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.