Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Soups

This weekend I made a couple soups I thought I would share. The first soup I've posted before, which of course is one of my favs! Ani Phyo's "Raw Sweet Corn and Cashew Chowder," you can check my previous post on it here. I thought I would share the recipe, but I actually found it on Food & Wine. It also gives you the nutritional information, which is always nice.

It really is a never fail soup recipe and the best part is how fast I can make it. Plus cilantro as the garnish of this soup is so refreshing, so if you have it on hand, use it! I didn't have any on hand this time around, but I did add some cayenne powder and a splash of olive oil. It's a nice option if you want a little heat.

The other soup I made was "Kreme of Mushroom Soup" by Rod Rotondi. I will admit I'm not a huge mushroom soup fan. I usually find that mushrooms can make a meal very rich and my stomach cannot handle it. This recipe, although mushroom rich, I was able to digest and handle without the stomach ache. It was nice, since I do enjoy mushrooms.

Serves 8-10 (I cut this recipe in half)
1/2 cup soaked cashews
2 cups soaked almonds
2 cups water
2/3 cup nama shoyu(substitute tamari or 1/2 cup miso past to make gluten free)
4 cups of fresh button mushrooms
2 medium cloves of garlic
Hot water for heating

Put the nuts and 2 cups of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the nama shoyu, mushrooms, garlic and blend. Before serving, heat the soup by stirring in very hot water in a 1 to 1 ratio of hot water to soup. The soup should be thick and creamy.

For the garnish I made my homemade marinated mushrooms recipe. This is a versatile recipe, just think about adding it to soups, pastas or on burgers. YUM!

Maggie's Marinated Mushrooms

4-6 Crimini Mushrooms (sliced thinly)
1 small clove of garlic (cut into small pieces)
1 tsp Namu Shoyu
Sprinkle of pepper

Place everything into a bowl and mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer depending on your taste. Then place in the dehydrator on low for 30mins or so. They will still be soft, but able to hold onto the garlic and seasonings. I found this step works well especially if your using the mushrooms for soup garnish :)


Friday, June 25, 2010

Donut Bits

As a parent of a 3 year old, I find I am often showing, teaching, explaining and learning right alongside my lil guy. He is always willing to explore and discover what he can do. There is never a time where he doesn't want to make a big, fun mess, whether it be with his toys, blankets, books, crayons or with food. The best part about making a mess is showing him how to clean up a mess. It's fun seeing him learn and grow up into a little person. The other great thing about making a mess is that it can create some of the most memorable crafts, foods and memories.

This recipe is for when you want to have a bunch of messy, fun in the kitchen with you little ones.

"The C Donut Trio"

From left to right is coconut, cacao, and chia :)

The overall census was that coconut and chia were the favorites.

This recipe was inspired from two Ani Phyo's recipes(Donut holes & Lemon coconut bars). I made adjustments and voila here we are...

Donut Bits
2 cups almonds
1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 vanilla bean or tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
zest of 1 lemon

1. In a food processor, mix the almonds, salt, and vanilla. Once its processed into a fine powder, then slowly add you dates. Mix it up! I let my lil guy measure the ingredients here. Be sure to supervise the processing part, sharp blades and all.

2. Place mixture into a bowl. Mix the coconut and lemon zest into mixture.
This is a fun part for the kids, let them mix in the coconut and lemon zest with their fingers. Using their hands they get to feel the sticky texture and have a lot of fun. After it's mixed, feel free to lick your fingers clean!

3. You can use an ice cream scoop or just use your fingers to grab blobs of dough.

Let your kids roll and form little donut bits.

4. Choose any toppings you might have to roll your donut bits in. We used shredded coconut, cacao powder and chia seeds. This makes about 20-25 donut bits, depending on the size you roll :) I placed each of the donut bits on a cookie sheet and stored them in the fridge. They keep for about a week in the fridge.

Let your child be creative with the toppings. I asked my lil guy which he topping he wanted to roll his donut bit in, cacao or coconut and he replied "Both!" The result was delicious! I never would have thought of it either. Leave it to his imagination :)

Other Variations

You can also make these into cookies by forming them into a ball and making a thumb print in the middle of the ball. Add some raisins or carob chips for toppings.

I used two coconut donut bits as pancakes the next morning. Just flatten the dough with your fingers and top it with some banana slices and berry compote.

You could also use the dough as a pie crust. If you don't want the lemon and/or coconut taste then omit the second step in this recipe :)

Have fun and make a mess!
Free Give-Aways!
Fresh Local and Best is giving away an all-clad 12-inch stainless steel frying pan!
What Runs Lori is having a blogirthday celebration giveaway!
Rawfully Tempting is giving away Medicine Flower Vanilla Extract!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sunny days

Past few days we've been enjoying the sunny, warm weather by exploring our little town of a city. We live in a pretty small city compared to most, so it's easy to forget that there are little gems that we haven't discovered yet. On our list so far have been murals, gardens..lots of gardens, thrift stores, and parks. I think in the past two days we've spent 7 dollars and that's because we shared some lunch at a cafe. It's can be so simple to find inexpensive or free activities, especially in the summer. We just have to go for a walk around town, visit a park/trail, bring some essentials with you and suddenly you have a day full of free fun.

We discovered these fun summery murals down an alleyway. It wasn't really a discovery in the sense that I have seen them quite a few times, but for some reason when murals are painted down alleyways it just always seems new or different every time I see them. We also found a herb garden someone had planted down an alley, so we walked down a narrow little path and enjoyed every minute. Then we did some thrift store window shopping, and I say window shopping because no one ended up buying anything. I guess it wasn't our lucky day to find a small treasure or two.

(My lil one at the community garden)

We've also been going to a local park the last couple days, where they have a nice playground and waterpark for my lil guy to play on. There are also beautiful totems, community gardens and ponds. Needless to say I've been getting a great big dose of vitamin D, minus a sunburn, thankfully :)
On to our foodies...It seems that salads have been on the menu lately and why not!? They are easy to make, always taste different and you can basically use any vegetable you have in the fridge.

"Hale Kale Salad" (Recipe by Rod Rotondi)

1 bunch of Kale leaves
1 medium Avocado
1 Lemon (juiced)
1/2 tsp of salt
Dash of cayenne peppe (I omitted)
Handful of raisins (my own addition)

Put everything together in a bowl and begin mixing. Squeeze the avocado with you fingers and work it into the kale. Once everything is coated enjoy!

We took this on our picnic and it kept quite well. The salt breaks the kale down making it softer, so the longer you wait to eat it the softer the kale seems to be.

"A Sunny Fiesta Salad" (Recipe by Maggie, livingfoodjunkie)

We made this one up ourselves and basically it's dice up what you have in the fridge. No measurements here, since you can estimate what you might need or have :)

(The salad)
Red pepper
Green onion

Dash of Chili powder
Zest and juice of a Lime

As I was eating a bowl of this I started craving some raw crackers or chips, we didn't have any on hand though :( Then I thought how great would this be as filling for vegan or raw burritos! It has a "meaty" enough texture with some crunch, plus all the different flavor components makes it perfect. Next time I think I'll try it out :)

Next post is going to be raw kid-friendly recipe that my lil one and I made last night! It's dessert, snack or anytime you want a treat item..yum!

Happy sunny days to you!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chocolate Mishaps and Pasta Goodness

(Tonight's dinner: Zucchini-Pineapple Pasta)

Sometimes not following a recipe and just going with whatever flavors you think will compliment each other turns out to be a delicious meal. There have been times where I've added too many of one ingredient or flavors that just weren't meant to be. When I make those kind of mistakes (lets call them that) I try to mend them by either adding a few more ingredients or creating a different dish with my mistake. I'm not a fan of wasting food and to be honest I can't afford to waste food, who can!?

Tonight's dessert was created due to a "mistake." I made a mistake while un-baking this chocolate treat. I ended up adding too much raw honey, which overpowered the flavor and made it lose it's truffle like texture. Instead of feeling disappointed, since the ingredients for this recipe are not cheap, I tried to work with what I had. Feast you eyes on....

(Tonight's Dessert: Oreo-Brownie Ice cream)

In a food processor, I added a couple frozen bananas and a few little pieces of my chocolate mistakes. Blended it until ice cream consistency and threw on a few crumbles of chocolate to top it off. It was a delicious, rich, chocolaty dessert! It reminded me of oreo ice cream with chunks of brownie mixed in, hence it's name. I'm just happy something delicious came out of a potential "waste" of raw chocolate goodness.

Even though I had some bad luck this afternoon with the chocolate, tonight I made one of the best dinner's I've ever had. Go figure :) Tonight's dinner had four easy components...

1. Pasta Noodles
1-2 cups of spiralized zucchini (you can use squash, carrot, or whatever you prefer)

2. Marinara Sauce (A recipe that I have memorized from "Raw Food Made Easy" by Jennifer Cornbleet.)
1 ripe tomato
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 clove garlic (optional, if you sensitive to raw garlic)
1 tsp of dried Oregano
1 tbsp of fresh Basil (I used dried basil)

Blend everything together in a food processor until it creates a nice sauce.

3. Veggie toppings
I used a handful of...Mushrooms, kale, carrots, green onions, and sundried tomatoes.

Basically take whatever veggies you have on hand that you enjoy on pasta and throw them in the food processor. Pulse a few times, but don't go to far that it becomes watery. You want a diced consistency.

4. Pineapple Marinade
This totally made the dish. Cut up chunks of pineapple, squeeze half a lime, add salt and pepper. Mix together all in a bowl!

Assemble the dish in layers like in my photos or blend it altogether. I blended my dish together after eating about half of it and oh my it was even better! The pineapple's citrus flavor with the sauce is so amazing.
I guess what I learned from being in the kitchen today was to not lose hope. A culinary mistake can turn into something new and wonderful :) Oh and I rock at making raw pasta dishes!

Enjoy your eats!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why Raw?

It's because of meals like this...

This was tonight's dinner and it was fantastic! Basically create a salad with any toppings of your liking and add this amazing creation of a dressing/salsa...

"Parsley & Chia Seed Salsa"(Recipe by Maggie, livingfoodjunkie)

1/2 cup Parsley
1 Tomato (diced)
Handful of Green onion tops
Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp Olive oil
Sprinkle of salt & pepper
Mix everything together in a bowl and serve.

We should have made a double batch because this was soooo flavorful and refreshing :) The best part about this recipe is that it's versatile. It's a great salad topper, but it's so much more! I'm going to add sprouted quinoa the next time to create a "Sprouted Quinoa-Chia Seed Tabouli." I'm also thinking salsa, so scoop it up with some raw crackers. Any other ideas?

Why Raw for me and the family?

I grew up and worked on farms dedicated on seeding, planting and harvesting vegetables, so eating living foods is second nature to me. Like a lot of other people though we were caught up in the convenience of processed foods, especially in the winter. Our family was eating the typical SAD diet. We balanced our meals between all the food groups, but we ate a lot of processed foods (breads, jam, crackers, soups, pastas, juices, chips, cookies, chocolate, etc...). In result, my guy was underweight and I was carrying some extra weight, especially after I had our little one. We were also rollercoasters of emotion, often having "blah" or sad days and never feeling overly joyed or happy throughout the entire day. The emotional part really played into my eating habits and negative body image. It was a horrible, vicious cycle. This all led us to talk with a nutrionist, do our own research and of course be inspired by individuals like Glamour Hippie. By October 2009 we changed how we ate foods.

We now typically eat 90% living foods every day, sometimes it fluctuates depending on our situation, but we try to stay up there. Of course we've seen the health benefits of eating this way. Personally, my major health benefit is feeling more comfortable with my body. It's not only the weight I've lost (36lbs lost), but it's the way I feel mentally about my body image. I think since my body feels healthy, my mind and spirit feel healthy. It's been a journey and I'm glad I chose to be on it. For my guy it's been more difficult to stay high raw, but its a process he is going through. The happiness and bliss each of us feel eating raw has helped us be better partners, parents and people :)

Why did you choose raw foods?


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tropical Dreams

"Tropical Dreams" (Recipe by Maggie, livingfoodjunkie)
1 cup of frozen tropical fruit (mango, pineapple, grapes)
1 frozen banana
1 orange
1/2 cup of cold water
Mix it up in your blender!
My dream inspired this smoothie! Last night I dreamt I was running through the jungle and the humidity was so intense that I kept searching for water or something to drink. Eventually I find this raw food/smoothie stand out in the middle of tropics and fruit is being picked fresh off the trees. Oh what a wonderful dream it was, so I decided that I would have to somewhat recreate a tropical smoothie :)

Just a quick post today, my lil guy is getting cranky with me because he wants to go to the market to buy bananas and apples. I guess it could be worse, he could be asking for junk food. Yay, for my lil guy for loving his fruits and veggies!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Motivation and Inspiration!

(Me and my lil guy on his 3rd birthday, June 12th 2010)

What happened to the month of May? It seemed to be the shortest month so far this year in terms of me keeping busy. One of our very best friends came to visit for a couple weeks in May, which was so much fun. We wish he lived closer, so we could go on many more adventures together! I just looked at the calendar and now we are half way through June?!

Unfortunately, being to busy and having too much fun led to me becoming sick. I ended up with strep throat, which I seem to be extremely susceptible to catching. I'm still not 100%, but I feel inspired and motivated today. After being sick for so long you begin to forget what it is like to feel healthy and happy. Today I started to making a mental list of everyday things that inspire and motivate me. These things make me feel good to be alive and healthy!

Here are a few...

~Catching up on the raw community blogs I follow.
~Taking a walk in the summer sun! Love that vitamin D :)
~Giving my lil guy hugs and kisses.
~Making a raw food dish, whether it be a new recipe or a ole' reliable one!
~The feeling of accomplishment after cleaning the house. This may sound pathetic, but really how often have you felt a small twinge of happiness after the dishes were put away, laundry was done or your room was cleaned?! I just like celebrating that it's done and I can move on to other things!
~Talking on the phone with a good friend.

If at any point today you are feeling overwhelmed, nervous, angry, sad or just wanting to give up, then make a mental list of everyday things you can count on to bring you to your happy place. Oh yeah, and then go do them!

Stay happy and healthy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Make your own juice :)

(Orange juice, freshly juiced by my juicer!)

I thought it might be a great idea to talk about store bought juice. I love those catch phrases you see on the sides of supermarket juices, such as freshly squeezed, home squeezed, home-style, fresh from the orchard, natural blend and the list goes on. The fact of the matter is the juice you buy in the cartons/containers are not freshly squeezed in YOUR home and depending on the brand it isn't a natural blend either. Let's face it though, sometimes depending on whatever situation we may be in, we feel the need to buy a carton juice. I know sometimes I do if I have a lot of guests and juicing for that many people feels daunting or not in my budget. This is a rare situation for me, but it has happened.

The following are some of my thoughts on cartoon juices and why I do prefer to juice myself...

1. Many of the juices that we think are quite healthy to drink are loaded with sugars. If you are going to purchase a supermarket juice, first thing you should do is check the nutritional label and it's ingredients list.

2. Many juices we buy at the supermarket are not 100% juice, they are actually diluted with water. The ratio of water to juice is much higher than we think. Now why would I be wanting to buy a bottle of juice that is 70% water, when all I want it real juice!?

3. You are hoping to get some vitamins in your diet quickly and easily. The fact of the mater is many of the vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals where lost in the making of these juices. Sadly, you are really consuming extra calories that you could have had with a nutritious snack or an actual juice you made yourself.

4. Be careful of coloring agents! Some drinks promote themselves as juices, but really they are containing little to not any juices at all. They really just have a coloring agent in them that makes them look like there is carrot or orange juices in the bottle.

My advice would be if you are going be purchasing supermarket juices, is research the different juice companies and see what they put in their juices. It's so easy to just plunk a juice brands name into google. Research, research, research! My better advice is to juice your own vegetables and fruits. It's fun, easy and you can make your own variety of juices. Lastly, my best advice is to just eat an orange, apple or whatever juice you were going to buy. This way you get the fiber and everything that vegetable or fruit as grown to give you.

Hope this helps the next time your in the market :)