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A Fresh Start

 Hello and Happy New Year!

 If you are one of the few who have ever followed my blog or stumbled upon it, you may have wondered why I haven't put anything new on here for....a like a year? Well, it is mostly that my family does not eat all raw anymore and I just could not bring myself to change the blog.

  I have had recipes I have wanted to post on here that our family has come to love that are plant-based and cooked, but just never either took the time or felt like they were really "healthy" all around. 

 However, we have stayed completely plant-based for the last 7+ years. We have enjoyed much health balanced weight, get well quickly and have added more family members- we are now at 8!
 Since I believe in celebrating the good that happens in life, here is what we have done well.
1. We have not eaten meat or dairy and very minimal white sugar or flour.
2. We have eaten thousands of fresh fruit, veggies, green smoothies, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
However, we have eaten a lot more baked goods with whole wheat flour, corn chips/tortillas, peanut butter, coconut palm sugar, and LOTS of tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

 That sounds pretty good right? I thought so too. Well, recently my knees started to hurt more and my wrists, though a different area than years ago, started to swell slightly and be sore. I had also noticed that whenever we had spicy foods (that I love) and taco soup or curry the upper part of my stomach felt a slight burning. I have really bad heartburn when I am pregnant, and now not being pregnant and still having a burning was really noticeable and uncomfortable.

 I love to run, so a big part of my problem may be that I am working out more now that we live in a warm climate during the winter, but part of me had to ponder on if I still had some sort of imbalance going on in my gut!
 So you start with what you know, right? What I know was that I had similar symptoms in the past and I have tried orthopedics in my shoes, so I got those out. I also know that the only times I feel free of any stomach issues is when eating completely raw, although I had noticed that when eating raw, my favorite tomato soup still made me feel funny.

Here I am on another health adventure. Dealing with 2 issues, joints and stomach. Are they related? Maybe, maybe not. If they are great, if not, great. What I know is that we are given tests and trials in life to LEARN! I am not a afraid to learn, change, and learn again. I love it! Learning is a gift and so is this body that I have been given!

I was just thinking this morning how we are motivated to change when we are AWARE of a problem and the problem is interfering with comfort in life.  I also believe that once we know something, we are accountable for that knowledge. 

 So I went completely raw again, but this time I felt to do some self-allergy testing first. After testing I found results that I did not necessarily like,  but did not find surprising. 

My list of intolerance or weakness in the allergy testing included:
* Wheat, wheat flour, millet, yeast, corn, corn chips, corn tortillas, mold, cows milk, cheese, peanuts, peanut butter, white-sugar, AND Tomatoes, Brown Potatoes, Red Bell Peppers, Jalapenos, Chili Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Egg Plants, and Gogi Berries.

WOW! What I realized was that when we went raw 8 years ago, it immediately eliminated some of the major known allergies, but ones that I never thought about having issues with, only knowing that when I ate a lot of bread I felt bloated. So at that time, it was probably one of the best things we did and has definately not hurt us! Slowly we added back in cooked vegetables and grains and we felt it was a good place to stay.

I thought that my list was kind of odd when it got to those vegetables until I made the connection that they are all what are considered "Night-Shade" foods. I had heard many years ago that sometimes inflammation can be related to night-shades, but thought it odd because these are fruits and veggies we're talking about, not something that "hurts" us.

Over the years of our health journey I have learned many things. Recipes, diets, fads, intolerance, allergies, I have been to classes and read books, read blogs, talked with many people about health- what is "good", what is "bad" but I know one thing for sure. No BODY is the same. What feels bad to my body, is fine on my husbands. While others people cannot eat nuts, my body feels great eating them.

Talking to my husband the other day I decided that I love the Word of Wisdom given in Doctrine and Covenant 89. It is a definite guideline! Here is what to avoid and here is what is better for you.  After that, our bodies are all different from genetics to lifestyle choice and I believe we need to learn for ourselves what is best for us individually.

 So here I have new-found knowledge. I almost take it on as a challenge. A way to have a fresh start, literally. A way to find new recipes that feel good to me. It's time to add to the blog, find new recipes and share what I learn with others. A time to learn more about the body, zoning, allergies, and more. If one day I am free from those intolerances, great, but if not I will always go on faithful in the Lords plan for me and continue to learn what I can and share with others.

May YOU gain knowledge and have a Fresh Start to your health this year!

Fast Raw Vegan Cheese Ball

Last Christmas I found and modified the most simple and delicious "Cheese Ball" I have ever had. I could not believe how fast it was to make and how fancy it looked. We simply devoured it with wheat crackers and veggies.

Into the Blender went:
1 1/2 C Cashews
1/2 Lemon, or 2 T Lemon Juice
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 T Nutritional Yeast
Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Pulse Together until the dough forms a ball on top of the blade. It is not wet and you can just dump it out into a bowl and form it together with your hands.
Add Shredded Almonds or other crushed nuts to the outside. It is ready to eat right away, or cover it and store in the fridge. The longer in the fridge the more it will dry out and become crumbly- which becomes and excellent salad topping :)
*It is very versatile and I think I would add crushed Walnuts and Italian spices to the outside next time. 

Natural Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

My kids absolutely love fresh ground peanut butter! While it is not raw, we still consider it a plant-based food and the kids love to eat cut up gala apples and peanut butter for breakfast and/or snack time.
 We like to buy the fresh ground peanut butter and can even tell the difference between it and Adams "natural" peanut butter. It's just fresher and not oily. I personally only like peanut butter on something such as Celery and peanut butter with raisins, or mixed with something chocolaty. If you want to keep this recipe raw you can omit the PB or go with raw almond butter, which is also great.


1 C Raw Almonds
1 1/2 C Pecans
1/2 C Walnuts (plus 1/2 set aside for the top)
1/4 C Organic Cacao Powder
1 C packed and pitted Medjool Dates, about 12-16.
3 Tbsp Raw Honey (opt.)
Dash of sea salt

1 C fresh ground Peanut Butter

1 C Coconut Oil
1/2 C Agave
1/2 C Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 C Cacao Powder
Dash of Sea Salt

1. Add the nuts, cacao, and sea salt to a food processor with the S blade in place. Process until slightly crumbly.
2. Add the dates and honey and process until the mixture starts to stick together.
3. Transfer to a plastic wrap lined 9x13 glass dish and press down mixture with your knuckles until even.
4. Spread the cup of peanut butter on the brownies. If it's too sticky add a little coconut oil to the back of a spoon and continue to spread until even.
5. Make the frosting by adding coconut oil, agave, maple syrup, cacao, and salt to the blender.
Blend on high until all the coconut oil is blended and there are no chunks left.
6. Top the brownies with 1 C of the frosting. Save the remaining in an  airtight container in the fridge.
7. Sprinkle brownies with 1/2 C Walnuts.
8. Freeze until ready to eat. -You can eat them soft, but they are better after an hour or so in the freezer.
9. Take out of the freezer and pull up on your plastic "handles," setting it onto a cutting board.
10. Cut into 1x1 inch squares, serve and enjoy :)

Chocolate Strawberry Superfood Shake

 Adding in Omega 3 fatty acids and almonds give this shake an exceptional nutritious value! The almonds and spinach add protein while the seeds aid in digestion and omega 3's. The cacao is a super food as well.
 This shake has been a new favorite for me since the sourness of normal berry smoothies do not sit well when I am nearing the end of another pregnancy and have SO much heartburn.
*This is great after-workout raw shake as well.

2 C Water
2 C Frozen Strawberries
2 Ripe Bananas
1/2-1 C Packed Spinach
2 T Cacao powder (super food)
1 T Flax Seeds
1 T Chia Seeds
2 T Raw Honey
1-2 C Ice (about 1 tray)

Blend on "Shake" or high until an even and smooth consistency is achieved. I like to put it in a big hospital mug and drink throughout the morning with a straw!

Makes about 6 Cups. Share, drink, or freeze into smoothie pops.

Fresh Cesar Salad with Raw Creamy Red Pepper Dressing

This is simple salad with a fun creamy and cheesy-red pepper dressing. Great for any dinner and with so many options for more topping to add to the salad.

Red Pepper Dressing
2 C Cashews, quick soaked in warm water 10-15 minutes
1 Medium Red Pepper, cored
3/4 T Sea Salt
1 T Nutritional Yeast
1 Lemon, Juiced
1 1/2 C Water
Blend on "dressing" or high until smooth and creamy.
Transfer to dressing bottles and store in the fridge until ready to use.

For the Salad
Fresh Romaine, chopped
Shredded Carrots
Grape Tomatoes, halved
Cucumber, sliced
Cauliflower Flourets
Sliced Red Pepper

Optional other great topping for this are hemp seeds, sliced red onion, avocado, and walnuts.
Serve and enjoy!

"Deviled" Avocadoes

 Remember deviled eggs? This raw/vegan arrangement is a fun way to spice up your dinner or makes a great appetizer for a dinner party.
 For years I have loved the taste of Avocado mashed with a little salt and pepper, as it resembles scrambled eggs. (Try it on whole grain toast if your vegan)
 Last night I thought it would be fun to add some spice.

1. Take 3 perfectly ripe Avocados and split them legnth wise,
2. Take out the pit- using a chopping motion, aim the knife downward on the pit and hit the pit with the knife, when it sets in, pull out the pit with the knife.
3. Cut them again width wise.
4. Arrange them on  plate and sprinkle with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and just a light sprinkle of paprika.

Serves 8.

Raw Rich Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Chia Jelly Filling

I've been longing to use my Chia Seeds to make jelly, as they turn gelatinous in liquid and make scrumptious jelly's and jams, puddings, have no flavor, are nutritious, and have the great Omega-3's we all need.
The other day I saw a beautiful Cake in the Strawberry section at the grocery store, it had fluffy chocolate frosting and a strawberry jelly filling. While the sugary idle didn't tempt me a bit, the idea of a raw version came on strong! It turned out better than amazing and we even celebrated after dinner because it looked so beautiful, of course it was even better to eat. Our family is a definite fan of chocolate and strawberries. The chocolate is rich and perfectly complemented by the sweet and sour strawberries in the jelly. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

I started with the Strawberry Jelly. Then it has time to set a bit before using it. This recipe made more than enough, and you can store the rest as a freezer jelly/jam or in the fridge for several days and use as a topping for raw ice-cream, or raw crepes.

For the Jelly

1 lb Fresh Strawberries, washed, dried, cored and cut in half
1/4 C Agave
1 T Chia Seeds

Add ingredients to the food processor and let process until you have tiny chunks of strawberry left. Transfer to a bowl and let thicken and set in the freezer or fridge while you make the frosting.

Quick Chocolate Frosting- I love this for a quick frosting for any raw brownie or cake or for a fruit dip.

1 C Organic, non-refined Coconut Oil
1/2 C Organic Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 C Raw Organic Agave
1/2 C Organic Cocoa Powder
 Dash of Sea Salt

Add to the blender and blend one cycle on high, make sure there are no extra pieces of coconut oil in your frosting. Transfer to a bowl and set in the freezer so it can firm up.

Rich Chocolate Cake
If you're not a fan of "rich" cake, you can add less cocoa, but as was said, it really complements the strawberries!

1 1/2 C Pecans
1 C Raw Almonds
1 C Walnuts 
15 Soft Medjool Dates, pitted

Blend nuts together until course crumbs are left.
Add the dates and blend until the dates are well incorporates and the mixture starts to clump together. You may need to stop and push down the sides a few times.

In another bowl add:
1 C Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
1 C Cocoa
1/4 C Agave

Mix together and add the nut/date mixture. Stir all of it. It is thick, so you may want to use your hands and mix it all together.

Finishing the Cake
1. Double line a round 9 inch cake pan with plastic wrap.
2. Add the cake mixture to the pan and press it down evenly.
3. Let set in the freezer 5-10 minutes or until a bit firm.
4. Take out Jelly, Frosting, and Cake.
5. Stir the jelly.
6. Whip up the frosting by stirring hard with a butter knife-it should be pretty firm when you go to use it.
7. Turn the cake over onto a plate big enough to hold it.
8. Frost the cake with the chocolate frosting, be sure to get those sides!
9. Make a center for the jelly by adding a "wall" of frosting around the edges of the cake. I chose little drops of frosting.
10. Fill the center with jelly, about 1 1/2 cups- but be careful not to overflow it.
11. Top it with extra fresh Strawberries.
12. Cool in the freezer or fridge until ready to serve. I like it in the freezer so the jelly chills together.

Raw Mini-Stuffed Peppers

For a fun appetizer at a potluck or a great way to mix up what you have for dinner try these super delicious mini-stuffed peppers. They can be eaten fresh and raw, or for a more intense flavor and softer shell  try dehydrating them. That's how I like them best.  They are great on a salad or can stand alone.

What you'll need:

8-10 Mini Peppers, split in half with the seeds scooped out.
Any color work, I like red best, but they usually come in a package with a variety of colors.

Cashew Pâté
2  C Cashews, soaked an hour or more (or quick soaked in warm water for 10 min., enough to make them softer)
1 1/2 C Water
1 TBSP Sea Salt
2 Med. Lemons, Juiced
1 Med. Garlic, pressed

Blend the cashews, water, sea salt, lemons, and garlic together on high. I like to blend it until creamy, but some like a more grainy texture. Add more water if you need to. This is a perfect "base" pâté as well and you can add many different flavors and textures to it, or use it plain as a spread or veggie dip.

For this stuffed pepper filling scoop out two cups of pâté and in a big bowl add:
3 large Carrots, grated
3 long Stalks of Celery, minced
3 medium Zuchinni, minced
1/4 C Nama Shoyu (opt.)
1/4 C minced White Onion
1/8 C Finely Chopped Cilantro
1 Garlic, Pressed (this is in addition to the above, so there are 2 total, unless you want to add more.)
2 tsp. dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

Stir together well until all the vegetables are coated then scoop out spoonfuls into the peppers. Arrange on a plate if you want to serve them right away and chill in the refrigerator. Or place on a dehydrating sheet at 118 or lower for 3-4 hours. This works great if you make this around lunch time and want to enjoy them for dinner. I hope you like it and have a wonderful dinner!
*They keep well if dehydrated in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

Raw Chinese Cabbage Salad with Sweet Red Pepper and Ginger Dressing

 Every year we let the kids pick out new foods or we bring ones home that we haven't tried for a while. Last week radishes, (not common at our house), sugar-snap peas and fresh ginger made it in the cart. I knew I wanted to make some kind of a fresh Chinese Salad. I have also been experimenting with salt-free dishes-it's harder than I expected, but I know it's better for us. Well, the salad turned out light, crunchy, and wonderful with a slightly spicy, yet sweet coating from the dressing.

Chinese Cabbage Salad
3 C Kale, washed, torn into bite-size pieces and massaged for a better flavor
1/2 Head of Cabbage, I used red, either type works
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 C Sugar-Snap Peas
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
5 Radishes, sliced
1/2 Carrots, shredded
1 Avocado
1/4 C Sesame Seeds

Sweet Red Pepper and Ginger Dressing
1/2 C Cold Pressed Ext. Virgin Olive Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper
1/4 in. Fresh Ginger, minced
1 Med. Garlic Clove, pressed
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Raw Honey
Blend together until smooth and there are no pepper chunks. It's okay if there are little pieces.

In a big salad bowl toss together Kale, Salt, and Cabbage with your hands. Add peas, peppers, radishes, and carrots.
Add 1 C of dressing to the salad.
Toss together lightly and top with cubed avocado and sesame seeds.
Store the rest of the dressing in an airtight bottle in the fridge. It keeps 4-5 days.
Serve with chopsticks and fresh Pineapple on the side if so desired and Enjoy.

Banana-Orange Slushy

Refreshing and sweet. This smoothie is a great base for any fruit or green smoothie, or great by itself. I wasn't feeling well one morning and this came to mind. Settled my stomach and I felt so refreshed after drinking it.

2 C Cold Water
2 Ripe Bananas
2 Big juicy Oranges, peels off
2 C or 1 tray of ice.
Blend on smoothie or high until it resembles a slushy.