whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Saturday, January 29, 2011

loaded brown rice

my husband loves to load up on gluten free grains like brown rice and quinoa. so to feel better about it, i always cook vegetables in with the grains and then serve the finished product with marinated vegetables or marinated greens. this is a super easy, non-confrontational, non-threatening and absolutely delicious way to "force" veggies on your loved ones;) so here's a great recipe to give veggies a good reputation at your house.


i first got the idea for making this rice from my sister, when i was cooking at her house about two years ago. she went on a cloves "kick" and put cloves in everything! and everything always tasted amazing! so i made brown rice the way she instructed me to, with a "pinch of cloves." well i didn't realize that she meant ground cloves, so i put in a heaping pinch of whole cloves. cloves aren't too forgiving little creatures...and let's just say their intensity was "interesting." (note: my brother in law probably ate the whole pot anyway.) however, when used the right way, cloves give a little boost to the background of other spices, and leave your guests still trying to pinpoint your secret ingredient. so, if you're not too acquainted with cloves, now is the time to start a relationship with this wonderful warming spice. 

2 1/4 c organic chicken broth
1 c brown rice
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
pinch ground cloves
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter

*chop the carrots to a little bigger than bite size. finely chop the celery, onions and garlic.

* sautee the carrots for five minutes on med  heat. stir in the celery and sautee for five more minutes. stir in the onions and garlic and cook for about two minutes.

*pour rice, broth and seasonings in the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. once it boils, put a lid on it, turn the heat to low and let that do it's thing for forty five minutes. warning: don't lift the lid at all during this process...the rice won't cook right.

*after forty five minutes, take the pot off the heat and let it sit for ten minutes with the lid still on.

*take the lid off and fluff the butter in with a fork.

*serve alongside a delicious salad or marinated veggies...or stuff inside romaine leaves:)

Friday, January 28, 2011

carmel apricot latte

around here we love our green juices.

it's our breakfast of champions...babies and adults alike.

actually we love raw drinks of all kinds.

this picture doesn't even come close to experiencing it's full on decadence. this raw carmel apricot latte is really creamy and smooth with a thick layer of coconut cream on top. this is why i love making raw drinks so much! any flavor you want, any nutrition your seeking, and any texture you desire, all in one tasty place!

here's why and how you should incorporate more raw drinks into your life. my typical day starts out with fresh raw green juice (usually carrots, cucumber, garlic, spinach, and whatever other greens i have). any where from a half hour to an hour later ill make a raw latte. i don't actually eat solid food until i've been awake for two or three hours.

i have made this a lasting habit because, when our bodies are sleeping at night, they are working hard to recharge us while at the same time cleaning and detoxifying from all the harmful substances that we have come in contact with or let into our bodies. the idea of a heavy "stick to your ribs" breakfast like oatmeal first thing in the morning is a worst nightmare for your cells, as they are still working on cleaning when you wake up. putting food in your system right away will cause your body to immediately stop all the great work it was doing removing waste, and focus all it's energy on digesting the recent meal. this will leave you with toxins being reabsorbed into your blood stream, poor digestion through out the day, poor nutrient absorption through out the day and often times tiredness and sluggishness. ever have one of those greasy diner breakfasts that just leaves you wanting to go back to sleep? now you know what i'm talking about!

the solution to keeping your body going through the cleansing process during the morning is to have microbiotic meals. a microbiotic meal is made of nutrients in liquid form that are able to bypass the burden of digestion and get immediately absorbed into the blood stream. examples of microbiotic meals are fresh raw juice, raw nut mylks, water with a few squirts of lemon, raw smoothies, raw blended soups and my personal fave, raw lattes:) when you drink any of these meal choices in the morning, before any digestion has started, your body's absorption of the nutrients will be greatly increased, cleaning your cells more deeply, giving you more energy and healing any imbalances your body may currently be trying to fix. another upside to this practice is kick starting your digestive system to get ready for the day...including inducing a bowel movement. what could be more great than starting your day out with a healthy bowel movement? yeah, i can't think of anything either ;)

after mid morning would be a great time to start your macrobiotic meals. macrobiotic meals are in their solid state requiring you to completely break down the nutrients through digestion in your stomach. after your first macrobiotic meal of the day, nutrient absorption will be decreased, therefore getting in as many microbiotic meals in your system in the morning is a great way to get instant nutrients.

so cheers...and drink your way to vibrant health!


this latte is super smooth and luxurious. it has a sweet carmel flavor with a fruity background. by only using coconut mylk as the liquid a natural cream appears on the top to make your dreams come true! 

2 c coconut mylk (if your using it from the can instead of homemade, up the amount of honey)
5 dried apricots, soaked for half hour
1 tbs honey
dash sea

*toss all in blender and blend until smooth and dreamy. add in a handful of ice and pulse till its all broken up.

and then there's this guy....well let's just say that you don't want to miss my upcoming post of the recipe for my incredible ORANGE CREAM CHEESECAKE WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE:) of course it's gluten, dairy, sugar free and alllll raaaaaaawwww!!! i am so excited to share this with you...as this was an intense labor of love in my kitchen!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

marinated broccoli

a few years ago i watched this short youtube video of the lovely Brigitte Mars called "seven minutes to raw" and her tips have continued to guide me through the kitchen all this time later. i think the biggest impact she had on me was her statement challenging the viewers to "cook without using heat." it really is a genius statement for the raw foodist to be inspired by. the other day, my friend wasn't too sure what i meant when i said this. to me, cooking without using heat really means to manipulate taste, texture and structure of raw whole foods with out using the element of fire to destroy the integrity of the food itself.

let me explain...a way to manipulate the taste of cucumber without harming it's molecular structure would be to season it with sea salt, fresh dill and olive oil. a way to manipulate the texture of hard, crunchy (and inevitably boring to the westerner) broccoli is to let it marinade in olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar for a few hours. as the broccoli marinades, not only does it soak up that delicious flavor, it will soften to a texture more easily eaten...like lightly steamed broccoli. a way to manipulate the structure of raw cashews is to blend them with water, honey, sea salt and lemon juice in a high powered blender to create the base for a decadently healthy raw cheesecake. look at all the things you can create in  your kitchen with out using heat! aka, look at all the things you can create in your kitchen with out reducing the water content, destroying enzymes, creating toxic chemical reactions, and making your food harder to digest! so here's one of the easiest ways to "cook with out using heat"....a recipe for marinating!


who says raw broccoli has to be boring? or that children have to hate it? and that adults have to pretend to like it? softening the texture with a marinade will give the broccoli a lightly steamed attitude, while boosting the flavor with the blend of oil and seasoning.

3 heads of raw broccoli
1 onion
1/2 red pepper
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
dash pepper

*chop the broccoli into bite size pieces. thinly slice the onion in moon shaped rings...(sorry i don't mean to be bossy, but this makes it easier to pick up on your fork.) chop the red pepper into bite size pieces. place them all in a ziploc bag. add all other ingredients except dried cranberries. shake the bag around and massage it while forgetting all the times that your mom tried to force really bad tasting broccoli on you as a child. now toss it all in the fridge (the bag helps it marinade evenly) until your ready to eat it. leave it for as little as an hour and as long as 3 days. maybe four if your lucky...or your husband doesn't mind eating food that's on the brink of being bad. add the dried fruit just before serving.

and i just can't resist showing you a picture of this "delightful hors douvres" i made the other day:)
i was actually inspired by this really unhealthy recipe that i saw in a magazine. but for days and nights i was haunted by how much i wanted to taste it. so i decided to recreate it with out the side order of stomachache, headache, puffy eyes and drowsiness. 

to achieve a dairy free alternative, i made a batch of macadamia nut kream cheeze and then i stirred in chopped fresh basil. i took that mixture and stuffed it in dried apricots with an almond squeezed in on top.
                          it was the fanciest afternoon pick me up that knew how to treat me right!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

tips for transition/maintaining a healthy lifestyle

with the experience that i've had over the last five-ish years sticking to a whole foods diet, i thought why not just throw some things i've learned on to a nice and neat little blog post for your inspiration. enjoy:)

the moment i found out that there were some serious issues going on with my health at age 18, i was mortified and had a desperation to find answers. the herbalist i was working with at the time suggested two books to read to help me understand the concept of healing the body. i can't even remember the name of either of the books, but for the first time in my life, i enjoyed reading! after that i decided to plow through every book i could find on health and nutrition. i had to immerse myself in the work of these authors, to remind myself that i wasn't in fact insane like everyone else around me perceived...i was regaining control of my body and mind by leaving the status quo of western eating. if you are interested in your health, read every book and article that you can find on it. you'll be pleasantly inspired and be in a continual state of learning how to really understand your body. it also really helps to know there are people out there like you, that have gone through similar challenges. if it weren't for  The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin, i'd still think i was a freak. other books that i think are must reads are: The Raw Food Detox Diet by Nataila Rose,  Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price, and Health According to the Scriptures by Paul Nison.

this is key. KEY!! i feel like this is where most people start to shake under the pressure of transitioning to a healthy lifestyle or maintaining it. hunger could strike you at any moment, and if you don't have something in your fridge calling your name already, you'll listen to anything sweetly calling you...even that snickers on the counter that belongs to your roommate. this isn't as complicated as it sounds. whenever i have a chance to prepare food, i take a few moments to get something ready, and then hours later when i'm ready for said food, it's already waiting on me. this could be having some raw veggies chopped and marinating, cooked grains or a sweet raw treat.

this goes hand in hand with number two. not only do i love the strange looks i get when i randomly pull a healthy snack out of my purse, i love the way it nourishes my body in any moment of hunger away from my home. this doesn't have to be complex either. you can take things like dried fruits and nuts in a container, pack a lara bar or i've been known to have roasted sweet potatoes in my purse, and once my sister and i even packed salads with homemade dressing on the side for a plane ride. we definitely got some "looks" on that flight!

the last thing you need in your crazy life is a set of crazy rules. don't put restrictions on yourself about what and when you're allowed to eat. instead accept freedom as you choose to listen to your body and what it needs. listening to your cravings can be a really good gauge as to what's going on inside your body. for instance, you may experience cravings for sweets, carbs, or even protein. this doesn't mean that your body is actually crying out for a piece of cake; it's telling you it's deficient in a certain element and bringing it to your attention. for instance, this past fall i was craving sweets all the time. i ate a lot of dates and honey to fulfill my cravings until i learned that craving sweets was a sign of calcium deficiency. a great source of calcium is sesame mylk, so to replenish my body i started drinking sesame mylk a couple times a week and noticed that shortly after, my major cravings were gone.

now this one is a little tricky. i want to bring this point up, because in the beginning of your journey you will find yourself with a lot of conflicting views on which foods to completely leave behind and which foods to start incorporating. this month you may find yourself doing excellent as you remove dairy from your diet. however, don't swear off animal products for life, because later on you could find out that your body does great with and might even need raw goat cheese for certain nutrients. i respect Daniel Vitalis for being so transparent with the dietary changes he has made over the last few years. he's a major leader in the raw foods community and was a vegan for years until about two years ago he decided to add organic meat products back into his diet for optimal health. he's given courage to people everywhere to get over the "rules" and to do what's right for your individual body. however, i fully support everyone who so wisely swears off refined flour and refined sugar from their world. i guarantee there will never be a point in your life where you'll be incorporating those back into your diet for improved health;)

yep, you guessed it, it's important to poop. did you know that the human body is designed to have a bowel movement 3-5 times a day? that sounds euphoric to me! most people living on the western diet of processed foods have really irregular bowel movements and more often than not, only go once or twice a week. by eating lifeless foods, the body gets backed up and literally a bunch of undigested food gets left behind in your intestines to rot. not only is this rotting debris toxic to your health, it also clogs up the path for waste removal making bowel movements very irregular. a great way to get a head start on cleaning things up is to do an enema. if you don't know what that is, ask your grandma...i'm sure she's familiar with it! anyways, an enema will naturally and safely break up all the undigested waste and get it moving out of your body like....RIGHT NOW! i'm not going to lie, it's refreshing on so many levels. once this initial junk is out of your system, you will sleep better, wake up with more energy, have more energy through out the day, grogginess will leave, crankiness and irritability will be symptoms of the past, you'll experience better nutrient absorption from your food and almost best of all...your cravings for junk food will finally be defeated! (the debris hanging around in your digestive system will cause you to continue to crave sugars and heavy starches...leading you into a very vicious cycle.) now doesn't that sounds fantastic!? so, doing an enema at the beginning of your transition will help get your body kick started into motion and then doing one once a month or so through the beginning of your detoxing transition should keep all the old waste moving out of your body and prevent any candida issues from developing.

everywhere you look there's going to be advertisements trying to sway your consumer dollar. unfortunately people believe that because something is advertised as "healthy" that it must be good for their health. however, who is paying for that advertisement? not some one who is interested in your health, rather the creator of the product who is actually just interested in your money. companies pay billions of dollars each year to have their products smeared across magazines, billboards, commercials and newspapers that claim false things like "milk does a body good....whole grains are heart healthy....corn syrup is ok in moderation." to me, it's sad that companies can get away with blatant lies like these to the public and even sadder that people believe them. so if your looking for real information, don't turn to a magazine or believe the latest news story on health, instead turn to research from holistic health authorities that have been proven by science. on a side note, i have also realized that it's easier for me to remain high raw with no food cravings when i don't watch too much food network;)

ok let me clarify. when i first started my health journey, everyone in my immediate family, all my friends and all my coworkers knew exactly what i was going through. not to the point that i advertised it, but i made it clear that because of health reasons i needed to embark on a new diet. i can't tell you how much it helped me out working at an italian restaurant where we had staff meals before every shift, that everyone knew that i couldn't eat the same things they were eating...so it saved me from caving and also people knew not to offer me anything. i also owe a lot to my friends who were always around at that time. if we were going out to eat they would collaborate together to make sure we were going to a restaurant that i would still be able to stick to my restrictions. and i do remember a time when i almost put a piece of cake in my mouth in a moment of weakness and my dear friend slapped it out of my hands before it reached my mouth! these are true friends. let the people around you know enough of what's going on in your life so that they can cheer you on and not be offended when you turn down the food they offer you.

it's great to have goals that you're aspiring to reach, however don't be disappointed that you're not there yet. i've had countless ups and downs with my journey, but i've chosen not to get upset about them, and instead embrace them all as part of my story. if you fall of your path for a minute, quickly find your way back, and release any negative emotions you feel, while reminding yourself how much progress you have made in the long run. you'll never reach a point where you'll sit back and say "i've finally made it." your health will always be a story board of progress, so love each part of the process.

i've had some really great experiences of just speaking things out loud of what i want to see happen in my life, only to watch them appear all on their own with perfect timing. words have a powerful affect and when we choose to speak life (see proverbs 18:21) to our current circumstances or the situations we would like to see unfold, there's no stopping the great things that could happen. write a confession list of the goals you have with your body speaking in the present tense and read it out loud at least once everyday. for example say things like "i love my body. i am the perfect weight and i only eat foods that my body was created to eat." you may not be at that moment in reality, however by speaking this words as if they already were, eventually it will catch up to you, and everyday you will be living your dream! just some great examples of this working in my life: i spoke a new job into my life, a car, a healthy, easy labor and delivery of my baby, declared a virus out of existence in my body and spoke positive words to get my business off the ground. speak positively and lovingly to yourself...you deserve it!!!

what tips have you gathered on your journey?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

book review: unlocking heaven

it's only january 15th and i've already finished reading my second book of 2011!...once you have a baby you'll realize how great of a feat this actually is;)


Unlocking Heaven by, Kevin Dedmon is incredible!! i looked forward to the moments i got to spend curled up on the couch devouring the inspirational  words of this book. Dedmon rights in such a personal way, that you feel like you are having a one on one conversation with him. His real life accounts of witnessing miraculous healings....and even being the one releasing the healing to others...left my mouth hanging open in amazement, filled me with a deeper desire to help others and sometimes just made me laugh with the joy of heaven! to say the least, he has a way of nudging you to the higher life that god has called you to live. with real life experiences, and examples from the bible, he literally gives you the "keys" to unlocking heaven and being able to release God's power to those around you in need. to order a copy of this life transforming book, check it out here

my mom just finished reading another book by Kevin, Dedmon, so obviously we're going to switch now...and i'm so excited about it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

mushroom loaf

ok so you really have to get in the raw mindset....or just lose your mind...before you start thinking of putting together a dish like this. loaf? c'mon. but it has a deep meaty and earthy flavor and i just can't think of a better way to get all these raw vegetables in my mouth...or in my meat craving husband's mouth. so break free from the norm and feel empowered when you make this super hippie "raw super loaf" as my husband so lovingly named it.


                                                yeah, that's right, it looks like meatloaf. 

part 1 ingredients:
3/4 c ground flax
1 stalk celery
1/2 yellow pepper 
3 tbs fresh oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground sage

*finely chop the celery, pepper and oregano. stir this with the other ingredients in a large bowl. set aside.

part 2 ingredients:
2 portobello mushrooms
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c dried cranberries, soaked
juice of half a lemon
a 1 inch chunk of zucchini (i found it in my fridge and thought "hey, why not?....")
dash of sea salt

*soak the dried cranberries for a half hour. put all ingredients in blender and blend away, adding just enough of the soak water to keep things moving. pour this mixture over the part one ingredients.

*mix everything together...of course using your hands! it should be kind of like a wet dough. pour this on to a dehydrator sheet and shape with your hands into loaves. dehydrate for 3 hours on 115 degrees. flip the loaves over and dehydrate with out the sheets for another 10 hours...talk about losing your mind to make this. 

eaten alongside marinated broccoli, these flavors mixed to create a beautiful song on my tongue

in the end i cut them into individual portions and let them continue dehydrating so it would speed things up.  on the upside, if it's a little damp on the inside my husband says it tastes like moist stuffing. but for the perfect texture, do what you have to do to dehydrate it until it's dry in the center....make a day ahead of serving or make it first thing in the morning so it's ready to be devoured by dinner.

cauliflower rice with alfredo sauce

as you may have noticed, i like to dream about my food a lot before i actually get in the kitchen and put together a new recipe. with this cauliflower rice, there was no exception. i was really longing for a creamy parmesan flavor and had to think 24/7 for a few days before i knew exactly how to execute this life saver of a sauce....which can help save you from those oh so strong creamy parmesan cravings too!


i love making interesting twists with cauliflower...because, well...it's usually kinda boring. this has a soft texture and really hits the spot when your dreaming of something warm and creamy. 

cauliflower rice:
1 head cauliflower
1/4 olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

*cut the cauliflower in chunks and then pulse it in the food processor until you have tiny rice size chunks. toss it in a bowl with all the other ingredients and give it the royal treatment with a little massage. let this sit for half an hour and then spread it on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 2 hours on 95 degrees. 

alfredo sauce:
1/2 c cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1/4 c chopped portobello mushrooms
1/4 small onion
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 tbs chopped fresh oregano
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
pinchy pinch of pepper
enough water to keep the blender from having a melt down;)

*place all ing in the blender except for the oregano and blend away till its creamy and smooth. while its running add just enough water to keep things moving. stir in the oregano.

*drizzle this over the cauliflower that's been dehydrating for 2 hours. let this dehydrate for one more hour and then it's perfect!

the next day i had the leftovers for lunch and since it had a chance to rave all night long in the fridge, the flavors came together even more intensely to create that creamy parmesan taste. on a very "calculated" thought, i decided to toss in some dried cranberries to mix it up a little bit.

does anyone else enjoy creamy foods as much as i do?

spicy "macaroni and cheeze"

with the left over filling that i had from my raw vegan cheezey zucchini roll ups i knew i had another exciting dish waiting to be made. in fact, i was day dreaming about it for a few days before i had the chance to make it....and my day dreaming paid off, cuz it was delish! i had frozen my cheeze filling from the roll ups until i was ready to use it, and a week or so later i thawed it for use in this recipe with incredible results.

when the flavors of this full bodied spicy macaroni and cheeze hits your mouth, you'll be pleasantly surprised by this unusual team of raw ingredients. you'll be even more happy as you realize that your nourishing your body with a whole raw zucchini and thoroughly enjoying it ;)

2 zucchinis
1/2 yellow pepper
2 tbs olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

*using a vegetable peeler, make thin wide slices of zucchini. then chop those slices into macaroni size bites. finely chop the yellow pepper and place in a bowl with zucchini macaroni. add all other ingredients to the bowl and lightly massage love into with your hands. set this aside and let the flavors get to know each other for a half hour. then spread this mixture (with out the extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl) onto a dehydrator sheet and let it dehydrate for 2 hours on 95 degrees.

one half recipe of cheeze filling found in this earlier post

*next drizzle your cheeze on top of all the macaroni and let it dehydrate for another hour. stir together and place in 2 bowls with a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro to complete the experience.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

cleansing with watermelon

with the new year i'm sure many people have made goals for weight loss, healthier eating, or starting off with a detox. with all the heavy food i ate around the holidays, and improperly combined meals, you dont have to tell me twice that my body needs a little break and an easy detox.

sometimes the word detox gets a bad wrap because the most common one people know of consists of drinking maple syrup and cayenne pepper water for seven days....?? no, this is not a real detox. i'm sure it would give the human body a much needed break from processed foods in which it could heal from a few things, but overall effectiveness in a holistic view would be minimal. the real point of a detox is to clean your body out on a cellular level. the body is constantly moving waste products out of its system. when we continue to put a heavy burden on our digestive system, things get a little backed up, and our body directs the "waste products" to be stored away until it can deal with it properly later on. these waste products are also called toxins, and they get stored in the make up of our cells, mostly in fat cells. however, when we give our digestive system a break from the heavy burden of digesting improperly combined foods, your body will automatically use its extra energy to start flushing the built up toxins out of your entire system. thats right....your body automatically does it! the human body is so amazing that it will always strive for perfection, no matter what! psalm 139:14 gives me new meaning to thank god everyday for making the human body so incredible: "i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, i know that full well." he designed our bodies to heal themselves...we just have to keep harmful things out for this to work. or in the case of a detox, clean the harmful things out. a detox can simply be a one day water or juice fast to help with constipation, or something longer to help heal serious diseases.

for more information on detoxing steps or for one on one consultations, visit my sister's incredible site here, with this post dedicated to detoxing on all different levels.

so after i read her post, i did a little detoxing myself. since i'm still breastfeeding my little one, its not safe to do a full on detox. so what i have been doing for the last few days is drinking extremely green juice in the morning, melon juice mid morning and then putting solid foods in my system at around 1 pm. this is a lower caliber way to sort of clean things out, without having any toxicity passed through to my feeding baby.  its a simple plan, but i'm already filling the positive effects!

the easiest and care free way to help your body clean itself is to drink watermelon juice. not to mention tasty too!! its surprisingly creamy and sweet;) drink a big glass of freshly pressed raw watermelon juice in the morning, on an empty stomach and wait at least a half hour to eat or drink anything else.

here's some of the hard work that watermelon will do in your body:
*its a whole body cleanser, known to go to work on your kidneys, bladder, heart, stomach, colon and liver
*it acts as a blood tonic, meaning this is regenerative to your body
*induces frequent urination...which is toxins leaving the body
*its high amounts of potassium and vitamin c work together to wash toxic deposits off your kidneys
*its fat free and cholesterol free, making it easy to lose extra weight...and also very few calories
*its combination of potassium and magnesium work together to prevent hardening of the walls of veins and arteries, therefore lowering your blood pressure
*its loaded with b vitamins for sustained energy
*it helps regulate the function of insulin, lowering your blood sugar
*its 93% water content keeps you hydrated

i hope this inspires you to look more into detoxing and give your body a much needed break, allowing it to clean itself out and heal any imbalances. happy cleansing!

book review: Heaven Is So Real

Heaven is so real!i have a feeling that i'm going to read more books in 2011 than i have in any other year. for starters, my husband and i decided to give up tv for the month of january...welll except for the real houswives. hahaha! but we couldn't quite the tube cold turkey. so anyways, i already finished my first book of the new year! i started reading it the day after new years and i finished it in a week and a half. with that, i would like to give you a review of all the books i read. my two favorite subjects to read about are nutrition and christian spirituality. so take what resounds with you....and leave the rest for someone else;)

Heaven Is So Real by Choo Thomas was the perfect way to start my new year! I was captivated by her detailed story of being face to face with Jesus on numerous occasions. She detailed the accounts of the visions He showed her, the words He spoke to her and the places He showed her in heaven. anything about Jesus truly excites me, but through reading this book, i found myself with "holy spirit goosebumps" with almost every page i read! although at times i felt like her relationship with Jesus was almost "militant" she really inspired me to live whole heartedly for Him.....and really, what else would i want to do? it's time to start living our lives the right way. sticking to our convictions, being all or nothing, and sharing the real love of god with everyone around us.  to get inspired by Choo's incredible story, you can order your copy here

if you read it, let me know your thoughts! what books have you read recently or started in the new year?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

chocolate carmel bites

believe it! it's possible to make sweet treats that are actually beneficial to your health! annnd welcome to my world. i hate it when people assume that just because something is sweet means that its bad for you. although these are the same people that don't even know what "bad" for you means and what "good" for you means. either way, i love the look on their face when i present them with a sweet dessert like a  chocolate pie comprised of raw avocados (which is beyond amazing) or a cheesecake made of raw cashews (which is beyond human description). so i had an itch for something chocolatey and carmely and decided to create this.

now don't be too impressed...i look like a total amature compared to some other sites that are dedicated to making raw desserts. my favorites to drool over include http://www.sweetlyraw.com/ and http://thesunnyrawkitchen.blogspot.com.  these ladies will give you the much needed hope that when you ditch the "processed" lifestyle, you don't have to pull out your sweet tooth too. 


these bites really hit the spot...my sweet spot and my health spot. their smooth, sweet gooeyness is a great way to make eating healthy fun and exciting!

1/4 c honey
1/4 c almond butter
2 bananas
3 tbs hemp seeds (next time i will probably use a little more to get a thicker consistency)
2 tbs coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp mesquite powder (this is a superfood powder that has a flavor like carmel. you can order it and read it's benefits here)
1/2 tsp lucuma powder (also a superfood with dense nutritional value. this has a flavor similar to maple. you can order it and read it's benefits here)
dash of sea salt

*toss everything in the food processor and mix until it's all combined and smooth. you might have to scrape down the bowl once or twice. pour this mixture out into a square bowl and let it chill in the freezer for atleast 2 hours.

1/2 c allergen friendly brand chocolate chips (you can buy these at giant eagle. they're gluten, dairy, soy and processed sugar free!)

*i wanted to make the chocolate but i didn't have enough coconut oil. to make your own truly raw chocolate coating just mix equal parts coconut oil, cacao and honey. or if you don't have the resources, just melt down some chocolate like i did! 

gently melt the chocolate chips over low heat while stirring. when it's smooth, take it off the hit and stir in a pinch of sea salt and 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract for an added kick.

*next take your frozen center out of the freezer and cut it into cubes. then ever so delicately lay each cube on a plate that can be placed back in the freezer. i wanted to make sure that they would be completely frozen in the center of each cube so the chocolate wouldn't melt them at all.

*after they've re-chilled your ready to dip them in the chocolate. i just put them in the chocolate one by one and spooned the chocolate over all sides till they were completely covered. place them back on a plate that can go in the freezer and let the chocolate set up for fifteen minutes....if you can wait that long;) this recipe makes about twenty chocolate bites and they store perfectly in the freezer for when you need a little carmel lovin.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

roasted butternut squash and tzatziki

well after all the holidays have come and passed, i finally have time to sit down and write these recipes. and i have to tell you, its been a week and a half since i made this, and i havent stopped thinking about it!

sometimes your greatest successes can be found in your mistakes...and that's exactly what happened on this night for dinner. i knew i was making roasted squash with steamed asparagus and carrots. the squash has an incredible flavor, but i needed to boost the steamed vegetables just a bit. so my greek mind decided on tzatziki (pronounced: tat-zee-kee). for those of you who don't know what that is, wake up and get yourself to the closest greek festival and you'll discover it's the most delicious condiment in the form of a yogurt cucumber sauce. but i remember being intimidated watching my older sister make this when i was a kid, because with every greek recipe you have to cook like a superhero...or grecian goddess...and multitask for at least six hours straight before the dish is completed. but my love of tzatziki is what spurred me on to complete this impossible feat in less than ten minutes. desperate times call for desperate measures.  however, we soon discovered that the unlikely flavors of roasted squash and tzatziki, combine to make one of the most addictive dishes!


this mouth watering butternut squash is roasted to perfection to create little nuggets of gold that will pop in your mouth. their crispy outer edge mixed with their sweet creamy insides, go perfectly with the light and tangy taste of tzatziki.

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 c olive oil
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper

*lay your chunks of squash on a baking sheet. drizzle the olive oil evenly over the squash chunks. next sprinkle the salt and pepper all over. now send some love and gratitude through your fingertips and toss everything so it's evenly coated. now your ready to get your squash in the oven. i set my oven to 400 degrees and let these babies do their thing for about twenty minutes. then check on them, give them a stir and leave them in for ten minutes or so, but watch them carefully so they don't burn!

2 c greek yogurt
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 an onion
juice of half a lemon
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of pepper

*now this is the seriously abbreviated, super easy tzatziki. traditional tzatziki requires more time and patience as some of the ingredients need to be drained of liquid. but don't be afraid, this one is super easy!

*place your yogurt in a bowl. using a cheese grater, grate the cucumber right into the yogurt. now do the same with the onion and garlic. stir in lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. give it a little tastey taste and see if anything needs to be adjusted. i like mine with a lot of garlic, but you might want to use less. the longer it sits, the more the flavors will mix and mingle to create magic in your mouth.

now experience true bliss as you combine this unusual match made in heaven!

what unusual foods have you paired together that were surprisingly good?