Orange Gogi Berry Better Than Newtons

I’m back with another Low Fat Raw Vegan dessert recipe 🙂

Remember my Better Than Newton cookies from last year? No? Well, check them out; they’re delicious! And, they were so well received, I’ve considered selling them. I just need to do the costing and figure out packaging and labels and talk to some people, and, and, and. Sigh. That’s why I’ve only considered it.

Ok, onto this week’s LFRV recipe.

Orange Goji Berry Better Than Newtons

1 1/2 c chopped dates (pitted)

1 1/2 c chopped figs (stemmed)

1/4 c goji berries

2 – 4 TBSP orange juice, fresh squeezed

Start by juicing half of a medium orange. Juice will be roughly 1/4 c. Either put juice aside or use it to soak goji berries if they’re hard.

Add dates, figs and orange juice to bowl of food processor. (If you’re using the orange juice to soak the goji berries, remove the berries from the juice before adding to dates and figs.) Process until coarsely incorporated. Add goji berries and process until mixture forms a ball.

Use a small ice cream scooper to scoop balls of cookie mixture. Place cookie balls on a teflexx dehydrator sheet and flatten to desired thickness. Place teflexx sheet on mesh dehydrator sheet lined tray and dehydrate at 145F for an hour. Reduce heat to 105-110 and dehydrate three more hours. After three hours, cookies should be firm enough to peel off of teflexx sheet. Flip cookies and place onto mesh dehydrator sheet and dehydrate another 3-4 hours. Cookies should be firm to the touch, like an under-done oven-baked cookie. The outside will not be sticky, but the inside will be warm and gooey.

Store cookies in the refrigerator or freezer. Great cold/frozen or warmed in the dehydrator.

My batch made about 9 cookies at about 150 calories each.

I reluctantly shared one of these cookies with a friend, and the first thing she said was, “Wow! These are better than Newtons!”  I. Know!

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Sharing is caring…Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Raw Food Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Wellness Weekends

Columbus Zoo

I have mixed feelings about zoos. I hate that animals are kept in captivity. (I can barely stand to look at the primates. So sad!). I hate that people stare and point and yell and laugh at the animals. I hate that polar bears are in the middle of Ohio. And lions. And tigers. And..Sigh. On the other hand, I appreciate the conservation work done by zoos who can afford to do so. I appreciate the work done to help preserve endangered species and the educational opportunities and efforts and the ability of people to see and identify with animals they would not normally come in contact with. Putting a “face” on an animal helps build empathy towards the animals and their plight.

Veggie V & Mr M

To celebrate Memorial Day weekend the beautiful weather we’ve been experiencing here in Ohio, Mr M and I took a little day trip to the Columbus Zoo. You may never had heard of the Columbus Zoo, but you’ve probably heard of Jack Hanna, who used to be the zoo’s curator. He’s still associated with the zoo and visits often. He wasn’t there Saturday, but he was there a couple of weeks ago. [There is another zoo affiliated location in eastern Ohio called The Wilds. This is supposed to mimic an African safari. As far as I know, the animals that end up at the Wilds are rescued animals.]

Anyway, we spent the day looking at the animals and toughing it out against the hundreds of strollers. Wowza. Strollers take up a lot of room!

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I hadn’t been to the Columbus Zoo since I was a little kid, so I didn’t have much memory of it, but I was a little surprised not to see a giraffe (my favorite) or a zebra. There weren’t any crocodiles or alligators either. Their cat population was a little low too, but we did get to see two tiger cubs being fed, which was pretty neat. There were a surprising number of baby animals at the zoo, which I guess is a good thing, especially for the lower in number species. But, again, do we really need brown bears, eagles, kangaroos and goats in a zoo? Double sigh.

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I guess I forget not everyone has the opportunity to see large animals on a daily basis. Driving for just a few minutes will give me a glimpse of cows, pigs, chickens, goats, llama, alpacas, donkeys, horses and a few different species of ducks and geese. Bald eagles nest around here, so it’s not uncommon to see one flying through the air now and again. (I saw one chillin’ in a field a couple of months ago; I assume it was stalking some kind of rodent.) Quite a few varieties of birds also inhabit our area, especially our state bird, the cardinal. We have a pair of cardinals that lives in our neighborhood, and they quite often visit the bushes in the front of our house. I know not everyone is that lucky, but I’m still iffy about the zoo.

What do you think about zoos? Supporter? Avoid? Opinion?

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Low Fat Raw Vegan Strawberry Cake

Ok. This isn’t really a cake. But is is low fat. And it is vegan. And it does contain strawberries. Lots of strawberries. Yum!

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Low-Fat Raw Vegan Strawberry Cake

1 c (heaping) dried dates, pitted

1 c (heaping) dried figs, stemmed

1 1/2 quarts (about 3 cups) sliced strawberries

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 c coconut/palm sugar (optional)

Prep dates by removing  pits, if needed. Prep figs by removing stems. Roughly chop both and place into a food processor. Add juice of half a lemon. Process until pasty. (Mix may begin to form a ball; that’s ok!) Remove date/fig mix from processor and press into a small cake, brownie or pie pan. (Two mini tart pans would probably work too.)

Prep strawberries by washing and stemming all of them. Slice about half of the strawberries into thin slices and place them in a bowl. Top the sliced berries with coconut sugar (or other sweetener), if using. Set aside and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes. Place the remaining berries in a food processor and pulse until berries become a chunky paste. 

Place processed berries on top of date/fig mix in pan. Refrigerate while remaining berries are macerating – about 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and top with sliced berries. Return to refrigerator overnight for a more ‘cake’ like texture.

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Notes:

  • This dessert is surprisingly cake like after it sits overnight in the fridge. If you want to cut and serve as a cake, consider doubling the amount of dates/figs.
  • If adding fat is an option, process some shredded coconut or almonds/almond meal with the dates/figs. This will also make the base layer more cake like, and it will allow for cutting and removal of cake pieces from the pan.
  • For a more gel-like middle layer, add chia seeds to the processed berries.
  • My strawberries were very sour. (Strawberry season hasn’t hit my part of the country yet.) If yours are too, you may want to add sweetener to the processed berries as well. Remember, however, the sugar from the macerated berries on top will soak through to the processed layer as the cake sits.
  • For a sugar free cake, use a non-nutritive sweetener like stevia to macerate the berries.
  • If strawberries aren’t your thing, try a different berry or fruit. Blueberries naturally have an abundance of fruit pectin and will naturally gel on their own after they’re processed. If you make a blueberry cake, expect the middle layer to be much more gel-like than the strawberry cake. (Cherries would also make a delicious cake!)

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I love this recipe because it’s 80-10-10 friendly, and it fit nicely into my month of raw challenge. If you’re interested in incorporating more raw foods into your diet, join us for the Raw Fusion Challenge on Facebook. Everyone is welcome, regardless of your dietary choices, but the focus of the group is high-raw vegan.

Don’t miss out on the after-the-blog fun; follow Veggie V on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Sharing the raw-vegan love…Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Raw Food Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Wellness Weekends.

Raw & Simple Book Review & GIVE-A-WAY

Have you joined the Raw Fusion Reset yet? No? There’s still time! This month we’re focusing on getting back on track with our high raw eating plan. Next month, we’re going to focus on reducing the fat. But, before we get there, I want to celebrate this month of Raw Fusion eating with some recipe inspiration…and a GIVE-A-WAY!

I love Juidita Wingnall‘s books. Her first book, Going Raw,  was one of my first raw food “cook” books, and I absolutely love it.  I was ecstatic to see the release of her new book, Raw & Simple, because I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. And it hasn’t!

Raw & Simple offers “100 truly quick and easy recipes for the raw food lifestyle.” Rawesome!

The recipes in Raw & Simple don’t require a dehydrator, use easy to find ingredients, and offer easy preparation instructions. All huge bonuses for new raw food followers and anyone short on time – or skills. Recipes work their way through the food chain, including delicious breakfast ideas, soups, side dishes, appetizers, salads, main dishes, snacks and desserts. (A raw food cookbook wouldn’t be a raw food cookbook without a healthy dessert sections!) There are even a few easy fermented recipes, which is a bonus for me. I love fermented foods, but I still find them very intimidating. And, combined with tips on how to stock your raw food kitchen and pantry and lifestyle and weight management strategies, this book really packs a punch in less than 200 pages.

One of the best aspects of this book is the abundant use of photos. Nearly every recipe has a full page, full color photo. Drool!

A few of my favorite recipes (so far!) include the Morning Scramble (pp 42-42), Mushroom Miso Soup (pp 78-79), Cauliflower Smash and Mushroom Gravy (pp 92-93), Sweet Chili Daikon Salad (pp 104-105), and the Chocolate Haystacks (pp 148-149). I’m getting hungry again just thinking about these little treasures!

Thanks to Judita and her publishers, I have a copy of Raw & Simple to give-a-way. Woohoo!

All you have to do to enter the give-a-way is leave a comment sharing your favorite raw food (recipe or something simpler). For extra entries, follow Veggie V via email (or WP reader) and on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Contest open to US residents only (sorry, everyone!) through Wednesday, May 22, 2013 (11:59 p.m. EST).

Good luck!

Virtual Vegan Potluck #3

I can’t believe it’s that time again…Virtual Vegan Potluck #3 is here!

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For the past two VVP’s, I’ve made desserts. (Click here and here to review my previous VVP posts.)  Surprised, aren’t you? Ha ha ha.  But, this time around, I’m shaking it up a bit, and I’m sharing a main course dish! Woohoo!

Ok, so here’s the deal. I’ve been eating a high-raw vegan diet off and on since last May. And I love it. It makes me feel my best. My heart doesn’t skip as much. My weight stays pretty stable. My energy levels are higher. I sleep better, and the list goes on. But, there are some popular foods in the raw-vegan circles that I’ve yet to embrace. Raw “noodles” is one of them. But, not one to be easily defeated, I keep trying. And this time, I think I got it! I’ve conquered my dislike of the raw noodle! Yes! Bring on the summer cucumbers and zucchinis!

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I’ve shared a recipe or two in the past that has featured raw zucchini noodles, and I’ve eaten and not disliked them, but I’ve never relished in their flavor. But, during my nightly watching of food related YouTube videos (I ❤ YouTube!), I stumbled upon a suggestion to peel the zucchini before using it. Hum…Why haven’t I tried that?! With this also came the revelation that I find the yellow summer squash milder in flavor than the green zucchini squash. A short trip to the store and a little digging for the spiralizer I bought last summer and promptly put in storage, and by golly, I think I got it!

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At the same time, I went ahead and spiralized a large, peeled cucumber, which I then squeezed in a kitchen towel to remove the excess water from the noodles. Success once again!

Both noodles went in the dehydrator for some warming while I made the sauces to cover each.

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First up, the sauce I used with the cucumbers. Sooooo gooood!

Raw Tomato-fredo Sauce (or Raw Tomato-fredo Hummus/Dip/Soup)

1/2 c cashews, soaked

1/2 c tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)

2 TBSP sun dried tomato powder (Read below to find out how to make your own!)

1/2 lg red bell pepper, diced

Seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, granulated garlic, onion powder (all to taste)

First, make your sun dried tomato powder by grinding 1/4-1/2 cup frozen sun dried tomatoes in a small food processor or bullet style blender. After the tomatoes become a fine powder, add cashews, tomatoes, and red pepper to blender/food processor bowel and pulse to combine. Add seasonings and processes mixture until desired consistency is reached. (I left mine on the thick side, and it really stood up to the cucumber noodles.)  You might want to strain the resulting mix through a fine mesh strainer; this will enhance the flavor of your sauce and, of course, make it a little thicker 😉

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I loved this sauce on the cucumber noodles. I’m pretty sure I could spiralize three or four cucumbers and toss them with this sauce and call it a salad. I think some ripe olives and maybe some fresh herbs like parsley or a chiffonade of basil would be awesome adds to a cucumber and tomato-fredo noodle salad. Mmmm…

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I can also see myself using this sauce as a raw hummus type dip with raw veggies, spread on a lettuce leave for a raw sandwich or burrito, eaten with a spoon as a raw soup, and tossed with dehydrator warmed veggies for a primavera type dish.

For the second sauce, all I did was marinate some thinly sliced mushrooms in 2 TBSP of tahini and 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil. I stored the mix in a zip top bag so I could squish the mixture around a couple of times a day, making sure each ‘shroom was soaking in marinade. Then, I dumped the mushrooms and their marinate onto a plate and heated them in the dehydrator for a little while. Finally, I added the peeled, yellow summer squash noodles, mixed, and ate!

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As I was eating the mushrooms, I kept thinking how good it would be with a little tofu. So I added some 🙂

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Have you ever tried this tofu? I love it!

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All I did was slice the block into four slabs, then stacked the slabs and sliced them into long strips, then cut across the strips to create little blocks of tofu. I didn’t even have to press it! That’s why I love this stuff so much 🙂

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I gobbled up the rest of the noodles and shrooms after I added the tofu. Triple yum!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the VVP participants. Click here to start from the beginning, or click the photos below to work your way forward and/or backward through the VVP chain.

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Follow Veggie V on Facebook! Follow Veggie V on Twitter! Follow Veggie V on Pinterest! Join the Raw Fusion Rest group!

The New Green Smoothie Diet Solution Review & GIVE-A-WAY!

Farmer’s Markets are starting to pop-up. Strawberries are showing up in droves at the grocery store, and asparagus is available at the co-op down the street. Yup. Summer is just around the corner. (Well, for my Northern hemisphere readers, anyway *wink*) And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some winter weight to get rid of before the shorts and bathing suits come out of storage.

One way I’m getting myself back on track and celebrating the change in seasons is by doing a 30 day raw challenge. A fellow blogger and I have started a Facebook group, the Raw Fusion Rest, and we’d love it if you joined us. The group is closed, meaning you’ll have to ask for membership, but everyone is welcome – even non-vegans. The focus of the group is raw/high raw vegan, but any percentage of a raw food diet is perfectly fine. Join up! You’ll love it 😉

Now, onto the fun stuff…a give-a-way!

New Green Smoothie Diet Cover

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Elizabeth Swann who graciously offered to send me a copy of her latest book, The New Green Smoothie Diet Solution, to review and give-a-way. Considering how lax I am on adding greens to anything except a salad, I jumped at the chance!

Elizabeth is an ND (Doctor of Naturopathic medicine) who has been working with clients for more than 10 years. Based in Mount Carmel, Israel, Elizabeth’s goal is to education people about the healing powers of food and how easy it is to make healthy, life-long lifestyle changes.

The New Green Smoothie Diet Solution is really informative. I expected it to be just be a “cook” book, but green smoothie recipes are only part of what you’ll find in this handy little book. The rest of the pages are filled with tons of information about greens and how to use them to overcome sugar cravings, detox, build your immune system, negate the negative effects of stress/feel calmer, improve the look and feel of your hair and nails, and even increase your vitality.

How about a Dandy Pineapple Detox Smoothie, a Kale-n-Orange Weight Loss Smoothie, or a Melon Head Green Smoothie? Sounds good to me!

Elizabeth has graciously offered to give-a-way a digital copy of The New Green Smoothie Diet Solution to one lucky reader of Veggie V’s Vegan Adventure. To enter, just leave a comment telling me how you do or want to incorporate green smoothies into your diet. And, for extra chances to win, signup to follow Veggie V by email (or by WP reader if you have a WP blog), and follow Veggie V on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest. Leave a separate comment letting me know you did any or all of these things. Contest is open world wide!

Contest open today, Wednesday, May 8, through Friday, May 10 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Good luck!

 

 

Raw Fusion Reset

Please join me, Veggie V, and Mattie from Mattie’s Raw Fitness Beauty for the Raw Fusion Reset on Facebook.

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We started the group to help you (and us!) get back on track with your healthy eating plan – just in time for summer 😉

While the group’s focus is raw veganism, everyone is welcomed. Some of us, myself included, are planning a 30 day, 100% challenge, and others are just there for ideas on how to add more raw foods into their lives.

The Raw Fusion Reset officially begins Monday, May 6, but we’re already gearing up for a healthy, happy, and raw-food packed month by posting shopping ideas, uncooking and juicing ideas, recipes, and tips, and a whole lot more!

Join us!