We arrived in New York safely. I love flying Jet Blue. They have Direct TV / movies and XM radio. They offer plenty of complimentary bottled water and snacks (although I passed on those because they’re not particularly healthy, ehem). We also opted to purchase seats with extra leg room, which was especially nice for my husband. And, we arrived in NY about 20 minutes early.
Here we are at the airport before departure. We checked our luggage, and mine just barely squeaked by, weighing in at 49.5 pounds. Yikes. I’m guessing the culprit is my Blendtec blender. A Raw girl’s gotta do what a Raw girl’s gotta do! Although I love my Vita-Mix 5200 (read my blog post reviewing the Blendtec vs Vita-mix), that thing is a monster in size and weight, so if I travel and have a kitchen accessible then I like taking my Blendtec. But, if I’m in a hotel room, then I like taking this awesome travel blender.
For my carry on backpack I came prepared with plenty of fresh Raw vegan foods for the flight. Ummm…. apparently I couldn’t wait for the flight before my stomach started grumbling so I’m munching away on an organic carrot here, while waiting to board the plane. I also packed a cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, prunes, Garlic Basil Chia Crisps, and an apple.
Here is a pic of some things I packed… water filter, sponge, glass mason jars, protein shaker bottles, Sun Warrior’s Raw Rice Protein Powder, as well as raw cashews, supplements, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, LOTS of prunes (you know the travel thing and making sure you’re pooping), dates, chia seeds, raspberry leaf tea, Dr. Bronner soap, and more. I wanted to make sure I had some stuff from home so I didn’t have to buy everything when we arrived. You can guess my luggage on the trip back will be considerably lighter. Too bad we’re not flying home for it to matter.
We’re going to have an awesome (long) drive home through the south, stopping off in Florida for a quick visit with my father-in-law as well as my friend in Texas (whom I met online), and she has MONKEYS!!!!! And, they love my Raw vegan recipes… check it out here. It can’t hurt to be around monkeys while I’m trying to get my own little Monkey to “stick” right?
We arrived at the apartment we rented and were very happy with it. It’s gorgeous. Small (of course, it’s New York), but gorgeous. We’re staying in an apartment in Trump’s Heritage building on the Hudson River. Here’s our living room. We have a nice kitchen with a huge refrigerator so I plan on shopping at Whole Foods today. Will share more pics and video soon.
Possible changes to our fertility plan.(I love this photo. I grabbed it from a blog discussing a documentary, A Child Against All Odds, but I can’t find the blog now.)
As you know, we came here with the intent on transferring a frozen embryo. But, while at the doctor’s office yesterday, where they did a sonogram of my ovaries and uterus, I inquired about the egg that I’m about to release naturally in the next few days. I thought it would be a waste to just let it go and asked whether we shouldn’t grab that egg while we’re here, fertilize it, and transfer it back this trip, if it makes it to 5 days successfully in the petri dish… and leave the frozen embryos in my “embryo bank” for future use (or to use on this trip in the event that the fresh retrieval doesn’t work). I’m all about getting as many healthy eggs at my young-ish age while I can, so I can store them for future attempts (whether for this first child or the next child), therefore giving me a better chance for success.
The doctor agreed that we could try that. We’ll see how things go. I’m due back at New Hope Fertility on Saturday for another sonogram and blood work to see if we can do this or if we should just proceed with the frozen transfer.
This recipe came to me as I was falling asleep, as most of my recipes do. Like usual, I rolled over in bed, grabbed my iPhone and started emailing the notes of my ideas to myself.
Here’s the thing… most raw vegan cookies use some sort of dehydrated fruit to help bind it and add sweetness. But, I can’t recall ever coming across a Raw vegan cookie recipe that used dehydrated banana slices! They’re perfect… FULL of flavor, sweet, chewy-like, and delicious. Knowing that I could pair them with walnuts (or any nuts) would give me wonderful banana nut flavors. After I made these, my first bite sent my head swimming in joy.
You can enjoy these delicious treats by themselves, of course! Or, have them alongside a tall glass of Creamy Dreamy Hemp Milk (recipe here). Or, crumble them in a bowl with raw granola and enjoy as your breakfast. Or, crumble them over Raw vegan vanilla ice cream.
Now, making these requires using dehydrated banana slices that are HOME MADE. Don’t use the ones bought in the store. They’re too hard and probably have crappy preservatives on them. So, if you don’t have a dehydrator yet, then borrow someone’s or get one! And, while you’re at it, get the Sedona.
Without further ado… here is my EASY recipe for delicious Raw Vegan Cookies.
1 cup raw homemade dehydrated banana slices, packed**
1 tablespoon raw agave nectarUpdate: I’m no longer a fan of agave and would use raw honey, maple syrup, or coconut nectar
Place the walnuts, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade and process to a coarse grind. Add the dehydrated banana slices and process until they’re broken down and incorporated. As that is happening, add the raw agave nectar. Process the mixture until you get a dough-like consistency. Form into small cookies (either flat as shown in the picture or in balls). Enjoy!
* For optimal digestion, use walnuts that have been soaked and dehydrated. To do this, soak the walnuts in filtered water for 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse. Spread the walnuts out on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 135 degrees for 45 minutes. Lower the temperature to 105 degrees and continue dehydrating until dry (approximately 12-24 hours).
** This recipe is designed to use dehydrated banana slices that you make yourself so they’re not processed with any other ingredients other than the bananas themselves. You’ll notice that banana slices in the store tend to be crunchy. By using homemade dehydrated banana slices, they maintain a softer, chewier texture, which is great for this recipe, and they’re fresh and pure. To make yours, simply slice the bananas and dehydrate them for about 18-24 hours or until a dry, chewy texture is obtained.
The time is coming for another chance at having a baby…. exciting!!! We’re heading to New York this week for a frozen embryo transfer at New Hope Fertility Center. It’s one of those shown in the picture to the right. Aren’t they cool looking?
It’s been a great month. I’ve had the time to fully research the vaccine issue. I’ve eaten a super clean, HRAV (high raw, all vegan) diet. I’ve exercised by strength training and doing some cardio. I’ve had time to listen to many visualization CDs about birthing, infertility, etc. I’ve become a pro at deep breathing. I’ve made progress on new Kristen’s Raw projects (I’m bubbling over with excitement about them). And, I’m ecstatic and ready for the next attempt at becoming a mom.
I’ll keep you posted about the trip (fertility stuff, food and restaurants, and overall adventures in the Big Apple) through my blog here (I’ll do some videos from NY!), as well as Facebook and Twitter. Wish us luck!
PS. A special shout out to my mom (many of you know her through Facebook – Susan Sunny Larson – if you’re not friends with her there, you’re missing out on some serious humor. Although, be warned, she’s beautifully intense – haha). Mom is taking care of our home and dog while we’re gone. Thanks mom!!!
For those of you who don’t know the back story, feel free to check out these blog posts:
This juice was so dang pretty, I didn’t want to drink it. I just wanted to stare at it. I made it with my Breville and it contained 2 oranges (peeled), 7 smallish/medium carrots, big ol’ knob of ginger. The orange and carrots made it pretty and the heavy ginger gave it some jazz. It was AWESOME! (I should have taken a picture of it.)
These were soaked, sprouted and dehydrated. They’re a great source for iron and zinc. Yum! Zinc is important for fertility, especially male fertility!
Fresh Raw Zucchini & Cucumber Pasta
I spiralized zucchini and cucumber with my Benriner Turning Slicer (demonstrated toward the end of this video). I put it in a bowl and added fresh squeezed lemon juice, Himalayan crystal saltand black pepper. Then, I diced up red bell pepper and avocado (using the fruit scooper in this video to get all my avocado out), and threw that on top. Finally, I added fresh raw corn cut from the cob and tossed that in. My husband and I were loving up this fresh concoction. *NOTE: it’s best to cut and use the juice from lemons right before serving (when possible) because from the moment of cutting, you start to lose the precious vitamin C… like, by the minute.
Buckwheat and Fresh Veggies
I mixed up a little cooked buckwheat with a bunch of fresh raw veggies and non sweet fruit and topped it with a fantastic raw sauce mixture of tahini, tamari, ginger, and other awesome flavorings.
I didn’t have hazelnuts, so I used a mixture of hemp seeds, (soaked, sprouted and dehydrated) sunflower seeds, and (soaked and dehydrated) walnuts. *TIP: I have a ready supply of these gems in my freezer so I can quickly grab one whenever I want. That’s one of the keys to succeeding with the raw vegan lifestyle. Have food on hand, already made, ready to eat. Trust me. When I’m going to a restaurant, I can grab my Raw dessert and stash it in my purse so when I get a craving for dessert, I can gobble up my secret treat. When I arrive home from a day of running errands, I like knowing that I can go to my countertop ready to eat snacks and enjoy a nutritious snack (things like garlic basil chia crisps, prunes, dates, sprouted / dehydrated sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goji berries, raisins, etc).
Here is what Courtney and Finding True Serenity had to say when asked, “If you could donate 1 million dollars to charity, which would you choose AND why?”
Courtney wrote, “That’s tough because there are so many that are deserving. I would donate to Ashoka, a non-profit dedicated to assisting social entrepreneurs. I love the organization because they work from the bottom up – finding individuals and small groups that are making a difference in their own communities – instead of from the top down (which rarely works!). This strategy great because the people that they fund are connected to their communities, know exactly what is needed, and are better able to figure out the best approach.”
Finding True Serenity wrote, “Wonderful question! I honesty would have to name my #1 choice as WWF (World Wildlife Fund). I think we need to protect our natural home, and all of it’s inhabitants while promoting efficient and sustainable approaches to preserve and reverse the degradation of our planet so all of our needs are met in harmony with nature! I would love to win a bag of chia seeds! They sound quite universal! Thank you for the wonderful opportunity!”
My next Awesome Giveaway is in October, so check back for details!
I’m not one to waste organic food… ever. So, when I’m done juicing, I make crackers with the leftover pulp, or I stir some into my dog’s food, or I give it to the bunny’s in my neighborhood.
Here’s a little quick video showing you the batch I made the other day.
I used my Breville to make the green juice (like only $99 bucks for this machine – so worth it). I spread the pulp mixture with an offset spatula (one of my other favorite tools in the kitchen, other than the fruit scoopers). And, I used my Excalibur Dehydrator to dry the Raw crackers (they’re the BEST on the market – hands down).
You can use any spices you have on hand. Be creative and try different combinations. And, use the juice pulp from any green juice you make.
The recipe I used below is:
For the Juice
2 cucumbers, 1 bunch Italian parsley, 5 leaves medium kale
This gives about 2 cups of pulp when using the Breville juicer.
For the pulp
1/2 cup flax* seed, 1 tablespoon tamari, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1 tablespoon mesquite powder, and 3/4 cup water (as needed) *The lovely flax I used was from a sample sent to me by Flax Matters.
This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets (available here). What can I say? I’m a gadget girl. It makes scooping out avocado so effortless and FUN! They make GREAT gifts, too! (Holidays aren’t that far off.) :)
And, it comes in a pack of three. I use the red for avocado, the green for getting the greatest, longest pieces of coconut meat from young Thai coconuts, and the orange is supposed to be great for mango.
Now… some of you might say, “Oh, I can use a spoon for that.” Well, let me tell ya. The beauty of this scooper is that it (like practically every time) takes out the avocado in one lovely perfect avocado half. And, that makes it easy for dicing up when serving the avocado in other kinds of dishes. So, for example, when I dice avocado for a salad or a noodle dish, I need the avocado in as perfect a piece as I can get. Then, I slice horizontally in half (across) while keeping the avocado in place. Then, I slice vertically through in 3-4 slices. Voila, it’s like perfect little cubes. If you used to a spoon to get the avocado out, odds are, it comes out in pieces, making the dicing process not as nice and uniform.
It’s time for another awesome giveaway (here was last month’s). The prize for September? CHIA SEEDS!!!!!! WHOOHOO!!!!! I will be drawing the names of 2 winners, and each winner will receive a 3 pound bag of chia seeds (courtesy of Chia Seeds Direct). Cool, huh?
Chia rocks the house. Most of you know I’m a big fan of these cute lil guys. Read my post about chia here, the “Dieter’s Dream Food.” There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy them:
Plain, by the spoonful (be sure to carry dental floss, speaking from experience here)
Roll a peeled banana in them
Add them to smoothies and Raw vegan nut/seed milks
Make chia crackers (like here) or chia bread (like here, this recipe doesn’t call for chia seeds specifically, but you can substitute the “twister” blend for ground chia)
Want the chance to win? It’s simple to participate! All you have to do is answer the following question (be sure to answer both parts) in this post’s comment section. The contest will end Wednesday night, September 9th @ 11:59pm. I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Thursday, September 10th. *Please note: this month’s contest is only open to people living in the United States and Canada.
Question:If you could donate one million dollars to charity, which would you choose AND WHY?
Oh, and PS… A great thing about the Benriner turning slicer I show in the video is that the Raw veggie noodles that this tool makes are noodles that stay fresh for 2-3 days, unlike the Saladacco or other spiralizer like the Saladacco (where the inside of the produce is used), and you need to serve the noodles right away or at least the same day. With the Benriner Turning Slicer (and there are a couple of other models that are similar to the one I feature), the noodles can be made 1-2 days in advance and still taste as fresh as the day you made them. That’s awesome!
This recipe can be used in many different ways:
Use this for dipping fresh veggies (my favorite way) or corn chips (Raw or not – it’s up to you!)
For those eating cooked vegan foods, this is an awesome sauce on top of veggie burgers
This also makes a delicious Raw vegan dressing on a hearty salad with romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and cucumbers. You could even sprinkle on some Raw vegan taco meat and raw dehydrated corn chips for a tortilla type salad.
Here’s a super fun way to have it… dehydrated like a slice of nacho flavored cheese… simply spread the mixture on to a dehydrator tray (Excalibur Dehydrators are, by far, the best) fitted with one of their Paraflexx sheets. Let it dehydrate (105-110 degrees) over night (or longer!), and try flipping it on to a regular mesh tray the following day, peel off the Paraflexx sheet and continue dehydrating until you reach a “dry-type” texture. Either try cutting into squares to put on your next sandwich or crumble it up and use it as a fun and yummy topping for salad. Or, if you’re like my sweet husband, he eats it straight out of the dehydrator bite by bite… plain, all by its delicious self!
For the past week, I’ve been living up the Raw lifestyle big time (like usual I guess, haha, but more intense. I took out a bunch of my recipe books and I’m having a blast in the kitchen. Details below…
Here is a picture of my refrigerator loaded to the gills after we went to Whole Foods Market and the farmers’ market (where I’m a part of an awesome certified organic CSA). Most of the goodies are from the farmers’ market, but a few things I had to score from WFM such as kale, mustard greens, blueberries, raspberries, celery, cilantro, and parsley.
Here is my light reading of the week… a couple of great magazines. VegNews and Purely Delicious. I’m also reading a book by Deepak Chopra, M.D. My goal is to spend time away from the computer for a few days because my right eye has been twitching for a week. It feels the most irritated when I’m working on my computer or using my iPhone, which I do ALL the time. Those two things must be the culprits because 1) I get PLENTY of sleep and 2) My body is full of any and all vitamins that if there was a deficiency it would cause that. Some could offer the suggestion that it’s stress, but my life is pretty calm for the most part in spite of my fertility adventures (will update you on that this week). And, again, once I start working on my iMac or look at the iPhone, my eye feels strained.
We’ve been having 1-2 large green smoothies every day (I took a break from juicing this week – I like to change it up from time to time). Green smoothies (green shakes, green monsters – whatever you want to call them) are a staple in my life. They’re super easy to make and HELLO! they’re loaded with nutrition, fiber, and goodness. I topped this one with home grown sprouts for fun (see my video on how to grow your own sprouts here).
Saturday night we had a birthday party to attend and I figured the restaurant probably wouldn’t have anything really healthy, so we filled up on this dish before we left the house. I made Raw zucchini/vegetable pasta medley with Lemon Basil Cashew Cream. It was refreshing and deliciously unique. (You’ll notice the “clump” of sauce in the center. I hadn’t stirred it into the dish when I took the picture. With raw pasta dishes it’s OK – even preferable – to have thick sauces because the water from the veggies helps to dilute it after it’s stirred together).
I had chia seeds in my breakfasts a couple of days last week. More specifically, Sunny Morning Chia Porridge (no oats in this porridge though!). The mixture consisted of chia seeds, shredded unsweetened coconut, orange juice, cashews, stevia, almond extract, agave nectar, and cinnamon. It was just lightly sweet, making it ideal for my breakfast. And, full of energy of course!
For dessert all week, I’ve been making different variations of raw banana ice cream. My husband LOVES this stuff. Seriously. Every time I give him a dish of it, he swears… yes, literally swear words – like “Sh*t this rocks!” (he says other things, but I’ll keep this post “PG” rated), because he loves the stuff and is amazed at the texture and flavors. I like to make it in my food processor because it helps make it fluffy by incorporating more air (as opposed to making it in a blender or Green Star).
Banana Ice Cream Crumble: I made a crumble of walnuts, raisins, shredded unsweetened coconut, and a pinch of Himalayan crystal salt. I put some crumble in the bottom of two bowls. Then, I pureed frozen bananas. I put the banana ice cream in the bowls and then topped them with more crumble. Yum! The various textures were awesome – smooth raw vegan ice cream, crunchy nuts, and chewy raisins. Today I froze 3 bunches of bananas for more Raw Banana Ice Cream.
I also made a batch of my delicious soup, Kristen Suzanne’s Harvest Soup (Holiday Style with pumpkin spice added) – it’s fabulous, easy, and FULL of nutrients. Today’s batch was a tiny bit different than my original recipe. I didn’t have dates on hand so I used maple syrup. I could have used raw agave nectar, but opted for the maple syrup to support the holiday flavor theme of the soup.
Later this week I’m going to make my lasagna and hummus recipes (these recipes are always huge hits with family and friends). I’m also going to make some dishes of uber simplicity such as chopped (or spiralized) zucchini/cucumber topped with a drizzle of olive oil (or diced avocado), Himalayan crystal salt, pepper, and a squeeze of citrus. And, some huge salads are in order.
Raw Vegan Rocks!
**Update(it’s 4:39am, 9/1/09)
Well, I ended up having quite the chocolate craving tonight with nothing in the house stashed away for a rainy day. But, I didn’t wear a frown for long. I grabbed my Chocolate Recipe book and turned to the Chocolate Crunch Hazelnut Macaroons (recipe here) and in less than 15 minutes I was a smiling girl. Chocolate covered fingers and all.
Shortly after that… I was craving GREEN JUICE! So, I busted out my GreenStar (my favorite way to juice these days) and made about 10 cups of juice (I gave my husband 2 cups, I drank a quart, then we went on a 2 mile walk at 3:30 am and I’m now home updating this post while drinking the remaining quart of green juice). What was in it? So many good things. I’m calling it Army Green Juice (because the color was truly army green and gorgeous!). The recipe: 2 red bell peppers, 1/2 lemon, 1 orange peeled, 1 large cucumber, 1 medium cucumber, 1/3 bunch Italian parsley, 2 large heads of Romaine lettuce (my first time juicing Romaine, Mr. Monarch and Ms. Stokes-Monarch inspired me), 8 medium carrots, and 4 leaves of mustard greens. YUM!!! I’m full of RAW VITALITY!!!