After attending Chef AJ’s cooking class (click here to read the post about it) we were hanging out at her house when she mentioned a vegan soft serve place nearby…my ears perked right up. Everyone starting raving about how amazing the vegan ice cream was and that it was made with sweet potatoes as a base. I was in like Flynn.
We headed over to Hugo’s to get some amazing soft serve vegan ice cream. They serve chocolate, vanilla, or a swirl of the two (which I opted for). It was AMAZING and so creamy!!! I can’t wait to take my family next time I am up in the LA area with them.
While we were there we ran into one of Chef AJ’s friends, Chef Rawsheed who is a celebrity raw chef and leader within the raw movement having founded Sun Power Natural Cafe. Chef Rawsheed is on the left in the picture below along with Nick whom I met at the class.
Hugo’s vegan ice cream stand is in Studio City at the 101 and Coldwater. While I haven’t eaten an actual meal at one of their restaurants (they have 3 locations), their menu looks great and is filled with lots of vegan and vegetarian options. I am going to have to have lunch AND ice cream next time I go.
I also hear that there is a vegan ice cream parlor called Atomic Number 7 in Henderson Nevada, so you can bet we will check that out too the next time we are in Vegas.
I read cookbooks like novels and absolutely devoured The Art of Raw Food. The information provided within the book is so eloquent and the photography is so simple and striking. I have always loved the Danish design aesthetic of clean uncluttered lines and it really comes through in the styling of this book.
I fear that I neglected my husband for a few night as I read this book cover to cover. Usually after we put the kids to bed it is “our” time to watch a little TV (House Hunters International is high on the list) and hang-out together, but I totally blew him off (sorry honey!) as I escaped into the world of raw food created by Jens Casupei and Vibeke Kaupert.
I appreciate the fact that this book is not just a cookbook (though we all know I love cookbooks in any form). The first 39 pages of The Art of Raw Food are dedicated to educating the reader about raw food by explaining what raw is and why it is important to consume raw food. In the Preface Jens mentions, “When writing this book, I reverted to a very basic question, a question that has lingered in the back of my mind at various stages of my life: Does it enrich me?” It is clear that the recipes in the book are meant to enrich, satisfy, and energize our bodies naturally. I think we often forget that while food is a HUGE source of enjoyment for us, it is primarily meant to sustain us by providing our bodies with the nutrients it requires to function. Jens and Vibeke have written a book and recipes which show us that enjoyment and nutrition can go hand-in-hand.
There were so many recipes I wanted to try while reading through the book. The breakfast porridge and muesli recipes called to me strongly and did not disappoint. I am now a big fan of making oatmeal the raw food way. It is a simple as soaking oatmeal in water for 1-3 days and mixing it with dates, cinnamon, raisins, and a pinch of salt. I learned in the cookbook that “soaking the oatmeal makes it easier for your body to digest the porridge and thus absorb the nutrients.” For those of you interested in the recipe specifics:
YUMMY OAT PORRIDGE
2 cups (5 dls) oatmeal, soaked for 1-3 days (change water and rinse at least once a day)
1/2 cup (1 dl) dates, pitted
1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup (2 dls) raisins
Drain oatmealand pour into a food processor, add dates and cinnamon, and blend to the desired consistency. Season with salt and mix in the raisins.
Serve as is or add extra fruit such as slices kiwis or strawberries.
If the dates are too dry, it is a good idea to soak them for a few hours before use. (you can keep the soak water to use as a sweetener in a smoothie.)
You can vary the taste by adding almonds (soaked overnight) or coconut flour.
The lunch/dinner recipes, soups, smoothies, and dessert recipes tickled my taste buds too. I am always looking for new ways to incorporate the plethora of veggies from my garden into new recipes. Along those lines…
My tomato plants are taking over the world and I have been making all sorts of plans for consuming the gazillion tomatoes I will be harvesting. When I came across the recipe within the book for Stuffed Tomato Hors D’oeuvres I was thrilled because I had never really thought of stuffing my tomatoes with pates and left-overs and it is something that works for so many different sizes of tomatoes. I now have visions of beautiful cherry tomatoes stuffed with olive tapenade, pesto, egg-less salad, quinoa salad (click here for my recipe), etc. The possibilities are endless!
This un-cookbook has definitely earned a permanent spot on my bookshelf.
Salsa Fresca is so basic and something I always have on hand. I make large batches of it and keep it in the freezer in 1 cup portions. The Salsa Fresca recipe below is the secret ingredient in my famous guacamole (friends and family always ask for it when we have get togethers).
Cut the tomatoes in half and seed them. Once seeded, chop the tomatoes into large even chunks (8-12 pieces) and put them into the food processor (you may need to do this in 2-3 batches). Pulse until the tomatoes are the size you desire. Place the finely chopped tomatoes into a large bowl.
Place the cilantro into the food processor and pulse it until it is finely chopped. Place the chopped cilantro in the bowl with the chopped tomatoes.
Cut the onion into 8-12 pieces and place it in the food processor. Cut the jalapeno in half and finely chop it (I wear non latex gloves while chopping jalapenos). If you do not want your salsa fresca to be spicy, remove and disgard the jalapeno seeds. Pulse the onion and jalapeno until it is finely chopped. Place the chopped onion and jalapeno mixture into the bowl with the tomatoes and cilantro.
Place the chopped onion and jalapeno mixture into the bowl with the tomatoes and cilantro. Gently mix the chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, and juice of one lime until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
Springtime calls for lighter fare. For Christmas my parents gave me a Spirooli Vegetable Spiralizer and Slicer by Paderno of Italy (They are available on Amazon). I love it! I actually prefer these zucchini noodles I have been eating rather than conventional pasta. There is a trick to these noodles though. When I first began making them I would spiralize them and then immediately top them with sauce. The dish quickly becomes watery when prepared this way.
In my opinion the best method I have found for making the zucchini noodles is to spiralize them, put them in a colander over a bowl, toss them with a little Himalayan or Celtic salt and then allow them to sweat out some liquid. I leave them for approximately 30 minutes and then rinse the salt off, put them in the salad spinner and they are set to eat.
You will be surprised by how good these noodles are…and the spiralizer can be purchased for less than $40! It is a great addition to the kitchen.
While I took all of the preparation pictures, the image at the top of this post is courtesy of a blog I love, Girl on Raw. Her picture is so mouth-watering. To learn more about Girl on Raw click here.
There was once a time when I would buy Pillsbury cookie dough and eat the whole unbaked sleeve myself (gasp!)!!! Something tells me that didn’t help any of the medical conditions I was experiencing.
I know we all grew-up eating raw cookie dough, but I need to confess that now the idea of eating cookie dough made with raw eggs makes me cringe…can anyone say salmonella? This cookie dough can be eaten without worry since there are no eggs in the dough.
Do you know what else isn’t in the dough? Butter. I have created a healthy cookie dough recipe for those (like me) who have a fondness for eating raw dough. I do however want to point out that this is a dessert and isn’t meant to be eaten in one sitting (although it would be a heck of a lot better for you to eat this whole batch than a whole batch of conventional cookie dough). Enjoy!
Mash together the pitted dates and peanut butter. I wear a latex-free glove and mash them together with my hands. The dates will not break down completely.
Pour the almond flour and flax meal over the date/peanut butter mixture and combine well. You can mash it together with your hands or with a pastry cutter. Add the water and mix well to combine. Add the carob chips and combine.
Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm-up.
Use a small scoop and shape the dough into balls.
Store the completed cookie dough bites in the refrigerator. I store mine in a mason jar.
Sarma MeIngailis is the founder of One Lucky Duck and Pure Food and Wine, New York City’s first upscale raw food restaurant which she opened in 2004. I really appreciate the honesty she writes with and I think you will like her post…
My favorite quote on the issue of being vegetarian, or not. Exactly why I don’t call myself a vegetarian, vegan, raw foodist, environmentalist, or anything-ist.
“I think that people have framed this conversation in absolutes. Either you are or you aren’t. The word vegetarian, I think, does a disservice because there are a lot of people who care but maybe don’t care, or can’t care in an ultimate way. If you think about environmentalism, nobody would ask, “Are you an environmentalist or not?” The question doesn’t make any sense. And the notion that the first time you drive in a car or fly in a plane that you should throw your hands up in the air and say, “Okay, well I give up. I’m not going to try at all anymore,” is crazy. If people thought about food more like how we think about the environment, a lot of people would be eating differently and the whole system would look a lot different.”
– Jonathan Safran Foer, from an interview about his book Eating Animals, with Kiera Butler for motherjones.com.
To see the whole interview click here. To see his book on Amazon… here.
I get asked a lot if I’m vegetarian, or vegan. I don’t call myself or think of myself that way, even though I eat that way most of the time. Just not 100% of the time. And I don’t like rules. Some people are absolutist about it which is actually admirable, but it’s not what works for me. And I don’t think pushing absolutism onto others is what will change the world.
People! Just… shift. I hear this a lot: ”Oh, I tried to go vegetarian but it was just too hard!” Well, did you try just maybe eating less meat? Same thing with being raw. If the goal is to get more people in the world to shift more to raw plant based foods and be healthier (and happier), lets just make it appealing! Not act like it’s a strict way of life, or requiring all kinds of sacrifice and change, which is intimidating.
I may care about the environment enough to recycle, compost, drink out of my own metal bottles, and generally try to be less of a “consumer” of stuff, but I’m still going to hop a plane to Tokyo if I get another invite, and sometimes I take really long showers. It all comes down to thinking about living in a community, which includes animals too, and an eco-system that’s getting seriously messed up. If everyone knew what was happening to the fish in the oceans and what that’s doing to our environment, people would be eating a lot less tuna melts. Or, I’d hope so.
I’m sure anyone who loves JSF’s book and has tried to gently pass it along or suggest it has heard “Oh! I heard about that book. I don’t want to read that… isn’t it going to make me want to not eat meat anymore?” I want to push my head through a wall every time I hear this. Or, push theirs! I mean really… really?? Did you really just say that? Why do so many people have this response?
Part of me wants to shove their face in the book, strap them down in front of the right documentaries, and ask, “Really? You want to keep on F-ing up the world for everyone else, keep everyone on the destruction train until we crash, just because somehow the idea of shifting what you eat is too… too what? Offensive? Difficult?” You really don’t wantto know what you’re eating?
Then I try to relax and get back to my optimistic state. I try to stay far away from being judgmental. But I don’t think what I’m writing here is about being judgmental–it’s about wanting people to be informed. And also, I really don’t want to push anyone’s head through a wall. I mean, I don’t think so.
If you have ever soaked nuts in an attempt to destroy their enzyme inhibitors and increase their digestibility, then I am sure you have noticed that they swell to twice their original size. It was this observation that inspired my latest nut recipe. I thought, if nuts are able to absorb such vast quantities of water, then surely they are able to absorb any liquid…and boy did they! The result is subtle, but oh so good.
2 cups pecans
3 cups fresh squeezed apple juice
1 cup crock pot applesauce OR apple juice concentrate*
1 Tbs. honey or agave syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
*to make this recipe completely raw, you can either eliminate the applesauce or add date paste for sweetness
Blend the fresh squeezed apple juice, applesauce, honey, cinnamon, and allspice in a high speed blender.
Blend in Your Vitamix
Add Spices and Sweetener into the Blender
Place the pecans in a large Glasslock™ container and cover with the apple juice mixture. Allow the pecans to soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Pour Spiced Juice Mixture Over Pecans
Ready for the Fridge
In the morning pour the pecans into a colander and rinse them.
Pour Pecans and Juice Mixture into a Colander
Rinse the Soaked Pecans
Place the soaked pecans on a mesh dehydrator tray (not a Teflex sheet) and dehydrate at 115 ° for 6-8 hours. To ease clean-up, I place a Teflex sheet on the tray below the pecans so it can catch any drips.
Place Pecans on Mesh TrayDehydrate in Excalibur...Tray Below Has a Teflex Sheet
These pecans are so good on their own. I keep mine in the freezer and eat them straight out of the freezer (they are extra crunchy that way). The Apple Pie Infused Pecans would also be a great trail mix ingredient!
I am always trying to create healthier desserts. I was inspired to make this dessert by some dates I had seen stuffed with cheese (I didn’t try them, but like the idea of stuffing dates). Since the dates are so sweet, the filling does not need to be…it would be overpowering if it was. I love how the orange flavor in the filling is subtle, but is definitely there.
2 stuffed dates should be more than enough for each person. I did not make all 36 dates the last time I made these, so I froze the remaining filling to use on another occasion…I’ll let you know how it works out.
Place the coconut milk, orange juice, dates, walnuts, and cinnamon into your high speed blender and blend until smooth.
Once smooth, add the cashews and orange zest and blend until smooth.
Put the completed filling into a pastry bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (2 hours is best).
Prepare the dates by slicing lengthways down to the pit. Open the date carefully (you do not want to tear it in half) and use your fingers to form the date into a circle with the hole on top. Remove the pit.
Pipe the refrigerated filling into the prepared dates.
Top each filled date with a sprinkling of cinnamon and orange zest.
Serve with sliced oranges or mandarins as an accompaniment.
Today’s guest blog is by Kristen Suzanne, who is a leader in the raw food world. She is an accomplished Raw Food Chef and former competitive bodybuilder. Through radio, television, books, classes, and her blog and email newsletter, Chef Kristen Suzanne helps people live life to the fullest with the healthiest cuisine in the world. To learn more about why Kristen chose the raw food lifestyle click here.
Enjoy her post…
Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce
Hemp foods, now widely available in health food stores across the country, are taking the natural foods world by storm! A true “superfood,” hemp is high in protein, has excellent ratios of all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, tastes absolutely delicious, and is amazingly helpful to the environment due to its fast growth and lack of need for herbicides or pesticides.
Hemp is not your typical granola fare — it’s a subtle and delicious dream come true for foodies and connoisseurs of everything exotic and unique!
Let me tell you, this recipe is so good! I mean, like, really really awesomely delicious. I’ve made it every week for the past five weeks because we seriously cannot get enough of it. I’ve made it for lots of different people (non-Raw and Raw) and they all love it… I’m talking “lick-the-bowl-please-give-me-more” loving it. It’s perfect for showing off at the next party you attend or host. And, of course, it’s full of nutrition… hemp seeds (complete protein, essential fatty acids), red bell pepper and garlic (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals), and more. So, without further ado… here it is!
CHEEZY HEMP NACHO SAUCE
INGREDIENTS – Yield approximately 1 1/2 cups
1/3 cup water
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, rough chopped (approximately 1 cup)
1 cup hemp seeds
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon chili powder*
2 teaspoons tamari, wheat-free
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.· Use this for dipping fresh veggies or corn chips (Raw or not – it’s up to you!)
· For those eating cooked vegan foods, this is an awesome sauce on top of veggie burgers
· This also makes a delicious Raw vegan dressing on a hearty salad with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers. You could even sprinkle on some Raw vegan taco meat and Fun Corn Chips for a tortilla type salad.
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
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