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!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Simply Raw Snacks

Whoa! That's got to be the longest I've gone without blogging! There I was, thinking that things would slow down a little once "The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen" got published, but Life had different ideas. Within a few days of the release of the ebook, our forum, Raw Freedom Community, experienced a major burst in membership; over 70 new registrations in a single week!

So with all that's going on, I haven't had much energy to be creative in the kitchen lately. As I often think during such intense periods, "Thank God for freezers!" lol At least it allows us to enjoy raw 'fast food'. Don and I have replaced all the gourmet stuff with mostly simple, quickly prepared meals.

In that light, I thought it would be appropriate to begin the 'Simply Raw' Series with snacks; goodies that fit the bill perfectly whether you feel like going to the beach, having a quiet little picnic, or just enjoying a 'no-brainer' lunch or supper.

You'll notice that several of the following recipes require dehydration. However, once you take the time to prepare these, you'll be stocked up with snacks that you can take along with you at a moment's notice.

Old Favorites Revisited
When you get serious about health, chips are one of those things that just have to go. When you think of all the transfats and additives that regular chips contain, your body will thank you for it! With the help of a dehydrator, you can transform a number of veggies into delicious raw chips: zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potato and even kale! You can also use good ol' potatoes, of course, although we've found that they seem to retain a certain 'starchiness' that we don't particularly care for.

To make the chips, simply toss your thinly sliced veggies into a marinade of oil, salt/Braggs and your favorite seasonings, spread these on teflex sheets, and dehydrate until crisp. Voila! Healthy chips 'a la raw'!

Sweet Potato Chips
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
Seasonings of choice

Thinly slice the sweet potatoes with a mandoline or veggie peeler. Prepare a marinade with the rest of the ingredients and toss the potatoes in it.

Spread the slices on a teflex sheet and dehydrate until crisp. You may want to turn them over to help dehydration.

For BBQ Chips: Use Chili, cayenne, cumin, paprika, onion powder and a little honey.

For Cheezy Chips: Use 2 tbs nutritional yeast

Carmella's Notes:
- If you find that your chips don't turn out very crispy, try slicing them thinner or using less oil.

- You can dehydrate the chips directly on the mesh, but in my experience, it's a lot of work cleaning these up afterwards.

Kale also makes wonderful chips, reminding me a little of the 'fried spinach' I used to eat way back when. Instead of a simple oil-based marinade, in the following 'Goddess Chips' recipe, the kale is tossed with a dressing made with tahini. Unbelievably yummy!

Chrissy's Goddess Chips
Posted by Chrissy on Raw Food Talk

2 bunches kale, broken into large pieces by hand (preferably dino kale)

¾ cups sesame tahini
¼ cup nama shoyu
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup water ~ more if needed
2 scallion
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
¼ t. sea salt
¼ cup fresh parsley

Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth to get a thick consistency. You may have to add more water. Pour over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. You want this mixture to be really glued onto the kale.

Place kale onto a Teflex sheet, on top of a mesh dehydrator screen, and dehydrate for 4 hours @ 110 degrees. You'll need to use two trays. Rotate kale occasionally to dry uniformly.

The first time I made these I stood over the dehydrator and ate the chips right from the Teflex sheet. Enjoy!

How about raw renditions of other favorite SAD snacks? If you find yourself missing garlic bread and fries, you might want to give the next two recipes a try!

These are sooooooooo good! We rarely can get our hands on jicama here, but when we do, I invariably make a batch of these delectable garlicky toasts. As incredible as this may sound, their flavor is really reminiscent of their cooked cousins.

Chewy Crunchy Garlicky Toasts
Posted by Tropigal on Raw Food Talk

1 jicama
1 red Bell pepper
1 med tomato
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil (I find that 1/4 cup is plenty!)
Basil, fresh chopped or dried (optional)

Slice jicama using mandolin no more than 1/4" thick....the thinner the better. Set aside.

Process tomato in processor to a very fine chop. Strain the juice out so you are just left with the pulp.

Process red pepper & garlic the same way to a very fine chop (or you can hand chop the garlic separately). Squeeze out the moisture from the peppers also as you don't want the veggies to be wet.

Stir all the ingredients together except jicama.

Spoon a SMALL amount of topping onto each jicama slice & dehydrate for approx 7-10 hours until chewy. (Remember that these will shrink quite a bit!)

Please note you DO need a lot of oil for this recipe.. I did make it once with a generous 1/4 cup and it was fine.

You want to make sure the veggies are spread thinly...if you can avoid the edges they will come out a bit crunchy.

This is one of the best dehydrator recipes I have ever made!!!

Carmella's Note: I wouldn't recommend slicing the jicama any thinner than 1/4 ".

Avocado "Fries"
Posted by Peggy and Curtis on their blog, Raw Inspiration

Here is a simple and satisfying treat for when the fried food craving hits!

- Slice up some avocado into 1/4-1/2 inch strips.

Tip: After slicing the avo in half, score the flesh while it is still in the rind and then scoop out the meat and it will already be in strips.

- Roll the avocado in a flax breading that is made up of:
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1-2 tsp. garlic minced or powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast

After breading the avocado slices you can dehydrate them for about an hour. This warms them up as well as allows some of the oils of the avocado to soak into the breading. You could just eat them right away too.

The spices can be varied and your imagination is the only limitation. I once made spicy chili fries and they rocked! Be well.

Carmella's Note: These don't keep so well so I suggest making just enough for one meal. For the two of us, we used 1 1/2 large avocado and half of the breading recipe and it was plenty!!! In fact, we even ate more than we normally would.

Crackers 'n Spreads
How could we talk about snacks without mentioning crackers and spreads? This is pretty much what we've been living on lately. I have already shared with you two of our staples: onion bread and almond bread, along with a delicious zucchini cracker recipe I discovered recently. Here are a couple of other great cracker recipes you might want to experiment with.

Remember orange and cheesy Ritz Crackers? You'll be amazed at how much these taste like the 'real' thing.

Just Like Ritz Crackers
Posted by mindi on RFT

2 ½ c. walnuts soaked 1 hr. or more
2 ½ c. cubed zucchini
½ c. ground golden flax seed
¼ c. hemp seed
2 teaspoons sea salt

Grind walnut in FP until they are in very small uniform pieces (couscous looking) - transfer to bowl.

Grind zucchini in FP until they are in very small uniform pieces - add to bowl.

Add ground flax, hemp and salt. Blend well. Add enough water to make spreadable dough ( 1/2 to 1 cup).

Spread between 2 trays lined with teflex.

Dehydrate - Flip - until crisp.

Cut in to chips - flat bread or desired sizes.

And here's a modified version of Kelly's Super Flax Crax published in Carol Alt's new book "The Raw 50". These have got to be one of the prettiest and most original crackers I've come upon! I've altered the recipe slightly and divided it by half as the original one yielded close to 6 dehydrator trays!

Kelly's Super Flax Crax - Modified
From Carol Alt's "The Raw 50"

3/4 cup flax seeds, soaked for a few hours and drained
3/4 cup flax seeds, ground
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
1/2 cup raw pistachio, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup red, yellow or orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 cup red onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbs cumin
2 tbs dulse flakes
2 tbs Tamari
1 1/4 cup water (or more)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

- Drain the soaked flax seeds and transfer to a large bowl.

- Grind the rest of the flax seeds in coffee grinder, add to bowl and set aside.

- In food processor, combine pumpkin seeds, pistachios, lemon juice, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, dulse, and Braggs. Process until smooth and add to the bowl.

- Add water to the mixture, and stir in the parsley.

- Let stand for at least 30 mins. The batter should be thick and spreadable. If necessary, add more water until spreadable consistency is reached.

- Spread about 1/8 " thick on teflex sheets. (It should fill 2 to 3 sheets.) Score and dehydrate for a few hours, until dry to the touch.

- Flip and transfer over to mesh. Continue to dehydrate until fully dry and crispy. (I left them overnight.)

So now that we've got our crackers, let's have a look at a few yummy ideas as to what to eat them with. As I was putting together this post, I noticed a recurring theme; the following all mimic popular cooked sandwich fillings. I didn't really intend it that way, but hey, what can I say?

Posted by Erica of School of RAWk

1 large eggplant peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise. (You can use a wide veggie-peeler or a mandoline for this.)

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons Ume Plum vinegar
2 Tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons cider
1 Tablespoon liquid smoke

Marinate for 2 or more hours. . . I like 6 or so.

Spread them out on the teflex and dehydrate for 8 hours and then turn the "bacon" and dry another 8 hours.

Carmella's Notes:
- Liquid Smoke can be found in the 'sauce' section of most grocery stores. It apparently 'makes' the recipe but I tried it without and the bacon still turned out delicious!

- Enjoy on bread/cracker of your choice, with mayo, tomato slices and lettuce. Yum! Yum! BLT's never tasted so good!

This recipe was featured in Raw Food, Right Now!s Thanksgiving ebook and is absolutely incredible! With Heidi and Justin's kind permission, I now get to share it with you.

I swear it DOES taste exactly like the deviled eggs my mom used to make on special occasions. For a wonderful egg salad, simply fold in some finely chopped celery, green onion and red pepper.

Raw Deviled Egg-less "Egg" Spread
By Heidi and Justin of Raw Food, Right Now!

Serves 4-6

½ cup pure water (I prefer to start with less and add more water if needed)
Juice from one small lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (or to taste!!!)
1 ½ cups raw cashews
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Turmeric, as needed for color (approx. ½ teaspoon)

1. Place the water, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and cashews in the high speed blender, and blend until very smooth.

2. With a spatula, take the mixture from the blender and place in a medium sized mixing bowl.

3. Slowly stir in the mustard, white vinegar, and turmeric until it reaches the color and flavor you desire.

4. Serve on top of flax seed crackers, celery sticks, or add a bit of water to make a creamy salad dressing.

Shelf Life: Keeps up to 5 days in the fridge if sealed in a tight container. You can make this ahead of time!

Carmella's Notes:
- I usually make this spread using part cashews and part macs.

- For an awesome cream cheese, just omit the mustard and turmeric.

Mock Salmon Pate
From Alissa Cohen's Book, Living on Live Foods
Posted by Raw Vegan Mama on Raw Freedom Community

2 cups raw walnuts
2 stalks celery
1 large red sweet pepper
1 large scallion
1/2 - 1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serving suggestions: This can be served on a plate as is, over a salad, rolled up in a green leaf, or spread on crackers.

RVM's Note: This is pretty, a nice pink "salmon" color. I used this as a filling with green boston lettuce. It tasted great! My husband even likes it. I used two green onions, and it was a bit too onion-y, not terrible, just a bit much. This reminds me of roasted red pepper hummus. Going to try some garlic in it next time.

Finally, Anna of TheRawTable.com, also has a delicious Mock Chicken Salad recipe available on her site:

Burgers Anyone?
I was debating whether to include these in this post and thought "Why not!?" These mushroom burgers are so easy to whip up, and although they don't really qualify as 'portable', they still make a great snack just the same!

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps or 'Burgers'

For the Mushroom Caps:
Carefully remove the stems from Portobello mushrooms.

Make a marinade of oil, tamari/salt and garlic. Then either brush the Portobello caps with it or just dip them in it. (Careful not to use too much salt; the taste does get stronger with the dehydration as the mushrooms shrink!)

Put caps on teflex sheet and dehydrate at 110 for a couple of hours. They will turn a beautiful dark color and you would never guess these are still raw!

Carmella's Note: I like to chop up the unused stems and toss them in the left-over marinade. They are great, dehydrated or not, to put on top of pasta or in sammies or whatever.

These particular Portobello 'burgers' were topped with a sort of cross between a mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard sauce. I got the idea from my friend Chantale, but haven't got the exact amounts figured out yet. Basically some soaked cashews, soaked yellow mustard seeds (I used too many at first and it was wayyyyy too strong! ), a little avocado, tomato, salt, and ACV or lemon. Then water until the desired consistency is reached.

I finished off with some Guacamole, as somehow avocado goes really well with the mushrooms. There are all kinds of variations, but one of my favorites is Anna's of TheRawTable.

Don was pointing out to me the other day how you could experiment with different toppings for these. My spinach quiche fillings, for instance, would be really super!

This is just a small sample of the raw snacks that are great to have on hand and are easy to prepare. Many of these recipes could have endless variations. Lots and lots of possibilities to play with here! Oh, and let's not forget the Zucchini Roll-ups and Savory Nori Snacks that I've mentioned in previous posts.

Hope these help you enjoy the rest of the summer!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

“The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen” Ebook Now Available!

I feel like I am giving birth once again!

A couple of months ago, Don and I were launching our forum, Raw Freedom Community. Today, I am thrilled to announce the release of my ebook, “The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen”.

This ebook features 21 tried and true recipes, including 4 of Heathy/Fairygirl's scrumptious desserts. Some of the best creations to have come out of our raw kitchen!

These are mostly dehydrator free and don’t require a great deal of time or skills; perfect for the summer, when we’d rather be outside reveling in the many blessings of the season, rather than at the kitchen counter!

While you may recognize a couple of recipes previously posted on my blog, most are revised versions or new exclusive recipes, never published before.

Want a little eye candy? Why not?

Here are a few of the delectable creations featured in "The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen" ebook:

Tomato & Herb Soup

Green Celery Soup

Thai Coconut Soup

Lasagna Magnifica

Velvet Cream Mini-Quiches

Cheezy Cannellonis

Caramel Macadamia Pie

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Caramel Turtles

This electronic book is also super user friendly. It comes with both a photo and a text-only version (for easy printing), and is published in Adobe's PDF format. (If you don't already have 'Acrobat Reader' installed, you can download a free copy at www.adobe.com.)

How Much For This 'Work of Heart'?
Here's the best (and most interesting!) part... I've decided not to offer the ebook for a fixed price, but rather have a suggested sliding-scale of $9.99 to $12.99. It just seemed right to allow people to give according to what they feel this ebook is worth to them.

All profits generated from the sales of "The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen" will go towards furthering our intention of spreading awareness of Raw and Freedom as well as continuing to build Community.

When you purchase a copy of the ebook, you will be able to download 2 versions: the main one, complete with gorgeous, mouth-watering color photos, and a printer-friendly, text-only version.

To order your copy of “The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen”, click on the link below and make your donation via Paypal.

Add to CartView Cart

Ebook Packages

Please note that you can also purchase my various ebooks together as convenient packages!

Ebook Package #1
My first two best sellers, The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen and The Best of Raw Freedom Community, can be purchased for a sliding scale starting at $19.98. To order this package, simply click on the link below and make your donation via Paypal or debit/credit card (an option will appear for the latter on the lower left side of the window once you click on the 'Fast Check Out With Paypal' button).

Add to Cart View Cart

Ebook Package #2
Purchase my first three books, The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen and The Best of Raw Freedom Community and Delightfully Raw in electronic format for a sliding scale starting at $33.99. To order this package, simply click on the link below and make your donation via Paypal or debit/credit card.

Add to CartView Cart

Ebook Package #3
Purchase all four of my recipe books in electronic format for a sliding scale starting at $39.99. To order this package, simply click on the link below and make your donation via Paypal or debit/credit card.

Add to CartView Cart

The downloading instructions for the ebook(s) will be sent to your inbox shortly after you've completed your payment. (If you don't receive it, you might want to make sure it hasn't been sent to your SPAM or junk folder!)

If you have any difficulty with the download(s), please don't hesitate to contact me at:


Note: The ebooks come in PDF format; if you don't already have 'Acrobat Reader' installed on your computer, you can download a free copy at www.adobe.com.

My heart-felt thanks to all of you, the readers of my Sunny Raw Kitchen blog; you have inspired me to open my kitchen to the bigger cyber world and take you all along on our rawesome life adventures!

I hope you enjoy this ‘work of heart’ and its celebration of how delectable raw food can be!

In radiance and health,

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Recipes Wanted

Hear ye! Hear ye!

All chefs and creators of beautiful raw foods are invited to submit their recipes in the Sunny Raw Community Kitchen Ebooks forum. If you’d like to publish one of your raw creations, here’s your chance!

Sometime during Raw Freedom Community's recent 'Recipe Of The Month' Contest, it occurred to Don and I that we don't resonate much with the idea of having 'winners' and 'losers' and the whole competitive game. So we've come up with a much better system for contributing recipes that will allow everybody to win!

The submitted recipes will go in a ‘recipe bank’ for ebooks which RFC/The Sunny Raw Community Kitchen will be publishing, depending on the number of submissions received.

For each of the recipes selected to go in an ebook, Fairygirl/Heathy and I will match it with one of our own!

Additionally, the ebooks will feature RFC’s ‘Top Picks’, taken from polls where forum members will be able to vote for their favorites.

A small portion of the profits of each ebook will be going towards expanses and improvements of Raw Freedom Community Forum, the rest will go towards supporting the raw lifestyle.

So put on your Chef’s hat and get uncooking!

To submit your recipes, click here.

Looking forward to trying your creations!

Coming Up Next
Speaking of ebooks, "The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen" will be available for purchase in a few days.

Get ready for a raw summer food fest blast!

Taking Flight

Can't believe it's going on 2 months since our new forum, Raw Freedom Community, has opened its doors! Wow! Between recipe testing, forum posting, and the release of my ebook, 'The Best Of The Sunny Raw Kitchen', there hasn't been enough hours in the day, and I have totally lost track of time! Anywho, I thought I was due to bring you up to date as to what all has been going on there lately.

Our little on-line community has taken flight! Yippee! RFC now has over 100 members, but more importantly, there is a growing sense of friendship and cooperation. (Read this awesome post about lessons we can learn from geese in that regard!)

It's really starting to feel like the 'home away from home' that we were envisioning. Such a beautiful gathering of people, it makes me shiver at the possibilities that lay ahead...

The Dessert Queen Is Back!
Speaking of our members, Fairygirl/Heathy is back from her journey 'Down Under'. She's been sharing her latest rawesome creations with us (including lots of pics!) Some serious drooling material over on the 'Photo Only' thread, I tell ya!

Her return couldn't be more timely as she was able to contribute a number of dessert recipes for my ebook, to be released next week.

In fact, RFC has been growing in every sense of the word. We have been adding awesome new sub-forums and it's only the beginning...

Holistic Parenting
Mamas and papas can now exchange and learn about all-things-kids in a huge new section called 'Raw Freedom Kids - A Holistic Approach To Parenting'. What was intended as a small 'Raw Kids' sub-forum actually developed into a fantastic resource that addresses everything from alternative education, to nutrition, to natural birthing and more.

This project was made possible thanks to two wonderful moms, Raw Vegan Mama and RawJules, who have been so inspiring and full of exciting ideas. What a pleasure it's been to work with them on this project! This is really their 'baby', so to speak; I was only the facilitator in helping delivering it. lol

Food For Thought
Is the food you eat as healthy and nourishing as you think it is? Did you know that most salts, including the highly regarded 'Himalayan Salt', contain toxic excipients (flow agents)? Or have you ever wondered 'Why Even Raw Organic Isn't Enough' ? Find answers to these questions and more in our new Nutrition Awareness Central section; a place to learn and share about diet and the worsening food crisis, and help one another find practical solutions.

Going Green
We are also exploring the possibilities of adding one or two more forums to RFC; an Environmental/Green section as well as a Self-Sustainable Lifestyle section. If you are interested in participating in the creation of either of these or perhaps to just give us a hand in the brainstorming phase, see these threads:

What's Up?
We've just created 2 new portal pages in order to make navigation around Raw Freedom Community easier and help you find out at a glance what is going on in your favorite corners: one for the 'Sunny Raw Community Kitchen' and one for the 'Raw Freedom Kids' section. These can be accessed either via the Site Navigation links on RFC's main portal page or via the following links:

And The Winners Are...
Don and I felt that both Erica's Fajitas and Joz's Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipes deserved the grand prize for the recent 'Recipe Of The Month' Contest .

They have been tailing each other all along and they are both fabulous recipes which embody what raw food prep is all about: creativity and deliciousness.

So congrats you two! You can each expect to receive a copy of Fairygirl's raw dessert recipe book as soon as it is released!

In fact, we've realised that we don't resonate much with the idea of having 'winners' and 'losers' and the whole competitive game. So we've come up with a much better system for contributing recipes that will allow everybody to win! I'll be outlining our exciting new project in my next post so stay tuned for all the details!

I guess that's all the big news in a nutshell.

If you haven't already, drop by for a visit at:

Photo Credits
flying geese 2 by willhausen
Layer cake with strawberry frosting by Fairygirl
like a record... by shoothead
haul from the farmer's market by Splat Worldwide
Fajitas by Erica of SchoolofRAWk

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Book Review: Carol Alt's "The Raw 50"

Carol Alt is one of those natural beauties. Once declared "the most beautiful woman of the world", she is now in her late 40s and continues to radiate health. What is her secret you ask? Eating whatever she wants and as much as she wants... as long as it's raw!

Today, Carol's new book,"The Raw 50", is being released to the world. The book is a compilation of 50 of Carol's favorite recipes, mostly contributed by a variety of raw chefs, including Sarma MeIngailis of Pure Food and Wine, Dan Hoyt, aka 'Raw Chef Dan', of Quintessence Restaurant, and my dear friend Heathy Pace/Fairygirl, which you have already met. Sounded promising, to say the least...

First thing I did when I received the copy Random House sent me for reviewing purposes was browse through the recipes. I found that the selection was quite varied and many caught my attention at once. You know me, I just had to put some of the "Raw 50s" to the test...

'Jica-Rice Fresh' by Melissa Davidson of the Terra Bella Cafe

My thoughts: I love the idea of using jicama for rice! Not only delicious, but simple and pretty too...

Would I make this again? Most definitely!

'Cabbage And Peas With Tarragon' by Kelly Serbonich

My thoughts: Huh, dunno whether it's because our peas weren't very sweet, but we didn't find this dish overtly exciting. A little oily as well. An unusual combination of ingredients though...

Would I make this again? Perhaps with a little tweaking, sweeter peas and less oil?

We also tried a few of the soups presented in the book. (Surprise! Surprise!)

Janice Innella's 'Red Pepper Curry Soup' was a delight! A lovely mixture of sweet and spicy, with a touch of basil.

The 'Arugula Veggie Soup' from Chef Dan reminded me a lot of a blended salad. What it lacks in looks, however, it has in taste!

Yet another one of Dan's creations: 'Cucumber Avocado Soup'

My thoughts: Everything a soup should be: creamy, delicious and simple to prepare!

Would I make this again? You betcha!

Kelly's 'Super Flax Crax' with Awesome Foods' 'Cashew Cheese Spread'

The Flax Crax...

My thoughts: These have got to be one of the prettiest and most original crackers I've come upon! Amongst its many ingredients are flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and pistachios, red pepper and dulse flakes. Yum! Perhaps I was spreading the batter too thinly, but this recipe filled up close to 6 dehydrator trays!!! They are real yummers which came as a relief, as it yielded a few months' worth of supply! lol

Would I make this again? Definitely! Although I will halve the recipe.

The Spread...

My thoughts: I replaced some of the dried herbs called for with fresh herbs, which accounts for the greenish color of the cheese. lol It certainly didn't affect the taste, though. One of those quickly prepared spreads that is always handy to have in the fridge for a last minute snack.

Would I make this again? Yup!

Zucchini Crackers

This recipe didn't look like much at first (it calls for only 5 ingredients!), but boy, let me tell you, these are fantastic! Some of the best I've ever made! They're quite neutral in taste, so you could use them with both sweet and savory spreads. These crackers have instantly become a house favorite; right up there with the Onion Bread and Almond Bread, in my opinion. So much so in fact, that with Random House's kind permission, I am sharing this gem of a recipe with you.

Zucchini Crackers

Makes 24 crackers

1/2 cup golden flax seeds
3/4 cup purified water
1 med. zucchini, cubed (approx. 2 cups)
2 cups raw walnuts, germinated
2 tbs nutritional yeast (opt)

Grind the flax seeds in a spice or coffee grinder, and then transfer them to a bowl. Add the water and soak for about 1 hour, or until all the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Put the zucchini in a food processor and pulse until it is chopped into very small, uniform pieces, but not to the point of being mush. You want to retain some texture. Add the zucchini to the bowl containing the flax seeds. Put the walnuts in the food processor and pulse until they are finely ground, but again, not mushy or pastelike. Add the walnuts to the bowl with the flax seeds and zucchini and combine well (you may need to use you hands.)

Once you have thoroughly mixed the ingredients, spread them out evenly on two dehydrator trays lines with Teflex sheets and dehydrate at 115 degrees F for about 6 hours. When the tops feel dry to the touch, flip the cracker sheets over on the dehydrator screens and remove the Teflex liners. Continue to dehydrate for another 3 hours. Then cut the crackers into the desired size and shape. Place them back in the dehydrator for another 11 hours, or until crisp. Serve with hummus, cheese, and guacamole; or with your favorite soup.

Carmella's Notes: I definitely needed to use my hands to mix the batter, as it was quite thick. I even considered adding more water, but then I remembered the instructions, and it did the trick perfectly.

I also scored the batter before putting it in the D rather than after flipping it.

And finally, a couple of entrees... I better warn you first, this is turning into a Chef Dan's feature, but hey, what can I do? He's got like 12 recipes in there! I guess Carol is a big fan of Quintessence, eh?

Dan's 'Coconut Crusted Shrimp With Red Curry Sauce'

My thoughts: I served this dish with zucchini fettucinis, red pepper and leek. Sure looked like it was straight out of some fancy, gourmet raw restaurant (which I guess Quintessence is! lol) A delicious blend of textures and tastes. Perhaps a ways from real shrimps, but a pretty good dish nevertheless.

Would I make this again? Maybe

'Broccoli Cheddar Cannelloni' by You Know Who (lol)

My thoughts: Let's begin on a positive note. Once again, Dan's presentation is superbe! I found the tomato sauce to be a little wet, so I will probably omit the water called for in the recipe next time. However, the blend of fresh herbs was quite lovely. On the not-so-bright side, I didn't really enjoy the filling, finding one of the herbs in there (Rosemary? Sage?) a tad overpowering.

Would I make this again? Probably; although I will make sure to tone down on the herbs.

The book is filled with other promising recipes, such as Raw Burgers served with Sprouted Kamut Buns, Red Leaf Salad With Arugula Pesto Dressing, and of course, Heathy's Raw Lasagna. Oh, and on the sweet side, Mac-Macs (coconut and macadamias cookies), Almond Coconut Cookies, Pecan Pie and Lemon Ginger Coconut Tart.

Vegans beware, however. Tucked amongst "The Raw 50" are also a few recipes using raw dairy, eggs, and fish.

Spread throughout the book are testimonials from several people who share how adopting a raw food diet has had a profound impact in their lives; helping them get the upper hand over depression, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even cancer. These struck a chord with me, as I always find myself fascinated by true stories, especially those that speak of transformation and success.

Besides enjoying the variety of recipes in "The Raw 50" and the glimpses it offers into people's lives, I found the book to be a good and effortless read. I appreciated Carol's personal and genuine comments about what it's been like for her to be raw, and her friendly and engaging tone.

All and all, a great little recipe book!

For more details about Carol Alt's "Raw 50" and/or to order, visit Random House's site.