This months obsession: Dehydrating!

If you have been reading my blog for a while you probably know that every few months I adopt some sort of new food obsession.  Lately it’s been sprouting and raw food… this month it’s DEHYDRATING!

I’m the type of person who doesn’t spend a lot of money on fancy kitchen appliances. When I want to try something new, I usually look for it used on Craigslist or Kijiji.  I refuse to spend oodles of moolah on some new kitchen ‘essential’, use it for a couple of months then surrender it to the dust bunnies in my basement. Nope. Not gonna do it.

A couple of years ago I wanted to try juicing. I know a good juicer isn’t cheap, so I got it used from a very nice gentleman on Craigslist. I paid $40 bucks for it. Sweet, right? I juiced for a month straight, loved it… then I moved and didn’t have the kitchen counter space for it, so it sat in the pantry. When we moved into our new house it made another appearance and I have been using it off and on for months. Definitely not a waste of $40. I love it and bust it out when I’m alternating between smoothies and juicing. I even keep the pulp from the juice so I can bake with it. See? Not a fad. I like to call it a ‘periodic obsession’. I have many of those.

This is a loaf of zucchini banana bread with carrot, ginger, apple and beet pulp. It was super dense and very yummy. Perfect for breakfast and really awesome toasted.

Banana Zucchini Bread

Yumm, that looks good huh! Hm… haven’t had bread in a while. Could totally go for… Nope. Stop. Not eating wheat.

Anyway. Where was I?

Right.

Enter dehydrator!

Nesco Dehydrator

Okay, so I have desperately wanted a dehydrator for a reeeeaallllyyy long time now.

Like

months.

That’s a long time to obsess over something, right?  I picked this gem up at Home Hardware for $39 on sale.  Shazaa!

I started with apple slices on Sunday. Read in the booklet that you should pre-treat them with something acidic like orange/grapefruit juice and water so they don’t brown. I had a bunch of apples left from the orchard and got to work. I didn’t core the apples for two reasons; 1) I don’t have an apple corer, 2) I think it’s a waste of time. As long as the seeds are removed the little shell around them gets crispy when the apple dehydrates so you don’t notice it anyway. I tossed the pre-soaked apples in cinnamon and put them on the tray.

I didn’t take a picture of the apples. They turned out so good I ate the whole batch. So uh, here’s a picture of the sweet potato chips and kiwi that I did yesterday!

Sweet potato and kiwi

I only seasoned the sweet potato chips with salt and a little garlic powder.  The kiwi was just sliced and put straight up on the tray. Looks groovy, huh?

The kiwi is a huge favourite in my house. It’s a little chewy and tart, with the right amount of sweetness.  I grab a piece every time I walk by the counter. Totally addictive. Perfect snacks to keep in my purse so I don’t go hangry. Those raw power breakfast bars I made don’t last long and the chocolate can melt quickly in the summer, so these are prefect in any weather and won’t make your fingers messy!

The sweet potato chips turned out really bland. Garlic powder is NOT the right spice. I made another batch with another batch of apples yesterday and seasoned the sweet potatoes with chipotle pepper (ground). They were so spicy!  I’ll take it down a notch next time. Also way too salty. I need to find a happy medium with the salt.  I also did zucchini chips with the last of the sweet potato. I used a black peppercorn seasoning and I didn’t realize it had salt already in it, and added more. Oops, ew. They are awful to eat on their own, but I’ll throw them into a salad for a salty crunch so they don’t go to waste, or throw them into a soup and rehydrate them. Huh. Let me think about that one some more.

Definitely need to figure out the salt ratio though. I think I will try paprika or onion powder next time.

On the 2nd batch of apples, triple the amount of cinnamon, FELL onto the apples. Oh well. Who hates cinnamon? Not moi. So I decided instead of rinsing them off, to just let it be. Mental note for next time: use a cinnamon shaker and don’t free-shake.

New batch! IMG_2642

We have a ripe pineapple on the counter, so tonight I’m going to dehydrate half of that.  I really like having both fresh and dried fruit in the kitchen. I will most likely bake something in the near future with my dried fruit goodness.

I’m thinking of dehydrating some carrots, celery, potato, onion etc., and making my own vegetarian soup mixes in mason jars to give friends over the holidays.  Sounds like a fun project but I don’t know that I’ll have time to research and get it all together before we leave for holiday.

Ah well… it will be my next obsession I’m sure. I must create and move on to the next!  Here are some pictures of the goodies I’ve obsessed over this week. Enjoy friends!

Oh and here’s a picture of my cat, Art. Just cause he looks freaking cute in the box.

Art

sweet potato - chipotle

zucchini

Ready to go!

Kiwi

apples

Raw Food Reset (Day 10-12) and Final Thoughts

Ah ha! I did it!  I actually loved every day of this ‘reset’.  I did it for 12 days overall, and while I may have veered off the raw path here and there, I have pretty much stuck to clean, healthy eating, sans meat, wheat and dairy.

The summary:

  • I’ve lost 7lbs
  • Feel fantastic
  • Have much more energy
  • Sleep better at night
  • More focused at work
  • More productive at work
  • Less sluggish in the gym
  • Ran my first 5k in a very very long time
  • Enjoy running (more than before) because I am mentally able to focus better
  • Don’t crave junk food
  • Don’t eat anything processed anymore
  • REALLY enjoy eating raw, vegan, and now prefer that most of my meals are raw
  • Dramatically reduced bloating
  • Reduced my alcohol intake
  • Have started dehydrating my own food (veggies and fruit) for nutritious snacks
  • Have been turned on to a whole new world of really yummy vegan raw food

In a nutshell (hehe that’s vegan and raw) I am super happy with my new eating an exercising habits. I am loving how I feel and want to continue this new lifestyle.

I’ve had a great time blogging about it as well, and it has helped keep me on track. In the next few weeks I’ll post updates about all the new fun food stuff I’m dehydrating and eating!

If anyone has any awesome raw, vegan or vegetarian recipes they’d like to see, or SHARE, please leave a comment!

Raw Food Reset Day 8 & 9

These posts are getting boring! I’ve been eating the same damn thing for daaaayyysss. Some how not getting tired of it, except for the tart.  I’ve had it three days in a row and today I think I just had enough of sundried tomatoes and hummus.

We hit up the spin class last night.  It wasn’t as successful as I hoped it would be.  The instructor played ONE track the whole time.  She did the same drill, over and over, without any rhythm. At one point she incorporated jumps, sets of 2, then 4 then 6.  None of it was counted or to a beat, so the whole class was up and down up and down up and down… well you get the idea… all over the place.  She looked up at us 4 times in 25 minutes. I had no clue what was going on, and I’m a spinning instructor!! It was definitely not the ideal first class for B. I will go back to the gym but I’ll try another instructor.

I have eaten the exact same thing the last three days.. only difference being dinner:

Breakfast: mixed frozen berries with cashews, banana

Snack: grapes, kiwi

Lunch: sundried tomato tart and mixed green salad

Snack: apple

Dinner: Tuesday I just had an avocado, tonight I had yam noodles with miso sauce.

Nothing more than that to report. I have some cooked carrots and parsnips for lunch tomorrow because that’s what the famjam had tonight with a roast for dinner.  I am out of salad, peppers, broccoli etc. So I will have to get a salad at work.

I really meant to go for a run tonight, but I am SO tired I just couldn’t do it after I ate dinner at 7:30. I’m going to look for vacations for Xmas and head to bed. Hoping I can get to the gym early tomorrow AM and run on the treadmill and do some weights. Here’s hoping!

Have a great night peeps!

Raw Food Reset – Day 7

I made it! 7 days!

Although I’ve cheated here and there, I’ve really done a great job of keeping the 90/10 split of raw/cooked. Nothing special to report today.  Feeling fantastic and looking forward to eating new raw recipes this week.  I am going to keep this going, I am feeling great and tomorrow night’s spinning class will be a testament of how my body feels on this raw ride. OH, right, – I managed to convince B to go to a spin class near by tomorrow night, so we’ll probably have salad for dinner with avocado and head off to class.  I’m REALLY excited to do this with him. I look forward to posting pics of us all sweaty after class 🙂

On Wednesday night, I’m going to make raw yam noodles with miso sauce. Another awesome recipe from This Rawsome Vegan Life. Seriously. If you haven’t been over to her blog yet, get on it!

Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast: Frozen mixed fruit with cinnamon and a banana

Morning Snack: red seedless grapes

Lunch: sundried tomato and zucchini hummus tart with a salad (beets, spinach, cucumber, herbs and arugula)

Afternoon Snack: power protein bar (1/4 bar)

Dinner: B brought home some chicken byriani so I had a couple of spoonfuls of rice with an avocado chopped up. Not really satisfying but the rice tasted so good. A coworker of his made it and it so I had to try a little.

That’s it friends!  I really can’t tell you how much fun I’m having experimenting with this new way of life. I am even waking up before the alarm in the AM and having the most wonderful sleeps.  Not having any alcohol is a huge driver of that, but still.  I give the eating habits a high-five. I’m honestly excited about the yam noodles.

Okay, I’m having some yummy David’s Tea before bed.. it has chili peppers in the green tea! Divine.

Night friends! Have a rawsome Tuesday!

Awaken. Now.

Yes. Feel what it is to be alive today.

MindMedicine Blog

Feel the breath gently passing your lips and soothing your lower tummy…

Let the breath rise as you breathe in all the way up to the crown of your heard, and now feel it soothing your lower tummy as you breathe all the way out…

Now start to sense that feeling of aliveness tingling throughout every cell of your body…

Let your thoughts float by, watch them come and go but don’t give them any of your precious life energy…

Realise deeply that you are not your thoughts- you are watching your thoughts- therefore you are not the thoughts that you hear, you are the awareness in which all thoughts arise and pass…

Awaken Now…

This is Now…

It is always Now…

Realise that patterns of thought come and go…

But it is always Now…

It is always the present moment…

Realise deeply that this is who you are…

Before…

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Raw Food Reset – Day 5 & 6

Gotta admit. Friday was a bust.  I had sushi with rice, a chicken wing and one small beef rib for lunch.  For dinner our friends ordered awesome Chinese food and I had some cooked eggplant, peppers, 3 shrimps, some tofu and half a chicken ball.  I also had Prosecco with the girls and loved every sip. I felt a little bloated the next day from the sodium and alcohol, but it didn’t throw me off track.

Yesterday I didn’t really eat much for breakfast for lunch. I had some cauliflower with hummus in the AM and shared a small Greek salad for lunch with B in between errands. For dinner, I made a huge green salad with fennel, and Vietnamese veggie fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce. So filling and satisfying.

B roasted a whole chicken for himself to eat over the next few days. He stuffed the chicken with chickpeas, a recipe we saw earlier in the day on TV from Chef Ramsay. OMG. The roasted chickpea mash he made after with lemon and roasted garlic was INCREDIBLE. I have never tasted anything like it. The ones that fell out of the chicken roasted at the bottom of the pan became crunchy and full of garlic and chicken flavour and were awesome. You must try it.

I kind of wanted to eat the chicken but at the same time I didn’t. I tried a couple pieces of it and it was good but I wasn’t going crazy for the meat. I don’t usually eat a lot of meat anyway so it’s not my go to thing.

Image

I was looking forward to the fresh rolls, the chickpea mash and a nice big salad.

Today I ate the leftover salad and fresh rolls for lunch, and have a super tasty treat planned for dinner. It’s already resting in the ‘fridge.

Image

I tried a new raw power bar recipe, which was awesome. Lots of dates, so it satisfies my sweet tooth. Really loving This Rawsome Vegan Life blog by Emily. She knows how to do it right and everything I’ve tried from her site is AWESOME.  The super tasty treat for dinner I also found on her site, which Emily wrote as a guest post for Ascension Kitchen’s site. Let me tell you, these ladies are rawkstars! (See what I did there?)

Raw power bar recipe

Raw power bar recipe

Raw Power Bar Recipe

Anyhoo.. here’s some pics – they are not as fab as Emily’s but I tried. I don’t have a dehydrator (Yet! I ordered it last week, woot!), and I didn’t have the patience to dehydrate the tomatoes in the oven, so I tossed them in some of the sundried tomato oil and some salt and threw them with some crushed garlic and olives in the toaster oven for 40 mins.  It made a nice cooked mush, which I just piled on top of the tart and threw it back in the fridge.

I also added some of my own home made hummus into the zucchini hummus mixture in the blender, which was SUPER garlicky so I didn’t actually add any fresh garlic to the zucchini mix. Hopefully I didn’t make it too thin and it will set. I also left the skin on the green zucchini.

Sundried tomato tart with zucchini hummus

Crust

Tart

Raw Food Reset – Day 3 and 4

Day 3 and 4 went pretty well. I’m down 5lbs!

I had a hard time sticking to raw, simply because I didn’t have the time to prep, so day 3 and 4 have morphed into a 90/10 raw split. With all the action at home I’ve not had the time in the kitchen I needed to ensure I could eat everything raw.  Majority of what I ate was raw however I did have a warm soup on Wednesday and Thursday because I forgot to bring my gazpacho to work! Gah!

Last night I sautéed large bok choi and one Portobello mushroom cap in sesame oil cause I needed to use it up. I was going to make mushroom and cashew pate but needed to use the bok choi that I had planned to have with my cauliflower ‘rice’. I ended up eating the bok choi and mushrooms with toasted raw cashews and toasted sesame seeds.  I really needed that meal last night. It was awesome and filling and B LOVED it. So simple, and when I start eating cooked foods again on the regular, I will be adding this to my weekly menu. It’s cheap, flavourful and healthy!

Each morning I’ve been having a banana, avocado and a kiwi, then snack, then lunch. It’s working out pretty good.

The one thing that I’ve really noticed from this week is that I need a LOT less food to feel full then I have been consuming. I was getting in such a rut, eating due to boredom or because it’s cheap and easy. Although B and I don’t eat out a lot, the food at home with our house guests needed to be simple and cheap.  I’m happy to be back on track and really paying attention to how my body feels without the oils, grains, wheat, meat and dairy.  I am craving cheese sometimes, and did have a couple of slices of spiced Gouda last night when I sliced it up for B. SO YUMMY. I so badly wanted to cut off a big chunk and mow down. Alas, I had control. WITH CHEESE!  I know, unheard of.

B stuffed pitas with the spiced Gouda and then toasted them in a frying pan.

Oh

My

Gawd

Not gonna lie.  I took a bite. Ok. I took 5 bites, but I gave it back after 5 bites and just enjoyed what was left in my mouth to savour. I also had control with that. It was the first time I had put wheat into my mouth in FOUR DAYS. Let me tell you, I appreciate that taste and will definitely be cutting down on it. Problem is, I LOVE baking bread. Like love it SO much I used to do it every Sunday. Sigh. Those days are long gone.

Did I tell you that after not having hummus for a while, when you’re on a raw diet, that hummus is like SEX in your mouth? Wow. I slathered it on broccoli and cauliflower yesterday at lunch and if anyone was watching me eat, I was like a fat kid with a bowl of chocolate cake with double chocolate ice cream on top, with someone holding a gun to their head making them eat it as fast as possible. I looked ridiculous. Pretty sure I had the hummus dripping down my face at one point.

 

Anyway, here’s what I ate the last couple of days.

Breakfast: banana, avocado, kiwi, green tea

Snack: broccoli, celery, carrots, yellow pepper, russet apple and almond butter.

Lunch: salad, small soup (broccoli on Wed and chicken broth on Thursday), more veggies and hummus, kidney beans, kiwi

Dinner: Wednesday: raw gazpacho soup, sautéed mushrooms. Thursday: cucumber and homemade hummus, sautéed bok choi, Portobello mushroom, toasted cashew and sesame seeds.

I’m so excited, today I think I am going to have some raw fish for lunch!!! Sashimi, here I come. Also super excited for raw seaweed salad. Oh the flavours.

Have a great FRIDAY friends! I’ll update again tomorrow 😉

Cheers,

Steph