Monday, July 30, 2012

Garlic "Bread" and Iced Banana Cream

This post has been long in coming. We moved and I have been unpacking and trying to get started setting my classroom up. Its been really hard to start balancing my life and getting back into work. I also finished Natalia Rose's The Raw Food Detox Diet and today I began reading Raw Food Life Force Energy today. I love the health tips in both books, but I also have some reservations and different ideas about other things. Some day I will write a blog about my beliefs and how I feel that has led me into this diet, but not today. 

I did accomplish one goal. I ate raw for an entire day last week! I was VERY excited and it was not hard. I will do it again soon!

Today I did really well too. Although I did not do an 'all raw' day, it was a healthy day!

I started out with about 20 ounces of water.

A half hour later I had a cup of English Breakfast Tea infused with chocolate and berries.

A little later I had a Cucumber/Apple/Mint/Ginger/ Detox Juice (I added a few leaves of Kale)

Mid afternoon I drank a concoction of Beet Greens/2 small beets/1/2 cup cranberries/4 carrots/ 1/2 inch ginger root/1/4 inch turmeric root mixed with a Chai Kombucha.

A couple hours later I finished the leftovers of a yummy pizza type salad I had made for our family dinner on Saturday afternoon.

And last, but most wonderful, my day culminated in an amazing taste-bud sensation dinner, made with "gasp" vegetables!

I made Flourless Goat Cheese Ravioli  (compliments of The Vegetable Centric Kitchen). Added some parsley to a beet/sweet potato/yellow squash/zucchini pasta with pesto (found in Natalia Rose's books) that was also left over from Saturday. And because the most difficult thing for me to say no to during our Saturday dinner was garlic bread, I created Cheesy Garlic "Bread" Zucchini Style!

Cheesy Garlic "Bread" Zucchini Style

1 monster zucchini (this one is from my mom's garden)
1 Tbls Earth Balance Butter (or butter of choice)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shredded cheese (or not, I almost thought it tasted better without the cheese. But that could have also been due to the fact that I did not use a very good cheese)
Salt and Pepper to taste

  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Cut the Zucchini lengthwise into three pieces.
Lay on a cookie sheet. I sprayed it with grapeseed oil first and the bottoms of the zucchini browned nicely.

Place butter and garlic in a food processor and blend until smooth. (you may need to use more garlic and butter to facilitate blending)
Spread the garlic butter on the zucchinis and sprinkle with cheese if desired. 
Bake on 400 for about 40 min. or until the zucchini is soft and the cheese is almost browned. 
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and enjoy!

We ended our meal with a most amazing dessert. Before I let you in on the secret, I have decided something! When we were kids our mom came up with "Dessert Days". We could only have dessert every other day plus Saturday (because it was a special day) and only during one meal on those days. Well, I think, by the time I have kids I will have this detox diet thing down so I am going to tell my kids that they are allowed to eat dessert EVERY day and  perhaps even for every meal! ;)

Ok, I know it looks like soup, but it's not! It is a most amazing concoction!

Almond Butter Chocolate Chunk Banana Cream

3 frozen bananas
1 6 oz container plain coconut milk yogurt
1/4 - 1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 large Bar Dagoba Dark Chocolate (I used Xocolatl, and it gave the cream a nice punch)
2 dropperfuls vanilla stevia
1 dropperful chocolate stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
scant salt

Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Then you must sit back and slowly, very slowly enjoy this wonderful treat!

We ate our cream with this lovely chocolate cake I made for (again) lunch on Saturday. (I think that The Vegetable Centric Kitchen must be my favorite blog). After I served the bowls I stuck them in the freezer while I finished cleaning the kitchen and the dessert was coldly refreshing in our hot apartment.

Isn't my cake pretty?!

Happy Juicing!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Green Juice and A New Goal!

Well I know I promised this post a couple days ago and I am sorry it has taken so long, I got a little sidetracked. I started reading Natalia Rose's book The Raw Food Detox Diet. I really enjoyed reading it, at first. Then I read the step about proper food combinations and I began feeling really depressed. I realized that I should not be eating some of my favorite combinations, such as sandwiches (bread, cheese, and nuts (for vegan cheeses) should not be mixed. I LOVE sandwiches. And, as a Hispanic, one of my husband's favorite meals is eggs, beans, and tortillas. Also should not be mixed. :(
So I got depressed and got out the leftovers from one of my vegetarian meats made from peanuts (also bad apparently), some provolone cheese, and smothered both in lots of miracle whip (also a favorite). So now that temptation is gone at least. But this is going to be a struggle, right now my goal is to practice making food in proper combinations that will make digestion easier on my body. That is all, not to be 'raw till dinner' or anything else. I'll let you know when I have to stop thinking about how to put things together and it comes more natural. (In the little test Natalia has in her book both my husband and I scored a 2, which is very high raw, but we decided we are not mentally ready for this level. We have been eating at a level 3 for a while so we will continue at this level until I need a new goal.)

Ok, Green Juice! I started juicing about 4 months ago and I HAD to use recipes and there are a gazillion on the internet. I came up with a couple REALLY nasty juices at first, but I have learned better combinations since. This week I made a few really good ones with some interesting ingredients. My mom grows lettuce, chard, cabbage, and other goodies in pots in the backyard and so a lot of these ingredients are from her "pot" garden ;)

 Zucchini Green Limeade

1 large zucchini (from my mom's garden:)
1 stalk broccoli (I eat the florets and save the stalks for juicing)
1 lime (with or without skin
1 Apple
1 handful Swiss Chard
1 handful Parsley

Juice, Pour over ice and enjoy. I like my juices tart sometimes, so you may need to sweeten this with Stevia

Sparkling Cactus Green Juice 

1 large cactus leaf 
2 lemons
1 apple
2 - 4 dropperfuls Stevia
1 bottle sparkling water

Juice the cactus first as it is slimy, then juice the fruits. Pour juice into a blender and add stevia and ice to taste. Pour into glass about 1/3 full. Add 2/3 sparkling water. Enjoy!

My husband told me that he thought this was the best juice I have made so far. 

My next juice includes Kombucha. I honestly still don't really know what this is, but I like it, ALOT. I was going to make Pumpkin Pie Kombucha from The Vegetable Centric Kitchen, but I was going for green juice this week and the Kombucha I naively bought worked out perfectly!

Green Juice Kombucha with Cactus

1 large cactus leaf
1 medium cucumber
1 big handful of parsley
2 handfuls of Swiss Chard
1 Bottle Green Kombucha

Juice all vegetables and place juice in a blender with a little stevia and ice. (The juice by itself is fairly good so if you don't have Kombucha you can still drink the juice). After blending slowly combine with the Kombucha and share with a friend or enjoy alone!

On a side note, look what I found at Natural Grocers today! Really good and raw! But kind of expensive, I won't be buying them often. 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Mail and Cranberries

Guess what I recieved in the mail yesterday!

I am so excited I started reading The Raw Food Detox Diet today, despite how busy I am!

I am going to let you in on how busy my life is right now, it will slow, when I get used to it. I just got a new job teaching preschool! I have been teaching Kindergarten for the past two years so I have a lot of planning and preparing to do! We are moving on Sunday, so I am supposed to be packing right now! And I am starting a Master's degree in Special Education in August. Now this may not seem very busy to some of you, but I will say this again, I am a teacher! That alone takes up most of my time. But I am determined to change my eating habits and find the Life Force Energy which will help me keep up with my adorable 3 and 4 year-olds :)

Tonight's Dinner, Veggie Fajits!
Lately I have been feeling burdened down and tired. And with all this talk on different blogs about cleansing I decided I needed a detox, so I started drinking juice for the first two meals of the day and just eating dinner. I was planning on doing a juice fast tomorrow and Thursday, but I am going to put this on hold. After beginning Natalia Rose's book I realized how much unhealthful foods I still have in my house and I decided that if I do not get them out of the house before I detox with a juice fast that the fast will end up being pointless. So I am going to continue juicing during the day and eat dinner until the unhealthful foods are gone and then I will do a juice fast, somewhere between 3 and 8 days, I haven't decided how long yet. 

So I guess today I am going to share with you a juice that has become one of my favs! 

First off, I swear by cranberry juice! I don't know if other women suffer from the same problem I do, but cranberries virtually eliminate the problem. After I started juicing I gave up my cranberry supplements and replaced them with a half cup of cranberries (juiced or blended) a day. The cranberries (I get mine frozen at Natural Grocers and let them thaw for a while before I use them, but when I can get them fresh I will!) go well with any carrot or beet juice. But I found a recipe I just had to try on The Vegetable Centric Kitchen  and I just made it my own.

Healing Cranberry Green Juice

1 Handful of Green (your choice, I usually use spinach or lettuce)
1/2 cup Cranberries
Fresh Coconut Water (absolutely love!)
2 cubes of frozen wheatgrass
Stevia or Chocolate Stevia to taste (I use 1-2 dropperfuls)

Directions: Put greens in your juicer and before you push them through the chute poor cranberries on top, this prevents the cranberries from jumping out at you if you have the same type of juicer I do (Breville). I always pull out the pulp and put it through the juicer again then run water down to get all the remaining juice dislodged (I don't like to waste anything). Pour into a glass, pop out the wheatgrass cubes and add to juice. Fill the glass full with Coconut Water and add Stevia. If I want something even more chocolaty I add about a tablespoon of cocoa powder! I will be adding variations of this drink periodically.

Tomorrow I will be talking a little about green juices that I enjoy! 
Until then, HAPPY JUICING!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stuffed Breakfast Mushrooms and Healthy Carob Cream

 This week I have been really good at my veggie intake for dinner and I have really been enjoying it. One problem I had tonight was not feeling fully satisfied even though I ate and amazing dinner.

Our dinner included a really yummy salad made with broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes (from my plants) cucumbers, flax seeds, and carrot pulp. I mixed the salad with the rest of my miso/honey/mustard dressing and set it on a bed of sprouts. Then I topped it off with half an avocado.

I was looking around on the internet and I really wanted to make Healthy Spring Rolls from but I didn't have the ingredients for the almond sauce (which sounds amazing and I will eventually be making). So I thought about what I had in my house and what I needed to get rid of and this is what I came up with. 

Stuffed Breakfast Mushrooms

6 baby bella mushrooms
1 Tbls grapeseed oil
1/2 cup prepared polenta (I made mine a few days ago and it has been solidifying in my fridge.
1/4 package soyrizo
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
small handful of fresh basil, oregano, and thyme (I picked these from my pots they could all fit in my hand and I chopped them pretty fine.)
salt to taste

Directions: Pull the stems out of the mushrooms and spray the heads with coconut oil. Set on a baking pan. Warm the grapeseed oil in a pan on medium heat and add polenta and soyrizo. When the polenta begins to stick to the pan add the tomatoes and spices. Stir until spices are wilted and turn off heat. Spoon mixture into mushrooms and bake at about 400 for about 10 to 15 min. I had a little extra of the mixture left over and a red pepper I acquired in one of my dollar bags at Natural Grocers (not one of my favs) so I spooned the rest of the mixture into the pepper, topped it off with some cheese and stuck it in the oven for my husband. I think I cooked the pepper for around 30 min. 

Ok so really yummy meal and I was still hungry. But one thing I have learned is--If it is healthy go for it! So I whipped up my own version of Avocado, Chocolate, and Sweet Potato Pudding from Basically I didn't want to cook the sweet potato and I wanted something cold so this is what I came up with. 

Healthy Carob Cream

1 avocado
1 1/2 frozen bananas
2 medjool dates
2 Tbls carob powder
a pinch of salt

Blend up and enjoy! I topped ours with cinnamon and cacao nibs. 

Ahhh Satisfaction!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mexico and Veggie Juice

Recently my husband and I celebrated our 5th year anniversary. We were able to spend seven wonderful days at a resort in Playa del Carmen, just a ferry ride away from Cozumel where we spent our honeymoon. We even got a picture in the same place we did on our honeymoon. It was a lot of fun!

When we left for mexico I had only been in this lifestyle for about a month and I finished an amazing eight day juice fast the week before-so when we got to Mexico we decided to try to keep our diet as much as we possibly could.

We were blessed to be at a resort with lots of different restaurants and choices for food. We were able to skip the, I'm sure, amazing breakfast buffet and eat-what do you know-Veggie Juice! There was a juice bar in the fitness center and we visited this yummy cafe every morning. Our favorite juice became the Pineapple, Cactus, Parsley, blended with orange juice. When I make this juice at home, I juice everything except the pineapple and then blend it all together. (If you want to try this yummy juice make sure you blend it otherwise the cactus will make the juice really thick and slimy)

We weren't as lucky when it came to food, but we ate a lot less than we thought we would. One of the dishes that we loved turned out to be Ceviche, which is essentially raw fish in spices which you eat on crackers or chips. There happened to be a salmon version that was AMAZING. Now I am usually a vegetarian, except when it comes to sushi and raw salmon-that is the only fish I really like. If I could make this dish at home I would probably make some sweet potato chips to eat with it. 

There are a few recipes that I came away from this trip wanting to make. Most are drinks and one is a raw version of an amazing soup. Here is one idea that I came up with after this trip-it is very sweet so you may want to use it for a dessert. I made it for my husband for breakfast on the fourth of July.

Well I tried to do the half and half thing, but it didn't work so this is what the drink turned into. 

Stuffed Coconut Green Mango Smoothie

Kiwi Coconut Smoothie (the white one)

3 Kiwis
4 frozen bananas
3 cups coconut milk (I used homemade)
Juice of one lime

Blend and pour into glasses

Green Mango Smoothie

4 small mangoes
4 handfuls of ice
1 large handful of spinach
3 tablespoons flaxseed (I grind mine in a coffee grinder because I don't have the most amazing blender in the world.

Blend and carefully pour on top of the Kiwi Coconut Smoothie, Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Little More About Me and My Cooking

Before I get into the recipe (or two) I want to share there is a little bit about me that I cannot help but share. I am a bird person. I didn't used to be, but now I am, I LOVE birds. And bird people are a little weird so I cannot help sharing about my babies (there will probably eventually be videos).

How did I become a bird person? Well when I was in grade school the sweetest, most beautiful cockateil landed in our yard. He bonded with me and became mine. Then ten years later I saved a "poor little" dachshund who was running around in the middle of the street (I save everything, yesterday I saved a worm which was struggling for life). We took him home because the animal shelter said they would euthanize him if the owner didn't show up and they decided he was too old to be adopted. Well he wasn't in our house for a half hour when he killed my baby. I watched him die in my arms and buried him. Then I because absolutely obsessed with birds and visited Petco everyday to get my bird fix-thus was born the bird person.



 So my wonderful husband surprised me about a week later with a beautiful bird I had been eyeing at the store. He bought Oscar for 50% off because no one else wanted him and he was mean! But he is the sweetest bird now, and will not let me go anywhere without him. I bring him to school with me everyday and both he and the kids love it! Oscar has the biggest personality I have ever seen in a bird-he is a beautiful 5 year old, blue Indian Ringneck Parakeet (perfect for my India obsession because they are all over in southern India) We have now had him for 4 years. 


We said no more birds, then last year One of the moms of one of my cutest kindergarteners told me she had to get rid of her 15 year old African Grey and she wanted me to take him. I said "I can't". But I really wanted an African Grey, so we inherited this sweet, smart bird. His name is Taz and he is so sweet, my big baby!

Ok, now that I got that out on to recipes, I am the kind of cook who will decide on a recipe to make and completely change it to what I think will make it better. So I thought I would give you an example of my cooking. I made this recipe for our Young Adult Sabbath School class so it is not the most healthy recipe in the world, but if you are vegan, gluten free, and like to eat bread this recipe is for you. (I am also trying to clean my house of flour so I may post a couple recipes which include flour).

Strawberry Rhubarb (Pulp) Muffins

I originally found this recipe at I had strawberry rhubarb pulp from a juice I had made (I am trying to perfect strawberry rhubarb pie juice because I love strawberry rhubarb pie. If I ever do I will post the recipe) and wanted to use it in my muffins so I found a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb muffins. 

First thing I changed was the strawberries and rhubarb, I did not put any in the recipe instead I put about a cup of the pulp in plus about 2 cups of a carrot pulp mixture (putting carrot pulp into gluten free muffins makes them nice and fluffy). 

I didn't have any milk so I made my own almond milk (1 cup almonds to 4 cups water - soaked, blended, honey added, and squeezed through a cheese clothe) and one cup of that went in. 

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil

Then I stared at that 1/3 cup of sugar and decided if I was going to eat these muffins I just couldn't do it so in went a little less than a third of a cup of Now Xylotol Plus. Instead of the brown sugar I used sucanat and I substituted coconut oil instead of the canola oil. 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups finely diced fresh rhubarb
1 cup chopped strawberries

Of course I didn't have strawberries or rhubarb (the muffins would have been very good if I had) so in went the three cups of pulp. 

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour

Someone in our group has a gluten intolerance so of course there was none of this flour involved. My uncle has Celiac's so my Grandma (who is an AMAZING cook) came up with a flour mixture which is just about perfect- 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour - put into a ziplock bag a shaken up. You also have to add 1/2 tablespoon of xanthum gum to the recipe for each cup of this mixture you use. 
Guess what, I had no brown rice flour so I substituted 1 cup sorghum flour and 1 cup oat flour (both certified gluten free) and it turned out nicely. 

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt

I looked at the pile of ingredients and said, "what! no cinnamon! this cannot be!" and in went 1/2 teaspoon (or more) of cinnamon. 
Then I mixed everything up and didn't like the look of the consistency so in went about 1/2 cup more of almond milk about a 1/2 teaspoon more of cardamom and cinnamon. Then I decided it was good. 

Ok, so I have a muffin maker and I love it! (I love cooking for people, its way too much fun!)

On top I sprinkled Gluten Free Oats, sucanat, and (can you guess?) cinnamon. 

And VIOLA! Yummy, Gluten Free, Vegan, Healthy Muffins! 

And a great way to use pulp from your juices (on a side note the muffins are not really that pink-that is a combination of bad lighting, my bad picture taking skill, and my husband not seeing the pics before I posted them)

Ok, one more thing, I have to post my lunch today a great salad (I don't use recipes for salads and I rarely make the same salad twice) 

Sweet Miso Salad

1 Handful lettuce (your choice)

2 handfuls sprouts (depending on how far you can get your hand into your sprouting jar)

5 - 6 Cherry tomatoes or yellow pear tomatoes (I used both, fresh from my tomato plants)

1/2 parsnip
1 medium radish (both graded through my Salad Shooter)

1/2 cup sliced beets

1/4 cup mushrooms (I will post a picture because I don't know what type they are, I was convinced to buy them at the farmers market and they are yummy)

About 1/4 cup shredded Gjetost cheese (this is a sweet goat cheese, used it because the dressing I was going to use was sweet.

Flax seed sprinkeled to taste

The dressing I used was a recipe I found on the top of my Cold Mountain Light Yellow Miso.

4 1/2 Tbsp miso
4 1/2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp rice or wine vinegar (I used white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp mustard 
Combine and mix well (I used a fork to stir)

Eat Up!

 The mushrooms really are this color, and they are yummy.

Tomorrow I will post a yummy shake recipe that I am soo excited about. Till tomorrow,