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!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time to Vote for Your Raw Faves of 2012

 It's that time of the year again! The Best of Raw Awards are open for you to cast your votes.

There's tons of great new names and faces who have been nominated, as well as beloved pioneers. Wait until you see all the cool people, places, products, and media listed here: 

The folks at Best of Raw really worked hard and have tremendously improved the voting platform, so it should be even easier and more fun for us to vote for all of our favorites!

This year you can find me in the following categories:
  • Best Raw Educator 5+
  • Best Gourmet Chef 5+
  • Best Simple Chef 5+
  • Best Online Blog
We're Moving!
Speaking of blog, as you may recall I recently launched a brand new website, Carmella's Sunny Raw Kitchen, in December. When you go to the Best of Raw's Online Blog category you'll see that they show a screenshot of my new site as well as my blog on blogger, with the links to both. As I'm typing this we're in the process of moving the content of my old SRK blog onto the new site, but there's still a few kinks that need to be worked out. It's nothing serious, mostly formatting booboos that must be fixed, so please bear with us during this transition time. I'll make sure to let you know once the move is completed!

But Back to Best of Raw
The creator and founder of Best of Raw, Laura Fox, says: "We have created the Best of Raw Awards to honor and celebrate those who are educating humanity about adding more raw organic plant foods to the diet to increase health, decrease our eco-footprint and raise our spirits".

The winners of the Best of Raw Awards are going to be announced at the Raw Living Expo which will take place in Sedona, AZ on Feb 22-23-24. The ironic thing is that we're spending the winter just a short 30 minute drive away, although we won't be able to make it.

Again, here's where to cast your votes: www.BestofRawFoods.com 

You can find out more about the Raw Living Expo (including bus tours to the event and back) here:

Our Journey South Continues

Back with more of our adventures as we continued to travel south...

Headed for Arizona
On the day that we were supposed to be packing up I went through what I now know was a bout of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome); a condition that I developed in the aftermath of doing my second Liver Gallbladder Flush. It left me completely wiped out, and so we delayed our departure from St-George by one day.

We debated for a time which route we should take to go to Sedona, Arizona, where we'd planned to spend 21 December 2012. The drive passing to the east of the Grand Canyon is nice, but then going through Flagstaff can be tricky in the wintertime. The town is located at some 7000 feet in elevation, so you certainly don't want to get caught in a snow storm. Plus we were concerned about climbing that high while pulling our trailer. In the end we opted for the western route which took us through Las Vegas even though I was worried about driving through a busy multi-lane city, especially as we were getting closer to the 21st. Just like Matt Monarch pointed out in this video, Don and I experienced the days leading to this famous date as becoming increasingly chaotic and stressful.

Thankfully the journey went without any serious hitch, but boy oh boy, it was a challenging one! I don't remember the both of us being wound up that tight EVER! Don was especially tense from the driving and I was going through a tough patch, being back to liquid foods for the second time that month, in the hope of getting a handle on whatever it was that my body was battling.

At least it was a gorgeous sunny day and we very much enjoyed our drive through the beautiful gorge between St-George and Mesquite. We found ourselves on a curvy road surrounded by majestic rock cliffs.



And just like that it was suddenly over; we were back on the flat plains!

Driving through Las Vegas turned out to be much less of a deal than I expected. (Thank Goodness!) Let's just say that we were glad that we weren't stopping there, as the whole energy of gambling was the last thing we felt like encountering that day. I did catch a shot of the Vegas busy-ness from the window, though.

On the east side of the city along the 93 we drove by the beautiful Lake Mead.

We had made arrangements to stay with folks from the Boondockers Welcome Club, outside of Kingman, AZ. Our hosts have carved themselves a lovely spot in the desert, complete with several trails zigzagging their property. It was cold and windy but we still very much enjoyed exploring their little corner of paradise.

Our close friend Diane had planned to meet us there from Santa Barbara in order to spend the holidays, but unfortunately she was stranded with a bad cold. While we were all very  much looking forward to spending this time together, in hindsight I can see that it was just as well as I wasn't much fun to be around.

I took these photos the next morning just before we left. If you were to place them side by side you'd get a paronamic view of the landscape seen from the property.

Red Rock Country Here We Come
In keeping with the intensity of the time, the drive to the Sedona area also proved to be tough. As Don put it, it felt like we were being 'hunted' down. We even came close to having a couple of accidents (not our fault). Eeek!

Not sure what was going on but the sky was completely layered with chem trails that day. We'd never seen anything like it!

That's the mountain in Flagstaff in the distance, shortly before we turned south on the 89. We had to modify our initial route and drive through Prescott Valley in order to accommodate our trailer.

At long last we finally did make it in one piece to the campground in Cottonwood, where we had booked a few nights. After some difficulty hooking up our power (they didn't have the right plug) we were at last able to settle down in our home on wheels. Phfew! Let's just say that we were mighty glad at the prospect of not having to go anywhere for a short while!

Miss Puss Goes to the Vet
Our challenges weren't over just yet, however. While staying at the Verde Valley RV Park, Miss DaPuss got into a fight with some kind of critter one evening, something that had never happened before in spite of all of our traveling. When she came back in shortly afterwards (now that was a relief!) she didn't seem hurt at first, but when she tried eating her re-hydrated raw food, she starting pawing at her face. Some research online suggested that she might have something obstructing her throat so we examined her mouth. It turned out that her top right canine had gotten knocked and was lying totally flat against the roof of her mouth. "How on earth did she manage to do that," we wondered.

She wasn't able to eat or drink and the tooth soon became infected. Poor thing! It couldn't have happened at a worst time either as the next day was a Sunday so all the vets were closed and the following day was Christmas Eve. Thankfully we were able to have her looked at first thing on the morning of the 24th at a nearby animal clinic. The vet was just as puzzled as we were as to what caused her tooth to flatten like that. They were only open for a few hours and couldn't perform the surgery right then, but at least we left with some pain killers and antibiotics for the infection. (Man, did we ever have a hard time giving these to Pu!) They did help but I still had to puree her food in the blender to make it easier for her to eat. I thought it was kinda ironic that we both had to eat liquid foods for some time! ;-)

We took Puss in again on the 26th in order to extract the tooth. The surgery went without incident and she was such a good girl all the staff fell in love with her. X rays showed that she actually suffers from a rare condition where the teeth start to recede to the point that they disappear. And so the root of her canine was completely gone! At least this explains how it came loose as it did; it wouldn't have taken much pressure to knock it off.

I'm pleased to report that she has quickly recovered from her injury, although she remains quite skittish when it comes to going out.

Phfew! What an adventure!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Walking in Beauty in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

Last time we were in St-George we enjoyed daily walks in the beautiful surroundings of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve which is just behind Barbara and Duane's home. While we didn't stay long this time around, we did manage to pay it a visit one afternoon.

It had rained the night before so the earth had an even richer red color than usual.


What I thought looked like a native man's head.



In the distance we could see the snowy mountaintops in nearby Nevada.


Donnie standing on Turtle Rock.

I so love the peaceful hues of the desert landscape.

What a magical place! I wish we'd been able to spend more time there. At least we weren't quite done with red rocks yet, as we were soon to be headed to Sedona, Arizona. Yay!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Delightfully Raw in Utah: Part II

The drive from Eagle Mountain to St-George was a breeze. It was pretty much just a straight shot down I-15 S. The forecast was predicting rain but it only started about 20 miles from our destination. No biggie.

Visiting Friends in St-George
It had also been two years since our last visit with Barbara and Duane, so we were glad to get a chance to spend a bit of time together. As you may recall, Barbara is the president of VSU, the Vegetarian Society of Utah, and has done SO much to spread the good word about the benefits of eating
healthily in her community. Barbara & Duane have been following a whole food plant based vegan no-oil diet for the last five years and are lovin' it! It has helped Barbara in overcoming several health issues, including obesity. Now at 68 years young she's like an energy bunny and her enthusiasm is contagious!

Just a short two months before we got there Barbara had back surgery done. Thanks to her surprisingly good health it couldn't have gone smoother (they were able to operate from the front). In fact, her doctor says he's never seen anyone recover so quickly from such a major surgery! ;-)

B&D really get into the Holiday spirit; they are notorious for putting up sometimes as many as 7 Christmas trees around their home! But this year, with Barbara's surgery and their new feline daughter Chai, they decided to stick mostly to lights and little festive decorations.

Raw Potluck
The day after our arrival VSU held a raw potluck at B&D's lovely home. They were a wonderful bunch and I had lots of fun demoing two of our staple recipes: my Strawberry Banana Shake and Sweet Pea Soup.

My little elves getting the samplers ready.

Once again VSU members really outdid themselves and got very creative with their dish contributions, even though raw is very new to many of them.

Kevin Kirkland, a gentleman who is just opening a smoothie bar in St-George called TruBerry, brought a couple of samples of his concoctions for us to try.

Tru Green Smoothie
Apple juice
Acai berries

Tru Berry Red
Apple juice
Acai berries

A beautiful salad with the colors of the season made from kiwi, pomegranate, cilantro, avocado, onions and peppers.

Golden Onion Morsels

Golden Onion Morsels
From Joel Fuhrman's Super Immunity

Makes 30-40 balls

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1 med. Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp ground chia seeds
1 tbs onion powder
Toasted seame seeds - for coating
Minced chives - for coating

Grind cashews and almonds into a powder in high power blender.

Add apples, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, onion powder and blend again.

Form into small balls and roll each ball in sesame seeds and chives.

Savory Oat Rice
Posted by Jinjee on Gone Raw

We have finally found a way to make raw rice! The secret is not to use rice at all, but raw, soaked oat groats. You can buy the raw oat groats in bulk or in bagged packaging. They look just like brown rice. Soak them for 24 hours and follow the recipe! It is amazing how much this tastes like a rice dish, and satisfies just like rice too. However, the germinated oats give you a ton of energy, which of course cooked rice does not. The men in my family love this recipe, as it is high in protein!

1 c oat groats
1 c button mushrooms, diced
3 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
Savory herbs (thyme, marjoram, sage, or oregano, etc..)
1 Hass avocado

1. Soak oat groats for as little as 24 hours and up to 48 hours. The grains become softer the longer you soak them.

2. Marinate mushrooms for 24 hours in garlic and 2 tbs. olive oil

3. Drain oats, rinse, place in bowl, and add the marinated mushrooms

4. Add 1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt, 1 tsp olive oil and savory herbs

5. Let sit for 1 to 3 hours

6. Add 1 Hass avocado, cubed

7. Stir and serve

Guacamole and raw crackers

This was a yummy cheezey spread made with cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, turmeric, red chili, miso, turmeric and green peas.

Another lovely salad: kale, cabbage, zucchini, tomato, bell pepper and pomegranate. It was served with a ranch type dressing made from cashews, garlic, lemon juice, dates, vinegar, onion, basil and salt.

Barbara had made Carrot Crackers and one of my variations from the wonderful vegan cheeze that she introduced me to during our last visit.

Carrot Crackers
Published in VegNews Magazine 12/11 issue

Makes about 35 crackers

1 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 1/2 cups grated carrots (approx. 10 organic carrots)
4 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/2 to 1 cup water

1.  In a food processor, grind sunflower seeds into a fine powder.  Add carrots, flaxseed meal, salt, pepper, and ginger.  Pulse a few times to combine.  With processor running, add water in a thin stream.  Stop processing when mixture is thick, but moist enough to spread.

2.  In a dehydrator on two parchment-lined dehydrator sheets, spread mixture until 1/4 inch thick.  With a knife or pizza cutter, score into cracker shapes.  Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 6 hours.  Flip dry dough and dehydrate on the other side for another 4 hours.

3.  For a non-dehydrator option, preheat oven to 350 degrees.   On two parchment-lined baking sheets, spread dough 1/4 inch thick.  With a knife or pizza cutter, score into cracker shapes.  Bake for 40 minutes or until dry and crispy.

She also whipped up a batch of this awesome Tropical Chutney that she discovered when she attended the 40th IVU International Vegetarian Congress in San Francisco last October.

Tropical Chutney
By Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff
Recipe posted here

Makes 4-5 half-pint jars
You can use any combination of mangoes, papayas, pineapples, peaches and/or apricots along with sultanas (yellow raisins).
1 cup dried and chopped tropical fruits
1 cup warm or hot water
1 cup yellow raisins
2 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger root
Juice of one large lemon or lime
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
Additional water as needed

Place the dried fruit in the warm or hot water and set aside for ½ hour or longer to soften.

Then place all ingredients, including the water in which the fruit pieces are soaking, in the jar of a blender or a food processor. Puree the mixture, adding more water as needed to yield a fine-grained pudding-like consistency.

Allow the chutney to stand for a few minutes before transferring it to a serving bowl for storage, or to clean glass jars for gifts.

This chutney will keep for several weeks if refrigerated.

And on the sweet side...

There's an older gentleman named Frank who has been a member of VSU for years. At every potluck he proudly brings his very own creation: a raw pie made from almonds, dates, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

Chocolate Nut Balls made from walnuts, almonds, cranberries, raisins and cacao powder.

This was my personal favorite brought by a lovely lady named Hazna. It started off as a raw apple pie that she got from a lady named April Fazini. She then modified it by adding mango, pineapple and persimmon folded into a yummy cream made with cashews, almond milk creme sauce and sweet potato. Decadent! In fact I even had 2 servings! ;-)

There was also a delicious Chocolate Pudding but I didn't get a chance to take a pic as the dish arrived while I was doing the demo. BUT you can see it at the bottom right corner of Don's plate. It was made with coconut meat, agave, maple syrup, raw cacao powder, carob, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Gina served it with fresh raspberries. Yum!

Let's munch! Yay!

This was my serving. I'm such a foodie; I had a hard time not trying a little of every dish. As a result I momentarily forgot that it had been less than a week since I was eating solid foods again. I later had to pay the price, as my belly complained about this mistreatment. As good as it tasted this feast ended up sending me on a downward spiral in terms of digestion. In the end I had to go back to liquid foods to give my body a chance to recover. In fact, I'm still not totally back to normal yet. *sigh*

A few of us stayed quite late after the meal as we were all caught up in interesting conversations. 

Greg and Mark, two super nice men I had met at the last raw potluck that Barbara held here.

Donnie caught Pu and I the next morning while we slept in. ;-)

Before we left we had a little photo shoot with Barbara and Duane. ;-)

Barbara had the idea to get some family shots with Miss Puss.

I hope you too had a wonderful Holiday Season filled with joy, radiance and beautiful people!