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Friday, September 26, 2014

Quinoa Burgers and Finding my Way with Michael, Rich, Dan and TED*.

I recently got inspired to make up a quinoa burger recipe after glancing at a Trader Joe's flyer and seeing the words "quinoa", "burger" and "salsa" in the same sentence.  I think TJoe's actually carries such a thing now and will investigate the next time I am in the store, but until then.....

Quinoa Burgers:

1/2 c quinoa (dry measure), cooked 
2-3 small onions, chop and water saute
1 can pinto beans - drained and mashed
1/2 c salsa
1 cup corn, lightly processed or just smash with potato masher
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds - ground
1/4 t cumin
1 t garlic
1-2T arrowroot powder
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That was my original working recipe but I ended up adding:

 1-2T of whole wheat flour and an additional 
 1/2 cup of oatmeal, ground, to compensate for the mix being too moist.

Blend all ingredients, form into patties and refrigerate for an hour or more.

Bake at 400 degrees and turn once, watch for browning and firming up.  Baking time will vary according to amount of moisture and patty size, but mine took about 20-25 mins.

Makes 8 - 10 burgers and I enjoyed them even more cold as left-overs the next day.

Vary spices and add-ins to suit your individual taste; I will try adding in lentils next time.

















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I set out in 2014 to really make this a concentrated year of growth.  This is the Year of the Horse, if you follow Chinese calendars, as I do (mostly for fun, but some of the categorizations of personality type are intriguingly accurate), and that is my year.  It only comes around every 12 years and since this is a significant number that I am turning in December (read "OLDER!"), I am especially drawn to the task at hand of living the most meaningful life I can and attaining even my more elusive goals.



As a result, I've submerged myself even deeper into the 'self-improvement' realm.  My studies have taken me recently on a powerful tack and the things I am reading are now over-lapping and condensing.....clarity is on the horizon.

Yoga and meditation are back on my regular schedule and I highly recommend Trudie Styler/James D'Silva's Warrior Yoga dvd  although there is no real warm up, so I'd suggest warming up before diving in and it is definitely challenging.  I'm enjoying it quite a bit though and my body is thanking me for pushing through it.  http://www.amazon.com/Trudie-Stylers-Warrior-Yoga-Styler/dp/B002KLA9DK  You can pick it up on Ebay or Amazon for a few bucks.  I got her Pure-Sculpt one too and it is torture.....in a good way, :).

I'm continuing with the Rick Hanson materials (Buddha's Brain, Just One Thing and Hard-wiring Happiness---sign up for Rick's free newsletter here:  www.rickhanson.net) and continuing on the 'happy' theme, I recently listened to Dan Harris' work, 10% Happier after hearing him on one of Rich Roll's podcasts.  (Rich continues to be a personal hero for me....listen to ANY of his podcasts, they are all informative and inspirational.  www.richroll.com, also his book "Finding Ultra" is wonderful).

Dan's book is great in audio form; being read by him, it has a nice flow and if you like sarcasm, you'll appreciate his dry, sarcastic wit.  Entertaining, inspirational and a great way to increase your walking mileage...listen while you walk.  More about Dan's story here:  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/book-excerpt-abcs-dan-harris-10-happier-tamed/story?id=22850949

I'm also listening to the Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor  and Charge by Brendon Burchard, both of which are giving me little pointers and practical applications to help bust through blocks to my progress.

Then I ran across a little 10 minute video on Brian Johnson's blog that introduced me to TED*, The Empowerment Dynamic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5hSa16FX94  I instantly ordered the book which is a very fast read and is full of simple, yet powerful observations about the ways in which we limit ourselves, simply by point of view and how to switch to a more causative perspective.  I am working through it a second time with highlighter in hand and have ordered some of the source books that the author, David Emerald, took his inspiration from.  I have a feeling I'll be poking around down in this rabbit hole for quite a while.

To round out my growth, and to learn more about understanding, and taming, the 'voice in the head', I picked up a wonderful book entitled, The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer. I am taking my time through this one and allowing the concepts, most of which I am very familiar with but now find presented in a more absorbable way, to really seep in.

I've actually done a lot more investigation and research and self-work this year, but these are some highlights that I think would help anyone wanting to better understand themselves and reach their goals.

Sue, still seeking, but firmly on the path, in Ohio



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"It's Hot Out" Treat, with a cherry on top....

Dang it is hot and humid here in Ohio.  BUT, I am NOT complaining....no I really am not.  After this past winter, I doubt I will complain about the heat again.

Instead, I will cool off with a fun treat.



Dark Cherry/Vanilla Frozen Treat

1-2 frozen over-ripe bananas
1/4 cup of raw cashews soaked in enough water to cover
1/2 cup of frozen dark cherries
2 Medjool dates
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla powder*


Soak cashews for a few minutes (I do this right in the Vitamix).  Add bananas and cherries, dates and vanilla powder.  Process and add more water if Vitamix bogs down.

Serve, eat, smile.

*I splurged awhile back and ordered some Wilderness Poets Vanilla Powder.  You can learn more about it here:  http://www.wildernesspoets.com/  or here, where I ordered it:  http://www.iherb.com/wilderness-poets-pure-vanilla-powder-1-oz-28-g/53529

This is SERIOUS vanilla and wonderful.  I like that there is no alcohol too.



Yummy, yummy, yummy and a nice reward after some hot outside work.

Sue, in vanilla heaven, in Ohio

Sunday, May 18, 2014

More Crackers.... Karrot Krackers

This may be my Cracker version 10.0 or 11.0, have lost track of how many attempts I've made to get a nice cracker, but this is my best effort yet.... Karrot Krackers (yes, with a K...just kause....).

It's been rainy and stormy and a bit dreary here in Ohio, even if temps are no longer sub-zero.  I think we are still craving sun...really REALLY craving sun.  Yesterday's chill made me think I could squeeze one more pot of my favorite soup out of this season.

And, when I think of soup, I bemoan the fact that there aren't any really good (and affordable) vegan low-no fat cracker options.

So I tried again to concoct one, just from scratch.

Karrot Krackers:

1/4 - 1/2 C sunflower seed milk
1/2 - 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 - 1/2 C cornmeal
2 T ground golden flaxseed
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C shredded carrots
1/4 t celtic salt
1/2 T safflower oil*


Mix dry ingredients and then shred the carrots into the mix (I used my microplane so they were more minced than shredded).  Soak raw sunflower seeds in water in the Vitamix and blend up for seed milk.  Add milk in slowly to mix a consistency somewhere in between bread dough and cookie dough.  I had to adjust between dry ingredients and then more wet to get this to a nice pliable consistency....not too dry and not too sticky.

(*Normally I cook nearly 100% without oil, but decided to add just a bit to this recipe.  I don't think it really made much of a difference though).

Roll out dough very thin on pizza stone with floured rolling pin.  (I ended up with a bit of extra dough and flattened with my hand and baked on a cookie sheet. It came out fine).

Bake at 375 until edges are browned (mine took about 20-25 mins).  I thought the dough still felt a bit spongy in the middle so turned the oven off and left the crackers in the oven until it cooled.  I think this really helped to give a nicer crunchy texture to the crackers.  I didn't score the dough with a cutter so ended up breaking them into chunks by hand, which worked out fine.




This cracker tastes a little bit like a wheat thin, something I was going for, but is more bland.  I would definitely add more salt and maybe a spice or just up the carrot content to get a little bit more sweetness.  Red pepper flakes and some chili spice would make a nice companion for chili soup or even salads.





This cracker is sturdy enough to stand up to a layer of peanut butter on top or could be used as a dipper for hummus.


Sue, still searching for the perfect Kracker and waiting for sun, in Ohio


Barn cats with the right idea on this rainy dreary day