Saturday, June 28, 2008


As promised, here's an update on my trip to the local farmers market. And, when I say "local," it couldn't get more local than that. Their set up was nearly in my backyard.

Okay, now I'm exaggerating; It wasn't that close, but it was in walking distance.

My mom told me about it, after seeing a picture of a guy I went to school with in our local (there's that word again) paper, advertising the seasonal event. He was representing his family farm, which would be selling their fresh produce at our beach every Friday night this summer from 6-9 p.m. I just had to check it out for myself.

Despite the forecasted storms (actually, you didn't need a weather man to figure that out; all you had to do was look up at the sky to see them coming), I made the trek down to the market, decked out in my "Support Organic Farmers" organic cotton t-shirt and toting my NaturalZing hemp grocery bag. I was styling if I say so myself. Ha ha. (Hey, I did get a few compliments; you gotta dress for the occasion).

Before the rain hit (the wind had already picked up, making it difficult for the vendors to keep their tents in place), I managed to peruse the market to see what they had, as well as pick up a few things for myself (oh yeah, I thought about my husband and son, too).

There was a berry farm with, you guessed it, berries. My friend from school was there with ripe and juicy peaches, various squashes and corn. Another farm offered a garden mix of greens, swiss chard, cucumbers (5 for a dollar; you can't beat that) and more. There were even stands selling homemade pickles, natural bath products, organic herbs and pesticide-free flower bouquets and fresh baked breads and pastries. Not a bad turn out for the first couple weeks. I'm so glad they put this plan in motion.

When I returned home, I took a quick pic of some of my bounty. Jacob had already started begging me for an ear or two of corn, and I couldn't resist sinking my teeth into one of my fragrant peaches. I had juice dribbling down my chin, so it was a good thing I removed my shirt for the photo (no, I didn't snap a shirtless shot of myself; I just used the shirt in the pic).

Then, I relaxed with another no-egg no-cream (the pics intermingled throughout this post are of the vanilla and chocolate versions of this classic treat), made with Brazil nut milk (although the back of the shirt I made in the last photo says "almond," but you get the picture). You can find the recipe on the We Like It Raw website. It's been a while since I'd made an appearance there. It felt good to be back :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Veggie Summer Times

Now, I'm sure this fluffy friend eats his veggies. My son, Jacob, snapped this photo today of the bunny who's been visiting us off and on throughout the past year (or at least we think it is the same one). He's probably doubled in size since last summer when we first started leaving him carrots in our yard. That's a reason for any kid to start giving fresh produce a chance.

I am so excited about the new farmer's market set up at the beach, where I live. I hope to check it out this Friday evening after work. I'll let you know if I do.

Speaking of the beach, Jacob, Paw Paw (my father-in-law) and I really enjoyed watching the geese at the boardwalk this weekend. There was a net along the swimming area border, where half of the flock got stuck on one side and the other half tried to help them escape.

The geese would follow the net up to the shoreline, but before reaching its end, they would turn back the other direction. They just kept going back and forth until one of them finally jumped over a dip in the net. The others couldn't figure it out, so they continued to go back and forth. It was amazing how long it took for all of them to make it to the other side. I guess that explains the expression "silly goose."

Oh how I love summer ... the beach, farmer's markets, the food. It's the perfect time to make raw dishes. Even Vegetarian Times is starting to get into the act.

I was delighted to find a section on raw foods in the July/August 2008 issue, which arrived at my house yesterday. Although the majority of the recipes in the magazine are cooked (many including eggs and/or dairy), I've been very impressed with the growing number of vegan options and now raw (yeah, We Like It that way).

Of course, the three recipes in the raw article included some of the basics, like a nori roll, cheesecake and a pureed soup. These were not new to me, but I was still happy to see another publication getting the word out.

So, instead of making one of the highlighted raw recipes, I tweaked a few others in the mag (something I do with the majority of the dishes featured in past issues).

To start, I made the Tomato-Peach Spritzer. Now that raw tomatoes are okay to eat again, I was curious to sample this clever combination. I blended half a tomato and a whole peach in my Blendtec, along with a pinch of sea salt, some fresh ginger and agave. Then, I poured this mixture over ice and topped the glass off with some sparkling water.

The original recipe called for ginger ale, which is why I added agave to the mix. I also used a little extra ginger in the puree.

I garnished my refreshment with a slice of tomato and a sprig of mint. I know there isn't any mint in the drink, but it looked pretty, smelled nice and I already had it on hand for this next dish.

For dinner, I recreated the Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette, which called for the peas to be cooked in boiling water for two minutes before assembling the salad. I opted to keep them raw and add a few loose peas for fun. I also swapped the pistachios for pumpkin seeds and the sugar for agave.

Otherwise, I left the majority of the recipe the same. The dressing was a made out of fresh lemon juice, EVOO, minced shallots, chopped fresh mint, a touch of mustard and agave (instead of the sugar). After tossing it all together, I added a bit more color with some lemon zest (make sure your lemons are organic if you plan on using the zest).

For dessert, I kept with something simple from the kabob feature. I made a raw version of the Banana Skewers with Chocolate-and-Pistachio Stuffed Dates; I just skipped the grilling step.

Well, actually I had a few more modifications. Instead of stuffing the dates with chocolate chips and pistachios, I filled them with chocolate truffle butter and crushed raw hazelnuts. I also blended the fresh orange juice with a little agave, vanilla and cocoa powder, and drizzled it over the top of the kabobs (the original recipe combined the o.j. with walnut oil, which was then added to the chocolate chips prior to stuffing the dates). I sprinkled the finished dessert with more hazelnut pieces and orange zest (again, I'd advise you use organic).

I didn't make a raw yogurt dipping sauce, but here are some ideas you can try: Yummy Yogurt, Cashew Yogurt, Cocoyurt and Chocolate Chai Yogurt. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's a bird; it's a plane ...

No silly rawbit, it's a rainbow. If you looked outside our house last night, you would've seen it. But, of course, my hubby didn't sneak a peek, so he missed it.

Now, my son, Jacob, wasn't about to let his daddy skip out on the view. He made sure it got captured for him with my trusty camera (although I snapped the pics, but that's beside the point). What a wonderful gift of joy for the birthday boy :-)

That's right; I said "birthday." There have been quite a few of them around here lately. My husband Matthew's birthday is today, my sister Lori's birthday was a couple weeks ago (her wedding anniversary is today), Matthew's uncle just had one and fellow blogger Jenny celebrated her big day just a few days ago.

Happy birthday to all, including anyone else who's a year older today or someday soon. Hope it's a good one :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cranking them out

This may be a surprise to some of you, but after years of making raw foods (including zucchini "noodles"), I finally own a spiral slicer. Thanks to my loving husband (Happy Father's Day, by the way), I no longer have to cut each and every noodle by hand (actually, I think he got a little tired of me complaining about how long it takes).

So why haven't I purchased one sooner? Well, I just thought it was ridiculous to waste money and space on a gadget that only serves one purpose. Boy, was I mistaken.

Now, it's not a big deal to cut up one serving worth of veggie "noodles" for myself. However, when I want to serve a crowd, just the thought of the time it would take to make that many "noodles" by hand is quite daunting.

For instance, when I go to a potluck or a picnic, my first instinct is to bring a raw version of the traditional fare (you know how I encourage "rawifying" your favorites).

Lately, the first recipe that comes to mind is spaghetti salad, a simple dish consisting of spaghetti noodles, cucumber, green peppers, tomatoes, olive oil and a bottle of salad seasoning. I had thought about bringing my raw version to our neighborhood block party this weekend, but was dreading the zucchini prep (my raw equivalent to the noodles in this salad).

Although hesitant to cut all those "noodles" myself, I still picked up the ingredients for the salad. Luckily, Matthew had predicted this in advance, ordering this handy helper, which arrived just in time to make my masterpiece.

And, just in case you'd like to try it, too, here is the recipe:

"Zucchetti" Salad
3 zucchini, cut or spiralized into "noodles"
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped**
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4-6 Tbsp. of your own salad seasoning*

In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini, cucumber, green pepper, tomato and olive oil. Mix in seasonings and adjust amount based on your taste. Enjoy or chill until ready to serve.

*To make your own version of the bottled salad seasoning, combine a mixture of nutritional yeast (the prepackaged stuff contains Romano cheese), sesame seeds, poppy seeds, paprika, celery seed, garlic, black pepper, red pepper and sea salt.

**Due to the tomato recall at the moment, I used diced cooked tomatoes this weekend in the recipe (forgive me). I just wanted to be safe, especially since I was going to be feeding this to others. If you are lucky enough to be growing your own tomatoes (I'm so jealous of those of you who are), please use fresh raw ones in this recipe.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Manolo "Blue"-nik

Today I'm blue, but that doesn't mean I'm blue in the sense that I am sad. I'm just including more of this lovely hue in my diet and my attire (I hear it complements my bright blue eyes beautifully).

For instance, this week I purchased a large quantity of blueberries. They're great in a smoothie, sprinkled in my cereal bowl, layered in a parfait and out of this world when paired with chocolate (Isn't everything better with chocolate?).

Yes, I said chocolate. Just check out these chocolate bars my friend Jenny posted on her blog a while back. Delish! They remind me of the chocolate covered blueberries I love tossed into trail mix or folded into a chocolate n'ice cream.

Still hooked on banana-based raw n'ice cream, I also like to add a few handfuls of fresh blueberries to my frozen chocolate berry dessert. You should try it sometime. Yum!

Now enough about blueberries. If I'm not careful, I'm going to turn into one.

But seriously folks, it's a good idea to mix up the colors in your diet and taste the rainbow (no, I'm not talking about eating Skittles). Sometimes I make it a personal goal (although not difficult to achieve on a raw diet) to eat all the colors of the produce spectrum everyday. (I hear Kristen has been known to do the same thing - you go girl!).

Besides, other fruits go well with chocolate, too. Who could pass up a chocolate covered strawberry? Some of those would've been a sweet addition to my sister's "Sex and the City" party she held for the premiere. The girlie event included an all chocolate food and drink theme. It's a shame I missed it.

If I had attended, I would have been tempted to wear my Manolo Blahniks, although they're not vegan. They are the only leather shoes I kept when I decided to stop wearing animals.

Now, please don't criticize me for not going all the way; I just couldn't bare to part with such an iconic shoe. I guess I do have a little Carrie in me. She wore the same ones in a "SATC" episode, although hers were pink and mine are, you guessed it, blue.

No matter what, I definitely would have showed up at the party in heels, something my mom even sported for the occasion.

Speaking of an occasion, today is my sister Lori's birthday (Happy b-day girlie girl. Lylas!) I hoped to take her to see the new "SATC" movie, but she beat me to it. So, instead, I got her the soundtrack and a big bouquet of sunflowers (they reminded me of the large flowers Carrie made popular in the series).

Unfortunately, Lori was disappointed in the big screen version, but I still hope to eventually judge it for myself. Anyone else want to share a review?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Going bananas!

If it weren't for this picture book by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers, I'd be tempted to say that I'm turning into a guerrilla. But as this cover suggests, a dog might be a more accurate description (do dogs actually like bananas?).

Now, all silliness aside (well, just for a moment), don't worry about me; I am still human. It's just that I've been eating quite a large quantity of this yellow packable/peelable fruit (I just love when nature provides its own compostable packaging).

I put them in my a.m. smoothies, sliced in fruit salad or my raw cereal bowl, processed into a simple banana-based n'ice cream, served up frozen on a stick (plain or embellished in chocolate, nut butter and/or a sprinkling of crushed nuts or cacao nibs - yum!) or just toted along as a quick and easy snack. There is no limit to the number of ways one can consume this versatile fruit.

But, how do you know when you've had too much? Have I overdosed on my current favorite ingredient (although the piles of bananas in the pic are perfectly speckled and ripe, not one of them will go to waste and end up past its prime)?

I was beginning to wonder yesterday when I found myself going back to some primitive ways (maybe I am a little like an ape, since I've also been indulging in a ton of greens). You see, there was a big storm (we actually got some hail - something I haven't seen, make that heard, in years), which knocked our electricity out (it's amazing how much we have grown to depend on it).

Without electricity, it began to get really warm inside our home on this 80-something degree day. To make matters worse, we had recently worked up a sweat exercising and were unable to shower without electric.

So, what did we do? When the weather calmed down to just a steady rain (no more lightening and hail), we ran outside scantily clad (my son and hubby in their shorts and me in my bikini) in hopes of cooling off and rinsing away some of our not-so-fresh sheen (It's funny, but I actually did feel a little fresher and cooler after that).

While we were out there goofing off and shaking a tail feather (now, I sound like some sort of bird), we, or in this case I, had some spectators (who would of thought anyone else would've been crazy enough to go out in this stuff?), which my hubby took his time pointing out. He and Jacob were concealed around the back of the house, while I was in plain view on the side.

Just my luck; while my back was turned, someone else was turning around their vehicle right in front of our house. My husband thought nothing of it until mentioning the fact that this vehicle was having trouble making its "20-point turn." How embarrassing :-)

Oh well, at least we had fun and were able to get a real indoor shower later that evening, thanks to Matthew's parents, who had power (they only live a couple streets over). It's nice to be clean. I sleep much better that way :-)