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Gourmet Popsicles

August 11, 2012

Gourmet popsicles are making their way as the newest food rage. You can see evidence of that in some way in just about every food publication you pick up, on any food show on television and all over the internet. There is hardly a specialty food market, farmer’s market or food truck anywhere that does not have some representation of these handcrafted, gourmet frozen confections. And why not? They are fun, creative, and in most cases, a healthy option to some of the overly sweetened, processed frozen treats that have been making the scene for years.

Ever since we browsed the People’s Pops stall at the Brooklyn Flea Market, I starting gathering a little inspiration for my own homemade artisan popsicles. We purchased fruit from farmer’s markets and condensed it into the form of a simple and nostalgic summertime staple. With temperatures reaching  over 90 degrees while visiting NYC, the popsicles we made at my sister’s apartment were the perfect antidote to the heat — if only for a few minutes.

Ginger Tea Cherry Popsicles


  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 ginger tea bags
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of pitted cherries (I used sour cherries)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice


  1. Steep ginger tea bags in hot water for 5 minutes.
  2. Discard tea bags and stir in agave nectar. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour the ginger tea concoction into popsicle trays and add cherries. Freeze completely (4-5 hours).
  5. To un-mold, place popsicle trays under running hot water for a few seconds.

Almond Pear Popsicles


  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, or sweetener of choice
  • Pinch of cinnamon


  1. Place almond milk into a small bowl. Stir in almond extract, agave nectar and cinnamon.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle trays and add pear slices. Freeze until set (4-5 hours).
  3. To un-mold, place popsicle trays under running hot water for a few seconds.


(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

Sprouting 101

July 31, 2012

When we think of sprouting, most people think of alfalfa sprouts. What most people don’t realize is that you can sprout any truly raw seed, nut and/or grain or legume. You don’t have to be a health nut (no pun intended) or a raw foodist to be a sprouter. I began my adventures in sprouting this spring and it has turned into a real obsession in our house. I’ve sprouted chickpeas, lentils, mung beans and alfalfa so far. We can’t get enough of them.

Sprouts are a miracle food. Sprouts can be grown any time of the year, without soil, maturing in three to five days even without sunshine and rival almost any food in nutrition value. Sprouts will grow year-round in any climate with very little effort to provide vital, organic, locally grown produce (as local as your own kitchen!).

Sprouts are seeds, nuts, beans, or gains that have been germinated with water. This initiates the growth process. Sprouting transforms seeds from a dry, dormant storehouse of nutrition into a wealth of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and protein that is rich in enzymes for easy digestion. Sprouts are abundant in all essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and enzymes. Sprouts are perhaps the most vital of all fresh foods. Sprouting actually increases the nutritional value of foods. A seed contains more concentrated nutrition that the plant on which it grew. As a plant matures, energy is collected and focused into producing a seed for reproduction. The seed is the storehouse of essential energy. When the seed is germinated, the potential energy is awakened and the complex concentration of energy is broken down into a simpler, more available state. which is easier to digest.


Sprouts are nutritional powerhouses. Any means of incorporating and munching sprouts on a regular basis is a champion of choices. They can be put into salads, breads, used in soup… or eatten as is.

Equipment for sprouting:

  • Glass jar with a wide mouth
  • 1 piece of screen or mesh
  • 1 rubber band (to secure the screen or mesh)
  • Fresh water
  • Seed, nut, bean, or grain of choice

How to make sprouts

Use one part seed to at least three parts water. Soak in a wide-mouth jar. All measurements below yield one quart of ready sprouts. Half-gallon or larger jars are more convenient.

Seed                                      Soak time            Days to sprout

2 Tbsp. alfalfa                      6 hours                      5-6 days

½ cup lentils                        8 hours                     3 days

½ cup mung beans             8 hours                     3-5 days

1 cup wheat or rye               12 hours                   3 days

1 cup garbanzo beans         12 hours                   3-5 days

2 cups sunflower seeds      12 hours                   2 days



  1. Cover the mouth of the jar with a plastic or stainless steel sprouting screen or cheesecloth, which is tied on or secured with a rubber band (I use a sprouting jar). After soaking seeds, drain well and keep in a warm dark place.
  2. Rinse twice a day, ideally morning and evening. Keep jar tilted mouth down for better drainage.
  3. After a few days you will notice nice little sprouts appearing. Once ready, they can be refrigerated. They keep up to one week in a plastic bag or covered glass jar.

Cashew Cream Cheese

July 23, 2012

Nut cheeses are a great item to have in your raw food recipe collection. They are tasty, easily support the addition of many herbs and spices, and will impress your raw and non-raw friends a like. Instead of dairy, this delicious dish is made from blended cashews, giving it a smooth, nutty taste. Cashews make a smooth, easy to flavor cheese that has a bit of a softer texture. It’s amazing as a topping for bagels, in dip recipes and as cream cheese frosting. You don’t need a high powered blender to make it, but if you’ve got one – why not use it.

Cashews are rich in a number of health-promoting nutrients, including magnesium, copper, tryptophan, and healthy fatty acids. A diet that is rich in high quality cashews can help keep your teeth and bones healthy and help prevent high blood pressure. I enjoy eating this nutty spread on crackers with fresh fruit. If you enjoy cream cheese, I encourage you to give the following dairy-free and healthy cream cheese recipe a try. Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

Cashew Cream Cheese

Vegan, Raw


  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (soaking is optional)
  • 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water as needed for desired consistency
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 2 tsp. agave nectar
  • sea salt to taste


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add more water if needed.

The more water you add, the creamier the cheese will become. Add less water for a thicker, more rustic cheese. If you enjoy cream cheese with fresh herbs, add a heaping tablespoon of green onions, chives (or any other fresh herbs that are readily available) to the mix before you blend.

(Photo Credit: my sister, Jenny Norris –

Healthy Travel Tips

July 10, 2012

Tomorrow I’m jetting off to America. First stop – home. I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my loved ones and enjoying the warm weather. After two weeks of roaming the corn fields of Iowa, I’ll then be spending a week visiting my sister in New York City. She always shows me the best time. Only time will tell what kind of crazy adventures we’ll find ourselves in.

With a little preparation, any excursion, whether it’s packing up the car for a road trip or hopping on a plane for a journey halfway around the world, can be executed with nutritious flair. Keep safe and stress-free during your travels with these helpful tips.

Healthy travel can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be. The easiest way to maintain good health while in transit is to bring your own food. This will save you time, money and most likely- indigestion. I like to take along some of my favorite healthy snacks which are easy to fit in a carry-on or in my purse: salads, homemade sandwiches on a hearty whole grain bread, fresh fruit & veggies, nuts & seeds, high quality meal replacement bars (see recipe below) and granola.

Here are some healthy food travel tips, plus a recipe for delicious whole-food bars:

  • Stay hydrated. Pack your favorite glass or BPA free bottle in your carry on bag and fill it at the airport. This way you save money and you aren’t drinking unhealthy water or contributing to landfill waste. If you’re really stuck, purchase bottled water upon entering the appropriate gate. Above all else, staying hydrated during air travel is key to cutting down on fatigue and helps fight off the munchies!
  • Take your vitamins and eat your veggies. If you’re running around and not able to eat balanced meals on your travel day, be sure to pack water soluble vitamin packets. In addition, there are many powdered veggie drinks that you can down and get your recommended servings of veggies a day to keep your immune system top notch.
  • Stay away from caffeine and sugar. Drinking caffeinated beverages on or before a flight will keep you from relaxing on the plane. In addition, both caffeine and sugar mess with your insulin levels and can cause you to overeat. Not a good combination when you’re on vacation.
  • Pack snacks. Stock up on healthy bars, nuts and even healthy sandwiches. Pack your carry-on with healthy goodies so you aren’t spending money at the terminal on expensive convenience food and you are sure to have something on hand when hunger strikes.

These bars are not only filled with natural plant-based protein, they are also magically delicious. I’ll definitely be slipping a few of these into my purse before leaving the house.


Raw Hemp Protein Bars

Vegan & Raw

Makes 3 large bars or 6 smaller portions


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup fresh medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon


  1. In a food processor or blender pulse the pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes and hemp hearts quickly. Do not over-process, we want it crunchy. Place the mixture in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add wet ingredients (dates, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla) to the food processor or high speed blender and blend to combine.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Add oats, cacao powder, chia seeds and cinnamon and stir until well combined.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into a baking dish, make sure it becomes quite compact. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Cut into bars. Wrap them in paper and store in an air-tight container. Will keep for about a week in the fridge. They also freeze very well. Enjoy!

I will continue to post regularly while I’m away. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to LIKE my page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter to keep up to date on my whereabouts and what I’m up to. Hope you all have a lovely week. Take care.