Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gifts for Dad on Mother's Day

I know that usually you would do something nice for your mother on Mother's Day, but we seemed to have it backwards this year. 
My dad has always enjoyed the outdoors. He's kept our family involved in all kinds of water activities from swimming to sailing. He took us skiing and ice boating in the winter months. He was my brother's scoutmaster, our friends' mentor, and an awesome role model of what a dad should be. 
My younger, older brother came down from New York City to visit on Mother's Day weekend. He repaired Pop's little remote sailboat toy and tested it out in the pool.
Later my sister and her hubs arrived armed with hammers, nails and lumber to repair Pop's dock. This made getting around the big boat a little easier for our dad.The youngest ones hammered down nails that popped up over the winter months and willingly ran to get extra tools as needed.
Once the dock repairs were under control, the little wind powered boat came back out to play in the big waters.
Pop's has been a sailing enthusiast all his life. When he married my mom, they honeymooned in Burmuda. They heard a new song (probably Lawrence Welk) and from that point on, it became "Their Song". Since then all of his sailboats have been named Yellow Bird. He seems to be happiest out on his boat. Of course, with one glance at these pictures, you can see why! 
Wednesday Night Racing

Since we had filled Mom and Dad's place with people (like 12?) we felt we should also fill their home with food. I brought my raw offerings to share:
My Guacamole and Raw Tortilla Chips
1 cup ground flax seeds

1 cup corn kernels

1/4 avocado

1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds

2 TB minced onion

2 tsp minced garlic
1 TB nutritional yeast

1 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

Blend, adding just enough water to thin
Place on teflex sheet in dehydrator for 4 hours turn over onto screen and give 4 more hours or until crispy.

And using two recipe suggestions thanks to my raw food friends
dealivinglotusflower and iheartrawfoods, I whipped up a cherry cheesecake using the ingredients I had in the kitchen:

My Raw Casheesecake

step 1 crust:
-process together:
1 cup raw pecan meal
1 cup raw coconut pulp leftover from making coconut milk

1/2 cup soaked dates (about 6-8 large)
1/4 cup shredded coconut

crust instructions:
-use spring form pan or 8 inch pie pan

-line bottom of pan with thin layer of shredded coconut to keep crust from sticking
-with moistened fingers, press the crust into the pan working up the sides

step 2 filling:
-blend together:

3 cups cashews (soaked one hour in 1/2 cup lemon juice & 1/2 cup water)

3/4 cup raw coconut oil (softened)
3/4 cup raw agave nectar

1/2 vanilla bean

filling instructions:
-blend (in your strongest blender) the soaked nuts with oil and nectar
-this will warm up, don't let it get hot
-pour/scrape mixture into your crust, using spatula to even it out
-put into freezer.

step 3 serving
top with
1/4 cup raw agave nectar
1 cup fruit

serving instructions:
-let sit out for half hour before serving
-either arrange fresh sliced fruit
-lightly process 2 cups fruit with agave nectar and spread over cheesecake after it has set.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'd like to live to be 99 years old, too!

My paternal grandparents were avid gardeners. Growing up, I was fortunate to have them right next door. During the summer I'd walk next door to visit and see what they were working on. My grandmother, we called her Mimi, had the most beautiful flower gardens, was president of a garden club, and passed much of what she knew on to my sister. I didn't pay attention, but my sister is slowly passing on this information to me in my old ages. My grandfather, we called him Grandaddy, had his Gi-Normous garden for fruits and veggies. It was lined with fruit trees, grape vines, and blackberry bushes. 

They both worked the garden all summer long. There were usually things to snack on throughout the summer. Each time I'd visit them while they were working in the garden, Mimi would point out what was ripening and send me home with something. There were 2 long rows of strawberries(Mimi made the best strawberry preserves), the blackberries were the biggest I've ever seen (or maybe I'm just remembering from a child's perspective) there were cherries on the cherry tree. There was a pear tree, but it was years before I noticed a pear on it. There were always huge, salty, red tomatoes. They grew asparagus, but I liked to pick the little red berries off the asparagus plants for my horse models. They looked like perfect mini apples. I'd sit out on the porch with Mimi, pulling the stringy ends off the green beans. Kale was usually on the dinner table every time we gathered there for dinner. The corn was silverqueen, silvery sweet, dainty little kernels. The grapes straight off the vines were a dark greenish purple, warm and sweet and juicy... I couldn't ever decide about the grapes, though. Was I supposed to eat the skin and spit out the seeds, or swallow the seeds and spit out the skin? I always tried them both ways. Equally satisfying. Not at all like the cold tart grapes I find at the store. The apple tree was right by the dock. It had golden apples ready to pick right before we'd head out on the boat.

At 99 years old, Grandaddy outlived Mimi by nearly 18 years. The garden is a patch of green grass now, the vines were cut down, the fruit trees are gone. At my sister's house, there are fruit trees and gardens and flowers everywhere... and, in her, our grandparents live on. I can still call her to ask questions like, "When should I plant this?" or, "How did Grandaddy plant the tomato plants?" 

As I work on my little garden of 20'x30', it gives me some longing for my grandparents, but also warm feelings from happy memories. I used my horses to graze down the tallest grass, tilled it, hoed it, raked it, and then planted the veggies that I know I can grow... sort of. My daughter, Willow, helped water, while I spread out the straw to keep down the weeds or keep the mud down, or something like that... it looks tidy anyway. I planted kale, tomatoes, sweet onions, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, red, yellow and green peppers, and there's one asparagus plant came back from last year.

Once Grandaddy said to me, "I don't live to eat, I eat to live." In an attempt to reprogram my eating habits and cravings, I'm going to do a JuiceFeast. On June 1st, I'm beginning a 92 day juice feast. This is in an attempt to re-program my eating habits. It ends early enough that I'll be back on regular raw food in time for the Raw Spirit Festival. I'll be a volunteer there(because I have the energy and good health -or- because I can). I already have my plane tickets and hotel room! I feel that this will begin the final part of my raw food journey, as I learn from these raw foodists around me the way of healthy life, peaceful acceptance, and the many other highlights I'm only just beginning to understand.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Grass Fueled Transportation!!

I'm a member of a local CSA and we get occasional emailings from the farmers, describing what's happening down on the farm. It's fun to hear about the organic, homegrown food that will soon be on our table. If I can't live on a hundred acre farm, it's the next best thing. These are a few clippings from the updates:

CSA Update April 20th titled April Showers:

"I have discovered that groundhogs love pea plants, that planting 400 lbs of seed potatoes equal over a mile in linear footage, 40 year old tires on equipment do rot out, and April showers really do matter.  Did you know they no longer manufacture 4.00x12 tires?"

CSA Update May 13th, titled Rice Farming?:

"Our rainfall total at the farm was 7 inches; 6 inches of that fell in 15 hours. Needless to say, we have experienced some damage to the crops and to the land.  The wind loosened up several row covers and bruised the lettuces and greens underneath; the extreme amount of water literally washed some plants out of the ground, while covering others up with mud" 

CSA Update May 22nd, 

"Today was a good example of farming.  I cut hay in the morning, felt pretty good about it since my 40 yr old haybine didn’t break down.  Then I went to clear out the multi-flora rose from around the barn that Patty is allergic to (“if you want me to pick veggies…”).  I figure a couple of hours with the chain saw and front end loader.  Seven hours later I finally finish replacing the water hydrant that was broken by the fence that was knocked over by the multi-flora which fought the tractor every step of the way.  Patty says she’ll pick veggies with me now." 

So yesterday my niece came over to go riding but instead we hooked up the horse and cart. We rode off to pick up our weekly veggie treasure. I asked hubs to take a few pictures as we left.

CSA Update yesterday: 

"I enjoyed seeing all of you who picked up boxes today. We really enjoyed having our first horse drawn pick up. One of our members arrived with her horse pulling a cart. It did my heart good to see her vegetable box attached to the back of the cart with a bungee cord as her lovely mare, Dusty, headed anxiously for home!"

We brought a box home, strapped to the back of our cart, labeled "Fresh Vegetables". Inside was a list of what the box contained. This weeks box had:

1 large bunch of bull's blood beets

1 lb of arugula

1 1/4 lb buttercrunch lettuce

2 heads of baby bok choy

6 cherriette radishes

6 candela di ghiaccio radishes (white)

As I'm still working on last week's kale, still just juicing up last weeks arugula, and still pushing last weeks butter crunch lettuce onto everyone's plate, now I'm not as concerned about my upcoming 92 day juice. I feel I'll be well stocked with green juice!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Suddenly Starving

Yesterday afternoon it finally warmed up again. On twitter, Tanawana mentioned that it was unusually chilly, "summer will be gone before it warms up". As I read his tweet, I began looking around for other signs of spring(besides bugs and leafy trees, I mean).

We have volunteer peach trees that pop up all over the place. I "gently" transplant some each year(i.e. rip them out by the stem, toss them out of my way, and they still grow). These same peach trees bless me with many bags of small bland peaches. They go into my freezer for enhancing my smoothies all winter. 

My two plum trees both blossomed earlier this spring. One tree is loaded with baby fruits already. They're two different variety of plums and they stand side by side, with a hammock hanging between them. The other plum had only one fruit that I could find. I rested on the hammock to ponder this. 

I had been working on receipts and mileages for reimbursements and suddenly it's noon, I'm supposed to run an errand, and I'm starving. I went into the kitchen to grab my lunch feast. In my bowl I chopped up:
baby kale
yellow dock
I had been thinking of dock leaves after dropping by Anthony's posts and chickweed after looking on Sergei's site. I made a dressing from:
raw apple cider vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
dried powdered mustard
dried powdered ginger
lemon pepper
garlic pepper
I poured half of it on the greens and massaged them in. Then instead of my usual slices of avocado, I smushed it(such a nice culinary description) and stirred it into the dressing mixture. I poured the rest on the salad before I remembered to add celtic salt. Trying a few bites, I decided that the chickweed seed pods taste nutty like sunflower seeds. 

I took my bowl outside to eat. My food always looks lovelier outside in sunshine. That's when I noticed the roses again. They're all over the bush. The blossomed all at once and now the petals are beginning to spread out. Soon they'll be dropping off. I checked for ants, saw non and threw handfuls onto my salad. They have a lemony flavor, the color was extreme in contrast to the greens. I loved it! 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yard Work and Yard Snacking

So, this morning, my husband woke me early and asked me if I could make him a raw lunch and a green smoothie. I jumped right on the opportunity to provide him something nutritious. If I didn't fix him some greens to go, he'd fix his usual 650mg can of sodium soup. This morning, I made a big green shake and split it 3 ways for me, hubs, and daughter, containing:
1 banana
1 apple
3 dates
half lb spinach
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
a little bit of cabbage
2 Tb green powder (mix of wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina, msn)
2 Tb cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
2 Tb almond butter
a glug of maple syrup (so they'll drink it)
water & ice
I would usually drink 2/3 of this myself for breakfast and save the rest for an afternoon snack, but I can always make more!

For lunch he got kale, arugula, carrots, cabbage, celery, tomato, butter crunch lettuce, and black & garbanso beans. I had the same later, but instead of the beans I added avocado and a raw dressing of apple cider vinegar, tahini, lemon pepper, celtic salt, kelp, and dulse. I snacked in between breakfast and lunch, as you'll see at the bottom of the page.

In exchange for my willingness to climb out of bed so early just for him, he helped me run the fencing material down to the neighbor's front yard. They usually mow it, but with the gas prices, they're more than happy to let my horses chow down. It took less than one hour to set it up. Made of lightweight nylon tape with little strands of wire running through it. It uses a solar powered battery and sends out a mild shock pulse. I really don't even need to turn it on; the horses are happy to stay put. I placed the camera on the neighbor's mailbox, set the timer, and ran out to pose with my equines. This is me and my grey arabian, Sweetie. She's 25 years old. The chestnut (rusty colored)horse is Dusty. She's Sweetie's 6 year old baby half arab, half quarterhorse.

While out doing yardwork, I brought along my camera for picture ideas, and my cell to keep up with Twitters. I had the ipod on to keep motivated. While I was setting up a gate and repairing a fence, I discovered the green briar is putting out new baby shoots. They taste a bit like green beans. I picked a bunch and ate them on the go. I also found some
summer berries that were ripe. Not really sweet, but cool and crisp. I thought about how nice they'd taste in a sweet raw cashew cream... Maybe next time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Very First Blog

Greetings! I'm pleased to announce the hatching of Rawbin's Raw Bin. I considered linking a hatching chick here, but I got sidetracked with a peep show. Then I found a video of a Robin that I liked better.
Here's a whiney history about me and food health:

Throughout my youth I was thin, active, energetic, and healthy. I could eat anything I wanted. There were four of us kids,
(I was the baby) all involved in different activities during the day, but as soon as Dad came home from work each evening, we'd all gather together for dinner. We sat at the table to a serving of canned fruit, cooked veggies, meat, and starch on each plate. Mom cooked it, Dad served it up, carefully dividing it between 4 kids and 2 adults. We had to eat fast to make sure we didn't miss out on seconds. There was rarely any left over. We didn't often have dessert, but we always celebrated happy events by going out to eat or by having a bowl of ice cream. Looking back, I think that to me, food was comfort; it represented tradition, family gatherings, celebrations, happiness, success... 

When I married & moved away, eating out ceased. We didn't have much food, but I gained weight quite well when pregnant with 2 children. I lost much of the weight during a separation and divorce. Once I remarried, eating was good. We ate out often and we ate well. There was frequently an excuse to eat out. We usually had dessert most weekends and sometimes midweek. By 2004 I had grown beyond 200 pounds. 
That fall, I had my first attack of diverticulitis(severe pain, intestinal bleeding and blockage). I was hospitalized for a week on antibiotics and clear liquids. A year later, I started to have progressively worsening intestinal infections, repeating monthly rounds of antibiotics. I felt a bit better on clear protein drinks. In spring 2006, because of my illness, I lost a few pounds per month. I was frequently on antibiotics but was feeling exhausted all the time. I opted for the partial colectomy in August 2006, removing 1/3 of my colon, as well as my appendix. They discovered a gastrointestinal carcinoid tumor, which supposedly "increases the risk of forming other cancers of the digestive system".

I was back in the hospital within a month for severe abdominal pains. Back on clear liquids. Back on antibiotics. It seemed that I also had endometriosis and the scar tissue was choking off my intestines, which had caused the perforations and diverticulitis. I began to notice that I felt my best when I just plain didn't eat. 6 months later, still having digestive troubles, I had a total hysterectomy. It helped some. Although I cut out wheat and added pro-biotics, I still had stomach aches/painful digestion daily. The last surgeon said that I should try to put off my next abdominal surgery for as long as possible. "What next surgery?" I thought this was it. I was done, right? He explained, that he had seen my intestines and there will be another surgery.

Due to allergies, I started cutting out foods that seemed to trigger pain and 
indigestion. First I cut out all glutens. For years I knew I had a lactose intolerance, but suddenly I couldn't tolerate any dairy. I was told to eat a bland diet of soft foods; white bread, no salads, just overcooked veggies. I was tired, irritable, foggy headed, achy, had poor color, acne, itchy skin, dry brittle hair. I was craving salads! I felt I wasn't getting enough from the nauseating broth or other clear liquids. I was looking for something different. I started making green smoothies. I'd add some greens to my morning protein shake and immediately felt less wiped out.

I was working with a girl(Shannon) who was into some crazy diet. She kept talking about how she was only eating raw food! I didn't think much of it, "Like, where do you get you protein??"  

Then, in August of 2007, I met Brigitte Mars at the Women's Herbal Conference. I bought her Rawsome! book and video and I quickly switched to about 70-80% raw. By December (when I discovered the support on GI2MR) I began to cut out all dairy, grains, and meats. 

I've noticed that the days after I eat entirely RAW, are the days that I feel best. I have lots of energy and I'm pain free! I began to set daily goals of 100% raw. I hit it most days.

I'm taking in large quantities of fresh greens and I've discovered how raw food makes all the difference. I've had acne since my teen years, but now I can't remember when I last had a bad spot. My hair doesn't need washing nearly as often, but it's shinier and it's not breaking off as much. I used to have trouble sleeping and now I'm not waking with numb limbs and achy joints. My fingernails are not thin and brittle. For the first time in many years, I've got lots of energy, a happy belly and a positive outlook. My food tastes better, I don't eat as much. I'm less hungry. I'm full faster. I take great pleasure in preparing, arranging, tasting, and eating my food. 

I'm down from 208 to 168 and this has granted me feelings of self worth and happiness that I remember from my thinner days.

For those who have actually read this far, I'd like to thank you for letting me share myself with you. I came across a video today. I've listened to this song before, but never actually considered the words or visuals that the artist chose. I felt a connection with it: Exposed and alone, yet loved and renewed.