Friday, May 31, 2013

A Warm Bowl of Sunshine!

Here comes the sun *doo dee doo dee* Here comes the sun, and I say "IT'S ALL RIGHT!!"


Isn't this corn chowder beautiful? I turned it yellow with turmeric and tomatoes. 

Being that I'm in a hurry, I'm gonna write the recipe quick quick quick!!


Bowl of Sunshine Corn Chowder

Serves 3-5

Ingredients
* 1/2 cup soy milk + a little over 1/2 cup water
* Kernels from 4-5 ears of corn
* 1/2 tsp. turmeric
* 2 small tomatoes
* 1 yellow bell pepper
* large handful curly kale
* 1 green onion
Seasonings
* 1 leaf sage
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 tsp. red miso paste (optional)
* 1-2 tsp. Earth balance butter (optional)
* salt to taste
* pepper to taste
Directions
1) In blender, combine soy milk, water, two handfuls of corn, turmeric, and miso. Set aside.
2) Dice the bell pepper, one tomato, and chop half of the green onion. Throw into a medium saucepan and sauté for a minute or three. Then add the mixture from the blender.
3) Add the sage and bay leaves and bring mixture to a boil. Add remaining ingredients except for kale and simmer for another 5-8 minutes. 
4) Add remaining seasonings and adjust to taste. Add kale. Remove from heat.
5) Let cool, then serve warm with bread, corn chips, or by itself.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I hope you enjoy the recipe. It was made with much love. <3

I was going to talk more, but I'm in a hurry because I have a pre-graduation ceremony to attend!!!

Peace love and soup!

~ Natalyn




Monday, May 27, 2013

Scrumptious Cashew Almond Butter + Update

This is one of the simplest recipes you will find on my blog! Ready for this delicious two ingredient recipe?


Raw Cashew Almond Butter

Ingredients:
* 1.5 cups cashews
* 1 cup almonds
* flavorings, sweetener, salt, etc. of choice (I personally think it's amazing just by itself)

Directions:
1) In a FOOD PROCESSOR, combine ingredients and pulse for long periods of time until desired nut butter consistency has been reached. 
2) Enjoy - with moderation, cuz this stuff is fattening.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let me tell you why I don't recommend a vitamix for this nut butter: it burns the vitamix worse than banana ice cream would! Yikes. Plus, it made my nut butter piping hot, which means it's probably not considered "raw" anymore. Boohoo. :'( But it's ok, I'll still use it, because I can't put all that nut butter to waste! 
Food processor will also make the nut butter a bit warm, but much less than a vitamix would, which is why I recommend a food processor for this recipe. 

If you happened to be stubborn and use a vitamix anyway, here's a creative idea:


No, not the nut butter - you already know how to make that. The creamy white nut milk you see there was a result of me trying to clean my blender. I put like a cup of water and some cinnamon in there, blended, and out came this beautiful creamy goodness. It was a little grainy, but I bet you could strain that. So yeah, there you go! Fresh, quick, easy cashew almond milk. Who knew, right?? 

~~~

Ok, enough about food for a bit. The next thing I want to talk about is an update of what is happening now, and what will be happening in the future. *cue the creepy space music here*

But in all seriousness, there's a lot that will be happening in the future, Lord willing! 

But first, let me zoom in on the present, right now, as I lay here procrastinating from doing my tasks for just a while longer. Right now, I have a lot of questions in my heart. Questions about my health, my priorities, my goals, my dreams. Some of these questions that I have been asking a lot have been:

"Are you eating the diet you're eating at this time for you or for everyone else?" 
"What lifestyle do you REALLY want to live?" 
"Why are you so afraid of 'haters'?" 
"Why must you always feel like you're the middle person - having to solve everyone's problems, the glue that holds everyone together?"
 "You can live life for yourself, you know. So why don't you?"
"What do YOU want?"

And boy, have I been on quite the journey. Right now I'm experimenting once again with being a hardcore, unprocessed vegan. But this time, I'm not doing it to show everyone "the right way" or to do what other people, blogs, and documentaries tell me to do. I'm not doing it for fear of the "evil food". I'm doing it because I gravitate to it now. I want it. And I truly believe it is one of the best ways to help the planet and your body each and every day. 
I'm also considering making my blog the way I want it to be instead of a compilation of everything that seems "healthy". 

I've heard great feedback from all of you saying that you love my mentality on health, and I hope you continue enjoying my blog as my perspective changes.

Now for the future...

In the future, these things may happen:
* I may have weeks of no blog posts whatsoever
* I may give some plant rants.
* I may start changing my blog's layout
* I may start posting my progress (because as some of you perhaps may know, I'm still not at the weight or the health I desire)
* I may vent a bit - because, let's me honest, this is a RAW blog: raw eats, raw experience, raw emotion.
* I may become a new person. :) 

In the meanwhile though, what you see is what you get. This is me. Right now. Natalyn in the raw. And I'm learning to love what I know and see now as well as what I will see in the future.

Peace, love, and nut butter.

~ Natalyn






Thursday, May 23, 2013

Delicious Collard Wraps for Two

Today I decided to be so generous and share them with me, myself, and I. How sweet of me, right? ;)

All jokes aside, these collard wraps are DELISH!! And they're actually quite similar to my Light and Tasty Taco Lettuce Wraps Recipe, excepting that I don't use cilantro or pink salt in this recipe, and that I have switched to a better tortilla leaf: Collard Greens!

This recipe makes two wraps and gives you a teeny bit of leftover filling to enjoy by itself. I hope you enjoy!


Quick and Easy Collard Wraps for Two

Makes two collard wraps.

Ingredients:
* 2 collard leaves, de-stemmed
* 1/4 (can use 1/2) avocado, peeled and diced
* 3/4 medium cucumber, cut into different shapes (as Fullyraw Kristina likes to say, texture is key!)
* 4 small tomatoes, diced
* one small ear sweet white corn
* chopped baby spinach
Complementary Ingredients:
* juice of 2 lemon slices (optional)
* Cholula or hot sauce of choice! (optional)
* pinch of cumin (optional)
Directions:
1) After de-stemming your collard leaves, place your avocado on one side of the wrap. Make sure not to place food too close to the sides (in other words, treat this collard wrap like a burrito). 
2) Combine tomatoes, cucumber, and corn in a medium mixing bowl, then add desired amount to the burrito. 
3) Lastly, place the spinach on top of the filling and add at least one of the complementary ingredients (trust me, you won't be sorry! SO AMAZING). But feel free to add all three like I did for my second collard wrap.
4) Roll 'er up!
5) Consume with a side of hot sauce, which is optional but recommended. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I hope you give this recipe a try, because it is so simple and yet so good! I made a meal out of this, and feel amazing. :)

Much love,

~ Natalyn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Smoothie Parfaits!!! + Some Heartfelt Words


Yes, that is my backyard. And yes, that is the aforementioned smoothie parfait I promised on my Facebook page ("aforementioned" meaning a couple minutes ago). I just couldn't resist! I had to post this now, being that it's such a simple recipe and yet has so much flavor bursting in every bite. How could I not share this? 

Ok, enough plant ranting (for now, that is) and let me explain the simplicity of this recipe. All I did was combine half of a large mango and eight cherries in my blender, and out came this fantastic smoothie-flavored "cream" that would work perfectly in a parfait. So I set to work and layered fresh blueberries, diced mango and cherries into the parfait glass, and got a gorgeous result:


Three ingredients + one blender + a little creativity and fun = a phenomenal, mouthwatering smoothie parfait. :)

I just love the pure, wholesome food that God created. It's the kind of food you can eat by itself straight off the plant and never need to throw a bunch of salt, pepper, and spices on it (those sure do taste delicious though, when you put them on the right matching foods). I have found this to be especially true with delicious sweet fruits - they taste like dessert! 

Ok, I just plant ranted again. As you can see, I'm in a rather plant-rant-y mood today. But this discussion will continue after I share the recipe:


Delicious Smoothie Parfait: Mango Cherry Berry!

Serves 2 (but you can eat both! *cackle*)

Smoothie Cream Ingredients:
* 1/2 large mango
* 8-10 pitted fresh cherries
Layering Ingredients:
* 1/2 large mango, diced
* 1-2 cups blueberries
* more pitted fresh cherries (use a lot!!)
To Assemble:
1) Blueberries.
2) Pour thin layer of smoothie cream over blueberries.
3) Mangoes, them pour smoothie cream over mangoes.
4) Top with cherries, then pour a dallop of the cream over those.
5) Garnish with remaining ingredients.
6) Bon apetit! Healthy eating has never been easier or tastier. ;)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I first titled my blog "Natalyn in the Raw", I felt eighty percent sure that I would eventually become a mostly raw vegan, or perhaps even a strict raw vegan (and am still wondering about it from time to time). At that time, that was the only reason I gave my blog that name. 
But over time, I have found more and more that the title of my blog has so much deeper meaning to me than before. I now see "Natalyn in the Raw" as a place not only for tasty recipes, fun tips, and random musings, but also a place for me to be honest - or "raw" - about my health, my struggles, and my achievements. I don't do this to look like I've got it together (because let's face it: I don't). I'm doing this because I want to show people out there that 99.9% of the time, transformation does NOT happen overnight. Weight loss, weight gain, clear skin, internal happiness, better vision, relieved aches and pains, both physically and mentally... these things don't just happen overnight. It takes time and effort to heal.
Another common misconception: "Why can't I stick to the _____ diet like _______? If ____ can do it, then that must mean I'm just not strong enough and don't have the willpower." I've personally struggled with this question, as I am very, VERY hard on myself. And from my experience, let me tell you something: Many of the people who you may admire for their health.. were not always that way. Each and every person has a story - a journey - that makes him/her who he/she is today. And many times, that journey took a long time. 
As for you not being "strong enough" or having enough "willpower"... lies. You are a strong, beautiful, and wonderfully made human being (don't believe me? Look in the mirror. Still not convinced. Try the Bible - Psalm 139:14). You make choices each and every day, and many of them are good choices. Instead of trying to take such large steps, make small, meaningful choices each day that will slowly get you to your goal. If you're like me and struggle doing "small choices", then focus on ONE facet of your health and put all of your energy on that. Example: Second quarter of my freshman year I completely dropped processed sugar from my diet, and it took me a while, but I did it because I decided that dropping sugar would become a priority for me. Sugary foods were a huge addiction for me, but I'm happy to say that after many rough weeks and months, here I am today processed-sugar free!! 
Ok, so let's talk about willpower. I don't know about you, but when I think of the kind of "willpower" we're tossing around in our sentences today, I immediately feel like a fat, harnessed pig that is clumsy and can't do anything right. What I'm trying to say is that our idea of willpower needs to be redefined right here right now: Willpower is the motivation one develops to execute an action - the more we feel it, the more we practice it. The more we practice it, the easier it will get. Why? Because we WANT it. 
So trust me, you will get willpower. Perhaps you are feeling empowered or motivated while reading this. Perhaps there may be a thought in your mind: "That's it. I'm making a change in my life because I'm sick of this. It's time to change." Well, congratulations. You are experiencing true willpower. The question you ask yourself should not be "why can't I do it?". Rather, it should be "How badly do I want this?" 

Anyway, just some advice I've lived through and wanted to share. I know what it's like to be sitting on my bum watching all these other people at their tip top shape and feeling like a failure. I know what it's like when you're following a diet and you somehow feel and look worse than before. I know what it's like to find a diet that works for you but makes you feel so different that you may as well live in another planet. 

So what's the point of all of my plant-ranting? Simply to share where I am right now in my health journey, but more importantly to let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. :)


Much love,

~ Natalyn 

P.S. Enjoy the parfait!!





Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Best Sorbet You'll Ever Eat!

Ok, so the title of this post is a bit opinionated, but seriously, I would be shocked if you didn't at least somewhat agree with me. This sorbet is THAT good! When I took the first bite, childhood memories of candy-like flavor and fruity notes of all sorts flooded my tastebuds... wow. A dream come true. It only has three ingredients, and all you will need to make it is a Vitamix blender (or food processor). No ice cream maker = no problem. :)

The one thing that makes this recipe a rather "all or nothing" recipe is the fact that the fruit I used to make the base is one that I NEVER see in stores or farmer's markets. It is a local fruit that some of you may know called a loquat. Loquats are almost pear-like in flavor, with a delightful tanginess lingering after each bite. Some are sweeter than others, but the ones I used were just the right amount of sweet and sour. If you live in Southern California, I have good news for you: It's loquat season! If you have ever wondered (while passing by a neighbor's house) what that magical looking tree with yellow fruits actually is, you most likely have spotted a loquat tree - though perhaps it may be a kumquat tree if the fruits resemble mini oranges. But if the leaves are almost tropical-looking, big and dark green, and the fruits are yellow and/or orange and hanging in clusters, then yes, you have discovered a loquat tree.


Sweet and Tangy Loquat & Apricot Sorbet

Serves 1-3

Ingredients:
* 1-2 cups frozen loquats
* 1 ripe apricot
* 2-3 medjool dates

Directions:
1) In your vitamix or food processor, combine loquats, apricot, and dates until smooth and creamy.
2) Spoon into pretty ice cream bowls and serve immediately. 
3) Gather more ingredients and repeat 1 & 2. ;)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 


I hope you enjoy the recipe. Though it's only three ingredients, it's a fun idea and perhaps quite exciting for those of you without an ice cream maker (like me). 

Peace love and loquats!

Much love, 

~ Natalyn





Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Successful Mother's Day Dinner!

Ok, so actually, it was lunch time, not dinner, but dinner sounds SO much fancier. I guess since I made raw vegan mini burritos I should be fancy and call it "la cena para el dia de las madres" (dinner for mother's day).

Ok, so first off, photos:

I printed a photo of my mom, my sister, and myself and put it in a lovely frame I found while shopping the other day.

Those amazing vegan, gluten free sweet potato date brownies you see there... are... AMAZING. Deliciously Ella, you are my new best friend!


Here is a shot of the whole table:


It was a very simple, light looking meal, but my parents loved it and both admitted they were quite full after eating it.

Gah!! I don't know where to start!! Ok, beverage. Let's start with the tea I made. Very simple, four ingredients: a ton of fresh peppermint leaves, 4-5 leaves of fresh sage, fresh strawberries, and raw buckwheat honey (or other honey/sweetener of choice).


Strawberry Sage Peppermint Tea

Serves 3-5

Ingredients:
* a whole kettle full of boiling water
* LOTS of fresh peppermint, both the leaves and the stems
* 4-5 leaves fresh sage (can add more if desired)

* 4-5 fresh strawberries, chopped
* raw buckwheat honey

Directions:
1) Add peppermint and sage to hot water and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
2) Add ice or let it become room temperature by itself.
3) Pour tea into desired serving pitcher. Put the leaves you steeped into the pitcher. Mix, add raw buckwheat honey, mix again. Add ice if desired, and then add fresh chopped strawberries. 
4) Let the strawberries steep in the tea for as long as you can before your guests arrive. If you're doing this for yourself, just let it sit for twenty minutes. 

~~~

And make sure you leave the strawberries in there. They look so pretty! 

... :D

Ok, now for the recipe you've been waiting for: BURRITOS!!!


Yeah, yeah, I know. Their formal definition is "wraps" because there's no tortilla, therefore they're not actually "burritos", but in the raw food community, these are most definitely burritos. Therefore, I shall be a typical raw food enthusiast and name them "Mini Chard Burritos with Spanish Rice, Walnut Meat, and Lowfat Guacamole!"

Serves 10 mini chard burritos, which serves 2-4 people (with other side dishes such as bread and salad)

I will divide the recipe up into three recipes, because apparently (according to both of my parents) every component of the burrito tastes so good that it can be eaten separately. Especially the rice.

Oh, and everything will be made with a food processor. Very simple. Minimal dishwashing. ;)

The rice is what you will make first. The base is a starchy root that I'm seriously falling in LOVE with:

Sweet potato (organic, from Trader Joes)! Yes, that is me when I was like six years old or something. I was a chubby little girl, always smiling and happy-go-lucky. I covered my poor friend next to me with the sweet potato. Whoops. :/ 
The only un-raw ingredients in here are jumbo spanish green olives and Cholula sauce, so if you don't want to use these then feel free to use a pinch of cayenne and some raw vegan olives (can be found online in places like amazon.com or the Raw Food World).


Ok, onward to the first recipe: raw sweet potato spanish "rice"


Raw Sweet Potato Spanish "Rice"

Serves 1-3 persons as a side, 
OR
Fits into 10 mini chard burritos

Ingredients:
* 1 medium sweet potato, chopped
* 2 large Spanish green olives, minced
* 4 cherry tomatoes OR 1/4 cup chopped tomato
* 1/2 tsp. + a pinch ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp. Cholula sauce
* small handful cilantro, minced
* 1/4 cup chopped green onions, minced
* a couple drops lemon (totally optional) 
Directions:
1) In food processor, pulse the sweet potato until it's chopped into small little "rice" pieces. 
2) Add remaining ingredients and pulse some more until everything is well distributed.
3) Mixture should resemble rice and should taste very flavorful. Set aside in a bowl.

~~~~~~

The next step is to make your walnut "meat". DO NOT wash the food processor - a little bit of the rice flavor on the "meat" tastes quite amazing. 

I know it doesn't look appetizing, but I promise you, it tastes AMAZING and will look beautiful once inside the burrito. 

Spanish-style Walnut "Meat"

Fits into 10 mini chard burritos

Ingredients:
* very large handful of walnuts
* 1/2 of a date, chopped
* 1/2 tsp. cumin
* 1/2 tsp. Cholula sauce
* 1-2 Tbsp. green onion
* 1/2 clove garlic, minced
* 1 large Spanish green olive
Directions:
1) In food processor, pulse all ingredients until desired consistency (mixture should stick together at least a little bit, but I make mine stick together a lot). 
2) Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside. 

~~~~~~

Now for the last step: the low fat guacamole!!! 


I've seen so many bloggers turn to zucchini for a creamy, low fat, delicious guacamole, and I was wondering to myself "well, why not?" I gave the idea a try in my own recipe, and sure enough, SUPER delicious! So here it goes:


Creamy Lowfat Guacamole

Serves 2-4 as a dip OR 10 burritos + a little leftover

Ingredients:
* 1 avocado
* 1 small zucchini
* juice of 1/2 lemon
* 1 small tomato
* 1/2 clove garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup chopped green onion
* small handful cilantro (or more, to taste), minced
Directions:
1) In food processor, mix the avocado and zucchini together until desired creaminess (I like little bits of zucchini for texture, but that's totally your choice).
2) Add remaining ingredients and keep pulsing until everything is evenly combined.

~~~~~~

How to Assemble the Burritos:
1) Get a chard leaf (at least the size of your hand), fill with lots of rice, a sprinkling of walnut meat, and a dollop of guacamole (don't put too much or else you can't fold it).
2) Fold in the stem and the opposite side, then tuck one edge and roll it into a burrito/wrap.


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

Wow, those BROWNIES were so good though (have you gotten the hint yet? Check out the recipe! ^_^). They actually don't taste like brownies, according to my mom and dad. To them the squares tasted more like "sweet, delicious chocolatey date bars". Hey, that still tastes good, so there's still no excuse for you not to make them. Can't have gluten? They're gluten free. Well, what do you know? You can still make them. 

Ok, I'll stop pestering you, sorry.. I can get carried away with these plant rants sometimes... 

Here's how I decorated my brownie:


And here's the aftermath after we attacked the dessert plate:


Ok, I think I've made you drool enough today, no? 

I hope you guys try ALL of these recipes (the tea, the brownies, the "burritos") and let me know what you think. ;)

Happy mother's day!!

Much love,

Natalyn

My mom and I












Friday, May 10, 2013

On-the-go Tupperware Curry Noodle Salad for One

Hey y'all!

Ready for a new salad idea? It all happens inside a big tupperware container.


I have decided to formally call this salad "Curried Sweet Potato Noodle Salad" but you can call it "Tupperware Salad" for short. But if you're making this in a regular bowl and serving to guests (which I also encourage if you decide to double the recipe), please call it the former and not the latter! The guest might get a little afraid if the title of your formal dining food involves a plastic food storage container. 

But if you are sitting here, reading this, and would really like something you can make and take in one container, read on and I shall explain the simplicity of this recipe. It literally just popped in my head as I was cleaning the kitchen a couple nights ago, so I set to work and in no time (okay, like an hour - prepping for the first time took a little while) had a fresh, delicious salad to take to school with me the next day. 

But yeah, it was that simple: I added in my desired ingredients, and then I closed the tupperware and shook them up to combine.


I know, I get excited over the simplest things. 

Chill out, Natalyn. 

Gosh.


Curried Sweet Potato Noodle Salad (a.k.a. Tupperware Salad)

Serves 1 as a tupperware salad, and 2-3 as a side salad

Salad Ingredients:
* 1 long raw sweet potato (I used the white-fleshed variety), peeled and mandoline-sliced into noodles
* 1/2 carrot, shredded
* 3/4 gala apple, shredded (or noodled)
* small handful cilantro, minced
* 4 Tbsp. raisins
Dressing Ingredients:
* juice from one lime
* 1/2 clove garlic, minced
* small knob ginger, minced (about the size of a whole garlic clove)
Finishing Touches:
* 1 tsp. curry powder
* 4 shakes cinnamon

Directions:
1) Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to let the flavors fuse.
2) Combine all salad ingredients in a tupperware (or a bowl, your choice) container. Close and shake container.
3) Add dressing to the salad and shake the container once again.
4) Sprinkle 1 tsp. curry powder over the salad as evenly as you can. Same with the cinnamon. Then close and shake VERY well until the spices have been evenly distributed throughout the salad.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Don't skip out on the raisins in this salad - they give a sweet pop of flavor to every delicious bite. 

I hope you enjoy, and I will talk to you all very soon! 

Much love,

~ Natalyn


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sweet, light, refreshing berry "jam" and peanut butter sorbet!

Long title, I know. But what else can I say? Look at this beauty!


It looks like a regular strawberry sorbet... until you take a bite, because this is what you'll taste in that strawberry goodness:

PEANUT BUTTER!!! NOM NOM NOM

Don't like/can't tolerate/allergic to peanut butter? Substitute sun butter  or almond butter. Not sure how it'll taste, but it's worth a try, especially if you like sun butter sandwiches.

This recipe initially was not going to have peanut butter in it, but after I tasted that sweet strawberry "jam" sorbet, I just knew that it would pair perfectly with a heaped tablespoon of peanut butter. 


Thus, the refreshing strawberry "jam" and peanut butter sorbet was born. 

*crowd claps and cheers with passion* 

I know, quite an beautiful story. 

Ok, I got it, enough horsing around. Onward to the recipe!!!!


Strawberry Jam & Peanut Butter Sorbet

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
* 2 cups frozen strawberries (I used about 13-15 small frozen organic strawberries)
* 2 medjool dates (soaked, if not soft and gooey)
* 1/3 gala apple
* small squeeze of lemon
Add:
* 1 heaping Tbsp. peanut butter

Directions:
1) Blend all ingredients except for peanut butter in your Vitamix blender (or food processor).
2) Add half of your tablespoon of peanut butter, then pulse and mix with the tamper for just a couple seconds. Add the other tablespoon and blend again.
OR
3) Mix in the peanut butter yourself so that you can see the peanut butter marble as you eat your sorbet (probably looks prettier this way as well). 
OR
4) Do BOTH steps 2 and 3 for extra delicious peanut butter goodness. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. I know I sure did!!! :)

Stay tuned for the next recipe (Hint: it involves a tupperware box, so you can take it on the go!):


In the meanwhile, enjoy the sorbet. :)

Much love and hugs, 

~ Natalyn






Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Weird Cravings + A Simple and Tasty Recipe, Two Ways

Hey everyone!!!

The other day I made these killer good "lettuce taco" things - well, they're not actually real tacos, but they remind me of them.

Anyway, I'll get back to that in a minute.

So, seriously, I've been the most random person lately.

Reason #1) I've foraged my whole dinner for the first time ever - in my own university!!
Kumquats from the girls dorm, pineapple guava blossoms (yes, they're edible) from the music department, and mulberries from the library!
The mulberries are so delicious!! It's such a treat to have them fresh (though I love them dried as well!). I mean, just look at them:

Hopefully I'll think up a good recipe for these bad boys. We'll see. 


Reason #2) I have been having the most wild cravings ever. Really. Guess what I did today? I made this low fat vegan banana chocolate "frosty" type of thing and I put kale in it. *taps imaginary microphone* KALE. You think that's pretty bad already, right?? Well dig this: I dipped fresh kale from the garden in this chocolate smoothie. Yup. I know. This girl is pretty much insane. But in my defense, that smoothie hit the spot and was actually super delicious! I just might post a recipe about it sometime.

Ok, change of subject: healthy lettuce wraps - TACO style! 
This is the type of recipe that doesn't need perfectly accurate measurements. Therefore, here are the ingredients you're going to need:

1) A pretty plate
2) Fresh organic lettuce, any type (I used a red curly leaf, but romaine or collard greens would be awesome)
3) Sweet white corn kernels
4) Tomatoes
5) Red Bell Peppers
6) Cilantro
7) Avocado
8) Lime wedges (to sprinkle a little on top of each "lettuce taco")
9) Pinch of ground cumin (for each taco - do not skip this!!)
10) Pink Himalayan Salt (optional)



All you need to do is prepare your ingredients (the longest step), and then assemble! As you can see, I like to separate my ingredients and add them on in certain amounts (more corn than tomatoes, a smidgen of avocado, just the right amount of lime and cumin). But feel free to just combine everything and then make the wraps easier to assemble. 


Yes, that plate has a purple tiger face on it - and yes, I made it myself. :)
And you're most likely going to have leftover toppings, so I suggest you make it a delicious lettuce taco wrap salad! Don't feel like wrapping veggie tacos? Just make it in salad form - still super simple and delicious. Basically all you do - omit the lettuce, or chop it into the salad. :)



Ingredients

* Lettuce or Spinach (optional) 
* fresh sweet white corn
* tomatoes 
* avocados
* red bell pepper
* cilantro

* lime juice
* cumin
* pinch salt

Prepare, toss, and serve. Super easy and simple. 

~~~~~~~~~~~


Perhaps some of you may get frustrated with this post - "I could have thought of that, Natalyn! This is painfully simple. Plus, you didn't even give accurate measurements!" 

And you're right - you probably could have thought of this idea, or perhaps you already have. :) Awesome. But let me tell you - there are people out there who are looking for simplicity and health and may feel like they have run out of ideas. All they are looking for at this point is an idea that sparks creativity in their minds and helps them to make more fun, simple, and healthy recipes the family will enjoy.
I didn't give accurate measurements partly because I forgot to log them down. But think about it - it's a super simple salad, and it really doesn't even have dressing except for lime juice and a couple pinches of cumin... Does it really have to be accurate??

Who knows? Maybe I'm just making a big deal and in reality everyone's saying "calm down, Natalyn. You're thinking too much. We love the idea." 

*sigh* Who knows. I won't let it bother me too much. But I do sincerely hope you enjoy this fun two-way recipe. Try it out - make both recipes, add some ingredients, make it your own! Go all out. 

Peace, love, and salad.

~ Natalyn