Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I had planned on posting this indulgent treat tomorrow to celebrate the end of the year, but due to my crazy schedule, I opted to share it with you now.

I've been so busy that I didn't get an opportunity to rawify these walnut cookies Martha Stewart demonstrated on her show in time to leave some on Santa's plate. I guess they'll have to be celebratory cookies instead.

What am I celebrating?

Well, the end of the old and the beginning of a new year, as well as a new addition to my friend's family. She welcomed her little Leo into the world only one week ago (Congratulations Becky and Richard!).

Hayden (who was fascinated with the baby, that was half her size) and I brought a couple of these cookies to her yesterday, along with some chocolates and flowers. And, since others had come up with similar ideas, we spent the day catching up while indulging in chunks of fudge, homemade peppermint patties (have you checked out the ones on Averie's site?) and rich vegan brownies.

The end of the year is like a last hurrah; similar to Mardi Gras, we tend to feast before starting our new resolutions. In fact, baked (and in my case, unbaked) goods are traditionally served at many new year's gatherings, sometimes containing a special trinket inside (sounds like a King Cake to me).

What better way to celebrate than with these unbaked walnut cookies. They hold an actual walnut on a bed of chocolate within their doughy shells. Here's how it's done:

Unbaked Walnut Cookies
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup oats
1-2 Tbsp. agave nectar
sea salt
*chocolate sauce and extra walnut pieces to hide inside

In high speed blender or food processor, grind nuts and oats into a flour and transfer to a bowl. Add sea salt, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Drizzle a little of the agave at a time, mixing it into the flour to create a dough. The amount may vary, but the end result should be wet enough to hold together and dry enough to form into cookies.

Divide the dough into six sections and roll into balls. Shape the dough balls into walnut shells with a flattened base. Cut each "walnut" in half like a sandwich, and use your knife to make the decorative lines on top.

These cookies can be "baked" in the dehydrator or firmed up in the fridge. Fill the centers with chocolate sauce (mix a little agave at a time into some cocoa powder until it becomes a thick icing-like paste) and pretty looking walnut pieces (try to find the whole ones, if you can). Then, share them with a friend.

Here's who I have to share with in the new year (I just adore this photo from Christmas day, so I thought I'd share that, too). See you next year :-)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Year in review

With all the newscasts and other shows compiling their year in reviews, I thought it would be fun to revisit some of my posts from the past 12 months. Here are some of my favorite memories, complete with links to when they happened.

January 2009

I didn't post much that month, but I hinted as to what would be the newest addition to my site. I thought I had easily given away the surprise, although some readers took a bit longer to figure out the clues.

February 2009

In February, I continued to hint as to why my taste buds had changed and the activity had dropped on my site. By the end of the month, I introduced everyone to the "not-so-secret" secret.

March 2009

Still not feeling much like blogging, I only posted four times that month. But, thanks to my buddy Rawbin, I got to experience my first real raw mallowmar from Pure Food and Wine. Up until that point, I had to rely on my imagination and kitchen experiments.

April 2009

Now, I really fell off the bloggin' wagon that month, but I did use my site to share some good news; "Dumpling" could now be referred to as "Hayden," our little girl.

May 2009

Another slow month, but my eating habits were improving. The local farmers market opened for the season, and my cravings became more raw.

June 2009

Things picked up again that month. I was thriving on raw pudding, celebrating National Doughnut Day, eating the colors of the rainbow, appreciating the flavors in season, scrunching and munching, and making my own takeout. I even found time to take Jacob to golf camp, and document his experience in photos.

July 2009

That month was full of raw food and fun. I was craving kale salad, sampling recipes from Sarma, Heidi and Justin, and bringing back raw cupcakes. I even attended a raw social outing, thanks to none other than Rawbin (she used to thank me for introducing her to raw, while I'm grateful she reminded me why I love it).

August 2009

August was really special, as my due date was quickly approaching. I got creative, jewelry making and onesie decorating. I did some house cleaning and took a break to celebrate International Green Smoothie Day (always good on the go). Then, I tested out my version of "the dressing" to see if it worked, and the result came out the next day. The following posts were all about showing her off.

September 2009

Little lady gave me inspiration to post that month, mainly so I could blog about her or share a sweet pic. Almost as sweet was my banana n'ice cream, which I consumed daily in either a sundae or other form. I took a tip from Maggie Moo's, serving it like a cupcake. I'd eat it for breakfast or just grab one in a pinch (I had some chubby cheeks as a child, and so does this little mini me). I even opted for some nontraditional, but delicious toppings.

October 2009

Amazingly, I posted everyday that month, with the support of my new friend, Averie. I participated in Vegan Mofo III, sharing some frozen treats, both new and old, and cozying up with some zucchetti stoup and other yummy warm, but raw soups. I did some brunch making, featuring a semi-raw French toast, cookie unbaking with peanut-free PB cookies, and celebrated Halloween present and past, in food and costume form. And, of course there were cupcakes, and more cupcakes galore. Here is one of my faves; okay, just one more.

November 2009

In November, I cut my blogging in half, while still finding time to reminisce about the prior month's mofo in cupcake form. I molded, shaped, sandwiched, split and unbaked. Then, I took veganized to rawified and had a mini feast. I flashed back to past Thanksgivings and offered it up as cupcakes, too. Lastly, I had some leftovers, leaving room for just one more cupcake. Mmmm.

December 2009

Although we are still in this month, I figured I'd sum it up anyway. I started out claiming that you wouldn't hear from me so much (except for Jacob's birthday, of course), but since I got a new camera for Christmas, I've already out-posted last month. It inspired me to unbake some new raw cookies for Santa, including Rawtess Snowballs, candy cane cookies, fruity window panes, misfit cookies and last minute wreaths. I even got to guest post on Averie's site. I finished off the month with snow pics, a gingerbread kick and some recycled jewelry. Now I'm reflecting back on it all and looking forward to the future :-)


monday, december 28, 2009, continued ...

Don't forget to vote

In case I don't get a chance to remind you again, don't forget to vote for the Best of Raw. I'm nominated for best blog (just in case you didn't have anyone else in mind, although it looks as though I've already got an award). Thanks for the love and support :-)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas recycled

When you put it that way, it makes regifting so much more socially exceptable, especially when it is agreed upon in advance.

You see, since the economy is the way it is (I'm also on unpaid maternity leave at the moment), my side of the family decided to put a limit on the amount we spend on each other, while also encouraging handmade gifts. I admit that I did purchase most of the presents for the boys, but I put my creative thinking cap on for the girls.

I took these pics of their gifts quite some time ago, waiting until the last minute to share them with you. The recipients actually read my blog, so I needed to keep these a secret.

Now, my mom and sisters do know they'll be receiving jewelry, as I did receive some requests. What they don't know is how I incorporated some old pieces to create an entirely new look.

For my mom, I added some photo charms from back in the day, filled with pics of my sisters and I as kids. I don't think she knew I still had them.

My youngest sister is usually on trend, so I put together a layered look in black and white for when she goes out at night. One strand is actually an old belly chain, a fad that is probably before her time (she's 10 years younger than me).

The other sister will be receiving my favorite necklace and earring set of the bunch, in colors that make me think of her. On the end of the longer strand is a chain that once hung from a choker, yet another fad we fell victim to. In fact, I think this particular choker once belonged to her.
I hope they like their recycled Christmas presents. I feel like I brought new life to some of these forgotten items.

I'm also dusting off some old items around the house to regift in our annual family present swap. Our extended group has gotten so large that you can't possibly get something for everyone, nor be sure who will be able to make it to the event.

The gathering was planned to take place last Saturday, but due to the weather (we had a blizzard), it was postponed until now. Whoever shows up will come bearing old items from their homes to add to "the game."

To play this game, everyone draws a number, and based on that number, takes his or her turn selecting a gift from the pile, unwrapping it and deciding whether to keep it or exchange it for something already unwrapped. It can get a little crazy when everyone is after the same gift.

This year, instead of fighting over the popular gift, I think most of us will be trying to get rid of the least wanted offering (I have an old VCR I'd like to dispose of, but it does come complete with a collection of video tapes, including one of the original Star Wars VHS tapes; hey, it might be worth something). Wish me luck.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Save some for Santa

With all that cookie making and unbaking, I hope you didn't eat them all. Don't forget to put some out for Santa, too. Remember, he likes it raw.

I also hope you had a chance to share a few of your creations. They make lovely gifts. Just don't forget to remind the recipient to refrigerate or freeze them, as they do expire quick.

But, that shouldn't be a problem, since they have such yummy flavors. In this variety pack, someone is sure to find one or two to savor.

Merry Christmas Eve. To all a good night :-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A gingerbread kick

Oh how I adore gingerbread for its heartwarming flavor and spicy kick. After posting about my molasses drizzled n'ice cream the other day and featuring a gingerbread decorated mug in yesterday's pic, I have suddenly found myself on a gingerbread kick.

It's really no surprise, as it is the season. Two years ago, I was all about the raw gingerbread house, while the following Christmas, I gave the little ladies and ginger gents a new cupcake home.

Now, I've scrapped the construction process for a more "processed" version (meaning blended, rather than altered for an extended shelf life). This year's gingerbread taste (anything spiced with ginger and molasses seems to taste like gingerbread to me) is chilled in my n'ice cream, still thick at room temp in today's pudding and is even delicious warm in a mug of cocoa (just add a little Blackstrap molasses, cinnamon and ginger to your freshly made chocolate almond milk and gently warm).

I know I don't always discuss my food intake for the entire day, but I can tell you that I tend to "Thrive" on the recipes and philosophies found in Brendan Brazier's book of the same name. Although I blog about my sweet tooth (I do get a little crazy with the raw cupcakes sometimes, like these and these, and so many more), the majority of my meals are more nutritionally-based (I may not be a triathlete, but sometimes after breastfeeding all day, I feel like I've run a marathon).

In the past, I've mentioned being a huge fan of two of his puddings, the Chocolate Recovery Pudding from "Thrive" (I swap out the tofu for avocado) and the Recovery Pudding from "The Thrive Diet." I make different variations of these puddings all the time.

This time, I made a chocolate gingerbread version of the Recovery Pudding by swapping out the blueberries for mango (I still like to use an O-bloodtype favorable fruit; although Brendan and I are Os, we both opt not to eat meat, but still amp up the plant-based foods from the highly beneficial lists. It's a long story), removing the hemp protein/replacing it with more flax and cocoa (most of the time I tend to use cocoa instead of carob), and adding Blackstrap molasses, cinnamon and ginger. The results are quite tasty, if I do say so myself. Yum!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last but not least ...

... are these sweet little wreaths.

I decided to round out the holiday cookie collection with something quick and easy to make at the last minute. Just grab some nut or seed butter (pumpkin seed butter is the perfect color, while other nut or seed butters can be dyed with a bit of liquid chlorophyll), sweeten it up with agave and mix in oats or coconut flakes for that leafy effect.

Once your mixture is just right in flavor and texture, form it into rings and decorate with dried cherries, cranberries or goji berries. Now that's in the holiday spirit. Enjoy!


That finishes off this year's holiday unbaking. Hope you like the Rawtess Snowballs, candy cane cookies, fruity window panes, speckled misfits and today's wreaths.

But, if that's not enough for you, check out my cookies/recipes from Christmas past on Averie's blog (the pic below is from my tribute post to her). She invited me to be her guest. While you're there, don't forget to enter her contest. The winner gets these cookies :-)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Slow and snow

That's in reference to an old-fashioned candy treat we used to make as kids, although it didn't take a long time to make. The "slow" refers to the molasses, as in the phrase, "slow as molasses," while the "snow" is just ordinary snow.

The cooked treat involved boiling the molasses with brown sugar and cooling it in a pan full of fluffy white snow. The results were a cross between a brittle and a taffy-like candy (we weren't always consistent).

Molasses isn't raw to start, but I do consume it from time to time, if it is the Blackstrap kind. It is packed with nutrients, like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium. Even Brendan Brazier (vegan triathlete, author and creator of Vega products) includes it in some of his recipes.

Today, inspired by the snow outside, I added it to my peach banana n'ice cream with a little ginger, spice and everything nice. I drizzled the molasses to create a fudge ripple effect and mixed in some raw gingerbread cookie pieces for texture (I always make sure to have some leftover cookies in my freezer for projects like this and this; okay, so maybe I used fresh ones for those).

Leave it to me to eat something freezing on a snowy day, while Jacob was smart enough to stick to the traditional hot cocoa. He needed to warm up after pouring himself over the cold stuff. Here he is making snow angels. He can be an angel when he wants to be :-)

This blanket of white has gotten me totally off track, as I meant to post my last holiday cookie. I guess it will just have to wait until tomorrow. Here is a hint as to what it might be:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow babies

Yesterday I mentioned the historic blizzard in our area. The snowfall is over, but we'll be surrounded in it for days to come. I guess we will be having a white Christmas.

Today, the kiddies and I had a photo shoot (which explains the title, "snow babies." We had thought about watching "Snow Buddies" as a family last night, and ended up viewing the new "Santa Buddies" instead), while Matthew dug out the cars (he is still digging as I type this; it is definitely harder than it looks). He took some time out to pose for one (unfortunately, his eyes were closed, but I still think it's cute) and snap another with me in it, too.

I also decided to share these pics of just Jacob and Hayden. I took so many that it was hard to select just a few :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're not misfits

Although they may seem out of place in this year's collection of holiday cookies, I wouldn't call these speckled cookies misfits (notice the tree ornament is the polka dot elephant from the Island of Misfit Toys in the stop-animation version of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer; he was always my favorite). In fact, they are about as traditional as they get.

I still had some more raw cookie dough from these candy cane and stained glass cookies, so I mixed in the standard chocolate chunks (you can use pieces of raw chocolate, cacao nibs, chocolate chips, or freeze little dollops of the leftover cocoa mixed with agave used to frost the candy canes). Then, I made it a bit more festive with the addition of chopped dried cherries.

The jazzed up dough was them formed into the basic chocolate chip cookie shape and "baked" in my dehydrator to help them hold their shape.

They might not scream Christmas when you look at them, but they sure do taste good :-)


saturday, december 19, 2009, continued ...

Speckles of another kind

I had planned on posting the misfit cookies tomorrow, but quickly hopped on my computer today in case I couldn't then.

You see, we are in the middle of "a historic blizzard for our area," according to the local weather forecast (where's Rudolph when you need him?). As of 7 a.m., this is what the view was through my back window, and that is just the start of it.

The chief meteorologist called in from his home to say he already had 10 inches, and the prediction is for an accumulation total of 16-24 inches (16 inches is the record snowfall for the entire month of December in our viewing area).

The snow is pretty, and although Jacob is excited to play in it, the wind is what has me worried. Conditions like this knock out our cable (we get our Internet via the cable company), and even worse, our power. I hope I can keep little lady and the boy warm.

Keep your fingers crossed that it will result in a fun snow day. Maybe Hayden will have the chance to test out her new snow suit (just for a couple outside photos, of course. She is still a little young to stay out for much longer).

Stay warm :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fruity window panes

When I was little, my sisters and I used to bake a lot with my mom. She was always willing to test out kid-friendly recipes with us, no matter how messy they would be.

For instance, I remember baking stained glass cookies, a recipe my sister and I found in one of our Sesame Street books (the adorable characters celebrated 40 years of learning and fun last month). It was a basic sugar cookie dough framework, filled with candy "glass."

The original recipe ended up all over the place, as we had to shatter lollipops and other hard candies to melt inside our cookie designs. It was all in good fun.

Wanting to recreate this experience raw, I formed present-shaped windows out of extra cookie dough from these candy cane cookies. Although my original plan was to fill them with a fruit puree to solidify during the "unbaking" process (in my dehydrator, of course), I opted instead to keep it tidy, using translucent slices of already dried fruit to make the stain glass effect.

The cookie packages were then dressed up with tiny pumpkin seed and dried cranberry bows. That memory is a wrap :-)


friday, december 18, 2009 continued ...

Checking out the view

Hayden and I have been playing around with the new camera (no surprise that it is pink). Since there aren't many pictures of the two of us together, we experimented in front of a mirror. The results were blurry, but we had fun.

Little lady was just as interested in checking out the view finder as I was. She kept batting at the camera, wondering when it would be her turn. Next time, maybe we'll pose for our reflections instead.

At least we captured how big and strong she is getting. Just look at those sturdy legs and lifted head.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Candy cane cookies

The other day, I got busy making some raw Christmas cookies for Santa (they'll keep in the freezer, if you need to make them in advance; with little lady around, I need to plan ahead). I already showed you the Rawtess Snowballs, so here's what was next.

I had leftover berry-colored coconut flakes from the snowballs. Not wanting to waste anything, I came up with this idea; using this raw chocolate chip cookie dough (minus the chocolate chips), I formed some candy cane cookies, which I "baked" in my dehydrator (like when I made this s'more cookie; the dough looked a lot smoother that time, as I used my Blendtec to make the "flour." This time, I was having some blender issues, so I had to use the food processor instead).

Then, on to the decorating. I iced them with a mixture of cocoa and agave, and added the stripes with a sprinkling of the leftover flakes in both plain and berry. The results were almost too cute to eat. Make some at home, and you be the judge.


By the way, have you voted for this year's Best of Raw? I did, and to my surprise, I was actually nominated for best raw blog twice (one with a capital "D," as in "RawDorable," and the other just "Rawdorable"). I've been a little out of the loop lately, so thanks to whoever nominated me. I really do appreciate it :-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

What's in the box?

I know yesterday was Jacob's birthday, but somehow I still ended up getting a gift. Hayden was so excited to help out, too, as she was fascinated with the gift box.

My hubby, who rarely waits to give a good present, just had to bring this one out early to capture the day's events. I can't believe that I'm almost ready to recharge the battery.

Although the camera really got a workout (yes, it is a new camera; you know how bad I needed one), I still haven't taken the time to familiarize myself with it. I've just been pointing and clicking.

This method does the trick, snapping beautiful shots of my family and food (Matthew picked the camera based on ease of use and its ability to get great close ups of my culinary creations).

You read that right; I took some food pics. Having this new toy around inspired me to make some raw Christmas cookies again this year (Santa will need his annual plate of raw cookies).

But, don't expect a lot of elaborate recipes. I'll just randomly post some pics with brief explanations leading up to the big day.

To start, here are some Rawtess Snowballs, rawified versions of this childhood treat. Just whip up some "cake" from my Rawtess Cupcake recipe, roll them into balls, smother them in raw whipped icing and cover them in a layer of berry (in this case raspberry/strawberry/goji) colored coconut flakes (just use the puree to flavor/add color to your flakes). They're messy, but perfect for the weather these days (I don't know about you, but we've had some rain/snow). Yum!