Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Milk" & cookie jar

What's in my jar today? I guess you can call it a cookie jar, as it contains raw cookies and nutmilk jelly (well, it was originally a jelly jar). It made perfect sense to transform the "milk" into a jelly, both to aid in the layering process, as well as to compliment the Tastes Like PB Cookies.

I had some of these yummy treats already stocked in my freezer from one of my past unbaking sessions. If you missed the post the first time, here is a link to the recipe.

Just like Bitt (who on my last post commented: "I hate cleaning out the blender and food processor at the same time too! My trick is sometimes to do one part one day and then one part the next day. Or just leave one of them in the sink for the dish fairy to clean up"), I find it nice to have part of the work done for you on a separate day to keep the cleanup under control.

To make life even easier, you could also opt to use the convenience product method. Larabar makes a peanut butter flavor that has real peanuts (if you consume those; they are not raw), or a cashew cookie bar that works just as well.

Since this is a cookie post, you might want to try a premade cookie like those from Kookie Karma. Owner Juli Novotny offers a variety of both baked and unbaked flavors.

Speaking of Juli, she is actually one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to unbaking. I still make her exclusively formulated for GLiving Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I'll tell you more about it in a future post.

Now on to the "milk." I made a coconut/cashew nutmilk, which became a jelly when I added some chia (don't forget you can get an 8-ounce bag of free chia seeds with any $40 NaturalZing purchase, just by entering the code: CHIADORABLE at checkout - this offer expires Friday, March 5, 2010). Once set, it layered beautifully between my raw cookies and cookie crumbs on top, don't you think?

So, that's what's in my jar today. What about yours? Are you making your own on-the-go layered concoctions? What should I make next? Any suggestions?

Friday, February 26, 2010

All wrapped into one

I find inspiration all the time, whether it be from a magazine, television, recipe, a product on the market, a memory from my past or perhaps another blogger's post. Sometimes multiple sources converge, and I end up with something like this.

First, I got a copy of Heathy's e-book, which has had me craving multiple recipes from it. Then, I saw an episode of "Unwrapped" on Food Network, highlighting Yummy Cupcake's innovative concept, "Cupcake in a Jar."

While visiting yet another "yummy" site, known as the Yummy Raw Kitchen, I was reminded of the jar idea, as Nikki blogged about transporting her smoothies in them. I just had to make this container work for me, too.

I've had a ton of combinations pop in my head, starting with Heathy's Double Chocolate Maca Cake. Then I considered a mixture of her Quick N Easy Moist Chocolate Cake (which is fruit-sweetened with just dates and apples) layered with her Nutless Chocolate Creme, but finally ended up with something even more simple.

As this was a spur of the moment decision, I opted to do a cake-like layer using a convenient product I'll get to in a minute, topped off with an avocado-based pudding and some sliced bananas for garnish (that's how Heathy decorated her Double Chocolate Maca Cake), and repeated the process again to fill the jar. It was so easy and ready to take anywhere.

I used to enjoy making everything from scratch, but with little lady around, I've had to cut some corners. I sometimes feel like the Sandra Lee of raw when I find myself creating semi-homemade recipes instead.

I can't be the only mommy out there finding shortcuts when needed (what quick fixes or convenient products do you use?). It's nice to have part of the work done for you in a pinch.

For instance, I actually reshaped a chocolaty Larabar to act as the "cake" in this trifle of sorts. It saved me from having to use/clean out (that's the part I don't like) the food processor in addition to the blender. Layering the basic bar with some fresh raw pudding, sliced banana and a sprig of mint (please forgive me for garnishing with something not included in the rest of the dish; it just needed a little extra something) jazzed it up a bit, while still enabling me to take it on the go.

Don't be surprised if you start seeing other jarred treats on this site. Thanks to all of you for the inspiration :-)


friday, february 26, 2010, continued ...

Lovin' the layers

Layers don't only look good in desserts, but they also keep you warm.

Thanks to Stephanie of Rawlicious Barbie, Hayden has some more layers in her wardrobe. Stephanie very kindly sent some tops, a pair of pants and theses adorable little leg warmers to my cupcake.

Here she is modeling the leg warmers in her ballerina outfit. She can sit up on her own now.

Thanks Steph :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Butternut Pudding

I don't know why, but I just go through phases. One moment I can't get enough of raw cupcakes, while the next, I can't stop blending up creamy puddings and smoothies.

Now that Hayden is getting more active, I've had less time to construct artistic masterpieces (at least past ones are still posted on my site for your viewing pleasure), settling for on-the-go sludge (they are usually mucked up with greens).

Little lady is 6 months now; time to start solids. As a result, all my bowls look like something for her. When I try to eat with her on my lap, it is a constant fight for the spoon (I guess she has my appetite; this one's for Gena: "My name is shannonmarie, and I love to eat!").

I was the same way at her age, making little hand gestures, signally I wanted more. As a result, I earned the name, "Tubs."

I must have looked like a little Oompa Loompa, since I also had orange skin. Seriously, eating a lot of baby carrots, squash and sweet potatoes (my favorites at the time) can actually give you an orange glow.

As a toddler, I became a big fan of butterscotch pudding. Now that I'm on a pudding kick, I thought why not use the squash to make a similar concoction. It's not quite the same, but it hits the spot.

I opted to forgo the agave and/or maple syrup for just fruit, as I've been trying to cut back. I also went easy on the dates, although a heavier amount would make the flavor more authentic. Anyway, this is what I (not the baby) ate.

Butternut Pudding
1 banana
1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash
1/2 an apple (pink ladies are the best)
4 small or 2 large dates, soaked (about 1/4 cup)
2 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of sea salt
*1/2-1 Tbsp. raw carob and/or mesquite powder (optional, but I think it makes it taste like caramel)
*chopped date for garnish

Add banana, squash, apple, dates, almond butter, chia, vanilla and sea salt (as well as the carob and/or mesquite, if you like) to a high-powered blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl to set. Garnish with chopped dates.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Old faithful

After the sugar rush I showed you the other day (hey, at least it is good sugars), I thought it best to get back on track. The Double Chocolate Maca Cake is going to have to wait, as I've been using my maca to whip up energy-boosting smoothies and puddings to power me through my day.

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, mentioning Brendan Brazier and his Thrive recipes on my blog lately, but this lifestyle is a very big part of mine. Although many of my readers have been drawn to my site by the sight (I like that; two words sounding the same, but with different meanings) of raw cupcakes, that's really not all I eat.

Sure it's fun to "rawify" scrumptious (you know that's got to be my favorite word of all time) unbaked goods and other yummy treats; however, I cannot live on these alone, especially being a mom. I may not be a professional athlete, yet some days, I feel like I've worked out like one.

I find it beneficial to sometimes sip on Nutrient-Rich Shakes to ensure I am getting what I need when I don't always have time to think about it. This old standby from Brendan's first book, simply titled, "Thrive," is the shake he made daily, prior to formulating his convenient Vega version. It has banana (electrolytes), blueberries (antioxidants), pear (natural sugar/fiber), hemp oil (EFAs), flax seeds (Omega 3/fiber), hemp protein (complete protein), chlorella (vitamin B12, chlorophyll, nucleic acids; I also added a large handful of greens, which explains its sludgy color), dairy-free probiotics (good bacteria) and, of course, maca (sterols, alkaloids, glucosinolates).

I just toss all these ingredients in my Blendtec, give it a whirl, and I'm good to go. I feel like the Energizer Bunny. Nothing can stop me now :-)


As for the giveaway world, check out HiHoRosie for a chance to win an ice cream machine. I like to sometimes convert my favorite smoothies into frozen desserts with these. Good luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

(Not) "Just Desserts"

I hope that didn't sound negative, because it's so much more than "Just Desserts." This is why Heathy has an e-book and I don't. In addition to sharing her gorgeous creations, she really takes the time to break down every step, assisting others in making them, too.

The book opens with a foreward by none-other-than Carmella of the popular Sunny Raw Kitchen blog and Raw Freedom Community. If you've seen (and tasted) some of Carmi's desserts, you'd understand why it is a big deal to have her, not only open Heathy's e-book, but also admit to using it as a reference in her sunny raw kitchen.

Next up, you get to know Heathy, if you don't already. She is the typical girl next door. Who wouldn't want to invite her in? She admits to having a sweet tooth, like the rest of us, and following her own culinary path (she didn't care much for the classic French Cuisine she studied) and passion, found a way to satisfy those cravings in a much healthier fashion.

Starting with the sweeteners, she gives a list of more natural options, with tips on how to use them, followed by nuts, and other ingredients often used in her recipes. Then, she organizes the equipment, based on what's essential and what's just fun to have.

For those who still may need a helping hand, her hints and tips are like having her right there with you. She even gives pointers on presentation and serving, so we can all look like pros.

But, since I haven't had the opportunity to test and photograph all of these lovely delights, I have to admit that today's photos are straight from the book and/or blog (Heathy, I hope you don't mind; I've always liked that photo of you licking the beater and the bowl. I do it, too, sometimes). If you want to see more, I recommend getting the e-book and sampling the recipe section yourself. Nothing beats having them in person; they taste much better that way :-)

In addition to the basic chocolate recipe/guidance I mentioned the other day (I think she's addressed most of the causes of failed attempts), she goes on with more recipes for creams, puddings, caramels (perfect for whipping up the raw turtles she talks about in this video), toppings; and those are just the finishing touches.

Do you want cake or pie? Oil or cream? Okay, I was just thinking of the commercial for a product she will have you turning down for her version any day.

Many of these desserts can be downsized to a cupcake or tart, as I plan to do in the future. It is very rare that I have a reason to make a whole cake or pie. However, when I do, that Double Chocolate Maca Cake (gotta love double the chocolate, especially with a bit of maca) is the one that caught me eye.

The funny thing is that I mostly wanted the book for her secret Super Granola Bar recipe (which she recently added a chocolate coat to on her blog), something I can carry around with me. To my surprise it is actually an "add-in recipe." Once you've whipped up a batch of her oatmeal raisin cookie dough (also a hit in this household), just add in a few more ingredients, shape and unbake in your dehydrator. You can easily make two recipes at once.

There are many more fun recipes inside, both for entertaining and to get the kids involved. I'd tell you more, but Hayden needs me now.

By the way, don't forget about the CHIADORABLE code I mentioned in my last post. It will come in handy for scoring some free chia seeds when you're purchasing your dessert-making supplies from NaturalZing (you only need to spend $40 or more to take advantage of this offer, so get yours while the offer lasts; its good until Friday, March 5, 2010).


Also, there's only a couple days left to enter Joanna's giveaway. The subscription up for grabs is "Purely Delicious."

Friday, February 19, 2010

This one's for your face :-)

A week and a half ago, I posted about our crazy snowfall (which is still up to my knees outside; there is more in the forecast on Monday), as well as this yummy kiwi-basil gelee. There was some confusion as to whether or not to eat it or apply it to your face.

Well, to answer your question, I originally concocted it as a skin food, literally. It was food to be eaten to benefit your skin from the inside out.

Kiwi is packed with vitamins A, C and E, and its black seeds contain Alfa-Linoleic Acid (an important Omega-3 essential fatty acid acid, according to Basil is also known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as being a tasty spa-like addition (summery foods always remind me of a refreshing spa).

Don't forget about the chia seeds, which not only turn this dish into a jelly-like delight; they also "are high in iron, boron, EFA's and fiber. (They) contain protein. All in all the Chia seed, a muscle and tissue builder and an energizer of endurance with extensive hydration properties, is a great food," as quoted from the NaturalZing website.

After considering some of your comments and receiving a new facial recipe in my inbox from Vital Juice (yet another fun e-newsletter, although not always vegan), I decided that maybe this could work directly on your face. It couldn't hurt, right?

Or, perhaps you might want to try the "Frugalista Facial" from the Vital Juice e-mail I mentioned. This quick raw foodie face mask comes courtesy of Josh Rosebrook from L.A.'s The Parlour on 3rd salon. Check it out:

"The avocado-chia face mask below features only two ingredients - avocado and chia seeds - and minimal prep. Vitamin E-rich avocados regenerate skin cells and jump-start collagen production to diminish the appearance of fine lines. Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to soothe inflammation from winter wind and cold."

1. Mash half of an avocado with 3 Tbsp. ground chia seeds.
2. Apply mask to face.
3. Leave on 10 to 45 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. You'll have yummy looking skin in no time :-)

Speaking of yummy, check out this tasty Golden Bean bar I scored from a special NaturalZing promotion. I plan on sharing other offers with my readers, asap. For instance, you can get a free 8-ounce bag of chia seeds with any $40 purchase, just type in the code: "CHIADORABLE" (this offer is good through Friday, March 5, 2010).


Oh, I almost forgot; Michal at Earth Muffin is celebrating her vegan anniversary with a giveaway. Don't forget to stop by and congratulate her. The contest ends Sunday.

Averie is also giving away some coconut pb (you'll have to see it to believe it), and I think there is still some time left to enter for a chance to win Gena's Tribest Blender.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Life is like a box of chocolates ..."

... or in this case, a luxurious chocolate bath; it's worth experiencing every single moment of it.

I bet you thought I was going to follow that up with, "you never know what you're gonna get."

But, I did know. I even told you in my pre-Valentine's Day post that I planned on pouring cocoa powder and coconut milk into my bath for the holiday, and that's exactly what I did.

I got to bathe in a tub full of deliciousness, although I knew better than to drink from it (yuck! I remember explaining to Jacob when he was little the reason why you shouldn't consume the bath water ... no matter how tempting). Just look at the chocolate stream in the background of the chocolate scrub pic. It reminds me of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

That's right; I did say, "chocolate scrub." I whipped up some of the recipe I posted the other day to complete the experience (as seen in the photo to the right. My hubby was concerned about the potential lack of modesty in this photo session, until he discovered I'd only be posting ingredient pics on my blog. I guess I'd wonder, too, if I saw him taking the camera into the bathroom sans clothing). It left my body soft and smooth; no need to follow up with costly raw cocoa butter as a moisturizer (my initial plan). I got to save that for an edible treat.

Speaking of edible, I also blended up a Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shake, thanks to Sarma's Valentine's Day recipe. I mentioned that she had sent it out in the latest Duck mail, and lucky for you, she now has it up on her blog. It's simple and delicious any day of the year.

I didn't have fresh strawberries to cover in chocolate, so this one really satisfied my craving. And, since I couldn't garnish the shake with a chocolate-covered strawberry, I used a frozen berry on the side of my glass, along side a raw chocolate heart pop.

If you don't already know how to make your own raw chocolates, I recommend ordering a copy of Raw Goddess Heathy's "Just Desserts" e-book, where she shows you how its done. She even gives tips for turning out perfect raw chocolates every time, as well as a ton of other yummy raw desserts, of course. I was lucky enough to receive my own copy recently, and I can't wait to try more of her beautiful creations. I'll give a more extensive review soon :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"Sunshine Day"

Anybody read that title and get this song stuck in their head? I sure did. Here it goes, so sing along:

"I think I'll go for a walk outside now,
the summer sun's calling my name,
I hear ya now,
I just can't stay inside all day,
I gotta get out, get me some of those rays."

"Everybody's smiling,
Sunshine day,
Everybody's laughing,
Sunshine day,
Everybody sings,
So happy today,
It's a sunshine day!"

The sun is shining, but summer is still far away. Thanks to Joanna sharing her Sunshine Award with me, I can keep those warm and fuzzy thoughts a flowing all winter long (Speaking of warm and fuzzy, I saw this positive reinforcement idea the other day and thought I might try it with my son. It is amazing what you can accomplish with something so small). It's the inspiration I need this time of year.

We all need a little sunshine, so I'll be spreading the love to you, too. In the words of the recipients before me, "This award is easy peasy. All you need to do is give it to 12 other bloggers who bring you sunshine! And link back to the person who gave it to you."

I've already linked back to Joanna; now I need to select 12 of you. But, there are so many sunny blogs out there that I can't begin to narrow them down. Instead, I've opted to take a tip from Averie and bestow the honor on anyone with a blog who is enjoying mine right now. If you have the time, spread a little sunshine in your next post, linking back here to keep the chain shining bright.

In the meantime, I'm going to have some of this yumminess:

Sunshine in a Bowl
1 pink grapefruit
a knife
a bowl
and a spoon

Slice your grapefruit in half to expose the "sunshiny rays" inside. Place it in a bowl and scoop the segments out with a spoon. Enjoy!

This was just a reminder of how simple and tasty raw can be. Don't stress about it. Have fun today :-)


By the way, since it is Valentine's Day, you might want to get a little more playful with your ingredients (even if it is just tossed in your blender; no need to do a lot of prep). You could make the Pink Lady smoothie I mentioned in my last post, pump up the protein with Kristen's Cherry Chocolate Bomb Shake or whip up an extra special creation like the Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Valentine's Day Shake from the latest Duck mail (sign up here for specials, announcements and recipes, if you haven't already; otherwise, you have to wait for them to appear later on the site).

It has a combination of strawberries, raspberries, banana, coconut water, cashew milk, yacon, lucuma, maca, stevia, vanilla and sea salt. Half of the blended smoothie is served on the bottom of your glass, while the rest takes another spin with cacao powder before being poured on top. Garnish with a chocolate-covered strawberry and you're good to go. It is sure to put you in the mood :-)

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 :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beautiful Girls

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy that movie (as well as its soundtrack), until I found myself surrounded by the flick's snow-covered backdrop (dude, where's my car?). The entire film takes place in a wintry wonderland, similar to the one at my house.

It is amazing how much snow we've had this year, and there is no end in sight. Even the groundhog wouldn't come out of hiding in fear of his shadow. I don't blame him with the more than 2 feet of the white stuff still piled up on our lawn and another foot or so in the forecast today into tomorrow.

I guess us girls (Hayden and myself) have an excuse to pamper ourselves while we are stuck at home. It's a good time to break out the facials and other spa treats.

Don't worry, as I have no plans of covering Hayden in any of this stuff. I also wouldn't think of putting a bunch of chemical concoctions all over myself either. Instead, I opt to use items from my kitchen to beautify us from the inside out, as well as on the surface.

For example, VegNews recently had a page dedicated to "Skin to D-I-Y For: Treat your body's largest organ to some concoctions that are good enough to eat - literally." The article first talked about toner options, like apple cider vinegar, green tea and strawberries (I happen to use apple cider vinegar, witch hazel and rose water on a regular basis to cleanse my face). It also discusses the exfoliating properties of pineapple, papaya and grapefruit (I like to use half a lemon coated in sugar to scrub my skin) and the moisturizing effects of avocados, coconut, olive, hemp and flaxseed oil (I'm a big fan of avocado and coconut).

Lastly, it mentioned the importance of eating for good skin. Make sure you consume the colors of the rainbow (I've been teaching Jacob to load up his plate that way), including foods that contain vitamins A, C and E, as well as your Bs and omega-3s.

I know I've been trying to eat more seasonally (which is evident by my overflowing kale supply in the fridge), but I have made some exceptions here and there to make sure I get a good variety of nutrients (and as an escape from the drab winter weather; I like to pretend it's already spring or summer). So, for a treat today, I made this kiwi-basil puree with chia. It's refreshing and packed with the yummy stuff I need to keep that sunny glow, even when its cloudy outside.

Here's how you make it:

2 kiwi, peeled and diced
handful of fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp. of chia seeds

In a food processor, puree the kiwi and basil. Add to a small bowl and mix in the chia. Allow to set in the fridge. Garnish with kiwi slices and more basil, if desired.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snowed in my sock monkey socks

Now that's a silly title, not to mention the socks; my mom got them for me and my sisters for Christmas this year.

Lucky for me (especially since they've been on my feet), I didn't actually get any snow in them. I just like linking two ideas together with one word. In this case, the word is "in," as in we've been snowed "in" all weekend, while I kept warm "in" my sock monkeys that are, in fact, worn as socks (I think that classifies as a run on sentence, but proper grammar isn't always a necessity on my casual blog).

We really are snowed in, which is evident in the background of my pudding pics. I had made some alterations to one of my favorite bases, although the results still looked the same. But, rather than bore you with the same old file photo, I opted to at least give you a new backdrop.

The funny part was when I decided to open the door to take the pudding outside; I didn't even have to leave our foyer to snap a snow-covered pic. The usually sheltered front porch was blanketed in a sea of white, walling off my entry to the outside world. And, with the blizzard-like winds still blowing strong, my only choice was to quickly nestle the bowl in the chilly cushion before me, take a couple shots and whisk it back inside before it became hidden, too.

Now don't be fooled by the white flakes atop this delight. They are actually raw cocoa butter shavings, a garnish recommended by the inspiration for this revamped dish.

When my Internet was up and running (it was out during the storm/aftermath, which explains this delayed post), I somehow came across this Raw Chocolate Protein Pudding recipe on the World Redress blog. I was immediately intrigued with its addition of both apple cider vinegar and miso.

Just the other day, I learned that apple cider vinegar lowers the glycemic index of whatever you put it on. Or, at least that's what I heard on Oprah. Who knows? It couldn't hurt, right?

Anyway, I also found that miso helps improve my immune system this time of year, so I try to incorporate it into my diet when I can. Unfortunately, my sweet tooth usually wins over the often savory dishes containing this ingredient.

You can imagine how happy I was to find a recipe that offered something for my sweet cravings (but not too sweet), balanced out my blood sugar (at least it felt that way), energized me and helped boost my immune system when I needed it most (I'm snowed in with an under-the-weather hubby and son; Hayden and I are trying are best not to catch it). Best of all, it was concealed in chocolate.

Of course, being stuck at home, I had no way of getting all the specific ingredients, so I made some modifications to the recipe. Who am I kidding? I'm always tailor-making recipes to suit my tastes and needs.

I guess that's why I never settled on a cookbook or uncookbook to blog about in its entirety, such as in the movie "Julie and Julia." I finally got a chance to watch it this weekend (I also watched "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist," one of my favorite movies to leave on whenever its on cable, as well as "500 Days of Summer," which never gets old either. Did you notice I was viewing "Nick & Norah" in my "Nick & Nora" monkey socks? Nevermind.)

Anyway, back to the pudding. I didn't have any young Thai coconuts, and I wasn't about to use that much agave (I'm trying to rely on just the fruit for sweetness). Also, I wasn't sure if it was meant to feed one person or a whole family. Factoring in a few more alterations, here is what I made:

Miso Happy It's Chocolate Pudding
1 banana
3/4 avocado
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 tsp. maca powder
1-2 Tbsp. walnuts
1 Tbsp. coconut flakes
1/2 gala apple, unpeeled
1 tsp. miso
1 Tbsp. hemp protein powder
sprinkle of cinnamon
*raw cocoa shavings and/or goji berries to garnish

Put all ingredients (except for the cocoa butter shavings and/or goji berries) in a high-powered blender and whip into a creamy, fluffy, pudding-like consistency. Garnish as desired.

*If you do venture to try this, please keep in mind that I have been reducing my sugar (mainly agave, maple syrup, etc.; I still consume some fruit) intake lately (kinda like Ellen; the cool thing is that bland foods now have a lot of flavor) in addition to my already odd taste buds (I had a thing for pickles and ice cream long before I ever got pregnant). In other words, sample this at your own risk :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

She's got the glow

My little lady gets a lot of compliments on her skin, which I often attribute to her mommy's diet of fresh fruits and veggies, especially the greens. As I was sitting on the couch, eating my brightly colored kale salad (I was too lazy to get up and take a proper pic, so you're stuck seeing my bowl on my lap), she actually tried to steal it away from me.

Okay, the second photo is much cuter than the first, as Hayden is the focal point, leaving the tossed salad in a blur. Literally, the salad almost ended up on the floor.

Lucky for the two of us, it made its way into my belly (not the floor) and nourished my curious cupcake, too. Remember that I often refer to her as my cupcake, like I did in my last post.

Her beauty secret must have paid off, as she managed to land in the No. 6 spot at the end of last week's Cute Kid contest. No wonder she is still glowing, thanks to all your greatly appreciated votes.

She was then automatically entered into this week's round. The position tends to shift periodically as votes are cast, but this link ( should adjust to those changes. Thanks again to everyone who voted :-)