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."

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