Happy 101 Blog Award:)

Heartfelt thanks to Pam and Fayinagirl for both giving me the Happy 101 blog award!

~ETA!!!~ I was also honored to receive this award from Joanna...Thank you:)

~ETA, again!~ I was surprised and delighted to be honored once again by Marlie! Thank you so much for thinking of me:)

~ETAA, again:)!! The lovely Julia was kind enough to bestow this wonderful award on me one more time! Thank you, Julia:)

~Edited once more to thank Christopher aka Raw Berry Boy who was so sweet and offered this award to each of his followers! Thanks so much to you and your Oma for sharing the love:)

~1/14/10~I am thrilled once again to be given this award by Melissa of the blog Contagious Health. Thank you, Melissa!

I am so honored and thrilled to be awarded this from such lovely friends:)

Now, here are the award rules, copied and pasted from Pam's blog:

First: Copy the award image in your post.

Then, list 10 things that make you happy, try to do at least one of them today, and tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.

For those 10 bloggers who get the award, you must link back to my blog!....the last part..only if you want too...lol!!!

Let the fun begin!
10 things that make me happy:

1. My wonderful family, always number one! I am including my two loving pets here, because I think of them as part of my family. I love to talk to relatives that live far away, like my Mom and Dad in Florida.

2. My beautiful surroundings. I try to get out every day to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds me in the mountains where I live. I especially love going to the top of a mountain, makes me feel like I am on top of the world…hehe.

3. Making raw food! This one is no surprise, right? I love trying new recipes I find and creating new recipes of my own.

4. Food shopping ! I look forward to the weekend when we go shopping at all my favorite stores, like the co-op, and Asian market . I don’t plan what I am going to make, so it is always a wonderful surprise to see what is available and/or on sale. I love having a well stocked pantry and fridge so I can make lots of yummy eats!

5. Blogging makes me happy! I started this blog as sort of a creative outlet for myself. I love to share my recipes, as well as other peoples creations I try. What I did not know was how much I would be getting back from all of you. I am truly overwhelmed by all of your wonderful support . {{hugs}}

I am also including reading your blog here, if you happen to have one! I am discovering awesome new blogs weekly and my Google reader is about to blow!

6. Crafting is a passion that bring me so much happiness. I love to create something new from items that might be thrown away, like my paper recycling I recently shared:)

7. Traveling is one thing that has always made me happy. I love to go to a place I have never been to. One of my favorite places to visit while traveling is a museum or historic home in the area.

8.Getting a card or letter from one of the kids I used to care for in my daycare. It makes me very happy to know the kiddies remember me and think about me. Having a daycare for 12 years was the best “job” I ever had. Remembering all the little ones I nurtured makes me happy.

9. Doing random acts of kindness. Can’t go into details because that is part of it!

10. Taking care of my family….this includes all the things like cooking (gasp) and cleaning…hehe! I guess you could say I am “old-fashioned”, but my family seems to appreciate all the little things I do for them.

Tagging 10 other bloggers that make me happy, in no particular order:)

bitt(Aimee) from A Bitt of Raw

Joyce of Beautiful Living Food

Joanna of Promoting the Rawfood Diet While Debunking the Myths

Pam from A Love for NEW Recipes

barefoot and frolicking from Barefoot and Frolicking

Fayinagirl from Gluten-Free Vegan Family

Michal from Lil Earth Muffin

Gena from Choosing Raw

La Mamma Natuale' from Recycle Your Day

snowdrop of Adirondack Raw Food Connection

Thanks again to Pam, Fayinagirl, Joanna, Marlie, Julia, Christopher, and Melissa for this lovely award!!!

Whew...but wait...Do I get to pick 10 more since I got this award twice???...just sayin:)

Oh well, I tried!!!

How about an easy and delicious recipe idea instead?

Since one thing that makes me happy is trying new recipes, I wanted to share the one I made today:)

Although I love making wonderful gourmet raw recipes, the bulk of what I eat on a daily basis is usually something very simple. Today I made a recipe I noticed while searching for holiday recipes for my Thanksgiving raw recipe post.

It is called Christmas Kale by Jennifer Cornbleet It is a wonderful kale salad that should lend itself to many yummy variations. Tomato can easily replace the red pepper, and I bet it is awesome with the addition of any fresh herb. Today I put in a few tiny oregano leaves since I had some:)

ETA~ above recipe link may no longer be valid, recipe is also posted here:)

Thanks to the lovely Jennifer Cornbleet for this delicious recipe!

OK, now this is for sure my last post until next year...hehe

Have a safe and wonderful night, see you next decade:)


Fennel & Tomato Tart

Today I had the pleasure of making raw Chef Russell James' Fennel & Cherry Tomato, Balsamic Crust Tart with Macadamia Cheese.
I had my eye on this recipe for quite a while and finally decided to make it!

ETA...sadly another broken link, but here are the ingredients:

Despite a few...ummm...mistakes, it still turned out amazing:)

The delicate, flaky tart crust is made with a blend of nuts, flax, seasoning, nooch:), oil, vinegar, salt and water.

Little mistake...I forgot I was making 1/2 the recipe and added the full amount of herbs and vinegar. I also left out the oil:) As with many raw recipes, these little flubs did not make one bit of difference...yay!!! Half the recipe made 2 four inch tarts.

While the crusts dehydrated, I prepared the filling of marinated thinly sliced fennel and tomatoes. No problems here, I was a good girl and followed the directions:)

On to the macadamia cheese. I processed the macadamia nuts with the required amount of lemon juice, nooch:), and salt, and a dash of dehydrated onion. I did not realize that the cheese was done at this point, and I put it in the dehydrator, as with my own Parmesan-like cheeses. I actually loved it this way, but the recipe calls for 'fluffy' cheese:)

The entire recipe was done in about 6 hours, and smelled so wonderful the entire time.

Assembly was a snap, layering the warmed fennel and the tomatoes in the crust and topping with the macadamia cheese.

Since there was already a little balsamic in the crust, I drizzled a little balsamic and agave glaze on the plate before devouring it:).

I have to say that I thought this was really amazing!!! While I consider it very gourmet, it was so easy to make, and all the flavors went so well together.

Thanks so much to raw Chef Russell James for sharing your awesome talents with us:)

This is likely my last post until next year, so I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy new year!

Happy New Year {{{HUGS}}}



Gena's Sweet Cheese and Crackers

As you probably know by now, Choosing Raw is one of my favorite blogs. Gena offers expert nutritional advice, as well as awesome recipes. I think of her recipes as everyday recipes, which means I want to eat them every day:)!!!

Last week the lovely Gena posted a holiday menu. The starter course was her beautiful Sweet Cheese and Crackers. The cheese is a creamy blend of cashews, Meyer lemon, sweetener, dried cherries, and salt. The crisp crackers are flax seeds, with the addition of maple syrup and cinnamon...YUM!!!

Please click here to visit Gena's blog, Choosing Raw, for these awesome recipes.

I absolutely adore Meyer lemons. Since the recipe calls for the zest and juice of these sweet beauties, I was happy to find organic ones:)

The cracker recipe made about 2 (Excalibur) trays of thin crackers.

Since I just love cinnamon, I added extra by using my favorite swirl and star stencil on top of half of the delicious flax crackers.

I played around with the other half of the cracker recipe by adding some chopped dried cherries and the juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon.

Please visit my Making Beautiful Raw Breads and Crackers post if you would like to see how I make my crackers:)

I used maple syrup in place of agave as the sweetener in the cheese, and packed it in a small spring-form pan overnight to firm.

This is an awesome recipe! I knew I would love it as soon as I saw it. I had to force myself to put it away and not eat it all at once:) It made a very satisfying lunch.

Thank you once again to Gena for sharing a recipe I know I will enjoy often:)

ETA~ I wanted to share a few pictures from today's walk. The lake is frozen now, and I wanted to get a pic before the snowmobiles and fishermen got on it. Trust me, it was colder than banana soft-serve out there!!!


Raw Gingerbread Cookies:)

Happy Monday everyone! I am starting the week off with my last raw vegan holiday cookie of the week!

Raw Gingerbread Cookies:)

2 cups almonds, ground to flour (almonds were soaked/dehydrated)
1/4 to ½ cup flax seeds, ground
2 Tablespoons molasses* or yacon syrup
2 Tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon allspice, ground
¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
1 T water if needed

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, adding water if needed. After dough is formed, knead on clean counter for several minutes until smooth.

I have not tried it, but I think you could use ground chia seed in place of the flax seed.

2. Roll out and shape as desired with cutters, cookie stamps, or freehand. I had a sleigh chocolate mold that I used.

3. Dehydrate at 112 degrees for 24 hours. Dough will still be somewhat soft and chewy, yet firm.

4. Cool cookies and decorate as desired.

*Molasses is not a raw ingredient but for the authentic gingerbread flavor it is the best!

I made a icing with cashews, coconut flakes, coconut butter, agave, and water. I used a couple of drops of vegetable color for the red and green icing.

I would love to share another craft idea today. Cinnamon dough ornaments. The recipe is just 2 ingredients, cinnamon and applesauce. I have been making these for years and I just love them!

Simply mix equal amounts of cinnamon and applesauce, and shape dough as desired. You may need a bit more cinnamon if your applesauce is watery. I dust the counter with a little extra cinnamon to prevent sticking.

Poke holes or add hooks before drying.

I use my old cinnamon for the ornaments, or dollar store spices if I don't have any:)

I used my dehydrator to dry them quickly in a few hours, but just let them dry a day or so if you don't have a 'D':)

When dry, decorate with fabric paint "icing", jewels, or rick-rack.

The ornaments last for years and smell so good! Kids love to make them:)

As you can see, these ornaments are not decorated yet, so I better get busy!

Happy Raw Holidays to everyone reading this!!!


Raw Cherry-Hemp Brownie

I really want to thank everyone who has been leaving such wonderful comments!

I am so humbled by such kind words, it makes me feel so good, like I am not alone in my little raw food world..hehe!

And now...
The raw vegan holiday cookie of the week...

Raw Cherry-Hemp Brownie

2 cups walnuts
½ cup soft dates
½ cup dried cherries
¼ cup hemp seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ teaspoon cherry extract
¼ cup cocoa powder
Dash salt

1. Process all ingredients in food processor fitted with “S” blade until mixture holds together.

2. Shape into rounds or pear shapes for Rudolf:) I made about 1 dozen.

3. Chill while making frosting.

Raw Chocolate Frosting
¼ cup coconut oil, room temp
¼ cup grated cacao butter, 2 tablespoons melted measure
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon cacao powder

Melt cacao butter over hot water in small bowl. Let cool about 15 min at room temp.

Add coconut oil, agave and cocoa powder.

Mix until well combined. If cacao butter is very warm, and melts coconut oil, allow to stand at room temp until frosting consistency.

This frosting will be soft at room temp, but get hard when chilled.

Decorate frosted brownies as shown using dehydrated raspberries or cherries, almond slices, cut pecans, pumpkin seeds, and currants.

Please forgive the quick post today:) Holiday Hugs to all!!!


Berry Festive Wreath Salad

Here is a very easy way to serve a festive salad in the shape of a wreath. I made one of my favorite berry and greens salads today, and a variation of my sweet orange dressing with my favorite seasonal berry, the cranberry!

To form the wreath, place a cup in the middle of a large round serving platter.

Arrange the leaves of baby lettuce in small bunches around it.

Add berries, I had blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and red raspberries.

Remove glass from center and add a fruit leather bow, if desired.

Here are some step by step pics for the bow:) Hope they help!

Cut using pizza wheel... Bow 'loops' strip approx 10"x2"
Streamer strip approx 8"x1", cut "V" in ends
Center strip 3"to 4"x2", fold in half. Trim off extra after wrapping.

1. Fold ends of loop strip in towards middle and scrunch. Turn over.
2. Scrunch streamer strip in center.
3. Stack bow on top of streamer and wrap with folded center piece.

Serve with your favorite dressing or...

Sweet Cranberry-Orange Dressing

2 large navel oranges, zest if desired, and peel oranges
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons agave, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

1. Combine all dressing ingredients in blender until creamy.
2. Pour over salad and enjoy!

Please see my Happy Raw Holidays! post for more fun recipes and ideas:)


Holly-day Raw Eggnog Cake

Another quickie post to show how easy it is to dress up a cake with an edible raw holly decoration.

This idea can be used on your favorite cake, brownie, or cookie.

Red raspberries for the berries of course, and cut mint leaves for the holly leaves. I used dehydrated berries because fresh ones sometimes release juice onto the cake.

I cut the mint with a small holly leaf cutter*, and coated them with agave mixed with a little water to try and preserve them a bit. I purposely made them a few hours ago to see if they would last. I laid them on waxed paper, and folded it over them to cover.

*ETA~if you don't have a leaf cutter, try cutting the mint with kitchen shears, or don't cut them at all!

I also returned the cake to the freezer after taking pics, and the leaves froze perfectly...for a few hours, then they wilted. Attach leaves and berries as close as possible to serving:)

The cake is raw 'eggnog' ice cream. I simply processed a double recipe of the eggnog posted here in the ice cream maker. The raw eggnog is adapted from Neal's Holiday Nog.

This time I measured the almonds before soaking, and they enlarged quite a bit overnight. I added a few more dates to sweeten it a little more and did not strain the mixture. This made a great tasting ice cream, although not as smooth and rich as a cashew based. If making this for company, I might try cashews in place of all or part of the almonds in the nog.

This recipe could probably make a nice raw eggnog flavored cheesecake by adding some coconut oil to firm, and less water in the nog.

I pressed a nut crust into the 7 inch spring-form pan before filling. I froze the cake overnight, and realized I did not pack the ice cream very carefully when the sides were removed today, so I had to coat the outside edge with some whipped cream to cover the holes:) I piped a circle of whipped nut cream and decorated with leaves and berries.

A single holly cluster in the center looks elegant:

Spiced Nut Cream:

1 cup nuts, soaked, rinsed and drained,I used cashews today
1/4 cup dates, soaked till soft
1 to 1 and 1/4 cups fresh water
1 tablespoon coconut oil, softened
1 tablespoon chia seed, ground...measure then grind
sprinkle of spice, I used nutmeg and cinnamon to match the eggnog.

Place all ingredients in high speed blender, and whip:) I stream in extra water as it is running if needed, to create a light cream.

Chill cream at least 1 hour to firm up a bit before piping.

I hope you enjoy this easy decoration idea for your Happy Raw Holidays!

Sincere thanks to Executive Chef of Pure Food and Wine, Neal Harden, for the inspiration.


Good Stuff!

I just love when I find a raw recipe when I don't expect it:)

Titled "Raw Vegan Dates Stuffed with Walnuts and Cardamom-Vanilla Cream", I just knew I had to try it!

The recipe was in this months' edition of Better Nutrition, a free little magazine at one of the health food stores I go to. It is by Lisa Turner. The original recipe called for just cardamom, but I used my vanilla chai spice blend, so I changed the name a little.

The article it was part of was called "Good Stuff!", so I borrowed that title, too:)

Dates Stuffed with Walnuts and Chai-Vanilla Cream

1 cup cashews, soaked, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla, or use 1”-2" vanilla bean seeds
2 teaspoons honey, or use agave
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom, or use ½ a teaspoon of my vanilla chai spice blend
20 medjool dates, pitted
10 walnut halves
¼ -½ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup cacao nibs

1. Blend cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla, sweetener, and cardamom(or chai spice) until creamy.

I actually used some leftover cream cheese from my olive penguins since it was just cashews, lemon juice and a little salt. I doctored it up by adding the spices, oil, vanilla, and agave. This can be made in advance and kept in the fridge.

2. Open pitted date lengthwise and fill with a little cream. Top with a walnut half. Place dates on serving plate and sprinkle with coconut and cacao nibs.

I just made the 5 shown, and eyeballed the ingredients and they still came out so good! They are very big, sweet, and quite filling. I think they could also be made on 1/2 cut dates since they are so huge. The original recipe says you can make them up to 24 hours ahead, cover and refrigerate.

Thanks so much to Lisa Turner for this festive recipe!

This could be a sweet part of your Happy Raw Holiday!


Olive Penguins!

Just a quick post today to show you one of my favorite things to make at the holidays.

A few years ago, I brought a veggie tray to a holiday party with quite a few of these little guys standing all around the bowl of dip in the middle. They were filled with regular cream cheese at the time.
It took a few minutes for anyone to notice them, but once they did everyone loved them. Several people wrapped one or two in a napkin to take home:)

This is another recipe idea that has been around for a while:)
One note: the olives needed for this are not raw since they are canned, but they are so adorable, I don't care...hehe.

colossal pitted black olives, for body
small pitted black olives, for head
carrot slices, for feet
favorite raw cream cheese*, chilled
frilled toothpicks

*for this simple raw nut cheese, I processed:
1 cup cashews, soaked and rinsed
juice of 1 very juicy lemon
6-8 grinds of pink salt

1. Prepare cream cheese and chill overnight. The recipe above should be enough for the entire can of colossal olives, which had at least 18.

2. Peel and slice carrot about 1/8" thick at the bigger end. Cut a small wedge out as pictured. Cut a few thin (1/16") slices, and cut those into small wedges for beaks. Some people use the cut wedge from the feet, but I like a thinner slice.

3. Drain and dry olives.

4. Cut a small "V" out of front of colossal olive as shown. I put the large hole in the olive up.

5. Fill with nut cheese. I use a small spoon, then smooth with a clean finger. Wipe any excess away.

6. Cut a small slit in small olive, and insert one small carrot wedge for beak. I put the large hole in the olive down.

7. Assemble penguin head and body on toothpick as shown, and stick into feet:)

If you are feeling very creative, you can dress your penguins. Flattened scallion can be tied into a scarf. You can make skis from bell peppers and use the toothpicks as poles. For more formal attire, how about adding 3 black sesame seeds down the front, and a red pepper(peel) bow tie:)

OK...that sounded so cute I had to try one...

Happy Chanukah (or Hanukkah) to those of you celebrating the Festival of Lights!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!


Gift Box and Raw 'Eggnog':)

Today I would love to show you how easy it is to create a small gift box from a recycled greeting card. This box is pictured on the top right of the pic above. I made a few boxes today while enjoying that rich and creamy raw eggnog in the pic:)

This is the first of 3 boxes I will be showing you. This box style is courtesy of Mike Lieberman. Please click here for his instructions and video, which I am unable to watch:(

Since there is a chance someone else out there does not have high speed internet, I am posting step by step pics:)

Here is what's needed for this simple "green" project.

A greeting card, scissors and/or x-acto knife, ruler or straight edge, permanent double stick tape, a paper folder or butter knife, and a cutting board. Mike used a card he received, and I have some left over cards from a few years ago.

I have also used copied photos for this project in the past:) Out-dated calendars or plain cardstock work very well, too.

Step 1: Cut greeting card in half on fold line.

Step 2: Using the ruler as a guide, score a 1/2 inch to 1 inch border around all four sides of the front of the card, which will become the top of the box. I use a paper scoring/folding tool, but have also used the dull top side of a butter knife to score.

Step 3: Clip the box corner as shown, and fold away from the picture side on all score lines. Use folding tool or butter knife to make a sharp crease.

Step 4: Place a small square of tape on the(4) clipped flap corners as shown, on the picture side of the card.

Step 5: Fold 2 taped corners in and fold up end to make one end of the box lid.

Step 6: Repeat step 5 with other end of box lid.

Step 7: Trim 1/16th of an inch from length and width of the back of the card. This will be the bottom of the box, and you want it slightly smaller to fit inside the lid. Repeat all other steps as with lid:)

All done!!!

Thanks to Mike Lieberman for posting this idea! This was one day in Mikes incredible 365 Ways to go Green. Check it out for some great green ideas:)

And now, about the yummy raw eggnog (eggnot?) I enjoyed this morning:)

If you have been looking for a delicious and creamy raw holiday 'nog' recipe you may want to give this one a try.

The recipe is from the Executive Chef at Pure Food and Wine, Neal Harden. 

I reduced the recipe by half for 1 serving, and slightly adjusted the ingredients. It was rich, sweet and creamy...so good!

I hope it is OK to post my slightly adapted recipe for 1 serving of nog:)

Raw Holiday Nut Nog

1/2 cup soaked, rinsed almonds, I measured after soaking overnight
1/4 cup pine nuts, I did not soak these:)
1 huge:) pitted medjool date
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1-inch piece whole vanilla bean, pod and seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
about 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
pinch of pink salt
1 cup fresh water, maybe a splash more if nog is too thick

Blend all ingredients until smooth, and strain through nut-milk bag. Serve warm or chilled. I enjoyed it warm today with a cinnamon stick and extra sprinkle of nutmeg:)

I was so happy to come across this wonderful raw 'eggnog' recipe!!! I never thought of using nutritional yeast in a nut milk before:) Thanks again to Sarma and Chef Neal Harden for sharing:)

Please note: I usually do not re post actual recipes from other people, however the links to the recipes have changed several times.  I will try to fix any broken links as I find them. Thank you to those of you who have contacted me about broken links!
½ Cup Pine Nuts, soaked & rinsed
1  Cup Almonds, soaked & rinsed
1/8 Cup Agave
½ Nutmeg Nut, grated
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 ¾ Cup Water
Combine all ingredients in Vitamix or High Speed Blender and blend until smooth.  Squeeze mixture through nutmilk bag, chill, and serve.

** Neal"s original recipe had a bit of nutritional yeast in it, but since the recipe moved, the nooch is MIA!

This recipe inspired a Raw Eggnog Cake! Check it out here!

More holiday recipes and ideas at Happy Raw Holidays!


Raw Cowboy Cookies

YeeeHaaa...the raw holiday cookie of the week is the awesome Cowboy Cookie. The recipe is adapted from this one on gone raw by 3crows. Thank you to 3 crows for the wonderful recipe!

Raw Cowboy Cookies

1 cup oat flour, made from ground oat groats, sprouted and dehydrated if desired.
1/2 cup cashew flour, made from ground cashews, soaked and dehydrated if desired.
1/4 cup dried shredded coconut
2 tablespoons melted cacao butter, measure after melting
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons yacon syrup, or date paste/syrup made from blended soaked dates
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 of a vanilla bean, seeds only or 1/2 tsp. extract
1/4 cup raw chocolate chips or chunks
1/4 cup chopped pecans, or other nut of choice
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Combine oat flour, cashew flour, coconut, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.

2. Add melted oils, yacon, agave, and vanilla, and mix well.

3. Stir in chocolate and nuts. I reserve a little of each to press into top of cookies after shaping.

4. Shape into cookies, top with reserved nuts and chocolate if desired and chill.
I made one dozen two inch cookies from this recipe.

I had some chunks of my raw chocolate recipe that I used today, but if you have the time, pipe out some chips:)

The first time I made these cookies, I created a nutmilk to go with it . Here is the recipe:

Cinnamon Pecan Milk

a lovely milk, warm and spiced

½ cup pecans, soaked if you like:)
12 ounce fresh water, warmed if it is cold out!
3 pitted medjool dates, soaked until soft
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Place all ingredients in blender, and blend until creamy.

2. Strain through nut milk bag. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon if you like.

I may leave this combo out for Santa this year;)

Click here for more raw holiday recipes and ideas.
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