Monthly Archives: September 2010

From Tilth to the Table – Raw Spaghetti al Marinara

The heat in SoCal continues which means it’s the perfect weather for a Raw Food creation!  Just the idea of turning on the oven makes me sweat!

My friend, Gina, introduced me to the Raw Food lifestyle last year and while I was apprehensive at first, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt better!  The recipe that I’d like to share with you is very simple and appeals to both the Raw and Non-Raw alike!

If you’d like to learn more about it the Raw lifestyle, I have included a few links:

Raw Family – Official site of the Boutenko Family. Some of the pioneers of the Raw Food Lifestyle

Pam Sterling – A passionate educator, inspirational speaker, talented designer, and effective coach who is a strong advocate of the Raw lifestyle and offers a free ebook/starter kit on her site.

Au Lac – The BEST vegan and raw vegan restaurant around! (in my honest opinion)


This recipe comes to you from a site called The Best of Raw and can be prepared with the tools you  currently have in your kitchen. Buon appetito!

2008-2010 copyright © margaret roach inc.


Serves 4



3 yellow summer squash or zucchini

Marinara Sauce

6 large tomatoes
5 sun-dried tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
1/2 bunch fresh basil
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 dates, pitted
1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt


For The Pasta

There are several ways to make pasta from a squash. I use a julienne peeler (sold at better kitchen appliances stores – about 10 USD/Euro). It looks like a cheese slicer or potato peeler. With this fancy but inexpensive and easy to use tool you make the most beautiful raw spaghetti strings in seconds.

You can also use an ordinary (potato) peeler: Peel thin slices of the squash, then with a fork or knife, create thin strands of “pasta”.

Another way is using a kitchen tool often used in the raw food kitchen and by chefs: a spiralizer. Cut the zucchini in about four pieces and by putting them in the mandolin, you can create beautiful thin angel hair pasta. But I have to be honest, it never works for me…

Put the pasta strands in a bowl and sprinkle with a mixture of olive oil and some salt. Set aside.

For The Marinara Sauce

Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy. Add purified water if you feel the consistency is too thick.

For serving

Take off the excess oil of the pasta. Put the pasta on a plate and top with the sauce. You may add additional toppings such as slice olives, chopped tomatoes, onions or basil leafs.


  • This is one of the most flexible raw food recipes. You could serve this pasta with other sauces like a pesto or Alfredo sauce. Just replace the marinara sauce with a pesto sauce or Alfredo sauce.
  • This pasta tastes delicious with “meat balls” made from walnuts.
  • For creamier sauce, I’d like to add a few almonds or some hemp seeds.
  • You can heat up the pasta up to about 118 degrees F if you feel like eating a warmer dish. You can do this by rinsing it with warm water or by leafing it a few minutes in the dehydrator at 50F or oven at 70F.
  • This is one of the best raw food recipes to make in case you also have to cook for not raw family members. You can make them ordinary – or better: whole wheat spelt – pasta and share the sauce and topping.
  • If you or your family members are used to processed ketchup or tomato sauces, you may not think this sauce is sweet and salty enough. (Heinz ketchup is 30% sugar). In this case you may want to add a few more dates or drops stevia and some more salt until your taste buds are adjusted.



Sucky Soil = Sucky Plants

Remember when you were a child and your parents took you to Dairy Queen (or insert any other soft-serve ice cream place). There was NOTHING more magical than seeing that ice cream squish out of the machine as you anxiously awaited the joy it would bring!

While I believe my obsession with ice cream got started at Baskin Robbins, there’s something about being forced to wait….and wait…and wait for the soft-serve machine that just whips a kid into a frenzy!!!

It’s quite possible that some gardeners have a similar experience when they go to the zoo or farm (don’t act like you didn’t see that coming)!

Of course, the animals are cool and it’s alway fun to watch the zookeepers feed them but, for a gardener, the magic happens at the other end!

Organic gardening has really taken off and become more accessible for the everyday gardener. It’s a great thing too because do we really need any more going into the ground and ocean?!  Another rant for another day…

It’s definitely the less glamorous side of gardening although my friends, Kym and Gerrit (aka “Fastest Couple on Two Wheels”), have a DIY compost bin system that would rival anything Martha Stewart’s servants could whip up!

Sure, Martha, I always wear white when I'm working in the yard!

Much like fine wine, a proper compost takes time and patience and isn’t as simple as just walking behind your dog (or farm animal) with a bucket.  However, if created properly, the payoff is well worth the wait!

Adding organic material to your soil helps to improve the structure and boost nutrients! Good drainage helps prevent root rot and fungal disease. Beneficial microorganisms and insects will scratch your back if you scratch theirs and work hard to help eradicate harmful microbes like nematodes and certain soil borne illnesses.


There are many soil testing options if you’re the hands-on type or want to leave it to the experts.  For you do-it-yourselfers, you can pick up tools and, probably, some valuable advice from places such as Orange County Farm Supply.   Many nurseries will also provide soil testing for free or a nominal fee.  Additionally, your Cooperative Extension can also be a source.   When only an expert will do, Soil and Plant Laboratory is a reliable and affordable way to go!


They call this “Black Gold,” ladies and gentlemen!
  • Soil University – Gary Matsuoka of Laguna Hills Nursery is known for his passion about soil and his informative workshops.


  • Starbucks – For those of you currently trying to cut back on your Starbucks habit due to tough economic times, here’s a little help in justifying why budget cuts should be made elsewhere.
  • Malibu Compost – Everything about this site is cool but also check out how the company came to be and what they do to give back!
Love a cow, love the earth


Black Thumb Gardening

Long before it was chic, you knew that watering your plants wasn’t cool!

Slave away in your garden when you’d rather be….well…anywhere else?
H-E-double hockey sticks NO!

Oh, slayer of plants, Joe Schmo with his bright green, lush lawn has finally had his “come to Jesus” moment upon receipt of his most recent water bill and is now running alongside your wagon in his soggy, pesticide-filled shoes pleading and begging for you to show him the way!

I say we let him ride and he can keep his palm tree-print Hawaiian shirt because, after all, many varieties of Palms, once established, don’t guzzle water like a thirsty Labrador who slops water all over the kitchen and needs a towel under his….sorry, I digress.


Back to my story….

It was a beautiful morning. The sky was blue; birds were chirping and, hark, my first phone call of the day!

“You killed my garden! Because of you, my entire garden is DEEEAAAD!”

“Good morning to you too, my little ray of sunshine!” I thought.
And so the day began…….

I was doing an HR job at a local water agency when I received that call. This particular agency serves a largely unincorporated area where people have a lot of land and exercise their right to water it (and the street)….often. This particular week, residents received their first bill since the recent rate increase and notification of scheduled increases over the next year. Let’s just say, that wasn’t the first phone call of its kind for the day. Landscape Armageddon was upon us! Probably the best comment repeated throughout the day was, “I don’t want to have to grow cactus in my yard!” (Note: when emotionally charged, logic doesn’t always run rampant).

No, nobody is limited to rocks and cactus, drama queens (and kings)!

There are many plants (some shown below) that, when established, are fine to be neglected. I’ll post more down the road but wanted to give you a few that I like to start off with. Of course, always check your Sunset gardening book to make sure that it grows in your area.





And not one cactus in sight (maybe a rock or two)!

Many, ok, most of these will not be found at Home Depot so you’ll need to venture out to a local nursery but that’s part of the fun!! Everybody can plant Agapanthus and Bougainvilleas. Don’t be a sheep and stop being so serious!! Go out and buy something different and have fun!

I hope this has provided you with a little bit of inspiration. As you look at these pictures and others on the web, pop them into a program such as PowerPoint or Publisher where you will be able to slide them around and have fun making your own combinations.