Thursday, May 31, 2012

Romantic Dinner For Two


A few nights ago I made raw fajitas for dinner for J and I. I love this meal! I need to make it more often. Mexican flavored marinated veggies in lettuce wraps with sour "cream", fresh salsa, guacamole, and cheddar cheeze sauce. Yumm! If you like mexican and want a filling yet refreshing and light meal then give these a try.

Here's a shot of the ones I made last summer.

Don't be deterred by all the different components in this recipe. Here are my tips and tricks to make it a success. 

* I make a enough servings to feed two people for 2-3 meals each.

* I make a huge batch of fresh salsa to be eaten with raw crackers, or by the spoonful, and in my salads for days to come.

* I love using big romaine lettuce leaves as the wraps. They're super easy to prep. You can use collard greens if you like.

* The other option is to pick and choose different parts of the full recipe if you're short on time. Sometimes I make the cheddar cheeze sauce to drizzle on top... other times I make the sour kream instead.

* If you're low on time use avocado slices instead of making guacamole!

* To make the wraps heartier, add a protein like cooked ground beef (I add it now that I'm not a vegan anymore), or beans, or tempeh crumbles if you eat it.


Raw Fajita Veggies
Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Wellness Weekend

Throw these together just a few hours before eating, or allow the veggies to marinate 8-12 hours. I prefer 12 hours to let the flavors mingle and the veggies to soften. I also like to add a little acidity in the form of apple cider vinegar to the marinade. Make them as spicy or mild as you like - I do best with 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne since I'm a wimp when it comes to spice! 

2 large portobello mushrooms
3 bell peppers, sliced into strips
1 zucchini, sliced into sticks
1 sweet or red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nama shoyu or tamari
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Toss all ingredients together in a big bowl. 
Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 12 hours. 
Optional: dehydrate for a few hours after marinating. 
Serve in romaine lettuce leaves with guacamole, sauces and salsa. 

Sour Kream

This is cool, refreshing, and goes perfectly with the fajitas. I also like to use half apple cider vinegar, half lemon juice. Play around. 

3/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup young coconut pulp
1/2 cup water
1- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon himalayan or sea salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender. 
Chill for a few hours.


Salsa

Sometimes I make it spicy with jalapeno (using only half the seeds), and other times I leave it out. I'm sensitive to spice but a little kick is ok! 

5-6 tomatoes, quartered
1 red bell pepper
1 green pell pepper
1 jalapeno, optional
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
Handful cilantro leaves, chopped

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl. Remember NOT to over process! Keep it chunky.
Pulse the peppers until chopped small. Add to the tomatoes. 
Add seasonings and cilantro.


Cheddar Sauce

The famous raw cheezy sauce. Great on fajitas and as a veggie/cracker dip. 

1 large red bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons water
1 cup cashews
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Chill. 

There you go! Make dinner for your sweetie, light some candles, and dig in! I hope you'll give them a try.

What's your favorite raw dinner? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Coconut Mango Parfait


I took a quick trip to the city last week and was fortunate enough to get my hands on a few young coconuts in addition to champagne mangoes which I really adore. I can down those gems like they're going outta style! So juicy and sweet.

Don't you love a great mango?!

Besides eating lots of mangoes straight up, I wanted to make something simple and quick with my goodies. I also wanted to keep the flavor of the coconut intact. Coconut whipped cream came to mind right away (I can eat a whole bowl of that stuff), but I didn't have time to wait around for coconut oil to melt, and then wait hours for the the cream to firm up in the fridge. No way! I wanted dessert NOW.


I decided a simple coconut cream was in order: Hack into coconut - drain water - scoop out pulp - add to blender with a little vanilla and stevia - blend. Done! I layered the cream with diced mango, chopped macadamia nuts, and granola. Mmm!


This parfait recipe is a perfect light treat for warm weather and is so easy that you can throw it together in 10 minutes or less (make sure the coconut is chilled in the fridge or chill the cream for half an hour before eating).

If you want a different coconut cream, try one of these recipes:
Coconut whipped cream (with irish moss gel) 
Coconut cream (coconut based)
Coconut cream with macadamias and coconut


Coconut Mango Parfait
Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday , Made from Scratch Monday, Wellness Weekend, Ingredient Challenge Monday

Easy Coconut Cream

1 cup packed young coconut pulp
2/3 - 3/4 cup coconut water*
3-4 drops stevia
8 drops vanilla essence (or pure vanilla extract, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender.
Eat right away or chill for a while.

*Depending on how thick you like it.

Or make a Mango Shake! Blend mango, fresh orange juice, and ice until smooth!


On another coconut note, here's a delicious Lemon Coconut Shake that tastes like lemon yogurt!


Lemon Coconut Shake

1/2 cup coconut water
1/3 cup packed coconut pulp
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 drops lemon stevia, or to taste
1/2-2/3 cup ice cubes

Blend all but the ice until smooth and creamy.
Add the ice and blend again to incorporate.

How do you like to eat mango and coconut? I have more to use up. Would love to hear your ideas!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sweetly Raw Dessert Recipe Index!


In FOUR YEARS of writing this blog, I haven't put together a recipe index. Can you believe it?! The time has come. I've finally created a raw vegan dessert section containing 100 sweet recipes (savory recipe section to come in the future - I realized while putting together the list of sweet stuff that I actually have more savory recipes than I thought).

I hope you'll enjoy being able to easily access the dessert recipes on this bloggie. Putting this page together brought me back to so many tasty desserts I've made over the years.


I thought I'd share three oldies that are perfect for Spring/Summer. It's funny to see my old photos and posts - they sure have come a long way since 2007.

Here's a Strawberry Pineapple Pudding from Spring 2010. 


Strawberry Pineapple 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.

Here's another fun one if you like cereal or granola. Hello healthy oatmeal crunch cereal with a base of almond pulp and use the almond milk for the cereal! See full post HERE. 


Raw Vegan Oatmeal Crunch Cereal

1 cup packed almond pulp
3/4 cup dried shredded coconut
2/3 cup ground oat flour (with regular oats, gluten free oats, or raw oat groats)
1/3 - 1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients together. 
Spread out on teflex sheets and dehydrate at 145F for 2 hours. 
Turn the temperature down to 115F and continue to dry for 8-10 hours (or until dry and crunchy), flipping onto the mesh screen halfway through.

This summery tart was part of a post I did on raw mini cakes I made for a wedding in 2009. Check out full post HERE. 


Mango Raspberry Tart
Crust:
2 cups nuts of choice
3/4 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 melted coconut oil
1-2 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup melted cacao butter
2 cups raspberries

Blend all but the cacao butter, coconut oil, and berries, until smooth and creamy. 
Add the cacao butter/oil and blend 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.
Garnish with the remaining raspberries (and more if needed).

Check out my Sweetly Raw Dessert Recipe page!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Practically Raw Review and Rawtella Winner


I recently received a copy of Practically Raw to review. If you haven't already heard of it, you better hop aboard and order yours today. Practically Raw is a great UNcookbook by fellow blogger Amber Shea Crawley of Almost Vegan. Upon arrival I excitedly went through the book scoping out recipes I wanted to try. I bookmarked many things but settled on four delicious recipes to start with. What recipes have you tried from her book?


Here are some of the great things about Practically Raw:

- Great for a beginner! Amber does a great job at breaking down all the info of the book into a way that someone new to raw food can easily take in.

-There's a wide array of recipes.

-Lots of color photos.

-There are cooked options. Amber encourages people to be flexible when it comes to food prep. You may not have all the required hours to takes to dehydrate, or don't have all ingredients on hand. Instead can easily incorporate some cooked shortcuts. That's a new concept in the world of raw recipe books and something that I think is more realistic for many people instead of trying to be perfectly raw and getting overwhelmed which can turn to eating easy junk foods.

-Great intro explaining equipment, ingredients, tools, etc.

-Substitutions and variations for every recipe. Don't have a particular nut on hand? No problemo. Use what you DO have!

-The recipes are easy and many are quick to prepare.

Since J and I have been kale chip monsters lately, I settled on making the pizza kale chips, nacho kale chips, and mediterranean flax crackers first....

... Then we sat in front of the dehydrator digging into the chips and soon as they were finished! We munched and crunched and oooh and ahhed.

The verdict on our favourite? The pizza kale chips win the prize. Crunchy, flavorful - they taste exactly like PIZZA!!! We love the other chips and crackers too.


Pizza Kale Chips
From Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make by Amber Shea Crawley, (c) 2012. Used with permission.


  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 2 to 4 hours and drained
  • 1/4 cup hempseeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped (6 to 8 cups)
Combine all ingredients except the kale in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth, adding a splash of water if needed to blend.
In a large bowl, combine the kale and the pizza sauce. Use your hands to massage the sauce all over the kale, making sure it’s coated completely.
Make It Raw: Arrange the kale in a single layer on a Teflex-lined dehydrator tray. Dehydrate for 8 hours or overnight, until crisp.
Make It Baked: Preheat the oven to 300°F and grease a baking sheet with coconut oil. Arrange the kale in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a fork or spatula to carefully flip the kale chips over (it’s ok if you miss a few). Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, watching carefully to make sure the kale doesn’t burn, then remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Substitutions:
Hempseeds: additional sunflower seeds or cashews
Red bell pepper: 1 medium ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and chopped
Mediterranean Flax Crackers - they don't look like much (flax crax never do!), but the flax is spectacular and flax crackers are always good when you want a crunch. I made a simple tomato, bell pepper, and jalapeno salsa to go with them.



After those goodies, I made the Peaches N Creamsicle Smoothie. Feeling inspired from Amber's recommendation to try variations, I used apricots instead of peaches since I had a big bag of them and omitted the dates in favor of a few drops of stevia. So delicious!


Congratulations to Rawtella winner, Molly! Her answer: "I definitely want to try the Coffee Rawtella. Even though I'm trying to be high raw, coffee is the one thing I don't want to give up." 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Raw Lemon Berry Swirl Cheesecake


Happy Mothers Day to all the mommys out there! I hope you're being pampered today. My mom is traveling so unfortunately I won't be celebrating with her.

Instead I hiked up the little mountain (if it can be called that) in town with J. Have to walk the train tracks that sit over the lake to the that path that leads up the mountain.


Here we are halfway up, last October. 

Yesterday I made this tasty mini raw lemon berry swirl cheesecake (HERE and HERE) with leftovers from an order for a larger 12" cake. I've been making this cake for years but this is my first time posting the recipe. It's delish! Sweet, lemony, and perfect for the warm weather.


Lemon Berry Swirl Cheesecake
Makes one 12" cheesecake

Crust

1 1/2 cups almonds
2/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Grind the almonds into a flour in a food processor.
Add the raisins and continue grinding until broken down.
Add the coconut and vanilla. Grind again to incorporate.
Add another 1/2 - 1 teaspoon water if needed to keep the mixture held together when pressed in your hand.
Press evenly into the bottom of a 12" spring form pan.

Filling

3 cups cashews
3/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup agave or other liquid sweetener
Pinch of salt
Lemon zest (from all juiced lemons)
1 cup melted coconut oil
4 cups mixed berries

Blend all except the oil and berries in a high speed blender (may need the tamper).
Add 2/3 cup of the coconut oil and blend again until completely smooth.
Transfer 1/2 - 2/3 cup of the mixture to a small bowl.
Add all the berries and the remaining coconut oil (1/3 cup) back to the mixture in the blender and blend until smooth.
Pour the filling evenly over the crust.
Pour blobs of the lemon cream on top.
Using a chopstick, push each blob down into the berry filling before swirling it into the berry cream on the surface.
Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Garnish with berries or whatever else your heart desires!


What special things are you doing for your mom today?



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mylk Choccie Shake and Rawtella Giveaway!


I'm sure you've heard of Nutella - rich chocolate hazelnut spread. You might have eaten it as a kid. I used to love the stuff! Now there's a healthy raw vegan version to enjoy. Rawtella is just as rich and delicious as the original but is good for you. When Rawtella first came out I was fortunate enough to sample it right away. I had friends over and we enjoyed it warmed it up in my mini chocolate fondue bowl that sits over a candle. We dipped strawberries, dates, figs, bananas, and nuts into it. Heavenly!


Since then, Rawtella has expanded into five yummy flavors!

It's really versatile. I like it straight off the spoon... and warmed and used as a chocolate sauce... and chocolate fondue... and donut/cake glaze, and added to shakes... 


Mylk Choccie Rawtella Shake
1/3 cup coconut milk*
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons rawtella
Few drops vanilla stevia, to taste
2/3 cups ice cubes

Blend the coconut milk, water, few drops of stevia, and rawtella until smooth. 
Add the ice and blend again. Taste. Add more stevia if needed.

*Blend fresh young coconut water and coconut pulp OR store bought coconut milk. 

Easy donut and cake glaze...

Would you like to win a jar of Rawtella in a flavor of choice?!


The Giveaway

1 Jar of Rawtella in a flavor of your choice!

To Enter

-Leave a comment below, letting me know which flavor of Rawtella you want to win and why you want that flavor (Check out all the flavors HERE).
-Leave your email addy (in previous giveaways people forgot to leave this info and I picked a new winner).
-Become a fan of Sweetly Raw on Facebook!
-Entry deadline: Tuesday May 15, by midnight. 
-This is a random draw. I will email the winner Wednesday, and require a reply with your address within 24 hours (otherwise I choose a new winner).  


Monday, May 7, 2012

Waking Up To Waffles


Do you like waffles? I do - but I haven't eaten them in years. In the past few weeks J and I have been indulging in enjoying waffles. The best part about these waffles, besides tasting great of course, is that they're high in protein, gluten free, grain free - and contain only 4 ingredients. We've eaten these for breaky, brunch, and even for dinner one night.

It's fun to choose different toppings for both waffles and pancakes. A hearty dose of maple syrup is a "must" in my books, and I like to add a little crunch in the form of chopped nuts, dehydrated buckwheat, or cacao nibs. Berries always add a nice juicy texture and yummy flavor too.

What's your favorite topping?


Protein Waffles
Gluten free * Grain Free * Dairy Free * Sugar Free

Introducing healthy, tasty protein waffles. I use whey protein but you can easily make these dairy free using a vegan protein powder. Make sure it's unflavored as I think a flavored/sweetened one would make the waffles too sweet - but then again maybe you won't need to add any maple syrup. I've made them both with and without vanilla and don't notice much of a difference either way. A sprinkle of cinnamon can be added too but I prefer them plain. J likes a sprinkle of cinnamon when he adds syrup.

2 large eggs
1 large spotted banana*
1/3 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup unflavored protein powder of your choice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.
Heat waffle iron and grease it with coconut oil.

*Make sure its a proper brown spotted "baking banana" to maximize on it's natural sweetness.


Tips - The first few times I played with waffles, I didn't oil the maker properly and the batter stuck like glue into it. NOT fun. I realized the oiling is important since there is none in the recipe as in regular waffles. I highly recommend using a brush to get an even coat of coconut oil (tried with olive oil too and that was fine).

This recipe likes a LOW heat setting on the waffle iron. #2 maximum and don't let it get too hot before pouring the batter in.

Wow, sounds like a complicated recipe but I assure you its easy peasy! These protein waffles can be thrown together in just minutes.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kale Chips N Crackers


I put my dehydrator to good use this week. Kale chips, crackers, and sprouted buckwheat were on the list. I like to make periodic batches of these goodies to keep on hand. They make great snacks and the buckwheat is the perfect addition to bars, sprinkled on ice cream, puddings, or in chocolate. 

Even though I prefer sweet things, there's nothing quite like a crunchy, flavorful kale chip. While I've both sampled and made a number of kale chip flavors, the cheesey ones always reign in my books. I never measure when making them. I throw approximate cheddar sauce ingredients into my blender and am good to go. This week I actually wrote down the recipe. If you have never tried them, you must!


Cheesy Crunchy Kale Chips

Cheddar Cheesy Sauce

1 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 large red pepper
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 large clove garlic

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth. 


Kale 

2 large bunches kale
Few sprinkles salt

Stem kale and hand rip large pieces. Set in a bowl. 
Sprinkle a bit of salt over the kale and hand massage to break down the fibers. 
Pour the cheese sauce over top and mix with your hands to make sure all kale is coated. 
Spread on teflex dehydrator sheets. 
Dehydrate for 1 hour at 145F (to get up to temperature and give a boost to drying process - yes, it is still raw). 
Turn down temperature to 115F and continue dehydrating for 10-12 hours until super crunchy. 

J and I have been enjoying these crackers with eggplant dip, and I like them with avocado smashed on top too, or crunched over my salad. They're neutral enough to go with anything!


Crunchy Buckwheat Crackers

3/4 cup soaked buckwheat
1/3 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/4 cup packed, chopped zucchini
3 tablespoons ground yellow flax
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped green onion

Soak the buckwheat and sunflower seeds for 4-6 hours. Rinse well and drain. Measure out amount for recipe. 
Grind all but the water, parsley, onion, and sesame seeds in a food processor until fairly smooth. 
Add the water and sesame seeds. Blend to combine. 
Pulse in the onion and parsley. 
Spread a thin, even layer on a teflex dehydrator sheet. 
Dehydrate at 145F for one hour (with the kale chips). 
Turn down temperature to 115F and continue dehydrating for 10-12 hours, flipping onto mesh screen after 4-6 hours.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gluten Free Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


I'm on a roll with gluten free baking these days. These gluten free, vegan muffins have come in handy for J's work lunches. Easy for him to eat on the run. Make sure the bananas are super ripe - you know, lots of black spots = super sweet! Blueberry muffins are next on my list.


Gluten Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups gluten free flour mix*
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 cup sucanat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk the flour, xanthan, baking soda, and sucanat together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the wet ingredients together.
Fold the dry mixture into the wet.
Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Fill paper lined muffin cups 2/3 way full. Bake for 20-30 minutes - until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

*I used Bob's Mill


These muffins are another baked item that bring me back to my childhood just like the pancakes. My mom occasionally baked delicious various muffins from scratch - banana chocolate chip and blueberry were my faves. Do you have a favourite muffin? 

I was brought back to more childhood fun last weekend to the local provincial park that is set on a beautiful lake. 
We had fun playing on the same playground that I enjoyed as a child. I still have pics of me sitting on this little horsie when I was only 3 years old. Horsie has since been painted - in my old picture it was orange and black.