Saturday, May 29, 2010

Easy peasy smoothie

How are ya? Hope you're all enjoying your weekend. Its about 90 degrees today and we just got done walking around an art festival downtown. It was fun soaking up the sun. We did not buy anything but saw quite a few really cool pieces. We saw a huge painted picture of the front of an old car. We both wanted it so bad, alas, it was $6,800. Eeek. :-/

So I wanted to show you how I make my green smoothies. Not at all hard and when you practice making them, they should only take 10-15 minutes. I like to make enough to fill my blender to the top.

So I like to start out with a juicy fruit for the base, usually pineapple or orange. Sometimes I use 1 fruit in the smoothie, sometimes I throw in 3 or 4 different ones. This time I used orange on the bottom, about 5 strawberries and half a banana.

To get things moving, put in about a cup of water or milk. I use almond milk.

Blend that well. Next I throw in a variety of other ingredients like flax, chia seeds, protein powder (I use Nutiva hemp protein), almonds or walnuts, nut butter and the list goes on. I put about a tablespoon of each in. These extra ingredients really go far in keeping you filled up for the morning or afternoon.

Finally, the spinach! I cram as many greens as I can into my blender..anywhere from 2-8 cups. Start out with 2 or 4 and as your taste buds adjust, feel free to add much more! You can use whatever greens you have on hand. Spinach does not have a strong taste whereas kale or dark leafy greens may be bitter. I try to rotate my greens to get the maximum nutrients. If you don't care for the green taste, add more banana. Its a fail safe way to really mask any green flavor.

I also add a ton of ice because I love my smoothies very cold. Let me know how you like yours! Experiment with different fruit combinations. Frozen fruit also works great.

Greens are nutritional powerhouses. We all should be consuming as many greens as we can. One major perk I noticed after increasing my greens is that my cravings went away. I used to be a slave to my cravings when I started trying to eat more healthy. Pizza, chinese food, chocolate...just to name a few! I can honestly say I very rarely 'crave' a certain food and feel like I need to have it. Sure, something may look really good but I don't crave it. We crave certain foods because our bodies are crying out for nutrients. Why do you crave pasta and bread? Your body wants carbs. Good carbs. Think fruit! Once you give your body what it really wants, natural, fresh foods loaded with nutrients and minerals, you are finally supplying your body with what it needs. And cravings will diminish.

Check out this link for more info:

Some of my other eats have included nanner with almond butter and some organic berry jam my lovely mom brought from Door County. One of my favorite foods when I was younger was a peanut butter and jelly. This combination always reminds me of it! Its pretty much my favorite snack!

Beautiful blackberries.

Some not so ripe watermelon but I still ate my weight in it.

On Friday my hubby and I went to Whole Foods for a couple things and of course I had to check out their amazing salad bar. They had out their famous kale salad which never seems to be their when I go. I admit, I have always been scared of kale. People seem to love it but I've been avoiding trying it. I jumped at the chance to try WF's version. I wasn't too hungry so I bought my little $.96 portion and scarfed it down. Ok, IN LOVE with KALE! Their version was simply evoo, lemon juice, kalamata olives, tomatoes, salt and pepper. I bought some organic kale and went straight home to recreate it. I am happy to say I loved my version just as much!

For those not familiar with raw kale, like I was, the trick is to massage it with olive oil for a couple minutes. I actually had a lot of fun with this massaging part. Haha.

I've seen this stuff around the blog world and decided to try it. Its vegan cheese, soy free, and only 90 calories in a 1/4 cup. It's pretty good and a nice addition to my otherwise raw salads. It strangely tastes a lot like regular cheese. How DO they do that? My digestion system thanks me for giving up real cheese... I don't see myself buying this all the time but I like trying things at least once.

So, go make yourself a kale salad and have fun massaging! :) Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your day off Monday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Good Eats

Hi guys! Hope you're week is off to a good start. Its been 90 degrees here in Chicago, and this kind of heat makes me want to do absolutely nothing. shopping. My fridge was bare on Friday, and we were going to visit my parents for the weekend so I didn't bother to restock! My mom is so sweet. She makes sure she has plenty of produce for me when I stay and frozen bananas for green smoothies. She jumped on the GS wagon! Yay! I'm so proud of her. She's made a lot of health changes this past year and looks better than ever.

Back home, I finally dragged myself out of the air conditioning to Trader Joe's. Well, actually going there anytime for me is like a mini vacation so I can't really complain.

Kombucha! Go buy this now. They started carrying them at my local store, Jewel. I'm addicted. It's like pop to me.

Found this little treasure at Whole Foods. I'm not a huge fan of protein/meal replacement bars but I've been wanting to try this for awhile.


Dates, hemp protein, organic sprouted whole flax seeds, almond butter, agave nectar, almonds, coconut, cocoa powder, sesame seeds, raisins, organic sprouted mung beans, organic wheat grass, natural chocolate flavor, lemon juice, organic dulse.

Tonight for dinner I really wanted to create something spectacular. I was think quinoa, stir fried veggies, and legumes with a homemade asian dressing. I had high expectations but when I came home all I really wanted was just something fresh and easy. So I created a salad big enough for 4 but ate the whole thing myself. I threw in the mix a romaine head, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, strawberries, pumpkin seeds, and hummus with honey dijon dressing.

Tonight I had a couple friends over for the Biggest Loser finale! Yay for Michael winning!! I made 'Chewy Chocolate Freezer Fudge' taken from Sarma's Raw Food Real World. Very few ingredients and took only 5 minutes to make. The girls said it was so creamy and couldn't believe there was no dairy in it.

We also snacked on delicious cherries!

And Mary's crack. You can never go wrong with these.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Raw goodies and SHRED!

Hi guys! Hope you're as excited as I am for the weekend to finally be here.

So yesterday I had to attend an all day regional work meeting. It was nice to get out of the office for a day and see old friends. I wasn't too sure what kind of food choices they would have tho. So I chugged a green smoothie before I left the house at 9:30. I knew it would keep me filled up for a few hours. I purposely switched to one of my huge purses for the day so I could stuff it with snacks. What, I'm the only who does this? I packed bananas, almonds + raisins + pumpkin seeds, and some raw crackers. (more on that in a bit) Mid way through the meeting some nice ladies put out a fruit bowl and I grabbed a juicy, green apple. Why are some apples so crunchy this time of year and others are mush inside?? This one was perfect.

I came home from the meeting and found this on my doorstep!

I placed an order through Amazon the other day because I had my eye on a couple raw goodies! I've been wanting to try Lydia's Organic Crackers and Righteously Raw chocolate. I was so excited to get this package!!

I wish I still had some of this chocolate left. Sadly, I do not. I can't wait to try the other flavors. The crackers are different...not bad different, just....different. I think the taste/texture will grow on me. They are very light and airy and of course even better with almond butter smeared on them.

Tonight we grabbed some dinner with our good friend, Kate.

My hubby's been hooked on Thai food lately so we found a new spot to try out..I've heard how good green papaya salad is so I knew I wanted to order it. The menu said this dish was simply shredded green papaya, carrots, chili, lime juice, tomatoes, and peanuts.

I ordered it with every intention of sharing it with the table...but I sorta hogged it all. :) Seriously, it was so delicious, I could eat it all day. It was sweet and spicy, and super refreshing. I'm so happy I ordered it and want to try to recreate it soon. I also ordered their vegetarian dish of just assorted stir fried veggies, no tofu, with a side of their special peanut sauce. These veggies were still slightly crunchy and very fresh.

And finally............I decided I wanted to try a home workout DVD. This one came highly recommended by a friend so I went right out and picked it up.

She kicked my butt this morning. In only 20 minutes. And the entire time, in my pain and exhaustion, I was keeping myself motivated singing "What have you done make you feel proud?"

Biggest Loser finale this Tuesday!!!

Do you order from Amazon? I love it and find new things all the time I want. Especially books!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Got protein?

This morning I made another delicious green smoothie for breakfast. Same one as yesterday. Some people might look at the greenish swamp color and think "hmm, that looks pretty disgusting, must taste pretty bad too!" Not so my friend! Come over sometime, and I'll whip you up one. The fruit overpowers any veggie taste completely. Over time, tho, you might find your taste buds changing. You begin to enjoy, ok maybe not enjoy, not mind the veggie taste and find yourself using less and less fruit. Green smoothies are popping up everywhere! I have even seen them mentioned on the news. They're the best way to start incorporating more raw foods in your life. Oh, and sometime soon I'll do a post on the amazing health benefits of spinach. I know, I know, you can hardly wait, but you'll have to patient! haha.

Moving on...

A few random eats today included ripe melon.

Bananer with almond butter.

For dinner I made a giant salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, pumpkin seeds. And radishes, oh my goodness I finally got my radish fix, haha! I made a honey mustard vinaigrette that consisted of just olive oil, mustard, honey and a little agave I think. I can't remember the exact recipe but it tasted almost exactly like a regular honey mustard dressing you'd buy in the store! It was so easy so if you want the recipe, let me know.

I also made a side of quinoa and mung beans. That's right, mung beans. Not a very attractive name but they are delicious. The nutritional stats is what sold me. A 1/4 cup has TEN grams of protein. Quinoa is also a great source of protein. Pronounced keen-wa, its actually a seed, not a grain. A 1/4 cup has five grams. Its good to know there are some great protein sources out there other than meat and cheese. I found these items at Whole Foods.

Well, I'm off to discuss LOST with the hubs. He missed it last night and just watched it now. CRAZY stuff!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chick chick.

Today I made it a double green smoothie day. One for breakfast, one for dinner. What a great way to get your greens! In both of them I used papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and a banana. The one I made this morning also had added to the mix flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp protein powder.

I gave half to my hubby. He loves my smoothies minus the ridiculous amount of spinach I then add to my half.

But Tiger sure does enjoy them.

This evening I dropped dinner off at my friend's house because she wasn't feeling the greatest. She requested cream of potato soup so I made her a very unhealthy yet tasty crockpot dish. Her and her husband moved from their town home out to the country and decided they wanted to raise a few roosters and hens for fresh eggs and to have as pets. They have about 8, in a large box in their kitchen complete with a comfortable bed of hay and lots of food! They are amazing little creatures. They decided to name every one of them after their friends. I give you this little beauty, yours truly, Kat.

Notice their little feet full of feathers? I can't remember the name of the breed but they have 3 of these that their feathers grow out from their feet. Their so beautiful! I wish I had gotten a picture of all them. This little one went to sleep in my friend's hand. She was so calm and sweet. I only spent about 15 minutes with them but in that short amount of time, their individual personalities were so plainly shown! Their frequent chirping was almost soothing after being with them. It left me sad, however, to think of the not so fortunate ones on factory farms. Did you know they love to be petted and will actually lay in your lap and fall asleep?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Feeling a little saucy

So sorry I have been away. I started this blog with every intention of posting often and with it being so new, well I think I'm still getting the hang of it all and getting used to posting regularly. All week though I have been eating this new sauce I made at dinner and I simply couldn't WAIT to tell you about it. Make this immediately, and I guarantee you will put it in your most often used recipes. I definitely did.

Balsamic Maple sauce (adapted from Dreena Burton's Eat, Drink, Be Vegan)

1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c maple syrup
2 t earth balance
3 T tamari
1 t cornstarch
pinch of salt

Heat over medium heat the balsamic, maple syrup, salt and earth balance for a few minutes. In the meantime, in a separate bowl, whisk together the tamari and cornstarch. Mix into the bowl on the stove and let it come to a soft boil for about a minute. Remove from the heat and let it sit - it will thicken.

I have literally licked the spoon when I make this. My husband said it reminds him of teriyaki. The flavor is so rich and dimensional. I have used it this week over roasted vegetables (brussel sprouts! yum!), quinoa, and sweet potatoes. I would also use it as a marinade or sauce for my hubby's grilled chicken or salmon. It really goes with everything. :) Enjoy!

Today I picked up a book at the library that's so far been pretty interesting. I would recommend reading it, and will be bringing it to my parent's house this weekend for them to look at! Side note : my dad has fresh radishes ready from his garden and I am pretty much salivating thinking about them. Odd, no? Does anyone else share my love for radishes??

150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden

I'm happy that my beloved brussel sprouts made the list :D

The Healthy Living Summit this year is in Chicago Aug 13-15. Tickets go on sale this Wednesday at 9pm Eastern time. There are only 200 available and last year they sold out in the first 20 minutes! I'm going to need one of those tickets. I need to figure out a way to be one of those 200! I'm going to try my best. Will keep you posted. :)

xoxo Kat

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I swoon for macaroons

Here's a little snapshot I took today of my counter. Its usually much fuller than this, and my hubby likes to comment how he feels we live at Jewel. Haha. But can it get any better than watermelon season??! This is the second watermelon I've eaten this week, and I could've eaten double that amount. Its been sad trying to choose between watermelons and mangoes this week. Also in my refrigerator you will find 5 pints of gigantic, red strawberries, and 2 cantaloupes I can't wait to dig into it. I find myself drawn to very ripe fruit. I think most average people would like to eat their bananas this way in the picture? I will start to eat them when their brown and spotty. This really shows me how much my taste buds have changed, because a couple years back I remember despising over ripe fruit! The limes there are going to be used in a big batch of guacamole I'm making for a party tomorrow along with the bag of Guiltless Gourmet chips to go along with it. I'm also bringing a tray of veggies. I wanted to make a raw dessert to bring to the party to show off just how amazing raw desserts truly are! I couldn't decide between making a cheesecake or....................

Raw macaroons!!! I couldn't pass up Sarma's beautiful illustrations in this incredible book. Her picture of macaroons make my mouth water. I've tasted them straight from One Lucky Duck and let me assure you, there is no more perfect dessert. I got my trusty 1920's dehydrator down from our shelf and dusted it off and plugged that baby in. OK, I'm sorry Mom, thank you for this machine, it works wonderfully!!

I headed straight to our local Dominick's for some Unsweetened shredded coconut. Well, of course theirs was sweetened. This sort of stuff is really irritating! Why do they assume people want their coconut sweetened?? Anyways, it was OK. I calmly kept my composure even after asking the service manager if they carried it anywhere else in the store. Of course not. Not to sister ( was on her way to my house to pick me up for a trip to Whole Foods!! Yay! These trips make my month. Seriously. I never want to leave a WF once I go in. Why can't I please just curl up next to their salad bar and take a nap? Everyone that works there is so nice..they actually probably wouldn't mind. So back to the trip...I picked up 2 bags of coconut, some mung beans (anyone try these before? If you have, please share your thoughts!) and brown rice veggie sushi. I did not successfully get my 3 yr old niece Bella to try my sushi, but she did SAY 'sushi' which was quite cute.

So this batch of macaroons was.....OK. It was my first time making them so I know what to do next time to make them even better. I made the rounds smaller than I should have, and I also think I didn't add all the oil it called for in the recipe. Sarma says to dehydrate them for 12-24 hrs, or until crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Well, I put these in around 6:30, went to dinner with my hubby, came home and they were definitely crispy by 11. But that's ok! I took them out, of course tasted one or two and decided they were done. If they were bigger, I could see them taking longer but this batch was still delicious and I'm sure they will be a big hit at the party. I live for anything dark chocolate but actually I prefer the blonde! So does my hubby. He helped me taste test. :)

Tomorrow I am going to try to wake up around 7 and go for a jog. I seriously need to get my butt outdoors and moving. I feel so lazy if I let a week go by without running. I remember once reading a quote (possible from Dr Doug Graham himself? I can't remember, please forgive me!) that said "earn your fruit". That sticks with me. Makes me feel like I need to work for all that beautiful juicy fruit.


xo Kat

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Green goodness

Good morning! I started this AM off with a gorgeous green smoothie. I have been trying to up my intake of greens. I notice a huge difference in my skin and energy levels. They keep me satisfied for hours! This one had pineapple, mango, frozen banana, coconut water, and a ton of spinach. If you haven't noticed, I have a pretty average blender. An Oster I think, from Costco. Its not a Vitamix, but it works really well! This was about 32 oz and I also filled another 16 oz in another bottle. I drank the 32 oz for lunch around 2 pm and it kept me satisfied until 5pm and when I got home I drank the rest that I had left in the fridge.

For dinner I was craving something savory and warm. I decided to go very LOW raw...and picked up this Thai Jasmine rice from Trader Joes. Frozen of course, because thats how I roll. I loved this rice. So did my hubby!

I sauteed some brussel sprouts, green beans, and mushrooms in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and Italian seasonings. Sometimes I hate brussel sprouts, other times I find myself craving them! I loved how GREEN this was! I love eating BRIGHT meals! These veggies turned out to be great. Oops! I almost forgot, I added lentils too.

And, finally, dessert. This is Endangered Species 75% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs. I think this is my favorite dark chocolate I have found so far!

Lately I have been experimenting going to bed later, about 12:30, and getting about 6 hours of sleep. I think my body is doing better this way and this may be what feels natural now after being high raw for quite some time. I can easily go to sleep at 9pm and sleep until 7am the next morning but I always wake up groggy and extra tired. SO, so far, I think this may be the answer to waking up feeling refreshed!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Before & After

I am just going to jump right into this. I've been avoiding it. But it needs to be done. I was not happy with the way I looked as a teenager. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and had not a clue how my health was affecting me inside and out. My skin was horrible. And I definitely had a few extra pounds. In my parents defense, we DID always have healthy food in the house. No sugary cereals were ever purchased, no little debbie snacks. Lots of vegetables and fresh greens and tomatoes from the garden. Occasionally we had ice cream, but my dad limited it to 1-2 VERY small scoops. Maybe thats why I went crazy everywhere else I went?? My friend still doesn't let me live down all the Schwan's 'mississippi mud bars' I scarfed down one night at her house. Only about 5 or 6 I think. Yikes. I know. No good. So here I was:

Here I am with my hubby, Duane. This was my first picture taken after going Raw for about one month. I love this picture so much. Compared to all my previous pictures my face is SO much slimmer and defined. My eyes are glowing and blue-r. (not sure how to spell that, lol) What a difference! I remember looking at this picture after taking it, and hardly recognizing myself. Raw can make some amazing transformations!

I *heart* Fruit

My first post! Wow, I adore blogs. I just love them. I have been reading blogs since July 2009. I was immediately hooked and instantly wanted one of my very own. I hope you enjoy it!