Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Avocado

I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite foods: the lovely avocaodo. Avocados are generally looked at as little more than fat, but this beautiful piece of creamy green goodness has more to it than meets the eye. In addition to containing good fats, it is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and a host of other vitamins & minerals. One avocado also contains 13 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Avocados make great guacamole, combine well with veggies in raw soups and make wonderfully creamy raw pie fillings. I also put avocado in nearly every salad I make!

Avocados are hard & green when unripe, but they will usually ripen on the kithen counter within a few days. Ripe avocados are dark/black and yield slightly to gentle pressure. If they are really soft, they are usually rotten. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days if not used right away. I like to keep several avocados on hand, at varying stages of ripeness. Buying them green & letting them ripen in the kitchen means less risk of getting a bad/rotten one, so once I have a few ripe avocados I like to buy a few green ones each time I shop. This way, I always have a steady supply of creamy green yumminess ripening in the kitchen. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Raw Food Storage

If you're a raw foodie or even if you just like healthy food around, you may have wondered how to be prepared for an emergency/disaster situation when access to fresh produce may be limited or unavailable. This could mean anything from an earthquake or a bad storm to loss of employment or temporary lack of transportation keeping you from getting to the grocery store as soon or often as you'd like. That's when storing food can be extremely helpful if not downright life-saving!

You can store things to eat right away, like nuts & dried fruit (raw nuts can be kept in the freezer to keep them good longer). You can store ingredients for recipes (oils, sweeteners, spices, etc.). You can also store seeds for sprouting (learn to sprout & use them BEFORE a disaster hits), so you can have fresh foods even when you don't have access to fresh fruits & vegetables. I buy a lot of non-perishable things in bulk (see http://www.azurestandard.com/ for one option), which saves money and forces me stock up, so I usually have most of these on hand:

Pine nuts
Shredded coconut
Sunfower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds
Hemp seeds
Alfalfa seeds
Chia seeds
Mung beans
Garbanzo beans
Garden seeds
Sunflower seeds in the shell (for growing sunflower sprouts)
Sweet brown rice (it sprouts!)
Raw dried fruits (I like http://www.therawchoice.com/ for these)
Cacao powder
Cacao nibs
Carob powder
Sun-dried tomatoes
Agave nectar
Olive oil
Coconut oil
Italian herbs
Mustard powder
Sea salt

In the event of a natural disaster, you will also want to have several gallons of water - more if you'll be soaking & sprouting things. :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sweet Chia!

Okay, so it's not all that sweet in flavor, but I made a wrap with chia seeds. I filled the wrap with fresh blueberries and a creamy almond-orange filling, and I was very happy with the results. Yummy!
Sweet Chia Wrap
1 c. packed fruit pulp (left over from juicing fresh fruit)
1 banana
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Enough water to get it to blend
¾ c. flax meal (ground flaxseed)
½ c. chia seeds
Place chia & flax meal in a large bowl. Blend all other ingredients well in a blender & add liquid mixture to bowl. Stir well & spread on a dehydrator sheet lined with parchment paper or Teflex. Dehydrate at 105 F until the top is dry & it will come easily off the parchment/Teflex. Turn over onto a mesh dehydrator tray, removing parchment/Teflex, and continue to dehydrate until fairly dry but still somewhat flexible.
I think the dehydrating time was about 8 hours from batter to finished wrap. I just kept checking & tasting little pieces as I went.
Almond-Orange Filling
Equal amounts of cashews and soaked almonds
Enough fresh orange juice to get it to blend well
Pinch sea salt
Blend all ingredients well in high-speed blender (Vita-Mix, Blendtec, etc.).

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where to Begin?

If you are new to the concept of raw & living foods, you might be asking the same question I asked myself about this blog today: "Where do I start?" There are several possible answers as different as people are different. My favorite has to be from the movie The Sound of Music. Maria said, "Let's start at the very beginning. That's a very good place to start." With that in mind, perhaps it would be helpful to find the beginning.

Think of the foods you already eat that are raw. That can be your beginning. Favorite fresh fruits & veggies usually come to mind first, along with perhaps raw honey, raw nuts & other things you hadn't thought about before. Eat those things as often as you can, and try new things while you're at it. Soon, your list of familiar & enjoyable raw foods will grow until you may have a hard time remembering when you didn't know what kale was. :)