There are few who don’t love chocolate, but nobody likes pimples. Regular chocolate often includes sugar, butter, and milk, which is why it tastes so good. I now look at little chocolate chip morsels and feel betrayed. I once trusted them, thinking they were just plain old chocolate, but we have to be smart and look at the freaking labels! The truth lies in the label. Regular chocolate chips just aren’t cool because they are non-dairy and will make you break out from all the sugar packed into them. Every time I eat chocolate chips, it never fails, and a big whopping pimple appears somewhere on my face the next morning.
So today, I got home and was thinking about having some chocolate, but I decided I wasn’t going to go the easy route and eat chocolate chips. I wanted something more.
In the spirit of using on-hand ingredients, I decided to make a frozen chocolate shake using some raw ingredients.
1 1/2 cups almond milk,
2 cups of ice,
2 tbs cacao powder,
1 tbs cacao nibs,
1 tbs almond butter
1 tsp agave
Blend together, and there is this beautiful concoction that is refreshing, low calorie, dairy-free, and raw with a wonderful chocolate flavor.
It’s all I needed this afternoon after a day of work and yoga.
Some cool things about cacao nibs and cacao powder is that they are high in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, and fiber. They are also good for improving mood, and they won’t make you break out!
I accidentally made healthy Spanish “rice” this week by experimenting with a can of tomato sauce I had on hand. Something cool always happens when I use what I have in my refrigerator and follow my instincts rather than a recipe.
So the other day I wanted to make some quinoa risotto. I use this method of cooking mushrooms, onions, and garlic in coconut oil for a few minutes, then adding sage, thyme, and 1/2 cup of white wine. This really gives the mushrooms and onions a great flavor. So then what you do is add your quinoa, let it toast, and then add your vegetable broth. But what I did this time, was add tomato sauce. It took longer to cook until I covered the pan with a lid. Duh! Once I did that, the steam went to work and cooked the quinoa fully.
I added some salt and pepper and it was golden. As I tasted the quinoa, I realized that I’d basically used all the ingredients to make Spanish rice but used Quinoa instead of white or brown rice.
This was really exciting for me since I LOVE Spanish Rice but you may not always want to be eating starchy, high carb foods like rice, so the Quinoa gives a lighter touch on the recipe, with almost the same consistency.
I would’ve put up a picture but that stuff didn’t last long. It’s exciting to make Mexican food healthy because I’m Mexican and I know how fattening the food can be. My friend’s grandma makes the best Spanish rice and even though the rice turns orange, it was once just plain old white rice a.k.a sugar. Quinoa is a great replacement for white rice (sugar) since it’s high in protein and provides a similar consistency to rice.
Here’s my recipe:
1 tbs sage
1 tbs thyme
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 onion chopped
3-6 garlic cloves (however you like it, for me the more the better)
1 cup quinoa
1 can tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Sautee mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Add white wine, sage, and thyme and cook until white wine disappears. Add vegetable broth and tomato sauce, cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Fluff with fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I’ve been in minimalist mode, trying to use what I have in my kitchen before going shopping for new stuff.
We had these oranges that were getting pretty ripe, so I looked through the pantry, saw some carob powder and Tahini. I thought of making one of my favorite raw desserts: Carob Tangerine Soft and Fudgy Chews, recipe courtesy of Stephanie Tourles from her book, “Raw Energy.”
This is a great savory and sweet frozen dessert with a nice hint of freshness from the orange zest and juice. Real easy recipe to make. It just needs to freeze for at least two to three hours before you get the right frozen consistency, but the prep is relatively quick.
Here’s the recipe:
zest from 2 medium tangerines or oranges (about 2 tbs)
3 tbs fresh tangerine or orange
1 cup raw carob
3/4 cup raw tahini
2 tbs raw honey
pinch sea salt
coconut oil (for greasing pan)
1) Put zest, juice, carob, tahini, honey, and salt in large bowl and stir well until stiff ball forms.
2) Grease 8-inch square pan with coconut oil. Using your hands or spatula, press dough into pan to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch.
3) Place covered pan in freezer for at least two hours. Remove pan and cut the fudge chews into 1 1/2-inch squares
4) Store squares in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for up to two months. Will become gooey and soft if allowed to thaw.
There you have it. I think they are best right out of the freezer. I love how Stephanie Tourles includes the health benefits you will receive from her recipe. “Regular consumption of these candies will strengthen nails, hair, and ones and also help relieve muscle cramping, restless legs, and premenstrual syndrome.”
That makes me feel good about eating these even more.
There’s nothing like a nice pair of jeans to keep you in shape during the holidays. Since it’s been cold, I’ve been wearing leggings and tights to fit into my boots, so I hadn’t noticed that I’d gained weight until I put on my jeans a few weeks ago. So I did what I know best to stabilize my weight and went raw. Today marks my eleventh day of eating a raw food diet. At first it was torture, because I was so used to having oatmeal and toast for breakfast and making warm, vegetable and carb soup for dinner.
I ain’t gonna lie. I love carbs, especially when I’m cold. But what I love better is the feeling I have right now. During the first three days of my raw food cleanse, I thought…why is this so hard this time around? Well, I have never done a cleanse during the holidays because this is the time I usually put on weight and don’t care because it’s almost socially acceptable to get fat during this season. One of my yoga teachers told us before Halloween that the average American gains 10 lbs during the holidays. She’s like, “that’s the size of a baby! That’s not gonna happen to us, okay?”
Going raw put me in control during the holiday season. After eleven days of cleansing I feel so much better and really inspired to keep it going during Christmas. This holiday is traditionally centered around presents, people, and food. Thanksgiving is over but I am determined to keep the thanks and gratitude going by making healthy raw and vegan food next week. This seems to be one of the only ways you can stay raw and keep healthy during the holidays. I’d rather be loaded up on veggies, fruits, and grains first rather than get stuffed on bread or whatever else and be done for the night feeling all bloated and gross.
I was watching one of my favorite raw foodists on youtube–fully Raw Kristina. She made a video of all these raw food platters she was bringing to a holiday meal and some of them seemed nice but really unrealistic. Who’s gonna be salivating over a platter of apples or persimmons or a vegetable platter in the shape of a turkey? One thing she made that seems really cool is her recipe for pumpkin pie brownies.
Anyway, I’m just going to be baking this weekend, making vegan cookies and biscuits to give as gifts. Holiday shopping confuses me because I don’t like getting people random crap, so I’m just going to make some healthy good tasting items wrapped really cute. Oh, and I’m super excited to try baking with chia as a vegan egg replacement. Should be a nice cooking adventure this weekend. I’ll share more later.
I have to create every single day, especially during the Fall season when I get really lazy because it’s darker and colder. I really have to work on being active, creating, and keeping my endorphins and energy up.
So the other day I was at work and I was feeling the itch to cook something using the pistachios I just bought from Fresh and Easy because they were a bonus point item. I found this recipe on a website that I can’t even remember the name of. I wrote it down on a scrap paper and I now want to throw the scrap paper away because I was in a cleaning mode today and I already have too many scrap papers.
Anyway, I made the “Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars” and was very pleased. I love that they have chia in them because the chia has helped me poop good. I also really love this recipe because it utilized wax paper to help bind together the raw dough. This task can be hard because you usually have to press raw dough mixtures together with your hands and you may end up losing the mixture when it sticks to your hands or utensils. This recipe was brilliant because it asked you to throw the dough right onto a flour dusted parchment paper and form it into a square using the sides of the parchment paper. You just stick it in the refrigerator like that and it stays together well. It’s not messy and it really helps.
So here’s the recipe.
1.5 cups pitted dates
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Carob)
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional but it adds nice flavor profile)
1 cup raw almonds or raw shelled pistachios
1) Place dates in food processor. Puree until thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Add nuts, pulse until finely chopped and well distributed through date mixture.
2) Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface and dust with oat flour (or whatever flour you have). Transfer date mixture to wax paper and use paper to press mixture into 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill overnight.
3) Unwrap block and cut into eight bars. Dust edges and sides with flour to prevent sticking. Wrap each bar in wax paper, or don’t and just place in a container that stays refrigerated.
Okay, that’s the recipe. It’s tasty, light, and so good looking if you use pistachios. The green hints of pistachio are so pretty.
Halloween is over and there many old pumpkins that are just begging to be put out of their misery.
I found a great easy recipe for vegan pumpkin pie from a website called Detoxinista.com
This recipe only includes four ingredients and is just as tasty if not more so than traditional pumpkin pie.
The only preparation that takes some time is soaking your almonds for at least four hours. If you are even thinking about making this, just get some almonds and soak them right away. Then, all you have to do is drain them, add in the remaining three ingredients into a strong blender and put the mixture into a baking tin coated with coconut oil and bake it. That’s it. This is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made that is on par with the traditional pumpkin pie recipe.
I didn’t make my pie with a crust which many weight conscious people would appreciate, but if you were to put this mixture into a pie including a crust, people probably wouldn’t be able to tell it was vegan.
I’m not planning to go home for Thanksgiving but I will be going for Christmas so I think I’m going to bake this up for my grandma who loves pumpkin pie and not tell her its vegan.
Anyway, for this recipe you need:
16 ounces (2 cups) pumpkin puree
1 cup maple syrup
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup almonds soaked for at least 4 hours ( I was shocked by how plump the almonds became after soaking. After they soaked, it was like I had two cups of almonds instead of one. Just go with it. I think the recipe was intended to soak the almonds in order to get twice the amount to include in the mixture. I’m assuming)
In practicing Bikram Yoga consistency for over three years, I have unintentionally learned so much about the body. You hear teachers say things like Prahna, Chi, Third eye, and Life force energy. When I first started practicing I was just like, okay, whatever, I’m here to stretch and sweat, but it rubs off on you and it makes sense after a while. Yoga has now become a great diagnostic tool to help me see what hurts and bothers me.
You would see it too if you were in class feeling nauseous and dizzy and all you want to do is run out of the room, and the teacher just tells you to stand there and be still and focus on your breath. This conditioning is teaching you to love to be in your body regardless of what you experience.
Anyway, I can’t talk about yoga enough because it has done so much for me but one of the best things it did was make me want to be in my body. It made me see and feel what improper foods did to my body while I was in class. And because of yoga, I am open to alternative medicine.
I am so passionate about alternative healing because I have been viewing how modern medicine has affected loved ones around me, from a suicidal friend to a heart attack prone father to a grandmother with fibromyalgia. I sat around seeing them in pain regardless of what doctors have prescribed them and it just doesn’t freaking work.
After a while I learned that I can’t push anyone because it’s exhausting. The only one I can push or help is myself first and foremost. Over the past three years I’ve healed myself from chronic cough, weight gain, urinary tract infections, bad knees, resentment, and anger issues, all my being open to alternative healing through food, yoga, and literally cleaning my mind of negative thoughts.
Earlier this year when I heard about Ayurveda, India’s ancient system of natural medicine, I was open to it and didn’t find it to be so hard to believe.
Believing in Ayurveda is just like believing what any modern doctor has to say about health and medicine or taking a pill because they say it will work. It’s an act of faith to believe that you can classify energies in the body. You can’t necessarily see it but you can feel it. I’ve sat in front of doctors who mostly want to get you out of their face by prescribing medicines to help you avoid pain. But our pain is an indicator of the real problem that if ignored, will only grow and grow.
So, there is something to recognizing your pain and accepting it.
In Ayurveda, they talk about something called “ojas” as the essence of life that represents the “core” strength of the body and inherent immunity; the seed of nourishment and creativity and vital energy that is stored deep within the body.
Ojas circulates throughout the bodily tissues and heart, sustaining the physical self, bringing clarity to the mind and balancing the emotions. When the body produces ojas, we feel blissful because both the mind and the body are receiving the nourishment they need.
It is believed that “ojas” is the first thing to be created in the body of all living beings and that each is born with a certain allotment of “ojas.” People can be born with a little bit of “ojas” or a lot and your “ojas” can be weakened over time due to stress, eating bad food, having too much sex, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
These are some of the many factors that can determine your “ojas” constitution, but luckily there are things you can do and eat to strengthen your “ojas,” and one of them is consuming pure foods such as almonds, sesame, honey, rice, and fruits.
One of my favorite books, “Raw Energy” by Stephanie Tourles includes a whole chapter of recipes that strengthen ojas. I thought that was real cool. And basically this post had started out as me wanting to share this great recipe that strengthens ojas and is a great breakfast food or snack.
The recipe I would like to share is the Banana-Honey Granola bars.
They are a good source of complex carbs, protein, Vitamins B and E, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, and magnesium.
So, just thought I’d share:
1 medium, very ripe banana, peeled
2 cups raw oat flakes
1 cup raw almond butter or peanut butter
1/4 cup raw honey
2 TBSP bee pollen
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon coconut oil raw and unrefined
1. Put banana, nut butter, honey, bee pollen, vanilla, and cinnamon in food processor and blend until you have a stiff, cohesive dough ball.
2. Coat a 9-inch square pan with coconut oil and oil your hands as well. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Cover and place in the freezer for 24 hours so that the flavors can meld; the texture will become quite firm and chewy.
3. Cut into three 3-inch squares in each direction, then cut each square in half as well so that you have a total of 36 squares.
4. Store the squares/balls in a tightly sealed container in the freezer and consume within 2 weeks for the best flavor and texture.
Number of Servings: 36
Friday is my only day off work and I usually find myself cooking and experimenting with new recipes. The dish I decided to cook today was the Black Eyed Pea Croquettes from Alicia Silverstone’s vegan friendly cookbook, “The Kind Diet.”
I found myself drawn to this recipe because I’d never used black eyed peas before and it seemed really easy since it didn’t involve the often long process of cooking legumes. You don’t cook the legumes in this recipe; you soak them overnight or for at least 4-5 hours.
This dish feels like eating junk food because you bite into this crunchy, savory little ball that resembles falafel or some kind of fried piece of meat, but it’s just ground up black eyed peas with cumin, alternative soy sauce, parsley, and sea salt. It’s pretty healthy unless you are opposed to frying food in safflower oil. If you ever are craving something that resembles junk food or meat, this is a good one to try and you’ll be glad you didn’t break down and get fast food because this recipe is more satisfying to the palate and chock full of the right kind of protein. And just a tip–just get the black eyed peas and throw them in some water to soak as soon as you buy them so you don’t have to think about when you want to make this recipe. Drain them and store them in your refrigerator and when you are ready, they will be there waiting for you to use them.
Here’s the recipe and ingredients:
2 cups black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in water to cover
2 tbl chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tbl shoyu or Braggs liquid aminos (I used Braggs)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups safflower oil for frying
½ cup barley malt syrup or rice syrup
1 tbl Dijon mustard
NOTE: I didn’t use her dipping sauce recipe because I didn’t have the ingredients. I used Red Wine Vinegar (1/4 cup), Stone Ground Mustard (1 tbs), Braggs soy sauce (1 tsp), and sesame oil (1 tsp). It came out bomb. I love throwing sesame oil in everything…
Drain the soaked beans and transfer to a food processor. Add the parsle, salt, soy sauce, and cumin. Blend until the beans are chopped to fine shreds, but don’t blend them to a pulp. The mixture will be slightly wet but should hold together. Form the bean mixture into something between football and UFO shaped croquettes in the palms of your hands.
Heat 1” of oil in a cast-iron skillet to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To test the oil, drop in a tiny amount of croquette mixture. If it bubbles furiously and rises to the top, the oil is ready. Do not let the oil get so hot that it smokes. You may need to make little adjustments to the heat throughout the cooking process to avoid burning the croquettes.
Place 4 croquettes in the oil and fry for about 4 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fried croquettes to a plate lined with paper towels.
To make the dipping sauce, stir together the barely malt syrup and mustard in a small saucepan. Warm the sauce until it bubbles.
Serve the croquettes while still hot. Drizzle with the dipping sauce or serve it alongside in a dipping bowl.
I’ve been compelled to cook lately and one of the vegetarian staples I love to make the most is lentils. I usually make lentil soup but since it’s still summer and I’m in Arizona hell heat, I thought I would research how to make a lentil salad.
I created a hybrid recipe inspired by “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters, with ingredients I had on hand that I thought would be cool to add. And it came out scrumptious so I thought I would share.
lentils (any color but I used green) (1 cup)
sea salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
red wine vinegar (3 tbs)
stone ground mustard or dijon (1 tbs)
shallots (3 whole, diced)
carrots (two, diced)
celery (3 diced)
garlic (3 minced, to taste)
coconut oil (1 tsp)
parsley (1 1/2 bunch)
green onion (1/4 cup, sliced)
olive oil (3 tbs)
Cook your lentils with sea salt to taste. Drain the liquid and let it cool. While the lentils are cooking, you want to heat your coconut oil in a skillet then add your shallots, garlic, carrots, and celery, until your veggies are softened slightly. Let that cool.
Chop up your parsley and green onions and place in a large bowl. Add your lentils and softened cooked veggies. Add the red wine vinegar, stone ground mustard, olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine and there you have it.
Ughh (sigh of love, joy and excitement). It’s so easy, simple, healthy, tasty, satisfying, and good looking. This is a great recipe to pack up and take to work for lunch or wherever you go and need a good meal to keep you going and it’s awesome because you can basically eat it everywhere since it travels well. Yay lentils! Go Lentils!