Raw Vegan Thai Zucchini Salad

by Bella

When I eat delicious,  fresh,  raw,  nutrient rich vegan food I feel good in mind and body.  It’s light,  energizing, cruelty-free and too good to keep to myself.

Easy to make and delicious with only 324 calories and packed full of nutrition, this is a must have recipe.

raw thai salad

Salad ingredients

Salad dressing

Dressing ingredients

SALAD:   

2 cups raw organic zucchini cut into thin strips
1 small raw carrot peeled and cut into thin strips
2 tbsps diced red bell pepper
1 small tomato diced                                                                                               

DRESSING:

1tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp​ fresh crushed garlic
1/2 tsp​ ​crushed​red pepper2 tbsps liquid aminos
1 1/2 tsp​ ​apple cedar vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp​ fresh crushed garlic
1/2 tsp​ ​crushed​red pepper

GARNISH:

1 tbsp raw cashews (I used peanuts which aren’t raw)
1 tsp cilantro


Place all the salad ingredients  in big bowl.  Mix all the dressing ingredients and pour over salad.  Toss.  Garnish with raw cashews and cilantro. 

Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fermenting fears

by Bella

Just the smell of sauerkraut used to make me queezy. In fact, the first time I smelled it, I actually lost my lunch. It has made me feel sick ever since.  That is,  until  now. 

Growing up, the only sauerkraut I’d ever encountered came from a can. I thought that something magical must happen in the factory to make fermented foods safe that couldn’t be achieved at home. Therefore,  I had yet to see smell or taste homemade sauerkraut. 

smelly-old-work-socks

Canned sauerkraut smells like rotten socks. Its consistency  is squishy and the color of a corpse.  It’s no wonder I found it so repulsive. Still I thought  sauerkraut and so many other preserved foods were both difficult and dangerous to make yourself.  Even as an adult,  it wasn’t something I had expected  I’d ever do.  Besides,  why would I try to make something that I’d always found revolting.  I feared fermentation, but I feared sauerkraut even more. 

Purely out of curiosity,  I recently read the book Fermenting Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey.  The book sings the praises of not only the taste,  but also the health benefits of fermented foods while making it so simple, and less frightening than I ever expected. In fact,  the authors provide a mantra that is the key to successful fermentation and demonstrates how easy it is,  “Submerge in brine add find all will be fine.” It truly is that simple.

wp-1451847597552.jpg

I quickly got over feeling inferior to factories in my ability to preserve food. More importantly,  I wondered if homemade sauerkraut  might be better than canned.

So I gave fermentation a go. I started with basic things first making leek and garlic pastes. Both tasted phenomenal, so I decided to get more adventurous.

wp-1453152581825.jpgLeek paste left. Garlic paste right.

The true test was make my own sauerkraut. If I could make it and the smell didn’t make me gag, that in itself would be impressive.  If I could make sauerkraut that I could eat, I would finally be over my fermentation fears and undoubtedly a convert for life.

It took all of about 10 minutes to prepare and one week to ferment. And then came the moment of truth. The taste test.

It smelled fine.  No rotten socks.  The consistency  was crunchy.  The taste was sour and salty. Not only could I tolerate it,  I loved it and promptly devoured it.   I ate it in salads,  as a side dish with eggs, and on a wrap filled with veggies,  sprouts and cheese.  Though I had planned to take a pic of the final product,  it didn’t happen.  Sorry.  That’s just how good it was.

So I can now say I am officially over my fermentation fear. More surprisingly,  I got over my fear of sauerkraut.

 

 

PB&J Gluten-Free Cookies

by Bella

recipe by Bo

Bo is an amazing baker. She started quite young and just has a knack for it.

This is one of her own recipes. Peanut butter and jam gluten free cookies.  They taste as good as they look. Slightly crispy on the outside but mouth-wateringly soft on the inside with a chewing and sweet jam center.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup peanut butter
Jam (I used raspberry)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rice flour
1 cup gluten free flour blend
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven for 375 degrees and line baking tray(s) with parchment paper.
2. In a medium size bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
3. Mix in eggs one at a time and add peanut butter and vanilla.
4. Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda) in a separate bowl and gradually mix them into the wet ingredients.
5. Roll mixture into small balls and place them on tray(s).
6. Use your thumb to create an indentation in each ball of dough and place a small amount of jam inside (a tsp or less).
7. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.

2014 Box Free Family in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. I love WordPress; they surprise and motivate us with things like this. I want to be open and share this with you. In 2014, we showed many sides of ourselves from how we enjoy life and the healthy foods that we make and eat to the choices we make and why. In 2015, we will continue sharing, showing and hopefully growing. If there’s anything you want us to cover, let us know in the comments. Happy New Year.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 350 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

You don’t eat meat? What did you eat over the holidays.

by Bella

The subject of what we eat becomes a curiosity more so over the holidays that at any other time throughout the year. During the holiday season we eat an incredible variety of delicious foods. Like many other westerners, we put in extra effort to make special dishes that make the meal festive and unique.

This Christmas we had lentil, mushroom, walnut balls, cranberry sauce, Indian spiced mashed potatoes, baby carrots with dill butter, gluten free rolls, raspberry trifle, mint chocolate chip cookies and organic raspberry wine made by and thoughtfully gifted from a friend of mine.

These recipes are to good to keep to myself, so I’m going to share them with you here. Well, I’ll share all but the trifle….that’s a post unto itself. Enjoy!

Our vegetarian (partly vegan) Christmas dinner

The lentil, mushroom and walnut balls are an Oh She Glows.com vegan recipe. Oh She Glows is one of our favorite vegan blogs. These taste amazing, are easy to make. The recipe includes a homemade cranberry pear sauce. We bought a ready made organic sauce this year. It was a lovely accompaniment to the balls, though I bet the homemade one is even better. As we all know, fresh is best for taste and nutrition, but I confess, I took a short-cut on that one. To try the recipe click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph. I highly recommend exploring her other recipes too. Like Emily Von Euw of This Rawsome Vegan Life, Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows has never steered me wrong.

The Indian spiced mashed potatoes were Jack’s, on the spot invention. They are so good that no gravy is needed. They’re vegetarian, but could easily become vegan by swapping out the butter with coconut oil and the milk with an unsweetened vegan milk., or another oil of your choice. He peeled, boiled and mashed Yukon gold potatoes with butter, milk, tumeric, chili flakes, vegan mayo, black pepper, Cosco’s organic no-salt seasoning. He didn’t measure anything. He just seasoned it until it tasted creamy and dreamy.

Bo found this recipe for the baby carrots with dill butter on line. They were super easy to whip up while everything else was cooking and the kitchen was crowded with all 3 of us pitching in on the meal.

The gluten free rolls were from the bakery of a local organic grocery.

Bo made the mint chocolate chip cookies by adding peppermint essence to our tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe that we’ve used for years. In the early 90’s a friend gave me the recipe. We’ve since adapted it to be gluten-free. They come out crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside and of course, as with all chocolate chip cookies, they’re best when eaten fresh from the oven.

Bo’s gluten-free mint chocolate chip cookies.

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan alternatives listed in recipe)

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup salted butter or coconut oil, softened
  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 2 large eggs (or 2 tbsps ground flax mixed with 2 tbsps water – let thicken for 10 seconds)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate, cacao or carob chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine both sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla.
  3. in a medium bowl, combine baking soda, baking powder, flour and salt.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet while stirring (if dough gets to thick to stir use your hands).
  5. Mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Grease two medium size baking pans.
  7. Roll dough into equal balls and place on tray.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bottoms start to look golden brown.

Additional notes

Add peppermint essence, shredded coconut and/or chopped nuts for extra flavor.

I’m sure most towns now have a source for healthy ingredients and options like these. If you’re not fortunate to have these things readily available,  you can always order the ingredients on-line and have them shipped to your home. We live in a small town, so we often use Amazon, iHerb, and Vitacost to get some of the hard to find items. If you don’t live in North America, iHerb.com has the best international shipping costs and they ship to over 150 countries. Click here for international shipping information.

What did we eat for the holidays?  Nothing but delicious, comforting, satisfying food made with love. What did you eat? I’d love to know.

Weird dream and beet greens smoothie

by Bella

Other than music and dance, what do Footloose and The Producers have in common? Absolutely nothing, until my whacked-out imagination randomly decided to combine the two in a dream.

About a month ago, I mentioned that I was going to blog about this, but then I suddenly, out of nowhere got the motivation to finally add a links page to my blog, so I posted about that ‘exciting’ topic instead. I keep getting visuals from the dream popping up at random times, like during staff meetings, that make me giggle. I figure this keeps happening because I have to get this out there.

Are you ready?

Picture this….

blended with this..

and you’ll have some idea of how unrelated these 2 things are.

I only remember snippets. The thing that stands out the most is the image of Kevin Bacon in his undershirt, grooving a Hitler ‘stache.

Don’t judge me!

My subconscious was out of control. Other than a whole lot of singing and dancing, there wasn’t any story line.

What do you think it means? I’d be interested to know.

To bring things back to earth, I have to share this over the moon delicious recipe that I threw together as randomly as my brain threw together that dream.

I had never tried beet greens before, after hearing about smoothies with iron rich beet greens from Raw Food YouTubers and bloggers like Emily von Euw of this Rawsome Vegan Life, Ka Sundance, ShaktiGoddess, Fully Raw Kristina and Dara, I decided to give it a go.

When I started, I had no idea what beet greens would taste like, so I just grabbed some things that I had on hand, tossed them together and hoped for the best. What I got was so amazingly dreamy and invigorating, that I forgot to take a picture until it was nearly all gone.

This was all that remained of a whole pitcher full. I struggled to stop sucking it back to take this picture. Sorry it’s blurry. It’s amazing that I got a picture at all.

Beet Green Smoothie

Greens from approximately 4 beets (about 2-3 cups)

3 medium size bananas (frozen or not. I used fresh and ripe)

1/2 cup cherries (frozen or not. I used frozen)

3/4 cup flavored yogurt of your choice (I used drinkable banana strawberry. Note: use dairy alternative yogurt for vegans)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

about 1 1/2 cups of water (coconut water if you prefer)

Load the bananas in the bottom of the blender with yogurt, vanilla and water, then top with cinnamon cherries and beet greens. Blend until smooth then try to be civilized enough to pour it into a jar or glass, because it’s going to be tempting to drink it straight from the pitcher.

Warning! This will make you drool – Jack’s vegan chippies

by Bella

I’m going to show you the picture first. They taste as good, if not better than they look.

You may be wondering…Why not just call them french fries?

2 reasons:

  1. Fries is a misnomer, because they’re baked
  2. This is Jack’s special recipe, and he calls them chips or chippies (he’s Australian). It’s his very own super delicious recipe, so he gets to decide what they’re called. I don’t really care what they’re called. I just want to eat them.

You can probably tell from the picture that the fries are all the same size. Jack’s a bit of a perfectionist and he hand cuts them then carefully mixes them with oil and spices until they’ve got the perfect blend of flavors, Then he bakes them until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Here’s another photo to entice you before I reveal the recipe.

If you want to try these you only need vegan cooking oil, golden potatoes and 4 spices.

Jack’s vegan chippie recipe (serves 3 restrained diners, 2 semi-restrained, and 1 with no restraint what-soever)

5 medium golden potatoes (preferably with the skin on). Slice into 1/4 inch thick long fries.

3 tbsp of vegan cooking oil of your choice (he uses avocado oil)

turmeric, chili flakes, fresh ground black pepper and organic no-salt seasoning (we buy it at Costco)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Put the cut potatoes in a large bowl, drizzle with oil and sprinkle on the spices. Toss until all of the chips are thoroughly and evenly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the fries out as much as possible on the tray.

Put tray on lowest rack and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and lightly salt with Himalayan sea salt, if desired.

Devour as-is or with your favorite condiment.