Raw Food Recipes

Maple Water – It’s a Thing

Maple WaterRecently, I went to a farm in Baroda to pick up some maple water. It’s the sap from the maple tree. The farmer was boiling it down for maple syrup to sell. I love maple syrup, but I also love to drink the raw maple water. When people ask me what it tastes like I say, “It tastes like spring.” It’s fresh and slightly sweet. It’s my spring tonic.


I take home a few gallons for the year. I drink about one half-gallon over the first few days and freeze the rest (see below). It MUST stay refrigerated; I don’t keep it fresh for more than four days. In my case, it’s right out of the tree bucket. So, it will have natural bacteria in it. (Drink it at your own risk, although I’ve not had any problems with it.) It’s live nourishment.


You could boil it to act as pasteurization and then cool it to drink, if you like. Companies are starting to package it for sale. Personally, I would not purchase packaged maple water, because to me, it’s factory food rather than a natural connection with the trees of Michigan.


I have been freezing my stash in glass jars, but I’ve found that even when I’m careful to not fill them to the top, there can still be some breakage. Who knew that sap expanded so much? It will even expand outward when there is room for it to expand upward to the top. Freezing it in plastic would work better, although I suppose there is still a chance to overfill and crack the containers, if you are not careful.


Let me know if you’ve tried it and what you think.

EarthKeeper Farm in the Fall

fall 2015Last autumn I visited the three-generation homestead of EarthKeeper Farm located ‘on the ridge’ near Grand Rapids. I’d met farmer Andrew Bostwick at the Fulton St. Farmers Market; I’ve been purchasing his produce for a couple of years. After writing a conventional apple blog series last year, I went to the farm to explore organic apple farming.

The farm is certified organic and biodynamic by the Stellar certification body. This is the second part of a two-part series. The first was posted last spring; it describes their growing and labor practices.

They grow 50 crops (280 varieties) including garlic, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, rutabaga, cabbage, broccoli, melons, onions, garden transplants, flowers and herbs. This fall they are selling produce at the Fulton St. Farmers Market in Grand Rapids. Over the winter, they often sell at Sweetwater Farmers Market in Muskegon. However, this year they are not planning on it. So, visit them at Fulton St. until Thanksgiving.

For the fall trip, I specifically went to learn about home cider making. They had a new hand press, and they and their neighbors, family, and friends used it on a regular basis during apple time. They don’t have a commercial space, so they cannot sell the cider. It’s too bad, because it’s has an amazing fresh taste. (Apple slices also dehydrate well and are such a treat over winter.)

Their apples are heirloom Jonathans, planted in 1940s. The cider tastes like an apple fresh from the tree – which of course, it is. It’s a pretty simple process. The apples are sorted, and the ones with no damage (normally about 20% since they are never sprayed with pesticides) are sold at the farmers market for general eating. The others are used as home apple sauce and cider.

Hand pressing apples is a pretty simple process – and a good ABS work out. After the apples are picked, sorted, and rinsed they are sent through a grinder that chops them up as they land into a bucket lined with a netted bag. The contents are divided by plastic screens to aid in the pressing process. Then the apples in the bucket are pressed by cranking down a round wooden board. Out drops the golden juice.

I’m totally spoiled with the fabulous fresh taste! This is too bad, because the hard winter damaged the trees, and so there were not enough apples to sell this year. They will be spending time this winter planning some additions to the orchard.

Visit them at Fulton St. Farmers Market until Thanksgiving. They are there on Saturdays from 8am to 3pm, and occasionally Fridays during peak season. Read my Spring post about the farm here.




Pear and Chocolate Bowl

I’ve been having so much fun this summer creating Blast (smoothie) Bowls with fresh Michigan fruit. I have a lot of fruit stashed in the freezer, so I can keep experimenting all winter long. Many people use bananas as a base, but they are not grown in Michigan. So, in this recipe I used MI pears as the base. And, I like any excuse to have chocolate for breakfast, so I put that in too. (Again, not from Michigan, but you can find some MI based processors.)

Pear – Chocolate Blast Bowl Recipe
2 large, ripe MI pears
1 Tablespoon non-alkalized cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
½ Tablespoon chia seeds, optional as a thickener

Blend the above and pour into a bowl. Top with MI fruits and raw nuts. In the one below, I added strawberry slices, raspberries, peach slices, and sunflower nuts.

This is great as a meal, a snack, or a dessert.

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pear cacao 2


MI Peach Smoothies – NEW Recipes

Juicy, Michigan peaches are great in smoothies! They work well fresh or frozen. To freeze them for later, cut the peach into pieces and lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. When the pieces are frozen put them into freezer containers for year-round use. Below are three peach smoothie recipes. Also, I’ve included instructions for how I make my vegan, almond yogurt. It’s pretty thin, which makes it really drinkable in a smoothie.

Michigan Peach with Ginger 
Blend together:
8 ounces of filtered water
1/8 cup sunflower seeds (with above makes a sunflower milk)
3 peaches
1 kale leaf
1 knuckle fresh ginger root (about 1 teaspoon), or to taste
Add chia and / or hemp seeds, optional

Ginger Peach with Kale


Michigan Peach and Sorrel smoothie
Blend together:
8 ounces of filtered water
1/8 cup raw cashews, soaked for one half hour; rinse and drain
Several sorrel leaves
2 peaches
1 teaspoon hemp seeds

Peach, Sorrel, Cashew


Michigan Peach Lassi
Lassi is a yogurt-based beverage often found in Indian restaurants. I’ve created my own recipe using my own almond milk yogurt. The almond milk yogurt and lassi recipes are below. But first, the lassi!

To make MI peach lassi, blend together the following:
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups MI peaches, fresh or frozen
2 Tablespoons MI honey or other sweetener (or to taste)
2 teaspoons ground cardamom, or to taste

Peach Lassi

To make almond milk yogurt follow these steps:
1. Soak 2 cups raw almonds overnight.
2. Rinse and drain the almonds
3. Put almonds, 5 medjool dates, and 3 cups of filtered water into a high-speed blender and blend until milky.
4. Strain it through a cloth nut-bag. It will yield 3 – 4 cups.
5. Divide into two one-quart mason jars.
6. Stir in 1 /2 teaspoon of probiotic powder into each jar. (I use Garden of Life  RAW Probiotics Kids.)
7. Cover the jars with cheesecloth and secure with a canning band.
8. Ferment in a place that’s 95 degrees (a dehydrator works well) for 18 – 20 hours.
9. Stop the fermentation when the yogurt is a sour as you like within the timeframe. Keep the yogurt refrigerated.

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Summer Fruit Pops

After I purchased a set of stainless steel popsicle molds I played around with recipes featuring Michigan fruit and herbs. I‘ve created three types: cherry-mint, blueberry-lavender, and strawberry-basil. The pops are made with either frozen or fresh fruit and with either Michigan honey or agave nectar as the sweetener. These recipes are more healthy than the artificially colored and flavored commercial brands! Try them on your kids and grandkids – or just make them all for yourself.

Basic fruit recipe:
2 cup chopped fresh or frozen strawberries or blueberries; use 2.5 cups for tart cherries
1 cup filtered water
1/3 cup either honey or agave nectar
Mix the above in a blender.

Herb flavor specifics:
For strawberry-basil, I used 1 cup of strawberry mixture (above) with 2 Tablespoons of fresh basil.

For cherry-mint, I used 1 cup tart cherry mixture (above) with ½ Tablespoon fresh mint.

For blueberry-lavender, I used one half of the recipe above with a scant ½ Tablespoon of lavender flowers.

I just poured the mixture into the molds and froze them. I ran some water on the exterior of the molds to loosen up the fruit pops.

cherry mint, blueberry lavendar, strawberry basil pops

Strawberry Shortcake Time

The beacon of summer – quarts of strawberries – are showing up at Michigan Farmers Markets, Farm Stands, and Grocery stores. And, you know those spongy plastic-like cakes that are used for shortcake right? I try to avoid that kind of stuff, so when I saw this shortcake recipe full of healthy ingredients – I gave it a try right away. It’s been my Dreaming of Summer Dessert this winter using strawberries that I froze last summer.

For the shortcake: (This makes about 4)

1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup water
Put everything except the water into a food processor, fitted with the ‘s’ blade. Pulse until crumbled. Add the water and blend on high until a dough begins to form.
Using your hands, roll dough into 4 palm-sized balls. Using hands, flatten each ball into small cakes about 5 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick.

For the whipped cream:
1 cup organic raw cashews soaked for 2 hours (if you don’t have a high-speed blender soak for 4 hours)
¼ to 1/2 cup filtered water depending on desired thickness
1 or 2 Tbsp maple syrup, to taste
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
a pinch of sea salt
Put everything into the blender and puree until thick and creamy.
It is a good idea to start with ¼ cup of water, and then gradually thin it out in order to achieve the desired thickness.

For the fruit:
1/2 to 1 pound strawberries, depending how many you like.
De-stem, chop, and mash them to make a chunky sauce.

Assemble. You can make either a double-decker shortcake, which serves 2, or a single layer to make 4 desserts. Using a spatula, place a shortcake on the bottom of a dessert plate. Top with strawberries, then whipped cream. If going double-decker, add the second shortcake, more strawberries, then more whipped cream.

Devour! And, know that you ate something much healthier than you might otherwise have eaten.

Raw Strawberry Shortcake

This raw food shortcake recipe had been bouncing around the internet. I saw it through Sista in the Raw on Facebook and they got it from Well and awake. The whipped cream recipe is from Healthy Blender Recipes.

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Pad Thai Sauce over MI Vegetables

It’s that time of year when we have a surprising amount of Michigan vegetables. The winter roots are still available, and the spring greens are just coming on. I’ve been working on this pad Thai recipe this winter using the roots; now I can add some greens too! The roots are served shredded but raw – they are the ‘noodles.’ Much more hardy than the thin, cooked noodles usually served in Pad Thai. This recipe serves 6 – 8 portions.

½ cup raw tahini
¼ cup raw almond butter
¼ cup raw cashew butter
¼ cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, or more to taste
¼ water (less if using more Bragg’s)
3 Tbsp maple syrup
5 Tbsp lime juice
4 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp ginger root, grated
1 t cayenne powder, or to taste
Whisk all together. This sauce is best made one day ahead and stored in the refrigerator to combine the flavors.

Noodle Ingredients
3 pounds Carrots, turnips, celery root, shredded in food processor – these are the ‘noodles’.
½ head Bok choy or Napa cabbage, coarsely chopped

Flavorful greens such as chopped cilantro / ramps / green onions, finely chopped
½ c crushed, unsalted peanuts (raw or roasted)

Pour the sauce over the ‘noodle’ vegetables and toss. Top with the greens and crushed peanuts. If you are planning on left overs, store the vegetables and the sauce in separate containers, or the veggies will get soggy.

Pad Thai


Pumpkin Smoothie

You’ve probably had a fruit smoothie, maybe even a green smoothie. But, have you had a pumpkin smoothie? Today I’m sharing my pumpkin smoothie recipe with you – give it a try! It’s much easier than baking a pumpkin pie.

Ingredients – makes about 3 cups
½ cup chunks of raw pumpkin*
1 very ripe banana (frozen is ok), sliced
2 cups raw almond milk**
1 teaspoon of hemp seeds
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
You could add a sweetener such as Michigan honey or maple syrup if you prefer.

Instructions: Blend it!

*Purchase a pie pumpkin from your local farmer rather than a Jack O’Lantern that you’d put on your front porch. Peel it and cut it into around one-half inch pieces.

** I make my own almond milk in my high-speed blender. To make about 24 ounces of almond milk (more than needed for this recipe), soak ½ cup raw almonds overnight (or for several hours); drain and rinse. Blend the almonds with 2 cup of waters and 3 – 4 Medjool dates to create the milk.

Since you only need one half cup of pumpkin per smoothie, you can freeze the extra pumpkin pieces for later use. Just put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer until solid. Then, store them in air tight containers in the freezer.


pumpkin smoothie


Carrot Rounds

Raw donut holes? I saw the recipe, and thought why not? One thing to understand about raw cupcakes, donuts, and other snacks that are usually baked is that the texture is not like baked.

But, these were tasty and had lots of fiber, so they didn’t blow out my blood sugar level. They taste great with Michigan apple cider. This recipe has inspired me. I’m going to play around with a carrot cake recipe next.

2 cups shredded carrot
2 large ripe bananas
12 medjool dates pitted
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ Tbl lacuma powder (optional)
MI maple sugar (optional)

Put all ingredients, except the maple sugar, in food processor and mix until smooth. Roll into balls and place on teflex sheet. Dehydrate 12-20 hours at 115F.
Dust with ground maple sugar if desired.

These are best right out of the dehydrator and will gain moisture during storage. Store them in the refrigerator and only for a few days.

This recipe originated here, but I tweaked a couple of things.

We ate them after a Pickerel Lake hike as we balanced them on the car hood. Happy Autumn!

donut holes

Pickerel Lake

Michigan fall foliage

Pickerel Lake


Big Bowl of Michigan Awesome – Autumn Edition

This summer, I posted my Summer Edition of this improvisational recipe. In Autumn, there’s still plenty of farm fresh fruits and veggies to work with.

First make this simple dressing: one part MI honey, one part fresh squeezed lime juice, and one part mild Dijon mustard (I use Meijer Organics).

There’s still time to toss in some shredded zucchini for this first one that features red bell pepper, apple, and sunflower seeds.

autumn zucc red pepp apple sunfl seed 2

The next two have a base of shredded beet and carrot. The first includes apple and walnuts, and the second has pear, grapes, and sunflower seeds.

autumn beet carrot apple walnut

autumn beet carrot pear grape sunfl seed

Improvise and have fun!

Simple. Delicious. Michigan.