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the best macaroons

*HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY*

I hope everyone is eating (or wearing) something green today!  I started out my day on the early side to get some work done.  It feels weird not to get up and workout, but I am trying to make my body take it easy this week to gear up for the half marathon on Sunday!

So, I decided to occupy my time by making some green juice for the holiday!  I used some celery, kale, carrot and lemon that was ready for juice (ie – too overripe to eat!).

It sure came out green!  And, tasted like green lemonade.

I also had some tea and toast with coconut butter while I worked.

And, I snacked on this huge grapefruit for a mid-morning snack.  I have actually never peeled a grapefruit to eat it.  I always slice it in half.  I loved eating it like an orange.

It was so sweet and juicy – yum!

Lunch was a bit green too.  I made a great sandwich on flax oat bread with spinach & artichoke hummes, spinach, cucumbers and sprouts.

Best. Sandwich. Ever.  It was my perfect sandwich!  This bread from Great Harvest is amazing.  Enjoyed with some Salty Pepper Somersaults.

Backing up a bit – Last night, I decided to make some coconut macaroons.  I love macaroons, but have yet to find a good (healthier) recipe to make myself.  Ryan recommends a recipe, so I decided to give it a try.  Well, this one takes the cake by far!  I used the recipe straight from Raw Food Real World.

I started with Chocolate Macaroons.

I scooped the ‘dough’ with a tablespoon and placed each macaroon on my dehydrator.

Since I was firing up my dehydrator to make chocolate macaroons, I decided to make blonde macaroons as well.

I ran the dehydrator at 115°F for 10 hours and woke up to unbelievable macaroons this morning!

The house smelled amazing too!  I find that my dehydrator dehydrates a lot faster than recipes call for.  I wonder if it is getting too hot inside.  Everything comes out great!  I just have to check it more carefully.

 

Obviously, I sampled one of each – it had to be done.

Absolutely amazing.  I would buy a dehydrator just to make these!  I have some more treats in store for tomorrow.

a raw day

I cracked myself up with the title of my post today. 🙂  I woke up to pouring rain in Boston!  I am happy for rain, instead of snow here in the city, but it is not looking good for skiing since they are having lots of rain up north as well. 😦  The temperature, however was over 40°F so it was not raw outside, but lots of my eats today will be raw!

I took a rest day today.  My legs and body are tired and sore from my first full week of weight training, and from my fun winter activities over the weekend.

So, I started my day with toast and a smoothie!  My toast was Millet bread from Food for Life.  I love this bread.


It is perfect for anyone with a gluten allergy, and for folks in need of a change!  It is light and slighty sweet due to being sweetened by fruit.  The list of ingredients is very short, compared to other store-bought bread which has a list a mile long!


I normally eat Food for Life’s Ezekiel bread, which is sprouted whole grain bread.  The Millet bread definitely feels lighter, and more delicious!

On top of my millet toast, I spread some Crofter’s Superfruit jam that the company sent me to try.  Each jar of their organic superfruit jams are apparently stuffed with 1 pound of premium organic fruit, sweetened with fair trade sugar and contain one-third less sugar than normal jams.  I tried out the North America jam today which is wild cranberries and blueberries blended with red grapes and morello cherries.


This jam was definitely delicious!  I really like blueberry jam, so this was perfect.  It was packed with real chunks of fruit, which I also loved.  My one concern is the sugar.  Even though the jam is made from fair trade sugar, it is still sugar!  I prefer my jam without any added sugar, because I like the natural tartness of the berries.  But, I do think that with all of the tart superfruits added, the jam would be too tart for most without the added sugar.  Luckily, it does contain much less sugar than the normal jam on the store shelves today, so it is definitely an upgrade!  Plus, it tastes a heck of a lot better!

It was perfect spread on my millet bread!

Now, my toast was not raw, but the second part of my breakfast was!  I have to say, 2 days of eating mainly raw foods has already helped me to feel better!  I do not expect to always be able to eat completely raw because I love some foods, like toast and oatmeal and yams and stuffed peppers, and when going out to dinner it may be harder to do so, but I am experimenting with the way my body feels.  This is important to me, just as it is important for others to eat the foods that make them feel best!  I find that when I eat certain foods, my body feels better than when I eat others due to the way it processes and digests the types of foods.  Other people might not suffer from the same problems, which is great!  You should eat what is best for you, and not be persuaded to eat as someone else does.  So, for the next few weeks I plan to experiment with raw foods, with removing cow’s milk dairy from my diet and with combining different types of foods, which I’ll explain in more detail in later posts.

Part two of breakfast was a (raw) Chocolate Strawberry-Banana power smoothie!

To the mix, I added the following:

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein powder
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs (for the texture)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • squirt of agave (to add sweetness to the raw cacao powder)


I also added some ice and blended all the above ingredients together!


Yum!  This smoothie was just right, not to chocolaty at all.  I love using the raw cacao powder with just a squirt of agave because it gives it the perfect amount of sweetness.

I also like to use a protein powder in my smoothies to give me some extra protein in the mornings, especially after a hard workout to fuel my muscles.  There are a lot of protein powders on the market today with many fillers in them.  I prefer a more natural plant-based form of protein, such as hemp protein powder.  Others prefer brown rice protein powder instead.

Hemp protein powder is literally hemp seeds ground into a powder, nothing else is added to it.  The two turnoffs to some people are that both the seeds and powder have a nutty taste to them and the powder is green, but when added to smoothies like mine this morning you can hardly even tell!  Hemp is packed with protein, along with all the 20 essential amino acids that are used in the human body.  It also has the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in a healthy 3:1 ratio, and a lot fiber.  Two tablespoons provides 8 grams of fiber!  It’s a perfect, and healthy way to add more protein to your diet.

As I was making my lettuce wraps for dinner last night, I made sure to pack up lunch for today!  This way, I can make my morning as stress free as possible.  So, lunch was lettuce wraps with guacamole and a small side of sweet potatoes.

I was much better at wrapping them up for lunch, than I was for dinner last night!  Delicious meal that left me feeling more energized, instead of exhausted after eating a heavy lunch!

My sweet treat after lunch was a mug of Cacao Berry tea and a chocolate macaroon.  Normally I do not eat anything sweet after lunch, but with the rain today I was really craving some tea and chocolate! 🙂

The Cacao Berry tea is a superberry tea from Zhena’s Gypsy Tea to support breast cancer research.  It is top-tier Sencha green tea with rooibos, cacao, raspberries and dark chocolate.  It is definitely delicious.  You can taste the chocolate and the berries – yum!

Each tea bag is a pyramid to allow the leaves to expand more for a better steep, and they are 100% biodegradable!!

Back to work to enjoy my tea!

wild times

It was cold and gross out when I woke up this morning, so what did I want for breakfast?!  A smoothie!  Normal, right? 🙂  I decided to be crazy this morning and change up my normal oatmeal breakfast for a chocolate peanut butter and banana smoothie.  By adding the peanut butter to my smoothie, it gives it a little staying power and fills me up.  Plus, this combo is a favorite of mine!

I changed it up again by adding something green to my smoothie to get some fruit and veggies in my breakfast.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 6 ice cubes

  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • a few squirts of agave

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

  • 3 handfuls of spinach!!

  • Mix it all up and get this yummy smoothie!

Don’t be disturbed by the green color, I promise, you cannot taste the spinach!

And, if you can’t get over the color, than do what these girls do and use a sippy cup! 🙂

This was my first green smoothie, and it was really good!

Lunch was leftovers from last nights dinner!  Still great the next day -maybe even a little better because the veggies were more marinated.

After my 8 miles of speed-work at the gym, it was time for a good and substantial dinner, so I made another Moosewood recipe, Wild Rice Waldorf Salad.  It was a twist on the classic waldorf that I love.

While the combination of wild and brown rice was cooking, I set to work chopping up all of the fruits and veggies: yellow pepper, celery, red onion, and 2 granny smith apples.

I tossed the apples with lemon to keep them from browning.

Then toasted some walnuts, and whipped up the dressing!

This was a super simple recipe.  The longest part was cooking the rice!  There was a lot of sitting and waiting around while it cooked.  Next time I will pre-cook the rice the night before.

My husband and I both loved this dish.  The tartness of the apples and the sweetness of the raisins really added to it.

I served it on a bed of mixed salad greens.  I love to add in more veggies when I can!

Wild Rice Waldorf Salad

from Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites

Serves 6

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup wild rice
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 medium granny smith apples
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened raisins
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Soak the wild rice in 1 cup of hot water (in a closed saucepan) for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes, add the brown rice and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes until rice is tender.
  3. When the rice has cooked for about 30 minutes, dice the apples and toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl.
  4. Chop the pepper, celery and onion and add to that bowl along with the raisins and walnuts.
  5. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a seperate bowl.
  6. When the rice is cooked, add it to the bowl of veggies and toss everything with the dressing.
  7. Serve over a bed of greens!

And, dessert was 2 homemade macaroons!  The chocolate with some raw almond butter on top.

quinoa stew and macaroons

My yogurt maker made delicious yogurt!  I’ll post towards the end of the week with some ideas and uses for it. 🙂

It was Day 2 of my weight training today, so I worked out my Legs & Abs.

5 minute warmup – jumping jacks

Legs

  • Lunge & Lift – 3 sets of 12
  • Stability Ball hamstring curl – 3 sets of 12
  • Mountain Climbers – 1 minute
  • Calf Raises with 10 lb weights – 3 sets of 12
  • Squat jumps – 1 minute
  • Deadlifts with 10 lb weights – 3 sets of 12
  • Step-ups with 10 lb weights – 3 sets of 12
  • Burpees – 1 minute
  • Leg lifts – 2 sets of 12

Abs

  • Crunches – 3 sets of 15
  • Reverse Crunches – 3 sets of 15
  • Bicycles – 3 sets of 20
  • Frogs – 3 sets of 10
  • V-ups – 3 sets of 10

5 minute cooldown – jumprope

Tough workout tonight, my legs were burning during those squat jumps and burpees!  I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow, but it was worth it!

Then, it was time for dinner and baking!

Tonight on the menu was our favorite – quinoa!  You probably think that we eat quinoa all the time.  Well, we do!  It is a delicious grain (actually, it’s a seed) and it pairs nicely with any type of vegetable.  Quinoa is about 15% protein, which is very high for a grain, so we rarely eat much other protein with it.

We used a recipe out of one of the Moosewood Cookbooks tonight.  These cookbooks are great, especially for vegetarians.  They make all sorts of delicious recipes.

Quinoa cooks like a couscous does, very quickly.  I started dinner by rinsing 3/4 cup of quinoa (it is important to rinse the quinoa because the seed produces a natural coat to protect itself from insects and you want to rinse this bitter coat off) and placing it in a pan with twice as much water to boil.  Once it boils, you just reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  A few minutes before the quinoa was cooked, I added some corn to the mix.

Meanwhile, I chopped up my veggies: garlic, onion, green pepper, zucchini, summer squash and tomatoes.

Add the onions and garlic to a pan heated with olive oil and cook until tender.  Then, add the pepper, zucchini and squash and cook until a little browned, 5-10 minutes.

Add the tomatoes along with 2 cans of diced tomatoes and a tablespoon of thyme and cover, simmering until the veggies are all tender.  Then add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.  We like our food a little on the spicy side, so I added extra pepper flakes!

Serve the stew over a scoop of the quinoa mixture!  The quinoa really works nicely with the stew.  It is a much lighter dish that it would be with a rice.  Delicious!

Quinoa with Vegetable Stew

adapted from Moosewood Restaurants Low-Fat Favorites

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa and add to pan with water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender and fluffy.
  2. When quinoa has cooked for about 10 minutes, stir in the corn, and continue to cook.
  3. Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, until the onions soften.
  4. Add the pepper, zucchini and squash; cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and thyme.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until veggies are tender.
  6. Add red pepper flakes, then salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Fluff the quinoa mixture, spoon it onto individual serving plates and ladle on the vegetable stew.

Nutrition Facts: About 300 calories per serving.  9.2 grams of protein and 6.5 grams of fat.

My dessert creation of the night were some delicious Almond Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons!  We are having some friends over for dinner this week, so I needed to try some things out.  I can’t serve just any old thing to my guests. 🙂

I got this recipe from another foodie’s blog and they came out perfectly.  Plenty of almond and coconut flavor.  I added extra sun-grained chocolate chips to the chocolate ones which makes them much more chocolaty and sinful!

I buy my raw almonds and raw coconut whole because you get more bang for your buck, so my first task was to chop them all up.  I ground up the almonds in my food processor until they were almost to a flour-like texture.  I did the same with the coconut, but made sure it had more texture.

Once chopped, I mixed all of my ingredients together and formed them into ice-cream scoop sized balls.  These are supposed to be placed in a dehydrator, but mine isn’t large enough, so instead I turned my oven on to 170°F (the lowest it will go) and “cooked” them for about 4 hours.

Almond Coconut Macaroons

borrowed from Joggerslife.com

makes 9 macaroons

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Raw Almonds, ground (flour-style)
  • 1 Cup Raw Ground Coconut
  • 2 Medjool Dates, spun in food processor
  • 1/8 Cup Raw Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Almond Extract

Double Chocolate Almond Coconut Macaroons

borrowed from Joggerslife.com

makes 9 macaroons

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Raw Almonds, ground (flour-style)
  • 1 Cup Raw Ground Coconut
  • 2 Medjool Dates, spun in food processor
  • 1/8 Cup Raw Agave Nectar
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Almond Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Sun-Grained Chocolate Chips

Directions for both recipes:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°F. (or use a dehydrator at 105°F for 6-8 hours)
  2. Combine all ingredients.  You’ll know it’s perfect when everything sticks together easily.
  3. Form batter into round balls, and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  4. Allow to stay in oven for 3-4 hours, or until macaroons are firm to the touch. (mine took 4 hours)

These babies are so good.  I could eat them all day long!  They would be great topped with a little almond butter, or even broken up over some coconut ice cream!

I will be making these for family and friends in the very near future!  They just might be the 2010 Christmas cookies!  By then, maybe I’ll have a bigger dehydrator. 🙂