I Love the Smell of Hippie in the Morning

I’m not sure this photo really does the feeling of spilled green juice justice.

Liquid Bronze

That glass was FULL moments before that picture was taken.

The only thing I can compare spilling about 8 oz of fresh vegetable juice to would be spilling a 4 oz bottle of expressed breast milk all over your desk and work clothes. M@ther#F*ckr%! How quickly you understand why they call it liquid gold. Something you worked so damn hard for and is now gone, you’ve got a mess to clean up, a baby who’s going without lunch (kidding) or a husband who’s going without breakfast (talking about the other kind of juice now).

Lesson learned – although you think I would have learned this in 1st grade – dry your hands off before picking something up that is slippery when wet. What a concept.

The glass slipped out of my wet hand as I picked it up to transfer juice from the glass to the pitcher. Fortunately it was mainly cucumber, apple and lemon juice and all the gold (juice from the romaine) had already be transferred about 5 minutes earlier. So really I only spilled liquid bronze this morning. I’ve got a boat load of apples and lemons and cucumbers so I was able recover from early morning juice carnage without having to tell Zak that no, I didn’t make any juice this morning with one hand covering the green juice slopped onto my shirt while my other hand wiped off my green juice mustache.

In other hippie news – I got out the mung beans this morning and started soaking them to prepare for lift off. I mean sprouting.

Mung Beans There They Are

Why do I feel like I have a mouth full of pebbles every time I say the word “Mung”?

4 tablespoons of dried mung beans. Gonna let these little suckers soak for 6 hours and then let the sprouting fun begin. 3 – 4 days til complete sprout-age tells this impatient mama that it’s time to go find some more wide mouth jars.

I wanted to take a clever picture of my juice and my soaking beans, one in each hand, using my third hand to hold the camera. My third hand being comprised of the the timer on my camera and holding my camera between my chin and my chest. But what I wound up with was a camera that slipped from it’s position (stupid sweatshirt) and came crashing down on to the stove, MORE slopped juice that landed on my camera to top it all off. My camera seems no worse for wear but I don’t think it appreciates live enzymes and chlorophyll the same way I do. Yeah – not sure my sweatshirt is really the stupid one here.

Somewhere along my comedy of errors this picture was taken and you can bet my juice drinking bean sprouting ass it’s getting posted on the blog for everything I went through this morning to take it.

Talk to the Hand

So here’s my very non-clever, juice and camera friendly picture of what I did with myself this morning.

Oh how I love the smell of hippie in the morning.

I Love the Smell of Hippie in the Morning

That juice is now safely in my stomach and those beans are sitting on the window sill in my kitchen getting their soak on.

In other non-hippie news I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do this morning: run or ride. When I realized that neither idea appealed to me I counted backwards and realized I haven’t had a rest day since Tuesday of last week – so today’s the day. I “rested” today by cursing at myself while mopping up juice mixed with tears.

And a fun announcement: if you’re a blogger (or even if you aren’t!) head over to Matt the No Meat Athlete’s new(ish) blog Health Blog Helper to check out a guest post of mine today! Health Blog Helper is a site Matt designed to offer advice and tips for those who blog in the healthy living niche. I’m working on a new series for Health Blog Helper called Behind the Blog where I interview some of the rock star healthy living bloggers and give my fellow health bloggers (not to mention myself!) a peek at what makes some of the more prominent blogs tick. Be sure to check out my first interview featuring Caitlin from Health Tipping Point today! And be sure to poke around HBH while you’re there – Matt’s got a bunch of great posts and tips for bloggers of all shapes and sizes.

It’s Juice Day

When I first started to consider vegetable juicing, Zak was skeptical. He didn’t understand what the point was or what was so great about it.

“Why not just eat a salad?” he asked.

Well sure, you could just eat a salad, but you’d have to eat A LOT of salad to reap all the benefits from the live enzymes and chlorophyll you get from a small glass of green juice. Or a big glass for that matter.

I was holding off buying a juicer because I felt some resistance and was not yet prepared to shell out big bucks on an experiment, but thank the heavens the juice gods smiled at us and the rest is history.

This same man that was so skeptical is now a green juice addict. He said yesterday he needs to know what the juice schedule is. I don’t think he cares so much about the health benefits of fresh vegetable juice as he does about the taste. And I’ll admit, it is way tastier and refreshing than I ever expected – thus we are still drinking it regularly nearly two months later.

How about every other day, does that work? We had juice on Wednesday, so that means today is juice day. I think we’ve got ourselves a schedule.

Zak left early to swim laps while I puttered around the quiet house and lugged the juicer out around 6:30.

It's Juice Day

Oh how I love the grinding sounds of a juicer in the morning.

My usual: a head of romaine, 1 cucumber, 2 apples, 2 lemons and a couple inches of ginger. Enough juice for two.

It's Juice Day

I’m a lean green juice drinking machine!

Lean Green Juice Drinking Machine

The girls are with Ellen today per our usual Friday routine. I’ve got a laundry list of things to do and am hoping for an uber productive child free day.

I waited to go for my run, it’s so chilly in the mornings I decided to work through my usual AM run time and hold off until this afternoon when it’s a bit warmer. I love my early morning runs but with a good 6 months of cold mornings in front of me, I’m going to take advantage of the warmer running while I can.

This morning’s fuel was delivered via a bowl of chocolate banana fruit cereal goodness.

Friday Fruit Cereal

2 diced small-ish bananas, tossed in ground flax seed and unsweetened cocoa powder. Topped with sliced almonds and a spoonful of almond butter and a pour of unsweetened chocolate almond milk. Talk about dessert for breakfast. This my favorite fruit cereal combo yet, thus why I’ve eaten this exact combo over and over again.

The skies are looking kind of dark, looks like I better get my sneaks on and head out the door before my warm afternoon run turns into a wet one!

The Marathons are Over

A whirlwind day yesterday with so much going on, thank you all for all the birthday wishes for my baby girl!

After Maxine opened her gifts from us in the morning I got started on her cake. I used a chocolate cake recipe I’ve used in the past.

Dark Chocolate Cake
2 c boiling water
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
2 1/4 c white sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottoms of cake pans with parchment paper and grease sides. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Slowly add flour and cocoa mixture to batter, alternating flour and cocoa until completely combined.

I greased two cake pans with coconut oil (forgot about parchment paper until I was writing this post!) and lined cupcake pans with muffin tins.

Two Cake Pans Cake Batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (20 – 22 minutes for cupcakes.)

I cooled the cakes in their pans for about 15 minutes, then removed from pans and let finish cooling on a rack. This recipe made two 9 inch cakes and 16 cupcakes.

Once completely cool, I used a serrated knife to level the cakes and cut off the top layer to make them flat.

Leveling Leveled

For the filling I made a chocolate butter cream frosting.

1/2 c butter, softened
2 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz heavy whipping cream

Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and cocoa powder and continuing creaming until well blended. Add vanilla and whipping cream. Blend on low until moistened and well combined. Add more cream if necessary, beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

Filling Filled

I used a wide frosting blade to cover the leveled side of one cake, and then laid the top layer leveled side down so I would have a nice flat surface to frost later.

Two Layers

Cake in the fridge to set, I whipped up two sun dried tomato hummus sandwiches for me and Zak and we were out the door to take Ava to her homeschooling class in the city.

Two Sandwiches

After dropping Ava off the three of us spent some time at a park waiting for Ava to be done with her class.

Playground Birthday

We got home with an hour to spare to decorate the cake and finish getting the house ready for visitors! I used the same buttercream frosting recipe for decorating, without the cocoa powder. I tripled the recipe and had MORE than enough for the cake and cupcakes.

The birthday gal got some fun gifts and then it was time for CAKE!

Dolly

My cake decorating skills are amateur at best, but I was still pleased with the way it turned out. Maxine was delighted and that’s all that mattered.

Maxine's 3rd Birthday Cake

I had very specific instructions for “An Ariel cake, but no fish and no crab”. OK kid, your wish is my command.

Lesson learned from Ava’s 5th birthday: make lots of cupcakes, just in case. I made Ava a Backyardigans cake for her 5th birthday in March and she loved it SO much that she absolutely screamed like I was cutting into her flesh when I tried to cut and serve it. I had to cut the few extra cupcakes I’d made into tiny portions served with big scoops of ice cream. Fortunately everyone laughed and were good sports but I wasn’t going to risk that happening for two birthday parties in a row!

Cupcakes

Maxine had no problem cutting into her cake – I’ve got lots of cupcakes left over. Want one?

It was right about this time that I realized I was having cake and ice cream for dinner! Oops! Oh well, at least it was real butter and sugar instead of partially hydrogenated goodness and high fructose corn fun.

Dinner

Green juice was most definitely in order for this morning after my 4 mile run. I need to detox the sugar and butter from my cells! (But it was totally worth it!)

Green Juice For Sure!

The two big events that were on the calendar are now behind us! The half marathon and Maxine’s birthday and celebration – and I feel like I’ve run two marathons back to back. How is it Wednesday already?

She Missed the Bus

Today would have been Ava’s first day at school. Kindergarten, to be more precise. But as the saying goes, she missed the bus.

She Missed the Bus

I’m very grateful that the homeschooling seed was planted in our minds early on because it took me a while to get comfortable with the idea. I use to resist the instinct to hyperventilate at the idea of NOT schooling our kids in the traditional sense. But fortunately we have a large homeschooling community in our area and we’ve gotten to know a lot of homeschooling families and kids, including a couple of incredibly amazing grown up homeschoolers.  I know that homeschooling DOES indeed work and the pros easily out weight any cons. This confidence enables me to take a picture of a school bus driving by the house this morning and I can continue breathing in a normal fashion.

I had the alarm set for 5:30 and got up early this morning to get caught up on house work. I’m working on this being my new routine. Instead of sitting down at my computer when I wake up I head straight downstairs to the basement and start a load of laundry.  This primes the house work pump for me and it’s easy to keep rolling once I hear the washer filling.  It’s like it flips the “get to work!” switch.  I have no problem doing house work once I get stared, but that’s just it.  Getting STARTED is the hardest part. Now that we are “officially” homeschooling I need to get into a regular routine here. I kind of feel like I’ve been goofing off all summer long, keeping up (or not) with house work with no real system in place.  If I’ve learned anything from regular exercise, routine is key!

I worked on house work until the sun came up and then headed out for a 4 mile run and was back again in just over a half hour. I planned to run today and will run Thursday and then it’s REST REST REST until the half marathon on Sunday!

I came back to hear the juicer purring and to find Zak standing over a sea of produce.

Handsome Juice

Fortunately he left me more than just a couple of tablespoons. I hadn’t planned to make juice today so this was a nice surprise. The man is hooked!

The usual: romaine, a beet, a cucumber, an apple, a lemon and a couple inches of ginger.

Not Back to School Juice

Juice held me over well and it’s just now nearing 10 and I’m having breakfast. Today’s fruit cereal combo is made up a diced banana, a couple diced prunes tossed in ground flax, topped with a small handful of sliced almonds and a little spoonful of almond butter.

Tuesday Fruit Cereal

I suppose now we should go do something homeschool-y, in honor of NOT back to school today!

Practical (Juice) Jokes

Oh vegetable juice, how I’ve missed thee! It’s been two days!

Thanks to Heather I’ve been adding beets to my Green Lemonade lately, which turns the juice beet red (literally) and is now more appropriately called Magenta Juice.

Brendan Brazier recommends in Thrive adding beet greens to your salads. Well if it’s good in a salad then it’s gotta be just as good in juice!

Beet Greens

Instead of just composting these beet greens like usual, today they were added to the mix. Into the juicer went beet greens, the beet at the end said greens, romaine, lemon, ginger and cucumber. I am out of apples so I threw in a couple of carrots for good measure.

Sometimes Zak will come home from work at the end of the day and will find evidence that I made green juice while he was gone, but there’s no juice for him to be found. Maybe he sees the juicer parts drying in the dish rack, the pulp in the compost bucket, or the stupid green juice grin on my face that I can’t wipe off for the life of me.

And my answer is always one of the same:

Oh, you wanted some?
It’s best to drink it when it’s FRESH!
OK, yeah, I drank it.

He’s swimming this morning and was therefore not here when I made juice.

Angel on my shoulder: Leave some for Zak. LEAVE SOME FOR ZAK.
Devil on other shoulder: Hide the evidence! HIDE THE EVIDENCE!

Alrighty, alright. He does go to work so I can buy the vegetables, I suppose I can leave him a little.

Big Juice, Little Juice

Hey man, I left you some! What’s the problem?!

From Above

So these little juice shenanigans were really just meant for a smart ass post this morning but I decided to share the juice joke love with Zak too. I left his little juice in plain site in the fridge for when he gets home and asks if I made juice for him. “ummm yeah, there’s a little left in the fridge for you…”

Fridge Shot

If you look carefully though, behind that white crate of nuts is his actual juice.

Sneaky Juice

Notice that I put a lid on that jar? Yeah, it would be my beet juice luck that he either:

A. turns into the Incredible Hulk when sees his little juice and sends that jar of red dye flying when he picks up the refrigerator and throws it.

OR more likely:

B. doesn’t even see the little thing of juice, pushes the nut crate back when moving things around in the fridge to find the juice I said I left for him, knocks the glass over and douses the back of the refrigerator in beet juice. That lid is my karmic insurance policy.

Moving on.

When I left you on Friday, fruit cereal and I were just good friends. Now, we are lovers.

Fruit Cereal Lover

Seriously. I love. this. stuff. There are so many different ways you can make it.  This is only the tip of the fruit cereal ice burg. I ate this for breakfast all weekend. For this morning’s bowl I diced up a banana and a white peach. I tossed in a couple of raisins that I soaked in warm water this morning to soften up (I’m out of prunes!), coated the whole fruit mess in flax and shredded coconut. Topped with pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds and unsweetened vanilla hemp milk.  Raw, vegan, gluten free, delicious.

Now I’m just waiting for Zak to get home so I can go for a bike ride on this fine Labor Day morning, but not before I pretend nothing is out of the ordinary with a tiny glass of juice.

Hi, my name is Alison and I’m a fruit cereal lover and a serial jokester.

No Rest for the Weary

Today is a rest day. I swapped exercise this morning with work on my never ending to-do list. Over the years I’ve signed myself to volunteer for various non-profit groups and organizations – all in my quest to keep my brain from turning to mush as a stay at home mom. It’s all good, but sometimes things pile up and out of no where I realize I’ve got a million of things to do when all I’d really like to do is curl up into the fetal position with Halloween costume catalog and pretend my biggest concern is what Disney Princess I want to be for Halloween.

Disney Princess Costumes

Between tasks this morning I’ve of course been in and out of the kitchen about half a dozen times already.

Garbonzo beans soaked for about 8 hours and cooked for an hour ready to meet their food processor maker. My guess is hummus will be made. And that’s a pretty good guess considering I’m the cook around here.

Beans

Magenta Lemonade, his and hers.

Magenta Lemonade for Two

Who says you can’t make lemonade from romaine, cucumbers, apples, beets, lemons and ginger? Not Natalia, that’s for sure.

More work at my desk, I swapped out my coffee break for a cantaloupe break.

Cantaloupe

Somehow I’m still finding time to slowly but surely work my way through Thrive. I’m feeling naturally drawn to only juice and fruit until lunch time lately. I have to say the things Brendan Brazier has to say about raw foods and a vegan lifestyle are pretty convincing. I love so much of what I read in the Raw Foods Detox Diet by Natalia Rose, Thrive has felt like a natural progression. It’s the athlete’s raw food bible in my mind. He gives such a great explanation as to why raw foods are so good for you and what they can do for your body. It’s hard to argue with what he writes. He’s filled in some of the gaps from Natalia’s book. I feel like I’m putting together the pieces of the puzzle for the perfect diet for me, grabbing a little from here, a little from there coming up with what works for me on both a nutritional level and an emotional/psychological level as well. It trickles down to the kids and Zak, even my friends and family who seem interested and will listen to me rattle on. Not to mention you fine people too! That’s what this is really all about though, right? Sharing what we learn and live with the people we love.

I’m going to write a real review on Thrive as soon as I finish it. I’m aiming for some time before I’ve got to make my final decision on being Ariel or Cinderella for Halloween. Here’s hoping.

To Do Lists

Maxine woke me up in the middle of the night last night to accompany her on a trip to the bathroom and for some water.  Instead of falling back to sleep after I got back into bed, I laid awake for well over an hour while my mind went around and around with all the things that have been accumulating on my mental to-do list.

I remembered something I heard Jillian Michaels talk about on her radio show once, that when she can’t sleep she gets up and writes down everything she has to do and then she feels like once it’s written down, she can rest.

Normally a to-do list in my head is all I need, but sometimes it does get too long and I start to feel overwhelmed, so writing it all down can be one way to alleviate some stress. Around 4am I finally got up and put it all on paper, scribbling every task and item that came to mind – even down to the most mundane things like “fold laundry”.

And it worked! I fell back to sleep almost immediately and then next thing I knew it was 8:45! It helped knowing my morning work out has been pushed back to later in the day when my mom comes out to visit with the girls this afternoon.

First thing on my to do list for today?

Make GREEN JUICE.

I’m down to my last two cucumbers from the garden. Being the last two, they are of course the black sheep of cucumbers.

Meet Shorty and his brother Albino.

Black Sheep Cucumbers

Fortunately their stature and color of their skin make no difference to me or the juicer.

Monday Green Juice

Today’s juice contained romaine, cucumbers, an apple, a lemon and some ginger.

We’ve got a couple things going on after lunch but have the morning free to play and work on this to-do list of mine.

Got any good tips or tricks for falling back to sleep?