Raw Persimmon Pie

I never liked persimmons. Several people got me to try them at several times, and I just could never get on board with this fruit for some reason. It kinda bummed me out because as a vegetarian I eat mainly fruits and veggies, so I don’t like coming across one of those that I don’t want to eat. I’ve been even more bummed lately because persimmons are the IN fruit right now. Full on fall fruit. They are all over the farmers markets and every time I shop I feel like I should buy some, but I just don’t want to “waste” my money on them. Last week a friend made a salad with them in it. I just ate around them and eventually decided to stop being such a pries and just eat them. What came next was such a surprise. I actually liked it!! I ate them all! And then I had more salad! I have no idea what changed. I even looked up the nutritional content of persimmons and wondered if maybe my body was craving so much the nutrients and vitamins persimmons have that it changed my taste buds. Whatever the reason, I was so excited!!! A new ingredient to play with!!! I could not wait to go to the farmers market so I could buy some and eat them and make raw treats with them :)

So I decided to make a raw fall flavored pie to bring to our friends house warming party today. After a little hiccup in the kitchen, I made this beauty.

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Ingredients for pie crust:

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup soft medjool dates
  • zest of 1 orange

Steps:

  • put all ingredients in food processor and blend until everything sticks together but not so much as it forms a ball

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  • put in pie dish a using the back of a spoon flatten it out to form a crust.
  • set aside

Here I used a spring form pan as it is easier to travel with, but normally I would use a regular pie dish. And I always put wax paper on the bottom of my raw pies or cakes to make it easier to get out of the dish as they can be sticky.

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups persimmon
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash ( I would have used persimmons here but ran out because of my kitchen hiccup)
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 TBS soy lecithin
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Steps:

  • put all ingredients in the blender minus the lecithin and oil
  • blend until smooth
  • add the lecithin and oil
  • blend until well incorporated
  • pour in pie crust
  • put in fridge to set for a couple hours
  • decorate with sliced persimmon, pecans and a drizzle of raw chocolate sauce
  • eat up!!

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Culinary FAIL

It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a culinary fail like today. It’s been insightful, so I thought I would share it :)

My plan was to make a raw persimmon pie. I had never worked with persimmons before so it was an experiment. I am confident in the kitchen and don’t usually feel the need to look things up before concocting a new recipe. So here I was with my freshly bought persimmons, ready to make a delicious pie. I had the crust all ready to go and it just needed to be filled.

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I cut up my persimmons without even thinking of tasting them put them in the blender with all the other ingredients and start blending. At first this beautiful creamy mixture starts to happen and within a blink of an eye the whole thing started separating and becoming grainy. I stop the blender worrying I had over processed everything and that the creaminess of the coconut wasn’t blending well with the sweetness of the persimmon. I taste it. Shit. The whole thing was ruined. It tasted chalky. My mouth became super dry and the whole inside of my mouth was retracting kinda like when eating something way too sour? There was no saving this one. The molecular compounds had been changed and there was no going back.

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If you’ve never made a raw pie before, you might not notice what is wrong with the above picture. To create a nice creamy raw pie, the contents of the bowl needed to be liquid and well, creamy. Liquid and creamy enough so that I could just pour it into the pie crust, put it in the fridge to set for a couple hours and have a beautiful end result. This stuff there was lumpy and the liquids were separating from the solids. I was so bummed. I intended to bring this to a party we were going to and I had failed my very first persimmon pie :( Usually when I screw up something in the kitchen, I find a way to salvage it. This time I was just looking at the contents of this bowl, defeated. The flavor was okay, but the texture was horrible. I hate wasting food, so instead of tossing this in the garbage, I measured it out into single cup servings, put them in ziploc bags and threw them in the freezer for hopeful future use.

In the meantime I refused to stay defeated. I had this amazingly beautiful pie crust that was waiting to be filled and we had a party to get to. So I started over. I had a few Hachiya Persimmons left and since I thought what had gone wrong was something to do with the combination of the coconut and the fruit, I had planned on doing a different technique. While cutting the fruit, I ended up throwing a piece in my mouth. What the f$*#??? This fruit tasted horrible!!!! The way it made my mouth feel was just WRONG. I thought it was the peel, so I peeled it. But no, it still tasted bad. Dang. It’s not my technique, it’s the fruit. Good to know.

I still have a party to go to and a dish to bring. I have a few Fuyu persimmons a some butternut squash. I know the Fuyu taste great because I have been eating them all week. I had been saving the Hachiya especially for this pie. So I start my pie over with the Fuyu and the butternut squash.

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It tasted great :)

Here is what I’ve learned:

  • Hachiya Persimmons need to be SUPER ripe, to the point of looking rotten in order to taste good. They don’t just taste not ripe before that, but they are pretty much inedible in my opinion.
  • When using a new ingredient, it’s good to do a little research, no matter the level of confidence in the kitchen.
  • Don’t be defeated. Had I not chosen to start again, I had kept on thinking that it was the way I had processed the ingredients that had screwed up my pie, not the ingredients themselves. And that would have bruised my ego enough to not attempt another pie for a while.
  • I actually have more time than I think since I was able to screw up and start over and still make it to the party dressed with all my kids in tow.

Butternut Squash Muffins

I went to go visit my friends who just had a baby yesterday. As I always do when I visit friends with a newborn, I bring something to eat. Even if friends with newborns say they need nothing, don’t take their word for it. Having 3 kids myself, I know how nice it is to not have to think about food when all I want to do is cuddle with my baby, or how nice it is to get a little unexpected treat from a loving friend. So for them, I created these butternut squash muffins. I originally intended to make these with pumpkin but had some butternut that I needed to use. I have been making a version of these muffins for years. I love them as they are light and fluffy. I started making these with carrots instead of the squash and would bring them to my daughter’s preschool when it was my day to provide snack. They were always a hit. As usual, I made a big batch so I could freeze some to have on hand for weeks to come.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour (I mixed spelt and buckwheat)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded butternut squash
  • 3/4 cups maple syrup
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips ( I normally use raisins, but I felt like being a little decadent here)

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • in a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients
  • in a blender blend all other ingredients just enough so everything is well mixed
  • combine both, add chocolate chips, mix
  • grease some muffin tins
  • fill them up
  • bake 10-12 minutes for mini muffins, about 20 minutes for bigger ones
  • let cool on a rack before devouring (Just so you don’t burn your mouth)

Daily Multi Vitamins for Kids

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In a post a couple months ago I had mentioned how I was determined to keep the green yukky thick goopy noses at bay this year once my daughter started school. Well it has been 2 months now, and I am happy to say that so far, so good!! What I have been doing differently this year from previous years, is that I committed to giving my kids a daily dose of multivitamins. Not the store bought, industrialized, incapsulated, who-knows-whats-really-in-them-anyway?, and does-your-body-even-assimilate-all-this-stuff?, multivitamin. The real kind. The kind of vitamins you get from eating, or in this case drinking, fruits and vegetables. Every morning for the past 2 months, I have been making our family a green juice before I drop my daughter off to school. They drink it first things in the morning. It’s not always easy to get them to drink it. Some days it goes down fine, others I have to hold the cup for them, or sometimes make up games to get them to drink it. But it’s been SO WORTH it. By this time most school years, my daughter has brought home some gross runny nose. No other symptoms, just that nasty stuff all over her face that she wants to kiss and hug us with. Then she sometimes gives it to her brother. Not this year. I love kisses and snuggles too much to have them be ruined by excessive mucus. Up until now I have been making a juice that consists mainly on the stuff you see in the picture. Ingredients change a bit depending on what I find at the farmers market, but up until now it’s been pretty green pretty cleansing and detoxifying, as well as immunity boosting and all around just amazing. I really love having this kind of juice being the first thing I put in my body, and although my kids aren’t aware of it just yet, I am really happy that they get to experience such goodness too.

Here is a not exact recipe of what I have been making:

  • 4-5 cups of greens ( I rotate my greens weekly, you should too)
  • 1 cup herbs (I rotate mainly between parsley and cilantro)
  • 1 big chunk of ginger
  • 1 lemon, with peel
  • 2-3 stalks of celery
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 green apple, or 1 carrot, or 1 beet

Juice everything and drink it immediately!!!

I am about to switch up this juice recipe as I am feeling the need to get into more fall vegetables and I feel like our bodies could use some other nutrients than the ones we have been getting through so much green. But I am definitely committed to continuing juicing for my kids (and my!) health. Without a doubt, they are the reason I am keeping this up everyday. If I were juicing only for myself, I know I would have skipped a bunch of days or even would have taken a break from it by now. But why take a break from taking vitamins daily? Which is what juicing essentially is. While smoothies are great since we get a good dose of fiber in them, we tend to add other things in them as well and they are a little heavier to digest. And we cannot put nearly as many greens in a smoothie without feeling full as we can in a juice. Which makes it that we don’t get as many vitamins and nutrients. As the weather cools down and I have built up a good immunity for us up until now, I will be adding more smoothies in our diet and more colors to our juices. Stay on the lookout for those recipes coming soon :)

Silence at Twilight

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One of my favorite things is to have some alone time very early in the morning. I LOVE it. It feeds me in a way not many other things do. It’s being in a quiet state, with no one to talk to, nothing to do but just BE, and do what ever feels best in that moment, that I truly love. I don’t know if I’ve always been a morning person, or if it’s the fact that I am now a mother and the very early mornings are pretty much the only time in the whole day that I will get to be by myself in such a quiet contemplative state. Either way, waking up before or with the sun is one of those things in life that I do not get enough of.

This morning I got to do that. The sun wasn’t up yet, it was dark outside. There was barely any noise or cars in the streets. It felt like an ideal moment to be alone. After I got the baby back to sleep, I chose to get up instead of trying to get some less than good quality sleep. My youngest who is 10 months old is a terrible sleeper. He wakes up frequently at night and if I end up getting more than 2 hours of sleep in a row it feels like a small victory. Because of that, I tend to try and go back to sleep as much as I can. And some mornings, like today, I decide that the quality me time I will get from waking up before any one else does will do so much more for my mood and energy than trying to fall back asleep. These mornings are too far and few between. Because of the intense sleep deprivation I have been in for months, I rarely make the decision to get up once the baby falls back asleep at 6am.

I know how to appreciate good things when they present themselves. So when the opportunity arose, I slipped out of bed, grabbed my yoga mat and had a beautiful, quiet, peaceful, energizing, nourishing 25 minutes by myself, doing yoga. With each breath I took, I released my mind and it’s chatter. With each muscle relaxing, I allowed my heart to expand more freely. With the soothing rise and fall of my chest as I filled my lungs up with fresh new oxygen, I sunk deeper into each posture. The beauty here didn’t lie in how flexible I was becoming with each movement, the beauty came from the amount of love and appreciation that was filling my heart as I was allowing myself to just BE with ME.

I am busy mom of three. As soon as the first kid wakes up, very little belongs to me. I am on timed schedule between school drop offs, pick ups, nap times, eating and playing. Diaper changes and potty runs. Snacks to make and walks to take. Sure I do a lot for myself, but even that is scheduled in with either playground time or nap time. I rarely have the flexibility to just be with myself and do something for myself without it having being interrupted. My body barely belongs to me during that time as I am still breastfeeding. And even once the kids go to sleep, I have an agenda of things I want to do, social media I want to catch up on, things to clean.

So taking these moments alone in the mornings, are one of the most luxurious things I do for myself. Being in silence before even the rest of the world starts busying by outside, feels like that moment is mine. Like no one else exists but me. And being a mother, having these moments of pure centered selfishness are what allow me to be an even better mother. When I start my day off alone, I am so much more ready to welcome any craziness that arises with calm and ease.

To finish off this amazing start of my day, my two year old gets up, comes and finds me in the living room after I had finished stretching, snuggles on my lap and says “Maman, come back to bed, come snuggle with me”. This kind of life, is truly a good life.

Here is a link to part of stretching i was able to do so early in the morning :) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYJfIY1Y5gU

Raw Butternut Granola

I am loving the fall and all the new flavors that comes with it. Sticking with my butternut and pumping spice theme I made a raw granola. I love how soothing and comforting this granola is, I would suggest eating it with warm milk to really bring out all the flavors. Although it tastes great with a quick splash of cold milk as well :)

The sweetness level is very low here, so I would suggest adding more syrup if you prefer to have a sweeter breakfast. I like it this way since I often feel like adding sliced bananas to my granola and that creates the perfect amount of sweet for me.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sprouted buckwheat
  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 apples cored
  • 1 TBS fresh ginger
  • 1 cup butternut squash
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 medjool dates ( I use medjool because they are big and juicy and soft and sweet, everything perfect for making raw treats)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup soaked pumpkin seeds (at least 4 hours)

Steps:

  • in a food processor put apples, maple syrup, ginger, spices, vanilla and dates.
  • once well combined, add squash and blend until week incorporated
  • in a large bowl add this mixture to the oats, buckwheat cranberries and pumpkin seeds
  • put on reflex sheet in dehydrator at 115 F for at east 12-14 hours.
  • serve with almond milk or milk of choice
  • store in a jar for weeks!

Eggplant Dip

I always have raw crackers laying around, therefor, I try to have some sort of dip laying around as well. Dips and crackers are such a nice, satisfying quick snack. (It actually ended up being my dinner my dinner tonight since I couldn’t stop eating it as I was letting it cool before putting in to containers.) I made this dip several weeks ago and really liked it, so I made it again tonight and wrote down the ingredients this time so I could share it with you.

I love eating as a dip with crackers and raw vegetables, but I could see it being tasty as a spread in a sandwich or with rice.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into small pieces
  • 1 red onion cut in quarters
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/2 TBS cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • dash of cayenne (or more for extra spice)

Steps:

  • preheat oven to 350 F
  • put first 4 ingredients in a pan and roast covered for about 45 minutes or until the eggplants is nice and soft
  • put everything in a food processor and pulse to combine well
  • I left some pieces for texture. You can make this as smooth or chunky as you like.

Dandelion Salad

I eat a lot of salads. ALOT. It is the biggest part of my diet especially during the spring and summer. And for some reason it never occurred to me to share a salad recipe with you all. Again, my friend Dani inspired me, the same friend that inspired me to share my dressing. Eating salads and making dressing is so second nature to me that it doesn’t occur to me that other people would care to know how I do it. And if this post ends up being only useful to her, then my job here is done :)

I love dandelion greens. As a kid I hated them. My parents would pick them in the yard and put them in our salads and I always complained at the bitter taste and the fact that they were putting “weeds” in our food. But these “weeds” are so nutritious, higher in protein than spinach, rich in iron, which for me is important as I’ve been anemic a couple times in my life, and super high in calcium, which I look for in food since I eat very little dairy. Plus they are cleansing and great for your liver.

Just to show, the lifestyle we are surrounded with as children has a huge impact on how we will in turn raise our kids. Although I hated these greens as a child, I love them today, thanks to my parents. And I introduce them to my kids as well.

The combination of the bitter, with the sweet apples and cranberries and the rich avocado just gets all my tastebuds excited, add to that the crunch of pecans and I am a happy, well nourished lady for a few hours.

Taking advantage of what I find at the farmers market ensures I get a well rounded vitamin and mineral intake, and when dandelion greens are there, I make sure to grab few bunches until the season is over!!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped dandelion greens
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 2 mushrooms
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 an apple ( I used fuji because i love how crisp and sweet they are)
  • 1 TBS dried cranberries
  • 1 TBS crushed pecans
  • drizzle with dijon balsamic dressing

Steps:

  • wash and cut everything
  • toss in a bowl
  • serve with raw crackers
  • enjoy and feel happy!!

Sweet potato Chocolate Muffins

I’ve been on a muffin mission lately. I find it to be such a convenient food to have around with kids. I try and make my muffins nutritious so that they are not just a filler food and so I feel good about the fact that the kids want to eat 3 or 4 at once (I always make mini muffins now). I had sweet potato left over from dinner last night, which makes a perfect base for a muffin recipe. I have made these before, but have altered the recipe a bit. And since I have a hard time following recipes in general, I will probably alter it again next time I make these :) These muffins are a bit dense because of the sweet potato and the dates, but I find that to be a good thing so you can get full after only eating a couple. In my opinion, that’s what nutritious foods do: the high quality of nutrients make you feel full faster and longer than something less nutritious like pretzels, crackers or chips. I also intentionally never make my muffins overly sweet. If you like things super sweet, I recommend you add extra maple syrup.

As usual I made a big batch and will freeze a couple bags in order to have some handy for when we need a quick snack or for school lunch.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour ( I used spelt and buckwheat)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 2 TBS ground flax seeds (or 2 eggs) (I grind my flax seeds in the coffee grinder, a blender can work too)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Steps:

  • preheat oven to 375 F
  • mix first 5 ingredients in a large bowl
  • in a food processor mix all the other ingredients, minus the sweet potato
  • add sweet potato at the end and pulse a few times to mix it in
  • grease your muffin tins
  • fill them up and bake for 10 minutes for mini muffins, probably about 20 minutes for larger muffins
  • this recipe made 48 mini muffins

Butternut Squash Shake

I bought my first seasonal butternut squash at the market this past week. I am excited for this season and all the fun recipes I will be creating! I chose to bring in this Fall  season with a delicious shake. It’s kinda like pumpkin pie in a cup, but really cold.

After making it I envisioned so many alternatives to making this, the possibilities are endless!! So glad the season is just starting ;)

I wish I would’ve taken a better picture, but I had 3 little children tugging on me as I was photographing their dessert. Their patience was running thin and I decided to stop the torture and give them their treat. I will probably be making this again, and will hopefully get a better picture.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped butternut squash/ 200 grammes de butternut
  • 1 tray on coconut ice cubes (my trays make 16 ice cubes)– For this I planned a few hours ahead and froze coconut milk in an ice cube tray, the good kind coconut milk, with the cream and all./ 16 glacons de lait de noix de coco ( j’utilise du lait de coco soit fait frais ou en cannette ou carton, et je congele au joins 4 heures)
  • 4 medjool dates/ 4 dates medjool
  • 1 large frozen banana, sliced/ 1 banana gelee, coupee
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk/ 1/3 de litre de lait d’amande (Ou un peu plus selon la texture desiree)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice/ 2 cuillieres a caffe d’epices d’autumn melangees (canelle, noix de muscade, clous de girofle)

Steps:

  • put everything in a blender and blast it on high until desired consistency/ mettez tout dans un blender et faites tourner a fond
  • I topped this with a few chopped pieces of dates and crushed pecans/ j’ai ajoutee des morceaux de noid de pecans et de dates pour decorer
  • this made enough for 2 adults and 2 children/ ca a fait assez pour 2 adults et 2 enfants