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!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Raw Radiance Retreat 2012 - In Retrospect

Last weekend me, Don, and our friend Ulla hosted our very first raw retreat - Raw Radiance - and it was such a wonderful experience! The group was fairly small and we decided to use as a venue the Benailse Retreat Center in the Slocan Valley. This is where we lived for a number of years before we became nomads, so in many ways it felt like doing it from home. As it turns out it was perfect that it was an intimate gathering, as it gave us an opportunity to find our sea legs, it being our first retreat and all.

The weather was amazing for nearly the entire time and we were able to do most sessions and meals in the yard. Yay! Sadly Don and I usually had to busy ourselves prepping food during Ulla's presentations so it never even occurred to me to take some photos of these. Ah well... next time! ;-)

Lunch that first day was Whole Meal Miso Soup - a major staple for us for years, especially when we're on the road.

For dinner we enjoyed a Tomato and Herbs Soup, followed by Zucchini Pasta with two types of Pesto: a light Basil Pesto and a richer version made with pine nuts and pecans based on this recipe. It was served with a side salad drizzled with my House Dressing. When prepping the meals we used as much freshly picked veggies from our gardens as possible. In this case only the tomatoes were bought at the local Farmers' Market. Don't you just love the abundance of this season?


Day 2
The evening before we watched the movie "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", about the incredible transformations of Joe Cross and Phil Staples, largely thanks to juice feasting. If you haven't already, you guys really ought to see this documentary; it's nothing short of amazing and, of course, super inspiring. So it was only fitting that we start Day 2 off with a nutrition-packed Purple Power Juice from the JoinTheReboot website associated with the film. As it turns out, we happen to own the same juicer as the one used in the movie - a Breville Juice Fountain. (We sell several models in our Amazon Store here).

We used concord grapes and blackberries from Ulla and Mike's garden. Yum! I somehow got mixed up with a different juice recipe and started to shove in greens by the handful.  Ooopsie! What can I say!?! Me love my greens! ;-)

Purple Power Juice
From www.jointhereboot.com

Serves 2

6 cups concord grapes
1 Golden Delicious Apple
2" piece of ginger
1/2 cup blackberries

Pass all ingredients through juicer.

It still tasted heavenly and was even more nutritious to boot, although it did turn the juice into a suspicious brown color.


Lunch was a ginormous salad with various veggies to toss in, a choice of my House Dressing or Hemp Peppercorn Ranch Dressing, Sunflower Garlic Spread and Italian Flax Crackers

During one of our conversations the previous day, the way I cook quinoa popped up, so I decided on a whim to add some to the menu. Here's how I prep it and I just love LOVE the nutty flavor that it gives the quinoa!

Sprouted and Lightly Cooked Quinoa

Serves 2

3/4 cup quinoa
Quart glass jar with wide opening
Cheesecloth or mosquito screen
Elastic band

Place quinoa in jar, secure the cheesecloth or screen with the elastic band.

Rinse well, 2 or 3 times, by filling the jar with water, shaking it around then pouring the liquid out.

Fill the jar about 3/4 full with fresh water and allow to soak for 8 hours or overnight.

Drain soak water, rinse quinoa, drain water again, and let sit at room temperature for 1 day. This will allow the quinoa grains to sprout/grow a little tail.

Rinse and drain one more time then transfer quinoa to a small pot.

Add water until it covers the quinoa by a little less than 1/4 inch.

Bring to a boil, covered, then turn off heat and wrap pot in a blanket or under your bed covers.

Your quinoa should be ready in 30 minutes. Drain any excess water and serve.

That afternoon we were invited by my friend Camille, whose property is along the beautiful Slocan River, to join her for a river walk. The weather was gorgeous and we had a wonderful time chilling on one of the islands. We had brought a couple of thermoses full of my Strawberry Banana Shake to snack on while we were there.

Dinner that night was a Cream of Zucchini Soup and a delicious Tostada made with Sprouted Corn Chips, Guacamole, Nacho Cheeze, lettuce strips, Fresh Tomato Salsa and Cashew Sour Cream. Sooooooo tasty!

We finished the day by watching another awesome and inspiring movie called 'May I Be Frank', documenting the transformation of Frank Ferrante. As you may recall, it's a movie I hold especially close to my heart. I had the good fortune to be able to attend one of the screenings in Seattle a couple of years ago and meet Frank. You can read about my beautiful connection with him here.

Day 3
Breakfast that morning consisted of our Anything Goes Green Smoothie (a variation of Our Daily Green Fuel). It's a great go-to recipe as it calls for whatever fruits are in season.


Gosh, isn't the color just stunning? I'm so in love with green smoothies!

The focus that day was particularly on raw so Don and I gave a short presentation, sharing our own stories along with our approach to successfully transitioning to the raw lifestyle.


Lunch was Sauerkraut Salad - one of my absolute favorites - made with a fresh batch of kraut from our kitchen. It was accompanied by Onion Bread and two types of vegan cheeze: Black Pepper & Chive and Purple Basil & Garlic (recipe to be shared very soon!)

For our afternoon activity we hiked up to the Look Out, a few minutes behind Benailse Retreat Center. Not only does it give a breathtaking view of the Slocan Valley but it's also a power spot complete with an energy vortex.

When we got back we felt like a little boost before dinner so I whipped up a yummy Choconana Shake. (Sorry, I forgot to take pics!)

My initial idea was to have a long food prep demo featuring 5 or 6 recipes that afternoon. However, inspired by a similar retreat held by my friend and raw food chef Guylaine Lacerte of The Raw Food Path, I decided instead to do a bunch of short demos just before a meal featuring one of the recipes that we were about to enjoy. What a brilliant concept! It made each demo much more focused and concise, plus it also cut down on the amount of dishes to be prepared all at once (and cleaned up too!) Not to mention that it is considerably more energy demanding to keep pumping out recipes in front of a crowd for over 2 hours! And so later I demoed how to prepare a raw vegan Pad Thai, which was the main course that night.

That and the lovely Indian Carrot Curry Soup we served as appetizer turned out to be major hits. Yay!

Day 4
It was already time to bring our Raw Radiance Retreat to a closure. Wowsers, how it flew by! Mind you, we were so busy in the kitchie that we lost track of time. ;-)

We began with another juice recipe from JoinTheReboot which is quite similar to the combo that Don and I enjoy pretty much every morning.

ABC's Juice
From www.jointhereboot.com 

Serves 2

2 Apples
2 Pears (Asian or any other type)
2 Beets
2 Carrots
1 cup Cabbage (optional, can also replace with 2 celery sticks)
6 handfuls Chard

Pass all ingredients through juicer.

As the focus of Raw Radiance was mostly on detox we didn't serve any desserts throughout the retreat, wanting to keep the food on the lighter side of things. However we tried to make up for it on departure day by serving a delicious warm Blackberry Peach Cobbler fresh out of the dehydrator. I had mentioned Chia Pudding at some point so I demoed how to make it the evening before and served it as well that morning. Fuel for the road!

This of course opened up a whole new line of discussion on all the incredible desserts you can enjoy in the raw. Showing the girls some of the scrumptious sweet creations in my Delightfully Raw book.

All and all Raw Radiance was a wonderful success and we don't think it could have gone much smoother considering that it was our first. Working with Ulla was such a delight! We are so aligned and complement each other incredibly well. I feel blessed that Life has brought us together! (Thanks to our friends Pontifex and Mosaica who woofed for them last year.) Now we're excited at the prospect of other retreats to come! In fact we are already planning on having a lunch demo and a Raw Radiance day workshop in October before we head south. Stay tuned for more details!

Hope you're enjoying radiant health and are continuously inspired wherever you are!


  1. Hi Carmella,
    Sounds like you had a wonderful retreat and learned things for future ones. I met Ulla and Mike 5 years ago and really enjoyed being with

    I saw your description of preparing quinoa and wanted to let you know it only needs to be soaked 2 or 3 hours before sprouting it for 10 to 20 hours.

    Enjoy your winter adventures.

  2. Carmella, you are such an inspiration! thankyou, If I was anywhere near the states I would have been there in a flash! Blessings and love from down under x