Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Eat Raw at Moe's (or any other fast food burrito joint)!

As much as all of us would like to hope we live in a health food paradise, we simply don't.  Yes, there are some places that are starting to get smart about serving healthy food, but the truth is most convenient places to eat are full of processed, pre-packaged crap.  

As a raw food punk, I want to be able to eat raw while still maintaining my place in the standard American culture, fast food joints and all.  Eating raw in a McDonald's laden world can be tough, but, I have found, that with a little bit of knowledge and some savvy choices, we can all eat healthy, even raw, at just about any American restaurant.  The first of my raw fast food adventures was at Moe's, and I think it was pretty darn successful. You can apply these tips to any burrito chain such as Chipotle, Qdoba, and others.  

How to Eat Raw at Moe's

1.  Start with a salad.  The Personal Trainer is the vegetarian salad at Moe's, so that would be the best choice.  You'll be making quite a few adjustments though, so it doesn't really matter which one you choose. 

2.  Say no to the rice, beans, and meat.  This is probably easy for  most raw foodies.  If its a challenge for you, however, I guarantee you will get plenty of flavor from the other toppings.  What do you think has more flavor, white rice or fresh salsa?  

3.  Have fun with toppings: cucumbers, olives, pico de gallo, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, guacamole, cabbage....There are a ton of raw options that can be put on top of your salad to make it incredibly full of flavor.  If you are not 100% raw you can throw the fajita peppers, onions, and mushrooms on the salad too, yum-yum!

4.  Skip the dressing.  I guarantee the guacamole and the pico de gallo will fully suffice for dressing your salad, you don't need those processed commercial dressings.

5. Skip the cheese and sour cream.  Again, things like guacamole, pico de gallo, and salsa will give you much more flavor and nutritional benefit than processed dairy.  Even if you indulge on some tortilla chips (which I don't recommend, but I've eaten a few too!), you should opt for salsa instead of cheese sauce.  Better flavor, better nutrients, better health!

Focus on the whole, raw foods that can add color and flavor to your salad, skip the processed stuff and you'll be good to go!  Fast food gone raw!!

Music Fix: Ain't Nothing Wrong with That-Robert Randolph

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Raw Zucchini Hummus Recipe

Many people believe that hummus is a super healthy choice.  Although hummus is way better than, say, a cheeseburger, it isn't exactly a super food, either.  Beans, such as the garbanzo beans in conventional hummus are legumes, which means they are a combination of protein and starch.  Just as in proper meal combining, it isn't quite ideal to be mixing protein in starch in one dish.  Beans should be avoided to keep digestion efficient, especially if you are a woman trying to lose weight.  Beans aren't terrible, but they aren't the best either.  

That being said, however, I miss dipping raw veggies in hummus, so when I saw a recipe for hummus made from zucchini instead of garbanzo beans I had to give it a shot.  I actually tried this one on my own without a reference recipe.  I remembered seeing that one of the recipes had cumin in it, but since I was out I tried a little bit of curry powder.  The curry powder gives this hummus an interesting flavor that is subtle but gives it just the right amount of punch.   I also like a lot of garlic in my hummus so there's a bit of a kick from that too.  This is really good stuff and its quite easy to make. 

Zucchini Hummus

2 medium zucchini, peeled and roughly chopped

¼ cup raw tahini

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup lemon juice, (1 lemon)

¼ teaspoon himalayan sea salt

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

Throw everything together in a food processor and process until smooth.  Serve with raw veggies or as a spread on raw crackers or bread.  Stores very well in the fridge.

Music Fix: Nebraska-Moe.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Raw Sesame Noodle Recipe

Thanks to Memorial Day, there were plenty of events to "cook" for this weekend!  My mother was looking for a recipe to make for one of her parties, and I, like the brat I am, intervened and made her choose something healthy.  What she picked wasn't quite ideal, but we switched it up a little to make a more suitable side dish.  Mom made Sesame Noodles from a Betty Crocker cookbook with whole grain pasta, agave nectar instead of sugar and extra veggies.  Her version turned out decent, but I personally felt that the flavor of the wheat pasta took away from the subtle sesame taste that was trying to shine through.  Suddenly, I was inspired!  I decided to one up her and make a raw version for a party we were both attending the following day. 

My recipe was totally better!  I used zucchini instead of pasta and it allowed the sauce's intricate flavors to really be the star of the dish.  I brought this to a party where pulled pork sandwiches were the main event.  Needless to say, I certainly was not amidst avid raw foodies.  I am proud to say, however, that everyone loved these raw sesame noodles; even my 12 year old cousin and his 21 year old ramen noodle loving brother, YAY! 

This recipe does use toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar, so it is not technically 100% raw, but I think the abundance of raw veggies certainly makes up for it.  Enjoy!

Raw Sesame Noodles
4 Zucchini
1 carrot
1/2 red bell pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons Nama Shoyu
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1.  Cut the zucchini in half and run each half through a mandolin with a blade with "teeth" on it, to create noodles like angel hair pasta.
2.  Run the carrot and red pepper through the mandolin also.  Mix together the 3 different varieties of noodles and scallions in a large bowl.
3.  In a small bowl, combine the last 8 ingredients and mix well.
4.  Toss the noodles in the sauce.  This can be served immediately, but its even better when it has chilled for a while.

Music Fix: Proudest Monkey-Dave Matthews Band (in Buffalo tomorrow and I can't go.)  Boo!

Eat Happy, punks. : )

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tahini Truffles, AKA Healthy Malt Balls

Happy Sunday Punks!  Hope you're having a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend; summer is here!!  Today I am sharing a recipe with you that I came up with while trying to make raw chocolate Halvah.  Which, to be quite honest, is something I didn't even know existed until I recently found a recipe for a raw version. 

 I've been wanting to do more with tahini, sesame seed paste, since I learned that sesame seeds are a source of complete protein. Take that meat-eaters!!  So this tasty little treat is a great source of protein and it gives you a good amount of calcium too!

In my efforts to make the raw chocolate halvah, I realized I was super low on cocoa powder, ouch!  Fortunately, however, I've decided bumps in the road like that are perfect opportunities to get creative so I started experimenting with some other ingredients until I had something worth eating!  I started adding vanilla, then threw in some coconut oil, plus the little bit of cocoa powder that I did have.  The nutty sesame flavor mixed with the chocolate, coconut, and vanilla give these little "truffles" a malted chocolate flavor that really surprised (and delighted) me.  Definitely a successful endeavor, enjoy!


Tahini Truffles

½ cup tahini

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

½ teaspoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process in a food processor.  Roll into small, truffle sized balls.  Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.  You can eat them without chilling, but they are best once they are a little more solid and cool.

Music Fix: They-Jem

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vanilla Almond Raw Cream Cheese

I have been doing quite a lot of messing around in the kitchen this week. I have been making an effort to make creations with what I've got in the fridge already instead of running out to the grocery store every couple days to stock up for a recipe I found.  It has been a lot of fun, and I highly recommend everyone try working with what they've got sometimes to exercise your creativity!

My mother, who impresses me everyday with how much she has learned about eating healthy, used to always get this vanilla raisin walnut cream cheese that was, I admit, incredibly tasty.  I had a bunch of almonds on hand, and after making raw cream cheese out of cashews, I decided to make my own version of the not-so-healthy one we used to enjoy.  I ended up with a very nice finished product!  The flavor is just about the same, subtle vanilla flavor and just enough sweetness, plus using the almonds definitely added a nice flavor.  The only major difference is the consistency, this is a fluffier version, almost more like ricotta cheese than cream cheese, but its nice and light.  I'm not sure what to put this spread on yet, so I've just been taking a spoonful right out of the container here and there, yum!  Give this one a try, and let me know if you think of any brilliant ways to use it!  

Vanilla Almond Cream Cheese

1 cup raw almonds

¾ cup water

1 ½ teaspoons agave nectar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend everything together until smooth and creamy in a food processor.  Then mix in ¼ cup raisins for an extra treat, yum!

Just as a last note, I wanted to let you know that I ate a peanut butter cup ice cream concoction last night.  I know, I know, bad news for my body, and I was not feeling very fresh this morning BUT I am currently sipping some green lemonade and I am pretty sure I can actually feel it cleaning the processed dairy/sugar junk out of my cells.  Thanks green juice!!!

Music Fix: All Shook Up-Elvis....I'm in recital prep mode!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Green Smoothie Goodness

When I previously stated that green smoothies may be my new addiction, I was definitely right.  I have made a green smoothie every single morning since, seriously, every morning.  I've picked a pretty awesome thing to get addicted to, and I'd like to share with you a little bit about why green smoothies rock:

  • Green smoothies are incredibly nutrient dense; filling you up with good stuff, giving your cells the nourishment they need.  Ya know what that means?  You cut cravings for the crappy stuff by feeding your cells the good stuff!  
  • Green smoothies are rich in magnesium in calcium.  In fact, kale, an easy to find leafy green, has more calcium than dairy!!!  Say what!?  Yea, eat some kale.
  • Green leaves have protein!  Think about gorillas, and elephants, and other huge, mighty animals that only eat greens...
  • Low calorie!!  These smoothies are super low in calories, plus the calories that are there are accompanied by awesome nutritional benefit and filling fiber.
  • The fiber is turned into mush so its easy to digest.  But, since the fiber is still there, it keeps you from absorbing the fruit sugars too quickly and getting a blood sugar rush.  
Good stuff, right!?  Plus, I bet you'd be hard pressed to find any kitchen in the country that doesn't have a blender!  I do think juicing is great for you, and important to being healthy but if you aren't ready to go get a juicer, or you're ready to switch it up, grab your blender and make a green smoothie!!  

The rules to creating green smoothies are simple: 

  • Variety: pick different greens all the time, don't juice the same green day after day.
  • 60% fruit and 40% greens is a good general guideline for proportioning your smoothie.
  • Experiment!  Have fun trying different combinations of fruits and greens.  These are all good greens to use: lettuce, kale, dandelion greens, watercress, escarole, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, and celery.  Mix with any fruit your healthy heart desires, and you're set!
  • Blend your fruit and liquid first to make a base, then blend in the greens; it'll be easier this way.
Here are some combinations that I have tried and loved:

  1. 2 bananas, 1 cup frozen blueberries, water, 1/2 head romaine lettuce
  2. 1 cup fresh pineapple, 1 cup fresh strawberries, juice from 2 oranges, handful of ice, 4 stalks kale
  3. Mango, frozen strawberries, banana, collard greens
  4. 2 bananas, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 4 stalks kale, 1 teaspoon raw honey, water

Try some of mine, or get creative right away!  Work with what you've got in the kitchen and you'll be sure to come up with some tasty problem solving.  Enjoy your health, punks!!

Music Fix: Boys in the Band-The Libertines

A Personal Blog and Call for Feedback

Hello punks!  I had an epiphany this morning about the development of this website and I'd like to present my ideas to you!  

Having a raw food blog is great but what am I trying to achieve?  I realized, while reading Food Matters that my goal is to help every single person in America understand the detriments of the standard american diet and help them make smarter choices towards becoming a healthier population and planet.  It is so sad to me how many people don't understand the simplicity of it all; eat less processed food, eat as much food as possible that is in its natural state, eat less animal products, eat more plants, don't over consume.  Its so simple, we shouldn't need to count calories, fat grams, carbs, etc. in order to understand being healthy.  I am also upset by the number of people who say it is too difficult or too expensive to eat healthy.  The worst part of those statements is that they are probably true.  But we can change it!  The more we, as consumers, demand the foods that will nourish us and help us achieve optimal health, the more accessible and affordable those foods will be!  Why should an imitation product be more expensive than the natural food it is imitating!?  We need to educate the masses, in a simple and understandable way, about what healthy eating really means.  I want to be a part of that.

I do not want to take away from what this blog already provides.  I would like to continue presenting simple, delicious recipes that make it easy to incorporate raw foods in to our daily lives.  But I'd like to make some additions.  I would like to add more informative posts concerning the foods we eat and how they affect our bodies.  I'm thinking that each week I will pick a different food or food group and present information about why its really awesome for our health or why it sucks, and of course, recipes to go along with it!  Also, more personal posts about my adventures in eating healthy in the real world.  How I eat at restaurants, challenges I face, how to overcome them, and providing any advice that I may find or you people may ask me for.

I want to reach more people, I want to be able to open someone eyes to how easy it can be to live healthy and happy every single day!  I find that, despite the fact that I have been a dancer all my life, this is what I wake up in the morning motivated to do.  I still love to dance, and believe that will always be a part of my life, but I really believe I have found something I am incredibly passionate about; something that will make a difference.  We all have a reason to be here, this is mine.  

Please, please, please tell me how you feel about my ideas and how it would change the feel of this website.  Thanks so much for coming, reading, thinking, and sharing! : )

Music Fix: Green Tea-MMW and John Scofield

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Raw Cashew Cream Cheese and Easy Lettuce Roll-Ups!

                   Pesto Cream Cheese Lettuce Rolls with Sun-dried Tomatoes

I found a recipe for cashew cream cheese a long time ago and was really looking forward to trying it.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the exact one I had found again. Ugh!  Anyway, I looked around the raw online community, which is incredibly awesome by the way, and found a few that I combined and messed with and ended up with the following recipe.  I really like it.  A lot.  I could eat it by the spoonful, which is good since I don't eat bagels.  I wouldn't say it tastes exactly like cream cheese but its definitely similar and is creamy, awesome, and of course, easy!

Raw Cashew Cream Cheese

2 cups cashews

Juice from 1 lemon


2 tablespoons olive oil

¼-1/2 cup water 

Process in your food processor until creamy texture is achieved.  Done!

So now that I have this wonderful raw cream cheese, I needed something to do with it.  I decided to try out some fun lettuce roll ups and these are my two favorite combos.  Play with proportions and ingredients, the possibilities are endless!

Pesto Cream Cheese Lettuce Rolls with Sun-dried Tomatoes:  dollop of raw cream cheese, dollop of raw pesto, a few sun-dried tomatoes, romaine lettuce.

Fajita Roll-Ups:  mix about a 1/4 teaspoon of fajita seasoning in for every tablespoon of cream cheese.  Put that mixture on your lettuce with some tomato, red pepper, and green onions. I actually mixed my cream cheese, seasoning, and veggies into a nice chunky mixture and rolled that up in lettuce, so so so good. : )

I also just made a recipe from the lovely Raw Goddess Heathy.  Check out her tomato dressing recipe, yummy!

I've had a busy week experimenting with recipes so stay tuned for some new smoothies, tahini truffles, and vanilla almond cream cheese!  Woohoo!

Music Fix: War on War-Wilco

Eat Happy, Punks. : )

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Balsamic Marinated Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

Today I present you with a completely original recipe!  Woohoo!  This may have been done before, but regardless, I came up with the idea and recipe all on my own.  The best part?  It turned out sooooooooo good!  I'm bragging a little, but I'm excited about it, so deal with it.  : P

I have heard that balsamic vinegar isn't the healthiest thing in the world because of the fermentation and the high level of acidity.  I think using some in moderation is probably not detrimental to your health, but you can substitute apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or lemon juice if you would like.

This recipe doesn't make a huge amount, which surprised me a little, but I had a big serving of it and my Mom had a little bit too so I would say you could get two servings from it.  It would be super easy to double though, so no worries!   The zucchini looked so much like pasta that my step-dad didn't even realize it was zucchini!  Plus its way healthier than pasta, light, refreshing, and!  Enjoy.

Balsamic Marinated Zucchini Pasta with Pesto 

3 zucchini, cut like angel hair pasta using spiral slicer or mandolin

2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar

sea salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons raw pesto (recipe below)

1 diced roma tomato to garnish (optional)


Toss the ‘pasta’ in the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside and let sit for about 30 minutes, or while you prepare pesto.  Next, toss the pasta in 2 tablespoons of pesto.  Plate and top with chopped roma tomatoes.


2 cups basil

½ cup pine nuts

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic

Himalayan sea salt to taste

Blend everything together in a food processor.  That’s it!

Music Fix: A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left-Andrew Bird...My new favorite.

Eat Happy. : )

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rawvolution Book Review and Recipe!

This weekend I had the pleasure of reading Rawvolution by Matt Amsden.  This is a wonderful addition to my raw library, and I recommend it for yours too!  I bought this book pretty impulsively, without checking out the price.  I think it was all the colorful, enticing photography that caused me to grab and go without considering cost.  Although a bit expensive, this book is well worth the price.

I enjoyed this book because it is well-written and simple.  Matt is honest without being preachy, getting personal but not self-indulgent.  He doesn't go overboard with scientific research and facts.  Instead, he gives you logical, condensed explanations of what it means to eat raw and why it is so good for us.  He also provides an extensive list for stocking your new raw pantry, sample raw food menus for entertaining, and tips for traveling.  You also get a glossary, cute icons that make up a legend for each recipe, lots of gorgeous pictures, and, of course, tons of recipes!!

There are plenty of simple recipes as well with easily accessibly ingredients that you could easily start making today.  He does make a great use of thai coconuts, which I can't find at any of my supermarkets, but if you can then you could easily make almost every recipe in this book.  Not too many of the recipes are heavy, nut-based dishes and only a few require dehydration.  Matt presents tons of soups, salads, entrees, breakfasts, and really easy desserts, too!  All in all, I would say this is a great recipe book to have on hand, even for beginners.  

I absolutely could not wait to start exploring Matt's recipes, so I decided to start with something simple that I could make with that I have at home right now.  I choose "Cinnamon Girls," delightful little balls of almonds, raisins, and cinnamon that are super easy to make, cute and yummy.  I'll give you this recipe, but I highly recommend buying Rawvolution so you can try all the others too!  

Cinnamon Girls
2 cups raw almonds, finely ground in a food processor
1/3 cup cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almonds, cinnamon, salt, and raisins and stir until the dry ingredients are mixed well.  Add the agave nectar and olive oil to the bowl, and mix until a dough-like consistency is reached.  Using your hands, roll the mixture into ping-pong-sized balls.  Serve as is, or cover and freeze until thoroughly chilled for a more solid consistency.  

Music Fix: Time-Pink Floyd

Eat Happy. : )

Friday, May 15, 2009

My First Green Smoothie!

I am a firm believer in juicing my greens.  It makes so much sense to get the nutrients easily, without all the fiber and needing to go through extra digestion.  I will never, ever give up drinking Green Lemonade .  BUT, today I was hungrier than usual, craving a smoothie, and eager to get outside to enjoy the beautiful day.  Plus, I simply must get away from the computer and devote some time to reading my new raw book that I shall be reviewing for you in the next couple of days!  I was perusing around the raw food online network and came across  and read about Philip and his daily green smoothie.  Tah-dah!  There was the answer to my cravings and hunger this morning.  I was nervous about it, but I set out to make something that I would actually enjoy drinking and that had some of my essential greens in it. 

 This smoothie is definitely worth drinking!   It is very, very tasty and really easy to make.  Plus, set-up and clean-up for a blender is way easier than the juicer....This may be my new addiction.

Tropical Kale Smoothie (2 servings, or 1 mega serving)

2 bananas
1/2 ripe mango
about 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
3-4 stalks kale
handful of ice (I didn't use ice but my smoothie could have used a chill)
a little bit of water to get things moving.

Chop everything up to help your blender out a bit.  Throw everything in the blender and blend really well.  Enjoy your health in a glass! 

Music Fix: Share-Bag of Toys

Eat Happy. : )

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pudding

Ever since my Pumpkin Pie in a Bowl adventure, I have been infatuated with sweet, cinnamony, sweet potato concoctions.  So please excuse me for posting another recipe of this nature BUT this is really tasty and really easy, and that's what it's all about, right?  (Go ahead, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around).  This breakfast pudding has an oatmeal like consistency with a little bit of crunch, some sweetness, and a mighty cinnamon punch.  Add some raisins, and you've got yourself quite a breakfast treat.

This recipe is graciously borrowed from a member of  "Daniefon" made some alterations to the original pumpkin pie in a bowl recipe and posted his results.  I tried them, achieved success, and would like to share his idea with you!  I did, however, make a couple slight changes and gave it a name (well, Mom gave it a name).  Apparently I don't have the ability to leave a single recipe as is...

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pudding

1 cup chopped sweet potato
4 dates, pitted
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon raw agave nectar (added for a little extra sweetness, not necessary)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch each nutmeg, ground ginger, and allspice
1-3 tablespoons of water (add slowly to help everything blend until desired consistency is achieved)
raisins and cinnamon (optional as a garnish)

Throw everything together (not the raisins) in a food processor and process until well combined but still a bit chunky.  Spoon about half of the mixture into a bowl, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and top with raisins.  Enjoy!

I also must mention that I am sipping an amazing fruit smoothie right now: 1/2 a mango, handful of strawberries, about 3/4 cup of fresh pineapple, and the juice from one orange.  All the flavors combine into a whole new tropical fruity taste. DELICIOUS!!

Music Fix: Lovelight-Dark Star Orchestra

Eat Happy. : )

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ginger Miso Dressing!

I have been trying to come up with ways to dress a salad that don't involve tons of oil and/or nuts lately.  It's tough!  Some of my favorite dressings are nut-based and it seems like everything else has at least 1/2 cup of oil in it!  Having lunch at Papaya the other day, however, I was served a salad with a very light and incredibly good miso ginger dressing.  I figured I could re-create it pretty easily and not use too much fat, and I was right!  

Miso Ginger Dressing
1/4 cup white miso
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water.

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the sesame oil until completely integrated.  Then whisk in the water (you can add more if you want to dilute the dressing more).  Drizzle over a salad and enjoy!  I threw mine over a salad of: romaine lettuce, red onions, cucumber, tomato, red pepper, shredded carrots, and bean sprouts.  Brilliant. : )

Music Fix-Dry the Rain-The Beta Band....High Fidelity anyone!? 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Easy Raw Sushi!

The other day my friend mentioned to me that he was going to try to make some sushi but he didn't even have nori!  I, on the other hand, had a whole package of nori that I had yet to use. So, with a slightly competitive spirit, I set out to make some sushi.  And since my sushi was going to be raw, I immediately decided for myself that mine would be way better than his.  Well, my sushi was a little messy but incredibly yummy and he is now a self-proclaimed sushi master...So I may not have won in the rolling department but I think I win for creativity.  I used zucchini as the "rice" and threw in red peppers, cucumber, and avocado.  Yummmm! Here's what I did:

Easy Raw Sushi (makes about 3 rolls)

3-4 Nori Sheets, quickly brushed over heat (stove-top) to toast
1-2 large zucchini
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional, not raw)
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar (don't use if you skip the vinegar)
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 cucumber, julienned 

1.  "Rice" the zucchini in a food processor with the vinegar and agave nectar.  Be careful not to over-process as the mixture will get too liquid-y and hard to work with.
2. Layout one nori sheet and place a good amount of zucchini rice on the sheet.  Spread the mixture out a little.  Place the bell pepper, avocado, and cucumber on top of the zucchini.
3.  Roll your nori sheet up tightly.  Slice according to your desired size, my nori sheets had little markers to show the proper size.  

(Again, my rolls were a little sloppy so you may want to watch some youtube videos on how to roll sushi.  I used a little bit of rice vinegar to keep my roll sealed, that worked very well.)

When I ran out of zucchini mixture I decided to try sweet potato.  I riced half a sweet potato with some vinegar and agave nectar and repeated the steps to make the roll.  This version was crunchier and a little easier to roll but I didn't think it was as tasty.  Go ahead and try it if you'd like, they turn out very pretty!

When I got over sushi, I decided to mess around with the rest of the sweet potato I had.  I wanted to do something similar to the pumpkin pie in a bowl because I ended up really enjoying that.  I'm not going to give you exact measurements because I would be making them up.  What I ended up with is very tasty though, so I recommend trying this out too!  I would say I had almost a whole sweet potato; threw that in the food processor with 3 dates, about 2 tablespoons maple syrup(not raw), a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and about 2 tablespoons of almond milk.  Process that until you've got a nice mushy texture, serve and enjoy. : )

Lastly: a note about attitude and having a positive outlook.  I didn't end up staying 100% raw all last week.  That being said, however, I refuse to say I failed.  What a terrible way to look at life!  I just found that I am not in a place in my life where I am ready to eat a 100% raw diet.  Maybe I will someday, or maybe I will never be 100%, who knows.  The point is, don't set yourself up for failure.  Give yourself realistic goals and guidelines and allow yourself to be human.  Also know that if you don't do things exactly as you had set out to it does not mean you have failed, it just means that maybe you should re-evaluate your goals or plan of action to better accommodate where you are in life.  You do not need to eat 100% raw to receive the benefits of adding more raw foods to your diet.  So don't you worry your pretty little head if you ate something cooked today!  Its not the end of the world, and its certainly not the end of your journey to health.  What I did achieve was getting back into some good habits such as juicing almost everyday, eating fruit until dinner and eating all raw dinners at home, not to mention a little bit of self-analysis and discovery. : )   That's all for today, later punks.

Music Fix:  Romantic-Soulive

Eat Happy. : )

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Banana Smoothie Idea, Sun Dried Tomato Pine Nut Cheese, and Pumpkin Pie in a Bowl!

                                           (Sun dried tomato pine nut cheese on endive)

I've got lots to share with you today.  I aim to share three new recipes every week, but how about three new recipes in one post!  Woohoo! I have been feeling oh so inspired lately to try new recipes.  I can't stop!  I'm not feeling so hot these days, fighting off a cold, but I can't help but want to get off my butt and make some food!  

Last night, after teaching dance for four hours with a sore throat (yes, I'm whining a little), I wanted nothing more than ice cream to soothe me.  Instead, as any smart raw food punk should, I decided to concoct a smoothie that would soothe my throat and satisfy my sweet tooth. I came up with a raw Caramel Banana Smoothie that's delicious and super easy!

Caramel Banana Smoothie (1 hefty serving)
1 banana
1 cup almond milk
scant cup of ice
2 teaspoons raw caramel

Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Next up, I was making my way through the copious amounts of raw sites I have started looking at on a daily basis and came across a recipe from Natalia Rose for Pumpkin Pie in a bowl on  The recipe looked easy enough and I was eager for some more cold, smooth, raw stuff for my burning throat.  I am going to share this recipe with you because I think if you are a huge pumpkin pie fan you will really like this.  I, unfortunately, am not sure that I love pumpkin pie without a huge serving of whipped cream on top, so I don't know how I feel about this one.  It does taste a lot like pumpkin pie, that's for damn sure.

Pumpkin Pie in a Bowl

32 ounces carrot juice, about 4 lbs of carrots
1 cup raw sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 pitted dates
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (2 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp nutmeg, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp allspice)

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth.  Chill before serving for best results.  This will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

One woman on Gone Raw recommended omitting some of the carrot juice to make this more mousse like.  I personally can't imagine consuming pumpkin pie as a soup so I went for the mousse route.  I also added 2 extra dates to make it a bit sweeter.  Thanks to Formosa on for the pumpkin pie spice recipe!

Lastly, I decided to add some spunk to my left over pine nut cheese just for fun today.  I added the rest of my sun dried tomatoes and a few fresh basil leaves and really enjoyed the outcome.  This would make a great spread or dip for veggies.  I threw mine on some endive leaves, which was pretty good too.

All ya gotta do for this one is take some pine nut "cheese" and throw it in a food processor with some sun dried tomatoes and a few leaves of fresh basil.  If you have a full batch of "cheese" I would recommend about 10 sun dried tomatoes (soak them if softening is needed) and 5 leaves of fresh basil. Process everything together and serve with fresh veggies, raw crackers, or anything else you creative punks can come up with!

Oh, by the way, I ate 100% raw yesterday and it was great!  Banana and apple for breakfast, salad with raw russian dressing for lunch, and a caramel banana smoothie for dinner.  I snacked on some carrots while i was teaching and I did drink a lot of hot tea.  I thoroughly have trouble thinking that hot water takes away from being raw, so for me it doesn't count.  Feeling good today, Mom said I looked really thin yesterday and despite my cold I feel pretty energetic today.  So far so good today too, started my day with some green lemonade and just had a salad and some pine nut cheese on endive for lunch.  

One more thing!  I searched online for natural remedies for a sore throat and I found a little elixir that actually did some good.  Add 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon raw honey, and a pinch of cayenne pepper to a cup of hot water.  My throat feels better after just one cup, brilliant!

Music Fix:  Trouble with Dreams-The Eels

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Rawsome Book Review and Recipe! Plus, Going Raw at Fridays.

I am finally ready to post my first book review!   I want to do my best to help you guys find the best raw resources out there.  I'm going to be looking through all the raw-related books I can find, give you some info about them, and let you decide if they are worth picking up for yourself!

The first book that I wanted to let you know about is Rawsome by Brigette Mars.  Brigette has a light-hearted, honest and good-humored approach to presenting raw food information.  This book is super informative if you are interested in the ins and outs of raw foods.  There are sections that cover the basics such as why raw is best, weight loss, getting started, stocking a raw food kitchen, and recipes.  But this book goes above and beyond by providing relatively detailed information about enzyme activity, research studies, sprouting, dehydrating, and fermenting.  It also has a Raw Foods Encyclopedia that takes up almost 100 pages of the book describing and giving the nutritional benefits of foods you will be consuming on a raw food diet.  
Although the bulk of this book is comprised of information for you to read, it also includes over 200 recipes.  Some are simple, I recommend trying the salads and dressings.  There are lots of creative beverage ideas and fun sauces including barbeque sauce and ketchup!  Unfortunately, however, many of the recipes require soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating.  Also, many of the entrees and other recipes are nut-based and relatively heavy as far as raw foods go.  

Basically, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it for anyone who is ready to delve head first into the raw food lifestyle.  If you are just starting out and you want to keep things simple, I might not start with this one but it is definitely worth adding to any raw food library!

Last night I made the Russian Dressing Recipe that Brigitte has in Rawsome and topped a simple salad with it for my mother and me.  We both decided the color and flavor were great!  I wouldn't necessarily say it tastes much like commercial russian dressing but it did have that characteristic sweetness and color.  Regardless, its really yummy no matter what you call it.  

Raw Russian Dressing
(From Rawsome by Brigitte Mars)

3 dates, pitted,soaked for 20 minutes (as long as your dates are soft you do not need to soak them)
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (cold-pressed)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt (I used Himalayan sea salt)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 clove garlic

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Note:  I actually added 2 extra dates to mine and was very happy with the result!

Hope that's helpful!  If you would like to buy Rawsome you can do so right HERE!

Preparing that recipe for dinner was part of my 2nd all raw day!  I was totally successful until my friends showed up unannounced at my door and took me to Fridays.  Holy raw challenge nightmare!  Late night Fridays usually equals brownie sundaes for me, I was certainly facing a big obstacle.  I decided to stick to my guns, and order a salad.  Even though I wasn't hungry, I knew if I didn't have something I would munch on my friends' fries and that would totally defeat the anti-brownie mission's purpose.  So I did what I never, ever thought I would do, I wrote a note for the chef!  I took a look at all the salads, wrote down the raw stuff that I would want and included a little note being as cute and gracious as I could be.  According to my waitress the chef replied with "Really!?  A note!?" (with exasperation)  and then, after reading it, "Okay, is she hot?"  When I got my salad, which was a delightful, that's right, delightful, combination of romaine lettuce, tomato, cilantro, red and green onion, red pepper, and carrot, my chef, Tony, had written me a little note back.  Tony told me he took extra special care in making my salad, and hoped I enjoyed it.  I did have some Asian ginger dressing on my salad, which I'm sure was not as healthy as I would have made for myself at home but it beats a brownie sundae, right?  So, my first ever written request to the chef went great!  Thanks so much to Tony for making my raw challenge doable, even at Fridays!  My server was super helpful too and made the experience much less annoying than I thought it would be.  The point is, if you are gracious and friendly about your special requests people won't have a problem with accommodating them!  Be polite, respectful, and willing to answer questions graciously about your lifestyle and no one will spit in your food! : )

Music Fix: You're So Damn Hot-Okay Go!

Eat Happy, Punks. : )

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Raw Challenge: Day Two. Banana Almond Butter Smoothie and Tomato Stack with "Cheese," Basil, and Balsamic Vinegar.

I'd like to think that, although sloppy, my lunch yesterday looks like art!  Stacking food always makes it look cool, doesn't it?  I made this little tomato stacker super fast yesterday and it made a wonderful lunch/dinner before I had to go in to work.  I found a recipe online for "cheese" to use up my pine nuts, layered it with slices of fresh tomato and basil leaves, and topped it all off with a drizzle of balsamic, yum!  The pine nut cheese recipe is from a site called but I added some more pine nuts to mine because I wanted it a bit thicker.

Pine Nut Cheese

1 cup raw pine nuts
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt

Process all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.  

Tomato Stacker
1 tomato, sliced thickly
pine nut cheese (see above)
a few fresh basil leaves
balsamic vinegar (I don't think balsamic vinegar is really raw, optional)

Place a spoonful of pine nut cheese on the a slice of tomato and top with 1-3 basil leaves.  Place another tomato slice on top of the cheese and basil and continue layering in this manner.  Top layer should be a dollop of pine nut cheese and a few leaves of basil.  Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Okay, next up on the agenda, I am on day two of my all raw challenge!  Yesterday went pretty well!  I actually had absolutely no problem eating all raw (I did have some steamed cauliflower but that barely counts as cooked!)  I had my peach raspberry smoothie in the morning, tomato stacker and some butterscotch pudding for lunch, a huge salad at work, and some steamed veggies as a midnight snack.  Not bad, huh?  Not as green as I would have hoped, and I did have some tea which is technically not raw, but I am proud of the integrity of everything I ate yesterday and look forward to another day just like it!  It was a bit challenging to walk away from the free pumpkin apple muffins at work last night, but I left empty handed and opted for the steamed veggies at home.  It paid off because I felt great all day yesterday and woke up feeling pretty good today.  My body didn't feel like it was still trying to process yesterday's food, so I could start fresh today!  

Unfortunately, I am fighting off a cold right now and don't feel 100% today.  I always crave junk food when I'm sick, even though my appetite is barely there.  Instead of making juice this morning, which probably would have been better for me, I made my new favorite raw treat, a banana and almond butter smoothie.  I have been drinking this slowly all morning and its soothing my throat a bit.  Plus, it's delicious, that never hurts either.  So day two of this punk's all raw challenge has started off a little heavier than usual, but absolutely raw.  I plan on having some raw coleslaw for dinner since I have a bit of leftover cabbage to get rid of and I don't have to work tonight so I won't have to be tempted by muffins and brownies!  

Okay, I will leave you with the smoothie recipe, it really is delicious, you must try this one!

Banana Almond Butter Smoothie (1 serving)

1 banana
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup ice
1-2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup (agave nectar can be substituted here if you don't eat maple syrup)

Throw everything in a blender and blend til smooth.  Enjoy!

Music Fix: 3-string George- Gov't Mule

Eat Happy. : )

Monday, May 4, 2009

Peach Raspberry Smoothie with Green Tea and my All Raw Challenge, Day One!

(If you don't care about my self-analysis scroll down for the Peach Raspberry Smoothie recipe, I won't be offended.)  : )

I have been struggling with dieting and obsessing about food for about three years now.  I used to be a skinny little thing without thinking twice about what I ate, then I developed hypothyroidism from an auto-immune thyroid disorder, gained about thirty pounds and started spiraling into a food obsession frenzy.  I have now lost 15 pounds and am thankful for my weight gain as it brought me to learn so much about being healthy.  I learn more and more about nutrition, natural foods, raw foods, and healing the body naturally everyday and I can't wait to learn more.   Unfortunately, as most people who diet do, I have  gotten into the habit of worrying about everything I eat, feeling guilty if I stray from my healthy habits and worrying about weight gain if I eat a bite of cake.  In an effort to get over that and back to the carefree attitude in high school I recently gave myself the freedom to eat whatever I want and not think about it.  For the most part, I still ate raw, because I have become so accustomed to it that its really all I crave.  
This is what I discovered in this past couple weeks: 

I never suddenly crave unhealthy, cooked food, I only really eat it when its sitting in front of my face.  

I have been eating unhealthy food not because I really wanted it but because I was allowing myself to so I might as well do it.  

My body feels amazing on raw food and I can perceive such a difference in how I feel based on what I eat.

My body does absolutely feel more energetic, lighter, and healthier when I eat raw.

I want to follow rules.  When your rules are self-imposed its okay to follow them.  Make your own rules punks, but stick to 'em.

I work at a coffee shop and we get all the leftover pastries to take home at the end of the night and I have felt like if it was being given away I had to take it, right?  Last night, as I was driving home, stuffing a vegan muffin in my mouth for an already full stomach, I  decided that I had given myself enough time to do what I want and the experiment was over.  

As of today I know that I can eat whatever I want and not obsess about it and that what I want to eat is the stuff that makes me feel really good.  SO I am going full throttle.  I have transitioned enough at this point to jump in, I am putting myself up to a 7 day all raw challenge.  No cooked food for me this week!  I may allow some cooked veggies, sweet potatoes, or brown rice, we'll see how I feel about that when the opportunity arises.  But for now, all raw!  I'll let you know how its going for me everyday.  

Today is day one for my 100% raw-ness and my body feels okay, not great because I laid on some carb heavy cooked food for a good deal of the day yesterday.  I didn't start putting any new food in my body until about 3 hours after waking up today though, so hopefully that was enough time for my digestive system to catch up a bit.  

I made myself a new smoothie for breakfast that I think is pretty darn tasty.  I used green tea in my smoothie recipe because I wanted to try something different and 'cause the antioxidants can't hurt!  If you do not want to use green tea, technically not raw if you brew it hot, you can just use water no problem!  

Peach Raspberry Smoothie with Green Tea (2-3 servings)
1 cup of ice
1 cup of brewed green tea
16 ounces peaches (I had to use frozen since they aren't in season)
4 ounces raspberries
1 tablespoon agave nectar (optional, for added sweetness)

Add all the ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Music Fix: Sometimes-Wax Tailor

Eat Happy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chocolate Banana Milkshake

This recipe is such a treat.  Mom and I are sitting on the couch enjoying two very rich chocolate banana milkshakes.  I wanted to try to make raw pudding with almond milk, bananas, cocoa powder, and agave nectar but I ended up with liquid.  I added some almond butter but that didn't help much.  Finally, I gave up, added ice and ended up with a ridiculously good milkshake.  Thank goodness for mistakes, cause this failure turned out great. : )

Chocolate Banana Milkshakes  (2-4 servings)

1/3 cup 100% cocoa powder
2 bananas, peeled
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not raw, optional)
1-2 cups of ice

Put the first 6 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add in the ice and blend again until desired consistency.  Split into glasses and enjoy!  We have also decided that this would be a good base for fudgsicles, try it out! Enjoy.

Music Fix: All for the Buzz- Free Henry!

Raw Butterscotch Pudding

This is raw butterscotch pudding. Not gorgeous, but certainly better than that artificial color you get from the unnatural pudding mixes.  My roommate and I used to make sugar-free non-fat butterscotch Jell-O pudding on really hot days in summer, slather it with whipped cream and just take two spoons to the big bowl.  With summer approaching, I was excited to try to re-create that while maintaining my own healthy guidelines by trying this recipe I found in Rawsome.  

I'll admit that what I ended up with was more like a banana apricot mash than butterscotch pudding, but I could sense a vague resemblance.  I did some doctoring and I think I ended up with a pretty good product.  Unfortunately, I am not a big fan of mushy, so this is not my all time favorite recipe.  But it is sweet and a little salty and has notes of that very distinct butterscotch flavor.  I definitely recommend trying this one for yourself and letting me know what you think!  Here is my recipe for raw butterscotch pudding:

Raw Butterscotch Pudding

2 bananas, peeled
10 dates, pitted
1 cup dried apricots (Rawsome says to soak them, but I was too lazy)
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons raw agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not actually raw, optional)
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Throw everything together in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Its best if you chill it for a while before serving.  Enjoy!

Music Fix: I've Got to See You Again-Norah Jones 
(One of my all time favorites, such a sexy song!)