Thursday, July 9, 2009


I've mentioned before that I write for a living. Ad copy, to be exact. And I have spent so much time writing ad copy, that it sometimes invades my personal writing. Whether that be through lack of interest in sitting down in front of yet another computer, or in the style of writing that battles to override my own voice and insert marketing speak, or worse, bullet points.

I can use that as an excuse for not writing in my blog, and it would be partly true. I could skirt the real issues, but I feel a duty to be honest to you good people who read this blog. And as much as I loathe to be too self-indulgent, I think it's important to talk about this, and maybe even hear what you think.

On May 21, my very dear friend Jane took her life. I had plans with her and when she didn't show up, I drove to her house and found her. Not only did her death roll me in an unexpected direction, but it also annihilated my interest in anything creative, including raw food. Since that day I have put stuff in my body that now makes me cringe. Not in embarrassment, because I believe every choice I make is one that teaches me. I actually ate *chicken* the day after Jane's death. I was so numb, and hadn't eaten in 24 hours, and I looked at it and just grabbed it. It tasted awful, and made me feel even worse. I skipped meals, I drank coffee to alleviate the exhaustion from not sleeping. I stopped my meditation practice, terrified that I'd open my eyes and see her. I basically became a guest in the house of my body, and I was a lousy houseguest.

Getting away to Minneapolis recently, I was able to release a lot of my fears and anger and sadness. I relaxed and caught up on a little sleep. And I went to my favorite raw restaurant, Ecopolitan. It was there that I realized how disconnected I was from my body, and how very happy I felt eating raw food. My best friend loves that place; I thought she was always humoring me when we went. But it turns out that like me, she enjoys the light, energized feeling that raw gives her.

I admire the people who are on raw 100% of the time. I have been there before and enjoyed it. I have realized my shortcomings--that I tend to have an all-or-nothing attitude about things. Like the need to be the Martha Stewart of raw, instead of just keeping it simple. Making raw lasagna is a fun, delicious activity. But I don't need to make gourmet raw all the time. And I think that's what burned me out. I was always trying to outdo myself. When really, I'm most happy when eating a huge salad, or a bunch of fruit.

This diatribe really isn't making much of a point. But I wanted to say hi, check in with you guys, and put it in writing. As many times as I've gone off and come back to raw, every time has contained lessons for me. It's more of a journey for me than a destination. Whether or not I'm ever 100% raw permanently, I know that my body does prefer it. And concentrating now on getting back in sync with my bod is where I'm at. But being back and being fully present is making it easier. It's easy to grab a slice of pizza when you skip breakfast and don't feel like eating something healthy because your mood is crap. It's what comes after that is hard. Feeling low, icky and unhealthy. So the front end, the hard work of making good choices and smart decisions, that makes the back end easier. It also makes the back end smaller. :)

Thanks for letting me ramble. I'm still here, I still love raw food, and I still feel like it is the best way for me to eat. I'm so blessed and happy to have you folks in my life as I continue the journey.


The lovely, light-filled Jane.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Redefining Dessert.

The other night, I went to a potluck at a friend's house. I brought a kale and collard salad, marinated and mixed in with hemp seeds and avocado. Along with that, I made a layered fruit salad containing strawberries, kumquats, green grapes, bananas, oranges and goji berries. To top it off, I made a whipped cream that I think would be heavenly on just about any combination of fruit. Or as my friend said, on anything at all...

Heavenly Whipped Topping
  • Meat of four young coconuts
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • sprinkling of sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean scraped (or vanilla extract if you don't have beans)
  • 1 champagne mango (or 1 regular mango, or pineapple, or you get the idea)
  • 1 Tbsp lecithin crystals (optional, and they add a firmer texture)
  • 2 Tbsp of coconut butter (again, optional, and you can sub coconut oil, but this stuff is heaven)
Process in food processor, adding some of the water from the coconuts until it's perfectly smooth, but still thick. Refrigerate to set. Pour on fruit, raw granola, or someone you love.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This champagne will go to your head.

Breakfast today
...three champagne mangoes and some leftover strawberries. If you haven't tried this kind of mango, run out and get some. You will appreciate the sweet taste without the stringiness that sometimes comes with regular mangoes. Delicious.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Charlie the Tuna, you're perfectly safe here.

I've posted my raw vegan tuna recipe on before. Essentially, I found that using the pulp from carrot juice was perfect for the texture of tuna. And since I had a bunch of leftover ricotta cheese from my portobello pizzas, I decided to take that, mix it in with my carrot pulp, add a tiny bit of olive oil, cracked black pepper and top it with a sprinkle of Brazil nut parmesan cheese.



The avocadoes are ripe...what do you do? What do you do?

What to do with very ripe avocadoes and gorgeous strawberries? Make a dark chocolate and strawberry pie, of course. I had leftover pie crust in the freezer. Popped it in a glass pie dish and put in the dehydrator for a few minutes to soften. Pressed it in the bottom.

Then lined that with thinly sliced strawberries tossed in a bit of agave. Set in the fridge.

Took a bunch of avos, added in David Wolfe's organic cacao powder, Artisana coconut creme, agave, salt and the meat of two young coconuts, plus a little of the water. Blended in the FP, threw in a handful of cacao nibs, stirred, poured into the waiting pie plate. Garnished with remaining strawberries and some nibs.

That finished off my giant jar of DW cacao powder, so I poured the remaining coconut water into that, shook it up, and drank it.

Say it with me, friends.


Monday, March 30, 2009

What to do with leftover raw paneer?


Zucchini pasta, grape tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt, black pepper and paneer cheese.


Rainy Day Potluck and Raw Indian Food. YUM.

Oh, wow. Another delicious potluck was had. And another kick in my bum for staying away from my blog. Perhaps it has to do partly with the fact that I'm the world's worst potluck photographer. I get so amped up about the gorgeous dishes that I forget to snap any pics until the food has been half eaten. Though no less delicious, I really do need to take photos of food before we descend upon it.

That said, this past Saturday's potluck was a wonderful, mellow gathering of great people. The rain fell steadily outside and provided a great reason to stay inside...along with the incredible food and good company. :)

I tried my hand at something I've long wanted to...Indian food. It is the one cuisine I have always assumed I would not want to give up. Until now. I made raw palak paneer. And it was so good, I can still taste it. I can also still smell the spices in my kitchen, which makes me want to make it all over again.

I promise to post the soon as I figure it out. As always, I am so deeply involved with the food that I forget to write down what I'm doing. My friend Jenny is borrowing my Indian cookbook, which is where I got the general idea of how to make it. For those of you not familiar, palak paneer is one of many Indian dishes using a cubed cheese (paneer) that has a soft consistency and a mild flavor. This dish uses spinach, and is traditionally cooked down with ghee, spices and other ingredients. Because ghee is not on the raw menu (it's clarified butter), I made do with coconut oil and olive oil. I really winged the whole thing, relying on my taste buds to tell me when I had achieved the taste of my favorite Indian dish. Here's a picture of the last remaining portion:

Along with that I made the raw version of gulab juman, which is an Indian dessert that is essentially fried balls of dough in a sweet, rose water-infused syrup. My version involved almonds, soaked overnight, ground into a fine mush, mixed in with coconut creme, rose water, vanilla bean seeds, honey and ginger, and then balled up, and finally drenched in a diluted honey and set in the fridge. YUM. All of the balls were devoured before I had time to snap a picture. Oh, dear. That really reads like it should go in a totally different blog.

The table began to pile up with deliciousness.

The fantastic food brought by everyone else included things like almond butter cookies with chocolate icing, pesto pasta, potato salad made with jicama, incredible salads, spicy guacamole, and more. It's so wonderful to hang out with folks that are into raw, and just goes to prove that surrounding yourself with like-minded people makes this lifestyle that much easier.

I promise, I'll get the recipe posted for the paneer. Love to you all.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Easy as Pie.

Surely some of you remember the ubiquitous chocolate pie. Your mom or some other relative may have brought it to a family gathering. It consisted of a pre-made pie shell filled with chocolate pudding and topped with whipped cream. The ultimate "I don't have time to make a dessert from scratch" dessert.

I present you with the raw version. It's more than slightly better.

This came about from a sense of desperation on Friday night when I realized that once again, my Irish moss experiment was a no-go. I've got to e-mail Café Gratitude and ask what I'm doing wrong. So my grand plans for lemon meringue pie were shot, and I had to think fast. I had a pie shell ready, made of 1/2 almonds and 1/2 mac nuts, and I did what I had to do.

I made Aunt [insert name here]'s lazy chocolate pie. Only here, I'm going to call it Easy as Pie.

You can make this in no time, kiddies.

Even topless, this pie is a delicious temptress. Wait. Does that sound dirty?

Easy as Pie

  • 1 cup Macadamia nuts
  • 1 1/4 Almonds
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 t dried orange peel (optional; I had put this in for the lemon meringue pie and it give it a nice little zing)
Blend ingredients until nuts are ground to a fine consistency. Mac nuts have a lot of oil, so be careful this doesn't turn into nut butter. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Press mixture into a pie pan (I used a glass one, and I greased it lightly with coconut oil first). Put into the freezer.

Pie filling
  • 3-4 avocadoes
  • 2-3 T raw cacao powder
  • 10-13 dates, soaked and pitted
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2T coconut cream or oil
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 t vanilla extract)

These are all approximations, as I was really just making this by eye and taste. Put the avos in first, then the rest of the ingredients. Blend. All of the green from the avos goes away. When you have a luscious dark color, start tasting. Add more dates if necessary, or use agave. The lovely thing about avos is that they have such a standup, creamy consistency that sets quite well. The coconut cream/oil really helps that out, too. Blend, blend, and try not to eat half of it. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Pour into pie shell and set in the fridge.

Whipped topping
  • meat of 1 or 2 young coconuts
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 T coconut cream
  • agave to taste
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 t arrowroot powder (optional; I used this because my Irish moss betrayed me. I find the arrowroot to be a nice binder, but you can just make this without).
Put in FP, blend until very creamy. Put into container in the fridge and let set up a bit; this makes spreading over the pie much easier.

You are limited only by your imagination. I ground up some cacao nibs and put those on top, then did a layer of strawberries. Here's the final product. Sorry for the highly unprofessional, mostly eaten pie shot. I totally forgot to snap it and we had already descended upon this like raw vultures. But you get the idea.

I apologize for the blurry picture. My hands were shaking from pie lust.

Next time you're invited to the neighborhood block party, or one of those painful family events that leave you feeling like your sphincter is permanently clenched, bring one of these pies. Don't even tell people it's raw. They'll eat it with a smile and wonder why it tastes so much better than the chocolate pie they remember. Not that there's anything wrong with that...


If you want to get your raw Martha Stewart on (I cannot believe I just typed that), prepare a bunch of raw pie shells ahead of time. Using disposable tin pie pans, make a bunch, cover them tightly and freezer-proof. Next time you have a last-minute dessert to make, you can pull out a pie shell and you're halfway there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Glass of Love.

Do you see that beam of light on the glass, my friends? That's the love bursting out of this, because what else could you call a glass of raw chocolate milk?

Almond & Brazil nut milk
Raw cacao powder

Gimme that.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Look of Love

The heart at rest sees a feast in everything.
~Hindi proverb

Rather than kicking myself in the pants, head or otherwise for slacking on my blog, I will dive right back in and deliver some raw love to my peeps.

Valentine's Day. Most who know me well know that I find the holiday to be kind of ridiculous. We should be loving people every day, and not need a Hallmark holiday to remind us. Plus, what's with all the shitty candy? If I give you a bag of chalky hearts with sappy things inscribed, you may B MINE but will you B healthier for it?

Let me step down from my chocolate-covered soapbox and get down to business. The business of a Valentine's night raw potluck. It truly was the best possible way to spend the evening...with friends I love and food that was mind-blowingly delicious.

What a feast of love!

We started with a theme...Italian. The request was that you made something in that genre, but it wasn't a requirement. What we got was everything from ravioli to stuffed mushrooms to lasagna to tiramisu. Not to mention raspberry chocolate cheesecake, incredible salads and more. Add to that friends that love to laugh, and you've got the recipe for a fantastic night. I have really got to stop using food puns.

So, I'm posting pics from the table of love, and I'm also posting the recipes for my two dishes. Once again, I put so much love into these, and I'm so pleased with how they came out. Raw lasagna and tiramisu, anyone?

Jenny's astonishing stuffed mushrooms.

Jenny's astonishing Jenny Bars. I want to eat that picture.

Jenny's astonishing rawvioli. Are you sensing a theme here?

Elizabeth's decadent raspberry chocolate cheesecake.

Brian's scrumptious salad.

Many Layers of Love Lasagna
I got the inspiration for this from the fabulous Russell James. His lasagna recipe has inspired many to drool on their keyboards. So using that as a starting point, I got to town. My suggestion is to prep all of these layers the night before you make the 'sagna. That way you're not running around like a carrot with its top cut off. Please, stop me.

The cool thing about dishes like this is that you can trade out layers, or take some out. The idea is to get inventive. Use ingredients that offer a variety of textures and flavors, but that compliment each other. Let's layer, people.

Layers. Mmmmm. Layers.

Layer 1: I'm feeling meaty Brazil nut meat
I based this off of Russell's meat recipe, tweaking so my poor, walnut-allergic friend Luke could dig it. I was really pleased with the way this turned out.

  • 1 ½c Brazil nuts
  • 1c sun-dried tomatoes, soaked
  • 2T miso (I used mellow white)
  • 2t dried oregano
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • 4T nama shoyu
  • 2T olive oil

Russell has agave in his, but I found that I liked the taste of this without it. If you need a bit more sweetness, use the agave; otherwise, the sundrieds do a great job of imparting that sweet, luscious flavor. Just throw it all in the blender. I actually didn't leave this chunky, instead blending it to a creamy/grainy consistency.

It tastes as good as it looks.

Layer 2: Funky Chunky Marinara
  • 1 ½c sun dried tomatoes, soaked
  • 3 dates, soaked
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2c tomato (I threw in a big bag of Roma tomatoes. I didn't measure. I just tasted as I went)
  • 1 ½T dried oregano
  • 1/3c olive oil
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Combine everything except sd tomatoes in a FP. Blend well. Add in sd tomatoes and blend some more. Yum.

Layer 3: Don't pesto me pesto
  • 2 c tightly packed basil leaves
  • ¾c pine nuts or walnuts (I actually did half pine nuts and half Brazil nuts for this)
  • ½c olive oil
  • 1t salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1T lemon juice
Combine ingredients in FP. Blend, leaving a bit chunky.

Layer 3: You're so cheesy Alfredo sauce
  • 1.5 c pine nuts
  • olive oil (add enough to give it some juiciness)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T nutritional yeast (add more if you want a cheesier taste)
  • 1t salt
  • water as needed
Dump the ingredients into your FP. Blend. Blend some more. Blend till you stick your finger in and scream "sweet and holy gods, that's good!"

Layer 4: Pepper me with kisses
For this, I used 2 shell containers of those baby yellow and red peppers that you can get at Trader Joe's. I marinated them in olive oil, a squirt of lemon juice and some garlic, salt and pepper. You can use whatever veggies you want for this. The peppers are sweet and add a nice dash of color, crunch, and compliment to the more savory flavors.

Layer 5: Decadent truffled mushrooms
I was lucky enough to score some really good truffle oil from my aforementioned friend Luke. If you can get your paws on some, I highly recommend it. Though pricey, you only have to use a tiny bit to have a giant impact.

  • 2 containers of mushrooms-baby bellas, button, etc.
  • truffle oil
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

I put the shrooms in my FP, pulsed until they were chopped up, and then gave them a decent coating of olive oil, a precious drop or two of truffle oil, and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

Layer 6: Popeye's Props
  • Approximately 1 bag of washed baby spinach
  • 4T dried oregano
  • 3T olive oil
  • 1t sea salt
  • Combine ingredients and massage into spinach. Don't expect a tip for the massage; spinach can be a bit of a tightwad.

Noodles—prepare these on the day of assembly.
I grabbed about 5-6 zucchini. I don't have a mandoline, and so instead, after peeling the zuchs, I took a sharp knife and cut them in half, then sliced thin slices lengthwise. (you want them to be thin enough to be pliable, but not transparent, as they will tend to break apart. Marinate strips in about 3 T olive oil and 1t of salt, for about 15-20 mins.

(This is not a school) Assembly
I used a rectangular glass dish for this. How you layer your lasagna is up to you. My suggestion is:
  1. Noodles (overlap them, don't worry about perfection)
  2. Meat layer
  3. Marinara layer (I had leftovers and saved it for the top)
  4. Pepper layer
  5. Cheese layer
  6. Mushroom layer
  7. Spinach layer
  8. 2nd noodle layer
  9. Pesto
  10. Remainder of sauce

You'll get the hang of each layer. Some you can just ladle on evenly. Others, like the meat layer, need to be gently patted in. Have fun!! Put the final lasagna in the fridge for a few hours to set. Whooo!

Tear in My Eye Tiramisu
I started this recipe with the incredible Café Gratitude book's version, and changed it up to suit my available ingredients. So if you want the original CG recipe, um, you can buy the book. :) It's a LOT to type out.

  • 1 16 oz bag of Brazil nuts, soaked
  • 1 16 oz bag of Almonds, soaked [I soaked these overnight and then made a ton of nut milk]
  • 2 vanilla beans scraped
  • 3/4 cup coconut butter (I recommend Artisana)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups dates, pitted and soaked
  • 8 oz of cold-processed espresso or coffee (optional)
After soaking the nuts (people, please.), I made nut milk, straining the pulp in a paint strainer bag and reserving it. Then I took the dates and other ingredients, whizzed them up in the FP until they were creamy and cake batter consistency. You may need to add a bit of water; I used the reserve from soaking the dates. Add the batter to the pulp. Get your hands in it and sing Italian opera. Actually, that's not necessary, but it's fun. Mixing with your hands ensures even distribution of the batter, and also it kind of squishes the liquids into the nutmeat. Grease a springform pie pan (or other deep dish dessert thingy) with coconut oil. Take half of the cake mixture and pat it down into the pan, evenly. Here's where you have the option of adding the coffee. I had some leftover from my parents' last visit. I popped it in a paint strainer and let it soak in 8 oz of water. Then I added some cacao powder. Then poured over the cake to soak it in. Pop in the fridge.

You can only find the cacao mousse during hunting season in Maine. Oh, wait. That's a little animal humor, folks. Snort.

Okay. CG recommends Irish Moss. Mine wasn't ready to use, so I winged this and it came out just fine. I'm recreating this from my memory, though...
  • Meat of 4 young coconuts
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted and soaked
  • 1/2 cup of cacao powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 T lecithin
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 c agave

Blend ingredients in FP until fluffy and chocolatey. Pour on top of cake layer. Put in freezer for at least an hour, until firm. Then add second cake layer.

  • 2 1/4 c coconut milk
  • 2 c soaked macadamias
  • 1/2 c + 2T agave
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • 2 T lecithin
  • 2/3 c coconut butter

Blend thoroughly until graininess is gone and it's all creamy. I popped this into the fridge before setting on top of the last cake layer, just to firm it up. When that's done, spread it on top. Then pop in the freezer. Garnish with a dusting of raw cacao powder (I put nibs in a coffee grinder and used those). Eat and LOVE.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cheating on my raw body.

Hey, peeps. I've been a naughty blogger, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I had a bit of a falling out with raw. Hey, I'm not gonna lie here...I think it's important to let others know that going 100% raw isn't a trip through the daisy field for everyone. I believe my stress points during the holidays contributed, although I made an entire raw dinner so I wouldn't be staring at the stuffing. I've stayed primarily vegan, with the exception of a few dips into my old nemesis, coffee.

Here's what I've experienced going from all raw to mostly raw with some cooked stuff, and occasionally days where I'd have nothing but a banana and some flax crackers.

I feel like crap. And I have only myself to blame. My poor body didn't do anything to deserve this.

But instead of sitting around hitting myself in the head with a juicer, I decided to take that device and make some juice. Nothing makes me feel better, cleaner, happier and healthier than a huge glass of juice. I'm happy to say that my temporary ixnay on the itchenkay is over, and I think that the associations I had with the past holiday and my time in a kitchen that wasn't all about happy thoughts threw me off track. Whatever the reason, I'm relieved that this time it was only a week's digression, instead of over a year like last time. I really do prefer eating raw. And I guess dealing with some of the emotional composting that comes with cleaning your body out is all part of the process. Can I get an Amen, brothers and sisters?

Here's my "You Can't Beet Raw" juice, which is very similar to a previous post. And equally delicious.

2 beets
3 stalks celery
3 kiwis
1 lemon
6-8 carrots
1 granny smith apple
1 gala apple

Juice. Drink.