Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kitchen Wednesday

The weather today is just amazing...the kind of day when you open up the house and breathe in the fresh air. Totally invigorating. My daughter and I ran our errands today (post office and grocery store) and made a list of fun things to do in the kitchen today. She helped me make fresh guacomole. We picked up the best avacodos at Trader Joe's over the weekend....when I cut them open today it was LOVE! So yeah...we tried this guacomole recipe and I have to say....very good. My very first job at 16 I worked in the kitchen at Chi Chi's El Pronto and made fresh guacamole every day...hated it it now! Funny how your palate changes over time. Also, something I never would have tried at 16 is the recipe I found on Sensible Living's Blog that she posted on March 9th. I thought this would be a great cookie recipe for my 6yr. old to make. We added chocolate chips, cranberries and ground up walnuts to the recipe...healthy, easy and good. And, she loved making them!!

So, in my effort to be more "green" (I hate that word), I researched making shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner I found to be super easy....something I already had in my kitchen coconut oil. There are plenty of YouTube videos about how to apply it...pretty basic though. I found two shampoo recipes I wanted to make. One we made today....I am a little skeptical about trying it now that's it's made...only because of the way it looks and it smells a little weird...not that appealing. I shall try it tomorrow morning and let you all know what I think. The recipe can be found here. It's a clarifying shampoo because I have been pretty harsh on my hair. The next recipe I know I will like better because it utilizes herbs I find appealing. Take a look.
Have any of you made homemade shampoos and had success?

And, because it's my mission in life to photograph everything I do now:

 The guacomole recipe would be even more exceptional had I had fresh cilantro but I didn't...can't have it all, right?

*Things that I have not done today or will do today: Make the bed, laundry, vacuuming, pay bills.....sometimes you just have to do things you enjoy and forget that other stuff until tomorrow... xoxo peace

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I love you spring

Flowers are everywhere right now. This is my first spring in California and frankly the weather has been crappy...but today the weather heard my pleas of needing sunshine. My daughter and I went down to the park to kick the soccer ball around. I snuck away a couple of times to snap some shots of the flowers!
These orange flowers...which I embarrassingly don't know the name of...are growing in random spots all over the hillsides...lovely!

We saw many ladybugs today...and none of them had spots. Unusual and curious.

And this look says it all....put that damn camera away mom!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Soap Box moment...sorta

I am blessed/cursed with time until I take my boards in August to get my license to work here. Blessed because I have time to focus on my daughter and blessed because I have time to be creative, to take walks, to play with the camera, to make great menus, to knit and just discover myself again. But, time can be a curse...because I THINK to much when I have "time"...about a lot of stuff. And, when I think to much it can be a bad thing for my mental state. One activity I have been doing is watching documentaries....don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful way to learn about the world, but I am steaming mad right now. I feel helpless in such a Corporate dominated world. I have learned so much about food from watching documentaries which has led me to research, research, research...and discovering how scary it is that for so many years I've been poisoning my body. Our government seems to be o.k. with that. It infuriates me that I have paid thousands upon thousands of dollars in taxes to live in a better country only to be lied to over and over and over again. And robbed. They have robbed me. I used to feel safe in the United States...I wasn't scared of the people who shared this country with me and maybe it was because I was younger and more naive but there is a constant negative energy all around me now. When I venture out to public places....I can feel it. People are rude and I suspect it is because they are tired of being lied to, they have lost their trust in society. When I look around me...I see people buying up everything around feel better and more powerful than the person next to them. Really??? Really? I hate that corporations have manipulated the human mind to believe MORE is happiness. How fucking sick! No wonder people have addictions. It really gets me down. I hate that I too have been guilty at times of consuming too much....thinking it will make me happy to have new/more "stuff". I've had enough of this way of thinking and living in my life. I want a place that is stable, peaceful, and respectful of the environment. I am changing...definitely a blessing! Now, how do I get the rest of the people to change? This is quite the dilemma.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's all in the Salad

Ok....I actually cleaned the casa today...then I ventured into the kitchen! And this is what happened: (And as always click the pictures for better detail)

Who knew sweet italian sausage and apples create sweet magic in your mouth. I've been wanting to try this salad I found in Gourmet Nutrition for awhile but, was skeptical since it has apples and sausage in it... so excited to say it's fantastic and I have a new salad to share with friends and family! And my 6 yr. old daughter ate it. Easy, yummy and nutritious. I paired it with a spicy apple vinaigrette dressing that I found in the same cookbook! The consistancy of the dressing threw me off a bit but it tasted great. So, for something new and different try this:
Spinach leaves, 1/4 cup cooked quinoa, about a whole apple diced into small pieces, 2 sweet italian turkey sausages cooked and cut into pieces, about a handful of crushed walnuts and low fat feta cheese....and add whatever dressing you like...something sweet would go well with it or a balsamic. The dressing I made was 1 apple cored and skinned, 1/2 cup of walnut oil, 1/4 cup apple cidar vinegar, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste then puree in the blender. Chill dressing before serving.

The biscuits....well not healthy. And it came from a box that I ordered through Tastefully Simple. I could have eaten all of them...but I stopped after 3! Shhhhh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another hiking post

I live near some great hiking trails...thank goodness or I would have been locked up by now. I was feeling really down and out today so, I took my daughter on a hike. I've lived here now for almost 5 months and the only thing that has kept me sane is photography and hiking....well, I'm exaggerating a bit but, it has been therapeutic. I feel very isolated here not having any friends to do stuff with. Getting my license to work isn't happening fast enough for me. Anyway, I won't go into all that so here are some of my favorite photos from today's hike : Click to enlarge photos...makes a huge difference!

Sprawl II by Arcade Fire

They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock,
These days, my life, I feel it has no purpose,
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface.
Cause on the surface the city lights shine,
They're calling at me, "come and find your kind."

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
That we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

We rode our bikes to the nearest park,
Sat under the swings, we kissed in the dark,
We shield our eyes from the police lights,
We run away, but we don't know why,
And like a mirror these city lights shine,
They're screaming at us, "we don't need your kind."

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
That we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
Can we ever get away from the sprawl?
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights

*I posted this today because this is how I feel about the crap that surrounds me today!! I just love these lyrics and watching Regine Chassagne perform them!! Wish I wasn't surrounded by Corporate crap and bombarded by advertising daily!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another food post

I bought these today...and suddenly I was craving chocolate in a bad way. I started thinking how wonderful they would be in chocolate cups with cream and chocolate....then I looked in the fridge and realized I had philly cream cheese and sour cream so I came up with this....a cheesecake with dark chocolate chips mixed into the filling...I cooked for 40min. then, let it rest in the oven for an hour....I placed blackberries, lemon zest and drizzled more chocolate on top....I devoured my dinner just to have a piece...and let me tell did not disappoint!! The picture of the finished product is before I put the lemon zest on was a last minute decision!

So this is what I used to make this:

Crust is 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs mixed with 1/2 cup of melted butter and 2tbsp of sugar....mix and then form to bottom and sides of pie dish. Place in freezer while you make the filling.

Filling is 8oz of softened philly cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/4 cup sour cream, about 1tsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of sugar ....mix well with blender, then mix in about a handful of chocolate chips. Pour filling on top of crust....bake in a 300 degree oven for about 40min....then turn oven off and leave for another hour inside. Take out of the oven and let cool on a rack for about 20-30min. Then decorate to your liking. For a normal cheesecake I double the filling but I didn't want to take away from blackberries and chocolate so I split the cheesecake filling recipe in half!! It makes a very lovely treat! Seriously....make it!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Protein, protein, protein

So, the cleanse is officially over. I had my struggles and weaknesses but overall I am content with my results. After every successful cleanse I crave good food...not fatty, sugary, processed foods. Last night I made the most amazing salad packed with protein for dinner. I have this cookbook and so far I have not been disappointed with any of the recipes. I usually have to modify them to what I have on hand but that's true of most of my cooking. The best part of this recipe was the dressing....and it was so easy to make. So I'm going to share with you a salad worth serving to will impress!

 Healthy Chicken Caesar:

You will need boneless skinless chicken breasts, romaine lettuce, fresh parmesan cheese, navy beans(drained if in the can) and red onion sliced thin (enough for a salad). I sauteed two breasts of meat on the stove with olive oil. I seasoned the chicken with a lemon pepper mix I have. Once browned and cooked through I sliced the chicken into strips. Now you will make the dressing.

Caesar Vinaigrette: (Now this is NOT a real Caesar dressing, it is a healthy version, so don't expect it to be the same) You will need:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (I found this to be a little too much lemon, adjust to your liking)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used greek)
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 tbsp of capers
1tsp dijon mustard
 Add to a blender and puree.....yum

Assemble salad and serve dressing on the side!

Please click on the pictures.....these smaller pictures don't give it justice! I didn't have Romaine lettuce on hand so if I were making this for people I would certainly use a different lettuce than I did last night.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 2

Day 2 of "the cleanse".....well let's start by saying last night was hard....really hard...I broke down and ate a red sweet pepper...but I don't feel guilty!!! This morning I woke up and felt a little jittery and after I drank my juice...I was fine within a half hour. I thought this cleanse would be a piece of cake compared to my last cleanse...not so at all!! I'm trying to keep a positive attitude and know it's benefits will be worth it....but deep down I am craving the worst of the worst foods... bacon! It's been on my mind all day!! So gross I know! I went grocery shopping for the family today....not the best idea if you are cleansing....and, I managed not to tear open a granola bar during my shopping crossed my mind while I was in that isle. And when I passed the bakery....oh man!! Fresh bread....yum. But, I managed to walk by somehow. So day 2....craving some food....but hanging in there!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring cleaning my system

The last year and a half has been all sorts of good and bad mixed together...many exciting life changes have occured and some not so exciting moments. One of the" not so exciting" happenings has been my eating habits over the past year and a half. The past few months I've been mentally preparing myself for a whole body cleanse (a liquid diet with daily salt water flushes). Each week I would tell myself this was my week to start new....and each week I would find an excuse not to start it. Well, I finally got tired of being tired and wearing tight fitting jeans and feeling bloated and knowing my body was today I started my cleanse. I've done this cleanse once before with great results...I felt recharged and healthy with great limitations on what kinds of food I was consuming afterwards . But, the cleanse itself is mentally challenging! Luckily, I learned so much from the first cleanse I did. Which has made my first day pleasant so far....I eased my way in, only eating fruits and vegetables for the past two days... this has made a huge difference on how my body has handled it so far. I've decided to write down my experiences helps me with my progress, so.... I will be writing about this for the next 6 days. I think that listening to Vampire Weekend this morning has helped too!!! Thank you guys.

Life is good.....see it, believe it and LIVE it!!