whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Thursday, December 29, 2011

turkey broth

oh the christmas season....sigh....it comes and goes so fast.  and what is there left to do once all the hustle and bustle have died down, the presents have been opened and the egg nog has been drank?  make delicious broth of course!  our christmas morning was rather quiet this year.  we only had ourselves, and our plans included nothing more than watching dimitri tear through his presents, and eat my homemade gluten free cinnamon rolls while lounging in our pajamas all day.  it was a very successful christmas!  so my number one priority once all the fun was had, was to get the bones from my beautiful christmas eve turkey boiling away on the stove top.  our christmas smelled delicious:)

so what's so great about making your own broth?  why not just buy broth from the grocery store?  if you ever ask me these questions, ill slap you across the face and tell you to snap out of it!  not only is homemade broth filled with much more complex flavors than the can of mass production could ever offer, its nutritional density is matchless.  broths have been a staple in traditional societies around the world for centuries.  before western society harmed the purity of these civilizations, these people instinctively understood the life giving nutrients in homemade broths.  according to sally fallon, our modern science has proved that broth made properly with meat, bones, vegetables and herbs is loaded with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, gelatin and trace minerals.  although there are lots of nifty supplements on the market today to receive these nutrients, consuming homemade broth is the easiest way for the human body to assimilate all this magic.

our modern lifestyles have robbed us of the goodness that comes from slow boiling a broth all day long on the stove.  although broth from the store may seem like a great way to save time, or even sound healthful as it boasts "organic" or "low sodium" on the label, it will only be doing harm to the body in the long run.  MSG has been used in foods in the U.S. since the fifties, when food companies discovered how to use it to produce a meat like flavor in foods, with out actually using meat.  it is found in almost every store bought soup, stew and broth (not to mention all the crackers, chips, snack bars, boxed meals and frozen meals etc.).  this is extremely dangerous for the customer, but profitable for the companies who can extract a meat flavor by just manipulating inexpensive proteins from grains and legumes, to trick the tongue into tasting meat like flavors in flavorless processed foods.  MSG is usually disguised on the ingredient label as "spices," "natural flavoring," or "hydrolyzed  proteins."  making broth yourself is the only way to ensure this harmful substance is not sneaking its way into your body.  if you are not familiar with MSG and it's dangers, here are some sites to help you gain more understanding:

http://www.resourcesforlife.com/docs/item1225
http://www.truthinlabeling.org/
http://www.foodmatters.tv/_webapp_378860/The_Dangers_of_MSG
  

the greatest thing about broth is that it doesn't require a  specific recipe.  there are endless possibilities of wonderful deep flavors just waiting to be born in your kitchen once you have the basic formula down.  here are the basic steps i take to make a nourishing broth:

*i take my whole turkey or chicken (i don't like fish, so fish broth is a no go in our house, but by all means knock yourself out. i haven't made beef broth yet, but its certainly on my to do list!) and cut it loose from its packaging.  while washing the little guy off in the sink, i take care to find the package of "giblets" and store it in a ziplock in the fridge until im ready to make the broth.
*at this point i prepare the bird to be roasted. i usually stuff the skin with butter and fresh herbs and lay the bird on top of a "roasting rack" of any vegetables i have on hand, including carrots, apples, onions, celery, broccoli, sweet potatoes... just follow your heart's desire:)
*when the meat is done roasting, my family and i enjoy fall off the bone tender meat along with vegetables that have soaked up the rich flavors of the marriage between the meat, fat and herbs:)
*the day after our feast, i place the bones in a large 12 quart stock pot, along with the giblets, any scraps of meat that we won't be eating as leftovers and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. (the vinegar draws minerals out of the bones.) i then cover it with water and let it sit for a half hour.
*while the vinegar is working to begin pulling minerals out of the bones, i prepare my vegetables.  i usually use about eight carrots, six stalks of celery, one onion, one head of garlic and a bundle of parsley.  all i do is wash the vegetables, trim off any bad spots and cut them in half.  my mom swears that the skins of the onion and garlic add extra flavor, so i always leave them on.
*next i turn the heat on high as i add all my prepared vegetables to the pot.  then i add about two tablespoons of sea salt, two or three bay leaves and a cinnamon stick.  i learned on the food network that a cinnamon stick in broth adds depth of flavor:) you can't taste it in the broth, but it lends a hand in the background to meld flavors together.
*once everything is in, i add more water if necessary to reach the top inch of the pot. when the broth comes to a boil, i skim off the foam which is impurities floating to the top.
*finally i put the lid on, turn the heat between low and medium and let the broth develop into a nourishing miracle for at least the next six hours.  i check on it occasionally and add more water if necessary.
*when it's done cooking, ill take it off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.  using a medium sized mesh strainer, i dip all the solids out of the broth.
*and now im left with delicious broth!


one turkey and three chickens later.....and this is just a portion of the broth i made this week!  i already used some up making quinoa, mushroom soup and lentil soup. yum!  


having broth on hand at all times, makes your cooking possibilities limitless.  once my broth is done cooking, i like to divide it into two cup portions and store it in ziplock bags, labeled with what type of broth it is and the month and year it was made.  if broth even lasted six months in my house, i suppose six months would be the longest i would feel comfortable keeping it in my freezer.  whenever i cook beans or grains, i can just pull a bag out of the freezer to use as the liquid in the recipe and its ready to add deep flavor and nutrition to our dinner.  when im feeling like a fancy upgrade to a meal, i know that i can always boil the broth down to a gourmet souce.  when im feeling a sickness coming on i help my body regain strength by sipping on warm broth.  and of course, on days when i go all out and make big pots of soup i always have broth to pull it all together with ease!

now is the perfect time to start loading your freezer up with broths as there are still plenty of long and dreary winter days ahead of us.  get in the kitchen and experiment with meat and vegetables to find your winning combination!

not only is the week after christmas for broth making, but it's also the week for yummy raw chocolates! come back next week for this insanely delicious recipe!





Monday, December 12, 2011

egg nog: christmas in a glass

christmas day will never be complete until i have my glass (or too many to count) of egg nog.  end of story.  i am lucky enough to have never had the misfortune of drinking store bought egg nog from those scary cartons that show up every year after thanksgiving.  i dont even want to know what kind of chemical mess these companies are trying to pass off as a traditional holiday drink.  so, i apologize to any of you reading this who have ever had the unpleasant experience of drinking said concoction and coming to the terrible conclusion that you dont like egg nog.  but not me...i have lived a life filled with hope, because every year on christmas eve my aunt would serve us homemade egg nog.  you can often find me on my knees thanking god that this tradition was always a part of my life;)  as we would walk into her house every year on christmas eve around 7 pm, paradise beckoned from the kitchen.  a crystal punch bowl filled with that oh so creamy and sweet drink was serene and peaceful as it waited on the center of the table for my siblings and i to get busy.  and to top it all off, my aunt would float huge chunks of french vanilla ice cream in the punch bowl to keep it cold.  genious!

now stay with me.  although the egg nog of yesteryear holds a special place in my heart, this egg nog will never find its way into my own kitchen, and certainly not into my child's mouth.  no, dimitri is far more lucky...not only will he grow up enjoying his egg nog, but it will actually nourish his body too!  miracles do exist!  leaving the SAD (standard american diet) world and entering one of raw foods or even whole foods may have you down, thinking that egg nog is just a memory of your past.  but i challenge you this year to make egg nog with real ingredients and enjoy it for the healthful drink that it was originally created to be.  if you prefer one that is vegan or raw, try this recipe, which i enjoyed through out the holiday season last year.



i tried out multiple recipes for egg nog, and after some adjusting and fine tuning, this is the recipe that comes straight from my egg nog lovin heart:

EGG NOG
8 organic egg yolks
7 c raw milk (if you dont have access to raw milk, organic whole milk from a reliable source is your next best option, and if you are completely dairy free, half almond milk and half coconut milk should yield the same consistency)
2 c raw cream (if you dont have access to raw cream, buy fresh pasteurized, never ultra pasteurized.  a dairy free option would be coconut cream, although youd probably have to play around with the spices a little bit more)
3/4 c raw honey
8 cloves
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbs cinnamon
2-3 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

*gently heat milk and cream over medium heat.  add in cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg and warm on low heat for around twenty minutes stirring every couple of minutes.

*beat egg yolks until light and fluffy.  gradually beat in honey.

*with one ladle full at a time, temper the warm milk into the eggs while continually whisking. once the eggs have come closer to the temperature of the milk, very slowly add eggs into milk while continually whisking.

*once all the eggs are in the milk, take the mixture off the heat and keep whisking for a couple of minutes.  if the egg nog is on the heat for too long, or not continuously whisked, it will get too thick and more resemble a very loose custard.

* dip out the eight cloves and stir in the vanilla.  let cool completely before storing in the fridge.  letting it sit overnight will let the flavors really collide:)  this egg nog will last four days.

now go ahead and sit back while drinking your christmas in a glass!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

hello there

well hello there old friend:) its been quite some time hasnt it? a lot of things have changed since we last sat down to chat.  lets start with the big stuff!

as of now i am 28 weeks pregnant with our second child!  if it werent for the circumstances i would not have received an ultrasound with this pregnancy either, but since the doctors needed it for their peace of mind i gave in.  and found out that our next angel will be a GIRL!!! we are so thrilled that she will be joining our family in february:)

i no longer live among my people.... yes, i am now a foreiner ;)  my husband and i, along with our two year old son packed up and said good by to the good ole' U.S. of A. two months ago to move to germany for his job. we were so excited to move on and see what was in store for us in this big adventure. heck i was just excited to move to a place where they still understood the greatness of bakeries, butchers and markets! my dream came true when we found our house about twenty minutes outside the city, in the german countryside. for the first time ever im surrounded by rolling hills, farms, fresh air...and i couldnt be in love with it more! dont get me wrong, we miss home alot, but i couldnt have asked for a better place to have to be, if i had to be without my usual comforts and my awesome family.  (dont tell anyone, but we actually miss stores like target and bed, bath & beyond...NEVER thought i would have such a thought)

now heres another shocker.  i no longer consider myself a raw foodist. now this one sorta hurts to say and i guess its because it usually feels good to identify yourself with something you are proud of.  my journey started to change at the beginning of the summer when i visited my sister in florida.  our new obsession came to us in due time.  fermented foods rock our world!!!  i used to feel guilty when i ate something cooked, as the voice inside my head would be telling me that i wasnt getting any nutrients and that i was doing more harm than good.  this must be a phase that many raw foodists go through, because so many preach the "epic dangers" of eating cooked foods.  however, i tunneled through this phase right on out to the other side....and i decided to stay. my new outlook on food is "whole nourishing foods."  although some nutrient content may be destroyed while cooking, if you prepare foods properly using ancient wisdom like fermenting, soaking, sprouting and slow cooking, your food will become more nutritious and easier to digest.  my favorite book, Nourishing Traditions pretty much sums up my life right now.  i enjoy things i never thought i would...and its great!  i look forward to getting raw milk at the farm each week, i eat cheeses made naturally from goat or sheep milk, i soak grains before baking delicious things like pancakes or muffins, i dont feel guilty about cooking vegetables and i always have homemade meat broths on hand.  i think i was granted the oppurtunity to go through the raw food stage to study things more closely, but now i have a view that lets me see the bigger picture.  i will always put extreme importance on eating raw veggies, fruits and nuts/seeds, but ive opened new doors that have let more nourishment into my life:)

so what to expect of these changes? well you can bet there will be some really great photos of a cute little baby girl all over this blog come february:)  i cant wait to show you more pictures of germany! its such a beautiful country and just driving through my everyday landscapes takes my breath away. our camera broke and the new one will be here in two weeks!  and for my blog, i would assume that you can expect to see more posts with recipes that are cooked.  ill still try to lend any tips ive learned and other tricks that have made my life easier while nourishing a family.  no matter what, im still me, and you can always expect that!

Auf Wiedersehen!

                                               

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

almond butter pie

apparently i only blog well in the dreary winter months...  i hope that you have been enjoying your summer as much as i have:) 


im so sorry for keeping this diamond from you for so long


words cannot even describe how incredible this pie is! its hard to believe that this pie is raw, or even to believe that its not from a famous bakery.  the crust is deep and chocolatey, reminiscent of brownies with an added crunch that has you searching for oreos in the recipe. the filling is smooth with a little tang to offset its dreamy sweetness.  i promise you, this pie will not last long in your house!

ALMOND BUTTER PIE
crust:
1 1/2 c walnuts
1 1/2 c pecans
1/2 c dates
1/2 c cocoa
2 tsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbs cacao nibs

*grind walnuts and pecans in food processor until fine and crumbly. add in all other ingredients except cacao nibs. process until a dough starts to form.

*press crust in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. scatter cacao nibs on top of crust and lightly press them down.

*place crust in freezer.

filling:
1 12 oz jar almond butter
3/4 c honey
3/4 c fresh orange juice
3/4 c cultured coconut cream (i blended equal parts dried coconut with water until smooth. then i strained it and poured it into a glass jar. i added a probiotic capsule and let the jar sit covered at room temp for 24 hours. this adds a boost of nutritional density to the pie, but if this is too much work for you just use coconut milk)
1/4 c cacao butter, melted
1 mashed banana
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp sea salt 

*using your mixer blend the almond butter until smooth. gradually add in the rest of the ingredients and continue to mix until incorporated.

*pour filling on top of crust. let set in the freezer for at least 3 hours before serving. decorate with almonds, pecans, bananas, cacao nibs and chocolate sauce (coconut oil, honey and cocoa). store in the freezer.

*enjoy!




i have some news that i never thought i would be able to share with you....i have finally won the war against my sweet tooth! weve had many battles over the years and sometimes i won, but most of the time i didnt.  ive had a passionate love for desserts for as long as i can remember. my problems with my obsession really multiplied in high school when my health issues made their first appearance.  because i have a past with candida, for the last seven years or so ive experienced such violent cravings for sweets and dense foods, that i knew it was something that came from deep within my previously compromised intestinal flora and not just my preference for flavors.  although i have been on a healthy eating path for more than five years now, i never truly felt satisfied after a meal until after i ate my dessert.  ive made healthy desserts to keep around the house for this purpose but i always knew it would be the next step in my health journey for the voices of unnecessary sweets to finally be silenced.


at the beginning of summer i shared with you my new found love of fermented foods.  i knew i was going to get involved in a great relationship with these beautiful little microorganisms, but i never would have thought they were the secret weapon i had been needing my whole life!  eating fermented foods regularly for two months was all it took for my body to finally balance out, getting the sugar craving bacteria in my gut to finally surrender!!! during the course of those two months i slowly started to notice that when i ate something sweet it wasnt satisfying me like it used to...almost to an emotional level.  i was more and more excited each time this happened.  by the end of the second month i realized that through out my normal day, i didnt eat anything sweet and i never even thought about it! for a second i just thought it was a coincidence as i waited for all my chocolate thoughts to wave over my body. but it never happened! and i put the connection together of how powerful fermenting your own foods really is to your body. my journey of fermentations has been three months and this last month i have had absolutely no cravings for sweets! not to say i havent enjoyed a few with moderation....i made gluten/dairy/sugar free cupcakes for an event last week and was able to eat just ONE and feel completely satisfied.  my entire life previous to this recent experience i would have had cravings for those cupcakes that consumed my entire mind and wouldnt subsist until i ate at least three of them.  sitting in the car on the way home from the event, with the last two cupcakes in my lap and not having a single thought of wanting to eat them was nothing short of miraculous for me!!!!


gosh this might sound strange, but im holding back tears writing this.  some people have never had addictions to food and they may not understand how powerful they really are.  this problem area has been such a big part of my life, that to finally overcome it is a milestone that i will remember for a life time.  of course i will continue to create healthy desserts because i love to, but i now know without a doubt that i will always be in control of the foods that i desire to put in my mouth...not an imbalance that has no right being in my god given body built for perfection!


if you havent started already, get on the fermented foods train! if you already have...how has it positively affected you?  for more info and great recipes on fermented foods check out wild fermentation or nourishing traditions.






Sunday, May 29, 2011

blackberry mousse pie

here she is


and here is her sacred recipe i promised you

BLACKBERRY MOUSSE PIE
crust:
1 1/2 c almonds
1 1/2 c walnuts
1 c dates
3 tbs lucuma
2 tsp honey
dash sea salt

* crumble nuts in food processor until they are fine. add in the rest of ingredients and process until a dough forms.

*rub the bottom of a pie plate with 1 tbs of coconut oil. press crust into pie plate and place in freezer.

filling:
2 c fresh blackberries
1 1/2 c cashews, soaked
1 c honey
1/2 c cacao butter
juice of two oranges
1/2-3/4 tsp almond extract 
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
dash sea salt

*blend cashews with honey, orange juice and enough water to keep it moving. when the mixture is completely smooth and in the rest of ingredients and blend until incorporated.

*pour filling into crust and set in the freezer for an hour.

* decorate top with orange slices, orange zest, goji berries and whatever else floats your boat;) store in the fridge or freezer


now this pie wasnt exactly the favorite among my family...we tend to gravitate to more chocolatey things. aside from that there were still a few things that i really liked about this pie...
1. the blackberries were buy five containers for five dollars at the store
2. the lucuma in the crust added a unique flavor (and unique nutritional content)
3. it wasnt super sweet. it was the kind of dessert that you could have one slice and feel perfectly satisfied. which for me, makes a perfect summer treat that can calm my sweet obsession and leave me feeling light for my beach time activities:)

and whats a raw goddess to do with a little bit of extra pie filling? make baby popsicles of course!



i didnt want the popsicles to be bigger than "dimitri size," so i poured them into ice cube molds and let them set for about an hour. then i topped two on top of each other and pierced them with the end of plastic popsicle sticks. i let them freeze completely...and completely enjoy watching my little beetle bug get nutritious popsicle messes all over his face. and hands. and clothes. and legs. and maybe the couch...

and on to my other rawesome thoughts for the day....

who says traveling has to ruin your healthy lifestyle? today my husband and i, along with our baby, drove eight hours to virginia. eating out isnt an option in our daily life, so choosing to eat out while on the road is out of the question also. this takes a little bit of preparation, but let me tell you it is sooooo worth it! we ate like kings today! we drove half way to our destination and then stopped for lunch at a rest stop. with our mini cooler packed with nourishing foods filled with love, we set up a little picnic on the grass while we enjoyed the sunshine on our faces and the grass on our feet. all went well until a giant dinasour virginia bug tried to kill me. literally when my husband tried to swat this beast off of me, it was clinging to my shirt!  but we still enjoyed our lunch of strawberries, roasted sweet potatoes, spicy roasted carrots, raw flat bread (i came up with this recipe the other day...it rocked our world today! recipe soon...), topped with cashew cream cheese (i blended cashews with water and whey and then let it ferment for 24 hours. delish!), shreds of fresh basil and chopped cherrie tomatoes. it reminded me of eating a margarita pizza with the fresh hunks of mozzerella on it! the husband even said "oh these should be like appetizers when you have people over." :) theres nothing better than watching your husband and your baby take nourishing bites of food that you prepared with all the love in your heart!

stay tuned to start living life with this almond butter brownie pie. im serious...you havent lived until youve tried it!!!






Wednesday, May 25, 2011

florida fermentations

dear florida,
thanks for being so good to me
:)     :)     :)
love, 
eleni





theres nothing like a little vacation to get you renewed, refreshed and ready to face everything life has to offer. florida is always the answer! laying on the sand, listening to the waves of the gulf crash on the shore and feeling the sun warm my skin (and my soul) never fails to reignite my connection with mother earth and her desire for us to live simply. my sister has the same effects on me:) when i am with my sister, the world makes sense again.  someone to talk to about real spring water, raw pies, fermented foods, and enemas with, is PRICELESS. when she lived 15 minutes away from me, i had weekly inspiration every time i left her house, still mulling over all the hippie things we talked about and all the hippie foods we created. now that shes a two day drive away, months of inspiration and catching up washed over me in just a few days spent at her beautiful florida home. 

our main topic: fermented foods! i even caught her doing crazy things like just walking by the fridge and drinking a spoonful of sauerkraut liquid and calling it her "medicine!" its inevitable that her and i will end up talking about babies, pregnancy, greek things, desserts and the recent books weve read. she spoke so highly of this book Nourishing Traditions by: Sally Fallon that i just had to check it out. i spent the next few days at the beach trying to swallow as much of this book as i could! Sally Fallon is the founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, which immediately puts her on my top ten list of most awesome people.  ever. reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by: Dr. Weston A. Price a few years ago had a major impact on how i view food today and our relationship with it.  indigenous people prove to be much smarter than our modern day technology.  they instinctively knew to treat the earth with respect, enjoy the sun with no fear of it, how to tap into the healing powers of herbs and possibly most importantly, they understood that life depended on fermented foods. 

this is a strange concept to most people living in the western world.  i once told my friend that i fermented a nut mixture over night to make cheese out of it and she replied "oh and then did you drink the alcohol?" it was funny then, but sadly most people only connect the word fermented with alcohol. but this word means so much more than that! the art of fermenting is allowing a food to sit at room temperature for as little as a few hours and as long as a few days, to give the good bacteria an opportunity to populate.  not only does this increase the nutritional content of the food, it also acts like a preservative.  once it enters your body, the living enzymes of this beautiful creation lend a much needed hand to the digestion process, making it much easier to absorb nutrients.  when they reach the intestines, these friendly bacteria help to rebalance your gut by making their home there and continuing to fight off bad bacteria.  this is called our inner ecosystem.  (to research this concept more in depth, visit Donna Gates' amazing website.)  perhaps the reason our culture is always sick (and tired and overweight and grumpy and sleepy...) is because we do not pay any attention to our inner ecosystem.  a person can eat as many raw foods, and superfoods as he or she wants, but until fermented foods are a regular in the diet, balance may never be achieved.  reading through Nourishing Traditions reminded me of the importance of this forgotten food group.  and down right shook me to my core to start making fermented foods a priority everyday instead of just enjoying the occasional sauerkraut!  

immediately upon returning home from florida i was fermenting away! a few things we enjoyed this week were:

young thai coconut yogurt with traveling trail mix


almond milk yogurt
almond milk kefir
cultured coconut cream
sauerkraut
my sister's recipe for cultured blackberries
and one incredible black berry mousse pie!



stay tuned for my recipe for this delicious and nourishing blackberry mousse pie!  in the mean time...get fermenting! sauerkraut is one of the easiest recipes to start with and will help open the door to this powerful world of healing.  if you have already incorporated this magical food into your diet, what foods do you usually ferment? and what is your favorite fermented food or beverage?


Saturday, May 7, 2011

traveling trail mix

there's nothing i love more than traveling. as crazy as you know i am, it shouldn't surprise you that the first thing i plan for a trip is all the food i will be bringing with me. i usually spend a few days day-dreaming and preparing the food i make for a trip, and less than an hour packing my suitcase with personal belongings. the only person who takes this task more seriously than i do is my sister. she even packed fermented vegetables in her suitcase while traveling to another continent! read her blog, see how she did it and learn about some of her healthy tips and adventures in greece.

i'm currently sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane that will take me to paradise....navarre beach, florida! as one of "florida's best kept secrets," it has emerald coast lines with white sand that soothes your feet as you frolick across it. my family has been traveling to this same destination for the last twenty years, and i love it more and more every year we go!!!! (words really cant express how excited i am for our trip this time, because its the beginning of may and the warmest it's been around here is in the 40's! and it's constantly raining!)

so on to the reason for this post.... i'm sitting here snacking on my traveling trail mix and i just couldn't wait any longer to share this recipe with you. it's fantastic to snack on while traveling, and every time i prepare it for a trip i think about how i need to make it just to have on hand at the house for "quick-pick-me-ups" and delicious breakfasts....however i haven't gotten around to that yet, so this is strictly traveling trail mix. for now.

TRAVELING TRAIL MIX


there are endless ways to give the base of this trail mix any flavor combination you wish. i'm already thinking of how to make this in savory, garlicky and spicy varieties. posts to follow:) this trail mix is slightly sweet with a vanilla background and a cinnamon twist. it's crunchy and chewy....and down right addicting. snack on it as it is, or enjoy it in a bowl with almond mylk.

TRAVELING TRAIL MIX
3 c almonds
2 c walnuts
4 apples
1/4-1/2 c water
1/4 c honey
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 tbs ground cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt

*pulse the almonds in your food processor until they are crumbly, leaving some big chunks in there. empty into a big bowl. pulse the walnuts in your food processor until they are crumbly, leaving some big chunks in there too and add them to the almonds.

*peel the apples. place three of them in your food processor. chop the other one into bite size pieces and drop it off at the party with the nuts. 

*pour the honey, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt (1/4 tsp of ground cloves would be great in this, but i didn't have any!) into the food processor. run your processor, streaming the water in as necessary to achieve a smooth liquid.

*pour the apple mixture over the nuts and toss everything really well. lay on teflex sheets and dehydrate at 110 degrees for 24 hours. 

*add raisins or any other dried fruit to the mix to complete it's powerful addictive properties. store in an airtight container, or ziploc bag for traveling. if it survives the hungry fingers of those traveling with you, this snack will last indefinitely. 

this recipe requires the use of a dehydrator, but for those of you who don't have one, you could leave the mix in your oven on the lowest setting, with the door open for 12 hours-ish, or until it's thoroughly dried out.  i've had a few people ask me "why dehydrate?" lately, so i will be trying to persuade you of their awesomeness in the near future. until then.....off to florida!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

book review: Raw Food For Everyone

the simple things in life excite me. a sunny day, a call from a friend....and raw recipe books! whenever im out running errands, i always strategically squeeze in time for a visit to a book store to flip through the newest raw books. looking at gorgeous pictures and drooling over incredible recipe combinations, at the very least amp me up for the rest of my to do list and leave me with ideas to fuel my body with tasty nourishment. but on special occasions, i tell the budget to shut up and buy the book thats calling my name! Raw Food For Everyone by: Alissa Cohen was calling my name for quite some time. oh glorious day when i determined to walk into the store and leave with that book in my hand!

i first heard of Alissa's new book this past fall while listening to an interview with her on "Raw Mom Cooked Dad." i was really interested in her book and what she was saying and couldnt wait to flip through the pages of her new creation. i finally brought the book home about a month ago and ive been letting everything marinate in my mind since. this book is so packed with recipes and ideas i would have never thought if. id be overwhelmed with everything i want to make, without reading through it everyday and marking the pages that are priority! it is that good! i would say this is the best raw recipe book i have ever read!

after i had formed a good relationship with this book, it was finally time to get into action. exhibit a:


these are just a portion of the foods i started prepping last night. Alissa Cohen has tons of creative recipes for fermenting, pickling and marinating vegetables that i just fell in love with. by all means, sit down and just munch on carrots and celery if you must, but i cant resist pushing the real flavors of raw vegetables to their limits. my kitchen is officially a science project...and that thought couldnt make me hungrier!

and this was my husband's science project...dressing dimitri up as a soldier:







Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"hard-up week"

for some reason i feel renewed excitement when my refrigerator is full. and not just stocked, i mean like stuffed to the gills. i even look forward to my day of grocery shopping. packing up my little man and trekking out to our local market, where we get lost in endless aisles of natural organic goodness....what could be better!? i come home and feel completely accomplished as i organize my groceries to perfection while they get nessled in the refrigerator. as the door closes, i sigh in relief that i now have endless possibilities for my family and me to deliciously stay nourished through out the week.


yes, these are my favorite shopping trips. on the weeks when i have the extra money to spare, i stock up on everything my heart desires. all this, for just two adults and a baby! i usually have one to two trips to the store like this a month. on the other trips, i just buy the essentials and try to use up the other ingredients i have hiding in my cupboards. this is what my grandma always referred to as "hard-up week." this is what my fridge looks like after a shopping trip on hard-up week:


only picking up enough things to keep us moving through the week, i get nervous about the small amount of food before i even leave the check out line. (by the way, the large amount of eggs is due to my husband's obsession, and incredibly large appetite. its normal for him to eat a twelve egg omelette!) but on weeks like this i am challenged farther to create more creative dishes out of the minimal fresh produce combined with the dry ingredients like grains, nuts and dried fruits that have been waiting to be used. so in the creative spirit, i needed to think of another item to feed my hungry husband last night at dinner. on a stocked up week, i would have never thought of making this. but with all the gluten free flours i have, just waiting to be used, i thought why not attempt making a fresh bread to go with our dinner of pasta cashew-alfredo with sundried tomatoes and olives, and balsalmic asparagus. after all, a nice piece of crusty bread would be just a dream come true to soak up all those delicious juices!

GLUTEN FREE FRENCH BREAD
this is the first piece of french bread ive had in five years....and it hit the spot! nothing brings me back to my memories of visiting greece like having a piece of fresh bread to dip in olive oil. making this recipe proved to be really close to my heart:)...and a delightful surprise on "hard-up week!"

you can find the original recipe here. below is my version with a few changes to adapt to the ingredients i had in my kitchen.

GLUTEN FREE FRENCH BREAD
1 c brown rice flour
1 c sorghum flour
1 c tapioca flour
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tbs yeast
2 tbs butter, melted
3 egg whites, beaten slightly
1 tsp vinegar

*dissolve sugar in water and add the yeast.

*in a separate bowl, combine the flours, xanthan gum and salt.

*once the yeast mixture has foamed (it should take about five minutes) blend the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. 

*blend in the butter, egg whites and vinegar. beat for three minutes.

*spoon dough onto a greased baking sheet, dusted with almond meal, into two french loaves. (i covered my hands with olive oil and shaped the loaves with my fingers.)

*slash diagonally with a knife every two inches.

*cover dough and let rise in warm place for 20-25 minutes.

when your loaves are done rising, it should look like this


*bake for 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees.


take one bite of this crusty bread and be transported to your wildest gluten free fantasies.






Thursday, March 17, 2011

sauerkraut and mashed potatoes

st. patrick's day is such a fun holiday, but i just never understood the excitement behind eating corned beef sandwiches. or drinking green beer. so today my husband and i are going to celebrate with a rawesome meal of purple sauerkraut and "mashed potatoes". ive been making a lot of sauerkraut lately, and thoroughly enjoying all of its probiotic properties. not to mention the way it just catapolts you to "having a screw loose" kind of crazy when you have weird jars of things fermenting around the house. my usual spots are in the coat closet, my bedroom closet and under the kitchen sink. and when chaz sees those jars, he usually determines to avoid them at all cost cuz they weird him out. more fermented food for me!

SAUERKRAUT AND MASHED POTATOES

the tang of sauerkraut has become irresistible to me. it works as a fantastic condiment and ive found ways to incorporate it into some of the most unlikely meals. my latest craze has been eating it alongside crispy roasted sweet potatoes...i know, ive got a screw loose.




SAUERKRAUT
1 head of caggage
1 tbs sea salt

*shred all the cabbage through a food processor, except for two of the outer leaves.  

*place in a large bowl and sprinkle the sea salt evenly through out. take a few minutes to massage all the salt in while pouring some love on it through your fingertips. the salt will draw out all the natural liquid in the cabbage, creating a brine. place a plate on top of the cabbage with a weight holding it down for a half hour to really push the liquid out. 

*place cabbage in a clean glass jar and use the end of a wooden spoon to pack it all in tightly. its important that everything is submerged under the liquid, so if you need more, add a little bit of spring water. when you get to the top of the jar, use the outer leaves to cover the shredded cabbage and keep it submerged. 

*twist the lid on the jar tightly and leave to ferment in a cool dark place for about four days. when anything is done fermenting it will definitely have a pungent smell, but it shouldnt smell rotten. also the colors of the food will intensify, so if you see browns and blacks, you might need to review the play book.


i originally found this recipe in the book Evie's Kitchen by: Shazzie which is one of my favorite books! i read over and over all the time to keep me motivated. i changed a few things around, and this delicious masterpiece, reminiscent of creamy mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese melted through, is what i came up with!

MASHED POTATOES
4 parsnips
1/4 of a head of cauliflower
1/3 c cashews, soaked for at least half hour
1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic
2 dates
1/4 c olive oil
1/4-1/2 c water
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt 

*pulse the parsnips and cauliflower in a food processor until fine and crumbly.

*drain and rinse the cashews. add everything to the blender except the olive oil. blend until creamy. blend in the olive oil.

*serve immediately, warm in the dehydrator, or even serve it cold right out of the fridge!

GARNISH
for the garnish in the picture i used shredded zucchini. marinated kale would be a great choice for a true st patrick's celebration:)



Monday, February 28, 2011

book review: Raw Spirit

book_rawspirit.jpgmy husband really knows the way to my heart...he ordered me five books from amazon for valentine's day! and he knows me really well, because they are all books on nutrition and raw food:) out of all five books, i was happiest to see this one in the bunch: Raw Spirit by: Matt Monarch because i had been wanting to read it for more than a year now. it was very short and i was able to read it in just two days. i was really intrigued as to what this book would have to offer, because i knew it was less about the physical changes that matt went through when he became raw, and more about the spiritual changes he encountered. 



i'm glad i read this book, but i think i would choose wisely who i recommended it to. i really don't think it's a book for beginners into a healthy lifestyle. he has a way of saying that he want "raw overnight and that was it."...and it's just almost unbelievable. for others, the transformation to living a vibrant life can take years, and battling some serious addictions. for those people, i feel like they would feel condemned reading this book. anyone who can relate however, should read his  wife's book, Raw Emotions. she really does walk you through each step of the way to letting go of foods that you no longer need, while realizing that you're human and it's normal to have a few mistakes along the way.

raw spirit did bring up some interesting points though. for a person whose been in the health game for a while, this is a book that will help you really consider going the next step to completely allow your body to heal from the american lifestyle. it was interesting reading about his spirituality spiking when he went raw. i do believe that when we clean our bodies out, we'll inevitably be cleaner spiritually. however, i really like it that i can feel jesus even if i ate something that wasn't cleansing my body:)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

mexican cauliflower

i admit it...sometimes the moment i wake up in the morning, i get excited about all the delicious food i'm going to eat that day. like literally, right when my eyes open and i'm still laying in bed trying to figure out where i am, what day it is, who i am... but all of those thoughts are quieted as soon as i remember what food i have planned to prepare for the day. then excitement runs over me that i can barely contain! this especially happens on days that i make mexican cauliflower. this is one of those dishes that really helps to keep me on the vibrant health path. after marinating and then dehydrating for a few hours, the cauliflower takes on a nice "wilted" texture. the spicy cheddar cheeze that drapes over this dish really keeps me in check when i'm craving something smooth, creamy, melty, cheesey and just well, cheddary.

MEXICAN CAULIFLOWER

my husband and i got really into spicy foods this past year after our indian neighbor introduced us to their awesomeness. i think the heat goes really well with this dish, but if you can't handle it, just make it without the cayenne pepper. 

MEXICAN CAULIFLOWER
1 head cauliflower
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika

*chop the cauliflower into florets just bigger than bite size. toss all the ingredients in a large bowl, and use your hands to massage all the spices into the cauliflower. set aside and let it marinade for at least an hour.

*place cauliflower on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate on 110 degrees for about two hours.

spicy cheddar cheeze:
3/4 c cashews, soaked 4 hours
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp paprika

*drain and rinse the cashews, discarding the soaking water. add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. 

*after the cauliflower has been dehydrating for two hours, drizzle the cheeze over the florets and dehydrate for another hour.


mmmm yummmmy.

*garnish with chopped cilantro and have a mexican fiesta in your mouth:)

the next day i ate the left overs in a delicious taco! i just mashed an avocado with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread that on romaine leaves. then i topped it with the mexican cauliflower...and the fiesta continued!








Monday, February 14, 2011

chocolate chip cannolis

sometimes i amaze myself.


this is one of those times.

CHOCOLATE CHIP CANNOLIS


this recipe has quite a few steps along with some soaking and dehydrating times. so make note that before you breathe this beauty to life, you'll have to daydream about it for a day or two.

CHOCOLATE CHIP CANNOLIS
cannoli shell:
1/2 c flax seed
1/2 c water
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c honey
2 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
dash sea salt

*stir together the flax seeds and the water. let them sit for four hours until it becomes gel like.

*in a separate bowl, mix together all the other ingredients. stir them thoroughly into the gelled flax mixture.

*spread the mixture onto a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate on 110 degrees for 12 hours.

*when you remove it from the dehydrator sheet, it should be pliable like a fruit roll up. cut it into 4x4 inch squares.

cream cheese filling:
part 1
1 c dates, soaked
2 tbs honey
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt

*soak the dates until soft. drain the water and add all ingredients to the blender. blend until smooth and creamy. set in the fridge.


part 2
1 c cashews, soaked
juice of half lemon
1 tsp sea salt

*soak the cashews for six hours. drain water, and add all ingredients to the blender. blend until smooth and creamy.

*in a bowl stir together part 1 and part 2. set in the fridge.


chocolate chips:
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c honey
1/4 c cocoa powder

*gently melt coconut oil over low heat. when liquid, turn off heat and thoroughly mix in cocoa and honey.

*pour into a ziplock bag to use as a piping bag. cut the tiniest hole imaginable at one bottom corner of the bag. barely squeezing (it will sort of pour out on it's own) pipe little dots on a plate to make chocolate chips.


with my extra chocolate i decided to make some hearts.


and to add just a little more spice to our valentine's day, i poured some of the chocolate into molds with a little sprinkling of cayenne pepper. woo!


*now take all your plates of chocolate chips and designs and place them in the freezer to firm up. they should be set within ten minutes. any molds you may have made should be stored in the freezer after you pop them out of the molds.

*using a butter knife, pop the chocolate chips off the plate. stir them into the cream cheese filling.

now it's time to assemble!
*lay out your 4x4 inch squares of flax seed shells on a flat surface. place the cream cheese filling in a ziplock bag. cut a medium size whole in one of the bottom corners. carefully pipe three lines of the filling down one side of the shell.

now doesn't that look luscious? 


*ok now just simply roll the cannoli from one end to the other. then place it seem side down on a plate so it will stay closed.

*since it's not even humanly possible to wait any longer to eat this gift from heaven, place the plate in the freezer for a half hour. if you somehow have enough patience, you can let it set up in the fridge for 2 hours.

*use any extra cream cheese filling to pipe on the serving plate and decorate with extra chocolates from your molds.


 i can't even find the words to describe to you how incredible this treat was. i'll im gonna say, is that it changed my life.



HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!