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!

Watermelon Lemonade Chiller

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“We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” ~Alfred E. Newman

In case you haven’t noticed there is a massive heat wave going on in our country right now with many states temperatures reaching in the triple digits! Escape the heat by making a pitcher of this semi-frozen watermelon lemonade..and invite your friends to share!

Two of my favorite things to have on a hot summer day come together in this drink! Watermelon, and fresh squeezed lemonade! I first heard of watermelon lemonade from another food blog Rawmazing and thought it was just brilliant! I made some and was smitten. However, I thought it would especially amazing if it was a little bit frozen…hence “chiller.”

Watermelons are packed full of nutrients. They are full of vitamin C, A, B6, and potassium. Watermelon is also a great source of lycopene. Studies have shown that diets that include foods rich in lycopene such as watermelon and tomatoes can greatly reduce your risk for certain types of cancer. Lycopene is also good for the heart.

Lemons are another amazing fruit. They are great for ridding the body of toxins. The citric acid in them aid in digestion and is also said to help break up kidney stones. Lemons are also vitamin C power packs. Vitamin C is a vital antioxidant that helps to build your immune system and protect your body from infections. Vitamin C also aids the body in iron absorption in the blood.

Enjoy and stay cool!

Watermelon Lemonade Chiller (serves 4)

3 cups of frozen cubed seedless watermelon

3 cups of fresh seedless watermelon, cubed

juice from 2 1/2 lemons, freshly squeezed

liquid stevia to taste

1. Add frozen and fresh watermelon in a blender. Add lemon juice, and blend.

2. Add a few drops of liquid stevia to taste. (If fruit is ripe enough, you may not even need it!) If you would like it to be a bit more frozen, add ice.

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Nutrition of lemons

Nutrition of watermelon

Creamy Berry Smoothie

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“If we’re not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food.” ~Sally Edwards

First of all, I have to thank my friend Rebecca for this recipe because she is the one who shared it with me! This is now my default smoothie recipe. It is so good that you really wouldn’t think it was so good for you too!

The first time I made this, I made it for myself…just to try it out. I was so surprised at the delicious berry taste, and the creaminess of it- even though it didn’t have any dairy in it! I didn’t taste the veggies at all…so I had to try it on my husband to see if he could tell. I told him I was making him a smoothie, and left out the part that there was spinach in it ;). I served it to him and waited for his reaction. He said that it was really good and asked what was in it. I said, “Well, what does it taste like is in it?” He said it just tasted like a blueberry smoothie! Yes! So I told him that it had avocado and spinach in it and he was really surprised. I have tried “green smoothies” on him several times in the past and he has said that he never wanted one again. However, this green smoothie is husband approved!

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You can make this recipe with any berries. Pictured above is with strawberries, but I’ve also made it with blueberries- which so far is still my husband and I’s favorite, or you could even do a mix berry blend! Berries, especially blueberries, are a low calorie fruit that are very high in antioxidants. They are also said to help improve brain health and memory.

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The avocado is the secret because it gives it the wonderful creamy texture. Avocados are also extremely beneficial. Avocados are actually considered to be the world’s healthiest fruit. They are packed full of the “good fats” as well as vitamin C, K, E, B6, potassium, dietary fiber, and folate. Avocados are very good for your heart. Not to mention, they are my all time favorite food!

If you grew up watching cartoons like Popeye the Sailorman, then you know that spinach is good for you! Like all dark greens, spinach is a great source of iron. It is also high in vitamins C, A, K, and calcium.

Enjoy this delicious and nutritious smoothie!

Berry Smoothie

10oz. of frozen organic berries (blueberries, strawberries or a mix)

1 cup water

half of an avocado

one handful of organic baby spinach leaves

liquid stevia to taste (for sweetness)

1. Put the avocado, frozen berries, and spinach in a blender. Add about a 1/2 cup of water. Blend. Add water as needed until desired thickness. Add a few drops of liquid stevia until desired sweetness. Enjoy!

Note- if you would rather use fresh berries, you just need to add ice!