Dehydrated Fruit

Dehydrated Fruit!
I doubled down on the “D” today: Dehydrated Fruit and Donuts. My husband loves dried fruit, best way to satisfy his sweet tooth, instead of candy. He talks about it also on his blog, here. I got a dehydrator as a gift a few years ago from my brother. I typically use it for dried fruit, however, there are so many uses for a dehydrator: Kale Chips and other Dehydrated Veggies, Nuts and Seeds, Dried herbs, Raw flax crackers etc. I love preparing fruit, the fragrance of pineapple and mango fill the room with a beautiful sweet succulent scent.
Seth loves trail mixes and fruit strips and yesterday wanted to make a snack for today. Last night into today we dehydrated mangoes, kiwi, granny smith apples and mandarin oranges. We dehydrated the oranges for about 24 hours while the others finished up around 12-15 hours at 135 degrees F. Enjoy and be healthy!


Blueberries & Buckwheat Groats Pudding

Blueberries & Buckwheat Groats Pudding
(Serves 4-6) Vegan / Raw / Gluten-Free


Today’s blog challenge letter is “B”. We’re all about Buckwheat here at today. Because Buckwheat is so nutritious and a Superfood, let talk about it again. As mentioned in my prior posts (Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes and Citrus Soba Noodles – despite having wheat in the name, it is not a grain. It is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb. Buckwheat appears to be a grain but it is a pseudocereal, like quinoa or amaranth. The seeds can be eaten as a cereal or ground up into flour. This recipe utilizes buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is a rich source of fiber, protein, riboflavin, niacin and minerals like copper, magnesium and zinc, great for your immune system. A powerhouse ingredient facilitates calcium absorption so its great for strong bones and teeth. Rich in B-Complex Vitamins – Riboflavin and contains Tryptophan to keep you in a good mood. I even read on Webmd,Buckwheat is even used to treat diabetes.” Since I’ve made pancakes (breakfast) and Soba Noodles (dinner) already, I wanted to incorporate Buckwheat as a delicious dessert.


1 ½ Cups Buckwheat Groats
2 ½ Cups Water
1 ½ Cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used Almond/Coconut Blend)
3 Tbsp Chia Seeds
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut
2/3 Cup Blue Agave Nectar, divided
1 Cup Fresh/Frozen Blueberries
½ Tsp Cinnamon, optional

-Rinse Buckwheat Groats in colander, then soak with water in bowl and refrigerate for 5-8 hours (overnight).
-Combine Chia Seeds and Almond/Coconut Milk in a separate bowl and refrigerate also for 5-8 hours (overnight).
-Drain Buckwheat Groats and set aside.
-In a high speed blender (I used my Nutribullet), blend together all of the Chia mixture along with three-quarters of the Buckwheat Groats, Vanilla, Coconut, ½ of the Agave and Cinnamon if using. Blend for two minutes until combined. – Note: You may have to blend in batches if using smaller blender.
-Return to bowl and combine with remaining agave, serve and top with Blueberries. I used frozen Blueberries in this recipe. And I was out of Cinnamon, however, it tastes great without it too. – Enjoy this Delicious Dessert!



Soba Noodles and Asian Scalloped Mushrooms

Artichoke and Asparagus Antipasto Salad with Apricot Almond Butter Vinaigrette

Artichoke and Asparagus Antipasto Salad
(Serves 8-10) Vegan, Almost-Raw, Gluten-Free

Blogging from A to Z beginning with the letter “A” today. So I decided to bring my “A” game. Art to Choke Hearts was the inspiration today; discussing Artichokes and the blog with my husband he mentioned Henry Rollins’ book over dinner, respect.
Italian on the menu tonight, so I was further inspired to make an Antipasto salad. The salad has Asparagus, Artichoke hearts, Almonds, Arugula and an amazing dressing of Almond Butter, Apricot and Agave. The dressing alone is killer! Enjoy!

1 bunch Asparagus Spears, ends trimmed (Abt 50 spears)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup Carrots Chips
3 (14oz) Cans Quartered Artichoke Hearts
¼ Cup Water
1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers, sliced
6 oz Stuffed Green Olives
4 oz Capers
5 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes, sliced
½ Cup Sliced Almonds
1-2 Cups baby Arugula 

-Trim Asparagus ends and then slice remaining in half. Heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil in sauté pan and sauté Asparagus for 5 minutes. During that last minute add Garlic. Remove from pan and set aside.
-Add Carrots and heat through for 2 minutes back to same pan. After 2 minutes add water and heat for another 2 minutes to steam. Remove from pan and set aside.
-Back to same pan add Artichokes and heat through, warm for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
-In dry pan toss sliced almonds until lightly toasted.
-Toss together all ingredients: Asparagus, Carrots, Artichokes, Roasted Red Peppers, Olives/Capers, Sundried Tomatoes, Almonds and Arugula.

Apricot Almond Butter Vinaigrette
(Makes 1 ½ Cup Dressing)

1/3 Cup Almond Butter (or 3 – 1.15oz Packs Justin’s) – pictured below
2 Tbsp Apricot Preserves
2 Tbsp Tamari Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp blue Agave Nectar
3 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar


-Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate any remaining.


Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Blogging from A to Z…Challenge Accepted! Check out the following link here if you’re interested in the challenge, excellent concept Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out! There is also a sign up list here. This is really going to be a challenge for me, but I enjoy a good challenge and LOVE food. I’m going to get my day started and head off to work shortly, however, I will check back this evening beginning with the letter “A”. The challenge is essentially putting up a blog post everyday in April, except Sundays, beginning with the letter “A” on April 1st, then “B” etc.
I’m excited to take on this challenge, my theme will definitely be food. It may be in the capacity of a recipe daily or a food related topic, we’ll see.  The letter “A” will be the first post maybe about Apples, Almonds, Artichokes or maybe Asparagus…check back later.

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Zucchini Salad

Zucchini Salad (Serves 2)


I thoroughly enjoy cooking and creating. There are some days that I literally open the pantry and refrigerator and voila! This salad happened on one of those days. Our children were visiting family for the day; Seth and I were about to enjoy a sandwich but I wanted something fresh to go along with it…a simple side salad. Boom…Zucchini salad! This recipe was perfect for just the two of us but could easily be doubled.


1 large Zucchini, shaved

1 Vine Ripe Tomato, shaved

1 handful of Parsley, chopped

1 Scallion (Green Onion), chopped finely

3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, good quality

½ Tsp Italian Seasoning

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tsp blue Agave nectar

1 Tbsp Capers


-Using a mandolin slicer or vegetable peeler, slice zucchini and tomatoes into ribbons from top to bottom. (I use the 1/16 or 1.5mm setting on my mandolin). Chop parsley and finely chop green onion, set aside with zucchini and tomatoes.

-Whisk together Vinegar, Olive Oil, Italian Seasoning, Dijon Mustard, Agave and capers until combined. Toss both together until combined. Enjoy!


Cabbage and Fennel Slaw/Salad

Fennel, Apple and Cabbage oh my! This recipe is fantastic year round. The crisp and crunch makes me think of summer in these cold winter months. Fennel is so aromatic; the wonderful smell instantly hits you upon cutting in, with liquorice notes it tastes how it smells in my opinion. Fennel is related to celery, dill and carrots (aromatic plants) so why not add them all to the recipe. The dill and celery seeds in this recipe add to the flavorful taste. Vitamin C, Fiber & Potassium, great for immunity!



3 Carrots, shredded

1 Fennel Bulb, cored and finely sliced/shredded

1 head Cabbage, cored and finely sliced/shredded

½ Red Onions, sliced finely

1 Granny Smith Apple, julienne

2/3 Cup Vegenaise (vegan mayo)

1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Small Orange or ½ Large Orange

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

½ Tsp Dill Weed

½ Tsp Celery Seed

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp Pepper

2 Tbsp Blue Agave

¼ Cup Sliced Almonds, toasted


As noted above, core the Fennel Bulb and Cabbage then slice/shred finely – See Note*. To a large bowl, add sliced red onions and shredded carrots – I use a box grater for the carrots. Julienne the Granny Smith Apple and add to the bowl; I use organic apples and keep the skin on.

-In a small bowl whisk the: Vegenaise, Olive Oil, Orange juice (fresh squeezed), seasonings and Agave.

-Lightly toast the sliced almonds in a pan

-Drain the sliced fennel and cabbage (I use my salad spinner). Add to large bowl with Carrots, Onion and Apple. Add dressing and toasted almonds then toss together to coat. Refrigerate for about 30 mins. before serving. Toss again before serving up.


*Note/Tip: After I slice the Fennel bulb and Cabbage I let them hang out in my salad spinner with ice-cold water. Leaving them in the ice cold water while you prepare your other ingredients will keep them crisp and crunchy.

Raw Energy Balls!

There comes a time or two or too many in our busy lives that we need a jolt, boost or uppercut of energy. This week has been one of those times for me. Between work schedules, our two dogs and the kids back to school from winter break we can all use a little pick me up. Whether I pop an energy ball in for quick morning boost or just before a workout these are certainly sure to deliver. This week I have redirected my focus towards more on raw and fresh ingredients. Despite being vegan we too felt the heaviness of all the holiday fare, not to mention, the exhaustion of all the hustle and bustle.


Raw Energy Balls (Makes about 13 balls – depending on size)

½ Cup Organic Roasted Unsalted Peanuts (Divided)

½ Cup Raw Almonds (soaked, rinsed and drained)

½ Cup Organic Pumpkin Seeds (soaked, rinsed and drained)

1 Tbsp Pure Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1 ½ Tbsp Hemp Seeds

2 Tsp Maca Powder

1 Tbsp (100%) Cocoa Powder Unsweetened

5 (pieces) Organic Turkish Apricots

6 (pieces) Organic Medjool Pitted Dates

¼ Cup Organic Maple Syrup

In this recipe I soak the almonds, pumpkin seeds and (1/4 Cup) Peanuts for about 8 hours (see below for a suggestion and note). Soak in fresh water (filtered if available) with 1 Teaspoon of Salt (I use sea salt). After the seeds/nuts have soaked, drain and rinse in fresh water.



-In Food Processor – place Soaked nuts/seeds; Coconut Oil; Chia Seeds; Hemp Seeds, Maca and Cocoa powder and pulse for about 30 seconds. Add Medjool Dates with Turkish Apricots and pulse for another 30 seconds. Finally, add remaining ¼ Cup of Peanuts and Maple Syrup. Pulse until incorporated this will form a ball or a paste-like mixture.


(I only add the ¼ cup unsoaked/dry peanuts in the final step, because it adds a familiar peanut taste/texture that we’re used to. However, you may soak all the peanuts (1/2 Cup) in the initial step for nutritional purposes).

-With wet hands grab about 1½ tablespoons, or so, of mixture and roll into 1 inch balls. You may want to wet hands again halfway through.

-Place Raw Energy Balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment/wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This recipe should produce about a bakers dozen, so if you can’t wait like me, pop one in and call it a dozen! Each ball is about 140 calories.

Store in a sealed container – I like to keep them nestled in the parchment paper. They should remain fresh for 7 days; they typically don’t last that long at home.



Suggestion: If I’m preparing this on the weekend, I’ll put the seeds/nuts to soak the night before and prepare the recipe the next morning. If it’s the weekday, I’ll place them to soak in the morning before I leave for work, so I can prepare the recipe after work. If your initial reaction to soaking is as mine was, that it sounds very time consuming, especially for a quick 10-minute recipe…it’s not so bad. When I plan ahead and use the above system it works for me. There have been a few situations where I forgot to soak or was in the mood (needed) this recipe at an inopportune time; I can say that I’ve made this recipe after soaking for 2 hours and once after soaking for 30mins. to at least softened them.

Note: Soaking seeds/nuts improves the nutritional value – the vitamins, proteins and allows for better digestions. It also removes anti-nutrients/toxins. Place nuts/seeds in warm fresh/filtered water a 2:1 ratio seems to work fine. I typically add a teaspoon of salt.