Raw Diet: Onion Bread and Red Pepper Hummus

Raisins.

Eating raw is inherently difficult for most people. People find it too difficult, too daunting, and too time consuming. I don’t eat entirely raw by any means, especially during the winter when all I want is some soup and hot chocolate, but occasionally along comes a recipe that I can’t seem to live without. This onion bread recipe has been passed down from health doctor to doctor, and somehow our family got ahold of it. It takes a dehydrator, which some people might argue is too expensive. But having one, especially if you’re interested in eating healthy, is SO useful! You can use it to make dried fruit out of fruit that might go bad if it sits around another day, or vegetables, or make your own healthy granola using raw honey and fruit! Kale chips and banana chips I know are super popular among health store shoppers, and would be so cheap to make yourself! All you have to do is slice up a banana and stick it on the sheet, and a few hours later – voila! The onion bread recipe is great because you can also leave it on the sheets for a couple more hours and make onion crackers – and then just cut into whatever shapes, sizes, etc. you want to eat!

I personally love eating the onion bread pieces with raw red pepper hummus. About a day before you make the onion bread, shove 1 cup of garbanzo beans/chickpeas in a glass jar (or if I’m at school I’ve used a tupperware container!), soak overnight, and then let sprout while your onion bread dries up (8 hours soaking, 8 hours sprouting). It’s really perfect timing if you think ahead. Typically during the summer we have this ready made every week so we can eat it up when we want something filling, nutritious and raw. I usually have onion bread, hummus, and a slice of tomato on top of each piece. If I don’t think ahead, many times I’ll buy hummus (Greek or Red pepper tends to work the best, although I’m sure it doesn’t matter) and use that instead. If I need a big meal at work, l bring these and a large salad. Now for all you haters out there, most hummus is supposed to use sprouted beans rather than canned ones. On every food show I’ve watched, Bobby Flay (or Gordon Ramsay) always lectures about it, and usually people who use cans are kicked off that episode!

So anyway, try this out! Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, you should try the hummus because that alone is amazing! If you use cold-pressed, organic olive oil, you won’t even have guilt from too much oil in your food! The bread is entirely gluten free, and grain free.

Onion Bread/Crackers

Ingredients

  • 3lb. bag sweet onions, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, ground
  • 1 cup golden (or dark) flax seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, cold pressed, organic
  • 3oz. Briggs Liquid Aminos, soy sauce, or Tamari sauce
  • 1 cup shredded carrots

Method

  1. For onions: chop roughly, then food process until smooth and smooshy (there should be no “pieces” of onion left)

    Peel and chop Vidalia onions and put into food processor - peeling and slicing in half this way helps you avoid the tears!

  2. For seeds: I’ve found that grinding them in our VitaMix blender or in a coffee grinder works well, but make sure your blender blades can handle this, otherwise use a grinder
  3. For carrots: you can process them or buy them shredded, or shred them yourself. I personally use our processor tool for shredding which works great.
  4. Mix all ingredients together in any order
  5. Spread evenly over dehydrator sheet, will make approx. two trays

    Spread out the dough evenly so that it's easy to cut and so all parts take the same amount of time to dry

  6. Dehydrate for 1 hour at 145 F, then lower to 115 F for 23-24 hours (check to make sure it’s the consistency you want)

Make it spread thinner for crackers. Cut with a pizza cutter.


Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked in a jar in purified water for 8 hours, then drained. Let sprout in container for another 8 hours.
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (if you want it raw, juice from actual lemons, not from the store which is cooked)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, cold pressed
  • 3 tbsp. organic chickpea miso
  • 3 tbsp. raw tahini
  • 1 raw organic jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped roughly

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in VitaMix blender (or another one that’s able to grind drier ingredients) and secure the lid.
  2. Set on lowest setting and slowly make your way to high; blend until smooth.
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Holiday Saga: Rosemary Mint Roasted Chicken & Sweet Potatoes w/ Cranberry and Chipotle Dressing

Today was a nice, relaxing day. Spent most of the time in the kitchen, blogging, surfing the web, and finally helping to prepare the chicken and figuring out my sweet potato recipe. I found it on Bess’s Bistro and it is amazing! It really is the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, and savory. As I explained in my Holiday Food Saga post earlier, my goal over the next month or two is to really find some solid, healthy but comforting holiday foods, and this sweet potato recipe nailed it! Everyone who ate it loved it (besides my brother, who doesn’t believe in vegetables -_-), so that’s a great sign! It’s super easy to make with not a lot of dishes.

Rosemary Mint-Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

  • Whole 4 1/2lb. chicken, organic
  • 1 jar basting sauce from Whole Foods (Rosemary & Mint)

Method

  1. Wash chicken
  2. Put in roasting pan and pour basting sauce on top, covering all of the skin
  3. Roast for about 1 hour, 45 minutes.
  4. Baste chicken in juices after 1 hour.
  5. Let finish roasting for 45 minutes.

* * *

Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry-Chipotle Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (or fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. honey (raw honey if possible)
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, plus 1 tsp. sauce, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (you can use up to 2 tbsp, or less if you can), and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. 
  2. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender, turning after 15 minutes.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients (besides onions and cilantro) in saucepan. 
  4. Place pan over medium-low heat; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from heat, mash until chunky.
  6. Combine potatoes, onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Add cranberry mixture. Toss to coat.
  7. Serve.

Holiday Food Saga

Holiday Food Saga is all about trying different recipes that are warm,inviting, and possibly worthy of using in holiday meals. The one problem with being mostly vegan is that the holidays can be a drag. Who wants to bring their own small container of Trader Joe’s soup, or a small plate of something that looks gross and unappealing (trust me, I know how all you carnivores think out there! 😉 ) but seriously…why not just volunteer to bring the sweet potatoes, stuffing, or side dishes that are healthy, tasty and frankly..appealing!

For the next couple months my goal is to bring a healthy touch to classic dishes. Saying that kind of made me sound like someone on Food Network. However…like I’ve said before, there are plenty of people who think that adding an extra veggie here or there counts as eating “healthy.” But that’s just not true. We think we can get away with eating Hot Pockets (ahem) every night, or eating out every lunch hour, but the fact is that our bodies catch up with us eventually.

In a way I think I’m lucky because I don’t really have a choice with my health – it’s either eat healthy or don’t get out of bed for a week. So I prefer that first option. Some people are too dependent on food..may in fact idolize it…to the point where they would rather wait until they have hypoglycemia, diabetes, food-induced celiac, IBS…I could go for days. Even GERD or acid-reflux is not caused by spicy foods (however it is made worse by these after you have it) as doctors used to believe, but specialists are finding that it is really fostered by eating fried foods, caffeine, and chocolate. Also eating large amounts and/or right before bedtime. Just like they’re now finding that eating animal products not only causes gout if in excess, but actually causes calcium to be sucked out of your bones – and we thought that was just soda!!

People used to think the health nuts were just that – crazy! But science is slowly but surely proving them right! My goal this week is to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives, which has been recommended to me by multiple people (both health nuts and not). While it’s always exciting to learn new things about health, I’ll be the first to admit that it IS scary.

For instance, one of my favorite foods in the entire world is Japanese Gyoza, or dumplings/potstickers, whatever you wanna call them. They’re amazing. In fact, I really love the Chinese ones, Korean ones, etc. They’re all good in different ways. However, the past 3 months I’ve been incessantly avoiding wheat gluten and this is the one food I’ve never been able to find. For those of you who are interested in eating GF, Feel Good Foods makes the only GF dumplings I’ve been able to find. They come at about $1/dumpling, but they’re very good and for me it’s definitely worth the trouble! I tried to find them online, and believe me when I tell you that paying $30 for a freezer shipping container so isn’t worth it unless you live wayy out of range of one of their carriers. Now normally I oppose this whole buying food out at the store…but I HAVE tried to make dumplings from scratch and without the gluten that works like glue holding flour together…this proves next to impossible. And very tiring. I might have made 15 in about 6 hours of being in the kitchen. So. Not. Worth it.

But I’m getting off-topic. Basically, my goal in the next 2 months is to post a recipe/day of holiday or feel-good-foods that are made healthy and possibly vegetarian and/or vegan…but no promises! Because I will say, finding foods that are tasty and comforting AND healthy is a good compromise – and usually cold-weather soups, stews, and pastas are super cheap! So I hope you join me on my saga 🙂

Meal: Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese, Gazpacho, Smoothie

So as you can probably tell, when I’m down, I cook. And not just mediocre things. The harder the better…and I’m working my way up. Now I was never the chef of the family growing up. In fact, I always dreaded hearing that call up the stairs – my mom saying “Dinner time!” really meant she wanted our help for salads, setting the table, emptying the dishwasher, etc. Then I realized that if I were the one actually making the dinner, then I wouldn’t be left with the horrible tasks of cleaning up, doing dishes and the like. Success! Little did I know how my perfectionist tendencies would take hold of this idea and run with it.

So although I’ve been cooking for a while, and haven’t felt the need to take pictures or discuss, I will begin now! Planning a dinner is a lot of trouble by itself. However, my family makes this even harder. My mom is a vegan (borderline raw), my brother only eats hotpockets and hasn’t had a vegetable since he was 10, and I have Celiac. My dad eats pretty much everything. So finding a compromise for everyone is part of the challenge.

Today I made: Shrimp with tomatoes and feta cheese served over GF spaghetti (also with a vegetarian option), creamy cucumber avocado gazpacho, and then for dessert I prepared a pumpkin pie smoothie and chocolate peanut butter bon bons. “That’s a lot” you say. Well…it was. I had to bring my dad in to prep the shrimp, and my brother as a sous chef for the desserts. It was great teamwork and we finally got dinner on the table about an hour later than planned.

YUM 🙂

Recipes following –

Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese:

2 lbs medium shrimps (scampi) (thawed, peeled and deveined) – omitted this in the vegetarian version
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
1 red chili (seeded and finely chopped)
2 scallions (peeled, chopped)
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh oregano
6 to 8 large type cherry tomatoes or 2 regular tomatoes (seeded) chopped
1/2 lb feta cheese (crumbled)
3 tbsp milk – I substituted Almond milk which I assure you works just as well!

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and toss in the bell pepper, scallions and chili. Keep stirring and cook until the scallions are translucent. Add the shrimps and the tomatoes and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the herbs, the milk and the feta and let it cook for another 3 minutes or so until the shrimps are ready. Season with freshly ground black pepper. No need to add salt in this dish (unless you do the vegetarian version). Serve with fresh bread, or white rice.

Chilled Cucumber and Avocado Soup
Inspired by Louisa Shafia’s Lucid Food

4 large organic cucumbers (if not organic, peel)
1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins removed, plus more for garnish, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed
1 shallot, chopped
1 handful fresh basil
2 1/2 cups cold water
Salt to taste

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Then cut into chunks.  Scoop the fruit out of the avocado.  Place all of the ingredients except the salt into a blender and blend.  You may need to do this in batches.  Pour into a bowl and season to taste with salt.  Place in the refrigerator for a few hours until well chilled.  Garnish with chopped hazelnuts before serving.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
serves 2

3/4 cup cooked pumpkin (you can use canned, but fresh is much better)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
2-3 Medjool dates, pits removed (soak first if they aren’t soft)
(You can add honey or maple syrup if you wish for it to be sweeter)

Add all of your ingredients to the blender. Puree until smooth and creamy.

If your pumpkin and/or almond milk isn’t cold, you could add a handful of ice. I decided not to, so it would stay as creamy as possible. You can also add a splash of water or additional almond milk if your smoothie is too thick. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg.