Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes Pie Is A Good Thing!

Having just gone through Thanksgiving trying to stay 100% low fat raw and struggling, I am reminded of this pie recipe I came up with last year. I think my downfall was trying to ignore the holiday and just eat fruit. It lead to feelings of deprivation and I ended up trying to indulge in regular Thanksgiving food from restaurants and not really enjoying it at all. I would have been much better off with my Raw Holiday Favorites like this pie!

I think the better approach for me would have been to prepare for a Thanksgiving meal and make the raw food that we enjoyed in the previous year. So what if it's high fat! It's still raw, much healthier and delicious and I would not have felt I was missing out. 

I think now I am better prepared for Christmas and the birthday celebrations we have coming up this month of December.

So in honor of previous raw holidays, here is my recipe:

Raw German Chocolate Pecan Pie or Raw Chocolate Pecan Pie

For the crust: 
2 cups almonds 
1 packed cup of soft dates (soak if necessary to make soft) 
½ teaspoon vanilla extract 

Mix in food processor until fine and crumbly and sticks together between fingers. Grease pie dish lightly with coconut oil or olive oil to keep pie from sticking. 
Press mixture into pie plate, making sure to push up sides as well. Place in freezer to set. 51 

For the filling: 
25 dates soaked for about 1 hour - drained and liquid reserved 
2 cups pecans 
½ teaspoon sea salt 
½ teaspoon vanilla 
2/3 cup cacao, cocoa or carob powder 
2/3 cup shredded coconut ( omit if you want just chocolate pecan pie)
extra whole pecans for topping 

Process pecans until finely ground in food processor but not too much or they get oily, then add dates, salt, vanilla and process until smooth. Add date water as needed to keep it from balling up into dough. When it becomes the texture of brownie batter, add in cacao and coconut ( if using) until well mixed. 
Spread filling over piecrust and arrange pecans over top. Chill in refrigerator to set. 

For the cashew cream topping: 
1 cup cashews 
1 cup water 
½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 ½ teaspoon agave nectar or raw honey 

Add cashews with just enough water to cover them to the bottom of blender. Blend until smooth and all bits of nut are no longer apparent. 
Add the vanilla extract or substitute ½ small vanilla bean. Add 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons agave or honey to sweeten to taste. Add more water or more nuts to get right consistency. Cover and refrigerate until cold, set and ready for topping pie. 

This is just one of my recipes  along with many other fantastic raw holiday menu ideas that can be found in Penni Shelton's and Raw Food Rehab's compilation ebook, Raw For The Holidays. Click on the link and look for the picture link to buy on the left side of the page. I have made so many great things from this book. and for $15 it is more than an bargain. I made things from this book all year.

I will be getting this book out myself and planning for our next upcoming holiday celebration. 

For now, I'm back to my clementines. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

10 Tips for Transitioning to Low Fat Raw Vegan or 811

First of all I hope all of my American readers here had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

For me it was a challenge to stay on plan not because of food so much as for the emotional reasons that go with holidays but that is another post in itself.  I strayed only twice and in a controlled way so I am ok with the outcome. Today there are no eating holidays so onward I go.

What I Learned in Week 2:

1.  Listen to your gut instincts.
When trying something new, it's very easy to want to just trust someone else and their advice, even when you feel it may not makes sense for you. I am not saying not to give it a try but if you do and it it is not working out, stop and reevaluate. For instance, remember the Atkins diet and being told that you could eat all the meat and fat that you wanted and it was going to be healthy? You wanted to believe because others were experiencing success and weight loss (that probably turned out to be temporary) but in the back of your mind, you questioned all that meat and fat? Well that's the same thing. When something doesn't ring true to you, questioned it and or research it for yourself.

2.  Transitioning cold turkey is a serious commitment and not to be taken lightly.
You could feel worse before you feel better and be prepared for the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with it for at least a week or so. Setting aside a week when things are a little less chaotic is definitely the way to go. Often you hear raw people that have changed their diet cold turkey talk about if they had it to do over again they would go slower because feeling awful really does take it's toll. It's very easy to want to quit when you feel horrible and you know that you are the one causing it.

3.  When going to low fat raw or mostly fruit and greens, go slow. 
It will take time for your body to adjust. Just because you should eat a certain amount of calories per day, doesn't mean that you will be able to eat that much whole fiber rich food that quickly. It's good to educate yourself on how many calories are in fruits and veggies without fat because it is very low but keep in mind that your stomach may have to adjust. Most likely you are coming from a diet that is high in calorie and fat and low in volume, even if it was raw. Most likely it was low in nutrition too. When you switch to high fiber, high volume, low fat and low calorie, you will find that you get full much faster on much less. Plus your body is going to need to adjust to all that fiber. A good rule of thumb is to eat until you are full and then take two more bites. That's it. Don't stuff yourself! Those extra two bites will help your stomach to adjust to the changes and over time you will be able to consume more calories, comfortably.

My experience here goes back to tip No 1: I was doing what I was told to do and not listening to my body. I was forcing more food into my stomach than I could eat comfortably to try to reach a certain caloric minimum and making myself ill in the process. I was also eating late at night because I had not consumed all my calories for the day and waking up feeling nauseas and unable to eat the next morning, not to mention what it did to my stomach. It is important to start tuning into what your body is telling you. Eat when you are hungry and stop two bites past full.

4.  Make sure that you are digesting and processing your food in a timely manor.
In other words make sure the train keeps leaving the station on time, if you know what I mean. If you start to go through detox, nothing is going to make you feel worse than if those toxins aren't getting out the door as soon as possible. All that fiber is going to throw your body into a tail spin if you weren't consuming that much fiber before and it may take time for your body to adjust. While it does, you need to help it empty the trash or your going to feel like....caca! Where do you think that phrase came from anyway?

Simple is Beautiful.
5.  Keep your food choices simple.
When changing your diet to a mostly fruit based diet, you need to remember that it is very cleansing on your system. To make digestion easier, keep your food as well combined as possible. In other words very few food combinations. The best way is to stay with mono meals. 

Mono Meals: are where you eat one thing at a sitting for example all oranges, or grapes, or watermelon until full. Very easy on your digestion and just as effective as juicing in terms of giving your digestion a break and letting the focus of your body's energy instead be spent on cleaning house.

Greens smoothies comprised of only a couple of items, for instance bananas and greens and water or oranges and greens and water are another easy digestive way to go is. Go easy on your stomach during this time. Adding in other items like ground seeds or milks will slow down the digestive process because nothing digest as quickly as fruit and greens.

6.  Start your day out with your juicy fruit and work your way towards greens at the end of your day and only eat ripe fruit.
The fruit in a mono meal will only take an hour to completely go through your system. You will want anything more complicated like vegetables or more complex combinations to be towards the end of the day so if need be it has more time to digest. The last thing you want to do is add fruit behind a complex combination meal. It will get caught up behind it and not digest properly. This could lead to symptoms like an upset stomach, bloating, gas or constipation and leave you drained of energy as your body focuses it's energy on digestion.

7.  If you are starting an exercise program- again go slow.
You wouldn't decide on a whim to run a marathon without training. Your body needs time to prepare. This seems obvious in the case of a marathon but at the same time wherever you are starting out, your body will need an adjustment period before you ask it to go past what it is prepared for. 

In my case my first week I jumped into a one hour a day walking program from not walking at all and gave myself painful shin splints. The result was a spent a couple days with no walking at all and having to start again slowly. Had I just stared out slowly and worked my way up I would be further along than where I am now, without the painful experience.

8.  Eat until you are full at each meal.
Remember, if you are eating "clean" as in no added fat or sodium in your diet, your food will process within the hour. If you are not full, you will start to get hungry and that is where cravings will slide back in. You don't want to be caught off guard feeling hungry. It is best to always have plenty of food with you in the beginning to be prepared.

9.  Fruit related heartburn is not actually the fruit's fault.
I personally learned that my inability to eat citrus all my life was not because of an allergy or sensitivity as I had previously been told but because I had always eaten a high fat diet, even as a child. When you have fat in your system from say the meal the night before and you get up and drink orange juice or eat fruit at breakfast you are headed for poor digestion or in my case heart burn. I can honestly say that since I stopped eating fat, I am already drinking and eating oranges without heartburn! Unbelievable!

10.  Read This Book:

The 80/10/10 DietThis should probably be No. 1 on the list. 

The book, 80-10-10 by Dr. Doug Graham is a great book to read if you want to really understand why fruits and vegetables are always our best food choices and why fats, even healthy fats are not good for us in more than minute doses. This was in my hand almost every night this week as I tried to sort out what I was doing and I had already read it cover to cover.

I also want to say thank you to the people on Dr. Graham's chat board on and the people over at 30 bananas a day. They have all been a blessing to me this past week.

So on to the rest of week 2!

Monday, November 22, 2010

One Week 100% Raw Low Fat

Can you say DETOX!!!?

This is what it feels like. 
Just need to keep my head down, keep going and ignore the cooked food mirage that keeps calling my name for a quick fix.

Seriously, it has been a very tough week. I thought going raw was difficult but going low fat, low sodium, low sugar raw is another story. There is no way around detox here. Must go through it.

Headaches, congestion, hives and fatigue like never before. And did I mention shin splints? But I'm sure it will all be better on the other side.

I feel like I have done nothing this week except shop for fruit and veggies, slice or blend & eat them,  walk my 60 minutes per day and sleep. And the week is gone. 


Just like that!

Other than the rapid cleansing, the food component really couldn't be simpler. 

Fruit and veggies and greens.

I am focused on green smoothies, salads, and fruit mono meals. The hard part is getting enough calories in for the day without nuts and seeds. I am charting my daily calories on Fitday until I get the hang of it to make sure I don't slack in this area.

My day's food intake looks like this:

Pitcher of Smoothie:
2.5 cups strawberries
2 cups pineapple
4 cups spinach
1 banana
2 tbsp chia gel
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 cups water

5 clementines

4 cups greens
1 tomato
1 cup zucchini shreds
1 cup carrot shreds
.5 cup cucumber slices
lemon wedges for dressing

4 cups watermelon

This all works out to around a little over 1000 cals and less than 10% fat. I am actually working to increase these numbers a bit but it's a lot of food to get used to eating. My giant salad works out to around 113 cals- that's it!

So.... On I go.

Oh.. and for all my effort this last week.... 11 lbs gone! Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holiday Food For Thought

There are 6 Weeks Until The New Year!

What are you going to do with them?

This may seem a little strange to post here in mid November but this could really make or break how you feel come New Year's.

Think back to Last New Year's...
What were your plans for this year? Most people include some aspect of health and/or weight loss in their New Year's resolutions. How about you? Are you on track for those goals or have they fallen by the wayside?

It's not too late! There are 6 weeks left until the end of the year. 
Think about what you can accomplish if you give it a shot, even if it's just not gaining weight over the holidays- that would be a good one!

Do you really want to just coast through the holidays and "start fresh" Jan 1st or maybe make that Jan 2nd because you have a party to go to or better yet let's just be safe and make it Jan 5th but wait... You see what happens?

What are the holidays really about anyway? Food or Friends and Family?

And here's something else to think about...

You know how they say "the holidays are cold and flu season"? Well why is that?
Is it really because some strange bug comes in from out of town?
We are always exposed to germs and bugs.
Perhaps it is what we do to our bodies during the holidays that leaves us crying the blues come the new year- if we hold out that long.

Think about it. We eat things that we don't normally eat ("... well, maybe just this once...") and eat too much of things that maybe we do normally eat. We run around in a stressed state. Parties to plan and go to. Family and friends are coming, we have to get ready! We have loads of shopping to do. We have to make food, lots of food. We have to clean or even redecorate the house- company's coming! All the while our normal day to day life must carry on. The kids still have to go to school and soccer practice or rehearsals. There is still work to go to or to be done. You get the picture.

Add to that parties, drinking, over eating, under sleeping, over stressed (yelling fighting, crying?) We put our body's out of balance and I'm talking especially about Ph balance. All that food, drinking, stress all equals an acid state, ripe for illness.

Our immune systems don't stand a chance.

So instead of just thinking about holiday wait gain this season maybe think about staying healthy throughout the year end and new year. What could you do to make this year different?

How about:

1. Refocusing on healthy fruits and vegetables and making sure they are the main stay of your diet. I'm not saying don't eat some of your holiday favorites but maybe just a bite or two could be enough.

Or better yet make a healthier version that you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it you could just end up on a bender with the real deal so be careful with this one.

2. See what you can make to bring to the gatherings.

Or better yet just make it and bring it! There are not many hostesses out there that will say "can you make and bring something?" Make sure you have a staple for your meals to eat. And if you can't bring your food where you are going, eat before hand.

3. Making sure to take a time out when your stress temperature starts to rise. When you feel yourself feeling stressed, take a moment and regroup.

Or better yet set a side time for yourself to chill out on a regular basis- daily!

4. Remember what it's all about. Focus on what's doable for you and don't worry about the rest. There comes a moment when you just have to say to yourself, "This is what I can do at the moment. I can't worry about anything else." Be kind to yourself and you will automatically be kind to others.

Or go completely off the deep end like me and take a raw food challenge!!

Just a thought....

Monday, November 15, 2010

Raw Food Boot Camp

I decided that I needed a little kick in the pants! 
So Today I Start Raw Boot Camp!

So for the next 4 weeks I am going low fat, low sodium, low sugar, 100% RAW!!
Not only that but I will be committing to at least an hour a day of walking!

I know, I know.  Right before the holidays and a week before Thanksgiving?
 Am I out of my mind?
Yep, probably! 

This always seems to be my time of year to crack down. My birthday is a little over 1 month away and it always motivates me. Last year I did a 30 day raw challenge and I felt great! We even had an all raw Thanksgiving and for the first time in years did not feel sick that day! R was pleased because he dropped about 17 lbs himself during that time.

I have been reading a lot lately about how to go raw and the mistakes that some people make going raw. I know from my experience that my mistake comes from relying on the fats to carry me through and not focusing enough on the fresh produce. The sweets, the nuts, the salt can all add up to too much. There are so many ways to go raw and stay unhealthy, although if you stay with it, these transition foods tend to taper off and for many this works out just fine.

But for me this has been a tough year.  I have had a major relapse with my health and consider myself to be in a health crisis. I really would like to change the tide before the next year starts.

So I am Upping the Ante and Going All In!
A wise reader of my blog post,  Raw Food Hokey Pokey commented:

"Put Your Whole Self In and Turn Yourself Around!"
So That's Exactly What I Am Doing!

If I were to go off to a healing orientated center like Optimum Health Institute (OHI) or Hippocrates Health Institute ( HHI), I know for a fact that they would nut be serving me raw cheezcake, nut butters and pates, and lots of dehydrated foods. It would be low fat, low sodium and high, high produce, although low in fruit. I was listening to renown cardiac surgeon Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn talk about the dangers of not only high fat diets even among vegetarians and vegans but also moderate fat diets. Based on a 21 year study of reversing heart disease in cardiac patients, he says the diet must be plant based and below 11% fat, all the time! He is a big proponent of No Oils! Stating that even vegans and other plant based eaters still have signs of plaque buildup in the arteries from consuming oils and other fats regularly.

He also stated that it takes 90 days to kill off your fat tooth. I need to get rid of that one myself. I am pretty good right now when it comes to not wanting meat and other animal proteins but dairy is still calling my name. The nuts have been helping with that but I would rather just cut it out for a bit.

So will I be able to do this indefinitely? Not sure about that one but at least I can do 4 weeks and see how I feel.

What I like about this approach is that it really brings me back to where I would like to focus-

Simple, Simple, Simple!

I need to keep my calories between 1000- 1200 and my fats below 20%. It is actually hard to eat enough produce to reach 1000 calories without fats and oils so I think I will be relying a good bit on smoothies. It's going to be lots of grab and go food and little food preparation. My choices will be plain fruit and veggies, simple combintions and blended combos. No nuts, grains or oils and only one banana a day.

The other component is daily exercise. This is another weakness of mine. I have Fibromyalgia and CFIDS  and with this being a major relapse year, this will be my biggest challenge. I think I can break things down into short outings and see how it goes but my intent is for at least an hour a day of good walking.  I think my dog will really enjoy this too. Honestly I really look forward to getting back outdoors and maybe resuming my hiking group at some point.

So that's where I am this month- Bootcamp!

My posts are going to be getting even simpler when it comes to raw food. This will surely be an adventure!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Berryman Cometh

There is something new and exciting about our Farmer's Market this year- 
It's The BerryMan!

He comes all the way from Pudwill Farms on the central coast of California to our little corner of the desert- a 7 hour drive! And I'm so glad he does!

Look at this beautiful spread!

It stops me in my tracks every time. 

Something about all those vibrant beautiful colors, you just know these are just bursting with nutrition! It's times like these when my mouth waters just looking at fresh produce like this that there is no question in my mind what our designed diet is supposed to consist of. I don't salivate looking at cows or chickens for instance.

The hard part is deciding what should come home with me.

All Raspberries

This was my choice last week.

I had never seen yellow or orange raspberries before. What I learned is that the yellow are sweeter than the red and the orange taste similar to the red.

Raspberries and Blackberries
This  week I went with the blackberries too. I have never had blackberries that just burst with juice like these.  Delicious!

All of the berries last more than a week in the fridge if not scarfed down first, which astonished me! The first week I needed them to last to the end of the week for a special occasion. (See cake below) and they did just that beautifully!

The ones from the grocery store last only a few days before turning moldy, which makes sense since it probably took at least a  few days travel time to get there and at least another few days before I get the chance to buy them. Sometimes they turn in just a day. So frustrating!

Here are some of the good uses I put these pretty berries to:

Berry Salad
what could be more simple and delicious than this?

I get beautiful mixed greens from the Hydroponic Herb Lady at the market, (but that's another post!)

Mixed fresh greens (edible flowers come with the greens)
assortment of berries, raspberries orange and red and blackberries
Chopped  walnuts

Raspberry Vinaigrette
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 shallot
1 tbsp honey
 1/2 tsp sea salt
 1/3 cup raspberries, here I used the orange
1 cup olive oil

Mix all in blender except oil, then while blending slowly add in oil through top to emulsify.
Berry Salad with Orange Raspberry Vinaigrette

Mixed Berry Cobbler
Individual Serving Dish

This is so simple and delicious, you will wonder why all these years you never thought of it.
Crumb Topping
1 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
1 cup walnuts
1/4 tsp sea salt
6 dates, pitted or more to hold crumble together
pinch of cinnamon

Process all in food processor until it can be pinched together and hold. 
(I make extra and keep it in the freezer.)

Berry Mix
 3 cups berries of choice
 4 tsp agave syrup or honey 
juice of one lemon

Mash berries with fork a bit to release juices. 
Let sit about 10 minutes.
Place a generous scoop of berries into a serving cup
Top with Crumb Topping

A Better Peek At What's Under the Crumb Topping
Recipe based on Jennifer Cornbleet's 
Raw for Dessert: Easy Delights for Everyone

Raw Vegan Raspberry Cheesecake

This was for my friend Marjorie's Surprise Party!
Speaking of Surprises This is Surprisingly Simple!

2 cups brazil or macadamia nuts
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup dried coconut

3 cups chopped cashew, soaked for at least one hour 
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar (syrup)
 3/4 cup coconut oil in oil form 
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
 1/2 tsp sea salt

Raspberry Sauce:
 10 oz berries 
1/2 cup dates

The only part about about this that takes time, is soaking the nuts. 
So the day you are planning to make this, soak the nuts before hand while you do other things. If you think about it, this is a good time to put the coconut oil on top of the fridge or in another warm place to melt as well. I put mine outside to warm up. Melting point for coconut oil is about 74 degrees.

For Crust:
Rub inside of pan with a little coconut oil. 
Sprinkle dried coconut onto bottom of 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.
Process nuts and dates in the food processor until the texture of crushed graham crackers.
Press nuts into bottom of pan evenly.
Freeze while making filling.

For Cheeze:
Blend cashews, lemon, agave, gently warmed coconut oil (do not use microwave), vanilla, sea salt, 1/2 cup water in blender. I needed a bit more water to keep it moving but you want it very thick and creamy not watery. Blend until smooth and adjust to taste. Pour mixture into crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping pan on table. Place into the freezer to set up until firm.

Raspberry Sauce:
Blend berries with dates in food processor, not blender.

You can spread the sauce on top and freeze to set or mix into filling to make marbling. I  spooned on small  globs and then mixed into filling with a knife to create swirls.  Next time I will do this more to get it in deeper. I also reserved most of the sauce to spoon over the plate and individual slices when serving.

You can make this days ahead of time, cover and freeze. Thaw about an hour or two before serving.  In warmer weather remember the coconut oil melts at 74 degrees.

Note: Next time I might use less lemon juice, but this is the beauty of raw. You can taste it first with less before removing from the blender and decide to add more if you like. The flavors don't change since there is no cooking.

Cheezecake Slice with Raspberry Sauce and fresh raspberry garnish

I found this recipe on the internet but I believe it is from Ani Phyo's book,

Ani's Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes 

So there you have some easy things to do with berries, 
beside doing as my friend Heather suggested,
 placing them on your finger tips and eating them off one by one!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Adventure Into Neverland or Actually the OC

Peter Pan and Children in flight.
We Had a Big Adventure Yesterday.

My friend Marjorie and I went into Orange County to go see Peter Pan at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and visit with her daughters and some of her granddaughters.
Marjorie with Jenna and Alyssa

We all met for a late lunch at one of my favorite raw vegan restaurants, Jenny Ross' Living Foods 118 Degrees in Costa Mesa. It was recently voted Best Vegan Date Spot 2010 by Orange Coast Magazine.

Counter at 118 Degrees
Jenny is the author of the beautiful book, The Art of raw living food.

The Art of Raw Living Food: Heal Yourself and the Planet with Eco-delicious Cuisine

Since one of the most difficult things about raw restaurants is deciding which item to order, we were in luck! 118 Degrees offers sampler plates and in our case, we all decided to go for the Bento Box making it very simple for our server.

The Bento Box features a selection of the day's favorites; a starter bite, a salad, an entree and a dessert item. Ours was a yummy stuffed tomato, a chef's salad which had delicious strawberries and greens in a light tasty dressing and the New Age Quesadilla, which is a wrap of sliced, marinated and dehydrated vegetables with a drizzle of cheeze cream and the only regular menu item. Oh! and of course a chocolate truffle with raspberry sauce. Some of the girls ordered Merry Monkey smoothies, which was a mix of bananas, almond butter and almond milk with a little maca, and cinnamon. Another had a berry smoothie, hold the bananas!! and the ladies all had a Chai Jasmine tea with an almond milk frappe.

It was all delicious! 
The New Age Quesadilla

This is where you will have to forgive me because I forgot my camera and my camera phone did not do anything justice except Marjorie and the girls.

So next time, more pictures I promise!

Peter Pan and Capt. Hook

So Off To Peter Pan!!

This was a brand new version of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan presented by a British Company called 360 Entertainment.  It was Peter Pan meets Disney and Cirque du Soleil.

The show was actually outside in a Cirque du Soleil style tent or rather the world's first 360- degree state of the art CGI theater pavilion. The tent is actually an IMAX like screen in the round that serves for the backdrop for the multimedia show that takes place in the air and on the center stage in the middle of the audience.

If you have ever been in Disneyland's Circle Vision you will have a sense of what this is like as the children on wires take to the skies of London in the late 1800's.

You feel as if you are flying as you swoop with them across the skies in and around the towers and bridges until they arrive at Neverland. The screen then serves as a beautiful interactive background for all the scenes.

Below water we are even treated to aerobatic mermaids suspended in air on ropes of fabric Cirque du Soleil style.

Nana and handler
There are creative puppets for the characters of Nana, the dog and the crocodile was especially creative. There are minimal props as most of the show is comprised of the graphics and aerial work and of course the acting and dialogue.

But in our opinion the real show stealer was Tink!
Itxaso Moreno as Tink- Brilliant!
Mind you, this is not the cute little blonde fairy associated with Disneyland animation but rather a scruffy dirty fairy in combat boots that is more of a London style street hooligan.

Definition of Hooliganism: unruly, destructive, aggressive and bullying behavior. Yep that's Tink!

No fairy dust here, more like gutteral screeches and grunts and swearing under her breath. She is more true to the story in her unabashed dislike for Wendy.  She is as hilarious as she is talented on the wire. A true acrobat.
Often found hanging upside down for entire scenes.

She is such a star that these are one of the official T-shirts for sale:
Wish I bought one of these!

All in all it was a very creative and entertaining show and the children in the crowd, along with the adults, were mesmerized. I feel so fortunate to have been included in such a fun family day with Marjorie!

I say, Good Show!

So tonight as I sit here reflecting on our trip yesterday, I find myself craving a Merry Monkey smoothie of my own concoction for dinner and why not? 

So I created this:


It's based on the Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie I shared here but a little different so I will add my version below.

or Cacao Almond Butter Banana Coconut Smoothie
(based on Raw Dawg Rory's Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie)

2 cups water
2 frozen bananas
4 tbsp almond butter
4 tbsp raw cacao (can use unsweetened cocoa or carob)
4 tbsp honey or agave
1 tbsp shredded dried coconut
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon

Blend and Enjoy! MMMmmmmmm!

Somehow a martini glass dresses up everything! I had to fill it 4 times but hey... no biggie. It felt like such a special treat and that's what's for dinner. Love it!
I will probably be up all night from the cacao but I sure enjoyed it!

Night! Off to Neverland...
"Second star to the right and straight on until morning."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Soups On!

No Doubt!

Nothing beats a bowl of homemade soup in cooler weather. 

I used to love making a big batch of soup on the stove but only when I had time because it was a process. Canned soup or carton soups are too high in sodium and a little flat in flavor so these were never my favorites. Now that I have added raw food into my life, I can't get over how delicious, quick and easy soup can be and so much more nutritious! Made with real ingredients that retain their flavor.

Even if raw room temperature soup is not your thing, I will share some ways to make wonderful wholesome soup in minutes, (that you can even gently heat) that beats the pants off any soup from a can. All you need is a blender and a few good quality ingredients, and if you are heating it a tea kettle or a small sauce pan.

Now if you are a raw purist don't get all mad at me because I am saying you can heat the soups. This blog is for those transitioning or even those that just want more real food in their diets. And besides sometime you need something a little warm in cooler weather and I guarantee that raw soup heated still has more nutrition and flavor than most other soups out there.

Cream of Tomato Soup

This makes 2 servings so double or triple as needed. 

This is from Jennifer Cornbleet's book, Raw Food Made Easy, which is a must for beginners!


3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
(I snuck an heirloom tomato in there which has much more meat and less seeds than regular tomatoes)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp crushed garlic ( 1 clove)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin Olive oil
2 tsp minced fresh basil or fresh dill weed (or 1/2 tsp dried)

Place the tomatoes, water, garlic, onion powder and salt in a blender and process until smooth. 
Add the avocado and olive oil and blend again until smooth. 
Add the herb and blend briefly, you just want it mixed in.

Enjoy immediately or chill for 30 minutes for a cold soup.

Mushroom Soup
Serves 2

This was from Nomi Shannon's Newsletter on Soups. Delicious!

Simple Ingredients- I'm a big fan of Trader Joe's

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup almond butter
2 cups quartered mushrooms or more to taste (you can use crimini, baby bellas or button)
2tsp nama shoyu, which is unpasteurized soy sauce. I used Organic Shoyu- not raw
pinch od sea salt
1 tsp chopped onion, optional
4 tbsp finely chopped mushrooms
Blend together water and almond butter ( makes creamy almond milk base)
Add remaining ingredients except chopped mushrooms. Taste. Add more mushrooms if you desire. 
Pour into bowl, top with chopped mushrooms.

Sweet Corn and Celery Raw Soup

Serves 2 people
Note: this recipe needs 10-20 minutes for flavor to blend before serving.


2 cups fresh corn kernels, (frozen and thawed organic will do)
2.5 cups tender coconut water, not meat (you can used packaged water like Zico if needed)
1/2 Tsp Olive oil
2 Tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 small carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
1 stalk celery, chopped
Sea Salt to taste
Dash of lime, optional

Blend all the ingredients except corn until semi smooth.
Add the corn and pulse for 5 seconds. 
Cover and set aside at room temperature to mature for 10-20 minutes.

I LOVE corn so I was in heaven with this one!
Note: 2 cups of corn kernels is about 4 ears

For Some Heat: 
A general guideline for heat in raw is that if you can hold your finger in the mixture comfortably the temperature is below 118degrees.  If you desire a little more warmth here are some tips:
  • If you have a high speed blender you can let it run for a while to heat it up. 
  • You can also heat up the water in a kettle before adding it to the blender. This will give you a warm soup if your ingredients were room temperature to start.
  • Use a small sauce pan on the stove to gentle warm it but keep an eye on it and don't let it boil.
Please don't use a microwave! 
I did an experiment in a class once that had us try to germinate seeds with two different kinds of water. One was fresh the other had been microwaved and left to cool first. Guess what happened? The microwaved water had lost all it's life giving properties- No sprouting. The fresh water- no problem.
So what does that tell you about what the microwave is doing to your food?

For more information on how to work with fresh coconuts check out my blog, Cuckoo for Coconuts.

I am already excited about the next post. All about these gorgeous raspberries I found at the farmer's market. Stay tuned! ;-)


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