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    • A Blackberry and Cucumber FEAST

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    •  6/2/2010 10:59:06 AM


      I had to laugh at the story that Maintenance Mommy told in her last blog.  Someone calling her “extreme”… it definitely hits close to home.  I’m sure people call me that as well…the funny thing is, I haven’t seen myself this way?  I guess it helps that I consistently surround myself with like-minded people (also very smart people- I’d like to add).

      But it turns out- that the word “EXTREME” is such a wonderful description for how I want my family to EAT.


      DEFINITION of Extreme:


      • Exceedingly great in degree
      • Of a kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average

          Opposite of Extreme: MODERATE

      Do you want to be MODERATE in your nutrition...or

      Do you want to have your NUTRITION exceedingly GREAT in degree?

      Do you want to be ORDINARYOr far from it?

      If there is something that I want to be FAR from ordinary from…

      or something in my life that is exceedingly GREAT in degree…

      I DEFINITELY want it to by my  NUTRITION!             



      Here is a sample of my EXTREME life:

      Stopping at a local park with my children, after an afternoon of running errands.

      Having an overwhelming sense of JOY while watching each of my children…

      Seeing my 7 month old get excited about each of the new sites and sounds around her.  Having her smile and laugh every time she gets a glimpse of her older brother and sister.

      Having my 3 year old run around and tell me- 

      “Watch this Mommy!  Only boys can do that!” 

      And then my oldest daughter- watching her do tricks on the bars I had no idea she could do.  When did she get so old?  I continue to tell her that she has to stay 5 forever!

      My kids are hungry.

      Do I hop in the car and head to the closest FAST FOOD RESTURANT?

      Fortunately – one of our errands that day was to Costco to pick up our weekly bulk produce.  I head to the car to see what I can find.


      I return with our FEAST:

      A box of fresh BLACKBERRIES,

      my 3 count ENGLISH CUCUMBERS

      and my bag of RAW ALMONDS

      I smiled as I watched the excitement on my children’s face as they

      first see the juicy blackberries.

      Then I laugh as my son grabs his own cucumber and yells “This GREEN VEGETABLE will make me BIG and STRONG” then he proceeds to run as fast as he can around the playground.

      The ALMONDS were my added nutrient punch that they don’t always favor…but they didn’t protest as I told them they each had to eat only 10.  They each counted their own handful (which was a welcome challenge for my 3 year old) and had a contest to see how fast they could eat them.

      The rest of the evening was spent watching my children LAUGH, PLAY and DEVOUR the rest of their FEAST.


      I don’t consider myself VEGAN, not even Vegetarian.
      My family and I try to eat a WHOLE (unprocessed) plant based DIET.
      We limit our animal products (we eat them sparingly)


      Where do I start…

      Because the closer we eat foods to their natural state, the healthier the food.
      And the easier the food is to digest.
      The less our bodies have to work on digesting food- the more energy it has to do the many other jobs it has…like keeping us healthy and disease-free.


      “Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat.  Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and a reduced risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related disease such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.”  Joel Fuhrman, M.D.


      Start off slow…resist the urge to hop in the car for that quick lifeless meal.
      I tend to find when my kids are the hungriest- they will eat most anything I offer them.


      Give it a try-

      Blackberries and Cucumbers…what a feast!



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    • My Cooking Confession...

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    •  5/25/2010 7:53:40 AM
    • I have a confession to make.

      My close friends know this about me- But it's time to tell the world:


      I do not like to cook!


      Now when you combine this with my passion for eating healthy- it can become a difficult partnership.


      We all know that eating healthy starts in your own kitchen...and stays in your own kitchen.  The truth never gets out much.


      Up until this point in my life- of course I have cooked...

      but the recipes that call my name are the simple and fast ones.

                    BEANS, TOMATO and AVOCADO call on me a lot.

                                    TOFU AND TEMPEH barely know who I am.


      What has gotten me through this DISLIKE of mine?

                     My wonderful husband and amazing kids!

      Fortunately- I have a family that doesn't complain.  Luckily they are NOT too picky.

      Because of this fortune- I haven't had to work too hard in the kitchen.

      I have to add something to this though- it's not all LUCK my children are this way.  They are still pretty young...and this way of cooking is all they know.


      The reason I wanted to make this because I believe I am beginning to CHANGE.

                       My eyes are becoming a little more OPEN to the ART of Cooking.


      "I was 32 when I started cooking.  Up until then I just ate."  Julia Child



      Sweet Potato, Avocado & Quinoa Salad


      I made this DELICIOUS dinner tonight for my family.  It wasn't too difficult- it took a little time.  There were a few slightly new ingredients.  But the main difference about this recipe was:

                 I HAD FUN MAKING IT!

      I hope this continues!  I have always found JOY in feeding my children healthy food- but now I can see the possibility of finding some of that same happiness in making this nutritious food.


      WHAT CHANGED?  I think I have to let go of a little fear that I am not good at cooking...I need to just have fun!  Julia Child also said:  "BE A FEARLESS COOK!"

      I have to also give a little credit to Maintenance Mommy and Newbie Mommy- thanks for the inspiration!


      You want to know something else that was amazing about tonight?  This is something that I don't want to take for granted.  My 5 year old and my 3 year old ate all of this dinner!  I made sure to tell them that they are the coolest KIDS ever!




      To make this night even better- (and to be a little more fearless) my family and I made these CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS.


      I love that I have kids that see the GREEN zucchini pieces and don't blink an eye!  For kids that might be a little frightened by these green additions- tell them they are MARTIAN MUFFINS (that's what my Mom would do...AND the Zucchini basically has no taste- just adds a fun texture.)


      (recipes will be posted soon!)


      Does this mean I will become better friends with TOFU and TEMPEH...probably not on a regular basis- but why not have them over every once and awhile :)

      I hope you try these recipes and experience the same JOY that I had in making them!

      Now does anyone have any advice on finding JOY in doing the dishes?


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    • Gypsy Soup Recipe

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    •  5/4/2010 9:57:45 PM
    • My mother introduced me to this recipe a couple of weeks ago.  She told me how everyone she has made it for has LOVED IT (even those picky "meat-eater").

      I have been wanting to use TURMERIC in a recipe- so I was excited to try it.



      It also works as a great leftover...give it a try!  Make sure you use SWEET POTATOES and not YAMS.





      1-2 tablespoons olive oil
      2 cups chopped onion
      1/2 cup chopped celery
      2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
      2 cups diced peeled sweet potatoes
      2 teaspoons paprika
      1 teaspoon ground turmeric
      1 teaspoon dried basil
      1 teaspoon salt
      1 pinch ground cinnamon
      1 pinch cayenne pepper
      1 bay leaf
      3 cups chicken stock (or Veggie Stock)
      1 tablespoon tamari (Braggs Aminos or Soy Sauce also work)
      1 cup chopped fresh tomato
      1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
      3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

      1.Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, garlic, celery and sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Season with paprika, turmeric, basil, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, and bay leaf. Stir to blend, then stir in chicken stock and tamari. Cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
      2.Add tomatoes, garbanzo beans and green pepper to the soup, and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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