Summer of Raw: Summation and Thoughts

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Above: Apple chips!

So, my summer of raw is just about at an end. Forgive my lack of communication the last couple of weeks, I was on vacation and when I vacation I basically just shut down all modern day technologies and go hide in the woods with no cell service. I will be sure to post a few more raw recipes, but I think I’ve been with this long enough to talk about the experience.

Firstly I would say: this is really hard to stick to. Unless you have some reason that you absolutely need to have nothing but raw foods, I would try something with a bit more flexibility. I’m someone who spends a good deal of time prepping my foods each week, and probably commit more time to that task than most in an effort to eat healthfully and deliciously at the same time, and it was a lot, even for me. You basically need to be continually prepping things.

That said, there were a LOT of things I loved about trying to eat primarily raw. (I say this because I never ended up eating exclusively raw). Once I figured out to stop trying to replicate “real” things, it was pretty glorious. And I’ll definitely continue to eat this way as often as possible. Summer makes it easier; the abundance of fruits and vegetables make it easy to just throw some things into a bowl together and call it a meal, or a salad. If I lived in California or someplace like that I might consider making this a primary lifestyle choice…but maybe not, too. Because regardless of heat or good veggies, I feel my body changing each season, and craving different things in different seasons. And for me, the most surefire way to fail at something is to ignore what my body is asking for. My body always knows more than me.

If you want to eat raw, my suggestions are:

  • make sure you have all the proper equipment
  • Prep a bunch of granola and other snacky things to have whenever you need
  • Always have lots of ripe fruit, veggies and nuts around to grab as needed
  • DON’T try to make things like raw bread, crackers, pretzels, etc. This will be expensive, time consuming, and ultimately (just an opinion) taste revolting.
  • Don’t try to prep too much almond milk or other nut milk, they go bad fairly quickly so you’re better off making just a couple of cups at a time and then just making more. You will spend a lot of time making nut milks and other nut products, unless you plan on not having a very flavorful palette.
  • Good produce makes everything easier

These are probably pretty good tips just in general, anyway. (I say this for me to remember, not you!) So fear not! I will still be posting many raw things.

And I have a new project, starting soon, probably within the week. This one has a medical reason behind it, but there is definitely a project in there and it’s probably a good idea for anyone to eat this way, not just for medical problems. More on that, on the way.

Really I can’t imagine a project that involves food, that I wouldn’t be excited about.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

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I admit fully to having my doubts about this dish. But it was actually amazing. Different, for sure, with unexpected flavors and textures. I was incredibly impressed, and, when I had unexpected visitors and this was all I had on hand to put out, they all asked for seconds!! Definitely a good meal to include in a raw diet, where it’s nice to have something different that feels a little more hearty. Oh! Did I mention that this is from Eat Raw, Eat Well again? I have NOT moved past the recipe stage of raw eating, since I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing at all, even with a recipe.

That said: make this for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in 2 cups of water, covered, 8 hours in the fridge.
  • 1/2 cup dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in 1 cup of water, covered, for 30 minutes.
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. raw agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch ground pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of sweet potato strips (spiralized sweet potato)
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor, process chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1/4 cup of their soaking liquid, until smooth.
  2. Add agave, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper and cayenne and process until incorporated.
  3. Transfer to a bowl. Add sweet potato,  cilantro, carrot, bell pepper, and chickpeas and stir well.
  4. Transfer to a shallow casserole -type dish and dehydrate at 105 F for 30 minutes, until mixture is warmed through.

 

Eating Raw Updates; week 4 and 5

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Above: Raw Buckwheat Pretzels

So, I’ve been learning a lot about eating raw. I’m still enjoying it, but I’ve lately been changing the way I approach it.

While I do find many, many things delicious on this type of diet, what I find myself craving is something crisp, something that feels like bread or crackers, so to speak. So I’ve tried out a few recipes that claim to provide the cure to that craving.

So far, I have tried raw buckwheat pretzels, raw tortilla chips, and raw chickpea/zucchini fritters. The result? These are all disgusting. Like not, I don’t like it as much as the real thing, or even, I could make myself eat this but I won’t enjoy it, just plain old, these are inedible and should not be consumed. Are there really people who claim otherwise? Yes! I know there are, because they are listed in these otherwise reliable raw cookbooks as “delicious” and other deceitful words. Now, it’s definitely possible that I’m just doing something wrong. But honestly, what could I be doing that’s THAT wrong, that it changes from delicious to horrifying?!?

Here’s the thing: this is extra annoying because of a few reasons. Firstly, a lot of time goes into making these. Like, a LOT of time. Second, all these things cost a lot of money!! It’s not cheap to buy buckwheat groats and ground flax seed, etc. So when I’ve invested this much time and energy into something that comes out looking like a concrete block, it’s majorly annoying. Also, what it makes me do is suddenly need to go buy a real pretzel, or the like, to satisfy the craving that I’ve had the entire 48 hours I’ve been making these atrocities. (EXCEPTION: raw granola. Which is outrageously amazing).

So, I’ve had to re-think things. Nearly every single juice, smoothie, salad, etc. I have tried has been delicious. So have all the zoodles, and sauces and dressings, granolas, nuts, and so on! Why not just stick to those things? It actually feels a little more natural that way anyway, and most of these things take FAR less time and energy to make…plus they are actually good. Which is the quality I’m looking for. I will try making crackers from my juice pulp, which has been recommended, but I’m dubious. I’m only doing it cause juice pulp is free.

All that said; up next is a recipe for a complicated, weird, not normal raw dinner that is oddly wonderful. They do exist!

Below: Zucchini Chickpea Fritters (these went directly into the compost.)

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Raw Eats, Week 2! Raw Strawberry Granola

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Above: my meals for today while I’m at work. From left to right: Raw peach (yay, peaches!), raw strawberry granola, cold sesame zoodles, almond milk (for granola), and Super Goji-Cacau-Maca Bar.

The rawness continues. Disclaimer: I ate a pizza over the weekend. Yeah, I did.

I feel like my dehydrator has been on for the last week. I think that’s pretty much how it goes if you actually want to eat raw, like, on a regular basis.

Today I thought I’d share the recipe for raw peaches.

Hahaha just kidding!! I’m going on not so much sleep today, so forgive me. How about this raw strawberry granola recipe instead.

I got this recipe primarily from Everyday Raw, by Matthew Kenney. His recipe is called Raspberry Vanilla Almond Granola. It requires some patience, and a weekend is helpful. Mine is essentially exactly the same, but I had these gorgeous little organic perfectly ripe strawberries from my favorite, the Park Slope Food Coop, so I subbed out strawberries, and oh my god am I glad I did.  I used a quart. His recipe called for 4 cups of raspberries, so I think I was probably a little under…but I actually think the granola is PERFECT just the way it is. So!

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart small strawberries, or large cut into pieces
  • 2 cups of sunflower seeds, soaked 8 – 12 hours and drained
  • 3 cups of pecans, soaked 8 – 12 hours and drained
  • 6 cups almonds, soaked 8 – 12 hours and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup of date paste (I couldn’t find any so just made some from fresh dates)
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbls. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbls. lime juice and zest

Preparation:

  • Place strawberries and sunflower seeds in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Process pecans and almonds in a food processor until chunky — DO NOT OVER PROCESS!! Add to bowl with strawberries and sunflower seeds.
  • Process all remaining ingredients in food processor until chunky; again, do not over process. Add to bowl, and mix everything thoroughly.
  • Crumble evenly in dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 105 – 110 degrees for 48 hours.

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The final product. It yielded a LOT of granola. I vacuum sealed two huge bags and popped them in the freezer.

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I don’t know why but this granola tastes PERFECT with almond milk. I’ve been making my own sweetened with a couple of dates. And, holy crap if it’s not a completely delicious breakfast. Also, I’m full! Yes, yes, and yes. Hope you enjoy.

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“Two Moms in the Raw”- Style Granola Bar

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I’ve been eating these granola bars for several years, and have always loved them. Granola bars seemed to me a really good way to get going with raw foods — my feeling is if I can prep a bunch of grab and go style things, it won’t be that difficult to maintain.

So, the first thing I did was buy the Two Moms in the Raw Cookbook. Sadly, I quickly learned that they don’t give that recipe in their cookbook!!!!

Heartbroken, I began my search again.

It led me to this recipe on The Fitchen: http://thefitchen.com/2013/09/19/the-best-granola-bars-ever/.

Now, this was cool, but I was confused by the whole, use of an oven in a raw diet thing. Also, I’m itching to use my dehydrator. So I used their recipe with some slight tweaks.

Ingredients
  • 1 c. rolled oats (1/2 of the oats ground in food processor)
  • ¼ c. raw pepitas
  • ¼ c. raw cashew pieces
  • ¼ c. millet
  • 2 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. oat groats
  • 5 dried Turkish apricots
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. Thompson seedless raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. dried currents
  • ⅓ c. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey
  • ½ Tbsp. coconut oil