had to make any breads from scratch without the gluten in the flour itself. This should be interesting!

If you have any blogs or websites you use for gluten-free help, please let me know.


Raw cereal

You don't need a food processor if you have sliced raw nuts. Those work well in raw cereals. However, I prefer chunky nuts so I threw 14 almonds (for a richer cereal) and 5 dates into the processor and chopped.

Mix the nuts and dates with:
small handful of sunflower seeds
small handful of dried, sprouted buckwheats (see earlier post)
lots of fresh or dried fruit
NOTE: If you use dry fruit like I do, let it soak in the milk for a few minutes

Mix with your favorite unsweetened nut milk:

Another version:
In a food processor, blend 10 almonds, 6 cashews, 5 dates and a handful of dried kiwi until everything is thoroughly ground. Then, hand mix in some sunflower seeds, buckwheat cereal and lots of fresh strawberries and bananas. This version is GREAT!


Sprouted buckwheaties (dried)

Sprouting really is easy. An earlier post shows an inexpensive, simple way to sprout. Buckwheats are my favorite! They add a healthy crunch to just about anything - desserts, salads, in a snack.. So, I like to keep several cups ready at all times.

They're simple to make!

1. Purchase a few cups of buckwheat groats.
2. Soak overnight.
3. Sprout (see earlier 'sprouting is easy' post for details).
4. Dehydrate about 4-5 hours at 90 degrees, until dry.
5. Store in an air-tight container.

Now they're ready to throw into cereals, on salads or anywhere you need a light crunch!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Heavenly RAW apple pie

Today has been excellent! Not only did we finally get some firewood.. but we enjoyed my very first, fantastic, raw apple pie in front of a roaring fire.

First, you'll need 1 of these small molds. I bought 2 of them from Bed, Bath and Beyond for just 60 cents apiece. What a steal! These are the small ones, about 3 inches across. They don't need to be heavy duty, since you're not going to bake with them.. they're just the mold for your crust.. so get a shape that you like:

This recipe serves 2 and makes 2 small apple pies.

For the crust:
6 dates
25 almonds
10 pecans

For the apple pie filling:
1 small tart green apple, cored
2 dates
dash of lemon juice

For the topping:
2 frozen strawberries
2T maple syrup or agave nectar
1T water
Optional - dash of maple syrup or agave nectar to drizzle on top of finished pies

Step 1:
Throw the crust ingredients into your food processor. Chop until small and even.

Step 2:
Lightly spray olive oil into the pie molds. Now pour half of the chopped crust ingredients into the molds and press down. Now all you'll do is turn the mold upside down and hit the cutting board or plate with it a few times, until the shaped crust falls out. Place on plate and repeat to make the 2nd crust. It's easy!

Step 3:
Now put the cored apple into the food processor, along with 2 dates, and chop until small and even. Place this apple mixture into a small bowl and squeeze lemon on top so it doesn't brown.

Because I made the ingredients before dinner I put the crusts and chopped apple ingredients into the freezer to keep them cold.

Step 4:
The final step, before piecing together your dessert, is to blend the topping and have it ready. Place the strawberries, maple syrup and water in a blender. Blend thoroughly! This will make just enough topping for your 2 pies. Place in the fridge until you're ready for them.

Final step:
When you're ready to eat.. squeeze out the extra lemon and water from the chopped apple and use a spoon to mold the apple chunks on top of the pie crusts.

Spoon half of the strawberry topping onto each pie. Drizzle with remaining maple syrup or agave nectar if desired. I love maple syrup .. and I think it completes the dessert.

You won't believe how amazing this pie really is!


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Homemade "ice cream" with chocolate syrup

You may be noticing that many raw recipes center around similar ingredients. The chocolate desserts use unsweetened, raw cocoa. Many of the "ice creams" use some sort of frozen fruit, especially bananas.

This ice cream isn't completely raw - but it's good for you and it's unbelievably rich and sweet! Dates are a great sweetener - and provide potassium, iron and so much more.

1-1.5 c unsweetened soymilk
handful of dates
handful of raw cashews
about 2 cups frozen, ripe bananas
about 1 cup other frozen fruit (I used a tropical mix)

This is so easy! All you have to is throw these ingredients in the blender.

Now BLEND! Add a little water if necessary.

I know this may look a little like baby food.. or melted ice cream.. but trust me, it's yummy!

One you've transferred it to a bowl, put it into the freezer for 20 minutes - or up to an hour if you like it colder and more frozen.

NOTE: If you make this before dinner, it'll be ready for you when you're done eating!

Add a little chocolate syrup (mixture of 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar with 1-2 T cocoa powder) to make it a super sweet chocolate-y ice cream!

Try it once.. I promise you'll LOVE it!

Easy, fast (and healthy?) chocolate pudding

If you follow this blog, you know that I love avocados. They're great on sandwiches, salads, soups or wherever you can think to use them. But most people don't realize avocados make creamy desserts as well... (and they're missing out!)

I know I covered this in part of an earlier post.. but this pudding is so amazing that it deserves its own post. So, here it is.

2 avocados
1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
2-3 T raw cocoa powder
3+ T of water, as needed

First, slice your avocado and throw it in the blender:

Now toss in the remaining ingredients:


You'll know if you need to add a little water to make it smoother. Now give it a taste! If you need to add a little sweetener, go ahead!

We always add fresh or frozen fruit to our pudding. Cherries work best with this rich, thick dessert!


Raw Sushi .. LOVE IT

I'm sure we've all been asked by one friend or another "If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" My answer is always an enthusiastic, 'SUSHI!'

I love sushi... especially avocado rolls. But I'll take cucumber rolls or tofu, carrot or just about any other veggie sushi roll they can dream up. Who is 'they'? Well, the sushi chefs, of course.

We made amazing RAW SUSHI tonight and I'll share the recipe here. But I'll warn you - we're not, not, not sushi chefs. So, ours are never as pretty or fancy as those you'll get at a restaurant. However, they're super cheap to make - and super tasty, too.

Normally sushi is made with sticky white rice. Raw sushi, however, is made with a raw rice substitute - the underappreciated parsnip. It actually makes a GREAT raw rice substitute, by the way. It is great cold (even better than white rice) but it's crunchier than you expect. I'm not sure if there's a way to soften them, to make them more squishy like rice... I'll work on it and post it if i find a way. (Or please comment below if you already know!! I don't need to reinvent the wheel here.)

Nori rolls
(Also, cucumber if you want cucumber rolls)
NOTE: 1 avocado made 3 sushi rolls

It was quite easy. A food processor makes this super easy.. but if you don't have one, you'll have to grate or finely chop your parsnip. Essentially, you're just making it tiny and rice like.

I've never worked with Parsnips before... All you have to do is peel them and throw them in your food processor:


Get your other ingredients together - sliced avocado, julianne carrots and sprouts, if desired:

Rolling sushi can be tricky. I know it still is for me! And with the raw sushi, I've learned that you can't use as much parsnip-rice as you would regular sushi rice. So, your sushi will be smaller (which I actually prefer):

After you've laid your nori roll on the sushi roller (they're inexpensive and can be found at any Asian market), just lay out some parsnip-rice and the other veggies you want in your sushi and roll, using the sushi roller:

Now slice into desired size and number of pieces:

Dip in a bowl of Nama Shoyu (raw soy sauce) or soy sauce, if you prefer:

I love sushi. I'll take it raw or made with regular sticky sushi rice. Just give me sushi!

Other fillings we'll try next time:
Raw, sprouted quinoa, wild rice or sunflower seeds

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Totally raw, totally awesome tacos

I think during our transition to even healthier foods than we usually eat.. I've discovered our new favorite dish: TOTALLY RAW TACOS!

Yes, I was a tad worried. Much of the comfort in tacos, veggie burgers or even pizza.. is the warmth of the food.. at least for me. So, with these raw food main dishes, would my food just not seem as satisfying?

I can answer this question with an honest and emphatic 'NO!'

The key to our transition definitely includes finding our few favorite staples, just like it is with anyone else's eating styles in their own home. Most people find a few favorite meals and repeat them... with a few surprises mixed in between the favs. Well, I've got a new fav!! (and it only takes 5 minutes to make)

Someone cut the veggies while the other makes the raw taco stuffing.

Ingredients for raw taco meat:
1 c pecans
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1.5 t cumin
1 t chili powder
3/4 t coriander
2 t Nama Shoyu (or soy sauce or Bragg's)
1/2 t jalapeno (or your fav hot spice)
3 T water
optional: 1/2 t celtic sea salt

Pulse, pulse, pulse until chopped up - but not blended. (NOTE: Tyler said he'd prefer it with a few more T of water. But I think the choppy-ness of these was perfect. So try it this way, then if you don't like it add a few T of water.)

Quality spices are KEY! If you think those fresher, more aromatic spices are too expensive.. you're wrong! I did chop, dehydrate and grind my own jalapeno spice - but the others we bought fresh. And I am so glad! Our kitchen always smells fantastic, especially after we open the spice drawer.

Trust me, they're worth it. The cumin, coriander and Nama Shoyu smell GREAT in this dish!!

Tyler also said we should get butter lettuce for our next lettuce wrap - but I think the romaine was perfect for these wraps. So, see which ones you like best! (We use butter lettuce every chance we get. But where we live now, it's pretty hard to find.. and I think romaine is a great, crunchy, flavorful replacement. Just make sure to get romaine with the darkest green leaves that you can.)

We will definitely make this dish on a regular basis!

Serve with:
chopped tomatoes (we had 3 roma between us)
diced avocados (1 per person)
sprouts (we love the "zesty mix" by Now Foods.. so easy to sprout and tastes great on just about anything)
1/2 lime per person


Another option: Tyler loves his raw tacos in a toasted corn shell. They're great, too!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Strawberries with raw whipped cream

Looking for something sweet, I decided to try a raw whipped cream recipe. I only changed it a little:

1 cup pecans, soaked 4 hours
1/2 c sunflower seeds, soaked 4 hours
Juice of 1 orange + juice of 1/3 lemon
3 dates
Up to 1/2 cup water
BLEND completely

You can blend the whipped cream and put it in the fridge during dinner... but when you do this, the citrus flavors become stronger. So I'd suggest using your favorite juice instead of (citrus) orange or lemon. I was thinking that next time we'd use grape juice or maybe just water with vanilla, to make it just a sweet, vanilla-y cream. This would be great on top of a pie!

This version was great.. I just wasn't expecting it to be so lemon-y!

Another guilt-free, sweet treat!

Homemade Naked Juice

Do you love those 100% Naked juice smoothies?

If you haven't tried the Naked Green Machine - you're really missing out! That's (almost always) the only smoothie we splurge on when we're out of the house and thirsty. You gotta try it!

But if you really want a cheap, easy, freshly frozen version.. just make your own! Your homemade smoothies will never be the same twice. You can substitute so many of the ingredients - and get a new, amazing flavor in the process. For example, you can use any green you have on hand: green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, kale or spinach for the green in your Green Machine. You can use any combination of frozen fruits. Here's what we put in this one:

About 1 cup frozen exotic fruit mix (contains cantaloupe, pineapple, peach)
About 1.5 cup frozen strawberries
About 1 cup water
1 freshly peeled orange
HUGE handful of spinach
8 dates (I was happy with 5 but Tyler wanted it a little sweeter.. and it's really great this way, too!)
Blue green algae (optional - try a little at a time)
*Just remember to use whole fruits, not fruit juices

Homemade Green Machine:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chocolate-strawberry mound (raw)

For dinner last night we had more lettuce-wrap tacos. They were great! This time we each had a head of romaine lettuce and we added my sprouted "zesty sprouts" mix and red & brown rice. We both thought something was missing the other day from our taco wraps.. it must've been the sprouts or rice (or maybe the romaine has a stronger flavor and crunch?).. because they were fantastic last night. So much for satisfying!

We've started running this week. I love it! I'm getting the feel-good hormones that I used to only get after a long-distance bike ride. After our fun run last night we gulped down our tacos.. and started craving something sweet. We've gotten into the bad habit of always having dessert!

For this wonderful, guilt-free, sweet dessert... all you do is slice/chop/mince (as small as you can) equal amounts of dates & nuts. I chose cashews because I thought they'd be easier to chop... but I was wrong.

This must be another one of those things you need a blender for.. to chop nuts!

Mash them together and create your crust. (This is the best crust you'll ever taste, by the way.)

Now, slice as many strawberries as you can all over the top. There was also a little juice in the bowl that I poured over the top. And you may have guessed it, I had some more of that maple syrup-cocoa mixture that I poured on top. (It's been in the fridge for a few days.. and it may be even richer than the day I made it.) I only poured a little bit over the top, to give it a lightly chocolate flavor.

There you have it! It took less than 10 minutes to make and made my taste buds so unbelievably happy.

We're getting a blender today.. yay! So, I think I'll try this with almonds next time... for a richer crust. Raw cashews are great but they have a very delicate flavor and I'd like to try a darker crust.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tyler's amazing fried tofu

While I love tofu in all sorts of dishes - stir-fry, tofu 'eggs', smoothies, in pasta sauces, diced, sliced, you name it! - Tyler's fried tofu is warm and squishy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.. and it goes perfectly with steamed or sauteed veggies and rice. And I was craving some rice last night.

Keeping your kitchen stocked with vegan goodies is essential if you want to be able to have healthy, yummy meals whenever you want. So, we bought a huge bag of brown rice and a huge bag of red rice from our local Asian market. I mixed them together in a storage container that I keep on top of the fridge. This way it's always ready to go!

So, I made 1 cup (dried) red and brown rice and sauteed the veggies while Tyler battered and fried his tofu.

We had two zucchini and one squash on hand, that I sliced. I'm sure I'll say this a hundred times.. but I just love cooking in cast iron. All I had to do is wash and slice the zucchini. Then, I lightly sprayed the skillet and tossed in the veggies. I don't even have to pay much attention.. I just flip them over every now and then.

We keep a few boxes of extra firm tofu (packed in water) in the fridge. Simply open the container, drain and cube the tofu. In a small mixing bowl, add about 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, a spoon of cornstarch and 1/2 t baking powder. We don't even add spices - because I tend to love my tofu simple. But you can add any spices that you might like. The tofu is wet, so just dip into the flour a few times and put on a plate until you're ready to fry.

In the end, we either sprinkle a little Nama Shoyu, Bragg's or soy sauce on top.. or have a small bowl of soy sauce on the side to dip your tofu or veggies into.

Ta da!

Look who else loves Tyler's tofu:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stuffed and baked pasta

You have a choice when you make this one: either use chickpeas or tofu. They both do the job - and are very similar in taste and texture in this recipe. I've made this both ways and they both come out great.

1 can chick peas
1 box Mori Nu silken tofu
About 6 oz conchiglioni pasta (or any pasta you can fill)
1 can of your favorite pasta sauce
1 head broccoli
1 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 to 1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/2 cup grated vegan gourmet mozzarella
Mixture of 1/2 c nutritional yeast, 2 T olive oil, 1 t garlic, 1 t salt and water, to consistency

First of all, don't be discouraged -this recipe really is easier than it looks!

Using your pot with stackable steamer start boiling water to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling, throw in your 6 oz of conchiglioni pasta and lower to simmer/warm. Cook halfway - don't overcook!

Meanwhile, cut your head of broccoli - including at least 1 inch of the stalk - into tiny pieces (about the size of a dime.) Throw them into the steamer and cover with the lid. I like the broccoli medium well, but you can steam them as long as you like!

a) If you're using chickpeas, rinse cooked chickpeas and throw into the blender. Add all spices and a bit of soy milk (up to 1/4 cup if necessary.) Blend until it's a slightly wet, textured consistency.
b) If you're using silken tofu all you have to do is open the box, put the tofu into a bowl, add spices and use a fork to squish the tofu (but do not blend.)

Set aside.

When the pasta is almost done, remove and drain into the steamer directly over the broccoli (or in a separate steamer if you wish, it really doesn't matter.) Run the broccoli and pasta under cold water and drain. The cold water stops the cooking process.

a) Either grate your vegan mozzarella (we prefer Follow Your Heart)
b) Or mix or blend the nutritional yeast, spices, oil and water.

Set aside.

Now remove the pasta from the strainer onto a cutting board or other dry surface. Have your chick pea or tofu mixture, steamed broccoli, pasta sauce, cooked pasta and grated vegan mozzarella or nutritional yeast mixture ready!

Here's the easy part: Preheat the oven to 400+ degrees. Pour a thin layer of pasta sauce into the 9"x9" pan. Now you will stuff each shell individually. Just place 2-6 pieces of broccoli into each shell; enough to cover half of the inside of each one. Now, using a teaspoon, fill with chickpea or tofu mixture to the top edge of the open shell. Place open side in the sauce.

Repeat until you have the entire pan filled with stuffed shells. Now pour the remaining can of sauce on and around the shells. Top with 1/2 cup (or more if you want) cheese or nutritional yeast. Spray the top with your oil mister.. this helps it brown on top.

Throw in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Don't be afraid to let it brown!

Not-quite-from-scratch crunchy, fruity yogurt

There are a few whole foods stores in Fayetteville, AR ... which are probably 30 minutes from here. So, we don't like to drive there every week. When we do make it down there (usually to get specialty vegan items) we buy enough for a few weeks, or bulk so we can freeze (or now, so we can dehydrate.)

I love yogurt! But instead of buying pre-sugared yogurts, even Silk or Whole Soy yogurts, we throw ours together using plain yogurt. You can buy plain Silk yogurt in a 32oz container:

From there, we add a little raw cane or date sugar to the yogurt (because it's a bit too tart, even for me), grape nuts or granola along with some sort of fresh or partially-dehydrated fruit.

Serve, unmixed, in a pretty glass .. it always makes quite an impression. Its easy and so pretty!

Now, mix and enjoy!

First sweet living bread

So, before I realized my first dehydrated bread had transformed into rocks I decided to try a sweet bread recipe. Here it is.

Yes, I made this one up on my own~ yay! I am a huge fan of nut butter sandwiches. I don't even care what kind. I'll take peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter, too. They're all great! And I wanted to make a semi-sweet, aromatic bread for sandwiches.

With my ginormous sweet tooth I'm always looking for another way to have a healthy, sweet meal. That's why I added dates, partially-dried fruits and cinnamon to the recipe. The house smells fantastic right now... cinnamon, strawberries... This time I added more water so the sprouts would grind more.. let's hope it worked.

Blending dough, adding spices:

Mandy's Sweet Bread
3 c fresh sprouts (I used 1.5 c kamut, 1.5 c spelt)
1 c water
1/2 c orange juice
5 dates, diced
1/4 c ground flax seeds
2 T freshly ground cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 c chopped, partially-dehydrated fruit

I ground 2 cinnamon sticks in the coffee grinder for this recipe. Freshly ground cinnamon smells WONDERFUL! Our coffee grinder really comes in handy. I've been able to make my own freshly ground herbs and spices lately. I've been buying them on sale and then drying and grinding them. Our spice drawer is so aromatic now!

Also, yesterday I threw a handful of dark cherries and a dozen strawberries directly into the dehydrator. I only dried them overnight, so they were only partially-dehydrated.. since they will be added to the dough and dehydrated more. As before, the dough is very wet but it's easy to shape into pieces of toast.

I put 6 onto a para-flexx sheet:

The other 6 went straight onto the shelf:

Updates to follow!