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My Blog Has Moved!

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My Blog Has Moved!

I’m not done blogging, but am doing so now from my new website, ArianeCooks.com.  You’ll find all the blogs I’ve already posted here, plus new video blogs I’ve begun making recently.  Also, there is lots of background on me as well as info about the chef services I offer.

I’ve already added two how-to video blogs: one on how to make homemade beet dye that will turn food INCREDIBLE colors naturally, and one on how you can superfood up smoothies in a tasty way.  Thanks for having followed BaringFruit, and I look forward to hearing from you at the ArianeCooks blog!

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Cantaloupe Pudding in Any Season (raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free)

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This weekend we went to visit my parents, and my mother gave us an enormous and wonderful array of fruit she’d dried to take home. We’ve got gallon size bags of raisins, bananas, cantaloupe, and pineapple, all of which are dried to just chewy, not firm/shelf-stable and will stay fresh indefinitely in the fridge.

I’m known to be a little bit kooky when it comes to finishing things; I’ll often ask Ace to slow down on eating something special so that we don’t run out too fast, and it’s been on more than one occasion that  perishables have gone bad because I didn’t want them to be gone and so, didn’t finish them.  It is in this frame of mind that I told Ace after we last were gifted dried cantaloupe to not go through it so quickly, only these days I am a wee bit forgetful… so I didn’t realize there was still a bag of dried cantaloupe left in until we brought home everything from our trip last night and I reorganized the fridge’s dried fruit area.  Having no idea what to do with it, since now we have a lot more and there is only so much dried cantaloupe that people can eat, I decided this afternoon to reconstitute it and make it into a pudding.  Thankfully, my experiment turned out quite nicely! You could follow this same process for any other mild-flavored dried fruit that you have an excess of.

Dried Cantaloupe Pudding:
3 cups sliced dried cantaloupe
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup soaking water
12 frozen raspberries
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbls lecithin powder
zest of 1/4 lemon
3/4 tsp lemon extract
a few drops of stevia, if needed

Soak dried melon in warm water for about half an hour until soft, then drain (reserve 1/4 cup soaking water). Add all ingredients into a high-powered blender, and blend until creamy and smooth. The raspberries were purely for color, as without them the pudding is rather beige; they help it obtain a more yellow tone. You could also add turmeric, which I didn’t because I have a new VitaMix pitcher and don’t want to discolor it.

Chessie was sitting in the fruit bowl while the melon soaked, and found it quite intriguing.

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.

Drink Your Purples

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Everyone always talks about kale being one of the healthiest foods on the planet, but for some reason, you don’t tend to hear nearly as much about colored kales, like purple and red.  Something many people don’t know is that while greens are EXCELLENT for you, and very vital to health, red and purple foods actually contain MORE antioxidants.  In fact, what gives purple foods their color is actually the antioxidant anthocyanin, which fights heart disease/cancer/stoke/diabetes and boosts memory.  Dark red fruits also contain anthocyanin, and have lycopene too, which helps eyes and immune systems.  SO when you take a vitamin-powerhouse veggie like kale and add the properties of a red or purple food to it, you get some serious healthy power.

I tend to make smoothies with red and purple kale because after years of murky green and brown shakes, I want ones that look appealing these days.  The smoothie I made this morning is a perfect example of a breakfast that is both beautiful AND beautifying.

Purple Protein Shake:
2/3 cup blackberries (I used fresh bc they’re in season right now, frozen is fine)
1 peach
1 1/2 cups purple kale
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1-2 scoops protein powder
Optional: 1/3 dropper grape stevia. If you add this, the smoothie will have an overall grape-ish flavor that marries perfectly with its purple color.

Chessie decided to take a break from my neuro-rehabilitation notebook she was napping on and give a good sniff to this deliciousness.

Pretty Pretty… Smoothie?

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Recently I heard about adding beets to smoothies, so since I had some cooked ones in the fridge this morning I decided to try it.  And WOW, do beets gorgeous up a drink! I also added chia kombucha to this for extra fruitiness and tang.

This is the smoothie I made:

And this is how I made it:

1 1/2 cups purple kale leaves
3/4 cup frozen raspberries
1 small cooked beet
1 white nectarine
a 1 inch piece of frozen banana
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup black chia kombucha
1 scoop protein powder
1 tsp camu camu powder
stevia to taste

Camu camu intensifies the sweet tart fruitiness, coconut milk mellows it out a little, and I swear, you can’t even taste all that kale! I prefer purple kale for red smoothies because besides the additional antioxidant benefits of purple foods, it’s nice to sometimes to have normal looking/not swampy smoothies.

Round Two: A Variation of Last Week’s Raw Vegan Cherry Berry Chocolate Cream Pie

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This week I want to recreate the cherry-berry pie I made last week, but thought it would benefit from a fruity pudding layer in addition to the chocolate one.  I dried and reconstituted the fruit in a similar fashion (and used an extra cup of cherries so the pie was more full), but instead of just the chocolate avocado mousse, I made a raspberry mousse, then added cocoa powder and chocolate protein powder to about 1/3 of it.  This made a berry-chocolate pudding- if you wanted distinctly different flavors in the layers, you could make both this berry recipe and last week’s chocolate one. The raspberry mousse itself tastes “like a Sweet Tart” according to Ace- the camu camu powder lends a tangy, flavorful note.

This time, I skipped the coconut nectar in the fruit layer; the idea of it had been for glossiness, and you just don’t see enough of the fruit for that to matter. I also changed the crust slightly- the other one was very thin, and I wasn’t terribly keen on the figs.  For flavor and color I added cocoa powder to the crust, as well as a small amount of reserved dried cherries and strawberries.  I like the look and taste of this one better than the last.

For decor, I used fresh blueberries and cacao nibs, and also swirled some of the chocolate mousse into the raspberry layer on top.

Raw Vegan Cherry Berry Chocolate Cream Pie, the Sequel:

Crust:
1 cup raw pecans
2/3 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup almond meal
4 dates
6 each partially dried (not reconstituted) cherries and strawberry chunks
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 tbls coconut sugar
pinch Himalayan salt

Soak dates in warm water for ten minutes. Pulse pecans and walnuts in food processor, then add remaining ingredients and process until a sticky crumb is formed. Press into a pie tin and set aside.
Any other raw pie crust recipe could be subbed for this one, or any other nuts/fruit you prefer.

Cherry Berry Filling:
2 cups strawberries, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
5 cups cherries, pitted

Place cherries and strawberries onto a dehydrator tray (fruit should fill one tray) and dry at 108 degrees for about eight hours. Refrigerate until ready to use. To prep for pie, reconstitute by covering them in warm water for about ten minutes. Drain and squeeze gently, then mix in coconut nectar.

Raspberry Mousse:

2 large or 3 small avocados
1 small banana
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3/4 cup buckwheat honey, coconut nectar or agave OR 2/3 cup water and 2 droppers liquid stevia
3 tbls beet juice for color
3 tbls lucuma powder
1 tsp camu camu powder

Blend until creamy. Remove 2/3 of mix and set aside.

Cacao Mousse:
1/3 raspberry mousse recipe
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
2 scoops chocolate protein powder

Blend until creamy, and thin with water if needed.

Assembly:

Place a thin layer of raspberry mousse on top of the crust, followed by a thin layer of chocolate mousse. Throughly strain the cherries and strawberries, and add them. Top with all but about 3 tbls of chocolate mousse (or all of it if you don’t want to use it for decorating), then with remaining raspberry mousse. Decorate as desired.

Pie Time! Raw Vegan Fresh Cherry Berry Chocolate Cream Pie

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My cherry obsession continues, only now they are FINALLY briefly in season, so currently I’m getting my fill of actual live cherries, not frozen or dried ones.  Though not a “pie person” per say, I greatly enjoy raw apple pie, where you partially dehydrate sliced apples then reconstitute them so they acquire a slightly smooshy baked quality.  I decided to carry that technique over to fresh cherries and strawberries, and layer it with a raw food staple: cacao avocado mousse.  If you have some time of your hands, this is the perfect summer recipe to try!  I made the chocolate mousse/pudding a couple days ago (and we’ve been enjoying plenty of it on its own), dried the fruit yesterday, and made the crust/assembled the whole thing today.  Having done it in parts, the actual crust-making and full pie assembly took less than a half hour.

Note that the cacao mousse recipe is for a full multi-serving yield… because really, if you are gonna dirty your blender, you might as well have a couple days worth of pudding to show for it! Also, you can make it without adding any fruit- I thought it’d be great for the chocolate layer to have notes of cherry.


Raw Vegan Fresh Cherry Berry Chocolate Cream Pie

Crust:
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup almond meal
5 dates
5 dried figs
pinch Himalayan salt

Soak dates and figs in warm water for ten minutes. Pulse pecans in food processor, then add remaining ingredients and process until a sticky crumb is formed. Press into a pie tin and set aside.
Any other raw pie crust recipe could be subbed for this one, or any other nuts/fruit you prefer.

Cherry Berry Filling:
2 cups strawberries, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
4 cups cherries, pitted
1/4 cup coconut nectar

Place cherries and strawberries onto a dehydrator tray (fruit should nearly fill one tray) and dry at 108 degrees for about eight hours. Refrigerate until ready to use. To prep for pie, reconstitute by covering them in warm water for about ten minutes. Drain and squeeze gently, then mix in coconut nectar.

Cacao Avocado Mousse:
3 extra large avocados or 4-5 medium ones
1 heaping cup cherries, pitted
3/4 cup coconut nectar, buckwheat honey, or agave OR 2/3 cup water and 2 droppers liquid stevia
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

Blend in VitaMix or other high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble:
Place a thin layer of cacao mousse along the bottom of the crust. Drain any excess liquid from fruit, and pour in. Add about two cups of cacao mousse on top, until fruit barely peeps through- more can be added if desired.

Decor:
I used a pint of raspberries, and about 1/4 cup of cacao nibs for a topping. You can decorate any way you choose; I placed the raspberries around the edge, and made a sort of flower out of them by taking several berries and flattening them, then laying each around one main berry. I then put a small mint leaf in the center of the whole raspberry.

 

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