Raw Cacao Bars for Halloween :)

This weeks recipe is great anytime really, but with Halloween coming up next week we thought now is rather perfect.  Raw Cacao Bars are one of our very favourite, and quite popular with our family and friends too for obvious reasons.  Most people think they must be time consuming and challenging to make but in reality they are one of the more easy things we make up in our kitchen 🙂  How great is that, tasty and easy!!

Plus with the amazing health benefits that come along with consuming raw cacao this delicious treat is not only guilt free but rather something we SHOULD be enjoying on a daily basis.  Yes please!!!
If you are allowing your kids to trick or treat this year but wont be giving them the sugary processed items they receive door to door why not whip up some of these amazing bars and let them enjoy a tasty yet nutritious treat ( without them knowing the latter!!)
We use actually chocolate bar molds for our bars so this recipe yields 3 bars.  You can also use any chocolate mold trays ( halloween theme perhaps), or even a shallow cookie tray lined with parchment paper would do just fine.
So here is our very popular Raw Cacao Bar recipe:
1.5 cups of raw cacao powder
1.5 cups of shredded raw cacao butter
1/4 of agave or coconut nectar
1 tbsp of lucuma powder
1 tbsp of mesquite powder
1 tsp  of vanilla powder
Create a double boiler on the stove using medium to low heat ( the idea is to the melt the butter but not get it to hot).  Add the shredded cacao butter and stir until fully melted.
Pour the butter into a large bowl and slowly add all dry ingredients, be sure to stir until mixture is smooth and free of and clumps.  Next you will add in your agave, again stirring until completely smooth.
You can now pour the mixture into your mold of choice and freeze for about 30 minutes to an hour before enjoying.  The bars can then be stored in either the fridge or freezer.
This recipe makes a basic chocolate flavor, but please feel free to get creative.  In the bars in our picture we have added raw pistachios and raisins, the crunchy and chewy textures taste great together.
We also love doing up trail mix bars which are any combination of raw nuts along with goji berries and shredded coconut.  Another favourite is a pinch of cayenne powder mixed with 2 drops of lime essential oil, oh so good!!
The flavors really are endless and the creativity with varieties can be so much fun.  Give it a try and let us know some of your favourite flavors.
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Have a safe, happy and of course healthy halloween!!
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Happy Healthy Halloween

Ah yes its that time of year again, ghosts, goblins, witches and of course junk food!! Lots and lots of it.  The store shelves are layered top to bottom with a variety of highly processed sugary treats, it must be Halloween!!  Indeed it is, only another 2 weeks away and little trick or treaters will be covering the streets out and about to collect their loot.

 
This often brings about a lot of chatter and debate within the raw food community  as to how to best approach this time of year.  After all it is rather hard to avoid.  Not only is there halloween night, but the days leading up to it we also have to keep in mind the school going children will take part in halloween parties as well.
The question is, what do we do?  Do we allow our kids to trick or treat with their friends?  Do we keep them home that night?  What works best?  As always is the case what works for one may not be the best option for another, but the ideas that we will share seemed to be popular amongst those who we have spoken to, so we thought we would pass that along to those of you who may be in the same situation.
 
A lot of focus is put on the “junk” food that surrounds halloween and the parties we may be invited to, but that by no means means that we can’t replace the traditional treats with our own healthier versions.  We may not allow ourselves luscious raw treats everyday but this time of year just might be a good time to whip up a good few varieties.  That way our kids can have tasty, sweet, but healthy options and not feel so singled out.  As well this means we get to show off our delicious goodies to some of our curious friends and families.  Raw doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a sweet treat or two 🙂
 
As for the trick or treating on halloween night, most kids love the idea of dressing up and being outside with their friends.  Often this even out shadows the collection of sugary treats, so it may be important to allow our little ones to get out and have fun.  That said what do we do with all the candy they collect that we do not want them eating?  Well what about telling them that the candy will be left out for the sugar fairy who will take it away but who will also leave the child with an amazing replacement.  The next morning your child wakes up to a little gift, maybe a book, a toy, something they have had there eyes on.  This way they are still getting something ( and are often a lot more happy with this option) but we know they are not chomping down on sugary unhealthy sweets.
 
Could these ideas work for you?  Or do you have any other ideas to share?  Things that have perhaps worked for your family in the past?
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Happy  Healthy Halloween!!

The Healing Kitchen: Part 1

Isn’t it great that so many natural and effective remedies can be found in our very own kitchen?  Sometimes without even planning it we have our own mini “alternative pharmacies”  right under our noses!!
This week we want to go over some of the benefits of one of the more popular and versatile items that many of us already have stocked in our kitchen as we speak.
Generally used for adding  flavour to indian cooking Turmeric is being consumed more and more for its healing properties.  The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries.  Turmeric by some is known as a “natural wonder” for its many healing properties.
Here is a list of some of the great things that turmeric has long been helping many people with.

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When prepared along with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. It has prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

6. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

7. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

8. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. therefor it is a natural treatment for arthritis.

9. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

10. Is a natural painkiller.

11. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression

12. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
13. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
14. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.15. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

The great thing is, turmeric tastes great and can be added to so many recipes while boosting the healing benefits of meal.  We have also added it to some of our juices are found it to taste quite nice.  Sprinkle it on salads, or add some lemon juice and turmeric to half an avocado.  This one is an easy one to include in your daily lifestyle, and who know you just may be one of the lucky ones who finds it rather healing 🙂

Turmeric can be found in powdered form of course ( use in recipes, juices etc.) but also in capsule form if you would rather not worry about the meal aspect and just get the benefits straight from the source.

At a very reasonable price this healing spice is a must in our cupboards, how about you?Image

Happy Thanksgiving

With thanksgiving coming up this weekend ( for us canadians) and of course the winter holiday season not too far behind we realize that a huge issue for some raw foodists is what to do when you are on a raw living diet and celebrating/eating over at friends and family over the holidays.  Some people end up “giving in” and eating cooked food out of guilt, as to not upset the host who spent hours cooking a beautiful meal,  only to feel guilty themselves afterwards, which is not helpful for anyone.  Some people feel as though they will be singled out, ridiculed for their choices etc and just plain made to feel uncomfortable.  So what can we do?  The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and should not create stress for us based on our food and lifestyle choices.  Nowadays with so many allergies and sensitivities to food it is becoming more of a norm for at least someone in the family to be avoiding one thing or another at meal time.  First of all remember why you have made these choices, be proud of your choices to better your health and don’t feel guilty for making health a priority.  It doesn’t mean we need to force others to believe our ideas are correct or better than theirs, but the fact that we do, means they to need to respect our values equally as well.
Once you have been eating raw for sometime most friends and family will come to an understanding that that is just how you do things and will be supportive, making family mealtimes much easier.  It’s the newer raw foodies who are left explaining what and why they are not eating the “family meal” that often have the most trouble, but of course as time goes on this too passes.
Here a few helpful hints, tried and tested.
The less attention you draw to yourself the less others will react, most people really are busy enjoying their own plates and if you just simply sit back and enjoy yours as well they may not even speak up.
Its always wise if you are headed out to someone’s house that doesn’t already know your dietary choicesthat you do inform them ahead of time.  Simply mention that you are grateful for the invite and look forward to spending time with the group but will be bringing your own food due to different dietary preferences.  Offer to bring a portion big enough for others to try. We have done this on many occasions and had friends enjoy a plate we have made only to tell them afterwards it’s all raw. They are in disbelief at how fabulous it tastes and now they always request that we bring something raw to the dinner parties!! 🙂  We even have a few of them jumping on board too!
We also have friends who will purposely plan their fasts around holiday time. That way they don’t bring their own food nor do they consume anything at all and simply enjoy the company.
Be ready to educate those who are interested, but no need to volunteer any information if it is not asked of you when it comes to the raw diet. Some people might actually reevaluate their own practices after hearing what you know.

Let’s be thankful for that and leave all food related stress at the door and enjoy a fantastic and healthy weekend 🙂

 
This Thanksgiving and always, let’s all remember what’s important – family and friends. 
What is your favourite raw Thanksgiving dish?
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