I miss my lattes

I grew up in Seattle the home of Starbucks and now I live in Grandview where there are at least 8 coffee shops within a mile of my house and we can smell Stauf’s roasting their coffee beans on a warm day. For the past several years I had been going to Caribou Coffee approximately 2-5 times a weeks for a white chocolate- mint latte or one of the several other varieties that sounded good on that visit. My mom, aunt and I would meet every Sunday morning for coffee and time to visit. If I had to go do something I didn’t particularly want to I would reward myself by getting a coffee. On the days I went to work I would get a coffee. Dan and I often walked to Caribou for morning coffees and some time alone. While I was studying for my State Boards I would go to Caribou every morning for a few hours to study and visit with my friend Paulita who was also at Caribou writing her novel. We may have spent more time visiting than working but I passed my boards and she finished her novel so we must have got some work done along the way.

I always had lots of reasons why I deserved to stop and buy a $4.00 coffee drink. On the days when I didn’t go to Caribou I would make my own latte’s at home but they were never as good. Then I broke my espresso machine so that cut out the home lattes. About that same time I decided it was ridiculous to spend that much money on coffee drinks so I limited myself to 1 latte a week. When the New Year rolled around and I made my resolution to only eat raw foods until noon that eliminated any morning latte’s, then I decided to give up sugar and that wiped out the rest. So I have not had a latte since at least Feb. 7 when I gave up sugar but I don’t think I’ve had any since the beginning of the year. I’ve even walked with Dan to Caribou so he could get a coffee and I still resisted. I really miss my latte’s but I have found a replacement that I will have occasionally and while it doesn’t have the smell of coffee that I really love it does taste pretty darn good.

RAW hot cocoa:

Fill a coffee mug half way with hot water

Fill the rest of the way with raw almond milk

Put in a scoop of raw cacao (you can also add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, that surprisingly goes really well with the cacao, but don’t add too much)

Sweeten with a little raw agave nectar

This is really good and not as syrupy sweet as traditional hot chocolate.

While I was perusing the many raw cook books I’ve been getting from the library I saw a recipe for a Chai Latte and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So I went to Whole Foods and bought some Tazo Organic Chai –spiced black tea- This is not the same as the premixed Chai latte that are already sweetened and processed, these are just tea bags.

Chai Latte

Brew a cup of the tea but again only fill your mug ½ way with hot water

After the tea was done steeping I filled the mug the rest of the way with raw almond milk

Sweeten with raw agave nectar

I nailed it, this tasted exactly like a Chai Latte from a coffee shop. It was then after my first sip that I remembered I really don’t like Chai. I like the idea of Chai, I like the smell of Chai I even like the first taste of Chai but after the first drink I really don’t like Chai. Bummer! At least I still have my hot cocoa.

This weeks RAW recipes

Well there have been some hits and misses this week. First off for the hits:

Raw Cacao Cookies

½ cup each walnuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts

¼ cup agave nectar

1 Tbls coconut butter

½ tsp vanilla

¼ cup cacao powder

¼ cup raw oats (optional, pulsed in at the end)

2 Tbls cacao nibs (pulsed in at the end)

Split the nuts in half and process them first. Half of them ground chunky (then set aside) and the other half ground fine. Pulse in the chunky nuts at the end along with the cacao nibs and oats. After mixing everything in a food processor, scoop into mounds (or roll into balls if you added oats) and freeze. This will make them stiffer and easier to eat, otherwise they are pretty gooey.

These are so good! They definitely take care of my sweet tooth when I want something decadent!



I’ve been trying to sprout different seeds and nuts. The mustard seed didn’t really work, the sunflower seeds worked fine but I can’t decide if the slightly pink coloring is mold or if they’re supposed to look like that. But the Mung beans worked great. I started with 1 cup of dry beans and they expanded and outgrew the mason jar.

Mung Bean Sprout Salad

Salad:

2 cup Mung bean sprouts
1 cup chopped sweet peppers (red and yellow)

1 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup Fresh cilantro

Dressing:
2 Tbls Liquid Aminos
1 Tbls Olive Oil

1 Tbls hot sauce
1 Lime

Preparation:

Toss sprouts, peppers, carrot and cilantro in a bowl.

In a small dish whisk soy sauce, olive oil, hot sauce and juice of one lime.

Pour dressing over salad, place in fridge for and hour before eating to soak in flavors

This looked so pretty, it definitely could be taken to a potluck and appreciated by everyone. It is addictive, it is so fresh and crunchy, I could eat bowl after bowl. Dan really liked it also.

Raw Ranch Dip

This was a miss that tuned into a hit:

This recipe comes from The Complete Book of Raw Food by way of pepper paints:

1 1/2 cups raw cashews (I used macadamia nuts because that what I had)

Juice from 1 lemon or 2 1/2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon onion flakes

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon basil

Blend the cashews, lemon juice, sea salt, onion and garlic powder with 1/2 cup water (more if you want it like a dressing) until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl.

Add the dill, Italian seasoning and basil leaf by hand. Store in fridge up to 2 weeks.

I tried to use only nut pulp (left over from making almond milk) but it was way too grainy. I hated to throw it all out so instead I took ½ cup of the nut pulp mixture that I made and added it to the recipe in place of ½ cup of raw cashews. Also I tried to use my food processor the first time and it just didn’t mix it as smooth and my blender. So the second batch was blended in the vita mix. It was so much better, Dan and I both loved it!

Simple Curry

This recipe was from: gone raw, sharing raw, vegan recipes and advice

Sauce

1 medium ripe tomato
2 T. raisins
1 T. sesame seeds
1/3 c. cilantro (I use stems)
juice from 1/2 a lime
1/2 t. tumeric
1/2 t. cumin
curry to taste
1/2 inch slice of ginger
1 clove garlic
2 green onions, sliced

Salt

Preparation:

Soak the seeds and raisins if you have time.

Throw it all in the blender with enough water to make it move. I added water before I started blending which was a mistake as it turned to runny, so I added a handful of almonds to thicken it up. Next time I’ll start blending first & only add water as needed.

Serve over chopped vegetables of choice (I julienned (very thin) a butternut squash with my mandolin (it was like angel hair pasta) and some cherry tomatoes. It would be good over shredded cauliflower also.


Toppings of choice (sunflower seeds, raisins, cilantro etc.) I used some of the Mung Bean Sprout Salad as a topping.

Yum, this was very good and spicy! Don’t use too much garlic, raw garlic is way stronger than cooked garlic!


And last and most definitely least was my battle with the coconut (I had some awesome pictures of Dan breaking it open but when I was downloading them off my memory card they were all mysteriously erased. )

I bought one of the brown coconuts that you see at the grocery store (mine was from Giant Eagle) I have since learned that there are actually 3 different types of coconuts and what I bought was the least desirable and most likely to be rancid. Dan split it apart & drained the liquid into a cup and got all the pulp out for me. I tried a bite and thought it was pretty gross but hoped that it would be better in a recipe (I don’t know why I thought that, boy was I wrong.) I made a chocolate mousse with about ½ of the pulp and the liquid. I blended it all together in the vita mix and it looked really good. I tried a bite and it was disgusting, very grainy and just gross. So I put it in the freezer hoping that once it was cold it would be better. Then I put away the rest of the coconut for later. The next day I thought I would make a coconut milk, so I blended the rest of the coconut with water until it turned white and creamy, then I strained it through my yogurt bag to remove any left over pulp. It looked really good and smelled fine, I put it in the fridge to chill. Later that day I was starving and thought a smoothie with fresh pineapple, coconut milk and some other goodies sounded great. I blended it all together took a drink and had this gross burning acid like taste in the back of my throat, kinda like when you throw up a little in your throat. So I dumped the smoothie and tasted a little of the coconut milk to see if it was the culprit. It was, so I dumped the milk and the frozen chocolate mousse. I’m assuming this was just a bad coconut; I’ll try one more time with one from Whole Foods. I noticed theirs are refrigerated and don’t have the brown skin, so I think they are younger coconuts.

As you can see I’ve added some variety this week. Once you get the hang of cooking this way the meals are really quick and easy to prepare. It just takes a little getting used to.

Raw Ice Cream, yum!


Raw Ice Cream, that’s dairy free and sugar free, yum!

Chocolate Ice Cream
2 cups raw cashews (whole or pieces, unsoaked)
2 cups of water
1/4 cup Maple syrup
3/4 cup raw agave nectar
Or you can use dates instead of the maple syrup and agave nectar)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 scoops of raw cacao powder


Directions:

Put the cashews, water, maple syrup, agave nectar, and vanilla extract in your high-speed blender.

Start blending on low until everything mixes, then turn up to high for about one minute. Make sure your mixture is really smooth.

Once complete, taste test. Add more sweetener or vanilla extract to taste.

I put my blender into the fridge until I was ready to pour it into the ice cream maker.

Turn on ice cream maker, slowly pour your mixture into the ice cream maker while it is spinning. Now just let it work for about 20 or 30 minutes.

Scrape out the mixture with your spatula into a freezer container.

And Voila yummy ice cream!

Thomas didn’t care for this, he thought it tasted like coffee (there wasn’t any coffee, so maybe it’s the nut milk?) It was very creamy and rich. I think next time I will use 1/2 cashews and 1/2 almonds, (I’ll soak them both for a few hours also) plus I’ll use 2 1/2 -3 cups of water instead of just 2. Also it was a bit too sweet, I used dates and Agave nectar. Next time I’ll leave out the Agave. If I have maple syrup I may try that (and reduce the amount of dates) especially if I go with a vanilla ice cream, I think it would add a lot to the flavor.

This is also good if you leave out the cacao and use fruit. Just dump the fruit into the blender and either blend it smooth or leave it a little chunky.