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Monday, November 17, 2014

Cranberry-Mango-Orange Ice Cream and 100th post

With it looking like this outside:



...it seems untimely to be thinking of ice cream, but I had some odds and ends to use up in the frig, including a bit of coconut milk, so I thought, aw, what the heck.

First I started with my basic Vanilla recipe....soooo simple:

 --- a few frozen bananas
 --- a few Medjool dates, pitted
 --- tiny bit of vanilla powder (probably 1/8 teaspoon- I LOVE this brand:                   http://shop.hempspread.com/Pure-Vanilla-Powder_c44.htm )
 --- coconut milk (I use canned coconut milk, not the packaged coconut drink/milk)

I don't measure, but there is a feel for what the correct balance is between frozen fruit and milk after making it a few times....too much milk, and it is too slushy (although still yummy) and not enough and well, the Vitamix will scream at you.

Blend all ingredients well in the Vitamix.  I use the plunger continually and aggressively when I am doing this.    If you just want Vanilla, you can stop here and serve as is immediately, or put in a container in the freezer for later (it will have to sit out for a few minutes to soften before serving).

For the Cranberry blend, to the above I added:

 --- a good amount of fresh cranberries, approximately 1 cup
 --- one orange, peeled
 --- frozen mango, approx 1/2 cup.

Blend in Vitamix.  Serve or freeze.

This was very good and I left it a little bit 'chunky', leaving visible bits of cranberry.  I liked the citrus overtones (I may increase the amount of orange or garnish with a few gratings of orange zest) and the tart bits of the cranberry.

Cranberry-Mango-Orange Ice Cream

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100th post.  
I haven't been as active on this blog as I thought I might be this year and have many blog posts started but not finished, that cover topics I want to get on here; I hope to spend a bit more time on the blog in the coming months.

What started out as a tentative chronicle of my journey to attempt a path to a healthier me over 4 years ago, now feels like an important aspect of a true and committed way of living.  Of these changes, I am very proud.  I have many more improvements to make in myself, and of course, no journey of this type ever really ends, but it does feel like a bit of a milestone here in this moment, so I'll celebrate with a bit of ice cream, (followed by some hot tea as it is cold here!)

I hope you are firmly on your chosen paths and enjoying your journeys as well....

Sue, still on the (snow-covered!) path, in Ohio

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fed Up, the Documentary

I recently got a chance to view Fed Up, a documentary by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric, who also co-produced the film.  You can click through to the trailer for it here:  http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home .

I was generally pleased with the overall message of the film although of course I always think these efforts could go further and I found some information not specific enough.  (For example, a very vital point made about how many cases of Type 2 Diabetes in adolescents were reported in 1980, zero, and how many were found in 2010, 57,638, gave no point of reference....is that in the U.S., worldwide or what?).  A quick check on the CDC's site did not give me this info.

I know other bloggers and investigators have questioned other statements and statistics purported in the film and I expect even more fallout will ensue (especially from individuals connected to the powerful food products industries that would be negatively impacted by radical change).

Regardless of actual facts and statistics, it doesn't take any hard science (other than maybe a field trip to Wal-Mart or other large grocery box store) to see that (1) we have a serious health problem in this country, that we are now exporting to the rest of the world and (2)  food choices are a big part of that problem.

As a vegan for over 4 years now (yeah!), I know how very limited my options are in any food store or restaurant, and this is in a day and age when awareness about whole food is on the rise. And yet, how can it not be understood that encouraging and facilitating the consumption of fresh, whole foods will help with our current health threats?

To say there is no connection between the amount of processed food Americans consume and the unhealthy lunch choices available to our children and the enormous rise in childhood obesity is just beyond logic.  Even the most avid soda pop drinker I know has an understanding that consuming this beverage is not a healthy choice to make and yet in one store I visited recently, the pop display vastly out-sized the entire produce section by a factor of 3 in my estimation.  Soda is a highly profitable commodity and is in part subsidized by our government.  For more on unhealthy subsidies:  http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/07/25/Billions-in-Tax-Dollars-Subsidize-Junk-Food-Industry

Even more troubling is the consumption of pop by our kids and I remember serving on our local school board's Superintendent Advisory Council when BIG SODA offered money to be put in our vending machines in our high school.  I voted strongly against it, but the money was too enticing and 'desperately needed' to be turned down.

And this is just the pop selections and vast advertising campaigns and doesn't even touch the other candies and sugar-chemical-laden choices that bombard us at every turn.

Again and again we choose money and profits over health and taking the harder road.  I worry about the bigger lesson that is being taught here to our children.

Fed Up is, I think, a good film to refer people to who are maybe not making the best food choices, want to do the best for themselves and their families, yet don't know exactly where to start.  The overall message of getting off of processed foods, or at least reducing them and going back to the basics of cooking real whole foods is prominent in the film.  It is heart-breaking to see the obese children featured in the film who are suffering, but through their bravery in exposing their stories, inspiration to take that harder road can be found.

In the end, we can start by focusing on ourselves and what we CAN do to better improve our own health and for those we hold dear.  I've been taking my little 4 year old grand-daughter shopping after our play time in the parks and trying to teach a bit here and there and encouraging her to pick out the fruits and veggies she wants.  She LOVES broccoli and this week we went to a rural year-round farm market, the only one I know of in our area, and she found some beautiful broccoli.  I was even more excited to hear her ask for carrots and to tell me that 'they are good for me, Mi-ma.'.  This is something I told her a few shopping visits ago but she turned up her nose at them.  Now, she couldn't get them into the basket fast enough.  Progress.







If we don't have our health, all else is impacted drastically.  It is worth all that it takes to live healthfully.  I wish you success on your journey to optimal health!

Sue, snacking on kale, in Ohio


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
-----------------
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

Friday, May 9, 2014

Chef Del's Better Than Vegan Cookbook



Because I simply do NOT have enough vegan cookbooks,




really, not nearly enough....



when I saw that Chef Del had released his first cookbook, of course I had to get it.





I've actually seen Del in person and sampled some of his cooking when I was at The Wellness Center in Columbus to hear Rip Esselstyn speak, just two weeks into my vegan/whole food plant-based adventure, coming up on four years ago.  I knew a little bit about Del's personal story and struggle with health/weight issues, and he shares that history in the opening pages of his book, Better Than Vegan.

I always enjoy a personal saga and admire it when people are brave enough to bare their soul and share what has worked for them.  Del also educates in the book with a lot of good, basic data about nutrients, cooking without oils and unprocessed (for the most part) foods, as well as how to stock your vegan pantry, etc.

I've only made a couple of recipes from the book, but I believe it is one that I will come back to and will be the source of several new 'go-to', tried and true favorite recipes for me.

His black bean veggie burger recipe is now my favorite and I've made it half a dozen or more times.  (I did change the recipe though as I found the amount of spices he used too much for my palate---I also used Northern beans and Kidney beans in place of the black beans and prefer that variation).



Bean burgers from Chef Del's Better Than Vegan Cookbook

Del has several strategies for cooking that he utilizes in different ways throughout the book, for example, using a cauliflower puree in place of nuts/tahini in sauces, soups and other applications.  I am tweaking some of those sauces to suit my tastes.  In doing this, the book seems a bit repetitive and maybe over-simplified, but then again, I do like the short list of ingredients in the recipes, the fact that most go together quite quickly and especially the fact that I don't have to sub out things like oil  (note: Del does use stevia, which I am not a fan of, as well as rice syrup, wine and sherry, none of which I use, but those are mostly easily substituted with soaked or blended Medjool dates).

I'll share more thoughts about the book as I continue to cook from it.  It is nice to see that books which align with Dr's. Campbell and Esselstyn's approach are being published, and I am happy to support that effort.

Amazon link to Del's book:  http://tinyurl.com/n265enp

Sue, loving my veggie burgers, in Ohio



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Heaven and Hell - My 3 Day Dance with High Raw Vegan & a Cool App/Web Tool

As I approach the four-year mark on my whole foods, plant-based food program, I've reached a level of comfort in my understanding of why I eat the way I do and also a level of confidence around the kitchen.  I now have enough of an assortment of satisfying recipes, good cookbooks and alternatives for 'veganizing' most recipes I come across.  I also have been through the calendar year a few times now, so can deal with the various holidays and food-centered celebrations and the people that love me (and those that don't but find themselves in my proximity) have grown used to these big, big changes.

Although, I enjoy pretty good health, have maintained my initial weight loss (more or less, currently up about 7 pounds, but holding at that number), and do not actually even remember the last time I was sick, I still have been feeling that something is missing and that I can, and should, tweak my diet again, delving deeper into my understanding of what constitutes the recipe for optimal human nutrition.

And so, I looked into raw vegan diets, again.

I had looked at the 80/10/10 and 60/20/20 programs early into my switch to vegan eating but felt I was facing a big enough challenge going vegan at that time and passed it by.  {The numbers represent percentages of the macro-nutrients carbs/protein/fat, with the 80/10/10 being associated with Douglas Graham and classified as 'high raw vegan'....no cooked foods, carbs obtained from predominantly fruits, some veggies and fats from nuts and seeds in very small amounts}.

After reading up on the rationale behind Graham's program and agreeing with most of the logic behind it, I thought this would be a perfect 'spring cleanse' for me and a way to see if this program would be beneficial.

Day One:

Although I quickly realized that it was going to be a BIG challenge to ingest enough food in order to get the calories (2500) needed, I was optimistic and feeling very energized by the fruit meals.  I eat probably about 60-80% raw anyway, so I figured this would not be that difficult.

By afternoon, I was hungry, despite eating more food (in bulk, but not calorically) than I usually do in a whole day, but felt mentally clear and very energetic.

By evening, I was STILL hungry, hungry most of the day, despite eating a LOT and often, and I realized I needed a way to track what I was consuming.  A friend had told me about www.myfitnesspal.com and I found an app for it on my Android phone, downloaded and started inputting.  I realized that despite eating a massive quantity of fruits and veggies, I was over 1,000 calories low.  I consumed a huge salad and added a dollop of left-over rice casserole to help with the hunger and calorie load.

Day Two:

I started the day with a liter of water, as is recommended by some of the successful raw foodists, and had been generally keeping water consumption way up.  I felt VERY rested and supercharged for the day, great energy and wonderful mood, almost euphoric.  Hopeful, I jumped into my day planning out the food and tracking it on myfitnesspal.  I also thought I would add smoothies in to help with the physical aspect of consuming that much food and to boost calories.

This day went pretty well and I stayed very 'up' all day, dropped my tea consumption, realizing I didn't even need my tea....so much energy.  This is great.

Day Three:

I woke up starving....I mean, like STARVING, like a month on a deserted island starving.  Never have I been so hungry in my life.  I stayed in this state all.day.long, no matter what I ate.

By lunch, I was about in a panic.  Despite my continued input of food into my mouth and numbers into my app, I couldn't even approach the numbers I needed.  I downed 6 Medjool dates to get my energy going and ease my increasing anxiety.  I started getting a headache.  I became dizzy.

I made a HUGE salad, like feed 10 people salad and started tearing into it waiting for a moment of satiety where I could take a breath and relax a bit.  It never came.  I just remained hungry, hungry, hungry.  I added some avocado, thinking that would help a bit and it did a tiny bit, but...still, I was miserable.

Then I went to the bathroom to get ready to go somewhere for the evening and I looked in the mirror and about freaked.  I was bloated, with a swollen abdomen that I have not seen since I was 8 months pregnant.  It was scary.  It's when I realized, that although the logic of this type of eating makes some sense, there is one teensie-weentsie little thing that seems to not be addressed....it's called PHYSICS!  There is a maximum mass that can be put into another physically massed object.  Even allowing for the wonderful tolerance of the human body and the stretch of the stomach, still, there is a limit. Oh, I was miserable.

It is now 24 hours later....I followed my 'regular' vegan diet for most of today, but still spent most of the day hungry. It was like my body was just stuck in this fear of starvation and was telling me, hey, stupid, you aren't giving me what I need!  I had a nice sweet potato with black beans, corn and brown rice with some salsa and avocado for lunch and that finally did the trick for me.  I'm finally not dizzy, feeling more 'normal' and settled.  (Also, now only 4 pounds off my original weight loss numbers....having lost three pounds the first two days).

I did learn a lot from this foray into high raw vegan, and I do think that the fat levels in my diet have been too high...too many raw cashews slipping in, too much coconut milk.  I'm continuing to use the myfitnesspal app to track my nutrients....it can be customized for any program being followed and has been useful to see some other nutrients I've been concerned about.  I wish it had even greater detail, but there are some nice features on it, including the ability to just scan the UPC code of an item and to pull up the nutritional info from that.

I actually think the 80/10/10 numbers may be about right (or maybe 70/15/15 or thereabouts), but HOW that 80 is gotten is vital, for me, anyway.  I can't get that all in raw fruit/veggies, but could split that 80 about 50/50 probably between simple and complex carbs.  I'm going to play with it a bit and find the right ratios for me and see how my energy and general wellness goes.

More power to anyone who wants to follow this program and who is able to and there APPEAR to be great successes out there.  I think, with any program, we do need to listen to our bodies as we go along and be willing to change and tweak as feels right to us.  I think too, that yes, maybe we, as a people, did eat raw 10,000 years ago prior to modern agriculture, fire and so forth and maybe genetically we haven't changed that much in that time, but there is a food efficiency to a complex carb and there is a place for cooking our food.  While much remains the same, we are NOT the same humans we were 10 centuries ago, either, in many ways.

There is a practical side of this program too; I simply cannot (or am not willing to) spend about 4 hours or more a day in the physical act of eating, (and, a resultant vastly increased time in the bathroom!), and just getting this amount of food down is quite the challenge.  I would say the jump from vegan to high raw vegan is as far, or farther, than the jump from the standard western diet is to whole foods plant based (vegan).  It is very difficult, or at least I found it to be.

Sue, getting back to basics, in Ohio


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stuffed Mushrooms

I had some mushrooms threatening to become science experiments in the frig (one of the side-effects of shopping at Costco and buying in larger volumes; I've been running into 'extras' more and more and have been challenging myself to find different uses for the excess).

My husband loves, loves, loves mushrooms, whereas I can barely choke them down and do so only because (1) Dr. Joel Fuhrman says they are good for me (and helpful in the prevention of breast cancer) and (2) Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has a great mushroom gravy recipe in his book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease".  {If you don't own Dr. Fuhrman's Eat to Live and Dr. Esselstyn's book, I highly recommend both}.

It's been a stressful winter season and I thought it would be nice to see if I could make something yummy for darling husband, who does so very much for me.


Stuffed Mushrooms:

12-15 mushrooms (I like Bellas)
1 large clove of garlic (minced)
1-2 cups of fresh spinach
1/2-1 t red pepper flakes
1/2 C ground raw cashews
dash of tamari (optional)
additional seasonings as desired

I pulled out the stems of the mushrooms and trimmed the dry bottoms off of those, setting the caps aside.  I rough-chopped the stems and put them in a frying pan with a little bit of water (I'll probably add a dash of tamari to this when I repeat).  I minced a large clove of garlic (I buy good garlic from our farm market and still had one good head left of a purple stripe long hard neck garlic....yummy), so tossed that in with the stems lightly sauteeing.  The aroma was wonderful.  After the garlic was just getting soft, I added chopped spinach, about 1 -2 cups and quickly wilted that, stirring continually.  I transferred this mixture to a bowl and added WAY too much red pepper flakes; husband likes hot food, so more is better, right?  Hmmm, maybe not, although he did say the left-overs 'calmed-down' after being in the frig overnight.  I'll do about 1/2 teaspoon next time.  Add ground up raw cashews and stir well.  Scoop into mushroom caps.
I placed in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  I think it would do better to have them in a hotter oven, and you could even finish off under the broiler if you wanted to crisp them up.

After my husband ate one, he said they were 'ok'.  (That's like 4 stars at a 5-star restaurant around here....the only higher rating here is 'good' or 'it's a keeper').  The REAL rating that I watch for though is to see if he goes back for seconds, which he did and then the next day made his own little meal out of the rest with some left-over pasta.  Score.

Maybe next time I make them, I'll be brave enough to try them....but, I'm only doing 'cause Joel says to ;).

I apologize for the horrible pictures and will change these out when I make this again, as I certainly will, and soon (just did a Costco run).


Sue, eating to live, in Ohio


Monday, March 3, 2014

Kale Krackers

It's been a cold, cold winter here in Ohio; the coldest and snowiest on record in a long time.  Just surviving the barn chores made more difficult by sub-zero temps has been a challenge and my definition of the specific temperature that actually qualifies as "cold" has been drastically altered.... 10 degrees Farenheit?  Nah...that's not cold; yes, Professor Einstein, everything most definitely is relative.

Vital for our survival this winter has been a trio of soups that I just love:

  Jonathan's chili soup  http://sunnyhawklane.blogspot.com/2013/02/losing-plot-of-ones-life-and-jonathans.html
 
Sweet potato-spinach soup http://plantbaseddietitian.com/tag/robin-robertson/ (scroll down it is the very last one....absolutely yummy)

 and Corn Bisque (aka "Gruel" by my dear husband).  http://sunnyhawklane.blogspot.com/search/label/corn%20bisque

I think they have been key in helping us make it through the winter without any illness (I credit the ginger in the sweet potato soup especially for this good health).

One thing I always miss with soups though, is a good cracker and since it has been awhile since I've made an attempt at a home-made, healthy version of one, I thought I'd give it a shot this weekend, knowing that a huge pot of chili soup was in the works.

I didn't actually measure the ingredients and was making this up as I went along so the amounts are just estimated here.  I am doing a liver cleanse (I hope to carve out a piece of time to do a blog post on that soon) and otherwise keeping my diet very clean, so I was going for something very hearty and more than just a cracker.  I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Kale Krackers

3 T ground flax seed
1/2 C ground raw sunflower seeds
1/2 C ground oatmeal
1/2 C ground raw almonds (or almond meal)
1/4 C cornmeal
1/2 pound raw kale (I used a combo of red russian and lacinato)
water
Celtic salt
other seasonings as desired

Soak flax seed for a few minutes in small amount of water.  Add nuts, meal and seeds and combine.  Process kale in high speed blender with enough water to make it pourable.  (I used about 1/2 cup - 1 cup).  Add kale to dry ingredients.  This is where I played with the recipe and added a bit more dry ingredients (I ground up more sunflower seeds) to get a batter-like consistency.  I went for something not as soft as a cake batter but not as stiff as bread dough.

Spread on pizza stone.  Top with salt and/or other seasonings.  I started with a low temp and thought I would go for a long, slow bake which you could do if you are doing a raw diet, but then realized it would take too long for my impatient purposes, so I settled on a 350 degree oven and baked for about 20 minutes waiting for browning at the edges.

I used a pizza cutter wheel and criss-cross cut them while still warm.


They are seriously green!  


This cracker is almost earthy in taste...not your store bought version.  I will try it again with different seasonings (the base here would lend itself nicely to some red pepper flakes or other hot spice) and I also think that pumpkin seeds would be a nice addition.  For a sweeter cracker, a few Medjool dates could be added in with the kale in the blender.  I'm thinking of adding a red sweet pepper in the blender too, maybe some carrots and beets...the possibilities are endless.  This cracker really had the consistency of a cookie almost; I think if I spread the batter out thinner and increased the oven temp., it could make a nice thin hard cracker.







In the meantime, I'll gaze out the window and enjoy the snow and find the beauty of winter over a nice bowl of chili soup.




Sue, -1.1 degrees in Ohio, which is relatively cold.  ;)