Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Really Ridiculously (R)awesome Recipes

It's Tuesday again, which means another day of raw, vegan goodness!! There's currently an excess of strawberries and carrots in the Shanghai Monkey house, so all of the recipes will be incorporating one of these.

Breakfast: Fruity (slightly greeny) Raw Smoothie

Strawberries, banana, romaine lettuce and cinnamon. I've been making this smoothie since last week, and it's too yummy to give up.

Lunch: Carrot & Ginger Souper Raw Soup (recipe adapted from gone raw)

  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon, juiced for 2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • few sprigs of parsley
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • water
Toss everything in the blender and mix until smooth. Add water until the desired consistency. My blender isn't very powerful, so I had to add quite a bit of water to make the carrots blend. Next time I make this soup I will juice the carrots first (in a juice extractor) so the soup isn't so watered down. I reserved half of the avocado for garnish.

Dinner: Souped Up Souper Soup

I made so much carrot & ginger soup for lunch, that I had it again for dinner. To mix up the taste, I added 2 tomatoes and 1 green onion.

Dessert: Raw Strawberry "Cheese" Parfait (adapted from Healthy Girl)

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours
  • 1/4 cup raw coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons raw sweetener (depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (alcohol free or use seeds from a vanilla bean)
  • 2 handfuls of strawberries
  • water
Here's yet another crust-less raw dessert. The original recipe was for cheesecake, but I ditched the crust and just made the filling and sauce. One of these days I'll make a raw crust! Mix everything (except the strawberries) in a blender until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a little water. Pour into cups and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, toss the strawberries in the blender and mix. Pour over the "cheese". This dessert came out so creamy and delicious. I will definitely be making it again in the near future!

In between these meals, I snacked on veggies with raw hummus (recipe coming soon ...).
Happy uncooking ...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Sprout Your Own Sprouts

I never realized how easy (& fast) it is to grow my own sprouts at home ... until I tried it for myself. Sprouts made from beans and seeds are a tasty source of protein, fibre and other minerals. You can add them to soups, salads, dips and sandwiches. I like to eat them by the handful as a delicious and crunchy snack. There are sprouting devices sold, but they are by no means necessary. The mung beans that I sprouted in the above picture only required a glass for soaking and a strainer for sprouting. Here's how you can make your own sprouts at home in four easy steps:

  1. Select an UNCOOKED bean or seed to sprout. If you can, choose organic as this is the only way to ensure your sprouts haven't been sprayed with synthetic pesticides. Beans such as mung, adzuki (red), lentils and chickpeas (garbanzo) are excellent for sprouting. Seeds such as pumpkin, broccoli, radish and alfalfa are also good choices.

  2. Soak overnight. Soaking time varies according to what you're sprouting, but most require 12 hours. I soak my mung beans for a full 24 hours. In the morning you should see the outer husk begin to crack.

  3. Drain the water and distribute the beans/seeds in an even layer in a stainer. The idea is to keep the beans/seeds moist for the next few days. Using the strainer, rinse the beans/seeds at least twice a day (you may need to do it 3 times a day depending on your climate). I keep a plate under the stainer to collect the excessive water as it drains from the strainer. As each day passes, you should see the inside of the bean get larger and break open the outside husk of the bean.
  4. After 2-3 days place the sprouts in a bowl of water. The outer husks should float to the top, allowing you to remove the husks (although you don't have to remove them at all). Now enjoy your crisp, fresh, inexpensive, healthy sprouts.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Earth Day 2009

Everyday is earth day in my house, but it's still nice to have an official day that's internationally recognized. I hope you take some time today to walk outside in nature, unplug an electrical device, make use of a recycled material and eat some delicious, nutritious, organic and GREEN vegan food.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

More Raw Fooding

Effective immediately, my raw food schedule will be slightly modified. RIP Raw Food Wednesdays, and viva la Raw Food Tuesdays! Today I got a little creative and experimented with my own raw recipes for the first time. Verdict: So much fun! Here's my raw fooding for today ...

Breakfast: Fruity (slightly greeny) Raw Smoothie

  • handful of strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • several romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
  • dash of cinnamon
Combine everything in a blender. If the mixture seems too thick, add enough water to allow it to mix in the blender.

Lunch: Creamy Raw Gazpacho

  • 5-6 tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 green onion
  • handful of cashews
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • several sprigs of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt (to taste)
Combine everything in a blender. Tomatoes are very acidic, hence this soup is not for anyone with a low pH (under 7). Add more nuts for a creamier soup.

TIP - Make a large batch of soup for lunch when you're starting off raw (this soup made 5 servings). If you get hungry in the afternoon you can quickly chow down the soup that's already made. Or spoon it into a travel mug to take on the go.

Dinner: Raw Zucchini "Pasta" with Alfredo Sauce

Everyone liked this dish so much last week, we had it again.

Dessert: Raw Mango Pudding

  • 2 mangoes, peeled
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • raw sweetener (to taste)
Combine everything in a blender. Spoon the pudding into dessert cups and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

See you next week everyone!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Easy Peasy Wristlet

I love the simple elegance of a wristlet. It's perfect for a night out on the town (when all you need is lipstick and ID) or to keep in a larger purse for smaller items like coins or loyalty cards. I created this sparkly blue wristlet using fabric leftover from a Halloween costume. The pattern is very simple. I cut two half moon shapes to form the main purse, and 2 bands of fabric: one large (for the wrist strap) and one small (to attach the clasp to the purse).

To create the purse:

With right sides facing together sew the zipper to the straight edges of the half moons (see photo). Fold the raw edges of the band in towards the centre and press flat with an iron. Loop the smaller band around the bottom of the clasp to form the piece that will be sewn into the purse. Pin the clasp inside the purse about 3 cm from the zipper.

Open the zipper half way and sew together the half moons. Trim the seams and turn right side out. Lastly, fold the raw edges of the longer band in towards the centre and steam flat with an iron. Fold the band in half so the edges line up. Steam flat with an iron. Overlap the two ends to form a loop. Sew along the band lengthwise. Attach the band to the clasp on the purse. Viola!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Raw Wednesday Recipes

Breakfast: Raw Fruity Smoothie
  • 2 handfuls of strawberries, hauled and quartered
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • a few pieces of fresh pineapple
  • 1 lemon, juiced for 1 tablespoon of juice
  • dash of ground cinnamon
This is basically a round-up of all the fruit I had around the house. Throw the fruit into a blender and combine. There should be enough water in the strawberries and pineapple to create a smooth texture, if not add water as necessary.

TIP - Since all the recipes I made today required a little bit of lemon juice, I bought 1 lemon and juiced it, strained it and stored the juice in the fridge. This allows me to take it out and use the juice throughout the day for each recipe. By the end of the day all the juice has been used.

Lunch: Creamy Raw Cucumber Soup (recipe adapted from The Raw 50)

  • 2 large cucumbers (keep the skin on if it's organic)
  • 1 avocado (use more for a creamier soup)
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup coriander
  • 1 lemon, juiced for 2 tablespoons
  • sea salt to taste
  • water
If you like a chunky soup, reserve a few pieces of avocado and/or tomato. Combine everything in a blender. Add water for the thickness you desire. Garnish with the reserved avocado and tomato.

Dinner: Zucchini "Penne" with Raw Alfredo Sauce (recipe seen on many raw websites)

  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon, juiced for 2 tablespoons of juice
  • water
  • sea salt to taste
To create the penne, cut the zucchinis into four pieces lengthwise. Cut out the soft middles. Slice the zucchini on an angle to create penne-like pieces (I saw this technique years ago on an episode of Jamie Oliver at Home). Combine all the other ingredients (except the water) in a blender or food processor. Add the water slowly until the mixture forms a saucy texture. Pour the sauce over the zucchini pasta.

Dessert: Raw Key Lime Pudding (recipe from gone raw)

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 4-5 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw sweetener (agave, stevia, honey, etc ...)
Combine everything in a blender. Pour into dessert cups and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Similarly as last week, the original recipe was a pie, but I didn't want to make the crust, so I just made the filling and served it as pudding. Add more/less of the sweetener to your taste (the sweetness will also depend on how ripe the banana is).

It is now the end of my second raw day, and I'm starting to get the hang of this raw thang. ;) I snacked on carrots, almonds and dried figs throughout the day (today was my first time having figs; they are delicious if you've never tried them). I'm really enjoying learning new recipes and researching different foods. Now it's back to the drawing board to discover all new recipes for next week ...


Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Inaugural Raw Food Wednesday Post

So I've been doing some research on raw food for the past few months, and decided to commit to eating raw once a week. With winter now winding down and warmer days ahead, I figure there's no better time than the present! Wednesdays are a less hectic day for me, so I picked it for my weekly raw feast.

To prepare I headed to the library for some raw literature. Sounds like a good plan, eh? Well it would have been if the raw foodists in my town hadn't taken the majority of them out! I ended up with the only book that was currently in the library: Carol Alt's The Raw 50. There's a bit of useful information, and a handful of recipes that look interesting. Sadly the book isn't vegan (a few recipes use raw dairy, meat and fish), and the forward (written by someone else) insists that no known human group has survived on an all vegetarian diet. Now I realize why this book isn't flying off the library shelves!!

Luckily, there are MASSIVE amounts of information, tips and recipes on the internet regarding raw vegan food. So far my favs are:
Here are the recipes from my first 100% raw & vegan day:

Breakfast: Simple Raw Green Smoothie (recipe seen on various raw blogs in cyberspace).
  • 1 banana
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of water (use more/less for the consistency you prefer)
Mix everything in a blender and enjoy the greeny goodness!

Lunch: Raw Burritos (recipe adapted from The Raw 50)

  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 1-2 roma (aka plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • handful of sprouts
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 4 large lettuce leaves (I used romaine, but any will do)
  • 1 lemon, squeezed for 2 tablespoons of juice
  • 1-2 sprigs of parsley
  • dash of ground cumin (aka geera)
  • dash of sea salt (optional)
In a large bowl combine everything (except the lettuce). Mix well. Spoon the mixture into the lettuce. Fold the top and sides of the lettuce leaf like a burrito. Delicioso!

Dinner: Raw Red Pepper Curry Soup (recipe adapted from The Raw 50)

  • 3 bell peppers (any colour, but I used red)
  • 1 apple (I used empire), peeled
  • 1 avocado
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup raw pine nuts
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
  • 2 cups water
Set aside a few pieces of avocado and bell pepper for garnish. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into bowls and garnish with the reserved veggies.

Dessert: Raw Lemon Coconut "Creme" Pudding (recipe from VegWeb)

The original recipe is for a pie with a nut crust. For my inaugural raw day, I decided to simplify by forgoing the crust and just making the filling.
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup raw shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice
  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
Puree everything in a blender until smooth. Pour into dessert cups. I'm glad I didn't make the crust because using these measurements I would had no where near enough filling for a pie!

The final verdict - I feel pretty good. While planning the meals yesterday, I was worried I wouldn't have enough food. Interestingly, initially after finishing every meal, I did still feel hungry but after waiting 15-20 minutes I was quite full. I also drank a lot of water throughout the day and snacked on carrots with the leftover burrito filling.

I can't wait to do this all over again next week!!

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