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.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gaga for SunWarrior!

Well, it's official. I'm obsessed/in love/can-no-longer-live-without SunWarrior Protein Powders. Yup, you heard me; this discerning consumer has fallen hopelessly for good old chocolate, vanilla, and a very delicious stevia and mint-infused Ormus Green.

Last week, the lovely Madison (Thank you Madison! You're the bomb!) of SunWarrior was kind enough to send me a ginormous pile of samples to try including: Ormus Greens, Vanilla Protein, Chocolate Protein, and Activated Barley Powders.

OK, let's be honest --we've all had a fair share of protein powders, bars, and shakes before and after going raw. You know, the ones that taste like you're eating a handful of pennies and have to hold your nose so you can swallow without gagging? And then of course there's the powders that are so chalky and gritty that no matter how many frozen strawberries or bananas or greens you put in that smoothie it's still going to taste...like crap...

I've tried my best to avoid raw protein powders for this very reason choosing to get my protein through lots of fruits, hemp seeds, and dark leafy greens. Though, I will admit, sometimes I've bitten the bullet and caved, only to be seriously disappointed.

My internal monologue while drinking said protein shake goes something like this:

"What? ....This doesn't taste like [insert flavor - vanilla/chocolate/fruity-tutty berry/etc]. This tastes like sand...or gravel...ugh, well, guess you better keep drinking since you've wasted all those other perfectly good ingredients...::gulp:: gulp:: lots of wincing must...finish...one...last....sip!"

And sometimes, I really just can't finish because my mouth is almost numb thanks to the intense chalky feeling coating my taste buds. When that happens I try and pawn my grit-tastic smoothie off on Kev...I'm horrible, I know..

Fortunately, SunWarrior has established a pretty good reputation for themselves as being one of the best protein powders on the market. Their products are organic, completely raw (not heated over 90 degrees), and one of the most easily absorbed, assimilated, and digested powders. This is really important to me since I usually have my smoothies after a Bikram sweat-fest where I've burned anywhere from 800 to 900 calories a session. Needless to say, when I leave the studio I'm starving and need to refuel ASAP.

I'm also pretty busy during the day and on my feet a lot (I’m a total slave (willingly) to my kitchen) so I need something to keep my energy up as well as keep me focused. SunWarrior is just overflowing with antioxidants, tocopherols, and a host of vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, niacin. And, of course, can't forget the protein at an extraordinary 15 grams per scoop! That's above and beyond your necessary daily dose for sure!

(Upon reading their website, I found this astonishing little fact: SunWarrior has a 98% correlation rate to Mother's Milk!!! How cool, right?? It even says that it is acceptable for infants to drink, so this would be really great for moms who are in a pinch or who don't/can't breastfeed but who also don't want to subject their little ones to Enfamil ::shudder:: Have you ever looked at the ingredients in that junk? No wonder why babies are sick all the time and spitting up! The first ingredient is corn syrup solids! Now, someone, please tell me how that can be healthy for a growing baby?? Especially since it's not organic which undoubtedly means GMO corn. Yum.)

So, I got down to business testing all sorts of Green Smoothie combinations using the various SunWarrior protein flavors. These two combinations were my favorites. They are thick, creamy, nutrient-packed and absolutely amazing. (All smoothie ingredients are Organic.)

Vanilla-Berry Crunch

• Bananas
• Frozen Strawberries
• Frozen Mango
• Cali. Oranges
• SunWarrior Vanilla Protein Powder
• Ormus Greens Powder
• Vanilla VivAgave Powder
• Spinach
• Topped with: Bee Pollen for an excellente crunchiness!

Chocolate-Mulberry Hemp Creamy Dreamy Shake

• Frozen Bananas
• Young Thai Coconut Meat
• Spinach
• SunWarrior Chocolate Protein Powder
• Ormus Greens
• Topped with: Mulberries, Hemp Seeds, Cacao Nibs, Bee Pollen, Coconut Flakes, & Gojis

You will notice that I've added SunWarrior's new product Ormus Greens to both my smoothies. In my book, the more green goodness, the better! This stuff is the bomb. It's like Vitamineral Green, but it has a minty-stevia flavor instead of that slightly bitter taste that often accompanies Vitamineral Green. (Don't get me wrong, I love Vitamineral Green. They are a great company and I think their products are awesome, but on taste alone, Ormus wins this one.) After two days putting Ormus into my smoothies there was a noticeable difference in my skin. The few spots/blemishes I had (oye, Bikram) were virtually gone!! I love products that work from the inside out to help heal your body. It's like a double-duty product: green-love nourishing all of my organs!

Raw Food Nerd Overall Review:
As you can tell, I am utterly smitten by all that SunWarrior has to offer. Aside from the obvious high quality of their product, the taste is unlike any protein powder I've ever had. The vanilla is sweet and bold. The chocolate is reminiscent of a homemade almond butter cup with a drool-worthy nutty taste that I found utterly delicious. The Ormus Greens, wonderful and minty and packed with an impressive list of good-for-you greens. What other protein powders have merely attempted to do, SunWarrior has mastered. And as I mentioned above, while most protein powders are chalky and gritty and washing your mouth out with soap would be more appealing idea -- SunWarrior is so silky and smooth it's almost wrong! ...Well, the good kind of wrong, of course... I would say, that if you like Vega's products, then you will definitely like SunWarrior-- since that is the only other protein powder that's in the same league as SunWarrior.  

I don't really have any cons to offer. In normal circumstances I might say price, since a bag is about $50.00. However, when you consider quality of production, ingredients, taste and the fact that the average bag contains 2.2lbs -- the initial hit to the wallet, even for those on a budget, is negligible in my opinion.

Guess my only real con is that I've run out of samples!

Extra Benefits of SunWarrior:
• Gluten-Free
• Produced in Eco-Friendly Manner
• GMO-Free
• Cultured, so its rich in probiotics
• Helps control weight
• Non-mucous forming unlike Whey
• No animals were harmed in the process

I'm hooked...I mean, I've even added Vanilla SunWarrior to my clients batches of Oatmeal Cookies for that extra protein-punch!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dear Santa Monica, I really LOVE you!

 Kevin and I are hopelessly in love with Santa Monica. From the parking to it's walk-ability, the beach, and our sister Co-Op that is teaming with raw food granola, chunks of energy, and spices galore -- we're utterly smitten. Since we discovered that our San Diego Co-op card works in Santa Monica as well, we've been going there every weekend for the past month. We just get our snacks and walk around for hours checking out stores, hitting up the goodwills, and walking along the beach just talking.

Then, on the way home we hit up our favourite health food store in Culver City, Rainbow Acres to stock up for the week. This store is rediculously awesome as they always have tons of sales going on. For the past few weeks they've had Zico Coconut Water on sale for $2.49 for a Liter! Hold me back! Hold me back! I've had an ongoing coconut water obsession since I was first introduced to Bikram like 3-4 years ago and anytime I can get it on sale I go a little bit crazy. I'd probably buy out the whole store if Kev wasn't there to reign me in!

Here are some of my finds this weekend:

I had only ONE MRM Enzyme left! Ahhh! So instead of going into a panic because the Co-Op didn't carry them, we bought these instead: Organic Tummy Soothers! And soothe they did! They are gloriously packed with ginger, fennel, coriander, peppermint oils, etc. No added sugar either! We paid $4.99 for the pack and I haven't seen these anywhere else so I can't really compare the price, but they work, so I consider it a good deal.

Pardon my slice of leg. This was bulk raw granola by the people who make all the Go Hunza products. This was a mix of Really-Raw Austrian Pumpkinseed Granola and Really-Raw Mulberry & Walnut Granola. It was a whooping $14.99 a pound which I am not a fan of BUT, if you buy it online or already packaged from a health food store it is only about $5.00. For me, this is a HUGE splurge and I don't buy very much. Unfortunately, here, taste rules over price. The granola has a great crunch to it, and still some bites are chewy and soft. I used to be a big cereal eater, like I'm talking about eat-nearly-a-whole-box-in-one-sitting kind of cereal eater and this stuff is so delicious that I'd like to eat the whole bin...You cannot ask for a better raw granola!

Mmm. they also make this other bar that I am madly in love with:

It's soft, slightly sweet with a splendid Vanilla flavor to it.  What makes this bar so life-altering is that after you taste the vanilla, this little spicey bite comes through and hits the back of your tongue -- like a little zing to match the fruitiness. Loooveee it. It's really filling too so when you pay $3.00 for a bar, it's like you are getting a whole meal packaged into this great bar! And i'm pretty much down for anything that has chia in it so I was sold even before I tasted it...

Ugh, I worship GoHunza... 
On the way to Rainbow Acres we stopped at this other health food store that we've never been to before called Vitamin Warehouse. It was very tiny and mostly well, vitamins, but we did find some steals.

Organic Hempseed for $4.99!!! I've honestly never paid less than $8.00 for any brand of hempseeds. We couldn't pass these up. Hempseeds are my fav of all favs! I use them in everything; sauces, burgers, shakes, smoothies, on top of smoothies, granolas, you name it! 

From the same store, this Shaman Organic Aloe and Orange hair gel for anti-frizz. We got it for .99 cents! Yes, you heard correctly, .99 cents. It smells divine! I normally don't put all this goopy glop in my hair anymore, but when I go home and the water is different, I always need a little something. The man from this store was so sweet! I don't think they get that many customers so I was happy to purchase from him and support a little store. What a doll, he told us if we couldn't find anything we needed to call him and he'd order it for us!

And then from Rainbow Acres we got a bunch of stuff like the liter of Zico that I mentioned, but my prized purchase from that night was a green juice that I got for $1.75 made fresh that morning!

 Granted it is in a plastic bottle and I am pretty sure some of the nutrients have oxidized from sitting, I think any green juice is better than no green juice.

During the course of our travels Kevin got really hungry so we decided to go to this raw restaurant in Santa Monica that we've heard a lot about called Better Life Cuisine. We ordered our food to go since we still wanted to walk around. My opinions on this place are mixed. I told Kevin to stick to getting desserts because 85% of the time when you go to a raw restaurant here in Cali. the portion sizes are grossly small, like they are serving a mouse or something. He would have none of it. So he ordered the Manicotti against  my better judgement.

The result: This.

This was literally five slices of zucchini rolled with an overly watery mock ricotta topped with gravy and sprouts (???). The portion size was appetizer AT BEST. The price, ::gasp:: $11.00!!!!!!!!! Insanely, disgustingly, awfully, not worth it AT ALL. I watched the guy make it and with it my zen, calmness slowly but surely diminished. Why does raw food have to mean a sacrifice of protion size? I understand people need to make money, I'm a raw food chef too, but when I charge my clients $11.00 for a meal I give them $11.00 dollars worth. Kev said it was nothing to write home about; it didn't taste bad, but it also wasn't that good -- straight from his mouth. We were both confused about why there were sprouts. The biggest turn offs were that the food was FREEZING and within two seconds of getting out the door it turned into a watery mess, manicotti no longer recognizable. We agreed, when it comes to raw food LA area we stick to Sun Power Natural Foods in Studio City. Best raw food. Best price. Great portions.  God, I miss my NYC raw foods.

His manicotti came with a side so we ordered the Egg Salad:


What the manicotti lacked, this egg salad could almost make up for. It was creamy with chuncks of celery and bits of onion that were surprisingly not overpowering.  It tasted so authentic I could hardly believe it. There was even something slightly soft in there that resembled an egg-y texture that has me totally stumped. I've got to find out what it is! Unfortunately for Kev, the portion of this egg salad was, if you can believe it, larger than his manicotti portion! Poor Kevy! He hates egg salad too so he basically just ordered this for me. Seems like, if you are going to go to Better Life Cuisine I would stick to this kind of stuff over the actual "entree" as this was out of this world!

We also ordered two desserts: Oatmeal Cookie and Spirulina Macaroon


The Oatmeal cookie was just o.k. and it didn't really taste anything like an oatmal cookie. In fact, it actually tasted like apple pie (???) which I didn't mind, but I was kind of looking foward to the Oatmeal, so it was slightly disappointing. Kev did not like this at all. He said it was too hard to chew. We paid $3.00 for 2 cookies. Not so sure I would do that again.

And the macaroon was pretty bad. It didn't taste like anything, not even coconut! And it fell apart as soon as I picked it up. I love macaroons and to be honest, I think they are pretty hard to mess up so this left me quite befuddled. Maybe it was just a bad batch? I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt...

 Maybe I'm just too used to Pure Food and Take Away macaroons (::swoon::) or this awesome little company, Emmy's Organics that makes these wounderful macaroons that they sell on the East Coast. They are wildly delicious -- chewy, chewy, chewy and sweet! Wonderful! The lady and her husband like make them out of their own kitchen as a side project! The Vanilla Chai was always my fav. but they make a really yummy Mint Chocolate Chip.

Overall opinion: I do not think the food is worth the price esp. since the portion sizes were so small. I have no problem paying when the food is really good. I mean, I'd sell my soul for a Sarma $6.00 Mallomar and I'd pay big bucks (like way more than its already $14.00) to sink my teeth into Quintessense's Fofu Benedict, but for this place, ugh, ::sigh:: there is nothing I would really deem worthy.  The egg salad was redicliously good, but that is about it. The only other thing I'd like to go back there to try are the Cinnamon Buns and now I am equally weary of that! My advise, order at your own risk.

Oh, and by the way, if it were me that ordered the manicotti I would have taken it back and asked for a refund or a slice of their bread to go with it to at least bulk up the meal. But, alas, my Kev is not that type. I guess this makes me a biatch, but I feel, hey, i'm the one paying for this, shouldn't I get what a pay for? In the very least an entree sized portion???

 I mean, you get more for your money when you order a freaking Nori roll than with this portion of manicotti, that's kind of pathetic...

Have any of you ever had this experience at raw food restaurants? How do you react esp. when the food you get isn't that great??

I look foward to your responses!!!

In the words of Lisa Simpson,

Mulch Love,
 Raw Food Nerd

P.S. Check out and enter these great giveaways that some of my fav. bloggers have going on:
  HiHoRosie's Blog for Prana Bars!
  Kristen's Raw for Raw Vegan Protein Grenades by Sirova!
  Rawstar Diaries for The Bobble Water Bottle, Goji Cacao Berry Tea, and yummy Vanilla Bean Paste!
  A Bitt of Raw for Vivapura gift pack giveaway!
 Loving Veggies and Yoga for a super cool lunch box give away!

Product pictures from product websites/google images unless obviously taken by RawFoodNerd.

Hot as Hellation!

I knew I came to California for a reason. This past week the weather has been absolutely amazing. Really hot during the day, warm at night, and occasionally a gentle breeze to take the edge off. This is how I always expected Cali. weather to be. Finally! It's back to shorts and t-shirts for moi!

On Wednesday Kev had off from work and with finals being over, he's now on Spring break. We decided to go to Newport Beach and lay out in the sun. I know this seems like a wild delusion, but it wasn't until I went raw that I was acutally able to do anything besides burn. I've been ghostly pale my entire life, almost sickly. And it's pretty hard to get anything more than an artifical spray tan when you live in NYC; nor is it really "in" to be tan -- we kind of strive for pale...it just goes better with black, what can I say?) It wasn't until Kev and I were in Nice (France) basking in the Medd. sun that we realized, holy heck, I, Lish - Pale-y McPalerson, could even muster some color other than white. It was true, I was, dare I say it dark (Well, dark for me at least. You should see my brother, Matthew, in the Summer he can easily pass for Mexican!! I'm so jealous.)  Finally, The Melonin Gods had blessed this girl with some color!

I attribute this to a long-standing bout of being anti-tan to multiple vitamin deficiencies due to the Standard American Diet and an ongoing battle with anemia, aka iron deficiency thanks to troublesome female problems. Once I went raw and was able to restock those 'reserves' my body must have finally been able to produce the melonin. I used to think I was just unlucky and somehow my brother got the tan gene, but now I know I was just deficient. Yet another interesting benefit to the raw food diet, lest I ever go back, I'd loose all my color!

Anyway, I literally laid on the beach for 30 minutes and then we walked along the water and by the time we got back to the car I was so tan! Then, I had to go and ruin it on Thursday by laying out by the pool, not paying attention because I was reading, and getting a seriously awakard burn on the tops of my legs, my tum, and a square of my arm! I'll spare you the photos on this one...

I've been REALLY thirsty lately so I've been drinking a lot of smoothies and drinking cocoie water like it's going out of style. [Thank you Henry's for having a buy one get one free sale on Amy&David's Coconut Water!] It has been so hot and my sun burn + bikram has left me feeling slightly dehydrated. I haven't really wanted much else. I have been savouring at least two a day...not to brag, but my smoothies kick some serious tush! They are typically green...it's like gut reaction now...the thought of having a smoothie that is anything but green almost seems like a waste!

Here's a random exception that I had for dessert one night:

The Ba-nan Freezie

*Note: Smoothies are really great to have as a dessert at night because anything blended is really easy to digest and at night, this will likely be a lot easier on your body as it starts to prepare for sleep.

This was frozen banana, homemade Cashew Milk, mesquite powder, Vanilla VivAgave and I topped it off with one of my favs -- Bee Pollen.

Bee Pollen is considered a complete food and is actually 40% protein! I've read that it contains virtually all nutrients required for humans! Sheesh! I love it because it adds a real "crunch" to my smoothies!

Here is some interesting information about Bee Pollen that I found from this lovely website:

"Bee pollen contains all the essential components of life. The percentage of rejuvenating elements in bee pollen remarkably exceeds those present in brewer's yeast and wheat germ. Bee pollen corrects the deficient or unbalanced nutrition, common in the customs of our present-day civilization of consuming incomplete foods, often with added chemical ingredients, which expose us to physiological problems as various as they are numerous.

Pollen is considered an energy and nutritive tonic in Chinese medicine. Cultures throughout the world use it in a surprising number of applications: for improving endurance and vitality, extending longevity, aiding recovery from chronic illness, adding weight during convalescence, reducing cravings and addictions, regulating the intestines, building new blood, preventing infectious diseases such as the cold and flue (it has antibiotic type properties), and helping overcome retardation and other developmental problems in children. It is thought to protect against radiation and to have anti-cancer qualities. NOTE: Babies under 18 months should not be given raw honey or raw bee pollen.

Nutrient deficiencies and all the health problems they cause are recognized worldwide as a growing problem. Because bee pollen contains all the nutrients needed to sustain life, it is being used on an ever larger scale for human nourishment and health. Science teaches that bee pollen contains many substances that combine to make it a healthy, nutritious, complete food. There are numerous reports from medical experience that conclusively show the benefits of bee pollen exceed that of a simple food item. And the bees do most of the work.

Bee-gathered pollens are rich in proteins, free amino acids, vitamins, including B-complex, and folic acid. "

Yet another green smoothie topped off with Bee Pollen:

Swamp Monster

This was bananas, oranges, lemon, pineapple, mango, spinach, and water topped with Bee Pollen. Perfectly perfect post-Bikram smoothie that keeps me full all the way until dinner.

Now before you start throwing questions at me about not really being Vegan because bees are animals too, well, I agree. And 95% of the time I am Vegan. I don't eat any flesh products at all. However, when it comes to raw honey and bee pollen [sustainably harvested and organic, of course]--where the medicinal properties are of such extraordinary levels that to disregard them simply because it would render me no longer "vegan" -- well, as my Uncle Patrick used to quote often from his favourite show In Living Color "Homey don't play dat!" (I wanted to be a Fly Girl like Jennifer Lopez for like years growing up...that, and chief of my own Native American tribe! I was a...totally-weird/insanely odd unique child.) I believe us bee product consuming Vegans are affectionately deemed "bee-gans" these days.

This week I also made some really stellar Veggie Burgers for my clients:

Loaded-Veggie Buns

Usually, I make more traditional looking buns using my Onion-Sesame Bread recipe, but one of my clients really likes my Le Pain de Crudités (which is just a French-y way of saying bread made from raw vegetables lol) and asked me to make buns with the veggie bread instead! B. agreed, these turned out really well. I topped the buns with sesame seeds when they were done dehydrating.

Veggie Sun-seed Mc-Lish Patties

Raw burgers may seem like a daunting task, but they can be as simple or as complicated you make them. My Sun-seed paties are really just that, soaked/sprouted sunflower seeds, veggies, and spices. You don't even need to dehydrate them for that long either! A good hour is enough to gently warm the burger through and get a nice crust on the top. My first summer raw, these were a staple since you can make dozens at a time and freeze them for later on!

Mac-Nut Extra Sharp White Cheddar

This 'cheeze' is seriously out of this world. I make a basic tahini with soaked sesame seeds, garlic, lemon, apple cidar vineager, sea salt, and cayenne and let it ferment overnight. (I set the dehydrator at 95 degrees and leave it with the lid on but not tightened.) Then I make a quick mac-nut sauce from just mac nuts, sea salt, and water in the blender. I combine the two sauces and let it sit overnight in the D. again repeating the fermentation process. The result is a thick, creamy, sharp cheeze sauce. I top the burgers with my Extra Sharp Cheddar, whole grain mustard, and crisp romaine lettuce. So yum!

*Top the sun-seed burger pattie with the 'cheeze' and let it sit in the dehydrator for about an hour - it will really firm up making a more authentic 'cheeze-burger'.

Google images
"What you are about to eat will kill you"

Mmm, gimme a raw vegan burger anyday over that greasy pile of factory-farmed garbage! Who needs it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Curl through the wide fence cracks...

I've been listening to the New Moon Soundtrack on a continuous loop for, oh, a week-ish now (Ok, there's definately some Gaga thrown in there too); told you I was obsessed. It's a good soundtrack though -- so much indie splendor I can hardly contain myself. That being said, blog titles reflect nothing more than what I've been listening too.

As I mentioned in Monday's post, we've been hella busy around here.

B's (my one of ten trillion nicknames for Kev. B is short for Bubbie or Bubbles, depending on my mood at the time. There is no rhyme or reason, we just make sh!t up as we go along, really.) been really busy with Grad. school final projects:

One of MANY drafts of  the mixed-use community he designed. 

He's been hitting the books ( or well, the drawing pad?) and the Lara Bars pretty hard these days.

My future mother-in-law sent us these for Valentine's Day. (Thanks Mom/Dad W. Always looking out for us!)

And we've had to wake up at ghastly hours on Saturdays to hit the farmers market before Kev has to be to work and I head to yoga. Check out the goods: 

Most of this went to make Fermented Veggies. They turned out rediculously fantastic. I've seriously put this off for-ev-er because I was really intimidated by the whole process. I suppose it was a fear of messing up or making a mistake, like my veggies not actually fermenting leaving me with 5 lbs of wasted vegetable mush. I did some youtube research and ultimately followed the directions per the Pure2Raw Twins and despite the fact that my kitchen looked like a murder scene when I was through, it was really easy to do! Other videos made this look really complicated and would have required me to purchase special equipment in order to seemingly facilitate proper fermentation (this is probably the reason why I was so intimidated). Yet, the girls make their kraut in something as standard as a large mixing bowl with another large mixing bowl pressed on top!

As a result of the business at La Maison de M.-W.  last week (or maybe it was two weeks, they've started to seriously blend together) we ate A LOT of salads...like five-six days in a row, which may seem excessive, but the this salad was realllly good.

Red leaf lettuce, mushrooms, pears, and alternating varities of roasted squash (acorn & butternut) with an Orange-Ginger Vinegarette.

Squash and sweet potatos are pretty much the only non-raw foods that I eat. This was a total experimentation per my ever-sensitive digestive system. Up until recently, I couldn't even eat salad, let alone something as simple as plain, COOKED squash without getting an upset stomach and indigestion. Maybe it was the way I prepared it? (Low temp. with LOTS of ginger) I had no adverse reaction, not even the typical fatigue that I thought would follow. I was doing a lot of reading about food combining at the time and read that pairing starch or cooked food with greens helps digestion immensely, so, I think that probably contributed to the ease in digestion. I really love squash/sweet potatos so to discover that I can now tolerate them made me a very happy little lady!

When I ran out of squash I topped our salads with Zucc Mac N'Cheeze Casserole and Homemade Garlic Tahini:

To make the "casserole" I just uniformly pressed the zucc mac and cheese into a glass pie "pan" (it's not really a pan, but I am at a loss for the correct word!) with a fork and dehydrated it at 110 degrees for maybe an hour to an hour and a half. The top gets kind of crunchy-ish while the underneathe portion of the zucchini remains super creamy; ugh, SOO yum. Zucchini is really the ultimate veg for raw foodists in my opinion. It is so versitile and has the ability to take on so many different flavor profiles. I'd be totally lost without my zuccs!

I've been staying afloat thanks to my ten thousand gazillion trillion green smoothie combos:

...seriously, the possibilites are endless...

This mean-green smoothie machine was topped with Bee Pollen that I picked up from my new fav. health food store in L.A., Rainbow Acres.

 And I cannot get through the week without at least one soup..heavy on the Nori and Nutritional Yeast please!

Dill-licious Creamy Avo & Cucumber Soup
::le sigh:: I ate this while watching Twilight the first time.

A melage of cucs, zuccs, celery, spinach, organic red miso, nutritional yeast, garlic, green onion, lemon juice, avo, parsley and LOTS of dill. This is my favourite soup. No matter what I put in, it always turns out shamefully delicious. It's like the can-do-no-wrong soup of all soups!

Honestly, this work crazy-ness really doesn't stress me out anymore. I guess because none of this ever seems like work to me and yoga helps keep me grounded and centered for sure. Making food is really the only thing that has ever made me happy; I feel like it gives me purpose. I suppose we all have our "thing" and this is mine...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"I hear you're living out of state, running with a whole new scene..."

I am not sure what this says about our personalities, but to date -- Kev and I have never lived in any apartment longer than one year. Each time we move Kev and I both SWEAR that it's the last. We hate moving: the packing, the shleping of crap from one apartment to the next, the unpacking; It's all very stressful. (Esp. since I typically bare the whole of the unpacking duties. Love him to death, but last week he asked me -- after six months living in the same apartment mind you, IF we had any dishes and WHERE they were....?!?!?!? So, unless I'd like to make more work for myself and have to unpack twice, it's just smarter that I assume this task. )

We cannot seem to stay put for whatever reason. Kev's Mom calls us 'nomads'.

This move was signficantly easier since a good portion of our things are still back at home with our parents...at this point I don't even remember what we've left...

Except of course, when I have to bake dozens of mini- vegan muffins for a breakfast event at the ENC and I've got no muffin tins to speak of...

(Mini Vegan/GF Double Chocolate Chunk & Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins)

I made Kev eat the one with the chocolate smudge on the side of the paper...right, because I really had to FORCE him. He was hovering the whole time...

...or measuring cups...

Thank Buddha and Mother Earth and the Energy of the Universe for guiding me to the mecca of home shopping aka Ross...and Target...

(And for these fine people that make up my favourite show on all television: Kell On Earth!!! Talk about hardworking, power-girls + AJ Mukamal  -- whose seriously got a closet to die for! Yeah, I'm pretty jealous. )

(google images)
...but, I digress...

Anyway, we really just moved to the opposite side of the complex to an apartment with a balcony (now we can start our garden!), vaulted ceilings (ugh, just like the Mountain House. Love it!), and sunlight coming in from every direction.

So other than client orders to fill and a bunch of other work related things, this hath been the reason why I've been so seriously M.I.A. lately.

I've been writing in my head though, does that count for something??

And well, I guess I should come clean about my latest obsession that's taken me away from the computer all together...I am really late in the game on this one, I know...

Twilight Saga!
(google images)
Yeah, it finally happened. I came around. But it was either Twilight or Rush Hour 2!!! Costa Mesa Lib. DVD collection is quite limited to say the least. (Gross understatement!!!)

Twilight, the movie, in my opinion, was much better than I thought it would be since I had no expectations what-so-ever.

And now, I'm obsessed, to the point where I read late into the night, have literary discussions with friends [who I know have read it] about the anti-feminine nature of Edward and Bella's relationship....and find multiple ways to annoy the hell out of Kevin with Twilight Saga/Vampire references. (P.S. Kev, if you are reading this, I wasn't kidding about that framed picture of Edward at Ross. I want it. Please?)

I read New Moon in 2 1/2 days and I am already more than halfway through Eclipse.

I never understood the hype other than the fact that Robert Pattinson is really stinkin' hott. Common, you can't blame me: vampires, werewolves, screaming teenage girls gaga for said vampires/werewolves - this had AWFUL and PLAYED OUT written all over it.

Alas, I've succumbed. Go Team Edward. I am slightly embarrassed that my last two trips to the library have resulted in me checking out books from the "Teen Reading" section, but I really don't care, I am a total Twilight addict.

I've kind of always had a thing for vampires though so I guess it was only a matter of time. I used to make my Grandmere tell me vampire stories all the time. I loved it, but it, uh, wasn't too great for my parents when they'd try to put me to bed and I'd scream bloody murder because I was too afraid to be left alone for fear that I'd be bitten.

Even wayyy into middle school (so..shameful...) I would sleep with my "BB" (my blanket, lord) around my neck that way I would know if anything tried to come through my window/the attic door to bite me. True Story.

Over-active imagination much??

I'm going to see New Moon on Wednesday and dragging taking Kev with me. He's not too thrilled, so I plan on buttering him up by making his favourites: Vegan Smoked Gouda Mac n' Cheeze and Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Works every time!

The Smoked Gouda Sauce isn't 100% raw, as I have mentioned, because I do use liquid smoke, but it is a tiny concession that is well worth it. Trust me, this stuff is the bomb. I have to make blenders full because when I do make it, it must be slathered on everything.

You may remember my Smoked Gouda Stuffed Rosemary Portobellos...

(the finished product w/ Rosemary-Miso Reduction and Homemade Tahini)

or my Sun dried Tomato Sun Seed Burger with dehydrated Smoked Gouda Cheese...

I am pretty sure you could smecher this vegan cheese sauce on a tire and it would taste good...
Smoked Gouda Cheese:
  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked 2 hours)  
  • 1/3 cup of raw almond or cashew milk
  • 1 tablespoon VivAgave (Optional)
  • 1 Organic Red Bell Pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic (3 if you are using small cloves)
  • 1 green onion/scallion 
  • 4-5 T Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 2 T Wheat-Free Tamari
  • 1 T Mellow White Miso
  • Dash of turmeric for color
  • 1 cap of liquid smoke
  • Sea Salt and black pepper to taste!

Liquid smoke is seriously what gives this sauce a fantastic smoked Gouda taste. You only need a tiny bit of this to impart the smoky flavor so only fill the cap of the liquid smoke and pour into the sauce.

 Blend it up and enjoy poured over your pasta of choice. This also makes a great dip for veggies (add less almond milk for a thicker consistency) or a no-cheese fondue! You can change up this sauce by omitting the liquid smoke and adding your favorite spice combinations like curry, basil, or thyme.

 When I make this for myself and not Kev, I typically omit the nuts. Oddly enough, using chia seeds to thicken this sauce works just as well. I am sure you can even replace the cashews with sunflower seeds. If you want a more authentic cheese then I would stick with the cashews for sure. 

 Tomorrow ( I promise, since I've got to make up for this past weekish) food updates/pictures, fermented veggies via Pure2raw Twins, and much more!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Going Vintage!

I'm feeling a little nostalgic for my City right now, so this post is dedicated to some of my absolute favs. - those that I discovered in the only city other than Paris, that owns a piece of my heart, forever.
If I was in New York right now, the fact that today is the first day of March would mean A LOT more to me. California has been chilly, yet nothing compared to the freezing temps. and snowy days of the East Coast. This time last year I was dying for 60 degree weather and the fact that I'd be able to wear shorts in February. (I have a clear memory of sitting in Barns&Nobles flipping through trashy tabloids and seeing pictures of Natalie Portman walking around LA, elbowing Kev, and saying, "that's gonna be us!" But, alas, I find myself now wanting the opposite...the fact that i've only gotten one season out of my most favourite DKNY coat is just NOT acceptable! And i'm a little miffed that all this snow just decided to happen upon NY as soon as I left...I LOVE the snow. And so to make up for it i've been frequenting South Coast Plaza to window shop and pretending its Madison Ave; definately not the same, but stores basically are. (They've even got an Yves Saint Laurent!)


While i'm pretty much a self-proclaimed food nerd (hence, the inspiration for the raw food nerd, ta-dah!) i've got a gulity pleasure for designer fashion. Yes, i'm aware of the unethical practices that go into making clothes and handbags, but i'm more of a vintage fashion lover. I'm talking old school Chanel, YSL, Vivienne Westwood, Oscar de la Renta, the like. (I once found the most amazing peach sleeveless silk Oscar de la Renta shirt at an outside market in Chelsea for $10.00! This was 7th grade mind you and mmm, yeah, I still wear it every summer.) Good clothes, much like food, are about two things: quality and creativity. To me, vintage fashion is timeless and the classics always remain regardless of trends that come and go. Thankfully, with a bit of thrifting savy, I never had to compromise my hippie green-loving values in order to wear said awesomely vintage designer clothes. It is AMAZING what you can find on a street corner in the West Village or a Good Will on the Upper East Side. Seriously!

(Enter suitable transition word/phrase garnerd from very expensive college education from said prominent NYC school..uhh, yeah!)

For me, NYC is mecca and it is literally busting at the seams with health food stores filled with raw and vegan options. During the three plus years that i've lived/been visiting this glorious place i've made it my personal goal to visit every health food store that the City offered. A few, were better than all the rest and I would go to those every..single...day. They became my "Classics" if you will, like a vintage Chanel suit - you just cannot go wrong.

#1 Westerly on 54th and 7th Ave. It's down the street from Whole Foods Columbus Circle. They have everything from organic produce, to a raw food deli, to the largest selection of raw food goodies i've seen thus far. They have a huge bulk section with grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit. And they carry all the raw vegan ice cream on the market. This place is by far, my favourite. They are also extremely budget friendly because when produce gets a dent or is a little too ripe they repackage it and sell it at a discounted price. Like I used to get packages and packges of peaches, apricots, apples, cucs, etc. ALL ORGANIC for a mere $1.99.

This place houses some of my absolute favs:
  • Raw Chunks of Energy
  • Gopals Power Wraps/Bars
  • Mrs. Lillians Pies
  • Hawthorne Valley Sauerkraut
  • Mock Salmon/Tuna/Crab sandwiches
  • Garden of Eden (I think) Mustard with sea salt and ACV all organic.
  • Good Stuff by Mom&Me Almond Bars

I went to New School University (Most people know New School because of Project Runway a la Parsons) in the West Village for my Undergrad. (Watch Degrassi? Remember Ellie, the red haired chick who had the hots for Craig, the musician?? Yup, she was in my Reading for Writers class AND sat behind me at graduation. Also went to school with Olivia Palermo from The City.) and so I was lucky enough to be in walking distance to some freaking grandtastic places.

#2 Lifethyme on 9th and 6th Ave. (Avenue of the Americas):

They have a salad bar filled with raw food combinations and a HUGE prepared raw food section including but not limited too cookies, pies, puddings, burgers, etc. You name it they've got it. They have a full scale grocery store with some great produce options. They also have a juice bar and the guy who does the juicing is the sweetest man ever! 

My favs from here are:
  • Chocolate Chewies
  • Coconut Chewies
  • Spirulina Earth pie
  • Sweet Christine juice
  • Salads
  • Spicy Sunflower Falafals
If you aren't raw, but vegan this place is equally as good. They have some of the best vegan pies and cookies i've ever had. Portions are HUGE even for the raw stuff. I mean you could literally eat a slice of pie from here @ $7.99 a slice and not have to eat again for the rest of the night.

#3 Integral Yoga on 13th st. btwn 7th and 8th ave.

This is where I used to get all my spices in bulk as well as raw honey, chia seeds, raw buckwheaties, etc. They are a little expensive in terms of produce and what not, but the bulk options are very reasonably priced. Ouuu, they also have bulk seaweeds, pastas, miso, and tahini.They offer a 10% discount to students and seniors (score!) so that always helped me out. All their spice are from mountain rose herbs and frontiers so they are quality and organic. They have a bar with raw and vegan desserts (though they are skimpy on their slices), but mostly I used to go there to get three things.

  • The best coconut date rolls the world has to offer (they tasted like vanilla cake with vanilla froasting. I kid you not...lovely picture above, however, not a picture of the prized IY date rolls which are a blonde color.)
  • Dried mulberries (like CARAMEL!)
  • Dried banana slices (these single-handedly got me through by far the worst fiction class I ever had to take.)
If you go for those three things and those three things alone your life will have purpose.

#4 Natural Frontiers with a whooping two locations both great for different reasons...24th and 3rd and 81st and 3rd.

 I love these two mostly for sentimental reasons. I spent A LOT of time in these two areas last year for my job...that wasn't even really a job because I loved it so much...

Ok, 24th and 3rd while pretty much out of the way of everything always had a few great things that I couldn't go without last summer...

  • Really excellent ripe bananas
  • Catelope
  • Pears
I know, not raw food snacks, but when you are in a crunch i.e. running over to FDR because the 23rd st. xtown never showed up, you'll appreciate the convience of peel and eat simple food. P.S. avoid the 23rd st xtown if you can, filled with CRAZY people.

And 81st and 3rd, which I used to hit up every day because it was very close to my Bikram Yoga studio on 83rd and right around the corner from Kev's work on 78th, houses my most favourite and ongoing food obsession

(From Chunks of Energy website)

They've got other stuff there too, like T.T.'s favourite  Yogurt Prentzels, but other than that nothing else really matters. These gems are the most delicious combination of nuts, seeds, gojis, and dates that i've ever had. I've been eating them for years and I still cannot get enough of them. When I say I ate them everyday for MONTHS at a time, it is no exaggeration...I really did. Sometimes, i'd eat them twice a day. Yes, they are THAT good. The best thing about them for me (other than they taste horrifically fantastic) is that I barely eat nuts and seeds other than hemp and chia because they always gives me a stomach ache and make me feel really heavy and bloated, except these!! I can eat like 10 in a row and i'm totally fine -- which never happens! Seriously, I go to a potluck and I have one bite of nut pate and i've done myself in. From what I have read, these come from a small, family produced business in Massachusetts and their ingredients are USDA certified organic and obviously a very high quality. They are not baked at all and are sans any artifical ingredients. They've recently come out with a few new flavors like Lemon-Cashew which my San Diego Co-Op offers. However, that is too far away for me to eat everyday so I am working to bring them to my local health food store, Mother's Market because Californians NEED Chunks of Energy!

 The aforementioned food choices are surely oldies but goodies. I've been eating them on a consistant basis for the last three years and I wish I could say I have tired of them or that i'm ready for something new, but I'd certainly be lying. These are classics in my book for a reason. Ugh, trust me, what I wouldn't give for just one chunk of energy or a chewie or yumm, a mock salmon sandwich.

If you live in NYC, be sure to traverse to these shops. You will NOT be sorry.

P.S. Some of you have been asking about my Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce and I plan to deliver. This stuff is off the hizzy and to deprive others from its grandness would make me a really awful person, lol. So, next post will be all about what i've been eating lately AND the Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce.

(All pictures from google images.)