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    Edible (and delicious!) Christmas Tree Caramel Balls


    Well into Christmas stretch now and right in the festive spirit, today was certainly THE highlight! I got up to a delivery- a Christmas parcel both from my parents in Ecuador and my sister in New York!!

    I was not brought up to wait around and this time was no exception , so I ripped off the tape and opened the box and took off the wrapping and tore the plastic bag and look! looook!!!...


    Wowee! Now this is what I call Christmas- Organic Chocolate galore of all flavours straight from Ecuador (majority, but not all raw- I do have to do my market research to whip up the best raw variety, right? :)), amazing spice mixes, hot summer heals and super cute outfits, finest Lama hair scarf for Elliot (I shall steal, be warned), dried flowers (and things I do not recognise, nor understand the meaning of in Spanish, but excited about nevertheless, perhaps tea?), the real deal coffee -freshest and most natural there is (more luck for Elliot, as he is the one that will be drinking it), the biggest warmest comfiest blanket, a Zapper (oh how I have wanted you!) aaaand a whole box of jewellery, including the most beautiful Lapis healing crystals and gemstones on a silver chain.

    Thank you my beautiful family, I really didn't expect so much. I am wearing the bracelet you sent and feeling the energy from you this Christmas, loving every moment and missing you! Oh and by the way- THIS was the winner for me...


    That is Cacao beans coated in... Cacao! Does it get any better than that? I think so, because it is spiced with dried ginger. Wow! I can't believe I haven't been introduced to such heaven before. I tried to figure out if it is a Raw product, as none of the ingredients suggest otherwise and I have a feeling it may just be- you can usually tell by the taste- when the chocolate doesn't have that bitter roasted tang and in this case you can even tell by the colour of the powder coat- it is light, just like raw cacao, not dark like roasted.


    An all round good family day ends with an all round good family time, so we had Elliot's sister Alex over for the Eve of Christmas Eve.

    For those still struggling to compile the finishing touches to their Christmas dinners, I wanted to share this fun recipe, that wouldn't eat up your precious time, but certainly look the part...


    EDIBLE (and delicious!) CHRISTMAS TREE CARAMEL BALLS


    1/2 Cup Cashew Nuts
    1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
    1/2 Cup Walnuts
    1/2 Cup Mesquite meal
    1,5 Cups Pitted Dates
    1 Tbsp Tahini
    1 tsp Cinnamon
    1/2 tsp Nutmeg
    Optional for coating: cacao powder, desiccated coconut
    Ribbon (thin, about 3metres)

    - Grind all the nuts to a powder in a food processor
    - Add the Dates and process pulsing, until all the ingredients are broken down and the mixture is sticky
    - Add the Tahini and sprinkle evenly Mesquite and Spices over the mixture and process again
    - Roll the even sized balls, any size you wish
    - Prepare the ribbons for hanging your decorations: cut into roughly 25cm pieces, fold in half and tie a knot on the end
    - Cut each Caramel ball half way (careful not to slice right through), insert the tied ribbon as in picture, so the knot is hanging at the bottom and just touching the ball (the knot will help stop the sliding of the ball off the ribbon while it hangs on the tree)
    -  Press together to seal it back and roll a little to regain the shape
    - At this stage I also coated the Caramels- half in Cacao power and half in Coconut

    The batch is enough for 12-16 balls, so if you have extras, serve them as truffles

    I made mine small and had plenty of extras to put in a box for gifts

    I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and wish you the Merriest of Merry Christmases. Lots and even more love, xxTanya

    PS Alex and I ice skating earlier this week in front of the Natural History Museum. Stunning backdrop everywhere you look xx




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    Christmas in the Raw (no dehydrator needed!)

    Christmas in the Raw (no dehydrator needed!)

    If you are after recipe ideas for a totally (or even partially) raw Christmas this year and are reading this right now, your luck is in full mode! You really couldn't have stumbled across a better place, because we created a fool proof menu for the most terrifically delicious festivities to your taste buds, that are as friendly for your tummy as they are filling and satisfying and Christmassy all at the same time.

    You already know me and probably Elliot, him being part of nearly every post I share with you, now meet Colby (from Kinetic Studios)and Phil- the beautiful couple who made our Christmas so magical... 

    Phil, moi, Elliot, Colby

    What's on the menu:
    There were four of us, but the below recipes would serve a party of six easy- we had so many left overs... which tasted even better the day after! 

    *Nut Nog
    *Sweet Potato Soup
    *Mock Turkey with Mushroom Gravy
    *Mini Pizzas with Cranberry Relish
    *Mince Pies 
    COLBY'S NUT NOG
    Colby used the inspiration from food.com to create this delicious Nut Nog. It was a very big hit and even though it was a perfect way to start, because it is so sweet and filling, you can serve it as desert
    2 Cups x Almond Milk
    2 Cups x Hazelnut Milk
    1 Cup x Dates
    2 x Vanilla Pods, seeds scraped
    1 tsp x Cinnamon
    1 tsp x Nutmeg
    -Use these instructions to make Almond and Hazelnut milks
    -Transfer all ingredients to a blender and blend well until creamy
    (Tip: if you like to serve your Nut Nog warm, make milk with half the water in recipe, then boil the other half water and pour in right before serving)
    PHIL'S SWEET POTATO SOUP
    The next couple of recipes Colby and Phil give full credit to Pretty Smart Raw Food Ideas, check out this blog for EVEN more great suggestions!
    Tip: this soup is delicious as it is, you can even serve it as a dip or a side and if you prefer to have your soup warm, pour in some boiling water just before serving
    2-3 x Sweet Potatoes (or yams)
    1 Cup x Desiccated Coconut
    2 x Apples
    ¼  Cup x Ginger root
    4 x Lemons, juiced
    2 x oranges, juiced
    1 Cups walnuts, chopped fine
    -Grate/Process sweet potatoes, apples and ginger
    -Add coconut, lemon and orange juices, and chopped walnuts.
    -Mix thoroughly
    MOCK TURKEY WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
    Another recipe Colby confidently created thanks to Pretty Smart Raw Food Ideas and we were grateful she did! So good...
    For the Turkey
    1 x Bunch celery
    1 x Green onion
    1 Cup x Almonds, soaked overnight
    1 x avocado
    parsley to taste
    Mixed greens
    -Grind Almonds to a powder in a food processor first
    -All the rest of ingredients, accept greens and process
    -Assemble on a bed of greens
    For the Gravy
    ½  Cup x Almonds, soaked overnight
    ½  Cup x Water or as needed
    2 Cups x Shiitake Mushrooms
    1 x Clove Garlic, minced
    2 tsp x Braggs Liquid Aminos (or Tamari)
    Sage to garnish
    -In a food processor, grind almonds fine.
    -Add remainder of ingredients, and process to paste, adding water as necessary
    -Pour over the Mock Turkey and garnish with Sage
    TANYA'S PIZZAS- mini on size, large on taste
    Makes 12
    I do have to give a huge amount of credit to Russell James for his amazing and beautiful creations and for continuously inspiring me to improve mine. He has a really yummy mini pizza recipe in his Christmas ebook, this one below however is entirely my own and there is really no point to even pretend and be modest- I guarantee instant happiness with these!
    Tip: Even though I use a dehydrator for this recipe, it is not essential, just have your oven on the lowest setting (50degrees C), have the door slightly ajar and 'dehydrate/cook' for 3-4 hours, turning over once
    For the Base
    1 ½ Cups x butternut squash, grated
    1 Cup x Pumpkin seeds, soaked 2 hours
    ½ Cup x Hulled Flaxseeds, soaked 2 hours in ¾ Cups water
    1 Cup x Sundried Tomatoes (or 20 halves), soaked 2 hours
    ½ packed Cup x Fresh Basil + extra to garnish
    2 tsp x Mixed Italian herbs
    -Process all ingredients in the food processor with an S Blade
    -Form into 3-4 inch patties, about 2 cm thick (tip: you can make them thinner for a crispy version, otherwise press the middle in slightly thinner than the sides, so each patty dehydrates evenly throughout)
    -Arrange on mesh trays and dehydrate at 105degrees F for about 7 hours
    For the Cheese
    2 Cups x cashews, soaked 2 hours
    1 x Lemon, juiced (or 4 Tbsp)
    3 Tbsp x Nutritional Yeast
    1 tsp x Paprika
    Pinch x salt
    ½ Cup x Water (or as needed)
    -Blend cashews, lemon juice and water in a high speed blender. Use a tamper if you have one. (Tip: if you don’t have a powerful blender, you may need to pulse and add slightly more water)
    -Add the rest of ingredients and blend to a cream
    For the Mushrooms
    3 x Large Portabella mushrooms
    ½ Cup x Balsamic Vinegar
    3 x Garlic cloves, minced
    -Thinly slice the mushrooms long wise and lay out on a tray
    -Drizzle over with Balsamic and garlic and leave to marinate for 2-6 hours
    For the Relish
    1 Cup x Dried Cranberries
    1 Cup x Pineapple, finely diced
    ¼ x Red Onion
    1 inch x Ginger, grated
    ½ tsp x Cayenne Pepper
    -Blend all ingredients in a blender (Tip: for a chunkier relish, process in a food processor)
    To Assemble
    -Spread the cheese over each base
    -Lay 3 mushroom strips
    -Spoon on the relish
    -Garnish with fresh basil leaves
    ELLIOT'S CHRISTMAS MINCE PIES
    Makes 12
    Ok maybe these are not exactly Elliot's mince pies, but he did eat all the ones in the photo and they have his seal of approval all over! And no wonder, they are completely divine, which is a huge call for me since I have never ever liked the traditional Mince Pies. Enjoy my own version...
    For the Crust
    2 Cups x Cashews
    1,5 Cups x Dates
    ½ Cup x Desiccated Coconut
    2 Tbsp x Coconut Oil/Butter, melted
    2 Pinch x Salt
    -Process cashews in the food processor with an S Blade
    -Add dates and process some more
    -Add the rest of ingredients (Tip: melt the coconut butter gently in a dehydrator or in a double boiler) and process again
    -Divide the mixture between 12 non stick muffin tins (I had a shallow pie/bun tray) and press it into each tin to take the shape of the mould
    -Place in the freezer to set for 30 mins
    For the Filling
    3 x Pears, grated
    ½ Cup x Raisins, finely chopped
    3 x Medjool Dates, finely chopped
    1 x Orange- juice and zest
    1 Tbsp x Spice mix (mine had cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and coriander)
    -Mix all ingredients (except the spices) in a bowl and leave aside to marinate for 2-6 hours
    -Transfer into a nut bag/ cheese cloth and squeeze out the juice (Tip: do not over do it, so the mixture is still slightly moist. Also dilute the juice with water for a yummy drink)
    -Divide the mixture into 12 equal parts and scoop into each ready moulded crust (Tip: when you take the crust out of the freezer, pop it out with a sharp knife to loosen from the mould, but then leave it inside, until serving)
    For the Icing
    Same yummy one as on my Christmas Puddings, double portion though
    Orange zest to garnish
    -Spread over each mince pie
    -Garnish with orange zest
    -Keep in the fridge until ready to serve, or leave out for 1-2 hours before serving for a softer pie


    Now THAT was one great Christmas and just so much... Better Raw



    Do you like these recipes? Ooooh do I have some great news for you! Click here to check out what amazing 30 recipes are in 'Festive- The Best Raw Food Christmas Recipes' eBook (hint: you'd want to see it even if just for the photos alone)

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