Thursday, September 1, 2016

Coco Jack

New Coconut Tool:

I'm just going to park this here.  This looks like an easier way to open young coconuts:

Coco Jack

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Life Happens

A little more than two years ago, my family experienced some setbacks.  These types of things can happen to anyone, whether it is a financial setback, a career setback, health setback, relationship setback, or whatever.  In our case, we experienced a few of them.

I remained in favor of the raw food lifestyle, but it was necessary to put more time and energy into other things, leaving less time and energy for this blog and a daily commitment to the raw food lifestyle.  We still juiced regularly and consumed green smoothies, salads, and energy soups, but I found that gradually, more and more processed foods crept into our diets.

As one might predict, my husband and I experienced health setbacks as a result, which complicated matters further.  But we put our heads down, worked hard toward some goals, and we continue to move forward.

My current food lifestyle goal is 90% plant-based, and 10% random.  The random basically means that if I eat something that isn't plant based, I don't put stress and energy into worrying about it.  Usually this happens in social situations.  I've noticed that often, whenever a person asserts that they are vegan when dining out with friends, someone in the group starts  proclaiming their commitment to eating meat.  To be completely honest, I'm weary of the social pressure.  Society is gradually becoming more accepting and supportive of different food lifestyles, but I still encounter occasional veiled hostility.  Whenever that happens, I don't engage like I used to.  Sometimes I might explain my position if the person is a friend who seems interested, but if I sense hostility, I don't pontificate, and I don't defend.  I just step back.

I've noticed I prefer more raw plant based foods in summer, and more cooked in winter.  Cooked rice, lentils, quinoa sweet potatoes, and beans are favorites in winter.  Salads, cool energy soups and cold green smoothies prevail in summer.

When in a social situation and the food choices are more random, I try to choose more whole and plant-based foods whenever possible.

I've noticed over the years that many people who were exclusively raw have either changed their diets to include cooked or paleo foods, or have stopped blogging altogether.  My goal is to get back into a routine of optimal nutrition.  That may be different for each family member.  Personally, my health is always at its best when my diet is 100% plant based and high raw, as long as I consume enough of the right nutrients, such as healthy fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

To follow is a quick list of the raw food blogs that I still like to read on a regular basis.  They are updated regularly and continue to inspire me.

Monday, October 27, 2014

How To Make Magic Green Smoothie Art

Recently I fell into a way of making little designs on the surface of our green smoothies.

We aren't 100% raw right now.  We've been busy and we are more like 30 to 50% raw.  As a friend said so well recently, things go in cycles sometimes.  Right now I have so many other things going on that it's hard to be high-raw every day.  I'm sure we'll go back to being fully raw for a while sometime, but I like being flexible.  To each his own.

No matter how much raw food we eat, the green smoothie habit has stayed with us.

I've been filling 3 quart jars every morning.  It involves filling 2 Vitamix pitchers at least 3/4 full to make enough smoothie to fill 3 jars.
So I make one pitcher of smoothie of one color, (usually green or purple) and fill all 3 jars about half-full.  Then I make another pitcher of smoothie in a contrasting color and pour it into the center of each jar.  I find that if I get the smoothie just the right consistency, the first color rises up the sides of the jar, while the second color forms a blob in the middle.  If you want a purple smoothie with a green leaf on top, pour the purple first.  If you want a green smoothie with a purple heart on top, pour the green smoothie first.

By pulling the end of a spoon through the "blob" all sorts of interesting patterns can be made.  I've made hearts, leaves, apples, bunches of grapes, and yin-yang symbols.  Just use your imagination to try to see what the blob already sort of looks like, and then see what happens when you pull a table knife or spoon handle through it.
If you don't want your design messed up by bubbles in the smoothie, gently tap the bottom of the jar on a surface and be patient.  Most of the bubbles will dissipate in a minute or two.  Often, we are too thirsty to wait.

Here are the approximate proportions.  You can do it any way you like.  In order to make the designs, you want the right consistency, and two bright, contrasting colors of smoothie.  Basically you want about half of it fresh and half of it frozen, with a good balance of juicy and fleshy fruits.  If it's too thin and runny, it will just mix together when you pour it, and then it will turn out looking like a swirl in the glass, with no center blob to play with.  If it's too thick, which happens sometimes when too much frozen fruit is added in proportion to the fresh fruit, one layer will lay on top of the other, it won't form a "blob" in the center, and the texture will be more like a sorbet than a smoothie.

Green half:

about one half of a fresh pineapple, husk removed
about 3 oranges, peeled, with seeds and most of the pith removed
(or three large peaches, pits removed, or a cucumber)
about 3 cups of frozen baby kale or other greens, (such as spinach, chard, dandelion greens, etc.,) crushed
3 frozen bananas

Chop the fruit and blend it in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy. 

Purple half:

about a pint and a half of of strawberries,  or purple, red or black grapes, or plums with the pits removed.  (Basically you want about a half a blender of chopped purple fruit.)
about 3 cups of frozen baby kale or other greens, crushed
about 3 to 4 cups of frozen blue berries, cherries, and/or raspberries

Chop the fruit and blend in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy

German Chocolate Cake For My Husband's Birthday Dinner

My husband's favorite type of cake is German chocolate, so I made him a raw one for his birthday.  I found the recipe here. 

I didn't use the Irish moss paste, so it didn't come out light and fluffy, but my husband didn't mind.  It was necessary to make a double batch of date paste in order to finish the recipe, and then we had a good amount of date paste left over, which was excellent in oat and nut mylks.

Instead of spring-form, I used a silicone cake pan, which worked just as well for easy un-molding.  Possibly because I didn't use Irish moss, it was a dense cake.  What I found worked was to make the layers by dividing the "cake batter" into three portions, then making each one into a ball, flattening it into a thick, level cake, using the pan as a guide.  Once each layer has been made, it was gently placed in the pan and frosted.  Because the cake batter was so dense, it wouldn't be possible to smash it into a layer shape without pressing too hard on the frosted layer below.  The top layer rose above the lip of the pan, but it didn't matter, because it had been shaped before placing it on the cake.

It was a lot of work but everyone loved it.  I would definitely do it again. 

For his birthday dinner, he also chose this Raw Sesame Vegetable Stir Fry with Celeriac Garlic Rice.  Or you can find it published here.  I'm sorry we didn't take pictures.  We ate it before we could get the camera out.  Celeriac makes an unusual but extremely tasty "rice."  This one will also be a dinnertime staple.

My birthday is coming up, and I'm asking for a raw Indian meal and this cake.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cook These Vegetables if you have Hypothyroidism

In this article, Debbie Whitaker states that certain vegetables contain a group of chemicals  called goitrogens which may trigger hypothyroidism in certain people.  These chemicals are  partially deactivated by cooking the vegetable.  These vegetables are "Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cassava root, horseradish, kale, millet, mustard, mustard greens, peaches, pears, radishes, rutabagas, soybeans, spinach, and turnips."  Apparently raw peanuts are another culprit.

The author is not saying that eating raw vegetables will cause hypothyroidism.  She's saying that if you have it or are at risk of having it, a specific diet can help.

I wonder if fermenting or pickling would deactivate the goitrogens in these foods?  It seems that while 100% raw  is wonderful for those who benefit from it, each person should customize their optimal diet according to their unique needs.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Energy Soup, Chili Style

A little while ago, I shared a recipe for an Italian-style energy soup.

Recently I was striving to stay 100% raw on juice, smoothies and energy soup, and one of my teenagers was into chili.  I wanted something that tasted like chili without going off my diet, so I made a chili-flavored energy soup, using the aforementioned Italian energy soup as a starting place.  It hit the spot.

Here's the recipe:

12 roma tomatoes
4 cups spinach
1  apple
8 oz sunflower sprouts
1 lb mushrooms
juice of one lemon
1/2 sweet onion,
4 small cloves garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 tbsp cumin2 tsp oregano
2 avocado1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp kelp flakes
4 tbsp lecithin granules

1-2 quarts green juice
made from celery, mixed greens, (spinach, kale, chard) cucumbers, beets with tops, cilantro, parsley, lime, ginger, carrots, apples

Blend all ingredients, adding just enough green juice to reach the desired consistency.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

If more texture is wanted,it might be a good idea to stir in some chia seeds and chopped tomato after blending.

Next, how about a curry-flavored energy soup?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Italian Energy Soup

There are several versions of Energy Soup to be found.  The main idea is that it is like a green smoothie, with the exception that it is creamy and savory and eaten like a soup.  Once you know how to make energy soup, it's simple to put together and can be adjusted to suit your individual tastes and needs.

What do you do if you've been cleansing on green juice and smoothies, and you are dying for something savory and satisfying with an Italian flavor?  One option is to blend up a version of Energy Soup with tomatoes, basil and garlic!   It's as flavorful and satisfying as a plate spaghetti, without the pasta.  Note:  Since not everyone can have garlic and onions while on a cleanse, it might be a good idea to ask before serving this.

8 roma tomatoes
1 small shallot
4 small cloves garlic
4 ribs bok choy
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 small apple
4 oz alfalfa sprouts
1 red pepper
1/2 lb button mushrooms
juice of one lemon
2 avocado
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp kelp flakes
4 tbsp lecithin granules

1-2 quarts green juice
made from celery, mixed greens, (spinach, kale, chard) cucumbers, beets with tops, cilantro, parsley, lime, ginger, carrots, apples

Rough chop the first 8 ingredients.  Puree a few of the tomatoes, then add the shallot, sprouts and garlic.  Blend until very smooth.  Next, alternate the tomatoes with the remaining veggies, and continue to liquify.  If more liquid is needed, add some of green juice.  Be careful not to add too many tomatoes or too much liquid all at once, in order to give the blender a chance to liquify the small bits of vegetable matter.  It must be as smooth as possible. 

Next add the lemon, avocado, nutritional yeast, kelp flakes and lecithin granules.  Blend.

Transfer to a large bowl, (I use a two gallon Anchor Hocking jar, which I lovingly refer to as the family juice vat,) then stir in the desired amount of green juice.  Adjust for taste.

I find that if the flavor isn't right, it's easy to pour a few cups of the mixture back into the blender, add additional ingredients, blend, and stir it back into the bowl or container.