Friday, December 28, 2012

Ramblings & Possible New Name Or New Blog

Happy Friday everyone!  Just a bit of ramblings today. 

I changed my profile avatar from the above pic, which was taken this past Sunday, 23rd.  The other one was from about 2 or 3 years ago, so figured it was time for an updated picture.

My dad and Yolanda, his girlfriend, came over that day and we had a fun and enjoyable visit.  I made some of my raw food treats and healthy snacks for them to try and they loved it all.  Yolanda especially loved my zucchini "cheeze" roll-ups... she ate the very last one with a big grin on her face!  I sent them home with what was left: persimmon pie, "fudge" and "not meat" balls - all raw of course. 

Mark and I exchanged a few simple gifts this year and mine were centered around the kitchen - which I wanted and he did an AWEsome job!  His were movies and a PC game that he wanted, so he was happy too.  We sent all the kids a little green stuff, which made this year's shopping painless and very easy.

We received gift cards to PF Changs & Starbucks from the kids, yum!  Oh and the gift that brought tears to my eyes was from my daughter-in-law... a set of writing pens.  I know... pens made me teary?  They are Breast Cancer Awareness pens, but I it was her sweet note that got me the most.

Christmas day Mark & I went to the movies to see The Hobbit.  One word: awesome!  If you're into The Lord of the Rings, then you'll LOVE it.  Can hardly wait for the next flic!  Oh and it was a long one... just about 3 hours.  I took snacks, a green smoothie and bottle water with us, but Mark splurged on popcorn and his $1 drink with his Harkins cup.

After the movies we popped on over to my brother's house for a fun little visit and gave our little nephews their gifts.  Kids are so fun to watch at this time of the year :)

One other rambling before I go.  I'm thinking of starting another blog for my raw food.  I cannot express enough how wonderful I feel inside and out since going raw - plus after almost 52 years the end of this month, I finally found my passion!  I've thought about changing the url name of this blog for a long time now since it doesn't even fit anymore, but I think that might mess up all the other posts or links.  I don't know enough about that part, do you?  I already have a second blog for my handmade jewelry & findings, so guess a third one won't hurt. Still playing around with that idea.

Well, guess that's enough ramblings for today.  Hope everyone had a beautiful Holiday or Christmas or just hanging out doing nothing day.


p.s. I'm lovin' the type of tops I'm finding that have a little gathering to them, sort of hides what I don't have.  NOT that it bothers me one little bit.  I just like them because they are cute and doesn’t appear to freak people out as much.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Joy of Almonds

raw almond milk and pulp

I love almond milk more than any other non-dairy milk and drink it with every meal, and then some.  I used to drink Almond Breeze, which is very good milk and I’m not knocking it at all, but the cost of it is crazy.  However, now I make my OWN almond milk.  Cashew too, but almond is number one.  Anyway, it is absolutely delicious, fresh, smooth and tasty.  It makes my wallet happy too.
Besides it being cost effective, there are other benefits as well.  Such as therapeutic.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Why?  Right after making the milk in my Vitamix, you have to pour it through a nut bag, or cheese cloth, to strain it from the pulp.  The milk is warm, and while squeezing the nut bag and watching the bowl fill up with yummy milk that I just made with my own two hands (okay, props to the Vitamix) I feel calm and energized at the same time.  I don’t know, could be a me thing.
The other thing I love about making my own almond milk is no waste!  That’s right, I use the almond pulp as well.  More bang for the buck as they say.     

raw almond pulp dough

For instance, above is a bowl full of almond pulp from two batches.  I always make 2 batches to fill up my milk container.  I’ll post the how to at the end.  Anyway, in that bowl are other simple ingredients to make pizza crust (recipe from The Rawtarian, which I tweaked a little).  All raw of course. 
You can also dehydrate the pulp and use it as a dry flour.

raw almond pulp pizza dough

Here I’ve made a large tray for pizza crust that is now going into the dehydrator.

raw almond pulp pizza crust

Halfway through I take out the bread tray and score it for individual size pizzas.

raw almond pulp sandwich bread

And another tray that I sliced into sandwich size pieces - minus a couple that didn’t make it to the tray.  A little smaller than standard bread because I like small sammies.  This is from another batch of pulp I had.

raw veggie burger sandwich

Speaking of sammies… here is my raw veggie burger on my homemade almond pulp bread. Mmmm.  It is SO good!

raw almond pulp fudge

Can’t forget the sweet tooth.  Raw Almond Pulp Fudge.  Mmmmmm... this is guilt-free yumminess!  Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! 

Now for the Almond Milk recipe:

If you don’t have a Vitamix, no worries, but do make sure your blender is powerful enough to handle making nut milk AND make sure you soak the almonds 8-10 hours.  Soaking is not just for the nutritional value, they need to be soft as well.  There are tons of recipes for a variety of nut milks, which I tweak here and there - you can do the same.  Sometimes I add all or some of the optional ingredients in this tweaked recipe:

4 cups fresh water
1 rounded full cup of soaked raw almonds
1 medjool date, pitted or sweetener of your choice (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
Sprinkle or so of cinnamon (optional)

Put ingredients as listed into the Vitamix, start at 1, turn it on, quickly turn up to 10 and then high for 2 minutes.  If you’re using a different blender, use your best judgment.

I use a large batter bowl that I strain the milk into and then pour it into my milk container. Helps me to not get it all over the counter.  I pour half of the milk into a nut bag and gently, continually squeeze the bag until all the milk is out.  Remove the pulp and store into a container.  Do the same thing for the rest of the batch.

Since I drink plenty of milk I make 2 batches back to back, but not in the Vitamix at the same time as that is too much at once.  I always drink a glass after making it and then put the rest in the fridge.

So there you have it.  From 2 batches of almond milk I fill up my container, and from the pulp I get either a tray full of pizza crust or sandwich bread.  Almonds bring me such joy.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Open Journal - Current Status Post Bilateral Mastectomy

Me - last month
Guess it’s been a while since my last update to my Open Journal, so here it is.  Time flies when you’re rock'n life!

I had my 3rd post-op appointment in November and got the green light.  Next visit will be later next year.  Healing is progressing on track and doc said to give it another 9 months or so to completely heal.  Wow, I cannot believe how long this takes!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing AWESOME, but just amazed at all the stuff you have to go through.  Oh and in case anyone is reading this and has no idea what I’m talking about… I had a Total Bilateral Mastectomy without reconstruction in August.  You can read more info in the tab above.

- The long ugly mastectomy scars have gone from angry red puffers to semi-angry pink, and getting smaller a smidgen at a time.
- The 61 staple scars are slowly disappearing.
- Still have numbness in a few areas, which may or may not completely resolve.
- Have mild residual discomfort that comes and goes.  Can’t really call it pain now.
- The creepy crawly stuff has stopped – THAT was so freaky!  That was from all the nerve endings trying to figure what the heck happened.
- The ‘lumpiness’ (as I call it) around my chest is starting to flatten out more.
- Right side (nodes were removed on that side) is my pain in the @#! side.  I have a big lump area there (not lymphedema) that looks and feels swollen, especially by the end of the work day or when using it too much.  I can work just fine and do many things, but still have to be careful lifting, etc. too heavy of anything on the right side.

I can’t wear snug or close under-the-arm fitting type tops.  Hard to explain, but it causes pain there.  I’m most comfortable in tank tops and sun dresses anyway, so that works.  Sometimes I just drop my arm out of the right side as it’s more comfortable - then I resemble Tarzan.  Make that Jane instead.

I am happy that I’m finally off estrogen, which I was instructed to do so asap from the beginning of this.  The side effects from that was pretty wicked, but I was able to handle it better than expected and am totally fine now.  However, while I still get them (not as bad now) the sudden hot flashes drove me nuts.  Made me practically strip and stick my head in the freezer – lol!

Some people have asked me what type of tops I wear and if I’m going to get one of those mastectomy bras or prosthesis.  Nope.  I’m happy as I am in my own skin and no, I do not wear a bra (nothing to put in it).  And no, I do not wear big baggy clothes.  I wear tanks tops/dress, summer spaghetti tops/dresses… pretty much clothing that is light, comfortable, and not confining.

I don’t mean for this to sound rude, but I don’t care what people/society say about women must have breasts.  I’m not dressing to please people.  With that said, not a day goes by that I don’t get stares wherever I go.  Most people just notice me and then go about their business.  Some look at me and smile and others with maybe concern.  I always smile at them to show I’m happy.  However, I’ve had two surprisingly unpleasant experiences, which floored me.  I won’t go into details now, but the first time was by two teenage girls in Blockbuster and the second time was just this past Friday at Sprouts – by a couple in their late 20’s or early 30’s standing next to me at the checkout.  THAT one almost made me cry, but instead it ticked me off more than anything.  Some people can be so mean… and ignorant.
Floral Handkerchief Bandeau Bikini Top (at Candie's)
I just have to share this bathing suit!  Yes I know, it’s December… but I came across this and fell in love with that top and I want it!  That’s all, just wanted to share.
Wow… guess I had a lot to say this go around.  I’ll stop here and will update again sooner than later.  I’ll also have more pics down the road.
Happiness everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rocki vs Young Thai Coconut

This beautiful Young Thai Coconut was no match for me (enter Rocky theme music). I won! In an ugly way, but I still won.
I’ve been wanting to add this super delicious, nutritious, full of electrolytes, high in anti-oxidants, vitamins, etc., food to our diet, but have been SCARED to DEATH of opening one. So that night I searched the net and watched several ‘how to’ videos. I then told Mark – YOU open it!
The next day, Saturday, I put my big girl pants on and gave it ago. I got out my cutting board, my large heavy duty chef’s knife, my grandma’s old ice cream scoop and a measuring cup for the water. First Aid kit was within reach. 
Cutting way the outer layer was a breeze. I was very pleased about that part.  Now, the top of the actual nut was exposed.  There I stood, looking at it and wondering if I could open it without having to call 911.  But I wanted to taste that water and eat that meat, so I had to continue.

I did as they said in many of the videos - hold it on its’ side, take your big freakin’ knife and whack at it HARD with the bottom end portion of the knife.  In the video it showed them doing this 4 times on a rotation, then you can open it up and get the goods.  Ha!  I showed them!  It only took me about 20 times to whack and mangle the poor nut before I got a itty bitty hole.  I ran into the bathroom (no I wasn’t bleeding, Mark was replacing our faucet) and proudly showed Mark what I had accomplished so far. 
Now to get that water.  I pried open enough of the top and poured the water into my measuring cup.  If I hadn’t of spilled some while trying to pry it open, I’m guessing it would have been very close to 2 cups.  But as you can see I actually got just about 1 2/3 cup of yummy coconut water.  Mark and I took a little sip and both agreed: MMMMMMM!  I used the water in green drinks and a recipe dish.

The meat was next. I opened more of the top, finally.  I don’t have a coconut scoop so I used my grandma’s old sturdy ice cream scooper and away I went.  That seemed to work just fine and was easy peasy.  I could hardly wait to taste it as I’ve never had this type of coconut.  AMAZINGLY delicious and smooth!  I used the meat in a couple different recipes and green drinks – nice and creamy!  You can also make coconut noodles with the meat, which I’m going to do with my next one.
So there it is in a nut shell.  I can hardly wait to attack my next one.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Raw Vegan Jicama "Fries" & Veggie Burgers - gluten-free too!

I cannot tell you enough of how AMAZINGLY awesome our dinner was!  I’m not sure which I love more – the jicama “fries” or veggie burgers.  Naw, they were both winners!
For both of the raw dishes, I used my dehydrator for the entire meal so this is how the recipe is prepared.  However, I’m sure these can be done in the oven as well, so you’ll have to use your best guess for cooking temps and time.

Smoked Paprika Jicama “Fries” (feel free to alter to your liking)
1 medium jicama cut into fry shape
1 tablespoon or more of cold-pressed Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt (more or less)
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
In a large bowl combine the oil and seasonings.  Add the jicama fries and coat well.  Place “fries” on mesh dehydrator screen and into the dehydrator they go.  Set it at 110 F and dehydrate for about 4 hours or to your liking.

Look at this beautiful bowl of colors!  This is just part of what goes into the veggie burgers.  The brilliant orange color of the carrots made me smile, so I had to take a pic of the veggie bowl.

The burgers look a little pale at start, but turn a deep brown when they are done.  Let me tell you, while they are in the dehydrator, the house smells delicious!

The veggie burgers are from my Rawmazing recipe book and while I tweaked it a little, credit still goes entirely to her. I’m writing the recipe below as it is in the book, with my adjustments next to the applicable item.
Mushroom Walnut Veggie Burgers (Veggie Burgers) – Makes 8-9

2 cups carrots, grated (pulse processed small diced)
2 cups portobello mushrooms, chopped fine (pulse processed small diced)
1 cup onion, chopped fine (pulse processed fine)
3/4 cup celery, diced (pulse processed small diced)
1 cup walnuts, soaked, drained and ground fine while wet
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked, drained and ground fine while wet (I used pepitas)
1/4 cup water, filtered
1/4 cup Nama Shoyu (I used Braggs)
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
(I added 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon rosemary)
1 cup raw oat flour, or 3/4 cup ground flax seeds (I used the flour plus about 1/3 cup ground flax)

1. In large bowl combine carrots, mushrooms, celery and onion
2. Stir in walnuts and pumpkin seeds, combine well
3. Combine water and Nama Shoyu, mix into veggie/nut mixture
4. Add herbs, stir well
5. Stir raw oat flour or ground flax seeds in batches
6. Shape into patties, 4-5 inches across, no more than 1 inch thick.  Place on screens and dehydrate at *145 degrees for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 115 degrees and dehydrate until mostly dry, 3-4 hours.  You want these to be moist, not rock hard.

My note: Since both of these dishes were our dinner that night, I made the veggie burgers first as they went in at a higher temp for the first hour, then turned it down to 110 degrees and popped in the “fries”, while resisting to eat them, until done.

*Note about temp setting. I was curious about setting the temp so high, when raw food cannot be above 115 degrees.  Here’s a brief explanation of it by Rawmazing:

You will notice on many recipes that dehydration starts at a higher temperature and then is reduced for the remainder of the dehydration. It is still raw. The food is throwing off water and stays cool at the beginning of the dehydration process. Dehydrating like this saves time and also prevents possible fermentation. The food temperature never goes above 115 so your food stays raw.”
Our meal was complete with a healthy green salad and fresh raw almond milk (skim milk for Mark).  I've since made another batch of the veggie burgers for our lunches this week.

Eatin' raw and lovin' it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Falafels and Mini Bread Loves - Raw, Vegan & Gluten-Free

Falafels - vegan, gluten-free and raw
If you read my last post, then you’ll understand why I say here is what I made with my OWN sprouted garbanzo beans - Falafels the Raw Food Way (recipe by Rawmazing).  I also made the Mango Pineapple Salsa in the recipe to go with them, but skipped the raw sour cream - no particular reason other than a very busy weekend for me. 

Mini Bread Loaves - vegan, gluten-free and raw
Plus I made mini raw bread loaves (recipe by The Rawtarian) which had amazing flavor!

The Excaliber 3500 is my new BFF

At 11:00am dinner was in the dehydrator, along with some raw soaked almonds that I had left over from making a couple batches of almond milk.

Let's eat!

At 5:30pm we sat down to enjoy our raw meal, a veggie filled salad and a cold glass of fresh almond milk.  
Raw and lovin’ it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Raw Garbanzo Beans - day 1
I’m discovering a whole new way of *not* cooking and I’m loving every morsel of it!  Last week I sprouted my first batch of garbanzo beans for a dish I made over the weekend.  More on that in tomorrow’s post.  For now, we’re talking bringing our food to life.
Above is a batch of raw garbanzo beans that I had just put in to soak.  Soaking is technically called germinating, a much friendlier term I think.  I gave them a good rinse and into the jar they went for the next 3 days - covered with a cheese cloth, but anything similar can be used from my understanding.  After the first 24 hours of soaking I rinsed and drained them real good then all I had to do was rinse and put them back into the jar - 3 times per day.
Soaked and awaiting sprouts - day 2
So what’s the deal with soaking and sprouting?  In nut shell - many health benefits.  To get sprouts you must first soak your raw grains, beans, nuts or seeds.  Each one has their own timeframe of soaking and sprouting and it’s not difficult at all.  Even if you don’t go as far as the sprouting process, soaking alone will give you great health benefits.  I love Carol Alt's description of it from her recipe book Easy Sexy Raw: 

“Seeds, grains, beans and nuts  are filled with nutrition, but their life-giving nutrients are dormant, held back by enzyme inhibitors.  They are like little Sleeping Beauties just waiting for you to wake them up.  And all it takes to awaken them and release their many enzymes – along with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and proteins – is to soak them and, if you wish, take the next step and sprout them for even more benefits.”

Raw sprouted garbanzo beans - day 3

I made SPROUTS! (think Tom Hanks’ fire scene in Castaway).  I know, but I can’t help it because it was awesome to see the birth of my first batch of little sprouts! 
Tomorrow you’ll see what I made with these little beauties.