Monday, May 31, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude + Raw Dessert = Happy Me

Hey y'all, how was your weekend? Mine was interesting and has left me with such a feeling of gratitude.

It's amazing how much we rely on power in our society. Every little thing depends on it... imagine having to live with - no lights, no water, no toilets, no tv, no internet, no portable phones, no dishwasher, no heat, no air conditioning, no fridge/freezer, blender - just to name a few of the big ones. This happens from time to time here. I'm extremely fortunate. I have a lake full of water which can be used to fill up the toilet tank to flush if really necessary. I have a wood stove for heat, which can also be used to heat up water, and I have a lot of windows which allow for plenty of natural light.

Rewind to Friday. I started a chocolate strawberry cake for a baby shower. Chocolate macadamia mousse (Just Desserts), and strawberry layer (same as the mousse but sans the cacao, and strawberries added) on an almond coconut honey crust, garnished with kiwi slices.


On Saturday morning I still needed to do the strawberry layer, so by chance, hopped out of bed pretty early to do it (it's rare that I am working on a dessert before 9am). Had just finished when.... the power went out! That means no electricity, and since we are on well water - no water either. Major UGH! Turned out my whole town was without power - which continued all day, until about 6pm. Everything closed down - all stores, and all but one gas station which was powered by a generator (runs on gas). I managed to draw upon the last bit of water in the system to get a 2 minute shower. The baby shower still happened, and fun was had by all.

The experience left me with such a feeling of gratitude for all I have. It also makes me stop and think twice about how much water and power I consume. Has your power ever gone out? What did you do about it? Does the thought of no power scare you?

I made a small strawberry tart with leftovers...

... decorated with johnny jump ups! I love these flowers - when they're standing in a bunch, I think they look like proud little people.

That evening I was time to celebrate (more than just the return of the electricity). One of my closest friends, Marcy, is getting married in August, so a "wedding social" was held in their honor, in a nearby town. I'm not sure if this is something people do in other places, but up here it's a great way for people to make some cash. I'm going to buy my dress for the wedding (I'm in the bridal party) next weekend when I travel to the city!


I just love summer! Wishing you a great day! 


Questions? Email heather@sweetlyraw.com

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Jackfruit Shake


Happy Friday All! I hope you had a marvelous week! Any big plans for the weekend?

Today I've got a fun shake to share, featuring a fruit you've heard me talk about before: jackfruit (ice cream, and pudding)!

Jackfruit Shake


This drink is frosty and sweet - perfect on a hot summer's day. Taste the soak liquid on it's own, it's insanely yummy! I've also tried it as a green smoothie by adding a huge handful of spinach. Yum!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup soaked, dried jackfruit
(soak it in water for 6-12 hours)
3/4 cup soak liquid*
1/2 large frozen banana
1/3 cup diced frozen mango
1/2-1 cup ice cubes
Stevia, to taste (if needed)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Flash back... a bit of chocolate and mint in this tart from a dessert post last August


Mint Chocolate Tart





Crust:
1 cup almonds, ground
3/4 cup pitted, packed dates
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a food processor, mix ingredients into a moist dough that presses together easily. Add 1-2 teaspoons water if needed.
Press the mixture into a 6" tart pan. Set aside.

Filling:
2 1/2 cups cashews
1 cup lightly packed mint leaves
1 cup water
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons agave
5-8 drops mint essential oil, or to taste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of Himalayan salt
3 tablespoons cacao butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil

In a blender, combine all but the butter and oil until smooth and creamy. 
Start with less mint essential oil, as it is very strong! 
Now add the last 2 ingredients and blend to incorporate. 
Taste the mixture - add more mint oil if needed (or mint leaves).

Note: You can sub mint extract for the mint oil if necessary.



Have a fabulous weekend! I hope it's hot and sunny wherever you may be :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sweet Raw Chocolate Ending


I've been working on Camille's Ice Cream Cake Challenge prize over the past few days. I jump at any chance to get in the kitchie and pump out some sweet treats. I love it when the smell of chocolate begins to waft through the house, along with the scent of coconut and vanilla granola. This is my heaven!

This Coconut Vanilla Crunch Granola is crunchy and delish. I like it straight up by the handful, over ice cream or pudding, and with almond milk and berries. Find the recipe HERE. A bag of this is on it's way to Lisa (Moonie Pie Challenge Winner) too, as we decided on this instead of me sending moonies (her freezer may well be stocked with them for a year - she made three kinds).

Chocolate. I have heaps of it floating around the house now (which means I consume more than my fair share). What an amazing gift the cacao bean is!

It all starts with melting the cacao butter... 

Maple syrup and cacao powder are added...

... resulting in the most magical thick, creamy liquid ever!

When Im busy mixing and dipping, I'm not the best as grabbing the camera to snap pictures of the process - but here's the outcome.

Chocolate Caramel Turtles



A box of truffles: Chocolate Orange, Mint, Superfood, Cinnamon Spice, and Dark Chocolate.


Chocolate Hemp Butter Cups


Fruit N Nut Chocolate Clusters: almonds, goji berries, cashews, mulberries, raisins


An Orange Goji Berry Chocolate Bar

In addition to the prize items, I made more moonies in mint and vanilla. This one is actually the mint. I didn't have mint leaves so used mint essential oil, and a wee bit of spirulina to give a very pale green instead of the bright shade that the fresh mint would deliver.

Mint Moonie Pie 

Camille, I hope you enjoy your sweet treats! Congratulations girl, well done on your cake! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When The Garden Brings Asparagus... Make Soup!


We have an excellent crop of asparagus this year, as we usually do. While I eat it in salads, I admit I'm not the biggest fan of raw asparagus. I enjoy it grilled or steamed, but I haven't eaten it that way in years. I've been dreaming up different ideas to do with it: marinated, dehydrated, dip, in a savory tart - and, probably the easiest of all - soup! I recently conjured up a recipe, starting with a small batch in the event it didn't turn out. Lucky me, I had success on the first round, and have decided that I'll be making this until the asparagus runs out. I kept the spicing neutral in order to keep the flavor of the vegetable intact. The result is smooth soup with a silky, slightly tangy, yet mellow taste.


I thought a red pepper compliment would be nice, so I made red pepper oil for a drizzle on top. Totally optional, of course, but it made the soup kind of fun.


Cream of Asparagus Soup
2 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups water
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 large avocado
3 tablespoons chives, chop
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 -1 teaspoon himalayan salt

Blend all ingredients until completely smooth and creamy.

Red Pepper Oil
1/2 large red pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt/lemon juice, to taste
1/8 teaspoon paprika

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Speaking of soup, I also made the amazing Red Pepper Soup from Philip's book, again.


Southern Belles In London Soup

As I said in my other post 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.

I am loving the crab apple blossoms in my parents yard right now. Aren't they stunning? Thanks to my mom who took these pics. 

Do you have any neat trees, plants or bushes in your yard? 

Questions? Email heather@sweetlyraw.com

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Berries N Cream


Happy Friday! I hope you've had a marvelous week. The Great White North has been hit with an early summer (July temperatures in May), so I'm pretty stoked. The only problem is that the lake level is super low right now, but it should come up with a few days of hard rain (I'm hoping for just enough that we can bring the floating dock around) - otherwise I'm more than content with extreme dry heat. My yoga mat and rebounder are now permanently outside for the rest of the season!

Today's sweet escape is on the fruity side. It's been so hot around here that fruit is the name of the game.  Our local abundance is berries, so I'm sure to keep the freezer full of them for the winter. Fortunately there's plenty from last year, and they've gotta be used up before the fresh crop arrives.

Berries N Cream Smoothie


This shake is light and delicious.
Choose berries of your choice, preferably frozen for a frosty drink!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup young coconut water
1/2 cup young coconut pulp
1/2 cup strawberries or raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1/4 cup blueberries
2 medjool dates, pitted

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

This oldie is from August, last summer. I catered mini raw cakes for a wedding, and had some left overs to create this delicious fruit tart. Check out all the cute cakes HERE. I think it makes an excellent entertaining dessert!

Mango Raspberry Tart

Crust:
2 cups nuts of choice
1/2 cup pitted, packed dates

Grind the nuts and dates together in a food processor. Add 1-2 teaspoons of water if the mixture is too dry and crumbly.
Press the mixture into an 8" tart pan, or use mini tart pans.

Filling:
2 cups diced mango
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/4 cup agave
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup cacao butter
2 cups raspberries

Blend all but the cacao butter and berries, until smooth and creamy. Add the cacao butter until completely mixed.
Evenly spread some of the raspberries over the crust and then smash them down with a fork.
Spread the mango filling over top.
Chill the tart in the fridge or freezer until the filling has set.
Garnish with the remaining raspberries (and more if needed).



What treats will you be making this weekend? Have a great one!
Questions about anything on this blog? Email heather@sweetlyraw.com

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Raw Ice Cream Cake Challenge WINNER

Weeks ago I asked you guys to draw upon your creativity, yet again, to create The Ultimate Raw Ice Cream Cake! The goal was to come up with your best dream cake using my recipes as a base, with the addition of up to 10 ingredients of your choice. I should have waited until July for the contest, as it's Ice Cream Month, but I just discovered it on the calender.

My excitement built (just as with the moonie pie challenge) as entries slowly starting coming in... and then things picked up and submissions zoomed in right up until late Sunday night! If you haven't already, check out ALL the fabulous cakes. The contest wrapped up with a whopping 29 entries. I was thrilled to hear that you all had a crazy fun time making your cakes - some of you got so into it that you made 2, 4, and even 5 (yes, Nelly did!) cakes. A huge thank you to all of you who made this project such a blast!

As I said in the video, I've judged not only on the creativity of the cakes, but on the blog post, creativity of the new ingredients, and photos. Still, judging is the hardest part. Every cake is creative, beautiful, unique, and I'm sure, divinely delicious too. As a matter of fact, I've gone in circles with this one, checking out some posts  5 and 6 times, when my "numbers" (point system) came out as a tie. Yup, t'was a close competition. I even enlisted the help of my mom this morning, but it didn't make it any easier. Finally, a friend came to the rescue in the final minutes of deciding. Thank you "friend" :)

In the end, the cake that rose above the rest was... drumroll please...


Camille created an extremely gorgeous looking cake, incorporating all kinds of elements. Dense chocolate crust, smooth creamy chocolate ice cream, amaretti cookie crumble, amaretto ice cream with fresh juicy cherry chunks, and a swirling of chocolate and cherry. The cake is garnished with chewy dried cherries, and little amaretti cookies! Her photography is just as stunning as the cake itself, and her blog post had me wanting to fly over for a piece immediately!

Outstanding or what?! See her full post HERE

I've started my prep on the prize. I made grawnola a few days ago, and will be working on the chocolate goodies this week. They'll be there soon enough girl!

In second place... Kelli's Pear Berry Bliss Ice Cream Cake! 

Her cake is beautiful, and elegant, with a very interesting flavor combo: Blackberry ice cream, pear banana sorbet, blonde crunchies, pear mint sorbet, chocolate ice cream, more blonde crunchies, and a blackberry sauce to finish it off. Her detailed post is outstanding, and her sketch is adorable.



In third place... Aimee's Cookies N Cream Ice Cream Cake!


Her fun cake is a step back into her childhood. A magical swirling of chocolate and vanilla ice creams, with oreo cookies, cacao crunchies, and whipped cream. Yes, every kid's dream - and most adult's too, who have a sweet tooth! Come on, who doesn't want a slice of that?

You'll both receive a copy of my new book as soon as it comes out.

I found the following to be uber creative cake additions (you can see all the cakes/links HERE):

-Galactic cake party's heart in the middle of the cake - how on earth did they do it?!?!
-Nelly made graham crackers (which look exactly like the real thing!)
-Lori and Michelle added ice cream cones to the top of their cake.
-Molly made her cake in her college dorm room.
-E incorporated orange blossom water into her cake.
-Norka added candied lilacs.
-Jenna made chocolate dipped blonde and cacao biscotti... and Kelli did almond biscotti.

Again, thank you all for participating! I thoroughly enjoyed all your creations and I hope you'll make a few more ice cream cakes during the summer. I look forward to seeing them.

Questions about anything on this blog? Email heather@sweetlyraw.com

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweet Treats and A Surprise Visitor

Hope you all got the memo that The Raw Ice Cream Cake Challenge has been extended until midnight, tonight - there are 25 super duper entries now and perhaps there will be a few more by the end of tonight.
Also a reminder that my site is sweetlyraw.com now - if you've linked to the ice cream challenge prior to a few days ago, they won't work anymore.

Yesterday morning I received a sweet package from bloggie friend, Nelly! I won a recent goodie giveaway of hers, and have been eagerly anticipating these scrummy delights. Thank you Nelly Bear!

Chocolate, Chocolate Covered Macaroons!

Raw Dessert Platter Extraordinaire - Coconut Macaroons, Choc Macs, Mint Chocolate Cookies, and a Choccie Moonie! (I tried a coconut mac and it was divine!)

Piece de Resistance - Mylk Chocolate Moonie Pie - from the contest! I shared this with my mom today and we loved it! I can't wait to try the other cookies. 

I'm now back at home in Canada, and have been enjoying the beautiful, natural surroundings once again. Sunrise a few mornings ago...

On the way home, I passed this moosie, and 7 deer. 

But the best thing yet has been a surprise visitor .... Mister Bear has been coming to play a lot lately!  I got a video the other day which I'll get around to posting - it was absolutely hilarious. Isn't he adorable?

First, he ripped apart our huge wooden bird feeder, then he attached a ceramic feeder, which he was unable to bite into, but did manage to get some seeds out of. Poor guy, I guess there isn't enough food around this time of year. He's waiting for blueberries just like I am!
After a while we decided it was time for him to leave - but yelling at him, blowing a whistle, and even throwing some small rocks, didn't work (don't worry, not intended to hurt him, just to get him to go). In fact, those tactics forced him up a tree where he stayed for quite a while, and only came down after we stopped nagging him. My dad say's he's about 2 years old.

As I was doing yoga in the living room the next morning, I looked out the glass doors to see him peering in at me! Freaky! I got a pot and wooden spoon and banged so loud it echoed across the lake. Mister bear decided he'd had enough of my racket and took off :) He came and sat on the deck another day... just hanging out. 

I hope you're having a great weekend. It's hot and sunny here, so I'll be enjoying yoga and reading on the dock! Results of the ice cream cake contest coming on Tuesday or Wednesday :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sweet Tooth: Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding


Happy Friday! I have 2 superfood treats to share today. First I have two little announcements. Bye bye Raw Goddess Heathy blog - I'm now officially Sweetly Raw Blog - my .com has changed over at last. If you've linked to me, it'll need to be changed, as the old one no longer works.

Also, a quick reminder that The Ultimate Ice Cream Cake Challenge is coming to a close soon! I've decided to extend the deadline to Sunday night because a few people have mentioned needing the full weekend to finish, and I realize it may be helpful if you're uber busy during the week. Check out the 18 fabulouso entries so far! I feel I'll need lots of time to go over all the blog submissions a second time, so I'll be announcing the winner (along with second/third place) on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I'm still on a chia pudding kick, so today's sweet tooth is exactly that - with blueberries. I've enjoyed this for breakfast several times this week - it makes a great breaky, dessert, or snack. While I do like the jelly texture of soaked chia, I really a smooth blended mixture as well. I find it handy to shake up a large batch of chia gel (seeds soaked in water at least 15 minutes for them to swell) a few times a week for different uses. It keeps in the fridge up to a week. I like to top mine with mango, granola, or cacao nibs.


Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding

1/2 cup chia seed gel*
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons lucuma powder
1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)
Vanilla creme stevia, to taste

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

*5 tablespoons chia seed mixed with 2 cups water. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

This oldie is a delicious superfood shake I made last September. I served it in a martini glass rimmed with agave and cacao powder. It adds an extra special kick for ever sip you take!

Greeny Cocoa Beany 

1 cup water
1 cup ice
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1-2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon carob powder
1/2 teaspoon spirulina
1/2 teaspoon maca
1/2 teaspoon lucuma
1/2 teaspoon mesquite
Seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon goji berry powder*
1/4 teaspoon pomegranate powder*
(*optional)
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.

I love this pic of the gorgeous cherry blossom tree. Have a glorious weekend!

If you have any questions about the ice cream challenge, or anything on this blog contact me: heather@sweetlyraw.com