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I’m almost done my raw week.  It’s been easy in a lot of ways (the food is just as delicious as any “normal” food), and in other ways a bit of a challenge (detox symptoms, having to throw out lots of food that spoiled unexpectedly fast, the whole nut soaking thing, the whole raw food extremism thing)…

It’s actually going to be bittersweet easing back into regular food, I think.  I don’t feel any huge inclination towards it at the moment, even though I know that someone as flighty and spacey as me really does flourish better on the standard vegan fare.  But that said… I should get onto the food of this week, more or less a meal by meal replay of all the lego-bright dishes I got to have the time of my life constructing.

Okay, so this is technically a pre-raw warm-up (haha, warm up, is that a pun?).  I made a carrot/tomato/miso soup to see how I’d feel about it all, thick with pumpkin seeds and bowl-licking good, and so….
I jumped in headfirst.  Would you look at that?  It looks like a deep-sea fish it’s so pretty.  A lot of green, but worth it.  The sprouted chickpea hummous in those wraps kept me going for snack times for the first few days, and the minty cucumber dressing from Vegan World Fusion doubled as a salad topper and a soup, before spoiling way too fast as these enzymic dishes are wont to do.  Alas, alas!
Avocado was also a life-saver, as I never felt warmer or more satisfied than after a meal that incorporated it.  I mashed this one up with rice vinegar, soy sauce and ginger, and made showy crunchy (astoundingly good) sushi rolls.  And a fruit salad with loquat and date syrup beside it.
Breakfast of day 2: the incarnation of my oatmeal habit!
Raw oats ground up in a spice grinder, with a heavy pinch of ground flaxseed, half a mashed banana, berries and lots of salt and cinnamon, left to soak overnight.  I’m keeping this one!  I’d been getting tired of regular oatmeal and this is perfect for summer and very laid back.  You have to choose fairly soft fruit for best results, but again – peaches, berries, tropical things – all available right now!  It’s very nutty and satisfying to have for breakfast.
Lunch day 2: Zucchini bites with spicy hummous, a salad of shredded carrot, red pepper, soaked walnuts and red wine vinegar (yum!!), and broccoli tossed with cucumber dressing.
Dinner that night was my first green smoothie.  I will admit I thought it the concept very strange at first, at least before I took my first sip.  Is it totally an unabashedly weird that I love the taste of green things in my smoothie now?  It adds a neat texture and a resonant kind of garden note that makes it more of a meal to me.  Especially wonderful with banana and pomegranate juice, I might add.
I’m skipping breakfast reports because they’re all variations on the raw oat groat thing, but…
Lunch day 3: A curried miso carrot dressing on spinach with avocado chunks and dried pineapple pieces – ZOMG.  Genius.  And some cucumber dressing in a bowl trying to be soup as I attempt to slurp it all up before it goes bad.  
Dinner 3: My attempt at flatbread without a dehydrator resulted in (of course) a lot of prematurely fuzzy food, but there was a small grace period where it was semi-firm enough to eat as bread and I made little sandwiches with homemade sumac tahini cheese, and some green beans tossed with organic stone-ground mustard and lemon.
Dinner day 4: pizza!
(lunch seems to be missing from the record)
The pizza is topped with sage-y sundried tomato marinara, green pepper, onions, pineapple, almond cheese, and artichoke hearts.
Lunch day 5: Possibly in the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, is this Haiku Wrap from Juliano’s contribution to The Complete Book of Raw Food.  It has avocado mashed with garlic, ginger and lemon topped with wakame, mustard, pickle, burdock, bell pepper, onion, corn and shoyu – and it’s a magical, magical combination.  (carrot slaw with sprouted peanuts keeping the sammiches upright on either side).
Dinner 5: Another one of those raw standbys I never understood (like the green smoothie), was the zucchini pasta thing, but you know what?  It’s pasta-like, and not salad-like as I thought it would be!  Really good, actually, enough to repeat it later.  And the things that look like eggs are crunchy turnip slices topped with nut cheese.
Lunch 6: Cabbage burrito-wraps with cumin and chili sunflower pate inside (along with corn and tomatoes and green onions and things).  With a side of Pringle lookalikes (but really it’s delicious turnip) and nut cheese again for my new favourite take on nachos.  Soaking the slices in cold water gives them the perfect chip shape and makes them sweeter, too!
And that’s not to say there were no sweets!  I made some tahini-geranium cookies, that I could upload but they look pretty much like little brown discs.  The brownies are gorgeous, though!  I ground up some sprouted and dried buckwheat into flour and combined it with dates, ground almonds, walnuts, carob powder, salt and vanilla and proceeded to nom NOM NOM them up because they were so amazing!!  I highly recommend the buckwheat flour thing, I have a container of the sprouts in my freezer right now and it gives things a more cake-like texture than the usual wodgy raw dessert texture.
And here’s a plate full of desserts I took to a raw potluck last night.  Clockwise from the top left are salty sunflower seed cookies, then those buckwheat brownies with a banana-fudge frosting, then coconut-cashew-agave crusted pear tarts with gojis on top, and finally like orange & clove oatmeal raisin cookies!  So much fun, and so easy to just make a few servings of anything, and experiment all over the place!  I definitely got into the habit of whizzing up just a single cookie for after lunch sometimes when I needed something for my sweet tooth.
Potluck food itself was possibly the BEST vegan thing any non-vegan has ever made for when I came to dinner.  It was a sundried tomato-cashew romesco sauce over marinated eggplant and it was mindblowingly good.  I think it was from a book by the same people who did Raw Food/Real World, if you wanted to try it, and you might want to add extra orange juice like my friend did and eat every indulgence-soaked aubergine triangle with additional gusto for having done so.  :)
Day 7….
….   it’s day 7?  It’s the end of the week?
Do you realize I didn’t realize that until about halfway through writing this post and counting up the dates?  Oh my goodness, I suppose that means I’m done and I should ground myself now.  Part of me wants to keep going, and in fact… *goes off to buy bananas for a few minutes*
* a few minutes later *
Well… on the way down the stairs to the market, oh what do I smell but buttery wafts of rice and faint hints of curry? and whoa-p, there goes MY 100% raw convinction!  That, and charred hot dogs on the street as I walked… and I’d like to feel like myself again, I think. :D
A few things I noticed, though, to sum up the week…
* it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive at all to eat raw.  I stuck mostly to almonds and sunflower seeds for nut protein, which can be relatively cheap.  And I didn’t indulge in the condiments like nama shoyu and special apple cider vinegar or anything.  If anything it might have been cheaper due to me not buying coffee all the time.  OH YEAH I QUIT COFFEE FOR A WEEK.  !  Craziness.
* nut soaking liquid is super mucilagous and gross, and I’ll probably soak most things now if I think of it beforehand.
* white wine was okay to drink, as was whiskey (although I’m pretty used to whiskey).  Red wine on the other hand, made me terribly achey for a whole day after drinking it, and then the ache turned into a kinda “detox ache” that I’ve still got in my calves when I bend over too far.  
* a couple drying racks set in front of a sunny window was my dehydrator, and it worked pretty well for cookies and buckwheat sprouts.  Terrible for bread though, and I wouldn’t even try crackers.  Oh yeah, and sun tea!  Tasty stuff!  And not even that long to make, maybe a few hours in the sun for amber-steeped liquid.
* I caved once, for a bunch of artichokes I got for free, but wouldn’t you?  All succulent and dipped in lime & olive oil???  I’d never tried artichokes before and it was my chance right there, so I don’t feel bad.  And they are, by the way, not nearly as hard to make and eat as advertised and mysteriously sweet and I ate the stems too, YUM.
* Guess that’s it!  And I’m so making pizza, man, like, soon.

So when Isa says smother, smother I do. There’s not much else I wanted to eat after making the VwaV punkrock chickpea gravy, except anything with loads of this on top. Potatoes are totally good for you, right? Like, they’re vegetable matter! I ate so much potato last week.

Yes, and cabbage. If you think this is stereotypically peasant-fare so far, just wait until you see my third primary vegetable of late. But anyway, cabbage in everything, and when a lunch needs to be made in the time it takes for coffee to brew, a nice apple & clove braised cabbage isn’t bad at all, and can be slurped like noodles actually.

Third in the poor food trinity? Carrots! Good thing I almost consider them dessert. My favorite way to eat them these days is shredded with daikon radish, peppers and sprouts on top, with toasted sesames, tamari and rice vinegar. Sometimes sriracha, and sometimes… wakame seaweed! No, not hydrated, just crunchy and awesome right out of the bag. Better than chips sometimes.

One can see why I took the opportunity to hop home this weekend and eat out of someone else’s fridge for a while? Too bad Ottawa produce is expensive and wilty, ah well. Increases appreciation for the bounty of home, definitely (I complain but it’s really not that bad in Montreal). And at least there are fair trade vegan chocolates everywhere. This Zazubean bar was sweetened with cane juice and had damiana leaf, maca root and horny goat weed, whatever that is. Had to try it. Flirtacious, no? The cherries were the best part and there were tons.

The real reason I went to Ottawa was to hit the annual Fall Fair Flea Market at the First Unitarian church, which is basically a place to find vintage treasures and loads of fabulous high-quality literature for utter pennies. I found Godel, Escher, Bach for $1, and at that I rest my case. No wait! I also found The Man Who Ate Everything for $1, which is a fairly entertaining read. Almost precisely like reading a top notch food blog in book form. Plus I got a zillion classics, artbooks, and philosophy for a smile & a song and a twenty dollar bill, y’all, Liz is in happy book land!!!!!

Perhaps more importantly, I discovered that the church offers sanctuary to a number of people. Most recently a Nepali human rights activist (Shree Kumar Rai on the right), and for ten years a Bangladeshi family who were abused years ago here in Ottawa, and threatened back at home for speaking out about it. So now they both have apartments in the building, and cook amazing amazing food (mostly vegan!!) to pay for expenses and things. And they need people to watch for government officials all the time, which is crazy, but I’m proud of my old church for having the balls to be this immensely awesome. That’s the mediterranean plate they put together for me up there, with a requested cauliflower pakora in the middle, yum.

(More information about UU sanctuary here).

Not to mention I was lucky enough to try Mr. Samsa’s vegetarian wrap and holy crap, it was actually the best deep-fried falafal-ish thing I’ve EVER had. No kidding. The bread was yielding like butter (absolutely homemade), and the innards were spiced like the chorus of your favourite song. I wish I could get these all the time!

They even had sushi! Basic veggie style, but it was real and fresh and delicious as sushi usually is. Go International Cafe! I just wish I could have tried some of the onion bhaji or samosa, which were flying out of the kitchen and looking phenomenal, but next year I guess.

So that was the trip and now I am home, and since I couldn’t for life of me decide what I wanted for dinner tonight I mixed it all together with some kind of gluten-free pasta (rice, I think), fresh basil, chard, garlic, sundried tomatoes and chickpeas I made this morning with balsamic grilled fennel and that was pretty good for a girl who makes noodles maybe ten times a year. Pretty good delicious, that is!

Oh yeah. And 100% potato/cabbage/carrot free, and for that we sing a wee song of yay and happy-chew. :)

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