Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

February 28, 2010

week 2

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Immunity Smoothie - from Matthew Kenney

1 1/2 c frozen banana
1 packet (100g) frozen Acai
1 c frozen blueberries
2 cups coconut water
1 t vanilla
1 pinch sea salt

Those pointy things are young coconuts with part of the outside hacked off. You have to really go at them with a cleaver to get them cracked enough to get the water out. It was fun!

Well, I went a little too fast, went a little crazy with the trying of new foods on the day I made the immunity smoothie and curried cashews. Those were the next two recipes in "Everyday Raw" that Jenny and I are using to learn about preparing raw foods. I ended up with an unhappy stomach after trying that winning combination. But I learned a lot from the experience, as follows:

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1. The immunity smoothie is SO GOOD that even I didn't mind a bit that I was drinking cononut water. Not even kidding. All the rich, deep berry flovor was complemented perfectly by the creamy softness of the coconut. However, it was so good that I couldn't stop myself from drinking a whole smoothie cup full of the stuff. (In my house, a smoothie cup holds about 2 1/2 cups.) As you can imagine, this was not a good idea. Especially since I had already eaten another smoothie that day for breakfast. My intestines could not handle it, and they revolted.

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2. You have to be really patient when you're using a dehydrator to prepare your food because it takes days, not minutes or even hours, to dehydrate a lot of the foods in the recipes we're making. Case in point- curried cashews. After soaking the cashews to get rid of the enzyme inhibitors they're coated with, you dehydrate them for 48 hours. Then you mix them up with agave, curry powder, cayenne, and salt, and dehydrate for 24 hours. Break up any clumps, and dehydrate for another 24 hours. Presto! Done! So it's a very different mindset. As long as you plan in advance, though, it's very simple to mix things up and spread them in the dehydrator and check on them once a day. It's kind of like taking care of plants. (Ha ha! It IS taking care of plants!)

3. The great thing about curried cashews is that by the time you get all the spices on and spread them all out on the dehydrator racks, they're already edible and completely delicious, so I kept opening the lid and snagging one. Dangerous. Especially since I found that cayenne is not my friend yet. We'll need a little longer to get acquainted. I have never liked spicy food (except for kim chi) and apparently it's for good reason. My stomach was not happy with them in there. But they're so yummy- so sweet with a little kick at the end. Billy and Layli liked them very well and didn't have the stomch upset I did, so I'm pretty sure it's just me. Here's the recipe for those of you that like a little spice in your life:

Curried Cashews from Matthew Kenney

6 1/2 c cashews, soaked 1-2 hours, drained, and dehydrated 48 hours
2 1/2 T agave
1/4 c maple syrup (I just used more agave)
2 t curry powder
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 3/4 t sea salt

Mix it all up in a bowl, spread on dehydrator screens and dehydrate for 2 days. Separate the large clumps and dehydrate 2 more days.

4. To sum up, I learned that it's really easy to overdo it on raw food. It's not meant to be eaten in large quantities because it's such concentrated, potent stuff. Also, it should be simple and harmonious with your body's needs.

5. Organic blueberries and acai berries taste amazing together. Unbelievable.

6. Curried cashews make fun Ayyam-i-Ha presents in little jam jars;)

P.S. My intestines calmed down after a couple days. My friend Naifen tells me that coconut water is a cooling food (according to the Chinese rubric of heating/cooling foods) and can speed up your digestion quite a bit. Since I don't need any help in that department, coconut water is not a good choice for me, at least at this time of year. However, if you have a hot body type (That doesn't sound quite how I mean it, I think, but how else can I say it?) this very cooling smoothie will be heavenly for you.

Also, in defense of smoothies, I've been eating a green smoothie for breakfast every day for the last couple weeks and it's been just fine, digestion-wise. That's kind of amazing for me, seeing as I have never, since I was old enough to choose my own breakfast, been willing to forsake my daily bowl of cereal. Never. No fruit, no protein of any kind, no juice. But I tried it and they're really yummy, in my opinion. I especially like how they make me feel full and energized and without that low blood sugar feeling around lunch time that I had become so used to.

Here's what I put in my breakfast smoothie-
1. Fruit: usually a frozen banana, an apple and/or some berries, dried goji berries, or whatever I have on hand.
2. Nuts and seeds, just a handful: soaked golden flax seed, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and/or cashews, sometimes a little dried coconut.
3. Powders: GREEN Superfood, Hemp Protein
4. Water and sometimes some juice

Blend it all up till it's smooth and green. I try to vary the flavors every day to keep things interesting. Sometimes I add some cocoa powder to make it chocolatey (which actually works really well with green powders and all the nuts) or add pineapple juice and citrus fruits to make it tropical. At first, I added a squirt of agave syrup too, but after a few days, it seemed too sickly sweet and I decided that the fruit made it sweet enough. Next I'm going to try adding coconut oil. I hear it's super good and smoothes out blood sugar even more than the nuts.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:05 PM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2010

a start - Week 1

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We made a start on our raw food adventure! I borrowed Zivar's dehydrator, Jenny gathered the ingredients and made raw granola and a blue green algae smoothie. I had sick kids that day, so Jenny did all the work and I just brought the dehydrator over and got to taste everything.

First, the smoothie. I have never been a fan of coconut water- even living in the Caribbean for a year didn't get me used to it. Knowing that this smoothie had coconut water as the base, I didn't expect to like it, but it's so darn good for you that I really wanted to. Well, the first sip was definitely the best. It had vanilla in it, which masked the coconut water pretty effectively. But it slithered out after the first few sips and I couldn't drink more than a little of it. Emotionally I liked it because I felt like I was being deeply nourished, but my tongue was not impressed. Now, that granola was heaven. You can't really go wrong with granola anyways. But this stuff was at a higher level of granola consciousness. It had a bright citrus flavor from orange zest that balanced the dark dried fruit and nut earth-tones. It was immediately sweet from the agave, but it didn't linger and make it taste like a cookie, just a quick 'Hi, I'm agave, nice to meet you. Have you met my friends sunflower seed and dried cranberry?' Yum! And after it went through the dehydrator, it was all clumpy and crumbly, just like any other granola.

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Here's the dehydrator. I ended up buying my own this week- 60 bucks at Farm and Fleet. Those farmers know all about dehydrating.

Next up, super immunity smoothie and curried cashew snacks. We're going through the book from the beginning, so it's drinks and snacks first off. I don't think I'm going to write out the recipes we use every week, because I'm lazy and because the book we're using, "Everyday Raw" by Matthew Kenney is sitting there at your library, hoping you'll check it out (at least if you live in a foodie-lovin' town like Shampoo-Banana).

Posted by Bahiyyih at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2010

The Baking Bakers!!!! On Channel 3 News!!!!

Check out Heidi! As she ROCKS the TV interview!
Gluten-free baking class at the Mettler Center
Baker Baker, uh... what's your 10-20?
Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2010

an open letter

Here's the letter that my friend Jenny and I are going to send to the writer of the raw food book, Everyday Raw, by Matthew Kenney. It's also a sort of announcement:

Dear Mr. Kenney,

I am a mother of three with lots of food allergies and I have just bought your book, Everyday Raw, about preparing raw foods simply and deliciously. I know only very elementary things about raw food. It comes out of gardens and farms and if you're lucky enough that it comes out of your garden or farm, it's as simple as pick, wash, eat. At least at the moment of harvest.

Of course, there is a whole year of planning and experimentation and hard work that went into that harvest. And the moment the food passes from that outer season of work and into your body, it begins an inner season of work. The nutrients get absorbed into your body and creates parts of yourself that allow you to move and breathe and plan-experiment-work all over again.

I can understand the broad strokes of the notions I've just laid out, but I don't know very much about the science of digestion and how each food plays a different part in that science. I've been reading "Eating for Beauty" by David Wolfe that has a great summary of the benefits of having a large percentage of raw food in one's diet and how raw foods work in one's body. It's fun reading for me because I'm at a point where I need to dive deeper into understanding what the best food to grow humans is and how to prepare and eat it. I've been faced with many food picking and preparation challenges in my life, dealing with multiple allergies, relearning how to cook after each one manifests itself in my body, my husband's or my childrens'. I've been feeling a need to know more, get underneath all the nutrition fads that come and go, and learn the basics of human nutrition from a scientific viewpoint, unaffected by the interests of the pork lobby or the dairy lobby or anyone that's trying to get me to eat something for their own monetary benefit instead of the inherent goodness of the food itself (thank you Michael Pollan, for that clarity).

Also, for myself, I know I really need to let go of eating lots of sugar-filled foods and have a better-balanced nutrition base. I've been working on my work-home balance this year, getting paying jobs after a decade at home with children. It's really helped me see a need for balance in other parts of my life.

The thing is, though, that thinking about eating healthy food and having a good understanding of nutrition has always been a very serious subject to me. It's not fun. It's never been joyous. It's felt, at one time or another, controlling, angry, guilt-ridden, frustrating, up-tight, humorless, exclusive, and snooty. I'm seeing now that it needs to be full of light and simplicity. And fun, definitely. So when my nutrition-minded friend Jenny Torok asked me to be her partner in a 'Julie and Julia'-style adventure with a raw food book, it was just the right opportunity for me. We'll have fun together preparing raw food recipes from your book and writing about the process here on my weblog at http://webble.orangecrayon.com/. I'll get to learn by doing and asking questions along the way. Yippee!! It's gonna be great! And lots of other things too, I'm sure.

So, Jenny thought it would be a good idea to write to you and tell you what we're doing. We thought you might get a kick out of it, I hope you don't mind, and also to ask for any advice or pointers about getting started.

Thanks for all you do. You're enriching lives.


Bahiyyih Baker

As I read Bahiyyih's letter to you I am struck, immediately, by the fact that women of such similar circumstances: mindful mamas, nutrition enthusiastics, slogging-it-out-in-the-middle (per se) everyday doing the dance of balancing our inner and outer lives with children, work and marriage - can come to raw food with very different backgrounds.

I have been fascinated with the raw food movement since 1998, when introduced to it's "magic" through the Bountenko family. (for those unfamiliar, they are a family of 4 who cured chronic illnesses through their mama's courageous act of declaring the family "raw foodists" in a day. Not only are they epitomies of health, they are also inspiring teachers and decent raw food chefs. This is the very abbreviated story )
When I discovered them I was steeped in the world of professional theater and dance, fighting doggedly with my own body to 'behave' and stay underweight. All the while I ignored my natural need to be satisfied by food on every level, and ignored my cycles of energy and fatigue. I was struck by the Boutenkos' passion and calm. I made a commitment that day and became a %100 raw foodist for a year.

I can honestly say I have never had more sustained energy in my life. It was as though someone had polished the lense through which I was viewing the world and everything EVERYTHING was clearer and cleaner. That said, feeling cleaner and clearer was fun, but also had challenges.
What was supposed to make everything in my life "better", of course brought new lessons resulting from my body and mind detoxifing.
I became intolerant of "cooked food addicts" - as I so affectionately allowed myself to call people who weren't willing to delight in my raw flax crackers with sprouted hummus.
As well, I couldn't relax at parties and social events with old friends, as I was constantly pulled in wanting a drink or a steak.
I occasionally sought solace with new raw foodist friends and, although we shared a passion for all foods uncooked, we often shared little else in common.
Finally, after a year of missing my friends and my old sense of humor, I abandoned my 'dream' of being a lifelong raw foodist and started eating cooked food again.
I share all of this because it is the canvas of who I am today, and why Bahiyah and I approach you.
What is the result today?
I have an indescribable gratitude to all of the wise, courageous, and creative teachers of raw food nutrition and preparation, as well as 12 more years of wisdom - marriage and motherhood took place in between - and a deeper knowing about holding fast to dreams and desires, while allowing others to have divergent ones beside me.

I came to your book Matthew, EVERYDAY RAW, the way an artist comes to a new expression of their medium, with genuine fascination in seeing "how another raw food chef creates beauty with the tools of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds."
What I found was THE FIRST raw food recipe book that I feel bridges the gourmet and everyday meals of a raw food diet.
I found recipes that were delightful and accessible: delicious for my eyes and mouth - yet wouldn't require days of prepartion.
I love food. I love to eat. I also love the way I feel when I eat a %100 raw food diet, and genuinely desire this kind of vibrant health for my whole family.

That said, I no longer believe this kind of diet is "right" for everyone, yet know that the more I am instrumental in bringing this world of food enjoyment to my children, the better I rest at night.
Bahiyyih and I share a passion for food and nutrition. Although we come to this point with different backgrounds, we share a deep desire to get closer and closer to the magic of simple foods.
It is in this spirit that we embark on our version of "Julie and Julia" through your book EVERYDAY RAW. We are grateful for any and all support you give.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2010

spring starts now

Who says you have to wait till spring to get back into the garden? I don't have the luxury of hibernating, so I'm just going to have to figure out a way to keep growing through the cold, dark winter. There's all sorts of growing going on at my house! Take a look!

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I grew me some sprouts! Aren't they cute?

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Here's my elaborate sprout set up with the finished product in the middle. They don't care that everything's frozen solid outside!

I just soaked a spoonful of sprouts overnight in an old peanut butter jar. In the morning, I poured off the water with a tea strainer, and left the jar on the counter. In the morning and before bed, I filled up the jar with water, swished it around, and poured off the water, shaking it at the end to make sure most of the water ws out. In a few days, I had sprouts! Yum! There are some cute videos on YouTube showing how to do this too. Growing these cute little guys gave me a little taste of gardening, which, as you know, makes me very happy.

Georgia really wanted to get growing too, so I gave her some lettuce and cilantro seed I had saved from last summer and she made a little salad garden. She delights in asking everyone, "Do you want a piece of lettuce?" and proudly presenting any takers with a thumbnail sized leaf, which already tastes like lettuce! Amazing.

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The other thing that's growing like forgotten zucchini is my desire to learn more about nutrition. My friend Jenny, who's studying to be a nutritionist, is telling me all sorts of interesting, wonderful things, especially about how good raw foods are for a body, and I've been reading the following books about the subject:

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Eating for Beauty is a textbook for eating raw food and the science behind it from the angle of what enhances beauty, which is fine, but not really my point. I love reading about how the basics of chemistry intersect with nutrition- minerals, enzymes, Ph, etc. It's great fun, and all written by this little, wiry Lebanese New Yorker, that furious ball of energy, David Wolfe. Check him out on Youtube too. That guy's intense!

The other is a 'cook' book about preparing raw foods simply but with gourmet taste, written by chef Matthew Kenney, who seems like the calm, earthy counterpart to David Wolfe's bouncyball personality. It's an education from the other direction. As I read the recipes, I learn about different processes for preparing raw food and how different ingredients will taste good together or complement each other nutritionally. Everything looks like it tastes so deeply good. I want to make everything!

The bowl of twigs in the above picture is actually a really yummy salad, believe it or not.

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See? Doesn't it look better now? (if slightly out of focus- darn weak winter light!)

This dish is not entirely raw (cooked beans) but there's no need to go extremes when it comes to nutrition. Moderation is much better for the digestion. Which reminds me that I've also just finished reading Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life", which is part memoir, part cookbook, and which doesn't subscribe to any particular nutritional guidelines, except those dictated by personal taste. It's a very sweet book, especially if you like reading about food and those that love it with a passion. And it's got me excited about good food and writing about it making it. So In Molly Wizenberg style, here's a recipe I made up to end my 'chapter'.

Warm Winter Salad
(the greens part of this borrows heavily from Jennifer Cornbleet's Mediterranean Kale Salad- which she demonstrates on Youtube. She's so cute!)

1. Soak and boil some cannellini beans till they're very tender (or just pull a can of them out of your pantry). Set aside.

2. Prepare the greens: Pull the stem out of the leaves of one bunch of lacinato kale (or curly kale, whatever you like) and cut into fine strips. Quarter a small head of purple cabbage, cut out the white stem, and slice crossways as fine as you can. Put all that into a big bowl along with 1-2 t. lemon juice, 2 T. olive oil, and a good covering of salt shakings. Now get your hands in there!!! and knead the greens like they're bread dough, really squeezing and mushing and stirring vigourously until the kale looks all wilted and small. Doesn't it look good? All shiny and colorful? Now lick the bits off your hand! Yum!

3. Cut up some grape tomatoes if you can find them this time of year (our local co-op had them in especially for Valentine's Day- how cute is that?) and mix them with a splash of your favorite viniagrette (May I recommend Drew's? It's flat out the best I've ever tasted.)

4. Now, to assemble: Warm up a bunch of beans or ladle them straight from the pot into your bowl. Salt them a little if you like. I do. I just got this ancient sea salt with all these trace minerals in it that I tend to get excited about. Add about a half cup of the tomato mixture. Mix it up. The warmth is spreading! Cover it all up with a generous amount of the greens mixture. Mix it up. Now it's just right. Enjoy with a good friend (or preferably someone like your sister that just moved to town- Yay Layli! Woo-hoo!) so you can laugh at each other when your lips and tongue turn purple.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)