Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Words of wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi

“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” - Francis of Assisi

I love this quote. It makes me think of how we can look at something in hindsight, and wonder how we ever pulled it off. It's those times when we did accomplish something that we thought was impossible, but out of need we make it happen. In a way, this puts my journey to renewed health in prospective for me.

"Start by doing what's necessary,

Change. That was what was necessary for me. I just could not keep going down the path I was following. My fibromyalgia was getting the best of me, I was at my heaviest weight ever, my cholesterol had skyrocked, I was unhappy with myself and life in general. Something had to give. Something had to change. I wanted my life back.

then what's possible,

Along comes a conversation with my doctor. Dr. Michael Malloy opened a door for me that made change possible. With that conversation, some research and a little bit of knowledge, I embarked on my journey to renewed health. It wasn't even hard. As a matter of fact it was very exciting, and still is! In a very short time many things changed for me. My cholesterol dropped, my pain level was remarkably reduced, I shed pounds, allergy problems disappeared, I had energy, and it was wonderful to feel good again. The change that was necessary happened, and it was possible.

and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

So here I am now, at a place that I thought I would ever be in again. I had resigned myself that the way I felt was just part of getting old, that everyone has something to deal with so I just needed to accept my ailments and adapt. If someone told me two years ago that I would become a vegan, eat a high raw diet, and feel great, I would have thought it to be quite impossible.

The good news is what was necessary became possible and before I knew it, I had done what I perceived to be the impossible.

What do you need to do to be doing the impossible?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Raw Soup Away from Home

I sure wish I had a blender and a juicer at work. Oh how nice that would be! It would make lunch time so fun. I especially like raw soups and I could just whip them right up on the spot. But, since that isn't the case, it requires improvising.

Remember my post, Afternoon Delight, where I talked about being organized and bagging up veggies to juice or to use for soup? Well, it actually works quite well. Here is how I can have raw soup away from home.

Before I left home I got out my handy bag of veggies that were all combined and cut, and dumped them in the blender. Next all the pre-measured spices got added, a little Tahiti and water and in less than three minutes I had Green Bandito Soup. This soup recipe is from my friend Kat. You can check her website to get it. Oh my, it smelled so good! It was all I could do not to eat it for breakfast!!

It filled two mason jars, one for today and one for tomorrow (or maybe even tonight!). 

I added some mung bean sprouts and an avocado to my jar of soup and packed it all together in my lunch box.

About 45 minutes before lunch I filled a Tupperware container with hot water. The hot water spout from our coffee maker really came in handy for this. Instant hot water! I changed the water one more time half way through and by lunch time the soup was perfect. Warmer than room temperature, but not so hot that the amazing enzymes from the vegetables and greens would be destroyed.

I added the soup to a bowl, garnished it with sprouts, chopped avocado and pepper, and lunch was ready.

Simple pure food in the bowl,
followed by extraordinary nutrients doing magic in my body!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Afternoon Delight

Now you knew this was what I was talking about. Right?

This was a great weekend. We got yard work and projects done, watched a movie, had company, twice, I did some knitting, played in the kitchen, and got really organized for the week. I made a pot of Red Lentil and Curry Squash Stew for my husband's lunches this week. I chopped and packed up a bag of veggies for Green Bandito Soup, my friend Kat's recipe, that she made on Friday night at Whole Foods. I got my veggies ready for juice. 

This is how I make raw food fast food!

Desserts are one of my favorite raw food creations. They can be really quick and uncomplicated. After watching a few YouTube's recently, I was inspired by Dara Dubinet, to make this creation today. Many raw desserts have a nut base to the recipe, and Dara made a cream sauce using hemp seeds instead of nuts, and that was intriguing to me, so of course, I had to make it!

First I melted the cacao butter and coconut oil, and then added it to sifted cacao with some honey and a pinch of salt.

After it was blended well I put the chocolate in a squeeze bottle for later.

The hemp seed cream was easy to make: water, hemp seed, frozen banana, dates, vanilla and a pinch of salt. It came out with just the right thickness and sweetness to do the trick.

The third part of this recipe is the strawberries.

After washing them, removing the stems and quartering them, they were ready to combine with the chocolate and hemp cream. I picked two pretty crystal wine glasses and layered everything twice. A few cacao nibs sprinkled on top, and there you have it . . .

afternoon delight for two!

We don't often even have dessert, so to have one in the middle of the afternoon was a nice treat. If we could have gotten our tongues down into the glass I think we would have licked it clean. As it turned out, we were pretty good at scraping!

After dessert we decided we needed dinner. We headed to Dilly Deli, only to find out it was closed. Chalkboard restaurant has a new veggie burger so we thought we'd go there and check it out. Well, it is only available on the lunch menu. Strike two. So when all else fails, we go to our favorite place: our own kitchen! 

Two romaine wraps and a fresh ear of corn. Home run!

It really is true, there is no place like home!

Oh, back to afternoon delight. Do you remember that song? I only remembered the part, 
"Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, 
gonna grab some afternoon delight. 
Star rockets in flight. 
Afternoon delight. Afternoon delight."

So I looked up the words
Hmmmmm . . . 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

This time I was not a guest.

I was a volunteer.

There is really something very gratifying about being a volunteer. Especially when it is something that is a passion. My husband is the king of volunteers. He has volunteered at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum for well over ten years regularly, he's chaired our town's Park and Recreation Board for 6 or 8 years, and just recently agreed to serve on a board for the museum's planetarium. Those are his passions and he shares his time and talents generously.

What would the world do without volunteers???

One of my passions is being a vegan. I know that is hard for many to understand, but being a vegan is what gave me my life back. So why wouldn't I be passionate about that?? Learning that food can be my medicine, shedding all the ailments that I suffered with prior to becoming a vegan, being free of drugs, and having a sense of empowerment over my health is quite an accomplishment and joy. This knowledge and experience is something I want to share with everyone I know, because I want them to have that same experience.  But not everyone is there. Many just don't get it. So I have to respect that, even if it is very frustrating to watch people I love fill themselves with non-nutritional foods, preservatives, chemicals and drugs. What is even harder for me to do is to watch them be ill.

When I can be with people that share my same passion it is always an energizing, motivating and satisfying experience. It affirms what I believe in, and gives me the opportunity to share my passion, and maybe help someone else along the way. I have friends that are dedicating their life to just that.

And now, back to where I started this post . . . "This time I was not a guest. I was a volunteer."

Any of you who know me, or follow my blog, know that I am always mentioning Raw Intentions, or the Raw Intentions Kitchen or maybe a class at Whole Foods given by Denise Madeja, who is Raw Intentions. She is one of those people I was just referring to, and someone I like being around. So when the opportunity presented itself to help with Dinner and a Movie Night, rather than be a guest, I jumped at the chance. After all, it was time to put that Food Handler License to work!! (There's that volunteer - passion connection!)

So much goes into Dinner and a Movie night. Planning, dehydrating, mixing, chopping, and of course tasting!

It takes hours to get ready. I loved volunteering for this event.
Helping in the kitchen made me feel part of something big. 

The table was set and all was ready.

Time to open the door

and in they came.

The food tonight was extraordinary.
Mexican Fiesta Night!

Chips and Salsa

Bacon Wrapped, Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers

Kale Tortilla Soup

Tacos. These were unbelievable. 
The taco shell was filled with, "not-refried" beans, 
guacamole, shredded red cabbage and chilpotle sour cream.
Simply brilliant!

Listening to the comments of those attending was one of the highlights of the night. The wow's, the OMG this tastes amazing, to the discussion that followed the movie. It demonstrated a hunger for more than just food, but also knowledge, which is a perfect appetizer to renewed health.

Following dinner, May I be Frank was shown. This movie documents the transformation of a 52 year old man, Frank Ferrante, who is plagued by drug addiction and illness, and is very unhappy with his life. It is a very moving and life changing story. There is a trailer to the movie available on YouTube. It is only about five minutes long and would be well worth your time to watch it. This link will bring you right to it.

The night ended with dessert. A light tasty dish of ice cream. Two flavors. Oh, and no cream.

With each Dinner and Movie Night, I say, "This is my favorite one yet." 

Well, this was my favorite one yet!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Not Butternut Squash Soup and Broccoli Sprout Salad

Today was a day of improvising. I started out in the sewing room. I am still working on that dang roman shade. I was all set to make a big dent in the project until I realized the fabric glue required a drying time of 24 hours. OK. So I glued on the trim, set it all to the side, and I made two pillows for a friend.

My plan was to make Red Lentil and Curry Butternut Squash Stew. That was my husband’s request and what he thought he was going to get when he got home! But alas, we were out of squash! So time to improvise, again! He loves quinoa and beans, so based on that, the following soup happened!

Although he says he likes the Red Lentil and Curry Butternut Squash soup better, he had no problems having a second good size helping of this soup! I liked it too, and it was a pretty fast throw together soup! Very thick and hearty.

This is how I made Not Butternut Squash Soup:


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 
  • 3 small zucchini, chopped 
  • 1 ½ boxes vegetable broth (6 cups) 
  • ½ cup quinoa, uncooked 
  • ½ lentils, uncooked 
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • ½ - ¾ tsp curry powder 
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cinnamon 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • Sprinkle of ground nutmeg 
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves (or kale would be good too!) 
Directions: Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the chopped onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Stir often. Add the chopped carrots, chopped zucchini, and minced garlic, and continue to sauté, covered, stirring often for about 10-15 minutes. Enough so the vegetables are almost, but not quite done.

Add vegetable broth, quinoa, lentils, tomatoes, black beans, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and cover. Simmer on low for about 15-30 minutes. Makes about 10 cups.

A day just isn't complete without a salad. I wanted to use my sprouts and my broccoli. I couldn't find any recipes for that combination, so time to improvise again, and Broccoli Sprout Salad was born.

Broccoli Sprout Salad

The ingredients are rough because I did not measure! Exactness is definitely not crucial with this salad.

Chop and add to a large bowl:

½ red pepper
2-3 green onions
1 carrot
½ cucumber
1 c broccoli florets (little pieces)
1 tomato
2-3 c sprouts (mine were a combination of mung beans and lentils)
¼ c sliced almonds

Stir it all together


1 avocado diced
1 lemon
Sweetener (optional: agave or honey)
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Cayenne Pepper

Dice the avocado and place in a medium bowl. Add the juice of a lemon. Add some olive oil – maybe a tablespoon or so – and the rest of the seasonings.

Stir it all up and add it to the veggies.

That’s it!

My lemon was rather big and the lemon juice was quite overpowering so I added some agave to take a bit of the tartness away – and not enough because my husband still thought it was too tart! I thought it was just right, so I ate his!

It is a wonderfully crunchy salad with lots of flavor. I love sprouts and this was a perfect way to use them. If you have never sprouted mung beans or lentils before, it is really easy to do. They are a powerhouse of nutrition, and way better than any you can buy. Watch this great little video on YouTube that shows how to make a sprouting jar, and also how to sprout. The same procedure shown on the video for the alfalfa sprouts would apply to mung beans and lentils. I use the plastic netting from the bags of limes or lemons for the screen. You could always improvise with anything that would work!!

So after some minor improvising, everything turned out OK.  Like the saying goes, "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." 

I could also say, "when you are out of butternut squash, make not butternut squash soup" or "when your sprouts and broccoli want to get together, make broccoli sprout salad."

(Does that even make sense? I can tell I lost that hour of sleep with the time change! Yikes!)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wrapping Romaine . . .

. . . around veggies is one of my favorite things to do with a nice leaf of romaine lettuce.  I think I even like it that way better than in a salad. It makes raw food fast food.

Now just look at my lunch. Yes, it is just all over the place in the picture, but the point is, it was quick, delicious and nutritious!

As you can see I have a little baggie of carrots and red peppers, and there is also a cucumber hiding on the far right, and of course the romaine lettuce. The little containers are filled with two kinds of deliciousness, eggless egg salad (now how crazy is that!) and red pepper cheese. I put all of this in a big plastic bag and put it together on my plate. Can't get a lunch at work much fresher than that!!

Lay the lettuce leaf out, spread it with the eggless egg salad, layer red peppers, cucumber strips and fold it up, and there you have it, a great wrap! It's easy to change up what is in the wrap too. The carrots made for great dipping in the red pepper cheese (which by the way I could actually just eat with a spoon - I like it that much!!). It really was a very satisfying lunch.

Did you catch what I said, "eggless egg salad?"  Are you the least bit curious as to what that is all about? This stuff tastes just like egg salad but has absolutely no eggs, and no dairy of any kind, in it. It is also great on crackers, with veggies, or on your finger (well, I don't know how your finger tastes, but it is great on my finger!).

All you have to do is combine all this stuff.

First chop up the celery, red pepper and green onions, and put it in a bowl with the Bubbies.

Then blend, really blend, the rest of the stuff together

 until it is really smooth, and yellow. Then add it to the bowl

and mix it all together really well, and there you have it: eggless egg salad!

And just as a side note, absolutely none of this went to waste thanks to my handy rubber tongue!

I have used lots of spreads in a romaine wrap: hummus, guacamole, ranch dip. And filled them with everything from veggies to beans and even a quinoa combination. Think of it as the bread to your sandwich! Give it a try!

Well, as they say in show business, "That's a wrap!"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hungry for Change

There is a new documentary coming out called Hungry For Change. You can watch it for free from March 21st to March 31st. It has some incredible people in it, and after watching the trailer I am really anxious to see it.  I really do think people are hungry for change. The problem is they don't know where or how to begin to make those important changes, especially when it comes to food and health. It is a pretty confusing and conflicting place out there!
I personally think the first step is awareness and education. Only you can be responsible for you. It is that person you see in the mirror each day that is in charge of you! So take some time and educate yourself. Watch documentaries like this one, and make a change, or if you disagree with what this documentary stands for, research it some more. Make an educated decision on how you want your life to be. To watch the trailer, Hungry for Change, and to sign up for the free viewing of the full version please, really please, click here!

I still find it amazing what food has done to change my life. One year, seven months and thirteen days ago I was hungry for a change. I did some research, did my homework so to speak, and changed. Out with the processed food, meat and dairy, refined sugars and in with whole plant based food: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Out with drugs. The produce department became my pharmacy. By simply changing the way I eat, I have lost weight, I have regained my life and health, sleep through the night, feel good, and I have had the pleasure of discovering energy that I thought was forever lost. Life really is so good!

Friday night I went to another class at Whole Foods, my most favorite store ever! Raw Intentions had a full house and made two great dishes: Italian Salsa and Coconut Walnut Pudding. It is gatherings like this that I learn so much. There are folks that come that have amazing personal stories to share about their health, to the newbies who want to soak up all they can learn because they are hungry for change. I love the networking that results, and some of these people have become very close friends. Take a look at what she made at this class.
Now take a look at something I made today. 

Some pineapple, carrots, a beet, some cucumber and a piece of ginger . . .

and what do you get?

Amazing juice!

This is a recipe from Kristina, a New Yorker, whom I met as she was traveling across the country researching the lives  of those who have graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Kat Conrad, a graduate of the institute and my friend, lives here in Tulsa and is a classmate of Kristina's, thus Kristina's visit. Kristina, a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, is one of my Facebook friends, and often posts her juices. I love her juice recipes. I am always hungry for juice!

So what are you hungry for? 
Are you hungry for change?
I do hope you find a way to satisfy your appetite!

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