Friday, May 28, 2010

Kentucky Fried Chicken Memories

I still have a hard time saying "KFC."  When I was growing up, everyone just said the whole thing, Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I grew up loving that chicken.  We didn't have one in our town, but when we went on trips, I loved getting that big bucket of chicken.  And I loved eating the batter on the skin.  I had no desire to try the extra crispy (too dry) or BBQ (ick!) when they came out, I just wanted the original recipe.

Fast forward 20 or so years and I don't eat the chicken anymore nor do I miss it.  BUT I found a very similar taste to the Colonel's secret recipe in the Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Kettle Chips.  I try not to buy Kettle Chips very often because it's easy to convince myself that the the 5 oz bag is just 1 serving size instead of 5!  But every once in awhile when I desire something fast-food-ish (especially when traveling), I go for these Kettle Chips.  I think back to those Kentucky Fried summer picnics and smile just a bit.  Try it and see if you see the connection.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Raw Recipe -- Berry Bars

Berry Bars are super easy to make and very tart and tasty.  They have a little more of a chewy texture than crackers, which is fun too.

Berry Bars

2 c. sprouted wheat
1/2 c. soaked dates
1 1/2 c. frozen or fresh berries 

I use the triple berry blend frozen most of the time -- raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Strawberries are good too. 

Blend up the wheat and dates in the food processor.  Stir berries in afterward.  Form small patties small cookie size (2-3 inches round, although they are rarely perfectly round) onto the dehydrator tray.  No Teflex sheet necessary.  

What's fun about these is that the frozen berries makes the mix cold and the raspberries makes the wheat pink.  I feel like I'm making hamburger patties for my mom long ago when I used to cook dinner growing up where my hands get cold and I get to work with this strange-feeling stuff.  Kind of nostalgic in a strange way.  :)  These are thicker than the crackers, but don't seem to take longer to dehydrate since you don't have the bottom covered with a Teflex sheet.  They probably dry in about 12 hours total.  Just check them from time to time to see.

As with the last two recipes, I'll post a picture in the morning when they are all done. 

Raw Recipe -- Fruitful Crackers

When I first ate raw, I was in search for something to replace my love for graham crackers.  There may be a recipe out there now that comes close, but at the time, raw recipes weren't plentiful (especially on the internet) and I decided to try a variation on my veggie crackers to see if I could make them sweet.  This is what I came up with:

Fruitful Crackers

1/2 cup soaked flax seed
2 apples
1 T. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
2 c. sprouted wheat
optional 1-2 T. water just to help it blend well

Blend up everything in the food processor.  Once it's blended well, stir in:

2 apples cut and sliced thin (maybe the size of a quarter)

optional -- add in 3 or 4 peaches sliced thin or berries (frozen or fresh)

It's super delicious with the peaches -- you may want to up the pumpkin pie spice for the peach variation.

Spread on a dehydrator tray covered with a Teflex sheet.  Dehydrate at 110 degrees overnight or for about 10-12 hours until the top of the cracker is dry enough that you can flip the giant square of a cracker over and peel off the back of the Teflex sheet.  Let it continue to dry for another 6 - 8  hours.   The drying time varies, so just watch it for dryness.

Once the crackers are completely dry, break into cracker-sized pieces (tasting as much as you want as you go) and keep in an air-tight container or zip-loc bag. 

I'll add to the post in the morning when they come out of the dehydrator.  I can't wait!

Raw Recipe -- Savory Veggie Crackers

When I make my veggie crackers, it's like making vegetable soup. I start with a base and vary them every time according to what's in my refrigerator.  They're really quite wonderful all alone or with a veggie dip or salsa.

Savory Veggie Crackers

3/4 c. soaked flax seeds
1 long carrot
5 celery stalks (or a few cucumbers)
1/4 cup onion
1/4 cup parsley or basil
1 t. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
3 c. sprouted wheat berries

(Sometimes I add in 1/2 cup of other greens like kale.  I've also added bell peppers and garlic.  Just remember that whatever strong flavors you use, they will taste even stronger once dehydrated.  The bell peppers came out pretty pepper-y, so go easy on them).

Blend all together in the food processor.  I add the wheat last because it's hard for the veggies to reach the blades if the wheat is further down in the bowl.  If it's not seeming to blend well, you can add 1/8 cup or so of water.  This makes it easier to spread too (and it will eventually just dehydrate out later on).

 Spread on a dehydrator tray covered with a Teflex sheet.  Dehydrate at 110 degrees overnight or for about 10-12 hours until the top of the cracker is dry enough that you can flip the giant square of a cracker over and peel off the back of the Teflex sheet.  Let it continue to dry for another 6 hours or so.   The drying time varies.  I just kind of watch it and see.

Once the crackers are completely dry, break into cracker-sized pieces (don't even try to make them perfectly even) and keep in an air-tight container or zip-loc bag. 

Mine are still drying (I just flipped them over) so I'll take pictures to add to the post in the morning.

The only sure-fire allergy relief

I've written a few posts on allergy relief -- bee pollen, salt-water rinses with the neti-pot, herbs that help block those histamines, but I've got to tell you that if your allergies are KILLING you, that may not be enough.  (And I hope you know that "killing" doesn't actually mean killing, it just means that you FEEL like you're about to die -- you know that awful, miserable feeling.  Just had to state that for someone who might take me literally).

For the past few weeks, the pollen count has climbed to the levels of dusting our cars with that beautiful soft yellow.  The sunshine was no longer pleasant and nights were impossible to sleep through -- filled with misery and a determination to do whatever it took to stop the symptoms.  I tried everything that I'd done before, hoping that one or two or all 12 would work.  But none of them were enough.  Deep down in my brain, I knew I had to get back to eating all raw.  I was doing it last month as soon as my allergy symptoms hit and they went away.  But could it be that easy?  I knew it could.  I just didn't want to give up those rice chips or that homemade bread.

I hit a point last Sunday night where I was at the depths of my allergy suffering capacity and I knew that there wasn't a single morsel of food on this planet that was worth eating for the way I felt at that moment.  Nothing!  I could live without that homemade bread.  I could go without ever tasting another rice chip again.  Nothing was worth that suffering.  So the next morning, instead of cleansing for a few hours, feeling a bit better and thinking "Oh yeah, I can go back to eating that again," I remembered.  And I kept eating raw.

That night was completely different than all the nights the week before.  My eyes weren't begging to be clawed out.  My nose wasn't itching, burning or pulsating.  I wasn't sneezing so loudly that my husband wondered what kind of woman he'd married.  (When I sneeze, I s- nEEEEEZE!)  I slept in complete comfort and peace.  I have all week long.

If your allergies are killing you and you haven't tried eating all raw foods, give it a try.  Write me and ask for help if you need it.  Look online at all the recipes and ideas to get started.  Spring is a perfect time to start because there are so many yummy fruits and veggies available.  Don't worry about eating too many raw nuts either.  Just eat some when you want some and you'll be fine.  I've never gained weight eating nuts on a raw diet.  Most of the time I lose when I eat a lot.  I think it helps clean out my system.  (How's that for a scientifically validated statement?  :))

Here are some Raw Food websites if you want to check them out.  I started out learning from Alissa Cohen. She has a great book called Living on Life Food and a dvd set demonstrating many of her recipes, which is a lot of fun to watch.  Here's a quick sample.

Here are some other Raw Food websites if you want to check them out   The Best of Raw Food Raw Food Life , Living Foods , and for great recipes Gone Raw .

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Time to Regroup, a Time to Change

 My grandpa used to say as we'd drive through a forest, "I wish I had a nickel for every leaf on each of those trees."  We'd all smile and would think of all the money he'd have if that wish came true.  I've thought of many nickel wishes over the years.  My nickel wish for today would be for every time I've had to regroup and start anew with my goals.  I do it all the time. Sometimes I wish I didn't do it so often.

Life isn't about always staying on the trail though.   It's about getting back on as soon as you wander off a bit.  I do this constantly, at least every week or two.  I set some goals, stick with them for awhile, feel like I'm doing just great, something gets me off course, then I detemine if I want to continue heading away from my goal or if I want to regroup and come back.  For some reason, it always takes some regrouping effort.  I can't just jump back on or hit auto-pilot to bring myself back on course.  I have to plan and commit to make it happen.  Eventually I catch on, but it never seems to amaze me at how easy it is to get off track again.

I wonder sometimes how I'll be doing 10, 20, or 30 years from now with these same goals.   Will I still go for awhile, then veer off when I'm not paying attention or something distracts me?  Or will I finally hit cruise control and just continue on with my goals and enjoy the ride?  I actually enjoy the journey even when I do have to really work at it.  That probably makes it more worthwhile.  My grandpa made his nickel wish about 30 years ago.  I wonder what my goals were then.  I was 15 years old.  I was probably concerned with how I looked, what friends I got to see and if the boy I thought was cute thought I was cute too.  I did set goals for myself though and that's what's gotten me to this point in life.  So I'll continue regrouping and won't feel like it's a lack of progress that brings me to that point.  Perhaps I should give it some lofty new name like navigating instead of regrouping.  That sounds more like I'm in command and am just making sure I'm headed where I truly want to go.  I'm a navigator.  I like that.