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Houston, we have a problem.

No kidding! Where’s that post I made about the delicious cashew dip? There was one, wasn’t there?!? Hang on a tick!

Upon further review… No, there wasn’t.

And here I was telling my friends during my Pampered Chef party last weekend, “Oh yeah, that’s on my blog!” Hopefully I was talking about my Quinoa Burgers, which ARE here.

This is what happens when you post stuff on Facebook and different stuff on Pinterest and other stuff here or there… No, I won’t even waste your time on links. There’s a post in my drafts queue about a meal I made, like, almost a dang month ago. And there’s this cashew dip – baked and warm and so delicious that I can’t seem to NOT eat it all before I share it so no one else can actually verify its greatness. Shame, that.

Fear not, more posts will be emerging from my brain soon thanks to some writing kickstarting I’m doing / will be doing over the coming weeks. Until then, what kinds of recipes do you like that you haven’t tackled before and want some ideas about? What successes have you had in your kitchens? What not-so-much recipes have you struggled with?

Fair game here – I’d love to hear whatever you’d care to share!

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When you feel good about yourself, it shows. This cannot be denied, nor the importance of it overlooked. Everyone on this planet has had moments, days, weeks, years when they doubted themselves. It’s rough to go through those times, but I swear, emerging on the other side feels tremendous!

What does this all have to do with a food blog?!? Eating always has been integrally linked to self confidence for me – when mine is low, I am far less conscious and discriminating about the food I put in my body and both my insides and outsides suffer. When I am mindful of my food choices, EVERYTHING else in my world runs more smoothly, sometimes seemingly effortlessly. I can handle stress, worries, problems, challenges and tasks better when I’m well-fed.

It is an amazing thing to behold: Choose to eat foods that feel right to you, to all parts of your mind, body and spirit, and you’ll find yourself automatically attracting the positive relationships best suited for your life!

P.S. The halter top I’m wearing above is a DIY repurposing of an old t-shirt, no sewing required!

I just can’t resist – I have at least three recipes hanging out in the wings, replete with photos, but summer seems to hold a premium on my time that just won’t allow for sit-down-and-type-a-proper-blog-post. A shrug of the shoulders follows and I figure I’ll catch up over the winter.

HOW.E.VER

I can’t resist throwing out a teaser of things to come, like a Zucchini Raw Pasta that was tested and found more-than-passable by raw foodies and those not so into that lifestyle alike. I’m also scheming an alternate version of my friend’s luscious mac and cheese recipe, probably with black beans because my littlest child loves his “bees” (we’re working on getting the “n” in there).

The Farmer’s Market near my home has yielded some wonderful food, including my first ever brush with garlic from somewhere other than the grocery store. W-O-W!! I couldn’t believe the difference – the soft, velvety texture and gentler aroma of the fresh garlic was just another reminder of why I’m trying to learn more about fresh, whole foods. Exquisite!

So. Teaser for you, my Dear Reader, and motivation for me to follow-up later! Happy Eating!!

Have window sill, can grow.

This could possibly be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. No, really. I think it might even beat out the time when I was 18 and talked two elderly, retired gentlemen I’d never met before to motor me around Lake Lanier (in North Georgia) to find some friends who were out on a sailboat I’d never seen before and that had no working radio on board.

I. Am. Growing. Something. Edible.

Beans + Water + Time = Sprouts

Purposely. For the very first time. Ever.

They were shrivelled before they went into the cold water. I promise.

So, yeah, you can get technical with me if you really must and point out that I’m only sprouting them, not actually growing them into full and proper plants that will produce more of the same.

Bah, I say – These suckers are G-R-O-W-I-N-G!

Look at these lovely little sprouts!

Admittedly, I’m a little nervous about actually eating them once they’re grown. Especially since I missed a rinse cycle this morning. The instructions for sprouting all have a ring of absolute authority to them and I have no previous experience, even as a bystander, so I’m wary. I’ve rinsed them well to try and get the slightly slippery feeling mostly gone. There’s also a portion of the batch that’s grown more than the rest so I’ve separated them out. The “less grown” have gone back into my sprouting jar and the “more grown” (I’m tempted to call them “horny”) are in the process of drying out so I can seal them and refrigerate them until tomorrow.

It's horny... Like a unicorn!

Upcoming: Sprouted Raw Almond Hummus – Because I’m soaking some almonds now, too. Wheee!

Wow... Now I want ANOTHER!

There’s a lot of stuff in this one besides chicken, so I’m tempted to come up with another name for it. Honestly, though? I’m doing well enough as it is to be sitting at the computer writing a blog post. Not that I haven’t been at the computer enough already today (read: “real” work from 6:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) (yes, those times are correct) (no, I don’t intend to repeat that again tomorrow as I have already logged similar hours the first three days this week), it’s just that I really liked my thrown-together version and wanted to share it. Immediately. As in, without waiting for the Creativity Genie to show up and give me a good name for this concoction.

For the record, I categorized this as “Convenient & Conscious”, but truth be told, it’s closer to the former and rather far from the latter in most respects. Still, I made it myself which meant I had control of the constituent elements. Always a good thing in my book!

I started with a lemon pepper rotisserie chicken from our friendly, neighborhood Publix. I’d had a thought that I might just pick up some pre-made chicken salad from their deli but what I found in the case was far too “wet” for my preference. Yuck-o to mayo! Okay, most mayo, most of the time, the way most people wield it.

The chicken contributed the better part of one breast. Yes, I could have picked the carcass clean, but I had been hungry when I left work, driven to Publix, navigated the after-work crowds, and finished my drive home. I diced it up pretty small because I’m opposed to getting a huge chunk in my mouth. Textural issues, mm-hm.

Then I diced two celery ribs into small cubes, about the same size as the chicken. Good for crunch! Next I added about half a bag of – don’t shoot me – SunMaid Fruit Bits. I liked the variety: apples, raisins, peaches, prunes, apricots. Who could resist?

I contemplated adding nuts and settled on pinenuts. I don’t think they’re real nuts (seeds, maybe?) but they’re the sort of crunchy I was hoping to get. A sprinkle of pepitas (a.k.a. hulled, roasted, salted pumkin seeds) followed, then a very obnoxious generous helping of hempseeds. At the end of it all, I mixed in some Smart Balance mayo – the smallest amount I felt like I could get by with and have it seem close enough to something I could reasonably call “chicken salad”. I don’t know why it needed to fit under that umbrella, it just did. Deal.

It stinks that my husband is probably going to finish off the rest of it that I didn’t have for dinner but I suppose he’s entitled to eat, too. Drat!

Oh! And the wrap was a brand I’d never tried before but really enjoyed: La Tortilla Factory’s Smart & Delicious Whole Grain White Soft Wraps made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Each tortilla wrap is only 100 calories and has 13 grams of FIBER – that’s 52% of the RDA. Wheeee! They’re just a little stretchy rather than the dry, brittle standard flour tortillas you get grocery-marketing. I’m not brave enough to try making my own tortillas – okay, well, I really just don’t want to get the whole counter all flour-y – so these will do just fine.

What do you put in YOUR chicken salad?

Borrowed from Atlanta Rawks

Even the best of cooks draw inspiration from other lovers of cuisine. Personally, I am perpetually in need of a food muse. Oftentimes, food itself arouses my creativity, getting my juices flowing when their, erm, juices start flowing.

One of my favorite, newfound sources of influence is an Atlanta-based group of vegan and raw food enthusiasts who organize weekly potlucks. These dinners provide true “soul food”; they invite you to push yourself to find the purest ingredients and draw out the foods’ natural flavors. It’s exciting to try new foods when you know that they were created with a genuine sense of integrity and open-minded exploration, utilizing unconventional means, innovative techniques and sometimes ancient methods.

Blogger (and all-around groovy chick) Sarah Ku posted this entry about our adventure a couple weekends ago. She graciously linked to my recipe for Raw Asparagus Quinoa that I whipped up (read: spent several hours creating) special for the event. It was the first fully raw vegan dish I had ever created with the intent of making a nutritious, raw, vegan main course. Sure, I’ve made fruit salads before or regular veggie salads and those would certainly abide by the spirit of the gatherings, but I really wanted to get outside my comfort zone, stretch my ever-expanding abilities and really present the group something I was proud to share. It was received enthusiastically and has given me a much-needed boost of confidence.

Not to mention a solid helping of inspiration!

*This post has been entered into the category of Confessions for two reasons: 1) it was one of the only ones that made sense to put it in and 2) it’s challenging to remain conscious enough to acknowledge your source material and, as such, revealing the source of my inspiration is a “confession” of sorts.

It's a mystery!

While I enjoyed the show once upon a time, this post is unrelated. In point of fact, you probably couldn’t have paid me enough to attempt some of their culinary challenges.

Actually, I am notoriously suspicious of foods. Ask my husband – I sniff everything (especially if he tells me to try it). When I encounter new foods that seem appealing for the benefits they tout, I have been known to purchase some then just let it “be” in my kitchen until it expires. This has happened with silken tofu, tempeh, various sprouts, coconut oil, hemp seed butter, miso paste, red lentils, raw milk cheese… The list is long and, looking back, quite unfortunate. Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t really know what’s kept me away so long (again), but I thought I’d make my return a fun one.  I also don’t know whether my parents were picky eaters as children (I’ve never heard tell one way or the other).  I do know that I’ve spawned an offspring who is (if possible) even pickier than I was as a child. Read the rest of this entry »

Though life and work have tied me up a bit longer than I anticipated, I am back and thank you all for your patience.  My passion for good, quality, healthful food never flagged, my fingers just haven’t been too near my keyboard as of late.

This morning my impetus to write came from a posting a friend made to a Yahoo group to which I belong (thanks K.).  The subject was gas-packed and injected “fresh” meats.  I fear I’ve been guilty of purchasing these kinds too often, but that posting actually lead me to a greater (and more pleasant) discovery: http://www.localharvest.org/ Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s how the psychology of certain fads seep unwittingly into your conciousness…

I was sitting at my parents’ breakfast table while on vacation watching my sister eat a grapefruit.  My first thought was, “Sugar is BAD!”

Read the rest of this entry »

I have been blessed… with a picky child.  I thought that once I had conquered many of my own personal picky eating habits that I would be free and clear to adventure forth, turning my back once and for all on the daily problems that come with having a picky eater in the house.  Not so, not so, not so…

Read the rest of this entry »

Even though most of my childhood diet consisted of burgers, fries, hot dogs, and macaroni & cheese, there were two foods that stood out: Corned Beef Hash and Liverwurst.

I still have no idea how I ended up eating either of those foods.  They were so far outside my “normal” range of foods that it was always a topic of conversation in my family.  To make matters worse, I didn’t like homemade or deli versions – only those made by Armour and Oscar Meyer, respectively.
Read the rest of this entry »

Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs