Monday, June 6, 2011

Mango Salsa

I've been searching for inspiration and found it on Facebook via Beni Johnson - the wife of one of the most influential people of my spiritual life, Bill Johnson.  I've subscribed to for a couple of years now and recently purchased the Wellness Seminar held at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in which Beni speaks about wellness and advocates raw food.  I don't have much time these days, as usual with full-time school, parenting, providing child care, and now gardening season.  It's important for me to note that every time I take advantage of listening to podcasts or watching streaming sermons online from Bethel it never fails: my life is changed from a deep place in my heart - always.  I NEVER go away thinking, "that was a waste of time!"  

So Beni recently asked if others had had much luck growing cilantro at home.  I never have had much luck myself, but had a nice big fresh bunch of cilantro in my crisper waiting to be used and after a trip to the Iowa City Farmer's Market over the weekend I scored a bag full of hothouse tomatoes and it's time for my first batch of salsa of the season!  I just happened to have a very ripe mango here as well and decided to try out some mango salsa.  Success!
The recipe made exactly enough to fill this cute jar and because I strained the tomatoes first I got another little jar of fresh tomato juice as well.  Mmmm, good!

Mango Salsa

7 small tomatoes, strained
1 medium mango, chopped
1 sweet bell pepper (I used orange to match the mango ;)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder (you can use fresh if you have it, I didn't have any on hand)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

First cut tomatoes in quarters and place in a strainer over a pot or bowl.  Gently mash massage the tomatoes to extract juice and allow to sit for 5 minutes or so to drain.  Pour tomatoes, chopped mango and all seasonings in a food processor and pulse a few times.  Do not over process.  Pour into a jar to use later or a bowl to enjoy now!

This is a sweet and tangy salsa and is delicious with raw tortilla chips or in a raw wrap.  You can also enjoy it with tortilla chips if you aren't eating all raw.  Either way, it's worth giving a try for a new twist on salsa.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Raw 'Cheese' Sauce

Back to my hunt for a raw cheese that feels like a satisfying substitute for the real thing.  This one passed my "kiddo taste test" so it's a winner for the whole family!

I found a recipe for a cooked vegan cheese sauce that used almost all raw ingredients.  I thought, "Why cook it?"  So I modified a few things like using raw bell pepper instead of jarred pimentos and changed up quantities to make a smaller batch.  I used dried seasonings but if you like you could easily use raw garlic and onion (they just don't sit well in my tummy these days so I didn't want to risk it.)

I'd like to experiment with this recipe and dehydrate some on a paraflex sheet sometime but that's going to have to be another day with another batch.  I have big plans for this one.  This is a cheese substitute that fits the bill right now and I don't have to wait hours for (except for the soaking part but I did that this morning and came back to it when I was ready to start the recipe.  Soaking is somehow different for me.)

Raw 'Cheese' Sauce

3/4 cup water
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 6 hours if possible)
1 lemon, juice of
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 orange or red bell pepper
1/3 cup nutritional yeast (optional - cut 1/4 cup water if not used)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Add more water if needed for desired consistency.  Enjoy with vegetable crudites or as a sauce over raw noodles.

I haven't had any kind of non-raw cheese substitute that has even come close to this.  I absolutely LOVE it!  Hope you enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Raw Turtles

I have had quite a sweet tooth lately and with Valentine candy of the past and Easter candy of the near future on my brain I decided to satisfy my craving with a raw version of one of my very favorite holiday candies, Turtles.
These are really very simple and easy to make.  I used my usual raw chocolate recipe with a bit less agave to cover pecan halves that were covered by date halves and voila:  Raw Turtles!  They are so yummy and satisfying, and better yet they have saved me from even wanting the real thing.

Raw Turtles

Raw Chocolate
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw agave nectar

Other Ingredients
30 raw pecan halves
30 date halves

Mix coconut oil, cacao powder and agave together into a thick chocolate sauce.  Lay the pecan halves on waxed or parchment paper covered cookie sheet and cover each one with half a date.  Dip each pecan/date combo in the chocolate sauce and place in freezer to harden.

 I recommend storing in either the refrigerator or freezer to keep the chocolate from melting.  They'll last longer in the freezer and I find that I eat goodies like this less frequently if I keep them out of site in the freezer than if I can see them every time I open the fridge.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Long Time, No Post. What's UP?

Wow, I haven't posted since July 2010!  It is now February 2011 and raw food is still a part of my life, though not in the quantity I would prefer.  I've been encouraged, motivated and even inspired by comments that people have left on the blog and today received and email stating: "We've scoured the web to look for qualifying blogs who've gone the "Extra Mile" in being an overall excellent resource."  What?  Really?  Wow!  I'm not really sure I deserve it but Thank You!!  Nothing more motivating than that to get back to blogging!  Check out the award badge on the right side of the blog to see many more blogs featuring raw food.

So where have I been?  I had a baby girl in September.  She's so awesome and her big sister is amazing with her.  As a nursing mom I've become even more aware of what is going into my body because someone else is reacting to it.

Here I am with my family.  The girls are perfect.  My hubby and I managed to grow an extra chin for each of us during my pregnancy.  Not the most flattering photo of me, but real.  Seriously, time for change.
NOT surprisingly baby girl does not tolerate one of my favorite indulgences: dairy.  I confess that I am a lover of cheese, and I haven't been able to have it for the past 5 months.  What better reason to begin the hunt for a satisfying raw cheese alternative.  It's on!

I don't have an raw recipes to post today but I want to give two big thumbs up to Weight Watchers.  For the first time in 13 years they have revamped the program and for the better.  The new points system encourages people to eat more fruits and veggies by making the vast majority of them worth 0 points, meaning those following the plan can eat as much fruit and veg as they want.  I'm so happy for this change as I did Weight Watchers in the past and was always frustrated that people could eat their processed unhealthy crap and still lose weight but not gain health.  This has been addressed with a new points calculator as well.  Finally, calories are not accounted for.  Instead they use protein, fat, fiber and carbs to calculate the points based on how the body uses those nutrients and not based on calories consumed.  Not all calories are created equal.  There's probably still some room for improvement but I feel that this is a giant leap from where they were a year ago.