Great knife sharpener and my favorite knives. Get a good knife!
Having a sharp knife in the kitchen makes a world of difference with your food prep and cooking experience. A super sharp knife will take you from feeling like a boring ol’ home cook-wanna-be to a bad-ass kitchen ninja. Truly. :)
If you don’t have a good knife, then go get one. On Amazon.com (<— best deals). Or ask for one on your next gift receiving holiday. Of course, there are many who would say you should feel the weight of the knife in your hand before purchasing. There’s some truth to that. Decide for yourself.
Back to the importance of a sharp knife: Would you believe a dull knife can be more dangerous than a sharp knife? Truly. When you have a dull knife, it can slip off the food your cutting and easily hit (read: injure) your finger. But with a sharp knife, although it’s sharp and seems more dangerous, it cuts effortlessly which gives you more control over the knife.
Control is a good thing.
Plus, a sharp knife makes for faster chopping.
Speed is a good thing.
The trouble is keeping your knife sharp. The best way is with whetstone sharpening, but I don’t have the whetstone, I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the skill – it’s a world unto itself.
A mini-van almost packed to the gills, ready to roll.
We are a family who loves to travel, and our most recent epic road trip took us to Michigan. But, travel can wreak havoc on anyone’s best attempts to eat healthy. Not always. Check out my post below where I show how we traveled across the country while (almost exclusively) staying on our Real Food Foodie Lifestyle (i.e., we ate really healthy in spite of being on the road). It meant extra work, which isn’t always the thing you want to do after a day of being in the car, but I’m simply not willing to eat crap food which is most often what’s served in restaurants.
I have ventured into unknown territory for me… into a land I never thought I’d enter. I made a stew that had heart in it. Yes, actual heart. It was grass fed bison heart to be exact (though you can make this recipe with either bison or beef heart). And, of course, I used my trusty ol’ slow cooker.
Grass Fed Bison Heart Stew
I bought the grass fed bison heart many months ago and it sat in my freezer. Of course, it scared the dickens out of me as I had images flashing before my eyes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – pictured below. But, as my repertoire of recipes increased to include other unusual things for me (grass fed tongue and grass fed liver), the heart didn’t seem as crazy as when I originally ordered it.
A fully functioning raw food kitchen can be filled with all kinds of fun tools, appliances and gadgets. But, what do I recommend for a newbie? There are a couple of definite must haves. The list is longer once you get your groove on with your raw lifestyle, but these are a couple of items that I think every newbie should have.
1) A Great Knife! The thing you’ll do the most in your raw food kitchen is chopping, dicing, and mincing… more than anything else. Even if you’re going to use your blender, you’re usually still chopping something before you put it into your blender. So! Get a great knife! Here is my favorite: MAC Knife. I’ve had it for years and I love it. It’s light in my hand so I can chop for hours and my wrist and hand don’t get tired. A great, quality knife makes chopping fun! Seriously… FUN! Although, I think some people think I should reevaluate my idea of fun – haha.
2) A High Powered Blender! I’ll start by saying that I cannot imagine my foodie life without one of these bad boys! It’s true that you can make smoothies easily with a normal blender. But. If you want extra powerful smoothies (the high powered blender can bust through cell walls and pulverize seeds to release more nutrition) as well as the ability to make other great foods like raw ice cream, raw cheesecake, raw soup, raw juice (Yes, juice! By using a nutmilk bag to strain your blended mixture, you can have fresh juice), raw mousse, raw pesto, raw slaw, and so much more… then treat your health to a high powered blender. Obviously, if you don’t have a high powered blender, you can still successfully make some raw foods. It’s just easier, more fun, and usually healthier with a high powered blender. Here are the two brands that I have: Blendtec Vita-Mix
For my reviews on the two brands of blenders I have (Blendtec and Vita-Mix), read my blog post here. (Note: Since my baby Kamea came into our lives, I have been using my Vita-Mix more because it’s quieter.)
Like I wrote earlier, there are a bunch of other tools and appliances that I recommend in the long run, but to get you started… those are the two best items (a quality knife and high powered blender). Other things for down the road… food processor, spiralizer or turning slicer, juicer, dehydrator, fruit scoopers, water filter, mandoline, ceramic knives, fermenting crock pot, etc. Links to these great products (and more!) available in my Kristen’s Raw store.
I was asked about knives recently via a Facebook email… ceramic v. stainless, etc. and shape/size… What’s best for various raw food prep.
I always tell people that, to me, the most important tool in a raw food kitchen is a great knife. There is so much chopping to be done that not only do you want it easy to do, but you want it to be fun.I still get a kick out of using my fancy knives every single time I grab one, and I’ve had them for years.
To put it simply, ceramic knives are terrific for lettuce, herbs, and softer items (especially great for helping reduce oxidation in items like apples, leafy greens, etc). Keep in mind that ceramic knives are usually more expensive, and they’re for softer items because they are very delicate and can break easily (be sure you don’t ever drop one). Ceramic knives come in various sizes. Extreme caution is used with them because 1) they’re so fragile and 2) they are mega-ass sharp! :) In fact, the rule is that ceramic knives rarely, if ever, need sharpening. If / When the day comes for that, you send it to the company to sharpen it for you. I use my ceramic knife daily.
Chef knives vary by comfort on what the person wants with respect to length and weight, and can be used for greens, vegetables, fruit, etc – hard or soft in texture. My favorite chef knife is my MAC knife because it’s light in my hand, which means I can chop for extended periods of time without my hand tiring. I use my MAC knife daily.
Some chefs use paring knives for cutting small things. I have a paring size ceramic knife, but honestly, I don’t use it often.
It’s important to always keep your knives very sharp! I use this sharpener for my MAC knife. It is believed that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife, because it’s more likely to slip from the food your cutting and result in cutting you. Ouch!
Last, but not least, it’s smart to have a cleaver for opening coconuts. See a video of me demonstrating how I open a young Thai coconut here.
Here is a link to theorganic coconutI’m going to buy. Has anyone tried them? UPDATE: Bummer… I placed an order and they emailed me the following information: The shipping method you chose is taking two days to Arizona. We have had trouble with 2 day deliveries in the past and can therefor only guarantee the product if shipped over night. Shipping the coconuts overnight would cost an additional $40. Please let me know if you would like to upgrade your shipping mode. An additional 40 bucks? Yikes, I think I’ll pass. In the comments you’ll see someone suggested another company from Florida. I think I’ll try them.
Yay! It’s recipe time! In today’s video, I’m showing you how to make an EASY yummy bread recipe, Soft n’ Savory Hemp Onion Bread. If you’re a fan of savory onions, then you’ll be one happy camper with a slice of this! Soft n’ Savory Hemp Onion Bread is delicious, pretty, and filled with nutrition… essential fatty acids, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Essential fatty acids are necessary fats that we basically cannot synthesize on our own, so we have to get them from our diet. Enter: hemp and chia! Not only that, but hemp foods are an excellent source of complete vegetarian protein. Personally, I consider hemp foods as superfoods because they are loaded with important nutrients and they make me feel great. As a pregnant gal, I’ve been upping my intake of them – great for my growing baby. So… back to the bread… It’s perfect for snacking on by itself, dipping in Raw hummus, and spreading with Raw hemp seed butter or guacamole. Depending on the size you cut, you can also use it as a nutrient rich bread for hearty Raw sandwiches. As I’m typing this post, it’s dehydrating in the kitchen and it smells soooooooo awesome!
In this video, I feature a few different kitchen tools, ingredients, and appliances. You can get your hot little hands on them buy purchasing from these links…
Yield approximately 20 – 32 pieces (depending on size you cut)
3/4 cup hemp seeds (lightly ground)
3/4 cup chia seeds
3 pounds red onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup spinach, packed
1/3 cup raw agave nectar
1/3 cup tamari, wheat-free
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
Place the ground hemp seeds and whole chia seeds in a large bowl and set aside. Process the onions, tomatoes and spinach in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, into small pieces – don’t let it get too mushy though. One thing that might help is to do this processing in two halves (half each of the onions, tomatoes, spinach in one processing, then do it with the other half) so that you can keep it a little on the chunkier side. If you process it too long, it can get too wet (as you’ll see in the video, I should’ve done mine in two processing batches, but I shoved it all in one – lol).
Add the onion mixture and the remaining ingredients to the bowl of seeds and stir well to mix. Let the batter sit for up to 5 minutes. If you find that the batter is too “wet” then add more chia seeds to soak it up (1 – 2 tablespoons at a time and wait a few minutes).
Use approximately 4 cups per tray and spread the batter onto 2 dehydrator trays, each lined with a Paraflexx sheet. Dehydrate at 130 – 140 degrees for one hour. You can score the bread into the desired size at this time, or you can wait to cut it after it’s done dehydrating.
Lower the temperature to 105 degrees and dehydrate another 8 hours. Flip the bread over onto another dehydrator tray and peel off the Paraflexx sheet. Dehydrate another 6 – 10 hours (until you reach your desired dryness – I like mine a little moist). Cut into 16 squares per tray. These are best stored in the refrigerator.