RAW Food for Truth Living foods lifestyle. Nutritious, raw, vegan recipes. Meals & tips for natural healing. Allergen-free, organic dishes. Courses you can prepare in no time. Meal-planning for those "on a budget". Discovering wild edibles. Eco-friendly, conscious, healthy living. . . . at home, in the office, and on the road.

Gracias Madre & Snacks Made in a Hotel Room

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The creators of Cafe Gratitude brought another piece of Heaven to Earth. Gracias Madre, the organic, vegan restaurant in the Mission district is rated as San Francisco’s favorite vegan spot. The menu is not raw but I’m writing about it because I love these people’s philosophy and I know many of you don’t eat 100% raw anyway. The place is gorgeous, the menu lists very delicious and healthy dishes, and the ingredients are grown on their own farm. Even the corn tortillas are handmade using their own heirloom corn. No GMO, no chemicals, just pure stone ground corn flour made into the most delicious tortillas you’ll ever taste…..I even had some!
So what’s on the menu for a raw foodie? Well, as far as drinks, they have freshly squeezed wholesome, organic, fruit and vegetable juices. The hard part is finding something to eat but what they do have is delicious. Remember the Ceaser’s Salad at Café Gratitude? They make a version of it here too and I didn’t mind at all that that was my only choice as a raw guest.

It’s the tastiest combo of romaine lettuce, nut-based dressing, avocados, and toasted pepitas (small pumpkin seeds). I ordered a side of guacamole and finished the whole dish of condiment that was in the center of the table. The raw green salsa is very mild and the red salsa, which tasted like it was made of roasted tomatoes and peppers, was spicy. All in all, the beautiful atmosphere, the kind staff and the yummy food is worth going. If you’re a vegan, you’ll be in heaven because everything we ordered looked and tasted wonderful. They serve seasonal vegetables such as kale for greens, roasted butternut squash along with toasted hazelnuts for garnish, and raw nut cheese replaces what you might be used to in other Mexican places. Organic, healthy, flavorful food in a beautiful and fun place with live Mexican music. What else could you ask for?..

...Well, a home would be nice, if you ask me, but we’re still stuck in a hotel room so besides going out to eat I’ve been making very simple snacks of which I’m sharing a couple with you today.
This is how my endless love for poppy seeds manifests itself every now and then: it’s one way to eat ounces of them in one sitting : ) All you need is a knife and a bowl. Cut up some fruit, add tons of (ground) poppy seeds, and if you want, your favorite sweetener, and some cinnamon. Voilà. One minute breakfast (or dessert) made in a hotel room.

Today I just made a good after workout shake. Do I really know (or care) whether it fits the 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein? No, absolutely not. I just made it because I thought it would be delicious and a vanilla shake sounded good, well, ok, and I knew I had some bananas waiting to be consumed. Minor detail though, you have to have a freezer for this version, which not all hotel rooms have.

A Kind of Vanilla Protein Shake
 (Makes a small glass)
2 bananas (mine were sliced and frozen)
1 heaping teaspoon hemp protein
1 tsp honey/your favorite sweetener
1 tsp coconut oil
½ tsp ground vanilla bean (or vanilla extract, if you prefer that)
water/juice/nut mylk as necessary (~ ½-1 cup)

Blend all ingredients. Enjoy.

We were going to stay in a hotel for just a few days, not a month. Most of my tools I have packed up in storage but I’m sure glad I decided to bring the blender! Whew….it’s saved me over and over. Travel with your blender!
I hope I’ll be able to post the next recipe from my new home. Until then…

Dinner at Café Gratitude

Friday, January 13, 2012

One of the advantages of living in a hotel is having an excuse to eat out, right? No, not in my case. I still manage to make my own food every day I'm just not able to create anything exciting enough to post. But this is a different story. We went out for our anniversary and we went to a special place I'd been wanting to visit for quite a while. There's a Café Gratitude in Los Angeles too but I never had a chance to go. So my first time was at the one in Berkeley last night. Dinner was amazing from start to finish. Yes, the service was great too but what I mean is what we ate. This restaurant offers some cooked dishes too but even those have plenty of raw ingredients as topping for example. Needless to say, we ate all raw and we tried quite a few delights.

We had the “I AM SUCCULENT” juice for a refreshing start. It had grapefruit, celery, apples, and mint a perfect harmony of flavors. I wish they served it in a bucket! : )

My husband picked the salad and he’s in love with Ceaser. It wouldn’t be my first choice but the “I AM DAZZLING” vegan (luckily, it’s a vegan restaurant) raw version was wonderful. It was very small for a salad of course but that’s how salads are in restaurants...oh well, that’s why I never order salads when I eat out. Romaine lettuce was tossed with a creamy dressing and Brazil nut “parmesan” and topped with wedges of avocado and capers.

The entrées were also very small servings so if you take friends with you who are on the standard American diet, make sure you order several dishes, instead of one per person. I went with the “I AM ELATED” enchiladas. It was fantastic. Everything on the plate was so flavorful. The filling was sprouted seeds and the rolled up tortilla was topped with “sour cream” and mole. The enchilada is barely visible in the picture because most of it is hiding under a pile of salad. (oops, I goofed)

My husband chose the “I AM HEARTY” pizza, which reminded me of my transitional creations. After all, it’s been almost a year that I went raw and my diet has changed quite a bit. Again, this wouldn’t be my choice but it was very tasty. The crust was onion-sunflower seed made and the topping was marinara, pesto, olives, and “parmesan” along with a salad.

Entrées didn’t do it though, as you can imagine. I was so excited to be there for the first time, of course I had to have dessert. We both did and let me tell ya, we did not regret it.

Both, the “I AM RAPTURE SEASONAL LAYER CAKE”, which was a lemon-poppyseed (you know popyseeds and I have a special relationship so my selection was probably not a shocker) cake and the “I AM NURTURED ICE CREAM SUNDAE” were absolutely delicious. I know you’re going to be jealous but I can’t wait to go back on Tuesday. That’s right, “next time” is just around the corner and I’m counting the minutes! : ) You’ll just have to see what I’ll review that evening…

 As all of the dishes there ask:

“What are YOU grateful for?”

Out and About in San Francisco

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The “new year” also means new jobs and a new home for us. We’re in the middle of moving still and right now staying in a hotel in the Bay Area, which is/will be our new home. Hotel living is not all that great though if you like to be creative in the kitchen. Since I was planning on staying in a hotel room for only a week or so, I’ve packed very few tools and very little of my specialty foods. As a result, I’ve been eating very simply, which feels wonderful but we made a trip to the city where I was in for a great surprise! Both in love with animals, we were planning on going up to Pier 39 to visit the seal ions before doing anything else.  Our walk started at Pier 1 though where we ended up spending over an hour checking out the amazing indoor market and walking around among the food vendors outside. This city is all about food and they know how to “do food” for sure! Wherever you go you’re swimming in the aromas of all ethnicity’s culinary creations. The wonderful smells that escape restaurants and food vendors, booths, and stalls are so inviting that I was getting ready to “having to” sacrifice my lifestyle and eat something cooked….until I found the raw stand! Yes, among all those amazing creations were so many vegetarian, vegan, and even raw options, including this 100% organic raw vegan place in the middle of a food vendors’ maze. Oh, was I in heaven! The food was fresh, affordable and delicious. I had the Spicy Asian Pasta dish. It was prepared exactly how I would make it and it was simple and flavorful…..I really am so impressed. So what did it consist of? On a bed of romaine lettuce was a good serving of zucchini pasta, buckwheat “meat”, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, sprouted lentils, avocados, and chili sauce.

It was incredibly satisfying and tasty. What else would you ask for in a setting as such? Well, we even had the most beautiful weather and the greatest view of the Bay Bridge. Saturday, sitting on a bench with my husband, eating pure raw food (at least I was) while looking at a magnificent structure, the vastness of water and seagulls scavenging…..a good start for a weekend to say the least.

…And just a little while later what did we find? A vendor was selling raw sauerkraut! Something I’ve been in love with ever since I can remember, I don’t know why we only got two pints of it because that afternoon I gobbled down one pint on the way home in the car. He was selling four flavors but by then he was out of two of them. All four I sampled though (there was still enough for tasting) and they’re all wonderful. What a dream! I cannot wait to go back and get more next week. I’m pretty sure I could live on sauerkraut for the rest of my life...at least it feels like that right now. As close as I feel to nature, I’ve always been a city girl and when “city” means great food, nice people, caring community, etc. it’s all the merrier. I’m excited to go and discover more of it!   

We did not leave until visiting the sea lions though. Aren’t they precious? I love seeing them piled up. It makes me want to jump in the crowd and nap with them : )