Monday, April 20th, 2009

How & Why I Freeze Raw Vegan Food

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

One of the ways I make my Raw vegan lifestyle easy is by utilizing my freezer. By doing this, I’m able to make foods in advance and nothing goes to waste. The following are things I think about when freezing Raw food.

1) What packaging (or container) will I freeze my Raw food in?
There are two types of packaging/containers I use for freezing: glass or plastic bags. When I freeze soups, nut/seed butters, hummus, dips, nut/seed milks, or dressings, I use glass mason jars. And, to make the freezing process even better, I use my
FoodSaver to suck out all of the air (they have an attachment for glass mason jars available for purchase). I even do this sometimes for food I keep in the refrigerator, even though it means using the FoodSaver every time I open the jar to eat some. It really helps to keep the foods extra fresh and delicious!

When I freeze dehydrated goodies such as pizza crusts, crackers, quiche crusts, nuts/seeds, dried fruit, or when I freeze desserts or pate, I tend to use the FoodSaver bags (yes, they’re plastic, but using the plastic can be helpful at times and necessary for things like quiche crusts, pizza crusts, desserts, and frozen bananas). Here, I use my FoodSaver to suck out as much air as possible, and, depending on the food, I’ll sometimes suck out all of the air and sometimes I suck out most of the air (being careful not to crush the food). That being said, I have used glass mason jars to store crackers and dehydrated nuts/seeds/etc (and then proceeded to use the food saver and glass jar attachment before freezing). The hard part about this is that the jars take up a lot of room in the freezer. As such, I now have a second large freezer (pictured above) and it was worth every penny because I store so much in there. I’m able to buy in bulk, save money, and freeze it all to preserve freshness.

Bottom line – I love my FoodSaver for freezing raw foods! In fact, my mom froze individual slices of my raw vegan cheesecake OVER A YEAR AGO using her FoodSaver, using the FoodSaver bags and sucking out as much air as possible without smishing the dessert (like my use of a technical word “smish?” – ha ha). Anyway… it tasted as delicious and fresh as the day I made it. Talk about some longevity! Heck… get a FoodSaver and make your holiday desserts now! Be prepared and save yourself time during the busy holiday season. :)

Now, all that talk about the lovely FoodSaver doesn’t mean that I don’t successfully freeze without a FoodSaver. I do! When I know I’m going to consume something within a month’s time or so, for example with raw desserts like cookies, chocolates, cheesecakes, etc… then I just slice it into individual servings (or create the individual cookies or chocolates) and freeze them in glass jars or glass square storage containers (my mom scored some of these at Costco for me recently – they have plastic lids, but that’s okay for me because the food isn’t touching the lid). It’s true that sometimes I end up using plastic containers, ICK!, but I try to stay away from it as much as possible. I’m still building up my supply of glass storage containers. It’s taken time to build an awesome Raw food kitchen, but it’s been worth every bit of the investment. It’s my family’s health after all.

2) What are the best Raw vegan foods to freeze?
A good rule of thumb is knowing that the higher the fat content it has usually means a better freezing experience. Therefore, if I’m freezing a fat free soup or dressing, then it might get some crystals on it over time, and it might not taste as good as it would fresh… but it’ll still be pretty good. In my opinion, I’d rather use a dressing on my salad that was frozen then thawed (but was still Raw vegan and pure), than to use a bottled dressing that underwent pasteurization and has shelf-life extending ingredients in it that I probably can’t pronounce anyway.

3) What about the vitality of my Raw food after it’s frozen?
It’s probably true that I lose some of the vitality of the food when freezing, but probably not nearly as much as when cooking. Freezing raw foods is a great option because if there is some nutrient loss (anywhere from 5-30% I’ve heard), I’m still getting tons of nutrition. And, add that to the fact that my life is easier, I’m less stressed and more organized, I save money, and I’m eating less cooked food because I have a freezer stocked full of delicious Raw foods… it’s a win-win all around.

In fact, the “fresh” produce I buy that sits in my refrigerator… well, that is also losing nutrition over time. It’s for this reason that some people believe that buying a bag of frozen organic berries (or other fruit) has more nutrition than fresh fruit from the produce department. The philosophy is that the (frozen) fruit was picked at its ripest and then frozen immediately to prevent nutrient loss that can occur from shipping to sitting in a large produce cooler at the store to sitting on the shelf waiting for you to buy it to transferring it home and then sitting in your refrigerator there, too. Note: Frozen veggies from the store are another story, because they have almost always been blanched before freezing, still studies show that not all of the nutrients are lost.

So… what do I do?
I cover all of my bases. I buy fresh and frozen organic fruits and I buy fresh vegetables. I get most of my fresh produce from the farmer’s market because locally grown is very important. And, while I eat most of my foods fresh, I like to keep a steady supply of Raw vegan foods frozen to make my life easier.

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Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Great Natural Raw Vegan Hair Products – Morrocco Method

by Kristen Suzanne in hair

I’ve been trying out a new hair care system for about the past month, and I’m loving it. My hair is about 90% grown out now (with my natural color of chocolate brown), and I adore it. It’s soft, silky, and oh-so-healthy! For those of you interested in the story of my transformation from blond locks to brunette tresses, read here.

Prior to finding this other company for hair care, I was using Terressentials mud to wash my hair (since about August 2008). That was an interesting and neat experience. But… a couple of months ago, from time to time, I was getting flakes. Eek! I tried using an apple cider vinegar/water rinse and I tried using coconut oil, but without success. Also, (after washing) some days my hair was soft and clean feeling, other days it wasn’t. (Don’t get me wrong, I still love many of their products, but I think my time with their hair care products was coming to an end).

I decided to look for another line that was as natural as I could get. I even thought I was willing to compromise a tiny bit with the ingredients (and not be such a purist), so I looked at Aubrey Organics, Suki, and some others. But, every time I read the labels, I couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened when comparing them to the purity of Terressentials’ mud. I work so hard to keep my body clean internally and externally that I just couldn’t compromise in the end.

Morrocco Method comes to the rescue!
I did some more searching online and came upon Morrocco Method products. I was immediately intrigued because the website boasts about its products being Raw, Vegan, and Eco-friendly. My pulse quickened and my eyes devoured the entire website.

However, before committing, I decided to google some reviews about it. For the most part, people’s reviews show they love the line, including a very good review from Organic Lifestyle Magazine who highly recommends the products (read review here). I agree with the issue OLM had with the company’s accompanying literature in the package (it’s a little on the pathetic side, yet it is informative). OLM also had an issue with how the staff treated them, but I must say that when I called them with some questions, they were extremely friendly and very professional. And, I scored some free samples in my package, including a face scrub (love it!) and I’ve since gone back to order a bottle of it.

There were a couple of reviews online that weren’t great about the shampoos, but for those people, it seems that their main complaint was either the lack of lather or the price or the smell. The different products smell very earthy and I actually really like it. As for the lack of lather… well, you’re looking at a gal who shampooed with mud for months (zero lather), so I’m used to using all natural products like this. (BTW, Morrocco Method actually does give a little lather.)

So… what happened to the scalp problems I had? They went away immediately. Ever since I started using Morrocco Method, my hair has been so freakin’ soft, shiny, and silky. It’s extra gorgeous! My husband is amazed and loves touching my hair (he’s always commenting on how soft it is). And, just this weekend, my mom commented on how pretty my hair was. For those of you who don’t know the story… this is huge! She was bummed that I was no longer going to color my hair blond. And, it’s been a tiny bit of tension between us since I started growing it out. But, oh my goodness, this weekend she mentioned on more than one occasion that she was amazed at how shiny, soft, and pretty it was. She admitted that she actually likes it.

I have the entire shampoo system (4 bottles of different shampoo that I rotate) and one conditioner called Chi Conditioner. That system alone is awesome. I also bought the oil and have used that twice, and I have the hair gel (that’s been great, too!). I decided to give the two conditioning sprays a try so I recently bought the sample/travel conditioning kit. The first night I used one of the sprays (for volume) I washed my hair, sprayed the stuff in, and went to bed. I woke up and my hair had so much body it looked like Edward’s in Twilightha ha!

The system isn’t cheap, but it’s so healthy for my hair and body that I can’t imagine using anything else right now. Plus, I stretch it out. Since I don’t wash my hair daily (more like 2-3 times a week), I don’t use much of the product so it’ll last awhile. I, do, however recommend getting a couple of the Chi Conditioners because obviously you’ll run out of that quicker. If you want to try the system out first, you can buy the travel/sample shampoo kit and the travel/sample conditioning kit. I recommend signing up for their newsletter because they frequently offer specials and coupons.


UPDATE: They also have a new cream rinse called, Pearl Essence. I’ve only tried it a couple of times in a sample size, but I like this, too.

I hope if you try this system that it works as great for you as it has for me!

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Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Sunday’s Raw Food Intake

by Kristen Suzanne in vegan

Sunday, we celebrate the holiday with family. Here is our 100% Raw vegan food intake plan:

1 quart fresh Plant Blood (kale, lemon, golden beets/greens, kiwi)

2 bananas
3 prunes

Chia Coconut Pudding (made with sweet cashew milk, cinnamon, almond extract)
1 cup raspberries

Mexican Lasagna
Kale Salad

Cookies

This week I’ll be blogging about the latest hair care products I’m using (that I L-O-V-E!) as well as details about freezing Raw food.

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Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The Raw Food Diet – Is There A Right Way?!

by Kristen Suzanne in avocado, chia, hemp seeds, kale, Kristen Suzanne

I recently saw someone writing into one of the Facebook groups questioning what is the right way with the Raw vegan diet. She was confused because she said there was conflicting information out there and just didn’t know what to believe or which way to go.

My response to this is:
YAY! Rejoice! Hallelujah! This is the beauty of the Raw vegan diet. There are so many options and one size does not have to fit all. It can change by the person. In my humble opinion, this is exciting because it means variety. I love the idea that during one season I can follow some low fat Raw vegan principles and in another season I can nourish my glorious body with avocados, nuts, seeds, and divine Raw vegan desserts. In my life, I have spent time as 100% Raw vegan, and other times (like now) where I’m HRAV (High Raw, All Vegan). I’ve had expanses of time where certain nuts didn’t sit well with me. And, I’ve had other times where I thrived with them in my diet.
Sometimes my level of Raw changes as I travel and sometimes I vary it with the changing moon.

I love this flexibility! I love this versatility! I love the options. You can be a sproutarian! You can love the fruitarian way of life! You can hug a life with green smoothies and juices and all things liquid! You can dive into decadence and nourish your body with loads of essential fatty acids and healthy fats from whole nuts, avocado, coconut, etc. You can tango with a natural hygiene approach (much like fruitarian) and eschew things like oils, garlic, and fermented foods. And, of course, if you’re not currently following a Raw vegan diet, you can choose to follow one of the aforementioned plans for a week, here and there, just to add more nourishment to the lifestyle you live now.

Congratulate yourself for taking your health into your own hands and trying this wonderful diet and lifestyle, no matter which path you pursue on the journey with Raw food. Be confident you’re feeding your body wonderful nutrient dense Raw vegan foods whether it’s avocado, hemp seeds, pineapple, kale salad, Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce (chuckling here, those of you who regularly follow my blog know of my addiction to this last month), a plate of gourmet Raw food, or a serving of Holiday Chia Pudding (munch munch… eating this as I write this post). Be excited and happy to know that there are many choices for you. There is no need to stress about it or feel pressed to subscribe to one plan.

You can change it by the month, or the week, if your heart and body desires. It’s all up to you… and you alone. Try on one of the plans for size and see how it fits. Or, heck, don’t subscribe to any of them and just mix it up meal by meal. :)

The bottom line is that you LISTEN TO YOUR OWN BODY! Pay attention to the inner god or goddess inside of you. Follow your intuition. Be patient. Feel excited. Recognize that we are all different… different ages, from different toxic (or non toxic) backgrounds, live in different parts of the world, experience different environmental toxins, have different levels of stress, pursue different levels of physical exercise, etc. What we all have in common is that we can all use some organic, Raw vegan whole foods in our lives no matter where we are on the diet spectrum.

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Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Guest Blog Spot on CSL

by Kristen Suzanne in Kristen Suzanne

The lovely, fun, extraordinarily awesome Kris Carr asked me to write a guest post for her blog. I was honored and humbled, and, of course, I jumped at the chance. If you’d like to read it, come on over here. I wrote about Raw Vegan lifestyle tips.

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Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Holiday Chia Pudding Recipe: Raw, Vegan & AWESOME!

by Kristen Suzanne in cashews, chia, chia seeds, coconut, Kristen Suzanne

I made a new chia pudding recipe that I was going to feature later in the year. But, holy sh*t! It’s so good, that I’m posting about it now… while I’m eating giant spoonful after spoonful. The texture is especially fun because of the shredded coconut, and even though the flavors are for the holidays (my inspiration when creating it), CLEARLY, you can make and enjoy this any time of the year… like NOW!


{Update: I just added the photo to this post January 11, 2010. And, I thought I’d let you know that many people have made this recipe since I posted it. The verdict? They all LOVE it!}

Holiday Chia Pudding
By Kristen Suzanne of
KristensRaw.com
Yield 1 1/4 cups

1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup dried coconut, shredded & unsweetened

1 cup water
1/4 cup
raw cashews
(soaked 1 hour, drained and rinsed)
4 soft
medjool dates, pitted

2 cloves

1 teaspoon
lucuma powder*

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Place the chia seeds and coconut in a small bowl, briefly stir to mix, and set aside. Blend the remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour the blended cashew mixture into the bowl with the chia seeds and coconut and stir. Wait a few minutes and stir again. (You’ll notice the chia seeds beginning to take on a gelatinous texture.) Wait a few minutes, again, and stir. Do the “wait and stir” once more, and then place the Holiday Chia Pudding in the refrigerator for about 15 – 20 minutes (or longer, if desired). Then, enjoy.

Personally, I especially love this recipe when it’s closer to room temperature, because it’s like comfort food. So, after it gels in the refrigerator briefly, I like eating it before it gets too cold. However, this recipe will stay fresh when stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days, so feel free to nibble a spoonful here and there – cold or not! It’s all good!


*If you don’t have lucuma, then you can make this recipe without it… still delicious. That being said, I love having a jar of lucuma in my pantry for various recipes, so I recommend getting some.

For those of you new to chia seeds… you can read more about them here.

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Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Local Organic CSA – Taking A Poll For Interest

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

The following blog post is for people living in the Phoenix area. As many of you know, I love visiting the Road Runner’s Farmer Market because my favorite farmer, Doug (that’s Doug in the picture), is there selling his super fresh, delicious, certified organic produce. (Read about my experience with Doug’s food here.)

Doug emailed me this week tossing around the idea of possibly starting an organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I was stoked at the thought of this. Well… he asked me to try and gauge whether people I know locally would be interested in this. Here is what he had to say:

I would like to establish an “Organic CSA” in the Phoenix area. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, it’s like a subscription club where customers sign up for a set period of time (3, 6, 9, 12 months), pay a set amount of money and then receive a set amount of fresh vegetables on a regular basis from the farmer. The subscribers would be partners in the produce grown on the farm. They would share in the success and or failure on the farm. They would then receive whatever produce was in season from the farm. The farmer then uses this income to sustain or expand his farm and provide an income for him. I would like to find out if you and your subscribers would be interested in something like this, if it existed. I’m just in the investigative stage, but if you could get an idea of interest, I would really appreciate it. If there seems to be interest, I can start working out the details.


UPDATE! The CSA that was started is no longer, sadly. However, they do offer a Discount Club and the details are here.

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Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Today’s Raw Food

Thought I’d put up a quick post with today’s Raw food for us (my husband added a Vega bar, berry flavored and a large protein shake made with 2 scoops Sun Warrior Protein, 1 scoop pea protein, and 2 tablespoons hemp protein powders). Everything is always organic. It was a day of blissful, energizing, Raw, vegan, delicious, and nutritious food.

Banana Carrot Smoothie (3 cups)

Green Smoothie
(3 cups): banana, pineapple, Wheat Grass powder

Easy Fresh Salad
: 1 avocado, dice;, 15 grape tomatoes, halved; 3 leaves basil, chopped; squeeze fresh lemon juice; tiny pinch each of Himalayan crystal salt and black pepper
Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Soup (1 1/2 cups (from my book Easy Raw Vegan Holidays)

Handful of pumpkin seeds


Hemp Milk Super Berry Smoothie: 1 cup hemp milk, 1 cup blackberries, 1 cup strawberries
Chopped Veggie Salad Mix
: carrot, zucchini, olives, basil, red bell pepper, Sweet Capri Dressing (dressing from my book Easy Raw Vegan Salads & Dressings)

Cinnamon Vanilla Chia Pudding

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Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Chlorophyll Rich Pineapple Smoothie & Supplements

by Kristen Suzanne in Uncategorized

Today started out with me jammin’ out to Lenny Kravitz (hope my neighbors didn’t mind – ha ha) while drinking a Green Smoothie recipe, Chlorophyll Rich Pineapple Smoothie( 1/2 cup water, 2 cups pineapple, chopped, 2 cups yellow bell pepper, chopped, 1 banana, peeled, 1 1/2 tablespoons Amazing Grass Wheat Grass Powder. The yield was about 3 cups of green goodness. After drinking that and dancing to Lenny, I was ready to tackle the day.

Sometimes I’m asked about what supplements we take. Yes, I have a great, balanced diet, but there are some things that I feel are needed in supplement form… sometimes daily, sometimes not.

On a fairly regular basis, we take a Vitamin B12 supplement. Right now, we’re using Jarrow’s. But, we’ve also taken this brand.

In addition to a B12 supplement, we also take a vegan DHA supplement (a building block for brain and retina tissue, especially important for pregnancy, infancy (through breast milk), and old age. It’s also been noted for helping people with depression, which I am not depressed, but thought I’d pass that information along. For information about this, click here.

On occasion, we take a probiotic by Dr. Ohhira’s. Gotta have lots of friendly bacteria for a healthy body!

And, for the first time, I’m trying some Vitamin K2 (for bones and teeth). I learned about it from Shazzie’s latest book, Evie’s Kitchen. Let me just take a moment to say… this book is great. I loved reading it. It’s great for anyone with (or without) kids, or for anyone who is family planning right now. The recipes use metric amounts, so that means having to convert them, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it. It’s filled with pictures and worth the price.

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Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Life is Good Indeed – Candy Kale Salad

by Kristen Suzanne in chocolate

I made it through my tech difficulties! My BlackBerry is alive and well (actually even better than before! Yay!). My web email was restored – thank heavens for that!!!!! And, the other issues I was dealing with… well, we have a plan with many options, so that alone empowers me, calms me, and gives me much hope (will share more intimate details with you over time regarding this).

Today was busy and fun. I tagged along with my husband and his business partner up to Flagstaff. I made him a bagged lunch with plenty of Raw vegan goodies (and made one for myself, too). It was nice and relaxing, although pretty chilly up there. Once we came home, I wolfed down a kale salad that had chopped dates, raisins, pecans, grape tomatoes, kale (massaged with the basic lemon juice, olive oil & Himalayan crystal salt), and diced avocado. I call the kale salad, Candy Kale Salad, because it is sweetly delicious. It’s an awesome transition recipe for those of you trying to get more kale (or any hearty greens) into your diet (or your family’s) but really want the sweetness to make it extra fun and tasty. Ha Ha – Who am I kidding? I’m not in transition and I’m eating it… because it’s YUMMY!

Tonight I’ve been in the kitchen working up a couple of final recipes for the chocolate book. I was all finished with it, and then a couple of nights ago, more recipes came to me as I was falling asleep. (This is common with me… so I keep a notepad and pen on my nightstand to jot down the recipes.) These recipes were so cool and unique that I HAD to experiment with them. Great news! They’re awesome! Therefore, I’m back to editing the book, which will delay publication, but I tell ya… it’ll be worth it!!!!

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