Friday, February 29, 2008

Burger Wars

(Surprise, this plate of food is actually all raw)

"Jacob Strikes Back" with yet another guest photo op on a Friday post (third time is a charm, and he's quite the charmer). This time he captured the constant battle between "Friend and Foe" in the fast food market. Plankton is always planning his next move when it comes to stealing his childhood friend Krab's secret krabby patty recipe, and it looks like he's at it again.

Little does he know, but this patty is really an impostor, "rawified" by yours truly with the aid of my trusty "I Am Grateful" uncookbook (I've been meaning to try some more of the recipes from it; I finally got a chance to sample an "I Am Cheerful" sun burger) and Alissa Cohen's idea to turn jicama into fries.

I made this happy raw meal, since my son and I were going on a play date to none other than the local McDonald's (hey, a kid's gotta be a kid, right?).

He had a great time playing with his friends, and when we got home, he helped set up this photo shoot. This time it was a collaborative effort, although he had the final say and his finger on the trigger (the button on the camera, that is).

The rest of the evening was dedicated to family time and Thursday Night Raw. As usual, you'll have to wait until the weekend to get the details.

And, if your getting the hang of my new schedule, you're probably wondering what's in my smoothie today. Well then, I'll tell you. It's definitely packed with greens, but I also added some walnuts and pumpkin seeds, like in this "burger" and another "meaty" food I made for last night's dinner.

As for the fruit, I put in banana, orange, peaches, pineapple, grapes and berries, similar to the fruit served during our Thursday meal. And, just like last week, I used Java Teeccino for the liquid, since it went so well with the menu.

Oh yeah, while I was reminiscing about last night, I also added a touch of sweetness with a little maple syrup. Now, that's a breakfast smoothie :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wonderfully wild and naturally zingy

I am so anxious for spring to arrive. No, make that summer. Well, actually I'm just looking forward to warm weather.

Can you believe I've already got a new bathing suit this year? Just a few weeks ago, I tried one on, but neglected to purchase it due to the fact that it was still freezing outside. I thought, who would be crazy enough to buy it this far in advance? I think it was even snowing at the time.

Well, call me crazy, because I went back for it. But, when I got there, the rack was bare, or at least the one that held the style I had wanted. There wasn't even one in the wrong size or perhaps a spare top or bottom (they never seem to all match up in the end).

I was beach bummed, so I spilled my pity story to Matthew's mom. Her response was that I should have picked it up while I had the chance. I took it as a sign that it wasn't really meant to be mine.

Lucky for me, I have an awesome mother-in-law, who found the bikini I spoke of at another location. She surprised me with a top and bottom in the exact sizes I needed (Thank you; I know she reads my blog). It fit beautifully. Now, I really can't wait for summer.

Once the weather warms up, I can start going to the boardwalk near my house and eventually the beach. My son, father-in-law and I like to spend our weekends hanging out on the sand and putting our toes in the water. I usually bring a book and a snack, like this bar I got from NaturalZing.

I haven't had a chance to try it yet (I'm really bad about holding on to special treats for just the right moment). Therefore, I'll probably take it to work with me on Friday, since I'll be going to one of their events on Saturday with my raw buddy, Rawbin (who sent me this cool link tonight).

If you're going to be in the area this weekend, you might still have a chance to reserve a spot. My advice is to drop them a line asap, because the deadline to place discounted orders to be picked up at the event is tomorrow.

Here's all the info you need:

Spirit Bliss Lecture and Raw Food Lunch,
sponsored by NaturalZing

with author, lecturer and raw food gourmet chef Paul Nison
Date: Saturday, March 1
Time: 3-7 p.m.
Location: Spirit Bliss Farm
1851 Florence Road
Mount Airy, Md. 21771
Cost: $20 for lecture and raw food lunch
Schedule: 3 p.m. lunch created by Raw Chef Bliss, 5 p.m. lecture by Paul Nison

For more information, call 301-703-4116 ext. 112 or e-mail

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pull out the red carpet

The writer's strike is over, so you know what that means; we had an excuse to get all dolled up again for Oscar Night.

As you may recall from my Golden Globes post, award show nights are worth celebrating in my household. It's like a family tradition, and last Sunday was no exception.

The ladies in the house (the men would prefer to wear their usual casual attire) pull out the old formal stash from my mom's closet (dresses my sisters and I wore in the past to homecomings, proms, weddings, etc.) and pose for a picture on a stretch of fabric we like to call our red carpet.

Unfortunately, my sisters were camera shy for fear of ending up on my blog (what would make them think that?). But, my husband came through in this pic (like I said before, the males have absolutely no interest in putting on a tux or a suit for the occasion).

Now, I can see why they might be hesitant to put their photo up on this site for the world to see. In retrospect, I could've taken a tip from the celebrities and wore some Spanx underneath my gown, or at least opted to have the photo shot before I ate my fill of dinner (it's very reminiscent of the photo from the year I was pregnant with my son, except I had bleached blond hair and a fake-and-bake tan. No, I did not know I was expecting at the time).

Speaking of dinner, we always have an h'orderve theme for our award night meal. It's nothing fancy, just something to suit everyone's tastes. For instance, the little ones like chicken nuggets and tater tots, while the older folks prefer mozzarella sticks and quesadillas.

Thank goodness, my mom always picks up fruit and veggie trays, and I also bring my own contributions to the spread. This time, I made raw crab cakes (or crabby patties, as my son would say) with cashew-based tarter sauce and marinated/dehydrated asparagus spears. I also whipped up some more chocolate fondue for dipping the fruit (my new favorite treat).

After our meal (although we continue to snack throughout the evening), we fill out our official Oscar ballots to determine who gets to decide what we will have for dinner next Sunday (we have a family meal together every weekend. I wish more people had time to do this). I didn't do so well this year, so there goes my hopes of an all-raw meal for everyone.

But don't worry about me; I'll just bring along my usual "rawified" version of whatever the winner choses.

The rest of the evening resulted in the grownups watching the awards while the kids acted out scenes from their favorite flicks (in this case, movies from the "Star Wars" prequels). My son even dressed up like a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (this is his favorite scene) for the occasion.

In my opinion, he looked like a little "Karate Kid," especially when my nephew would set up the Jenga blocks for him to knock down. He was so quick that I was unable to get a shot of it.

However, I did snap this pic of his kiss goodnight. It really was a good night :-)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A day of play

The sun is out, the snow is gone, and I'm finally blogging about our day of fun. Oh well, better late than never. Sometimes I have so much to say at once, that I try to spread it out to avoid overly lengthy posts (admit it; you just skim it if it looks like a doozy).

So, back to the snow. We didn't get much, but it was enough to get my son excited about going outside in it. He even set up his photo shoot on our snow-lined steps.

He had to get the pic just right, meticulously setting up each element, shifting them around until they were in their proper place. He even added some extra snow in strategic locations. He was so proud of himself.

Once he felt he had taken the perfect shot, Jacob and I finally got to play in the white stuff, which was melting fast. We made snow angels, shaped snow balls (and threw a few, too) and took silly pictures of the two of us and our pink noses and cheeks (it was really cold out there).

Then, we needed to warm up inside. Jacob insisted on having hot chocolate (according to him, it can't be a snow day without it), so that's what I made for him.

I, on the other hand, opted for some chocolate yerba mate tea, served in the very same mini teacups and saucers my grandmother used to give me hot cocoa in when I was little. Lucky for me, she let me have them when she moved.

We kept lunch simple, because we still had a lot on our agenda. I had zucchini topped with dehydrated herb "cheese" slices, tomato, red onion, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and dried basil. Jacob had cheese and apples.

Then, it was back to playing again. We did the usual lightsaber duels and acting out scenes with Legos (okay, maybe not this one, but I thought it was cute), and then, we calmed things down a bit with some reading from his Nickelodeon magazine. This issue came with 3-D glasses, so we took turns looking through them at the comics inside. To my surprise, the pictures really did seem to pop right off the page.

Next, we snuggled up on the couch to watch "The Mr. Men Show" we taped earlier in the day. This episode was all about night and the scary things associated with it. Jacob and I got a kick out of how Little Miss Scary would pop up and startle one of the men. He thought it was so funny, that he paused it to take this picture for you.

Thanks for letting us share our day of play. Hopefully, you're having fun, too.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A spread fit for three

So, now you get to see what happened to that lovely pineapple in my son's photo. It has taken almost center stage in this pic of our latest Thursday Night Raw spread, or in this case, fondue night.

As simple as it was, it may have been one of the more successful raw family nights in our house. Matthew said he would do that one again, and it even brought a smile to my son's face (if he would stay still long enough for me to capture it with my camera. But, I can't complain, because all that movement was just him chewing his food).

How could I have given birth to such a picky eater? Oh, yeah; he gets that from his dad. It's so hard to come up with something they will eat (whether it be cooked or raw), so I always make sure to offer a lot of variety.

Maybe that's why I ended up with a party-sized spread for just the three of us. We had both a classic "cheesy" fondue with veggies and a chocolate one, served with fruit.

To please everyone, the veggies included cauliflower, broccoli, celery root (I had to throw something new in there for them to try), red bell pepper slices, sugar snap peas, carrots, mini zucchinis (I couldn't resist; they were so cute), yellow squash, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, celery and asparagus (hey, I forgot to put that out. Oh well, I think we had enough options). My hubby tried most of it, while Jacob stuck to the carrots and celery. I, on the other hand, had a little of everything, of course.

Now, the best part was the fruit dipped in chocolate (the boys love chocolate ... I guess I can include myself in that statement, too). Again, to make sure everyone had their fill of what they liked, I set out bowls of apple cubes, thick banana slices, mango chunks, whole strawberries, cut up pineapple (there's our star, again), nectarine slices and orange segments.

To my surprise, my husband had never tried a nectarine. According to him, he only tasted it because he mistook it for a peach (no wonder my son is so bad about trying new things). When I asked him if he liked it, he responded, "I guess so; it tasted like a peach."

He definitely ate his fair share of the fruit and chocolate, leaving the table with a full belly. Who says you can't satisfy your man with a diet rich in fruit and veggies? I just did.

I was feeling a little full myself when I left the table. It's so easy to overdo it with the dessert fondue. It was worth the clean up in the end (we had a lot leftover, so I had it for lunch and dinner yesterday. But, I'm not complaining).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jacob takes another pic

Last week was Jacob's debut as a guest photographer for my Friday posts. Here is his contribution this week. I hope you like it.

As you can see, he's still on a Spongebob kick, which I think was reinforced by all the pineapple I've been buying lately (He does live in a pineapple under the sea).

The two of us spent our afternoon, celebrating our long awaited snow day (I'll give you the details this weekend). As part of our wintery fun, we decided to set up his photo shoot outside. He picked out everything in the photo and carefully positioned each item on our front steps.

Check it out. It's Spongebob and Patrick in the crabby patty getaway car, being chased by some other character on a motorcycle, in front of a pineapple house in a snow covered dessert, complete with a rock formation and the cactus he made at school. Oh no, it looks as though the cactus is in danger of being burnt up by the campfire. I guess I need to teach him a few things about fire safety.

But, back to the pineapple. It became part of last night's dinner (as usual, I'll tell you more about it tomorrow), as well as being added to my breakfast this a.m. As you know, I've taken a break from the donuts for a while in exchange for more green smoothies.

Today's smoothie is a tribute to all those donut Fridays of the past. I made it out of ingredients from Ani Phyo's donut hole recipes, including almonds, pecans, coconut, bananas, pineapple (I told you it would be in there) and dates, as well as the traditional greens, etc. And, to make it more like a "coffee" and donuts kind of morning, I substituted Java Teeccino in place of plain water. Definitely an interesting combination. Cheers!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I need a kiss

Not the "Kiss" in the Prince song (I probably can't link to this one without paying royalties after that baby dancing on You Tube incident. Instead, I'll just give you this prince and how he somehow finally manages to "Kiss the Girl") or this group by the same name.

I mean K.I.S.S., as in "Keep It Simple Shannon," a little reminder I give myself when I need to slow down a bit, and you guessed it, simplify my life, whether it be my to-do list or in my menu.

I frequently get asked as to how I find time to create/make all these recipes, blog about them and still manage to get everything else done in my life. In fact, the latest inquiry was from my superhero friend Darice Michelle of Go Wonder Woman (I've mentioned her before in a post), who commented, "how do you ever find the time to be so creative and come up with such attractive looking recipes?"

My response: sometimes I wonder how I do it all myself. Even I need a break once in a while, like when I got caught "playing hooky" the other day.

So, in honor of my 100th blog post (I think today hits triple digits), I'm going to keep things simple, like the salad I had last night for dinner.

It was snowing outside; I got home late, so I just tossed some mixed greens in a bowl with some shredded carrot, broccoli slaw, broken up pieces of mushroom (I was too lazy to take a knife to them), orange segments, a sprinkling of sliced raw almonds and a generous drizzle of a dressing inspired by the marinade I used on my kabobs (some more orange segments, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, agave nectar, ginger, garlic, EVOO and Umeboshi plum vinegar blended in the Magic Bullet; I didn't even take the time to measure anything).

Tonight's Thursday Night Raw will probably be just as light and easy. I really needed to cut back after all the overindulging on sweets. Like I said yesterday, I finished that whole dessert myself (except for the spoonful I gave to Rawbin. I shared the recipe with her at the time, but you can all get your hands on it now that it's available on We Like It Raw today).

Also, since there is snow on the ground, I promised my son we would have another snow day like the one I posted months ago (we haven't had much of the white stuff this year).

According to him, there are certain things one must do to officially call it that. Ours involve playing outside, drinking hot (or in my case, gently warmed) chocolate, watching cartoons, reading books and building a fort.

Gotta go join in the fun. TTFN!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm such a tease

Here's that teaser pic I mentioned yesterday, and no, that's not me in the photo. Do you recognize this dessert? It's probably already gone now (It's very addictive. I think I ate it all myself. I'm such a bad girl).

Check out this week's We Like It Raw post later today or tomorrow (I'm never quite sure as to when Dhru will have it up on the site. While you're there, check out his interview with the Raw Divas and the one with Chris Brisson) to find out how to make it ;-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Playing hooky

I should have posted this yesterday, four years to the day after someone named "Carl" from Richmond, Va. inquired about the origins of this frequently used term for skipping out on something (I wasn't dishonest or stealing anything, but I did take some time to escape for a bit. I also like the "hide and seek" explanation).

It seems that I am a day late and a dollar short, due to the fact that I was playing hooky from blogging (well, from this blog, but I'll get to that in a minute) and, as a result, I am left with slightly out-of-date text for today's post.

To start, I wanted to apologize to those who may have thought I was ignoring their comments (usually I reply in a timely fashion). I will address these now, beginning with the skewers I made to eat at this past Sunday dinner (my sister's b-day; thanks for the birthday wishes).

Now, they weren't just pineapple skewers (although those would be sweet); they were a raw version of the chicken-wrapped-in-bacon skewers my mom has made for years (no, mine did not contain chicken). In addition to the fruit chunks, I put the usual marinated mushrooms and green onions on mine, as well as more mushrooms wrapped in eggplant "facon." I also added zucchini, yellow squash and grape tomatoes.

The secret is the marinade of orange marmalade (I used oranges and agave), soy sauce (I substituted Bragg's), honey (already put agave in it), garlic and ginger. It's good stuff.

I served my skewers on a bed of cauliflower rice, as you can see in the picture above, with an extra drizzle of marinade.

For dessert, I "rawified" one of my all-time favorite recipes (I'm eating it right now; it's sooooo good), but you'll have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday when it will run on We Like It Raw to find out more about it (so that's what I've been up to). If you're good (and I have time), I'll give you a teaser Wednesday morning.

Speaking of dessert, I had a request for the recipe to one I had pictured in a past post. It's not the most exciting recipe, but here it is anyway:

Strawberry Cherry Surprise
What's the surprise? It wasn't what I was hoping to make in the first place, but I was happy to end up with this yummy recipe.

2 1/2 cups strawberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
4 soft pitted dates, soaked
2 Tbsp. flaxseed, finely ground
1 Tbsp. coconut butter
1 Tbsp. lecithin
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into ramekins and chill until firm (becomes a mousse-like consistency. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"

Spongebob Squarepants, of course. My son has been collecting this crabby-patty-making character's Lego playsets lately, so he can reenact the videos he's been watching on You Tube. Looks like I have a future filmmaker on my hands.

My sister, Lori, and her husband, Darren, went to school for this art. In addition to their regular jobs, they put their skills to work on the weekends as videographers. Lori even posted a couple videos online. This one of her eldest son playing ping pong with my grandfather still cracks me up. He's grown up a bit since then; here he is again in their Heinz Ketchup commercial entry last summer.

The parents in the commercial are actually mine, and the sister in it is his aunt/my other sibling, April, whose birthday is today. She's the one I've mentioned before when I wrote about her allergy to raw fruits and veggies.

Kathy, you were right when you suggested she be tested, since it might not be to all raw fruits and veggies. She has yet to see an allergist about it, but due to her own daring impulsiveness, she discovered recently that she can eat raw pineapple (Look out Spongebob; April's moving in on your territory).

So, in honor of her 22nd b-day, I added pineapple to my berry green smoothie this a.m. (the berries make it look a little more sludgy and a tad bit seaworthy. I wonder if she can eat berries, too). Dee (the "pyt" always makes me think of this song), I know you spied Patrick the other day, but can you spot my smoothie? Ha ha. Just kidding. I didn't hide it very well.

Anyway, I've got to go make a grocery run to get more pineapple for tonight's dinner. April wants chicken wrapped in bacon on skewers (they also have pineapple on them) for her birthday meal, so I'll be having raw vegan skewers in their place. Hopefully, you'll be enjoying a meal together with your family tonight, too.

Happy birthday, April!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Com"promise" gets everyone to the table

This year, Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday (our usual "Thursday Night Raw"), so to make both parties happy, my hubby and I compromised (isn't that what marriage is all about; there's a "promise" in that word) on our dinner for the evening.

For as far back as I can remember (during our time together, that is), I've made Matthew his traditional request for a meal made with love by yours truly.

Now, you would think that it would be something involving many hours of slaving away in the kitchen to make it happen (picture the lady pulling her hair out with splatters on her clothes and a flour-powdered nose), but lucky for me, he prefers the simple things (he's a club sandwich kind of guy).

Every year, he asks for the same thing: a panini sandwich. This is usually preceded by a salad and concluded with a chocolaty dessert. Since it is his Valentine's gift from me (I also got him a bag full of other presents and a card that whistles when you open it; I never really learned how to do that myself), I wasn't about to deprive him of the real deal (he's been such a good sport about trying everything else). So, yes, he did get his grilled sandwich.

However, he agreed to eat a totally raw version of his favorite Caesar salad as a starter course, which I enjoyed as well. I even made some raw croutons to make it more authentic.

Now, I didn't taste any of his panini sandwich (like he wanted to share it anyway. Just kidding; he would've if I wanted some, but I'm sure he was glad that I didn't). Instead, I made my own hand-held main course out of "grilled" (marinated/dehydrated) veggies, cashew "cheese" slices and a hallowed-out portobello mushroom bun, which I served alongside some asparagus spears (it's an aphrodisiac; no wonder it was on sale this week at the grocery store).

My son even joined in on the meal with his version, a panini-pressed grilled cheese cut in the shape of a heart (he's not raw, although he will eat some raw fruits and veggies. We compromise ... there's that word again). Sometimes it takes a little creativity to get him to eat his dinner (he's a little picky).

We concluded our meal with a chocolate berry parfait-type dessert, something we've had on our Valentine's menu multiple times. In the past, it was made from chunks of chocolate cake or brownies, chocolate pudding and cherry pie filling. This year, I decided to keep it quite similar, although raw (and with fresh strawberries, instead of cherries). Delish!

Hope your Valentine's Day was as tasty as ours :-)

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Knock, knock ..."

(Warning: This pic is not raw)

"Who's there?"


"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"


"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"


"Orange who?"

"Orange you glad I didn't say banana again?"

I know; this is like the most annoying joke in the world, but I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard the first time my mom and dad told it to me. I think I must have shared it about a zillion times myself after that.

Now, I even catch my son trying to tell it, although he doesn't quite get it right. At least he finds it funny anyway, which in turn, makes me laugh, too.

I have so much fun hanging out with him. He amazes me everyday with how much he can do, including learning how to use the camera all by himself. He even stages his own food photos (I wonder where he learned that one).

Speaking of my son's photography skills, I promised him I would post his pic of the pretzel stick treats he made for my husband and I at school yesterday. It was a visual Valentine's gift for me and an edible one for my hubby. Looks like I have a future blogger on my hands.

Maybe, since I decided to take a break from my usual end-of-the-week (TGIF) donuts for a while (I've certainly had my fill), I'll start reserving Friday posts as a place to showcase his photos and to tell you what's in my smoothie that morning. Today's has spinach, bananas, oranges (you're probably not surprised), carrots (I don't know where that craving came from), coconut butter, lucuma, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Yummy!

Orange you glad it's Friday?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For the love of blogging

The past few days have really reminded me why I love blogging.

I hate to admit it, but I was feeling a little overwhelmed over the weekend (I wasn't alone; my friend and fellow blogger, Carrie, was having similar thoughts).

Maybe it was the crazy weather (Friday was in the 70's. A few days later, the temp dropped into the teens. Today started out with ice and snow flurries, but has since warmed up to a sunny 50 degree day) or perhaps another mess up in the kitchen (at least it resulted in this lovely strawberry cherry dessert, pictured above, alongside the Valentine's message to my hubby I had printed in the local paper years ago) that took its toll on my confidence. Whatever it was, I'm glad to have gotten through it.

I feel recharged, getting my vitamin D naturally (that's sunshine baby!), and ready to conquer another culinary task in my kitchen. This one will be simple, as it is my holiday, too. I promised Matthew his usual cooked (for real; he only does the raw thing one night a week for me. At least that is a step in the right direction) panini sandwich (it's a Valentine's tradition for him; I won't be eating any), but he assured me that the starter and dessert could be raw.

Now, this blog won't be too long, because I've got to get to work preparing for this evening. However, I just wanted to thank everyone for appreciating my blogging.

Of course, I am referring to all your kind comments, but I'm also grateful to those who have mentioned me on their sites, too (you all know who you are; I'd make a list, but I don't want to miss anyone).

Most recently, G and K of Meow Mix in the City (so sorry to say it, but my sister had a hamster by that name when we were little) posted a heart-shaped version of my Trawfoils on their new site (please take a moment to welcome them to the Blogosphere). Look, the cookies even come in chocolate.

Carmella and Heathy (I just adore passing on the spotlight to others, although these two already get their well-deserved share of the limelight) have even posted their personalized touches on some Rawdorable treats. If you have tried and photographed some, give me a shout out as to where I can find them pictured. I love seeing how you make these recipes your own.

Lucky me, I got some more ingredients from NaturalZing in the mail this week. They totally brought a smile to my face, by drawing big hearts, inspiring words and "Shannon Rocks!" across the top and sides of the box. And, I was also happy to find a Raw Cacao & Wild Blue-Green Algae Mayan Spice Wild Bar (say that 10 times fast) inside with my order. Jeff (one of owners) was telling me about them at the Green Festival last fall. I can't wait to try it.

But, not today. I've already eaten a ton of chocolate goodies. I started the day out with a Valentine's green smoothie, followed by a lunch of fresh fruit and cookies (I raided the freezer for the last couple mallomars and some Rawgalongs), and I'll probably close out the evening with yet another cocoa-containing delight (I guess I don't plan on sleeping tonight).

I'll leave you with this song, which always makes me think of my hubby when I hear it (long story, but it was playing on my way home from the grocery store this morning), and my morning smoothie recipe.

Valentine's Green Smoothie
As much greens as you can handle (I add a lot)
2 frozen bananas
a couple handfuls of frozen cherries
a couple handfuls of frozen raspberries
some frozen strawberries
a generous scoop of One Lucky Duck Chocolate Truffle Butter (a gift from my man)
a dash of cayenne (now that's hot)
a little spice is nice (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc.)
enough water to get it all going
whatever else you supplement in your a.m. beverage (I added bee pollen, a probiotic, wheat grass and spirulina).

Blend all ingredients until smooth and Enjoy!

By the way, I also wanted to show you this cool shirt Jenny made in my honor. It's a Rawdorable Mary Ann (if you've read this post, you'd understand). She's so talented :-)

Oops, I guess this post did get a little lengthy. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sweet memories

Ever wonder what I did with the leftovers from my "chocotastrophy?" Well, what didn't end up on the cookies (myself or the kitchen, too), got molded into shapes, which have been hanging out in my freezer (along with some other raw extras ... Girl Scout Cookies, play dough, cupcakes, etc.).

This is a good example of how everything happens for a reason. You see, now I had some pre-made chocolates ready to go for my Valentine's Day treats. I left the heart-shaped pops as they were, but showcased the smaller molded chocolates in the center of these festive mauve-colored cookies (inspired by the not-so-subtle bright pink conventional cookies on the kitchen table at my work). I used beet juice (I guess you're not surprised after this post) to create this blushing hue.

Speaking of blushing, just check out that blushing bride with her newlywed hubby in the picture above. Can you believe that was more than 6 years ago? We are coming up on lucky No. 7 in July.

But, it seems like it was just yesterday ("More Today Than Yesterday" is my parent's song; they are so cute, calling each other wherever they are to tell the other one it is playing. Matthew and I opted to dance to this tune instead.) that I was walking down the isle in my parent's backyard to the sound of my aunt and uncle's dulcimers (my uncle makes them by hand for sale).

Sorry about all this sappiness. It must be Valentine's week for me. Don't worry; you only have to get through a few more days of it. And for those of you who made it through this sugar-coated post, I'll give you an idea as to what I put in my sweet and sour veggies the other day.

After some thought, I came up with these ingredients, although the measurements are probably a bit off. For the sauce I combined about 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 1-2 Tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos, 2 Tbsp. Umeboshi plum vinegar, 2 Tbsp. agave nectar, 1 Tbsp. mesquite, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, some beet juice for color (there's that vibrant veggie again), turmeric (also for color), sea salt and 1 Tbsp. lecithin (to help thicken it). I poured the sauce on top of a mix of cauliflower, broccoli, pineapple chunks, shredded carrot and chopped red bell pepper (which really added to the color once it marinated a while), and "cooked" everything in the dehydrator for a few hours. Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Do I feel lucky?"

"Well, do ya punk?" Sorry, I didn't mean to direct that last statement at you. I just asked the first question, and then Clint Eastwood took over with one of his famous quotes.

I guess I do feel lucky, since my wonderful husband gave me the yummiest Valentine's gift. I know; Valentine's Day isn't until Thursday. But, once he got it in his hot little hands, he couldn't wait to give it to me.

It arrived the other day at his parent's house, which isn't out of the ordinary. He's always having packages sent to their address. But, this time, the way he handled his package (okay, that did not sound right) sort of tipped me off.

He kept holding it, so the top of the box was never facing me. And, as if that wasn't awkward enough, he put it in the trunk of the car, where I wouldn't be able to look at it.

Now, he couldn't pull a fast one on me. I know a duck when I see one. Based on the size and shape of the box (and his efforts to conceal what may have been a bright yellow sticker on top), I was fairly certain, not only was it for me, but it also was from One Lucky Duck.

So, I did what any girl would do; I asked him if the box was a gift for me, and if it was from "The Duck."

"You're just as bad as Jacob," was his response. My son is always asking if the mail is for him.

"No," I replied. "I just thought you were trying too hard to make sure I didn't see it."

Feeling a tad bit like he had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he made a few excuses and then quickly changed the subject.

Now, you would think since I didn't revisit the topic, he would have held out until Valentine's Day to me it to me. However, he revealed what was inside the package only a few hours later (he always gives me presents early).

"Rather than a box of chocolates, I got this for you," he said.

My box was full of raw chocolate treats from, you guessed it, I got a bag of chocolate macaroons (yeah, I know how to make them, but they are even better when someone else does it for you), cacao nibs (now I can make some stuff out of these), goji berries (not chocolate, but I love them anyway), chocolate truffle butter (I put it in my smoothie this morning; it was divine) and chocolate truffles (now, I'm in heaven).

As usual, a couple snack samples were tossed in, too, as well as a pen, which was new to me. My husband was amused by how excited I was by the extras. It doesn't take much to make me happy :-)

Thank you, honey. I love you!

By the way, when I made my smoothie, "777" lit up on my Blendtec. No wonder I'm feeling so lucky.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Spelling it out for you

Go figure (hey, that's funny; I had "go"gi berries and "fig"s in my smoothie this morning); I posted about our Thursday Night Raw meal yesterday, and I'm already having requests for the recipes.

Ugh, I forgot the pen and paper again, so it will take me a little while to rethink the whole thing. But, since I already sent the recipe for the Fortune Rawkies to my friend, Holly, I guess I can just cut and paste it over here for you guys, too.

Cutting and pasting; makes me think of my son. I'm always finding little scraps of coloring book clippings and construction paper around the house. He is a wiz with the scissors (safety scissors, of course). He enjoys cutting out shapes with them so much, that I got him this book dedicated to this art.

Speaking of my son, he is just learning to sound out words. Just look at what he spelled on our refrigerator. Y-U-M! He must take after his mom :-)

Next to his letters is another project of his he made at school. It's a snowman. Oh how he wants it to snow. I think it is in the forecast today. We'll have to wait and see. Otherwise, I'll have to send him to visit Jenny, who's definitely had her share of the white fluffy stuff.

But, back to the cookies. Without further ado, here's the recipe:

Fortune Rawkies
1/2 cup almonds, finely ground
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, finely ground
2 Tbsp. golden flaxseed, finely ground
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/4 cup filtered water
dash of sea salt

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a high-speed blender.

On a teflex sheet or piece of parchment, drop very small spoonfuls of the batter (it will be quite sticky) and shape into thin circles, about the size of the bottom of a standard drinking glass.

I dehydrated mine on the lowest setting overnight (due to time; you could use a higher setting, so it will only take a few hours). Pay attention to these bad boys, because you don't want them to get too dry (or they'll crack when you form them).

Then, carefully peel them away from the teflex/parchment, lay a slip of paper with a fortune on it (although not necessary) across the center of the dry side, and fold it as you would the traditional cookie (fold it in half to enclose the fortune and bend the ends to make something similar to a "c"-shape). Dehydrate until somewhat crisp and they hold their shape.

While I'm at it, I'll also give you the "peanut" sauce I used for dipping the raw veggies and tossing with the zucchini "noodles."

Peanut-free Sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1-2 garlic cloves
freshly grated ginger, to taste
1-2 chopped scallions
squeeze of lime juice
chili flakes
cayenne pepper
freshly ground pepper
sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
1/8 cup tahini

In a blender, blend all ingredients except for the almond butter and tahini. Pour into a bowl and gradually mix in the almond butter and tahini by hand. Taste as you go, and adjust the amounts for both flavor and consistency (keep in mind that these are just estimates as to the measurements I used in my sauce. You can also add a little water to thin it, if necessary). Serve as a dip or a sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Celebrating another new year

As I said in my last post, this week's Thursday Night Raw was all about celebrating the Chinese New Year. After receiving countless e-mail reminders about fixing food for this particular holiday (from Vegetarian Times, Rachael Ray, etc.), I decided I needed to create a menu to recognize the day.

This may seem like an easy task for some, but not when it comes to feeding my hubby. Matthew has very particular tastes, and when I asked him for a little input, all he could come up with was fortune cookies. Okay, so I needed to figure out how I was going to pull off that one (looks like I did).

But, what about the rest of the meal? When we order Chinese food, he only eats the fried rice and the butterfly shrimp with bacon. Now, he did say he had absolutely no interest in trying either sprouted rice or a mock version made from a combo of cauliflower, parsnips and/or butternut squash. As for the other dish, I felt a little demented even thinking about "rawifying" it.

So, there I was, back at square one with nothing but fortune cookies planned for our meal. I went straight to work on them that evening (it was the night before; I'm always leaving these things to the last minute).

While spreading out thin circles of dough for the cookies, I asked Matthew again for some guidance as to what to make. His response foreshadowed the outcome of our meal. "Make whatever you want, and I'll try it," he said (he forgot to add that he didn't mean he would like it).

My first instinct was to make a raw green tea n'ice cream (my term for nondairy ice cream) since he has enjoyed my other frozen desserts. It was always my favorite non-raw flavor, and it would go well with the cookies. This would be plan B, if plan A didn't pan out.

As for plan A, I actually went to bed without one. I even made it to the grocery store clueless as to what I'd be making with the items on my list: broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, red bell pepper, pineapple, etc. (foods I thought my husband might eat).

When I got home from the store, he had sent me an e-mail; "what's for dinner?," it said. Since I was already on the computer, I did a little research and found this recipe, which contained ingredients I knew he liked. Although not raw, I tweaked it a bit (I added some Umeboshi plum vinegar, changed the oil, eliminated the rice and swapped the wok for my dehydrator), so it would be.

I thought it was really good, but Matthew would beg to differ. He only ate a couple bites. Although I selected the right ingredients, the combination of them together did not appeal to him.

Moving on to my next dish, I had leftover pineapple (his favorite), which automatically made me think of sweet and sour sauce. I combined the juice with various other ingredients to make to make the sauce and tossed it with cauliflower (another veggie my hubby enjoys; I had it on hand in case he'd change his mind about the "rice"), broccoli, shredded carrot, red bell pepper and more pineapple chunks. Then, I "cooked" it in the dehydrator, along with the previous dish.

Unfortunately, he didn't even touch this one, stating that he doesn't like sweet and sour anything. But, he hasn't tried it in years; things could change, right? At least I liked it (just like I remembered the real deal).

Lastly, I made a raw peanut sauce (although mine did not contain peanuts) that I hoped to put on some raw "noodles" (thinly sliced zucchini). But, to make sure my husband had something to eat, I decided to put it out as a dipping sauce for raw veggies instead.

On second thought, I saved a little to toss with "noodles," mung bean sprouts, sugar snap peas, mushrooms and scallions to create this last minute dish (you have to have a noodle dish to celebrate the new year; I mean, you didn't expect me to eat a whole fish as tradition). I ate it myself, while Matthew just ate the raw veggies.

So, I guess a plan B was in order. I could make it into a smoothie, since we usually drink green tea with our Chinese meal.

Smoothie? Did I just say smoothie? Yes, I did. Suddenly reminded of the green smoothie he drank last week, my husband asked for yet another one, chocolate-flavored, of course.

He finished a whole glass, while I had what was left in the blender (no wonder I was so full). Then, after sampling a couple fortune cookies, he helped himself to some leftover thin mints from the freezer. At least he kept it raw, as promised.

Next week is Valentine's Day, so I'll give him his usual cooked meal. Maybe he'll be open to starting with a salad and ending with a raw dessert.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sorry, no donuts today

I know I usually have donuts every Friday for breakfast, but can't a girl change it up a bit? I mean, I think I had more than my fill of them last week. Ha ha.

So, instead of raw "baked" goods, I had an extra green, green tea smoothie to start my day. I had hope to have one with our Thursday Night Raw meal last night, but alas, my tummy was too full to find room for one.

What did we have for dinner last night? I'll give you the details tomorrow, since, as you know, I take Friday nights off from blogging to spend the evening with the fam (that's short for family).

But, I will leave you with this photo of what I did make for dessert. It was essential for celebrating the Chinese New Year. I'll let Tanja and Oscar tell you more about that.

Happy Friday :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I'm wishing ... for some juice?

Creative juice, that is. How come I don't have it when I need it most?

If you can recall, I received a Creative Blogger award recently, which I happily passed along to fellow deserving bloggers, including one Jenny Bo Benny. Now, guess what that silly rawbit did (you already know if you just read her post)? She passed it right back to me.

Bam. Ouch. It hit me like an unexpected boomerang, although one for which I am truly grateful. Thanks Jenny.

So, what does this mean? Well, I'll be spreading the kudos around blogger town again, but without a proper awards ceremony. Just look at this bland post, complete with the cashew cheesy cabin I built the other day out of carrot carved "Lincoln Logs" (OMG, I'm so slow; I just figured out why they are called that, duh) and a Post-Super Bowl Salad made out of none other than game day leftovers (I'm always finding new ways to eat the remainders of previous meals).

Can I really accept another creativity award with a post like this? Oh well, it will just direct the attention to those who I'm about to recognize. I am spotlighting the following nominees in each of the five categories (check back to this site to collect your awards):

In the category of Inspirational Blogger, I award Kris Carr, known for her "Crazy Sexy Cancer" documentary and blog of the same name. She has folks seeing the once dreaded "c" word in a whole new light. Dhru, the leader of the WLIR squad, will be posting a guest spot on her blog soon.

As for the Courageous Blogger, this honor goes to Oscar, Tanja's partner in crime (well, you know what I mean) at, who has been open about his battle with brain cancer. Although mostly behind the scenes, he is responsible for keeping that vlog afloat with his video and directing skills. Maybe that's why Tanja always looks so good.

This is the first I have seen this award. I'm bestowing the title of Charity Blogger to both Heidi and Justin of Raw Food Right Now, who are always giving us up-to-the-minute info about what's happening in the raw food world and updating their ever growing ultimate list of raw bloggers (you might not be reading this if it wasn't for them), without ever asking for anything in return. They've even started their own awards, giving one of the first to the members of the WLIR squad (thanks you two; I'd like to honor you with one, too).

I'd like to highlight this next blogger with the Thoughtful Blogger award. April of Raw Food Passion, who is, as her blog title states, very passionate about raw food and extremely appreciative of the comments left by her visitors. She's also very sweet.

And, yet again, I'm presenting another Creative Blogger Award, which goes to Terilynn of The Daily Raw Cafe, who although juice feasting at the moment, has still managed to bless us (and her family) with some beautiful photos of her artistic looking meals. And, abracadabra, she even turned Sarma into a wrap.

Enjoy your awards. I'll toast you with some ABC (apple, beet, carrot) juice :-)