Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy birthday to me :-)

I know you haven't heard from me for a while, but don't worry; it's nothing personal. I've just been spending more time away from the computer lately, giving me more time to do other activities, like the quest Rawbin and I went on yesterday in honor of our birthdays (mine is today, as if you couldn't tell by the title of this post, and hers is May 5). I'll fill you in on our trek tomorrow.

In the meantime, I just wanted to share this beautiful fruit bouquet my sister, son and nephew made for me while I was gone. Thank goodness I remembered to take a picture, since Jacob and I already started eating it.

While he was making the arrangement, Jacob also discovered he likes strawberries, something I've been trying to get him to taste for a while now. What a wonderful birthday gift to find another fruit to add to his list of ones he'll eat (don't be fooled by his face in the photo; he really does enjoy them).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hot diggity dog

As I said in my last post, yesterday (April 15th) was the last day of tax season (as if you didn't know), so I went to my parent's house for our annual hot dog celebration dinner.

In case you didn't read the last line, I'll tell you why this day is worth celebrating in our family. You see, my father is an accountant, which means we don't get to see him much during the home stretch of the season.

When my sisters and I were little, we used to make a chain out of construction paper links. Each link represented a day closer to when daddy would be home more again (he would work long hours during this time, getting home after our bedtime and going in on the weekends). I remember fighting over who got to rip off a link each day.

The other tax season tradition we have is the concluding meal. This one goes back about 30 years to when my father was just starting out in this profession. My parents were like most young newlyweds; they didn't have the biggest bank accounts at the time. So, for some odd reason, a hot dog dinner seemed like a "rich man's meal" in comparison to the usual tuna noodle casserole and other frugal cuisine.

Now, I'm not quite sure how the real story goes, but according to my dad, the decision was made to have hot dogs when he returned home after months of hard work on April 15, 1970-something or other (not sure of the exact year). It was like they were "eating like kings" (he has quite the sense of humor).

Somehow, this idea stuck, and we've all been having hot dogs for our end of tax season meal ever since, even if it's a vegan hot dog or just something resembling one (you didn't expect me to eat a real hot dog).

For instance, this year I opted to have a banana in a romaine leaf, topped with papaya ribbons (draped across it like mustard), strawberry slices (in place of ketchup) and pear chunks (which sort of resembled relish). I served some pear "fries" alongside my fruit (instead of veggie) dog.

As you can see, I've been lightening up my diet lately, which is something I do every spring and summer. I hate to disappoint you, but you won't be seeing many of my usual heavy dishes until it gets cooler this fall.

In the past week, I've been experimenting with proper food combining, which is something I've failed miserably with in the past. So far, I've done pretty well, although this dish isn't quite perfect (the acidic strawberries shouldn't be combined with sweet bananas). I'm known for breaking the rules from time to time.

So, back to keeping things light, here is another one of my favorite SNL skits, just for a laugh. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chipotle parfait at McDonald's

Okay, now I'll definitely have to explain that title. You see, while spending my time off from blogging with my son, we've gone on yet another play date with the kids and parents from his preschool class. Since we were unsure if the weather was going to be warm enough for the park, we ended up at the "Golden Arches" again.

As usual, there isn't much on the menu for me. Yes, it includes salads, but they are either topped with chicken or are so small that you have to order a dozen to feel like you've eaten anything (you know those side salads that contain a small handful of lettuce, some grated carrot, a few cucumber slices and two or three cherry tomatoes). Wouldn't it be nice if there was one with some avocado?

But, I wasn't about to complain. I just brought my own Chipotle-style salad (I've been known to get a salad from there made of EXTRA lettuce, EXTRA fresh tomato salsa and EXTRA guacamole - you've gotta stress the EXTRA since most people only get a little of these ingredients, filling the rest of the bowl with rice, beans, chicken and beef).

While getting ready to go, I wasn't quite sure which container to use to discretely bring my salad inside with us. I guess I could've used my usual stainless steel one I take to work, but I didn't want to draw a lot of attention to the fact that I didn't order my lunch from there.

So, I grabbed an old salad shaker container my mom got me years ago. It reminded me of the ones McDonald's used to sell a while back. It was perfect for layering the lettuce, fresh salsa and guacamole in like a parfait. Every bite had a combination of all three ingredients, and it was convenient to carry, like bringing your own bottle of water.

I also made sure I had my own bamboo utensils in my purse, so I'd have something besides the plastic-ware with which to eat it. I don't think anyone who worked there even noticed.

Do you think they'd notice this (you shouldn't be eating that ... but that doesn't explain why he would punch Jon Bon Jovi, who was eating a salad, or the people with the fruit)? That clip totally cracks me up.

When it first aired, my husband and I played it over and over that night on the DVR (things are a lot funnier late at night). Somehow we started talking about it again this weekend, so I thought I'd share it with you. Don't be surprised if some of my other favorite Saturday Night Live clips start popping up in the future, as well (although I am not going back to my usual consistent blogging schedule).

By the way, before I sign off, happy end of tax season! My dad is an accountant, so we'll get to see more of him after today :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Look mom, I made you a recipe

Every time I hear my son say those words, I have a flashback to when I was little and concocting my own creations for my mother.

During my nonraw childhood, I used to combine all the junk food I could get my hands on in a big bowl and call it "my recipe" (my son does the same thing now). Most of it came from my grandfather, who lived next door to us at the time. He loved to spoil us with sugary treats (I probably get my sweet tooth from him, although the majority of my family has one).

I vividly recall an incident where my friend Stacey and I wandered over to his house and ran off with the entire contents of his candy bowl. We came back to my house with pockets full of Snickers bars, Milky Ways, M&Ms, Peppermint Patties, Junior Mints, etc. We unwrapped every last piece, put it all into a large bowl and mashed it up into a big gooey mess. We were so proud of our "recipe."

My mom's reaction was not filled with our glee. I believe we had to apologize to my grandfather after spending some time on the couch, where we were supposed to think about what we had done.

Sitting on the couch was like my mom's version of time out. She used to set a timer, so you would know exactly how long you had to sit there. It was such torture to watch the other kids she babysat play, while the timer ticked away.

One of her timers over the years was shaped like a chicken, which lead to the phrase, "go sit with the chicken." I can still hear my sister saying, "no, not the chicken," as if it were the worst thing imaginable. We still joke about it at our family Sunday dinners.

As you may have noticed, family means a lot to me and I value these special moments. I've really enjoyed posting about them during this blogging experience, but I feel I need to slow down for a little bit in order to create more of these memories.

Don't worry; I'll still post occasionally, but not to the extent that I had been. As I said in my latest We Like It Raw post, I need a little vacation from blogging. I hope you're not disappointed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Once upon a pair

I snagged that line from a headline in a past issue of Plenty magazine, which featured a variety of fashion conscious jeans made from recycled denim, bamboo or organic cotton. I've been meaning to get my hands on some organic Levi's pictured on the page (as well as mentioned in VegNews), and I finally got my own pair today.

They just might be my favorite. They fit like a glove. In fact, they feel like I'm not wearing anything at all. The best part is that I'm not wearing any pesticides and neither is the ground where the cotton to make these was grown. We can all live happily ever after now. The End :-)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Get your own bowl

During these past few months of making Thursday Night Raws for my boys, I've realized the most successful meals are the ones where they are able to pick and chose the ingredients for the evening (did I mention that they are very picky eaters?) and make up their own "recipes" (Jacob loves tossing his favorite things in a bowl and calling it his new recipe).

For instance, they've really enjoyed our salad bar spread, build-your-own sundaes and fondue night. There is something for everyone, and we all leave the table happy.

This week, we had a make-your-own cereal night, where I displayed a variety of fresh fruits (apples, bananas, strawberries, grapes, melon and oranges), dried fruits (blueberries, bananas, cherries, golden raisins and goji berries), nuts (almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts; Jacob loves hazelnuts), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, hemp and chia), raw grains (oats and buckwheat groats), coconut flakes and some leftover date/nut topping from my blueberry muffins.

The boys liked being able to select their favorite ingredients to put in their cereal bowls and top with either chocolate or vanilla nutmilk. We'll definitely be doing this one again.

So, I'll have to warn you that the next raw Thursdays will be fairly similar; I'll probably be serving simple ingredients in this "make your own fashion" (rather than complex recipes that mimic traditional family meals). It brings everyone to the table, gets them involved in the whole process and is fun.

The best part is how my son has been more open to trying fresh fruits and veggies when I present them this way. This week, he finally tried oranges. He can't wait to show the kids at school (usually he complains when they have them at snack time and refuses to taste one). Just look at the smile on his face :-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Remembering "rawified" meals

It's Friday, so you know what that means. Yes, of course, it marks the end of the work week (yippie!), but it is also the day I post something for Jacob (and anyone else who's a kid at heart).

Today we'll be playing a game we all know and love: Memory (If you're caught reading this at your desk, just let the boss know you are just sharpening your mental skills; if you don't use it, you lose it).

At first glance, you may be wondering why I selected cards with SAD (standard American diet) foods on them. But, if you've been a longtime reader of my blog, you may recall some of these "rawified" versions. I'll remind you as you play along.

So, here's how it works (if you don't remember how to play the game; and if that is the case, good luck). Pictured at the top of this post are six cards facing up. The other six cards facing down are their corresponding matches. It is up to you to determine where each match is located. I'll reveal an answer one at a time until all the cards are flipped over.

First is the tea set, like the one displayed with our tea sandwiches last week. Is that where you thought the other one would be?

Next up, are the hot dogs, although I served them as corn dogs. Are you catching on to how this ties in with my past posts? We're reminiscing.

Did you find the other apple? We have those a lot. They're already raw (as if I had to tell you that).

And, there are the burgers and fries I "rawified" for our play date. Are you getting the hang of it yet?

Did you find the books? I often use them in the background of my photos, whether it be a children's book or an uncookbook.

Last, but not least, did you remember the pizza (through process of elimination, of course)? Mine had "pepperawni," too.

Here are all the answers revealed at once. How did you do? Hope you had fun. Thanks for playing :-)

By the way, my smoothie today was inspired by an e-mail from my friend, Kristen, who has been on a chia kick. It has plenty of greens, some leftover almond milk (not from these muffins; I made more nut milk last night), strawberries, bananas, goji berries and (you guessed it) chia seeds. It's like if somebody turned strawberry shortcake into a chia pet ... or maybe not ... never mind. Happy Friday :-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gotcha ;-)

Well, maybe not all of you. Did you notice the date on yesterday's post? That's right; it was April Fool's Day.

I didn't actually eat that cooked muffin, but I did enjoy some blueberry ones I "baked" in my dehydrator this weekend. Just check out the one in the above pic. If you want to see more, or perhaps would like to make some yourself, Dhru should be posting the recipe sometime soon (later today or tomorrow) on We Like It Raw.

Okay, so I didn't opt for the traditional muffin (my mother-in-law had the same idea and made some for my boys; she's so sweet), but I do have a confession to make: I did have some steamed veggies this weekend (something I do once in a blue moon). Thanks for all of your kind words. It's nice to know you all care :-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oops, I did it again

I went back to my old ways, by indulging in blueberry muffins this weekend (I've had them on my mind since filling out this survey last week). No wonder you haven't heard from me in a couple days. I'm so embarrassed :-(