Sunday, April 28, 2013

What's Been Happening Lately + ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!

Hey everyone!! I'm super duper excited to share this post, because the ice cream sandwiches (especially that icecream!!) I made the other day are just too delicious to keep to myself!

But first, a recap of a couple things that have been happening lately, plus what I've been eating. Just for fun. 

Well, firstly, I sang in my VERY FIRST opera duet and trio ever!! I was so nervous! Shaking, trembling, and swallowing a lot - good thing it was part of my character anyway (I was Gretel from Hansel and Gretel, and she was supposed to look very scared). After the show, everyone told me and my duet and trio buddies that we did very well, so I'm very thankful to God for that. The other singers in this opera gala concert did such a fantastic job, and I felt very honored to listen to their beautiful singing.

Next up, before I talk about food again, guess who decided to make her home in the short little tree from my front yard?

Yes! A mother finch laid four little finch eggs smaller than my thumb!
Ok, now for the eats:

This was my pre-opera performance lunch - at this point I was already getting a bit nervous

Backtracking a bit: delicious banana berry bowl I made for breakfast the other day

Another lovely pic of my berry bowl. Just one frozen and one fresh banana, and a half cup of frozen blueberries
My latest obsession has been carrot noodles and my grandma's pasta sauce. YUM! 


Well, that, my friends, is my latest recipe that incorporates creamy coconut, fresh strawberries, and some oat flour:

I have decided to call it....

Strawberries and Coconut Cream Ice Cream Sandwiches with Raw Oatmeal Cookies

This is a picture of them chillin' like villains in the freezer. ;)

The cookie base is pretty darn simple, and makes about 30 mini cookies (perhaps more if you roll thinner). Beware, the dough can get sticky! Wetting your fingers helps a lot!

Mostly Raw Oatmeal Cookies

* 1/2 cup almonds
* 1/2 cup oat flour
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
* 2 tiny strawberries
* 1/2 tsp. coconut butter (perhaps optional, but adds great flavor)
* pinch or two of salt
* pinch cinnamon
1) Combine cookie ingredients in food processor until they have mixed well and reach cookie-dough consistency (if almond pieces/crumbs are still visible, this is good!!).
2) With roller and some parchment/wax paper, roll out the dough very thin. 
3) Use your favorite mini cookie cutters and carefully lift your lovely little creations to a refrigerator-friendly container, plate, etc.

~ ~ ~ ~

Now for my favorite part: the ice cream!!! Ok, seriously guys, this ice cream is so good that you don't even need the cookies - in fact, the ice cream is truly what makes these raw ice cream sandwiches over the top delicious! Oh, and if you are making the whole ice cream sandwich recipe, there will be leftover ice cream anyway (like 1/4-1/2 cup leftover. WIN!). OH, one more thing: You do not need an icecream maker to make this. Just a strong Vitamix (or blendtec) Blender, or even a food processor!

It has a creamy strawberry coconut flavor, and yet an icy sorbet consistency. Oh, man, it's just too good!!!

Strawberries and Coconut Cream Ice Cream

* meat of one young Thai coconut
* 1 cup young Thai coconut water
* 4 strawberries
* 2 heaping Tbsp. coconut butter *
* 4-5 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
* 2 drops stevia (optional, but recommended)
* thumb size piece of beet (for color)
* pinch salt (optional)
1) In your Vitamix, Blendtec, or food processor, combine all ingredients until there are no chunks of anything and the mixture is perfectly creamy and delicious. 
2) Pour in a freezer-safe tupperware and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.
3) Take out of freezer and break into chunks. Blend in Vitamix or food processor until creamy like ice cream!
4) EAT! Oops! I mean, um, you can actually make ice cream sandwiches out of them.
5) And if you decide to follow the latter suggestion, drop a dallop of icecream on a cookie, and place another cookie on top. Do this with all of the cookies, and then freeze for 4-5 hours or overnight (overnight is best!).

If your curious about opening a young thai coconut **, here's what I do:

You don't have to do this step, but it just makes it a bit faster for the meat cleaver to pierce through the coconut shell.

After this, I take the coconut outside and start hacking out a circle shape at the top of the coconut (beware: MESSY!). Make sure your hand is away from that meat cleaver!!!!!

Once coconut is opened, you will see soft, white (sometimes light purple) flesh and beautiful, sweet coconut water.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Anyway, I hope you guys thoroughly enjoy this recipe. The idea was inspired by a Chilean cookie I tried last summer. It had a base of oats and strawberries, and was crunchy and delicious. Obviously my ice cream sandwiches are nothing close to crunchy, but they sure do remind me of those sweet strawberry oat "galletas". 

See you soon - Expect more VEGGIE recipes to pop up on the blog - I'm finally becoming as addicted to vegetables as I am to fruits. Yum yum yum. 

Peace, love................. and strawberries.

~ Natalyn

* Fragrant Vanilla Cake has an awesome how-to for homemade coconut butter (this is what I used):

** I recommend you check Youtube for videos on how to open a young coconut, as my mini tutorial was not very detailed and probably not the best or safest way to open the young coconut.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Crunchy veggie noodles and CREAMY savory avocado goodness!

Maybe I should have made THIS post my Earth day post. Look! It's a thyme "tree". *giggles*

But in all seriousness.. these noodles are GOOD. Very, very, good. 

I have decided to title this recipe "Crunchy Raw Noodles with Rosemary Lemon Avocado Cream and Thyme". Fancy, no?
I say "noodles", but what this really tastes like is a crunchy, savory noodle salad. Why? Well, it's crunchy, and it's not warm. But boy, is it ever delicious!!!!

Now, what do you think these noodles are made out of? Can you guess?

No, the noodles are not made from zucchini. These are sweet potato noodles. Surprised you, didn't I? 
I made these noodles with a mandoline slicer, but feel free to spiralize them or even peel them with a veggie peeler (I've done this before with all sorts of veggies. Takes a bit longer, but still works and is delicious). 

If you're interested in seeing what a mandoline slicer looks like and how it works, I have taken a lovely little picture for you. I apologize for the mess on the counter. :-/

Ok, well it's super late for me to be on the computer, but I did promise the recipe tonight, so without further ado, I give you my newest recipe!

Sweet Potato "Noodles" with Rosemary-Lemon Avocado Cream and Thyme

Serves 1 hungry person

* most (or all) of a long sweet potato, mandoline-sliced or spiralized

* 1/2 avocado
* 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
* 1/4 clove of garlic (or even less, but don't omit)
* 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
* 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
*1 tsp. dried rosemary
* pinch salt
* pinch pepper

1) Prepare "noodles" and place in a big bowl. Set aside.
2) Combine all dressing ingredients in Vitamix blender and combine until very smooth and creamy and well combined. You're probably going to need to add a bit more milk (I know I had to). 
3) Taste, and adjust ingredients accordingly (you may find that you enjoy more rosemary, less lemon, very little salt, etc.). 
4) Pour creamy sauce/dressing/deliciousness over the noodles. Mix well, and ingest responsibly. ;)

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

Okie dokie y'all! I'm going to peace out. I hope you have a wonderful week, and I'll talk to you soon!

Much love, 

~ Natalyn

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dessert for breakfast.. ^_^

Oh, you know, just the average Friday morning. Got up and made me some of them SWEET POTATO COCONUT BANANA CREAM PIES.

Wait, what?

You heard me correct - delicious mini pies. Creamy, coconut sweet potato banana chocolate goodness! Yes, I snuck chocolate in here too! 

Let's tease you some more before the recipe, no?

I was having fun with my heart pies - made this one become a broken heart. Wow, I'm so mean.
The best thing about this recipe - it's delicious and super duper healthy. No artificial sweeteners, no baking or frying, no junk-laden cream filling. In fact, the filling to this pie is four fantastic ingredients: sweet potato, banana, coconut sugar, and coconut butter. If you want to know how to make homemade coconut butter (much cheaper, this is what I did), I put the link in the ingredients list.

Ahh, and the topping. See that picture right above where I'm writing right now? That, my friends, is almond coconut crumble, shaved dry coconut butter (kind of like white chocolate, but healthier and more coconut-ty), and a sprinkling of cacao powder!! 

Ok, ok, I'll stop teasing you... actually, one more picture:

Ok, now I mean it: onward to the recipe!!! 

Raw Sweet Potato Coconut Banana Cream Pies with Almond Crust and Coconut Almond Crumble

Makes 5-6 mini pies and a bit of leftover crust

Filling Ingredients
* 1 medium white sweet potato
* 1 banana
* 4 Tbsp. coconut butter
* 2 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar (tastes like brown sugar)
Crust Ingredients
* 1 cup almonds
* 2 Tbsp. dry coconut butter
* a couple pinches of salt, if desired
(SET ASIDE 3 heaping Tbsp. of this for garnish)
* 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
* 1 Tbsp. raisins

* Reserved amount of crust + 2-3 Tbsp. coconut palm sugar
* Cacao powder (or carob would work too, I think)

1) To make filling, peel sweet potato and banana and add to blender. Add coconut butter and coconut palm sugar, and blend for a while until very smooth and creamy (Vitamix blender is reccommended). 
2) In a food processor, chop almonds until they become crumbs. Add the dry coconut butter and salt and combine, then set aside a portion for the crumble. After this, add chia seeds and raisins to the crust mixture and pulse until well combined with the almonds and mixture starts to lightly form together (should still be crumbly). 
3) Use your favorite cookie-cutters for this next step: Press desired portion of crust into bottom of cookie-cutter, then add filling. Keep doing this until you have made all of your pies. 
4) Freeze for 10 minutes (this is an optional step, depends on how runny the filling is - mine didn't need this).
5) Garnish with crumble, dry coconut butter shavings, and cacao powder.
6) EAT UP! Well, maybe share with someone. Perhaps a friend.. or two. Two at the most. :P

These are the cookie-cutters I used:

Ok, I got to go clean my house and then perform tonight with my amazing university choir buddies! Peace out. :)

Much love and hugs... and pie.

~ Natalyn 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A rainbow bowl of deliciousness..

How would you describe this beauty?

No words, right? Just too amazing to describe - I guess you'll just have to try it. ;)

By the way, this recipe has NO SAUCE, so it's super simple. Just cook (or sprout) the wild rice, prepare the veggies, assemble the ingredients and that's it. 

Red cabbage and sunshine 
I highly recommend that you not skip any of the ingredients in this recipe. Each and every ingredient holds a crucial key to the bowl's nutty, rich, yet tangy sweet and light flavor. The only ingredient you can skip without affecting the flavor much is the enoki mushrooms. You can find these at your local asian market, but unfortunately, not everyone has an asian market nearby them that sells these. 

One more word of advice before the recipe: for best results, mix your ingredients in your bowl very well before you take a bite. You'll thank me later. 

Ok, onward to the recipe!

(Sesame and Ginger-infused Wild Rice with Mango, Enoki Mushrooms, and Veggies)

Serves 2 generous bowls

* 1 cup wild rice, cooked according to package directions (should give you 2-3 cups of cooked rice)
* 2 tsp. minced ginger
* 2 tsp. sesame oil

*1-2 cups finely chopped kale
* 1-2 cups shredded cabbage
* fresh enoki mushrooms
* 1 large ripe mango, sliced thin and cut into small pieces

Garnish (for each bowl)
* 1/4 avocado, sliced
* a drizzle of sriracha hot sauce
* pinch turmeric
* sprinkle of coconut palm sugar 

1) Cook rice. Separate evenly into two big bowls. Add 1 tsp. minced ginger and sesame oil to each.
2) Add remaining ingredients onto each bowl. Make sure there's enough kale and red cabbage. If it doesn't look like enough, ADD MORE.
3) Garnish is an important part - especially the avocado. Add the avocado, hot sauce, turmeric, and natural sugar.
4) EAT!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hey, did you know that yesterday was Earth day? Well, since I didn't write a blog post about it yesterday....


... *hugs a tree*

Peace, love, and mangoes.

Much love,

~ Natalyn

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sweet n' Spicy Cold Noodle Salad

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday (well, practically Wednesday).

Let's just get to the topic, shall we? Why delay any longer?

Fresh zucchini and daikon "noodles" drenched in a sweet, spicy mango dressing with just a hint of sesame. To add to the deliciousness, I added some organic baby broccoli and fresh italian basil! What a combo!! Am I TRULY cleansing my body when the food tastes this yummy? Am I dreaming???? 

Look, I even ate it for breakfast (it was supposed to be my lunch - but don't worry, I still had plenty left to eat for lunch):

This is an 80/10/10 low fat raw vegan recipe. In this way of eating (and living), nothing is cooked, and fruits and veggies - especially fruits - are the main calorie source (being the 80%). The other 20% is fats (10%) and protein (10%). Pretty cool stuff. Such an inspiring lifestyle. 

Though I'm not completely low fat raw vegan, I've taken so many things from this lifestyle and applied it to my life... such as the low fat part. Before this lifestyle, I would eat fat in excess and wonder why in the world I would lose all of my energy. When I explored the lfrw (low fat raw vegan) diet for a bit, I realized that my overall energy level was increasing. 

There are so many other things that I could tell you about this, but I did promise a recipe, so without further delay, here cometh it!!

Sweet n' Spicy Cold Noodle Salad 
Flavored with sesame :)

Serves 1-2 as a meal, 4-5 as a side

* 4 small zucchini, spiralized or mandoline-sliced
* 1 small daikon radish, mandoline-sliced (shredded is probably fine)
* 4-5 baby broccoli stems, chopped into bite-size pieces

* 1 cup frozen mangos, thawed 
* 2-3 soaked medjool dates (or 4 deglet noor dates)
* date water
* 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
* pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
* 4-5 large leaves basil, chiffonaded
* splash of lime (juice from one wedge)

1) Prepare zucchini, daikon, and baby broccoli stems, and set aside in a large bowl.
2) For dressing, combine remaining ingredients except for garnish in your Vitamix or other blender. 
3) Add the garnish to the salad, and then pour all of the dressing over it.
4) Mix thoroughly and enjoy!!! 

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

I'm surprised to say that I have been thoroughly enjoying this veggie challenge. I have been consuming so many more veggies lately, and I have been feeling so great. Must be all those sneaky minerals! 

Well, I suppose that's it for the day. I'm now headed back over to my homework for the night. Fun stuff, right?? *end sarcasm*

I hope you give this delicious noodle salad a try! Remember, healthy doesn't have to taste bad!!! 

Much love and zucchini.

~ Natalyn   ;)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What to do with Leftovers + My Cleanse

Hey everyone!

So, I was actually going to write this on Friday, but I decided to wait until today.

Anyway, so on Friday, I was wondering "man, what should I make for my parents for dinner??" I looked into the fridge: leftover black lentils, ezekiel bread, carrots, fresh baby spinach, some leftover hummus. Then it hit me! I could make a leftovers meal and yet make it seem like I had just freshly made it from scratch.

So I got to work on making mini bread bowls to showcase this beautiful soup my mother made:

Unfortunately, no recipe for that today. My mom is the kind of person who just "throws this and that" into the pot and magic just happens. *shakes head in pure jealousy* 

Back to my story. I started heating up the soup, then I got some plain ol' ezekiel bread...

Whipped up a couple other things, and....


Wait, those... are... leftovers?


Here's how to make those cute mini bread bowls - it's super easy. For the first time ever, I'm giving you a picture tutorial:


Serves a light meal for 3.

Step 1:
3 pieces of desired bread - I used ezekiel bread

Step 2:
I kind of cut the bread into an octagon of sorts, as you can see here. Save the leftover crust.

Step 3:

Flatten bread with fingers.

Step 4:

Press into muffin/cupcake pan. I used REGULAR muffin pan.. not the mini cupcake one.
Step 5: 

Bake in oven for 400 F for 5-10 minutes until bread has reached desired crispness (I only did 5 minutes)

And there you have it: Simple Mini Bread Bowls.

Here is the garnish I used:

Perfect! By the way, this is also a leftover sitting in my pantry.
Here's what I did with the leftover bread crusts:

Toasted bread crusts with amazing garlic dip (also a leftover)

And here's what I did with that leftover hummus:

Hummus + Carrots = Heaven
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, that's it for recipes today - well, that wasn't necessarily my recipe. Just an idea, really. Will I put it into my recipes? Yes, of course I will. :)

Alrighty, this week, I don't think I will be making any recipes, because I'm going to attempt a cleanse for the week. I've mentioned in my "Wholesome Diets" page of this blog that one of my very favorite lifestyles is the 80/10/10 low fat raw vegan diet. It's like an eternal detox, and fruit is your main calorie source. Can it get better than that? 

Obviously I'm not completely raw vegan at this time (perhaps some other time I will be even closer to 100%, but I'm not too worried about it), but sometimes I like to give my body a cleanse, whether it be juicing, smoothies, raw food, or all three of those. 

So just know that most likely, I will not be posting this week about recipes. If I do post, they will be 80/10/10 raw vegan recipes! Woohoo! *fist pump* 

I've posted a couple low fat raw vegan recipes already, and I just want to emphasize that these are for EVERYONE. I get so frustrated when vegans, meat-eaters, vegetarians, etc. get so segregated about recipes. "Oh, this is for vegans. Let me find a "real" version for me since I'm not vegan." <-- RAWR! Don't think about it this way! Instead, go on a little adventure - try something new. You might like it!! And let me add... you do not have to become a lifestyle to try a recipe from that lifestyle.

Challenge for the week: Try a new recipe - something you usually don't do. Never had a raw vegan recipe (besides salad)? Give it a whirl. See what you think. Are you a meat eater and really want to make a recipe with meat? Maybe try a paleo recipe. Or challenge yourself even more... a vegetarian recipe. Not a salad. Like, a main course. Vegetarian food can be so freaking delicious!!!!

Ok, I gotta go. I got a long day today (working all day), so I will talk to y'all later. I hope you enjoyed the bread bowl idea!!

Much love,

~ Natalyn 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring in a Salad Bowl

As Fullyraw Kristina* loves to say... "ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?"

Seriously, guys, are you ready for this super simple, elegant, lemony-minty fresh salad with daikon radish, sweet apples, bright orange carrots, and delicate nasturtiums?

"Whaaaat? Are those FLOWERS?" You ask.

Indeed they are, I reply. ;)

And they are edible **. Ahh... nasturtiums. I'm not sure how many people know about these spicy little gems. They come in a variety of colors, as you can see from the picture. They have a very unique flavor, as the leaves have a subtle buttery flavor, but the middle of the flower is extremely peppery. It's quite a treat, and adds a rather gourmet air to any dish. Don't you agree??

Don't have nasturtiums? Good news: this salad is still super delish and just as fresh and beautiful! 

See? No flower, and still looks like a big bowl full of spring!

Ok, I get it - too much talk, eager for recipe, I'm coming... I'm coming! Geez. Be patient. ;)

Fresh and Elegant Spring Salad

Serves 1-2 as a meal, 3-5 as a small side

* 1/2 medium daikon radish, sliced into thin rounds (or half circles, shapes, etc.)
* 1 organic pink lady apple, chopped into thin and uneven shapes
* 1 organic carrot, sliced into thin rounds
* 1 organic gala apple, " "
* lots of fresh organic spinach (or baby spinach)
* 15 leaves fresh peppermint, chiffonade-cut

* simply the juice of 1/2 lemon

Optional garnishes:
* nasturtium flowers (amazing)
* sprouts
* fresh strawberries
* herbs like basil, lavender, even sage
* anything that reminds you of spring! 

1) Mix all ingredients in bowl, then add the lemon juice. 
2) Cut the mint, mix it in thoroughly. 
3) Add any additional garnishes of choice, and then dig in!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Did you notice how many times I said the word "fresh" in this post? Or "spring"? That's because I was trying to emphasize how much this salad has those words written all over it. Also notice that the dressing is simply the juice of half a lemon... Things don't have to be complicated to taste good. Sometimes the best stuff is the simple stuff. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this wonderful salad. Please do give it a try. It makes such a wonderful appetizer, side salad, or even a meal if you're feeling like something fresh, slightly sweet, and colorful (not to mention something beautiful). 

Now I'm going to sweat to death and cry my eyes out happily attempt the Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred once again. I am already sore after the first day trying it! 

Have an amazing remainder of this week, and I'll talk to y'all soon. Stay tuned for more delicious veggie-packed recipes such as this one.

Peace, love, and SPRING. 

~ Natalyn

* Fullyraw Kristina reference - if you have never heard about Kristina, please visit her Youtube channel, and if you live in (or near) Houstin, Texas, you're in for a treat because she runs a completely organic raw food co-op.  (Kristina's fully raw Spring Salad that inspired me to try my own - thanks Kristina!)

** I did a little research on these guys, and apparently there are different varieties of nasturtiums.. and I'm not sure all of those varieties are edible, but these that I posted are edible and are called "watercress nasturtiums". I'm sure you can find some seeds for this edible variety at your local plant nursery or