real raw kitchen: September 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

RECIPE: spicy tomato and herb sauce, cooked

This post is about spicy tomato and herb sauce and self-love. It's related, I swear.

My soul sister and I were talking today about what it means to love yourself. She asked me how the hell we are supposed to "love" ourselves, as if there is a switch hidden somewhere deep within that we are supposed to flick on. I made a "pfff" sound with my lips and said, "girl, I don't even know but apparently that's my number one priority these days."

So we sat in her spacious office and looked at each, almost on the verge of tears, as we realized we didn't know where the fuck to begin. (You see, this is why I called her my "soul sister" in the beginning of the post; we go from zero-to-soul in a matter of seconds).

Then, as if a little buoy deep in my brain were spotted, bobbing up and down in my more horrific memories from this year, I remembered an article I read talking about this very task. So many of us get caught up on "loving ourselves" as if we could feel the emotion in every moment when in fact, we must first love ourselves in every action, as in a verb form.

Be loving toward ourselves. Show ourselves love. Treat ourselves with love.

I remember liking the article because it felt like something I could actually do. I cannot promise to like who I am (even though I do recognize I have some pretty spectacular qualities) but I CAN promise to practice love toward myself.

Now, how am I practicing self-love? I'm making every moment of my day the most special moment I can. I don't just wake up in the morning; I spend time indulging in some stretches, sipping my coffee slowly at the kitchen table, wearing a face mask and carefully picking an outfit that makes me feel damn hot. I make every meal a special one; carefully planned based on what will feed my body, feed my creativity, and obviously taste good. I spend more time doing things that are just good for me, body, mind and soul.

You know what else this includes? Amazing meals made from scratch, carefully, slowly, beautifully. This is one such meal. It wasn't meant to be a recipe here but as I was making it I was just so excited at how beautiful everything was. I ran to grab my camera and just began snapping pics out of sheer joy in the moment. And just like that, a beautiful, romantic meal was born.

Spicy Tomato and Herb Sauce, cooked

for the sauce:
  • 4-5 tomatos, de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T dried basil, oregano and rosemary
  • 1/2 - 1 t chili flakes, depending on your love of spicy-ness (I LOVE it)
  • sea salt and pepper as desired
  • 1-2 T vegetable stock, as needed (water works as well)
for the pasta:
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta

  • Drizzle the olive oil in your skillet. I love my cast iron skillet. Heat on medium heat.
  • Chop 3 cloves of garlic and add to skillet. Add the remaining whole garlic cloves. Sauté for a couple minutes.
  • Add the herbs, chili flakes, and salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.
  • Add the chopped tomatos and cook down until they are soft and the water has cooked off, about 10 minutes. It is important not to include the seeds; I remove the seeds by cutting the tomatos in half and using a spoon to scoop out the insides.
  • Begin boiling your water.
  • Next add the red bell pepper and stir. Cook for 5-10 minutes until they soften.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. You can add more depending on how saucey you want your sauce.
  • Let cook for 5-10 minutes like this. This is where I added the vegetable stock to prevent the sauce from drying out. I then let it cook for another 10 minutes while the pasta cooked.
  • Add your dry pasta to the boiled water and cook according to instructions (usually 5-7 minutes).
  • Add the spinach to the sauce and stir. It should wilt down in about 5 minutes.
  • Drain your pasta and immediately add to the sauce. Mix well and let everything cook together for a couple minutes.
  • Dump into your dish(es) and eat!
I ate all of this by myself. I know, I'm a beast. I'm not even sad about it.

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Friday, September 26, 2014

RECIPE: healing turmeric smoothie

Since I started eating raw foods, and particularly when I went all raw for awhile, I stopped getting sick. At first I thought nothing of it, assuming that I simply had a stellar immune system, but then as the years passed I realized that I had a spectacular record that coincidentally matched up with my raw food lifestyle. I used my diet and lifestyle as a sort of shield, holding complete faith in it whenever I encountered sick people. For the most part, it worked well.

Then as I adjusted my diet to include more cooked food (and admittedly, less healthy food altogether) I was able to watch my body transform into a different, slower, achier machine. And a sicker machine, as well. 

There are many reasons why I started incorporating cooked foods into my diet, some of which include animal products, but none of those reasons were to increase my physical health. It was moreso to gain weight against my low appetite (which worked a little too well, if you ask me) and now that my weight is back up and I'm feeling a little tingle in my throat I couldn't help but freak out a little bit and revert right back into my raw food lifestyle.

First things first: this healing turmeric smoothie. 

Why is it healing?

  • Turmeric is a potent (and natural) anti-inflammatory. Think: arthritis, skin inflammation, bowel issues, etc.
  • Turmeric is loaded with curcumin (which gives it that vibrant, beautiful color). Curcumin has noted benefits in fighting cancer and disease, which is essentially an inflammation problem in the body.
  • Turmeric also helps with blood sugar levels as it supports proper liver function and boosts the efficacy of insulin receptors.

So I put together something that would be filling and creamy and also packed with the good ole' benefits of turmeric. I tapped away on my keyboard, asking the Internet whether turmeric was best with orange juice or coconut milk (I've tried the oj-turmeric combo before and wanted something new).  I first found this recipe by Green Kitchen Stories and thought it sounded so delicious (subbing the yogurt with coconut milk).

After flipping through their recipes a bit more, however, I discovered their Ginger & Turmeric Honey Bomb and I have to tell you: I will be making this later this evening. 

Healing Turmeric Smoothie

for the smoothie:

for the soup:
  • Combine everything in a high speed blender and blender until smooth.
  • Dust with more turmeric.
How easy is that?! Yup. I like simple. 

For the more unique ingredients, here is what I used:

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

RECIPE: vegan enchiladas and Oh She Glows

There really is something to be said about food as a healing agent. Really. The entire process of finding a recipe that seems as if the very words on the page may comfort my inner being down to the chopping, stirring, sprinkling, waiting .. and then, then, the eating. Oh yeah. Food can be healing.

This recipe was one of those recipes. I was thumbing through the pages of the Oh She Glows Cookbook and this recipe just made me melt. I've made it before from the post on the Oh She Glows blog and when I saw it again in the cookbook I immediately felt this flood of nostalgia, like I had just seen a high school yearbook picture of a long lost friend.

Photo credit goes to Angela Liddon, the author of Oh She Glows

I had fully intended on snapping some beautiful pictures of the dish once I pulled it out of the oven but my enchiladas did NOT look like this. They were drenched in sauce and overflowing with the sweet potato and black bean mixture. As a budding food photographer my heart ached a little, but as an enormous foodie I was beyond excited at the burst of flavors awaiting me on my very messy plate.

And let me just take a moment to rave about this cookbook. I love it for so many reasons--homegirl developed it and shot her own pictures and then put out a stellar book--but my favorite reason is that it is packed full of comfort foods that are easy AND good for you. A lot of vegan cookbooks, especially of the raw vegan variety, offer delicious recipes but many of them are tricky and possibly unhealthy. 

This is one of my favorite blogger--turned-cookbook author stories and books. (And if you're wondering, I paid for the book myself so this is NOT advertisement .. I really just love it that much!)

I have a weird habit of sticking post its in books that I'm reading when I come across something interesting, a new word I want to look up in the dictionary, or a thought I want to share with a colleague or friend. The same goes for cookbooks. This cookbook has little tabs sticking out on almost every single page, to the point of absurdity, where the post its really don't even offer any help in recipe selection, anyway!

And you want the recipe, right?

Head on over here to get it from the goddess, herself. And wish her a happy motherhood as she's a new mommy :)

Or you can buy the entire book for yourself here.

Love you all, talk soon

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Monday, September 22, 2014

RECIPE: african peanut soup

A magnificent impromptu dish came out of this .. I was starving and randomly saw this recipe online while I was trying (once again) to understand Wordpress. I saw the image and immediately became distracted from whatever DIY tutorial I was trying to understand and began rummaging in my kitchen to create this dish. Needless to say, it was a success.

It was the perfect ending to a pretty perfect day. I just HAVE to share because the photos are spectacular ..

On this (almost) perfect day I woke up and lugged my paddleboard to the beach and spent a couple hours paddling up and down the beach line, watching the surfers catch the rare waves and staring at the jellyfish around me. I stuck my camera into the water and started taking random pictures hoping that at least one would turn out okay. And do you know what I got?

Isn't nature just magnificent??

Then, of course, I snapped a selfie (where I'm ironically wearing a hat for Frasher Farms Duck Club, the Duck Club that provides enviable hunting every duck season .. it's my dad's, what?):

I walked myself and my board back to my home and cleaned myself up, cleaned the house up and then made an enormous papaya smoothie (sorry no pic of THAT). I rode my skateboard to the grocery store, got groceries, rode home and got some work stuff done. 

Then I made this amazing soup, seeking some serious comfort after being exhausted from all the sun and heat today. I slurped it up and then my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to skate around at the beach with her. Of course, I said yes. 

Of course, I fell and got hurt.

So. Today was magnificent. Sun. Salt. Skate. Paddleboard. And a possibly broken arm (it's swollen and I can't move it and I kind of can't stop crying .. but I am also kind of a baby). 

And today also included this delicious dish that really was just supposed to be something quick I whipped up. Take a look and do yourself a favor and make it for yourself.

African Peanut Soup
adapted from Hurry The Food Up

for the soup:
  • 2 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • A small handful of peanuts
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 t powdered ginger
  • 3-4 T peanut butter
  • 1 T nama shoyu
  • A few dashes sriracha (optional)
for the rice/quinoa/grain:

for the soup:
  • Sautee the garlic, onion and carrots in a small pot with maybe a couple tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the zucchini and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Once they soften, add the tomato paste and ginger powder and mix well. Allow this to cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth and bring to a light boil. Let it all cook together for about 5 more minutes.
  • Add the peanuts and peanut butter. Stir continuously as it thickens. Cook like this for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the nama shoyu and sriracha and stir until incorporated
for the grains:
  • Follow the instructions for your chosen grain and then place the cooked product in a bowl.
  • Pour the soup over and enjoy!

For the more unique ingredients, here is what I used:

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

RECIPE: banana ice cream with rawnola

My main goal with this post is to bring YOU this same bliss I experienced ...  The problem is that many of you may not have a Vitamix. Fear not! There is a neat little gadget that I've seen and I think it's the perfect solution for many of you! If my Vitamix keeps acting funky I may invest in one of these guys. It's a Yonanas machine and you can take any frozen fruit and turn it into ice cream. How cool is that?? Yes, I realize that I become absurdly excited over kitchen gadgets ..

As for this recipe, I think you will love it. I make a large batch of rawnola and store it in the fridge so I can munch on it throughout the week. I'm not particularly creative with this recipe, actually, as I got it from Loni Jane (my idol). It's simple, it's delicious, it's filling, it's low in fat, it's perfect after a beach day .. it's really just everything in one bowl. I like to add fresh fruit to my ice cream, as well, and take my time eating it.

Banana Ice Cream with Rawnola

for the ice cream:
  • 3-4 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (optional)
for the rawnola:
for the ice cream:
  • If using a blender (such as a Vitamix) then add the coconut milk and the frozen bananas and blend on low until a creamy texture forms. Use the tamper to facilitate blending.
  • If using a Yonanas machine then follow the instructions (coconut milk not needed)
for the rawnola:
  • Drain the dates. Peel the skin off (optional) and remove the pits.
  • Combine everything in a food processor and process until chunky.

**disclosure: if you purchase anything I link to you via Amazon I make a small percentage out of it at no cost to you! So cool for me, so cool for you!