I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Monday, January 29, 2007

In Sandy's Sunny Kitchen - Part 2

I Wanna Rawck!
You know how when you first wake up, your consciousness sort of lingers in Dreamland...Then it hits you all at once! You remember where you are, and your brain picks up the pieces from where you left off. Well, I gotta say that when I snapped back to reality on that morning, I WAS A HAPPY CAMPER! It dawned on me how thrilling and intense my life has been in the last little while. Not that it isn't always, just that the focus has become more external with this new dehydration phase of our raw journey.

But to get back to Sandy's, I was so looking forward to this new raw food prep day, I could hardly stay in bed. So I just HAD TO get up and go down to the kitchen to take a peek at the onion bread. The whole place was bathed in the aroma! Mmmmmmmmmm... Sandy said to me:"Too bad it isn't cinnamon rolls in there!" Sorry Sandy! That will have to wait until our next Rawkin' Revel! LOL

Onion Bread freshly out of the 'oven'...

... then stored into a glass jar.

Meet Sandy and her Family

Since I've been talking to you about Sandy a lot, (and I mean, you're already intimate since you've been in her kitchen, LOL), I thought it's perhaps time for me to more formally introduce you to her and some members of her awesome family (the lucky ones that were around!)

As I was saying in my previous post, her husband Bruce still feels he's 'gotta' have his meat every day. He was born on an Alberta farm, and as we all know, old habits die hard. However, he's always enjoyed salads and fruits, which is a definite plus. Even though he wasn't overly enthusiastic about the whole raw thing, he nevertheless showed an open mind and tried pretty much everything (except for the burgers which we were hoping would be a hit! Oh well... Can't win them all!)

Sandy has been interested in health foods for quite some time. In fact, Don told me how she got into vitamins and making her own yogurt way back when they were teenagers. Her path has naturally and gradually led her to feel like including more raw foods in her diet. She's been attending raw food classes and potlucks organized by Calgary's Raw Chef, Diana Stoevelaar. Sandy dreams of escaping the Canadian winter to spend part of the year 'Down South,' where she could pick her breakfast right off the trees. Ahhhhhhhh! Bliss! She'll be off to Australia in March to visit her older daughter, Julie, for a few months.

With Bruce and Sandy

Jaime is their youngest daughter. At 21, she's artistic, adventurous and full of projects. Like Sandy, she just loooooooves travelling! Last year, Jaime spent 3 months exploring Indonesia and is now in the process of applying to attend art school in New Zealand. Being an athlete, she was particularly interested in how a raw diet would affect her performances. I couldn't be of much help there, but Diana told her about Dr. Douglas Graham's new book "80-10-10". Dr. Graham is "a lifetime athlete and twenty-seven year raw fooder," who has advised world-class athletes and trainers from around the globe, including tennis legend Martina Navratilova.

Jaime and me

The Raw Blitz Begins

OK, now that you know who's who, let's get going! Day 2 is when our Raw blitz began in earnest. We started off our day with some energy fuel: a carrot, apple, beet, celery, ginger and lemon juice. Mmmmmmmmm... Liquid Ambrosia!

Next on our 'to make' list was Almond Milk. We blended almonds, (soaked overnight), with water, at a ratio of roughly 1 cup almonds to 3 cups water. We squeezed the pulp in a mesh bag (a lot of people use the Nut Milk Bag, but a simple cheesecloth or paint strainer will do as good a job for a fraction of the price!) You can then save the precious pulp to make all sorts of yummy recipes. You can use it in pretty much any recipe that calls for almonds, such as cookies or even almonnaise. Some recipes even call specifically for almond pulp, like Rawkinloc's Cinnamon Rolls and Almond Bread.

'The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread'
Russell James' Mediterranean Almond Bread was another obvious choice when it comes to 'winner' recipes. It's light and tasty and makes fantastic sandwiches. Russell, nicknamed 'The Bread Man', told me he has just perfected a new, simpler nut-free bread which he'll be posting as soon as he gets the time. BTW, if you haven't visited Russell's blog yet, I wouldn't walk, I'd run there if I were you, as it has many of his fantastic, mouth-watering creations.

Mediterranean Almond Bread
Makes 18 'slices'

1/2 c olive oil
1 c sun dried tomatoes, loosely packed
3 c almond flour*
1 c flax meal
3 medium courgettes (zucchinis), peeled & roughly chopped
2 apples, cored and roughly chopped
3 T lemon juice
1 t salt
3 T Herbs De Provence or herbs of your choice
2 T marjoram or herbs of your choice

*You can make almond flour a number of ways. My favorite is to save the pulp from any almond milk I make and dehydrate it so I can keep it in a glass jar until needed. You could also use the almond pulp wet. Another way would be just to grind some almonds into flour in a high powered blender or coffee mill.

- Process the olive oil, sun dried toms, courgettes, apples, lemon juice, salt and dried herbs until thoroughly mixed.

- Add the almond flour and process again until a batter is formed.

- In a bowl mix the batter with the flax meal by hand. The reason you do this separately (not in the processor) is that you are likely to have too much mixture for the size if the processor at this point, and when you add the flax meal it will become quite heavy and sticky and overwork your machine.

- When mixed, process the whole batter in the machine again in small batches to achieve a light fluffy texture.

- Divide the mixture in 2 and place on Paraflexx sheets, on dehydrator trays.

- Use an offset spatula (aka offset palette knife or cranked palette knife) to spread the mixture evenly to all 4 sides and corners of the Paraflexx sheet. If mixture is too sticky you can wet the spatula to make things easier. With a knife score the whole thing into 9 squares.

- Dehydrate for 2 hours and then remove the Paraflexx sheets by placing another dehydrator tray and mesh on top and invert so that your original sheet of bread is upside down. That will allow you to peel the Paraflexx sheet off and continue to dehydrate the underside of the bread.

- Dehydrate for approx 8 hours more (do this overnight so you're not tempted to eat it before it's ready) or until bread feels light in your hand. If the pieces don't fully come apart where you scored, use a knife to cut them.

As Russell James suggests on his blog, try the Almond Bread with some avocado, lettuce, tomato, cashew mayonnaise and a few slices of marinated Portobello mushrooms. Yummo! As the bread has a strong flavor though, we cut down a little on the herbs. We also made a plain version, without any herbs at all, just to give us the option.

Almond Bread about to go in the Excalibur:

Almond Bread ready to be enjoyed:

We then made Alissa Cohen's Calzone dough into pizza crust. Such a delicious and versatile recipe!

Alissa’s Calzone Dough
From "Living on Live Food"

4 Cups Sprouted Buckwheat
1 1/2 Cups Soaked Flax Seeds
3/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Carrots
2 Cloves Garlic
1 teaspoons Curry
1 teaspoons Rosemary
1 teaspoons Thyme
2 teaspoons Sea Salt

Form into thin pizza crusts and dehydrate for a couple of hours on teflex sheets. Flip onto mesh and dehydrate for another hour or two. You don't need for the crust to be completely dry since you will be popping it back in the dehydrator once it is dressed with your favorite toppings.

Next was RawGuru’s Veggie Burgers. These are awesome! I'd never had burdock root before and, quite frankly, was a little skeptical about his contention that it gives the burgers a 'meaty' flavor, but you know what? He was right! I wouldn't call it exactly 'meaty', but earthy for sure. We just love them anyhow!

Burgers on the way to the D:

RawGuru’s Veggie Burgers
Posted by RawGuru Alex on Sunfood Nutrition Raw Food Lifestyle Forum

3/4 cup burdock (puree, you can grate it on a very fine grater, or blend it with the water)*
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (soaked)
1/2 cup cashews or pine nuts
1 cup almonds (soaked)
1 cup walnuts (soaked)
3 tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup celery juice or water
1/2 carrot (finely minced)
1 celery stick (minced)
2 tbs. dried basil
1 tbs. dried sage
1 tsp. fresh ginger (minced)
2 tbs. fresh cilantro
pinch of turmeric (keeps the mixture from spoiling)
1 tsp. cayenne or 1 tsp. of fresh diced ripe jalapeno
pinch of freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1 tsp. sea salt

Blend the nuts with the oil and celery juice or water. Mix in everything else. Put this is the fridge to marinate for 1 hour. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the table, put your burger mixture on top, get another piece of parchment and put it on top of the mixture, using a rolling pin or the palms of your hand, roll the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Then using a cookie cutter or a cup cut out patty shapes, and place the patties on teflex sheets, dehydrate for 2 hours at 145 degrees (only in the Excalibur at this temperature). Then bring the temp. down to 115 degrees and continue to dehydrate until desired consistency. You can make these into little meat balls and serve them with pasta, or make them even smaller and top your pizza. Yummy!

*The burdock root CAN NOT be substituted, this is what gives the burger its special flavor

Carmella's note: I usually just form the batter into patties... I like simple! Plus, it works just as great...

Our last task for the morning's uncooking was to make Alissa Cohen's Bean-less Falafels. Now, these are DEEEEEEElish! I was never a huge fan of SAD falafels, as they are made with chickpea powder and deep-fried (yuck!), but these.....Oh my! They are light and fluffy, and taste a thousand times better. Plus, they smell so good while in the dehydrator! An absolute 'must try'!

Bean-less Falafel
From Alissa Cohen's "Living on Live Food"

I’m not all that crazy about eating a lot of beans, they just don’t digest well for me. But, I love falafel, which is usually made with chickpeas. The solution: almonds! These are out of this world! Dehydrate them for only a few hours and they come out fluffy and soft.

2 cups almonds
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup water

In a food processor, blend the almonds until fine.

Add the remaining ingredients, and blend well.

Roll mixture into small balls and place on a mesh dehydrator screen.

Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 4-5 hours, longer if you desire a crispy falafel.

Serve with Cucumber Sauce.

Here they are before dehydration:

Your Raw Recipe Collection Just a Few Clicks Away...
We then took a break from the kitchen to work on their iMac computer. I showed Sandy about MacGourmet, an awesome program from Advenio. It's the most feature-full and intuitive recipe program that we've found. In fact, the newest version of MacGourmet just came out in December, so it's brand sparkling new with LOTS of great features, including a variety of display and printing templates. It makes importing recipes and photos sooooooo easy (all you have to do is drag and drop!) and you can find your recipes in a snap. With its blown up 'Chef View' feature, you can follow a recipe without leaving your counter. Best of all, it's not expensive, and Michael, the guy who created it, is just super! From within MacGourmet itself, you can send feedbacks directly to him and he's right on top of it, always ready to make improvements and help you out. MacGourmet is available for a free trial period so you can get a feel for it first. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I don't work for the guy, I just LOVE his program, which has made my exploration of raw foods soooooooo much easier!

Here's what the screen looks like:

Off to China...and Back!

We then went to Calgary's Chinatown to look for a Benriner Cook Help spiral slicer, as Sandy has the saladacco and, like many others, find the thing difficult to use. I had forgotten how walking into a Chinese grocery store can be a cultural shocker. Next to the dried octopus and countless dried mushrooms, I found some Nori sheets and other types of seaweed for at least half the price of what I pay back in Nelson.

Again, time just flewwwwww! So we got home and started working on tonite's feast.

The Art of Feasting in The Raw - Day 2
Soup is a staple in our diet, and so I couldn't help but show Sandy and Jaime my favorite recipes. We started our meal with Maraw's Spinach & Herb Soup. It's sublime! Back home, we have it about twice a week!

Maraw’s Spinach & Herb Soup

I make this almost daily. Yes, it's that good - and filling too!

3 C of fresh raw spinach
1 C frozen sweet peas
2 1/2-3 C almond milk
1 kiwi, peeled
2 celery stalks
1/2 C cilantro
4 basil leaves
2 green onions
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)

Place all ingredients in a Vitamix or high-powered blender and process until smooth. Serves 4-6

Here's our Full Dinner Menu:

RawGuru's Burgers and Alissa's Falafels

Oh yeah, we served the burgers with onion bread and whole Portobello mushroom caps that we brushed with a little olive oil and Braggs, and left to dehydrate for a couple of hours. You'll be amazed at how much they look like real buns!

Sandy's Charmoula
1 cup almonnaise (see recipe below)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro

Blend together in food processor until smooth.

Adapted from the recipe in Marilyn Diamond's book "Fit For Life"

½ cup raw almonds
½ to ¾ cup water
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp herbal seasoning
1 to 1 ¼ cup oil (I like to use 1/2 an avocado instead)
3 tbs lemon juice
½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Grind almonds in coffee grinder to a fine powder. Transfer almonds to blender and add half the water along with yeast, garlic, salt and seasoning. Blend well, then add remaining water to form smooth cream.

With blender on low, remove insert in top and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream until mixture is thick.

Keep blender running and add lemon juice and vinegar. Blend on low for one more minute, to allow mixture to thicken.

Refrigerate tightly sealed.

Herbed variation:
At the end of blending the almonnaise, add: 2 tsp minced chive or green onion, 2 tsp dried basil, some tarragon and dill and a handful of fresh parsley and cilantro. Yum!

Zucchini Hummus
Ooops! I forget who's recipe this is...

Another recipe where the raw version tastes so much better than the cooked, at least, to my taste buds!

2 cups peeled zucchini, chopped
4 Tbs. olive oil
1 and 1/2 lemon, juice of
3/4 cup ground sesame seeds
3/4 tsp. sea salt
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. paprika
1 t ground cumin
Cayenne to taste

Blend all of the ingredients in food processor.

Alissa's Cucumber Sauce:

Alissa Cohen's Cucumber Sauce
Posted by Alissa on VeggieBoards Forum
Light, refreshing, and delicious. Serve with the falafels.

1/2 large cucumber (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup raw tahini
1/4 cup fresh dill weed
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Blend all ingredients thoroughly in a food processor or blender.

OK, I know the following doesn't fit too well with the Middle-Eastern theme, but I just HAD to include it since Jaime wouldn't be able to join us for the next day's dinner party (when I had originally planned to make it.) It's really simple but fantastic! In fact, I'm glad I did 'cause Jaime just couldn't have enough of it... LOL

Baby Spinach Salad with Bosc Pear and Pecans by Renee Loux

And, finally, Tabouli from the Raw Pleasure Australia ebook

Mmmmmmmmmm! What a feast! We were pretty stuffed (and a little wiped) so we only had a few cookies for dessert (that I'd brought from home for them to taste.)

Did you say 'Cheesecake'?
We finished the day by making cheesecake for tomorrow's dinner party, as it needs to set in the freezer. Since Sandy didn't have a spring form pan, we lined a regular pie pan with saran wrap. We then simply pressed the pecan crust with our fingers and put the 'cheese' filling on top.

Enough for the day! I bet I'll be dreaming about raw foods...

Stay tuned for Day 3 and 4!

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Photo credits:
Almond Bread by Russell James


  1. what a beautiful feast. i want to eat all of it. yum.

  2. I tried that almonaisse recipe and WOO HOO! Tastes Exactly like Helman's, I couldn't believe it. I made the eggless egg salad I've always wanted to try and we all had it for dinner. It was great, even *sad* dad liked it. Here's a link to the recipe and some pictures if you want to check it out.

  3. Your recipes are great. One thing that makes them very doable is that you can get your raw food fast with the simpler recipes, so there is no excuse not to eat healthy!