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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.

Image

 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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There’s Something Fishy Going On & I’ve Got Questions.

As I navigate my clean food journey, there’s been one question that comes up in my head more than any other: “To eat fish, or not to eat fish”.  I am lucky enough to be close friends with a local fishery that gives me low-down on the fish industry from time to time.  Neopol Smokery.  They pride themselves on artfully preparing locally grown/raised and organic foods whenever they can, and specialize, among other items, in smoked fish–especially salmon.

I’ll always remember during my transition from eating meat to being a non-meat-eater, my friends at Neopol warned me that fish is much more dangerous from a pollution and contamination standpoint than meat is.  The fish industry has so little control of what goes into the vast waters they fish from that even under the best circumstances, no matter how wild the fish is, pollution is inevitable.  Conversely, with meat–take chickens for instance. A free-range, organically raised, vegetarian-fed chicken coming from a happy farm, is likely exactly that.  No more, no less.  Nutrition aside, that chicken will do you better than a wild catch of salmon.  But nutrition is never really aside, is it?  So that’s why I went ahead with my plan to cut out the poultry and meat, even in light of the unstable fish world. 

Thanks to a friendly commenter, I learned that Neopol is in good company with it’s information and facts:

Says Dr. Joel Fuhrman, champion of the “let food be thy medicine” theory:

Fish is one of the most polluted foods we eat, and it may place consumers at high risk for various cancers. Scientists have linked tumors in fish directly to the pollutants ingested along the aquatic food chain, a finding confirmed by the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory. In some instances, such as with the PCBs in Great Lakes trout and Salmon, it can be shown that a person would have to drink the lake water for one hundred years to accumulate the same quantity of PCBs present in a single half-pound portion of these fish, reported John J. Black, Ph.D., senior cancer research scientist for the Roswell Park Memorial Institute to the American Cancer Society. From the flounder in Boston Harbor to the English Sole in Puget Sound, scientists report that hydrocarbon pollution from habitat and our environment concentrate in fish in toxic levels.

So what to do.  The theory proposed above is sound!  Makes total sense.  Still!  Knowing what I now know, reading what I’ve read…I still want fish to be a part of my diet.  But can I afford it?  Can any of us? Does it defeat the purpose of my otherwise clean colorful food world (we’ll talk eggs another day :))?  Even looking at a broader picture–where does anyone draw the line?  Many of us are eating clean these days, and trying to consistent, and stay educated.  But doesn’t something have to give at some point?  But where?  How do you decide what the lesser evils of our fat, sugar, pollution saturated communities lie? 

In the meantime, eat colorfully!  You can never go wrong doing that!

 

 

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I Got my Eggs Back!! Post-Raw Diet.

So in my normal diet, that is pre-Raw Experiment, there were two things that separated me from my Vegan neighbors.  First, fish.  And I blame that on a little island toward Annapolis, MD and a guy whose name I’ll never remember, but whose little, itty bitty shack I’ll never forget.  It was just him–an oldish man, with leathery browned skin and permanentaly squinted eyes to go along with his permanent smile.  We had just spent all day on the water, and caught a bunch of Rockfish.  We let most go, except for one for each of us.  After docking and then lugging around our little cooler, we saw the shack, and a sign above it saying, “You bring it, We’ll Cook It!”  Long story short, it was one of the most delicious food experience I’ve had, and the closest to nature I’ve felt. 

This isn’t about fish, but the eggs half of my non-vegan story doesn’t have nearly as pretty of a picture behind it.  They are more more nostalgic.  Pancakes, crepes, (my personal favorite) french toast, omelettes…to name a few.  If along my path I happen to catch a whiff of any of these things, my mind instantly wanders to the best French Toast I’ve ever had–Terrain, in Glen Mills PA, or the best Pancakes–my mom’s on Christmas morning, or crepes–in the kitchen with Barbara learning to make them for the first time.  So eggs, and fish, need to at the very least be options in my diet.  I love them both so much!

Enter Raw Diet.  And “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”.  As of late, “Forks Over Knives”, and countless other media influences to go ahead whole hog (no pun intended) Vegan, and leave my eggs and fish behind.  Well, out the gate I decided I wanted to keep fish around.  I am particular–Wild caught, omega rich, small varieties only–but even as I was eating raw, I also freely enjoyed raw fish.  Egg, obviously not so much. And in fact, a few days after I ended my Raw journey, I ordered egg whites to go along with the Ezekial english muffin, tomatoes and avocado I had brought from home.  Sick.  Sick. Sick.  Was definitely not ready to digest eggs yet, and I was afriad I never would be.  Even knowing it is the least “clean” product I eat, I was sad at the thought of not eating them, and depressed to think of life without French Toast (even though I only have it a few times a year!).

So last night, I decided to revisit the Egg.  I got the most “raw” eggs I could find: Organic, Free Range chickens named Betty and Sue laid them, in green pastures, fed a strict vegetarian diet.  I was ready.  A little coconut oil, separated the eggs, so I would have egg whites only (I figured I’d crawl before I walked), and…….DELICIOUS!  Eureka!!  I CAN eat eggs!!  And so, my diet profile became even more complicated:  No meat, but fish allowed; no dairy, but eggs allowed; mountains of veggies, but raw only and grains always, sometimes cooked, sometimes sprouted; evry meal, at least 50% raw, usually 80%.  Phew! 

Jinji’s Polenta & Eggs with Raw Gravy & Kale

Kale

Stem, and chiffonade; feverishly rub leaves together with lemon juice, a touch of EVOO, cayenne and dash of sea salt

Raw Gravy

1 T almond butter; 2 T water; 1 T onions; 1 portabello mushroom; Poultry seasoning & Braggs to taste…process in food processor until smooth-ish

Then… cook the polenta as you like it, and top everything with cooked egg white!

Enjoy!!

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“A morning” in the life of a Raw Foodie…Day 2!

I wonder what Webster’s describes Ambition as.  After this morning, I have a definition of my own, and it rhymes with stupidity!  Not really.  But boy, I’m starting to believe that if you have any plans to a) work a full time job, b) do a morning work out c) sleep past 5:00am–a Raw diet may not be the answer.  Again, in the same breath, I’m reminded of the little rewards that came later in the morning.  More on that in a bit.  So, I woke up today, as a day two raw foodist knowing I had chores.  So I gave myself about 20 minutes extra before having to leave to make it to a 6:15 Bikram class (and that, before having to make it to my desk at 8:30!).  Ok, so 5:15, and these were the first things running thruogh my head: 1. Rinse my sprouting barley (you have to rinse twice a day while sprouting) 2. Rinse my sproutED almonds–they’re done! 3. Drain my overnight soaking walnuts, i’d need them for my “oatmeal” 4. Strain my oat groats, and put them in the food processor with my sliced strawberries (pre-sliced last night, thank god) 5. Package the walnuts, some raisins, and about a cup of almond milk (made this last night too) in my lunch bag for work, along with my collard leaves and guacamole (made last night too), and a few other shortcut snacks to last through the day.  See?!  SO much to do!! I can’t help but ask myself all the while, at (now) 5:25 in the morning–does everyone have it this hard??  And for god’s sake.  Will it get any easier?  I push on.  Start the food processor.  SO LOUD!! Was it this loud before?  I finish making meal out of my oats, but I’m fully expecting an eviction warning on my door when I get home tonight!  Somehow, I pack it all up, even have time for the mountain of dishes I created; can’t quite remember if I put things back in the fridge, but I figure I haven’t had any food casualties yet, so luck is on my side.  Got to class on time, and was even at my desk at 8:30, in time to tell the story, all the while eating DELICIOUS raw oatmeal.  Phew!  Again, not the prettiest, but I’m also starting to think that pretty raw food pictures must be taken with a special lens.

Jinji’s Raw Oatmeal, adapted from Raw Energy, Strawberry Zipper Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup oat groats, soaked overnight
  • Some sliced strawberries
  • Some chopped almonds
  • Raisins
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3/4 cup almond milk, made the day before
  • Alot of cinnamon
  • Several shakes of sea salt
  • Tiny bit of cayenee (tricks you into thinking you’re eating hot oatmeal)

The morning after soaking the oat groats, process them with the almonds and raisins and a few strawberry slices.  Combine that with teh rest of the ingredients and you’re ready to go!  ENJOY!

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