Saturday Madness

A Saturday full of non-stop action!

I woke up this morning to a balmy 47 degrees (I hope you picked up on my sarcasm there) and decided to post pone my bike ride for this afternoon when it was a bit warmer.

Instead I warmed my hands with a pot of green tea.

Pot of Green Tea

And warmed my soul with a bowl of banana chocolate fruit cereal.

Banana Cereal at Desk

Zak had plans this morning so I schlepped the girls into the car and we ran off to run some errands late morning into the early afternoon.

I hit the Thrive jackpot at the natural food store today!

First, a new foodie toy that I’m totally freaking excited about. Gonna sprout my own beans and seeds! Brendan would definitely approve.

Aww yeah gonna grow my own sprouts

Who wants to do the Bean Sprouting Dance with me? You’ve got to ball one arm up into your arm pit (like a seed) and hold the other arm up in the air (like a sprout) and then you jack the lower half of your body around like a you’re working hard to keep a hoola hoop circling your hips and you can’t let it fall to the ground lest it burst into flames and kill 100 small children in South Africa.

Got it? Good. Now let’s dance!

Next up, I’m excited about “Raw Cacao Nibs” as I’ve read about them in recipe after recipe in Thrive. (I feel like I’m very proper saying “Cacao Nibs”.) I also scored a smallish bag from bulk of raw hemp seeds to try baby! Yes, I’m totally doing this to please and impress my new boyfriend Brendan. I’m That Girl.

Raw Cacao Nibs Hemp Seeds

I also got some amaranth seeds (used in quite a few Thrive recipes) and a bag of alfalfa seeds too. I practically did the Bean Sprouting Dance out of the store to the car.

Post Thrive shopping success, we came home to unload groceries and I threw together a fast veggie sandwich.

Veggie Sandwich

Toasted Ezekiel bread, mustard, tomatoes, green leaf, pickles and sprouts. You might also call this a salad between two slices of sprouted grain bread.

Passing the child-watch torch to Zak, I left on my bike for a 50 minute, 13 mile ride – home just in time to get started on a birthday feast!

Did you know that Ava was born 4 days after my dad’s birthday and Maxine was born 6 days before my mom’s birthday? It’s a fact. I planned it that way. Or at least that’s what I like to pretend.

If you couldn’t tell, that would be my segue into a birthday dinner here tonight for my mom.

She requested vegetarian lasagna for her birthday meal. I’m on it! Veggie lasagna made to order – her vegetables of choice would be zucchini, green pepper, spinach and portobello mushrooms.

I decided to let the portobello mushrooms steal the show and have a layer all to themselves. I peeled two portobellos and sliced them about a 1/2 – 1/4″ thick and sauteed them in extra virgin olive oil until they released their water.

Portobellos

Mmmm mushroom water.

The spinach got promoted from the sauce as well and was transferred to the cheese layer. Congrats spinach! You’ve worked hard and totally deserve that promotion. I used about 4 oz of frozen, thawed spinach in stirred it in with the ricotta (15 oz container), 1 egg and some shredded mozzarella.

Cheese and Spinach Layer

Garlic, diced green pepper and shredded zucchini sauteed in extra virgin olive oil. Once soft I added a 4oz can of tomato paste, a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and about a cup of water. A little S&P, dried oregano and basil to taste.

Sauteed Veggies Sauce

A sauce layer, a lasagna noodle layer and a cheese layer, per usual. Then I added my layer of prepped portobello mushrooms.

Portobello Layer

Back to the standard layering of sauce, noodle, cheese, sauce, noodle, sauce, parm, done.

The birthday girl and my step dad came bearing WINE! My mom asked if I was going to be a party joiner or a party pooper. i.e., was I going to embibe or not. I opted for what was behind door number 1. Someone get mama (and granny) a glass!

Cupcake! How perfect for a birthday party.

Wine

And my mom made and brought her own birthday cake! Doesn’t that rock? She just finished reading A Day Late and a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan and a Sock it To Me cake is not only part of the story but the recipe for it is included in the book too, and she was inspired to make it. I was inspired to eat it!

We admired the cake while waiting for the lasagna to finish.

Her own Birthday Cake

Time to eat! Our birthday dinner spread.

Birthday Dinner Spread

A heaping salad with a square of veggie lasagna.

My Dinner

Post-dinner and presents, it was time to sing to Granny!

Sing to Granny

The cake was cut and served and it was then time to sing to Ava and Maxine too. This has become a tradition in our house – at every birthday dinner, we end up singing happy birthday to the girls too. They understand that it’s not their birthday, they just love blowing out candles. Why not?

Sing to Ava Sing to Max

I know what you’re thinking: it’s cute now, but what’s going to happen when they are 80? What kind of precedent am I setting? A non-screamy precedent, that’s what.

Now I’m off choreograph a Bean Sprouting Dance routine so you can all do it awith me. In fact, I think I smell a new work out DVD in the making. Move over 30 Day Shred, there’s a new bean in town.

Tomato Currency

Ava loves to ask what she’ll be able to do when she’s X years old. What can she do when she’s 7? How old does she have to be to drive a car? How old will Maxine be when she’s 9? How old does Mommy think she is eating all those prunes?

Today in the car on the way to the grocery store (where else would we be going?) she asked what she can do when she’s 13.

Me: *thoughtful for a moment* Ummm, you can babysit.

Ava: BABY SIT?!? Naw, that’s boring.

Me: You get paid money to baby sit.

Ava: *Absolutely incredulous* Are you kidding me?! Granny gets paid money to baby sit us?!

No, I’m not kidding you – and NO I definitely do NOT pay Granny to baby sit you. In fact, I make Granny pay ME with gazpacho when she baby sits you!

My mom has been singing the praises of gazpacho all summer and I’m finally just catching on to this gazpacho business.

In typical Alison fashion – just in time for the first frost and for tomato season to be officially over. Way to go me! But then again it’s not unusual for me to be running late, returning library books a couple days after their due date, keeping fetuses locked up inside beyond 40 weeks. That’s just how I roll. I guess this should come as no surprise that I found a new favorite dish at the end of tomato season.

Last Saturday I practically had to pry a dish of gazpacho from Granny’s white knuckled clutches before I left her house with my children. In fact I threatened not to take them home with me unless she handed over the goods. I ate it after the half marathon on Sunday and it was so good I settled out of the court for the recipe so I could recreate it at home.

This is my mom’s recipe, inspired from the gazpacho recipe in The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose.

4 or 5 medium tomatoes, seeded & stem removed
½ large red bell pepper, seeded
½ English cucumber, peeled (or ½ regular cuke, peeled and seeded)
½ to 1 clove garlic, chopped
½ cup vegetable juice Vegetable juice? Yeah, there’s none of that laying around here. Cause I DRANK it all!
¼ cup (or more) olive oil
1 t salt, or to taste
1 t cayenne pepper, or to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor and puree until smooth.

Refrigerate several hours & stir again before eating.

She also notes not to omit the olive oil because it imparts a great flavor, and for raw tomatoes, it’s the only way that your body can access the lycopenes. I did NOT know that. Is that in the Raw Food Detox Diet? I got from the library and returned it (late) long ago so I don’t have the book anymore to go back and look. Good thing that question didn’t show up on the Raw Food Final Exam.

So here we go, the start of my seven course dinner.

Veggies, into the food processor bowl. Enter Course 1: the other half of the red sweet pepper that wasn’t required for the recipe of course.

Gazpacho - Before

I wanted to stream the olive oil into the food processor as it was doing it’s thing, but trying to do that and hold the camera steady to take a picture at the same time? Not so much.

Take 1 and Take 2.

Olive Oil Stream - Take 1 Olive Oil Stream - Take 2

There were no more “Takes” after Take 2 lest my gazpacho have more lycopene’s than you can shake a fist at.

My very first gazpacho. Also, my Course 2.

My Gazpacho

This is SO good I did NOT refrigerate it for even one moment before I tossed that spoon into the corner of the dining room and slurped it straight from the bowl. OK I guess I did use the spoon for a little while but there was definitely bowl slurp-age at the end. My breakfast tomorrow is refrigerating as I type.

Next I did what any sane person would do and made a batch of sun dried tomato hummus since I already had the food processor out.

Make Hummus

I swear to God, give me a jar of sun dried tomatoes and I’m putting them in anything and everything until the jar is empty.

Enter: Course 3

Course 3

Toasted sesame Ezekiel bread, mustard, fresh sun dried tomato hummus, spinach and sprouts.

And HALLELUJAH Medjool dates are back at Wegmans! They’ve been out for at least two weeks and I’ve been suffering the symptoms of date withdrawal, having to tape prunes to my upper arm like a nicotine patch for crying out loud. But oh yes, that was me tonight leaving the store with the 8 lb box of medjool dates, escorted by security whilst snarling and snapping at anyone who raised an eye brow or asked if they could have just one.

Course 4.

Almond Butter Stuffed Dates

And Course 5 and 6 and 7 too.

Course 5 Course 6 Course 7

That’s right. FOUR. Don’t judge me.

I almost hyperventilated when I realized that tonight is the season premiere of 30 Rock and The Office! I haven’t watched TV all summer but you can bet your butt I’m clicking Publish and am off to dig out the Bendryl to make sure Thing 1 and Thing 2 go down without a fight!

Alright, alright just kidding – settle down! The Bendryl is here on my desk I don’t have to dig anything out.

ANOTHER JOKE – geez man don’t call CPS on me, the neighbors call enough as it is.

OK I’m stopping now. Really.

Question and Answer

What happens when you make juice but you take too long snapping pictures of it?

Green Juice Zak can't wait

It gets snatched.

What do you call a Chocolate Breakfast Cookie eaten at 11:30AM?

Chocolate Brunch Cookie

Chocolate Brunch Cookie.

What time to do you eat your curried chick pea sandwich and steamed veggies for lunch if you eat a Chocolate Brunch Cookie at 11:30AM?

Curried Chick Pea Sandwich Steamed Veggies

2:30PM.

What do you take out the door for a snack so you don’t grocery shop hungry and buy everything and anything that looks good?

Out the Door Snack

Walnuts and Craisins.

What do you say when you get in the little brown truck at Wegmans?

honk

Honk.

Why are there hot, wet towels over those bowls?

Pizza Dough Rising

Waiting for the pizza dough to rise.

What do you say when you see your dough has risen nicely?

Good Stuff

“Awww yeah baby come to mama…”

What do you use for sauce when you don’t feel like tomato sauce?

Bone Suckin' Sauce

BBQ sauce.

What do you top your BBQ pizza with?

BBQ Pizza

Onions and mushrooms sauteed in BBQ sauce pictured above. And pineapple too except you didn’t have any. And then you were sad. But you ate it anyway.

What goes good with pizza?

Cooked Pizzas

Tossed salad, as pictured in the background.

What do you replace your salad with when you realize you’re not in the mood for salad?

Pizza and Grapes

The last little bottle of stomped grape juice from a couple weeks ago.

What happens when you drink from a wineglass in front of your 5 year old?

rice milk wine

She wants her milk in a wine glass too. Of course.

And after pizza and wine for dinner, what’s the next logical step?

Coldstone

Obvious. Sweet cream with a brownie smashed in from the new Coldstone Creamery that just opened up YESTERDAY right down the street!

Can you say WOO HOO?

Yes. Yes, I can. I did.

What do you do when it’s late and you’re in a wine, pizza and ice cream brain fog?

Write a post full of questions that you answer yourself.

New Moon, Old Ways

After my HFCS tirade this morning, I made some green juice that I enjoyed with live entertainment.

Pre-meeting Juice

I continue to be amazed at how satisfying green lemonade is.

I had a meeting to go to for one of the programs Ava attends as a homeschooler this afternoon. I ate a banana on my way but only have an empty shell of a banana to show for it.

banana shell

And my buddy Lara rode shot gun.

Lara Passanger

Chocolate Coconut Chew. Don’t chew wish you had one too?

On the way home I stopped at the library to pick up my new book, audio style.

New Moon

I love to upload audio books to my iPod and listen to them while I run. Sometimes it’s the only way I can find time to “read”. And if it’s a good book I can’t wait to get out there and pick up where I left off. I use to do this all the time and have read many books this way… but then I found Jillian and her podcasts *Dreamy Sigh* and that was the end of audio books for a while.

Of course, we’ve been abandoned by Jillian, and it’s time to move on. Actually I’m pretty excited to start New Moon after reading Twilight in June and even more so after watching the movie last week.

Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the Vegetables in Thai Red Curry soup recipe from the September issue of Vegetarian Times. I made some changes to the original recipe though based on what I had and hand.

Thai Curry Vegetable Soup

The base was light organic coconut milk, curry powder and some Braggs liquid amino acid (soy sauce would work too). Vegetables included cremini mushrooms cut into quarters and sauteed in a little olive oil in a separate pan until they started to release their water. I steamed cauliflower and garden fresh green beans. All vegetables were added to soup base, along with some sliced red pepper. At this point I decided to add the last of my dulse, knowing it can be used it in soup and I wanted to use it up before it went bad. Simmered together for about 10 minutes: Time to Eat!

Soup

Why are mushrooms in soup so stinkin’ good?

After dinner it was time to bust into a special delivery that arrived today!

Oooo what's in there?

I came the closest to guessing the ingredients in a mystery meal Justine at Confessions of a SAHM made last week. My prize?

maranatha

Now really, is there any better prize? I didn’t think so.

I had no choice but to try it out after dinner tonight. It is my civic duty.

test #1

Awww yeah, that’s the good stuff.

And I to perform one more test. Just to be sure. I mean, I’d hate to not THOROUGHLY test it out.

Test#2

Conclusion? Maranatha AB is just as good on G&B and stuffed into dates. Rest easy my friends. Rest easy.

True or False

True or False? (Mouse over pictures for answers.)

T/F: Today’s lunch was consumed at the computer.

True

T/F: Greek yogurt and maple syrup make a great dessert.

True again!

T/F: I gave Maxine PB Cups today for no good reason.

False.  A Total Bribe to STOP PEEING ON THE FLOOR!

Zak and Ava caught a catapitter caterpillar today.

True.  Extra credit if you can name the kind of butterfly it will morph into!

Click here for a close up.

T/F: I invented this idea.

False!  Totally stole it from a million other people.

T/F: Grapes with seeds are cool.

False!  Grapes with seeds are NERDS!

T/F: Apples with cinnamon rock.

Totally true!  You know it!

T/F: Ava picked 1000 green beans from our garden today.

This is a trick question!  There's always one!  When I asked her how many beans she picked, she said, *one thousand*, but probably there were only 25.  Either that or I ate 500 green beans before dinner tonight.

T/F: I ate so many green beans before dinner, I had no room for any more vegetables.

Def. false.  There's always room for veggies.

These are “Z’s” stamped on these Newman’s Own Organic Chocolate Bars.

False.  They would be N's on their side.  But in our house we like to pretend N's are Z's

So? How’d ya do?

Hungry Hungry Ali

I can sum up today in two words:

Bottomless Pit.

We’ve been out and about all day today.  This was the only food pic I took, at least it was a good one.

Mmm Brownie Sunday

Mmmm brownie sundae.  Good times.

Wait, what do you mean brownies aren’t raw??

A Totally RAWesome Day

Prepare yourself for a blow by blow my almost unbelievable day.

Remember way back to my Breakfast Part I and Breakfast Part II this morning? Yup, me too. I was good to go until nearly 1:00.

This is CRAZY TALK. Most days, especially days when we stay home and don’t go anywhere, I’m ready to eat NOW and lunch is typically on the early side.

Today for lunch I made a lettuceless salad.

An entire zucchini, shredded
An entire ear of corn, raw and sliced off the cob
An entire avocado, diced
A bunch of grape tomatoes, sliced in half.

Into the bowl and mixed with last night’s Carrot Ginger Dressing.

So. Good.

zucc_salad

I’d planned to save half for Zak for dinner. But I couldn’t help myself and ate the whole dang thing. It was easy enough to make I figured I’d just whip up another one for him for dinner.

Considering I ate what I thought was two servings, it seemed like a lot at the time. But then I thought about it: an ear of corn, a zucchini, an avocado, some tomatoes and dressing? It’s really not that much. It was totally filling and satisfying even without any bread or crackers, hummus smeared sandwich or wrap to go along side it, like I would otherwise normally eat and have this salad on the side.

Some dark chocolate and raw almond butter for a finishing touch.

choc_raw_ab

Raw almond butter is definitely different than the roasted almond butter I usually eat. I’ll say now that I like roasted better but I’m willing to let the raw AB grow on me a bit.

Now here we go again… normally I’m watching the clock wondering when I get to have a snack. But today I was too busy playing, vacuuming, scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floors with a scrub brush and toothbrush on my hands and knees… I felt like I had endless energy. Around 4 we ran out the door to get a couple of groceries (MORE PRODUCE) and I thought about having a little something as my natural inclination is to eat something before we go anywhere, so I’m not out and about as a raging hungry lunatic trying to herd cats.

I questioned my hunger and it was practically non-existent so out we went at 4pm, girls topped off with a snack but nothing for moi.

A week ago this would have been UNHEARD of.

As we were heading home about 45 minutes later I noticed this strange feeling in my stomach. Not a bad feeling, just the realization that my stomach was empty. I even heard it growl. But I didn’t FEEL hungry. It’d been almost 4 hours since my last meal, which was properly combined so it made sense that it moved through my system in about 3 – 4 hours. But no hunger? Really? Who is this girl?

I don’t know if I’ve clearly expressed yet at how truly shocked I am by this. Normally I am hungry and totally grumpy and irritable until I’ve had something to eat, especially if I’m at the “growling stomach” hunger point.

I had put bananas in the freezer this morning for my afternoon snack. It was about 5pm when I decided I’d make whipped bananas as planned, knowing bananas take about 45 minutes to go through your stomach (all other fruits are 30 min) and I’d probably be ready for dinner around 6 or 6:30.

My mom was here just in time to experience the wonder that is whipped bananas.

banana_whip_snack

Around 7:00 I made some new dressing and then got started putting a normal lettuceful dinner together.

I’m not sure what to call this, Miso Ginger I guess!

< 1/2 c canola oil
3 Tbsp NAKANO Rice Vinegar
2 1/2 Tbsp Miso Paste
1/2 a small onion, minced
2 Tbsp grated ginger and juice
Splash of lemon juice

I love rice vinegar, it has such a distinct flavor. Thanks NAKANO for the new bottle and an excuse to make a new raw salad dressing!

rice_vinegar

This is my cute little flounder that I use to grate ginger on.

flounder

I cut off the outer hard skin and then scrape the ginger nub on the flounder bumps and am presented wtih ginger mash and juice.

flounder_2

A typical salad… organic red leaf and green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, a small hunk of avocado, carrots, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, tossed with my fresh dressing.

77salad

And my happy ending; some almond milk hot chocolate.

hot_choc

Unsweetened cocoa powder mixed with warm almond milk and a little agave nectar. Pure bliss.

I don’t know if it’s the raw foods or the food combining, but whatever it is, it’s working. Even if I do nothing but maintain my weight and don’t lose the 5 – 10 vanity pounds (as Jillian puts it) I’d like to lose, I can live like this. I am practically giddy over how I felt today. Eating this way has really not been that hard, and the results make it that much easier to stick with it.

I think it’s also worth nothing that I haven’t been having anything to drink with meals lately. This morning I did have a cup of coffee but it was an hour or so after breakfast. Drinking fluids with meals dilutes digestive enzymes and slows down digestion. From the Raw Food Detox Diet, The more work it takes to break down your meal, the less weight you will lose and the more sluggish you will feel. Can you hear me pushing my water glass away at meal time from here?

I’ve also found that with all the fruit and vegetables I’ve been eating, I’m drinking less in general, but “everything else” (if you catch my drift) has stayed the same. Natalia explains in the book that the water that comes from raw fruits and vegetables is organic and contains all the vitamins, minerals and live enzymes from the plant. Organic water? Oh yeah, sign me up.

I hope I’ve conveyed what a difference I’ve felt from this way of eating in just a matter of DAYS. I feel so blessed to have found this way of eating, this way of life! Thank you my raw food blogging friends for giving me the courage to live outside my comfort zone and discover this RAWesome way of life.