Tuesday, April 13

Support for the Green Queen

Well, you all know of my last year regular dates for yoga and green juice with my dear friend Denise. As the spring returns and I begin to go and enjoy my green juice or smoothie outside once again, I think back to those days with a happy smile on my face. Oh, well, we still meet, but not as regularly as I am not at home during the week so much and she is super busy with her new web-based business 'The Raw Brides'. She is also VERY busy plotting her escape from dirty busy crazy old London, and that's where you all (hopefully) come into it.

Denise got married to a man of her dreams last summer - and it is my regret that to this day I did not write about the raw feast I had at their wedding!!! - and they both decided to apply for an amazing job - travelling around the world 6 months from a year, researching honeymoon destinations! They entered into a competition for this amazing job and because they are so fantastic they got into the 'semi-final' of 50 couples. The next step now is to be voted in the first ten by public, and then...

Wow, what a great adventure this would be, and trust me, as I know them, they would be so great for the job. They are fun and curious and will try pretty much anything, as they share in their video, and so I would like to ask all of you who read my little musings to click on this link, have a look at their profile and their video, and if you like them, give them your vote! It is not for mine or theirs benefit, really, as we are already married. It is all the singletons about to get hitched that will be sending you virtual thanks from their perfect honeymoons!

Saturday, April 3

Repairing the Cooked Husband

This year we have returned from our annual skiing holiday with more then we asked for - a cast wrapped around my dear Cooked Husband's arm. As any snowboarder out there will know, it is very easy to catch an edge and topple towards the snow on the board and, as the weather was not so great for us, with lots of white light and snow, this was easier then ever. And so one day I have skied down the slope to my husband to find him cradling one of his hand in the other, saying that he has fallen on it and was not sure if he caused any damage. Long story short, he ended up with a cast over his four fructures!

As soon as we got home I have ordered a couple of trays of wheetgrass and some essential supplements. I did not want to overload his system with new things, so I have settled on vitamin D to be taken in the morning and silica to be taken before bed. My original plan was to make him a shot of wheetgrass twice a day, morning and evening, but as it happened I had hard time making him to agree to have this once a day, and so we started the day with a small glass of super powered green juice. Most of the time this was pure wheetgrass, but some days I got more adventures and mixed a bit of parsley, nettles or sunflower greens in. I have also asked him not to say bad things about the juice as I think it is important that we feel positive about things we are doing, I believe that their power will be then strengthened by our mind.

Well; the first week after the trip my poor husband went to see a specialist here in London and was told that it is possible that he might have a surgery and might end up with a screw in his wrist! This was not something we wanted to hear, as you can imagine. And so my prescribed therapy was accepted more gladly, together with a few hand massages to improve the circulation in the area.

I am not sure if any of this helped but I am very happy to report that the second visit to the specialist brought good news of the bone growing together very happily indeed and now, at the time of writing, there are only 5 days left before the cast will be taken off.

One interesting point for me is that usually people with cast find that their skin itches a lot underneath. Now I have never had a cast, and I would like to keep it that way, so I do not have a personal experience, but still I thought it was great that the Cooked Husband never got this problem until yesterday, more then 5 weeks in. This seems pretty good, though I am sure he would have been happier if it did not happen at all, of course!

Wednesday, December 16

Winter in the Raw

Ooooh, it is so cold outside, we actually have some frost on the ground today - and this is UK, the country of mild winters. Having said that, it is pretty humid here a lot of time, the cold just crawling right beneath your clothes and making you shiver. This, if not another time of the year, is the time of struggle for any raw foodist not quite anchored in the un-cooked way of living, as our body, and mostly our mind, keeps reaching for the warmth and comfort of old cooked favourites - you all know what these are for you, right?

To help myself stay motivated during these cold times and also during the festive season that is upon us, I went to a wonderful workshop a week or so ago called 'Winter in the Raw'. Twenty people plus have gathered in Karen Knowler'shouse to listen, smell, watch and taste Nina Dench's creations that will help us stay raw during winter with a bang. Her food was so scrumptious and delicious, most of it easy to prepare as well, I came home full of hope and ideas. I am not always very good with making my own recipes but I find that I can adapt other people's recipes to my taste quite well, and having suddenly over 20 new recipes gave me a lot to play with.

We got a little taste of everything Nina made and also were treated to a lovely lunch (see above) of Rosemary and Vegetable Tartlet with a trio of salads - Red Cabbage one, Curly Cabbage and Carrot Ribbons - and a small lump of Sage and Onion Pate on the side. It was amazing and so filling that I had to go for a little walk around Karen's farmhouse to help me digest, or else I would have wanted to sleep for the rest of the day and would have missed on the best part to come - the deserts! The Orange and Apricot Sauce was to die (or live!) for, and I have made it for myself for breakfast a few times since then. It is so yummy, zesty and light, a real treasure; you can see it resting happily on top of the Christmas pudding on the picture, but it is yummy enough on its own by a bowlful, perhaps with some raw muesli sprinkled on top.

I often find that I fall back from the grace of raw food into the trap of cooked because I become lazy and begin to think that raw is just too much effort and I 'could not be asked'. And so it was great for me to see Nina whip through 22 (!!!) recipes in the space of six hours, some of them pretty easy (Red Cabbage, Beetroot, Apple and Pecan Salad or Date Sweets), some of them more time consuming but so much more impressive for it (Savoury Stars; Banoffee Pie or Christmas Pudding). It was fun to be tempted into making my own chocolate again and playing with the recipe; I am not very fond of Mint Chocolate and so I changed things around and made a ginger one - WOW! That one has a kick!

It is not really possible to re-print somebody else's recipes but you can go to Karen's website and purchase the whole 'Winter in the Raw' e-book for yourself. I can definitely guarantee that it will be money well spent.

Friday, August 14

More garden gifts

It has now been many years since I have tasted my first fresh juicy honey sweet fig. It was many many years ago, while on our first ever holiday together with the Cooked Husband, then boyfriend, and while we were driving all around and accross Malta and Gozo, he was often asked to stop the car so that I could climb out and collect ripe lush figs from trees that were all around without anyone tending to them.

It's also been a few years since I realised that people actually grow them here in UK and get to harvest their own figs. And so a dream was born, a small one, you could say, to one day have my own fig tree and to be able to eat figs directly from it, still warm from the sunshine. This summer saw me fulfilling this dream.

When we moved to this house, I knew that there was a perfect place to plant a fig tree. Our terrace is south facing, and we have a lovely corner sun trap, just above the indoor staircase, so I can see the beautiful leaves stroke the window when I walk up to the kitchen in the morning in our upside-down house.

After a huge disappointment of last year, when all the fruit dropped of the tree with rusty spots, I have had a feast like no else during the last month or so. Watching this beautiful tree grow from a small 'stick' into a large lovely and proud tree was a huge pleasure and then, finally, see the fruit ripen made the feeling even better. The figs start very small, smaller then the nail on your pinkie, cosily attached to the branch. As summer gets nearer, they slowly grow bigger but stay hard and green.

Being me, I bought a lovely fig in the market one day in early July, and brough it home to 'show it' to the tree. I mean, this tree was born in a garden centre in the UK, how could he possibly know what to do? You can think I am crazy but all I care about is that it worked!

A few weeks after this 'tree education' we noticed one of the figs getting bigger and darkening. Then it swelled massively almost overnight and became plump and soft and sweet smelling, and then it got plucked of the tree and ended up being my breakfast. The best breakfast ever. Sweet as honey, full of crunchy yummy seeds, deep red colour inside while purply yellow in the outside, just perfect. Many more followed over the next three or four weeks, ripenning one, two or even five at a time, every one of them enjoyed to one hundred percent. I played with the idea of creating something from them but have abandoned it at the end as this fruit is simply so perfect as it is, I had no desire to waste any of it in some recipe disaster ;-)

As I write there are still small green figs on the branches and I hope we will have a second harvest time in late September, which is the time we went to Malta all those years ago. I am the greedy one!

And so for me, it is time for a new dream, I think... A fig tree orchard, perhaps? But maybe I shall be more ambicious this time, as with the Living Magically program beginning this week I have to learn to dream big and allow magic into my life, here and now.

What are you dreaming about? And it does not have to be food related!

Wednesday, August 12

Uncooked dinner for Cooked Husband

Once upon a time, there was a Cooked Husband. He could not imagine a meal without a cooked heavy-feel part to it, and so he was not very impressed when I suggested I would serve him some kale and avocado massaged salad as a side dish with his chicken tonight; we run out of potatoes and my wife-y duties will only push me so far... I was not going to go to the supermarket just so he could stuff his face with mashed potatoes... He was given some choices of what else could be for dinner - and though the green smoothie did not make it by far, it was a raw choice - raw vegan sushi!!

I make my 'rice' from cauliflower, cashew and pine nuts, dash of apple cider vinegar for tartness, some white miso for saltiness and a tiny bit of agave to balance it all with little bit of sweetness... Process till grany and pliable - and there you go. For proper measurements and recipes, please subscribe to Russell James's eZine at http://therawchefblog.com/ - that is where my ideas come from, and I have the best results with his recipes. Quick, easy and delicious. He is the master of raw kitchen, at least for me, on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Next step is to fill the nori sheets: spread some 'rice' on and then layer what you like on top - my choices were avocado, marinated mushrooms, julienned peppers, spring onions and some watercress. Roll it tightly using a sushi mat or clever fingers, cut with serated knife, and serve with a small dish of soya sauce, small pile of pickled ginger and a little bit of wasabi on the side. The result? One very happy Husband, no potatoes needed!

Oh, and my dinner, apart from sharing a little bit of sushi, was a green smoothie:

1 courgette
handful of strawberries
1 banana
2 handfulls of spinach
blend with some water to reach the consistency you like

Delicioso! You can see the tiny pink strawberry bits in the picture above, and I could taste them as I enjoyed this lovely concoction earlier this evening.

Tuesday, August 11

The International Green Smoothie day

Yes, there actually is such a day. You cannot buy a card for it, although you could make one if you wanted to, and not everybody knows about it just yet. But what with all these raw girlies blogging away about it, who knows next year? And maybe the year after Halmark will print some juicy cards, you just never know. But this is your chance to join in the green smoothie revolution ahead of everybody else.

If you remember my humble blogging beginning, you will remember all those green smoothie pictures also. Decorated with blueberries and bee polen and other lovely yummies, I have been having them more or less every day ever since, even if you have not seen a 'green stuff in a glass' for a while. I do need a green juice or a green smoothie a day to keep me happy, balanced and radiand, just as a cat needs her little chin stroked to start purring!

I have two great news for you. One is that I will be so lucky and fortunate as to have a super duper sparkly VitaMix for the next three weeks, borrowed from my beloved Green Queen Denise of The Raw Brides. She is getting married this coming Saturdayand then she will disappear into the sunset for her honeymoon... and lo and behold - I am not only allowed to go round her house and play with her most adorable cats, I have also been given the permission to 'steal' her super blender and make it mine for the time she won't need it. This is absolutely excellent and my intention is to create not only many yummy things to make me feel like I live in a raw food heaven but mostly my number one creations will be green smoothies. When I make them in my blender I end up chewing them quite a bit, especially when I use rocket and parsley, and after reading about this amazing machine and the results all the raw foodists all around have been getting, I simply can't wait to get started. (For those who are not sure what the fuss is about, this blender will blend absolutelly anything to a complete smoothness, even raw asparagus and such fibrous things.)

The second great news is that this is the perfect timing for the International Green Smoothie Day as started by The Raw Divas and The Green Smoothie Queen over on the other side of the Atlantic. If you haven't seen their website, click the link, as they have a ton of info and lots of great articles, should you ever feel that you are lacking either motivation or inspiration. As the Green Smoothie Day falls on Denise's aka Green Queen's wedding day I will be very fortunate to feast on a raw food wedding garden picnic followed by a gournet raw food wedding dinner. But I will start the day with a green smoothie to be sure, and may even follow up with a complete green smoothie week when we come back from the wedding.

What will be in your glass on Saturday?

Tuesday, August 4

Another amazing free teleseminar with my favourite Raw Food Coach


Soon after I have first started playing and experimenting with raw food, I have come accross the Raw Food Coach, Karen Knowler. I joined her programme 30 days to raw and discovered, as many people did before me, that this is not only about raw food; raw food is just the beginning. Tomorrow I am joining her new teleseminar where she will share with us how to take this lifestyle to a completely new level. Whether you are experienced raw foodist looking for ways to progress with not only your diet but your life and your life fullfillment or you are completely new to raw food ways, check out the following info. If it sounds good to you, join me tomorrow evening at 9.00 pm UK time for her completely free teleclass. It is going to be amazing! Sign in here or read on for more info.

The 7 Must-Know Steps To Take Your Raw Food Journey To The Stars – And Beyond!

Have you ever felt dazed and confused over the conflicting opinions raging among the raw food teachers and “gurus” out there? I know I have, and it really doesn’t help us does it?

With so many different approaches, coaches, classes and courses out there, all giving conflicting or confusing advice, even if you really want to step into the raw food world with all the best intentions and will in the world, you end up having no idea where to start!

Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach, has been in the raw food community for over 17 years and has seen how crazy it can get. In a previous life Karen used to host many of the world’s leading raw food educators year-after-year in London (she used to run The Fresh Network and created Get Fresh! magazine), but she saw that as much as people became inspired and fascinated by the raw food journey, they also became increasingly confused, lost and... disempowered.

As a result of witnessing this and creating an approach to raw food that was much more fluid, fun and realistic than what was generally being taught, Karen vowed many years ago to put each person back into the driving seat of their own diet and destiny - and that’s what she’s been doing for over a decade.

And now she’s taking it to a whole new level.

Over the past year especially, Karen’s name has become synonymous with a whole new way of approaching raw food that anyone can do. Karen believes passionately that there is not “one way” to do raw food and that by being honest and intuitive around our food choices we can find a way of eating raw that works for us and our life on every level – one that’s juicy, compelling and rewarding for us.

But more than that, Karen has been teaching that raw food is “all about the food and yet nothing about the food” – and as ironic as that sounds, I have to agree, she’s right! Raw food opens us up to so much more than we think food can ever do, but it does for sure, and Karen has a wonderful what of explaining and articulating this than perhaps anyone else in the raw food arena.

Over the past few months Karen has been perfecting all the key facets of the work she’s been sharing for years. She’s preparing to go big with her message and I don’t doubt that she will make it happen.

And what she’s doing this coming Wednesday, before she starts working hard on her forthcoming book, is to share with us – for FREE – her latest discoveries, namely “The 7 Must-Know Steps to Take Your Raw Food Journey to the Stars – And Beyond”

In what promises to be her most compelling free seminar to date (you just need a phone or internet connection to attend), Karen is about to share, for the first time, what these seven steps are, and I for one can’t wait!

Tomorrow, on Wednesday August 5th, Karen will reveal what these 7 Steps and much more.

And, while it is an exciting preview of her Raw Transformation Experience LIVE Event happening this August 27-29, 2009 and her brand new life-changing Living Magically on Raw coaching program, she promises you'll also get 3 POTENT ideas that you can use right away to start your journey to “raw heaven” from this free call.

You can find out all about it and register here. I’ll be there for sure and I hope to hear you on the call.

I can’t wait to hear what she shares! Let me know if you enjoy it.

Monday, July 27

Gifts from my garden

While we were enjoying the amazing hot sunshine of North Africa, England was having its bout of summer as well. Thanks to my lovely neighbours our garden not only survived but actually thrived while we were away, and we came home to some very happy plants and herbs. Sadly despite my offering nobody came to eat all the chicory lettuces I was growing and they shot up into flowers, but there were still some leaves to be collected as well as beautiful blue flowers, which tasted like a gentler variation of the salad. On top of that I collected not only an armful of basil leaves to make the freshest pesto possible for my courgette 'noodles' but also a bowl of basil flowers. The scent of these beauties was so subtle yet ovewhelming, I could not wait to enjoy them as an aromatic topping for one of my evening salads. Eating flowers is a great idea, as they have a very subtly gentle energy as well as benefitial essential oils and traces of polen, and flowers from herbs such as basil or oregano have a wonderful soft herby taste that will bring your meal alive.

Here you can see one of my creations - a very simple meal, actually. A plateful of green leaves of your choice - mine was watercress, young spinach and chopped cos lettuce, topped with sliced heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with some basil flowers, a glug of olive oil and a dash of pink himalayan salt. Very simple but scruptious indeed. Sometimes the best meals are the simple ones, as our body can recognise what all the parts are and what it needs to do with them in order to extract all the nutrients effectively. When I eat like this, my body is buzzing with happiness, I sleep well and wake up ready to face whatever the next day brings. Just what we need in this sometimes overwhelming world.

What's your summer favourite?

Friday, July 17

And another year has passed...

Happy birthday to me! Do you know what? I am 38 now... My dear friend Denise just earlier today talked about some 'really old, adult like people', you know, like late 30s... Hmmm. Something to poke her in her ribs about next time then!

I know I wrote a post about how well and raw I ate most of the holiday. Well, the evening of my birthday was one of those days when my dear Cooked Husband would ask if he should start a blog on his own, called something like 'Gracefullyraw exposed', to write about all my foody sins....

Well, who cares. What would you do if you came 'home' from a day at the beach, which you spent windsurfing, reading a lovely book, worshipping the sun and then willing yourself at the end of it all to sign up for a wakeboarding session (eventhough you were afraid of who knows what), and then realising that you can still do it, and having the time of your life (I never grin as much as when I am gliding accross the smooth sea on the wake board), and found this amazing fresh coconutty delight topped with fresh sweet succulent pineapple and juicy orange left as a surpice from the hotel just for you, on your birthday. Would you not eat it?

Weeeeellll, maybe you would share a little bit with your Cooked Husband, but at the same time, you would poke the fork into it, feel how soft, flooffy and creamy it is, and think, that it was surely made and given to you with love, so there can be no harm in enjoying it. And may I tell you, aspiring raw foodist as I am, that it was amazing, delicious and I loved it. Hey - they even left a tiny candle and a book of matches!!! Judge me if you want. I always maintained my view of mind being above the matter, and guilt, as my dear friend Lada said many, many years ago, being overrated!

Whatever you want to do, especially if it is your birthday, just do it. Wake board! Dance! Have your (raw, if you are lucky) cake and eat it too, if that is what you want!

Many happy returns to me ;-) And be sure that I will attempt to recreate this cloudy goodness myself sometimes soon, only this time, of course, raw.

Thursday, July 16

Back from other reality

As I am reading the date of my last post I find it difficult to believe that it has been so long! Truth is, ever since I came back from my Czech home, I have had trouble with time - working a lot on both of my jobs took most of my time and catching up with myself took the rest, so writing was left behind. Well I am now back, at least from my two weeks of holiday in scoldingly hot Egypt, and ready to share some of my life with you once again.

My life in Egypt was close to blissful. Waking up to a blazing sunshine and golden heat every morning and going for an 'early' pre-breakfast swim in the empty bluey sea. Then feasting on lots of watermelon, sprinkled with a juce of some local, small but sparklingly tingly limes, before spending my day swimming, walking barefoot on sand and springy grass, reading, listening to music, creating lots of vitamin D and windsurfing or wakeboarding. Shortly - tough life - I have the bruises to prove it!

Lunch was something small to share with Cooked Husband, if he remembered to return to the beach from his hyper windsurfing sessions, and then some more of the same. As this is mostly a foodie blog, I must tell you all about the dinners. I have never have it so easy to eat raw. We stayed in this hotel on half board, and our breakfasts and dinners were buffet style. There was always fruit, salad and hot food, plenty of cakes and pastries . Somehow anything that was not fresh and juicy left me so uninterested; partially I think it was the heat, but also the cooked food was really not that great. Poor Cooked Husband kept trying, but always ended up disappointed, as everything seemed to have sat on the buffet for some time and was not very fresh any more.

Not so my salads. OMG! I had a large plate of green leaves (would you not have guessed) with lovely local olive oil and more of that zingy lime juice, followed by a huge plate of rainbow of veggies - the tomatoes were a true tomato red colour, sweet and succulent; the cucumbers were small, crunchy and sweet, the carrots were so flavourful and juicy in their own, carroty way... this made the 3/4 of my plate very night. The last small space left was filled with a selection from the rest of the fabulous salad bar. There were some local salads with aubergines and chickpeas, marinated fennel and courgettes, stuffed cucumbers, marinates spicy and sweet peppers, green and reddish black olives - in short, I could eat like that for a very very long time before I was bored! There was something a little bit different every day. It was amazing! Not absolutely everything was raw, but I was more then happy to enjoy a little bit of local hummus, egyptian feta cheese or tzatziki as a small addition to my mountain of raw food.

I was told many times before by my friends or family, who came to stay with me and for whom I prepared yummy healthy meals, that they would be very happy to eat that way if someone made it for them all the time the way I did. Now this was my turn to see what they meant. I am happy enough to eat my simple salads and smoothies at home, but to have a choice from around 20 different salads, all fresh, ripe, coulourful, vibrant, juicy and literally calling me to munch them, staying raw would not be an issue at all.