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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SRK Tour Adventures: Washington Part I

Hello again everyone! (I know, I know it's been way too long!)

At last summer is here! Yippeeeeeeee!

After spending several weeks in the city visiting with our friends Mosaica and Pontifex, The Mystery has us where we feel most at ease: in the deep boonies. ;-) Ahhhhhhh, feels soooooo good to be surrounded by peaceful and nurturing Nature! Its potent healing powers combined with gorgeous sunshine and a revolutionary tool (which I'll be telling you more about in a future post) are all working wonders in my recovery. My energy is finally beginning to come back. (Yay!) Sure has proven to be a long and tedious process and has given me a greater appreciation of how truly demanding these months on the road have been.

It seems to be taking me forever to wrap up my tales of our Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour adventures (sorry guys!) but we're really getting down to the last of it now. Woo hoo!

After driving through 18 different states (if I do my math right) we entered the last one on our itinerary: Washington. As most of you know, the entire journey was filled with amazing connections and powerful experiences; we could feel the intensity gradually building up as we went. With less than 2 weeks to go before crossing back into Canada, the momentum seemed to reach a climax. So much happened in that short time that I thought best to give you a day-by-day account of our last twelve days in the US.

Let the countdown begin...

12 Days To Go
The morning after the raw potluck at Gayle and Rick's the time had come to put our new wheels to the test. As you can imagine, in the light of our recent car troubles I was somewhat holding my breath. "Please, please hang in there long enough to complete the trip and take us home!" While the van is definitely not a Cadillac and has its little quirks and issues, we still made it safely to our next destination, just south of Olympia. Phfew! *wiping the sweat off her brow*

I had been writing back and forth with Heidi for months and was looking forward to our getting together, especially since we came so close to having to cancel our stop. (Eeek!) As I mentioned in my previous post, everything fell into place smoothly in terms of finding a new vehicle and we were able to stick to our original schedule.

Heidi had arranged for us to stay with her parents, Sharon and Gary. She told me that while they weren't really into raw they were keen to learn more about it and try some of the food. It's been so awesome to see how the "non raw folks" we've met along the way have been open to exploring something so different and new. Yay! The timing of our arrival couldn't have been better as Heidi and her two sweet kids, Madeline and Daniel, were there when we pulled into the driveway. We were greeted with bright smiles and warm hugs. Once again I was reminded of how blessed we've been to be able to undertake such a journey! None of this would have happened in the first place if it wasn't for my blog and our forum, Raw Freedom Community. A-ma-zing!

Once the introductions with the two leggeds were over we were guided in back in order to meet the three resident llamas that Sharon and Gary are looking after.

Dirty Harry and Shooter (Guess how he got his name? lol)

Sharon had brought with her their all time favorite treat: carrots!

Although the llamas tend to be rather shy around people, especially strangers, Don managed to tempt Shooter with a carrot. Actually the latter ended up spitting it out like two minutes later. lol. Call him Mr. Picky! ;-)

And here's Abigail, Dirty Harry's mama, who had been keeping her distance. She sure was mighty curious about Kylo.

Shooter flapping his long eyelashes and playing pretty boy.

The Fasnachts are such genuine and warm folks; we felt immediately at ease. Sharon has a wonderful sense of humor and brought many a smile to my lips with her impromptu faces. We spent the rest of the afternoon around the kitchen counter, telling traveling stories and having some good laughs. We did eat at some point too but I have completely forgotten what we whipped up. Ooops! (Blame it on my delayed blogging!)

11 Days To Go
We woke up early and began the preps for that afternoon's class. Thankfully we had lots of help in the kitchen and it all went super smooth. Those who attended were all family and friends so the atmosphere was very congenial and relaxed. On the menu was a couple of soups (Cream of Zucchini and Corn Chowder), Spinach & Cream Pasta Casserole, Spring Rolls with Ginger Dipping Sauce and my Fruit & Nut Choccie.

Heidi and the kids stayed for dinner afterward to help us eat all the leftovers. As it has become a bit of a tradition, we later pulled out the didges from the van and I did a short demo. Next thing you knew the whole family was at it! he he Madeline was a true natural and got a drone right away, while Heidi and little Daniel had to work at it a bit harder.

Fun! Fun! Fun!

10 Days To Go
The next day we and Heidi's family had a rendez-vous at their friends', Derek and Sara's place. I first 'met' them online way back in the early days of Raw Freedom Community. Derek is a very talented photographer; in fact this year he was voted second best wedding photographer in Western Washington. Sara is the one who introduced Heidi to raw foods (and to my blog) as they live in the same neighborhood. Derek and Sara used to have a lovely blog; Sara's mouth watering creations with Derek's gorgeous food photography made for a powerful combo. Unfortunately they have decided to take it down as they found blogging too time consuming. (Yep, that it can be!)

Going For A Bike Ride
Derek and Sara have a passion for bicycling that is contagious. I'd seen so many beautiful pictures that Derek has taken during their cycling excursions; it was hard to believe that we were finally about to peddle next to them! Derek is a bit of a bike collector and fitted us out with two of the coolest rides we've ever seen on which we took a leisurely trip through Olympia's back streets.We paused briefly in front of the Capitol for a pichie before making our way to the downtown area where we checked out the Farmer's Market.

Photo courtesy of Derek Pearson

We continued along Olympia's lovely waterfront. If you look closely you might be able to make out the snowy Olympics in the background.

Photo courtesy of Derek Pearson

A picnic and some chill out time was in store at the park by the water. At one point Derek dug a Frisbee out of his bag and soon had us all playing Ultimate Frisbee. Man oh man, did we ever have fun!

The happy cycling gang!
To our left is the Cope family: Scott, Heidi, Madeline and Daniel. To our right: Sara and Derek.

We had a truly fabulous afternoon! Don and I couldn't remember the last time that we were so relaxed and carefree; we felt like little kids! My face actually hurt from grinning so much! lol

9 Days To Go - In Sara's Sunny Kitchen

On our 'to do' list was playing in the kitchen a little, so we met up with Heidi and Sara the next morning and went shopping. The girls wanted to pick up ingredients in order to prep some of the concoctions I had demoed at Sharon's class. It made me so happy that they felt inspired to recreate the recipes at home! Yay! Sara was particularly excited for Derek to try the new additions to her culinary repertoire. After stocking up - which ended up taking a good chunk of the day - we headed over to Sara's and began to work on dinner. We started with dessert: Sweet Gratitude's Lemon Cheesecake with blueberry and raspberry sauces. Next we tackled the savory dishes: Corn Chowder, Spring Rolls and Ginger Dipping Sauce.

After the meal, the boyz took a snooze while Sara and I plated the dessert. We could even hear the occasional snore coming from the living room! lol

Sara artistically putting the finishing touches.

Didn't she do a be-yu-ti-ful job?

8 Days To Go - Washington From the Air
Sharon and Gary live on a private airstrip which allows them to take their planes up at will. Gary's love of flying was ignited when he was in high school and it's still blazing. He has been a flight instructor for years and according to Sharon is the most competent pilot she knows. We'd been watching the weather very closely, hoping it would cooperate so that we could go on a ride in their Cessna.

To my great excitement, on our last day in Olympia we were able to fly above Puget Sound. Woo Hoo! The sky was still a little cloudy when we took off but it cleared up on the way.

Here are some shots taken from the air...

Gary handed the controls over to me (for about 2 seconds! lol)

He took us to the snowy mountaintops of the Olympics. Breathtakingly beautiful!

Donnie admiring the view. He used to jump out of airplanes once upon a time when he was in the Airborne Regiment.

Mount Rainier hiding among the clouds.

On our way home we flew over mima mounds. These mysterious low, flattened, circular to oval, domelike, natural mounds have given rise to many a theory.

At some point I caught a glimpse of the plane's shadow in the trees below. How cool!

In spite of the tricky wind conditions, Gary expertly and smoothly landed us on firm ground. This was my first time ever in a small airplane and oh my, what a memorable experience it was!

Our hosts, Sharon and Gary.

Once I found my land legs again I finished assembling dinner, as we were expecting company. Heidi's friend, Becky, is also into the whole healthy diet thing and makes herself green smoothies every day. She'd have loved to come to the class but was away in sunny Florida, so I thought she might like to at least join us for a meal. We had raw soup (again, my memory is failing me) and Asian Spinach Salad. I also got to inaugurate our brand new Cuisinart ice cream maker. Hee hah! I knew that we don't have much room to spare in the van but this was the last piece of equipment missing to complete our raw kitchen. I also figured that ice cream makes such a wonderful easy peasy dessert; just what we needed! I made a simple Vanilla Ice Cream which I served with Heathy's Chocolate Sauce. Sooooooo yummy!

Becky, Heidi and the kiddos

By the way, you can't really distinguish the words but the yellow sign on the right of the door says: "Spit Happens". ;-)

7 Days To Go - We're Off To The Big City
Although it seemed like we had only just gotten there (what with all of our activities!), it was already time to continue our trek. I felt so so grateful that everything fell into place so that we could come to Olympia after all!

Kylo and Puss comfy and ready for the road. It's been SUCH a relief that they have both adjusted to our being constantly on the move. Real furry warriors these two are!

We only had to drive for a couple of hours up to Seattle where Jennifer and her family had kindly offered their home as our base while in the city. Once again our connection was immediate and felt so natural!

Meet Jennifer and her daughter Michael.

Her hubby Ryan....

... and their cute spunky boxer Phaedra.


In spite of her busy working schedule, Jennifer had prepared us an amazing raw feast for our arrival. On the menu was one of my absolute favorite things: pizza! Yum!

She had also assembled Cafe Gratitude's German Chocolate Cake; something I'd been wanting to try for a long time. Yippee! This is a very rich but utterly decadent cake. Guaranteed to send choccie lovers to heaven!

German Chocolate Cake
From Sweet Gratitude
Posted by Rawbie on Raw Freedom Community

Chocolate-Coconut Cake
20 oz. date paste
3/4 c. extra virgin coconut oil
4 tbs liquid vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
7-9 c. almond flour (I use the leftover from making almond mylk. Then I dehydrate for a day) after it's dry I blend until nice and powdery. I think you get better "baked" results.
2 1/2 oz. cacao powder
1/2 c. coconut milk

Add to a mixer bowl, the date paste, coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a cookie dough consistency. Try to get the batter not too dry, not too wet adding more flour as needed. Mix until smooth. Fill 2 8" cake rounds (the kind with the pop out bottoms!) Put the the two cakes into the freezer while you do the next step.

Walnut Coconut Filling
5 c. walnuts chopped. Set aside 1 c.
1 c. agave syrup
2 tbs liquid vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 c. coconut flakes

Process until smooth (in a food processor) 4 c. walnuts, agave, vanilla and salt. in a bowl combine with a spatula the processed mixture and the remaining 1 c. walnuts with the 3 c. coconut flakes

Take the cake out of the freezer then spread this mixture on top of the 2 cake rounds. You might have a bit leftover.

Put it the 2 cakes back into the freezer while you make the chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
3/4 c. almond mylk
1/2 c. cacao nibs
1 1/2 oz. cacao powder
1/2 c. agave syrup
3 oz. date paste
4 tbs liquid vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs lecithin powder
2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil

Put all the ingredients (except the last 2 ingredients) into blender until smooth. After it's smooth, add the last 2 ingredients and blend for another 20 secs or so. Pour into a bowl and put in the fridge for 20 minutes until thicker.

Assemble the cake! Taking the cake out of the cake rounds is a bit tricky and requires a bit of finesse so be careful or you could lose it all! Plus it's heavy so be warned. It's nice to have an extra set of hands helping! Take a butter knife and slide it between the pan and cake the release it from sides. Lift it from the bottom. Then take a large knife and slice between the cake bottom and pan. Set it on a dish then do the same to the next cake. Put one cake on top of the other and now you can frost! Decorate the cake with shredded coconut or cacao nibs.

This cake won't keep more than 3 days so what I did is freeze the leftovers in individual slices. It comes out beautifully!

Yet another wonderful treat that Jennifer had prepared from Sweet Gratitude: Baklava. Sooooo good!

6 Days To Go
Since we had brought along a durian and young coconuts, the next afternoon I whipped up a Durian Pudding. Ryan wasn't too keen on the stuff and couldn't finish his bowl. (Durian, after all, is an acquired taste!) As we left in a bit of a hurry I put it in the fridge but forgot to cover it up with a piece of saran wrap. Big mistake! The poor guy was assaulted by 'The Smell' when he opened the fridge. Ooopsie! ;-)

In the afternoon we headed over to Chaco Canyon Cafe, Washington's First Certified Organic Vegetarian Café and Restaurant, where we were scheduled to give a class that evening. Wouldn't you know it, the van died at a light only two blocks away! Oh nooooo! A group of young guys gave us a push around the corner so that we could at least get out of the way. Ah man, what now!?! Good thing we had allowed ourselves plenty of time! Still with the prospect of giving a class in just a few hours, let's just say I wasn't too stoked at this new development. It looked like we had run out of gas (the auxilary tank gauge doesn't work so we couldn't tell how much was left.) In spite of Don switching to the primary gas tank (ain't that handy?) for some reason the van still wouldn't start up.

We decided to walk over to Chaco in order to contact AAA and get someone to help us carry our gear. After calling Don headed back to the van and while waiting for the tow truck to arrive, he decided to give it another try. It worked! Yippee! We later learned that in that situation it takes a while for the fuel to pump back up. Phfew! That was a close one!

Still a bit shaky from it all, we took a few minutes to grab something to eat before the class, as Chaco Canyon offers a few raw items on their menu.

Green Coconut Curry
Creamy green coconut curry sauce tossed with zucchini, carrots, and seasonal vegetables. Served with spinach, marinated red onions, tomatoes and cashews.

Ginger Sesame Bowl
Ginger-sesame sauce on a base of shredded zucchini or raw kelp noodles (I asked for both!) and topped with seasonal vegetables, shredded carrots and shoyu pumpkin seeds.

We also shared a piece of Raspberry Tart for dessert that was very tasty.

We'd heard from several people in the Seattle area who were interested in participating in a class, but were having difficulty finding a venue. That's when Jennifer had the idea to mention it to the folks at Chaco Canyon Cafe. Although they had never hosted anything like that before, they immediately accepted. Being a super busy restaurant without a separate private room, it wasn't an ideal location but since nothing else was showing up we decided to all do our best.

Chris and the folks at the Cafe were super nice and accommodating. They managed to find us some partitions which helped a LOT. Unfortunately however it did little to reduce the noise level; I had to virtually yell in order to be heard. On the positive side it was an excuse for everyone to snuggle up and get closer. ;-) In hindsight, due to the surroundings it was the toughest class I ever had to teach, nevertheless it was a wonderful group and I had a great time.

Among the participants was Aimee of Bitt of Raw. It's not every day that you get to bump into a fellow blogger and we were both thrilled to finally meet in the flesh. She did a fabulous job blogging about the class here.

She had brought us a very special treat: two kinds of moonie pies - vanilla and durian - that she had whipped up for Heathy's Moonie Pie Challenge. How thoughtful!

During the class I demoed how to prepare Tuscan Pizza, Tuna Salad, Asian Veggies in Ginger Marinade, and my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies for dessert.

I also whipped up my Cheezy Spinach Almond Soup which has become a new favorite of ours and has been a big hit everywhere we've been. As promised, here is the recipe for you all now that our tour is over. I hope you guys like it as much as we do!

Photo courtesy of Aimee

Cheezy Spinach Almond Soup

Serves 2-3

2 cups packed spinach
1 1/4 cups roughly chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup almonds , soaked for 8 hours or overnight
1/4 avocado
1 garlic clove
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh dill
1 tsp light miso or 1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
Water until desired consistency is reached

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender until smooth.

If you wish a warm soup, use hot water or heat it up gently on the stove while stirring constantly.

On that delicious and creamy note, methinks I'll stop here for now. I promise to do my best to be back with the last of our adventures real soon. In the meantime, let's hope we all get to enjoy some more of that healing and embracing summer sunshine!