Thursday, January 15th, 2009
I’m having an affair with a Vita-Mix 5200. Am I ashamed? Well, it’s hard to be when you experience this awesome piece of machinery. For many years, I’ve had both a Blendtec and a Professional Series Vita-Mix blender, and I’ve always told people that both are great, but if I had to pick one, I would have gone for the Blendtec. The primary reasons for me being that it fits neatly on my counter (under the cupboard – due to its overall height being shorter than the Vita-Mix) and because it’s easier to scrape food out from the bottom due to its two-pronged blade vs. the 4-pronged Vita-Mix blade. I’ve had both side by side all these years and I always just went to use the Blendtec. I figured that meant it was my blender of choice, not realizing that I was probably partial to the machine since I had it first and was very comfortable with it.
Well, all that has changed now. I recently got my hot little hands on the new Vita-Mix 5200 and immediately fell in love. First of all, the container is BPA-free (Hello! BPA-FREE!) with improved sound dampening so it’s not crazy loud. Secondly, obviously the blender is powerful, reliable, and awesome. Thirdly, the warranty kicks butt! Vita-Mix offers a 7-year warranty on both the container and base (under normal household use), while Blendtec offers a measly 3-year warranty on the base and only 1 year on the container (this is important for me which I’ll detail in a moment). There are other improvements in the Vita-Mix which make it easier to use such as the new lid (now it’s super easy to take on and off). Finally, the Vita-Mix has excellent customer service, which is important to me and always weighs heavily in the equation of whether I buy a product. I still feel like the food (most notably Raw cheeses and dips) are a little easier to get out of the Blendtec container, but not so much that I would now choose the Blendtec over Vitamix.
I wrote that the warranty was important earlier, as well as customer service. Regarding my Blendtec, I’ve recently not had the best experience. My Blendtec started blending at an unbelievably loud pitch. So loud you must plug your ears or it pieces them with pain. When I attempted contact with Blendtec about this – three times! – I received no response. After researching their website about the warranty, I read that my container was only under a 1 year warranty (testing the Blendtec’s sound with and without the container leads me to believe that it’s the container causing the new nasty noise). On top of that, my mom’s Blendtec (much newer than mine, but still over a year old) is doing the same thing!
My Blendtec (container noise problem) and new Vita-Mix 5200 experience both occurred within the last couple of months, and I wanted to share it with you, since for so long I’ve been saying, “They’re both great, but I’m a Blendtec gal.” Not so much anymore.
Move over Blendtec, it’s time for something greater! Vita-Mix 5200, you’ve won my heart.
UPDATE: I have updated my thoughts on the two blenders here.
Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
Aaaaahhhhh LEMONS! Aaaaahhhhh MACADAMIA NUTS! These two ingredients are a couple of my favorites and I’m excited to feature a delicious Raw vegan recipe with them. Capri Lemon Chocolate Bars – major deliciousness if you like lemon and macadamia nuts. These bars are dense, full of flavor and a little goes a long way. Sometimes I have it for dessert and sometimes I eat a little one for breakfast with my cup of tea. Don’t you just love that you can have dessert for breakfast when it comes to Raw food?
I love lemons because they’re so refreshing and good for you. Lemons are alkalizing and an excellent source for vitamin C. But, that’s not all. These yellow darlings have folate, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and flavonoids (known for fighting cancer and heart disease!). I had dreams of the Italian island of Capri when making this recipe because they’re known for lemons. The island is filled with lemon trees and they put lemon in just about everything.
I love macadamia nuts because they’re buttery-rich in flavor and texture… and unbelievably satiating. This nut is good for you! They provide monounsaturated fat, which is shown time and again with helping to lower levels of heart disease and cancer. Macadamia nuts are loaded with nutrition such as… phosphorus, calcium, potassium, some fiber, magnesium, a little selenium, and phytosterols. (Keep in mind that they are high in calories, so you probably don’t want to eat the whole platter in one sitting. That’s why I said a little bit goes a long way with this recipe.)
Capri Lemon Chocolate Bars
Kristen Suzanne of Kristen’s Raw
Yield one 8-inch glass baking dish
2 cups raw macadamia nuts
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
3 tablespoons raw agave nectar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
10 dates, pitted, soaked 1 hour, drained
1/2 cup dried apple, soaked 1 hour, drained
8 dates, pitted, soaked 1 hour (reserve “soak water”)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons “soak water”
3 tablespoons raw chocolate or carob*
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup coconut oil
For the bars: Process the nuts in a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, until coarsely ground. Add the lemon extract, agave, lemon juice, and process to mix. Add the dates and dried apple and process until the mixture is thoroughly incorporated. Press (or spread) the mixture into the bottom of the glass baking dish. Place in the freezer while you make the frosting.
For the frosting: Blend all of the ingredients together (don’t worry about blending the macadamia nuts until entirely smooth if you don’t want; they can add a nice texture to the frosting). Spread on top of the bars. Place in the freezer for about an hour. After they “set” you can store them in the refrigerator (up to 5 days) or in the freezer (up to 6 months).
*Truly raw carob is available here.
Sunday, January 11th, 2009
Congratulations Mrs. Money and Anonymous (details below)… You won!!! Your prize: You each will receive a jar of Fruits of the Earth Powder™(360 grams; $48.95 value). I hope you’re ready to load up on antioxidants! Simply send me an email with your address so I can get your gift to you right away.
Here is what Mrs. Money and Anonymous had to say when asked, “What is one of your favorite movies and why?”
Mrs. Money: I love Coyote Ugly. While it is a total chick flick and so old, I still love it. Thanks for the opportunity to win! :)
Anonymous: I like Flight of the Navigator, because it is one big adventure. :)
I have to admit, I’ve always liked Coyote Ugly, too. I think it’s so fun. And, Flight of the Navigator? I have not seen, but I’m always up for an adventure, so I’ll be on the lookout for that one.
My next Awesome Giveaway is scheduled for January. Check back for details. Thanks to all of you who participated!
Thursday, January 8th, 2009
My 6th Awesome Giveaway is here – YEEHAW!!! The prize if your name is drawn? I’m sending you a jar of Fruits of the Earth Powder™($48.95 value). This stuff is great. I use it on a regular basis in my smoothies to add loads of antioxidants.
Update! I’m having so much fun with this Awesome Giveaway that I’m going to draw two names!
Here is what the makers of this product had to say about it:
Fruits of The Earth™ is a high antioxidant, potent combination of natures most nutritive fruits from around the world. Dried at low temperatures to preserve heat sensitive elements. The ultra-finely ground and highly bioavailable whole leaf grasses provide a huge source of nutrition including essential alkalinity and better blood sugar balance. Actual Food™ Chromium is also added to support healthy metabolism and blood sugar levels. Unlike other “Food Type” forms of nutrients, this Chromium is 100% organically bound. It is not merely in the “form” of food, it is Food!
Excited? Want the chance to win? Simply answer the following question in the comment section for today’s post. At the end of three days (Saturday night, Jan 10th @ 11:59pm) I’ll enter everyone’s name who answered the question into a drawing and announce the winner on my blog Sunday. (Please note: While I would love to hear from everyone around the world in answering this question, I have to limit the winner to someone living in the continental United States.)
Question: What is one of your favorite movies and why?
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Another exciting day! My 7th book is now available in print, Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks. This book is filled with tons of DELICIOUS beverage recipes, tips, and information. Getting all of the nutrition and anti-oxidants your body needs for maximum health is SUPER EASY once you start eating Raw plant-based foods every day, and one of the easiest ways to do this consistently is to DRINK THEM! Great photos available here. Which are your favorites?
Monday, January 5th, 2009
It’s been such a great weekend. I went to the farmer’s market and loaded up with plenty of fresh, locally grown, organic, Super Qi produce. I played Mah Jongg with my family today. And, now it’s time to start a new week, all fresh and energized! It’s going to be a great week, I can feel it already. In fact, I think it’s that time again… for another one of my Awesome Giveaways! Check back this week for details.
I wanted to share a new blog with you, Living A Whole Life. A friend of mine started it and I’m enjoying it very much. Check it out!
News to Peruse
FDA to Reconsider Plastic Bottle Risk – It’s about time!
How Certain Veggies Combat Cancer – YEEHAW!!!
Celebs Resolutions Include Going Veg, Raw Foods, Dropping Smokes – Yay Fergie and Eva!
Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
A great friend of mine showed me this video and I had to share it with you (I’ve watched it twice already). My friend said it best – Such a great example of a gifted teacher and public speaker with a message that today could not be more felicitous.
Trust me, you’ll enjoy it from start to finish.
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
Eating organic food is important – we all know that. Eating locally grown organic food is even WAY BETTER! For years, I’ve longed to taste fresh, organic produce grown on land local to me in Arizona. Unfortunately, every time I went to a farmer’s market, there wasn’t anything that was both local and organic. So, I ended up opting for Whole Foods (I’m a real stickler for organic). Even though I shopped at Whole Foods, I made it a point to choose foods that traveled the shortest distance, for both environmental and nutritional benefits.
Well, all that has changed for me now. YIPPEE! A short while back, a friend of mine turned me on to a local farmer, Doug (of Lewis’ Hen House & Veggie Farm), who sells his locally grown organic produce at a nearby farmer’s market. Doug’s farm just became certified organic this past February of 2008. Congratulations to you, Doug, and THANK YOU!!! (That’s Doug weighing my broccoli in the picture.)
So, off I went to the farmer’s market to meet Doug and try out his fresh organic goodies. I purchased all kinds of produce: oranges, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, baby bok choy, carrots, cabbage, yams, romaine lettuce (the biggest and most gorgeous ever!), and more. I was like a kid in a candy store… smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t get home fast enough to make some delicious Raw vegan dishes with my treasures.
What happened was a little unexpected. With my first bite, I was quite moved in an emotional way. I was so proud and excited to be participating in something that is so important – supporting a local farmer, tasting food grown by his very hands, minimizing my carbon footprint, and experiencing nutrition at its very best. I swear it tastes so much better than what is bought at the store, and why wouldn’t it? It’s local and organic! There is more nutrition in it because it’s picked fresh, maybe a day or two before being brought to the market to sell. There is a saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine that a food’s Qi (pronounced “chi”) decreases the farther it gets from its source or origin. Qi is known as life energy, which is thought to be intrinsic in all things. Pretty important stuff. So, I lovingly refer to my locally grown organic fruits and vegetables as Super Qi Food!
When you buy food from the grocery store, it’s usually been packed and waiting in the refrigerated area for many days, even weeks, plus the travel time and distance (Qi-loss). That’s not the case for me anymore though. Now that I’ve found Lewis’ Hen House & Veggie Farm, I’m blessed to have Super Qi fruits and vegetables year round – local, organic, and awesome. I can’t wait to go back this Saturday.
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
Whoo-Whee!!! I’m excited to announce that my 6th book is now available in print - Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Soups! This book is filled with super delicious, EASY, and satisfying soups.
Here are 3 reasons I love Raw vegan soups!
I can whip up a delicious Raw soup fast (anywhere from 5-15 minutes) and have enough servings to last a few days. Raw soups are a quick, nutritious, and hearty solution. Plus, they’re easy to transport and consume. When I’m running errands, I simply drink my Raw soup straight from a glass mason jar.
Raw vegan soups are a staple in my diet because they give me loads of energy. (They’re a blended food so they’re easier on digestion).
These soups can be an entire meal, a mid-day snack, or complement a meal as an appetizer or side dish. They also can be enjoyed all year long. During the summer months, I enjoy cold and refreshing Raw soups, and in the chilly winter months I simply warm my Raw soups up a bit to give me that cozy comfy feeling (without cooking them of course).
Which photo(s) do you like best? I’m taking a survey and would love your opinion. Check out the photos here: Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Soups (photos) (Be sure to view the larger image.)
Next up: My 7th book should be available in print from Amazon as early as next week – Kristen Suzanne’s EASY Raw Vegan Smoothies, Juices, Elixirs & Drinks
Saturday, December 27th, 2008
It’s that time… New Year’s Resolutions are at the forefront of many people’s minds, including mine. I love this process – thinking about the future, planning, getting excited about the projects and things I want to work on. It fills me with hope.
Every year, my husband and I stay “in” for New Year’s Eve. We light candles, play fun music, turn on the Christmas lights and write our resolutions. I do it BIG style though. I take the opportunity of the new year and really take a look at my life and what I want to accomplish for the coming year. So, I take the practice of setting “resolutions” and kick it up a notch.
First, we get out last year’s boards (I’ll explain “boards” in a moment) and we go through everything we wrote about last year. We talk about how far or close we came with certain resolutions/goals, cross off the accomplishments, and use this info to help formulate plans for the following year.
We each get out a big piece of poster board (hence, the “board”) and work on our resolutions for the coming year. I separate my life into facets such as: Health, Leisure, Relationships, Finance, Career, etc. Then, I write individual short term and long terms resolutions/goals in all of these categories. I make the whole process really fun and go all out! I use colored pens, stickers, glitter, and highlighters.
When I’m all done with it, I hang it on the wall by my desk so I can see it every day and be reminded of all the Big and Little Resolutions I set for myself. This REALLY helps me stay on track and MOTIVATED! And, it’s fun building my New Year’s Resolution Picture (i.e., the poster board).
Want to get started yourself? Here’s a great site to help you – myGoals.com.