Safe Harbor

As soon as my little one’s eyes closed last night, I ran into the office to pull my husband away from the computer so we could watch the storm news.  I thundered downstairs with that mix of voyeuristic excitement and concern for my New York family and friends – only to find 10-15 police cars outside my front door.  I had never even heard a siren.  The police had closed off a large area and were moving pedestrians along, preventing them from filming or photographing the body.

A man had jumped to his death.  Such a strange juxtaposition to be captivated by this tragedy as so many people were fiercely protecting their own lives at the same moment.

My daughter was curious, scared and sad.  I was, too.  We’ve talked a little in the past about suicide as it comes up in literature, or in the evening news.  She knows it happens but doesn’t understand why.  It’s a hard thing to explain when I struggle myself to understand.  Yet it is an idea that once had me paralyzed, so many, many moons ago.  I hardly recognize that younger self.

After a few hugs, we turned our attention to the storm.  Disaster after disaster.  Earlier in the day, a conversation with my sister had been cut off when she lost power.  She sent a text, “Lost power.  Need to save phone battery.  Will call when power returns.  Love you : )”  She’s on high ground.  My other sister is, too.  So lucky, both of them.  I’m grateful.  We all stayed up too late watching storm news.

Exhausted from the day, I had that frenetic charge that I knew would prevent sleep.  I could hear the intermittent creaking of my daughter’s bed and knew that she, too, was restless.  Her room was lit up like Christmas with all the police lights.  We moved a mattress into my room, and I covered her in fleece and down and words of comfort.

Family.  We are just a little family, but big in love.  And not far from our little family, we have a bigger family, more people who know us, love us, and call us their own.  Each of these people strengthen our web, our interconnectedness to life and the world.  We are your safe harbor.  Know this and you will never be alone.  You will always be loved.  Your life is of great value.

I cannot prevent her from seeing all the sadness in the world.  I can only hope that she delights in its joy.

Almond Milk

After traumatizing you all with poop stories, I’ll try to make it up by offering you my favorite staple of a raw diet, almond milk.  Sure, you can buy it in a shelf stable package.  Great for storing long-term, but not really raw.  And in my quest for a decent dairy substitute for my morning cup of joe (I know, not raw either), I can’t tell you how many packages of almond milk I’ve opened that didn’t smell quite right.  So frustrating.

With coffee.

I’ve made almond milk from many different recipes, but I find that my all time favorite is made from simply almonds and water, nothing else.  If I want to sweeten it later, I’ll add some honey, stevia or agave later, depending on what I mix it with.

Mix with cantaloupe for a creamy smoothie.

It makes the best Chai Mate Latte.  Steep Chai Mate.  Add fresh almond milk and honey or agave.

Chai Mate Latte

Almond Milk

Serves 4
Prep time 8 hours
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 8 hours, 10 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Beverage
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Quick and simple method to make your own almond milk. A healthy and delicious alternative to dairy.


  • 1 cup Raw Almonds
  • 4 cups Water


  • 4 Medjool Dates
  • 2 tablespoons Agave
  • 2 tablespoons Honey ((not vegan))
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


Most of the ingredients are optional.  I typically prefer a simple milk made with just almonds and water.  If I'm craving a more decadent drink, I'll add a sweetener along with some coconut oil and vanilla.  Don't forget to save the pulp to stock your pantry with homemade almond flour.


Step 1
Soak almonds in spring or filtered water about 6-8 hours. I like to start soaking them just before going to bed and make a fresh batch of milk first thing in the morning to serve with my tea or mate.
Step 2
Rinse soaked nuts. Add to Vita Mix or high speed blender with 4 cups water. All of the other add-ins are optional. For a sweet milk, add dates, agave or honey. Add coconut oil for a rich, creamy texture. Add vanilla, freshly scraped or extract for, well, because vanilla tastes wonderful. Most often, I make my almond milk with simply almonds and milk because I like to save the pulp for other recipes.
Step 3
Blend on high for a few minutes. The mixture will be somewhat grainy. Some folks like that, and if you're one of them, drink up and enjoy. If not, move on to the next step.
Step 4
With a bowl or pitcher underneath, pour milk through a nut milk bag. Hold the top closed and twist and squeeze milk through the bag.
Step 5
Drink the milk. Refrigerate the leftovers. Save the pulp (refrigerate, freeze or dehydrate) for some delicious raw recipes like macaroons or almond crackers.

Try it.  Besides planning ahead a little for the soak time, it’s really quick and easy.

Share.  Drink.  Love.

Why Raw? #1

The more I eat raw foods, the less frequent my IBS symptoms.  Yep, I’m talking about poop.  Nothing is more humiliating as a grown woman to be hopping around in search of a toilet.  If I’ve got a toddler in tow, a store employee gives a knowing smile and will kindly point the way to the restroom.  By myself, well, not everyone is so kind.  If I haven’t been turned away, I’ve heard snickering and sarcasm behind my back as I race for relief.  This was one of those mornings I received a painful reminder that eating certain foods will always produce the same, unpleasant result.

My 4yo was ready and raring to go to school on-time with no tears, no temper tantrums, and no complaints.  I was too, or so I thought.  We left the garage to make our way to his school.  Before emerging from Chicago’s underground maze of tunnels, I knew I wasn’t going to make it.  Anxiety (in addition to poor diet) can also fuel the symptoms, so knowing I could get caught in the middle of the loop during rush hour without a quick and easy place to stop, park, and find a bathroom is the sure thing to bring it it on.  I turned around and drove home.  JP was confused, but excited that we weren’t going to school.  The symptoms passed quickly (whew! okay, enough detail), but then I had to rush to an appointment, and after that, school was simply impractical.  Because of my fickle GI system, he won a day with Mommy.  Okay, that wasn’t so bad.  He’s great company.

Here he is teaching me his meditation techniques he learned at school.  His teachers call it “The Silence Game”.  Om.

All this reminded me to make a fresh batch of almond milk.  Almonds :)  Dairy Ø

When I’m Old, Will You Walk With Me?

My exercise routine is pretty simple.  I walk.  I try to walk a great distance each day.  Some days, I run.  I’d like to do yoga daily, but I’m lucky if I get to my PT exercises and post-run stretches.  When I run with a partner, I run faster and farther.  When I walk with a partner, well, I can’t say that I usually go further and faster.  It depends on the partner.

I convinced my daughter to join me today.  She might say that I threatened, bribed and ultimately dragged her outside.  Child abuse, I know.  It was cloudy, humid and unseasonably warm.  Look.  Even on a crappy day this view is amazing (taken yesterday, but it looked the same today, really).

I love our walks together.  She doesn’t like to walk fast.  She complains if I go too far.  She needs to stop and sit at the halfway point.  I really don’t get much of a workout in.  Yet I’d rather walk with her any day.  She tells me about her stories.  Each character has a back story that I might have forgotten from the last walk together.  A new plot unravels.  I get the spoilers.  She tells me about her studies.  Not in that monotonous, reporting to the boss sort of way, but with interest and enthusiasm.

She was holding my elbow as we neared home.  “I imagine I’m old and walking down a street in London with a friend.”  I hope that’s me.  I told her that when I get old (older) I’d like her to take me out on walks.  When I complain that my arthritis is flaring up, my knees hurt, I’m tired and please leave me alone, I want her to remember when she was twelve.  She should bribe me, threaten me, and ultimately force me to go outside for a walk with her, just like I did to her.  Because I will love it.


Use It or Lose It

Most of my juice and smoothie concoctions aren’t really from recipes, but born out of necessity to use up my produce before it gets wasted.  Cleaning out the fridge this morning, I pulled out everything that needed to get used up fast and came across this fantastic medley for a green juice:

  • Kale.  Originally intended for a Mediterranean salad.
  • Kale Stems.  Leftover from my last kale salad.
  • Celery.  Leftover from my last batch of Igor’s Live Flat Bread.
  • Spinach.  Just a tiny handful still good.  I usually keep large container full as a base for green smoothies.
  • Collards.  Actually, just one, perfect leaf.  I saved it yesterday from the juicer to make a wrap.
  • Green Apples.  I was about to juice the entire bag, but then we (especially the kids) would drink it all in less than a day.  I need to get out to the orchards before the season has ended.
  • Jalapeño.  1/2 leftover from ???  Seeds removed.

Juiced and combined it made a drink so energetic my head buzzed – in a pleasing way.  The flavor was nice, but perhaps a little salty, and the jalapeño didn’t come through much.  If this wasn’t a fridge cleanup project, I would have left out the spinach and collard.  Add cilantro.  Substitute cucumber for the celery.  And juice an entire jalapeño, seeds and all.

Ultimately, this served as both breakfast and lunch and I feel satiated and energetic.


Farm Weekend

My family spent this last weekend in the country to enjoy some free-range living.  I love that my four-year-old can run in and outside at will, chase chickens (who are always free range), romp with the goats, play with sticks, rocks, mud, turtles and easily find willing accomplices for his adventures.  An adventure could be as simple as tumbling down piles of dirt or as complex as divvying up popcorn to “sell” while watching Ghost Busters in the barn.

My twelve-year-old, well, she’s happy to read, write and gab with her girlfriend.  She’s suspicious of any effort on my part to get her outside, so when I saw this beautifully, sculpted bird blind I practically had to pick her up and drag her out to see it.  This nest is the perfect place to spend an hour or two contemplating the characters and plot of her next story.  I’m not sure she agrees, she was too anxious to find her friend.  Perhaps I should reserve it for my own stories, if the kids forget where to find it.

Bird blind built by John Seaman.  See more photos here.

Like many urban dwellers, I was excited to get out of town to see some color.  That big old evergreen is thinking, “Yeah Red, think you’re hot now?  Just wait a month, ha!”

With this parked on the property, I had a hard time keeping it raw this weekend.  It’s a Studebaker turned wood-fired, pizza oven called Rolling Stonebaker.  Being such a word nerd, their word play is just about as fabulous as the pizza.  If it was me in line to put in our order, I would have seen their mouth watering, gluten-free, heirloom tomato salad pizza or their veggie marinara with roasted garlic, artichoke hears, baby bella mushrooms, red onion and basil.  Should’of, would’of, could’of.  Instead, George ordered up a plain cheese (for a super picky 4yo), a Margherita (for a somewhat picky 12yo) and a pepperoni (for papa).  I might have sampled a bit of each.

I’d like to say that with all my walks, jogs and hikes over the weekend that I’ve earned the privilege to eat whatever I darn well please.  However, my focus on food these days isn’t as much about counting calories in and energy expenditure out as it is about choosing to eat food that makes me feel vibrant.  How I feel the day after indulging in pizza and cupcakes reminds me of waking up with a hangover.  I’d like to say that with all my walks, jogs and hikes over the weekend that I’ve earned the privilege to eat whatever I darn well please.  However, my focus on food these days isn’t as much about counting calories in and energy expenditure out as it is about choosing to eat food that makes me feel vibrant.  How I feel the day after indulging in pizza and cupcakes reminds me of waking up with a hangover.  It also reminds me of keeping my food choices in perspective, my activity in balance and keeping my thoughts in the present.

We all returned to the city a little bedraggled, picking cobwebs from our hair and mud from our boots – glad to find our beds, and me happy to find my greens didn’t turn.  Today was a juicing day for recovery.


This is my favorite photo from one of my runs last week.  Taken last Thursday, it was cloudy and ferociously windy in Chicago, but still warm.  I was overdressed.  So hard to call these things.  I’m still a newb (or nube?) as my tween would say.  Running along the lake was a challenge.  That didn’t seem to stop these lovers, nestled together under their blanket, enjoying the afternoon together.  Beautiful.

Mainlining Nutrition

Today I neglected breakfast before the morning run to school and chiropractor.  I couldn’t wait to get home and toss a few things into my blender.  Drinking a green smoothie for breakfast is almost like mainlining nutrition and breakfast couldn’t be easier.

Toss a handful of spinach, 1 Fuji apple, 1 Asian pear, a finger of ginger, and water.  Blend, pour and slurp loudly.  Oh, and wipe off that foam mustache.

Garden Comfort Soup

This easy peasy raw soup is one of my go-to’s for a quick lunch.  Served with a side of flax crackers, it is filling enough to last the day.  I was feeling a little blue today, so its warm, creaminess made me think of comfort food.

Inspired originally from the soups in Jennifer Cornbleet’s, Raw Food Made Easy, I alter this recipe just about every time I make it.  Today, I had a zucchini and red bell pepper that needed to be used up.  Other times I’ve put a heavy dose of fresh garlic and a smattering of herbs – whatever I have on hand.  What is always consistent for a good raw soup base is a nice, ripe avocado, fresh squeezed lemon juice, miso, and whatever yummy veggies I happen to have on hand.

Eat. Share. Love.

Garden Comfort Soup

Serves 2
Prep time 15 minutes
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Side Dish, Soup
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Quick and easy Garden Comfort Soup. Perfect for a rainy day.


  • 1 Zucchini (Chopped)
  • 1 Stalk Celery (Chopped)
  • 1 Avocado (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Red Bell Pepper (Chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice (Fresh Squeezed)
  • 1 teaspoon Miso Paste
  • 1 dash Salt
  • 1 dash Ceyenne Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Water (or more for desired consistency.)


Enjoy this delicious soup warm or cold.  To heat, place bowl of soup in bottom of dehydrator for about 30 minutes, or heat gently over the stove for a few minutes.



Step 1
Throw everything into the Vita Mix or other high speed blender. Blend.
Step 2
Add more water for desired consistency.
Step 3
Serve immediately.

Desperate Theft

I stopped in my local grocery store to pick up “just” an avocado, with big plans on making a raw soup today.  Never have I been able to stick to that one thing I had in mind.  The basil looked beautiful and had me thinking of pesto.  Cucumbers and apples disappear quickly in my house, so I bought a bunch of each.  And those Asian pears, yum.  I picked up two.  A fresh, baked loaf of French bread always brings on a big hug from my tween, so I couldn’t resist.  Before getting to the checkout counter, I had to hoist my overfull shopping basket on my hip so I wouldn’t dislocate a shoulder.  I was physically conscious of my tendency to over shop.

At the same time, just outside the entrance, a small drama was quickly escalating.  A woman stopped for shoplifting was trying desperately to get away.  In an instant at least ten, large men were on her, blocking her escape.  The cashier greeted me with excessive cheer, “how are you today?  Did you find everything all right?”  Blip, blip, blip, “Ma’am, do you know if these are collards or kale?” As she rang up my items, I saw the shoplifter being ushered into an office.  The employees dispersed exclaiming loudly about how much food she managed to stuff in her backpack.  I swiped my debit card, punched in my code to complete my sale.  “Thanks for shopping {here}.  You have a nice day.”  I dashed out with my heavy bags, stuffed with food.

I got home and the contents of my shopping experience spilled out onto my kitchen counter.  I usually look at a counter full of fresh fruits and vegetables with delight, imagining all the possible things to make and eat.  Marveling at the abundance of all that good food.  Not today.  My chest was heavy and my throat tight with emotion.

Shoplifting is a crime, no question.  Some people steal for the thrill, for power, or out of addiction.  Some people steal out of sheer desperation.  I don’t know that woman I saw today, and can’t tell her story.  Yet I know there are a lot of desperate people out there – not out there in that abstract, someplace, somebody whom I may never see, but out there as in our own communities.  I’ve known many friends and family who have lost much during the last several years, it makes me think often, if I lost everything, how would I feed my kids.  If desperate, would I steal?  Would I justify breaking the law?

I am grateful for the abundance I enjoy.  Grateful I don’t have to compromise my ethics out of desperation.  Today, however, that gratitude seems bittersweet.

Is stealing ever okay?