Friday, April 30, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Chocolate Chia Pudding

Happy Happy Joy Joy! It's the weekend! What have you got planned? The weather is going to be summery around here, so tomorrow we're heading to Westport, CT for a day of shopping, hitting up the Whole Foods, and enjoying a picnic in the sun!

I've got some choccie and a bit of vanilla for you this weekend. Both goodies are easy, light, yet packed with nutritious ingredients that will keep you going for ages.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! I love chia for its versatility (it's non-taste allows for sweet and savory uses), and high nutrient profile. This power seed was originally consumed by Aztec warriors, who used it as their fuel source for long expeditions. They had the right idea! Chia sure keeps me going for hours too.

Here are a few facts about the wonder seed. Chia is:

-Rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids
-A complete source of dietary protein, providing all essential amino acids.
-High in calcium, enzymes, and minerals.  
-Absorbs more than 9 times its volume in water, which means that a small amount keeps a person feeling full and satisfied for a long time. 
-Super high fiber content acts as an intestinal broom (you know what that means! wink wink;)
-Easily digested and absorbed for energy.
-Contains no taste = it takes on any flavors that are added to it. 
-Doesn't go rancid and can easily be stored. 

Chocolate Chia Pudding
This pudding is chocolatey, thick, delicious... and has a nice frostiness from the ice! I like to top it (and most of my puddings) with cacao nibs and coconut flakes.

2 tablespoons chia seed
1 cup water
1 cup ice cubes
2- 3 tablespoons cacao powder
1 1/2 tablespoon lucuma powder
1 teaspoon mesquite powder
Vanilla Stevia (or other sweetener), to taste

Shake the chia and water together in a glass jar or plastic container, and then set aside for at least 30 minutes, allowing the chia to swell. 
Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. 

Tip: Let the chia soak in the water overnight and then whip it up in a jiffy for breakfast!

Vanilla Nut Smoothie
Oldie recipe from April 2008! This is an insanely yummy drink! 

1 cup young coconut water
1/2 cup packed young coconut pulp
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/2-3/4 cup ice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lucuma powder
1/8 tsp mesquite powder
Vanilla stevia, to taste
(or other sweetener)

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

A quick reminder about The Ultimate Ice Cream Cake Challenge ! I had so much fun making my 2 cakes - I hope you're creating an amazing cake  of your own for the contest!!! Remember, I have a free book giveaway for the first cake entry... one of Philip's ebooks, of your choice.

Have a great weekend. I hope it's bright and sunny in your town!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Savory Recipes, and a Prize!

The Ultimate Ice Cream Cake Challenge is underway! Some of you have told me that you're already busy conjuring up a wicked cake creation, and I'm excited to see what you come up with. Also, I have a little treat in store for the first cake entry... details below...

In answer to a few contest questions that have rolled in during the past few days (I've since added them to the "challenge" page):

-If you don't live in North America, you can certainly still enter. I'm unable to send the choccie prizes halfway around the world, but I'll put together an ebook package if we have a non-N.A winner.
-The recipes in the book and for the challenge do NOT require an ice cream maker. You're good to go!

If you'd like to take on the cake challenge, there's still lots of time. Check out this post and get started! If don't want to enter the contest, but want the ice cream cake recipes, check out The Ultimate Ice Cream Cake e-book!

Now, how about something savory in with the sweet stuff? Philip has recently released his new book: Raw Food Salad Bar: Simple Soups and Salads. If you're looking for recipes that are delicious, easy to prepare, nutrient dense, and nut-free, this book is for you! The best part is that the book is available in print version too. They arrived in the mail the other day and I've been leafing through it non-stop ever since, picking out all the recipes I want to make.

The book is broken down into the following sections: 
Veggie Salads 
Autumn & Winter Salads
Fruit Salads
Creamy Comfort Soups
Summer Cooler Soups

Here are a few of the things that have caught my eye: Sweet Chipotle Mushroom Steak over Greens, Mexican Cream Soup, Avocado Corn Relish, Earth and Sea Salad, Young Thai Coconut Bowl, Gingered Dragon Bowl of Broccoli, Minted Basil and Citrus Melon Salad, Summer Minestrone, Jamaican Stew... sound yummy or what?!

Today I settled on 2 dishes for Philip and I to enjoy for dinner. I'm having fun making his recipes - I'm trying to get him to make one of my cakes, but he says it's probably better left to me. He gave me permission to share them with you!

I spoke of a prize above. I've got a Raw Food Salad Bar e-book for the first person who submits their cake for the challenge!

Spicy Sweet Slaw
This is a fun salad - best when marinated for a few hours. I don't normally add raisins or apples to my salad, so this was a nice treat. The grocery store only had really crappy napa cabbage, so I used savoy cabbage instead, and I didn't have jalapeno so I subbed a pinch of cayenne - I don't like spicy food, but Philip does, so he adds extra cayenne to his portion of food.

1 napa cabbage, shredded
1 cup raisins
3 large carrots, shredded
3 apples:
2 cored/shredded, 1 diced
Toss together and set aside.

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
1 jalapeno, seeded, chopped
1 Tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 Tablespoon cold pressed olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and toss it with the salad.
Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Southern Belles In London Soup (Named after an indie rock band song)
This soup smells and tastes like the most insanely delicious cooked, roasted tomatoes/red peppers! I am definitely making it again. The only change I made was to omit the onion, since I'm not such a fan. If you want warm soup, use hot water.

4 red peppers, seeded/ chopped
1 clove garlic
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
(soaked in water until soft
1 tablespoon raw honey or agave
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon miso

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Philip's 2 other books are available as well... check out Raw Food Fast Food, and Raw Food Juice Bar (a few of my recipes are in it)!

Have a great rest of the week guys!

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Dessert Challenge. The Reveal...

Last month, I had the idea to create a raw dessert challenge. I came up with a moonie pie, created three variations on the recipe, and invited you to experiment in your own kitchen and put your creativity to the test.

How did it go?! Entries started popping up online, as people got making their own moonies in various flavors. Not only did people have a blast, create healthy delicious desserts for their family/friends, but some got so inspired that they swapped moonies with their online buddies.

My idea behind these challenges is to gather together a group of people who have a love for raw desserts. I see so many people who are intimidated to make "over the top", gourmet desserts, so they turn to the same ol' repertoire time and time again. My intention is to show that anyone can create complex looking desserts by breaking down a recipe into a few simple steps.

Are you ready to hear what the latest dessert challenge is this time?! I decided to go with...

The Ultimate Raw Ice Cream Cake 

Get your thinking cap on and go to town here guys! Dream up your ideal cake and make it happen!

Just as I did with the moonie pie contest... I will feature all cake entries on my site in the form of one of your photos, along with a link back to your cake post.

This time, I made two raw ice cream cakes, both of which are found in the eBook. You'll find a lot of base recipes in the book that you can use to create an amazing ice cream cake of your own! 
Scroll down to Enter.

Luscious Chocolate Vanilla Caramel Swirl Cake

Rich chocolate ice cream - brownie chunks - chocolate crunchies - smooth vanilla ice cream- bananas - a swirling of caramel and fudge sauces - coconut whipped cream 

Are YOU ready for the challenge?! 

How to Enter: 

1. Sign up for my Newsletter, if you haven't done so already (exclusive recipes, tips, ideas, and updates for subscribers only).

2. Watch my YouTube Video, which outlines all the rules in detail and gives you an inside peak at one of my cakes.

3. Grab a copy of the "Ultimate Raw Ice Cream Cake" Recipe eBook for $9.97. Click on the link below:
Add to Cart

4. Create your own Raw Ice Cream Cake, adding up to 10 ingredient changes of your choice!

5. Blog About Your Cake, including your ingredient changes, then come and let me know via the comment section below. Remember to leave a link back to your site, which I will check out and judge. (I'll also grab one of your pics for my entries post - if you have a favorite pic you want posted, let me know).

NotePlease do not post any of the recipes from my ebook in your post. 

6. Challenge Ends: Saturday, May 15, 2010 at midnight. Get your comments (with link) in by then.  I will announce the winner on Sunday or Monday...

NOTE: YES, you can still enter if you do not live in North America. You can still make and blog about your cake. I will put together an ebook package since I can't send a choccie prize. 

NOTE: An ice cream maker is NOT required for the challenge! Goody! 

Refreshing Fruity Frosty Cake 
Black Cherry, Mango, Raspberry, Blueberry, Coconut Crunch

(You'll see only one of my cakes in the video because at the time of filming, the other one wasn't yet finished.)  

What Do You Win?!?!
  • The winner's cake (hand picked by me) will be in a feature post on my blog with a link to their site.
  • The winner's recipe changes will be featured in my newsletter, along with their cake photo. So anyone who has the book will have access to the winner's cake recipe. 
  • Since we can't easily do an ice cream cake swap as with the moonies, the winner will receive: A bundle of my homemade chocolate and granola, including:
2 Choccie Nut Butter Cups

5 Fruit and Nut Clusters

6 Truffles
1 Bag of Granola

1 Mint Chip, Dark, or Orange Goji Chocolate Bar (your choice)
2 Caramel Pecan Turtles

I really hope you'll take the plunge and make your own ultimate raw ice cream cake... 

If you have questions about the contest, feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Ps... In my previous post, I asked if anyone was up for a moonie pie/goody exchange - only Gillian replied that she was keen - she said she's been working on some variations. Anyone up for exchanging with her?

Pss... I also asked if anyone could guess the name of the game this time around. While a lot of you were close in guessing ice cream, only a two of you hit the nail right on the head... Good job Mindy and Recover!

I said I'd draw a name if more than one person guessed correctly: Recover, you get to pick one out of my three books. If you'd like to leave me a comment below with your email addy and which book you'd like, it'll be on its way asap.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Chai Ice Cream

Happy Friday everyone! How was your week? All my weeks zoom right along, and I tend to lose track of time. In fact, on Tuesday I wished a friend a great weekend! Oops!
I'm ramping up to launch the next dessert challenge - the other one was so much fun that I want to do it again! It's got a summer theme... can you guess what it might be? I'll send you a copy of my Just Desserts ebook or Moonie Pie ebook (your choice) if you figure it out. If more than one of you gets it right, I'll randomly pick a winner. Or might you have a suggestion for a future challenge?

It looks like a bit of a moonie exchange has begun in the community. Super cool... a few posts will be out in the coming days, I believe, so keep your eyes peeled on the board. Got a moonie you'd like to exchange, or want to try your online friend's others goodies? I thought it would be cool to get a group swap going. Post a comment below and see who's up for it...

Here are some yummies for a sweet weekend!

Chai Ice Cream
Sprinkle cinnamon and cacao nibs to garnish... 

1 1/4 cup strong chai tea (chilled)
1/2 cup young coconut pulp
3/4 cup cashews
2 1/2 tablespoons raw honey 
1 1/2 tablespoons lucuma
1 tablespoon lecithin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon vanilla stevia
(or vanilla extract/more sweetener)

1. Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. 
2. Chill for a few hours in the fridge and then process in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions. 
3. Alternatively, freeze in ice cube trays. 

As for an oldie, this classic apple dessert comes from a raw food class I taught in October 2007! This is my "go-to" recipe for raw apple pie. When making it recently, I used a spring form pan to shape it. Surprisingly, it held up just fine. I did about 3 layers of crumble and 2 thick layers of filling.

Apple Crumble Pie
Make this is a regular pie with a crust and filling, or add the crumble on top.
2 cups pecans
1 cup walnuts
¾ cup pitted and packed, medjool dates

In a food processor, combine all ingredients until they become crumbly. Press half of the mixture into a 9” pie plate. 

6 medium sized apples, separated
½ cup pitted and packed, medjool dates
¼ cup raisins
2 tsp cinnamon 

1. Peel and core all apples.
2. In a food processor, puree 2 of the apples, and remaining ingredients, until smooth. Pour this mixture into a bowl.
3. Chop the other 4 apples into large chunks and then process into small chunks in a food processor, making sure NOT to puree it into applesauce! Add to the puree.
4. Spread this filling into the pie crust.
5. Top with the remaining pie crust, sprinkling it over the top like crumble.

Have a fabulous weekend! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Trip To Pure Food, and an Easy Dinner Recipe

Last week, Philip and I ventured into NYC city for the day (about an hour's drive away) to wine and dine with friends in addition to attending a Krishna Das and Deva Premal concert. I've loved Deva's music for years! If you want something soft/ meditative/ yoga-ish, check it out! 

Our first stop was at Pure Food and Wine for a late lunch on their patio with Dhru and Ben. I'm a luck gal - I've had the fortune of eating at Pure a number of times now, but always in the cooler weather, so I haven't enjoyed the outdoor dining experience yet. It was a lovely, warm and sunny day so we were able to be out in light clothing.

Dhru and Ben

I ordered my favourite, the S and M salad. Heaps of greens, avocado, dulse, and chunks of rosemary quackers (which are sold in their store).

Philip had the Taco Salad - I had a bite and it was super delish. The sour cream is incredible!

Philip had the Classic Ice Cream Sundae for dessert - I've had it before and it's amazing! I opted for a half pint of Oreo Ice Cream with a cookie.

I grabbed a Chocci Caramel Bar from One Lucky Duck to bring to the concert for a little snacky!

It was a great trip to the city! I'm already looking forward to the next one... in a few weeks!

Now, how bout a quick and easy dinner recipe?! I made Mexi Fajitas last week - while I don't make these too often, I thoroughly enjoy them. It was Philip's first time trying the raw version, and while he liked the flavor, he wasn't keen on the dish - why? After "baking" in the dehydrator for a few hours, the veggies were too "cooked" for his liking (a flashback from childhood). The is ridiculously easy. It only requires a bowl (I like to toss the veggies with my hands for even coating). I don't measure... but if you want measurements and more recipes, check out this post on a raw mexican class I taught a while back. 
Veggies: Bell peppers, portobello mushies, zucchini, red onion - all thinly sliced. 
Marinade: Chili powder, cumin, garlic, tamari, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar, cayenne 

Gotta have guac and salsa with my fajitas! Seriously, this is the two second deal. Salsa: I diced up red and yellow tomatoes, added a pinch of salt, squirt of lemon juice, and fresh cilantro. Eeasy Guacamole: Mashed avocado with a squirt of lemon (prevents it from turning brown)... ummm yeah, that's it!

Dessert? I made my Strawberry Lime Mousse Cake (sans the crust) in a cute little heart shaped spring form pans! Topped with strawberry/cherry puree and freeze dried strawberries.

Keeping on a sweet note, Sarah made a moonie a few days ago! Check it out. I think it's super cute!

Lori made a Basil Vanilla Filled Fig Moonie Pie - yowsa! It's the most beautiful soft green colour.

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Moonie Pie Challenge WINNER... and moonies of mention

About four weeks ago, I asked you to get creative in your kitchen. I challenged you to re-create my moonie pie, but make it your own with the optional addition of two ingredients. Since then, amazing moonie creations have rolled in. In the beginning I honestly wondered how many people would take on the challenge, since it's not exactly a beginner recipe... I'm so impressed and happy to report that the contest has come to a close with 23 entries! Booyah! A huge thanks to everyone who participated - I think we all had fun. I have another trick up my sleeve... to be revealed soon...

Over the weeks, I've grown increasingly more excited with each new entry - It's been fun to see your pics, and read each moonie making experience on your blogs. Some of you emailed me with questions which I answered to the best of my ability, some of you practiced your filling ideas multiple times before putting the whole thing together, some of you made a variety of cakes, and some of you mixed a cool story into your moonie blog post. There is certainly some super duper creativity floating around!

I felt like a judge for a Miss America Pageant last night as I sifted through all the pictures (I even enlarged the pics on my screen to make sure I didn't miss a thing), and re-read people's blog posts. I didn't think it would be so hard to pick a winner. All the pies are fabulous and unique. This may sound cheezy and cliche, but you're all winners in my book. 
Today I came up with a point system based on the technical aspect of how the pies were assembled, creativity in the form of ingredient additions, and how the pies were presented (in the photo(s) and in the blog post). It took me all day to go over this...

So just who the heck is the winner?! Drumroll please... 

Lisa of Vegan Cookbook Critic wins with her Lemon Ginger Moonie Pie

While Lisa made 3 different kinds, her lemon ginger moonie really stood out. Her pie looks absolutely beautiful, and I'm certain it tastes just as great too (lucky me, I'll get to taste it)! Her photos will have you salivating, and her post will leave you wanting to whip up a batch of your own moonies. She turned her creative kitchen journey into a fabulous story, which I'll let you read for yourself... 

As I mentioned at the start, I will be doing a moonie pie swap with the winner. I'm from Canada, and am currently in the US. Lisa is also Canadian, go figure! I'm thinking it's a good idea for me to get home before we do the exchange. Shipping internationally takes a while and we wouldn't want our moonies sitting around for a week, un-refrigerated. I'll be heading home mid-May, so you'll have to wait until then to see how it goes. It's a bit of a bummer because I was seriously excited about trying her pies asap, but I'll be sure to do the video and share it when the time comes. 

In true pageant fashion, I've chosen a few "runners up" - I wanted to acknowledge a few other moonies...

Raw Candy's Strawberry Moonieare beautiful, accompanied by the most gorgeous photos of her creative process. 

Marlie's Vanilla Chai Moonie was particularly impressive, and she took the time to do a little research on the history of moonies... 

Aimee's Durian Moonie had me craving one. She made various sizes, with fun drizzles on top. 

Nina's 4 exotic moonies contained the most creative ingredient additions, by far!

A few cool things of note happened along the way too: Contestant, Nelly, sent one of her mylk chocolate moonies to bloggie friend Kelli who was cheering her on so much! How sweet is that?! ... and Shannon made a moonie pie inspired cupcake the other day! 

If you have the moonie pie book but haven't made them yet, I hope you're inspired to give them a try in your own time. When you do, I'd love to see your photo! 

Thanks again for all the participation. It was super fun and I am already excited for the next one... yes, that's right - stay tuned for the reveal of my next raw dessert challenge! 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Springy Strawberry Pudding

Happy Friday! Before I get into yummy sweet recipes, I've got to announce "Last Call" for anyone who wants to enter The Moonie Pie Challenge but has yet to do so. You've got until tomorrow (Saturday) night, at midnight. The winner will be announced Sunday or (Monday at the latest). I LOVE all the entries so far! They're amazing. Check em out for yourself... which one would YOU choose as the winner?

Now for some goodies to welcome the weekend. Today I've got a Springy Strawberry Pudding which is light and fruity, perfect for this warmer weather. My "blast from the past" is a Blueberry Cardamom Ice Cream Cake, from August 2008. I was on a blueberry kick due to all the abundance of wild blueberries that grow in my neck of the woods.

Strawberry Pudding
3 cups chopped strawberries
1 cup chopped mango or pineapple
1/2 cup cashews
2- 3 tablespoons liquid sweetener, or to taste
3 tablespoons irish moss gel*
1 tablespoons lecithin
2 teaspoons psyllium
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon melted cacao butter

Blend all ingredients but the cacao butter, until smooth and creamy. Add the butter and blend again. Chill the mixture in the fridge, or freeze for a few hours for more of an ice cream. 

*Irish moss gel: Soak a handful of irish moss, measure out 2 oz, chop it, and blend it with 1 cup water until totally broken down and slightly warm. Save the remaining gel for other recipes.

Blueberry Cardamom Ice Cream Cake

1 1/2 cups nuts
4 large dates, pitted

In a food processor, grind the nuts into crumbs. Add the dates and process again, into a slightly sticky dough. Press into the bottom of an 8" spring form pan. Set aside. 

2 cups macadamia nuts or cashews
(or a mixture of both)
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup agave
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon + 1 tsp ground cardamom 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all but the coconut oil until smooth and creamy. Add the oil and blend again to incorporate. 
Pour the mixture over the crust. Freeze until firm. 
To serve, remove the cake from the freezer and let soften in the fridge for a few hours, or until just soft enough to slice. (Remember this is supposed to be a frozen cake)
Garnish with blueberries or sauce, and serve immediately. 
Optional - Sprinkle a layer of blueberries on the crust before adding the filling. 

For Ice Cream, transfer the blended mixture to a bowl and chill in the fridge. When chilled, process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. OR you can do the ice cube tray route!

Have a sweet weekend!

Got ideas for Sweet Tooth? Leave a comment and let me know! 

Join the Moonie Pie Challenge or pick up a copy of the recipes to make in your own time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Step Into Cupcake Land...

I've got something sweet and delicious for you today!
My friend, Shannon Marie of Rawdorable has recently released a fabulous raw cupcake ebook. Most of you are probably familiar with her site already. This chica's kitchen creativity knows no bounds, and it's hard not to check in daily for her latest goods.

For the past three years Shannon has been sharing recipes, ideas, and family fun via her blog. She prefers to blog about the sweet stuff, (can you see why I love her?) but you'll notice one particular theme in her blog, and that is cupcakes! Her serious passion for these little gems has resulted in many creations sprinkled around her site - so many, in fact that she's found the perfect way to bring all her cakes into one compact place to share with the rest of us! Her long time dream of having a raw recipe book has come true - this busy wife and mommy of Jacob & Hayden did it all on her own.

The Little Rawdorable Cupcake Book That Could has a lot to offer. It features 25 raw vegan cupcake recipes, along with plenty of tips and tricks. The book is packed - there's so much going on in here that you'll want to take time to read through slowly to make sure you don't miss a thing.
The bright colors and photographs (one for each recipe) will have your mouth watering in seconds. Enjoy: Bunny Spice Cupcakes, Tastes Like PB&J Cupcakes, Citrus Confetti, Creme Filled Lemon Cupcake, Chocolate Cupcakes, Better Than Sex Cupcakes, and Ruby Red Chai Cupcakes, to name a few...  and there's a cake for every occasion!
Oh, and if you want cupcake apparel check out her online store, where she sells cute shirts!
Check out her newest project which involves getting Ellen DeGeneres to eat a raw cupcake... maybe Ellen would like a moonie pie too, what do ya think?

I was inspired to make her Rawtess Cupcakes in 2008 and got on a bit of a cupcake kick too! Yum, they were good!

On another sweet note, The Moonie Pie Challenge countdown continues! I've had 3 more entries since my last post, so I added them. You can check out the latest entries here! I have NO idea how I'm going to choose a winner... too bad I can't sample them all!