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Friday, September 16, 2011

Preserving Your Harvest Bounty: Raw Tomatoes

Tomato harvest, and a few stray pumpkins that hitchhiked into the tomato patch
My sister Shelly and I are members of an awesome CSA  (community supported agriculture), Bluebird Gardens from Fergus Falls Minnesota.  We drive down there every few weeks to attend harvest events where we can pick our allotment of produce.  Some are unlimited, some have assigned limits but most often, as the case with tomatoes, the allotment is more than enough.

Up here in da great white north here, it gets a-mighty cold out in da winter doncha know..  We have to think ahead and preserve da harvest in da summer so we have something to eat in da winter.
gratuitous shower scene

The two best ways I've found to preserve produce and retain most of the enzymes and good stuff is to either freeze it raw or dry by dehydrating.  I'm doing both to my 'maters this year.  I cut up about 5-6 pounds of tomatoes and put them in my dehydrator for about 2 hours at 135.  There was such a mass of tomatoes in my dehydrator that I thought that anything lower would take way too long to dehydrate and I would run the risk of mold I turned it down to 105 after 2 hours and continued for 36 hours until they were dry but still moist and flexible. Some were done after 24 hours and I removed those from the trays.
Cut into slices that will fit your dehydrator with room around for air flow

The rest of my tomatoes took a ride in my food processor to get pureed into ... puree.   I just cut them into chunks and sent them twirling






And bagged up for the freezer.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. Next time you need tomatoes for sauce, soup etc you have some preserved by freezing and some by dehydrating.  Fresh tomatoes taste like cardboard in the winter around here anyway, so I save those dishes that require fresh tomatoes for the summer. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raw Recipe: Lemon Coconut Bars

I love Top Chef.  I was watching Top Chef: Just Deserts on my DVR today.  The quick fire challenge was to make a desert out of lemons, it got me thinking about how I would make a truly awesome lemon bar raw.  Lemon bars are a staple at any potluck, church fundraiser etc .  This recipe will knock the socks off any other. I made this from what I had in my pantry.

Crust
1 1/2 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
6 pitted dates
1 tbs  virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt

in a food processor chop the almonds and coconut flakes to the consistency of bread crumbs, add the dates and coconut oil and salt.  process until it will stick together when pressed into a 9x13 inch casserole dish.

Lemon Curd

2 lemons
1- 1/ 1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (don't try to use any other coconut oil, it will taste sh -nasty)
1/4 cup coconut butter (Artisana makes a great product, buy online or at Swanson's Health in Fargo)
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt.

Zest the lemons and add to the food processor, peal one lemon and add it whole to the food processor, make sure to take the seeds out first. Juice the second lemon and add just the juice to the food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, you will need to scrape down the sides.  Taste it and see if it is too sour for your taste, add a few more dates if it is. This will be an interesting beige color from the dates, definitively not yellow.  Sprinkle with lemon zest and serve with coconut cream.  if you wanted this to be less beige you could experiment with raw honey too.

Makes about 15 servings without coconut cream,   Calories per serving, 175-- carbs, 6.2g-- fiber, 1.7g--protein, 2.9g-- fat 16.6g

Nutritional information calculated using http://caloriecount.about.com/

Coconut Cream

1 tbs coconut butter
1 tbs virgin coconut oil
sweeten to taste with a drop or two of raw honey.

mix together in a small bowl and serve over the top.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Raw Product Review: Go Raw: Spirlulina Energy Bar


I was skeptical about trying anything with spirlulina in it.  I've had dealings with the blue-green algae in the past and frankly I think it tastes like stagnant water pond scum; basically the stuff Yoda picked out of his toes on Dagoba. I do know how awesome it is for your body though and I've tried to mask the Yoda toe jam flavor by adding it to recipes, smoothies and such and never managed to mask the eau'de Dagoba essence.

However, Go Raw got it right, don't ask me how they did it, I have no clue.  The emerald green is still there but the flavor is all sesame seed and coconut.  Kind of like halva.  I could feel the awesome energy flow through my body and felt really light and ... well energized.  Gordon, my husband sniffed it but wouldn't taste it.  He didn't notice any stagnant water scent either.

You can order it on my Amazon site!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Recipe: Raw Falafel, with Cucumber Tahini Sauce

Raw Falafel
I made some killer curry patties that i'm calling raw falafel because it really ended up tasting like it in the end. serve it wrapped in a romaine lettuce leaf with cucumber tahini tzaiki, red onion and sliced grape tomatoes.


1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 tsp garam massala powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup  raw chia seeds
1/4 cup raw peas
1/3 cup cilantro


put walnuts and almonds in food processor with garlic and salt and process into a powder, add seasoning and pulse to combine, add onion and process till smooth, add peas and cilantro and chia seeds and pulse to combine just a second or two don't process too long or it will turn green.

spoon 4 patty shapes onto teflex sheets or greased waxed paper and dehydrate for 2 hours at 115, flip over and remove waxed paper and dehydrate another 2 hours.

serve on a romaine lettuce with cucumber tahini dressing, tomatoes, chopped cilantro and red onion.

Tahini Cucumber Tzatiki

1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix cucumber and tahini with garlic powder and salt.

SERVES 4

calories per patty, 284, carbs 18g, fiber 11g, protein, 11g

Nutritional information calculated using http://caloriecount.about.com/

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Product Review: Lucuma Powder.

I ordered a package of Lucuma powder from The Renegade Health Show's online store. (this was before I set up my Amazing AMAZON STORE!!)  I've heard it's a tasty, low glycemic sweetener. It came in the mail today along with maca powder and red banana powder. I ripped into the package like it was Christmas. Lucuma powder, for those who don't know, is a dehydrated fruit from Peru, ground to a powder.  It is very sweet and reminiscent of caramel or I've also heard some say shortbread. The package says it is vaguely maple scented. I had all my kids sniff the box to tell me what they thought it smelled like. Nikolai, my youngest boy and the only one brave enough to try all my experiments, said it smelled like apple with cinnamon.  Billy, my oldest was snarky and said it smelled powdery. When mixed with nut butter and a bit of water it makes a tasty little treat that I used today as apple dip because it reminded me of caramel. I also put it in my morning smoothie which was pretty gross but not because of the lucuma powder but  because of the tablespoon of maca I added. I've seen people on YouTube eat as much as 8 ounces of the maca so I figured a tablespoon shouldn't be too bad (others usually use only a quarter teaspoon or so.)  Maca is the ground root of another South American plant  it is supposedly a good hormone balancer for men and women but was so bitter, earthy and musky I could barely choke it down.  A tablespoon was way too much. I added a tiny bit to my apple dip and couldn't even tell it was in there. I think I will keep the maca down to a teaspoon. As for the hormone balancing? I'm not humping anyone leg yet so the jury is still out on that. Maybe it has to build up a bit in your system. As for the maca and lucuma you can order some for yourself on my Amazon store. Post your comments down below. For those of you who have tried lucuma, how would you describe the taste to a friend?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Journey ... so far :D



You see some of these reality shows (which I absolutely love btw) about weight loss and everyone has a sob story “my dog died and then … my cat ran into the street and died, then I ate myself into oblivion because I was so depressed” Well not me, I got fat because I love food, I love to cook and exercise hurts. There isn’t any tear jerking moments in my life that would cause me to reflect on why I gained weight.  I like so many other moms, had babies, lost weight right away and a year later found themselves heavier than they were when they gave birth.  4 kids later I was topping the scale at 260+ pounds.  I honestly have no clue how much I weighed when I started my journey because I avoided the scale like the plague.   I avoided all cameras and only looked into mirrors at a certain angle that made me look thinner.  I was in denial about what I really looked like and I was just not motivated to change. I started a diet every Monday and by Tuesday I would be eating crap again.  What changed? I started feeling and looking really old and I saw my fat butt on a video husband took of me on Easter day (who was warned under penalty of never having sex again to avoid me like the plague on video) We were playing Easter games and I was walking with a hard boiled egg between my knees and looking like a bloated version of my former self.  I saw myself from behind on that video… and almost threw up in my mouth at the sight, no more denial for me!! The fact that I was morbidly obese was staring me in the face.

      But how? I had tried every diet in the book and some worked for a while and then I would drift off back into my old habits and forget what my motivation was.  I needed something that would keep me accountable every day, where I could track my progress and see what I was eating and what I was doing for exercise were working towards a goal I was always a very analytical person and felt that if I broke it down to just numbers that I could easily handle it.  I found several websites, some were better than others but the first thing I did was make a spread sheet on excel, I did the calculations and figured out how much I had to eat, exercise and drink to lose 3 pounds per week.  I programmed the sheet to keep track of my “calorie deficit” or how much I had to be in the negative for calories to lose that much weight.  I also programmed it to take into consideration how much I was exercising.  I ended up with a calorie deficit of about 1500 per day (more to come on that)

      At first I just ate what I was normally eating and just made small adjustments to my diet such as portion size and started exercising daily.  I started reading every book I could get my hands on, reading articles online, subscribing to newsletters, watching you tube and saturating myself with information about diet, health, exercise, whatever I could find.  It soon became not only about losing weight but also gaining my health and vitality back, balancing my work and home life and balancing my hormones so I would be interested in having sex with my wonderful husband again (yeah he wasn’t so keen on the diet until I started getting as horney as a teenager, then he was all over it) The very first step I took towards health was cutting out the crap.  The junk food, any white, refined, sugar laden, non food item was nixed.  Then I began sticking my toes into the world of raw food fairly recently and feel so much more vitality and energy when I add them to my diet.
      My diet and lifestyle soon changed radically to the point where my kids now say I've become a health nut… me a health nut? How wonderful!!! 
If you want to start tracking your progress my favorite calorie tracking website is Calorie Count at about.com

Saturday, September 3, 2011

WHAT IS THE RAW REVIEW?

I am in the process of shedding 100 pounds of weight, I'm down about 45 pounds as of this post eating a primarily whole foods diet.  I'm moving towards a raw food lifestyle very slowly.  This blog will follow my journey into the raw and creating my own private chef empire.  I will review recipes, concepts, and raw products and give you updates on my weight loss journey.