Favorite Salad

Happy Friday! It’s hard to believe we leave for Maine one week from today! I wanted to share my newest favorite salad with you. It’s an “egg salad salad.” Lol. It might sound strange at first but it’s creamy, full of protein, and yummy!

First to make the egg salad. I (or my hubby) usually like to make a big batch and have it throughout the week. We boil eggs using this method then we dice up the egg- add diced onion, freshly pressed garlic clove(s), mayo (you can leave it out to make it healthier), dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and lots of fresh dill weed.

To make the salad just add a dollop of the egg salad over your favorite greens (this time we used baby spinach), and add whatever else you’d like. I like to add any combination of: onion rings (either yellow or purple), sliced carrot, goat cheese crumbles, diced tomato, and sliced cucumber. Lastly, I dress it with this fabulous dressing from my bestie’s blog.

Try it out and see what you think!

Refreshing Cucumber Limeade

“Summer afternoon- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~Henry James

Summer is here. And boy, is it hot down here in Florida! I wanted to briefly apologize for my blog posts being rather sparse and inconsistent these last few months! I’ve been a little bit distracted and preoccupied lately as we are getting ready to move across the country…in the vertical sense. Yes, from the furthest point south (Florida) to the furthest point north…Maine! We are moving to Maine! Every time I say that I think it will sink in a little bit more but I still think it hasn’t. We are very excited about our new adventure which begins in less than 2 weeks! So over the next couple of months my blog will be taking a spin…transitioning…as my life, climate, local foods, places to shop, seasonal produce…and just about everything else…will all be changing! I’m excited about the change though…and excited to share it with you. And as far as summer goes, we’ll basically be getting “two summers” this year as here in Florida summer started in April…and up there in Maine summer is just starting. Some of the produce that has already had its full season down here won’t start until August up there! Ha! By the way, I actually took my cover photo in Maine during our vacation last summer when we went blueberry picking in the mountains. :)

Anyway, more on “the move” and “changes” later. For now, I wanted to share a refreshing summer drink with you. My husband is the one that actually gave me the idea! He had this great idea of making cucumber lemonade…which was brilliant…and gave me the idea of cucumber limeade (love the green color)!

Cucumber Lemonade

Alright…here’s the recipe for the green stuff…

 

Cucumber Limeade (serves 2)

 

Ingredients

Juice of 1 cucumber (with peel) and 2 limes (without peels), yields approx. 1 cup of juice

2 cups of filtered water

12 drops of liquid stevia, or to taste

Ice

 

Method

1. Wash your cucumber and limes with veggie/fruit spray (I use Fit) and rinse well. Cut ends off cucumber and peel your limes.

2. Set your juicer on  “low speed” and juice the limes, then follow with the cucumber. (should have about 1 cup of juice)

3. Pour the juice into a pitcher and add 2 cups of cold water. Stir.

4. Add liquid stevia to taste.

5. Pour over ice in glasses and garnish with fresh slices of lime.

 

Enjoy!

All-Natural Sports Drink

“The remedy for thirst? It is the opposite of the one for a dog bite: run always after a dog, he’ll never bite you; drink always before thirst, and it will never overtake you.” ~François Rabelais

Last weekend AJ participated in a fundraiser for a non-profit organization, HOPE Worldwide. The event was titled “Hoops for Hope” and AJ along with many other members of our church played basketball for 24 hrs. to raise money for this awesome charity. AJ was one of 40 “core members” who promised to raise at least $100 each and to stay for the whole 24 hrs. of the event. It was a very successful event that raised over $5,000. 75% of the money raised is funding a hospital in La Paz, Bolivia and the other 25% will go towards our local community work.

Here he is after playing basketball for 24 hrs. and just before we hit up our local juice and salad bar to refuel!

Since my husband was going to be playing basketball for 24 hrs. I knew he would need a drink that would help to replenish electrolytes lost in sweat. I also knew that I wasn’t going to give him one the the mainstream sports drinks that are full of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colorings. So after doing a bit of research, I came up with this concoction! It’s made up of only a few simple ingredients, tastes good, and replaces all the needed electrolytes and natural sugars for your body. Both salt and sugar help the body regulate and retain water in order to prevent dehydration.

The secret is in the salt. Himalayan sea salt is thought to be the purest form of salt on the earth. It is about 250 million years old and is mined from the foothills of the Himalayas. This salt is different from your everyday salt because it contains no chemicals or additives and it actually helps to hydrate your body. Some of the benefits are that it regulates the water content in your body, regulates oxygen levels in blood, gives more energy, contains 84 minerals, detoxifies the body, and helps with circulation and blood pressure. When I first read up on this amazing salt I thought for sure it would be really expensive, but this container was only $4! Last, but not least: it’s pink!!

The raw honey serves as the natural sweetener but also helps to replace needed sugars in the body. Honey is most easily digested in it’s raw state. Containing over 30 detoxifying compounds, lemon is a great choice for flavoring this healthy sports drink.

All-Natural Sports Drink (1 serving)

Ingredients

1 quart (4 cups) of pure filtered water

1/4 tsp. Himalayan sea salt

1 Tbsp. raw honey

juice of 1 lemon

12 drops of liquid stevia or to taste (optional)

Method

1. Put salt into the bottom of a pitcher. Heat the water in microwave until warm- about 2 minutes. Pour heated water into pitcher.

2. Add honey to warm, salted water. Stir until salt and honey are completely dissolved. Add lemon juice, and stevia to sweeten if desired. Stir until well mixed. Chill in refrigerator until you are ready to drink it!

Makes 1 liter.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Meet our cat, Phil.

Although he is almost 8 years old- he is our baby. We seriously talk about him and to him like he’s our child. Apart from being a total baby…here are some things you should know about Phil.

1. He has a foot fetish. If you come over, he must smell your feet and then find your shoes. You are most likely to find him sitting on our shoes.

2. He loves to be around people.

3. He loves to eat. (He gets this from his Mom)

4. He whines persistently when he wants something. (He gets this from his Dad, just kidding!)

5. Favorite foods: cat food, catnip, string cheese, tuna, bacon, fresh pasta.

Right now he’s wondering what in the world Mom is going to do with this bag of coconut?

Could she be making a delicious raw treat? Perhaps… :)

Raw Cinnamon Almond Butter

For the Foodie Tip this week I chose to make some raw almond butter. As I mentioned in my previous post, AJ and I are eating more raw foods on our 30 day detox (Today is Day 26!). I love almond butter but I couldn’t BELIEVE the price jump from standard almond butter to raw almond butter! It costs about $15 for a tiny jar of raw almond butter at my local health food store. So I figured I would give myself a challenge and make my own…for a lot cheaper!! I bought a 3lb. bag of raw almonds (approx. 9 cups) from Sam’s Club for about $11. Making the almond butter was so simple…and I decided to jazz it up with some cinnamon!

Raw Cinnamon Almond Butter (original recipe here)

2 cups raw almonds

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Just simply put all the ingredients into your food processor or blender (I used my Ninja blender). Blend or process until you have almond butter! You will need to scrape down the sides a few times during the process but in about 10-20 minutes you’ll have delicious raw cinnamon almond butter for a fraction of the cost!! Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

For a properly combined snack you could spread some of this onto a banana…and to make it even more decadent you could drizzle some raw honey, pure maple syrup or melted dark chocolate over it too! Or of course like this. Or you could simply enjoy it right off the spoon like I do! I don’t think I’ll ever buy store bought almond butter again :)

30 Days of Detox

Hello!? It just dawned on me that I was missing a great blog opportunity! I haven’t blogged about a big change in our diet recently!!

About a month and a half ago, AJ (my husband) and I decided to do a 30 day cleanse based on The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose. It all started with my fellow veggie-lover-health-nut friend Rebecca. She has been following this lifestyle for awhile now and after multiple conversations with her and after reading Detox for Women by Natalia Rose on my Nook…I decided to give it a try! Why? Although I already felt we were being healthy, I learned a lot from the book and thought we could use a cleanse. Also, I’m always up for trying something at least once. AJ was on board too- as long as it was only for 30 days! lol.

The Surprise. As far as AJ knew, we were going to start our cleanse on March 1st. However, what he didn’t know was that I had been planning a surprise trip to Disney World since Christmas and we would be leaving on March 1st! So after we had a fabulous time at Disney and ate til our hearts content- we officially started on March 6th.

Us on my most favoriteist ride of all time- The Rockin’ Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Changes. On the cleanse we are no longer eating any sugar, grains (except for sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel), meat (except for fish!), cow dairy (goat is ok!!), or anything caffeinated. Most other things have already been cut out since we became Flexitarians. The biggest change is not what we’re eating but how we’re eating. The main thing being “Food Combining.”

It’s the whole idea that all foods have a “digestion time.” Meaning- that some foods don’t take very long to exit the stomach for digestion (like fruit) and yet others take a longer time (like meat). Food combining is combining foods that have the same “exit times” so that your whole meal gets digested at the same time to prevent food from sitting in the stomach too long. On the flip side of things, you are also being careful not to “mis-combine” to make sure you’re not giving your little system an overload!

The Detoxinista, my new favorite food blog to follow, has an awesome chart that I’ve printed out, laminated, and put on our fridge to make food combining that much easier. Here it is: Food Combining Chart. Check out what she has to say about food combining (super cute chart!) and also some of her awesome detoxilicious recipes!

The Food. So here’s a typical day for us…

This green juice is a mixture of kale, cucumber and 1 grapefruit with stevia to sweeten. It’s easily my favorite green juice so far but AJ detests the taste of grapefruit :(. So our daily juice is the “green lemonade” from the book. Still good :)

Each day starts out like this…with a big glass of green juice. We each have about 16 oz. of green juice for “breakfast” each day and try to drink as much water as possible during the morning as well. The goal is a whole liter of water but that doesn’t usually happen for me since I can’t spend my whole morning in the bathroom at work! We also may have some fruit by itself in the morning.

Lunch is our first “meal” of the day. Usually a raw salad with a homemade dressing and sometimes cooked veggies on the side. This is my new favorite lunch:

Raw Blended Carrot Revival (from the book) and a Veggie Sandwich. This soup is fantastic! It is so simple yet has such a punch of flavor! On my sprouted grain sandwich (Ezekiel bread) I have: stone ground mustard, sliced avocado, tomato slices, cucumber slices, onion slices, sea salt and garlic powder, and spring mix greens…

Good to the last drop!

If we snack in the afternoon, it is usually some raw carrot sticks, or if it’s 3 hrs. after our lunch and 3 hrs. before dinner we’ll have some nuts and dried fruit. Pistachios, almonds, cashews and dates are our favorite combo!

Dinner is the best part! If we have a flesh based meal (I have to call it “protein meal” around AJ because he gags at the word “flesh”) we’ll have a delicious raw salad with goat cheese in it…

Sauteed Onion and Goat Cheese salad

And some fish….

Bobby Deen’s Lime Baked Tilapia

Did I mention we can still have dessert? For dessert we’ll either have some dark chocolate (70% cocoa) or some Laloo’s goat milk ice cream (creamy, dreamy, and surprisingly non-goaty tasting!! Where has this been all my life!?!?).

Our favorite starch based dinner is a raw salad with lots of mashed avocado as a dressing (or chopped up in our salad), steamed veggies, and baked sweet potatoes dressed with organic butter and pumpkin pie spice…mmm!!

One thing is for sure. Detoxing is delicious if you do it right! Today is Day 22 for us! We were very tired and felt yucky for the first couple of days. But then…we both lost weight…which was not the goal but a by-product (I lost 5 lbs. in 5 days- yikes!) and most of all we feel great and have more energy! The best part is that I don’t ever feel bloated after eating a big filling meal and my stomach has stayed nice and flat for 22 days!! Stay tuned for more of my “properly combined detox recipes.” And who knew that I already had some on here?!

Watermelon Lemonade

Creamy Berry Smoothie

Ants on a Log- Revamped

After the 30 days? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Rainbow Roasted Vegetables

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we’re doing and devote our attention to eating.” ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story

These vegetables are almost too pretty to eat! I love how all the colors and flavors come together! It’s an easy side dish that looks magnificent on any plate! There really isn’t a set recipe for these. I seasoned mine with garlic and dill seasonings, but you could use any herbs you like, rosemary would be nice too! You can also add as much or as little of whatever veggies you would like, and you can make a lot of it or just enough for one!

Rainbow Roasted Vegetables
(serves a lot!)

Ingredients

Sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes

Yellow, red, and purple petite potatoes, cut in half (1/4 the larger ones)

Red onion, cut into large slices/chunks

Rainbow carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

Olive oil

Dill, garlic powder, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste (or seasonings and herbs of preference!)

Method

1. Choose, wash, and prep your veggies. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a (or 2) baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil.

2. When veggies are prepped, add to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season them to your liking. Mix well.

3. Spread veggies in an even layer on the lined baking sheet(s). Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring about every 10 mins (and rotating top and bottom pans if you have two).

It’s as easy as that! Serve as a side dish at your house, or bring it as a fun side dish to your next dinner party! That’s what I did!

Our friends invited us over for dinner- I brought the rainbow roasted veggies which are featured here with Grouper with White Wine and Tomato Sauce, and Mushroom Quinoa Risotto. Delish :)

Red Carrots

This week’s foodie tip (sorry it’s a couple days late!) is to buy in-season, local produce from your local Farmer’s Market. Buying locally not only helps your local economy, but you can actually talk directly to the person that grew your food! You know where it comes from, how it was grown, and often times get some good tips on how to prepare it if it’s something your not accustomed to.

I got these beautiful red carrots from Trace, or as I also call her- “my lady.” I am a faithful weekly customer of hers (for 2 years now) because she always has the most fresh, beautiful, and tasty produce! I have used these red carrots as well as her “rainbow carrots” (gorgeous colors of yellow, orange, red, white, peach- who knew carrots could come in so many colors?) in a number of ways. They make everything look gorgeous. I’ve put them in salads, in my Rainbow Roasted Vegetables, even used them to add earthiness and depth to my spaghetti sauce! This week make sure to make a stop at your Farmer’s Market!

Oatmeal-Cranberry Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks

“When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.” ~Laiko Bahrs

Last year at Christmastime, I had every intention of giving out homemade Christmas treats to all of my family and friends…yeah, that didn’t happen. It was my second to last semester of college and what comes to stomp out any Christmas spirit or plans that any college student may have hoped to have in December? Just a little thing called final exam week. It was perfectly scheduled just one week before the week of Christmas…really, it’s perfect isn’t it?…. :-/

This year I was sure it would be different. I didn’t have school, or final exams to worry about so I thought I would have all the time in the world to bake…wrong again! The weeks leading up to Christmas were some of the busiest I have ever experienced! We were out of town every weekend from Halloween until December 10th when we were both in our best friends’ wedding. The next weekend we were on a plane to Chicago to visit family for the holidays! So my resolution? New Year’s treats. I spent two whole days baking to my little heart’s content.

These beauties came from a recipe in my “Cuisine at Home: Holiday Cookies” magazine. And I know it’s February now, but can’t one enjoy awesome cookies anytime of the year? Besides the little ruby red gems called cranberries could totally be for Valentine’s Day too…Christmas doesn’t own the color red!

Oatmeal-Cranberry Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks (Makes about 4 dozen 4-inch cookies)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla extract (the real stuff)

3 cups organic old-fashioned oats (not instant)

1 cup dried cranberries

6 oz. good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Stir flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl, set aside.

3. Cream butter, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer or in the bowl of a standing mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture; stir with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon until completely blended.

4. Fold the oats, cranberries and white chocolate into the dough until evenly distributed.

5. Drop dough in 3 Tbsp. mounds (a No. 40 cookie scoop is perfect) onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until golden but still a little moist. Let cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

*You can also the freeze portioned dough or baked cookies

Enjoy!