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Cantaloupe Pudding in Any Season (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

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Aug 27, 2012 raw vegan recipes , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

This weekend we went to visit my parents, and my mother gave us an enormous and wonderful array of fruit she’d dried to take home. We’ve got gallon size bags of raisins, bananas, cantaloupe, and pineapple, all of which are dried to just chewy, not firm/shelf-stable and will stay fresh indefinitely in the fridge.

I’m known to be a little bit kooky when it comes to finishing things; I’ll often ask Ace to slow down on eating something special so that we don’t run out too fast, and it’s been on more than one occasion that  perishables have gone bad because I didn’t want them to be gone and so, didn’t finish them.  It is in this frame of mind that I told Ace after we last were gifted dried cantaloupe to not go through it so quickly, only these days I am a wee bit forgetful… so I didn’t realize there was still a bag of dried cantaloupe left in until we brought home everything from our trip last night and I reorganized the fridge’s dried fruit area.  Having no idea what to do with it, since now we have a lot more and there is only so much dried cantaloupe that people can eat, I decided this afternoon to reconstitute it and make it into a pudding.  Thankfully, my experiment turned out quite nicely! You could follow this same process for any other mild-flavored dried fruit that you have an excess of.

Dried Cantaloupe Pudding:
3 cups sliced dried cantaloupe
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup soaking water
12 frozen raspberries
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbls lecithin powder
zest of 1/4 lemon
3/4 tsp lemon extract
a few drops of stevia, if needed

Soak dried melon in warm water for about half an hour until soft, then drain (reserve 1/4 cup soaking water). Add all ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until creamy and smooth. The raspberries were purely for color, as without them the pudding is rather beige; they help it obtain a more yellow tone. You could also add turmeric, which I didn’t because I have a new VitaMix pitcher and don’t want to discolor it.

Chessie was sitting in the fruit bowl while the melon soaked, and found it quite intriguing.


Blog-Worthy Beans (gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan)

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Aug 21, 2012 gluten free recipes (pls note that all raw/vegan recipes are GF- these are predominantly cooked recipes) , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

These beans were totally worth blogging about.

I’ve been out of the blog-habit lately; I hadn’t made any new and interesting food, my CO recovery hasn’t made any new leaps or bounds, and I’ve been outside enjoying the summer as much as I can.  My only news, really, is that I started swimming again after a many year hiatus, and within about three weeks, am just about up to a mile!  Monday I swam 1400 meters, and tomorrow I’m going for the full 1600.

I’ve also been still sticking to the Wahls’ Diet, which is why I haven’t made anything too terribly thrilling– I never thought I could get tired of vegetables, but my goodness, I am pretty damn veggied out!  That said, tonight I made some haricot verts that are AWESOME TASTING.  They are gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan, but not soy-free because I used Bragg’s liquid aminos.  You could switch out coconut aminos, which I have but didn’t use because I didn’t want to impart any sweet flavor.  The soy isn’t Wahls’ compliant, but with a daily consumption of nine cups of produce, you kinda have to let a condiment slide by here and there.   There are definitely more condiments in this dish than I’ve been using on my veggies lately, but these also taste better than any veggies I’ve made in weeks, so there is something to be said for that.

Fan-freaking-tastic Easy Stir Fried Green (or Purple) Beans
1 lb haricot verts or regular size beans; I had purple ones on hand from the market
4 cloves garlic
1/2-1 chopped jalapeno
1-2 tbls Braggs
2-3 tbls So Delicious plain coconut kefir
1 1/2 tbls chile powder; I used Frontier Herbs, which I think is the absolute tastiest
1/2-1 tbls oil (grapeseed, olive, etc.) Feel free to omit if you’re low-fat, and saute in water instead.

Take stems off beans. If using full-sized green beans, feel free to cut into manageable pieces. Heat a pan on medium high heat, and add oil, garlic and jalapeno. Saute for a minute or so, then add green/purple beans and chile powder. Stir frequently for about five minutes, then deglaze pan with Braggs. Cook another five minutes or less, until beans are tender-crisp. Remove from heat and stir in coconut kefir. Note that purple beans, which are a little sweeter and gorgeous when raw, will turn plain old greenish brown when cooked.

There’s no need for salt or pepper, seeing as Braggs is salty and jalapenos are spicy. The coconut kefir adds a richness to balance out the strong flavors of those, while also adding a unique tang.






Amazingly Delicious Toffee Superfood Raw Protein Shake From Heaven

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Feb 25, 2012 raw vegan recipes , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Oh. my. yumminess.  Yesterday was typical 75 degree in late February L.A. gorgeousness, and I was totally craving ice cream.  Unwilling to actually EAT ice cream on a random Friday afternoon, which I save for special occasions usually involving another person, I made an amazingly delicious toffee superfood raw protein shake from heaven.

The shake was based on a candy I’ve been making recently, which is only called “candy” because it looks and tastes like it, not because it’s full of candy-like ingredients.  Contrarily, the candy is loaded with superfoods like chia, hemp, gojis, raw protein powder, and coconut oil.  The recipe for it is here: the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made and the shake I made contained both it, and larger amounts of a few of its ingredients, plus of course liquid.  This candy, for the record, is beyond worth the half hour it will take you to throw ingredients into a bowl, and I would like to say it is the most addictive food I have created, but my Rawk-n-Roll Cuisine Notchos have enough kale chip eaters around America hooked that I don’t want to jinx anything with such a claim.  That said, I’ve eaten three batches in three weeks, and am showing no signs of slowing down yet.

Recipe For an Amazingly Delicious Toffee Superfood Raw Protein Shake From Heaven:
a 2-inch square of the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made, broken by hand into little pieces
2 scoops/one serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder
2/3 cup nut or other milk of your choice
little pinch Himalayan salt
3/4 dropper of toffee stevia (I am presently having a torrid affair with toffee flavored stevia. It is completely worth eating “natural flavors” for, as it makes healthy things taste ridiculously junk foodish.)
1 tbls raw almond butter or nut butter you prefer

Blend until moderately smooth– I liked that it still had little bits of chocolate etc. from the candy, so I didn’t blend till 100% smooth/creamy. The amount of milk is small, and I didn’t add any ice, so the photo shown in an eight ounce mason jar is of the full smoothie minus a couple sips. I was looking for a compact ice cream type shake moreso than a big “meal replacement” sized drink, though this did work very successfully as my delectable lunch.  It was sweet, rich, and tasted incredibly similar to what I imagine a junk food candy milkshake would be like, though I can’t confirm that because I’ve been a food snot for so long that I’ve never had one of those.  I garnished my shake with a couple little extra “candy” pieces on top, and voila:





Perfect for an ice cream craving, satisfying enough for a meal, full of protein and a moderate amount of good fats and carbs.  Health-food life doesn’t get better than this!


Salsa, With a Mediterranean Flair

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Feb 22, 2012 raw vegan recipes , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

This week I was on a quest to make quinoa cakes for the first time, and wanted to put a veggie topping on them that would be a refreshing, bright contrast to the sauteed cakes.  I invented a “salsa” that fit the bill exactly:

Tomato/Avocado/Cucumber Salsa
2 small Persian cucumbers
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 small avocado
juice of one large lime
4 leaves fresh mint (dry would be fine if you don’t happen to have it on hand fresh)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp olive oil

Slice cucumbers lengthwise into eight long pieces, then cut crosswise into a small (1/8-1/4 inch) dice. Slice tomatoes into rounds, which will help keep the juicy centers from escaping. Cut avo halves within the shell both horizontally and vertically in 1/8-1/4 inch dices, then scoop out. Add lime juice, herbs, and oil, and mix. This tasted so fabulous that I didn’t have any need for salt, which helped it keep since salt leeches liquids out.

This is the salsa on its own:





And this is it on top of the quinoa cakes, on a bed of pink lentil puree:





While I was very happy with the taste of the quinoa cakes, they were a pain in the butt to cook because they were so crumbly and I don’t want a post a recipe until I’ve refined it into something a little more user friendly.  This veggie salsa could be used as a lively alternative to guacamole for chips, as a dip for veggies, or even on sandwiches.


The Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made

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Feb 16, 2012 raw vegan recipes , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Question: what looks like candy, tastes like candy, has three scrumptious layers that even chew like candy, but is a raw vegan protein powerhouse of nutrients?
Answer: THIS.





It doesn’t have a name yet because I haven’t thought of one, but I LOVE IT LIKE CRAZY.  I’d been wanting to make a raw candy bar for awhile, but was hesitant to just throw a bunch of nuts, sweetener, and coconut oil together and go to town.  Instead, I decided to make something unique: a candy that would act like a normal, cooked, terrible-for-you treat while nourishing your body instead of damaging it.  I’ve made two versions so far, since the first version was a little crumbly, but I think I actually like the first version better and am going to give a recipe that combines both experiments.

There are three layers to this delectable delight: a base with dried sprouted buckwheat as its main ingredient– hello, low-fat low-calorie crunchiness that’s remarkably similar in taste and texture to crisped rice!, a caramel-ish nutty/creamy middle layer, and a chocolate topping.  There is also a DIRTY LITTLE SECRET in the base that I am almost ashamed to share because I am such a health food nutcase: I used flavored stevia in it.  I resisted the temptation to buy flavored stevia for ages, but once I saw that both Jason Wrobel (a raw chef who makes super personality-filled uncooking videos) AND Whitney the “Eco-Vegan Gal” use it, I was like, what the hell, let’s take a walk on the wild side.  Aside about my wild side: yes, flavored stevia is totally walking on the wild side to me.  I generally eschew anything with natural flavors, and only use powdered stevia extract.  I really am that phobic of processed food.

Keep in mind that even though there are oils and nuts in each layer of this, they are minimal compared to other raw candies, they are balanced by a lot of protein, omegas, and lack of sugar, and they are pretty much the healthiest, most nutritious oils and nuts you could– and SHOULD– eat.  Please don’t be daunted by the sheer magnitude of ingredients; this takes about 1/2 an hour in total to make, you mostly just throw things into a bowl, and you can always leave some ingredients out if it seems overwhelming.

Recipe for the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made (please use organic ingredients!)

Base: (all dry, non-seasoning ingredients except buckwheat can be omitted for anything else you prefer)
1 cup dried sprouted buckwheat
1/2 cup cacao nibs
3 tbls chia seeds
1/3 cup cococeps (you could sub cacao powder for this, but the mushrooms are good for you and you can’t taste em)
3/4 cup vanilla or chocolate protein powder (hemp, brown rice, pea, whey, whatever your favorite is)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup goji berries
2 tbls cinnamon
3/4 tsp Himalayan salt

Mix the above together, then add:
1 tsp vanilla (powder or extract)
2 tbls hemp oil
2 droppers toffee flavored stevia
3 tbls coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Mix again until it forms a crumbly batter- it will not get totally cohesive. If you want it totally cohesive and pasty, add more sweetener, nut butter or oil. Otherwise, mix until it sticks into clumps when you press on it, then press it into a baking pan (eight inch square or nine inch rectangular) and refrigerate. The next layer can be made as this layer cools.

Nutty/Creamy Middle Layer:
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter
1/4 cup lucuma powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
Mix until uniform, then pour and spread over base layer. Base does not need to be totally cold. Make the top layer as this cools.

Chocolate Top Layer:
Have a mother who gives you scads of healthy chocolate every time you visit her, and cheat by melting some of the tasty nut-filled chocolate bark she gives you. In the event that you are unable to cultivate said parent whilst reading this recipe, the following will suffice:
1 cup melted cacao butter
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1 tsp powdered stevia
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Whisk until combined thoroughly, or put all ingredients except chopped nuts into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour atop other layers (they don’t have to be completely cold), let solidify, and refrigerate until hard.

Slice into any size chunks you’d like (I like 1-2 inch squares), and beware that unless you are out giving it to friends, you are probably going to eat this entire batch in about a week. Thankfully you won’t have to feel badly about it, because it’s made of whole raw foods, lots of protein, and a pretty modest amount of fats and sugars. Take that, Snickers.  This tastes better, and it wouldn’t even dream of giving you diabetes.






AvoPesto

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Feb 14, 2012 raw vegan recipes , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

I tend to be of the opinion that if something isn’t good, avocado can make it better, and if it is good, avocado can take it to unforeseen heights.  When I first heard about avocado pesto, it made perfect sense to me; pesto is damn tasty, and the creaminess, richness, and depth of flavor from avocado could only improve it.  Last night I decided to test that theory…. and improve pesto, avo sure did.

For some reason I often don’t look up recipes when I make new dishes, so that my version is truly my own.  I basically made my standard pesto, switching out some of the lemon juice for lime, and added the fruit right along with the other ingredients.

This is the full batch; total yield is about 2 cups.

Recipe
(All ingredients save for oil can be put in blender together. I say blender rather than processor because I prefer a smoother pesto, and by blending it on low, this is a creamy sauce with a few nice little bits and pieces.)

4 cups fresh basil leaves
5 whole garlic cloves
1/3 cup raw nuts (I used cashews because I had them on hand, but have used pine nuts, walnuts, etc.)
2 medium avocados (I used one small and one large Bacon. You could use one large if Haas, as they are richer.)
juice of two large lemons
juice of one large lime
2 tsp nutritional yeast (you could use raw cheese and it won’t be vegan, or regular parmesan and it won’t be raw or vegan.)
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

I drizzle a small amount of oil in at the start to help it begin blending, let it get pretty broken up, then slowly add the remainder of the oil. You can use more or less to taste. I like sharp flavors, so this amount of garlic and citrus may be considered too heavy to some.

For dinner, I served the sauce atop roasted veggies and quinoa, but it is thick enough to use as a dip, and is an interesting offshoot of both guacamole and pesto.






If a Fiddle Had a Stick, It Would… Make Cookies?

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Feb 1, 2012 gluten free recipes (pls note that all raw/vegan recipes are GF- these are predominantly cooked recipes) , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

I don’t know the first thing about babies- other than that 30something years ago I was one- but my very good friend Cortney does, so it’s probably for the best that she’s the one who gave birth this past year and not me.  Unlike my skills with children, which range on a scale from zero to none, I am adept at creating healthier homemade versions of commercial snacks and treats.  Recently Cort contacted me wondering if I had any ideas about how to make a homemade version of a toddler cookie called “Fiddlesticks,” because apparently toddlers like cookies.  I looked them up, and Plum Organics Fiddlesticks are basically just a gluten-free cookie with fruit.

If a fiddle had a stick, this is not what I think it'd look like, but that is what these cookies are called regardless.

These “snack sticks,” while organic and definitely better than the average stuff you find in a grocery store, had a few fatal flaws to me, because I am a SugarNaziHealthFoodFreak: they contain potato starch (which is unhealthy starch), tapioca flour (which isn’t terrible, but is empty nutrient-free carbs) xanthan gum (which can be constipating),  the sugar is straight sugar, and they have natural flavors (which are made in labs, not nature).  I decided to create a starch-free recipe to replicate these cookies, though I’ve never eaten them, or even seen them in person.

My first try was a failure- I made a fairly loose batter that I piped out with a piping bag, and it lacked structure.  The end result looked REMARKABLY like flat hot dogs.  I wanted them to work mostly because then I could call this blog “Congrats Kennedy Cookies” since it was the day Kennedy stood up alone for the first time, but it was not to be.  They did taste nice, so I decided to revamp the recipe as a firmer shortbread-type cookie that could be chilled and rolled out.  The second mission was quite successful!  I didn’t get to taste them because I’m in the middle of a juice fast.  Aside: can we all tell Cortney what a good pal I am to go baking sweets in the middle of consuming nothing but veggie juice for days on end? 😉 Ace tried them last night and even made me put a few aside for her, and since these were meant for those still in diapers, I took that to be a sign of success.

Thus I present to you: gluten-free, starch-free, low-glycemic fiddlesticks-style cookie “snack sticks” that are made for babies, but can be enjoyed by you, the grownup reader, as well.  These are blueberry-apple flavored, but that could be subbed out with any other fruit.  Also, there are no eggs in this recipe, so it could easily be made vegan with Earth Balance instead of butter.

The full batch- yield is about 3 dozen 4-inch cookies

Recipe, and as always I recommend using only organic ingredients:

1 small apple
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup coconut sugar
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt

Step 1. blend apple and blueberries in a blender until smooth.  Heat stovetop until thickened (approximately 15 minutes, with constant stirring). Jam could easily be substituted for simplicity’s sake.  Yield for puree from these ingredients once cooked should equal 1/2 cup.

Step 2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Step 3. Add 1/2 of dry ingredients.  I deally you’d pre-mix these and stir or sift together before adding.

Step 4. Add pureed fruit.

Step 5. Add remaining dry ingredients.  Batter should be very thick, so that it can easily be formed into a ball.  If it is not thick enough, add additional coconut flour tbls by tbls until sufficiently thick.

Step 6. Place dough on plastic wrap and flatten with your hands into a rectangle.

Dough, patted out to about 12-14 inches long and about 8 inches tall

Step 7. Chill for one hour, and during that time preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 8. Cut dough in half length-wise, and into about 18 strips width-wise.

Step 9. Roll strips between your hands and a cutting board (no flour needed, they didn’t stick for me) until squareness has lessened and they are tubular, and place on cookie sheet.  Prick cookies with a fork, numerous times each, once on the sheet.  They will split if left unpricked.  Place back into the fridge for about five minutes to firm back up if they have gotten soft during this time.

Step 10. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through (no need to prick 2nd side).

Though the steps are detailed out and therefore rather numerous, I assure you that these cookies are as easy as any “regular” ones, even though they lack both gluten and starch.  Ace ate them breakfast dipped in yogurt, so that is an option for those who would like to feed their baby some, but not necessarily three dozen, healthy cookies.

The close-up. I baked them a little extra dark to ensure they wouldn't get moldy while being shipped cross country.