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A Super Easy Vegan Meringue and Cashew Cream Deconstructed Sans Rival Cake

15 Aug

My parents friends would gift us Silvanas and Sans Rival on special occasions. I would look forward to eating either one of them as soon as I could. These extravagant Filipino treats just melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. Both made from meringue, buttercream and cashews, Silvanas is a frozen cookie while Sans Rival a frozen cake.

After a day of baking and tasting Aquafaba Meringues, I knew I had to try making a Vegan Version of Silvanas or Sans Rival. I decided on something in between: a dessert bigger than a cookie and smaller than a full-sized cake. I also wanted a dessert that would be more meringue and less of the loaded fats.

How about a deconstructed cake? Layers of Vegan Meringue, Cashew Buttercream and Cashews! Perfect.

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Vegan Aquafaba Meringue

This is the exact recipe from my Aquafaba Whipped Cream.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 c cooking liquid of chickpeas
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Whisk in a mixer for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Like the photo below.

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To make cakes: Draw 4 circles around 6 inches or 16 cm in diameter using a bowl or plate on parchment paper. Turn the paper around so that the pencil/ink drawings face the baking sheet. Spoon or pipe the Aquafaba Cream into round cakes on the parchment paper using the outline of circles as your guide. You want them to be around half an inch thick.

Leftover Whipped Cream? No Problem.

You will have some cream left over. You can either save the cream to serve with the cake later on or make small meringue cookies.

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To make cookies: spoon or pipe the cream into small macaroon shaped cookies on a Silpat mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Baking the Meringues

Place the the baking sheets in a preheated oven at 200F. The small cookies bake for 2 hours. Take the cookies out at this time. The bigger cakes bake for 2 1/2 hours, turning the baking sheet around halftime. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue cakes in the oven until it thoroughly dries out (if needed). Carefully peel off the meringues from the parchment paper gently.

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Cashew Buttercream

Soak for a couple of hours:

  • 1 c raw cashews

Drain and rinse cashews. Place in high speed blender with:

  • 1/4 t sea salt, optional
  • 2 T your choice of liquid sweetener, like coconut nectar, maple or agave syrups
  • 1/4 c your choice of liquid, like water, orange juice or even coffee

Blend well to create a vegan buttercream.

Cashews

Place in a food processor and process so that there are both bigger and smaller (almost ground) chunks of nuts:

  • 1/2 c cashews, toasted or raw

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A Super Easy Vegan Meringue and Cashew Cream Deconstructed Sans Rival Cake (Serves 8)

Place the first meringue layer on a plate, top with a thin layer of cashew buttercream and sprinkle generously with chopped cashews. Place another meringue layer on top and repeat layers of thin cashew buttercream and sprinkles of cashews. Repeat with the other two layers of meringues. Freeze immediately. Serve this cold and straight out of the freezer, otherwise the meringue will become soggy. If you have leftover whipped cream, you can serve the cakes with some too.

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My son took one look at the cake and exclaimed: “Couldn’t you have made it with something else other than cashews? I would have loved to eat it.”

Oops, sorry. (He’s allergic to cashews.) I could have made it with hazelnuts or almonds I guess, but it is traditionally made with cashews.

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My husband and I already ate half the cake. It is a luscious mix of cooked and raw deliciousness.

I love my kitchen and I have missed cooking in it. My blog had been quiet for almost 3 years, but changing from RAW to COOKED Vegan has reignited my passion for food. Thank YOU for keeping in touch with me through the silence and stopping by again to enjoy the food on my table.

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Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food

26 May

Let’s Un-Process Our Children’s Food:

prepare everything from scratch and

eliminate processed foods as much as possible.

Organic Candy without High Fructose Corn Syrup... Is it better? (answer below)

Can a Vegetarian Diet be BAD?

I ‘got’ it. I was vegetarian in high school and college because I learned that a plant-based diet was better for my health and for the planet.  But on a vegetarian diet, I was sluggish and gained at least 20 pounds in my first semester of college.  Even my own mother didn’t recognize me at the airport when she came to pick me up for Christmas break.  I had to stand right in front of her, wave my hands before her eyes and say “Hi!”  It is definitely not a fond homecoming memory.

I confess I did go a little food crazy in college. Sugar-coated cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Countless dining hall visits for Ranch dressing, Honey Mustard dressing, Mayonnaise, American cheese melts, Pesto Pasta, cookies, ice cream with sprinkles galore at the dining hall. I also got a job at the Student Center Cafe, thinking I would learn how to cook for myself.  Well, I didn’t learn a thing.  The only thing I did learn was how to use the griddle and fryer, slap flat foods together to make sandwiches and slice tomatoes.  Everything else was pre-packaged and pre-made somewhere else. Looking back, I realize that most of the food I bought or ate or touched were highly processed foods – not whole foods.

A Processed Culture

I understand why we are attracted to ready-made convenience foods: they do not require much work or energy.  We want food NOW without having to work for it.  We want to be healthy but we don’t want to put the effort into actually preparing our meals directly from whole foods.  We want things EASY.

The thing is though, like most things, it requires work on our part to get something really worth anything.  Nutrition is no exception – plant-based or not.

The Difference

Consider this: When a fruit or vegetable is 5 days old, it will contain only 40% of it’s original nutrients.  How about processed foods with long shelf-lives?

Plant-based whole-foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.  They are in their natural state and are not packaged, canned, bottled or boxed.  Most of the time, you can eat them fresh (washed or not) or they may require some time and attention (cleaning, prepping, dressing/marinating, cooking).

Processed foods, on the other hand, require little time and attention.  Most are ready to eat as is (junk food) or require some cooking (frozen dinners).  They are foods that have been so drastically altered from their natural state.  They are anything canned, boxed, bottled and packaged.  They are foods that are full of preservatives, artificial flavors and artificial coloring. They include anything refined (like white flours and sugars), any hydrogenated fats, any processed meats, anything with soy fillers, artificial food grade chemicals and additives.  

Plant-based processed foods are a whole niche market dedicated to serving ready made Veggie Meats and Veggie Dairy to vegans and vegetarians.  Unfortunately, these are highly processed foods too, containing especially high amounts of soy (most of which is genetically modified).

What’s The Big Deal?

Although we call them ‘food’, processed foods are not readily recognized by the bodyThey are seen as alien matter and our white blood cells will be on attack mode as soon as they enter our system.  Processed foods create toxins in our systems and cause degenerative diseases.  For our planet, processed foods require more energy and packing material.  Most of all, processed foods create more waste.

What’s more? 75% of all processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients – even foods labeled organic!  Of all seeds planted in the US, 93% of all soy, 86% of all corn and 93% of all canola seeds are genetically modified. According to Monica Eng of the Los Angeles Times, their bi-products “have become such common ingredients in processed foods that even one of the nation’s top organic food retailers says it hasn’t been able to avoid stocking some products that contain them.” People are generally unaware of foods containing GMOs: only 26% of Americans think they have eaten anything genetically modified and only 28% believed genetically modified ingredients were sold in stores.

The Ills of GMO

There has not been a long-term human study conducted to prove genetically modified organisms are safe.  A peer-reviewed paper GM Crops – Just The Science by The Non-GMO Project states that genetically modified ingredients:

  • “can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts
  • can disrupt the ecosystem, damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations and harm biodiversity
  • increase chemical inputs (pesticides, herbicides) over the long term
  • deliver yields that are no better, and often worse, than conventional crops
  • cause or exacerbate a range of social and economic problems
  • are laboratory-made and, once released, harmful GMOs cannot be recalled from the environment.”

Repercussions: Our Children’s Health

Studies have shown that processed foods are contributing to our children’s emotional and/or health disorders.  Recently, processed foods have been shown to adversely affect our children’s intelligence.  And yet, processed foods are still everywhere: in home kitchens, restaurants, cafeterias, and worse of all, they are used as gifts and rewards for children.

A few months ago, my friend Christina told me her children’s teacher at school was still giving Potato Chip parties every Friday for the best performing student of the week.  The kids also received daily Candy Rewards for good behavior.  My niece Lia is only in preschool and candy rewards are there too.  And it doesn’t end at school.  There are always boxed juices, frosted cupcakes and pinatas full of more candy at birthday parties. Doctors visits end with lollipops. People who want to do good, like Cookies for Cancer, raise money for cancer research by selling cookies with vegetable shortening, white sugar, sweetened condensed milk, packaged refrigerated cookie dough and Angel Coconut Flakes. Then there is Easter Bunnies, then Halloween Trick or Treating, then Holiday Sweets…  These are all occasions for highly processed foods with genetically modified soy, corn and canola products no doubt.

What adults are essentially saying to children is “You are so good!  Here’s some junk food that causes disease!” Why does our culture encourage this shameful and imbalanced exchange? Is it correct to reward our good children with processed foods containing empty calories and zero nutrients?  Is it right that we give them foods that negatively affect their future health?  Is it acceptable that by rewarding with these processed foods that children will be more resistant to eating whole foods?  Is it suitable that we are allowing children to crave junk foods by using them as rewards? According to Joanne Ikeda, a nutrition education specialist highly regarded for her work on childhood obesity, these are all the factors why foods (especially candy) must not be used as rewards for good behavior.

What’s A Mama To Do?

After a whole year of my son pestering me for the same lollipops he’s seen other kids eating (“Mama, REAL lollipops not my Banana Lollipops“), I finally ran out of distraction tactics or maybe he just wore me down.  So the other day, this Raw Vegan Mama succumbed to buying organic processed lollies for her son.  He’s only allowed 1 a week, which he rarely remembers and hubby and I conveniently forget to remind him.  The top 3 ingredients are: organic evaporated cane juice, organic tapioca syrup and organic rice syrup.  Not bad, no high-fructose corn syrup at least.  But all 3 ingredients are still processed foods. I sigh – almost defeated.  If you’ve read Is Sugar Toxic? you wouldn’t want your children to consume any kind of processed sugars either.

Resources on Plant-Based Whole Foods Diet

Blue Vinyl, The China Study, The Cove, Diet For A New AmericaFood Matters, Forks Over Knives, Mad Cowboy

Can I Have More of those Raw Oatmeal Cookies Mama?

4 Apr

The Yummiest and Easiest Raw Oatmeal Cookies

“Mama!” my son’s eyes widened as he exclaimed, “Daddy put one whole raw oatmeal cookie in his mouth and ate it in one gulp!”

Pause.

“So, can I have more of those raw oatmeal cookies?” he smiled.

Yes, these raw oatmeal cookies are delicious and they will have the kids and daddies wanting more! They are so very simple to make and highly nutritious. Cookies made of sprouted oats, coconut oil and almond butter… hmmm… I have no qualms serving it to my family anytime of day. We hardly enjoy dehydrated food anymore preferring fresh instead but this recipe may change all that.

Soak overnight. Next day, drain and rinse. Sprout for a day, if you wish:

1 cup organic oat groats

Place in a food processor and process until you have a nice thick batter:

pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbspns raw almond butter
2 tbspns extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup raw local honey
2 cups sprouted oat groats

Place by a spoonful on a Texflex sheet on dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 110F until desired hardness, turning cookies over once and placing them directly on trays to dry quicker.

Note: my friend Bonnie reminded me that if you set your machine to 150F for the first 2 to 3 hours, the food being dehydrated will not reach a temperature of more than 110F and it will speed up the process of dehydration by at least half the time. After 2 to 3 hours at 150F, you can decrease the temperature to 110F for the remainder of the process. In doing so, these cookies will be done in about 6 hours.

Easy Raw Macadamia Nut Cookies

17 Feb

Easy Raw Macadamia Nut Cookies

Process until crumbly, almost powdery:

8 oz raw macadamia nuts

Add and process further:

1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2  ground flax seeds
3 tbspns almond butter
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup raw local honey

Top with cacao nibs, if desired.  Place on TexFlex sheets in 1 tbspn cookie rounds and dehydrate at 110F for 24 hours or more until desired texture.

Banana Date Cookies or Raw Banana Muffins

6 May

I saw a recipe like this for a flour free cookie in a city brochure and thought to myself – wow, people are really trying to be healthy.  I wanted to see if it tasted good.  My son and husband don’t really like it a whole lot – but I brought it to a meeting where there were some kids and they ate it all up (and asked for seconds)!  I love it raw, a little cold from the fridge and eaten with Artisana’s Cacao Bliss.

3 large bananas
1 cup dates, chopped
2 cups oats (buy raw oat flakes, or if you can’t get them, rolled oats will do)
1/3 cup coconut oil (place it in warm water for a little while)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Place all in food processor.  Scoop onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350F for 20 minutes or scoop on to Texflex sheets and dehydrate at 105F till you get the consistency you like.

Healthier Alternatives for Cookie Loving Son

12 May

Raw Cookies? Never even crossed my mind… until my recent raw craze. A week after going raw, I’ve lost 4 pounds without even trying (apparently normal when first following the Raw and Living Foods Diet). The food is great, I feel great, I feel ‘cleaner’, my skin feels fresher… I could go on and on. I would never have considered a raw foods diet* – but since recipe testing for a book on cancer and since talking to our holistic doctor, I gave it a try… and well, it really works! Once more, my hocus pocus preconception has been proven otherwise.

In searching for ways to raid our pantry and fridge off processed foods – and introducing more and more healthy and nutritious alternatives to my family, I have found that our son loves raw cookies. Here we have photos of Strawberry Macaroons (if you don’t have a dehydrator, try baking them in your oven at the lowest setting – turning the heat off and on as needed) and Carob Chip Oatmeal Cookies (we substituted carob chips for chocolate). Thank you again Ani Phyo – I could eat these for breakfast.

Thinking of breakfast… have you thought of eating raw pancakes?? These Banana Coconut Pancakes are so easy and tasty. Mash 1 banana. Mix with 2 tbsp coconut meal and a little cinnamon. Roll into balls and flatten on more grated coconut. Serve with maple syrup. These pancakes remind me of the Filipino Merienda Palitaw… without the hassle of cooking.

I also found our son will eat fresh coconut meat any time of day. The benefits of coconut are tremendous and I’m so happy our son loves it!

Update – while I’ve been 100% raw, son and hubby are about 50% raw…

More Raw Food Inspirations:
Alissa Cohen – just read her book last night… wow!
Matthew Kenney – for raw food gourmet

*In Ayurveda, a raw foods diet is not suited for everyone. It is great in the summer for Pitta types. It is not recommended for prolonged maintenance for health. I’ll have to really think about this one as I become more and more pro-raw:
1. Why are raw and living foods recommended by Ayurveda practitioners for those with cancer? Cancer patients have weaker systems, yet they are told to eat foods full of living enzymes. Why shouldn’t normal people follow the same diet in order for disease NOT to form in their bodies?
2. Ayurveda is 5,000 years old – but isn’t eating RAW the oldest diet there is?