Monday, July 30, 2012

Mmmmmango lassi smoothie. :)

I love mango lassi. :) So delicious. Who knew cinnamon, mango, and yogurt could taste so amazing together??

Unfortunately, this exotic drink does indeed have processed sugar and pasteurized yogurt (which doesn't work well in my tummy). Therefore, I resolved to make an even healthier version of this delight - all with unprocessed, natural ingredients!

Guess what? It worked!

I think you will love it. It's a tangy, sweet, unique mango smoothie!

Mango-Lassi-inspired Smoothie

Who says that a traditionally yogurt-based drink can’t be remade into this raw delight? Anyone? Well, enough said.

Makes one medium serving.

Ingredients:
  • 1 mango, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup cold coconut water
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Agave or other favorite sweetener
  • Cinnamon, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp.)
  • Pinch of salt
Directions:
1)    Blend all the ingredients together. Serve in a pretty glass and garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.


P.S. I think this smoothie would be OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING if you added some coconut yogurt! Just sayin'...

Much love,

~ Natalyn :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mmmmmm... salad. ^_^

Craving a dark green salad with tomatoes, corn, and chives.......

Drenched in ranch dressing??


MmmmmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMmmmmmMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!

Ok, I'm done.

Actually I'm not done. Guess what I used as one of the base ingredients for this dressing?? 

Just guess. :)

Exotic, delicious, healthy Thai Coconut (yes, that is my picture, thank you very much)


Surprised, or what? >:)Man, I miss salads... I just got all four of my wisdom teeth pulled out yesterday, and I am feelin' (and lookin') it today. Here's my keyboard's version of my face:     
 -________-    (It really looks like that. Ha! Ha!)

That's why I pulled out this creamy, delicious, healthy salad for you guys to try. Please, eat it for me, partake in the consumption of this nourishing salad. Have your family join! Hurry, before your wisdom teeth get pulled out!!!!!!!




Kale Corn and Chive Salad with Creamy Dressing

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
* 4 leaves kale or other lettuce, chopped into very small, bite-size pieces
* BIG handful of cherry tomatoes
* 1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed completely
* 2 green onions, chopped
* RAW coconut ranch dressing
* Raw/Vegan barbecue sauce of choice (totally optional)

Directions:
1) Toss all salad ingredients together and add dressing.
2) Mix until thoroughly combined. Enjoy. :)

Now for the dressing. I love this dressing. It reminds me of ranch, hence the name I gave it. 




Raw Coconut Ranch Dressing

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
* 1/2 the meat of young Thai coconut (can be found at Sprouts market or your local Asian market)
* 1/4 cup coconut water
* Juice of 1/2 lime
* 1/4 cup almond milk
* 1 Tbsp. tahini
* 1 tsp. garlic powder
* 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (you can find this at any health food store near you - or you can always check online)
* pinch of salt
* at least 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the rest to taste. :)
* 1 tsp. chia seeds (totally optional)

Directions:
1) Blend all ingredients together until perfectly creamy! :)

The end!

Here's what I like to do with my healthy "ranch" dressing:


Mmmmm! 

Well, that's all for now, folks. Wisdom teeth are hurting and ima take some Vikadin (is that how you spell it??).


Much love,


~ Natalyn

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cheezy Quesadillas and Mexican Hot Chocolate. ^_^

Oh my gosh.

I've been striking gold lately. Why are certain healthy foods combined together sooooo delicious??????

I don't even want to talk about my day, I just want to share:

Mmmmmmm... hot quesadillas fresh from the pan...

   Inspired by Yum Universe's vegan black bean and kale quesadillas (Which by the way, also look AMAZING), I decided to try my own variation, minus the black beans, adding my own recipe for cheesy sauce and a tangy chipotle dipping sauce. It's very simple, very delicious - the best combo.
   By the way, do not be  intimidated by the kale in this recipe. It tastes so amazing when you cook it, trust me. It's also super duper nutritious - anti-inflammatory and packed with protein!

:D :D :D Here it comes!!!!!

Nat's Cheesy Kale Quesadilla

Serves 1

Ingredients
* 1 sprouted grain tortilla (or whole wheat, or gluten free)
* 1 large leaf of kale (I use lacinato)
* 1/4 cup cilantro
* 1/4 cup almond milk
* 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (can be found at a health food store near you)
* 1/2 tsp. tahini (or unsweetened peanut butter)
* 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. potato flour
* pinch of sweetener (very important)
* 1 heaping tsp. coconut oil

Directions
1) Chop kale and cilantro into bite-size pieces. Set aside in small mixing bowl.
2) Place remaining ingredients except for coconut oil in blender and blend until pretty smooth. If there are a few clumps of potato flour, don't worry about it.
3) Pour cheesy sauce in the small mixing bowl you set aside. Massage the cheesy sauce into the kale and cilantro mixture.
4) Spread the cheesy kale on half of the tortilla. I like to spread the remaining cheese sauce on the rest of the tortilla. <3 so delicious.
5) Heat up the coconut oil in a medium frying pan until completely melted to liquid form. Add quesadilla and let sizzle for 1 minute. Flip with tongs and let the other side sizzle in the coconut oil goodness.
6) Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce or salsa.



The great thing about these recipes is that you can easily double or triple or quadruple them. This is great for a dinner party, either as an appetizer or the main course! It also makes a wonderful, healthy after-school snack for your kiddos. Who can resist the cheesy, buttery flavor of these kale quesadillas? I know I can't. Neither can my mom, my dad, or my boss - even her baby boy approved of them!

                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok, now for the recipe I promised:



Delicious, warm, raw, Mexican hot chocolate. Wait... warm and raw? Aren't those two oxymorons? Not so! The definition of raw varies, but many say - and I believe - that any fruit, veggie, nut, or grain is raw as long as it hasn't been cooked above 104 degrees Farenheight. Isn't that great news??

I got the idea for this hot chocolate recipe at Mama Pacha Raw Vegan Restaurant. Oh my goodness, it was so fun!! It is the first raw restaurant I have ever been to. Everything there is 80% + raw.

                                                  


It's such a homey, modern, down-to-earth- atmosphere there. Lovely flowers in simple glass vases, polished wooden tables and seats, and an open kitchen (I got to watch them make my food from where I sat). Here is the stuff my family and I enjoyed:


              




                        








It was all so delicious. And I was the one who wanted Mexican Hot Chocolate:



Their recipe is sooooo good. My recipe is different, but it tastes almost identical to theirs, according to my mom and dad. Yay!!! But yeah, I added some things in. I have decided that for this recipe, the credit goes to Mama Pacha Cafe, because they are awesome and no-doubt make the BEST hot chocolate I have ever tasted in my life! <3



Raw Mexican Hot Chocolate - Nat's Variation

Serves 1

Ingredients
* 1 cup almond milk
* 1/2 cup dates, soaked 15-30 min. - if you sub carob for chocolate, only use 2 dates
* 1/4 cup cashews, soaked 30 min. (cashews are optional)
* 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder OR 1 Tbsp. carob powder
* 1 to 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (according to your taste)
* 1/2 tsp. natural vanilla extract
* pinch nutmeg
* pinch cayenne pepper
* pinch salt

Directions
1) Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
2) If you have a Vitamix, you can continue blending until mixture is warm. If you don't, pour mixture into a super small saucepan and heat very little, until warm.

Seriously, try this one. It's soooo good. ^_^

I think I'm going to post this recipe next:



Goodbye for now!

Much love,


~ Natalyn <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Santa Fe, an Amazing Shop, and Tofu

Hey y'all!! :D

So last night, I was so hyper and took forever to fall asleep because I had so many ideas racing through my mind. Ideas for my own health improvements, for my dorm room in college.. 

and for the blog, of course!! 

First, a little more about Santa Fe. Man, I love Santa Fe. In my humble opinion, Santa Fe is the heart of New Mexico. A city full of art, culture, fashion, history, and the list can go on! 



Oh, and I LOVE MONSOONS!!

Randomly started raining while we were looking for parking!
Within the small amount of time we were in Santa Fe (unfortunately, we had to head back for home that day), we visited fun clothing shops, a pretty park, and my personal favorite: Oleaceae. A.k.a. the best sea salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar store you will ever set foot in!


It was truly fantastic to go there. It was a lovely shop, with the nicest shopkeeper. But the best part: there were samples for EVERYTHING!

Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar - tasted like chocolate!
There were steel barrels like this lined up throughout the shop, and filled with all sorts of goodies. There were sweet oils, savory oils - there was even a mushroom olive oil, but my mom didn't like it. Oh well, it was worth a try. :-/
They also had a section for salts of all types: Hawaiian black lava sea salt, fresh salt from different lakes, Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Chipotle Salt, and other fun flavors and varieties. And they were at decent prices! $6-8 for a small container of precious salt. ^_^ Of course, my favorite HAD to be the oddball. $20 for a small container. -___-

See that website on the container? *hint hint check it out! You won't be sorry.*

But doesn't the name sound so appealing?? No, not chocolate truffles. Truffles are a type of mushroom. Gourmet chefs seem to go gaga for it. Ever heard of truffle oil? Some people swear by it and love to drizzle a tiny amount into their scrambled eggs (or tofu) because it's just that flavorful.

Oh and it is. Well, I've never tried the oil, but the salt sure is good. Look at that crystal goodness:


Of course, you don't have to use this particular salt for the recipe, but it sure adds a new world of fantastic flavor to it. 

Here is some tofu:



Pretty, isn't it? Looks like cheese. Too bad it doesn't taste like cheese. :'( 
I've always been rather iffy about eating tofu. I'm not a huge fan of its strong, yet bland flavor (if that oxymoron even makes any sense). But I actually really enjoyed it after making this dish! And the extra plus: it's a fast recipe, and very versatile. Makes a great breakfast, lettuce wrap filling, taco filling, or side dish. I had it for dinner! It's also a great starter if you want to flavor it with curry, italian seasonings,  veggie chorizo, etc. :)


Quick and Tasty Tofu Scramble
Serves 2

In a hurry? Use a food processor to chop the veggies. Takes literally seconds - compare that to the 10-15 minutes it takes to chop everything by hand.

Ingredients
* 1 1/2 cups extra firm tofu, diced small
* 1/2 large tomato (1/2 cup), diced
* 1 cup zucchini, diced very small
* 1 tsp. coconut oil
* 1 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast 
* 1/2 tsp. turmeric (for color, so it's optional)
* A couple pinches of salt (I highly recommend Oleaceae's black truffle sea salt)
* Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1) Heat the coconut oil in medium frying pan, then add tofu. Mix tofu until coated with oil.
2) Change heat to medium-low, partially cover pot, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3) Add tomatoes, cook 1 minute, then add zucchini and salt and lightly cook for a minute more. Remove from heat.
4) Put remaining seasonings in and mix well until tofu mixture is coated evenly.
5) Voila! Time to eat. 

If you want a SUPER mushroomy flavor but don't want to spend twenty dollars on salt, just add a couple of minced mushrooms to the tofu.

I hope you guys try out this recipe. It's extremely flavorful, and it's mom and dad approved! 

Tomorrow, I'm gonna talk a bit more about Santa Fe, especially the amazing raw restaurant I went to there. I will also be sharing another fast, amazing, fun recipe:

Can you guess what this creamy chocolate goodness is?? 

Bye bye for now. :)

Much love,

~ Natalyn






Monday, July 23, 2012

My Favorite State and a Delightful Party Recipe!


I'm back from New Mexico! Safe and sound at home, praise the Lord. :)

Ah, New Mexico…. The land rich in culture, art, history, family, old and new friends. The land of enchantment!!!!!

If my good Lord wills it, I would like to live there one day. I mean, look at it! Who wouldn’t want to see this everyday:



It is wonderful. Especially the famous Santa Fe! I was in New Mexico this weekend, and I had such an amazing time in that city. 
P.S. Tomorrow I’m going to tell you about the RAW restaurant I went to there. SO. AMAZING. I will never forget that restaurant.



Well, while I was at New Mexico, I had a fantastic time with my family. We all crammed in my uncle and auntie’s house many times during this trip. During this time, I came up with SO many raw recipes, and I’m so excited to share them all! As I write this, I really don’t know where to start. God has blessed me this weekend with such a great experience, not only with food, but with His presence in peoples’ lives.

Well, I am going to first share a fantastic salsa recipe that is great for parties, get-togethers, you name it!



I give half the credit for this recipe to my cousin A because she was the one who got the idea to put olives in there. It really gives the salsa a perfect flavor. This salsa goes fast, so you’ll probably want to make a double or triple recipe depending on how many are coming. This recipe serves 3-5 people, although me and my cousin A loved it so much that we practically ate the whole bowl the first time I made it. Everyone else in the family just got samples that day!! Whoops. :-}



What I love about this salsa is that it is SUPER fast to make (can take literally 5 minutes with a food processor), annnnnnnddd you can use simple, everyday ingredients to make it. I hate it when I see a recipe and get discouraged to make it because I have to hike over to a fancy store to buy ingredients and/or equipment for it. Please know that I will do my best to keep things as simple as I can for your convenience. Being healthy doesn’t have to be so hard as people say it is. It can be easy, fast, and delicious.
Well, I’ve chatted enough. Here’s the recipe:


                                                 Super Speedy Party Salsa a la RAW (mostly raw)                                                  

Ingredients
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 piece of red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 9 spanish green olives, pitted
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. savory Louisiana or Mexican Hot Sauce (such as Cholula or Tabasco, etc. NO asian or other hot sauces, as those tend to be sweet and will ruin this recipe. I know by experience)
  • pinch of salt 
  • a dash of LOVE
Directions
1)    In a food processor, chop the cilantro and olives. Add tomato and chop it until it is in small dices.
2)    Empty contents of food processor into bowl and add hot sauce 1 TEASPOON AT A TIME (very important, because some sauces are hotter than others).
3)    Lastly, add your pinch of salt and your dash of love. ;)
4)    Enjoy. Tastes fantastic with banana chips, tortilla chips, or in burritos/wraps.

If you're interested in making this recipe completely raw but don't know where to get raw olives, then allow me to refer you to these beauties:
I got them at the Mama Pacha Raw Restaurant in Santa Fe, but it's rather unrealistic to hike all the way over there for a jar of olives! Therefore, here is the website you can buy these at:

http://www.essentiallivingfoods.com/collections/olives/products/black-pitted-olives

These olives are seriously the best olives I have ever tried. Their full flavor reminds me of a mix of calamata, black, and spanish green olives.. well, whatever, the point is that they taste amazing. ^_^

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, the good news is that I have a TON more recipes to share, all of which were a hit with my family. I'm debating.. should I write next about my first savory recipe - scrambled tofu toss - or the completely raw and delicious Mexican hot chocolate? Decisions, decisions. Wow, I wish it were tomorrow already!!!!!!! 

Now it's time for me to unpack. -_- My favorite part of the vacation. *end sarcasm* 

What's your favorite State? What attracts you to it? 

Much love,

~ Natalyn <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Busy People can Eat Good! + Olive Garden!

Let me share with you something I used to always throw out at health enthusiasts:

I can't be healthy because I'm just too busy!

Well you know what? I was wrong! :) Celebrate, because there are ways to stay healthy, even with a jam-packed schedule.

Today - since this is such a big subject - I'm going to talk about restaurants. Lots of us health fanatics  like to tell you to "go to your local juice bar" or "check out this raw restaurant in my city"... The grim reality is that many people don't have a local juice bar or a raw/vegan restaurant anywhere near them. I am lucky to have a Natural Foods store with a restaurant, and it's literally 5 minutes away from my house (and if you have these stores/restaurants near you, by all means go to them because you are lucky to have them nearby)! But what if I didn't have this nearby? What would I do in a social situation?

I asked a bunch of my family and friends (mostly here in So Cal) what their favorite restaurants were, and I got so many restaurants. The first three on this list were most popular.
1) Olive Garden
2) Wood Ranch
3) In-n-out
4) Don Jose
5) Mimi's Cafe
6) Cafe Coyote
7) Benihana
8) Ooka
9) Vegetable Delight (vegan cuisine, I believe)
10) Storytellers in Grand Californian (at Disneyland)
11) Greek Meze
12) Akina
13) Bahama Breeze (Florida)
14) Chipotle
15) Spaghetti Factory
16) Life Cafe
17) NYPD
18) La Cocina
19) Acapulco
20) Joyee's (in Chicago)
21) El Indio
22) El Torito
23) Restaurant Koi
24) Shenandoah Cafe
25) Macaroni Grill
26) PF Chang's
27) Angelo's
28) Panda Inn

My new blogging project is to talk about a restaurant and find out ways you can order nutritious vegan and vegetarian choices from the restaurant's menu. I'm very excited now that I have a list going.

Today, I will first talk about my experience that inspired me to do this, and then I will discuss Olive Garden (very popular demand).

My Claim Jumper VEGANIZED Meal
Yesterday evening, I spent some time with my mommy and daddy at Claim Jumper. I slouched and slumped at the menu (yes, I looked at it ahead of time, online) and wondered how the heck I can stay healthy at a place like that! Well, I looked and looked, and I finally found a blogger's site that shared the same frustration as me. She had e-mailed Claim Jumper about vegan menu options, and they e-mailed back a list to her. I printed that list and went to the restaurant, hoping this list would work. For appetizer, we had a Fire-roasted Artichoke with Garlic Aioli (I didn't dip my artichoke in it because it has mayo). For the main course, my parents had salads, but I wanted something warm and delicious. I ordered a baked potato with a side of avocado, corn, black beans, tomato, and vinagrette. SO GOOD. And it was the cheapest main course on the receipt: about $6.49. Not bad for a main course at Claim Jumper. And I was full afterwards! I'm definitely going to remake that potato at home. Maybe you can make it raw by stuffing a zucchini instead, who knows??? :D

Now for Olive Garden:



[ DISCLAIMER OF SORTS: If you have food allergies, always check with the restaurant to be sure your food is free of those allergens. Never trust what you see online (blog, video, etc.) or hear from word of mouth when it comes to your food. I cannot guarantee that the options I provided are 100% dairy free, egg free, meat free, etc. (for example, the marinara may have trace amounts of butter involved in the preparation). ]


Ahh, olive garden. Why must your creamy sauces and perfect pasta and breadsticks be so delicious but so fattening????
So, I took a look at the menu, and here is what I think you can do with it:

*You can order the salad without the cheese. The salad is so delicious, it doesn't even need all that extra stuff. ^_^ And by omitting the buttery croutons and cheese, you make a 90% RAW salad (the black olives in the salad are not raw).

* Ask for a side of roasted veggies with pesto. This is a healthy vegetarian idea. It's tempting to choose the sides with heavy amounts of cheese and butter and bread carbs, but trust me when I say that the more fruits and veggies there are on your plate, the more your body will thank you later.

* Choose a simple, plain marinara from their menu for your pasta. I believe that the best food is the one with pure, unprocessed, and fresh ingredients. The closer you get to that ideal, the better.

* Order the minestrone soup. For lactose-intolerants: you may want to ask if they put any butter or cheese in it (my guess is that they don't). If they do, ask them to omit it and have them use olive oil instead.

* I do believe their Linguine alla Marinara and Capellini Pomodoro is definitely a better option compared to the cream-laden pasta dishes.

* Choose the "Create Your Own Pizza"on the menu. Ask for your desired toppings and request no cheese (or very little cheese if you still wish to incorporate some cheese into your diet).

* Lay low on the breadsticks. If possible, try to avoid them completely. They use processed flour, butter, and cheese - this is fattening, full of empty calories, and more harmful than helpful to the body.

* Dessert: Try asking for fresh fruit in a bowl. If you're not against white sugar, you can drizzle a packet of it onto your fruit and combine well. I personally would ask for honey, because it is healthier and more delicious. Sweetened fruit tastes delicious and is a much better alternative to the cream-laden desserts they offer.

I'm sure there is so much more from the menu that you can VEGANIZE or simply health-ify, and if you or I come up with any other ideas, I will edit them into this post.

Tomorrow - or perhaps Friday (I'll be on the road all day tomorrow cuz I'm on my way to New Mexico to visit my uncle and auntie!) I will continue with the restaurant tips.

So tell me, are there any restaurants I've missed in this post's list? Would you like me to add in a favorite restaurant of yours?

Peace, love, and italian food!

~ Natalyn

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Confession, Popsicles, and a Vow

Hey everyone.

I have a confession to make. *hangs head*

....

I cheated on my diet yesterday. I did. And I'm sick of cheating, because every time I regret it.

You know all those stories of people who decided to go raw or go vegan and never turned back again? Yeah. Doesn't happen to everybody. I'm exhibit A to prove that.

But, as I'm encouraging myself right now, I also encourage you guys. I encourage you not to give up, even if you fell this weekend, or even kept falling all week. Change is a hard thing. It doesn't wait for you to be ready. You have to be strong and pull yourself right back up...

...

And eat a sin-free, raw vegan popsicle. :)



Cheered you up, didn't I? :)

Today, I'm sharing a refreshing and satisfying popsicle recipe that will please kids and adults alike... especially the adults. ;)

This is a mango-colada popsicle. Very unique, and very delicious. A great combo of sweet, indulgent mango, refreshing coconut water, tangy lime, and creamy banana .



Mango-Colada Popsicle
Makes 3-4 popsicles
Ingredients:
* 1 mango, peeled and sliced roughly
* 1 cup coconut water (fresh is best!!)
* 3/4 frozen banana (doesn't have to be frozen)
* small piece of pineapple (totally optional)
* 2 Tbsp. agave nectar or other sweetener
* 1/2 lime
* pinch of salt
Directions:
1) Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix blender until smooth and creamy.
2) Pour mixture into popsicle molds.
3) Freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight. Tastes best if you enjoy it outside in the hot sun. :)

HEY! This would also make a fantastic mango granita as well (granitas are the easiest elegant summer dessert you can make). Just add one more tablespoon of agave to the mixture. Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy, just as before, but this time pour into a tupperware and place in freezer. After 1 hour, take out, and scratch at the mixture with a fork. Stick back in, and do this cycle for 3 or 4 more hours or until the whole mixture is composed of fluffy ice crystals. For maximum effect, serve in crystal bowls or even margarita glasses (NO I DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, it's just an idea) and garnish with raspberries, lime slices, pineapple slices, and/or strawberries.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm serious about cheering yourself up. The worst thing you can do when you're down is to beat yourself up even more, cuz guess what happens when you do that? You go down even lower, and are even more likely to give it all up. I know this from experience, because I struggled with beating myself up in my mind and giving my self negative criticism whenever I messed up. That's not the way to do it, ladies and gentlemen. Now, you see, cheering yourself up is the best way. First, give yourself a positive, constructive criticism. 1) Admit you were wrong in doing what you did, 2) forgive yourself, and 3) think of realistic ways for you to fix the problem. Have your long term goal in mind (mine is to be 90% raw, hence my website name), and then take a small step forward. I call it a vow. Make sure it is realistic, and reachable for you.
Here's a good example for someone who wishes to start going raw but doesn't know where to start:

I vow to make all my desserts raw from now on. 


I know, that is definitely not perfect. There's so  much more you can do. But it's a step forward, and better than doing everything all at once. Once you master that first vow, you can make another one, saying that you will eat at least one vegetable every meal, or something like that.
Anyway, here's a bad example of a vow:

I vow to get all sugar off my diet, stop eating any meat from this point forward, stop eating eggs every morning, stop eating after 4:00, and start having only juice and nuts for breakfast.


Even if you are super duper determined to do a vow like that, it will be hard to follow through because it's just too much stuff to focus on. Your body will go nuts, trust me. Do one of those vows at a time, and you are much more likely to succeed. I know it's hard, and you may want to improve your health immedieately, but it will pay off later on if you are patient now, and take things one step at a time. To build a strong foundation, you do it slowly and there are no shortcuts.

Ok, my turn. Here's my new vow. I'm serious.

I, Natalyn Rodriguez, vow to stop cheating on my vegan lifestyle from now on.

There, said it. And this vow is realistic for me because I have been vegan for a while now and have only cheated on some weekends. I just made a vow to be a strict vegan. If I had been a hard-core meat eater or even an eggs-and-milk-loving vegetarian, it would have been unrealistic to suddenly stop like this. It's better to set small goals, as I said earlier.

Anyway, you get the idea. :)

After you say your vow/make your goal, you cheer yourself up with something special you enjoy. Since I enjoy talking to you guys and cooking up deliciousness in the kitchen, I made that popsicle recipe for everyone to enjoy. And guess what? I'm cheered up, and encouraged to start my week anew. :) Great, isn't it?

One more word of advice. If you immediately mess up after making your REALISTIC vow, or are afraid you can't do it, here 's some stuff you can do that will definitely help:
* Have accountability buddies, not just one. The more you have, the more embarrassed you'll be if you cheat in front of them.
* Share your newfound diet belief (but do not, I mean DO NOT force your diet down their throat). Tell your family and friends about it. Share a sweet, healthy treat with them, or make a lovely vegan appetizer for your friend's upcoming party, (etc.).
* If you're craving a cream cake... make a vegan cream cake! The point of this is that there is such thing as substitutions and you don't have to give up everything from your SAD (standard American Diet). Heck, I've seen recipes for bacon made from eggplants! If that's possible, what isn't?

Overall, here is my message: Understand that you are not perfect, forgive yourself, and fix the problem one vow at a time, keeping the long-term goal always in mind.. And I guarantee you will inspire at least someone out there to change his or her life for the better.

Love you guys.

~ Natalyn <3 <3 <3

P.S. I've said this warning before, but I'm gonna say it again: I am not here to substitute your doctor. If you do want to go on a raw diet or change your whole lifestyle to a raw or vegan lifestyle, I recommend you first talk to your doctor about it, especially if you have any health problems like diabetes or heart disease.




Friday, July 13, 2012

Fail Salad and Success Smoothie!!

Good morning, folks!!!

I am here in the kitchen, sitting on the high chair, talking to you guys, and eating my salad! Today I came up with a Tangy Tahini Toss (such an epic, alliterated title) that I was planning on sharing, and it was pretty good. It wasn't perfect, though, because it was missing a certain flavor, so I'm not going to post it. I strive to post only my greatest creations - a.k.a. the recipes that make you feel like you just entered a whole new universe and you feel compelled to start your own tribal chant... okay, maybe not that last part.

Since I failed that first one, I just whipped up a new one in the blender for you: A Summer Smoothie!!!



 Find fresh organic summer fruit in your local farmer's market. This particular recipe includes both the white and yellow variety of peach, and refreshing, hydrating, coconut water. Don't have peaches? Use nectarines. This recipe also includes apricot... When I was a little girl, I lived in a house that had a big backyard. The backyard has four orange trees, one tangerine, three red/pink guava, one very generous lime tree, and a HUGE avocado tree that still gives so many avocados. It's amazing. It's my grandma's house now, but I still visit a lot.
The house's backyard used to have an apricot tree - well, half of it. It belonged to the neighbors, but the tree grew so large and beautiful that it willingly stretched its slim branches over the metal fence. Those apricots were the best I had ever tasted (but that's a key characteristic of any organic or grown food). Sweet, slightly tangy flesh. Sun-kissed, delicate skin. Just beautiful. And fun to eat! To this day, I love to tear open the apricot in two perfect halves. You can't do that with an apple or with a mango or a banana - unless you're a caveman or something.



I love food photography. It's art you can eat!

Ok, ok, onward to the recipe!!



Natalyn's Summer Smoothie, Variation 1


Ingredients:
* 1 white peach, pitted
* 1 yellow peach, pitted
* 1 apricot, pitted
* 1 banana, frozen (don't miss that step)
* 1 cup coconut water (I use coconut water from young Thai coconuts)
* 1 Tbsp. natural sweetener (coconut palm sugar is great!) - I didn't even use a sweetener as I felt it was sweet enough without it
* generous pinch of salt


Directions
1) Place all ingredients in Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy (if you don't want to see pieces of peel in the smoothie, peel the peaches and apricots before blending).
2) Serve immediately and garnish with golden flax seeds and orange zest (totally optional). Enjoy!

What's your favorite childhood memory? And just for fun, what's your favorite smoothie?

Much love,

~ Natalyn <3 ^_^



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Naming the Blog

Hello, friends!!

Guess what?

I have officially finished my freshman orientation (July 11 &12)! *crowd cheers* It was very fun and I learned so much about the campus and about college in general. I seriously can't wait until September!!!......

....

Okay, so I can wait a little longer, cuz summer ain't gonna last forever and I gotta enjoy it while I still have it - a.k.a. chillin' like a villain in the kitchen... can't do that in college (man, my AP English teacher would have burned me alive if she saw all this colloquial language, improper grammar and sentence structure).

Now to the topic! I decided to dedicate this post specifically to naming the blog. In the first part of my blogging journey, I was really struggling to find a good name for the blog because 1) so many names are already taken!!!!, 2) Half of the names I came up with sounded like health companies or cheesy associations. Anyway, I decided to share some of those names my friends and I came up with (mostly my friends). Hilarious stuff, some really good creative ideas, and great memories. Well, here's my list of favorites:

Names for my blog
* "The Blog"
* The Food Blog (I know, these first ones are a little basic, but this is just the warm up. Keep reading!)
* Foodtacular: a Vegan Journey
* A Vegan Venture (taken)
* Little Miss Vegan (Raw) Chef
* Edible Plants & Assorted Nonsense (a.k.a EPAN.. lol)
* Raw without a Bra! (I laughed so much with this one. It's so creative.)
* Plant Rant (taken. Ugh)
* Artfully Raw
* Food is an Art
* "Let Food be thy medicine"
* "Dost thou know thou wearest thy mother's drapes?"(I know, totally off subject. Hey, it was late at night, ok?)
* The Raw Latina (because I'm Cuban/Chilean in descent)
* FireRAWk (sounds like I barfed!! Lol)
* Foodwork
* Firefood
* Planty Edibles (this one was definitely one of my favorites)
* Nothing Sweet, No Meat (I also loved this one, but my blog definitely has sweet stuff, so it wouldn't work)
* "Meatless in Seattle" (I was laughing so hard when I thought of this one)
* Meatless in America :D (my friend's adjustment to the previous.. She wanted to make it a nationwide title)
* RAW USA (If you put it together and make it a word, it sounds tribal - "Rawusa! Rawusa! RAWUSA!!!!! *aimlessly hurls spear at imaginary mammoth*)
* Rawfully Wed (I loved this one. It was one of my very favorites)
* Blissfully Raw (taken)
* Rawfully Bliss (at this point I was tearing my hair out in frustration)
* Rawfully Cool
* Raw Cool Whip!! (Annnd at this point I commented to my friends that I was losing my mind)
* The Enchanted Leaves
* The Black Pearl (taken by Pirates of the Carribean, I know. I just couldn't resist putting it in here)
* The Black Fern (my friend said "get it? Cuz it's a tree a.k.a. plant a.k.a. vegan??")
* The Rawnderful Plants
* Mr. Rawmporian's Plant Emporium
* Uncooked and Unmatchable (sounds like a show)
* Uncooked and Unrivaled (sounds even more like a show)
* Wonderfully Raw/Wonderful Raw (I really liked this one)
* Raw is Wonderful (too sentence-like)
* Raw is a Lifestyle (I liked this one I thought of, but it really wasn't creative enough)
* You've got the best of raw worlds (Um.. What?? lol)
* Nat's Raw News (If I made a magazine, I would have used a name like that!! <3 love it)

And there were so many others. These are just a handful of the name ideas, and I'm thankful for each and every person who supported my newfound passion for blogging and cheered me on. Thank you to my friends and to my family and especially to my dad, who showed me how blogger.com/blogspot works and who actually came up with the winning name for my blog: Natalyn in the Raw. Love you guys!! <3

Great story, huh? *crowd gets emotional*
If you are interested in blogging about food, you are welcome to take any of these names, just double check on google to make sure it's not another person's blog name, that would be embarrassing (I think most of the names aren't used yet, though).

As for the recipe? I am sorry to say that I have no recipes available to post today, but I will share with you a potential recipe I fixed up at the cafeteria during my orientation lunch. WARNING: Not 100% raw. But it is vegan, and around 90% raw. :) So, my cafeteria has a salad bar, right? And to my delight, I saw pretty much all the ingredients you would need for a vegan southwestern style salad! I put stuff together, and it was delicious. Hooray! Since I haven't further tested this recipe at home, I will not be posting exact amounts. I'll just put down what I used in my salad:


Ingredients
* Mixed greens (or if you just have one type, like spinach or iceburg or romaine, that works too, just make sure it's not only bitter greens for this salad)
* Diced avocado
* Chopped green onions (or chives, or regular onion would work fine as well, I'm sure)
* Sweet corn
* Black beans, cooked (or a can of black beans)
* Red bell pepper, diced - I bet if you grilled these the salad would be even more fantastic
* Tomatoes, diced very small
* Red chili flakes are totally optional
* For dressing use a vegan ranch dressing or vegan barbeque sauce (or both for a cheesecake-factory-style salad). I used a balsamic vinagrette I found at the salad bar (because the ranch dressing was not vegan).

And if you have not given raw chocolate pudding a try, please check out my previous post.

Well, that's it for today, my friends. I hope you have a Thrilling Thursday (alliteration just happened here :0 ) and I also hope you play around with these salad ingredients to make a fantastic salad of your own! By the way, if you do end up making any of my recipes, please let me know how you like them. Again, I love feedback and would be very happy to make some important changes to the recipe if it has not reached full potential. :)

Much love,

~ Natalyn


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's finally here!

Hello Facebookers, Google Plus-ers, internet explorers, any other -ers, family, and friends. I'm here to share some wonderful news:

 I did it! I finally started the blog of my dreams. And I'm so excited to share.


 For now, I'll be taking pics with my old iphone, at least until I can get myself a nice, decent camera that takes even sharper, clearer images.

Well, back to the topic: Welcome to my new blog. As you can see, it doesn't have much at the moment, but I will most definitely be adding more by the day. I am so excited to share my findings (whether recipes or research, exercises, inspirations, etc.) with you. Please let me know how it is so far, cuz I seriously love feedback.

And yes, I will be sharing a recipe today.



Yup. Raw. Gluten free. Dairy free. Processed stuff free. Can even be nut-free, just use ricemilk or coconut water.

Don't have too much at once, or you may have a rich-food coma. So delicious.

Now comes the scary part. Guess what's in this pudding? Just guess.

(Yes, this is me at the Haiti mission trip my school was doing while I was still in the SAD (Standard American Diet) )

Please don't freak out. I knew you would. Just take a deep breath, and repeat after me: "Avocado is a delicious fruit. I will not even taste it in the pudding."

Raw Chocolate Mousse Pudding

Ingredients:
* 1 medium avocado, peeled and pitted
* 1/2 banana (unless you want banana chocolate pudding, make sure it's not overripe)
* 1/2 cup almond milk or other nut milk
* 1/3 cup agave nectar or other natural sweetener such as honey
* 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tsp. natural vanilla extract
* Pinch of salt

Directions:
1) Place all ingredients in a Vitamix blender and blend until whipped.
2) Taste the pudding, and adjust ingredients as necessary (you will get used to this step if you decide to become raw. We taste our meals every step of the way to make sure they taste very good), although you probably won't need to for this one!
3) Serve chilled, unless you cannot wait that long. ;)

I hope y'all enjoy. :)

Much love,

~ Natalyn