I have followed Gena Hamshaw through her blog Choosing Raw and admired her work for many years. Needless to say, I was elated when I heard she would be publishing her first cookbook, released in 2014. It was an easy pick for this year’s “Project Cookbook in a Year”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my little project, that’s okay, because it’s only my second year.
We all have those feel-good movies, don’t we? Mine is the adorably hilarious Julie and Julia. Following the real-life project of Julie Powell, a frustrated office worker inspired by the culinary legend, Julia Child, who embarks on a journey to create every single recipe in her classic The Joy of Cooking within 1 year….that’s right, all 524 of them!
Choosing Raw a recipe
My project is no original, but it certainly has resulted in far more than I ever anticipated. I’ve expanded my culinary abilities, been forced to explore new foods in what I thought was an already diverse diet, show others that eating veggies can indeed be fun, and form many sweet memories by hosting dinners and surprising friends with gifts. Additionally, I have greatly enjoyed getting to know the author of each book. Personalities shine through recipes and writing styles, which has been ever so sweet.
Though I’ve not met Gena in person, I’ve greatly enjoyed our correspondence by email. She is warm, thoughtful, and genuine. Not only does she demonstrate a thorough understanding of nutrition (she’s a Certified Clinical Nutritionist as well) but also of the various factors that affect a healthful and balanced relationship with food.
hile the title of her cookbook and blog is Choosing Raw, her recipes are not 100% raw, rather, she describes herself as a “raw foods enthusiast”, seeing raw foods as an excellent avenue for a more nutritious and creative diet.
I have long admired and benefited from Gena’s balanced and thoughtful approach to eating foods that nourish our bodies and minds. The recipes in this book provide you with beautiful dishes that are simple, nourishing, and whole. I’ve found Choosing Raw to be an incredible resource for uniquely incorporating more raw foods into my diet, rather than my typical salad or crudité platter.
Gena has kindly given me permission to share one of my favorite breakfast recipes from the book with you! The Easy Berry Breakfast Pizza was the first recipe I created and is a perfectly refreshing way to put those summer berries to use!
Easy Berry Breakfast Pizza
This breakfast is festive and pretty, but easy to prepare (hint: there’s no actual pizza crust preparation involved!) and it features one of my favorite marriages: avocado and berries. The avocado spread makes a delightful pudding in its own right.
Makes 2 Individual Pizzas
Avocado Spread/Pudding Ingredients:
1 large Haas avocado, pits removed and flesh scooped out
2 pitted dates or 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup almond milk (plus more as needed)
4 Ezekiel sprouted-grain tortillas (brown rice tortillas are a good option if you don’t eat gluten or wheat)
2 cups fruit of choice (I particularly like berries, banana slices, pomegranate seeds, mango, or kiwi)
1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped and loosely packed
1. Add all of the pudding/spread ingredients to a high-speed blender or a food processor and blend until you reach a smooth, creamy consistency. If you’re using a food processor, you may want to opt for agave nectar or maple syrup instead of dates, since they’ll blend up more easily.
2. Spread the avocado mixture evenly over the two tortillas. Arrange fruit over each tortilla, then sprinkle half the mint over each. Serve.