Posts Tagged ‘Raw Food Holidays’

Raw Vegan Easter Feast

In keeping with our raw vegan holiday celebrations, my local holiday crew and I decided to enjoy another delicious feast. In keeping with my Lazy Raw Foodist moniker, I found myself weighing the lazier of two options: walk 1.5 miles each way to the co-op to procure lazy feast ingredients, or use whatever I had on hand to make potentially more complicated offerings. After dancing for half an hour on the rebounder, I decided I’d opt for a little more prep, minus the 3 miles of travel, half of it lugging home ingredients.

That left me with some interesting choices. As with painting doors, I find food prep limitations enhance my creativity. I had some raw staples, half a container of arugula, half 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 recipe for a curried kale, apple and cucumber salad with dried cranberries. I had no cuke, but I did have a container of fresh cranberries that I froze around Thanksgiving. I quickly popped those out of their container, rinsed under warm water and stuck them in the dehydrator.

No, they didn’t look like craisins by the time I left for our meal, but the flavor intensified and they did dry out a bit.

Next, I decided that with minimal ingredients on hand, I could make an easier to digest meal — fermented tahini milk in a dessert drink could help digest a tahini based curry dressing. Apple cider vinegar instead of my non-existent lime juice could help digest the salad’s apples. My half batch of arugula would need to supplement my half bunch of kale, since I didn’t have enough of either for the full recipe. I dropped tahini, curry powder, water, soaked dates and some soak water, a splash of tamari, olive oil, ACV, and some leftover white onion into the Vitamix. Holy freakin’ yum! I had to stop myself from “testing” the recipe, or I would have just eaten it straight out of the jar.

Curry Tahini Dressing

I set the dressing aside in the fridge and chopped some needed-to-be-used-today celery to add to the greens. Then I went on a shorter walk, took a shower and decided the kefir had had almost adequate fermentation time (22 of the usual 24 hours).

Tahini Kefir Fermenting

I strained off the “grains” and dropped them in some coconut water to keep them going. Then I added the tahini kefir to the Vitamix with raw cacao powder, maca, 3 soaked dates + soak water, and a splash of vanilla stevia. The result? Ho-hum. I’ve often made a Mexican Chocolate drink with cayenne and cinnamon, which seriously rocks, but after adding the cayenne, I remembered we were out of cinnamon. Hmmmmm, what kind of chocolate flavor goes with curried cranberry apple greens? I dug around in the cupboard until my fingers landed upon some Sweet Orange essential oil. Three drops transformed the entire quart into something complex and exquisite, if I do say so myself. Total yum!

Chocolate Maca Tahini Kefir with Essence of Orange

By then, my cranberries were as dehydrated as they were gonna get on such short notice, so I popped them and some chopped Lady Alice apples into the kale-arugula-celery mix, coating it all with the tahini curry dressing.

Curried Kale Arugula Salad with Apples and Cranberries

Another yum! This one’s so pretty and tasty, it could easily grace a winter holiday table, even for omnivores. I especially like the bright reds and greens.

As usual, without any planning on our part, the combined feast entrees complemented each other well. We had cauliflower-cashew “mashed potatoes,” a chipotle spread, seaweed-sunflower dip, a green soup appetizer, homegrown herbs and freshly harvested collard greens. Madison has been so warm already that my friends with the sunny backyards already have collards growing! Their three-year-old daughter loves gardening, and she picked the collards, mint, parsley, garlic greens and tulips right before I arrived.

Raw Vegan Easter Feast

Of course, no holiday meal would be complete without dessert. How about homemade chocolates? Sure, those sound great, but sandwiching them between fresh mint leaves took them way over the top.

Homemade Raw Chocolates

My chocolate tahini drink provided just the right backdrop to these little goodies. Once we’d finished our feast, as if on cue, one of their housemates arrived, just “needing” to pour off some homemade kombucha so he could start another batch. We happily provided glasses and sipped on booch for the rest of our visit. All in all, a delightful day!

Sure, my recipes required fermentation and a dehydrator, but they still count as Lazy Raw Foodist fare, since they required very little activity on my part. The dehydrator and kefir grains do their own thing for hours while I do mine. I feel so blessed to have such a lovely raw food community in Madison and so many dear friends. Fabulous food makes my heart sing, but it’s doubly nice when coupled with playful, vibrant children, high vibe conversations and synchronous gifts. Wishing everyone a beautiful day and beyond! Much Love, Laura

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.