Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fresh Fruit Vanilla Tart with Chocolate Brownie Crust

It's the weekend and Memorial Day is this upcoming Monday here in the states. I thought a tasty dessert would be in order. Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, this is a dessert worth getting to know. It's a favorite for any special occasion and really just too luscious not to share. Plus it's better to share so you don't eat it all by yourself. It's a raw dessert (shhhh!) I guarantee your non raw or even non health conscious friends and family will definitely appreciate this fresh fruit tart with a dark chocolatey brownie crust.

It's to live for! 

Plus it's just a beautiful dessert anyway you decorate it.

The Chocolate Brownie Crust

raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free


1 1/4 cup medjool dates, soaked about 20 minutes and pitted- soft not soggy
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup cacao or unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt

Process all the ingredients, except vanilla in a food processor until crumbly, scraping down sides as you go to keep it well mixed. Add the vanilla as it's processing. You want the mixture to stick together and hold when pinched between your fingers. Add a little water if necessary until it does. Be careful not to over process. You don't want chocolate almond butter.

When the crust is ready, lightly coat the bottom of a tart pan with a little coconut oil and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides.

By now you probably have noticed I love kitchen gadgets, even in my tiny kitchen. Just like in interior design and construction, the right tool makes for a better job and these are no exception.

When it comes to raw desserts, these are a couple of life savers:  A tart/quiche pan with a removable bottom. (just be careful- these edges are razor sharp!) Any shape is good. I even have little ones for individual tarts. Also this little wooden tart tamper for getting the crust pressed just right (believe me this little tool really saves your fingers.)

Set the crust pan into the freezer to firm up while making the creme.

Vanilla Creme Filling

raw, vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free


1 cup cashews, soaked 1-2 hours and drained
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Blend well until nice and creamy.

Pour into crust and spread around in a nice even layer. Return to freezer until well set.  Maybe an hour or so. When set, lift up the bottom plate carefully from the middle center to free the shell from the mold. There will still be a plate underneath just not around the sides- the beauty of the tart pan makes for easy serving.

Then decorate with fresh berries of your choice. In a pattern or….

… randomly. It looks deliciously inviting either way.

You can decorate right before ready to serve but make sure it has thawed a bit. Or decorate ahead of time. If you do it ahead of time, let it thaw about a half hour or so before serving so berries are not frozen. (the thought of biting into frozen berries just makes my teeth hurt!) Keep in mind that coconut oil turns to liquid at around 75 degrees so it's better served slightly chilled and not left out in the sun.

Keep leftovers, if any, in the freezer.

I hope you try this one. It's pretty easy, always lovely, and better yet always enjoyed.

If in the states, I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend. If you are elsewhere, why not celebrate anyway and make yourself a delicious tart?

Special Note: 

You may have noticed the tags on the photos saying
This will be my last post on Getting RAW. I figured a great dessert was in order as a celebration of what has lead me to this point.

I have begun a new blog, Purely Nourished where the focus will include not only raw foods but also more health conscious cooked vegan plant based recipes. I am making the move away from salt, sugar and oils for health reasons and continuing my health journey by eating even cleaner.  A new start deserves a fresh new start with the blog as well. The health journey and growing continues. I have improved my camera skills with the help of a new camera, my computer skills and would like to think I've improved my knowledge of what it takes to regain health as well.  I hope you will follow me there.

Thanks for all your support!

Follow me at Purely Nourished the blog here, on Facebook here, and on Instagram here.
See you on the other side! ;-)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Getting Raw Kitchen

We didn't start off wanting to have a "raw" kitchen but once we started eating raw it became apparent that it was much easier to ditch the cooking and dish cleaning that comes with cooking and embrace the idea of a raw kitchen. Since we presently are residing in a small studio, space is at a premium so we had to get creative.

Here are some of the ways that we have upgraded our kitchen. Maybe there are some ideas here that could help you organize your kitchen, raw or cooked, as well.

It all started with an original model unit, circa 1972. This was the model. Can't you tell?

Yep! those are orange/ bronze fishnet drapes! Along with shag carpet throughout. Fantastic idea for a kitchen area by the way... not!

A major renovation was needed and we ended up here:

We had the single kitchen unit replaced and redesigned in stainless steel. A fridge/ freezer is under counter with a cooktop above in the top. A small bar sink with trash underneath and a row of drawers and some open shelving and we are a little more up to date. A pantry closet to the right holds a small microwave/ oven but that's it for kitchen space.

This was fine for a vacation condo but when we decided to move in full time, we quickly needed more space.

A quick trip to Ikea followed by a not so quick assembly time and we added a free standing island cabinet and a stainless steel storage cart for more counter and storage space. This helped with more counter top for the water filter system and the food processor and also for storage of bowls and other kitchen necessities. 

But we quickly filled up the little pantry. The spices alone took up a whole shelf.

So we took to the walls. 

A little indent behind the curtain gave me 4 inches, just enough for some shelves to hold the jars of raw staples, nuts, seeds, dried goodies. 

I LOVE this! It's so much better than a deeper shelf in my opinion as I can easily see everything. If necessary to de clutter, I can pull the curtain over it and my little"pantry" disappears.

Making a little board to cover the cooktop provided much more needed counter space. I just pulled off the knobs and drilled a couple of holes in the back of the board so the pegs for the knobs would have a place to go and the board could sit level. We have a BBQ outside (which we have not used in over 2 years now) in case we need to cook, plus an electric wok. Neither get much use but we are not without options.

For the spice rack, I purchased some plain steel straps at Home Depot and screwed them to the wall. The jars are from Ikea and about 4 ounces (but who can tell with Ikea?) I wanted to have room for a whole spice jar without needing back storage. I glued heavy duty magnets to the tops. 

NOTE: This is the one thing that needed modification. The jars had a foil top on plastic so the magnets eventually pulled off ( usually in the middle of the night. ) I have since replaced them with magnetic backed Ikea metal tins with the clear covers. I would prefer glass and this can be done with little Ball jelly jars with the metal lids- as long as they are good and clean before using epoxy to attach magnets.

What else? 

The fruit basket hung from the ceiling helps a lot! Especially with all the produce that comes into the house.

The pantry door painted as a chalk board helps with the question, "What is there to eat?"
We can see it from the sofa or anywhere in the room for that matter. With an under counter fridge it's sometime hard to know what's in there.

Oh Yea! The Aero Garden! 

We were given this Aero Garden Classic 7 pod unit with the herb packet as a sample from a business show and I loved it. So easy to grow things hydroponically from the little seed bundles they sell. It almost worked a little too well for us. 

We could not keep up with the herbs it produced. It was prolific! If we had a little more space, where I could dry and store the herbs or even freeze them, we would still have it. We finally had to give it away. The other draw back for us anyway was that it has it's growing times where the light needs to stay on, which in a studio is a little tough. Plus it was back to back on the counter with our water and it created an algae problem. ;-P

In a bigger place with a dedicated kitchen or place for it, I'd get it again for sure. I especially would love to try growing the lettuce greens.

So that's our little kitchen. I hope you liked the tour and perhaps you have ideas for how to add a little more space to your kitchen?

Bye for now,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kinder Holistic Dental Care

My New Dental Routine.

Recently I had a really painful situation with my teeth. I spent many nights and days researching dental remedies. I wasn't receiving relief from the dentists I sought out so I started to dig deeper into the field of holistic dentistry. I bought many books as well as scoured the internet and found the information to be really eye opening. I came up with a routine that does no harm and has provided me some great results, along with peace of mind. Eventually, I also sought out a biological dentist who discovered I was allergic to a metal based crown in my mouth. He replaced that as well as some biologically incompatible fillings. I am now metal free and I am doing so much better.

I never have understood why dental care was always separate form medical care. Does that make sense to any one else? Your mouth is in your body after all. What you eat affects your teeth and the health of your teeth affects what happens in your body as well. Your mouth is also one of the quickest delivery systems into the blood stream. So why is it acceptable to put toxins in your mouth?

Have you ever noticed that there is a poison warning on your dental care products telling you not to swallow it?  Toothpaste and other dental care products fall under personal care products and are therefore not under the control of the FDA. They can literally put anything in there.

For a list of what is in toothpaste and their tested effects on the body see the bottom of this post.

To be as brief as I can on an in depth subject, I want to share with you what has become my new dental routine and what helped me stem off a painful infection as well as impress the pants off one of my dentists!

I gave up toothpaste years ago after learning about the chemicals in them. I first switched to health store brands but learned they just have some similar ingredients and still some that interfere with tooth care.
For instance Glycerin is something that has been put into tooth paste to coat your teeth, thinking this will prevent cavities. The problem is, it takes approximately 20 rinses to remove it and meanwhile the saliva in your mouth that is designed to remineralize your teeth is prevented from doing so. 
Glycerine is not good. As a matter of fact there is not much that is necessary in tooth paste at all.
Most ingredients are sweeteners and chemicals, including anti freeze! YEP!
You are better off with a dry brush then adding these items into your body. 

What you need to know is that teeth are alive. And just like everything else in the body, your body is designed for self care. It's best not to interfere too much with this process but instead support it.

Sea Salt Water

The purpose of Sea Salt water is to neutralize the Ph of your saliva, 
which is what really cares for your teeth and gums. 
Plus it supports remineralization of the teeth with mineral rich Himalayan Sea salt.

When you have a sore in your mouth or an infection the first thing they tell you is to rinse with salt water. This should be a regular step even something to do after meals if you are able.

Worst thing you can do is brush your teeth when they are coated with an acidic saliva and to be clear meat, grains, dairy and fruit are all acidic in the mouth.
The acid coating plus the act of brushing actually brushes away the tooth enamel.
A few drops of Sea Salt in some filtered water and a shot glass makes this a snap.

My Dental Care Steps

Step 1.
Rinse / Alkalize
Take a shot of Sea Salt Water and Swish and Spit.
Do not swallow.
If you do nothing to change your current dental care routine at least consider this one.

Step 2.

Brush your gums gently with a dry tooth soft brush. Notice I said brush gums not teeth.
You brush one direction only from gums toward tooth, slowly.
Brushing teeth aggressively brushes your gums away from the tooth and creates receding gums and pockets. You don't want to expose your teeth this way.

Step 3.

Floss but with a floss that does not contain chemicals, please. 
I like Smart Floss, found at Health Food stores because it stretches with tension and
 then thickens when tension is released to really remove debris.
I add a drop of Healthy Gum Drops to the floss to get the essential oils in and around the tooth,
again being very gentle with the gums.

Step 4.

A drop of Gum Drops on the Gum Massager and I gently go around massaging my gums.

Step 5. 

I use a battery charged Round Headed Tooth Brush and a dab of Non Aluminum Baking Soda to polish teeth, being careful not to annoy the gums. 
As an extra step of antibacterial action I dip my brush head in some coconut oil first
 and then the baking soda.
This is not necessary every day but maybe once or twice a week.

Step 5.

If there is any inflammation, I take a shot of half Hydrogen Peroxide and half water 
(never H2O2 straight on healthy tissue) and swish for a couple minutes.
(Even my dentist admitted to doing this.)
This kills any bacteria causing infection.

I believe this step and the Gum Drops got rid of a horrible infection 
and helped relieve intense pain until I could find a biological dentist.

Tea Tree Oil can also be used diluted in water to rinse the mouth and fight bacteria. 
A good way would be using a few drops in a water pik or a syringe.

Step 6.
Final Rinse

Rinse again with Sea Salt Water to rebalance the mouth ph again.

Step 7.
Special Needs

If I have a tooth giving me attitude or a gum that shows some bleeding, 
I rub a drop of the Gum Drops on it.

Step 8.
Disinfect Tools

I dunk my tooth brushes and massager head into some straight H2O2 in my shot glass
 to disinfect and air dry.
It amazes me how we were never taught to do this. 
Water alone does not remove bacteria.

This may seem like a lot of steps but really it is not a hassle. Having everything ready makes it a snap. Plus I feel like I am really doing something good to help keep my teeth healthy.
I want them to last a lifetime.

Another step that I have yet to incorporate is a tongue scraper. This would be up there right after the first rinse as a way to remove bacteria from the tongue.

For Tooth Pain or Bleeding

If you are not already following the above steps- do it!
You will not be sorry. You will start to feel relief with each day you do it.

Clove Oil

This is a pain reliever you can put directly on the tooth causing the problem. 
Dilute it first with a neutral oil like little olive oil. 
It may burn or sting a little but it will work.
Clove Oil has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years for tooth pain.

The Gum Drops has this as an ingredient so I just kept applying that.

For Infection:

At first sign rinse with sea salt and water mix.

Try one of the following:

Add 6 drops of tea tree oil to water pik and use daily
Apply Lobelia Tincture, Tea Tree Oil or Colloidal Silver directly on gum to control infection.
Rinse with One part water to one part Hydrogen Peroxide

Eat a alkalized diet full of fruits and vegetables and make sure you get enough Omega 3s daily.
Omega 3 s will help rebalance your body's chemistry.

Gum disease leads to bone loss and starts with a deficiency in the Vitamins, A, C, D, and Calcium.
Strawberries, honey, lemon juice and stevia are all good foods for your gums.

If you have deep gum pockets, sensitive teeth, or even the first signs of a cavity, 
consider giving this protocol a couple months to work before taking a next step.

Toxic or abrasive mouthwash and toothpaste ingredients:

Source:  This is a culmination of several sources but the main one is Nadine Artemis. I had viewed some of her videos on Self Dentistry online as well as hearing her speak at a Longevity Now Conference a couple years back. She is very impressive! When I heard her back at the Longevity Now conference, it was a new concept to me then and I wasn't yet onboard. What really caught my attention was hearing all the people lined up at her products table sharing their testimonials of how they have reversed dental issues such as tooth sensitivity, bleeding gums, deep pockets, gum disease, cavities, and even enamel errosion by following her protocall. While she can not make these claims on her website, I was hearing them first hand out of the mouths (no pun intended) of her followers and they were impressive. I finally gave up my toothpaste and other commercial products.

The real beauty of this is, you don't really need her products to follow along, although one in particular, The Healthy Gum Drops sure makes it easier. I have since listened to several of her online interviews and special reports on dental care.

Check out Nadine at Living Libations and watch some of her great videos.
PS: I have no monetary gain from her products. I just want to help spread a good word to help others.

I hope this was helpful.  I know it's made a big difference for me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to Transition to a High Raw Diet

There are many people out there making the news about going raw, reversing illness and or losing a great deal of weight and changing their lives. It is so exciting to hear, I think partly because it puts the possibility of great health and wellness, where it should be, within our own hands.

So you hear the stories. You get excited and you want in! 
Now what?

Many people jump in, myself included and try to go raw overnight, or go on a cleanse of some sort. Juicing is really big right now and I have many friends doing that. No doubt it can make a tremendous change if you can stick it out. But for most of us these changes don't last long. Sure we feel great while we are doing it. Many people say they never felt better than when they were juicing or eating all raw. So why have they stopped?

Conversely there are those that said it made them feel too weak and ill and they had to go back to their old food ways to feel better. Leading to a yo yo eating effect between wholesome food and SAD (standard American diet) food and a lot of feeling bad about it too.

I have been both of these and that's why I keep slugging it out. I know I can feel better so I don't give up. I know better health and a better life comes with a plant based diet.

But why is it so hard? There must be an easier way.

Lately I have been noticing that the people who have made the biggest changes and most dramatic results are still keeping it up and it made me wonder...

How did they go raw and how come they stay raw successfully?

Here is the secret common denominator:   They transitioned slowly.

Mark Sonowski- Minus 115 lbs Raw

Recently a friend of mine, Mark Sonoswski was interviewed on a radio show. Although I had heard his amazing story of transformation before, I listened again and as I did something he said really hit me.

He laughingly said that....

He didn't set out to go all raw or lose 115 lbs in the beginning. 

He just started with adding an apple to breakfast!

Ding!!   Ding!!   Ding!!

In time that turned into a healthier salad for lunch and after a time he had to give up his home cooked meals made by his elderly mom, because they no longer tasted or felt right to him.

Meanwhile the weight melted, the medicine was discontinued and his life made an amazing turn for him.

He didn't struggle. He wasn't forcing through with willpower. 
Nor was he suffering from detox symptoms.  It was easy.

It was an organic transition to what felt and tasted better to him and it has not only changed his life, it is still how he continues to eat today.

His story made me start to think about others that had a similar beginning. Kathy came to mind.

Kathy Caulfield Before and After Raw- Down 120 lbs
Kathy Caulfield says she rarely ate fruits or vegetables at all but her health was suffering to the pointed that she needed a change.  She started with green smoothies for breakfast. 

That was the only commitment she made and all she thought she would do. But little by little her taste buds changed and her diet followed.  She lost over 120 lbs effortlessly and is happier and healthier and still raw today. She says she is now so passionate to share this new found vibrant health and joy with others, especially after a life time of struggling.

Angela Stokes Monarch- Before and now Raw

Probably the most notorious raw weight loss story to date is Angela Stokes Monarch.
She initially did go raw overnight but had to quickly add in some cooked food to keep it going.
She was not all raw until much later in her journey but she is the queen of the raw lifestyle today!

I had read her story way back in the beginning for me, and she even recommends going only 50% raw to start. But I thought like a lot of people do, why take it slow? Why not speed up the healing process?

Turns out there is a good reason to take it slow:

When you have been eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables, chances are you have some stored up toxins in your body. Through eating but also from drinks, the air we breath, environmental toxins, any residuals left over from medications and even extra hormones like estrogen.

When your body is not busy digesting food, it is cleansing and healing. 

When you eat clean unprocessed food, digestion is a snap and the body can get back to healing and cleaning. But when you eat heavy, acidic (meat, dairy, grains) or processed food, the body is overworked and often because of excess, does not get to process everything in a timely way. It stores these extra and complicated things aside to work on later when it has free time. Like when company is coming and you start throwing things into closets. Later you'll clean it out again when you have time. This is where fat storage comes in.

Think of fat cells as like little tiny soap bubbles full of toxins.

If you have been raised on a Standard American Diet, chances are you have some storage closets that haven't been touched in a while. We are often malnutritioned so the body keeps sending out signals for food, even though we are full. It wants real food but we give it more of the same. Due to the quality of our food and the amount we eat, most Americans are in a constant stage of digestion. We don't like the feeling of cleansing because often it feels like withdrawals and sometimes it is just that.

When you start eating a clean raw and wholesome diet of fruits and vegetables in their most nutritious state, your body readily processes them and then has time left over. So it starts digging around in that old storage closet- popping those bubbles and removing old debris. The problem is, those toxins are now back in the system and if there is too much all at once or it doesn't get removed fast enough, it will make you feel sick and tired.

The easiest way to slow this process down and relieve the queasy feeling is to start up the digestion again- remember if you aren't digesting, you're cleaning. And if you want to slow it even more, eat complex processed food that will keep the body occupied for a while, the more processed the slower. Not a suggestion- just what happens.

This is why people that jump from a highly processed diet into a fast of juice or even just fruit or all raw foods, can have a reaction of feeling ill. They then blame it on the clean food and chalk up the cleanse experience as negative.

So this is why it's important to start slowly with raw foods. Don't go popping all those toxic storage bubbles all at once. You won't like it and you'll quit before you even get started.

This is why the people that start out slowly on a raw food diet, adding a little at a time, do not experience this anxiety or healing crisis. Nor are the relying on pure willpower alone to make a change. They are cleaning the toxins out slowly and the cleaner they get, the more the body can handle and wants these highly nutritious foods. The cravings and tastes for those other foods just fade away on their own.

Suggested Transition:

Start with fruit only or better yet skip it! Drink water and some lemon juice to continue the cleanse (remember when not digesting?) and elimination from the night before. This will be the lightest part of your day digestion wise and your body will start cleaning those bubbles out.

Mid morning
Add more fruit or a smoothie to get you going. This will take the body about 20 mins to digest.
You are still cleaning.

Try get in a raw salad to add some roughage to help move that debris from the morning's cleaning along. You are also starting to slow the cleaning process now by preparing the trash for take out.

Have a small salad or soup if you like, some steamed veggies or and even a baked potato if you are really wanting that full feeling. If you are still eating meat, skip the potato and have that with the veggies. When you are further along, you can make that salad a BIG salad and skip the cooked.  You have halted the cleaning process but will be going into a long sleep when digestion can happen and the cleansing can begin again.

This would be the ideal but if all you get in is that morning fruit or smoothie and the rest is sandwiches and pasta and steak, that's okay too. This is all about what we are adding to your diet, not taking away and freeing up a little digestion time for deep cleaning. Add in those fruits and veggies!

Don't get me wrong, there are some really motivated people out there that can and do go raw overnight but they are not the majority. Also the worse off your body, the harder those withdrawal or cleansing symptoms will be.

If you want more of a jump start, try a juice fast or a fruit fast for one day and see how you feel. Actually it's not a bad idea to add into your week as a regular thing. Maybe like Mono diet Monday or if you are still eating meat on a regular basis try Meatless Monday as your place to start.

Whatever you decide to do, remember it's all about improvement. One step at a time will get you there.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Save the Tuna! Raw Mock Tuna Salad

Mock Tuna Salad

There was a time that I used to eat tuna or moreover albacore salad almost daily. I was very picky about it too.  It had to be like my mom made it without many fillers and lightly held together with mayo. Key points were: not watery, a little onion, celery, salt and lemon pepper and just enough mayo to hold it together. Definitely nothing that would detract from the taste like egg or pickle relish (what is up with that?!)

Once after a friend came back from a deep sea fishing trip with fresh canned albacore, we had albacore for months and I was forever spoiled. It was white meat albacore from then on. 

After some really awful tuna salad experiences in restaurants, I even went so far as to start asking for samples before ordering tuna salad. It's amazing how few places serve good tuna salad. When we had a restaurant that was a key menu item- the best albacore tuna salad ever! and our patrons really appreciated it.

What I am really saying is I was a tuna fish salad snob! and proud of it.

When news came about the concerns with mercury link to fish and most notably tuna, I stopped this favorite almost overnight. I was very sad. 

Now there are also other reasons I don't eat fish often or even at all.  But there are times, I really miss my salad favorite. Today was one of them.

So I whipped up this mock tuna salad to satisfy that desire and it really fits the bill.  It doesn't taste exactly like tuna- really how could it? But it does taste really good and reminds me of my old favorite.

Save the Tuna! Mock Tuna Salad

Mock Tuna- raw vegan ingredients


For Pate:

2 cups of hulled sunflower seeds that have been soaked for about 2 hours and strained

1 Tbsp Dulse granules

juice of half a lemon

1 clove of garlic, pressed

1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste

enough water to hold mix together
(about a couple tablespoons or to your liking)

Mock Tuna Salad- raw vegan

Place the seeds, dulse, garlic and lemon in the food processor and grind until crumbly or it no longer looks like seeds.

Add salt and pepper and start tasting.

Add in the water a tablespoon at a time until it holds together as you like it.

Diced celery and green onions

For the Salad:

Dice up:

2 stalks of celery

2 green onions

Mix in the pate until well combined.

Season with more salt and pepper if needed

For Serving:

I chose 2 big beefsteak tomatoes as they are in season.

I cut off the tops and scooped out the centers to make a nice sturdy cup (setting aside the insides to use in a dressing)

I then filled the centers with the "tuna" salad.

I whipped up a little green salad to accompany it.

Lunch is served! 

Save the Tuna- raw mock tuna salad

It really does look like tuna salad, doesn't it?

Note: This was a ton of food and very filling. One tomato this size definitely serves two!

This pate, for lack of another name is often called mock tuna, but could be mock chicken salad too if you omit the dulse flakes that give it that slight sea taste and add whatever ingredients remind you of chicken salad. Perhaps, chopped apples and walnuts? Almonds or walnuts can be substituted for all or some of the sunflower seeds too.

Refrigerated it should keep about 5 days. Like most salads like this, it tastes better the longer it has time to mix flavors.

It's quite versatile, tasty and very filling.


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