Getting to grips with RAW and my new equipment!

Easter Weekend and it will NOT be full of chocolate and copious sugar (one of the blights on our modern day diet)... This weekend is a time of much experimentation! I will be putting 3 new recently acquired gadgets to work along with a myriad of new ingredients to create some rather healthy (and hopefully tasty) RAW food ensembles...

The gadgets I have acquired after giving RAW food 'a bit of a go' back in the month of July last year... a whole month with nothing but raw food having never even gone to so much as a whole day prior to this... well it was a challenge... carbohydrate (or rather the lack of it) was an issue for stamina during Table Tennis practice, but apart from that I lost 21 Lbs in weight and felt a lot fresher... so I was always intending to get back to the RAW thing, just it was a question of timing! ... and so here we are, the end of my #6P6M challenge, the winter over... and... me looking to get back into the RAW experience...

I am no stranger to cooking, however with RAW food you do need to change the thinking, snacking is a
different ball game, not just opening up a bag of crisps or nuts, home made RAW Hummus along with tasty seed based breads requires a bit more planning... Introducing my new gadgets. I had heard about the Vitamix Blender and had been meaning to make the investment sooner, but you know how it is... however if you are going to be serious about RAW you definitely need a decent blender of that there is no question, and they don't come with any bigger pedigree than the Vitamix... ok it is an extremely expensive piece of kit, but interestingly you can't buy one second hand for love nor money... people just hang on to them... I am hoping to understand why after this weekend...

The other major piece of kit I acquired was a Dehydrator... now this is also a serious investment, basically a machine which 'cooks' vegetables, fruit, bread and all manner of things at a temperature that mimmicks 'sun drying', it maintains all the enzymes in the food and transforms it into a different kind of food... this allegedly makes a nice change from pure RAW when one needs to eat something warm! So superbly healthy but are they any good, and are they worth the money? We shall find out I guess!

The final piece on the jigsaw was a Spiralizer... this is a tool to create interesting and different shapes from solid raw food like Courgettes, carrots, Parsnips, Sweet Potato, anything that needs to be sliced thinly if it is going to be easy to chew, digest and enjoy. One of my recipes for the weekend will be spiralized courgettes with pesto... this I am looking forward too!

So on with the weekend! Saturday evening was a simple meal of Salmon and salad... as we were late eating I decided not to be too creative... Bread maker went on though... as still going to eat bread and other food that I enjoy... don't want to become a very dull RAW or nothing person... cooked breakfast Sunday morning, after an amazing Smoothie in the Vitamix... Black grapes, strawberries, Banana, Apple, Mango & vanilla yoghurt and cranberry juice... just divine... First coffee as well since 6th Jan 2013 which was very enjoyable too!... The afternoon was spent slicing and preparing the first batch of food for the Dehydrator!

Sunday evening... was more adventurous... having done my penultimate #6P6M workout, I will be needing my protein fix, grilled chicken is on the menu... along with the spiralized raw courgette and the pesto... I was really rather impressed with the Spiralizer... very easy to clean, 3 different blade styles for different recipes, and simple to operate... with rather brilliant results... The courgette was turned into very pasta like long strands, which was awesome with the pesto (created in the Vitamix)... what a combination!!

Having extracted our first results from the Dehydrator, I think my first impression is... you've got to think about this, and plan a lot more... the tomato, courgette, banana, kiwi, apple and pineapple were all very good, but there is a need to workout how this produce is going to fit into your life... raw, dehydrated fruit is not something I eat a lot of... what will I be doing with dehydrated courgette and tomato? ... as it happens there are plenty of things that can be done, sauces, cheezes, pates, that can all accompany these tasty treats, you've just got to get familiar with a whole new set of thought processes... rather daunting, but exciting at the same time... I can't wait till later tonight... I have a list of things I am going to be making for the first time and it is very interesting for a health seeking kitchen enthusiast!

Monday evening then... and this is the plan... Corn tortilla chips, Flax, Sesame and Sunflower seed bread, Garden Pate and a RAW chocolate slice (special treat for Debi... as I didn't get her an Easter Egg)... and so using the Dehydrator for the Tortilla's and Bread... these need to be in the dehydrator for an incredible 10 hours or so... The Pate is just a load of veg's including, Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Carrot, Celery, Raisins (sweetness), Olive Oil and a cup of ground almonds... plus some water... wow this is going to be very good with the seed bread!!

... finally the Chocolate dessert... (BTW we had trout with salad for the main course) ... the dessert was a success, now I have never made a RAW dessert.. in fact I never make desserts at all, however it has to be said this was awesome... and a huge thanks to +Clare Darwish (Think Healthy Act Healthy Be Healthy facebook group) ... very moreish but very rich... one small piece was more than enough!

Even had time to put on another loaf of bread to take back to the Towers Tuesday morning... kitchen was a buzzing Monday through the night, Dehydrator working away along with the breadmaker... what an industrious Easter weekend, but I must say for my first really attempts at getting stuck into a more RAW way of cooking and eating I am finding it fascinating. There is so much that can be done without cooking, I definitely feel this is the way to go so long as you don't enforce this and become a problem when out to dinner... I do really enjoy cooked food and won't stop cooking those foods I love to eat, but I will work towards 80% RAW as my personal goal!

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