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Coconut Lemon Fudge

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I can't say this is as easy as 1, 2, 3 because it's probably easier. Perfect if you're in a rush to make something sweet maybe for the holidays still or whenever you're crunched for time. My mother always started baking cookies and pastries weeks before Christmas and by the time the tree was up and decorated the dining table and the pantry were full of all kinds of seasonal delights. Coconut lemon cookies were always on her list and they were my inspiration for the ingredients used here to create similar flavors in a raw way. What started out as lemon bars resulted in something more like a delicious fudge with a wonderful texture. These melt in your mouth but aren't as sweet as the traditional ones you might be used to so add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter. 

Coconut Lemon Fudge Bars
(Makes 32 bite size squares)
1 cup melted coconut butter
juice of 2 large lemons
4-5 tbsp coconut palm sugar / your favorite sweetener
2 tbsp shredded coconut
4 tbsp coconut flour
optional: add some lemon zest for extra strong lemon flavor

Combine all of the ingredients and press the mixture into a plastic-wrap-lined, flat dish. Place it in the fridge and allow it to set for an hour or two. You'll need a very sharp knife to cut it into cubes before serving. I've told you it was simple!

Happy Holidays!!!

My Favoritessst Smoothie

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My favoritest of all so far, I thought I had to share with you so you can reek the benefits too! The outrageously delicious flavor and beyond perfect texture is one thing....the other is how much energy it gives you! I was never a coffee drinker but I hear it wakes people up. ; ) Well, if you want more energy than you know what to do with but with much less caffeine and a bunch of nutrition, then this is for you.
Just in case you're not convinced, here are some added benefits: cacao is full of antioxidants, coconut oil is mainly comprised of the healthy medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), hemp protein contains all amino acids and is very easily assimilated, and maca will give you wings!

High Energy Chocolate Smoothie
2 frozen bananas (slice them before freezing)
1 1/2 cup frozen berries or other fruit
~ 5 ounces (little over half a cup) apple juice / or juice of your choice / or water + some sweetener
2-3 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp hemp protein
1-2 tsp maca powder (use less if you're new to maca)
~ 1 tbsp honey (not vegan!) or your favorite sweetener
optional: pinch of cayenne pepper (which I forgot today and missed it!)

* These ingredients are for a 16 oz. (~ 1/2 liter) glass. To measure the amount of fruit for any serving size you might want to make just fill your glass with frozen fruit, pour it in the blender then fill that glass again about a third way to half way again. This will give you a full glass of smoothie every time.

Blend all the ingredients till smooth. If you have a high speed blender this will be easy but if you have a simple one like me then working with such little juice will be a challenge so help it by mixing it on top while it's running. Be careful so you don't hit the blades. (Of course you could help it by adding more juice too but you won't end up with such a wonderfully thick texture!)

Scrape your blender out so you don't waste a drop. I sometimes wish I could turn mine inside out! : )
Top it off with some cacao nibs and drink it up or eat it with a spoon...that's what I do. 
Make sure you put more bananas in the freezer for tomorrow 'cause you know you'll want more of this.
Enjoy! And you can thank me later : )

Poppy Seed Bars

Monday, December 19, 2011


 I love poppy seeds so much that I really don't need to make them into any kind of special recipe...I simply eat them with a spoon. Yes, I am a poppy seed monster. : ) But I felt like playing around and wanted to create the raw version of something I used to buy a lot in a store in Hungary. There it's called "mákos pite", which translates into "poppy seed pie" but I couldn't imagine anyone would call them "pie" here. If you ever walk into a European pastry shop chances are you will find a selection of pastries and sweets with poppy seeds. I'm not talking about a little bit of whole seeds sprinkled on top of a roll, etc.....no, I mean the "real thing" with piles of black filling that beat chocolate or any other sweets in my world. It has no competition whatsoever. And yes, I have health benefits to add to that because they're incredibly rich in minerals (I highly recommend them if you're anemic). I even took a picture for you that speaks for itself... Poppy seeds are also a complete protein (!) and especially high in oleic and linoleic acids, which is particularly good if you struggle with your cholesterol levels. Rich in B vitamins and antioxidants, these seeds are also soothing to the nerves, and can help you sleep.
I know some of you might freak out and think "what in the world is this???" If you grew up in the U.S. chances are you're used to poppy seeds in very small amounts only in salad dressings or sprinkled on top of bagels. Well, here's your chance to try something new that might just become your new addiction too. : ) Their nutty flavor held my sister and I captive from the time we were able to hold a fork and poppy seed pasta, gnocchi, pastries, etc. were always what we screamed for every time we were asked "What do you girls think we should make for lunch tomorrow?"  

Minerals in 1 ounce of poppy seeds. ~ You'll get more than this in just one bar!*

Poppy Seed Bars
(Makes 8 bars)
1/2 cup agave syrup/honey
little water
You will use some of this for the pastry and some of it for the filling.

For the "pastry" layers:
1 cup quinoa flakes (or rolled oats/barley, etc. if you use any of those)
4 tbsp almond flour (if you can't get almond flour just grind some almonds or use more flakes/rolled oats, etc.)

For the filling:
2 cups ground poppy seeds
pinch of ground vanilla (or vanilla extract)
4 tbsp raisins/currants

1. If you're using honey melt it if necessary because you want is as pourable as possible. Add a couple of tablespoons of water (or nut mylk if you prefer) to it and mix well.
2. Grind the quinoa (or whatever you're using) and mix all the pastry ingredients with just enough of the honey-water to get a crumbly texture, which sticks together and can be pressed into a dish.
3. Mix the filling ingredients with the rest of the honey-water.
4. Line a small dish (mine was about a 3 in x 6 in, which is ~ 7-8 cm x 15 cm) with plastic wrap and, with a spoon, press half of the pastry batter into it followed by the poppy seed mix and finished with the rest of the pastry mix. Press all of them down as hard as you can. Place it in the fridge to settle and harden. It'll be easier to slice and it will hold together better. I cut my batch into 8 bars. Use a really sharp knife and be as gentle as possible...after all, they're not held together by eggs, etc.


I am a little bit shocked by how much these resemble the traditional, baked version. I didn't expect them to come out like that. The truth is, I was planning on recreating a poppy seed filled wafer that is just two very thin layers of wafers filled with tons of poppy seeds. I have no regrets...I think I ended up with something even better and these kinds of pastries definitely have their place on the holiday table....just in time for Christmas. Needless to say, I devoured all of them in a couple of hours... : )
I hope you'll love them too. Enjoy!
If you have questions, just ask!

*Sources: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/203/2

Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just like the ones you're used to...they're crunchy but soft, they're oily but in a satisfying way. Here is one that's not quite quick and not so easy but may be well worth your time and effort! I guess there are two cases when you would "bother to" make these: one is if you really want some onion rings and two, if you have guests coming, especially those that haven't been introduced to raw food, this would be a great finger food or something that would balance out a salad...besides getting them hooked ; ) on raw foods, right? I must say though, making these onion rings will easily result in a huge mess and they're the most delicate things and are so fragile to touch once they're done....but I'll share my trick with you. I've been "suffering" from OCD ever since I can remember and when I was little I was always the one who breaded pieces of chicken - yes, chicken! :(  - or mushrooms or whatever my beloved grandma was getting ready to fry for a Sunday dinner. Here's what I always did and I still remembered to do today: use both hands for breading the rings but make sure to never mix them! Keep one hand for working with the dry mix and one with the wet mix. Also, every time before you transfer a ring from one batter to the other tap it against either the next ring in that bowl or the side of the bowl. That's all! You will not make a huge mess and your mixes will not mix and become something gooey. This makes it possible to coat the onion rings without your fingers ending up three times as big because of batter accumulating on them. So roll up your sleeves and make the batters:

Onion Rings
(Serves 2-3 for a snack)
1 onion (as round as you can find)

Dry batter:
1 1/2 cup flax golden seeds (you might need to make more as it gets harder to coat the rings when     there's hardly any left)
Grind the flax seeds as fine as possible and mix all the ingredients.

Wet batter:
olive oil
Mix oil and water in about a 2 to 1 ratio and add some salt.

1. Slice the onion as thick as you wish (mine are about 1/3-1/2 in or ~1 cm)  and gently separate the slices into rings.
2. Dip each ring into the dry batter first. They will pick up a bit of the flax seed mixture. Then dip them into the wet batter and finish with the dry.
3. Place them on a screen and dehydrate them at 115ºF (46º) until they're crisp. This will take several hours so if you'd like them for a late lunch you could do it early in the morning. If you need them earlier you can make them in the evening and dehydrate them overnight. They can sit on the trays for a day or two without spoiling. I kept mine there for two days and went back to snack on them whenever I felt like it.

I think I would prefer onion rings with some kind of tomato based dip such as ketchup but since it's not tomato season, I made this:

Chipotle Mayo
(Makes about a half a cup)
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 clove of garlic
juice of 2 lemons (or 1 lemon and some water)
splash of nama shoyu (or salt)
splash of umeboshi  vinegar
chipotle powder 

Blend all the ingredients until you get a very smooth consistency. Taste test it and adjust flavoring if necessary. Serve with the onion rings.

Onions have tons of health benefits.  They are a strong anti-inflammatory and can boost your immune system, help get rid of mucus and prevent colds (perfect timing for the winter months when at any given time there's someone with a cold around us, right?). They're also a good anti-coagulant so if you or someone you know were warned to watch your/their cholesterol levels then onions should be on the menu often... Enjoy!

"Roasted" Mushrooms with Fennel Salad

Thursday, December 15, 2011

As you probably know by now, I like to keep it simple. I prefer to spend no more than 20 minutes in the kitchen and still create something delicious.This dish is really quick to prepare but you'll need time to leave it in the dehydrator for a while. It's so delicious though that it's really worth waiting for and your house will smell heavenly! The mushrooms are just like roasted mushrooms and are nicely complemented with a simple salad that is not heavy on dressing or overpowering herbs, etc.
As I mentioned before, mushrooms are incredibly healthy and fennel bulbs are very rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities. They're also a very good source of fiber and some vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C (to boost your immune system), folate (a B vitamin that will help reduce your homocysteine levels and lower your chances of a heart-attack), and potassium (to help  lower high blood pressure). These precious bulbs have other medicinal qualities too. They can improve digestion, help with urinary tract infections (UTI), and even provide relief from migraines! Of course it's always an option to just eat them for their unique flavor...

"Roasted" Mushrooms
(Serves 2-3)
~20 white button or crimini mushrooms
1/4 red onion
2 in sprig of rosemary
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbs nama shoyu (contains soy!)

1. Brush the dirt off the mushrooms, trim the ends of the stems if necessary and quarter each head.
2. Prepare the marinade by mixing the olive oil, shoyu sauce, and a little water.
3. Take the rosemary leaves off the sprig, chop them really fine and mix with the oil and shoyu.
4. Slice the onion and toss everything in a bowl to mix well.
5. Place it all in the dehydrator (leaving them in a relatively flat bowl works best) for a couple of hours at 115ºF (46ºC) and toss them around every 15-20 minutes or so.

Fennel Salad
(Serves 2-3)
1 apple ( I used a Fuji but I think green apples would work really well. Just use your favorite kind or whatever you have available)
1 fennel bulb and some of the feathery top (that looks a lot like dill)
few slices of red onion
2-3 tbsp of walnut oil
dulse flakes
Optional: chopped walnuts, salt & pepper or herbs of your choice

1. Quarter the apple, remove the core, and slice the quarter pieces crosswise and as thin as possible.
2. Slice both the fennel bulb and the onion paper thin (or as thin as you can).
3. In a salad bowl, toss everything with walnut oil, sprinkle with dulse (add salt and pepper if you like) and garnish with some of the feathery parts of the fennel chopped up.

Now the question is, why would you go to a restaurant?

Featured in Funky Raw, UK's raw food magazine

Believe It or Not, I've made Curry!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Going raw shouldn't mean giving up on your favorite cuisines such as Indian, Thai, Mexican, etc., right? I keep experimenting with dishes that I really enjoy and I would love to have from time to time, not to mention adding variety to my daily menu! Speaking of variety, this week was finals week, which means I've been living on tons of nuts and chocolate for days so I'm especially ready for a treat, and I wanted to make a new dish. This was so delicious...I will have to make a second batch tomorrow : )
I've already talked about the health benefits of mushrooms and cilantro but there's a main ingredient in this flavorful bowl that is more than worthy of praise...yes, you guessed right, I'm talking about coconut. Whole coconut, coconut water, coconut butter, coconut oil...it doesn't matter what you consume, they're all very good for you. Coconuts are high in fat, but it's the good kind of saturated fat that's really easy to digest and is readily available for energy. Besides the healthy fat, they have a myraid of other health benefits such as being high in easily digested protein, supporting thyroid health and helping with kidney issues. To top it all, they have antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties. Sorry diamonds, coconuts are my best friend!

Warm-You-Up Thai Green Curry
(Ingredients / serving!)
For the marinade:
3-4 crimini mushrooms
1 small baby bok choy
1 green onion or 2 slices of red onion
couple of slices red bell pepper
a pinch of grated ginger 
2 tbsp nama shoyu (this is NOT soy free!)
2 tbsp water
few slices of hot pepper (I used serrano)

For the sauce:
3.5 on (7 tbsp) coconut butter (you will need to melt it!)
1 tsp (or more) Thai green curry paste*
1/4 cup (or as needed) warm water
1 tbsp nama shoyu
1 tsp coconut sugar (or your favorite sweetener)
Optional: little crushed garlic (I didn't add any and it was plenty flavorful without it)

For garnish:
sliced green onion

*I used a paste that comes in a jar and the worst part is that it's loaded with table salt. Well, hopefully there isn't that much in there...it doesn't taste really salty. If you're near a great Asian market where you can get all the ingredients for it then you can make your own paste! Make sure to get some galangal (Thai ginger), lemongrass, and kaffir lime.

1. Slice thinly or chop all of the marinade ingredients (or whatever vegetables you may be using) and place them in a bowl. Mix them with the shoyu sauce and water and place the bowl in the dehydrator to warm for a couple of hours or as much time as you have on hand. If your coconut butter is in solid state then put that in the dehydrator (in a separate bowl) as well to let it melt.
2. Once the butter is melted you can make the curry base by mixing all the sauce ingredients. Do a taste test and add shoyu, sweetener, etc. if necessary.
3. Add the sauce to the marinade and stick it back in the dehydrator for a while.
4. Garnish with cilantro and/or green onions just before serving.
5. Thank the universe for all the wonderful ingredients : )

Chips and Dips

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yes, that is the true color of these chips. They're not the product of photoshop or any kind of other trick. Nope, they're nature's magic! Aren't they BEAUTIFUL!? Purple corn doesn't just have the most gorgeous color but it comes with amazingly powerful antioxidants too...as you might have guessed!
Most of us have been told that berries, especially blueberries, have the highest antioxidant content...that is until superfoods came along. But a lot of sources claim that purple corn tops the list in the department! I don't know about you but I was sold by the color itself and after hearing about the health benefits I pretty much wanted purple corn to be one of my staples. These chips are so savory and a great snack by themselves, or with a dip, or as crackers for a soup, or with any spread next to a salad, etc...
Take note: this recipe requires some planning because the corn needs to be soaked at least overnight (I soaked mine for two days though because I couldn't get around to making them so there's no such thing as oversoaking)!

Purple Corn Chips/Crackers
(Makes about the same amount as a medium size bag of chips)
1 cup purple corn (I used dry kernels that you'll probably find in the bulk section of your store)
1/4 cup flax seeds
2-3 tbsp hemp seeds
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
few slices of red bell pepper
1/2 jalapeno
1 green onion (or a chunk of any kind of onion)
juice of half a lime
~ 1/4 cup (or as needed) of water/soaking liquid
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
optional: cayenne pepper or any other spice you may wish to add

1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and make a spreadable batter adding as much soaking liquid/water as needed for the desired consistency. A dryer paste is harder to spread but takes a shorter amount of time to dehydrate and of course the wetter the mixture is the easier it is to handle but the longer it takes to end up with chips. 
2. Spread the mixture evenly on a teflex sheet and score them to your liking. The amount for this recipe fit on one sheet exactly and I got fairly thick chips that way, which were perfect for dipping..
3. Dehydrate at 115 ˚F (46˚C) for a couple of hours and then turn them and dehydrate them for another 3 to 4 hours, depending on your batter. They're the best fresh out of the "oven"!
....while the crackers are turning crisp you have plenty of time to make a dip:

Creamy Cashew-Lemon Dip*
(Makes almost a cup)
juice of 2 lemons (or 1 and add extra water)
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
splash of umeboshi plum vinegar
~ 1/4 tsp salt
water as needed for a smooth and creamy consistency
*Add spices and herbs of your choice to get something similar to the popular "Ranch" flavor.
  Add extra water to make it into salad dressing.

Blend all the ingredients until very smooth. Taste test and add salt, etc. Blend again if you added anything and you're done...

These chips are incredibly yummy, full of antioxidants, have anti-inflammatory qualities, and on the long list of benefits are also cancer-fighting qualities, the ability to lower blood pressure and help those with diabetes or people who struggle with obesity...oh and have I mentioned they're pretty and RAW?

The chips/crackers would keep for quite a while in a container if you had any leftovers.
If you have some of the dip left you can save it in the fridge for a few days.

First Raw Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 25, 2011

 I was ready to sacrifice my diet on Thanksgiving and eat some cooked food but when I asked my husband what he felt like having this year he said "Let's make it all raw!" Needless to say, I was really surprised (he's a vegan but not a raw vegan!) and excited at the same time. We never had the traditional meal most people create but always made something different such as African food one year and Thai another time, etc. Well, yesterday was the closest we ever got to preparing the typical dishes but again in a not-so-typical way. Two minor details that are worth mentioning: we went shopping in the last minute (and some things, such as green beans were sold out), and we made all of these dishes in no time. So if you want your next Thanksgiving meal to take less than an hour to prepare and make you feel energized, instead of wanting to fall asleep then take note..

On the menu was:

"Mashed potatoes"
Cauliflower, cashews, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, herbs.

Mushroom gravy
Crimini mushrooms, tahini, shallots, olive oil, shoyu sauce, rosemary, salt

Marinated Asparagus
(in place of green beans)
Asparagus, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice, salt

Jicama, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, celery, shallots, shoyu sauce, olive oil, sage, salt & pepper 

Cranberry sauce
Cranberries, apples, dates, honey (not vegan!), ginger

Walnuts, dates, cacao powder, honey (not vegan!), vanilla, salt

It all came out more delicious than I expected. Everything was incredibly satisfying and as a whole, made you feel so good. There was only one thing, too much garlic in the mashed potatoes. I know, if you're a garlic lover like me you might say, "How is it possible to make something too garlicky?" Believe me, it is possible especially when "cooking" raw!

Now, I would like to hear what you had for Thanksgiving! I hope you're kind enough to share! 

Happy Thanksgiving! : )

Soup & Fries

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It can get so crazy with the preparations for Thanksgiving, right? Today I didn't get to eat lunch till the mid afternoon and by that time I was so starved and wanted something that took but moments to prep. I had been playing with the idea of recreating my mom's spinach dish (or stew)...Spenót, as we called it, and which I never really liked as a child, ha! I always favored the sour sorrel version, oh how much I miss it! Anyway, the beloved spinach "stew" more than just grew on me and served as an inspiration for this soup. And the fries? Well, they're the no-fry "french fries" that are still starchy and oily and satisfying but in a healthy way : ). They're made using jicamas, which, by the way, must be in season because the farmers are selling them and they've been a regular (and ever-growing in size) at the grocery stores too.
Make the fries first if you don't want your warm soup to get cold! 

Jicama Fries
(Serves 2)
1 jicama (mine was about the size of a large orange)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic (pressed or finely chopped)
optional: chipotle chili powder or other seasoning

Cut up the jicama into "fries". Mix the oil with garlic and salt and whatever seasoning you're using and in a large bowl, toss the jicama with the mixture. You have fries!

Jicama is a high fiber food and very rich in vitamin C. It's a crunchy way to get some satisfying starches into your body.

Spinach Stew / Soup
(Serves 2)
3-4 loose cups of spinach
1 sliver of celery root
1 clove of garlic
2 green onions (without the tops)
2.5 tbsp tahini or a generous handful of cashews
splash of olive oil
~3/4 cup warm water
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt

Cut the celery into smaller pieces and blend all of the ingredients until you get a smooth consistency. Taste test and adjust seasoning. Serve with the fries, crackers, or salad, etc.

Spinach should be called a superfood. It's incredibly nutritious, full of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and most all vitamins and minerals so I won't even bore you with a list. Spinach, it's what Popeye ate, right? What else do you need to be convinced about its health benefits? : ) Ok, but seriously, it will help prevent cancer, heart disease, and cataracts, yes carrots are not the only vegetables that are good for your eyes!

Ok, time to start working on the Thanksgiving meal. What are you making?

Alicia Silverstone Wants a "Kind", Vegan World!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

AliciaSilverstoneatUCLAWere you there??? Peta2 invited the actress/environmentalist to give a talk at UCLA and I wanted to see her and hear what she had to say. Last night was not just about her encouraging everyone to quit eating meat. It was about saving animals from suffering, becoming healthier, creating less pollution, wasting less of our resources, protecting the environment, reusing/recycling, etc. As you know, I promote the vegan lifestyle and all of the above, so I was really happy to meet someone who thinks the same way, someone who shares my views and is spreading the word and ready to educate people. She and I were both really happy to see so many people in the audience who were not vegetarians or vegans. She said she hoped to inspire and "convert" as many as possible.

I got a front row seat but still didn't get a good picture (her excitement clearly shows, nevertheless), what I did get was an insight into her caring lifestyle and compassionate, conscientious living. I learned that she just had a baby, whom she's raising vegan of course, and having a child made her even more aware of how important it is to care for the planet and our limited resources.

AliciaSilverstonetalksaboutvegandietThe greatest parts of the evening were:
• Alicia's down-to-earth behavior and her way of talking to us in a sincere friend-to-another-friend way
• She touched on most areas I would have touched on
• There were plenty in the audience that could be potential, new vegetarians/vegans. I'm so happy to see more and more people interested in compassionate living! I hope they didn't just show up for the free vegan Thanksgiving meal, catered by a very popular vegan restaurant in the area, but even if they did, they were exposed to new ideas and who knows, it may have changed their lives forever...
• I'm so glad she showed clips from slaughterhouses and animals being victims of barbaric treatment. I couldn't look after the first two seconds, it was enough to hear the horrendous sound but hey, I'm a vegan anyway, I don't have to be able to look, right?! Instead, I turned my head and looked to see the faces in the crowd. Most everybody had a frozen expression while being glued to the screen. I just wish I knew what went on in their heads during and after watching a cow's head being chopped off and dangling while still half-way attached, and seeing a (still alive) piglet slammed to the ground!
As horrifying as these moments were they are very necessary to bring awareness to people and I was so hoping this would be part of her presentation!
• My absolute favorite line was the quote by Paul McCartney, "If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everybody would be vegetarian!" This line was left on display for a while and after the clips were played, I'm sure, most of the audience agreed with it or at least acknowledged it as food for thought!

That is what I'm leaving you with too, some food for thought:
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everybody would be vegetarian!"
P.S: What are you making for Thanksgiving??? I'm just trying to come up with ideas so I want to hear all about your plans! Thanks! : )

Buttery Thanksgiving Fruit & Nut Bars

I've never worked with fresh canberries before and since Thanksgiving is around the corner I decided to get some practice with them and use up some of my buckwheaties as well. Buckwheaties are buckwheat that were soaked (at least 6 hours) and dehydrated. I usually make big batches to have them handy whenever I want to make some bread, crackers, or pizza crust, etc.These bars are so rich and flavorful....perfect Fall or Winter dessert.  

Cranberry Nutrition
These tart little pearls are probably most consumed in the form of sauce during holidays and are most known for their ability to provide relief for UTI symptoms. Cranberries are full of antioxidants and rich in vitamin C, manganese, and fiber, which means they may protect you from heart disease, help prevent cancer, keep your bones strong and are good for your digestion. Add to all this the excitement of making dishes with something that you don't eat every single day because they're only available a few weeks a year. Don't you love the changing of seasons?

Raw Crunchy Buttery Buckwheat Bars
(Makes 8 small bars)
1 cup buckwheaties
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup currants/raisins/any dried fruit
3/4 -1 cup cranberries
7 tbs coconut butter (or coconut oil)
2-3 tbs (or to taste) agave syrup/honey (not vegan)/maple syrup (not raw)

1. Melt the coconut butter/oil and set it aside
In a food processor:
2. Pulse the buckwheaties a couple of times or grind them to a course meal or as fine as you wish and put them into a mixing bowl
3. Coarsely chop the walnuts and add them to the bowl
4. Pulse the sunflower seeds and add them to the rest of the ingredients along with the hemp seeds, shredded coconut, salt, and vanilla.
5. Grind the cranberries and the dried fruit you're using in to a fine wet mixture and add to the bowl with the coconut butter/oil and sweetener.
6. Mix well with a spoon or your hands
7. Press the mixture into a plastic wrap-lined, flat-bottomed dish chill for a little bit
8. Slice them into desired shapes or bars before serving

Creamy Celery Root Soup

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yes, I know, my last post was soup too. Well, I've been on a soup-creating marathon and this is just the beginning. There's nothing like a bowl of tasty, warm soup on a cool day. Celery root soup is one I always liked cooked so I had to come up with a raw version and voilà, here it is. It couldn't have come out better...

Health Benefits of Celery
The list is quite long so you will thank yourself for using it. Celery is at least as good for you as it is aromatic and flavorful. The root is more commonly used in European countries but it's available at grocery stores in the U.S. too, and through all seasons. It is very high in fiber and happens to be a great weight-loss food due to its low calorie content. It's full of antioxidants, high in vitamin C, and K, and calcium, which boils down to its abilities to boost your immune system, to help prevent cancer, and to strengthen your bones. Its anti-inflammatory qualities provide relief from joint pain so they are a very good vegetable to snack on if you have arthritis. It can help diminish migraines and calm your nerves ....and the list goes on. It's a good idea to make friends with this crunchy vegetable if you haven't yet done so.

Raw Creamy Celery Root Soup
Approximate Ingredients:
(Makes 1 good size bowl)
1 small carrot
1/2 celery root
2 green onions
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp (or more) tahini or a generous handful of cashews
1.5-2 cups (or as needed) warm water
1/2 tsp salt 
little turmeric (if you like it)
cayenne pepper, black pepper, and cumin to taste

It's so simple that I could just say: "Peel, chop, blend, and you're done" but I will break it down:
1. Peel the celery root and the garlic (to avoid having to peel the garlic put the whole cloves into a garlic press to squeeze them out...the peel will be left behind)
2. Chop all the ingredients into smaller pieces to help your blender
3. Place everything (with only some of the water) in the blender and whirl it up
4 Taste test it and add more salt, spices and water as necessary
5. Pour into bowl(s) immediately, drizzle with olive oil if you'd like and garnish with your favorite herbs/spices, etc. Enjoy and be grateful for every spoonful! : )

P.S: I have a new favorite that I will be posting soon! Have I mentioned that I love soups???

Savory Carrot Soup

Sunday, November 6, 2011


It’s in the 60s and it’s pouring rain. Yes, it’s turned cooler, even in Los Angeles!
Being a busy graduate student, I’ve been living on nuts and heavier sweet snacks from the local store but I’m quite bored with them. All of the raw snack are absolutely delicious and I will miss being so close to the best store in the U.S. once we move, but it was just time for something homemade that’s also warming and satisfying.
I love soups and I am an expert of cooked soups but haven’t made many raw ones. This one is going to be a regular during the cooler months for sure. It’s so delicious, pure, creamy, warm and satisfying (I'm typing away while eating it) and still raw. And hey, what soup takes just a couple of minutes to make? This one does…

Raw Carrot Ginger Soup
Approximate Ingredients:
(Serves 2, if you're lucky)
3 large carrots
2.5-3 cups warm water
3 green onions (I didn't use the green tops)
2 cloves of garlic
1 slice ginger
2.5 tbsp tahini or a generous handful of cashews
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
(olive oil to drizzle)

1. Chop the carrots, onions, garlic and ginger into smaller pieces to make it easier on your blender.
2. Blend all ingredients with the water added little by little because you might not need it all.
3. Taste test and adjust seasoning
4. Pour into serving bowls and drizzle with some olive oil.
5. Garnish with green onions or sprinkle some herbs, spices, etc. on top and serve with crackers (like these or these) or just by itself. Heavenly! : )

Health note 
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, good for improved eyesight, clearer skin and healthier lungs. They come out near the top when it comes to beta-carotine content, which is an antioxidant to strengthen your immune system and protect you from cancer. The sweet roots are rich in fiber, vitamin K and C, and potassium, an important mineral for heart-health. Bunnies' favorites will also help a sore throat and reduce coughs. They can lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure, have antiseptic qualities, and lessen your risk for arthritis. Lots of reasons to make carrot soup!

"Better Than" Pad Thai

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


What do you do when pasta is on the menu at home?
With a large batch of my favorite peanut sauce already made I had to figure out what to put it on! It didn’t take long to get some zucchini out and go on a raw pasta adventure. I had been wanting to try zucchini pasta but haven't figured out what kind to make first….until now. It was the first time but definitely not the last, in fact, I admit that I’ve made this dish several times in the past two weeks already! Yes, it’s that good.

Raw Zucchini Pasta
Zucchini makes perfect pasta because it doesn’t have an overpowering flavor and it has quite the right texture to replace the strings of dough we’re all used to. If you have a spiralizer or some kind of a magic machine to make pasta, lucky you, your task just got somewhat easier. If you’re like me and even your mandolin is in storage somewhere and all you have to work with is a knife then do this: cut grooves all the way lengthwise the peeled zucchinis but be careful to not cut through the other side. With a peeler go down the grooves you’ve made and shave your squashes into pasta. It takes some work but I must say I didn’t expect to like the outcome as much as I do now and it’s so worth it. Pile some on plates and put your pasta servings in the dehydrator for a warmer dish at about 130 °F (54 °C) while you make the sauce.


Peanut Sauce*
(Serves 2-3)
1 ½ cup peanuts (or a shallow cup of peanut butter)**
optional: 3-4 tbs soy sauce/nama shoyu 
~½ cup water added a spoonful at a time (you may add less or more depending on how watery you prefer the sauce)
2 cloves garlic
handful of cilantro
optional: 2 tbsp of your favorite sweetener
optional: 1 jalapeno (makes it spicy)

* If you happen to end up with leftovers this makes a great dip to go with apples or veggies.
** For this recipe I used lightly toasted Valencia peanuts, which are not raw. I’ve talked about raw Jungle peanuts vs. roasted peanuts here and in this case I think these are a better choice. Decide for yourself. If you want to go for both the flavor and the improved digestibility then I recommend using lightly toasted Valencias. If you insist on 100% raw go for the Jungle ones and maybe adjust your seasoning.

If you’re using peanuts, grind them in a food processor until they’re starting to clump together and little by little add some water. Add the soy sauce/nama shoyu, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro and sweetener of your choice. Mix evenly and taste. Adjust the seasoning and add more water if it doesn’t have the consistency of a sauce to pour on pasta. If you’re starting with peanut butter you don’t even need to use a food processor just mix it with water and the rest of the ingredients but use already pressed garlic and chop the cilantro finely.

Get your pasta out of the dehydrator and mix each serving with some peanut sauce and place back into the dehydrator to warm up for a little while longer. Slice some bell pepper and some green onions, and chop some more peanuts to top each plate before serving. Add some chili flakes for an extra spicy finish dig in!
Put zucchinis on your shopping list because from now on you’ll want to have “pasta” on hands at all times.


Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

Monday, October 17, 2011


Two ingredients is all it takes to have what you thought you couldn’t have if you eat raw! The processed white flour and sugar, the milk, and who knows what else (I’ve never made any common pancakes) have all been replaced by some really popular fruit and less known seeds ground into flour. I’ve talked about the health benefits of buckwheat before but bananas are a different story so here we go…

Bananas’ Health Benefits
Famous for being really rich in potassium, these monkeys’ favorites are also very high in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) which helps efficient metabolism and prevent heart disease, is important for brain function, and is a “mood lifter”. Wait, does that mean pancakes would help if I’m depressed??? Yep, these kind sure would! That’s not all though, since the most popular fruit in North America is very high in vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and fiber too. Strong bones, healthy nerves and heart, along with good digestion, are all some of the good side effects of consuming bananas. They’re definitely not an eco-friendly choice if you live in the U.S. because all of them are imported but let’s focus on the positives…it’s still an unprocessed food that comes individually wrapped by nature and ready to hop into your lunch box (or your pancake batter).

Raw Banana Buckwheat Pancakes
(Makes 2 of the traditional size or 6 mini pancakes)
3 very ripe bananas*
½ cup buckwheat flour
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon
maple syrup

*A ripe banana is, at a minimum, completely yellow but even better if it has some brown speckles already. There should be no sign of green areas for sure.

In a food processor, make a batter by mixing sliced bananas, flour, and salt (and if you choose to, cinnamon and some sweetener). Pour the batter onto a teflex sheet just pouring enough at a time for the size of pancakes you prefer. Dehydrate for a couple of hours at 130 °F (54 °C) then lower the temperature to 115 °F (46 °C) and continue dehydrating for a few more hours. It will take at least three but it depends on how “dry” you would like them. Check periodically and flip them over whenever they peel off the teflex sheet somewhat easily. Be careful doing this, if you’re doing it too early. I didn’t dehydrate mine for too long because I was too impatient : ) so they were barely dry on top when I flipped them. It’s doable but requires care. Or just wait long enough! Good luck with that, when your house smells like a giant cookie or something of that sort…
Once they’re ready, serve them with maple syrup (not raw) or fresh fruit, jam, melted coconut butter, etc. The possibilities are endless. Ready for a raw Sunday brunch? What to serve is taken care of so make a list of friends to invite!


From Farmers' Market to Salad Bowl

Saturday, October 8, 2011


One of my favorite things to do is to go to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and visit my favorite growers to see what they have just harvested. There’s nothing like seasonal, fresh, organic food, grown by caring people. Of course, I would love to grow my own fruits and veggies, that would be ideal, but where I currently live I’m only able to “raise” strawberries, chili peppers, and some herbs. “City living”, as we call it, only allows for a “garden” that consists of five little planter boxes. So farmers' market it is…


I went, I grazed, I picked, I bought, I carried, and brought home some fruit and such delicious ingredients for a salad that it really didn’t even need any dressing. The French are right: it’s all in the ingredients! Some of the goodies I picked up are French plums, a variety of heirloom tomatoes and even wild arugula!
There’s no such thing as coming home from the market with the fresh, crisp greens and not making a salad. They are the only types of dishes where I don’t mind combining lots of ingredients. They’re still all vegetables. No matter what, a salad can’t be that hard on you!
So I layered romaine lettuce, wild arugula, cucumber, red onions, red radishes, bell pepper, pineapple heirloom tomatoes and made just the simplest dressing to go with it.


Basic Salad Dressing 
(for salads that are too good to be drenched in an overpowering “sauce”)
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
salt to taste

Sometimes we don’t have the best ingredients on hand or just want a more flavorful dressing or want to make something to impress… So here are some other combinations that I love to dress my salads with:

Garlic and Herbs Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp mustard
1-2 cloves garlic (pressed)
chopped fresh (or dry) herbs such as oregano, basil, or your favorite(s)
salt to taste

Honey-Mustard Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp mustard
1-2 cloves garlic (pressed)
½ tsp honey (NOT vegan, but you can substitute agave or maple syrup, which is not raw)
salt to taste

Whisk together all of the ingredients with a fork or shake it all up in a jar, pour over the salad, mix, and that's it! You've got a bowl full of antioxidants, anti-cancer qualities, fiber, copper, folate and the list goes on....it's a pile of vitamins and minerals "thrown" together in minutes!  It can't really get any healthier or more eco-friendly...

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Energy Bars

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


How many different kinds of energy bars have you tried? Are there any that you really like? Ok, maybe there are because there are some really tasty ones out there but… When you make your own they have exactly the ingredients you want, the flavors you like the most, the nutrition and energy you need at the moment, be that loads of protein or a carbohydrate-rich instant-fuel bar, cut into the perfect size and shape for you to grab and head out the door. Phew, I tried to say it all in one breath…and I managed! I chose peanuts as a main ingredient for these ones to provide lots of protein and long-lasting energy, the chocolate is “just” to top it all, literally. : )

Peanut Nutrition Facts
The nuts that make up one of the most cherished foods in America (yes, I’m talking about peanut butter) are, in fact, legumes so no wonder they have a similar nutritional profile to beans and lentils, with some extra benefits that is. Yes, peanuts are much higher in fat but it’s fat from a whole food and with lots of fiber, which, even if you’re watching your fat intake, shouldn’t scare you. Peanuts will provide you loads of protein and are, in general, very rich in most all minerals, especially manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, potassium, iron, selenium, and calcium. They stand out in the vitamin department with high amounts of niacin (B3), folate (B9), vitamin E, thiamin (B1), pantothenic acid, and the list goes on. As expected, they come with a myraid of health benefits. The oleic acid rich goobers are a heart-healthy nut with a notable antioxidant capacity, and anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer qualities. They will not only help in the prevention of gallstones but snacking on a handful a day will provide protection against age-related cognitive decline, like Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks to their phytosterol content, they will help lower your cholesterol levels and their high mineral content will contribute to maintaining strong bones. Some claim that Jungle peanuts have an even more impressive nutritional profile but there’s a lot of controversy around the subject. One thing’s for sure, they are readily available in their natural, raw form while Valencia peanuts are usually sold dry roasted at the stores. Roasting makes some of the nutrition more bioavailable and help eliminate the aflatoxin that’s found on a lot of them, which, again, some claim Jungle peanuts are naturally lacking in. One way to have the best of both worlds is to consume Jungle peanuts raw and eat the roasted version of the others. Decide for yourself. Grab the peanuts of your choice because the recipe is next...


Raw Jungle Peanut Butter-Chocolate Energy Bars
(Makes ~8 bars)
2 cups jungle peanuts (or any other peanuts)
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2-3 pinches of salt
3 tbsp golden flax seeds
3 tbsp hemp seeds
optional: 2 pinches of ground vanilla bean or vanilla powder
4-5 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup (not raw!) or honey (not vegan!)

Grind the peanuts in a food processor until they start getting sticky on the way to becoming peanut butter. Add the sesame seeds and salt and process them just a bit longer. Put the mixture in a mixing bowl. Grind the flax seeds in a spice/coffee grinder and add to the bowl along with the hemp seeds and the vanilla. Mix well and add your choice of sweetener. Mix by hand and you will end up with a sticky mixture. Press the mixture into a flat-bottomed, plastic-wrap-lined dish and place it in the fridge while making the chocolate.


Chocolate Drizzle
½ tbsp coconut oil or cacao butter
1 tbsp cacao powder
1/2 tbsp agave syrup (or other sweetener)

Melt the coconut oil (or cacao butter) and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Drizzle the chocolate over the peanut layer or if you have enough, smear it over the whole surface area. Place it back in the fridge for half an hour. Cut into bars and serve or leave it in the fridge so whenever you need a snack it’s there. Store them in the fridge for softer bars and put them in the freezer if you prefer them more solid. You’ve got your own energy bars to take to work or school. Cut a piece and wrap it into wax paper or put it in a container and off you go.


Pizza For Dinner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My recent European Adventures inspired me to create some more complicated dishes especially because I’m anticipating the days to turn cooler, when we all feel like eating “heavier” or more substantial foods. Also, people’s interest in raw foods is ever-growing and so does the need for transitional* foods on my blog! I had the best raw pizza at a restaurant in Copenhagen, which I wanted to duplicate ever since.


This pizza is even more amazing than I imagined it could be. The end result is just absolutely delicious cold and when put in the dehydrator for 20 minutes to 2 hours your guests might not even be able to tell that they're served a raw dinner!

*Transitional raw foods are those that help you convert to a raw (or high raw) lifestyle by their resemblance to cooked dishes. They usually have more ingredients, are more complicated to create, heavier on nuts and/or seeds, and very often dehydrated and/or even served warm straight out of the dehydrator. It is often very helpful to rely on foods as such for the first days/weeks/months (or however long it may take) because of the satisfaction and fullness they provide.

Raw Pizza Crust
(Makes 6 pieces)
1 cup buckwheat groats
½ cup sunflower seeds
1/6 of an onion (or garlic, if preferred)
splash of olive oil
splash of water
~ ½ tsp salt
basil, oregano to taste
½ cup flax seeds


Soak the buckwheat for a few hours or overnight. Rinse and drain them. Grind the flax seeds until fine. Using a food processor, combine all of the ingredients but the flax seeds. Salt to taste and transfer ingredients into a mixing bowl. Fold in the flax seeds and mix well. Spread the mixture on a teflex sheet (you will get just enough to cover one sheet at a thickness of about 1/3 in or 8 mm). Score as desired (I made it into six triangular slices) and dehydrate at ~130 °F (54 °C) for about an hour then lower the temperature to 115 °F (46 °C) and keep dehydrating until you can flip them over to a mesh sheet. Dehydrate for a few more hours to pizza crust-like consistency.
Now that you have the base, you can store them in the fridge (or freezer) to use later, or you can assemble pizza right away using the recipes that follow.


Raw Marinara (Pizza Sauce)
 (Makes about a cup)
Blend the following ingredients:
½ cup sundried tomatoes*
2 small tomatoes
juice of half a lemon
couple of slices of red onion
2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste/splash of soy sauce
splash of olive oil
basil, oregano

*soaking the sundried tomatoes beforehand helps a lot, especially if you (just like me) don’t have a high-speed blender


Raw Seed Cheese
(Makes about a cup)
1 cup sunflower seeds
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp soy sauce/nama shoyu/1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar + some water (if you avoid soy)
optional: dash of turmeric for color

Grind the seeds as finely as you can. Blend the rest of the ingredients and add the seed “meal” to the blender. Add some water if necessary for desired consistency. I like it more runny than thick but everybody’s different.

Both, the pizza sauce and the seed cheese will keep in the refrigerator just like the crust, so guess what, once you prepare them all you'll have some grab-and-throw-together lunch waiting for you for days!


This is where you can go as simple or as crazy as you wish! I put spinach, tomatoes, and marinated mushrooms on these (above), and the first image shows the one with herbed walnuts and lemon boy tomatoes. You may put pineapple for Hawaiian or pesto for a green pizza. It’s hard to go wrong…

So grab a piece of crust, spread some pizza sauce on it, add your favorite toppings, and drizzle with some seed cheese. You may put the assembled pizza slice(s) into the dehydrator for a few minutes to warm up or for a couple of hours for more of a “baked” feeling.


Dinner is served!

What are YOUR favorite toppings??