Thursday, March 27, 2014

Got a Veggetti??

So my new friend on Instagram, Tanya @tannyraw, did a video on this great gadget. We both bought ours at Bed Bath & Beyond. I used one of my $5.00 off coupons and got this gizmo for mighty cheap. You see my original spiralizer broke about a year ago and I have been whining about it and decided to finally replace it with this little guy.


 I was thinking how easy it will be to pack it along with my travel blender and juicer when we travel.
The first veggie I experimented with was carrot.
Just look at the noodles this thing made out of just 1 small carrot!!!
I added them to my killer kale salad yesterday and enjoyed this deliciousness for lunch, in the sunshine.
The next veggie I experimented with was a green zucchini.
I used the "thin" side to create these long, thin noodles. Reserve the small leftover end of zucchini that does not spiralize; this will go in the sauce.
Tonight on the dinner menu was Raw Mushroom Marinara Sauce served over a bed of raw zucchini noodles.
Here is how I put it all together:
First I soaked my sundried tomatoes plus one Medjool date.

Take 1 cup of the fresh baby portobello mushrooms and wilt them by placing in a warm steamer pan. To do this, heat up your steamer pan, then drain out all of the water and place the fresh mushrooms in it, remove from the stove and put the lid on the pan. The mushrooms will wilt from the warmth and moisture without cooking. The longer you keep them covered the more they will wilt and soften from the moisture.
Next I prepped the veggies for the sauce.
Into the food processor went the carrot, some of the mushrooms, the small piece of leftover zucchini, green onion, baby peppers, the sundried tomatoes, date, and 1 teaspoon of hemp seeds. I pulse chopped this.
Then I added the two fresh tomatoes
Processed that until it was almost smooth, I like to leave it a bit chunky.
Final step is to plate your raw pasta and top it with the marinara.


Raw Mushrooms Marinara 

by Elizabeth @ rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

2 small sweet peppers
2 organic tomatoes
1 Medjool date
6 sundried tomatoes
1 small carrot
1 green onion
1 teaspoon of raw Hemp Seeds
1 1/2 cups of baby portobello mushrooms
dried Italian spices to taste, optional
1 medium, organic, green zucchini

Soak the sundried tomatoes and date in water for 20-30 minutes. Drain off a the soak water. Wilt the mushrooms by placing them in a warm steamer pan that has been heated and removed from the heat. Cover pan and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to wilt. In a food processor put the carrot, some of the mushrooms, the small piece of leftover zucchini, green onion, baby peppers, sundried tomatoes, date, and 1 teaspoon of hemp seeds. Process until roughly chopped. Then add the two tomatoes. Process until almost smooth. Pour over the spiralized zucchini noodles and top with the wilted mushrooms. Enjoy!!!

You can even twirl this raw pasta on your fork!!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for this little fellow who visited me the other day. Our youngest child picks me flowers every time we go out side and he placed these next to my chair and in a matter of minutes this cute little bee came to say HI! 



Saturday, March 22, 2014

RAW Mojito Recipe (alcohol free, sugar free)

So here is a traditional recipe for a Mojito Cocktail that contains alcohol, sugar and club soda; all three of which are not generally consumed on a raw lifestyle.

Ingredients in the Mojito Cocktail

  • 6 Mint leaves
  • .75 oz Simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar)
  • .75 oz Fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 oz White rum
  • 1.5 oz Club soda

So quite by accident, I came up with a juice that was so sweet and so minty that I called it "My Pineapple Mojito". I've actually never had a real Mojito Coctail before but know that there is loads of mint in them. My version has no alcohol, sugar or club soda. The sweetness comes from the fresh pineapple juice not a simple syrup. And who needs the alcohol or the bubbles of the club soda? The tangy-ness of the pineapple and the refreshing burst of lime and mint are such a taste explosion, nothing else is needed in this one!!

Here is what I threw together the other day; give it a try you won't be disappointed. I actually made two versions, one was a blended drink and the second one I strained out the pulp and made a smooth juice. Don't you dare throw away that pulp, trimmings, or the top of the pineapple. More on that in a minute.



Into the blender goes the cubed pineapple flesh and as much fresh mint as you prefer. I actually ended up using the entire package you see here because this made a massive amount of juice.

Into the juicer goes the pineapple core. Never throw away those pineapple cores. They contain a concentrated amount of cancer fighting properties and you want those in your bloodstream!!!


Next up was the fresh, organic lime. I choose organic limes so I can juice the entire thing, skin and all. It just makes the lime flavor over the top when you include a little of the skin too. I put a few slices of the lime through the juicer with the pineapple core and hand juiced the other half of the lime.


Added the juice of the lime and ice to the blender full of pineapple cubes and mint. Blend until creamy and frothy.

Here is the blended juice that still contains all of the pulp from the pineapple.
But if you or any of your family members cannot have that much fruit pulp you can simply strain it through a mesh strainer or a nut milk bag and enjoy it as a smooth and pulp free juice. Hubby enjoyed this bottle full!!

My Pineapple Mojito (alcohol free, sugar free)

by Elizabeth @rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

1 ripe pineapple, twist top off, peel and core the pineapple (reserve core!)
1 large organic lime, juice half of it and keep 2 slices from the other half to run through juicer)
Roughly 1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves
2-3 cups of ice

Directions:
In a blender add the cubed pineapple flesh, fresh mint, and the juice of half a lime. Run through a juicer, the slices of lime with skin on and the core of the pineapple. Add this juice to the blender along with the ice. Blend until smooth. Drink as is or strain off the pulp through a mesh strainer or a nut milk bag. Enjoy!!


Now on to the pineapple tops and all of the scraps you trimmed off. I always try to compost my juice pulp and fruit scraps. I have a massive pile in the back yard where I throw all of my fruit and veggie scraps plus my old wheatgrass and sunflower green mats.
To remove the top of the pineapple simply twist it off, do not cut it off. You will be left with this:





Then you want to peel off all of the little bottom leaves to reveal the stems point as seen above.

 I put the stem into a glass of water, let it sit on my kitchen window ledge for several weeks until roots shoot out. Here is one that has actually been on my window ledge for about a month now. One it establishes a good amount of roots I plant them in the yard. It take almost 2 years to get a pineapple but it's worth it. You have never tasted something so good when you allow a pineapple to fully ripen on the plant until it's bright yellow!!! Amazing!


+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for the opportunity to watch, with my children, this little red-headed woodpecker eat off our Christmas Palm. I bought two of these palms years ago from Edison's garden. Yes, I mean Thomas Edison. His vacation home is here and we use to go on weekly field trips there for homeschool science classes.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vegan RAW Banana Splits

Today I felt like making the kids raw banana ice kream with some chocolate and strawberry sauce on top! Why not, right??!! A few weeks ago I stocked up on extra bananas, allowed them to get fully ripe, and then froze 2 big bags full; that way we have a stash of frozen naners on hand to make ice kream any time we want!. This ice kream can be made using a high speed blender, food processor,or a YoNanas maker. I have done all three over the years. To start you'll want to soak some dates in water. (reserve the soak water) This will be the sweetener for the sauces. Prepare your sauces before blending the ice kream. (recipes below)
The strawberry sauce was pretty basic, just fresh organic strawberries and the dates. The chocolate sauce was made using raw cacao, dates and vanilla. Sorry for the blurry pic.
Next step is to place the frozen bananas into your blender or food processor, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Allow the bananas to soften just a bit at room temp. I usually wait 5-10 minutes. Pulse the frozen bananas until they break up a bit and then blend/process them into the consistency of soft-serve ice kream.

Scoop the ice kream into your serving bowls and top with some chocolate and strawberry sauce.
I shredded some raw coconut in a coffee grinder until almost powdery. Used those as our healthy sprinkles.



Raw Strawberry Sauce

by Elizabeth @rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

2 cups of organic strawberries
3 Medjool dates

In a personal size blender, blend the dates and strawberries to desired consistency.

Raw Chocolate Sauce

by Elizabeth @rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

5 Medjool dates
2-3 Tablespoons of raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Enough soak water from the dates to blend

In a personal size blender, blend all of the ingredients, adding the soak water as needed to get a smooth consistency. 



+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for the fact that we can eat raw, vegan ice kream all day long if we want!!! Beauty of the raw lifestyle.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cauliflower in a Smoothie? Oh Yes!!

I have put some pretty unusual ingredients into our daily green smoothies over the years but you'd be surprised at just how delicious it can be. Don't be afraid to try new, strange sounding things when experimenting with foods, life is too short to miss out. I routinely put cauliflower in our smoothie recipes and have never been disappointed. Just read on to learn the benefits of consuming this wonderful veggie and then try my Strawberry Cauliflower Smoothie recipe posted below the article. Cheers!

Top 8 Health Benefits of Cauliflower

By Dr. Mercola February 22, 2014 
Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by its green cousin broccoli. This is one vegetable that deserves a regular rotation in your diet, however, as it contains an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals.
Adding to cauliflower's appeal is its extreme versatility. You can eat it raw, add it to salads, or use it in your cooking. Cauliflower can even be seasoned and mashed for a healthier version of "mashed potatoes."

8 Top Health Benefits of Cauliflower

Because of its beneficial effects on numerous aspects of health, cauliflower can easily be described as a superfood. Ten of its most impressive benefits follow:
1. Fight Cancer
Cauliflower contains sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has also been shown to kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth. Some researchers believe eliminating cancer stem cells may be key to controlling cancer.
For instance, research has shown that combining cauliflower with curcumin (the active compound in the spice turmeric) may help prevent and treat prostate cancer.1
A study published in Carcinogenesis also found sulforaphane may reduce the incidence and rate of chemically induced mammary tumors in animals.2 It also inhibits the growth of cultured human breast cancer cells, leading to cell death.
Other compounds in cauliflower also show anti-cancer effects. According to the National Cancer Institute:3
"Indoles and isothiocyanates have been found to inhibit the development of cancer in several organs in rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach."
2. Boost Heart Health
Sulforaphane in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables has been found to significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function.4 Scientists believe sulforaphane's benefits are related to improved DNA methylation, which is crucial for normal cellular function and proper gene expression, especially in the easily damaged inner lining of the arteries known as the endothelium.
3. It's Anti-Inflammatory
You need some level of inflammation in your body to stay healthy. However, it's also possible, and increasingly common, for the inflammatory response to get out of hand.

If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to significant inflammation-related damage to the body, a condition linked to cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting.
Cauliflower contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check, including indole-3-carbinol or I3C, an anti-inflammatory compound that may operate at the genetic level to help prevent the inflammatory responses at its foundational level.5
4. It's Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Most Americans are seriously lacking in nutrients their body needs to function. Eating cauliflower regularly is a simple way to get these much-needed nutrients into your body. For instance, one serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It's also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese.
5. Boost Your Brain Health
Cauliflower is a good source of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development. Choline intake during pregnancy "super-charged" the brain activity of animals in utero, indicating that it may boost cognitive function, and improve learning and memory. It may even diminish age-related memory decline and your brain's vulnerability to toxins during childhood, as well as conferring protection later in life.6
6. Detoxification Support
Cauliflower helps your body's ability to detoxify in multiple ways. It contains antioxidants that support Phase 1 detoxification along with sulfur-containing nutrients important for Phase 2 detox activities. The glucosinolates in cauliflower also activate detoxification enzymes.7
7. Digestive Benefits
Cauliflower is an important source of dietary fiber for digestive health. But that's not all. According to the World's Healthiest Foods:8
"Researchers have determined that the sulforaphane made from a glucosinolate in cauliflower (glucoraphanin) can help protect the lining of your stomach. Sulforaphane provides you with this health benefit by preventing bacterial overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori in your stomach or too much clinging by this bacterium to your stomach wall."
8. Antioxidants and Phytonutrients Galore
Eating cauliflower is like winning the antioxidant and phytonutrient lottery. It's packed with vitamin C, beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, cinnamic acid, and much more. Antioxidants are nature's way of providing your cells with adequate defense against attack by reactive oxygen species (ROS).

As long as you have these important micronutrients, your body will be able to resist aging caused by your everyday exposure to pollutants, chronic stress, and more. If you don't have an adequate supply of antioxidants to help squelch free radicals, then you can be at risk of oxidative stress, which leads to accelerated tissue and organ damage.

Cauliflower Is Only One Type of Cruciferous Veggie

If cauliflower isn't your favorite vegetable, don't worry. You can get many of these same benefits by eating other members of the cruciferous vegetable family. Broccoli is one of them, but there are others too, including:
TurnipsBrussels sprouts
CabbageBok choyChinese cabbage
ArugulaCollard greensHorseradish
KaleKohlrabiRadishes
Mustard greensRutabagaWasabi
DaikonWatercress

The more vegetables you eat from this list the better, as each offers unique and wonderful benefits to your health. For instance, just one cup of kale contains over 10,000 IUs of vitamin A, the equivalent of over 200% of the daily value. Cabbage, meanwhile, is rich in vitamin K1 and B vitamins, which many are deficient in, and has been shown to help heal stomach ulcers and offers benefits to digestion. Additionally:9
  • 100 calories' worth of cruciferous vegetables can provide you with up to 40 percent of your daily fiber requirement
  • Cruciferous vegetables contain protein, as much as 25 percent of the daily value in three cups
  • Cruciferous vegetables, especially kale and collard greens, provide high amounts of vitamin K, which may have benefits for fighting cancer and inflammation
However, don't underestimate the nutritive value of cauliflower. If it's been a while since you've given it a try, make it a point to give it another chance soon. When picking out a head of cauliflower, look for a firm feel with no brown or soft yellow spots. If it's surrounded by green leaves it's likely to be especially fresh. If you want to know even more about cauliflower, be sure to read "What Is Cauliflower Good For?"

Strawberry Cauliflower Smoothie

by Elizabeth @rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

5 ripe bananas

12 ounces of frozen strawberries, reserve some to garnish the glass

1 Tablespoon of chia seeds

1 1/2 Cups of raw cauliflower

1 cup of water

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!


+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for an abundant amount of energy, due entirely to the living foods that I adore so much!!! And to dear St. Patrick who had the courage and tenacity to evangelize to a pagan Ireland and succeed at showing their pagan leader the Almighty power of God; using a simple clover to educate them on the mystery of The Blessed Trinity. 










                    

Friday, March 14, 2014

Is Chocolate Really Good for Us?

Wondering about the nutritional benefits of raw chocolate or raw cacao? Read on to find out if raw chocolate is actually good for you.


I can't say it any better than this author so I thought I'd share with you the words of Jennifer Murray. This is an article written by her found on about.com:

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Cacao (Raw chocolate)

Is chocolate really good for us, or do we just wish that it was?


I'll never forget the day my first acupuncturist told me it was good for me to eat chocolate. What a genius she was! So astute, so well educated, and clearly not to be doubted. She believes there is a reason why some people's bodies crave chocolate; that somehow, something in the chocolate helps your body toward it's goal of being balanced. In the years since, there has been a lot of controversy over whether or not she is right.
In the raw foods community many people believe in raw cacao, or raw chocolate (not the roasted, processed cousin known as cocoa) as a super food for health and vitality. Nobody is claiming that the sugar and various other ingredients that usually accompany chocolate are also good for you, but what about the raw cacao, raw chocolate bean itself?
Nutritional Value and Reputed Benefits of Raw Chocolate in Raw Culture
The much touted nutritional benefits or raw cacao range from reducing cataracts to improving heart function to alleviating stress. The theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression. It may cause the brain to produce more of a neurotransmitter called anandamide which would account for the euphoric sensation some feel when indulging in chocolate. Not much is known about how the ancient civilizations of the Americas used chocolate, but it was certainly treasured by them for medicinal purposes. Nowadays we know that raw cacao is certainly very high in antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium. The essential fatty acids found in chocolate may help the body to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. Amongst the loftiest claims in raw food culture is that raw cacao (without added sugar or dairy products) will reduce your risk of cancer as the high levels of antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the body.

Can You Trust the Hype About Raw Cacao?

Raw cacao is just like most things in the world of health and nutrition- the information changes fast. You need to keep on top of the news. There are many that believe that chocolate, even in it's purest form of raw cacao, is still not very good for you, perhaps even toxic. The stimulant quality may agitate kidney and liver functioning. Some tests find it to be addictive, leading to mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms when not consumed regularly. Sexual dysfunction has also been listed as a possible side effect of chocolate intake- yikes! Certainly you must never blindly trust the information given to you by someone who is selling the product. Conduct your own research and see what the experts are saying. Though chocolate may not be the knight in shining armor that so many of us wish it was, when eaten in moderation, it doesn't seem to be causing too much harm either. To play it safe, consume chocolate on special occasions and look for your magnesium and antioxidants elsewhere.


So basically what she is saying is people in the raw foods movement are either for raw cacao or against it. But then there are those who will use it once in a while in a decadent recipe just because they can. And that is exactly what I did the other day. I wanted to experiment with it a bit and decided to buy a small bag. I am not crazy anymore about chocolate to be honest. When I started on this lifestyle almost 5 years ago now it was very easy for me to give up sweets/candies/chocolates. I never really loved them I just ate them at times because they were there. And I don't believe that you HAVE to use raw cacao in raw chocolate desserts. I am fine with using cocoa powder that is not raw for that matter. I don't get hung up on "condiments" being 100% raw because they are consumed in such small amounts by me that I don't feel they hinder my progress in this lifestyle. I actually prefer raw carob over anything when it comes to making "chocolate" type recipes. But let's just have some fun with raw cacao for those who do believe in consuming it on this lifestyle. 



Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding(serves 4)

by Elizabeth @ rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

5 ripe bananas

3 Medjool dates

2 T chia seeds

1 T hemp seeds

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C filtered water

5 T raw cacao powder

In a blender, blend all of the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Allow to gel/set up in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serve with a banana slice and some cacao powder sprinkled on top. Enjoy!



+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for a lazy afternoon in the sun yesterday watching the boys play outside catching insects and being fascinated by the beauty and wonder in a Mahogany nut from our trees. And for the long overdue phone conversation I had with my best friend from childhood!! Luv you Legs!




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

RAW Confetti Salad

Yesterday I was really in the mood for some tabouli but of course I don't eat bulger wheat and I had zero mint in the house, so I took what I had on hand and made my version of tabouli, substituting cauliflower for the bulger and parsley for the mint. But since it isn't really much like tabouli I called it Raw Confetti Salad instead, because when I looked at the end result it looked like a party in a bowl!!! And trust me, it tasted like a party in my mouth! You gotta try this easy and nutritious salad for yourself.

RAW Confetti Salad (salt-free, oil-free, lowfat)

by Elizabeth @rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com



1/2 a head of raw cauliflower, finely choped in a food processor or by hand

1 large cucumber, finely diced

1/2 of a large organic bell pepper, finely diced

1 T of raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 2 hrs/drain off soak water, chop

2 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced fine

3 Cups fresh parsley, finely chopped

juice of 1 orange

juice of 1/2 a lemon

juice of 1/2 a lime

1 T of Mrs. Dash "tomato basil garlic" salt free seasoning blend (optional)

Mix all of the chopped vegetables and the sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Combine the juice from the orange, lemon, and lime with the Mrs. Dash and pour over salad, mix well and ENJOY!



+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for a banana rack full of beautiful bananas!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pomegranate with Vegan Vanilla Kream

Today I wanted to share with you an absolutely brilliant way to open a pomegranate. I found this great video over at Chrisbeatcancer.com. This technique is so simple you won't believe it!!
I made a Vegan Vanilla Kream to dollop on top of my lovely pomegranate seeds. It was so delicious. Recipe below the video. Enjoy!
But before we get to the video, would you just look at the nutrition and protection that pomegranates offer!!

Health benefits of Pomegranate (source: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pomegranate.html)

  • The fruit is moderate in calories; 100 g provides 83 calories, slightly more than that in the apples. It contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.
  • It is rich source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, providing about 4 g per 100 g (about 12% of RDA), which aid in smooth digestive and bowel movements. The fruit is suggested by nutritionists in the diet for weight reduction and cholesterol controlling programs. Regular inclusion of fruits in the diets boosts immunity, improves circulation, and offers protection from cancers.
  • Certain ellagitannin compounds such as Granatin B and Punicalagin are found abundantly in the pomegranate juice. Studies suggest that punicalagin and tannins are effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging harmful free radicals from the human body.
  • Total antioxidant strength of pomegranate fruit measured in terms of its oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is 2341 ┬Ámol TE/100 g.
  • The fruit is an also good source of antioxidant vitamin-C, provides about 17% per 100 g of daily requirement. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.
  • Regular consumption of pomegranate has also been found to be effective against prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), diabetes, and lymphoma.
  • Further, it is an also good source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), folates, pyridoxine and vitamin K, and minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, and manganese.


Vegan Vanilla Kream

by Elizabeth @rawlivingandlearning.blogspot.com

 In a personal size blender add:

2 bananas

4 pitted medjool dates

squeeze of lemon juice

vanilla

splash of water

1 T hemp seeds

Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add water as needed to blend to desired consistency.




I used mine as a topping for the pomegranate seeds.




The combination was fantastic!



+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for the beginning of the Lenten season. I am looking forward to deepening my relationship with Our Lord as I find ways to improve on my spiritual life and my physical life simultaneously.