Simplicity at its best: watermelon and ginger essential oil.
In my search for a more calm life, I find myself immersed in books and teachings of the Tao.
While reading this week from the book The Tao of Daily Life (<— it’s so good), I came across the story of Empress Tz’u-hsi and the teaching of simplicity.
Essentially, the story told that if Empress Tz’u-hsi wished to experience the joy of simplicity, she had to reduce complexity in her life.
I took that to heart. So often I’m making recipes and adding a little of this and a little of that… then more of something else, and more of something like that. The result can be good, but the process elaborate and time intensive. And, sometimes, the individual simple flavors cease to shine as they become muddled and mixed with everything else.
The result was a delicious marriage where I effortlessly experienced both flavors, two of my favorites: watermelon and ginger. The drink was beautifully pink and vibrantly refreshing. It taught me that, yes, some things (probably most, in fact) are better left simpler.
I’m eager to apply this to other areas of my life outside of the kitchen. It bears repeating that The Tao of Daily Life is great. It’s one of my favorite books right now.
I love cooking on the spot, where you take a look at what’s in the kitchen and throw things together. That’s what I did today when I made this Minted Mango Salad.
I recently bought a few potted herb plants so that I can always have fresh herbs whenever I need. I bought rosemary, basil, and mint. I saw the mint this morning and was drawn to it. It was breakfast time so maybe that was the attraction… something minty. I was also in the mood for the mango and avocado I had in the fridge.
Rudolph Cherry Cobbler (Gluten Free. Paleo. Raw Vegan.)
I asked my husband, who has a birthday around the holidays, what he wanted to eat for his birthday dessert. He said without thinking twice, Rudolph Cherry Cobbler. It’s a raw vegan, paleo, and gluten free recipe from my Holidays Recipe Book that he’s been a raving fan of for the past five or so years. I said to him, “Really? That’s what you want for your birthday?” He said, “YES! It’s the best and I can’t eat just one serving, I keep going back for more.” I can’t say I blame him… it is friggin’ delish. The squishy and delicious cherries explode with flavor in your mouth.
I love raw vegan nut butters. There are so many delicious options: cashew butter, almond butter, pecan butter, walnut butter, hazelnut butter, pine nut butter, macadamia nut butter, hemp seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, sesame seed butter (tahini), and more. Raw, vegan, heavenly, nutritious, and delicious. I use raw nut butters in many different ways… from using them in dressings (ehem the 4-Ingredient Magic Dressing I posted last week), to spreading them on fruit and veggies, using them in dips, nut milks, smoothies, and more. Raw vegan nut butters are a nutritious whole food fat that are also extremely satiating.
But. When you buy them in the grocery store (or even online) they can be friggin’ expensive. Not when you make your own though. I can make my own raw, vegan, and organic nut butters for a fraction of the price. Seriously, a fraction. And, when I realized I was going to save so much money by making my own… well, I treated myself to a brand new, kick ass food processor to make those creamy dreamy butters. (Check this bad boy out- Cuisinart Elite 14-cup! I named him Toruk – also known as “Last Shadow” the orange and red Great leonopteryx from Avatar.). It kind of made it a “free” food processor, if you ask me, in that it pays for itself quickly. Don’t forget, I also make my own crackers most of the time and I use my food processor for that, too. Money saver. Ch-Ching.
Do you want to make your own fresh raw vegan organic nut butters? It’s easy! First you need to stock up on organic nuts and seeds. The best way to do this is buying in bulk so you can save more money. For example, when you go to Blue Mountain Organics and buy in bulk, you’ll see that the price goes down per pound. I buy the 5lb bags, and sometimes I split them with my mom. They have a great shelf life and I store mine in the freezer to protect them more. So, even if you don’t have someone to split them with, they’ll last you many months if you want.
Take 3-4 cups of (dry, not soaked unless you soak and dehydrate them) raw organic nuts or seeds, and place them in your food processor, fitted with the “S” blade. (If you’re using a nut or seed with enzyme inhibitors like almonds or walnuts, for example, you might opt to soak them and then dehydrate them before making them into butter. This makes them extra healthy and easier to digest. It’s believed that for cashews, Brazil nuts, hemp seeds, and pine nuts you don’t need to soak and dehydrate for that purpose.) You can add a pinch or two of Himalayan crystal salt, but I don’t. Also, if your nuts (or seeds) just don’t seem to be getting creamy for some reason, and they need a little help, you can add a tablespoon or two of raw olive oil. Personally, I have never done this because I have never needed to, but if you’re food processor isn’t cutting it for ya, then this could help. Alternatively, some people use their high powered blender to make nut butters. I find it easier to do so using a food processor.
Process them until they turn into butter. This can take anywhere from 3-7 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. That’s it! It’s that easy.
Put in an air tight, glass container and store in your refrigerator for up to one month.
Update 7/24/13: I’ve made this recipe into a 2.0 version that is paleo friendly.
Here it is! My 4-Ingredient Magic Dressing! I have been dressing my salads with this almost daily for about a month. It’s magical because it’ll make everyone love any salad you put in front of them if it’s dressed with this. My whole family goes crazy over it.
Get ready to really love salad.
4-Ingredient Magic Dressing 2.0 (Raw Vegan Paleo Gluten Free Soy Free) Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com
Yield 2/3 cup*
Place the ingredients in a bowl or mug and mash it together with a fork. (Or blend it.)
Now, to make the perfect salad, put all of the salad ingredients in one big bowl. Pour the dressing on top and then toss the salad until the dressing coats it all. I usually use this one recipe to cover a salad that serves two really big portions. The salad we’ve been making the most with this is: romaine lettuce (my favorite), orange, raisins, red bell pepper, cucumber, and sprouts. (Carrot and tomato sometimes make an appearance, too.)
* If you’re making this as a single serving, then stir together 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter with 1 tablespoon coconut vinegar, 2 teaspoons tamari coconut aminos, and 2 tablespoons water.
** I have made this with fresh lime juice, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar – all very delicious, but my favorite is the coconut vinegar. You can also use Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos in place of the tamari.
In my recent post where I showed you how to make your own homemade raw vegan almond milk, I mentioned that I’d also share with you a recipe that uses the leftover almond nut pulp. There are a number of things you can do with nut pulp from dehydrating it and grinding it into flour to using it in homemade raw vegan bars to cakes to cookies, etc. Today, I’m showing you how to make Cinnamon Banana Bread Squares.
You’ll need the pulp from the almond milk recipe as well as: 4 bananas 1 teaspoon cinnamon water to process
Put bananas and almond pulp in your food processor.
Add cinnamon and any other flavors you want. Then, process (add a little water if needed)
Put mixture on a dehydrator tray fitted with a non-stick ParaFlexx sheet.
Using an offset spatula (my best friend in the kitchen) spread the mixture. Put in your dehydrator at 130-140 degrees F and dehydrate for about an hour.
Reduce the temperature to 105 degrees F and dehydrate for 6-8 hours. Flip onto a dehydrator tray without the non-stick sheet (shown above). Your house will smell like fresh baked banana bread.
Score into squares. Continue dehydrating until you reach desired dryness. The longer you dehydrate, the harder they’ll become so if you want them like soft banana bread, don’t be afraid to cut the drying time short.
This picture shows the two sides of the bread. One side is shiny and the other is flat. These are sooooo good!
Large bowl granola mixed with chia pudding plus almond milk
Green juice: cucumber, celery, baby peppers, collard greens, bok choy, lime
Big Mama Collard Green Wrap: garlic shallot cheese spread, home grown sprouts (directions for growing sprouts here), fresh basil, diced tomatoes, shredded carrots, chopped romaine, minced olives, and julienned orange bell pepper
Exercise: 25 minutes on elliptical and 10 minutes going up and down the stairs wearing Kamea ;)
Mostly Raw – All Vegan – All Organic
All Delicious – All Nutritious
Green juice: cucumber, zucchini, celery, lime, collard greens, tomato, basil
Apple Carrots with Tahini Almond Butter Sauce
Purple Passion Smoothie
Small Salad and steamed vegetables at Calistro Bistro. We went to a local restaurant where they have some vegan options and everything is organic. We sat outside… here is Kamea playing with a packet of sugar and her book.
Cinnamon Yam Soup (this is a part raw / part cooked recipe – super easy and super delish. Who wants the recipe?) Large romaine salad with carrots, tomato, basil, and Tahini Almond Butter Sauce as the dressing
Blue Mountain Organics Carob Crunch Bar. Pretty good… If you like carob. ;)
I also made my own raw protein bars today. They’re in the dehydrator now. I tell ya… I’ve been using my dehydrator non-stop for weeks! Love it!
Thank you to everyone for your kind and supporting comments on my last post about Zeus. So far, he’s doing better it seems. He’s basically acting like his old self, but he’s still drinking a lot of water (likely from the hypercalcemia). He goes back to the oncologist Thursday for more blood work and treatment. We’ve been staying at my mom’s this week and he’s enjoying himself… there are 4 other dogs here. He’s eating more but that might be out of competition rather than wanting to actually eat it himself – lol. But, hey, whatever works, eh? In addition to his medicine, I’ve been giving him a few things:
I ordered E3 Live, and it’ll arrive Wednesday. I can’t wait to introduce that to his diet.
Here’s a great recipe that I’ll be making around the holidays. I included it in a recent email newsletter.
When I was a little girl, my mom used to make date bars for dessert. Oh how I loved them! It was a simple little recipe / mix from a box (Betty Crocker I think), and it was one of my favorites. I remember how they were warm from the oven with a sweet squishy date center and a crumbly bottom and top. Mmmm! So, I decided to come up with a healthier raw version. This one is warm from the dehydrator with a squishy, sweet raw date filling surrounded by a slightly crunchy top and bottom from ground nuts. Perfect! When I shared it with my mom, she couldn’t believe how closely it resembled the old version.
Date Bars Recipe by Kristen Suzanne of KristensRaw.com Yield 1 8X8 glass baking dish
Date Filling Ingredients: 25-30 medjool dates, pitted* 1/4-1/2 cup soak water (from the dates)
Crumble Ingredients: 1 cup almonds 1 cup cashews 1/4 cup Rapadura** (optional) 2 tablespoons raw coconut oil pinch Himalayan crystal salt
Date Filling Instructions: Place the pitted dates in a bowl with water to soak them for about a half hour. *If your dates are large, you can use 25 and if some of them are smaller, then use a few more. Once the dates are soaked, place them in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, along with 1/4 cup of the soak water. Process until smooth, adding a little more water as needed. Set aside in a bowl, while you make the crumble.
Crumble Instructions: Place all of the crumble ingredients in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, and process until it starts to stick together a bit when pressed gently between two of your fingers.
Assembly Instructions: Take a little more than half of the crumble mixture and press it firmly into the bottom of your glass baking dish. Spread the date filling on top. Then, sprinkle the remaining crumble on top of the date filling, and very gently press it.
If you have a dehydrator, now is a great time to use it. Place the Date Bars in it and dehydrate them at 115 degrees F for about an hour. Enjoy! Store leftover Date Bars in your refrigerator.
** Rapadura is not raw. It’s organic, whole cane sugar that adds a lovely depth of sweetness to the recipe. If you’d like the recipe to be all raw, simply omit the Rapadura.
This soup is divine! We love it so much that I’m making a second batch to have with our dinner tonight. It’s super creamy, lightly sweet, and packed full of nutrition (tons –> vitamin C, iron, fiber, folate, vitamin B6, copper, vitamin K, potassium, and much more). It’s a definite keeper! You gotta make this one. And… don’t you just love recipes that only take you a few minutes to make?
Recipe time! Sun Warrior was kind enough to send me bag of their (plain) natural flavored raw, sprouted, non-gmo protein powder to sample. Here is a great recipe I whipped up with it. I was going to take the picture of it in a glass mason jar when I remembered that I had this adorable margarita “princess” glass I received as a gift years ago – I was waiting for the perfect drink to go into it. After I named this Vivacious Princess because of the pretty pink color and how it’ll make you feel after drinking it: attractive, lively and femininely spirited… I thought, “Wait! I have the perfect glass!”
I’m totally ready to take on the day after drinking this delicious concoction (after I put on my lip gloss, of course… sparkly princess after all).
Vivacious Princess Yield 3 cups
1 cup water 1 heaping cup frozen cherries 2 frozen bananas, chopped 1 heaping scoop Natural (plain) Sun Warrior protein powder 1 tablespoon raw cashew butter 1 tablespoon flax meal 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon splash almond extract
Hi! I'm a chef, author, homeschooling mom, and I love to eat and cook super healthy food. I'm a former vegan, now real-food omnivore, who enjoys coffee(!), dark chocolate, rebounding, and researching the latest tips for optimal living.