Best of CR 2011: The Raw, the Cooked, and the Personal
December 31, 2011

Happy New Year’s Eve! I can’t wait to hear what you’re all up to tonight! Me? I’ll be rocking out to Matt and Kim, the Super Mash Up Brothers, and Hood Internet at a concert here in NYC. What about you?

First business of the day: my Our Hen House podcast is officially live! You can download it here for FREE, or listen on the website, here. Topics include health, my journey into medicine, green recovery, and how I really feel about sprouted legumes. And the quote of the day is one of my favorites, from Alice Walker: “activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.

Right before Christmas, I made a mix for all of the post-baccs entitled “It Was the Worst of Times, It Was the Worst of Times.” This was mostly just a joke about the travails of being a post-bacc, but it did seem timely: I’ve heard from a lot of people that 2011 was just a lousy year. It wasn’t my easiest year, either, but I’ve always felt that every year offers us experiences and lessons of value. We may need hindsight to see them, but they’re there. Which is part of my I enjoy doing a little “best of” post each year on CR. It allows me to survey the year in food (yum) and to reflect back on where I was and who I was at the time I wrote each post. Here is my pick of the top 15 CR posts of 2011: the raw, the cooked, and the personal.

The Raw & High Raw

Cocoa Crunch Graw-nola

This is probably my favorite graw-nola I’ve made so far. Rich with hints of cocoa (and coffee, I think, though there’s no coffee in it), it manages to make breakfast decadent without too much sweetness.

Raw Pumpkin Pudding and Chocolate Mousse Parfait

This is the recipe that made me learn how to use Irish moss, so I love it specifically for that reason. But it is also seasonal and absolutely delicious.

Spicy Curry Kale Chips

This year, for the first time in my life, I started using my dehydrator constantly to prepare snacks my long days of class. These spicy kale chips were by far my favorite creation.

Raw Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Apparently I can make pretty raw desserts. Who knew?

High-Raw, Vegan Manicotti

Pretties high raw dinner I had made in a long time. Plus, a nice compilation of some of my old favorites and classic recipes, including the marinara and cashew cream.

The Cooked

Gingery Rice with Roasted Butternut Squash, Onion, and Green Peas

Though not an instant fan favorite, this was one of my favorite meals of the year: salty, savory, easy, and filling.

Millet Stuffing with Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, and Butternut Squash

The stuffing that won my family over on Thanksgiving.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

Definitely my most crowd pleasing vegan entree recipe ever. Just ask Jamie. He’ll tell you.

Banana Caramel Bread Pudding

In this recipe, I gave a quick tutorial on how to use date paste and explained why it’s so awesome. I also produced one of the tastier and healthier desserts I’ve ever made (it uses whole grain, yeast free, sprouted bread as a base).

Banana, Oat, and Chia Seed Muffins

A baked breakfast bursting with superfoods. Quick, easy, and deliciously portable.

The Runners Up

Outstanding Miso Sesame Dressing

AKA crack.

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad with Quick Cumin Dressing

This recipe proved to me (and to you guys) that a healthy, tasty, and filling vegan dinner really can come together in 20 minutes or less.

Sweet Potato and Beet Nori Rolls

These nori rolls emerged from a very slapdash lunch, but were a huge hit with my readers!

Creamy Coconut Parsnip Rice with Caramelized Butternut Squash

The definition of semi-raw comfort food.

Jicama Salad with Smoky Avocado Cumin Dressing

The best kind of summertime salad: light, refreshing, and full of avocado.

The Personal

Green Recovery

My biggest personal accomplishment this year on CR was to begin the Green Recovery Series, which I had wanted to start for over a year. I was worried about how the series would be perceived both by the ED recovered and by the vegan community, but so far, the response has been terrific, and the criticisms enriching.


In spite of what many of my readers expect, I’m in favor of most vaccinations from a health standpoint. But most vaccinations aren’t vegan, and this year, I was forced to weigh vegan ethics against the urgency of vaccination in a hospital environment.

The Little Lessons of Veganism

Protecting household insects may seem absurd or extremist, but my use of a simple insect catcher this year taught me a lot about the true meaning of a vegan ethos.

Take Back Your Health

As expected, my pre-med education has broadened and influenced my perspective on health, which was previously a little monopolized by the holistic point of view. In this post, my invitation to a health conference forced me to reflect on the way certain terminal illnesses are treated within certain holistic circles.

15 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to D.C.

2010-2011 was the year of seismic life change. Not only did I decide to become a post-bacc, but I also left my lifelong home of NYC for our nation’s capitol. Though I remain New Yorker at heart, I appreciate my life in Washington, and I’ve learned a lot from the moving process.

Home for the Holidays

Last year, I decided to get a post-bacc. This year, just as my confidence was faltering, you guys helped me to stay the course. Thank you.

Happy New Year, everyone 🙂


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  1. Hi Gena,

    I’m late to posting, I’ve been on vacation and am just now starting to clear up my Reader a bit…I just want to say a big Thank You for rekindling my love for raw foods when I scroll thru your blog. I had a love affair with raw foods for about a year and then something happened and I fell off the wagon. I’m trying to get back to that place I was once at, and seeing your pictures and reading your recipes make me so excited to eat more raw again. So pure, so nourishing, so delicious. Thanks for all your encouragement.

    xo Kat

  2. Great raw recipes. Have been eating a lot cleaner than the “typical” old way of healthy eating. Will have to try some of these.

  3. All of this food looks SO GOOD!!!!!! I can’t tell you how much I LOVE your website and what you’re doing for your readers! I can only hope to make my blog as awesome as yours! I am on my journey to lose 90lbs through healthy eating, my wealth of knowledge of the subject & exercise! I invite you and all of your readers to come on over to my blog & help motivate me, subscribe to me, & lose weight with me! I REALLY hope to see you all there!!! 🙂

  4. I heard that from a lot of people too (that 2011 was a crappy year). It was one of my best years, though! R finished school and moved back, I converted to Judaism and went on a birthright trip to Israel, we got married, we moved out of grad housing into a fun, walkable neighborhood, and I proposed my dissertation! I can’t ask for as much in the new year- I just hope for stability in my personal life and progress at school, and progress for our country.

  5. What about being in O magazine? I picked up a copy over the weekend for a road trip home and was excited to see an article on raw foods. And even more excited to see your advice. Congratulations!

  6. Happy New Year!
    I was in NYC too! Amazing weather. I went to a run in Central Park they have at midnight…awesome experience.

  7. What an amazing year!
    I love your blog, and I have loved every single one of those posts. You are wise, funny, smart and creative. We are lucky to “know you” girl!

  8. I listened to the Our Hen House interview just to hear what you had to say, and I really enjoyed it. I so appreciate the complexity and nuance of your perspectives on veganism, body image, and medicine. I agree with much of what AR has to say, but I am sometimes put off by the dogmatism and totalizing worldview of some activists. I want the world to be a more just place, not a place where everyone necessarily agrees with my particular opinions, and sometimes activism seems more invested in creating the latter. Anyway, I admire how you can take a stand without oversimplifying the difficulties and diversities of life!

  9. Love this recap! so nice to look back, and I agree with the others NEVER get sick of the salads. Your salads are like art to me! I hope you don’t mind me asking… but I noticed you haven’t mentioned your boyfriend , M, in a bit, Are you still dating? Anyway, hope you have a wonderful year!!!

  10. What an interesting year. I enjoy all of your posts but a few of my faves this year were the Green Recovery posts, Vaccinated and Little Lessons of Veganism. Glad those made it to your best of. All of your food posts have me drooling, so I could never choose a favorite out of those. Although I LOVE seeing your salads. Never get sick of awesome salad posts. Happy new year 🙂

  11. I was in the whole foods at union square on thursday and thought I passed by you. I was visiting new york for the week from canada and could swear I saw you, but was too shy and crammed in that store to stop and ask. If it was you, I am sorry I missed the chance to say hi. Thanks for all the great food inspiration!

      • No way! Now I am super bummed out! I am usually visiting family there in the summer and over the holidays in december. A blogger/reader meet up at a favorite vegan restaurant might be organized one of those times? I was in vegan heaven there, finding vegan baked things at the market square and the soft serve fruit. NYC is the best for food!

  12. I loved reading this! I definitely need to go back and try some of these recipes I have not yet attempted! I was also wondering how M is holding up with your intense school schedule? How are you able to work in quality time around school? I swear, med school has been harder on my husband than on the kids and me. *sigh*

  13. Wonderful recap, Gena, and wonderful interview. I was particularly interested in your comments about recovery not having to be antithetical to being discerning, although personally, for me, recovery does involve being able to eat “junk” in social situations and enjoy it. Not all kinds of junk, but the kinds I did use to enjoy before I fell down the rabbit hole, so to speak.

    It was also, to riff on something you said on my blog recently, awesome to hear your voice and build up the reality of you! 🙂 Happy New Year! xo

  14. “AKA crack”–you crack me up! I love this post. It’s a great opportunity to reminisce over the highlights of a year of posts so beautifully crafted both as individuals and in juxtaposition. I hope you’re feeling some pride in what you have going on here. You are firing and inspiring so many people as you go from one challenge to the next–I feel honored to connect with you.

  15. What a year Gena! I listened to the Our Hen House podcast today and it was awesome. You are so articulate and insightful, and I’m glad you had that opportunity! Happy New Year 😀

  16. One of the highlights of my year was discovering your blog, just as I turned vegan. Thank you so much Gena 🙂

  17. Thanks for the recap of everything from the bread pudding to beet rolls to vaccine post to 15 things you’ve learned. I remember them all very well and seeing the titles takes me back a month or 6 months to where I was in my own life when I read each of those posts.

    I hope 2012 brings you all you wish for, Gena! 🙂

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