It was a food fest weekend!

Food, food and more food.  I think I ate my way through the weekend.  It was all (mostly) healthy.

Healthy Foods Potluck:

The weekend started by me waking up in the kitchen.  Well, not really.  Have you ever had one of those days where you’re in the kitchen before the sun comes up and you’re just going at it for what seems like hours and then you realize you’re hungry and it’s like 10 a.m.?!  Yeah, that was me Saturday.  I was at the grocery store while the night stockers (not stalkers) were still doing their thing.  I love it when the “cashier” is really one of the stock boys and has no clue what’s in the produce bags that come down the belt.  I guess a few years ago I wouldn’t know kale from a beet from a kabocha squash either.  It gave me a giggle, though, as nearly every bag earned a “what the…?” as it came to him.  Anyway… why was I in the kitchen so early?  I was hosting a healthy foods potluck lunch at my house.  I had a busy weekend and was clearly ill prepared for entertaining.  I pulled it off, however.  A small group of healthy foodists gathered and we feasted on Black Eyed Pea Chili from Fat Free Vegan, Dr. Fuhrman’s Golden Austrian Cauliflower Soup, a delicious Vegetable Quinoa salad from The Garden Grazer, a tossed salad with one of my favorite Dr. Fuhrman dressing recipes, Dijon Date.  We also tasted “better burgers” made with mushrooms, walnuts & oats.  For dessert we indulged in baked apples stuffed with a tasty apricot walnut cream, Carrie on Vegan‘s Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie, and a little taste of banana walnut Nice Cream.  Can you believe I was so distracted with chatting and eating and doing stuff that I forgot to take even just one picture?  I will post a couple of the recipes that I made soon.

Non-cooking Cooking Class:

But I also want to share with you the other food related thing I did this weekend.  I attending a “cooking” demonstration at a raw restaurant.  Now you know why the word “cooking” is in quotes.  No need to cook if you’re eating raw, right?  But what else would you call it?  The theme of the demo was sauces and was the main reason I went.  One of the most important things as a plant-based eater is flavor, right?  We basically eat the same foods over and over and the way you change it up is by changing the seasonings and flavor.  Sauces and spreads are HUGE in our world.  So off I went for a quick hands-on demo.  We put different ingredients into blenders, whizzed them up and came away an hour later with five samples of different sauces.  Plus, the 30 of us in attendance bombarded Francisco, the chef at AmeRAWcan Bistro, with questions ranging from how long to soak your nuts (no giggling, now) to the key ingredients in their top-selling entrees.  He happily obliged and shared and said he is willing to share the recipe for anything on his menu except for the enchilada sauce and tortillas.  Somebody had already squealed the recipe for the enchilada sauce and I secretly wrote it down. Buwahahaha!  I’ll share that one later.

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Francisco was great!

So what did we end up with?  Well, how about the recipe for a versatile almond cheese?  A sampling of alfredo sauce to top your spiralized zucchini noodles?  A very tasty Caesar dressing that gets its fishy flavor from nori & kelp rather than anchovies?  How about a raw marinara sauce that was oh, so yummy — and mix it with the alfredo for something a little different and you’re in heaven.  The falafel dressing wasn’t my favorite and I’d have to substitute the 3/4 cup of OIL out with avocado to make it fit my dietstyle.  The Ginger Miso dressing would be perfect on an Asian-inspired salad.

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All in all it was an informative hour.  Francisco even spilled the beans on how he makes his Parmesan “cheese” out of macadamia nuts.  It was intriguing and probably not something I would try to make.  So much of raw food preparation requires a dehydrator — something I don’t have.  And dehydrating takes a lot of patience — another thing I don’t have.  This class wasn’t too informative on the raw eating style, a perfect balance, really, so I was pleased with the information that was shared by the chef and his two assistants who are obviously well-versed in the subject.  I did learn, however, that a true raw foodist wouldn’t eat nuts sold conventionally as nuts are pasteurized, therefore, heated above 118 degrees which is the magic cut off for what is considered raw.  But as Francisco says, “They’re healthy right?  I eat them cuz they’re healthy.” I agree.

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Francisco’s helpers kept us all informed and on track

AmeRAWcan Bistro will host a class each month.  In November we will be making cheesecake.  Obviously, there is no cheese in their desserts, but are cashew based and naturally sweetened.  I learned all about coconut nectar and am excited to try it (sparingly) in some recipes coming up.  I’m really looking forward to attending in November and will definitely keep you posted.  Just in time for the holidays.  Who couldn’t do with a decadent pumpkin cheesecake or maybe even raspberry?  Hmmmm… I can hardly wait!

Well, check back here on Friday & see what I’ve whipped up in the kitchen throughout the week.

Toodles…

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Gratitude is an Attitude

The above words were spoken at church over the weekend and really touched me.  Imagine what the world would be if more people had an attitude of gratitude.

I don’t have a recipe for you today.  No great fitness advice.  Nothing to report in the exercise realm.  Just gratitude.  Yep.  That’s it.  Just one word.  Maybe it’s the time of year.  Perhaps it’s because the summer is officially over and things are slowing down.  Flies don’t move as quickly in the cold weather and, realistically, neither do I.  More time to spend thinking of the things I’m grateful for.  Everything from the gifts we have been given here on earth — the sunrises and sunsets — to the gift of health and the ability to be active.   I have the ability to worship and not be persecuted; to write this blog freely.  I have an amazing family and am grateful for the time I spend with them; blessed with an incredible son who has chosen to serve our country.  I am grateful for the fact that I can buy food each week to satisfy our bellies; sharing the abundance with those less fortunate.  The list goes on and on.  You probably have different things on YOUR list that you’re grateful for.

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A number of years ago, probably when he was in about ninth or tenth grade, our son wrote a piece that, then, made me stop and think.  You know, kids are so innocent and have a sense of the way things should be.  If a 15- or 16-year old can have these thoughts, think of the love that would be shared if world leaders and others had similar sentiments.

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I have a quick post today and I hope you don’t mind.  I want to leave you with these words:

I am grateful for the simply beautiful things given to me gratuitously… given by God, friends and complete strangers.  Be it a smile, a sweet sip of water, a friendly nod, or a piece of someone’s lunch on the days I forget mine at home on the kitchen table.

As days continue to show up on my doorstep, realization has come as well, and it is understood now, that I have nothing that is mine.  I am owed nothing, and everything, including the air I breathe, is a gift.

And if you are taking the time to read this, I thank you as well.  I hope that we as a people can interact, take time to write letters, make phone calls, smile at a stranger and most of all say “thank you.”

We are made to love, so let someone know that you appreciate their love.
~Alex Glaze

Have a great week & I wish you well.
Until Friday…

Toodles

Where are Cinderella’s Glass Slippers?

Well, I haven’t been so excited for the weekend since last Friday. Ha Ha!

I missed Monday’s blog and some people actually noticed.  That makes me feel good, but also puts a little pressure on me.  It’s okay though.  Want to hear why?  You’re never going to believe this story:

So I went to a glamorous ball over the weekend. I was having such a good time and not paying close attention to the clock.  I fled quickly and as I was riding along in my coach — actually, it was zooming along rather rapidly to assure that I was home by curfew — the clock struck twelve and my magical transporter turned into a pumpkin.  As this happened I began to panic.  Then I thought of the age-old saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” and decided to make the best of my situation and literally ate myself into a pumpkin coma.  There were pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin scones, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin nog similar to this recipe.  It was a crazy week, and I have recently awakened.  (I can’t tell you how much grief that last sentence has just caused me — awakened? awoke?)

See, I told you that you wouldn’t believe it!

Busy Busy:

I love it when you have been sick for a few days and you just wake up and ka-boom you’re ready to go, lots of energy and are feeling great.  That’s what happened after a couple of days off and lots of rest.  I really do think that healthy eating plays a role in recovery time.  I still worked out during the time I was sick and I even ran a 5k last weekend.  It must have helped the last few germs to exit my body because I felt fabulous afterwards and have ever since!  Bam!

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My friend and me just before heading out in the 5k last weekend. She topped her age group!

Speaking of Running:

I recently discovered the local running store hosts runs on Wednesday evenings and joined the group this week.  It’s nice to show up and have a mapped run all ready for you.  There were about a dozen folks who took off in the setting sun for some exercise.  Some ran at a sprinter’s pace, others took it easy, and yet a few even walked.  I was the only one who ran the three-mile course, so I wasn’t able to glean any sage advice from the seasoned runners.  I guess I’ll have to show up next week to try again.  Since they also map out a 6-mile course, it gives you the opportunity to stretch your ability just a little and step outside of your comfort zone a bit.  Not sure I’m there yet, but eventually I’ll give it a try.  They also provide some healthy snacks and water afterwards, all for free!  Though intrigued by the mooshed almond butter / banana / blueberry concoction in a squeeze bottle, I didn’t try it as the #2 ingredient was sugar.  Water satisfied me until I raced home to a GIANT salad.  It was a different experience for me to run in the evening as I usually keep my exercising to the morning, but it seemed like I had enough energy at the end of what was otherwise a very stressful day.  It actually was a great stress relief.  I see this being helpful in the future.

Weekend Plans:

So what do you have scheduled for your weekend?  The weather here is a little iffy, so it looks like whatever I do will end up occurring indoors.  Maybe roller skating?  No, not really.  It’s just what popped into my head, but it does sound like fun, doesn’t it?  I might have to find an eight-year-old girl to go with so I’d have an excuse to go roller skating, cuz I don’t think old people just show up at the local rink and skate alone, do they?

Anyway, I’m hosting a healthy foods potluck at my house in a week so I’ll be making some preps for that over the weekend including a little decorating, making sure I have tasting cups and spoons available and cleaning.  I always enjoy having people over who have similar eating styles to mine.  It takes the angst out of meal planning, especially when it’s a potluck! No angst involved!  I’m looking forward to sharing experiences, recipes and a fun day with some terrific people.  I will definitely post about that in the future.

I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here Monday.  Make it a healthy one!  Now, where did I leave my glass slippers?

Toodles…

Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins

Gooooood Morning! I hope you had a good week.  I’m still trying to get over a miserable head cold.  I fought and fought and it finally got me.  I took a few days and rested as much as I could and ate well, so already feel on the mend.  I’ll be good to go soon.  I have another morning pumpkin recipe for you today.  In case you missed it, I also posted a Pumpkin Smoothie recipe here.  Now you have choices.

Pumpkins & Cinnamon & Nutmeg, oh my!

While I wasn’t feeling well, one of the things I wanted was something warm, soothing, and tasty.  What my brain was really screaming for was one of those sugary, spicy lattes that come packed with the aromas of fall.  I really think they pump in the scent to make you feel good, because it doesn’t really “taste” like pumpkin.  My brain may have been screaming for it, but my body knew otherwise.  Well, I concocted something you just might like.

IMG_1648I must tell you that I don’t make coffee at home.  Instead I use a coffee alternative, Teeccino, to satisfy my craving for a warm, creamy drink.  The flavor, to me, is similar to that of coffee and has no caffeine, never had it, so it’s  not a decaffeinated product, it’s a never-had-caffeine product.  I like that.  It’s made with chicory, barley, carob, nuts and other whole-food ingredients — all roasted and finely ground just like coffee, so you can brew it just as you normally would.  I love it.  Have I said that already?  So anyway, how do you make a Pumpkin Spice Latte at home?  Click the picture above to be taken to the recipe. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!  At least, I hope so.  With no sugar or artificial sweeteners and REAL pumpkin, this drink is one you can indulge in every day if you’d like.  Enjoy!

1185823_10201287733909070_1710381676_nWhich one will you choose today?

Wrap Up:

I feel like I’ve hopped on the crazy pumpkin train and every time I turn around I’m thinking of recipes to create using pumpkin.  What will it be next?  I think over the weekend I’ll work on a pumpkin scone.  What do you think of that?  Well, that’s if I have time in between a 5k and all the other stuff I have planned.  The sun is promising an appearance so I might also get a chance to plant some fall flowers in the boxes on the deck.  We’ll just have to check the enthusiasm level.

I hope you have a great weekend and get a chance to get out and enjoy our fall weather.  For those of you in warmer climates, I’m jealous!

Make it a healthy one.

Toodles 😀