Tag Archives: banana

Level 1 Raw Food: Day 12

raw vegan pancakes

I just completed day 12 in the Level 1 Raw Food course from Matthew Kenney Academy. I am well into my third week, learning some cool new techniques, and starting to think about my final project already!

The first thing I got to do today, which was really fun, was to take my “swiss cheese” out of the dehydrator, cut it up to make it look like swiss cheese, and sample it. It was really good! It even had a bit of a swiss-like flavor, and the flexible fatty texture of cheese. If I made it again, I think I’d let it ferment longer to develop a sharper flavor, but this is definitely a technique that I would use again. Totally worth it!

raw vegan swiss cheese

raw vegan swiss cheese raw vegan swiss cheese IMG_1558

After checking on some of my other fermented cheese projects in the fridge and dehydrator, it was time to plate the pancakes that just came out of the dehydrator. They started as humble swirls of batter on a dehydrator sheet.

raw vegan maple pancakes

They were transformed into this masterpiece! I layered them with bananas and seasonal berries, and I made a maple blueberry jelly to go on top. It’s really easy to make. Blueberries naturally contain a lot of pectin, so I just blended them with a little maple syrup until all the little bits were smooth and then I poured it into a bowl to sit for a few minutes. When I spooned it out, it was jelly. 🙂

raw vegan pancakes raw vegan pancakes raw vegan pancakes raw vegan pancakes

The next project for today was to make chocolate chips! Yes, there is such a thing as raw vegan chocolate chips! We blended up a chocolate-y mixture containing raw cacao and then piped it out onto dehydrator sheets. I filled 3 sheets full of them and I have a totally new respect for cake decorators. My first two trays were pretty ugly, and my third came out much nicer. Aren’t they cute? 🙂

raw vegan chocolate chips raw vegan chocolate chips raw vegan chocolate chips

My final project for today was to start one of my favorite food projects – coconut yogurt! This is so ridiculously easy to make. Blend up some coconut meat, toss in some probiotics, and within a day, you have tangy coconut yogurt, ready to eat! You can then flavor it however you like. 

raw vegan coconut yogurt raw vegan coconut yogurt raw vegan coconut yogurt

Raw Food Fundamentals: Day 11

raw vegan chocolate truffles

Day 11 of learning raw food fundamentals has been completed!

I started the day with some lessons about how to make raw vegan versions of cheese. This was very insightful. I have seen other recipes in the raw food community about fermented nut cheeses, and this course has allowed me to do some fun experiments with that, as well as learn some great techniques. I can now re-create comfort foods and as an added bonus, get some extra probiotics in my diet. I will never complain about that. 😉

Here is some “swiss cheese” spread out on the dehydrator sheet ready to go in. We’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

raw vegan swiss cheese

After this, I started the process of soaking and sprouting some buckwheat for use in a later recipe. After the soaking is done, it still has to be dehydrated back to a crispy state. I am excited to see what it will be used for. 

Next came the assignment I was most eager to work on. CHOCOLATE! That’s right, we learned how to make chocolate truffles, and we got to select our own toppings. The texture and flavor of these is amazing. They aren’t overly sweet either, like the truffles you might purchase in a chocolate shop. I think they had just the right amount of sweetness. 

The recipe for the batter to make the truffles is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Raw Chocolate

In the photo with the truffles on the big round plate, the center truffle has pecans on it, and the flavors on the rest, starting clockwise from 12 o’clock position, are:

  1. cacao nib/chili powder/applewood smoked sea salt
  2. bee pollen
  3. pistachio
  4. maple candied pineapple
  5. lime zest, dried coconut, coconut sugar
  6. cinnamon, ginger, orange and lemon zests
  7. cinnamon
  8. cacao nib / Pirate’s Bite spice blend from Spice & Tea Exchange in Winter Park, FL

I sampled a few to make sure they were safe to eat. I have some other taste testers coming to visit tomorrow. 😉

raw vegan chocolate truffle toppingsraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate trufflesraw vegan chocolate truffles

 After my fun afternoon of truffle rolling (which may or may not have been accompanied by a lemon honey margarita), we made pancake batter. They’re all ready to go into the dehydrator! I was really excited to see this. I haven’t had pancakes in a long time. I can’t wait to see what they taste like!

raw vegan pancake batter

I’m all set for big day #12! I can’t wait to have more fun with the fermented cheeses and see how these pancakes turn out!

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Day 9

raw vegan pizza

I just finished day 9 of “Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine”! I’m almost half way there. It’s a little surreal. 🙂 

The first thing I did today was to make oat flour from the oat groats that I soaked and then dehydrated back into a hard texture. I ran the groats through the food processor for a good while to break up the outer hulls on all of them and turn the groats into powder. After that, I sifted the material from the food processor with a mesh strainer to separate the powder from the bran. 

Then, on to my last knife skills exercise before the knife skills quiz tomorrow! It’s a definite improvement from my first time doing this, and I am cutting much faster now!

matthew kenney academy knife skills

 After completing the knife skills exercise, I flipped my pizza crust and put the pickles that I started last week into the fridge! We are told they will be used in a later recipe. I am excited to see what it will be!

Next was making banana bread. I was really excited when I saw this recipe. I have not had banana bread in years, and I’ve never had a raw banana bread! I had seen raw vegan bread recipes before, but all of them involved sprouting grains that contain gluten, which I cannot have. This one uses the oat flour, and as I made sure that my oats were certified gluten free, they’re completely safe for me to eat! 

After shaping the loaf, it goes into the freezer overnight to firm up so that it can be sliced and then laid out on the dehydrator sheets to “cook” as individual slices for better air flow. 

I had not seen this recipe in any of Matthew Kenney’s books yet, so I was excited to try making something new. I will update this post with a link if I can find one.

raw vegan banana bread raw vegan banana bread raw vegan banana bread raw vegan banana bread raw vegan banana bread

Following this exercise, it was time to prepare the sauce for my pizza assignment today! We were given a few different sauces to choose from, and I selected an arrabiata style sauce which called for a red wine. I used a locally grown and made red from Lakeridge Winery. They use the native muscadine grapes that grow here in Florida. I have toured their facility and verified that their wines are vegan and that they use no egg to filter their wines, which means I don’t have to worry about their product causing my asthma to flare up.

There is a great marinara sauce recipe in Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw on page 92. It is not the same as the arrabiata, but still makes a great pizza. You can also just add some red wine in place of the liquid called for in the recipe. 😉

raw vegan arrabiata sauce IMG_1444

 Of course, after the sauce was made, it was only a matter of assembly to have pizza for dinner! I experimented with some different topping combinations and my favorite ended up being a mix of miniature heirloom tomatoes, miniature sweet peppers, castelvetrano olives, dried basil, fresh ground pepper, and a little drizzle of the leftover cashew sour cream from the tostadas yesterday. I experimented with some marinaded mushrooms and some various cut herbs, but I guess you can’t beat the classics.

In the last photo, you can see another experiment I tried – a pizza pita pocket! The method I used worked great, but this recipe didn’t provide the right amount of flexibility that I was ultimately looking for. I guess that means I’ll have to experiment and come up with one of my own. 😉

The pizza crust recipe is in Matthew Kenney’s book, Everyday Raw on page 92.

raw vegan pizza raw vegan pizza raw vegan pizza raw vegan pizza raw vegan pizza

Tropical Carrot Cake Smoothie

tropical carrot cake smoothie

My sister is here for a visit this weekend. I decided to put my new smoothie design skills to work for a mid morning snack, and this tropical carrot cake smoothie is what I came up with. We had a large variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from, and since we both love carrot cake, we decided to use that as the inspiration for this smoothie. Enjoy!

Tropical Carrot Cake Smoothie for 2
Serves 2
This summer time smoothie is a perfect mid-morning snack for the carrot cake lover. Now you can have your cake and drink it too. 😉
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup carrot juice (fresh juiced)
  2. 1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed)
  3. 2 frozen bananas
  4. 1 cup frozen pineapple
  5. 1 TB local raw honey
  6. 1 TB vanilla extract (I use alcohol free in vegetable glycerin)
  7. 2 pinches of sea salt
  8. 2 pinches of cinnamon
  9. 2 pinches of nutmeg
  10. 2 pinches of ginger
Instructions
  1. Juice enough carrots to yield 1 cup of juice (this will vary based on the size of your carrots and the model of your juicer).
  2. Juice enough oranges to yield 1 cup of juice (1-2 large oranges)
  3. Add juice and all other ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth, well combined, and frosty. You may need to use a tamper.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine – Day 3

kimchi

Over the weekend, I finished day 3 of “Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine“, a course offered online through the Matthew Kenney Academy. It was a lot of fun to have an entire day to work on my course material. Normally, I go to work and then I come home with limited time to work on the homework and recipe projects in the evening. I do what I can and try not to stay up too late, but I really love playing in the kitchen, so it’s a challenge. 😉 On Saturday, however, I was able to finish up a full day’s worth of the curriculum material!

I started day 3 off with… you guessed it… more knife skills. If you’ve seen my first two posts about my experiences here, then you know this is how I start every day of the curriculum. My cuts seem to be improving a little bit, and the correct grip of the knife and hand placement is starting to become more familiar to me too. I find myself making it more of a habit now than having to think about where my hands go, which is a really good thing, for the sake of keeping all of my fingers un-injured. 

knife skills knife skills knife skills

 

After some reading material about soaking and sprouting, it was time to make almond milk using some almonds that we had been instructed to soak the night before. I am no stranger to making simple nut and seed milks. Hemp seed milk is my favorite to make.

What was new for me were some of the other ingredients that we added to the milk. There were some really valuable lessons learned here about flavor balancing with fats, sweeteners, and salts. We were instructed to taste the milk after the addition of each ingredient and notice how the flavor and texture changed. By the time I was done adding things to the blender, it was much more familiar in taste and flavor to the almond milk you might find at the grocery store, but without any of the typical additives of a store bought product.

Besides the plain almond milk, I made strawberry and cacao versions as well. That is why one has a pinkish color and another has a light brown color. The colors are subtle. No artificial anything here! I’ve been enjoying my fresh nut milks with gluten free oatmeal. 

The recipe for this almond milk is in Everyday Raw and Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow, both books by Matthew Kenney.

homemade raw vegan almond milk homemade raw vegan almond milk homemade raw vegan almond milk homemade raw vegan almond milk

One of the things I am really loving about this course is the way they talk about using up leftovers so as not to waste anything. For example, almond pulp that is strained out of the nut milk is added to the dehydrator and then blended into an almond flour.

The next assignment was to make a delicious smoothie with our fresh almond milk and to learn about “smoothie building”. To think, all this time, I was just tossing things into the blender and hoping for the best, and there is apparently a magic formula that I should have been using instead. The recipe provided was for a “blueberry bee” smoothie. I could not find the book that this recipe came from, but it was published over on the “Pure Wow” website last year if you want to go have a look. I highly recommend trying it!

blueberry bee smoothieblueberry bee smoothie

After flavor blending exercises and smoothie making, it was time to make some kale chips. We were taught the basics of making our own sauce/marinade for the kale, and then we got to play around with it to make our own flavors. They looked pretty good going in. As long as they dehydrate properly overnight and taste good when I take them out, I will be happy to share my recipe flavors tomorrow. I opted to make a “ranch dressing” flavor and a “spicy mango lime”. 

kale chips kale chips

 

But, wait… there’s more! THREE lessons in fermentation and pickling were to follow. Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I’m a bit of a fermenting fool. I always have sauerkraut in the fridge with another batch fermenting on the counter, ACV fermented garlic, a random vegetable lacto-ferment, kombucha and jun, occasional wild fermented wine, etc. Probiotic fermented foods have made a huge difference in my health. They have helped me to reverse most of my allergy problems, and kept me from getting sick in the last two years. Anyway, I was really excited to see this material not only included in the curriculum, but included as early as day 3! 

For as much fermenting as I do, one thing I have never made is kimchi. That is partially because I wanted to be sure I had an authentic recipe so I could do it justice. Well, ready or not, there is a jar of kimchi happening in my kitchen right now anyway! It smelled really great going into the jar! Never fear, I followed proper protocol and pushed it all down below the brine with a leftover cabbage leaf. The picture of the vegetables floating on the top sure is pretty though!

kimchi kimchi kimchi

I had half a head of Napa cabbage and most of a head of red (purple) cabbage left over after making this, so… SAUERKRAUT SPONTANEOUSLY HAPPENED IN MY KITCHEN! Shocking, I know. Ha!

purple sauerkraut 

We also made some basic quick pickles, to which I added garlic, dill, and peppercorns. I have been growing pickling cucumbers on my porch and I was really excited that I was able to use something I grew myself in a recipe for the course. I have already put my home grown basil to use in all of the recipes that call for it.

dill pickles dill pickles

 

Another new thing for me was pickled ginger! I have always wanted to try making this because whenever we eat sushi at restaurants, the pickled ginger looks as though it’s been artificially colored and tastes funny. It will be a lot of fun to use my pickled ginger for when we made sushi at home!

pickled ginger pickled ginger

 

Overall, it was a very fun and productive day. I am looking forward to what comes next and eating some of those pickled foods!

 

 

Banana Orange Frozen Creamsicle Smoothie

Frozen banana orange creamsicle smoothie

This creamsicle smoothie is so ridiculously easy to make, and so good for you. With orange and banana as the ingredients, it is loaded with potassium! It’s also quite refreshing on a hot day. Sometimes, I like to toss a little ground flaxseed into the blender with it too, for an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

Frozen Banana Orange Creamsicle Smoothie
Serves 2
This smoothie is ridiculously easy to make. It is simply frozen bananas and fresh sweet navel oranges. It is packed with potassium!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 ripe frozen bananas
  2. 2 sweet navel oranges, peeled
Instructions
  1. Put orange sections and frozen bananas into the blender. Blend until thoroughly combined. You may need to use a tamper to help it mix. It will be a bit on the thick side. It comes out a little like a milkshake in consistency. 🙂
Notes
  1. You can optionally add some pineapple or coconut water to thin it out. Both will give it a fun tropical flavor.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie

Frozen blueberry banana green smoothie

For those who follow this blog regularly, I apologize that I have been lax in posting recipes over the last couple weeks. My normal diet includes a lot of raw food. I was preparing healthy meals for my family during my visit, but many of them were cooked meals to make them more comforting and satisfying to them. After I returned home, I was just feeling that my body needed a rest.

As we are almost 5 months into the year and I have not done any kind of fasting since the first of the year (I did a 4 day water fast), I decided now would be a good time to give my body that rest. I have been making a lot of green juices and smoothies. I find that getting the extra nutrients from juicing and giving my digestive tract a rest while not stressing about what I’m going to make for dinner really helps me to clear my head and improves my energy levels. I like to do it 3-4 times a year. 

This next series of posts will contain some of the smoothie and juice recipes that I have been making for myself. This is one that I made for breakfast the other day – a blueberry banana green smoothie. I keep my bananas in the freezer (so I never have to worry about them getting past the perfect point of ripeness for my smoothies), and because it is so hard to find organic blueberries fresh in my area, I also purchase frozen organic wild blueberries. Frozen fruit gives the smoothie a really nice texture, and you can pretend it’s dessert for breakfast! =D

frozen banana blueberry green smoothie

Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients that are blended into this smoothie (which will feed two people or one person who will have two servings during the day – me!):

  • Bananas are a great source of potassium and inulin fiber, which feeds your gut flora. I’m a big fan of anything that encourages healthy gut flora, as healing mine has done so many wonders for my health. I have not been sick in a very long time, my digestion is better, and even some of my feed allergies have improved!
  • Bananas are also a natural source of tryptophan, which your body converts into serotonin. It makes you happy and helps you sleep better. 
  • Bananas are a good source of B6, which helps your body to create white blood cells. They are good for your immune system!
  • Bananas help to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Bananas are high in potassium and low in sodium, so they help to reduce blood pressure (if yours is high, but if yours is low, you will want to focus more on sodium rich foods like celery instead).
  • Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit. They help to prevent cancer and protect the eyes. They are especially good for the nervous system and the brain. 
  • Blueberries are low on the glycemic index, though with a whole foods plant based diet, I don’t really worry about the glycemic index anymore. 
  • Blueberries contain resveratrol, the same polyphenol that red wine is touted for having. Guess what? You can get plenty from blueberries, so put down that booze!
  • Like all leafy greens, spinach is an excellent source of plant protein.
  • Spinach is also a great source of potassium – providing more than bananas (per cup of each food)!
  • Spinach is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, which helps to relax you – both your muscles and your nervous system. If you have asthma, it helps to relax the bronchial muscles, too.
  • Spinach is rich in iron. Goodbye, anemia!
  • Spinach is also high in potassium, and helps to reduce blood pressure. 
  • I tossed in a few bonus add-ins also: hemp seed, chia seed, and flax seed oil. The hemp seed is a complete plant protein with all of the essential amino acids, but it is still higher in omega-6 than omega-3, so I added some chia seed and flax seed oil, both of which are higher in omega-3 to help offset it.

Sources:

 

Frozen Blueberry Banana Green Smoothie
Serves 2
This blueberry banana green smoothie is a delicious and nutritious frozen treat, full of phytonutrients that prevent cancer, anemia, and iron deficiencies!
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2-3 cups of water
  2. 3 large handfuls of spinach
  3. 2 frozen bananas
  4. 1 cup frozen organic wild blueberries (they have the most flavor, in my opinion!)
  5. 2 TB hemp seed (optional)
  6. 2 TB chia seed (optional)
  7. 2 TB flaxseed oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender until well combined. Water content can vary based on how thick or thin you would like the texture of the smoothie to be.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Tropical Super Green Smoothie

Tropical super green smoothie with pineapple, banana, kiwi, coconut water, and hemp seed

What is a “super green smoothie”? It’s a super charged green smoothie with a stronger taste of the greens either from using more of them or using more potent bitter greens. I enjoy making these about once a week to get an extra boost of nutrition. 

Some of the most nutritional greens are those that grow in the wild. People look at me funny when I tell them that I like dandelion greens in my smoothies. Thankfully, others realize the health value of these wild edibles and have begun to cultivate them instead of spraying them to kill them or yanking them out of lawns. 

Dandelion greens are not only good for you, they are good for the earth. The leaves are a good source of beta carotene and the roots are good to cleans and strengthen the liver. They also put nitrogen back into the soil! Our soil and crops would be so much healthier if we practiced crop rotation with dandelions. 🙂

The other ingredients in this smoothie are not nutritional slouchers either. I added tropical flavors to help tone down the bitterness of the dandelion greens, but they can stand on their own as well.

  • Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and inulin fiber. Inulin is a great prebiotic and feeds the bacteria in your intestinal tract. Eat your bananas!
  • Pineapple and kiwi are both great sources of vitamin C, which will keep your immune system strong. Humans cannot synthesize their own vitamin C as other animals can, and must consume it from plant-based foods. Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which aids digestion. Anecdotally, I also find it to be good for my lungs.
  • Coconut water is a good source of electrolytes.
  • Hemp seed is a good source of plant-based protein, good fats, and magnesium. It contains all 10 essential amino acids, omega fatty acids 3 and 6, and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). Source: http://manitobaharvest.com/hemp_nutrition.html

Given the balance of protein, fat, and electrolytes in this smoothie, it would be great as a companion to your plant-fueled workout!

Tropical Super Green Smoothie
Serves 3
This is a nutritious super green smoothie that will assist cleansing and strengthening your liver, supporting your lungs, and providing protein, fat, and sustained energy and electrolytes throughout the morning or after a workout. It's also high in vitamin C! It makes 3 servings, which means my husband gets 1, and I get 2. 😉
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 c coconut water water
  2. 3 handfuls dandelion greens
  3. 4 kiwi fruits
  4. 1 banana
  5. 2 c. chopped pineapple
  6. 1/2 c hemp seed
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix).
  2. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Dandelion greens have a strong bitter flavor. This is a "super green" smoothie because the ratio and flavor of greens is strong than someone who is new to green smoothies might enjoy. If you are "an old pro", this one is for you!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Green Smoothie for Beginners

Green Smoothie with peanut butter, banana, and chocolate protein powder. Perfect for people who don't like greens.

I’ve been regularly drinking green smoothies for about 4 years now, and I have never felt better or healthier in my entire life. I had such dramatic benefits from them (such as completely reversing thyroid disease to the point of getting off my medication) that my husband started drinking them too! =D

He makes them himself and he does a great job of rotating his greens. He seems to have more energy when he drinks them on a regular basis. We both make a habit of drinking our green smoothies in the morning for breakfast. Most of my green smoothies consist of greens and fruit, and I find that fills me up adequately, but my husband likes to add some additional fat to his so that he feels fuller for a longer period of time.

His most frequent combination involves adding bananas and peanut butter to his smoothies, but sometimes we also add a good quality vegan nutritional supplement in there too. I really like the one made by Vega One because I can also slip him some probiotics, extra greens, and plant-based protein. 😉

I thought I’d share the recipe here for anyone that might be living with family members who are not vegan. This green smoothie goes down nice and easy for them and they don’t even have to know there are greens in it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Green Smoothie for Beginners
Serves 2
A protein-rich green smoothie that goes down easy for the chocolate lover or omnivore who might be afraid of a "green smoothie". 😉
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 c water
  2. 2 handfuls romaine (or other green of choice)
  3. 2 bananas
  4. 2 tb peanut butter (make sure it is all-natural with no sugars added)
  5. 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I like Vega One Shake - Chocolate)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredient to a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. Add ice for an instant chilled or frosty beverage.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/