Thursday, April 29, 2010

this week's re-cap

hi bloggies! i'm glad many of you found the previous post helpful. anyone give the coco oil a try? =)

lindsay from passion homemaking has asked me to post the link for the updated homemade deodorant recipe. it's pretty much the same thing, just more coconut oil.

some of you wanted to know why i add lavender to my baking soda face scrub. originally it was added because i have a lavender plant and love the scent.

after some research i found that lavender balances the production of oils, stimulates cell growth, and has anti-fungal and anit-bacterial properties to prevent acne. then i learned that the latin word for lavender is lavare, which means to wash! how 'bout that?!


seeing green

during a trip to natural health i picked up some discounted wheatgrass, among lots of other goodies. (all the green tags mean discounted.)

since i don't own a juicer i blended the wheatgrass with some water and strained through a nut milk bag.

wheatgrass ceiling art
this is what happens when you forget the middle piece of the vita mix lid!

(for those unfamiliar with the many health benefits of wheatgrass, you can read excerpts from the wheatgrass book by ann wigmore here.) 

the result was almost 2 quarts diluted wheatgrass juice. i added some to our morning smoothie and to biggie's food. i'm not crazy about the taste so i took shots of the rest.

speaking of biggles, i had a phone consult with a homeopathic vet today. after i digest all the information he gave me, i will do a post to share what i learned from the phone call and a new book i've been reading, dr. pitcairn's complete guide to natural health for dogs and cats.

 this is the feed-me face i wake up to every morning. she means business!

raw soup was on the menu almost every night. since i was out of ripe avocado, i came up with a variation of jennifer cornbleet's cream of cucumber soup, posted by the lovely joanna on the raw freedom community forum.

2 small cucumbers, chopped
2 chard or collard leaves
small handful basil or cilantro
small handful cashews
1 garlic clove
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 2/3 C. hot water (depending on how creamy you'd like it)

mix all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy. this recipe serves two.

we like to top our raw soups with wakame and chia seeds.

chia seeds are also great on salads. (we're going through our 2 pound prize quick!)

this was a yummy meal of gluten-free rice vermicelli with cooked veggies. our days are pretty raw up until dinner, where about half our dinners include cooked foods.

we love rice vermicelli, but i would like to get back into making zucchini pasta. i'm using the fact that john works outside in the chilly weather and wants to come home to a warm meal as an excuse, but i won't be able to use that one in the summer!=)

i've found that i really enjoy the combination of cooked asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes. nom nom nom. the meal below was scrumptious! (again on a bed of rice vermicelli and topped with lemon and gina's hemp-esan)

our desserts have been mostly raw. when we want something sweet, quick and easy, we grab medjool dates or fresh fruit.

when i'm feeling a lil spunky i'll whip up a frozen treat in the food processor or vita mix, like...


a vanilla milkshake

to make i blended 3 frozen bananas, about one tablespoon vanilla water, and a small handful of cashews, then topped with blueberries. mmm!=)

so what are your plans for the weekend?

saturday we have yet another religious family obligation function (a communion). i'm happy that we'll get to see our nieces and nephews. sunday we're going to a vegan potluck brunch (yay!). i'm thinking of making chocolate avocado pudding or a raw raspberry cheesecake. we'll see if i get my butt to the store in time! =)

have a happy friday!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

homemade deodorant and face scrub

i've been excited to post this deodorant recipe for a while, but wanted to be sure it stood the test of sweaty days before i did. well, john is back to slaving working as a union electrician lifting pipes and digging trenches under the warm sun, and he comes home with pits smelling as sweet as a lemon drop!=)

for all you skeptical sweaty bettys (or eddies), this stuff really works! it's as good as, if not better, than any commercial brand out there. it almost works too good, so i just use it when i'm going out. i like to let my pits breathe.=)

this recipe came from the lovely passionate homemaking site:

Homemade Natural Deodorant


5-6 Tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch

Combine equal portions of baking soda and arrowroot powder. Then slowly add coconut oil and work it in with a spoon until it maintains the substance you desire. It should be about the same texture as the store bought kind, solid but able to be applied easily. You can either scoop this into your old dispensers or place in a small container with lid and apply with fingers with each use. After applying the product, you can just rub the remains into your hands as a lotion! This recipe lasts about 3 months for two people with regular daily use.

kelli's notes: some are reporting an itchy rash from this deodorant. if you have sensitive skin, i suggest halving the recipe and spot-testing one underarm.

edit: using less baking soda, about 2-3 tablespoons, also helps with the itchiness. 

if your coconut oil is too solid, simply warm it up by placing the jar in a dehydrator or warm water. coco oil melts at around 76° F.

to make a scented deodorant, add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil. i used lemongrass and love how fresh and clean it smells. rose and lavender also make for nice scents.


i've ditched most of the chemical-laden beauty products and simply use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with some dried lavender and a little warm water for washing my face.

since i've stopped using commercial face soaps, my face doesn't get dry like it used to. in the winter months, i moisturize the rare dry spots with a dab of organic virgin coconut oil or vitamin e.

since we're all adults here, i also want to share a little secret i learned from first magazine - coconut oil makes a great chemical-free lube. it really does! throw that ky crap out and put a little container of coco oil in your bed stand. you can thank me later ;)

wise words to live by: don't put anything on your skin you wouldn't eat.

i tried to go 'poo-free for a few months but felt a tad too greasy. i was washing my hair every few days with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar. it didn't work for me at the time, but i'm willing to try again. anyone else 'poo-free?

in the meantime, i'd like to find dr. bronner's soap and try lindsay's homemade shampoo recipe. i'll let you know how it works for me. if you use a homemade shampoo recipe, please share!=)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

yoga cups

happy 4-20!

the farmer's almanac garden calendar marks today as a good one for starting flower gardens, so after i amend the the trench johnny boy dug with compost, peat moss, and vermiculite, i'll be planting seeds and tubers on this gorgeous spring day. 

soon enough we'll be admiring sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, and wildflowers along that boring white fence. *keeping my fingers crossed*

in my last post i briefly mentioned the treats i made with averie's nut butter filled caramel bites recipe. 

well they were so stinkin' good, i just had to have them again! this time i made them in muffin cups and took pics of the process. 

first, i made averie's easy raw vegan caramels recipe by processing dates, cashews, walnuts, and vanilla water. (averie's recipe called for pine nuts but i didn't have any so i used half cashews/half walnuts.)

next i made heathy's basic dark chocolate recipe from her just desserts ebook. this is the BEST chocolate i have made, and i am wondering why my dodo brain didn't think of trying her recipe sooner?!

anyway, the muffin liners got about a teaspoon of the perfect raw chocolate, and i spooned some up the edges, about 1/3 of the way up the cup. i let the chocolate set in the freezer a few minutes...

spread a layer of caramel

a layer of almond butter

then topped it all off with another teaspoon of chocolate.

divine! these babies are best eaten straight from the freezer. (note: for easy peeling, grease the muffin cups first with coconut oil.)

thank you, averie and heathy, for creating and sharing two most delicious recipes!

i've decided to name these decadent treats Yoga Cups 1) for the two yoga goddesses, averie and heathy, and 2) because yoga means union, and these cups are quite the harmonious combination of chocolate, nut butter, nuts, and dried fruit.


enjoy your day, and stay tuned for an easy homemade deodorant recipe that really works!

Monday, April 19, 2010

food fight rematch, seedlings, and a biggie bio

above is a yummy meal i made after finding daiya's dairy-free "cheese style shreds" at my local whole foods in marlton, nj. the pizza shell is an ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla, topped with mozzarella style shreds, diced tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil, and hemp seeds. the salad is topped with avocado, mushrooms, and my sweet lime cilantro dressing.

Sweet Lime Cilantro Dressing
(makes about 1/3 cup)

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp agave
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 C. cilantro
1 garlic clove
pinch cayenne
pinch salt
pinch cumin

blend all ingredients until smooth.


the mozzarella style shreds made a delicious pizza, much like a dairy cheese pizza (melty and stretchy), but was it able to stand up to my raw pizza in a food fight?

no way! the cooked pizza on the right may look better, but in the taste department, raw pizza wins again.=)

the recipe below produces a "cheese" just as good as any dairy or fake dairy cheese, in my opinion. when warmed in the dehydrator a few hours, it tastes even better.

Quick and Easy Cashew Cheezy

2/3 C. raw cashews, soaked
1/4 C. water
1-2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes

process all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy.

though i prefer homemade raw cheeze, daiya mozzarella style shreds are tasty and convenient. in my opinion, the taste is more like melted american cheese than mozzarella, but it's still a nice flavor. any way you slice it, daiya shreds make a healthier cooked pizza alternative to take-out!

 image from

the site states that daiya is free of soy, artificial ingredients, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics, cholesterol, and trans fats. the shreds are also said to be an excellent source of a naturally occurring vegan vitamin B-12 as well as an excellent source of B vitamins in general. herbies gotta love that!


in the mood for a tuna sammie today, i decided to try happy herbivore's fat-free vegan tuna to find out for myself which is tastier - raw or cooked mock tunas.

the fat-free vegan tuna was super simple to make and absolutely delightful! i couldn't stop shoveling it into my mouth while prepping our "tuna melts" for the toaster oven.

daiya's cheddar style shreds are really yummy, and taste very similar to cheddar cheese, but did they make the sandwich better than raw oh my this is a tuna! on a collard wrap?

not at all! though it was really good, it didn't taste much like tuna. i'm going to call it creamy chickpea salad, and stick to oh my this is a tuna! when the cravings strike.=)


out in the garden my seedlings are starting to take off. look how cute they are!=)



(i've got some sprouts under fencing to keep the birds and squirrels away.)

tango leaf lettuce

sunset lettuce

and look what i spotted growing behind one of our compost bins...

a baby from one of last year's pansies!

i guess the seeds blew over and found a nice warm place to grow. i wonder if more will come up around the yard. (and people wonder why i don't like to cut my lawn!)

what have you got growing at your place?

we've got lotsss of clover... and a cat belly that keeps growing bigger!

for those who don't know, this is our old lady-baby, mrs. bigglesworth. i realize she was never properly introduced, so here's a brief biggie bio for those interested:

biggie is estimated to be about 15 years old. she was found outside a friend's house when her adopted mommy, kelli, was a teen. rumor had it she was abandoned by the neighbors when they moved. swept up in the new austin powers movie, the neighborhood children called her mrs. bigglesworth.

kelli's 2 y/o niece alaina pronounces biggie like "piggie", and thinks "piggie's so bootiful".

kelli and her father took piggles in about 12 years ago. she remained an outside cat where she lived the good life in the suburbs of south jersey. (of course she spent nights and unpleasant weather in the house.)

in the fall of '09, a vet found that biggles was in the early stages of renal failure (kidney failure). she was prescribed a subcutaneous injection of fluids once a week, which she sometimes takes without a problem. biggles also has arthritis in her back leg. but despite her health issues, she's a playful, happy kitty.=)

mrs. biggles lived with kelli's dad up until december '09, when she went to spend her twilight years at john and kelli's kitty retirement village (aka their house=). there she is loved and pampered around the clock. 

biggles loves coconut oil and tells you she wants some by scratching at the bathroom sink. she prefers to drink her water on the second floor of the house, in a black mug, thank you. (she can be a bit prissy.=)

as you can see little ms. biggles is super cute, and her people just adore her!
 look at that lil' mouth!


since dessert is always the perfect ending, i leave you with a plate of averie's nut butter filled caramel bites coated in chocolate. YUM! (if you haven't already, make sure you enter averie's giveaway for a super cute custom necklace!)


Friday, April 16, 2010

sweet treats from an even sweeter friend!

my day started pretty miserably. flo crashed in for her monthly visit and really brought the pain - bad cramps throughout my midsection and legs. i made myself some ginger tea and a smoothie, then laid in bed with biggles to moan and groan it out.

 my cozy lil' roly poly

then came a knock at my door - my package had arrived from nelly! in a cute insulated carrot bag! i have not been able to stop smiling. oh, and what cramps? (apparently moonie pies are an instant cure!=)

just a few days ago nelly told me if i won her giveaway, she would send me some moonie pies to sample, too, since i kept raving about how good they looked. then she wrote me, "you know what, you're probably going to think i'm a nerd....but i really want to send you the moonie pie now...just because you're such a swwwwweeeeeet little lady...and you make me laugh." how cute is she?!

not only did she send me her AMAZINGLY DELICIOUSLY DECADENT mylk chocolate moonie pies to sample, she also sent four packaged treats. how awesomely sweet is she?! (if you don't know about heathy's moonie pie challenge, you can join the fun here.)

and here are my treats! have i died and gone to heaven? am i dreaming? someone pinch me!=)

ok, let me just say i am not raving over nelly's moonie pies to be nice. they really are out of this world! like a creamy, fudgy, sweet, sexy, sophisticated brownie. they are truly amazing!

bravo, heathy and nelly for creating such tasty raw chocolaty treats! i have to admit, i was really intimidated when i saw them, but i think i'm going to purchase the moonie pie recipe book and try to make some myself. they're too good not to try!

 i felt as crappy as i looked until i bit into one of those moonies. (don't you love my 10 y/o spectacles?!=)

i am in awe of the timing. the package arrived when i really needed it. i feel a thousand times better! plus, i was able to sample nelly's moonies the day before the challenge deadline. GO NELLY!

  as you can see, they've sent me over the moon!

 "friends are kisses blown to us by angels..."
this is another affirmation for me that there are angels guiding us, loving us, comforting us, and forever reminding us of the sweet things in life, like good friends and raw desserts!=)

thank you again, nelly girl. i feel truly blessed to have connected with you and so many beautiful souls through blogging. i love you all, and wish you a super happy weekend!=)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

food fighttt!

the contenders
animal-friendly raw eats vs. their cooked counterparts


round 1:  rawcos vs. veggie tacos

on our left, we have rawcos (raw tacos) filled with veggies warmed in the dehydrator, a rendition of kristen's cheezy hemp nacho sauce, and carmella's guacamole supreme (minus the onions). served with a side salad covered in my sweet lime cilantro dressing. ooooohhh!

on our right, lightly cooked veggies in organic yellow corn shells, baked with daiya dairy-free cheddar style shreds. served with a side of cooked quinoa, corn, black beans, red peppers, and lots of spice! ahhhhhh!

the winner? veggie tacos! it was VERY close, but the tie breaker here was the shell. the raw taco shell was in between hard and chewy, and a little difficult to chew. when i eat taco shells, i like to feel some crunch!

round 2: the battle of the sammies

our raw contender is an avocado, mushroom, tomato, and romaine lettuce sandwich on matthew kenney's cumin flatbread, served next to a ceasar salad with heathy's caesar dressing, and a bubbies raw kosher dill pickle. the sandwich got a sprinkling of wakame inside for some crunch. (i love me some munching and crunching!=)

our cooked contender is a fried tomato sandwich with vegenaise, lettuce and sprouts on whole grain bread, with a side of my old favorite, tater tots. (can you believe it's been months since i made them?!=)

now i'm totally going on taste with the judging, and believe it or not, i'm choosing the raw sandwich meal over the fried! the raw sammie meal is just so fresh and flavorful. the cumin flatbread is out of this world, and heathy's caesar dressing is soo good and creamy. have you tried it yet?

round 3: raw and cooked vegan pizza duke it out!
(this could get ugly yummy!=)

homemade crispy raw yummies on the left double team the restaurant-made doughy pizza on the right. it's a close one, as italians sure know how to make a tomato pie, but nothing beats the crunchy crust and fabulous flavor of raw pizza with cashew cheeze. (i could eat raw pizza all day, every day!=)  

raw pizza takes the cake pie! (just look at how much more exciting raw pizza looks!=)

round 4: potato salad stand-off

cooked potato salad with vegenaise wins by a knock out! there's nothing like a classic traditional potato salad (minus the eggs, for the chickens' sake=).

the score is raw - 2 cooked - 2!

final round: the tussle of the tunas!

mock tuna sandwich image on the right from happy herbivore

on your left you see oh my this is a tuna in a collard wrap vs. fat-free vegan tuna salad made with chickpeas by happy herbivore. in my opinion, oh my this is a tuna could blow any tuna out of the water, but i haven't tried a chickpea version. i do love chickpeas, and happy herbivore's recipe sounds pretty darn tasty, so i think i'll leave this one up to the audience!

which would you prefer: oh my this is a tuna, or vegan tuna with chickpeas? (or, are you like john, and think tuna in all forms is gross and should only be fed to cats?=)


(be sure to enter the lovely antonella's giveaway. nelly is personally giving away some raw treats to a lucky reader, because she's just that sweet!=)

Friday, April 9, 2010

year of snow, crops will grow?

let's hope so!

the winter snow is a distant memory as we enjoyed a week of summer weather here, with temperatures in the 80's!

taking full advantage of the nice weather, i spent every day outdoors, and got lots done in our garden. as you can see we've added another box - this one 6 feet by 6 feet. our parsley and strawberry plants survived the winter, and the woodland strawberry plant is producing sweet little flowers.

always the procrastinator, i ordered my seeds much later than originally planned. thank goodness for Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds, as my package arrived in 3 just days! i comprised a list of the plants i plan to grow from seed this year. (seeds are from Baker's Creek unless otherwise noted).

Blue Curled Scotch Kale 
Detroit Dark Red Beet
Danvers 126 Half Long Carrot
Tall Telephone Garden Pea
Cherokee Trail of Tears Pole Bean
Royalty Purple Pod Bush Bean
Richmond Green Apple Cucumber
Sunset Lettuce
Break O' Day Tomato
Zucchini Black Beauty Squash

Botanical Interest Seeds:
Tango Leaf Lettuce
Red Velvet Lettuce
Little Gem Romaine

Basil - Genovese
Basil - Lemon
Dill Bouquet

Arikara Sunflower
German Chamomile
Echinacea Purpurea
Dahlias (tubers from Home Depot)

some seeds went straight in the garden, others were started indoors in containers of vermiculite. most of my planting was done on april 1st and 2nd, and there are already lots of little sprouts.

this is just my second year, so i've been using my beloved All New Square Foot Gardening book and the Farmer's Almanac Gardening by the Moon Calender as a guide for planting. for any other questions, i search or post on


the garden and the other little sprouts in my life really tired me out this week, so i took it easy in the kitchie.

here's bubbie, one of the adorable children i babysit. we like to go on "inbestigations" outside when the weather is nice.=)

this is my niece alaina, growing up so quick! she's playing at Spread Your Wings, the perfect indoor play place for little ones with lots of energy!

john and i were exhausted after a fun-filled overnight visit from alaina, so we treated ourselves to dinner at a local cuban restaurant where we enjoyed a relaxing dinner outside on their patio.

yucca fries with a side of spicy guacamole... mmm!


my prize arrived in the mail from a 2 pound bag of chia seeds giveaway hosted by the lovely candice at chiaseedme. ♪ ch-ch-ch-chia! ♪

candice has inspired me to sprinkle these super-seeds on top of my salads and soups.

i've got a nice system going for my dressings and soups with the new vitamix: after blending my dressings, i find there's a lot of the good stuff left in the bottom around the blades. what i like to do is make a raw soup in the container right after without washing. the dressing gives the soup a little kick of flavor, and since the soup is thinner than the dressing, there's less waste clinging to the bottom of the vita!


last but not least, i leave you with my first raw pie (and tastiest raw vegan dessert yet!): heavenly mudslide pie from Sweet Gratitude.

the title is fitting as this recipe must have been created by angels! seriously. so creamy and delicious, with all natural, plant-based ingredients, like cashews, coconut milk, almond milk, almond butter, cacao butter, cacao powder, and dates. (are you drooling yet?=)

swirling the fillings was so much fun! it reminded me of the days when i would do nail polish swirls on my nails. i watched bitt's video again for some guidance. my pie was "over-swirled" just a bit, but i'm very happy with the way it turned out.

which desserts do you enjoy making?
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