Monday, February 28, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake, Deep Chocolate Cookies & Tahini Zuke Wraps

Eat me!
Oh my! Haha Just watched Wizard of Oz. No. Really. I've also been meaning to post about my new ~Yoga Room~ !! So, while I don't post daily, I do make food and run (pretty much daily). Let's start out with my morph of Ani Phyos Strawberry Shortcake and Strawberry Kream Pie (out of the new Ani's Raw Food Essentials). I try to stay away from raw desserts that are so heavy on nuts/seeds. But I needed to use some almond pulp, and I already have more raw bread than I need right now.
I used to love, love, crave, obsess over raw strawberry parfaits that were made with cashew cream. Then I realized the poison-ivy-on-my-lips reaction wasn't a look doing me any favors and I dropped a favorite dairy free dessert. Since then, I've used macadamia's, a delicious but pricey alternative. Now I use hazelnuts! If you'd never made raw 'cream.' I recommend using macadamia's or cashews so you get the absolute "OMG this is so good I'm gonna die" flavor.

1 Cup Frozen/thawed Strawberries
1 cup Medjool Dates
1 cup Almond Pulp (or meal)
 Pinch of salt

1/2 cup Hazelnuts (soaked/drained)
1-3 Tbs Yacon Syrup (or substitute)

1 Tsp Coconut Oil
1 inch Vanilla Bean scraped (or 1 tsp extract)

1st,  the filling: I thawed some frozen strawberries purchased in town, but brought here from WA. It's not often I get really good organic 'big' strawberries, so I froze some. And, I'm out of those tiny cuties from the beach here. So, thaw, then slice.. frozen then thawed works great because you get this 'cooked' consistency and a natural 'sauce.'  Mash up 1/8 cup. Set aside.

2nd, the crust: I took 1 cup of leftover almond pulp from making milk and processed it with 1 cup of pitted soft medjool dates (mmmmm). Almost a cup. I ate two dates while processing. Whoops

3rd, I made Hazelnut Cream... blend soaked hazelnuts, 1 inch vanilla bean (scraped-or 1 tsp extract), 1 tsp coconut oil and 1 good squirt of Yacon syrup. If you wish to omit the oil, that's okay. I did it because it helps give a creamy consistency and when chilled, it's a firmer 'cream.'  Fun Fact: The pattern of amino acids present in hazels makes them a source of high quality protein (about 13 grams in every 100 gram serving).

Strawberry Madness!
Assembly:  press crust into tart dishes, small pie pan, or plate or individual serving dish. Spread mashed strawberries on top, then place sliced strawberries onto crust, then spoon the cream over the top. I garnished with sliced pear and a dusting of cocao powder.

Ani's recipe(s) calls for sweetener in the strawberries, 2 additional Tbs of sweetener on top, and chocolate fudge sauce. Also, for assembly, she puts the cream in first, and the strawberries on top.. which I do think would be pretty. I just looked at the individual recipes and modified them to my liking and threw it together. It actually tastes similar to cheesecake. So good! I might even save some for my sweetheart! I had to post two photos.. don't you want to make it now!?

Easy lil' Almond Pulp Chocolate Cookies
Next up, I needed to use the rest of that almond pulp! I took 1 cup of it, processed with 1/4 cup of dates (about 4) and 2 heaping tsp raw cocao and pressed the dough into little cookies on a dehydrator sheet. Dehydrated about 2 hours on mesh. Delicious, easy and nutritious!

And lastly, Ani Phyo's Apple Crepes. Basically, 1 cup chopped apple, 1/2 cup flax meal, 1 1/2 (she calls for 2) Tbs agave, 1/2 cup water or as needed. Blend until super smooth.
I used these wraps to try for an alternative to my old favorite coconut/banana/flax wraps, since I'm trying my dang hardest not to buy banana's here and coconuts are impossible to get unless I'm in Juneau and even then, um.. just how far did that coconut travel? Anything in Alaska usually comes a long way, period. How I love you state of Washington! 

So, I made Ani Phyos Tahini-Zucchini Wraps and of course, tweaked it 'cause I'm too cool for school. Ani's Lemon Tahini dressing is so good. I only had Santa Cruz Lime, so:
a squirt of lime, a squirt of braggs, a tsp of tahini and stir.
Tahini Zucchini Wraps

Now, I spread some dressing onto an apple crepe, added a few leaves of bebe spinach, julienned zuke, & ribboned red pepper. Rolled it up, and drizzled hot pepper oil (that I posted the recipe for somewhere on this blog). Yum! SO, good.

A Room of Her Own (get it Woolf Fans?)
And here is my Yoga Room. I've been meaning to go get fully into Crane pose (knees are higher, this is Crow-bakasana) and get the hubs to take a better photo, but it's way to cold to use the room. I've only used it twice. Once the stone flooring is in (we are scavenging for!), that should help regulate the temperature. It is downright blazin' in here during summer. Makes a great place to harden off seedlings. So excited to have a room for this! Before the wood flooring I had chairs and a mini library and plants... ahh.. and I love reading in here so much, I may put some of that back.. hmmmm so hard to decide. I can do both! By the way.. can you see those kick ass yoga socks I'm wearing? This talented artist Tinque, made them for me and I bet if you contact her, she'll make you a pair too! Amazing fiber artist!

Blah, Blah, Blah, what a long post! Running update; I post it all on daily mile sooo....this may turn into a strictly food blog? Nah...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ch- Ch- Ch- Chia!!

Chia Gel
Ok, not the most original title. I can't help it. It's been burned into my brain since the 80s chia pet craze. Chia is part of my daily diet. I learned about it in 2006. I was traveling by air weekly for a couple years and one thing everyone knows about airplanes is the struggle to stay hydrated! Thanks to Google, I found the tiny little insect looking seed and never went back! There are so many benefits to chia, but I'll let your fingers do the work this time ;) I'm just poppin' in to share a recipe.  When I'm about to go on a run, I take 1 Tbsp of Chia, mix it with about 1/8 - 1/4 cup (I just pour it in) filtered water and let it sit while I get dressed. Then I suck it down with some additional water. This is akin to using an Energy Gel, but totally unprocessed/ natural. You can put this in a little pouch and bring it with you on a long run. I heard from my father in law, that the Aztecs used Chia's to run long distances. Just chewing on them or something. I direct you back to Google.

Anyway, in the morning, I always have juice and water first thing. I'm practically still asleep at this point, which explains why sometimes the juicer is missing a part when I try to use it. About mid morning (depending on when I run) I make a smoothie. I just throw whatever greens/fruit I happen to have in the house and always a combo of maca, spirulina, hemp seed, flax, pumpkin seed, chia, gojis etc. etc. I just throw whatever I feel like that morning. Sometimes, I throw it ALL in. It may be purply, poo brown and the hubs won't touch it, but that's OK! On a side note, hemp seed doesn't go too well with fruity stuff. It's better in salads, but unfortunately I have a lot to use up before it expires. Usually this is 30 minutes to 1 hour prior to my run. Occasionally I have another gel post run if I'm whooped.

For those of you not yet blessed with the ch-ch- chia... here is an easy recipe:

Booch n' Berry Lime Chia Power Awesomeness (haha)

1/2 cup Kombucha (you can sub with water or juice)
1/4 cup fresh apple juice (sub with whatever)
3 Tbs Chia
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or as much as you can get from one lime)
1 date to sweeten (optional-it is a tart drink)
1 cup berries (I used Alaskan Nagoons here) Red berries go well with lime.

Combine liquid with chia. Let sit 10 minutes or so, until thick and jelly like.  Then, place all ingredients (please pit that date first!) in the blender and blend away!! Chug a lug and Enjoy!

Another delicious way to benefit from Chia is making your own power/energy bars or balls.
Just experiment. Here is a basic one:

Apples, Chia, Kombucha
Chia Choco Balls
2 Tbs Chia soaked in just enough water to get jelly coating
2-3 Tsp Cocao
3-4 pited Medjool dates

Process until you are able to form balls out of the mixture. Roll in coconut shreds or more cocao. Yummy!
To turn this into a bar recipe, add any of the following or something similar:
Sprouted buckwheat
Rolled oats
Pumkpin Seeds
Almonds etc.
Dried fruit
Coconut oil

Process all together, spread into dehydrator tray (if a moist mixture) and dehydrate until nice and firm.
 OR spread into pan, press well, score and freeze or refrigerate.
You can definitely add Chia to baked goods, as an addition or as a replacement for fat (or like a flax egg) I'm not sure if heat will destroy it's senstive omega's .. seems like it would.. but go for it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Lil' Carb Loader bars

Mmmm.. oats craving. Still. So I made up these baked oat bars. I've messed with getting them right on and off for maybe a year.. And I found the secret! I think. It's grinding half the oats to a flour. Got the idea from the blueberry oats recipe!

Happy Lil' Carb Loader Bars

3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup melted Coconut oil
1/8 cup Honey
1/2 cup Apple juice
3-4 Dates
1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup Cranberries dried
1/8 cup Almonds
1/8 cup Raisins
2 tbs Ground flaxseed
1/8 cup chocolate chips (optional)
and a pinch of salt

Put da Lime in Da Coconut...
You can play around with the sugar for personal taste, i.e. yacon syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, brown sugar, maple syrup etc. or just add more honey. I use fresh apple juice from a juicer, but I'm guessing but bottled will work. Or you could try apple sauce/pulp. You can also sub in almond butter/ peanut butter for the fruit and nuts. It's easy to play with. The only thing I've found is no matter what I sub in for the oil, it never works. So, *sigh* stuck with the oil.  But, if I have to have some fat, coconut oil is at the top of the list (personally). Besides, it's not much for 3 cups of oats!

How to:
Combine apple juice and flax, set aside.
Take 1 1/2 cups of the oats, process until still coarse, but almost fine, not quite flour.
In a food processor, combine all ingredients except oats, honey and oil. Pulse until uniform in size.
In small pan, heat coconut oil and honey to melt into pouring consistency.
In large mixing bowl, combine all 3 cups of oats, nut/fruit mixture and flax/juice mixture, stir. Then pour oil over the top and stir well. You should be able to press it together with your hands and it sticks like dry cookie dough.
Press into lightly greased baking sheet (with rim). Press well. I used an 11 inch long pan and it doesn't quite fill it.
Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until golden. It takes about 12 for me. Score lightly with pizza cutter once removed from the oven. Once cooled completely, cut the rest of the way through. Store airtight. Yummy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Running Silent & Vegan BlueBerry Oat Bars

Fresh Snow this Morning Knee Deep
A few days ago my Ipod battery died 2 minutes into a 3.17 mi run.  A run that normally takes me about 29 minutes.. but it seems I run much slower without distraction! Running silent in the snow was actually very soothing. It was really quiet, but pretty noisy too with each step a satisfying crunch! I've always said people that can run miles and miles silent are amazing. And they are. But now, I understand a little bit better. I have been in the habit of pausing my Ipod every other song to practice getting silent. But, the big difference is I left the ear buds in! So the breath is very loud and you can still hear the electric whirring of the Ipod. Needless to say, I don't do pause my Ipod much. Taking it out entirely a whole other experience!

The other night I had my *monthly* oat craving. I don't eat very many cooked grains, but I do make sure I get enough carbs for fuel through raw breads and dates (love!) etc. However, around that time of the month I get crazy fruit or carb cravings. It's usually around this time I eat 4-5 apples a day or 8 kiwis, 20 dates, etc. Maybe it's the snow, but I was craving oats. There is a fabulous recipe for raw oatmeal I'll have to post. Also see the porridge in a previous post. However, this craving hit at 9pm.. my usual bedtime. I was eating a handful of plain uncooked barley oats while I searched for a healthy recipe as my tired mind was a blank. Thank you Fat Free Vegan Kitchen! This lady R O C K S vegan cooking/baking. I did use her recipe. Not to mess with perfection, but I also changed a good bit to fit my personal needs.

Fat Free Vegan Kitchen Blue Berry Oat Bars
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup agave nectar (I juiced two granny smiths-and doubled the juice-omitted agave)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water or juice to form a smooth paste (I used arrowroot)
3 cups oatmeal* (regular, not instant)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened applesauce (I used fresh pulp from the juicer)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) agave nectar (again-subbed juice)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) water
1 teaspoon vanilla

I didn't have an issue as I thought I would subbing in extra liquid. The batter was actually perfect. Once baked, the crust was thick and had bits of beautiful green apple skin throughout. They held together wonderfully once cooled. I ate four, cured my craving and the hubs demolished the rest. I must admit he made most of these, while I delegated instruction! :) They aren't very sweet.. so the blueberry filling really pops. They are perfect. Amazing recipe  Susan V!

Click on the links for the full recipe. She has an amazing blog and many recipes.. you are sure to find a healthy substitute for your craving!

What do you get cravings for? Do you think your mileage can determine what you crave? Do you ever run *silent?*

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flax Cakes with Fruity Syrup

Raw Flax Cakes Berry Sauce & Gojis
Mmm.mmmmm MM! One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast. These are inspired by Ani Phyo's first recipe on Flax Pancakes. But, as I often do, I fit this recipe to fit my needs.

    1/2 cup golden flax (any will do, but golden tastes lighter in this)
    1 apple/1/2 avocado OR (1 banana-under ripe for mildest flavor)
    1 teaspoon Yacon (or Agave etc)
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 tablespoon water, as needed

Just process it all and spoon into thick patties on a dehydrator tray. Dehydrate at 104 for 1 hour/ flip, 10-20 more minutes.

You can add cocao, other fruit, vanilla... get creative! Awesome way to get fiber and omegas. A really satisfying meal!

For the syrup: Process berries, maple syrup (or yacon etc.) until the consistency you desire. Add soaked goji's or sliced berries... etc. An alternative is just 'syrup' and vanilla. Get creative! Nutritious and Delicious!

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Made a Baby!

The Momma Scoby Day 1
My Scoby had a baby that is! S.C.O.B.Y stands for: Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast and is the living culture at the root of Kombucha, which you may have heard of. Kombucha is a fermented drink that touts many health benefits, including the ever elusive amino acid crew.
The Baby is Floating on Top
 There is a lot to learn about it, so I won't bore you with the details. Google is pretty helpful. I also recommend contacting Leslie at KombuChick, who is the know-all- queen of the Kombu and helped make me (finally!!!!) a successful Kombucha homebrewer! I got my Scoby from her. She sells everything you need to get started + fun and creative additives like Strawberry Galanga chips (the flavor I'm brewing in swingtops).
Ready to be Flavored (or Enjoyed!)

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