Monday, October 22nd, 2007
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.
~ Use raw carob instead of raw chocolate
~ Replace 4 of the dates with 1/4 cup dried cherries
Monday, October 22nd, 2007
There are plenty of reasons to add cranberries to your diet, but most people only think about cranberries around the holidays. I plead guilty on this count, too, since I’m writing this at the end of October, just as fresh organic cranberries are making themselves available for the taking. Make a pact with yourself this year. Don’t forget them after the holidays. Stock up on fresh organic cranberries now, freeze them in glass mason jars, and enjoy them year round because cranberries are the gift that keeps on giving.
These little red pearls of tartness present you with vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin K, and manganese. We, women, know they’re wonderful for helping prevent and treat urinary tract infections (cranberries seem to work by keeping bad bacteria from sticking to your bladder). But, that’s not all. They help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol. And, get this! These ferocious warriors have five times the antioxidants of broccoli and also seem to behave as natural probiotics.
My recent fascination is adding them to smoothies. The following recipe is simple, but you could add any number of things to it….hhhmmmm….I’m thinking red jalapeno peppers or raw chocolate or fresh herbs or leafy greens. Use the following recipe to get you started, or simply enjoy it as is.
Cranberry Delight Smoothie
1 1/2 cups water
3-4 bananas, peeled
3/4 – 1 cup fresh cranberries (depending the level of tartness desired)
Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and enjoy.
Friday, October 19th, 2007
In the Greek myth of Persephone, the pomegranate is called the fruit of the underworld. This legend tells the story that Persephone was bound to hell because she ate a pomegranate seed(s) from Hades. I don’t know about you, but a pomegranate might just be worth it…to me they’re glamorous and sensuous. Cutting into a pomegranate is like opening a treasure chest…inside you find brilliantly sparkling, sweet-tart flavored ruby-like seeds.
The joy doesn’t stop there though. The pomegranate has anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of anti-oxidants. It offers you potassium, vitamin C and niacin, making this labor intensive fruit worth the effort.
To seed - Slice off the top and the tail of the pomegranate. Cut it in half (or quarter it, if needed) and turn it inside out over a large bowl to get out the majority of the seeds. The remaining seeds you pick out and pull off the pith. The ruby red seed is to be eaten whole. *When refrigerated, pomegranates will keep for up to 2 months.
Eating - In my opinion, the pomegranate deserves respect and is to be eaten by itself. I want to feel spoonful after spoonful of juicy seeds burst in my mouth, not a lame one or two seeds that get lost in a forkful of salad. I want nothing to compete with my pomegranate. My ritual of many years is donning a t-shirt that I’m happy to stain with pomegranate juice, as I seed 2-3 pomegranates at a time. I carry my bowl of precious seeds upstairs and I take pleasure in them as I enjoy a long, warm bath.
Friday, October 19th, 2007
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.
Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
I woke up today wanting more fun with hot peppers. After nibbling on a habanero pepper while driving to the gym, I swear my tongue was sweating. Holy s–t! It was so hot and literally felt as if my tongue was perspiring…seriously. Here is what I’ve learned about foods giving off natural heat…the trick is to embrace the heat. Once you accept that your tongue is burning and on fire, it’s not so bad. I mean, afterall, we’re talking about habanero peppers. Once the lovely endorphins kick in, it’s a walk in the park.
Later in the day I made nori rolls for my boyfriend (not a fan of nori, myself – too “fishy” tasting), while I feasted on various fantastic smoothie concoctions (bananas, apples, celery, jalapeno peppers, sprouts, fresh mint, spinach and raw chocolate – not all in one smoothie. I made a couple using the aforementioned ingredients). I finished the day with a huge salad (the produce section was truly lacking at Wild Oats and Whole Foods today – wtf?). Oh well, my salad consisted of spinach, pea sprouts, carrots and celery topped with delicious Raw Italian Dressing. It doesn’t really matter how simple a salad is when you have a fabulous dressing to go with it. I wanted to slurp up the leftover dressing that glazed the bamboo bowl. So good. And, the more simple a meal, the more properly the food combined. See? The glass is half-full in my mind when the store is lacking produce variety.
I was definitely jazzed once I arrived at the gym…after all, my tongue had a head start in the perspiration department and I was eager for my body to follow (nothing like the reward of a good sweat – and since I’m Raw, my sweat smells lovely if I do say so myself. Uh-oh, is this TMI?). Anyway, the endorphins kicked in and I was all too happy to be at the gym; quite giddy actually. I started doing a little dance between weight lifting sets (making anyone laugh who happened to watch, I’m sure). I was pulling out all of the old moves (the sprinkler, running man, cheese grater and a few I made up). I don’t think anyone regarded me as too crazy. I was sure to laugh while dancing and I had a Reebok step near me so I could hop on between moves. They probably thought it was some fantastic new routine.
Back and biceps (overhead wide-grip pull down, close grip row, overhead rope row, barbell curls, hammer curls). I finished up my weight routine by doing 15 minutes on the eliptical while watching Larry King. (Is the eliptical machine really supposed to be exercise? I have to laugh…I think it’s pretty hard to get a “hard” workout on one of those. It’s adequate for a moderate level of exercise I suppose, which is better than nothing.)
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”
~Henry David Thoreau
Monday, October 15th, 2007
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?)
Breakfast: 4 cups smoothie (2 cups water, 2 cups spinach (packed), 2 large bananas, 1 apple, 2 tsp fresh rosemary (minced), 1/3 habanero pepper)
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.
Saturday, October 13th, 2007
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.
Thursday, October 11th, 2007
WHEWEE! This is one hot smoothie I’m drinking. Talk about waking up! No need for coffee when you eat hot peppers. I thought I’d have some fun with my smoothie today and change it up a bit. I’m drinking a mason jar full of this sassy, hot creation: 1 cup water, 3 medium bananas, 1 big handful of Italian parsley, 1 teaspoon minced rosemary, 1 teaspoon minced marjoram, 1/2 of an habanero pepper. Yes, you read that right! I put 1/2 of an habanero pepper in my smoothie and she is HOT and waking me up! (In case you didn’t know, I don’t do anything half-assed. I’m hard-core…and habanero peppers are no exception). I’m sure if I open my mouth flames will come billowing out Smaug-style. I might not even have to go to the gym at the rate I’m starting to perspire (just kidding, I’m still going to the gym, although I’m sure my metabolism has just been cranked into high gear). Endorphins are kicking in and it feels grreeeaaaat! It’s no wonder I can be caught buying many habanero peppers at a time. The cashier always looks at me quizzically…I can’t help it, they’re addicting. It’s a cheap thrill. Who needs drugs, alcohol, or even chocolate for that matter when you can experience the high from hot peppers? Next time I meet friends for happy hour, I’m pulling one of these out of my purse to nibble on.
Keep this in mind about hot peppers…
~It’s believed that the endorphin release can help relieve PMS. Yay! I know in my own experience, they have also helped fight off headaches (both migraine and sinus!).
~Need help kicking your caffeine habit? I find hot peppers work wonders! The endorphins tackle two issues for you. 1) energy so you don’t miss the caffeine and 2) fight headaches from caffeine withdrawal.
~They warm you up in winter, so if you live in a cold climate and you’re trying to stick with Raw food, add some hot peppers to your diet.
~When trying to eat lower fat foods, throw in hot peppers for excitement. You’ll never miss the fat. Trust me. It’s those lovely endorphins…you feel so good. And I mean soooo good. uh-huh. You have to go through a little pain at the onset from eating them, but it’s worth it. The words “glutton for punishment” are floating around my head. Oh well.
~Be careful when working with hot peppers and don’t touch your face (or any part of your body for that matter!) after chopping peppers. Wash your hands immediately. You can rub olive oil on your fingers before working with them. Or, wear gloves. Personally, I have no patience for the olive oil or the gloves. I live on the edge.
Tuesday, October 9th, 2007
I just arrived home from Wild Oats where I celebrated Oktoberfest by giving out samples for my newest recipe Easy Raw German Chocolate Brownies (donning braids in my hair and drinking kombucha from a German beer stein). Were the brownies a hit? OMG! Yes! People came back for seconds. I had no leftovers to bring home…oh well…I DID stock up my kitchen with fresh produce. Tonight, I’ll eat a gigantic fresh salad with spinach, cucumbers, red bell peppers, apples, lots of fresh herbs, and Rosemary Ranch Dressing.
I read this today when I woke up. What a great way to start the day!
The Essence Of A New Day
“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day in your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”
Monday, October 8th, 2007
It’s about 3pm and I’m just waking up. I stayed up late watching movies (something to the tune of 4:30am). The night began with going to a late movie, Eastern Promises (starring Viggo Mortensen). Great movie! Yes, I brought along my green smoothie for raw goodness. Once I arrived home, I was jazzed with energy, so I watched Batman Begins and G.I.Jane (Did you know Viggo was in this movie?). At that point I was ready to work out after being inspired by Demi Moore, but the gym wasn’t open yet. Where are the 24-hour gyms when you need them?
I’m eating Raw German Chocolate Brownies for breakfast. YUM! I created this recipe because I’m doing a demonstration at Wild Oats to celebrate Oktoberfest . I might even dress up in a costume as a bar wench – haha…we’ll see. I think I’ll eat these all day because I am out of fresh produce in my house. “What??? Kristen Suzanne, you don’t have your kitchen stocked at all times?” Truth be told, I ran out of food….except for the freezer! I have loads of raw food frozen for occasions such as these. I have made (and ready for thawing)….dressings, hummus, pate, desserts and more. You see, ordinarily I’m very organized and prepared….uuhmmm….for the times I’m not prepared.
What actually happened is I spent my weekend at the 10th annual Green Building Expo. My plan was to only attend Friday, but it was so great I went back the second day. It was filled with amazing lectures on how to make green living in your home a reality. I’m now dreaming of solar panel rooftops to make my own energy to sell back to the power company. Very inspiring.
I’m off to the gym now (thoughts of Demi Moore doing her 1-arm pushups are coarsing through my mind and practically pushing me out the door to the gym).