I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Monday, July 19, 2010

SRK Tour Adventures: Washington Part II

Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying the many blessings of this season, as we are!

It will be exactly 3 months tomorrow that we returned from the US. Wowsers! Has it really been that long? I've been losing track of time now that I don't have "to be anywhere" or "do anything". Such an awesome feeling!

One thing's for sure; I certainly didn't expect the recounting of our Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour adventures to take THAT long! I had an insight at some point that my blogging backlog was somehow connected at a deep level to the energetic backlog I accumulated over our months of travels. Dunno whether it truly is the case but I certainly find it an interesting 'coincidence' that I'm finally putting up the last post of this series just when I'm beginning to feel on top of things again.
 Without further ado let's pick up the story where we left off, shall we?

5 Days To Go
While trying to find a potential venue for a class in Seattle, I was put in touch with Janine, one of the co-founders of another raw cafe called Thrive. She was so welcoming and enthusiastic about our visit! Unfortunately Janine couldn't make it to our class at Chaco Canyon so we arranged to get together the next day for a few hours.

We met up in town and headed straight over to Richmond for a short visit to Raw Vegan Source, a local raw food store, where we were greeted by the owner Susan. She told us a little about her amazing story... In 2004 she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and refused to follow the traditional medical route. Instead after researching she decided to go all-raw, spending some time at the Optimum Health Institute in Southern California and Gabriel Cousens' Tree of Life center in Arizona. By June 2005, she was completely cancer-free!

Finding it difficult to obtain good quality raw products, she and her husband Tom created a raw foods buying co-op with four of their friends. A year later there was enough interest to open a physical store and they began selling online. Raw Vegan Source basically carries anything that the local health food stores don't have on their shelves. The place is a veritable raw foodist's dream: superfoods, agave, coconut oil, prepackaged goodies, supplements galore and even Irish moss! I felt like a kid in a candy store!

After stocking up on a few raw items, we then went for a lovely walk at Marymoor just outside Seattle. Nicknamed 'Doggy Disneyland', it offers 40 acres of off leash dog park. I swear I've never seen so many dogs gathered in one place, and the amazing thing is that they all got along! It has always been our feeling that leashes tend to distort/interfere with the natural energetics and Marymoor sure confirmed that.

Kyky going for a refreshing dip.

Janine making friends with a funny looking dog with an 'Afro' hairdo.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was already time to say 'goodbye'. As you can tell from this next picture, Janine and I bonded quickly. She is such a sweet soul! "I've only known you for 4 hours and I don't want you guys to leave!" she exclaimed! Awwww!

Come on now, everybody smiles! (You too Kylo!)
After being dropped back at our car, we still had a couple of hours before going out for dinner, so we went to a nearby park to chill out and soak up some of the sunshine.
Feasting at Thrive
As I mentioned earlier, Seattle has not one but two restaurants that serve raw foods. (Are they spoiled or what!?!) When I first hopped over to Thrive's website I was blown away by how much vibrancy and passion emanate from it. Allow me to share a few words about them...

"Our mission is to ongoingly cultivate an environment designed to nourish, inspire, and awaken all people to their fullest expression of magnificence. 

We say that a future of flourishing as a normal state of human affairs is a direct function of a community’s generous and unstoppable stand for one another’s vitality. And so, our utmost focus and commitment is the fulfillment of what it means for all people to truly THRIVE. We uphold and tend the paradigm that Earth is exceedingly generous, bold and bountiful; that its simple harvest, is the most potent and intelligent source of energy and medicine, and that it provides access to a shocking, enlivening, and previously unthinkable experience of health and vitality, unleashing an incredible Velocity, Joy and Buoyancy, Beauty and Shine. We open our doors as an invitation for all people to shift into this paradigm. It is a distinct honor and privilege to operate a business in service to what’s possible in Human Health."

So inspiring and eloquently put!

But Thrive is much more than a cafe, it also offers an array of raw food classes and various programs including one called 'Raw for a Week'; an ingenious way to help and support anyone interested in giving raw a try. How does that work? Your meals are provided by Chaco Canyon and Thrive for the entire week, you get a 1-hour orientation, receive a raw resources packet, and a dedicated staff member to assist you along the way. What a truly fabulous idea!

We had spread the word that we'd be eating there that evening in case anyone wanted to join us. It was a small group but we had a lovely time and the food was deeeelicious!

Don and I started off with a glass of Rapture: an infusion of Açaí and blueberries with ginger, fresh vanilla bean, pineapple, and coconut water.

And then shared a few dishes...

Enlighten Salad: A dish of spinach, spiralized zucchini, mushrooms, walnuts, and their Mighty Thai Sauce

This was actually very much like a pasta dish, only with more greens. Mmmmmm

Nacho Plate: Flax crackers served with Nacho Cheese Dip, Guacamole, Salsa, and Onion Cashew Cream

I'm usually not a big fan of raw onion but that Onion Sour Cream was to live for! Sooooo good!

Chili Con Marvelous: A blend of fresh vegetables, nuts, and herbs, topped with Onion Cashew Cream and served on a bed of romaine

This dish was recommended by Janine and man, was it ever yummy! THE best raw chili I've ever tasted!

 Jennifer ordered the Bella Burger (another of Janine's favorites) and absolutely loved it! A patty made of mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and walnuts, topped with Thrive's special sweet sauce, served in a cabbage leaf and paired with tomato, lettuce and onion.

Another young woman who's name I forgot (ooops!) opted for this next one: Oh My Sombrero! Spicy taco Sunflower Seed Paté, Guacamole, Salsa, and Onion Cashew Cream served with lettuce taco salad style.

We decided to all share a couple of items from their large dessert display...

Banana Coconut Pie

Orange Eclipse

Both desserts were super yummy. Jennifer couldn't resist trying some of their raw ice creams and Michael discovered that by combining a mouthful of Orange Eclipse with the ice cream it tasted just like an Orangecicle. ;-)

Mother and daughter

 I had been communicating with a lady named Veronique over the months, and while she couldn't come to the class she was able to join us for the evening. Yay!

4 Days To Go
After a very busy 3 days in Seattle the time had come to get back on the road. We wished we could have stayed longer but the clock was ticking... *sigh*

On the way to our next (and last!) destination, we made a brief stop in order to connect with Tiffany who was at the Thursday class. Together we came up with an impromptu lunch with what she had on hand. The result was a yummilicious dish of Asian style veggies tossed in an oil, tamari, ginger and garlic marinade and served on zucchini and young coconut noodles. To live for!

Some delicious olive bread platter that Tiffany prepared.

For dessert, she whipped up a cherry pudding that also makes a wonderful ice cream. (Dang! I knew I should have jolted down the ingredients when she gave them to me!)
With our bellies full and glad to have had a chance to spend a bit more time with Tiffany, we continued and made our way to our last hosts. The Engle family live on a beautiful and quiet property in the Snoqualmie Valley. What a treat it was to be surrounded by Nature after spending a few days in the city. It occurred to me that we began and ended our US travels with two Lisas! ;-)

We were greeted by their beautiful Bella who is such an adorable doggie!

That evening we enjoyed a light meal of crackers and spread. For dessert, Lisa pulled out a Rich Lemon Gnash Pie from the freezer. This recipe was contributed by one of our members on Raw Freedom Community. It is also featured in my Best of RFC ebook but I never got around to making it. Deliciously lemonie!

Rich Lemon Gnash Pie
Posted by Flandria on Raw Freedom Community

 I went to a friends house to drop off my raw food samples. She gave me a bag full of lemons from her Meyers lemon tree. The lemons were so good, I can’t pass up making a lemon gnash pie – thick and rich lemon pie!

Pie Crust
1 cup macadamia, unsoaked
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, unsoaked
3 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla

Process macadamia, pumpkin seeds, lemon zest, agave nectar and vanilla. Press into a 4 1/2 in spring form pie pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

1 cup cashew nuts, soaked
2 medium sized Meyers lemons
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup almond milk
2 tbsp coconut butter
2 tsp cashew butter

Blend cashews, lemon juice, agave nectar, vanilla, almond milk until smooth. Once smooth, add coconut butter and cashew butter. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little more almond milk until smooth creamy consistency.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and let it set in the FREEZER for about 1 hour. Slice and serve.

3 Days To Go - Class at Lisa's
The next morning we began prepping for that afternoon's class. This was another private affair attended mostly by friends and family. We decided to go with dishes on the gourmet side as Lisa wanted to show them the potential of how delicious raw foods can be. This was my last class of the Tour and I had an absolute blast!

On the menu was Corn Chowder, Tuna Salad, Zucchini Pasta with Basil Arugula Pesto, Fajitas and Sour Cream and my Dazzling Hazelnut Cream Pie. When I heard that there would be a couple of durian lovers in the attendance - a rare occurrence indeed - I decided to do something very bold: I whipped up a Durian Pudding!

Alright, let's do it! Time to try the pudding! ;-)
You should have seen the mixture of face expressions as they were tasting it! There was everything from taste bud bliss to surprise, to even complete disgust! hehe

Huh, not so sure about this!

After the class, we enjoyed the left overs for dinner. From left to right: Emma (Lisa's daughter), Lisa, her hubby Scott and Tiffany.

2 Days To Go - Playing With Moss
We decided to take a day off in order to rest and repack the van before hitting the road. That's not to say that we couldn't have a little fun in the kitchie though! Lisa and Tiffany had never worked with Irish moss so we agreed to tackle a dessert together.

Ever since my conversation with Gregory, the pastry chef at Cafe Gratitude, I've been using his technique with successful results. I know I've probably explained it before but please bear with me while I go over it again.

Something I'd like to stress before I get going... It is key that the water is cold to avoid the moss losing some of its precious gelling properties.

First I rinse the moss very well under running water then place it in a container of water and massage it briefly to help remove more grits and unwanted particles. I repeat this step 3 or 4 times until the water stays clear. I then fill the container with fresh water and leave it covered in the fridge. After 24 hours, the Irish moss is ready to be used. (Alternatively, in a pinch you could leave it at room temp for 3 1/2 hours or so.)

The moss will keep for about a week to 10 days in the fridge in the same soak water (that too apparently helps maintain the gelatin.)

 A few other tips that I've learned while handling Irish moss...

- It really helps to roughly chop the measured amount of moss before throwing it in the blender.

- Make sure to blend the moss with some kind of liquid first until it's completely dissolved before adding other ingredients. Note: Some recipes call for Irish moss paste or gel which is obtained by blending soaked moss with water. The ratio varies greatly depending on the chef. Russell James makes his Irish moss paste by blending 1 cup soaked moss to 2 cups water.

- You'll probably have to stop the blender a couple of times in order to scrape the bits of moss that have shot up to the sides and in the rubber top.

- It takes quite a bit of processing before the Irish moss 'explodes' into a gelatin; a process that is activated by the heat generated during blending.

- Once your filling mixture is ready I strongly recommend taking the extra time to do a consistency test. (Having to scrape your pie filling out of the crust because it didn't set properly is a real pain in the butt!) Simply put a small amount of filling in a glass or small bowl and let it sit in the fridge (or freezer) for half an hour or so. Then run a knife through it and see if it comes clean. If it's not firm enough, throw the tested portion back in the blender container along with the rest of the filling and add a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil. That should do the trick. If you're happy with the consistency, simply blend the tested portion back with the rest of the mixture briefly and proceed with the assembly.

- I once read somewhere that Irish moss based desserts shouldn't be frozen as it alters the consistency. Having said that, placing it in the freezer for half an hour or so for the purposes of testing or kick starting the firming process won't hurt.

But back to that day's Irish moss experiments...

We opted for Sweet Gratitude's Cappuccino Pie. In the past I've tried using coffee extract and decaf coffee in recipes but I still got the jitters (I'm super intolerant to caffeine!) As a last resort, I thought we could give coffee substitute a try (one of my favorite brands are Krakus and Teecino). It worked like a charm! The pie had a wonderful coffee flavor but sans the unwanted side effects. Hoorah!

As a bonus, of all the times I've whipped up Coconut Meringue before, this one it turned out best. Yay!

Lisa caught me in action... The woman behind the camera. ;-)

Satisfied with our kitchen endeavors, Lisa, Tiffany, Don and I then went for a lovely walk by the river.
Oh... and Kyky too! Of course! ;-)

Tiffany walked with us a little ways before returning to her place.
Departure Day
I had mixed feelings when I woke up the last morning. After spending nearly 6 months traveling across the US, the time had come to hop in the van and head back 'home' (if there's such a thing in our world anymore.) ;-) I knew that our lives would take yet another dramatic turn as we were getting ready to enter a much slower paced phase.

Just about ready to go now!

Our original plans were to visit a friend in Anacortes before taking the ferry to Victoria and hook up with Don's daughter, but it would have been a bit of a squeeze and didn't seem to flow. So instead we drove the eastern route through Steven's Pass. What a scenic drive that was; the perfect end to such a memorable journey!

Shortly after we left the landscape changed dramatically as we encountered snow in the Pass... a small taste of the winter we missed.

When we entered the Wenatchee area - known as the "Apple Capital of the World" - there were orchards everywhere we looked! Our timing couldn't have been better as they were all in full bloom. What a sight!

We later drove through the Okanogan, similar in so many ways to our Canadian Okanagan with its lakes...

... orchards and farmland,

... and even desert!

Call Us 'The Van Smugglers'!
We eventually found ourselves at the border crossing. Although we were all prepared (I had made a list of our purchases and Don had moved the van's temporary permit to the front window), I found myself a bit apprehensive as being under interrogation from government authorities is rarely a pleasant experience.

The guard asked us the usual questions: "Where were you?" and"How long have you been in the US?" When he asked what we purchased I glanced at my piece of paper and diligently gave him the amount and description. "Is that everything?" he asked. Don and I looked at each other and candidly replied: "Yes!" The strange thing is that it didn't occur to either of us to mention the van, as it was so obvious. We just assumed that we had to bring the papers inside and do the formalities there. Well, that wasn't a good idea! In their book we failed to declare the van at the booth so therefore we were attempting to smuggle it in. (Yeah right!) Turns out that we had also failed to notify the American customs 48 hours in advance that we intended to export a vehicle, which complicated the matter even more.*sigh*

At least there was one positive side to all the waiting around... The first customs officer we talked to had told us that we couldn't take in most of our produce which would have been a major bummer! I had a big lump in my throat as I was bringing the durian and young coconuts over to the customs' freezer, knowing they would most likely end up in a garbage can. When doing research online I'd read that tropical fruits were allowed, so while I was waiting I thought of double checking with the customs officer in charge of our case. I learned that we could indeed bring all of our exotic yummies into the country! Yippee!

Anyhoo after a couple of hours of paperwork, running back and forth between the Canadian and US customs, we were finally able to enter into British Columbia. Phfew! Let's just say I would have gladly done without this ordeal.

Once on the Canadian side the landscape was virtually the same. Here's some photos I took along the way...

We drove for quite some time along the shores of Okanagan Lake.

At last we arrived at our friends' house in Kelowna; all in one piece! Interestingly this was only a few miles from where we originally began our trip last June.

One mostly happy traveling family! I say this must make Kylo and Puss some of the most traveled furries in the world! ;-)

Reflecting on Our Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour
It's hard to believe that we have really managed to accomplish all that we have! In the course of our Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour we've driven nearly 10,000 miles (not including the other 2700 miles across Canada first) and through 18 different states. It's been such a truly incredible journey; at times challenging but filled with so much beauty and magic!

It goes without saying that this trip would have never been possible without the kindness of those of my readers who welcomed us so generously into their homes. Each new house we went to meant finding our bearings in their kitchen, but after a while we got pretty good at it. ;-) I found myself surprisingly at ease in my different surroundings once the initial "now where is everything?" phase had passed.

Lisa & her family in New York, Kelli & John near Philly, Marty & Davis in Pennsylvania, Jessica & Ian in DC, Danielle in Silver Spring, Kevin & Holly in North Carolina, Stephanie in Melbourne, FL, Jaimee & Travis in Tallahassee, Linda & Dan in Houston, Linda & Roger in Arizona, Diane in Santa Barbara, Trisha & her family and Joni in Sunnyvale, CA, Jozzie & Wayneski in Medford, OR, the Asche family near Portland, the Fasnachts in Olympia, WA, Jennifer & her family in Seattle and finally the Engles... We'd like to thank you all again for everything! We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of your lives for a short time and will continue to carry you in our hearts!

We are often asked which area of the country we liked best. Hum, that's not an easy one to answer as we found that each place is unique and has its own charm and beauty. We really enjoyed southern Texas and particularly resonated with Fort Davis - a small community tucked away in the mountains and reminiscent of the 'old west'. Our day spent in Sedona was another major highlight for us. I shall never forget the overwhelming sense of reverence that I experienced walking among its majestic red canyons.

This trip was such a radically different phase compared to the several years that we spent secluded in central BC. We got to do and see more things than we had in decades! lol To list just a few... We had a close encounter with alligators in Texas, saw the sun set over the Sonora desert in Arizona, drove into LA, picked avocados right off a tree and flew over Washington state in a private airplane. We also feasted at a number of raw restaurants, including Matthey Kenney's Café 118° in Orlando, and were given the grand tour of Cafe Gratitude's Central Kitchen - a very special moment for me. ;-)

I've done it; I finally managed to wrap up my tales of our US adventures! *wiping the sweat off her brow* Hopefully it will mark the end of the era of looooooong epic posts! I would love to write short entries like a normal blogger! lol

Ahhhhhh, feels so good to be up to date! Well, almost...

Coming up next, the details of our recent celebratory feasts and some more of Nature's wonders we've been blessed with lately!

P.S. Please pardon the formatting booboos; Google just changed their editing interface and it's a real pain in the butt. ;-(


  1. as usual your post is making my tummy growl....YUM!!!

    hey, i was in canada last week... visiting heathy and another blogger friend, nelly! we had a great time, eating LOTS of delicious raw food. (were your eyes ringing, because we mentioned you quite a few times!=)

    customs is SUCH a drag! glad you got through ok with your fruits!

    big hugs and kisses to you, don and the furries!

  2. Congratulations on finishing your trip. Wow! What an incredible journey. You should consider writing a book about your experiences...seriously. Maybe you could become like Andrew Bourdain and get paid to travel raw around the world! It was great seeing you in Dc and I wish you and Don the best as you continue your raw journey.


  3. What an amazing adventure you’ve documented here! Even though MY winter has been nothing but work, I feel like I’ve sent the last 6 months traveling the southern states enjoying the sun and walks in the woods! The effort you’ve put into documenting your travels comes across beautifully. I am happy that you’ve shared this with me and I’m looking forward to being able to share the same for you. Thank you very much. Dave.

  4. Oh Kelli dear!!!

    I can only imagine what fun you girls had! Wish I could have been there with y'all!

    Hugs to you three!

    Thanks for your kind words, Shamise and Dave. I am grateful that somehow I had the energy (well, for the most part anyways) to document our trip as we went. It's so nice to be able to revisit these special moments we had... I suppose it's as though I had diligently kept a diary, except everyone gets to read it too! hehe

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us. I really enjoyed reading about them.

  6. I love your site (especially your desserts!) and have been checking in with you regularly. I actually just moved from Seattle to Colorado and am sad to have missed the chance to meet up with you at Thrive!! I went there in March and was so impressed with their food - glad you enjoyed it too. Keep up the good work, thanks for your site!

  7. phew!
    carmella (and don, kyky and puss!) so glad you guys made it home safely! it seems like so long ago that you were here in florida. i've enjoyed reading every word of your travels, and look forward with the same interest to hearing how you settle in to the rhythms of your next phase of being.
    thank you so much for including me in your journey. as much as some of you has stayed behind with me, i believe a little of me traveled along with you! :) i often felt like i was there.
    thanks for the adventure!
    love and peace, steph