Friday, June 21, 2013

Chocolate Mint Leaf Pudding

Raw Chocolate Mint Leaf Pudding
sweetened with banana & honey

Today is the first day of summer and the temperature outside is climbing toward 90 degrees.  I'm not tolerating the heat well these days and I feel that I'm in for trouble. We've not turned on the air conditioning yet indoors, but we're going to soon I reckon, regardless of the high cost of keeping cool. 

What is your choice of a refreshing cool drink or a good-for-you snack? Today, I was thinking of something minty to go with a little chocolate—my most favorite food combination ever!

I enjoy watering my few flowers, herbs and small vegetable garden. When I water the chocolate mint plants which have taken over one of my planters, I immediately smell that awesome chocolate minty flavor—you can almost taste it in the air. Pick a leaf and whiff an aroma from heaven . . .

The Chocolate Mint 
in my yard

Adding the leaves to this pudding recipe or in a smoothie adds a refreshing minty flavor. 

Raw Chocolate Mint Leaf Pudding
by Kathy's Kitchen
Prep Time: 10 minutes

Enjoy this "Pudding Perfect" chocolate/mint flavor sensation to cool off this summer.
Ingredients (1-2 servings)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 ripe banana (sliced)
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 Tbs raw cacao powder
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2 Tbs raw local honey
  • 10-20 chocolate mint leaves (or any mint leaves)
  • Add all of the above ingredients to a high-powered blender (like Vita-Mix) and blend well. Pour into dessert dishes and refrigerate several hours before eating if you want it cold and a bit firmer.

Try juicing mint, or freezing the leaves in ice cubes. Have you  tried it fresh in your herbal tea? It's also a great addition to your dinner salad. Check out more recipes and read more about this plant that is good for much more than tea.

What are the health benefits of fresh mint? Of course it is great for digestion as you'd imagine green leaves to be, and it's calming effect helps with nausea and indigestion. Mint is commonly used in oral health, killing germs and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. 


Do you like pretty chocolate candy decorations? 
Martha Stewart tells us how to make these easy 

Have you tried this yet? 
How do you use fresh mint in your kitchen?

Linking up with Gluten-Free Cat and Raw Foods Thursdays 
and Intoxicated on Life and Wellness Wednesdays

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Raw Strawberry Cream Pie

Raw Strawberries, 
a Nut Crust, and Cashew Cream—
Makes a Perfect Pie! 

Berry season is here and I couldn't be more delighted. We're stocking up, and making room in the freezer too!

I made this raw strawberry treat for my guests on Memorial Day, and they scraped their plates! It's the perfect dessert for a July 4th celebration, summertime entertaining, or a family get-together.

The Nut Crust

My pie crust is made with a combination of three different nuts: 
Brazil nuts

Line the crust with sliced strawberries

Add the cashew cream center

Raw Strawberry Cream Pie
by Kathy's Kitchen
Keywords: raw dessert gluten-free raw soy-free vegan pie spring summer

Who doesn't LOVE the deliciousness of raw strawberries 'n' cream?
  • 2 cups of raw nuts (I used a combination of walnuts, Brazil nuts, and almond flour)
  • 1 cup of date paste cut in pieces (or pitted dates)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Cashew Cream Filling:
  • 2 cups of raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of coconut butter
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (I used slightly less)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
Strawberry Topping:
  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs of pure maple syrup
  • Handful of fresh blueberries (optional)
  • 1. Combine ingredients for crust in a food processor. Blend well until moist and a little sticky. Press the mixture into a pie plate along the bottom and sides. If you like, you can add a little fine coconut underneath to help keep crust from sticking.
  • 2. Cut the washed strawberries into slices and line the crust in a single layer. Set aside the rest.
  • 3. Make the cashew cream filling by placing all ingredients into a high-powered blender (like a Vita-Mix), being careful to mix, using the tamper, for short spurts of time. It's very thick! You will need to push down the sides several times. Pour cream mixture into the pie plate and spread evenly. *
  • 4. Mix in the lemon juice and maple syrup with the remaining strawberries. Make a pattern along the outward crust with the slices, and then dump the rest into the middle and spread until the top is evenly covered. Dot with blueberries as desired.

* Pop into the freezer for 20 minutes or refrigerate for one hour before proceeding to step 4 where you add the topping.

Keep refrigerated and enjoy!

Summer is Sweeter 
with Raw Strawberry Pie

Linking up to Gluten -Free Cat and Raw Foods Thursdays

and Real Food Wednesdays with Kelly the Kitchen Kop

and Foodie Friends Friday Sweet Treats Party!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Raw Chocolate Avocado-based Pudding

Get Your Chocolate Fix the Healthy Way—
Raw Chocolate Pudding

I've made avocado-based raw puddings before so I know how tasty (and nutritious) they are! I hadn't made a chocolate version yet, so here's what I came up with today.

This is one healthy treat that I would have loved to make and feed to my boys when they were growing up. Well, now I can treat them when they are here to visit, and meanwhile I can treat myself and Hubby.

Raw Chocolate Pudding
by Kathy's Kitchen, Health, & Nutrition
Prep Time: 10 min
Keywords: raw pudding dessert

I added in the coconut sugar after the pudding was already made, as it just needed a bit more sweetener. Most of the time I use stevia in smoothies and drinks, but I love the taste of organic raw coconut sugar and I thought this might be a good use for a bit. It was.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
  • 2 medium size ripe avocados
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (like Vita-Mix) and pulse at first. Then blend until very smooth. You many need to stop and stir a few times. Pour into one large or two medium sized dessert cups and refrigerate until cold. Enjoy!

Last year I bought two bags of raw cacao powder before Christmas. I'm still into my first bag so I guess I don't make chocolately things too often. Plus, for a time I was not eating chocolate at all. I missed it! I look on raw cacao a bit differently than other candy bar chocolates or processed cocoa, and I believe in its health benefits. There is a difference between commercial chocolate which has no health benefits and organic dark chocolate, the kind with no added sugar.

Is it just hype, that raw chocolate 
is good for you?  

Do some research and decide for yourself. Eating large amounts of cacao can be detrimental especially if it is not the raw organic kind, and even then I wouldn't overdo it, but certainly the raw version is the healthier choice.

I know of one person who eats chocolate medicinally to help with depression. It works for him. Raw cacao is also high in antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium. Its essential fatty acids are believed to help the body to raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

According to the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity scale (shown below), raw cocoa powder is tops, even much higher than goji berries and blueberries which we hear about so often. The thing is, you can eat a considerable amount of these berries with no side effects, whereas if you consumed large amounts of chocolate or cocoa you'd expose yourself to the dangers of too much oxalic acid (interferes with calcium absorption), theobromine (affects our nervous system), and of course caffeine. Keep this in mind.

Raw cocoa powder ranks highest of the Top 10 Antioxidant Foods (per 100 grams) 
1) Raw cocoa powder 95,500

2) Raw cacao nibs 62,100

3) Roasted cocoa powder 26,000

4) Organic Goji Berries 25,300

5) Acai Berries 18,500

6) Dark Chocolate 13,120

7) Milk Chocolate 6,740

8) Prunes 5,770

9) Raisins 2,830

10) Blueberries 2,400

Source: US department of Agriculture/Journal of American Chemical Society

References and Related links:

Examining the Properties of Chocolate and Cacao for Health

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Cacao (Raw chocolate) 

Linking up with Wellness Wednesday

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kale Chips and a New Favorite Raw Cookbook!

Kale Chips—
Where Have You Been All My Life?

Potato chips . . . you are no longer longed for . . .

My friend Lynne, makes some of the best raw food snacks, including her yummy, crunchy kale chips. My cousin, John, who basks (and probably does other things) in Hawaii and grows his own kale among other green beauties, recently posted on Facebook about eating homemade kale chips. Well, instead of admiring them from afar, it was finally time to make my own!

You all know the benefits of eating your greens, and this is a most delightful way to do it—RAW, no less!

I bought two different types of kale, a standard dark green curly type, and a new variety with some pretty purple splashes of color. For this occasion I made two different recipes: Pizza Kale Chips (in the photo above) and Naked Kale Chips (pictured below). 

The recipes were from my new favorite raw food cookbook: Practically Raw by Amber Shea Crawley. Get this—she devotes a whole chapter to kale chips! After reading those recipes I decided that I could not let another week pass by without making my own.

FYI:  Amber's recipe for Pizza Kale Chips is online so there's no need to share it with you here. I left out the fennel seed and I substituted a tomato for the red bell pepper. I picked a few basil leaves to add as well.

Naked Kale Chips!

Practically Raw is a unique cookbook or uncookbook. Let me tell you why I'm so enamored with it. This beautiful book is filled with full-color photos. I love to see the pic of the dish I'm making, don't you? 

The innovative side of this book is that it has instructions for two ways to make each recipe—a raw version and a baked version! I own many raw food prep books and I've never seen this before. Plus, there are recipe variations and ingredient substitutions for every recipe—quite useful, for the way I use recipes these days. Plus it has even more features that I love like health and nutritional information, menus, and a resource list.

As I read through the chapters of this book I kept a running list of recipes that I had to try. My list is at around 40 recipes at this point, and I'm not quite finished looking through the book yet! That's not the typical response I've had with many other recipe books I own! So many yummy sounding, stress-free recipes that I'm wanting to make—yippee!

Just a few on my list are raw Graham Crackers, Basic Nut and Mexican Cheddar Cheese, Flaxjacks Pancakes, Brazil Nut Bread, Coconut-Vanilla Kale Chips, Spinach-Walnut Pesto Pasta, Almond Butter Sesame Noodles, Stuffed Peppers and Wild Rice—all RAW of course! But if I want, I can speed up the process and use the cooked version.

Did you notice the Coconut-Vanilla Kale Chips mentioned above? You should see the dessert type kale chips you can make! There are Chocolate and Maple-Pecan also!

Pizza Kale Chips ready for the dehydrator

Naked Kale Chips ready to dehydrate

The Naked Kale Chip recipe was a little simpler to make and less mess. One thing about making the Pizza recipe is that the coating is made in a blender and it is very thick, so thick that some sticks in the blender and you really can't get it all out.

Naked Kale Chips
by Kathy's Kitchen, Health, & Nutrition
Keywords: dehydrates raw vegan snack

For Naked Kale Chips you just stir the following in a large bowl:
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • Then add this mixture with your washed and chopped big bunch of kale leaves (with hard stems removed), massaging into all the leaves. Place on Teflex lined dehydrator sheets and dry for 8 or more hours. I made mine in the evening and let them dry til morning.

Then, like my cousin in Hawaii says: 
"You eat them all in a single sitting." 
And that's pretty much what happened to ours.

Enjoy Kale Chips, your way!

For more kale delights and kale information visit Diana Dyer, MS, RD at 365 Days of Kale, also from where I borrowed this pic:

Linking up with Gluten-Free Cat and  Raw Foods Thursdays!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Juice Your Soup!

Veggie Juice Soup

I'm not a fan of cold V8 juice and similar juices, but I love tomatoes and use them in salads and as an ingredient quite often. For this soup, I thought, why not make the base of the soup a juiced veggie concoction and just warm it (no lengthy process or boiling allowed). 

It was pretty darn good, as well as a healthy replacement for us who are attempting to add in more fresh juices to our daily diet. 

The second time I made this juice soup, I decided to add in a few sautéed vegetables which made it more soup-like and satisfying to us.

Veggie Juice Soup
Keywords: raw juicing soup/stew raw gluten-free low-sodium vegan

Juice your soup!
Ingredients (serves two)
Juice the following Ingredients:
  • 11 large carrots
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 3 mushrooms
  • sprigs of parsley
Saute the following in coconut oil (low—med heat)
  • 1/4 purple onion cut up
  • 2 mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper cut (or red/orange)
Add sautéed veggies to juice with seasonings to your taste. I like: sea salt, pepper, basil, rosemarry, real onion powder, and a dash of hot pepper flakes.Variation: Juice fresh cut corn and or a handful of spinach to add to the juiced items. (This will turn your soup to an olive green color.)Eat at room temperature if you like or just warm and serve! 

Try it sometime and see how you like it!

For more info about our life of juicing and a list of many other juicing and smoothie recipes check out the post: A Juicing Lifestyle

Linking up Wellness Weekends, and with Gluten-Free Cat and Raw Foods Thursdays

Josh's Jacuzzi Green Smoothie

Josh's Jacuzzi
Green Smoothie

One habit Hubby and I enjoy most every weekend is our Jacuzzi bath in the fabulously remodeled bathroom he did for us last year (thanks again Hun). But someone else usually joins us on this semi-romantic, de-stressing interlude—Josh Groban (in song, of course)!

So, it's in honor of my love for Josh's magical voice that I've named this smoothie, specially prepared for one almost-heaven Jacuzzi morn.

Josh's Jacuzzi Green Smoothie 

1/2 cup apple juice 
3 oranges, peeled, cut and seeded
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. coconut oil
Stevia to taste (about 1/4th a packet)
1 pear sliced and cored
1 banana sliced (frozen if preferred)
Bunch of organic spinach

Add the first 5 ingredients into a high-powered blender (like VitaMix) and blend until smooth. Next, add the pear and banana slices and blend again. Lastly, add the spinach while using the tamper to push it down while blending. 

Don't let stress bog you down. It's not enough to just "eat right." Enjoy this great tasting, nutritious treat, and find time to relax and take joy in the simple pleasures of life! 

To Where You Are—JoshYou Raise Me Up!

For more info about our life of juicing and a list of many other juicing and smoothie recipes check out the post: A Juicing Lifestyle

 Linking up with Gluten-Free Cat and Raw Foods Thursdays

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Happy Day Juice

Starting today with a SMILE!

Happy Day Juice
It's gorgeous outside right now on this pretty spring day, so I stepped outdoors to take in the glorious morning. I took my Happy Day Juice with me!

It's easy to get caught up in the horrific happenings that we are facing in this country and personally, my Hubby fills me in on all the gory details on a daily basis . . . but I just can't live my life with the weight of all that on my shoulders. Yeah, there's a time and a place and someone has to be on the front lines, but let me persuade you to think about your health and I don't mean just the physical.

Do something that makes you smile. Go somewhere that you enjoy. Be with those you love. Help someone today. And don't wait to do it tomorrow!
Start the day out right.

Fix up this feisty juice in a flash, like I did this morning. I've talked about fennel before in my post Let's Get Juiced, and it's becoming a favorite juicing ingredient. I only had one apple left this morning so I decided to use the tangelos in this recipe. We loved this one! I hope you do too.


1/4 fennel bulb
10 carrots
1 Fuji apple
2 tangelos peeled (or oranges)
ginger (small piece peeled)
1/4 cup lemon juice

Cut or slice all ingredients to fit your juicer. Juice all ingredients together but pour in the lemon juice last. Serve in your happiest cup or container and enjoy!

This recipe makes about 2 cups.

For more info about our life of juicing and a list of many other juicing and smoothie recipes check out the post: A Juicing Lifestyle

Linking up with Wellness Weekend

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Juicing Lifestyle

Ten Days—
A Juicing Fast or Feast?

Almost two weeks ago, I announced to the world (you out there) that I was going on a juice fast. A fast where all I "ate" was fruit and vegetable juice—like in the film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. At the time that's sort of what I had in mind.

Well, on day two, my mind was flip flopping on what was really the healthy thing to do, and I thought about the fact that what I was honestly after, was a lifestyle change, not a quick fix, nor a deprivation disaster, that when I went off of it and started eating again, that I'd gain all the weight back that I had just lost. (Weight is secondary to health, but I've been there—done that). 

We actually  "juice fasted" for many meals over a ten day period—just not for 24 hours straight. And it was FUN searching for ideas and recipes and making up a lot of my own juice (and a few smoothie) recipes. You'll see, as I'm listing many of them at the end of this post, and I have plans to compile them all into a PDF for quick reference here at some point. I do not want to lose these recipes, and I'd love to share them with you too!

We hadn't really prepared to fast!

It's agreed that eating whole foods (we do that), and a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits, contribute to a healthy way of eating. Our family has been involved in getting our act together for a long time as we've made healthier choices every year. With wisdom should come change! And juicing those fresh veggies and fruits makes a lot of keep-out-of-the-doctor's-office sense. So we've been doing that—just not so frequently. 

Hubby was eager to be on this journey with me. We (especially him) had not prepared ourselves to jump into a full-fledged fast—I mean, the day after Easter? That awesome (non-raw) pineapple-walnut carrot cake I made, and nontraditional shrimp and steak kabobs on the grill? I wanted us to be successful, but my will power is only so willing. 

So let me explain that after those first few days of juicing, I decided that what I desired was to claim a juicing lifestyle—one that included juicing every day (if possible) and basically continuing on with what I had already been doing—adding in those wonderful raw dishes, snacks, and desserts (in moderation). That's it! That's what most made sense to me.

I wasn't hungry!

I did find that the nutrition from the juices I drank was satisfying and I wasn't hungry. But I still wanted to feel my teeth bite into something. Raw nuts and some dehydrated fruit were fill-ins. Habits are hard to change.

While these past two weeks have been loaded with a variety of raw juices and soups, we've kind of hit upon what seems to work for us, and I suppose after a period of time, we might make some further changes, but . . . 

 Here's what our eating pattern looks like:

I made two different juices each day, often with some left over for later in the day. We ate one meal that included a hearty amount of a steamed vegetable, or a juice soup with some sauteed veggies added, or a big salad.  We've eaten so many brussel sprouts that I almost feel like we're on the brussel sprout diet (great prices right now). We ate fresh fruit and raw nuts here and there also. And Hubby ate a little extra on his own—he did really good (only one Little Debby Nutty Bar on day 12)!

After one week, I added in a smoothie here and there (I missed those green smoothies) and we designated Sundays to be our treat day (to relax and eat what we want within reason). Hubby had BBQ beef and cheese with his salad on Sunday. And Sunday is the day our older son visits so I will make a nice meal with meat included then, and perhaps a fancy raw dessert. So, we're juicing and eating lots of raw all week, and indulging on Sunday. 

Curb the cravings.

I also wanted to get to the point where the cravings disappeared. I so hate the feeling that food is controlling me! I needed to get to the place where I am in control. Am I there? Much better, but not quite yet. As an emotional eater in the past, it's something I've struggled with. Though the physical desire and cravings to eat were diminished, the emotional craving found it's way there on a few days, especially when I wasn't feeling well. The hardest day so far was day 10, and I didn't feel well for 3 out of 10 days. 

Was it a typical detoxifying reaction that I experienced? Spring-time allergies? Or just my usual self? I had two bad headaches, a runny nose most every day, and a very low BP (for me) a few of those days. The days I felt good though were great! I had a lot of energy and my mood was soaring. Kind of typical for me though—I'm like that song "Moody Woman" sometimes. What could I expect anyway in just 10 days?

Well, I did lose 8 pounds in 10 days! Just water weight maybe? Not sure. I'm losing, and that's icing on my raw cake! Though the last two days I added in some rice and two pounds came back! 

I'm exercising about every other day with either T-Tapp Basic Plus, Tempo Arms, or Jazzercise. I'm convinced that I don't lose an ounce unless I keep moving and exercise. (That's Teresa Tapp on the right.)

So, what about those healthy changes since January?

The biggest change for me has been to cut out the wheat (I do make an occasional dish using small amounts of spelt flour and I'm intrigued in using almond flour). And starting last year I ditched cheese and cow's milk (plain yogurt still allowed, though I haven't added it back in yet on my juice fast), and I consume many less eggs and meat, as well as I cut out many processed foods (of course). For me, it comes down to eliminating the foods that I know I don't agree with or harm me in some way, and sticking to a basic mostly raw, anti-inflammatory diet.

If you have kids or family that live with you, an adjustment would be in order I'm sure. Our youngest son still lives at home but his job takes him on the road and we really don't see him much. When he was here for a few days recently, he ate what we did, but I fixed him a little something else to go with it. To suddenly make huge habit changes in your family won't work, you need to make them gradually.

We miss going out to eat!

We were in the habit of going out to eat  at least twice a week, but my usual fare was a healthy salad anyway. I can still maintain that if we decide to enjoy a restaurant meal. Two of our favorite places have the best salads anyway! I've already conquered this problem but Hubby would have a hard time if we went to a restaurant and he wasn't committed to eating healthy foods. He has switched to the salad, instead of the sandwich at our favorite spot (pictured here) but he likes to get dessert there too. If we go on Sunday, he can have it! (BTW, after two weeks of eating this way, he's lost 15 pounds.)

My list of yummy juices and recipes:

These are just a few of those I've made and many I've posted online. Check back to see when I've completed the PDF that will include recipes for those not yet available plus a few more.

And how many of you noticed our new look and the fact that I changed our name? The blog was named Kathy's Kitchen & Raw Nutrition and now it is what it is! The changes you may find here are slight, but I may throw in a paleo recipe or two, a cooked food dish or dessert that is otherwise healthy too, and perhaps a little more commenting on health concerns and issues.

Thanks for visiting and sticking to the end of this long post! I'd love to hear your comments. Maybe what worked for you, or what you might relate to, or even to share your blog or recipe with me!

Linking up with Wellness Wednesday,
Raw Foods Thursdays, and Thank Your Body Thursday