Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yummy Recipes from Raw on $10 a Day or Less

One of my favorite blogs is Lisa's Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!) I made three of her amazing recipes she posted on December 19th.
Her "Nut Nog" is so delicious and I enjoyed every last drop.
I read the ingredients in her recipe, knew they would make a killer nog, threw everything in the blender and chugged it down in about 4 seconds flat! It was absolutely delicious. See her recipe here.

Nut Nog

The second recipe of hers that I just had to make was Marinated Broccoli and Mushrooms. I made a version of Marinated Broccoli and Tomato. I didn't have mushrooms so I improvised and came up with this. You can see Lisa's recipe for Marinated Broccoli and Mushrooms here. I used sun dried tomatoes that I had just purchased and they were begging me to eat them. Here is my variation to her recipe:
Marinated Broccoli and Tomatoes

10 organic sun dried tomatoes, preservative free, soaked and sliced
1 bunch of organic broccoli, chopped and stems peeled and diced
2 T Pine nuts
2 T raw honey or raw agave
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T dried onion flakes
Place broccoli, sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the oil, honey, garlic, paprika, S and P, red pepper flakes and dried onion. Pour the marinade over the vegetables and toss well. Allow to marinate 24 hours. Serve cold.

My husband really enjoyed this salad. He was pleasantly surprised by the heat that the red pepper flakes added. I actually prefer Lisa's original recipe for the marinated broccoli and mushrooms, it is actually my favorite vegetable recipe of hers.
The next delightful recipe I made was her Chocolate Raspberry Tart. I brought it over to my parent's house for a family gathering. My sister-in-law also eats raw and I wanted to bring a special dessert. Well, let me tell you this is a SPECIAL dessert. In my case it actually made a very special breakfast the next morning too. Not only is it delicious it is beautiful and looks so impressive but you won't believe how easy it is to make. 

The only things I changed in the recipe was the addition of carob powder and I used hazel nut flour in the crust. I like to mix carob and cacao. I would have made it with 100% carob but then our oldest son wouldn't have eaten it; he refuses to eat carob. I really wanted him to be able to enjoy a healthy dessert with us so I mixed in only about 1/4 of a cup of carob powder to the cacao; he never detected it. Next time I am going to try and use sunflower seeds in the crust. I had read that you should not eat nuts with avocado. None of us had any tummy troubles but next time I may try a seed and raisin crust versus a nut and raisin crust. My husband didn't get to taste it so I will be making another one this week!
+JMJ+Today I am grateful for the short time I had to spend with my brother and his family. They live in Ohio and we don't see each other very often, so when we are together we cherish each and every minute. We always spend a great deal of the time laughing..to the point of tears! Makes it fun that's for sure. Love you guys!! Save travels home. Peace!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

RAW Christmas Eve Salad

I just love this salad so much that I decided to have it as my main course for Christmas Eve dinner. I will make numerous other sides but this salad will be center stage; it even looks festive.
I love the combination of collard greens and Swiss chard. The chard is tender and earthy and the collards add some texture and depth. They are enhanced with the sweetness and tartness of the  fresh apple and dried cranberries.
RAW Swiss Chard and Collard Christmas Eve Salad

RAW Swiss Chard and Collard Christmas Eve Salad
1 bunch swiss chard, thinly sliced
4 large collard leaves, stems removed and thinly sliced
pinch of sea salt
1 T first cold pressed EVOO
fresh lime juice, from 1/2 of a lime
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 T raw sesame seeds, soaked 2 hours and drained
1 T dried white onion flakes
1 red delicious apple, skin on and diced
1/2 C fruit juice infused dried cranberries or dried cherries
Directions: Mix the chard, collards, salt, and oil in a large bowl. Gently massage with hands and let sit 20 minutes at room temp. Whisk together, in a small bowl, the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and onion flakes. Next stir in the sesame seeds and dried cranberries. Pour this mixture over the greens and stir well. Add in the diced apples and toss. Enjoy!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for organic candy canes. Yes, candy canes. My older two children really love candy canes but I refuse to feed them artificial anything nowadays so when I found all natural organic candy canes without red food dye or corn syrup, I almost screamed for joy in the store. I bought two boxes and they are looking forward to tasting them on Christmas Day, along with the younger three children of course!! The name of them are "tru sweets organic candy canes"; see their site at http://www.trusweets.com/
pax et crudus sanitas!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Transitioning to Raw Part IV

I posted about my transition to the raw living foods lifestyle and talked about it being my one year anniversary. I then continued to add Part II, Part III,  and now Part IV. After collecting a small library of raw cookbooks and notebooks full of recipes I got off the Internet, I was ready to officially stock my raw pantry. Again I proceeded very slowly and got only the bare minimum. I purchased about four different types of nuts and seeds, first cold pressed olive oil, local honey, coconut vinegar, coconut aminos, sea salt, coconut oil, raw honey, hemp protein powder, alcohol free vanilla extract, nori sheets, kelp noodles, blue green algae capsules, oat groats, quinoa, buckwheat, nutritional yeast (isn't raw but in several recipes), garlic, and sea vegetables.
It made it so much easier to prepare the recipes now that I had things on hand. It got very frustrating running back and forth to the store each time I wanted to experiment with a new recipe. Something I learned very quickly was to plan ahead and make a weekly menu. That way I could make one trip to the store and have everything I needed for a weeks worth of raw entrees. I would have to go for fresh fruits and vegetables in the middle of the week but other than that I was pretty well stocked up.
Next thing on my goal sheet was to learn how to sprout. I searched the Internet for sprouting how to videos. I found some really great ones and some really lame ones.   Here is a great one to teach you how to soak and sprout buckwheat, sunflower and oats. Sprouting YouTube from The Renegade Health Show. Trust me it not as hard as it seems!! It is super easy. You will definately get motivated to sprout once you hear what nutritional powerhouses sprouts are.
So what about green sprouts like broccoli, red clover, white radish, sunflower, mung and adzuki? I posted about my easy sprouting technique here.
Here is a written atricle also that you could print out and refer to as you are learning.
If you want to go to Sprout School take a look at this web site. Scroll down their main page and on the left hand side they have a Sprout School to teach you everything you'd ever want to know about sprouting. This is the main site that I used to learn and I think it is fantastic.
I also wanted to learn how to sprout grains so I could make raw breads, crackers and morning cereal. I bought some oat groats and decided to try soaking them and using them in different recipes. I think my favorite recipe with oat groats has to be Oat Groat Pilaf.
I served it on top of cucumber rounds and even in romaine wraps with Roma tomatoes and sprouts. It is fantastic.

Oat Groat Pilaf
3/4 C oat groats, soaked 12 hrs
1/3 C pumpkin seeds, soaked 3 hrs, drain and let sprout 1 day
After oat groats have soaked 12 hrs, drain and rinse well and squeeze out the excess water.  Pulse the groats in a food processor and set aside. Pulse the pumpkin seeds with:
1 T Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian herb blend
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp onion powder
Next combine the oat groats and pumpkin seed mixture with 1/3 cup of pine nuts. Drizzle all with some wheat free Tamari and first cold pressed EVOO, mix well. Use as a filling for collards or romaine leaves and top with sprouts of choice or serve on top of cucumber rounds. Enjoy!
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for everything I have been blessed with. As I watched the parents line up today, 24 hours in advance, for the Toys for Tots distribution tomorrow I couldn't help but think how fortunate we are. My daughter and I have been volunteering 3 days a week for the past month sorting and counting books and art activities for the needy families in our town. Tomorrow is distribution day and we will be giving out toys to 1700 recipients!! You would not believe the beautiful things that have been donated, it truly is amazing. I got goose bumps from head to toe when I saw a room full of bags filled to the top with toys. Here are some pics of our area. We sorted more books, playdough, movies, music and art activites than you could imagine. Now I need to concentrate on preparing for Chritmas in our household.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Raw Snowballs

Raw Snowball Cookies
I am getting excited to make our raw Christmas cookies this year! I had to make a small batch early because last night we had our homeschool group's Christmas Pageant and reception. Each family brings a platter of cookies or some type of finger food. My intention was to bring the raw cookies and a platter of Raw Pesto Zucchini Rounds but I only had the energy and the time to prepare these delightful Snowballs and a platter of gluten free/dairy free cookies for the kids. They of course gobbled up my raw Snowballs but also enjoyed their GF/DF cookies too.
I was searching the web the other night for raw cookie recipes and found several. One that caught my eye was on rawfoodnation.org for Raw Carob Balls. Of course I had to play around and tweak their recipe and this is the one I came up with:

Raw Snowballs
1 C raw sunflower seeds, soaked and air dried
handful of apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 C dates, pitted
1 T raw honey, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract, alcohol free
3 tsp carob powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 C raw almond butter(add in more if needed)
1/2 C raw macadamia butter
Organic dried coconut (to roll cookie balls in)
Directions: Soak the raw sunflower seeds for 2 hours, rinse and drain then allow to air dry. Place seeds, dates and cranberries in food processor and pulse until chopped into very small pieces. Add the nut butters, vanilla, sea salt, honey and carob powder. Process until a sticky dough forms. If needed add more nut butter for proper consistency. Test the dough by pinching together a small spoonful, if it holds together nicely it is ready. Roll the dough into small balls about 1/2 inch or slightly larger. Using a clean coffee grinder, grind the coconut into a fine powder and place on a paper plate. Roll each cookie ball in the coconut until coated nicely. Place balls onto a cookie sheet or plate lined with parchment paper. Allow Snowballs to get firm in the refrigerator overnight.  Store Snowballs in the refrigerator or freeze to store longer. Enjoy!
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful that my husband and daughter have returned safely home from their trip up north. They had a delay due to the windy and snowy weather because the plane was having trouble taking off. I am so thankful that they had a nice trip and returned home safely. I can be quite the worry wart when it comes to air travel. :0

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Loving My Pummelos

Chinese Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

I am enjoying my pummelos so much right now that I had to figure out a way to incorporate one into a recipe using the organic Chinese Cabbage I have from this weeks produce pick up. I decided to make a very simple cabbage and carrot slaw dressed with one of my favorite raw dressings; it is more of a mustard vinaigrette. Topping the slaw is one large pummelo and a handful of dried cranberries (unsweetened but infused with apple juice). See how I peel these very seedy citrus fruits here.

Pummelo Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

1 Pummelo (or grapefruit) peeled and diced
1/4 of a Chinese Cabbage, shredded
2 small carrots, shredded
Handful of dried, unsweetened cranberries

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing
Organic Dijon mustard
Coconut vinegar
EVOO cold pressed
Fresh lime juice
Raw honey, warm gently to liquefy
Shake dressing ingredients in a glass jar with tight fitting lid.

To assemble the salad: Plate the cabbage, drizzle on some of the dressing. Top the cabbage with the carrots, pummelo and cranberries. Drizzle on more of the dressing. Enjoy!

~JMJ~ Today I am grateful for a break in the cold weather; I actually could take off my hoody in the house today. But it won't last long b/c our low tonight is going to be 38 degrees. I know I must sound like a wimp but that is cold for us in Florida! :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Celebrating the Feast Day of St. Nicholas

December 6th is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas. In our house we celebrate it by reading the history of St. Nicholas and stuffing stockings with goodies for the children, in rememberance of Nicholas' giving spirit.

Here are 4 of the 5 Kiddos
 On the Left is the Youngest who Wouldn't Pose on the Steps

On the feast of St. Nicholas we tell this story of St. Nicholas who lived in the fourth century in Asia Minor:
He came from a well-known wealthy family but was taught by his parents to be generous to others, especially those in need. Nicholas heard about a rich man in Myra who lost all his money when his business failed. He had three daughters all wanting to get married, but he had no money for their marriage. The father thought he would have to sell one of his daughters into slavery in order to get money for food to feed the others. But the night before the first daughter was to be sold, Nicholas tossed a small bag of gold through their open window and then vanished in the darkness. The next morning the man found the bag of gold next to his bed. He did not know where it came from and he fell to his knees and thanked God for this beautiful gift. He was so happy that someone could be so unexpectedly good to him. He arranged for his first daughter's wedding and there was enough money left for the rest of them to live for almost a year.
The money eventually ran out and the father felt desperate. The next daughter was to be sold into slavery in order for the family to get money to live. But Nicholas again heard the news and went secretly to the father and tossed in another bag of gold. The man  again wondered who could be so generous and he felt bad that he had given up hope and begged God for His pardon. He often wondered who gave them the gold. Each night afterwards the father watched the window.
As the year passed their money ran out. In the dead of night he heard quiet steps approaching his house and suddenly a bag of gold fell onto the floor. He quickly ran out of the house to see who it was. He recognized Nicholas as the young man who came from a well-known family in the city. He asked him why he gave them the gold. Nicholas said, "Because you needed it". The man asked him why he did it in secret. Nicholas replied, "Because it's good to give and have only God know about it."
Nicholas came to be the bishop of Myra and seemed more aware than ever of people's needs. He would appear all over the city to offer help to those in need. He would quietly disappear before anyone could offer him thanks. He was very concerned with families getting enough to eat and having a proper place to live. He also was intersted in making sure that children moved forward in life and that the elderly were treated with respect and dignity.
He would often give the children small gifts and his kindness touched everyone. The people learned from this holy man just how beautiful it is to give. So even thought the secular world may not acknowledge St. Nicolas we know that in the figure of their Santa Claus, whose name and activity Nicholas inspired, we have this saint with us today.

Advent for us is a time of preparation. We love Advent and enjoy all of the family traditions that we do each year. What is Advent? It comes from the latin word "arrival" or "coming", and is a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is the start of the Christmas season which lasts through the Baptism of Our Lord. The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the liturgical year, the Church's "New Year's Day". It is at this time we change the cycle of readings at Mass. Advent is a time of joyous anticipation, but also of penance and preparation for the great Christmas feast. The liturgical color of the season is purple, a sign of penance, which is also used during Lent.

Our Advent Wreath

I made this Advent wreath years ago and we all look forward to putting it out each year on the first day of Advent. Each year we bless our wreath with Holy Water and prayers and then the oldest child lights the first candle.
 The wreath is a circle, no beginning and no end representing Jesus coming to give us life that will never end, eternal life with God in heaven.
The evergreen branches do not change color as do the leaves on other types of trees in the winter. The evergreen reminds us of life and that God never changes. God has always loved us and always will.
There are four outer candles, one for each week of Advent. They represent the period of waiting during the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ. There are usually three purple (the color of the vestments during Advent) and one rose colored candle. The first candle is of Expectation or Hope. The second represents Peace and the third, or rose candle, represents Joy. The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday, because in Latin, the first words of the opening antiphon for that day's Mass are "Gaudete in Domino semper" (Rejoice in the Lord always). On this Sunday rose-colored vestments are permitted and the rose colored candle is lit as a reminder that we are called to rejoice. The fourth candle represents Love.
 Our tradition is to light it at our evening meal. We light the appropriate candle and say the particular prayer for that week then we say our eating prayer, enjoy our meal and conversation and then at the end of dinner the little ones blow them out.
 When we light the candles it reminds us that Christ is the light of the world and He brightens the darkness around us. There is so much darkness these days and this outward sign is a great comfort to me. Each week we light one more candle, showing us that the more we let Christ into our lives, the brighter they will be. In the center is a large white candle, the Christ candle.The central location of the Christ Candle reminds us that the incarnation is the heart of the season, giving light to the world. On Christmas all four outer candles are lit as well as the center Christ candle. It creates the most beautiful and comforting glow. We keep it lit until the tapers have burned down, not too low though, I am always afraid of my wreath going up in flames. We then replace the candles with fresh ones because we continue to light all 5 candles through Mass services on the Epiphany, January 6th.
Our oldest children take turns lighting the candles each night and the younger three take turns blowing them out after dinner.

Our Advent Wreath is the focal point of our decor during this time and we also display a few St. Nicholas figures. The stockings are hung on the stairway and we have a few "wintry" decorations to make it feel more like winter here in Florida. The time of waiting and preparation is a wonderful thing. It keeps us grounded and focused and we don't get sucked up into the retail aspect.
I look forward to beginning our winter break next week. I want to get some projects done and prepare raw food like crazy. I will address the Christmas cards and hopefully get the kids picture taken in the next week or so. I also look forward to making our raw cookies and treats.
Three days before Christmas we will dig out the lights for the yard and for the trees. It takes us two days to get everything strung and placed. We put up one large tree and one small tree. We do not light them until late on Christmas Eve. We like the waiting and the anticipation. We prefer to have the big display when we celebrate Christ's Birthday, December 25th!! I have to giggle when I hear the kids murmur under their breath, why is eveyone decorating? It's NOT Christmas yet. We celebrate from Christmas Eve through the Baptism of Our Lord; long after everyone else has torn down their out door light ours are still shining bright.
My hope is to pass on these traditions to our children. We must teach them the true meaning of this religious holiday even though the world has tried to change it into something else. We wont ever give up our beliefs just because the world is sending conflicting messages. All for Christ in this house!
~JMJ~ Today I am grateful for family traditions. Our children look forward to all of the family traditions we do throughout the liturgical year. Even our teens still love to participate and look forward to each and every one. We try to add new traditions each year allowing them the chance to have many to choose from when they pass them on to their own children some day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Transitioning to Raw Part III

As I mentioned previously, November marked my one year anniversary transitioning to the raw living foods lifestyle. One of the first things I did after discovering the raw foods diet was search the Internet for any and all information on preparing raw foods. I filled notebooks full of recipes, that I found on the Internet. These are now my "uncook books" that I treasure. I actually wrote most of them all down by hand!! But once we purchased our laser printer, I started copying them off web sites and putting them in 3-ring binders. I was hungry for knowledge, raw food knowledge. I spent soooo many hours educating myself about this new way of life. I couldn't wait until the next meal so I could experiment with one of these amazing recipes that I found on raw foodist's blogs. I am so thankful for all of the bloggers that share their recipes and knowledge. It is like having a support group 24/7.  Speaking of support. I could not have done this if it weren't for the support I got from my sister-in-law (check out my sister-in-laws quilts on her Etsy shop. She is quite the talented quilter! She makes amazing cards as well) and our local raw and living foods group.  It makes you feel like what you are doing is truly worthwhile even though the general public may think you are nuts. They just don't get it. Your eyes really have to be opened in order to see the light and the one thing that opened my eyes was learning all about the numerous people who cured themselves of cancer and other debilitating diseases by eating a raw living foods diet. I attended many lectures this past year and have seen several DVD's on the raw living foods diet and the knowledge I have acquired is so precious. I wish that some day everyone will understand just how important food is in relationship to health. Most people don't want to know the truth because they are just not willing to give up their addictions. Addictions are tough, but will power can be even tougher. Get the will power and one can overcome any obstacle. Get your mind and soul in the right place and watch miracles happen. It is all a journey. An important journey at that and one that I am so grateful for.
So let's talk about raw books. I eased into buying them. I would restrict myself to one book every two months. I didn't want to go crazy too quickly. Remember I am well aware of how much I can handle on my plate at one time and I had to move slowly in order to be successful at this new lifestyle. Here is a list of what I have to date in my library:

By the way, I was fortunate enough to get a complimentary copy of Everyday Raw Desserts. I will be doing a book review and featuring one of the recipes on my blog very soon. I wanted to wait until December to do this because I will have the kids take their winter break from homeschooling which will allow me the time to take on this task. I am very excited to do this! It is a great book! And speaking of Ani Phyo, I was fortunate enough to hear her speak and get her to sign my two books. She came to SW Florida and our raw food group had her do a lecture and food prep demo. It was a great night. I was able to share it with our oldest child, our one and only daughter. She has four younger brothers. See my post about that great evening here.
I had a blast scouring the Internet for raw food recipes and thought I would share one of my own. I am so thankful for all of the raw foodists who share their recipes and I love sharing mine. I picked up my organic buying club's half basket of produce the other day and had to figure out what to do with my turnips and Chinese cabbage. Here is what I threw together:

4 organic turnips, grated
1 red delicious apple, processed with the "S" blade
1/4 of a head of Chinese cabbage, processed with "S" blade
juice of 1 lemon or lime , I used a lime from my tree :)
2 t raw honey
2 T Gogi berries, soaked
2 T organic raisins, soaked
2 T raw sunflower seeds, soaked
pinch of Herbamare
Put turnips, apple, cabbage, gogi, and raisins and sunflower seeds in a medium mixing bowl. Sprinkle on the pinch of Herbamare. Stir well. Whisk the lime juice with the raw honey and pour over slaw in the bowl. Mix well. Let sit for 30 min so flavors will blend. Keeps well in refrig for 2 days.
+JMJ+Today I am grateful for discovering the raw living foods diet. I feel so blessed and wish more people would take the time to really study and learn about living foods. It all makes perfect sense now and I am dumbfounded when I think about the foods that people consume on the Standard American Diet not knowing the harm that it does to the body.  I cherish our faith and love living it to the fullest each day. Knowing that our bodies were created to be a temple for the Holy Spirit makes it easier for me to model this lifestyle for my children. They know the importance of protecting and nourishing their temples and that makes me smile. We are still learning and have a way to go but it is all good and I am truly grateful.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Transitioning to Raw Part II

My Ugly but Yummy Breakfast

When I was transitioning to raw I knew the importance of green juices. As I began to routinely juice I began to crave "morning juice", my body was telling me just how much I needed it. I seemed to prefer it upon rising more than any other time of day. And I started to notice that I wanted smoothies in the late afternoon.  But one complaint I have read about with newbie raw foodies is having to do both, green smoothies and green juices. Many ask, why do I have to do both? Can't I just do one? I have to ask, why wouldn't you do both?? They are two entirely different things. Smoothies, green smoothies, give you the fiber and nutrients you need while juicing gives you the nutrients but not the fiber. So why would you juice you ask? Juices are a supplement for additional nutrients and they help protect the body from diseases by supplying it with the live food it needs in an easily absorbable form. Many people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and juicing is an easy and quick way to increase this intake in a form that the body can absorb very quickly. Not much digestion is needed so your body is nourished almost instantly. I always feel really energized shortly after my juice.
So why the green smoothies? FIBER! It is all about the fiber when it comes to smoothies in the blender. Fiber is not found in animal products, junk food and other SAD foods. Blend up your fruits and veggies and you have an easily digestible meal at its finest. I actually like making blended salads too. Perhaps I will post some blended salad recipes soon. I like having the best of both worlds, I could not imagine living the raw living foods lifestyle with out making both, fresh juices and green smoothies.
Here is a pic of my ugly yet yummy breakfast today.
This is a simple juice made with only 4 ingredients. I used my organic collards from my produce buying club and threw in some baby spinach, carrots and one apple. This was so good, you do not taste the collard at all. Sometimes juices with collards can taste bitter but this combo was fantastic.

Here is my recipe:
1 collard leaf
2 C baby spinach
4 large carrots
1 red delicious apple, remove seeds

So what is left over after juicing these amazing vegetables and apple? A beautiful pulp that I freeze and save for making raw crackers. If you don't have a dehydrator yet you can put it in the compost bin.

Speaking of dehydrators, that came along in the middle of my journey this past year...I will post about that in Part III or Part IV. Peace & Raw Health!
~JMJ~ Today I am grateful for a cup of warm tea in my very cold hands this morning. It is cold and rainy down here in SW FL and I am freezing. I cuddled up with my cup of tea as I taught our 6 year old school this morning. I am dreading my shower. Time to turn on the tiny portable heater that we bought one year when we camped up in the Georgia mountains and it was very cold in our little pop up camper. Boy does that little electric heater come in handy during our few cold days we have down here each year. We do have central heat but the hubby makes us keep it set very low so most of the time we are bundled up and wondering why??? :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My One Year Anniversary on a Raw Living Foods Diet--How I made the Transition, Part I

Last month marked my one year anniversary living and learning the raw living foods lifestyle. How did I begin this journey? It happened as a result of the research I did for family members on healing Crohn's Disease. We have three family members with gastrointestinal issues and I needed some answers. I started snooping around on the Internet searching everything I could regarding Crohns and other IBD's. I kept seeing a repeating pattern-- proper dietary changes. First I looked into the Specific Carbohydrate Diet for them and I would see many references to the Raw Foods Diet while reading through all of the information. I became curious so I decided to start researching the Raw Diet. I came across two different men who had Crohn's Disease and they both had great success with changing their diets. One of them went totally raw and the other went partially raw. Each of them taught me a great deal and I was able to take what information I needed from both of them and adapt it to my family members that were ill. We tried many different approaches and it was a long road and a huge process of elimination to finally find almost the right balance for them.
I was along for the ride and thought it would just be easier to eat like them and feed the rest of the family likewise. For me I found that I felt the best on a raw living foods diet. I ended up discovering the cause for my chronic hives and I also got rid of my horrible migraines. So many other health benefits kept coming to the surface that I was not even aware just how awful I felt before I made these dietary changes and slowly transitioned into the raw lifestyle. It is amazing how we can go day to day doing what we do and eating unhealthy foods and become numb to the fact that we feel awful and suffer from things that can be eliminated if we simply eat right and allow the body to do what it was designed to do--heal itself. It's not the foods that heal us, it is the amazing human body that heals itself when we supply it with the right nutrients through living foods.
So how did I personally transition into eating this way? After much research into the raw living foods diet I decided to jump right in mentally, but physically slowly move forward. I needed to do just what I knew I could handle without becoming overwhelmed, otherwise I would not succeed. So I decided to start by adding in more smoothies to our daily routine. We would make fruit smoothies quite a bit but now it was time for green smoothies! I began with spinach, a little bit at a time until we eventually got to 2 cups of loosely packed spinach in each batch of smoothies. Kale and collards go in too now. The kids adore them! Here is a great recipe for one of our easy green smoothies.
Blue Green Smoothie
1 small bag of Cascadian Farms Blueberries, frozen
2 C fresh organic baby spinach
1 leaf of kale
3 small ripe bananas
2 T Non GMO lecithin (optional)
1/2 C water
1/4 C fresh juiced apple juice
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. Enjoy!

Part of the early transition was eliminating processed foods and other foods that cause more harm than good to the body. Wheat and sugar were out and I knew the importance of going dairy free for the entire family. I won't even get into the dangers of cow's milk, I'll leave that up to each individual to research for themselves. All I know is I won't feed my family that stuff! Enough said. So what do you do for a substitute? You make your own raw nut mylks, at least that is what we do. I learned how to make many different types of raw nut mylks and found that I enjoy almond and hemp the best. Here is a simple recipe for raw almond mylk. I used this in my Very Cherry Smoothie recipe that I will share with you as well.  Let's start with the almond mylk:

Almond Mylk
1 C raw almonds, soak for 8 hours then rinse and drain (yields 1 1/2C)
2 1/2-3C water
3 pitted medjool dates, soaked (or use a non fruit sweetener+)
1/2 t vanilla, optional
Place 1 1/2 cups of water, almonds, dates and optional vanilla in a blender. Blend on high speed until very smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup of water and blend until smooth. If you prefer a thinner mylk like skim milk then add a little more water and blend again.
 Over a medium bowl pour the mylk through a nut milk bag and squeeze the milk through it, leaving only the nut pulp behind in the bag. Save the nut pulp for raw cookie recipes or raw pie crusts. You can freeze it in a ziplock baggie. Transfer the mylk to a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. Shake well before using.
+For Almond Mylk with Stevia: Stevia is a naturally sweet herb that can be used if  you are avoiding fruit sugar and other sweeteners. Omit the dates and use 4 drops of liquid stevia or 1 packet of stevia powder.

Here is my recipe for an easy fruit smoothie. Sometimes we like having something really simple and not green.
Very Cherry Smoothie
1 fresh ripe banana
1/2 of a frozen ripe banana
Large handful of frozen organic cherries
1 fresh ripe pear, do not peel
1 t vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 C fresh raw almond mylk
Blend till smooth in a high speed blender.

The next step in my transition was to begin juicing. After much research I was convinced that we had to add fresh juices to our diets. I bought a book titled, Juicing for Life by Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane. I read it cover to cover at least three times before I bought my juicer. That was a project in itself, researching all of the juicers on the market. My focus was on power and ease of cleaning. I spent a great deal of time reading about all of the different juicers and decided on the L'EQUIP Pulp Ejection XL Juicer. I am very happy with it. It performs great and is super easy to clean. I love the fact that it comes with a 10 year warranty also!!
We have tried many, many juice recipes so far but I would like to share two favorites:
Juice of Radiance from raw-radiance.blogspot.com
2 stalks of organic celery
1 large kale leaf
1 large collard leaf
1 small apple, remove seeds
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 a carrot
1/2 a lemon

Pinkytuscadero by Elizabeth
1 pink grapefruit, peeled
1 orange, peeled
1 Bosc pear
1 tiny piece of an organic beet

~JMJ~ Today I am grateful for the Blessed Mother's abundant love and intercession. As I sat in Mass tonight with our five children I was so much at peace, knowing that her mantle is constantly covering my precious children and me as well. Today we celebrate The Immaculate Conception of Mary. Ave Maria!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How to Cut a Pummelo

                 Gift from a Sweet Friend, a Bowl Full of Pummelos!

What is a pummelo you ask?? Well, I have posted previously about this wonderful citrus. You can read more about them here:  http://www.essortment.com/all/whatisapummel_rldn.htm
My dear friend has a tree in her yard and I am fortunate enough to receive baskets full from her when they are in season. How does one eat such a fruit you ask? Well, they are LOADED with seeds. You have to cut them a certain way to avoid all of the seeds. This is the way I do it and it works great! Follow along step-by-step here:
How to Cut a Pummelo Step by Step

Slice off Each End

With a Long, Sharp Knife Begin to "Fillet" off the Skin

Draw the Knife down in a Smooth, Sawing Motion
 Make a Backwards "C" Around the Fruit

Continue Removing all of the Skin

Make Four Slices Around the Center

Remove any Remaining Seeds from the Cut Flesh 

Now how do you eat it? You could just cut it up and eat it like a grapefruit or have it in an amazing breakfast salad like I do. I love the combination of pummelo and radish. They go together so well for me and I adore how they taste together with just a hint of honey drizzled on top. Oh, and don't forget the sprouts, I added them at the last minute. Take a look at the beautiful organic white radishes I got from my local produce buying club. Here is my simple recipe for
Pummelo and White Radish Salad
1 pummelo, peeled and diced
Organic romaine, cut into thin ribbons
2 organic white radishes, cut into half rounds
raw white sesame seeds
A drizzle of local orange blossom honey or tupelo if available
Red clover sprouts

~JMJ~Today I am grateful for fresh, local, organic produce!! I have been buying a half basket every week from a farmer up the road from my home. I pick it up at the local health food store. It has been really good and I am having fun making spur of the moment recipes based on what is in each weeks mystery basket. I never know what will be in each weeks batch, so that keeps it exciting and perhaps a bit challenging too when I am pressed for time and need to plan a menu last minute. But I am just thankful that I can eat local!


Banana Cream Pie Smoothie Lately I've been blessed with fresh, green, Florida coconuts from my neighbor's trees. We enjoy drinking...