Almost There Plus Great Recipes

I’ve been on the go these last few days, putting many miles on the car, traveling high and low – from Copper Mountain to Buena Vista. I took this picture at Officer’s Gulch, between Frisco and Copper. The positive spin on that is that the colors are beautiful right now with the Aspens bright yellow and some of the brush turning deep orange and red. I had to think ahead packing plenty of car snacks and lunch for both days and I feel great about having negotiated that successfully. Car time can be a time of mindless snacking for me, especially when my blood sugar starts dropping. Today I was prepared with plums and what I’ll call a smoupie since it was sort of a mix between a soup and a smoothie. Yesterday I packed a great salad along with a peach.

I have to admit that I have been completely exhausted this week and I am ready for this experiment/adventure to come to a close this weekend. I am sure I will continue to eat more vegetarian and integrate raw much more than the occasion raw dinner out or salad for lunch. I enjoy the creativeness of the recipes. Yet as we head more into fall I have to admit I just adore a baked sweet potato, or dare I say it, sweet potato “fries.” I say fries, but what I really mean is sliced sweet potatoes drizzled with a little olive oil and baked until slightly crispy on the outside and tender insider. Don’t get me wrong, the dehydrated sweet potatoes aren’t bad, they just lack the meatiness and satiating quality of a baked sweet potato (at least for me).

Finally, why did it take me 4 weeks to figure out that tossing a bunch of chopped veggies with some olive oil and a dash or two of Himilayan salt and pepper and dehydrating for a few hours at 105 degrees is even better than steamed or stir fried veggies. WHY? WHY? This would’ve been my evening staple! Oh well, at least my last few nights will be veggie heaven. By the way, Lucy (the new cat) is doing great and the previous “issue” mentioned has taken care of itself – and in the right place, if you know what I mean.

Here are a few recipes from recent meals:

Jicama Salad

1 medium jicama, diced (about 1/2 inch dice

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1/2 red bell pepper, small dice

3 scallions, chopped

1/2 jalapeno pepper, small dice

juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon cold pressed olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each)

Mix all the ingredients together and allow to marinate for at least an hour before serving. Sometimes I enjoyed this with a little chopped cilantro and diced avocado on top.

Stuffed Endive

These were super quick and easy to prepare. Wash the endive and remove the leaves one at a time, make sure they are nice and clean and dry. Rub the ends on a half of a lime to preserve their color.

2-4 (depending on how many you want to serve) heads Belgian Endive

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup walnuts (soaked)

1/4 cup pine nuts

15 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

dash of pepper

Separate the endive leaves and lay them out on the tray you wish to serve them on. Meanwhile, add the red bell pepper through pepper to a food processor and pulse until you have a crumbly mixture. Place about a tablespoon of the mixture on each leaf.

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Home Stretch

I am grateful that I’m on the home stretch of this journey. What I noticed over the weekend was that being totally raw impacts me socially. For example, in Denver, there aren’t a lot of restaurants that are raw friendly. Do a Yelp search and basically you’ll get Sushi restaurants. I had plans to go out with a friend for dinner Friday night and I thought I could just find a salad anywhere, but admittedly, that’s a little boring. So I thought, how about papaya salad from my favorite Thai place. I called ahead and they said I could get it without the dried shrimp and I thought great, I’m all set. I ordered it and decided to get a regular side house salad as well.  I asked what kind of dressing they used and they said peanut sauce so I asked if they had a vinaigrette. Some kind of lime dressing, so I asked for that on the side. Just smelling the dressing I knew it had fish sauce in it, so then I was stuck with a hunk of iceberg, a piece of raw cauliflower and broccoli (about the only pluses to that salad) and a few tomato wedges (two more pluses). My papaya salad came and I forgot about the peanuts on top – most likely roasted. It probably had the same dressing as the lime dressing I just smelled for the side salad. What to do – I ate it. This made me realize how limited the choices are when it comes to being raw and going for a raw vegan diet on top of that. Frankly, it just isn’t enjoyable for me right now, although I absolutely love it when a few of the more conscious restaurants offer raw dinner nights. I try to go to those as much as possible. Hopefully it is catching on; after all, most decent restaurants now have a gluten free menu or at least make a concerted effort to  note which items are gluten free or can be prepared gluten free.

The next night I was going to a birthday party, tapas style. I wanted to make a few things so I would be sure to be able to partake, but just for grins I thought I’d make cupcakes. WHAT A MISTAKE. First of all, I found a gorgeous, rich recipe on another blog. My daughter and I decided to make them sort of Reeces peanut butter themed, and we used Fluff plus peanut butter (Fluffernutter) for our filling. The first problem was that all the cupcakes sank in the middle (this is a major pet peeve of mine). Next, even though they were in parchment baking cups, they all stuck in the pans (that I had pregreased prior to baking). Next I made frosting with melted organic dark chocolate, more fluff, more butter and a little powdered sugar and as I was piping it on top of the cupcakes, the bag literally blew out. I had so much frosting, fluff, chocolate, butter all over my hands, me, the counters – and not once did I even lick my fingers! It was a disaster on every level (although I hear the kids at the party liked them). I vowed never again to make cupcakes. I normally love baking and am a pretty decent muffin maker, but I am through with cupcakes!!

What I made for myself and others for the tapas was stuffed endive (pictured above), jicama salad, and what we call poppers, which are roasted baby peppers stuffed with chevre (not raw). Why I was set on being an overachiever, I have no idea. I will post the recipes for the stuffed endive and jicama salad in another post. I will not share the link for the cupcakes because I think the person has a lovely blog and it may just be that altitude was working against me (I followed the recipe to a T).

Any suggestions for “breaking” my raw food experiment, or tapering as I like to call it, are welcome. Would black bean soup be too brutal? What about Himilayan food (veggies in a Jal Freghi curry sauce)?

I’m looking forward to receiving a massage this afternoon – it’s been quite a while for me. I’m still down about 7 pounds today. Would be great to have dropped 10, but I’m not in a rush. I know I’ll get there, especially with my new perspective on mindful eating.

On a completely different note, we adopted a cat yesterday from a mobile humane society van. She is a domestic long hair, but totally shaved on her body since I believe she was too matted when they got her. She hasn’t peed or pooped since we got her so now I”m concerned about that. Her name is Lucy.