Raw Food Holiday Fun

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday time as much as I did. Yes, I know it’s not over yet! We’ve all still got a New Year to ring in, and in January I have one grandmother turning 100 and the other celebrating 90 years around the Sun. My holiday season began on Thanksgiving and continues through the third week of January. So many people ask me what I eat during the holidays that I thought I’d post another round of raw vegan holiday photos. Here’s what I had on Thanksgiving, and below you’ll find two feasts’ worth of food: one from a Christmas Eve dinner with local raw food friends and the second with my boyfriend’s non-raw, non-vegan family when we could be together two days after Christmas.

As I mentioned in my Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Post, I am no longer 100% raw or 100% vegan. I did spend about 8 1/2 years as a strict vegan, and I still find the bulk of my diet consists of raw vegan foods like green smoothies, salads, seed pâté’s, blended soups and occasional raw desserts. Given the cold winters of Madison, Wisconsin (as opposed to my warmer sojourns in Sonoma County and Sedona), I sometimes add lightly steamed veggies, kombu soaked beans, and grains like brown rice. In February 2011, I also added some organic, grass-fed, free range, raw cultured dairy to keep my teeth mineralized, as they remained a major weak link, regardless of vegan supplements and any version of a totally vegan diet. I may write on my tooth protocol another time, but today’s post is meant to celebrate the vast array of raw vegan dishes that even “regular” folks enjoy. Especially on holidays, I love to feature the gorgeous, delicious and joyful bounty of Mother Earth.

I’ve got lots of photos, so I will mostly let them speak for themselves:

Raw Vegan Christmas Eve Feast

This one came from my local raw vegan Christmas Eve Feast. It features clockwise from left: zucchini pasta with marinara sauce, Eden Organic Brown Mustard (made with raw apple cider vinegar), Fennel Seed Sausage (from Raw Fusion Recipes), Buckwheat Crusted “Fried” Onion Rings, Celery Wakame Soup, Simple Caesar Salad (also from Raw Fusion) and napa cabbage leaves as a substrate for the sausage and mustard.

More Raw Vegan Feasting

At the same gathering, we also had a cashew based hummus, chopped veggies, extra garlicy marinara sauce and nori sheets for building some seriously flavorful wraps. For dessert, we had a vegan nut-nog, which I made by blending almond butter, water, lucuma powder, vanilla stevia, 1 soaked date (and soak water), 1 banana, nutmeg, and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. My boyfriend makes his nut-nog with more dates and no lucuma, but I knew that Christmas Eve’s crowd would appreciate low glycemic. 🙂

Once that feast ended, I spent much of Christmas day prepping food for our post-Christmas road trip to Goshen, Indiana, where David’s parents live. For some reason, I have been seriously craving sourdough rye bread, and my local friend turned me onto this amazing grain-free, raw Rye Flatbread recipe from Ani’s Raw Food Essentials. (Ani Phyo, that is.) OMG! This totally hit the spot. It uses celery, caraway seeds, cacao, and ground flax to make a convincing texture and taste. When we arrived to a homemade (cooked) vegan soup, this Rye Flatbread allowed us to have soup and bread like the rest of the family. David’s mom tried the bread and couldn’t believe a) I made it, b) it had no grains, and c) how flavorful it was.

Rye Flatbread

Truth be told, I was quite the kitchen witch, preparing foods that David and I would love, which we also thought the rest of the family might like, too. The bottom shelf of our fridge could barely hold all the travel food, including some green smoothies for breakfast:

Stocked Travel Fridge

(By the way, those Hail Merry macaroons are incredible! They do have maple syrup in them, but wow! Totally tasty.)

In the fridge you can see our smoothies; an Asian cabbage slaw made from the rest of the Christmas Eve napa cabbage; marinating Italian mushrooms that included my own homegrown basil; a lemon stevia and mustard dressing to be added to a pound of spinach with pinenuts before serving (this was a non-gycemic version of Cherie Soria‘s “Braised Spinach” from her book, The Raw Revolution Diet); sweet potato soup with shallots, pumpkin seed oil, and homegrown rosemary; and some root veggies for our (cooked) roasted root veggie dish (parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, yellow carrots, turnips, shallots, olive oil, wheat free tamari and balsamic vinegar), which we prepared on site and shared with everyone. I made extra Fennel Seed Sausage for the Christmas Eve feast, and this became David’s and my roast beef counterpart on our plates:

Christmas Plate

As you can see, we feasted well! Clockwise from upper left: ACV-marinated cucumbers with shallots, “Braised Spinach,” Italian Marinated Mushrooms (with basil, garlic, sun dried tomato and a hint of wheat free tamari), roasted root veggies, and the Fennel Seed Sausage from Raw Fusion. Again, David’s mom gave a surprised thumbs up to the Fennel Seed Sausage. Everyone loved the mushrooms, cukes, and roasted root veggies, and the spinach got rave reviews from those who eat spinach. We had so much food that David and I saved the cabbage salad for another meal, which I enjoyed with the soup and more of that amazing bread.

The only non-universal winner was the lowly swamp water pie. LOL! David and I love Spirulina Pie with goji berries as a special Christmas festivity. After sampling twelve baked pies, my non-vegan friend Matthew voted it his all time favorite pie last holiday season. Alas, the concept of algae and green in a pie is just too much for some people. I promised to bring Violet’s Violent End next holiday season. That’s a blueberry chocolate pie from Shazzie and David Wolfe’s book, Naked Chocolate. Always a consistent winner, but it’s purple. Who wants a purple pie for Christmas when you can have a green one?! We will all have some giggles for years to come, though, so it was worth making the pie. David’s sister’s family all wanted to try it, despite warnings that it might not be to their usual liking. Seeing all those green tongues stick out in disgust actually made our first night there hilarious — and David and I got to eat everyone else’s pie. We wisely offered it the night before the feast, so as not to interfere with what we knew would be a lovely gathering. 🙂

For raw foodies or anyone who’s developed a taste for spirulina, this variation of Matt Amsden’s Spirulina Pie, is really quite a treat. I find Matt’s too sweet, so I usually skip the crust and back down the agave, but the carob, spirulina, coconut and cashews are the same. Then I top it with goji berries to up the festivity factor. Here it is in all its spiral swamp water glory:

Spirulina Pie with Goji Berries

We ate well, and all our dishes blended with the more traditional mashed potatoes, roast beef and corn. It was one of the best Christmas celebrations I remember having. Ever. Lots of fun, and no one felt out of place or went hungry. In fact, we had enough leftovers to feast at a rest stop on the way back to Madison, even after over two days of eating well.

Wishing you all good health in the New Year! If you’re looking to up your raw food goodies, I highly recommend Raw Fusion, as well as my own ebook, The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide. Both offer laid back approaches to tasty eating and high vibe foods.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Qwendelynn on January 10, 2012 at 5:44 am

    I am excited to hear whether your teeth improve with raw milk products. Good luck!



    • Posted by laurabruno on January 10, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Oh, they improved immediately. It was really quite incredible, and I have another friend who experienced the same thing. I wish I had found such lasting results with the vegan supplements, but the raw dairy seems to have structurally altered my teeth in a positive way.



  2. Posted by Qwendelynn on January 11, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Wow! how much and how often did it take to do that? My teeth have been feeling strange recently myself…I am just not sure if I am ready to try the raw dairy thing yet but I am contemplating it.



    • Posted by laurabruno on January 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      It took awhile! I spent much of Christmas day chopping and whirring, since we had our celebration the following two and a half days. I had to start the bread early due to dehydration, but it only took about 15-20 minutes to “make.” …I am very allergic to pasteurized dairy, but for some reason, the raw cheese works really well for me. It just took me, oh, about 5 years from when I first got the message to start eating it. LOL, I really wanted to stay vegan. I do have a possibly contributing circumstance, in that my spine has been pressing on my digestive nerves at least since my 1998 car accident. When I finally got chiropractic for my sacrum injury this summer, my chiropractor what like, “Um?! How are you even eating!? It’s a good thing you got into raw food.” It’s likely that I just really wasn’t absorbing all the plant-based sources of calcium and trace minerals. As my back continues to improve, I may find that the vegan supp’s work well enough for me again. Teeth are definitely a weak link on a raw vegan (or even whole grain vegan) diet. The book, Cure Tooth Decay, is excellent, although I wouldn’t do many of the protocols in there myself–like eating brains and liver, etc. The information on raw dairy and raw, fermented fish oil is quite eye-opening, including many photographs and testimonials.



  3. Posted by Qwendelynn on January 11, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Wow! Thank you for all of the wonderful information! I appreciate it! The bread looks divine:)



  4. […] a bunch of kale, apples, and some fermenting tahini kefir. What to do, what to do? Thinking of my Christmas Eve sausages from Raw Fusion Living, I synchronously popped over to the Raw Fusion Living blog, where I found a […]



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