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The Blender Girl
Tess Masters - The Blender Girl

Frequently Asked Questions

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The Blender Girl Cookbook
Information and Release Dates

I signed a two-book deal with Random House in 2013. 

The first title, The Blender Girl, was published by Ten Speed Press, and released in the U.S on April 8th, 2014. Random House Australia released the book in Australian stores on July 1st, 2014. 

The book contains 100 whole-food recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, and rely on natural flavors and sweeteners. Many are also raw and nut-, soy-, corn-, and sugar-free. 
 
Smoothies, soups, and spreads are a given in a blender cookbook, but this versatile collection also includes appetizers, salads, and main dishes with a blended component, like Fresh Spring Rolls with Orange-Almond Sauce, Twisted Caesar Pleaser, Spicy Chickpea Burgers with Portobello Buns and Greens, and I-Love-Veggies! Bake. And even though many of the smoothies and shakes taste like dessert—Apple Pie in a Glass, Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake, or Tastes-Like-Ice-Cream Kale—the actual desserts are out-of this-world good, from Chocolate-Chile Banana Spilly to Flourless Triple-Pecan Mousse Pie and Chai Rice Pudding. Best of all, every recipe can easily be adjusted to your personal taste: add an extra squeeze of this, another handful of that, or leave something out altogether— these dishes are super forgiving, so you can’t mess them up.
 
Details on the benefits of soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating; proper food combining; and eating raw, probiotic-rich, and alkaline ingredients round out this nutrient-dense guide. But you don’t have to understand the science of good nutrition to enjoy my book. All you need is a blender and a sense of adventure. So dust off your machine and get ready to find your perfect blend.

Digital Versions Of The Book are Available

Yes. The book is available for Kindle, Apple, and other devices. There is also a high-speed eBook in development that will be released in October, 2014.

Australian and International Readers Order Here!

The book is available in Australian stores. 

Aussie and International readers: you can also purchase the book online from The Book Depository

Creative Team

I worked with an incredible team of people for The Blender Girl Cookbook

Photography: Anson Smart

Food Styling: Dave Morgan

Food Preparation: Olivia Andrews

Makeup: Samantha Powell

Stylist: Inez Garcia

About Me
Why did you start Your Blog?

I use blending as a metaphor for how I live my life. The idea of “taking what I like, and leaving the rest”. I like to combine different ideas and concepts; notes and flavors; and philosophies and cultures, in order to find a healthy balance that makes me happy. That is my recipe for success. 

I go into more detail about my love of “blending” in my About page. But with regards to food, it is very simple: I love my blender! Or more specifically my Vitamix. There is a joke in my family that “I could live without teeth”. To say I am a blender devotee is an understatement. A food processor would come a close second; and my stand mixer takes the last spot on the podium in my race for culinary divinity. What can I say? I like to be “plugged in”. These high speed kitchen appliances are gifts from the Gods, designed to make our lives easier. So why not exploit them to their full potential?

I have been passionate about whole foods and natural cooking for many years; and have been an avid recipe collector, serial cooking class participant, and recipe blog follower. However, as wonderful as so many of my favourite recipe sites are, I didn’t find any food blog that truly celebrated the versatility of these fabulous machines beyond smoothies, pancakes, dips, spreads, and protein drinks. Or more importantly, were blending natural, allergy-friendly, vegan ingredients the way I liked. I decided it was time to pay homage to all things “well blended”. I am now on a crusade to find the most phenomenal easy recipes that can be made with a blender! Sharing recipes on this site also saves me time, not having to type up such long emails, and return all of the recipe requests I receive from friends each week. Now I just send quick links!

I think of this blog as a series of tasty love letters to the “power” of live, naked whole foods, and my beloved blender, After all, she has helped me find my ‘perfect blend” on more than one occasion. 

Why is Tess Masters The Blender Girl?

I thought "The Blender Girl" sounded young and fresh, “high speed” with her “finger on the pulse”, sassy, quirky, cheeky, and not too serious, on a day when I was feeling old! It also extended the metaphor for how I live my life -- blending what I like from this and that. Probably a bit gimmicky and not all that original -- there are a lot of “girls” out there! But I am stuck with her now! But we girls need to stick together. Besides, she brings out the silly side of me, and cooking should be fun.

Do you have Food Allergies?

I have an intolerance to wheat and dairy, and my gorgeous little niece has serious allergies to wheat, dairy, eggs and nuts. I have had a particular interest in food sensitivities for a long time; and have been gluten and dairy free for many years. But as soon as Alexandra was officially diagnosed with anaphylaxis to “the big four” I decided include egg and nut allergies into the blog as well. If you are looking for easy allergy free recipes you have come to the right place! 

Are you Australian or American?

I am a proud Aussie. But my family and I have lived all over the world -- in the United States, Europe, Asia, The Middle East and New Zealand. I attended university at UCLA, and lived in California for many years. I lived in Missouri for several years, and moved back to Los Angeles in 2010.

I live there with my partner, Scott Brick, and our beloved dog, Cookie. 

What is your Cooking Training?

I do not have any formal chef training. I am a self taught cook. Most of my youth was spent in the kitchen, observing my mother’s wonderful, and sometimes experimental cooking, as she attempted to recreate the many exotic dishes we had sampled around the world. In my adulthood, I have taken many cooking classes in a lot of different countries, with some brilliant chefs, following Macrobiotic, Raw, and Vegan principles, as well as other whole foods cooking philosophies. I continue to train, take cooking classes, clip whole foods recipes, collect books, read food blogs, dissect dishes, blend and taste!

How do you stay so Fit and Healthy?

My “perfect blend” seems to be an alkaline, plant based diet of whole foods, with about 70% raw foods (this varies depending on the season); mixed with meditation, yoga, pilates, weight training, rock climbing, hiking, and lots of love, laughter and fun! Oh, and I can’t forget green smoothies, juicing, and lots of sleep and water! Having said that, I am not a monk. I do indulge in the odd “toxic sweet treat”, and every once and a while. Hey, blend and live! 

That is my perfect blend right now. But yours might be different. Apply the “Look, Listen, Learn and Teach” approach to lifestyle changes. Look for the signs of “less than perfect health”; listen to your body’s reactions to foods; learn what works and what doesn’t; and then teach your body a different way towards health. I prefer an intuitive approach to my health and well being. Bio-individuality cannot be ignored -- what works for me will not necessarily be right for you. What is your perfect blend?

What else do you do for Work?

I make my living as an actor, presenter, and voice over artist in addition to to my recipe development, writing, presenting, and speaking commitments as The Blender Girl. This is a great healthy blend for me.

Who took the Press Stills of You?

Being an actor, I am so fortunate to know a lot of really incredible photographers. But, I actually hate having my picture taken. I get really nervous and self conscious. So I am really picky who I work with.

All of my photos were taken by Jenelle Rayson of Verve Portraits, Suzie StittDavid ZaughDana Patrick, and Anson Smart

What's up with the Pigs?

I go into a long-winded explanation of my pig fetish in my Piggy Glossary page. But just briefly, I collect pigs, and share an affinity with their love of slops! My food-lover friends and I have one question before we are about to explore uncharted culinary territory, "Is it snout-worthy?" My friends are always teasing me over my love of a good pig out. All of the other obvious pig eating clichés just played into my piggy pen, and what can I say? I went the whole hog! 

On this site, being "a pig" is something to be celebrated, especially when you have your snout in the allergy free recipes trough! Pigs immerse themselves in their enjoyment of food -- dipping their snouts in, rolling around in it, and making fantastic cries of love when they are eating. They celebrate food on a base visceral level. We celebrate that here too! 

Work With Me
Spokesperson and Brand Ambassadorships

I will consider spokesperson and brand ambassadorships, providing there is synergy with my beliefs.

Please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Download my press kit here

Speaking Engagements

I love public speaking and sharing my perfect blend for healthy living. I also speak about branding, working with companies, and networking. 

Please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Download my press kit here

Recipe Development

I am available for recipe development. 

I have created recipes for companies such as: Driscoll's, Kevita, KitchenAid, Vega, Way Better Snacks, Sprout Living, Crisp Root, Square One Organics, the Thrive Alive Foundation, and Today.Com. 

Please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Download my press kit here

Writing Contributions and Guest Posts

I love collaborating with other websites and publications. Please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Download my press kit here

Video Presenting

I been working as an actor, presenter, and voiceover artist for twenty years. 

I have currently partnered with Vitamix, as the face of their online technique and recipe videos. I have also shot videos for Chow.com, Driscoll’s, Crisp Root, and others companies.

Please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Download my press kit here

Recipe Features

If you would like to feature one of my recipes on your site or in your publication, please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

I am happy to share any recipes with appropriate credit linking back to the original recipe page. 

Giveaways

Every month, I host a month-long giveaway.
I also promote these free giveaways on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Google +, and Instagram, as well as the major sweepstakes websites. 

Please note: I only promote products that are in synergy with the way I live my life, and things I use in my kitchen. I am open to new products. However, I would need to use the product first. 

I am extremely strict about not accepting payment for hosting giveaways. However, shipping of the giveaway product to the winners is the responsibility of the sponsoring company. 

Please fill in the contact form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Download my press kit here

How To Use The Site
How do I Subscribe to Receive Your Recipes?

You can sign up to receive emails by clicking on the envelope icon that appears in the top right-hand corner of every page. You can also subscribe to receive the RSS feeds by clicking on the RSS icon at the top of every page.

How can I Unsubscribe to Your Emails?

You can safely remove yourself from any recipe mailings by clicking on the “click here to unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any email you receive from me.

What Blogging Software do You Use?

I started with a basic Wordpress plugin, but quickly transferred my entire platform over to Expression Engine, which allows more customization without so much hacking. I love Wordpress and highly recommend it. It is a fantastic free blogging software. I just needed something different. 

Who Designed your Blog?

Maxwell Hibbert programmed and designed the site. 

How do I Comment on a Post?

To comment on a post, just click on the comments link under the title of every post, or scroll down to the bottom of the recipe post. Click on the "your comment" bar to open the comments field. Enter your name, email address (which is never displayed to others) and your website (if you have one). Then write your comment. 

You follow the thread to be notified when I respond (which I do to all comments)  by ticking the box, "subscribe to comments?".

You will receive an email notification when I respond to you, and when others comment on the post about their experience. You can unsubscribe to the comments by unclicking the box with your follow-up comment. 

To respond to a particular comment by me or another user, click on the "reply" button underneath a particular comment. 

How do I Search for Your Recipes?

There are several ways to search for my recipes. You can search by recipe title, recipe category, food allergies or diet preferences.

To search recipes: click on the search icon located at the top right hand corner of every recipe page.

To search by recipe title: type in the name in the keyword field above the recipe categories. 

To search recipes by food allergies, diet, or appliance: click on the relevant icons located on the icon panel. Once you have hard clicked and shaded the icons (you can select more than one) click on "apply filter" to be directed to your search results.

To begin a new search and clear your search selection: click on "clear all filters" above the search results. 

All of my recipes are vegetarian, gluten free and refined sugar free. The recipes from the past three years are all vegan. 

How do I Search for Recipes by Food Allergies & Diet?

To search recipes by food allergies, diet, or appliance: click on the relevant icons located on the icon panel. Once you have hard clicked and shaded the icons (you can select more than one) click on "apply filter" to be directed to your search results.

To begin a new search and clear your search selection: click on "clear all filters" above the search results. 

All of my recipes are vegetarian, gluten free and refined sugar free. The recipes from the past three years are all vegan. 

How do I Print a Recipe?

The best way to print a recipe is to click on the “print” icon to the right-hand side of the recipe instructions of every recipe post. A high-resolution "cookbook" quality recipe page layout will be generated for you to print out.

How do I Share Recipes with Family & Friends?

There are several ways to share my recipes with family and friends.

There is a “share” link underneath the title of every recipe post which takes you down to the share feature underneath every post. There are links to share via FacebookTwitterGoogle +, and Pinterest. You can also click the arrow icon inside the box which connects you to Add This, where you can choose from a list of other social networks. The last arrow icon allows you to share via email.

You can click on the link, and copy and paste that directly into your browser to share. 

How do I Convert Metric and Imperial Ingredients?

Easy! You can convert metric and imperial ingredients use the converter tool by clicking on the convert icon on the right hand side of the recipe instructions of every recipe post. You just type in the quantities and the measurement type, and it automatically converts it. I also recommend investing in a set of digital scales with both a metric and imperial setting. I use mine every single day, and couldn’t live without them.

What is Reader Of The Month?

Reader of The Month is a great part of the community where I feature the inspiring story of a reader who has changed his or her life with the power of whole foods, or a gorgeous person who is passionate about whole foods and natural cooking. Each person will share his or her story. I really love this. 

How do I Enter Your Giveaways?

Easy! If you have subscribed to my newsletter, but have not entered a giveaway before, sign UP for the giveaways and create a user name and password to our system. You can use these login details to enter future giveaways. If you have entered previous giveaways sign IN. You can change your login details at any time using our system. If you experience problems please fill in the contact form and tech support will assist you. 

Having Trouble With Your User Name & Password?

If you are experiencing problems with your user name and password for the giveaways please fill in the contact form and my tech support will assist you. 

Recipe Questions
How Do I Search Your Recipes?

There are several ways to search for my recipes. You can search by recipe title, recipe category, food allergies or diet preferences.

To search recipes: click on the search icon located at the top right hand corner of every recipe page.

To search by recipe title: type in the name in the keyword field above the recipe categories. 

To search recipes by food allergies, diet, or appliance: click on the relevant icons located on the icon panel. Once you have hard clicked and shaded the icons (you can select more than one) click on "apply filter" to be directed to your search results.

To begin a new search and clear your search selection: click on "clear all filters" above the search results. 

All of my recipes are vegetarian, gluten free and refined sugar free. The recipes from the past three years are all vegan. 

How do I Search for Specific Food Allergies and Diets?

To search recipes by food allergies, diet, or appliance: click on the relevant icons located on the icon panel. Once you have hard clicked and shaded the icons (you can select more than one) click on "apply filter" to be directed to your search results.

To begin a new search and clear your search selection: click on "clear all filters" above the search results. 

All of my recipes are vegetarian, gluten free and refined sugar free. The recipes from the past three years are all vegan. 

Where do you find Your Recipes?

I post recipes that intersect my life in various ways. I often modify recipes I have enjoyed throughout my life in order to make them allergy friendly and vegan. I am sometimes inspired by other magazines or cookbooks, and other times, I just get excited about a particular ingredient and have a play. 

Do you obtain Permission to Publish Recipes?

I always obtain written permission from publishers, authors, chefs, and other food bloggers before posting their original material. I include a link to their website and a little blurb about them in my post. I also credit my inspiration for all creations and adaptations. Recipes are meant to be shared, but we need to give credit where credit is due.

Blender Glitch – What went wrong?

We all have blender glitches, where a recipe didn’t quite reach it’s perfect blend! All I can say, (which won’t be particularly satisfying), is that, until the blending Gods give me the power to move through space and time, and the ability to be in every healthy blending kitchen at the time of blending, all I can say is, “I really don’t know”.

A lot of factors play a part in the relative “success” of a dish: temperature, humidity, the personality of your oven, the quality of your ingredients, whether you measured your ingredients correctly, the time you whipped, blended, whisked, or baked etc etc. Then we move into ingredient substitutions and we open up a whole other can of worms!

Suffice to say, I cannot possibly address every single variable. What I will say, is that I trial every single recipe in a variety of circumstances, and these recipes are designed to be super quick and easy, requiring very little skill or knowledge. I would consider most of them fail safe; and by that, I mean, edible.

These variables might yield a dish of a slightly different personality to mine, but it should still taste OK. I don’t know about you, but I have eaten many a cake with a spoon, when it didn’t quite firm up or get to the desired consistency. If you follow the quantities and directions exactly your efforts won’t go to waste. Just have a laugh, grab a spoon, and then have a think about what went wrong. Then you will be one step closer to reaching your perfect blend next time.

Failing that, feel free to post a question at the bottom of the recipe page. I will try my best to address it. Then, other readers can benefit from your experience. If you try a variation and it is a triumph, please post and share those too!

How do I Convert Metric and Imperial ingredients?

Easy! You can convert metric and imperial ingredients use the converter tool by clicking on the convert icon on the right hand side of the recipe instructions of every recipe post. You just type in the quantities and the measurement type, and it automatically converts it. I also recommend investing in a set of digital scales with both a metric and imperial setting. I use mine every single day, and couldn’t live without them.

Can I substitute…..?

How long is a piece of string? We could talk about food allergy ingredient substitutions all day long. The short answer, is to say, give any reasonable substitution a go! That is what I do. That is how we learn as cooks! Be bold and experiment. By reasonable, I mean, vegan margarine for organic butter, coconut nectar instead of honey, cashews or blanched almonds instead of macadmias etc. Similar ingredients tend to fair quite well in my recipes and I try to make these reasonable suggestions that I am quite confident will yield positive results. Beyond that, I really can’t generalize; and I certainly can’t guarantee success unless I have trialed that exact blend in my kitchen, which won’t guarantee success in yours!

Most of the time, I will list recipe substitutions that have worked for me in the past; and if I modify a recipe, or discover another helpful substitution I will go back and edit the recipe post to reflect this suggestion. Obviously, I can’t modify every recipe for every food allergy or dietary restriction. However I will offer suggestions wherever possible.

Because we are concerned with allergy free recipes on this site, I have compiled lists of substitutions that have worked for me for the big four: wheat, dairy, eggs and nuts. This is a really good start. It is not, by any means, comprehensive. But I am adding to my own list constantly. If you have a suggestion, please post and share it. Then we can all benefit. There are some fantastic resources for other substitution ideas, which I list on each of the food allergy pages in the resources section

How do I Post a Comment on Posts?

To comment on a post, just click on the comments link under the title of every post, or scroll down to the bottom of the recipe post. Click on the "your comment" bar to open the comments field. Enter your name, email address (which is never displayed to others) and your website (if you have one). Then write your comment. 

You follow the thread to be notified when I respond (which I do to all comments)  by ticking the box, "subscribe to comments?".

You will receive an email notification when I respond to you, and when others comment on the post about their experience. You can unsubscribe to the comments by unclicking the box with your follow-up comment. 

To respond to a particular comment by me or another user, click on the "reply" button underneath a particular comment. 

What is the Best way to Print a Recipe?

The best way to print a recipe is to click on the “print” icon to the right-hand side of the recipe instructions of every recipe post. A high-resolution "cookbook" quality recipe page layout will be generated for you to print out.

How can I Share Your Recipes?

There are several ways to share my recipes with family and friends.

There is a “share” link underneath the title of every recipe post which takes you down to the share feature underneath every post. There are links to share via FacebookTwitter, Google +, and Pinterest. You can also click the arrow icon inside the box which connects you to Add This, where you can choose from a list of other social networks. The last arrow icon allows you to share via email.

You can click on the link, and copy and paste that directly into your browser to share. 

How can I access Your Recipes from my Mobile Device?

There is a mobile-friendly version of the site coming soon!

This function will be compatible with the iphone and a lot of other mobile devices, and will allow you to search for recipes on the go while you are shopping for ingredients, looking for inspiration on the way home, or wanting to share easy healthy recipes while you are out and about.

How do I Calculate the Nutritional Information for your Recipes?

I am passionate about healthy living, but I am not a calorie counter. I am absolutely concerned with the nutrient density of what I eat, so I prefer to concentrate on the quality and integrity of the ingredients.

I am also not a trained medical professional or nutritionist.

My primary goal on this site is to share easy healthy recipes, and share my journey with whole foods. Here, we celebrate the taste, texture and fun of food.

Having said that, I realize that nutritional profiling is important. Particularly, for those of you living with restricted diets and medical conditions. 

There are some fantastic pieces of software that you can download. These allow you to type in the ingredients and roughly calculate the nutritional profile of recipes and dishes.

My favourite websites are cronometer, fitday, and nutritiondata. 

WHFoods is also a fantastic place to get the nutritional profile of whole foods. 

Copyright Questions
Can I Publish your Healthy Recipes on my Blog or Site?

Yes! I would love you to share my recipes

If you would like to publish one of my recipes on your blog, please credit “The Blender Girl” as the source and link to my original recipe page.

To republish my recipes in print and other forms of media, please fill in the contact form, and I will get back to you promptly. 

If you make the recipe and take your own original photograph, please let me know and I can link back to your special blend of my original recipe. That is always fun.

Can I use one of your Photos on my Blog or Site?

You are welcome to use any of my humble food or ingredient photos that have the copyright attributed to The Blender Girl or healthyblenderrecipes.com. 

Please credit the source with a link back to healthyblenderrecipes.com.

However, please fill in the contact form to use recipe photos credited to others. I will connect you with the photogtapher and original recipe author for permission. 

These press still of me are the creative property of the respective photographers, and the property of those photographers and healthyblenderrecipes.com. Any use of those photos would need to be negotiated. Please fill in the contact form, and I will respond promptly. 

Can I Publish your Posts or Information?

All the stories and information on this site is the intellectual and creative property of healthyblenderrecipes.com.

I am open to having excerpts of my posts republished. Please fill in the contact form to discuss your requirements. 

I would need to get permission from anybody else featured, and we want to respect the privacy of all parties. Thankyou for your consideration and respect to the people I feature. 

Blender & Appliance Recommendations
Do I need a High Speed Blender to make your Recipes?

It is not vital to invest in a high-speed blender like a Vitamix to make the majority of recipes on this site. In fact, to test the recipes for The Blender Girl cookbook, I had 55 recipe testers from all over the world, and only about 7 of them had a high speed blender. They reported great results with all kinds of blenders. 

To get the best results with a conventional blender, it is very important to soak ingredients like nuts and seeds, and dried fruits like dates and prunes. This helps to achieve the greatest consistency. Read more about soaking for health and culinary benefit here

The main difference will be in the texture. Conventional blenders lack the power to completely pulverize certain ingredients like nuts and seeds. The recipes will taste similar, but the texture will be a lot more gritty. This is particularly true for a lot of the soups that are creamed with nuts. You won’t be able to achieve a really creamy uniform texture without the power of a high speed blender.

I couldn't live without my Vitamix and feel like it is worth every penny. However, I realize they are a big investment, and we all have different financial commitments and priorites. 

Just a tip -- you can pick up reconditioned machines with warrantees directly from Vitamix for a fraction of the cost. Other ways to pick up blenders for a bargain are at kitchen outlets or department store sales. There are a lot on eBay, but that is always a hit and miss experience, depending on the seller.

So I recommend buying directly from the folks at Vitamix. They are a fantastic company with excellent customer service. 

What Blender do you use?

I use a Vitamix. I absolutely love that machine. After trying almost every single blender on the market, I genuinely believe it is the best blender available. Yes, I am the face of the Vitamix technique and recipe videos. However, I was a devoted Vitamix user before that, and I am not paid as a spokesperson to promote their products. My opinions are my own. 

Furthermore, I get hundreds of emails a year from readers who purchased other blenders to save money (which I can totally understand) only to be disappointed (like so many others) and eventually purchase a Vitamix.

Yes, it is an investment. But, it is SO worth it. The most affordable way to get a Vitamix is through QVC or Costco, where you can pick up a 5200 for about $350. Or, you can purchase a reconditioned machine from the Vitamix website.

I personally watched the refurbishment process on the assembly line at the Vitamix headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of the machines have only been used once. The thoroughly inspect and test the base, replace the container with a new one, repackage the machine with new books, and it is literally like new.

Alternatively, Vitamix offers payment plans. 

As far as immersion blenders go: the best one on the market, hands downm, is the Control Grip from Breville USA. That machine is amazing.

What Stand Mixer do you use?

I LOVE my Kitchen Aid stand mixer! AND all of the glorious attachments that turn this already fabulous appliance into a one-stop-shop! If you look after this machine it will last a long time; and is a worthwhile investment that will yield healthy returns in culinary delight and saved time! 

What Food Processor do you use?

Hands down, the BEST food processor on the market is the Breville USA Sous Chef. After trying all of the major brands, and owning many of them, I would never use anything else. 

I have had it for a couple years now, and have used it many times with great success. Not only is the design gorgeous, but the functionality has been well thought out and tested. It has a powerful motor, large capacity bowl with measurements, excellent pulse feature and amazing timer function.

But what sets this machine apart is the extra wide feeding chute, the small and large pushers, the adjustable slicing blade with 24 settings, and the emulsifying disc. All of these features give you great control, making this machine extremely versatile.

Because I make a lot of raw vegan food, it is fantastic for uniformly grinding and chopping fresh herbs, raw nuts and seeds and dried fruit. This machine makes great fresh nut and seed butters, dips and spreads. It is also FANTASTIC for thick sticky stuff like raw balls, raw crusts, and raw cookies. Amazing! I also make conventional gluten free cakes and cookies with tremendous results too. I made some gluten free breads with the dough kneader and it worked out a treat!

But the adjustable slicing disc is my new best friend. You can slice super thin pieces up to thick cuts. I cannot believe how well the slicing and shredding disc sliced tomatoes! It also makes really uniform shredded pieces for salads. The julienne disc offers incredible control over sizing - you can make really long pieces by laying the vegetables horizontally in the wide feeding chute! The emulsifying disc is really amazing too. I make delicious mayonnaise, fresh fruit sorbet, and ice cream.

I cannot rave enough about this machine. It is absolutely fantastic!

Natural Ingredients & Substitutions
How do you store your natural ingredients?

I store most of my natural ingredients in sealed glass jars in the fridge or cool pantry. I always store my raw nuts and seeds, superfood powders, gluten free flours, opened bottles of maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, tamari, and delicate oils like hemp oil, flax oil, and avocado oil in the fridge. All of my other cold pressed oils like olive oil, grape seed oil, and coconut oil, dried foods, and spices and seasonings are stored in a cool, dark pantry. This ensures you get maximum longevity out of these delicate organic ingredients.

I have a ton of glass jars with screw top lids in a variety of sizes. Glass can be washed and sterilized easily; and they can be used for a variety of purposes: to store ingredients, shake up dressings, make cultured vegetables, and sprouts. 

Where do you purchase your natural ingredients?

Organic whole foods can be expensive! To ensure maximum quality, and to keep costs down, I purchase my ingredients from a variety of different places depending on what I am buying. I try to “buy local” at my farmer's market wherever possible, particularly with fresh fruits and vegetables. I support small local organic health food stores for my grains and every day staples. For some other items I purchase online in bulk, and often share an order with friends to keep the costs down. I have listed some of my favourite suppliers in my favorites page.

What do you think about agave?

Yes, I did use quite a bit of agave in my earlier recipes on this site. I have since reduced this significantly, and now prefer to use dates, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, maple syrup, yacon syrup, or alcohol-free liquid stevia.

I actually consume very little sugar of any kind in my personal life. I am one of those people that can’t handle sugar, as I am prone to candida overgrowth I don’t eat the sweet treats I post on this site on a regular basis. They are exactly that -- treats.

Please read my complete disclaimer about agave. The biggest reason that agave featured so prominently in my earlier recipes, is by virtue of its mild flavour that complements most dishes, and is especially great at replicating the taste and quality of refined sugar in baked recipes. A lot of sweeteners like dates and maple syrup tend to overpower, not enhance the other flavours. Agave is a lot more mellow and lighter in color, so is good for recipes like vanilla ice cream or lemonade, where a light color is desired. 

There is a lot of research available out on agave. I am not a scientist or a nutritionist, and so will let you make up your own mind as to whether agave is a responsible choice for you and your family. Please note, that I am extremely picky about the agave that I use. I always use raw organic agave. In the United States I use Organic Nectars; and in Australia, I use Loving Earth.

But I do love other natural sweeteners. Check out my list

Do you worry about eating so many Nuts, Avocados & Coconut?

No I don’t. I eat a very healthy, balanced diet that consists of healthy plant-based fats and oils that have enormous nutritional and health benefits for my body. However, I am not a nutritionist or health care professional, and am not qualified to give dietary or health recommendations. Consult your physician before eating too many fats and oils of any kind; and include them in your diet at a level that is recommended by your health care professional.

Why do you use Celtic Sea salt in all of your Recipes?

I only ever use Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan salt for their superior nutritional profile.

Not all salt is created equal. The quality and quantity of salt is vital to heath and vitality, and it is really crucial that natural sea salt is consumed in the right way. Common salt, which is the salt most commonly used in prepared foods and eaten by the majority of people is generally mined from inland deposits, heated to extreme temperatures, iodized, bleached, processed, refined and diluted with anti-caking agents. It is, indeed, toxic if consumed in large quantities. I never touch it! Potassium iodide or sodium iodide is added in the processing to create iodized salt, and sugar (dextrose), sodium bicarbonate, and sodium silico-aluminate are added to make the salt white and easy to pour. This salt is bereft of any kind of nutritional value and has no health benefits.

Sea salt, on the other hand, is obtained through a simple natural process of dehydrating sea water under the sun. Because it is naturally hand harvested and slow sun dried, it retains most of the natural minerals from the sea, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium; and trace elements that can be easily absorbed by the body. This natural sea salt is vital for life and has important medicinal properties. The brain is 85% water encased in salt water, and the body is 75% water. Healthy cell function requires a PH level of about 7.4, and natural salt water helps to rid the body of excess acidity.

Sea salt enhances the healing power of foods, and helps to alkalize the body and bring it back into balance if use correctly and you are on a diet devoid of highly processed foods. I only use Celtic sea salt as it is naturally alkaline and so rich in minerals -- containing over eighty! Himalayan crystal salt is also loaded with nutrients. Celtic sea salt helps to provide energy, replenish the body’s electrolytes, fight bacterial infections, aid healthy digestion, and combat environmental pollutants and free radical damage.

But how much salt is required for health varies from person to person depending on how much sodium we lose through perspiration and other bodily functions. Obviously, those people living in hot climates will require more water and salt. I am not advocating excessive amounts of salt. But just pointing out that a little bit of good quality clean natural sea salt has enormous health benefits. Listen to your body and let your instincts be your guide, and consult your physician about your salt intake. I will often add a pinch of Celtic sea salt and a pinch of sodium bicarbonate to my filtered water for a quick alkalizer or energy boost.

I use Celtic sea salt in all of my recipes to increase the healing power and digestibility of whole foods, bring out the natural flavour and sweetness in fruits and vegetables, help strengthen the proteins in gluten free flours, and to balance out the expanding quality of cold pressed butter and oils. I generally use finely ground Celtic sea salt as it dissolves easily.

I am not a health care professional. Please consult your physician about your salt intake. 

For the earlier recipes with eggs, can you substitute?

I did use eggs in some of my earlier baked recipes. For those of you who are vegan or allergic to eggs I have listed egg substitutes that work well in a lot of the recipes; and have created a list of general egg substitutions in the go egg free section of the site.  

I notice you don’t use a lot of Soy. Why not?

I used to consume and cook with soy. However, over the last five years I have moved away from soy, due to the high estrogen content.

Also, a high percentage of people with dairy allergies are also allergic to soy foods. I have moved towards using other plant-based milks such as hemp milk, coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, Brazil nut milk, cashew milk, macadamia milk, sunflower seed milk, pumpkin seed milk, and sacha inchi see milk.

Many of these milks will work well in the majority of my recipes. Always feel free to leave a comment about a specific recipe, and I will get back to you. 

Can I substitute Commercial Gluten Free Flour Mixes in you Recipes?

I don't know with absolute certainty, because I haven't tried your GF flour in my recipes.

However, for most recipes that require plain flour, I would say, yes. Most commercial flour mixes are made with a mixture of rice, potato and tapioca flour, and tend to be similar in a light-weight texture.

However, there are so many gluten free flour mixes on the market now, it is impossible to vouch for and work with all of them. If you need to get “a rise” out of a recipe, you will need to get pre-mixed self raising flour, or use plain gluten free flour and add in the xanthan and baking powder.

As I have said with other gluten free substitutions, be bold and experiment. That is what I do, and that is how we all learn and get more familiar and confident with ingredients and substitutions. I will encourage you to write down any combinations of gluten free flours that worked and did not work. That way you have a “cheat sheet”, and a point of reference for the next experiment. Please share your trials, tribulations and triumphs by posting a comment at the bottom of the recipe so we can all benefit from your experiences.

Healthy Living Recommendations
What are your favourite Kitchen Gadgets?

Where do I start celebrating kitchen gadgets? It seems I am always coming home with a new little kitchen gadget. My family always chuckle when I pull my new little friend out of my purse. They used to ask “when are you ever going to use that”? They know better now. A full list of my favourite kitchen gadgets are in the kitchen equipment section of the glossary. But just to start with, my “can’t live withouts” would be my porcelain ginger grater, citrus juicer, citrus zester, and nut milk bag.

What are your favourite Cookbooks?

I LOVE cookbooks. There are too many to list in one short paragraph. I have put a whole bunch of my favourite recipe books with short blurbs in My A Store. That way, you can look at them, “flick through them”, and add to your collection. But just a quick overview: my culinary bible would have to be “The Cook’s Companion” by Stephanie Alexander. Jude Belereau’s “WholeFoods” holds a special place in my heart, and is the first place I look for a gluten free crust, or easy whole foods alternatives. Her passion and knowledge of whole foods constantly inspire me. My dog-eared copy of Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions” gets opened daily.

My first cookbook, The Blender Girl is coming out April 8th, 2014. Pre-Order Your Copy

Who are your favourite Chefs?

A lot of chefs inspire me, and for different reasons. They don’t necessarily have to cook with whole foods. Their spirit and passion can inspire me, even if their ingredients don’t! But obviously, cooking with wholefoods gets them higher on my list!

For anything raw, I always head to the recipe collection of Matthew Kenney, Russell James, or Ani Phyo. For whole foods cooking, my dog-eared copy of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon gets a work-out; as well as Wholefoods by Jude Blereau. For anything Chinese, I can’t beat Kylie Kwong. Her “legacy-style” cooking is fresh and simple, and always comes complete with a heart-filled story about her family. For Italian, Antonio Carluccio will always hold a special place in my heart. I just love his spirit, and every time he says, in his thick Italian accent, “just a little bit of olive oil” (and then proceeds to pour in half a decanter!!) I can’t help but chuckle. And last, but not least, the woman who brought sex into the kitchen -- Nigella Lawson. I just love her fun, rustic, “no frills” and “lots of spills” approach to simple fresh food. I modify most of her recipes. But that is half the fun for me -- taking her inspiration and making it my own. I am also IN LOVE with Yotam Ottolenghi!

Recommended References

I have provided some very brief information pages about plant based and allergy-friendly living in the resources section. These things have helped me embrace these principles, and blend them into my life in a way that feels comfortable for me.

I have also provided a brief whole foods glossary under ingredients where I have shared some basic kitchen hints and tips, and ingredient substitutions. You can also find blender reviews, suggestions for buying food processors and stand mixers. As well as guides on how to open young Thai coconuts, how to make coconut kefir, how to soak nuts, seeds, and grains, as well as many other things.

I have provided very brief information, which is by no means comprehensive. I have provided links for further reading in books, informational websites, and specific health organizations if you want to immerse yourself in a particular subject from a credible and reliable source.

If I recommend something, I normally have it listed in my A Store, so that you can look at the product, instead of just reading about it. I don’t know about you, but I take the first bite with my eyes, and I like to “see” things.

Check out my favorites page, where I list a lot of my favorite health sites where I get a lot of my information.

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