Book Reviews · Cookbooks · Plant Based Diet · Raw · Vitamix Recipes

Review, Recipe & Giveaway: Raw Food For Dummies

See the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to get a copy of this new title!

I had a hard time reviewing Raw Food For Dummies unbiased. I kept picking it up, then putting it back. I realized finally that it wasn’t the book, it was me. We just didn’t mesh. While I like trying new methods and recipes, I am somewhat set in my ways. I don’t like fasting, green smoothies (too many scary Spirulina ones as a kid) and with 3 kids, I don’t have time to prep meals all day. Especially when the Teen eats for two! But also, as I approach 40, I find I don’t have the “all or nothing” enthusiasm I had when I was 22 and a fanatical vegan. Kid-free, I had all day to plot my daily food out. Or like when I ate high fiber Kashi cereal for 6 months straight (lost a ton of weight due to having no desire to eat). It was just me. I have asked my kids and husband to change their ways, and they did, as we switched to a mostly plant-based diet. To ask the 15-year-old to give up grains? No. And I realized, that while I enjoy raw foods I have no desire to eat them all the time. If I want bread, I will make real bread (be it wheat or made with almonds). If I want cornbread, I’ll bake it. My stomach cannot tolerate most soaked raw grains/seeds as well. Raw wild rice isn’t my friend. I don’t find most raw dehydrator recipes appetizing. The food isn’t cold. It isn’t hot. It’s lukewarm. And it is fussy, involving many steps. There are raw cookbooks I truly love, because they are about the food – and recipes – rather than lifestyle. And that is when it hit me. My issue was that the book was mostly about lifestyle. Which isn’t a bad thing. It just wasn’t for me is all.

So I changed my reading style and made myself imagine I was exploring a new way of eating, eager to find information. That I had walked into Barnes & Noble and was perusing the endcaps of new books. Say I had read about going raw and wanted to see what it was all about. Dummies books are a great start for most topics. This title lives up to that, covering why the authors feel raw is better than cooked, how to outfit a kitchen, what foods to buy, how to store them and plenty of how-to’s with drawings. If one comes to the table with no preconceived notions, they will find the book handy. They will find new ways to “cook” and to think out of the box.

Although I am still laughing/crying over who has the free time to plan a 30 day cleanse (of smoothies) and then do a fast (of juices) and get all those naps in the authors recommend. Maybe my child-free friends. Or me when I was 22. Lol…….a girl can dream.

When I went through the 100+ recipes I looked for something that wasn’t overly fussy. And that means I ended up in the dessert section. Which is usually where I end up in cookbooks. After going through them all, I decide to try the Raw Pecan Bars (well they are mostly raw). They were very delicious. I did deviate and made spicy sweet pecans for the top, by adding a bit of red pepper. To me, spicy and sweet go together like a dream.


Chocolate Pecan Bars


Bottom Layer –

  • ¾ cup Medjool dates, pitted (measure after pitting, pack in)
  • ½ cup organic virgin coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups raw pecan pieces (chopped finely)

Topping –

  • 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil, warmed to liquid
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup Raw Cacao Powder or for non-raw, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 batch candied pecans (see below)


Find a suitable pan, a half sized rimmed baking sheet works, so would an 8×8″ pan (thicker bars). The recipe called for a rectangle tart pan, which I know most of us probably don’t have. Line your pan of choice with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Add the dates, coconut oil and maple syrup to a food processor bowl, Process until smooth, scraping as needed. Add in pecans, pulse until just mixed in. Spread evenly into prepared pan, set aside.

Add the remaining coconut oil, maple syrup and cacao powder to a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix), process until just smooth. Spread evenly over the nut layer.

Sprinkle the candied pecans over the top, gently pressing down.

Chill for at least 6 hours, or better overnight. Cut into small pieces, store in an airtight container, with parchment or plastic wrap under.

PS: Should you be feeling lazy and want a treat and not hours of waiting and or don’t have a dehydrator, you can cheat and buy candied and candied spicy pecans at Trader Joe’s.


Candied-Pecan Crumble


  • 1 cup raw pecan pieces
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg


Mix together maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Coat pecan pieces with syrup, spread on a nonstick sheet or mesh lined dehydrator tray in a single layer. Dehydrate at 105° for 12 to 18 hours, or until crisp. (I use one similar to this: L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator)

If desired, chop after drying (which I did).

For a tasty treat, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper  and fine sea salt, as I did (Kirk enjoys spicy/sweet). It takes the dessert to a new level and cuts the sweetness.

Store pecans in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 2 months.


I’d like to offer it up to one of my readers to enjoy and use! Click below to enter the giveaway, via Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC Disclaimer: We received a copy for potential review. Giveaway is sponsored by Gazing In solely.

18 thoughts on “Review, Recipe & Giveaway: Raw Food For Dummies

  1. Those are very pretty and look so delicious but gosh, the recipe calls for so much oil! I can’t stomach coconut oil, it strangely makes me really sick. Other than that, it looks tasty! Pretty photo of the bars!

    1. They are definitely fatty. While the topping needs the oil, I think the bar part could have had half the oil! It does make a lot of bars though – so I can at least eat small nibbles 😉

  2. Your review cracked me up. I’ve had the same feeling about a lot of raw literature. I like Ani Phyo’s books because her food is amazing, and the photos are superb. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could just spend all day (un)cooking? 😉

  3. I’m with you, some raw books are just too fussy, that being said, I’m a sucker for new ideas/recipes so I’ll be entering! xx

      1. Put them in the freezer and fuhggetabout them! I love the stairmaster from hell, especially when you have no control over your sweat dripping all over it! 😉

        1. Yep!! It is GREAT training for hiking I can say. Especially for the evil trails around Rainier that are all freaking steps. Yech……

  4. Looks like it could be interesting, even to just try to incorporate some raw recipies into my diet

  5. The great thing about Raw Food for Dummies is that it shows you how to organize your time so that when you make recipes, you can cut down the prep time, make variations and so forth. It really is a concise guide to getting started with raw food or adding to the knowledge you already have. @Tiffany – I think this new trend of Paleo people following a plant based diet is great for the planet and great for the body!

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