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A MAGNIFICENT PAIRING

So, about once a year.. when my husband has his annual rum and cigar birthdate outing with pals, I get inspired to concoct a one-bite dessert pairing that represents us as a couple… (i.e. what would we be if we were a pair of desserts?)  I know.  I’m weird.  Nevertheless, I am happy with the outcome. Call me super strange, but having both one-bites’ flavors mix on my palate really hit me with a deep, sensory and arguably spiritual revelation! 

Introducing a Magical Pair:  

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Peanut-y Rum Cup with Raspberry Crunch on top and

a Raw “Caramel” Almond, Date, and Fig Cup Crowned with Coconut.

Through this pairing, I have tasted what it is like to appreciate individual merits, but have a melding union be even more deliciously delightful than just one offering alone!  And is that not the mysterious, glorious one-ness a marriage is idealized to be?  Ah, the beauty of food and the enlightenment possible therein…  Try this. Seriously.  

A brief explanation: Jon enjoys rum, peanut butter, and raspberries…and I like everything in both items but prefer a healthier version of all treats. ta-DA!

HOW TO: the peanut-y cup was easy… wpid-20150427_184250.jpg

Just double boil semi-sweet chocolate along with a bit of coconut oil and rum extract (or the real thing), layer the ooey gooey smooth melted chocolate on the bottom of your mini paper cup liners, follow with a dollop of peanut better, and add more rum infused chocolate on top.  Sprinkle with Himalayan salt and add a piece of freeze dried raspberry before putting in fridge to set for 10 minutes.  Easy and delish!  There is refined sugar in the store bought chocolate chips, which is the downer… which brings up the dessert version of “me” for Jon’s birthdate party favors.  A bit more complex, but less guilt later when you eat them…! LOL

INGREDIENTS:

Crust: 1 cup soaked and dehydrated almonds, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 black mission figs, 3/4 cup medjool dates

“Caramel” middle : Halawi dates soaked in just enough water to soften, vanilla bean extract, cinnamon dash and sea salt.

Carob topping: melted Tablespoon of coconut oil, another couple Tablespoons of coconut manna, 1/4 cup of raw carob powder, 1 Tablespoon of yacon powder (or syrup would be better). mesquite is also a great option.

HOW TO:

Food process almonds until broken into large crumbles, not into a paste, add the dates and figs… and coconut shreds until it sticks together to mold into the bottom or your cup liners and muffin molds.  Your thumbs will be great to hollow out the middle in which you will put a dollop of the date paste “caramel” mixture.

wpid-20150427_211220.jpgTo make the “caramel,” just food process all the listed ingredients until smooth.  Put this smooth paste in the cup.  Finally, melt the coconut oil and manna in a double boiler and whisk in carob powder and yacon–use maple syrup if you want a bit more sweet.  Drizzle over “caramel” dollop and smooth in down to be in line with the top of the crust.  Finally, cover the liquidy parts of the toppings with enough coconut shreds to cover.  Chill to set in fridge.  Enjoy!!!! …more work, but definitely less guilt involved since there’s nothing refined in the way of sweeteners in this option!

One more major bonus for the raw cup dessert… my doggie Rocky the Rescue can have a smidge, too!!! wahoo… and he enjoyed a few bits of a one-bite. :)  Truly guilt-free me!

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So, this was a foodie’s way of helping you get to know me and my hubby as a pair… You can choose one or the other, but the magic of this pairing is that having both together makes the flavors even better!!! Truly!!!  I am super blessed at how this worked out!!!

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RAW DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING for EARTH DAY

On this EARTH DAY, I figured why not indulge in what I LOVE as I skip all things animal based?

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Plus, my parents were coming over, so that motivated me to whip up something that will treat them!  Here’s a simple go-to dessert that will prove to be a reliable decadent delight for the most picky of palates.

wpid-20150422_173613.jpgIngredients:

3 small-medium ripened to perfection avocados

3/4 cup soaked dates (with just enough liquid to cover (not too much)

4/5 Tablespoons of raw cacao powder (use carob as an alternative)

Dashes of Himalayan sea salt and ceylon cinnamon (add cayenne if you want another layer of flavor to savor)

1 Tablespoon of mesquite powder (optional.. you can add a handful more of dates instead, but I like the mineral content)

Directions:

Food process until it’s thick and smooth…put in fridge and top with chia berry pudding, cacao nibs, and fruit as pictured when serving.

For chia topping, just soak white chia seeds in fruit juice of diluted fruit only preserves… perfect presentation!

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my daddy inhaled the raw pudding after this work... and was shocked at how healthy the ingredients made it!  He happily took another serving home :)

my daddy inhaled the raw pudding after this work… and was shocked at how healthy the ingredients made it! He happily took another serving home :)

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A DOMESTICATED DIVA! …and blissed to be :)

:) …there’s gold at the end of this blog...

lightest and crispiest kale chips ever!

lightest and crispiest kale chips ever!

Just bragging a little bit before the final hoorah… I got ambitious due to a bunch of kale a galpal gifted me from the farmers market yesterday, so I decided I would bust out my dehydrator and challenge myself to make the lightest, crispiest (versus crunchiest) kale chips ever… and I DID!!!  Have you seen anything so golden brown and friend looking that actually wasn’t?  Me, neither!!! muahahhahaa!!! wpid-20150411_143051.jpgIt was an experiment that consisted of 2:1 (soaked buckwheat groats to sprouted pumpkin seeds) and lots of nutritional yeast, Himalayan pink salt, turmeric, ginger,  cayenne and other red peppers, dashes of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and food processed together into a goopy paste. Then, I massaged it into all the flourishes of kale leaf crevices and then plastered it on extra thick on some for that potential extra mouthful of substance once dried… and it worked…. I am super satisfied… and with the extra goodies, it was quite filling! wpid-20150411_141000.jpg Then… I made a cauliflower, celery, and asparagus soup to simply swoon for as I was cleaning out my fridge and found I had chicken stock at the ready in my pantry.  A simple sautee, a rolling boil, and immersion blender magic along with organic adobo and mixed peppercorn gratings for seasoning and …..a super healthy soup now graces my fridge’s belly and mine. Wahoo!! I am on a roll!!! Since I was such a great domesticated dame, I decided I need to allow me-self some deserved delights…  and I happened to have some new treats that beckoned to me … For this, I give credit to a bestie for forcing me to accept a gift of delish chocolates and she hoisted upon me!!! LOL … she refused my refusal and got me all 3 flavors available at my new fav restaurant THE SPRINGS in downtown Los Angeles. http://thespringsla.com/  The chocolate is an offering by a wonderfully eco-consious obsessive chocolate-lover… let’s unite and support this company: http://fineandraw.com/ BTW I definitely feel the sticker price is worth all that has gone into its making and the rich flavor (with out refined sugars) it offers. wpid-20150411_184721.jpg wpid-20150411_184728.jpg

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I should be enjoy being the queen of my home more often … yay for Domesticated Diva-dom!!!

Let’s look “appreciate” that chocolate once, again, shall we?

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And to think this it all started with a unpretentious bundle of organic kale that came with tiny snails in tow (they are now happy and free in a garden)!

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A SWEET LIFE WITH NO SWEETENERS! Happy EASTER!

Celebrating our faith as a family today with a sumptuous buffet of all kinds of food.  

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I rejoice in that I am not even “craving” the dessert offerings or the non-organic animal protein readily available,… so more focused on the richness of time shared this Resurrection Easter Sunday with my dearest parents, brother and husband.  I am so blessed.

See my 5 other “unprocessed food fast” blog posts for a more detailed account of this journey to the naturally sweeter life!

Bless you ;)

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UNPROCESSED FOOD FAST FUN FINALS

MY UNPROCESSED FOOD FAST concludes, but the freeing lifestyles choices shall continue!

Here are some highlights!

Just sharing that I just made several batches of the best at home, raw, soaked, and dehydrated high-protein and healthy fat granola ever!!!  My previous post has the directions, so I will just list the ingredients in the various kinds I concocted and am sharing and enjoying immensely!!!

4 versions of RAW Granola...ROCKED IT!

4 versions of RAW Granola…ROCKED IT!

RAW, SPROUTED, DEHYDRATED NOT SWEET SUPERFOODS GRANOLA!

JANE”S CLASSIC VERSION 

cannot go wrong with this one!

cannot go wrong with this one!

Ingredients:wpid-20150330_144154.jpg

1 cup buckwheat groats soaked
1/2 cup raisins and handful of dates soaked (I have used Khadrawy dates from Bautista farms)
handful of walnuts soaked
1/2 cup of dried figs (variety of , but I love black mission)
1/4 sprouted, dehydrated pumpkin seeds
1/4 shredded and/or chips of raw coconut meat
1/8 cup of golden flax seeds
lots and lots of dashes of cinnamon (“sweetening” agent that regulates blood sugar)wpid-20150330_142445.jpg
couple dashes of Himalayan salt & dollop of vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup of sprouted, dehydrated almonds and 1 heaping tablespoons of raw, sprouted almond butter.

LOVE THIS ONE!! so complex and subtle flavors

LOVE THIS ONE!! so complex and subtle flavors

wpid-20150330_142508.jpgDIVINE DELICIOUSNESS VERSION-above, but don’t add almonds, I used this product I chanced upon with mulberries, macadamia. cashews and other great gems… and I added another tablespoon of raw cacao nibs, hemp seeds and nutty, trace mineral rich powder called mesquite.  Try it!  It complements the cacao blissfully!  haha.. get it?  Bliss Mix…

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PEANUTTY VERSIONS -put in 1/4 cup of peanut butter, peanuts (instead of almonds and walnuts), ..and bit more salt to give a more satisfying taste and mouth feel for his heartier palate.) and then

MACA BERRY POPwpid-20150402_112552.jpg -do the peanutty version and then add maca powder while mixing ingredients and place freeze dried raspberries onto the batter after spreading the mixture onto your teflex sheets.

NANA LOVES CACAO -back to the peanutty version, but instead of using dates, mix in mashed banana to sweeten.  I would recommend at least one large, ripe banana so the flavor is present and not too subtle… Cacao nibs are great in this as well as the mesquite powder.  I laid this down thick to make it in a brick-like granola for specific use in a yogurt.

 

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Then I got into chia puddings… and am kinda hooked! The two you here are my carob-date-naner and berry loving parfaits

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wpid-20150328_211029.jpgChia seeds, preferably white, soaked in coconut cream with added cinnamon layered between sliced berries or between dates, nuts, and more banana… I also let the chia soak in carob powder as well as dates for the decadent “chocolate-y” version. Feel free to use real cacao powder and nibs for extra pow!  Having the pudding around also makes a great thickening agent for your superfood smoothies!

Lastly, I love sprouted and dehydrated nuts.  Nut butters from sprouted, then dehydrated nuts truly make my tummy and taste buds grin…  My two fav almond butters for you to check out :)

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On a health food nerd note:  please visit this site for great information mesquite powder!  It’s a great asset and delightful addition to my pantry… http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/mesquite-powder-health-benefits-tips-and-recipes/

LIFE LIVED CONSCIOUSLY IS SO RICH WITH JOY!  I DEFINITELY FEEL BETTER AND EVEN HAPPIER LIVING IN THE REALM OF WHOLE FOODS… It’s been a wonderful process getting into unprocessed foods… try it! :)

Goodbye and good riddance

UNPROCESSED, THE FAST. WEEK #4.

Goodbye and good riddance

Goodbye and good riddance

Yes, that’s Cheez Whiz… more on that later…. :)

My recurring thought toward the end of this Lenten Unprocessed Food Fast is that I AM HAPPY SAYING NO!

It was easier for me to turn down all kinds of kind offers for food that I don’t really want or even foods that I do, but know that they are not on my guidelines for my unprocessed food-fast. Certainly, I admit, my parameters on this fast was been hard to understand because I am not excluding one thing, like bread, for example, but excluding anything that has been unidentifiably altered in substance or through additives from the source of the food. (i.e. I welcome corn kernels, but not corn chips, unless they were freshly ground and made myself by putting onto flat dehydrator sheets.)

The food industry with shelf-stable taste-addictive offerings has lost its moderate hold on me during this mindful practice… and I am blessed.

Don’t get me wrong,I have to stay vigilant while allowing myself the enjoyment of living and eating the fatness of the earth, but knowing how much our living planet has lost and been sacrificed in the name of our voracious appetites makes it just a bit easier when conscious compassion rises up.

What hit me this week… that the deeper issues usually covered up by addictive foods (i.e. my crutches) are making themselves quite known.

All my childhood life this was the one thing I could do that would bring verbal recognition from my parents… that their daughter eats a lot and often out-eats anyone at the table.  I did that for most of my life and only escaped obesity by a fluke of metabolic blessing… but as I have been told, my digestive system is run down and sluggish and my intestinal track rather unresponsive.  So, I pay the price for a lifetime of gluttony in more unseen, but no less heavy ways.

DINING WITH OTHERS

In accepting a gracious hosts’ invite to dine at their home with a course meal designed for those not fresh off a juice cleanse, my hubby and I attended because we were promised my food concerns and mindfulness efforts would be accommodated with plenty of vegetables.  Well, I am proud to say I successful and as gracefully as possible declined the wine and dessert and the first course with crackers that undoubtedly had some processing involved, I still did inhale my entire extra-large portion of an organic young land animal (let me leave it at that.)  It was mild, tender, and delicious, but I really could and should have brought home half of my serving.  The only veggies in sight were in the sauce that served as a base alongside risotto.  I served myself extra of the stewy veggies.  I was beyond stuffed after the stark contrast of luscious juices I thrived upon for several days prior.  wow… What I learned: that everyone has a different interpretation of food in general and “plenty of veggies” in particular… and I have (and continue to have) a hard time saying no to too much food. *sigh.  I popped some digestive enzymes and focused on how grateful I was to have enjoyed such rich foods with such generous hosts and wonderful couples.  Lesson revisited so that I can stay mindful that this is an ongoing process of learning and continued mindful modification on what I allow to fuel me.

Just a week later… minor, yet MAJOR VICTORY!!!

I realized how far I have come in building a practice of allowing only whole food choices to cross the hand to mouth boundary when I thought and then said, ” I don’t think I want to go back.”  To what? …eating desserts indiscriminately and then devouring whatever else was nearby because I was just sugar-triggered to be ravenous. …eating when I wasn’t particularly in the mood or had the appetite to but did anyway because it was just something to do to pass the time or socialize … eating what was made for me by the food industry giants to get me hooked to want more and more…and way too much more.  Be gone the ways of gorging. I am happy to have the pleasant feeling of being satisfied… Yet, I know this is a moment to moment–day to day lifestyle, but after almost 40 days, my palate has adjusted and I love it.  I have not missed sugar and greasy fats as much as I feared I would. Hallelujah–there is freedom in that! :)

And there’s some larger movement parallel to my personal one… goodbye Cheez Whiz!

Read the full article here! http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/03/29/395809212/cheez-whiz-helped-spread-processed-foods-will-it-be-squeezed-out

And HELLO to a conscious caring for our world…

If you don’t know about this company, you should… it’s the first certified humane dairy farm in the US!  wpid-20150330_100329.jpg

I love goat cheese and moderate-fat goat milk…but I have tried many brands of plain goat-gurt and RedWood Hill Farm has the tastiest and creamiest of them all.  Now I know why.  They treat their land and animals with care! http://www.redwoodhill.com/goat-yogurt/

Marching toward Passover/Resurrection Sunday… and recipes to share abound!

I was wondering about what this label means...glad my fast prodded me to find out more!

I was wondering about what this label means…glad my fast prodded me to find out more!

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week 2 of UNPROCESSED…the FAST

Day 8 – IN MOST RESTAURANTS, SALADS ARE  BORING! ugh!  Good thing I am munching on healthy eats before I got out to eat! And healthy does not mean low-fat… it actually means high levels of healthy Omegas and medium-chain fatty acids… super yummy and super satisfying stuff!

DAY 9 – SEMANTIC SENSE… ?  I am finding that many eateries just agree with you if you are asking if an animal protein is organic, wild-caught, or sustainable….unless you ask again upon detecting the wait person’s verbal assent tinged with a bit of uncertainty.  It often takes an insistence to inquire into how the fish or animal was raised and killed before being served up at human food before getting a straight answer.  More often than not, if the staff doesn’t know, it’s best to avoid it as it is most likely  poorly raised and therefore, not the best to ingest personally and therefore support the gluttony of our current food systems.

DAY 10 – NEED SOME AMMO … to keep the sweet tooth at bay?  I do …especially because it’s the weekend and that is typically when I feel like I can “allow” myself extra goodies.  Getting some hard facts about the pure white and dangerous sweet stuff helps: http://www.rodalenews.com/sugar-health-effects   Great article and overall a super site for staying in the know about how to fuel yourself and conserve the environment.

Here are some more links to read while we’re at it:
1 – http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/weird-ways-sugar-affects-your-health

2 – http://www.rodalenews.com/sugar-toxic

3 – http://www.rodalenews.com/sweetness-enhancer

(see note on this link at the bottom—freaky sweety stuff!!!) ***

DAY 11 – LOVING FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE THE BEST SABOTEURS! Eating with your good buddies or with family insistent on feed you makes it hard to stick to what this unprocessed fast is about because there are no hard and fast rules and labels to what I am doing. I am not avoiding gluten or meats or anything specifically, but only avoiding that which is unrecognizably altered somehow in substance, structure, or in its contents by the machines of man….and even if I was just avoiding any sweetener, that alone would be difficult because it seems most people have just fallen to the idea that it’s simply unavoidable, so why try?! I say that’s the reason to try smarter!

DAY 12 – SPOUSAL SUPPORT is a toughie in my case…because my hubby may never ever give up certain foods, especially his animal proteins, but I find that my repetition of opting only for wild/line-caught fish and organic, pasture-happy animals makes him more mindful of, at least, what I prefer to order when we are out for a meal.

DAY 13 – SLAP MY WRIST, PLEASE!!! I keep mindlessly reaching over to nibble on whatever my hubby has on his plate or his ordered meal at a restaurant! Habits of any kind can be rather stubborn to break free from.

DAY 14 – RECIPE FOR THE WEEK. Loved this and so did my hubby but I acknowledge that most of us Americans are so accustomed to sweeter granolas, we will have to retrain their tastebuds to disfavor sugar spikes by appreciating super-foods versions like this one! (If you must add sweetener, use unrefined maple syrup or local honey and add vanilla bean paste.)

SO FULL OF MY FAVORITE YUMMIES AND SUPER CRUNCHY EVEN SITTING IN MILK!

SO FULL OF MY FAVORITE YUMMIES AND SUPER CRUNCHY EVEN SITTING IN MILK!

RAW, SPROUTED, DEHYDRATED NOT SWEET SUPERFOODS GRANOLA!
Ingredients:
1 cup buckwheat groats soaked
1/2 cup raisins and handful of dates soaked
handful of walnuts soaked
1/2 cup of dried figs (variety of)
1/4 sprouted, dehydrated pumpkin seeds
1/4 shredded and/or chips of raw coconut meat
1/8 cup of golden flax seeds
lots and lots of dashes of cinnamon (main sweetening agent but one that regulates blood sugars)
couple dashes of Himalayan salt
1/2 cup of sprouted, dehydrated almonds
(options: for my hubby’s version, I put in 1/4 cup of peanut butter, peanuts (instead of almonds and walnuts), and dehydrated banana chips…and bit more salt to give a more satisfying taste and mouth feel for his heartier palate.)

the peanuttier version

the peanuttier version

Directions:
After soaking and buckwheat groats and draining most of the water, only leaving enough to cover the groats, add the soaked raisins and dates and blend until moderately smooth in the food processor. Add cinnamon and mix up some more.
Slice up the digs into quarters or thinner cross-section pieces.
Mix up rest of your chosen ingredients and then pour onto flat teflex dehyrator sheets.
Set dehydrator to 130 Degrees since the actually temperature it is when drying is about 10 degrees cooler than that.
Dehydrated for 6 hours or so and flip over…allowing the pieces to crumble and break.
Continue dehydrating for 6-8more hours at 125 degrees … and enjoy the aroma of warm cinnamon that fills your home.

Figgy-nola with tons of healthy fats to fuel me longterm. NO SUGAR SPIKE HERE!

Figgy-nola with tons of healthy fats to fuel me longterm. NO SUGAR SPIKE HERE!

Let this redefine comfort foods — enjoy the aromatherapy started in your kitchen–the heart of my (and perhaps, your) home!

***and my last note about “freaky sweety stuff” … a wake up quote from the 3rd article above:
“Fake sweetness isn’t good for anyone.
Tricking your taste buds with artificial sweetness, whether from an artificial sweetener like aspartame or a sweetness enhancer, may keep a few calories out of your diet, but an emerging body of evidence suggests that it’s not keeping you thin. Your gut has sweet receptors just like your tongue does, and research from Susan Swithers, PhD, professor of behavioral neuroscience at Purdue University and a leading researcher on artificial sweeteners, has shown that your gut gets confused when you eat super-sweet artificial sweeteners. The sweet taste sends a signal to your gut that something high calorie is on its way, so your gut anticipates foods that do, in fact, have a high calorie count. But when those don’t arrive, your gut doesn’t utilize the foods efficiently, and that causes a cascading effect that interferes with your body’s hunger signals, including insulin levels that go haywire.”