Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's came early ...

... along with a record-breaking amount of snow. That's right; we've actually exceeded all yearly totals on record for this area, and there's still more to come.

Knowing this, my extra sweet hubby came home the other night with a handful of something almost as sweet as he is. Although I eat mostly raw, he can't help but contribute to my weakness for organic vegan fair trade chocolate bars (the higher percentage the cocoa the better).

Due to the current weather conditions, I'm lucky he was able to pick up my favorite Endangered Species chocolate bars locally (can you believe one is missing from the photo already? I just couldn't resist), along with a bouquet of big sunny yellow sunflowers to brighten my mood. They brought the sun inside during one of the cloudiest days outside (seriously, we were experiencing a blizzard out there).

In another effort to lighten things up around here, I opted to toss together Alicia Silverstone's Sexy Inspired Salad from her book, "The Kind Diet," as a pre-Valentine's Day meal. It may not seem all that out-of-the-ordinary, but if you put the word "sexy" in the title, it gets people's attention.

The salad has a mixture of greens, fresh herbs, avocado, tomato, cucumber, shaved carrot (which for some reason makes it more special, rather than just using chunks, slices or shreds), mushrooms, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and her dressing (truffle-infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon, orange and mock Parmesan; I recommend using Brendan Brazier's combination of ground sesame seeds and nutritional yeast as the "cheese"). Inspired by Lisa's Raw on $10 a Day blog, I also garnished it with some heart-shaped beet slices to make this dish especially photo-worthy.

This salad would be even more in the holiday spirit when served with Alicia's Scarlet Roasted Veggies, also in the book. It may not be raw, but it is lovely on a chilly winter evening. But, if you must stay away from all things cooked, you could just thinly slice the ingredients, marinate them in Bragg's/EVOO/lemon juice and "uncook" them in your dehydrator. Mix and match the veggies you like (as well as the dried fruits and nuts; she uses apricots and walnuts), making sure to keep the beets that give the dish its pretty pink hue, thus the name.

I sipped a Pink Lady smoothie (one of my favorite drinkable concoctions) with my salad. This combination of banana, strawberries, raspberries, avocado and cashew "milk" reminds me of strawberry yogurt, not to mention Hayden, due to its pink color (it's so nice to have another girl around here).

After indulging in all things pink, I'll probably focus more on chocolate for the big day. I don't plan on going overboard on the inside (as in eating); so I hope to pamper myself on the outside. Maybe I'll add some cocoa powder and coconut milk to my bath, kinda like what they did on Ellen. I could even splurge with some cocoa butter as a follow-up moisturizer.

To make things extra chocolaty, I'll probably whip up some of this yummy scrub I found on the Vital Juice website. If you're willing to spare some cacao nibs, here's the scrubalicious (I'm always making up new words) recipe:

Susie Norris' Chocolate Salty Body Scrub
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cacao nibs
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1/2 cup jojoba oil
2 Tbsp. vitamin E oil

Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats into a powder. Add the cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, salt, almond oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E oil. Hit "pulse" a few times to blend.

Store in a glass or plastic jar, and scoop out for use with a spoon or a seashell. Massage the scrub into skin, then rinse with warm water.

Source: Susie Norris' Chocolate Bliss: Sensuous Recipes, Spa Treatments, and Other Divine Indulgences

Happy Valentine's Day :-)