Saturday, August 23, 2008

Red Lentil Soup with East Indian Spices (Masoor Dahl)

A favorite around here. I made it for dinner the other night when I had my friend and my sister over. I thought I'd share the recipe. It's very simple to make and delicious. It is so filling when paired with a well-dressed salad and freshly baked bread.

I like to add chopped green vegetables to any soup I am making because Z1 does not like greens at all. This time I added frozen chopped spinach but chopped kale works great too. I generally never use plain water to make soups--I add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable broth powder. You could use vegetable broth.

The salad was made with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers all from the farmer's market. I dressed it with a simple vinaigrette: 1 to 1 apple cider vinegar to extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, some Dijon mustard and maple syrup. I'd baked the bread the day before so it was still very moist and fresh. (Yes, that is Earth Balance slathered all over the bread. I tried to do olive oil and salt on bread the other day instead of EB. Not a good look. So I'm taking suggestions on what could replace EB in my life.)

Everyone really seemed to enjoy the dish and I just thought it would be a great recipe to share with everyone because of how easy it is.

I've been laboring over my children's book

Which is a retelling of a story I heard as a child. Only to find that someone has already retold it and published it.

I keep thinking that maybe my retelling is fresh enough and different enough that it will be published also. I put the book on hold at the library. I'm anxious to read it.

But I seriously have lost my momentum.

And I honestly feel trapped in mediocrity. I feel like the only thing I'm good at is being a mother and I have my days when I doubt even that. I don't feel creative. I don't feel innovative. Just mediocre.

I also need to find a way to bring it about $800 extra a month. Thinking about babysitting. Thinking about some other things.

I am scared because I know I never want to go back to teaching at least not while the kids are young but I still have the student loans from the degree hanging over my head.

And the car. DH has expressed that the payment is just too hefty. It was manageable when we thought I would be working full time but now, it's just hefty.

So an extra $800 should make things comfortable.

Publishing the books just doesn't seem like a viable place to put my hope for making a living. I don't even want to look at my manuscripts.

Ugh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

12 Steps to Raw Food by Victoria Boutenko

Is a *huge* disappointment. I should have waited to get it from the library (it had been on hold for several weeks).

The majority of the book is devoted to the "why" of eating raw foods and not the "how" as the book's title suggests. Boutenko spends endless chapters providing justification for eating a raw food diet, trying to establish the superiority of a raw food diet over a cooked food diet. Other parts of the book try to establish the spiritual connection to eating raw foods and suggest ways to make raw food eating a part of a complete lifestyle overhaul. Not.what.I.was.looking for.

I think the book should be titled Why and How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food and subtitled 12 Steps to Raw Foods. Boutenko basically approaches eating cooked food as an addiction (instead of as a learned behavior) and so she tries to provide a 12 step plan similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Maybe 10 pages are actually devoted to how to go about eating raw food.

Okay, I've already been down the dogmatic diet road with strict vegetarianism. I don't need or want any more lectures!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Baby's Birthday!

Z1 celebrated his third birthday on Sunday, Aug. 17. I can hardly believe he's such a big boy. He had a *great* day. I bought him a couple of balloons (two with a basketball and baseball which he's really into right now). He ended up taking those two outside and losing them (even though I told him that would happen). We also got him a Little Tikes Basketball Hoop and he L O V E S it. Oh my goodness. It's the single best toy we ever got him. We had his favorite type of cake--chocolate cake and he was just in heaven. He also got a water table which he spent almost an hour playing with yesterday as well as water crayons and two books that I must have read about 200 times already. It was a fabulous day and I'm so grateful to have him in my life. Words cannot describe how much I love that little dude.

The hubby got a new camcorder for his birthday so most of the memory capturing was done with that. I did remember to take a picture of the cake though, albeit after it was cut. It's my favorite cake, easy to make. It was a vanilla almond frosted double-layer chocolate cake. I decorated it with vegan sprinkles and vegan chocolate chips. It was really rich and really good and Z1 kept saying "I love my party!!" Ahh . . . so easy to please children.

Edited 09/01/08 to add recipe as per Lionesse's request!! Happy to share!











Easy Vegan Chocolate Cake


Ingredients
1.5 cups unbleached white flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup olive oil (recipe says vegetable oil but I use olive oil with no problems)
1 cup cold water
2 tsps vanilla
2 tbsp vinegar

Mix all ingredients together well. The order doesn't matter so long as you mix very well. Pour into 9" baking pan.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 mins.

Starting a New Curriculum with Z1

Many of you know that I plan to homeschool my two sons. Last week I found an excellent curriculum to begin with. I think age 3 is a great time to start introducing some concepts so it was fortuitous that I came across this curriculum. I had been drawing up my own but this one closely matches what I was thinking of doing. I will also be working with Z1 to learn his name (recognizing it) and learn to use the mouse for work on the computer. So we're off to the library to get some books to support the lesson. Oh, yes, you know it. I believe in literature based learning. LoL. :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Raw

So I've really been focused on incorporating more raw foods. I read somewhere that you can reap the full benefits of eating raw by eating 75% raw. Right now, we are at 20%, maybe. But I'm proud to say that for the past few days we've been having green smoothies in the morning. I have been using Dr. Oz's recipe for green drink and we really like it. I also have been making another green smoothie:

one bunch kale
2-3 oranges
2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 cup pure water
1 banana

Dr. Oz's recipe is heavier on the veggies and that's the kind of smoothie that I think is most beneficial, i.e. a higher ratio of leafy greens to fruit. But the fruit definitely makes it much more enjoyable, and as I re-learned, the acidity helps the body digest the greens.

The other day I made raw oatmeal which was not bad. It was interesting to note how much I really wanted the oatmeal to be warm. It had an interesting taste and texture, though, and will take some getting used to. I will have to try other grains because rolled oats are not really raw (they are steamed in the flaking process). Oat groats may or may not be raw. I'm not quite sure how I will know so other grains might fit the bill better.

I will be getting my dehydrator from the basement and learning how to use it. I'd like to try my hand at some raw crackers to go with the Spanish Breakfast Omelet:


I'd also like to make this Cream of Zucchini soup but that will have to wait till Wednesday when I go to the Farmer's Market. I see that doing this raw thing will require me going out the Farmer's Market weekly. That is the only practical way to get locally grown, often organic fresh fruits and vegetables for a very good price. When the season is over, my only other choice will be the Whole Foods. Both the FM and WF require me to drive but there's really no options in my town for fresh, organic produce. Forget locally grown. You should have seen the sad state of affairs at the vegetable store today (I was just trying to get a few greens to hold us over till Wednesday). Peaches were damn near rotten and they were still trying to sell them for 99 cents a pound. They should have been 25 cents a pound. That might have induced me to buy some to make a cobbler.

Estimates say that using my regular old Osterizer this much will burn the thing out in about 2 months. We will then invest in a Vitamix. I won't be getting the dry container though because I have a food processor. I hope we can find a good deal on a re-furbished one.

I've noticed the Z1 really likes mango. I'm looking for a smoothie (green) that he will actually drink. Mango might be the key.

Thinking of getting one more (expensive azz) book by Alissa Cohen. I really like her site and I've read good things. Plus the recipes look delicious (DH says they look crazy but whatever).
Anyway, I'm excited (and cautious) and inviting anyone who wants to join me to come on along! :) I could use the support.
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