14 October 2010

Today's Raw Lunch: Cucumber & Eggplant Lasagna with Cashew Pesto & Marinara Sauce

I love eggplants! So when Daniw of Bahay Kalipay told me that you can actually eat eggplants raw, I got super excited and I decided to make a raw lasagna for lunch today (another great tip from Daniw. Thank you, my raw food guru!!) :)

Raw Lasagna with Cashew Pesto & Marinara Sauce

1 eggplant
1 cucumber or zuchinni
extra virgin olive oil
Braggs liquid aminos or Nama Shoyu
dried rosemary
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
raw cashew pesto (recipe here)
raw marinara sauce

For the raw marinara sauce:
dried rosemary
fresh basil leaves (dried basil will work, too!)
sea salt
black pepper
a bit of wild honey

I just throw all the marinara sauce ingredients into a blender & process. If you guys are planning to make it at home, again I would encourage experimenting with the quantity of each ingredient to suit your taste. Different strokes for different folks! ;) Set aside.

For the lasagna, I just soaked some slices of eggplant in a mixture of olive oil (I only drizzled enough to cover the slices), Braggs liquid aminos or Nama Shoyu, dried rosemary, a bit of sea salt & ground black pepper for 20-30 minutes.

To make the lasagna, arrange the first layer of eggplant slices on a plate. Top it with some cashew nut pesto. Then top the cashew nut pesto with another layer, this time with the cucumber slices. Pour some of the raw marinara sauce on top of the cucumber slices before putting on another layer of the eggplants & then the cashew pesto. I topped off my lasagna with a slice of eggplant & another slice of cucumber and poured some of the raw marinara sauce on top.

This was a fun dish to make! And I had the Little Boy watching the whole time I was making it and even got him to try a few bites since he was so fascinated by the whole process. He likes it, thankfully! Yay!

I had some cashew pesto left over from lunch a couple of days ago so I decided to use that instead of making a different sauce altogether,  though I would imagine that experimenting with several other different sauces would work well for this dish, too! It's so versatile! Maybe next time, I'll try it with some marinated mushrooms! 

Also, I'm no big fan of cucumber! But I ran out of zuchinni so I had to use cucumber instead. It still tasted great but made the dish a little watery once you start cutting into the slices. I'm definitely using zuchinni the next time I make this dish though!

Anyhoo, I've got tons of work to do but I got so excited about how tasty this was I just had to share it! ;p

So, that's it for now! On to dessert now: Mango & Cashew Nut Milk Smoothie. Yum! <3

12 October 2010

Today's Raw Lunch: Raw Cashew Pesto on Zuchinni Fettucine

For today's raw lunch:

Raw Cashew Pesto on Zuchinni Fettucine

For your raw pesto sauce:

1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked in water for atleast 20-30 minutes)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
a handful of basil
a handful of cilantro
sea salt

Just throw everything into a blender/food processor and process until smooth.

For your "pasta", just use a peeler to peel off fettucine-like strips off the zuchinni. Pour some cashew pesto sauce on top and top it off with some chopped tomatoes (and any other vegetable you like!) and some Bragg's Nutritional Yeast for "cheese".

Yummy & easy!

...and for today's Green Smoothie:

lolla rossa lettuce
frozen mango
frozen bananas
freshly-squeezed lemon juice
wild honey

Chop fruits into chunks & throw into the blender with your greens. Pour in juice from half a lemon and put in some wild honey if you want your smoothie sweeter. Pour in just enough cold water to cover half of the ingredients in the blender. Blend away! :)

This combo is a new favorite of ours. We love bananas & mangoes and the bit of lemon juice really gives it an add'l zing (not to mention Vitamin C)! It was our first time to use bok choy, too, and it's great! Bok choy is a great source of Vitamin C, calcium and Vitamin A which makes this an extra healthy green smoothie! :)

And while I'm at it, here's a few of notes on green smoothies:

1) If you noticed, I intentionally left out quantity since it should really be up to you how much of each ingredient you'd want to put in. No measuring needed! It's all about experimenting with the quantity and the fruits you use before you get the "perfect" combination that suits your taste. As far as fruit to greens ratio, the general rule (as I've gathered from many green smoothie advocates & websites) is that you put 60% fruit, 40% green vegetables. I tend to go 50-50 though and it still tastes great!

2) I almost always use fresh fruit, as opposed to using frozen. However, I started to use frozen fruits during a time when we had way more bananas & mangoes than we knew what to do with, so we had to put some in the freezer so they won't go to waste and now, I'm beginning to learn that using frozen fruits may actually be better since I end up with refreshingly cold green smoothies without having to add ice. I'm assuming though that the freezing process takes away a bit of the fruits' nutritional value (I need to research some more on that actually!) but hey, frozen fruit is always better than no fruit at all!

3) There're many green smoothie drinkers who prefer their smoothies with no water at all to really make the most out of the greens & fruits in it. I for one cannot enjoy a warm, way-too-thick green smoothie so I always add a bit of water to thin out the smoothie's consistency. Another great alternative is to use fresh fruit juice instead of water so that it's still a fruit base!

I'm so hooked on green smoothies now! It's always a great drink for a quick energy boost plus it's so filling, I actually don't crave so much for junk now. What I love about it though is that you can pretty much use any green vegetable (lettuce, cabbage, spinach, pechay, bok choy, arugula, etc.) and any favorite fruit so the green smoothie list is just endless! And it's always fun to just experiment with different combinations everytime and every once in a while stumble upon a favorite (like this one is for us!).

Enjoy your green smoothie!!! :)

08 October 2010

Trying To Get Back on the Healthy Track With My Favorite Raw Breakfasts

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately. Last week, I found myself in the Emergency Room at Medical City at 3 in the morning because of a severe migraine. I brushed it off all throughout the day and after finally taking some pain relievers and my head still feeling like it's about to explode, I finally gave in to the Mister's pleas of bringing me to the ER just to make sure it wasn't anything serious.

When I got there, my blood pressure was so low that they wanted me to stay for another hour so they could monitor me. :s After a couple of hours, the doctors let me go home but not before making me promise that I'd stay in bed for the next few days since apparently, the severe migraines and low blood pressure was, according to them, due to too much stress and lack of rest. Hmmm.

I admit that since getting back from my super restful retreat in Puerto Princesa, I've been subjected to day after day of work-related stress and pressures and other personal problems.

For the first week after getting back, I was so well-behaved: went to bed early every night, woke up early to do yoga and morning meditation, ate raw food for 2 out of my 3 daily meals, downed green smoothies as my energy drink, and I felt fantastic!

After that though, with increasing pressures and hundreds of errands & deadlines to meet, I slowly went back to skipping breakfast cause I just didn't have time.. being glued to my laptop & iPhone replying to queries & working through midnight.. skipping my morning yoga & meditation.. not having time to make my raw meals so I ended up eating cooked food.. and now, I'm back to feeling sluggish and just sickly! :s

So now, after a week of struggling to meet deadlines & rushing thru the week again, I'm determined to go back to that slower, healthier lifestyle.

I'm determined to make all-raw breakfasts everyday now for a good kickstart to the morning and since it inspires me to eat raw & healthy for the rest of the day. Here're a few of my favorite raw breakfast recipes that are easy to make and super yummy:

Fresh Mangoes & Bananas in Coconut Milk-Mango-Honey
(this was actually my very first attempt to a raw meal at home so I tried to replicate one of our breakfasts at Bahay Kalipay. But since I didn't have a lot of the other stuff that went in to the original version (like wheatgerm, avocadoes, goji berries, etc.), I decided to just make do with what I had at home and make a simpler version.

yummy fruit breakfast at Bahay Kalipay

Ingredients for the sauce:
coconut milk (don't use canned coconut milk! we made ours just by squeezing all the milk out from the grated coconut meat that you also get to use in the dish -- see? nothing wasted!)

Just blend everything together and adjust amounts of each ingredient to your liking (e.g. more honey if you want it sweeter). Set aside.

1 mango, sliced into cubes
1 banana, sliced
grated coconut meat
ground cashew nuts

Just put the mangoes and bananas in a bowl. Pour coconut milk-mango-honey mixture into the bowl and sprinkle grated coconut meat & ground cashew nuts on top.

Super easy to make and also super filling! Since my first try, I've experimented with it several times more and I now put ground flaxseeds or wheatgerm for more fiber/protein; I also use whatever nuts we have at home for variety.

You can also opt to put avocados, goji berries, or any of your favorite fruits! If you don't have coconut milk, you can also use almond milk or cashew nut milk -- it's still yummy! :)

my version with just mangoes, bananas, coconut
and crushed cashew nuts

Apple Ginger Almond & Cashew Nut & Flaxseed "Granola" in Almond Nut Milk & Honey

This one is actually my own version of a recipe I found here. Almonds are expensive here so I substituted cashew nuts for half of the amount of almonds that the recipe calls for. Turned out great!

1 apple, finely diced
1/4 cup almonds, soaked & chopped
1/4 cup cashew nut, soaked & chopped
1/4 inch piece of ginger
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (original recipe calls for 1/4 only but i love cinnamon!! so i added a bit more. do as you please.)

So basically, you just put all this in a food processor until it's got a granola-like texure.

You may opt to add more stuff like goji berries, coconut meat, etc. But to me, it's perfect the way it is! :)

I just made a mixture of almond nut milk & honey and poured that into the bowl for a yummy raw cereal breakfast!!

For some, the taste of the ginger may be too strong so you can omit this if you're not a ginger fan or you can just put in a smaller piece and make sure it's finally chopped so you don't get nasty whole chunks of it in one bite!

Banana Cinnamon Almond Nut Milk & Wheatgerm Smoothie
This is a great quick breakfast for those days when you just don't have time to make a bowl of the other 2! The wheatgerm (you can also try flaxseed) makes it super filling, too. Even I'm surprised that it gets me through the morning until lunch without getting hungry.

making almond nut milk at home
1 banana
1 cup almond nut milk (better if it's homemade!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground wheatgerm or flaxseed

Just put everything in a blender and you'll have a great glass of breakfast in the morning!

Enjoy! :-)