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!!!
After viewing those videos, I came away with the feeling that, for the first time, I’m just not surprised anymore. The government supporting the people they support… the conflicts of interest… the revolving doors… the problems with things from GMOs to aspartame to high fructose corn syrup and subsidies for crap like that to amalgams to vaccines to – well, the list is so long that I’m just not surprised anymore. And, amazingly, I’m pretty much not upset. As I watched these videos I thought to myself, “Well, I’m glad that I’m a prosumer. I’m glad that I don’t take the so-called experts’ (i.e., doctors, politicians and big biz) word for it when it comes to my health and the environment. I know that I need to keep myself educated on these topics and make my own decisions from there.”
That’s the way it has to be… informed. And, if we stay informed, then we should be safe. Hopefully.
I’ve been needing a new purse for a while now. My closet is filled with torture (beautiful as the end result may seem, my Chanel and Gucci bags just aren’t sexy to me anymore). So, they continue to sit in my closet. Meanwhile… this girl needed a new purse (or two!). I’ve been carrying around an old hemp purse of my grandma’s (I think she bought it in Spain about 40 years ago). It’s cute, but too small. And… it has some leather on it (not a whole lot, but it’s there). Still, it’s sentimental to me because it was my grandma’s.
Some of you may be wondering what the big deal is with leather for me. Well, I’m a veganfirst and foremost for ethical reasons… to save animals. So, it would seem beyond silly for me to wear or use leather. But, I have it in my closet. I have kept it from my pre-vegan years, but I’m not using it (think: shoes, belts, purses).
I’m not of the mind to just throw it all out either. My leather pieces do have some meaning to me; there are memories with each one. For example, my first Chanel purse was a gift from my mom when I graduated from high school early. My second Chanel was a reward to myself when I was working 80 hour work weeks years ago. The stories go on from there. I have some from my very young childhood (like 13 years old). However, I don’t want to use them or advertise them. I realize that the animal has already suffered for it, and it seems rather wasteful to just pitch it.
From Peta.org: “Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals and tans their skins and hides.(1) Many of these animals suffer all the horrors of factory farming—including extreme crowding and confinement, deprivation, and unanesthetized castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning—and cruel treatment during transport and slaughter.” Read more here.
So, what’s a girl to do? I have no idea. They’re stashed away for now.
Meanwhile… I needed something new. Something that showed my style and beliefs. Something eco-chic. Something cool. Something sustainable. So, I chose hemp. I found two bags and bought them without hesitation. The first one is dark brown and functional. It has many compartments and plenty of room for my girlie stuff (makeup, money, pens, paper, raw snack bar, cell phone, etc.) and the other one I chose is black. This second purse is a little dressier. It’s perfect for date nights with my husband, dinners, etc. I bought them both here (one of my favorite online stores). They’re perfect.
Here are great articles that I hope you take the time to check out.
Time Magazine: Getting Real About the High Price of Food – I’m excited because the word is getting out more and more about healthier eating… local, organic, more plant based foods, treating animals better, etc. Apparently, this article is the cover of Time magazine – YAY! We had Food, Inc. (see my post about Food, Inc) over the summer and now this.
White House Farmers’ Market – How cool that Obama is talking about having a farmers’ market outside the White House. I love shopping at my farmers’ market and I’m a part of a CSA that I LOVE. Everyone should have access to locally grown organic veggies. Everyone.
Relaxing for Health (and fertility!!!), It’s Good For You – I really enjoyed reading this article. Relaxation is so important… for boosting the immune system, helping digestion, and, yes, fertility! I’m all over that. In fact, I’ve recently purchased a few cds on meditation and visualization for pregnancy, infertility, etc. They’re WONDERFUL! I play them in the background when I’m getting ready for the day, when I’m juicing, and when I’m falling asleep at night.
*UPDATE: I’m adding this article that I found today:
The Anti-Cancer Diet- Whoohoo! Go Plants! I especially like the part about eating more RAW and ORGANIC! I’m saving the link to this article, because it sure pumped me up and encouraged my lifestyle.
Here are some of the things I had today. Yummy, fresh, all organic, and full of vitality.
1 quart green juice (plant blood!) with a dash of wheat germ oil (high in Vitamin E, an important vitamin for fertility). I like to make a LOT, like 10-15 cups worth. I store it in glass mason jars, filled to the tippy top, in my refrigerator. It only lasts us about 2 days maximum because between my husband and myself, we drink it all up.
2 cups grapes
These were from the CSA and they were awesome… fresh, crisp, sweet, and damn refreshing.
6 cups Raspberry Green Smoothie (1.5 cups filtered water, 3 cups raspberries, 6 leaves curly purple kale, 3 bananas) – I didn’t drink this all at once. It’s loaded with nutrients and lots of fiber. Mmmmmm…
Coconut Yogurt with 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (the yogurt is not Raw)
3 cups Creamy Juicy Greens
This is where I take a couple cups of the fresh green juice that I have and blend it with avocado in my Vita-mix blender. This is great because: 1) some nutrients need fat to be assimilated, 2) if the green juice is too green or spicy, then the avocado mellows it out a bit, 3) it’s totally satisfying and filling, and 4) the creamy factor is out of of this world! When I juice my greens using my Green Star (read about my 2 favorite juicers here).
Guacamole and Salsa
I love this combination as an easy and delicious salad. Avocados are so good for you, and tomatoes have nutrients in them that need fat (like from the avocados) to help your body assimilate them.
I have a delicious recipe for you. Navitas Naturals was super cool and they sent me some products to try. Here is one of the recipes I made using their raw cashews, Twister Sprouted Omega Blend, and stevia. This recipe is totally fun and it’s especially perfect for the summer, when strawberries are in season. Strawberry Sweet Bread is loaded with nutrients… just look at those ingredients – so many goodies!!!! It’s great served with a nut/seed butter and fruit (as shown) for a wonderfully satisfying Raw vegan snack or lunch. And, it’s so EASY to make. When it’s time to send those kiddos to school, give them a super nutritious lunch by including this. You can put the chopped fruit in a little container and the nut/seed butter in another little container. Include a little spreading spoon and they can build their own little sandwich. Oh… and…. My husband LOVES this. I mean, like, REALLY REALLY LOVES IT! It’s great for the whole family. Enjoy!
Grind the cashews to a fine grind using a blender or food processor (fitted with the “S” blade). Transfer to a large bowl. Add the Twister powder to the bowl and stir to mix the ingredients. Blend the remaining ingredients together using a blender. Transfer the blended mixture to the bowl with the cashew/Twister ingredients, and stir thoroughly to mix. Loosely cover the bowl with a piece of paper towel (or cloth towel), and let it sit on your counter for 2 hours.
Spread all of the bread dough on a dehydrator tray lined with a non-stick Paraflexx sheet (from Excalibur). It should be about 10″ x 10″ with a height (or thickness) of about 1/2″.
Dehydrate at 135 degrees for one hour. Reduce the temperature to 105-110 degrees and continue dehydrating another 8-10 hours.
Flip the bread onto a tray that is not lined with a Paraflexx sheet. Gently peel off the current sheet of Paraflexx being used. Continue dehydrating 10-12 hours. Cut the bread into desired size pieces and continue dehydrating another 1-4 hours, or more, depending on desired dryness. The goal is not to dry the bread completely if you want it like a soft bread. Strawberry Sweet Bread will stay fresh when stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up 5 days.
I love serving this with a nut or seed butter (Manitoba Harvest’s hemp seed butter is shown in the picture) along with some diced fruit such as berries, orange, or banana.
Congratulations CAITLIN, aTxVegan, Veg-a-Nut, and Janine!!!(I ended up selecting 4 winners because I was thrilled with the number of people participating.) Your names were chosen as the winners of my 13th Awesome Giveaway. The prize for each of you is a complete set of my 11 available ebooks – YAY!!!!!!Simply email me so I can email them back to you.
Here is what Caitlin had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
i am inspired to eat healthy for two reasons. First, the way I feel. Second, I feel it is my obligation. As I learn more about our food and our bodies, and the environment, I can’t sit back and not act, I can’t knowingly put something harmful into my body. Our bodies are wonderful gifts.
Here is what aTxVeganhad to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
What originally inspired me to eat healthy was a colitis diagnosis, then a soy intolerance, and then a gluten intolerance. So needless to say, it just feels right to eat healthy. What continues to inspire me is that I just turned 50 and people are always shocked when they find out, which is really nice. But I’m starting to feel some achy joints, so I never miss a session with my trainer, and visiting your blog and so many other healthy blogs keep me inspired and keep others inspired. Thank you for such a generous giveaway, Kristen. There is always so much more to learn about healthful eating.
Here is what Veg-a-Nut had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
My parents, grandparents, brother and sister are ravaged with heart disease, cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, and more. I am the only one without any problems and want to keep it that way. I am trying hard to be a good example to my grown children and husband. One daughter has gone vegan a little over a year ago and is raising my grandson as a vegan. Nothing makes me prouder than to see my efforts paying off. For a few months now I have been pondering a very high raw diet, but have been lost with meals. I hope the good fairy is on my side and I win these books!!
Here is what Janine had to say when asked, “What inspires you to eat healthy?“
What inspires me to eat healthy? It used to be for selfish reasons: look good, feel good, amaze my friends and co-workers because I’m NEVER sick, stay slim without trying, the natural high you get after a awesome raw meal. I’d make food for my loved ones, hoping they, too, would eat this way so I would be promised a little more time with them in this life. Then the man I love entered my life. I kicked it up a notch so he, too, would feel the effects from our uber-healthy meals. I was motivated to try new superfoods and herbs so his aches and pains would subside. Watched as he felt better day by day. I dreamed of going to detox clinics with him, laughed together after our first colonic, ate and drank the weirdest things, and finally got him to say “I actually like your green drinks” (ah, success!!).
But until I tried to get pregnant, I never realized how important it was, not just for me, to be healthy. My whole life, my whole being, is now dedicated on eating the absolute healthiest way (w/out going crazy) because I dream of all the steps for my unborn child. I feel my uterus growing stronger, I sense my blood becoming richer, and when I am finally lucky enough that this world blesses me with a baby, that little pumpkin will have, beyond a doubt, the best chance in this world because it gets to develop in a clean, healthy, nutritious environment. Especially with autism, ADD, schizophrenia, and all these “common” diagnoses, I want to give my child the best chance in this world!
That is what motivates me now!! And you, Kristen, have given me strength for all your positive words. (Janine-39, miscarried recently too and not giving up)
My next Awesome Giveaway is in September, so check back for details!
My good news to report is that for the first time in weeks, I feel really good and pretty much back to normal. My body is telling me that it’s on track and everything is healing. My miscarriage symptoms ceased yesterday (it was about a week long), the extra weight and toxins I was carrying around are going away, and overall, I just feel really good!
I know that I owe this in part to my organic diet (with plenty of fresh juice – see today’s pic), my plan of relaxation, husband-giving-massage, healing under the sun by day and under the moon by night, etc. But, I also owe this in part to hypnobirthing. Let me explain…
So, here I am today… feeling wonderful. I did as promised and I wrote my birth plan (it’s at least down on paper and I can make minor changes as the months go by) and I’m belly deep in reading about vaccines (currently reading Dr. Sears’ book, The Vaccine Book).
One of the other things I had on my to-do list before getting pregnant, and for during the early weeks of pregnancy, was to start hypnobirthing classes (details on hypnobirthing here). My midwife and doula referred me to a lady named Sherry. I contacted her and she agreed that starting sooner than later was a great idea because I would learn useful visualization and meditation techniques that will help me right now… as I attempt another pregnancy with Mini-IVF. While we’re waiting for a class to start, she is working with us in a private situation and we had our first session on Sunday. It was glorious and I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I’m feeling wonderful.
Sherry taught me some proper breathing techniques of breathing through my nose for both inhaling and exhaling and the relaxed state of body that accompanies it. She gave me some pointers for visualizations… taking advantage of visualizing my healthy womb any chance I can get whether it’s waiting for the microwave to heat up my water or waiting in line at the post office. Taking time, even if it’s only 45 seconds to conjure up a delightfully lovely vision of having a pregnant belly or a calm home birth is very beneficial.
When I told her I was concerned that I’d have a hard time meditating intentionally, she suggested that I create a way to think about how my body is healing, if the healing itself is hard to imagine for me. For example, when I simply think of a healthy uterus, the vision is quick to come and go. I needed help in sustaining the picture in my mind. She offered that having an “imaginary” helper can facilitate this process. So, here it goes…don’t think I’m nuts – LOL – on the contrary, I’m having so much FUN with it! I’ve enlisted the help of Merlin. He’s a wizard and wears one of those wizard hats. Currently, he resides in my uterus and has been there since Sunday cleaning it up with his broom and magic wand. As I imagine him doing this, it helps me keep the vision in my mind and I have fun at the same time. Who knew that as an adult I could have an imaginary friend? Once he finishes tidying up my uterus, he’ll go to work on my blood, brain and all that good stuff in helping me prep my body for pregnancy. So… meet Merlin.(I bought a copy of this print so that I can hang him up in my office and always be reminded of my imaginary helper. I think he’s pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself.)