The holidays are my favorite time of year, and now is a good time to start planning. One of the things I love to do is give Raw desserts as gifts. Gone are the days of giving unhealthy, fattening, processed chocolate to people. Make way to usher in gifts of healthy exquisiteness…Raw organic cookies and candies. What better way to introduce this amazing lifestyle to others, right? Keep in mind, Raw desserts as gifts don’t have to apply only to the winter holidays. You can do this all year long with birthdays, retirements, anniversaries, house-warming gifts, etc. Go to a craft store and buy cute little bags and boxes. Or, do what I did and look for things to reuse…see those gold boxes in the picture? They were given to me last year with gifts in them. I’m reusing them to be environmentally friendly.
To get you started, here is a delicious and easy recipe. The richness of the hazelnuts alongside the decadent raw chocolate will surely get anyone excited about Raw. For resources on where I get my organic ingredients, please visit Kristen’s Raw Resources.
Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs Yield 15-20 cookies
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes 1 cup hazelnuts 2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder pinch Himalayan crystal salt 3/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract 8 dates, pitted 1/2 cup raisins
Process a 1/4 cup of the coconut (reserving the other 1/4 cup for rolling the cookies in) along with the hazelnuts, chocolate and salt in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, until coarsely ground. Add the hazelnut extract, dates, and raisins. Process until it is a texture, which holds together when gently pressed between your fingers. Roll into balls and then roll in the coconut. These freeze wonderfully.
Variation ~ Use raw carob instead of raw chocolate ~ Replace 4 of the dates with 1/4 cup dried cherries
I was making my smoothie today and saw carrots in my refrigerator. I thought, why not? It was a delicious and wonderful variation to my smoothie routine . I know…you’re thinking, “Kristen Suzanne, your smoothie routine is anything but routine.” I’m calling it Spicy Sunrise Smoothie (staying true to my spicy life, you can omit the heat if you can’t handle it, but you’re missing out on those lovely endorphins).
Spicy Sunrise Smoothie
Yield approximately 5 cups
1-2 cups water
3 bananas, peeled*
1 stalk celery
1 large carrot
1 red jalapeno pepper
3-5 mint leaves
Blend all of the ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!
*I love using frozen bananas with the spicy jalapeno peppers, because it’s so fun to feel the different temperatures and experiences play in your mouth (cold bananas, spicy jalapeno pepper). Room temperature bananas are fine, but add ice to get the same effect.
Exercise – I’m going for a bike ride tonight under the stars. I love Arizona. Beautiful weather year round, unbelievable sunrises and sunsets, and terrific star gazing.
Today was another super day in my life even though I awoke quite late again. How can I help it? Saturday night started with a party (yep, I had wine). Then, I came home and stayed up watching the Firefly TV Series on DVD followed by the movie, Serenity until 5am – they are both fantastic, clever, and addicting (clearly…since I stayed up all night watching them).
I was full of energy and I couldn’t wait to get to the gym. I focused my weight routine on chest and tricep exercises (push-ups, cable cross overs, dips, and V-bar push down). Between sets I raised my heart rate by jumping rope. For the last 15 minutes of my workout I rode a stationary bike, while indulging my mind in a magazine sharing the latest gossip on celebrities. (Did I just admit that?)
Lunch/Dinner: Huge salad with a mix of chopped red bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber on top of spring lettuce served with scrumptious Raw Italian Dressing
Snack: nibbled on 1/2 habanero pepper
Dessert: my new recipe Easy Chocolate Coconut Sauce drizzled over sliced bananas and chopped almonds (recipe included in this month’s email newsletter…have you subscribed yet? If not, why are you waiting? Visit www.KristensRaw.com to subscribe now.
Addendum: It’s 3:32 am and I just ate a medium size salad (same items as earlier) followed by my swirling energetic Yin Yang Smoothie. The cool and refreshing effect from the frozen bananas (Yin) opposite the spicy hot fire you feel on your tongue and the back of your throat as you swallow (Yang)…well, it’s enough to make anyone feel refreshingly hot.
Yin Yang Smoothie 1 – 2 cups water 3 frozen bananas 3 tablespoons organic raw chocolate powder 3/4 – 1 red jalapeno pepper
Blend all of the ingredients until thick and creamy. Enjoy.
I’m a Raw chocolate fan. Period. I was thinking of new smoothie recipes and figured…why not add chocolate to my green smoothie? It is delicious. But, it’s not pretty. I’m trying to come up with a romantic name for it (I think making it French with “au chocolat” should do the trick). It does look like mud (although this is the kind of thing that would be fun to drink around other people). I’m sure I’ll get questions and stares (something with which I can definitely have fun).
Here is the recipe for those looking to add more chocolate to their lives.
1 cup water 1 1/2 cups spinach, packed 3 medium bananas 2 tablespoons raw chocolate powder 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Blend and enjoy as you take in all of those antioxidants.
I’m sure you know what I’ll be adding to my chocolate smoothie tomorrow…habanero pepper. I love spicy chocolate recipes (there’s a great recipe in my dessert ebook called, Sexed Up Spicy Chocolate Mousse). If you’re interested in my favorite brand of organic raw chocolate powder, check out my website here.
Organic edible flowers are not just for salads and garnish. I love using them in smoothies, too! Did you know that organic edible flowers are rich in nectar and pollen (studies have shown pollen to be nutritious with minerals and vitamins). Roses, especially rose hips, are very high in vitamin C. Dandelion blossoms (and yellow flowers, in general) have plenty of vitamin A, while the leaves are loaded with iron, calcium, phosophorous and vitamins A and C. Marigoldsand Nasturtium have vitamin C.
I made a magnificent smoothie from fresh organic peaches and edible flowers. You definitely want to try this.
Dazzling Daylight Flower Smoothie
Yield 3 cups
2 large white peaches, pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup organic edible flowers
Blend the peaches and lemon juice until smooth. Add the flowers and pulse briefly. You want to have gorgeous flecks of colors showing. Enjoy served in a sassy wine glass or goblet.
Think: Delicious, Floral, Chocolatey, Creamy. One of my creations, this recipe is simple (less than 10 minutes to make!) with only a handful of ingredients. Enjoy!
Orange Blossom Chocolate Mousse Yield 1 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons orange blossom water*
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
1/4 cup raw chocolate powder
2 tablespoons raw carob powder**
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 avocado pitted, peeled
Blend all of the ingredients in your blender until creamy. It’s wonderful to eat right away or chilled in the refrigerator or you can freeze it in an ice cube tray for Frozen Orange Blossom Chocolate Bites!
*You can easily find this at most Middle Eastern Markets and some Whole Foods Markets, or purchase it online here: Dayna’s Market (while you’re there, pick up a bottle of rose water, which I use in some of my Easy Raw Food Recipe ebooks). The orange blossom water provides the unique floral and orange essence to this recipe. You can, of course, replace it with plain water, but it will be plain chocolate mousse (delicious still, but certainly not the same).
**The only place I have found “true” raw carob is at NaturalZing.com.
I just created a most delicious soup! I named it Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Soup because the colors and flavors subtly remind me of a fall harvest. It’s an easy and delicious raw vegan food recipe that the whole family will love (just like all the recipes in my raw food recipe ebooks). With raw being this easy and delicious, who needs cooked food?
Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Soup
Yield 6 cups
1 cup water
1 large zucchini, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups carrot, chopped
2 dates, pitted
1 clove garlic
1-2 teaspoons Himalayan crystal salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup raw flax oil or raw olive oil (or mix them both)
Blend all of the ingredients, except for the flax oil, on high speed in your blender until really creamy (approximately one minute – I prefer this soup a tad warm and very creamy). Then, while the blender is running on low speed, add the flax oil. Continue blending, at a higher speed, for another minute or less. This will make it slightly warm.
~Substitute avocado or nut butter… for the flax/olive oil
While I understand that alcohol destroys pretty much every cell it comes in contact with, I also understand that not everyone is going to swear off alcohol for life. Wine would be the best choice for your alcoholic beverage since it’s considered Raw. In fact, I created some amazing and fun beverages with wine in my book (boy those were fun to make and test!): Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks.Once you go Raw though, expect to feel the effects of alcohol more quickly and strongly, as your body will have become very efficient at absorption. Until you discover your new, lower tolerance for alcohol, be very careful when you drink. And…don’t drink and drive.
Organic: Look for organic wine that is low in sulfites or without added sulfites. This is sometimes a point of confusion because sulfites occur naturally even in 100% organically produced wine. According to Professor Roger Boulton, Ph.D., of UC Davis’ Department of Viticulture and Enology, even if no sulfur dioxide is added to wine, fermenting yeasts will produce SO2 from the naturally occurring inorganic sulfates in all grape juices. Thus, says Boulton, it is impossible for any wine to be completely free of sulfur dioxide.
Vegan: But, just because the wine is Raw and even Organic, doesn’t mean it’s Vegan. If it says “vegan” on the bottle, then you’re good to go. Does yours? If not, you might want to contact the company and ask, although I suspect it won’t be vegan unless it says so on the bottle. Here is one that I have tried and enjoyed. It’s organic and vegan: Organic Vintners Mendocino Pinot Noir (pictured here). This is what they had to say about vegan and biodynamic wines:
Biodynamic principles take the organic approach a step further by making sure that the growth of the grapes is in tune with the larger environment. Using homeopathic sprays, herbal preparations and lunar cycles, soil fertility is increased and vines are protected from pests and diseases.
Vegan wines. Winemakers, both organic and conventional, are not obliged to declare on the label when they use animal by-products as fining agents to clarify wine. These include egg white (to brighten red wines), casein (a milk protein to make wine taste softer), gelatin (removes bitterness) and isinglass (derived from fish). A vegan wine, on the other hand, uses no animal products whatsoever. The vegan versions typically use clay to make the wines clear.
I’m excited to see the organic vegan wine selection growing at Whole Foods, as well as to see such a great collection online at places like The Organic Wine Company. Sometimes for holiday, anniversary, or birthday gifts, I buy a bottle of organic vegan wine for people and have it shipped. I like The Organic Wine Company’s selection. AND! Since I’m all about voting with my dollar….here is my planwhen visiting restaurants. I’ll ask if they offer an organic (and vegan!) wine selection. If they say, “no” then I’ll tell them that I’ll just drink water. That’ll teach them, eh?
Here’s a fantastic recipe from my book, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Sides & Snacks, available on my website by clicking here. This great recipe is so easy and takes very little time to prepare, like most of my recipes. I like to call my recipes “No Excuse Recipes” because they’re so delicious, nutritious, easy and quick to make that you really have no excuse not to make them and, therefore, always have fabulous Raw food on hand whenever you’re hungry.
Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Yield 4 servings
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 2 hours in enough water just to cover, reserve soak water
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup pine nuts (or pili nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, etc… you can pretty much use any you want)
1 teaspoon garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, adding a little of the sun-dried tomato “soak” water, if necessary. While the mixture is pureeing, add the olive oil. Enjoy!
~ Dip zucchini slices into this delicious pesto for a fast and easy treat
~ Stuff 1/2 of a seeded tomato or bell pepper (yellow or orange are especially beautiful) with 1/4 cup of pesto, topped with fresh sprouts
~ Serve on top of zucchini angel hair pasta or kelp noodles for an awesome meal
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.