Category Archives: MY RAW EXPERIENCE


I have been kind of busy lately.  I’ve had to put off a bunch of things I want to do, like finish up my Raw Vegan Nutritionist Centre of Excellence online course (hope they’ll give me some extra time on account of the virus or some other excuse – I really do want to finish the thing up. More about that later.)

My job went from brick-and-mortar English school to on-line virtual English school over one weekend.  We got about 5 minutes of training,  and then they handed me a computer and said, basically ‘go home and do the job’.  So I’m learning how to do that.

Meanwhile, I’m self-isolated in my building. So, what to do.  I accidentally found some raw vegan books when I answered a dumb question on Quora (have you ever done that?)… So, anyway, someone recommended this book, The Health Seekers’ Yearbook:  a Revolutionist’s Handbook for Getting Well and Staying Well Without the Medicine Men, and it’s by Victoria Bidwell, an author I had never heard of before.   This goes on my “early books shelf” – published in 1990 – how did I miss it?  Anyhow it is really seriously about food combining, nutrition, and lifestyle.  It’s kind of strict, but that’s not so bad.   There are some recipes, but not too many… it’s more about managing a very healthy lifestyle with exercise, positive thoughts, and la la la.  Once I’d found that one, I found another one which is pretty much an encyclopedia  (like 2 or 3 inches thick), again talking seriously about nutrition and raw vegan natural hygiene (food combining).

I’m looking forward to having time to sit down seriously and read through these books (I’ve just looked at the index and, yes, they are influenced by T.C. Fry’s work, among others.)

Then, too, I found Cherie Soria’s book Raw Food for Dummies.  How come I didn’t know about that?  Probably because I’ve been working my way to a minimalist approach toward raw veganism, where you don’t need an arsenal of expensive equipment to be raw vegan. (I’m back to my knife, and my cutting board. Okay, I do have a food processor and a spiralizer.  And a nut grinder.  I’ve always followed Soria, and liked her recipes.  Now I have a book full of them, plus lots of instructions for stuff I had forgotten about. This book was published in 2013.  I think that, by then, I had decided that all the great books had already been written.  Nope!  This is a fun romp, with lots of recipes I’ll be willing to make when I get some time (i.e., not everything is made using a dehydrator or a juicer costing hundreds of dollars and requiring gobs of space)

My other news is my new sauerkraut batch.  When I went in the supermarket and saw a head of cabbage for 59cents, I knew it was time.   So, the day before yesterday, I went into the kitchen, chopped up the head of cabbage, chopped like 4 jalapeno peppers, mixed it all with salt, probiotics, and water, and I am eagerly expecting some delish sauerkraut the day after tomorrow.

Oh, yes! I forgot to mention that I have been sprouting lentils like nobody’s business!  They’re so easy, so fast, so gratifying, and so tasty!  It only takes about 3 days to get a nice quart of lentil sprouts, and they’ll last in the refrigerator for 5-6 days!  Yum!  Now, I am a window farmer!

Now, off to teach another class.


8/12/14 CSA SHARE: What they said we would get, what we got, and what I traded ffor

I love love love my Corbin Hill CSA. They usually have a trade box, where you can put in what you don’t want, and take something you do want. They usually have a guard to make sure you are making your fair trade, but I don’t mind that one whit, as I am honest. The trade box is my savior when I get something I just know I am not going to eat – at least, I will get something to take home. To take full advantage of this, I make every effort to be the first person there – even though the CSA distribution is supposed to open at 4:30, I get there at 4:00 because other people come early, too. I just wait (it is handy to be a reader, as I always have a book to occupy my wait-time). When they say I can go, I gallop down the stairs into the basement  space where the CSA volunteers have set up the bins with the share items.  (Usually, as I go, I put each item in a ziplock bag. This week, however, there were about 5 people behind me, so I just stashed everything in a plastic bag, to make way for the others behind me, and then went over to the share box, dropped my bag, did my trading, and then just squatted down there and put all my goodies in ziplock bags right there and then. This system works for me, because I tend to be disorganized.  If I bag everything properly as I pick it up, it is easy for me to shelve it in the refrigerator when I get home. I developed this system at my former CSA, which delivered the shares in boxes, and we had to take the things from the boxes. There was space there, so I bagged everything there. This new CSA doesn’t have a lot of space, but, hey! I am still a little flexible, so I can squat down on the floor and do my work out of everyone else’s way)

Anyway, this is my record of this week’s bounty. Things I got and brought home are marked in green. The things that did not come are marked in red.  Where I traded something, that is marked in italics, and what I took is marked in green.

WHAT THEY SAID                                      WHAT I TRADED FOR
1 bun Cilantro

1 bun Mustard greens                               2 tomatoes
1 bun Kale
1 pc Fennel                                                1 bun kale
1 bag Green beans                                    2 ears corn
2  tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Corn 2 ears corn
Long hot peppers 2 peppers
3 Doughnut (Saturn) peaches

In the fruit share I got:

3 Doughnut (Saturn) peaches
8 Shiro Gold plums

What I will do with all this bounty:

Kale: That’s easy! This is my last week with my dehydrator for a while, so I expect I will make some delicious kale chips while I can.

Tomatoes: Oh! Tomato salad with the onion I got last week and some of the cilantro!

Long hot peppers: I’ll have to taste them, but I expect they will go with anything and everything I make this week. If, in fact, they are hot, they will go into the kale chips, in the tomato salad, and anything else I make up.

Doughnut (Saturn) peaches: These are interesting. They are hard, but sweet. They are not very juicy. Munching at work, and a cashew smoothie or two. My last CSA called

them UFO peaches.

Shiro Gold plums: I’m eating these. They are actually a bit on the sour side, not quite as sweet as red plums or purple plums. This is the first time I have eaten this kind of plum.

You can make this with raw corn, frozen corn, or cooked corn, as you prefer. I am raw vegan, so I make with raw corn or raw corn I have frozen.
2 C corn
1 C diced tomatoes
1/4 C minced hot peppers (jalapeno, etc)
1/8 C finely chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
1 T minced garlic, or to taste
Sea salt (to taste – I don’t use salt, but you might like it)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t (or to taste) apple cider vinegar


If you have received garlic scapes in your CSA share in the past two weeks, and haven’t been sure how to deal with all of them, this is a great way to preserve them easily, so you can use them in many ways in the coming months
The stems of the garlic scapes are much sturdier than the blossom ends are, so cut off the blossom ends and use them right away.
The stems have a mild garlic flavor, so you don’t want to lose them.
I have two ways you can ferment garlic scapes:
1. Chop the garlic scape into small pieces and pack them into a pint (or larger)jar.
2. Make a brine of @ 1 C water and 1 T salt. To that, add 1 or 2 caps of probiotics (or 1 teaspoon of probiotic powder). Pour the brine over the garlic scapes, to fill the jar up to @ 1/2 in of the top. Push the garlic scapes down so they are under the brine.
3. Put a dome (2-part lid) on the jar, or, if you are using a “found” jar, just put that lid on it, and put the jar in a bowl, or on a saucer, and leave for 3-4 days (or more). You need the dish under it because it is likely that liquid will seep out.
4. Enjoy

Way 2 –
Chop the garlic scapes finely (or process them in a processor (small food processor, Magic Bullet or Nutri Bullet with the flattest blade) and combine them with a salsa mix or other vegetable mix, and follow step 2 above

7/8/14 CSA SHARE: What we got, etc.

We got pretty much what they promised. Here are the specifics:

Basil or sage………………….1 bun Basil
Cabbage or lettuce…………1 med. hd Cabbage
Collards……………………..1 bun Collards
Peas……………….……………..@ 1/2 lb. Snow Peas
Beets with greens………….1 bun beets, no greens
Yellow or green zucchini…1 big Zucchini
Cucumbers or onions……..1 big Cucumber
Cherries…………………………1 pt Cherries

I also got 1 quart of Cherries in the fruit share.  I think I have to find a new cherry recipe that is more than just pop a cherry in your mouth, savor it, spit out the seed, repeat.

The lady who prepares the featured recipe each week was making a raw beet salad. I loves my beet salad, so I was all ears and eyes.  Hers was much more designer than mine is,but I can definitely see myself adding some of the ingredients she uses to my own delicious recipe My Famous Beet Salad (you can find other beet recipes on that page, too). I will write a separate page with the CSA recipe – it is goooood!

Basil – I am going to try to find something new with basil other than to use it as a main ingredient in a salad (yes, I like it that much). Maybe some in a cheeze?
Cabbage – this is a no-brainer. I need sauerkraut! (I made sauerkraut with the last head)
Collards – Easy would be to make marinated massaged collards but maybe I should try a wrap with them. Got it! 2 leaves go to wraps (that will be 4 or so), and the rest go to collard greens!
Snow Peas – right now, I have no clue. I should have traded them. Must meditate on this.
Beets – these are small beets, so there is really no point in trying to spiralize them. Okay, default to my famous beet salad
Zucchini – I haven’t had spaghetti in a while! The spiralizer probably thinks I’ve forgotten it. I think I’ll get out my old Ann Wigmore almond tomato sauce recipe!
Cucumber – I have had a hankering for something cucumber for a few days now. I could slice the cucumber thin and put it in vinegar with salt and pepper and have that old Southern summer salad.  I could. Or, I could make some jalapeno cheeze roll-ups.  Must think quickly! Cucumbers don’t last long in my fridge.

What the heck am I going to do with all these cherries?







1 hd Lettuce or cabbage                         1 bun Garlic Scapes
1 bun. Mustard greens or chard
1 bulb Fennel
1 pc.Broccoli
2 Yellow squash or zucchini
1 bun.Radishes, onions, or cucumbers
1 bun. Garlic scapes
1 pt Cherries

The fruit share was 2 pts of cherries!

I know! I always say that I am going to eat the lettuce next time, but …. I just am not Salad Girl!  I do like garlic, and garlic scapes are the next best thing, so it was a no-brainer.

The mustard greens will go to marinated greens or else get dehydrated.

A woman at the distro demo’d a nice raw fennel and mint slaw (recipe below), and so I kept that. 

I kept the big piece of broccoli because I *am* going to challenge myself this week to do something with it. No clue what that will be yet.

Next week’s FERMENTED FOODS meetup is about miso.  I am just not the type to make miso, but there are miso pickled/fermented vegetables! Some squash, some radishes, maybe something else will get in the miso tomorrow night an lie there until Sunday.

Now, the big challenge is what to do with all of these cherries. I’ll take some to work tomorrow to much on. Then what? Can you dehydrate them?  And, if you did, what would  you do with them later?

I’m a little busy tonight with another project, but I will post my recipes, as well as the fennel one from the CSA, tomorrow.


My personal CSA “box” challenge for this week:

OREGANO: with such a bounty of oregano, I am going to freeze half of it and and dehydrate the other half.  To freeze, fill ice cube tray wells 2/3 full with herbs, pour in extra virgin olive oil to cover, freeze over night, then remove to freezer bags and store in the freezer.
SPINACH:  A salad, of course, a soup, and a smoothie
KALE: Ah! I do love kale. There isn’t really that much, so I will probably make massaged marinated kale, and throw in some of kohlrabi leaves for good measure.
SUGAR SNAP PEAS : I’ll just have these for a snack. They are already in my bag to go to work today.
 KOHLRABI: I’m going to make kohlrabi ravioli with jalapeno smoked cheeze – I’ll just slice the kohlrabi on the mandoline, add a dab of the cheeze, fold over, and pop in my mouth.
GARLIC SCAPES: I’ll finely chop some and add them to the kale, then make a little garlic scape pesto with some of them, to eat over zucchini “pasta”.
RHUBARB: I know I’ll be making a strawberry/rhubarb smoothie or two, and I will likely halve the strawberry/rhubarb pie recipe



You can simply chop up kohlrabi and add it to any salad you are making, or you can thinly slice it on a mandolin and use two slices to make a ravioli with nut cheeze (it will stick together), or you can use one of these recipes

You can just tear kale leaves and use them in a salad, either alone, or with other greens, or you can try out some of these recipes . One of my favorite recipes is marinated kale mixed with wakame seaweed (or a seaweed mix), and other basic salad ingredients (onion, bell pepper, sprouts, garlic, etc) with sesame oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.




I’m excited. Tomorrow I will pick up my first CSA share from Corbin Hill Food Project. This CSA is completely new to me, so I don’t know exactly how they will do, so I am going to make an effort to be there when they open up at 4:30 (shares can be picked up between 4:30 and 7:00).  Will there be a mob scene at the door at 4:30?  Who knows.  I will get there about 3:30, to get in line for the Supper Club, and then, if it looks like there’s going to be a mob scene for the CSA pick-up, I’ll just put everything from the Supper Club in containers to bring home . I’ll report back with my experience tomorrow night.

HERE IS WHAT THEY SAY WE WILL GET (for a number of years, I was a member of a CSA related to Golden Earthworm Farms. Often they would say were going to get something, but we didn’t, so, out of habit, I’m saying what they said, and I’ll report back tomorrow with the true “get”)

Peas (English or sugar snap)
Radishes, Kohlrabi, or Zucchini


I have signed up for a “medium” share, but I’m going to try to see what the “large” share looks like.

Tomorrow, when I get back with my booty, I’ll let you know  what this CSA is really like


The history of Pretty Smart Raw Food Ideas is directly tied to my first venture into CSAs.  Some years back, I saw an announcement for a CSA a couple of blocks from my home, and I signed up right away.  As CSAs often deliver vegetables folks have never seen before, I began to hear people asking what they should do with what they had received in the box.    Me? Being raw, I just went on-line, found out about the vegetable in question, and then started experimenting.  People started asking me for recipes.  I asked the CSA if we couldn’t have a way to publish recipes for the benefit of the members. They poo-poo’d my idea.  My blog was born the next day, with raw recipes for the vegetables I found in my box. 

Now, I have found  a CSA which allows you to casually  join whenever you find out about it, and allows you to pay by the week.  (I have had to leave that first CSA because they require an up front payment which I could not manage).  I’m telling you this because, if you have thought about a CSA, but didn’t sign up for one in the spring (most CSAs require you to sign up before May), there is a CSA that you can still join.

Corbin Hill Food Project is a CSA that works with local farmers to provide low cost organic vegetables and fruit (and other products, as add-ons), mostly in low-income neighborhoods (that doesn’t mean that you can’t join if you are not low-income – it just means that you might have to travel a bit).  The beauty of this CSA is that you can sign up at any time during CSA season (summer to fall), and, if, for any reason, you cannot receive your share the next week (for example: you will be away, or you can’t afford it), you can put your share on hold, simply by notifying them a week in advance.  If you are interested, please visit Corbin Hill Food Project to find the most convenient location for you to receive your share (I’ll be going to the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry on 116th St in Harlem – it’s familiar to me, and I want to support its programs, and, also, the commute there and back home is reasonable, even if it is not right near my home – heck! Fairway, Costco, and Trader Joe’s involve commutes so it is not really that big of a deal). 

The first deliveries are June 18th and June 19th (depending on your chosen location – I’m set to receive my share on Tuesday, the 18th), and the last day to sign up for that week is June 10th. 

Just saying.


POST #999
Next on my to-read list:
Idealism Meets Greed – How the raw food movement ruined my life
By Dr. Jim Carey, Ph.D.

In 2010, Jim Carey, a quiet mover in the raw vegan world, was sued, along with Creative Health Institute, by the Ann Wigmore Foundation (AWF), for using the deceased Dr. Ann Wigmore’s name, which AWF claims to have exclusive permission to use, and for which they claim to have a registered trademark.

Unfortunately, Jim lost in the suit (and, as far as I can see, AWF didn’t win – How many of you have ever heard of them?).  It seems that AWF took their winnings, which included Jim’s very popular raw foods lifestyle program, and ran everything into the ground in New Mexico.

As part of the legal settlement, Jim was banned, by a no-compete clause, from publishing or speaking on raw food topics for 3 years. As a result, he had to turn down dozens of job offers, as well as requests for help from friends.

Ahh! At last, the three-year gag order has expired! Jim has now written an expose on the raw food world and its gurus, as only someone in his position can do. He has worked with the people raw foodists come into contact with often (on websites, in emails, or in trainings), and, with his unique insight, having been turned on by an organization which he helped develop, and then left, in order to pursue his own way of bringing the raw food lifestyle to a broader awareness, he has a lot to say.

As I had the opportunity to exchange ideas often with Jim during his raw food education career (I was privileged to take his distance training, which, with copious printed material and a stack of DVDs, was probably the most thorough distance – or even “in person” – education on raw food lifestyle that has ever been issued), I am looking forward to seeing what he has to say in his expose (when I chatted with him back in the day, we’d occasionally talk about this or that “raw guru”.. mostly, he’d just listen to my take, but occasionally he’d let drop that he didn’t think my attitude was off-base).

I’ve missed that camaraderie over the past 3 years, but I didn’t know what his legal arrangement had stipulated he could or could not say even to close buddies, so, when I have had the chance, I’ve just chatted with him about his new endeavors (The man does not stop! Can’t do this? Go excel at something else!).

Will Jim come back to us? I can only hope.., but, at least, he has decided to reveal his experience in and take on the world of raw food gurus, to be released on March 1, 2014. I will be first in line to grab his book. It should be a moment to remember.

For more information about this new book, go to Jim’s website:

12/05/13 CSA SHARE: What they said we would get and what we got

This is our last share of the year.
Here is what they said we would get, and what we got, and what I took away:

Green Cabbage -1 hd      3 sm head of some kind of curly cabbage
Potatoes – 2 lbs.              traded for watermelon radishes
Red Beets – 2 lbs             watermelon radishes
2 lbs Red Kale –               2 bun. kale
Sweet Potatoes – 2 lbs.  1 pointy cauliflower relative
Leeks – 1 bunch              1 bag  “mash” which is green leaves
Carrots- 2 lbs.                 1 small bun carrots
Broccoli – 3 heads          traded for 1 bun. kale

I trade fast and furious. Still, I stay within the guidelines. I trade one for one. If I want to take one out of the trade box, I put one in. Sometimes, then, if someone puts something in that I want more, I will put one back and take that one.

Tonight, people left a lot of carrot tops, and I took those without trade. The carrot tops would have gone in the compost, but I can make them into green powder, so I grabbed 3 bunches of carrot tops. That doesn’t count as trade, I don’t think, but it did look like I was taking a lot.

I am kind of sad, as this might be my last share with this CSA.  If I cannot find a way to pay them the $200 that I owe for this last season (which they were kind enough to “front me”), they probably won’ t allow me to participate in the next season next year.  For some reason, for the last two years, although I am financially inhibited, I haven’t seemed to be able to qualify for for their discounted shares (must be too white or something) I am grateful that they have been willing to wait for me to pay, and I am going to do my best to pay for the rest of this past year’s share as soon as I can.