Raw Vegan Gluten-Free and Satisfying. Really? Peek Inside My Test Kitchen

ThaiCurrySoupCoconutOpen-931x1024.jpg
ThaiCurrySoupPot-1024x682.jpg

Hello gorgeous! Hey there handsome. Are you wondering how a recipe can be raw, vegan, gluten-free and satisfying? Me too. I'm not on a strict diet or following any rules in my kitchen, but most of my closest friends and family are. I want them to be satisfied with what I make them. Oh, I've gone on my own tangents in cooking, un-cooking, and eliminated the naughty foods. You know the ones. In fact, I'm all for being naughty so I know temptation well. And I'm so good at it. So let me tempt you with this teaser of a blog post about the recipe I'm creating.

After my youngest daughter was born I decided to only eat raw vegan and bicycle all over Los Angeles. How crazy is that? Yes, I was on a mission to get back in shape and feel fabulous after baby. But my body would not budge in losing the baby weight. It liked being pregnant. Having had three babies, I'd say I'm built for baby making. I've never had any negative, unloving body issues, never counted one iota of a calorie. I have learned to love my curves, especially my loveable little Buddha belly. But being healthy is synonymous with sexy. Healthy is key. So I set about creating a workout schedule in my busy mama life while managing to work full-time and be the breadwinner of the family. I was drinking a glass of wine (or two!) when I got home. Opening a bottle of vino, I cooked up a feast for my family, and then overate my own dinner. But I was eating healthy, I said. Wine is good for you, I exclaimed. And yet, it was a mystery why I wasn't losing weight. I was feeling fatigued and exhausted all the time. So going raw vegan was my answer. Eliminating wine was another. I did both. Boy, was I a grumpy goddess on the road to wellness. I had a lot to learn too.

BeFunky_THAIBLISSMeEatingSoup1-2013-701x1024.jpg

Riding on the raw vegan diet trail, I indulged in many avocados drenched in olive oil, sprinkled sea salt and cayenne all over them, and drizzled fresh lemon upon those creamy green temptations of avocado-y goodness. I pretty much lived on avocados and kale. I made my own almond milk too. Nut-based, plant-based, healthy raw vegan dishes were my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though everything I ate was wonderfully healthy and tasty, I wanted something truly satisfying. I craved decadence. I missed butter and cream, quiches and omelettes.

Gluten-free. That's another thing to add to the mix. I'm a faithful lover of gluten, I must admit. Bread, glorious warm bread! Bread with French butter is perfect in my world, and paired with a big goblet of wine? Oh, yes please. But my closest girlfriends avoid gluten. So I'm learning how to create delicious meals for them that have some element of pleasure. I've discovered it is possible when you get creative.

Yes, raw, vegan and gluten-free can be sumptuous on the tongue. It can be velvety, rich with nutrients and completely decadent. It can be cleansing, nourishing and green. It can be satisfying. You won't even care about calories as much as they will care about you. You can have satisfaction and I promise, feeling healthy and good will be all yours.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with life coach and raw foodist Rachael Campbell on my own life transition, transformation and reinvention. With her guidance, I have begun actively changing my old patterns and negative beliefs that kept me stuck, unhappy and frustrated. With Rachael's guidance, I listened to my instincts, and began transforming my life, overcoming difficulties, and following my bliss. We also share a love of healthy food that makes us feel good. So Rachael asked me if I would like to contribute a recipe for her new raw vegan website, and of course I replied with pleasure, yes!

When most of us think of foods that are raw and vegan, naturally we imagine salads. We think of nuts and seeds and other "healthy" foods that may not be as satisfying as the heft of cheese, the silky decadence of cream, the unctuous texture of sauce laden with butter, and other temptations. So, how to make a recipe that's raw, vegan and gluten-free? I put my Sensual Foodie apron on and got to un-cookin' a marvelous Thai Curry Soup.

Having once explored many raw vegan recipes and restaurants, I knew just what to make. Matt Amsden's RAWvolution recipe book was a well used book in my kitchen. I'd bike on over to his charming little eatery on Main Street in Santa Monica and indulge in some fabulous raw vegan cuisine. His original raw vegan recipe for Thai Coconut Curry soup (kind of a raw vegan version of traditional Tom Kha soup) was used in the creation of my own, but I tweaked it in my own style and sensual flair. I added more coconut water, some rich coconut cream, hand-squeezed lime and orange juice in place of lemon juice--- just because that's what I had on hand in the kitchen--- and spiced it up with ginger and galangal root. Lemongrass was also my own touch to this recipe. Avocado gives it a luscious texture. Shiitake marinated in nama shoyu (raw soy sauce) is earthy/salty and balances with the richness of the coconut cream and the sweet citrus of the lime and orange.

It was fun to explore the Asian supermarkets for my ingredients. I was inspired by all the different Asian herbs, produce and plentitude of curries, spices and exotic possibilities.

We went to work in the kitchen, opening fresh coconuts, squeezing limes and oranges, plucking Thai basil and cilantro leaves, adding stalks of lemongrass and galangal root, slivers of ginger. The kitchen was fragrant with a happy aroma I've come to love in Thai cooking. But we weren't actually "cooking" this soup. We were conjuring it like magicians. I asked my strong and capable man to open the coconuts. Please do be careful with your knife and make sure you take extra precautions to open your coconut. Have a strong man do it for you and feel all girly while he does it. If not, I've used a cheap-o cleaver and a hammer to tap on the top of the knife, keeping my pretty hands out of the way entirely.

Please understand that I won't share this recipe just yet. I know, I'm a temptress. Rachael Campbell will share this recipe that I custom created just for her new raw vegan website. I'm looking forward to sharing the recipe for my Thai Bliss Curry Soup with you very soon! I will let you know on Twitter and Facebook when Rachael's new raw vegan website launches and the recipe is out.

Much love,

Stephanie xo