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.

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One Armed Carrot Jokes

Who doesn’t want a little AliSUN in their day?

AliSUN

Anyone who doesn’t read this blog, apparently.

I ran to the soothing sounds of having New Moon read to me. Finally someone who reads TO ME!

New Moon - Visitor

I set out to run 5 miles and was back in about 40 minutes. I was ready to be done running but not ready to head back inside yet so I hopped on my bike for a 20 minute cool down ride and took advantage of the opportunity for a slightly longer work out today.

Home in time to be joined by a one armed carrot for lunch.

One Armed Carrot

What do you call an elephant with a carrot stuffed in each ear?

Anything you want, he can’t hear you!

I’m sorry. I googled one armed carrot jokes but I got nothing.

Google Carrot Jokes

At least the next person who googles “One Armed Carrot Jokes” should wind up here. Too bad I’ve got nothing. FOOLED YOU!

(If you are reading this post because you googled one armed carrot jokes, please report back with any good one armed carrot jokes you come up with so I’ve got one for next time.)

Moving on.

After listening to the sound of a one armed carrot clapping I enjoyed a giant salad and sound of Jillan yelling.

Jillian

Oh Jillian how I’ve missed you!

The phone rang tonight during bathtime and it was Zachary Green Juice Lover calling to report his motorcycle was out of juice and he needed to be rescued. I pulled my two prunes out of the tub and off we went on a rescue mission.

Rescue

Can you make out Zak in that pic? Are you making out with my husband?? *slap slap slap*

Words from the Weeds on the car ride to save dad?

Ava: Look! A wishing star! I wish I was a princess who never burped or farted! Isn’t that a good wish, mom?

Why yes, that is a good wish. I can’t say I haven’t wished that one myself. For both of us.

After rescuing the man I rescued the leftovers. Can we say bean soup and hummus? I think I just did.

Post Rescue Meal

Do you like that bite missing from the hummus on Ezekiel toast? Are you admiring how perfect my bite is? Two years of orthodontia baby! All leading up to this moment. You can thank my mom and dad in the comments for that.

It’s late and I’m feeling punchy (in case you couldn’t tell) from googling one armed carrot jokes and rescuing men and leftovers and wishing I was burpless fart free princess. I’m wishing that for you tonight too. You’re welcome.

Let’s Play Brendan Says

I’m still smiling after yesterday’s half marathon – even waking up with sore back muscles and quads, I think this smile is permanently affixed to my face for the next few days. Thanks for all the heart warming comments and congrats yesterday!

I got up early this morning to tend to things around the house. I’m loving this new routine, it’s working so well. I’m raring to go first thing in the morning and have been very productive in the early mornings recently.

Ready for my “Brendan Says” for today?

Wait, before I get there, let me back up for a moment. From a broad perspective I must say Thrive and the Raw Foods Detox Diet are pretty evenly matched in my mind. They both describe the benefits that can be reaped from a largely raw, vegan diet.

I became more interested in a raw food lifestyle in the spring after reading the Raw Foods Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. At the end of May I started incorporating some of the principles from Natalia’s book into my life. I dove in a little too fast and made too many changes at once – it became overwhelming and I had to ease up a bit. Not completely though, and of course I’ve always eaten raw fruits and vegetables – but I wasn’t (and am still not) ready to go “high raw”.

Thrive renewed my interest in eating more raw meals and snacks, cutting out processed foods – even the seemingly innocent Kashi crackers and organic, whole grain boxed cereals. I found it easier to incorporate his ideas into my life thanks to reading and trying out the concepts in the The Raw Food Detox Diet a few months earlier. While I’ve only playing “Brendan Says” for the last couple of weeks, I’ve really been moving in this direction for the past 4 months.

So today’s Brendan Says has to do with sleep. Brendan Brazier says that one of the benefits of the Thrive diet is improved sleep – and therefore you need less. Eating a diet consisting largely of whole foods takes stress off your body. Processed foods put a stress on your body, and when you remove that stress you are in essence saving energy.

I have always felt that I need 8 solid hours of sleep to feel good. I could squeak by on 7 hours, 6 hours left me pretty cranky and tired without coffee. 5 hours? Forget it.

Recently I’ve been going to bed between 10 – 10:30pm and I bound out of bed at 5:00 – 5:30am raring to go. 7 hours and I feel like a new woman ready to take on the day. Whether you read Thrive, The Raw Foods Detox Diet or any other book or blog *cough cough* that discusses these concepts, chances are you can benefit from these ideas! Whole foods are our friends, processed foods are not. Maybe it’s all in my mind, but I think there’s something to this and I’m sticking with it.

After I spent an hour and half working around the house and spent a little time getting caught up on my virtual life, I decided to take a short bike ride to loosen up my sore legs and get some of the lactic acid flushed out of my muscles. 30 some odd minutes and 8 miles later I was home to see Zak off to work and then get breakfast going.

Last week I received a sample Chia seeds to try from Greens+. Thanks Diane for hooking me up!

Bloggie gal pal Heather thought she was the last blogger in the blogosphere to have yet to try them, but I’m afraid I just stripped her of her title. (Sorry Heather!)

If you haven’t heard about Chia seeds – well, let’s just say they are the new black. Or better yet, the new flax! They are an excellent source of unprocessed Omega 3 as well as other essential fatty acids. You can read all about the benefits of chia seeds here.

Greens+ My Chia Tube

A close up look at these little buggers.

Chia Seeds

Thanks to my girl Cindy and her love of tweaking recipes, I was inspired to toss my fruit cereal in my sample of chia seeds this morning!

Monday Fruit Cereal

I diced up a banana, a pear, some prunes and sprinkled on the chia seeds and mixed until everything was well coated.

Fruit Cereal with Chia Seeds

Topped with some hand crushed walnuts and unsweetened vanilla hemp milk – I’m calling it another fruit cereal success story. The chia seeds gave today’s cereal the perfect crunch and the ones toward the bottom of the bowl at the end had a chance to develop that strange yet interesting-but-not-gross gel coating that people take advantage of to make chia pudding.

So now before I sign off I’m dusting off the old Magic 8 Ball and when I asked “Will I eat chia seeds again soon?” it said

It is certain

Will I win my new friend Averie’s chia seed giveaway?

Cannot predict now

Grrr… this Magic 8 ball, I tell ya!

I’m not usually a blog-about-a-giveaway kind of girl but this one seemed relevant today. Plus it gives me an extra entry into her giveaway and I want to win these!  BONUS! Now that I’m a Chia Seed Society inductee I want them again! You can enter Averie’s chia seed giveaway too if you want a chance to try some for FREE because they are not exactly cheap.  Clickety click click here. Now you can’t say I never told you anything useful.

Identity Crisis

I’ve got a meeting tonight and will be home late, so today’s post is going to be wrapped up into a nice little bite of afternoon delight.

I woke up too early this morning. So early that I went back to bed at 5:30 hoping to fall back to sleep but it didn’t happen, so my day officially started somewhere in the 4 o’clock hour. I waited for the sun to come up and then hopped on my bike for a 34 minute therapy session. My mind turns as fast as my wheels when I’m on the bike. No iPod – it’s just me and the road. Well, just me minus the hundreds other people in their cars. Details.

I came home to make the fastest breakfast of all time.

Breakfast Bowl

The best thing about this breakfast? The clean up.

Breakfast Dishes Done

No, no. Let me do the dishes. Please! It would be my pleasure.

While my wheels and mind were turning this morning I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going steer this ship of a blog in a different direction for a little while. I submitted my request for more hours to be added to the day but until that’s approved I’m going to play around a bit with content and frequency.

Content will probably fall into one of seven categories: Food. Running. Health. Food. Motherhood. Craziness. Food. But not every meal and snack, and probably just once a day now too. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to just forge ahead with my new plan or write it out loud. I chose the latter.

Hi my name is Alison and I like to state the obvious.

So as I mentioned, I have a meeting tonight, and a few people (consider me one of those few people) offered to bring a snack. I didn’t know what I was going to bring until the perfect banana bread recipe from Granny Everythingtarian practically fell into my lap.

I had a little help with the mixing.

Making Banana Bread

I left out Holly’s additions of nuts and chocolate chips to make sure it’s nut-allergy friendly, given I’ll be serving this to other people. Other wise I totally would have nutted and chocolate-d this up! With the exception of a little whole wheat flour (the last of it – 3/4 c) I followed the original recipe.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for Oven

Since I was already making a mess in the kitchen, I figured what’s one more mess among messes and whipped up some sun dried tomato hummus while the kitchen filled with the scent of warm banana goodness.

Sundried Tomato Hummus

Or as Zak calls it, The Good Hummus.

My loaf took close to 50 minutes to bake before the toothpick was coming out clean. Love the banana slices on top, I’ve never done that before but I think it makes it look so pretty!

Done!

Sliced up and packed!

Sliced and Packed

Uh oh. One piece didn’t fit. What on earth shall I do with it? *wink wink*

Whatever Shall We Do With It?

Afternoon delight is right! Wait, what do you mean that’s not what “afternoon delight” means?

Intuitive Eating Refresher

Today has totally felt like a Saturday. Monday? Really?

My little juice prank went off without a hitch this morning you’ll be glad to know. He’s a good sport and shares my crazy sense of humor. He laughed at the lid on the juice and said that it was definitely one joke that could have gone horribly wrong, but he would have been more sad over lost juice than a messy fridge.

After juice jokes, I changed into bike riding gear and had a little kiwi for a snack before heading out.

Pre Ride Kiwi

Home again 56 minutes and 14.5 miles later I snacked on carrots and salsa as I made lunch for everyone.

Post Ride Snack

Veggie sandwiches for me and the man. Who needs cheese and mayo when you’ve got avocado? Nature’s creamy goodness if you ask me!

Don't Pout Little Sprout

Don’t pout little sprout, it’ll all work out.

Veggie Sandwich

And a little handful of raisins and almonds for dessert.

Post Lunch Dessert

Notice there has not been much Green and Black dark chocolate love these days? After reading Thrive I’ve been inspired to go without it for a while. Coffee too. It’s been over a week since my last cup of coffee. I had one day of a mild headache but I’m feeling free of any caffeine addiction. Brendan Brazier talks about caffeine being a stimulating food and if you can cut stimulating foods out of your diet (other stimulating foods include refined grains, refined sugar, processed carbs) you can eliminate food cravings. I’m giving it the old college try because why not. So far I’m having good luck with it. I’ve by no means eaten my last piece of chocolate and am not swearing off coffee forever. I do enjoy a little experimenting though and right now I’m feeling motivated.

Later in the afternoon Zak took the girls to the playground and I headed off to buy groceries all by myself. I didn’t even know what to do with myself. Free to browse, read labels, go from one end of the store to the other and back again on a whim! No stops at the bathroom! Any check out lane I wanted! Wheeeee I stood on the back of the shopping cart and sailed down the aisles singing “She’s a Maniac” as I threw dried apples into my cart with reckless abandon.

Apparently I did a little too much browsing and savoring of my solitary shopping trip because I was positively starving by the time I got out of the store. I ripped open the bag of crispin apples as I was loading up groceries and chomped down on it standing right there in the parking lot!

Post Shopping Snack

This was not an organic apple and I did not wash it before eating it. I have no idea if this in my head or what but immediately after eating this apple my lips and the tip of my tongue felt slightly numb! Seriously. It’s been 3 or 4 hours now and I’m still feeling it even if I forget about it for a while. Am I nuts? Don’t answer that.  I can see the newspaper headline now:

Psychosomatic Lip and Tongue Numbness from Conventionally Grown Apples Sends Woman to Loony Bin

That’s one story I’m definitely gonna read.

The apple helped curb my hunger but I totally munched on (washed!) grape tomatoes as I unpacked groceries. I bought these from a farm stand on the way home and they are the best tomatoes I’ve had all season.

Tomato Snack

I was sort of late getting home and Zak had made some tofu veggie stir fry for for dinner.  I had a little of that while I was trying to figure out what I really in the mood for.

Veggie Stir Fry

Talk about dinner randomness. Even after an apple, tomatoes and some stir fry I was still feeling like I needed something more and whipped up the White Bean Dip recipe I saw in Health magazine this month.

Steal This Dish

Steal This Dish? Don’t mind if I do.

The recipe called for fresh sage but I didn’t have any. I do however have rosemary growing in the garden and used a sprig of that.

I warmed a little extra virgin olive oil in a pan and added some minced garlic and chopped rosemary.

Rosemary Rosemary and Garlic Saute

After they sauteed together for a little while and everything had soften up I stirred it into some rinsed and mashed cannellini beans.

Mixed and smeared onto some toasted Ezekiel bread. I actually see a lot of possibility with this dish.  I need to use cannellini beans more often. I have to remember this one!  It was a tasty, fast and easy meal. Or part of a 4 course meal apparently.

Smeared on Ezekiel

I was definitely feeling full after the beans and toast. Intuitive Eating and a little reflection makes me think I didn’t eat enough for lunch today and therefore lead to feeling insatiable this evening. I’m feeling normal now though, especially after a cup of tea. My choices were healthy but I still feel like I over did it. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day.

That new day being Tuesday, right?

Make Your Own Cereal, Take 2

I left my alarm set to 5:15 from yesterday and got up at the same time today. I got a ton done in just a short period of time. Amazing what happens when you will yourself to stay off your computer immediately upon rising. As soon as the sun came up I got dressed and headed out on my bike for a short ride.

I didn’t want to go too far or too long today given I ran for well over an hour yesterday. My official ride ended after 35 minutes but then I stopped at home to grab my back pack and wallet and rode a mile to the corner store to pick up a few things for another Thrive inspired breakfast this morning.

When I got home I whipped up a couple of juices for myself and the man.

Like two peas in a pod! Or more accurately, six fruits and vegetables in a glass. But who’s counting?

Juice

Romaine, a beet, cucumber, lemon, apple and ginger.

So I believe I’ve established I like cereal? I know, like that’s something special and extraordinary… who doesn’t?? Brenden Brazier has a couple of great sounding cereal recipes in Thrive. I used his Banana Ginger Pear Cereal recipe as inspiration to come up with my own based on what I was in the mood for and the ingredients I had on hand.

Well, what I had on hand + what I rode to the store for this morning too.

Fruit Loot

I diced up a perfectly ripe pear and a small banana into bite sized pieces. I dragged out a package of prunes from the very last of the Newman’s Own Organics stash we were sent a couple months back.

Prunes!

That’s right. PRUNES. I remember some food blogger (can’t remember who! – I’m thinking Lynn from The Actor’s Diet?) recently saying that they didn’t know why prunes got such a bad rap, they really aren’t that bad. After sampling one upon opening this bag I have to agree. I can’t even remember the last time I had a prune. Probably as a child? It has a mildly sweet, interesting flavor. And their stickiness suited my cereal recipe well this morning. I predict prunes will be spotted with more regularity around these parts. Interesting choice of the word regularity, no?

I chopped up the prunes and threw all fruit, both fresh and dried, into a small mixing bowl.

Diced Fruit

I was then reminded of something I use to do for Ava as an infant. I would crush cheerios and cut fruit into small pieces and then “bread” the fruit with the crushed cheerios. The cheerios would stick automatically making it easier for small fingers to pick up and shovel in.

But instead of crusted cheerios, Mama’s breading of choice was ground flax! I crushed up some walnuts in my hand and added them to the mix. Stirred it all around until everything was coated and well mixed.  All the fruit was perfectly wet and sticky and the flax stuck easily.

Breaded in Flax

Topped with hemp milk and eaten with a spoon like a bowl of cereal.

With Hemp Milk

Holy goodness in a bowl this was fantastic! I loved every bite!  Perfectly sweet, filling and satisfying too!

I remembered that Justine from The Confessions of a SAHM made some fresh fruit cereal this summer and I thought it was such a good idea, I never tried it though. I’m so glad I finally did. Fruit cereal, what a concept. I smell a new breakfast staple.

I’m going to be offline for the long weekend – take it easy! And eat a salad, ok?

Peace out!

It’s Officially September

I was greeted with morning temps under 50 this morning! OK, OK, it’s September. I believe you! Now crank up the temp, it’s not fall yet.

Morning Temp

Hello long sleeves, seems like just yesterday I had put you away for the season.

Long Sleeves

And oh yes, long pants, how could I forget about you too?

Long Pants

A quick pre-ride nosh of watermelon and off I went on my bike.

Pre-Ride Nosh

50 chilly minutes and 12 frozen finger miles later I was home to shower, make breakfast, pack lunches and get out the door!

Breakfast was (wait for it… wait for it…) more watermelon. I’m so predictable.

This is absolutely The World’s Best Smoothie.

Kiwi Watermelon Smoothie

Just watermelon and kiwi. That’s it. Crazy that something so good is so simple!

I slurped my smoothie down while I packed our lunch.

Packed Lunch

Fortunately it’s warmed up already and we’ve got a beautiful day in store for us. Loading up my beasts and we’re off to meet our friends at the ZOOOOOO!