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 27, 2009

What's Uncookin' Good Lookin'? - Episode VI

First off, I guess I better warn youse that this is going to be a loooooooong one. I promise I won't be offended if you'd rather go straight down to the recipes. ;-)

It's already been a month since we arrived at my sister's place in Quebec. Boy, does time ever fly by!

Don and I have been mostly recovering from the big journey East and adjusting to our new living situation. So far, everything is going surprisingly well... except for the weather! It's been a camper's nightmare; we can count on the fingers of one hand how many sunny days we've had these past four weeks. Boo hoo. In fact, it's been raining so much and so hard that a couple of nights ago, we woke up at 3 AM in the middle of a lake and had to relocate to Josee's house. We've been sleeping in the basement since, waiting for the pool to evaporate. The lake's level has risen by almost 2 feet and is getting dangerously close to our tent so we might have to come up with Plan B unless the weather turns real soon!

Our Daily Dose of Beauty (and Fresh Air!)
Thankfully, we usually get long enough of a dry spell to go for our daily walks down a nearby path. It's actually an old road that hasn't been used for years and is now overgrown. It's very pretty and we always virtually have it all to ourselves. It's been beautiful to witness how Kylo and Ti-Nours have become buddies. They just LUV their walkies!

This is the spot where we turn around. It's a great big field with 5 resident horses (although you can't see them in this picture.)

We like to go up a small side path on the way back which leads to an open field. There's lots of wild flowers and field strawberries, which we've been feasting on for days. I was telling Don how it would make an ideal location for building a home; it's so surrounded by trees that for a moment you forget that you're really not that far from civilization.

The doggies love it too. They get so playful, running around in that great big open space.

Ahhhhhh! Life is good!

The grass has become so tall you can hardly see them at times.

This is the view as we're approaching Beauchastel Lake on our way home.

Never Too Late For Greens
My dear friend Mosaica - who has the greenest thumb I know - gave me the brilliant idea to start a little garden of my own, in spite of how late it is in the season. I'm mostly interested in greens and herbs anyway, and they grow quickly. So a couple of weeks ago we bought several bags of dirt and compost. Don had our new little garden ready in just a couple of hours. I then took over, planting 2 varieties of lettuce, some kale and arugula.

Hum, what to plant next?

I'm amazed at how quickly it has grown; you can now see the difference from one day to the next! Yay! I also bought several pots of herbs (3 varieties of basil, oregano, dill, mint, parsley and tarragon) which I then transplanted.

To The Big City
Last weekend I went for a short trip to Montreal with my sister and her friend, Fernand, as they were headed that way. As I hadn't seen my parents yet and we're not sure when Don and I will be able to make it, it felt like the perfect opportunity.

It also gave me a chance to stock up on nuts and seeds, and various products at the health food stores such as miso, almond butter, nutritional yeast and sea salt. It was a relief to see that I could find almost all of our staples for a very similar price than what we were used to paying in BC. It's definitely a long way to go for shopping (Rouyn-Montreal is roughly an 8 hour drive), but we'll see where we end up settling down. We also stopped by Jean-Talon market - a year-round open air market in Montreal's Little Italy - where I found fresh basil, tomatoes and garlic. I couldn't resist taking a photo of this gorgeous display of small local fruits where I treated myself to some earth cherries; a delicacy I hadn't enjoyed since I left Quebec.

I had arranged to visit an old friend, Etienne, I hadn't seen for almost 9 years. Interestingly, he's sharing an apartment on the trendy 'Plateau Mont-Royal' with Eve-Marie, a young woman who lived in BC for a while. Don and I bumped into her several years ago in the Slocan Valley and even took her to our home in Winlaw to spend an afternoon. Small world, eh!?! Etienne had gone to the countryside the day before and harvested medicinal plants, so he gave me a big bunch of nettle.

Shannsu, whom I met via Raw Freedom Community and is from Quebec, had told me that a raw restaurant - Crudessence - has recently opened in Montreal, so I made a point to drop by. I had a fabulous time there, talking with their friendly staff and savoring their gorgeous foods. But I'll keep my full review for another post, as this one is already getting long. Crudessence is located just a few blocks away from the Mont-Royal. In what seems like a past life now, I used to sell my handmade didgeridoos on this very spot at the 'Tamtams'; a popular gathering that takes place every Sunday during the summer.

My parents live on the South Shore, about a half hour from Montreal, on a quiet property with a beautiful view of the nearby Mont St-Bruno and Mont St-Hilaire. My mother, Jeanne, was happy to finally have her 2 daughters under the same roof. You know how intuitive moms can be... She had actually guessed that I was coming back to Quebec. In fact, she told me she even thought of asking Josee to offer us to move in with her! lol

When I visited my parents 3 years ago, they had tried several of the raw dishes I'd prepared and really enjoyed them. I mean, not that the food is difficult to like, but my parents are in their seventies now and their taste buds pretty set in their ways. This time around, they again were open to my raw concoctions. Our last meal together was virtually all raw which I think is totally cool! On the menu was Cream of Zucchini Soup, Tuna Salad with an assortment of cooked and raw crackers, salad with my House Dressing, Zucchini Pasta with Kristen's Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, and a yummy marinated salad from my mom's repertoire. They provided dessert (not raw): homemade Wild Blueberry Pie and an award-winning Maple Pie.

Which sorta leads me to the kitchen department... ;-)

Josee's Kitchen Gone Raw
As we had gone through the last of our dehydrated supplies during the trip, I had 3 D days in the same week in order to replenish our stock. I made Veggie Herb Pizza Crust, Rawvolution's burgers, Veggie Wraps, Onion Bread and Raw Cheeze Itz, Sweet Seed Crackers and granola bars. I also experimented with a couple of types of whole flax crackers; something I've never really done before, as I've been sticking to recipes where the flax is mostly ground.

Poor Josee, we've taken over her fridge with our bulky produce! lol We've established a little routine where she usually has either some of our raw soup or salad to accompany her evening meal. Some of the soups we've been enjoying include the following:

Photo by Nightheron

Raw Fresh Thyme and Celery Soup
Posted by Nightheron on Raw Freedom Community

Serves 1-2

1 bunch celery, stem ends removed and roughly chopped
2 sunburst/pattypan squash, roughly chopped (or other summer squash)
1 clove garlic
2 green onions, stem ends removed and roughly chopped
1/4-1/3 c roughly chopped poblano pepper (or some of a hot chili pepper)
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 c water (or enough for desired consistency)
fresh thyme sprigs and raw sunflower seeds to garnish (optional)

Place all ingredients except garnishes in Vita-Mix or high speed blender and process 1-2 minutes until smooth. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with thyme and sunflower seeds.

Carmella's Note: I love this soup! It's so creamy, tasty and delicious! I make it with these few mods:
2 3/4 cups chopped celery
1/2 avo
1 cup zucchini
1 green onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbs dried thyme
Pinch cayenne

Creamy Sweet Pea Soup
Adapted from a recipe posted by Kelly here

This soup has also become an instant hit in our kitchen. Delicious and very filling too! I'm hoping to get a chance to try it with fresh garden peas this summer. *fingers crossed*

Serves 4-5

3 cups sweet peas, thawed
1 avocado
2 cups cucumbers
2 cups celery
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/4 cup Cashews ground (optional)
2 cloves of garlic
1 green onion
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp miso
Water until desired consistency is reached
Salt, to taste

Blend until smooth.

Serve with fresh chopped parsley and extra peas.

If desired, gently warm up on the stove while stirring constantly.

Carmella's Notes:
~ Once I forgot to add the cashews and noticed the soup was still super creamy regardless, so I don't bother anymore.

~ I also started to throw in a handful of fresh parsley in the blender rather than adding it at the end.

And another big favorite we discovered last winter. Yummyly addictive!

Cheezy Corn Chowder

Posted by Snowdrop on Raw Freedom Community

1 c corn kernels
1 clove garlic
1 T onion
1/4 c Cashews
2 T nutritional yeast
4 baby carrots (or 1 regular one)
1/4" ring of red pepper
2 T olive oil
1/2 - 1 t psyllium (depending how thick you wish chowder to get)
1 t cumin
1/8 t nutmeg
1 T parsley
1/2 t salt
grind pepper to taste
2 c water

Blend in high-speed blender until very creamy. Then add by hand:
1/4 c more corn kernels
1 T parsley

Warm up on stove till warm enough to eat.

Bowl up and garnish with additional minced parsley & fresh ground pepper.

Snowdrop's Note: You can use fresh or frozen corn - i used frozen today because it is winter
and there is no fresh corn available. i didn't use miso, but a light miso would easily replace the salt & add a deeper dimension of flavor.

Carmella's Notes:
~ I once ran out of cumin and made it with curry powder instead. It gave the soup more of a bite but it was still outstanding.

~ I usually replace the olive oil with 1/4 of a small avocado.

Josee prepared raw soups for us on a couple of occasions. She made Fred Patenaude's Roquette Me Soup and the following Carrot/Asparagus Soup.

Carrot/Asparagus Soup
By Nomi Shannon

This could be called the king of soups. The fiber in the asparagus creates a delightful texture, and the tahini gives it a smooth quality. Do not use the woody ends of the asparagus, about 2” from the end. For extra zip, stir in 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder.

Yields 1 1/2 cups. Serves 2.

1 cup cut up asparagus, or more to taste
1 cup carrot juice
2 heaping tablespoons tahini (or almond butter)
1 teaspoon cut up onion, or more to taste
A pinch of sea salt or a few drops of nama shoyu or Bragg's dulse flakes

In blender, blend first 5 ingredients into a smooth consistency. Pour into serving bowl and
top with dulse flakes.

As for salads, we've been sticking to the tried-and-true dressings that we love so much: my House Dressing, Ingrid's Tomato Dressing and a chia variation of my house dressing I recently developed. I've been meaning to share the recipe for a while, but I felt it still needed a bit of tweaking. I think I've got it down pat now.

Chia House Dressing

Yields about 3 cups

2 tbs chia seeds
1/4 medium avocado
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
3 tbs sesame seeds or tahini
1 tbs tamari or nama shoyu
1 tbs honey or agave
1 1 /2 tsp sea salt
2 or 3 garlic cloves
1 cup + 1 tbs water (or more, depending on the fat content of your avo)

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a bit for those elusive little chia seeds.

Enjoy on your favorite bed of greens!

Dill Variation:
Add a generous 1/4 cup of fresh dill at the end and pulse gently only to break down.

Now that there's less than 2 weeks to go before Don and I cater for an event for 25 to 30 people, we've been doing lots of brainstorming as to what dishes to serve. When I first found out about it, I thought right away of asking my friends over at RFC for suggestions and ideas. This is why I love forums so much! One can get different perspectives/angles one wouldn't come up with on one's own. We still don't know for sure if we'll be catering for one or two dinners yet, but the menu is pretty much set now.

As I was mentioning earlier, at my parents' I enjoyed a salad from my mom's culinary repertoire. It's so good and simple to prepare that I've decided to include it in our Asian menu (in the event that we cater for a second meal). The original recipe calls for rice, but it can easily be subbed with quinoa or omitted all together for an all-raw version.

Jeanne’s Asian Spinach Salad (modified)

Serves 4-6

1 pound mung bean sprouts
1 bag spinach sliced thinly
2 cups mushrooms sliced
½ cup green onions
½ cup or more of raw cashews
2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa (optional)

3 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup tamari
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl.

Toss well with dressing.

Let marinate for at least one hour to allow for the flavors to blend.

Carmella's Notes:
~ If you omit the rice, double the amount of mushrooms.

~ You may not need to use all of the dressing.

Some of the main courses we've been having lately include: Joz's Fajitas, my Spinach & Cream Pasta Casserole, Cheddar Cheeze Spread or Dip or Tuna Salad on crackers, zucchini pasta with alfredo sauce and pesto. We had a pizza nite one evening that Fernand joined us for dinner. I prepared two kinds: the Gimme More Pizza! and one topped with Cheddar Cheeze and marinated veggies.

And lastly, I haven't been playing in the kitchen too much in terms of dessert, other than to experiment with an avocado based chocolate mousse that I would like to serve at the catering. Let's just hope that we can find some decent priced avos this week, as they've been ridiculously small and expensive lately.

Chocolate Mousse Parfait with fresh berries

I had the pleasure of going raspberry picking one day with my dad at a local farm; something I'd never done before. We filled up our baskets in no time as the raspberries were enormous! When I returned to Rouyn, I felt like something chocolatey (again! lol) featuring our fruity loot. I remembered that the very first cake I created was along the same lines, but I didn't feel like a raspberry cream layer per se. Here's what I came up with, and I must say that other than for some minor adjustments, I'm very pleased with the result.

Chocolate & Raspberry Cream Cake

For this recipe you will need:
  • Cake
  • Whipped Cream
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries (plus a few for decoration)
  • Raspberry Cream Icing
  • Raspberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups wet almond pulp (from making almond milk)
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup dates, soaked
1/2 cup cacao powder
2 tbs carob powder
2 tbs agave nectar
1 tbs maple syrup
2 tsp soak water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tbs vanilla extract)
1/8 tsp salt

Grind walnuts and pecans in food processor. Set aside.

Transfer dates to in food processor (squeeze liquid out best you can first) and make into a paste.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.

Carmella's Note: You may have to do it in two shots, depending on the size of your food processor.

Whipped Cream

Yields about 3 cups

1 cup cashews or a mixture of cashews and macadamia nuts
1 cup + 2 tablespoons almond milk or fresh coconut milk (simply blend 1 part dried coconut with 3 parts water in high speed blender)
1/8 - 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar (depending on how sweet a tooth you have)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon lecithin*

*Lecithin is derived from soybeans and acts as an emulsifier. Look for lecithin (preferably non-GMO), in granules or powdered form, at your local HFS. If using granules, make sure to grind them up in a high speed blender of coffee grinder.

Blend all ingredients except lecithin until smooth. Add lecithin and blend until thoroughly mixed. Set in freezer until firm, then transfer to fridge until ready to use.

Raspberry Cream Icing
1 cup Whipped Cream
1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries
1 tbs agave
1 tsp lecithin

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth. Set in freezer until firm, then transfer to fridge until ready to use.

Carmella's Note: I used this mixture only as icing, but you could use it as the center layer instead of the plain Whipped Cream. In this case, triple the amounts given in the above recipe.

Evenly spread half of the cake mixture at the bottom of a 7 or 8" spring form pan.

Pour 1/3 of the Whipped Cream or Raspberry Cream on top. (No need for the Cream to be firm at this point.) If using the Raspberry Cream, make sure to leave some aside for the icing. Place in the freezer to set.

Top with the raspberries, followed by the rest of the Cream. Place in freezer until firm.

Next, form the second cake layer and return to freezer to set.

When firm, run a knife along the edge of the pan and gently remove the cake. Place on serving plate.

Frost the cake with Raspberry Cream Icing.

Decorate with raspberries.

Serve with Raspberry Sauce.

Carmella's Notes:
When I made the cake, I miscalculated and poured 1/2 of the Whipped Cream before putting the raspberries. As a result, the fruit layer wasn't really centered, as you can see in the photos. ;-)

~ I also didn't put quite enough raspberries, but I've changed the recipe accordingly.

~ I was too tired to whip up a Raspberry Sauce when I first served it, but we all agreed that it's the perfect final touch to this dessert. Berry, berry decadent! ;-)

Heathy's Raspberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon

Blend ingredients until smooth. Strain to remove seeds.

Phfew! Guess that pretty much wraps it up for this post.

Stay tuned for the restaurant review and the rest of our journey across Canada!

'Til next time!


  1. Your trip to the "Little Italy" of Montreal was interesting to read about.

    Thank you for the abundance of tasty looking recipes!

    I've made sure your blog post is linked at the raw food news site at Raw.la

  2. Wow, that was a lot of recipes in just one post. The raspberry cake looks delicious! I'm going to try the sweet pea soup. Thanks.

  3. I'll trade you the weather we're having here in Seattle...it's been in the upper 90s for quite a while now.

    And that cake looks simply delicious. If I ever have to make dessert for an occasion I will definitely be coming back to that one!

    -Rita F.

  4. Oh, delicious looking spinach mung bean salad! I'll be making that tonight and based on my success with your recipes so far, I'll bet it turns out delicious! I'll try it with cooked quinoa this time and set some up to sprout to make it again in a few days. My family are sure to love it! Thank you in abundance!
    We could we not have met when we were living in Nelson? I would have loved to have visited you there in the mountains. *sigh*

  5. Carmella,

    As always your blog is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your adventures and recipes. By the way, have you heard/read any of the recent reports that talk about the problems with Agave "Nectar"? You may wish to check some of these out. Here is a link to get you started:



  6. Yum and fun! Loved all the pics. And love the wooden dishes.