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Not that I’m ever adverse to a little bit of light cooking in the morning – in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the chance to play with cinnamon and wooden spoons that really rolls me out of those cozy quilted covers, moreso enticing than even the smell of warm oatmeal and just slightly-stewed fruit tucked inside like a juicy wholesome present. I’ve never exactly been able to shake the oat habit, but it has undergone a little bit of a makeover since my raw experiment this summer.
And you know what I found out? Raw oats are equally fabulous as the cooked kind. They’re a different creature to be sure, but if you like your oatmeal on the chewy side you are in gold territory here. As an added bonus: absolutely no cooking (obviously!). Also, they apparently have seven times the iron and potassium as cooked oats, and when you’re eating full raw, a big bowl of warming grain is nothing to shake a (leafy green?) stick at.
(what I actually like to do is grind up a whole batch of various grains in large quantities and use them for the next few days so I’m not always making a construction-zone-level racket during my supposedly zen breakfast-making experience! I like to go with 60% oat groats / 30% kamut groats / 10% other grains like brown rice or kasha.
A spice grinder is your best bet here, and you’ll probably want to get some completely pulverized, and some just barely cracked, for the best result)
- 1/3 cup ground up oat mix
- 1 cup water (or raw nut milk)
Mix these two together in a bowl and leave to sit overnight, covered.
In the morning, rise yawning and with clean tummy ready for food! Leisurely stir in (not too strenuous now)…
- 1/2 banana, mashed
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
Don’t skip these two! They’re vital for that subtle “cooked” sweetness and texture. Keep adding…
- 1 piece of soft fruit, diced
- 1 tbsp each dried fruit & nuts
- pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- sea salt
And then stir it all together until it becomes smooth and porridgey, and adjust things to your liking. To be totally honest I kinda like it as thin as milk, and really salty, and I like to throw in an extra sliced banana because banana is awesome, but this is breakfast and not building robots and it’s so entirely up to you that I feel almost silly suggesting any ratios on it.
Anyone else tried raw oats or would be willing to try it? Let me know if you like it! And when berries come into season… there’s the whole purple blueberry phenomenon to get excited about! Hehe. ;)
a full stalk of broccoli
3″ of zucchini
1/2 cup of corn
1 kale leaf —- THE CULPRIT!!
knob of ginger
3 cloves garlic
apple c vinegar
juice of 2 grapes
regular soy sauce
1/2 a green apple
cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper
whole corn niblets
Good and good for you… but I read only afterwards that adding leafy greens to raw soups make them characteristically bitter, and this definitely needed those two grapes to balance things out. I felt really energized afterwards, but next time I think I’ll keep my kale on the side. I do love making food like this, though – I feel like a scientist, cutting off bits and bobs of things to create a harmonious liquid whole.
Maple-Mustard-Chili Tofu – this recipe keeps wanting to be made and then I remember I don’t have maple syrup and then I am sad, because the maple flavour is vital and really delicious. The salad underneath it was weird (artichokes and grapes, huh past self? WEIRD!!) but that tofu was addictive.
The latest dish! Sarah’s Baked Tofu on some rice & millet, steamed vegetables, and a lemon-y sesame-thai dressing from the Millenium Cookbook that livened up broccoli like crazy. (It’s the dressing from the Chilled Soba Salad if anyone’s wondering). Straightforward looking, but take a bite from this and it’s got zingy depth. Serve it to omnis. Mention whole grains and steamed veg and lean protein and then let them try it and giggle when they go all “ohhhh. Wait, this is good!” At least, that’s my secret plan. Swell will be my secret recipe weapon, I’ve got the Mole Roasted Cauliflower on the mind to make next.
This is just the shot of the leftovers – stuff put into tupperware doesn’t win any beauty points. But the point of this lunch was that it was a bento-ish kind of meal that randomly came together after I poo-pooed the idea of a peanut butter sandwich and started to boil potatoes. Which I never do, and made me feel festive enough to remember the wasabi tube I had in the fridge, thus wasabi mashed potatoes. So obviously then I had to try those panko & daikon stuffed mushrooms from the Veganomicon. Except… I didn’t feel like firing up the oven for 6 mushrooms so I made them raw and used bulgur wheat instead of bread crumbs, and added some sweet peppers and Sambal Olek for fun.
It’s been a while, it’s been a while… ooooooh, I’m doing the It’s Been A While Dance. All of this food is like, over a week old (oh no!)
But that’s okay. I’ll just go through it real fast and label it. And pretend I’m gushing over everything, because it was all real worthy of gush. Onwards! —>
Soba All’Arrabiata! Or, “angry soba” if your Italian is good. Spicy marinara with sundried tomatoes and roasted vegetables just seems all that much more delicious when it’s on elegant and super-slippy noodles.
– halved the recipe
– used w.w. pastry flour instead of white
– replaced sugar with date paste
– used walnuts instead of macadamias
– pureed pineapple instead of orange juice
– no coconut (not my decision, but mehn)
– no candied ginger (’cause there’s sugar on it. MEHN.)
– used cultured cashew cream instead of coconut icing
……….it was good, I kind of loved it (especially the cashew cream), but it was dense, and I would never serve it to omnis. I’m definitely noticing that cakes are especially tricky to adapt to special diets, as opposed to cookies/pies/things that don’t require fluffiness. But I’ll keep at it…
And when Pomme left town for a few days / I found a lb. of cherries for $1.59, I couldn’t resist diving into a modest flurry of sugar and flour to make (duh duh duh) a clafoutis! For the unhealthiness, but also for the vague french associations and a chance to use my mysterious chia seeds. I went from Hannah’s awesome strawberry clafoutis recipe, and it worked perfectly — gelled up into a pretty summer pudding that would be perfect with ice cream. Oh, I do love white sugar…
Oh, and leave the pits in the cherries! It’s traditional, and it infuses the cake with this haunting almond flavour. Plus, so much lazier. :D
Pomme’s birthday, precious Pomme deserves a precious cake! A cake that faeries might design if they were into that sort of thing. Something deviously healthy and yet richer than sin, delicate like tea-time but exotic, too. Something refreshing that can still be cut into a nice solid “wodge” of nutty pink cream… something like a pistachio rosewater cheesecake!
I think I’ve outdone myself this time.
I’m saving this recipe for the zine, but I *can* tell you that there’s cardamom in the cream, cocoa and orange in the crust, and it’s really really impossibly easy to make (and makes a cake like no other!). Amazing straight from the freezer, like ice cream except completely unlike ice cream…
There was birthday dinner, too, which was almost equally as special as the cake, at least if you like guacamole as much as we do (which is with undue passion). A spicy papaya salsa on red leaf lettuce with a nice tender-browned brick of cumin-lime tofu, with guac on the side… heaven! (and credit where credit is due, totally inspired by susanv’s recent post).
It’s funny when you don’t eat during the day, how certain activities grow in fascination to replace the habit of cooking. Case in point: cat watching. Oh, Satchmo… curled up with the collected works of Lewis Carroll… so peaceful. I spent a lot of time reading over those ten days (a LOT), drawing, walking around late at night with legs that felt oddly leaden but powered by this strange eternal sense of energy. I even went to a party on the weekend stone-cold sobre, swizzled my lemonade and had a blast. Near the end there was a definite natural high going on, and I could see how people could continue for 14, 20, 40 days….
P (hereby referred to as “Pomme”) came off the fast one day before me, so we went to work together making a pottage of soup with about half a garden in it, it was the most nourishing amazing thing I’d ever seen… (turnip, celery, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, leek, onion, cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, green beans, wakame, brown rice and barley). It was so tempting, in fact… that 3 AM of day 11…. I crept out of bed………….. and had a bowl of it!
I know you’re supposed to wait and spend a whole day drinking orange juice to break the fast…. but I am not patient! And my trusty guts of steel worked like a charm! It was delicious, and sat perfectly. (I’m not recommending this to anyone, though – I almost ate it in the spirit of science, to see if I doubled over in crippling cramps or something equally bad, and that might still happen if your stomach is sensitive)
This is my first real meal! On day 2 of breaking the fast, I woke up to the most enticing smell ever, and Pomme had made the most perfect and delicious (and spicy!) dhal, which we had for dinner with brown rice, steamed veggies, salad, and this very cool sesame coleslaw I made weeks ago that magically started fermenting all on it’s own. I’ll have to see if I can recreate that…
It had a walnut/almond/cinnamon crust, and the filling was a blend of banana, cashews, mango, blueberries and maple syrup, and it was pretty amazing. Raw pies are especially fun to make because they involve using the blender a lot! And they’re easier on the post-fasting tummy, too.
So that’s pretty much it! There’s loads of other things I could talk about the fast, but it’s already kind of fading in my memory… it really wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be at all. I was positive I’d give up somewhere around Day 3. I did spend Day 3 reading every dissenting opinion on the cleanse that I could find, and almost thought of stopping. But I didn’t, and I’m so glad, because the real treasure I got from it was I SUCCESSFULLY QUIT SMOKING, I’m free! There was no craving, no coughing, no weight gain, no insomnia, no irritability… it’s basically the most perfect way to quit, ever. I hope anyone who wants to quit tries this method, I can’t recommend it highly enough! And little things like pickles and curry taste like absolute heaven afterwards. :P~~~~~
(next post: my veganversary and I finally get to try tempeh!)
Well, I’m back! I’ve scrubbed the dirt out of all my crevices, uploaded a billion gorgeous pictures of natural beauty and human wackiness, rubbed my belly after meal upon meal of delicious vegan forest food, and now I’m finally ready to get back to city life… and update my blog!
So this is the humble kitchen, rather unassuming by day (though inviting), and positively radiant by tiki torch at night. There was always fresh fruit and whole grain breads around, and a steaming gigantic decanter of yerba mate for the lacking-in-energy camper to drink copious amounts of (4 mugs a day, anyone?)
One afternoon Star and I even discovered sushi being made! Forest sushi! It took all of 3 seconds for her to jump into the kitch and start showing off her fantastic rolling skills. There was even apparently onigiri with pickled plum being made later, which I unfortunately missed, but still… that’s damn cool.
And here’s the bounty of fresh herbs and vegetation at the right of the kitchen, which gave the food this wonderful vitality. (note to self: donate something that is green and growing in a pot next year)
The tea tent! It was this dear little spot, glowing white and smelling of herbs/the always-lit iron stove that kept the kettle boiling outside. There were teas for everything — lung cleansing, ephedra-energizing if you wanted it, lucid dreaming, even getting in a sexy mood! With agave nectar, fresh citrus to cut, ginger, books on herbs, and just a great atmosphere all around.
Okay, onto the plates. (every attempt I made to take night photos got thwarted, so none of the dinners got photographed, but rest assured they were pretty involved and distinctive and delicious, even moreso than the first two meals of the day. ah well.)
This was my first breakfast – note the conservative portions, before I realized I could totally take my fill from the table – morning quinoa with hempseeds, soaked/raw whole wheat granola, and spicy applesauce.
Oops – this is the one standout meal that sucked for me. 1 out of 21 ain’t too shabby at all, though! Another split pea dhal with much much less flavour, and saltless dry millet. Still – totally healthy.
Most colourfullest breakfast EVER, and it tasted even better than it looked! Tahini-dressed salad, quinoa with star anise and clove, apple chutney, pickled carrots, fruit salad with papaya, pineapple, watermelon, pear, orange and honeydew, and one of those awesome E-Balls.
And the last brekky – creamy rice pudding with apricots and sunflower seeds, sugarless (yet sweet) cocoa apple crumble/granola, a citrus-y salad, and a slice of dense rye with apple butter. Plus a view to totally die for…
More often than not, I skipped the smoky campfire scene and hiked a few minutes away to a secluded sunny rock with my meal to listen to mild ripples and rustling trees instead. You could have given me a half-eaten Boca burger in that setting and I would have been in foodie bliss anyway… but really, in conclusion, I got totally inspired by the spices and innovation that I saw at Om, and the dedication that the kitchen organizers had to keeping 500+ people fed and nourished all day, every day, for a whole week! For one – I’m gonna start respecting the “mere” salad a heck of a lot more, play with grains and seeds more, put tahini in more stuff (because tahini = AWESOME), and basically just focus on health and colour instead of rigidly following silly things like recipes all the time. I’ve even put it into practice at home, but that’ll have to wait for the next post. ;)
( Oh, and I wish I could have taken a picture of the meal that I helped prepare, it was my favourite of all the dinners (maybe I’m biased, but it WAS amazing). Just imagine saffron-coconut apple soup, fried bananas, truly spicy aloo gobi, and cardamom-almond rice. OMG. I weep for the lack of picture! :O )
Sorry, I just have to blog about this one meal – it was fabulous. P and I ran around our tiny kitchen and managed to concoct this feast pretty quickly, and it was so colourful and nourishing and involved more organic foods than ever! Clockwise from the rice, it’s Rice Pilaf with Dates and Almonds from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home; steamed kale, yellow zucchini and purple beans (that turned green once cooked but were positively eggplant-coloured before); sprouts as always; fresh dill dressing for a green salad of organic spinach, cucumber and peppers; Vcon shredded parsnip and beet salad, and Vcon tangerine tofu. She’s inspiring me, to say the least. :D
Speaking of which, I’ve decided with the change in the seasons and the opportunity to try more creative food than ever to drop my oatmeal habit and start eating what my body wants me to eat in the morning. I’m even getting on the raw train (aaaah, it actually happened!). I’m figuring more grains, more cold food, more oil and less (no) refined sugar. I used to be afraid that lightening up my eating would make me float right off the face of the earth (spacey? me? noooo…..), but I figure with a good basis in cooked ‘heavy’ food like rice and root veg and beans I can make the rest of everything else fresh-off-the-vine tasty. I’m gonna look into my LifeFood Recipe Book today!