Tuesday, January 28, 2014

hemp heart patties

last night we tried the hemp veggie burgers and they were delicious. and johnny boy agreed. yay!=)

as mentioned previously, the original recipe from delightfully raw calls for irish moss paste to bind the patty all together. since i was out of irish moss, i thought that psyllium powder mixed in water would do the job, and it worked, phew! i also used flax in place of chia seeds because i am out of them too, and i changed the seasonings, having recently discovered the joy of cumin + coriander.

these burger patties may seem like a lot of work, and i'm going to be honest and say they kind of are, because of some extra steps. but these steps keep the patties easy to digest, so you put in a little extra kitchen effort to give your body a boost and your tummy a rest. not a bad payoff, eh?

hemp heart patties
adapted from carmella's hemp veggie burgers

makes 6 burgers

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked
1/2 cup raw walnuts, soaked
1 T psyllium powder
1/4 cup water
1 T flax, ground
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/3 cup chopped button mushroom
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp chipotle powder

1. soak sunflower seeds and walnuts in cool water for at least four hours, or overnight.

2. mix psyllium powder and ground flax in water. this will form a gel to bind the patty.

3. process the soaked sunflower seeds, walnuts, gel mixture, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. you will need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. transfer the mixture to a bowl.

4. add the rest of the ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

5. drop a little less than 1/2 cup of batter onto a teflex sheet and form into patties (or drop into cookie cutter for shapes). dehydrate at 110 degrees for 2 hours. flip onto mesh and continue dehydrating until patty is firm but moist in the center (at least five hours).

these burgers are raw, so they're not the kind of veggie burger you'd want on a bun. that's why i called them patties and placed them on a bed of mixed greens with a creamy chiptole dressing. they would also be nice in a green bun like collard or romaine.

creamy chipotle dressing

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1 T lemon juice
few pinches chipotle powder, to taste

blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth.

tonight i came home to the smell of dinner cooking in the crock-pot. that magnificant chili made my whole day. it had the perfect amount of heat with one large jalapeno, but i have to say it was pretty spicy! i modified the recipe to include the heat factor, and i also added carrot.

john loved the chili too! woohoo! two for two.=)

i hope you're having a great week! stay warm, my fellow freezing cold friends!


Monday, January 27, 2014

music monday : joshua radin + priscilla ahn

joshua radin's music brings me back to the early years with my johnny bear. (i was watching a lot of grey's anatomy back then.=)

it hasn't felt like home
before you


Sunday, January 26, 2014

week of meals

typing out my meal plan last week was so fun and helpful that i've decided to do it again. as i said before, the list changes with ingredient availability and what i'm in the mood for. here is my list for this week:

we're in for yet another week of freezing cold temperatures. i'm eliciting the help of jalapenos and hearty bowls of steamy hot goodness to keep us warm. plus mugs of hot herbal tea with local raw honey. mmm.

my mom came over today with her delicious bean soup, cozy slippers (she bought me a pair for christmas but they were too small. see?) and she brought her slow cooker for me to borrow (which means it's mine now bahaha=). in the morning i plan to throw my chili and soups in so i can just come home and relax with my piping hot, home-cooked meals. ahhh.=)

four-bean vegan chili
adapted from the best vegetarian chili in the world

yields about 8 cups/servings


1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced*
2 sweet bell peppers, green and red, seeded and chopped
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
3 1/2 C (or 28 oz. can) crushed tomatoes
1 T chili powder
2 bay leaves
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander
salt and pepper, to taste
2 C cooked (or 15 oz. can) each of black, pinto, kidney, and garbanzo beans


1. gather ingredients. chop peppers, using gloves to protect your skin from the jalapeno oil. if using fresh tomatoes, pulse in food processor until chunky.

2. heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. stir in garlic, peppers and carrot and cook a few minutes.

3. add tomatoes and seasonings, to taste. bring to a boil.

4. stir in beans, cover, lower heat and simmer about 25 minutes.
add cooked grains, like quinoa or millet, and serve over greens for a balanced meal. or dip with your favorite bread or chips.
you can "fatten up" the flavor a bit with a tablespoon or two of butter. i like the flavor of earth balance's soy-free vegan butter. it tastes great!
 *edit: one jalapeno makes the chili medium spicy and two very hot! for a mild chili, discard the seeds from the jalapeno or omit jalapeno altogether.

today i cooked up a big batch of kidney beans to use in our chili and with our delicata squash. the rest will be frozen in pint jars for future use. in the dehydrator are hemp veggie burgers and nori snacks. both recipes are in carmella's delightfully raw uncook book. i had to change the hemp burger recipe up a bit because i'm out of irish moss. if it works out i'll post the adapted recipe.

want to make soon:

sweet potato fries with spicy cashew aioli

chickpea coconut curry (crock pot recipe)

almond and cacao biscotti

what's on the menu for you this week?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

winter fun: a tale of two feet

ok, i'm not sure where to start this post so i'll just go ahead and tell you that i have big feet. and the left one is bigger than the right. and if i'm not going crazy, i think they're still growing. i know, very weird. so now a bigger size usually fits the bigger foot in length, but they are way too wide. my feet are swimming.

i'm long and narrow. negative curves so there's just no balance. when i walk into a room, i really walk into a room. shoes a clunking. big ol' shoes. no matter how cute a shoe is, it is just not cute anymore in a large size. see for yourself. it's just so sad. why didn't my mother bind my feet?! (totally kidding. i read what that was like. not even funny kelli.)

in high school i just had to wear this outift that i thought made me look oh so fashionable and sophisticated. problem was, i didn't have the right shoes. my friend up the street did, but she was barely 5 foot and could still wear a kid's shoe. so what did i do? suffered eight hours of torture in her tiny heeled boots, carrying around a big ol' bag of heavy textbooks better yet. i'm surprised i didn't tip over. would i do it again? you bet your ass i would. that outfit was classy!=)

ha, no really, i wish i didn't treat my feet that way. i wish i could say that was the only time i did that. but i always wore shoes a little snug. the smaller the cuter. it was normal for my feet to feel pinched and sore at the end of the day. very sad, i know. what was that saying...pain is beauty...?

but, ladies and gentleman, nation, i am here to say here and now, on and for the record, on this cold and snowy 25th day of january, that i am hereby and henceforth...setting my footsies free!

and that is why you may see me around town wearing a big ol' pair of totes boots with a tag on the tongue that reads: winter fun. yes, my boots have a message for you.

don't think i don't know how silly they are. john actually picked them out for me because he was tired of me complaining that i just wanted a good comfy boot!

"here, try these on."

"they're totes. don't they make umbrellas?"

"just try them on. they're a good solid shoe."

"ohhh, these feel niceee. but they say winter fun!"

"who cares. no one'll see that."

yeah, no one will notice my big ginormous boots with the snowflake on the tongue. and words. on my boot tongue.

but i love them. they're soft. they keep my feet warm. and they keep me from breaking my neck. 

and after he watched me trekking in the snowy icy parking lot to return my overdue library books, he said to me, now aren't you glad you bought those boots? why yes, john, actually i am. but i still wish they didn't say winter fun.

what do you mean? john said with a chuckle. those boots are you! that's like the title of one of your blog posts! (no john, actually that one was called snow fun. like so fun. or no fun. get it?)

and then it hit me like a snowball right in the face.

i am someone who would wear the words winter fun on my boots.

and i would call a post winter fun.

and there you have it.

snow what?=)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

another snow day

can you tell kati's sick of the snow? today she couldn't find a dry spot to do her business. she was so cute hopping in the snow, though. but then she kept whining at me like i should go dig her a hole or something. go in your box! i said. after sniffing it forever she finally did. then she sat in there and buried her business for a good two minutes straight. she apparently has litter box issues.

for lunch i put together a little platter with those nori wraps i was telling you about. this time i added raisins and mung bean sprouts. it was john's idea to add raisins. that man is a genius.

however, he made it very clear to me again today that he does not like tahini. ta-hiney he called it. fresh. an incident with tahini cookies a few years ago has left the man scarred. we won't get into it. i was a little annoyed because i made the hummus with a quarter of the tahini the recipe called for so he wouldn't taste it. but he knew it was in there so of course he said he could taste it. lies! last night he admitted the curry flax crackers were really good but today he doesn't like curry, wouldn't you know...so he wouldn't eat any of those either. bah! oh well johnny boy, more for me!=)

as i mentioned before, my chiropractor recommended i consume more bromelain and circumin to help ease my aches. bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple said to naturally relieve pain and inflammation. most of the bromelain is in the pineapple core so i grind those babies right up in my smoothies. i love to munch on pineapple throughout the week when i'm craving something sweet. the ones at the market that look more golden yellow than green are the sweetest ones, i've found.

circumin is in turmeric which is in curry powder, if i'm understanding correctly. circumin has been shown to fight everything from cancer to diabetes. it also helps with inflammation and arthritis pain. according to dr. connealy's nice article on circumin's many benefits, circumin can do the following:

  • combat cancer stem cells (where cancer begins) as well as multidrug-resistant cancer
  • reduce out-of-control inflammation
  • help maintain healthy cells and neutralize damaging free radicals
  • protect against the ravages of aging
  • enhance heart health and inhibit the formation of LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • prevent blood platelets from sticking together, which improves circulation and minimizes the likelihood of blood clots
  • counteract damage caused by radiation
  • protect against Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions
  • help maintain healthy, pain-free joints
  • support healthy kidneys and liver
  • encourage the body’s own detoxification efforts and help eliminate such health-damaging contaminants as heavy metals

amazing, isn't it?! now you see why i've been trying to make things with curry and turmeric. since it hasn't been easy to please everyone's taste buds around here, i'm going to look for a supplement so john and i can both reap the benefits of circumin. if you can recommend a good brand of turmeric supplements, please do! john says new chapter because they're non-gmo. yes? no?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

week of meals

at the start of the week, i like to jot down meal ideas and carry them with me in my little binder. the list changes with produce availability and what i'm in the mood for, but it's always there for reference. here is my list for this week:


  • vegan minestrone soup with salad
  • vegetable stir-fry with white rice
  • lentil and potato soup
  • raw pizza with salad
  • persian tah dig

it's freezing cold out (snowing as i type this), so soup is on the menu twice this week. when i make soup, i try to double or even triple the recipe so i can freeze the rest in jars for those days when i just don't feel like cooking. they also make great quick lunches for when i'm babysitting.
edit: when freezing in glass jars, leave at least an inch headspace to prevent cracking.

white rice is easy to digest and when i cook it, i make extra for another meal. this saves time and energy. that is why i'm trying persian tah dig this week - to use up the leftover rice, and also to use up the big bag of organic potatoes i bought. (persian tah dig, i just learned, is an iranian dish with rice and potatoes.) i'm going to add turmeric since i'm always looking for ways to get it in.

i bought a big bag of russet potatoes with the vow to use every last spud. (too many times they spoil before i get to use them all). chopped potatoes made their way into the minestrone soup and next week i'm thinking of making baked potatoes loaded with veggies.

back to the rice - cooking rice used to intimidate me until i found this perfect white rice recipe.

perfect white rice (pressure-cooked)

2 cups long grain white rice
3 cups water
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

rinse rice well. in a pressure cooker with the lid locked, bring all ingredients to pressure and cook for 7 minutes, turning the heat down to medium. then turn the heat off and let the pot sit for 15 minutes. do not open the lid. the rice will continue to cook in the pot. open lid carefully after 15 minutes and fluff with a fork.

with my stir-fries, i just saute an assortment of vegetables with soy sauce and oil, then add the cooked rice to heat it. stir-fries are so simple and they make my favorite kind of leftovers. some veggies i've used in my stir-fries are: broccoli, bok choy, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, peas, green beans, cabbage and zucchini or yellow squash. 

over the weekend i began to sprout mung beans. they'll make a nice raw element for our stir-fry. i may also sprinkle some on our raw pizza, soup and salads. sprouting beans and seeds is so easy and a great way to grow some of our own food during the winter months. see my tutorial here.


  • leftover soup
  • nori wraps with avocado
  • mashed avocado and toast
  • smoothies with green powder
  • red lentils with nutritional yeast 

my favorite quick lunch right now is simply sliced avocado wrapped up in a nori sheet. so easy, yummy, and nutritious to boot! i just got the idea to add the mung bean sprouts to them, too!

red lentils are also great when you're short on time because they cook up so quickly. i just place about a quarter cup red lentils in a pot with about a half cup water and boil a few minutes until they're tender. with a little olive oil or butter, nutritional yeast flakes and salt, they're divine!


  • carrot curry flax crackers with hummus
  • dehydrated mangoes
  • coconut yogurt
  • steamed non-gmo edamame
  • fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges, pinapple)

as i mentioned last night, i made a sweet and savory flax cracker with carrot, curry and raisins. flax crackers are my go-to because they're easy for me to make and i like that they're high in omega-3's. i just happened to come across an article today that said eating the flax seeds provides much more nutrition than the flaxseed oil supplements. i also enjoy their crunchiness, though the seeds sticking to my teeth are still very annoying. they're worth it though.

carrot curry flax crackers with raisins

1 cup raw flax seeds
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 raw shelled hemp seeds
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup shredded carrot (about 2 carrots)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
1/2 tsp bragg's liquid aminos (optional)

place seeds and raisins in a large bowl with enough water to cover and let them soak for about an hour. add carrot and seasonings and stir. if the batter seems too stiff, mix in a little bit more water.

spread batter over two teflex sheets and dehydrate at 115 degrees until dry, flipping halfway onto mesh screens. if you don't have a dehydrator, these could probably be baked in the oven on the lowest temperature with the oven door cracked, but keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

so there you have it - a week full of animal-friendly meals. (i left out breakfast because i usually just eat a banana.) this post was fun to put together and i got even more ideas as i was writing, so i will definitely try to do this again! what are you excited about making this week?

Monday, January 20, 2014

photos from today

though more snow is in the forecast for tomorrow, the pretty sunset after 5 pm had me thinking of spring. only 2 more months to go, and february's a short month!;)

it cracks me up to watch kati clean her feet. she spreads her toes all out and chews on them. (kati never did warm up to our little houseguest, though she did allow sweet annie to sleep in our bed.)

a few months ago i won a blog giveaway for kevita sparkling probiotic drink. the local health food store ordered some for me and i tried the lemon cayenne flavor. it was pretty good - not at all spicy like i was expecting. they also gave me a scoby so i can make my own again. need to get on that.

today i made a huge mess batch of minestrone soup - enough for three dinners and three lunches. we had some tonight, we'll have leftovers tomorrow and the rest of the jars were put in the freezer. last week i wasn't feeling good and all i wanted was homemade soup. now i feel prepared.

our mangoes were ripe but bland so i decided to dry them out. now they're perfectly sweet. yum, and chewy, like candy. while the mangoes were in the dehydrator all day, i also restocked raw pizza crusts and created carrot curry flax crackers with raisins that i can't seem to stop eating. i'll tell you about those soon. sleep tight my friends!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

adventures in kitten sitting

little annie's been here a few days and though kati is still not happy about this intrusion, there have been no fights (knock on wood) so i say it's going pretty well. poor annie was so scared at first that she hid in the basement. but she got more and more brave and is now venturing all over the house, even asking us for pets and playtime. annie loves crumpled balls of paper and will exhaust herself smacking them around the kitchen. she snatches every toy we give her and after prancing around with her catch, she'll hoard it in the basement with the rest of her collection. she's so stinkin cute!

if i'm playing with annie and kati is coming, john will give a warning cry so i don't caught. i'll even change my outfit if annie rubs all over me. anitra frazier advises in her book the natural cat not to let your cat see or smell that you're playing with the new cat because she will feel threatened and retaliate. i have to sneak around here like i'm cheating! i'm saying to her in my best bill voice, i did not have feline-al relations with that cat.=)

it's funny, annie seems to be more cautious with me and john than of kati who keeps hissing at her. she follows kati around and seems to be saying play with me! kati wants nothing to do with her, but we're still hoping they become friends before annie goes home next weekend. we'll see!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

cranberry coconut smoothie

rarely do i ever feel like making a smoothie, but never do i regret it! i wrote the ingredients down and made this one again, it's so darn good. it's even delicious after adding two teaspoons of spirulina! i think its the balance of sweet, creamy, tart and citrus that makes it go down so smoothly. any variation of these ingredients would taste great, so feel free to play around!

2 frozen bananas
1 cup young thai coconut meat
1 apple, chopped
1 tangerine or orange, seeded
handful of cranberries
handful of baby carrots
juice from half a lemon

blend until smooth and creamy, adding water slowly to reach desired consistency. serves two.

it was a happy day when we discovered young thai coconuts at the local produce outlet. i love that one young coconut packs around one cup each coconut water for drinking and coconut meat for use in smoothies and raw desserts (ice cream, pie, pudding, etc.) fresh coconut water is just about the most refreshing drink i've ever had. full of electrolytes and so hydrating!

if you're new to opening coconuts, you might want to watch a video or look at a tutorial. also, i recommend doing it outside on the cement or on a very sturdy surface. i damaged our counter, so if you think yours can't handle it, don't risk it. (it's retracting from the wall. whoops!) open your coconut over a bowl to collect the water, and strain it to remove the husk chips before drinking.

if i'm not going to use the coconut meat right away, i pack it in a mason jar and freeze it. it's great to have on hand for a quick smoothie or a tropical blissard. i plan to use coconut meat for homemade yogurt and sweet gratitude's coconut cream pie. i'll let you know if i do!

Friday, January 3, 2014

butterfly garden inspiration

the new year gets me excited for gardening. the first seed catalog has arrived in the mail and i'll be starting my broccoli and cabbage indoors at the end of the month. these are some photos i saved last year when planning the butterfly garden. i'm sorry i didn't save the links to the original sources.

when there's snow on the ground and the temperatures are well below freezing, it's nice to sit and dream of warmer days in the garden. this year i'm going with the idea 'less is more'. this way i can focus on growing healthier plants rather than just trying to grow whatever i can get my hands on. our plants get lost in the weeds that way, but we'll see if i can limit myself when the time comes.

happy 2014!
may it be a wonderful year for you and your family
(furbabies included of course.=)
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