Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Bustle


I have been trying to get this post up for a week, but have been caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle ... the shopping, decorating, preparing for company, menu planning, the whole kit and kaboodle.

Although it's a beautiful time of year, it can also be stressful. This is one of the many reasons I'm so blessed to be a raw vegan. Flooding my body with green juices, smoothies, and live foods feeds my cells and boosts my immune system. Being raw helps me to stay centered and calm, while maintaining a high level of energy. It's good to be raw. I like it. I like emoticons too. Can you tell?

In the midst of the flurry, I decided to add more to my plate and try out a couple of new recipes that I thought my Christmas company might enjoy. First, I made a variation of Dr. Gabriel Cousen's Cranberry Bread which I really liked!

It looks like bread sticks ... or biscotti, but it has the texture of banana bread, except made with cranberries. It's very good!

I did tweak it just a bit and added agave nectar to give it a bit of a sweet taste, and I substituted almond flour instead of soaked almonds since I have so much almond flour on hand.

Cranberry Bread
2 cups golden flax seeds, ground
1 cup almonds, soaked (I used 1 cup of almond flour)
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. Celtic salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1/2 vanilla bean (I used a whole one)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup almond soak water or plain water. (I think coconut water would be good too.)

Grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder to medium consistency (not too fine). If you use soaked almonds, process in food processor with an S-blade until meal-like. Since I used almond flour, I just added a cup of flour to the ground flax seeds and processed till blended. Place "flour" in mixing bowl.

Next, add cranberries, juice, orange zest, agave nectar and vanilla bean to a Vita Mix or blender and process till smooth. I happened to have some almonds soaking for almond mylk, so I added about 1/2 cup of almond soak water, but next time I may try coconut water for added flavor.

Add the blended ingredients to the mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and salt, and mix well.

Form into two loaves approximately 4" x 8" x 1 and slice into 1/4" pieces.

Dehydrate at 145° for 2-3 hours and then 115° for 2 hours or until desired moisture is obtained.

Enjoy!!

Next recipe was Sergei's Butternut Squash cookies.

In the photo they look like chicken nuggets, but I assure you, they aren't. Lol. They were okay; reminded me a lot of the Mini Pumpkin Muffins I posted back on November 17th. It seemed to me that the juice of one orange was too much as I had to add some almond flour to thicken the batter up. If I were to make these again, I would start with 1/2 cup of orange juice and add more if needed.

Butternut Squash Cookies
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1 orange, juice of (Start with 1/2 cup and increase if needed.)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons agave nectar, raw

Blend squash in a food processor and put into a bowl.
Blend raisins and orange juice in the food processor and add to the squash puree.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto dehydrator trays and flatten each cookie to a thickness of one inch.
Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 12-15 hours.

Confession Time

The holiday season is always a tough time for my diet. I stay raw, but I'll start to nibble at certain cooked foods. Like the past few days, I've been cheating. I've been eating oatmeal cookies ... and NOT the raw kind! But they taste SOOOO good, I can't help it!

Well, I CAN help it, so I decided to find a raw alternative. I've collected four or five raw oatmeal cookie recipes and I'm going to do a ... hmmmm, well I certainly can't call it a "cook-off". I'm going to try them all and post the results. I've already made one batch. I just have a few more ingredients to buy to make the remaining recipes, but Christmas shopping got in the way. Hopefully, in a few days I'll be able to post the recipe I like best. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, be sure to drink your green juice everyday to keep your immune system boosted ... especially if you're out there shopping. Germs are everywhere! If your biological terrain is disrupted due to stress, processed foods, dehydration, or a number of other factors, your body won't be able to fight off the crud. Easiest green juice is 1 cup of coconut water (or plain water), couple handfuls of kale and a banana. Voila!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Green Healing Tonic

Actually made it to the gym today. The difference between today's workout and the last time I worked out which was the Monday before Thanksgiving (1 week and 1 day ago) was depressing, to say the least. I had considerably less energy and strength. I lifted half the amount of weight I did last week and was only able to to do reps rather than three. Let's just say I felt like a real whimp.

Today's green tonic was stepped up just a bit. I was out of cucumber, so I substituted half a zucchini and I added some cilantro and wheat grass.

Green Healing Tonic #2
Garlic clove
Ginger, slice
Apples - 2
Zucchini - 1/2
Celery - 2 stalks
Carrot - 1 medium
Cilantro - a few sprigs
Mint - a few springs
Spinach - handful
Broccoli - a few stalks and one flowerette
Romaine - handful
Red cabbage - small bunch
Wheat Grass - 1 TBSP.

It was a lot better tasting than I had anticipated.

I mixed up a batch of avocado, mayonaise, aloe, and coconut oil to do a deep conditioning of my hair. Here I sit with my hair in a plastic bag and a heated towel wrapped around my head as part of the conditioning process - LOL - so I decided to pick up reading where I'd left off several months ago in The Live Food Factor by Susan Schenck.

This book is phenomenal and if you are serious about pursuing a raw vegan lifestyle, I highly recommend purchasing The Live Food Factor for your raw lifestyle library. It is LOADED - all 660 pages - with invaluable information. As it says on the cover, it is The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit and Planet.

Susan starts out with ten reasons to stop cooking and they are: Super Health, Mental Ability and Mental Health, Optimal Weight and Beauty, Emotional Balance and Happiness, Spiritual Growth, Economy, Pleasure, Ecology, Free Time, and finally, Longevity. I can relate each and every reason.

So after all these months, wouldn't you know that I'd open the book up to "Is Cooked Food Toxic?" Why, oh why, didn't I open this book up the day BEFORE Thanksgiving?!