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 🙂


Get back on that slicer!

Wow, what a week it has been. First let me report that my mangled finger is healing well, and I even dared to use the mandolin again. I’m so brave, good me, good girl, pat, pat, pat….

I have tried many recipes, sprouted some tasty beans, frozen a lot of nuts, vegetables, and some fruits because I was noticing that I’m starting to throw things out due to rot.  I have to mention that I don’t live alone, but I am the only one converting to a raw diet, so when I buy an abundance of certain things, they will go bad if I am not the one eating them.  Also, because it is winter (one might argue that this wasn’t the best season for me to start this, but if I’m successful at it, then summer’s abundance will be my reward!) I am buying in bulk when I see a good price on things as its availability and/or freshness will be unpredictable for the next little while.  The 12 apples for $17.00 today were NOT a good price.  Grumble, grumble….

So I’m doing a lot of freezing.

On to the recipes I have tried:

I have been asked by several people this past week, “How do you milk a nut?!?!”  Excellent question.  The good news is both male and female nuts give milk, so even though there is a gender where a nut is concerned, you do not have to be able to determine it.  A nut to be milked has to be soaked and the duration of the soak is dependent on the nut.  Click this super underlined sentence for a link to a chart of nut soaking times, courtesy of another web site.  (If you ever click this link and find it is broken, let me know.)  Soaking the nut will swell the teats, making them a lot easier to find, thus making milking a lot easier.  Now approach the nut in a calm and gentle way and…

…if you believe the above paragraph, just send me your money now and get it over with because I”m going to figure out a way to bilk you out of it eventually.  I’d rather have your money in time for Christmas, if that’s OK with you. 🙂

Nut Milk.  The REAL story.  Yes, you have to soak the nuts.  You always have to soak the nuts – that is how their enzymes become released and you eat a food that is giving you all it can give.

Take a cup of those nuts, put them in a blender, add agave nectar, or raw honey, or 2 pitted medjool dates if you want some sweetness, as well as some alcohol-free vanilla. (Note:  I couldn’t find any.  I put in a snip of organic vanilla bean instead).  Last, add 3 – 5 cups water, depending on how concentrated you want your milk to be, then blend until smooth.

Pour the nut milk through a sieve into a container and it keeps up to 4 days.  Apparently there’s a ‘cheater’ nut milk that can be made with raw almond butter, but why bother when the scratch version is so easy?  And for the record:  it tastes amazing.  Here are some photos….

Nut Milk Blender

Raw soaked almonds, 2 medjool dates, vanilla bean…one button push away from nut milk!

Pour blended ingredients through a sieve into a container…

Milk and what to do with the ground almonds, dates, and vanilla? BREAKFAST!

I have also made fruit leather (easy), cilantro pesto (easy), and flax seed crackers (easy, go well with soup or raw cheese) and “Shortcut to Heaven Soup” (easy).  I should mention that all of these recipes are in Carol Alt’s book.  I do sense my time with this book is coming to a temporary end as I will want to branch out soon.  Also because I have also tried a couple recipes that I didn’t like at all: cauliflower popcorn, vinegar garlic potato chips…those were made, tasted and tossed.  And tonight I made asparagus wrapped in prosciutto – this recipe is a keeper.

I hesitate to copy all of her recipes here.  Something about copyright and how a book maker should be able to earn a living.  If you ask me nicely, I may give you further insights, but I’m not going to plagiarize her, especially considering I’d be re-writing half her book here for everything I have tried. 🙂

So here’s a few other notes:  I am running out of some ingredients.  Volumes for some of the recipes are higher than I realized they would be.  I recommend buying in super bulk:  flax seeds and your favourite raw nuts, and any fruit or vegetable that can be frozen when you find them on sale (organic especially).  Once the nuts are soaked, they can be frozen for preservation as this does not kill the enzymes, only puts them in a stasis until they are thawed.  So don’t worry about having to know when to soak things to have them ready the next day, which would be killer complicated.

The last thing I’ve been tackling is this:  what the hell am I going to eat?!  Shut up, stop laughing.  I have no idea how to eat like this all day.  It can’t all be raw cheese and veggie sticks, right?  How do I have breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a light dinner every single day without getting sick of carrots?  Some things don’t keep after preparation for longer than 20 minutes (juice, smoothies, some peeled or cut vegetables), and I’m away from the house for a long time during a work day – just how much food am I going to have to carry with me?!

To try and tackle this conundrum this week, I created a 5 day meal plan.  I’ve blown it once already (it’s Monday) but I’ll keep trying.  I ‘blew it’ because I had an amazing smoothie for breakfast, then went to an offsite meeting.  By 10am I was ready to gnaw on my own arm I was so hungry, but all I had in my purse were a couple pieces of fruit leather….and there was a food court RIGHT THERE!  I opted for the quick carbs, which then lead to something shameful for lunch as well.  If it’s any consolation, I felt like crap for the entire afternoon.

But the meal plan:  it lets me know what I have to make the night before, what I have to take out of the freezer and when, and what I’ll be eating.  This is especially helpful for those of us (me) who are not morning people (like me) and are basically in a walking, drooling coma for my first 30 minutes of being out of bed (like I am), which is also when we (I) have to make breakfast and lunches.  I really hope I get to the point where a lot of this is habit, but for now: the pen and paper are my best friends.

Coming up this week:  do I stick to the meal plan or do I break down and gorge on Kentucky Fried Heart Attack?  Will I get to use my new spiral slicer and show you what that’s all about?  Am I going to get a chance to go to “Raw Express” restaurant and store?  Tune in next time for another riveting episode of “As the Blender Turns”…..

Here are a couple more pictures of the week just past…

Took a hammer and a knife to 2 young coconuts. Will buy a kitchen chisel so I don’t lose the tip of a good knife to these. There was a significant amount of amazing flavoured water in the 2 but not a lot of meat.

The amount of meat from 2 young coconuts. This would annoy me if it didn’t taste so fantastic! So much sweeter and nuttier than the coarse, dense meat of a mature coconut. This meat got shredded and frozen.

Cilantro pesto. Freeze in cubes, then remove from tray and put then back in the freezer in a bag. Voila! On hand whenever you need them. “But you can’t eat pasta!” you proclaim. True. But I can eat veggie noodles! (ah…are you starting to understand what the spiral slicer may be for? You’re smart!)

Tonight’s amazing dinner: Raw asparagus coated in oil, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and pepper, dehydrated for an hour to al dente, rolled in grated parmesan reggiano, then……

…wrapped in prosciutto! Three of these rolls with two thin asparagus rolled inside was enough for me. And I have some left over for lunch tomorrow! Yay me!