Blessed Eid ul-Fitr & Shana Tovah Kids! Raw Vegan MoFo Thursdays!

Don’t you just love how all the big holidays just seem to happen at the same time? Sundown tonight marks Eid ul-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, we’re also “fêting” Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and we just celebrated the Fall Equinox – oh, and it JUST HAPPENS TO BE VeganMoFo…coiencidence? I think not!

The Universe has all its ducks in a row to help us feel a bit of union with our fellow wo and man, Vegan or otherwise, and that just makes me feel all fuzzy-happy-granola-handing out daisys-ish.

And before we get all wrapped up in our Raw Thursday excitement, let’s not forget about the big Vice-Presidential Debate happening in the United States, either. Ahem, Vote Democrat People, ahem.

Anyway, I just love a good Raw Thursday, so let’s get started!

Breakfast :

My morning began with a lovely smoothie – a frozen banana, a small pear, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, a big handful of fresh chopped parsley, and about a half cup of fresh apple juice. I have no picture, because at 6 a.m. in my kitchen there is no light save the orangy-glow of my ecologically-friendlyish lightbulb. Just imagine it was pretty and it tasted fresh and crisp like the autumn morning.

A.M. Snack :

The Raw Thursday post-run mid-morning snackie-poo was a Raw Banana Bread Bar. You know when you do something so obviously simple, yet it turns out freaking perfect? Well kids, that’s what this was all about for the Shellyfish. I wanted to re-create some of the Fancy-Over-Priced-Raw-Bar goodness, and I did it all by my self! Sorry about the crappy picture, but I took it while eating, so there you go. Here’s the so easy recipe so you can make them at home and feel very proud of yourself, too:

RAW BANANA BREAD BAR

  • 100g  raw almonds
  • Three dried bananas, chopped
  • 150g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • water

I put the almonds in the food processor first to grind ‘em up a bit, then added everything save the water, which I slowly added to help make a paste. The consistency is still a bit sticky, so maybe next time I’ll use less dates & less water, and maybe throw in some walnuts…but the taste is dead bang, kids. Wow!

Lunch :

A humongous salad  with fresh battavia lettuce, freshly grated carrots, corn (frozen, well, thawed frozen, duh), and my usual “I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing” vinagrette which is usually apple cider vinegar, some olive or other oil, a clove of garlic, some tahini, maybe some fresh herbs, etc. I also had me an “Almond Flaxseed Burger” from Brendan Brazier’s The Thrive Diet. Oh how I lament that talented professional athlete and vegan Brazier caved to the marketing whimsies of his publisher and dubbed this book a “Diet” book. Grrrr. It’s not really a diet book, though it does have a very high-raw meal plan and a very small selection of recipes in it. It’s a good read if you’re vegan, raw-curious, and an athlete. I picked it up last Spring after Jen suggested it – thanks Jen! – it’s handy because it does have recipes for making your own energy bars and recuperation puddings and such.

P.M. Snack

The afternoon snack is really key for me on my Raw Thursdays because I do feel rather peckish around l’heure du goûter or snack time, not to mention that I don’t eat dinner until nearly 8 p.m.  Yesterday I posted the recipe for Tahitian Almond Dip (by popular demand), and that got me craving it, but as I was taking out the ingredients I decided to not leave good enough alone and change it up a little. Holy freaking Almond Dip Batman! I am so glad I decided to play with this, because it is so darn good…it has this amazing Fall-Carameled Apple feeling to it (though I’m sure nothing like Maggie’s Vegan Caramel Apples, drool, drool). Try this, you will not be disappointed!

THE SHELLYFISH FALL ALMOND DIP

  • About a cup raw almond butter (I just eyeballed it, because it is so annoying to measure nut butters and have them get all sticky on the measuring cups.)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved & scraped a bit
  • fresh apple juice – I have no idea how much, maybe 1/2 a cup? I just kept adding it until it was creamy enough.

I put everything save the juice in the food processor, then started adding the juice when things got gummy.

Dinner :

I haven’t acutally had dinner yet! I can tell you, though, that I’ll be having another huge salad – this time with shreaded zuchini and raw beets, and I’ll be having the other “Almond Flaxseed Burger” because the recipe makes 2, really 3, small patties. I know if I wait until after dinner the chances of my getting this post up today are drastically reduced…so better now than tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, stay tuned! It’ll be the big drawing for the felty-love pouch! I’m so excited!

No Raw Thursday, No Iron Cupcake and No to Palin!

Don’t forget to leave a comment here to be entered

into my little drawing for a felty-love pouch!

Visiting in-laws means no Raw Thursday for the Shellyfish…proving true to form in my normal “I have to do everything really well so my in-laws love me” way, I’ve been very busy cooking & baking up a storm, and it just wouldn’t do for me to be eating a separate, raw meal at the same table… I’m working on showing how “normal” vegan cuisine really is, and while I don’t think raw cuisine is “weird” (ok, sometimes it IS), I do think it would appear a bit strange for me to be eating my Raw Tacos while they dine on the lasagna that is in the oven! JFTR (just for the record), my brother and sister-in-law are adorable, and they would love me even if I didn’t cook up a storm…it’s that perfectionist/over-achiever curse from being a ballet dancer all those years…not them! So, see you next Thursday for some raw goodness!

The Public Broadcasting System, or PBS, is the primary public and commercial-free channel in the United States (un peu comme ARTE ou France 5 mais sans les pubs). This channel provides many incredible educational programmes for children, excellent news coverage, and fabulous documentaries. There is a very un-scientific poll up on their web site asking people if they feel Ms. Palin is qualified…http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html you don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to realize that McCain’s feeble attempt at harvesting the female votes that would have perhaps gone to Hillary Clinton is a catastrope in the making…she may be a woman, and it’s always exciting to see more women in power, but she has a horrible environmental record, is not a pro-women’s rights voter, and has no experience with foreign policy AT ALL. Please click the link – it’ll take 20 seconds – and let your voice be heard! Oh, and check out the uber-talented Kindara and her fab Quilted Obama T-Shirt – because everything is political, our choices, our voices, and especially our art!

I have had too much on my baking pan this month, so I’m passing on the Iron Cupcake challenge for September (much to the chagrin of M. Fish). Please go check out some of these excellent entries from some of my favorite bloggers : The amazing Amanda braved post-Ike conditions to make her Basil-infused Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes, Diann has some adorable popcorn-decorated Peach Gazpacho Cupcakes, the Michigander (I love that word!) Maggie has some beautiful Basil-Citrus Cupcakes, and Sweet Potatoe has delicious Coconut Cupcakes with Mango-Basil filling and Coconut Frosting. Today is the posting deadline, so the hills will be alive with the sounds of cupcakes!

A *Chilly* Raw Thursday

Holy climate change Batman! Generally, September – especially the first two weeks – is still considered a summer month here in France. Once upon a time it was very warm during these final days bridging the lazy days of summer and the hustle of new classes, vacations ending, and the crispness of new paper and freshly-sharpened pencils.

Not this year.

As I’ve mentioned, the mornings have been down right cold (ok, everything is relative, but I think 6c is cold!), and the past two days it hasn’t heated up past 13c. Of course last weekend it was positively beautiful, warm, sunny…I was in bed with a sinus infection, but whatevah.

So why am I crying in my collards about the weather? Well, this was my first totally Raw day in such cold conditions. I must admit, when I got up and began turning on the lights before waking the rest of the clan (because it’s dark until like 7:45am now!) I went to make myself a hot tea – arrr, wait – I said to meself, there’ll be none of that today! (I do talk like a pirate sometimes. Usually after drinking wine. Which I didn’t do today, just for the record.) I found it was a slight hinderance all this coldness, and it would probably have been worse had I gone for my usual run (which I didn’t because of the sinus thing…freaking cold humidity). I felt this nesting-type of instinct to bake bread and casseroles and things that would warm up hearth and belly…but I fought those evil thoughts off with a (carrot) stick – it’s Raw Tuesday, cold or not! (We also caved and turned the heat on…)

So, without further complaining, I give you my Raw Thursday :

Today’s edition of Raw Thursday has been vastly dedicated to using recipes from Jennifer – one tasteful picture on the cover – Cornbleet’s Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People. I’ve blogged about this book before, and it was in fact my first Raw food book. I this this is an excellent book for the following reasons : 1) I don’t think you need a dehydrator for ANY of the recipes (for one or two they are optional); 2) As per the title of the book, the recipes don’t feed the masses! While I enjoy my Raw leftovers for next-day lunches or knoshes or meals, many Raw dishes don’t keep for more than 4 or 5 days, meaning that there is sometimes waste, which is frustrating and expensive. Tossing out left-overs won’t be a problem with the recipes from this book, rest assured. I think my only complaint about Raw Food Made Easy is the lack of pictures (there are a few full-color glossy pics in the centre of the book). I like to see what the food is supposed to look like, that’s just the way I am. That is a rather minor problem, though, and I think I can say that this is my favorite Raw Foods book, and I would definitely suggest it to someone who is Raw-Curious, and not sure where to start.

I’d like to start out of order (I’m crazy like that) and share with you the most delicious Raw discovery yet. This “Apple Crisp” is the most phenomenal raw dessert I’ve ever made, so much so that I will classify it as just being a “dessert” in my mind. I’ve made the “Blackberry Crip” from this book before, but since the first apple crops have hit the marché I opted for the pomme. As I was putting it together, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing…like, it just needed a little something more. Frosting! Actually, it’s just raw almond butter and some fresh apple juice. It made all the difference in the world! It took this dessert from “oh hi, I’m a raw dessert, I bet you’re hungry and want something to eat.” to “Hey, how you doin’ sexy thing?” As per my usual Raw Dayness, I snack on the dessert I make when feeling hungry between lunch and dinner…

I just can’t convey how good this is…especially because I’m trying to hurry & shoot so I can eat! :) Here, let me try again :

Lunch was just delicious – Tomatoes stuffed with “Sunflower Herb Paté” and served with “Carrots with Moroccan Spices”. Super yum! I know I recently made a sunflower-based paté, but this one is much lighter and different enough that I didn’t feel like I was eating the same thing. M. Fish, who was home at lunch, tasted the Paté and thought it was so good he changed lunch plans and spread it all over half of a boulangerie-fresh baguette. It was lovely with the tomatoes, and the carrots were a great accompaniment. I intentionally prepared them a full hour before lunch, which gave them time to properly soak up the spices they were tossed with.

For dinner I had one last stuffed tomato, finished up the Moroccan Carrots, but added some “Mock Rice Pilaf” and a “Jerusalem Salad”. The pilaf is grated zucchini, pine nuts, raisins, and normally a bit of marinara sauce, but I just made a tahini dressing instead. The “Jerusalem Salad” was a very simple salad, similar to what you’re served in a Middle Eastern restaurant here in France – in place of the chips and salsa you get in a Mexican restaurant state-side. It’s just some cucumber, tomato, parsley, red onion, etc. Light, fresh, and delicious!

I’m so sorry about the horrible photography…now that it’s dark at 7pm, I have no light in my kitchen when we’re getting ready to eat dinner! I need to start working around that again…long live Winter Solstice when we start gaining daylight again!

Oh, and I totally forgot about breakfast! I actually had a piece of the Coconut Snow Cake from last Thursday! It made 10 servings, and according to the cookbook is ok in the fridge for 10 days… I intentionally saved a piece for my breakfast today and it was just as delicious this morning as it’s been all week!

Raw Thursdays! Jeudi Tout Cru!

This has been a most excellent Raw day…hurrah for Raw Thursdays!

I started the day off with some “Purple Porridge”, a slight twist on Shazzie’s “Pink Porridge” from The Complete Book of Raw Food. According to the recipe it serves two people, but I halved the recipe, and it still made a huge amount, about 2 servings I’d say easily. It’s just frozen blackberries, soaked almonds, and some briefly soaked dried apricots all mashed up in the food processor (now, the recipe says you can use a blender, but I ended up having to use both because my blender evidently doesn’t have enough testosterone or something…). I really liked this. I am always a bit leery of the “nut-heavy” recipes because they tend to be so heavy, but I did change the proportions and added more frozen fruit and less almonds which lightened it up… either way – super yum!

For lunch I dined on “Italian Rawzania” with “Sun-Dried Marinara” and “Ricotta Cheeze” from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen. I believe that “Rawzania” is supposed to be a cute, raw-friendly way of saying lasagna, but it just seems awkward to pronounce, frankly.

Luckily, it was not difficult to make, or eat, for that matter. This was really a delicious meal, and I am sure that I’ll make it again. I knew I was a fan of the marinara sauce, but I haven’t yet found a raw faux-cheese that I really like. I’m learning how to play with the recipes to my own tastes, which helps, but I still found the “Ricotta Cheeze” to be, well, weird – and don’t get me wrong, I like weird, but it’s just too something. Not sure what. It did really marry quite nicely with the raw veggies and the marinara, though, and all together it was great. I made this the night before to allow for the flavors to combine nicely, and am very glad I did. It was good at lunch, but it was even better at dinner! The veggies had softened even more and the flavors were really harmonious! (That’s not something I say every day!). Since I’m the only one dining Raw, I will have one piece left over for lunch tomorrow – yippee for me!

My dessert-cum-snack is also from Ani’s Raw, the “Coconut Snow Cake”. The recipe called for a cake base, then a frosting layer, and then a lovely coating of coconut (I just love the coconut!). After tasting the cake I decided that it did not need frosting because it was already über sweet, so I just gave a generous dusting of coconut and voila!

This was the first raw dessert that the Guppy actually liked. She has such a sweet tooth (I have NO IDEA where that comes from, at all…) and loves raw fruits, I thought she’d really like them, but she usually takes a tiny taste and spits it right back out. So, when she asked me for a bite I of course obliged, but was ready for the typical “No, it’s yucky!” which generally follows anything new that isn’t to her liking. She surprised me when she confiscated my fork and smiled, “This isn’t yucky, it’s yummy! I think I would like this now, ok?”, and slyly pulled my plate towards her side of the table. Go figure!