Friday, July 30, 2010

Foodie Friday - Attack of the 5 Gallon Bucket of Tomatoes

As many of you know, my dad is an amazing organic gardener. He's currently enjoying his 80th year around the sun and he's been a master gardener since before I was born. During the cooler months, he lives with me and my family in Tulsa, but during the summer, he stays at his little fisherman's cottage on Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma. Besides dropping a pole into the lake whenever word gets out that the sand bass, Mississippi whites or crappie are biting, my dad is the infamous village handyman and he rocks a tight, mean & totally green organic garden. This week he came to the big city to visit yours truly and he was bearing gifts!

So, what do you do when life hands you a 5 gallon bucket of ripe, homegrown organic tomatoes, a few eggplants, some jalapeños and a bouquet of basil? This is what did:

Dirty Summer-Tini
3 - 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled
2 stalks celery
1 jalapeño, seeded
1 lime, peeled
splash of nama shoyu or coconut aminos
a dash of hot sauce
freshly cracked pepper

Push the tomatoes, cucumber, celery, jalapeño and lime through a juicer. Chill or pour into a cocktail shaker containing crushed ice, adding nama shoyu & hot sauce. Shake until well chilled and pour into a chilled martini glass. Add a few olives on a toothpick or skewer and garnish with freshly cracked pepper.

My Dad's Salsa
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup white or yellow onion, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped (use less if you like it more mild)
1 -2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon raw agave nectar
pinch cumin
pinch chili powder
Smoked sea salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Season with additional sea salt if desired and serve with corn chips.

Greek Tomato Salad
For the Dressing:
1/2 cup cold pressed olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon each, fresh basil & mint
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of freshly cracked black pepper

Put all the ingredients into a blender and whirl until well emulsified. This dressing will keep in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for over a week.

For the Salad:
3 ripe garden tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup sliced oil-cured ripe black olives
1/2 small red onion, sliced in rings
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 cups romaine or green leaf lettuce, torn

In a bowl combine the tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and parsley and then drizzle and toss with the dressing. Arrange the torn lettuce evenly on 4 chilled salad plates, and top evenly with the tomato mixture. Feel free to use raw cheese crumbles as a garnish, if desired.

Skewered Tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette
For the tomatoes:
2 yellow tomatoes
2 red tomatoes
2 green tomatoes

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

Quarter tomatoes, thread onto skewers, alternating colors. Brush with a bit of the dressing and place into a warm dehydrator for 2 - 6 hours, depending on your preference.

Serve the tomato skewers with a bowl of the remaining dressing and garish with fresh basil.

Eggplant Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich w/ Thousand Island Dressing
For the Eggplant Bacon:
Several Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons umeboshi plum vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

Mix together the dressing ingredients and marinate the sliced eggplant for at least one hour, making sure it is coated well. Place the marinated eggplant on lined dehydrator trays and reduce for 12 hours at 105 degrees. Turn the strips over and onto unlined mesh dehydrator trays to finish drying for another 8 - 12 hours.

For the Thousand Island Dressing:
2 small oranges, peeled and seeded
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu or Coconut Aminos
1/4 cup cashew or almond butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
4 cloves garlic

Put all ingredients into a blender to process. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Sandwich:
Essene Bread (Ezekiel or Manna) sliced
leaf lettuce
sliced ripe tomatoes
Eggplant Bacon

Build this sandwich to suit your own individual tastes. If you are 100% raw or gluten intolerant, use a gluten free, dehydrated bread/cracker instead of Ezekiel.

Basil Tomato & Watermelon Granita
6 cups fresh watermelon, seeded
2 cups fresh ripe tomatoes
small handful fresh basil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
pinch sea salt

In a blender, combine the watermelon and tomatoes until well combined, strain. Pour the strained mixture back into the blender and add the basil, lime juice, agave and salt, whirling until combined. Pour the liquid into a chilled 9 x 12 inch glass baking dish and put immediately into the freezer. Using a fork, every hour rake the freezing mixture to create an Italian ice type consistency. This will likely take 6 hours +. Serve in a chilled serving bowl and garnish with a fresh basil sprig.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Someone You Should Know - John Gordon

I started following John Gordon's blog earlier this year and have found great inspiration in his teachings. Today's message seemed particularly profound and I wanted to share it here with you.

"In Rick Warren’s mega best-seller Purpose Driven Life he famously begins the book with “It’s not about you.” While I understand his intention with this statement I think he should have begun with “It’s about you, however, it’s not just about you.”

Because I believe it is about you. If it weren’t about you, you wouldn’t be here.

You are not an accident.
You are here for a reason.
You have a destiny.
You have a purpose.
You have gifts and talents.
You do things that only you can do in the way you do them.
You and only you can leave your mark on the world.

So it is about you!

However, it’s not just about you. Because if it was just about you, you’d be:


It’s about more than you. It’s about knowing you were made for relationships:

To love
To mentor
To learn
To serve
To create
To build
To dream
To work together
To change for the better

It’s about living for more than you.

For a bigger purpose.
For a greater cause.
For a deeper meaning.
For those who will become your legacy.

It’s about you knowing you are part of something much bigger than you.

You live in a universe.
Uni-verse means one-song.
Songs don’t happen by accident.
Songs are created by organizing notes into arrangements and patterns.
And so there is a Creator of the one-song.
You are an expression of the Creator.
You are a note in His symphony.

It’s about you!

It’s about you contributing to the one-song.
It’s about you playing your part to the best of your ability.
It’s about you lifting others up.
Its about you living the purpose God created you for.
It’s about you, the Creator, and the song becoming one.

It’s about you and now what you do is up to you."

You can follow John Gordon on his blog, on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Foodie Friday - Hong Kong Garden

As I shared in the above video, today's menu inspiration comes from a Siouxsie & the Banshees song from the that has been rolling around in the back of my head for about a week.

Succulent Seaweed Salad

3/4 ounce dried wakame or arame seaweed (whole or cut)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
3 tablespoons Nama Shoyu, Wheat Free Tamari or Coconut Aminos
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 small tart apple (1/4 pound), such as Granny Smith
2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Soak seaweed in warm water to cover, 5 minutes. Drain, then squeeze out excess water. If wakame is uncut, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.
Stir together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, agave, ginger, and garlic in a bowl until sugar is dissolved. Cut apple into 1/4-inch dice and add to dressing with seaweed, scallions, and cilantro, tossing to combine well. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds.

Rainbow Rolls

4 sheets of raw nori
1 small mango, peeled & julienned
1 carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1 avocado, sliced
Handful of sprouts (mung, daikon or sunflower work nicely)

Blue Green Pate
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, soaked & drained
1/2 cup almonds, soaked & drained
1 tablespoon fresh herbs of your choice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Nama Shoyu, wheat free tamari or Coconut Aminos
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
2 teaspoons spirulina or blue green algae (can substitute kelp or dulse granules)
pinch of sea salt

Spread some of the Blue Green Pate on your raw nori sheet. Add little bits of the roll stuffings of your choice. I started with basil/mint leaves, sprouts, mango, carrots, re bell pepper and avocado.

Here is a raw sushi rolling technique video if you're like me and think you just might screw it up. Regardless of how tight you roll, this entrée will delight and satisfy.

Dipping Sauce
Inspired by Natalia Rose

1/4 cup Nama Shoyu, Wheat Free Tamari
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon, sesame oil

Put all ingredients into a blender and combine, or whisk together in a bowl until well combined.

Lemongrass Mint Cooler

2 six inch stalks lemongrass, crushed
2 slices fresh ginger
1 cayenne pepper, sliced (any pepper variety with heat will do)
1 sprig fresh mint
4 cups water
1 -2 tablespoons raw honey
chilled sparkling water
1 lime juiced
lime slices and fresh mint for garnish

In a sauce pan, steep the crushed lemongrass, ginger, pepper, mint, water and honey for a couple of hours on the lowest heat setting. Cool.

Strain this mixture into a glass jar and refrigerate.

To serve, pour the lemongrass infusion over ice, adding a bit of fresh lime juice and sparkling water to finish. Garnish with a sprig of free mint and a lime wedge.

And in case you are curious:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Offering Friends Our Sweet Support

If you have been following stories and personalities within the raw food community for any length of time, you have likely heard of Rawdawg Rory. This well loved friend has just released a brand new ebook, Sweet Support. In it you'll find 25 pages of rawsome goodness, including four off the charts, easy raw dessert recipes with step-by-step pictures, tips and ideas to help get you inspired in your raw food kitchen. I really appreciate that Rory has created this book with such intention and that he is focusing on using whole foods as sweeteners in his recipes.

ALL of the proceeds of this book will go to supporting Amanda's Live My Life Now Trek. In case you don't know, Amanda is Rory's wife and they, along with their daughter, Isabel, and family pooch, Shadow, are currently on a trek across the USA. I did a feature article here at Real Food Tulsa on their hugely inspiring story of adventure back in March. Click here to read those details.

Please click here to order your copy of Sweet Success. Once you've ordered, your new ebook will be emailed to you, usually within 24 hours of purchase. There are other ways to support Rawdawg & Amanda as well, and I encourage you visit Amanda's Live My Life Now blog for all the details.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Celebrity Chef Ani Phyo in Oklahoma

This past week I had the delightful opportunity to spend a few days at Oklahoma City's 105degrees with celebrity raw food chef, Ani Phyo; restaurant partners, Matthew Kenney and Dara Prentice; Culinary Academy Instructor in residence, Russell James and all the rest of the amazing 105 staff. The first evening was a hands on instructional class which celebrated the release and recipes of Ani's latest un-cook book, Ani's Raw Food Essentials. The following evening was a special Rawkstar dinner event which was inspired by Ani and created by the 105degrees Kitchen. This over-the-top meal offered a stunning look at just how creative living cuisine can be. Please enjoy my collection of the highlights of both events in photos and video:

Welcoming Ani to the 105degrees Culinary Academy:

Ani making her delicious Tomato Chili w/ Nutmeat Topping:

Ani's South-of-the-Border Wraps:

Slideshow of photos:

The very innovative, interesting and creative dinner menu:

And finally the Rawkstar Event and Dinner Review:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Are You Ready to Reveal YOUR Inner Rawk Star?

Each year, Raw Food Rehab conducts four 11 Week Health Initiatives in which our members focus in and commit to giving special attention to their diets and their lifestyle practices. To read more about the essence of our Initiatives and their guidelines, please click here.

Over the past 4 Initiatives, I've learned many things and have received valuable feedback from the members who have participated in both the Initiatives and in The Vault, which is the higher level of commitment that is offered as an additional place of accountability and support during each Initiative. So today, I wanted to take the opportunity to share these important details with you.


This is the title and theme of our next Initiative, which will run from Saturday, July 10th - Friday, September 24th. I believe that within each one of us there is an inner persona, which is the real essence of who we truly are. Many of us just need a little encouragement and real supported focus in order to set that person free! I encourage every member of my Raw Food Rehab community to engage in following our daily posts, videos and accessing all of the wonderful educational and inspiring information available within the RFR website. This morning I put up a sign in thread on which you can chime in to let us know you're on board with making the commitment to yourself during this time. We want to help you tap into your highest potential during this next 11 Weeks.

As with each Initiative, I also offer our Vault Experience to the community and you can read all of the details about what the Vault entails by clicking here. Joining the Vault is only encouraged for those members who are serious about dedicating themselves and their focus to this 11 Week time period. Because I believe the Vault to be the place where real results often are realized, I will be committing to spend more of my time working with the members of the Vault, offering special programs of support, weekly giveaways, making videos and providing support material for those who take the challenge and commit to this experience.

For the first time, RFR is charging a fee for members to participate in the Vault portion of our 11 Week Initiative and I am very much looking forward to working more closely with this group in the weeks ahead. I have just finished putting together a set of digital books which will be a companion to the Revealing Your Inner Rawk Star theme. In these books you will find education, inspiration, over 80 new Rawk Star Recipes, shopping lists, beautiful photographs and journal pages to help you monitor your progress throughout the 11 Weeks.

For $33 dollars you will receive 3 digital books, 2 Word Document files and will be granted access to the higher level of accountability that is offered inside of The Vault - Rawk Star Lockdown. Time is of the essence if you are planning to be part of this, as the cut off to join the Vault and have all of your beginning information uploaded is this Thursday, July 8th at 10 pm EST.

The Revealing Your Inner Rawk Star digital material is also available to anyone for $33 and it can be ordered through Paypal by clicking here. If you will not be participating in The Vault, but would like this material emailed to you directly, please tell me this in a note when you are paying.

I look forward to working with you to help you Reveal YOUR Inner Rawk Star!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

7 Years Ago Today.......

After having been a very independent, single mom for over 8 years, on July the 3rd, 2003, Gabby and I started our new life with Mr. Gordon Shelton.

How Gordon & I met and the way our lives fit together was nothing less than a beautifully crafted divine intervention.

We met in March and married in July.....a whirlwind romance! We decided to celebrate Independence Day weekend by uniting our lives and by recognizing our need to lean on and be dependent on one another.

We chose a red, white and blue theme for the event and our cake was reminiscent of a Dr. Suess meets Uncle Sam hat...LOL! It was an amazing creation!

So today, to celebrate 7 years of our love and marriage, we are heading off to a little overnight getaway at one of our favorite places, The Canebrake.

And I want to encourage you to watch this video that I made back at the end of 2009 on creating your vision. I am living proof that many of our dreams and visions really do come true...... what are yours?