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!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Onion, Dill & Horseradish Cheez

In May 2007, at 63 years old, my friend Barbara stopped eating meat and all animal products cold turkey (pardon the pun) and became vegan. After only four months into her new diet she was already quite a different person. She no longer had to take her high blood pressure, high cholesterol, auto-immune, constipation and retinal vein inclusion medications, lost a lot of weight and felt wonderful in the process. Now, 3 1/2 years later she feels and looks a-ma-zing!!!

As president of VSU, the Vegetarian Society of Utah, Barbara is now sharing the inspiring story of how she has saved her life with food and promoting the health benefits of a whole food plant based diet.

Today we join her as she shows us how to make a delicious dairy-free 'uncheese'. I've been experimenting with cultured cashew and macadamia nut based cheeze for the last few years and love LOVE them, so naturally I was curious to try Barbara's technique. One of the main differences between the two is that she uses agar-agar (a sea vegetable that acts as a natural thickener) and therefore a lot less nuts. While the agar is heated on the stove in order to be activated, all of the other ingredients are raw.

Let's see how she does it!

The Cheeze's texture was really impressive! After only one hour of chilling it was so firm that you could slice it with a knife! The blend of onion, dill and horseradish also made for a super tasty cheeze. Now I can't wait to play around with the idea and try other variations! In fact this weekend I'll be conducting a little experiment, replacing the agar with Irish moss paste. I'll let you know how it turns out!

In the meantime, here's the recipe that Barbara just demoed.

Onion, Dill & Horseradish Cheez
From The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak

1 1/2 C water
5 Tbs agar flakes or 1 1/2 Tbs agar powder
1/2 C chopped raw cashews
1/4 C nutritional yeast
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs white horseradish powder
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp dried dill weed

Set aside a 2 Cup plastic storage container.

In a blender add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, tahini, horseradish powder, mustard, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Bring water to boil.  Slowly add the agar stirring with whisk. Reduce the heat and simmer, whisking often, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until completely dissolved.

Slowly pour a little into blender and pulse.  Working quickly.  Scrape sides.  Put cover on blender and remove cover center - slowly pour rest of hot agar mixture into center of blender.  Process several
minutes until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as necessary.  Pour in the onion flakes and dill weed and mix by hand or pulse quickly – being sure not to over blend – this is to be slightly chunky.

Pour into container and cool uncovered in the refrigerator.

When completely cool, cover and chill several hours.  To serve, turn out of the container and slice.

Store covered in refrigerator.  Will keep 5 to 7 days.

Last Chance to Vote for Best of Raw 2010 Awards

The end of the month is nearly upon us! Just a short reminder that you only have a couple more days to vote for your favorite raw people, media, products and places of 2010!

The Best of Raw Awards are in honor of those folks who are assisting the people of our planet to add more raw, organic plant foods to our diets. Educators, Chefs, Authors, Celebrities, Athletes, Musicians, Manufacturers, Websites, Products, etc. are all being honored and celebrated for their amazing contribution to the raw community.

Once again, my websites and I have been nominated in several of them. (Woo hoo!)

Best Raw Simple Chef: Carmella

Best Gourmet Raw Chef: Carmella

Best Raw Vegan Blog: Sunny Raw Kitchen

Best Raw Vegan Community Site: Raw Freedom Community

So don't forget to pop by the Best of Raw website and cast your votes for your faves by clicking on the link below!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raw Foodies Rejoice! Introducing a Much More Affordable High Power Blender

Ask any raw foodie, the appliance that gets the single most usage in a raw kitchen is a blender! You use it for making smoothies, dressings, sauces, soups, spreads, puddings, pie and cake fillings, ice creams... and I'm sure I must be forgetting something!

Don and I run our blender a minimum of 3 times a day. At first we just bought regular inexpensive blenders however we gave them such a work out that they had to be replaced once a year (if we were lucky!) Hanging with the online raw community we had heard that high power blenders were the way to go for superior results and blender longevity, still it was hard to get our minds (and our pockets!) around paying $400-500 for a little machine. But we needed to bite the bullet and saved our pennies in order to purchase a Vitamix 5000. After trying it I wondered how we could have gone without a high power blender for so long! Not only was it a LOT more powerful but it also gave such a silky smooth texture to everything I blended! It was like entering a whole new world of possibilities!

A few days ago I was telling you about our recent discovery of a new 3 HP blender that costs significantly less than other high power machines. (Yay!) I say 'new' but in fact the OMNIBLEND V blender has been manufactured for several years but hasn't yet significantly penetrated into the North American market. (Our friend Thomas Fox of 3blenders.com is presently the only supplier!)

"The blenders like the Vita Mix, Blendtec, and Waring blenders are all great," Thomas says, "It is time though to offer to the consumers something more economical. I believe we have found it with the OMNI Blender at $250 plus shipping, and we stand behind it."

I couldn't agree more! We would have certainly found it easier to take that (for many of us HUGE) step from the 'cheapo' blenders to a high quality one if we had known about the OMNI back then. Now I can hardly hide my excitement that we've discovered such a high performing blender at such a fantastic price! *doing the happy dance*

I've already told you a few things about the OMNI in this post and you can find out a great deal more on Thomas' site.

Now Over To Don!
I'm usually the voice on The Sunny Raw Kitchen but today I thought I'd let Don (who's actually also my editor) take the stage. Just this morning he forwarded me this article he wrote and I thought it was too timely not to include it in this post.

Kitchen Blender VALUE Review
By Don Lacey

After many years of dedicated diet exploration as part of our journey towards physical, mental and spiritual freedom and health, it's our experience that as one progresses from SAD (Standard American Diet) to vegetarian, to vegan and finally engaging with the raw world, the blender takes on an increasingly important role. In the Sunny Raw Kitchen of all our appliances ours takes center stage.

In the raw community the blender gets used for many tasks, from fruit and green smoothies to sauces, dressings, nut milks and dessert preparation. Our blender finds itself in use an average of 3 times per day.

There are probably 3 major factors when considering a blender purchase, as with most mechanical things:
  1. The first is functionality, how well does it do what we need from it. 
  2. The second is durability/robustness, how long can it be expected to last. 
  3. Finally comes the cost/price
An assessment of all these three factors combined bring us to the best blender value.

There are basically three levels of blender function:

The first and most common is for more casual use, for the occasional smoothie or dressing/sauce.

Functionality - Use at this level happens perhaps once or twice a week up to a maximum of maybe once daily. A basic blender with motor size ranging up to 600 watts (higher is better BTW) is usually sufficient for SAD and vegetarian diets. The emulsification food consistency here is adequate but nothing to write home about.

Durability - As long as use frequency remains within this range, these blenders will last for a few to many years, depending on the motor size and quality. The warranties are rarely for more than 1 year.

Price - At this level blenders usually cost from $25 to $150

The second level of blender function is for more regular and generally heavier use. This is usually found within the vegan and raw lifestyle worlds.

Functionality - Use at this level happens from almost daily to perhaps an average of 3 times/day. Blenders with motor size ranging from 800 to 1200 watts are recommended. The upper number ones are often referred to as 3 HP blenders. It is our experience that if one attempts to use the smaller motor blenders their life expectancy falls to under 1 year. The emulsification food consistency here, especially at the 3 HP level, is excellent which is achieved by the increased motor power and high blade RPM.

Durability - These blenders will last for a few to many years, depending on the motor size and quality and frequency/type of use. The warranties usually range from 1 to 7 years on the base/motor and 1 year on the carafe and blade assembly.

Price - This level of blender usually costs from $150 to $250 for the 800 - 900 watt motor models and $350 to $550 for the 3 HP blenders.

The third level is for commercial use. We will not be discussing this type here. Suffice to say that the motor power is in the 3 - 5 HP range and price from $550 and up.

A Closer Look at 3 HP Blenders
We would like to now focus on the 3 HP level of blender. The reason: this is where the best VALUE resides as far as we are concerned, and these blenders are used mainly for the diet types we are interested in, namely the vegan and raw lifestyles.

There are only 3 blender manufacturers that we will review in this section, 2 of them being to date the most popular, with the third; a relatively new kid on the block.


 This is the major player here. Known for high quality, durability, performance, warranty and customer service. You pay for it though. Prices in this range are $450 - $550. Strengths as noted above. Weaknesses: loud (around 100 db), narrow carafe makes getting out the thicker food difficult, and they are expensive for purchase and parts.

Another well known company at this level. A bit on the quirky side perhaps, with the complex computerized electronics settings, unusual two pronged crushing blade rather than the more common 4 pronged cutting type as found on the Vitamix models, and shorter square type carafe. Slightly less expensive than the comparable Vitamix models ($380+), but of somewhat lower quality as well. Does a good job once the electronics are figured out. Close to the 100 db loudness level.

JTC Omniblend V

Last but by far not least, this is the newcomer to the 3 HP blender arena. Electronic like the Blendtec but much simpler to use. Substantially quieter at 85 db. Somewhat slower RPM means thorough emulsification requires a bit more time than the competition, and for that the motor should experience less stress/longer life. Has a six blade system. Comes standard with the 64 fl oz square container. Clearly Omniblend V is the substantial Value King as it is about equal to the competition in functionality and expected durability (3 year warranty on base/motor) for a much lower cost. ($250 + $25 S&H)

For detailed comparisons of the various blender options on the market, we recommend visiting 3blenders.com

Lastly and on a different note...

How To Bring The Sunny Raw Kitchen Into Your Home
Thomas took me completely by surprise when he suggested in the video that you invite us! *blushing* He's such a sweet heart!

In case you don't already know, Don and I are presently in the US. We're now in Utah and are planning to travel through Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington within the next 3 months.

If you live somewhere along the way and would like to host us, connect or even help put together an event, please send me an email at:


To learn more about us and our travels read this post.

To find out about our Delightfully Raw Itinerary click here.

To read about last year's Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour, read these posts.

Delightfully Raw Blog Reader Reward Sale

Something's been nagging at me for a while... I feel that the hard copy of my Delightfully Raw book is a little overpriced.

The reason why we set the price at $31.95 was based on a couple of factors:

1. We published it via a print-on-demand outfit. While this is super convenient (gone are the days when you had to find a publisher or come up with $25 000 to self-publish!), it also means that our cost per book is very high.

2.  In order to open the possibilities of selling our books in stores we had to take into account that they usually expect 30-40% off for wholesale. Eeek! Even at $31.95, we're only making a pittance!

I'd found ways to get around it by offering Delightfully Raw on sale for some time, but now that it's back to its 'normal' price, well, me no likey.

While the official in store retail price of Delightfully Raw must remain $31.95, from now on you will be able to purchase it on sale on my blog for $27.99. Call it my way of saying 'Thanks!' to you, my dear readers. ;-)

Also please note that for technical reasons, S&H during the check out process only apply to North America. For international orders, please send me an email!

To visit the Delightfully Raw's Sales Page

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rawmazing Food at Omar's Rawtopia

My ears perked up when I heard that there was a raw restaurant in Salt Lake City. By doing a little research online I learned that it had rave reviews. Our hosts Thomas and Angelica had never been to Rawtopia so we decided to eat there one night. The creation of raw foodist and chef Omar Abou-Ismail, Rawtopia opened its doors in 2005. Amazingly it's still thriving in spite of being located in such a cold climate. Wow, that is saying a lot!

But one only needs to take a few bites from the delicious and fragrant food to understand why! The menu lists 'love' as an ingredient to every dish and it shows! Each one is beautifully presented, its flavors carefully balanced and is served with an abundance of fresh veggies and sprouts. I also discovered that at Rawtopia they use only organic ingredients (except for the young coconuts) and make all of their own spice blends; a talent that comes from Omar's Lebanese tradition and having a chef as a mother. We've had the opportunity to eat at a good number of raw restaurants during our travels and I must say that our experience at Rawtopia was one of the best! (Coming close second after Matthew Kenney's CafĂ© 118° in Orlando, but then again Matt is my all time favorite chef!)

We started off with the Drink of the Day: a Mango Smoothie. It was very good and so thick that it had more the consistency of a pudding. I was glad that Don and I shared a full glass as I wanted to have room left for all the yumminess to come.

Rawtopia gives you the option of ordering the savory dishes as a main course or part of a combination; a fabulous idea that allows you to sample more variety. And to top it all off they even let you make up your own!

We ordered the Tabouli/Hummus/Broccoli Soup combo. I've tried a couple of raw broccoli soups before but didn't care for them much, finding the broccoli flavor too overwhelming. Omar's rendition was a creamy seasoned almond milk based soup, garnished with onions, bell peppers, avocado, celery and tomatoes. It was sprinkled with Rawtopia's seed cheese made from sunflower seeds, almonds and tomatoes processed into a pate, then dehydrated and ground up. Whoa, this was very very good! The soup was served with super tasty and crispy crackers.

As I expected the Tabouli was a-ma-zing! It tasted just like the traditional tabouli I used to get at my favorite Lebanese restaurant! It was a mix of parsley, tomatoes, red onions, scallions, sprouted quinoa and mint marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and Celtic sea salt, and topped with a generous amount of perfectly ripe avocado pieces. A true delight!

The sprouted Almond Hummus was also very delicious and authentic tasting. It was served in lettuce leaves and topped with onions, sundried olives, tomatoes and parsley.

I had heard that their Coconut Curry Rice was to live for and I was stoked to learn that it was one of that day's specials. Yay! I had tried sprouted wild rice dishes at Au Lac last year and while they were quite good, they were also very heavy and oily. Omar's was utterly scrumptious!!! The dish was a combination of sprouted wild rice in a young coconut Curry Sauce with celery, broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, pistachios and raisins, and topped with homegrown alfalfa sprouts. Oh man, this was fantastic! I even debated ordering some to take home! lol

We enjoyed it as a combo platter together with another one of Rawtopia's famous dishes: the Falafel Bowl. It consisted of a live tahini dressing over a bed of mixed greens, topped with zucchini, tomatoes, onions, celery, olives, avocados, gorgeous sunflower sprouts and dehydrated nut/seed falafel biscuits. Also excellent!

Angelica couldn't resist the Nut Burger and didn't regret her choice. The thing was absolutely huge! A yummy Brazil nut pattie served between cabbage leaves and topped with nut mayo, ketchup, mustard sauce, onions, tomatoes and avocado.

This was such a new experience for Thomas that he decided to let the waitress pick his entrees for him. lol He had the Tabouli with the Coconut Curry Rice.

I found out from Angelica that Heather of Kombucha CHIC lives in the Salt Lake area. Heather and I have been brushing shoulders online for a few years. I also contributed to her free recipe book One Week Raw back in 2009. So naturally I sent her an email hoping that we could get together. Although she wasn't able to make it to the raw potluck she did join us for our feast that night.

She opted for the Lebanese Wrap: sprouted hummus, topped with tomatoes, avocados, onions, olives, red bell peppers, parsley, and home grown alfalfa sprouts. This was served with lettuce leaves and crackers.

Of course we just couldn't pass on dessert, especially since their display looked so appealing! Look at those beautiful swirls!


Thomas was all gung-ho to try one of each (hehe) but in the end we all decided to order the Pies of the Day.

Chocolate Caramel Pie

 Raspberry Vanilla Pie

I was a little disappointed that both were served the exact same way: drenched in Berry Sauce. The swirls were so pretty that I would have preferred if these were highlighted better. The copious amount of sauce made it difficult for the uniqueness of each of the pies to come through. I also thought that the caramel flavor was overwhelmed by the predominant and slightly under-sweetened chocolate mixture in the Chocolate Caramel Pie. Ah well, just goes to show that no matter how experienced we are in a field there is always some room for a little improvement. ;-)

Angelica was curious to try the Vanilla and Persimmon Pudding which we all shared. It was nicely presented and also delicious.

Three Very Happy but Oh-So-Full Ladies!

Don and Thomas

As we were about to leave we noticed that Omar had just arrived. There's a little funny anecdote around our meeting... You see, I totally thought that he had been featured on G Living, like me. And so I introduced myself as a "fellow Green Chef". I later realized that I was mistaking him for Chef Omid (no wonder the poor guy had a confused look on his face! lol) But you can't really blame me; their names are similar, not to mention that they are both of Middle Eastern background and have a shaved head! Anyhoo I am very glad that it prompted me to go talk to him; Omar is such a sweet, caring, and yes, loving man. It just emanates from all of his pores! In the few minutes that we spent together we had a beautiful connection; I felt like I had found a soul brother. Similar to me, he discovered the perfect means to follow his 'path with heart' as Don Juan Matus calls it. It was so neat to see yet another example of how Life has different and unique ways for us to manifest and share our being with the world.

I cannot recommend enough that you go to Omar's wonderful Rawtopia if you're ever in the Salt Lake area! In a nutshell, the portions are generous, the food tastes great and is very well balanced, and it's served with lots of fresh veggies and greens. It isn't cheap to eat there but it's worth every cent; all of Rawtopia's ingredients are raw and organic and prepared with care and love! It will be an experience that your taste buds (and your heart!) will fondly remember!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Delightfully Raw in Eagle Mountain, Utah

After 3 days of driving we finally arrived in Eagle Mountain, a small town south west of Salt Lake City. We were earlier than we expected and our hosts weren't home yet. As the sunshine was glorious we decided to go for a walk, something I was looking forward to after being couped up in the van for so long!

Eagle Mountain is a relatively new community and is in a stunning location, surrounded on every side by mountains. We found a nice and quiet road to walk on that had amazing scenery.

We left most of our winter clothes in Canada, expecting to be headed to some place warmer. Thankfully Sathya gave me a winter coat which certainly came in handy!


Mister Kyky seemed happy to be back in the snow. (He's part husky after all!)

Meet The Fox Family
We were soon warmly greeted by the Foxes. In most of the families we've met the woman usually develops an interest in the raw diet and the hubby tags along (and that's if they're fortunate!). However Thomas is the one who first decided to 'go raw' after he was diagnosed with colon cancer about a year and a half ago. Angelica supported his decision and immediately started researching about everything raw. As you know, after a lifetime of eating a certain way, changing one's diet can be intimidating; the ingredients and techniques are all so new! She quickly stumbled on my website and began following my blog.

Angelica told me that she was disappointed that we didn't make it to Utah during last year's Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour, but when she learned that we were traveling again, she gathered up the courage to drop me a few lines and see what would happen. And we are so very grateful that she did!!! As I was writing in my previous post the stop came together magically. The Foxes are such good hearted and generous folks! After spending only a few days together we all felt that this was only just the beginning of a long friendship.

Furry Buddies
They also have a furry addition to their family: a young female golden retriever/spaniel cross named Coco that I came to nickname 'The Tornado'. She is such a sweet heart but boy does she ever have tons of energy! Kylo and her became buddies right away, but he had to growl at her a few times to respect his naps! lol Although he doesn't look it thanks to his 80% raw diet, at 12 years old (that's mid-80s in human years) he's now a senior and values his rest more and more.

You can see them getting acquainted in the next two pics.



Would you pleeeeeeeeaze let us out?

Coco is always looking for something or someone to play with. She hit the jackpot with Donnie! ;-)

Kylo's calm demeanor seemed to have its positive effect on her. She gradually mellowed out as days went by. Believe it or not The Foxes had never seen Coco quietly rolled up and resting in the middle of the afternoon! hehe

In spite of the cold the sun peeked out almost every day and we got to enjoy be-yu-ti-ful walks at the end of their road.

Raw Potluck
A couple of months ago I received an email from Linda of The Raw Recipe Box inquiring whether we'd be coming to the Salt Lake area. At the time we really didn't think that we would but as we've observed repeatedly, you just never know what Life has in store! When we found out that we would be visiting after all she quickly put together a potluck for her raw group.

On the way there we were blessed with a stunning sunset over the mountains.

It's amazing how fast the colors change at dusk. Look how different the hues are after just a few minutes!

Nicole's house was packed and we enjoyed an abundance of colorful and delicious food.

I have always stayed away from sprouted quinoa after an initial not-so-thrilling experience. However it was so delicious served in this tabouli; I couldn't detect the usual bitterness at all!

I contributed miniature Maple Ginger Cakes.

After dessert Don and I gave a short talk about how to successfully transition to and maintain the raw diet. Several of the attendees had begun a 30 day raw challenge on New Year's Day so the topic couldn't have been more perfect!

Britta, Nicole, Carmi & Linda


In Angelica's Sunny Kitchen
Angelica and Thomas were high raw for some time but had recently begun to gravitate towards their old food habits. One of the intentions of our visit was to assist and inspire them to reintroduce more raw on their menu. I focused on simple recipes that they could easily fit into their super busy schedule. Besides having a number of raw soups (Spinach Almond, Sweet Pea, Green Cucumber, etc.) some of the food we enjoyed include Asian Spinach Salad, Spring Rolls with Ginger Dipping Sauce and Satay Veggies on brown rice noodles.

Since Angelica was born in Mexico we just HAD to whip up some kind of Mexican fiesta! We opted for tostadas made with Chad Sarno's Sprouted Corn Tortillas, cultured Sour Cream (Basic Cashew Cheeze that we thinned out with water), Not 'Refried' Beans (still the best version I've tasted so far!), Guacamole and Salsa, both of which I let Angelica prepare traditional style.

This was insanely good; so light and tasty! Angelica and Thomas were impressed! Yay!

We didn't do much in terms of desserts as they aren't big fans of sweets. However we did whip up Cafe Gratitude's yummy Strawberry Brilliance Pie so that I could show Angelica the ropes about how to work with Irish moss. We served it with homemade raw vegan Vanilla Ice Cream. Need I say more?

Getting ready to share our last meal... Wowsers, that week flew right by!

New Kitchie Toy!
When we were invited by the Foxes we had no idea that Thomas was in the blender business. After selling various high power blenders like Vita-Mix, Blentec and Waring, he discovered the OMNI V 3 HP. While these are all top of the line blenders he found that the OMNI provides comparable performance at a significantly lower cost! Yay! I for one was really intrigued and put the OMNI blender to the test, using it for all of the food prep during our stay.

Like the Blendtec the OMNI is computerized and has a square container (although I thought it feels a lot better, is easier to operate and more solid than the Blendtec).

On his website, 3blenders.com, Thomas writes that the OMNI is every bit as good in power and quality as other 3 HP machines. Although the OMNI is slightly slower in RPM's than other comparable blenders, it emulsifies the ingredients equally well. It just takes a little longer.

The ONMI blender comes with a 7 year warranty on parts and labor for the motor/base and 1 year on the drive socket, container and blade assembly. And the customer service rawcks!!! During our stay we've heard Thomas take the time to personally and caringly answer every call and thoroughly help his customers decide which blender would best suit their needs. We found him to be a really genuine and honest guy and I, for one, would feel super good about knowing that he's at the other end of the phone.

Thomas states on his site that the OMNI is currently "the best deal that your dollar can buy" and I'd have to agree. At $250 it's clearly the 'value champ' and can't be beat at the 3 HP blender power level! We found it does a great job of completely breaking down fiber and achieving ultra smooth textures. The sound level of the OMNI is 85 db versus around 100 db for both of the others. The only issue that I had with it was that, like the Blentech, you need to make sure that there is enough ingredients when using the square carafe so that the (6) blades can do their job. Actually I was so impressed with the OMNI blender that I accepted Thomas' offer and have begun working on a recipe book especially designed for it that will be included in each box.

Anyhoo if you're on the look out for a new blender, make sure to drop by 3blenders.com! Thomas has tons of helpful info about high-power blenders in general including videos and articles in which he objectively compares the different brands on the market.

Be back soon with a couple of videos interviewing Thomas and showing you how the OMNI blender in action!