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, December 3, 2013

Raw Food Nerd, Holiday Edition

It's about that time, the holiday season is officially upon us and that means holiday parties where the temptation to eat foods that are filled with butter, salt, oil, and various unsavory animal products will be at an all time high.

Save yourself, don't make eye-contact with the beautifully decorated sugar cookies and best stay clear of the yule log. They're bad news bears!

But, really, there is no need to stress; It's entirely possible to maintain your healthy lifestyle while still being able to socialize and enjoy the festivities! You just have to know how to navigate the scene and come prepared!

And the best way to do that is to bring foods that suit your own dietary needs that you can also share with others! (This is also a fun way to show skeptics how versatile and delicious eating raw/vegan can be without having to be preachy..)

Here are three sweet, high raw vegan treats and a delicious, colorful 801010 salad that you can take to any party!

I'm a sucker for persimmons. I love that they are crisp and fresh with a sweet caramel, toffee, sugary ooey gooey-ness. Seriously, I look forward to persimmon season all year. And in California I can get them by the box from the LA Wholesale Market for as little as $17! (For those unfamiliar, persimmons average about .99 cents per pound from the Asian Markets in LA, but can average any where from .69 cents to $2.99 per persimmon depending on the store. I'd like to keep my wallet intact so by the box, wholesale style is how I roll.)

Festive Persimmon Salad w. Spicy Persimmon & Sun-dried Tomato Dressing
2-3 ripe persimmons
leafy green mix 
baby cucumbers, sliced thin 
cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 
chopped chive 
chopped leek
2 ripe tomatoes or 1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 orange/red/ or yellow bell pepper
1 green onion 
1-2 persimmons
1/2 cup soaked, oil-free/unsulfured/salt-free sun dried tomatoes
small knob of ginger (to your preference) 
1-2 slices from your favorite hot pepper (go easy, you can always add more spice if you want!) 

Blend your dressing until smooth. Taste and adjust spice if need be. Pour over salad upon time of arrival if you desire to place on the side and allow others to dole out the dressing on their own. 

Date Truffles

1 lb. fresh, organic wet-packed dates 
 3 drops of Stevia Sweetleaf Drops (choose your favorite flavor, mine is Hazelnut and Peppermint!) 
1 cup of coconut sugar 

I have a vitamix so I just toss all my ingredients into the vitamix and use the tamper to push everything into the blades until it looks like the consistency of frosting.

Sweetleaf Liquid Stevia Drops are the secret to scrumptious ooey-gooey date truffles. They add heaps of flavor without the addition of funky preservatives or additives. Stevia is completely natural and plant-derived so it won't spike your blood sugar and has, in fact, been shown to lower blood sugar. Thus making it a great sugar alternative for diabetics! It is very sweet so a little goes a long way. These have become essential in my kitchen! 
If you happen to not have a vitamix, using a food processor is an equally successful method.
Transfer to a bowl and begin rolling out your date batter into little-medium sized balls. 
Roll in coconut, carob powder, or more coconut sugar 

P.S. These will go fast, so snag a few for yourself before they are gobbled up!

Coconut Almond Butter Cookie Cups
1 1/2 cups of Coconut flakes 
No-salt almond butter
1 cup of Chia seeds
1 cup of Dried mulberries
2 1/2 cups of organic dates 
1/2 cup raw pecans 
1/2 cup of raw walnuts
Dash of cinnamon 
Dash of nutmeg 

In the food processor combine pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, 1 cup of the coconut flakes, cinnamon, and  nutmeg. Pulse until ingredients have the consistency of flour. Add in dried mulberries and dates. Pulse blend until well-combined and ingredients come together as a ball of "dough". Shape into cookie form, top with almond butter and coconut flakes. 
I put mine into cupcake holders for easy transport! You can even "roll" these out, so to speak, and use holiday cookie cutters! 

And lastly, who doesn't LOVE a chocolate pudding? That's right, no one. Chocolate pudding knows no age! This pudding in particular happens to be raw, high carb, with a bit of warming spices to make this especially festive! (I also used carob powder instead of cacao because cacao contains theobromine which acts as a stimulate in your body and creates toxicity. It also stresses the adrenal glands. Too much and the reaction is similar to a caffeine high. Some may find this beneficial during the holiday season as a means of 'powering through', but I find it dangerous and unnecessary. A little bit won't kill you, but people tend to overdo it during the holiday season and it's a much better option to snack on some dates then go crazy with some chocolate, raw or not. Plus, dates are a great source of dietary fibre and rich in the minerals manganese and potassium. They are naturally low in fat and full of antioxidants! Can I get a hell yeah for dates?!)

Below is my favorite brand of dates which can be ordered from the Bautista Family at www.7hotdates.com They sell them wet-packed, which means fresh - they are of the highest quality, organic, and utterly incredible. 

No-Chocolate Chocolate Spiced Pudding
1 lb of organic dates, pitted
1 cup of carob powder 
2-3 drops Chocolate-flavored Sweetleaf Stevia 
3-4 ripe (spotty) bananas 
water from 1 young thai coconut 
In a high-speed blender combine all the ingredients from above except for the cayenne. Add coconut water only if necessary as you want it to be thick like a stove top pudding. Blend until ingredients are fully combined and the result is a very thick mixture. If you want your pudding to be thicker add more dates. Now add in your spices, only adding a pinch of cayenne at a time so as not to overpower the pudding. Blend again and taste to make sure your desired spice level has been reached. 
Set in a bowl and leave in the fridge, covered, to rest for a few hours or overnight.

Hopefully these sweet treats will keep you satisfied at any party you attend this holiday season!

Stay tuned for my holiday e-book which will be coming out shortly where you can find these and other recipes like them!