Thursday, September 20, 2012

Raw Foods Recipes Part 3: Super Simple

These recipes only take minutes to prepare and my kids have really liked them.

Cut cucumber with a mandoline or slice into wide, thin strips with a knife

Options for filling:
Apple slices
Kiwi slices
Other fruit

Cut fruit into small strips and put inside the cucumber.  Roll up!

I don't have a mandoline, so I tried cutting the cucumber into the right size strip with a knife.  It was too thick to roll up, so I cut them into rectangle size little "plates" for the other ingredients to sit on.

I found this recipe in the book The Raw Gourmet:

Fruits, Veges and Dip

Apples, bananas, celery, carrots or anything else you want to dip.

Fruit Dip

1 banana
½ avocado
½ cup raspberries
4 strawberries

Combine in blender.

Can also use extra strawberries in place of raspberries.

    1 cup zucchini noodles, from about 1/2 zucchini, spiralized
    1/2 cup diced tomato
    1/2 cup diced avocado, peeled and seeded
    1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/8 teaspoon rosemary, dry
    1/4 teaspoon oregano, dry
    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

The kids didn't like the herbs, so I left those out for them.  They then declared this "the best salad ever that we should have for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day!" 


Raw Foods Recipes Part 2: Lunch and Dinner

These are some of the recipes I've really been enjoying for lunches and dinners:

California Rolls

2 sheets nori
2 c alfalfa or clover sprouts
1/4 cucumber, peeled, seeded & cut lengthwise into thin strips
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 c peeled & shredded carrot or carrot ribbons
1/4 red pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
tamari for dipping (optional)

I've also liked my mom's nori rolls which had:

Purple onion
Asparagus (slightly cooked) 

 The rice is optional.  It helps them stick together and is filling and makes it cheaper, but of course is cooked so not suitable if you're trying for 100% raw.

A really simple nori roll recipe is just avocado and sprouts.  I think I used buckwheat, lentil, and quinoa sprouts, but you could do any kind.

Today I had this delicious Kale Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing, except I left a few things out of the dressing, like the curry, so it ended up like this:

Kale Slaw with Almond Dressing

1 apple cored and julienned, tossed in 1 tsp lemon juice
2 ½- 3 cups julienned kale, stems discarded
1 ½ cups grated carrot
1 cup very thinly sliced or julienned fennel (optional)
¼ cup cranberries or raisins

Creamy Almond Dressing

½ cup raw almonds
2 ½ tbsps apple cider vinegar
2 tbsps maple syrup, agave or honey
2/3 cup water
¼ tsp minced garlic
¼ tsp ginger
½ tsp mustard
½ tsp sea salt

Blend until smooth.  Pour over salad.

Garnish with 2-4 tbsps chopped or sliced almonds

This Lasagna is great as well:


2 c spinach
1/2 c marinara
1/2 zucchini
1/2 avocado, mashed

Finely chop spinach. Thinly slice zucchini lengthwise (best if you use a mandoline.)

Layer sauce, zucchini, sauce, avocado, spinach. Repeat. Eat.

In a food processor, blend:
1/2 c tomato
1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, soaked
1/2 red bell pepper
1 T fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 t garlic
1/4+ t salt
dash cayenne

This "taco salad" recipe is a combination of two recipes.  Part of it is from Ani Phyo's Baja Fresh Taco Boats and the other part is from Happy Foody's Walnut Meat Taco Salad. 

Walnut or Almond “Meat” Taco Salad

Walnut or Almond “Meat”
1/2 cup almonds (you can also substitute pecans or any other nut)
1/2 cup walnuts  (can use all almonds)
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 t sea salt
1 t nama shoyu or soy sauce
Process almond and walnuts and put aside in a bowl. Add other ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge.


4 tomatoes, chopped
2 scallions
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 cup cilantro
1 T cider vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T lime juice
1 t cumin
1 t sea salt
Jalapeno to taste
Pulse blend in food processor to blend (I like to leave large chunks of tomato in and add separately). Let sit for an hour in fridge so the flavors can blend.

2 avocados
1 tomato
1/4 cup onion or green onions
1/4 cup cilantro
Sea salt to taste
Pinch of Cayenne
Food process until desired consistency.

Cashew Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups soaked cashews (soak 8 hours and rinse)
1/2 t salt
2 T lemon juice
Approx. 3/4 cup fresh water
Blend in blender until smooth. Add more lemon juice or salt to taste. I like to put this in a squirt bottle and squirt it on top of the taco or other wraps. It looks pretty :)

    OR Cilantro Cashew Cheeze

    1 1/2 teaspoon garlic
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup cashews
    2 Tablespoons lemon juice, fresh, from about 1 lemon
    1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
    1/4 cup water, as needed

     To make cheeze, process garlic and salt into small pieces. Add cashews, juice, cilantro, and only enough water to process into a thick cream texture.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Raw Foods Recipes Part 1: Smoothies

Beginning in August, I started eating a primarily raw foods diet again.  I've done this before and always feel great when I do, but then I slowly get back into old habits and before I know it, I'm only eating fruit for snacks and veges on the side with dinner.  I didn't make any commitments, I just did it and was thrilled to continue after August was over.  It was MUCH easier this time to start.  I was familiar with the whole idea and the basic recipes already.  My husband is away fighting fires, so I didn't have to worry about eating different meals than him or what he might like.  I've gotten in the habit of making meal plans and shopping sales, so it was just a matter of switching it to raw meals.  I've been feeling really good and wondering why on earth I ever stopped eating this way!

Here are some of the recipes I've been enjoying.

For breakfast, I've mostly been drinking smoothies.

If you scroll down on this post from We Like It Raw, you'll find recipes for a Berry BlissTastic Smoothie and a Giddy and Green Smoothie.  Both are delicious!  I modified them a little- I use dates instead of figs in both and no sesame seeds on the Berry BlissTastic Smoothie.   

This recipe from The Rawtarian for an Orange Smoothie inspired me to make something similar: 

2 bananas
2 oranges
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Blend.  Enjoy!  It tastes just like those orange creamsicle icecreams.

Another good one is the Spinach Mango Smoothie:

2 bananas
1 mango
handful of spinach
enough water to give it the consistency you desire


This Sweet Kiwi Green Smoothie and this Zesty Raw Vegan Grape Parsley Lemonade Smoothie from Healthy Blender Recipes are delicious as well!

Last but not least are these chocolate milkshake type smoothies that will make all thoughts of chalky vending machine chocolate run from your mind screaming.  This Chocolate Mint Smoothie from Girl Gone Green is heaven in a glass and inspired me to start growing my own mint!  

This evening I invented my own chocolate smoothie that I had for dinner:

Chocolate Blueberry Smoothie

2 bananas
½ cup blueberries
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cups cashews
1 ½ cups water

I'll post lunch and dinner recipes soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Brushing Teeth

In the post Hair Brushing Is a Safety Issue, blogger Dulce de Leche talks about how a child knowing that their body boundaries are respected is more important than brushed hair.  I feel the same way about brushing teeth, though the consequences of unbrushed teeth are bit worse than unbrushed hair.  So I've found various ways over the years to keep tooth brushing interesting, fun and to get it done.

1.  The bacteria in their mouth screams "NO!  NO!  Don't brush me!" and you say "I'm going to get you!  Leave my child's mouth you yucky germs!  Out!  Out!"

Making brushing teeth fun usually gets the job done.  While the child is more focused on your silly voices and the idea that the germs in their mouth are talking while Super Hero Mom vanquishes them, you can do a quick job of actually destroying the buggers.

2.  Let them do it as much as they are able. 

As soon as they start grabbing for the tooth brush, I start letting them brush their own teeth when they want to.  I direct sometimes or do a quick job after they are done, but at least they get the satisfaction of trying to do it themselves.

3.  This one or that one, this kind or that kind.  Choices!

Have multiple tooth brushes and different kinds of toothpaste, xylitol and other options around.  You don't even have to use a toothbrush!  Try a soft cloth, your finger or even just mouthwash.  Make the choices more about how to get it done, then whether or not to get it done.

4.  Rock the baby to sleep while brushing.  Seriously!

My 6 year old and 4 year old have had the most fun lately pretending to be a baby while I brush their teeth and hair.  I sing them a lullaby while they lay on my lap and close their eyes, and I gently, slowly brush away.

5.  Make it about taking good care of our bodies.

It's not a power struggle.  It's not about obedience or compliance.  It's about giving them the skills to care for their own bodies and those skills take time to learn.  Maybe that's one reason their baby teeth fall out and they don't start getting permanent teeth until 6 or so.  By that age, they are a bit more capable of understanding the reasons to take care of them. 

6. Provide information.

I've told my kids that other people don't want to smell their stinky breath.  Don't do this in a shaming way, it's just information, but it can be useful information to know!

7. Be patient.  The teeth don't need to get brushed RIGHT NOW.  

It's really not going to make a difference if their teeth get brushed at 8 am or at noon right as you're leaving the house to go somewhere.  It doesn't matter if they get brushed right after dinner or as they are climbing into bed.

8.  Location, location, location.

Teeth don't have to be brushed in the bathroom!  Use the kitchen sink or do it in the shower. Or take a cup of water and a bowl to spit in and do it in front of the tv, in bed, outside or wherever they happen to be.

9. Don't stress!  They are probably going to get cavities anyway. 

Or not.  But I'm starting to think it has more to do with genetics, diet and dumb luck than brushing.  Some of the people I know with the healthiest teeth have the worst personal hygiene habits and some of the people I know who've had cavities have brushed regularly their whole lives.  Using all these tips and tools I just shared, my kids have all brushed their teeth consistently once a day and usually twice a day their whole lives.  All three have had/ will have dental surgery.  My 20 month old LOVES to have her teeth brushed.  She went through a period where she would stand outside the bathroom door and scream "TEETH!" multiple times a day and she would cry when I stopped brushing her teeth.  She has dental surgery coming up because her teeth are FAR worse than the other kids' were at this age.  

So if it's a question of getting teeth brushed vs. maintaining the trust and boundaries in the relationship, refer to Dulce's hair brushing post above.  

Canning Pears

A few days ago, the girls and I canned pears at my mom's house.  My mom did some canning when I was a kid, but I wasn't interested in learning at the time.  Now that I'm older and have the need to feed my family, I was excited to learn!  The girls enjoyed helping as well.  They peeled pears and spooned them into the jars.  They ate a ton of them too, of course!

E, L, Z and myself canning pears.
The finished product!