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.

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Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

I love muffins. They’re great for on-the-go breakfasts  – and second breakfast! (Am I the only person who eats a second breakfast most days??)

Tuesday night, I went to bed thinking about muffins, and when I woke up before the alarm on Wednesday morning, I decided to do it! Doesn’t everyone make muffins at 5 am?! Ha!

In my groggy state, this is what I came up with…

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

1 1/2 c oat flour (I used certified gluten-free)

1/2 c almond pulp/meal/flour

1/2 tsp baking powder (aluminum free, please!)

2 flax eggs (2 TBSP flax meal + 3 TBSP water)

1/2 c coconut sugar (aka palm sugar)

3/4 c unsweetened applesauce (two individual containers)

1/2 TBSP vanilla extract  (or a pinch of vanilla powder)

1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

2 TBSP chia seeds (optional)

1/2 c raisins (soaked)

1/4 c goji berries (soaked)

Add dry ingredients to bowl. Whisk to combine. Add wet ingredients. Stir to combine. Fold in drained, soaked raisins and goji berries.

Fill muffin tins/cups and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Remove promptly from baking pan and cool on a wire rack so bottoms don’t get soggy.

Makes 9 nice-sized muffins at about 200 calories each. Freezes well.

Notes:

“Flour”: Is your freezer being overrun by almond pulp too?! Ugh. It’s getting a little crowned in there; time to thaw, dehydrate, and process into more almond meal/flour. But, before I do that, I need to use some of the last batch, so I’ve been sneaking it into anything and everything. If you don’t have any almond pulp/meal/flour lying around, I’m sure you could use all oat flour. (Side note: Make your own oat flour by grinding some old fashioned oats in a blender or food processor until smooth in texture. I use my magic bullet.) Additionally, this might work with all almond pulp/meal/flour. I haven’t tried it; if you do, let me know if it works!

Flax Egg: I find my flax gels up much better with less water. Some people like their eggs a bit runny, but I like mine thick and gooy. I like to use golden flax, too. It has a milder flavor and doesn’t show through the oat flour. I’m sure you could use  chia eggs as well (same amount of ground or whole chia seeds instead of flax meal).

Chia Seeds: These are totally optional, but I like putting them in muffins and quick breads for the added omega’s. Plus, I think they add some binding. Or not. That might be all in my head 😉

Applesauce: I used the applesauce for both the moisture and the oil sub. I’m guessing you could use some kind of oil (coconut oil would be my suggestion) and maybe a little non-dairy milk if you don’t have/don’t want to use applesauce. Additionally, liquified banana would probably work, as would pumpkin puree, prune puree, etc. Keep in mind, however, using a higher sugared fruit might mean an adjustment to your other sweetener.

Coconut/Palm Sugar: I’ve recently started using coconut/palm sugar more often. It’s not very sweet, but I like that. Subtle. Plus, the glycemic index is so low, reports are that it doesn’t spike insulin levels in those who are sensitive. (The carbohydrates in the oat flour could, though, so be careful if this applies to you.)

Dried Fruit: I love oatmeal raisin as a flavor, but if you don’t, try a different dried fruit. Dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, bits of date, currents, etc, would all be great! I added the goji berries for an extra antioxidant kick, but something more exotic like golden berries would be nice too!

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Brownies

I’ve been craving brownies since December.

First, I tried this fat-free black bean recipe. It was OK. I’ve tried other fat-free black bean recipes, and they’ve been OK too. All have been very cake-like. Good when you’re in the mood for that type of brownie, or even a piece of chocolate cake, but not so good when you aren’t sure what you want. Apparently that wasn’t what I wanted.

Then, I tried a fat-free brownie that used sweet potato instead of beans or bananas. It was OK. But, guess what, I can’t find the recipe. Ugh. I guess you’ll have to settle for some a photos.

upside down brownie

I also made this  blondie, which was very interesting. Cooked quinoa. Crazy!

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Sadly, I wasn’t super thrilled with either of these recipes either. The blondie was a different flavor I wasn’t fond of – not bad but not great. And, I ended up having to bake them for almost four times the length of time in the recipe. I don’t know what the difference in moisture could have been, but wowza! They were in the oven forever, and I could have left them in even longer. The regular brownies didn’t do it for me either. I probably didn’t leave them in the long enough (the oven had been on all day), and instead of being fudgy, they were gelatinous. I don’t do anything anything gelatinous. Luckily, after a night in the fridge, they firmed up a bit, and I ate them with the mindset of cold chocolate oatmeal.

Finally, I tried making a batch of raw brownies. Just about every vegan food blog, and maybe non-vegan blogs, have a recipe for raw brownies – and why not?! They’re delicious and super easy to make.

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The recipes are all about the same: dates, cacao and some kind of mix-in. My recipe isn’t anything special in design, but it sure tastes good!

Raw Brownies

20 jumbo medjool dates (40 regular size) – soaked if hard

1/4-1/2 c raw cacao (or carob – to taste)

1/8 – 1/4 c almond meal or flour (I used dehydrated and processed almond pulp left-over from making almond milk.)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla powder

2 TBSP (heaping) raw cacao nibs – optional

1/4 c (scant) sliced almonds – optional

Add dates to food processor first. Process until dates have broken down. (You don’t need to process them into a paste, though.) Add cacao powder and almond meal and process again until mixture forms a ball. Add your mix-ins and combine by hand. Press mixture into a small container, silicone molds, or form into balls and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow to thaw a bit before eating  if freezing.

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Sweet Potato & Lentil Burgers

I haven’t made a new veggie burger in quite a while. I actually haven’t eaten a veggie burger in quite a while. But, since it was Christmas, I thought I’d splurge a little. And, since I was able to make my burgers with three ingredients (and two were left-overs), they were super easy to make. Bonus!

Sweet Potato & Lentil Burgers

1 lg sweet potato, baked and mashed (about 1 cup mashed)

1 c cooked lentils (I used brown)

3/4 c cooked greens (I used a mix of spinach and chard)

Combine everything in a bowl until well-mixed. Add whatever seasonings you like. (I added salt and cumin.) Divide mixture into four equal parts, spake into balls, and flatten onto non-stick baking pan (or line baking pan with parchment paper or spray baking pan). Bake at 325F for about an hour or until burgers are dryer and firm. Let sit on baking tray a few minutes then remove to cool before eating.

Each of my burgers came in at just over 100 calories.

Notes:

Moisture: If your burgers are too moist, add more lentils. My burgers were kind of moist because my greens were kind of wet.

Greens: I used a mix of left-over sauteed spinach and Swiss chard. They were wilted with onion and garlic and a splash of apple cider vinegar and tamari.

Lentils: Use whatever lentils you like. I thought I had some French lentils in the pantry, but all I could find were brown; they worked fine. I probably wouldn’t use red because they breakdown so easily.

Potato: I baked a sweet potato in it’s skill until it was soft and mushy, so  I didn’t have to puree it.

Seasonings: Use whatever seasonings you like. I think curry powder might be nice.

Cooking: I chose to bake my burgers because I wanted to dry them out a bit. If you don’t want to wait an hour for them to dry and firm up, I’m sure they’ll cook up nicely in a pan.

lentils

greens

ready for patties

out of the oven

close up

 

Sharing the love at Healthy Vegan Fridays and Wellness Weekends

Raw Coconut Caramel Dippers & a Raw Foods DVD Contest

I’ve been obsessed with raw caramel dipping sauces lately. Seriously. Check out these awesome, easy recipes!

Raw Caramel Sauce

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular size fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

splash water

Blend dates, water, and vanilla in a small, bullet style blender until smooth. Drizzle over or apples or other tart fruits.

Raw Caramel Sauce

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular sized fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1 TBSP raw cacao powder (or carob powder for a chocolate-free sauce)

splash water (start with 1 tbsp)

Add all ingredients to a bullet style blender cup and blend until smooth. Dip apple slices into caramel or drizzle over your favorite fruit, pancakes, toast, etc.

Raw Coconut Caramel Dippers

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular size fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1-2 TBSP shredded coconut (super fine shred works best)

splash water (about 1 TBSP)

Add all ingredients to bullet style blender cup and blend until incorporated. Coconut will not blend until smooth, but will blend enough to create an awesome dipping sauce for apples, banana skewers, strawberries, or even stuffed into whole, pitted dates.

Are you familiar with the works of Jennifer Cornbleet? I have two of her books and absolutely love them! Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert: Easy Delights for Everyone are both amazing, and I have been drooling over Jennifer’s videos on her YouTube channel for months.  Guess what…Jennifer has a new DVD that’s releasing next month, but you can enter to win a free copy! She’s giving away one DVD each week, so even if you don’t win this week, you still have another chance 🙂 Enter to win today; I did!

Jennifer Cornbleet has just released an excellent new DVD that’s loaded with
tips and recipes to make eating well a breeze no matter how busy you are.
It’s full of time-saving techniques and dishes that taste great and will
keep your body energized.
Throughout the month of November, you can enter to win a copy for free! For
more information, and to enter to win, click here

Juice Fast Fail

I’ve been wanting to do a juice fast forever. Seriously. As long as I can remember, I’ve been wanting to give this a try. So, with a long weekend ahead of me, I planned to begin juicing on Saturday and continue through Sunday. But, we’ve been car shopping, and our Friday adventures led us to Whole Foods, which led me to a fridge full of left-overs that had to be eaten on Saturday, so juicing got pushed back to Sunday. OK. No problem.

Sunday began with a warm, sunny morning – perfect for the orange and cranberry juice I had planned. After a heavy weights workout, I got my juice on.

This juice was 5 pounds of juicing oranges and 1 pound of cranberries. It made about 50 ounces of juice, which I drank throughout the morning.

After breakfast (and second breakfast) and some computer work, Mr M and I took a walk to and through our local park. It was a beautiful day for a couple mile walk. Except…Mr M and I walk at two completely different paces! Everyone I know, except for my husband, complains about how slow I walk. Literally everyone. In sixth grade, my nickname was Turtle. Seriously. But, Mr M walks even slower than I do! I didn’t know this was even possible. After arguing about walking speed for the fist mile, I finally grabbed his hand and drug him around the first half of the second mile. I wonder what the other walkers thought – ha ha!

After a brisk walk (Well, my walk was brisk.), I juiced my lunch.

This time, I juiced six or so stalks of kale (stems and leaves) that I cut from our dwindling garden (Side note: It took all summer to grow the kale. Is that normal?!), 2 cucumbers, 4 ribs of celery, 5 small, green apples, and two lemons (peeled). It was really good!

This batch also made around 50 or so ounces, which I drank in two batches.

After lunch, we ran some errands, which included going to the grocery store. I wasn’t the least bit tempted by anything at the grocery store, but I kept finding good deals and thinking of meals I wanted to make later in the week, and before I knew it, I was home making a giant arugula salad with tons of celery, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts. Mmmmm…hemp seeds.

So, I failed. Kind of. My plan was to juice for three days, and I made it through two meals. But, I did figure out my body is happier with some veggies mixed in with the fruits; it’s keeps my blood sugar steadier. I also figured out it’s best for me to get out of the house when I’m juicing. I thought it would be the opposite. Being busy and not surrounded by solid food is a good way to keep my mind off dinner. And snacks. And lunch. And breakfast. And snacks. I really like snacks.

I definitely plan to incorporate more juice into my diet – replacing some of the smoothies with green juice. Typically, I have a smoothie for breakfast and lunch, a fruit snack or two in between, and a giant salad for dinner. I’ve been very happy with that menu, but I think I’d be equally happy with a breakfast smoothie, green juice lunch, and giant salad dinner. And, in a few weeks when I’m on winter break, I’ll try another juice fast. But, I’d like to do a little more research first (I’ve just started researching juice recipes and protocol.), and I think I want to take it one day at a time. I might even do a “lite” fast for a few days  — juice for breakfast and lunch and light food (probably salad) for dinner.

I’d love to hear your experience with juicing!

Chocolate Craving

Apparently I’ve been craving chocolate lately. How do I know? I’ve been making chocolate treats left and right!

If you follow me on Facebook, I shared these recipes last week. But, just in case you missed them, or if you want them in a more printer-friendly format, here they are again 🙂

Chocolate Ice Cream

1 cup dates, pitted

2 tbsp raw cacao (could sub carob)

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (optional)

1 tbsp water (adjust to desired thickness)

1 tsp cacao nibs

2 tbsp raw slivered almonds

Blend dates, cacao, vanilla and water until smooth. Stir in cacao nibs and 1 tbsp almonds. Top with remaining almonds and freeze until firm. Store in freezer.

Chocolate Banana Breakfast Smoothie

4 chilled bananas

1 heaping tbsp of raw cacao

1 heaping tbsp of roasted carob

1 tbsp alcohol free vanilla

1/4 cup nut butter and/or protein powder

1/4 c water

8 ice cubes

Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth. 

Raw Oatmeal

It’s definitely fall in my area, and that means cooler temps. A lot cooler temps. And cooler temperatures means I want heartier food. Notice I didn’t say warmer. That doesn’t seems to affect me much, but when I’m chilled, I want hearty, super filling foods. Instead of reaching for breads and pastas, this year, I’m reaching for raw grains. And the first little treasure on my list is oat groats.

I got the idea for this recipe from Rawfully Tempting’s Fabulous Living Oatmeal.

Raw Oatmeal

1 c soaked oat groats

1 lg or 2 sm apples, chopped

1/2 c goji berries, soaked

1/2 c raisins (red or golden – soaked if necessary)

2 TBSP hemp seeds, heaping

Additional sweetener as needed (try stevia, maple syrup, dates or date paste, coconut or maple sugar, etc)

Soak the oat groats over night. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Add groats to mini-chopper. Pulse to breakup the groats so they’re easier to chew, or blend until they’re mushy like regular oatmeal. Remove groats and place in a bowl. Sprinkle groats with hemp seeds. Top with goji berries and raisins. Place bowl in dehydrator for a few hours to warm or eat at room temperature.

Add-ons: Try adding seasonal fruit such as apples, dates, or pumpkin puree. Use your favorite nuts and/or seeds instead of pumpkin seeds. Give your breakfast a tropical flair by adding banana (sliced or mashed/blended), coconut shreds, coconut milk, pineapple, etc. If you like your oats a little more like cereal, add your favorite non-dairy milk. Try blending it with the groats. (I find the water from the soaked groats and the soaked pumpkin seeds adds enough moisture.)

Ugly V8 Knock Off

It’s ain’t pretty, but it sure is tasty!

I was greeted by a box of left-over produce from our now defunct garden when I can come from participating in a 5K last weekend. (Side note: I am now sick with sinus issues. Maybe mom was right; you CAN catch a cold from the cold! Ha!) The majority of the box was tiny little Roma tomatoes, which Mr. M informed me were to be used to make tomato juice.  Ok. But let’s take it up a notch.

Knock-Off V8 Juice

tomatoes

parsley (stalks are fine)

carrot

celery

lemon (I used one small, peeled)

greens (I used kale)

Juice everything. Strain to assure no pulp. Add seasonings to taste. I added a splash of Bragg’s Aminos.

Sorry for the lack of a recipe. So far, I’ve found juicing is really a personal taste thing. I read a bunch of recipes on the internet before I made this juice, and most also called for watercress and/or spinach, onion, and garlic. I didn’t have any spinach or watercress, and I wasn’t sure how strong the onion and/or garlic flavor would be, so I skipped all of that, and the flavor was really good. I do suggest you go ahead and strain the juice before consuming because the tomato juice can be pretty thick.

Does anyone else make a mess when they juice?!

Almost Raw Not-Tuna Salad

I used to have a thing for tuna salad. Or I thought I did. In reality, I had a thing for the flavor comb of the salad, which, in our house, was mustard, dill pickles, and celery. Turns out, when I add mustard, pickles, and celery to just about any base, my brain thinks my mouth is eating tuna salad, and that makes them both happy. (Ah, the memories.)

I’ve made not-tuna salad with a variety of fillers in the past couple of years, and I’ve loved them all: chickpeas, tofu, lentils, nut meal, and the list goes on. But, since I’ve been eating at least 80% raw (about one cooked meal per week) and shying away from beans, grains, and lentils, I went down a different avenue this time. Enter, the ever-present garden staple…zucchini!

Almost Raw Not-Tuna Salad

1 c shredded or finely shopped zucchini (no need to peel unless you want to)

1 T prepared mustard OR 1 tsp mustard seed, ground (or more to taste)

2 stalks celery, finely diced

1/4 c chopped dill pickle OR cucumber (peeled unless skins are soft) plus 1t (or more) apple cider vinegar (Braggs is my fav)

2 green onions/scallions, finely diced

Dulse flakes, Kelp granuals, or crumbled nori – optional

Shred/chop zucchini and set aside in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Add strained or squeezed zucchini and combine. Serve over a bed of lettuce, stuffed in a tomato, with a side of tomatoes, wrapped in your favorite raw wrap (Romain leaf, anyone?), between two pieces of raw bread, or scooped with raw crackers.

The first time I made this salad, I didn’t drain or squeeze the zucchini, and although it was a bit wet, the taste wasn’t affected by the extra liquid. So, if you’re not into squeezing your zucs, no biggie. But, you might want to eat your meal with a fork to encourage drainage 😉 I also don’t add the seaweed, but if you’re looking for that ‘from the sea’ flavor, give it a try.

I  use raw dill pickles in my salad. I’m able to find a local brand at my townie grocery store, but if you don’t care about the raw-ness of your pickles, try a commercial brand. Or, just dice some cucs and add a spash of ACV. Additionally, grind up some mustard seed if you don’t want to use prepared mustard (I really need to try making my own raw mustard!). With these simple swaps, your not-tuna salad can be 80-10-10 approved!

Sharing at: Allergy Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekends, Healthy Vegan Fridays