Monday, February 8, 2010

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Fun Times

When you think summer and children, you probably picture happy kids running around outside, wanting to be outdoors forever, and "awww-mom"-ing when called inside. Not so at my house. As soon as temperatures rise above 85 or so, my kids are clamoring to come inside (especially Jonathan, who's almost 5) because it's "too hot". The fact that our kiddie pool has cracked doesn't help matters. So, we've been spending a lot of time doing crafts and things. Favorite activities from the last few days are homemade play-doh (no surprise), snacky necklaces, and a construction paper flower garden.

The necklaces are a happy answer to a candy necklace. We strung O shaped cereal and raisins onto doubled dental floss with a yarn needle. I thought the kids would wear them around, nibbling here and there, but they simply devoured them within about 5 minutes. Ha! It was still fun stringing them together!

For the flower garden, I cut round and petal shapes from construction paper, and the kids glued them together. First they glued petals to one round center, positioned a craft stick for a stem, and glued another round over the top of that. Jonny and Evi are really into pom poms right now, so they glued those on the centers for extra fuzziness. For a garden to plant all their creations in, they painted a foam rectangle with watered down tempera paint and I covered the edges with ribbon. It's so fun to see how proud they are of it!

The best part is I get to do all this along with them. I think that's one of the best things about being a mom to young kids. You get to be a kid again for a little while, too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Easy "Bake"...No Oven

So I have been singing the praises of Ani Phyo and her two I-can't-live-without-them raw food cookbooks. You have to try this delicious, good for you Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake from her raw desserts cookbook. Here's what Ani Phyo had to say about its nutritional benefits in this bit from her interview for Crazy Sexy Life:

"The cake is made with walnuts, considered a super food by the FDA for it’s high levels of omega-3. Walnuts provide amino acids, vitamins E, A, calcium, iron, and have been found to keep our blood cholesterol levels in check. Walnuts are mixed with raw cacao powder, which is defined as a superfood by the FDA for it’s high levels or antioxidants, which fight free radical damage, premature aging and illness. I use dates, a whole food fruit, to sweeten and to bind together the nuts and cacao powder into a flourless cake texture. Dates are full of fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of the ingredients in my cake are good for you super foods. On the other hand, the baked version uses bleached white flour that’s been stripped of any nutrient value. It’s sweetened with refined white sugar and empty calories, and uses eggs and butter, which contribute to high cholesterol levels. The baked version doesn’t offer much nutritional value.”

It's also insanely easy. I made it with my two year old and it was so simply and quick to put together. And no, the frosting doesn't taste like avocado. It's just chocolaty deliciousness. Here's the recipe. (By the way, this is an excellent beat-the-heat recipe for summer, since you don't heat up your house by baking. Plus, with the energy your saving by not turning on your oven, this is one green cake!)

I recommend using the raw cacao powder available at Whole Foods and New Season's Market called Holy Kakow. It's a single origin cacao, fairly traded, distributed by a local company (for me anyway. Portland, OR) and less expensive than any other raw cacao powder I've seen around. Talk about an all-around winner of a product!

The Figs Are Here!

I'm just soaking up the wonderful bounty of summer right now. There's so much fresh, wonderful produce out there I just can't stand it! I think my favorite summertime delicacy is figs, and I like to buy them in large amounts when they come to my Costco every year. (They spoil quickly, but I don't ever have a problem eating them before they start down that path.) They're inexpensive (relatively) at Costco...even though it annoys me that they come in that ubiquitous Costco clam shell packaging that makes me crazy! Figs are so beautiful and have such a fabulous honey/flower sweetness to them, and the texture is so unique. I think they have to be the most romantic fruit. I love having them for breakfast in a fruit salad, ideally with peaches or nectarines and an orange with walnuts sprinkled over. I also had some leftover cashew-coconut pudding (cashews blended with water to make a pudding-y consistency, then blend in dates to taste, vanilla, pinch of salt, and some shredded coconut) and I used it in a fig parfait that was a festival of deliciousness. :) I had some buckwheat "crunchies" (soaked and dried buckwheat groats) and so I sprinkled them between the layers of pudding and figs and over the top. Go and get some figs, before the season's over!!! DO IT!

Note: if you've never bought figs before, they should be soft and plump, with no wrinkly skins or signs of deterioration (duh, right?). The best ones will be seeping a little bit of nectar. Handle them very carefully, as they are easily damaged. They don't store well, so eat em up! Also, don't let the crunchy seeds weird you out. They're just part of the magical textural package.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday, Mom!

I had the privilege of throwing my mom a 50th birthday party yesterday. It was a lot of fun and a complete adventure, because I did all raw food. Trying to put together a vegan, raw menu for an audience that is mostly omni was a challenge. I got lots of positive feedback though, and everyone (except for a few non-adventurous types that only ate the fruit and the salad *wink*) really seemed to enjoy the food. Thanks to Ani Phyo's book Ani's Raw Food Kitchen for saving the day. I made her spicy mock tuna roll, pizza, and "cheesecake", then added in a kale, red cabbage, and romaine salad with raisins and pumpkin seeds, and a platter of grapes and strawberries. I made a strawberry sauce for the cheesecake, too. I found that I'm growing in my knowledge of raw food prep because when I was not happy with the thin consistency of the sauce after blending the berries and agave, I knew what to do! Instead of thickening it with cornstarch or arrowroot and boiling it, all I had to do was blend in some dates and it became the perfect thickness. In addition to not boiling all the heat-sensitive vitamin C out of the berries, it was also much more quick and easy just to blend in dates. Anyway, I made extra of all the food so I can be feasting well into mid-week. :) Yay! Happy birthday Mom! I love you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

King Sandwich of Tastyville

Meet my new best lunchtime buddy, the raw veggie sandwich! I've been loving's simply Ani Phyo's recipe for Black Sesame Sunflower Bread, slathered with yellow mustard on one side (easy to make raw if you want) and tahini dressing (which thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise when allowed to sit for a couple hours in the fridge) on the other side. Then layer on some ripe avocado, juicy tomato, salt and pepper, thin sweet onion rings, and lettuce leaves. The flavors are so wonderful; it reminds me of the raw version of a hamburger. And you feel much better when you're done eating it than you ever could after eating a Big Mac...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

All Dried Up!

I was most surprised and delighted to receive the fabulous (and extravagant) group gift of an Excalibur food dehydrator from my family for my birthday. Yesterday I tried a bunch of new raw recipes, including Nacho Flax and Sunflower Chips, Sesame Sunflower Bread, and Strawberry Macaroons. The macaroons are absolutely delightful...jammy little morsels of summertime. I couldn't believe how they retained such fresh strawberry flavor. I got the recipe out of Ani's Raw Food Desserts, another birthday gift, this one from my lovely, sweet friend Pamela. She actually gave the book to me at the author's meet and greet signing at Powell's, which just happened to be on my birthday! Ani is just as sweet as pie, radiant, and has such a great perspective on healthy eating. It was such a pleasure to meet her. You really should get your hands on a copy of her new dessert cookbook; it's full of really great recipes that you'll feel good eating and feeding to those you love. Anyway, back to the macaroons. I portioned them in 1 T scoops instead of 2 T, and was very happy with the results. The picture is of the little macaroons on the dehydrator sheet, just before they went in. They look like pork meatballs; I assure you they are not. :)

My sweet baby helping his mama make macaroons