Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Searching For Springs

Most recently I've been in research mode, as I am committed to the completion of the book on which I've been working. This week my focus has been on the subject of hydration, and more specifically, the importance of hydration by means of drinking amazing water. I certainly don't profess to be an authority on drinking water, however, I have been doing a good deal of study on the subject for a few years now and what I've learned has changed my thinking, making me more conscious about from where my drinking water comes.My friend Dhrumil of We Like It Raw has joined forces with Elixir Craft's, Daniel Vitalis, to put together a new website called Find A Spring. Daniel and Dhru believe that it's time that we reclaim our water by finding and utilizing naturally occurring springs in our area. There are so many benefits of drinking real, fresh spring water. When you find the time, go listen to or download this great interview on the topic here. Much is covered including the why and how of finding a natural spring and how you can make sure the water you find is safe to drink.

So...I am on a mission. I've written a few letter and made a few phone calls this morning to the US Geological Survey Board and to Oklahoma National Parks & Recreation asking this question: Do you have a list of parks or other public areas where natural spring water is available in my area? Now I'm asking you the same question....do YOU know of any natural sources of spring water in your area that could available to the public? If you have some inside scoop, please write to me (realfood.tulsa@yahoo.com) or leave a comment at the bottom of this post. I'd love to help Dhrumil and Daniel in the compilation of a more thorough listing of natural springs and we could use any tips you may have. I'm planning to ask older relatives and other long time residents in my area if they can give us the hook up to this kind of water source.

I'm looking forward to making 2009 a year of reconnection to the beauty of nature in my area, which will include hiking, searching for spring water and artisan wells, foraging for edible wild greens and other delicious gifts from nature's garden.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Andre's Revenge!

You know I love the Bunny.....and she's BACK! It's time to ring in the New Year with a New 100 Day Challenge. Take the plunge with 100 days of support, love, and lots of leafy greens. Bunny will be at it again with daily videos, vision boards, special Raw Fu celebrity guest stars, Breakfast with Bunny calls, and more Cutting Board Cam!

All you have to do is Join the Raw Fu Community to be in for another 100 days of raw food fun. If you are already a member of the community, you're automatically in for the next challenge. Just jump into the forums, start vlogging, and post your pictures! I'd be thrilled to have you join me for this Raw Fu Challenge!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Resting Comfortably at Ruby's Raw Rehab

The day after Christmas has been a really positive day. Around 20 raw foodies and I met up at our local Whole Foods to hang out, drink juice or have a salad and share stories about diet, life and what's coming up in 2009. We had a number of first time attendees and a couple of groovy cool out-of-towners who had made connection via the internet: Stephen from Seattle and Alissa from Minneapolis were in town visiting family for the holidays. It was an honor to have them with us.

Also I started a modified juice fast today. I had decided a week or so ago that it was time to revisit the beautiful world of juicing, but my projection was to begin on or around the first of January 2009. After finding myself lured back into a cook food cocoon (more like a fetal position) last night from holiday dining debauchery, I decided today would be as good of a day as any to get my system back to a alkalized, harmonized, hydrated, and regenerated state. I've had some great juices so far today and a blended smoothie with avocado just now. I won't be following the juice feasting protocol to the letter as I did earlier this year when I completed my 92 days. This time I am doing a personal experiment to see if I can add in just a bit more fats and fiber while still reaping many of the same benefits I did while I was adhering to a much more rigid program. Bottom line....I'd like to get things fine tuned as well as dropping any extra accumulated weight, but with a little liquid variety. (And no, I don't mean vodka.)

While I was collecting my thoughts and preparing to create a video explaining a bit more on juice feasting and why one would want to engage in such a practice, I found this informative snippet from the handsome Burke Bryant:

Find more videos like this on Give it to me Raw - Raw Food Community

Raw Food Rehab.....Step Away From the Cake

Like many of you who are reading this, I've sampled some really tasty cooked foods over this past month. I have this amazing family of gourmetesque cooks who love to bring out their blue ribbon dishes for holidays. The way I handle it is this.....I eat a reasonable portion of the dishes I really love, I take digestive enzymes and I put myself into raw food rehab when I've had enough.

I generally like to make a fresh start on January 2nd....not the first since my annual New Year's Day tradition is to toast to new beginnings with a sip of champagne first thing in the morning and eat my black-eyed peas at some point in the day. But this year, I am feeling "the call" early, so I'm starting off my New Year today, on December 26th. As I shared with my friends on Raw Fu, here is the list of my goals/resolutions/intentions for the rest of 2008 and into 2009:

1. Get Juicy! - Juice Feast 2.0 - starting now, through the end of January. This will be my very own program of fresh juices, smoothies, soups, teas, smart cocktails and elixirs for 40 days. 100% raw, no booze, liquid diet for the next 40 days.

2. Cardio Workout and Yoga classes at the gym. I WILL walk through those gym doors 4 days a week, minimum.

3. Finish my book.

4. Stay plugged in spiritually. Listen more, read my bible, pray, meditate and journal.

5. Look for ways to love my family & friends in even more meaningful ways.

I'd love to hear what your thoughts, resolutions or goals are for starting your New Year off on a positive note. Please share with me a few of your plans in the comments below. There is just something powerful about putting it out there, in writing. If you need some food for thought, go check out this great, inspiring article on How to Press the Reset Button On Your Life. (thanks RebeccaJ!)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

These videos and pictures say a mouth full.....you can come visit me in Raw Food Rehab tomorrow. I hope you had a blessed and beautiful holiday!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Woody Gets Raw in Esquire

Esquire Magazine just released an interview with Woody Harrelson. The environmentally conscious actor, raw food advocate and co-star of the new movie, Seven Pounds, shares a number of things he's learned, including lots of edgy tidbits. I like what he had to say about raw food.....

Woody: "The whole concept of the raw-food thing is, any food you heat over 118 degrees, you kill all the enzymes and most of the nutritional value of the food. The enzymes are as much or more important than the various nutritional things that are always getting all the good PR. But to eat only raw food, you've got to love a salad. You've got to just love a salad. Here you go, try this. It's Ice cream. Mint chip. Good, right? It's raw. No dairy."

Way to represent, Woody! You can read the entire article here. Now I'm off to go whip up some mint chip ice cream!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Real Juicy News......

Real Food Tulsa is hosting the 13th Day of Christmas, a post holiday support meetup on Friday - December 26th at 2 pm. If you're going to be in Tulsa and need an escape from the temptations of rich, cooked holiday foods & desserts, come join me for a green juice or salad at Whole Foods at 41st & Peoria. This will be a totally laid back, casual meetup, so just come say hi and hang out for a bit.

I have been asked to do a couple of lectures at Whole Foods in January and I am totally stoked. If you're near me, mark your calendar and please try to attend as I'd love to have a little support in the audience from my raw food homies! The lectures are as follows:

Saturday - January 10th at 10 am - Post Holiday Detox....Feeling like it's time for a fresh start after the holiday indulgences? Come explore effective ways to lose unwanted holiday pounds while positively impacting your overall health through creative detoxing.

Wednesday - January 21st - 7 pm - Juicing For Fun & Health...This won't be your granola grandma's boring carrot juice class! Come learn easy ways to make gourmet, highly nutritious juices, shakes, and elixirs at home in your own blender or juicer. Taste & Enjoy!

This is hot off the press today....Real Food Tulsa now has a Myspace! Thank to one of our lovely members, Erin, we are socially connected and ready for new friends! Stop by and check out our new site here and drop us a friend request!

From Real Juice Daily's Section - Smart Cocktails: The Chocotini

Last, but certainly not least, I am in the fine tuning stages of a book that has been over a year in the making, Real Juice Daily. It has been a labor of love and it will contain my entire collection of recipes for getting unstuck and getting into the flow! It will include sections on juicing, shakes, smart cocktails, enchanting elixirs, photographs and stories for modern day superheros that want to stay juicy in an uptight, backed up world! Look for Real Juice Daily's release in mid January 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Raw in Dallas

I'm just back from a wonderful 5 day weekend in Dallas, Texas. My hostess and inn keepers were Angela Thomas and her beautiful family. On Saturday evening, Angela, Bunny and I hosted the Raw Fu Holiday Party & Gift Drawing. Then on Sunday, a group of us journeyed to a cool downtown loft studio for a raw class with classically trained chef, Frank Giglio. We had an amazing weekend and I'll certainly have recipes to share as the week continues but for now, enjoy a glimpse into the action:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Recipes-The Grand Finale

Today is the final post of recipes from last Sunday's Real Food Tulsa Holiday Meetup. I've saved some of the best for the last! The first two recipes are taken from Alissa Cohen's, Living On Live Food.

Crepe Shells:
5-6 RIPE bananas

1cup macadamia nuts
1 cup cashews
1 large lemon, juiced
4 Tbsp raw honey
2 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp water

Strawberry Sauce:
1 1/2 cups strawberries
1 -2 Tbsp raw honey

For the crepe shells:
Place bananas into a food processor and blend until smooth. Remove and spread about 1/8 think onto a Teflex sheet on top of a dehydrator screen. Dehydrate for 14 hours or fewer. Begin checking the bananas a few hours before to make sure they are formed, solid but pliable...not getting crispy. Remove form the dehydrator and slice into strips, about 4" x 2".

For the filling:
Place filing ingredients in a food processor and blend unti smooth.

For strawberry sauce:
Combine strawberries and honey in a food processor and blend until smooth.

To Assemble:
Pour strawberry sauce onto plate in a thin layer so as to cover bottom of plate. Pace scoops of fiing onto banana fruit leather strips and roll up. Place on plate with enough room in between so each crepe is not touching. Pour strawberry sauce over the rolled up crepes. Allow the crepes to sit for a couple of hours with the strawberry sauce on top. the sauce will soften the banana leather and make it more "crepe like" instead of firm and chewy.

Key Lime Tarts

1 1/2 cupx macadamia nuts
1 cup saft dates, pitted & soaked
1 ripe banana

3 whole large limes
2 cups dates, pitted and soaked
2 avocados

For crust:
In a food processor, blend the macadamia nuts until well ground. Add in the banana and blend until smooth. Add dates, blending until amooth. Pat down this crust mixture into little tart pans to form a crust.

For filling:
In a food processor, blend all filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. Pour into tart crusts. Place into freezer to set and before serving allow them to unthaw slightly.
Holiday Bourbon Balls

It's the holidays....why not live a little?!

2 cups hazelnuts, soaked and dried
3 cups Medjool dates
1 cup raw cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp (or more) bourbon
Pinch of Celtic sea salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs
shedded coconut (optional)

Place all ingredients, except coconut or nibs, into a food processor with an S blade. Process until finely ground. Remove mixture and fold in cacao nibs Kneed dough until a smooth ball forms. Portion and roll into small ball truffles. Dredge in coconut, if desired and refrigerate until firm.

Raw Pumpkin Cheesecake

Since I've already posted about this delicious dessert by Rachel Fracassa in an earlier post and it's also featured on We Like It Raw, I thought you could just go check it out there. ENJOY!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Penni For Your Thoughts.....

Reprinted from Tulsa World

"Penni Shelton enjoys a lemon burst smoothie at Big Al’s Healthy Foods at 3303 E. 15th St." photo by SHERRY BROWN/ Tulsa World

Ask a local: Raw food guru drinks in the locale

By MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer
Published: 12/11/2008 2:32 AM

Penni Shelton, local raw food guru, writes her blog at www.realfoodtulas.blogspot.com She shared a handful of her favorite places to grab a drink — the healthy kind.

1. Big Al's Healthy Foods, 3303 E. 15th St.

The Stress Relief: A fresh, organic juice with a base of carrot with additional veggies. Chock full of antioxidants. Fresh fruits and veggies, especially in their juiced form, alkalizes the body's pH balance, which promotes a sense of calm and well-being in many people.

The Lemon Burst: This healthy smoothie puts a spring in your step. With a combination of vitamin C in the lemons and the allergy-fighting properties of local honey, this refreshing drink can help keep seasonal allergies and colds at bay.

2. Akin's Natural Foods Market, 7807 E. 51st St.

Penni's Happy Bunny: Carrot, apple, lemon and ginger make for a jazzy carrot juice that's like nothing you've ever tried. Power-packed with flavor and nutrition.

3. Whole Foods Market, 1401 E. 41st St.

For some, drinking a green-based juice is an acquired taste. However, it's the best way to absorb mega amounts of nutrient-dense goodness. Adding lemon or lime juice makes any green juice much more palatable.

Basic Green: Big handfuls of spinach, parsley, three stalks of celery, apple and lemon juice.

Penni's Power Up Green Smoothie: A combination of spinach, banana,
strawberries, orange juice and spirulina powder. Even though this smoothie is green in color, you'll never taste the green factor because of the sweetness of the fruit.

By MATT GLEASON World Scene Writer

Big props to Matt Gleason and Natalie Mikles of the Tulsa World.....thank you for believing in me and for your willingness and continued support in my efforts to take the message of healthy living to the masses!! You guys rock! Oh, and Mark Brown....you're pretty darn special too!!!

Healthy Raw Holiday Continued.....Desserts

One of the strong selling points of the raw food lifestyle is its amazing desserts. From time to time, I still have trouble trying to fathom that recipes so decadently delicious can actually be nutritious and health promoting. but with most raw desserts, it is true. Recently there has been lots of controversy on whether raw agave nectar is a healthy sweetener or just as disruptive to the body as processed corn syrup. There was a great article that was published by Natural News Health Ranger, Mike Adams, today that might help to debunk some of the negative news you may have seen in the media. You can read the article in it's entirety here. Today's selection of desserts are two of my favorites from our Real Food Tulsa Holiday Meetup:
Peach Cheesecake

3 cups pecans
1 cup dates. pitted and packed

Process the nuts & dates into a fine crumb crust. Press dough into the bottom of a large (10" - 11") spring form pan or mini individual pans.

Vanilla Cheesecake Filling

4 cups cashews, finely ground
1/2 cup raw honey (local is best if you can find it)
1/2 cup agave nectar
Juice of 2 medium lemons
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over the nut crust.

Peach Layer

8 cups peaches, diced (fresh or frozen, thawed)
4 dried pineapple rings. soaked 2-3 hours
1 large, ripe banana (or 2 small)
1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil (optional)

Puree all ingredients until smooth in a food processor or blender. Pour over cheesecake layer. (In the photo, orange slices were placed on the cheesecake layer first, then the peach puree poured on top.) Chill in the freezer to set. Run a knife in between the cake and the pan before removing the ring. Enjoy!

Maple Pecan Chocolate Squares

2 cups coconut oil, melted
6 cups raw cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup maple syrup
2-3 tsp maple flavoring
1/2 cup whole pecans

Place the first 4 ingredients into a bowl and combine ingredients with a a mixer. (Can be done by hand.) Spread chocolate mixture onto a parchment lined cookie sheet or half sheet pan and put into the freezer for one hour. Take out of freezer to score and press pecan half onto each separate square. Return to freezer for another hour or 2 and then cut into squares. Store in freezer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Healthy Holiday Recipes Continued...

Before I get to today's recipes, I wanted to share some of the reasons I continue to pursue making raw foods the primary part of my diet. I have found that it's an ideal way to manage and lose weight, that is when I am not indulging in too many nut based or gourmet dishes, which I am doing during this fun and festive season....oops! When I AM eating lots of leafy greens and fruits, especially in the form of green shakes and juices, my energy increase is off the charts. Along with my raw diet, I've given up coffee and RARELY drink alcohol anymore, so I believe these are the main factors in helping me wake up more alert and more well rested in the mornings. Also the clarity of the mind that I experience is more than noticeable, as is the appearance of the proverbial healthy raw glow.

From an overall health and well being stand point, I also believe the raw diet is the healthiest diet on the planet for anyone who is struggling with food allergies or sensitivities. For example, if you are gluten sensitive or have a problem with lactose, the raw food diet is a no brainer. All of the recipes I'm sharing with you this week are free of common food offenders.....they are made up of nothing more than simple, nutritious and delicious real food!

Christmas Kale Salad

2 bunches of lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur kale)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp cold pressed olive oil
the zest of one small organic lemon
the juice of that same lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper

De-stem the kale and chop crosswise into small pieces. Place into a mixing bowl and massage along with the olive oil, lemon juice and salt, working well with your hands until the leaves are well coated in the mixture. Add in the zest, agave, pine nuts, and cranberries, salt & pepper, blending well to combine. Christmas Kale can be stored in your refrigerator for several days in an airtight container, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Almond Sage Stuffing

2 cups of almonds, soaked 8 hrs. and drained
1 apple, cored and chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 Tbsp ground golden flaxseeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 tsp Nama Shoyu
2 Tbsp dried sage (poultry season would work as well)

Put the soaked and drained almonds into a food processor and run until chopped. Add the apple, garlic, onion, pulsing briefly to incorporate and chop. Place the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the diced celery, flax, olive oil, nama shoyu, sea salt and sage. Blend ingredients together well. Put the crumbled mixture onto teflex sheets and slide into your dehydrator at 105 degrees for about 4 hours. I pull the trays out a few times during the 4 hours to stir the mixture insuring uniform drying of the stuffing. This can be stored in your refrigerator for about 5 days in a sealed container. Bring to room temperature before serving or place back into a heated dehydrator to make warm.

Mushroom Alfredo

2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked 2 hours & drained
1/2 cup raw pine nuts
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp Celtic sea salt, or to taste
1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 pkg. of Kelp Noodles
2 Tbsp. chives, chopped

Place ingredients, except the mushroom and noodles into a blender and process until you achieve a smooth, creamy sauce. Place the rinsed kelp noodles into a bowl and pour the Alfredo sauce over the noodles. Add in the choppe mushrooms and blend well. Place in a warm dehydrator (115 degrees) until warmed, about an hour. Finish with a sprinkling of chives and serve.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Real Food Recipes.....

As I mentioned yesterday, I'll be publishing recipes from our amazing Holiday Meetup throughout this week. Hopefully, you'll gain some fresh inspiration for new and healthy dishes you might enjoy introducing into your family's holiday meals and celebrations. Today and tomorrow I'll share starters and side dishes, then on Thursday and Friday I'll finish with the raw dessert recipe round up!!
Orange Fennel Salad

2 lbs. of fennel bulbs
3 -4 oranges peeled & sectioned
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, freshly juiced
handful of pomegranate seeds
Celtic sea salt, to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
2 oz. arugula or spinach

Cut the fronds from the fennel bulbs and place in a food processor, pulsing until roughly chopped. Transfer into a medium bowl and add the orange segments. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper and toss into the fennel and orange mixture. Serve over your bed of greens.Cranberry Relish

1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
zest of one orange
the inside of one orange, peeled and divided into segments
1/2 cup zylitol or agave nectar
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Place the cranberries, orange pieces, zest & sweetener of choice into a food processor. Process until you reach a chutney/relish type consistency. Put mixture into a pretty serving bowl and stir in blueberries.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Real Food Holiday Party Review

Last night was Real Food Tulsa's Holiday Meetup. There were around 30 people in attendance and the raw food tasting was wonderful. The dishes were (in the order they appear in the slideshow); Five Spice Punch, Christmas Kale Salad, Maksim's Marinated Cabbage Salad, Orange Fennel Salad, Tabbouleh with Soaked Bulgur Wheat, Cranberry Relish, Almond Sage Stuffing, Marinated Swiss Chard w/ Fresh Cranberries, Mushroom Alfredo w/ Kelp Noodles, Key Lime Tarletts & Strawberry Crepes w/ Macadamia Nut Cheese, Maple Pecan Chocolate Squares, Carrot Cake, Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Coconut Cacao Truffles. We also had a number of other scrumptious dishes like a Vibrant Garden Broccoli Salad and a Peach Cheesecake that was consciously created to feature a number of local ingredients.

After we finished our meal, a panel of raw food professionals took the stage and answered health and raw food related questions from the crowd. Our panel of experts included; Betsy Catrett, an Alissa Cohen Certified Instructor, Scott Bolin & Alisa Miller, both are Hallelujah Acres Health Ministers, yours truly, and we also received additional help from Jona Eastman, who is a certified holistic health counselor in Tulsa. There were some really great, thought provoking questions & answers and it seemed that everyone left with new motivation and inspiration.

Also, if you're in the Tulsa area and you're interested in being part of our local Living Foods Co-op, Renew, please call Joyce Tanner who can get you hooked up with fresh, organic, affordable produce. You can reach Joyce at (918) 230-4842 for more details.

Through this week I'll be sharing some of my personal favorite recipes from the meetup. I'd like to start with the fun and festive punch we served. This was a big hit and I re-created this recipe through inspiration from my friend, Karen Knowler.
Five Spice Holiday Punch

- 6 apples
- 8 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp five spice
- a bottle of sparkling mineral water
- slices of citrus and a handful of frozen cranberries for garnish

Juice the apples, oranges, lemon and cranberries and then pour into a blender. Add in the spices and blend until thoroughly mixed. Serve in festive glasses with a ratio of 2/3 punch to 1/3 sparkling mineral water and finish with sliced fruit & a few cranberries floating on top.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Helping Heidi Smile

Many of you may already be familiar with the website Raw Food Right Now. In just one visit to this website you'll suddenly have your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the world of raw food on any given day. Heidi and JS Ohlander have been dedicated to making raw food quick, simple, and fun for anyone and everyone for a number of years now. I have personally been following Heidi and JS around the internet, first on Eat.RawFood.com, on their site, RFRN, and a variety of other social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook and Give It To Me Raw, for at least three years. During this time, Heidi, JS & I have become good friends, although we haven't met in person yet, they feel like family.

During this past week, I'd noticed some updates on Twitter from both JS and Heidi that were of concern to me. One thing I know about Heidi is that she is pretty private and she IS NOT A whiner. These updates indicted that something was really wrong and the one that really got my attention was when Heidi posted this on December the 1st, "Sometimes when you hit rock bottom it takes a while to climb back to where you were, and then leaps of positivity come after that..." It was clear that something really bad had happened so I sent both Heidi and JS a couple of messages offering my thoughts, prayers and to see if there was any thing I could do to offer help. After some back and forth emails, Heidi and I connected by phone last night for a couple of hours and there she was able to reveal the story of what had really been going on.

Since it is a detailed story, I rather you hear it from Heidi, in her own words. She decided to go public with her situation in recording her first YouTube videos explaining the traumatic events that have been going on and why she has lost her smile. Please go here to watch the story in it's entirety. During our conversation, Heidi and I discussed ways that the raw food community might be able to help her. I have witnessed in the past, that when we join together as a community, blessed, magical things can and do happen. In her video, Heidi explains the new idea which is being called Heidi's Smile Fund.

If Raw Food Right Now has been a help to you on your raw food journey, or even if you're just learning about Heidi & JS for the first time while reading this post, I hope you'll take a bit of time to watch Heidi's videos and peruse the wealth of information that is contained in the 500+ posts. I also hope that you'll consider joining with me in making a donation of any size to this very special woman and leader in the raw food community. Let's help Heidi get her smile back!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Real Food for the Holidays

If you are in the Tulsa area, please plan to join Real Food Tulsa as we host our very first Holiday Raw Food Celebration! The date is this coming Sunday, December 7th at 5 pm. Keeping raw foods as the mainstay of ones diet can be a challenge for many of us at this time of the year, so joining with community, inspiring and sharing healthy, delicious encouragement with holiday food preparation tips and ideas can be a real source of support, even a life saver.I'm starting to get really excited because I've been playing in the raw kitchen, working up some yummy dishes/recipes to share with you. (No, these amazing raw cakes aren't mine....just pictures I've found that give me creative inspiration!) Our recent meetups have been really helpful because I always come away with inspiring, fresh ideas for what I can recreate at home. At this month's meetup, I've put together a "panel of experts" who will be answering your raw food related questions. If you're in my area and haven't taken the time to RSVP for this event...please do so now as I want to make sure I'll have plenty of chairs and holiday punch for everyone! Please plan to join Real Food Tulsa as we honor the season with our very first Holiday Raw Food Celebration!

A donation of $5 per person is requested to help cover rental expenses.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Hi-Def Salad

The Associated Pressed recently released an interview with Jason Mraz. In the article, Jason talks about recording his third studio album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. There is also talk of his newly released book, A Thousand Things: Photographs by Jason Mraz. Jason goes on to discuss his most memorable moment on tour, but the part of the article I wanted to highlight was at the end, when he was asked the question, "Between studio sessions, live shows and the book, what are you doing in your free time?" Jason says....."I spend a lot of my time, most of the time, preparing food, believe it or not. I wake up every day and I start my day with a supersmoothie, which has about 24 ingredients in it, everything from a whole avocado to various powders and formulas. And everything is raw. I also prepare raw salads. Most people think you get bored eating salads all the time, but these are some of the most hi-def salads you'll ever lay your eyes on."

I've noticed that one of the common denominators between really successful raw foodist is this very pattern.....a powerful super smoothie/shake in the morning and a mega-nutritious salad for lunch/dinner. On my most successful raw days, this is what I do and I always feel my very best when this is the mainstay of my intake. I want to share what my personal favorite rawliscious, "hi-def" salad has in it below, but I'd really love to hear from you. What is your very favorite salad, and how do you dress it? Tell me about it in the comments....what does it have in it and when do you typically eat it in your day? Also feel free to share your very favorite super smoothie recipe too!

Ruby's Rawliscious Hi-Def Salad

4 cups mixed greens
handful of cherry or grape tomtoes
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 of a cucumber, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 carrot, shredded
a handful of sprouts
sliced sweet, hot peppers
2 tbsp. hemp nut seeds
1 tsp + spirulina

Vibrant Lemon Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. raw honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Am Grateful

Thanksgiving 2008 was an absolutely beautiful day in Tulsa. Gabby spent the day with her father and his family, and Taylor was with her grandmother and family. Gordon, Dad and I went to spend the day with my Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob. Holidays at Bob & Betty's are always over the top and this year was no different. I knew in advance that I'd be indulging in a feast of both cooked and raw foods, so I packed along some digestive enzymes. Aunt Betty is a true gourmet chef. She owned The Italian Inn Restaurant for a few decades and then she and my uncle owned St. Michael's Alley's in the mid 80's.

For raw foods, I made a fresh cranberry salad, kale salad, and a raw pumpkin pie. Everything else was traditional holiday fare. I paced myself at the table, but admittedly, I am feeling the effects of the bit of overindulgence. Although this year I have no dietary remorse. I enjoyed and savored every bite. I know each dish was prepared thoughtfully, with the best intentions and infused with love. I really could feel it as I ate.

While at the Thanksgiving table, I paused and gave my own silent thanks for all of God's continual blessings, aware of the beautiful bonds of love between my family and my friends. Beyond today, I want to reflect and always be thankful for the daily moments of learning, laughter and the joy of simple pleasures. No matter the gloomy world economy, the other negativity in the news and even our own family's uncertain financial future......there is so much for which to be thankful. My prayers is that you too had a beautiful, memorable Thanksgiving holiday, filled with lots of special moments of gratitude and blessing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chef Certification with Betsy Catrett

On Sunday, I spent my afternoon in downtown Tulsa in the lovely high rise home of a treasured friend, member of the Real Food Tulsa Meetup Group and Alissa Cohen Instructor, Betsy Catrett. It was a pleasure to be in the company of Betsy, her gracious husband John Trey and about 10 others, as we completed our Level One Raw Food Chef Certification through Alissa Cohen's Education Program. As you can see from the photos, the setting for the class was beautifully festive, very well planned and organized. Betsy has been involved in the field of wellness, nutrition and relational health for many years, and has worked in varied capacities utilizing her diverse skill sets and talents, always fine tuning her approach as she selflessly works for the betterment of others. I've been blessed to have known Betsy for nearly 4 years and have been impacted by her gentle spirit and wisdom. Although Betsy's diet has always consisted of a high amount of raw and living foods, it has been a joy to watch her journey and transformation as she went 100% earlier this year.

Although Sunday's class was officially an Alissa Cohen curriculum, Betsy's personality and spirit came through in all of the attention she gave to detail and in the many ways she went above and beyond our expectations. In just 4 hours, we were able to cover all the basic topics that ranged from understanding why one would want to go raw all the way to the preparation of gourmet raw food meals that are both delicious and simple.

Our menu was impressive with such dishes as - Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Caps, Mock Salmon Pate, Cream of Tomato Soup, Philly Cheese Steak, Pasta with both Fettuccine Alfredo and Marinara and then an impressive finish, Date Nut Torte with Butter Cream Frosting. We received hands on instruction in the preparation of all of these dishes as well as a thorough lesson on working with all of the tools that can be so helpful in a raw kitchen. I appreciated Betsy's meticulous sanitation practices and explanation of the importance proper hygiene plays in our kitchens, both commercially and in our homes.

At the end of the class, Betsy and her tireless assistants had prepared a beautiful setting with an additional tasting of raw desserts that she had created as a holiday bonus. Treats like - fresh strawberries with a decadent chocolate sauce, Key Lime Tart with Coconut Crust, Almond Coconut Macaroons and Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies. Everything was expertly prepared and displayed. As we left, we also received all of the recipes and a Holiday Party Menu Planning Guide. It was a Sunday afternoon wonderfully spent and I went away freshly inspired with new direction along my own personal raw food journey. If you are in Tulsa, I highly encourage and recommend being part of one of Betsy's upcoming raw food preparation classes. You can find Betsy's contact information here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold Days - Warm Food

Waking up to freezing temperatures the past two mornings has certainly gotten me into the Thanksgiving spirit, and it's also been tempting my palate towards warmer foods. If you're like me, dinner time can often be a challenge when your diet consists of raw foods, especially when the climate gets colder. In this post, I'll share some food preparation tips and a few autumn themed recipes that I particularly enjoy. Hopefully you'll give one or two of them a try the next time you're scratching your head trying to think of what to make for dinner.

Much like roasting, "reducing" vegetables in your dehydrator (or oven on it's lowest temperature setting), really brings out the richness and complexity of flavors without destroying valuable enzymes, minerals and vitamins. Slice vegetable and toss them in a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper and within a few hours, you'll have a deliciously satisfying side dish or entree. Any of the following recipes could be additionally nutritious and filling if you serve alongside raw spouted or lightly steamed quinoa, millet or buckwheat.

Marinated Vegetables

Be sure when shopping to buy a colorful assortment of vegetables!

6 cups assorted, trimmed and cubed vegetables
(such as....carrots, baby brussel sprouts, cauliflower, pearl onions, squash, bell peppers,
broccoli, etc.)
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup champagne vinegar (optional)
4 small bay leaves
2 tsp Celtic sea salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper

Mix together the marinade and thoroughly coat the vegetables, adding the bay leaves. Place in a dehydrator set to 135 degrees for the first hour, then turn down to 110 degrees for the remaining time, continuing to reduce and soften to your personal taste, approximately 2 more hours.
Fresh Green Beans with Garlic Vinaigrette

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans. sliced into about 1/4 - 1/8 inch pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
sea salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup raw, sprouted and dehydrated almonds, chopped

To prepare the vinaigrette, combine ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend well. Set aside.

To prepare beans, chop and toss the beans in a bowl with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread this mixture onto a dehydrator mesh sheet. Place in a dehydrator set at 135 degrees for the first hour, then turn down to 110 degrees for the remainder of the warming time, which is about 2 - 3 more hours. Once the beans reach your desired softness, dress the beans with the vinaigrette and toss in the crumbled almonds. Serve & enjoy.Warm Spinach & Radicchio with Mushroom Vinaigrette

6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 1/2cups torn radicchio leaves (optional)
2 Tbsp scallions, sliced
1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh sage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Nama Shoyu or celtic sea salt

3 1/2 Tbsp. Sherry wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Agave nectar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper

Combine green onion, mushroom, 1/2 tsp. olive oil, sage and nama shoyu. Spread out on a mesh dehydrator screen. Warm for about an hour at 125 degrees.

Make vinaigrette, set aside.

Remove the mushroom mixture and add the spinach, radicchio and other 1/2 tsp of olive oil, combining well. Return to the dehydrator for another 30 minutes - 1 hour to slightly wilt the greens at 115 degrees. Also place the bowl of vinaigrette into the dehydrator, as well. Toss the spinach, mushroom mixture with the warmed vinaigrette for a satisfying and hearty fall dish.Honey-Curried Kale with Caramelized Onions

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch kale, tough stems removed, leaves chopped (should be 6 cups)
2 Tbsp. Nama Shoyu

Toss onions in a tsp. of olive oil until fully coated. Dehydrator 1 - 3 hours.

Stir together remainder of olive oil, curry powder, honey, lemon juice, nama shoyu and kale. Add in the carmelized onions and return to the dehydrator for another 30 minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Performance and Possibility

This is the first time I've reposted a picture on my blog, but can you blame me? I promised a link to this interview with Tim Van Orden a couple of weeks ago, but now it's finally materialized! Big props to my homeboy, Dhrumil Purohit, director of We Like It Raw for creating such an amazing community of support at Give It To Me Raw and for being the facilitator and creator of my very favorite in-depth, with purpose, raw related interviews. If you had the opportunity to hear Tim speak while he was in Tulsa, this motivational podcast will provide additional encouragement, new information and reinforcement. If you missed his visit, or if you're not in Tulsa, you'll not want to miss the life impacting message he brings. ENJOY!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Raw Essentials

Carol Alt has just shown it all for the first time in the December 2008 issue of Playboy magazine. On the cover of the publication, Alt is baring it to make a point. As an actress, author and the original supermodel, Carol Alt, a huge supporter and advocate of the raw food diet, decided that the best way to demonstrate the benefits of the diet is to give a body of evidence.....her own. Whether you agree with her decision to pose nude or not, there's no denying that Carol looks amazing at 48. Recently interview by Access Hollywood, Ms. Alt shares, “I’ve done a lot of soul-searching about this and have spoken extensively with Playboy about it. They have been amazing to work with and are embracing this message that I want to get across, which is eat healthy, look healthy and be healthy.” Alt also shares from an article on her website, “It doesn’t matter what age you are. You can look sexy and feel great, and that doesn’t have to be a gift only for the young. It can be a gift for any age, even the old (whatever that is nowadays).”

In the Playboy article, Carol talks a lot about the raw food diet. She says, "I feel better today than at 24. I look better. My skin looks better. I'm more chiseled." She goes on to share, "I believe God wants me to speak about this-I'm a born-again Christian.....and I needed a platform, which is why I'm in Playboy. Nobody loves the female form like Playboy, and there's no better way to show women you don't have to live with getting old."

I had the pleasure of working with Carol Alt for her second book on raw food, The Raw 50. In this anticipated follow-up to her first book, Eating in the Raw, Carol presents easy, everyday raw food recipes and more stories about people who have adopted a raw diet. The story of how I went raw is featured in The Raw 50, and a couple of my juice recipes are featured as well. If you don't have a copy of this book, you should consider making it part of your raw library as it contains all of Carol’s favorite raw recipes. The Raw 50 is the ideal go-to guide for anyone ready to experience the life-changing benefits of eating in the raw.

In addition to all of the Playboy pulicity, Ms. Alt is also applying the youthful, rejuvenating effects of the raw food diet to her daily beauty regimen with a four-item skin care line called Raw Essentials. Carol is passionate about incorporating what she considers to be the "life changing benefits" of eating raw food into this pristine skin care line after fighting illness and fatigue while battling uterine cancer more than a decade ago. Triggered by the idea that any chemicals you put on your skin will be absorbed into the body, this line will be created from 100% raw, active ingredients derived from the earth. Unlike many other skin care lines, Raw Essentials won’t be using any dangerous parabens, petrochemicals or preservatives. This “beyond natural and organic” Raw Essentials skin care line, will be carried exclusively on HSN starting next month with an excusive preview scheduled for December 11th & 12th, then the line will be available from January 2009 on a greater scale.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Holiday Favorites - In the Raw

On Saturday morning I left the house early, jumping into my car for the 4 hour drive to Lee Summit, Missouri. Lee Summit is a quaint little village of a town that is on the southeastern outskirts of Kansas City. Lately Saturdays at home in Tulsa consist of back to back marathon college football games, so I was more than eager to take a much needed break from the status quo to run off to enjoy one of MY passions....raw food preparation and tasting! The trip north went by quickly, likely due to the fact that during the drive I also completed a one hour interview for a new segment on Raw Fu, Breakfast with Bunny, and then had an opportunity to get caught up on all of the great podcasts I'd been storing up in my Ipod from my buddy Dhrumil of We Like It Raw.

Once I arrived in Lee Summit, I easily found the place of my destination, A Thyme For Everything, in the charming little town square. I was really eager for this class, Holiday Favorites, by raw food chef and Instructor, Rachel Fracassa. As I shared in a previous blog post, I've been following Rachel's journey for sometime and have been inspired and impressed with the creativity and talented expression in her personal raw food preparations. Rachel a is a graduate of the world-renowned Living Light Culinary Arts Institute in Fort Bragg, California, where she received her certifications as both a Gourmet Raw Food Chef and Instructor. Saturday's class did not disappoint as it was clear that Rachel has a passion for teaching the living foods lifestyle as well as for sharing her own personal artistic flare for raw culinary arts. She is very unassuming, gentle spirited, yet terribly hip. Although Rachel is young, she gracefully facilitates a class in which people of all ages and levels of experience and interest immedietly feel welcome.Not only was I stoked to learn from Rachel, I also was eager to know ways in which to incorporate more raw foods into my upcoming holiday menus. Although I'm very tolerant, loving and understanding about family food traditions, my intention is to not spend another holiday in a carnivorous, gluttonous, cooked food stupor. However, I don't want to deprive myself or family of the holiday foods and traditional memories we all enjoy. In this class, I discovered how to make a scrumptious raw feast that features everyone's favorites, from stuffing to pumpkin pie.

We started off with a delicious Holiday Nog drink that I found to be much more delicious than the dairy laden Egg Nog, and without all of the intestinal distress that this lactose intolerant girl can do without! It was rich, creamy and nutmegy....and somehow unbelievably delicious without the dairy or the eggs. We were then instructed how to make Almond Mayonnaise that could easily replaced bottled mayo in this incredible Waldorf Salad.The Cranberry Orange Relish made my heart sing. It was made with a core of ingredients like fresh cranberries, orange and orange zest and freshly grated ginger.

This delicious, low carb stuffing was created by using almonds instead of bread and dehydrated instead of cooking. It was so good, I could have eaten the entire bowl!The two side dishes, "Christmas Kale" and "Green Bean Amandine" were outstanding. Because I had all of the ingredients, I came right home and put my own twist to the delicious kale salad, presenting it to my family, who happily ate the whole bowl before my eyes!

And then last, but certainly NOT least, was Rachel's show stopping, "I can't believe it's not cooked,"pumpkin pie with vanilla cashew cream. I think I shed a silent tear over this dessert, since I LOVE, but can't tolerate the dairy in traditional pumpkin pie. In a sentence, it was to die for.Aside from the inspiring class, I also got to share the time with some great people. The biggest highlight was when The Raw Body Twins showed up just as class was starting. I was able to sit with them throughout the entirety of the class. I met Stacey and Susan earlier this year in Manhattan at the Successfully Raw event sponsored by We Like It Raw. Stacey and Susan are certified raw food coaches through my sweet friend, Karen Knowler. Their website and coaching business is thriving, as they are specifically geared towards helping women achieve their highest potential in life through personal transformation and raw foods. This stunning set of twins are incredibly sweet, gorgeous and a vibrant example of what it looks like to have the "raw glow."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Give Peas A Chance

Have you been thinking about trying the raw food diet but aren't sure about how to start or how you could possibility do it with a busy life, full time job, family, meat eating spouse, yada yada? Well, how's about joining forces with me and my most beloved raw food personality, Beth aka Bunny Berry: and go sign up to be part of The Raw Fu Holiday Challenge, Peas On Earth, which starts on November 15th (that's this coming Saturday!) I am inviting you because I want you to love yourself enough to take charge of what you've been putting into that cake hole and get the support you need to start making positive choices that could seriously change your life for the better.There will be a fabulous Holiday Challenge Workbook, new Holiday Challenge edition tee shirts that are so cute, you're definitely going to want one!! Here's Angela Thomas, Bunny and I sporting our last challenge T-shirts in the Phoenix Airport: ......and of course when you join us you'll get daily videos and tons of community support to help keep you motivated and inspired to make deliciously healthy food choices during the holidays. And guess what, when you're spending all your money on presents and holiday fun, this weight loss, health rejuvenating program won't cost you a thing, IT"S TOTALLY FREE!!! So, please come along and be part of the Holiday Raw Fu Possee!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ushering In The Festivus

Recently, I've been getting into all kinds of projects and busy-ness, but it's been all good, believe me! Even though it's been just over a week, I'm still in the afterglow of Real Food Tulsa's most successful meetup to date, an evening with Tim VanOrden. (That's Gordon, Tim and I in the picture). We had nearly 80 people in attendance and the raw food tasting that was put together by the members of our local group was delicious and really impressive. Tim's lecture was incredibly inspiring, informative and motivational to so many. I've received many emails and phone calls telling of how the lecture brought the pieces together and helped to encourage people to that next level of health along their journey. If you are reading this, Tim, thank you for making such an impact on our community and on me personally. Can't wait for you to come back and be with us again!This coming weekend, I'll be traveling to the "Holiday Favorites Class" in Lee Summit, Missouri to sit under the brilliant culinary instruction of Living Light Certified Chef, Rachel Fracassa. I've been following Rachel's work online for some time now and I'm so excited to finally get to meet her and receive hands on education just in time for the holidays. Not only is Rachel an asset to the Kansas City metropolitan area, she has also received considerable recognition for her culinary achievements on a national and international level. Check out her recipe for this incredible Pumpkin Cheesecake.On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I'll be joining in on the raw food prep training of one of our own Real Food Tulsa members, Betsy Catrett. Betsy is a certified Alissa Cohen educator and I will finally be getting my certification while sitting under Betsy's expert instruction. During this class we'll be having a full afternoon of hands on food prep and doing an indepth study of what goes on behind the scenes in a raw food kitchen. Focus on sprouting, dehydrating and all the other fascinating nuances of preparing foods in the raw.

On to December....I'm currently planning the Real Food Tulsa Holiday Raw Food Potluck, which is scheduled for the evening of December 7th. Still working on the details of this, but I've put "my feelers" out for a special surprise guest to join us for this festive event (fingers crossed!). I'd love it if you'd plan to join us and make this part of your early holiday plans!
Last, but certainly not least, I will be driving to Dallas on the weekend of December 13-14th to be involved in Frank Giglio's Holiday Raw Food Prep Class. Susie Haces is not only the organizer of this Dallas group, but she is also a member of Real Food Tulsa as well. I've known of Frank through mutual friends for a couple of years but I finally had the opportunity to meet and spend a bit of time with him at this years Raw Spirit Festival in Sedona, Arizona. Frank couldn't be anymore darling, nor could he be more talented, humble and dynamic in a raw food kitchen. I love working with one who is so proficient with healthy food preparations as well as being classically trained like Frank. He brings the best of both worlds together. To read more about Frank Giglio, visit his blog.