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Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

As I sit here after the Thanksgiving holiday, I am reminded again how much I really do have, but also how much I tend to take for granted. As we enjoy these special times with our family and friends, let's remember that there is always something to be grateful for even when darkness comes our way.  In today's world, life can change in an instant so I try and be thankful every day for what I have right now. When we can appreciate the little things in life, we tend to look at life with a much more positive outlook. So, from Kristy, Debbie, & Michael at Starting Out Raw, we want to tell you how thankful we are that you take the time to look at our recipes and watch our videos. We appreciate your kind and supporting words you have given to us over the last couple of years. I would have never guessed that after being diagnosed with cancer, we would one day be doing a raw food show. I am so grateful that something which was so dark in my life, turned out to be such a help to others as we share our stories, recipes, and whatever else we may learn in our journey of healthy living.

Now to our recipe for this week! I've been making these bars for a couple months now and they definitely are a huge winner in my home. I probably make these bars twice a week as I love to take some each day along with my green smoothie to work for lunch. They are super easy to make and I usually make them in the evening, put them in the refrigerator, and they are done and ready to go in the morning. Half of the ingredients I melt in a double boiler. then I mix the rest of the ingredients right in the same pan so you're basically only dirtying one dish. You can easily add in some chocolate chips (as Kristy likes to do) or some other of your favorites but don't add too much extras as it might become too dry. You want to enjoy the chocolate of these bars. For the chocolate, I use one ounce of a 100% raw cacao bar which equals two squares. I get my bars at our local health food stores. Make sure they are unsweetened! I also mix up my nut butters, and my favorite so far has been raw cashew butter mixed with a little tahini. You can use any nut butter but each one will make for a different flavor of the bar. We hope you enjoy these bars as much as we do!

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Makes one 7x7 pan or you can use a larger pan if you like your bars thinner.


1/2 cup nut butter ( my favorite is raw cashew butter mixed with a little tahini)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (we use grade B)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 oz. chocolate (from a 100% raw cacao bar which equals two squares)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1t vanilla (we used vanilla powder)

1/3 cup raisins

1/8 cup chopped pecans


Add your raw cacao bar, coconut oil, nut butter, and maple syrup to a double boiler until everything is blended together. Take off of heat and add in the rest of your ingredients. Mix until blended. Transfer to a pan and place in the refrigerator to set. If you want to eat these quickly, you can put the pan in the freezer for a few minutes to set and then transfer to your refrigerator. Store in the refrigerator.



Chewy Chai Bars

Chewy Chai Bars

Here's another super easy snack to make. If you like chai, you'll love these bars. You can certainly increase the spices if you like, but these actually have a pretty good flavor. They are chewy and all you need is a processor and refrigerator.


(Makes a 7x7 pan)

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 cup dates, pitted (we used Medjool)

1/4 cup dried cranberries (ours is sweetened with apple juice)

Process all ingredients in your food processor until mixture starts coming together. Next add in:

1/4t sea salt

1/2t cinnamon

1/4t ground ginger

1/8t nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

pinch cardamon powder

3/4t vanilla

1/4 lemon juiced

2T raw cashew butter

Mix all ingredients in your processor until well mixed and the dough forms into a ball. You can transfer to a mixing bowl and add in:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Or you can do like we did in the video and spread your dough in the pan and press the pecans on top. It actually made for a really nice crunchy bar. It was just easier than mixing in the pecans. The first time I made these, I was able to mix them in but it took a bit of time to do. Either way, these bars are really good!

Cashew "Payday" Bars

Cashew "Payday" Bars

This is one of those recipes we didn't know what to call it. It's not really a Payday, but it reminded us somewhat of our "Payday" years, so that's what we came up with. We also spent one and one half hours trying to figure out some lighting problems and shattered the only light bulb that seemed to work. Other than those frustrations, this is a really a simple yet very tasty recipe. I've made it a few times already and it doesn't last long in my house. You don't need any appliances; only a mixing bowl and the dish you're going to use to store the bars. We used a 7x5 glass dish, so if you want more, you can easily double the recipe. Have a great 4th of July!

Cashew "Payday" Bars

Makes 5x7 glass dish


1/4 cup cashew butter

2T coconut oil, melted

2T coconut butter, softened

1T raw honey

1t vanilla

1/8t sea salt

1t lucuma powder (opt) but it will enhance the flavor of these bars

1/2 cup cashew pieces

1/4 cup raisins


Blend all the ingredients except cashews and raisins together until smooth.  Add in your cashews and raisins. Mix well. Transfer to 7x5 pan and store in freezer for about 10 minutes to set, then transfer to refrigerator. Store in refrigerator.

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

We apologize for the sound this week as we were without our normal equipment, but we'll have it worked out for you next week! In the meantime, we've had a very interesting two months with moving, career changes, getting ready to move my husband's mom in with us and moving Kristy all at the same time! Let's just say, it's been stressful but very rewarding with so many things coming together for us.  I'll soon be blogging about how to keep your immune system up and running when a crisis comes your way.

We're now in our new house but we're having trouble with a place to shoot our videos as our kitchen is not open and bright like our last one was. We actually did a video last week, but it just didn't work for us so we're trying to figure out what to do. Anyway, this week we're in our kitchen but next week you might see something different. We'll have to experiment a bit to see how to make it work.

Before we actually moved, I needed a simple snack to keep me going throughout the day as I was so busy packing and then moving things over to the new house over the last month. I just didn't have time or my equipment to make all my foods I normally keep on hand, so this was something I could make a lot of and keep it in a glass jar ready to eat! This is a simple, but yummy granola so I thought I'd share it with you. I usually eat my granola plain as I like it quite crunchy without milk. I actually haven't had this with any kind of milk but I'm sure it's quite good.

We're also in the process of trying to create our first eBook which will take some time to do, but we hope to have that done in the real near future. Busy times ahead plus I'm trying to find a job which hasn't been easy. Our life has certainly changed over the last three months so I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it over the next month or two. Here's the recipe:

Vanilla Cinnamon Granola

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup sprouted dry buckwheat (soak buckwheat for at least 30 minutes, rinse, and then dry in a dehydrator or warm oven)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup ground black sesame seeds (opt) We're still doing our gray hair experiment

1T vanilla (I use powder, so if you have liquid, put it with your wet ingredients)

2t cinnamon

1/2t pumpkin pie spice

1/2t sea salt

Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Wet Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut nectar

1/3 cup pure maple syrup (we use grade B)

1/2 cup dates (soaked)

Blend your wet ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. You can still have some date pieces which makes it even yummier! Pour over your dry ingredients and mix well until everything is coated. Place on mesh dehydrator sheets. (I usually use two). Dehydrate at 145 for an hour and then you can turn down to 115 degrees or you can keep it at 145 degrees. I like to keep my granola at a higher temperature so it can get really crunchy and not take so long. If I make mine in the morning, it will be done that night. The granola may seem sticky and soft, but it will harden after you take it out of the dehydrator. If it doesn't (like mine did yesterday), put it back in for a few hours. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can probably dehydrate this granola in a warm oven. Store in a covered container. I keep mine in a half gallon glass jar and it stays really well. I probably make granola about every 3-4 days as I love this stuff!

Peppermint Energy Bites, Exercise, and more!

Peppermint Energy Bites, Exercise, and more!

If you've read our last blog post, Kristy and I will be running a half marathon this coming November. We want to share our experience with you through the next several months on training, eating, drinking, and sharing some recipes with you that we have found to help us with our energy levels. It's been three years since we attempted a long distance race and we were not very well prepared for it. This time, however, we want to not only be prepared, but finish the race with smiles on our faces!

I'm a big believer in exercise and what it can do for you, not only physically, but mentally as well. For years I suffered from depression, many times wanting to take my own life. While in college, I took a health course where our teacher required us to run two miles within a certain amount of time to pass the course. This was the first time I'd run since the Army days when I couldn't even run a half mile without cheating! At this point in college, I was still bulimic, (binging on food and then throwing it up) beginning when I was fifteen years old. Even so, I started running and little by little, I was able to run the two miles in the allotted time. What I noticed the most, though, was how I no longer felt depressed. I have realized over the years, how much my body needs exercise. I didn't keep up the running like I should have, but I did try and exercise as much as I could. It wasn't until I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 50, when I seriously began to run. I finally talked Kristy into running with me about four years ago and it has made a huge difference in her life as well. We have run several races together and its been great having a running partner. I really do get a runner's high that no other exercise seems to give me. When Kristy first started running with me, she would ask me where her runner's high was! I told her to just wait and it would come. It took awhile, but I think she would tell you today that she gets the runner's high and it's no longer the torture it used to be for her!

You have to find what exercise works for you and your body. We're all different and need different things to make our bodies work at their maximum. I encourage you to take up some form of exercise, because it will make a huge difference in your life. I believe we were meant to move and not sit most of our lives. Today, it seems too easy to sit for most of the day and do little activity. I personally can't do that because I would revert back to my depression and I never want to go back to those days. Find what works for you and encourage others to move their bodies. I really do believe we'd be happier people.

Here's a simple recipe I've made a few times. I like to keep these balls in the freezer and snack on a couple of them an hour or so before I exercise. I also add a raw cacao bean to the middle of each ball. I know most of you won't have cacao beans on hand, this is just something I like to add for extra energy and nutrition. I've also added part of a Medjool date to the middle but you don't have to add anything. I just enjoy the crunch of the cacao bean.

 Peppermint Energy Bites with Cacao Beans

Peppermint Energy Bites with Cacao Beans

Peppermint Energy Bites

1 cup almonds

6 Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup buckwheat groats, soaked at least 30 minutes and dehydrated or dried in a warm oven

1/2t cinnamon

1/2t vanilla

2T water

1/2t peppermint extract

hemp seed and unsweetened coconut shreds for coating

Process all ingredients except for hemp seed and coconut in a food processor and process until mixture comes together. Roll into balls. I push the cacao bean in the middle of the ball and then seal it up again. Roll balls into hemp seed and/or coconut shreds. Store in freezer. These do not get hard and you can eat them right out of the freezer.


Corny Kale Tortilla Chips

Corny Kale Tortilla Chips

A few weeks ago, I was making a spinach dip and wanted some green chips to go with it. So I started looking around for ideas and saw a recipe from Rawmazing that inspired me to create this one. I'm going to tell you, these are so addicting! I can't seem to get enough of them but I do try to control myself when eating them. I took some to a Super Bowl Party yesterday and had some of my non-raw food friends try them and every one of them said they were fabulous. I was so happy!

I use the dehydrator for these and they turn out amazing. I've tried this recipe several times and I like them the best at a higher temperature in the dehydrator. They actually work best at 145 degrees but if you want to keep it at a lower temperature, they work great also. It just takes a bit longer and they don't seem to get as light and crunchy as I like them. You can start them at 145 degrees for about 45 minutes, and then score them, turn down to 115 degrees until they are super crunchy or keep them at 145 degrees. You want them crunchy enough, so when you take them out, they won't get soft. When I keep them at 145 degrees, I will make them in the evening and keep them in the dehydrator all night. By late morning, they are done! It does depend, though, on how thick or thin you make your chips. I like mine thinner and lighter.

Corny Kale Tortilla Chips

Recipe adapted from: Rawmazing

4 cups corn

2 cups chopped kale, packed

1/4 cup packed cilantro

1/2 lime, juiced (if they are small, you might want to juice the whole lime)

1/2 cup ground flax (I used golden flax)

1 clove garlic

2t onion powder

1t garlic powder

2t sea salt

1t crushed red pepper flakes (this makes them a little spicy)

Coarse sea salt for topping


Place kale and cilantro in your food processor and process until little pieces. Add in corn and process until corn is more pureed. Add in flax, spices and lime juice and blend well. Place batter in a mixing bowl. I use parchment lined mesh dehydrator sheets for these. If you want triangles, make circles and score them like you would a pizza or you can lay out the batter and fill the whole tray and score into strips. You want these fairly thin. I like to sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top of the batter. Dehydrate for about 45 minutes to one hour at 145 degrees. Score into triangles or strips. You can keep it at 145 degrees or turn down to 115 degrees until crisp and dry. The time will vary depending on how thin you make your chips and the temperature of your dehydrator. I store these in large glass jars.