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!

Raw Tuesdays – Mardi Tout Cru! (yeah, I know, it’s Thursday…)

Yes, yes, I know…but I’ve been one very busy Fish! I wasn’t too busy to carry on with Raw Tuesdays, though…just too busy to post about it. As I was discussing with “Bob” the other day, the Guppy started school on Tuesday. I know, she’s only 3! We could have started her last Fall, but Mr. Fish & I decided to give her one more year of toddlerhood (because 2 is just so freaking early!). I actually think it’s great that kids – and parents – have access to free, public education as early as 2 here in France as it makes childcare easier for those who need it, but that is young.

Anyhow, on to the Rawness of Tuesday :

Pre-run I had two “Carob Confections” left over from last Tuesday. They are so yum! I also had a few for a mid-afternoon snack. Now they are gone, however, and that has made me sad :( Post run was my new favorite smoothie evah : just tons of spinach, banana, almond milk, about 4 dates and half of a vanilla bean. My spinach from the marché was very “rustic” (big old honkin’ bitter dinosaur-sized leaves) and needed a little sweetness, so I added the dates & vanilla bean. Tasted like a dessert. Cool.

I have no picture of the smoothie, because it was ugly, but look at these:

Des tomates anciennes bios or in the language of Shakespeare, organic heirloom tomatoes. These puppies were huge. Freaking science experiment huge. When I saw the stand at the market, I asked for two tiny ones, because these are like the babies of the huge mamma sized tomatoes they had. How big were they you ask?

Well, how’s about 620g or almost 1 and 1/2 pounds (1.3 to be precise)! I know, tomatasaurs. I enjoyed them in a large salad with some “Sunshine Paté” from The Raw Gourmet for lunch. The “Sunshine Paté” is a sunflower seed-based raw paté which I really liked…and it’s a good thing, because it makes an enormous amount (the better to go with the tomatasaurs, I know). The other good little tidbit about the Paté is it keeps for 12ish days, so we’ve been still enjoying it – because even Mr. “I disdain raw cuisine” Fish has been loving this stuff. Go Ms. Shannon, Go!

These are some Sunshine Rolls before they met with certain doom in our tummies at dinner time. Rolled up with sliced carrot, red pepper, large lettuce leaves, and fresh cut pineapple. You may notice some of the rolls are a little sloppy…I was assisted in my rolling by Ms. Guppy who was very excited about them, because she loves eating nori rolls as much as she loves making nori rolls. The kid’s going to roll me under the table before she hits 5.

And we dipped our rolls in one of the lovely raw dipping sauces from The Complete Book of Raw Food which is the kind of book you want to have around when you’re going to be killing any large, aggressive insects invading your kitchen or defending yourself from home invaders because it weighs a ton. It’s huge, has like a zillion recipes from many different Raw Food Peeps in an anthology-type format. I have only skimmed through the recipes in there, though many of them seem to require a dehydrator which is a big, fat bummer. This dipping sauce was also great with fruit :

It also made a huge amount, so we’ve been snacking on that for the past few days as well.

I am really behind on your blogs…lo siento…but I will be catching up tomorrow (hopefully!).

Raw Tuesdays! Mardi tout cru!

I am still your Raw Connection for Tuesdays…but I didn’t manage to post last night, so let’s just pretend that it’s Tuesday, shall we? Merci!

No surprise here! (Liz, stop drooling! I know how these babies affect you!). This was my almost last one…I might have one more left…that I brought back from my still-not-properly-posted about North American vacation. I’ll probably be making more of these soon to fill in the void. I also think it’s time for me to try to make some other raw bars. I mean, the ingredients list on the Lärabar package is usually like two to three things long : cashews, dates. I must be able to figure this out. And look at my wound! I nearly cut a hunk of my thumb off in a bizarre onion chopping incident. Horrible. Gruesome. I wanted a Dora bandage, but I couldn’t find them in the medicine cabinet…

For lunch I re-visited the Japanese Mushroom soup I posted about here, because I had such great memories of it being delish about two weeks ago. It was delish last time, but this time it left something to be desired. I think my disappointment came from some slight changes I had to make to the recipe – only used one kind of mushroom, you can’t get Braggs here so I fudged my marinade, and while I used sweet white miso the first time, this time I used the darker, evil cousin, brown rice miso. I did manage to eat two big bowls (of mostly mushrooms), but am ashamed to say the broth went down the toilet the next day. I hate the waste, but did figure out what I liked about that particular recipe!

Now for the very cool “new favorite thing” discovery of this installment of Raw Tuesdays :

These delicious little gems are called “Carob Confections” and they are from a raw food book I picked up while in the U.S. called The Raw Gourmet by Nomi Shannon. Nomi rocks. Hard. This is a slim volume but packed with full-color glossy punch. It’s so great to have pictures of the food, and not of the author! (Nomi has a tasteful little pic next to her bio, and that’s it. Congrats on having your priorities straight Ms. Shannon). These were made in like 5 minutes, rolled in almond meal, and devoured! They became my favorite snackie-poo, dessert, and post-run breakfast today. They reminded me more of truffles than anything I’ve ever had, besides truffles I mean.

For dinner, I made some of the Spicy Pecans from Ani’s Raw :

These were simple and delicious, a nice addition to my big, huge dinner salad :

The sweet glaze on the pecans eliminated any need for a dressing, so this is just tons of shredded carrots (I love shredded carrots), corn cut from the cob, batavia lettuce, diced green onion, raw sesame seeds, and yes, you’re not hallucinating, avocado! As most of you know I tend to avoid avocados because though I LOVE them, they aren’t so very local. When I went to the marché (the outdoor market for you kids playing at home) my usual vendor who never, ever has avocados had a huge bin of them and they were 3 for 2E! Let me tell you folks, that’s muy cheap here in France. I caved and loved every luscious bite!

My Raw Summary for this Tuesday : eating raw once a week has really helped me to be more mindful about all the other crap I eat all week long. I like to pride myself in being a healthy vegan, but let’s face it, cupcakes are not healthy. I also like that it reminds my body what true hunger feels like, as it is not to be confused with “being in the mood” for a cookie or some of that warm baguette I just bought.

Raw Tuesdays & Blogroll Updates

I was more diligent about maintaining my “Raw Tuesdays” commitment than blogging during the last leg of my U.S. visit. I’ve done a few raw meals & snacks before, I must say, I found it to be much easier – and more fun – to organize a day’s worth of raw food with another willing and motivated participant – in this case my younger brother. We had fun looking through recipes the day before, dividing up the prep-work, and our schedules worked out in such a way that we could share our meals.

This is actually a two Tuesdays worth of food, hope you’re hungry!

The pre-run snack : sometimes just a glass of almond milk, or maybe half a Lärabar. I really liked the Key Lime Pie variety, though I didn’t really think it actually tasted like Key Lime Pie!

Post-run breakfast on Raw Tuesdays has been the other half of the Lärabar and fruit or a green smoothie. Here it’s just a simple fruit bowl with a fresh peach, a cup of blueberries, fresh almond milk, and a small handfull of gogi berries (which I’d never had until this trip. I’d never been able to find them where I live). Love them!

The Sun-Dried Tomato Marinara from Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen became one of our favourites, and we found ourselves making on non-raw days, too! We served it over zucchini or summer squash “pasta” which we made with a simple vegetable peeler, and it was really impressive. It had a lot of character and dimension, which was a happy surprise since I was concerned it would just taste like tomato juice! The only thing to watch for with this sort of dish is the “pasta” begins to lose water, so it can get a little sloppy! The weather was running into the 90sF pretty much every day I was in Southern MI and this was a very refreshing dish.

This is the Japanese Miso Soup, also from Ani’s Raw, and it is seriously da bomb! We just devoured this stuff, it was that good. I was more than a little sceptical about what looked like water and mushroom soup, and as we were tasting the broth it pretty much tasted like water and mushrooms. We were trying to figure out a way to amp the flavour, and we added a cucumber which we blended with the broth and voila! It brought things together in a most excellent way! That said, it was, as is often the case with raw dishes, very sort of intense after a while…

This raw Veggie Chili from Gone Raw was a fun sort of experiment. It was good, but really, really rich. I think that if I were try it again I would really finely chop everything, and probably add a little more liquid. We didn’t have any avocados on hand when we made it, and I think that they would have lightened it up. I would also add some fresh corn from the cob, too.

Here is a close-up of one delicious frozen dessert! It was supposed to be made with blackberries, but we only had blueberries and raspberries, so this Walnut Cream Cake with Raspberry Jam is only slightly adapted from Gone Raw. We were using desserts more as our 4 o’clock snack (ou notre quatre heures pour nos amis francophones) and for a post-dinner snack (which I never, ever do, but on these raw days I find that I’m rather starving before going to bed).

My general feeling about my Raw Tuesdays so far is that it takes a huge amount of planning (because of soaking, maranades, etc.) and that’s a little bit of a downer (this is coming from someone who makes  & bakes most everything from scratch, and is accostomed to planning balanced meals). I find that I’m pretty hungry at random times, but that’s pretty normal since I’m eating a little less in calories, but the big downer is hitting around 5pmish when I feel very fatigued and am starving. I don’t generally eat dinner until 7 or 8pm, so I have been trying to have a larger snack at 4pm to fight this. Either way, it’s a great experience, an exercise in discipline, and it’s fun!

As for my blogroll goes, it is desperately in need of an update, and I know that there are many blogs which I visit regularly that aren’t rubbing elbows with the others on the list. Please feel free to drop me an email or a comment if you don’t see yours up there and I’ll add it post haste!

Raw Tuesdays…on Thursday & a question for my dear Vegan friends…

Raw Tuesday went down as planned, though not blogged, but I *am* on vacation and I needed to get that Daring Bakers post up yesterday, so here is this week’s installment of Raw Tuesdays on, well, Thursday!

Breakfast was yet another post-run green smoothie. I will take a picture of one of those things eventually (I should be able to since I drink one pretty much every morning!). My two most popular choices are 1) almond milk, a banana, a large, cored apple added to a blender of loosely-packed spinach or 2) a banana, a cup of fresh blueberries or strawberries, and apple juice or almond milk with spinach. Yum! Depending on how hard my morning run was or how busy I am, I sometimes find myself needing a snack mid-morning. I caved to my inner-consumer and did buy a few of these:

In my defense, I don’t have a food processor here, so I can’t make these, which are a billion times less expensive and just as yum! Often what I’ll do is have about a half a bar before a run and the other half as a 10ish snacky-poo.

For lunch we had the “Baja Cheeze Burrito with Taco Nut Meat and Red Pepper Corn Salsa” from Ani’s Raw Kitchen. We were “supposed” to eat them wrapped in cabbage leaves, but we used collards, because we’re punk rock like that. While I didn’t manage to remember to snap a pic at lunch, I did remember to take a picture of our dinner, which was our left-overs served over salad rather than as wrap :

This is a crappy picture, and I’m sorry, but if you look carefully you can see the globs of green Baja Cheeze, Nut Taco Meat Romaine boats sitting on the spinach, and the Red Pepper Corn Salsa piled on in the middle. We mostly liked this trio. The salsa was fun because corn cut fresh from the cob is always a good thing, and the Baja Cheeze was very yummy, but a little rich. We really liked the Taco Nut Meat, but found ourselves mixing it with extra tomatoes and spinach to lighten it up a little. There is a very similar taco meat recipe to the one we used here over at Jen’s Fuel section (and while you’re there, check out her many other offerings!).

After lunch we made up a batch of “Cashew Coconut Pudding” to snack on with some fruit :

We made up a big fruit salad with watermelon, blueberries, bananas and gogi berries and served it up with the pudding. The pudding recipe made a huge amount, and we were able to snack on it for a few days, which is always a good thing. It’s really just cashews, water, dates & shredded coconut all whirled together, but it’s yummy!

What we’ve noticed as we’re trying to eat more and more raw meals and snacks is that it does require a bit of planning, but also how expensive the nuts and dried fruits are. I know that we’re in the midst of a global food crisis and that food prices have gone up as much as 85% on certain items, but I was surprised to see foods here in the U.S. nearly as expensive as in Europe!

Now for a little question : What is your favourite Raw Foods book? I am hoping to buy one more Raw foods book before I leave for home, and would love some suggestions! The only thing is I don’t have a dehydrator, so a book that’s reliant on dehydrators won’t really work for me. I would love some feedback, so feel free to leave a comment or email me!

Raw Tuesdays!

I think it would be really great if I could manage one raw day a week, don’t you? Like most health-minded kids, I try to incorporate as much raw food into my diet, but I would like to take it to the next level : beyond that of an almost daily smoothie, crudités before dinner, and fruit for snack. The heat and humidity certainly make eating fresh raw fruits and veggies only for an entire day rather appealing, and since my dashing & witty younger vegetarian brother who I am visiting was game for this little challenge, soit! (So be it). Let’s have Raw Tuesdays kids!

Not having a huge amount of experience with Raw Cuisine (I’d qualify myself as “raw curious”), and not having access to libraries or bookstores with Raw recipe books aplenty, I asked two ultra-lovely Raw Cuisine enthusiasts Veggie Girl and Jen the Veg*Triathlete of Fuled By Plants if they had any suggestions for a future book purchase. They both kindly provided a few titles and a little commentary on their suggestions (Thanks ladies! you are super-cool!). While I did mention that I was looking for a Raw book that wasn’t dehydrator-dependant, I didn’t give any other criteria.

Both of these beautiful bloggers mentioned Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen as a good place to start (they did mention others, which I hope someday to acquire). I was in a bookstore 24 hours after getting off the plane (no, I don’t have a book problem) and was ready to get raw with Ani (in a rated G kinda way you dirty freaks). I won’t go into a long review of this book as they are all over the vegosphere, but I will say that if you can get past the photos of Phyo jaunting about on nearly every freaking page, this is a great book. You can make the majority of the recipes with little or no special equipment (assuming you have a powerful blender and/or food processor). I get a little peeved when food authors have a budget for photos but in lieu of showing us food, we’re forced to look at some sort of photo shoot gone wrong.

For our first Raw Tuesday we began the day with these:

Comprised mostly of ground flax seeds, both Brotherfish & I found them to be really yummy, for like four bites, then they seemed really intense. Thick. We decided that the serving sizes were maybe a little askew and had our leftovers the next day for breakfast, but halved, and coupled with lots of fresh fruit was very good.

For lunch we had the Spanish Scramble. I have no picture of this because I totally forgot to take one. But if you want, you can watch Phyo making Spanish Scramble :

Rather than serving it on a bed of spinach leaves, we ate it rolled up in fresh collard greens. It was pretty yummy, though I think next time I will serve it with lots of fresh tomato and cucumber slices to lighten it up a little.

We also made the Fresh Mango Cobbler and it was freaking amazing! Loved it! Even the not even a little health-conscious members of my family loved it. Like most raw desserts it reminded me of “dough”, but in a really good way.

Our first Raw Tuesday was lots of fun! I do speed work on Tuesday mornings (running, not race car driving), and I run first thing in the morning. I drank a big glass of almond milk before I went, and I felt fine.

Ricki’s Rockin’ Raw Bars & Meet “The Zester”

A few weeks back Ricki posted a most excellent raw bar she created. The “Fig and Cherry Bars have become my favourite raw bar and I’ve made these puppies 4 times already! (This is indeed a lot because neither the Guppy or Mr. Fish will eat them. I don’t know why. They are the best raw bar I’ve ever had, let alone made!).

When I first read the recipe, I wanted to make them post haste, the only problem was I didn’t have any dried cherries. I looked around my kitchen (this took me about 5 seconds because I have a lilliputian French apartment kitchen!). Dried cherries I had not, alas, but an unassuming sealed bag of dried prunes caught my eye. Pourquoi pas? Dried prunes are very sweet, quite high in calcium (which was what these bars were all about!), and rather moist (a bonus in the raw bar department, really).

I’m thrilled to report that the dried prunes rocked the raw bars without a doubt – they were moist and sweet enough that I could opt out on the optional agave syrup, so yeah for that. After doing a little scooby-dooing around my petite ville I found that if I really wanted dried cherries I also had to be ready to shell out nearly 15E for about a handful. To this I said, non. If you’ve got dried cherries priced for the proletariat in your hood, however, I suggest you follow Ricki’s recipe. I’m sure they’d be all tarty-delicious. I also added 2 tablespoons of carob powder to one of the batches and it was a very good move.

This little gadget is one of the best kitchen investments I’ve ever made. Maybe I’m the last human on this planet to have ignored the existence of these puppies, I don’t know. I do know that removing the zest from citrus has always driven me nuts, and to be honest I would sometimes skip it because I found it to be such a pain (I know *hanging head*). Then I found “The Zester”. I love this thing. It has made zesting about 90% less annoying. It is so handy and it was worth every cent of the 7E I spent!

And because this post is all about Ricki (and that’s ok, because she’s pretty rockin’), here’s a sloppy picture of my Radish and Grapefruit Salad. Radishes are so good for you- very good for muscle tissue recuperation (I wish I could link to the two articles I’ve read about this but I cannot find them for the life of me! One was from a Sports Therapy Journal and the other was written by Amby Burfoot for Runner’s World). Despite their good-for-you-ness, I have a tough time working them into my meals, but the tartness of the grapefruit marries perfectly with the bitterness of the radishes. I added a generous teaspoon of tahini to the dressing and it was perfect!

Jen’s Veggie Nori Rolls For Caterpillars & People, Too!

We love bugs. Spiders. Flies. Caterpillars. Ants. (We love them more when they’re outside, of course!)

Kittee, aka Cake Maker to the Stars, has some lovely caterpillar stories & photos and I was sharing them with the Guppy recently since we are apartment dwellers and even at the park it’s hard to find any really cool caterpillars this Spring (global warming…). She already loves butterflies, and when I told her that caterpillars are “baby” butterflies (everything she finds cute is a baby. Elephants are babies. Cows. Bumble bees, etc.) she really got excited.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m having a few issues getting my dear little Guppy to eat anything other than cookies or bread or raw fruit (before she was 2 she ate EVERYTHING). I involve her as much as I can involve a just-turned-three-year-old, and bring her with me to the market square to help chose the veggies, etc.

We were at the marché and I bought some baby spinach leaves and she said, “Hey, Mumma, I want some leaves, just like a caterpillar!”. Remaining guardedly optimistic I rinsed off a leaf with some water and she ate it, all of it, and said “more, please”!

When we got home it was time to prepare dinner, and I wanted to ride this “leaf” thing as long as possible. Most of you crazy kids know Jen of Veg*Triathlete (who will return to kicking athletic ass after recovering from bobos…:( damn IR list anyway). She has such an excellent “Fuel” section on her blog, and I love letting her plan my meals :). She had some lovely Peanut Veggie Nori Rolls posted and I just had to try them, especially giving that we are all about “leaves” and caterpillars right now. They have the added bonus of being a “hands-on” project-type meal, and we’re all about that!

The Guppy is showing us how caterpillars eat.

First we made the marinade, then we washed & dried the lettuce & veggies we’d be using. For veggies we used thin carrot sticks, green onions, thin-sliced red pepper, pineapple, and zucchini. We put them in a large bowl with the marinade & made sure that everything was well covered.

Next came the rolling part. This was the first time that the Guppy was to participate in the rolling of the Nori. She was pretty excited about it, and she kept calling them sushis. Silly kiddo.

Not sure how many of you have done any Nori rolling with a Guppy-aged kiddo. If you’re ok with everything being sort of all over the place (the floor, your shirt, your pants, the table…) then it’s ok. Heck, I’m messy, so I guess it’s normal for a child to get sloppy- and that’s the fun of the project. Nori rolls are like the finger painting of the culinary world. I just thought to myself, be like the lettuce, just receptive and waiting for all the goodness to be bestowed upon you… (so yoga of meself!)

We saved what as left of the marinated and used it as a dipping sauce. Everything went into the fridge until Mr. Fish came home, then we went to town! It was so good! I wish I could say the Guppy ate three rolls and loved them. She had a few bites then asked for apricots. Oh well. I’ll definitely make these again! Go check out the link to get the low-down on these babies!

RAW : Flourless Chocolate Cake & Vanilla Crème Sauce & Frozen Feet

My feet are in a 5-gallon tub of ice water (okay, my right foot up to the metatarsal arch, my left foot is trying its best, but the toes are but kissing the surface of the water). I just got back from some intense speedwork and have been really dealing with some ouchies, and so, it’s time to get tough with the pain (wasn’t that from a pain-reliever ad way back? could just be hallucinating from agony, R foot is now numb past arch, L foot has all toes in…). Rather than suffer alone, I thought I may be able to help divert my attention from the cold and hang out with my fellow Vegan friends. Thank you for being here for me!

Now, I could snap a picture of my incredibly scary-looking (purple) feet, but why would I do that when you can look at that delicious raw cake up there? I guess I should say *was* delicious, because it dissappeared like the sensation in my R foot just did! Ha!

I thought that disguising my attempts at nudging Mr. Fish gently towards better appreciating the delicious goodness of raw foods would be helpful. What better disguise than cake? My efforts, however, were in vein, because after looking at me rather sceptically and barely trying a nibble, he smiled apologetically and said, “I’m sorry, but it’s just too weird.” He also says that about me when he sees me doing things like icing my feet… hey, maybe I am just too weird?

The Guppy ate all the cashew cream and strawberries on her piece, but wouldn’t even taste the cake, and this surprised me because it smelled of vanilla and carob. Sigh. What I was able to do, however, was to whiz a banana with some of the cream and she devoured that.

What this all means my dear V friends is that the Shellyfish ate the entire 4-serving raw cake. Not in one sitting though- in about 24-hours. It was a great pre-run snack, and I also had it for lunch with a green salad, had a slice with some banana with the Guppy for our snack (again, she did the banana-crème thing)… So perhaps not a winner in my family’s book, but I thought this little gem of a raw cake ruled! Thick and moist, reminded me a bit of a sort of vegan-walnut fudge.

Flourless Chocolate Cake from Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
  • Dash salt
  • 10 pitted dates, unsoaked
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocao or carob powder (I used carob)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1 teaspoon & 1 teaspoon almond extract, too)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • raw fruit for garnish

Put the walnuts & salt in your food processor and whirl until finely ground. Add the dates, carob powder, and extracts and process until it begins to get sticky, add the water and process briefly. Dump it out onto a plate and form it into your shape of choice, then off to the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Foot update- left foot no longer in wreched pain & in up to arch- hourrah!

Now for the Vanilla Crème Sauce, I’m guessing every vegan out there has one recipe or another for their own sauce like this. I don’t really measure mine anymore, but it goes something like this:

  • About two good handfuls of soaked cashews (I soak them over night)
  • 3 tablespoons (or more or less to taste) of rice, maple or agave syrup
  • about 1/3 cup of water
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla or almond extract

It all goes into the blender and stays there until smooth. Yum!

Oh thank you my blogosphere buddies. My feet have been iced. I will now shower as to not look quite so scary and smell not so stinky when the Guppy wakes up.