Monday, September 29th, 2008
Calling all Raw Vegan Chocolate lovers! Are you ready for a super fun trio of recipes? Get out your dehydrator because my Chocolate Chia Crackers are BIG fun. Need a snack for your kid’s lunch box? Want something super healthy to munch on while watching this week’s VP debates? Then, look no further because this is it! I wrote in a past post that Chia is a dieter’s dream food. And, raw chocolate mixed in… HELLO! YUM!
What? Don’t have a dehydrator yet? Why not??? Having a dehydrator is such a fun addition to your Raw Vegan kitchen because it adds tremendous variety to your diet as well as shelf life to some of your food. Now you can have crunchy foods, warm foods, marinated foods with a texture reminiscent of cooked food, and foods that can last a long time in your refrigerator or freezer. Need I say more? Or, maybe you have a dehydrator but want some delicious dehydrated recipes, then check out my ebook, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Dehydrating.
Okay, back to this wonderful trio of Raw Vegan recipes. Here you go! Enjoy!!!
Chocolate Chia Crackers
Yield 1 tray (quantity depends on size you cut)
1 cup chia seeds (get them here)
2 cups water
Juice of 1 orange
1 apple, cored & chopped
1/4 cup raw chocolate powder (Navitas is my all-time favorite brand)
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
6 dates, pitted
dash Himalayan crystal salt
Soak your chia seeds for 30 minutes in a large bowl with 1 1/2 cups of the water. Blend the remaining ingredients (including the remaining 1/2 cup of water) together. Add the blended mixture to the bowl with soaked chia seeds and stir to mix. Break up any chia seed clumps with your rubber spatula or spoon. Let the mixture sit (as is) for 15-30 minutes.
Spread the mixture on a dehydrator tray lined with a non-stick paraflex sheet and score to desired size. (For a thinner cracker, divide between two trays.) Dehydrate at 135 degrees for 60 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 105 degrees and dehydrate another 6-8 hours. Flip crackers onto another tray without a paraflex sheet and peel off the paraflex sheet being used. Dehydrate another 6-10 hours, or until you reach your desired dryness.
Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Spread
Yield 1 1/4 cups
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
3 tablespoons raw chocolate powder
1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/2 cup cashews
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
pinch Himalayan crystal salt
Process all of the ingredients in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, until creamy. That’s it! Easy!
Sweet Southern Peach Jam
Yield 1 cup
1 cup frozen peaches, thawed
3 dates, pitted, soaked 20 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
Blend all of the ingredients together. Voila, Sweet Southern Peach Jam!
Monday, September 29th, 2008
I had a great class this weekend… so much fun. I love teaching about Raw food and spreading the word. I get so many questions during my classes, which I love because it shows me that people are eager to learn more.
Next up… preparing for my October class (scheduled for 10/25), Raw Holidays. Last year, this class sold out EARLY, and it was so much fun. As many people reported, “The pumpkin pie alone is worth the price of admission.”
Today, I’m back to work, drinking organic plant blood and green smoothies, and gobbling up fresh salads and bananas. I’m all out of sprouts, so I need to soak some seeds tonight and get those growing again. I could eat sprouts by the mouthful. They’re so watery, fresh and crunchy.
I’m hoping to find time this week for movies. There are 4-5 out that I want to see over the next week and half! Oh, and of course, I’m stoked about this week’s VP debate. I think I’ll whip up an extra special Raw Vegan treat to munch on while we watch it.
Tomorrow, I’m going to post a delicious recipe for all of you Raw chocolate lovers out there!
Organic On A Budget
Daily Conversation Question:
What’s your favorite book?
Saturday, September 27th, 2008
To add some extra fun to my blog, I’m having a monthly giveaway of awesome goodies. Sometimes it’ll be a matter of simply responding to a question or leaving a comment in order to have your name entered into a drawing to win or sometimes it’ll be in the form of a contest / quiz. It could happen at any time during the month.
For September’s drawing, I’m giving away one of my ebooks (your choice of 1 of the 10 I have available – take a look at them here) and all you have to do is simply answer the following question in the comment section of today’s blog. At the end of three days (Monday night, 11:59pm) I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Tuesday. Are you ready? I’m really excited about this… I have some super cool goodies to give away.
Where did you first learn about Raw?
Friday, September 26th, 2008
A great many things await you when you start eating a diet with Raw Vegan food. Common experiences include easy weight loss, increased energy, soft skin, clear and bright eyes, silky hair, better sleep, mental clarity, major health improvements, a peaceful mindset and much more.(Yay!) A common question I’m asked is, “How ‘Raw’ do I have to be to experience these things?”
As with many things in life, whether it’s diet, religion, etc., there are many different schools of thought as to which is the best plan when following a diet of Raw Vegan food. This can be confusing for people (I know it was for me when I first started). There are people on the far end of the Raw spectrum that are classified as “Natural Hygienists” and they lead a fairly strict lifestyle. Many of them don’t use salt, garlic or even ginger in their food. So, you can imagine that their position on something like agave nectar will not be favorable. On the other end of the Raw spectrum is where you find people eating anywhere from 75% to 99% of their diet as Raw and they classify themselves as “High Raw.” And, of course, there are people who call themselves “100% Raw” and they eat anything (plant-based) that is Raw (superfoods, agave nectar, raw cacao, raw nuts and seeds, etc). Really, that’s just to name a few of the categories of Raw.
For the most part, I think labels can be difficult unless you know hard and fast how you will eat and that you’ll stay that way. I find that many people evolve until they find what works best for themselves and their family. If you eat 100% Raw every day of the month except one or two days, does that suddenly mean you can’t classify yourself as 100% Raw? That would be harsh in my opinion. And, what if it changes over the years? Or, you might be like me. I enjoy eating a 100% Raw Vegan diet for weeks, months, or a season at a time and I’m happy following the HRAV (High Raw, All Vegan) lifestyle during other parts of the year. I also throw in a week here and there of just drinking green juice along with some weeks of eating fruitarian style. Oh yeah, and what about that period where I was chugging down green smoothies for days on end (was I a green smootharian?)? Hhhmmm… What the heck does all that make me?
There are a lot of books available with plenty of different opinions about Raw food and how you should go about it. My meta-position: I don’t take any one position all the way. Everyone is different and might react differently to certain foods and this might happen at different times of your life. My best advice is to “listen to your own body” because you’ll figure it out and notice what you like, what is easy for you, and what makes you feel the best. Being flexible will be one of the keys to your success with this lifestyle.
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Today is turning out to be one of my 100% Raw days. Here is what I’ve had so far:
1 quart plant blood (purple cabbage, green apples, celery)
1 quart green smoothie (spinach, bananas, hemp protein powder, camu powder, Fruits of the Earth, Vitamineral Green)
1 quart plant blood (cucumbers, zucchini, kale)
1 gigantic salad of spinach, broccoli sprouts, carrot, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, and a delicious soy-free miso dressing I whipped up in less than 60 seconds.
Later tonight I’m sure I’ll have another quart of plant blood and maybe munch on some carrots in keeping with the all-Raw theme.
What have you eaten today?
Wednesday, September 24th, 2008
Living the Raw food lifestyle has made me a more effective person… in everything I do. I experience pure, sustainable energy and I require less sleep. My body is in perfect shape and I gain strength and endurance in my exercise routine frequently. Mentally, the benefits have blown me away. My focus is clear and concentrated. My memory is tack-sharp (my measurement for this – I now use fewer post-it notes – haha!). My relationships are the best they’ve ever been, because I’m happy and I love myself.
What’s so cool is that people all around me see the difference and comment on it. Frankly, raw is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I’m a firm believer that whatever your passion is in life (family, business, exercise, meditation, hobbies, etc.), eating Raw will take it to unbelievable new heights. Raw food offers you the most amazing benefits – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is the ideal choice for your food consumption to help you attain optimal health. Raw food is for people who want to live longer while feeling younger. It’s for people who want to feel vibrant and alive, and want to enjoy life like never before.
How has Raw improved your life?
***UPDATE! Many of my readers have responded to this question in the comments section and the details are SUPERB! Be sure to read all of the comments once you’re done reading the main post.
Saturday, September 20th, 2008
For fun, I’m sharing some of my favorite things. Do we have any favorites in common?
Kitchen Appliances: BlendTec Blender and Juicer
Movies: Iron Man and Good Will Hunting
Music Groups: Earth, Wind & Fire, Delerium and Christina Aguilera
Magazines: VegNews, Mothering and Plenty
Blogs: Nature Mom and Ecorazzi
Animals: Dogs, Horses and Lions
Fruits: Watermelon and Cucumbers
Veggies: Anything leafy and green (hold the kohlrabi)
Nuts/Seeds: Manitoba Harvest Hemp
Beverages: Plant Blood and Wine
Desserts: Raw Cobbler and Orange Blossom Chocolate Mousse
TV Shows: House, Prison Break, Top Chef, Hardball
Books: Diet For A New America, Food Revolution, Skinny Bitch, The China Study and The Alchemist
Spectator Sports: Basketball (Detroit Pistons) and Hockey (Detroit Red Wings)
Colors: Orange and Green
Restaurants: The Raven and LLCAI Cafe
Tech Toys: Nano and Blackberry Curve
Travel Spots: Bora Bora!
Non-Raw Foods: Ezekial toast with soy butter and Coconut Bliss Ice Cream
Kitchen Gadgets: Scoopers and Veggie Turning Slicer
Makeup: Lipstick and Blush
Musical Instruments: Piano and Cello
Thursday, September 18th, 2008
I love salads! And, who wouldn’t when you can have fresh salads that are topped with the most amazing dressings in the world… such as this one – Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing. For those of you who crave Caesar dressing but abstain because it’s not typically vegan, look out, because here is a tremendously healthy version that is Raw and Vegan and Awesome!
Most of you are familiar with my love affair of all food products hemp, so you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m presenting Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds (and oil, if desired) in this delicious recipe. Hemp is an amazing super-food because it’s loaded with nutrition, including essential fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3, hence the name of the dressing). According to Manitoba Harvest (and the World Health Organization – ehem) these two essential fatty acids should be consumed in a balanced ratio of 4:1 which is found naturally in hemp foods. Additionally, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Oil also has the fatty acid Gamma-Linolenic (GLA) which helps maintain hormonal balance. But, hemp’s awesomeness doesn’t stop there… its amino acid profile dominates with 8 essential amino acids (10 if you’re elderly or a baby), making it a vegetarian source of “complete” protein!
I made this dressing for a special dinner event recently and it was a huge hit. Most of the guests were omnivores and they raved about how much they loved the dressing. You can imagine the surprise when I told them it was Raw and Vegan!
Hemp Omega Caesar Dressing
Yield 2 cups
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil, flax oil, or hemp oil
1/2 cup Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon raw agave nectar
1 tablespoon dulse (or more!)
zest of 1/2 lemon
Blend all of the ingredients until creamy and enjoy over a crisp romaine salad with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.
Monday, September 15th, 2008
Since my husband and I started planning for a family, I have been doing research on fertility and tracking my cycle. There are old-fashioned (tried and true) methods such as taking your temperature every day (immediately upon waking). I’m doing this, but with my erratic sleep schedule, it’s proving hard to do. I think the best aspect of taking my temperature will be when my temp stays raised once I’ve conceived, letting me know sooner than later that I’m pregnant.
On the advice from a good friend, I bought the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor to track my cycle. And, it’s really cool. Basically, I pee on a stick every morning, insert the stick into the machine, and get a reading for my daily fertility. It’s fun, especially when I see the little egg symbol meaning that it’s the right time to try if we’re ready. It’s not an inexpensive gadget (the sticks you have to keep buying or the monitor) but I decided it was worth it. If we decide to have more than one baby, I’ll use it again. And, when the time comes, I’ll pass it on to someone else to use.
The reason I started using it now is because it can take a couple of months to “learn” your cycle and because I was dying to know if an egg would show up. Whew! It did! The Amazon reviews on the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor are terrific, check them out. Some things I’ve learned so far are 1) make sure you use the first pee of the morning and 2) pee for a full three seconds on the stick (count 1-Mississippi, 2-Mississippi, 3-Mississippi).
Other things I’m doing for pregnancy prep:
1. Researching various topics such as breastfeeding, vaccines, and homebirth
2. Finding a midwife and doula
3. Trying (and checking) into different pre-natal options for those times I might need extra help if I think my diet lacks on a particular day, or when traveling
4. Eating extra healthy (lots of plant blood, extra protein, etc) Obviously being HRAV (high raw, all vegan) gives me a great advantage because this lifestyle is already extra healthy.
5. Eliminating toxins from my life (hair, body, home)
6. Putting on a couple extra pounds so I’m at a healthy weight for getting pregnant
7. Researching supplementation of B-complex and DHA
Many other things…
haha… had to update you with something Raw and fun. It’s night time and I was craving cookies BIG TIME so this is what I did. Not even measuring, I tossed the following into my food processor and processed until coarsely ground: soaked and dehydrated buckwheat groats, almonds and pecans, dried unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, Himalayan crystal salt, and cacao nibs. Then, I added currants and dried cherries and processed it until it was mixed well. Voila! Took me about 3 minutes to make a HUGE bowl of it which will last for well over a week (maybe! haha). Anytime I get a craving, I simply open up my refrigerator and take a few spoonfuls! YUM!
Sunday, September 14th, 2008
Today has been such a great day so far. I woke up and drank filtered water with fresh squeezed lemon in it. Then, I took off to the gym for a nice workout on the treadmill. After returning home, I made a refreshing plant blood recipe of cucumbers, zucchini and carrots (simple and delicious). Using my Breville, it took about five minutes total to make it, drink it, and clean the juicer. I followed that with an organic banana about 15-minutes later.
Next up… a terrific organic spinach salad complete with grape tomatoes, cucumber, dried (apple juice sweetened) cranberries, home grown sprouts, and a fabulously creamy tahini dressing that makes you want to lick the plate when you’re done!
Update: Oohh, that salad was scrumptious. A moment ago I chugged down some power green sludge (1/2 cup water, 1 heaping tablespoon Vitamineral Green powder, 1/4 tsp camu powder). Now, I’m updating my blog with these details with a wonderful green smoothie of spinach, lemon, and frozen peaches. Life is good!
I spent part of my weekend watching the first half of the 4th season of House on dvd, so today I need to catch up on work (lots to do!). I hope everyone is having a terrific day!
Daily Conversation Question:
If you believe in heaven, what do you think it will be like?
*For those who don’t know, I’m adding a “conversation question” to my blog posts. They’re from these cute “conversation starter” cards I found at a little boutique. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable when meeting new people, or if there is silence while around co-workers, or maybe you’re meeting your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents for the first time and you want to ensure stimulating conversation. These are fun and made for just that!