Friday, November 19, 2010

Days 3 & 4: The Honeymoon

So earlier I wrote about the potential daunting task of embarking on a raw food diet.  There's this idea that you need fancy equipment, hard to find (and expensive) ingredients, and lots of time for preparation.  I have to say that aside from a blender, a good knife, and lots of airtight storage containers, I can't see that there's much in the way of keeping anyone from getting started with raw food.  Clean up after preparing a meal has been a breeze, as there are no pots/pans to soak/wash, and cleaning the blender is super quick.  What I would like to do is get started on my apartment-sized (balcony?) worm compost bin, coz I'm racking up lots of fruit peelings!  In the near future I'd also like to get a dehydrator and a juicer, but these don't need to be expensive (I just naturally gravitate towards those that are...).  As far as expensive ingredients, nuts are the probably the priciest thing.  After two trips to Whole Foods and only a small bag of groceries and a whopping bill to show for it, I decided that Save-On Foods would be my new go-to grocery.  I try to buy organic whenever possible, but obviously it's not always possible.  Some produce has a higher chance of getting sprayed with some pretty f*cked up chemicals (i.e. celery, berries) than others, so I try to keep that in mind. 

Day 3
Alright, today's the day to go almost 100% raw.  As I'd just bought a bag of granola a few days ago, and it's quite scrumptious, for breakfast I decided to forego the porridge and indulge in this + almond milk.  Today's fare:

Zucchini pasta with marinated mushrooms

1 zucchini, peeled
4 mushrooms, sliced
5 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sunflower sprouts

mushroom marinade:
1 tbsp nama shoyu 
(raw, unpasteurized soy sauce... but the regular stuff will do for now too)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

Make the marinade and let the 'shrooms swim around in it for anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours.  Peel the zucchini with a potato peeler, making nice wide strips; do this until you reach the seeded core of the zucchini.  Top with the mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sprouts and voila!

The original recipe calls for soaking up the excess liquid from the mushrooms on a paper towel, but I say why waste all that yummy marinade!  This really did play out like a dish of pasta - I was impressed.  One of the things that Agathe shared with me was that food is often connected with emotions; sitting down to a warm plate of 'comfort' food (i.e. pasta) just seems like a good idea, especially in the cold winter months.  Well, this zucchini pasta certainly made me think twice about what's comforting!

Next up, I made some Trail Mix Balls to take to my 3 hour night class:

1/4 cup raisins
4 dates
5 figs
6 apricots
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
coconut flakes/sunflower seeds for rolling

Pulse the sunflower seeds in a food processor/blender until coarsely chopped.  Add the dried fruit and blend until everything is mixed, and then roll the resulting dough into balls.  Cover these with the coconut flakes or more sunflower seeds.

I made enough of these to share with my group at school, and got great reviews!  Three of these little balls (or maybe it was 4... they were so good!) kept any hunger at bay for the duration of the class, and I was able to avoid the temptation of the school cafeteria (which pretty much only has pizza at night).

When I got home I felt like a little comfort food, so I whipped up an Avocado/Pear Lettuce Sandwich:

1 avocado
1 or 2 pears, chopped
Fresh coarsely chopped cilantro, to taste
1 large salad leaf of any variety

For a creamy consistency, blend the avocado and 1 pear in a blender.  For a crunchier consistency, chop the second pear into small pieces and stir into the mixture.  Add the cilantro to taste, and then spoon the mixture onto a lettuce leaf.  Roll it up like a burrito, fold the leaf over to make a wrap/sandwich, or just dig in with a spoon!

I omitted the second pear from this recipe, instead just blending 1/2 of the one pear and chopping up the rest of it for a crunchier texture.  I think I even threw some nuts on top!  I squeezed a bit of lemon on there too, in lieu of cilantro.  I was surprised by the serving size this recipe produced: pretty big!  More than the late night snack I was thinking of, but it was cool: I sat down to an episode of 'Being Erica' while enjoying my creation.  Tip:  It's also recommended to try this with a hot salsa.

Day 4
Mmm another morning with The Granola King.  He makes good stuff, but I have to say I'm excited to make my own granola soon.

I was starting to feel a bit like most of what I was eating was either creamy or liquid (smoothies!) so today I opted for a Spinach and Arugula Salad for lunch:

1/2 a package spinach
1/2 a bunch of arugula
     * kinda vague eh?  I say toss in as much as you want to eat!
1 celery stalk, cut into rounds
1 green apple, cubed
4 radishes, chopped
2 inches of cucumber, sliced
1 avocado, cubed
6 walnuts, coarsely chopped
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 tablespoon honey

Easy peasy: toss and enjoy!

I think I ate this around 1pm, and it kept me completely satisfied until I returned from class at 11pm!  I omitted the green apple and avocado, and instead of the honey I tried out a yummy mustard/grapeseed oil concoction.  The walnuts were a nice touch; if you chop them into small pieces, you'll be lucky enough to get a few in every mouthful!  I ate this salad with chopsticks - they slow me down more than a fork does.  Although I'm a slow eater to begin with... Still, this way I really took my time and enjoyed my lunch.

Oooh I forgot, I also made a smoothie before heading off for my 6pm class.  This one was just off the top of my head - raw doesn't have to be complicated!

1 banana
some strawberries
some blueberries
almond milk
a tsp of Greens+
... and carob, of course!

Previously I had a tolerate/mucho dislike relationship with Greens+, which is probably why my supply of it is quite... ahem... 'aged' (like a fine wine, no?).  But you throw in enough berries and carob (!) and the taste of the Greens+ is quite mild.  It also helps to get a flavoured version of this supplement, which is truthfully packed with all kinds of good stuff.  Spirulina to the rescue!

One more thing I made today was Cashew Cream Cheese.  My intention was to take it to class along with some (store bought) flax crackers, but in the end I was so satisfied by my salad and smoothie, I felt no need to snack at class!  So instead it was my late-night snack, along with another episode of 'Being Erica' (I've got to catch up!).

1 cup cashew nuts
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tbsps lemon juice
salt, to taste
2 inches of a leek
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh dill

Put everything in the food processor/blender and blend thoroughly.  Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator before serving; lasts for about 5 days in the fridge (if you can resist gobbling it up).

My pooch got a tiny taste test of the Cashew Cream Cheese 
This was AMAZING!  You can also add garlic, chives, or whatever spices/herbs you like, but honestly it's great as is too.  I scraped every single last morsel of this out of my blender, and had to talk myself out of licking the stuff off my baby's unique semi-circular shredding blades.  Seriously delicious!  I imagine you could make it even creamier with almond milk instead of water.

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