A Simple Raw Bite

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Sometimes after a long day, all you need is a yummy, albeit random, snack. One that’s salty, sweet, crunchy, mushy, creamy and course all at the very same time. You eat it and savor it, enjoying that very rare raw food thought of how ludicrous it is to eat as much kale as you do.

The Anti-Kale Kale-Lover’s Antidote
1 slice of Manna bread, sprinkled with sea salt
1 t raw almond butter
-then-
A drizzle of raw honey
A sprinkle of unsweetened coconut shreds
A sprinkle of cacao nibs
A sprinkle of sea salt

To boot, 3 superfoods at once!! I may have been on a Kale hiatus today (minus my am green drink!) but I still got in the good stuff!

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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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Raw Chocolate Success!

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And all that is just the start to what I hope will be the beginnings of a life as a raw chocolatier!
What an amazing experience. It felt so energizing to feel such a spiritual (seriously! Not an exaggeration) connection to cacao. Huge thanks to Amy Levin and Tiffany from Ooosha who put on an incredible production today. Can’t wait for part 2!!

Pictured: raspberry filled cacao bon bons & almond butter filled praline’s (pronounced prah-lin-yays, I learned!).

And yes, they are THAT good. Silky. Melt in your mouth deliciousness. If only all the world knew how good health could taste!

Cheers!

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Continued Education…Raw Chocolate 101

Today is the day!! Been looking forward to it for SO long–since the beginning of June to be exact! It came about in one of those serendipitous, will-never-happen again moments at a David Wolfe dinner I attended at The Black Olive here in Baltimore.
I was sitting, enjoying amazing company, and even more delicious raw food…writing down the numbers of new friends and the websites I wanted to be sure and check out. Now mind you the timing here was this: still counseling only on the side, still working my non-food related corporate job, one “raw” foray under my belt, looking forward to the next one that would be in a few weeks on the Summer solstice.
After the event, I got home and turned over the card that I had been haphazardly writing on all night, and saw this: Raw chocolate making class…
Ahhh! I immediately inquired as the delicious raw chocolate I had had at the dinner was still deliciously fresh on my tongue, and David’s enthusiasm and nearly religious convictions over the health and POWER of cacao was still in my head.
So I decided right then and there I would become a raw pastry/chocolate chef. And this class will be my first official stab at it! Who knows, maybe Living Light culinary is next!
Anyway, I’m so excited! It’s being held at Brad’s Chips in Pipersville PA, which is also pretty exciting to see their headquarters!
We’ll see what they think of my carob fig truffles…!

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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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Cacao, Honey and Figs Oh My!

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Raw truffles!! Recipes to come, but gearing up for a great night in Baltimore at the Black Olive! Raw 5 course dinner and one of them includes the lovely confections I just made pictured here!

Looking forward to a great night with Woody Harrelson! We will see if we can match up to the awesome New York weekend we just had with him and David Blane!

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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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