Thursday, February 28, 2013

In the RAW - Days 2 & 3

Man Oh Man!  I cannot even tell you how excited I was before I started this and I have to the end of Day 1 I was craving salt so badly I ended up almost cheating.  Instead, I ended up with cucumber slices with miniature mountains of salt.  Day 2 came and went and by Day 3 I had caved.  One dish was not even vegetarian, (substitutes provided for strict veg) or entirely raw but it was damn good and definitely satiated my craving for salty and sweet stuff at the same time!  While I did not cook any food, I did use several 'not raw' ingredients, but I don't feel bad about it at all!  While 99% raw and all but one dish vegan, I have been enjoying some REALLY good food!

Worst part about this whole experience so far:  'cooking' raw food makes the biggest damn mess in the kitchen!  I cannot keep up with the insane amount of dishes for mixing, grinding, spiralizing, pulsing, blending....over and over again.  Before, while I did eat a ton of raw veggies, I was guilty of grabbing my mock meats out of the freezer and popping them in the toaster over for lunch.  Fake chicken nuggets = slightly crumby toaster oven tray that easily wipes off and a plate which gets shoved into the dishwasher.  Not now!  Now I need to use my blender 8x a day, my food processor 14x a day and my juicer 3x a day...there is no dish washing when you need the same damn appliance over and over again!  Not gonna's been a pain in the ass keeping up with the dishes.

Another downfall is that while many raw soups may be easy and quick to make, raw food preparation can take days....for ONE meal!  It is very time consuming.  I have learned planning ahead is key.  I have also learned to keep nuts, fruits and dried fruits (especially figs!  yumm!) on hand for quick snacking, since nothing else is quick.

I also had prepared my Cheezy Chipotle Kale Chips and the Portobello Jerky the day before for more snack options.

So what did I eat in the time I didn't spend munching on figs or creating the Andes mountains out of salt on top of cucumber?  I made my favorite Raw Pad Thai, a recipe I created a while back.  I happened to have kelp noodles on hand so it worked perfectly.

Playing with raw food really does get your creativity going.  I had fun experimenting with recipes.  The ones that failed, failed miserably because it meant I was eating figs again for my next meal.

I made are raw hummus, which is a basic raw bean and nut free hummus.  I took pictures and accidentally deleted them so find the recipe below minus the image of end result.  Then my friend brought me a green papaya off her tree so what was I to make?  Papaya Salad!  She had saved the day because I ADORE papaya salad.  The last time I had it, and it was delicious...I found out after several heart palpitations later, contains, probably copious amounts of MSG.  My goal: to create the same great taste without the use of added bullshit.  This recipe is not all raw and not even vegetarian.  I used fish sauce.  Tamari or Shoyu can be used in its place, but lets face it: I like it authentic and I was not about to eat another damn fig. In addition, to keep with authenticity and to satisfy my craving, I topped it with roasted peanuts.  Not raw, but it really completes the salad and it just wouldn't be the same without them.

The last recipe I made when I was dying for something super healthy and filling for my post workout.  I started throwing some stuff in a blender and the end result was PERFECT....and sugar free!  No agave, no honey, etc. Just a few drops of stevia and this came out so good my daughter were almost fighting over it.  ;)

Plus....Brazil nuts, a very rich source of Selenium, offer a plethora of good stuff for your bod!!!

Basic Raw Hummus
1 small-medium zucchini
1 clove garlic
1/4 c raw tahini
1.2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
small squirt agave nectar
salt & pepper to taste

In a food processor, pulse zucchini and garlic.  Scrape sides down and pulse until very small.  Add the remaining ingredients and turn on until smooth.  Serve with your favorite raw chips or crudites.

Green Papaya Salad
1 green papaya
1 tomato, diced
2 green onions, sliced on the vertical, white and green parts
2-3 sprigs basil, leaves chiffonaded (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 limes, juiced
2 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce (or 2 Tbsp tamari or shoyu for vegetarians/vegans, and omit salt)
2 1/2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 small thai chili peppers, sliced fine (the really tiny peppers that pack a lot of heat!.  Or just slice a regular red chili)
1/3 c unsalted peanuts

Peel , cut in half and seed and then shred your papaya.  (I get  in trouble by my Thai friends for using a food processor....but I do anyways.  Authentic papaya salad is hand shredded) Put into a bowl of ice water to firm it up for a few minutes and then into a strainer while you finish up.

Toss the diced tomato, green onions and basil together in with the papaya in the strainer.

In a bowl, whisk together minced garlic, lime juice, fish sauce (or tamari), agave, salt and pepper.  Toss in your sliced chilies and whisk some more.

Put the papaya mix into a large bowl and pour your sauce over it, tossing it all together.  Let it marinate while you make your peanut topping.  Throw the peanuts into a dry pan on med-high heat to roast.  When they become very fragrant and some may blacken, remove from pan immediately to stop cooking before they burn.  Crush then with a mortar and pestle (or pulse in a food processor or toss into a bag and crush with a rolling pin).

Keep peanuts separate.  Serve papaya salad and top with peanuts.

Banilla Brazil Milk
1/3 c Brazil nuts
1 small banana
1 tsp coconut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 drops liquid stevia
1 c coconut water

Throw all into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth.  You can use filtered water if you don't have coconut water on hand but the coconut water contains loads of electrolytes which is why its perfect for a post workout drink.

Monday, February 25, 2013


So, Im doing it!  I'm really doing it!  While I do eat a lot of raw food as it is, I have never gone all raw for more than a day.  I have decided I am going to go raw for 5 days.  Starting today, through Friday I will eat only raw foods.  I spent the weekend at the farmers market picking up insane amounts of fruits and veggies.  I spent several days jotting down notes as to what I could eat for my meals.  I spent yesterday preparing several.  Kale chips for snacks, raw cashew cheese and marinara for raw lasagna and the biggest hit of all for my daughter: Raw Jerky.

I was flabbergasted when she tried it, let alone sat there and ate the ENTIRE batch herself, save for a few measly pieces.  That's almost 2 entire portobello mushrooms my 5 year old ate.  Raw.

When I started, I thought mushrooms and eggplant would work well for the chewy texture.

I marinated them for about 6 hours to really absorb the flavors.  I ended up using 2 portobellos and 1/2 small eggplant.  I failed because I let my dehydrator run for far too long without checking the progress and the end result were delicious mushroom jerky and crispy eggplant crackers.  :-/

Raw Vegan Portobello Jerky

3 portobello mushroom caps
1/4 c Shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 

Slice mushrooms long.  Mix all remaining ingredients together.  Layer your mushroom pieces in a shallow dish (one with a tight fitting lid) and pour marinade over the top.  Cover and turn a few times to coat all of the mushrooms.  It may not look like a lot of marinade, but the mushrooms soften and become smaller as it marinates.  Allow to marinate in the fridge for 6-8 hours, turning every so often to keep the top pieces soaking as well.  Dehydrate for 8-10 hours or until desired consistency is reached.   They should be tough and chewy like jerky.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tried & True: Hangover Cure

Thank God the Super Bowl's over!  There are few things I hate more than watching a slew of overpaid jocks run around chasing a ball on a big fancy field.  While I admit I used to watch the annual televised sausage fest simply for the clever and often times edgy commercials and sometimes even for the mediocre half time shows, I have never otherwise been guilty of partaking as a spectator of the all-American pastime   To put in plainly, I think its stupid.  I also do not need an excuse to have friends over, make party food, get rowdy and drink to the point of excess.  I call that Tuesday.

And, while I would like to pretend that I was reading or practicing yoga, or better yet...reading the Torah in Down Dog while solving world hunger at the same time, I, shamefully was curled up in bed in a Kardashian coma.

....but I digress.  So, last night was Super Bowl Sunday...and this morning you are feeling.....  like you were just ran over by a Mack truck?  Too many chicken wings & beer?  Hair of the dog isn't always such a great idea on a Monday morning!  Though I can't cure you this morning  and I also cannot return the dignity you lost after consuming 3 cases of Bud Light (ick!), I am about to tell you a big secret that will stop you from feeling like dog shit the day after you throw caution to the wind and make like Charlie Sheen again.

The secret....Activated Charcoal.
Charcoal, you ask?  The same stuff I grill with?  Yes and no.  Charcoal is carbon.  Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen   This results in a very porous charcoal.  The porousness of activated charcoal actually makes it adsorb contaminants and impurities.  Basically, it sticks to the shit that hurts you and then carries it out.  Since a hangover is the result of overloading your liver with junk, the charcoal actually takes the pressure off of your liver to metabolize all of the impurities 

Activated charcoal can adsorb most harmful substances before they damage your body.  Hospitals use activated charcoal for drug overdoses, poisonings and the like.

It is sold in capsules and you can purchase it at your local health food store or right HERE on Amazon:

Insert disclaimer here: Do NOT use activated charcoal as an excuse to drink excessively or overdose on heroin.  While activated charcoal can be wonderful and truly the best hangover prevention if you must drink, it has its downfalls.  If taken often, if can cause constipation.  What happens when poo sits in your intestines?  It gets reabsorbed into your body.  Why is that terrible??  Because that poo sitting in your intestines with activated charcoal is also chock full of the same toxins you were trying to get rid of!  Reabsorb that and you may as well have never taken it.  That's asking for serious trouble.  Also, if you are taking any medications, vitamins, etc.  Activated charcoal may adhere to those as well, rendering your medication useless.  So, be careful.

To take for a hangover, take 1-2 capsules when you start drinking.

Of course, I don't believe everything I read and it just happened that it was Friday night.  So, in the name of science, I tested it.  I generally get some gnarly hangovers.  Saturday morning?  Fine.  Really.  I couldn't believe it myself.  Uh-mazing.  I would also recommend drinking a ton of water the next day to 'get things moving' don't want to clog your intestines with toxic sludge.

In addition, activated charcoal has 2 other great uses:

1.  Food poisoning.  If you feel a bout of food poisoning coming on, take 2 capsules.  It works best if taken within 30 minutes of consuming the contaminant. 

2.  Teeth Whitening.  I am trying this now so I cannot vouch for this myself, but apparently, it also adsorbs tannins and other stain causing irritants from coffee or red wine.  Brushing and rinsing with activated charcoal is supposed to brighten and whiten teeth.  Just dump a capsule into a small glass, add water to make a paste.  I am dipping my toothbrush in a thin paste and then putting my toothpaste on, brushing, rinsing, rinsing with activated charcoal water, then rinsing again.  Lots of rinsing is needed when brushing your teeth with BLACK charcoal.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pan Fried Seasoned Tofu in a Portobella Rosemary Sauce

While I have been making some insanely delicious food lately, I've also been forgetting to write down the recipes.  That, combined with chasing a 16 month old around the house, taking my tests for my Holistic Nutrition certification and now taking photography classes to improve my piss poor picture taking skills, I have had little time to blog, keep up with my facebook page or assemble weekly meal plans, which is something I plan on doing this year after I decide if it will be all vegetarian or not.

Anyhow, I digress....

So...I'm walking my daughter home from school and I start craving something covered and smothered in gravy.  I could almost literally taste the gravy in my mouth while craving it and trying to figure out how to perfectly create this dream gravy without f*cking it up 18 times before I got it right, which could only lead to complete taste bud frustration.  I wanted mushrooms.  I wanted creamy.  I wanted rosemary.  I wanted a delicious savory gravy, the kind that a high end restaurant might serve on a dead bird....errr....i mean a deliciously seasoned pan fried chicken boob....errr, i mean breast.

So, I had ideas for the gravy/...then what to put it on?  Seitan?  Too chewy.  Tempeh?  Too dense.  Tofu?  Done!  But first, to make the tofu nice and crispy...

First, I threw sweetened rice flake cereal (its what I had!) in my blender with poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Easy enough.
Next, since I would like for the crumb mixture above to stick to the  tofu, I coated it with vegenaise.

Coat all 3 exposed sides, lay it coated-side down in the plate and then spread the last side. 

All ready!

I love my cast iron skillet! Perfectly browned!

Don't forget the ends!  ;)

Now for the gravy....pulse baby bellas in a food processor a few times so it looks like this.


After sauteing garlic, shallots and mushrooms, time to add a thickener so we can add the liquid.

Voila!  The finished product.  This would be fantastic with a side of roasted truffled cauliflower.  (recipe coming!)

Seasoned Pan Fried Tofu in a Creamy Portobello Rosemary Sauce

2 cups cereal, similar to corn flakes.  I used Arrowhead Mills GF sweetened rice flakes
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash salt
dash pepper
1lb (roughly) extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 cup Vegenaise
2 Tbsp Canola oil, or other high heat cooking oil

In a blender, blend first 5 ingredients to form a 'meal'.  Pour into a shallow dish.
Cut tofu into desired shapes.  I chose to cut mine into 2 large rectangles.  Likewise, you could cut into slabs. Spread vegenaise on each exposed side of tofu.  Turn tofu into crumb mixture and coat the bare side with vegenaise.  Use your fingers to place the 'crust' onto the tofu, making sure its good and covered.

Heat 1 Tbsp Oil in skillet over med-high heat.  Make sure the pan is good and hot, then swirl the oil around in the pan.  It should run like water.  Place tofu in pan and cook over med-high heat to brown.  Turn after about 5 minutes to brown another side.  If the pan dries out, pour just a little more oil into the pan.  Keep turning tofu until it's brown on all sides.  (About 5 minutes per side).  Use tongs to stand tofu up to brown ends as well (see pic above).

Creamy Portobello Rosemary Sauce
8 oz baby portobello mushrooms
2 rosemary sprigs
1 Tbsp high heat cooking oil or vegan butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, chopped fine
2 1/2 Tbsp unbleached flour or tapioca flour (others may work as well, but Im not a flour pro yet!)
1 cup 'chicken' broth
1 cup non-dairy milk or creamer

Pulse mushrooms in a food processor a few times until they are chopped as resemble the image above.  Set aside.

Run your fingers down the sides of the rosemary sprigs to remove the leaves.  Coarsely chop.  Set aside.

In a skillet, heat oil or butter over medium heat until the oil/butter is thin and easily moves across the pan when tilted.  Throw in your garlic, shallots and the chopped mushrooms.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until mushrooms have softened and all is fragrant.  Be careful not to burn the garlic.  Whisk in flour and rosemary.  Heat for about one minute longer, whisking constantly.  Pour in broth, still whisking constantly.  When it has thickened, slowly pour in the non-dairy milk.  Continue whisking constantly until sauce has thickened.  Remove from heat and serve.

Depending on stove temps, broths and 'milks' used, you may need to add more flour.  If so, just sprinkle a very small amount at a time (1/2 tsp) and whisk.  If sauce is too thick, add slowly and in small amounts (1 Tbsp), more 'milk'.