Friday, May 28, 2010

Double take, double shake

Haven't you seen this before? Okay, maybe the garnish is different, but the idea is the same. Thanks to the good people at Vega, I can make this version even easier.

I had planned on posting about Vega's new Shake & Go Smoothie a couple days ago, but since these lovely ladies beat me to it, I let Hayden share her dill-ectable thicker than pea soup recipe instead. Besides, my little lady wanted to get in on the soup action in a timely fashion, like this frugal gourmet and this blending beauty.

Sorry you haven't heard as much from either of us (Hayden and myself) lately, as we've had quite a packed schedule. We've cheered Jacob on at his field day, celebrated Matthew's grandmother's birthday, attended my youngest sister's college graduation and are all revved up to walk the track at Jacob's mini Relay for Life today (his school does one every year).

Speaking of getting ready for some relaying, these convenient Vega smoothie mixes couldn't have come at a better time. Although I haven't had much of an opportunity to blog about them, they've definitely come in handy while on the go.

Of course, they do "shake & go" by just adding a couple heaping tablespoons to about a cup of water, but I wanted to experiment with this powder further. As a simple smoothie, it transports perfectly in my trusty little jar, which reminded me of my original layered recovery pudding (pictured to the left). Thank goodness I had two flavors to combine again.

When a representative from Vega e-mailed me about trying one of the flavors, I had trouble picking just one. They all sounded so good; there's Bodacious Berry, Tropical Tango, Choc-A-Lot and Vanilla Almondilla. In the end, I liked the way "Vanilla Almondilla" rolled off my tongue, so I selected it to taste, while adding that I wouldn't mind being surprised by what was sent.

To my surprise, I not only received the vanilla, but the chocolate, as well. Thanks Vega!

Anyway, so I decided to make puddings out of both flavors by adding a lot less water. The results were grittier than a pudding, but with a gel effect, similar to one containing chia (it must be due to the xanthan gum in it; obviously, this product is not entirely raw).

I layered both in my snack jar, topping it off with some cacao nibs to represent the chocolate flavor and almond slices for the "almondilla" (you can really taste the almond in it, like an amaretto cookie or something).

The flavors were a little strong in this form, which made it hard to ignore the low glycemic sweetener (I think it is coconut palm nectar or something). However, as I ate it, I got used to it.

I started out sampling the flavors individually. The chocolate wasn't quite chocolate, but okay. I think I actually preferred the green vanilla, due to the almond addition.

In the end, I thought they tasted best when swirled together. I think I just created my own flavor: "Choc-Anilla-Dilla."

From now on, I plan on making my Shake & Go Smoothie out of a scoop of each, and maybe adding a banana if I have the time to incorporate it with my blender. This is the way I think it tastes best.

Speaking of adding banana, the Shake & Go Smoothie mix also does a good job of boosting the nutritional content of my banana-based n'ice cream. I instantly made a protein-packed chocolate version just by adding about a heaping tablespoon to some sliced frozen banana, and whipping it into a soft-serve consistency in my mini food processor. I served mine in a reusable silicone cupcake liner for the fun of it.

And, since I love cupcakes so much, I also thought about using the mix to make a quick low glycemic icing. Like the pudding idea, add only a tiny about of water to the powder to create a paste for frosting your raw cupcakes.

I once used this idea in this past post about Brendan Brazier and Vega, icing a reshaped Vibrancy Bar with a Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer "frosting." As this is a low glycemic product, it should also work well for topping this specialty raw cupcake recipe.

In conclusion, the Vega Shake & Go Smoothie isn't as tasty as making one myself, but it certainly comes in handy while on the go (isn't that the point of this product anyway). It also is a convenient way to give your other recipes a nutritional boost, and is a nice low sugar alternative to use in your desserts. I think it is worth having around.


friday, may 28, 2010, continued ... .....................................................................................

This little raw cupcake
makes me very happy

As you may already know, I've been searching for raw cupcakes made by my fellow bloggers to highlight on my site. Of course, this refreshing lemon poppy seed cupcake totally caught my eye. Check out Angela's the happy raw kitchen site to see the even bigger, more fabulous bundt-style cake, and while you're there, leave a complimentary comment for her :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Martha makes date paste

I know this sounds silly, but I always get a kick out of when I see raw food techniques demonstrated on mainstream television. When this happens, I've just got to share.

Today, Martha Stewart showed her viewers how to make date paste. Then, she made a milkshake out of it. That's where the raw food part went out the window.

At least we can still make our own raw ice creams and banana-based n'ice creams to substitute for the processed stuff in her recipe, as a date shake (although the dairy-free shake pictured is a different flavor; you could even try one with yacon paste) does sound like a yummy idea on this hot, sunny day (we're in the 90s again).

Speaking of substitutes, check out Russell's date sweetener alternative to agave (thanks to Sui for pointing it out to me). Very nice :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thicker than pea soup

No, I'm not talking about fog, as it has finally been sunny around here. Besides, I don't get the expression anyway, whatever that means.

BTW (mommy uses those 3 letters all the time, so I thought I'd give it a try), this is Hayden again. I've been patiently waiting for my turn, and due to the timing, ba ba (I'm still working on the mama thing, so I yell out "ba ba" when she leaves the room; I can say "mmm" and "ah," but I don't really put them together) let me take over today.

I'm so excited to be posting like the big kids on the block. Two of my favorite fellow bloggers (Ms. Lisa, who has taught me how to make a frugal meal, and Ms. Heather, who loves the blended stuff almost as much as I do) have had similar recipes on their sites, which means I must have good taste.

Ba ba thinks so, too. She actually delayed her product review (don't worry; she'll have her chance soon) in order for me to share my version with you (gotta get this posted in a timely fashion, right?).

In case you haven't figured it out yet (you don't need a preschool diploma to see where I'm going with this), I'm making my own pea soup, and it doesn't get much thicker than this. Mine is fairly simple, but dressed up with some dill. It doesn't just taste good; it's good for me.

Hayden's Dill-ectable
Thicker Than Pea Soup

1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 cup organic green peas
1/4 cup warm water
dill, to taste

Have mommy blend the avocado, peas, warm water (hot might burn my baby tongue) and a little dill into a smooth thick soup. Sprinkle the top with some more dill to make it pretty.

Mmmm ... I can eat the whole thing (and you know I did).

Alright, I'm a little messy. Mommy, please help me.

Aim the airplane for the open hanger.

I caught it. Yum!

Now I've got some energy to dance with Elmo. Mommy said the Wendy Williams Show came on twice while I was trying to come out into the world for the first time. She had never seen it before then (except for on The Soup). Now it reminds her of my birthday (as in day of my birth, since I haven't turned a year old yet). No wonder I like this video.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In full bloom

Spring has definitely been in full bloom now, having me looking forward to summer. The wacky weather is working on settling into the warm, sunny pattern I like best.

Unfortunately, with the heat, comes humidity. It makes my hair frizzy and my skin greasy, a sign that I need to change up my beauty routine.

Usually, I'm content with my homemade cleansing and toning options, but as summer draws near, I tend to invest in some more complex products. My favorite for the past few years has been those made by Pangea Organics.

First of all, I want to make it clear that this company is totally unaware of this post. I'm really just a huge fan of the Egyptian Calundela & Blood Orange Cleanser, Italian Green Mandarin with Sweet Lime Toner Spray (it's lovely to just refresh your skin throughout the day), and Nigerian Ginger, Sweet Lavender and Thyme Facial Cream. I'm so glad CEO and founder of the company Joshua Onysko talked me into buying all three at a past Green Festival.

Since then, I've been able to replenish my supply by purchasing these items at Whole Foods. However, with little lady around, I don't get out as much as usual, so I opted to order more online this time.

I know I could've ordered directly from the company, but I stumbled upon another site in my search. I ended up buying the cleanser and toner (I still had quite a bit of the facial cream left, as I only need a little bit) from I was so happy with my experience that I just had to share it with you. also doesn't know about this post, or the fact that I have a blog. I was just impressed at how they offered a reasonable price for these products, with $10 off due to the fact it was my first purchase over $50, and free shipping. It arrived in a matter of days with a handwritten thank you note, coupons for 20 percent off mine and a friend's next order and $20 gift certificate. Amazing! No wonder I wanted to tell you about it.

Now I just need to do something about my hair. In the meantime, I'll plant my Pangea Organics toner box to see if it grows. You'll have to buy some to test this out for yourself.


sunday, may 23, 2010, continued ...

More cupcake cuties

On another note, there are still raw cupcakes being made in the blogosphere.

Check out this adorable photo of Sui's cuppies. She's an amazing photographer. The rest of her raw cupcake photo shoot can be seen here on her blog. Don't forget to stop by and say hi to her :-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yes you can with yacon

When I came up with the recipes for my raw cupcake e-book (don't be deceived by the picture; this is an e-book that saves some trees), I mainly made what I prefer to eat. It wasn't originally meant for the purpose of compiling them into this electronically shared document (that came later as a way to help support my family/keep this blog afloat when I didn't go back to work), rather just to make my taste buds happy and find a creative outlet.

With that in mind, I like to give my readers a heads up that most of the recipes are rather nut-heavy and sweet. There are a few that are nut-free (seed- and/or coconut-based), but the majority of them fall into the first category.

However, you can always make substitutions when necessary, as you'll see today (examples would be subbing seeds for nuts, carob for cocoa, liquid stevia and/or yacon syrup for agave or maple syrup, etc.). Although I wasn't planning on posting for a couple days, I felt the need to address this topic.

You see, a lovely lady (not Hayden, although she is lovely, too), who purchased my e-book, emailed me yesterday requesting a substitution for date paste, an ingredient in just about every recipe in the book. Usually, this would be a simple swap-out for soaked/pureed raisins, figs or other dried fruit, but she could not have any of those things due to the fact they are high glycemic. As a result, I needed to do some experimenting in my own kitchen to make my book work for her.

After a lot of thought, I came up with soaked/pureed yacon slices/chips (that's not a banana chip on top of that cupcake) to replace the date paste (yacon is sweet and should be able to bind the batter somewhat without being too wet). Now I'm not a nutritionist, but from what I have read, yacon is extremely low and possibly zero on the glycemic index. I just needed to test it out in a raw cupcake.

I put about a cup of the dried yacon slices in a bowl with some water and let them rehydrate for a few hours. This went faster than expected. Those are thirsty little buggers (I'd serve them up in a bowl like Frosted Flakes with some almond milk on top, but they would get soggy quick. Try it, if you like, but they are also good on their own as a snack).

Anyway, then I pureed them in a mini food processor, resulting in a slightly lumpy gel-like substance. Since I didn't have any time to do anything with it yesterday, I popped it in the fridge until this morning.

So, how did the experiment turn out today?

Well, here is the nut-free, non-chocolate, low glycemic version of my raw German Chocolate Cupcakes, made especially for that lovely lady I mentioned and anyone else with special dietary restrictions. I feel like the Baby Cakes of the raw food world.

Specialty Carob Cupcake
Tailor-Made Just for You

*This makes one raw cupcake tailor-made
for those with special dietary needs

1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp. carob powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. yacon paste (see text above)
touch of vanilla
pinch of sea salt
*coconut yacon topping (see explanation below)
*dried coconut flakes for sprinkles
*dried yacon slice for garnish

In a mini food processor, combine the seeds, carob, vanilla and sea salt. Process into a fine crumb. Add the yacon paste (see the blog entry above for directions) and process until evenly distributed throughout the "batter" (this helps break up the little gel-like pieces).

The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire). Form into a cupcake shape using a reusable silicone liner, mini teacup or ramekin.

Top the cupcake with coconut yacon topping (a combination of equal parts yacon paste, sunflower seed butter and coconut flakes; cinnamon and yacon syrup are also nice additions), a sprinkling of coconut flakes and a dried yacon slice garnish. Enjoy!


BTW, if anybody is making raw cupcakes, let me know where I can get a pic/link to it/them. I'll give you a shout out on a future blog post.

For example, Trish is rawkin' it with her first attempt. Aren't they cute? Don't forget to stop by her blog and tell her what you think :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cake or pudding?

On a day like today, why not have both? So, that's what I did.

We've had the craziest weather around here lately. At first it was gorgeous; you would think it was summer already (my favorite time of year, BTW).

But then, Mother Nature decided to stir things up a bit, with her rollercoaster ride of unpredictable temps (as high as 90 and as low as in the 50s - our high for today should be about 55 degrees), rounds of hide-and-go-seek with Mr. Sun and a sprinkling or more from Mr. Rain Cloud (he didn't want to get left out from the party, I guess).

As usual, I try to look on the bright side. Maybe I'll catch a glimpse of a rainbow like this one I found in my archives of pics. It reminds me of Bitt's Rainbow Sherbet Cake (I would have loved to have had a slice. Happy birthday Chris!) or my n'ice cream cupcake with rainbow chard sprinkles.

Anyway, it's too cold for that kind of thing (although it's never stopped me before), so I opted for a pudding instead. I would have had a raw cupcake, but after the recent craze, I need to tone it down a bit in the sweet department in order to tone up my bod for summer (don't worry; there's still room for the occasional raw cupcake).

Now, I'm not one to give up the sweets entirely; I just try to cut back to lightly fruit-sweetened treats, like my favorite chocolate puddings. Then, I can have my cake crumbs, too, relying on the pudding to enhance it flavor. Let me explain.

The "cake" in this layered concoction is only a combination of finely ground nuts/nut pulp, cocoa powder, sea salt and cinnamon. Once scattered throughout the pudding (banana, avocado, pear, cocoa powder, sea salt and cinnamon) with some fresh sliced strawberries (they are in season around here now), the crumbs absorb the sweetness; no dates or agave necessary.

As I do have a tendency to eat based on the weather and my emotions (I know I shouldn't, but it's true), this does seem like the perfect comfort food. Lucky for me, it's not as bad as it could be :-)


Before I forget, thanks to everyone who sent well wishes my way. I really appreciate it. Hope you liked Hayden's helpful post.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Under the weather

Mommy hasn't quite been herself lately, so I decided to help her out again by posting (this is Hayden, BTW). She may be changing things up a bit, but she better not take away my spotlight. Although the sun is gone today (I don't know where it is hiding; come out, come out, wherever you are), I still need a place to shine.

My superhero mommy (I've heard her described that way, as she takes on the home and blogging world) has been defeated (temporarily, of course) by her own form of kryptonite (you know; that stuff that weakens Superman and Supergirl. My brother and daddy like to teach me about those things). Hers may not be green, but it can cause some green boogers (TMI).

Now don't go sharing this information with any of those Lex Luther types; my mommy is highly allergic (whatever that means) to dust bunnies (although I don't remember seeing any bunnies around here, except maybe this raw cupcake one or that one, the bunny still living in our yard. Jacob likes to feed it carrots). She breaths them (the dust bunnies, not these bunnies) in and ends up all icky.

I think she even mentioned something about a fever, which I was lucky enough not to have the other night. She checked me for one (come on mom; there's got to be another way. Didn't you hear the kid in the diaper commercial? Love him) when I kept her up for hours. Surprise, surprise, I was just teething again (I guess it is worth it, as these teeth will help me chew some srumdiddlyumptious food).

Mommy tries to make me comfortable with some homeopathetic stuff (something tells me I didn't get that word quite right, although my interpretation does make sense). It has chamomile in it, so maybe next time she'll give me a cup of tea instead. Imagine that, as I have been to a tea party (I need to work on my teacup sipping skills).

Anyway, let's put a positive spin on things with this recipe mommy never got around to letting me post (it may be blue, but it is so good for you). This food pic was taken weeks ago. Better late than never, right? Here you go:

Hayden's Blended
Blueberry Pro-Bowl

1/2 ripe banana
1/8 avocado
small handful of organic blueberries
1 tsp. hemp protein powder

Have mommy put the ingredients in her Magic Bullet blender and puree into a creamy pudding. Feed it to me as is, or garnish with a sprinkling of spirulina (you know how I like it). Yum!


On another note, I just wanted to tell you about my special day. Mommy shares hers with Jacob and I, since we were both baptized on Mother's Day. I won't discuss the event itself, as I know not all of you share our religious beliefs, but I did want to mention a couple things.

First of all, my aunt April made it to the church on time (she has a busy schedule, so we weren't sure if she'd be able to attend). She got to see me model the same dress she wore for her baptism. Aren't hand-me-downs the best? Alicia thinks so, too, although I agree that I wouldn't mind having some of those cute clothes either.

Also, my buddy Leo showed up, along with his mommy, Ms. Becky. I can't wait until he is able to do some of the things I can do. For now, I like to just chill with him. This is how we roll after a long church service. Come to think of it; a nap sounds like a great idea :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A change of pace

If you haven't noticed, I've been away from my computer the past couple days. It's just something I have to do from time to time, as I've said in prior entries.

I prefer to post naturally without forcing creativity or trying to be something I'm not. I'd rather just share what's going on in my life at the time and when I feel necessary. As a result, I tend to fall into a similar pattern every year.

The most popular posts tend to be during the colder months, especially when there is a holiday. That's when I whip up most of my heavier desserts with themes. For instance, most of my raw cupcake kicks tend to happen at those times (although my birthday was cause for celebration in my mind).

In January, I eat a bit cleaner, due to my resolutions, which I tend to stray from after a couple months (hence the raw cupcake craze). Then, when the weather warms up, I do my best to get back on track (although I do end up consuming a lot of banana-based n'ice cream; I love how this one ended up resembling a Wendy's Frosty, but better for you).

For instance, my life surprisingly doesn't revolve around raw cupcakes; they are just a special treat (which I always manage to sneak in every once and a while). I'm actually more of a salad eater (I love this post Gena did on her site recently) and smoothie drinker (I'd show you more of them if they weren't so sludgy green all the time; here's a chocolaty-colored Shake Your Money Maker from "RAWvolution" I sometimes have to wake myself up in the morning), which only requires some random tossing and blending.

It was so nice to take home some leftovers on Mother's Day from my mom's house (we had a luncheon there, following Hayden's baptism), so I didn't have to worry about making dinner. The stress-free bowl pictured at the top of this post was even yummier, due to this fact. Although it was just a bunch of greens, odds and ends from the fruit/veggie trays, avocado, nuts and balsamic vinegar, it was very refreshing.

Since then, I've continued to just toss what I have into a bowl and enjoy the simplicity of it all. I even like to add a sprinkling of spirulina (although you can't really see it in this photo; it got mixed in the bottom somehow) to make it even better (Courtney, I know you can appreciate that; gotta love the spirulina!).

Anyway, the point of all of this is to let you know what to expect from this blog in the upcoming weeks or months. The posts may become more random and relaxed. The food will probably be lighter, as that's what I crave this time of year (it also is more seasonal).

I'll probably get outdoors more and hopefully get to work on my next project, a beach mural on the back of my parents' house. They are actually going to pay me to paint one for them, like the mural someone did on the side of the welcoming center at the beach near my house (I took this photo a couple years ago on our boardwalk).

If you are interested, I may be able to post my progress on the blog once I get started. It should be a nice change of pace :-)