Raw "Pumpkin" Cream Cheese

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm yet to perfect a grain free bagel recipe to the ideal chewiness to softness ratio. But as warmer weather makes sunflower seed butter too heavy for breakfast bread, this raw "pumpkin" cream cheese recipe was easy to get right on the first try. Thanks to inspiration from The Spunky Coconuts's Apricot Cheese Danish Cake Recipe.

                                                  RAW "PUMPKIN" CREAM CHEESE

1/2 C. cashews
2 medjool dates, pitted
3/4 C. water
4 baby carrots, chopped
2 Tbs. coconut oil
pinch pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
pinch Sea Salt
2-3 drops liquid vanilla stevia (optional)
1.5 tsp. psyllium husks

  1. Soak Cashews and pitted dates for 30 minutes +, drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients except psyllium husks in blendtech or other high power blender.
  3. Blend until pureed.
  4. Add in psyllium husks and blend again until thoroughly combined.
Makes approximately 10 oz of "Cream Cheese."

Pad Thai Improv (Kelp Noodles)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Don't play what's there, play what's not there
~Miles Davis

(Grab your favorite movie, it's not to late to celebrate "Jewish Christmas")

While not very American, Minimalism has much in common with the national traditions of Jazz and Jewish Christmas (the beloved Jewish American tradition of eating Chinese food and watching a movie on December 25th)All celebrate the absence of the standard—whether it's music, a tradition or just clutter and stuff. 

An ongoing goal for many (including myself over the past 4 years) has been to buy less, consume less and waste less. In my annual post-holiday clean out and reorganization, I found myself only getting rid of stuff because it was completely worn and sad. This takes longer when you have fewer things to deal with which allows you to better care for and prolong the life of what you do have. 

While far from as pared down as the rest of my belongings, the refrigerator and food cabinet are becoming calmer and reflect how I've learned to hit the "tones" of recipes with a more improvised repertoire based on fewer ingredients. Leftover wine that hasn't been sealed stands in for vinegar, greens, sour citrus, vegetables and fruit are interchangeable based on what's in the fridge or at the farmers market. . . you get the picture. 

In this spirit, don't be afraid to swap out your preferred oils, vinegars, nut butters and add vegetables based on your dietary preferences or what's available in the below recipe.

Have a Happy, Healthy & Free Spirited New Year! 

(Improvised) PAD THAI


1 lb pkg kelp noodles
2 tsp. coconut oil
1/2 onion, sliced
A few cups chopped, kale, nappa cabbage, bok choy, spinach or greens of your choice
Cilantro (optional)
"Peanut Sauce Recipe" (see below) 


1. Soak kelp noodles in Warm Water for 30 mins and drain
2. Heat oil in wok (or regular pan) over medium heat
3. Sauté onions until brown
4. Add in greens, kelp noodles and sunflower sauce
5. Sauté and mix all ingredients in pan until greens are wilted and noodles are thoroughly saturated, about 5-10 minutes


"Peanut Sauce Recipe" (Heavily inspired by Sunshine Sauce)
1/4+ 2 Tbs roasted, salted sunflower seeds
1 Tbs. sunflower seed oil (or oil of your choice)
3 Tbs. unsweetened coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1/2 in fresh peeled ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 C. water

2 Tbs. leftover white wine (Or wine or rice vinegar)
1 Tbs. liquid braggs amino acids
2 Tbs. lemon juice


1. Put all ingredients in blendtec and blend

If you don't have a "power blender":

1.  Substitute 1/4 c. coconut milk for coconut flakes and 1/4 cup water
2. Substitute 6 Tbs sunflower seed buter for sunflower seeds and oil
3. Mince garlic and ginger
4. Use whisk or regular blender to combine

Cocorino (vegan, gluten & ice cream maker free)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tart frozen yogurt. Delicious. Expensive. A vegan, healthier option with the same distinctive tartness + addictiveness. Have a fantastic Summer Solstice.



1/2 C. coconut milk*
1 C. ice
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. lemon or lime juice
1 packet powdered stevia or 2-3 drops liquid stevia


1. Combine all ingredients in vita-mix.
2. Blend until the consistency will be of soft serve.

Makes the equivalent of 2 Yogorino smalls.

* Use full fat for a richer creamier soft serve, light for a lighter version

Mint Chip Ice Cream (Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Ice Cream Maker-Free & Semi-Raw)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yes— it's the middle of winter. But, if you're lucky enough to find yourself in warm weather where bananas and avocados are abundant, you may find a recipe that uses avocado to make a creamy ice cream. Then you may realize that the color resembles mint chocolate chip ice cream. And the best way to neutralize the taste of the avocados and banana is a few extracts. Alas, Mint Chip Ice Cream is born.

Mint Chip Ice Cream

3 Frozen Bananas, chopped
1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & chopped
1 cup ice
1 cup coconut milk or milk substitute of your choice
4 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked or 3 Tbs. sweetener of your choice
2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1 tsp. peppermint extract

a high cacao dairy free chocolate bar chopped into chunks (or whatever you have on hand)

1. Combine all ingredients in vita-mix except for chocolate chunks.
2. Blend— consistency will be of soft serve.
3. Mix in chocolate.
4. Optional: Put in airtight container (Ball jars work well!) freezer for 1-2 hours for harder texture

I suspect that a strong blender with a decent ice crushing feature could probably handle this recipe if you aren't so lucky to have a vita-mix, blendtec, other blender with 2 HP. . .

This will harden fairly well in about 2 hours. If you leave it in much longer, it will be as hard as a rock.

Tip: If you plan on freezing this for more than a few hours. Store it in a wide mouthed ball jar and tightly screw on the lid. Ball Jar lids create a good enough seal that you can run it under hot water to  to soften it quickly. 

Parsnip-Cauli "Mashed Potatoes"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The retro appeal of mashed potatoes emphasized via Instagram
Cauliflower pureé is good in its own right. But it lacks a certain heft that may make it disappointing when branded as a "mashed potato" substitute.  Adding a parsnip (or two) with a head of cauliflower   gives it an extra heft and a light sweetness. The effect is that of a whipped, lightly sweetened mashed potato. Don't be afraid to add another parsnip or two if you want to make it an even "sturdier" substitute. 

A Heartier Cauliflower "Mashed" Potatoes

1 head cauliflower
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 Tbs. butter, ghee, or oil of your choice*
1/2 C. cashew milk or Milk Substitute of your choice
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. Chop cauliflower into florets.
2. Steam cauliflower and parsnip until soft (about 8 minutes).
3. Combine steamed cauliflower, parsnip, and remaining ingredients in blender.
3. Remove steamer and drain water from pot, combine all ingredients together in same pot with a hand blender or mixer.

* a high quality olive oil or a truffle oil tastes very good!

I'm pro-use what you already have that works with the allergies and ideological convictions of you and your guests. The majority of my recipes  come from finding ways to use leftover produce, the contents of CSA boxes, or produce that grabbed my eye at the Farmers Market. Eating healthy is affordable when you figure out how to work with produce that is on sale (often what's in high season). In this spirit,  I've made this with various milk substitutes and fats depending on what's available and the dietary needs of those I'm cooking for.

Be aware though that coconut milk will make it taste, (Surprise!) coconut-y. If you're buying a packaged milk substitute, go for unsweetened. Overly sugary milk substitutes will push this recipe from savory to overly sweet (I'm having bad flashbacks of the syrupy sweet Edensoy brown rice milk of my childhood).

Semi-Raw Cookie Dough Truffles (grain-free, vegan)

Monday, November 28, 2011


Who are the 34.4%? They are the percentage of American adults that are overweight. Food that is bad for everyone has increasingly dominated the holidays and America's food landscape as corporate interests have become further entrenched in politics. The more conservative America has become, the fatter it has gotten. And, yes, it is lining the pockets of the top .0001% who profit from and encourage food policy that has Americans poisoning themselves with food. 

And the House Republicans were in rare form once again, with the help of the Frozen Food Institute and other corporate food interests blocking Obama administration standards to improve school lunches, allowing tomato paste on pizza to be considered a vegetable, and ensuring that the 34.4% will likely become the 99% for future generations. 

You can take a stand—without camping out in the kitchen. These quick and easy truffles are made of fresh, healthy ingredients. The high protein, fiber, and low sugar content will ensure that you are satisfied with one or two— and that you don't contribute to you or your holiday comrades joining or expanding the 34.4%. 


2 1/2 C. almond flour or almond meal + 1-2 Tbs coconut flour*
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4  Tbs. Coconut Oil melted + 3 Tbs Apple Sauce
1   Tbsp vanilla
1/3 C. dates, soaked and pitted
1/2  tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp.  cardamom 
Chunks of 72% cacao chocolate bar

6 oz. 72% cacao chocolate

1. Purée vanilla, dates, applesauce, and oil in blender or food processor. 
2. Mix pureé with remaining ingredients except for 6 oz. chocolate.
2. Refrigerate mixture for 15 minutes.
3. Roll mixture into small balls.
4. Refrigerate cookie dough balls for another 15 minutes.
5. Finely chop 6 oz chocolate.
6. Melt in small saucepan on low stirring constantly.
7. Working quickly, with a toothpick or spoon dunk cookie dough balls into chocolate.
8. Place on plate or cookie sheet lined with a Silpat Mat (preferred).
9. Refrigerate truffles until hardened. 

*NOTE: you want batter to be stiff enough to easily form into small balls. Depending on the humidity you may need more or less coconut flour or none at all. Start with almond meal and add coconut flour (or even more almond meal if you don't have coconut flour) as necessary to form into a formable dough. 

Other Economical Commentary:

Almond Flour: I use Trader Joe's almond flour ($3.98/lb) since it is the most cost effective. You can also grind whole almonds if you have a vita mix dry container to make almond flour. Blanched almond flour should also work and is generally more absorbant (you probably wouldn't need the coconut flour at all) but is generally much more expensive and not available at Trader Joes!

72% Cacao Chocolate: I also use the Trader Joe's 72% cacao chocolate. It does warn that it is made in a facility and with equipment that processes wheat. However, from what I have read, Trader Joe's does follow a cleansing procedure on equipment between processing ingredients with common allergens. I have never had a problem with Trader Joe's chocolate, but some Celiac's are more sensitive than others. Use your own judgement and comfort level.

Indian/ Turmeric Rice (vegan, grain-free)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turmeric Cauliflower "Rice" with peas, cashews, and raisins

Cauliflower rice is not a dead-ringer, but it's convincing. I think it tastes better than regular old rice which can be pretty bland. And for spicy rices (the best kind) it definitely takes it up a notch.  This spicy cauliflower rice is hearty and warm—perfect for the winter and especially pre- or post-holiday food fests.

Also, research shows that Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties. The anti-inflammatory benefits make it great for those of us with stomachs still recovering from years of undiagnosed Celiac or other stomach ailments (as does a grain-free diet). But, most importantly, it tastes really good and gives food a wonderful, rich yellow color.

This recipe makes a lot of rice and it stores well for about 5 days— if it lasts that long.

Turmeric Rice

1  head cauliflower, chopped
1  onion, chopped finely
2 Tbs. saffron oil or ghee*
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 C. cooked peas**

1/4 C. chopped cashews
1/4 C. raisins
1 Tbs. saffron oil or ghee

If adding optional chopped cashews and raisins:

1.  In large frying pan pan, toast cashews in oil or ghee until they begin to brown.
2.  Add raisins, mixing together while they cook until cashews are fully browned, (generally another 2-3 minutes depending upon your pan).
3. Dump contents of pan into separate bowl, reuse pan for rice below.

For Rice:

1. Use food processor and "S" blade to process cauliflower until texture of rice
NOTE: Cauliflower can also be chopped very finely with a good, large knife. The texture is slightly different,  but lack of food processor is not a barrier to entry to cauliflower rice!
2. Heat oil or ghee in large frying pan over medium.
3. Add chopped onions and sauté until soft.
4. Add chopped cauliflower and sauté until cauliflower begins to soften.
5. Add in salt and turmeric and saute until cauliflower is completely soft and close to the texture of cooked rice.
6. Add in cooked peas and toasted cashews and raisins if using.

* Any kind of oil or butter will work, but ghee or saffron oil lend a more authentic and delicate taste. Obviously, use oil for vegan option.
** If you are Paleo, omit peas!