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!

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

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!
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!

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–

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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!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Garlicky Raw Vegan Flax Crackers

The following “raw” flax crackers (they are dehydrated at 115 degrees F. over a lengthy period of time…. until you think they are crisp or chewy enough for you…18-24 hours) have 6 cloves of organic garlic in them. You can vary that, as you can all the additions to the basic flax seeds.

Yeah, I like garlic. I like garlic a lot. I like its astringent pinnng and its heady fragrance. It’s also very good for you because of the natural antibiotic effects of its constituents.

So, start by soaking in filtered water, for 12 hours:

  • 4 Cups of organic Flaxseed in a Large Mixing Bowl
  • 1 Cup of natural, raw Almonds in another bowl
After you have done this, then drain the almonds and spin them up in the Vitamix along with the following:
  • 2 large, juicy, ripe, organic Tomatoes
  • 3 stocks of organic Celery
  • 6 cloves of organic Garlic
  • 3 medium organic Carrots
  • 1 small organic Zucchini
  • 2 T. dried Italian herbs OR handfuls of fresh herbs such as Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Chives, Parsley, etc. (to taste)
  • 2 T. Celtic Sea Salt (or to taste)
Mix the seasoned veggie-almond puree in with the Flax seeds. With a spatula (or the like), spread the ‘batter’ about 1/8″ over the surface of the dehydrator sheets (Paraflex or T-flex) on the trays.

Dehydrate at 115 degrees Farenheit for about 12 hours.
Peel off the sheets. Put them aside and turn over and put the crackers back on the screens without sheets to dehydrate again for another 6-12 hours.
Take out the dehydrated crackers and break them into sizes that work for your family/guests. Store in a container with a lid. Delicious with Guacamole or fresh Mango Salsa.

To your living health!
N
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Garlicky Guacamole

This quacamole is another one of my garlicky recipes.  You might want to adjust it a little to suit your tastes and circumstances!

Combine together in a large bowl:
  • 4 ripe chopped (or mashed) Avocado
  • 6 fresh-grated organic Garlic cloves
  • 1/2 organic Sweet Red Pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 large ripe-ripe organic Tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 thumb-size organic Ginger root piece, grated
  • Celtic Sea Salt or natural Dulce Flakes, to taste
The power is in the fresh grated garlic…. use as much as you like (or dare). If the person you are chatting with across the table is also eating this, neither of you will find the other offensive..hehehe.

Tip for keeping the Guacamole Green…. slip a pit from one of the avocados in with the guacamole– remove at serving time.

Goes great with dehydrated flax crackers or corn chips, etc. Eat in tandem with Mango Salsa and other luscious fruity summer dishes.

To your living health!

*image from pixabay

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Mango Salsa


This mango salsa been a big hit at the Sabbath potlucks. It is an adaptation of the one on “Gone Raw”.

Combine in a large bowl:
  • 3 ripe large Mangos (or 6 ripe peaches, nectarines, etc.), chopped up
  • Handful of minced fresh organic Cilantro
  • 16 oz.organic Cherry Tomatoes, chopped up
  • 1 organic Red Sweet Pepper, chopped up
  • 1/2 organic Purple Onion, chopped up
  • Juice of 2-3 organic Lemons
  • Celtic Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Cayenne, just a blessing with it (tiny sprinkle) (or not)

Monday, May 17, 2021

Sensationally Cheezy Zucchini Chips/Crackers




I still get rave reviews for the Kale Chips whenever I make the suckers and take them to potlucks or family functions... but easier to make, less messy and just as yummy are Zucchini Chips. I use the same sauce recipe (with adjustments for less liquids) that I use for the Kale Chips-- the 'cheezy' flavour is from the Nutritional Yeast-- the smoky undertones a
 I use my trusty old dehydrator, but you could use your oven). Cool days today are the kind of days I choose to make these chips-- I just have more energy and the house doesn't get warm from the dehydrating as it does on really hot days and nights. Have fun!

 Following are the ingredients to assemble to make the Zucchini Chips:

*3 large Zucchini, or several smaller ones
*3/4 C. Tahini OR 3/4 C. of raw Sesame Seeds
*1/4 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
*Other seasonings that like
*1/2 C. Nutritional Yeast (NOT Baker's Yeast NOR Brewer's Yeast)  

METHOD:
*Set up your dehydrator trays along the counter where you are preparing your chips
*Wash and slice the Zucchini into rounds about 1/8-1/4" thick (I use a Mandoline Slicerthat allows me to have the whole job done quickly and with a consistent slice).
*Put the Zuchhini rounds 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. Be sure to scrape down all the sauce from the walls of the processor with a spatula.
*Pour the smooth sauce over the Zucchini in the big bowl


*Using your hands or the spatula, combine the sauce with the chips until all the surfaces are coated well
*Fill the trays with the individual rounds of coated Zucchini. 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 completely 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)

To your living health!

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Friday, May 14, 2021

7 Things To Do With Oregano Flowers



In my front yard I have a thriving planting of Oregano Vulgare. Although the herb is best eaten before the plant flowers, there ARE some very practical things that you can do to utilize the flowers.

Here are 7 suggestions:
  1. Don't pinch off all the flowers (if you must pinch off at all!) because the pretty, fragrant flowers will attract pollinators like the honey bee.  Bee farmers may actually thank you for the mild oregano-flavoured honey that results.
  2. The flowers have a more delicate flavour than the leaves and are a lovely cullinary addition to salads, sauces, and Mediterranean-type dishes.
  3. Essential Oil of Oregano has been valued for its curative health qualities for generations!  Even just 'smelling' the plant is said to be very health-giving.  Put a garden chair next to a clump of oregano so you can sit there to take the sun and breathe in the fragrance.  Make a tea by pouring hot water over 3 T. of flowers, steeping for about 10 minutes, sweetening with honey and drinking about 3X a day.  This tea will be helpful for menstrual cramps.
  4. Place a sachet of dried flowers under your pillow to help soothe your mind after a brain-binging day.  
  5. Oregano is a great companion plant grown near cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli to repel the cabbage butterfly.  Oregano is a general excellent companion plant in your vegetable garden!
  6. Birthday Gift for a "Chef" Friend:  Draw together a bouquet made up of oregano flowers, sage, mint, thyme, rosemary,cilantro flowers, arugula flowers and chive flowers (example). The beautiful bouquet will have deliriously fragrant notes that just might get you an invitation to dinner!
  7. Wreath-makers, check here and see some of the wonderful wreathes you can fashion with oregano flowers!
To your living health!
See: 7 Things To Do With Rosemary

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The Lemon-Garlic Mixture Recipe that Chris Wark (Chris Beat Cancer) Recommends


My husband and I are both over 70, and while we have the odd age-expected ache or pain or fallen hair or swollen ankels or whatever, we have avoided many of the BIG Diseases: Heart Disease, diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis, Cancer-- but we have had family with these diseases and there is a good chance that we will have something like this hit at some time.  That is the way of the world these days, is it not?

So, to be proactive and preventative, we believe that "Food is Our Medicine" and we adhere to a Whole Food/Plant-Based way of eating as much as possible.  We also watch a lot of those health seminars that mesh with our way of thinking that plants/herbs are the answer-- or at least our first rule of order when we feel ill.  We loved the Chris Beat Cancer series because, well, who wouldn't?  Chris is a charming young man with a friendly, compassionate mission to help others learn about how they too can beat cancer without (or only as a sideline) chemo or radiation.

Recently he talked about a lemon-garlic mixture that worked for one of his clients.  The friend took this mix every day for about 14 months-- worked up to taking 3 Tablespoons of the mix over the course of a day-- and at the end of the 14 months: NO TUMORS!

Well, we thought, if it is that powerful at killing tumors, it is certainly going to be powerful in preventing them in the first place?



 
















Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants / More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants

We are not doctors or scientists of any certification, but it seemed logical to us that this mix would be something we could happily build into our regular regimen every morning.

At first we tried to take it 'straight' on an empty stomach-- but just one teaspoon full of the mooshy sour-bitter liquid made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack.  I'm not kidding.

So, because we are allowing ourselves some licence since we don't actually have tumors (that we know of) and decided that we would put the puree into our smoothies.  That has worked just great for us.  The lemony-garlic flavour really enhances the other flavours in a vital way, as strange as it might sound to have garlic in a Green Smoothie.

THE BACK STORY ABOUT LEMONS AND GARLIC

Okay, this is the worst possible pseudo-junk-science explanation you will ever get, but let's get on with the recipe okay?  You can look up the synergistic qualities of Lemons and Garlic elsewhere on the web.  I am just going to say that each of them-- the perky little citrus Lemon and the bold little garlic crowns-- pack a lot of antibioticphytonutrient punch.

Garlic contains the strong organosulphur compounds called Allcin (yes, sounds like the girl's name).  In a clinical trial, extracted allicin (i.e., the amount you would find in about 20 cloves of garlic) was shown to prevent the common cold.

The Lemon  is a powerhouse.  Vitamin C, fiber and various phytonutrients in the lemon make for a fortress against some forms of Heart Disease, Kidney Stones, Anemia, Obesity and some of the compounds in lemons have been shown to "... prevent... malignant tumors from developing in the tongues, lungs and colons of rodents".  

So, yes, let's try this out.  If you have concerns, please do your due-diligence and speak to your trusted health provider.

INGREDIENTS
3 healthy, organic Lemons (small)
6 Garlic crowns or however you think equal the weight of 3 lemons (you can weigh each).  The ideal is to have them be the same weight.
Apple Cider Vinegar (doesn't need to be the expensive Organic brand-- this is for washing)

PREPARATION AND METHOD

1.  Immerse the lemons in water to cover, and add about 1/4 C. of Apple Cider Vinegar and put aside for the time that you will spend preparing the Garlic.



2.  Smash the garlic to make the peel go quickly. Yes it seems like a violent idea, but it really works to process the garlic quickly.  Then peel.  See the video below to see how chefs do it.  


See how Chefs Smash and Peel Garlic: 



3. Cut up the clean lemons into 1/4s or 1/8s.  Be sure to leave the skin on, but get rid of seeds.  They might be okay to consume, but they are SOOO bitter.

4. Put Lemons and Garlic in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  You may need to add a little filtered water if your lemon is not very juicy.

5. Spoon the creamy mix into an ice cube tray.  Freeze.  Put into a medium size baggy and use one a day in your smoothie.  Or, you can just put the mix into a jar with a lid in the fridge and use a teaspoon per person each day.


I am a big fan of Chris Wark, Cancer overcomer/thriver and know that there are folks who will benefit from my referring this book-- sure to encourage and inspire you:

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!


Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

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