"Reinventing Indulgence" One meal at a time!

Archive for the ‘Raw’ Category

Sprouted Chick Pea – Red Pepper Hummus

Vegans and hummus go hand in hand. More frequently than not, it’s our saviour. Well.. mine anyway. It’s like a safe food. Non-vegans generally adore it and so will offer it as a snack at parties. Many restaurants will carry it, especially the Mediterranean ones and for sure.. a falalfa place is always nearby. In New york at least!

HummuIMG_4799s goes well with breads, crackers, crisps as well as carrots, celery, peppers and other raw vegetables. I’m starting to see snack pack sizes of hummus in the grocery stores- that’s a positive move for kids and people on the go.

On the flip side, it’s actually really easy to make it yourself. I have blogged hummus many times;  I even thought I specifically blogged “sprouted chick pea hummus” but I guess I didn’t. I’m gearing up to go raw vegan (join me) for a little while, since the weather is finally breaking into consectutive days of sunshine and warmth here in New York.

Raw vegan for me- means it’s time to get sprouting. I starting to soak a few things the other day and Instagramed it. Someone asked me to post the outcomes so here goes one of them:

Recipe and how to make:
Sprouted Chick Pea – Red Pepper Hummus:

  • I soak the chick peas overnight and then dIMG_4794rain and rinse them.IMG_4792
  • Let them sit until you see the sprouts coming out. Usually within one or two days (even three). It’s good to rinse them and move them around to shake the water off.
  • Now I have a live food full of enzymes.
    I like this quote from Brenda Davis:
    “We can live about 3 weeks without food and 3 days without water, but we would likely survive only about 3 minutes without enzymes.”
  • I toss a little over one cup of the sprouted chick peas into the food processor
  • I put in my tahini and extra virgin olive oil; at least two big tablespoons of both. Taste test as you go!
  • Crush some garlic and let it sit for a few minutes, then add it in
  • Add freshly squeezed lemon; i used a few cut wedges
  • Hot sauce; the title should really be Sprouted Chick Pea – Red Pepper Hummus; the Spicy Version!
  • Organic red pepper cut into pieces and then added to food processor
  • Sea salt

So delicious!


Eat it RAW.. or not.

I guess you can say I have been in a spaghetti zone lately. It comes and goes but this week has been a hit with an amazing spaghetti squash recipe that I made. Those with addictive tendencies know that when we have something on our mind- it’s not over til’ it’s over. Might as well take that as an opportunity to “reinvent the indulgence”. The spaghetti squash was delicious and put me in the mood for another variety of spaghetti- this time with zucchini.

IMG_2859I began with the raw version. That’s the beauty of zucchini spaghetti- you can eat it raw, I was in the mood for a salad and of course I am far from boring in that department. I went for it. I have to say that I do love my spiralizer. It gives vegetables a twist.. literally! The zucchini spaghetti is probably the most famous of it’s uses although, I really need to experiment more with the other blades.

For now, it was about the gorgeous long strings of this spaghetti. I still had a garden fresh tomato so it was salad time.

Zucchini strings

Fresh tomato
Finely chopped onion
Bell pepper chopped
Olive Oil
Sea salt
Tossed and topped with a few pine nuts!


Some days I am in the mood for a salad and others I just need that home cooked feeling. I literally split this all in half and saved the second portion for a meal the next day – this time cooked.
For the cooked version, I added some chick peas, tofu and more artichokes that I had in the refrigerator. Of course I didn’t cook the avocado! avocado never makes it past the moment in my place- it’s just too dam good! I was feeling hot and spicy today so I added some vegan hot sauce and splurged with my low calorie spaghetti indulgence.

I even made my own vegan parmesan that I saw on a vegan Facebook site. It was so simple: 1 cup un-salted cashews to 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, sea salt and pulsed in a food processor.

I heated the pan with some coconut oil and did this quick sauté. I was actually feeling guilty afterwards but really there was no need. Luckily, after an hour or so, the guilt was replaced with an avocado chocolate mousse dessert that I knew I could indulge in. This too was vegan of course- I have blogged it before. Check it out!
All is well!


Simple Vegan Summer Rolls

summerroll2Imagine a carb-less wrap that’s vegan, gluten-free and low calorie. That’s how I think of my homemade summer rolls now.

Quite often I opt to order the summer rolls on a  menu as an appetizer. I really do love them and they are usually healthy– but I do this too, more so because they are often one of the only vegan options that are not fried or super white starchy. Even at vegan restaurants I choose this — again for the simplicity and light calories. I pay anywhere from $5- $9 for one or two and never really think twice about it. UNTIL… I made them! What a mark up! I feel like just opening up a summer roll shop and becoming rich overnight! Let’s see how many items we can fit in here for under 50 cents? This is one time you can’t say eating vegan is expensive. 

Summer roll, spring rolls- I sometimes get them confused. I get so excited sometimes that something is vegan that I forget to ask if it’s healthy. Most spring rolls.. I’ll say are not. Anything wrapped in white flour and then deep fried in who knows what exactly.. is not really adding to ones health. Of course it tastes good. If that’s what you are in the mood for, go for it! However, this is a simple option that you can even prep the night before for meals on the run. They hold well!


mistake – try again for a smoother feel

I was so excited when I stumbled onto vietnamese rice paper. I had no clue had to use them- seriously! I think I even had to YouTube it. So silly really because it’s so easy and you can make a whole meal in less then 10 minutes. The first time I tried to soak the wrap in the water for a couple of seconds it came out “not good” at all as you can see here. Just keep trying until you get it nice and smooth.



*Take a medium size frying pan and heat up some water- keep it shallow (and not boiling).  Hold the paper with two hands and dip it in for a few seconds until it is about to get really soft. Lay it on the working prep space.

*Wash and dry some greens of choice. I used spinach the first time and mixed greens the second.IMG_1199

*Chop up into thin slices some cucumbers, carrots or other vegetables. I also sliced up some avocado and tofu.  Of course now it’s over 50 cents but you can just keep it to vegetables. I wouldn’t use anything too watery. If you use tofu, cut and blot the tofu dry before wrapping. I like to add a little hummus to mine but try to make that in the middle so it doesn’t moisten the outside once wrapped.

*Roll it gently and it automatically sticks.

The dipping sauce

IMG_1200I like the peanut flavorings so I use almond butter with shoyu (or coconut aminos) – if you can’t find that, tamari works too. I add a little maple syrup for taste. It’s super delicious! I was in Whole foods recently and found the brown rice version of this paper. Wonderful!

If you would like some more tips on buying, using or storing rice paper, check out this link:





Zucchini Noodles With Tahini Sauce

How could something that looks like a plastic toy that I had as a kid to shape clay aka Play-Doh — make me so happy?  More importantly, why have  I never experienced this before.  This is why when I go out for dinners to friends or restaurants, that everything seems to look so fancy. It’s like I missed the spiralizer boat — but I want to get on! It’s so simple. I had actually been wanting one for some time. I guess it was just the procrastination in me. I finally did get one.. for Christmas and now it’s three months later and my first time using it. Wow! I’m stunned at how behind I am sometimes and how the simplest things can make me so happy.  If you have ever read any of my early blogs or pasta rants, then you know that I am a big pasta-holic. The fact that I can make spaghetti from a zucchini and not wheat.. or clay for that matter.. is so much fun for me. I made three different twirling shapes and had a blast just like when I was a little girl. This recipe I made wasn’t even a debut with my real Italian homemade sauce! Just wait!

IMG_7638 This is a raw recipe. It’s actually titled KELP NOODLES with Tahini Sauce from Carol Alt’s book: Easy Sexy Raw.I’m so afraid of the word noodle that I steered away from KELP noodles. That’s a bit much. I don’t need to fear those noodles – they are made from kelp seaweed and they are RAW! I’m so silly sometimes! I felt safe with zucchini in that moment so I made the recipe from there. I forget sometimes that when something is raw, it really doesn’t take that long to be ready. It’s just “prep and eat.”  I made the zucchini first.  I washed  them and put them on the spiralizer. Next came the tahini sauce. Technically you should use raw tahini to make this a completely raw meal. I still have yet to make tahini from scratch- but I will. It’s basically a paste made from sesame seeds.

This meal here is a combination of only a few ingredients.

Zucchini Noodles With Tahini Sauce

  • Zucchini – Use whatever size you want; I used 4 small ones and it was good for about 4 small servings.
  • Kale – Again, use the amount you would like; I used one big bunch.
  • Raw sesame tahini 3/4 cup
  • Shoyu (fermented soy sauce) 1/4 cup
  • Lemon juice 1/4 cup fresh
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic 1 clove chopped finely
  • Nutritional yeast 1/4 cup
  • Ground turmeric 1 teaspoon
  • Scallions 4 to 5 chopped small
  • Cilantro one handful chopped finely
  • Mint leaves optional
  • Seat salt 1/4 teaspoon

Cut the kale from the stem and chop into bite size pieces. Spiralize the zucchini into spaghetti! Mix the tahini and other ingredients in a bowl. Toss the

IMG_7642chopped kale and zucchini into the bowl and mix well. Now it’s ready to serve! Don’t be afraid of KELP NOODLES like me.  They are low in calories, fat free, sugar free, gluten free and have many minerals that are beneficial for you- vitamins too! This is a delicious and basically raw meal. It’s highly recommended by many in nutrition to aim for 60% of your food intake- RAW! Try it and see how you feel.

Here are a few links about Kelp Noodles and their bene
What is a spiralizer—

Vegan day 323: Raw Creamy Broccoli Soup

I have to remember that when time is of the essence, raw can really be convenient

Of course at times, you may have to soak, sprout and dehydrate in advance, but when you incorporate this healthy way of eating into your life it becomes a welcomed practice. 

I soaked my cashews for two hours. Then when I was ready to eat, I put all the ingredients into my blender and ran it. It was so quick even I thought it was too good to be true. The soup had a beautifully smooth broccoli flavor and was quite delicious. 

I try not to have multiple portions but couldn’t help myself. The soup in the white square dish above is for presentation. I generally eat with the small sized ones to the right. Physical portion control can help train the mind and stomach to avoid overeating. Years ago, I would eat a much unhealthier soup in a much bigger bowl.. have seconds.. and then fall asleep lol. I’m changing.. it’s a process and a fun one at that!

Recipe from EASY SEXY RAW
by Carol Alt

1 cup broccoli
2 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews soaked and drained
1 avocado
2 garlic cloves (I would use less next time)
2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon agave (I am a maple syrup fan)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
1/4 cup of mint leaves

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, November 18th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 321: Raw Key Lime Pie

Not such an easy thing to replicate, however, this recipe is probably close EXCEPT that I’m sure I messed something up. It didn’t look good for sure. The pecan crust was amazing of course but the filling was a bit more challenging. I think I went avocado crazy lol. It’s really a shame that I made a mistake because the ingredients are all delicious and nutritious!

The recipe is from RAWSOME by Brigitte Mars:
First of all, I need bakeware! I honestly don’t even know what pie tins, glass pie plates or springform pans look like. Well, I just ordered a springform pan today so now I actually know. I bought that for the cheesecake that we made yesterday. I have to keep doing these recipes until I get them right!

Check out all the fabulous and RAW VEGAN ingredients here:

2 cups pecans soaked overnight, rinsed and dehydrated until crunchy
1/2 cup of dates soaked for 20 minutes

1 avocado- I am guessing now- NOT a giant size one
1/2 cup coconut water
Coconut meat- about the amount of one young coconut
1/3 cup lime juice
Grated peel of half an organic lime
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon celtic salt
1/2 cup dates soaked for 20 minutes
2 tablespoons of flaxseeds

1st make the crust: Combine the pecans and dates in a food processor and mix. Press the mixture into a glass pie plate. I worked with what I had and the crust was delicious. 

Next, combine all the filling ingredients into a food processor and puree. I’m guessing I didn’t puree long enough plus I used too much avocado. Pour the filling over the crust and chill for one hours. 

As soon as I come across a glass pie plate, I’m going to try this again!

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, November 16th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 304: Raw Vegan Apple Pie

It’s APPLE SEASON so I did have to make a few apple pies! There is a difference between vegan apple pie and raw vegan apple pie! Obviously, raw is not cooked! 

I needed the warm apple pie feeling yesterday to calm my anxiety about the hurricane which was and still is a nightmare for many of my friends, families, neighbors; their pets too, businesses, transportation and structures. 

The cooking went on or un-cooking I should say. I am so grateful that I have power. I had originally wanted to make this recipe first- now I was ready. I soaked the almonds for two days and then went right into my mistake. I was to grind the drained nuts and dates. Perhaps I should have used a food processor but instead I used my Montel Healthmaster which resembles almost a Vitamix. I added enough water so that it would mix. I guess I should not have done that because now it was too moist. I set the mix in a pie tray and dehydrated it for a few hours but that didn’t help. I later caved in and committed a raw vegan cardinal sin. I baked it. It was good lol I’m sorry and I will try try again! I know I ruined it as far as raw goes. The enzymes are lost in cooking and the benefits of the essential fatty acids in the nuts were gone. I could have eaten it raw- it would have been like a cinnamon apple oatmeal with maple syrup. I didn’t though.

The filling was similar to yesterday: apples, sucanat, maple syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon.

The crust was almonds (2 cups soaked, drained and crushed) and dates 1 1/2 cups (soaked, drained and crushed). 

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, October 30th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 297: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

This is the closest thing I have seen yet to VEGAN MAGIC!
This is a recipe that I learned firsthand in the LIVING AND RAW FOOD INTENSIVE at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. I love desserts and I love chocolate. When our chef, Celine Beitchman, said this was made with avocados- I was completely puzzled. After we made it and tasted it, I was even more amazed as I sat there in bewilderment.. a healthy chocolate wonderland.

Renee’s Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Avocado- 2 cups
Maple syrup- 1/2 cup
Organic sugar- 2-4 tablespoons (optional)
Coconut butter unscented- 2 tablespoons (optional)
Vanilla bean seeds- cut open one whole bean
Aged balsamic vinegar- 1 teaspoon
Shoyu- 1/2 teaspoon
Cocoa powder unsweetened- 1 cup

Mint leaves
Cacao nibs

This is quite simple!
Using a food processor: mix the avocado, maple syrup, optional ingredients, vanilla bean, balsamic and shoyu. Add in the cocoa powder; blend until you have the consistency you want and then chill it if you can wait that long to eat it. The only advice you really need here is to be careful tasting it. You will be so tempted not to wait that you may want to dive in near the blade. Use a spatula and have fun! Kids will love this!

Even though this dessert looks looks good without INSTAGRAM, feel free to check out my INSTAGRAM for fun! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3005383461754.2117441.1477431979&type=3
or join me direct VITAMINGEE

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, October 23rd 2012 blog]

Vegan day 296: Raw Vegan Pizza

Pizza, pizza, pizza…

Lately, it seems to be all I can talk or instagram about! When I posted today that I am making my first raw vegan pizza– even I couldn’t believe it. 

A friend of mine bought this book for me today, Raw Food Kitchen, by Dunja Gulin. We both stopped short in our tracks when we saw the picture of the raw mushroom pizza. It was a must! I talk so much about pizza, both vegan and raw vegan, that now was the time. I love experimenting with crusts too- and I certainly have yet to master it, so why not? 

We ran to the nearest health food store and stocked up on the ingredients:

Mushrooms (portabella)- 2-3
Tamari- a must have 1/2 teaspoon
Lemons- 1 1/2 tablespoons
Tomatoes- 2 large
Sun-dried tomatoes- 1/2 cup
Umboshi vinegar- 2 teaspoons
Cashew nuts- 1 cup soaked for 30 minutes

Sunflower seeds- 1 cup
Oats- 1 cup
Flaxseed ground- 5 tablespoons
Turmeric- 1/4 teaspoon
Olive oil

First I scrubbed the portabella mushrooms, sliced them thin and set them in the  marinade of tamari and lemon juice. I let this sit for about an hour.

This would have been a good time to soak the cashews too. The recipe says 30 minutes but an hour would be fine here too. 

For the base, I used the sunflower seeds (ground) and then added them to a mix of oats wet with about 5 tablespoons of water. I also added the flax seed and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 

There are definitely instructions here that I didn’t pay attention to like use a rolling pin to flatten the crust which would be between two sheets of parchment paper. This would have been helpful. 

Seed the tomatoes- I have heard this before and I’m still not sure why. I didn’t do it. I made the sauce in a food processor with most of the cut tomatoes, the sun-driend tomatoes, olive oil and spices. The recipe called for capers. Again, I can see how this would have added flavor. 

The nut cheese was also made in the food processor with the drained cashews, a little olive oil, onion, lemon juice and spices. 

It looked delicious and was definitely hearty. I have to work on it more! I think I made the crust to thick. The next day, my friend baked the leftovers. I try to share the wonderful information here about raw food eating but I guess it didn’t work lol. In any case, she said it was delicious. Personally, I am not baking my raw vegan pizza!

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, October 22nd 2012 blog]

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

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]

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 257: Rockin Raw, NYC

Due to information overload, I am not quite sure where I saw the link that Rockin Raw is now located in NYC. I had heard of Rockin Raw but this was news to me– and pleasant at that! Raw is on the rise! I think the vegan and raw movement is underway in NYC although, of course, there is alot of awareness and education that still needs to get out there. There are 2 new raw restaurants that I just heard of and Organic Avenues are popping up more quickly than garden weeds. 

Even better for me was that this restaurant is located in the heart of Greenwich Villageare we getting our own “vegan row” on the west side– one only can only hope! Of course, after learning this great news, I rushed right over- it is their 9th day of business in NYC, formerly located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

ROCKIN RAW: 171 Sullivan Street
I never say “surprise me”, but that’s how good everything looked and I loved the energy of our food server/ owner. I happen to like when owners are “hands on”. You can really tell that they are in it for the love of raw food and educating others. By the time we left, I had personal tips for my own dehydrated flax crackers and the key lime pie I am about to make within the next week! Indulgences- they just never end- and thank goodness!

I started with an incredible berry freeze made with ginger- nothing else because I asked like 3x- a perfect healthy pick me up!
The “cheezy burrito” was the recommended entree (instagramed above/ vitamingee)- a house favorite! This was most likely chosen for me because I have been ordering too many lasagnas and pastas lately. I will be back for lasagna though- probably within the week! One experience and I am already addicted!
My friend ordered a raw boy burger and the jambalaya. Mostly everything is raw but they did have a warm vegan surprise today. 
Everything was really deliciousflavorful and healthy. It makes you just want to sit there and figure our how everything is prepared. That curiosity led us to a discussion on breads. When you learn how to master raw vegan bread making- look out! Terri, from Rockin Raw, said that she teaches classes there too– SIGN ME UP!!!!!
We ended with some green tea and desserts- but of course! We had the red velvet mini-cake and some ice cream. Actually we took the ice cream to go because it was their brand name ice cream all packaged in a container. It’s not like we weren’t full anyway. Terri also gave us a special dessert to take home: chocolate fudge cake. 
Thinking back now on everything I ate- I can no longer believe that this vegan woman I once met at an organic raw vegan spot months ago had told told me “calories don’t matter if it’s raw”

I super almost believed this — but no more! lol Well, truth be told, there is something to this way of thinking. When I was eating ONLY RAW– for example, I didn’t have to worry about eating larger portions of avocado or olive oil. However dining out is another ball game. If you over-indulge, no matter what it is.. you will push your stomach to expand and play with your cell’s systematic routine.

It’s best to eat as simple as possible- just save half of everything for later in the day. It’s good to space the food out. One huge plus about RAW food is that it won’t get cold!

Follow me on INSTAGRAM for instant pics on raw vegan food and fun times!

 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, September 13th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 256: Lemongrass Coconut Crackers

 Lemongrass Coconut Crackers

This is my second time making these. I realize now that my chef teacher at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health has called these crackers/ chips. When we made them in the Living & Raw Food Intensive- they were like thin crackers- almost chips. I have not yet achieved that state with mine. The ones I made are definitely crackers but I would love to get them just a little thinner and crisper. Anyway, these are still delicious!

Recipe (as per Celine Beitchman)
Dried lemongrass or 4 tea bags
2 cups of hot water
2 cups of golden flax seeds (ground)
1 cup of dried shredded coconut (ground this more finely)
3 cups of young coconut meat
1 cup of cilantro
1 cup of scallions
1t sea salt
1/2 t dried chili flakes

I steeped the lemongrass tea bags and let them cool. I used green tea lemongrass which seemed to work well both times. I mixed the dried coconut, coconut meat and cooled tea in a food processor/ blender. Combine this coconut tea blend with the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Let the mixture thicken for 10 minutes. Spread this onto 3 dehydrating sheets at 112 degrees for 12-20 hours.

*I’m beginning to skip too many days and I have too many excuses now. Skipped blogs 249-255; I did have my last final though yippie! Finished my diploma program at American College of Healthcare Science: Holistic Health Practitioner! That’s the good news. The other news is– I have to reconnect with this blog if I am going to finish it. I am living each experience and instagraming away and then too many days pass and I don’t want to go backwards to write. I need someone to invent INSTABLOG haha! I’m bummed for you guys that I didn’t write about Gingersnap’s Organics or Candle Cafe West. Yummy on both parts!
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.
[Wednesday, September 12th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 248: RAW VEGAN LASAGNA

As with any lasagna – this is a process… well worth the prep!
I am truly a lover of all things lasagna. Lasagna has always been my thing. I would make lasagna for big parties and holidays! I used to make lasagna with meat but I have changed it up over the years. I have made lasagnas vegetarian, whole wheat, vegan and also pasta-less. I have NOT until today- made it RAW and VEGAN! 
I have to give total credit for this recipe to Celine Beitchman at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Health. The recipe is broken out into (4) parts. I will highlight how I made this and if anyone has specific questions they can email me: djlisag@gmail.com.
Sun-dried tomato LASAGNA with marinated portabella mushrooms, zucchini, cashew-pine nut cheese and sun-dried tomato marinara
(1) The nut cheese: I soaked 2 cups of cashew nuts and 1 cup of pine nuts with water for 2-6 hours. Then I drained them, put them in a blender- covered with fresh water by 1 inch and 2 teaspoons of white miso. I pulse blended the nut mix but not until smooth. It should look like ricotta. Next I transferred this to a large mason jar (covered with mesh or cheesecloth) and left it out at room temperature for 12 hours. After 12 hours, I gently squeezed out the liquid portion or whey and put the remaining cheese into a food processor for flavoring. I added garlic, onion, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. DELICIOUS!- Refrigerate!

(2) Portabella mushrooms– I de-capped them, cleaned them well and sliced them into long thin strips. I massaged them with a mix of olive oil, nama shoyu, garlic, onion, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Nama shoyu is a fermented soy sauce. I let this sit for an hour or so. 
(3) Zucchini- I finally learned how to use my new mandolin slicer. I am really afraid of this thing though I must admit. Anyway, slice the zucchini into long thin wide strips and marinate for an hour or so with lemon juice and sea salt. 
(4) The sauce: This was the most fun! Just as I used to make sauce… I winged it! Basically though, sun-dried tomatoes (1 1/2 cups) soaked, tomatoes (4-6), garlic, onion, basil, bay leaf, oregano, parsley, jalapeño or chili flakes, olive oil, maple syrup (not much), lemon juice (tiny bit), sea salt and black pepper. 
My food processor has become my new best friend. This sauce was insane- I couldn’t believe it and in this very moment, I knew I made my grandmother PROUD! I learned my sauce-making from my Grama who was the “best” cook and baker out there. It was even highlighted in her obituary. My Grama cooked for everyone and for all occasions. She even prepared many a care package for my college friends and I. 
Unfortunately, and heartbreaking for me, she died at a very young age for a Grama; none-the-less from a heart attack (& diabetes). There is no doubt with my intense craving for candy and sugar that I wouldn’t be on that track had I not committed to and delivered a COMPLETE LIFESTYLE CHANGE! I still have to beware of my vegan and raw vegan desserts. Sugar comes in many many many different forms- sneaky sugar! This blog is dedicated to my Grama for giving me the basics on making the best Italian sauce ever- not to mention an incredible life altering amount of love! I love you Grama– you would have liked this sauce too, even as it’s raw and vegan!
*The rest is all about layering- have fun!
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, September 4th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 231: What is garden freshness anyway?

I hear the phrase “garden fresh” all the time… “garden veggies.. fresh vegetables.. fresh from the garden”
Well.. is it really? I wonder! My Dad once said.. don’t believe everything you hear.. and only half of what you see. That’s when I was a kid- before the age of internet, digital photography and photoshop. I’d like to say before GMO’s but they have been around for a while- just not considered the norm until now.. or our very near future! That’s a horrifying thought in and of itself.
garden salad
Vegetables are UPC coded (universal product code) in the supermarket. When they are 4 digits long it is conventional produce (usually they begin with a 3 or a 4). This means they are most likely sprayed with pesticides. Next are the 5 digit codes: Organic produce begins with an 9 and GMO produce with a 8 (8=hate; for lack of a better way to remember this)
Which is worse you ask? 
Conventional with a 4 or GMO with an 8? 
I say run far away from the 9! Pesticides are the poison you know. GMO’s- genetically modified organisms (manipulated seeds) are the poison you don’t know. We are the test group- the human guinea pigs. The difference is one is a simple toxin and the other is a toxin that grows and replicates.
Ok back to freshness and the over-use of that word. Another story comes to mind when I found a vegan restaurant (outside of Manhattan) that served up juices and smoothies- I asked if the fruit was fresh or … basically canned or made with syrup. I am not sure what I was avoiding at the time. Anyway, they said FRESH.. two minutes later they tear open a bag of frozen fruit. Is that fresh? Well.. believe it or not, it’s probably fresher than other options but it certainly wasn’t was I was looking for that day.
about to become FRESH JUICE
Fresh to me is produce just pulled out of the ground and unless you have your own garden or are shopping on a farm or at a farmers market, then I guess the next best thing we are referring to is a few days to a week long food at best. 
My 1st option would always be to buy farm fresh- local- and organic! This is a dream! For many though, this is not reality so check the codes on your supermarket produce or perhaps buy frozen if you need to especially in the winter months when local may not be in season. Farmers markets and CSA’s (community shared agriculture) are worth looking into. 
Today I made a FRESH JUICE and a FRESH GARDEN SALAD!  I don’t have my own garden
so I was beyond thrilled when my neighbor who IS an organic farmer brought over some produce. “Wash it really well.. there is still dirt on it”.. she says! That’s what I am talking about- “bring me the dirt” lol
The vegetables I used for juicing: fresh carrots- all different colors, fresh cucumbers, fresh beets and beet greens and fresh chard.
The FRESH GARDEN SALAD was basically the same: fresh carrots, cucumbers, beautiful cherry tomatoes, fresh greens and avocado.

I love my extra virgin olive oil! Today I used a few other things instead of the balsamic- some Nama Shoyu, brown rice vinegar and umeboshi vinegar!

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 August 18th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 228: Raw Piña Coladas

“Piña Colada” in any recipe book would get my attention but this one really made my day since it was all raw- all vegan!
“If You Like Pina Colada” from Brigitte Mars’ RAWSOME
As soon as I saw this title, I knew it was a wrap!
I had to make it!
1/2 cup macadamia nuts soaked for 4 hours
1/4 cup chopped pineapple (of course I used more)
1 orange peeled
1/4 cup young coconut meat 
1 1/2 cups of coconut water  
I defrosted my young coconut meat that I had delivered last week from Exotic Super Foods. That takes about a day and a half in the refrigerator. I soaked the macadamia nuts for 4 hours and then rinsed them well. I blended everything together in my Ninja blender. I may have added a little agave had I had it but instead added 1-2 tablespoons of vegan sugar to this creation. It may depend how sweet the pineapple is to determine if it is even necessary. I was in heaven. 
To date, I will delightfully say that I have no allergies. My throat did however become a tiny bit scratchy after drinking this. Obviously, being an x-frozen drink addict, this was not about to stop me. I didn’t even blame the nuts! I thought I was coming down with the beginnings of a cold. Since I drank this the next day as well, I may have to admit it probably was the nuts. Raw vegans don’t get sick that easily after all hehe!
The mixologist in me has to of course add the comment that it could be de-virginized with some dark rum heavily splashed in! 
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.
[Wednesday August 15th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 225: Raw lasagna from Organic Avenue

I love raw lasagna! I have had it at four different places now and I know how to make it- just haven’t ventured over to actually doing it YET… (but I will). I like to try it everywhere it is offered.. I think I just find it interesting more than anything else. I do make amazing lasagna- I always have, whether it be meat, vegetarian, vegan … or even soon to be raw! I think I order it just to get tips in preparation of the masterpiece that I will soon be addicted too lol!
Organic Avenue… lasagna? It seemed odd but not really. Mostly everything in the store is raw and vegan so why not? I couldn’t resist. It was packaged of course, to-go (in a small container) and probably cost more than a huge hot order in an Italian restaurant- go figure!
I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. The layering was well done and the raw vegan cheese was amazing. Score! Expensive but good! Organic Avenues are popping up everything in the city- this one was on 8th Avenue and 21st street. There really should be a NYC street named Organic Avenue.. I’ll take it down by Vegan Row please in the East Village lol.
Try it- 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.
[Sunday August 12th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 220: Fruit, granola & banana nut bread

It’s the simple things in life!
I love fruit!
I really couldn’t be happier eating fruit! When and how to eat fruit always seems to be a topic but not really for me. I just came off eating raw vegan for one month and honestly, fruit saved the day… and that’s any day.. any time.. for me! Each person is different though. I tend to eat fruit for breakfast, in smoothies, after working out and generally as a light snack before bed. Yes.. I eat a lot- anywhere from 6- 9 meals a day. Not the “Standard American Diet” (SAD) meals but just meals… mini meals… snacks– however you want to put it. I feel this style of eating is critical to my health and newfound metabolism. 
Fruit is often said to be best when eaten alone. I will agree with that for the most part although if you want to combine a few fruits in a shake as opposed to eating a McDonalds make-believe burger for lunch.. hey.. you get it right? It’s all relative. My low sugar (diet) friends love to argue with me on the fruit topic because they view it as sugar. I would say that if you have serious sugar issues that you may want to watch the fruits that you eat and not over do anything but my friends.. they argue it from purely a diet standpoint and not one connected with disease. I will say for the most part- fruit is natures food- it’s alkaline- and it has the fiber necessary to slow down those sugars. It’s a perfect food if you ask me.
This is a typical breakfast for me. Usually I will eat the fruit first and then a few moments later my “bread” type food. Before going raw vegan this would always be Ezekiel bread or an arepa. I have been really good at not relying on those anymore- not as long as I have my dehydrated healthy granola around or my favorite raw banana nut bread that I get at Lifethyme on 6th Avenue!. My goal now is 80% raw so I’ll save my 20% for a wrap later in the day or a cooked grain!.
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 August 7th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 219: Coconut ceviche homemade

It has been a top priority for me to make coconut ceviche from the moment I knew it existed. One of the last items for me to release from my diet before going vegetarian was ceviche. It was one of my all-time favorite dishes. I would always order it out when it was available and I would make my own quite often. I was pretty good at making Mexican style ceviche and later Peruvian style ceviche. The key of course, is in the marinade and letting it soak in. 

When I first heard the phrase “vegan ceviche”, my eyes lit up like a kid in Disney world watching the first rocket of fireworks shoot into the sky after the most amazing day in the park. I had no idea what they were talking about… was it fake soy shrimp? I had heard some mention of mushrooms.. but never coconut. It was months later when I was walking past Juice Press on East 10th Street (right down from Quintessence), that I saw a packaged raw food product labeled COCONUT CEVICHE. I was like what? I have to have that and more importantly… I have to make it myself. 

I had learned about COCONUT MEAT in my Living and Raw Food Intensive that I completed at the Natural Gourmet Institute. It’s not that easy to find actually. I haven’t found it anywhere except online. Exotic Superfoods packages young thai coconut meat into 1lb bags. It’s not that cheap fyi. An alternative would be to crack open a fresh young coconut and scrape out the soft white flesh. I think the brown coconuts are a different story. The meat is hard not soft. 

Fresh Young Thai Coconut Meat – (package)
Red onions
Chili or jalapeño
Sun-dried tomato (I used this for color and flavor) 

The coconut meat arrives frozen. First I had to defrost it in my refrigerator which took about one day and a half to two. You have to pay attention to shelf life here because the meat is only good for about 2-3 days after it thaws. Next I sliced it into thin slices. It looks and feels like calamari but smells a whole lot better lol. I cut and squeezed fresh lime- a few limes for sure. Then I added chopped cilantro, onions, chili and for me.. the sun-dried tomatoes. The key as I said before- is to let it marinate at least overnight if you can refrain from eating it!
This was a dream come true!

Note to self.. again:  I am skipping days 206- 218 for now! Honestly, the experiences are jotted down but not blogged. It’s more important for me to stay current than to play catch up. I can’t  instagram and facebook the picture and then talk about it 2 weeks later lol. I’m sorry! Free pass #2! That means you will miss the chocolate mousse unless I make it again. Ok ok- I will make it again!
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 August 6th 2012 blog]

Vegan day 202: Raw pizza crust

I have been craving pizza and rest assured I will eventually make my own version of an incredible raw vegan pizza. Baby steps though! I have had raw vegan pizza out a few times now plus I have looked up a few recipes. I set out today to make a version of this pizza crust in Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine but my more intense craving for crackers was overpowering my creativity.. or production anyway. Now I start browsing through the cracker section and I think I got so confused that I just made something in between.

Buckwheat groats– soaked and sprouted 
Don’t soak them as long as me– I did this incorrect.. twice! They only need to be soaked for 2 hours and then they take a day or two to sprout.
Sunflower seeds– soaked

I put most of both of those into a food processor for a more meal like texture
Some almonds- food processor (Many recipes just call for almonds and flax)
Then I added:
Flax seed ground (1/2 – 1 cup)
Chili flakes
Bay leaf

At one point, while in cracker mode, I added some liquid to the mix: lemon grass green tea. Ok I admit it now- part of me was trying to make a coconut lemongrass cracker that I learned in my class at the Natural Gourmet Institute.

After mixing this batter together, I spread it out on the teflex sheets and then into the dehydrator for 24 hours at 105 degrees.

There was alot of flavor in these crackers/ pizza crust. I have to admit though that they served better as a crust as opposed to a stand alone cracker. So as a cracker- not so good! But as a raw pizza crust- very good! My nephew and I experimented further with whatever we could find in the refrigerator. I kept it simple with a tomato and the best pesto I have ever had in my life. I am not sure of the brand but I bought it at Integral Yoga Natural Foods on  13th Street, Manhattan. I won’t show you my nephews pizza pictures because we separated our raw vegan ways at that point lol. We both loved the new pizza crust though! 

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 July 20th 2012 blog]