Our idea of what constitutes "food" in American culture has become so skewed that it is almost unrecognizable. Our supermarkets are packed with products whose ingredients include unpronounceable chemicals, dyes, bacteria, and growth hormones. They are irradiated without our consent and contain GMOs.It's time to bring back FOOD. Pure unadulterated organic RAW food.This blog is a documentation of my continuing journey on a plant-based lifestyle.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Food Montage Part Deux

Sunrise Smoothie:
5 oranges thrown into the Vita Mix

Spicy Miso Ginger Soup:
2 cups warm water blended
with 2 tablespoons miso paste
chunk of ginger
1 clove of garlic
slice of chili pepper
slice of jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon shallot
pinch of cayenne to taste
salt to taste
Add: any other seasonings you
want to make it your own.
Bean Sprouts

Marinated Portobello w/ Pasta Marinara:
1 clove of garlic
2 Tablespoons shallot
juice of 1 lemon
agave to taste
Dehydrate for 2-3 hours at 110 degrees
Slice and on top of zucchini pasta
with your favorite marinara sauce

Pasta Marinara

Cajun Jicama Fries:
Cut and peel jicama to look like fries
in a bowl mix together:
chili powder
garlic powder
salt to taste
cayenne to taste
dash of apple cider vinegar to make
a wet paste
toss jicama in and throw on
the dehydrator for 2-4 hours at 105 degrees

Still so good!
This is a perfect example of EASY raw food. Who says you
need to have a complicated raw food all the time? Just cup up some watermelon and enjoy!

Banana and Apple Chip Chewies:
Cut up apple and toss in agave and cinnmon -- place
on dehydrator
Cut up banana and place on dehydrator
at 110 degrees for 6 hours

Strawberry and Banana Pudding:
In vitamix blend
6 strawberries
1 banana
pinch of green stevia powder
1/2 cup of non-GMO soy lecthin
touch of almond mylk
Garnish w/ more bananas,
strawberries, and coconut flakes

Recipe of the Week: Cheezy Kale Chips!

I absolutely looovee Kale Chips, especially my Cheezy Kale Chips! They immediately take me back to my childhood and the piles of Cheez-itz I used to devour. They are a perfect replacement to conventional potato chips as they offer a subtle crunch, without the unhealthy elements. These chips are actually GOOD FOR YOU! Not to mention, they are an excellent way to get your greens in!
(Chips right before going into the dehydrator.)

2 cups cashew (soaked)

1 red pepper

1 cup grape tomatoes

5 sun dried tomatoes (soaked at least 10 minutes in warm water)

2 heaping Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast

Juice of one lime

Salt to taste


1 bunch of your favorite type of kale

First, wash and dry, and cut up your kale. Dressings and even pates will not stick to wet kale. In a food processor process cashews and sun dried tomatoes removing what sticks to the side until fully blended. Then add in your red pepper and grape tomatoes. Process again until all combined, again removing what sticks to the side. Add in your nutritional yeast and lime. Process again. You should have a creamy and thick pate. Add salt to taste.

(This makes enough pate to massage into at least two bunches of kale. I only used one bunch so I had leftovers.)

Put cut up kale in a large bowl and scoop pate onto the kale. Massage until each leaf is evenly coated. Lay kale out on mesh screens and dehydrate at 11o degrees until chips are crunchy! And then enjoy!

(Finished Product! Crunchy, Cheezy, De-LISH Kale Chips!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I saw this movie over the summer and despite knowing a lot about the horrors of factory farming and GMOs this movie opened my eyes even more. It is absurd that with all the knowledge out there people still eat what Michael Pollan calls "food stuff". (Food stuff is a rather endearing terminology for processed food in that the sum of its parts make up a food item, but it is so loaded with partially hydrogenated oils, GMOs, refined sugars, grains that while it may look like food there really is NO food in it.) Upon going over the site I found these ten helpful tips to living a more Eco-friendly sustainable life. If everyone could just switch over to organics our World would be in much better shape. And, none of this "organics are too expensive" business peeps. I've been raw for the last two years and vegan for four and I was a student the whole time and I made it work. Sure, I couldn't stock my cabinet with tons of super foods and it was awhile before I bought my dehydrator. However, when you get right down to it raw food is about simplicity. It is about fruits and veggies in their whole state and the amazing things you can do with them. Even if you aren't into the raw stage of things and you are still a vegan. Consuming whole foods, even cooked, is much better for you than anything out of a box.

http://www.foodincmovie.com/get-involved.php (Go here to learn more about FOOD Inc. and what you can do to get involved to make this planet better!)
Learn more about these issues and how you can take action on Takepart.com

1.Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages.
You can lose 25 lbs in a year by replacing one 20 oz soda a day with a no calorie beverage (preferably water).

2.Eat at home instead of eating out.
Children consume almost twice (1.8 times) as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home.

3.Support the passage of laws requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus and menu boards.
Half of the leading chain restaurants provide no nutritional information to their customers.

4.Tell schools to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks.
Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.

5.Meatless Mondays—Go without meat one day a week.
An estimated 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to farm animals.

6.Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides.
According to the EPA, over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

7.Protect family farms; visit your local farmer's market.
Farmer's markets allow farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.

8.Make a point to know where your food comes from—READ LABELS.
The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

9.Tell Congress that food safety is important to you.
Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

10.Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections.

Personal Tip: If you do buy something out of a box, i.e. cereal it should contain less then TEN ingredients. Make sure there are NO dyes, partially hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, etc. You will notice a clear difference in your energy and overall well-being when you eliminate these toxic substances.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Gastronomical Excursion: LA & Santa Monica

Call me crazy, but I could spend all day in a health food store. Seriously, much to the dismay of my poor fiance, I HAVE in fact spent HOURS just strolling the isles looking for nothing in particular. I can't really explain it, I guess it is just my inner food nerd coming out. So, to celebrate our six year anniversary Kevin and I went to Santa Monica and LA to explore, Raw Food Nerd-style.

This is ZenBunni. They make the most AMAZING chocolate I have ever had. Normally, I am not really a fan of raw chocolate. I always liked white-chocolate better. Most raw chocolate for me is just too bitter and/or too overpriced. In recession times, who really has the money to throw down ten dollars for a bar of chocolate??? Crazy. Anyway, this had a very delicate flavor. We tired their classic chocolate as they have a variety of flavours. It was simple -- not too sweet and not to bitter. And the store smelled of this amazing incense. It was very general store-esque; like something you would find from when the cowboys roamed the prairie. It reminded me of Jenny Lewis for some reason -- I guess because she embodies that real indie/folksy vibe. Here is the website. You should definitely check it out: http://www.zenbunni.com/zb/zb_home.html
Enter: ZenBunni

Compared to many raw chocolate bars that I have seen on the market this is a pretty big bar. We got the grey sea salt variety. Suppper delish! This bar was only $4.00. I could eat this everyday!

Next we decided to stop into EuphoriaLOVESRawvolution which is Matt Amsden and Janabai Amsden's restaurant in Santa Monica. They have outdoor seating as well, which is really nice. Outdoor seating reminds me of Paris.

I ordered a cup of Tomato Basil soup. Sorry, I was really hungry and finished before I took a picture. This was pretty good as far as soups go. Though, it was a little too garlicky for my liking and I would have preferred a bit more basil to balance it out. The cup was $3.50.

For a whooping $7.50 Kevin got the Chunky Monkey Parfait. It was a yum in the tum combination of coconut meat, bananas, cacao, and jungle peanuts. While small, it was pretty heavy and very thick and creamy. We had never had anything with jungle peanuts before so for a first try I would say that I loved them, of course, because I used to be obsessed with peanut butter...to the point where I ate it out of the jar and found ways to put it on just about everything...like plums! Who the heck puts peanut butter on PLUMS??? Glad to say that I am beyond those peanut butter obsessed days.
Here are a few pictures of the inside of the cafe. They have so much art it is really awesome. The place was very laid back and it lent for a very enjoyable little lunch.

You can see they also sell some raw food items as well.
This is the outside. See there is that outside seating I was talking about. I can't wait to go back to try all the other food on the menu esp. that burger. It looks sooo good. Here is the website. Check it out and if you happen to be in Santa Monica! http://www.euphorialoverawvolution.com/resources/Menu+6.0.pdf

We decided to at least check out the menu at Planet RAW which is famed raw food chef, Juliano's restaurant. I was looking online at the menu and had spotted some dishes that said they were 32 dollars so I had to see if it was for real or not. I mean for $32.00 there had better be some truffles on there and enough food to serve at least four people! Well, I am happy to say that while we didn't eat there, I checked the menu and there is nothing for $32.00! It is actually very reasonably priced and the menu items were making me drool. They had some awesome ones like Jalapeno Poppers, a Thanksgiving meal, Tuna Sandwich. I can't wait to go back!!

After driving around Beverly Hills and hitting up the Whole Foods (which is a raw food desert i.e. they have very little to offer in my opinion.) we went to Cru in Silverlake. Silverlake is very much like NYC's LES. There are a lot of vintage shops and what not. I love it there. And I love Cru. Their menu is very simple and totally seasonal. For example, for their Autumn Menu they were serving a root vegetable soup. The food there is amazing. It is simple, but bursting with flavour. You want to eat everything on the menu. Kevin got the Pineapple Pizza which I didn't take a picture of because honestly, I was too focused on my own darn food. I got my usual Mezze Platter except I asked to get veggies instead of flax crackers. For some reason, flax crackers just don't agree with me -- too many nuts and seeds for my body to handle I think. Anyway, on the plate is a garlicky kale salad, fig pate, herbed cashew pate, a beet and apple Tunisian salad, olives, and a cucumber dill yogurt salad. The veggies they gave me were tomatoes and radishes. I ate every bite! And for like the first time ever was too full for dessert! They have really good dessert there too. Last time we went we shared the brownie a la mode. It was chewy and warm and just super yum! Here is the menu website, but as I said, due to the seasonal aspect of the cuisine it changes. http://www.crusilverlake.com/menu.html
Anyone who says that raw food is hippie food and tastes like dirt has obviously never eaten in a raw food restaurant. The fact that I can go to a place like this and order without having to wonder or worry what I am putting into my body is so cool. AND to know that everything I ate is nourishing and good for me is even better! This is REAL food people!
Happy eating!

Food Montage

Creamy Cucumber/Zucchini/ Parsley/Basil Dressing:
Green Smoothie in a bowl with cut up bananas, shreded coconut, and farmers market figs: All organic bananas, strawberries, spinach, stevia, msm, pear, frozen mango, Vitamineral Green, and a bit of almond mylk.

Late Night Elixir: Chai Tea w/ Almond Mylk, Lucuma, Mesquite, Carob, Stevia, and Cinnamon

Late Night Elixir in the Vita Mix!

Zucchini Pasta w/ Chopped Tomato and Heirloom Herbed Marinara Sauce:

Chunky Gazpacho:

Gazpacho Base in the Vita Mix: Red pepper, green onion, lemon/lime juice, jalepeno pepper, cucumber, garlic, heirloom tomato, celery stalk, cilantro, red onion, dash of chipotle/mexican seasoning from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Pour Gazpacho Base over: Diced cucumbers, red peppers, celery, green onion, avocado, heirloom tomato, and tons of cilantro. Top with squeezed lemon/lime juice and diced red onion for garnish. Sometimes I like to top this with cut up pineapple or mango and organic seasonal corn is really awesome with this too. A lot of corn today is GMO, but when you can find Organic corn during the summer there is nothing like it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yum in The Tum!

Did anyone else watch The Secret Lives of Women episode last night? It was called Extreme Diets and they profiled a freegan, a raw foodist, a Calorie Restriction couple, and this religious lady who lost weight by praying about her food. I usually don't watch things like this because I don't think they portray those who deviate from the SAD diet in a fair or positive light. However, I think WE did an excellent job and really got down to the true core values of each way of life. The woman they chose to represent raw food did an amazing job. She was so chill and radiant and very inspiring as she used to work in the restaurant biz and that lead her to doing drugs and drinking pretty heavily. She went raw over night and now she has her own raw food catering business and she teaches home classes. I love stories like this! It makes me feel even more ambitious about my own culinary pursuits and I just overall feel so lucky to be apart of a group that is so positive and awesome!

Anyway, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen whipping up some really awesome dinners. Here is a sampling of what I have been up to!

This is a salad with my super easy honey mustard dressing and a marinated portobello mushroom topped with garlic marinated swiss chard, "roasted heirloom tomato", onion sprouts, avocado, and apple-wood smoked dulse. It was delicious. The tenderness of the mushroom paired with the creaminess of the avo mixing with the swiss chard left me speechless. And well, the dulse always makes everything better.

This is my Spicy Cream of Cucumber and Spinach Soup garnished with more tender baby spinach, a touch of almond cream, and onion sprouts. This was really easy to make as you just through some jalapeno, cucs, spinach, almond milk, garlic, shallot, lemon/lime in the blender until totally pureed. Serve with whatever garnish you like!

This is my Rustic Lasagna. Usually, It has more creamy "ricotta" cheese and raw-Parmesan and I layer it up in a pan, but since moving I haven't replaced my platters yet. In that case, I simply had to layer it on the dehydrator and for fear of it falling over I wasn't able to press it down or stack it as high. Taste-wise it turned out pretty well, but I am still working to perfect this recipe. I'm Italian, so getting this recipe spot-on is essential to me. I made one at Christmas that rocked. And, I am happy to say that I have finally perfected my Raw Marinara Gravy!!! It has taken me a while, but I've got it down pat to the point where I have been eating zucc. pasta with the sauce like every other night!

Here is my zucc. pasta with my perfected raw marinara! It tastes so creamy and almost like it has been cooking on the stove for hours and hours just like the way my Mom and Grandpere used to make it. Tip: Quality sun-dried tomatoes as well as fresh herbs are really the key to quality sauce. Make sure when you are buying sun-dried tomatoes that they don't contain the preservative Sulfur Dioxide used to keep the colour of your tomatoes. Preservatives are something we want to keep out of raw food! You may not get the reddist marinara sauce, esp. if you use yellow heirloom tomatoes like I do, but the taste is out of this world!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Beginnings

It is hard to believe that Kevin and I have only been in California for three weeks as it feels like we've always lived here. I find myself thinking about New York as though it was a past life; i'm nostalgic for the place I have called home for the last three years. However, I am finding that with each day California is becoming more and more like home as well. I can't imagine how I have ever lived without a Mother's Market! (A really awesome health food store, excuse me, I mean MECCA in Orange County with everything from Vegetarian to Raw Food -- even in the deli bar!) And the raw food restaurants are STELLER! The portions finally match the price and the prices are actually pretty decent! I'll be doing some reviews of the places we have been to in upcoming posts.
The farmers markets here leave me speechless and giddy. More than half of the farmers are organic even if they don't have the certification and the varity of produce far surpasses NYC Greenmarket. I used to do a lot of shopping at the Greenmarket in NYC because I assumed that I was doing a good thing - I was buying from my local farmers. I also assumed that since it was the Greenmarket most of what I was buying was at least pestidcide and herbicide free. WRONG. Upon asking some questions this past summer and getting some very disappointing answers, I discovered that a lot of what I was buying was still sprayed. This left me frusterated as I thought of all the people who are also trying to do a good thing buy supporting local farmers and here we are still ingesting the same harmful pesticides. What's the point?
Anyway, in California you can get HUGE organic heirloom tomatoes for 50 cents each, baskets of the most delicious figs for 3.00 a basket, and HUGE heads of kale, dandelion, red/green leaf lettuce for no more than $1. 50!!! Even in the big grocery stores like Whole Foods you hardly even pay more than $1.99 for greens. It is really refreshing since I used to pay at least $2.99 for a head of orangic spinach. My wallet is thanking me A LOT.
I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and there are always signs that guide you to your next place in life. As much as I miss NYC and the life I had there I really truely believe that coming to California was what I was meant to do. Is this the universe giving me a fresh start? Perhaps. A little kick in the tush perhaps to get my raw food chefing business of the ground? I really hope so, because it is the only thing I have ever wanted to do!

As part of this blog I plan to include recipes and a daily log of my food. Raw food really doesn't have to be time consuming and you certainly don't have to be a gourmet chef to do it!