Friday, November 30, 2012

Fun foodie penpals!

FPP post Foodie Penpals 

Last month I heard about this group thing called Foodie Penpals.  You sign up for it and then you are paired with one person to send a food package to and one that you will receive a package from.  I thought it sounded like a fun thing to do and it would be interesting as well.   Who doesn't like gifts or surprises!  If you would like to know more about this group or how to participate please visit  The Lean Green Bean.

I was paired to receive a foodie penpal package from a gal named Leslie who co-incidentally also lives in the same city as I.   We tried to arrange a meeting in person but Leslie (who is a student at the local college) had exams and I had work and other matters which kept us both too busy.  We decided a drop off would work well for us both and I was very excited to find her package on my front porch.

Packed in a cute little canvas bag was an assortment of fabulous goodies!   Leslie chose items sure to put anyone in the holiday mood....candycane green tea, gingerbread granola, and blueberry licorice as well as a Larabar, some cute recipe cards to write on, and a nice handwritten personal note.  All of these things are healthy and tasty and I know I am going to enjoy them!

I  had the pleasure of sending Krista in Toronto a package.  This has been such a fun and positive experience for me and I am looking forward to participating again when it starts back up in January.  Thanks again Leslie, and good luck with your studies!

Update:  The gingerbread granola is divine and I can understand why Leslie told me it was her favorite!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Raw cookies, cereal and snacks part 2

Raw cereal is also something that I like to make in my dehydrator.  Kids love cereal and there's a little kid in all of us!   Making your own cereal is the best way of controlling how much sugar your kids (or you) are getting from their cereal breakfasts.  Parents want to give their children good things to eat and it's easy to believe that cereal is a healthy start to their kids busy day, but in reality most boxed cereals are high in sugar and sugar has no nutritional value.  Myself, I would question the quality of the other ingredients as well as I have read that most commercial cereals today have been made with GMO ingredients.  No frankenfood for me thanks!

Healthy cereal can also be tasty cereal.  It has to be or the kids won't eat it.   I have to warn you - if it tastes too good, you will be making a lot of it!  It not only makes a great breakfast but also a great snack. One of my favorites is chocolate buckwheat clusters, pictured below.  It's simple, crunchy and sweet enough, and features sprouted buckwheat and raw cacao.  Tastes great with some sliced bananas or raspberries and your favorite milk or nut milk.

Cacao Buckwheat Clusters
*Cacao Buckwheat Clusters*

1 cup (sprouted and dehydrated) buckwheat groats, soaked for 20 mins and drained well
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, or your fav chopped nuts, or sunflower seeds
5-6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 generous tablespoons cacao powder
generous pinch of sea salt

Mix well and spread on teflex dehydrator sheets and dehydrate 12 hours or overnight at 110 until crunchy.  Stir after a few hours to form clusters.  For last couple hours you can remove teflex sheet and continue drying on mesh sheet.  Makes 4-6 servings.  Store in airtight container.

This is another simple cereal using sprouted buckwheat and fresh strawberries,  It's light, crunchy and goes great as a topping for bananas and plain yogurt  (my mouth is watering just thinking about it).  Move over special k with strawberries - there's a new kid in town!

Strawberry Buckwheat Clusters
*Strawberry Buckwheat Clusters*

1 1/2 cups (sprouted and dehydrated) buckwheat groats, soaked for 20 mins and drained well
2 cups fresh, ripe strawberries sliced and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons raw honey
generous pinch of sea salt

Mix well and spread on teflex sheets and dehydrate 12 hours or overnight at 110 until crunchy. Stir after a few hours to form clusters.  Store in airtight container.  Serves 4-6.

There are many great recipes to be found for all kinds of granola's, baked and dehydrated, and also some shaped cereals if you  really want to get creative.  I like the simplicity of the above cereals and the fact that both require few ingredients and I get to control the quality of the ingredients!  Having your kids help in preparing home made cereals is a great shared activity and it's one way to get them to want to eat them instead of the boxed brands they are used to.

Next post I will be sharing some delicious raw snacks made in the dehydrator.  Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Raw cookies, cereal and snacks part 1


My mission here is to prove that eating "raw" doesn't have to be boring.  It is believed by some that cooking food destroys it's enzymes and nutrients and chemically changes food making it harder for us to digest and thus contributes to health problems. Raw food is the least processed of food.   Many people have found that following a raw food diet has helped them with digestive problems, has improved their energy levels and helped them to recover from serious illnesses.  Some have claimed it has reversed their type 2 diabetes, lowered their cholesterol and blood pressure, and some have even attributed it to curing their cancer!  One thing is for sure, a raw diet is alkalizing and an alkaline body is a healthy body.  Here is a good article about the benefits of alkalizing the body.

I am by no means a  raw foodist, nor am I vegetarian or vegan.  I have had a few people ask me if I eat meat.  Yes I do eat some meat, I see nothing morally wrong or unhealthy about eating meat, but I do believe it has to be organically and traditionally raised and should be eaten sparingly.  Even the Dalai Lama has been said to eat some meat for health reasons!  Having said this, I do try to follow a diet that is highly raw and vegan.  Most people who switch to a raw and unprocessed diet have found they were able to lose weight without really trying.

There is a misconception that a raw diet consists of only raw fruits and vegetables, but that's not true.  There are some raw diets that include meat , but I won't get into that aspect.  The most common raw diet is made up of plant matter and includes seeds, nuts and grains.  Food starts to lose it's nutritional value once it's heated over 115 degrees, and it's for this reason that many raw foodists use a dehydrator to "cook" their food.  When dehydrated properly, food retains 95% of it nutrition and enzymes.

Eating raw is anything but boring so get that image of nibbling on carrot and celery sticks out of your head.  There are many recipes available for things like pizza, cakes and deserts, breads, granola's, crackers, etc.  A favorite of mine is cookies!
Apple Walnut Raisin Chunkie Dunkie recipe here.
These chunkie dunkies  are absolutely delicious and I would kill for her other recipes!

These ones are pretty tasty too.

Lemon Pie Cookie Bites

 *Lemon Pie Cookie Bites*

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon zest
2 cups raw cashews, ground into flour
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup raw honey
pinch of sea salt

Process everything in blender or food processor until smooth.  Scoop onto mesh dehydrator screens and dry at 110 for 8-10 hours.

warning:  these are seriously tart and lemony!

These next cookies are sweetened with dates and have no added fats and can be left undehydrated and just stored in the fridge.  To make them healthier, I've used walnuts that I soaked and dehydrated.

Raw Brownie Bites

*Raw Brownie Bites*

1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla powder - I used 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped; discard pod
dash sea salt
3/4 cup soft dates, packed
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
2 teaspoons filtered water
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

In food processor pulse and process using S blade the 1 1/2 cups walnuts, vanilla powder/pulp, and salt to make a rough flour.  Add dates and process till well mixed; add cacao and water and process till it forms a dough.  Remove processor blade and stir in the chopped nuts.  At this point you can form into balls and refrigerate or you can scoop onto dehydrator screens and dehydrate at 110 for about 12 hours.

Stay tuned for part 2!