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!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Enter Fairygirl's World

Do you still believe in magic?

As Spring is just around the corner (Yippee!), and Nature is slowly waking up from its long sleep, I am, once again, reminded of how the world is a truly magical and mysterious place and how little I really do know about Life.

Once in a while, the magic manifests itself through someone put on our path. Everyone we meet is unique and has his/her own gifts to share (that alone is amazing!) There are times, though, when you meet someone who's talent has a special impact on you. The fact that she sometimes calls herself 'Fairygirl' is just icing on the cake...

From Fairygirl to Raw Goddess!
Fairygirl, Heather, Gymgal, Heathy... You may know her under different names, but don't be fooled - she is one and the same: a dazzling and promising young raw chef who has been working her magic on the Raw Food Talk Forums.

Getting a little confused as to which name to use? I was too! So I simply asked her. "I like Raw Goddess Heathy." she replied. "It's fun!"

And a Raw Goddess she is! Beauty, health and aliveness just radiate out of her, while her raw creations are absolutely divine!

Playing With Food
At 23, Raw Goddess Heathy is a personal chef and yoga instructor, but most importantly, she's doing what she loves to do. "Creating food is more than a job for me," she says. "It's one of my main passions in life. I especially love preparing raw food for people!"

"I've always believed that a person should do as their work what they are passionate about," she continues, "because then, it's really never like work." She has found a way to do just that and she's "a happy person!"

In fact, her passion and enthusiasm are contagious! With her light and generous spirit (not to mention her scrumptious and mouth-watering creations!), Raw Goddess Heathy has charmed the Raw Food Talk community. (Believe it or not, there's even a 'Fairygirl Fanclub'! LOL)

Like many members, I instantly fell under her spell. I couldn't resist taking a closer peek at her world, well, you know, just to see how deep the rabbit-hole goes...

The Rawdventure Begins...
Heathy briefly heard about the Raw Food Diet after starting a vegan lifestyle, but "didn't take too much note of it at the time." Then one day, when she was 16, she stopped at a juice bar and cafe in Winnipeg which "turned out to be a Raw Food cafe."

"I was intrigued immediately," she remembers, "and asked a ton of questions. I then tried raw pizza, an amazing salad, and carob truffles." She was hooked. It prompted her to find out more about the raw lifestyle and "to start getting into it, playing around with recipes."

At 18, Heathy went on a 1 month raw retreat in California, where she got to brush shoulders with well-known Raw Food Chefs such as Victoria Boutenko, David Wolfe, Paul Nison, Elaina Love, Fred Bisci and Dr. Doug Graham. "I had such a great time and felt so good on the diet!" she says. Once back home in northern Canada, she tried to maintain the raw diet but found it challenged, due to social pressures and low availability of fresh produce in the winter.

"These days I'm 100% raw and have been for 2 months," she says. "I'm hoping to keep it up, although I don't believe in being overly obsessive. If in the future I happen to eat a piece of cooked food, I will do it and then carry on."

Carmella: You being a SAD chef, it looks like food preparation has been a serious interest of yours for some time. Can you tell me a little about how this talent burgeoned in you?

Raw Goddess Heathy: My passion for food prep began when I was 14. After reading "Fit for Life," I adopted a mostly vegan diet and started cooking for myself. I loved to experiment and was always coming up with new things. While friends at high school were eating chips and burgers for lunch, I was the one bringing my homemade vegetable soup and grain bread. lol

I knew that after high school I wanted to attend holistic nutrition and cooking school, but ended up going to a regular culinary program instead. It was challenging cooking meat and unhealthy French dishes, yet I still loved preparing food for other people. I worked in a bakery during high school, and once I finished college, quickly got different cooking jobs.
I find that my passion for creating food keeps growing as I move forward.

C: What's your creative process like? Do you just improvise, "a little of this, a little of that," or do your recipes evolve from someone else's creations?

RGH: I find that my inspiration to create comes in all different ways, and at all different times. For example, I will get an idea in the shower, while doing yoga, while going for a walk, watching TV, or even in my dreams. I may also see a specific piece of fruit or a different ingredient and an idea will flash through my mind based on that.

Once an idea fills my head, it's as if I need to put it into action or it doesn't go away.
I write it down, tweak it a bit, and then create it when I have the chance. The funny thing is, it usually ends up a bit differently than I originally planned - but that's what I love about the process. I try not to become too attached to the outcome, as I know that what is meant to be will be. My style is definitely "a little of this, a little of that." I never used to measure anything, but I am making a point of it lately, because I realize that not everyone operates this way and, when I get asked for a recipe, it's hard to share when I can only give an ingredient list.

C: What raw dishes do you most enjoy preparing and which of your creations is your absolute favorite?

RGH: Hmm...that's a tough one. I guess I'd have to say that desserts are my favorite thing to make, probably because I love to eat them! (he he)
I always find that I'm able to be so creative with desserts, using beautiful fruits and other interesting ingredients.

My personal favorite is my Double Chocolate Cheesecake... It's a chocolate lover's dream! Although ask me again in a few weeks and it might be different!

When I asked her how she feels about the Raw Food Diet in general, she replied with a candor and maturity that astounded me. Such a refreshing perspective in these days where one gets trapped so easily in ideals and "isms" of all kinds, especially when it comes to diet!

RGH: I always feel fabulous while eating raw foods and I'm happy to see that it is becoming more mainstream. I feel that the more education we in the raw food community can deliver, the better. People are ready for it. I never push "raw" on anyone... I usually wait for someone to ask me about it and I'm finding that, these days, many people want me to teach them how to prepare living foods.

I also feel that everyone is different, and a diet that works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. Maybe some people DO need some cooked foods (healthy ones) in their lives. It's important not to be obsessive.

I think if a person is craving cooked food, they would be better off eating a piece than to stuff raw foods down their throat in a negative frame of mind. Take care of the root of the problem: where is the craving for the cooked food coming from?

Oh... Sweet Thing
Although everything Raw Goddess Heathy makes looks delectable, desserts are her specialty. Apricot Ginger Cookies, Chocolate Tarte, Apricot Almond Crepes, Mango Cream Pie Stack, Raw Nanaimo Bars... Each one more luscious looking than the next. Oh, and did I mention her cheesecakes? See what I mean about falling under her spell?

To give us a glimpse of the raw delights she'll be including in her upcoming ebook, Heathy has agreed to share with us two of her delicious dessert recipes...

Chocolate Cream Stack
A scrumptious cheesecake with a thick carob-banana layer. Divine! The measurements are mine, as Raw Goddess Heathy hasn't yet put hers down on paper. So if something doesn't seem to quite work out, please blame me! LOL They are designed for a 6" diameter margarine tub, if you're planning on using a 9" spring form pan, you may wish to double the recipe.

1 cup of pecans, soaked and dried (or dehydrated)
5 or 6 soft dates
a dash of salt

Process the ingredients in a food processor until they are crumbly and will hold together. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a spring form pan* and set aside.

* If you don't have a spring form pan, you can use one of those margarine tubs and line it with saran wrap.

1 1/2 cups cashews soaked for a few hours
1/4 cup honey or agave (less if you don't like it too sweet. Remember that you'll have the sweetness from the crust and chocolate layer as well!)
4 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 " piece of vanilla bean (or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla)
1/3 cup of water

Blend everything in a high power blender or food processor until smooth. If using a FP, stop to let it rest a few minutes so as not to stress the motor.

Chocolate layer:
2 bananas
½ cup of soaked raisins
2 soft dates
¼ cup carob
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1 or 2 tbs of soak water

Blend everything until smooth. Make sure not to use too much water as you don't want it to be too runny.

Pour the filling on top of the crust, followed by half of the chocolate mixture. Then sprinkle a few pecans pieces, and finally the rest of the chocolate layer.

Put the whole thing in the freezer for several hours to set. Then gently transfer the cake onto a serving platter and let it thaw in the fridge.

Serve topped with fresh fruits. Heavenly!

Chocolate Kiwi Crepes


3 medium bananas
1 tbs raw honey
2 tbs carob
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Spread on entire teflex sheet and dehydrate at 105F until it can be peeled off in one piece. Flip over onto the mesh sheet to continue drying on the other side.

Note: only dehydrate a short time after flipping. It should still be pliable.

3 kiwis, peeled, and chopped or sliced
Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream:
2 cups soaked almonds
1/2 cup raw honey
juice of 2 oranges
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend in a food processor or blender until fluffy and smooth.

Cut the sheet of chocolate crepes into 6 rectangular pieces.

Spread some nut whipped cream on the crepe (leave a few inches furthest away from you bare).

Next place a few kiwi pieces along the top edge (closest to you), and roll up like sushi.

Continue with the rest of the crepes.

Refrigerate 8-12 hours (or overnight), until the crepes have softened.

Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top, along with some more kiwi slices.

And most of all, enjoy!!!!!!!

Ready to Rawk the World
Heathy would like to eventually focus all of her energy and time on exploring her passion for Raw Foods. When she returns from her trip 'Down Under' next summer, she will be teaching a series of raw food prep classes. She also intends to publish a raw recipe e-book which she is really excited about. (And she's not the only one!) "Friends and various people have been asking me for ages when I'm going to bring out a book," she says, "and I always answer 'when the time is right!'"

In the fall, she's hoping to attend the Living Light Culinary Institute in California where she has "wanted to go for years!"

Any other future projects in mind? "I have always, always wanted to open a raw food cafe/juice bar and yoga studio," she explains, "so that too is on my list! I also would like to develop a number of uncookbooks."

Well, she's got the creative fire going and she certainly has the talent, so we better keep a close eye on Raw Goddess Heathy, for she's surely gonna Rawk the World!

All photos by Raw Goddess Heathy

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ready For Some Pizzazz?

I know, I know! I said that my next post was gonna be about Fairygirl-Raw Goddess Heathy, but that was BEFORE I decided to make some new pizza crusts. I was so stoked with my latest uncooking spree I thought surely it was worth a slight delay in order for me to share the outcomes with you (before they cool off and all!)

Pizza Rap
SAD pizza... What can I say? I pretty much lived on the stuff when I was a student. What with the '99 cents a piece' joints at every corner and needing to eat something on the go, it seemed like the obvious thing to do at the time. (Ignorance is Bliss!) Rings a bell? Being sensitive to wheat and dairy, this was some of the worst foods I could possibly put into my body, and when you add meat and cooked oil on top of that...

As I progressed towards a healthier lifestyle, I found myself less and less drawn towards junk food. (A natural side effect of taking better care of myself. Hallelujah!) The last few years, whenever we'd feel the urge for pizza, we'd prepare our own, using thin spelt wraps or Ezekiel tortillas as crusts that we'd load up with pesto or tomato sauce and veggies. We'd then pop these in the oven for 10 mins or so, add a little organic cheddar or perhaps some goat cheese, and put it back in the turned off oven, just long enough to let the cheese melt a little. It's what we call 'Damage Control.'

Enters Raw Pizza
Like most people, we never dreamed of having raw pizza. Before discovering the dehydrator a few months ago, pizza was just one of those things we had to leave behind. Boy! Were we ever wrong! It was the first gourmet meal I made in the dehydrator and we were amazed at the result.

For me, raw pizza has it all! It can be whipped up in no time (provided you keep a stock of dehydrated crusts in your freezer), and you can let your imagination go totally wild. Best of all, you don't have to 'pay the price' for such a tasty treat!

As I'm writing this, someone started a thread about raw pizza on Raw Food Talk AND Diana Stoevelaar was informing me in an email of an upcoming uncooking class on 'Pizza in the Raw'. Do I smell Raw Pizza in the air? Woo-hoo! Let's Have a Pizza Party!

The Quest for the Perfect Pizza Crust
The first pizza crust I ever made was Alissa Cohen's 'Easy Crust 1'. While it was okay, I wasn't utterly thrilled. I later came upon the 'genius' idea of using her Calzone dough as crust. Yum! That sort of sealed it for me... at least, until a few days ago when I decided it was time to get out of my pizza rhut. (Get it?) Granted, dehydrated grated zucchini rounds or slices of eggplant make wonderful, light pizza crusts, but I wanted something a little more bread-like.

What better place to start my research than with Alissa's "Living on Live Food" (which I've nicknamed 'The Brick' and with good reasons! I mean, the thing is humongous and weights about a ton...) I was sure to find at least SOMETHING in there pointing in the general direction, and I was right!

But before I get into this, I thought maybe you and I should sit down and have a little chat!

Time for the 'T' Talk
The subject of dehydrating temperatures is a hot (pun intended!) and controversial topic among the Raw Food community (not to mention confusing too!) After all, it is the critical issue which distinguishes 'living' foods from 'enzyme-dead' foods. But where exactly do you draw the line?

It isn't my intention to get into a big intellectual debate about temp. I simply want to let you know where I'm coming from so we're all on the same page here. Alright?

It seems to be the common consensus among raw foodists that in order for enzymes to remain intact, food must not be exposed to temperatures over 118 degrees F over a long period of time.

What Gabriel Cousens and other raw chefs have determined after lots and lots of tests with all sorts of fancy thermometers is that, depending on the water content and thickness of the food, it can take up to 3 hours to reach the desired internal temperature.

Here's an extract from Excalibur's article "Concerned about Enzymes and the Excalibur Thermostat Control" outlining the three aspects that are most critical to understand when it comes to dehydration temperatures:

"FIRST, understanding the difference between air temperature and food temperature, and how the evaporation process keeps food temp cooler than air temperature.

SECOND, understanding how the thermostat works by causing the air temperature to fluctuate up and down.

THIRD, understanding at which point in the dehydration process that the enzymes are most susceptible to destruction by heat, which is while the food is in its wet state. After the food is dehydrated the enzymes can withstand much higher temperatures."

Let's just take a quick look at the first one for now, Food Temperature vs. Air Temperature:
The temperature reading on the (Excalibur) dial refers to FOOD temperature.

In general, food temperature is about 20 degrees cooler that air temperature. Therefore if you set your Excalibur at 105ºF you are setting it to hold the food temperature at around 105ºF, the air temperature may get as high as 125ºF depending upon the moisture content of the food. The reason the food temperature is cooler is because of evaporation. As the moisture on the surface of the food evaporates, it cools the food keeping it about 20ºF cooler than the air temperature. We have discovered this through hours of testing by measuring the air temperature and food temperature simultaneously during the dehydration process using a Doric Trendicator with type j thermal couples.
I'll let you find out for yourself all the juicy details explaining points 2 and 3 on the Excalibur website.

Recent research by the Excalibur Company suggests that "enzymes can actually withstand food temperatures into the 140's." This explains why you sometimes come across recipes suggesting to start dehydrating at much higher temps for a few hours before turning the dial back down. The reasoning behind this is two-fold: not only will this help avoid fermentation, it will also reduce the amount of time your food is in the dehydrator. As Cousens puts it in his book "Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine": "The longer that a food is in the dehydrator, the more potential exists for the enzymes to be destroyed, even at lower temperatures."

However, it is understood that this technique can be safely used ONLY with the Excalibur dehydrators. Why? Because the Excalibur models have what is known as the 'Parallexx Drying System' which has been specifically designed to optimize dehydration and reduce the risk of mold and bacterial growth. In the afore-mentioned article about enzymes and temperature, Excalibur explains how they are able to achieve this and gives other neat info such as how 105 degrees has come to be the most cited temp for dehydration. You can check out the article here.

The bottom line is: you have to experiment and see for yourself what dehydration temperatures work best and feel right for you. Personally, I like to start off at 115-125 degrees, again, depending on thickness and water content, and then turn the dial down to 105-110 for the remainder of the time. If you would like to know exactly what is the internal temperature of the food or when the desired temp is reached, I recommend you use a Pyrex digital thermometer with remote probe and alarm.

For more info about dehydration temperatures, I recommend you do a search on the ever resource-full Raw Food Talk archives. You can also check out the following threads:

Phfew! Enough said about all that! (And to think I intended for this to be a little 'By The Way' sideline...) In fact, I'm glad this is out of the way, we can now get back to the fun part! he he

Okay. I've kept the suspense long enough. Time to reveal my findings about pizza crusts...

Pizza Bread (or The Ultimate Pizza Wrap!)
I'd have to agree with Alissa here; she's got a winner! Her pizza bread (LOLF p. 352 ) is totally awesome, easy to prepare and absolutely delish! In fact, I couldn't stop eating the batter as I was forming it into crusts.

I also had some extra sprouted barley so it got me a-thinking... Another quick look at Alissa's book and I came up with a variation of her 'Easiest Crust 2'. Here's what I did:

Barley Pizza Crust
2 Cups Sprouted Barley
1 1/4 Cup ground Flax Seeds
1/2 Cup Leek (Onion would work too)
2 Celery Stalks
1 Carrot
1 Large Tomato
2 Large Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Water

I mixed the ingredients in the food processor and spread the batter in small circles on teflex sheets. (If you prefer, you could make a couple of large pizza crusts instead.) I dehydrated at 115 for a couple of hours, turned the crusts onto the mesh, then dehydrated at 105 for another 6 hours or so. Yummo!

Carmella's Notes:
Alissa suggests that you soak the barley (unhulled as pearled barley won't sprout!) for 6 hours, then let it sprout for a day or so, rinsing often, until the tail is just starting to peek out. For more info on how to sprout barley, go to this site.

For a delicious variation, you can also substitute barley for sprouted buckwheat.

Jazz Up your Pizz
Now that we've got our crusts all ready, then we can really let it rip! There's just so many delicious possible combinations! Here's some topping ideas for starters:
  • pesto
  • tomato sauce
  • nut or seed cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, nacho, you name it!)
  • sundried tomatoes
  • sundried olives
  • mushrooms (plain or marinated)
  • fresh tomato slices
  • your favorite veggies (spinach, red or yellow peppers, broccoli florets, zucchini), plain or marinated
  • onion (rings or pieces)
  • crushed garlic
  • crumbled nut balls or burgers
  • chopped pineapple
  • avocado slices
  • fresh herbs
You can then pop your pizz-art in the dehydrator for a few hours...or not! It's entirely up to you! The result will almost certainly be fantastic either way!

Here's our latest creation: Cashew and Macs Mozzarella Cheese, Tomato Sauce, Sundried Olives and Red Peppers on Pizza Bread. After dehydrating for a couple of hours and just before serving, we added chunks of avocado and pineapple. Yummy!

Oh, and you might also want to check out this thread on RFT. Awesome, awesome photos and one of the best pizza crusts I've ever tried too!

Welcome. To. The. Calzone Zone
Alright! Alright! That one is pretty kitsch but I just couldn't help myself!

So you may think we're getting off topic here, but we're really not. After all, a calzone is little more than an inverted pizza... I've been reading about how awesome Alissa Cohen's recipe is on Raw Food Talk for months now. I've used the dough countless times as pizza crusts and even made the calzone as a pizza, but never had the guts to attempt the 'real thing'. Well, until yesterday that is...

In spite of what it looks like, it's a quite simple recipe, the only tricky part is the assembly. I made sure to do my homework and read what the others had to say on the Forum, and all in all, it went pretty smooth. One of the things I did was cut the recipe in half, as it is notorious for making 2 huge calzones (read tons of eating material!) It also seems to have a short shelf life. (I recently found out that it does freeze well, however, so next time, I'll make sure to do the whole recipe!)

I shaped the crust into 2 half circles and let these dehydrate for a couple of hours at 115.

I then peeled the teflex sheets off the dough and put it back for another hour and a half at 105. Now, when I checked again, the crusts were a little too dry. (Remember that once you spread the various fillings, you'll need to pinch the bottom and top parts together.) So I sprayed some water on the edges of the crusts and let it seep through for a few minutes. NOW you're talking! The dough wasn't exactly what you'd call pliable but at least it wouldn't break while I did the deed.

After that, it went like a dream... I brushed the top with a little olive oil and voila! I left the whole thing in the D overnight, again, starting off at a slightly higher temp for the first couple of hours and turning it down to 105.
Here is our baby freshly out of the incubator...

From Alissa Cohen’s "Living on Live Food"

Of all my recipes in the book, I admit to being proudest of this one. Not only does this look like the real Italian thing ... it tastes like it, too! After making this for friends, I was dubbed "The Raw Queen".

This is a combination of three recipes: Burger Buns (doubled and altered a bit), Spinach Dip, and Mozzarella Cheese.

4 Cups Sprouted Buckwheat
1 1/2 Cups Soaked Flax Seeds
3/4 Cup Olive Oil (I used more like 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 Cups Carrots
2 Cloves Garlic
1 teaspoons Curry
1 teaspoons Rosemary
1 teaspoons Thyme
2 teaspoons Sea Salt

Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Macadamia Nuts
1 Cup Cashews
2 Tbs Tamari
1 1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Water

Spinach Dip
4 Cups Spinach
1 Large Avocado or 1 1/2 small Avocados
1/2 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoons Herbamare Seasoning Salt
(I added a little water as the dip was too thick to my liking...)

Marinated Veggies
1 Cup Broccoli, diced
1 Cup Mushrooms, diced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Dash Sea Salt

For the Dough:
Grind the carrots in food processor. Add in rest of ingredients and blend well until reach dough-like consistency.

On teflex sheet, form half the dough into a half circle about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Repeat on second teflex sheet with remainder of the dough.

Dehydrate at 105 for 3 to 4 hours; then turn over and dehydrate for another 1 to 2 hours. (You don't want it too dry though!)

For the Cheese:
In a food processor, blend all of the mozzarella cheese ingredients together until its completely smooth.

For the Spinach Dip:
In a food processor again, blend all of the ingredients for the spinach dip together until smooth.

Marinated Veggies:
Marinate the broccoli and mushrooms in the olive oli and sea salt for about 20 minutes or until the dough is done in a few hours.

Now let's assemble the Calzone:

1. Remove one sheet of crust (the dehydrated dough) from the dehydrator and spread the entire mixture of Mozzarella Cheese on top of the crust.

2. Place the spinach dip on top of the mozzarella cheese that is now on top of the crust. (These layers will be thick!)

3. Drain the marinated veggies and place these on top of the spinach dip.

4. Remove the other "half" of the crust from the dehydrator. With a very large spatula and with your hands flip the crust onto the top of the "loaded" crust.

5. You will have to push this down a bit and may have fillings seeping out. That is okay.

6. With your fingers, go around the sides of the calzone and pinch together the crust. You may have to wipe away any filling that is leaking out as you pinch. Just be sure to close the sides well.

7. Dehydrate your assembled calzone at 105 degrees for 14 to 18 hours.

This will stay in the refrigerator for a day or two but is really great warm, straight out of the dehydrator.

Notes: If you see the crust breaking of splitting, try to repair that before it goes back into the dehydrator by using your fingers and a bit of water to smooth it out. You will have to remove a few sheets to fit the assembled calzone into the dehydrator. You can re-warm your calzone by putting it back into the dehydrator for an hour or two before serving.

Carmella's note: For a quicker, less involved version, you can make the calzone recipe into sandwiches or pizza.


Mmmmmmmmmm! What took us so long? It was sooooooo good it goes beyond words! Well worth the effort!

Now the question is: Are YOU ready for some Pizzazz?

Sunny Raw Tip
Whenever possible, I like to 'cut down' the size of whatever it is that I'm dehydrating. For instance, instead of making loaves of bread, I'll layer the batter, say 1/4" thick, and then score into 'slices'. Along the same line of reasoning, I'll form patties or burgers rather than nutloaves, or cookies instead of cakes. For me, it just makes a lot of sense. By doing so, I dramatically reduce the dehydration time as well as the risks of fermentation. Plus, they can be frozen in individual portions.

PS I'm highly aware that you all at Raw Food Talk have been anxiously waiting for that feature post, but not to worry, it really IS on its way! (Yah, Yah...Promises, Promises!)

Thursday, February 8, 2007

In Sandy's Sunny Kitchen - Part 4

So here it was! The end of our Rawkin' Revel was almost upon us. After the previous day's blitz, we decided we deserved to take it a little easy. Sandy and I leisurely took some time relaxing by the fireplace. Then, while Sandy prepared me some juice, I got going with crepes for the evening's dessert.

I blended 5 or 6 ripe bananas with a few tablespoons of carob in the food processor. Then I spread the batter thinly and evenly on teflex sheets. I fired up the Excalibur and in they went.

I let the pureed bananas dehydrate at 105 until they were no longer sticky to the touch and I could easily peel them off. I then cut into rectangles with scissors, but you could also use a knife or a pizza cutter . (You're basically making fruit leather, only you'll be filling these up later and rolling them into delightful crepes. Mmmmmmmmmm!)

In fact, most of our uncooking for that day was to be devoted to sweet treats. (Yay!) Sandy was particularly excited about making raw cookies, as her DH, Bruce, takes the SAD kind every day for his lunch.

Have Your Cookie and Eat it Too!
In the last few years, the more raw foods I've been including in my diet, the less I've felt like eating heavy stuff such as cookies, muffins, breads and the like. Every now and then, on a cold winter morning, I'd wake up with an urge to do some baking. I'd get out my baking gear and have fun for a while in the kitchen. Sure, I'd enjoy the decadent smells coming out of the oven and be anxious to taste my latest creations. But once the initial excitement wore off, I'd find myself less than thrilled at the prospect of eating the rest of the batch. Don would invariably end up having to eat the whole thing by himself. Poor thing! (Yeah, right!)

With our recent discovery of the dehydrator and all the incredible possibilities it opens up, I've not only enjoyed preparing all sorts of 'unbaked' goodies but I get to happily eat them too! LOL

Maraw: the Cookie Queen!
Don and I just LOVE raw cookies. They make such a perfect snack and a no-brainer quick dessert. We usually like to have a few kinds around the house, for variety. I load up the dehydrator with 2 or 3 different batches and freeze whatever we won't be eating that week. In this way, we always have some readily available with minimal work.

I'm constantly on the look-out for new cookie recipes. (If you have any good ones to share, please please please do send them to me!) So far, on our 'Top 5 Favorite Cookie List', 3 are actually the creations of Maraw from The Raw Table. What can I say? Our taste buds are very similar plus, let's face it: she's a genius when it comes to creating raw food! It goes without saying that I wanted to share a few of her delightful recipes with Sandy and her family and now, I get to do the same here with you!

First, we made a batch of her famous chewies. As you'll notice, the main ingredients to her Lemon and Chocolate Chewies are basically the same. I usually like to mix up the 'plain' batter in the food processor, then I split it roughly in two. I set one half aside in a bowl while I go to work on the other one. Once that's done and the cookies are all nice and cozy on the mesh, I move on to the next recipe.

Lemon Chewies
From TheRawTable.com

These are packed with a wonderfully rich and tart lemon flavor. If you like lemon meringue pie, you'll really enjoy these.

2 C cashews, soaked in water for about 4 hours
Zest from 3-4 lemons
Juice from 4 lemons
1/2 ripe banana
1/4 C raw honey
1/3 C agave nectar
2 C dried shredded coconut
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Drain and rinse cashews. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon out (about 1 1/2 T. each) onto mesh dehydrator sheets. I use an icing piping gun to make the shapes of little 'stars' but you can use a simple spoon.

Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8-10 hours or until the texture you desire is reached.

Makes about 30

Chocolate Chewies
From TheRawTable.com

These are just like the lemon chewies, only this recipe is designed for the chocolate lover - me! These are a huge hit every time I make them - even non-raw skeptics like these.

2 C cashews, soaked in water for about 4 hours
3/4 C raisins
1/4-1/2 C agave nectar
1/4 C raw honey
2 C dried shredded coconut (unsweeted and unpreserved)
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 T. raw cacao powder or carob powder
dash of cinnamon
dash of sea salt

Drain and rinse cashews. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spoon out (about 1 1/2 T. each) onto mesh dehydrator sheets. I use an icing piping gun to make the shapes of little 'stars' but you can use a simple spoon.

Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8-10 hours or until the texture you desire is reached.

Makes about 4 dozen

Carmella’s notes: These are THE absolute BEST cookies we’ve tried so far! For both chewies recipes, I normally use half almond pulp and half cashews, and it works like a dream.

Oh, and sorry, no photo of the Chocolate Chewies! Somehow they didn't look as good as they tasted.

Here's another great favorite in our house...

Nut Crumble Cookies
From TheRawTable.com

These are a nice crunch and crumble cookie. My kids absolutely love them.

1 small tart green apple, peeled and cored
1 C almonds, chopped
1 C pecans, chopped
1/4 C dried shredded coconut (unsweetened and unpreserved)
1/2 C dates, pitted and soaked in water for about 2 hours
1/2 C sulphite-free raisins, soaked in water for about 2 hours
1/2 C dark agave nectar
2 T. raw almond butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
dash of sea salt

Drain the dates and raisins. Place all ingredients, save the nuts and coconut, in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Combine with nuts and stir until well combined.

Spoon out into cookie shapes on a mesh dehydrator screen. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 16 hours or until the texture and crunch you desire is reached.

Makes about 32

Next, we made the Caramel Coconut Cookies from Renee Loux Underkoffler's "Living Cuisine". These are so simple yet soooooooo good! If you used to enjoy macaroons, you'll almost certainly love these!

Last on the day's 'unbaking' list were scones. I have a vague memory of trying the SAD version way back when I lived on British soil, but I'd never attempted to make their raw counterpart. Sandy was interested in learning how to make these so we opted for the Berry Good Scones from Brigitte Mars' "Rawsome!"

As it was a bit of a last minute thing, remembering something I read on Raw Food Talk Forum, I soaked the buckwheat for 4 hours or so. Apparently, it is then ready to be used in recipes. On a similar note, when a recipe calls for sprouted buckwheat, I rinse it several times so as to get rid of as much gooey stuff as possible. Then I just fill the jar with fresh water, let the buckwheat soak overnight and use it the next day. That's it!

This helps prevent fermentation as buckwheat is known for going off easily, particularly when combined with sugars. I've learned this the hard way, having had to toss an entire batch of buckwheat cookies in the past!

Berry Good Scones looking berry good indeed...

Bliss-Full Break
It was a little cloudy that morning, but by the time we were finished putting everything away in the dehydrator and our green smoothie was ready, the sun was shining! Yay!

Ahhhhhh... Bliss! What better way to relax after all this uncooking!

In fact, the weather was so gorgeous (thanks to the famous Chinook winds), we decided to go for a walk in one of Calgary's parks. The Chinook winds are known for bringing radically warmer temperatures during the winter months in Calgary. According to Wikipedia, "One of the most dramatic examples of the Chinook winds occurred on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana. The temperature rose from −47°C (−54°F) to 9°C (49°F); the greatest temperature change ever recorded during a 24-hour period."

But back to Sandy's Sunny Kitchen...

As you can imagine, Sandy's house smelled divine when we got home! We took a quick look to see how our goodies were doing and to flip some of them onto the mesh to speed up dehydration.

Nut crumbles (top), Scones (middle) and Caramel Coconut Cookies, all coming along nicely!

The Art of Feasting in the Raw - Day 4

Sandy and Bruce had already made arrangements to go to a SAD dinner party. Although Sandy wasn't too thrilled about it (as she had become deeply involved and was enjoying our raw adventure), she felt she couldn't renege on her previous commitment.

So it was just us girls (Jaime and me). At last we were getting an opportunity to spend more time together, one on one. She had been pretty busy working, only joining us in the kitchen after her day's work.

We had a beautiful, genuine connection as we slowly prepared and savored that night's Asian feast. Again, she took tons of awesome pics. Jaime is a talented photographer and has a real eye for presentation. It's thanks to her if I was able to share such beautiful photos of our raw creations with you.

Here is our complete Asian feast:

As you can guess by now, we started off with a soup: the delicious Thai Coconut Soup from the Raw Food Holiday Celebration Guide. We made a slight modification and replaced the mature coconut it was calling for with fresh coconut. Yum! (Pun intended! he he)

Jicama and Zucchini Pad Thai:

Jaime prepared some jicama and zucchini noodles, using the largest blades on the Cook Help spiral slicer. She then put the noodles in a colander (allowing for the excess liquid to drip into a bowl), and left the whole thing in the dehydrator, covered, while we were getting the rest of the meal ready.

In the meantime, I prepared my Pad Thai Sauce.

Carmella's Pad Thai Sauce
Inspired by the creations of Frederic Patenaude and Elaina Love

1 heaping Tbs tahini
1 Tbs almond butter
A few cashews
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked
dates, soaked
1/2 lime, juiced
1-2 garlic cloves (we love garlic!)
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
tamari, to taste
Curry powder, to taste
Water or tomato soaking water (if unsalted!)

Blend in food processor with some water until you reach the desired consistency. (We like ours on the thick side!)

Top with diced red or yellow peppers and marinated Portobellos.

Marinated Portobellos
1 Portobello mushroom
1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part tamari or Nama Shoyu
2 parts olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp agave nectar or honey

Cut the mushroom into bite sized pieces. Put them in a bowl with other ingredients and mix well. Spread the Portobello pieces on a teflex sheet and dehydrated them for a couple of hours. You can also serve the mushrooms non-dehydrated for an equally delicious treat!

Serves 2

Sunny Sushi Maki(ng)
Last summer, I learned a fantastic technique for making raw sushi from a Raw Chef friend of mine, Chantale Roy, of Cuisine Plenitude. Most sushi recipes have a nut pate base of some sort, making the sushi fairly heavy.

However, Chantale uses sprouts as the base, a simple, ingenious trick that makes all the difference!

I first put a nice layer of sprouts, covering nearly half of the nori sheet:

On top of the sprouts, I spread a little pate, roughly the size of a cigar. I used the Pate du Soleil, as we had some left over from making the Zucchini Roll-ups, but you can use your favorite pate or whatever you have handy.

Here is the Pate du Soleil recipe, in case you haven't seen it in my previous post, courtesy of Nomi Shannon, author of "The Raw Gourmet" , and Sheryl Duruz of Raw Pleasure Australia.

Pate Du Soleil
Raw Food Holiday Celebration Guide

Makes 8 cups

3 cups hulled sunflower seeds, soaked 8-12 hours, sprouted 2-4 hours
1 cup lemon juice
2 red capsicums/peppers, roughly chopped
4 scallions (green onions), roughly chopped
½ small onion roughly chopped
½ cup raw tahini
2 tablespoons nama shoyu or other salty product
8 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
2-3 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Soak sunflower seeds overnight. Drain.

2. Allow to sit out on counter for 2-4 hours (but no longer, if you are not ready to continue with recipe, rinse, drain and refrigerate to slow the sprouting process).

3. Rinse and drain.

4. If you have a large enough food processor just put all the ingredients in it, and run until pate is quite smooth.

5. Taste, adjust seasonings. The garlic flavor will develop and become stronger in a few hours.

This pate can be made with nuts or a combination of seeds and nuts; when you make it with all sunflower seeds it will keep for a week or more in the refrigerator.

I then add some finely julienned red and yellow peppers (I just love the vibrant colors!), daikon radish and carrots. Sometimes I also like to put julienned zucchini or cucumber, if I'm in the mood. I top it up with some thinly sliced avocado and normally finish off with a few sunflower sprouts (although we couldn't find any...)

Then I'm ready to rack 'n roll, babe!

Sunny Sushi posing...

Chantale was telling me how cutting the sushi is the part she likes most. She was right! It can be really fun, provided you have a nice, sharp knife. Just make sure you cut with a gentle see-saw motion...

... and voila!

You can enjoy the sushi as is, or dip it in a tamari-based sauce. Here's one of my favorites:

Boutenko's Thai Sauce
From "Eating without Heating"

¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup tamari
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup chopped ginger
1 tbsp honey

Blend until smooth and creamy.

I intended to make the Boutenkos' lovely Thai Salad as well but we ran out of steam. There was some left-over Cucumber Sauce that we used earlier for the falafels so we had that on a simple spring mixed salad.

Here is the recipe anyway, the perfect complement to an Asian meal:

Thai Salad
From "Eating without Heating" by the Boutenko kids

4 cucumbers
Juice of 1½ lemon
1 bunch dill
1 bunch cilantro
1 medium sized onion diced
3 tsp hot curry powder
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
3 tbs honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup soaked sunflower seeds

Peel and slice the cucumbers into thin circles and transfer to a bowl. Next finely chop the cilantro and dill and mix with the cucumbers. Add the onion, lemon juice, and the olive
oil. Finish by adding the rest of the ingredients and mixing well.

Makes 5-8 servings

And last, but not least, my ChocoNut Bliss Crepes.

I filled a few banana-carob crepes, freshly out of the dehydrator, with the coconut Whipped Cream from the Tropical Cheesecake. We topped them off with left-over sauce from Maraw's Truffles and set them aside for a few hours in order to soften up.

Heavenly! The perfect way to wrap up our raw venture of the last few days.

Whipped Cream
From Alex Malinsky's Strawberry Cheesecake recipe that he posted on Sunfood Nutrition Raw Food Lifestyle Forum

1 cup young coconut meat (chopped up)
3 tbs raw cashews or mac nuts (soaked for 8-10 hrs)
5 dates or 1 tbs honey (or more if you like it sweeter)
3 tbs coconut water or almond milk
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
drop of vanilla extract

Blend until smooth.

I spent the rest of the evening packing up since we were leaving early the next morning.

The scones weren't quite ready by the time we went to bed so I slept lightly, not wanting them to turn into stones rather than scones... LOL I got up in the middle of the night to check on them, and put them away in ziploc baggies.

Scones in the wee hours of the morning...

Epilogue - Gotta Get Back!

Next thing you knew, it was time to get up and gather all my stuff together. (And boy, did I have lots! I must have wiped out the local store's supply of young coconuts! LOL) All I could hope for was that Livina, my ride, was gonna have enough room in her car!

While I was preparing my smoothie for that day's journey, Sandy told me: "Already leaving us!" Yep! It had all gone by so incredibly fast! Although it was a short stay, we sure made the most of it!

Thankfully, the trip home went super smooth. The sun was shining and the roads were clear. I was happy at the prospect of seeing the Rockies properly, as it was dark when we went through them a few days before.

Here they are, approaching fast, in the beautiful morning sun!

As it turned out, I was so tired that it was hard to keep my eyes open! I did end up taking a long nap, but not before taking a few photos first.

Thus ended my trip to Calgary and our extraordinary Rawkin Revel! However much I enjoyed Sandy and her family's company (not to mention the food!), I was glad to get back and have a rest after such an intense stay.

Coming Up Next in The Sunny Raw Kitchen...
What do Fairygirl, Raw Goddess Heathy and Heather Pace have in common? They all refer to one and the same: a gifted young Canadian Raw Chef who has been blessing the Raw Food Talk Forum with her latest mouth-watering creations.

In my upcoming interview with her, find out more about her own raw journey and the fascinating way she comes up with her delicious recipes.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

In Sandy's Sunny Kitchen - Part 3

Sure enough! I found myself uncooking a good part of the night! LOL Can't say I didn't enjoy it!

Day 3 was promising to be the most intense yet, as we were expecting company for dinner. I decided to get up early so as not to feel pressured or rushed. As it turned out, I was alone in the kitchen most of the morning since Jaime was off to work and Sandy had to take care of some business. I started right in on the different recipes for that night's feast.

Around noon, Sandy went to pick up Jaime from work and to get a new blender (the jug of her old one cracked the previous night - of all times!) As for me, I stayed home and took a breather! Working alone made me appreciate how much more quickly and efficiently things get done when you've got some helpers!

The Lasagna Comes Together
Once Jaime got back, I picked up my Borner V-Slicer (what an awesome tool!) and sliced up the zucchini noodles. Jaime, who is amongst other things, a talented photographer, took lots of photos while I was assembling the Luscious Lasagna. No worries! I'll be sharing those with you in an upcoming post, but here's a little teaser...

The lasagna ingredients: Zucchini Noodles, Tomato Sauce, Spinach Cream, Almond Ricotta and Cheesy Nut Cream

Spreading the spinach layer...

...and some zucchini noodles.

Next, I stuffed crimini mushrooms with left-over Cilantro Pesto, which I then popped in the D for a few hours.

Rah! Rah! Let's Hear it for Pizza!

I thought making a couple of different pizzas would be a good idea. I started with a Pesto one. I put a layer of Cilantro Pesto on Alissa's calzone crust (which we had already dehydrated), followed by some Cheddar Sauce. I finished off with some marinated crimini slices and cherry tomatoes as toppings.

Rich Cheddar Sauce
Adapted from "Rejuvenate Your Life" by Serene Allison

1/2 large red bell pepper
¼ c water
1 c raw cashews, sunflower seeds, or almonds
1 T tahini
2 T nutritional yeast
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons onion powder (or a small slice of onion or 1 tbs or so of green onions)
1 clove garlic
2 T lemon juice

Blend until creamy. Add more water if it is too thick.

Mmmmmmm... Raw Art in the Making:

The second pizza was a layer of Cheese Sauce, Alissa's Marinara Sauce, marinated oyster mushrooms and red pepper and some pineapple. Yummo!

Marinara Sauce
From Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen

2 ½ cups Tomatoes
12 Large Sundried Tomatoes, Soaked
3 Organic Dates, Pitted and Soaked
¼ cup Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
2 tablespoons Parsley
1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
⅛ teaspoon Cayenne

Place all of the Marinara ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

I put both pizzas as well as the lasagna in the Excalibur for 3 hours or so.

Chocolate Heaven
In the meantime, Sandy was working on dessert. We had a few sweet treats up our sleeves for the chocolate lovers. First, she prepared Raw Priestess' Brownies which she topped with Rawkinloc's Cinnamon Rolls frosting. Raw genius in its simplest and most delectable form!

by Christine D. Winters, aka the Raw Priestess

1 cup walnut (unsoaked)
1 cup Dates(pitted unsoaked)
1/4 cup cacao powder (you may use carob if you like)

Place in food processor, and blend until well blended, should still be dry and chunky, maybe blend about 30 seconds.

Press into a small spring form pan.

Refrigerate until you can insert a knife and it isn't too sticky.

Cut into little pieces, then pop into a ziploc baggie and freeze.

They can be eaten fresh, from the fridge or from the freezer. They won't last long though, these are my newest addiction.

RP’s tips:
If they are crumbly, keep processing them.

I use a 9 by 9 pyrex glass pan to put them in, then I pop them in the freezer to harden up a bit, then take out and cut, then put in a ziploc baggie and keep in the freezer as I like them chewy and moist.

I have added extra nuts (pecans or walnuts are divine), but sometimes I just chop up all kinds of nuts and put them in (mac nuts, pine nuts etc.)

They are also my favorite, with Rawkinlocs cinnamon roll frosting on top. Again, I pop these into the freezer as I like them chewy.

You can also drizzle almond butter on top, mmmmmmmmmmmm and then add more nuts.

Or drizzle agave nectar on top and chopped nuts, add banana ice cream and some raw chocolate frosting mmmmmmmm

Macademia nut whipped cream on top, add fresh raspberries in season or strawberries to the top, mmmmmmmmmm

They are soooooo good with just about anything on or in them! LOL

Oh, and YES, you could use raisins or figs or apricots or prunes, but realize it will have a bit of a different taste, as raisins taste different than medjool dates (which are my favorites!) Yummmmmyyyy

Sandy also made Maraw's Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles that we were recipe-testing (lucky us!) for her beautiful new raw food magazine: "Purely Delicious" - a quarterly print publication celebrating the very best of raw and living foods!

Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles

Chocolate Dip Ingredients:
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup coconut oil (at slightly warm room temp - need to be liquid)
3-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder (you may also use carob)
¼ teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt

8 large medjool dates
cold almond butter

With a sharp knife, carefully make a small slit in one side of each date. Remove seed while trying to keep the date as intact as you can. Fill the center of each date with a small bit of almond butter and pinch to close. Set to one side.

In a small bowl, combine coconut oil or butter, with cocao power, vanilla and salt. Add agave and stir very well until smooth. Take your dates and dip each one in the chocolate mix and place them on wax paper. Allow them to sit in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. Remove from wax paper and enjoy.

If your agave nectar is cold, you will need to move quickly so that the coconut oil doesn't harden too fast. However, this makes a much nicer, thicker coating for the truffles.

Exotic Alchemy: From Cream Stack to Tropical Cheesecake
Next was the cheesecake. My original idea was to make Fairygirl's fantastic Chocolate Cream Stack (recipe coming up soon!), but since Sandy had lots of frozen strawberries which she picked last summer, we had a change of 'plans'. In fact, as is often the case, the recipe mutated into something quite different altogether.

Earlier, Jaime showed me how to open a Thai young coconut. It was my first time ever drinking coconut water. Bliss! Gotta get more of those to take home with me!!! Actually, I just found out the following info about young coconuts in one of Mike Snyder's weekly newsletters. According to him,"Young coconuts are highly nutritious, delicious, and easy to digest. The coconut tree acts as a water filter and it takes 9 months to create one liter. The coconut water is almost identical to human blood plasma and has a similar electrolyte balance." Cool, eh?

As you can guess, we just HAD TO add some fresh coconut to the cheesecake SOMEHOW! After consulting my raw library and inspired by Raw Guru's version, I decided to make coconut whipped cream.

Sandy removed the cheesecake from the freezer, covered it with kiwi slices, and spread the whipped cream layer on top.

She then decorated her masterpiece with some fresh pineapple:

The complete Tropical Cheesecake recipe coming up soon, along with a step-by-step description (with pics!) of how to make it. (Recipe now available here!)

Nature's Artwork
Time flies when you're having fun! Already approaching 6 o'clock, so better get ready for our guests. Looking out the kitchen window, I caught a glimpse of the gorgeous sun setting on the Rocky mountains. So I quickly grabbed the camera and stepped out onto the deck, which has an amazing view of downtown Calgary on one side and the Rockies on the other.

The Art of Feasting in the Raw - Day 3

Our guests arrived shortly afterwards. We served the Stuffed Mushrooms in the living room, while we were waiting for a latecomer. They also munched on the Zucchini Roll ups and Savory Nori Snacks that we had prepared a couple of days before.

Pesto Mushies

Once everyone was accounted for, we made our way to the counter where we enjoyed the Boutenkos' Rawssian Borscht. It is so stunning and delicious! Everybody was impressed!

Oops, the bowl looks a little messy but you get the drift anyway...

Rawssian Borscht

2 c. water
3 beets
1 small piece ginger root
3-4 cloves garlic
6-7 bay leaves

Pour mixture into a large bowl.

2 c. water
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
4-5 oranges, peeled and seeded
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 c. olive oil
sea salt to taste

Blend together for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 c. walnuts and blend on low speed quickly so walnuts are not completely blended.

1/4 head cabbage
1-2 carrots
1 bunch parsley

Add grated ingredients to blended mixtures and serve.

Serves 7 - 10

Carmella’s notes: We usually omit the grated cabbage at the end or replace it with kohlrabi.

After that, everybody could help themselves buffet-style to Alissa's raviolis:

... and the 2 kinds of pizzas:

We also had Caesar salad as there was lots of left-over dressing from Wednesday's meal.

Meant to Meet
In our vision of the world, there are no such things as coincidences. There is an order behind the ‘apparent’ chaos, and therefore, all things are intricately interconnected. Again, this is no ‘new age’, funky assumption, but rather a proposition that has now been proven by Quantum Physics. You change a single element and you affect the whole picture. This is known as the 'Butterfly Affect'.

In any case, the ‘hand of the Mystery’ was made quite obvious that evening in my meeting with Diana Stoevelaar, the Raw Chef who prepared the Holiday ebooks for Fred Patenaude. Everything seems to have conspired to our coming together. As I was suggesting above, it is always the case, but there are times when it is particularly apparent.

During the afternoon, as I was taking a little break, I thought I'd check my emails. Imagine my surprise when I noticed a message from Diana's partner, Manu, saying they would love to meet me. Somehow, he 'happened' to stumble upon my blog a few days earlier and found out I was coming to Calgary. So I wrote back and invited them to our dinner party.

Shortly after we started our main course, the phone rang. It was Diana asking whether it was too late to join us. In fact, it couldn't be more perfect! She was just about to start working on her supper and when I mentioned the beautiful desserts, well, that sealed it!

The Rawsome Sisters

When I greeted Diana at the door, it was like an immediate recognition took place. From then on, we were pretty much inseparable! We felt so close and had so much to talk about! In fact, Manu declared that we were 'soul sisters'! LOL

Diana first got into raw foods in 1987, after being diagnosed with Lupus, along with asthma and other ailments (of which she has since healed herself.) For the last few years, she has been sharing her passion for the Raw Food Lifestyle by teaching uncooking classes, conducting lectures and hosting raw monthly potlucks. Recently, Diana has also started preparing the menus for Frederic Patenaude's 'Body Enlightenment System'.

Diana and Manu are both beautiful, vibrant people and we had an amazing connection.

Yay! It's Dessert Time!
While these two enjoyed their meals, the others gravitated towards the dessert table. Who wouldn't? It all looked so inviting and delicious!

The finished Tropical Cheesecake...

...served with Strawberry Sauce and coconut flakes:

Dessert Platter with RP's Brownies and Maraw's Chocolate-Dipped Date Truffles:

WE WERE SOOOOOOOOOO STUFFED! But man-oh-man, was it ever delish!

Being the ones who usually teach others about raw foods, it was a rare treat for Diana and Manu to get to enjoy a raw meal prepared by someone else.

As for our other guests, it was their first time eating a fully raw dinner and they were sort of expecting carrot sticks and lettuce. They never in their wildest dreams thought that raw food could taste so good! he he!

This was a magical evening and one I'll always remember!