Monday, December 22, 2008

Do You Vant a Cupcake?

I made these for a friends Halloween party and just now got around to downloading the photos.



From the recipe at Baking Bites, http://bakingbites.com/2007/10/vampire-cupcakes/

I filled them the quick & dirty way; by poking the tip of my icing bag straight into the cupcakes. My frosting didn't come out as fluffy as hers but still tasted amazing!

The sign was my silly DD's idea Cheesy

Monday, July 7, 2008

Smooth Operator


Day ONE of my Smoothie Feast.

I won't call it a "green smoothie feast" because frankly, 1 green smoothie is usually more than enough for me each day. I have found that the more smoothies that I drink each day, the less cooked, junk food I eat. Coincidence? Who knows, who cares! If I can loose these stubborn pounds and not gain more as I start my new meds the week, not starve & detox some of the digestive troubles I started having again last summer, then bugger why it works.

Today's Smoothies Recipes

Watermelon Freeze

Blend 1/4 watermelon flesh (with seeds picked out) with 1 tray of ice & 3 oz. water until smooth. Store in the freezer as needed. Makes about 64 oz.

Light Green Smoothie

Blend a small handful of kale (mine is red tipped kale from friends at Wright Way Farm) with 2 oz water until no longer leafy. Add in 1/2 cup pineapple and more water to taste. Blend and enjoy. Makes about 12 oz.

Tropical Freeze Take 1

I'm really impressed with how well my $20 Hamilton Beach blending crushes ice cubes, & am enjoying the icy smoothies even more.

Blend 1 can of mandarin oranges (in pear juice if you can find it) with frozen pineapple and extra ice until a nice consistency. Store in the freezer as needed or eat with a spoon. Makes about 36 oz.

Tropical Freeze Take 2

Take any remaining Tropical Freeze Take 1 out of freezer. Let defrost just enough to not burn out your blender. Add 1 banana & re-blend. Enjoy with a straw & a little paper umbrella if you can find one. Makes about 24 oz.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Listen up All you Hip Cats.

We've got kittens. Yes, you heard that right, kittens, in addition to Mr. Mistofelees & Barley Mow.

How, you're wondering, did we end up with 4 less than 1 lb, month old kittens?

It's an interesting story that includes a big of the history of how our house was built. OK, maybe it doesn't.

We have this big back porch see, and like any nearly 100 year old house, the corner of the floor was rotting & falling in. So J did a temporary repair, one like all temporary repairs we do that ends up lasting twice as long as a repair is meant to. Well in lifting up the sagging corner of the porch he exposed an interesting construction detail. The stone porch columns are hollow. The side & angled floor support fit very neatly into an opening in the column, theoretically blocking the gap into the hollow column. Notice I said "theoretically" and since the angled support has long since rotten and the side supports are on their way out, there is a nice big gap into a little hidey hole. All of this is nicely hidden to those on the topside when the floor boards are in place.


after pulling off the floor boards

It was last Tuesday, while at HOUSE that J called. "Guess what. Calico [a neighborhood alley cat] is hiding in the porch column. Don't tell L." Ah, so that's why she was hanging around in the yard so much recently. She'd found herself a nice sheltered spot. Here I had been thinking she and Fat Black [the other alley cat] were living under the upturned canoes in the back.

Come Friday we're returning from doing who knows what & all of a sudden L yells out "hey! Kittens!". Woops, hadn't thought about that possibility. I'd always thought that Calico was an abandoned pet and fixed since we've never had kittens in the neighborhood before. Well sure enough there was a little orange tabby face sticking it's head out, then a little black face. The orange seemed to have a little eye crust but to be otherwise healthy. We knew Calico was still hanging around, we'd see her sitting in the sun near the fire pit waiting for us to get off the porch.

Fast forward to Saturday's rain storm. It's 9, 10 o'clock at night & storming big time. J looks at me & utters those famous last words. "do you think the kittens will be OK". Man, don't say things like that to me because you know I'll get all maternal. I was terribly conflicted. We can't have any more cats, I don't want to hurt Calico by taking her kittens but I know they need to be caught & fixed. Judging from their size I knew that this was the perfect time to catch them & civilize them while they were still small. So J & I head out to the porch, in the pouring rain with a flash light & the cat carrier. The floor boards come off, the rotting beam gets ripped out & I stick my nose into the hidey hole to count faces. J was the one to reach in, as my arms aren't long enough, puling out 4 tiny little kittens.


L-R: Little Black, Chessie, Hissy Fit & Colonel Mustard

In the past few days they have gone from lethargic, dehydrated & gunky eyed to active, squirming, wrestling, eating machines. We're keeping them separated from the big boys until D can run tests & check them over, setting them up with a kitty condo in the old dog carrier. Their personalities are already beginning to show & their names reflect it.

Little Black: Named after his obvious father Fat Black. He wavers between love & hate very quickly. You can't take it personally when he turns & hisses at you while you are petting him, when only a minute earlier he was purring.

Chessie: Named after the Railroad mascot because she looks just like it when sleeping. She's the sweet, calm & quiet one & L's favorite. She's happy to be petted & snuggled but you have to keep an eye out and make sure she eats enough.

Hissy Fit: The litters runt with a big personality. She was the first to start complaining about living in the smaller cat carrier, the first to climb the door on the dog carrier, the first to walk out of the carrier on her own & the loudest most demanding of the bunch.

Colonel Mustard: He's destined to be a lazy house cat. He's the biggest of the kittens, eats the most and generally shoves his way to the front of everything. He's very playful if not a bit on the clutzy side.

We're currently trying not to get too attached, although J has already given the sad look about not being able to keep "at least 1". L has been a fantastic help, playing with them, watching them while I clean the litter, giving them food & most of all laughing at their endless antics. She especially love Chessie and will spend extra time snuggling & petting her while the other three run around like, well, kittens.

So if anyone in the WI-IL area is looking for a kitten, contact me. We want them to have good loving homes. They will be completely checked out and have any needed first shots before going to their families.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm no foodie

Foodie:
An informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news.

Now lets be totally honest here. I'm no foodie. Not even close or aspiring to be one. I grew up in a pretty bland food household & survived on a lot of cold cereal as a kid. I'm really no better as an adult. Even when I'm eating cooked food, I rarely "cook". Nuke something here, broil it or boil it (never both!), chop stuff quickly with the processor or grab it left over from the night before. I'd probably eat out more if it wasn't so expensive & we weren't constantly so poor.

And that in itself is what separates me from just about every other raw foodist out there. See even their name implies the love of food that I simply don't have. "Foodist", ha! I'm an "eater" at best.

See, I find myself looking at all these fantastic photos of all this raw food & reading these fantastic recipes that promise to replicate or at least fulfill cravings for all the best cooked foods & there is 1 thing running through my mind the entire time;

All that just for something to eat?

No thank you.


So while everyone else is waiting 24 hours for their nuts to sprout, then grinding them, dehydrating the mix for another day or two & assembling these elaborate raw sandwiches from the resulting "breads", I'm stuffing a clump of store bought sprouts into a lettuce leaf & calling it lunch.

While everyone else has these fancy looking, photo shoot worthy salads with every piece uniformly chopped & the dressing all artistically drizzled acroaa the top, I'm eating dates out of the container & a pear that's been half smooshed from carrying around in the bottom of my bag all day.

While everyone else is creating elaborate smoothies in their expensive blenders with every fruit known to man & six different exotic dehydrated amazon super foods, I'm throwing the same handful of spinach, water & frozen pineapple into my $20 blender with the broken handle.

It's hard, in this "blog o sphere" not to feel a little poorly about myself when I see how dull my raw eating is compared to others.

Is my refusal to wait more than 10 minutes for a meal one of the reasons I've never lasted more than 28 days? Is my reluctance to clutter my kitchen with expensive blenders, food processors, dehydrators & exotic ingredients the reason that everything has started to taste the same already? Is the generally dull appearance of my food the reason that L has never shown more than a passing interest in eating anything remotely healthy?

I guess in the end I just have to remind myself that I'm not a foodie, or a foodist. I'm just an eater. Put it in the mouth, chew, swallow. No matter what it tastes like going in, it all comes out the same in the end.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Craving Coconut Cookies

Sorry I don't have any actual photos of these cookies. Honestly, they didn't last long enough to take a photo. They were gone in less than 3 hours! I whipped these up last night when I was craving something sweet, yet knew I needed to stick to my current raw challenge. It was only the end of day 1 for Pete's sake! Boy were they good for something so random. Even L ate one, claiming that they tasted very coconut-ey. She also loved the idea that they were healthy cookies and she could eat as many as she wanted for dinner.

Craving Coconut Cookies
Process macedamia nuts, a few dates, some almonds, a bit of shredded coconut & a squirt of honey with enough water (about 1oz) to create a slightly chunky paste. Roll into small balls, using wet hands to prevent excess sticking. Roll formed balls in more shredded coconut & chill until solid. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if there are any left to store!

I suppose you could dehydrate these for a firmer, more crunchy, cookie like texture. Of course that means you've got the patience to wait, something I drastically lack. They would be sinfully good drizzled or dipped in your favorite raw chocolate recipe. I, sadly, don't have one. Pity me, oh raw chocoholics.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This is a raw-peat


The challenge has been issued again on Amity, who's going to eat raw?

Naturally since I've done it at least 3 times already, I jumped at the chance. I know it works well for me. Heck, I've been toying with the idea for 2 weeks & slowing sneaking up the fruits & veggies in the house. Being raw is one of the few times that I can eat large quantities while "dieting" and still loose weight. Plus I've got a lot of minor health issues right now that can old get better with more mindful, healthy eating. I'd really like to see my skin clear up again, my cycles lighten & I've been experiencing heart burn again, like I used to get when I ate dairy. I know something is off & stripping my diet down should be a good starting point for getting everything straight again.

I won't lie. There will be hard spots, I will cave & eat cooked foods or have a beer. But I will do this! Usually about a month into 100% (when I've jumped in without a warm up) I'll be a raging emotional beast. I detox through my emotions more than physically. Last time it was not a pretty site & I ended up giving up raw foods because I couldn't handle the roller coaster. Coming from me that's pretty out there emotionally. Maybe knowing that happens will help get me through it, maybe having a slower warm up will make the detox easier, heck maybe I'll just repeat the cycle of quiting like last time, who knows.

Tomorrows menu includes a big green smoothie (kale, pears, celery, spinach etc), some faux-cous salad & probably a snack of dates or raspberries or something else sweet plus my kombucha. I know it's not technically raw because of the sugar & tea, but it is a living food & it makes me feel good. When I drink it I don't desire sugary things as much & I feel like I'm getting to enjoy a "soda". Oh & sprouts, I've got a bunch of spouts in the fridge too & that coconut that L & I hacked up the other day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Faux-cous Salad

I've been inspired recently to try & re-up my intake of raw foods. See I've eaten 100% raw before, for as long as a month (in January no less). I've recently been having trouble with my thyroid, weight & immune response again so turning to raw foods seems the right thing to do.

In that vein I made a simple "pulse chopped" salad, throwing in a bunch of things that sounded good. Low & behold, a new favorite!

I'm calling it Faux-cous because it resembles couscous but it's not.

FAUX-COUS SALAD

1 head cauliflower
1-2 bell peppers of any color
1 onion
3-4 ribs celery
big bunch of parsley
juice of 1/2 a lemon
sprinkle of sea salt

Toss everything in the food processor & pulse just enough to break everything down, but not so much to make a smoothie! Squeeze lemon over & sprinkle with salt. Enjoy.