Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Make . . . EZ Date Paste

This Holiday Season I hope you are enjoying family, friends, and taking time for yourself to unwind, relax, and regain your balance! For myself, I spent a joyful Christmas with my daughter and her two sons, and was really happy to connect with my son and relatives in Ontario (we could have talked for hours). So now I am getting back into my itty bitty kitchen to create new raw recipes for the booklet I am working on. YES, I DID SAY I AM WORKING ON A BOOKLET.....yesterday I made a Chocolate Pumpkin Pie that was divine, and today I am creating Gingerbread Cookies - what fun!

So with all the holiday desserts being enjoyed at this time of year, I wanted to give you another choice to soothe that sweet tooth. Even though there is a lot of info on the negative effects of sugar, there are alternatives - especially for us raw foodies! So how about taking control over what you eat and making your own from scratch?

Top right picture shows how the Date Paste will look in the blender when you quickly mix it up at home. My blender, a Vitamix, whips this into a smooth, thick and creamy paste, but a regular blender will also do the trick.

Three of the best varieties of dates for raw food prep are medjool, khadrawi and honey dates. (Date sugar, made from dates only, is heated in the process and not considered a raw food.) I use medjool dates and love them even as a snack when in a hurry.

Maybe you are wondering what you can use the EZ Date Paste for? You can use it as a replacement for anything that calls for a liquid sweetener, like agave, honey, yacon syrup, stevia, date sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, etc. But since Date Paste will be less sweet than other sweeteners, you will want to keep taste testing to find your sweetness level.

EZ Date Paste
1 cup Medjool dates, with pits removed
3/4 to 1 cup water
pinch of sea salt (Optional)
splash of lemon juice to preserve (Optional)
  • Combine ingredients in your blender
  • Blend until a smooth paste-like consistency
  • Pour into a glass jar with a lid and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks
  • I used 3/4 cup water for 1 cup of date paste
  • Less sweet than agave so use 50% more (if recipe calls for 1 Tbsp agave, use 1-1/2 Tbsp date paste)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Raw EZ Rawpple Mash

Here is a great solution to satisfy your craving for sweets (with the bonus of being very filling). And if your goal is to keep raw food simple - this recipe couldn't be any easier! (No food processor??? Just chop apple, dates, and mash banana!)

Raw EZ Rawpple Mash
1 organic apple, cubed
2-3 Medjool dates, soaked
1 small organic banana, peeled
  • Soaking the dates for a few minutes makes easier mixing in food processor
  • Drain liquid from dates and put in food processor with cubed apple
  • Process to small chunks
  • Add banana and process again for a few seconds (not to liquefy)
  • Place in a bowl and enjoy
  • Goji berries or raisins can be added to food processor (optional) 
  • Yield: 3/4 cup for one person

Monday, December 6, 2010

Raw Brazil Nut Truffles

If you haven't dried the fruit yourself, use dried fruit that is organic and unsulfured. Dried fruits like blueberries, pears, papaya, pineapple and apricots all work well.

Selenium found in Brazil nuts is a powerful antioxidant linked to lower rates of cancer and heart disease and may help boost the immune system along with possibly discouraging the aging process.

Raw Brazil Nut Truffles
1 cup Brazil nuts, ground
1/2 cup coconut flour (process shredded coconut in food processor)
1/2 cup organic dried apricots, unsulfured
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup Agave
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean
Extra Agave and ground Brazil nuts (or shredded coconut) to roll truffles
  • Process all ingredients in food processor until dough turns into a ball
  • Scoop spoonful of dough and shape each spoonful into round balls
  • Take one truffle and dip in Agave
  • Then drop truffle into brazil nuts (or shredded coconut) and roll until coated
  • Place on plate and repeat for each truffle
  • Yield:  20 truffles

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kabocha Squash

Here is a picture of a large Kabocha Squash (weighing about 4 pounds) that was given to my daughter by a friend of hers who had grown it. I'll definitely use kabocha again!

Called Japanese pumpkin, kabocha began its history in Japan where it was favoured for its sweetness and pleasing texture.

Kabocha's hard, deep green skin, boasts exceptional flavor to those who have had the pleasure of tasting its succulent, naturally sweet flesh, even sweeter than butternut squash, although the occasional one may forget to be sweet. The flavour and texture of the Japanese pumpkin is like a sweet potato crossed with a pumpkin.

Kabocha has an abundance of beta carotene, along with vitamin C, iron, potassium, and also folic acid, calcium, and trace B vitamins.

So what to do with this much squash? Well today, a pasta dish sounded awfully good to me, so out came the Spirooli vegetable slicer and squash noodles quickly appeared! Next a creamy sauce was whipped up in the Vitamix - using the old add and taste method!

The sauce was mixed with the squash pasta noodles until they were well coated and then I encircled the pasta with some marinated veggies that were already prepared.

So today I enjoyed a quick and easy raw food dinner that was absolutely delicious - and looked amazing on the plate! what to do with the rest of the squash?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Raw EZ Chocolate

This is a very simple chocolate recipe - give it a try and you'll be pleasantly surprised! You can substitute dehydrated buckwheat groats, coconut, or goji berries for the nuts, or make it a bit sweeter - it's up to you!

Raw EZ Chocolate
1/2 cup raw cacao butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw carob powder
1/3 cup raw Agave syrup
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • To melt cacao butter, put solid cacao butter in a measuring cup, then sit the measuring cup in a pan of hot water
  • Coconut oil should be liquid also
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl and combine well
  • Pour into a silicone square mold
  • Place in freezer for up to 15 minutes
  • At this point chocolate should be solid enough to cut into squares, or just break into pieces when fully set
  • To set, return to freezer, or leave overnight in fridge
  • Turn mold inside out to release chocolate squares

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to Make . . . Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Wow - just came home to the full bodied smell of dehydrating tomatoes! Not only does raw food have the amazing tastes and textures that I love, but my home is filled with mouth-watering, stimulating aromas when the dehydrator is used! As you can see, my mason jars are getting filled with nutritious, meaty tasting sun-dried tomatoes!

Maybe in some past life I was a Daschnik (people who work and communicate with the earth and its plants - from the Anastasia books), or maybe I just really appreciate simple, natural whole food, because I experience such joy when working with the vital life force in these foods! 

My mandoline is a pleasure to use. I just put it on the thickest setting to slice tomatoes and it helps me go through a box of tomatoes really fast. Tomato slices are placed in a single layer on the mesh of my Excalibur dehydrator tray (for very juicy tomatoes you can put on Paraflexx sheet first.) Dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 12 hours or more, turn slices over, and dehydrate another 12 hours or so until done to your liking! A quick and easy way to make the most of your tomato harvest - PRESERVATIVES and COOKING NOT REQUIRED!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Raw Persimmon Pudding

I just made the most deliciously thick green smoothie pudding - courtesy of Valya Boutenko - definitely going back to Safeway for more persimmons!

Raw Persimmon Pudding
1 persimmon
5 very large strawberries
1 banana
2-3 stalks wild celery, with leaves
(I used regular celery, but since I love wild celery which is more nutritious and tastier, I'll go to the Abbotsford Farmers Market this Saturday for the wild version.)
  • Remove top and seed from persimmon and discard, place remaining persimmon in a blender
  • Add strawberries and banana to blender
  • If using a Vitamix you will want to use the tamber. Omitting water thickens a green smoothie into a pudding.
  • When fruit is mixed thoroughly, add celery, one stalk at a time
  • Blend till smooth and pour into dessert dishes - Fast, Easy and Delish!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sensitive to Gluten?

What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, contaminated oats, and a multitude of other products. It is also a food additive found in everything from ketchup to pharmaceuticals.

What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects 1 in every 133 people in the U.S. 97% of those with Celiac disease go undiagnosed. It is more prevalent in certain populations, particularly in people of Northern European descent, and to have celiac disease, you must carry the gene for it.

Who should care about gluten?
Millions suffer from allergies and gluten intolerance, which can result in medical reactions ranging from temporary discomfort to high cholestrol, depression, arthritis, and Celiac disease.

Is gluten mentioned on food labels?
Not always. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified gluten as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). Requirements for proper labeling are currently being formulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Some hidden sources of gluten are:  imitation bacon bits, beer, blue cheese, brown rice syrup, cereals, coffees, communion wafers, croutons, dairy substitutes, deli meats, fried foods, gravies, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) and (HPP), imitation seafood, licorice, marinades, salad dressings, seasonings and spices, soy sauce, soup bases, beauty products, stamp and envelope adhesive, Play-Doh, prescription drugs and over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements.

Some Gluten-free foods:  Amaranth, Arrowroot, Artichoke (dried and ground as flour), chickpea flour, garfava flour (chickpea and fava bean blend), Kettle chips, lentil flour, soy flour, buckwheat, corn, flax meal, millet, nut flours, potato flour, Quinoa, Rice, Tapioca, Sorghum, Teff.

Rule of Thumb:  The closer a food is to its natural state, the more likely it is to be gluten-free. Processed foods often include hidden glutens.

Whether you have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or a basic desire to live a healthier life, you may want to view the following:
  • "The G Free Diet" by Elisabeth Hasselbeck
  • "Recipes for IBS" by Ashley Koff
  • G-Free forum

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Raw Peach Mango Mini Pies

Ripe, juicy peaches are now in season, and I have been waiting to make little individual fruit pies! So I played around with a recipe I found by Dr. Ritamarie and came up with this version which makes enough for 3 mini 4-inch pies! (But this recipe can easily make 4 mini 4-inch pies with thinner crusts.)

Raw Peach Mango Mini Pies

Pie Crusts
3/4 cup pecans, soaked 4 hours
1/4 cup almonds, soaked 6 hours
1/4 cup pitted Medjool dates (3 dates)
1/2 cup dried coconut
  • Process nuts and coconut in food processor; add dates and process till it holds together
  • Press 1/2 cup of crust mixture into each mini quiche pan
  • Place pie crusts in freezer or fridge to set while preparing pie filling
  • Recipe makes enough to fill 3 quiche pans (4" x 1.75" with removable bottoms)

Peach Mango Filling
2 large peaches, remove skin and pit
1 large mango, peeled and pitted
1 to 2 Medjool dates
1-1/2 to 2 tsp psyllium powder
  • Cut peaches into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl
  • Place mangoes, dates and psyllium into a blender; blend until creamy (only adding a little water if needed)
  • Add mango mixture to peaches in bowl and stir well to combine
  • Divide peach mango filling equally between 3 mini 4" pie crusts
  • Sprinkle top with dried coconut, or decorate with fruit
  • Place in freezer or fridge to set; best if eaten within 2 days 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Green Smoothie Challenge (GSC)

August 10-31, 2010 Held a 3-week trial in Abbotsford to experience the power of Green Smoothies for abundant health, increased energy, regulated weight, and reduced cravings.
  • We mixed together organic fruit, dark leafy greens and 2 cups of water in a blender at home (no powders, additives, or supplements needed)
  • No need to even change diet (apart from adding Green Smoothies of course)
  • Whether a vegan, a steak lover, or a junk food addict, no problem, we drank green smoothies and enjoyed the ride
  • It was that easy!
For this challenge we made a blender full of Green Smoothie each morning for 3 weeks in August, drank a glass every few hours, kept in refrigerator, and by the end of the day finished the entire blender!

Participants received an initial email with instructions and recipes, and then a group email at the end of each week of the challenge to help, guide and inspire them along the way (weekly email included answers to all questions received + more recipes).

After the challenge is over we get together to compare the challenges and successes of those taking the GSC - and share the healing benefits experienced by participants! 
  • 2008 presented 1st GSC in BC with 100 participants
  • 2009 organized 2nd GSC with 25 participants
  • 2010 organized 3rd GSC with 30 participants

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Raw Baby Recipes

Some recipes from the book "Raw for Baby" by Nadine White!
(My beautiful grandbabies, Keegan and Mackenna on a camping weekend)

Raw Awesome Applesauce
Apples are a great fruit to begin babies on. They have predigested forms of fruit sugars and contain pectin which takes up excess water in the intestine, all of which allows for easy digestion and elimination. They also contain many essential vitamins and minerals.
2 small apples (chopped)
1/4 cup pineapple pieces
1/4 cup filtered water
Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.

Raw Terrific Turnips
Turnips assist with bronchial and sinus disturbances as they help clear excess mucus and phlegm.
1/4 cup turnip pieces
1/4 cup carrot pieces
1 apple
3/4 cup filtered water
Place ingredients into a blender and blend well until smooth.

Raw Beautiful Blueberries
Blueberries contain silicon which is excellent for baby's teeth, hair, skin, nails, lungs, nerves, and many other areas of the body. Silicon also promotes coordinated body movements as baby is learning new motor skills.
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 avocado
1/2 banana
1/4 cup filtered water
Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Raw EZ Sunshine Crackers

Just came up with this new recipe for the class on March 28 that has a sunburst of flavour. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and good for arthritis!

Raw EZ Sunshine Crackers  
Yield: 1 tray of 36 crackers

1/2 cup brown flax seeds
1/2 cup golden flax seeds
1 cup water to soak flax
2 lemons, juiced
handful Cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • Soak flax seeds in 1 cup water 8 hours or overnight
  • Add ingredients, except soaked flax, to food processor and process till well mixed
  • Soaked flax with water will now be thick and jelly-like
  • Add flax mixture to food processor and process another 15 seconds
  • Pour this mixture onto Paraflexx sheet on top of dehydrator tray
  • Spread mixture evenly with spatula in a large square on tray
  • Place in dehydrator at 105 degrees F for 8 hours
  • Remove from dehydrator and flip crackers over to other side, removing Paraflexx sheet
  • Using spatula, draw deep lines for 36 crackers
  • Return to dehydrator for another 6-8 hours at 105 degrees F.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Raw Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake

Here is a beautiful RAW cake we made at the "Uncooking" class on Feb 7th. It has two layers with chocolate frosting and raspberries in the middle and then more frosting on top and sides.

Raw Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake
Yield: 6 servings
To cut down on the caffeine in the cacao you can use only carob - or try half carob and half cacao (which is what I do).
Fudge cake:
3 cups dry walnuts
1 cup pitted Medjool dates
2/3 cup unsweetened cacao powder/carob powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Combine the walnuts, cacao powder, salt in a food processor and pulse until coarsley mixed. Avoid over processing. Add the dates and pulse until mixed well. Shape into 2 stackable cakes of desired shape and set aside.

1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup avocado (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup Agave syrup
1/3 cup cacao powder/carob powder
Combine the dates and Agave in food processor and process until smooth. Add the avocado and process until smooth. Add the cacao powder and process until smooth.

1/2 cup raspberries
Frost the top of one of the cakes with 1/2 the frosting and top with raspberries. Stack the second cake on top and frost the top and sides. Serve immediately or place in fridge for couple of hours to firm up. The cake on its own will keep in the fridge for many weeks. The frosting will keep separately in the fridge for 1 week. The assembled cake with raspberries will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.