Tag Archives: raw food recipes

An August Fig Salad

I admit it: This is tImagehe first summer, and first time I have had fresh figs!  Dried figs and I are very well acquainted, but fresh figs I had never had the pleasure until now!  I’m going to make an assumption that I am not alone on this one!  I have the fortune of not only having fresh, sun ripened, organic figs, but courtesy of a dear friend, I get to pick them off the tree myself! Right here in Baltimore!

Figs are one of those fruits that surprise you every time you bite into one.  The textures–smooth, yet crunchy; the tastes–sweet, yet bright.  And the colors–purples, reds, yellows.  Each one is a gift!

It’s like I’m instantly being transported to the garden of cleopatra or something–fresh figs, raw, unpasteurized goat cheese, crunchy walnuts.  Absolutely delicious, and takes my raw experience to a whole new level of simple enjoyment!

Cleopatrs’s Salad

  • A bed of arugula, dressed in lemon and good balsamic vinegar
  • 6 fresh figs
  • A handful of salted walnuts
  • Raw, Unpasteurized goats milk cheese
  • A drizzle of honey
  • A spring or two of mint

YUM! ENJOY!!

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Perfect Summer Raw Dinner

ImageMost wonderful, most refreshing, most healthy, most RAW soup ever!  I decided tonight once and for all that for a sweet, firm, cold chunk of watermelon, I will kill or die.  I mean honestly, is there anything better?! On a 100 degree Baltimore summer day, I challenge anyone to convince me of a better oasis.

Jinji’s Watermelon Gazpacho

  • 3 cups of watermelon, pureed
  • 2 cups of watermelon, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 small jalepeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • A huge handful of cilantro, chopped

So you might ask, what could possibly follow such a lovely first course?  I’m on this Ayurvedic path of blending flavors; being sure to include elements of spiciness, pungency, sweetness, astringency, bitterness and sourness.  So the heat and sweetness were taken care of in the luscious watermelon soup above.  I decided for dinner, I would go raw falafel with a macadamia feta, fermented greens (cheers to BOA!), pickled green beans, tomatoes, cashews and figs.  The falafel is most exciting!  I made it with pistachios, carrots, onions, mushrooms and spices, then rolled it in hemp seeds and dehydrated them for a while.  YUM.  YUM.  YUM.  And the macadamia feta?  Forget about it.  Freaking good.  Image

Macadamia Feta “Cheese”

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • A little parsley
  • Sea Salt
  • Turmeric

Ahhhhh, summertime 🙂

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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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 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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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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Two Weeks of a Raw Diet in Review…Day 14

I thought I should use this space on this final day of this epic journey to share some things.  Answers to the dumb questions you won’t want to ask.  Tips for survival on a Raw Diet.  And one final recipe entry–the absolute best yet, using my pride and joy: Bloomed Wild Rice.

I’ve said it before: A big reason for my doing this whole thing, aside from the adventure part, is to start a discussion.  We have to ground this talk of obesity, food addiction and general unwellness.  Take it back from the silver screen for a minute and really talk about realistic, and sustainable ways to get a hold of ourselves.  Debunk myths, reconnect with the essence of food, and let our bodies do the talking.  Am I suggesting everyone go out and become a Raw foodist?  No.  I am suggesting that collectively, we can change eating habits for the better and incorporate some color every now and then.  More on that to come.  For now, in case you are one of the brave and few, here are some tips I’ve learned in the past 14 days that may just mean the difference between making it, and not making it:

  1. Forgive yourself.  You’ll mess up.  Sometimes accidentally (see hot water incident), and sometimes because you just can’t help it (see coffee incident)–either way, it’s ok.  Keep going.
  2. Don’t give up.  And don’t throw it away.  You can fix it!  It’s food in its simplest form and you’ll be surprised what a date, a pinch of salt or a handful of nuts can do for a meal.
  3. Cheat.  Find your closest juice bar, and become friends with people that work there.  Look around in your health food stores–you’ll be surprised at what kind of packaged delights you can find.
  4. Secret heat.  My favorite.  I found some on top of my fridge, and would let my cold Manna bread rest there for a while before eating it.  I would put my cold, soaked oatmeal on the floor of my car on the way to work with the feet heater on.  In the center of my stove there’s also a warm place.  And never forget the sun.  Sit things out for a while–it’s allowed!
  5. Don’t forget the salad.  Don’t get so caught up in creativity that you forget the simplest thing of all–salads! All restaurants have them, and you probably have enough stuff in your refrigerator to whip one up deliciously and quickly!
  6. Don’t be afraid.  Sprout.  Dehydrate.  Soak.  And enjoy the process.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  And don’t be surprised when things start growing!  It’s supposed to do that.
  7. Use your hands.  And get your kids involved.  What I would have given for an extra pair of hands sometimes (most times)!
  8. Finish your plate & the cob.  It’s all edible!  No bones to worry about here.  No fatty parts, no weird skin.  It gets sweeter and sweeter as you go.
  9. Leave time.  For more dishes than you’ve ever had at once.  To sweep up random peels, seeds and shells.  To rinse your soaking things….hey.  No one ever said raw food doesn’t take work, and I especially never said it!
  10. Get some sleep.  It matters, and you’ll thank yourself when you aren’t spending time googling raw ways to get as much caffeine as coffee.  A) you’ll feel like some kind of fiend, and B) it does not exist.  Trust me!
  11. Remember what you know.  Don’t be intimidated by long recipes, and don’t get pissed when you don’t have an ingredient.  You know how to cook, and you know what tastes good together.  Go with your instincts first.
  12. Frozen fruit fixes smoothies.  You’ll see what I mean.
  13. Look for friends in unlikely places.  There could be someone at work that is doing raw right now.  Your favorite restaurant might have a raw bartender.  Ask around, you’ll be surprised.

Finally…BE BRAVE.  Drink your delicious dark green kale smoothie at work without shame.  Dip your finger in at the end to get the last delicious drop.  Tell people what you’re doing in spite of what you know their response will be.  As a matter of fact, tell everyone.  Even if they don’t get it, they’ll remember it, and who knows what that could mean.  And if nothing else, even if they don’t say it out loud, they will respect you for what you’re doing.  Don’t let the “gross” comments knock you off your journey.  They don’t mean it.  And if they could taste the bloomed wild rice I made tonight, they just might join you:

Jinji’s Laughing Wild Rice (because you can’t eat it without laughing):

  • 2 cups of bloomed wild rice (put about a cup in a jar with lots of water, let it soak and watch as it opens, curls up and drinks every sip)
  • An avocado
  • A zucchini
  • A huge carrot, or a couple smaller ones–diced
  • 1/2 a red pepper, diced
  • Lots of cilantro
  • Peas (corn would work too, probably even better)

Mix all that together, and then top with:

  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • about a 1/4 c of soaked sundried tomatoes
  • alot of cilantro

Blend together, adding in the soaking water from the sundried tomatoes as needed.  Toss with the pilaf and laugh!

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One More Day…Raw Diet Day 13

I have one more day left, and to be frank, I’m glad.  But in an all-around glad sort of way that I ventured into these unchartered raw waters, glad for all the new things I’ve learned, and most glad to be able to broaden my diet moving forward.  I do miss hot, cooked grains and delicious roasted veggies.  I miss cooked fish, and sauteed wild mushrooms.

I also miss chips.  Which reminds me of a major “miss” of mine over the past 2 weeks: I didn’t dehydrate.  Oh, I have a dehydrator!  I actually inherited it specifically for this diet.  I thought I would make Raw bread–but, instead I found Manna bread at Whole Foods.  I thought I’d make chips, but then I discovered “Brad’s Kale Chips” at my local health food store.  I thought I would make flax seed crackers to have with my hummus–but I bought those too.  Also, the dehydrator is big.  It’s a machine that needs to be plugged in, and it has dials and moving parts.  You’d definitely need to read the instructions to operate it.  Am I proud of it, not really.  But would I do it any differently?  Nope.  No need to reinvent the wheel, plus I’ve been so busy soaking, sprouting, peeling and blending, I cannot imagine where dehydrating would have even fit into the equation!  BUT.  All that said, I am still a lover of all things food, and all things that makes food delicious, so I will make the following promise:

After this Raw Diet concludes, tomorrow, and I reclaim my vege/pesque/veganish life back, I will break out the dehydrator.  I will focus on it, and I will make delicious things with it.  That counts, right?  I mean, I plan on bringing many of my Raw lessons with me into my regular diet, and I think this is a great way to keep the spirit alive, and keep my commitment to Raw up my diet real.

So, I say, we are really fortunate to live in a place where Raw foods are so abundant and plentiful, that you don’t have to limit shopping trips to just the produce section.  There are aisles!  There are aisles with lovely prepared and packaged raw foods in them.  I’d have been remiss not to support those artisans and their products.  After all, even though they have broken into the mainstream, they still are swimming upstream, and against the current of other packaged food titans and heavyweights.  But with support, they’ll do well!  Just look at Salmon.

Kevin’s Sunday Shake Up:

  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • A mango
  • Some pineapple
  • 1/4 cup of oats
  • A bunch of spinach
  • 1.5 cups water
  • A few shakes of cinnamon
  • A shake of sea salt
  • A small handful of almonds

Garnish with pomegranate seeds and ENJOY!

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Just Out of Curiosity…Raw Diet Day 9

I’m not a coffee drinker.  I drink tea, but because I like it, not as a caffeine source.  That being said, I have been known to have a cup of coffee from time to time to make through the mid morning, or worse, mid afternoon.  It’s rare really, but build a couple late nights in a row, mixed with morning work outs, and it’s about the only thing that can keep me above water.  Today was one such day.  Only, today, on day 9 of my Raw Diet journey, coffee isn’t exactly part of the program.  I even tried to reason with myself…”it comes from a plant, so it must be fine”.  Of course, ignoring the bold, bragging all over the front of the box boasting about the roasting techniques they’ve used to create the best, and hottest coffee around.  Sigh.  I also thought about the coffee aftertaste, and no gum rule.

So, out of curiosity, how in the world do raw foodists stay awake?  The energy, I know.  They’ll probably say raw food gives you so much abundant energy, that staying awake is never an issue.  I agree, the diet does provide lots of energy, and good feelings.  But come on, seriously.  How do they stay awake on the other days?  My acquired sugar addiction is already feeling normal, so that’s not helping.  Anxiety about what to eat and when doesn’t really exist anymore, so that doesn’t help!  And to the contrary, feeling full constantly definitely doesn’t help!  And please don’t say cocoa.  Or cacao.  Or dark chocolate.  Or some other superfood.  They each have about 1/32 the amount of caffeine as coffee, so we’ll just put those in the delicious feel-good category.  Not stay awake category.  Oh, here’s a thought…maybe, just maybe raw foodists take…wait for it…NAPS!  Yes, I think they take naps.

But, alas.  Just in case, I thought I would give it a shot with what I had in the pantry:

Jinji’s  Sleepy Balls

  • 1/4 c almond butter
  • 1/2 c unsweetened coconut shreds
  • alot of cinnamon
  • a few good shakes of salt
  • 1/3 c raisins, or dried cranberries, or something else sweet and dried.  Not apricots.
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T cocoa

Mix it all together!  And use your hands, it’s fun! Make little balls and refrigerate.  Will it wake you up if you’re sleepy? Suspect.  But are they delicious? YES!  So enjoy & take a nice nap!

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Day 7…Raw Food Fight.

They say fights are won and lost on the smallest levels, in the details.  They also say the best inventions happen on accident.  Oat groats.  I had never actually had oat groats before starting this experiment, always thinking, why spend the time with a groat when I can get great benefits out of a flake.  I’ve even thought that for much of this diet, having raw oatmeal most mornings.  You measure out, soak overnight, and have delicious oatmeal the next day.  So I have this recipe that calls for oat groats, and asks you to soak them overnight before eating.  Fair enough, even though I found it odd that they carried the same soaking time as its cousin, the flake.  But then, those you don’t really have to soak–I just do for the porridge effect.  Fast forward to this morning, at my desk starving after a Bikram session.  First, I notice the groats have not changed in shape at ALL–they haven’t puffed out or anything.  I think, looks are deceiving, I am sure they’ve softened up.  Wrong.  Well mainly wrong–they softened slightly–from the shell of a rock, to that of say, well half-cooked rice.  So the fight ensued.  I was at work already, so there was no turning back.  I was starving so there was no “oh, I’ll eat this apple instead”.  And I had a lot of pride at stake because for 7 days, I still have yet to have a food casualty amidst my many battles. 

So first I think, keep busy for 20 minutes, let it sit in the sun for a bit.  Idiotic in retrospect considering the prior 15 hours hadn’t helped.  But at least it made the bowl warm.  Next I think, start mashing.  More idiotic, because a. I had a plastic spoon, b. i pulverized perfectly good blueberries and bananas, c. who ever heard of mashing a half-cooked piece of rice.  The groats were winning.  Somehow, I had to make this bowl edible!  I turn to the manna.  I thought, if I can’t beat the groats into softness, I’d hide them in soft, sweet, gooey Manna bread.  So in my last ditch effort to win this war, I plunged (a perfectly good piece) a slice of Manna bread into the almond milk, and furiously stirred, blended, and combined…with my plastic spoon.  IT WORKED.  And it was delicious.  Despite the hard groats, the rest of the flavors and textures thanks to the Manna were impeccable.  Imagine me, at my desk, in my cube at my corporate job celebrating victory over a bowl of oat groats.  Sigh…Raw Diet, day 7!  Oh, and side note–after some googling, this war could have been averted with a quick food processor pulse this morning.  Literally for a couple of seconds.  Details!

Jinji’s Vicorious Oat Groats

  • 1/4 cup oat groats
  • Berries
  • 1/2 a banana
  • Soaked almonds
  • Soaked walnuts
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • salt
  • agave
  • I SLICE OF MANNA BREAD!

Soak the groats overnight, mash it up in the morning and enjoy! (you can also just soak 1/2 cup raw oat flakes overnight, and eat the Manna on the side like a normal person)

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Day of Rest, Even on a Raw Diet…Day 6

Yes, even on this all-encompassing Raw Food diet, I was able to find some time to relax today.  Somehow I still found myself elbow deep in dishes three separate times today (!), I still felt like today was a great day to reflect on my nearly one-week journey.  To fuel my reflection, I kept it simple(ish) with three round shakes.  The first I had after a morning jog, then the second and third at normal lunch and dinner times.  I was excited to have fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juices in between, but never even got to plug the thing in!  I was SO full all day!  And in thinking about it, I’ve never really been hungry during this diet.  In fact, eating very little seems to get me feeling pretty full.  I’m guessing because all the water of the fruits and veggies is being retained instead of heated away.  Brings me to think of the weight loss “benefit” again.  People lose weight on raw diets because they are always full!  Eureka!  Now, for me, she who loves eating and savors every opportunity to do so, I’m a little sad.  I feel slightly remiss.  I miss my snack times.  I missed having delicious blood orange juice today.  I’m happy to be on this path, and I fully intend on taking the full 14 days of it.  But, when I return to my normal diet, I will be happy to have all my little snacks back.  My empty stomach back.  Again, maybe I need to make some sort of adjustments.  Maybe not.  It’s sure delicious all the same!

Jinji’s Sunshine Full Belly Shake

  • Some mango
  • A handful of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • A date
  • A little bit of Agave Nectar (teaspoon or so)
  • A cup of water
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • A few soaked (overnight) almonds
  • A few soaked cashews
  • A dollop of almond butter

Blend, sip and chew!  And don’t expect to be hungry for 4-6 hours!  ENJOY!

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