KALE CHIPS! Om nom nom…

Yes, I really do love them. I’m not just telling myself that I love them because they’re healthy. That’s the truth.

A reader asked me quite a while back whether or not Kale Chips were as good as everyone says, and I told him that I would have to get back to him on it as the grocery store was actually out of kale the very weekend that the question was posed, and I hadn’t yet tried them otherwise.

Since then I have tried several commercially sold chips. And although I have tried several flavours that I loved, I do find them quite pricey.  $4 – $6 for a 100g bag makes them a bit of an extravagance.  However, this being said, they’re also worth it.  Packed full of wonderful nutrients and no chemicals or other crap, the store bought chips provide a wide variety of flavours, which is nice if you like to mix things up or get bored easily.  The store bought chips are also charging you for convenience, but if you’re going to impulse shop a snack, they’re the wiser choice.  I’ve tried a few kinds, from pineapple coconut, to spicy nacho, and cheesy flavour (which are not flavoured with cheese, but get their cheesy flavour from nutritional yeast), so I would say that there’s a flavour combination out there for everyone.

Kale is, itself, very mild in flavour.  It also doesn’t have a precise or overpowering aftertaste, like bitterness or sweetness.  Because of this, the kale takes on any flavour you throw at it and very little ‘leafy green’ taste comes through.  In short, it’s a great canvas for any taste you’re seeking.

If you’re interested in making a nice big batch at home, it’s pretty ‘effort-free’ and definitely less expensive than buying pre-made ones.  Making them with a dehydrator keeps them in the ‘raw’ category, but if this isn’t a pressing need for you, or if you don’t have a dehydrator, they can also be made in the oven.  There are a buh-zillion recipes for them available with a quick search online, so go look for one that may combine some of your favourite flavours.  I didn’t love the coconut pineapple, I wasn’t mad about the ranch flavours, but I was coo-coo for the nacho flavoured and the cheesy flavoured.  So I tried a batch of cheesy ones this weekend!

Provided below is a recipe I found on the WONDERFUL ‘RAW GURU” site.  Here’s a link to the recipe, which includes both dehydrator and oven methods.

Cheesy Chips at Raw Guru

I must report that I made 2 small modifications to this recipe, however….

1) because it’s just little ‘ole me, I used one bunch of Kale.  Two would have produced too many chips (and silly me…I now know that there’s no such thing after making this recipe, but hey…) but I didn’t reduce the coating at all because I’m BIG ON FLAVOUR and I didn’t find that there was too much.

2) I threw in about 3 TBLSP of nutritional yeast as well, because I love the flavour and wanted super cheesy chips.  I have no regrets for having done so…..   Nutritional yeast, if you are unaware, is a flaky yellowish deactivated food yeast.  It doesn’t have the same odour, uses, or flavour as bread yeast.  I buy mine in bulk at Kardish, but I see online that “Bob’s Red Mill” (which is available in many grocery stores) also produces it, so you may be able to find it where it is most convenient for you.

Making the chips was so very easy.  I washed the kale, and tore the leaves of one bunch into bite-sized pieces (discarding the tough stems) and put the leaves into a large bowl.  In a blender I combined all the ingredients, which (once blended) I poured over top the kale and started to massage the mixture into the leaves.  It took a whopping 3 minutes to perfectly coat them all, then I spread them out into a single layer onto my dehydrator trays.  On the whole, 10 minutes tops.

I put my coated kale in the dehydrator around 9pm, woke up at 9am the next day (hey…it was the weekend…) and they were PERFECT (and I don’t use that word very often) crunchy chips.

I now take them to work for a satisfying snack, and they’re my ‘go to’ when lurking about the kitchen, rooting for something to chow down on.  And they’re so wonderfully noisy, they’re the perfect revenge when watching a movie with that special someone who has been driving you bonkers with their nacho chips or popcorn chewing all those years….

Tasty AND revenge enabling?  What are you waiting for?!


Pack it in…

…no, I’m not “PACKING it in” – I mean I have packed a lot in to the past 2.5 months since my last post!

First off:  YAY ME!  I made it to ONE YEAR SMOKE FREE on May 15th.  I had to claw my way there, but I made it.  It was amazing to me that, the closer I got to the anniversary, the more I craved a cigarette just because it was top-of-mind more often.  But I had also invested so much in my effort, diet, health, etc that there was no way that little demon was going to win.  I made it.

I’ll try to summarize the last couple of months and then grow those points that may be of more interest to readers of this Raw Food Blog.

As my health has improved, and I went off all my medications in February, I’ve been trying a few new things: wanting to mix it up so I don’t get bored.  I attempted an “Insanity Challenge” (Insanity by BeachBody, if you’re curious) with my son and a wonderful woman whom you should follow on FaceBook if you are looking for some new fitness goals and a really down-to-earth person to guide you there.  Her name is Jessica, and this is the link to her official FaceBook page: Eat. Sleep. Lift. INSPIRE.   Unfortunately, it seems my son and I are not compatible work-out partners and we both became rather grizzly bearish towards each other at 6am (when was the only time we both had in common) and found doing an Insanity workout along with the stress of constant arguing wasn’t too terribly motivating.  We blew it after 2 weeks.  It is an intense but totally-doable workout regime, however, and I’ll be getting back to it on my own with enthusiasm.

But everything was not for naught.  While planning for and going through the workout, my diet changed somewhat (again):  I needed more protein and my fall-back is animal meat or products, but I did start actively seeking plant-based and\or raw alternatives and, to be honest, vegan protein shakes have become a big part of my routine.  They are light, refreshing, and are quite sustaining, rather than heavy and sometimes a chore to digest (like cooked eggs or chicken in the mornings).  I do like Shakeologyfor how long it seems to sustain me and I do feel a nice, balanced energy level when drinking it.  The draw-back of Shakeology for me is that they only have one flavour without strawberries (I’m allergic), and it has to be ordered online.  I also really like Vega – they have more flavours that I can consume (4 of their 5 shakes, to be precise), is sustainable plant-based, is available in most local health stores, also makes me feel great, and the company started in Canada.  Go Canada! 🙂

I have also had some ups and downs with going off my medications.  I am a migraine sufferer and am getting them more often.  As an attempt to ‘reset’, I went on a 12 day cleanse and it helped immensely to get rid of a lot of issues:  serious joint aching, lethargy, bloating, puffiness, and just an over-all feeling of being bogged down with the crap of life.  I have tried several cleanses in my day, but I always go back to Wild Rose.  It is easy to take (morning, night = easy), the diet requirements are easy to follow, and it doesn’t upset my stomach like a lot of the other ones do.  This is the one I use, if you’re interested:  Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox.  It is available in most health food stores and I got mine at, you guessed it, Kardish!   As always.  🙂

So a coo-coo workout attempt, a cleanse, and I’m still dealing with some serious headaches.  I think this is where patience and persistence will come into play – not my strongest personality traits.  But I am getting quite serious about exercising, which is giving me so much more energy.  And, of course, when one is committed to exercising daily, there is less room in one’s life for those things that may undermine it, like excess alcohol, crap food, poor sleep habits (this is also a hard one for me), letting work be “Numero Uno” all the time, etc.  I am holding out hope that consistent exercise, a consistent approach to my raw diet, a lot of lemon water, and time will nip these headaches once and for all.  I’ll keep you posted.

When it comes to overcoming the things that get in the way of  daily exercise, good sleep is my biggest challenge now (which means, HEY! I’ve come a long way!  A year ago I had about 10 things that got in the way of daily exercise!)  Making myself go to bed between 9 – 10pm so I can get up around 5am and fit some good work-out and breakfast time in before I go to the office and let the day take over has been hard.  Like many of us, my evenings are the only me-time I have anymore, and I want it to last.  The longer I put off going to bed, the more of that day belongs to me.  I have to realize two important things in order to over-come this mind-set:  I am making quality me-time in the mornings now, and the more I exercise, the more energy I have, so there may come a time that I’ll be able to enjoy a bit more of my evenings without feeling like I’m constantly sleep-deprived and can’t haul my bum out of bed in the mornings.  Maybe.  But for now, it’s a SOLID 8 hours of sleep a night or I’m a zombie.  I have to be more consistent and then, maybe, someday I’ll be able to make it on 6 or 7 hours of sleep happily.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep telling my ‘I resent missing a long evening’ self that just to humour it.

Believe it or not, the above was the “Summary”!  I’ll get to some food-related stuff now.

Wheat Grass!  I’m not growing it all the time, but I will grow a tray once or twice a month and I do love it so.  I just don’t have it on hand all the time because I’m the only one juicing and drinking it and I don’t want it to go to waste.

Picked this up from rawnutrition.ca  and it was everything I needed to get started.

Picked this up from rawnutrition.ca and it was everything I needed to get started.  I am using the coconut-husk mats to grow the seed as I find it less messy indoors.  It can be grown in soil, however, and I may switch over as the husk mats are an itty bit over-priced IMHO.


Here is my first tray, with the first growth peeking up its head. It was nice to have something green sprouting inside while there was still snow outside!


Close-up of the wheat berries sprouting. This is approximately Day 4 since planting.


Day 6 since planting! Ready to snip and juice. It takes about 1/3 of a tray to get 1 ounce of wheat grass juice (manual juicer).


And here it is: 1 ounce of wheat grass with 1 apple. It was so sweet and made my whole body ping. I wouldn’t have been able to call it a juice – more like an elixir 🙂 This is about 50x better than any ‘wheat grass apple juice’ I’ve bought at a juice bar.

I made “Fragrant Vanilla Cake”‘s Key Lime Truffles too.  The recipe called for coconut butter, which I had never made, so had to get to that first.  If you’ve never made it, here is what you do…

Put raw unsweetened shredded coconut into a blender and blend....

Put raw unsweetened shredded coconut into a blender and blend….

Put more raw, unsweetened, shredded coconut into the blender, and blend some more....

Put more raw, unsweetened, shredded coconut into the blender, and blend some more….

And after much blending and pushing down and blending and general uncertainty about whether or not its going to work....VOILA!  Coconut butter.  Put in the fridge to harden up a little.

And after much blending and pushing down and blending and general uncertainty about whether or not its going to work….VOILA! Coconut butter. Put in the fridge to harden up a little.

Then I made the truffles!  (Link was above, with the mention of “Fragrant Vanilla Cake”)

The truffle filling:  lots of zesty lime, cashew, and spinach for the 'green', they were yummy enough to eat on their own....

The truffle filling: lots of zesty lime, cashew, and spinach for the ‘green’, they were yummy enough to eat on their own….


…but I dipped them in the home-made raw chocolate anyway, and it was worth the extra step. These are little bursts of decadence that are good for you too. All food should be this rewarding.

It has been lovely to catch up with you!  My next couple of weeks will involve a concerted effort to exercise, hopefully more than once, every single day.  I’ve told myself that I am now an athlete.  I realized that a casual “Hey, give 30 minutes of exercise a try tomorrow, see how it goes” doesn’t get my butt out of bed at 5am.  I have to “Be Big” about it.  That’s what motivates me.

And on the other goal-front:  I believe I’m hitting 80% raw 90% of the time 🙂  Fact is, because it is becoming so much easier now to be preparing and eating a raw diet, I’m not keeping track as religiously as I had been at the start of the year.  Meals are raw, snacks are raw, and any non-raw food is organic, whole, non-GMO, healthy, healthy, healthy.  My downfall is grabbing something quick when I grab a take-out coffee in the mornings.  There is definitely room for improvement there.

Hope you are all well, healthy, happy, and moving towards something good for your well-being.  Happy Whole Life!  More soon.

As February comes to a close…

…I don’t like to wish my life away, but being so close to saying ‘Goodbye’ to February fills me with relief and anticipation.  I can hardly wait until Spring and Summer, at which time I’ll be able to grow some herbs and some potted vegetables in my tiny, dark patio out back, and go to markets that are simply over-flowing with affordable, fresh, locally grown produce.  Soon.

Last I left off, I believe I had a bit of a set-back.  I am happy to report that I have managed to stay within my 80% goal for almost a full three weeks now!  Yes, I’ve eaten some crap, but for the most part I have been making sure I do my food planning and/or preparation so I have the raw meals I need, when I need them.  It is getting easier.

I know we all know this, but sometimes a “reset” is required.  I don’t know where you are from…perhaps you have wild jungle birds cawing outside your window at this moment, but where I come from, it is winter.  Winter around here can be unpredictable:  we never know if it’s going to hover around -10C for a week, fly all the way up to a balmy -1C, or when a week or longer of -20C (feels like -35 with the windchill) will settle upon us.  And I don’t care what other winter dwellers report:  sunshine does not make my life any more bearable in January and February.  So I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD) and it is a real conscious effort to stay positive, to find energy, and to just give a crap in general.  Since I have moved away from the prairies, it hasn’t hit me as hard, but this year:  with the raw diet, although I have had low and negative times, I’m not a constant dweller in the cave of despair and frustration.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been able to consciously press my reset button a couple of times and have it be successful.  I’ve been able to choose to be positive, to continue to exercise, to make the effort to make sure I eat well, and these are wonderful, wonderful things for someone trapped in winter.

My week days have been better than my weekends.  My diet is only about 40% raw on weekends and I now INSTANTLY notice a difference when not eating enough raw.  I need naps because I’m a droopy, drooling mess, I feel puffy and bloated, I feel stupid and dull.  It is absolutely startling the difference a couple of cooked or junk food ‘meals’ can make and how quickly it shows in my physical feeling and mood.

I called it a controlled experiment: eating raw and well all week, and eating cooked or crap on weekends.  There is no way I can deny now how much my body and mind love the raw diet and how much good I am doing for myself when I stick to it.  I’m so pleased.

And, like I said, it is getting easier to prepare the foods and ensure I continue to eat this way, so this pleases me too.  I find I’m mostly smoothies or raw granola in the mornings, which I will have to diversify or I will get bored.  I always have raw snacks on hand, and raw lunches are mostly salads, but I try to mix it up from time-to-time with raw veggie burgers, guacamole and raw breads, and my dinners are often light raw soups, fruit salad, but I often try to get some meats in there, like seared beef tenderloin, prosciutto and raw cheese, and the like.  I haven’t yet ventured into the realm of seared tuna, or sashimi at home, mostly because the stores where I could get it are a distance away and I’m too busy.  This is another reason I’m waiting impatiently for Spring – easier trips to a market for produce where, nearby, there are both a fish monger and international cheese place where I’ll be able to pick up more foods that I can eat in one stop.

I’m also working hard to keep things diverse for my health, not just out of boredom.  I’m finding that, other than guacamole, I am not a big lover of avocado, so I have to diversify where I get my healthy fats from.  I also need to make sure I continue to pull in decent amounts of calcium, so I am eating non-raw cheese, drinking Keifer, and will occasionally make yogurt at home with organic (but not raw) milk.  I am also still eating eggs (cooked) as I need to make sure my protein intake stays up because of my strength training at the gym.  Unfortunately a lot of the protein powders for athletes (for “repair” – post-workout), although are vegan, are not raw.  So it really doesn’t make a difference to me whether I wolf back a hard boiled egg and a couple pieces of cheese, or throw back an expensive sport powder, and my appetite finds the egg and cheese more appealing and sustaining.

So I’m making progress!  I feel fantastic!  I believe my next steps will be to start trying more intricate recipes, and I certainly have a lot of resources to pick from.  I am THRILLED to have come to realize that I am able to find more recipes than I will ever live long enough to try, where I had initially been scared that I would find it hard to locate resources to take this lifestyle on.  The interweb is a bloody amazing place and I love it to pieces.  It is improving my life. Now if only I could stop myself from reading the ridiculous comments on the news sites, I could improve my state of mind as well!  Two steps forward….

My photos are sparse this week simply because I have forgotten to take them.  :-\  I will admit to a small cheat…or perhaps a better phrase is ‘pragmatic approach’ for someone as busy as I can be…for my lunch salads:  when I’m too tired in the evening to chop and slice and grate and dice, I use the pre-cut “broccoli slaw” or “carrot slaw” as the base for my salads (not a fan of lettuce, remember?).  Into the couple handfuls of pre-cut slaw, I throw my home grown sprouts and whatever else I’m in the mood for:  olives, peppers, chunks of cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, celery…and then I make a home made dressing.  One of my favourite salads to-date had cheddar and apples (in addition to a lot of what I just listed) and I made a wonderful dressing that I’ll list here:

1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 Tblsp raw honey (or less – to taste), juice from 1/2 a lemon, small chunk of ginger, and enough olive oil to make a decent base.  Blend well, pour into bottle, and there you go…ready for your salad when it is time to eat.  I’m finding that ‘winging’ new dressings are the funnest part of my evening these days!  So many choices…so many choices…

Lastly, I had wondered where I could find food-grade lavender now that it doesn’t seem like Epicure carries it anymore, and lo-and-behold, I found it at Kardish!  To the rescue again…..

In the next couple of weeks I hope the garden centres will start populating their shelves with growing trays and bags of soil….I see wheat grass in my future!

Here are my 2 lowly photos.  Be well and talk to you soon!

Sun burgers from the Raw Rose "uncook" book.  They are full of carrot, seeds, and flavour.  Their happy orange colour helped to make a dull winter day a little more bright as well.

Sun burgers from the Raw Rose “uncook” book. They are full of carrot, seeds,  buckwheat, flax, and flavour. Their happy orange colour helped to make a dull winter day a little more bright as well.

The raw chili from the Raw Rose 'uncook' book as well.  It looks a little muddy but tastes divine.  There is just the right amount of cumin and jalapeno to make this warm to your mouth, the sun-dried tomatoes make it rich, and the shredded carrot and zucchini made the texture crunchy rather than gooey.  This is a keeper recipe.

The raw chili from the Raw Rose ‘uncook’ book as well. It looks a little muddy but tastes divine. There is just the right amount of cumin and jalapeno to make this warm to your mouth, the sun-dried tomatoes make it rich, and the shredded carrot and zucchini made the texture crunchy rather than gooey. This is a keeper recipe.


Taking Stock…

…of my growing inventory in the freezer.  I’m feeling more comfortable that I’ll have food options ‘on hand’ when I don’t have the energy or desire to constantly pre-plan every morsel that goes into this temple.

It has been a light couple of weeks when it comes to food experimentation.  I’ve been turning my attention more towards family birthdays and, of course, the Yule Tidings that are about to descend upon the planet in one form or another.  For me, it’s “Christmas” so I’ll be referring it to as that from now on.

So let’s go back to the veggie noodle (yellow zucchini) experiment in my last post.  I’m sure this will come as no surprise to you when I say that the veggie noodles with dressing was “my version” of “unfit for consumption” by noon the next day.  They were soft to the point of mushy and that isn’t a texture I appreciate in my veggie noodles which, raw, should be still crisp IMHO.  The noodles without the dressing were no longer crisp but were not so soft as to be unacceptable.  A couple of days later, I also tried green zucchini and sweet potato.  They definitely fared better over-night in the fridge and were edible (I’m always tempted to spell that ‘oedipal’ to see if anyone notices, but I’m easily distracted by silly things) the next evening for dinner with fresh dressing, halved cherry tomatoes, and cucumber slices.  I received strange looks from my son over the ‘perfectly delightful!‘ noises I was making whilst consuming.  Om nom nom!

To make a long story longer, I think I will make the veggie noodles the very mornings that I intend to eat them for lunch.  Even though some of them keep well enough, having them fresh and not taking any chances that I’ll be disappointed is worth making an effort in the morning.  I would hate to have any reason to turn my nose up at them and head out to the food court for a poutine.  And there’s a “Five Guys” there too….oh man they make good burgers.  But I digress (and torture myself).  This entire ‘noodle experiment’ falls under the category of “Learning New Coping Skills”.

This past week I have had a smoothie every morning for breakfast.  They. Are. Amazing.  I know I am also experiencing a slight euphoria from FINALLY seeing signs that I am almost fully recovered from mono, but I also know that the sustained energy I am feeling throughout the day is as a result of those hyper-efficient personal blender sizes of liquid power.  Wild blueberries, pomegranate seeds, coconut meat, nut milk, banana, baby spinach, green powder, or combinations thereof.  BAM baby!  I start to add raw Maca Powder next week.  I’ll provide a report as to whether or not I believe it is “all that” like everyone (even the ancient Peruvians) says it is.

My lunches have been about 75% raw, and my dinners, well….if there is ‘raw’ in my dinners, it’s by accident so I shouldn’t take any credit.  I’m getting there.  I also notice that I’m detoxing, but only slightly.  Slight headaches, slight tummy ‘activity’.  I’m probably going to be drawing this process out longer than I need to with my ‘gradual’ move to raw, but that’s the choice I have made.  Christmas party season starts this weekend and I’m not about to turn my nose up at the food and drink bounty that I will be lucky to have access to (and the camaraderie of friends, of course…).  But anywhoosie, slowly but surely…

I have started to explore a new website for recipes and have picked a couple to try.  I’ve tackled their veggie onion bread already, and whooooo boy!  Oniony! It is delicious, but I believe I’ll refrain from taking them for lunch at work lest I alienate everyone with whom I have an afternoon meeting.  I could alienate them from across a room, the bread is that potent.  The recipe suggests using less onion and more zucchini if the onion taste (and eventual smell) is too strong.  I will most definitely be doing this next time.

Here’s the link to the recipe: http://www.rawfoodrecipes.com/recipes/onion-veggie-bread.html

And here’s the visual temptation, to make you want to try it 🙂

Veggie Onion 'bread' heading to the dehydrator.

Veggie Onion ‘bread’ heading to the dehydrator.

It can be frozen, is wonderfully healthy, and will make a nice receptacle for guacamole or raw cheese and sprouts.  Oh!  I also added nutritional yeast (available in the bulk bins at Kardish!) to this recipe, for a little extra oomph.

I also made another batch of flax crackers, this time adding some oregano, basil, and a little ground rosemary.  They are delicious.

The site also has a great hint about what to do with all that almond pulp we create when we make nut milk.  They have a recipe for an almond pulp pizza crust!  How creative! (well, us newbies think so at least.  You ‘old hats’ are probably rolling your eyes at me right now.  Bear with me, I’m just getting on the turnip truck.  Ha ha!  Get it?  Getting ON the turnip truck?  Not falling off it?!  Ok ok…)

I’ve started to freeze my almond pulp and will make the pizza crust when I have enough.

Here’s the link: http://www.rawfoodrecipes.com/recipes/raw-almond-pulp-pizza-crust.html

If you try it before I do, let me know how it turns out!

And a last parting tip:  it’s pomegranate season.  They are huge and (compared to other seasons) cheaper than usual (2 giants for $5, as an example).  Pick up a few and freeze those seeds on trays before putting them into freezer containers.  When you put them in a smoothie, however, make sure you use a blender that will pulverize those seeds really, really well or else you may feel like you’re digesting gravel a couple of hours later.  Ouch.


Ruby gems from 2 pomegranates, freezer bound as well….

Well, that’s it from my corner from the universe.  I think you can expect me to post a little less frequently over the next couple of weeks as I become overwhelmed and over-stuffed by Christmas.  But after that, TALLY HO!  I focus on my complete commitment to the Raw Diet conversion!  Wow, January is coming fast 🙂

You put the dates in the coconut, and eat them all up….

First off, HELLO to the United States and Australia!  I see I have readers from this far away and I find it exciting!  My Canadian city just got its first snow of the season today.  It’s going to be impossible to find local produce for the next few months.

Oh man, did I ever have fun in the kitchen this evening!  Just two quick experiments to bide some time while my nuts were soaking, both a success and scrumpdillyicious (it’s a word because I say it’s a word)…..

Before I get to the food, I have to post in big bold letters that ALL of the staff at Kardish in Orleans are incredibly friendly and helpful, but I want to send an ultra-loud shout-out to Yvonne, who has answered every question, helped me find what I’m looking for, makes suggestions, and is a wealth of information about everything in the store, and then some…. THANK YOU Yvonne!

First, I was tempted by the sentence “when you are craving sweet stuff…” in Carol Alt’s recipe book.  Just so happens, I DO crave sweet stuff from time-to-time.  Go figure.  So I made coconut date rolls.

So easy, too!  I halved the recipe, so took 2 cups of medjool dates (approximately 13), halved them and pitted them, and soaked them for an hour.  Then I put them in my blender with a food processing blade (although I think  a regular blade would also work), put in half a cup of non-sweetened shredded coconut, and pulsed the blender, frequently having to stop it to push the mixture down, until it was of a thick paste consistency.  Then I rolled into 2 inch logs, rolled those in some more of the coconut, and VOILA!  Done.  These can be frozen, but I had to eat one immediately…..a few expletives escaped my mouth, most of them conjuring several deities whom I thanked for the simple, but most amazing, date.

Coconut date rolls, destined for the freezer. Kicks the butt of any commercial chocolate bar out there.

Next in the kitchen was an intentional experiment:  Zucchini noodles.  I thought it was high-time I tried my spiral slicer, and I want to get an idea of how long a ‘noodled’ soft vegetable will keep (to my standards.  I read about people doing all their meal prep for the week on a Sunday.  I cannot imagine eating something on a Friday that I cooked 5 days previous (and I am certain most of these folks aren’t freezing their concoctions).  I turn green and up-chuck at the thought.  I blame a serious bought of food poisoning for my hyper-picky opinions in this regard).  So I want to see how long these noodles will keep…

I used this….

Spiral slicer with the small noodle blade installed….

To turn this….

Yellow zucchini ensconced on the slicer.

Into this!

Yellow zucchini noodles!

I’m pretty sure I yelled out loud “OMG, that was SO FUN!”  Just on their own, they taste really great.  But to be tested, I can’t eat them all, I have to store them.  I separated them into two containers.  I put an olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar dressing on one, and left the other one naked, and put them in the fridge.  I’ll now check them out  over the next couple days to see how long it takes (sauced and naked) before they are too soft or slimy for me to consume.  The reason why this is all so important is because I’m trying to figure out what I’ll be able to take for lunches,  when I have to do prep, etc.  In short, it’ll help me plan and succeed in the new year when I make my concerted effort to be 80% raw.

Now.  I would love some suggestions.  Tell me what you think would be an amazing raw meal:  a breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Please post here….

Getting Caught Up….

I have a confession:  I’ve been at the raw transformation for about a week now and I have covered a lot of ground in that short period of time.  So I have a lot to offload here so I’m all caught up and can start posting “real time” (as in: weekly or so, when things are relevant).  All my posts will not be this long, I promise.  Pinkie swear.

I’m going to throw in some high level point form activities here…

  • Started to collect free resources online and found a couple promising ones.  I will put the ones I use and endorse under the “Resources” tab on this blog.  Like I said, I have many and haven’t made my way through them all yet, so if you know of one but don’t see it there, feel free to send it to me but understand that I just may not have gotten to investigating it yet.
  • Happened to meander into a book store and discovered Carol Alt‘s “Easy, Sexy, Raw” book.  I cringed at the title, but flipping through it I saw chapters on subjects I needed to know more about.  I bought it.  Best purchase ever.  I have read it cover to cover twice and have learned so much. It will hereafter referred to as “The Book”.
  • Started to go through my cupboards and clean up.  This transition was a good excuse to get rid of a lot of stuff that has been hanging around too long, like old spices, half full packages of soup mixes or ancient icing sugar.  This gave me the opportunity to assess my free space and make note of things I’m about to run out of that I’ll be able to replace with its raw equivalent.  All those vegetable oils and designer vinegars are a good example of that.
  • Assessed my kitchen tools.  I was actually doing pretty well in that department but did make note, based on Carol Alt’s book, of a few tools I would like to have to make a few things a little easier.  For example:  I’m a hand chopper, but anticipate quite a bit more chopping in my future, so I put “Mandolin” on my list of “must haves”.  (Side note: I don’t want anyone to make assumptions about my financial status – my income is average – but I happen to have an itty bit of disposable income at this moment, so I decided to invest in outfitting my kitchen slightly.  The need for some new tools is another good reason to transition to a raw diet gradually.)  All that being said:  the tools are not a “MUST” but they do make life easier.  The purchase of a dehydrator opens up some more options to diversify what you can prepare.  I bought one at Walmart for $45.00  It’s plastic, round, and will work just fine while I decide if this lifestyle is for me.  All the books and sites tout the “Excalibur” brand of dehydrator.  It seems to range in price (in Canada) anywhere from $200 through to $450 or so.  I must admit, it looks pretty snazzy, functional, and large.  I also replaced my cheap blender with a workhorse ($99) and have ordered a spiral slicer ($40) as 3 kitchen stores didn’t know what it was, never mind have one in stock.  I’ll enlighten you as to its purpose once it arrives.
  • Speaking of large dehydrators, and back to my comment about assessing the free space in my cupboards, I don’t have a huge main floor and there isn’t a lot of free space left.  So I’m going to have to get creative in order to find the room for the nut germinating, seed sprouting, and food storage that has to remain functional without creating chaos in my living space.  Stuff is going to be moving all the time, not just shelved and used 5 months later.  To these ends, I cleared out 50% of my “china cabinet” (aka odd glass storage) by putting things in a box and putting that box in my storage room.   Now I have a make-shift greenhouse that is closest to my largest window, but doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Make-shift greenhouse.

  • And I’ve done a grocery shopping.  I went through “the book” (Carol Alt’s) and found some things I’d like to try and attempted to find the ingredients.  I found most of them at Kardish Foods in Orleans (oh, I should also mention that I am attempting to find the majority of what I require in my own neighbourhood.  I want to ensure my carbon footprint stays low, and that this whole experience is convenient for me.  If it starts to get too complicated, I’m more likely to throw in the towel).  They even have raw organic unpasteurized almonds, which were supposed to be hard to find.  They are the only ones that will germinate and sprout.  So YAY FOR KARDISH!

Notable Discoveries:

  • Carol Alt mentions raw wild rice and indicates that it can be soaked and consumed without cooking. No one I have spoken to yet has heard of raw wild rice, which is rice that hasn’t been heated\roasted while being processed.  I’m going to keep hunting for this as I love wild rice.
  • Kardish carries one brand of raw cheese.  This made me frown, so the wonderful woman at the store (who is AMAZINGLY HELPFUL….I must get her name and give her a shout out) told me about a cheese shop in our neighbourhood that she believed carried more.  This is incredibly important to me as raw milk is still illegal here in la-la land and I was concerned about not being able to find enough dairy.  And I love cheese.  Almost as much as I love bacon (sigh).  Well!  Off I went to “Cheddar Et Cetera” at 900 Watters Road (Watters and Trim) and was excited to find that they had over 10 different kinds of raw cheese AND they too were so incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and interested in what I was doing.  I picked up 5 samplings: Blue, Gouda, and Swiss, among them.  Most of them are local as well.  Total score there folks.  (Oh, and they have WINE, amazing designer oils, the whole place had me salivating).

Cheddar Et Cetera

Where I am now:

I’ve made apple chips, am making a fruit leather.  I’m soaking almonds and pumpkin seeds for use in recipes, and once they are done soaking, I’ll freeze them.  I’m soaking flax seeds so I can start flax crackers tomorrow.  All my produce and fruit are ready to become smoothies in the week ahead.  I have a raw green “superfood” powder, but will finish the vegan green powders I have first.  At over $50 a tub, this will be one of the more expensive ingredients you can buy, so read the label.  Because of allergies, I have to skip the ones with strawberries and have to comb through a lot of fine print to make sure they aren’t present in any form.  Even if you don’t have allergies, you should read the ingredients and compare the quantities of nutrients to other green powders, and also consider other supplements that you may be taking.  Don’t forget that there are maximum daily allowances for some vitamins and minerals that your body stores rather than expels if they aren’t used, such as some of your oil-based vitamins.  Edumacate yourself peeps 🙂

I think what I’m really working towards right now, aside from gradually converting the food products in my house to their raw equivalents, is to get my groove.  I have to figure out what my real essentials will be, how long they take to prepare (soaking, etc), and how quickly I go through them.  I am soooooooo comfortable with a cooked diet, the timing of a meal, what spice to have on hand depending on what I’m planning to cook, I can throw a five item meal together and have everything land on the table in the right condition of cooked all at the same time without missing a beat or breaking a sweat.  I don’t have this same confidence with a raw diet and this will be one of my largest learning curves.

Items I couldn’t find:

  • Raw wild rice
  • Raw chickpeas
  • Raw sesame tahini
  • Spiral slicer

Last point:  Carol Alt’s book obviously advocates ‘as raw as possible’ and I have to be clear – I am going to do my best, but I am human.  No human can do anything 100% all the time, so I think a realistic goal will be 80% raw and I’ll spend some time between now and January trying to decide what food will make up that other 20%.  What would it be for you?  I think I’ll still be cooking tomatoes.  Tomatoes are healthier cooked.  I think I can give up coffee.  Since giving up cigarettes, everything else seems really easy.  Wine, though….hmmmmmmm.  I’ll have to think about that one.  A lot.   Here are a few more photos of my week….talk to you soon!

Raw Cheese!

Raw Cheese! Om nom nom….

Black Breakfast

Black breakfast. Blueberries, swiss chard, banana, red grapes and vanilla chai vegan powder. Despite its ominous colour, it tasted fabulous.


Mix beans sprouting. Look at those cute little tails! Sprouting jars can easily be made, but I bought this one for $9 at Kardish because it had soaking, watering and rinsing instructions. It was easier than constantly having to look them up.