Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Raw sun-dried tomato cheeze

This week we're trying Ani Phyo's pates and cheezes.. and yesterdays was GREAT. It's very Italian. I would like to try this one on a raw pizza, if I can ever figure out how to make one. :)

So, all I did was make a cheezy lettuce wrap with sliced tomato and avocado:


This recipe made extra and would feed 2-4 people, depending on how many other things you fill the wrap with.

1 clove garlic
1/2 t sea salt
1 c Brazil nuts
juice 1 lemon
1/4+ cup water (or enough to make smooth)
1/2 c sun dried tomato, chopped

I didn't follow the directions, so I made a pretty chunky cheeze - that was great in lettuce wraps. Next time I'll make it smother for a pizza or sauce for noodles.

Basically, I threw it all the ingredients into the blender and added enough water for it to blend into a chunky cheeze.

If you want a smoother version, Ani Phyo's directions say to powder the nuts before adding to the food processor. And blend everything except the tomatoes. Then, when your cheeze is smooth as you want just hand-mix in the tomatoes.

*Most of our meals are simple like this. And you'll be amazed at how different each wrap tastes, even though you're not changing much. It's so simple and YUMMY.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Raw kitchen essentials

I'll try to list where we buy these essentials in NWA. If you're really serious about going raw, your shopping list should look a lot like this. If you're still buying packaged foods along with a few fruits and veggies, and you wonder why they go bad.. it's probably because you know you have those packaged foods to fall back on.

Try going to the grocery store and only shopping in the fruit and veggie section. That's it! See what you can come up with.



Raw nuts and seeds (in bulk at Cooks, Ozark Natural Foods or the local natural market in Rogers)
Dates (local natural market in Rogers or sams)
Cold-pressed olive oil by the gallon (Whole Foods.. we use so much of this stuff!)
Raw nori sheets (not available here.. We buy from Whole Foods or online)


If you want fresh, organic foods.. go to the farmer's markets! We thought there was only one good market in this area but actually we found several. Bentonville's market is actually great. Rogers' market is kind of small but respectable. Fayetteville's market, of course, has a much bigger selection (but we don't like to drive that far often.) Either way, you know your produce is local and organic. Support your local farmers whenever you can!

Weekly or bi-weekly buy:
your favorite fruit and veggies

Some of our usuals:
Herbs: cilantro, basil, parsley and mint (from the Asian market in Rogers.. so cheap!)
Butter lettuce (hydroponic and organic)
Romaine lettuce (organic in a bag)
Red cabbage
Tomatoes (the only organic veg we can find at Sams)
Zucchini (for noodles)
Strawberries, blackberries and/or blueberries
Apples (prefer from farmer's market)
Pineapple (great fresh or dried.. Sadly, I've never found organic.. only stupid Dole.)

We vary fruit and veggie selections as they go in and out of season. Don't be afraid to try something new. Your meals don't have to be fancy to be tasty. Simple veggies with a raw pate can be very satisfying! Try a raw cheese or raw nut pate. Slice up some veggies. Voila... you'll have an easy dinner. Plus, these raw pates and cheeses can last for several days in the fridge. So, make a big batch of your favorite so you'll have it ready at all times. (Like today I'm having leftover sushi from yesterday. Yay!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to raw

So, a few weeks ago we visited my family in Texas and stayed for almost a week. Do you know how hard it is to be vegan in someone else's kitchen?.. well, it turns out that it's even harder to add the raw element to that. Wow. We did bring some raw nuts with us and made our favorite raw pistachio pesto (using home grown herbs!) Surprisingly, my southern, meat-eating parents actually loved the pasta. It was great.

But since we got back I've been out of the groove. I haven't kept raw milk around. We've been eating out a lot lately, though I don't know why. There aren't even any good salad bars around here so when we eat out, it's vegan but not raw.

That's all about to change. I was caught off guard last night when my husband told me to start making raw foods more often! He begrudgingly admitted that he hasn't been feeling as well since we got back from TX.. and it must be because we're not eating as much raw food anymore. Awesome! Until now, he's never understood how I feel after a workout, with feel-good hormones rushing through me.. or how after eating raw for a few weeks that I don't sleep as much and I just feel happier all the time. It's quite remarkable, actually.

The thing that clinched it for me was last night. Oh man, I've never actually started a fire in the kitchen before. But I was making a big salad with raw dressing, as usual.. but to surprise him I had sliced some corn tortillas and was baking them to make crispies for his salad. I opened the little oven and flames came out! All I could do was yell "Fire! Help! Fire!" Yep, I actually did that. I also threw about a gallon of dirty dish water into the oven. It was out in just a few seconds. But it certainly felt like longer! ha

Well, it's back to raw for us. I'm so glad! I pumped up my workout today and had raw sushi for lunch. It's a great start to our two weeks of raw. (With Thanksgiving coming up we won't be raw at his parent's house. There is always lots of vegan food and we'll make a few raw dishes, I'm sure.. but I'm definitely going to have some Tofurky. We only do it once a year, after all!)

Hopefully we'll have some new recipes and dressings to post. But we have our few favorites and most are posted here.. we make those all the time.

That's the key to eating any way you choose. Don't buy foods you don't want to eat. Buy healthy, you'll eat healthy. It's really that simple. The past few weeks we've been eating vegan pizza - because we've kept crusts, sauce and veggies around. But we're back to walking into the grocery store, buying only the foods in the raw fruit and veggie section - and leaving. That's it! Buy low on the food chain and you can't go wrong.

I promise I'll try to post some new recipes in the next two weeks. We need to try new dressing recipes, anyway.

Monday, November 2, 2009


As the new Volunteer Coordinator for Northwest Arkansas Animal Rescue, I can't resist posting this!

If you're in Arkansas.. check us out! (Links below are active.)


Rawlicious caramel apples

Who doesn't want a caramel apple??? As a vegan, I'm never really tempted when we walk past a sweet shop because in general, especially where we live now, there is never anything vegan. But as a date fanatic I really wanted to find new ways to enjoy them every day. That's how the caramel apple experiment began!

This is a great, fall treat. Plus, this batch (which I thought would be just enough for the 2 of us) actually lasted a lot longer. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days.

Serves 2, several times

1 c dates, soaked a few hours
1/4-1/3 c raw agave syrup or maple syrup
1/4 t maca (optional)
pinch salt
1/2-1 t vanilla (preference)

I put the dates into my little blender, pressed them down and filled them with water. (I was only going to soak them for an hour but I forgot about them!.. and they ended up soaking for a few hours.)

Generally, the softer your dates are the creamier your dessert will be. And if you're like me and you don't have a high-powered blender like a Vita-mix, you have to make sure your ingredients are soaked through before blending.

So, a few hours later I made the caramel by pouring out the soak water and adding my ingredients. Then I blended until smooth. This little blender is AMAZING! We use it for everything now because our blender, which we bought at a local kitchen shop, doesn't even compare.


We served with our favorite apples - some local gala and store-bought red delicious. I was ready for dessert immediately so I served it right out of the blender. That meant our caramel wasn't cold. It's still great, though! So it's your choice.. serve immediately or put in the fridge to cool first.

Optional: this batch of caramel made enough for 2 desserts for us to share and I'll be finishing it today by myself. To mix it up we made a batch of raw chocolate syrup and poured it over the caramel last night. WOW! Chocolate-caramel apples?? Yes!.. they are rich and fantastic without making you feel over-sugared or heavy.

Raw creamy cilantro-lime vinaigrette

Let me just say.. YUM! I am so happy with my new blender. It's fantastic! I have so many glass jars that fit it that I can blend a dozen different things in a day if I want!.. without ever washing a glass!

Today we were having a Mexican-inspired salad (my husband was having brown rice and black beans on his) so we wanted to make our usual cilantro-line vinaigrette. But as I was cutting the avocado I realized I should throw some into the blender with the dressing, to see if I could make a creamy version. Score!

Serves 2

juice of 2 limes
up to the same amount of olive oil as lime juice
large handful of cilantro leaves, washed
dash of salt
dash of apple cider vinegar (the more you add, the more vineger-y the dressing will be)
about 1 t raw agave nectar (to balance the vinegar)
1/2 - 3/4 ripe avocado
(NOTE: to make original version of dressing, just leave out the avocado)
(NOTE: to make dressing that isn't a vinaigrette just leave out the vinegar and agave)


Just blend!


I know, this picture looks messy.. but it was unbelievably yummy! I honestly didn't think we could beat our original cilantro-lime vinaigrette.. but we totally did. This is our new favorite.

And because it's raw, we can use as much as we want without any guilt. The dressing is mostly avocado.. no dairy or processed fillers! So, enjoy!