Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Yoga and Strawberries

Carolyn, my dear friend from college, who has lived all over the world in such places as South Africa, Morocco and Ethiopia, just got certified as a yoga instructor. So, my friend Sarah (you know the one) and I, invited her over to teach us a yoga class and eat some great food.

The second Carolyn turned the music on and we started breathing, I was transformed into a quiet and peaceful being, wishing I could stay in that place forever. Sarah and I told her that we were up for a more difficult class, so she didn't teach us the easy yoga, she taught us the powerful kind; salutations and holding our entire bodies up on our hands.
Afterward, we were all glowing and HUNGRY so we ate a beautiful spread of strawberries, avocados, almonds and raw honey, coconut oil and some amazing vegan pumpkin bread (yes Sarah made it) made of spelt, oats, flax and pumpkin.While we ate, we all talked about our experiences in third world countries . Sarah and I, too, have lived in third world countries. Sarah in India and I in Western Samoa. We talked about how during our encounters with these other worlds, we all reached a breaking point because of a constant witnessing of poverty and starvation like we had never seen before. As we ate such simple foods: a strawberry, an almond dipped in honey, a cup of tea, a glass of clean water, the moment became poignant and there was an unspoken gratefulness for all that we each have.

It was a beautiful and spiritual night with two of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life.

I am thankful.

I am grateful.

I am satisfied.

Raw Melissa

Monday, April 23, 2007

Barbequed Cinnamon Rolls

I was in LA a couple weeks ago, shooting a raw dessert segment for a healthy living show pilot. (More about that later). While there, I stayed with my good friend, Reed Randoy. Reed is an actor and filmmaker whose latest film, "Hitman" is showing at the Silver Lake Film Festival in May. Those of you located in LA have to go see this wonderful film! Reed is going to be the next big thing in Hollywood so check out his stuff and you can say you were one of the first to know about him!

Reed and me at a beautiful little pub
overlooking the ocean.

I wanted to do some cooking while I was there and needed to work on the desserts for the show, so Reed and I went to the local Whole Foods Market and grabbed a ton of beautiful and fresh ingredients. I wanted to make a treat, too, so I decided on cinnamon rolls. We bought some good organic, unbleached flour; organic powdered cane sugar; Mexican cinnamon; organic, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil, and we were set.

I started out by making the dough with my hands. I never use a breadmaker or a Kitchen Aid kneader because I love getting my hands into the dough and really working it. It's also a great arm workout! When the dough was finished, I put it into a bowl, coated the top with olive oil so it wouldn't dry out, and then let it rise until it was doubled in bulk. Next came the fun part: punching it down. I punched and punched until all the air was out and then put it onto the counter for rolling out. The problem was, I couldn't find a rolling pin anywhere. Weird. A bachelor not having a rolling pin? Who would have thought? I grabbed a long skinny glass and put one hand inside for pressure as I rolled with the other hand. It actually worked quite well.

Once the dough was rolled out, I coated the entire surface with melted organic butter, cinnamon and organic cane sugar. I rolled the gigantic good smelling flat of dough into a long snake and then looked for some thread to cut the rolls with. Reed hadn't woken up yet so I asked his roommate if he knew where any thread was. He didn't. Weird. A bachelor not having thread? Who would have thought? I tried using a knife but it just wasn't making the beautiful cut I can make with thread so I thought and thought. That's it! Dental floss. I was a little worried about the possibility of our cinnamon rolls having a hint of peppermint flavor, but other than that, it worked very well. I slid a length of the floss under the end of the snake and brought the two ends together at the top. I criss-crossed them and pulled, and the thread, I mean, dental floss, cut right through the dough in a straight, even pattern. When I was done cutting the rolls, I put them onto a jelly roll pan and left them there to rise again. Now it was time to turn on the oven. It would be perfect timing for the oven to be just hot enough when the rolls were risen.

Reed had told me that he'd need to turn on the oven for me because there was a glitch with it. He was awake now so I gave him the go ahead, and guess what? The oven was broken. No turning on. Weird. A bachelor not having a working oven? Who would have thought? You know something, though? Just because bachelors are missing a lot of the items needed to make cinnamon rolls, doesn't mean they aren't innovative. Reed looked at me. "What about the barbeque?" My eyes widened and I thought about it for a minute. Other than frying them on the stove or blowing them up in the microwave, we had no other choice. "Let's do it," I said. So Reed fired that beautiful barbeque up and we got the temperature up to 500 degrees. I love to cook my bread at a high temperature, so I was banking on the cinnamon rolls doing really well at 500. When the dough was risen enough, I put the pan into the barbeque and closed the lid. I stood out on the patio, laughing because it was so funny, what we were doing, but guess what? About twenty minutes later, I had the most beautiful golden brown cinnamon rolls I had ever made. We brought them in, Reed frosted them with a thick frosting I had made, and we dug in. I can honestly say that I will never have another cinnamon roll as good, unless of course it's barbequed.

Barbequed Cinnamon Rolls

*2 batches, made from scratch bread dough
*1/2 C plus 2 T. organic butter or organic cold pressed coconut oil for vegan rolls
*organic cane sugar or honey
*1 lb. organic powdered cane sugar
*Real Salt or sea salt
*soymilk, almond milk or rice milk
*1 tsp. real vanilla extract

After first rising of dough, roll out into a long, flat rectangle.
For vegetarian rolls, slather with about one stick of melted butter, for vegan rolls, slather with about a half cup melted coconut oil and lightly salt entire surface. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cane sugar or a drizzle of honey. Roll dough lengthwise, taking care to make the roll tight, until you have a long "snake" of dough. Cut using the thread technique described above. Place individual rolls next to each other on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Place into a 500 degree barbeque. Watch the rolls carefully but try not to open the lid too much, as the heat will escape and your temperature will go down. After 10-20 minutes, or when rolls are golden brown, but not too dark, take them out and frost with a mixture of one pound powdered sugar, 2 T melted butter or coconut oil, 1-2tsp. vanilla, a pinch of salt (more if using coconut oil) and enough of your chosen milk to thin to a desired consistency. Be careful not to add too much milk at once. Powdered sugar is very absorbent and will become very thin if too much milk is added. After frosting, eat those ooey, gooey things right away, before they disappear!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Two Video Recipes!!

Here are the two recipes featured on my show at

e Salsa

4 C finely chopped pineapple
3 medium cloves minced garlic
1/3 C (4-8 depending on size) sprigs fresh mint, stems removed and minced
4 T fresh lime juice (1 lime)
1tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne

Combine everything, adjust for seasonings and eat.
This salsa is especially good with celery sticks and red pepper wedges.

Chocolate Banana Shake

2 C ice
2 C water
3 T heaping T cocoa
3 frozen bananas
1 C almonds
1 pinch salt
3 T agave
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I'm Back!

I have not posted for so long!! Please allow me to apologize to my loyal readers.

Some wonderful things have been happening and I will tell you all about them in a later post, but for now, I must tell you all that I will now be writing on this blog regularly. I promise that you can expect at least one post a week and often more. My posts will consist of ideas for eating well and healthy food recipes, as well as continued musings about my experiences with food.

Please enjoy reading and know that I would love your feedback, either in the form of comments, or via email, at

One of the very nicest things about life is the
way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are
doing and devote our attention to eating.
~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright,
Pavarotti, My Own Story