Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beautiful Baby Shower & Hummus

Robin and I have been friends for well over 20 years and yesterday's celebration wasn't just any baby shower. You see, Robin has been married for 10 years and they hadn't been able to have a baby. After years of challenged fertility issues and a couple of gut wrenching miscarriages, Robin had nearly given up hope of having a family. Chuck, her husband, is an officer with the Oklahoma Army National Guard and late last summer they received word that he would be sent to Iraq for no less than a year. At 40 years old, this crumbled their hopes of having a baby further still. In December, Chuck and the others from the guard, were brought home as a surprise to their families for a week during the holidays. And as you can see from the above slide show, we are now joyously celebrating this very special impending gift that God has bestowed upon these two amazing people.
Chuck is still serving in Iraq, but he will be allowed to fly home for the birth of their son the first week in September. Robin is being induced on the 6th so that daddy can be present for the birth. Congratulations and I love you, dear friend!

And just to keep it raw.....Today's post isn't complete without sharing the new recipe that was birthed yesterday. You must try is really rich & delicious and you'll swear it's not raw!
“ROASTED” Red Bell Pepper Hummus

For the “roasted peppers & garlic:”
4 red bell peppers
4 – 6 cloves garlic
2 tsp. olive oil
¼ tsp. sea salt
For the hummus:
2 zucchini or yellow crook neck squash, peeled & chopped
¾ cup raw sesame tahini
½ cup feresh squeeszed lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 ½ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
First – cut, de-vein & de-seed the peppers. Smash & peel the garlic cloves. Toss both in olive oil and salt to thoroughly coat. Lay pieces on a Teflex sheet and tray, dehydrating at 115 F for 12- 24 hours. The longer you leave in the stronger and richer the flavors become. Set aside.
In a high speed blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the hummus and blend until thick and still slightly chunky. Add in the roasted mixture and blend again until well combined & smooth.
This savory dip is best served with slices of cucumber, zucchini, celery stalks, carrot sticks or sliced bell peppers. It is also delicious with raw onion bread or flax crackers of your choice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Green Rescue

It's hard for me to believe that I ended my 92 day juice feast nearly 2 months ago. Although three months was a REALLY long time for this hard core foodie not to enjoy the pleasures of chewing and creating fabulous food, I am being beckoned back. Everyday for the past two weeks I've been feeling the alluring pull, the tugging, the call, back to that juicy world of high alkalinity, smooth sailing emotions, beautiful sleep and the feeling of a gloriously flat tummy. I set my intention early last week to do green smoothies for breakfast and green juice for lunch, but somehow that never happened. As I awoke this morning, I carefully looked at my face in the mirror, then stepped onto the scale......I realize it's time to get serious again about the direction I'm going. Moments later, not by mere coincidence, I sat down with my laptop to open my first email of the day, that happened to be from Jinjee of The Garden Diet, and it said:

"Whenever you are experiencing any troubles on the raw vegan diet, it's time to juice! If you feel you aren't getting enough nutrients, if you are feeling insatiably hungry, if you are craving standard American foods, if you have any physical or emotional complaints, drink vegetable juice twice daily for amazing results, daily for huge results, three times a week for noticeable results, or even just once a week for improvement. Some things can even be dealt with by drinking a veggie juice just one time only. Vegetable juice has all your minerals, nutrients, building blocks, proteins, and enzymes in a form that is easily absorbed and used by the body instantly! If you search around online you'll find literally tens of thousands of people have healed themselves of just about every condition by drinking vegetable juices! Green smoothies are also becoming popular in this regard. They have more fiber and are more palatable. They are not as strong as green juice but many people are reporting great results from drinking them on a daily basis!"
Word. Thanks, Jing.
I remember saying, as I was ending my juice feast, that one thing I learned during the three months was that juicing would always be there waiting for me if I ever felt as though I was struggling. I've fought the demon of compulsive overeating throughout my life. I recognize the patterns and behaviors that go along with that battle and I don't care to go in that direction again. Juicing empowered ME, not those behaviors that had so easily entangled me, messed with mind and had distorted my body into a person I didn't like nor recognize. So, that is my motivation. Everybody knows there is no magic bullet. But there is the lifestyle of managing this human condition and of taking care of this wonderful body that God has given me. So, if you drive by my house, you can expect to hear the familiar sounds once again of Queen Omega and Prince Vita Mix coming to my rescue.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ice Cream Update

Around 25 local raw foodies found themselves piled into my living room and kitchen for a celebration of raw ice cream delights. The picture you see here is the only one that ended up in my camera : ( It was taken the day before the meet up while I was making creamsicles from Everyday Raw. This mixture was so delicious, before or after freezing. It was hard to resist plenty of extra taste tests!

I was delighted with the turnout, but I fear that after just two meetups, we've outgrown my little cottage and it's time to move onto a new, more professional, ample sized facility. I have a couple of options that I'm considering, so we'll see what unfolds. Our next event will most certainly be a group pot luck so everyone can roll their sleeves up and get creative in their raw kitchens!
At our tasting, we sampled these raw ice cream varieties:

Here is the super easy and marvelously delicious sorbet recipe:


2 quarts of fresh berries (I used local blackberries and blueberries from my dad's garden)
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 -ish of pure water

Juice 1 quart of the berries to help reduce seeds. Pour juice and remaining berries, agave and a bit of water into a high speed blender to make 1 1/2 quarts. Chill mixture for about an hour, if possible. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze for about 20 minutes.

Lastly, if you don't have an electric ice cream maker, don't feel as though you can't make wonderful ice cream at home. There are two other options that will also yield a great finished product with just a little effort. Once you have your ice cream base blended and chilled, you can put the mixture into a bowl in your freezer, stirring vigorously every few hours to keep the mixture aerated. Do this throughout the day until the ice cream is completely frozen. Or, if you have a masticating juicer, you can freeze your ice cream base in a large flat casserole pan (about 1 inch thick), then cut into long strips that you can feed into your juicer with the blank plate attachment.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Week In Pictures

It's been nearly a week since I've written an update, so I thought I'd share some pictures with you from my week. Dinner for Gordon's birthday was at Lola's. I didn't take pictures of our food, but I had my favorite salad and we shared a glorious bowl of Mediterranean olives. Birthday boy indulged in some artfully prepared southwestern beef. Then we went to The Wild Fork for lunch the next day. As you can see in the pictures, I had a glass of organic wine & a semi-raw lentil salad and Gordon had these over the top onion strings and a catfish sandwich. Because in our family we celebrate birthdays for at least a week, Saturday evening we had another shindig which included candles and a cacao raspberry cake!! Taylor's friend, Catherine, also had a birthday the same week, so we included her in on the fun. She enjoyed joining in on making a wish for her upcoming year. I love turning kids onto raw food and ice cream and cake always cinch the deal!

This week has been filled with so many commitments, but I've found the time to get into the kitchen and work on some recipes. I finally made Kale Chips. I've been hearing such a buzz about them in raw food circles lately, so I made a batch. I think it's a great way to add more greens into your diet. I have been crumbling them up as a topping to salads and veggies. YUMMY.

Then, my most impressive creation is that of the raw ice cream cone! I found the recipe in Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney. The recipe is actually wrong in the book, but there is a correction online here. These are fun to make and really delicious. I also took my 20% off coupon to Bed, Bath & Beyond and upgraded to a larger ice cream maker. Since I have the raw meetup ice cream social coming up this Sunday at my house, I thought this was a justified purchase! For the next few days, I'll be staying close to the kitchen, working in my ice cream laboratory...creating and crafting new recipes. I'm so excited because I've had over 25 people RSVP that they are coming. My little Brookside cottage will be rawkin' out this Sunday afternoon!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Seven Eleven

First things first, I would like to wish a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my precious husband, GORDON today!! Although not a professing raw foodist, my husband IS a saint on this earth. God truly blessed me over 5 yrs. ago by sending him to me straight from heaven. Other than snoring, the telling of real stupid jokes and his quarterly manic cleaning tangents, he's perfect. I love you so very much, Gordy. Thank you for making everyday a holiday.

Now to address a question that has been sent to me several times over the past few weeks:
"Regarding your recent juice feast, do you have any specific things that you might have done differently (if anything?) before, during or after juice feasting?"
Let me start by saying, I intentionally tried to stay very positive and up during my juice feast and throughout my postings here on the blog. I knew that I had a good number of people reading and I had read other blogs that seemed too negative regarding detoxing or other personal issues. I was fortunate because I had already done some cleansing work leading up to my feast, my symptoms were never all that bad. My goal was always to encourage others because I believed, and still do, that juicing is the quick road to renewed health, alkalinizing, and to helping to totally reset your body's cellular memory and overall force field.

One thing I regret is that I didn't exercise much. Other than jumping on my rebounder, doing occasional yoga classes and a bit of brisk walking, I wasn't consistently active. My intention was to do some form of exercise daily, but that didn't always happen. If I could go back, I would do more because I think I'd have saved some muscle loss. I DID lose just under 30 pounds in 92 days, but I had 50 pounds to lose. I'd have probably seen more consistent results if I'd made exercise a priority.

The only other thing I would do differently, is that I would have ended my juice feast earlier. Probably at about day 60 or 70. I pushed myself, as if I were in a fierce personal competition. My body started revolting a bit around day 70 -75 but I white knuckled it through to day 92. Once I got past day 60, I didn't lose one pound or experience any noticible cleansing/healing benefits. I think that should have been my personal stopping point, but I just wanted to lose all of my extra weight, so I pushed. Through that experience, I learned to listen to my body. If you are juice feasting and you start seriously jonesing for food three days in a row, even when you're taking in plenty of juice, you're probably done. Also, when you get into prolonged anxiety with your juicing program and it becomes an overwhelming chore, you're probably not going to reap the benefits. So both of those are good indicators that it's a good time to move to a modified juice feast.

I'm actually starting a modified juice program tomorrow. (Once I get past my husband's birthday celebration tonight!) I am going to be doing a green smoothie for breakfast, a salad or green juice for lunch and then a green juice or normal (primarily raw) meal for dinner, depending on what my social schedule dictates. My goal is to get 64 oz., or half a liter, of green based liquid into my body everyday plus one luscious green salad. Anything else will just be extra fluff.

There are two reasons for this switch in diet right now; one is that I have gained 6ish pounds back since I quit juicing. I'll never forget my brother in law telling me that my nephew is following my blog because he's pretty sure that once I go off juice, I'm going to blow up again. You have to understand our sick family sense of humor to know that Ryan's comment didn't offend me at all. On the contrary, it motivates me all the more to stay on track and to not veer too far from the path I have set myself upon. I'll most likely be thanking that hip, skinny kid the next time I see him. Then secondly, I just feel so much better mentally, physically and spiritually when I keep my diet juicy and light. Although I was careful to ease back into solids, I've dabbled in all sorts of foods since going off juice. I am a foodie to the core, so it's really easy for me to taste a bite of this and that. I've been having tons of fun dehydrating again, hosting meetups at my house and making loads of gourmet raw food. You know I'm tasting everything as I go. For me, it all adds up, and adds up fast.

So tomorrow, I'm going to get a little more juicy again and I am so looking forward to it. I'm also signed up for Bunny Berry's 100 Day Raw Food Challenge that starts August 1st. Bunny inspires me and makes me laugh. Any diet or lifestyle has to be enjoyable or what's the point? Life is short and I want to live it to the fullest. More tomorrow.....Happy Friday and Happy Birthday Gordon!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Sunny Raw Kitchen

If you haven't had the pleasure, allow me to introduce you to Carmella Green. Not only does Carmella maintain one of my favorite blogs, The Sunny Raw Kitchen, she also heads up a super online forum on Raw Freedom Community.
In honor of Raw Freedom Community Forum's first year anniversary, Carmella has chosen to celebrate by shining the spot light on its many talented recipe creators. I'm thrilled that Carmella is releasing a second ebook, “The Best Of Raw Freedom Community”, which is a collective work featuring 99 recipes contributed by Carmella and 20 other RFC members.
This ebook turned into a bit of a mega project; 160 pages of delicious raw recipes and related useful information. In a nutshell, here's what you will find in “The Best Of Raw Freedom Community” :
  • A list of ingredients frequently used in raw food preparation
  • A thorough guide on how to equip your raw kitchen
  • A detailed table of contents
  • Gorgeous mouth-watering photos for nearly every recipe
  • Clickable page references for easy navigation
  • Helpful 'uncooking' tips
  • A list of raw resources and links on the Net
And most importantly......there are THE RECIPES! I don't want to give it ALL away because there is plenty of eye candy over at The Sunny Raw Kitchen blog today. So why don't you stop by and check it out. I have already ordered my copy and I love it that she's created it to be super user friendly. It comes with both a photo and a text-only version (for easy printing), and is published in Adobe's PDF format.
One more very impressive thing is that in order to make this ebook available to anyone, Carmella decided not to offer it for a fixed price, but rather have a suggested sliding-scale of $9.99 to $15.99. She felt like allowing people to give according to what they feel it's worth to them. I think that is way cool. All profits generated from "The Best Of Raw Freedom Community" ebook will be going towards furthering Carmella's intention of spreading awareness of Raw and Freedom as well as continuing to build Community. I hope you'll join me by clicking on over, making a donation and downloading this truly awesome ebook into your collection.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bunny Berry is My Homegirl

Today's post is a no brainer. When I logged onto my friend Beth Berry's, aka - BUNNY BERRY, blog this evening and saw her latest, I HAD to share it with you. I hope you'll join Bunny and I, beginning August 1st, for the upcoming 100 day "Raw Fu Challenge."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vivid Dreams & Asian Cucumber Salad

Last night I had the most vivid dream. I want to share it with you because I believe it was one of those visionary dreams that will have lasting effect upon me from this point forward. I am such a visual person and although I'd love to try to paint a picture of what I dreamed of in words, I think I'll have to create a drawing of what I saw in my dream before I can share it with you here on the blog. It's worth the wait and I'll enjoy your input once I post it. Stay tuned.

Tonight I made an encore performance of a salad that I made during our time away this past holiday weekend. It's a modified version of a recent recipe in VegNews Magazine, but as usual, I've added my own twist. It's really delicious and I hope you'll enjoy!

Asian Cucumber Salad

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Nama Shoyu or wheat free Tamari
1 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp+ seeded, minced, jalapeño pepper
2 large cucumbers, sliced lengthwise on a mandoline or with a sharp knife to about 1/8 inch thickness
1/4 cup raw peanuts, chopped

In a small bowl, mix lime juice, nama shoyu, maple syrup, garlic, mint, and jalapeño. Add cucumber ribbons and peanuts, tossing gently. Serve within one hour.

Independence Day 2008

We had a great time at the farm in Mangum, Oklahoma. We enjoyed fabulous food, fireworks, and frolicking family fun! We spent an afternoon cleaning out Nana Shelton's pantry and I found so many interesting things! I brought home one of her Joyce Chen Chinese Knives. I've been wanting one for several years to use when cracking open young Thai coconuts! We also found a package of Silken Tofu dated May 1980 and several jars of things she'd lovingly canned that none of us had any clue what their contents were. My favorite items, which I saved, were pickled "something" from the 70's and a nice Mason jar of Dried Black Fungus. You know you just can't find good fungus like you used to, right? I did make some recipes that will be worth sharing in upcoming blogs, but for now, here's a little slide show of the Fourth of July with the Familia Shelton:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Raw Marinated Vegetable Salad

I've had a number of requests for the recipe of the dish that's currently featured as my main photo. I deliberately took a picture of the ingredient list of this dish when I was at Whole Foods' raw bar last weekend because it looked so delicious. Although I haven't made it yet, I've bought everything and I'm planning try it out on my non-raw family at this weekend's Fourth of July celebration.

For the Raw Marinated Vegetable Salad:
red bell pepper
sun dried tomatoes (soaked 1 hour)
red onion

For the marinade:
lemon juice
nama shoyu (or wheat free tamari)
olive oil
minced fresh garlic

Chop and combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the dressing/marinade and pour over the chopped vegetables, working in to coat and cover thoroughly. Allow vegetables to marinade for several hours before serving, or if you have a dehydrator, place veggies on a teflex sheet on a dehydrator tray and leave in for at least an hour to soften and warm.

I'll be away at Quail Ranch (my husband's family farm in Southwestern Oklahoma) from this afternoon until Sunday and I'm pretty sure that I won't have internet connection. I know it's good to unplug for awhile every now and then, but I'll certainly miss communicating with you. Along with quality multi-generational bonding time, amazing food (both raw and cooked) and random acts of Shelton family dysfunction, the boys are planning to get their pyromania on by torching an arsenal of fireworks all weekend. I promise to take plenty of photographs to share with you early next week. Wishing you a fun-filled and safe 4th of July weekend!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Austin Slide Show

We jumped on the opportunity to get away last weekend and traveled to Austin, Texas. A long time friend of mine, Cheryl Ruhmann-Botelho, was celebrating her recent marriage by throwing an incredible dinner party at the Four Seasons. Although the wedding party was the reason for our trip, some of the other highlights of our stay were captured in the following side show. Hanging out in the hip SoCo (South Congress) district, dinning around town, a trip to the largest Whole Foods (a raw foodists dream store), time at the pool, watching the famous Austin bats fly and spending time with good friends made for a perfect long weekend.

I had an amazing entree/salad the first evening for dinner at La Traviata. You can see it in the beginning of the slide show for a visual. It was a beautiful combination of zucchini, green olives, pistachios, italian parsley, fresh mint. I ordered it without the pecorino but they substituted shaved jicama (brilliant). I'm guessing the dressing/marinade was a zesty lemon vinegarette. It was so delicious and fresh. I also had their special salad of the evening which was put together from local fresh produce. I wish I'd have gotten a photo of it's vibrancy as well.
Besides a brief run through the Saturday morning Austin Farmer's Market, our trip to Whole Foods at 6th & Lamar (their flagship store, attached to WF's corporate offices) was honestly my personal highlight of the trip. As a bonafide foodie and I nearly teared up when I arrived at the raw section of the store. Not only did they have a separate raw deli with impressive offerings (see the slide show), they also had a chef making raw dishes fresh to order. There was a class happening later in the day and I would have loved to attend that. The whole store was amazing and the salad bar made me want to rip my clothes off and dive in to the gigantic & numerous troughs of leafy greens. I've never seen such an impressive salad bar in my life. My husband was also nearly intoxicated from the sights and sounds all around us. Perhaps that's because he found the organic wine tasting area of the store rather quickly. If you get a chance to visit this mega store, please go check it out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

McRAW - It's Catching On!

I had to stop for a moment from my hectic week to post this for all my readers to see. This is the front of my husband's latest business card...although he is a Realtor with the leading, local company called McGraw Realtors, it seems that there is an underlying subliminal message that jumps out at you when you see his card. When I brought this to his attention, he started cracking up because he hadn't noticed it at all. I think this whole raw thing is catching on, don't you? I love being married to Tulsa's only Raw Realtor!!

I promise to update more later.....when I can come up for air :- )