Thursday, July 22, 2021

2-Ingredient Apple Butter


I am very grateful to have a bounty of berries and other fruit to store away for winter meals.

I must admit that these apples (above) are not a big thrill. They mature early-- in the July heatwave-- and are a fave with the tent-butterflies, wasps, bunnies, deer and crows. I also hear they attract bears. The fruit goes punky on the tree and falls off.

 BUT if I take them in and process them (as in juice for breakfast, apple chunks in freezer bags and canned apple butter) we surely enjoy the results and soon overlook the minor hardships. 

 This recipe for apple butter is tasty and healthy-- I didn't add any sweetener just 3 teaspoons of cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder. Use it in oatmeal, vegan yogurt, on muffins, toast and bagels. Yummy and smooth as silk.

 Ingredients

 Apples (however many you need to fill your crackpot or Instant Pot.  I filled a pint-sized mason jar (2 cups) and had enough for a small fridge storage bowl and some sample butter for the yogurt (above pic) for my hubby and myself.

 Cinnamon and Ginger (and/or nutmeg) 

 Method

 Wash, core and chop into pieces that are pretty close to the same side. I left the skin on. If your apples are not organic, you will likely want to peel them. (about 10-18 apples to fill your particular size of crackpot.)

 Put apple chunks in a crackpot on high for 4 hours. 

 Carefully blend with an immersion blender or in your regular blender carafe in batches. This will be super scalding hot so take care with the blender. A couple of small batches is a good idea. 

 ADD in the spices during this step. I use about thee teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of ginger. You may want to add more. Taste and see. 

 Wash out your crackpot liner (yeah, I know) and put the pureed apples in. 

 Turn pot to high again for another hour. At the end of the hour you may want to put it into a wide-mouth mason jar and let it cool completely before putting in your fridge or freezer. You may also want to can your apple butter. Either way, you will enjoy this spicy healthy treat!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Blue Heaven Pie

 

Blue Heaven Frozen Pie

We are soooo blessed in having a bounty of organic blueberries growing on a U-Pick farm just a short drive from us. Last night we dropped in and picked 12 pounds of the yummies. Before they go into the freezer I thought it would be nice to make us a pie. The following is an adaptation of a recipe by Rhonda J. Malkmus who originates most of the recipes on the "Hallelujah Acres" site. This is a nutritious treat (if you don't have allergies to nuts, that is)with just a little sweetener (raw honey and dates) and a smidge of salt, no dairy, eggs or gluten. Refreshing and delicious!

Ingredients:

The Raw Crust:

1 cup Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Walnuts
1 cup Dates
¼ tsp. vanilla teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt

Blueberry-Banana Pie Filling

5 cups Blueberries
2 Bananas
¼ cup Virgin Coconut Oil (solid not liquid)
¼ cup Raw Honey

Directions

Pie Crust Recipe Directions

In food processor using “S” blade, process sunflower seeds, walnuts, vanilla and salt until pea size. Add dates and continue processing until well combined. Press evenly into 9” pie plate.

Blueberry Pie Filling Directions

Put 4 cups of blueberries, 2 bananas, coconut oil and honey in food processor. Using “S” blade process until smooth and creamy. With a spoon, fold in remaining blueberries and pour into pie shell. Chill at least 3 hours.
To your living health!

Here are some more frozen summertime treats (sorry, vegan but not all raw vegan):
Mango-BlackBerry Vegan Ice Cream
Ingredients: nondairy milk, frozen mango chunks, starch, vanilla, maple syrup, ripe avocado, blackberry jam

Blueberry Nicecream on Raspberry Chia Pudding
Ingredients:
Nicecream: frozen blueberries, frozen bananas
Pudding: chia gel, raspberry jam, nondairy milk, maple syrup

Spunky Monkey Ice Cream
Ingredients: chia seeds, frozen banana, cocoa or cacao, maple syrup, vanilla, peanut or nut butter

Maple Walnut Cashew Banana Ice Cream Sundae
Ingredients:coconut milk, ripe frozen bananas, raw cashews, walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate chips

Vegan Ice Cream and other frozen treats you can make yourself

OTHER FROZEN TREAT RECIPES
Treats to Make with Frozen Grapes

Luscious Frozen Smoothie Treats

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Orange-Spinach Salad and Dressing

   


 If you are lucky enough to have some spinach growing, this is an elegant little flavorful salad that you could expand for a potluck or a picnic or a light supper. I like a variety of textures myself and that is provided here!


*2 regular-sized Oranges, peeled and cut into rounds
*1 large handful of tender Romaine lettuce leaves
*1 large handful of tender Spinach leaves
*1/2 C. Green Grapes
*1/2 C. Green Onions
*1 C. soaked and chopped Almonds
>>Tear lettuce and add in grapes cut in-half, almonds and oranges. You can use the following blended dressing if you wish:
*2/3 C. Olive Oil
*1/4 C. Raw Honey
*1/3 C. Fresh Orange Juice
*3 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
*1 tsp. Dry Mustard (optional)
--This was adapted from a recipe by Dana Hathaway in Recipes for Life from God's Garden by Rhonda J. Malkmus.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Greek Salad with Tofu

 

This Greek Salad is a refreshing whole food, plant-based recipe that involves marinated tofu chunks in place of the usual feta.  

Start by marinating the tofu and vegetables in a herbal dressing for 4- 6 hours or overnight.  

Herbal Marinade:

1/4 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup walnut pieces

1 or more sprigs/leaves of the following herbs if available:Fresh oregano leaves, lemon balm or basil, thyme, green onion, and parsley, 

2+ garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (optional)

1/3 cup of water

Salt and pepper to taste

**Blend until creamy smooth.  Chill.**

                     Herbs for Marinade

Salad ingredients:
 
Block of extra firm Tofu, pressed, cubed

3 ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges, or 20 cherry tomatoes  halved

1/2 nice red onion, sliced and chopped

1 cup black olives, pitted

3 cucumbers, chopped

**Marinate tofu and vegetables for 4 to 6 hours in fridge (or overnight). Lightly toss before serving.**

Great with delicious fresh pita bread (easy to bake with this recipe-- nothing like the commercial stuff)


And here is a 

Greek Baked Beans recipe that

might be your next fave comfort food

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Cranberry-carob Chip Energy Balls

 

These little cranberry-carob chip energy balls are so tasty that you forgive yourself for their NOT being entirely raw vegan (the raw honey, the carob chips, the sweetened dried cranberries).  I put them together for a church function instead of the "squares" that I was requested to bring.  I'm just not a squares person.  I'm into round.  If you saw me, you'd agree that I am really into round lol.


DRY INGREDIENTS:
*1 C. Carob Chips
*1 C. shredded Coconut ground into powder in coffee grinder or high speed blender
*1 C. Oatmeal ground into powder in coffee grinder or high speeder blender
*1 C. Oatmeal, left whole
*1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds
*1/4 C. Pumpkin Seeds
*1/4 C shredded Coconut
*2 T. Flax seeds, ground into powder in coffee grinder
*1/4 C. Raisins
*1/2 C. sweetened dried Cranberries
*2 tsp. Cinnamon
*1 tsp. Sea Salt


WET INGREDIENTS:
*1/4 C. Raw Honey plus 2 T.
*6-10 pitted raw Dates
*1/4 C. Coconut Oil
*1/2 C. Water
*2 T. Almond Butter
DIRECTIONS:
*Leave Carob Chips aside until the end of these directions
*In a mixing bowl, stir all dry ingredients together thoroughly
*Blend all wet ingredients together in a high speed blender
*Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
*Add Carob Chips and gently mix in.

*Roll into balls (in coconut, if desired) and place on trays, dehydrating at 105F for about 3-5 hours.
To your living health!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Bucky Raw-nola Recipe

 This was our son's first foray into creating a densely-nutritious, sweet and crunchy delicious raw (dehydrated) granola.  

Soak the following individually in water to cover:
  • 2 C. Buckwheat groats
  • 1 C. Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 C. Thompsons Raisins
  • 1/2 C. Pumpkin Seeds

Soak overnight, drain, and rinse and soak for another 8 hours, except for the raisins.  Drain and rinse the raisins and dehydrate for 8 hours at 105 degrees F.  Add the buckwheat and the seeds to the raisins and dehydrate for about 8-12 hours at 105 degrees.

Add the following:

  • 1/2 C. Dehulled Hempseed
  • 1/2 C. organic unsweetened shredded Coconut
  • 1 tsp. organic Cinnamon

The sprouting and the dehydrating both add to the natural sweetness of the granola so no extra sweeteners need to be used


To your living health!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Cosmic Chocolate Chip Bliss Balls



















(Back in the day Hippie-I wrote:)
We’re going for an after-church picnic at Tofino Beach (west coast of Vancouver Island
– bring your surf board Baby) and I’ve got the Bliss Balls dehydrating away even as I type this… I have made them before and they are a huge hit… they pack a lot of power and are the perfect on-the-go snack for hikers, picnickers, etc. The recipe is from Sunflower Lord’s ebook Comfortably Raw: Chocolate. 

Also worth noting is that this blissful little confection can be made entirely gluten-free... just make sure that your oats, in particular, are gluten-free.

Enjoy!

Ingredients for BLISS BALLS:

For the Chocolate Chunks:
1/4 Cup plus 1 T. Raw Cacoa Powder
1/4 Cup plus 1 T. Carob Powder
1/4 Cup plus 3 T. Agave (or Raw Honey)
1 T. Coconut Oil

Dry Ingredients:

1 Cup shredded Coconut ground into powder in coffee grinder or high speed blender
1 Cup Oatmeal ground into powder in coffee grinder or high speeder blender
1 Cup Oatmeal, left whole
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 Cup shredded Coconut
2 T. Flax Seeds (I use 2 T. Chia Gel– chia seed in water for a couple of hours and added into blender carafe with wet ingredients to follow)
1/2 Cup Raisins
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Sea Salt

Wet Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Agave plus 2 T. (I use Babe’s Raw Wildflower Honey)
2 T. Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Water
2 T. Almond Butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Start by making chocolate chunks, as they will require a few hours in the freezer to freeze solidly enough not to melt into the other ingredients. Stir chocolate chunk ingredients together until thoroughly mixed
  • Spread chocolate about 1/2 inch thick on a Teflex dehydrator sheet or parchment paper. Freeze for a few hours until chocolate is thoroughly hardened, then remove Teflex sheet and cut with a knife.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  • In a blender, blend all wet ingredients together.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly
  • Add chocolate chunks last and gently mix
  • Roll into balls and place on a Teflex dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees F. for 3 to 5 hours

Makes about 30 balls

Delectable!

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Thistle I Eat

 

My hunch was that thistles are probably full of nutrients-- chlorophyl for sure-- and that they would be a nutritious, albeit somewhat bitter, addition to a smoothie.  I didn't think that they would be easy eating in a salad or a sandwich (similar to stinging nettles in that respect).

And then I ran across this very interesting video by Victoria Boutenko's son Sergei, who was traveling the world and presenting workshops on wild edibles.  I'm pretty impressed with what he has to say.  

He mentioned some fruits that he would choose to blend with the thistle.  He also stated that peeling the stem back exposes a tasty stalk that can be chopped and used in salads like celery or cucumber (has the potential to taste like either of these).  

Since I also have a fair representation of thistle in my backyard I believe that I will do a little exploring.  If I come up with any really amazing recipes, I will post them here.

Some notes on the healing and values of the Silybum Marianum or Milk Thistle:
Milk Thistle is the thistle I believe my friend is referring to since it is the thistle that grows rather prolifically in my yard, and we live in the same community. Milk thistle has been used in herbal medicine in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East likely right back to Biblical times.

In the video with Sergei, he explains that the prickly thistle was probably hybridized to create today's various lettuces (and maybe artichokes).  An herbalist writing in 1694 says of the thistle: "

'It is a Friend to the Liver and Blood: the prickles cut off, they were formerly used to be boiled in the Spring and eaten with other herbs; but as the World decays, so doth the Use of good old things and others more delicate and less virtuous brought in.' ~A Modern Herbal/Thistles

At the blog site of the Alternative Medicine College of Canada, the herbalist re-states that the Milk Thistle is a detox agent that is excellent for all kinds of digestive upsets and nausea: food poisoning, excess alcohol consumption, hepatitis, cirrhosis, chemotherapy, and even jaundice.  Milk thistle is also useful for protecting against the damage of environmental pollutants (it is high in antioxidants).  And, I like this one for me: Milk thistle may also play a role in controlling the rise and fall of our blood sugars.

Sheryl-Anne, writing from the Alternative Medicine College blog, gives this recipe for a liver tonic and digestive aid:

  • 1/3 tsp. dried chicory root powder
  • 1/3 tsp. dried dandelion root powder
  • 1/3 tsp. dried Milk Thistle seeds powder
Add to boiling water in a cup, stir, steep and drink.

  


 To your living health!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Plant-Based Cheesecake Snack Cookies

 

Plant-based cheesecake cookie snack

After making a nice tofu Mayo with no oil, no refined sugar, or salt, I began to think of the possibilty of making a similar spread with a cheesecake flavor.  

And while I was at it, why not put together an SOS (no salt, oil or refined sugar) plant-based cookie to slather the cheesecake spread on.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Spread

500g /16 oz. firm tofu

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons Simply Organic lemon flavoring

2 -3 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Snack Cookies

2 cups quick oatmeal

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped   

Method

Cheesecake Spread (9-12 tablespoons)

1.  Drain and press extra water from tofu.  Cut in cubes and put in bowl of food processor (or blender carafe) with other ingredients.  

2. Pulse until smooth and creamy.  

3. Store for up to 3 days in fridge in container with a lid.

Snack Cookies (9 - 12 cookies)

1. Preheat oven ro 350°F/177°C.  Line a cookie pan with parchment paper

2. Combine all ingredients in a food  processor and pulse until sticky cookie dough forms .  (No food processor? Mince dates and nuts  and combine with oats, apple sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon, lemon flavoring and vanilla well in large bowl to form sticky cookie dough.)

3. Use cookie scoop to form round mounds on parchment.  Pat down into circles. They will not expand when baking. 

4. Bake for about +/-15 minutes.

5. Cool on rack.

6. Stack on a tablespoon of cheesecake spread and berries for a tasty, guilt-free snack.

***********

Looking for guidance on lifestyle to prevent cognitive decline?  Get a hold of this book by a couple of neurologists-- full of science explained so it is understandable and delicious,brain-healthy recipes:


Want to do some fun fitness *exercises* to go along with the yummy snack cookie?

Check out this post!   (especially for people who have a hard time  committing to standard workouts)




Friday, May 28, 2021

Fit by Fidgetting

Starting a brand new #FridayFitness series of blog articles here focusing on folks like myself who are looking for a fitness routine that:

  • has *Beginner* level options
  • Is fun, with variety and encouragement
  • has a brain science component
  • is free
  • is easily accessible online (NOT ZOOM)
I have 2 suggestions for try-outs this week.  I will be incorporating these particular fitness variants into my own schedule this week and will report back next week.  

I sure would like to know what you think and how they work for you if you try them yourself.  

1. FIDGETTING as Fitness

Yes, you read that right.  Getting in touch with your Bored Inner Child is required.  (Just kidding-- sort of)

Dr. Andrew Huberman is a neuroscientist from Stanford University where he and his team primarily work to understand and develop improved functionality for congenital eye problems.  

Fortunately, Dr. Huberman is also not adverse to teaching laypeople everywhere about how our fascinating brain and connected systems work.

I follow him @hubermanlab on Instagram.

If you do not have an Instagram account, it is worth getting one just to connect with him.   Even just to hear about why subtle movements like jiggling your knees while you sit can produce amazing results in body fitness!  

I am purposely jittering and fidgetting this week.  Hear more about applying fidgetting this week and the potential results here

2. Practical Fitness Reps for Beginners

The second fitness try-out is with lovely soft-spoken Justin Agustin, also on Instagram.   He makes a pretty good workout gentle and fun to do... even adapts floor exercises to chair, couch and bed!  LOL  

Find him and his variety of specific focused sets (i.e., cardio, core, etc.) Here.

Eating for Health

As you have likely figured out from the recipes this blog site, my husband and I eat plant-based with more recent attention to food prep without salt, added oils, and refined sugars in the meals we prepare and eat regularly.  Referred to as SOS, this plant-based, whole food way of eating helps us prevent major health crises (heart disease, diabetes, High Blood Pressure, cancer, and keep down inflammation that leads to dis-ease in general.  

John and Ocean Robbins over at Food Revolution Network are definitely leaders in the plant-based, whole food movement and offer a free online summit and a super master class for individuals transitioning to the whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

I follow Dr. Michael Greger who makes regular videos on nutritional studies he reviews and posts them at nutritionfacts.org  Check out Dr. Greger's Daily Dozen App if you are interested in a handy plant-based checklist of daily eats.

We also take some supplements.  My husband is most interested in that aspect and I let him do the research and purchase the supplements he thinks we need.  He likes Dr. Andrew Saul at doctor yourself.com

** Illustration at top of page is a delicious plant-based wholefood snack-- recipe found HERE.  The wild rose is my daily pick for the fragrant oxygenation of my brain!

Nettles and the Locavar Ideal

 

Gathering Stinging Nettles: Tools include scissors, bag, and GLOVES!  (or buy at your local whole foods store)

I am at the height of my locavore yearnings right now. I want to eat only from the abundance of the nearby (within a 100-mile radius). I was originally inspired by the Dervaes family in Pasadena who grow 6000 pounds of food on their 1/5 acre property.

If, right now, I were to eat only what edibles I could glean from our 1/3 of an acre and what I have left over in the fridge from last season, we could eat the following: frozen blackberries, rosemary, thyme, chives, kale, grape leaves, oregano, some lettuce, blueberries (soon), parsley, aloe vera (leaves for green smoothies), nettles (yes, my son seeded some), mushrooms, sprouts, and dandelions. I guess there would be other leaves as well.

Moving slightly afield, if I were ovo-vegetarian, I’m sure my dear neighbor would sell me some eggs from his free range chickens (escorted everywhere by their possessive rooster master). And my local fave health food store has a number of locavore products in stock. We can also buy fantastic raw honey that is locally produced, and in season we have grapes, plums, cherries, figs, apples, and all matter of vegetables and nuts right in our neighborhood.

But what I would have to give up forever (or while I reside here)? Young coconut, coconut oil, all the oils actually, chia seed, quinoa, chickpeas, chocolate, stevia (I bought a plant but I doubt that it will provide what we need for more than a month or so), avocado, quinoa, rice, organic corn, pineapple, guava, and other tropical fruits.

Is it possible? Of course. Is it probable? Well, perhaps only during the harvest season here, just a window of time when there is a glut of ripe juicy fruits and fresh organic garden veggies. I’ll try the locavore experience then…
To your living health!

Go and get my favourite nettle smoothie recipe <- CLICK


Thursday, May 27, 2021

7 Things To Do With Rosemary

I have a large Rosemary 'bush' growing in a front flowerbed, an inheritance from one of our home's past owners (thank you!). I love the sharp, clean, Mediterranean fragrance of rosemary, but I would like to know what I can do with it beyond roasting it with potatoes (which I don't do much of) or putting it into pork and turkey (which I also do not do because I do not cook meat). By the way, for anyone cooking with rosemary, a tip is to freeze the sprigs in plastic baggies-- retains its character much better than drying does.  So, here are some ideas that I found:
  1. Infuse a jar of Celtic Sea Salt with Rosemary.  The salt will smell and taste of rosemary.  There is no need to remove the sprigs.
  2. Put a sprig or two of Rosemary into Apple Cider Vinegar and let it stand for about 30 days, then remove.  This makes a perfect hair rinse for people with dark hair.  (You can add some stinging nettles if you have some-- super nice rinse for bringing out the sheen in dark hair.  You can also make a strong tea of rosemary and sage, equal parts in a cup of hot water, steep and strain and pour over or massage into dark hair to colour the grey-- takes a few weeks of regular use to see the difference, but when you do you will be soooooo pleased with the natural results you will never go back to Miss Clairol!).
  3. Steep a few sprigs of rosemary in a bottle of Olive Oil for a few weeks and have your own 'custom salad oil'
  4. Moth Repellent Sachet (to keep moths from eating holes in woolen garments): Bruise 2 C. of Dried Rosemary in a small bowl along with 2 C. Dried Lavender, 1 T. Crushed Cloves, and Dried Peel of a Lemon-- Mix together well and put into sachets that can be hung among woolen items.
  5. Barbecue Meat? Put sprigs over the coals-- it apparently smells wonderful and makes the meat taste superb
  6. Here is a recipe for Rosemary Lemonade!
  7. Make a Rosemary-Lavender Wreath (oh, can't you smell it?  Heaven!)

To your living health!

And if you have an Oregano plant, here are things you can do with it!
Please note that I am an affiliate for many of the products and services offered on this site. That means that when you click and purchase these products or services I receive a small commission. I appreciate your support for maintaining the information on this site!

Garlic To Go

Separate and peel cloves from about 10-20 garlic heads (crowns) and whirr up in your blender.

We all know that raw garlic can't be beat for antibiotic action (as a non-medical person that is what I am understanding from what I read) --it's the allicin.

 I stopped taking a particular 'superior' brand of garlic tablet because it contained silicon dioxide (sand) that has been suggested to contribute to "chronic fatigue syndrome". I ramped up my use of raw garlic.  (IMPORTANT: Herbs are potent medicine. Do your due diligence and speak to your health provider about any conflicts that might exist between garlic and any prescribed medications).

There are circumstances (lots of them) when I really don't have the luxury of time needed to peel and chop garlic. So, I am doing what Dr. Ben Kim describes his mother doing: I simply peel cloves of entire garlic bulbs, dump them into my Vita-mix canister, let it rip until they are finely chopped, nearly liquified, and then I put them into small glass jars. I make at least two jars: one for the fridge and one for the freezer. 

When I begin to run out of garlic in the fridge, I transfer the frozen garlic from the freezer into the fridge to thaw (takes about two days). Thanks Dr. Kim's Mother!

To your living health!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Blended Arugula Salad (FakeV8)

Before I was 55, I perhaps had heard of arugula (I recall once watching a video where it was mentioned by the urban farmers, the Dervaes family) and believe that I had even tasted it (my husband says so, and that "we" didn't like it).  

This weedy-looking little green re-emerged in our lives when I enrolled in the 28-day Raw Cleanse over at Penni Shelton's Raw Food Rehab and started faithfully following some of the recipes in Penni's book, Raw Food Cleanse:Restore Health and Lose Weight by Eating Delicious, All-Natural Foods-- Instead of Starving Yourself.  My husband brought home the groceries for the recipes and when I went to make the fake-V8 (oh, so much much much tastier than the real-V8) I popped  the 'handful' of arugula into the vitamix that the recipe called for.

And the first taste was one one those forehead-wrinkling-nostril-flaring-kitty-tonguing (you know, nik,nik,nik licks that kitties make in the cream bowl) attempt to identify the very pleasant, but unname-able flavour in the glass.  And we are old hands at identifying ingredients in blended drinks and such.  We went over the list of what had gone into the recipe-- and, of course, it was the arugula!

Arugula is in the mustard/brassica family (along with broccoli, cabbage, kale, and even canola).  Its scientific name is Eruka sativa and it is commonly known as "rocket".  It appears to originate in the Mediterranean areas and there are records of it growing there back in ancient times.  It is rich in Vitamin C and potassium and also contains: Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Carotenoids, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Folate, Calcium, Glucosinolates, Sulforapanes, and Chlorphyll.  

Arugula is a healthy little green to introduce into your life.


It certainly has a more robust, woodsy-nutty, peppery flavour than most greens (except, perhaps, for canola leaves, which are much enjoyed as a steamed green by some of my African friends).  In Slovenia, arugula is added to cheese and in Italy it is frequently added to a pizza topping, just as the baking time ends (so as not to wilt).

Arugula really has added a lovely new flavour variety to our raw food repetoire.  I plan to grow some this summer (in my square foot gardening box--yay!).  In the meantime, here is that lovely recipe for fake-V8 juice that I have adapted from Penni's book:

Wash well and put the following into your Vitamix (or other heavy duty blender) carafe:
  • 2 C. fresh organic Grape Tomatoes
  • 6 stalks organic Celery
  • 4 organic Carrots, chopped in 2" pieces
  • Handful of organic Baby Spinach or Dandilion Greens
  • 1/3 C. organic Cilantro 
  • Handful of organic Arugula
  • 2 cloves organic Garlic
  • 2 organic Lemons, peeled and seeded
  • 1 T. organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 T. Raw Honey
  • Celtic Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
Whirl up and enjoy!  You will feel such a lovely warm feeling when you eat this as a raw soup, or drink it (you may want to add a little water to make it more drinkable).  The original recipe is juiced, and you could well do that, also adding in raw hot pepper if you wish.

To your living health!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Raw Kale Chips Recipe-- vegan, gluten-free

  


This is a delicious little snack food that needs to be considered a "treat" vs. an everyday staple of the raw diet.  As with many "raw" recipes, it will be necessary to dehydrate the Kale to obtain that near-the-traditional (cooked)-thing mouth appeal.  I bought myself an Excalibur dehydrator early on in my raw food experience but any brand will do, and if you absolutely must have the chips, even an oven will work-- preheat your regular oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit/60 degrees Celsius or the lowest setting, and spread out your chips on parchment paper on cookie sheets.  Put them into the oven with the door slightly propped open with a butter knife or chopstick.  Your chips (or other dehydrated foods) will take a long time to dry satisfactorily this way and it is not an environmentally friendly method, so use it sparingly, and you will likely want to invest in a dehydrator with a timer pretty soon into the process.

Tools I use for the process:

*Coffee Bean Grinder
I grind up my seeds in this.  I got my coffee bean grinder with points I'd saved up at a local grocery chain.  They are usually in the price range of $17 up.  I wouldn't buy a 'used one' since they tend to have a shorter life span to begin with.
*Food Processor: I bought a beautiful old Cuisinart off Craigslist in Vancouver for $50 and just love it, although it does have its idiosyncracies (sometimes the lid needs to be held on, and it didn't come with an operating manual but that's what Google's


for, right?).  There are still people out there who have received a Cuisinart or like-food processor as a gift and never used it.  Check out garage sales, etc.  It's another great investment along with a good blender and a dehydrator and... well, the allure of raw cuisine tools and gadgets do become rather addicting I'm afraid.  You can also use a high speed blender like Vitamix to make the chip seasoning, but I find the food processor just a little easier to get the stuff out of and to clean up afterwards.
*Dehydrator: As mentioned above, if you are going to do raw "crackers, breads, chips, cookies" etc., you will eventually want to invest in a good timer-type dehydrator.  I originally had one of the circular variety of dehydrators but found that there wasn't enough space to accommodate large recipes, and the less expensive ones don't have timers, plus they are harder to clean up (my experience), but use whatever you have, including the oven (see above) if you are really wanting these irresistable Kale Chips.  I do NOT use the non-stick dryer sheets for the kale chips recipe since the seasoning I use is quite thick and doesn't leak through the regular grid sheets.  The odd chip might stick a little, but not enough to go through the process of flipping the chips from the non-stick sheets to complete their drying mid-way through the drying cycle.  I just plant them and let them go the whole whack of time without disturbing. (I'm lazy?)
*A really Big Bowl (like a bread-making bowl, what I use) or maybe a large turkey Roaster


So, here are the ingredients to assemble to make the Kale Chips:
*2 large heads of Kale, any kind
*3/4 C. Tahini OR 3/4 C. of raw Sesame Seeds
*1/2 C. Water
*1/4 C. Tamari OR Bragg's Liquid Soy Seasoning (gluten-free)
*1/3 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
*2-3 minced Cloves of Garlic
*Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt (optional)
*1/4 C. Nutritional Yeast (NOT Baker's Yeast NOR Brewer's Yeast)

METHOD:
*Line up your dehydrator trays along the counter where you are preparing your chips
*Wash and tear up the Kale Leaves.
*Put the Kale into the big bowl or roaster
*If using Sesame Seeds vs. Tahini (what I do-- cheaper and I think tastes better), grind up the seeds in your coffee bean grinder until meal, or your Vitamix.  Add the ground seeds OR Tahini to your Food Processor bowl along with the Water
*Add all other ingredients to the Food Processor and run/pulse until smooth.  Capture all the cream from the walls of the processor with a spatula.
*Pour the smooth sauce over the Kale in the big bowl
*Gently 'massage' the sauce into the individual leaves with your (clean!) hands until all leaves are covered
*Fill the trays with the individual leaves. I like to be near the sink and wash my hands off between trays-- maybe just me
*Pop into the dehydrator at 104 degrees Fahrenheit/40 degrees Celsius
*Dehydrate until crispy (6-10 hours, depending on your dehydrator, the moisture in the air, etc.)
*Cool slightly before putting into ziplock bags (again, gently) or other storage
*Try NOT to eat most of the chips before they are finished coming out of the dehydrator (hard discipline lol)
*Double the recipe to share at a potluck or take to work, classes
*Experiment with other vegan ingredients that you like such as lemon juice vs. apple cider vinegar, onion, various herbs and spices
*Left-over sauce? Use as a veggie dip or salad dressing (it is sensationally cheezy)
*This recipe was an adaptation of the one by the Renegade Health team of AnnMarie and Kevin Gianni

To your living health!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Health Benefits and Other Uses for Lemon Balm, Melissa Officinalis


Lemon Balm, melissa officianalis ©Cynthia Zirkwitz 2019
Lemon Balm, or melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb from the mint family.  It may have originated in Europe, the Middle East or Asia, but now it grows like a wild thing in my garden, and maybe yours?  But unlike other "invasive plants" (sometimes incorrectly labeled "weeds"), lemon balm has so many wonderful attributes-- lemon scent, lemon-y flavour, beautiful fresh vital green colour-- that you would never hack it out and dump it in the forest.  However, I do suggest that you grow it in a container or a bed that doesn't have access to other parts of your garden.

But DO grow it.

During the summer small white flowers show up, with bee-attracting nectar in them.  (Melissa is actually Greek for 'honey bee'.)  Melissa may well be the "honey leaf" referred to by Theophrastus, (c. 371-c.287BC) successor to Aristotle, and called "the father of botany" by the Greeks.

BALM IN THE BIBLE

Besides being known as 'lemon balm' (the name used by a couple of other bee-attracting flowers as well-- bergomot or Oswego, the lovely flower and flavouring for Earl Grey tea, and genus Monada-- Melissa also is known as "common balm," "balm mint" or simply, "balm".

The original use of the word "balm" referred to the oil of a particular palm tree in the Bible with properties that healed injuries and soothed pain.  In a larger sense, Jesus was seen as the healing "balm."  Referencing Jeremiah 8:22, the beautiful "Negro Spiritual" below was sung by slaves, and a musical arrangement was later published for choirs as part of a collection in 1919 by African-American composer, arranger and professional singer, Harry Thacker Burleigh.   


  1. It is an easy-to-grow perennial-- dies down in the Winter and pops up with lavish vigor in the Spring.  Once you find out about all the benefits of having Melissa (fresh or dried) in your pantry and your yard, you will feel like a wise person for growing it.  You will look like your have an incredible green thumb to your friends and neighbours (re the neighbours: better to plant your M. officinalis in a container, as I said above).  You will be able to hand out lovely little pottings of M. officinalis to your friends, workmates, and in my case, to a friend who is a beekeeper.  You will be percieved as not only wise, but also kind and generous!
  2. Honey Bees love M. officinalis!  They gather its nectar from the abundant plants (please garden organically for the loves of bees) and if a container of balm is grown near their beehives, they will always return home to the hive.
  3. Bee Balm makes such a lovely tea (tisane): Use fresh or dried leaves.  Pour boiling water over them-- voila! A very nice lemony tea, perfect for summer tea parties or just for solo general comfort.  You can also add it to Green Tea for a little flavour lift.
  4. Add it to your Fruit Salad: Such a lovely green it is!  Tasty, lemon-y, refreshing!  And goes well in fruity smoothies as well!
  5. Refreshing Face and Body Wash! Carmelite nuns in the 14th C. used a combination of balm and other herbs in water (and maybe alcohol? Or so it was commercialized) as a wash.  You spa-queens-- sounds like something to try, eh?
  6. Get a better sleep! Herbalists and alternative medicine folks attribute the herb with qualities that promote a sound and pleasant sleep.  Drink a cup of Melissa tea before retiring.
  7. Aid in eliminating digestive issues: Alternative medicine suggests that M. officinalis is helpful for various digestive complaints.  Start the day with a fresh fruit or greens and smoothie, and throw a leaf or two of M. officinalis into the blender with the other ingredients.
  8. Another tool in your anti-Depression & Anxiety tool kit! When detoxing caffeine and alcoholic drinks, you might want to replace those beverages with M. officinalis tea or smoothies.  A study shows that healthy persons are more likely to be calmed by M. officinalis. 
  9. Flavour other healthy treats!  Ice tea, smoothie pops, and ice cream (vegan please) can all be delightfully and healthfully flavoured with a few leaves of this diverse herb.


Melissa Officinalis is also available as an essential oil. 
Follow instructions regarding its use as an essential oil.  Generally it is not advisable to take an essential oil orally, or to use without a carrier oil.  Here is an M. officinalis oil that you can feel safe in using (CLICK on image):
US Organic Essential Oil: MELISSA (Lemon Balm) 100% pure & certified organic  CLICK ABOVE.


**Please speak to your Doctor or other care provider if you have questions or concerns about using Lemon Balm/Melissa officinalis.  One video I watched suggested that there might be a mild clash between Melissa and thyroid medication. 



To your living health!

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Sunday, May 23, 2021

Raw Sweetheart Chocolate Cheezcake

  Lots of hugs and kisses!


INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

2 cups shredded Coconut
1 1/2 cups Medjool Dates (or other pitted dates)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

The Cheeseless Cheez Cake Filling:

3 cups Cashews, soaked (you can substitute other soaked nuts such as pine or macadamia nuts)
1 cup Cacao butter, melted
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Maple Syrup, Raw Honey or other sweetener of choice
1/2 cup Cacao powder OR Carob powder
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Tbsp Chia Gel
pinch of Celtic Sea Salt

Ganache Topping:

1/2 cup raw organic Cacao powder
1/2 cup Cacao Butter, melted
1/4 cup Maple Syrup, Raw Honey or other sweetener of choice
pinch of Celtic Sea Salt

Place your cacao butter in a bowl over hot water to start melting. In food processor, process coconut, dates and salt until it clumps uniformly.  "Grease" a springform pan with some of the  melted cacao butter. Remove the crust mix from the food processor and press it evenly in pan. Place in freezer to set while you make the rest of the cake.

**Alternatively, use a heart-shaped silicone Cake pan or cupcake pan.  You will not need to "grease" it, but follow other directions.
                

Put all the filling ingredients into Vitamix or other high-speed blender. Patiently blend this with much tamping and repositioning of the mass with your spatula! Pour into the spring form pan with the crust and spread evenly. Place in freezer to set.

Put all ingredients for topping into Vitamix or other high-speed blender and blend thoroughly. When done, pour onto your firmed  cheezcake. Put back in freezer for ganache topping to set. Slice and serve when fully set!  This cake will hold its shape if transferred after it is set to the fridge (much easier to serve up than if frozen).  Happy Valentine's Day!
                 


To your living health!
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Raw Royal Chocolate Cheezcake

This is as "healthy" as anything with chocolate is going to get (while still maintaining its high chocolate integrity)!  This chocolate chia-zz cake cake doesn't contain dairy, eggs, gluten, or processed sugars!  It has that rich dark chocolate flavour that sometimes gets masked in cheese cake by the dairy component, and sometimes in the raw vegan cheesecakes it gets side-tracked with whatever sweeteners are used (i.e., dates, agave, raw honey).  It is more like "high raw" in the way that I have made it because I had some left-over organic coconut milk in the fridge that called out to me just before I made my almond milk from scratch.  But you can be virtuously 100% raw with this recipe and it is still a smash hit!

Get out  a 6" or 9" springform pan (DON'T grease it).  I used both a Vitamix and a Food Processor, but I bet you can get away with just using the Vita-Mix for the whole thing-- I'm just kind of smitten with my nice Cuisinart processor, with how it loops and whirrs and turns everything homogeneous without a lot of noise or fuss.  However, like most raw recipes, the very least you want to have to do a great job is a blender (just do it in batches if it is too much for your regular blender).

And the ingredients are on the lux side, but it still costs less, I would estimate, than either making one with a bunch of eggs and cheese (and the triple bypass if you eat that whole puppy yourself).  I lived with an aristocratic Auntie the first year I went to College and she taught me to always use the best ingredients I could afford, and I have never found that to be bad advice.  In my case, everything below is organic or next to it.

Before deciding to make the cheezcake: 
(1)Buy your ingredients, 
(2)soak the nuts* and make the chia seed gel at least 12 hours before,  and, just before processing, 
(3)measure out the ingredients into separate small bowls (ramekins are super)-- this truly makes a huge difference in keeping things going when the going is good. 

*Any nuts or seeds should be thoroughly soaked to remove the toxic inhibitor layer (the plant's defence system against being overeaten) and make the seeds and nuts more digestible)

The Bottom Crust 
  • Place 1 C. Shredded Coconut in the Vitamix or the food processor and process until fluffy-powdery
  • Add in 1 C. Walnuts (soaked and dried)
  • pinch of Stevia
  • pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  • pinch of Cayenne
Process until nicely combined and clumping a little.  Press into the spring pan.

The Cheezcake

  • 1 C. Nut Mylk (I used Coconut Milk but walnut or almond are great)
  • 2 C. Almonds (soaked and dried)
  • 2 T. Lemon Juice
  • 2 T. Chia seed Gel (1/4 C. chia seed in 1 C. Water, stirred well, and set in fridge 12+ hours)
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • large pinch of Stevia
  • pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/2 C. raw Fairtrade Cacao* (Watch this movie if you wonder "why Fairtrade?")
  • 1 C. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (melted in a bowl in a container of hot water)
I personally chose to grind up the almonds to a fine powder in the Vita-mix and then added to the Food Processor, but all can be done in the Vita-Mix.  Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the Coconut Oil and spin until silky smooth.  Add the coconut oil and homogenize.  Spoon over the crust, smooth top, and put in the fridge if you are going to eat it tomorrow, or put it in the freezer if you want to eat it in an hour.  Enjoy!

To your living health!

See how Chia Gel is made Here

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Friday, May 21, 2021

Lemon-Almond Cheezcake

In my continued search for the perfect tasting & textured raw vegan “cheesecake” I put this one together last night. I drew on a couple of recipes, using some of my own fave ingredients (chia seed gel) and substituting a date-nectarine-coconut pudding I’d made a couple of nights before for the date paste that was called for in another recipe’s pie crust.

It is unlikely that you will have all the ingredients for this raw vegan creation on hand, but it is really worth making as a project for a potluck or dinner with your mother-in-law.  It is very “wow” and healthy.

INGREDIENTS
  • 5 C. raw organic/natural almonds, soaked for 5-8 hours, husked so they look like “blanched almonds”
  • 2-4 T. Chia seed gel (put 2-4 T. Chia seed in a jar with a cup or more of filtered water, stir, and let gel for about 15 minutes before using.  Store extra in fridge with lid on.)
  • 5 T. date paste or something like it made from soft, ripe medjool dates (pitted)
  • Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 C. organic Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed (took me about 8 juicy small lemons to get this amount. 2020: I now dispense with using lemons and use Simply Organic Lemon Flavoring-- follow directions on bottle for 1 cup of lemon water).
  • 3/4 C. raw honey (or other sweetener of your choice)
  • 1-2 C. Almond Breeze or other almond milk
  • 1/4 – 3/4 C. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
CRUST
Combine 2 C. soaked, husked almonds in VitaMix and process at about level 4 until finely chopped.  Add the date paste and process quickly to add in, but do not process until the almonds turn into almond butter
Lightly grease pie plate/pan with some Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Lightly press mixture into springform pan or pie dish or whatever other container you are going to use.
Put in freezer or refrigerator

CHIA-ZZ CAKE
Put other 3 C. husked almonds in VitaMix with Chia Gel,Lemon Juice or lemon water, Raw Honey, Celtic Sea Salt, and enough Almond Breeze to keep it going and processing smoothly to the consistency of very thick cream.

Place Extra Virgin Coconut Oil in a cup inside a bowl of hot water and when it has liquified, add it to the other cake mixture and spin in through.

Pour over chilled crust and put into the freezer for a couple of hours. Slice into wedges to serve. Top with fruit or as you desire.  Mwaa–

Please note that I am an affiliate for many of the products and services offered on this site. That means that when you click and purchase these products or services I receive a small commission. I appreciate your support for maintaining the information on this site!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Delicious, Healthy Raw Vegan Pizza

 


I was chafing at the  at the bit to make this raw vegan pizza as we drove home from a Camp Meeting on a Sunday night several years ago.  At this time in my life I had been making up a variety of raw/living ‘recipes,'any based on my previous non-raw favorite recipes.  

At Camp there had been salads and raw fruit and veggies with most meals, but that was pretty much it for “raw” and the salads were cafeteria salads… there probably wasn’t anything organic or the sort of fresh that I grew for the two of us out of our small garden plot. The following recipe is a fabulous Pizza recipe that can be found in Paul Nison’s book Health According To The Scriptures. It is actually the size of a cooked pizza that my husband and I used to demolish in one sitting, no problem, but the one here is so hearty, so full of flavour and textural variety and fiber, that it truly does feed up to eight people who are committed to getting lots of nutrition from smaller quantities.

RAVE FOR THE CRUST: If you juice carrots, have you ever felt just a tad guilty for composting a pile of the beautiful orange fiber that separates itself from the juice? Well, here is a way to cash in on that fiber that is truly delicious and healthy– Put the following in a Vita-Mix container together:

2 Cups of Carrot Pulp (we had two substantial carrot juices beforehand)
2 Cups of Sunflower Seeds 
1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice (preferrably organic)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped Onion
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt (Paul didn’t use this in his recipe– this is my addition)

Add the Vita-Mix lid and poke the plunger through. Begin on Low Variable Speed and process at about #4 until the sunflower seeds are pretty much smooth (a few crunchy ones added nice variety) and the whole mixture resembles orange dough. Amazingly, it has the consistency of regular pizza dough.

Spread it out in a large circle on your dehydrator sheet and dehydrate overnight (105 to 110 F. degrees). I then removed the sheet and flipped mine over on the mesh in the tray for another couple of hours.

About 2 hours before you put the Pizza together:

Remove the stem and wash a Portabella Mushroom cap. Cut it into strips and squares and marinate in Nama Shoyu (raw soy sauce) or Raw Tamari sauce. (I put a clean mason jar with the Tamari sauce bottle inside it right on the uncut mushroom cap after I poured the sauce on to maintain pressure and to prevent it from ‘floating’ on the marinade. Not at all necessary– just one of my fussy little additions to the recipe).
Whirl up the following delectable Pine Nut Dipping Sauce in your Vita-Mix:

**1 Cup Pinenuts (or sunflower seeds)+
**1/2 Fresh Lemon (Juice)
**1 small piece of Ginger (organic preferred)
**1 clove of Garlic
**Celtic Sea Salt to taste (you won’t need much)
**1 ripe Avocado, cut in quarters (without the seed and skin, of course)

Put this Sauce aside. Try not to eat too much during preparation (it’s divine).

When the Pizza Crust is ready, spread the Pine Nut Dip evenly over the crust. Now go ahead and dress this baby. I diverged a little from Paul’s recipe and omitted chopped garlic and minced nuts in favour and arranged three big handfuls of fresh Alfalfa Sprouts over the Pine Nut Dip, and followed that with:

Thinly sliced sun-ripened Tomatoes, crispy slices of English Cucumber, and the Marinated Portabello pieces.


Paul suggested marinating chopped yellow squash and zucchini in the juice of 2 lemons (up to 6 hours). This sounds yummy as well. You can pretty much dress the Pizza as you desire but the lovely flavours and textures of the carrot-sunflower seed crust, the Pine Nut dip, and the marinated mushroom were really offset by the more subtle freshness of the cucumber, tomato and alfalfa sprouts for us.

And we only ate a half of this Pizza so that Ed was able to take a couple of generous-sized slices with him on a hike up Mount Washington the next morning!

To your living health!

My old boxy dehydrator can also used as a place to raise bread (and pizza) dough!

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes