Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween has finally arrived

Today is my last Halloween post, mainly due to the fact that it is Halloween, not to mention how I've overloaded all of you with treats in the past couple weeks. You must be trick-or-treated out.

But wouldn't you know, my son still wants to go out and show off his costume (he is Rodan from Godzilla, although he understands when the other kids think he's just any other pterodactyl) in my mom and dad's neighborhood. Therefore, we'll still be chilling (literally; it's cold out there) and going door to door with the other little ghosts, goblins and whatever is popular this season (someone told me Iron Man is the man this year, but I have yet to see one).

Before we head out this evening, I wanted to give you a recipe requested by one of my readers. Lena had been searching for some of my recipes, although I hadn't posted them all. Since she commented on the witch cupcake post (and you'll probably have some leftover pumpkins after tonight. Check out the pumpkin Jacob designed and carved himself; it's Rodan, of course), I thought it only fitting that I offer up this Pumpkin Spice Cupcake recipe. Here you go:

Raw Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
2 cups nut flour
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4-1/2 cup raw pumpkin puree
1/4-1/2 cup date paste
generous drizzles of agave, to taste
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pumpkin pie spice, to taste
dash of sea salt

In a large bowl, combine the nut flour (a mixture of finely ground nuts of your choice combined with leftover nut pulp from making your favorite nut milk; I find that adding some fresh nuts to the nut pulp makes it taste better, while the nut pulp provides a lighter texture), coconut flakes, pumpkin pie spice and sea salt. Stir with a whisk or use an electric mixer.

Next, add about 1/4 cup of the pumpkin puree (just blend raw pumpkin chunks in a high-speed blender. Believe me; you'll need a powerful model to do the job, unless you use the "guts" instead of the flesh), 1/4 cup of the date paste and the vanilla. Whisk/mix, paying close attention to the consistency of the batter. Add agave to taste, and more of the pumpkin puree and date paste as needed. Whisk/mix to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Divide the batter into 3 or 4 equal amounts and gently mold into cupcake shapes (use a tender touch as if you are making vegan meatballs; you want your cupcakes to have a bit of a crumb effect). Top with your favorite raw icing (I like this one on the Sunny Raw Kitchen blog) and whatever decoration you can imagine or have on hand. Chill in your fridge until ready to eat.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gift exchange

As you already know, I gave Rawbin one of my raw caramel apples. In return, she gave me these yummy pieces of rawlicious fudge, as well as some fresh kale, cilantro and green beans (somehow I got the better end of the deal). Thanks Rawbin :-)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make this an interactive post. I can't recall exactly what she put in these two flavors, so I thought my readers might want to guess. Then, after we've had our fun, maybe Rawbin herself will post the ingredients. That is, if she is willing to share ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Smile :-)

I just love this funny apple and grape face. My son likes the taste of it, too. It makes him grin from ear to ear.

This is what we did with some of the extra apples after dipping a few in raw caramel, another kid-friendly treat. For those of you who've never tried it, there's no better time than now to make it.

Raw caramel is such a no-brainer recipe. I usually blend up a batch of date paste and either use it as is (like in my cupcake recipes; it's always easier to get the dates to blend smoothly if I make more than I need) or add some grade B maple syrup and/or agave, nut butter and vanilla for a more authentic caramel flavor.

We had fun putting apples on sticks, dipping them in the raw caramel mixture and then rolling them around in crushed almonds (any nut will do). You can even use raw cacao nibs, small chunks of dried fruit and/or a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

We decided to keep it simple, making ours in the traditional fashion. Maybe one day we'll make some raw candy apples, too.

The apples I selected this time were McIntosh. I wish my computer was a Mac, as well, due to the issues we've been having with it lately. From what I understand, Vista hasn't wanted to play nicely with some of our programs and even our Internet.

But don't worry; my hubby will work it out. I just wanted to apologize in advance if you don't hear from me as regularly or I take a little longer to respond. Thanks for understanding.

By the way, these raw caramel apples make great gifts. I think I'll give one to Rawbin today :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

"Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Which?"

That silly scarecrow is at it again, checking out more of my Halloween treats. He can't wait for me to get these raw pumpkin spice cupcakes all dressed up for him to eat.

He reminds me of that indecisive man of straw we all know and love from "The Wizard of Oz." Remember how he told Dorothy to go one way to the Emerald City, and then suddenly changed his mind, pointing in the other direction? Then, he suggested that some people go both ways, crisscrossing his pointed fingers.

I wonder if he could decide if these cupcakes were topped with good witch or bad witch hats. Although I don't recall Glinda in her fluffy pink gown wearing one in that style, I'm sure these pointed chocolate cookie replicas tasted pretty good.

The cookies were shaped and "baked" (in my dehydrator, of course) from the same dough I used to make my n'ice cream sammies from the other day. You may recognize the recipe from the raw thin mints (minus the mint) I made back in January.

I thought the chocolate hats would be a festive decoration (not to mention edible; you may recall the toy spiders atop last week's cupcakes) for my pumpkin spice cupcakes iced with green-tinted raw icing (green powder or liquid chlorophyll will do the trick).

So for all of you avoiding chocolate, you can either substitute carob in the cookies or just remove the hats. They still taste yummy without them, although they look much cuter decked out this way.

Dressed up as good or bad witches, these little cup-size goodies take the cake. Trick or treat :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

N'ice scream Sammie

If you read that line like a sentence, you might first be wondering, who's Sammie? But then, you may have also figured out what's hiding inside this little parchment package.

You know me; I never like to waste anything, and this was no exception. I had already used the raw whipped cream from my frozen hot chocolate and slushy apple cider to decorate cupcakes; however, I still had some leftover. What was I going to do with the rest of it?

Luckily, my friend Nicole gave me an idea. She's been working on perfecting a raw ice cream sandwich, urging me to put my own personal spin on one, too. I promised her that if I did, I would post it on this site (sorry I took so long; this was done days ago).

So, here it is, two chocolate cookie rectangles (I'll show you what that dough is from soon) filled with the last of my yellow-tinted icing/topping (but any color would do) to make a snack-size n'ice scream sammie.

N'ice cream is my term for raw nondairy ice cream, and I added the "s" for "scream," just to keep in the Halloween spirit. Besides, "we all scream for ice cream."

But, who's Sammie? Duh, it's another term for sandwich, not the name of the cute scarecrow in this pic. Now, he doesn't seem all that scary to me, but he probably does to my sammie. He's had his eyes on it throughout the whole photo shoot.

Hey Mr. Scarecrow, I'm not afraid of you. I hope you're planning on sharing :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Beware ... you're in for a scare"

That's the opening line from "Goosebumps," a series of books brought to life to scare little kids and grown-ups alike (can you believe I had a dream about the talking baby from one of the episodes?), but in a much tamer fashion than the standard horror flick. These tales are reminiscent of the ghost stories told around the campfire.

The 90s TV series (my youngest sister grew up on these and still DVRs them to watch after her college classes) has been resurrected by Cartoon Network, now airing them nearly every evening for the past two Halloween seasons. Now, my son is hooked, although he makes sure to watch it with mommy and daddy. We're like his security blankets.

I've noticed that I've had goosebumps, too, but not due to the creepy entertainment. It's just really cold around here. The chilly temps make me want to cuddle up with a good bowl of soup.

And to add to the spookiness, it just had to be some form of green ghoulish goodness. I opted to blend up some of Kristen's winning Sumptuous Spinach-Thyme Soup (she took home the title of First-Course Phenom in VegNews Reader Recipe Showdown in the Sept.-Oct. 2008 issue) with a handful of olive eyeballs.

Speaking of hands, check out the carrot fingers, complete with almond sliced nails. They are great for dipping or just decoration (of course, I ate mine).

For a sweeter treat, try making a fruity soup similar to a green smoothie with peeled grapes for floating eyes (I remember passing these around blindfolded, while someone shared a spooktacular story at a childhood Halloween party). You could also serve it out of a cauldron and call it witch's brew. Who knew it could taste so good :-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eat my dust

Or, in this case, eat my dirt. Yuck!

But this is not just any dirt. It's not really even the real thing, which is fine by me for once. I usually hate it when nonraw friends and family refer to what I eat as fake. My raw food sure tastes like it exists to me.

Which reminds me; Jimmy Kimmel was so cute on the Bonnie Hunt Show yesterday. He joked about his imaginary diet, where he can only eat food that exists solely in his mind. He even demonstrated how to make a dish, using empty ingredient bowls, bare cutting boards (you should have seen his and Bonnie's chopping skills) and invisible final products. Although I don't recommend this kind of diet to anyone, it would be a fun activity to do with your kids.

Now, back to the rawified kid-friendly cuisine. What you see is not actually dirt, but a raw version of the classic "Dirt & Worms" childhood treat. I've been served this in little Dixie cups at various Halloween parties when I was little. Sometimes when a mom would get extra creative, she would even present them to us in mini clay pots.

The original recipe usually calls for some kind of pudding and/or whipped topping, layered and topped with either chocolate cake or cookie crumbles to look like a combination of mud and dirt. It was like an edible mud pie of sorts. To add to the gross factor (kids get a kick out of this), gummy worms where placed strategically throughout the dish.

Of course, I wasn't about to use gummy worms, so I quickly substituted some dried fruit cut to mimic the chewy candies. I gave them a home in some raw chocolate pudding and ground up nuts mixed with cocoa powder, agave and coconut milk. I guess I could've crumbled up one of my cupcakes from the other day, but I couldn't bare to ruin one.

I spruced up the final product by displaying it in a metal flower pot and adding some foliage in the form of a cinnamon stick stem and some spinach leaves. Hope this inspires you this Halloween season. Maybe I'll post some more ideas like this soon :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Charlotte's Cupcake Web

There I go again, stealing another title and altering it to suit my Blogger needs (Deb, could you tell it was me?). But, I couldn't help myself; it's an addiction that I'm not willing to break, especially when the line fit this post so perfectly (except for the fact that my name is not Charlotte).

This weekend, the movie version of the best-seller "The Secret Life of Bees" book came to life on the big screen. Unfortunately, I did not get the opportunity to view it myself, but the previews made me think of another book to film flick.

"Charlotte's Web" was a childhood favorite of mine, one I've shared with my son in both the cartoon and live-action versions of the tale. The 2006 release starred Dakota Fanning, who also plays the main character in "The Secret Life of Bees" and was one of the topics in our Sunday dinner conversation about some of the funniest recent Saturday Night Live sketches.

But enough about Miss Fanning; let's talk about the real star of the literary classic. I'm referring to Charlotte herself, the tiny spider with a heart much larger than her size.

Spiders have gotten a bad rep over the years. I can recall many times catching and releasing them outside, as someone else stood up on a chair in fear of the less than palm-size creature. They may be small, but they are determined little buggers.

Just consider the familiar tune, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Jacob used it as a tool to learn rhyming words in school a few weeks back. Let me refresh your memory.

"The itsy bitsy spider
went up the waterspout,

Down came the rain
and washed the spider out,

Out came the sun
and dried up all the rain,

And the itsy bitsy spider
went up the spout again."

No wonder people fear them. They're like little Energizer bunnies; they keep going and going.

The fear factor is probably why they're also associated with Halloween, which is right around the corner. I guess I need to start cranking out some spooky treats like the nonraw cupcakes I brought home from work the other day. They were so cute that I had to rawifiy them as usual.

It was simple, starting out with a basic raw chocolate cake recipe. I used up my hazelnut and Brazil nut pulp leftover from making my frozen hot chocolate, along with some ground up almond flour.

The cake "batter," which was more like a crumb, was shaped into cupcakes and placed into festive liners. They looked so much like the real deal that my son couldn't wait to try one.

Then, I frosted them with leftover raw "whipped cream" I had whipped up as a topping for the frozen cocoa beverage. To make them look more colorful, I tinted the icing yellow, just like the original baked cupcakes.

Adding playful colors to your recipes is easy. Nature offers a whole spectrum of dyes from which to chose. For instance, green powders or liquid chlorophyll are great for making green, beets produce a vibrant fuchsia and turmeric will turn your food yellow. Let your imagination go wild.

The pale yellow cupcakes looked better suited for Easter, rather than Halloween, until I embellished them with chocolate webs. Jacob really enjoyed finishing off the excess chocolate from the piping bag.

He also had fun topping them off with some toy spiders. He even found a fake fly to put on one of them. This spider has its sights on it.

Just be careful when you go to eat these characters. Our toppers are not edible, and you know what happened to "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."

"I know an old lady who swallowed a spider,
that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,

She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,

But I don't know why she swallowed the fly,

I guess she'll die."

Okay, so maybe that's a bit much. It just might cause a little indigestion. In other words, just stick to the cupcakes and their sweet icing. They taste much better than their decorations :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I meant to type this yesterday, but I was too wired to sit still and concentrate on a post. Instead, I spent my afternoon bopping around the room, getting in trouble with my son while playing school (obviously, he was the frustrated teacher, instructing me with the phrase, "sit down, legs crossed, applesauce ... yummy, I've got more to say about that later).

Ever since breaking my foot, I've really missed being able to dance around my house. You know; everyone does it when they think no one is looking. It's my favorite form of exercise.

Okay, so maybe I shouldn't be shaking it too much this soon in the recovery process (my doctor still estimates another 4-6 weeks left of healing time), but I just couldn't help myself. I had so much energy built up that I forgot all about my foot (that reminds me of the line from "Can't Hardly Wait," when one of the characters says he can't feel his legs and the whole house of drunk partiers cheer).

Now where did all this energy come from? It was the result of another rawified chocolate recipe, of course (no, I was not drinking ... or at least not alcohol; I don't touch the stuff).

In my last post, I mentioned how much I enjoy making raw versions of popular restaurant dishes, especially if I've never sampled them myself (like the raw mallomars I attempted to create from Pure Food & Wine's takeaway menu, although I've never actually been there). It's like my form of travel, since I don't have many opportunities to get out and explore other destinations.

So, yesterday I decided to make a raw version of the frozen hot chocolate made famous by Serendity III, another N.Y. establishment I have yet to visit. Hopefully, I'll make it up that way in the near future. In the meantime, I'll just have to satisfy my taste buds in the comforts of my own home.

From what I understand, Serendipity (love that movie, by the way) uses a top secret recipe, containing as many as 14 different types of chocolate. To recreate this decadently rich and complex beverage at home, you can either purchase this combination in premixed packages or do what I did.

Since I've never tasted it myself, I don't know if mine was anything like the original, but it sure was good. I just rummaged through the house in search of any form of raw chocolate I could find to really make the flavor special.

I found chocolate rocks (check out NaturalZing, and while you're there, congratulate Jeff and Helen on the birth of their new baby), raw cocoa butter, two types of raw cocoa powder, organic nonraw cocoa powder (I only used a little for variation), cacao nibs, raw carob powder (I know; not chocolate, but similar) and some premade raw chocolates. I blended all of these with some hazelnut/Brazil nut milk, which I sweetened with agave and heightened the flavor with some vanilla (always goes well with chocolate), cinnamon (another cocoa companion) and a dash of cayenne pepper (this is "hot" chocolate, even if it's served cold).

Using about a cup of this chilled, thick, rich mixture (it might as well have been a pudding at this point), I blended in a whole tray of ice cubes, which resulted in a slushy texture. I poured my now frozen "hot" chocolate into an ice cream goblet, similar to the one used at Serendipity, and topped it off with some raw whipped cream (a cashew and coconut mixture, which I was too anxious to let firm up in advance; at least it still tasted divine) and shredded raw chocolate macaroon pieces.

Somehow I managed to refrain myself long enough to get a few photos, both indoors and outdoors. The now chilly air helped keep my frozen drink intact, while I snapped these pics.

Can you believe that the temperature has dropped into the 60s in just the past few days? Just last week, my son and I were enjoying 80 degree temps on the beach. That's just crazy.

So, you might think I'm crazy for craving frozen drinks in chilly temps. It kind of reminds me of how my sister and I would go swimming at any hotel that had a pool, regardless of the time of year or weather. I think we even turned purple after taking a dip in Ohio. Brrrr ... that was cold!

I had another slushy beverage this morning, but this time, I cooled down the usually hot apple cider. I just blended together some apple chunks with a touch of apple cider vinegar (just a little to intensify the flavor), mesquite powder, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and ice cubes, poured it into a glass and topped it all off with some raw whipped cream (this time I allowed it to thicken in the fridge), a cinnamon stick and a sprinkling of more spices. Yum!

Although delicious, this chilly drink unfortunately didn't provide the kick I needed to rewarm my insides. Now, where's that chocolate?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It is or is not on the menu

One of my favorite things to do in my raw kitchen is to recreate or rawify dishes from various restaurant menus. Now that I've pulled out the dehydrators again (I don't really use them in the warmer months), I decided to make a raw version of The Flying Biscuit's popular fried green tomatoes.

I had bought some green tomatoes from a local farm stand a few days back, and had this recipe on the brain ever since. By the time I got around to making it, the tomatoes had begun to take on an orange tone, due to the warm sunshine casting its rays onto the kitchen counter. They still had a touch of green, so I knew I needed to act fast, if I wanted these 'maters to be the star ingredient.

Although The Flying Biscuit breads its tomatoes in a cornmeal mixture, I decided to coat mine in a mix of almond meal (almonds ground into flour, leftover almond pulp from making nut milk or a combination of the two), ground golden flaxseed, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper, onion powder and paprika, which was glued on with a drizzle of olive oil. Then, I "fried" them up in my trusty dehydrator for a couple hours.

I served the tomatoes on a bed of salad and topped them off with the Biscuit's own cashew relish recipe, made out of cashews, fresh cilantro, jalapeno peppers (I used orange and yellow sweet peppers, then added some crushed red pepper flakes for heat), white vinegar (although I substituted apple cider vinegar) and honey (there's always agave for those who avoid using animal products). Beautiful and tasty, too.

While I was in the process of breading and "frying" the tomatoes, I also opted to have fun with some refrigerator pickles (sliced cucumbers, soaked in apple cider vinegar, agave, sea salt and other seasonings). Fried pickles, you say? Well of course I did. Haven't you ever heard of fried pickles?

Deep fried pickle chips were part of the pub fare served up at, you guessed it, Pickles, an off-campus bar where I went to college. I can't quite remember if they were actually on the menu at the time, but those in the know were definitely ordering them.

Speaking of ordering without a menu, that same Rachael Ray mag I mentioned reading the other day had a feature entitled, "Secret Service," with the opening paragraph, "Menus are for amateurs. Some of your favorite restaurants are serving unlisted dishes that only insiders know about. (Consider yourself one of them now!) We went undercover for the real house specials."

This peaked my interest, but I quickly found myself bypassing the In-N-Out Burger, Chili's and Quiznos listings, only to land on Jamba Juice and its sweeter option. According to the article, the fresh-fruit smoothie establishment "happily obliges" when its customers "ask for their favorite candy in liquid form ... one quirky combo tastes like a Butterfinger: chocolate, peanut butter, carrot juice and frozen yogurt."

This was right up my alley. I used to love Butterfinger candy bars when I was little, and had been known to buy them in bulk. I just had to make a raw version of this treat, but instead of rawifying it in smoothie form, I transformed it into a tasty pudding.

It was simple, keeping the chocolate and peanut butter flavors (I used my usual mock peanut butter combination), as well as the carrots (to my surprise, they really do help mimic that distinct Butterfinger taste). However, I opted to substitute the yogurt with a banana to lighten it up a bit.

You'll be relieved to know that I didn't add any pickles to this recipe, although I may have considered it when I was pregnant with my son. Actually, I had the pickles and ice cream thing down pat way before then in my high school and college days, when I would order it at Denny's of all places. It must be a family thing, since my sister used to eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches as a kid (she doesn't do this anymore, thank goodness). What were we thinking?

Anyway, here's the recipe. Do what you want with it. And, while you're at it, let me know what you've been able to order that's not on the menu at your favorite raw or nonraw restaurant.

Butterfingeraw Pudding
1 large ripe, but firm banana
1/3 cup shredded carrots
1 heaping Tbsp. almond butter (emphasizing "heaping")
1 heaping Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1-2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (adjust based on the amount
of chocolate rocks* you add)
1 tsp. lucuma powder
1 tsp. mesquite powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt
*some chopped up chocolate rocks, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. You shouldn't have bits of carrots, but it's nice to have some specks of chocolate rocks left intact. Chill to set, or if you're like me and can't wait, enjoy right then and there :-)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catching some rays & cranberries

As most of you know, my summer was cut short unexpectedly, when I took a tumble and broke my foot a month and a half ago in my cute little flip flops. Since then, my foot hasn't looked so cute and my toes have remained hidden in a rather unattractive bulky boot.

Lucky for me, the fall weather has taken a turn for the best (rather than the more commonly used phrase, "for the worse"), allowing me to make up for lost time. Although it's October and we've already had to break out our lightweight jackets, this weekend has been warm and sunny, complete with temps in the high 70s to low 80s range.

Yippie! I was so excited when I heard the forecast. I had taken a few trips down to the boardwalk and beach near my house lately, just to sit on a blanket and watch my son play with his grandfather on a wooden play set, but now, we'd actually get to enjoy beach weather.

We pulled out the swimwear, beach towels and sand toys. We couldn't wait to experience those last missed days of summer.

Yesterday, I sprawled out on a sheet again, exposed my somewhat healed toes and even put them in the sand, while Jacob and Paw Paw (see his shadow taking the pic) took their feet a bit further, actually dipping them in the water (maybe I'll do that today). They even caught a small fish, which Jacob wanted to bring home as a pet (at least he didn't ask to eat it).

Then, they made their way over to the wooden boat and swing set. I stayed on the blanket and babysat the fish, as I read my latest book. I'm currently visiting the residents of Cedar Cove, as they deal with their relationship struggles and try to solve some mysteries in Debbie Macomber's "44 Cranberry Point."

In the words of character Peggy Beldon, "There's lots of other gossip I could tell you. Come by for a cup of tea and one of my blueberry muffins and we'll talk."

I could've gone for one of my blueberry muffins and a cup of blueberry green tea this a.m., but due to the warmer weather, I decided to stick with my usual fruit. However, since it is fall, I decided to use some of the cranberries I purchased this week.

While at work on Friday, I found myself glancing through a copy of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, where I came across a recipe for a cranberry mango sauce served at some restaurant or bed and breakfast. I can't remember the recipe or exactly where it was from (I guess I should've written it down), but it seemed to be the perfect compliment for my reading (It is called "44 Cranberry Point," and Peggy owns a B&B in the book).

I quickly processed some mango chunks, cranberries, orange segments, lime and lemon juice, dates, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt, and then added a few more chunks of orange and mango for added texture. It was a lovely start to this warm fall day (you don't hear that very often).

Now I must leave you and get ready for another day at the beach. We did let the fish go, but I think Jacob hopes we'll see it again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Cider Donuts Rule

There I go again, stealing a line (or in this case a title) from a movie/book, and altering it to suit my own blogging needs. Shame on me; I just couldn't help myself.

Just like when it came to making these apple cider donuts, which I mentioned the possibility of whipping up a couple posts ago. I just had to have them.

So, I did some modifying to one of my own creations (you may remember these donuts; pan down to the plain recipe), and came up with this delectable third of a dozen (I didn't want to get carried away; in my none raw days, I could eat a box of 12 donuts myself in one sitting). I ate two of them yesterday, just dressed in some powdered lucuma, coconut and cinnamon, although I had hoped to present them in a more decadent fashion.

If I'm lucky enough to borrow my mom's Blendtec, I still might be able to gussy up the other two, like Hearth restaurant in New York City's East Village. I've never been there myself, but an old article in the Washington Post mentions how the establishment serves its glazed cider donuts with applesauce and whipped cream. Now that's good eating.

So, why haven't I been able to blend up some creamy topping for my "unbaked" goods? I have a Blendtec, too, right?

Of course I do, but I didn't realize how spoiled I've been with it until now. You see, yesterday morning my Blendtec ate its rubber gasket, but if you want to get more specific, it actually chewed it up and spit it out all over my countertop. There was barely a trace left on the bottom of the blending jar. What was I to do?

Luckily, I finished making what might be my last green smoothie for a while before the devastation occurred. I quickly poured it into a glass and headed over to the computer in hopes of finding a quick fix (and no, I'm not talking about raw chocolate).

To my dismay, I couldn't find a replacement part, only an option to purchase an entirely new blending jar for a ridiculous price. My impulsiveness was ready to make the transaction on the spot and opt for overnight shipping, but the in the end, I decided to hopefully save a little dough and see if my father-in-law can fix it (anyone ever try this?).

So, speaking of dough, here is the recipe for the donuts, minus the sauce and cream. They actually don't need it, although that combination would've made for a more impressive photo. Instead, I'll give you a few extra shots of these unhidden gems. They really shine on their own (and they are definitely easier on the eyes than a messed up blender).

Rawpple Cider Donuts
3/4 cup almonds, finely ground
1/4 cup cashews, finely ground
1/4 cup coconut, finely ground
1/4 cup oats, ground into flour
1 Tbsp. lucuma
1 Tbsp. mesquite
1/4 cup dehydrated apple slices
1 1/2 Tbsp. grade B maple syrup
1 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt

In a food processor, combine almonds, cashews, coconut, oats, lucuma and mesquite. Add dried apple, maple syrup, ACV, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. Process to form a dough.

Shape the dough into 4 donut shapes. Dehydrate 2-3 hours per side to firm up the outside, but keep the inside soft.

When finished "baking" but still warm, you can either coat the donuts in a mixture of more finely ground coconut, lucuma and cinnamon, and/or frost them with maple icing like the topping I used in this We Like It Raw recipe. Yum!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Watermelon for a penny per slice

Did that get your attention? It certainly got mine. But, unfortunately with the economy the way it is, we'll never see that price again. This deal is a just a memory preserved in a movie I watched last night.

I've always loved "Pollyanna," the childhood Disney flick containing this steal on watermelon. At the bazaar near the end of the film, a vendor is serving up huge quartered melon slices to the town residents at just a penny a piece. For that price, you could get a whole one for only 4 cents. Amazing!

Now, I could be bummed about the fact that one can no longer find such a bargain, but my optimistic side says, "hey, at least I can still eat it" (my youngest sister is severely allergic. Watermelon, along with various other raw fruits and veggies, makes her mouth itch and sometimes causes her throat to swell shut).

Looking on the bright side can be contagious as Pollyanna proves to the entire town. She gets everyone involved in her glad game, where instead of being so focused on the negative, she celebrates the positives.

For example, she talked about how she had wanted a doll, but was accidentally sent a pair of crutches. At first she was disappointed, until her father invented the glad game. Although she did not receive a doll, at least she didn't need to use the crutches.

I, on the other hand, did have a use for the crutches, but thank goodness I'm starting to get around better without them. I even made it down to the beach again yesterday to catch some rays, sit on the sand and enjoy the view of the water. Although we only had 45 minutes to take in what could be the last warm beach day of the year, I was still grateful to have that time at all, especially now that it's fall.

Speaking of fall, Jacob and I spent the rest of our day making scarecrows out of construction paper, an art project he did in school. He loves to come home, pretend he is the teacher and show us (Matthew and me) what he has learned. Check out our finished scarecrows seated on the couch. Jacob thought we should take this pic before hanging them up in the windows for all to see.

I got to take in some more sights this weekend, as Matthew and I went out Saturday night for some window shopping (okay, so maybe I bought a few things) and a bite to eat. I noticed that Panera had its Orchard Harvest Salad on its menu again, but we ended up dining somewhere else.

So, with a craving for this seasonal salad (minus the cheese), I made my own yesterday, but better. I stuck with the mixed greens, pears and dried cherries. I also would have added the pecans (raw, of course), however, I was surprised to find I was out. No worries; I just substituted Gone Nuts! Maple Mesquite Flour Candied Walnuts, which were much yummier.

As for the dressing, making it at home is definitely the better way to go. The ingredient list on the website has a lot of additives, which were easily eliminated in my own kitchen.

So, I made mine out of some cherries, balsamic and red wine vinegars, lemon juice, olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper. I also added a splash of grade B Maple syrup to compliment the candied walnuts. Scrumdiddliumptious, if I do say so myself (I snagged that word right out of a Willy Wonka script).

I'm feeling very glad right about now, and you can see it on our faces in this winning pic (okay, maybe we have more smiles in the first one, but it was a close race; I think they were only separated by one vote). Thanks for voting :-)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's appley delicious ;-)

It's October, the first full month of fall. The leaves are changing colors and drifting to the ground. The air is now cool and crisp, like the apples I look forward to each and every year.

These once forbidden fruits (the Eve in me keeps me coming back for more) pack a nutritious punch ("an apple a day keeps the doctor away," so they say ... hey, who's "they?"). And, although sometimes taken for granted as a year-round grocery store staple, they can now be found locally and in season at roadside stands and farmers markets (the one by my house is still going strong until the end of the month; maybe I can get down there tomorrow night).

My favorite and simplest way to enjoy an apple, outside of just picking one and taking a bite, is to cut it up into a tiny, less than perfect dice and sprinkle it with cinnamon, sea salt and a slight drizzle of agave (which is not necessary when the fruit is just right). Can you believe I used to eat this all the time before going raw, except I'd nuke it the microwave as a quick and easy snack? What was I thinking? This way is so much better.

I nibbled on my bowl of spiced apples as I checked my e-mail this week. Guess what I found in my Everyday with Rachael Ray e-newsletter? She was on an apple kick, too. Go figure; we must be as original as everyone else with a fondness for seasonal foods.

Anyway, no big surprise. She had links to some other hand-picked, "Top of the Crops" apple recipes, including the salad I had for lunch today. It was an Autumn Double-Apple Salad, named for the fresh apple and ACV (apple cider vinegar; makes me want to make some rawified apple cider donuts, like the baked ones featured on $40 A Day) combination. Delish, if I say so myself. I've been making this same dish for years. Again, great minds think alike. Ha ha.

Maybe that's why I've never followed through on the uncookbook idea. It just seems like these ideas come to me in the same way they pop up in the heads of everyone else. You know what I mean; you toss something together, only to find that another uncook has the same idea.

It's like what my hubby once told me. He said recipes are like songs. The more that are written, the more they begin to sound the same. How else can you explain why there are a zillion recipes for fried chicken out there (obviously, I wasn't planning on publishing one of those) and probably as many tunes that can easily be morphed together seamlessly?

Oh well, one day I'll find my niche, something that sets me apart. Maybe then, I'll put that book together with my own personal spin on it.

In the meantime, I haven't heard much from all of you about the Raw Fu pics. Have you picked your favorite pic (kudos to those who did)? I know it's not a big deal, but I thought it would be a fun way for Disqus newbies to test it out. You don't need a blog to sign up and comment. Don't be shy; give it a try :-)