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our first mardi gras

10 Mar

Last night the husband and celebrated Mardi Gras for the first time ever.  I’ve never been to New Orleans, and I’ve never really seen the point in celebrating all the way up here in Oklahoma, but when I found out that one of my favorite restaurants was hosting a shindig (albeit a low key shindig), I was suddenly feeling very festive.

105 Degrees created an entire raw 3 course dinner for Mardi Gras – gumbo, red beans and rice – the works.  Don’t hate on me for saying this, but I’m not a big fan of either of those dishes, so the husband and I went for the parsnip noodles and the lasagna instead. Oh, and the kale chips…can’t forget the kale chips.

There was live music and waitresses (“guides” as they call them) wearing masks as they flitted around from table to table taking orders and explaining the ins and outs of raw food.  This was my first time to order anything beyond a smoothie or a juice, and it was just as lavash as I had anticipated.

The parsnip noodle dish was a mixture of spiralized zucchini noodles and parsnip noodles (which would be so easy to recreate), soaked in a cashew pesto sauce, with tiny half tomatoes, coconut “bacon” and chopped walnuts.  We were most intrigued by the coconut bacon – made by marinating the flesh from a coconut in maple syrup and tamari and then dehydrating it.   It didn’t taste like bacon at all, but definitely looked like it.

Surprisingly the husband liked it more than I did, so I gave most of them to him…while he didn’t care for the kale chips (what?!) so I got the whole little bowl to myself. mmm.  I was surprised how much different they were having been dehydrated instead of baked, and honestly I liked the baked version better.  But that might be just because it’s what I’m used to.  The baked are more crisp and light whereas the dehydrated version is more dense and stiff.  Both delicious nonetheless.

The lasagna was a layered masterpiece of flat zucchini (or cucumber?) noodles, spinach and tomato slices filled in between with a macadamia nut ricotta cheese, sun dried tomato sauce and cashew pesto sauce.  It was beautiful and tasty, and the only downside was that it was crazy hard to eat!  I didn’t want to mess it up, but it was impossible to slice through, so we ended up having to demolish it in the end.

The food at 105 Degrees is fantastic, but I think what I love most is the atmosphere.  Sometimes I wish I could just go hang out there all day – watching the chefs do what they do and soaking in the clean lines and the smells of fresh juice and veggies.  I just love being there.  I actually feel that way about that entire area of Oklahoma City – such a refreshing place to be, about to become even more so as Whole Foods looks to be coming along quite nicely.

It would have been the perfect night, but unfortunately on the way to dinner the Mini got into a scuffle with a car three times its size when we got hit from behind by a big black Expedition.  Having just exited the highway and stopped at the light at the end of the off ramp, we were chatting away when all of a sudden we heard a crunch as we were jolted in our seats. We were kind of in a not so good part of town, which could have been a bad thing, but it worked out in our favor because there was a homeless man, sign in hand, standing about two feet from our car, who saw the whole thing and was quite excited (a little too excited) about being our witness. So that was good.  The cops came and helped us setting things, but the damage was insignificant enough that within a half hour we were on our way to dinner.

Thankfully everyone was okay, and I’m super proud of our little car because it held up quite nicely all things considered.  We drove away with a few scratches and a cracked bumper, and now we play the insurance waiting game until we can get it fixed.

———————–

More to come on lots going on here in the country this week – a peacock sighting by the husband, a run-in with the town sheriff, delicious lemon coconut bar making, and trips to the city for some yogaaaaa!  The husband and I have held strong and haven’t been to see Olive even once since Sunday night (we decided it’s best for her and us if we don’t try to go see her every day).  We both miss her so much and comment to each other every day about what we’d be doing if she was here.  We’re a week and a half down, with fourteen and a half to go until our family can be together again.  Not that I’m counting.


Did you celebrate Mardi Gras? What’s your favorite part?
My favorite part was just having a good reason to go eat dinner at 105.  Oh, and the masks were pretty cool too.

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greens are back!

22 Feb

Hello!

This morning I started the day off with a trip to the gym for a run.  I ended up knocking out 3.6 miles before doing some stretching and push-ups, and then heading home.  For the last couple of months my workouts have been pretty irregular, so I’ve been trying to get back into some sort of routine.  Which is comical because the word routine really doesn’t have a place in my life right now.

Something else I’ve come back to after a 5 day hiatus is green smoothies!

I had to start taking some medication last week, and it completely robbed me of my appetite!  There were certain things I could tolerate to eat, but one food group in particular was OUT.  And that would be vegetables.  A tragedy.

But now they’re back in full swing praise the Lord.

As predicted, this past weekend was so sweet despite the busyness.  On Friday night we met with our house superintendent and our builder to finalize the house plans.  We went through every single area of the house – inside and out – deciding on everything from doorway arches to outlets.  It was a really fun meeting, and we’re hoping to be able to get our foundation poured in the next week.  Fingers crossed!

We had been warned that our superintendent was….a little rough around the edges.  One of those “shoot it to you straight” kind of guys.  And he was.  But I really liked him.  His best line of the night said when the husband asked him what is normal as far as matching exterior colors: “Don’t even ask me about normal.  Nothing about this house is normal, so let’s not even go there.”

The husband and I tend to like sort of a unique style…and I don’t think Doug is used to working with our type.  It’ll be good for him though. hah.

After out meeting we celebrated by eating out some mexican food and then went shopping for some birthday shoes for the husband.  His big 2-8 is coming up this weekend, on moving day nonetheless. Poor husband.

Saturday morning we enjoyed the beautiful weather by going for a drive…taking the long way to our favorite bagel shop.

And after filling up with an everything bagel + Tofutti cream cheese, we set out on a walk to campus.  I really needed the fresh air, sunshine and endorphins, and it felt so good to just get out of the house after all the cold weather as of late. Olive had a banner day, obviously.

less than thrilled to have his picture taken

Later in the morning my mother-in-law came into  town to help us pack, and thank the heavens she did.  She cracked down on us and our procrastination, and we all three packed for about 10 hours total between Saturday and Sunday.  We were so productive and got so much done, but it really made me realize how much we have left to do!  I’m so glad she came because otherwise I’d be in a bad place at this point.

update: I decided for the time being I am growing my hair out, but the resulting poofiness is about to send me running to the salon

Sunday we stayed home from church in lieu of maximizing time packing with MIL, but the husband and I did rise early and go for a 4 mile run. Aside from the 30 mile an hour gusts of wind, the run wasn’t half bad.  You know how you just have on days and off days?  Well, this was an on day for me.  No amount of wind could have kept me from rocking that run.  I love days like that!  By about hour four of packing, my legs were really feeling it, though.

This week will be a bit sparse as far as good food because I currently am finishing packing up my entire kitchen.  Last night I made vegan enchiladas for dinner, and I made enough to have leftovers one night this week. Other than that we’ll probably be eating veggie wraps, Amy’s, or cereal for the rest of our meals.  It’s only for a week though!  I just keep reminding myself of that.

In other news, I still need to share a couple of tasty raw (ish) meals I made last week before the aversion to veggies took over.  I initially found both of these in Crazy Sexy Diet, and they’re so good they’re even husband approved!  Typically I don’t have a hard time keeping it raw until lunch, but when dinner comes this girl needs some cooked (read: hot!) food.  This is an example of a meal I had for dinner a couple of times.

I filled a plate up with a massaged kale avocado salad.

With it I had a smaller portion of quinoa with slightly stir-fried veggies.

For the salad, I tore up a whole bunch of kale into bite sized pieces.  Then I added about 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 small avocado, and I got my hands in there and massaged away.  The dressing turned into a creamy coating over all the leaves that softened the kale, both texture and flavor wise.  The husband commented that it tasted quite similar to a ceasar salad, and I would have to agree!

Next, I very lightly sauteed various veggies (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, onions etc) in a wok and then sprayed them with Braggs several times.  Just before it was done, I added the chick peas and stir friend until they were heated through.  Meanwhile, I had a pot of quinoa cooking on the stove, and when it was all done I poured the veggies over the quinoa, plated it, and that was it!

This meal was so easy and delicious!  I had the salad again the next day for lunch, and still had leftovers after that.  So if you’re eating alone, you may want to half the recipe.

I’m getting in some extra tutoring hours with my students this week as they all have some really important events coming up.  Works out for me too because I’ve got some important events coming up that need some money!  Otherwise, the husband and I are just trying to keep our heads above water with work and packing.  It’s a crazy time for sure!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

let's talk raw – juices and smoothies

16 Feb

Yesterday was a big day for green smoothies in our house.   The husband drank his first one.

While he’s had sips of mine before, he didn’t really like it and has never shown any real interest in drinking them himself.  For starters he doesn’t like banana, and since that’s the main ingredient in mine every day, it’s no wonder he sort of turned his nose up at them.  But in the spirit of wanting to up the health factor in his diet, he decided to give them a go. And he’s actually really liking them!  He obviously knows the way to my heart:)

Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic, but I ended up buying a bag of mixed fruit – peaches, pineapple and strawberries – and using that for sweetness instead of banana.  I also added a big handful of spinach, soymilk, 1/2 scoop of Amazing Grass and ice.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently reading Kris Carr’s new book, Crazy Sexy Diet, and I’m loving it.  As a wellness warrior, she advocates eating only raw food, preferably liquids (juices or smoothies) until lunch.

According to Kris that means “green juice, green smoothies, purified water, and teas.”  But this doesn’t mean that you have to starve as you can have as many servings of them as you need.  And “if that’s not enough for you, no worries, solid foods are definitely an option.”   I’m not one to jump on unrealistic fad diets, but as I’m learning more about the benefits of raw food, juices and smoothies, I am becoming more and more of a believer that the more raw foods you can incorporate into your diet the better. I feel overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the information I’ve absorbed, and while I want to share it all right here right now there’s just too much!

For now, I will say that one of the best things about starting the day off with green juice or a green smoothie (after a big glass of purified water with lemon of course) is that it gives the body an instant shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and oxygen, plus a major hydration boost.  And the body barely has to do anything to digest it!  Little work + lots of healthy stuff = pure energy and vibrance.

One thing to remember though is that when our bodies are used to digesting and storing more acidic foods, it will take a sort of short detox phase to adjust as the body gets rid of toxins.   During that time you may in fact feel less energetic…but just give it a few days to a week and you’ll be so glad you did.  It took about 3 days for me, and this morning I felt noticeably more energetic than previous days.

There was a time when I didn’t understand how juicing was so good for you.  Doesn’t it remove all the good fiber?  Won’t it raise my blood sugar if the fiber isn’t there to balance out the natural sugar in fruit?  While it may raise blood sugar a bit, it won’t be a big deal as long as the overall ratio of veggies to fruit is about 3:1, as fruit has more natural sugars.  And make sure they are vegetables that are low on the GI scale – like cucumber instead of carrots.  A great one to start off with is 1 whole organic (or peeled if it’s not organic) cucumber, several stalks of organic celery and a small apple.  But have fun playing around with different combinations!

Coming full-circle now, let’s talk smoothies again.  Smoothies are almost just as amazing for the body as juices…and they also keep you full longer. The body does have to work a bit to digest them, but still not nearly as much as with solid food, and the fiber provides longer lasting fullness and energy.  Plus, they’re easier to make.

As Kris explains, “the difference between a juice and a smoothie is that a smoothie leaves no pulp behind – it contains all the fantastic fiber of the ingredients.  The tough cellulose structure of the produce is broken into tiny pieces that are easy for your body to digest and assimilate.  Think of it as a pre-chewed blast of optimum nutrition.”

My green smoothie was just a smidge different than usual this morning. In an effort to keep it 100% raw, I subbed in water for my usual almond milk.  I was kind of concerned that it would loose it’s delicious creamy factor, but I could hardly tell a difference!

2 big handfuls of organic spinach + 1 banana + 1 cup water + 1 scoop of Amazing Grass (with a side of folded towels:)

As I talk more about raw/vegan food, I want to make it clear (as always) that whatever each individual can do that improves their health and quality of life is like gold.  If that means introducing green juice or green smoothies once a week or eating three raw meals a week, then that’s great!  The fact is that no one is perfect and the more we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect – in any area of our lives- the more we’re setting ourselves up to fail. I’m currently trying to eliminate sugar from my diet as much as possible, but yesterday afternoon I got a serious craving and nothing but the vegan peanut butter cookies I’d made for the husband would do.  So I ate one.  And it was delicious.  It didn’t lessen the healthiness of my morning and I can definitely tell you it improved the healthiness of my mind because it reminded me that perfection is overrated and food is to be enjoyed.  The thing I’m realizing though, is that the more I use food to take care of my body and promote energy and vitality, the more I do enjoy it.

Amen?

This morning I’m spending some time going through my yoga class for tonight.  I only have two classes left!  I’m really going to miss teaching and am hoping I can get a new position asap.  Also on the schedule for today is three tutoring appointments and of course…packing.  I probably don’t even have to say that anymore, huh?  It’s kind of a given that there will be packing going on here during any down time for the next week and a half.  Crazy times.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday – the week is almost halfway over!

*Note that I’m only talking about food intake up until noon.  Kris doesn’t necessarily advocate eating a 100% raw diet.
**I also want to add that while I am really enjoying Crazy Sexy Diet, and I feel like I’m learning a lot of valuable information, Kris writing style is very forward.  At times she uses language that could be a bit offensive to some, and while I personally don’t like it, I choose to look past it because for me the information is worth it.  Just an FYI if you’re considering reading the book.