Posts Tagged ‘Raw Food’


Just a quick post today to share why I love summer gardening season and the gorgeous raw food creations we can make with fresh food. David’s been working only five minutes away from home this week, which means we get to have lunch together. Yesterday, I made a raw almond mock “tuna” pâté (complete with homegrown lovage instead of celery and the first green pepper of the season), and featured it over freshly picked salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, chives, and edible flowers from the garden, along with carrots and beets from a local farm:

July 21 salad

salad two

And today, we had the leftovers, made into something completely different:


leftovers with flowers

Bouquet picked this morning, plus nori wraps filled with leftover nut pâté, carrots and another cucumber, and then tree collard wraps filled with nut pâté, avocado, fresh tomato, carrots and cukes. We spread a little umeboshi plum paste on the wraps at lunch for a sweet, tangy, salty pop! No, I did not grow the avocados or almonds in this dish, but yes, we do have a cold hardy avocado tree. One day, those avo’s will be reallllly fresh! Until then, the co-op works well.

Raw food delights all the senses. So grateful for such beauty and bounty!

Last Night’s Dinner!


Almost too pretty to eat, but glad we did. 🙂 Everything came from our garden, except these particular beets and carrots, which I had purchased at the local Farmers Market on Saturday. Edible flowers and fresh herbs make summer salads extra fun! Shown here: calendula, nasturtiums and chamomile.

It’s Pizza Kale Chip Time Again

All five of my kale plants are huge and ready for harvest!

All five of my kale plants are huge and ready for harvest!

Time for some dehydrating yum:

Kale chips ready to dehydrate

Pizza Kale Chips

Equivalent of two large kale bunches, torn into bite sized pieces


1 cup raw cashews
Large fistful of fresh Italian herbs (I used basil, parsley, oregano and sage.)
Five fennel seeds
Juice from one lemon
5-7 soaked sun-dried tomatoes plus leftover soak water equal to 3/4 cup of liquid
One garlic clove plus optional garlic skapes (I had some from the garden. You can use more garlic or powder to taste.)
2 tablespoons Parma Chipotle Cayenne (or nutritional yeast plus chipotle and cayenne to taste)
Celtic Sea salt to taste

1. Blend dressing ingredients.
2. Massage into torn kale (with your hands until kale gets softer and a little broken down).
3. Spread evenly on mesh dehydrator trays with the Teflex sheets on them to start.
4. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 4-6 hours on Teflex.
5. Remove Teflex.
6. Dehydrate another 1 to 2 hours until completely dry and crispy.
7. Cool, then store in plastic bags or glass jars.

I use an Excalibur Dehydrator. If you have a different type, then your timing may vary. Just remember to keep the temperature below 112 degrees and to check on them every few hours to make sure they dry completely. If you don’t dry them all the way, you will need to eat them in a couple days, or they could mold. If you dry them and vacuum pack them, they could last for months.

Bon Appétit!

Squash Blossoms with Purslane Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato

A couple afternoons ago, I noticed an organic farmer’s table set up outside the local branch of our library. Even though David and I had just come from the co-op, I wandered over to the table, attracted by huge bunches of orange, red and yellow flowers. I love flowers, so I bought a bouquet.

Farmer’s Market Flowers

As I was paying, some squash blossoms caught my eye:

Squash Blossoms

I had learned to love squash blossoms last year when a volunteer pumpkin patch completely took over our side garden. The bunch above represents 1/2 of what I bought, since I snapped the photo after preparing my yummy meal. These are male flowers, which have the stamens in them. You remove the stamen before eating, and they are delicious! You can also eat female flowers, but those are the ones that turn into squash, so most farmers only harvest the male flowers.

Typical recipes for squash blossoms involve frying them, stuffing them with herb cheese, or including them in quesadillas. I wanted something raw and vegan that used what I had on hand. Some kind of pesto sounded good, and we have tons of purslane, an aggressive, edible “weed” with high Omega-3’s and a lemony flavor. I love adding purslane to pesto, and last night I decided to emphasize the Omega-3 by adding in soaked and dehydrated walnuts. I did add a few sprigs of fresh basil and a handful of New Zealand spinach, since both needed harvesting, but the pesto was almost entirely purslane, plus the juice of one lemon. Secret ingredients in raw pestos include miso and some kind of nutritional yeast. In this case, I used South River Azuki Bean Miso and what we call “Sprinkle,” Parma’s Chipotle Cayenne vegan parmesan. A touch of Celtic Sea salt rounded out the flavors.

Miso and parma

A couple days earlier, David and I had sliced and dehydrated a bunch of ripe tomatoes, since we were doing a liquid only cleanse. I call them sundried tomatoes, but I guess technically, they are dehydrated tomatoes. Here’s a picture of the tomatoes and the purslane pesto:

In order to eat my squash blossoms with purslane pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, I removed the stamens and then carefully slit open the flowers, stuffing them with pesto and topping with tomatoes. They make pretty little packages that pop with flavor. David was in London, but in between sessions, I enjoyed a romantic, faery dinner with my flowers and more flowers. Deeeeelish! 😉

Squash Blossoms with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato

The Hugging Tree

David took me to one of our very favorite raw food restaurants on my birthday — Borrowed Earth Cafe, in Downers Grove, Illinois. Our friends Danny and Kathy Living own and manage this wonderful home of raw, vegan, wholesome decadence, and it made a perfect stopover on our way to visit David’s parents in Indiana. I love their food, so I was super excited to eat there, but then I saw this tree:

Borrowed Earth Hugging Tree

Something about that tree made me so happy that I just had to hug it, even before I read the sign. David was photographing the tree’s lovely “outfit,” while I was like, “Hurry! I need to hug the tree!” When I saw the photo he took of me, I actually felt a little embarrassed by my exuberance. What the heck?! I guess I really do love trees. Like, a whole, whole lot.

Laura Bruno really loves trees!

We hadn’t told Danny and Kathy we planned to road trip there from Madison, but as we entered, Kathy said, “I was just thinking about you this morning! Too weird. Or not. I guess that’s just how things work, huh?” Sure enough, that’s how they work in my life, anyway. 😉 We enjoyed our meals and dessert as much as we always do and decided to buy Danny’s new book, Borrowed Earth Café: Climbing the Ladder of a Dream. It’s quite a non-linear endeavor, full of humor, skits, recipes, personal stories, and little nuggets of inspiration and wisdom. I’ve enjoyed my time with the book, which puts together some puzzle pieces I had intuitively surmised but of which I’d never had any overt confirmation. Of course, I particularly enjoyed this passage — written by Danny writing as Kathy — about my new tree friend:

“On International Yarn Bombing Day, which is a day when people knit things and put them in unusual public places, like fun, non-property damaging graffiti, I posted this:

“‘Nothing adds to the fun like a tree wearing a sweater, worn here by our tree, The Hugging Tree. Stop by and pet the tree for good luck and happiness … Happy International Yarn Bombing Day from Borrowed Earth Café, in Downers Grove, IL, USA.’

“So, me and two friends, Kathleen and Mary Beth (our friend with the beautiful therapy dogs, Maggie and Timmy), knitted little rectangles and fastened them to the trunk of the tree in front of the restaurant.

“I love it!

“I put a sign on the tree proclaiming it, ‘The Hugging Tree’ and all day long, I watch young and old (mostly young) hug the tree.

“That tree’s gotta feel mighty good.”

In addition to well-loved trees, they’ve got some Fancy Pants in front of the patio. Lots of fun all around. Here’s to trees, stories, whimsy and love! Little things can make a huge difference. Next time you feel a little blue, think “green.” Whip up a salad, down a green juice and/or go hug a tree. Nature loves you back!

For more about my friends at Borrowed Earth Café, here’s their site. A feast for body, mind and soul. Namaste!

Raw Vegan Mexican and Birthday Celebrations

Mmmmhmmmm, I have been quite the kitchen witch lately, prepping all manner of elaborate raw food feasts. I’m not sure what’s gotten into the Lazy part of my Raw Foodist nature. Actually, this feast only took two hours total to prep, not counting passive dehydrator time for the tortillas. Just thought I’d share some of the goodies I made, so David and I could have a pre-birthday dinner for him after my Vision and “Visions” class this past Sunday.

On the menu: Spinach Flax tortillas from Cafe Gratitude‘s book, “I Am Grateful.” Yum! Only 4 ingredients (loads of spinach, a tablespoon of flax and lemon juice and some sea salt). They’re kind of delicate on the dehydrator screens, but I love their flavor. I used these to hold some walnut-pumpkin seed taco “meat,” topped with tomatillo-chia seed salsa, homemade guacamole, and a simple purple cabbage slaw made with apple cider vinegar and a hint of birch sweetener. The chia seeds were an afterthought, since those tomatillos got extra juicy. Too much liquid and delicate tortillas are a no-no. I learned about adding chia seeds to salsa from Jerri Hastey of Santa Rosa’s “Seed Restaurant.” Then I made a goji berry-olive oil-balsamic vinegar dressing to top a side salad of spring greens.

We got two meals from this prep, but here are photos from the first night:

Mexican Tacos and Cabbage Slaw

Cabbage Slaw with ACV and Birch Sweetener

Spring Greens with Goji Balsamic Dressing

I also made a simple walnut-date-raw cacao cake for David last night (on his actual birthday). I think that recipe originally came from my dear friend Tania Marie: 1 cup walnuts; 1 cup dates; 2 TBSP raw cacao; process together in a food processor. I usually make some sort of icing, but last night we opted just for the cake. I had soaked and dehydrated walnuts last week, which made it extra creamy and delicious.

The sweet treats didn’t stop with the cake, though. Our friend Ingrid makes THE best raw granola on the planet. When we headed in for chiropractic appointments yesterday a.m., Dr. Ingrid gave David a jar of her tasty “Namaste Granola” to go along with a case of coconut water from Dr. Brian:

Namaste Granola

And truth be told, we’re just getting started. With David’s birthday on the 7th and mine on the 22nd, we’ve got two weeks of yumminess planned. This Friday, we’ll be enjoying some homemade chocolate pie by our Raw Mama friend Sarah. Then we’ve got a (cooked) Wild Edibles Gourmet Dinner at the Wildwood Institute on May 19th and a road trip on my birthday that involves at least one stop at our friends’ Danny and Kathy’s Borrowed Earth Cafe. So grateful for sweet friends, lots of love, Mother Earth and her yummy foods!

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