Sunday, June 28, 2009

raw chocolate chip cookie dough muffins

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

The boy and I were supposed to go paddling today; spend the day on the lake and the likely to be uncrowded (given the strike, which has also stopped ferry service) islands. Instead, it rained. So today very quickly became a lazy Sunday. You know, the kind where when your phone rings you feel a bit indignant that someone would be so inconsiderate as to interrupt your doing nothing and want something of you. For me these days go hand in hand with something yummy to eat. Sadly I'm out of fruit, so smoothies were out of the question, and out of agave, so any easy chocolate yumminess was also a no go. And so were born these muffins, tasting deliciously like cookie dough.

to make

1/2c almonds
1/2c macadamia nuts
1/2c dates, pitted and packed
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp cardamon
1/4c raw cacao nibs

In a food processor pulse the cardamon, nutmeg, almonds and macadamia nuts until crumbly and well mixed. Put the dates in the processor and blend until well mixed and there's a doughy consistency, meaning the mixture is sticking together. Toss in the cacao nibs and pulse to mix well, but not pulverize.

Put liners in a muffin pan (or if you would like to serve without liners, use one repeatedly for a mold). Spoon mixture into liners and press down with your fingers or the spoon. Chill in the fridge for an hour or two before serving (this will help the mixture to better hold together).

Enjoy with a cold glass of nut milk.

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sweet potato hash browns

I discovered the possibility of making hash/stove top fries from a comment about them that a friend made nonchalantly. She mentioned them in passing on a Friday and I thought to myself, "my god, what a spectacular idea!" The next morning, I made a potato this way, gobbled it up marveling at its deliciousness, and promptly made another. This version uses sweet potatoes instead and adds a little extra flavour with the rosemary. Now I only used a 3" sprig and it most definitely was not enough. But my herb garden is young, and teh rosemary is having a particularly difficult time with the friendly grey neighbourhood bandits digging it up almost every other night; so I didn't want to stress it out by taking too much. I felt that 6" would be sufficient to flavour this dish nicely.

to make

1 sweet potato, sliced and chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/3 red onion (diametre ~4")
1 6" sprig rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (to taste)

saute the onion and garlic in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil. When translucent, add the rosemary and toss for a bit. Then, add the sweet potatoes and cover to help cook. When they're soft, uncover and continue cooking until the outsides brown a bit. (While making mine I got distracted with cuddling a chunky banana slug calico and they ended up burning a bit...) Toss with the salt and cayenne, distributing the spices evenly.

Enjoy with scrambled tofu for a deliciously savoury breakfast.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

how to survive a garbage strike!

If you live in Toronto like I do, you're faced with a conveniently timed garbage strike! The mercury is a-rising and people are getting increasingly inconsiderate about the whole thing (from my apartment above yonge street, I can smell the lovely putridness of dog poop baking in the mid morning sun).

If you're faced with a garbage strike, and don't really relish the thought of filling our parks with your refuse, and don't want your place to be filled with rotting stinkiness, here are some tips to cut down on your overall waste:

  1. Reduce! an oldie, but a goodie. This means using a multi-use bottle for your refreshing summer beverages instead of plastic bottles, skipping produce bags when grocery shopping where you can, buying food that doesn't come packaged in favour of unpackaged items - luckily now that it's summer and there are farmer's markets readily available, this is easier to do. This also means that when buying food at the store, only buy what you know you'll use. After a couple of experiences of half of my groceries going bad in the fridge, I quickly switched to just doing a mini shop every couple of days. Luckily we're in Toronto, where there's a grocers or market very close by, no matter where you live.
  2. byo. Bring your own. If you're going for takeout, or want delivery, bring your own containers to be used! You'll likely get a litte bit extra food, and if you can't finish it all, it'll already be in a container for saving leftovers! If you're going shopping, bring your own bag. If you're like me and keep forgetting and ending up having to stuff everything into an already very abused purse, keep a handy foldable tote in your purse at all times! If you're having a party, go beyond the byob and make it a byoabc affair (bring your own alcohol/ beer and cup)!
  3. reuse. Sometimes you just will end up with waste. Maybe you forgot to bring a bag when shopping and just didn't have room in your purse. Or maybe you didn't want to put that dripping lettuce bagless into your purse. Or you really wanted fresh olives from the olive bar or a container of spicy hummus or a jar of tomato sauce. Well, don't fret! Keep all your bags and next time you go grocery shopping, you'll have produce bags or shopping bags; or use them to bring potentially leaky containers to work for lunch. Rinse out and wash any leftover containers you have. These are tupperware gold! Use them to store leftovers or your own homemade sauces and nut butters. Reuse your newspaper to clean your windows and mirrors! OR really a exciting way to reuse is for the purpose of gardening!!! You could make your own pop bottle irrigation system, so that you can be lazy on really hot days and not have to fret about watering your plants; or make a mini green house from a plastic container; or use your daily metro fix to help seedlings grow!
  4. make your own. This is linked to the reducing aspect. Instead of buying hummus or fries or nut butter or tomato sauce, make your own! Not only will it likely taste way better, you'll know exactly what's in it, and will be able to customize it exactly to your tastes!
  5. good to the last drop. Do you have some bananas that are starting to brown, and you just can't eat them (because you're like me and only eat bananas when they're yellow with a green tinge)? Well, peel em and freeze em and then you can have deliciously creamy smoothies whenever you want, or make banana bread, a task grossly mushy bananas are particularly skilled at. Same goes with berries and most other fruits. When it comes to veggies, we often underestimate how much of them we can eat: Brocolli stalks, for instance, are delicious and tender when peeled and cooked. The green part of green onions are just as tasty as the white, sure less strong in onion-y flavour, but still good! Or, if you don't feel like peeling the stalks, toss them in the freezer, and when you have enough of such leftovers, use them to add flavour to the broth of your next soup! Also, for items that easily wilt or quickly become unappealing, such as spinach or easily rubbery'd or whitened carrots, don't underestimate the power of really cold water in refreshment and rejuvenation.
  6. Rinse and repeat. There are going to be some things that you can't or may not want to reuse, such as cans or plastic bottles. Or you may just not want more containers and jars in your house. Just make sure you wash these containers out well before putting them in your recycling bags or bins. Also, crush them when possible to take up as little room as possible. Then, you'll be able to store your recycling, without it smelling, until pickup has resumed.
  7. green your garden. One exciting possibility of a garbage strike, is the opportunity to create your own compost bin!!! This is easy to do and fun to watch and takes care of what's really the grossest part of our garbage sitting around for long periods of time. What's important to note though, is that your garden variety compost bin is not as lenient as the green bins you're probably used to. Unless you'd like to get to better know your friendly neighbourhood rats and racoons, leave the animal products (except egg shells) and any oil based food items away from your compost. Wondering what you're going to do with your compost? If you don't have a garden, give it to a green thumbed friend. Or just leave it in the bin, chances are you're not going to create too much of an overflow of black gold in one summer; it'll help your compost work more efficiently. Don't have any outdoor space? Try a vermicomposter! There are lots of resources for starting a compost bin and making your own bin. Here's the one I've made before that worked very nicely. As in my current place I have a bit more of a racoon issue than I did last time around, I'm going to set up a simple chicken wire cage type contraption around it. Here are some helpful tips for having a successful compost bin.

Well, here's wishing you a non-stinky summer! Hopefully other Torontonians will cease their jerkery and our parks and beaches will be able to remain beautiful.

There's some great ideas for repurosing items for your garden over at instructables.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More raw hazelnut goodness

Here are some other delicious hazelnutty goods I made as well...

I really like making nut butters. I think it's just the coolest thing ever. The first one I made was macadamian nut butter and oh my god was it a dream. Not only did it butterize super fast, but it was wonderfully naturally sweet and overall insanely delicious. I bragged about it nonstop even though the boy so kindly reminded me that I didn't actually do anything, as I hadn't added anything to it at all. Details.

Hazelnuts I've found are a bit more bitter than the macadamian nuts were or something. Well, not bitter, but not naturally sweet in any way. That said, the hazelnut butter before I added anything else to it was still quite nice, so you might want to try it with just the hazelnuts, or with the hazelnuts and a bit of coconut oil for a creamier butter. But, if you want to be fancy like me:

chocolate hazelnut butter (wow, I've gotten so creative with my names...)
1c hazenuts
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch sea salt (optional. Meaning I didn't add any but I hear you're supposed to?)

in a food processor, blend (process? what's the right word here?) the hazelnuts until smooth. It took a long time, so I took a blending break every once in a while to scrap down the sides and scrap up the butter that was forming on the bottom.

part butter, part hazelnut meal, part MAN! Well, not really that last bit, but it just flowed so nicely...

I also didn't want it to get too hot in order to keep it raw, so breaks were good. We have this awesome laser temperature reader that I love to use while uncooking, and that I'm pretty sure the boy is regretting introducing me to for that reason, and I checked the temperature when it had all become butter, which I felt was probably the hottest point, and it was 101-102F (Funny, I've always been a centigrade girl until I got into the whole raw thing. Also funny is how I can only do sewing measurements in non metric and have a lot of trouble getting my head around metric, but I can only do distances and speeds in metric...)

After it was butterized, I added in the rest of the ingredients and processed till well mixed. You might want to add in the coconut oil near the beginning to help it get going faster.

Sadly, as I don't eat bread I have a lot of trouble figuring out what to do with my delicious and delectable nut butters. The macadamian one I ended up giving to my parents, who loved it. I plan to give some to my father in law as well. I'm sort of trying to get back into rice cakes for the sole purpose of eating nut butters, but the attempt isn't even really at the halfhearted level as of yet... I like the idea of eating them on a banana...But I'm not quite there yet either, as knowing my bananas will surely go bad before I'm in the mood for them, I try to freeze them almost immediately upon purchase.

So what I ended up coming upon as like the bestest idea ever in all times was the following!!

Hazelnut Buttercup Milkshake

1 c hazelnut milk
3 tbsp chocolate hazelnut butter
1.5 frozen banana

blend until creamy smooth. ENJOY!!! You most definitely will. It's all nice and creamy like a milkshake, but also doubles as a nutritious snack, breakfast or dessert!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Hazelnut milk

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

After my success with almond milk, I was poised to try the same thing with some hazelnuts. I used a little less water, as I felt the almond milk was a tad watery.

I'm somewhat ok with the cheesecloth method, but I do find it difficult to clean. After scraping as much nut pulp as I can into a container for later use, I shake it out, then soak it in hot water and rinse it. Still, there are little bits of nuts clearly stuck to it. I figure it's dry, so it's not an issue? But, I'm thinking that that's not the best attitude to have longterm. Friday I had the day off and my friend and I went on a veritable hunt for a nut milk bag. He uses the sewed up shirt sleeve of a button up shirt to strain his milk. I think that that's an awesome idea and absolutely great with regards to reducing our consumption. Well, I think that in theory. In practice, I just can't do it. I just don't like the idea; I honestly don't know why, particularly given that I'm ok with dried up nut bits! But also, to justify my irrational aversion somewhat, I just don't feel the drainage would be as spectacular as it could be or as I wanted it to be. Well we hit up every store on in the kensington area and some on Spadina as well; no luck. He kept trying to sell me on just using the random cloth bags we'd occassionally see; I also could not - or perhaps would not - be sold on that idea. So the hunt continues! Until then I feel more or less fine with the cheesecloth method...

hazelnut milk
1c hazelnuts
3.5c water

soak hazelnuts for 6-8 hours (I left them soaking in the fridge to be safe, given the issues encountered last time). Rinse well and blend with water. Leave sitting in blender for 5-10 minutes, then strain through cheesecloth that's layered over a mesh strainer (or, in a nut bag if you're lucky enough to find one), squeezing as much liquid as you can out of it. Now, this would've tasted great with the spice mix I had used for the almond milk, but honestly it was so nice and hazelnutty that I felt wrong adding anything into it! So, I left it au natural.

I used the pulp immediately to make these. Can I say holy crap! My god were they amazing!!! Well, are amazing, as miracuously I have not yet polished them off. I didn't add nuts as the pulp was pretty chunky, didn't add the cayenne pepper as the thought weirded me out a bit (I know, I know, I'm surprisingly picky and unadventurous for someone who's favourite food is nutritional yeast...), didn't add the raisins as I had none (just used more dates instead), used coconut oil instead of olive and had no icing (although a cashew cream spiced with cardamon would be insanely divine). Omg omg omg they tasted just like cinnamon rolls, this person is a genious!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

coconut pineapple ice cream/creamsicles

I had leftover coconut milk from the coconut chickpea curry I made the other day that I didn't want to go to waste. I also have a lot of pineapple in the house that I'm trying to use up, and delicious as it is, you can only eat so much. So, I tried to make a creamsicle type of thing. I got impatient about an hour in and just ate one of them as ice cream. I waited a couple hours longer before trying another. And this is when I kinda realized that maybe it's a bit more suited as an ice cream recipe than one that requires a popsicle mould - all my popsicle sticks were far too easily pulled out, leaving the actual coconut pineapple yummyness in the mould! Of course, this could be due to the short stick nature of the mould I have...Quite nice and creamy all the same. Could be nice with a bit of agave mixed in for more sweetness; though I found it nicely naturally sweet.

This photo is of the premature taste test. When it freezes more, it's not all melty; but, this is the texture it resumes when it starts to thaw a bit.

to make
1.5 frozen bananas
3/4c all purpose cashew cream
1/2 can coconut milk, chilled
1c chopped pineapple

I would recommend slicing the bananas before you freeze them, and then freezing on a cookie sheet before putting them all together in a container. This will make any recipe requiring frozen bananas much more convenient. Personally I'm lazy, so I just break them in half and toss them all together into a container and then curse myself everytime I need to use them. Still works out nicely, but the whole blending process is always easier if there are little pieces, rather than giant bananas in there. At a couple of points in making this recipe I had to stop processing, open up the food processor and stab at the big banana pieces to try and break them up more. But hey, worked out nicely in the end so woohoo to the universe positivey reinforcing my laziness!

Anyway, toss everything but the pineapple in a food processor. Blend until smooth and no chunks are left. Throw in the pineapple and either mix by hand or do quick and short puses on the food processor to mix (not pulverize). Spoon into the popsicle moulds, or a loaf pan, or a silicone muffin pan (!) or any other container. Freeze (awesomely this doesn't need an ice cream maker to keep it creamy). Enjoy!

note: I haven't yet let it freeze for an extended period of time (like over the course of a couple of days), so am not yet sure if the texture would change in that time period. If mine last that long (they're really yummy, and I've already eaten two of the six so...), I'll let you know how it goes!

all purpose cashew cream
1c cashews, soaked over night, rinsed well
lemon juice (optional)
water, as needed

In a blender, blend the cashews with water to get the consistency you desire. This consistency depends on what you would like to make with it. You can get a thin cream, for soups or dessert/fruit toppings or cesar salad dressing, or a thicker cream - also for dessert/fruit toppings, but thicker ones, or for sour cream for tortillas...possibilities are limitless. I used a thick cream for the above recipe, particularly due to the liquid from the coconut milk, and because it was leftover sour cream from the night before. Use lemon juice to taste - since it was sour cream, I wanted it sour so used like 2 tbsp lemon juice, but you might want less, particularly if it's dessert topping cream. You can also add spices, like cinnamon, cardammon and nutmeg, when using it for desserts or fruits.

update!! I let it freeze longer, and they came out as popsicles!! and were stil creamy!!! very happy about this! Will do an overnight freeze as well to see the longterm effects of the freeze!

update!! three ways to enjoy coconut pineapple ice cream/creamsicles:

way to enjoy, option 1: as an ice pop
  1. as an ice pop: let the creamsicle freeze for a long period of time, it'll become a yummy popsicle. Pieces are bitten off easily and are light and creamy when chewed.
  2. as yummy ice cream: or, for the more patient, you can let the ice cream thaw for a while before enjoying. As it gets a bit melty, the creaminess of the coconut milk and cashew cream really comes out.
  3. as a refreshing smoothie: Put frozen into a blender, adding nut milk as needed to create a creamy, delicious treat for hot summer days.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

raw chocolate and mango-berry tart

I've moved! Visit my new home Make Life Beautiful for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

what's the difference between a pie and a tart anyhow? why do I randomly keep coughing? wait, ignore that second one, I was just on a question roll...

anyway, it's our father's day dinner today and I wanted to make a yummy chocolate nut cake. The filling is the icing from Ani Phyo's chocolate walnut torte. At first when I mentioned this as a possible recipe, my mom vetoed it saying my dad couldn't eat avocados as they caused him to hallucinate. Then she told me about how they'd gone to their friends' place for dinner, my dad had downed two bowls of avocado soup and disappeared. They found him hours later (I don't quite understand the reason for such an excessive time lapse, but hey clearly my parents are very strange) lying on the porch, thinking he was dying. So I was going to make a different recipe instead. But then in speaking to my dad, I learned that he "eats avocados all the time!" Of course he does. So, game back on! Weirdos.

I've made Ani's recipe a number of times and my fave part is eating the leftover icing. But then I discovered I had been making it wrong this whole time! I figured cacao power was just ground up nibs. Not so! The cacao powder is what's left when the cacao butter is taken out, or something like that. So yesterday I bought actual powder and it's WAY different! I like them both equally in this recipe; the one with ground up nibs is more like a pudding, whereas the one with the powder is intensly icing-esque. For this tart recipe, I think I would actually do the ground up nibs version, I think it would fit nicer and be less intense. But I just made a lot of the powder version, so it's that that I'll be using.

1/2c hazelnuts
1/2c almonds
1/2c walnuts
1c dates
1/3c+2tbsp cacao powder
1/4tsp sea salt

In a food processor, pulse nuts with the sea salt until small pieces. Careful not to overblend as it will then turn into nut butter. Which will also be delicious, but will change your recipe plan considerably...
When the nuts are in tiny pieces, add in the dates and cacao and mix together until slightly doughy consistency and well mixed.

In your tart pan - which I would recommend sprinkling first with finely ground nuts or shredded coconut to help it come out more easily - press with fingers to create a pie shell. Now, what I learned after my first attempt, is that you should not make the base too thin, otherwise when you lift it out, it will just fall apart. Put in fridge for a couple of hours - will help it hold together more.

Fill almost to the top with Ani Phyo's icing. It's a bit sticky, so you might need to use your fingers to smooth it in.

1/3c pitted Medjool dates
1/4c agave nectar
1/2c avocado
1/3c cacao powder

Blend the dates and agave in food processor until it forms a thick syrup. Add avocado and process until smooth. Add cacao powder and process until well mixed.

chop up a mango, toss with raspberries and spoon on top of the chocolate. You can use any mix of berries for this and don't need the mango. We're a mango obsessed family though, so I thought the combo would be nice.

Return to fridge till ready to serve!

I made tartlets, so I removed them from the pans first before filling them. I would dust the plate you're putting them on when crushed nuts or cacao powder as they do get stuck. If you're making in a bigger pan, you can just cut straight in the pan and serve slices out of it.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

coconut currylicious

I've been having curry cravings lately, which is a little strange. Not that I don't like curry, but I don't believe I've ever quite craved it before...The boy was having the opposite of a curry craving, stating that he couldn't explain it, but he definitely didn't want curry. I won him over easily, with a weapon I knew would work - the promise of coconut milk curry.

I quite enjoy the coconut milk curry. For one, I have a lot of trouble getting my curry curry-ish otherwise. I've tried loads of powder and the paste, and it just doesn't stay or spread. I've tried mixing with water, with veggie broth, with luck. And secondly, it just tastes better. I do have some issues in figuring out what to do with the leftover coconut milk though, which is the one thing that keeps me from making this dish more often. I think I figured it out though: ice cream! Back to the curry for now though...

To make
1 tomato, chopped
1 largish sweet potato, chopped
1/2 can coconut milk
a little less than 1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp tumeric
1/2-1 tsp cayenne (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 small white or yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, deveined
2 leaves kale, chopped
1 can chick peas

saute the onion and garlic with a bit of olive oil and water
toss in the tomato and toss, let soften a bit
pour in the 1/2can of coconut milk, mix with the spices
mix in the sweet potato and chick peas and cover pan
cook until the potatoes are soft
add in kale and cover. cook for about 3 minutes, long enough to just steam the kale.
mix together and serve. enjoy! (And if you're like me, steal all the kale for yourself! heehee)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

lasagna in the buff...although maybe not the sundried tomatoes...but they could be!

I've moved! Visit my new blog La Belle Vie for more recipes and healthy living tips. Don't forget to update your bookmarks. xoxoxo

Tonight I made a mainstay in our kitchen (is that even the right word? Too lazy to google...): raw lasagna! I'm not 100% sure the sundried tomatoes I used were raw as they were unlabeled (which probably means highly processed...damn.), but you could use raw ones! I will one day make raw ones! they sound easy and delicious. I just get a little concerned with not knowing just how perishable dehydrated items are. I mean I feel like they shouldn't be at all, but I have no real way of telling! It stresses me out.

Anyway, this is the boy's fave meal right now. Some of the components are based off recipes from elsewhere. But I am lazy and don't like to dirty dishes unless absolutely necessary and so don't really measure anything. AND I'm always more that a little perturbed by just how much oil raw recipes use, so I tend to cut back a lot there. I know, I know, it's awesomely wonderful for you. But I'm not the type of person who only eats till I'm full. No, I consume huge quantities of things. And so, it's not so good for me.

to make:
if you're using organic, or have a good pesticide wash, use the skin - delicious, adds colour and I'm sure it's probably like the healthiest part of the whole damn thing; if not, peel the mofo.
With a peeler, slice thinly. If it's a long zuc, I chop it in half width wise first. Also, I find it helps to take off a layer on one side so it's flat and then put that side down and slice from other side - you know, so it's not all rolly.

wilted spinach
olive oil

wash and chop your spinach. Toss with olive oil (a bit, like 1-2 tbsp for 2 cups) and sea salt (about 1-2 tsp for the same amount). Set aside while doing the rest. Before slicing the noodles. Probably should have positioned these instructions differently...could change it now but, read above: la-zy.

tomato sauce
In a blender combine 2 large chopped tomatoes, 1-2Tbsp olive oil, 1-2 cloves derooted garlic, sundried tomatoes and some basil (optional). blend blend! Then let it sit for a bit so the sundried tomatoes can absorb the liquid and blend a bit more.

I loosley adapted from Everyday Raw's macadamia ricotta:
1c macadamia nuts, soaked and well rinsed
3Tbsp nutritional yeast (ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT. Do not try and make any sort of raw or vegan cheese without it. ever. And if you're worried about getting enough B12 in your daily life, get the kind with the extra B12 in it; it's more expensive, but still reasonable.)
1-2Tbsp olive oil
1/4c water
1/2-1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4tsp sea salt

food process it up until you've achieved a creamy texture. You might need to add a BIT more water to keep it moving. But seriously add very little as a time otherwise it'll be runny and you'll think it's gross and not want to eat it or have anything to do with it and then you'll cry and then I'll cry and you'll scream, like the kid currently screaming in my apartment's hallway "LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DOOOOO" while sobbing.

make one layer of zucchini pieces, put a slice of tomato, cover in cheese, wilted spinach, tomato sauce; put a layer of zucchini going the other way (like if the first layer they were facing north-south, 2nd layer is facing east-west), repeat other steps; one more layer of noodles (back to north-south), tomato sauce and cheese and top with a tiny piece of tomato or basil or however else you would like to make it look pretty.

xoxo off to bed!

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Monday, June 15, 2009

raw-spiced-almond-milk-icious! (and a very sad story)

Well, not sad for mold affecionados, but sad for mes. My weekend was a mold fest. The mold ruined everything I love at this particular moment in time. And apparently made me incredibly overdramatic...But seriously! 1. My container garden on the back deck. My beautifu little garden, which is being dug up almost nightly by cute little masked mammals looking for grubs. So I covered it with cayenne. Kept the racoons away, sure. But, also taught me this fabulous lesson: cayenne pepper is a mold magnet! Who knew!? All my containers were filled with the stuff! The boy suggested we mix it into the soil. I'm really hoping that doesn't just kill all my plants...
2. My macadamia/cashew nut cheese. I have recently tried my hand at culturing raw cheese. The results were both fascinating AND delicious. Tried it again with a nut blend. Left it 8 hours too long, and I'm PRETTY SURE I made some weird alcoholic nut cheese substance. Ok, not mold, but still ruined!
3. My lemon for my water at work. Sat in my bag for just a week, checked it this morning to test my new lucky streak (sarcasm) and lo and behold, MOLD! IN MY BAG!
4. The almonds I was soaking for my first attempt at raw nut milk. Left them soaking overnight and MOLD! This particular scenario had never happened to me before. I always soak nuts forever! From now on, totally soaking them in the fridge.

But, I was not to be discouraged!! Well, actually I was horribly so...distraught and despondent as well...but I was also really wanting to try the damn almond milk already! So, I soaked another batch of almonds while at work (IN THE FRIDGE), came home and almond milked away!!

1 cup almonds, soaked 6-8 hours, rinsed well
4 cups water (though next time I think I'll try 3)
agave nectar to taste (or dates! I wish I had thought to use dates!)
pinch sea salt
1/8 tsp cardamon
1/8 tsp cinammon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

blend the almonds with the water. pour through a cheese cloth on a mesh strainer (I think I used 4 layers of cheese cloth. When you get to the point where most of the liquid is through, wrap the cheese cloth around the remaining almond pulp and squeeze, share with a friend how coo it looks when the little droplets come out the individual holes, and squeeze some more. Dehydrate your almond pulp or store it wet in the fridge to be used in other exciting raw food recipes. Put the liquid back in the blender with the remaining ingredients and blend blend blend. Store in the fridge 2-3 days.

Bonus smoothie recipe!!
1 mango
enough spiced almond milk to cover.
blend! enjoy the spicy mango-y deliciousness.

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My new favourite meal (or, the only way I like to eat sweet potatoes)

I heart potatoes. In every form. (Well except cold potato salad dressed in mayonnaise...because that's just wrong). I particularly like fries. I slice my potatoes thinly (WAY too lazy to do the fry shape...lazy with the cutting, impatient with the waiting to cook), toss with olive oil, cayenne and sea salt (or whatever herbs I have around...usually just cayenne and sea salt...), lay out on a cookie sheet and cook at 425 degrees for however long it takes. Usually takes 25 minutes.

Sometimes I'm too impatient for even that. Particularly after my last attempt, during which, being so super excited to be making them again after a number of years, I made way way too many, which meant they didn't cook properly and a bunch burned (I got impatient and tossed them into the broiler. Then did it again. aziness trumps learning from my mistakes); they were still delicious.

But yes, back to the impatience of waiting for fries to cook...I decided to try an even quicker way!!!:

1 Sweet potato, chopped into half inch cubes
2 cloves garlic (deveined. this isn't entirely necessary, but will make it more digestible. Of course, so does cooking it in general so, up to you!)
1/2 red onion (or white. or yellow. I like the red for colour in this dish)
1/3 block extra firm tofu, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 leaves kale, chopped (don't dry after washing)
pinch sea salt
pinch cayenne (or to taste)

to make:
saute the garlic and onion (both chopped) in a bit of olive oil and water
once translucent, add the tofu and sweet potato.
Keep cooking at medium heat, stirring occassionally, until the outsides are crispy and the inside of the sweet potato is soft (can be determined by whether it easily spits with the spatula/a form - should be quite easy to do).
Once this is achieved, add the kale, still a bit wet from washing. The bit of water on it will help it steam more quickly. Cover the whole affair up until kale is a bit tender and a nice bright green - probably about 1-2 minutes.

Add a bit of sea salt and cayenne, toss and enjoy!!! If you'd prefer a more complete protein form (i.e. one with more nutrients than just protein and iron) go for beans! I like this dish with red kidney beans.

Bonus! the vitamin C in the sweet potato and kale help with iron absorption from the tofu/beans!

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