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!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Matthew's Hot & Cold Salad

I've learned all kinds of neat tricks and new recipes during our time with Matthew and Dawnen. One of these is how to assemble a Hot & Cold Salad. This is one of Matt's staples, and no wonder; it's absolutely delicious and a really awesome way to get your greens when you don't feel like eating a plain old salad.

It's a sort of cross between a salad and a stew. Just the thing for those cold winter days coming up!

There isn't an exact recipe, as it greatly depends on what is available and your personal preferences, but here's the basic formula to create an amazing Hot & Cold Salad that will be both satisfying and super nutritious.

Step 1: The Broth
The first thing you want to do is prepare a broth. Matt throws in curry powder (at least 1 tbs), some turmeric and hot pepper into water (4-5 cups or so) that he brings to a boil in a medium to large pot. It takes a while to get the exact measurements right as it will really depend on your taste buds. The amount of water can vary too in accordance to how soupy you like your Hot & Cold Salad.

Allow the broth to simmer for a few minutes in order for the spices to bloom. Set aside with the top on.

Step 2: The Cold Components
I guess it doesn't really matter which part, the hot or the cold, you start working with. You'll be basically chopping all sorts of veggies, greens and herbs and putting these into different bowls. Your choice of components can vary, but you'll most likely want to have in there a variety of mild flavored greens.


Arugula - my all time favorite salad green!

Now a few veggies...

Cucumber. This one came from his garden and the seeds were a little big so he scooped out the core first before slicing it thinly.

I really like Matt's technique for slicing peppers. First he cuts the top off and take out the seeds. Then he cuts the pepper in half. Next he places one side onto the other and set them on the board sideways in order to slice them, which is the opposite direction from the way I used to do mine.

He also used some celery bias but somehow I've misplaced the pic. Also some fresh herbs...


Piling up mint leaves before chiffonading them.

Chives cut at a bias

You can throw all of your thinly sliced components into a large bowl, except for the more intense ones that you'd like to sprinkle on top.

Mix cold components well.

Lovely little toms from their abundant harvest

Step 3: The Hot Components
In there will go whatever greens or veggies that you would like to lightly cook so as to soften their flavor and texture. For instance you might want to keep your more fibrous greens, such as kale, for this hot part. In the salad that Matt prepared that day he used...





In their garden they have a few greens that might not be readily palatable raw. In this case...

... celery leaves

 ... and parsley root leaves

As you can see, you want to chop all of the different components quite finely. It makes for a nicer texture and also will ensure that the short time spent on the stove will manage to tenderize them.

It's easier to transfer the various components into different bowls as these will go into the pot separately. You can certainly put all the greens together though if you'd like.

Other veggies you might want to throw into the hot part of the salad include carrots (which he had already julienned by the time I arrived), other types of greens, such as collard, beet tops or Swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower, perhaps even squash.

Step 4: Heating the Hot Components
 Now that you've got all of your cold and hot components ready it's time to throw the latter on the stove.

You basically want to layer your veggies, starting with the ones you want most 'cooked', probably finishing up with your greens.

First the cabbage. If it were me I'd throw the onion at that stage as well.

Next came the carrots.

Then the leeks and the greens. At the last minute Matt decided to throw in some of the peppers.

More greens

Finally the onions. The last thing he did was add a couple good handfuls of raisins on top.

Then he covered the pot and returned it to the stove. Bring to a boil. Once it does that, turn the heat down a little and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and remove the pot from the burner.

In the meantime Matt sliced some coconut palm sugar. He gets it in the form of little balls at the Asian market.

After the 3 minutes have passed, Matt stirs in the palm sugar (or sometime a blended orange), Celtic sea salt and a few tablespoons of some kind of fat to thicken up the broth. He really likes to use Coconut Cream - sold by Tropical Traditions for an amazing price. Make sure to keep an eye out for their two for one special! - and sometime coconut oil (his fave sources are Living Tree Community Foods and Coconut Oil Online.) He mixes everything thoroughly with chopsticks but I'm sure a knife or spoon would do just fine. ;-)

Step 5: Serving
Now is the moment we've been waiting for... To serve the Hot & Cold Salad, begin by scooping some of the hot components into bowls (without the broth).

Next add some of the cold components on top.

Sprinkle by hand some of the more intense herbs, such as mint, and top with chives.

He also threw in some finely sliced nasturtium leaves in there for a bit of a bite.

Finish off with more hot components, this time adding some of the broth.

Some pieces of avocado are also real nice.

You could stop here if you'd like, but now Matt added some of his favorite condiments: homemade Sauerkraut and Coconut Yogurt. He also complimented the dish with a scoop of his yummy reconstituted tomatoes; dehydrated tomatoes soaked for a few minutes in a little hot water, olive oil, palm sugar or honey for sweetness, Celtic sea salt and dried basil or Italian seasoning. You could also add a smidgen of KAL pure stevia extract if you'd like.

Just as an aside, I have to tell you that I've never been fond of stevia, primarily due to its aftertaste, and therefore have avoided it in recipes. When I learned that Matthew did use it quite a bit I set him the challenge of changing my mind. Well he did it! KAL pure stevia extract has virtually no aftertaste to speak of and is so concentrated that you only need a teeny amount. I'm glad I finally made peace with stevia (Yay!) as I know that it's such a healthier sweetener than most.

A few days later I just had to try my hand at creating my own H&C Salad. It went smoothly although it will take a bit of practice to get the spicing just right.

Soooo delish and satisfying!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Delightfully Raw Near Walla Walla - Part II

I'm back with more about our adventures near Walla Walla, although this time it will all be food talk! Yippee!

First off, I want to start with a photo that really belonged to my previous post, but hey, what can you do? These things happen. *shrugs* I was mentioning how our hosts live right in the heart of apple country. During one of our walks in the orchard across the street we found the odd apple still in the trees. Among them was probably the largest one we've ever seen! The pesticide coating was so thick (yuck!) that we had to rub it energetically to make it nice and shiny.

While we walked we noticed how some of the trees in each row were bearing teeny miniature apples that hadn't been picked at all. Brian explained that the main purpose of these is to act as pollinators.

Apples, big and small

In Matt & Dawnen's Sunny Kitchen
As I was saying before, Matthew and Dawnen have been experimenting with raw foods for a good while. Often times when we stay with folks, we're the ones who end up sharing a lot of our knowledge. This time it was my turn to be in the apprentice's position and learn a bunch of new tricks and techniques. In the coming weeks you can expect to read feature posts on how to grow micro-greens, make Coconut Yogurt and assemble Matt's famous Hot & Cold Salad.

We happened to be there for Dawnen's birthday, so we all got together for a little feast.

Me with the birthday girl

One of the challenges of living in a trailer is the lack of sufficient light. Like me Matt is a sucker for having his working space very well lit, so he's come up with the perfect solution: a head lamp. Actually once you get used to seeing so clearly you sort of get addicted; now Matt wears his lamp pretty much all of the time! he he

Closely watching Dawnen preparing a Dipping Sauce for veggie rolls. Notice that she's wearing a head lamp too; it's contagious I tell ya!

Whizzing up our raw soup du jour. And nope, that's not a head lamp near my forehead. ;-)


For the main course we assembled our own veggie rolls with both rice paper and nori sheets.

Matt making sure everything is looking good.

At some point Brian got hold of Matt's super duper camera and took all sorts of shots throughout the evening.

Mr. Donnie...

... looking very much relaxed, as usual. ;-)

Feasting at Vedra & Merle's
We were invited for lunch a couple of weekends ago by Dawnen's mom and step-dad. They eat fairly healthy to begin with, since, as members of the 7th day Adventist Church, honoring the temple of our bodies is particularly emphasized. I certainly didn't expect to partake in such a raw feast, though! Vedra really went all out in whipping up a bunch of yummy stuff!

See for yourselves...

A nut based Chili

Cauliflower and Jicama Rice


Ranch Dressing

Cheeze Sauce


Dawnen and Matt contributed lots of goodies for salad, including freshly harvested micro greens as well as a curried quinoa dish.

We brought a blender container full of the ingredients for my Tomato & Herbs Soup which we just had to whiz up on their brand new Vitamix machine. (Very nice!)

Don's ginormous pile! It looked like a LOT of food (and it was!), but he didn't come anywhere close to beating Matt's 3 servings! lol  I'm still not quite sure how can so much food go into such a thin man? ;-)

More of Vedra's handiwork: 2 kinds of sweet nut balls.

Giving Thanks in Good Company
We walked over to Matt & Dawnen's trailer on Thanksgiving day to share a lovely meal. On the menu was a soup concoction of Don's, a large salad with Peppercorn Ranch Dressing, Neat Balls, mashed potatoes freshly harvested from their garden, and Miso Gravy.

Most of the salad ingredients also came from their garden. So vibrant in both colors and flavors!

The Neatballs recipe came from Gabriel Cousens' Rainbow Green, Live-Food Cuisine. I thought that they had a nice flavor from the herbs but they were a tad too salty for my taste.

Garden Neatballs
From Gabriel Cousens' Rainbow Green, Live-Food Cuisine
Recipe posted here

1 C almonds, soaked
1/2 C walnuts, soaked
1 C olive oil
1/4 C leeks
2 celery stalks
1 T sage
1 T marjoram
1 T thyme
2 t Celtic salt

Homogenize nuts with oil.

Finely chop and stir in leeks, celery, herbs and salt.

Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and dehydrate for 2-3 hours at 140F.

Matt's Mods: He used only 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 cup of leeks and 5 celery sticks.

The recipe calls for serving these with Marinara Sauce but Dawnen opted for her own rendition of Gravy made with cashews, veggie broth and South River miso.

Afterwards we just hung out for a while. Almost as soon as Don and I got settled on the couch Mr. Bean hopped on so that he could snuggle between us. Awwwww! It seems that every time we come over he feels more and more comfortable in our presence. ;-)

Beanie was all chilled... until Dawnen got dessert out: raw vegan pear ice cream freshly made in their fancy ice cream maker. He was so thrilled at the prospect of this treat that the poor fellow tripped while coming down from the couch. It's not easy to maneuver around when you've lost the partial use of two of your legs! ;-(

Matt played around with our Sony a-57 camera for a while and captured this nice shot of Dawnen drinking her tea.

Meet the Matt-Man
During our stay Brian came up with the brilliant nickname of 'Matt-Man' for Matthew, partly inspired by the latter's quirky old Subaru which was instantly dubbed the 'Matt-mobile'. he he Anyhoo, one afternoon we all climbed into the Matt-mobile and went grocery shopping in Walla Walla. It turned out to be quite the funny expedition. Not sure what had gotten into him that day, but Matt-Man sure was being a goofy guy!

 Nice hat, Matt!

But the funniest bit was when he managed the considerable feat of getting (most of) himself and Mr. Bean into one of those kiddie buggies. Mr. Bean seemed to enjoy the ride, especially when Matt beeped the horn. ;-) The tough part, though, wasn't so much getting in as getting out of the thing afterwards! lol

One thing is for sure, Matt is a super interesting character! ;-) He knows heaps about all sorts of topics. Oh, the fascinating (and long!) conversations that Don and Matt had! I also spent a good deal of time hanging at their trailer, picking his brain and soaking up all kinds of helpful info.

Matt likes to amp things up; his motto? The more the better! When Matt does something, he likes to "go all the way, including the postage." For instance a few weeks ago he made such a huge amount of sauerkraut that I could barely lift up the bowl. It filled something like 9 two-quarts Mason jars. ;-)

One Sunday Dawnen and I took over her mom's kitchen and turned it into a raw chocolate factory. Woo hoo! We had several recipes on our to-make list, but it all went very smoothly. Even so, by the time we finished cleaning up our mess it was nearly 7 hours later. Eeek! Call it the 'Raw Choccie Marathon'! ;-)

We worked with two basic chocolate recipes: the one featured in Matthew Kenney's Raw Chocolate book as well as Pamela Vinten's Recipe #1 from her Amazing Guilt-Free Chocolate. We also experimented with different kinds of sweeteners - maple syrup, agave, honey and coconut nectar - although neither of us thought of taking notes of what was in what. Ooopsie! We also kinda lost track of which choc recipe we used for some of our goodies. Ah well, as it happened all the variations turned out marvelously well! ;-)

Both of us felt drawn to certain recipes from Matthew Kenney's book, so we each played with those individually. In the end we split all of our goodies anyways. Yay! I thought that the lighting wasn't the greatest for some of the pics I took that night, so I got more shots in daylight, hence the double pics.

Marzipan Stuffed Choccies

Mint and Candied Nibs

Hazelnut Almond Chocolate Bars

As a matter of convenience we used the dehydrator method for melting the cacao butter and paste, as recommended in Matthew's book. We did end up returning the chocolate mixture to the D while we were working on other recipes. I'm not 100% sure how that affected the tempering process but most of our choccies did turn out nice and shiny, except for a couple of recipes. I'm actually thinking that the molds might have been the culprits for these.

Walnut Maple Chocolates

We both really like Cafe Gratitude's Coconut Almond Joys which we've prepared on a number of occasions. And so we split up a batch between us. I think that the last time I made these I worked on a picnic table at a California campground under Kylo's intense scrutiny. How he used to love chocolate! Not to worry though, we never let him indulge in this compulsion. One time he ate several artisan organic chocolate bars that we'd made the mistake of leaving in the vehicle with him while we continued our shopping. When we returned he had wolfed them down, wrapping and all. He didn't even so much as burp. hehe


There were a little bit of left over coconut filling which Dawnen turned into these gorgeous treats.

My intention was to also tell you about a potluck that we recently attended with their local health group, but this post is already getting long. How about I save it for another time, eh?