Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cold Days - Warm Food

Waking up to freezing temperatures always gets me into the Thanksgiving spirit, and tempts my palate towards warmer foods. If you're like me, dinner time can often be a challenge when your diet consists of raw foods, especially when the climate gets colder. Today I'm sharing some food preparation tips and a few autumn themed recipes that I particularly enjoy. Hopefully you'll give one or two of them a try the next time you're scratching your head trying to think of what to make for dinner.

Much like roasting, "reducing" vegetables in your dehydrator (or oven on it's lowest temperature setting), really brings out the richness and complexity of flavors without destroying valuable enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Slice vegetable and toss them in a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper and within a few hours, you'll have a deliciously satisfying side dish or entree. Any of the following recipes could be additionally nutritious and filling if you serve alongside raw spouted or lightly steamed quinoa, millet or buckwheat.

Marinated Vegetables
Be sure when shopping to buy a colorful assortment of vegetables!

6 cups assorted, trimmed and cubed vegetables (such as....carrots, baby brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pearl onions, squash, bell peppers, broccoli, etc.)
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (optional)
4 small bay leaves
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper

Mix together the marinade and thoroughly coat the vegetables, adding the bay leaves. Place in a dehydrator set to 135 degrees for the first hour, then turn down to 110 degrees for the remaining time, continuing to reduce and soften to your personal taste, approximately 2 more hours.

Fresh Green Beans with Garlic Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans, sliced into about 1/4 - 1/8 inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
sea salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup raw, sprouted and dehydrated almonds, chopped

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend well. Set aside.
To prepare beans, chop and toss the beans in a bowl with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread this mixture onto a dehydrator mesh sheet. Place in a dehydrator set at 135 degrees for the first hour, then turn down to 110 degrees for the remainder of the warming time, which is about 2 - 3 more hours. Once the beans reach your desired softness, dress the beans with the vinaigrette and toss in the crumbled almonds. Serve & enjoy.

Warm Spinach & Radicchio with Mushroom Vinaigrette

6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 1/2cups torn radicchio leaves (optional)
2 Tbsp scallions, sliced 1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Nama Shoyu or celtic sea salt

3 1/2 Tbsp. Sherry wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Agave nectar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Combine green onion, mushroom, 1/2 tsp. olive oil, sage and nama shoyu. Spread out on a mesh dehydrator screen. Warm for about an hour at 125 degrees. Make vinaigrette, set aside. Remove the mushroom mixture and add the spinach, radicchio and other 1/2 tsp of olive oil, combining well. Return to the dehydrator for another 30 minutes - 1 hour to slightly wilt the greens at 115 degrees. Also place the bowl of vinaigrette into the dehydrator, as well. Toss the spinach, mushroom mixture with the warmed vinaigrette for a satisfying and hearty fall dish.
Honey-Curried Kale with Caramelized Onions

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves chopped (should be 6 cups)
2 Tbsp. Nama Shoyu

Toss onions in a tsp. of olive oil until fully coated. Dehydrator 1 - 3 hours. Stir together remainder of olive oil, curry powder, honey, lemon juice, nama shoyu and kale. Add in the carmelized onions and return to the dehydrator for another 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My First Thanksgiving In The Raw

Article written by Earth Mother, author of In The Raw

So, it's here – my first Turkey Day, sans turkey and all the trimmings. Isn't it funny that the mountains of food surrounding the bird are considered mere trimmings? In a culture where more is most definitely better, it speaks volumes for our lifestyles, not to mention our waistlines.

My eldest brother is hosting this year. And, where there's Hungarians, there's food – and lots of it. Football? A side show. The main event:eating. Never a big lover of turkey, I can take it or leave it, but oh those trimmings – I could easily make a meal of mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn souffle, homemade rolls with butter... You get the picture. Starch. I was in my second decade before I realized there was another food group (and thy name is sugar), but starch remained my first true love.

Since transitioning to a diet of primarily raw plant foods, I've managed to shed 70 pounds without counting one point, calorie, carb or fat gram. And glory hallelujah, I am grateful. But, with T-Day approaching, it got me wondering...what kind of calories did I used to pack away?

Here's a caloric look at what a typical person will consume at Thanksgiving:
8 oz white and dark meat turkey........ 480
1 C mashed potatoes......................... 300
1 C stuffing......................................... 400
3 to 4 ladles of gravy.......................... 300
3/4 C candied sweet potatoes............ 300
1/2 C green bean casserole............... 225
1/2 C cranberry sauce........................ 200
1/2 C gelatin with fruit......................... 120
1 roll with butter................................... 180
1 piece pumpkin pie.............................180
1/2 C whipped cream...........................100

TOTAL CALORIES............................ 2785

Yikes! And that's just dinner. Throw in a couple of mixed drinks with some cheese and crackers beforehand, a glass of wine with the meal, coffee with cream and sugar afterward...and you're pushing 3500, easily.

Thankfully, those days of eating myself into a food induced stupor are behind me. My plan for tomorrow is to have a large green smoothie – kale, banana, blueberry – before I leave for my brother's house, and to bring along four delicious raw dishes to enjoy and share with anyone brave enough my family. I've had so much fun this past week, pouring through cookbooks for ideas, testing recipes and creating my own.

Happy Thanksgiving and please pass the salad!

Garlic Green Beans

6-8 C water
2 pounds fresh green beans, stem snapped off
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp tamari (or Nama Shoyu if you are gluten tolerant)

Boil water and allow to cool slightly. Place beans in a deep bowl and pour enough hot water to cover. Allow to sit 2 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Return to bowl and toss with prepared mixture of garlic, olive oil and tamari.

Cauliflower L'Orange
from Dining in the Raw by Rita Romano

1 head cauliflower, finely chopped
4 small carrots, shredded
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 C fresh dill
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1/2 avocado, peeled
Bragg's Liquid Aminos to taste

Blend garlic, dill, orange juice, avocado and Bragg's to make a dressing. Mix cauliflower, carrots and dressing together. Let sit one hour before serving.

Purdy Pecan Pie

2 C raw almonds, soaked & drained**
1/2 C pitted dates, soaked 20 minutes

1 C pitted dates, soaked 20 minutes
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 orange, peeled and seeded
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom

2 C raw pecans

To make the crust: Pulse the almonds in a food processor until evenly ground. Add dates and process into a dough-like consistency. Press the mixture into an 8-inch ceramic pie plate that has been greased with coconut butter. Place in the freezer to set while preparing the filling.

To make the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. and creamy. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust. Refrigerate one hour to set. To finish, arrange the raw pecans on top, creating a beautiful mandala.

**Note: The famed Indian yogi, Yogananda, said almonds foster "self control and calmness of the mind and nerves." Hello? Can you think of anything more beneficial to eat on Thanksgiving Day as you gather with family? Pass the almonds, please.

Earth Mother is one of my most favored bloggers and she is also a Featured Member at Raw Food Rehab. To read this article and its recipes in its entirety, please visit the amazing blog, In The yourself a favor and subscribe. I promise you'll love it!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Top Tips For Staying Raw at the Holidays

I am sure many of you already subscribe to my friend Karen Knowler's emails, but I thought this article was particularly timely and helpful as we are approaching the holidays.

15 Can't-Go-Wrong Tips For Eating Raw by Karen Knowler

So we're gearing up for the party season now - just over 6 weeks until Christmas now, can you believe it? (I can't!) So while I'll be discussing all manner of winter-related topics over the next few weeks (further to the first one featured last week), I felt it really important, both for newer readers and those of you who need some pointers, on things that are really important to remember about eating a well-rounded delicious raw food diet especially at this time of year, when it's easy to 'let it all hang out' a bit!

Here follows my 15 Can't-Go-Wrong Tips For Eating Raw. Enjoy!

1) Rinse your body through with at least one large glass of water first thing in the morning. Drink it warm and/or with lemon juice if this makes it easier for you!

2) Drink at least 6 pints of liquid per day, either through pure water, smoothies or fresh juices.

3) Drink away from your meal time - no closer then 30 minutes before eating, and no sooner than 3 hours after eating.

4) Only eat when hungry - yes, even breakfast.

5) Aim for one vegetable juice or superfood smoothie per day, minimum.

6) Fruit, when eaten, should be eaten before a main meal, never after.

7) Eat something green and organic at every main meal.

8) Eat at least one large leafy green salad per day OR drink one large green juice OR make one green smoothie.

9) Eat sprouted foods every day.

10) If you're eating more-raw eat a large fresh organic salad with each cooked meal.

11) If you're eating all-raw, eat at least one high density food in adequate amounts with your large fresh organic salad per meal (examples: flax crackers, sprouted wheat bread, nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, pâté, sprouted beans)

12) Avoid desserts wherever possible - eat them as a snack 3 or more hours after dinner. Desserts clog you up!

13) Try to go for savoury snacks over sweet ones. The sweeter ones, such as dried fruits and snack bars, are more likely to knock you off balance, and can exacerbate cravings and mood swings. Try a handful of sprouted sunflower seeds or some dehydrated crackers for something a bit more interesting and satisfying.

14) Make sure you have adequate time to prepare, eat and digest before getting back to business.

15) Try to eat no later than 7pm every night. If the sky is dark, your body is also shutting down for the day and digestion will be more difficult.

16) Remember that you need to love what you do, love what you eat and love the way you feel - this above all must be true : )

Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Recently my husband and I created a fig and nut cheese salad that was incredibly delicious. After taking the first bite I said, "This tastes like a holiday in my mouth!" Gordon agreed and we've put a number of different variations on this salad, but keep coming back to the original, which I will share with you now.

Photo from

Marinated Fig & Strawberry Salad with Macadamia Feta

For the salad:
4 large fresh Black Mission figs (other varieties will work well)
6 large fresh strawberries
8 cups mixed baby salad greens
2 tablespoons blasamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (can substitute agave or honey)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold press olive oil
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
Sea Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Snip the ends off each fig and cut in half length wise, and then again in half length wise. Do the same with the berries. Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and cinnamon in a Add the figs and strawberries and gently toss to coat. Let marinade for 30 - an hour.

Pour off the excess marinade and add in olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt & pepper, whisking well. Toss the greens with the dressing in a large salad bowl and divide among 4 salad plates, placing a couple of figs and berries atop the greens. Add crumbled raw macadamia feta, if desired.

Raw Macadamia Feta

2 cups macadamia, soaked at least 2+ hours
1 probiotic capsule, opened up
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small amount of filtered water

Rinse the soaked nuts, and drain well for at least 10 minutes. Place in a food processor fitted with the S-shaped blade, and process on high speed for 10 seconds. A Vita Mix could also be used to process the nuts. Add probiotic powder, onion powder, salt and freshly ground pepper.
Blend on high speed for about 20 seconds while adding small amounts of water to blend. Cheese can be eaten immediately or left wrapped in a cheese cloth to drain in a colander a loosely covered bowl on the counter top to culture for 24 hours in a warm, dry space.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Just A Taste.....

Chioggia Beet Ravioli

Cinnamon Pecans

Pumpkin Roll

Raw For The Holidays eBook is Here!

My most recent labor of love is finally available for purchase/download. Raw For The Holidays is a collection of over 80 Festive and Delicious recipes created by the Original Cast of Raw Food Rehab. It has been a pleasure to co-collaborate on producing this raw holiday survival guide and I hope you'll share the link to order this eBook with friends who you think might enjoy this unique collection of recipes.
Creating this, my first official eBook, was only possible due to the power and inspiration of community. I hope you will be as blown away as I have been by the creativity of those who have contributed recipes and photographs to this effort. Not only am I very proud of this book, but I'm also very eager to get in the kitchen and start un-cooking for the holidays!