Archive for October, 2010

Banana Soft Serve

I recently came across an article titled “This post will change your life“. They were right in terms of my taste buds’ lives.  When transitioning to a raw food diet one of the things that might cross the mind is that ice cream would be greatly missed. I admit, it was a staple in my diet during my pregnancy and to think about giving it up is a hard task. However, I have since discovered great and delicious alternatives that are non dairy based and best of all, guilt free. My most recent discovery is the delicious banana soft serve that is just too good and simple not to share.

 

Banana Soft Serve

2 Bananas, cut into 2 inch pieces and frozen

Blend in the food processor for about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Top with chocolate sauce (recipe below), if desired.

 

Chocolate Sauce

2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar

1 tsp. water

Mix in a small bowl.

 

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Thai-Style Coconut Soup

Thai-Style Coconut Soup

1 Tbsp. EVOO

2 cups mushrooms, cut into bit sized chunks

1 tsp. grated lime peel

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2  serrano chilies or 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 cups coconut milk

1 tsp. agave nectar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. Nama Soyu or Bragg’s amino acids

1 cup sugar snap pea pods

1 medium red bell peppert, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium tomato, chopped (3/4 cup)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves

2 -3 cups jicima, finely chopped in the food processor to resemble rice

Combine and wisk coconut milk, agave nectar, salt and Nama Soyu together. Add lime peel, gingerroot, garlic, chilies and cilantro. Combine remaining ingredients, except the jicima and basil, in a separate bowl and toss. Poor liquid over vegetables. Serve with jicima and topped with basil leaves.

Raw Sunflower Seed Ranch Dressing

With my ever growing obsession with salads in full swing, I find myself wanting to try a variety of dressings to add my recipe collection. This is an all time classic rendition of the beloved Ranch dressing.

 

Raw Sunflower Seed Ranch Dressing

1 Cup Sunflower Seeds, soaked for 2 hours

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 Cup chilled Water

1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Blend until smooth

1 tsp. Black Pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp. dried Dill

Blend just until pepper and dill are incorporated.

 

 

Marinated Collard Greens

Ok, I admit, I’ve been a bit obsessed with greens lately. I just can’t help myself. The nutritional richness of a bowl full of mixed spring greens, kale and herbs, topped with a delicious dressing such as the Creamy Cucumber Dressing, satisfy me in a way that chocolate no longer can. I actually find myself in a better mood after eating them. Which leads me to this recipe I found on The Daily Raw Cafe.

Marinated Collard Greens


MARINADE
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup chopped scallions, white parts only
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch collard greens, washed
1/8 cup olive oil

1. In a large bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sea salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Take several collard leaves and roll into a cylinder the shape of a fat cigar. 

3. Using a knife, cut the through the collard cylinder, making strips. Repeat steps two and three until you have cut all the collard leaves.

4. Place strips in a large bowl. Pour olive oil on collard strips and sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Massage the oil and salt into the strips until all are well coated.

5. Transfer the collard strips to the bowl with the apple cider vinegar marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but overnight is best.

Servings: 4

Note: The raw collard greens won’t get as soft as its cooked counterpart. That’s a good thing, cooking your greens gets rid of all the water and nutrients that they provide.

To view original recipe, click here.

Green Smoothies

Starting my quest for a healthier life and a way better way to loose weight, I came across the concept of Green Smoothies in the book 12 Steps to Raw Foods. I admit, it’s a strange concept, blending your greens into a fruit smoothie, but after reading about all of the nutritional benefits of it I thought it would be worth a try. I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen, I turn into Shreck?  It is recommended to drink them for breakfast in order for the nutrients and fiber to be better absorbed and flush out toxicities in your body. I find it nearly impossible to drink an entire blender full in one sitting, so I sip it throughout the morning as I work at my desk or put it in a wide mouthed water bottle for times I am on the go. It’s best to start out slowly and not drink a whole blender full if you are not currently getting THIS much fiber in your diet, or you will have some major gastrointestinal issues….build yourself up to drinking a whole blender full.

My smoothies usually consist of 2 cups of water, 2-3 leaves of kale, 1 handful of spinach, 2 apples, 6 (or so) strawberries, 1 peach and 1 banana. I will change it up a bit, depending on what I have in the fruit bowl, adding a pear, blueberries, nectarine, juice of 1/2 lemon or whatever else sounds good. Also, I don’t always add a banana, it just depends on my mood. You can add more water if it is too thick for you. I highly recommend starting out with spinach as it has a mild green flavor.

Here are a few links to get you started on how to make green smoothies.
This one is a great starter. His mom is the one who created green smoothies:

This is one that I like as well. Green Smoothie Girl adds a variety of greens and berries to give you mixing ideas:

This guy is my favorite. He has lost 215 pounds going to raw foods. Wow! I like his recipe the best minus the spices he adds at the end. Note: He adds WAY too much kale for beginners (too much might make you a bit queasy at first). I usually use 2 to 3 leaves.

I also found this bit of info that goes into more detail about the health benefits of these fabulous concoctions:

“Green Smoothies are a perfect way to get almost all of your Fruit and Veg servings in all in one meal. You can vary the fruits and greens.

Health Benefits of Green Smoothies (original link found here)
1 Natural Weight Loss

Drinking a green smoothie is the best thing you can do to loose weight. (Example) I weighed 185 pounds when I added smoothies to my diet. I lost 30 pounds in just a few months and now maintain a healthy, normal weight in the low to mid-150s. My wife has also lost almost 30 pounds since including green smoothies to her diet and easily maintains a healthy weight as well.

Green smoothies provide the nutrition, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates, fiber and low fat whole food that you need to loose weight quickly, safely and effectively without starving yourself. After drinking green smoothies for a few weeks, my wife and I noticed that our cravings for junk foods were greatly reduced and we actually began craving healthy food options!

2 Increased Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables (Particularly Greens)

The American Cancer Society recommends that we eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day to prevent cancer and other diseases. Green smoothies are a quick and convenient way to get your vegetables and dark, leafy greens without tasting them. The fruit masks the flavor so even though all you taste is pineapple, mango, banana or strawberry, you are consuming a healthy dose of spinach, carrots, tomatoes and any other vegetable that you put in.

3 Easier Digestibility and Nutrient Assimilation

Blending fruits and vegetables together breaks down the cells of plants and improves digestibility. Your blender unlocks the nutrients and maximizes their delivery to your body more than chewing any salad could. Smoothies are quicker and more convenient than preparing and thoroughly chewing a salad, especially when you are on the go.

4 Antioxidants

Green Smoothies are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Not only are you giving your body the best defenses for disease, but you are ingesting a variety of natural substances that are essential for optimum health and fitness.

5 Increased Energy

Smoothies provide a powerful boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients without bogging down your digestive system. Since you are eating natural, whole foods in the most optimum form for your digestibility and nutrient absorption, you will have more energy to get things done and enjoy your day.

6 Mental Clarity and Focus

With a healthier diet comes greater mental clarity and focus. Green smoothies have replaced my morning coffee ritual. Since becoming caffeine-free, I have experience greater alertness, energy and dramatically reduced anxiety and nervousness that I used to deal with on a daily basis.

7 Increased Fiber Intake

Unlike fruit juice or using a juicing machine, green smoothies use the whole fruit and vegetable so that you get all the fiber and nutrition. Fiber is essential for good colon health and it keeps your bowels in working order.

8 Clearer Skin

Clearer, radiant skin is an often-reported benefit to eating healthier. Smoothies are high in fiber and allow your body to eliminate toxins the right way instead of through your skin.

9 Reduce Cravings

Green smoothies reduce cravings for junk foods, unhealthy sweets, salt and fats. You will find that after a few weeks of drinking smoothies, you will crave healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables and greens.

10 Rich With Chlorophyll

Green smoothies are rich with chlorophyll which some natural health experts say enhances the immune system, purifies the blood and rejuvenates the body.

11 Alkalizing

Fruits and vegetables are alkaline foods and many natural health experts claim that consuming these foods helps maintain a proper alkaline balance in the body. Acid-producing foods (as well as the over-consumption of protein) can raise the PH level of the blood, which can cause your body to leach calcium from your bones to neutralize it, thus increasing your risk for osteoporosis. Mainstream doctors and nutrition experts, while also promoting an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, point out a lack of clinical, scientific evidence to support claims by alkaline-diet promoters. Either way, consuming foods that help maintain a proper PH level in our bodies is a good thing and green smoothies can help with that.

In addition to these health benefits, green smoothies are:

Easy to make and clean up after.
Taste amazing.
Will keep for a few days in the fridge.
Are fun to make and experiment with different fruits and vegetable combinations.”

Cheers!

Some helpful links about green smoothies:

http://www.squidoo.com/green-smoothies

http://www.smoothie-handbook.com/benefits-of-green-smoothies.html

Valya’s Latest Egg Nog

In my search to find something to do with young coconut milk besides just drink it, I came across this recipe and boy was I surprised.  I’m a huge fan of egg nog, but since it is not on my diet anymore and is just…well…not good for you I was delighted to find this replacement. It’s smooth, creamy and filling and I have actually had it for breakfast.
Valya’s Latest Egg Nog

1 young (Thai) coconut, meat and water
2 ripe bananas
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Blend the ingredients and enjoy 4 cups of this yummy dessert
Original recipe can be found here.

Young Coconut Milk

One of my favorite drinks, besides water, is young coconut milk. Now, the art of making young coconut milk vs. mature coconut milk is a completely different process. Frankly, the young coconuts are much easier and faster to make milk from than mature ones, therefore they have become my (unbiased) preferred way to enjoy this delicious and healthy treat.

The first step is figuring out how to open them (but only after you have found the little buggers). I could explain to you how to open one, but it might be easier just to watch it.

After you have successfully opened your young coconut, pour the coconut water into the blender. Then scrape the meat out of the coconut (I use a spring scoop) and add to the blender. Blend for about a minute until it is smooth.

I also wanted to share with you some of the great health benefits of coconut just in case you needed further info on it that I found here.


“It’s a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It’s the fluid of life, so to speak.” In fact, during the Pacific War of 1941-45, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water – siphoned directly from the nut – to give emergency plasma trasfusions to wounded soldiers.

Most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical coastal areas – once exposed to air, the liquid rapidly loses most of its organoleptic and nutritional characteristics, and begins to ferment.

  • Coconut Water is More Nutritious than whole milk – Less fat and NO cholesterol!
  • Coconut Water is More Healthy than Orange Juice – Much lower calories
  • Coconut Water is Better than processed baby milk- It contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother’s milk
  • Coconut water is naturally sterile — Water permeates though the filtering husk!
  • Coconut water is a universal donor– Its identical to human blook plasma
  • Coconut Water is a Natural Isotonic Beverage – The same level we have in our blood.
  • Coconut water has saved lives in 3rd world countries thru Coconut IV.

“Coconut water is the very stuff of Nature, biologically Pure, full of Natural Sugars, Salts, and Vitamins to ward off fatigue… and is the next wave of energy drinks BUT natural!”, according to Mortin Satin, Chielf of the United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization.

Coconut water contains more potassium (at about 294 mg) than most sports drinks (117 mg) and most energy drinks.

Coconut water has less sodium (25mg) where sports drinks have around 41mg and energy drinks have about 200 mg!

Coconut water has 5mg of Natural Sugars where sports and energy drinks range from 10-25mg of Altered Sugars.

Coconut water is very high in Chloride at 118mg, compared to sports drinks at about 39mg.

Data is based on a 100ml drink.

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