Thursday, December 31, 2009

once in a blue moon...

you wake up to snow on new year's eve!

thank goodness it wasn't a lot!
as i was saying during our last snowfall, it is not common for us to get snow in december.

and tonight is actually a blue moon!

before you get excited like i did, this doesn't mean that the moon will actually appear blue. a blue moon refers to the second full moon of the month, which is rare and happens about every 2 1/2 years, on average.

the next blue moon to occur on new year's eve will not happen until 2028.

i'd say the snow and blue moon are a fitting end to a very interesting year!!!

have a safe and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

dried strawberry rhubarb aka Ruby Snacks

since i have some difficulty pronouncing rhubarb, i'm going to call these my homemade Ruby Snacks.

my Ruby Snacks were inspired by these AMAZING dried strawberry rhubarb pieces sold at the local Whole Foods.

photo from
i didn't know they existed until i recently spotted them in the bulk section. it was love at first sight, but there was one thing putting a a wedge in our relationship - the price. $17.99 a pound! i said screw it, these look like the most delicious fruity snack in the world, i have to try them!

so i bought a small handfall, and i was correct. they were the yummiest chewy snack i've ever tasted. better than any dried fruit i've had. the sweet taste is similar to a really fresh strawberry fruit roll-up (the natural ones, not the neon colored ones), but with an amazing chewiness and texture.

on a recent shopping trip, i had to pass on the heavenly strawberry rhubarb chewies (not without sampling some, of course =). shortly after, i happened upon a bag of frozen rhubarb pieces in the freezer section. the wheels in my head got to spinning. i picked them up, along with a bag of frozen strawberries,  and set out to make my own dried strawberry rhubarb.

here's what i used-

1 bag frozen strawberries
1 bag frozen sliced rhubarb pieces
(i'm sure fresh rhubarb would work even better!)
1/4-1/2 C. organic cane sugar
a dehydrator 

here's what i did-

1 - let the frozen strawberries and ruhabarb thaw a few hours.

2 - pureed the strawberries with about 1/4-1/2 cup of organic cane sugar. (i didn't measure). what i ended up with was an incredibly sweet strawberry syrup.

3 - drained the rhubarb pieces and poured them in a glass bowl of the strawberry syrup, making sure each piece was submerged. let the rhubarb marinate overnight in the fridge.

4 - the next morning placed the rhubarb pieces on a teflex sheet and in the dehydrator at 135 degrees. let them dehydrate about 24 hours.

the outcome - delicious chewy homemade fruit snacks! (my ruby pieces were not as dried out or sweet as the ones in the store, but they were just as tasty!)

these snacks have really got me looking forward to strawberry season! only 5 more months!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

christmas wrap-up

i hope everyone is enjoying the holidays!

i thought i'd share my homemade treats this season.

i brought raw cheez-its with sunflower garlic dip to a friend's christmas party and a yummy vegan potluck.


john and i made boxes of raw sweets for the adult family members with chocolates and cookie balls.


i crocheted hats for the little ones that have graced our lives recently.

for our friend's baby, lily.

for our newest little nephew, romeo.

for our newest twin nieces, valentina and maria. 

(i could just eat pink yarn.=)
doesn't it remind you of cotton candy and bubble gum?)


i came up with a little set for my niece alaina using these sites.
ear warmer pattern
  booties pattern (with two rows of sc stitches instead of the edging)


so i guess i'm that aunt now. =)

i also made biggies a mouse.

i'm off now to see if i can make thumbless mittens to go with the twin's hats in time for tomorrow!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

winter wonderland

we had a snowstorm this weekend that broke records in our area! almost 2 feet of snow! we received more snow in one storm than we normally receive all winter, and it's it not even officially winter until monday!

it started coming down around 2 am saturday morning. we woke up to inches of snow. even biggles was amazed!

it snowed ALL day saturday and into the night.
we had a nice cozy day with lots of yummy food and hot chocolate almond milk. we baked oatmeal raisin cookies and i worked on my christmas gifts.



this morning johnny boy had to shovel a way out for us.



 my square foot garden is under a thick blanket of snow.

 i can't remember the last time it snowed this much, and i don't ever remember getting snow before christmas. crazy!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

10 honest facts about me

happy monday!
i hope you had a nice weekend.

HippieMom from The Raw Journal nominated me for the Honest Scrap Award.
yippee! thanks HippieMom!

Rules to receiving this award:

1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Present this award to others whose blogs you find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged you.
3. Tell those people they've been awarded HONEST SCRAP, inform them of these guidelines.
4. Share "Ten Honest things" about yourself.

so here we go...

10 honest things about myself

1. i have a terrible sense of direction. i rely heavily on my navigator to get around. the first few weeks of high school i was lost. i had such anxiety over it that i'd stay after to "practice" my schedule, and i still have nightmares that i can't find my locker!

2. i failed my driving test the first time. the second time i did even worse! the instructor felt bad and passed me, but made me promise i wouldn't go anywhere i had to parallel park!

3. i was once hit on by a much older man with an accent who told me he likes girls with short heads. (i believe he meant hair, but who knows!)

4. while preparing food with coconut oil, i like to stop and rub the excess from the measuring spoon on my face, hands, and hair. is that gross?

5. my sweetie pie john and i decided that we are married on a plane ride to holland in march '08. hubs told the hotel worker we were on our honeymoon (well, we were!) and she upgraded us to a great big room with an amazing view!

6. i can name all 50 u.s. states in alphabetical order in less than a minute, thanks to my 5th grade music teacher. however, i'd probably encounter some difficulty locating them all on a map. =/

7. i taught first grade science in a low-income, environmentally-focused charter school for three years. my classroom was home to ants, crickets, mealworms, silkworms, moths, beetles, worms, and a tree frog named boris!

8. my favorite things to do are snuggle, play, and eat. (i'm a lot like my cat, mrs. bigglesworth. =)

9. i hate being cold but get really excited when it snows.

10. i feel hair is a nuisance and seriously consider shaving mine off. maybe this summer?

7 blogs i'm nominating

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

i met the walrus

"In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrator James Braithwaite have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon's boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short."

crazy how 40 years later his words are still so relevant.

animal-friendly eating...most of the time

(note: i started writing this post on monday. i'm happy to say i'm feeling much better now. =)

i am sitting here like a lump on a log feeling super bloated and "dairy-ish" (as alicia would say) after a weekend of not-so-animal-friendly eating. i overdid it with the dairy and cooked foods. big time. and i am paying for it. BIG TIME.

as i have mentioned before, i am still transitioning to an entirely plant-based diet. i should really consider changing my blog title to something like "animal-friendly transition" or "animal-friendly eating...most of the time". (when i created the blog i was going through a very easy period of refraining from animal products. but, you know how life is - constantly changing!)

will i ever eat 100% vegan? maybe, maybe not. i choose not to stress over it anymore. i like to live in the moment and therefore experience some difficulty exercising willpower at family functions and celebrations. yesterday was no exception.

i attended a friend's baby christening and indulged in a big creamy bowl of penne vodka and sinful almond ice cream concoctions topped with chocolate sauce. plural because i didn't stop at one. or two. yes, ladies and gentlemen, i ate three almond ice cream thingies. see what i mean about a lack of willpower? who does that in public?!

so now i feel like crap, physically. however, i don't feel the guilt that i used to feel. i have learned that guilt is a wasted emotion. a large majority of the time i make good choices for the animals and my health so i choose to focus on that. like my friend don from the sunny raw kitchen says, "when you drop the ball, just pick it back up again."

so let's talk about the good things i've been feeding myself! =)

first, we have a simple yet delicious avocado and sprouts sandwich on Matthew Kenney's amazing Cumin Flatbread. this bread is perfect - pliable, savory, and a tad sweet. i would love to post the recipe, but i got it from his book, Entertaining in the Raw.

next, we have an italian style quinoa dish i came up with for johnny boy's 29th birthday dinner, served with a yummy salad and garlic bread made with earth balance butter. i'll post the recipe for the quinoa after i make it one more time.


last but not least we have my latest obsession, quinoa and veggie sushi rolls. i add a few splashes of rice vinegar, agave, and tamari to my quinoa before i roll it up with cucumber or zucchini, carrot, and of course, avocado. i can eat three rolls (18 pieces) in less then three minutes, easily. sooo yummy!!!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

dehydrated yummies

clockwise from top:
Rainbow Flax Crackers, Herb Pizza Crusts, Raw Cheez-Its, Cumin Flatbread, and "The Best Granola in the Universe Plus One"

by diana stoevelaar of

here is the recipe halved to make 2 trays. i also needed to make a few minor changes to avoid running out to the store for ingredients. i'm sure the original recipe is great, but everyone (including myself) loved these!

makes 2 dehydrator trays

2 1/2 C. water
2 C. golden flax seed
1 1/2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/3 C. purple cabbage
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 orange pepper, coarsely chopped
1/3 C. parsley
1/3 C. spinach
1/3 C. cilantro
2 T. white onion
1 clove garlic
2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning*
1 tsp. salt

* i did not have poultry seasoning so i used a 1/2 tsp. equal parts sage, margoram, rosemary, black pepper and celery seed. i would have added thyme if i had it.)

1. presoak flax seeds in 2 1/2 cups of water for at least 1 hour or overnight. place in a large mixing bowl.

2. puree fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic and seasonings in the food processor. add to the flax mixture.

3. process all the vegetables individually in the food processor until finely chopped but not pureed. add to the flax mixture.

4. stir the flax mixture until well combined.

5. using an offset spatula, spread the mixture about ¼” thick onto Teflex sheets on the dehydrating trays. score into squares or triangles with a plastic utensil so as not to damage the Teflex sheet.

6. dehydrate for at least 12 hours. the crackers easily separate from the teflex sheets without stickiness, usually after 12 hours. remove the dehydrator tray. flip the crackers by placing a mesh and another tray on top of the crackers. hold both sides of the sandwiched trays and flip them towards you so the top tray is now at the bottom. remove the new top tray and the mesh. now peel off the teflex sheet from the crackers, which are now facing downward. return the crackers to the dehydrator for approximately an additional 4 hours until completely dry.

7. let cool before storing by leaving them on the dehydrator trays outside of the dehydrator or inside of the dehydrator with the door open.

8. store crackers in an airtight container in a cool dark cupboard, fridge or freezer.

Herb Pizza Crusts
this is my variation of the recipe to fit one dehydrator tray
(9 pizza crusts)

1 1/4 C. buckwheat, soaked overnight
2/3 C. sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
5 T. ground flax seed
1 C. zucchini, chopped
1/4 C. water
1 T. olive oil
1 tsp. herbs
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. sea salt

1. blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

2. spread batter about 1/4 " thick on dehydrator tray covered with teflex sheet. score into 9 squares.

3. dehydrate at 125 for 2-3 hours, then flip onto mesh and turn the temperature down to 110.

4. dehydrate until dry.



(batter covers 3 teflex sheets)

1 C. sunflower seeds (soaked overnight)
1 C. almonds (soaked overnight)
1 C. brazil nuts
1 big tomato, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/4 C. sun-dried tomatoes, soaked overnight
1/4 C. ground flax
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. taco seasoning
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. onion powder

blend all ingredients in food processor, then spread batter fairly thin onto teflex sheets. score into squares. dehydrate at 110° until dry, flipping cheez-its onto mesh screens after a few hours.


Cumin Flatbread
from Matthew Kenney's
Entertaining in the Raw


2/3 C. sprouted buckwheat
1/2 C. sprouted sunflower seeds
1/2 C. sprouted oats
1 C. chopped soaked almonds
1/4 C. melted coconut oil
1/4 C. maple syrup
1 T. vanilla
cinnamon to liking
sea salt to liking

mix everything together with hands. spread on teflex sheet and dehydrate at 115 for 8-12 hours.

(you can put this in the oven at a low temperature if you don’t have a dehydrator… it may not still be “raw” but it will still taste awesome and is still a pretty healthy alternative to Twinkies and Mountain Dew…=)

serve with a nut milk and dried or fresh fruit!! enjoy!

kelli's notes: i added  1/4 C. dried coconut flakes and only soaked the buckwheat overnight. the granola was pretty tasty, but i'm not sure it's the best in the universe. my granola did not stick together too well but it did make for a yummy, crunchy cereal (topped with dried cranberries or raisins and almond milk...yummity yum!=)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

raw yummies and kitchen gadgies

while the rest of my kitchen was looking a mess, this colorful nook was all clean and cute. i wish i could tell you that all the fruit in the picture was organic, but only half was. in my opinion, ORGANIC FRUIT is SOOO much TASTIER!!! who agrees?

my newest fruit obsession: organic valencia oranges. like candy, i tell ya!

if i had the moola, i would eat only organic fruits and veggies. buttt i don't, so i've been shopping around for the best produce prices while doing my best not to compromise quality. as my friends don and carmella point out that if you have to choose between the two, it's better to eat non-organic raw rather than the alternatives.

if you are wondering why more and more people, including myself, are striving to eat RAW, or live foods, you can read the Details and Benefits of a High Raw Diet.

john and i have been doing a pretty good job eating healthy lately, and in return, have been feeling GREAT! we can vouch for all the energy we have, the mental clarity, and *knock on wood* the fact that we've been avoiding all the yucky illnesses that come with the changing of the seasons.

i believe Hippocrates was dead-on when he said, "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." (and so was john, when he said, "sleeping and eating - that's all you need to keep a healthy immune system." two great minds, if ya ask me =).


zucchini pasta is a quick and tasty raw dish we make at least once a week. it's really simple and yummy! we make the pasta in our spiral slicer we purchased for $25 (there are nicer, more expensive models out there, but this one does the trick).


this time we topped our pasta with Carmella's Basil Pesto, sliced avocado, cashews, and a nice seasonings mix from Tastefully Simple.

Basil Pesto
4 cups fresh basil and spinach, packed (I like to use 1/2 of each)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

blend basil and spinach until finely chopped. then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

kelli's notes:  i use less lemon juice (about 2 tsp) and less olive oil (about 1 1/2 T plus a few splashes water).


my magic bullet is perfect for making a smooth pesto and other sauces. i dream of owning a vita-mix someday, but for now make due with my mb. it works wonderfully for wet and especially dry, high-speed blending. i make flax meal, almond milk, chocolate sauce, dressings and marinades, and lots more in this handy dandy little gadgie. =)

magic bullet's sell for around 50 smackaroos, but i purchased a used one via craigslist for only 25 bucks. one really nice feature of the magic bullet is that it comes with a bunch of containers and lids so you can conveniently make your sauce and store it in the very same container!


we finally put our $20 ice cream maker to work with a strawberry ice cream recipe that - get this - i came up with! well, i purchased heathy's Just Desserts e-book to use her chocolate sauce recipe and an ice cream recipe. since none of her "n'ice" cream recipes consisted of ingredients i already had, i cleverly used them as a guide to make my own - and it was a keeper! (blended cashews, coconut, and strawberries? could it not be tasty?!)

kelli's stRAWberri ice cream
(serves 2)

3/4 C cashews
1/2 C young coconut meat
1/2 C young coconut water
1 C strawberries (frozen or fresh)
2 T + 1 1/2 tsp agave
2 T melted coconut oil
3/4  tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

blend all ingredients until very smooth (my regular ol' blender did the trick). process according to ice cream maker directions, or freeze in ice cube trays.

kelli's notes: the original plan was to double the recipe, but after opening our young coconut we saw that we only had 1/2 cup coconut meat. next time i will get two young coconuts and try to double or even triple the recipe!

Whipped Cream
(this is a third of Carmi's Recipe)

1/3 C cashews
1/3 C coconut milk (blend 1 part dried coconut flakes to 3 parts water)
1 T agave
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 T+2 tsp coconut butter/ melted
1 tsp non-gmo soy lecithin*

*lecithin is derived from soybeans and acts as an emulsifier. look for lecithin (preferably non-GMO), in granules or powdered form, at your local health food store. if using granules, make sure to grind them up in a high speed blender or coffee grinder.

blend all ingredients except lecithin until smooth. add lecithin and blend until thoroughly mixed. set in fridge for about 1 hr.


i got my hands on a $10 multi-slicer to slice zucchini for carmi's lasagna magnifica. this lasagna is sooo good and fun to make!!! the recipe is in her e-book The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen.  

my $10 slicer didn't slice as thin as i needed it to (you get what you pay for!), so i added "padding" with cut pieces of rubber band to lift the ramp thingie closer to the blade. with the extra padding, the slicer worked pretty well and did a nice job slicing the zucchini noodles. i've also used the slicer to make sweet potato chips. a quality multi-slicer would be nice, but my $10 one will do for now.

the spiral slicer, magic bullet, and multi-slicer are a few tools that make eating healthy and raw much easier. carmella has a very useful Ulimate Guide to Equipping Your Raw Kitchen.  if you are new to raw food, please don't let the list overwhelm you. i'm finding there are ways to eat healthy without buying expensive, new equipment.

i have been getting by with borrowing, buying cheaper models and just making do with what i have. (that does not mean i don't want to get the nice kitchie gadgies somewhere down the line!)

good news is you don't need any appliances to eat a juicy pear or organic valencia orange!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dr. Oz Turns Meat-Eating Cowboy Vegan

i came across this clip from Dr. Oz at we like it raw.

"let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Monday, November 16, 2009

animal-friendly raw-venture: part three

so how was your weekend?

yesterday felt like spring around here!  i finally cleaned up the garden and turned the compost bin. i can't believe how many wormies are living in there! it's time we start planning for next year's gardens.

but first things first.


as i mentioned in part two, we started dinner with a raw soup each night. carmi wasn't sure which soup from her arsenal she wanted to make this particular night, so i said, "let's create a new one!" we did!

(i did my best photoshopping the sudsies. i feel like a 3 y/o trying to work that program!)

john named it Creamy Italian Soup. it had a really smooth texture and a nice basil flavor. (gotta get that vita mix so i can make soups like this!)

to make:
1 C. packed spinach
1 3/4 C. chopped zucchini
1 C. chopped fennel
1/2 C. packed basil
3 Tbsp irish moss gel
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp miso
2 cloves garlic
1 avocado
1/4 tsp onion powder
water to taste

blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. add warm water to reach desired thinness. 

-add wakame or torn nori sheet pieces for a really nice flavor!

screw Papa John's Pizza...try Raw Mama's Pizza! =)


oh how i wish i could get pizza like this delivered to my doorstep!

don said these were the best yet (and that man's eaten a lot of raw pizza)! carmi and i created them together, so she named them Raw Mama's Pizza =). i also liked Karmelli's Pizza (carmella and kelli combined), but no one else seemed to be feeling it :p.

i created the pizza crusts a few weeks ago using carmi's Herb Pizza Crusts recipe as a guide (minus zucchini because i didn't have them, plus pumpkin seeds because i did have them, and some other tweaks i forget. next time i will not be lazy and write the recipe down!)

first we cut and marinated some veggies (red and yellow bell pepper, shroomies, spinach, fennel) in equal parts olive oil and tamari, plus some crushed garlic.

we assembled the pizza with a layer of Sunflower Garlic Spread we used earlier for the nori snacks, then tomato sauce and pesto leftover from carmi's Lasagna Magnifica. topped with veggies, and served with a side salad smothered in carmi's new Ceasar Dressing!



so this is the Chocolate Orange Cake i had been dying to make since i came across the picture below on carmi's blog a few months back.


isn't it a beaut?! and it tastes just as good as it looks!


for our cake we used a wider pan. it's much prettier in a smaller spring form pan where the layers are thicker.
(add that list to my ever-growing list of wanted kitchen gadgets!=)


don and carmi set out for the next step of their journey in D.C., but not without one last raw delight - Oh My This is Tuna Salad.


whoever created this "tuna" salad is a genius. really, it's so much like the "real" thing, but without the unpleasant fishiness of canned tuna or the slaughter of innocent sea creatures.


i was feeling a bit sad after we said our goodbyes, so i consoled myself with a "tuna" salad sandwich, marinated kale and a bubbie pickle.
yummy food always makes me feel better!

'til next time!;)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

animal-friendly raw-venture: part two

ok, where were we? ah yes...

lasagna day! i'd been looking forward to this since carmi mentioned last time that we'd make it during this stay. her Lasagna Magnifica is out of this world! i think i was dancing in my seat while i ate it. john's not a lasagna fan (i know, an italian who doesn't love lasagna?!?) but he looooved this! 

walnut meat, cashew cheez, pesto, and marinated spinach between layers of thinly sliced zucchini - i'm not sure it gets any better than that!


it was fun to watch carmi so carefully and lovingly assemble the lasagna. raw food art at its finest!


we had my friend and former vegan cooking class instructor, carol, over for dindin. (two of my food mentors at one table!=) she made a yummy "tuna" salad that went nicely with our salad of greens.

oh yeah, i forgot to mention every dinner started with a delicious,warm raw soup made by carmi and salad made by don. my camera just didn't do the soups justice so i left those pics out, but the recipes can be found on carmi's blog (here's some good ones) and her two wonderful e-books.


dessert was a luscious Lemon Meringue Pie topped with Coconut Meringue, both recipes from Sweet Gratitude. this all-natural version put all other lemon meringue pies i've ever eaten to shame!

carmi taught me how to use irish moss, a key ingredient in the lemon filling. she laid my fears of working with the moss to rest!


monday was d-day. look at us go!
(d as in dehydration)


carmella and don stocked up on some snacks. they made Just Like Ritz Crackers, Cheez-Its (very similar to my version), and Rainbow Flax Crackers. we had every space in the kitch covered, so don resorted to the chair for batter-spreading!


these were the veggies for the rainbow crackers. so pretty!


and the batter before it went in the d. i love how colorful raw food can be!


all the chopping and spreading got us hungry, so we stopped for a quick lunch of crackers and dips. we used the rest of carol's tuna and made carmi's Guacomole Supreme. mmm!


monday morning carmi showed me how to make almond milk. then she taught me how to use the almond milk to make a simple yet delightful chia pudding with maple sugar and raisins. we had coconut meringue and chocolate sauce leftover (and don came home that morning with strawberries), so that raw genius carmi said, "let's make parfaits!" we did!

while we were enjoying our parfaits i said, "i bet it would taste really good if we added bananas" we did! the parfait was perfect with and without the nanners!

ok, back to work. we had more d-work to do plus dinner and dessert to prepare!

here, carmi and i are cutting the nori snacks. these addictive little treats are made with carmi's tasty Sunflower Garlic Spread between layers of nori sheets. super yummy!!! (i'm munching on some as i write this =)

i still have monday night's dinner and dessert (as well as tuesday's lunch) to show you, but i promised john we'd watch Modern Family on hulu and eat another banana split with leftover strawberry ice cream and chocolate sauce =).

part three, coming soon!

have a lovely weekend!

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