Saturday, March 29, 2008

Time for tea

I had envisioned a tea party, something out of "Alice and Wonderland," for our latest Thursday Night Raw, but due to lack of planning (I've been a little under the weather lately), it didn't turn out quite as elaborate as I had imagined. Besides, Matthew refused to wear the crazy hats (you know, like at the Mad Hatter's unbirthday party).

Actually, I don't know if I can even refer to it as a tea party, since none of us drank any tea, although Jacob enjoyed sipping his hot chocolate out of his tea cup (okay, it's really an espresso mug). So, I guess it is better summed up as an unbirthday celebration (none of us had a birthday that day).

We did have a spread that was fit for a party. I made a variety of simple tea sandwiches, which I creatively displayed as one would for a formal tea (except these sandwiches were entirely raw).

My first idea for a sandwich was something with cucumbers, since cucumber sandwiches are quite common. However, I opted to use the cucumber as the bread and filled them with cashew dill "cheese," shredded carrot and thinly sliced radish. I topped some additional cucumber bases with some sliced tomato, marinated cucumber (my husband loves those) and a piece of red onion (also from the marinade).

Next, I moved on to some zucchini rounds, which I sandwiched around a slice of tomato, a basil leaf, some red onion, sea salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. These were simple, but very good.

Then, I had some nice sized mushrooms that I thought would be perfect as little sandwich buns, although I hadn't really thought about a filling. The first thing that came to mind was a raw version of chicken salad, but in the end, I chose to make a Waldorf salad-style pate instead.

I also had some jicama, which looks a lot like sliced white bread with the crusts cut off. I made some more sandwiches out it with mango and avocado slices.

Lastly, I had to have something sweet for the boys, so I made some almond butter and banana sandwiches using apple rings. The cutest ones used the tops and the bottoms of the apples. They were like the muffin tops of the bunch.

Alongside the sandwiches, I served some carrots and celery sticks, as well as some cantaloupe (Jacob has been craving it lately, so we'll be having it a lot). I have to say that I left the table with a full belly. Not bad for a tossed together meal. Maybe next time, we'll actually have tea :-)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The mystery piece

Well, it's Friday, so that means today's post is for Jacob, as you can very well see by the photo. It's a picture of the puzzle we've been putting together all week. He's gotten quite good at and can even piece it together upside down.

Speaking of piece, he left one flipped over. No wonder it doesn't fit in its space.

Oh ... I know why he did that; he wants you to guess what is on the "mystery piece." But, since I don't want to give it away just yet, here is some filler copy to give you time to think before panning down to the answer pic.

For those of you unfamiliar with the "Five Little Monkeys," this is how the rhyme goes:

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Four little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Three little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and bumped his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

One little monkey jumping on the bed.
She fell off and bumped her head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

"No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Okay, now that you've scrolled down past the monkey lyrics, here is the missing piece. It's a duck, which Jacob set up next to his stuffed duck.

Did you know there is a similar song about ducks?

Five little ducks went out to play,
Over the hill and far away.

Mother duck went, "quack, quack, quack,"

And four little ducks came running back.

Okay, I'll spare you the rest. Time to make my smoothie. I'm keeping it simple with spinach, oranges, bananas and a big scoop of One Lucky Duck chocolate truffle butter. Yummy.

Happy Friday :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's raspberry swirl!

That's the answer to yesterday's question. I topped the graham cracker crust with raw and creamy "no-bake cheesecake" filling swirled with frozen raspberry puree. For the entire recipe, check out my WLIR post today.

But, before you do, here are my responses to a survey I snagged off of Rawleen's blog. It's been making the rounds lately. Have fun coming up with your own answers and pass it along :-)

1. Cellphone: I always forget I have one
2. Relationship: married
3. My hair: has a gray streak I pretend is just a chunk of highlights
4. Work: something I do to fill in the gaps between what I really want to do
5. My sibling/siblings: are close; they live only 15 minutes from me
6. My favorite thing: I try not to pick favorites
7. My dream last night: probably something food-related
8. Favorite drink: green smoothies, I can't start my day without one
9. Dream car: I wish I didn't need one
10. The room I’m in: is cozy
11. My shoes: are not made of leather
12. My fears: scare me
13. What do I want to be in 10 years: happy and healthy
14. Who did I hang out with this weekend: my family
15. What I am not good at: lying
16. Muffin: blueberry
17. One of my wish list items: Hmmm ... I'm not even sure what I want for my birthday
18. Where I grew up: Maryland
19. Last thing I did: typed this blog post
20. Wearing: jeans, comfy t-shirt and knee socks
21. Not wearing: make-up
22. My pets: none at the moment, but my son keeps his two frogs at his grandparent's house
23. My computer: is a Dell
24. My life: busy
25. My mood: optimistic
26. Missing: more free time
27. What I am thinking about right now: the answers to these questions
28. My car: Hyundai Elantra
29. My kitchen: is cluttered
30. My weather: cloudy, sprinkling and chilly (I'd like it to be sunny like it was in the picture)
31. Favorite color: pink (no wonder I like raspberry swirl)
32. Last time I laughed: a couple minutes ago; I laugh all the time
33. Last time I cried: probably the last time I stubbed my toe, which happens a lot and is usually combined with laughter
34. School: just picked Jacob up from preschool
35. Love: is a warm and fuzzy feeling

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What comes next?

Well, here is the crust I made for the dessert I brought to our Easter celebration on Sunday. You didn't think I went to a family gathering without a sweet treat? Of course I didn't forget one; I just hadn't mentioned it to you yet.

But, what did I put on top of that crust? I'll keep you guessing for a little bit. If Dhru posts it on We Like It Raw today, you'll find out soon. Otherwise, you might have to wait until tomorrow.

By the way, don't be fooled by that "hot surface" on my stove top; this dessert is better served chilled :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good deal

If you've been on We Like It Raw it recently, you've probably noticed a new feature called "Deal of the Week." Now, I don't see myself posting a bargain on a regular basis, but it might be fun to mention one from time to time.

Trader Joe's, one of my favorite places to shop, is known for its good deals, like this guacamole kit I picked up for just $2.69. It contains two large avocados, two tomatoes, a lime, a jalapeƱo pepper, two little onions and some fresh garlic. You have everything you need (although I usually add a little sea salt and pepper, and sometimes some cumin and cilantro) to make a yummy bowl of fresh guacamole at a reasonable price.

It's very convenient. I just brought this along to our family Easter celebration at my mom's house on Sunday, as a raw offering I knew would go over well even with my "cooked" relatives. The bowl was cleaned out pretty quickly.

Speaking of our Easter celebration, we had a lot of fun hunting for eggs that day, and when I say "we," I'm talking about the adults (although I'm sure the kids had fun, too).

The little ones were so anxious to start the hunt that they hid them first for the grownups. It was so funny to be kids again, at least for a little while, as we scurried around the yard racing to get the most eggs. I think one of my cousins even tackled his brother for one. Now that's what I call competitive. At least no one got hurt.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday just as much. Drop me a comment and let me know how you spent yours.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Which came first, the pudding or the egg?

Well, of course it's the egg. I used to love getting candy eggs in my Easter basket, although I was once a little freaked out by the Cadbury Creme ones. I thought for sure there was a real yolk inside. Yuck!

But, when I found out the "yolk" was really just more candy (I think it's caramel), they became one of my favorites. They just do a good job of mimicking the real deal, kind of like my raw recipes.

So, now that I don't eat these processed treats, I've made a pudding of sorts to relive the experience. The bowls are lined with leftover chocolate fondue, filled with a vanilla cream made from young thai coconut meat and topped with a raw caramel.

When everyone else is devouring their traditional candies today, I'll be enjoying this fun tribute to one of my childhood faves. Happy Easter!.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Something sweet for my sweets

Since my husband wasn't a fan of the corn dogs last week, I promised him something sweet for this week's Thursday Night Raw. Knowing that he has enjoyed both my raw brownies and the chocolate from our fondue night, I decided to combine the two with this spread of fruit, brownie bites, chocolate chip bar pieces and chocolate dipping sauce.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been taking it easy this week, so I kept the food simple. I made a small batch of chocolate brownies with a chocolate vanilla swirl on top and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. On the other side of the container I used to form the brownies, I also opted to make a batch of chocolate chip cookie bars with an agave sweetened almond butter topping and some cacao nibs.

These chilled in the refrigerator all day, while Jacob and I finished some errands and spent some time at my mom's house with my sister and her boys.

When we got home, dinner was nearly ready to go. I cut the brownies and bars into small chunks, sliced up some fruit I had picked up at the grocery store that day and mixed up a quick chocolate dipping sauce.

Matthew enjoyed all the chocolate, while Jacob was psyched to have cantaloupe at dinner (he picked it out himself), I was also proud of him for trying pineapple for the first time (he selected the pineapple, too).

Yes, you read that right; Jacob, who has photographed the uncut fruit for this site, has never actually tasted pineapple until now. I offered it to him on many occasions, but this is the first time he took a bite. Good job, little man.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Taking a spring break

Well, yesterday was the first day of spring, but my son has been on spring break all week. So, if you didn't notice already, I decided to take it easy with him.

I've taken my own break from blogging (or at least backed off a bit) in order to spend more time with him while he is off from school. We slept in (on Tuesday and Thursday - the days I don't work), lounged around the house, went to the movies to see "Horton Hears a Who" (it's a really good movie, by the way; I laughed, I cried and I sang along with the REO Speedwagon song at the end - you can do that in a theater packed with little kids and their parents) and hung out with his cousins, aunt (my sister) and Nana (my mom).

Jacob usually takes the photo for Friday mornings, but since he is on vacation, we opted to post this pic of the Easter egg tree we made a couple weeks ago. My mom let him help with the ones in front of her house (she's done them every year for as far back as I can remember), so of course he wanted to have one at our house, too. He picked out the branches himself and careful placed all the eggs on them. Fortunately, they aren't the real ones; these won't break.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you what I put in my Friday morning smoothie. I kept it simple with a ton of greens, some grape kombucha (my favorite flavor), coconut butter and bananas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Berry nice

Well, before I run off to work for the day, I thought I'd share this bowl of berries and cream with you, as a preview of my next We Like It Raw post. I needed to use up some leftover icing as the cream in this dish, and the berries were the perfect complement.

You see, I had berries on the brain, since this week's recipe was inspired by my great grandma Flossye (that's a picture of her as a child). "Ain't that the berries," was one of her favorite phrases (my aunt and uncle even wrote a song about it on their dulcimers), so I served the finished product alongside some raspberries, of course.

Berries and cream also reminds me of The Moon, a little coffee shop/cafe in downtown Annapolis that my friends and I frequented as teens. We would stop by late in the evening for my favorite dessert at the time, which we would wash down with a cup of coffee. Sometimes we would do shots of espresso until we were so wired we couldn't sleep (now I have the same problem when I consume chocolate in the evening).

One time, I took my parents there for a bite and to have some highly caffeinated shooters (I forget what The Moon called them). For some reason, they lacked their usual punch, and my mom, sister and I all fell asleep on the ride home. Luckily, my father, who was driving at the time, did not feel the drowsy effects. He must have had an Energizer from one of my other favorite hangouts.

I can't remember the name of it, but we also used to go to another coffee shop/cafe in College Park. Help me out here if you were in the area in the early 90s. I think it was called something like Planet Java, but that name is already taken by some other establishment in Florida. Anyway, it unfortunately burnt down, so I heard.

In addition to an extensive menu of coffee drinks and food (they served the biggest plate of nachos I've ever seen, and the Snickers eruption dessert was something worth remembering), they also concocted a line of energy drinks like the Energizer and Memory Booster. They were packed with supplements like ginseng, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc. I don't think I even knew what these ingredients were at the time, but I guess they were on to something.

I probably need a Memory Booster now to help me remember the name of that coffee shop. At least I could recall enough about my great grandmother's recipe to make a raw version. Check it out on WLIR later today or tomorrow. I think she would have been proud of me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Corned beets and cabbage

Matthew's mom thought I should post a picture of my "rawified" version of a St. Patrick's Day meal (corned beef and cabbage, for those of you unfamiliar with this tradition), so here it is.

I used veggie pulp from my ABC (apple beet and carrot) juice I had yesterday to take the place of the corned beef and seasoned it with all the traditional flavors (a ton of spices). I served it on top of some cabbage, carrots and celery, dressed in olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic and caraway seeds, and "cooked" in my dehydrator.

Now that you have seen my dinner, I'm going to finish eating it. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Random thoughts

I've been thinking about Anthony's random yet structured days and how it is a really fun way to live. Yes, it's nice to have a schedule, but it makes life more exciting when you change it up a bit.

He says, "Having a 'productive day' to me is having a 'joy-filled day'- otherwise your days are just filled with tasks. Setup up your day to maximize joy ... Its always about being able to stay productive and enjoy life no matter where you are and what you are doing."

So, that's what I'm going to do. I'll follow my usual schedule with a smile on my face, finding the joy in whatever task I need to get done. The other moments will be filled with what makes me happy, whether it be playing with my son, snuggling up with my hubby or setting aside some "me" time.

I like the simple things. I was happy to have an avocado and fruit-based pudding, along with some sliced peaches and strawberries, for lunch yesterday. Although I do eat a lot of "gourmet" stuff (if you can call it that), like raw cookies and cakes, it's nice to go back to the basics once and a while.

I had a relaxing meal, with my new copy of Plenty magazine. It had a feature about eco-friendly vehicles. I'm still dreaming about getting a Prius.

Jacob and I spent the day hiding little cups from his magic trick kit and searching for them. He usually does the hiding, while we both seek them. I wonder why he always finds them first?

Speaking of hiding, can you find the four leaf clover in this group of shamrocks? Jacob and I also played that game yesterday. Don't forget St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow.

But, today we will be jumping ahead to Easter, as my son and I will be attending the egg hunt at church today. I need to hurry up and get ready.

I just might wash my hair with the new shampoo and conditioner I bought at Whole Foods last night. They contain acai and chocolate. No wonder they were calling my name; acai and chocolate make me very happy :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mallicious Movie Madness

For this week's Thursday Night Raw, we had planned on making it a theme night, complete with a viewing of a movie my hubby and I hadn't seen in a while (we've been doing this a lot lately; watching silly flicks that used to make us laugh a lot).

The stage was set. Dinner was raw corn dogs, carrots and celery sticks in place of fries (gotta lighten things up a bit), cauliflower served up in popcorn containers (for the fun of it) and smoothies to wash it all down.

I made the corn dogs using this recipe (why make one up when someone already did?) for the hot dog part, which I formed around bamboo sticks (the ones sold it the grocery store for making candy/caramel apples) prior to "cooking" in my dehydrator. Then, I formed a cornbread coating (now that's why I had those ears of corn) around them and put them back in the dehydrator to "bake" the rest of the way.

Matthew wasn't so psyched about the results, but I could've predicted his reaction. He has never been a hot dog fan and therefore never tried a corn dog.

Why would I prepare such a thing for his weekly raw meal? Well, I already know how difficult it is to exactly replicate something he loves, so I thought I'd take a different approach and maybe get him to like a raw version of something better than its cooked counterpart.

Okay, so maybe I failed this time, but it won't stop me from attempting this approach again. However, since my hubby at least tried a raw corn dog for me (he ate half of one), I'll probably make a sweet dinner for him next week (his choice, of course).

At least I had all those raw veggies to help fill him up, as well as a strawberry banana smoothie (and you thought the pink one was for me). I had an orange mango banana smoothie, similar to the Orange Julius ones I used to get at the mall as a small child (along with a corn dog; see how this is all tying together).

I poured the leftovers of the two smoothies (what didn't fit into our Star Wars cups; there's that movie theme again) into a glass, which Jacob claimed as his own. Usually, he has no interest in smoothies, but I wasn't going to stop him from taking a sip.

He took a few sips before deciding it wasn't for him, but I am proud of him for trying it. I bet he would have drank the whole thing if it didn't have so many flavors in it. I'll try making one with just orange and banana for him next time.

Jacob did eat mostly raw with us that evening, but I allowed him to sneak some Cheerios in with his meal. It was just nice to sit down at the table together.

After our meal, Matthew and I had thought Jacob would go to bed early (he was tired from his party at school and the hours I let him play at the park with his friends later in the day), so we could watch Mallrats (now, here's the real preview, but I prefer this music video - my sister loves this song).

We were mistaken; the little man stayed up to watch the new episodes of his favorite shows on Cartoon Network, which we viewed as a family. I guess we'll be saving our movie for tonight, when he's at his grandparent's house (Saturday is our date night) :-)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Who makes my day?

I know it sounds corny, but you, my readers, make my day. Your wonderful comments always keep me inspired and motivated to keep this blog afloat.

One of you in particular is the inspiration for today's post. You see, Linda of Coco & Mango just passed the Make My Day Award on to me.

¡Muchas Gracias!It works like this:
1. Write a post with links to five blogs that make your day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Display the You Make My Day Award logo.
4. Tell the award winners that they have won.

I've already knocked out No. 2 & 3, but I am going to modify 1 & 4 just a tad. There are just so many well-deserving blogs that I have to change things up a bit.

The first award is to all my loyal readers (although you've probably already figured that out in the first line), and the next three awards go to the other three members of the We Like It Raw Squad.

In honor of Dhru's "Day in the Life of ..." article in the latest edition of Get Fresh! magazine, I found it only fitting to highlight him and the other team members, who have also shared their days on his site this week. Dhru's WLIR site always makes my day, but he also has another more personal blog that I check out from time to time (I bet he didn't know that).

Yesterday, Philip posted about his day, but you can learn more about him on his Loving Raw blog. His transformation is amazing.

And, don't forget about Anthony. You'll get to read about his daily routine soon. In the meantime, stop by this Raw Model's blog to find out why he's more than just a pretty face.

Lastly, I wanted to give the final award to my boys (my son and my husband) for always making my day. They don't have their own blogs, but they contribute to this one. Here are their Friday guest photo spots (yeah, I know; more Legos, like in my "Day in the Life of ..." post). One is Jacob's and the other is Matthew's. Can you guess who took which one?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Waste not, want not

I was taught all my life not to waste things, especially food. Thanks to my mom, I was always a member of the clean plate club, and I learned to like leftovers.

They are even better when you find inventive ways to re-serve them. In this case, I just tossed all that was left of our pizza night into a bowl with some sprouted rice to create a pizza rice bowl (I know; not so creative. But, I was busy this weekend and needed something in a hurry).

However, I did have some time to make a more presentable meal out of the leftovers prior to the rice bowl. If you want to see what I made (and how I set up my old-school dehydrator to make it), check out my We Like It Raw post for this week. It should be on there later today or tomorrow (more likely tomorrow).

And, while you're there, you can read about Dhru's "Day in the Life" article, featured in this issue of "Get Fresh" (which is now available at Whole Foods). The rest of the WLIR squad, including yours truly, will be posting what we do on an average day throughout the week. I'm scheduled for tomorrow, so you might have to wait until next week to see my magical leftover makeover post (I didn't think about that; I guess we'll just have to wait and see).

By the way, remember how I talked about wanting to see "Mystic Pizza" again? Well, it was OnDemand last night, so I watched it. Obviously, I was out of pizza, as well as the toppings, but I still enjoyed every minute of it :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"A slice of heaven"

I snagged that line from a t-shirt in the movie "Mystic Pizza." I haven't seen it in years, but now that it's come to mind, I'll have to view it again soon.

Maybe I'll make a theme night out of it, as an excuse to make my raw pizza-by-the-slice. And, so I don't forget the recipe for the crust, I've posted it right here for you, too.

Mystical Pizza Crawst

1 cup raw almonds, finely ground
1/2 cup raw oats, ground into flour
1/4 cup golden flaxseed, also finely ground
2 soft pitted dates
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. water
a few dashes of sea salt
seasonings: garlic, basil, oregano, to taste

In a food processor, combine the ground almonds, oats and flax. Add dates, olive oil, 1 Tbsp. of the water, sea salt and seasonings. Process to form a dough. Add more water if needed.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces, and shape each piece into a rectangular-shaped slice. I also added a line of pizza "cheese" at the end of each slice and folded it over to create a stuffed crust (this step is optional).

"Bake" the crust in your dehydrator until firm enough to handle the toppings, yet soft enough to still resemble the real deal. Top with your favorite sauce, "cheese," veggies, etc.

I also chose to make this sausage (make that "rawsage") and my attempt at "pepperawni."

Pizza "Pepperawni"
1/2 cup raw almonds, finely ground
2 Tbsp. flaxseed, finely ground
2 Tbsp. sesame seed, (you guessed it) finely ground
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1-2 Tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
8 sun-dried tomato halves, soaked
1/2 cup soaking liquid from the tomatoes
lots of freshly ground pepper (hence the name)
couple drops of liquid smoke
dash of sea salt
seasonings: garlic, poultry seasoning, oregano, basil
some extra sesame seeds

Blend all the ingredients, except for the extra sesame seeds, in a blender until completely combined. Toss in a few more sesame seeds, and pulse slightly to spread them throughout the mixture.

On a teflex sheet or parchment lined dehydrator tray, drop marble-sized dollops of the mixture and flatten them into silver dollar-sized rounds. Dehydrate until dry enough to flip and remove from the teflex/parchment. Dehydrate a little longer to "cook" the other side. Top your pizza, salad, sandwich or whatever you like with them. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tagged, I'm it

My fellow blogger and friend, Charissa, just tagged me, which means it is now my turn to give up a little more info about myself (as if you haven't heard enough; what haven't I said on this blog?).

So, let me think. What don't you already know about yours truly? Here are the first five things that come to mind, although there are probably no surprises for my close friends and family. I'm like an open book.

Numero Uno: I used to volunteer for D.C. United, a MLS (Major League Soccer) team, for those of you who don't know.

On my first day as a volunteer, they needed someone to sit behind one of the goals and clock the speed of the balls being kicked toward it with a radar gun. To get me down on the field, I was granted an all-access pass, which allowed me to go anywhere in the stadium (including the locker room; you wouldn't believe what I got to see).

From then on, I got to try out many different tasks that took advantage on my total access. I worked the press box, helped slingshot t-shirts into the crowd and escorted Talon (the mascot) throughout the stadium.

One day, the guy who was supposed to be Talon didn't show, so I got to play the part. I guess I did a good job, because I got paid to do some other appearances, like in the Cherry Blossom parade and at another local mascot's birthday bash (a whole bunch of mascots showed up to celebrate with a game of t-ball).

Later on, I also began volunteering with the Ice Breakers (a local minor league ice hockey team) and during the Women's World Cup, where I got to meet Bill Clinton.

No. 2: Still talking about Washington, D.C., I worked on Capitol Hill one summer. I guess I could've been a page, but I opted to do something only a small handful of teenagers get to do; I got to drive the Senators.

My mom nearly fell over when she found out. You see, I'm not the best driver (there's another fact about me). But, lucky for the Senators, I was just going to be filling a seat and pulling a lever on an almost totally automated subway system.

One day, when the Senate wasn't in session, a man in Hawaiian shirt with a camera around his neck (he looked like most tourists on the Hill) struck up a conversation with me about general stuff, like the weather outside, etc. I thought nothing of it until a woman came running over to the man in the loud shirt, saying, "Sen. Glenn, it's so nice to meet you."

Yeah, I knew that. Not. I couldn't believe I didn't recognize him. I mean, he wasn't wearing his space suit.

No. 3: You've probably already figured out that I have an artistic background, but did you know about my range?

I've been drawing and painting since I was small (ditched the stick figures in pre-K and started oil painting in elementary school). I also sing (church choir, school chorus, musical theater and I even sang in a band), took dance (tap, jazz, ballet and some pointe) and was on the pom squad in school.

I was a member of the Thespian Society, a place I earned for my hours of theater work. I was in various school plays, including taking on the part of Kim in "Bye Bye Birdie" (the part Ann Margret portrayed in the movie version. I just love her).

Now, here's an embarrassing little tidbit about me; I even auditioned for a part on the New Mickey Mouse Club in the early 90s. It was the season that Keri Russell (you may know her as "Felicity") made it into the cast. Obviously, I did not.

No. 4: While we're on the topic of embarrassing (and the Mickey Mouse Club), I've also been a big Britney Spears fan (although not so much lately). I have almost all of her CDs (including some imports and the lunchbox filled with single CDs, a shirt, lollipop, keychain and other odd stuff), some dolls, clothing she auctioned off as part of a charity event and a copy of one of her yearbooks.

Now, before you get too weirded out, let me explain. It all started as a joke. I bought a copy of her first CD, because after hanging out with my silly singing friends, a couldn't get "Hit Me Baby One More Time" out of my head.

Next came the dolls, which I purchased to be funny, since a male coworker of mine had made such a fuss over them. Then, everything just kind of snowballed.

Although, I do have to admit that the music did grow on me. It was rather catchy, so I actually went to a concert while preggos with my son. What can I say? My husband and I had fun.

No. 5: Lastly, I've been thinking about going into cake decorating for a while. It probably wouldn't be raw (due to the lack of demand in my area), but then I would be less tempted to eat it.

My sister's and I used to eat cake top (what's leftover after leveling out the top of a baked cake) all the time when my mom worked with a well-known cake decorator in our area. She actually assisted with a soap star's wedding cake and helped transport it to the event.

Speaking of decorative icing, my mom also is one of people in charge of the semi-annual bon bon production to benefit our church. She is currently working on them as I type this, and had enlisted my help Thursday and yesterday.

This batch is for Easter, so we also do 5 oz. eggs (pictured are some of the ones I put crosses and extra flowers on to conceal any imperfections. The rest of them are personalized with names).

Whoa, this post has gotten a bit lengthy, so you'll have to wait until the next one to get my pizza recipe. But, before I leave you, here's who I'm gonna tag: Kristen, Heathy, Carmi, Alissa (take your time; I know about your computer situation) and Jenny :-)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

"That's Amore"

My hubby was never one to sing for his supper (much less carry a tune), but from time to time, I catch him belting out this Dean Martin classic. Although he seldom gets the lyrics right, he does manage to get through the first few lines correctly.

"When the moon hits your eye,
like a big-a pizza pie,
that's amore"

Pizza pie. Yum. Now, that is amore, especially when served to your loved ones as part of this week's Thursday Night Raw.

Matthew has been suggesting pizza since we started this tradition (if I can call it that; it's only been a couple months in the making.) I would've made it sooner, but I needed some time to come up with something to suit his particular tastes.

However, instead of taking all this time to formulate a recipe to knock his socks off (actually he takes them off as soon as he walks in the door, so I guess that wasn't really necessary), I just kept making excuses to put it on the back burner until he hopefully stopped asking for it.

I'll admit it; I was afraid of failure. Raw pizza may resemble pizza in many ways, but it was never going to fool anyone into thinking it was its cooked counterpart. I mean, even some of the cooked versions are highly criticized.

But, in the end, I decided to be brave, take the plunge into the deep end (no, I didn't make a deep dish variety; but I may try it in the future) and hopefully come up for that breath of fresh air.

I can breath freely again, knowing that I've tackled this task somewhat successfully. Matthew said it was "edible," which in his words, translates to agreeing with him. He rarely gets excited over any meal, raw or cooked, so when he cleans his plate, it's a big deal.

At the last minute (make that the night before), I decided to make my own crust, using ingredients and techniques that already had been Matthew approved. I shaped the pizza dough into individual triangular slices (after the "baking" process, they can easily be picked up to eat), and added a surprise inside (check out the stuffed crust).

I also made some raw vegan pepperoni slices (now that doesn't sound right), Italian sausage crumbles (also raw and vegan), "cooked" (make that dehydrated) veggie toppings (onions, green peppers and mushrooms), a tomato sauce and a macadamia/cashew-based "cheese" (which could be drizzled on top with a squeeze bottle for that melted effect).

The stage was set for our pizza making premiere, where my hubby and I could construct our own masterpieces. Jacob opted for a cooked meal instead (but had raw fruit for dessert), which leaves one more blank canvas (in this case, crust) for you. Have fun :-)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Monkey see, monkey do

Jacob eats bananas; how about you?

My son has had quite an exciting week. Since the weather was nice, we took our photo shoot down to the beach, where he set up this George talking on his banana phone pic.

I posed for one with him, too, but opted to keep that one for myself.

Also, this week, Jacob and I went on a field trip with his preschool to look for signs of spring. Ranger Jackie took us on a tour of a local park, where we road on a hayride, looked for bird nests, noted the new buds on the trees and even saw a groundhog in his burrow.

But the most exciting part for him was being able to ride on the school bus with his friends. I guess he's ready for kindergarten after all. He's growing up so fast.

Unfortunately, the kids in his preschool will be divided up next year, since they are in different school districts. The other moms and I are trying to give them more time to hang out before that happens, like last week, when we had our first official group play date.

We had our second one yesterday at the park. The kids had a great time playing on the playground together. Hopefully, we can do this more often.

As for my smoothie this morning, I found myself craving more pie, so I added macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, pineapple and cacao nibs to my basic banilla green smoothie. Oh yeah, and since I'm on a roll with it, I put in a little Java Teeccino, too :-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mirror image

Here's another tease picture (I did the same thing a couple weeks ago with this dessert) for my next We Like It Raw post, which will probably be up on the site today or tomorrow.

As you can see I "rawified" (a word I made up for taking a traditionally cooked recipe and transforming it into a raw version) this pie that caught my eye in a copy of Family Circle magazine. I ripped it out at work and have been carrying it around with me in my purse, until I finally got my hands on some more raw macadamia nuts to make it (this explains all the wrinkles and creases on the page; it's been through a lot).

After snapping this pic of what may have been the last slice, I got a kick out of the mirror image effect. I guess it does somewhat resemble the original.

Speaking of mirror image, I think that was the name the twin competitors went by in the Dance T.V. dance off at the end of the "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" movie. Now, I couldn't find a link with the two of them, but I did find the part where Sarah Jessica Parker's character and her partner perform to their portion of the song (one that I used to dance to around my house, as if I was in the competition, too). And, just for the fun of it, here's another cashew "cheesy" scene.

Too bad I didn't make a cheesecake or at least something with "cheese" on it this week. Maybe some other time.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cherry on top

This may look like one on my creations, but it's even better. You see, my friend Rawbin made it for me.

Have you ever noticed how raw food is much more exciting when someone else makes it for you? Now, I'm not talking about the salad bar at a chain restaurant or some already washed and prepped veggies from the supermarket. I mean the luxury of being served a good uncooked meal at a raw cafe or having someone surprise you with a raw gift like this one.

It's Rawbin's personal spin on the good old "million dollar" brownie recipe I gave her a while back. She molded the brownies individually in some fruit cups, with a surprise cherry filling. Then, she turned them over, popped them out of the molds and served them with a drizzle of icing and a cherry on top. Yum.

I told her I was going to share it with my hubby, since he does like raw brownies. Oh how romantic that would've been. Unfortunately, I only gave him one bite, before I devoured the rest. You're lucky I paused for a picture.

This was the cherry to top off my weekend of raw foods made by someone else. And, who was that someone else? It was none other then Chef Bliss, which I quickly discovered was Jeff (who looks a lot like the main character in this movie, which, by the way, has a great soundtrack) from NaturalZing (I guess your secret identity has been revealed now. Scooby Doo made me do it; my son and I are watching it right now).

At Saturday's lecture, he and his crew served up three types of wraps (Italian, Waldorf salad-style and a nori wrap) with dipping sauces, as well as a spread that included mixed greens grown on site, a cabbage salad, marinated kale, sauerkraut (he makes it using his own kombucha; you've gotta try it) a variety of crackers, olives, cookies, little granola bars similar to Rice Krispie treats (in plain and chocolate) and pie.

As crazy as it sounds, he actually got us all hooked on a very unexpected combination. If you wrap a date around one of these raw unsalted olives, it sort of tastes like very dark chocolate. You have to experience it to believe it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I'm a bad girl

Why would I say that? Well, I went to Paul Nison's lecture (he looks much cuter in person; I think it's because we got to see him in a spiffy suit and with a clean shave. Paul, you should keep this look) at NaturalZing yesterday, and somehow managed to make it there without my camera.

What kind of blogger am I? What happened to always being prepared (the girl scouts would be so disappointed in me)?

And, to top it all off, I was reminded yet again of how I am basically a naughty raw foodist, breaking all the rules. Someone put a "P" on my sweater, 'cause Shannonmarie is "permanently punished" (like Penny Pingleton in "Hairspray").

My bad habits are actually addictions. According to Paul, a habit is something you do until you find out it's bad for you. Then, you try to break that habit. But, when you start making excuses as to why you need to continue with this habit, then it becomes an addiction.

Now I'm an addict, addicted to raw junkfood, chocolate, overeating, consuming food late in the evening ... what else can I add to the list? Oh yeah, bad food combining. I was even guilty of all of those things right after he finished speaking.

I went straight to Helen and Jeff's kitchen (they are the owners of NaturalZing), where I preceded to eat more food, some of it being raw desserts, after 7 p.m., and even sneaking a piece of pure raw chocolate (big mistake; I was bouncing all over the place. Everyone must have thought I was nuts - yeah, I probably consume too many of those, too).

Oh well, Paul didn't hold it against me, so I might be sticking to these addictions for a little while. I just hope my bad influence isn't rubbing off on any of you.

But, in case you have followed me down the rabbit hole, here are the recipes for a yummy breakfast (surprisingly not chocolate, although it goes great with a chocolate sauce) to eat along the way:

for Your Permanent Punishment

1 cup raw almonds, ground into flour
1/4 cup flaxseed, also finely ground
2 Tbsp. maple sugar (or grade B maple syrup)
drizzle of agave nectar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt
1 cup sparkling water (reduce slightly if using maple syrup)
*grated apple and cinnamon for an apple spice version

If a bowl, whisk together the almond flour, flaxmeal and maple sugar (if using syrup, wait to add it with the rest of the liquid) to remove any lumps (you can add spices at this time if you like). Add the agave, vanilla, sea salt and water, and gently whisk to combine. Allow to thicken slightly.

Using about a 1/4 cup size scooper, pour mounds of the batter onto a teflex sheet or parchment lined dehydrator tray. Flatten into pancake rounds, as if you were making the real deal. This is the time when you can add grated apple, blueberries or even raw chocolate chips.

Dehydrate your flapjacks for a few hours until you're able to flip them and remove them from the teflex or parchment. Dehydrate another few hours (be careful not to let them get too crisp; they should still be somewhat soft) and serve warm (these aren't hotcakes). Top with grade B maple syrup, fruit and/or chocolate sauce.

Banana Rawffles
3/4 cup raw almonds, ground into flour
1/4 cup sprouted/dried buckwheat groats, ground into flour (can also use oats)
1/4 cup flaxseed, finely ground
2 Tbsp. maple sugar (or syrup, but don't forget to adjust the other liquid)
drizzle of agave nectar
1/2 small banana
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt
dash of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup sparkling water

If a bowl, whisk together the almond and buckwheat flour, flaxmeal and maple sugar (if using syrup, wait to add it with the rest of the liquid) to remove any lumps. Blend together the rest of the ingredients until smooth, and add it to the dry ingredients. Gently whisk to combine. Allow to thicken.

After having some difficulty molding the dough into the familiar waffle shape using my old waffle iron, I opted to sculpt them myself using a knife with a squared-off tip. But, feel free to try molding them however you chose.

Place your "rawffles" on a teflex sheet or parchment lined dehydrator tray. Dehydrate for a few hours until you're able to flip them and remove them from the teflex or parchment. Dehydrate another few hours and serve warm. Top with grade B maple syrup, fruit and/or chocolate sauce.

Breakfast Rawsage Links
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked
4 chopped mushrooms
1/2 small Granny Smith apple, grated
1 Tbsp. grade B maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Seasonings: garlic, onion powder, freshly ground pepper, cayenne, poultry seasoning, fennel seed (adjust seasonings to suit your own tastes)

Process all the ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly combined, but not completely smooth. Shape into links on a teflex sheet or parchment lined dehydrator tray. Dehydrate for a couple hours, and then remove the teflex/parchment. Dehydrate a few more hours and serve warm. Tastes even better dipped in more maple syrup.