Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chocolate, Desserts, and a Tropical Excursion

I have some news! In two weeks I set sail for the other side of the world. It's time for an adventure to Australia and Hawaii and I'm so excited! I've wanted to go to Hawaii for as long as I can remember, but it just hasn't happened yet. I have, however, already been to Australia 3 years ago after a short work stint in New Zealand. I visited those two countries and Fiji for a total of five months. OZ has held a special place in my heart ever since and I have often thought about going back, but didn't think it would happen this soon. I'm grateful to be feeling healthy and strong in mind and body again - I'm SO ready for this trip!

If you have any suggestions for Hawaii, let me know. I'll be there for six weeks but I have nothing planned yet! I feel a pull to go so I'll go with the flow and see what happens when I arrive.

Here are a few shots from my last Australia trip...

Fruit! Most of which I picked - Jakfruit (one of my favorite fruits), mandarin oranges, ice cream beans, atemoya, baby bananas, avocadoes, persimmons, star fruit, sapote, and some kind of plums.

Byron Bay

Sunrise at Byron Bay

Speaking of sweet things, about a week ago I started eating a small amount of cacao and sugar again, and feel good with it. Once a day I've been enjoying a treat (usually one of my chocolate caramel pecan turtles). I am so balanced physically and emotionally now that my body seems to be able to handle it. 
On Friday I made this raw chocolate mousse for dinner guests. It was so fun to be creating dessert again. Feels like it's been ages! I topped them with hazelnuts, and cacao nut crumbs to create various textures. Top it with whatever you like. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I'm still on my sugar free/cacao free cleanse, and happy to say that I'm going strong! I've had this cookie recipe to post for months and figured that since Sweetly Raw has been so quiet, it's time to present something on the sweet side.

I use nourishing raw butter in this recipe - Check out this post including a mint vanilla square recipe, if you want to know WHY raw butter.

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup raw butter, softened
3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup ground, dried coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, ground

Cacao nibs
goji berries, dried cherries, hemp seeds, etc

Mix together the butter, honey, oil, vanilla and salt until smooth, by hand or in a food processor.
Fold in the coconut, nuts, and cacao nibs and/or goji berries.
Spoon the dough onto a parchment paper or seran wrap lined tray (or plate), and chill. They'll firm up in no time.

Here I pressed a dried cherry into the top and left out the cacao nibs.

Here's another great cookie I came up with, also a few months ago while I was on my raw butter/low nut/coconut sugar kick. These are packed with good stuff, and especially full of coconut.

Coconut Butter Cookies

1/4 cup raw butter, softened
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
6 tablespoons tocotrienols 
3 tablespoons coconut crystals
3 drops stevia
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup shredded coconut flakes

Mix together all but the coconut flakes, by hand or in a food processor. Fold in the coconut flakes.
Spoon onto parchment paper lined plate/tray and chill. The cookies will firm.

And check out my latest on Universal Eater - Sauerkraut, and dinner recipes!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Universal Eater - A New Journey

A week ago I launched my new blog. Universal Eater is my space to document my continued journey to health, and my step away from raw veganism. As a result of incorporating new foods, supplementation and homeopathic remedies into my life, I'm feeling better than I have in years. I still have a bit of tweaking to do though, so this month I've embarked upon a diet free of sugar and cacao. Universal Eater is my outlet to share my ups and downs, recipes, strategies for how I'm managing to go without sugar, and the types of foods I'm eating. Sweetly Raw WILL live on, but will be taking a short break :)

My goal was to blog every day for the month of January, but now I realize that it might be a little unrealistic. Instead I'll aim to post as much as possible, probably a few times a week.

Here are the posts I've done during the past week:

A New Space - Welcome - This posts states my intention for the new blog.

Progression - My Health Update - Is all about what I've been through since my last health update in October, and the reason why I am giving up all sugar for a little while.

Chunky Eggplant Red Pepper Dip - First recipe on Universal Eater (vegan).

Letting Go of Sugar and Cacao - How I was able to stop eating sugar and cacao, easily!!

What's On My Plate? - All the foods and typical meals I'm eating these days.

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start! 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fresh Start to 2011

Happy 2011! I hope you had a really fabulous Christmas. Are you making New Year's resolutions yet? I just realized that I want to start making my list of goals for the coming year - something I do every January, but continue to update as the year goes on. It's so fun to look back and see accomplishments small and big.

I have a little announcement. I'm just about to launch a brand spankin' new blog - Universal Eater! It's a space where I'll be sharing my continued health journey, in addition to a more personal side of my ups and downs as I walk my path. I've toyed with the idea of sharing all of this on Sweetly Raw, but it seems fitting that I find a new space, especially since it will be void of raw desserts. In fact, as a commitment to myself, I will be blogging daily for the whole month of January 2011.

I feel that I have come really far in my quest of returning to a healthy body and mind, yet there are still areas where I struggle. As of December 26th I've started a "detox" diet. No messing around until January 1st. I felt it was imperative to get started right away. This is different from any detoxing or cleansing I've done before though. No juice fasting, smoothie/raw soup dieting, or fruit cleansing for me this time. I'm back to a cacao-free diet... and I'm going full blast by cutting out all sweeteners too!

I see my daily blogging commitment as a way to stay accountable to my new plan. What exactly is the plan? I'll map it all out in detail on the new blog. My food plan, recipes, my emotional and physical reactions to going without my beloved cacao/sugar, how I am ensuring my success, other modalities I am using to heal, and what I've been through since my last post which detailed my progress. Stay tuned. The blog will be up shortly.

Here's my lake, covered in snow and ice, taken by my mom on a day when the fog came in.