blog, Raw Food Adventures

Flowers Addition

StrawKeyLimePie

Things are cruising along here in Watervliet, MI. We just hosted our first Dinner & a Movie last night at Camp Rawnora. We dined on Pad Thai with almond miso sauce, green papaya salad and had strawberry key lime pie for dessert. It was good eat’n. We watched Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days in the newly completed media room. This dinner was the first event where I prepared food in the classroom kitchen. As I’ve said before I am capable of preparing raw foods for a dozen people in a phone booth if I have to, so this kitchen space presented only minor challenges. These small events are just preparation for the big events like the Raw Food Detox Camp in August and the Green Juice Feast in September. Also, July 4th weekend is approaching fast and we have a vegan friendly family weekend lined up with a variety of activities. To top all things off we’re also having a book launch party for the release of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raw Food Detox on July 16th here at Camp Rawnora. I’m anxious to actually see a copy of my book in print form. The publisher assures me they’re going to send me some advance copies but I’ve yet to see them. Any of my readers that come to an event this year at Camp Rawnora, let me know in advance by sending me a message with “Keep It Live” in the subject line and I’ll give you a signed copy of my book when you get here. You can use the contact form on my site redeem this special offer.

Never a dull moment out here between preparing for and promoting events and exploring the 400 acres at Ronora Lodge. For those of you out there that may be confused regarding “Ronora Lodge” and “Camp Rawnora” here are the basics:

Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center is a rental facility for events that encompasses 400 acres of land with lodges, cabins, a dining hall, gardens, woodlands and a private lake.  Ronora has been in operation for over 20 years. They host events of all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors.

Camp Rawnora is raw food detox camp and learning center that is housed on the property adjacent to Ronora Lodge. This works out great both Ronora and Rawnora because Camp Raw can use the grounds at Ronora while Ronora can have their foods prepared in the all raw Camp Rawnora production kitchen. The production kitchen is also used in the Fall to dry and preserve all the extra food grown in the gardens and green houses both at Ronora and Rawnora. Any volunteers wanting to join us for the Fall harvest get in touch with me and we organize a work exchange. Actually if learning about raw foods is a newly found passion of yours and you have a background in yoga, massage, reflexology, holistic health, marketing, promotions and/or online media contact me about an apprenticeship.

Production Kitchen

At the moment I’m a staff of 1, with tons of support from the Ronora Lodge crew. Eventually we’re going to have to expand to meet demand and build a staff for Camp Rawnora so drop me a line if a rustic raw food work exchange is something that might interest you or someone you know.

When I’m not planning and promoting for Camp Rawnora I’m busy planting and picking for my belly. There’s a wealth of wild edibles as well as planted food here. But some of the most beautiful things aren’t to be consumed with the mouth but with the eyes. Here’s a showcase of the flowers I feasted my eyes upon this Spring. Please post comments below if you know the names of any of them. —Come and visit me at Camp Rawnora and Keep it Live!

blog, Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Journey to the North

With summer bearing down with full force in Florida I’ve taken a trip up north to Chicago and Watervliet, Michigan for some rest and relaxation with family, friends and raw food festival goers. I was born in Chicago and much of my family still lives there. I’ve lived in Jacksonville, Florida since I was 10, but have made pilgrimages up north on a yearly basis. I even lived in Chicago for 3 years after college and remain in touch with my old roomies and friends from back in the pre-raw days. It seems like only yesterday that I was BBQ’ing meat, pan frying sausage and meatballs and microwaving hell-if-I-know all the while thinking it was nourishing food. Over 10 years later I’m a little wiser and a lot healthier than I was when I was in my mid-twenties.

Tom's Steak HouseMy arrival in Chicago had me visiting my uncle out in River Forest. He’s not a raw fooder by any stretch but it’s never too late to start. I did Saturday night dinner with the boys, which had us visiting Tom’s Steak House in Melrose Park. There’s a good chance I may have been the first raw fooder at Tom’s Steak House. I made sure I packed a homemade salad dressing to top the double salad I was going to order. I was pleasantly surprised at the Romaine, tomato and onion salad that they set me up with. I also scored a side of Greek olives which weren’t from a can. I sipped bottled water while the gang enjoyed cocktails, followed by soup or salad and then their entree of meat and starch… the undoing of the Western World – Please refer to Food Combining Rules. I had my salad delivered with the entree and poured on my home mix of living red wine vinegar, olive oil, dulse, Italian herbs and Himalayan salt. Following dinner my uncle took me to see some music at another steak house; Gibson’s in Rosemont. I’ve been bar hopping before and now I’ve officially been steak house hopping. We listened to Lenny Capp perform on piano while my uncle sipped a cocktail and I had a NA brew. I was pleasantly surprised to meet another raw fooder upon visiting the washroom at Gibson’s. It turns out the bathroom attendant, Caleeb, had just gotten into raw foods and he was trying to convince his fellow co-worker to eat a macaroon he had gotten at Whole Foods. I was more than happy to try one, seeing that I was miles away from any raw food dessert and was craving something sweet. We chatted a bit and I gave them my card and invited them to keep in touch. Raw fooders are turning up in the strangest places… it’s so cool.

Next I visited friends in the city. My friend Angie hosted a BBQ at her house. Mike, Cyndi and their daughter Merrit were already in grilling mode when I arrived on Sunday. I whipped up a guacamole, cut up veggies and rolled some burritos with some sun-dried tomato chia wraps I had made for traveling. It was quite a simple and delicious feast for me; no lighter fluid, no charcoal, flames or prostate cancer to worry about. I ate my fill of burritos and saved my strength for karaoke night at the Beauty Bar that evening. It was a rocking good time. Angie did a Pat Benatar song while I sang “The Weight” by The Band.

sausage and burrito
which one belongs in your mouth?

Some juice was in order the next day to recover from our late night of singing and dancing. My friend Angie has dumped dairy, started juicing and has begun to see some positive changes. I took her juicer for a test drive the other morning and made a ginger cucumber apple juice that would straighten your toe nails. Now the city is behind me and I’m enjoying the lush green landscape of Ronora Lodge in Watervliet, Michigan. With over 100 acres of land, a lake, green house, garden, stables, cabins and more I’m in heaven… aside from the mosquitoes and biting flies. The green house is loaded with tomatoes and basil, while the garden is bursting with yellow squash, cucumbers, yellow watermelon, brocolli, kale and peppers. Oh, and I can’t forget the wild blackberries and grapes. At the moment I’m just writing, foraging, feasting and enjoying the magic here at Ronora. I enjoyed a big tomato and onion salad with pecan basil pesto the night I arrived. The next evening, the owner Deej let me know where the “all raw” kitchen was and I prepared a raw feast for her and her husband that consisted of a kale salad with garden tomatoes and yellow squash noodles with walnut basil pesto. Owner and operator Deej Leggit just recently healed herself of both Type 1 and 2 diabetes after doing the 21 day detox program at Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center. She and her husband Hunter have both experienced the healing benefits of a raw vegan diet. To my surprise Ronora Lodge has hosted David Wolfe, Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes, Paul Nisson and next week Victoria Boutenko will be here with other raw food folks for the Green Synergy Fest.

Here’s a Basil Pesto Recipe that’s tasty and easy:

  • 1 C walnuts – rinsed, soaked 1 hour and drained
  • 1/2 C fresh basil leaves – packed
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T tamari
  • salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor with S-blade. Spread thick pesto inside bell pepper slices. Or mix into zucchini or squash noodles. Add more oil, vinegar and tamari to make into a sauce.

Enjoy the picts and I’ll keep posting. Keep it Live!

blackberry bowl
Nature's Abundance
blog, How To, Raw Food Adventures, Uncategorized

Aloe Vera… Swine Flu Protection?

Got Aloe?
Got Aloe?

Aloe vera is a plant almost everyone is familiar with and that many have growing in and around their home. If looked at as only an ornamental or at most a topical treatment you do yourself and aloe a great disservice.  I lifted this information from www.herbwisdom.com…

Aloe vera is one of the only known natural vegetarian sources of Vitamin B12, and it contains many minerals vital to the growth process and healthy function of all the body’s systems. Numerous studies worldwide indicate that aloe vera is a general tonic for the immune system, helping it to fight illness of all kinds. Various research studies are underway to explore the potential of aloe vera components to boost immunity and combat the HIV virus, and to treat certain types of cancer (particularly leukemia). It may even have a role to play in managing diabetes.

So here’s goo that most peoples interaction with is to squirt it from a bottle after it has been processed and colored green or blue and spread it all over their newly acquired sunburn. It’s cheap, abundant and easily grown and harvested yet the masses prefer their aloe off the shelf, processed, colored and in a bottle. Time to take full advantage of this natural healer. If you have a plant, harvest the leaves. If you don’t, get one or find a friend who has one and harvest their leaves. Read the quote above again and click on the link and read further if you like. We’re talking cancer, HIV and diabetes… and that’s just an overview. Aloe could potentially clear you of all your past parking tickets and return your overdue books to the library.

The video shares my personal method of cutting and  eating aloe. Enjoy… and Keep It Live!