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, May 16, 2011

Time To Head Back: The Journey North Part II

Sorry guys! It took a little longer than I expected to put out this post. We've been camping and without much internet access ever since our return to BC. No matter, I'm now back to wrap up our adventures in Washington state and on American soil!

Carmella Meets Frank
Sometime during our travels last year someone pointed out to me the trailer for the movie May I Be Frank. The documentary follows the transformation of Frank Ferrante, a 54 years old, obese, depressed and addicted man originally from Brooklyn. To me, Frank's story is such a fantastic example of how truly magical Life is! Back in 2006 on a gloomy day he 'happened' to stumble into one of the Café Gratitude locations in San Francisco. When he was asked the question of the day: “What is one thing you want to do before you die?”, Frank replied, “I want to fall in love one more time, but no one will love me looking the way I do”. Ryland, the waiter, his brother Cary, and Conor, his best friend, were immediately inspired by the possibility of helping Frank. For the next 42 days they did a sort of reverse 'Super Size Me'; Frank eating only raw food, practicing gratitude, visiting local holistic practitioners, and getting a weekly colonic.  

The few minutes' worth of trailer made readily apparent how good hearted and honest Frank was, and I was curious to witness in greater detail the story of his astonishing transformation. And so as we traveled this year I kept checking where the screenings of the movie would take place around the US, hoping there would be a fit with our schedule. Amazingly I discovered that May I Be Frank would be shown near Seattle exactly when we'd be passing through. (No small feat considering how completely unpredictable our itinerary has proven to be!) 

And so Tiffany (who we had also met during previous visits) and I headed out to the new Thrive Wellness Center in Sedro Wooley to attend the screening of the documentary. (Yay!) I could hardly wait to finally watch the movie and found myself unusually excited as we made our way there. Perhaps because of the metamorphosis that I also experienced thanks partly to my eating more raw food, I could sense that it was somehow important that I meet Frank. I'm still not clear as to why him exactly; I'm sure there are lots of people out there that have undergone a major physical/psychological change.

On the May I Be Frank website they speak of a "miraculous transformation" and that it truly was. As a result of this spontaneous and heart driven experiment - a healing journey that continued much beyond those initial 40 some days - Frank released 110 lbs and got "a new body, a clearer mind, and most importantly, a soaring spirit." (I mean look at that picture to the right. Isn't he just glowing?) The movie did a wonderful job at capturing the process in a realistic, honest and very powerful way. I particularly appreciated how it highlighted the fact that it's not only a matter of changing the food you eat but also the way you think and feel about yourself.

We were able to appreciate the extent of Frank's transformation for ourselves when he joined us after the movie in order to answer a few questions. I recognized in him the same good nature and contagious sense of humor I had seen on screen, but otherwise he seemed like an entirely different person. He is now so vibrant and joyful and full of life and, well, even sexy! ;-) Such a dramatic contrast with the sick and defeated man who walked into Cafe Gratitude years earlier!


Eating healthy while on the road can be at times very challenging (we can certainly attest to that!) and Frank has since put on a few pounds. However he shared with us that after reading a couple of paragraphs of The China Study that very afternoon he had decided to fully commit to a whole food plant based diet. Hee hah!

I later had a chance to meet Frank and it was a special moment. When I walked up to him we silently looked into each other's eyes for several seconds. We then exchanged a long, warm hug. Without my knowing, Tiffany captured snippets of our connection.


During the movie I was especially touched by a scene where Frank shares with Matthew Engelhart - the owner of Cafe Gratitude - that one of the things he wished the most was to be of service to the world. Interestingly, this whole project which was so mysteriously delivered to him by Life has proven to be the perfect means to do just that; inspiring people through the movie and the direct sharing of his experience to begin leading a healthier and more fulfilled life. This is very much how I feel about this blog; it offers me such a wonderful venue to share about my own healing journey and hopefully assist others in the process. I am so very grateful for this opportunity to make a difference!

Notice the orbs of light?


Fellow health pilgrims on a heart mission.

I had brought my new book along with the intention of offering it to Frank, although I doubted (and rightfully so he confirmed!) that he gets to do much food prep these days, with all his traveling to the many screenings across the country. Still, he said that he'd very much like my book and asked for me to sign it. He also immediately offered me one of his DVDs in exchange, and so we proceeded to sign each other's work. Another unique and special moment.

Isn't this a great shot?

Tiffany was next in line. What a lucky man, eh? Now he gets to hug and be surrounded by more radiant female beauty than he could have ever dreamed of in his 'past life'! ;-)


And So We Meet Again
As if this already extraordinary evening wasn't enough, at the movie's screening I also got to meet yet another beautiful and light spirit. Jean has been following my blog for a number of years. She said she almost invited us to Maryland during our last tour when we drove through the east coast, but the timing wasn't quite right. As it turns out Life was to unexpectedly bring us together after all! A few months ago she sold her home back east and, much like us, is now leading a nomadic lifestyle. She recently came to the Seattle area to spend time with her daughter which made me appreciate all the more the timeliness of our encounter. Yay! We felt like long lost friends crossing paths again, experiencing a depth of connection that goes much beyond what the mind can rationally explain.

We got together a second time a couple of days later, giving her an opportunity to also meet Don who hadn't come to the screening. We were all so enthralled in our exchange that before we knew it hours had gone by! Her travels might very well take her later to BC to visit us, The Mystery willing. ;-)

Meet & Greet at Thrive
 Thrive has become a regular stop whenever we come to the Seattle area. We usually just enjoy a meal there together with other friends and raw enthusiasts, however this time we had a little book signing event. Wherever we go I always trust that whoever needs to meet us will be there and I could feel that it was very much the case that night.

Among those who came was Cheryl, better known as Ocean on Raw Freedom Community. She is a super talented recipe creator and is the woman behind the now famous 'Oh My This Is A Tuna!' recipe that has become one of our staples. We'd been brushing shoulders on our forum for years and it was so lovely to finally get to meet in the flesh.


It also gave us a chance to spend some time with Karen, mother of the owner Monika, who is in charge of Thrive's Vitality Shop. She is a cancer survivor who healed herself partly with a raw vegan diet. She was no doubt one of the main inspirations behind the creation of Thrive and is now dedicating heaps of energy into her daughter's endeavor to help ensure its success.

Sharing The Raw Buzz
The next evening we did a raw demo for a bunch of Tiffany's friends. Most of them had never really experienced raw foods beyond smoothies and were quite impressed with all the possibilities. In hindsight it was probably one of the smoothest classes that I have given; the location was beautiful (our host Susan lives right on the water), the people were relaxed and interested, and the food turned out great! Yay!

Tiffany was so thrilled at this opportunity to spread the raw buzz among her circle of friends and poured lots of time and energy into it, bless her heart! Her help contributed to making the whole thing go like a breeze.


Even the sun came to say 'hi!' just as we were getting started. ;-)

Happy munchers from the look of them!


Last Stop: Anacortes
I suppose that, much like last year, our Seattle stop proved to be an eventful one, but it also felt very different in other ways. I was so exhausted from our 6 months of being on the road back then that I was pretty much operating on adrenaline. As was to be expected, I later completely crashed as soon as we returned to Canada. During this trip I was able to stay true to my intention of taking it easy and made sure I did whatever it took to rest along the way, generally keeping myself centered and energized. I consider that quite an achievement as especially on the road it can be so difficult to step away from Life's momentum. I also managed to stay up to date with my blogging which has also been a huge relief; it was such a horrible feeling to always be behind the eight ball last year, not being able to keep up with the stories and pictures that continued to accumulate as we traveled.

And so we said goodbye to Seattle and headed for our last US destination: Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. It was our last drive on a multi-lane freeway (I counted no less than 5 on either side at some point!) and we certainly weren't going to miss it.

Don pointed out an unusual humvee limo passing us by.

Last spring we'd considered going to Anacortes on our way to Vancouver Island, but it wasn't in the cards. And so we had to wait another year before getting a chance to visit Kiki (aka Green Jeanie on RFC). She lives in a beautiful rustic circular home in the woods. In many ways the setting felt so familiar, not only because of the peacefulness of the location but also due to the north west rain forest flora. I couldn't help but flash back to when we used to live on Vancouver Island almost 10 years ago.

As The Mystery would have it, while we were making our way to Anacortes, Kiki was headed to Seattle for a few days. At least we'd managed to hook up with her at Thrive the previous weekend and she kindly offered us the use of her cabin while she was gone. We thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to reconnect with Nature and downshift gears, so to speak, before heading 'home'. I truly can't think of a more perfect place to end this chapter of our US travels! Of course, the furries could sense it too and immediately felt right at home.


King Kyky lounging on the sofa. hehe

We weren't sure whether we'd still be around for Kiki's day off - our original plan was to only stay for two or three days - but when she returned to the cabin we had such wonderful and insightful exchanges that we just HAD to hang around a while longer. One of the reasons Kiki and I had bonded online is that we're both long time Vipassana meditators. I had a sense that our sharing the same practice hinted at a deeper alignment and I was right; the two of us hit it off right away!

Not surprisingly Puss' favorite spot in the entire house was Kiki's meditation cushion. Lovin' all that good energy and metta! ;-)

Kiki is an acupuncturist and herbalist and has just launched a super cool project called Poppy Swap. Loosely based on the eBay model, Poppy Swap is an online market place for herbalists to come together and offer their handmade products. You can find everything from body care, to natural remedies, custom teas and inspired art. What an awesome way to explore the power of cooperation! You guys just ought to check it out and watch it blossom as it undoubtedly will!

Walking In Beauty
Not only does Kiki live in a superb location but she is also surrounded by an awesome community of friends, her 'family' as she calls them. When we first arrived we were greeted by her neighbors, Paul and Laurie, who immediately invited us for tea. They both love the outdoors and let us in on the nice walks to be had in the area. We usually took their dogs, Fozzy Bear and Luna, on our daily escapades in the woods. Fozzy is almost completely deaf and is such a sweet heart. In spite of his old age he always trotted along enthusiastically.

Sunset Walk
We were also invited by Kiki's friends, Bob and Pattie, to visit their gorgeous home made up of several interconnected yurt style buildings. They live just a short walk away from the seashore and one evening we joined Bob on one of his 'sunset walks'. Although the sky was covered the view of the nearby islands was astonishing and we sat in silence for some time, taking all that beauty in. Definitely a power spot!

Here you can see the Olympic Mountains in the distance.

Let's Sit Together
Kiki and Bob get together several times a week in order to meditate (or "sit" in the Vipassana lingo). I was really blown away by their dedication as it can be so challenging to maintain a meditation practice amidst our everyday busy-ness. One evening a few of us gathered in one of Bob's beautiful circular structures.

Notice the living roof?


It's always such a different experience to meditate with others and the round space made it the more special and powerful.

In Kiki's Sunny Kitchen
Kiki has an old Excalibur which I mistook at first for a microwave oven (hehe) as the controls are directly alongside the trays. I jumped on the chance to whip up a few things as our stock of dehydrated goodies was getting pretty low.

Don and I made the Nori Snacks which we absolutely adore.

I also played around creating flax crackers based on an ingredient list that Janine had shared with us. They weren't exactly like hers but we are both really happy with the result.


Mexi Flax Crackers
3 cups flax seeds, soaked in 1 1/2 cups water
2 cups peeled and chopped zucchini
1/2 cup almond pulp (leftover from making milk)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked
1/2 medium red bell pepper, roughly chopped
2 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 green onions, roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
2 tbs lemon or lime juice
1/2 tbs chili powder
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp or more of North West Fire from Penzey's Spices (chili or chipotle powder would work too!)
1/16 tsp or more of chipotle powder

Blend all ingredients until smooth in food processor.

Spread on teflex sheets.

Dehydrate at 120 for a couple of hours, flip onto mesh and continue dehydrating until completely dry.

And lastly I also tried to recreate Buckwheat Breakfast Crusts that we bought at a health food store in Ojai. When we didn't have access to electricity they made such a nice alternative to smoothies! We enjoyed them with some almond butter, honey and slices of banana.

Sweet Buckwheat Crusts
2 cups buckwheat groats, soaked overnight
1 cup flax seeds, soaked
3/4 cup soft dates
2 tbs water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup gogi berries
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1 tbs orange zest
Blend first set of ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Fold in the rest of the ingredients.

Spread mixture onto one teflex sheet and dehydrate at 120 for 3 hours.

Flip onto mesh, turn the dial down to 110 and continue dehydrating until completely dry.

Surprise Meeting
I knew that our dear friend Livina - the caretaker of the retreat center in the Kootenays where we spent several years - was about to cross into the States just as we would be leaving for BC. Dang, it was strange to be so close yet not quite be able to connect. What I didn't expect however was that The Mystery would indeed present us with an opportunity to meet after all! As I mentioned earlier, we decided to stay longer in Anacortes in order to spend Kiki's day off with her. As it turned out she had to run a quick errand in Bellingham that afternoon which was exactly where Livina was staying! I mean, what are the odds of that? Excited by the synchronicity I gave Livina a call and we agreed to meet at a cafe.

It was so lovely to hook up with her! We hadn't seen each other in months and had lots to talk about. She was also thrilled to finally get to hold a copy of my Delightfully Raw book as she helped to test many of the recipes while I was working on it.

Sailing Home
Well rested from our time in the woods, we finally headed back to BC. We hadn't been on Vancouver Island since 2002 and hadn't seen Don's daughter, Amber, for years so we figured that the time had come for a visit. We woke up bright and early in order to get the ferry across. It was nice, for a change, to just lay back and enjoy the beautiful scenery rather than to be driving. The sky was clouded over and the view wasn't as clear as it could be but it was still lovely regardless. We slowly made our way among the via the San Juan Islands before crossing into Canadian waters.

Getting mighty close to Vancouver Island now!

Sidney, BC lying straight ahead of us.

And that concludes this chapter of our US travels. No doubt that we have lots more adventures awaiting us in beautiful British Columbia. As always, I'll be telling you all about it so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Sunny Raw Kitchen in British Columbia

Hello everyone!

We're now back in Canada after spending over 5 months traveling around the US. Feels a little strange to be 'home'... It always takes us a few weeks to readjust. Anyhoo we're now in Victoria where we used to live almost 10 years ago. We'll be going camping in the area for a bit in order to reconnect with the rain forest. We'll then be passing through again before going up the island to Courtenay, then head east on the mainland. Our itinerary is still very much floating and open so if you guys live somewhere along the way drop us a line! We'd love to hook up with you and share some of our raw knowledge!

Here's an overview of what we know is coming up next for us:

Delightfully Raw Tour Itinerary

- Victoria area, British Columbia: until May 20th or so

- Courtenay, British Columbia:
  • Wednesday May 25th: raw potluck and short presentation by Don and Carmella
  • Thursday May 26th, 6Pm - 9pm: Delightfully Raw food class (contact me for more details)

If you would like to host us, connect or even help put together an event, please send me an email at:


We'll be having some kind of raw get together in most of those places, so drop me a line if you'd like to be kept posted or get more info about the scheduled events.

Looking forward to meeting some of you 'in the flesh'!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time To Head Back: The Journey North Part I

Howdy folks! We're presently in Anacortes, WA and will be taking the ferry to Victoria, BC in a couple of days. Wow has it really been more than 5 months since we got on the road!?! Here's part I of the last of our adventures in the US...

ByeBye California
As some of you may recall, last year we zoomed through California at a furious speed. We mostly stayed in cities and hardly got a chance to explore its wilderness. But we certainly remedied that this time around, spending 3 almost idyllic weeks of primitive camping and visiting several parks. We also hung around long enough to really experience the sense of sheer abundance that characterizes this state; what a blessing to have fresh fruits and veggies growing year round! Although we would have gladly extended our stay, it was time for us to head north and return to Canada.

The drive from our last stop near Yuba City to Oregon proved to be rather uneventful. We passed yet more orchards, orange groves and fields. North of Los Molinos we saw the last cacti, palms trees and agave plants we were likely to see for a while. Shortly before we arrived in Red Bluff and hopped on the interstate, the road was flanked by rows upon rows of nut trees: pecans, walnuts, pistachios, almonds... Too bad that it was out of season!

Once back on I-5, the landscape seemed a bit boring and uneventful after driving along small quirky country roads for days. It was still beautiful, of course, just in a more quiet way. (I've already written an account of this portion of the drive here.) The further north we drove, the cloudier the sky got. By the time we stopped for a short rest along Shasta Lake it was completely clouded over. At Weed we left the freeway again and made our way to Oregon along yet more minor roads. (Yay!)

We circled behind Mount Shasta, getting to admire this magical mountain from a different angle than before.

This next couple of shots were taken on the way to Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Poor Kyky was getting so anxious to reach our destination that he was scratching at the van's door! I too could hardly wait, as my butt was getting mighty sore from all the driving we'd been doing the previous days. As for Puss, she was quietly sleeping in her pet taxi. She's turned out to be such a wonderful traveler! She hardly made a peep while on the move for the entire trip, content to have a great big stretch once she'd get out.

We continued along the western shore of Klamath Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Oregon and one of the largest in the United States. It is also famous for being where Aphanizomenon flos-aquae or AFA (means invisible flower of the water) is harvested and repackaged by E3Live. On their website I learned that this lake has an astonishingly high mineral concentration due to a massive volcanic eruption that occurred in the vicinity over 7,000 years ago, covering the area with millions of tons of mineral ash. Seventeen streams and rivers deposit into the 140 square mile lake an annual average of 50,000 tons of the mineral-rich silt from the surrounding 4000 square mile volcanic basin, making Upper Klamath Lake one of the richest nutrient traps in the world.

Camping on Klamath Lake's Shore
After much searching online I'd found one of the rare places in the area open for camping at this time of year. Rocky Point Resort located on the Northwest shore of Upper Klamath Lake in the Winema National Forest and offers rustic cabins and guest rooms as well as a few campsites. Unfortunately the sites are all jammed next to each other. We arrived on a weekend and there were a few RVs nearby, however come Sunday morning everybody left so we had the place almost to ourselves.

We paid a few extra dollars and stayed on a site with electric; a real luxury after all the rough camping we'd been doing. It turned out to be a wise choice as the weather was rather chilly. It allowed us to run our heater inside the van and to do some computer work. To my surprise we were even able to pick up an internet signal (woo hoo!) so I got to catch up on my blogging. We were only about an hour drive from Medford where our dear friend Jozzie lives, but being the super busy lady that she is (she had organized both a raw potluck and a raw food class that weekend!) she couldn't come to visit us. Ah well, at least we were able to spend a couple of weeks with her on our way down in December.

While I typed away the others enjoyed this opportunity to chill out.

Our site had a lovely view of Klamath Lake.

One night as I was getting ready for bed I caught a glimpse of the nearly full moon rising over the water.

We enjoyed nice walks on a super quiet road with an awesome view of the lake.

On The Road Again
Refreshed and ready for more adventures we continued our travels on a beautiful crisp morning. As we had quite a few miles to go on our way to Portland, we decided to stick to the back roads just for a short while. The landscape was mostly green pastures as we circled around the upper portion of Klamath Lake.

Then we entered a densely forested area that lasted until we climbed back on the interstate near Eugene. Don pointed out that the stretch of the road in this next pic gave a mirage effect.

The drive turned out to be super smooth and we did good time, arriving a little earlier than expected in West Lynn, south of Portland. The fact that we decided to stay longer in southern California worked out beautifully, as our hosts, Gayle and Rick, had been away for most of the month and returned only a couple of days before our arrival. We'd already had a chance to spend some time with them a few months earlier, so it was just a super short visit. In spite of that, we did manage to sneak in a little food prep.

Marvelous Mushroom Soup from my Best of Raw Freedom Community ebook

Gayle had found a recipe using butternut squash on Gone Raw - a site that she often likes to browse for inspiration. As a general rule Don and I prefer to eat squash baked; it's very difficult to peel and prep in the raw, and we don't find it anywhere near as palatable. Still we were game to give it another try. The peeling part was as much of a pain as we remembered. We attempted to make noodles with Gayle's spiralizer but boy is that flesh ever hard! In the end we opted for a much simpler solution: we grated the squash in the food processor. We found the resulting dish very tasty but a little too dry.

Photo from Gone Raw
Curried Butternut "Noodles"
Submitted by FawnM on Gone Raw

This is an easy raw food recipe--aside from peeling the squash--with big flavor. And the squash is surprisingly delicious [raw] tossed in a little olive oil and sea salt; the additional ingredients are an added bonus. This dish also satisfies cravings for salted crunchy foods, like tortilla or potato chips. And it’s nutritionally superior.

Serves 2

½ medium butternut squash
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp shredded coconut
½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp ginger powder, or fresh minced
splash of water
1 tsp agave nectar
sprouted green lentils for garnish

Seed one half of a medium butternut squash and remove the skin--either with a sturdy peeler or skin it with a knife. Then use a spiralizer or peeler to make noodles. Place the squash “noodles” in a mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt. Toss to coat and set aside.

In a small bowl combine shredded coconut, curry, chili, and ginger. Stir to mix. Add a splash of water and mash mixture with a spoon or fork.

Add coconut mixture and agave to the squash noodles. Toss with a fork to mix evenly.

Serve Curried Butternut Squash à la carte, or alongside a simple salad of romaine lettuce tossed with a sweet and sour dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and agave).

Carmella's Notes:
~ We used more like 3/4 of one large butternut squash so we tripled the rest of the ingredients.

~ Gayle hadn't read the instructions carefully and instead of tossing the squash with the oil and salt, she mixed these into the Curry Paste. Not a major booboo; we just combined everything together and allowed it to sit for a while so that the squash could marinate a little.

~ We all thought that something was missing flavor-wise. We added a bit of lemon juice, but it still wasn't quite right.

There was heaps of left over so Gayle had the brilliant idea to pop it on teflex sheet and dehydrate it. The result was crispy and yummy; a great way to satisfy chip cravings! Too bad that it requires so much work!

For dessert we made Heathy's Mango Cake which Gayle had been meaning to try for a long time. Fruity and delicious!

Mango Cake
Posted by Fairygirl on Raw Freedom Community

This is one of the desserts I made for my clients this week. Optional - add a layer of chopped mangoes in between the cheesecake and mango layer.

2 cups pecans
1/2 cup dates
Dash vanilla

Process the ingredients into a dough.

Press dough into the bottom of an 8" cheesecake pan.

Cheesecake Layer:
2 cups cashews, ground finely*
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup agave
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

*Grind the cashews in a high speed blender or food processor. This makes it easier to blend the ingredients together.

In high speed blender, mix all ingredients until smooth.

Spoon the mixture onto the nut crust.

Mango Layer:
4 cups fresh or frozen mango, diced
2 dried pineapple rings, soaked 2-4 hours
1 small, really ripe banana
1 tbs coconut oil (optional)

Puree all ingredients until smooth in a food processor or blender. Pour over the cheesecake layer.

Chill in the freezer to set.

Heathy's Notes:
~ A raspberry sauce compliments this nicely... and makes a great color contrast.

~ I first made this cake using apricots instead of the pineapple, so you could do that instead. I personally prefer the pineapple.

Carmella's Notes:
~ The Cheesecake Layer contains very little liquid so it was difficult to process (especially since Gayle forgot to grind the cashews first! Eeek!) In fact the Vitamix shut down after only a few seconds of processing so she had to finish the job in the Blendec. Gayle also added a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil and the same amount of water to facilitate the blending. The result was more like a nut butter than a cheesecake we thought. It actually reminded me a lot of the Cashew Fudge that Gayle served for her Christmas Tea Party.

~ The Mango Layer didn't hold its shape well as it was thawing so I'm thinking that using more coconut oil would help keep its consistency at room temperature.

Off To The Big City
As you probably know by now, we're not big fans of crowded cities and multi lane driving. Guess we just can't shake off our years spent in the boonies of British Columbia. And so I had mixed feelings as we headed for Seattle; I was apprehensive of having to get around it in traffic, but I was also thrilled at the prospect of spending time with so many beautiful people! For some reason the Seattle area is a hotbed for us. Since last year we've made and continue to make a lot of awesome and powerful connections. We ended up spending a little over a week there yet we stayed at three different homes.

Our first stop was at Jennifer's who had hosted us last Spring. Once again our timing couldn't have been more perfect and we were grateful for this opportunity - albeit short - to reconnect and catch up on our respective news. In spite of her warnings that she wasn't up for doing much food prep these days we enjoyed a lovely feast: Green Cucumber Soup, Falafels, Veggie Wraps and a simple arugula and radish salad with a tahini dressing. Oh and I almost forgot, cooked quinoa with carrots, peas and homemade preserved lemons, which gave the dish a delicate and unique flavor.

Jennifer had these uncooking away in the dehydrator when we arrived.

Posted by Fairygirl on Raw Freedom Community

1c pumpkin seeds
2T fresh dill, finely chopped
1t ground coriander
2t cumin
8 sundried tomato halves, soaked and chopped
3T fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 clove garlic
2 shallots
1/4c olives, stones removed
2T tahini
2t oregano
Pinch cayenne
Pinch pepper
1/2t salt
1T lemon juice

Form into 10 evenly-sized balls and dehydrate on the mesh tray for anywhere between 2 and 10 hours, depending on how much time you have and how dry you want them. Even after 10 hours you should find they'll still be moist inside.

Carmella's Note:  Jennifer found them too dry; she'll add a little olive oil next time she makes them.

Gayle had sent us off that morning with colorful Veggie Wraps she had prepared. How thoughtful!

After dinner we chilled out in the living room. We found that her boxer Phaedra has mellowed out a great since we were there last. The two of us bonded that evening; she's such a smoocher!

A micro second before she gave me a kiss! hehe

In Janine's Sunny Kitchen
The next morning we left for Janine's, where we had arranged to spend most of our stay in the city. She's one of the co-founders of a vibrant local raw restaurant called Thrive and we'd met twice before but only for a few hours. We were glad to finally get a chance to spend more time together! She's four months pregnant and as a result she finds that her appetite and diet have been all over the place. We still managed to share a few meals with her and her partner Dave. We stuck to a rather simple fare while we stayed there, eating mostly soups, salads and crackers.

We did whip up something a little extra special though for Easter! While browsing through my new recipe book, Delightfully Raw, Janine asked which one was my favorite. "Oh my, that's way too hard a question!" I replied. Instead I named my favorite recipe per section; a good compromise I thought. And so we enjoyed my Cheezy Spinach Almond Soup (although not that night as the other dishes were on the nutty side), my House Dressing on mixed greens...

... Spinach & Cream Pasta Casserole


and my Dazzling Hazelnut Cream Pie for dessert. It was a close call with my Strawberry Shortcake but being Easter and all we decided to go with something chocolatey instead. It proved to be a good choice as they both LOVED it! Yay! Janine said that after Pure Food & Wine's Mallomars, this was the second best raw dessert she'd ever had! Woo hoo! I take that as quite the compliment!

Seattle in Bloom
Janine and Dave live in Ballard, a lovely quiet neighborhood in the northwestern part of Seattle. It really felt more like being in a small community than in the city. Almost every property seemed to have gardens and flowers and we couldn't have picked a better time, as flowers and fruit trees were in full bloom. What a blessing! We were told that the weather had been miserable for weeks but the sun finally peeked out from behind the clouds just as we got into town. Yippee! Guess we brought it along with us, eh?

Remember these from our time in Santa Barbara? They were so small back then that we didn't realize that they grow in a sorta oval shape. Very cool!


There's a cute little park at the end of 75th Street, not far from their house, with a gorgeous view of the Pacific and the Olympic Mountains.

Hum, this is turning to be one of those epic posts so methink I better take a little break before continuing on with the rest. 

Be back real soon, I promise!