Saturday, January 29, 2011

One week down

Good morning! The first week of the semester is down and it was certainly a busy one (despite the snow day we had on Thursday that cancelled five of my classes). I also have a new medical internship which is going to take up a good chunk of my time (but that I am very excited about). I have done plenty of eating and whipping up new concoctions, but was a busy blogger and didn't pull the camera out until last night. Perhaps two missed photo opportunities: the beautiful aftermath of the 14 inches of snow we got here in metropolitan New York and a wonderful sushi meal at Momoya in NYC with my sister. This is my second time ordering sushi at Momoya (and rest assured not the last) so I will be certain to take photos on my next Momoya occasion.

As I am writing, I am noshing on this:

A delicious bowl of cinnamon maple crispies with almond milk

I am really in love with these crispies. I made two batches to come back to school with, and I don't think it was nearly enough. Only the first week has gone by and already I am half-way through my stash! I also want to give praise to homemade almond milk. It is loads better then the cartons of almond milk you can buy at the store. I drank store bought almond milk for many months before I finally bought a vitamix, and did just fine with it. However, now that I have been making homemade milk I don't think I will ever truly enjoy going back. The flavor of homemade almond milk has more of a natural sweetness and lightness that the store bought just doesn't seem to impart. 

I also made this yummy smoothy yesterday afternoon:

pear, apple, 3 blood oranges, and 2 cups frozen pineapple

When I took it out of the fridge this morning it had separated and I thought looked really neat:

I am visiting a friend in Philly this weekend and on my way back am going to stop at the whole foods and stock up again. I have been doing some research on tasty ways to fill collard wraps, and so my plan is to pick up some produce for these. I will let you know how my collard wrap adventures go this week!

I don't have too much to share on the exercise end of things. Yes, I have been working out, but nothing new and exciting. I have been using my Insanity program which I still love and I believe is making my arms stronger! I am able to bang out more pushups now before resting then when I could at the start, which is definitely a solid improvement.

I did happen to come across a great hot Bikram yoga deal on redeemio a couple of weeks ago. Only $59 for a month unlimited, when it is usually $135. I purchased one, and am just waiting to start my month until I am a little more settled into my schedule. I'll keep you all updated :)

Hope you have fantastic weekends and thank you for being be readers!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Hello all! Just a short little post on my favorite cookbooks that I have acquired so far :)

 One of my first raw food books :)
 Another of my early raw food books
 The most delicious cupcakes and desserts (my go-to book for whenever I make cupcakes)
 After so much success with my first Magnolia cookbook I just had to get the sequel!
 New from this past Christmas but definitely my favorite raw food cookbook
 Another Sarma cookbook (and Matthew too...I can't forget him!) this one but I still use Living Raw Food more
 I actually haven't had a chance to make any recipes from this yet...but I think it will be a winner!
 Oh my goodness you must buy now!
 Another first raw food one
David is the master of desserts (non-raw) and this is the book that started my love affair with ice cream making...I even have my own labels (read: Steph's Scoops)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to school!

Hello all! Today was the first day of the new semester...nice and easy with only two classes. I am all moved in with my new appliances set up (read: vitamix and juicer). However, I am feeling that I need to do some reorganizing but I am not sure how! I stopped at Whole Foods on the drive back, and stocked up on load of fresh fruits and greens. I even bought a bag of carrots, which is very uncharacteristic of me. I actually don't like carrots. I like every other fruit/veggie/green around, from mangos to fennel to brussel sprouts to spinach to kale. For whatever reason I simply do not like carrots. Anyways, my reason for buying them then? I know that they have loads of nutrients, and I figure with my juicer I can whip up juicer with some of the benefits of carrot juice, while attempting to mask the flavor!

Here is a look at my college fridge, jam packed with all sorts of delicious and colorful food!

I could barely fit everything!

This morning before class I whipped up a green smoothy. In fact, it was the most delicious green smoothy yet! I stuffed my vitamix with one big bunch of watercress, a bagful of frozen mango (about 2 cups), one peeled lemon, two packets of stevia, and about a cup and a half of water. All blended up it looked like this:

I had a glass full of it, and this container is what was left over. This was the first time I tried watercress, and it just may be my favorite green yet! It tasted really great in the shake and watercress has TONS of nutrients to boot! In fact, watercress is a better source of Vitamin C, B1, B6, K, E, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, and Potassium then broccoli, apples, and tomatoes! It also has more Calcium then the touted spinach (which I also love so I am not trying to diss...I am just excited upon watercress!). Anyways, this shake was delic and I am fairly certain that I will be on a watercress kick for some time now.

I also made myself a salad for dinner last night. By the time I was done unpacking I was really starving and begining to get a little grumpy (that happens to me when I am really hungry). This salad did the trick! A bed a arugula with goat cheese, pecans, and diced apple. Topped off with a lemon vinaigrette (lemons, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper). I would have loved avocado on it too but it wasn't ripe yet. Really yummy none the less and I was in a much better mood after I gobbled it down.

I have a really busy say tomorrow with classes, so I need to figure out snacks to pack for the day! (Five hours of class in a row) I'm thinking a repeat of today's green smoothy for breakfast (may bring it in a coffee mug), a bag of my homemade raw granola, and a banana should hold me over until two. Hope your weeks are off to a great start!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dehydrating Frenzy

Hello all. These past few days have been very busy trying to make all sorts of dehydrated goodies to bring back to school with me. I love my excalibur dehydrator, and it really allows me to make a huge variety of delicious and nutritious raw treats, but it is very big! In fact, I keep in it the basement at home or it just looks like an ugly black box hanging out in the main stream of things. I think it would also take up to much room in my tiny dorm room (which is already going to have the new additions of my juicer and vitamix), which is why I have been on a dehydrating frenzy lately. A couple of the many things I made were cinnamon maple crispies and cocoa crispies (same recipe except you replace the cinnamon with cocoa). I originally made one batch of each, which gives you about 4 cups for each, but everyone in my house loves it with milk in the morning so it is already almost gone! Last night I made two more batches of the cinnamon maple variety (my favorite) and I am putting them on lockdown to take back to college! I also made a new granola that I am super excited to try.

I have also been busy making nut milks (or nut mylks as the raw food world likes to call them). I have been drinking my first homemade batch of almond milk with my cinnamon and cocoa crispies :)

Lots of raw desserts have been coming out too! I made caramel bars for the first time...yummm. They took a lot of dehydrating time (48 hours) but kitchen time was minimal). And I made another batch of the congo bars. I have plans to whip up another batch of the cinnamon raisin cookies (this time as a chocolate chip cookie variety though), however I am not sure if I will be too wiped out tomorrow to make another recipe.

Last but not least, I have been whipping out tons of juices and green drinks. I have created some really great juices--my favorite so far was pear, pineapple, and beets. I was really excited when I found bright orange beets with orange, yellow, and red shoots coming up from them the other day in the store. They made for a beautiful glass of juice! Not to mention beets are chock full of potassium. I even threw in some of the beet greens which are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium.

I think my next post will include my favorite cookbooks! Have a great Saturday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Green Monsters

Good morning! My juicer finally came in late Friday night, and I made my first juice concoction yesterday morning for breakfast. Wow was it a fun experience! Perhaps the most fun was putting a whole apple into the shoot. It would start of with a slow little drip into the juice canister and then all of a sudden would begin spurting out like a fire hydrant! And the color of my juice was really spectacular too...
Don't you love the bright green color?!

...and it tasted as good as it looks! I used 4 kale leaves, a handful of cilantro, 2 green apples, and 2 limes. The green flavor didn't come through at all really, but thats what I wanted for my first homemade green juice because I want to ease into them a little slowly. That morning I also made grapefruit orange juice for my sister. I was actually really surprised of the yield from these fruits. I used only one of each and we got a beautiful sunset colored 8 oz glass of juice from them. I had a sip and the was definitely better then any store bought juice (plus it used all organic fruits so you aren't getting any pesticides with your juice)! 

Later in the day I made a juice out of beets, apple, and pear. That too was really delicious and the bright pink color from the beets was really beautiful. (Sadly I don't have a picture but more beet concoctions to come.)

This morning I made my second green's what I put in it this time:
4 kale leaves, a bunch of cilantro, 2 celery stalks, one medium green apple, and one lime

I think next time I may try using a less tart apple, perhaps a fuji, to give a bit more sweetness to the juice. So what do I think about the Ikon 5-speed juicer? I absolutely love it. I am really pleased that this is the one I decided to go with. I am impressed with the juice yield, and the pulp is not very wet so I am confident that I am getting optimum yield from the juices with little waste. It is really a ton of fun to use (although maybe this will wear off after a bit) and I think bringing fun into healthy food preparing makes you more willing to eat healthy foods! I also love that it is easy to clean. I clean it right after using so that nothing dries and although there are a lot of parts to clean (maybe 6?), cleanup goes really quick. It takes me about 4 minutes, and I clean it really thoroughly. From what I have heard some juicers take up to 10 minutes, so 4 minutes seems like a bargain to me!

My workout for the day that I am really looking forward to? Ice hockey! Friends of mine and J's have a pond at their house and in the winter we play ice hockey. Not only is it a ton of fun but its a really great workout (believe me your thighs will be feeling it the next day). When I get home I am thinking of making a couple of raw desserts and watching the Jets game. Go Jets! 

So thats the plan for today. What are all of you up to today? Making any fun treat for football?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pecans, Carrots, and Herbs

Hello everyone! Lots of kitchen activities going on today :) I've been so busy in the kitchen I haven't even gotten my workout in yet which is usually done for me by 10 am.

First off I had some of what was left over of yesterday's Grape Fig Shake. Delicious and the perfect fuel for my morning errands. I stopped at the natural food store for some basics but the didn't have buttermilk so I had to make an extra trip to Hannaford. My final stop was The Home Depot for potting materials for the herbs I bought at the coop yesterday. By the time I was done finding what I needed my fingers were stinging because I had to browse their outdoor garden area! Brrrrrrr. I got home and tried Manna bread for the first time. I went for the Carrot Raisin variety, and schmeared a bit of almond butter on it. I love when I find something new that I love and is simple! I also bought the Cinnamon Date and Rye varieties which I will try soon.

Next up was breaking in my vitamix some more. I tried one of Sarma's nut milk recipes...Cinnamon Maple Pecan Milk. Talk about decadant! This milk could easily be enjoyed as a dessert drink, while at the same time not being so rich that you couldn't have a sweet glass in the middle of the day. I only had a tiny taste because my vitamix warmed it up a bit, and I am waiting to have a big glass until its nice and chilled. I am officially in love with my vitamix. The milk was perfectly smooth. The only problem now is I want to make recipe after recipe and my family can only eat so much!

Cinnamon Maple Pecan Milk:
from Raw Food Real World
1 cup raw pecans, soaked at least 2 hours
3 1/2 cups filtered water
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon coconut oil (I did not add this)
1 tablespoon lecithin
2 packets stevia
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of sea salt

In a high speed blender blend nuts an water about 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend. 

A word on a couple of the ingredients. The first is lecithin. You will find lecithin in many commercial products in which thickness in desired (read: ice cream, margarine). Do not be scared by this though. Lecithin is actually a healthy emulsifier. It contains choline which is a component of brain cells and is used to manufacture neurotransmitters. Normally produced by humans, plants, and animals, the supplement we buy is derived from soybeans. Be sure to buy lecithin from non-GMO soybeans! Second is stevia. By now you may have heard of stevia on television commercials. Stevia is an herb from the chrysanthemum family and is about 300 times sweeter then sugar. Stevia is considered non-caloric and is a great replacement for the artificial sweeteners that I steer clear from.

The next recipe was Carrot Muffins (I told you I was busy!). This is another recipe from my Good to the Grain cookbook. I haven't tasted them yet, as I am going to workout in a bit, but they sure looked good when they came out of the oven...and I did sample a bit of batter which was scrumptious. However, I have to admit something. When I went to pull out the ingredients I realized I had no unsalted butter! Not wanting to go back out when I had just been to two food stores, I committed a baking faux pas and went ahead with the salted butter, omitting the rest of the salt in the recipe. I think they will still taste good though :)

Kim recommends alternating muffin cups for even baking and to allow to tops to puff up nicely.

Lift the muffins out of their pans when done baking to allow them to cool and prevent the bottoms from getting soggy. This recipe actually made eight muffins but I didn't want to take a picture of the lonely pan with only 2 muffins in it...I didn't think it looked so nice.

Carrot Muffins:
from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours

Streusel topping:
1/4  cup plus 2 tablespoons spelt flour
2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (which I didn't add)
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

Combine all ingredients except butter. Pinch in butter until mixture is coarse crumbs.

Dry Mix:
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 all purpose flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups grated carrot (I used 3 small/medium carrots)

In a medium bowl sift all ingredients except carrots together, adding any ingredients that remain in sifter to the bowl. Mix in carrots.

Wet Mix:
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Whisk together ingredients. Add wet mix to dry mix and stir to combine.

Scoop batter into greased muffin tins. The batter should be slightly mounded over rims. Sprinkle streusel topping over batter and lightly press in. Bake for 32 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Twist muffins out and place on sides in tins. Enjoy!

And finally...herb potting :) My family uses herbs all the time in our cooking. It often results in wasted herbs because we don't have time to use all the herbs in the package before they wilt. I decided it was time to grow our own indoor herbs. I found organically grown cilantro, parsley, and basil plants at the co-op yesterday, and while I was waiting for the muffins to come out of the oven, I got to work. Not only are they functional (assuming they stay alive and flourish) they also look lovely on our kitchen windowsill. I am still going to keep my eyes open for chives as that is another of our favorite herbs (I love a chive and goat cheese omelet). 

The work field all set up

Organic soil :)

Any tips on how to keep these herbs alive and healthy? 

Today is going to be me third day of Insanity in a row. I would really love to go out for a run but it is 16 degrees and windy. I'm not up for the cold, although I had better get used to it because I am planning on training for a marathon this time next year. 

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It Has Arrived!

I had a very productive morning and early afternoon and was even more excited when I pulled into the driveway and my Vitamix had been delivered! I flipped through one of Sarma's cookbooks and decided to make the Grape and Fig Cleansing Shake, which looked and sounded delicious. Using dried figs, I thought this would be the perfect first test for my Vitamix. If everything people say is really true then pulvarizing those figs should be a walk in the park. And it was! I am super pleased with my first Vitamix session.

This shake is really great for you. Grapes are rich in Vitamin A, C, B6 and folate. Grapes are also high in flavonoids, important antioxidants that combat free radicals (and aging). Figs are rich in calcium and, like, grapes, flavonoids. This shake packs just as much of a flavor punch as it does nutrition. Yum!

This really looks a lot like the Cherry PB shake from last post but its a different one!
Grape and Fig Cleansing Shake:
makes 2 very big servings or 4 normal size
4 cups grapes
1 cup dried figs
1 cup water
2 cups ice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Blend grapes in high speed blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until pureed. Enjoy!

Last night for dinner we had veggie lasagna and my Aunt Nancy's Strawberry Spinach Salad. Her strawberry salad is a real crowd pleaser. Even non-salad eaters seem to like this salad. I am thinking of making the dressing with agave syrup next time rather then sugar, because other then the refined sugar in this recipe it is really a very healthy salad. 

Aunt Nancy's Strawberry Salad:
1 pound spinach lettuce
bean sprouts to taste (we do a 4:1 of spinach:spouts)
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 pint strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 T poppy seeds
2 T sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon dried onions
1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blizzards and Wipeouts

Hello! Hope you are all having a great week...J (the boyfriend) and I had a great time visiting his Aunt and Uncle. We had sushi from Wegman's one night for dinner. Boy do I hope Wegman's comes our way soon! No standard grocery store compares to it.

Yesterday a friend from college came to visit and she suggested we go snowboarding. I am a skier but have never been on a snowboard and may have slightly underestimated the difficulty of it. I am not sure why, but for whatever reason when I try to stand up on the board, I have so much trouble! I just cannot figure out why. Sometimes I'll pop right up and other times it takes me 5 or more tries to boost myself up! But it was a ton of fun and a great workout. This morning when I pushed up on my arms to get out of bed I certainly felt it. And although I thought I did fairly well for my first time, my booty is telling me otherwise by the soreness with every step. I sure hope this doesn't hinder with my Insanity workout today. We are getting hit with another storm today (which I love!) but that means I am stuck at home and won't be able to get out for a run or go to the gym. So Insanity it is whether my arms and booty are sore or not!

Last night for a late night snack I made myself the scrumptious shake that Gena from choosing raw posted awhile ago. You can find the recipe here. This would also be a great post workout snack because cherries are a natural anti-inflammatory. I somehow didn't make enough of the shake to fill the glass, which I fill every time I make this shake so I'm not sure what went differently this time. My picture doesn't look as beautiful as Gena's, but it sure tasted great! Next time I make this shake I believe I will be making it in my Vitamix, which is scheduled for delivery today...YAY! I just hope the snow doesn't delay it. Although, today was also my day to make a trip to the organic co-op for ingredients, and now that the snow is preventing that, I don't have too much to put in my Vitamix.

Hopefully my next post will be juicing and Vitamix experiments! Have a great day everyone :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Busy Busy!

Whoops! I forgot to post this yesterday!....

Hello there everyone. These past few days have been very busy and I haven't had any time to post. They have been a fun couple of days though (with the exception to last night)! Sadly I did not take any pictures because of the company (i'm still getting used to always being equipped with a camera for when yummy food opportunities present themselves!)

On Thursday my family's good friends from Russia came :). Because everyone had either work or school, I hung out with them during the day. We took a drive up to Saratoga, and visited my favorite sandwich and speciality shop, Putnam Market. If you are ever in the area Putnam is a perfect lunch spot in the village. The little boy in the family and I hit it off, and he decided to tell me the story of the three little bears (in russian!).

For dinner, we went to Longfellow's Inn and Restaurant, also in Saratoga. Longfellow's is a wonderful place for a gathering with close friends. We sat by the fireplace and it was warm and toasty (my favorite because I HATE when restaurants are so cold I feel like I need to wear my coat). I ordered the Maple Bourbon Salmon. Delicious! And my salmon came with my choice of starch...which if there is ever sweet potato fries offered on the menu you can be certain that is what I will order. A delicious meal with wonderful company. It was a great night full of laughter with the people we love.

Yesterday was also a busy and exciting day. I finally took the plunge and made two very exciting purchases. Purchases any raw foody would love to have and even items that a regular chef and cook would like. A Vitamix Super 5200 and a Breville Juicer. The Vitamix brand carries the most powerful high-speed blenders on the market. Their strong 2 horse-power motors are made in Sweden, but the rest of the parts are made right here in the US. The Super 5200 comes with both a wet blade container and a dry blade container so you can make everything from smoothies to soups to your own flours from whole grains! I cannot wait for it to come in, and once it does I will be sure to show you everything it can do. After a lot of research on juicers I narrowed down on this one, and I am hoping I made a great choice. The Breville Ikon Multi-Speed Juice Fountain has a good reputation. Because of the multiple speeds, you can set the speed so as to get optimum juice whether it be leafy greens and fleshy fruits or starchy carrots.

This brings me to my goal for year 2011. I am going to try to drink green juices at least 4 days a week. Preferably in the morning to jump start my day. I have only ever had the Naked Green Drink so it will be a new adventure but I think it will be a good one. If I seem to be enjoying all the benefits that green juices bring I may even try my own mini-cleanse at some point during the year!

Last night we had a wonderful snow storm, and it is a beautiful winter wonderland here. However, last night we were driving to a basketball game during the storm in stop and go traffic and someone slammed into us from behind! And the worst?! The guy took off! Can you believe people? Thankfully everyone's okay but it was quite the commotion. The snow is still beautiful though, and my mom and I took a walk this morning to appreciate it before it melts.

...and as promised, my new yoga dvd! I have done it two times so far, and am thinking I will do it again today. It is an hour long, a perfect length in my opinion for a complete yoga session. It is difficult and you with definitely work your body, but Bob Harper does a good job at showing you modifications if you are a beginning yogi (which I certainly am). I got my copy of the Inside Out Method: Yoga for the Warrior at borders, who had it on sale for only $11.99. The dvd also comes with a yoga abs routine, which I have not tried but am sure will be good also.

Tomorrow I am taking a trip to visit my boyfriend's family. I made guacamole this morning, and will make some buffalo chicken dip later for Sunday football.

 My family already ate the half left home for us and it was delicious! I don't use a specific recipe for my guac, I just taste as I go but here was today's combo:

6 ripe avocados
2 limes, juiced (mine were pretty juicy)
1/2 Medium-Large White Onion, diced (I don't like my onion flavor to be prominent so I dice almost to the point of mincing)
1 large handful of cilantro, minced
1 large garlic glove, minced
2/3 large tomato (big boy variety size), diced
1 long hot pepper (I can't remember the variety I tried)
Salt and pepper to taste

I find it easiest to mix everything in a gallon sized ziplock. I first mash the avocado flesh, until almost all the chunks are gone (I like mine a bit chunky but feel free to mash to you heart's content!). Add everything else but the tomato. Mix everything up, and add tomato. Mix, but be sure to to smash the tomato up too much, you wants pieces not mush! Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little cumin and cayenne pepper if you like more heat (I usually don't add these but they are still great).

What are you all doing for the weekend? Fun get-together or some great relaxation time?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blistering Socca (and cherries)

Hello! I hope all of your New Years are off to great starts. On to the recipes...

I first discovered Socca on Pure2Raw. I did a little googling and discovered that it is a French recipe, and although I am sure Pure2Raw is right on the money with their abundant recipes, I immediately clicked on my bookmark for David Lebovitz's Blog. His is a blog I have been following for many years now, ever since I discovered his mouth-watering ice cream cookbook a few summers ago. David is a pastry chef and dessert connoisseur who moved to Paris after living in California for many years. He is great at blogging about food specialties throughout France, and he did not let me down with his post about Socca. Socca is something like a savory crepe made with chickpea flour. It originates from Nice, where it cooked in a wood-fire oven. It is cooked until it begins to blister, drizzled with olive oil, and eaten right away while still warm. This is a quick and rewarding recipe (although takes a bit of planning because the batter must be mixed 2 hours in advance). I love that the ingredient list is short, simple, and good for you (no all-purpose flour or refined sugar). Can't wait to make this again!

Our favorite olive oil 

Nice and golden :)

Drizzled with olive oil

For Christmas I got a cherry pitter and today I finally got a chance to use it! A couple days ago I bought two bags of organic cherries from the grocery store. While I was waiting to obligatory 2 hours for my socca batter to thicken and set, I got to work pitting the cherries. What fun! Pitting cherries has always been a bit of a pain for me in the past, possibly deterring me from some of the cherry dehydrating I would normally do. But with this new handy gadget, pitting cherries is quick and easy!

I now have two trays of cherries dehydrating away. Cherries are one of my favorite dried fruits, and I can't guarantee they won't get eaten before they make it into any recipes. But if they make it, my next food adventure is homemade granola which I think they would taste delicious in (I also made banana chips last week for granola). 

If you do this at home do in a big bowl because it creates quite a splatter!

The cherry weapon

Today's workout was a 3 mile run and my new yoga dvd which I will tell you about in my next post.

Enjoy your night :)