Okay, I know the title is a little misleading, but I'll get to that in a minute.
As I've told you many times in the past, my family has a tradition of getting dressed up and celebrating award nights, such as the Golden Globes, Emmy's and, of course, the Academy Awards (the Oscars). The other night was no exception.
My sister Lori and I (unfortunately, my other sister April couldn't attend this year) paraded around in old dresses (mine was really vintage, as it was once my mom's prom dress), while Hayden modeled a new one I had originally purchased for Easter. Here we are posed on the red carpet (sorry you can not see it, since this is just a head shot).
The boys decided to wear attire in favor of the flicks they were hoping would win something. Cameron's face is blue like the characters from "Avatar," and Jacob held up balloons like in the movie "Up."
In addition to the red carpet photo shoot, we also always make sure to cast our votes in all the main categories, as well as playing a round of award night bingo (the blocks are filled with possible sights, sounds and other happenings, such as a mispronounced name, crying, speech cut off my music, trip/fall, a certain color dress, etc.). Whoever has the most correct predictions, gets to pick what we're having for dinner the following Sunday.
Speaking of food, we mainly eat appetizer-like items on award night. My mom always makes sure to have lots of fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, etc. I also like to sometimes bring a little extra something special.
In the past, I've made "fried" in my dehydrator zucchini with raw marinara dipping sauce, layered nacho dip, mock crab cakes, raw chocolate dipped strawberries, etc., but this time, I let the twins do most of the work for me.
Lori and Michelle of Pure2Raw were generous enough to send some samples of their raw products they now ship out fresh from their online store. And, when I say fresh, it didn't take much time at all for it to make it to my front door. The package had the tastiest aroma that I just couldn't wait to try some.
But, I resisted enough to share them with the fam, all dolled up for the big night. I dressed the crackers and flatbreads subtly, as not to overwhelm their flavors. I whipped up a basic cashew/macadamia nut cheese with a hint of miso, which I spread on top and garnished with the following:
The Onion Free Spinach Flatbread (my mom's favorite) and the Swiss Chard Sesame Flatbread (I really enjoyed the chard) were the perfect shape for some asparagus stripes. The breads were all the seasoning needed.
The Rosemary Crackers were brightened up with some diced red pepper and raw olives I had gotten from NaturalZing (it was the perfect time to also introduce those to my family). These are similar to the extra yummy Rosemary Quackers from One Lucky Duck, but thicker. This allowed them to handle holding on to more toppings, while still retaining their crunch (this is a big deal in the raw food world).
My hubby, who rarely tries any of this stuff, actually preferred the Collard Green Onion Cracker to the basic rosemary ones. Thanks girls for getting him to eat his greens.
Now I kept the Brownie Bite and the Cocoa Kreme (it really had a creamy texture) to myself for an after dinner treat. I love how they hid the spirulina inside. You really get the chocolate flavor in these bites.
The only thing that could really make this post complete is to hear more about these treats from the girls themselves, who ever so kindly participated in my next Q&A. Check it out:
Q: How and why did you start your Twin Cakes Bakery? I hear your mom has helped a lot, even making special aprons for the two of you? Was she a baker? Possibly your inspiration?
Lori: "Our mom was known for her delicious banana bread! And a family tradition in our household was making Christmas cookies, which we did at a very young age. So I think that all had a part in the beginning of our love of baking.
"Baking just always felt right; when we did it, we loved every minute of it, no matter how long we were staying on our feet!
"Yes our mom has helped out a lot with our start of our bakery. She is the one behind majority of our wardrobe! She made our aprons, plus a few shirts, and all of our tablecloths, signs and towels. We use her aprons and tablecloths at our farmers markets, where we sell our baked goods and un-baked goods. Farmers markets are where our bakery began almost 3 years ago, and now we have moved to online bakery, as well as selling locally at the markets."
Michelle: "We have always loved baking. Mom did bake some, but it was really our second older sister that taught has to bake. She loved it, and we loved to eat what she made. Then, as we started to realize that what we were eating was making us sick (eating the typical SAD), we took most of the common allergens out of our diet. (we share more of our story on our blog www.pure2raw.com).
"Our sis was very sick, and she asked us to make her food she could eat. So, that is what we did. We took some of the recipes we grew up with and made them free of gluten, dairy, sugar, eggs, and corn.
"It was a long journey to get our bakery where it is today. We had a lot of trial and errors with recipes and finding the best quality ingredients we like in our products. We wanted to offer products that anyone could eat and enjoy it!
"We are really excited to announce that our bakery’s main online store is finally up and running. Our new site for our bakery is www.twincakesbakery.com. This allows others who do no live locally to still be able to receive our products. Our online bakery features our dry mixes, as well as our raw foods product line. We will be constantly adding more information and more products, as well as working on a cookbook."
Q: What lead you to try raw foods? Tell us a little about your experience studying under Matthew Kenney at the 105 Degrees Academy.
Lori: "We got into raw foods from a client. She mentioned to us before if we could make some raw foods to sell. Michelle and I had briefly heard about raw foods though did not know too much about it.
"As soon as our customer brought this up to us, we went home and researched the night away. We were hooked on raw foods. And never looked back. We love the whole concept of raw foods from chef standpoints, but also as healthy individuals who wanted to feel great all the time.
Michelle: "Going to the first living foods culinary school was an amazing experience. Matthew Kenney is a Chef both of us look up to, and for me to be able to attend his school and work in his restaurant was unbelievable. I learned so much, not just about raw food preparation, but also how to run a raw foods restaurant.
"The experience is something I will never forget and will be forever grateful. Matthew is an amazing person. I was extremely nervous meeting him, but he is a very nice and generous person."
Q: Now that you've put out a new line of raw products, will you still be baking for your original customers? How have they accepted the raw versions on trial at the farmers market? Will you be offering any of these more elaborate treats online in the future?
Lori: "Raw foods is definitely a new concept with our locals here in North Carolina. Each week and each month, more and more people are becoming more familiar with what raw foods is, though it is still not easy and still not accepted to most (we feel it is lack of education).
"When people come up to our table at the farmers markets they get this scared look on their face once they hear that most items on our table are raw foods. They look at us as if we were speaking a different language or that there is something wrong with us. Then we get those individuals who are so intrigued that they try something and end up loving it! Most of our gluten free and vegan customers love our raw foods and can’t get enough of it!
"It is definitely a challenge everyday for us to educate others about raw foods and what raw foods can do for their health. But one challenge we are here to do and hope to continue to do!"
Michelle: "We introduced raw foods mid-season of our first year at the market, once we understood a little more about raw foods. We created treats that we enjoy and that is still the idea behind our raw food offerings today.
"Our raw foods we sell online are the same things we sell at the farmer markets, but at the markets we get to create fancier raw desserts. There are just some things that are not shippable, which is why we share recipes on our blog for people that are not able to get our goodies at the market. As we mentioned earlier we are working on a cookbook because we have so many recipes that we want to share with others!"
Q: This is the easy part; it's time to sell it: What are each of your favorite raw snacks currently available in your online store? You can name more than one :-)
Lori: "My favorite raw snack is the brownie bites; I love my chocolate. For more savory items, I love our pumpkin kale cracker. It was our first ‘green’ cracker we created. I love that it is full of pumpkin seeds and kale, which means full of essential vitamins and minerals. And for our flatbreads that is tough because really I love them all. But if I had to really choose I would pick the kale hemp seed flatbread and sunflower cheez flatbread!!"
Michelle: "I love our newest green cracker: the collard green onion. It has been a huge hit at the market; I just love seeing peoples reaction when they see collard greens together with the name cracker. And the taste just wins them over!!
"I love chocolate, but sometimes I just love snacking on our vanilla kremes. It is creamy and gooey with a crispy outside, just melts it my mouth.
"I honestly love our flatbreads, they all have different flavors and textures. It is hard to choose just one because I really do love them all. We created all the different flavors for our flatbreads to help people get a variety of greens and nutrients into their diet that they normally would not eat. We tell people use these flatbreads for their ‘bread’ so that way they are adding more nutrition to their diet! Our green product line was created to help others get more vegetables… mainly greens into their everyday life!"