Saturday, October 30, 2010

Raw Apple Crumble with Caramel

Denise and I have a raw desserts class coming up, our favorite class to teach, and we always get a little extra creative in the kitchen before one of these classes. Because our desserts class falls just before the holidays (Nov 5), we thought it would be nice to add in a dessert or two that our students could bring to Thanksgiving dinner, or a holiday party.

I happened to pick up the new Everyday Raw Desserts book by Matthew Kenney in September (because I love his Everyday Raw book so much!), and decided it would be wonderful to experiment with his apple cobbler with almond crumble recipe. The result? Fantastic!

2 cups almonds, soaked and dehydrated
2 cups walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
6 T powdered sucanat or maple sugar (I used coconut crystals)
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1 t salt
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup date paste (1 C date, 1/2 C water, 1 t lemon juice, blended = 1 C paste)
1 T coconut oil, melted

5 medium apples, thinly sliced (mandolin)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 t lemon juice
1 t vanilla extract
2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
pinch salt

To make the crumble pulse the nuts, sweetnener, and spices until well combined but still chunky. Add remaining ingredients and process until crumbly.

For the filling, toss the sliced apples with remaining ingredients, and dehydrate for 1 hour until apples are semisoft.

Line a pan or dish with plastic wrap or parchment. Press 1/3 of the crumble on the bottom for the crust. Spread in the apple filling and top with remaining crumble.

Serve with caramel...

2 cups maple syrup (I only used 1 1/2, which was plenty)
1 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 t vanilla extract
1 t salt
1/2 t lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix until smooth.

I have one more recipe to try before our desserts class, and then Denise and I will decide which to add into the mix. More to come...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brendan Brazier, Cleanse Meeting, and a Level I Class... What a Week!

It's been quite a week for me, with lots of high points amidst LOTS of work.

Monday night Denise and I attend the Brendan Brazier seminar in Manchester, NH, sponsored by A Market. Wow. I've been dying to meet Brendan ever since my friend (and smoothie partner in crime) Lori turned me on to his book "Thrive Diet" years ago. I've been such a fan, I've even shipped copies of his book overseas to friends and family. I use him as an example almost daily when talking about a raw, vegan lifestyle, and he truly is an inspiration. Can you tell I absolutely love him?

Brendan spoke about how it takes energy (from your body) to gain energy (from the food you eat), and how you want to spend the least to gain the most for a higher net gain. Most Americans are overfed, but undernourished, because of the food they eat!

He also explained the stress/hormone relationship. Stresses including work, environmental toxins, foods we eat, even exercise, cause the hormone cortisol to rise. Excessive cortisol levels prevent the delta phase of deep sleep. This causes adrenal fatigue (I am a sufferer!), and causes many to turn to stimulants such as coffee... Which causes more stress on the body. 40% of stress can be attributed to POOR NUTRITION!

So... Change your diet to a plant-based diet, which is easier for the body to assimilate (use) for a higher net gain. This lowers stress, which lowers cortisol. Eventually you are able to reach the delta level of sleep (2-6 weeks). You'll sleep more efficiently, and require less sleep yet have more energy. The idea is to introduce high net gain foods that are alkalizing (as opposed to acid-forming). Acid forming foods (meats, dairy, sugars, processed, cooked) causes your body to pull calcium from your bones to neutralize your blood. THIS is what causes osteoporosis. Acid forming foods also cause INFLAMMATION.

Introducing nutrient-dense, alkalizing foods such as maca (root from Peru full of nutrient-rich minerals from volcanic ash), and spirulina and chlorella (70% protein and alkalizing) into your diet will improve sleep quality and energy levels.

Remember: CHANGE is stress, even if it's positive change. Make the change to a new diet slowly, and preferably with the assistance of a holistic nurse practitioner (such as Val or Maureen at Londonderry Whole Health).

Tip for athletes: carbs BEFORE a workout, protein AFTER. Learn about Brendan's amazing products on his website

It was a true pleasure to meet Brendan, and I hope he is able to come to the grand opening of the coming soon smoothie bar and cafe Lori and I are working on opening.

Then Tuesday night I had my weekly cleanse meeting during my 21-day fall cleanse. I love cleansing with a group, because it makes it so much easier. Only one more week to go...

Saturday was the Level I class (from Alissa Cohen's certification program) that Denise and I teach. We had a fantastic group, who were very sympathetic to the fact that Denise and I couldn't eat most of what we were teaching all of them to prepare (because we're cleansing). It was such a fun day - we really enjoyed our time with this group (in the photo). Apparently they enjoyed our company too, because they're all coming to our Just Desserts class November 5th!

Definitely an action-packed week with lots of wonderful things to sustain me.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Raw Halloween Treats - Almond Butter Cups

Wednesday night Denise and I held our second raw living foods seminar at Amoskeag Chiropractic in Manchester... And this time we served up raw almond butter cups and coconut crisps, yum! Of course, Denise and I are cleansing, so we couldn't eat the almond butter cups. Boo.

In the seminar, we shared all of the wonderful benefits of eating raw, as well as the abundance of amazing nutrients in one of those raw almond butter cups such as... protein, calcium, folate, iron, B2, fiber (and that's just the almond butter!), antioxidants, magnesium, chromium, manganese, zinc, copper, vitamin C, omega-6 fatty acids (the cacao!)... Then we spoke at length about the MANY virtues of coconut oil. We couldn't cover all of the wonderful things about coconuts in this seminar, so we will have a separate seminar dedicated solely to the coconut.

There is one glaring myth about coconut oil, which I would like to dispel here. Coconut oil was wrongly given a bad reputation by the very producers of cooking oils, because tropical oils are expensive to produce in the United States. They wanted to switch the population over to cheap, easy to produce oils such as vegetable, canola, corn, etc. So, they started putting it out there that coconut oil is a saturated fat (which it is), and that it's therefore bad for you (which it's not). The truth is, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. MCTs are unique in that they are a form of saturated fat, but one which the body utilizes very differently. Their digestion is nearly effortless. Within moments of being consumed, MCTs are converted to energy by the liver instead of getting stored in the cells (like fat that does not contain MCTs). Because of these "direct burn" properties, coconut oil is THE oil of choice for maintaining a lean frame and optimal health. I can truly go on and on about this, but instead, I'll leave it for the next free seminar at Amoskeag all about the coconut.

We also spoke at length about fructose (sugar), because we used agave in the almond butter cup recipe. I will say this often, so don't expect it to change: sugar should be eaten in SMALL quantities and only on OCCASION. Definitely not every day. This is sugar in all it's forms - fructose, glucose, etc. Why, you might ask. Sugar is a drug that disrupts all sorts of delicate chemical balances within the human body, and is a direct cause of obesity in this country. Our daily fructose (sugar from plants) consumption should stay below 25 grams per day. That's the equivalent of 2 pears! That's it! Someone may think their eating really healthy having lots of fresh organic fruits every day, meanwhile they are consuming way too much sugar and spiking their insulin levels continuously. This is causing the mitochondria in their cells to starve, and therefore every cell in their body is screaming for them to 'eat more'. This is because although the cells are being fed, they are not being NUTRITIONALLY fed. Trust me, it's not the fat that's making Americans obese, it's the sugar.

What makes our raw almond butter cups a much better sweet treat than traditional peanut butter cups (aside from being organic, etc), is that the other ingredients are SO nutrient dense they slow the release of insulin into the blood and your cells can get some of the nutrients being made available to them. The recipe...

Mix together until smooth and creamy:
- 1C cacao powder
- 1C agave
- 1/2C melted coconut oil

Line an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with wax paper, and pour half of the chocolate sauce in. Spread evenly and set in the freezer.

Mix together in a food processor:
- 1 jar organic, raw almond butter
- 1/2 to 3/4C agave (to your taste)
- 1/2C melted coconut oil
- 1T Celtic or Himalayan salt (not table salt!)

Layer this on top of the now solid first layer of chocolate, and return to the freezer. Wait 20-30 minutes before layering on the last layer of chocolate using the remaining half of the chocolate sauce. Return to the freezer to become solid, preferably overnight.

Once completely solid, pop it out of the dish (the wax paper makes this super easy) onto a cutting board. Cut it into serving size pieces, and then store in the freezer for a (mostly) healthy snack!