Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Money Saving Tips for Going Raw in the New Year

One of the main excuses I hear of why people can't eat the way I do is that they don't have any money. Now, if someone doesn't want to eat the way I do, I have no problem with that! But the idea that someone may be convinced that being healthy is outside of their affordability is upsetting. Health is for everyone, and any thought otherwise is a trap of a system that is enslaving you. The difficulty is breaking free from the box that our culture has drawn around us. We need to rethink the way in which we approach food, even if that means ridding ourselves of certain habits we have become comfortable with. So I have listed some money-saving tips I have adopted over the past year. I hope you find them helpful for your new beginnings!

1. Buy a juicer, a dehydrator, a blender, and a food processor. I know, this list is getting off to a shaky start, but you have to spend money to make money, right? These are your 4 investment pieces. They will keep you from buying tons and tons of prepackaged raw treats. As much as you think you will be eating only salads, your body is going to tell you otherwise at one point or another. Don't focus on having the best until you know this lifestyle is right for you. We are still using a $50 dehydrator that has paid for itself already!

2. Reuse. With a raw diet there is no excuse to throw out food. Use fresh produce as your main dishes, and throw slightly older produce into the juicer. Juice your apple cores, stems, and tops. Then save your pulp for dehydrated goodies like crackers, breads, chips, cookies, nuggets, and burgers. Same goes for nut milks and nut pulp. Items that don't look beautiful can also be added to smoothies or soups where everything is blended together anyway. It is amazing how much mileage you can get out of one bag of apples!

3. Make your own. This goes along with number 2, but think as far as you can with this one. Mustard is simple to make, and besides saving money making your own is much healthier. Buying kombucha at the store can get pricey, but making your own you have an ongoing endless supply! Sauerkraut is good for your body and cabbage is cheap, so why waste money on jars? Why spend money on harsh cleaners when white vinegar and baking soda get things clean without the chemicals?

4. Buy in bulk. The things you use in massive amounts, buy in massive amounts. Typical bulk items in my house include coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, grains, spices, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, and carob powder. You will feel better making less trash as well!

5. Grow your own, when you can. Even if you only have a little room, do what you can! A simple herb garden can save you on spices and teas. Tomatoes and cucumbers are simple to grow. If you have too much of something you can always dry it, freeze it, or pickle it for later.

6. Substitute. I know red bell peppers are superior to green bell peppers. Everyone knows that. That is why red bell peppers cost twice as much money. But does your recipe need red bell pepper, or will it blend together in a way where green would work just as well? Same can go with berries or squashes or nuts. Pay attention to what is on sale or in season.

7. Sprout. Why does anyone buy ready sprouted sprouts? They have been sitting around the grocery store where they risk contamination and cost ten times more than buying the dry goods you want to sprout. Having sprouts is good for emergency situations where you are strapped for cash till your next paycheck and can't afford to buy something green. Besides, it kind of reminds me of fun elementary school science projects!

8. Forage. Don't go crazy if you don't know what you are doing, but just about anyone can identify dandelion. Find a spot of grass that you know isn't chemically treated and pick yourself a salad. It is free and more nutritious than a lot of store bought lettuces.

9. Distill your own water. Maybe I should have included this with number 1, since it is about a $100 investment, but a distiller will save you money in the long run and you won't be hauling bottled water home from the grocery store. It tastes great, gets rid of the bad stuff, and the only thing you need to do is add in some minerals at the end. Which you should be adding anyway.

10. Don't forget where you are NOT spending money. A lot of things you used to spend money on start disappearing when you adopt a healthier lifestyle. Most expensive dinners out are over, unless you live near a raw restaurant. You won't be dropping money in the vending machine or grabbing a quick bite at the drive-thru. No more expensive bar tabs. No more chemical cleaners or beauty products. And if you do a good job, you might notice a lot fewer trips to the doctor's office.

Good luck in the new year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Raw Triple Chocolate Doughnuts

I am finally coming out of my holiday coma. Let me tell you, Christmas is a hard time for health! I have actually mainly been consuming juices, smoothies, and salads now that family time is over, but I still thought I would share with you these treats I had for Christmas morning! Maybe for the new year I will give you more daily cleanse tips!

1 1/2 cups pecans (soaked 8 hours)
7 dates
1/2 cup carob powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut butter
1/3 cup carob powder
2 tablespoons liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, maple syrup, honey or agave)
1/4 cup cacao nibs

In a food processor combine the soaked pecans, dates, and carob powder. Blend until almost dough-like. Using a silicone mini-doughnut mold, shape the mixture into doughnut forms. Place donuts on dehydrator tray and dehydrate overnight (roughly 8 hours) at 105 degrees. In the morning, warm coconut oil and coconut butter at lowest temperature in a saucepan, just to the point of melting and turn off. Stir in carob powder and sweetener until even melted chocolate mixture. Remove doughnuts from the dehydrator and drizzle with chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and place in refrigerator for chocolate frosting to harden (roughly 15 minutes). Enjoy!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quick Raw BBQ Cauliflower

Around the holidays it seems like I not only don't have time, but have negative time. I have to cut things out of my normal daily routine to fit in making dishes that people who aren't raw won't find "gross". I have gifts to make, since my budget is limited and my new family (by marriage) is huge! And growing! I have to clean the house because on my side of the family my son is the only child, so Christmas morning revolves around him... and our living room. Then running around buying last minute gifts and going to parties, and I look in the fridge to realize I haven't been grocery shopping enough. And I am also broke. And the fast food place by the shopping center starts seeming to make sense... gross sense, but sense. Look at all the raw treats I made this weekend, and you'll know why I am exhausted (yes, all raw vegan... even the egg nog which I didn't take a picture of)!

I mean, what can I possibly eat with half a head of cauliflower, a few cherry tomatoes, and some raisins... wait! There is hope! No dehydrating, sprouting, soaking, or fermenting needed for this recipe. Instant raw satisfying goodness that I paired with a cheesy kale salad and some sauerkraut. Don't give up when being healthy gets tough, just get creative!

1/2 head of cauliflower
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup of water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (I used honey, but you can use maple syrup, coconut nectar, or agave)
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Place in a medium-sized pan or large bowl and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and set aside. Place all other ingredients in a small food processor or blender and mix until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add a bit more water. It should be the same consistency as barbecue sauce. Pour over cauliflower and stir until evenly covered. You can eat immediately (if you are rushing), but waiting at least 15 minutes helps the cauliflower become a bit more tender.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mexican-style Sprouted Forbidden Rice

I haven't had rice in a few months now, since I decided to focus on the raw route. But guess what? Going raw doesn't have to mean giving up rice! It just means re-thinking it! So here is a simple recipe that is also delicious!

1 cup black rice
1 avocado
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup of corn (fresh or thawed)
1/4 cup onion
1/2 a jalapeno
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1 large handful of cilantro
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Pour your rice in a sprouting jar and mesh close lid. Rinse and drain, then completely cover in water, plus a little extra (as it expands). Allow to sit overnight (at least 8 hours). Drain, rinse, and drain again. Your rice should now be sprouted (as you can see it almost looks as though it has popped). Pour rice into a large bowl. Chop tomatoes, onion, avocado, and jalapeno. Add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and stir evenly. Enjoy!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Raw Salted Chocolate-Covered Caramels

Healthy raw vegan salted chocolate-covered caramel? Yes, please! This recipe is so simple, I almost wouldn't post it, except that it tastes THAT GOOD. I will be the first to admit that the appearance could use a little fine tuning... originally I was going to make these more like turtle candies, but in retrospect they would be really great as uniform cube shapes. But once they are in your mouth, who cares what they looked like on the plate!


6 dates, pitted
1/2 cup tahini

Chocolate Covering:

1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, maple syrup, honey or agave)
2 tablespoons carob powder
pink Himalayan salt granules

In a food processor, mix dates and tahini. Stop periodically to stir the sides of the food processor. Pulse again. Stop, stir, and pulse until uniformly blended. Take a cookie sheet and line it with wax paper. Roll date-tahini mixture into balls (or squares as I recommend above) and place on wax paper. In a pan at the lowest setting, warm the coconut oil just to the point of melting and turn off. Mix in sweetener and carob powder until smooth. Pour over top of caramel balls (or squares). Sprinkle with salt granules and place tray in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Take out and enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Truffled Kale Lasagna with Hemp Cheese

In a magical world you could make a healthy, delicious raw lasagna in less time than it takes to make a Standard American Diet lasagna. Oh, wait. It IS a magical world! You can make this lasagna in less time than it takes to make a frozen lasagna! You can make this lasagna in less time than it takes to microwave a lasagna... okay, that last bit isn't true. But you don't want to use a microwave. Trust me, you don't.

 Hemp Cheese

1 cup hemp seeds
1 cup coconut milk (or nut milk of your choosing)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon, juiced
pink Himalayan salt to taste

Additional Ingredients

2 yellow squash
3 cups kale
1 tablespoon truffle oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tomatoes
pink Himalayan salt to taste
nutritional yeast for dusting
dash red pepper flakes
additional truffle oil for drizzle

 In a small food processor combine the hemp cheese ingredients and blend until creamy. Set aside. Using a mandolin slice your yellow squash into thin strips lengthwise (the finer the better). Lay these on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Chop your kale to a fine texture and move to a bowl. Add truffle oil and lemon and massage kale. Allow to sit while you slice the tomatoes. Now start arranging your first lasagna layer by placing three squash strips next to each other. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and add your cheese layer. Lay 3 more strips on top of cheese in an alternating direction (this helps with the shape). Sprinkle with salt and add a kale layer. Add 3 more strips of yellow squash in an alternating direction and add a bit of salt. Place tomato slices and add your final 3 strip layer. If you wish, cut the 4 edges with a sharp knife to make a uniform square which will look more lasagna-like. Dust with nutritional yeast, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and a bit more salt, and add a tiny drizzle of truffle oil. If you desire you can also garnish with additional tomato and hemp cheese, as shown above. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Raw Lemony Mushroom "Risotto"

Risotto was up there as one of my favorite cooked meals... creamy and decadent. This was my first attempt to make a raw version of the dish, and I must say it was pretty tasty. The texture is different of course, but the flavors are the same. You could also call this dish "creamed cauliflower with mushrooms" and serve it to guests who might be afraid of words like "raw" or "vegan".

1/2 head of cauliflower
2 cups baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 cup hemp seeds
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
pink Himalayan salt to taste
rosemary and lemon for garnish

In a small bowl combine olive oil, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and salt to make a marinade. Chop mushrooms into thin slices and add to bowl. Cover mushrooms evenly with marinade and allow to soak for roughly 15 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a dehydrator and dehydrate for 1 hour at 107 degrees.

In a small food processor or blender, combine the hemp seeds, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, rosemary, lemon, olive oil, and salt. Blend until smooth.

Chop the cauliflower into small chunks. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower into a fine grain-like texture. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl and cover with hemp sauce mixture. Add mushrooms and stir. Garnish with rosemary and lemon wedge.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Raw Gobi Matar

Last night going through some old papers my husband asked if I wanted to throw away a carry-out menu for an Indian restaurant. At first I said no, knowing that on certain occasions we may eat cooked food again (special family events or weddings... maybe). Then I thought about it, and told him to toss it. I love the spices and flavors and sauces of Indian food, but if I study different Indian recipes enough I can figure out how to make a raw version that fits my craving.

I am reminding myself, as I go through this process, that the goal is not to be "untainted", perfect, or fit in a mold. The goal is to constantly improve my health, my impact, and my happiness. Last night I sang Christmas carols to my son, and my voice sounded better than it has in a long time. Better than I can remember it sounding. No cigarettes, mucus-producing dairy, or heavy oils to clog up my throat. It made me feel like I have been doing something right.

Anyway, here's the recipe for you.

1/2 head cauliflower
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 1/2 cups peas (frozen, run under warm water to thaw)
1/4 cup red onion
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (hydrated)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
dash of cayenne pepper
dash black pepper
Celtic sea salt to taste

In a bowl soak cauliflower in lemon juice and salt for about 30 minutes until tender. Add peas to bowl. Chop red onion and add to bowl. To make the sauce, place the remainder of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add additional water if the mixture is too thick. Pour sauce over vegetables in bowl and stir until all surfaces are thoroughly covered. This dish also benefits from not being served immediately.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Simple Tepache

In my teens and early twenties I used to be quite the soda drinker. I gave up soda (dropping ten pounds instantly), but still drank a lot of sugary store-bought juices. Now the only drinks we have in the house are juices we juiced ourselves, smoothies, water, tea, dandy blend, coconut water, kombucha, and today's recipe... tepache! This isn't exactly traditional tepache, which is made with piloncillo and mixed with beer, but this way is much healthier. A lot of recipes also call for cinnamon and other spices, but I enjoy it in this simple version.

I know a lot of people get terrified of fermentation, but this is one of the simplest things I make! Trust your instincts and if something smells or looks wrong, toss it and try again. That being said, a little white foam is normal. The beauty of this drink is that it is great for reusing food that would otherwise be wasted. Also, don't be worried about the sugar involved. Just like with kombucha, the sugar is for the culture.

2 quarts of water (distilled, filtered, or spring)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
rind and core from 1 pineapple (excluding green top)

Take the rind and core of your pineapple and wash thoroughly. Be sure to check bottom, as sometimes I have found this to have mold. Place rind and core in a large open-mouth jar. Add coconut sugar and fill with water. Stir. Cover with a coffee filter or cheese cloth and secure down with a rubber band, so that you have air, but are not risking dust or contaminants. Let the mixture sit on the counter for 2 days. Do a sample taste. Depending on your climate and the time of year it might need a bit more time. (I noticed it takes about a day longer in winter than it did for me in summer.) Enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Raw Carrot Cupcakes

The colder month have put me on a dessert kick, so here is one you don't have to feel guilty about! I had two last night. The frosting is really what sets it off!


3 medium-sized carrots
1 cup walnuts (soaked 4 hours)
1 cup raisins
4 dates, pitted
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
dash of Celtic sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse into an even, chunky mixture. Line a cupcake tray with paper liners (recipe should make about 6 cupcakes). Shape mixture into liners and pack tight.


2 tablespoons coconut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener of your choice (coconut nectar, maple syrup, honey, agave)
1 tablespoon hemp or almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon to dust

Combine coconut butter and coconut oil in a pan and warm at the lowest setting, just to the point of melting and turn off heat. Add sweetener, milk, and vanilla and stir until evenly mixed. Coat the tops of your cup cakes with frosting and set in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes for frosting to harden. Dust with cinnamon before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Frosted Pistachio Rosewater Star Cookies

It is never too early for Christmas cookies, right? My challenge this year is to make as many different kinds of raw vegan cookies as I can that are yummy enough that people won't focus of the fact that they are raw. Last night's creation was a good first step! You don't even need to let your guests know if you decide to put algae in their cookies! Mmmm... Christmas algae... I jest. In all seriousness, I wish I had made more of these!


1 1/2 cups pistachios (soaked 8 hours)
7 dates, pitted
1/4 cup coconut flour (already ground or grind your own)
2 teaspoons hemp milk
2 teaspoons rosewater
1 teaspoon matcha, spirulina, or blue green algae powder (or a mix of all 3)

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until dough-like. Flatten onto a cutting board and use a cookie cutter to make your desired shapes. You may need to dust the cutting board with some additional coconut flour if the dough is too moist and sticky. Place cookies on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate at 100 degrees for roughly 8 to 10 hours.


1/3 cup coconut butter
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons liquid sweetener of your choice (coconut nectar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a pan, at the lowest setting, warm coconut butter and coconut oil to the point of melting and turn off. Mix in sweetener and vanilla. Coat frosting on cookies. You can use a frosting bag for more accurate lines, or just use a plastic sandwich bag and cut the tip!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What a Raw Vegan Needs to Be Healthy

Every diet has specific areas that need focus. While I have felt the benefits of going raw, I do recognize that I need to be aware of what my body needs. Supplements are always helpful, but your diet should incorporate these elements as well. Since I love top 5 lists, here are my top 5 areas of focus that can easily be neglected in a raw vegan diet.

1. Protein- While people LOVE to exaggerate how much protein you need it is still important! Luckily there are plenty of sources of protein in the raw vegan diet, as long as you are not neglectful. Nuts, seeds, sprouted legumes, and many vegetables are packed with protein. My favorite source, which I get into my vegetarian son, is green peas! Most people are not even aware that peas have protein!

2. B12- This one is easy for me, because I LOVE nutritional yeast! I know, how appealing can something called yeast be? But this terrific product is the best cheese flavor substitute, and also works in soups and sauces the way broth would.

3. Omega 3- Why do all these health enthusiasts push flax, chia, and hemp seeds? Because these are the places you get your Omega 3s! Hemp isn't as high in Omega 3 as chia and flax, but all three are pretty much essential to any raw bread, cookie, or cracker I have ever made!

4. Iron- I don't know if it is just me, but I know when I need more iron. My body craves it. Luckily it can be found in more than just meat. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, fennel, seeds, and nuts are all good sources.

5. Vitamin D- Good news! The best raw vegan source of vitamin D is absolutely FREE! Sunlight! Go for a walk, get out of the house! Making sure you have this covered also helps you get a little exercise. If you live on the East Coast like I do though, you may want to supplement... especially during the grey, cold winters.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My First Raw Thanksgiving

Hello! I haven't been blogging much over this holiday break, but I have been cooking a LOT! I am so excited about how much I have been learning, even if a lot of my learning has had to come from mistakes. My husband, my son and my parents enjoyed a wonderful meal and with some great support from my mother, who made two raw dishes herself, I was able to stay raw!

One of the big tips I have, now that the weather is getting colder out here on the East Coast, is to keep your plates warmed if you are eating savory food. It is amazing what a great trick this is! No one wants ice cold dinner, so leave the food out if it is safe to keep it out of the fridge and transfer onto an oven-warmed plate right before serving. Use potholders the whole time though, it can be a bit dangerous!

Another exciting thing I discover was my raw gravy recipe! I have made raw gravy twice before and I wasn't impressed. This one was my own invention and I was pretty happy with the results! The recipe is at the end of this blog, in case you want to try for another holiday meal, or an everyday-holiday meal!

Guiding you through the pictures below, first is my full plate, of which there were two! (Hey, just because I am raw doesn't mean I don't like to EAT!) Portobello marinated and dehydrated mushrooms with gravy, stuffing (which I won't go into detail until my cookbook... it is that good), pickled brussel sprouts with maple carrot "bacon", and purple cabbage slaw (from my lovely mother). Further down I have images of my pumpkin spice cookies, made from juicer pulp, and my frosted cranberry crumb cake, which I made in individual sizes a few weeks ago and have the recipe listed from November.

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms with Gravy


5 large portobello mushrooms
3 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
Celtic sea salt to taste

Clean mushrooms and cut into 1/2" thick strips. Combine all marinade ingredients in a shallow dish or pan, and allow mushrooms to soak roughly 2 hours in the fridge. Space the mushrooms evenly on your dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 6 hours at 105 degrees.


Leftover marinade from above
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Large handful of fresh herbs (I used rosemary, sage, and thyme)
Extra water as needed
Celtic sea salt to taste

Save the leftover marinade from your mushrooms, and combine in a small food processor or blender with the ingredients listed above. Add extra water as needed to reach desired consistency. Be careful not to water down.