Category Archives: recipes

Crisis Averted: Food & Friends

Healthy eating, and raw food in particular can be isolating! Anyone who is on the path to improved health knows that it can be a lonely one.  What do you say when colleagues and friends want to go out to dinner at the grease pit around the corner that you USED to go to all the time?  What do you do when family, the people who have been cooking for you for years, maybe even your whole life wants to make you your favorite: Macaroni and cheese…and not the “cheeze” kind.  Or when your friend saves you a slice of their double chocolate chocolate birthday cake…and it’s not cacao! My point is, there are situations that come up in everyday life when you’re trying to upgrade your eating habits that can be difficult, create social awkwardness, or the worst–hurt other people’s feelings! It’s enough to throw you into crisis mode.

So what to do.  Well, unfortunately I haven’t found an answer to that one yet.  Oh! I thought of another one, that might be the most difficult of all–when your significant other isn’t ready to make the changes you are, or may not be interested at all.  So now, not only are you that person at work, who all the sudden doesn’t want to go to happy hour, and eats along at the lunch table, but you’re also eating alone at the dinner table too.  Anyway, there may not be an easy antidote to the stresses that come along with changes.  But there IS hope.

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This is no ordinary salad!  Let’s remember the essence of why you are eating the way you are.  To be healthy.  Vibrant.  Energetic.  Youthful.  While I can’t promise there won’t be naysayers along the way, I can promise you that for every naysayer, there will be someone you get to inspire.  Someone who loves what you are doing, and not only wants to support you, but accepts the challenge of joining you.

And, interestingly, these people might come from unexpected places! Thinking back to Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and the truck driver.  Who would have ever thought from the looks of him that he would become a friend, enthusiast and promoter of the live foods movement.

Back to the salad.  I love to make food, and always have.  But I have missed so dearly going to someone’s house and having food prepared for me!  Delicious things, that I don’t have to question the ingredients of, and I just bathe my soul and my senses in.  I have always believed that sharing food that you make with your own hands and energy is of the greatest expressions of love and kindness.  ImageSo while the salad was AHHHH MAZING, the raw zucchini lasagna that followed was out. of. sight.  Knowing from first hand experience the effort and time (ohhh the TIME.  Not to mention the dishes) that goes into making raw casserole type dishes, that this one was waiting for me, done, beautiful and delicious was a game changer and beyond any expectations I had.  In fact, it made up for every person who excluded me from a social invite, for each time I couldn’t go to someone’s house, and for all the times I compromised to eat my mother’s this and that.

A special meal indeed!  I’m only sorry there aren’t any pictures of the raw macadamia brownies that followed!  But cacao has a very short half life around me 🙂

Thanks friend 🙂

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Unsung Foods of Adolescence

And I’m not sure who to credit with this one! And though I have a long life yet to live, I will be forever resentful of my cherry-less, coconut-less, olive-less youth. Well I blame myself for the olives. My parents, they tried! But I would hear nor taste nothing of an olive. But let’s explore the cherries and coconuts, and see if we can’t unearth the root of their unsung delicious lyrics.

Cherries: plump, red, sweet, tart, and a delicious sign of summer. Minus the pit (but most good fruit has seeds and/or pits…read: summer peaches), cherries seem to have all the qualities any child or teen would adore. For me, I think my mistaken impression of them started at Friendly’s (are those still around??). Yep, the maraschino cherry. Not red, but a neon red. Not the diverse tastes of sweetness, tartness and sour, but just sugar. And not even sugar, because after all who doesn’t like sugar, but that syrupy aftertaste sugar. I don’t know, maybe I just never had a good quality maraschino cherry, if such a thing even exists! All I know is that the one I had was traumatic, and robbed me of a youth filled with delicious cherries! But, I’m making up for all that now. Tis the season!

How about coconuts? Until recently, you couldn’t dare me to eat coconut. So where did this scarring begin? I suspect somewhere in the aisles of a corner store hidden in the good old Almond Joy. Or was it an Almond Joy-esque bon bon? Anyway, that hyper sweetened coconut paste.. Or coconut “flavored” paste, gave rise to a couple decades worth of coconut avoidance. Now, eating raw and learning more about superfoods and the natural delicious taste of coconuts (even in all their omega 6ness…more on that later!), they are among my favorites! And I can’t bear the thought of a chocolate or muesli without them!

So as we scuttle through the food labyrinth that we exist in, before writing off foods we may have learned to dislike growing up–especially raw, unrefined and unprocessed ones–let’s give them another go. In our own ways, without the commercialization and without that lovely SAD influence.

Ode to Cherries and Coconut Smoothie
2 cups cherries, pitted
1 cup water
1/4 c hemp seeds
2 T unsweetened coconut shreds
2 T cacao nibs
1 T raw honey
Salt

Blend away! Enjoy! Yummmm!

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Juicing Joys!

Is a juicer, a juicer, a juicer? That’s not an error or mistype–I mean is there significant difference between the 40.00 juicers and the 950.00 juicers? Well I can go less extreme than that. How about the 40.00 ones and the 200.00 ones?
So as I have been raw-ifying my kitchen–removing the microwave, putting the dehydrator front and center, getting a good food processor (thanks Somer!!)–my final wish list item was a juicer. A solid juicer. Not the best, but a good one–not the worst either! In searching, there were all kinds of words I learned to pay attention to: centrifugal, masticating, dry/wet pulp. Then, is it a horizontal set up or vertical. Hard to clean or easy? And, as if another standard was necessary–how many pieces does it come apart in. Dizzying!
In the end, I went with the Omega 4006 model. Masticating. Horizontal. Dry pulp. 5 pieces.
To test my investment, I put it up against a 40.00 black and decker juicer–in fact they each had similar reviews! People are happy with their Omega’s and their Black and Decker’s! But I answer my own question of value in getting the more expensive machine in saying this: the B&D did have chunks of forgotten beets in the waste cabinet with the rest of the “wet” pulp, it was so loud I couldn’t even hear my Omega and there was about as much foam as there was juice!
So I guess it does make a difference! Another kitchen appliance where you truly get what you pay for.

Jinji’s Favorite Rainbow Juice
2 stalks of celery
Handfuls of parsley and cilantro
1 green apple
2 red beets
3 carrots
About 1/4 pineapple

Enjoy!

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An Unsung Raw Food Hero

Growing up, it was the only way I could stomach rice. It was my mother’s antidote to my insatiable sweet tooth without sending me into a sugar coma.
Now, as a food conscious adult, it’s still my go to. I eat it right out of the jar by the spoonful. I make delicious parfaits with it. I excite myself by discovering how many different foods taste better when mixed up with it! Truly, though there have been a couple “jinji…really?” moments, I haven’t had anything inedible just yet.
Any guesses?? Pure, unadulterated, unpasteurized, plain old, mono-ingredient, unsweetened applesauce!
Sometimes I think I could live on it, and cacao alone. So nutritious, versatile and yummy without any guilt! It’s apples for crying out loud! For sure in the short list of foods babys, toddlers, kids, teens, adults and grand-adults can all enjoy!

Jinji’s morning parfait
1/2 c unsweetened organic applesauce
1 T each of raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds
1 banana, diced
3 figs, chopped
1 T unsweetened coconut shreds
1 T chopped walnuts
1 T raw oats
Cinnamon
Sea salt
Few drops of good vanilla extract

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For the Love of Raw

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What an amazing night for Baltimore! The group of us who organized the event (myself and the two women on the left) accomplished exactly what we set out to do: Inspire, educate, and connect…all with knock-your-socks-off amazing raw food, and a powerful yoga experience. We did it! The response was overwhelmingly and genuinely positive, to the point where we are already reloading for July.

At one point, everyone was asked to say in brief how they got to our Event and why they were there. A myriad of responses of course, ranging from “my wife made me come” to “I’ve been a raw foodist for years and have been waiting for something like this!” But my favorite outcome of that exercise and really the event as a whole is that MOST people were getting their first raw experience.

So what does that mean… It means we gave them the glow! The food tasted so good, and the energy was that powerful that they really enjoyed themselves! It’s a great honor to be a part of what I would consider the Baltimore raw movement! We’re finally taking note and nodding to our neighbor to the North and trying to make a positive impact on Nutrition and whole food availability in this city.

Little by little! Oh, and for any who are wondering, here was our raw vegan dinner menu:
– mushroom ceviche on endive leaves
– guacamole and dehydrated corn chips
– watermelon tomato gazpacho
– micro green and kohlrabi salad with turmeric dressing
– butternut squash lasagna with cashew ricotta
– strawberry rhubarb ice cream with cacao truffle

Yummmmmmm!!!!!!

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 I think we should give salads a new name.  I think they have a bad wrap with the magority of people out there.  Just the word implies a very non-creative execution of some dry combination of lettuce, carrots and tomatoes.  Maybe the adventurous might include red onion and cucumber in that image too.  But no one is excited about that.  In fact, I think the only reason anyone gives it any belly time at all is because they are under the impression that one of those every few days will provide the healthy balance they need to an otherwise un-colorful diet.  But any clean, plant based eater knows, there’s a whole world of salads out there–colorful, hearty, full of grains, nuts, seeds… in fact, truth be told, when I make a salad for myself, the greens probably play the smallest part!  So what can we call these?  I mean, they are full meals–not the appetizer the name salad suggests.  They are multi-layered, multi-textured, and multi-colored.  Not monotonous like the name ssalad suggests. 

I’m reminded of another conversation I had with client yesterday who has had amazing health and body results from a dietary lifestyle change, most measureable by the integration of complex sweets to his diet throughout the day–fruit, figs, prunes, dates, etc.  Also, the creme de la creme for him has been the integration of RAW desserts.  After talking through the immense, varied and full body benefits that his body receives when combining cacao, coconut, honey, avocado and nuts into one delicious dessert, he asked: “Should we even call it dessert? It does our bodies good like a meal would, it has the full host of nutrients we need…we should give it another name!”  Yes.  We.  Should.  Like salads, raw chocolate desserts should absolutely never be confused with whatever slimy chocolate concoctions on popular dessert menu’s!  I digress.

ImageSo I had a delicious salad (for lack of better word, yet) for lunch today that I thought I would share with you all!

Sprouted Quinoa with Sweet Potato, Carrot, Grapefruit & Arugula SALAD (maybe we just put it in all caps!)–serves 1 hungry person

Sprouted Quinoa: Soak about a cup of quinoa in enough water that it covers all the way for 24 hours, rinsing twice.  Drain.  Transfer to a tray of bowl big enough so that you get a single(ish) layer of quinoa, and sprout for 1-2 days (depending on freshness), rinsing 2x per day.

Tahini-Date Dressing:

  • 1/2 date
  • 2 T tahini paste
  • 2 T water
  • 1/2 T bragg’s
  • juice of half a lemon

Give it whirr!

SALAD

  • 1/2 sweet potato, chopped finely
  • 1 large carrot, chopped finely
  • a bunch of parsley
  • half of a large grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 c or so of the sprouted quinoa
  • 1 Tahini-Date dressing recipe
  • 1 c or so of arugula–pre-toss with a little EVOO, braggs and lemon juice–only enough to get the leaves shiny!

Mix it all toegther! Enjoy!!

 I think we sh…

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Carrot Cake Cupcakes! Life, Death & Life Again.

Fact:  A raw foodist CAN have carrot cake!  Fact: A raw foodist CAN have cream cheese frosting!  Fact: A raw foodist CAN eat an actual cupcake that you have to pell the wrapper away from! 

And my favorite fact of all.  I remember so fondly the times when my mom would make her famous carrot cakes.  Quite ahead of her time I must say, and very rustic…hand grating all the carrots, using half the sugar, and maybe even whole grain flour…but after she’d put it in to bake, me standing there, licking the Imagebatter off the spoon, and THEN…oh, and then…using my fingers to wipe clean the bowl.  So I thought that moment of nostalgia would forever be in my past until last night… FACT: Raw foodists CAN lick the batter bowl clean.  To boot, we don’t even have to worry about salmonella!

So I did it!  I made what I am told are delicious carrot cake cupcakes.  It was a bit arduous, so much so that I didn’t even realize that I was making them to the beat of my own drum–I didn’t have the tv or radio on at all.  And even though I’ve really stopped watching tv, I do like to have some background chatter while I’m making food.  Of course, there were the typical “Jinji, really?” moments.  First, I need a bigger food processor.  The little kitchenaid dealie isn’t going to cut it anymore!  I found myself ridiculously working in batches with 6 cupcakes worth of batter.  Next, I’m learning there are rules to baking.  Like, mix some ingredients first, then add the others.  With cooking, you can have flexibility…do what feels right.  But not with caking!  (caking, because it’s not really baking, is it?)  But the carrot shreds in too early, causing great upset to my dates and walnuts, and the happy goo they were trying to create together.  So, stop take out the shreds that hadn’t interrupted and continue.  Stop, remove have the 1/2 done goo because of small container, continue.  Did I add the spices?  Should I??  Continue.  I mean that’s a good 30 minutes of un-do and re-do and a big mess!

But finally in spite of myself, I came out  with a batch of frosting, and the lovely batch of batter pictured Imagebelow–shoved into silicone cupcake holders  (both the shoving and the silicone was actually pretty brilliant.  After they refrigerated for a while, I got nice densely packed uniform cupcakes that were super easy to remove!).  And, once I got half a brain and stopped trying to carve out perfect swirls of icing, like how it looks like in pictures, I put all the frosting in a ziploc bag and clipped the corner to pipe it out.  I’ve since learned Imagethat everyone knows to do that, but at the time I thought it was a stroke of pure genius. 

So everything cooled out in the fridge for a while as I basked in all my newfound carrot wisdom.  FACT: A rawfoodist CAN safely. literally, and relatively guiltlessly eat both the frosting and the batter with his/her finger before they even get the chance to make contact.  Sigh.  Oh!  And a joke:  You know you’re a raw foodist when “how long does it have to go in for?”  refers to refrigeration, not baking in the oven!  Hilarious, I know, I know.

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 The Forbidden RAW Carrot Cake Cupcake

  • 2 c grated carrots–squeeze the juice out using a papertowl, and reserve for a juice or a shake
  • 1 cup dry walnuts
  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 1 T unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 T cacao nibs
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 T raisins

Process the walnuts and dates until they’re like a larabar consistency.  Add in carrots until everything is well combined.  Then, add everything else.  Put into a silicone cupcake tray.  Refrigerate for an hour or so.  Done.

Frosting

  • 1 c soaked cashews
  • 6 dates, also soaked
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 t cacao powder

Process everything together, adding water as needed to get it to frosting consistency.  Spoon into a ziploc.  Refrigerate for the remainder of the time the cakes are getting cool.  

“Pop-out” the cupcakes, then pipe! Then top with hemp seeds, cacao nibs, cacao…coconut shreds, cinnamon.  ENJOYYYY!!! These are GOOOOD!

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Oh, Burger King..shame, shame, shame

ImageOk. So here’s the picture of it. and don’t get me wrong. I’m Raw, not Dead…it looks sort of good. But honestly, not to me, it really doesnt, but I can see how someone, even a clean someone would say “mmmm”. Ok, I said that, so now I can say this: “Burger King. REALLY??? Have you not killed enough people by way of Whoppers already?? You had to go and make a Bacon freakin Sundae to go with it??” Okay. Relax. I know I should, and I know people make their own choices. BUT! WHy, oh why does American Fast Food continue to make it so damned hard to do the right thing? Check these numbers. If, just say someone went and decided to get their usual Whopper meal–A Whopper, Fries and a Coke (BTW, was just on the BK website to find out this information, and learned they now have such a thing as a TRIPLE whopper….lonnnng sigh). Say they then decide that since they left the bacon off the burger, they have license to also go ahead with this Sundae/Bacon concotion pictured above. Because, well they would have gotten ice cream anyway. Well the Whopper meal itself already puts them back 1,560 calories. Add the Sundae, and in one sitting, they will have consumed 2,070 calories. But wait, it’s 173 grams of sugar total!! Where’s the bold button on here…173 grams of sugar!!! And taking into account our nifty equation (thanks Lil Sis!), that’s a staggering 43 teaspoons of sugar. In one sitting. At one time. In one body. And we wonder why we can’t get a hold of ourselves. I can’t even imagine how long it would take to recover from 43 tsps of sugar. I’m reminded of that Smoking movie where the lead character was kidnapped into a cargo van and literally injected with nicotine until near death. Dramatic? Maybe. But maybe not.

In the meantime, while I was in New York at Organic Avenue, I picked up an amazing new cacao treat! I thought salted chocolate was a thing of my past but no sir. Salted cacao is alive and very, very well and is now indeed a permanent fixture in my diet. So the next time I want a sweet and salty fix, I break up a few pieces of that into the very rawsome frozen banana cacao sorbet:
1/2 frozen banana
1 t cacao
1 t nut milk
A few dashes of salt

Blend and add in the chunks of salted cacao, plus hemp seeds and blueberries. Mmmmmmm!

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Who said Raw food is Boring?

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Because I want them to look at this, and tell me this one thing: If I didn’t tell you this was a 100% raw dish, would you have known?

So in my second quest for Rawdom, I’m having much more luck so far.  After Rawifying (should I start a Raw____ dictionary??) my kitchen, bidding adieu to the microwave, initiating the Dehydrator…I have to say I’m feeling pretty confident!  I like to couple my quests with at least one defined goal.  The first time I went Raw, my goal was pretty much just survival.  Try not to starve.  Try to enjoy the process, and make it through the two weeks!  This time, I know I can handle those things.  In fact, today I knew it would be a long day outside, so I brought the big purse, and stuffed it full of raw trail mix, a couple apples, a date (the best thing for quick energy and focus!), and a piece of cacao (I take that back–THIS is the best thing for quick, sustained energy!) and a some raw almond butter, spiked with cinnamon.

Anyway, this time, the goal is color!  It’s summer time afterall, and Raw reigns supreme, especially at this time of year.  We have a huge homefield advantage because everything is inherently colorful and bountiful!  No effort required.  So for breakfast, in my overnight soaked oats, I made sure there were blueberries, strawberries, coconut shreds, gogiberries and hemp seeds.  Pretty colorful!  Okay, for lunch it was a shake, but before it was the beautiful lime green color, it had LOTS of color!  Yellow from the mango, red/orange from the peach, yellow from the pineaple, green from the kiwi and greens…yum!  And then you can see the lovely concoction that was dinner.

Colorful Bloomed Wild Rice Salad

Sauce

  • 1/4 c. soaked sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 roma tomato
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt
  • cumin
  • chili spice

Wild Rice: Soak for 2 days, rinsing 4 times…perfecto!

Veggies

  • 1/4 avocado
  • fresh corn
  • zucchini
  • 1/2 roma tomato
  • 5 sliced peppadews
  • handful of spinach,chopped
  • some sunflower sprouts!

Top with a bunch of cilantro, a handful of raisins, and some pumpkin seeds.  ENJOY!

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Sorry Brad! There’s a New Chip in Town!

ImageI mean I don’t want to brag…BUT!  And ok, so when’s the last time you had a curly sweet potato chip?  Maybe that’s the charm of them though!  I will say this: They are CRUNCHY, they crack like chips do, you can put them on sandwiches like you do other chips (I had a manna bread sandwich with peppers, avocado, wilted kale and these chips…sensational!), and they are still so delicate and delish!  One thing I will do differently, perhaps, is slice them a tad bit thicker on the mandoline.  See, my theory going into it was that I would slice them extra thin because then they would dehydrate quicker.  False.  Those bad boys took every minute of 24 hours to finish!  But how exciting!  So here was my process (I suspect I will do the same for future chipping…zucchini, beet, kale (maybe…overrated), eggplant):

  • Step one: Don’t Peel.  Stare the veggie in the eye (or nub), and commit to not peeling it.
  • Step two: Get out the mandoline, and slice away.  Pick a thickness that makes sense to you, and stick with it.  Consistency is key!
  • Spray evenly with coconut oil spray (sooo much more flavorful than other oils, and save yourself the unneccessary fats by using oil)
  • Sprinkle with seasonings.  Make it spicy, or cheesy with nutritional yeast.  Less is sort of more.  I think I went overboard, but they are still delicious!
  • Dehydrate for a long time.  Literally, these took 24 hours!  It’s ok to check on them, you won’t ruin the process.
  • When they’re finished, if you don’t house them all in one sitting (you might!), let them cool for about 5 minutes.
  • MOST IMPORTANT if you want to impress friends the next day, and enjoy crispy chips with your lunch, store in an absolutely air tight container.  Don’t be that person that gets people all excited only to find out they aren’t like they were the night before.  Fail!  Limp “chips”.  Preventable.  Air-tight container!

So the dehydrator and I are officially friends now.  I’m planning on making some breads soon.  Maybe a pizza.  Maybe I’ll warm my morning Manna bread in it.  Maybe I’ll warm up some stuffed portabella’s.  Endless!  In fact, we’re SUCH great friends, that I have officially rImageeplaced an old, dear friend of mine.  One that has stood by me, and been quite useful in times of desperation.  But I’ve known for some time, that this friend was no good for me…the good ole poisonous Microwave.  Gone.  Took a knee under the counter.  I officially have a raw kitchen!  Working on getting another juicer now.  The old one I have holds too much juice in the pulp.  Any suggestions??

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