Spring Salad with Sesame Dressing

by Carissa Leventis-Cox

It’s easier to add more raw foods into our daily diets than a lot of people think.

How?  Substitute unprocessed ingredients for the processed ones and voilá! You’ve got something RAW.

Here’s a quick and simple example of how I re-created a favorite Japanese Sesame Dressing.

Puree together:

2 tbspns Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce instead of regular)
2 tbspns raw apple cider vinegar (instead of rice vinegar)
2 tbspons raw local honey (instead of white granulated sugar)
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (instead of toasted)
1/4 cup raw tahini (instead of peanut butter or roasted tahini)
1/4 cup water (instead of stock)

Enjoy your truly raw and unprocessed spring salad greens and/or microgreens (the latter from City Roots)!

That’s easy, isn’t it?

Raw Blueberry Bars

by Carissa Leventis-Cox


Thinking about really nutritious, fresh, un-processed, raw pop tarts or raw cereal bars or raw fig Newtons? Either for breakfast, a snack or a dessert, this is it! This truly healthy recipe is very easy, simple and the family will love it. Blueberries are now in season and taste fantastic with vanilla, coconut, lemon and maple syrup!

Raw Pastry

Grind into a fine flour with a Vitamix or Coffee grinder:

1 cup sprouted and dehyrated soft wheat berries*

* Alternatives: sprouted and dehydrated oat groats (or simply grind rolled oats if this is easier), soaked, rinsed and drained nuts (make sure they are dry thoroughly – I usually store them in the fridge for a few hours in a sieve after rinsing them)

Place in a bowl and add:

1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (without alcohol)
1 T extra virgin coconut oil
2 – 3 T maple syrup, according to taste

Mix together. Flatten with the palm of your hands or a roller on a flat surface. Refrigerate or freeze until hard. Carefully separate pastry from surface. Cut into long strips and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Blueberry Jam

Mix together in a food processor:

1 tsp fresh lemon juice (optional but brings out the taste of sweet blueberries)
1/4 cup dates, soak if required
1 cup fresh blueberries*

*Alternatives: You can use your choice of seasonal fruits here, like strawberries, figs, etc.

To Serve A La Minute

Place pastry strips on a flat surface. Top half of each strip with blueberry jam and fold the other half on top to form a type of sandwich. Serve immediately.

Raw Wild Edibles

by Carissa Leventis-Cox

Two weeks ago, I went on a Holistic Moms Network nature walk with Matthew Kip, of the Community Gardens at University of South Carolina, to learn about wild edibles.  It was fascinating watching Matt point out all the edible weeds around us.  I couldn’t believe there was so much food along our local river walk.  An abundance of food FREE for anyone to eat! Yet, we were the only ones enjoying them.

I have to admit that as I took my turn in trying a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I felt sort of like a wild animal, all at once one with nature. It was an amazing experience to watch the children especially foraging for their own wild edibles, pointing to various green weeds and asking, “Mama, can I have some?  Can I eat that?” and picking some more for later.

I was very happy to be able to share this wild (yet most natural) experience with my son.

Here are our favorite tastes from the walk:

Chickweed: great as a salad green, tastes very mild. We made a green smoothie with a whole bunch when we got home. Yum.

Wood Sorrel (looks like a 3 leaf clover): sour, tastes a little like lemon peel. I found some in my garden and ate it off the ground!

Bullbrier: the best taste of the day! I never tasted anything like this. Absolutely delicious! Wish I grabbed a bunch before heading home. It would have made a great raw salad.

Resources
Eat The Weeds – a great web resource, he also posts youtube videos on various wild edibles: chickweed, wood sorrel and bullbrier 1 and 2.

A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guide) – a field guide

NPR’s Foraging the Weeds for Wild, Healthy Greens – I love that the Holistic Moms Network is so up to date with what is going on in other places!  Thanks Toni for the link!

The Forager’s Harvest – a guidebook

Raw Asparagus is Delicious!

by Carissa Leventis-Cox

I said in one of my previous posts that I don’t like to eat asparagus raw… I have to take that back! My friend Victoria and her husband gave us fresh asparagus from their garden. It was tender, sweet and almost creamy – so unlike the woodsy, fibrous ones I buy.


Serve with this Easy Cashew Mayo or Dip

Puree all together:

1 lemon, juiced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T water
1/2 cup raw cashew butter
1 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
choice of herbs and spices, according to taste


An easy and healthy appetizer in 5 minutes! Gotta love that!

Enjoy!

Sweet Kimchi Recipe

By Carissa Leventis-Cox

Sesame Noodles with Kimchi

I have been wanting to make Kimchi for a while because of its nutritional benefits: rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, calcium, iron and lactic acid bacteria.  Kimchi is a Korean condiment that is basically fermented cabbage.  So, a few weeks ago, I finally remembered to ask Song, a Korean lady at my favourite local health food store, how to make it.  But she introduced me to another shopper instead.

“He knows how to make Kimchi.  Chris, tell her how to make Kimchi,” Song says.

I smiled inside as this White Cooked Foodie (judging from his food at the cashier) explains in detail to me, an Asian Raw Foodie, how to make Kimchi.  Chris is very detailed in his instructions, and I am inspired to finally make it.

I experiment a few times, until I get the hang of it.  With Chris’ help and one of my mother’s Korean cookbooks (one recipe contained Asian fruits that I substitute here with green apple and raisins), I finally create a mild sweet Kimchi that my son and husband will eat (i.e. not spicy here).

Kid/Family-Friendly Kimchi Recipe

Chop into bite size pieces or slice:

1 big or 2 small Napa Cabbages, cored

Place in a non-metallic container.  Chris and Song use big glass mason jars.  I used the lining of my slow cooker.  Massage cabbage pieces all over with:

1/4 cup sea salt

Cover with water, place a plate with a weight on top (I used 2 mason jars full of water) or bamboo sticks fixed to the top of a jar to make sure all the cabbage is submerged in water. Leave overnight.  The next day, drain the water and rinse the cabbage.

Place the cabbage back in the container with:

1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbspns sea salt
1 green apple, grated
2 green onions, sliced
3 large carrots, grated
1/2 cup raw local honey
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
add chili peppers if you prefer spice

Mix together well.  Make sure there are no air pockets by pushing the vegetables down. Again, place a plate with a weight on top or bamboo sticks fixed to the top of a jar to make sure all the cabbage is submerged in liquid.  Cover with a towel and leave for 3 – 4 days.  When done, place in mason jars and refrigerate.

How To Eat Kimchi with Raw Food

Eat it with other foods being served: salad, vegetable noodles (carrots, zucchini, squash), vegetable ‘rice’ (process in food processor cauliflower, sweet potatoes, parsley), and more!

We really enjoy a Great Big Kimchi Salad: spinach, lettuce, avocado and kimchi with juices.  Mix all together with your hands.  Yum!

With Sesame Veggie Noodles (photo above), recipe from We Like It Raw.

Strawberry Cream Pie

by Carissa Leventis-Cox

My cousin Miguel e-mailed me out of the blue last week and after reading my posts, he immediately set out to make his own Coco-Nutty Banana Cream Pie.  I was so impressed when he e-mailed me just 2 days later with a photo of his own pie.  Although his was made with a Graham Cracker crust, the rest was all raw.  He and his 2 year old little girl, Estelle, devoured it.  His response brought a smile on my face, “I’m SOLD! I’m inspired to eat raw desserts!  Any more desserts involving strawberries or peaches in the making? “

Needless to say, I’m always so excited when others are motivated to eat less processed and more raw foods. So today, I looked in my fridge: strawberries – check, almonds – check and macadamia nuts – check.  Thought I’d create a Strawberry Cream Pie!

So, Miguel, this is for you and Estelle!

What’s so great about Strawberries?
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and manganese.  They are also a very good source of dietary fiber and iodine, the latter nutrient helps protect our thyroids and gonads from radiation exposure of iodine-131. Strawberries also contain potassium, folate, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, and vitamin K.  And they are abundant in the spring. In fact, City Roots just announced that their strawberries are ready for picking.


The Soft Cookie Crust
Pulse together in a food processor:
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 T extra virgin coconut oil, liquified by placing bottle in warm water
1 1/2 T raw local honey
1 cup raw almonds, unsoaked, process to a powder

Create the crust in molds (first grease with coconut oil) or on two 5-inch pie pans or free form rounds.  Freeze.

Orange Cream
Puree in a high speed blender:
2 T raw local honey
1 organic orange, juiced, around 1/3 cup
1 cup raw organic macadamia nuts, unsoaked (or cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed)

Refrigerate until needed.

Filling
1 pint of organic strawberries

Garnish
Mint from the garden

To Serve
Make sure everything is cold when served and after putting it together, serve immediately.

To put together:
1. Place an almond cookie crust on a plate.
2. Top with strawberry slices.
3. Spread orange cream on top.
4. Top with more strawberries.
5. Garnish with a mint leaf.

Enjoy!

4 Top Reasons to Shop at Your Local Health Food Store

by Carissa Leventis-Cox

I love going to my local community health food store, 14 Carrot Whole Foods, for four wonderful reasons.

14 Carrot Serves Its Local Community
One of the best things they do, in my humble opinion, is their bi-weekly produce sale.  I hear mothers come in and talk to each other all the time. ”This place is even better than Walmart on Thursdays and Sundays from 1 – 5.  All produce is 30% off!  And it’s all organic or local!”  Indeed, a lot of its produce comes from farms nearby, like City Roots, or are grown by people who work there, like Don’s tomatoes.  They also allow farms in the area to use their space as a drop-off for their CSA programs, making it so convenient for shoppers.

14 Carrot is Eco-Conscious
Jim helps me bag my groceries every week and often talks about recycling, reduce and reuse.  Ed, the owner, is very environment-conscious and is passionate about decreasing his business’s carbon footprint.  They are a certified GREEN business.

14 Carrot Focuses on Health
And for the nutrition-conscious like me, shopping at 14 Carrot is heaven. When Karen Ranzi, author of Creating Healthy Children Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, visited and gave a talk at 14 Carrot, she remarked that we have more raw food items available to us in Lexington, SC than in her own local health shop in New Jersey! Indeed, the people who work at 14 Carrot are very knowledgeable about what they do. Kathy, also a health food minister for Hallelujah Acres, is savvy about all things raw vegan and has helped turn me on, and so many other people in the community, to eating more raw foods.  I could also talk to Lou for hours learning about all things raw primal (raw milk, raw cheese, raw yoghurt, raw butter, raw meats) and local products as well (meats and dairy).  Furthermore, because of the staff and the quality of foods on display, my son is introduced to HEALTH foods at a young age! This nutrition education is priceless.

14 Carrot is a Neighbor
Most of all, I really love going to 14 Carrots because it feels like going to a neighbor’s house for a get-together every time I visit.  My son knows most of the people who work there by name. He plays rough with Mr. Don, sticks out his tongue at Mr. Tristan (ugh! but at least Tristan does it back), shows Ms. Lisa his Michael Jackson moves, has mini-conversations with Ms. La Toya, asks Mr. Lou for a smoothie and gives Ms. Song a kiss. I bump into friends all the time and I meet other like-minded shoppers who love healthy food.  A few weeks ago, I was surprised when Chris, a white guy who eats cooked food, taught me, an Asian raw foodie, how to make kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented food!

Yes, 14 Carrots brings grocery shopping to another level.  We love going there, and anyone who loves organic, local and health foods will too. 14 Carrot Whole Foods takes its mission as a local health food shop seriously and passionately. As a community, we cannot do without!