Sunday, July 28, 2013

B7DRC: Day 6 and 7 - The July Edition

Too often it happens where I plan an event-free weekend and by the time Friday rolls around I have a packed schedule. That was this weekend. Busy, busy once again. And when I’m busy, I barely eat. I know, it makes no sense, but it’s true. Which is why during these challenges I normally combine Saturday and Sunday together because, well, I don’t have too much to share. Did I get to dehydrate anything? Sadly no, but I have some things soaking. I’ll get to it eventually. Until then, fresh, fast food it is. 



One of the reasons I don’t eat much on the weekends is because I tend to sleep in. Who wouldn’t? Waking up 2-3 hours past my normal wake up time typically means 1 meal and 1 snack is already out of the day’s eating routine leaving me with only 2 meals and a snack. Sounds about right. After waking up and rehydrating I whipped together a quick breakfast before heading out to the farmer’s market: Banana Bites. 

One of my favorite fruits to combine with nut butter is bananas. They just work so beautifully together, especially the just ripe bananas that are slightly firm and slightly sweet. I could have just slathered some nut butter on top the banana, drizzled, sprinkled and served, but my love for food plating and photography took over. I sliced the banana in even slices, took one slice, slathered it with a pinch of raw walnut cashew butter, topped it with another slice and repeated with the remaining slices. I then drizzled with local, raw honey and topped with cacao nibs. The results, a breakfast party in both my mouth and belly. Sometimes the easiest food concoctions are the most satisfying. Loved. 


While running errands with fruit filling my passenger seat, it was a bit hard to NOT grab a few blueberries and yellow plums. The plums were so soft and sweet! 


Before we headed out, I whipped up a quick blueberry smoothie loaded with leftover veggies and fruits. It was light and sweet and creamy thanks to the hemp seeds I added. I have come to realize that instead of making fresh almond milk and risk NOT using it all, I just throw hemp seeds into a smoothie that I want to be creamy. It works perfectly every single time. 

Blueberry Mango Cuke
Recipe by Beth Mickens
Makes 16 Ounces

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cucumber, peeled
  • ½ over ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ banana
  • 2 Tbsp of hemp seeds
  • Squeeze of lime or lemon juice (optional)
    1. Blend and go!


The best fast food is also the freshest. As I was cleaning the house I nibbled on an apple. Super refreshing!


Dinner was easy because I had been planning to make it for the last couple of days. I finally was able to soak my nuts to make this mouthwatering dip which I used to dress my broccoli salad. The dip is another testing recipe for Jonie Marie Newman’s new vegan book. As usual, I can’t share the recipe but I can share my thoughts on the taste: nutty, robust and insanely addictive. I did have to make a few subs to ensure it was 100% raw, but I couldn’t imagine it tasting any different than holy yumm.

As for the salad, another leftover throw together. 

Broccoli Salad with Secret Dip/Dressing
Salad Recipe by Beth Mickens
Makes 1

Broccoli Salad:
  • 1 small head of broccoli, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  1. Throw all together in a bowl and toss.
  2. Dress with desired dressing (A cashew cheese would be awesome!)



Woke up late again. Actually, really late this time. I wasn’t really in the mood to eat until we got to Whole Foods where I saw the kombuchas and began craving for one. So one I had! Gingerberry it was and mmm was it good.

By the time we got home is was lunch time and I was starting to get hungry. I whipped up a quick smoothie to satisfy my belly til later. Loaded with greens and berries, it was another berrylicious smoothie!

Creamy Peachberry
Recipe by Beth Mickens
Makes 16 Ounces

  • ½  heaping cup peaches
  • ½ heaping cup mixed berries
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup greens
  • 1 cup water
  •  2 Tbsp hemp seeds
    1. Blend and go!

You will NOT believe what I found at Whole Foods! YES! I found Brad’s Raw Onion Rings!! I cannot lie. I literally did a scream, and a shriek and a mini-jump in the air with hands clapping as I discovered the beauties sitting inconspicuously on the second to last shelf in a section the kale chips normally do not sit. I’m sure the social media reps at Brad’s can tell you I have been WAITING for these babies to come out. My husband, lover of the kale chips, was just as thrilled as, if not more excited than, me. He said, and I quote, “these may just become a fetish of mine”. LOL whatever THAT’s supposed to mean!

The “Rings on Fire” flavor became my husband’s and I’s movie treat and also my lunch. It also was the fuel of another mini fight as I sort of, kind of ate them all. He kept eying me and giving me the “huff and puffs” as I opened and closed the box multiple times, sneaking in a few here and there. Finally the box was near empty and all he could do was look at me and say, “I can’t leave anything near you!”. He’s right. When it comes to Brad’s you can’t. I’ll clear the box in seconds. All I could do was laugh and scream back, “I can’t believe I have to fight you for raw food!” I can’t complain. He’s eating raw foods. That’s a major step.

Once you taste these you’ll understand why we battled for them. The flavor was amazeballs - Dare I say better than the Nasty Hot kale chips? The onion flavor is very prominent and strong but in a really good way. Without it, it wouldn’t be onion rings! They’re aromatic, flavorful and caramely sweet. The “batter” is very light (for some pieces, maybe a bit too light?) but still noticeable, yet not overbearing either (which is a good thing!). For this particular flavor the spiciness was perfect. Hot, but not too hot. As for texture, a majority of the onion rings are chewy with a few bits slightly crispy. I was expecting crispy but should have known an onion is less than likely to crisp unless burnt. The chewiness wasn’t a turn off, just different from what we typically expect from an onion ring. We had to remind ourselves these were in fact raw. 

Overall, Brad’s has something seriously going on. The idea of developing raw onion rings is near genius as the idea is unique, rare, and intriguing to both raw foodies and omnis. I have no doubts it’s going to be a hit product in the future just like their kale chips. It’s a hit with my omni husband and that’s saying a lot; trust me!
I will definitely be purchasing these again in the very near future. Now if we can just learn to share…


Honestly, I wasn’t too hungry afterwards. Instead I found myself mindlessly nibbling on watermelon and other fruits and veggies as I prepped meals for the week. Watermelon is always filling; especially when you engorge yourself on it like I tend to do.*burp*

There we have it! Another raw challenge successfully completed! As you can see, eating 100% raw for 7 days isn’t as hard as it may sound. All you have to do is make sure your fridge and pantry is stocked, pre-prep for the week and success is bound to come as a result. If you cheat, all you do is brush it off and move on. Changing your diet and lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a learning process where failing is never an option. All you can do is progress. As long as you pick yourself up and treck on. 

Congrats challengers! Are you ready to join us next month? Are you ready to take the challenge?


Friday, July 26, 2013

B7DRC: Day 5 - The July Edition

I can’t believe it’s already Day 5 of Brad’s 7 Day Raw Challenge. The week goes by so fast! I am thrilled it’s FRIDAY though. It means I have a weekend to spend an hour or two actually focusing on making something interesting. I definitely plan on pulling out the dehydrator and with 10 trays I may be making quite a few things!

So who’s ready for leftover FRIDAY?

Early Morning:

I ran out of lemons!! Looks like I’ll be sippin’ plain water for today.


Looks like the kombucha cravings are coming back as I wanted one last night but only had one to decide from. I used to drink them daily but stopped because a) it was getting pricey and b) my desire to drink them was slowly disappearing. Well, now it’s back and while I have plans on making my own in the future as soon as I purchase a new SCOBY, looks like a few store-bought ones a week is what I will just have to deal with.

The only 'bucha I had left in the fridge is one I truly adore: the  Multi-Green Chia by GT’s. I love the earthy, green taste and even more the chia seeds which provide an awesome boost of sustainable energy. They’re also quite filling making it perfect for breakfast.


Remember when I stated we had a berry monster in the house with whom I fight with daily? Well, she, okay more like we all, somehow missed the strawberries that were lurking in the back of the fridge. I noticed them last night and thought to myself, SCORE! I had breakfast! Seeing as it’s Friday, aka the end of the week, food starts looking scarce…REALLY scarce so finding these gave me a boost of excitement.

Sweet and oh so juicy! Yumm! I love my berries ice cold. Anyone else?


We’re switching it up a bit today! Instead of my normal smoothie I decided salad first.
This beautiful salad is another tester for Jonie Marie Newman’s new vegan book which means, sorry, no recipe. But I wanted to share the picture in hopes it makes your mouth water and instills a bit of an itch to purchase the book when it’s released..and because I ‘m excited and love to share! 

This is actually a condiment to another non-raw, vegan dish which I hope to make sometime next week, but after seeing the recipe I knew this condiment would work well as a salad topper or even a dip. It’s super refreshing, cool, creamy and loaded with tons of flavor! It was also super easy to make, which is ideal for busy ones like me. 

Doesn’t it look tasty?


Okay NOW it’s smoothie time! Today’s smoothie was super simple yet still berrylicious. 

Blackberry and Cream
Recipe by Simple Green Smoothies
Makes 16 ounces

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
    1. BLEND and enjoy!

On Friday's I like to put together what I call the Friday's Leftovers Salad. I take all the leftover veggies I have, throw them into one big salad and serve. All I have to come up with is a dressing!

The dressing I whipped up was inspired by Lisa Viger's Cucumber and Mango Noodle salad. I thought if it's great in a salad it HAS to be great whizzed together as a dressing. I was right!

This dressing is both sweet and savory, fruity and spicy. It's also perfectly creamy; a great compliment for all the fresh, crisp veggies. If you make this dressing you HAVE to let me know what you think.

Friday's Leftover Salad with Cucumber Mango Chili Dressing
Recipe by Beth Mickens
Serves one large meal


There is no recipe! Just throw whatever you have together! Here are the veggies I added to mine.
  • Romaine
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green Onions
  • Sprouts
Cucumber Mango Chili Dressing: 
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 fresh mango, diced (pineapple, frozen, may work as well)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp of sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of hemp seeds
  • 2-3 slices of jalapeno
  • Pinch of grated garlic (optional)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp of Chili powder
    1. Whiz all the ingredients together in a small blender til blended and smooth. 
    2. Pour over salad and serve.
And there we have Day 5! We had company over this evening so I didn't get time to make dessert. At least by the time I get to make dessert it'll be a REAL treat!
Have a great weekend! Doing anything fun?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

B7DRC Day 4 - the July Edition

It’s Day 4 and as you may notice, as much as I like to make my own recipes, I also love to test other recipes as well. I enjoy taking different recipes of the same type of food (e.g. chili) and test them to discover which one is the best in terms of taste, texture and similarity to the “cooked” version. So it’s probably no surprise to find me testing recipes this summer for a couple of well-known chefs/bloggers as they work on their new cookbooks. I’ve been having a blast, with tons of recipes to still test and all I can do is share pics. So expect more mystery food porn pics to come…and not all of them are raw, but all of them ARE vegan and insanely mouthwatering!

Early Morning:

Today my jar holds water, lemon and mint!


I love apples, especially when smothered in Nutiva’s coconut manna or some type of nut butter or baked into a delicious, homemade pie. They’re usually at their best during the fall when they are in season, but I love the cold, crisp, juiciness of an apple during the summer as well.  Plus, it’s loaded with fiber, a nutrient most people do not get enough of. So eat an apple! Eat lots of apples!


Another simple, yet delicious salad! My favorite type of food is Mexican food. Tacos, enchilada, chips and guacamole, I love it all and I can eat it almost every day! So it doesn’t shock me that I end up making at least one, if not two, Mexican-style salads or meals a week. 

As I was making last night’s dinner, the sight of corn, tomatoes, green onions and avocados automatically made me think a simple Mexican salad is a must make for a next day meal. The only problem was I was craving for guac as a dressing and didn’t feel like putting all the effort into making guac out of ¼ of an avocado. So I took the ingredients, blended them together and made a guacamole salad dressing! It’s not as perfect as guacamole, but it served its purpose of tasting gosh darn similar.

Simple Mexican Salad with Guacamole Dressing
Recipe by Beth Mickens
Serves 1

For the salad:
  • 2 cups of romaine lettuce, shredded
  • ½ corn cob
  • 3 Tbsp of red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ green onion, sliced
  • Chopped cilantro, to garnish
  • Sprouts, as a garnish (optional)
  • Raw pumpkin seeds, as a garnish (optional)
For the dressing:
  • ¼ avocado, chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsp of red onion
  • 1/8 tsp of garlic
  • ½-1 lime, juiced
  • Handful of cilantro (about 2-3 Tbsp)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2-4Tbsp of water, to blend
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender, starting with the lowest amounts and blend until smooth.
  2. Adjust amounts according to taste and consistency preferences. I preferred mine a bit thick.
To Assemble:
  1. Uniquely plate the lettuce, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers and green onions.
  2. Add a dollop or three of the dressing into the middle of your salad
  3. Top with chopped cilantro, sprouts and/or pumpkin seeds
  4. Serve immediately or make the night before for a yummy salad for the following day.

I’m having dessert for lunch today! It’s Blueberry Cobbler…in smoothie form! It’s sweet, creamy and nutty with a lovely berrylicious base and loaded with greens! It’s perfect if you’re craving for something sweet yet healthy. 

Blueberry Cobbler
Recipe adapted from Simple Green Smoothies
 Makes 16 ounces

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup raw almond milk (the original recipe calls for coconut milk)
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut or coconut oil (depending on how much coconut flavor you want)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp flax
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
    1. Blend and enjoy!

Mmmmmm! Remember I mentioned previously that I have been doing some awesome recipe testing? Well this is one of them which comes from Jonie Marie Newman, author of several cookbooks including  “Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food” and “The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet” and owner of the blog, "Just the Food".  She’s in the process of writing a new book and asked for volunteers to test some of the recipes that may be featured in the book. Of course, I jumped on board and was thrilled when she accepted my  offer to assist. The recipes I have tested so far have been amazingly delish, I cannot wait to make more! 

This simple dessert is loaded with flavor. It’s obvious that this sweet treat is a chia pudding, but what makes it the best chia pudding I have ever had must remain a mystery. All I have to say is I am going to BEG to share this recipe once her book is released because it is a must try. I rarely make the same dish twice and this I have made 4 times already! It’s THAT good.


I debated long and hard on what to make. Everything I wanted to make required the soaked nuts that I accidentally forgot to soak the night before (dope!). I tried to remember what was in my fridge and to no avail, I came up with little to least nothing NEW. And then I saw this Summer Reboot Salad posted today by Kathy from the Healthy. Happy. Life. blog and praised her for saving me from an evening of contemplation.

It was simple to make and even easier to devour. The salad is not only loaded with veggies, but it's also loaded with tons of protein. The dressing was strong enough in flavor to compliment the earthiness of the kale with just a dollop.

Sweet, savory, earthy....just what I needed for dinner! It was also a great energy booster! I took a run with my family right afterwards with no cramps and tons of energy to spare afterwards! Woot woot!

I used the exact same recipe, using all raw ingredients for the salad and dressing. For the salad I used broccoli instead of cabbage and for the dressing, hemp oil instead of olive oil, lemon instead of rice vinegar, and raw honey instead of maple syrup. The results, I'm sure, were just as scrumptious!


Well I HAD intended to make raw chocolate banana ice cream BUT my plans changed as I went running with my family instead. Not a huge loss of course :) Instead I devoured the remaining two pieces of my almond butter cups! 

And there slips by another day!

Curious, what's your favorite dessert? I need to make something new :)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

B7DRC Day 3 - The July Edition

Happy Hump Day!! It’s also Day 3 of Brad’s 7 Day Raw Challenge and my creative juices are starting to really flow now that the move is behind me. I’m itching to get the dehydrator started and my juicer into use. I’m thinking about dehydrating some mangoes, possibly some cookies and maybe even some crackers! I’m also getting into the mode of making everything from scratch for my family including flour tortillas, which are almost impossible to find organic without them being frozen or made from multiple grains. My family has yet to let go of their favorite white flour tortillas. Change is a long journey that never ends but only improves over time. :) So here’s what I ate today as I continue my own raw lifestyle journey…

Early Morning: 

This morning I decided to grab a GT’s Trilogy kombucha as opposed to my typical lemon water.  If you have never heard of kombucha, it is, simply put, “a raw, fermented, probiotic and naturally carbonated tea.” Because of the antioxidants, probiotics, and vitamins, kombucha is said to help improve digestion, strengthen immunity, and even detoxify the body.  It’s one of my favorite drinks and one of the few drinks I will actually buy. While there are several good brands on the market I like to keep my business local. Some of my favorite local kombucha suppliers include MTO, Capital Kombucha and Barefoot Bucha, which I have YET to try! I will however, purchase me at least one GT's kombucha a week. I love the loaded fizziness and the awesome flavors (Gingerade!). I also love their chia variety as well. Chia PLUS kombucha is a total win win! If you’ve ever been curious about kombucha OR if you are trying to kick the soda habit, I highly recommend giving kombucha a try. It’s a great energy booster!


For some reason the stone-fruit in my fridge was calling out to me so a nectarine, pluot and apricot it was. Honestly though, I didn’t eat the apricot after feeling guilty about “taking” it from my daughter and asking her to eat a nectarine instead. Yes. We fight over fruit in the house. There’s never enough! I know, serious mom problems. ;)


I normally eat a large salad for dinner but since it’s raw challenge week I had to step up my game so I kept the salads for snack time. I made a quick and simple salad with romaine, carrots, green onions and tomatoes. The dressing? A raw, savory curried almond dressing. After yesterday’s raw sushi sauce fail I had to make a sauce that I knew would go great with sushi as well as with this. Mission accomplished.

Curried Almond Butter Dressing
Recipe by Beth Mickens
Makes 2 Tbsp (feel free to double or triple as needed)

  • 1 Tbsp of raw almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp raw honey or other liquid sweetener
  • 1/8 tsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/8 tsp grated garlic
  • 1/8 tsp curry powder
  • Pinch of salt
    1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and serve over salad.

It’s Day 24 of Simple Green Smoothie’s 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge and I have to say the most recent smoothie recipes have been rocking! I know we all have different tastes and preferences but I’m loving the berries minus the tartness. This smoothie was also a bit tart; nothing a banana can't fix :)

Berry Berry Quite Contrary
Recipe by Simple Green Smoothies
Makes 16 ounces

  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 Tbsp goji berries, optional garnish
    1. Blend and go!

Go figure the day I don't bring an extra snack is the day I'm starving by 3:00pm! With my tummy growling I rushed home and enjoyed a couple of figs and a spoonful of nut butter alongside a cup of warm tea as I prepped dinner. Thankfully dinner didn't take too long to make!


Dinner was sort of a throw together. No recipe. No plans. Just freestyle "cookin'". I knew I wanted noodles but what to make as a dressing? I was thinking a sort of pesto but lacked certain ingredients to make your typical pesto so I made an Minty Avocado Kale Dressing instead. It was rich and creamy, yet earthy, light and refreshing in taste. It paired really well with the zucchini noodles and sweet, fresh veggies. As a result the meal was nice and cooling. If you have any raw parm on hand, which I did not, add some! I think the salty, nuttiness would add another dimension and would bring the flavors out a bit more.

Zucchini Noodles with Minty Avocado Kale Dressing
Recipe by Beth Mickens
Serves 1

Zucchini Pasta
  • 1 Large Zucchini, spiralized or julienned into long, noodle-like strips
  • 1/2 cob of fresh, sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 green onion sliced
  • Any additional spring/summer veggies you'd like to add
  • Raw "parmesan" (optional)
Minty Avocado Kale Dressing
  •  1/4 avocado, roughly chopped
  • Handful of kale (about 1/4 cup)
  • Handful of mint (about 2-3 Tbsp)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or mashed well
  • 1/2 - 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3-4 Tbsp water to blend
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of raw honey (optional)
    1. Place all ingredients in a small bullet-like blender and blend until smooth
To Assemble:
    1. Toss zucchini noodles with dressing until noodles are well dressed.
    2. Add corn, tomatoes and any other veggies and toss lightly to combine
    3. Garnish with chopped green onions and a sprinkle or raw "parm" if you have any on hand.
    4. Best served immediately. 
Yep! I'm still nom nomming on them yummy almond butter cups!

And there goes Day 3!

I'm curious to know, what's your favorite noodle dish? I need more ideas :)