Sunday, 26 May 2013

Raw Banana Bread

Right from the start, I want to write that when I make this again, I won't use as much milled flax seed. I think I used enough flax for making it with a dozen bananas! This batch is good, the bee pollen adds a nice touch. I had the intention of putting coconut oil too but I forgot!

Dehydrated so they are still soft, these do resemble bread in texture. When I make this again, I will also add dates or raisins because it is not as sweet as I had expected. Perhaps more nutmeg too.

This raw banana bread will taste amazing with a cup of mocha healthy coffee!

  • 1 1/3 cup milled flax seed
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seed
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp agave nectar (can also use maple syrup or honey although not raw)
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 6 ripe bananas, fresh or frozen 
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • a handful of pine nuts
  • 1Tbsp nutmeg and/or cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp bee pollen (optional)
  • sprinkle of maca (optional)

In a bowl which you can later cover with a lid, stir together the flax, chia, agave, nutmeg and vanilla puree. If you don't have dry vanilla bean, use some liquid extract.

I had never used vanilla beans or pods before, this was given to me by my sister Melissa (as well as the lovely flowering plant) I used the whole thing.

With a touch of water, blend the vanilla bean, scraping the edges down, repeat and add a handful of pine nuts to weigh down the liquid.
Blend until it looks like this:
Peel the bananas, I used frozen, and process (My food processor was a better tool than my blender for this step) with a touch of lemon juice.

Mix the banana cream in with the seed mixture and let sit in the fridge, covered, for at least an hour for the seeds to absorb any available moisture from the sweet fruit.

In a large bowl, place the coconut, hemp, bee pollen and maca (if using). Throw in your big banana ball and mix. You will easily form coconut coated balls or patties with your hands. Dehydrate at 105F for 5 to 6 hours. The look of this food will not change much from before to after the dehydrating.

Loaf Crackers (raw)

The recipe here is sensibly the same as my previous cracker recipes. Pick one of these two as your base (ingredients AND mixing instructions):
Raw Vegetable Crackers - Yes! There is a use for juice pulp
Rooster's pizza crust

I used less walnuts than in the recipes above because I ran out but substituted with more pine nuts as well as more milled flax. I also used some raw veg juice pulp which had been frozen for a couple of days so I was able to make a bigger batch of crackers.

As you can see, I made two loaves. One is seasoned with Italian spices and the other with a curry spice mix. My curry loaf was dehydrated separately because my trays were full with the first loaf slices. The juice pulp contains carrots, celery, cabbage, broccoli stem, apple, lemon and grapefruit. No beets this time! To the nut and seed mixture, I added chopped onion and radicchio (looks like a small red and white cabbage) as well as some agave nectar.

The difference for THIS recipe is that it saves time. The process of forming loaves is quicker than flattening the dough and cutting out shapes.

I'm glad I tried this because it is definitely quicker!

Slice the loaves as thinly as possible, using a wide blade knife or a straight spatula like the one pictured. I found that having both tools was very useful. Pull out any chunky pulp pieces that were not removed during mixing. I discarded apple peel and fibrous grapefruit pieces.

The curry loaf was in the fridge overnight in a covered container. I woke up with the idea that it would be cool to add a spot of colour in the center.

Here's how to do it:
  • mix together milled flax, carrot juice and carrot pulp 
  • add chopped red pepper
  • slice loaf lengthwise and remove some dough from sides, inside, to create a cavity
  • spoon in the new mixture, even it out
  • close the loaf with the dough which was removed

Slice and transfer to trays. These slices will be chunkier because it is challenge to keep it all pretty if you flatten them. If you have some of the second mixture left, you can spoon it onto the middle of each cracker and press it lightly so the contrast is more evident. Dehydrate for 20 to 24 hours at 105F, until crispy.

After one to two hours that they have been in the dehydrator, turn the crackers over, their own weight will help them achieve a flatter shape and you can also flatten them gently between your hands.

Keep in a covered container in the fridge, if after a couple of days the crackers become softer, you can dehydrate again. I haven't kept them longer than one week because they are consumed in less time than that here.

We had Italian herb crackers for lunch today with a bean salad (the curry crackers are still in the machine and smelling divine). Eric said that he would like to build a big dehydrator so I can make bigger batches. Stay tuned for news on that!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Rooster's Raw Pizza Crusts

The difference between this raw "pizza" crust recipe and my raw cracker recipe is that this is sweetened with agave, there are pine nuts and chunkier vegetables are added to the pulp. I'm still juicing beets and cabbage so this is why my crusts are purple. The rest of my leftover juicing pulp used in this crust contains lemon, broccoli stems and apple. I'm having lots of cabbage lately and you can read more about that in yesterday's blog post.

Don't expect a doughy experience. This is going to be a hard crust with a Italian onion flavor.

Vegetable and seed mixture
Mix together in a large bowl:
  • 3 to 4 cups leftover juice pulp
  • chopped chives or other herb
  • chopped onion; you can keep pieces thin and long
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp agave nertar
  • dried Italian herbs
  • 1/2 Tbsp of sea salt
  • dash of cayenne
  • the equicalent of 1/2 cup of:
  • --whole or milled chia seed
  • --hemp seed
  • --milled flax seed

Nut mixture
Process together in a food Processor until soft, smooth texture is obtained.:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • a huge chunk of coconut oil (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic
Fold the nut mixture into the vegetable and seed mixture. Form cracker shapes on your work surface such as a smooth cutting board.

You might need to grease up your tools with olive oil. I actually experimented with a cookie cutter here.

  If you're not sure how to shape your dough, go biscotti style. Where you shape the dough into a loaf and slice it, flattening each piece with your fingers and then transferring it onto the tray.


Depending on the thickness, dehydrate for 24 hours at 105F.

Enjoy with hummus and friends!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cabbage = detox (Simple Sesame Slaw)

Raw green cabbage is inexpensive and healthy. Here is a nutrition chart for you to consult. I recently decided to either juice or eat raw cabbage daily as I continue serious detoxification efforts.

This cruciferous vegetable contains fiber, sulphur and vitamin C which are antioxidants. It also holds considerable amounts of minerals. various vitamins and electrolytes. Although it doesn't seem to contain sugar, it gives me energy. It can cause gas and uncomfortable bloating for some people. I have been told that it is beneficial for celiacs and people with skin conditions as it helps to rebuild our damaged intestinal tracts. Read about other benefits of cabbage on this page. Since then, I've been mixing it in with my spinach salads, juicing and dehydrating it (see my vegetable pulp cracker recipe). The time has come for some serious cabbage PAZZAZ!

So here is my Seriously Simple Sesame Slaw recipe. It's lemony, with a curry twist.

Mix together:
  • 1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
  • Chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1Tbsp soy sauce (Nama Shoyu is raw but expensive and hard to find)
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1Tbsp curry powder
  • pinch sea salt
Recommended method:

Place all ingredients in a large container, cover, shake and refrigerate, allowing flavours cohabitate and mingle for an hour or so before serving.
    Optional toppings:
    • sesame seeds
    • hemp hearts
    • Vietnamese coriander or other fine herb
    Meal idea: serve with a bunch of red grapes and beet cracker bakes or with your favorite rice paper or nori julienne vegetable wrap.

    For this photographed meal, the crackers are topped with raw onion, raw sweet yellow bell pepper, sliced cooked chicken breast, leftover stir fry (fiddle heads, red bell pepper, garlic, onion, portobello mushroom and balsamic vinegar) and finely grated old cheddar cheese before being baked in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt.

    Saturday, 18 May 2013

    Raw Fruit Cookies - Two Recipes for protein packed treats

    Ahhh hurray for the long weekend, this has been a relaxing Saturday, allowing my experimenting to continue with really fabulous results! I've been 90% raw for the past 5 days. My crackers are good but I'm ready for something different for my work lunches this week. Here's what's in my dehydrator tonight. Anyone up for some healthy fruity sweet confections?!

    This is the nut mixture used for both of these raw cookie recipes:
    1. Coarsly ground 1 cup almonds in a food processor
    2. Ground 2 cups walnuts in a food processor until buttery consistency reached. 
    This also applies to both recipes: Dehydrate these goodies at 105F for 6 to 12 hours, depending on the level of crunch you are seeking. I like the carrot cookies to be as crispy as possible and the berry cookies are nice with some moisture. When desired texture is achieved, store in an airtight container in the fridge. If they are kept slightly soft, it is best to consume within 2 to 3 days. They will keep longer when they are fully dehydrated.

    Berry Chia Balls 

    • 1/2 Nut mixture described above (1 cup ground walnuts and 1/2 cup ground almonds) 
    • 1 cup raspberries
    • 1 cup blueberries
    • 1/2 cup whole chia seeds
    • 1/2 cup hemp and milled flax
    • 3/4 cup raisins (or dates)
    • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
    • 4 Tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetner (not raw but delicious!)
    • 1 to 2 Tbsp maca (optional)

    Blend the berries in a blender or food processor. I used frozen berries and the texture was terrific for mixing, better than if they had been fully thawed. Mix with other ingredients. Roll into balls, place on dehydrator as is or press down lightly to make 1 inch thick cookie shapes. This recipe is inspired by Matt Amsden's recipe for Berry and Nut Breakfast Bars detailed in his Rawvolution book.

    1. If you are adventurous, add a few spoonfuls of plain or berry yogurt. Might need to adjust sweetener quantity and note that probiotic yogurt likely does not keep those properties... something to be verified.
    2. I will try sometime with shredded apple and add some cinnamon and perhaps switch the raisins for dried cranberries.
    3. You could also do this with strawberries or blackberries or any mix. 

     Carrot, Pineapple, Coconut and Ginger Nut Cookies

    • Pulp from juicing a few large carrots, a thick ring of pineapple and a big peeled chunk of ginger
    • 1/2 Nut mixture described above (1 cup ground walnuts and 1/2 cup ground almonds) 
    • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
    • 1/2 cup hemp, flax, chia seeds
    • 3 tbsp agave nectar
    • 2 Tbsp total: mix ground cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of ground clove
    • 1 to 2 Tbsp maca (optional)


    After mixing thoroughly, form balls in your hands and flatten to create thin rounds., placing them on dehydrator tray as you progress. 

    Press a raisin, dried cranberry or goji berry at the center of each cookie. After an hour in the dehydrator, turn them over with the fruit side down.

    To my surprise, I left the carrot pineapple cookies in the dehydrator much longer than the berry chia balls. They need to be crispy otherwise the ginger tastes funky.

    With raw cookies, it seems the possibilities are endless since you can use different nuts, sweeteners, yogurt, spices, etc!


    Thursday, 16 May 2013

    Raw vegetable crackers - YES there is a use for juice pulp!

    If you've ever juiced, you've asked but what about the pulp? I've put some in soup but never the whole quantity leftover from juicing. I can't live with the guilt of throwing it out, even when it is to become compost, anymore.
    I needed to try something and my experiment turned out to be a tasty one. I ate my first batch of crackers in one day. Well I gave a few away to coworkers and they wanted more!

    We all crave crunch other than celery when on a mostly raw diet so here it is, my very own raw cracker recipe:

    Super adaptable, ingredients for this recipe can vary greatly, I've done this twice so far with similar results so now feel ready to post the recipe. You can use sprouted seeds, different nuts and seeds like pepitas and sunflower, add some tahini, perhaps even pulses like cooked lentils or chick peas (then they wouldn't be 100% raw but it's an idea). Stay away from overly sweet fruit, melon, grapes. You can use one kind of vegetable pulp or a mix as I did.  
    As a sidenote, you can follow a similar process to make cookies with carrot and pineapple pulp, blend with raisins or dates, coconut, walnuts, flax, hemp, agave or honey and use a bite size cookie cutter (try a spice jar lid!).

    My crackers have such an intriguing colour cuz they're made with beets!

    I would consider the pictures here to represent a double batch of crackers. They turned out thicker the second time I made them but I was working with a bigger quantity of mixture and wanted it all to fit in my dehydrator in one batch.
    Here's how:
    My vegetable pulp leftover from juicing was beet, cabbage, lemon and carrot.
    In a large bowl, place the pulp, seasoning (I used cayenne and a mix of Italian dried herbs, sea salt) I added a bit of olive oil and tahini too.
    In a food processor, place 1 cup walnuts, blend until the texture is buttery. Add 1/2 red pepper, 1 clove garlic (or 2!), a chunk of coconut oil - it has amazing health properties - and 1/2 cup flax seeds (whole or milled). Blend that together.

    walnut mixture goes from food processor to bowl
    Add the blended nut mixture to the bowl of pulp and add 1/2 cup of whole seeds such as hemp, chia, flax or others.
    It is critical for the texture to be uniform so mix, mix, mix until you can form a ball. It will soon feel like doughy paste. Sometime during the mixing, give it a taste and you can add a touch of agave nectar to sweeten or sea salt or your spices.

    Now the work begins. spread the paste onto your work surface, I used a large flexible cutting board. Flatten the dough to then cut out squares. Lift them with a flipper/spatula onto your dehydrator trays. If you use a rolling pin - something I don't own - you may need to grease it up.

    I tried flattening with a second cutting board with mixed results since I hadn't greased it. 
    Most of the flattening was  done with the spatula.


    I sprinkled hemp hearts over my cracker shapes but they didn't stick well, I would have needed to press them in a little for more to stay on.
    Dehydrate at 105F for several hours and flip the pieces over so they dry with a more even texture on both sides.  It can take as long as 24 hours to dehydrate them fully.
    Place in an airtight container. If condensation forms, they need to be dehydrated longer. You can keep in the cupboard if you plan on eating promptly. Otherwise, it is best to refrigerate your veggie pulp raw crackers. I might surprise you with this comment and picture below but there is no rule against cooking them later!

    These ham, old cheddar and chive bakes are supreme culinary delicacies: The oil they contain makes them taste spectacular. Crumbled, the raw crackers can top salads, stir fries or other hot dishes. Let me know how you like 'em!