For those of you who have followed my blog for a long time, you know about my insane love affair with organic watermelon (read more here and here). Basically, when it comes to organic watermelon… I have a problem. The addiction is intense. Quite honestly, I can’t make myself stop!
I just picked up my first EVER locally grown, organic watermelon. Holy heck of all get out – this thing was awesome (that was the PG rated version of my thoughts). The CSA I’m a member of (details here) is where I refueled my seasonal addiction for the first time this year. Let me tell you, friends, I’m in trouble. This watermelon was so delicious. And, the fact that it was picked no more than a few days before I had it in my greedy little hands… well, that just takes my excitement to a whole new level.
As usual, I have a nice little ritual when it comes to prepping my watermelon. I get out my beautiful knife and I start cutting the watermelon into big double-bite-size chunks. Then, I get out 3-4 bowls with lids (depending on the size) and I start putting the watermelon in it. Off to the fridge it goes… except that I keep eating a bite every other time I make a cut in the watermelon. It’s insane. I just keep eating it and eating it and eating it – to the point that I make myself a little sick – LOL.
When it comes time for eating it later (after I’ve put it away in the fridge all sectioned and chopped), I (attempt) to stop the madness of eating it non-stop by disciplining myself and taking out a small serving bowl. I then fill up the serving bowl to the tippy top and beyond (it ends up overflowing with watermelon as I try to balance one extra piece after another on top) with the goal that by using a small bowl I will take it to my desk and I won’t stand over the large bowl in the kitchen and…. eat it all.
Sometimes my plan works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Put it this way. I cut into the big watermelon for the first time on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday (very late) night… most of it was gone.
For those of you following my Raw food intake, here was Saturday’s food. I did go to bed feeling a little hungry.
~ Filtered Water, 8 strawberries (locally grown through the CSA), 1 cup fresh orange juice (locally grown and just picked myself)
~ 3 cups Plant Blood juiced with my Breville (carrots, zucchini, ginger)
~ 3 cups watermelon
~ 2 cups watermelon
~ Herbal Tea (Raspberry leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs – my favorite source for organic teas, the freshness is unsurpassed)
~ 2 cups watermelon
New Kristen’s Raw Excitement!
I’ve decided to start doing some short podcasts and videos on my blog. What do you think?
For those of you in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, if you’re not a part of the CSA, you’re truly missing out on the most amazing, fresh, organic produce ever.
The CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) I wrote about previously is better than I ever imagined. I’m absolutely thrilled (and so very proud!) to be a part of this within my community. When I was a regular shopper at the farmer’s market, I thought I “got” how cool it was to buy my weekly produce from a certified organic, local farmer. But, I had no idea my experience was going to be taken to new heights once I was a part of Doug’s CSA. My connection to my food is that much stronger and, frankly, it moves me. Every bite is special because I know it was grown close to my home, it’s carbon footprint is minimal, it’s loaded with nutrition because it’s locally grown and just picked, and I helped finance the farmer (way cool!). I’ve had an important part in helping this farmer grow.
On top of all that, the price is awesome (and remember… it’s ORGANIC!)! And, get this… he even offers a payment plan for those of you who are super excited about this opportunity but don’t have the upfront cash. Not only that, but Doug’s CSA is year round! Do you realize how lucky we are to have a year round CSA? This is not common in other parts of the country.
Before I joined the CSA, I actually didn’t think I’d ever be a part of a CSA because most are operated with the program giving you a box of produce that you don’t select yourself. For me, I thought that might be a waste in some instances because I wasn’t sure I’d end up using all of the produce. I’m quite particular about my weekly shopping list. However, Doug’s CSA is different! Each week he emails the members an excel spreadsheet that serves as our shopping list. I select what I want, it tallies the total, and I email it back to him. Voila! Easy Peasy!
Pick up is on Saturday, when the normal farmer’s market is going on. Because I’m a member of the CSA, I’m treated as a VIP. My food is already paid for and set aside (unless I want to get extra goodies not included in my list), so I don’t have to wait in line. I simply pick it up. It’s an efficient system.
I could go on and on about how happy I am to be a part of this very cool program… but, you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are a couple of testimonials from other super happy customers.
“I’ve been buying produce from Lewis’ Hen House for over a year now and was very excited when I heard they were starting a CSA, and that the pick-up location is very conveniently the market I was already going to every week! The produce is always the best quality – certified organic, fresh, and delicious. Very reasonably priced, too. The really great thing about this CSA is you get to pick exactly what you want each week! No getting strange veges you don’t really want or you don’t know what to do with! I’m really happy I decided to join.”
“Being a part of a local CSA is a great way to give back to the community, support local farming, and enjoy the freshest seasonal produce available. The produce I buy from Lewis’ Hen House is incredibly fresh and you can really taste and feel the difference. It is an honor to know the people who grow the food that nourishes your family!”
UPDATE! The CSA is no longer, sadly. They have a new program, called a Discount Club and you can view the details here.
Write these down on post-it notes and place them around the house, in your car, and in your purse or wallet so they can serve as reminders.
1. Alkalize-2-Energize: Even though I’ve followed this principle for a long time, I think I first heard that particular phrase for it from Tony Robbins (he’s one of my favorites!). With Raw Vegan food, alkalizing can be easy peasy, but to kick it up a notch, I add plenty of fresh Plant Blood (green juice) and smoothies to my life. It can make ALL the difference in the world. Trust me!
2. Fresh Air and Sunshine: These are wonderfully therapeutic for both the mind and body. I get my vitamin D from the sun, and I make it a point to get fresh air every day (usually accomplished by taking my darling pooch for a quick walk). One of my favorite times for fresh air is late in the evening, where I concentrate on breathing in fresh air from a star-filled sky.
3. Rest Is Best: I can’t tell you enough how important it is to get your rest. It can be in the form of getting a good night’s sleep or making sure you take a little nap in the middle of the day. Complement this with loving things you can do for yourself such as taking a warm bath and lighting a candle, listening to relaxation music, or quieting your mind through meditation. And, if you’re exercising (especially lifting weights or other vigorous training) then your body really needs the rest to recuperate and rebuild.
4. Exercise: Yes, this is essential and, no, it doesn’t have to be a four letter word :) In order to consider myself truly healthy, I need to be physically fit. If exercise isn’t already a part of your routine, then NOW is the time to start. It’s easier than ever to sneak in a few minutes of exercise here and there into your day. Do them mini-batch style: 5-minutes of exercise, 5-times a day or 10-minutes 3-times a day. Set your cell phone to remind you throughout the day to get off your tush for a fast 5 or 10-minutes). You’ll be amazed at the magical momentum that takes over your mind, body and spirit… pushing you to do more and more. Whether it’s walking, jogging, lifting weights, swimming, jumping rope, rebounding, or dancing, I’m sure you’ll find something you love. Just get started, and before you know it, you’ll be doing more and more (and loving it!). Ehem…. disclaimer… Check with your physician before embarking on an exercise routine.
5. Don’t Eat Before You Sleep: Stop eating at least three hours before you go to bed. It supports getting a restful sleep (#3 above) and can greatly aid in weight loss if you’re trying to lose some pounds. It’s easy. Just pick the time you’ll go to bed and set a reminder on your cell phone to stop eating at least three hours before that. If you do have to eat before going to bed, try to pick something that is light and easy to digest.
Congratulations Shanghai Monkey!!! You win!!! Whoo-hoo!!! Your name was chosen as the winner of my 11th Awesome Giveaway. The prize is a copy of my latest book (or ebook, if you live outside the continental United States), Kristen Suzanne’s Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes. YAY!!!!!! Simply email me the address you want your prize sent to.
Here is what Shanghai Monkey had to say when asked, “What topic(s) would you like to see covered on my blog here?“
Since I just discovered raw nut “milk”, I’d love to see some more recipes (for nut milks & dishes that incorporate nut milks).
My next Awesome Giveaway is in June, so check back for details!
Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
I had a great time being interviewed by Dhrumil of We Like It Raw (and Give It To Me Raw). Fun! Fun! Fun! We covered so many topics:
~ Omnivore Bodybuilding to a Plant Based Diet
~ My Story of Vegan to Raw
~ My Raw Food Career Journey
~ High Raw & What I Like About It
~ The Importance of Plant Blood
~ How I Make Raw Easy For Me
~ Community Rocks
~ Upcoming Projects
~ And More
If you’re interested in hearing it, head over here.
I get tons of requests to post my daily food intake. Here you go! :) Today was a very High Raw day for my husband and me, and it was awesome! Everything is organic – always.
~ Water with fresh squeezed lemon
I love starting my day with a big glass of fresh, purified water. I usually wake up feeling thirsty and this is the first thing I want. To make it extra nutritious, I added the juice of half of a lemon. Nice and alkalizing.
My breakfast was 2 cups of delicious strawberries that were locally grown (from the CSA). I added a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy drizzle of raw agave nectar on it to get them extra juicy. They were so good! Strawberries rock. They have fiber and they’re loaded with nutrients (phytonutrients, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and more).
~ Power Ick!
This is pretty disgusting and I can’t help but make some crazy faces when I’m drinking it. Ick! I plug-n-chug it and then chase it with water. It consists of 1 1/2 cups water, 1 heaping tablespoon wheat grass powder, 1 tablespoon Berry Greens, 1 tablespoon Fruits of the Earth, 1 tablespoon Vitamineral Green. When I finished drinking it, I looked over my shoulder, thinking for sure I had a cape on. Damn… no cape. I thought I might have taken on some super powers after drinking this.
~ Krautwich and Bell Peppers
I’m loving raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut lately. It’s so dang good for you!!! (Check out my post about sauerkraut here.) I made a little Krautwich for part of my lunch. It consisted of 2 slices of kamut bread (not raw) with sauerkraut in the middle. That’s it. Delish! The rest of my plate was filled with the slices of one red bell pepper and one yellow bell pepper. BTW, I never eat green bell peppers because they’re not ripe, which can cause digestive trouble.
~ Hypnotic Orange Juice
This was heaven in a cup. I went to my friend’s house and picked oranges from her tree today. I took them home and squeezed them . They were still warm from the sun and it was so amazing. My goodness… when someone gives you a hard time about loving the raw lifestyle, give them a glass of this heaven and they’ll understand why you’ve chosen this path. It’s hypnotic.
~ Savory Garden Veggie Pasta (recipe at end of post)
This dinner was so good! With every bite I felt like the cells in my body were getting stronger and stronger. By the end of the meal they were dancing for joy and struttin’ their stuff. Even though I’m giving you the recipe below, it was basically a bowl of zucchini noodles topped with veggies (broccoli, carrots, yellow and red bell peppers) that were marinated in a wonderful, savory sauce that my husband loved so much he was licking the bowl. We both are not crazy about the taste of raw broccoli, but when we have it like this – we LOVE it! We each had a bowl of this. (Leftovers will be my lunch tomorrow.)
~ Dessert Time
I was craving something sweet to follow my meal. I quickly downed a nice plump medjool date (I get them here – 11 pound box, baby!). Then, I was inspired to make my recipe for Holiday Chia Pudding (it’s so easy, recipe here). After I soaked the cashews and made it, my husband and I each had about 1/2 cup. Yummers in our tummers!!!
~ Late evening snack
We found ourselves a little hungry later on and we didn’t want anything sweet. We opted for another Krautwich. Mmmmmmm…
~ Pure Rush Chocolate
Savory Garden Veggie Pasta
Yield 3-4 servings
1/2 cup olive or hemp oil
2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
2 pinches black pepper
2 cups carrots, diced
1 head broccoli florets, chopped into bite size pieces
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
Whisk the marinade ingredients together and set aside. Place the veggie mix in a large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Stir to mix and coat the veggies with the marinade. Set aside for 30-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. (Alternately, you can make this a day ahead of time and put the marinated veggies in the refrigerator overnight.)
Put your spiralized noodles in serving bowls and top with the marinated veggies. Voila! Yummy, easy, extraordinarily nutritious, and delicious!
*For extra mojo, sprinkle on some hemp seeds and raisins!
Here’s a great and simple tip when making Raw desserts.
Before pressing your next crust into the bottom of the springform pan (or pie plate), sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut on the bottom of the pan. Then, press in the crust. This helps prevents the crust from sticking to the pan, making each slice beautiful and easy to serve.
I love fresh green juice (y’all know I love calling it Plant Blood because it’s extra spirited)! Plant Blood is a staple in my husband’s and my diet. And… it’s been too long since we’ve had it! GASP!!! What? I’ve slacked in my Plant Blood consumption. It’s true. Where did the week go? It slipped by that’s for sure and now I’m going crazy for my fresh Plant Blood fix. I just don’t feel the same without it. The benefits are so many… alkalizing, energizing, nutrient packed (big time), delicious, and so much more. I’m confident that I have super powers when I drink Plant Blood… I’m tempted to wear a cape when drinking it.
On to other things to distract me from my craving… I have another awesome giveaway coming up this month (Check out last month’s here). Hint about the prize… something to do with chocolate.
And… my iMac arrives Friday. My new baby is coming home. Yeehaw!!!
I did it! I went to the other side. I bought a Mac. I’ve been wanting to be in the group with the seemingly “cool” kids for some time now, but I kept putting it off. However, I couldn’t put it off anymore. My productivity is suffering and it’s time to upgrade. My reason for going to the Mac was because I’m a Raw foodie and the symbol for Mac is an apple. Hehehe… JUST KIDDING!
For the past many years, I’ve relied on my trusty Sony Vaio laptop. It’s had some issues but because I bought the extended warranty, I was covered when it acted up. I originally bought a slim laptop (vs. a desktop) because I was working in a corporate setting and I needed this for portability reasons, using in bed when working late, etc. But, it’s small. The screen is small. And, since I’m no longer working in that environment and I’m usually at home, it made sense to get a desktop. Even though my laptop is falling apart, I will still use it for travel so it’s not going into permanent retirement… only semi-retirement.
I’m on cloud nine for a while (a long while I suspect). I can wait until it arrives later this week. I know, I know… it’s only a computer. But, I expect GREAT things from this new addition to our family.
I suspect there will be a learning curve, but I’m not sure how intense. As most of you know, I have a BlackBerry (I frequently use this for email – talk about a life changing device for me!). From what I understand, I need to buy some software in order to back up my BlackBerry on my new iMac. Still need to figure all that stuff out. I’m also curious as to how people like Safari? How are the other programs?
Anyone have any advice or feedback?
Thursday, April 30th, 2009
This week I made my first batch of sauerkraut using my new fancy shmancy pot designed for fermenting veggies. I’m super excited but also a little whiny because I have to wait 4 weeks to see if it even worked out! It’s sitting on my counter now and I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Before I made my sauerkraut, I read the book, Making Sauerkraut and Pickled Vegetables at Home, from cover to cover. It was a great, quick, and easy read that I really enjoyed.
Fermented (raw, organic, and unpasteurized) veggies including things like sauerkraut and kim-chi are amazing for your health. These foods are extremely popular and have been staples in people’s diets all over the world. I can’t help but wonder why it’s not a staple in ours? Well, I’m changing that! On an almost daily basis, I’ve been chowing down on 1/4-1/2 cup fermented veggies. I love it!
Since I don’t have my own homemade sauerkraut (yet!), I’ve been buying it (expensively) at Whole Foods. My favorite company is Gold Mine Natural Foods (but not all Whole Foods carry this brand) so I also buy Rejuvenative’s sauerkraut and kim-chi. Hopefully in no time at all, I’ll have saved enough money from making my own sauerkraut to pay for the pot.
The benefits are numerous. It’s reputed for helping fight disease! YAY! It’s awesome for your digestion. WHOO-HOO! It helps load you up with friendly bacteria, and it’s filled with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes! SCORE FOR FERMENTATION!
But, don’t take it from me. Fermented veggies have been used for natural healing for years (and I mean LOTS of years). More specifically, the Chinese have been fermenting cabbage for thousands of years! In fact, according to the book, Making Sauerkraut, the earliest recording of fermented cabbage occurred in 200 BC. Isn’t that cool?
I want to mention here that it’s important to eat only Raw, Organic, Unpasteurized sauerkraut. If it’s been pasteurized, then the nutritious and beneficial friendly bacteria are wiped out (sadly).
In the past, I’ve made kraut with only a glass mason jar, but the trouble is that it didn’t always come out right. That’s why I decided to get the Harsch Gairtopf Fermenting Crock Pot. I’m all into making things as easy on me as possible! Apparently, this thing is fool-proof (sign me up!). It received great reviews on Amazon (all the sizes). I bought the 7.5L size a couple of weeks ago and made my first batch of organic sauerkraut the other day. Now, I wish I had bought another one so that I can start a batch of something else… maybe some Kim-Chi. But, I’ll wait and see how I do with the first batch. I’m eager to make something with fun flavors, spices, and herbs. Oh! I’m so excited.
To begin, I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and bought 10 pounds of organic, locally grown cabbage from my favorite farmer, Doug (if you’re in the Phoenix area… have you signed up for the CSA yet? I think it starts this week!). I read that it is very important to use organic cabbage for fermenting (I always buy organic everything anyway). The sauerkraut ferments better with organic cabbage.
I came home and cleaned my crock, let it air dry, and then went to work on preparing the sauerkraut for fermenting.
I peeled off the outer leaves of the cabbage and set them aside (I used a few of them at the end for covering the top of the shredded cabbage). Then, I started shredding away. Each cabbage was about 2 pounds which was perfect, because it’s recommended that you use about 1 tablespoon sea salt (I always use Himalayan crystal salt) for each 2 pounds of cabbage. Going forward, I’ll decide whether to use the same amount of salt (or less) but for my first batch, I went along with the directions.
I used my food processor, fitted with the shredding plate/blade, and shredded 1 (2 pound) head of cabbage. I put it in a big bowl and added a tablespoon of my salt. I used a potato masher and starting pushing on the cabbage in order to break it down some and release water (my arms had a little workout from this). Once it got a little juicy, I transferred it to the crock. I then did the same thing for the remaining 4 heads of cabbage. This whole process took me about an hour. Once it was all put in my Harsch fermenting crock, I placed the outer leaves I previously saved, on top of the shredded cabbage.
Then, I placed the “weights” that came with the Harsch crock on top of the cabbage. I put on the lid and poured a little water in the moat (this gives it a water seal). Now… it’s sitting on my counter. The only concern I have is that I hope the temperature of my home is okay. It’s hot and dry in Arizona, so I’m keeping my eye on it, which is kind of useless since I’m instructed not to open it until I’m ready to harvest it. I don’t want to crank the air conditioning up in order to make sauerkraut since that would use a lot of energy. So, I have a little fan on it to help keep it cool. Ideally, I’d have a thermometer next to it to read the temperature, but I can’t find it :(
I have to wait a minimum of 3 weeks to harvest my sauerkraut. I think I’ll wait at least 4 weeks since it gives it extra fermentation time. At the time of harvesting my precious, (hopefully) delicious sauerkraut, I’ll transfer it to glass mason jars, use my FoodSaver (with mason jar attachment) to suck out all of the air for even better storage, and keep it in my refrigerator.