It has been almost a year since I first delved in to the world of raw food cuisine. I spent last summer becoming familiar with this type of food, learning and perfecting dishes, and sharing my new found knowledge with family, friends, and you, my devoted reader.
When fall came, and my busy schedule returned, I sort of fell off the raw food band wagon. To revitalize my interest, I took a raw food class in November on Holiday Favorites given by the raw food chef, Heather Haxo Phillips. Heather is from the Bay Area in California and comes down to Los Angeles a few times a year to give raw food classes at Cafe Gratitude, an amazing raw food restaurant. I thought it would be fun to include some raw food twists on holiday meal staples. Recipes included Holiday Nog, Waldorf Salad, Almond Stuffing, Green Beans Amandine, Cranberry Orange Relish, and even Pumpkin Pie (made using carrots and tasting so authentic). The dishes were fantastic and easily slipped in to my regular holiday feasts.
I so enjoyed that class that when Heather returned to Cafe Gratitude this past March, I did not hesitate to sign up for another one. This time, the class I chose was on Dehydrating Basics. When Heather taught in November, she asked those of us taking the class what classes we would like to participate in in the future. I voted for a dehydrating class so I felt sort of obligated to take this one since she had honored my vote. I was so glad that I did. Not only did I learn more on how dehydrating foods at 105 degrees is an important component to raw food cuisine, Heather also shared some great recipes to incorporate in to regular raw food eating. She showed us how to use the dehydrator in making fruit leather, nacho cheesy kale chips, tomato bruschetta, pizza flax crackers, and even chocolate chip cookies!! Again, I found myself interested and committed to using more raw food dishes in my weekly meal planning.
Heather mentioned that in order to be successful in having raw food meal choices available to you, you should really devote one day a week to “raw food prepping.” In other words, set aside some time to dehydrate a couple of things, juice a few lemons, wash and chop greens for salads and green smoothies, chop and slice fresh fruits and veggies, and make a sauce or two — all to have easily on hand to use during the week. This past week, I had an extra day off, so I decided to take Heather up on her suggestion and prepare a few raw food staples to use in the coming week.
I rededicated my efforts to eat raw foods for breakfast and lunch, meals that usually don’t include the rest of my family (While they are supportive of my learning about and using raw foods, my family has agreed to only occasionally participate with me in eating raw food meals themselves). On my food prep day, I set out to make almond milk and muesli to have on hand for breakfast and for future lunches, I made bon bon sauce (an Asian inspired, creamy sauce), pizza flax crackers, nacho cheesy kale chips, and fruit cookies.
I was able to get them all made, yet in actuality, my food prep day turned in to almost two days, due to the length of time it took to dehydrate things. Still, I was able to have these healthy choices on hand to use throughout the week. By having everything prepared and ready to go, it was simple to know what my meal choices were going to be. Above all, I felt healthier because I knew I was making food choices that were pure and good for me too.
My goal is to continue to incorporate these raw food prep days in to my weekly schedule so that I will always have on hand quick, easy, and healthy food choices.
Do you have a system to prepare your food ahead of time?