Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's my blog and I'll cook if I want to

Now that's a long title, but it sums up this post perfectly.

I started this blog as a "raw blog" being that my eating habits at the time were nearly 100 percent raw. With a name like "Rawdorable," what else would you expect?

The duration between posts began to dwindle when I became pregnant with my daughter Hayden in November/December of 2008. I was preoccupied with the whole pregnancy thing, but I also was experimenting with some dietary changes.

In my first trimester, I had so much trouble stomaching anything raw, although I tried my best to stick to it. Eventually, I started cooking some things just to keep them in my diet.

Lucky for me, my taste buds came around as the pregnancy progressed, allowing me to eat more of the foods that made me cringe in the beginning. To my surprise, I found that a balance between raw and cooked worked great for me.

Once Hayden was born in August 2009, I went back to my very high raw lifestyle. In fact, I still eat high raw, just not as raw as I had been. Over the last so many months (starting around the time I went on vacation and the colder months), I've been experimenting again with that balancing act.

Which brings me to today's post. It might not be raw, but it (last night's dinner) is a good example of what I eat when I opt to cook. It's a simple sweet potato (I don't enjoy sweet potatoes raw) "crust" pizza that's naturally gluten- and dairy-free.

When I crave pizza, it is more about the structure and flavors than the traditional bread and cheese (which explains why I am a big fan of Brendan Brazier's Thrive pizzas). I like the concept of having a base with toppings, usually some Italian seasonings, and it's always a plus if you can hold it in your hands.

When the boys (Matthew and Jacob) are having pizza (yes, they eat the real deal), I like to feel like I'm having something similar. I simply slice a huge sweet potato lengthwise into thick slabs, poke some holes in them with a fork, brush them with olive oil, season them with garlic and sea salt, and pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes.

Then, I top them with greens (usually spinach), sliced tomato (from what I understand, the heat brings out the lycopene), chopped artichoke hearts (my favorite), more olive oil and seasonings, garlic and hemp seeds (sometimes I put pureed cannellini beans on top like "cheese;" Hayden prefers to eat the whole beans like jelly beans). They go back in the oven, along with the boys' pizzas until the potato is cooked through (about another 20 minutes at 400 degrees).

The sweet potato "pizzas" are finished off with some fresh basil. Once cooled enough to handle, I can pick them up and eat 'em like mini French bread pizzas. Now that's good stuff :-)


Speaking of good stuff, I was nominated again for the One Lovely Blog Award by the also very lovely, Nelly. Thanks Nelly! Click here to revisit the post where I listed 7 things about me.

My stylin' friend HiHoRosie nominated me for the Stylish Blogger Award, as well. Thank you Heidi!

I'm starting to feel like a Girl Scout with all of these badges. I hate to say that I'm not the best at following through on my duties after receiving my awards (it's hard to keep coming up with new things to share and bloggers that have yet to be nominated to pass the awards to, which is why I always extend the invitation to my readers), but I am still very grateful. Thanks again :-)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My biggest cupcake fan

When it comes to raw cupcakes, my little lady (I guess I should have titled this, "My littlest cupcake fan") is always willing to give one a try. She never turns down a taste of her mommy's raw creations, and today was no exception.

As I had planned (well, sort of; hoping to make something and actually putting a plan in place aren't quite the same this), I found a small block of time to spontaneously (see what I mean about "planned" not necessarily being the best choice of words) whip up my version of the Sticky Fingers Bakery's Chocolate Seltzer Cupcake featured on the latest episode of "Cupcake Wars." Mine was "unbaked" (raw vegan, of course), and perfect to share with some sticky little fingers in my household (after she polished off most of the top, I salvaged some of the bottom and re-frosted it for myself).

This recipe was based/inspired by both the Sticky Fingers recipe and the fudge I've been craving off of Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog. I love it when I can satisfy two craving at once. It's not as sweet, since it is agave-free (bananas and dates did the trick). That didn't stop Hayden and I from devouring every last bite.

To make this raw chocolate cupcake special like the original, I added seltzer (I ended up using sparkling mineral water, which I happened to have on hand) to the date paste (soaking the dates in it instead of water before processing them into a paste) and the raw Bali cocoa powder that reminds me of strong coffee (I haven't had coffee in years, but I thought it would be a good substitute for the coffee in the Sticky Fingers recipe). The seltzer/mineral water seems to lighten the date paste much like in the baked cake, and it gives it a distinct flavor. The coffee-like cocoa powder also intensifies the chocolate experience.

As for the topping, simply combining ripe mashed banana with coconut oil and vanilla creates a quick version of the icing seen on "Cupcake Wars." It's a little lumpy from the banana (so was the first batch during "the war"), but it shows you used the real deal in this.

For the ganache, I used half of the banana icing and mixed it with cocoa powder just like Katie's fudge. It was just enough to line the rim of the cupcake. Delish!

To finish it off, I topped it with a "carmelized" banana minus the rum (I'm not really a drinker and I didn't have the extract in the house either). In a pinch, I covered a slice of banana with some more of the date paste and used it as my garnish. If you have more time, feel free to use a date-based raw caramel (the addition of macadamia butter, grade B maple syrup, sea salt and vanilla to the date paste really bring this up a notch) and dehydrate the coated banana a bit.

If you were unable to follow all those steps close enough to replicate it in your raw kitchen, here is the recipe below for one simple unbaked cupcake:

Chocolate Seltzer Cupcake

A rawified single serving version
of Sticky Fingers winning recipe

Banana Frosting
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. ripe mashed banana
  • touch of vanilla
(a.k.a. Chocolate-Covered Katie's Naughty Girl Butter)
  • 1/2 of the banana frosting above
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • banana slice coated in date paste

In a food processor or blender, process the almonds and coconut flakes into a fine flour and add to a small bowl along with 1 Tbsp. Bali cocoa powder and a pinch of sea salt. Whisk to combine.

Add a touch of vanilla (like a small drop), 1 Tbsp. "seltzered" date paste (soak the dates is seltzer or sparkling mineral water instead of water before blending into a paste) and 1/4 tsp. of apple cider vinegar. Whisk again to combine while allowing some separation between the "grains."

Form the cupcake "batter" into a cupcake shape with the help of a small ramekin or silicone reusable cupcake liner. Try not to compact it too tight, so your cupcake will maintain some of its fluffiness (or as fluffy as you can expect from a raw cupcake). Set aside while you make the frosting and ganache.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil with about 2 Tbsp. (2 small chunks) of ripe banana, mashed. Add a touch of vanilla for that familiar frosting flavor.

In another small bowl, combine 1 Tbsp. of cocoa powder with about half of the banana frosting until smooth. Frost the outside edge of your raw cupcake with this "ganache" and then fill in the center of the ganache ring with the rest of the banana frosting. Garnish with a sliced banana coated in more date paste. Set in fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!


Oops, I almost forgot to mention that the lovely Raederle Phoenix awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award. First of all, I want to thank her, and secondly, I supposed to tell 7 things about myself and pass the award along. I've already shared so much about me that I decided to post a list of 7 short and sweet (literally) things to go along with the above post. Here ya go:
  1. Pink is my favorite color, in case you missed it the first billion times I've mentioned it here. It's Pinkalicious like these smoothies!
  2. I used to like to wear fragrances that reminded me of baked goods, like Demeter's Sugar Cookie, Graham Cracker, Angel Food and Birthday Cake. Now, I just put a touch of vanilla behind my ears.
  3. I love to both bake and unbake. I even considered opening my own bagel bakery years ago in a spot now occupied by a successful bakery in our area. I guess I was on to something.
  4. I've had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember. No wonder I was a round baby with the nickname, "Tubs."
  5. I'll eat almost anything shaped like a cupcake, which explains my savory varieties.
  6. I actually love working out (especially dancing). I have to do something to burn off those sweets.
  7. Although I am enjoying my time off from blogging, it is nice to check in every once and a while :-)
If you've taken the time to check in with my blog now, feel free to share 7 things about you.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vegan cupcakes are victorious!

As a lover of almost anything cupcake-related, it's no surprise that I'm a huge fan of the Food Network show, "Cupcake Wars." It may not be raw (and only sometimes vegan; congrats to Chloe for being the first to represent/win on the show), I'm totally addicted to watching it and drooling over the tasty little creations (it just makes me crave them so bad; thank goodness I can make them myself).

In case you missed it, I'm happy to report that last night's episode had not just one, but two vegan bakeries on the show. Unfortunately, one (C'est La V Bakeshop; that's life, right?) was eliminated in the first round. That left all my flax "eggs" in one basket, on the edge of my seat, rooting for none-other-than my guilty pleasure favorite (when I've fallen off the raw food wagon, it's been for a stop at this DC vegan bakery/eatery; don't you just love my magnet from there?) to win.

Lucky for me (and of course, Sticky Fingers Bakery), the last vegan contestants in the running ultimately ended up victorious. For once, I can say I've tasted a winning cupcake from the show (or at least a vegan cupcake from their storefront; I've been there a number of times). Yum!

If I want to try the real deal, I can bake or "unbake" the recipe just sent to me via the VegNews e-newsletter. I'll let you know how it turns out. *I also just noticed that you can order the winning cupcake kit online to try all four flavors.

Oh and before I forget, I never got a chance to show you the awesome cupcake necklace I found in my Christmas stocking this year. I had asked for a simple version sold at a shop near my house, which came in this cute cupcake box. To my surprise, when I opened it, this Juicy Couture one was inside. Something tells me my hubby had something to do with this lovely gift.

Speaking of necklaces, I'm always admiring the ones worn by the contestants on "Cupcake Wars." Although it is not a cupcake, I really liked the necklace Doron (from Sticky Fingers) had on last night (I think it was a heart with wings). Love it!

Anyway, I gotta get back to my mommy duties. I just wanted to check in while my tiny tot was napping. Can't wait to get some shuteye myself and wake up to whatever my blogging friend Chocolate Covered Katie has planned for tomorrow's post (oops, I just noticed that she already posted her cake batter shake post). She was asking me about raw sprinkles (possibly for an even higher raw version of the shake), and you know how I love those. Nice :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just add water ...

... and some cashews, too, and you've got yourself the makings for a high protein, gluten-free, vegan cookie dough. That's what I did last night, while experimenting in my raw kitchen.

Usually, I prefer the natural Sunwarrior protein, which allows me to flavor it however I want. As a result, I've never tried just mixing it with water or nutmilk like some of my fellow bloggers. Although I considered testing out this basic concoction last night, my creativity got the best of me, and I ended up with this instead.

Both the vanilla and chocolate flavors contain stevia for sweetness and xanathan gum (often used in gluten-free baking to help bind the ingredients together) as a stabilizer. That's why it can easily be shaken up in a cup for a quick protein drink on the go. It can also be used as a convenient "unbaking" starter (complete with sugar and egg substitutes), like the cookie mixes in the store. Just add a much smaller amount of water and some cashew "flour," and you're good to go.

WARNING: These aren't the decadent raw cookies I would normally post on this blog, but they are a fun way to get your protein (pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, athletes, etc., may find they benefit from an added protein boost; I know I sure do), kind of like protein pancakes (they never turn out as sweet and fluffy as the originals).

Here's the recipe (for the vanilla version, but you can certainly make chocolate ones, too), if you'd like to give them a try:

Sunny Vanilla
Warri-"O" Cookies

  • 1 scoop Vanilla Sunwarrior Protein
  • 1/4 cup cashews (soaked for 1-2 hours)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. water
In a mini food processor, grind the Sunwarrior and soaked cashews into a damp flour. Slowly add in the water until the flour can be formed into a dough (periodically pinch it together with your fingers to see if it molds together).

Remove the dough from the food processor and knead it on a Silpat or sheet of parchment. Flatten the dough to your desired thickness and use cookie cutters to create the sunshiny "O" shapes.

Either "bake" the cookies in a dehydrator (I put mine in for a couple hours to firm up the outsides), chill them in the fridge or freezer, or enjoy as a protein-packed dough.

*For a sweeter stevia/xanathan gum-free version, replace the vanilla protein powder with the natural flavor and the water with date paste (soaked dates blended into a smooth paste). Feel free to also add vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder and/or other flavor enhancers.


Hayden sampled the cookies, too (she loves raw vegan cookies).
Here's her grabbing one for herself:

She had mixed reviews (she was expecting something sweeter, of course).

She put it back and grabbed another.

In the end, she scarfed them up hands-free, as if she was a little puppy dog. "Woof, woof," she said, while eating her biscuits (she is a big fan of the "Biscuit" books). Too cute :-)


BTW, Sunwarrior is currently having a contest to name its new protein. The deadline to enter is tomorrow, so if you have a Twitter account or Facebook page, you might want to follow/like Sunwarrior for more information. I've got my fingers crossed that the name I came up with is selected. Wish me luck :-)

Just so you know, Sunwarrior did not send me the protein for this recipe. I purchased it all by myself.