Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's a good thing

That last post took a lot out of me, so today, I decided to take it easy with a cup of Joe. Just kidding; I gave that up years ago. But, although it is not technically a part of the raw lifestyle, I have known some raw foodies (but definitely not all) to relax with a cup of tea or Teeccino, the coffee alternative.

According to the Teeccino website, "Teeccino Caffeine-free Herbal Coffee is a delicious blend of herbs, grains, fruits and nuts that are roasted and ground to brew and taste just like coffee.

"Coffee lovers are attracted to Teeccino’s full-bodied, dark roasted flavor and its nutritious health benefits. Teeccino allows coffee drinkers to keep their cherished coffee ritual with all the enjoyment and satisfaction of a freshly brewed cup!"

Now, it doesn't really taste like coffee, but it satisfies my desire to smell its familiar fragrance permeating throughout the house as it brews and inhale the aroma as I consume it. I may not need a cup of coffee to start out my day, but I still love the smell of the corner coffee shop. An occasional Teeccino just takes the experience one step further (and it is nice to nuzzle up with a warm and toasty beverage this time of year).

In contrast to having something to warm my insides, for some reason, I still can't get off this ice cream kick. And, Tanja from Freshtopia just stopped by to comment and fuel the fire.

I had mentioned her in my Nov. 27 post about eco-fashion, which was inspired by one of her recent blogs. She, so sweetly, thanked me for the compliment, and then, she added how she might get out her ice cream maker, after seeing my Cherry "Raw"cia, pictured in the post.

Oh, I hope she does and then vlogs about it. If you haven't seen her famous (at least in the raw food community) vegan ice cream vlog, take a moment to view it at this link. The base recipe is also listed on the blog, as well as some very creative flavor ideas like Saffron Rose.

Another good source for ice cream novices is Raw Food Right Now's ice cream course. Heidi and Justin are releasing an ice cream e-book before the end of the year, so sign up while you still can.

But back to why I mentioned the ice cream in the first place. Yesterday, I received a Martha Stewart's Everyday Food newsletter that actually caught my attention right away (lately, I have been turned off by all the meat and poultry). The highlighted recipe was for Hot-Coffee Ice Cream, so I thought, "hey, I could make that."

First, I made some raw carob "n'ice cream" (pictured at right) and allowed it to set in the freezer (I didn't want it to totally melt as soon as I added the warm liquid), while I brewed some Hazelnut Teeccino. Then, I poured the fresh brew over the chilled dessert, grabbed a spoon and enjoyed every last bite. What an inventive idea; why hadn't I thought of that?

As Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing :-)"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No bells and whistles

Although I usually start out my blog with a colorful photo (I know most of you only stop by for my mediocre photography skills), I decided to go without one for this particular post, which was inspired by liz (one of my readers; hi liz!). She was wondering how I discovered the raw lifestyle, got started living it and managed to stick with it, while most of my household is "cooked."

So, I'll start from the very beginning. I wasn't raised this way. Growing up I ate primarily cooked foods and wasn't even a vegetarian; in fact, I am still the only vegetarian in my family.

My mom always tried to offer healthy choices, although we also ate prepackaged sugar-filled and highly-processed convenience food (oh yeah; I definitely had my share of chicken nuggets, French fries, Twinkies and Ho Ho's). She let me experience being a typical kid, while also fueling my love of fruits and veggies, and other wholesome foods.

She had a garden in the backyard, where we would sneak green onions (of all things), peas in the pod, parsley and other veggies and herbs. She had the typical carrots and potatoes, and she even tried her hand at growing corn and pumpkins (my son and nephews love tending to her mini pumpkin patch she has had for the past couple years). To us, picking a snack from the garden without asking was almost like taking a cookie from the cookie jar.

The best part of her garden was the strawberry patch, which yielded multiple bowls of berries for days when they were in season. We would eat strawberry shortcake almost every night, and my mom would make jam with the excess. But, my favorite way to eat them was raw (I guess I always had this in me).

Unfortunately, when I was very small, I was allergic to strawberries and tomatoes, but lucky for me, I eventually outgrew it. This probably explains my fondness for these fruits today.

I first gravitated toward vegetarianism for health reasons. I just wanted to have a healthy diet. As I learned more about it, my reasons also became ethical. Now, I not only consider what I am consuming for meals, but also what I wear.

I wasn't as strict when I first got together with my husband, who is a meat eater. Obviously, I was willing to overlook that fact since we had a lot of other things on which to base our attraction. Hey, we are still happily together after 8 years.

When we were newlyweds, we would make similar meals, like spaghetti, pizza, etc., but one would be traditional meat-based and the other would be veggie-based. Then, we would still enjoy our meal together. It's just like going to a restaurant and placing individual orders (we used to split a pizza on our first dates to Bertucci's; his side had meat and mine had veggies).

During our first year of marriage, I saw Juliano on television, promoting his "Raw: The Uncook Book." I was so amazed at how he was able to turn raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains into burgers, pizza, burritos and even desserts. I immediately ran out and bought the book.

Unfortunately, I was overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients and my lack of fancy gadgetry. My blender wasn't powerful enough, and I had yet to purchase a dehydrator or juicer (which I did manage to get that Christmas). In the end, I made a couple recipes and gave up on raw for a few more years.

Raw has definitely become more mainstream lately. I really think the Internet has done a lot to help spread the word, especially with all the raw message boards (like Alissa Cohen's Raw Food Talk) and blogs.

Speaking of the Internet, it was where I used to visit the Eat Right 4 Your Blood-type site, another food philosophy of sorts I followed for a while. According to my blood-type, I should be a meat eater, which I beg to differ. However, some of my "beneficial" foods, it recommends, like blueberries, bananas and green leafy veggies, really have proven to be beneficial.

While following this diet, I eliminated wheat, and found that the raw way of eating was a good approach to doing this. As a result, I tried some more simple recipes I found on the Web, with much more success than I had on the first go round.

It's funny. Not long after I gave raw another try, I also learned about Brendan Brazier, a vegan/mostly raw tri-athlete, who is the author of "Thrive" and "The Thrive Diet." In one of the interviews I read about him, he said he once had an interest in the blood-type diet, but didn't agree that he was a meat eater either (he is the same blood-type as me: O). I've noticed that although his meal plans are vegan, they are wheat-free and full of the plant-based beneficials.

Both of his books have been added to my collection since starting my raw journey in July of 2006, as well as some simple and more complex raw "cookbooks." Basic books like "Rawvolution" and "The Raw Food Gourmet" helped me ease into making raw dishes, while "Raw Food Real World" gave me a taste of more gourmet meals and the confidence to pull out Juliano's book again (I have made a lot more from this book now that I am more accustomed to his methods).

If you are new to the raw lifestyle, I advise starting out with basic dishes, like in Ani Phyo's book, and working your way up to the more complicated meals. Otherwise, you'll just end up frustrated.

To start, I ate kale salad all the time, raw fruits and veggies, nutmilks and prepackaged raw treats I would buy off the Internet (now I buy mostly raw ingredients to make these treats myself). I would eat before I went out or to gatherings; gravitate toward veggie trays, fruit plates and salad bars; and to this day carry raw trail mix, dried fruit or bars in my purse for emergencies.

Luckily, I have a supportive family. My husband doesn't mind that I eat raw, as long as he doesn't have to come along for the ride (but if you have a significant other who is willing to try, check out Melissa's post from Love Raw Life entitled, "How I got David to Eat Raw Foods"). My son is not exclusively raw either (Melissa's is; check out Raw Baby Alex), but he has been known to eat raw fruits and veggies, and has even tried and liked some raw bars.

My mom and one of my sisters (the other one is actually allergic to raw fruits and veggies; sad but true) are always willing to try my raw creations and have even made green smoothies a part of their daily diet. My mom actually made sure there were green smoothies for anyone who wanted to try them at the church yesterday (where we were making bon bons for a semi-annual church fund-raiser), and she always makes sure to have fresh fruits, veggies and salad at every Sunday dinner (yes, we eat together every Sunday).

On my husband's side of the family, we eat dinner at his parent's house every Tuesday night. My mother-in-law doesn't do the raw thing, but encourages me to bring my own meal to eat alongside them. I brought my n'ice cream from my previous post last night (that's the great thing about raw; you can eat ice cream for dinner, and it is still healthy and nutritious).

I guess the best advice I can give to you, liz (or anyone else testing the raw food waters), is to start slow, find a good support system and don't beat yourself up if you are not 100 percent (even I have been known to have some steamed veggies or a baked sweet potato when there are no other options available ... but don't tell anyone).

Now, I know this has become quite lengthy, so I'll just add more tips in future posts. In the meantime, keep reading inspiring raw food blogs like the ones on this list, try a new recipe (have you checked out Gone Raw?) find yourself a raw food buddy (mine is Rawbin, who you may have seen commenting on this site), try to locate a raw potluck in your area (yes, they do exist) and good luck :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

À la mode

According to Wikipedia, "'with ice cream' is the often used yet erroneous translation of this French term. The correct translation simply means 'in the current syle/fashion' or literally, 'in the manner of fashion'."

While knitting my bamboo scarf last night, I started thinking about Tanja from Freshtopia and her recent "Green Fashion Plate" post. I've noticed that a lot of raw foodies also try their best to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, whether it be recycling, composting, using green cleaning products, reducing their energy use, driving hybrids or veggie oil-powered vehicles, buying organic or wearing eco-fashion.

If you are unfamiliar with the Freshtopia vlog, you should check it out. Tanja Andrews and Oscar Grimm update their vlog (video blog) frequently with not just raw recipes, but videos that show you step by step how to make those recipes and other posts focusing on the environment.

In this particular post, Tanja was trying to decide what to wear to The Winnies, "a great big new media meet-up and party cleverly masquerading as an awards show," she says.

Her first instinct was to find something economical with limited impact on the environment. She ended borrowing a dress from a friend, which she looked great in by the way. However, if she had bought something new, she would've checked into some of the more sustainable fabrics, like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo.

These eco-fabrics have come along way and can be quite fashionable. Although I try to make alterations (yes, I have some sewing skills) to what I already have in my closet, therefore extending the life of my wardrobe, I find myself adding new pieces made of these fabrics to update my style.

Usually, I go for the more casual looks offered from Jonano, HT naturals or Under the Canopy. I also like American-made and sweatshop-free American Apparel. But, I'd love to own some of the more upscale clothing featured in GLiving's fashion blog, another site I recommend visiting for raw food (Greenchefs) and anything "G," which is its slogan.

In the meantime, I'll express my own personal style with my own creations. I may only know how to knit a scarf at the moment, but I hope to one day design my own bamboo sweater. You've gotta set your goals high, right? :-)

I'll also express myself in my raw food creations. For instance, my raw "n'ice creams," as I call them, are constantly changing based on my mood that day. I was craving some after helping with bon bons again today at my church (it must have been due to being around all that chocolate for hours).

This one is a more gourmet flavor to tie in with this fashion-inspired post. It is my version of Cherry "Raw"cia, although I got a little carried away with the cherries this time (note the very cherry color). It is topped with extra cherries and raw cacao nibs. Oh so good!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to basics

After chowing down on all that heavy holiday food (there are no more leftovers left), it is nice to get back to basics and enjoy a light meal. Tonight, I had a bowl full of veggies with a tomato corn salsa for dipping (I know; not the best food combination, but better than some of the combos I ate this weekend). It may not be the most exciting dish, but it was what my body was craving.

I don't know about you, but after eating a lot of heavy foods, I find myself wanting something light. For instance, when I've just polished off a rich decadent dessert, I often decide to cleanse my palate with a fresh and juicy piece of fruit (again, not the best food combination, but it works fro me). Even my husband, who does not eat raw, also will choose to eat something light following a heavy meal (sliced strawberries and bananas in a bowl is his favorite).

Last night, I finished off almost the entire salad my mom put out with our usual Sunday dinner, as well as a large amount of the veggie tray and fruit. She commented on how she didn't expect the salad to be so popular, and then I surprised her even more when I said it was mainly me who had devoured it.

But back to tonight, I must have satisfied my uber craving for salad greens, veggies and fruits, because I somehow ended the night with a simple, yet far from light, dessert: my "pot-o-chocolate," as I sometimes call it. That's just my fancy way of saying a simple raw chocolate mix in a small bowl (sort of like how some people call Target, "Tar-jai"). It's just raw almond butter, cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla and sea salt stirred together in my own desired proportions and quantity. It really takes care of a chocolate craving in a pinch.

Now that I calmed the chocolate beast, I am continuing my "back to basics" evening with some knitting. I never mentioned that I completed my first knitting project, the scarf I pictured on a previous post. I plan on giving it to a family member for Christmas, although I cannot say which one (you never know who could be reading this).

I have since started another scarf (baby steps; I'm not an expert yet), inspired by the bamboo one my mom made me (I'm wearing it in the Nov. 23 pic). I am using baby blue bamboo, which is soft enough for a baby, too. Here is what I have going so far. I really need to get back to work.

P.S. I just added a pole question to the left. Don't be shy; feel free to input your answer. I'd love to hear from you :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What's hot and what's not

I thought I'd post a little something about the warm and cool foods/beverages I made in the past few days using leftover ingredients from my holiday meal.

I make it a rule to never let food go to waste in my household. My menu for the week is usually comprised based on what I already have on-hand and the shelf-life of each item; special occasions are no exception.

For instance, the first step in making the stuffing involved making a nutmilk and straining out the pulp for use in the recipe, along with only 1/4 cup of reserved milk to add moisture to the stuffing. What would would I do with all the leftover milk?

Certainly, I wasn't going to just dump it down the drain. So, I used it to experiment with the little booger-like leftovers of my failed marshmallow attempt (no, I didn't throw those out either) in a hot (more like lukewarm) cocoa recipe.

I used the room temperature walnut/pecan nutmilk leftover from the stuffing recipe, combined with cocoa powder, lecithin (as a thickener), cinnamon (enhances the chocolate flavor), vanilla (my mom always put it in her homemade hot cocoa), cayenne pepper (to create a feeling of warmth), sea salt and agave nectar; and blended it with hot (but not too hot) water in a blender until frothy. Then, I added the mock marshmallows, which unfortunately, sank to the bottom of my mug, and topped it off with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

To my surprise, by the time I drank down to the bottom of the glass, the faux marshmallows actually tasted a little like the sweet treat I remembered floating at the top of the traditional hot beverage.

This recipe can also be served chilled or over ice.

Even after making this warm concoction, there was still an ample amount of nutmilk left, so I decided to fulfill my pumpkin craving on Thanksgiving (since I had opted to make an apple-based dessert instead) with Penni's Pumpkin Creme Power Shake. It really does "smell like pumpkin spirit" (I love that title). It was like a chilled liquid pumpkin pie filling. I plan on drinking it again soon. Thanks Penni - love your blog :-)

Speaking of chilled, I finally got around to making some banana-based spiced n'ice cream (that's how I refer to my raw "ice creams") to top my leftover serving of raw apple cobbler. It was really good, but I actually preferred my other leftover use-up idea.

I still had some ice cream scoopfuls of raw whipped cream icing (from my marshmallow experiment and cinnobun topping), which I chilled in the freezer. I topped off my last serving of cobbler with them, and decided to snap this pic right before I finished polishing it off. Now, I really want to whip up another batch soon.

To switch from sweet to savory, I definitely had a lot of leftover gravy, so I (not-as-creatively) have been dipping raw veggies in it as a snack. It really does add some flavor to the ordinary raw crudites.

So, what creative ideas have you done with your leftovers?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Early bird catches the worm?

Or something like that. I'm off to go shopping with my mom and sister. Wish me luck finding some raw eats out there. Lunch is also part of our tradition. I think we might go to Chevy's. Yum, guacamole!

P.S. My mom made me this great scarf out of bamboo. Thanks mom :-)


Well, I'm definitely home earlier than expected. Things obviously didn't go as planned.

I rolled out of bed at 4 a.m. to make sure I made it to my mom's house by 5:30 a.m. to go shopping with my sister (the other one couldn't make it because she had a dance rehearsal around 10 a.m.).

When I arrived, my sister was feeling a tad bit under the weather, but since it was her idea to leave that early, she still wanted to go. She is always the most enthusiastic about this trip. In the past, she's been so cute, with all her ads lined up and plan in hand, but this morning was another story.

We went to Michael's first for all the crafty stuff (remember, my mom is a knitter, and there was 25% off throughout the whole store until 9 a.m.), and then across the street to Target for more gifts. I ended up standing in line at the electronics counter for more than an hour, waiting for a game one of the sales people said he put up there for me (they wouldn't let anyone walk through the store with them).

When I got to the front of the line, I purchased what I thought was the correct game, only to find out when I got home that is was for the original XBox and not the 360. My husband informed me of the mix up when I got home early (my sister couldn't "grin and bare it" anymore; she is such a trooper. I hope she feels better now). So, I hiked (not literally) a half an hour each way back to the Target to exchange it. Of course, there weren't anymore left.

At first I was disappointed at how my day was going. I never even made it to Chevy's for our annual girls' lunch, or any other stores. But, that's okay. I now get to spend the day with my boys, and I get to eat leftovers from my raw Thanksgiving for lunch. Actually, I am gobbling (ha ha) them up as I type this.

And, I now have the opportunity to tell you the details as to what is on my plate (pictured on yesterday's post):

Let's start with the stuffing, which I started the night before Thanksgiving. I went with the Southern Corn Nut Stuffing I mentioned in a previous post. It reminded me of the Stove Top I loved as a child. It even smelled like it, especially when it was in the dehydrator. The breading was made in the dehydrator overnight and then reconstituted in the food processor the next day. I will definitely make this again.

I also used the dehydrator for the carrots and the green beans. I marinated the green beans in lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and sea salt; and the carrots in lemon juice, grade B maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cayenne pepper and sea salt. Then, I "cooked" them for a few hours in the dehydrator. They tasted much fresher than their stove top counterparts.

The mashed potatoes are really pureed cauliflower with raw macadamia nuts, olive oil, pepper and sea salt. They don't quite taste the same, but the texture is nice. They are better the next day, and really combine well with the gravy and stuffing in one bite.

The gravy was the mushroom gravy from the Rawvolution book. The list of ingredients were rather extensive, including mushrooms, carrot, celery, onion, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, Nama Shoyu (I used Bragg's), water and sea salt (I eliminated the red pepper and coconut water, and added a little bit of miso and poultry seasoning for more flavor).

The lengthy ingredient list yielded a large amount of gravy. I'll probably be eating it on everything for the next few days. What do you think it would taste good on?

My favorite, and most colorful item, on my dinner plate was the cranberries. I made it last year for a family gathering; my grandmother loved it. I just puree cranberries, apple, orange, dates, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, orange zest and sea salt in the food processor, and stir in some raw walnut pieces at the end. You've gotta try this one. Stock up on cranberries while you still can.

What's a holiday meal without dessert? I ended my evening with a generous serving of raw apple cobbler. The recipe is on the Gone Raw site. I ended up using only about 3/4 of the topping the recipe made, and saved the rest to either make cookies or eat like a cereal with fresh fruit and nut milk.

I had hoped to make raw banana spiced ice cream to put on top, but I ran out of time. That is the beauty of leftovers. I can have it again tonight, and top it off right. Things are definitely looking up :-)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sneak preview

No time to blog today, so I thought I would just give you a sneak preview of my holiday meal today ... and my dessert (Julia Child would've had me clean up the edges of the plate a bit more before snapping that shot, but I was in a hurry).

I'll fill you in on the details later, but I am not sure when. I'll be Black Friday shopping tomorrow with my mom and sister. I must be crazy; we do it every year. Wish me luck getting home in one piece.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Messes and successes

I've been thinking about the questionnaire I posted a couple days ago and trying to stay true to my answers. For instance, I said I was going to make Pasta Primavera this week, which I did successfully (see my Nov. 19th post) , and I am already in the process of starting my Thanksgiving feast. As for the cinnamon rolls, I kinda cheated a bit.

I had hoped to put a new spin on my original recipe, but I am not sure I will have an opportunity to get around to it before the end of the week. Instead, I turned a "mess into a success," as Rachael Ray would say, to change up the usual outcome only slightly.

Actually, the roll itself remained the same; the icing is what was different. I hadn't planned on giving the already prepared buns this particular topping, but fate has a funny way of intervening.

Another answer I gave on the questionnaire was about wanting to find a way to make raw marshmallows. I had succeeded in the past with a cooked vegan version, yet I was clueless as to where to start with a raw one.

However, I was anxious to make my first attempt, which failed miserably. For some reason, I thought I could take the recipe for my favorite fluffy icing (the whipped cream icing Carmella puts on this wonderfully tasty Banana Chocolate Creme Cake), and dehydrate little mounds of it to put in my nearly raw hot chocolate (yes, it can be done; check out Dhrumil's Yerba Mate Latte, another warm raw beverage).

Unfortunately, after many hours in the dehydrator, they resulted in just little gobs of goo, almost like boogers. Yuck! At least they didn't taste like them (as if I would know; I think not). They probably would work in my hot chocolate, but they certainly are not pretty enough to post.

Of course, I was smart enough not to put the whole icing recipe in the dehydrator, so I put some on my cinnamon rolls. They look even more like the real Cinnabons I used to adore, but in my opinion, taste even better (and definitely better for you). Fate definitely works in strange ways.

In conclusion, I am not going to let my first attempt at making raw marshmallows discourage me from trying again. If it had not resulted in error, I wouldn't have had such a lovely topping for my ordinary cinnamon rolls.

Besides, I think I already have another plan in the works. But, if it fails, Sarma, you have to tell me how to make your raw mallomars. Please, just one little hint :-)

Wow, it is beginning to smell like Thanksgiving in here. I've got the Southern Corn Nut Stuffing (from this discussion. Thanks, Maraw.) in the dehydrator as I type this. I can't wait to start the rest of the menu tomorrow. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

In the meantime, Rawbin, in response to your question about some tips to handle your Thanksgiving dilemma, check out Raw Food Right Now's recent post. I am also glad to hear that you won't have to spend your holiday at a restaurant now. But if you did, I'm sure they would make an exception to let you bring in your own food on this special occasion. They let people bring in their own birthday cakes, right?

P.S. Is it just me, but speaking of messes, don't the messiest foods seem to taste the best? These new and improved cinnamon rolls had me dripping icing all over my fingers, but it didn't stop me from savoring every last bite (and licking my fingers clean; I wasn't going to let it go to waste).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

I know; that's the wrong holiday, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the raw pumpkin spice muffins on the Sunny Raw Kitchen website. They remind me of the raw pumpkin muffins in my freezer (hence the small ice crystals on the icing in the pic). I'm thinking about taking them out to thaw for my Thanksgiving menu.

I made them using this raw pumpkin bread recipe, but instead on forming the dough into a loaf, I shaped it into little muffins and topped them with a cashew-based icing. They would be perfect for a fall holiday feast.

As for the rest of my menu, I am still in the final decision making process. I know I want to make stuffing, but I am not sure which recipe to use. Since I am so last minute about this, I'll probably go with this one from my Rawvolution book.

If I had more time, I probably would have gone with this Mom's Famous Stuffing recipe I found today, but I would need to soak and sprout some buckwheat to make this Better Than Sliced Bread recipe first.

I definitely want to make some raw mashed potatoes, too. I originally wanted to use the basic cauliflower-based Rawvolution recipe, but I am also considering this parsnip-based Better Than Mashed Potatoes. I guess it all depends on what I find at the grocery store today.

You can't eat mashed potatoes without gravy. Again, I haven't made a final decision. Either I'm going to make one of Ani Phyo's recipes (her miso or mushroom gravy) or this Mushroom Gravy.

So far, this plate isn't very colorful, so I also plan on making some marinated veggies, maybe some green beans, carrots, broccolini and/or corn. Remember, you eat with your eyes first.

Another addition of color, which happens to be one of my favorites, is cranberries. This is my "go to recipe." I use this Cranberry Sauce recipe, and make the changes I noted in the comment section. I add orange zest, ginger, spice (and everything nice; oops, I couldn't resist) and walnut pieces to make it my own.

Finally, you can't have a proper Thanksgiving without dessert. In addition to the pumpkin muffins, I'll either make a quick raw apple crisp (my mom used to make apple crisp for me all the time), or one of these other raw apple recipes: Ani Phyo's Apple Pie (I'll have to make some raw ice cream for this one, maybe something with cinnamon in it), The Daily Raw's Apple Galette, Apple Cookies or this Yummy Apple Cobbler.

But, I can't forget the pumpkin. Of course, I have the pumpkin muffins, but it would be nice to either prepare a pumpkin soup to start or finish with this lovely pumpkin frozen dessert (I know; it's not really pumpkin). Why hadn't I thought of that?

I also plan on starting off my day with this Pumpkin Creme Power Shake (again, not really pumpkin, but it somewhat tastes like it).

If you still haven't finalized your holiday menu, check out these links for more Thanksgiving meal ideas: GLiving's Sharing Raw Thanksgiving Recipes discussion, Raw Food Talk's Thanksgiving menu discussion and Raw Food Right Now's e-book offer.

P.S. I know this is off topic, but isn't the fall foliage beautiful this time of year. This is what it looks like right outside my door.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How about a "quickie?"

Well, tonight I'm gonna make this post a quickie, so I can hang out with my boys (husband and son).

Speaking of "quickies," you've gotta check out the Quickies pages at We Like It Raw. It is the first place I stop to find out the highlights of the day in the raw community. Dhrumil does spectacular job of searching the Web for raw info, so you don't have to. I don't know how he does it, but he found me within a week of starting this blog.

What caught my eye on his quickies list tonight was Freshtopia's post about Naughty Pumpkin Creme Pie. I love the name, its beautiful presentation and the fact that it actually contains pumpkin (a lot of raw pumpkin desserts use carrot or butternut squash instead).

Which reminds me; I really need to start finalizing my menu for Thanksgiving. I'll post about it when I get a chance.

But, back to this being a quickie, I just wanted to share the dish I made last night. It is the first one I listed as my answer to the three foods I want to make question from the list I posted yesterday. I made the Pasta Primavera (I didn't have red pepper and added some sliced olives) from the Sunny Raw Kitchen website. I highly recommend it. Thanks Carmella!

At the moment, the boys are rock'n out with the Guitar Hero video game (I've had that "Surrender" song stuck in my head all day, complete with the guitar controller clicking sound). My husband wants to add Rock Band (comes out tomorrow) to our collection of video game entertainment, so we can add the drums and a microphone to our performances. I suddenly feel like the Partridge family.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A fiesta in a glass and a Q&A

Another morning, another workout and yet again, another green smoothie.

Here I go again (sounds like an old Whitesnake song from my youth), starting out my day with a tall glass of water, the Girls Next Door workout (my husband surprised me with the DVD, since I've been doing their workout OnDemand) and then a green smoothie (stop me if I start sounding like a broken record).

But, this wasn't just any green smoothie, it was a spin off of my usual Sunday morning beverage or my version of a "cup of Joe" (I no longer touch that stuff). Instead of just having any old chocolate version of this chlorophyll packed liquid refreshment, I experimented with my love of cilantro.

This smoothie contained a ton (not literally) of greens, bananas, wheatgrass, spirulina, a probiotic, maca, raw cacao powder and coconut butter, as well as the addition of cinnamon, cayenne pepper and, of course, a bunch of cilantro. It sounds weird, but it tastes great. It's like a fiesta in a glass. It sort of reminds me of the Mexican hot chocolate I would sample at the Children's Museum in D.C. as a child.

Once I blend up my smoothie, I usually enjoy it at my computer as I catch up on e-mail and check out the blogs of my fellow raw foodies in the community. There is an extensive list on the Raw Food Right Now website. Following other raw food bloggers helps me stay on track, especially since most of the people around me don't live this lifestyle (except for me friend and raw food buddy, "Raw"bin: She made that up herself; she should use it to start her own blog. Hint, hint).

In the process of perusing the other blogs, I became inspired (I use that word a lot; I think I need to pick up a Thesaurus) by Freedom's, a.k.a. The Raw Vegan Princess, blog from a couple days ago, where she gave her answers to a questionnaire from Vegan Mofo. I thought I'd share my answers on my blog, as well.

1. Favorite home-made nut (non-dairy) milk? At the moment, mine is pumpkin seed (not actually a nut) milk sweetened with dates and pumpkin pie spice, perfect for fall.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to make? This changes all the time, but for this week, I'd like to make the Pasta Primavera on the Sunny Raw Kitchen site, a new version of my cinnamon rolls and a Thanksgiving meal.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn? I don't eat popcorn anymore, but I like to substitute spiced pumpkin seeds.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
I've had many, but I can't think of a specific one at the moment. I guess my attempts at essene bread have not had the best results.

5. Favorite pickled item? Raw pickles, of course.

6. How do you organize your recipes? Organize? That's something I still need to do :-)

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I really need to start composting.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be? Spinach, bananas and raw chocolate (surprised that I didn't say, cilantro?).

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood? Baking with my mom. Now, we make green smoothies together. Next, I hope to teach her how to make raw versions of our old baked goods.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream? Anything raw. I really like my versions of Cherry Garcia and Mint Chip.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance? Blendtec

12. Spice/herb you would die without? Cilantro

13.Recipe (Cook) book you have owned for the longest time? Probably the kid's cookbook that I've had since I was little, but as for raw "cookbooks," my first purchase was "Raw: The Uncook Book" by Juliano when it came out years ago.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly? pureed goji berries

15. Favorite raw (vegan) recipe to serve to an omni friend? guacamole; even my mother-in-law likes it.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh? When I have eaten a cooked meal, I prefer tofu due to its versatility.

17. Favorite meal to make or time of day to make it? Smoothies are easy to make and the options are limitless. I love them anytime of day, although I usually have one in the a.m.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator? My second dehydrator that I primarily use for warming raw foods.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking. I tend to freeze leftover raw goodies for future treats. I think I currently have raw pumpkin muffins with cashew frosting, cookie dough morsels and fudge from Naked Chocolate.

20. What's on your grocery list? A lot of greens :-)

21. Favorite grocery store? Trader Joe's or Whole Foods

22. Name a recipe you'd love to rawify (veganize), but haven't yet.
Marshmallows. I don't know where to start. I wish Sarma would share her Raw Chocolate Mallomar recipe she sells at Pure Food and Wine, or put them on her site for sale.

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?
Raw Food Right Now, We Like It Raw and Kristen's Raw

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Anything chocolate :-)

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Raw cacao butter

26. Veganaise or Nayonaise? I'm not a big mayo fan.

27. What is one recipe, ingredient or cooking technique that you've become familiar with in the last year that you can't imagine you ever lived without?
Green smoothies!

28. Do you have a food inspiration in your life? Someone who taught you a lot about making a certain dish, or about food prep in general, or someone who taught you how to truly enjoy food? It can be someone you know or a book author, speaker...anything. My mom. Whenever she travels somewhere or goes to an event, she always has to tell me about the food. She even taught me how to make my first dishes.

So, now is your turn. If you have a blog, have fun posting your answers on your site. I'd love to read them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

There's always room for raw ice "cream"

Can you see what I made last night? I told you I had an idea for a recipe using raw cookie dough, so here it is: "Raw Pomegranate Cookie Dough Soft Serve."

I know it sounds crazy, especially since my last few posts were about staying warm and raw soups. But, no matter how cold the weather gets, there's always room for a frozen dessert. Besides, this is the best time of year to enjoy a recipe using pomegranates, and I just happened to want to try them in this creamy delight.

I was inspired by the raw chocolate chip cookie dough recipe I've raved about from the Gone Raw site. Crisyn, who posted the recipe, mentioned she wanted to experiment with a raw cookie dough ice cream, and I agreed that would be an excellent idea. I really missed the real version and thought it would be great combined with my banana-based version of Purely Decadent's Pomegranate Chip nondairy frozen dessert.

The result exceeded my expectations, although my photography skills failed to do it justice. I quickly snapped a picture before it started to melt. Unfortunately, I did not realize how out of focus it was until I loaded it onto the computer and had already polished it off. Better luck next time.

The recipe was quite simple. Earlier in the day, I made some raw cookie dough, rolled it into little bite-sized morsels and allowed them to set in the freezer. I also removed the seeds from a pomegranate (check out Raw Food Right Now for directions on how to dissect this fruit), putting some aside for the recipe and snacking on the rest for quality control.

Later that evening, I put some frozen bananas, pomegranate seeds, almond butter, agave nectar, vanilla, sea salt and some water into my Blendtec; and blended all the ingredients until smooth. Since the mixture was already chilled, I poured it directly into my soft-serve machine (a glorified home ice cream maker, but any ice cream maker will do), and let it do its thing.

My husband is the sweetest; he got me this machine for our anniversary this summer. I already had a basic ice cream maker, but this one is more fun. Once you get the hang of it, you can get your frozen treats to flow out the bottom, almost like the ones at the ice cream parlors (I thought I'd never get to enjoy that again).

The quickest way to get the best consistency is to start out by making a smoothie to run through the machine. I've even used green and super smoothies in it. I don't want to mention what some of them looked like, but they still tasted good.

Now, back to my recipe. After the pomegranate soft serve poured out of the machine, I mixed in some of the raw cookie dough morsels and topped it all off with more pomegranates seeds. You've gotta try this one.

P.S. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can always eliminate the water and make the frozen dessert in your high-powered blender or food processor. I just wanted to have some fun with my novel appliance.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Keeping it simple

It's always easier to stay raw when you keep your dishes simple, like my raw soups and smoothies. But sometimes, a hectic schedule gets the best of us, causing one to grab for the most convenient food available. When times like this occur, don't reach for the nearest prepackaged processed snack. Instead, opt for fresh foods in their natural state.

After I pick my son up from preschool, I'm usually starving for lunch, while his appetite has been recently fed in the form of his school snack. All he asks for when we get home is an apple or some celery, and maybe some peanut butter (he is not being raised raw at the moment) until he gets hungry again.

I, on the other hand, am ready for a larger meal that takes no time to prepare. So, lately I've been cutting up some fresh fruit, piling it up on romaine leaves and chowing down on them until I've had my fill. The last few times, I've had pears, mango and grapes, but you could pick whatever fruit fits your fancy.

A lot of raw foodists eat very simply. Some are mono-eaters, who select one type of fruit or veggie, and eat until they no longer feel hungry, and the fruit or veggie no longer tastes as satisfying.

The addition of the romaine leaves is similar to eating a wrap sandwich or a hand-held salad. They are great for making raw tacos and almond butter banana wraps. You could also use collard greens, which can hold a lot more filling, but I'd advise using romaine leaves when you want a milder flavor.

Now, if you are still in too much of a hurry to wrap some greens around your fruits and/or veggies, grab a banana. Just peel and eat. It doesn't get simpler than that ... except maybe taking a bite out of a fresh juicy apple :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who's your buddy?

When the weather becomes colder, it gets more difficult to stick with the raw lifestyle, especially if you are living it on your own. For instance, last year, I gave into many cooked temptations simply out of wanting to stay warm and fit in socially with everyone else.

First of all, a chill in the air always makes me crave hot soup, something I addressed in a previous post. Last fall, I immediately pulled out some of my cooked counterparts, when in fact, I've found that I am just as satisfied with the raw version. Adding a little spice and some warm, not hot, water, really does the trick.

Tonight for dinner, I threw together another version of my "what do I have in the fridge tonight" soup. It has a broth made from carrots, celery, onion, parsley, miso, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, a shot of Bragg's Liquid Aminos and some sesame oil. For the veggies, I tossed in some bean sprouts, thinly sliced carrot, celery, mushrooms, red onion and snow peas, and I topped it off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Not bad for a spontaneous recipe.

Another test of the raw foodie this time of year is the start of the holiday season. When you start getting bored of eating off small veggie and fruit (this time of year you are lucky just to find grapes on a cheese plate) trays, the chips actually start to look good (who thought that would ever happen), and its all downhill after that.

But, you can plan in advance for these events by eating a raw meal ahead of time, taking along a few snacks in your purse and/or offering to bring a raw dish to share. For example, I plan on bringing my own plate of raw food to Thanksgiving this year.

I meant to fix a few dishes to share with my side of the family, since they are more open to trying these things. However, it looks as though we will be dining with my husband's side, who would rather stick to their traditional fare. In the past, I would have opted to eat a baked sweet potato and green beans, but this time, I'll have my own plate prepared.

Having a good support system really helps you stay raw. My mom always makes sure to have plenty of raw fruits and veggies at every Sunday dinner (yes, we actually get together for a meal every Sunday), which I really appreciate. But, it would make it even easier with a raw buddy along for the ride.

Lucky me, I've finally found one. My coworker and friend, Robin, has been testing the raw waters for the past few months. She is the one that told me about the importance of having a raw food buddy in the first place.

She went to a women's herbal conference in August where she met Brigitte Mars, the author of "Rawsome." Since then, her growing interest in raw foods has inspired me to stick with the program and get creative in my raw kitchen again.

Thanks, Brigitte, for helping me find my raw food buddy.

To anyone reading this, who's yours?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Livening up my routine

It's rainy and yucky outside, but I won't let it get me down. I started out my usual routine with a tall glass of water and a workout. As a busy mom, I have found that workout DVDs, tapes and OnDemand have been my best friends in terms of convenience. If I had to go to the gym, I'd never stick to a good exercise regime. I rarely even make it down to the basement to use our own workout equipment.

Recently, I discovered the exercise section of the OnDemand service offered by our cable company. When I've exhausted my extensive exercise DVD and tape collection, I turn to this service to liven up my rotation (you should always alternate your workouts, not always relying on the same old standby).

The latest addition to my routine has been the Girls Next Door (Hef's women from the successful E! show) workout video. At first, I had the same reaction you're probably having.

About a week ago, I was flipping through the OnDemand menu with my husband when we came across it. We put it on for giggles that evening, but I decided to give it a try the next day. At that point, I just found the girls to be amusing.

To my surprise, I woke up the next day really feeling the results of this one, which usually happens when I try something new. Talk about a pain in the rear, and my thighs could feel it, too.

Brittany's Bootcamp actually has some great bridges and planks (she keeps one leg lifted), and Holly gets you using weights and a balance ball (but this can be done without them; try water bottles instead of weights). She also has a great ab move using hand weights, while twisting in a modified Pilates "V" pose. Kendra offers a kickboxing style mini workout, but I haven't used it as much.

The three individual workouts are only about 15-20 minutes in length, so its best combine workouts or add some extra cardio. I also take some extra time to stretch (its so important), since this, as well as many other exercise videos tend to only toss in a couple quick stretches at the end (not nearly enough).

After my workout, I had yet another green smoothie combining lots of kale (which can be strong for beginner green smoothie connoisseurs), orange, banana, raspberries, wheatgrass and spirulina. It looked a little sludge-like (berries tend to do that), but it was still good.

Now, that I've kept with my exercise program, I'll feel less guilt later when I polish off some more raw cookie dough. I have a plan for it (the cookie dough) in another recipe; if it works out, I'll share it with you later this week.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Baby, it's cold outside

I don't know what it is like where you are at, but where I am, it's getting cold outside. So, what's a raw girl to do to stay warm?

Of course, the first thing I've done is break out the cold weather wardrobe, including the heavy coat, scarf, lots of layers, and of course, my favorite thigh-high socks (definitely a raw fashionista staple). I have at least a whole weeks worth. American Apparel sells both sporty gym sock-inspired striped pairs and more conservative solid styles, individually and in 3-packs.

As for the scarf, I usually wear one my mother made me a couple years ago, as one of her first knitting projects. She has come along way since then; she now hosts a knitting group at her house once a week, where the ladies of our church get together to socialize, and make hats for the newborns at the local hospital, prayer shawls for those in need, afghans to donate to hospice, hats for women fighting breast cancer and various other projects.

Yesterday, my mom made a second attempt at teaching me how to knit. She showed me once two years ago, but I gave up after about 5 or 6 rows. This time, I think I have the hang of it. It is actually starting to look like a scarf, although it is only about a quarter of the way finished.

This is just a practice scarf. If I make it through this one, I hope to try it again using a really soft bamboo yarn I found recently.

Another way to warm up is by spicing up your raw cuisine. I find that adding cayenne pepper to my dishes and smoothies really helps heat up my insides. You can even add fresh jalapeno or habanero peppers, like Kristen Suzanne of Kristens Raw.

She says, "They warm you up in winter, so if you live in a cold climate and you're trying to stick with Raw food, add some hot peppers to your diet."

My favorite raw dish to have for dinner this time of year is raw soup. There are plenty of recipes out there, but I usually just create something on the fly with whatever I have in my fridge at the time.

Most raw soups are purees, like butternut squash soup and classic tomato, but I usually prefer something that incorporates more textures. Matt Amsden has a good Dixie Chicken Chicken-less Noodle Soup in his "Rawvolution" book that combines a raw broth with diced carrots, celery, mushrooms and zucchini "noodles."

Tonight's meal consisted of a raw broth made out of a miropoix (a fancy way of saying, carrots, celery and onion), tomato, water, miso, garlic, cayenne pepper (of course), fresh parsley and herbs de provence. I just blended all these ingredients in my Blendtec until smooth, scraped the foam off the top (this just makes it look prettier) and poured it over some thinly cut veggies (I used zucchini, yellow squash, carrot, celery, tomato, red onion, peas and corn kernels).

You can either enjoy your bowl of deliciousness right away, or warm it slightly in your dehydrator (yet another way to turn up the heat this time of year and still stay raw).

If you still need some inspiration, check out these other raw soup ideas: Fiery Lava, Spicy Lime Green Cilantro Soup (you know how much I love cliantro), Red Pepper Gazpacho, or one of these recipes from the Sunny Raw Kitchen.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Shake your money maker!

There I go again with the exclamation point. I promise I won't make a habit of this (adding an "!" to the end of all my post titles). I just needed to express the energy I am feeling right now as I drink my "Shake Your Money Maker: Super-Food Shake" from Matt Amsden's "Rawvolution" book.

This super-duper shake contains raw carob, cacao (powder and butter), agave, goji berries, hemp protein, raw almond butter, pumpkin seeds, mesquite, lucuma, maca, coconut butter, vanilla, sea salt and spirulina; everything but the kitchen sink. The list is so long that I may have missed something, but if you want to double check, you've gotta get your hands on this book.

Now, I did make some substitutions. For instance, the real recipe calls for cashews or hemp seeds, and I opted to use pumpkin seeds. I think I was inspired by Raw Model, who uses them in his super smoothies. I also used water instead of the water and flesh from 2 Thai coconuts (Well, if you've read one of my previous posts, you know that story).

This smoothie is very thick and satisfying; it takes a while to drink it. If you let it chill for a while, it also makes a good pudding.

The yummiest ingredient in this shake is the raw cacao butter, which I purchased online at NaturalZing. You can make this recipe without it, but the addition of the cacao butter really puts it over the top.

I'm also bouncing off the walls, because yesterday, Dhrumil from We Like It Raw mentioned me on his Quickies page. I've also had comments posted on my blog from Tanja of Freshtopia and Kristen of Kristen's Raw. Thanks you guys :-)

Today is going swell (There I go being cheesy again). I got in another morning workout, had a vanilla, lucuma, banana green smoothie (the name says it all), followed by this afternoon "shake," and now, I am sitting in the sunshine (The blinds are open near the computer), hopefully getting a healthy dose of vitamin D (can I get it through the window? Maybe I should go outside).

P.S. I tried to get my shirt in the pic with my smoothie (I've gotta stop taking my own pics). I made it this summer and dug it out again this morning since I have this blog. It says "(RAW)DORABLE" on the front, and "Be Cute Eat Fruit" with a little strawberry on the back. I was inspired by the Gap's Red Campaign and the shirts on this cute site.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good green morning!

Good morning! I just started out my day with my usual workout, followed by a yummy green smoothie. Today, I loaded up the Blendtec with spinach, romaine, cilantro, mango, pineapple and peaches.

I just adore cilantro. I highly recommend combining it with mango in either a green smoothie, raw pudding or mango salsa. However, I will warn you that the flavor can be very strong, so unless you are as big a fan as I am of this delectable green, you might want to start with using only a little at a time.

I didn't realize how much more I appreciate the flavor of cilantro than the average person until I let my mom try one of my cilantro mango green smoothies on vacation this summer. She really liked it (this was her first dip into the world of green smoothies), but mentioned she would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been so heavy on the cilantro.

Now, my mom has added a green smoothie, almost daily, into her usual routine. She even got a Blendtec for her birthday, so she can easily blend her own green creations.

Anyone can make a green smoothie. All you have to do is combine a mix of your favorite greens in a blender with some liquid and fresh/frozen fruit of your choice. Pulverize the ingredients into a smooth, drinkable concoction (you don't want leafy green pieces still floating around to ruin the experience) and enjoy!

But, if you need some smoothie ideas to get started or to take things up a notch, here are some of my favorites: Green and Gone Smoothie (on the Gone Raw website), California Dreamin Wheatgrass Smoothie, Instant Karma Kale Breakfast Smoothie, Strawberry Maca Mudshake, Freaky Tiki and Stacy's Happy Shake.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Cookie dough and cinnamon rolls

Well, I remember one reason why I wanted to buy some more raw tahini. I've had a craving for raw cookie dough, which I finally had an opportunity to satisfy last night. I got the recipe off the Gone Raw website, a great place for finding new raw recipes and participating in its raw online community.

Which reminds me; I haven't posted a recipe on there in a long time. I guess I need to get my thinking cap on, and start experimenting in the kitchen again. I only have five or six recipes posted on the site, and it's been about a year since I added them.

One of the recipes I posted was for raw cinnamon rolls, which I have been enjoying again recently. It must be due to the colder weather. They just remind me of the holidays.

I started out my day this morning with two raw cinnamon rolls with almond butter icing, some red grapes and sliced MacIntosh Eco-Apples, which I picked up from Trader Joe's yesterday. Inspired by this new blog, I actually took a picture of my breakfast. We'll see if I am successful in posting it on the site. I have my fingers crossed that I'll be able to figure it out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The long trek to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's

Today I made my occasional trek to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Usually, I have to do all my grocery shopping at Safeway or Giant, since that is about all we have in my area. I also like to buy fresh produce from the local farmers during the warmer months when you can find them selling peaches, tomatoes, corn and more at the roadside stands.

Now that the weather has grown cold, I can still find a few stands that offer apples or pumpkins, but no where near the selection offered during the summer. Oh how I miss peaches. They were wonderful in this raw peach cobbler recipe. Even my some of my nonraw family members enjoyed it.

The nearby grocery stores are lacking in their organic produce and other raw ingredients, so from time to time, I make a special trip to the closest Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, which are more than a half an hour away (but well worth it).

The best thing about shopping there is the variety of organic greens. I only buy organic greens for my smoothies, and the selection is limited in my area. I can only find spinach, mixed greens and romaine.

But, at Whole Foods, I can find so much more. There is rainbow chard, kale, arugula, watercress, and the list goes on. Today, I got the usual spinach, mixed greens and romaine, with the addition of chard, kale, parsley and cilantro. I can barely fit all those greens in my fridge. What a wonderful way to get some protein and calcium.

Speaking of protein and calcium, I've been meaning to buy some raw tahini for a while now, but every time I look for it, there isn't any on the shelf. Lucky me; today I got my hands on some. Now, I just need to recall what I wanted it for.

I also got a wealth of other treats, like goji berries, agave, dates, raw pumpkin seeds, Lara bars and more. The only thing that was missing from my list was young thai coconuts. I used to be able to pick them up all the time from Whole Foods, but they haven't been there for months. Could I have been looking for them in the wrong spot?

Well, it seems that may have been the case. I found one lonely coconut nestled in the corner of the precut fruit fridge by the floral section. Why would it be there? I don't know, but it turned out to be quite the tease. Can you imagine my disappointment when I picked it up and found the discoloration on its bottom, signaling its spoilage? Well, at least I know where to look next time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Making bon bons

Yesterday, I spent the majority of my time helping my church make bon bons as a fundraiser. We've always made 5-oz. personalized chocolate eggs for sale at Easter time, and due to their overwhelming popularity, we have since branched out to include bon bons for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The bon bons come in four flavors: buttercream, coconut, chocolate and peanut butter. They smell delicious. Many of the candy mixers, molders, dippers and decorators are tempted to create an occasional "dud" so that they can have a test taste.

But as for me, I do not partake in their sampling. For one, they are made with real butter, and two, I've been doing such an excellent job of staying raw this year, which has inspired me to make my own bon bons to share. I just need to find the perfect recipe.

In the meantime, I'll have to satisfy my cravings with some of my raw favorites. The easiest substitution is just a mix of raw almond butter with cocoa powder, vanilla, agave nectar and sea salt.

Another simple raw sweet confection is the raw chocolate macaroon from Raw Food Real World, one of my all-time favorite raw recipe books. They are made with cocoa powder, coconut oil, maple syrup (Grade B, of course) and coconut flakes. And, if you don't feel like making them yourself, you can always purchase them off the website. They also come in blonde (the vanilla version).

I've also been thinking about making the hazelnut chocolate snowballs on the Kristen's Raw blog.
I just need to get my hands on some raw hazelnuts first.

Back to the Daily Raw Cafe again, Teri has posted a yummy looking raw version of a raw Milky Way bar, called the "Legally Raw Bar." I'll definitely have to try that one, as well as the Tootsie Rawls recipe I also found on the web, although I can't recall its origin. But, of course, you can find it on

Now, I've saved the best for last. I've been dying to make the Super Candy on the Freshtopia vlog. Tanja, you've really outdone yourself with this one. All I'm missing is the He Shou Wu, which is obviously something I can't just pick up at the local store. I guess I'll have to order some asap.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Family critique, avatars and raw cupcakes, oh my

Well, last night I showed off my new blog to my family. My mom and sister definitely got a good laugh at what I wrote. That's what I get for not thinking before typing. They especially got a kick out of the part about me being "somewhat attractive."

Now, they weren't saying that I'm ugly. They were just surprised at how cocky I sounded, which is totally not like me. So, I apologize for my lack of modesty. I just couldn't find the best way to say I have a good personality without making everyone think I don't have a face to match it.

Ugh. After that blunder, it will probably be a while before I get up the confidence to actually post a photo of myself. For now, I'll just be a figment of every reader of this blog's imagination. Or, maybe I'll just post one of those cartoon avatars. Teri from the Daily Raw Cafe has one on her site. Check it out.

I love her blog. She updates it almost daily. If you want a better idea as to what a more gourmet version of raw eating is, she has plenty of examples.

Last week, I made the raw cupcakes she has on her site, except I used the coconut whipped cream from the Sunny Raw Kitchen website, another favorite of mine. Delish! Much better than their baked counterparts. I'll have to start bringing them to family birthday celebrations.

Whenever I catch myself falling off the raw wagon, it's usually due to a desire to fit in socially. No one in my family is raw, although some are willing to experiment when I bring a raw dish to share. I almost feel the need to indulge in unnecessary desserts at family functions just to appease certain family members.

For instance, in the past, I have been provided with special soy frozen desserts and sorbets (they understand that I won't eat any animal products), so I can still participate in the traditional cake and ice cream. Otherwise, with some advance planning, I try to bring some raw banana-based "ice cream" or a dense carrot or nut "cake."

Maybe if I start bringing some of these mini raw cupcakes, their festive look and tiny packaging might inspire others to try these little gems. I hope this post inspires you to do the same.

P.S. Check out my new avatar!

Yahoo! Avatars

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's about time

I've been planning on starting a blog for a long time, and finally, I've got one. Of course, I really haven't thought much about what I would write for a first post, but here it is anyway.

I guess this is just the generic introductory post, but hey, it is a start. I know, it's been done many times before; no wonder I had so much trouble coming up with a name that wasn't already taken.

So, let's just start with the name: "Rawdorable." Cute? More like cheesy, but somehow it suits me. I'm not drop dead gorgeous, but I'm somewhat attractive for a 31-year-old wife and mom. I also have a bubbly easy going personality. It's good to have a little bit of confidence.

As you can see from the title, I eat mostly raw food and avoid animal products. I start almost everyday with a green smoothie (don't knock it until you try it), and I can't get enough of fresh fruit. I just finished a very tasty green chocolate banana smoothie, my usual Sunday morning treat.

For anyone reading this who is not raw, please don't think this is some crazy unfamiliar way of eating. You probably eat this way more than you think. For instance, do you eat salad? Nibble off of raw veggie trays? Savor the fresh fruits of summer? Grab a banana on the go? (Gotta love that eco-friendly packaging) Or, even enjoy a raw salsa/guacamole or gazpacho? All these everyday foods are naturally raw, but there are so many more raw options available once you learn more about it.

Stay tuned and I'll give you more tastes of my raw and natural lifestyle.