UnReFiNeD

April 28, 2010

Coconut Bliss, a Long-Awaited Shipment, and Yummy Yams -**Sweet Potatoes, that is!

The trip to Edmonton really wasn’t that great (crappy weather, driving right against the wind made for a Very expensive trip with our van, and we all felt miserable after going to West Ed’s Water Park, loaded with chlorine and whatnot. I felt completely drained and I ended up with a massive migraine, something I haven’t had in ages). We did meet some neat people though, and I made a fantastic discovery: Raw coconut butter.

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Wow. This stuff is heavenly! Densely creamy, it’s sweet and exotic in flavor. It has a beautiful light cream color to it. Coconut butter is a whole food compared to coconut oil, as it’s coconut flesh pureed into butter. You can’t cook with it like you can with coconut oil, but it makes for a delicious spread. It’s solid at room temperature and will become spreadable at 35 degrees Celcius. I bought Artisana’s 16oz jar for 14$.

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I’ve always wanted to make chocolate, especially healthy and potentially raw kinds, so I experimented. I heated 1/4 cup of coconut butter and 2 tbsp of raw honey at the lowest temperature I could to get it soft (but not liquid), then I added 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (I’m dieing to try raw cocoa powder! It’s really expensive though), mixed it all up and poured some into a small bread pan. I banged it into shape and stuck it in the freezer for a short period of time. I used the rest to make little drops with almonds and walnuts imprinted in them. The dirty buggers stuck to the plate…

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It’s not as crispy as a normal chocolate bar (and I made the chocolate bar thicker then I intended), but it’s super rich in flavor and actually, when you bite into it right after it comes out of the freezer, it has a fudgey chewiness to it – Amazing! (Apparently, after being in the freezer for a couple of hours, it got pretty hard and crispy). This would be delicious grated onto something too… When I first showed my chocolate bar to Robin, he didn’t realize that I had made it myself. He couldn’t believe I had made a healthy, semi-raw bar out of 3 ingredients, and so quickly too. He couldn’t eat too much because it’s very rich, but he’s been talking about it all day long!

For a more normal chocolate texture, I think I’d have to use coconut oil and heat it up to liquid, and use some agave nectar to get the proper texture. It’s rather soft once I’ve let it cool out of the freezer for a bit (and it’s rather cold in the house) so I wonder how I can make a chocolate bar that’s less prone to melting… Actually what I really want to learn is how to make chocolates that have a gel/truffle inside, coated by a crispy piece of chocolate. I’ll have to do some research on chocolate making before experimenting again since I have no idea what I’m doing! I remember someone mentioning making chocolate with REAL stevia powder as an alternative sweetener… The quantity would be super tricky to get right, but I’d love to try it out!

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What’s REAL stevia powder? It’s not the stuff you get in little sachets and droplet-bottles, that’s for sure. That stuff is bleached and loaded with maltodextrin, which is made from processed corn or wheat. REAL stevia powder is raw, unbleached pure stevia. It’s green in color and flavor and VERY sweet. Only tiny amounts are recommended in recipes as it can easily overpower, but I think that the green flavor compliments green smoothies well.

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My Daybreak shipment from Estevan came in! I’m so excited =D

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I’m surprised at how fancy their packaging is. And it all looks so fresh and clean. From left to right: oat groats, golden flax seeds, rolled oats, green split peas, buckwheat groats, green lentils, ezekiel bread flour mix for Robin, millet, and red lentils. I’ll be starting my locavore diet tomorrow!

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I’ve been waiting for this moment… The moment of making that delicious raw dish I tried at the raw vegan potluck in Edmonton! The hostess had made it, and it was one of my favorite dishes there. She says it’s a sweet meal served during Christmas. And here it is, in all its glory!

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Sweet Potato Casserole – Serves 5-6

Ingredients: 4 cups raw sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces, 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, 1/2 cup dates (I used an extra date or two), 1 tsp vanilla extract (I went without), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Celtic salt (I used about 1/3 tsp sea salt but would suggest even less), 1/2 cup water (use date soak water), 1/4 cup raw agave (I used raw honey instead, but agave nectar would actually make it more easily spreadable…).

Directions: Soak walnuts and dates, separately, overnight. Place half of walnuts, sweet potatoes, water, dates, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a food processor and process until decently smooth.  Pour into a pie or baking dish. Grind the remaining walnuts to a course consistency and mix with the salt and agave/honey.  Add on top of the sweet potato mixture and serve.

It turned out delicious and as I remember it, except, even after using less salt than suggested, the topping was too salty. I remember how not long ago I couldn’t even ponder eating things like yams and pumpkins raw… I made it for Robin’s family and I but even after telling them I was making supper they still made their own supper and stuffed themselves. They didn’t come down to enjoy it even after multiple call outs and in the end they barely touched it, which hurt my feelings since I was trying to be generous, friendly and sociable since I usually keep to myself… I will definitely make this again though, except with less salt in it.

*Can anyone help me figure out the whole sweet potato / yam thing? Even after doing some research on it, I’m still confused! Some sources say that yam is a type of sweet potato, other sources say it’s a completely different thing. I can’t trust the signs at grocery stores, they don’t seem to know either! I’ve seen pictures of them online and they look very similar, but I think the sweet potato seems to have subtle rings or lines going across it and they seem to have a tiny bit more of a red color to them and tend to come in a cucumber shape… I believe what I’ve been exposed to is yams and not sweet potatoes, but I’m not entirely sure. Here’s a picture of the big bad boy I used for the casserole:

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Let me know what you think!

*Update* It’s a sweet potatooo!!! =D

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8 Comments »

  1. Wow, thank you SO much for informing about the difference between real and fake stevia powder! I’ve been using the white one during my entire elimination diet and have had strong reactions to both corn and wheat. I will definitely try to find the green one! Would you happen to know if the green one is more expensive?

    I am shocked at your ability to make chocolate as well, but this is something I will have to try in the future. I’m also very curious about gel-filled chocolate. = )

    Lastly, that yam cake casserole is something I will have to try soon – I don’t own a food processor, but my blender is giving out, so I have an excuse to buy one. I’ll be moving in with my parents too, and they have one. = )

    Comment by Purna — April 28, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

  2. No problem. People just assume that what they find in stores is pure stevia, but it’s not, so please pass on the word! Just remember though, it’s got a Green flavor to it. With tweaking, you can make it work =). I bought this 100g bag for 8-9$, and I feel like it’ll last me forever! You use less than you would the white stuff.

    Yesyes I recommend trying out the yam casserole! It’s so deliciously sweet =). What’s great about it, as many raw recipes, is you can easily add extra or more of certain ingredients to it until you’re satisfied with the flavor. I think it’d be hard to make this recipe with a blender. When I settle down again, I want to go raw, and I want to get myself a high-quality blender, food processor and dehydrator – That’s a lot of money!! I rarely buy stuff though, so those would be quite a big exception.

    By the way, how have you been doing lately? How much has your diet shifted and are you seeing big results? When I get to Montreal during my road trip, we are DEFINITELY having a big cooking party! =)

    Comment by Kate — April 29, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    • Yes!! Cooking party!! I like it!

      I’m moving to Montreal either next week or the week after that…so I will be around! When do you plan on visiting the area?

      Also, I’m sorry to hear Robin’s family were so rude…I can understand why your feelings were hurt – mine would have been as well. Oh well, more yummyness and healthy food for you and Robin! ; )

      Where did you buy the green stevia powder? I looked around online today for carriers in Montreal and have yet to find one…

      My health is good (have a bad cold at the moment). About to finish the elimination diet, I just have pistachios, some oils and yeast to try out. I’m frustrated because I’m allergic to ALL the most common allergens, plus some nightshade vegetables. Can you believe packaged roasted almonds often have wheat in them?? I couldn’t buy them last week because of this and there wasn’t a label on the ones my dad bought…I definitely paid a painful price for that!!

      Comment by Purna — April 29, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

      • I’m planning on starting the road trip at the end of May (around the 21st) and, hmmm, it really depends how long I stay at every town/ city/ park I pass through… I want to spend some time in Toronto… I’ll make a wild guess and say mid June.

        I bought my stevia powder at a health food store (Planet Organic). There must be SOME health food store that carries it down there… Never fear though, I’ll be bringing my stuff along so, if you can’t find any by then, I can give you some =).

        I would have never thought (but wouldn’t be surprised…) that packaged roasted almonds would have wheat in them. It must make things difficult. Obviously, the best thing to do is to cook all your own food from scratch but that’s also difficult when you’re so busy. You could hire a purna-safe healthy vegan chef but I’m sure that would cost much more than you and I could afford!

        Comment by Kate — April 30, 2010 @ 3:00 pm

  3. OMG! I want to try that brand of coconut butter/oil so badly! (but they’re expensive here too…) And making raw chocolate?! Awesome! I love doing that with coconut butter/oil! :D

    Mmm! The yam dish looks amazing! Don’t have a clue how it’d be possible when I make it, but it sounds good if it’s already made!

    You just totally inspired me to go make more raw coconut oil chocolate! Ta ta! :D

    Comment by Miho — April 29, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

    • You have to try it, it’s amazing! I hope you have fun making chocolate! Let me know how it turns out =). Do you find that coconut butter or coconut oil works better for chocolate?

      I read somewhere that sweet potatoes (or was it yams? Again with the confusion!) can be toxic if eaten raw, but I’ve heard of others eating it raw, and I had no issues whatsoever digesting the casserole.

      Comment by Kate — April 30, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  4. I use SweetLeaf brand of stevia, which does not contain sugars or sugar alcohols that others may have, so it is not derived from corn or wheat, and it is processed using only pure water during the entire process, and not ethanol, methanol, solvents, alcohols that others use. Therefore, it retains all three of stevia’s natural 0 calorie, 0 carb, and 0 glycmeic index properties that others cannot when they contain the mentioned additives (sugars or sugar alcohols).

    Comment by yoda — May 1, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    • Thanks for the information! I’ll have to look into that brand.

      Comment by Kate — May 1, 2010 @ 10:57 pm


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