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!

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!


  1. All of your stunning outdoor and flower pictures are making my so antsy for summer. I can't wait for camping and hiking season to begin! Thanks for sharing your journey.

  2. Hey love your blog and your picture gallery is just amazing, thanks for sharing your best memories....

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