WIAW: Eat Yo Veggies

“Sooooo…what exactly do raw vegans eat?” While I personally haven’t been posed that question just yet, I know it’s a commonly asked question just from my experience as a vegan and from browsing raw vegan forums. But really, anybody who eats different from the ‘norm’ is probably asked this question and you know it can get annoying.

It probably comes as no surprise, but I’m eating a LOT of veggies as a raw vegan. And I mean a lot. Most days I eat veggies at lunch, snack and dinner and on Tuesday, I happened to cram veggie servings into each meal. Currently, I’m feeling great eating this way and I’m excited to continue my adventures into the raw foods world, but more on that in Friday’s post. For now, let me share some of what I’ve been eating lately!

Carrot cake-inspired protein chia pudding. No better way to start the day than with a serving of veggies!

Carrot cake-inspired protein chia pudding. No better way to start the day than with a serving of veggies!

This is one of my favorite breakfasts at the moment. Sadly, my vanilla Sunwarrior is almost out and I have to wait til I can afford it again to reorder more from Amazon. It pairs so well with carrots (I used one full-size carrot here)+raisins and coconut manna. Speaking of which, Nutiva’s  raw coconut manna is amazing and cheaper than Artisana’s coconut butter!

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice in the making. Better than Chipotle's.

Cilantro lime cauliflower rice in the making. Better than Chipotle’s.

I’ve never been a huge fan of rice, brown or white. It’s just a filling carb and I haven’t eaten it in a couple years (other than in sushi occasionally) because it does nothing for me. Cauliflower rice, on the other hand, is incredible. I prefer the texture to rice and when seasoned with fresh-squeezed lime juice and cilantro, plus a little nooch and onion powder, you won’t miss regular rice at all.

Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar or salt)

1/2 head raw cauliflower, rinsed

handful fresh cilantro leaves

lime juice, to taste

1 tsp nutritional yeast

pinch onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until cauliflower is about the consistency of rice. Serves 1-2.

Superfood salad for lunch featuring cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Base of spinach+arugula, with cauliflower rice, hemp hearts, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds, Farmhouse Culture raw jalapeno kraut and a little raw taco filling.

Superfood salad for lunch featuring cilantro lime cauliflower rice. Base of spinach+arugula, with cauliflower rice, hemp hearts, spicy sprouted sunflower seeds, Farmhouse Culture raw jalapeno kraut and a little raw taco filling.

This salad was completely random, and as per usual, was amazing. Funny how the most random combos turn out the best. I’m sad that I’m out of my favorite sauerkraut (Farmhouse Culture brand, smoked jalapeno flavor) but that just means a trip to Whole Foods is in order, amiright? Sauerkraut is my weird obsession–I can’t get enough of the sour, spicy tang and the fact that it’s a natural probiotic is even better. This stuff is expensive, but it lasts me about a month, so it’s worth it.

No veggies in this, but still good!

No veggies in this, but still good!

I made the superfood cups from the Sweetly Raw blog, only these were basically just triple coconut cups. EV coconut oil, coconut manna, a little lucuma powder and flaked coconut on top. Perfect for people who are as obsessed with coconut as I am. Can’t believe it used to be one of my major fear foods…plant-based saturated fats no longer scare me!

Crazy for Coconut Cups (vegan, raw, gluten free, grain free, no added sugar)

2 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil (use extra virgin for best taste)

1 tbsp melted coconut manna

1/2 tsp lucuma powder (optional)

1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

In a small bowl, mix melted coconut oil, manna and lucuma powder until smooth. Pour into cupcake liners and top with coconut flakes. Makes 3 small cups.

Taco Tuesday! Lettuce wrap tacos for lunch with homemade guac, more kraut, hemp seeds and raw taco filling.

Taco Tuesday Monday! Lettuce wrap tacos for lunch with homemade guac, more kraut, hemp seeds and raw taco filling.

I finally got some good avocados at Whole Foods this weekend! I’d given up on making guac at home because the avocados I was getting were mealy and too brown, even when they weren’t quite ripe. Maybe they’re coming back into season now or I picked well, because at least one of the avocados I got turned out perfectly creamy and ripe. Mexican food to me is alllllll about the guac, and going raw hasn’t changed that for me. I definitely prefer the fresh crunch of romaine hearts to traditional taco shells and I love loading them up with my favorite raw healthy fats, like hemp and sunflower seeds and guacamole, of course.

Lots of good stuff on my snackplates.

Lots of good stuff on my snackplates.

More snackplate action.

More snackplate action.

I never skimp on the veggies when it comes to snack time! This is when I like to get creative with my veggies, like romaine+dates or dried figs or dehydrated sweet potato ‘chips’. Plain raw veggies get the job done too. And I’ve been loving blackberries lately since I got some on sale for $2 this weekend at WF. Is that a steal, or what? I never used to like blackberries, but blame it on my changing palate since going raw–I love them now!

The raw sweet potato fries, courtesy of Rawmazing.

The raw sweet potato fries, courtesy of Rawmazing.

I made some incredible sweet potato ‘fries’ in the dehydrator yesterday, so I will be making this raw poutine once I get some mushrooms for the gravy. I know poutine is big in Canada, and I’ve actually never tried it (nor want to) but this raw version looks incredible! I’m becoming more and more creative while eating raw and I love it. It’s the perfect way to get me out of my food ruts, and I’m learning to love all kinds of different veggies. Of course, I still have my favorites (ahem romaine, spinach, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potatoes) but I’m up for trying new things all the time and adding new favorites to my rotation.

Other than that, my dinners have mostly been raw macro bowls on top of greens or kelp/carrot/zucchini noodles with some kind of sauce. I like how easy it is to make dinner now, but that I can go more creative if I want to.

From way back in December, but just pretend this was recently.

From way back in December, but just pretend this was recently.

Dessert has often been protein banana softserve, usually with spinach blended in for an extra serving of greens. I’m not a crazy 30 bananas a day raw vegan, but I usually eat 1 or 2 bananas a day at the moment, always in softserve form. Something about an unfrozen banana freaks me out now, I just prefer the taste and texture of frozen!

So that’s what this raw vegan’s been eating lately! I’ll be back with a post on Friday with some of my current raw food staples and how anyone can incorporate more raw foods into their diet…even omnivores!

What are some of your favorite veggies?

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Cuckoo for Cacao

Ever wondered what’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Up until about a year ago, I had only heard of and used cocoa powder but as I’ve gotten more into experimenting with raw foods, I learned about cacao and it’s many health benefits.

First, both products come from the cacao bean, grown in South American, and where we get chocolate from. Cocoa is usually ground up, sometimes dutch-processed and can include a bit of cacao butter in it to enhance the flavor. Cacao, on the other hand, is completely raw, sugar free and full of antioxidants.

When I used to use cocoa powder, I’d always buy the Hershey’s Special Dark variety, since it was fuller in flavor than the regular version. But it was made from a mix of dutched and naturals cocoas, so it wasn’t quite as unprocessed as it could be, plus it wasn’t raw.

I discovered truly raw cacao powder after I had started making raw desserts. I’m obviously not 100% raw, so often my raw desserts aren’t completely raw, but I figured that switching to raw cacao would be beneficial. And I ended up liking the taste more. It was richer, more complex and actually sweeter, despite having no added sugar. It worked just as well in raw recipes, so I decided to switch to just using that, despite the slightly higher price tag (and I also was having a hard time finding the dark cocoa powder), because it has more iron and antioxidants than plain cocoa.

Cacao nibs are also a favorite of mine. I love the Navitas Naturals brand (I get the cacao sweet nibs which are lightly sweetened with organic cane juice) because they’re fairly inexpensive and are a healthier alternative to dark chocolate chips. I eat them straight-up, in nut butter stuffed dates and use them in raw recipes.

If you need a chocolate or granola fix, but are looking for something that fits into your clean eating or raw diet, I’ve got the perfect option for you…Crunchy Cacao Buckwheat Rawnola. It’s easy to make (you don’t even need a dehydrator if you don’t own one), has only 4 simple and healthy ingredients and is perfect for those chocolate and cereal cravings. Buckwheat is another superfood, and is actually not related to wheat at all. It’s gluten free, and not really a grain but a seed (like quinoa) so it has a higher protein and fiber content than many other grains. 1/4 cup of raw buckwheat groats has 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, which makes it a great option for vegetarians and vegans who want to bump up their protein content. The best part about this rawnola is that it’s oil-free and only has a bit of added sugar in the form of maple syrup, which is a lot better than most granola brands on the market. And you make it yourself, so you get to control what goes in it. So you can definitely change up the flavor profile, but having the raw cacao powder in there means more antioxidants and who doesn’t love chocolate?

cacao buckwheat rawnola

Crunchy Cacao Buckwheat Rawnola (vegan, gluten free, grain free, raw)

1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats, soaked overnight 

1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder

1-2 tsp maple syrup (for raw option, use raw honey or agave)

stevia, to taste

Drain water off groats and dry with a towel. Place soaked groats in a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. The groats should be wet enough to soak in the cacao powder. Spoon cacao groats onto dehydrator trays (alternatively, you can put them in the oven on the lowest heat setting with the door open for a few hours) and let dehydrate at 115 degrees overnight, or at least 6 hours. Enjoy the rawnola with almond milk, over fruit or just plain. Makes 2 servings. 

What is your favorite ‘superfood’? Have you ever made granola with something other than oats?

Recipe submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #44 and Raw Food Thursdays.

Raw Foodism 101

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, particularly my recipe posts, you’ll know that I’ve recently discovered a love for raw ‘cooking’ and foods. I currently only have 8 raw recipes in my repertoire but I’m constantly thinking up new desserts I can ‘raw-ify’. I know a lot of people out there don’t know a lot about what raw foodism is, so I thought I’d give you a little rundown of what it means to me and how to start incorporating raw foods into your diet. Note: I am NOT a strict raw foodist, or an expert on this topic. These are just my opinions and what I’ve read from other blogs about raw foodism.

In a (raw) nutshell, raw foodism is eating foods that have not been cooked above a temperature around 115-118 degrees. The main type of raw foodism is raw veganism (as many vegan foods are safe for consumption without being cooked), but some raw foodists are vegetarians or omnivores. Raw foods are preferred over cooked because cooking can destroy the healthful enzymes found in the raw form.

Raw vegans eat fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts & seeds and sprouted grains & legumes. The strictest raw vegans follow a diet known as 80/10/10, which is 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fat, and eat just raw fruits and veggies.

Raw ‘cooking’ is a bit more complicated than just eating straight-up raw or soaked foods. You need a lot of kitchen appliances, like a food processor, blender, juicer and dehydrator. Raw foodists can still eat crackers and cookies–by using these appliances, they can make healthier, more nutrient-dense versions of these popular items while still staying raw. Dehydrators technically heat foods, but only to 115-118 degrees.

Raw ‘cooking’ involves different ingredients than regular cooking. I haven’t done as much experimenting with savory raw dishes, but I can tell you some of the staples needed to make raw desserts.

  • raw, soaked nuts and seeds (especially cashews)
  • raw cacao powder
  • agave nectar, raw honey (not vegan)
  • dates, other dried fruit
  • fresh fruit
  • chia and flaxseed
  • maca/mesquite/lucuma powder
  • cacao nibs
  • soaked buckwheat

If you’ve ever wanted to try preparing raw meals for yourself, but are worried about how complicated it might be, never fear! There are plenty of easy and relatively inexpensive raw recipes out there for you to try out. Here are some that I’ve made in the past or planning to make soon…oh, and don’t mind my lame attempt at raw humor 😉

Rawcos (raw tacos)

Photo courtesy of My New Roots.

Tirawmisu

Photo courtesy of A Raw Story.

Cheezy Sundried Tomato Kale Chips (dehydrator recipe)

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Key Lime Cheezcake 

My own photo & recipe.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Photo courtesy of Choosing Raw.

Rawco Salad (raw taco salad)

Photo courtesy of Oh She Glows.

Raw Mini Pecan Pie

My own photo & recipe.

So now you have no excuse not to try out raw foods for yourself!

What’s your favorite thing to eat raw? Have you ever made a raw meal or snack?

5 Ingredient “Raw”nola

So I decided to make it my goal this summer to try to post at least one recipe per week. I’d really like to do a weekly recipe round-up of all the recipes I’ve made in that week but that probably won’t be happening, since I have a lot of recipe mishaps. Most of the things I make are at least edible, if not yummy, but sometimes they don’t turn out as well as I hoped they would and I don’t post them because they aren’t amazing. Like the sour ‘cream’ and onion kale chips I made last weekend. They weren’t half bad and I loved how the dehydrator made them perfectly crispy, but the flavor wasn’t exactly reminiscent of sour cream and onion.

This “raw”nola on the other hand is delicious. It’s got just enough sweetness with a touch of nuttiness and I like that it came out in huge clumps. The clusters are always my favorite part of granola! Plus it’s (mostly) raw and has only 5 simple ingredients. And it’s so easy a 4 year old could make it.

Mmmm, look at those clusters!

Sunny “Raw”nola (vegan, raw)

1 cup oats (could use oat groats)

1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1 tbsp raw almond butter (or other raw nut butter)

1/4 cup agave (I used honey vanilla flavored agave)

pinch sea salt

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and seeds. Add the almond butter, agave and salt until they coat the oats and seeds and form a sticky mixture. Spoon large clumps onto a lined dehydrator tray (I used a round wax paper cut-out) and spread out until granola is about 1/2 inch high. Dehydrate for 4-6 hours, then set granola out to air dry for 1 hour. Store in a plastic bag/container or enjoy with almond milk. Makes about 2 cups.

What’s your favorite granola flavor? 

Summer (Recipe) Lovin’

Anyone catch the Grease reference? Ironically, my sister’s auditioning for it in the fall at her school since she’s really into musical theatre. I’m actually not even sure if I’ve ever seen the entire movie, but I have definitely heard some of the songs from it.

Anyways, I’ve been doing a lot of recipe experimentation lately and it’s all been pretty successful. Well, okay I did attempt to make Katie’s deep dish cookie pie and it turned out alright, except it tasted a little beany and it didn’t last very long even inside a Ziploc bag without starting to get moisture inside the bag so I had to toss them. But everything else has been not just edible but pretty delicious. Note: All of these are my own recipes, except where I gave credit to the original.

These tiny bites are addicting!

I know I said before that I’m a bigger fan of cookies ‘n cream, but I couldn’t pass up these cookie dough bites I saw on Angela’s blog. If you’ve ever wanted to eat cookie dough but didn’t want to get sick from the raw eggs, these little bites are perfect because they’re vegan, so no eggs involved! But they taste exactly like raw cookie dough and are super simple to make.

Cookie Dough Bites (vegan)

Adapted from Oh She Glows

1/4 cup raw cashew pieces

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp oat flour

sprinkle sea salt

8-10 drops vanilla stevia, to taste

2 tbsp honey vanilla agave (or plain agave)

1 tbsp semisweet vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor, blend cashews and oats until combined and flour-like in texture. Add in oat flour, salt and stevia drops until mixed. Add in agave until mixture comes together and is sticky. In a bowl, take cookie dough mixture and mix in chocolate chips by hand. Form into 8 to 10 small balls and keep in fridge until ready to eat.

Mocha softserve topped with peanut butter Puffins.

This one’s so simple it’s barely a recipe but I thought I’d share it anyway because it’s so good. If you’ve ever made banana softserve before and you’re a coffee fan, you’ll love this version. Just two ingredients and it tastes almost like coffee ice cream.

Mocha Softserve (vegan, gluten-free)

banana slices, frozen

1 tsp instant coffee powder (I used Starbucks’ VIA mocha instant coffee)

Blend banana slices in a food processor or high-powered blender until the slices clump together. Add in coffee powder and process until slices form into a big scoop that’s brownish in color. Serves 1.

Trust me, your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for this bowl!

If you’ve been to Chipotle and have ever had their burrito bowls, you’ll know that they are some of the best things ever. They are always my go-to when I get around to going there (it’s been almost a year since I last went!) because I love getting a bunch of random tasty things in a bowl. But then I made this Chipotle-inspired bowl and realized that it’s even better than the restaurant’s, in both taste and nutrition. Guess I won’t be wasting any of my hard-earned money there anytime soon 😉

Better-than-Chipotle Burrito Bowl (vegan, gluten-free, high protein)

1/3 cup cooked quinoa

cilantro, chopped

lime, quartered

1/2 cup beans (I used pinto, you can use black or whatever beans are your favorite)

kale, chopped and massaged with lemon juice and nooch

spoonful salsa

spoonful guacamole

Mix quinoa with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice until combined. Add a pinch of sea salt if needed. Top with beans, kale, salsa, guacamole or whatever burrito bowl toppings are your favorites. Serves 1. 

Almost totally homemade cinnamon rolls!

About a year ago, I attempted to make Mama Pea’s cinnamon rolls, which are completely from scratch. Now usually I like making things from scratch and most of the time they turn out. Not this time, probably because I have nada experience with making bread that has to rise. I was still on the search for an easy vegan cinnamon roll recipe when I found out that you can make them using pizza dough. I had just gotten some fresh dough from Whole Foods the other day so I decided to put some of the dough to use in almost homemade cinnamon rolls. And they were a delicious success, not to mention totally easy. If you’re scared about making cinnamon rolls from scratch, this is the perfect recipe for you. Plus they’re really healthy–no butter or oil used, lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener and packed with nutritious grains like millet and oats (if you use multigrain pizza dough). What’s better than an easy, yummy and no-guilt breakfast?

Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

half ball of fresh multigrain pizza dough

1 tbsp agave or maple syrup (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla)

generous sprinkle cinnamon

handful chopped maple or regular pecans

oat flour (to flour surface)

Let pizza dough rise in a towel-covered bowl for at least one hour. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out risen dough on floured cutting board until about 1 inch thick and rectangular in shape. Mix agave and cinnamon in a small bowl until thick and paste-like and spread on dough. Sprinkle with pecans and roll into a thick log, pinching ends. Cut into 4 small rolls with a floured knife and place in sprayed baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Serve warm from the oven topped with icing, cream cheese or vanilla almond butter. 

Quinoa power cookie (almost raw).

We just invested in a dehydrator, thanks to my obsession with dried fruit and how expensive that habit is. So far, I’ve made dried pineapple and kiwi…and these cookies. Yep, it’s true, you can make cookies in a dehydrator, and not just any cookies, but magical ones. Like ones made from simple, healthy ingredients like quinoa and almond butter. These babies are tiny but powerful…and delicious of course. They made my house smell like peanut butter and are crunchy and chewy at the same time. Oh, and if you’re dehydrator-less, you can make these in the oven at a low temp. I can’t vouch for how they’ll turn out, but the recipe I adapted them from said you can do that. I personally think it’s cooler making cookies in a dehydrator! Oh, and each cookie has less than 80 calories, so you can totally eat a few of them at a time without feeling guilty!

Quinoa Power Cookies (vegan, gluten-free)

Adapted from Insatiably Healthy

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 tbsp almond butter (I used almond peanut cashew butter)

2 tbsp agave (I used Ohgave! honey vanilla agave) or other liquid sweetener

2 tbsp rolled oats

2 tbsp peanut flour

1 tbsp ground flax-seed

1/2 tbsp sweetened cacao nibs

1 tbsp dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, almond butter and agave. Stir in oats, peanut flour and flax until mixture sticks together. Fold in cacao nibs and chocolate chips. Form into 10 small cookies and place on dehydrator trays. Cook on 115 F for 3-6 hours or until crunchy on the outside. 

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately? What’s your go-to Chipotle order?