Thursday, July 28, 2011


July and August, in my mind, signify the peak of the year's harvest. Beans, tomatoes, zucchini, chard, kale, carrots, onions, corn, summer squash, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, peppers, herbs, of course all of the fruit, and so much more! If you are connected to the seasons [which we all are, by the way, some are just aware of it] and prefer fresh produce, this is the time of the year that you probably most look forward to.

During this time I try to eat as much raw food as I can because, well for one it's right there and I just can't help but feel like a kid again when I pick the fruit right from the plant and take a bite! And, two, eating raw gives the body a much needed break from the intense work of digesting food.

Here is a quick [and hopefully interesting!] science lesson. Each plant [and the fruit it bares] has a built in energy-source called enzymes that, when eaten by us, break down the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the body allowing us to easily digest them. As a side benefit they help remove toxins and give us energy.....but that is only a side benefit ;) Anyway, cooking disables [or in harsher terms, kills] these enzymes thus requiring our body to do all the work of breaking down those fats, carbs, and proteins on our own as well as remove toxins. If you are thinking, well there goes all that energy, you are absolutely right!

Okay, science lesson completed. The moral of the story is our bodies could really use some help people!

Luckily, there are times in the year when a plethora of fresh, raw foods are available and, ta-da!, one of those times happens to be now [lucky you and lucky me!]. Late spring, summer, and early fall are great seasons to take advantage of what the earth provides and indulge in all that crunchy, cool [or soft, sweet] goodness.

Here is one of my favorite, easy lunches that has quickly become a mainstay in my meal planning and is so adaptable that I never get bored! Oh, and be sure to notice the ratio of veggies to grain. Many times meals are filled with a serving of grain and / or starch, a serving [or two, or three...] of meat, and then a "side" of vegetables. Work to make the vegetables and / or fruit the main dish and everything else a side.

1/3 c. cooked organic millet [or quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, creative! You can also use a sprouted grain or seed to make this a completely raw dish.]
1/3 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. green beans [raw], cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 c. cucumber, chopped
small handful of fresh herbs [in this case I used parsley] to garnish
small handful of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
salad dressing of choice, optional [try this for an awesome homemade Italian dressing!]

*Note from Tina: feel free to use any combination of vegetables you like. You can also try this with soaked oatmeal [uncooked, soak in DF milk of choice or water, refrigerated, over night] and chopped fresh fruit topped with a handful of nuts / dried fruit and raw unprocessed honey.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


One of my favorite restaurants in town serves a wonderful red curry dish. Here is my attempt at duplicating it.

1lb chicken
1 can regular coconut milk
8 - 10 basil leaves [I love Thai basil and lemon basil and usually add a bit more]
1 tsp. GF tamari sauce
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. EACH coriander powder, cumin powder, white pepper powder, and salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/4 c. sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp. cilantro
1 tsp. turmeric
salt to taste
1lb. green beans, cut into 2" pieces

In cast iron skillet, saute onions in 1 tbsp. olive oil. When just soft, add chicken and saute until cooked through [appx. 7 - 8 min.]. At about the 5 minute mark add garlic. Stir in turmeric powder, basil leaves, tamari, lime juice, cilantro and spices. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in coconut milk and green beans. Cook until hot and beans just softened. Remove from heat and serve with rice.

[Recipe adapted from Everyday Asian Cooking by Bindu Menon]

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Let's call a spade a spade - sometimes eating gluten-free can be one big bummer [or a lot of big bummers]. Sometimes giving up gluten means giving up some very beloved foods - for most people this means bread [if this is you, check out this bread recipe - it is every bit as good as regular bread!]. For me, gluten-free meant no crackers. The store bought gluten free versions are, in my opinion, either really expensive or just not worth it [ie. reminiscent of cardboard]. No offense to those manufacturers, but I was confident that I could do better out of my own kitchen.

Thankfully there are plenty of creative GF-bies out there who come up with all sorts of great recipes that are easily accessible [thank you 20th century, fast speed internet connections and the great world wide web!]. I found this graham cracker recipe at and highly recommend it. It's easy, quick and delicious. The only thing I would recommend is to bake them a little longer than the website states if you are going with a thicker cracker - bake to a deep golden brown and you can't go wrong.

And, if you store them for a little while and they seem soft / stale - place them on a cookie sheet and pop back in the oven for a few minutes to get that crisp back!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Summer makes me think lemonade and this recipe is both delicious and wonderfully free of refined sugar and imitation flavors. I found this recipe in this book.

6 fresh lemon balm leaves
4 fresh lemon verbena leaves
juice of 4 lemons [or 3/4 - 1 c. of organic bottled lemon juice, to taste]
4 c. water
honey, to taste
pinch of salt
1 thinly sliced lemon
generous handful of fresh berries, frozen [optional]

Combine water and juice in bottle. Add honey and mix [or if shaking is an option, shake] well. Add lemon leaves, lemon slices, berries, and ice. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Well, yesterday was my daughter's first birthday! Because she hasn't had any type of grain or flour, I had to come up with a creative, tasty way to provide her a candle to blow out. That was how the Jell-O Cupcake was born. I ended up freezing it to give her a cool treat on a 90 degree plus day, and followed it with a layered popsicle.


Agar Jell-O set in cupcake molds, go here to see how
1/2 a ripe banana
4 - 6 raspberries [or berry of choice]

Make jell-o and allow to set in refrigerator until firm. Mash banana and berries, using a fork, until smooth. Place in freezer until cool and a little more firm [20 - 30 minutes, this step is optional but makes for easier "frosting"]. Place banana-berry mixture in a cake decorator tool or just use a knife and "frost" your "cupcake". Serve immediately or lightly freeze for a cool treat.


[all organic]
1/4 c. pureed raspberries
1/4 c. pureed blueberries
1/4 c. pureed strawberries
1/4 c. pureed peaches
1/4 c. pureed apples
Set of popsicle molds

In mold, place first layer of fruit and freeze until just set. Repeat with next layer[s] u
ntil you have reached the point where the popsicle stick will touch the fruit. At this point, add the next layer but only freeze until really cold, not frozen, so that the stick can slide through the
layers. Repeat with until all the layers are completed and the freeze well.

To serve, remove from freezer and then thaw 5 - 10 minutes or run under warm water until popsicles can be removed from mold.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


For the crackers:

1 c. rolled oats
1 1/4 c. regular coconut milk
1/4 c. coconut oil
4 tbsp. honey
3 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
2 tsp. crushed anise seed
1/2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt + a little extra for sprinkling
1 1/4 c. buckwheat flour
1 1/2 c. gluten-free flour mix [1/2 c. brown rice flour + 1/2 c. potato starch or arrowroot powder + 1/2 c. tapioca flour]
In medium saucepan, bring coconut milk to boil. Remove from heat, add oats and let stand until cool [you can place in refrigerator or freezer to speed up the process]. When the oat mixture is cool, stir in coconut oil, honey, baking powder, anise seed, sea salt, and buckwheat flour [I use the paddle attachment on my Kitchenaid mixer for this and then switch to the dough handle for the next step]. Add in flour mix and either knead out a counter [dust with buckwheat flour] or mix in mixer. Inevitably, I end up kneading a little even when I use my mixer.

Divide the dough into two parts and set one aside. Roll dough to about 1/8 - inch thick. Cut with knife or cookie cutter, let stand about 10 minutes, preheat oven to 425 degrees and then place the crackers on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat with remaining dough.

Place in preheated oven and bake for about 9 minutes or until the bottoms are just beginning to get golden brown. Flip each cracker and bake for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let cool.

Store in an airtight container.

[Recipe adapted from here.]

For the dip:

2 c. whole raw cashews [soaked overnight, for
instructions review the first part of this]
1 c. pure water
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh minced chives
2 tbsp. fresh minced parsley
2 tbsp. minced shallot [optional]
1 tsp. seal salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place soaked cashews and water in food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until combined. Refrigerate until cool and serve with crackers.

[Recipe adapted from Tal Ronnen's The Concious Cook, p. 128.]

Friday, July 1, 2011


4 - 5 large tomatoes [or a few more if using smaller tomatoes like Roma]
1/2 sweet bell pepper [any color will do]
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded [more or less depending on "hot" preference] or a pinch of crushed red pepper
3 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 c. coriander seeds, ground or large handful of fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. lime juice
salt and pepper [to taste]

Place everything in a food processor or blender and blend / pulse until desired consistency is achieved. Store in the refrigerator.