Saturday, May 26, 2012


A couple weeks ago my husband and I took a short vacation to celebrate all things May that for us includes a birthday, wedding anniversary, and mother's day. In true planner / packer fashion, I dutifully pre-cooked and froze as much as possible [including 20+ smoothies], packed an arsenal of road snacks [including these and this and these], and cleaned the house to as spotless as a toddler and farm will allow [trust me, this is much more appealing to come home to and worth the effort]. All of this preparation allowed for plenty of time to hike, explore, lounge, beach, and simply enjoyed the beauty that is Sleeping Bear Dunes while soaking up some good ol' fashion family time. Our daughter was in her glory having the constant attention of both parents!

The area that we stayed hosts a small little chocolate delicatessan that alone is worth the drive. Creativity weaves itself in everything they do but what really gets me is that their products are fair trade, organic, and made with as many local ingredients as possible. If you have been in the area it is quickly apparent that supporting the local farmers is a lifestyle not a marketing tag line.

The real reason I mention any of this is that while driving by this small shop [that we of course visited later], I noticed a sign out front that touted homemade fudgsicles. Not only did my pregnancy-driven "must have immediately" dial crank to high but a total frustration with having a dairy intolerance set in. Talk about a mood buster. A fudgsicle flavored cloud set in and, as we passed, all I could think was "Arrrggghhhh!!!!!".

Fast forward a week or so and, although the toddler like tantrum has warn off, the craving still goes strong. Mix that with couple of high 80, low 90 degree days and, wala!, the motivation necessary to come up with a fabulous treat of my own.

As a former lover [and clearly a present dreamer] of fudgsicles, I admit I was really skeptical that any attempt to mimic these classic favorites of mine could actually succeed. Let's just say I proved myself wrong. Craving indulged - check, check and check! The best part? My toddler-age daughter can enjoy these along side me as a special summer treat and I can give them to her knowing that she is getting some pretty awesome nutrients with no added "junk" [ie. flavors, colors, preservatives, sweeteners, etc.].

May you never have to go back to boxed iced fudge [and the body bullies that they hold]. And of course, happy Memorial Day everyone! Enjoy!


1 3/4 c. homemade nut milk [or 1 1/2 c. water + 1/2 c. nut of choice - I love walnut or cashew milk / nuts]
3 tbsp. raw carob powder
2 pinches of Celtic sea salt
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
6 dates
2 tbsp. freshly ground flax seeds

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend on high until very smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

Once frozen, run popsicle mold under warm water to release.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


This past weekend our local Farmer's Market opened for the season. I have been going to an organic winter market, which has been really great, but of course there is nothing like our downtown marketplace on a warm, sunny Saturday morning. My husband, daughter, and I stroll around leisurely completely enthralled in our surroundings. Actually, I'm interested in the produce, my husband, the people, and my daughter, anything she can get her hands on. I tend to get lost in the variety and pure beauty of it all. I like to rustle my family out of bed and get there early, guaranteeing the best selection and the ability to chat with the farmers.

To my utter surprise, this past Saturday I struck gold in the form of greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers. It has been quite a while since I have had either as the supermarket versions just aren't worth the price. I bought out one vendor's cucumber supply [which sounds a bit obnoxious but really it was only 6 cucumbers] and a few of his tomatoes, promising to return later in the week for more. On our drive home I eagerly dreamed up what dinner would come of these precious finds. My husband just smiled at my child-like enthusiasm. It's times like these that I cherish and am reminded that some things are simply worth waiting for if for no other reason than to experience the anticipation and pure delight of it all. I think a child remains in all of us, sometimes it just seems to get lost in our immediate gratification world.

When dinner time rolled around my daughter polished off half a cucumber while I laid on the counter all of the fresh ingredients I could find: ramps [or wild leeks], asparagus and spinach fresh from the garden, garlic and then more garlic [can you really have enough?], and of course my greenhouse treasures. It happened to be almost 90 degrees at the time and all I could think about was raw, raw, raw. So here is a recipe with minimal cooking [only a quick saute for the ramps, garlic, and asparagus and a dunking of the pasta] and a host of fresh ingredients compliments of my local farmer friends.

As a quick aside, remember even if you are purchase organic produce it is still important to thoroughly wash your produce prior to cutting and eating. Here is a simple homemade recipe that is worth keeping on hand.


1 c. water
1 c. vinegar
2 tbsp. real lemon juice
2 tbsp. baking soda
10 drops grapefruit seed extract
3 tbsp. salt

Mix all ingredient in a clean spray bottle or regular bottle [for a soak solution] and shake well until salt has dissolved. Spray fruit / vegetables generously and allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes or add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of solution to a sinkful of water [or bucket / bowl / etc.], adjusting the amount of solution to the container and amount of water you are using. Let soak for 15 - 20 minutes, rinse well and dry.

May you take the time to wander through a market somewhere and get in touch with where your food comes from. May you find ways to experience anticipation and delightful fulfillment and may the child inside you be freed.


1 12 oz. package of gluten free pasta [try Tinkyada's vegetable spirals]
Homemade Italian Dressing [I use 1 c. of homemade canned tomato sauce in lieu of a tomato]
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of wild ramps, a leek, or 1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. asparagus, cut into small chunks
2 tomatoes, chopped [I like blending red and yellow tomatoes. If you prefer low acid or have trouble with acid, use two yellow tomatoes]
1 - 2 medium size cucumbers, chopped
large handful of spinach leaves, sliced in thin strips
raw sunflower seeds [optional]

Cook pasta according to manufacturer's instructions. While the pasta is cooking [be sure to check it from time to time to make sure it doesn't get too soft], make the dressing and chop all of the vegetables. Set aside.

Drain pasta, return to pot [uncovered], and add half of the dressing. Toss until pasta is thoroughly coated.

In a large skillet heat olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add ramps and garlic and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. Add asparagus and saute another 2 - 3 minutes or until asparagus is softened a bit but still firm and crunchy.

In a large glass bowl combine remaining vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, and spinach. Cover with remaining dressing and toss until coated. Add the sauteed asparagus, leeks, and garlic. Gently toss. Add pasta and again gently combine until well mixed.

Scoop onto plates and garnish with a small handful of raw sunflower seeds if desired.

This dish can be served slightly warm [it will be a little warm when completely assembled] or chilled. Both are equally fabulous!

Note: You could also make this with brown or black [forbidden] rice, quinoa, or millet and it would be equally as good!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


 Well the heat has hit and I for one am welcoming it with open arms [at least until I get deeper into the third trimester that is!]. Not only does heat mean we get to bum around on Sunday afternoons beach-side, spend long days taking in the open air and sunlight, and treading around barefoot, it also means 'tis the time for sun tea.  My husband can attest to this - I have a weakness when it comes to tea. Every time I see an intriguing new blend I just have to try it. Our pantry is lined with different loose leaf blends.

One of my favorite morning rituals throughout the summer is to peruse my tea shelf and pick the brew a of the day. Nature's timing is perfect - at just about the time, late afternoon-ish, I get a hankering for an ice cold cup of something , my sun-brewed tea started first thing in the morning is ready. I love that the sun's energy comes free! My daughter has recently taken up a love for tea and now asks for it by name. She also likes to crunch down on the melted ice, her newest summer treat. Ahh, summer.

Drinking a variety of herbal teas has many health benefits as well. Herbs are nutrient powerhouses just brimming with vitamins and minerals. They offer a generally safe, natural, and tasty way to take your vitamins each day. The Bulk Herb Store is a site I highly recommend if you are interested in learning more about the power of herbs. There you will find tea blends, bulk herbs, herbal remedies and recipes, book recommendations, fun videos, and a lot of passion. If you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or have recently had a baby I highly recommend their Making Babies Series. I have the book and find that it can stand alone with or without the companion DVDs although I wills say that Shoshanna's videos are typically brimming with additional information and fun to watch. I also love Mountain Rose Herbs but find many of my herbs and teas locally at Global Infusion.

Please Note: These are my opinions alone and I am not receiving any compensation for sharing my feedback on these companies [in fact they most likely have no idea that I am recommending them here]. I am strictly a consumer and want to pass along places that I have found to be incredibly helpful in my health journey.

All of this being said, for as much as I love my sun teas pure [meaning simply on ice or chilled without any sweetening, etc.], I also love to experiment. Recently I have been craving shakes - creamy, sweet, flavorful shakes. The blessing in having food allergies and health awareness is that it prevents me from giving in to those fleeting cravings by swinging through a drive-thru or rushing to the nearest ice cream stop. On the other hand, it can pose quite a frustrating dilemma as the cravings are still real, demanding, and when pregnant, incessant. So, I improvise by either hunting out a new fun recipe or coming up with own based on the craving of the moment. Today's answer: tea shakes!

Here are two of my recent favorite combinations. May you find that you can toast to both health and indulgence!

Caffeine Free

2 c. organic berries [I used blueberries for this one]
1 c. berry-infused tea [I love Hummingbird Nectar. Find it here and here.]
1 1/2 c. non-dairy milk [I used homemade walnut milk]
1/2 - 1 tsp. molasses [start small and work up to your desired taste]
4 dates [or a few fresh stevia leaves]

Place all in blender and blend on high until very smooth. Add more liquid or berries to get your desired consistency.


Caffeine Free; Recipe from Ani's Raw Food Essentials

2 rooibos tea bags [I love the rooibos chai from here]
3 1/4 c. filtered water
1 c. halved, pitted fresh apricots or 1/2 c. dried apricots, soaked optional, with soaking water*
1/2 c. cashews or walnuts, soaked optional**
1/4 c. pitted dates, soaked optional, with soaking water*
1 to 1 1/2 c. ice [more or less per desired consistency]

Make sun tea with tea bags and water by placing tea bags in a quart-sized glass jar, cover with water, and place in sun for 4 - 6 hours. If you run out of time, simply brew tea using boiling water [let steep for at least 10 minutes to get a strong brew] and place in refrigerator or freezer to chill.

Combine tea, soaked apricots and soaking water, nuts, soaked dates and soaking water, and ice. Blend on high until very smooth.

*Soaking the dried fruit is optional but I find it makes a creamier flurry. Place dried fruit in glass cup or jar and cover with water. Add enough water to raise water level 1 inch above the dried fruit. Let soak in the refrigerator over night. For time-saving, cover with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Place in freezer to chill.

**Soaking the nuts is optional but, again, I find it makes for a creamier shake. Place nuts in a glass cup or jar and cover with water. Add enough water to raise water level 1 inch above the nuts. Let soak in the refrigerator over night. Drain water and rinse. For time-saving, cover with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain water and rinse.