Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Dinner

Raw Veggie Cheese Steak

Merry Christmas! By the time you read this, I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. We had a blessed day, and I wanted to share with you all a few things I made today.

Above is a raw veggie cheese steak. I got it from an e-book called Recipes Made with Love by Jody Allen. Her website is She gave me a copy of her book as a Christmas gift, so I don’t feel right giving the recipe out without her permission. Visit her site and show her some love.

This cheese steak is incredibly rich and tasty. And so is her apple crisp.

Apple Crisp

I served it with Rice Dream Vanilla Ice Cream, but that had a yucky aftertaste. In haste, I made a vanilla cream sauce to go with the apple crisp.

The sauce is 2 cups cashews, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and agave nectar, to taste. Put them all in a blender, and add water just to the top of the cashews. Blend. You’ll create a lovely whipped creamy vanilla sauce. It went PERFECTLY with the apple crisp. It was heavenly good.

I learned this vegan meatloaf recipe at a class I took at Soul Vegetarian in July 2002. It’s a staple in my house now. It’s a lot easier to make than it looks. It is heavily seasoned and tasty. It goes great with the mac & cheese recipe from Thanksgiving.

Wheat Loaf
2 cups couscous, cooked
1 cup TVP, cooked
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Spike seasoning
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ cup nutritional yeast
pinch of sea salt
¼ cup liquid amino
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup water
BBQ sauce, to moisten
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl thoroughly. Shape into loaf in a bread loaf pan, or an 8 x 8 baking pan. Cover generously with BBQ sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

And here’s the dehydrator! It’s inaugural recipe was onion rings, but when I looked for the picture in my flash drive, it wasn’t there. I promise a picture of them next time. They were really good!

Be well, and don’t eat too much!



Sunday, December 14, 2008

I WON a Dehydrator!!

5-Tray Excalibur Dehydrator!

Remember what I said on November 12th?
"Know what I REALLY want for Christmas? A nine-tray Excalibur dehydrator. I have a round one, which is not the best. It works, but you know...I'm grateful, don't get me wrong. And I use it, but a square dehydrator works the best! I have so many recipes I want to do that I simply cannot make in my round one. I look forward to showing off my new gadget on December 25th! "

I WON a 5-Tray Excalibur Dehydrator from Raw Epicurean!!
From the website:
- Great for small families, small gardens or specialty gardens. The 26 hour timer will automatically shut off the Dehydrator for you when it reaches the time you set.

- Contains 5 LARGE trays with 8 square feet of tray area. Perfect for families with small gardens and a few fruit trees.

- Built-in on/off switch. 5" fan, 440 watts. Adjustable thermostat and 26 hour timer.

-Unit Dimensions 8-1/2"H x 17"W x 19"D

- Weight: 16 lbs.

- Available in case color Black or Appliance White. White unit additional $10.00.

- All units come with a Black door and black trays.

- Retail Price: $249.95 Sale: $ 209.95

BIG THANK YOU to Ingrid of Raw Epicurean ( If you haven't visited her site yet, it is beautiful, and the pictures look good enough to eat. It's raw vegan gourmet at it's best.

I am so happy right now. Whoo Hoo! I guess I will take a picture of it on December 25th. Now that's the Law of Attraction at work :-).



Friday, December 12, 2008

Banana Choco Bites and More

Banana Choco Bites

This is an original kid-friendly creation. During our gluten-free time (which I will get into in a moment), I created this dish. It's bananas, raw vegan chocolate pudding, and buckwheat sprouts.

To make the chocolate pudding, put into a food processor:
-3 ripe avocados
-chocolate powder or carob powder or raw cacao (to taste)
-raw honey or agave syrup or maple syrup
Blend together until super smooth.
And you have chocolate pudding!

I topped the chocolate on top of sliced bananas and sprinkled the buckwheat sprouts on them. Those are dried buckwheat sprouts. I got the idea from Juliano's RAW. Dehydrate them for 3 hours. They store in the refrigerator indefinitely.

The boys watched me and suddenly they were creating their own banana choco bites. They both really got into it.

Raymond adding chocolate pudding to his bananas

Jona trying to feed me

Raymond liked them without the sprouts. Jona didn't eat them at all. I wasn't surprised because the only fruit he likes are apples and raisins.

In short, with the gluten-free experiment, I have written down everything they have eaten or drank since December First. One thing became clear: I believe my sons are allergic to gluten, corn, and soy. With Raymond, when he was gluten-free had a BM seven out of nine days. That is the most regular he has been since he was about two years old. That sealed the deal for me.

With Jona, things were more intense. I made cookies for the Yabba Pot on Friday, December 5. I gave him two cookies. He threw up Saturday morning at 5:30am, followed by a foul smelling BM. Case closed, right? I got online looking up gluten allergies, and found a lot of information about Celiac Disease.

From the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness:
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye.

The more I read, I realized that I had to add gluten BACK into their diet. Then I made an appointment with their physician, who agreed that I had to add the gluten back in order to test for it.

To gain a proper diagnosis of celiac disease, a physician will order the following blood tests:
-Total IgA
-IgA antitissue transglutaminase (tTG)
-IgA antiendomysial antibody immunofluorescence (EMA)
-If IgA is deficient, IgG tTG test should also be ordered. At the discretion of the doctor, antigliaden IgG can also be ordered.

In other words, they are looking for antibodies. If the markers are not in the bloodstream, the tests may come back negative. So, literally, with tears in my eyes (I'm really not being melodramatic here), I started giving them bread and soy products again. My sons were showing sign of a gluten allergy with the following symptoms:
-discolored teeth (Jona)
-constipation (Raymond) (a symptom more common in children than adults)
-bloating/gas/abominal pain (both)
-foul-smelling stools (Jona)
-irritability and behavior changes (both)

My husband noticed a change in their behavior off the gluten. That was a big deal because he was all for the experiment, but he didn't think their behavior would change. This is more than “boys being boys.” They are FAR more hyperactive than usual.

We saw our beautiful lady doc yesterday (lovely woman. Johns Hopkins-trained, and HOLISTIC!). They got their blood tests today, and we'll know something definitive in a few weeks. I'll let you all know. And either soy or corn makes Jona constipated, miserable, and feverish. And the day we added back in the gluten, Jona spit up and had two foul-smelling BMs. All three food stuffs are gone, regardless of what the tests say.

Bananas holding popsicle sticks

On a lighter note, we made popsicles from smoothies. I used bananas to hold the sticks in. I made an apple and banana smoothie. (1 apple, 2 bananas, and 1 cup of water. Awesome). I poured a little bit into cups and froze for 6 hours.
About to go into the freezer

Raymond ate them both while I was at work, so I don't have pictures. But he said they were great!


And finally, Buckwheaties! I threw some buckwheat sprouts on top of an apple and banana bowl. They gave it great crunch. They taste better than they look, trust me. Those buckwheat sprouts gave me a great recipe idea that I plan to make within the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading, and send me any kid-friendly raw recipes that you have. We are making some positive, healthy changes in my household.



Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Operation Gluten-Free and Chemical-Free

Raymond, the Chef

I've started a 2-week gluten-free experiment with my sons. I am also getting the chemicals out of our home and personal products as well. I haven't talked about my children much. If you've read this blog for a while, you know that my in-laws bring in the noise, bring in the funk. :-( I've focused on healing my feelings toward them.

But my sons have required help as well. Both of them are speech-delayed. They don't have Autism, but they fall under the category of Late Talkers. A good website, although still under construction, is If anyone is interested in the work I've done with them, please email me at In terms of food, they have been vegan since birth. But them more I change my diet, the more I've wanted to change theirs to a more whole-food diet, even if it is cooked, for now.

Jona, the Ham , on Day 3

I've read so much about either raw vegan diets and gluten-free diets helping children with speech and/or behavioral issues. A lot of these same children have gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Both of my sons do. Whenever they get sick, it's ALWAYS a stomach virus. They puke and poop at the same time. It's never pretty. Raymond suffers from constipation. And Jona is allergic to soymilk.

Ironically, the afternoon I started this, December 1st, I realized Jona had a stomach virus! No fooling. He fell asleep around 4:00pm. Raymond and I left the house. When I came back, Jona was still sleeping. Rom said he'd slept the entire time I was gone. On Day 2, Jona slept most of the day. By Day 3, with help from lots of juice and fruit bars, he was back to his usual energetic self. The irony was not lost on me. I took it as a sign that cleaning out the gluten is a good idea.

The Big Baddies

And the chemicals...we realized about three years ago that Raymond was allergic to “regular” laundry detergent. He was breaking out in bumps all over his back. We switched to chemical-free and dye-free detergent, and haven't had an issue since. The skin is the largest organ of the body. It's absorbs everything put on it. I've changed our dishwashing liquid, soaps, and lotions to all-natural; no chemicals, preservatives, nothing. I'm using olive oil and shea butter as moisturizers. Black soap and Nature's Gentle Power as soap, shampoo, and toothpaste.

The Good Stuff

I'm writing down everything they eat. I'm focused on clear liquids, fruit bars, and applesauce for Jona until his tummy is back to normal. But Raymond is eating normally. Since December 1st, he's had:
-apple/kale juice
-fruit bars (had to share :-)
-tahini mylkshake
-kale salad
-spinach salad
-baked sweet potatoes
-rice milk
-stir-fried veggies and tofu
-veggie sausage

Raymond had BM's two days in a row. For him, that is wonderful. The goal is one per day.
Jona woke up at 5:30 this morning and is jumping all over me, so I think it's time to go. I'll keep you all posted.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Good News!

Good news, everyone! I found out last night that I'll be presenting a workshop on blogging at the Black Writers Reunion and Conference in June 2009. I'm going to Las Vegas :-). Whoo Hoo!

And thanks for all the emails about my Thanksgiving dinner.




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