Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Raw Food Non-cooking class!

With the weather warming up, the idea of adding greens and fresh fruits to my diet is appealing.  Plus the idea of finding ways to conserve gas and electricity are always appealing.  So I decided to check a local "Raw Food Non-Cooking Class" which is one of the vegan cooking classes offered at the "Piecemakers" Quilt Store in Costa Mesa, California (714) 641-3112.  No this is not a "Raw Food Movement" kind of thing.  The class is centered around improving your health through the addition of more fresh veggies into your diet.

The picture above is a beautiful presentation of the different items that we learned to prepare in class to create a tasty spring rolls, cabbage salad, fresh beets, and slightly steamed green beans.  Yes, slightly steamed is not raw....but the teacher understood that a class full of newbies are not going to necessarily embrace raw string beans right away.  So she thoughtfully prepared a recipe for us to lightly steam the string beans to make them more palatable to us.

Eating raw is about keeping as many nutrients in your food as possible.  What I liked about this class is that the instructor did not preach to us about the "Raw Diet" but explained the health benefits of incorporating more raw fruit and vegetables into our diets.

So what were the ingredients?  We used zucchini, daikon, red & yellow peppers, fresh garden greens,
Red Pepper, Daikon, Zucchini

greens and herbs
red bell and yellow bell pepper
and of course spring roll wrappers.  I have to admit I do not like the spring roll wrappers, the texture just wasn't for me.  I enjoyed the dressing and veggies without the wrapper (so yes it was just a salad for me).

As someone who rarely cooks anything that does not come pre-frozen.....this was a totally new concept.  Normally, I avoid the vegetable isle (it can be overwhelming if you do not know what to do with them).  Shopping for me usually consist of a quick trip to "Fresh and Easy" and their already prepared meals section which tend to be quite tasty.

Now that I am armed with the knowledge of how to prepare and serve veggies, I will now give the fresh fruits and vegetable isle a visit. I will also use the ones that grow in my own back yard.  Taking a hands-on food preparation class really helps to understand the concept of the "Raw Food" diet.  By the way, next month they will be teaching "Italian" inspired recipes (Raw... of course).

However, there are also other types of classes offered there (including apple pie baking....yum....and yes it is with an oven....but I bet it could be done with one of those solar contraptions I keep reading about).

The store has independant teachers who teach on a variety of subject matters from furniture making to jewelry making.  One of my favorites is the sewing classes which are taught by Diane Maffris.   She is an excellent instructor and her classes are a lot of fun.  There is also a man who teaches making furniture from willow tree branches which I have been wanting to learn.  So you may find that there is something you want to learn being taught at that location.

For more raw food ideas, I am recommending some books that cover things from healthy eating, raw food recipes, to using salads as a meal.

Also if you are going to try the zucchini pasta, you may want to try a spiral vegetable slicer.  They are really fun and cut up your veggies to create pasta shapes.  I bought one of these and my kids and I love it!

If you have picky eaters in the house or just wanted to take healthy lunches to work.  Try Bento Boxes. There are some great books with recipes and directions on Amazon.

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