Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rawgalong with me, under the sea

I feel so guilty. It seems like everyone I know is blogging about juice feasting, while I'm out flaunting my cookies (don't read too much into that; I'm talking about the sweet treats I blogged about yesterday). I'm such a tease :-)

At least I shared the recipes, so you juicers (I guess that makes you "Champions," like this particular model) can reward yourself at the end of your journey. I love it how we can all get a taste of each others creations posted on our blogs. It's as close as we can get to actually being there.

Most of the time, I just experiment with different ingredients, crossing my fingers that they'll turn out the way I'd imagined them (yes, even I have bombed out it the kitchen; you heard about my chocolate). But, once in a while, I'll crack open an "uncookbook" (I like using ones from different restaurants, so I can try their creations at home; I don't travel much) or test drive a recipe posted on someone else's site.

This week, I took Jenny's Mermaid Blend for a spin (in my blender, that is). She also referred to it as "sea speed," and OMG, she wasn't kidding. Talk about being wired. I don't think I slept a wink that night, and I was still buzzing (wait a minute, that's bees. Mermaids don't buzz, they swim, but for some reason it doesn't provide the same descriptive quality) the next day.

Jenny's blog, of course, is full of vivid text. Her posts evoke all of your senses. I probably didn't even need to make the recipe myself to appreciate all its texture, color and flavor (although, I can see myself eating it again very soon. Perhaps tonight? Then, I probably won't catch up on any sleep. I guess I'll never learn).

If I keep consuming this sea worthy concoction, I may find myself filling Thessalonike's shoes (or that case, fins. Did you know mermaids may actually exist?).

According to Greek legend, Thessalonike turned into a mermaid after her death. When sailors would encounter her presence in the Aegeon Sea, she would ask them one dreaded question, "Is Alexander the king alive?" (she was referring to Alexander the Great, who was said to have been her half brother).

The correct answer would have been, "He lives and still rules." But, if answered incorrectly, Thessalonike, in a fit of rage, would transform into a Gorgon (a Medusa-like character) and destroy the ship and its crew.

Now, I don't have a fin, nor a head full of snakes, but I hate to see my disposition in a few days if I don't start getting a little shut-eye.

My poor son and I have been sleeping (well, he is; I'm not) on the couch downstairs the past couple days, since my husband has caught a touch of the plague, as he calls it (I think it is the flu). We opted to quarantine him to the upstairs. I hope he feels better soon. I guess this means no Thursday Night Raw for him, unless he's up to trying a green smoothie experiment.

In the meantime, I'll be taking care of my bedridden hubby. I wonder if he'd watch any of these movies: "Splash" (I so wanted to be Daryl Hannah when I first saw this, crossing my legs as I swam like her in the swimming pool), "Mermaids" (Winona Ryder's character still cracks me up) and "The Little Mermaid" (my youngest sister always ranked this one high on her list. She almost ended up dancing the part on a Disney Cruise Ship). Somehow I doubt he'll be interested, but I wouldn't mind seeing them again.

P.S. Here's one more Mermaid-related clip for you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

"Chocotastrophy": Do try this at home

When you last left this blog (yesterday, if you are a loyal reader), I dropped a hint as to what I was rawifying in my kitchen over the weekend. I talked about my Girl Scouting days, and if you've been keeping up to date with my posts, you also know about my love of cookies and other raw desserts.

I also mentioned that I'd have something sweet to share with you today at the end of last week's We Like It Raw post. Combine the clues and you're bound to come up with a valid conclusion.

If you arrived at this post via the WLIR website (or looked up at the photo above), you already know the answer. But, if you still need it spelled out for you, I was making raw versions of the top five Girl Scout cookie flavors: Thin Mints (25%), Samoas®/Caramel deLites™ (19%), Peanut Butter Patties®/Tagalongs® (13%), Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos™ (11%), and Shortbread/Trefoils (9%), according to the Girl Scouts website.

I posted the recipes for my Trawfoils, Do-si-raws and Samoraws on the WLIR post, and saved the Rawgalongs and Thin Mints (no spin on that name) for you. Now, before you get too excited, I'll explain why.

I had a bit of a "chocotastrophy" (which explains the title of this post) in my kitchen near the end of the cookie rawifying process. I was running a little short on time (I needed to get my tookus out the door for our usual Sunday dinner and celebration of my grandfather's birthday; Happy b-day Poppy!), and rather than waiting until I returned to tackle the chocolate portion, I did it then anyway.

Now, I'm not a chocolatier (should have called my friend, Becky, who's a bit more knowledgeable about the stuff), so I had no business whipping some up in a jiffy without an educated plan or a no-fail recipe.

You see, chocolate can be quite temperamental. You must be gentle with it and take it slow. Know the correct ratios to keep it from getting bent out of shape, so to speak.

I didn't heed the warning, tossing raw cocoa butter in a double boiler (it melts at very low heat), melting it down and adding other ingredients (cocoa powder, agave and vanilla) in whatever amount I could pour into the pot (in other words, WAY TOO MUCH agave). The result was a soupy, runny, way too liquidy (but very tasty) mess.

But if you know the cost of good quality raw cocoa butter, you'd understand why I would then do anything in my power to keep it from going to waste. So, in a rush (my second mistake), I poured the mixture into my Blendtec and added more cocoa powder, cocoa butter and coconut butter.

It still wasn't thick enough. I reached for my last resort (the third strike and I was out of there), the lecithin (I've seen it on many chocolate wrappers; I thought to myself, "hey, why not?"). First, I added a tablespoon, which I finely ground in my Magic Bullet, before pouring it into the blender. It mixed in beautifully. But the second tablespoon, I added in haste, officially ruining my chocolate's lovely sheen.

Boo hoo, what was I to do? Well, it still tasted good, so I drizzled it on my Samoraws and used it to dip the Thin Mints and cover the tops of the Rawgalongs (I decided not to dip them entirely after the mess I had made with the Thin Mints, not to mention my time constraints). I even had some leftover to make some molded chocolates.

So, that's my story presented to you for your entertainment (I'm only human). But, if you want to try it yourself, here is what ended up in my chocolate: 1/2 pound raw cocoa butter, 2/3 cup raw coconut butter, 2/3 cup agave nectar (you may want to go a little easy on that one), 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder, 1 tsp. vanilla, a dash of sea salt and 2 Tbsp. lecithin.

And now for the cookies:

For the cookie
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup sesame seeds, ground into a powder
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 soft pitted dates
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt

For the filling
3/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. lucuma
1 Tbsp. mesquite
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt

*melted raw chocolate (I won't be offended if you don't use my recipe)

In a food processor, grind cashews, almond meal and ground sesame until it reaches a flour-like consistency. Add the agave, dates, vanilla and sea salt, and process to create a ball of dough.

Flatten the dough into a sheet, and cut out cookie-sized circles. "Bake" the cookies in your dehydrator, flipping once, until crisp.

In the meantime, combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl. Top each cookie with the filling in a mound shape. Chill to set.

Then, either make my chocolate recipe or your favorite tried and true version. Use the melted chocolate to dip the tops (or if you are adventurous, the whole cookie), and allow the chocolate to harden in the freezer. The chocolate will remain stable chilled in the refrigerator or freezer (I keep mine in the freezer since it reminds me of how my mom would keep a stash in hers; my sisters and I used to sneak them all the time).

Thin Mints
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flakes, ground into a powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 soft pitted dates
1 tsp. peppermint extract
dash of sea salt
*melted raw chocolate for dipping (if you skipped to this recipe, go back and read the actual post)

In a food processor, combine almond meal, ground coconut and cocoa powder. Add the agave, dates, extract and sea salt, and process to create a ball of dough.

Flatten the dough into a sheet, and cut out cookie-sized circles. "Bake" the cookies in your dehydrator, flipping once, until crisp.

Then, dip the cookies in the melted raw chocolate and allow to set in the freezer.

All the cookies keep well in the freezer, so stock up to be ready for the Girl Scout cookie season. When you are tempted by the real deal, you can reach for your own raw version ... if they last that long. Happy eating :-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Stewing up a playful meal

While watching "Regis and Kelly" this a.m. (one of my mom's favorite shows; I actually haven't seen it in a while now), I caught an interview with Carmen Electra. She was promoting her new movie, "Meet the Spartans" (not exactly on my must-see list, but my boys have been quite amused by the previews. I guess this means we've already viewed the funniest scenes).

I was surprised to find that she was still being asked about her exercise video series, Aerobic Striptease (it's much tamer than it sounds), a set of workout DVDs my husband purchased for me a year or two ago. I'm so glad Regis didn't test out a few moves.

Speaking of working out, on Good Morning America today, there was a segment about how exercising 30 minutes per day can make you 9 years younger. If you combine that with my healthy lifestyle and raw food diet, how young does that make me? No wonder I've been craving raw versions of my childhood fare.

Today I "rawified" camper's stew, a recipe my mom learned as a Girl Scout. She taught us (my sisters and I) how to make it long before we ever cooked some up over the campfire with our troops (we actually found some of our old sashes this weekend).

The recipe was simple: brown some ground beef, add a can of Campbell's ABC Vegetable Beef soup, go easy on the water (this is a thick stew, you know) and heat through.

Now, when I first went vegetarian, I still made this stew using the beef-free soup and veggie crumbles, but this is my first attempt at it since going raw. It turned out much better than expected. I basically combined my raw chili and soup methods to bring this childhood memory back to life.

As an added touch, I cut out some zucchini letters, like the alphabet noodles in the original, and spelled out the name of my dish. And, no, I don't have a lot of time on my hands; I just opted to do it for fun, which is what I had in the kitchen this weekend.

I can't wait to tell all of you what I made for a treat. Any guesses? You'll find out tomorrow on We Like It Raw (don't worry; you'll hear from me here, too).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Silly syndicated stupidity

So, what does that title mean? Well, if you went directly to my site to read my last post, you probably missed it all together. But, if you happened to visit by way of We Like It Raw's Quickies page, you may have noticed something was not quite right in the first line.

Or, perhaps it was early and you were a little groggy like me. Maybe you didn't even notice it at all. Here's a reminder of my mishap (Just pan on down to the Sat. Jan. 26th posts and my leftovers pic).

Did you see it? Or, did you just read it the way it sounds, not comprehending the grammar (or lack there of) involved?

Thanks to my buddy ol' pal, Rawbin, it was brought to my attention in a personal e-mail yesterday. All she had to do was send me the first sentence ("You’ve gotta read the whole post to make since of this title"), and I knew exactly where I goofed (please tell me you caught it this time).

So, I put the word "since" when I meant to type "sense." Oops, my bad (now I really sound like Alicia Silverstone in "Clueless." I can't believe I dressed like that back in college). Please excuse my silly syndicated stupidity; I think I subconsciously brought it on myself.

You see, as soon as I found out my blog would be syndicated, my first thought (no, make that second thought; my first was actually, "yippie, thanks for noticing me," in true Eeyore form with an added Tigger/Jenny bounce), was so "if I have to correct an error here, will I be able to make the change there?"

Well, my question was answered, and the answer is, "no." Oh well, lesson to be learned: "Don't blog in the wee hours of the morning (I think it was 3 a.m. at the time I logged on yesterday)." Or, even better, "just don't make any errors in the first few paragraphs" (the rest of the post is on my blog only).

As for that Tigger/Jenny bounce I mentioned, I'm referring to the balance balls we both sit on while blogging and surfing the Net. It's great for your core, not to mention how fun it is. Just be careful if you are drinking your green smoothie at the same time. One of these days, I'm going to find it splattered all over the place.

Hey, Jen, did you realize how fun your name is when you use it in this familiar tune: "Jenny, jenny, bo benny, bananafana fo fenny, fe, fi, mo menny; Jenny!" My mom used to sing it all the time using our names.

Speaking of my mom, she's the one who inspired Thurday night's taco salad (she used to make it when I was little) and today's lunch, using my leftover raw Frito's (I made them like tortilla chips, but shaped them using a bag with a hole snipped at the bottom).

When my mother took a trip to Santa Fe (this was a few years ago), she came home raving about all the yummy food she consumed. But, the one dish I truly remember from her trip (I didn't actually go with her) was the chili served in a Frito's bag. She made us all try it the following Sunday dinner (we've had this tradition for a while now ... the meal together, not the chili in a bag).

So, today, I recycled a Frito's bag (don't worry; I didn't eat the real ones or go dumpster-diving to get it), using it as a serving bowl for today's lunch: chili and raw Frito's, topped with shredded carrots, avocado and sliced olives. Yum-O.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

From Oprah to Kevin Bacon?

You've gotta read the whole post to make sense of this title.

If you haven't noticed yet, Rawdorable can now be seen in two places at once. Whenever I add a blog post here, it also gets posted (although more like a teaser, which takes you back here) on the We Like It Raw Quickies page (Philip and Anthony's blogs are also getting the same treatment; check them out, and tell them I sent you).

So, that means, I'm syndicated. I'm like Oprah (like I really needed to add that link). Okay, maybe not Oprah, but it was the first show that taught me what it means to be viewed in syndication.

"Uma ... Oprah! Oprah ... Uma! Oprah, Oma ... Keanu!" This may be a not-so-funny joke from David Letterman at the 67th Academy Awards in 1995, but it is also a little like how my brain works sometimes.

Uma, as in Uma Thurman, was once married to Ethan Hawke, my celebrity crush growing up. I was a huge fan of his in Reality Bites (I once danced around to "My Sharona" in a convenience store, like in this clip from the film) and Before Sunrise (one of my all-time favorite movies; here's a cute scene).

But did you see him in the follow up, Before Sunset? I enjoyed the movie, but not as much for the eye candy as I did with the first film. I think my past love could have benefited from a raw diet.

My husband, although not raw, is at least making attempts to try it, like with our new "Thursday Night Raw" tradition, where he has agreed to eat a raw meal one evening per week. This past Thursday (I know you've all been curious about the menu), I made a raw version of my mom's taco salad, a recipe that was really big in the 80's (This is the basic recipe everyone made at the time).

It was pretty simple to "rawify." Of course, I had the lettuce and tomato, and I swapped out the onion for cucumbers (Matthew isn't down with the onions). Then, I added some walnut taco "meat" and shredded carrot instead of cheese.

Like the original, the whole salad was tossed in a Catalina dressing, although I made a raw version. Here's my rawified dressing recipe:

Catalina in the Raw
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for a least a few hours
1/3 cup soaking liquid (from the tomatoes)
1/2 cup agave
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. onion powder (or fresh, to taste)
dash of paprika
pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

I also sprinkled the top of the salad with some mock Frito's, I made in my dehydrator. Although not the most photogenic dish of my blogging career, it really tasted a lot like my mother's, which in my book, made this one a success.

Matthew, on the other hand, would beg to differ. But, I do have to say, he was a good sport for finishing his whole bowl. He liked everything in it, except for the dressing, which he neglected to inform me was something he didn't even like prior to my rawifying it.

According to him, he's not fond of the orange dressings, usually opting for Caesar (Caesar salad is his fav), Ranch or Blue Cheese, so I won't take it personally. Hey, at least he tried it for me.

So, for dessert, I gave him one of his favorites, simply strawberries and bananas. His mom usually makes it for him out of thawed sweetened sliced strawberries (those found in the freezer section) and sliced bananas, but I made mine using fresh berries, agave, a touch of vanilla, and bananas, of course (it wouldn't be strawberries and bananas without them).

I tossed the fruit in a bowl my grandmother gave me when she moved. At the time, I told her it looked like something Rachael Ray had in her "30 Minute Meals" kitchen on t.v. To my surprise, I actually saw her use that same bowl on her show on numerous occasions. One time she used it to make scones.

But now, I am just typing in circles with no end to this post in site. So, I'll leave you with one more example of what goes into my crazy thinking process. One thing leads to another just like that six degrees of Kevin Bacon game (You can link any actor to him in six role links or less). Let's play one quick round.

Oprah Winfrey was in The Color Purple with Lawrence Fishburne, who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon. Too easy.

P.S. My Thursday meal packed well for my lunch yesterday, as seen in the top pic. Delish!

Friday, January 25, 2008

More donuts, for your pleasure

Inspired (there's that word again) by a recent Give It To Me Raw discussion, I decided to make this Friday's donuts (my usual Friday breakfast; check out my last Friday or Saturday posts), incorporating chocolate, cherries and maca, and served with fresh strawberries and dried persimmons (doesn't provide the same juicy experience this way, but I found them at Trader Joe's yesterday).

Just to mix things up a bit, I formed the routinely round donut holes into mini donut shapes. This caught my hubby's attention, who was wondering why we weren't having them last night for dinner (I'll fill you in on our "Thursday Night Raw" tomorrow). I guess we all know now what we'll be having next week. But, I told him he had to try a green smoothie with them. Chocolate flavored, perhaps?

Yes, you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about our meal. I've gotta go to work today, and when I get home, I like to spend the evening with my boys, eating leftovers (love it in my house), while they devour a pizza, and we all watch the new shows on Cartoon Network (like Chowder, my fav. I added cinnamon to the donuts, which reminded me of the cinnamini episode. I looked for it on You Tube, and found this video instead) and play video games on the XBox 360 and Wii.

Hope you are spending your evening with loved ones tonight, too. See you tomorrow :-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"You're the meaning in my life ...

... you're the inspiration." No, I'm not talking about the lip gloss in the cashew cheesy pic above (I'll get back to that later). I was just singing the lyrics to that extra cheesy Chicago song (don't tell me you don't know the words to that one; admit it, you do).

Anyway, it's been in my head all day, probably due to all the inspiration I've had today (I think my head is spinning). To start things off, I bathed in a grapefruit-scented bath wash, and after drying off, I covered my body in a white chocolate and citrus body lotion. The smells reminded me of the Citrus Kicked White Chocolate with Ginger Mousse, I made in my last post (man, that was good).

So, before I headed off to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (I needed more coconuts after indulging in that mousse), I whipped myself up my usual green smoothie. This time I started off with the banilla base (my trend for the week), and added pink grapefruit, raw cocoa butter and gingerade kombucha (a little strong, so if your not a kombucha fan, just use fresh ginger). The end result was rich and filling.

I sipped it slowly, as I checked my e-mail and the latest comments on my blog. What was this I found? It looks as though Kristen has nominated me for the Inspirational Blogger Award.

The Inspirational Blogger Award is, "For those bloggers who inspire others through their words and actions. With a positive attitude, and uplifting spirit these bloggers make the blogosphere a better place, and encourage others to do the same. This award is for bloggers who rise up to set an example but continue to reach out and support others.”

Wow, that's so cool. That means, "You like me, you really like me," as the misquoted Sally Field would say. In true Kristen form, I'm doing a happy dance, too (although I'm not sure you want to see it).

If I understand it correctly, it is now my turn to pass the torch on to five other worthy bloggers. This is a difficult task, considering that I've been inspired by so many of you. So first, to weed out some of the competition and make it fair, I'll try to eliminate those I already know and think may have received this honor already (that means I can't award Kristen again, Jenny, Philip, Anthony ... the list goes on).

After a lot of hard thought and consideration (now my head is doing cartwheels or something. "Can you stand on your head?" I can see the Cheshire Cat now), here are my finalists:

Carrie of Radical Living Laboratory: You can follow her juice feast, day to day. I wish I had the willpower to stick to her regime.

Alissa of One of the first fellow bloggers to start commenting on my blog. She inspires me to keep mine updated. She's also really good at maintaining hers. Have you checked out her garden inside her apartment?

Kathy of Raw Girl Too!: This mother of four has come so far since starting her blog, recognizing that even when you fall off the wagon (it's that darn sugar craving), you can get back on. She's even doing a much better job than yours truly when it comes to involving her kids.

Charissa of Raw Royalty: Your royal highness is actually very down-to-Earth and coincidently in sync with my blog on many occasions (earlier in the week she drank vanilla, while I was blending a smoothie I named banilla). She posts nearly everyday, too.

Last, but not least, is Raw Heathy of Raw Goddess Heathy (not to be confused with "Healthy"): Now, I wasn't sure if she had been bestowed this honor in the past (I'm sure Carmella has to have received it, and they inspire each other), but just in case she hasn't, I making sure she gets the recognition she deserves.

Congratulations to all five of you. Now, it's your turn to spread the inspiration. It's contagious (like this old You Tube video, I still love) :-)

In celebration of this honor, I treated myself to this new Perfect Organics lip gloss I mentioned at the top of this post. The shade is "D.C." (they are all named after cities, and that is the one I am closest to). I almost bought it at the Green Festival in Washington, D.C. last fall, but I thought it was a little frivolous at the time. However, today is a special occasion.

Matthew (my husband, for those of you who don't know), I posted this pic of me just for you. Actually, he always makes fun of me for taking mugshots and putting them on my site. So, I guess it is more of an inside joke. Ha ha :-)

Gotta go finalize tonight's dinner plans. It is Thursday night (when my hubby has agreed to eat raw for the evening). TTFN!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kicking it up a notch

I'm on a citrus kick as of this a.m. I "kicked" off my day with a cilantro lime green smoothie, an embellished version of yesterday's banilla shake (a combination of my favorite greens, cilantro, lime, coconut butter, lucuma, vanilla and bananas; sounds like I'm also into bananas at the moment, but that's nothing new).

While watching Rachael Ray (I know, you were expecting Emeril when you read the title) today (Did you see Ricki Lake? Talk about an amazing transformation. No wonder she's been rumored to be involved with John Mayer), I was reminded of the grapefruit mousse recipe I saw in the latest issue of her magazine (we sometimes have a copy on the lunch-table at work). So, I quickly logged onto her website to see what I could do to (you guessed it) "rawify" this creamy, yet citrusy delight.

Unfortunately, the recipe was no where to be found, so I expanding my search to the rest of the Web. To my surprise, grapefruit mousse is a fairly common dessert. I found a ton of cooked recipes (like this Pink Grapefruit Mousse with Berry Sauce, Frozen Grapefruit Mousse, Easy White Chocolate-Grapefruit Mousse with Chocolate Phyllo, and Ginger and Grapefruit Mousse), but none of them were raw. I'd have to conquer this one myself.

I decided to make my own version combining flavors from both the white chocolate and ginger recipes. Lucky me, I had grapefruits in my fridge, raw cocoa butter in my pantry, and ginger root and leftover young thai coconut meat in my freezer (it actually freezes very well).

Here is what I came up with (I'm doing a much better job now of writing these things down):

Citrus Kicked White Chocolate
with Ginger Mousse

(more like a pudding, but still fits the bill)
1 cup coconut meat
6-8 Tbsp. fresh pink grapefruit juice (I juiced about 1/2 a grapefruit)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/8 cup raw cocoa butter
1 Tbsp. lucuma powder
1 tsp. vanilla
grated fresh ginger, to taste
dash of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Pour into serving glass or bowl, chill and serve.

*Makes two small servings (one for you and one to share), or if you're like me, one large greedy portion.

I topped mine with a few small pieces of grapefruit and some cocoa butter shavings. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Can you keep a secret?

I don't know if I should say anything yet, but since it is just on my little blog (I don't have a clue as to how many people actually read this), I'll just mention it to you.

Very soon, you'll be reading other blog posts from yours truly on another site, We Like It Raw (ever heard of it? I'm being sarcastic), as I will be the newest member of the 2008 WLIR squad. I'll be contributing a weekly post, similar to my usual format with a recipe to share.

I mentioned to Dhru the other day, that I feel like one of the Castaway's on his Gilligan's Island, although I thought he seemed more like the professor (especially after being named the sexiest raw foodie in a Give It To Me Raw discussion). That puts Anthony in the role of Gilligan (he's tall and skinny with dark hair; okay, so he's way hotter than the clumsy character we all know and love) and that leaves Philip as the Skipper (sorry Phil. I just figured with your sense of humor, you'd be okay with it).

As for the ladies, Sarma is Ginger, of course. There's no question about that one. And, that makes me Mary Ann.

I guess I am a Mary Ann; I fit the girl next door persona. I am the one in the group everyone can relate to. I live in a small town (far from glamorous), enjoy spending time with friends and family (doesn't everybody?), and when I make my meals, I "rawify" the SAD (Standard American Diet) favorites we all grew up on (rather than creating gourmet dishes; I'm a home-uncook, not a chef).

I'm just like my Banilla green smoothie (greens, bananas, lucuma, coconut butter and vanilla) I had this morning or the plain almond milk I poured on my cereal (I also had a glass while reading to my son this weekend). I'm a basic canvas just waiting for possibilities.

I can't wait to see what the future holds :-)

In the meantime, here are a few glammed up nut milks you can try: Vanilla Fig Nut Mylk, Mellow Carob Cocoa Almond Milk (skip the heating and swap out the rice syrup for agave), Tiger Milk, Strawberry and everyone's favorite, Chocolate.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Do you like green "eggs" no ham?

"You do not like them, so you say.
Try them. Try them. And you may.
Try them and you may, I say,"
says Sam in the Dr. Seuss classic "Green Eggs and Ham."

I am so happy that my husband has been willing to experiment with raw one night a week. Now, if I can just get my son to expand his taste-buds.

Yesterday, while reading various Dr. Seuss and P.D. Eastman (frequently mistaken for Dr. Seuss) books, it came to me. I would reinforce the importance of trying new foods with this childhood read. Whenever Jacob refuses to sample something new, I'll refer to this familiar lesson.

First, I won't be so forceful, pressuring him to take a bite. Like the main character says to Sam, "If you let me be, I will try them. You will see."

But I will remind him of the outcome of the story.

When he does take a taste, his response to Sam is, "Say! I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I-Am!"

In the spirit of this new way of approaching what my child eats, I whipped up this plate of green "eggs" (two ways), no ham.

First, I made a scramble out of white mushrooms, something I've been thinking about experimenting with for a while. However, it would certainly work just as well with Ani Phyo's Love the Chick pate.

I ground up the mushrooms (after removing the dark colored "gills") in a food processor until mushy with a drizzle of EVOO, a couple drops of apple cider vinegar (for some reason it tastes "eggy," maybe since vinegar is added to the water used to poach eggs), tumeric for color (not that you will even notice it in this dish), nutritional yeast (found in most vegan scrambles), sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Then, to keep the mixture firm, I put it in a nut-milk bag and squeezed out the excess liquid (mushrooms are like sponges, which kind of reminds me of eggs).

Then, I made a pesto in the food processor with ground pumpkin seeds, parsley, meyer lemon juice, garlic, sea salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. I folded some of it into the "egg" mixture to create its green color and topped it all off with more pesto, a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, paprika and more parsley for garnish.

The deviled-style green "eggs" were just leftover white mushroom caps stuffed with a creamy tomato-less guacamole. These were also topped with a dash of paprika.

It wasn't my prettiest dish, but I enjoyed the flavor. Unfortunately, Jacob wanted nothing to do with it, except laugh at its resemblance to the food in the book. I couldn't get him to try my version, but he did ask for real green eggs.

Maybe he'll be more willing to experiment next time. I'm not going to force him.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Soup, salad and more donuts

Did you miss me yesterday? No, I didn't lose my Internet, as I told you I might. I just took a break from blogging to spend the evening with the boys.

Jacob had decided to pitch a tent in the living room to sleep in and requested that Matthew and I crash next to him on the couch. It wasn't the best rest ever, but definitely needed (my head was killing me yesterday; another reason I didn't post).

Now, for a recap of the end of the week. We enjoyed our second "Raw Thursday" dinner (for those of you who are out of the loop, that's when my nonraw husband has agreed to eat a weekly all-raw meal to fulfill a new year's resolution). It wasn't as blog-worthy as the n'ice cream bar, but it was a good starter meal for my picky man.

Salad is more fun when you neatly display all the options and allow participants to pick and chose what they want in their bowl of greens. For my hubby's sake, I stuck with mostly the basics. We had mixed salad greens, of course, alongside tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, baby carrots (mainly for munching while I set out the rest of the toppings), avocado chunks (I was hoping he would try a piece, but he didn't), yellow squash, zucchini, red onion (why don't they call it purple onion? It would make more sense), radishes (boy, did he love them, to my surprise), chopped green beans, shredded carrot, dried cherries, sunflower seeds and sliced raw almonds.

For the dressings, I put out some salsa (because I knew he at least liked that), a raw Ranch (which he piled up on both his first and second servings, and even used it to dip his baby carrots) and a raspberry vinaigrette.

The Ranch was easy, just a cashew cream base with lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, garlic, fresh chives and parsley. The vinaigrette was also a simple recipe of raspberries, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, sea salt, pepper and EVOO. However, it ended up being quite messy to make.

It had nothing to do with the recipe itself, but with my own stupidity. Since it was such a small batch, I decided to make it in my Magic Bullet (this is great to take with you on trips). Unfortunately, I guess I didn't have it screwed on tight enough.

Usually, you just turn it slightly to remove it from the base, which automatically stops the blending. This didn't happen this time. Instead, the container came unscrewed, leaving me with the cup in my hand, the lid/blade (still spinning) on the base, raspberry-colored dressing everywhere, and this silly story to share.

Lucky for me, I was able to salvage quite a bit of it. Most of it amazingly stayed in the cup. That was a close one.

I ended up swirling both the Ranch and the raspberry on the top of my salad (an unlikely combination, but I like it), which consisted of everything I put out on the bar (my stove-top, again). Matthew, on the other hand, stuck with his usual tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrot, green beans and radishes, tossed in heavy globs of raw Ranch.

Since there was snow outside, I also opted to serve a soup, a raw version of the classic Campbell's Tomato. I used both sun-dried and fresh grape tomatoes, pureed with soaked cashews (in place of the milk), agave (for sweetness; there's corn syrup in the real deal), sea salt and pepper. I left it as is for my hubby (who still eats the canned stuff, but finished a whole bowl of the raw) and sprinkled a little basil on top of mine.

I also made some crackers out of my leftover almond pulp from the "milk" I made for my cereal. Matthew never eats tomato soup without either grilled cheese or crackers.

For dessert, I surprised him with a pineapple, probably his favorite fruit. I think he ate about half of it himself. It was a delicious ending to another successful raw meal.

Then, I whipped up some more donut holes for Friday morning's breakfast (the one day of the week I do not start of the day with a green smoothie). I made these out of almonds, dates, golden raisins, lucuma, mesquite, vanilla and sea salt, and covered them in a maple syrup and coconut butter glaze (maple donuts were always my fav).

Next time I make them, I'll use the glaze to coat the inside of my Russian Raw Cakes, much more like a traditional donut, in my opinion.

Carmella, from the Sunny Raw Kitchen, made both the Russian Raw Cakes, a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cookies, and donut holes in a recent post. I felt so honored to be mentioned in her blog. If you haven't read it yourself (who hasn't seen her blog?), you have to check it out.

I think the donut holes were a little much for me yesterday. I probably would have felt better if I had drank a green smoothie instead. I had such a bad headache, most likely due to dehydration and lack of sleep.

I wasn't the only one at work with a headache, so it was a good thing that my boss brought in a crate of clementines to perk us up a bit. They were sweet and delicious.

Thanks to Jess Michael, I just learned that clementines are also known as Christmas oranges. You can watch her make this maca-charged smoothie with them on her blog. It's yummy. Try it for yourself. I have, but it was green, of course :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Silly rawbit, Trix aren't just for kids.

Jenny, I don't have any Fruit Loops, but I used some leftover raw play dough to make some Trix. This goes to show that you're never too old for a nostalgic breakfast cereal, and if you make it yourself, it can even be good for you.

You don't have to have a little one around the house to have fun recreating the tastes from your youth. You can make this treat (I won't tell anyone), or scale it down for something quicker and simpler, like these raw Captin Crunch Berries featured on Gone Raw. The website has a category dedicated to kid-friendly cuisine.

There are also some fellow raw food bloggers, who have posted playful ideas on their sites. Check out Terilynn on The Daily Raw Cafe and Melissa's family food on Raw Baby Alex.

But, now for the great reveal. Raw B, those were some good guesses, and Alissa, I can see why you would suspect beets (just look at the great color of the mystery fruit's soaking liquid).

Here are the answers:

Yellow (looks a little beige in the photo): cashews, golden raisins, lemon extract, sea salt (this is my son's favorite; it reminds him of lemon flavored Tootsie rolls).

Bright Orange: almonds, goji berries, lucuma, mesquite, agave, rose water, sea salt.

Brownish Orange: pecans, unsulfured dried apricots, agave, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, sea salt.

Green: pumpkin seeds, pistachios, golden raisins, agave, vanilla, sea salt.

Dark Purple (may look a little brown in the photo): almonds, walnuts, dried blueberries, lucuma, vanilla, sea salt.

Magenta: almonds, dragon fruit (from two posts ago), lucuma, vanilla, sea salt.

Thanks for playing :-)

It's snowing now. My son and I were catching snowflakes on our tongue, like in Charlie Brown. Oh the sweet taste of pollution. Not.

Gotta make this post fast, since we sometimes lose cable when it snows (we get our Internet via the cable company). If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know why.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don't play with your food

Or, at least that was what my mom would say, as I made mountains out of mashed potatoes, like in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

She also would get a little upset when my friends and I made pizzas from scratch. We'd have tomato sauce all over the walls, reminiscent of "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" (Can you believe this link actually takes you to an official website? And, did you know George Clooney was also in one of those ridiculous movies?).

But sometimes, my mom would make an exception, such as when we would make Jello jigglers, 'cause "everyone needs a little wiggle room." You can even make a gelatin-free version like these jellies posted on A Raw Yogi Journal II. Someone named Jake even commented that the same thing could be done raw using Irish moss, instead of agar agar (hey, I've got some of both).

Other fond memories of my childhood in the kitchen, include making no-bake cookies, like this nearly raw version (love the stuff), homemade popsicles (so easy to do when you're raw; check out this fudgesicle) and stain glass cookies (a recipe we got out of a Sesame Street book).

The stain glass cookies were made out of a sugar cookie frame and broken lollipop tops that melted in the oven to form colored "glass." I'll probably make a raw version soon, but what I made yesterday is quite similar.

Thanks again to Raw B (who's juice feasting at the moment, so I've agreed to make her raw wishes come true during this time she can only dream about them), I put together some color-blocked cookies (inspired by this link she sent me), like something out of the early '90s. I made different color doughs out of various nuts/seeds and dried fruit. Talk about some expensive play dough.

My son and I had a blast making cookies and other fun shapes. The best part is that you can eat these creations, and they don't taste salty like the homemade play dough of my past (sorry mom). These are fruity delicious.

Here are some of the pics from our project yesterday. Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on how I made the doughs. Can you guess what's in each color?

By the way, I did get to see "Juno" last night. Loved it, but my hubby thought they were trying too hard with the dialogue (he's always a critic). I also really enjoyed the soundtrack; I've gotta get my hands (or in this case, ears) on that one.

And, the snow I mentioned turned out to be only a dusting. It's gone already, but there is more in the forecast for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You don't need a list to live life to the fullest

After posting about the Golden Globes, I found it only fitting to start out with a movie-related post. I already had motion pictures on my mind, so with the help of my favorite radio morning show, my topic today was a no-brainer.

I had planned on talking about how my mom, sister and I tried to take my son and nephews to the movies recently to see "Enchanted." Just a tip: don't try doing this during the holiday season.

First, we were running late, as usual. Then, my poor mom backed into my sister's car (luckily bumpers actually do serve a purpose; no damage was done).

When we arrived at the mall (the only nearby theater still showing our feature of choice within our desired time frame), it was packed, of course. My mom dropped us off to search for a parking space, while we went in to purchase tickets.

Once reaching the front of the line, we were disappointed to find out that there were a lot of other families who had the same idea. Our movie selection was sold out, so back in line we'll go (Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Hi Ho; in the Disney spirit).

Unfortunately, there were no more tickets available for our backup flick, "Alvin and the Chipmunks," either (we did eventually see that one). In the end, we went home without a theater experience, but with a ridiculous story to tell. The kids were surprisingly in a good mood; it didn't phase them at all.

But, we still need to get back to the theater for them, as promised. Hopefully, it will be soon.

Tonight, my hubby has hinted to me that we'll finally be viewing "Juno," a movie recommended by Kristen, as well as my sister and brother-in-law (they just saw it, too). I can't wait.

As I've mentioned before, Kristen has become quite the master of sneaking raw treats into the theater with her (I have no idea how she pulls off the green smoothies). I usually opt for some trail mix, cookies or bars (it makes you feel so naughty to be getting away with something).

My favorite take-along snack at the moment is dried dragon fruit. It seems this blogger also shares my taste for these chewing, yet somehow crunchy treats.

Now, I'd love to find a rawified popcorn. I'll have to experiment with that one. I would usually make some pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds, seasoned with flax oil, nutritional yeast, sea salt and other spices. I've also heard of using the same flavorings on cauliflower, due to its popcorn-like shape.

But, wouldn't it be nice to have a substitute that's actually made out of corn? Don't they make some kind of freeze-dried corn snack? Would that be raw? I sense a challenge on my hands. Maybe something for my list.

What list you ask? The bucket list, like in the movie of the same name. Now, I wouldn't put it at the top of your must-see list, but it does spark some conversation.

On the radio this morning, members of a local morning show talked about the movie and made their own bucket lists, a list of 5 things they want to do before "kicking the bucket," so to speak. These were the things they would do if they found out they only had 1 year to live.

Although it may sound disturbing, it can be very motivating. What would you do?

I had an errand to run down at the beach, and was inspired by the beautiful surroundings and the bake shop (of all places) on the corner. Before it ever opened, I contemplated the thought of putting a my own bakery there, to showcase my bagels (I was making a lot of them at the time).

It's been a while since I've boiled and baked one of these dense breads, but I hear Alissa Cohen has the raw version down pat. I'm not so big on the raw grains, so now I focus more on nut- and seed-based "baked" goods.

So, one item on my bucket list, would be to open a raw bakery as suggested by Kristen. I'd have one year to really show the community what raw sweets and treats are all about.

However, I don't know how I would keep it up and running without me there all the time. I'd also like to travel, and in my travels, sample the fare from as many raw restaurants as possible (I've never actually been to one yet). Pure Food & Wine mallomars, here I come.

I would definitely finish that book I keep putting on the back burner, and maybe even sell a few t-shirts. I'd let my creativity run wild!

Now that's three; how about No. 4? I'd actually try to rid myself of many of my possessions and see what it would be like to live a simpler life. I once saw a blog post about trying to reduce them down to only 100 items or less. Sounds like a challenge.

Lastly, I would try to spend as much time as possible with those that I love. I would get them involved in numbers 1-4, as well as doing the things they enjoy. I'd also contact people I've lost touch with and let them know how much they've meant to me.

But, I don't have to wait until my last year of life to do a lot of those things. I'll get to work on some of them now (I've gotta call or send a note to my best friend/college roommate; it's been a while). Live life to the fullest. It truly is worth living :-)

Check out my Rudolph nose. It really is cold outside today. Jenny, I think we're going to get snow here tonight ... Actually, I just looked outside and it has already started. My son is so excited.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the winner is ...

... me, for finding lots to fill my plate (and tummy, for that matter), at my family's traditional award show appetizer buffet.

The Golden Globes may have been canceled, but it didn't stop us from having our preplanned spread of h'orderves (I spoke of this is a previous post).

My mom was kind enough to provide a large salad with choice of toppings, a veggie tray and fruits, while I added to the raw offerings with a Mexican layered dip (Cafe Gratitude's refried "beans," walnut "meat," guacamole, fresh salsa, mock sour cream, shredded carrot and sliced olives), served with thinly sliced yellow squash, "fried" (make that dehydrated) zucchini with marinara, and more chocolate dipped strawberries garnished with sliced star fruit to make it festive.

My mom and one of my sisters were brave enough to try the dip and surprised to find that they actually liked it (my sister was quite fond of the mock sour cream). But, my other sister, whose specialty is making (and eating) the cooked version, was not allowed to even sample my dish.

Unfortunately, she has an allergy to all raw fruits and veggies. I'm not making this up; she really does. It started as just a tingle or an itchy tongue when she ate them. But now, it causes her throat to swell and nearly close up.

At first, we thought it was a reaction to pesticides, so my mom switched to all organics. However, she still had the same reaction to the chemical-free produce. She has to at least steam all her veggies before she consumes them. Poor thing, especially since she really does like them in their natural state.

It does remind me how lucky I am to be able to live this lifestyle. I eat a diet rich in raw produce all the time. I eat whatever I want, when I want it, and I feel great. I really am a winner (there I go sounding cashew "cheesy" again).

But back to the awards. We, along with the nominees, opted not to cross the picket line, and dressed comfortably this year (we usually dig out the formal wear; we have a closet full of old homecoming, prom, bridesmaid and party dresses for this purpose). We watched the interviews on my parent's television, making our predictions and anticipating the results.

And the Golden Globes went to ...

Working Title Films Limited; Focus Features

Away From Her

There Will Be Blood

Parkes/MacDonald and Zanuck Company; DreamWorks/Paramount Distribution /Warner Bros. Pictures

La Vie En Rose

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Pixar Animation Studios

A Kennedy/Marshall Company and Jon Kilik Production; Miramax

I’m Not There

No Country for Old Men

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

No Country for Old Men


Music & Lyrics by: Eddie Vedder

Lionsgate; AMC


Mad Men


BBC and HBO Entertainment; HBO

30 Rock


A Granada Production in association with Channel 4 and HBO Films; HBO

Life Support




Go Jeremy Piven! I'm an Entourage fan :-)