Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vegan Broccoli Salad

I bought way too much organic broccoli last week because the grocery store had a major sale.  I looked up several recipes on the internet but I wasn't very impressed. So I figured I would mix some of them together and add several of my own ingredients.  This vegan broccoli salad I made turned out really well!  I even caught my husband sneaking bites when we were cleaning up from dinner! WHAT! He is not a fan of raw broccoli so I was really happy :)

Ingredients:
2 medium heads of broccoli (approximately 4 cups chopped into small pieces)
2 stalks of organic celery, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup organic red cabbage, sliced thin and about 1 inches long
1/2 - 3/4 cup Veganaise
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 TBSP organic apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP organic sugar
3/4 cup raw organic cashews
1/2 cup organic raisins
1/4 cup raw organic sunflower seeds
1/4 teaspoon Penzey's Black Pepper
pinch of sea salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Enjoy! You can let this sit in the fridge for like 30 minutes and stir every so often to coat the veggies in the sauce. We enjoyed it right away. I also just had some for lunch the next day and it is really tasty. Feel free to add more of less of any ingredients to suit your taste buds.


I like the cashews to be crunchy so I added them when I served the dish. If you like them soft, you can add them when you mix everything together.

I also chopped the broccoli really fine, I like it better that way.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Goji Berry Bites

I got this idea from a video posting on Mountain Rose Herbs  (Click preview "Herbs that Heal" video).
I added a lot of other ingredients as well.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry goji berries (Next time, I will use less, more like 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup organic raw cashews
5 large organic medjool dates (pitted)
1/4 cup raw organic sunflower seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 TBSP cocoa
2 TBSP raw organic Maca Powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
dry, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon organic chia seeds
1- 2 TBSPs vegan chocolate chips

Reconstitute goji berries by putting them in 1-2 cups of warm water for 20 minutes. Strain water and add berries to food processor.

Put all ingredients (except coconut & chocolate chips) in a food processor. Mix for 15- 20 seconds. Add vegan chocolate chips & process for 10 more seconds.  Scoop out gooey mixture and roll in coconut. Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour (makes the bites a little firmer).


Some coconut got on my spoon while I was scooping to make the bites.


I like to make the bites all different sizes, this way I can have a small one, say around 10PM, or a bigger one at like 10AM.


This was my first time making anything with goji berries. They are kind of expensive so I usually buy o. raisins or o. dates if I am going to make something with fruit in it. I decided to give these asian berries a try. They are pretty good (although I prefer the Brownie Ball/Bites that I posted a while back)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Favorite Fruit

There's nothing like a sweet, ripe persimmon with a squirt of lime. I had never had one of these scrumptious fruits until I moved to California. Persimmons quickly became my favorite fruit.

They are ripe when they are soft to the touch but not too squishy. Black spots indicate that they are over-ripe.



I peel the exterior layer with a potato peeler, slice the fruit up into pieces and squirt lime all over them. Sweet and the lime adds that sour burst. They are sooooooo good.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Switch it out: Eye Make-up Remover

I have overhauled my medicine cabinet and make-up and have found some great alternatives. Check out www.ewg.org/skindeep for more information about the toxins in our everyday products.

Make-up Remover:

Old: Equate Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover & Sephora Collection Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover

New: Organic Jojoba oil

Okay, I was a HUGE skeptic when it came to this. I thought how could oil possibly compare to my dearest eye makeup removers (I will not lie, I LOVED most of my old products- but we had to break-up).
For real, the Jojoba oil removes mascara, eyeliner, concealer, eyeshadow, etc.  I just squirt a small amount on a cotton ball and gently remove eye makeup. It comes right off! I had even tried this with a water proof Maybelline mascara, and the Jojoba oil did a great job.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sourdough Bread

Kick'in sourdough bread.  The crust tastes like Cheez-Its (I haven't had Cheez-Its for like 10 years & when I ate the bread I couldn't put my finger on the flavor but when John came home we were noming on it and I figured out the flavor!)

I really recommend reading and trying the Basic-no-kneed-method first.  My dad bought me a cast iron/enamel dutch oven for Christmas last year. I have used it SO many times for this recipe! (Thanks Dad!)

Since I have my sourdough starter, I figured I would try a different recipe.
http://www.breadtopia.com/sourdough-no-knead-method/

I love the bread, but I felt the dough was too soupy after the first proofing.  I would cut back on the water in this recipe to 1 1/4 cups water. I also used less salt than the recipe called for (I used 3/4 teaspoon vs 1 1/2 teaspoons).

I had a major mess on my hands this morning - the dough was liquid! I am not joking, I POURED it out onto my lightly floured cutting board and realized quickly that something was NOT right.  I added a ton of extra flour until the dough could hold itself together and moved onto the second rising. Oh well! Next time I am going to add less water to start with and see how that goes.


My dough last night after stirring in all ingredients.




Covered and ready to sit overnight:


13 hours later (note: I had to do some serious reconstructive surgery to make the bread less watery- aka. lots of flour):



Made this bowl into a "proofing basket" (I don't have one), So I used olive oil to lightly coat the bowl and sprinkled corn meal all over to create a non-stick surface.


Sourdough bread ready for last proofing (had to put it in the above bowl to proof one last time):


 Piping Hot! Still has 15 minutes left without the dutch oven top on:


Flash on:


 Flash off:


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pineapple Juice Sour Dough Starter

I love making homemade bread. I wanted to make a wild yeast starter so I tried this- http://www.breadtopia.com/make-your-own-sourdough-starter/




Several days and steps later: Look at the wild yeast bubbling! Yay!







Monday, October 22, 2012

Indonesian-Inspired Tempeh Stew

I love my go-to cookbook Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. One of my favorite cold weather meals comes from this amazing cookbook.

This recipe is available online as well : Indonesian-Inspired Tempeh Stew (once you click on the link, if the recipe doesn't come right up you and search by page, it is page 310. Also you can click the "previous" button at the top of the viewer twice and that should bring it up).

I did not have sweet potatoes on hand so I improvised and used o. blue potatoes from the farmers market and o. carrots. Green onions replaced the shallots. I also did not have any lime zest (which was a bummer because it really adds a tang and great depth to this dish).

I made some o. brown rice to put underneath the stew to add a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs taste.










Sunday, October 21, 2012

Camera Shy

Athan usually LOVES to dance. I tried to talk him into it but he wasn't feeling the song. Oh well...

video

Simple Sandwich

Whipped up this simple sandwich for lunch today.

Two pieces of homemade buckwheat/whole wheat bread

o. lettuce

Chipotle Veganaise (This was my first time trying this. It was pretty good. It was a "I'm hungry while grocery shopping" purchase.)

o. grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise

avocado chunks (i should have done long slices, the chunks kept falling out of my sandwich!)



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chop Chop Snip Snip

I have been trying to get an appointment at Ponce Studio for over a week now (the soonest appointment I could get in their appointment book was December 28th at 3pm!).  I was probably annoying but called a few times to see if I could fill in if there was a no-show or if someone cancelled their appointment last minute.  They were so helpful and fit me in!

I decided to cut my hair pretty short. I have been getting headaches and have not been able to wear my hair in a pony tail or bun for a while now.  I love how pretty it looked when it was straightened but I don't have the time to do that with a 20 month old running around.

Carlos (my artist hairdresser) cut about 13 inches off (10 of which are in a pony tail). WOW. I am comparing a few different hair donation charities (Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids, Panteen Beautiful Lengths Program).  I donated 12 inches of my hair to Wigs for Kids about 13 years ago and I enjoyed knowing that I was helping out a kid who has lost their hair.

Before:









After: 






For some reason my hair looks darker now but I did not dye it or anything. Sometimes when I straighten it, my hair looks a lot darker.  These are pictures about an hour after the cut. It's going to look very different once I shower and it all waves up. I do miss my long hair a lot, but am glad for a change.



Cloth Diapering (Updated 12/06/2012)

I have been cloth diapering my son for about 6 weeks now. It has been an adventure learning which inserts to pair with which covers, laundering the diapers and scooping poop into the toilet.  Despite the challenges, I am really happy that I am doing this. I am glad that I am preventing thousands of disposable diapers from ending up in a landfill (which are estimated to take 500 years to decompose, if ever).  Disposables also leak toxic chemicals onto a baby's bum. I've read an argument that the water one uses to wash cloth diapers off-sets the environmental impact of switching from disposables, this simply is not true.  A lot of water is used in making disposable diapers (bleaching, processing, etc) and this is done for each diaper used- which is then just thrown away.  Water is constantly being used to make more and more disposables.

Cloth diapering is initially more expensive, but if you start from birth to potty training, you should save money. Check out some neat facts HERE

I wanted to make a post that details my favorite diapers and why. Here goes!


My absolute favorite all in one (AIO) diaper is:
Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0  

They are awesome! They dry quickly because as picture 2 shows, you can take the sewn-in layer out for quick drying. I have not had a leak so far either & Athan is a heavy wetter at night.  Also, they come in adorable prints- owls & dinos shown below. I have another diaper in monkey print but it's in the hamper.

Here is a link and an informative video: http://www.swaddlebees.com/Products/All-in-One-Diapers/Snap-AIO-Cloth-Diapers_10

I have bought the three that I own from http://www.lc-pals.com/servlet/the-3524/swaddlebees/Detail  (Lc-Pals online boutique).  The first one I bought was actually on Amazon via Lc-Pals but I noticed I could save money by buying direct on the Lc-Pals website (they have good coupons).

Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0 was a recommendation from a college friend who has cloth diapered more than 2 kids. She was SPOT on!





Note: See the fleece piece behind the diapers in the picture above? I stick these in Athan's diapers if he has a rash and they pull moisture away from his bottom. We dealt with a rash when we switched to cloth because we didn't realize we had to change more often than with disposables.  I cut up a fleece baby blanket that we never used and use those as liners if we know we cannot change him as often (example- night time when he sleeps for more than 6 hrs at a time or a road trip).



My favorite fitted diapers (you need to use a separate water proof diaper cover over the top of these).

First 3 pictures are of Firefly Quick Dry Diapers. Organic, unbleached cotton. love love love. http://www.fireflydiapers.com/organic-cloth-diapers_color.htm

They dry quickly because you can hang the multi-layer flaps over to the sides.  Also, they are less bulky than most fitted diapers.

I received this one in a big bag of second hand diapers. It wasn't much to look at but has quickly become the go-to fitted for me. I plan on purchasing more online soon.





Second Place for fitted diapers:

Kissaluvs Kissa's Organic Cotton/Hemp Fitted Diapers
They are soooo soft, absorbent, organic and they come with a snap in soaker pad for extra absorbency.  It is on the pricier side but works great as an overnight diaper for a heavy wetter like my son.

I purchased it from Thanks Mama (cute online boutique) They run some great deals- like buy 2 Flip diaper covers and get one free (see below).





My favorite diaper covers (from left to right):

Flip One Size Diaper Cover in Tangerine

Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover with Snaps in Scottish Storm
These seem to fit really well and are probably my favorite covers. They come in two sizes which is a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because it is more true to size and fits the baby more comfortably. It's not so great because you have to buy two different covers- one for when they are 6-18lbs and then another one when they get bigger 18-40lbs).




Other Diapers Pros & Cons:

Bum Genius elemental one-size all -in-one - love that they don't leak, come in bright colors & patterns, and are organic but they take a LONG time to dry. The design is frustrating to work with- I have to constantly flip them and try to dry the layers that are sewn into the diaper. They are an all-in-one so you can't just pop them in the dryer.

Sustainablebabyish Organic Bamboo Fleece Fitted- Like that they are organic and come with a snap in soaker and another soaker for extra absorbency. Bulky and $$$. I'd go with Kissa's - much softer! 

Fuzbaby- Terry cloth diapers with matching soaker pads. Very bulky.

Mudpies- I like that these have snap in soaker pad but the fit isn't quite right. Cute designs though

Kawaii Baby Happy Leak-Free One Size Diaper Cover- soft exterior.  No me gusta.  They did not fit Athan well at all. Actually he had red scratches from the gusseting. I would not recommend.


Lastly, I would recommend diapers that have snaps, not velcro for closure. For the velcro diapers we have, Athan always quickly grabs the tabs and undoes them. I think he likes the velcro ripping noise. The snaps are too difficult for him. Also, snaps don't get lint in them from the washer machine like the velcro diapers.