Monday, March 30, 2009
So our neighbor Anna has officially agreed to try the raw food experiment for at least two weeks and blog about it on this site. We'll start the countdown over from day one, I'll be doing it along with her, this time we'll try to be more diligent about sticking to it and posting menus, etc.
The following is Anna's take on the raw foods thing:
Why on Earth would you try something that makes vegans look like gluttons? Crazy raw foodists! I eat meat. I love dairy. I adore bread! I fully intend on having a crash and burn meter for this. No chocolate? I suppose the first week will have a lot of posts with praying for death as the gist.
Well, ok, Kelly and Nathan are only as crazy as the next couple, and they make yummy sushi. I might be able to handle this if they agree to make me dinner. And have you seen Nathan? He lost 16 pounds in a month. That’s what snagged my attention. You can get a girl to do anything as long as you tell her she’ll drop some weight doing it.
Plus, there’s this whole “feel more in the present” push that I’m trying to do. Sure, things are ok, but I treat my body pretty much like I treat my car; as long as there’s fuel in it, I don’t really worry about how it’s running until something goes wrong. I want to feel good in this body, and the bottom line is right now I don’t.
So the real question here is, why not?
(Note: She obviously never got to try any of our Raw Chocolate Balls, or she wouldn't be so freaked about "giving up" chocolate. I will convert you Anna!)
In other news….Nathan has been kind of obsessed with black beans since we officially ended the 30 day experiment. He wants to eat lots of protein to build up his muscles again, because they got "small" on only raw foods. (Not). I think he also just really likes burritos. =)
Anyway on Saturday night he made a fabulous black bean soup, not raw, but vegan, and a good example of how regular food can be incorporated into an almost-raw diet. He ate the soup on its own, but I put some raw spinach, celery, and zucchini in a bowl and just covered it with a few spoonfuls of the soup. So, all the yumminess of hot food, but most of the raw benefits too.
BLACK BEAN SOUP (modified from source)
- 1 pound can of black beans
- 8 cups of water
- One cup of diced carrots
- One cup of diced yellow onion
- One cup of diced celery
- One tablespoon garlic cloves
- Some olive oil for cooking the vegetables
- 3/4 TBSP cumin powder
- 1 TSP oregano
- 1 TSP ground black pepper
- 1 TSP thyme
Nathan's modified instructions:
1) Heat up some olive oil in the bottom of a big pot and gradually cook the carrots, onion and celery until the onion carmelizes. I like to cook right in the pot I'll make the soup in because the "fond" that accumulates in the pot is very flavorful and adds to the soup. If too much dark matter builds up, add a little water and loosen it with a spoon.
2) Near the end of cooking the vegetables, add a little more olive oil, get it hot, and then cook the diced garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3) Add the black beans right from the can, the water, and all the herbs. Slowly simmer with the lid just barely open for about an hour, stirring occasionally. I notice now that I forgot to add the recommended 1/6 cup of sherry, which might have been a nice addition.
4) After an hour, take off the cover and let the soup cook down gradually to your desired consistency. Sea salt to taste.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
It's important to describe this classic Otter night, mostly because we dizzily handed out several links to our blog, in hopes that we'd attract a few stalkers.
When we entered, we immediately took pictures with a very charming man who may have been Elvis in hiding. This was not abnormal, and I note that nobody every looks for Elvis in Minnesota. Interesting.
It was my sister's birthday, and I somehow neglected to take her picture. Well Happy Birthday to you!
We bumped into a surprising number of friends, caroused with random has-been enemies, danced trancelike to karaoke, and took occasional sensory breaks in the outer stairwell. Here's a picture of one of those breaks, with Otter-regulars Stoner and Midget:
I belted out a crowd-stunning rendition of Neil Diamond's Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show. It may not have been pleasing to the ear, but I'm comforted by the fact that at least 20% of the listeners now know that they have two good hands. One for reaching out to the man up there, and one for reaching to their brother who is in trouble. Public service announcement over.
Kelly with another performer:
Finally, Kelly met a great guy from Hutchinson, MN, who bought us a couple drinks and introduced us to his wife and friends. Interestingly, I was named after an ancestor of historical note from Hutch, a man named Nathan Lamson. Nathan killed Little Crow, the leader of the Sioux Rebellion. I wasn't there, so I can't comment on the whole "he said, he said" situation over shots fired, but I've been to the historic site a couple times. I admit, I looked over my shoulder for possible retributive gunfire from the spiritual plane.
Kelly, borrowing the poor guy's glasses. At the moment, I'm sure he has no idea who I am or what I'm doing:
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The seriousness of his post yesterday really surprised me, I never thought any real change would come of this, I was just curious about all the reported health benefits and wanted to get back to my pre-winter weight (and didn't want tempting food in the house if he wasn't doing it with me!)
So it just goes to show 30 days can make a lasting difference, even for the skeptical, please share this with anyone you know who could benefit, and support those who are trying to make a positive change in their lives.
I made another batch of the Banana Bread using a little more banana and dates, and dehydrating at 110 degrees for about 7 hours. It turned out better, less spicy and softer, but I'd try for even softer & still more banana flavor next time. Also I used 2 frozen and 1 large unfrozen banana.
I also made another batch of Zucchini Hummus, this is turning into one of my favorites. This time I used about 2 1/2 cups of zucchini, 2 T of tahini, and 2 T of olive oil to lighten it up. I even left the skin on one zucchini. Result: Still good. Less rich and with a slight green color from the skin, but good. It's been keeping me really full as a dip for celery and carrot sticks. I'll have to post a revised "light" recipe in the recipes section soon.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Dinner: Who knows. I'll probably just make some more burrittos.
As I said above, I've got a sense now that my body's a good place to be, and it feels unnatural to dump garbage into it. Right now, a plate of gooey brownies looks to me like a director of low-budget pornography looks to a puritanical virgin. I know, because I walked by some today (brownies, not characters out of an adult time-travel fantasy film).
I haven't performed a final weigh-in, but I've lost in the ballpark of sixteen pounds. I feel lighter on my feet, better about myself aesthetically, and I've got a hunch that it's probably good that I've purged myself of a lot of the synthetic junk I was spraying on my organs for years.
I'll concede this to her now: We live in a different world, and I like the idea of separating myself from some of the modern chemicals we've been unfortunate to discover and apply. I have such little confidence that modern, mass food production is made with my body's best interests in mind that I'd rather depend on it as little as possible.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
-1 cup sprouted and dehydrated (until crispy: 3-5 hours) buckwheat groats
-3 ripe bananas, frozen overnight
-3 dates, pitted (if dates are dried, soak for 1 hour)
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 tbsp flax meal
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 tsp cloves
1) Let bananas defrost completely in bowl, takes about 1 hour. (Apparently freezing them and then thawing makes it taste different?)
2) Grind buckwheat in a coffee grinder or blender until it becomes a flour consistency
3) Mix buckwheat flour and rest of dry ingredients in a bowl.
4) Puree bananas, dates, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
5) Dehydrate at 110 degrees for 8 hours.
-The original recipe on a message board called for spelt or kamut berries, but someone said buckwheat worked better. I am suspicious that maybe I wasn't supposed to dehydrate the buckwheat before mixing it with everything else and that's why it turned out so dry….I'll have to experiment with this . . .
-I used a few more dates, because mine are dried and very small.
This recipe has great potential, it's cheap and easy to make, buckwheat is quick to sprout too.
Also, odd coincidence - on the way back from Duluth I was reading one of their free community newspapers and there was an ad from the Duluth Grill prominently announcing that they serve Banana Buckwheat Bread, "Raw & Gluten Free". Now, I've never heard of raw banana bread before like two weeks ago, and someplace called the "Duluth Grill" would be the last place I expected….ok I actually just googled this place and turns out it is an Embers restaurant. Strange. But good, I guess!
With that, here's the weekend recap:
-Stopped in Duluth on Fri. eve on the way to the cabin at Hell's Kitchen, known for their excellent breakfast food. They had fantastic happy hour, $3 any tap from 8-10 p.m. So we did a comparison of our two favorites, Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Surly Furious. Surly is much darker, sharper, bitter, while Bell's is lighter and fruiter. But both hoppy and delicious! Food was great (Veggie Fritta, chips & salsa), but it felt like we were sitting in a Hot Topic store.
-Best small town dive discovery ever: Silver Bay Bowl! 6 lanes, manual scoring, and a 12 year old as the sole employee serving us beer. $3.50 per person for bowling & shoes.
-Sunday night at the Edge Waterpark in Duluth: Hotel itself and waterpark were sort of cr*p, but 6 friends, plenty of liquor, and a hot tub in the hotel room = a great party.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Saturday we're going to Sawbill Canoe Outfitters, which our friend Adam's dad owns, where we might snowshoe or might just hang out in the lodge. And on the way back - bar hopping in random small towns we've never been to! I ♥ small town dive bars.
Finally, the whole reason for going up north in the first place, we're staying at the Edgewater Waterpark & Resort in Duluth on Sunday night. I get a discount through my company, but excluding Fri. & Sat. nights, so we figured we'd do the cabin thing first. Taking full advantage of the discount, we got the most posh suite in the place - whirlpool, minibar, balcony view of Lake Superior. Maybe they'll even have a sauna….I like anywhere I can be warm in the winter in a bathing suit.
So this will be our first time trying to do the raw thing out of town. In preparation, last night I did grocery shopping & food prepping, so here's our list of foods for the road:
-Banana Bread (not quite a success, recipe to come)
-Nuts & Dried fruit
-Apples & Bananas
It's not much, but there's a grocery store by the cabin so we can get supplies for salads, etc., and there's a nice looking whole foods co-op in Duluth. We'll probably miss the blender the most because we've gotten very used to the smoothies….actually maybe there's one at the cabin or I guess we could bring ours, we haven't discussed.
Anyway, happy weekend, we'll be back Tuesday!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Our first photo came courtesy of our visionary friend Adam. We posed as Marla and Cornelius from the movie Fight Club. In 2006, we turned it into our first Christmas card:
That year, Halloween fell on a weekend. To avoid monotony, we changed things up on day two. "Dominatrix Housewife and Submissive Corporate Drone Attorney Husband":
Scenes from our 2007 Christmas photo shoot. We wanted to get a cheesy studio portrait, but the studios were full. We hung up a sheet in the living room. Viola. Cropped for the Christmas card, no one could tell the difference:
In 2008, Kelly and I participated in an annual Zombie Pub Crawl. Hundreds of people stumbled around moaning "brains" for an evening in the Seven Corners area of Minneapolis. We knew this would make a perfect Christmas card. The caption read: "May your holiday memories live forever.":
Finally, we returned to our assless roots for another dominatrixy theme this year. Notice the pre-raw-food spare horse (cowboy version of a spare tire) on the front of Nathan. Scary:
-About 3/4 of a large Cauliflower bunch
-1 small mango
-Handful of dates
-1 T curry powder
Process everything in a food processor until you get a rice-like consistency.
-1 T curry powder was a lot for me, even though we use a not too spicy "sweet" curry powder blend. So maybe use a little less than 1 T, depending on how much flavor you like. Garam Masala might also work well in this recipe.
-If you add some raisins, slivered almonds, shredded carrots, maybe splash of olive oil... this could be a great filling side dish or light meal on its own.
Last night, we also finally experimented with Jicama, which neither of us had tried before. We used it to make Rosemary Garlic Mashed Potatoes, recipe & pics to come!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
My menu from yesterday:
-Smoothie: Banana, apple, blueberries, spinach
-Carrots and Zucchini Hummus
-Big Salad: Spinach, radish, sprouts, tomato
Snacks after work
-Leftover raw chocolate balls
-Ginger Almond Pate on Buckwheat Bread
Around 7, I went for a long walk around the neighborhood, ending at Surdyk's to buy our Jameson for today. It is SO NICE to be able to walk places again. It's like I've won my life back from the cold weather. So we were planning to try a new drink for St. Patty's, and of course since I bought the Jameson last night….we had to sample it:
-Splash of lemon and lime juices
And with my drink I had some more Buckwheat Bread & Zucchini Hummus, plus a piece of sprouted bread with peanut butter. Yum.
As long as I'm on the topic, a couple other great Irish beverages:
-Johnny Jump Up: Hard cider with a shot of whiskey.
-Finnegan's Irish Amber: Drink for a good cause! Profits go to charity, and it tastes good too. Sorry, only available in MN.
This evening, I'll be testing my theory that beer becomes raw when you dye it green. I'll also follow up on a hunch that Jameson is a naturally-occurring vegetable product.
I'm not eating clover. I've even tried researching whether clover is edible, but e-quarterback answers to posts like "My girlfriend told me you could eat the little white 'flowers' that grow in a clover patch" aren't inspiring my confidence. Consider this informed response: "Well, you ate two and you're still alive. I guess it's safe. Moron."
Last night, Kelly made this very intriguing curry dish using, in part, dates and cauliflower. I'll be eating that for lunch. Breakfast was an orange and banana smoothie.
I will say this: A noticible benefit of this diet is my mornings alertness. I play lots of poker, and I was up doing it till 2 a.m. last night because I'd napped earlier and couldn't sleep. Even on a handful of sleeping hours, I'm surprised at how good I feel, sans caffeine. I've been caffeine-free for a few weeks now and I'm stunned at how much MORE alert I feel now.
Monday, March 16, 2009
This weekend I also tweaked two recipes that turned out fabulous. First, a variation on the Raw Chocolate Cake:
Raw Chocolate Balls with Strawberry Sauce
Chocolate Balls Ingredients:
-1+1/2 cups raw walnuts, unsoaked
- Dash salt
-18 pitted medjool dates, unsoaked
- scant 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
-1/2 t vanilla extract
- 2 T water
-1 T agave
-2 cups strawberries
-1/2 cup agave
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-2 tablespoons lemon juice
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1) Blend walnuts and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
2) Add dates, cocoa powder and vanilla, and process until the mixture begins to stick together.
3) Add the water and process briefly.
4) Blend all strawberry sauce ingredients together.
5) Roll chocolate mixture into small balls and arrange on plate.
6) Drizzle with strawberry sauce and garnish with mint leaves.
-The number of dates vary on which type you use. I used awful small tasteless dry dates from Fleet Farm. The other day at the co-op I had some large, delicious gooey dates, so probably would've needed less of those.
-Really go easy on the cocoa powder. You can always add more.
-Agave is a natural vegan sweetener from a cactus plant that doesn't cause your blood sugar to spike like sugar. You can get it at Trader Joe's for about $3 a bottle if I remember correctly.
-I somehow forgot maple syrup for the strawberry sauce, but it tasted great anyway.
-The Strawberry Sauce recipe is from The Raw Chef.
We brought these to my sister's birthday dinner on Saturday and everyone who tried them loved them. The name of the dessert is also increasingly hilarious with each glass of wine consumed. My very non-raw family also sampled the sushi rolls with ginger almond pate and buckwheat bread with zucchini hummus, all which went over really well, and my family isn't the type to just be nice!
The zucchini hummus was the second new recipe of the weekend. I had seen variations of this recipe around a lot on raw food boards, but was reluctant to try it, being a huge fan of chickpea hummus. It tastes surprisingly similar to regular hummus though, and really easy to make.
- 2 1/2 cups peeled zucchini, chopped (make sure to peel!)
- 4 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 1/2 T lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ground sesame seeds (tahini)
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves
-1 tsp. paprika
-1 tsp. ground cumin
- Cayenne to taste
Blend everything in food processor or blender. Next time I will probably ease up on the olive oil and tahini, because tahini is very high in fat and calories and the hummus has more than enough tahini flavor.
Hope everyone had a great weekend,
Saturday, March 14, 2009
This morning, I threw an orange, a banana, and a glacier-load of ice into the Vita-Mix, and ended up with a slushi. How can it be so right, when it feels so wrong?
There is absolutely no way my German heritage will allow my defiant body to cut off its supplyline of good beer. I'm not throwing it down every day by the gallon load, but I'm having it here and there. As a compromise, I've been experimenting with organic beers, and this one stands out as a good, hoppy brew:
Today, I harvested our jar full of radish sprouts, and I plan on throwing them into some sushi this afternoon. Kelly's grandma is a radish enthusiast, so I'm hoping she's impressed. They taste identical to full-blown radishes.
Here's what they looked like in the jar:
After pulling them out, I went through the process of de-hulling them, getting rid of the brown outer coats that have fallen away. A good instructional is available here.
This is the final product:
The final sushi product. Spicy!:
At the risk of being a weightloss exhibitionist, I want to archive the fact that I've lost some weight since my diet change. The pictures below were taken on the cruise we took about a week before starting the raw diet. The last photo was taken today.
Bulbous Common North American Sea Monster: