I finally decided to do my own blog! The photo above pretty much sums up my feelings for finally diving into the world of blogging and feeling brave enough to do this. I was very intimidated at first about setting up my own site, but luckily my husband who's an IT/computer consultant helped get me up and running :-)
I've learned so much from several raw food chefs and their own blog spots that I wanted to be able to give something back. So here is a place where I can share my own trials and tribulations with raw food in my warm and cozy kitchen. Here is a photo of my kitchen. A year and a half ago, my husband and I re-did almost the entire interior of our house, including the kitchen. Now I have so much counter space to make all kinds of raw yummies with reckless abandon :-)
(for raw food and recipe talk, page down a bit)
My husband Scott and I live on a small mountain in the heart of the Green Mountains about 30 minutes from downtown Burlington, Vermont, USA. Here are a couple of photos of us in Italy this past May 2008. This was our biggest and best holiday together so I wanted to share these photos:
This is our favorite Tuscan town, Pienza.
Hiking up the back side of Mt Mansfield
This is Lake Champlain. I’m on a dock in downtown Burlington. You can almost see NY state across the lake but it was a hazy hot day as I remember.
We share our life with two wonderful kitties: Fergus and Murphy who are also my office assistants when I’m home. (Murphy is the one with the dark mask.)
Scott and I are animal lovers and believe all creatures deserve the right to peaceful, humane, non-violent lives. We even check for spiders before we throw logs into the woodstove. We both gravitate towards Buddhist teachings and books, peaceful Eastern Religion philosophies and spiritual enlightenment. We love nature and spending time in the outdoors whether hiking, skiing or snowshoeing. I’m becoming an avid runner and also love Bikram’s hot yoga, although I still need to eventually get back to the studio!
We are lucky to have such a lovely and peaceful life in the beautiful “Green Mountain” state in Northern New England. I fell in love with Vermont when I moved here to attend college. Since then, I've been a serious road bike racer on the national circuit, racing all over the country in the 1990s until knee injuries ended my racing career. We lived Encinitas, CA for 2 years while I underwent two unsuccessful knee surgeries. I've also been a passionate musician playing Irish Traditional Music on a wooden concert flute all over Ireland. I even had the opportunity to live in Ireland for a year playing in sessions and working as an accountant by day. That was a lot of fun! I could write a book about that adventure! And what a great idea ;-)
So back to living foods: I've always had a very keen interest in natural health and nutrition. I only wish I had discovered raw and living food earlier in my life. I've been a vegetarian since I was in college but I deviated a few times in my life to eating a little meat and fish. One example was when I felt pressured to eat meat by my team manager when bike racing on a national level team. As a result of incorporating meat into my diet, my performance suffered and my stomach and digestion never felt normal. Deep down I knew it was a wrong choice for myself, morally and physically. So when I changed back to being a vegetarian, I felt so much lighter and happier. I also felt stronger as as an athlete!!!
Today as a raw vegan I feel the best, do doubts! I actually learned about the raw food lifestyle from my friend Sabrina during the summer of 2007. I didn't become raw until the beginning of Sept 2007. I became very excited about this new way of food preparation. It all made so much sense!!! I purchased a Vitamix, a food processor, a dehydrator, Alissa Cohen’s book, and a bunch of raw products almost immediately! I’m not strict or rigid in my life of raw and living foods. I do use some ingredients like nutritional yeast, nama shoyu and maple syrup in recipes that some raw foodists might avoid. It’s a personal thing really. Every individual on this quest has to find out what works for them personally. I take one day at a time and do the best in my pursuit to being a raw vegan. I'm self taught through the internet and a growing collection of raw food books. As Sabrina said, it’s like being an alchemist! The fun and new creations are endless!
Oh by the way, I graduated with a 4 yr degree in accounting and have been working as an accountant in various forms for almost 20 years! I even passed that darn CPA exam in 1995 (but I am not currently certified). I’ve worked in San Diego, CA, Ireland as well as my current home, Vermont. My career goal is to someday NOT have this career. I sit in a cubicle, Tuesday through Fridays working on spreadsheets , playing with numbers and trying to keep management happy. Not always an easy job. I dream of my own business someday, perhaps in the field of raw and living food preparation or maybe writing my own book! I truly believe in this lifestyle and know in my heart this is the best thing I could do for my body as well as the planet. For the first time in a long time I feel passionate and inspired! Thanks to raw and living foods!!!
So Lets Talk Food!!!!!!
This weekend I decided to experiment with a few recipes: Chocolate chip cookies, a pineapple cake, some "tuna salad”, and an Alfredo pasta sauce with truffle oil over kelp noodles.
Mysticat’s Chocolate Chip cookies – posted on the Sunny Raw Kitchen. Here’s her recipe below:
1 3/4 cups cashew "flour"
3/4 cup ground oat groats (or use all cashew flour for a much sweeter dough)
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
Blend 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup carob, 1/2 cup cacao. Put mixture in freezer, then chop into chunks.
In a large bowl, mix Cookie Batter ingredients by hand.
Fold in Chocolate Chips.
Form into balls, roll in cashew "flour" and refrigerate.”
Here they are with some homemade raw almond mylk. (For the mylk I blended 1 cup of soaked almonds with 3 cups of water. I then strained it in a nut mylk bag. Then I put the mylk back into the vitamix with 1 TB of lecithin and 1 TB of coconut oil and agave to taste. I blended it again and got a nice sweet, fuller nut mylk)
Joyce’s Notes: The cookies turned out great. I made the chocolate on Friday night. For the chips, I used 3/4 cups of cacao and 1/4 cup of raw carob powder. I used agave to taste and cut back a little on the coconut oil. I melted the coconut oil in the dehydrator and then mixed everything together. I used 3 small tart pans and stuck them in the freezer. The next morning, I broke up the chocolate into chunks. It tasted like lovely real dark chocolate you’d buy in a nice store or co-op. Scott and I were both impressed. However he did think there were too many chips in the cookies. Chocolate lovers might disagree. It’s a matter of taste. Overall, these are very rich, sweet and tasty. They do a good job of rivaling a traditional cookie. That being said, I think I’d like to try a choc chip cookie that gets dehydrated instead of refrigerated like the recipe in Heathy’s new dessert book. (Murphy wasn’t sure about vegan cookies)
Raw Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake – by Whole Gourmet natural cooking.
Here’s the recipe from their website:
“Raw Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake
Yield: One 8- 9-inch cake
Who needs it upside down when you can have it right side up? If you have the extra time, try the Nut Praline (below) instead of plain walnuts to add sweetness and give this tropical cake a caramelly crunch.
1 cup macadamia nuts
3/4 cup dates
1/2 cup grated coconut
1 vanilla bean pod, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup coconut meat (if dried, soaked in 1/2 cup coconut milk for 30 minutes)
1 cup macadamias or cashews
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup coconut milk or coconut water
6 pitted dates, soaked in water 15 minutes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean pod, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons psyllium powder
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons raw honey or agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
5-7 pineapple rings or several cubes
8-12 walnut halves, "Toasted" Nuts (page 333) or Nut Praline (page 333)
Coconut flakes and raisins (for garnish)
For the crust, lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Pat the crust into the bottom of the pan.
Blend all of the cake ingredients in a food processor until the nuts are fine ground, but not completely pureed. Spread the batter evenly over the crust.
Whisk all of the ingredients for the lemon syrup in a small bowl.
Lay the pineapple rings around the top of the cake, and gently press them into the batter a bit. Place the walnut pieces around the pineapple in any of the open spaces and sprinkle with the raisins and coconut flakes. Drizzle with the lemon syrup. Cover and chill two hours to set.
To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin knife around the edge and carefully remove the side. Leave the bottom in place for stability and place the cake on a decorative platter or cake plate. Cut and serve.
Yield: about 2 cups
2 cups raw pecans or walnuts, soaked in water 8 hours
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Drain the pecans and blot them with a paper towel to dry. Mix the pecans with the honey, spices, and salt. Spread the praline on dehydrator tray lined with a non-stick drying sheet and dehydrate 8-10 hours, until chewy and a little crispy. “
Joyce’s notes: This turned out delicious! My husband and I were both pleased with the results. And at the moment, there is only a small piece left for tomorrow! Well it was a small cake (I used an 8” round spring form pan). I followed the recipe pretty closely in regards to the crust and cake with just a few minor modifications. For the crust, I didn't 'oil' the pan. Instead I 'floured' it with coconut (I trick from Ani Phyo's book). For the cake I did add a TB of agave syrup along with slightly under a TB of coconut oil. I only dehydrated the pecans (for the topping) for 2 hrs due to time. They were still good. I did change the lemon topping as my husband's not a huge fan of lemon. I used fresh squeezed orange juice and orange zest. I used a bit extra of honey because I thought the cinnamon was a tad strong. After tweaking the sauce, I thought it tasted lovely on the cake. My husband did think the cake could have been a bit firmer but I thought it was fine the way it was. This would be a lovely summer cake for a nice dinner or get-together.
Oh my this is a Tuna! – posted by Ocean on Raw Freedom Community.
Here is her recipe:
“Oh my this is a Tuna!
I made this for our vacation and it taste the closest to the real tuna I have tasted so far!
Oh My this is a Tuna!
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (soaked)
1 Cup Raw Walnuts (soaked)
1/8 Cup fresh squeezed Lemon juice
1/2 Tsp. Garlic (minced)
1/2 Tsp. Kelp flakes
2 Tbs. Nama Shoyu
In FP blend seeds, nuts, lemon juice, garlic, kelp & Nama Shoyu.
Transfer to bowl and add:
1 pickle chopped (Bubbies pickle)
1 Tsp. Ume Plum vinegar (or apple cidar, I used Ume Plum)
1 Tsp. Herbamare seasoning
3 Tbs. Bubbies pickle juice
1 Tbs. fresh Dill Weed (chopped)
1/4 Cup Onion (chopped)
1/4 Cup chopped Celery
1/8 Cup Parsley (chopped)
Stir until mixed!”
Joyce’s Notes: This turned out great and my picky husband loved it! As you an see from the photo, I didn’t do anything special with it. I didn’t have any raw bread so my husband made a tasty sandwich for himself using traditional bread from the local bakery. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day ;-)…….Here are my modifications and things I might do differently: I used about 1 1/2 TBs of Nama Shoyu but might even cut it down to just one TB as I thought it was slightly too salty. I would also omit or cut way back on the Herbamare seasoning. It was my first time using it. I did add another chopped pickle and almost doubled the fresh dill and parsley. I omitted the celery completely as I’m not a huge fan of it. I read that you may be able to find Bubbies pickles at Wholefoods stores. I found a jar of pickles at City Market Co-op in Burlington (by the organic herbs & veggies in the refrigerated area). The brand is Real Pickles, Naturally Fermented & Raw Organic Dill Pickles from Montague, Ma. These are yummy! Overall I would make this recipe again but with my modifications, especially for my husband. It tasted even better the next day. It’s packed with lots of flavor!
Vegetable Alfredo with White Truffle over Kelp Noodles – the White truffle Alfredo was modified from Chad Sarno’s recipe posted here on Raw Freedom Community.
Here’s the recipe with my modifications:
For the White Truffle Alfredo:
2 Cups Cashews, soaked for 6-8 hrs
1 Cup Water (added a bit more while blending)
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3 TB of Truffle Oil (we had some from Italy, Chad uses 2 TB)
1 ½ TB Light White Miso
1 TB Nutritional Yeast
1 Cloves Garlic (Chad called for 2)
½ T Sea Salt
I blended everything together at once. After the first cup of water, I had to add more to make it turn over and to make it less thick. This makes a lot of sauce. You could cut the recipe in half if there are only 2 servings.
For the Veggies:
- I cut up one small head of broccoli into small florets, then dehydrated for 3 hours.
- I cut up about 2/3 of a pint of cherry tomatoes. I mixed them with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. Then I placed the mixture on teleflex sheets and dehydrated for 4 hours.
- I also did the same above for about 2/3 of a yellow bell pepper on a separate teleflex sheet also dehydrating for 4 hours. I cut them into small thin slices.
For the Kelp Noodles (from Sea Tangle)
I used one package of kelp noodles. After some tweaking, here’s the best way to get the noodles soft, but not too soft where they can’t hold up to a heartier sauce.
- Open package and rinse kelp noodles well in a colander. They have a funny smell but this will go away.
- Place noodles (which will be a bit crispy) in a bowl and fill with warm water to cover the noodles.
- Add enough lemon juice and sea salt so the water tastes mildly like lemon and the water is medium salty tasting.
- Soak for 30 to 40 minutes until the noodles are soft.
- Drain and rinse again in colander. Noodles should be nice and soft but not too soft.
I found that soaking too long sometimes made the noodles too soft where they were only good for appearances and fell apart easily. I also prepared the noodles very close to the time we would eat.
Divide rinsed kelp noodles between two large pasta bowls. Add the broccoli on top of the noodles. Drizzle the white truffle Alfredo sauce on top of the broccoli and noodles. Top with the tomatoes and orange pepper slices. Add cracked pepper to taste. Eat and smile!
And now for the photos!
All mixed up!
Joyce’s Notes: I thought this was excellent and I love my Italian flavored foods!! The sauce alone tasted a bit heavy on the cashews and I kept wondering if I should add more truffle oil. But with the noodles, and the veggies, it tasted wonderful together. The dehydrated veggies were great with this. The noodles held up well with the sauce and veggies and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at just how good this all worked out! I’d make this again for a raw Italian dinner party. For leftover sauce, this makes a fine dressing on my kale salads that I like to eat during the week.
Raw Thai theme dinner party with Mark and Sabrina last weekend!
We had a lot of fun making and experimenting with some raw Thai food recipes for our lovely friends Mark and Sabrina. Here are the dishes and desserts we served:
Well let’s start off with some house cleaning (for a laugh). Scott and Murphy were busy while I was making food :-)
Here are some dinner shots!
Mark and Sabrina are so much fun! She helped me get the green curry sauce around the veggies and noodles. She also brought a nice California Cabernet. We both love our red wine! :-)
Joyce’s Notes: The Pad Thai was a smash! The sauce is divine and the choice of veggies was perfect. Daikon noodles are used in this recipe which goes so well with the almond butter based sauce.
Coconut Green Curry Noodles: This dish is very tasty! I loved the umeboshi plum sauce that the veggies marinated in for 4 hours! I never used brown rice vinegar before and I thought it tasted like apple cider vinegar. So to be more raw, I bet you could use the ACV in lieu of the brown rice vinegar. I liked the green curry sauce as well. This was my first time using lemon grass and I might need to research the proper techniques of using it. I thought my sauce was a tiny bit grainy from the lemon grass but our friends thought it was smooth, creamy and perfect.
I had young Thai coconuts in most every thing I was making and decided to sub out the coconut noodles for kelp noodles which was fine. The only issue is that they were very delicate and very mild tasting because I had soaked them all day (see my Alfredo sauce recipe above for good kelp noodle instructions). I’m sure if I only soaked them for 30-40 minutes, the kelp noodles would have been perfect! The original recipe calls for 2 cups of coconut noodles. I’m sure this would taste great too. However it would take a few young Thai coconuts and a bit of time and effort to yield 2 cups.
Joyce’s Notes: Double Chocolate Maca cake- This is the first recipe I’ve tried in Heathy Pace’s e-book Just Desserts and it was delicious. I am more of a sweet tooth and added more maple syrup to the chocolate mousse along with a small bit of coconut oil and it was perfect for us. My husband really liked this cake. It was my first time using Maca (which tastes a little like those yummy malt balls we ate as kids).
Coconut Cream pie: Cafe Gratitude's coconut cream pie was also a big hit. Our friends wanted to know exactly what went into it. I'm a coconut lover and the young coconut milk, coconut meat, dates and coconut butter tasted just lovely together in the filling. I changed the crust this time. The first time I made it, I used the coconut crust in the recipe but found it to be very crumbly. Carmella from the Sunny Raw Kitchen suggested using more agave to keep it together. However, the second time I made it (for our dinner party), I made a variation of Ani Phyo's crust on her 'Real Cheezecake'. Something like this: 2+ cups of macs, 3/4 C of packed dates, 1/4-1/2 cup of grated dry coconut and a maybe some vanilla. (should have written it down!) And my crust came out just fine. The crust color wasn't as nice as the coconut crust being dark, but that was no problem. All and all, I think it was an excellent dessert to serve to our friends.
Wow this is a long First Post!!!
Here are some photos of other raw and living foods that have been prepared by Joyce:
I have added a list of my recipe books on the side of my blog with links to where anyone can learn more about them and order them.
Red Beet Raviolis from Raw Food Real World recipe book. This is our favorite raw food dish in the world! This is one of those brilliant dishes that can satisfy even the pickiest eater. I made these for family in Connecticut. I made the yellow pepper sauce and sliced the beets ahead of time and carted them down to CT. Everyone loved these!!!
Lasagna from Raw Food Real World recipe book. Yum! This is a lovely summer recipe
Triple Berry Cake by Heathy Pace. This was amazing. I used raspberries and blueberries so mine was a double berry cake. Using the cacao butter for the first time was very fun, and tasty!
Onion Bread Sandwiches. Recipe from Goneraw. This tasted great with avocados, some basic cashew mayo, tomato slices and spinach. Very filling!!
Vegan Bay Crab Cakes by Cherie Soria. Recipe posted on the Raw Freedom Community. These were FANTASTIC! What a brilliant recipe!
Tomato & Macadamia Mozzarella Linguine – By Russell James. Here’s a nice one for the summer or fall. The recipe calls for carrot and parsnip noodles but I only had carrots. A clever recipe!
Jicama Couscous – this is my recipe
Servings: 2 meals for hungry people or 4 appetizers
This is inspired from Raw Food Real World’s couscous recipe. They use currants while I used tomatoes and added my own variations. It’s a nice summery recipe that is very filling and tasty. My picky husband really enjoyed this dinner and kept saying how much he liked it. I think the tomatoes and unique flavor of the almond oil made it lovely.
5 cup cubed jicama (1 medium jicama)
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup almond oil (just shy of 1/2 cup)
generous seasoning of sea salt
1 medium red tomato
For the plate:
2 handfuls of baby arugula
2 tablespoon almond oil for each plate of arugula
salt and pepper to taste
1) Pulse the jicama in a food processor until it has a couscous texture. Scoop it out into a fine mesh colander and rinse briefly under cold water to get out some of the starchiness. Then dump it onto a clean towel or paper towels and dry as best you can.Place in a big enough bowl.
2)Process the pine nuts. (RFRW instructs using a food processor) I used my coffee/spice grinder. I processed until it was finely chopped and a bit wet and mushy. Then mix it together with the jicama. Add the almond oil and the sea salt. Next chop up the tomato into small cubes and mix into the couscous.
3)Place one handful of arugula on each plate. Add one tablespoon of almond oil to each plate of arugula. Season with salt and pepper. Scoop the couscous onto each plate on top of the arugula. Serve and enjoy!
Lemon Tart by Heathy Pace. Recipe is posted on Raw Freedom Community. This was delicious!
I really like using the apricots to flavor the pie. It gives it a fuller taste. I soaked cashew pieces for 2 hours and only used 2 cups. I even dried them with paper towels to get out any excess water. I did this because Heathy didn't specify soaking the cashews. My Vitamix gets things pretty hot so I don't like to keep it going for too long. And if I used dry cashews, I felt that the filling would have been way too hot after I got done blending it until it was smooth. I did end up adding on extra tablespoon of agave to get it slightly sweeter. I liked the crust a lot. It was a bit moist but soft and tasty. I should have used my tart pans. Overall, Even my husband who is not so keen on lemon desserts liked this one a lot!
Cranberry Walnut Kale Salad & Russell James’ mashed sweet potatoes with pecans and maple syrup (from is xmas e-book) Two very nice meals that go well together during the winter holidays.
Minced pies -Another recipe from Russell James xmas e-book (will probably be available again next year). This was delicious! We loved the crust as well as the rich yummy filling. (mostly of dates, apples and raisons)
Carmella’s Dazzling Hazelnut Cream Pie – from her e-book, The Best of the Raw Freedom Community recipes. Oh my gosh! This is amazing! Everyone loved this on xmas day! It really is the best tasting chocolate pie I’ve had in ages! It’s hard to believe that 2 avocados in this recipe could help make it so rich and creamy. A true winner!
What can I say? I love Cafe Gratiude’s Coconut Cream Pie! See my notes from our Thai dinner party about this one. It’s a gem of a pie. A must have recipe for coconut lovers.
More Thai Food!!!
This was Russell James’ Green Curry dish with parsnip rice. I got this recipe from his Thai e-book (listed on top right of blog). Different but very tasty! I really liked his ‘rice’ with white miso and pine nuts
Thai Salad – From Matthew Kenney’s new book, Everyday Raw. This was very tasty and Scott loved this one especially! It was lovely with the spiced cashews, young Thai coconut noodles, fresh pineapples and avocado slices.
Thai Broccoli and Spinach Salad – Here’s another one from Russell James’ Thai recipe e-book. This was a big hit with Scott once again (he can be rather picky with raw food sometimes). The dressing had an almond butter base. It was a lovely salad.
Candied Yams – posted on Raw Freedom Community. These would have been perfect for Thanksgiving or xmas. I discovered them right after the holidays. They taste like they are baked! Yummy!
Confetti Salad in Orange-Cucumber Dressing – by Ani Phyo in her book, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. I made this and brought this down to Connecticut for xmas. It’s that good! I had also made it for an early Thanksgiving dinner in MA because my husband loves this one. It’s his favorite kale salad!
Broccoli Salad – posted on Goneraw. This may not look impressive but it’s one of the best raw food salads in my humble opinion. We both LOVE this salad. We brought this to Mark & Sabrina’s Thanksgiving dinner party. The ‘cheddar’ cheeze sauce is amazing! I use all pine nuts for this one. I add a 1/4 cup of onions to the sauce and only use 1/4 cup of onions in the salad. This is a great tasting dish for anyone!
Li’l Spooks – from Goneraw. Aren’t these little ghosts the cutest? I made these simple yet delicious macaroons for Halloween. We don’t get many kids for Halloween but we had a few. I believe they liked them, especially with the raison eyes. This recipe is quick and easy. I used cashews in lieu of the raw peanuts. I also added a bit more coconut oil too. I’ll make these again next year for sure!
Chocolate spiced macaroons from Russell James’ xmas e-book. There was a spiced cream that filled the centers which made these tasty treats special. Again, this recipe probably won’t be available until next year unless you send Russell a personal email :-)
Spanish Rice made with cauliflower rice – from Goneraw. Simple and lovely!
Well I think that’s it for a while. My next post will be quite a bit shorter!
Here’s how I’m feeling right now:
Ah yes, Fergus has the right idea!!!