Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grazie Mille Signore Rodney

"Grazie Mille" is Italian for "a thousand thanks." This morning I missed my Yoga class because there were time sensitive errands that had to be run right during class time. I was a little bummed as I'd rather be in a class and feeling the present energy than be popping a DVD in at home. Plus if I go to class Kellen gets the added benefit of running around and socializing at Gold's Daycare. But alas, sometimes there are forces that keep us from what we really want to do and we have to improvise. Step in Power Yoga with Rodney Yee. This is a video I purchased years ago, I think 4 or 5. I did it many times after Kellen was born before I could start going to the gym again and he was old enough for daycare. It's a great kick butt yoga workout! 

Plus I get to use my personal yoga studio. Well, I do have to share it with Kellen's toys but it still does the job and it looks super cool. I decorated the room with elephants, candles, pictures of the people who matter most to me, and my iPod docking station.

And have you seen my new meditation pillow? Isn't it beautiful! A great addition to my yoga room.

This afternoon I made some delicious Sicilian Caponata. I couldn't find Lidia's recipe so I searched the Internet for something close to her delicious dish. I found this recipe on Pinterest from another friend who was also living in Sicily at the time we were. Sicilian Caponata tastes best after its been sitting in the fridge for a day so I plan on eating this delicious cold salad tomorrow with my friend Rasa. http://www.apronandsneakers.com/2011/09/caponata.html

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Home Grown

If I forgot to mention than I'm sorry. The reason I've been MIA lately is because we finally got into our new home. As I stated in previous blog entries we were in the process of buying a short sale. I'm not sure why they call it a short sale because it was anything but short. It took 7 months from the time we submitted our offer to the time we moved in. It was all worth it though because I absolutely adore our home. Today I spent some time outside in our beautiful yard. The weather in Las Vegas right now is gorgeous and all of us want to be outside in the sun. After we moved in I realized what exactly the property has in terms of landscape and vegetation. I was surprised and o so very pleased to see we have a peach tree, pear tree, fig tree, lemon tree, lavender bush, mint and rosemary all growing! The peach tree and fig tree have fruit growing but not ripe yet. The lavender, mint and rosemary all smell divine. Kellen loves to pick the lavender and walk around sniffing it. Then like most little boys do, he drops it to the ground and begins stomping on it with his shoes. Hahahaha. I can't help but laugh, he is such a funny kid.

The figs look the closest to being ripe. I'm so excited to eat them fresh AND to use them dried and chopped in my different recipes.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Summer Bars". Grain free, refined sugar free, vegan

1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tbs chia seeds
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tbs pumpkin seeds

I ground both my flax seed and the sunflower seeds in my Vitamix to make a gritty textured flour. Then I mixed all ingredients except for the pumpkin seeds and also I reserved a little bit of the coconut flakes for topping. After mixed well, I pressed the mixture into Tupperware containers, sprinkled the top with the pumpkin seeds and reserved coconut flakes, and placed in the freezer. Funny thing is I was originally going to bake this (hence the picture with the salt and baking powder) and cut them into bars for snacks. However, it's 97 degrees in Las Vegas and just before I turned on the oven I realized doing this would create an incredibly uncomfortable house. So I opted out of baking them and placed them in the freezer to harden up. I pulled them out 3 hours later and cut a couple into bars serving them to Mike and Kellen. They were very tasty and a nice cool snack for our hot Vegas day. I decided I liked this option better and decided to make them freezer snacks instead. This recipe can easily be made nut allergy free by substituting the almond flour for more ground sunflower seed and using 1/2 cup of your oil of choice in place of the coconut oil and peanut butter.

*NOTE: They will begin to melt and turn to goo the longer left out. So treat it like Ice Cream and only pull them out of the freezer when you want the snack.

*WARNING: Do not give these as snacks to your toddler before bedtime. The dates and banana are wonderful natural sugar and energy boosters. Not a great idea at night when you want your child to start winding down, not wind up. I learned this the hard way. ;)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Accidental Hot Yoga

News Flash! We are finally going to move into our house this week. Because of all the business that ensues moving into our home, my workouts will be few and far between. I hate missing workouts and I get especially grumpy when I don't exercise, but since I don't have time to get in a traditional workout at the gym, I'll have to do at home workouts. Step in my Clark County Library Card! I picked up two yoga videos that I will use this week in between the cleaning and moving of our stuff.
Today I cleaned most of the townhouse in preparation for our walk through with the landlord and moving out. This included deep clean of the kitchen cabinets, towel and linen laundry, deep floor cleaning, and utilizing the Self Clean button on the oven. Little did I know that Self Clean button heats the oven up to temperatures beyond normal baking degrees and for over 4 hours of these temperatures. During Kellen's nap time, I popped in one of the videos, "Power Vinyasa: Whole Body Workout." It is a one hour Vinyasa Flow yoga workout. It is an intermediate level DVD but they have included modifications for the difficult poses. Halfway through the practice I felt the living room getting uncomfortably hot and laughed to myself thinking, "I just accidentally created a hot vinyasa flow class!" Overall I liked the video and would recommend to try it yourself through your local library or on Netflix.
Kellen perfectly timed his nap to wake up just as I was starting to come out of Shavasana, Dead Man's Pose. I brought him downstairs and he insisted on watching the video and trying some of the poses himself.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Raw Cashews and Why I'm Eating Fruit Again

After successfully finishing the cleanse weeks ago I continued to eat a mostly produce and animal meat diet, similar to Paleo. My body likes this but it can be hard to stick to when traveling or being social. Recently I began to eat lots of raw nuts and seeds as a snack source (mostly raw cashews and sunflower seeds). For almost one week I noticed horrible lower abdominal cramping and diarrhea. The only thing I could pinpoint was the raw nuts. So I completely removed them from my diet for 3 days to see if it relieved the issue. Sure enough, it did! I then began to experiment by bringing the raw cashews back into my diet to see if I could handle them. Even in a regular serving size they gave me an issue. I had no idea that my body didn't like cashews. Funny thing is I have no problem with almonds or sunflower seeds. It's amazing what you can find out with food allergies and intolerances after you really pay attention to your body and go down to the basics.

About a week ago my go-to grocery store had buy one get one free Strawberry Containers. At $4 a pop, and the known fact my boys LOVE this fruit, I took advantage of the deal. After the strawberries found a home in my fridge they began to start staring back at me every time I opened the fridge door. Then one day I went, "aw, the heck with it!" and pulled out about 5, washed them, and gobbled them up. They were so sweet and delicious. I haven't had fruit in months! So far my body has been happy with them back in my diet. I also ate a banana on Sunday after my yoga class. I'm still going to keep the fruit to a minimal, only one serving per day. I have noticed that my sugar cravings are back. After my 2pm bowl of strawberries yesterday around 8pm I craved another bowl. It was really hard to say no, but a little bit of Sleepy Time Tea took the edge off the craving.

On the home front, we are hoping to sign the papers and get the keys to our new home sometime beginning next week. I can't wait, seriously, it can't happen soon enough! I've been "homeless" and a "gypsy" of sorts for 11 months now. When we left Italy our stuff was transferred to storage in the US and its been there ever since! We began living with family this summer in Utah, then went to a hotel for a month in Vegas, transferred to a furnished condo for 3 months, transferred to a temporary townhouse for another 4 months, and now we await to move into our beautiful home. This short sale process was anything but short taking over 7 months. I'm not sure if I'd ever do it again, maybe I'll change my mind once we've moved in and it's ours. So if you're ever looking at buying a short sale, know its not for the faint of heart.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Audra's Hit Vegetarian Chili

Just got back from a wonderful trip to Tucson visiting my family. My nephew was turning one, so we drove down to spend the special day with him, my brother and his wife, and my sister who flew out from Maine. On Saturday night my sister Audra put together a fabulous dinner for all of us. It was a delicious vegetarian chili served over cornbread. Both Audra and her boyfriend are vegetarians and they love beans and sweet potatoes. Two things I love as well! This chili was a hit with everyone. We appeased the meat eaters in the group by adding cooked ground beef to their bowls. Here's her recipe.

1 can drained chickpeas
1 can drained black beans
1 can drained kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes with basil
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic
1 very large sweet potato chopped
1 large red pepper
1/2 sweet onion
2 tbs Arizona Dreaming Spices (Penzeys)
1 avocado

Place all in ingredients except the avocado in a crockpot and cook on low for 10 hours. Serve in bowl with avocado on top (this is how I ate it). You may add cheese and sour cream if you desire. If you don't have Penzeys Arizona Dreaming you can substitute with chili spice. Arizona Dreaming is my favorite spice though, so I suggest at least trying it. Go visit your local Penzeys spice store or order it online, it's the most amazing salt free spice you'll ever use! Delicious!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Cashew Clusters

4 heaping tbs raw cashews
3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut
2 squares Ghirardelli 82% dark chocolate (22 grams extra dark chocolate of choice)
1 tbs coconut oil
Drizzle of honey (or 2 dates to make it Vegan)
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till gritty texture. Transfer to refrigerator for at least 1 hour. This helps it set better. Remove and using spoon or ice cream scoop create balls of yumminess.