Raw Food Adventures, Recipe

Kale Chips, Zucchini and Butterflies


Butterflies at Ronora

The gardens are going off here in Michigan, zucchini, kale, chard and tomatoes abound. I had a major kale, zucchini and brocolli harvest last week. I made zucchini crackers, kale chips and pickled brocolli… all by myself. It’s at times like this that I wish I had an intern. I’m sure the universe will deliver one once I’m good and ready. I’ve had a few inquiries but I haven’t been able to follow up on them. All in good time. The non-profit group Camp Butterfly was here at Ronora Lodge this past week. The group  is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago dedicated to the holistic development of girls of African descent. I was given the honor of leading a tour through the garden. I showed the girls all the amazning things we had growing both in the garden and everywhere else. I’m sure they were suprised to see me pulling up what looked like weeds and chomping on them. Some of the girls were brave enough to try wood sorrel and lamb’s quarter. What they really enjoyed was harvesting cucumbers, kale and gigantic zucchini. Many of them took a zuke home with them as a souvenier.   

Pickling Supplies

With all this fresh produce coming in I got to pickling and dehydrating. First I sliced a gigantic zuke long ways on the V-slicer/mandolin. I put these slices in a bowl and covered them in a marinade. (RECIPE BELOW) There was a lot of zuke to marinade so I made an extra big batch.   

Next it was time to pickle, using a mixture of 1 tablespoon of pink salt to 1 cup of water I began pickling brocolli. I cut up the brocolli and stuffed it in a large jar with garlic cloves and flowering dill. After the jar was packed tight I poured the brine over it and put a jar full of water on top of the mixture to weight it down.   



Then I moved on to the kale… lots of kale. I stemmed half the kale while the zukes were marinading. Once I finished stemming I dusted the kale with salt and massaged it. After a half hour the marinade had drawn the liquid out of the zucchini and made nice soup mixture in the bowl. I scooped out this marinade zuke juice mixture and filled the vitamix. This was the base for my kale chip coating. I added 1 cup of sunflower seeds  and 3 TB of nutritional yeast to 3 cups of the liquid I had in the vitamix. The consistency I was aiming for was a that of a thick paste almost like hummus. Once I achieved the flavor and consistency I was looking for I coated the kale and put it in the dehydrator to dry.   

Once the kale was in the dehydrator I got on finishing up the zukes. I was making mini pizza slices. It turned out I had too many zucchini slices and not enough patience so I put over half of the zucchini in the blender and pureed it, then I added chia, sprouted buckwheat and pixie dust and made crackers… yum.   

It’s dangerous to leave me alone with the kale chips and this was no exception. The next morning I went into the raw kitchen and was greeted by the smell of all of these savory snacks drying. I think between the zuke crackers, the kale chips and the pizza strips my favorite were the crackers. All of the recipes had the same marinade as their base which I then tweaked to get the flavor and consistency I was looking for… gadgeting at its finest. Come and visit me… I might have some kale chips left. Keep it Live!   


 Magik Marinade Recipe 
  • 2 whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 C pumpkin seeds
  • 3 T palm sugar
  • 1/4 C tamari (Miso Master)
  • 1 lime – juiced
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C nutritional yeast
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 T pink salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 hot pepper
  • 1/2 C olive oil

Blend smooth, pour over vegetables to be marinaded and coat evenly.

blog, How To, Recipe

Summer Critters

Don't Try This At Home

Snakes alive and caterpillars too! With the heat of summer all the cold blooded critters are coming out. I recently had my share of snake medicine from the many slithering friends who have crossed my path. I’m a big fan of snakes, lizards, turtles… I dig all animals but I especially like reptiles. I have a feeling I was a marine iguana in another life. You know, swimming in the ocean, eating seaweed, blowing salt out of your nose. Anyway, here are some pictures of the wild life I’ve captured on camera and in my hand.

Yellow Rat Snake

Yellow Rat Snake – A common snake in the South, non-venomous constrictor that eats small rodents. They’re very docile as you can see which makes them an ideal choice as a pet, similar to the red rat snake/corn snake. This fellow was crossing a dirt parking lot when I snapped these pictures.  It just kept coming towards me with out a care. I had to come back and rescue it from a police officer that was trying to pick it up using a long pole. Not having any luck I told him to let me try. I just picked up the snake. It was so mellow that it let me snap a couple pictures before I put it down in the bushes.  I found it surprising that the police officers had no idea what kind of snake it was or if it was poisonous. Just goes to show what seems like common knowledge most common people don’t know.

Black Racer

Black Racer – Common in the East and their range extends as far north as Wisconsin and Michigan. These guys are fast as the name implies. I didn’t bother trying to pick this one up though I have caught them by hand in the past. They will bite and they release a stinky musk from their anal gland. No fun at all, it takes days to wash the smell off.

Painted Turtle or Cooter – Super common. They live in ditches, ponds and lakes. Folks fishing with dead bait often think they’ve caught a cinder block but it’s usually a turtle. Cooters and Painted Turtles look very similar and they can be distinguished by the coloration on their face and shell. This guys shell was covered in algae so I’m not sure which kind it was.

Gopher Tortoise – These guys are super cool burrow digging vegetarians. One thing that is unique about them is that they dig a huge burrow unlike most other tortoises. The burrow not only houses the tortoise but it is home to dozens of other creatures… not at the same time of course. Snakes will often share a den with gopher tortoises and critters like opossums and armadillos will move into abandoned dens. They live in wooded areas and in coastal sand dunes. They also love eating prickly pear cactus fruits just like me. Gopher tortoises were consumed during the depression era. They are now a protected species in Florida.

Giant Swallow Tail Caterpillar – This guy caught me by surprise and though I only have pictures of one of them, there were 3 in this little citrus tree when I first saw them. They look like little snakes. I snapped some pictures and then did a quick google search for “snake caterpillar”. It took some time to find the perfect match and when I found a site that referenced it as an “orange dog” because of their love of citrus, I knew I had found the one. Man do they love citrus. The leaves of my little tree had been shredded from their feeding. Another thing I came across and had to test out is that if you poke them they’ll emit an odor which I found more familiar than unpleasant. I still can’t figure out where I know the smell from, it’s kinda like a bitter perfume. Also when you poke them they shoot out 2 bright red antennae. It’s super cool, kinda like a snakes tongue, but not really. Nature is amazing. Unfortunately after 2 days on the citrus tree the caterpillars all went MIA. I’m guessing they ran off to become butterflies.

Here’s a fun summer recipe that uses raw corn on the cob. It’s an homage to treat I used to get from Mexican food vendors on the street up in Chicago. It’s called elotes but I call it corn in a cup.

2 ears of corn – cut from cob and place in a bowl

1/2 C cashews – soaked

1/2 C sunflower seeds – soaked

2 T nutritional yeast

2 T water

1 t chili powder

1/4 C lemon juice

1/2 C olive oil

1 t tamari

1 t salt – salt to taste

Place all the above ingredients in the blend or food processor and blend smooth to make a cheese. Adjust flavor to suit taste. Add water if necessary to thin. Mix in with the corn. Sprinkle paprika on top and decorate with fresh cilantro.

Enjoy and Keep it Live!