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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Raw organic curried nut pate

by Bella

I love easy and delicious healthy recipes. I whipped this up by just tossing things together and turning on the food processor. Super easy.

Tomorrow we’re going on a hike and then having a picnic. The weather’s been pretty hot here, so I needed something easy that doesn’t have to be kept cold while we hike.

I decided last night that I wanted nut pate to have with some gluten free crackers and carrot sticks, so I soaked some raw almonds overnight. It wasn’t until the nuts were rinsed and in the mini Cuisinart today, that the inspiration for the flavor came to me.

You can really do anything you want as far as flavor combos with a raw nut pate; so I just looked at what I had in my kitchen and grabbed the first thing that jumped out at me, curry powder.  I then I built upon the south Asian flavor with complimentary ingredients. I ended up with a slightly sweet coconut curry combo that  is hard to resist.

imageMaybe I should have waited until tomorrow to make it, because I have to resist it until the picnic. That’s the hardest thing about making stuff in advance. When it’s good, the wait is excruciating.

Without further ado, here’s the “recipe.”

It’s really just a list of ingredients. The quantities of each are up to you. Flavor to suit your taste and make as much as you need. I like it mildly sweet with a more intense spiciness and a savory bent.

Directions:
Process the drained and rinsed soaked nuts with the seeds (peppercorn and sunflower) first to break them up and to get them to rough texture. Then add everything else and process until well mixed and it starts to clump together.

I think letting it sit in the fridge overnight, if you can wait,  will make the flavors more intense.

Ingredients:
Soaked raw almonds
Nutritional yeast
Curry powder
Cumin
Sunflower seeds
Garlic
Spring onion
Salt
Raisins
Carrot
Shredded coconut
Crushed chili flakes                                                                                                                                                             Peppercorns

Our goals – 1 year later

by Bella

Where are we at one year after posting our goals? Adapting and changing. This is a family made up of individuals who are growing and changing all the time. In that process, we often have to change our path, though our end goal remains the same.

One constant is our desire to achieve voluntary simplicity. We just keep revising our ideas on what that is and how to get there.  As we learn more, and environmental factors impact us, we make the necessary adjustments.

The goals we set a year ago were our ultimate dreams. It’s great to have dreams and to strive to achieve them. The real world may have other plans for us. Keeping that in mind, here are those same nine goals and where we are today, one year later.

  1. to be free of boxes of stuff. If it’s not something we use on a daily basis and truly need or love, it’s got to go. Jack has done a fantastic job of selling our excess stuff. We don’t really have a lot left as he has made a huge dent.
  2. to eat only simple foods that are nutritious, organic, vegetarian/vegan whole foods that are easy to prepare. We strive everyday to find the best quality, healthy, but simple foods to eat and have become inventive with our recipes. Jack and Bo decided late last year to reintroduce some meats into their diets, but I have remained vegetarian and have avoided most animal products. We eat mostly whole natural foods, cooking vegetarian recipes, to which Jack and Bo often add a bit of meat. We did have to start a “meat box” in the fridge to keep it separate from the produce.
  3. to live in an environment where we can bike, walk or use public transport and be car free. We do live in an environment where this is technically possible provided we stay in our isolated small town for everything and forever. Because that’s not an appealing concept to us, we keep and use a vehicle. I do walk to work 95% of the time, John works from home and Bo studies from home, so our vehicle use is minimal.
  4. to be able to fit all of our possessions into one small bag each and only one small container of kitchen supplies. Not even close. We still have a long way to go on this. After a long talk with Bo when she expressed a strong desire to stay put until she finishes her high school education, we decided to keep a few comforts to make our place feel like a home. See numbers 5 through seven for more info.
  5. to travel, to live, to love life without the constraints of maintaining a home, having excess physical possessions or working at jobs we that don’t feed our spirits. Without the stuff, we don’t need the home, without the home, we don’t need the jobs. This is where the dream and reality conflict comes into play. Our daughter Bo doesn’t want to do this until she finishes school, and then she wants to go it alone like her older sister who lives in Australia. We raised very independent kids. When she told us this, we stalled our travel plans because we always put our kids and their happiness first. Since that time, financial reality has sunk in. We have the money to travel and explore, but not the location independent income source to be able to maintain that lifestyle for long. We are working on a revised goal that will temper the dream with the reality. It is a work in progress. We live in a month-to-month rental that is fairly stable and inexpensive. Because of this, if our situation were to change, we have the freedom to get back on track with our travel dreams.
  6. to generate an income from things that we enjoy. I like my job, but, as I said, it’s not location independent. In fact it’s very much tied to one building. Jack, though he works from home, and, as of yet,doesn’t earn enough to support all three of us. He likes what he does, and is looking for new ways to grow his business.
  7. to have the time and money to travel and explore our passions. See number 5 about financial reality.
  8. to post on this blog weekly to track our progress and hopefully help others. I now want to revise this to say, to post on this blog when I find inspiration and want to share it with the world. I have so many ideas that I want to share, and I want to do it with passion, so I plan to write when I’m excited or fired up about something. I also have so many things that I want to do. Blogging is just one of those things. IF I focus too much on blogging, I’ll burn-out; so I’ll try to maintain a balance. I hope to get Jack involved. He’s full of ideas that I’d know people would enjoy reading about.
  9. to start a YouTube channel about our adventures by the end of this year. I’m proud to say that I did start a YouTube channel where I posted a video and had fun doing it. The video wasn’t about adventure, but it was about something I’m passionate about, genetics and genealogy. I will most likely post more on a variety of topics in future.

So there you have it. We’re real people, sharing our journey. Voluntary simplicity remains our main focus, and we continue striving toward achieving our dreams. As we succeed and inevitably, sometimes fail, we will continue sharing our story.

The dirt on mushrooms.

by Bella (inspired by Jack)

We’re related to mushrooms. Jack broke the news to me just this morning. Will this show up in his genetic test? Well, considering that we share a common ancestor around 600 million years ago, probably not.

It’s true, according to a post on Mark’s Daily Apple.  Mushrooms are neither plant for animal Though more closely related to us than to a potato, they may not bare a resemblance with the exception of the Mario Bros. character, Toady, but apparently they have neurotransmitters just like us thinking mammals.

So the question is, “Are mushrooms still a vegan food?” Something to ponder.

If you’re curious and/or intrigued, like I was, check out the short, informative and to-the-point post here.

Even Toady was surprised to find out we’re related.

Raw Strawberry Buckwheat Porridge

by Bella

For me, it’s hard to beat almost any smoothie as my breakfast of choice, but Raw Buckwheat Porridge always comes out on top. Like a smoothie, it gives me a boost of energy. I always know the night before that I’m going to have buckwheat porridge for breakfast, because I have to soak the raw groats (Actually, Jack does it for me). When I wake up, and I know that I have that to look forward too, I jump out of bed and anxiously wait for Jack and Bo to get up too. The sound of the food processor will wake them, so I have to wait for what seems to be an excruciatingly long time for them to get up (it’s usually only about 1/2 hour to an hour – I’m hardly going to starve) before I can fire that puppy up and then tuck in to the creamy, fruity, refreshing deliciousness that is Raw Buckwheat Porridge. I’m salivating as I type this.

Do you see the spoon in the picture. I found it very difficult to wait. I had to get Bo to take these shots for me, and to stop me sneaking a bite and making a mess of the bowl.

I use the freshest, most vibrant, and sweet berries that I can find.

True raw foodests will have spotted the toasted coconut (not raw). The great thing about this recipe is that it can be done COMPLETELY raw, gluten-free and in a multitude of varieties, everyone of them yummiful. Yes! I just made that word up. When something tastes this good, there are no existing words to describe.  The recipe is for strawberry porridge, but you can substitute any berry you want. For that matter, you can change up or omit the pecans for your nuts of choice, and put in any variety of seeds, replace the banana and/or apple with juicy pears. It can also be topped off with granola or made creamier with a non-dairy yogurt in place of non-dairy milk. Experiment until you find your favorite.

Raw Strawberry Buckwheat Porridge

1/4 cup raw (gluten-free) buckwheat groats (soaked overnight)

3/4 cup fresh berries of your choice

1 medium size ripe banana

1/2 small apple

small handful of pecans

splash of vanilla

dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

small handful of shredded coconut

enough coconut milk to get a creamy consistency

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp ground flax

toasted coconut flakes, pecans and strawberries for garnish

Soak the buckwheat overnight. In the morning rinse thoroughly until no more frothy bubbles appear. Place groats in food processor and process until a paste starts to form (add a little coconut milk if needed so you don’t burn out the motor). Toss in the banana, apple and then strawberries and then add the vanilla, salt, cinnamon, pecans and shredded coconut with the rest of the coconut milk. Process until well combined, creamy and a little bit runny. Scoop out into your serving bowl, then ass the chia and flax, This is why you made it a bit runny, so that there’s enough liquid for the chia seeds and ground flax to soak up. Let it sit for as long as you can wait to thicken (for me that’s only about 10 minutes that feel like forever), then garnish with strawberries, pecans and coconut flakes.

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.