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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ridiculously Delicious Sweet Potatoes (Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan)

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Dessert has a different meaning in my world currently than it used to… though I ate a lot of raw and vegan desserts anyway, on the Wahls’ Diet (which I’ve been doing to heal from CO poisoning) there aren’t too many dessert-friendly ingredients allowed.  I’m still square with avocado pudding, thank heavens, and have eaten that pretty damn regularly, as evidenced by previous blogs.  However, before I also baked somewhat regularly, and even when I made gluten-free stuff there was usually some sort of grain SOMETHING involved.  When I decided to do the diet I did so fully (I went free of everything suggested), meaning that for now, with the exception of one small serving of a cheat food every 1-2 weeks, I am pretty much all Wahls-compliant food all the time.

And that means that in order to switch things up with the avocados, I’ve been rethinking sweet potatoes.  Though not normally allowed on a Paleo-based diet, Wahls allows both beets and sweet potatoes in the “brightly colored” category because of their high nutrient content.  Rather than a side dish, I’ve been treating them as dessert, and they work very well as one.  Inspired first by Erewhon’s deli-counter sweet potato puree with coconut milk and vanilla, then by a blog about using sweet potatoes as a basis for a peanut butter pie, I’ve come up with a pretty freaking tasty version of sweet potatoes.  There’s no butter, no sugar, no soy, and no need for any of it.  It’s rich, it’s decadent, and it will satisfy your dessert tooth, I promise.  Amounts given are basic guidelines so that you can make as small or large a batch as desired.

 

Ridiculously Delicious Everything-Free Sweet Potatoes:

Garnet sweet potatoes, aka yams, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices then rough chopped into 3/4 inch squares and triangles. I do enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, which is about half a dozen medium ones.
Put chopped sweet potatoes into a dish, and preheat oven to 375.

Add:
enough unsweetened coconut milk to go 1 inch up the pan– not so much that it will boil over.

Sprinkle liberally with:
Himalayan salt
cinnamon
ginger
a touch of cloves
vanilla

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, and adding more milk as needed– don’t let them dry out. They should take about an hour to bake.

Stir every few minutes as they cool, adding 1/2 cup coconut milk at a time until they stop absorbing it. I use at least 2 additional cups over what I used when they cooked.

Once cooled, throw the whole lot into a blender.

Add:
1-2 droppers each toffee and hazelnut stevia
1/3 cup (or more) almond butter
more salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and/or ginger to taste

Blend until mostly smooth, with some chunks remaining if you prefer (I do). Eat as is, or layer with additional almond butter, avo pudding, or anything else. The coconut milk is rich enough that you won’t even notice the lack of butter, but if you are used to super decadent sweet potatoes you could add some coconut oil, or more almond butter. The stevia alone makes them more than sweet enough, since they are very sweet to begin with.

Red Velvet, Minus the Bug Juice

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I must admit that I’ve never eaten a slice of  commercial red velvet cake.  I was brought up to be wary of unnaturally colored things, so I have had a bite once or twice of others cakes, just to see what all the hoopla was about, but it was nowhere good enough to eat a big heaping serving of artificial dye.  I did make a red velvet cake for a friend’s birthday a few years ago, and tried to do so first with natural dye.  The result was a muddy mess, and I resorted to the “real” stuff, since red velvet, not mud velvet, was the type of cake she’d chosen when asked.  I was aghast at the fact that one cake takes AN ENTIRE CONTAINER of red dye, which most people know is made from carmine, a type of bug.  Sure, Americans eat all kinds of kooky things, like bread with “dough conditioners,” which are made of human hair, but I tend to avoid all that because I’m a complete snot when it comes to food.

Anyway, last night I decided to make pudding, and I wanted to make something a little different than the standard chocolate-avo ones I’ve been making for ages.  I wanted it to be avocado based, but a bit lighter than just all avocado, and a little chocolaty, but not overly so.  I decided to cook up some beets, which technically makes this a not-all-the-way-raw pudding, and did my usual “let’s throw stuff in the blender and see what happens!!” routine.  The result was a delectable concoction that I’ve decided to call red velvet pudding, because of its color and mild cacao flavor.  It doesn’t seem terribly different in ingredients than the other avo-based puddings I’ve posted the recipes for, but the quantity of beets makes for a substantial difference in both color and flavor.

Raw(ish) Vegan Red Velvet Pudding:
2 medium avocados
1/2 cup honey or coconut nectar or agave OR 1/2 cup water plus 1 dropper flavored stevia
1 cup baked beets with 1 cup beet water, 1/2 cup reserved
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup dried cherries, reconstituted
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup lucuma powder
2 tbls cacao powder
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 dropper chocolate-raspberry stevia

Add all ingredients EXCEPT 1/2 cup of beet water to blender. Blend until creamy, adding reserved beet water as necessary for texture. Fruit can be changed up with any other red fruit. Chill in refrigerator until cold.

To serve: this is hearty and thick enough for usage as a frosting, but light enough to parfait with fruit and granola. I just put it in a little cup and added a dollop of almond butter and a smattering of cacao nibs.

Killer Shrooms, Man

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Since I mostly post sweet recipes, I wanted to share a very simple and versatile side dish I made this week: raw marinated mushrooms.  I’m a big fan of dishes that improve, rather than get yucky, as the week goes on, and these ‘shrooms do exactly that.  They continue to intensify in flavor, and get a bit softer but never get past a standard “cooked” texture. They’re quick and easy to make; the bulk of the work lies in chopping them, which if you wanted you could actually avoid.  Keeping them whole would yield less flavor throughout, but a firmer texture.  I happen to like the texture of cooked mushrooms, and really enjoyed how indistinguishable these were from their cooked counterparts.  This was definitely a just-throw-stuff-in-a-bowl-to-taste recipe more so than a specific-amounts one, and I honestly doubt you could make them in a way that tastes bad! They are so yummy, there isn’t even any need to add salt.

Easy Raw Marinated Mushrooms:
2 lbs button and/or cremini mushrooms, chopped into 1/4s or 1/8s depending on size
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked
2 tbls dried dill
3 parts balsamic vinegar to each 1 part cold-pressed olive oil (use cider vinegar for a 100% raw dish)
lots of fresh cracked black pepper

Chop mushrooms and place in a big bowl. Add garlic and herbs, then pour vinegar about 1/4 cup at a time until you reach a point of saturation. Once the mushrooms won’t absorb any more vinegar, pour on a fraction as much olive oil. Doing it this way helps ensure the mushrooms absorbed vinegar, not oil, so all you need of oil is what you’ll be tasting, rather than them absorbing a bunch of extra oil.

These can be eaten as is, as a topping for a protein or grain, or added to a salad to act as both dressing and condiment. I made a snack of them on bell peppers with an oatmeal-based cheddar spread, which was a delicious mostly-raw lunch.

Health Note: I’m on week four of Dr. Terry Wahls’ “Minding Your Mitochondria” diet, and though it is far different than my standard way of eating, I’m noticing numerous physical benefits of it.  Part of the diet is to eat three cups daily of sulphur rich veggies.  Most vegetables that fall into that category are cruciferous, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.  While those are very good for you, they’re hard on your thyroid (and mine is already ruined), and you should eat them cooked.  This dish is a perfect way to get in your daily allotment of sulphur rich veggies while upping your raw foods intake.  Mushrooms are also full of C and B Vitamins, making them an excellent immune booster.

Celebrating 17 Years of Pies

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Our oldest cat is named Pies, and she recently turned 17.  She is still holding strong and is, I believe, no more crotchety than she was as a kitten, because she has always been a crotchety cat.  Pies is a classic grouch, happier to scratch you than let you pet her, but she has her moments.  She sleeps on me every night, and is the most loving animal one could ask for… in the wee hours of the morning, and only then.

Pies was a rescue kitty– she was found in a trash can with her mom.  At the time I got her, when I was scarcely 18, I already had a kitten, named Maddles, who has since died of lymphoma.  Maddles was queen of the house, and always kept Pies in check.  When Maddles died at age 11, I thought Pies would suddenly spring out of her shell and develop a stronger/more loving personality, but that never happened.  Pies remained as introverted and unfriendly as ever, and she remains as such to this day.  She has no health ailments to the best of our knowledge, and though a little slower than in times past, is still fully mobile and spritely.  I love her dearly because we have spent so long together, and because I’d like to think that those middle-of-the-night loves are indicative of her true, deeper self.

Initially named Ivy, which then evolved into Ivy-Pie, then I-Pie, then Pies, she has been Pies for close to ten years now, and it’s a name that always confounds strangers.  There is no hidden meaning behind it; of all desserts, pies are far from my favorite.  It’s a quirky name for a quirky cat, and it fits her well.  So here’s to you, Pies, in all your wonderful, crotchety, beautiful glory.  You are as well-traveled as a gal could be, having lived in nearly twenty homes on two coasts.  You’ve seen me through relationships, roommates, and careers, and you’ve meowed begrudgingly by my side through all of it.  Ace and I love you to pieces, Bill always wanted you to be his girlfriend, and Chessie and Mama LeeLee are doing a damn fine job of putting up with your persnickety ways.  We hope you decide to stick around for another 17 years, because life just wouldn’t be the same without you.

P.S. We REALLY appreciate that you stopped peeing on everything a couple years ago.  Keep up the good work, please!

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