Sunrise Juice

3 Big Carrots
2 Apples
2 Pears
1 Big Chunk of Ginger (about 2 inches)

I need some zing to clear my throat this morning and the ginger was perfect.  This hearty drink will surely last me until lunch.

Juice, drink, share, and love.

Cilantro Citrus Smoothie

(see full image)

1 Avocado
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Orange
1 Grapefruit

Blend and glug, glug, glug. Tasted great but a bit thick. Oh, and gave me the most horrible gas. That could have been the nachos from last night, though (not raw vegan, shhhh). My 12yo is so fortunate to be completely stuffed up today.


Let’s Walk

I love my daily walks.  They hadn’t been so daily once Chicago got cold.  I’d sworn that all I needed was warm enough clothes and I’d continue my daily trek.  But I didn’t fulfill that and missed a few walks, then a few more.  I wasn’t hitting it daily and my mood, and weight, and appetite, and sleep were all affected by losing that daily walk. Then I went on vacation.  Nothing like a crisp Arizona morning to get me out of bed, into my sneakers and out the door.

Daily walk on the Canal

Sunrise on the Canal

It was especially fun walking with this guy.

Walking BuddyAnd it was especially meaningful to walk with my husband.  Vacations are typically his time to sleep in daily, but when I gently touched his shoulder and said, “come on, let’s go for a walk,” he was up and out the door within minutes. The one day we missed our walk, we just kept missing each other all day long.

The walks are sometimes silent as we contemplate our own thoughts.  Other times, we talk the entire distance about our kids, homeschool vs private school, money (oy!), guns (we are in AZ), fiscal cliff, Dan Quail (funny he came up), flu virus, etc.  It’s nice to have 30 minutes to check in with each other.

When we walk together, we tend to touch hands more frequently throughout the day.  Smile more.  Speak more kindly.  Actually speak.  I’d love to find a way to continue our walks when we get home.  Much nicer to have a walking buddy.  If we can’t, perhaps it’s time for another dog.  I’ve been scheming to bring home Gunner, the goofy, sweet, gentle lab above, but he’s already taken.  Drat.

Any of you FB users come across this post by Michael Moore?  He’d started walking 30 minutes daily about nine months ago and thousands of his Twitter followers joined him.  In response to many of his followers wanting to know the Why for his daily group walk, he explains it’s not about dieting, changing, fixing oneself, etc.  He writes,

“Quit trying to be something you’re not, be happy with the life you’ve been given, and go for a pleasant walk outside.”

He goes on a friendly rant and wraps it all up by saying,

“The path to happiness – and deep down,we all know this – is created by love, and being kind to oneself, sharing a sense of community with others, becoming a participant instead of a spectator, and being in motion.”

I didn’t really know that I liked Michael Moore until I read this post.  I haven’t gotten a chance to sit alone with myself and contemplate the start of the new year and all I’d like to accomplish.  But at this moment, I would resolve to keep up with my daily walks – get outside and try to connect more with people.

What are your resolutions for the new year?


Great Gobs of Gadgets

Staying with my mother-in-law for the last week gave me the privilege of playing with some of her fabulous small appliances and gadgets.  She is the best resource for homemaking tricks.  Really.

Super Simple Smoothies with my MIL’s Blendtec

I didn’t embrace my role as a homemaker when I first got married, and would bristle with indignation whenever I received a kitchen gadget as a gift.  As if!  When I married her son, he and I both worked about the same amount of excessive hours that is typical for New York couples.  Maybe we’d leave the office around 7 or 8.  Have dinner and put in a few more hours from home.  Boy, I don’t miss those 60 plus hour work weeks with a pager on call 24 hours a day.  Pagers, remember those?  Although today I continue to be on call 24 hours, 7 days a week, my clients (kids) are much cuter than those cranky old Wall Street techno nerds (I say that lovingly because I married one, ha ha) and significantly more pleasant.

Apple Slicer Action

My son loves cutting up his own apples with this apple slicer gadget.

Where was I?  Oh, the kitchen gadgets.  Indignation.  I wasn’t exactly a hard core feminist when I met my husband, but I had been a professional woman supporting myself long enough in the wilds of Manhattan to have a heavy dose of tension when trying to divide up domestic duties with my new spouse.  Call it practical feminism, perhaps.  He worked for money.  I worked for money.  While the paychecks weren’t exactly equivalent, the time spent to earn them was.  We both needed and deserved equal rest and recreation, so it made perfectly good sense to me that we would both contribute equally in the care of our household.  So when I received gifts for the home and he got, well, socks, ties, games or puzzles, I wanted to shake my fists and scream.  This is not what I signed up for!  I’d swallow that lump of rage and try to accept my tools of domestic enslavement with as much graciousness that I could muster accepting that the culture from which he came would likely not be changed by me.

Mini Scoop

This mini scooper has been great for scooping up cookie dough. Especially the raw vegan kind :)

Time passed, babies came, and I’d like to think that I’ve mellowed with age.  He runs a company and I run a household, a couple of them, even.  Our roles and responsibilities are about as traditional as it gets and I consider it good fortune that I get to choose a career as flexible, creative, compassionate and gratifying as raising up my kids.  Not everyone finds satisfaction with child and household care, so I applaud all women who find work that fulfills them best.  Happy, responsible mommies, are the best mommies.  The end.  Only, to settle the age old pick-up-your-socks fight, we’ve hired a housekeeper.

Scrub Buds

Just got these Scrub Buds in my Xmas stocking. Steely and springy and won’t scratch. I think.

Today, I’m thrilled with my mother-in-laws nifty little gadget discoveries.  We get together and have a lot to share.  Last year I was all fired up from my Vitamix.  She was like, yeah, I’ve had one of those for ages.  My new dehydrator?  She scoffs (not really, because she’s too nice to scoff), kid, have you been living under a rock?  Ah, but I got her with my spiralizer.  Finally I have something fun and quirky (and useful) to share with her for our next visit – zucchini noodles.

What nifty little gadget can you never part with?

Raw Vegan Lasagna

2012-12-27 19.13.04For the holidays, I’ve been staying with my in-laws in sunny Arizona.  These family get-togethers are filled with a gazillion siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and baby bellies.  Oh the baby bellies!  I want to rub every one of them.

These reunions are also typically filled with a gazillion calories of every sort from Santa stocking treats to carb heavy brunches, decadent desserts – Aunt Sharon’s Yule Log (I wish I had a photo, it’s a work of art), peanut brittle, homemade caramels, Grandma’s toffee, sugar cookies, FROSTED sugar cookies, donuts, cakes, anything, everything imaginable.  It typically presents the biggest challenge when trying to eat clean.

Not this year.  Oh, the decadent treats are as abundant as in year’s past.  But this year I’ve got support among my siblings.  There are quite a few of us trying out, some mastering (Mara!) special diets as we have been focused on cleaning up our diets to treat different ailments from rare autoimmune disorders, infertility, IBS, acne, allergies, achy joints to simply trying to drop a few pounds.  Of the 18 people sleeping under a single roof, at least 8 of them are mostly gluten free and some even dairy free.  Just about all of us, at least the mommies, are pushing more fruits and veggies with every meal.  With all this social focus on better food, it makes it so much easier to eat well.

During one of the potluck gatherings, we were planning to serve a traditional lasagna filled to the brim with noodles, sauce and cheese.  Knowing ahead that there wouldn’t be a great deal of choices for me, I made up this vegan lasagna using thinly sliced veggies in place of noodles.  It was truly an experiment, and fortunately there are plenty of good recipes to work from online.  But preparing food for others makes me nervous, and I nearly scrapped the whole project when my zucchini didn’t soften sufficiently, and the tomato sauce was too tangy and brown.  With a little encouragement, I served it up anyways, and it was the first dish to disappear.

Noodles:  Slice lengthwise zucchini and yellow squash as thin as possible.  I tried using a mandoline for the first time and was a little shy of the blade, so my noodles were a little too thick.  Salt the noodles and set aside.  Slice tomatoes.

  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 tomatoes

Marinara Sauce inspired from RawMazing:  In hind site, I would try using more fresh tomatoes to lighten the sauce a bit.  Toss all ingredients in a food process and give it a whirl – chunky or smooth to suit your taste.

  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked about 15 minutes
  • 4 plum tomatoes, deseed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 4 dates, soaked and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Basil, Oregano, and other Italian herbs to taste

Pesto:  Process all ingredients until smooth.

  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 packed cups of fresh basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

Macadamia Nut Cheese inspired from Newly RawAdd all ingredients to blender and blend.  Or process (I just got tired of cleaning up the food processor over and over).

  • 2 cups macadamia nuts (raw, unsalted)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  1. Rinse zucchini and summer squash noodles and pat dry.
  2. Layer zucchini, tomato sauce, summer squash, pesto, tomato slices, and macadamia nut cheese.
  3. Sprinkle top with dollops of cheese and chopped parsley.
  4. Warm in oven or dehydrator.

So, in the end, I chickened out serving my guests a totally raw lasagna, so I warmed it for about 20 minutes at 200F.  Most of the sauces ran together from the heat, but that didn’t deter my guests from devouring it with gusto.  When I do this again, I will skip the pesto, and add fresh basil leaves or spinach as one of the layers.  I’ll be sure to slice the zucchini and summer squash much thinner.  And maybe even add a layer, or chunks of marinated portobello mushrooms for a meatier flavor.  I would say as is, it would serve 6, but I cut it small to share the love for our big family party.

I think of this as perfect crossover food.  Of course it wouldn’t pass as a traditional lasagna, but with the complexity of flavors and density of the dish, it was devoured by the most carnivorous men I know with many compliments.

Eat and Share with love.

Hide – Mom’s Got Scissors

About a week ago I had trimmed my bangs and for once, was happy with the results.  They looked hip (I’m not), a bit edgy (I’m not, really), and in spite of my crazy cowlick, they fell smoothly into place with little effort.  They would have been perfect if they were only a few millimeters shorter.  Today, I awoke with a slight fever (flu – bleh) and decided to remedy that.  Not so great results.  In my feverish state, I ruined a perfectly good fringe.  I was sweating bullets as I tried to fix and fix and fix it.

Cutting bangs will go on my list of things not to do when having a fever.

I least it’s not as bad as this haircut…


He’s so cute, though, he can survive a bad hair cut.

Someone should really hide the scissors – from me.  Fever or not.

Update 1/10/13:

Now that I’ve updated my Gravatar and other profile images, I might as well share it here.  FringeAlas, my hacked fringe.  I keep telling my son that the best cure for a bad hair cut is two weeks.  Three weeks later, and mine still seems just as hacked and goofy.


Juicy Tid Bits

Back to juicing.  Needless to say, I am no longer juice fasting.  I got to around day four and simply admitted that I just want dinner.  Juicing throughout the day wasn’t such a challenge, in fact, I really enjoyed the simplicity of preparing the juice at the beginning of the day and having all my meals and snacks ready when I needed them.  Feeding the family was and still is my greatest challenge.  I like to spend time with them around the dinner table, and with just juice for dinner in the face of their meals, sitting there felt like sheer hell.  Overall, juicing has more appeal to me now from this experience and I can envision including a fresh juice into my daily routine.

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in the country and got to play around with my Dad’s juicer.  He’s got one of those fabulous Breville Juice Fountains.  I could put an entire cucumber through the chute with no chopping.  Whole carrots, beets, radishes, no fuss!  It took minutes to juice for an entire day, versus the hour or more it takes with my own juicer.  However, before I start sounding like a cheesy infomercial, I’ve gotta say, it’s got some pitfalls.  The Breville is a centrifugal juicer and isn’t great with leafy greens, which is the base of most of my juices.  Cleanup is pretty simple, but the enthusiasm of quick and easy juicing faded when I saw that the pulp is still a tad wet and, well, juicy.  I feel a little guilty letting those valuable nutrients go to waste.  Now, I can see that if I included this in my arsenal of power tools, I’d probably juice more frequently.  I’ve just got to decide if I want to give up the cupboard space for another toy.  In the meantime, Dad’s offered me his to continue my test drive.  So generous.

Thanks, Dad.

PS:  This isn’t a sponsored post.  I haven’t gotten enough readers, yet, to make me interesting to Breville, I’m sure.  However, some day… if I am sponsored, I promise I’ll let you know.

A Little Love

I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner.  Yikes.  I mean, Hurray!  With guests.  So exciting!  Busy, busy, busy.  No time to write.  But just enough time to pass this along in case you haven’t seen it yet.

This little ditty from Love Everybody put a smile on my face this morning.

Next, I’m googling “how to cook a turkey”.

Juice Fast, Day 3

Complete.  I even spent the day at Ikea, and while Dad and his friend gobbled down those fabulous Swedish meatballs, I drank my quart of juice.  Oh lord, and I even made dinner for everyone tonight, and survived.

I think the most difficult part of fasting today was explaining why I was doing this.  To write it seems easier.  When I watched those two men in the movie, I wanted that change for myself.  I want to wake up with less pain.  I want to believe that cleaning up my diet really will improve my health.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I want to lose weight.  Want, want, want… meaningless words unless I take some action.

Juice Fast, Day 2

Can I really say that it’s day two of my juice fast when last night I accidentally ate a piece of pizza immediately after submitting my post?  It was an accident, really.  I wasn’t even feeling hungry.  I did need to get my little guy off to bed, and went downstairs into the pizza smelling heaven – no purgatory – that is my kitchen.   All the leftovers were left out.  Aarrgh.  While putting the food away, oops, I just took a bite.  Then the rest of the slice just disappeared.  Realizing that I was in enemy territory, I scooped up the kid and got out of there fast.

Looking back, I still count the day as a success.  Without my usual coffee in the morning, I had anticipated a terrible day with headaches and major brain fog.  I was more tired than usual, and my head felt a little tense, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.  What I didn’t plan for was the 20 plus urgent trips to the bathroom throughout the day.  I should have listened more carefully when one woman who tried the 10-day fast described something similar.  But if I had listened, I probably wouldn’t have started.

Today was a little better.  I woke up with a clear head and 2 pounds down – mostly water, I’m sure.  I had expected much worse caffeine withdrawals, but I won’t complain.  Before leaving for my morning driving rounds, I downed some juice I had prepared the day before.  Ideally, it is better to drink the juice as soon as it’s made.  However, setting myself up for success also means preparing some juice the night before so I have something for the morning rush.  Juicing for the day took about an hour and a half.  That seems excessive, but I ruined a batch by added a particularly hot jalapeno, then had to juice more veggies to tone it down.

Usually when I juice vegetables, I grab whatever I have in the fridge.  But I’ve gone through so many veggies (especially greens) that I needed a little bit more of a plan to help with the shopping.  I went straight to the website, Join the Reboot, that was mentioned in the movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  The plans are free as long as you make a profile.  I’m starting by following the Long Weekend, although I plan to extend it for 10 days instead of just 3.  They don’t have easy peasy shopping lists, but it doesn’t take much to transpose the recipes into a list of what’s needed.

Yesterday I tried both the Sunset Blend Juice (with sweet potato, carrots, red bell pepper, beets and apples) and the Gazpacho Juice (with tomatoes, cucumber, celery, red bell pepper, onion and parsley).  Both were delicious and a total diversion from what I typically juice.  I wasn’t so excited with the Citrus Green Juice, but it was much better after adding some ginger and lemon.

For tomorrow, I’ve got to plan a little.  Most of the day will be spent out of the house running errands with my dad, and a stop at Ikea is among them.  Oh, the Swedish Meatballs.  Sigh.