Friday, September 4, 2009

Hi everyone

There are 2 pretty big excuses for the lack of posting, and the abandonment of the Green Smoothie Challenge (for now):

1. We just moved into our new house this week, stressful and overwhelming, but we're getting settled...

2. I accepted a position to write a column for, a newer site for info on all kinds of topics divided by city. So I'm the new Minneapolis Vegan Examiner.

I haven't done too much with my site yet, but eventually plan to have a Raw Wednesday weekly series, so if you have any recipes you'd like to share, raw or cooked vegan, or if you want to be added to my links list, please e-mail me!



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 8 - Sick of Green Smoothies

It's not that I don't like them, I really do. But, I already eat a lot of fruit and greens separately and don't think it's such a huge benefit to combine them all in the morning. I'm never very hungry in the morning and just plain whole fruit is more satisfying to me than taking it in liquid form. Also, I'm still wary of Green Smoothie Breath.

This isn't to say I'm giving up though! For me, this challenge was not about drinking a green smoothie every day, but to cut back on my partying and eating late at night, get on a more normal schedule.

But that wasn't really accomplished on day 8....we were out allll night running errands for the upcoming move into our house this weekend. Got home at 10:00, was eating egg sandwiches and with a screwdriver at 11.

(Side note - first I tried mixing vodka with my leftover green smoothie from the morning - I figured it'd be like fruit juice and vodka right? No! It was nasty! So bad that I poured my concoction down the drain even though there was good liquor left in it!)

I'm blaming the egg sandwiches on Nathan and his mom, she sent us home with these delicious little green peppers and tomatoes from her garden, and they were just begging to be put into an omelet, which Nathan made.

Ok ok I'm making excuses. But I feel fine today so whatever.

Here, so there is something useful to read in this post - a yummy raw carrot salad I made the other day. It could be a side on its own, but I put it over some baby spinach.


1 pound carrots, coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 to 4 cloves garlic, mashed or minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pinch of salt
About 1/2 teaspoon harissa (Northwest African chili paste), 1 tablespoon minced green chilies, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

My version was a bit simpler, because grating carrots sucks - just threw everything in the food processor, leaving out the paprika, harissa, and cayenne.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Days 6 & 7 - Weekend Recap

Friday: I did end up being pretty productive, and rewarded myself with cocktails & toast before bed. Since I got plenty of sleep I woke up feeling great on Sat. though. No smoothie Friday, because I was finishing off a bottle of carrot juice from Trader Joe's. That place rocks. Bottle of organic carrot juice for $2.99 goes a long way - I mixed it with orange juice, then diluted with water, very bright orange and delicious!

Sat: Did many chores in preparation for the bachelorette party, plus squeezed in an hour long bike ride along the Mississippi River path - gorgeous. Since my "breakfast" takes place at about 2 p.m. on the weekends, I didn't have room for a smoothie before the girls came for party setup at 4:30, and then drinking and snacking commenced!

Some Pics:

The Bridesmaids
The Cake, complete with Man In Speedo:

Speedo Man tucked securely in my bra, getting his toes sucked.

Saturday night turned into a big pile of ick complete with too much food, cake, liquor, topped off with white castle at the end of the night.

Sun: Felt like a$$. Oh well what's to be expected after a party like this? Finally felt good enough to eat around dinnertime and then it was a banana, salad, and toast. We zoned out and rented I Love You Man from redbox - not highly recommended - the first half was funny enough, but really got old by the end. Has anyone seen this? Is it just me or was the relationship between Paul Rudd and his fiancee completely unrealistic? Bleh...
But, feeling great now, Monday in the cube has gone fast and relatively painless so that's about as good as I can ask for here....


Friday, August 21, 2009

Days 4 & 5

I'll roll these into one post and say I hope both days will be a success, even though today's only half over, but Nathan's going out of town tonight with our home laptop and I usually avoid the computer at home on weekends anyway.

Yesterday I made my smoothie (apple, frozen pineapple, frozen blueberries, collard greens - good combo), ate decently throughout the day, not too much close to bed, and got a decent night's sleep.

While Friday nights are usually party nights, Nath will be heading up north for a bachelor party while I get ready to host the bachelorette's party at our apt. tomorrow night. So tonight: Packing, Cleaning & Productivity. Hopefully. Unless I get lonely and meet my friends out at the bar, which very well could happen….

As of now, my only plans are to get out of this cubicle as quickly as possible.

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 3 - Doing Better & My Food History

Yesterday went a lot better than the first two days. Had my smoothie, had a healthy light dinner (carrot and collard green soup from the other night, salad, and some PB toast) and drank only chammomile tea before bed. The sleeping part was not so much a success though, because Nathan returned home after 4 a.m. because he was spraying our ceilings at the new house…and it's hard to sleep without him! I'm feeling fine today though…

So, Nichole (Pure and Simple Home), who's also doing the Green Smoothie Challenge, just asked me how I got into the whole raw food thing, and I figured I'd share here for everyone to read.

I grew up eating a very standard american diet. My mom cooked, not usually totally from scratch, we ate a lot of pasta with ground beef and tomato sauce from the jar, baked potatoes, iceberg lettuce salads with ranch dressing, pillsbury rolls from the can, and there were always ice cream and cookies in the house. We were all generally healthy and thin too though.

Around age 17, having never given a thought to my weight, I started realizing my (already skin tight teeny bopper) clothes were becoming too tight for me. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't exercise, ate s'mores pop tarts for breakfast, and little debbie nutty bars for lunch.
I started paying attention to calories and diet foods and how much I ate. I remember nibbling on little bags of special K cereal to keep me full in high school.

College came and I still didn't know much about "real" foods. I ate from the dorm cafeteria and lots of pre-packaged foods in my room, and of course, drank a lot of alcohol. I gained who knows how much, maybe 15 pounds over the next couple years, but lost it my junior year when I studied abroad in Budapest.

There, I remember eating lots of apples, bread, and frozen veggies. I didn't know how to cook and they didn't have much pre-packaged, and also I walked constantly.

By the time I graduated after 5 1/2 years of college, I was back to about 20 lbs. heavier than my comfortable weight. My final semester I lived in a co-op with 17 people where we rotated dinner duty for the weeknights - there was a strict budget and mandatory vegetarian option and I crushed a garlic bulb for the first time in my life.

After college I started learning how to cook more, I'd never had a strong taste for meat but thought it was especially repulsive to handle raw so never bought it. When I met Nathan 3 years ago we started cooking more together and since then I've just gradually become more aware about how crappy processed food is for your body and how horribly animals are usually treated in the meat and dairy industries. Eventually all my extra weight came off, helped by the fact that I joined a gym and started doing some yoga, which I didn't in college.

I'm not strictly vegan but just naturally avoid most animal products. I love fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, etc. I do still eat eggs about once a week, mostly as an after bar alcohol absorbing snack, but try to ease my conscience by buying organic cage free, as unregulated as those claims might be.

A good friend of mine started telling me about raw foods about a year ago, and as I started reading more I was really intrigued - people claimed to have amazing health benefits. Last Feb., feeling very in need of a detox from a rough winter, plus being stuck in a rut and bored, Nathan and I decided to do a 1 month raw experiment. We weren't incredibly strict about it and didn't feel any crazy bursts of energy as others have described, but we also were pretty uneducated as to how to go about it…. Nathan did lose 15 pounds though, which he was pretty happy about!

Since then I've continued reading a lot of raw/vegan blogs and trying new recipes, and also giving a lot of thought to how screwed up our food industry is. It makes me sad to think so many people are stuck back where I was in college, spending money on overpriced "reduced fat" cookies, "light" yogurt (with artificial sweeteners), cereals, breads, and frozen dinners that claim to be nutritious but are loaded with chemicals…. All while passing through the produce section clueless about how to prepare a lot of those amazing veggies. So I keep up this blog in hopes to spread the love of good healthy food, even if it's to only a few people. And because I'm bored at work and it's a great way to log recipes =).

Cheers, K

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 2 - I suck at this.

Yesterday I was fine most of the day, recovering from Day 1, made my green smoothie when I got home from work so I wouldn't be starving by the time we went out to eat: Apple, frozen pineapple & mango, kale - good combo!

But, then our guests came for dinner and we broke out the Surly for them to try - you can only buy it in MN and sometimes in surrounding states. I was actually alternating sips of beer and smoothie (which they thought looked disgusting and declined to try!)

We couldn't get into the Red Stag because it was too busy, so ended up nearby on the patio at Brasa instead. They specialize in rotisserie meats from local farms (at least that part is nice), so I ate mostly cabbage salad, collard greens, and yams, plus some white wine sangria. Don't know if it was the cabbage or what, but both Nathan and I had the worst gas after. At home around 10 p.m, I decided a piece of toast and whiskey would be just the thing to settle my stomach. (I really do believe in the curative properties of whiskey). It worked too, but all that plus mooching off some of the pasta and green beans with peanut sauce that Nathan heated up at about 11:30, left me in exactly the state I've been trying to avoid in the morning….bloated and bleary eyed.

But, yay, the (work) day is almost over, I survived a tornado touching down just about a mile away here in downtown, and I have a bowl full of leftover green smoothie waiting for me at home.

Cheers, K

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 1 - Not a smashing success

So yesterday was the first day of the Green Smoothie Challenge a.k.a. Kelly tries to get on a more adult like schedule and not feel like a$$ at work every day. Well it's 9:30 in my cubicle and I'm feeling pretty…..bleh. But at least I have a pretty good excuse. Here was my day yesterday:

-Green Smoothie (at least I got something right): 1 orange, about a cup of frozen pineapple & mango from trader joe's, huge handful of kale. This was an experimental combination and I really liked it.

-Big salad for lunch

-Snacks after work: Sprouted bread with all natural PB & honey, Carrot sticks with PB, a couple pieces of organic dark chocolate. (Note - Trader Joe's sells Ezekiel sprouted bread for less than I've seen at other places, plus their own brand and at least one other brand for way cheaper, around $3.50 a loaf)

Then I cleaned out the entire car which hadn't been done in over a year (yikes) filling a whole trash bag, because I had to go pick up a paint sprayer from my parents' and needed to make room. We are so busy for the next 2 weeks before we move into the house, repairing the floors, re-doing the ceilings, stripping wallpaper, painting, and all the additional little tasks that come with buying an old house.

By the time I got the sprayer & brought it to the house it was 10 p.m. before I got back to the apt. so that's the reason I ended up eating so late last night! I made some whole wheat pasta, boiled carrots, and sauteed collard greens with garlic and finally sat down for my ritual watching of Sex & The city reruns at 10:30 with a glass of wine (hey it was open in the fridge from last week and was gonna go bad - and yes I drank the entire remaining half bottle.)

Nathan got back from working on the house around midnight and we finally went to bed after 1. Ugh. Whatever, today's another day. Although I'll definitely end up indulging at least a bit because we're going to the Red Stag Supperclub with my relatives in town from Wales =).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spiralizer Giveaway!

Katie over at Chocolate Covered Katie is having a contest to win a spiralizer. You get 6 extra entries if you make one of her recipes and write about it on your own blog! This is so worth it people - veggies go to a totally different level when spiralized - check out a couple of my favorite zucchini noodle recipes here and here.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Green Smoothie Challenge

….or for me personally, the "I'm turning 27 and sort of want to stop feeling like a wasted college student" challenge.

I think it was fate that I happened to read Sara's Green Smoothie Challenge kickoff post this morning. The challenge starts on August 17, the day after my 27th birthday, and I feel like I could use a change.

Not that I really wish to convert overnight into a responsible adult-like person who wakes up and does yard work before noon on the weekends or anything. I still love partying, closing down the bar, having friends come over until 4 a.m. and crash on our couch, and sleeping until 2 in the afternoon.

But, this summer, it's started to get just a tiny bit old - because we do it pretty much every weekend. And some weeknights too, except not nearly to that extreme. But, there have been more and more days, especially nice weather days, where I've wished I had more energy and had ummm actually ventured outside before 4 in the afternoon.

And the weekdays are awful. Both Nathan and I are exhausted pretty much every day, dragging through the workday, and we always blame it on the fact that we're night owls and never feel like going to bed. I have a nagging suspicion though our constant tiredness could have something to do with the fact that dinner & cocktails usually start about 10 p.m. in our house.

(No not every night mother, I'm not an alcoholic.)

I've always ignored the advice that you shouldn't eat right before you sleep, but I'm so sick and tired of being tired. It leads to crankiness and lack of motivation at work and guilt for not getting more out of life.

So, it was perfect that I read that post this morning, I am so in for the 30 day challenge and hope anyone who reads this will join me, if you feel like you could use a change in your life. Even if it isn't for you, please tell anyone you know who might benefit, because these things really can make a difference. Go read the testimonials on Sara's blog Happy Foody.

Here's the description and guidelines, copied from her post (But visit her blog for more details & green smoothie recipe links):

Last year I launched the Happy Foody 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge…it was a huge success and helped many people change their eating habits. SO…we’re going to do it AGAIN! It’s the perfect time to kick start a healthier you…summer is coming to a close soon and fall upon us. Seasons are changing…and you can change too! Adding a green smoothie to your day is the BEST thing you can do to get on the path to a healthier you. When you drink a big green smoothie in the morning, it fills your body’s need for those vital nutrients to function throughout the day. You will slowly STOP CRAVING junk food. It’s like magic!

We will begin on August 17 and end on September 17. Here is what you are committing to:

Drink at least 16 oz. of green smoothie per day (a quart would be even better!)

Do some sort of activity every day. This could be an intense workout, or just dancing with your kids around the living room. It could be a 15 minute yoga session or a walk around the block.

Add a green leafy salad to your lunch or supper (with light dressing…stay away from the creamier sauces).

Stop drinking pop.

Cut out all white sugar.

So, I'm not going to be super strict about this, but just use it as a motivation to make some small changes and to start using my Vita-Mix more - my addition to the above list of commitments would be cut down on the late night eating & drinking.

And now after all those resolutions - all I can say is I'm glad this challenge starts next Monday after my birthday because Thurs. thru Sun. is gonna be one big party!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quinoa Salad

I've made this simple salad three times in the last couple weeks, it's perfect for the tomatoes & cukes in season and great if you want something heartier than a lettuce salad.

Quinoa is sort of a cross between rice and cous cous - I always thought it was a grain until a few minutes ago when I looked up the nutrition links for this post and found out it's actually the seed of a plant related to spinach and swiss chard….interesting.

Anyway I don't know why it's not more popular. It's more nutritious than brown rice (more protein and essential amino acids - check out detailed info here and here), I think it has a better, richer taste, and it's easy to cook. It is a little more expensive, but not prohibitively so. It's available in the bulk section of most larger grocery stores.


-Cooked Quinoa
-Tomatoes, cut in chunks -Cucumber, peeled & cut in chunks
-Olive oil
-Lemon Juice
-Garlic, Parsley, or Mint (optional)

1. To cook quinoa: Rinse thoroughly, because it has a coating that can leave a bitter taste. Combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water, bring water to boil, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed. I like to just under cook it so it has a creamier texture.

2. Combine all ingredients to your taste, depending on how veggie/garlic/oil/herb loving or averse your crowd is. I like about equal parts quinoa and veggies, equal parts oil and lemon juice, and just a few shakes of garlic powder.

If you want to make this a raw dish, I hear quinoa is quick & easy to sprout, but I've never tried it.

In other news….

Posting has been sparse everything's been so busy - we closed on the house last Friday and have been out almost every night of the week, playing tennis, showing everyone the house, taking days off work, drinking on patios, hosting a couple parties with only folding chairs, snacks, and drinks (no one seemed to notice we don't have furniture or decorations. Who says it takes a lot to throw a party?) and meeting our neighbors.

Happy August everyone….we have 2 good warm months left here in MN, get out and enjoy them!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Green Beans with Peanut Sauce

I knew this recipe was a keeper when Nathan said "Now this is the kind of thing I'd take to work for lunch!".

Green Beans at the farmer's market were $2 for a huge bag - they almost didn’t fit in my pot.


1. Trim ends of beans. I just line them up on a cutting board to even length and use a knife.
2. Bring water to a boil, put beans in, boil for about 5 min.
3. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet, drain beans, and sautee them until they start to get golden: 5-7 min. Throw in minced garlic to taste for the last minute or so.

Peanut Sauce:

(This is the simple version we make to put on pretty much anything - apologies for the lack of exact measurements!)

1. Put a couple big spoonfuls of peanut butter in a bowl.
2. Splash in some rice vinegar - maybe 2 Tbs.
3. Splash in some soy sauce, about half the amount of rice vinegar (all these amounts depends on your taste!)
4. Dissolve peanut butter in liquids with spoon, fork, or whisk….
5. Add water until mixture is pour-able.

Cooking the beans this way leaves them firm and juicy, but with the slightly browned edges and peanut sauce it tastes rich enough to…..avoid tasting too "healthy"!

I haven't seen any raw recipes out there for green beans, but can't imagine I'd want to eat a whole lot of these raw. If anyone has favorite recipes for green beans, raw or cooked, please share! I'm planning to get a lot more this Thurs. at the farmer's market….


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Salad with Simple Thai Dressing

I wanted to wait to write this post until I got a chance to take a picture of our thriving basil plant in the backyard, but I'm eating this salad in between typing here and it's so freaking good I need to share now.


-Mixed Greens
-Spiralized Zucchini
-Baby Tomatoes
-Chopped carrots (in food processor)
-Fresh Basil, torn into pieces
-Crushed peanuts

Mix everything together


-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp lime juice
-1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
-Squirt of honey
-Salt to taste

Mix everything together in small bowl with fork.

This dressing is fantastic because it's not too heavy, and uses ingredients most people have on hand that don’t go bad. The recipe above is a perfect amount for one large salad and takes about 1 min to throw together. I prepped the salad last night and then made the dressing to pour on top right before I went to work this a.m.

You could sub most of the salad ingredients with whatever veggies you have on hand, but I think the fresh basil & peanuts are key to the Thai flavor. All of this was inspired by a Green Papaya Salad I had at Sawatdee a few months ago.

I just got back from the Farmers' Market and all of the stuff in the salad is in season and cheap! Go try it!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It Pays To Complain

Ok, so I wouldn't call myself a complainer exactly, more like I'm opinionated and if something is wrong with the product/service I'm receiving, I'm gonna let someone know about it.

This isn't specifically food related, but it definitely could be! I order sort of like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. I want it how I want it.
Don't think I'm one of THOSE customers though, I used to work in retail/waitress/barista positions and always treat my servers nicely if they do the same to me.

Anyway, I'm writing this inspired by my recent victory against Express, you know, the store in every mall. To make a long story short, I hate shopping for "necessities" (boring work clothes, black pants, the perfect pair of everyday jeans) and Express cost me a bunch of time running to 2 different malls and ordering something online that never came, leaving me with, well, no new summer work pants and a bunch of time wasted. So, instead of complaining to my friends and in my head, I wrote it out to their customer service e-mail and very nice lady called me and said they're sending me a $50 gift card. Score.

We've also gotten a free night at a hotel and 50% off another hotel stay when we let the mgmt know about really crappy service, uninvited wake up calls, dirty rooms, etc.

It's so worth it to complain, especially when it doesn't hurt any one employee, and it's some big chain giving you the payout, no one is feeling that hit.

Tip: Make sure you do it in writing though, then you have something concrete and can forward it on to another person if necessary.

So, something food related: That "Chinese Spinach" I mentioned in the last post? The stuff that didn't taste good raw? Well, I sauteed it with olive oil, plenty of garlic and soy sauce, and verdict = STILL NASTY. Just to warn you.

Tonight we're off to drink wine by Minnehaha Falls with our book club and discuss "The Song of Hiawatha", an epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Wow, that sounded really cultured, but I didn't pick the book and just had to look up the name of the author. Our club consists mostly of drinking and making fun of the book. =)



Friday, July 17, 2009

More Praise for Spiralization and Farmers' Markets

Went to the Farmers' Market yesterday with my last $3 of cash in hand and got four huge gorgeous zucchini and a bunch of "Chinese Spinach" (what the vendor told me it was called).

He said it tasted like regular spinach. Ummm, no. It's thicker and extremely GREEN tasting, if that makes any sense. Even for a greens lover like myself, it was not good. So I think I'll just end up sauteeing it with olive oil and garlic.

But the zucchinis were perfect. Just one of these spiralized fills a big tupperware (Pictured with some carrots that went through the food processor). I'm looking forward to eating this tonight with the cashew alfredo sauce from Tues night., which I've been eating every day - that recipe goes a long way - and have not gotten sick of it!

I was cashiering at the co-op the other night and someone came through the line with 2 smaller zucchinis that were about $2. The co-op usually is a good value, but farmers' market wins this one - I got more than twice that for $2!

Happy weekend everyone. (Go to your local farmers' market!)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Zucchini Linguine Alfredo

My new favorite dish. This combines a bunch of yummy seasonal veggies topped with Gena's cashew alfredo sauce from Choosing Raw.


-Zucchinis, spiralized. (You can use a veggie peeler, but the consistency nearly as noodle-like!)
-Sugar Snap Peas (Ends cut off and sliced in half, but not shelled)
-Fresh Basil
-Lettuce or Mixed Greens

All of the above I got at the farmer's market except the basil which we're growing in a pot in the backyard. Fresh Basil is key to this dish it adds so much flavor! The zucchini, peas, and lettuce were about $2 each at the farmer's mkt for big bunches. I got the best, biggest bunch of romaine, probably 2 pounds worth for $2 and lasted me all week.

Amounts of the veggies are totally up to you - the sauce recipe below made enough for at least 4 large zucchinis. I'd use one tomato per zucchini, about 5 big basil leaves per zucchini, and a couple handfuls of greens, but it all depends on your tastes.


-1 ¼ cup cashews, soaked for a few hours (I just put them under water when I left for work in the morning)
-¾ cup water
-1 tsp agave
-1/3 cup lemon juice
-½ tsp sea salt
-1 tsp miso

Mix everything in blender until smooth, slowly adding more water if necessary. The sauce was good but a little bland. It could've used a big clove of garlic or some more spices.

Miso was a new ingredient for me, just bought my first jar at the co-op last night. It's a traditional Japanese seasoning made with fermented rice and/or soybeans and I've seen it as a replacement for soy sauce in a lot of raw recipes. It comes in a jar and you scoop it out sort of like chicken stock. There were several versions and I just picked brown rice miso because it seemed the most neutral - here's the wikipedia article with a full explanation though:

love summer! Take advantage of it and go to the farmer's market!


Friday, July 10, 2009

My Real Life

I have to write something about our night last night because it was so freaking fabulous. This post explains a lot of the "real people" part of this site name. See, most of the time, during the day, I do care about staying healthy and eating good fresh food. But when it comes time to party, I consider drinking diet coke instead of regular with my whiskey and ordering fries instead of a burger at White Castle to be good choices.

I read a bunch of health/fitness/raw food blogs and a lot of those people run marathons, don't drink, and get up to do yoga at 7:30 in the morning. And while I admire that, I don't see myself ever being one of those people. Because when a friend calls at 8:45 on a worknight when I was planning to go to bed early because I was already tired from going out the night before, because he's distraught about his recent breakup and needs to get out, my first reaction is "screw it, we need to get to the liquor store before it closes at 9!" (Stupid MN blue laws).

We recruited one of our neighbors (in our 4-plex, which I will miss so much when we move to the house….) to go out with us and headed over to the Otter at about 10:30. It was a classic Otter night - Midget was there with his brother and great niece who was celebrating her 21st b-day, Ray was sleeping with his head on the bar and a shot of whiskey in front of him despite the loud karaoke, Stoner was in a joyful mood and acted like he'd just reunited with a long lost friend every time he passed by me in the bar, Bob the surly bartender almost smiled while he shared my fries from White Castle across the street, another regular, stereotypical gay boy who's name I forget was singing Madonna and Nathan did some excellent Neil Diamond.

There is so much more to tell, but this place is magical. I felt it from the first time I ever went there, on a very random Tuesday over a winter break my sophomore year of college I think. Cheers to the U Otter Stop Inn and to many more fun nights there.

Have a great weekend everyone,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Green Smoothie Breath?

This has been on my mind for awhile, don't know why it's taken so long for me to post about it…. I haven't been making green smoothies lately, in a large part due to Nathan telling me that they give me awful sour bad breath after just a few sips and he can smell it when I'm just sitting next to him in the car.

I can tell they do leave a sort of sour aftertaste in my mouth, but it didn't seem unpleasant….

So has anyone else had problems with this? I posted the same question on a raw foods forum and only one person said she thought adding bananas was the problem….but….I love bananas and they are so good at balancing the "green" flavors…


Monday, July 6, 2009

Simple Semi-Raw Sunday Supper

Last night I concocted a dish that's definitely a keeper. It's cheap, quick, filling, and vegan - the only problem is if you're new to raw foods you probably don't have a spiralizer, which is key for making zucchini noodles. I'm all about zucchini noodles right now - not a huge fan of plain raw or cooked zucchini, but it's amazing when you spiralize them how great it subs for pasta. Even my carnivorous pasta loving husband devoured this =).


-2 zucchini -lentils -baby bella mushrooms
-4 cloves garlic
-red cooking wine
-store bought spaghetti sauce
-nutritional yeast
(ingredient amounts don't matter much, just whatever you feel like)


1. Boil lentils - about 20 minutes until soft.

2. While lentils are boiling, cut up mushrooms and sautee in some olive oil, adding a glug of red wine after a couple minutes and garlic when the liquid is almost absorbed.

3. While both of the above are still cooking, spiralize zucchini. Chop up the "scraps" from the spiralizer into small pieces and throw in with rest of noodles.

4. Mix everything together with a few spoonfuls of sauce and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

If you've never tried nutritional yeast, here's the wikipedia link. I buy it in bulk at my co-op, a little of this stuff goes a long way and adds a great flavor similar, some say (better, I say) to standard cheap dried parmesan, which I never cared for.

I had more of this over lettuce for lunch today and it was just as good as last night….perfect ending to a long weekend. Ours was spent at the cabin with lots of family, drinking and playing badminton on the set my sister just bought - we are unbelievably sore. We're very amateur players and usually can't even volley 3 times back and forth, but something about that game made my legs, butt, and abs ache so much it's hard to walk today! My sister and Nathan report the same…. It's so fun though, getting a set put up in our yard is top on the to-do list for the new house =).



Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We bought a house!

It was meant to be. It was listed on Edina Realty last Wed., but with no pictures. I asked our realtor (the absolutely fabulous Nancy Dalton - call her if you're near the twin cities, this woman knows her stuff and tells it like it is!) to check on it and on Thursday the pics were posted.

It was so cute and well kept, way different than a lot of the foreclosures we've been looking at. We were about to set up a showing for Thursday after work at 7, but then last minute we got to see it at 12:30 ONLY because Nathan was working much closer to home than he usually does and I was able to take a looooooooong lunch because the office was quiet. We immediately put in an offer above the asking price because there were already several other offers - they stopped showing the house that afternoon because there were so many offers.

We found out Friday a.m. & I still can't believe it!! A house that needs no work, only a few miles from where we are now, in a beautiful neighborhood with a community vegetable garden and a park with pool, new tennis courts, and picnic area less than two blocks away…..for $114,000. I feel like we're set for life, financially, with a mortgage payment very close to the current $675 we pay in rent.

In food news….well, there is none, really. No new experiments, I'm very content eating the same foods over and over - fruit for breakfast, big salad for lunch, random stuff for dinner (as in, whatever snacks are easy and available, instead of an actual planned meal). I read a lot of other raw food blogs regularly and am always amazed that they have time to make all this different stuff, plus take good pics and put up long posts about it. I'm lucky if I try something new like, once every two weeks.



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Food Stamps: A Rant

So I was volunteering at the co-op as a cashier and this kid comes through the line. Probably early 20's, sorta hippie looking, able-bodied. He bought a bottle of Kombucha (a trendy fermented health beverage, $4 for 20 oz.) and a fancy large organic dark chocolate bar ($3.50). He paid with his electronic food support card, money from the government, money from taxpayers like me WHO RARELY BUY TREATS LIKE THIS FOR THEMSELVES BECAUSE I'M RESPONSIBLE WITH MY MONEY!!!!

I was pissed, in disbelief. I cannot figure it out. How does this happen? How do people like this get these kinds of benefits? Either this kid didn't really need the benefits, the gov't was giving him too much $$, or all he ate the entire day was kombucha and chocolate. I'm betting on one of the first two - probably, sickeningly, the first.

There are actually 2 issues making me angry here - first, the stupidity of the government, and second the lack of pride and responsibility of people who abuse these services. The second issue especially hit home when I went to see The Greatest Generation exhibit at the Minnesota History Center the next day.

Ok, that's my rant.

Cheers, K

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hello Again

(Has anyone ever seen that movie, with Shelley Long? It's probably pretty lame, but I remember loving it as a pre-teen)

Anyhow, it's been a while since I've posted, apologies to anyone who actually regularly checks this blog! We've been up at the cabin and also suddenly obsessed with buying a house, after discovering the most perfect neighborhood and realizing we want in on the $8,000 tax credit.

I'm a total Minneapolis city nerd, I love my city and read community newspapers like a junkie, can tell you where most restaurants are and what they're known for even though I've never eaten there (because we rarely eat out - just not our thing, I prefer stuff I make myself, and it costs way too much considering we like to drink with a good dinner!). Point is, I'm amazed I'd never heard of this neighborhood. It's called Columbia Park and is just north of a golf course on the very northern border of the city, surrounding by somewhat ghetto neighborhoods, but these 5 square blocks are seemingly out of a different era. The people are sooo friendly and everyone knows everyone, a nice mix of old people and families.

I wasn't too excited about buying before because you can't really find affordable stuff in Mpls that's not part of a shady neighborhood - and I was definitely not excited about checking out the suburbs - but Columbia Park has changed our minds. It's been very frustrating because a lot of the potential houses we thought we could get just sold or are pending, but we're still looking.

A home we JUST missed out on that went for less than 100k:

After a long night of searching and disappointments yesterday, we needed comfort food:

MASHED POTATOES with veggies and fresh herbs

1. Boil a large pot of water, peel and cut potatoes. Wash off the potatoes in order to get rid of starch and end up with a more fluffy product. Boil until soft (30 min?). Mix with olive oil, or milk and butter if you eat dairy, and mash.

2. Meanwhile, sautee mushrooms and onions with some olive oil and white wine until golden.
3. Heat up some frozen peas & carrots.

4. Mix everything together with salt & pepper & fresh herbs - we used rosemary and thyme. The fresh herbs make a HUGE difference!!

5. Make a drink, eat, and try to convince yourself that you didn't just miss out on your dream home because you didn't start looking earlier….



Friday, June 5, 2009

Yesterday's Food Summary & Book Recommendation

New recipes are fun, but I think seeing a list of what a person actually eats in a day is a great help for anyone looking to change their diet. So the following is what I ate yesterday - my stomach does not follow a schedule, except for that I'm never hungry until a few hours after I wake up and tend to eats lots of small things throughout the day.

-Big salad with leftover zucchini alfredo from Wednesday's post
-Lots of carrot sticks dipped in leftover alfredo sauce
-Cauliflower salad (Just cauli and raisins in the food processor with garam masala and olive oil)
-Some pistachos and dried apricots

All of that was before I went to the co-op for cashier training (for my volunteer shifts), and when I got home around 9 I had a very specific craving for oatmeal. I used to eat it all the time, but don't think I've had any since we started the raw food experiment back in February. So I made this:

-1/2 apple, chopped
-1/2 large banana, mashed
-1/2 cup oatmeal
-cinnamon or nutmeg to taste
-squirt of honey

Directions: Combine apple and oatmeal in a bowl, cover with water, and microwave for 2 min, 30 seconds. Mix with rest of ingredients.

Nathan was at his poker night and I was sooo excited to sit down with my food and wine and finish Infected by Scott Sigler. I'm usually more of a magazine & newspaper junkie than a book reader, and I forgot how great it feels to be so absolutely intrigued by a book that you can't wait to get back to it. If you like Stephen King type stuff at all, definitely read this. (Thank you Nathan for convincing me to read it!)

With my 2nd glass of wine I finished my oatmeal and had a piece of sprouted bread smeared with avocado and a bit of olive oil. Yummmm. Now that I'm writing about it, it's sort of disturbing how much I was able to enjoy food while reading the end of this book because it contains really some of the most grotesque imagery ever. But then again, I guess I'm not turned off by gore - here's my adorable hubby:



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

(Optionally) Raw Zucchini Alfredo

I see a lot of recipes on raw sites for "pasta" made with spiralized zucchini. We tried it once early on in our experiment with a tomato sauce and the whole dish turned out to be runny and disappointing.

Tonight I think I got the whole raw pasta thing right. I bought an amazing looking thick organic zucchini from the co-op the other day to use in this recipe. The alfredo sauce is adapted from Choosing Raw.

Alfredo Sauce

-1 cup cashews (optional: soak for a few hours - I think this is supposed to improve how you digest them?)
-3/4 cup water
-1 tsp agave
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/2 tsp sea salt
-couple big shakes garlic salt
-couple big pinches of nutritional yeast

Blend everything until smooth, add more water depending on how thick you want it.

For anyone new to raw food prep, here is a description of our spiralizer. I think there are definitely cheaper, higher quality models out there, but ours works fine. If you don't have one you can also just use a peeler to create fine zucchini slices, but it's not quite the same...

I made some whole wheat spaghetti to mix in with the raw zucchini noodles, mostly so Nathan would eat some. (He liked it a lot, even after reluctantly adding the zucchini noodles to the 'real' pasta).

I also threw in some blanched asparagus, but lots of veggies would go well with this - sliced carrots, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, etc. For lunch tomorrow I put the leftovers over a bunch of baby spinach.

In other news, here's something unexpectedly lovely that happened to me yesterday: I was shopping at the co-op and after the cashier rang up all the beautiful produce I'd just spent 20 minutes choosing, I realized I didn't have my credit card. I rode my bike there, so didn't have my purse (with extra cards & cash), only the little card holder attached to my keychain. Before I could even get extremely embarrased, she said "oh don't worry, we can just do an IOU, pay it next time you come in". What??! Where does this happen in America anymore? She gave me my receipt and wrote "IOU" on the top and that was it. I love you, Hampden Park Co-op!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Broccoli Salad and More Zombie Action!

Chain of events leading to the most perfect discovery ever last week:

-I'm casually reading a magazine article about places to go all along Lake Superior.
-I decide we should take a trip to one of these places, on the Canadian side, since Nathan's parents' cabin is only 3 hours away and I've never been to Canada despite living in MN my entire life.
-I google the first city that looks interesting, Thunder Bay.
-On their city's homepage is a feature about Harbourfest, coming up June 20-21. It looks like a nice summer outdoor festival, outdoor concerts, art fair, family fun, and....a ZOMBIE WALK FOLLOWED BY ZOMBIE BALL!

I immediately booked us a room for Fri. & Sat. night within walking distance of the zombie action.

If you know me, you know I love Zombies. I love dressing up, going out in public, groaning "Braaiiiiins", and befriending the fellow undead. We have an annual zombie pub crawl here in Mpls which is great, but this festival is even better:

-It's nowhere near halloween
-It's organized by a local art gallery where everyone meets and can get their makeup done
-Everyone walks from the gallery to an outdoor stage where there's a zombie dance to a rockabilly band
-Afterwards the zombie ball is at a bar complete with "costume contests, zombie sushi chef performance, and zombie go-go dancers".

Read details here and here.

If anyone out there is even thinking about coming, please do, we'd love to meet you!'s a recipe for a really awesome raw broccoli salad:

Broccoli Salad with Creamy Orange Cilantro Dressing


2 medium size broccoli crowns
1 Clementine (Can substitute tangerine)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped soaked walnuts
2 Tablespoons finely diced sweet or red onion

Juice of 1 medium Naval orange
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup fresh cilantro
½ tsp orange zest

Blend in food processor or blender until smooth. To get a thicker consistency, slowly pour in the olive oil while machine is running.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Real people, real jobs,

I just wanted to post the following exchange from the comments section so everyone could see it - and to find out if there's anyone else in similar situations....

Anonymous said...

K, may I say something? On any day that you don't feel like wearing makeup, don't! Make up was fun during teen years and early adulthood, when feeling grownup was still a thrill. One by one, my friends and freed ourselves of the conditioning we experienced, to care about things like that. It says something about what that conditioning did to self esteem when one feels they needs make up on, in order to face the world comfortably. If you find yourself thinking how nice it is not to "have" to wear it, then maybe it's time.

I said:

Hi Anon, I wish I could do that - I don't wear much makeup and am totally comfortable running errands, etc., without it, but I see it as necessary for the office. Without eye makeup I look tired, and I have uneven, oily skin that looks gross without some powder at least. I'm not going to risk my job to make the statement that it's not fair women are expected to wear makeup (and it's not), but that's just the shitty reality. I would not have gotten hired if I went in there in my "natural state".

That leads to another discussion - part of the reason behind the "real people" name of this blog was that we both have professional office jobs - unlike a lot of raw foodies out there who teach yoga or are artists or life coaches or whatever. Like many people, I would prefer NOT to work in an office, in a cube, for the man, doing meaningless (to me) work, but....I wasn't thinking about that, or aware of how much it would suck, when I went to college and racked up tens of thousands of dollars of student loans. I also wasn't about to not marry my wonderful husband because of his ridiculous $100,000 law school debt with 7% interest.

So, I continue working in an office, and wearing makeup, so that we can get out of debt, buy a house, have a retirement savings, health care coverage, security in general, etc...But, my dream is to someday work only part time, have little kiddos, and not give a thought about how professional my face looks.

Anyone with me?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Weekend Recap & Giveaway

Over at the Fitness NYC blog, you can enter to win a package from Blueprint Cleanse (haven't read the details of exactly what this is, but I'd be willing to try it if I won!). I just discovered her blog today, linked from my new favorite, level headed, raw blog: Choosing Raw. Her site is comprehensive & professional, I can't believe I haven't found it until now.

This weekend we went up to my family's cabin for the first time this year. It's so relaxing to be there and just not have to do anything. As much as I love living and partying in the city, that requires planning, money, and looking presentable. It's great to just wear pajamas and no makeup all weekend and the biggest decision you have to make is whether to keep drinking by the fire or try to focus on a game of 500 in the cabin. (After wine at dinner and a couple gin & tonics, I should've stayed by the fire Sunday night…..)

Anyway a big focus of the weekend is dinners. Everyone was very excited about lasagna, shrimp, and prime rib for our main meals. I came prepared with lots of salad supplies for myself, but was convinced into trying just a tiny bit of the other food, partly because everyone asked me to a bazillion times and partly because they were acting like it was the best food they'd ever eaten and I was curious, again, would I still like meat? Nope, not this time. It tasted like dead animal in my mouth and I wanted to spit it out, but didn't. I think it'll get easier over time to eat differently than people around me…..and in a perfect world it won't always be so "different".

I also took advantage of all the free time to try out a new dessert recipe: Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs, from Kristen's Raw. They were pretty easy and tasty, but not as good as the similar Raw Chocolate Cake recipe I've tried before.



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moroccan Gazpacho

This is another of my new favorite recipes - and it's actually "meant" to be raw! Something about the flavors in this were amazing, I couldn't stop eating it.



1 cup water
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon Himalayan crystal salt
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup raisins


Blend all of the ingredients, except for the 1 diced tomato, pine nuts, raisins and cilantro, until creamy. Pulse in the cilantro. Stir in the diced tomato, pine nuts and raisins.

My Notes:

-I used maybe 1/2 cup of water instead of 1 cup, just depends on if you like your soup thick or runny.

-I used a pint of cherry tomatoes because that's what was in the fridge, plus one regular tomato, so this might've made the flavor sweeter….either way, highly recommended!

-Didn't bother peeling the cucumber

-Left out raisins and pine nuts - you really don't need them and pine nuts are very expensive.

-To make this even more filling I cut up some more cucumber into bite sized chunks and threw them into the already blended soup.

Ooooo just wait until cucumbers and tomatoes are really in season, this gazpacho will be even more perfect.

Happy summer,


P.s. Nathan the former tomato hater also liked this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

African Pineapple Peanut Stew

Another awesome recipe we read about on Thirty Bucks a Week, who got it from this site. Their descriptions pretty much say it all….this dish is easy, healthy, vegan and we love love loved it! Nathan ate his over brown rice, I ate mine over romaine lettuce.

I think this could be easily adapted to a raw recipe if you use a raw almond butter sauce and let the greens marinate for a while to soften them.

Right now I'm eating a raw lunch adapted from the Lemony Buckwheat with Asparagus & Spinach we made the other night. I just marinated the asparagus overnight in the olive oil/garlic/lemon mixture (plus some water to cover) and put it over mixed greens. Man is my pee gonna smell in about an hour….

Also, here is an interview with Michael Pollan (Author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food) from Democracy Now. He talks about some issues that everyone should be aware of, such as why factory farming is disgusting, why you're doing yourself no favors by eating processed foods, and how the food industry uses marketing to try to trick you.



Sunday, May 17, 2009

How I tricked my husband into liking Raw Kale

I finally got around to making some raw coleslaw. It was going to be a basic cabbage, carrots and dressing affair, but there was one lone large kale leaf in the crisper so I got experimental and threw it in. Success. Nathan and I loved this recipe and he didn't seem to mind the green specks in his beloved coleslaw (you really can't taste the kale).

Cole Slaw with Kale

-1 head cabbage
-2 large kale leaves (or more!)
-2 carrots

-1/4 cup olive oil
-3 T apple cider vinegar
-2 T honey
-1 large garlic clove (minced)
-1/4 t sea sale
-1/4 cup water

Directions: Put first three ingredients into food processor. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together for dressing. Combine.

Very easy and cheap...try it instead of the usual gunky mayonnaise version!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Lemony Buckwheat with Asparagus & Spinach

I spotted this recipe while looking on the Vegetarian Times website for the asparagus marinade I mentioned (but couldn't find) yesterday. It was the perfect solution to the asparagus & huge bunch of spinach waiting to be used in our fridge. And it was: Perfect. I LOVED this. Nathan even thought it was good and he doesn't usually like "slimy green stuff" in his food.

Here is the link to the recipe.

You'll see the original name is Lemony Bulgur, but I didn't have bulgur and guessed buckwheat would be an OK substitute. Even though I've never cooked either Bulgur or Buckwheat. We had the buckwheat leftover from the raw foods experiment when we sprouted & dehydrated it in crackers. I was about to say it's my new favorite grain, but I just read here on the Whole Foods site that it is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb

Anyway, it's great. Sort of tastes like brown rice except bigger and squishier, with a consistency like thick porridge. I thought it had a much more satisfying texture than brown rice. And it's easy to make and super cheap.

We left out the walnuts, basil, & mint too, due to cost. I think the combo garlic & lemon zest are what really make this dish amazing….I'm craving it right now and regret letting Nathan take the leftovers to work.

Asparagus is in season, go make this! It's healthy, cheap, and easy - only took me about half an hour.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day Raw Strawberry Pie

On Sunday we had our typical double holiday celebration, going to Nathan's parents' house first for brunch, then mine for dinner. We made a bunch of food (which was not included in our food budget….I counted it as "presents"). Nathan made a stuffed chicken dish for his family.

And for mine we made a big salad, marinated asparagus (featured in this month's issue of Vegetarian Times - delicious! Go subscribe!) And, my near masterpiece….


The Joy of Vegan BakingBy Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

It is best when served within an hour or two of preparing it, sinceit is at its most fresh then, but it holds up just fine in thefridge.

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Servings: 8-12

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups raw almonds or pecans
3/4 cup pitted dates, preferably Medjool

Filling Ingredients:
5 cups sliced ripe strawberries
5 pitted dates, soaked 10 minutes in warm water and drained
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


1) Place the nuts in a food processor and grind until they’re a coarsemeal.

2) Add the 3/4 cup of dates (for the crust) and process untilthoroughly combined.

3) Press the mixture into a non-stick or verylightly oiled pie plate or spring form pan.

4) Arrange 4 cups of the sliced strawberries on top of the crust and setaside.

5) In a food processor or blender, combine the remaining 1 cup ofstrawberries with the 5 soaked dates and lemon juice.

6) Puree untilsmooth.

7) Pour the sauce mixture over strawberries.

8) Refrigerate the pie for 1 hour before serving. This will help the pieset and will be perfect for slicing.

The pie turned out really yummy, if you like strawberries! Amazing how easy it is to make a crust with just nuts and dates thrown into the food processor. Where I went wrong is, well, I made the sauce to pour over the top of the pie, decided it didn't look like enough, so made another batch and used it all. I think this made it turn out a little too sweet (because of all the extra dates) and runny. It leaked out of the my spring form pan and made a big mess, I'd definitely recommend just using a pie pan to be safe.

I also sprinkled the top with some Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips. They were good but a little chunky for the pie. I think dark chocolate shavings would work a lot better.

It took less than an hour to make, and I am slow, and cost about $14. The ingredient list is short and simple, but strawberries, nuts, and Medjool dates are all expensive. Side note, if you've never had a Medjool date, the big kind with the pit in the middle, they are SO much better than regular pitted dates. They are so rich, moist, and sweet it's unbelievable. Lots of people take out the pit and stick a couple almonds or a brazil nut in the center for a really satisfying snack.

Happy eating,

Monthly Spending Update

It's not so easy for me to go from not really having a food budget to trying to track expenses by the week. I find myself constantly thinking about what's in the fridge and how I can make it last the week (without making Nathan miserable). I'm hoping this will get easier with practice, because we are set to save a significant amount of money, which as discussed earlier, will be used to send us on a guilt free vacation to escape from the MN winter.

I say guilt free because I feel like any extra money should go towards paying our massive student loans or saving for a house, so if we weren't cutting $$ somewhere, I wouldn't have total peace of mind spending $2,500 or so on a nice vacation.

Speaking of….any suggestions of great, warm, not too expensive places to go? Right now I'm set on Nicaragua, but I'm open….

I can't believe I'm talking about this when it's just about to be summer here.

Onto the Spending Recap: We have about $143 (out of our $225 monthly budget) for the remaining 2 weeks of May. Sounds like a lot, but we just ran out of olive oil and also will be going to the cabin next weekend, which means lots of cooking & booze!



Thursday, May 7, 2009

This Week In Food

….has not been too exciting. We haven't cooked anything at all, just been eating lots of salads, bean burritos, and PB&J. This is partly due to me bringing home leftovers from a free office lunch on Monday, then having to go out to lunch Tues. and Wed. with a co-worker who was in town from another office.

Tuesday we went to Runyon's, a bar near our office, NOT my choice. Note I said bar. I can see Runyon's as being a fine place to drink whiskey and eat some fries, but not to have a meal in the middle of the day if you don't want to feel like greasy bloated a$$ afterwards. Their limited menu was mostly burgers and they are "known" for their wings, which my co-workers ordered and were an unnatural shade of bright greasy orange. I had a veggie burger and salad, with lettuce that had brown edges on nearly every piece. Ick.

Wednesday it was a smaller group and I convinced them to go to Zen Box, which was just voted "Best Skyway Lunch" by the citypages. The sushi & meat bento box lunches didn't look too fresh, but I had a really yummy salad with lettuce, edamame, carrots, and buckwheat noodles for under $5. I would definitely try to recreate this one at home.

And today….it's the first day of the all-day Thursday farmer's market on Nicollet Mall! Only an hour until I escape this cube and walk over there. I'm thinking asparagus and ramps. Ramps? Yeah I'd never heard of them either, until last week. Tina writes at 30 A Week that the flavor is "halfway between scallions and garlic". They were also featured recently here on Mark Bittman's blog. Here is a photo from his post:

Happy Eating,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Road Trip Recap

I could write a short novel about our 3 extremely fun days in Kansas City, but will try to break it down into just the highlights:

-Arriving Thurs. night and happening to end up at a bar with karaoke where Nathan sang the best Neil Diamond EVER. Wish I had a recording to post here. But instead, here's a picture of the portrait a random guy "portrait artist Ben Seibel" spent a half hour drawing of me at the bar:

(Note: The sketch looks way better than this pic shows, I look cross eyed here, Nathan can't find it right now to take another photo though, so....)

-Driving around the cute neighborhoods on Fri. and finding an outdoor art fair, right when it was warm enough for no coats, on a day when "they" predicted storms all day.

-Going to a completely separate art crawl on Fri. eve., 50 galleries in a walkable 10 block radius, free dance performances, bands playing in the streets, general merriment.

-Walking through the city Sat. and marvelling at how like the twin cities it is, except nicer. We DID make it to Succotash, thanks for the suggestion Gnome, such a great quirky place in the middle of a half indoors/half outdoors farmer's market type setup. I had an excellent fresh juice concoction called "kiss me" with apples, beets, ginger, and….I forget…

-Realizing while browsing through their weekly entertainment guide that Lidia from the PBS cooking show "Lidia's Italy" has a restaurant right near our hotel….we had to go, chancing that it might be some cheezy corporate monstrosity. Not AT ALL! It was gorgeous and had brochures about how they partner with a local CSA for their produce, they even serve as a CSA pick-up site for regular members. This was no hippie joint either, extremely elegant with amazing food and incredible service.

-Sat. night - time for the Cake concert! We half listened to the show while making new friends with a group of rowdy 40 somethings who later piled us into the back of their…Hummer?…to take us to their favorite bar, a sort of old time Italian mafia place with karaoke? I don't know, I was pretty far gone by that point.

-Most notably, I didn't say a word about the Hummer. I didn't even give Nathan a LOOK. I didn't even oh so politely and drunkenly pull any member of the group discreetly aside and ask just what goes through one's head when deciding to buy a Hummer? These seemed like really cool people. Maybe somehow in Kansas City owning a hummer doesn't = being a huge asshole. Just another reason it is a great city….

If you live within driving distance, KC is definitely worth a visit! Just don't stay at the Westin Crown Center, it sucks.



Thursday, April 30, 2009

Road Trip!

We'll be gone for a long weekend in Kansas City, MO, home of….? Famous for….? Ok, I don't know much about the city and neither of us have ever been there, but all I need for a good vacation is a decent hotel with a nice warm pool area and hopefully the discovery of a good local dive bar.

There's even a Whole Foods across the street from our hotel so I won't have to hunt for something decent to eat.

Until Monday,


Monday, April 27, 2009

Super Easy Yummy Stew

I found this recipe in Mark Bittman's column The Minimalist, it is incredible hearty comfort food. I used a little less water and a little more rice, plus threw in the last of a bag of lentils, and went with the garlic & cumin option at the end. Result: Thick, thick, nothing soup-like about it, yummy filling stew. I felt full after a few bites. Tomorrow I'll use it as a topping on salad greens for a lighter dish...

Here is the link to the full article.

I was so happy to come across this because carrots and spinach were about the only produce in the fridge I was afraid of going bad...we're going to Kansas City on Thurs. for a long weekend (to see Cake ! Please don't let it rain!) so it'll be an out of the ordinary food spending week. I am in the process though of looking for decent places to find food in KC if anyone has suggestions. Because I'm remembering our road trip a year ago to the badlands in South Dakota, while a fun trip, it was really hard to find fresh food and we ate at a couple horrendous places along the way.