Living Light Diary


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Zucchini Hummus: Low Carb, High Fat and Delicious!

Posted by on Sep 18, 2016 in Blog, Recipes, Video | 0 comments

Zucchini Hummus: Low Carb, High Fat and Delicious!

If you are a raw food enthusiast, more than likely you avoid beans. The same goes for Low Carb and Paleo eaters. Here’s an easy recipe that mimics the Mediterranean taste and texture of hummus without the carbs and lectins of the garbanzo bean version. The magic ingredient is zucchini.

I keep this hummus right at eye level in the fridge along with cut vegetables. It’s the first thing I see when looking for a snack. I also take it to parties. It’s always a hit. You can make this in a few minutes. Watch the Facebook Live video With tips on how to make it and what to serve with it.

Here’s the Recipe:

Bean Free Zucchini Hummus
Yield 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:
1 cup peeled and chopped zucchini
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
6 tablespoons raw tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
a Pinch of cayenne (optional)
6 tablespoons sesame seeds, soaked for four hours, drained and rinsed

Directions
1. combine all of the ingredients except the tahini and the sesame seeds in a high-performance blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add the sesame seeds and the tahini and blend until smooth.

Serve with crudités, on salad, in a wrap or on lettuce leaves.

Turn Your Fridge into a Salad Bar

Posted by on Jun 6, 2014 in Blog, Video | 0 comments

Turn Your Fridge into a Salad Bar

 

Whenever I go to the market, I make it a point to enter through the door closest to the produce area. The minute I am among the fruit and veggies, I feel good. Everything is so colorful and inviting. I want to eat it all and I happily load up my basket.

Later, when I look in my fridge, the same produce is there but I  don’t get that happy feeling. In fact, a lot of the the time my first thought is, “…nothing to eat… at least not quickly.”

Recently, I figured out why that is. We eat first with our eyes. How food looks really makes an impact on our brains. I store all my fruit and vegetables in green bags to keep them fresh longer. I can’t see the produce through the bags. My fridge is full of fruit and veggies but usually, if I’m looking for something quick, I’ll reach for the nuts. The nuts are in jars….I can see them. Finally it hit me. If I could see my vegetables, I might be more inclined to reach for them first.

It worked! I set my fridge up like a salad bar. Veggies are visible, clean, cut and ready to eat. They are all at eye level. Colorful veggies are the first thing I see when I open the door. Now I feel happy when I look in the fridge. The same things are in there but seeing them makes all the difference. It’s also very quick and easy to make a big salad. And last but not least, I see everything I have. I don’t “lose” things because they are hidden in the bags.  I still use the bags but I put a some of all my veggies in jars where they can be seen.

ws salad bar cropped sm

 

I use wide mouth Ball Mason jars. I love these because no matter what size you choose, they all use the same lid. It’a a small thing but it saves a lot of time and frustration when you can just grab a lid and know it will fit. As you can see in the photo, some of my lids are plastic. These are BPA free. I like to use them in the fridge because the metal ones can get rusty in there.

You probably don’t want to cut up tomatoes or cucumbers ahead of time. They won’t last long but you can fill a jar with cherry clean tomatoes.

Many of my chef friends insist that greens should be washed and cut at the last minute. Usually I agree, but if you are very busy and having lettuce ready to go makes the difference between eating salad or not, go ahead and get your leafy greens ready to eat. Wash them, spin them dry and fill a large jar to the very top – don’t leave any space for air – and put on the lid. Your greens will keep for 2 -3 days in the fridge.

Broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, bell peppers, carrots, celery, corn, fennel, beets, beans and peas all store well in jars. You can clean and cut up enough for 2 – 3 days at a time.

Now all you need is dressing. I make a quart of dressing every week so I always have it on hand and ready to go. If you don’t have dressing ready, don’t let that stop you! Squeeze a lemon and drizzle some olive oil on your salad. Salsa makes a great dressing. You can also pulse a tomato in your blender with a little olive oil for a quick dressing.

If you set up your own salad bar,  please let me know if it makes a difference for you like it did for me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make a Basic Nut Cheese

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Blog, Living Light Diary | 0 comments

How to Make a Basic Nut Cheese

I dream of cheese, really. It’s one my favorite foods and I had a hard time giving it up.
I fell off the heart-healthy diet wagon many a time over an extra sharp cheddar. I just couldn’t find a good replacement for the flavor or the texture of cheese. What could replace the tang of cheese in in pizza, on crackers, on pasta, on veggies and sandwiches? Soy Cheese? Ha! It might be orange, but It tastes like an pencil eraser and it doesn’t melt.

Luckily, I learned how to make “cheese” from nuts. The first kinds I learned to make were spreadable, quick, nut “cheeses” sort of like cream cheese. Then I learned how to ferment the nut cheeses. (Now, were getting somewhere!) Recently I got some recipes for nut cheeses with a rind and one that melts. I’m still experimenting with those. I’ll keep you posted.

Nut cheese is incredibly fun and easy to make. And it’s a pretty good replacement for dairy cheese. Let’s face it, for a cheese lover, nut cheese may never really replace a salty blue or a creamy brie but a long term love affair with dairy can really break your heart, so give nuts a chance.

Nuts, although high in fat, are actually very good for your heart. They contain monounsaturated fats. These are the “good” fats like you get in olive oil. They have long been associated with heart health. But wait, there’s more!

Many studies have shown eating nuts is linked to a lowered risk of heart disease. One study found that when people replaced the saturated fats in their diets (the kind found in dairy and meat) with the fat from nuts, their risk of heart disease was reduced by 45%. That’s major!

You can read more about the studies here.

Give it a try. Here’s a very basic recipe to get you started.

 

Almond Cheese & flax crackers
Basic Almond Cheese
Yield 2 cups

Ingredients
2 cups 0r 270 gms of soaked almonds
1 Cup Rejuvelac

To make the cheese:

1 – Soak the almonds
Put the almonds in a bowl or a jar, cover with water and soak them overnight.

2- Put the soaked nuts and rejuvelac in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
You are looking for a smooth creamy mixture. Add water if needed.

3. Dampin a large piece of cheese cloth.

4. Line a colander or the basket from your salad spinner with the cheese cloth. Make sure there is enough extra cloth on each side to fold back over the top of the basket.

5. Pour the nut & Rejuvelac mixture into the lined bowl. Cover the mixture with the extra cloth.

6. Place the basket into the salad spinner bowl.The salad spinner bowl & basket work perfectly for this as the bowl has enough room beneath it for the cheese to drain. If you use a colander, place it in a bowl making sure there is some space between it’s bottom and the bowl. You don’t want your cheese to sit in the liquid that drains from the nut mixture.

7. Put the bowl in a warm spot so it can ferment.

8. After a couple of hours, place a plate on top of the cheese. Place a small bag of dry beans, rice or the like on the plate. The weight will help to press the liquid out of the cheese.

9.Empty the liquid from bowl every 2 – 3 hours.

10. Let the cheese ferment for at least 8 hours. You can let it go longer according to your taste.

Once your cheese has fermented, you can spice it up with all kinds of things, basil, garlic, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley or cilantro. Have some fun with it.

Store it in a jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for 4-5 days.

Bing-Bang Cherry Sorbet With Chocolate Sauce

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Video | 0 comments

Bing-Bang Cherry Sorbet With Chocolate Sauce

You’ve gotta have dessert! A healthy diet isn’t sustainable if all you see in your future is “rabbit food” – an endless landscape of plain veggies and brown rice. Eating should be joyful.

Eating the Farmers Market way (whole foods, plant based, mostly raw) means you CAN have your cake and your nutrients too.

Over the next few weeks, I will sharing recipes for some amazing desserts that are raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and processed sugar free. They are not calorie free, though. You should treat them like …well, a treat. That said, the calories you get will be nutrient dense. I have taken these desserts to parties and no one suspects they are healthy. They just taste yummy.

The recipe I am sharing today is

This is a recipe I developed at Living Light Culinary Institute while I was a student. My team and I got rave reviews from the instructors and student chefs alike.

Cherries, chocolate and almonds is one of my favorite combinations. I was shooting for something like cherry gelato but without the calories, dairy and eggs.

Let me know if you think I hit the target!

Tooltip TextBing-Bang Cherry Almond Sorbet

with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Sauce
Yield: about 1 cup

Ingredients
5 TBSP coconut crystals
5 TBSP hot water
½ Cup raw cacao powder
3 ½ TBSP coconut oil
¼ TSP sea salt
3-4 TBSP water (for desired consistency)

Instructions
Place coconut crystals in a small bowl and add hot water (as needed) to create a syrup.

Place in a high-performance blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend to emulsify.
Add water slowly until you have the consistency you like.

Sorbet
Yield: about 5 Cups
4 cups frozen cherries
2 frozen bananas
1 TSP almond extract

Place the frozen cherries and bananas into a high-performance blender with the almond extract then blend. Use the tamper to keep the fruit moving onto the blades. It will be loud but soon you will have a delicious, processed sugar-free treat.

Scoop into bowls, drizzle chocolate sauce on top and sprinkle with crushed almonds and shredded coconut.

OMG Raw Lasagna! Living Light Diary Day 10

Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Blog, Living Light Diary | 0 comments

OMG Raw Lasagna! Living Light Diary Day 10

We learned how to make raw lasagna today and it was wonderful! It even had a crispy, cheesy crust on the top.

Now, I’ve made raw lasagna before but it never really behaves like the real thing. For those who haven’t had it, raw lasagna is made with thinly sliced zucchini as a stand-in for pasta. It looks pretty good in the pan but terrible on the plate. It just sorta slides apart.
Within seconds, it’s just a pile of soggy zucchini and marinara. Well, now I know why and -even better- I know what to do about it.

First we must address the zucchini “pasta.” Zucchini has a lot of water in it and that water wants to come out. All that zucchini juice is one reason your lasagna becomes a sloppy, soupy mess. The remedy is to force the water out of the zucchini before it goes into the pan.

Here’s how. Line a shallow pan with a tea towel. Place the zucchini noodles on the towel and sprinkle them with salt. This will cause them to sweat and release water. After about 30 minutes, dry them off and they’ll be ready to use.

There’s lots of water in tomatoes and that can add to the soupy factor, too. To overcome this, put your sauce in a colander and let it drain for a while.

Finally, you need the right pan. The typical lasagna pan holds liquid in. You need a pan that will let liquid out. A springform pan will do the trick. We used one that had a trough around the bottom to collect the water as it drains out of the lasagna.

If you can’t find a pan with a trough, like the one pictured above, flip the bottom of a regular springform pan so the lip faces down. Then put your lasagna on a tray, or something that will catch the water as it drains, when you put it in the dehydrator.

Try these tips the next time you make raw lasagna!

 

Living Light Diary Day 9

Posted by on May 3, 2014 in Blog, Living Light Diary | 0 comments

Living Light Diary Day 9

Today we began the Associate Chef and Instructor training. It was an action packed day.We made 5 recipes.

The first was Not Tuna Salad, a raw version of tuna salad made with sunflower seeds, almonds, lemon juice, kelp powder, celery, onion and dill. The color, taste and texture of Not Tuna is pretty close to the real thing. We used it in the stack pictured above.

We also had it for lunch as a “Tuna Croquette.” It was rolled in flax meal, gently heated
in the dehydrator (so it was crispy) and served with a raw tartar sauce – yum!

After lunch we were back in the kitchen making Vietnamese Salad rolls and Asian Style Wild Rice. You might be wondering how we made rice without boiling water.

Well, we “bloomed” it. We put wild rice – which is not actually rice but a grass seed – in a jar of water and put the jar in the dehydrator for 8 hours. After a while, the rice softens and splits open. It looks a bit like an iris flower so this technique is called “blooming.”

Wild rice is smoked so, technically, it’s not raw. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days which is handy if you’re busy. You can soak once and eat twice. Serve the rice once as a main dish and again later in the week in a wrap or as a side dish.

Living Light Diary Day 7

Posted by on Apr 19, 2014 in Living Light Diary | 0 comments

Living Light Diary Day 7

We passed the first milestone on our way to becoming chefs today.

We have completed Fundamentals of Raw Living Foods, Knife Skills and the Essentials of Raw Culinary Arts. We passed our first big exam and have all moved on to Raw Culinary Arts Associate Chef and Instructor Certification Training.

We have learned a lot  including how to filet a bell pepper. Who know that was even possible?

We can julienne, chiffonade and micro dice. We’re not ready for Benihana but we’re getting there.

We can make milk and cheese out of almonds, crackers out of flax seeds,  noodles out of zucchini, rice out of cabbage and ice cream out of cashews. We have even learned how to develop our own recipes.

It’s amazing how much we have learned in so short a time. We do work hard though. We are in school for 9 hours a day and have a couple hours of homework each night. This program is  as rigorous as it is fun.

 

Living Light Diary Day 6

Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in Blog, Living Light Diary | 0 comments

Living Light Diary Day 6

Today we were really challenged..or at least I was. We had to develop two of our own recipes – a salad dressing and a soup. I had never done this before.

The dressing recipe I came-up with is Pineapple Ginger. My soup is called Creamy Carrot- Pineapple.

At living Light I am on a team with 2 other student-chefs. We each developed 2 recipes.
We can’t make all six so one dressing and one soup recipe from each group was chosen at random. Yikes! My soup was selected.

I was very nervous because – well, I don’t know what I’m doing. I was pretty sure I was about to waste a lot of carrots.

We made the soup according to my recipe and – holy cow – it tasted great. We had two small problems though. My recipe was for 2 cups but we needed 6 cups and it was thin – more like a juice than a soup.

We have learned a few ways to thicken things; one is to add cashew cream (this is soaked, creamed, cashew nuts). Cashew cream was in the original recipe so we thought it made sense to add more. Immediately we saw the effect. The taste changed. It wasn’t bad but the cashew had really dulled the crisp, tangy flavor and the soup was still too thin.

Now we needed a way to thicken the soup without changing the taste anymore. Our instructor had two suggestions – avocado and zucchini. Of course, creamy avocado but zucchini?

I added the avocado while my teammates peeled and seeded the zucchini. Zucchini can taste biter if you leave the skin and seeds intact.

The zucchini worked like magic with the creamy avocado and it was totally tasteless. Now we had just a few minutes to work on the flavor. (Oh, yes. These sessions are timed. It’s like “The Iron Chef” in there – or maybe The Tin Chef….) We judiciously added carrot juice to try to recover the flavor. We also added ginger. It was coming around when time ran out. We had to stop and serve our soup.

We did alright. The other students and our instructors liked it but the consensus was, “It’s a good start.”

Which was fine by me. I had been worried that I was in way over my head. I was more than happy to have a good start.

We all had a good finish. After sampling everyone’s soup, we got to taste all the desserts we’ll be making in the pastry class at the end of April. Here’s a look at the amazing things that can be made without flour or dairy or baking.

Living Light Diary Day 5

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Living Light Diary | 0 comments

Living Light Diary Day 5

When broccoli is steamed, some of its enzymes are converted into different enzymes that help to prevent cancer. Who knew! Today we had a great lecture on fruits and veggies. I have been a vegetarian for almost 40 years and I heard things about some of my favorite vegetables that I didn’t know.

Speaking veggies,we learned how to use them to make a great wrap, kind of like a tortilla. Since they are made of raw vegetables, they are high in nutrition but low in calories.

To make the wraps, we mixed zucchini and bell peppers up in the blender with a few other things and made a batter. We poured it out onto sheets of teflex and shaped in into perfect circles with a spatula. This took a while…a long while. Then they wraps went into the dehydrator and when they came out used them for lunch (see them above).

Sunflower Sprouts

Sunflower Sprouts

Our sprout project is in full swing now. We planted our sunflower and wheat berry sprouts today. The wheat berries will become wheat grass. We planted them on a soil filled cafeteria tray and covered them with another tray (inverted). Eventually the shoots will push the top tray up.That’s when we will remove it and give them some sun.

It is very quick and easy to grow sunflower sprouts as well. In about a week and-a-half you have a nice crop. Growing them in your kitchen sure beats paying $15 a pound at the market. They are really cute, too.

After our gardening session, we were treated to an Ice Cream Social. We made our own ice cream out of frozen bananas using a juicer. It was very tasty with raw chocolate sauce…a sweet way to end the day.

Sunflower Sprouts

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Blog, Living Light Diary, Video | 0 comments

Sunflower Sprouts

It was just a week ago that we started our sprouts. Today the sunflower sprouts are almost 3 inches high. As you can see in the photo above, the black shells are still attached. They have to be removed by hand – who knew? Now I can see why they are so expensive.

The other surprise is the taste. They actually taste good – sort of sweet and lemony. Much better that the tangled knot of alfalfa that you usually get.

These are very easy to grow. You sprout the seeds in a jar, place the sprouts in a tray (like a cafeteria tray) of organic soil, place them in a bit of light and water daily. Next thing you know, you’ll have some very tasty sprouts for salads & sandwiches.

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