Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Raw Energizing PB&J Smoothie

 I love smoothies, but my boyfriend Eric loves them even more.  After we are out running errands and realize we are hungry, a smoothie is often the go to snack when we arrive home.  His favorite is anything made with peanut butter, and sometimes it is just as simple as bananas and peanut butter or even better...some raw cacao powder added in.  But the last time I went to make a smoothie, I did not have many frozen bananas left. What I did have though was strawberries.  I asked him if he still wanted the peanut butter in with the berries because I thought it might be a little weird, but he insisted.  So...this is what we ended up with, a PB and J smoothie!

Honest, it was so delicious, it tasted like PB&J in smoothie form.  I added in some protein to make it more substantial and filling, as well as some maca for energy and lucuma for a bit of sweetness.  It was yummalicious!  If you are making this and you prefer another type of berries over strawberries, go ahead and use those, it would be just as wonderful! 

Raw Energizing PB&J Smoothie
Serves 2

1 cup raw hemp milk or coconut milk
1-2 scoops raw protein powder (optional)
2-3 Tbsp raw jungle peanut butter (or to your tastes)
2 Tbsp lucuma powder
1 Tbsp maca powder
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
Stevia to taste (optional)
3 bananas, frozen and cut into pieces
2 cups frozen organic strawberries

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth, using the tamper to press the shake down into the blades.  Pour into 2 tall glasses and serve!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Raw Carrot Matcha White Chocolate Dream Cake

I wanted to make something unusual for Easter this year.  By unusual I do not mean weird, I mean something with a flavor combination one would not expect.  Sweet carrots and matcha.  It might not be the first thing you would think of for an Easter dessert, but on the contrary, the pastel orange and green are perfect for spring!  And what is more elegant than a colorful cake for a centerpiece?!

My idea to combine these two flavors came when I was enjoying my carrot juice and it was so sweet that I decided that I must make another carrot dessert with those carrots and something earthy with the sweet would be wonderful!  Also, I am a sucker for desserts with beautiful natural color.  I imagined swirls of green matcha and orange carrot fillings in a creamy cheesecake.

I added a white chocolate note to the matcha filling with some raw cacao butter and it was delicious!  Earthy and sweet.  The carrot filling was wonderful too, creamy and scented with vanilla made extra sweet from the organic carrots.  Once married together over the crunchy crust, this cake was simply heavenly!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Weekend!

Raw Carrot Matcha White Chocolate Dream Cake
Makes one 6 inch cake

2/3 cup raw sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional coconut)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup dried finely shredded coconut
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if they are not soft, soak them in water until they are and drain them well)

Matcha Filling:
2 cups young coconut meat*
1/4 cup coconut water
1/3 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/4  teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
2 Tbsp matcha powder
1/3 cup raw cacao butter (warmed to liquid)

Carrot Filling
1 cups young coconut meat*
1 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup coconut water
1/3 cup raw coconut nectar, raw agave nectar or raw honey
1/4  teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract and seeds from half a vanilla bean
1/3 cup raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)

Decorative frosting (optional):

1/2 cup young coconut meat
1/2 cup raw carrots, chopped 

2 Tbsp coconut water

2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or raw agave nectar

1/8  tsp sea salt

seeds of one vanilla bean, or 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

3 Tbsp raw coconut butter, warmed to liquid

Lightly coat a 6 inch spring form removable bottom pans with coconut oil. To prepare the crust, process flax, coconut, buckwheat and sea salt in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the dates and process until the mixture holds together when squeezed between your fingers (if not holding together, add more dates). Firmly press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
To make the matcha white chocolate filling, in a high speed blender or food processor, combine coconut meat, water, coconut nectar, sea salt, and vanilla and matcha in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, add the cacao butter and process for a minute until blended.  
Remove from the food processor and set aside.  To make the carrot filling, add the coconut, carrots, water, nectar, salt and vanilla, to the food processor.  Add the coconut butter with the processor running and blend until well blended. Set aside. 
To assemble cheesecake, drop the two fillings over the crust by the Tbsp randomly,  then tap the bottom on the counter to level.  Swirl with a knife from the outside to the inside in a spiral (you can see my tutorial on it here: http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com/2013/07/making-perfect-raw-cheesecake.html). Place in the freezer for about 4 hours to firm up. 
Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  If the frosting is warm from blending, chill it until cold.  
Once the cake is chilled, remove it from the pan, and place the frosting in a pastry bag.  Pipe the frosting decoratively around the edge of the top of the cake and serve!

*If you do not have access to young coconut meat, you can substitute 4 cups raw cashews soaked for 4 hours and drained for the cake and 1 cup for the frosting.
**Note: this recipe works best with a high speed blender.  Some food processors will not be powerful enough to get the carrot smooth and the filling may be a little chunky.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Raw Carrot Cake Pancakes

Dessert for breakfast.  So wrong or so right?  Definitely so right if you are eating these raw carrot cake pancakes I made last week.  Not that eating a slice of raw cake for breakfast once in a while is ever wrong. A girl needs to indulge once in a while right?  I have been on a carrot cake craving kick lately I guess and making a cake a few weeks back wasn't enough.  Maybe it is because it is spring, but carrot cake has always been a favorite so no shocker that I am hungry for it.

These pancakes are not just simple refined carbs like most of the carrot cake recipes out there...they are packed with healthy oils in the form of flaxseed, which I try to include in my breakfast every day anyhow. And sneaking a bunch of carrots into my breakfast?  Nothing wrong that.  These pancakes are pure deliciousness!  If you love carrot cake, you should treat yourself and make these!

Raw Carrot Cake Pancakes
Makes 4 large pancakes

1 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup raw coconut nectar or maple syrup or your choice of liquid raw sweetener
3/4 cup pitted dates
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raw coconut milk or hemp milk 
1 2/3 cup sprouted oat flour
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

"Cream Cheese" glaze
1/4 cup raw coconut butter (not oil), warmed to liquid
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup or your choice of liquid raw sweetener
a pinch sea salt
3-4 Tbsp filtered water or as needed

In a food processor, combine the carrots, nectar, dates, sea salt, vanilla and coconut milk and process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients (except shredded carrots and raisins) and process until smooth. Mix in shredded carrots and raisins.  Spread out into 4 pancakes about ¼ inch thick on a lined dehydrator tray.  Dry for about 1-14 hours at 115F.  
To make the glaze, whisk together all ingredients until smooth (it may clump up at first, but it will smooth out) adding more water 1 Tbsp at a time until a glaze consistency is reached (you want to be able to drizzle it but not too runny).  Drizzle over the pancakes and serve!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rawlicious Easter Eats

In case you were still trying to decide what to make this year for your Easter spread, I thought I would share a few things I would love to serve to guests with you!  Of course there are lots of desserts included here (my favorite part of the meal what can I say), but also some savory items that I think are Easter worthy. Not only have I included my own recipes, but a few from some of my favorite raw food bloggers as well whose recipes I always find inspiring!  Just click the links below the photos to view the recipes.  Enjoy, and I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Raw Cheese Stuffed Celery

At every holiday, my Grandmother would make something that was so delicious us kids (and some adults) would argue over the last piece. No, it wasn't a dessert...it was stuffed celery.  Crunchy salty celery goodness stuffed with an allium scented cream cheese mixture topped off with paprika.  Funny that something so simple would be so crave worthy. I think it was my love of cheese that had me hooked.  My Grandmother has since passed away and no one makes this stuffed celery anymore, but that does not mean I do not think about it on holidays.  I made a vegan version a few years back, but with ingredients that I would not currently eat such as store bought faux vegan cream cheese (which did not have the healthiest ingredients since cane sugar and things I could not pronounce were included) and it was pretty good.  I have not made it since then though, until this week that is.  My Mother suggested I make some with my macadamia nut cheese and I just had to. Because I knew it would be amazing and way better than Grandma's version ever was (sorry Grandma, you know I am still inspired by your cooking). 

 The macadamia cheese is a simple mixture that I love to use for chevre on salads because it can be crumbled once chilled.  This time I added some garlic to it in place of the powered garlic Grandma used to use.  It was sooo tasty!  I piped it into the celery sticks and topped it off with some smokey paprika (you can use sweet if you want, which is what my Grandma used, but I prefer the smokey).  These were the best stuffed celery sticks I have ever eaten.  And let me tell you I ate a lot in my younger life.  I think these would be perfect for any holiday as an appetizer!

Raw "Cheese" Stuffed Celery
Makes about 24

2 cups raw macadamia nuts, soaked in filtered water for 8 hours and drained
juice of one lemon
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
2-3 Tbsp filtered water

about 8 large organic stalks celery cut into 4 inch sticks

smoked spanish paprika

In a high speed blender combine all the cheese ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.  Place in a pastry bag and pipe into the hollow of each celery stick.  Sprinkle them all with the paprika and serve.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Raw Waldorf Salad My Way

I was never really a big fan of waldorf salad growing up for 2 reasons.  One, I thought the combination of mayonnaise and fruit sounded disgusting and two, I hated celery in salads with fruit.  So you may be asking yourself...why did I make some?  Well, when I became raw my distaste for celery vanished.  I am not sure why but I love the flavor now...something about the slightly saltiness that I enjoy.  Also, I thought I would be able to create a dressing to pair with it that I would find palatable and because raw creamy salad dressings are so delicious!

I used a combination of creamy coconut meat and walnut butter for the base of my dressing along with lemon juice for a bit of a tang and it was delicious!  I mean like lick the spoon and scrape the bowl out it was that good!  I added the classic apples, grapes, celery and walnuts but also some perfectly ripe pear...because you can never go wrong with extra fruit.  It was wonderful!  Not at all like the waldorf I remember tasting as a kid, and yet it had all the same fruits and veggies pretty much.  I think I actually like waldorf now and I would serve this at an occasion like Easter!

Raw Waldorf Salad My Way
Serves 6-8

1 cup young coconut meat
1/3 cup coconut water or more as needed
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp raw honey
3 Tbsp raw walnut butter
a pinch sea salt

2 stalks celery, sliced thin on the bias
2 ripe pears, sliced
2 sweet apples (such as pink lady or honeycrisp), sliced
3 cups red grapes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts

For the dressing, combine everything in a high speed blender and blend until smooth (if it is too thick add a little more coconut water (since young coconuts vary in water content of their meat)).  Pour over all the other ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to combine. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raw Southwest Spring Carrot Gnocchi with Spicy Chili Sauce

I used to love gnocchi before I went raw.  Pillowy little dumplings, the perfect comfort food in my mind.  about a year and a half ago I tried to make a raw version and failed miserably.  I had no idea what I was doing, being new to raw food, and they turned out so bad I threw them out.  I thought it was about time I attempted making them again now that I know more about how ingredients behave when using raw things.  

I decided to give the Italian comfort food a Southwest flavor since I am always one for putting my own spin on things and I love a little spice.  I made a carrot gnocchi, but I flavored it with things like cumin, chipotle and garlic.  I then made a silky chili sauce, a little spicy that I knew would pair perfectly with the gnocchi. I served them with asparagus and peppers and they made for a satisfying comforting dinner!  So much for that epic fail I had last time I tried to make them...this was a win, and this is why I always try everything at least twice.  I consider fails just a practice round!

Raw Southwest Spring Carrot Gnocchi with Spicy Chili Sauce
Serves 4

2 1/2 cups chopped carrot
1/2 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
sea salt to taste
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
a pinch cayenne
1 cup sprouted chickpea flour or sprouted quinoa flour
1/2 cup coconut flour (plus more as needed)

1 large tomato
1 red bell pepper
1 medium carrot
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (soaked until soft and drained)
3 dates
1 garlic clove
sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp cumin
2 Tbsp almond butter

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, or mini peppers cut julienne (or sliced if you have the mini pepper)
a few scallions, sliced

For the gnocchi, combine the carrots, hemp seeds, almonds, yeast, sea salt, garlic, flax, cumin, turmeric and cayenne in a high speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If using the blender, transfer to a food processor before adding the flours.  Add the chickpea flour, and process until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup of the coconut flour and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and place in a large bowl. Knead in more coconut flour a little at a time until you have a soft but not too sticky dough (the less you add, the more tender the gnocchi will be, and I ended up with about 1/4 cup additional flour).  Shape into little gnocchi shapes, and set aside on a plate (or if you want them warm, place them in the dehydrator at 115F while you prepare the sauce).
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
When ready to plate, spoon some of the sauce onto a serving plate, top with some gnocchi, some asparagus and spoon some more of the sauce over.  Top with peppers and scallions.  Serve!