Pineapple Coconut Larabar bites

Pineapple Coconut Larabar Bites

Pineapple Coconut Larabar Bites

It’s race season again – regardless of your sport. It happens every spring and like recent years, I’m feeling left out. It’s my own doing, of course, and I could definitely make running or cycling a priority, but right now, I’m not quite there. Sincerely, though, Cheers to those of you who are on it. I will get there, but I’ll be a few months behind and probably a bit late for the races and events (unless I hit some of the fabulous autumn ones, which is possible).

PCLB 5

Down the Tube

Since it’s race season, I want to share with you my (quasi) famous Pina Coloda Larabar bites. Erika even called me out once, so I’m finally making good on this. They are, of course, a knock off from the real deal, but if you really want to know, these are better. I’m not a fan of most real Larabars. They’re too sweet, too gummy, and too old. That whole packaging thing makes them darn convenient, but not as tasty as they should be.

Freeze-dried pineapple

Freeze-dried pineapple

For this, you’ll need an ingredient that can be a bit tricky to find, I admit. FREEZE-DRIED PINEAPPLE. But it’s worth looking, and I recommend some of the “food storage” websites. I found mine through Thrive when they did a gig at Costco, and no, I’m no affiliated with them at all. But you can also find them on Amazon, and check your local health food store. Everything else is usually found in a well-stocked whole-foods plant-based kitchen. I apparently really like dashes(-).

Pineapple Coconut Larabar Bites

Pineapple Coconut Larabar Bites

I rolled mine into balls. For photography’s sake, probably not my best bet since they look like meatballs, but for convenience’s sake, super handy. My kids love these, though I think they do find them a bit too sweet at times (no, my kids aren’t average),

Larabar Base - almond and dates

Larabar Base – almond and dates

These are Raw, Plant-based, and Gluten-Free if you use GF ingredients, which they should be. And they’re excellent training or race food.

the "Dough"

the “Dough”

Pineapple Coconut Larabars

1 1/3 c. pitted dates
1 c. raw almonds
1 c. freeze dried pineapple
¾ c. shredded unsweetened dried coconut
Water, as needed

Put everything in your food processor and let it rip, pulsing as needed. If, like mine, your dates are too dry, add just a little water (1T at a time) through the feed tube of your food processor to get it moving. It should ball up nicely and be super sticky. Either press into a well-oiled or parchment-lined 8×8 pan, or wet your hands and roll into balls. (I used my 1oz. scooper and these are a bit larger than I’d like.) Chill and cut into 1 ½” squares or transfer bites to an airtight container. Enjoy – they keep for awhile if you forget about them, but I don’t think you will.

ETW: Zest, Downtown SLC

I did not intend to review this restaurant. It had good reviews on Yelp. How I wish I’d brought a better camera.

Can I just put this out there? Just because I’m an herbivore DOES NOT mean I need small portions. Contrarily, I need MORE food.

Zest Kitchen & Bar

Zest Kitchen and Bar Eat. Drink. And be healthy. (Emphasis on the drink part.)
Menu
275 South 200 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
801-433-0589

mygoodcleanfood.com

Set the scene: I got a babysitter, a miracle in and of itself. I’m paying her by the hour. Located in PF Changs back closet, it’s hard to spot. The only sign is less than a foot in diameter on the glass door. I guess you have to be “in the know” … hard to find joints are hip, right? Fortunately, we’d been to the location when it was a hipster burger joint after I was sworn-in 5 years ago.

Upon Arrival: The space is small and dark. Half is a standing bar with high tables and half is a dining room. We waited about five minutes as all four of the on-floor employees whiled away their time talking to each other. Finally someone greeted us, carded us (that’s weird but cool, I guess) asked us how we found the place, and then ignored our answer. We were abruptly seated with a smile straight off a sitcom. Five minutes later, our hipster waiter with a cartoon character on his shirt, beefy arms and almost no idea what the menu included, asked for our drink order (water) and he left. Five minutes later (or more) he returned with our water – apparently our non-drink buying was a deterrent. His other two tables were getting loaded (read – much better tips).

Upon Ordering: As usual, I asked  for recommendations, and while he couldn’t really tell me, his aloof demeanor was, again, right out of a sitcom. The table to our left (a tipsy older couple on a blind date) just had to tell him during our ordering (because they hadn’t seen him for 20 minutes) that the stir-fry was, “I kid you not, the best I’ve ever had!” So we ordered it. ($7)  He came back 10 minutes later dropped off the stir-fry in cereal sized bowl. After we finished it, he came back to get the rest of our order. Stuffed mushrooms with cashew cheeze ($8), the salad special (7?), and the stuffed avocado w/spicy seasoned walnuts, lettuce salad, salsa & cashew sour cream ($13).

The food took a while to come out. One. Plate. At. A Time. Let’s just say, the service was hilariously bad. It’s like they were trying to be bad because that’s hip.

mygoodcleanfood.comAnd now, the food.

I am not terribly picky, I’m really not, but consider the prices as I give you a rundown.

Stir-fry. $7, probably 1 cup of vegetables. No rice. Tasted like Rumbi teriyaki but with garbanzo beans in it. We kept looking for something to dip in the sauce. DEFINITELY not the best I’d had. In fact it wasn’t as good as the mountain of stir-fry I’d made the night before for the ruffians with the stuff in my fridge.

mygoodcleanfood.comStuffed Mushrooms. $8. Quantity 5. Seriously – five is the worst number for almost any table except one of, well, five. Said served warm, more tepid, and the flavor was uninspiring. And maybe it’s because I make cashew cheeze that I wasn’t blown away by the vegan-ness.

Salad. $7? It was small. The tomato vinaigrette was good. But it was half red onions and to say they were thinly sliced is like that guy at the gym telling you it’s all muscle. Big bites of spicy onion, standard mesclun mix, and three slices of a baby cucumber … three? Really?

mygoodcleanfood.commygoodcleanfood.com

And then, my favorite, the stuffed avocado. $13 Admire the above pictures. There may have been the equivalent of a whole small avocado on the plate. A large tablespoon of walnut stuffing with flavor that didn’t seem to land anywhere. Now, look closely at that awesome avocado. The bottom was cut off and still the big, fat bruise on it was visible. It was cold, always weird for avocado.

And still, after all four dishes, I was starving but unwilling to wait another hour or pay more money for mediocre food. We came home and had dinner.

There is a positive spin … it’s a gluten-free restaurant with raw dishes, and that’s cool, right?

Can I tell you the last part which is actually pretty funny? During the time our waiter took a year an a half drop-off, take and return our check and then return my phone which he’d left by the bar (I still feel uncomfortable with that), the slightly tipsy couple on the blind date  was ALSO waiting for Hipster Waiter guy, so they joined us. Literally, they pulled their chairs up to our table and divided my husband and I – just what I need on my once-every-few-months-date. The lovely woman thought the giant photograph of a cippolini onion looked like, well, it made me uncomfortable. I won’t even hint at her thoughts on the bell pepper.

 

Raw Vegan Sour Cream

cute nephew, right?

My nephew is almost 12 now, (5 in the picture above), but when he was 2 and more than a handful (no, seriously, he was tough), we lived in his basement. Sometimes, to give his parents a break, we’d have him down to visit and he’d help us make dinner. One of our common meals was guacamole and chips – super healthy, I know, in which we used just a “dollop” of sour cream.  My husband had a bit of a love affair with sour cream, so he’d always lick the spoon afterward. One time my cute nephew said, “I wike it, Nutsy!” anticipating a taste too, and so we gave him a little spoonful to try. Cute nephew gleefully took said spoonful into his mouth and immediately thereafter did that kid thing of just letting the food fall out of his mouth and said, “I don’t wike it, Nutsy!”

raw sour cream mimi kirk

We all miss sour cream just a little. I am not saying we’d take a spoonful like we used to, but it’s such a useful and versatile ingredient in baking, cooking, and adding just that little bit of tang to things like baked potatoes and burritos. I haven’t been happy with any of the store-bought ones, nor any of the recipes for tofu ones. So, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up Mimi Kirk’s “Live Raw” at the library (and one day I’ll own it) and flipping through found a recipe for sour cream.

mushroom stroganoff strawberry broken heart cake

So, I made it. And I didn’t soak my cashews because I have a Vita-Mix and that’s its job. And the second batch was better than the first for reasons I couldn’t tell you. And I used it a week and a half later and it was still fantastic – I think the probiotics actually make a big difference in curing it. And I only took a few pictures because I’m lame like that. But I have since used it in mushroom stroganoff (angels singing above), a strawberry coffee cake (I made two in three days and ate both of them), and topped potatoes (so good with chives!), burritos, and tacos happily with it. And Mimi said I could share it – thanks Mimi, you’re beautiful!

Raw Vegan Sour Cream

Ingredients:

1 c. cashews, soaked for 4 hours (optional if you have a power blender)
½ t. probiotics, for curing – I emptied two New Chapter probiotic capsules
1 t. light miso paste
¼ t. salt
3 T. lemon Juice
¾ – 1 c. water

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding more water if necessary. Place in a covered container and store in the refrigerator. Mixture thickens as it chills. To thin, add more water. To thicken add 2 T. Irish moss paste. Use anywhere you would sour cream.

 

Super Juice – this winter’s cure for everything.

Remember a few months ago when I posted that video (yes, it was long, but very good) where he asked if there was anything Kale couldn’t do? I still love kale. I love anything green and raw that helps me beat being sick and feeds my body goodness!

Over the harvest season, I juiced and froze a bunch of kale juice, but not before slugging down 4 oz of the stuff. It’s nasty straight – NASTY! But it’s amazing at healing and strengthening the body! And we almost ALWAYS have one of those Costco boxes of spinach in the fridge or something green from our Co-op, should I be unable to find my kale cubes in my need.

1203121555a We don’t often get sick in our house, thanks to a relatively healthy lifestyle, but December is my hardest month – the most stress, the most events (and subsequent germ-sharing), the most unmet expectations, the most busyness, and the least amount of sleep. Right now, I’m fighting Mastitis. It’s. The. Worst. And I don’t use that term loosely.

1203121553So yesterday, I pulled out the big guns. My first line of defense (when I can’t ignore my children lie down and rest with a heating pad), are my essential oils. A bit of doTERRA’s On Guard and Frankincense right on the area of infection (not over an open wound, just where it’s red), and a few drops of On Guard by mouth every few hours. But oils alone can’t beat this.

And so, I turn to my trusty juicer and make this concoction full of health promoting and restoring happiness. I call it my Super Juice – (It’s corny, I know, but I have a five year old and to him, I’m still cool). I use it for every sickness (that allows me to drink a somewhat potent elixir – so, probably not for bellyaches). And while I like the way it tastes, I’m not going to guarantee you’ll come back daily for more. But you might.

1203121555

Super Juice

3 carrots, scrubbed or peeled

3 stalks celery

3 apples, cored

½ – 1 lemon

1 – 2” piece of ginger

2 – 3 cloves garlic

A few handfuls of green stuff – kale or spinach

Prep your produce for the juicer – slicing and dicing as needed. Then, run it all through your juicer, making sure to use a carrot at the end to push the little stuff through, like the ginger and garlic.

VVP: Cranberry Maple Compote

It’s that time again, bring on the VVP!
Who’s coming to the table:  The bright and beautiful cranberry.

Through the years, cranberry sauce has gotten a pretty bad wrap.  Give thanks to the trusty can o’ cran that plops out a gelatinous cylinder of cranberry goo with a nice, big “schluup.”  Great entertainment, but just not appetizing.

A couple years ago I discovered this little recipe.  No, big recipe.  It is chock full of goodness!  Made with fresh cranberries, pecans, fresh and dried fruit and the fabulous fall flavors cinnamon and nutmeg.  One taste and I was in love.

The only problem with the recipe is the large amount of sugar, especially being on an alkaline vegan diet.  So this year the cranberry compote recipe has gotten a facelift.  Welcome maple.

Cranberry Maple Compote

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled and pureed in the blender
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 c water
1 c chopped dried fruit (mix it up and have fun!  we love dried pineapple, cherry, cranberry if you’re sticking with the theme, I think a little crystallized ginger could be good for an added kick)
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
maple syrup, to taste (I used 1/4 cup but my sweetness sensor is pretty low these days.  You could add anywhere from 1/4-3/4 c maple)

Bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and add all other ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the cranberries burst.  Remove from heat and let cool.

I made a double batch this time around, measured it into 1 1/2 c portions, and stored it in the freezer.  Great to pull out for the holidays.

Some other ways to use your super delish cranberry sauce:

Eat it with a spoon!
Make a parfait with your favorite plain yogurt and granola
Layer on top of crackers and vegan cream cheese for finger foods
PB+Cranberry Sandwich?  Potential…
I’m thinking a ginger graham cracker crust with vanilla bean vegan ice cream topped with cranberry sauce.  Mmmmmm.
Mix in your morning oatmeal
Use as a topping for pancakes or filling for crepes
A tart spread for a savory sandwich

So there you have it.  Cranberry Maple Compote.  Love it.

Go Back

The previous VVP dish is found in Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen here:
http://kellisvegankitchen.com/

Go Forward
Cook to Love is the blog next in the potluck.  Visit it here:
http://cooktolove.com/

A Happy Happenstance and a Little Experimentation (Raw Cookie Dough Bites)

I am not the worlds most gifted cook.  That gene passed from my Grandmother to my sister- the gift of just throwing things together, whipping something up on the fly and having it taste amazing every time.  I have envied the gift time and time again, trying repeatedly to learn the science of culinary arts.  Sure, I can follow a recipe (most of the time, except when I am tired… or distracted… or not paying attention) but rarely do I successfully discover something on my own.

Which leads to the happy happenstance.  The other day Somer put together a crust for mini fruit tarts using dates, almonds, almond butter, vanilla and salt.  It was crumbly like a graham cracker crust and super delicious.

I went home and gave it a whirl, not knowing exact proportions (never a good idea in my kitchen.)  Into the food precessor went the almonds.  Everything looked lovely.  Then I processed the dates which turned in to a big sticky ball of sweetness.  I can work with big sticky balls of sweetness.  I combined the two and the result was much more ‘fruit & nut bar’ than ‘graham cracker crust’ and I didn’t even add the nut butter yet.  I could have added more nuts, no big deal, but I was famished and not patient enough for another go.

That said, I was still craving the salty vanilla flavor, so I added a couple splashes of vanilla and a sprinkling of sea salt.  One taste and I, the carb-starved-haven’t-eaten-a-baked-good-in-three-weeks gal, was in heaven.  We had happened upon raw cookie dough.  I tested it on my kids, calling it cookie dough and waiting for their reaction.  They jumped for joy, shouting that mommy makes the best cookie dough ever.  Yeah, I know they were just trying to butter me up, but these little babies are officially kid-tested and mother-approved.

Raw Cookie Dough Bites

Combine almonds and dates in a food processor to desired consistency.  Add vanilla and sea salt to taste.  Roll into balls.  Taste and smile.

Experimentation

#1 The Avocado:  I always wanted to try to grow an avocado plant.  I don’t know why I haven’t before, most likely due to a fear of failure.  But it worked, it really worked!  We took an avocado pit, skewered it on 3 sides and suspended it in a jar of water.  2 weeks passed.  No sign of change.  3 weeks, it cracked open a bit.  Could it possibly work?  4 weeks, is that a sprout in the middle of the pit?  5 weeks: a root!  And here we are, about 7 weeks in with a mini-avocado plant.  Success.

#2 Stevia:  Can I really grow it and what does it look like?  I put in seeds for 3 starter plants and only one grew.  Noted.  But this one is quite lovely.  It is potted (next time we’ll try direct planting) and very happy.  I ate a leaf.  It tastes like……  drumroll please….. a sugar coated leaf.  Shocking.

#3 Sauerkraut: From scratch?  I’m thinking Bubbies, natural fermentation, only cabbage, water and sea salt required.  Simple, delicious, tangy.  Bonzai Aphrodite said it was easy and gave me the step by step.  Why not?  Recipe says to let it sit 5 days to 5 weeks.  We are 10 days in and it’s not quite to my taste yet but it’s getting close and I can be patient.  Sometimes.

A Week in the Raw – Raw Overnight Neopolitan Oats, Chia Pudding,

It’s Tasty Wednesday Tuesday and many of you all ready know that I live in Utah, what you may not know is that my particular city should be named “Kidville”. There are literally over a thousand children in my subdivision. It’s fabulous and all the kids are always out and about riding bikes, playing at the parks and sharing lots and lots of germsWe get sick more often since moving into this neighborhood than we ever have before. Vomiting, colds, flus, pink eye, rsv, Montezuma’s revenge, you name it, we get it. There are a few nasty bugs going around at the moment and we caught them too :/ so in an attempt to strengthen my immune system and help me heal faster, I have been eating entirely raw for the last few days. I’m planning on eating raw for the rest of the week. I have to say that I don’t think I would be surviving otherwise. Raw foods provide far more nutrients than cooked and give the body more energy. I wish I was cool enough to eat raw all the time, but I’m not, and frankly, I like cooked food, a lot. However, I think eating “high-raw” is sustainable and really good for our bodies.

It’s not really that hard and you don’t need a half-naked Juliano cookbook to do it either (I used to own that book, some of the photos are….well, Juliano nearly in the buff, shopping, playing in the ocean, but not cooking, because that would just be gross).

I’m juicing, eating lots of fruits on their own, making big ol’ salads with raw dressings I whiz up in my blendtec. I’m more than a little obsessed with chia seeds too at the moment, maybe it’s because I recommended Born to Run to a friend, then  I had to start re-reading it again myself because it’s awesome.

Here are a couple of raw chia recipes I’m LOVING right now:

Raw Overnight Neopolitan Oats

Holy Crap, it’s like the best dessert ever for breakfast, this is adapted from this much cuter than mine recipe here, but my adaptation is fully raw.

1 C. oat groats (use certified gluten free for gluten free option)

4 T. chia seeds

2 1/2 C. raw almond or raw cashew milk (I used cashew milk, drool)

2 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave (or to taste)

1 t. vanilla extract (oops, not raw)

2 sliced frozen bananas

4 sliced frozen strawberries

Method: BEFORE YOU GO TO BED: Blend oat groats in blender or grind in coffee grinder until fine. Get out two pint-sized mason jars. Put half  of the ground oat groats in each jar. Add 2 T. chia seeds to each jar, 1 1/4 C. nut milk to each jar and 1 t. raw agave to each jar. Add the raw cacao powder to one of the jars and the vanilla extract to the other. Now you have chocolate and vanilla. Put lids on and shake until well combined. Put in fridge. IN THE MORNING: get out your food processor and put your frozen bananas in it with a splash of nut milk. Process until creamy. Mmms. Remove half of the mixture and set aside. Add frozen strawberries to the food processor and process the same way. Now you have raw strawberry and banana ice creams FOR BREAKFAST. Layer and alternate ice creams, and chocolate and vanilla overnight oats in mason jars or fancy cups. Serve with fresh fruit. I didn’t because I hadn’t been to the store because we were sick and I only had frozen fruit. This should serve 2, but I stretched it to serve 3. I was sorry I didn’t have any leftovers at lunch time.

Raw Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 C. raw cashew milk (you could also use raw almond milk)

3 T. chia seeds

1 T. raw cacao powder

2 t. raw agave

Method: Combine all ingredients with a wire whisk until cacao is fully incorporated. Let sit on the counter top for an hour or so. I thought this would serve two, I also thought I would take a photo before eating it all. Wrong on both accounts.

I have also been growing my own wheat kamut grass, it’s not all that difficult, but since I’m a total novice and nearly killed it because I hadn’t watered it enough, I shall refer you to this post if you so desire to grow your own.  I’m  absolutely in love with it! The juice of the grass gives me instant energy and clarity and I even like it’s grassy taste. You can almost feel the cells inside your body healing when you drink it. Try it, you might like it.