"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

Archive for the ‘nuts/ seeds’ Category

Vegan day 285: Raw almond yogurt

No doubt.. I am a yogurt lover. It was probably one of the most difficult items to release before entering my veganhood lol! 

I have tried the other yogurts on the market that are made from soy, coconut and almond. It’s almost there in taste but I try to avoid processed foods for my daily food items. I guess by now, I gave up on yogurt until I came across this recipe in RAWSOME by Brigitte Mars.

At least if the consistency isn’t going to be perfect (which it wasn’t) then at least it should be HEALTHY! Oh how I forget in this quest to be an inspired vegan that the real name of the game is HEALTH! Wait.. I retract that. It was my first goal but now the farming system and the suffering it causes to the animals and our planet is my goal as well! I do choose to be a healthy vegan though even as I experiment with all these vegan ideas and recipes. So.. raw vegan nut-based yogurt– I didn’t even know it existed!

RECIPE as per Brigitte Mars
2 cups almonds – soaked for 24 hours
2 cups if water
1/4 cups of dates – soaked for 20 minutes

PROCESS
I soaked my almonds for almost 24 hours, drained/ washed them and then put them in my Montel blender with the water. I mixed them well and then poured it into a milk bag and let it drain out the excess liquid overnight. I let this process take place at room temperature. The next day I soaked the dates and put them in a food processor. I added the almond pulp from the bag. It was still a heavy textured consistency for me. I will try to grind the almonds longer before and after it ferments. I may also choose cashews next time. It’s in my best interest to perfect this recipe.

I used strawberries as well which helped sweeten the flavor. This is healthy, raw and full of bio-available nutrients!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Thursday, October 11th 2012 blog]
Advertisements

Vegan day 259: Flax-Almond crackers

If I could dehydrate regularly, I would make granola, crackers and some type of bread each time. I could live on this food for sure. Crackers for me are my bread for now until I learn how to make other raw breads. I found this recipe in Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. It’s for flax crackers but they are made with almonds too. I am beginning to think that almonds are the raw vegans’ “steak”.. for lack of a better word. Almonds are found in so many raw recipes. It’s exciting! I think I want to start ordering them in bulk- as in from an almond farm. If anyone knows a good almond dealer let me know: organic, raw and as local as possible! Thanks.
Flax-Almond crackers
Water 2 1/2 cups
Flax seed (ground) 1 1/2 cups
Almonds soaked 1 cup
Kale 1-2 cups chopped (kale is king)
Olive oil 1/4 cup
Salt 2T
Cumin 1T 
 
 
Combine all of the ingredients (except for the flax seed) into a blender and mix well. Then transfer to a mixing bowl and slowly add in the flax seed. Scoop onto dehydrator sheets. 
 
These crackers look similar to the LEMONGRASS COCONUT CRACKERS from the other day- but they taste completely different. Enjoy!
 
Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Saturday, September 15th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 185: Macadamia-pine nut ricotta cheese

macadamia-pine nut ricotta cheese with basil and garlic spices
fresh farm strawberries and raw dehydrated crackers

Interesting nut cheese experiment today– I wanted to make a nut cheese from the soaked macadamia and pine nuts that I prepped the night before. I made this two different ways- they both came out very good.

Batch 1- from the soaked nuts (no fermentation)

  • I soaked the nuts for about 8 hours although the recipe says 2-6 hours.
  • We drained the nuts and rinsed them well.
  • Next we put them in the blender with water filled to half way of the nuts. 
  • We pulsed it but definitely not into a smooth paste. 
  • We directly added fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and spices (basil, salt and pepper).
  • We blended it again so that it had a ricotta-like consistency.


*For the record, I think I did this part wrong. I think I was suppose to ferment the drained nuts first with the miso as shown below. The only thing is- it really tasted good- so good in fact that a day later we combined both cheeses and re-spiced them up to perfection!

Batch 2- from the soaked nuts – drained and then fermented

  • soaked the nuts for about 8 hours although the recipe says 2-6 hours.
  • We drained the nuts and rinsed them well.
  • Next we put them in the blender with water filled to half way of the nuts. (TEST THIS- USE less water and add in if necessary).
  • Add in the MISO and pulse into a ricotta-like consistency.
  • Pour or scoop into mason jars.
  • Cover with cheesecloth to FERMENT and leave at room temperature for 6-12 hours (no more than 12 hours).
  • The cheese should ferment and separate with the (liquid) whey portion going to the bottom.
  • Press the cheese through cheesecloth or a milk bag. The liquid portion release is whey.
  • The solid part is cheese which can now be spiced and refrigerated. 

*I need to try this experiment again. This is only my second time and there wasn’t any whey this time. 

The cheese was delicious.. lol
That I know for sure!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Tuesday July 3rd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 184: Raw cashew milk protein shake

It always more fun when kids are around.. to prep the foods and make them from scratch. You may be surprised.. but kids like to eat something that they can be proud that they made themselves.. and if nothing else it was a learning experience! I was so happy when one of my friend’s daughters wanted to help me out. Raw vegan food takes time and prep.
 …Side story… of course: This woman comes into the bar the other day and says to me.. “I need help.. I have a question for you. What can I eat .. or not eat.. I will try anything but don’t ask me to cook. I can’t cook or prep anything because I don’t have time!” lol

This is the problem folks! No one has the time.. or makes the time. I promise you this though- you can make health a priority now… or health will make you a priority later. 

One or two hours a day for food preparation, eating and exercise is essential to ones health, well being and vitality. That’s what I told my friend at the bar.. take at least one day a week to prepare some meals.. and give up one bad habit.. lol 
ANYWAY...

  • We prepped our cashews the night before.
  • Now it was time to MILK THE CASHEWS!!!!!!!!
  • First we drained the soaked nuts and then RINSED them well!
  • We added the nuts to the NINJA BLENDER (thanks again Tee)
  • My Sous Chef Kayla added water just over the amount of nuts by about 2 inches. 
  • She blended and we both tasted it. 
  • Since I was making it with her.. and she is an 11 year old trying out vegan food.. I added some maple syrup. It really didn’t need much! Other things you can add for sweetening would be dates or figs. I have done both with almond milk in the past. 
  • I have never made cashew milk. We were both amazed as we blended it into a creamy white texture that closely resembled dairy milk. Wow we did it ourselves… no cows or suction cups.. or pus, hormones, antibiotics or GMO feed. Ok.. I admit we could have used gloves.. but we were experimenting.. we were drinking it.. and it was FUN!
  • This step here is where those gloves would have come in handy: MILKING THE CASHEWS! You can’t just drink it from the blender (well.. maybe) because it’s gritty! So here we squeeze the milk out through a milk bag… or in this case… a paint bag. I always heard you could use a paint bag and I finally gave in and tried it- super!
  • I am a messy bartender at work … and a messy chef in the kitchen. I wanted to make the shakes first.. clean second. Even my little sous chef was nervous about that and wanted to clean. lol Anyway- we made her shake first without the protein powder. Kayla had the fresh cashew milk with bananas and strawberries.

  • Next up was my special raw vegan meal of the day: Sun Warrior RAW VEGAN PROTEIN POWDER mixed with cashew milk, banana and strawberries!
  • ALL DONE! We even had 2 small mason jars of cashew milk for the next day!
  • Check in tomorrow to see what we did with the macadamia and pine nuts!

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday July 2nd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 170: Tamari almonds

Tamari almonds will always put a smile on my face… not only because of their delicious taste but for the story that it reminds me of. A friend of mine and I had started to take different nuts and seeds into our newfound vegan diet. She went to the store one day and came back with a gallon size container of almonds- I was like… why so many almonds? lol that must have cost a fortune? We had this whole bet going with respect to the cost .. and the calories of the amount of almonds she brought back. She confessed later that the slide on the bulk container was stuck and the whole tray emptied into her bag. The calories on that bag of almonds was well into the upper thousands!

When you talk to the raw vegan people.. many say not to worry about calories. They probably say this because they themselves are not eating any processed foods. For everyone else though, it may be good to keep an eye on the calories. In my class a few weeks ago, I learned that soaking the almonds made the nutrients more available to our bodies. Then once we dehydrate them, they are naturally preserved for a longer shelf life. I now have three options that I know of after soaking my almonds– (1) almond milk, (2) almond cheese and (3) dehydrated almonds.. in this case:


TAMARI ALMONDS

I was so excited to make my own and I couldn’t believe just how easy it was.


Recipe to soak
2 cups raw almonds
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak 8-12 hours


Recipe to dehydrate
Drain the soaked almonds and rinse well.
Place in a mixing bowl with 1/4 cup tamari or nama shoyu. 
Marinate for 1-3 hours. 
Spread on a flex sheet and put on the dehydrator sheet at 105 degrees and 24 hours. 


Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Monday June 18th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 169: Spicy sunflower seeds

Day one with a brand new dehydrator. What is a dehydrator anyway? Why do people dehydrate food?

Dehydrating food is a method of preserving food that has been around for centuries if not longer. Before refrigeration, canning and freezing, civilizations would dry their food via sunlight. Today, dehydrators are popular with people who chose to eat a raw vegan diet. Dehydrators work generating low heat and circulation with a built in fan.
“Food dehydration can be defined as a process of inactivating enzymes, or removing water (moisture) from a food to a point at which bacterial and other spoilage microorganisms are inhibited from growing.” (Excalibur 2010)
Honestly, I had not really conceptualized this until I started learning about raw vegan food.. live foods! I was a sprouter… but never took that to another level. This week it’s all about dehydrating. I learned how to do these recipes at the Living and Raw Foods Course at the Natural Gourmet Institute. The dehydrator I bought is the Excalibur 3900. 

Spicy sunflower seeds
after soaking before dehydration
  • 2 cups of raw sunflower seeds soaked 4- 6 hours or over night in 4 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Drain and rinse
  • Mix with chili flakes, cayenne pepper, sea salt and pepper 
  • Other options are chipotle pepper or cajun spice
  • Spread onto dehydrator trays at 105-110 degrees for 12- 20 hours
Recipe ingredients (soaking)
after dehydration
2 cups sunflower seeds
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt

Recipe ingredients (mixture before dehydrating)
Soaked and drained seeds
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
(1/2 teaspoon cajun spice)

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Sunday June 17th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 153: Pass the CHEESE please: NUT CHEESE that is!

I never thought I would eat cheese again! I didn’t become a vegan overnight you know. It really started with just wanting to be healthier. I chose New Year’s Resolutions as my method. The first year it was no white carbs (and alcohol) and the second year it was no cheese. My third year now is the quest to be a healthy vegan. 


Anyway, when I gave up cheese in 2011, it included vegan cheeses too because they are usually soy based and super processed. I could have easily fell into a vegan cheese binge as well! I remember when I first started counting calories and I had to measure out one square inch of cheese- and that was 100 calories. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! That was merely the prelude to a snack. That was something you pop in your mouth just while you are cutting a big portion for some cheese and crackers. I am the type who would eat those mini “Babybel” cheeses like they were going out of style- or those soft cheese spreads in the round packets that comes in triangles- “The Laughing Cow.” The cow was laughing at me for sure wondering why humans drink and eat another species’ milk (and far past infancy)… and watched me as I got fatter and fatter! Easily, I would eat the entire pack in one sitting. I love cheese- no one loved it more than me- I don’t care what anyone thinks on that note! I felt my body shake when I would walk into those gourmet cheese sections in the supermarket like they have at Fairway- Ok I’ll have one of everything! lol 

Cheese had to go! As the authors from Skinny Bitch put it: “CHEESE=FAT!” Plain and simple! Not to mention- I want NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DAIRY INDUSTRY and the best marketing campaign of all times- GOT MILK? 
How about GOT ALLERGIES? GOT DISEASE? GOT SKIN PROBLEMS? GOT DIARRHEA? lol I could go on and on but you get it!

I guess I am one of those slightly annoying vegans that always has to ask 
IS IT VEGAN? Carry that up a notch and you will find me in a RAW FOOD RESTAURANT asking ARE YOU SURE THAT’S NOT REAL CHEESE OR VEGAN CHEESE? ARE YOU SURE THAT’S JUST NUTS? Insane! 

almond nut cheese
Nut cheeses are for real and they are delicious and you can’t even tell the difference from certain soft cheeses like ricotta! 

This all being said, you can see how a whole new world has opened up for me and I can finally eat cheese again!

HOW TO MAKE NUT (or seed) CHEESE

(1) Soak the nuts as we did for almond milk 2 days ago. Choose 2 cups of the nut/s or seed of your choice and soak them with 4 cups of fresh filtered water. Let it soak for 4 to 12 hours. ( I generally do a minimum of 8 hours- the equivalent of a good nights sleep)
(2) Drain and rinse the nuts or seeds 
(3) Place the nuts or seeds in a power blender (like a Vitamix) with fresh water filled to half the level of nuts. (You may need more water-watch and see)
(4) Add one teaspoon of white miso paste. If you don’t have miso in your refrigerator- think again! There is so much you can prepare with miso- and it’s a fermented food- healthy!
(5) PULSE chop the mixture until the nuts or seeds are pulverized- do not blend it smooth!
 (6) The texture should be like cottage cheese (see picture to the right)- stop here and transfer to a mason jar; cover it with cheesecloth or a mesh sprouting screen.Make sure there is enough space left in the jar for it to expand and grow.
(7) Let this sit and FERMENT for 6-12 hours (no longer than 12 hours or it could spoil)
(8) When this is ready you will notice the cheese beginning to separate with the cheese on top (it’s ok if it is slightly darker on top from oxidation) and the whey on the bottom. Just when you think it’s finished- you have to milk the whey lol. You need a milk bag: add the cheese and squeeze out the whey gently. The cheese is then good to go and the whey can be used for other things. 

* As a vegan, one of the most difficult things to eliminate because it shows up unsuspectedly in many products like protein powders and drinks is WHEY! I always thought of whey as healthy and I guess it is but the nice thing learned here is that WHEY does not have to mean dairy- I can make and use WHEY now derived from nuts– super cool!


** I used almonds this time and made almond nut cheese- macadamia pine nut cheese is next- yum!

ENJOY!

Reference: 
Beitchman, Celine, (2012), Living and Raw Food Intensive, Gourmet Institute, New York, NY

Disclaimer: The information given here is for educational purposes only. You should not use this to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider.
[Friday June 1st 2012 blog]