Satsuma mandarins...the perfect winter snack, gift, everything!

Satsuma mandarins...the perfect winter snack, gift, everything!
peel, eat, repeat

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

another sunny day

So dry….going to have to water again. Although mercury is reading pretty low, it is alluring enough to want to be outside all day working in the yard or the school gardens with sun on your back and the earth in your hands. I do love the satisfaction of clipping things with sharp clippers. Trees that need pruning, roses that have succumbed finally to cold weather while fooling only myself that it is ok, clipping the dead frozen ugly detritus left hanging over tender new growth that you are not supposed to cut to protect said new growth but sometimes it just happens as I look incredulously on at my gloved hands in motion as my compost bin fills, again.
Our full moon has been pretty amazing this month leading me to believe that it has to be a good time to throw some more seeds in the ground and separate bulbs for late spring and summer blooms. Carrots, chard, kale, onions, broccoli raab, broccolini, cabbage, mustard greens, snow peas, sweet peas, lettuce, arugula, watermelon radishes, parsley along with other herbs and plants are thriving in the College Park and Diablo Day organic gardens. As I gaze hungrily upon the astounding hues of greens, blues, reds and gold contrasting with reddish brown compost and mulch in my gardens, it gives eye candy a newer, sexier meaning if you are into the dirt, food porn, garden thing. Toss in a heartbreakingly blue sky and you have a perfectly visceral kind of day where you feel your nerve endings singing joyfully….except for the fact that we have had a lot of them good days due to no rain which is not good. I was reading about uncontrollable floods and crazy rains in Texas this week. Isn’t that something that this past spring we were inundated with rain and snow and Texas was experiencing their worst drought in decades and now they are under the rain cloud and we just keep on partying under blue skies?
Usually when it is this chilly there is rain or some low, hazy clouds drearying up the place so all I want to do is be inside curled up with my cats reading and making soup. Because it is so cold I am still manically making soup…..everyday…I have the cleanest reefer this side of Hawaii where it is so warm they don’t want to make a lot of soup all the time there by cleaning out all the veggies from the reef. So far my favorites are extremely simple and so tasty I am left craving more. Once I get on a thing I stay there for awhile too. Anyone else do that? I am loving vegetables of the green and leafy varieties and am really just sort of simmering them with chicken or veg stock and cubed sweet potatoes. Everything chopped up, thrown in pot, covered with stock, simmer until softish, season with Braggs Amino Acids, done. Bizarre yet wonderful if you are of the hot/cold ilk is the soup poured over chopped fresh Napa cabbage, arugula and lettuce mix. Squeeze lemon juice over and drizzle with amazing olive oil. California hippy girl pho. Take it a step further and fry or poach an egg or two very soft and drop on top of all. When the yolk opens into the concoction it creates the magic sauce that yolks are well known for creating a slurper who does not give a shit if found with egg on her face.
Made some pretty incredible protein bars for a health fair this weekend. My son tasted them and very dead pan serious said “these cannot be good for you”. They are! Vegan and gluten free with brown rice syrup for the sweetener. Even my dad like them. Saying a lot. You can cut whatever size you want. They are really great for taking with you when you know you are not going to be able to eat at the right time before the growling, low blood sugar thing hits. Also better than any junk food for a snack. Just like those kale chips!! Peace and white light universally my friends.

2 cups sunflower butter or peanut butter or half and half, available at your health food store or Trader Joes
1 c. organic brown rice syrup (whole foods)
4 scoops Arbonne Vanilla all-vegan protein powder ( I used ½ vanilla and half chocolate protein powder and you can use any kind I just use Arbonne cause I like it and peddle it to knowing friends)
2 scoops Arbonne fiber booster (also can use any fiber powder you like)
4 cups organic brown rice crispy cereal
¾ cup good earth tea or any tea you like but I love the cinnamon taste here. Most importantly is to get that liquid in there. It could also be almond milk or whatever your imagination dreams up

Mix cereal, protein & fiber.
Heat syrup, tea & nut butter until liquefied.
Pour over cereal mixture.
Turn out evenly into a 9X13 dish. Press it down evenly. I used a little baking roller to get it distributed evenly and flat.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour before cutting into squares. You can cut whatever size you like. I did one to two bite sized pieces. Keep airtight and refrigerated. Will last really well for a week or so then they tend to get a little dry but are still very tasty.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Where did that come from??

Uncharacteristically quiet, after a month or more of holiday noise, the pounds have appeared in the form of a weird feeling padded middle ring around my waist and inner thighs with warmth retaining fat. How did that happen?? Wasn’t I paying close attention?? No, wait, that was November and now it is January. The month of atonement for food sins as it were. I may have gone a little over board here. We had a challenge at my gym, Step it up Studios in Pleasant Hill, to see who could do the most classes between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. It seemed like a good enough time to crank up the almost 54 year old metabolism so I jumped in with both feet. And won. I did almost 70 classes between those days. It was pretty crazy because I was hip deep into holiday catering too. Worked out though and I am sporting the new athletic shoes that were the prize to prove it. Not being content with the win I am still going to as many classes as I can and started going to a brand new strength training thing with a child teacher once a week. Being an already pretty in shape person who hikes the surrounding hills a lot I figured I got this. After the first half hour my lungs felt like they were coming out of my chest. It does pay to cross train. It also pays to clean out your system once in awhile. Holidays do something to my already wacked out mind and for some reason I feel it is ok to devour a lot of cookies and candy. And cheese and crackers. And wine, lots of wine, bubbly, red, white, whatever with maybe a martini or two just for the holidays thrown down the gullet. Maybe Baileys and coffee, but wait, I don’t drink coffee. Whatever….it’s the holidays.
Cleaning out to me means going paleo. No dairy, no sugar, no gluten. What do I eat then you may wonder if there is a you out there that is even reading this. I have a protein shake with water, protein powder, fruit of some kind, frozen spinach, a few almonds and blitz w/ ice. Tastes amazing and is a filler upper cause it is big. Works perfectly for a morning work out person or a morning donut and coffee on the way to work person because it will stay with you for a few hours. I eat a big salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing and another protein shake for lunch along with some kale chips to take the snack edge off and act sort of like a crouton gluten thing without the bloat. That usually will last another few hours to get me through until 3 or 4. Then I have another big salad this time with garbanzo beans and avocado and cukes, whatever I have but with some protein on it, a huge portion of some kind of sautéed greens that I actually sort of steam in chicken or veg broth and then the broth from the greens. I always drink copious amounts of water but also that Good Earth tea. I’m addicted to it and drink it all day long. I hope no one tells me anything bad about it….If I feel I need anything else I have a Satsuma mandarin or some berries if they are good at the farmers market still which at this date they weirdly enough are. By getting all this in before 7 pm I always get clean and lose a few pounds to boot. I have been cleaning out for almost a week and not only am I human again but I actually have a small pimple on my chin…toxins leaving…aaahhhh. I will do this for 28 days to make my habit because I am a sugar junkie and need to retrain that beast every once in awhile and show her who is the boss of what…or who…or whatever.
Sounds fanatical you say but if you do a good organic shop at the farmers market and get some good organic broth and meats, best if it is wild caught fish or something pretty clean, organic chicken but the message is really that if you want to make a change in your life, cause this will change your life….you will feel better, look better and have better sex, is to make a plan and follow through with it. It is only 28 days or as long as it takes for you to gain control again. Did I mention that alcohol is not a really good thing to have for this month either?? Oh well just buck up and get off the nipple for a minute and it aint nearly as difficult as getting off the sugar. Actually the first time I did this a couple of years ago the hardest thing to back away from was cheese. I did lose a good 30 pounds though and have kept it at bay by pretty much trying to keep it at an 80 – 20 sort of thing. So 20 percent of the time I let the cheese, sugar and wine get in but I do feel it in my body when I succumb. I guess I just disconnected through December with my absolute drive and determination to get those shoes… that I get to using them now. Happy New Year.
Saturday January 7th there is going to be a health fair at my gym Step it up Studios, it is not my gym it is where I go to work out every damn day, and I will be doing cooking demo’s with the kale recipes below as well as a fun little protein bar I made. Lots of other vendors as well as some zumba and booty beat classes and weight training tours etc…
Step it up studios Health fair
2685 Pleasant Hill Road # b and c from 1 to 4 pm
925 348 1735

Sautéed Kale
Separate and wash 1-2 bunches kale
1 T olive or coconut oil
¼ cup vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic - chopped
Slice kale into ½ inch pieces
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat and toss kale in pan. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Add vegetable stock and finish cooking until kale is limp but still colorful. Season with sea salt to taste. Drizzle rice vinegar over to taste if desired,

Kale Chips
Preheat oven to 300
Tear kale 1 bunch of any kind of kale into chip sized pieces, separating from the ribs as you go. Wash kale and spin dry in a salad spinner so that oil will adhere for even roasting. Toss with a small amount, 1 teaspoon or so, olive oil and season w/ sea salt. Place kale chips on parchment covered cookie sheets and bake for 12 to 17 minutes tossing chips ½ ways through to redistribute on baking tray. You can use any seasonings you like on the chips before baking as well as salt. Nutritional yeast is a great alternative to salt and adds a wonderful flavor as well as nutrients.

Fresh Kale Salad w/ Pomegranate Arils
1 large bunch kale of any kind, sliced and washed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons
½ cup arils
1 Fuyu persimmon, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Sea salt and pepper to taste or Braggs Amino Acids to taste
Toss kale, arils, persimmon and green onions in a large salad bowl. Drizzle on lemon juice, zest and olive oil and toss well. Season w/ Braggs or salt. Let sit a few minutes to gently “cook” the kale for a few minutes or up to an hour before serving.