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Happy Birthday To My Loved Ones

Posted May 28 2009 12:22am

It was recently that special time of year for both my hunny (April 18), and my mom (April 27). Another year older, another year wiser!
Last year I had a little surprise party for Darwin, full of delicious raw food, of course. Things were a bit more quiet this year, but we still had a great dinner and an out of town visitor - the perfect opportunity to try some new recipes.

When this recipe from Kristen Suzanne's newsletter arrived in my inbox last month, it immediately caught me eye so I jotted it down on my mental "to do" list. Since it's a lot like the cheddar dip that my sweetie and I like so much, but with a spicy Mexican twist, I figured this would be the perfect choice.
I'm SO glad I made this - one of my new faves for sure! It's definitely got a kick from the cayenne - perfect with cooling veggies. The only change I made was to use cashews instead of hemp seeds, but I'd like to try with the seeds next time.

By Kristen Suzanne of

Yield approximately 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup water
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, rough chopped (approximately 1 cup)
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon chili powder*
2 teaspoons tamari, wheat-free
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

The next recipe I've made once before, without the tarragon, but I didn't like it. Wanting to serve a second dip, I decided to give it another shot, with the tarragon and extra herbs. I added extra basil, doubled the dill, a bit more lemon juice, some onion powder, and only used 1 tsp coconut oil which I think was too much and would omit it completely if I make it again. Since I wasn't sure about the quantity of one zucchini, I used about 1 cup chopped. As Kristen suggests, I thinned it into a salad dressing the next day by adding water and a bit more lemon juice.

I served the dips with crackers: black sesame sunflower crax, Everyday Raw's herbed crackers, and onion veggie bread.

Herbin' Ranch Dip

By Kristen Suzanne, Published in her June 2008 Newsletter

Yield 1 1/2 cups

This is the one of the most nutritious, delicious ways to have ranch dip, but without guilt. I love serving this dip at summer picnics with vegetable crudite or as a dressing on your favorite greens.

1/2 cup raw cashews, unsoaked
1/2 cup raw pine nuts, unsoaked
1 zucchini, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, not packed
1/4 cup fresh dill, not packed

Blend all of the ingredients, except the fresh basil and dill, until creamy and smooth. Pulse in the basil and dill. This will stay fresh for 4-5 days when stored in an airtight container (mason jar works great) in the refrigerator. This dip also freezes well.* To make this as a dressing, simply add more water until you reach the desired consistency.

Darwin doesn't have a sweet tooth, but he really loves any tangy sorbets I make, so in his Birthday honor, I made Blueberry Lime N Grape Sorbet which turned out to be a big hit!

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup fresh concorde grape juice
1/4 cup + 1 tbs lime juice
1 tsp lightly packed lime zest
1/4 cup agave
1/2 cup water

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Chill in the fridge and then process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

We celebrated my mom's birthday a little early, since I was out of town for the actual day. The dinner menu, requested by my mom, was - dehydrated pesto stuffed mushrooms, salad, and cooked spanikopita. The highlight for me, of course, was the cake! When I had originally asked what she wanted, she wasn't sure - last year I did the chocolate mint cake/squares from my book so that flavour was out...and since she she doesn't like coconut, or banana, those flavours were ruled out too. Later, she asked about a cake with pecans (her fave nut), and chocolate (her fave food!), The two combined inspired me to make a Chocolate Turtle Cake! Probably one of my best ideas yet, it turned out fabulously! A thick layer of caramel mixed with pecans, sandwiched between two layers of chocolate cake, all covered in rich chocolate ganache, and topped with candied/regular pecans, then drizzled with more chocolate. This is truely the definition of decadent!!!!! We enjoyed it with vanilla bean ice cream, Mmmm!
As you can see in the pic, the flowers are FINALLY starting to poke through, meaning Spring is here! Oh so grateful!!! :D
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