foodradical

The space between the refrigerator and the stove


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Stupendous Spontaneous Sunbutter Sauce

I made the most delicious sauce the other morning.  It was a very spontaneous decision while I was trying to figure out what to pack for my lunch.  I have been feeling great, getting solid sleep and have had TONS of energy in the morning.  This, coupled with my habit of early rising has given me the opportunity to do things like spontaneous sauce making before heading off to work!

I knew I wanted to use some quinoa noodles I’d purchased recently and greens from my dad’s garden I am still going through.  I wanted a chilled salad since the weather has been horrendously hot here in P-town. I decided I would try something like a peanut sauce except using sunflower seed butter.  I completely guessed on measurements and that caused a bit of a problem because the end result was a bit too salty for my liking, but still quite tasty. I got three days of noodle salad lunches from this dressing and that made me very happy!

What wasn’t so happy for me was making this sauce landed me at urgent care!  Yes, I am admitting to you all that I did one of the most ridiculously stupid things I have ever done.  Why?  I have no answer.  Momentary brain freeze? I think so because when I was done blitzing my sauce with my immersion blender I proceeded to use my index finger to wipe around the inside blade area to get excess sauce off. I forgot to unplug the thing and accidentally pressed the button with my other hand while my finger was in the blade area. The result??  One very mangled index finger!  Yeah, that one hurt like heck!!  I am grateful my immersion blender is about 15 years old and while the blade is clearly sharp, it was not sharp enough that I lost my finger tip.  I cringe thinking about what kind of damage a sharper blade could have done. The doctor I saw had quite a sense of humor and upon determining the condition of my finger, found my particular story rather funny.  I agree.  It is pretty laughable–now!

I needed no stitches and I may not even lose my nail.  I’ll just have to see how it heals.  In the meantime, it’s gory to look at and I have one more great story to tell!  I also still managed to get this lunch together!  Thankfully, I had already prepped everything else before I bladed my finger!!

I used quinoa linguine and cooked as the box directed then drained and rinsed them.  I spiralized one half of a medium carrot and cut one large collard leaf into thin strips then tossed the vegetables with the noodles.  I drizzled the sauce on top and took it to go!  The flavors tasted phenomenal together after melding a few hours.  I am roughly guessing the measurements on my ingredients and I think you could do the same.  Make it according to your tastes and drizzle it on noodles or veggies or both!  Enjoy a good summertime salad with the stupendous sunbutter sauce!  And, keep your fingers out of blenders!

2 Tblsp sesame oil

1 tsp chili oil

3 Tblsp low sodium tamari ( 1 1/2 Tblsp would have been plenty)

1 Tblsp rice vinegar

2 tsp pure maple syrup

1/4 cup Sunflower Seed butter ( or nut butter of your choice)

Whisk or blend with an immersion blender until smooth and well combined.  Store in fridg.  Makes around a 1/2 cup of sauce.

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Moms Kick Up The Health Twisted Taco Salad

This is a long overdue post for me.  I put myself on my own loose schedule of blog posting, yet I rarely follow what I mindfully intend so I’m not sure why I even do it.  I guess sometimes it does work.  Blog writing is happening in my mind a lot more than you all see it right here.  I am just having too much fun this summer and have not had the brain space or focus to get this typed.  A definite highlight of my summer was this past weekend.  My good friend; one of my favorite people in this world, came to visit from Baltimore.  I adore that man and spending time with him gives me such deep joy.  I got an extra dose of time with him yesterday, spending the afternoon lounging at my neighborhood park enjoying a very Portland annual event.  I had such a great weekend.  Refreshed and energized, I am ready to get focused on my work week.  My focus is starting now as I write this.  I have another extra busy week, with it being my last week of classes. This means being extra prepared for on the go foods that will keep me fed into the late evening hours since class days keep me from home roughly twelve hours.  I will look forward to a two week reprieve in my time before I begin another round of classes.

Thankfully, I am still enjoying the greens from my dad’s garden.  I hauled home another large harvest to share with friends and to restock my own fridg.  I have discovered an incredibly space saving way to store my abundant produce that is working quite well.  I have also been eating greens at every meal so none will go to waste!  Salads of every variety have been my lunch and dinner meals almost daily.  Green juices, kale pesto, arugula pesto, and a variety of sandwiches piled with greens, wraps made from lettuce leaves, collard leaves…you name it, I am making it!  I have been eating well and feeling very healthy.

When my son called me not long ago to tell me he made my mom’s taco salad for dinner, I suddenly had an unbelievably strong craving for just that.  I loved my mom’s taco salad as a kid.  We all loved her salad.  As adults, my siblings agree that moms taco salad made hot summer evenings cooler.  My personal favorite part of the salad was the crushed fritos she would put in it.  To this day, I admit my weakness is still fritos.  Yes, I have had one too many love affairs with that salty, crunchy, oily goodness.  I always pay for it so I am actively avoiding my desires.  My son gave me my dinner idea and I wanted to have taco salad as well.  My taco salad is a little twisted.  There are no fritos in this one.  It is definitely not moms recipe, but I enjoyed the memories it created as I prepared my version of moms taco salad.  It was super tasty.

I look forward to my week ahead and will continue to eat greens for days to come.  If this week is like my others recently, it will fly by so quickly I will be surprised by the speed at which I get to yet another fun filled weekend.  Next weekend will be spent with a friend, who I refer to as my fast friend.  We met, connected immediately and became great friends instantly.  Five years later, our friendship has developed into a connection I know will be deep and lasting.  We will enjoy holiday festivities among many more wonderful people.  Life is good.  Life is green.  If you find yourself with bountiful greens, give this salad a try, or give it your own twist.  Enjoy!

Twisted Taco Salad

Brown one half pound of organic, grass fed ground beef with chopped white onions in a skillet.  Add spices: paprika, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper to your desired taste.  Add half cup of pinto beans, stir and heat until beans are warmed through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Fill a large bowl with romaine lettuce (about 8 cups), torn into bite size pieces.  I added some arugula because I love its spicy flavor.  I topped the lettuce with the beef and bean mixture, some daiya cheddar cheese shreds and kalamata olives.  I avoid tomatoes and avocado, but these would be great additions if you desire.  I drizzled a tiny bit of lime juice over my salad, gave it a mix and stuck a fork in it! Yum!!

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The Short Sweet Life of Luscious Raspberries

If you read yesterday’s blog post, Let Us Eat Lettuce you will know I have plentiful greens for weeks to come.  Well, today I have an abundance of raspberries.  The short sweet season has arrived and they are ready for picking.  I am fortunate to know someone who has a plethora of these delicious jewels, my very favorite berry.  Yesterday I picked so many and that was just the first pick of the season!  These vines are mature and bountiful with beautiful red bunches ready to eat.  I plan on getting more later today.  First, I need to move some of yesterdays crop out of my little fridg.  Over half of what I plucked from the vines yesterday went to my landlady.  She is such an awesome woman who has helped me out innumerable times.  The list of wonderful and supportive ways seems endless.  I can tell some stories about this fortuitous meeting.  But, I’ll stay focused on the raspberries for now!

I have made these gluten free maple raspberry scones several times and have blogged about this recipe before.  Raspberries and Reflections was one of those stories using the same recipe.  I sometimes add my own twist on recipes, switching up ingredients for various reasons.  This morning I followed the recipe nearly exact, with the only changes being coconut oil instead of palm oil, I used light coconut milk and I added 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  You can find the original recipe here: http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/07/gluten-free-maple-raspberry-scone.html and I also have it listed below with my variations.

I just pulled the second batch of these from the oven and I am enjoying the tantalizing sweet scent throughout my home.  I’ll fess up and say I have already eaten one from the first batch.  I could not wait to bite into these!  They are truly fantastic.  I encourage you to try this recipe yourself.  They will serve well for delicious breakfasts on the go and morning snacks with tea.

Gluten Free Maple Raspberry Scones

1 ½ cups brown rice flour or sorghum flour (I used 1 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup sorghum flour)
½ cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum    (my addition: 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon)
½ teaspoon sea salt 
½ cup organic palm shortening (I used coconut oil)
⅓ cup maple syrup
½ cup + 2 tablespoons cold non-dairy milk (I used light coconut milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 heaping cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and sea salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together well. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs are formed.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the syrup, milk, and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and quickly mix together with a fork or wooden spoon until the dough thickens. Fold in the raspberries, being very careful not to over mix.

Drop by the large spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, depending on the size of your scone.

I got 8 scones from this recipe.  I believe the original authors states her yield the same.

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Let Us Eat Lettuce

Green, greens and more greens.  Greens of all kinds are taking up most of the space in my tiny fridg.  I have a variety of lettuces, spinach, bok choy, chard mixes, kale, arugula and maybe a few more varieties I am not remembering at the moment.  Why do I have so many greens, you ask?  I will tell you that my dad; my almost 86 year old dad, decided to turn his entire back yard flower bed into a garden.  When he said he was going to do this a few months ago, I took it lightly, thinking it will keep him busy and keep his mind occupied. He said he would do this last planting season, too. He surely did plant an impressive garden, though it was not the entire bed by any means.  So when he made that comment again this year, I really did not think he would literally make the full back bed area in to a garden.  Why do I doubt my dad?  That old man did exactly what he said he would do and now he has greens in such abundance he is a bit overwhelmed.  When I was over at his house recently I went through the garden and harvested what was ready.  Upon completion, he looked at the haul I had and then looked at me saying with a sigh, “I planted too much”.  I thought, uh, yeah….you most definitely planted too much!!  Not long after that statement, I saw him glancing over his garden with a satisfied smile on his face. Too much doesn’t matter.  We’ll find good homes for all the produce.  What matters is my dads delight in planting his garden and the contentedness he feels in his outdoor work. He takes great pride in his accomplishment and will walk anyone who comes by through the backyard as he points out the different vegetables and fruits he has planted all around. He does not hesitate to say he plans on preparing yet another area in the yard for more garden.  I imagine he will do just that.

I made a fantastic lettuce wrap for dinner last night.  Sadly, I got no pictures.  I had a really busy day and I was so hungry on my drive home, I was fantasizing about the way I would prepare my wrap.  Arriving home, I promptly prepared my meal as quickly as I could so I could get that food in me!  I briefly thought of taking a picture, but I didn’t even want to take a moment for that.  I just wanted to eat!  It was delicious!  I have a few menu ideas in mind to use this produce and I also plan on whizzing all the darker greens in my juicer, putting the liquid into ice cube trays and freezing them for future green smoothie drinks. While I don’t have the type of freezer conducive to this idea, I have a large capacity fridg and freezer space at work in the community room that I plan to utilize for this purpose.  I share that fridg with just one other colleague who does not mind one bit that I will take up space in the freezer. He’s such a nice guy and I am sure he knows he’ll get to share in the harvest.

You will definitely see future posts with recipes using these greens.  I will likely make many more lettuce wraps that will get photographed next time.  I am thrilled to have my very favorite types of greens ready and waiting for me to get creative.  It is wonderful because my container garden project has not been that successful.  My romaine is doing well and my arugula is just mediocre in growth, but the other greens aren’t doing well.  I have realized that my deck just does not get enough sun to produce good growing greens.  In fact, all around the house there is not enough sun.  I have too much forest around me (and that is not a complaint!) I was feeling a bit down about the absence of the awesome beds I had in years past because I love the gardening process, but I also love the end result.  It’s okay that these greens are not from my garden.  I have plenty of opportunity to work on the sweet little farm owned by a friend of mine.  I can get my digging in the dirt satisfaction that way and I can reap the rewards of my dad’s hard work.  Until I can create my own garden again, this will suffice.  These past several months have been all about change and this is just one more area of my life that looks different now.

Change is good.  The changes that I have experienced began painfully and now these changes have relaxed me into complete contentedness.  My life is good.  These changes have given me a whole new perspective on many things.  I also have a different mindset about my dad’s abilities at his old age.  That man can make things happen when he wants them.  Age may slow him down, but it will not stop him from doing what he loves.  I take that same attitude toward my own life.  I did not realize how stuck I was while I was with “M”. Life is so much brighter and happier.  My goals are still the same.  If I can help it, nothing will stop me from doing what I love.  So far, I am headed right toward the sunshine of life. It feels fantastic!  I’ll keep that amazing feeling as I gobble up healthy greens for weeks to come!

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Coconut Curry Chicken

I had a lovely time at the coast this weekend.  It was nice to get out of Portland where the weather was near record heat temperatures.  The coast was a lovely mild temperature with bright sunshiny blue skies, but a bit too breezy for me.  As is typical for the Oregon coast, I certainly did not complain.  I spent time with my family there, watched my nephew graduate, shared food, conversation and laughter.  I walked on the beach, I stopped and stretched toward the roaring ocean.  Hot tubs, soaks, luxurious baths and good food all weekend.  I truly enjoyed my rejuvenating get-a-way.  Even though it was scorching hot upon my return to Portland this afternoon, I entered my home and was met with a cool, comfortable feeling temperature.  That made me very happy and is a good indication of what to expect as the heat continues into summertime.

I did my unpacking and began organizing my plan for food this coming week.  Needing to use some chicken, I decided on a dish I know I will enjoy for most of this week.  It’s easy, it can be portable, it is nutritious and filling.  When I can use up the items in my little fridg before my next trip to the store, that makes me happy!  I whipped up what I call coconut curry chicken.  I love that I can use just one pan, my cast iron skillet.  I also made some brown rice as a delicious accompaniment to this dish.

Looking ahead to my busy week I am excited for many things on my work agenda.  How cool is that?!!  I am really excited for my work week.  I am continuing to love my job.  It is so perfect for me.  I know I’ll love my week even more with my delicious meals on the go I will get to enjoy.  Have a great week!  Eat well.

Coconut Curry Chicken

Heat a tablespoon of sunflower seed oil (or whatever you have on hand that isn’t olive oil) in a 10-12 inch skillet.  Add 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, finely chopped and saute until translucent.  Next, add one pound of chicken breast cut into bite size pieces.  Saute until just browned.  Add 2 Tablespoons of powdered yellow curry and stir around to coat the chicken pieces. Add one 14 ounce can of light coconut milk and a half cup of chicken broth. Stir until combined and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until sauce begins to reduce and chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degree. Top with freshly chopped green onions and cilantro.  You could even add a crack or two of some fresh peppercorns! Enjoy over greens, rice, or both!

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Clean Eating Brunch

Last weekend the weather was absolutely glorious.  I was feeling energetic and motivated to get my Sunday “church” walk going.  Every Sunday I head out early and hit the trails near my house.  It has become my ritual of sorts.  I love that I can simply walk out my door, up the street a bit and walk right into our beautiful forest in the city.

Once I got my pace going it wasn’t long before my ankle decided not to cooperate. I broke my leg just above my ankle a few years back and my strength in that area has not been the same.  I also think I may be developing some arthritis in there.  Some days it gets quite painful.  I slowed my step, being mindful of how I moved my foot and continued along. Soon my back began its typical ache; it has been giving me some problems again.  I lug around a traveling office now and it is literally a pain!   My slow walking pace became meditative and methodical.  With each physical adjustment I made a mental adjustment.  I reminded myself to go with the flow, enjoy the peaceful scenery and take the opportunity to enjoy it more fully. Well, even with my slow, sure pace I still developed a pain in my hip that hurt enough to stop me.  I took a seat on a fallen tree and just let the presence of nature soothe me as I sat.

I am not sure why I took this whole experience in such stride.  I am usually not so patient with my body when it ails me and slows me down.  This experience gave me a different perspective; one that definitely caused me some concern.  I sat on that tree and wondered what I would have done had I been somewhere different.  My new job keeps me walking all around the downtown/old town area of my city.   I have places to be and I have timelines to meet.  I walk up and down steep hills on my way to and from work.  All of these activities are much more difficult with pain strong enough to disable my walking abilities.

I have only recently accepted that I live with chronic pain even though I have known this fact for quite some time.  I simply do not like limitations in my body.  I have really tried to ignore it to some degree and power on.  I try to stay away from all the triggering foods that will create more ache in my joints.  I do kind things to my muscles and joints in the form of supplements, ointments, soaks and stretches.  I have become much more physically active even when I hurt, I still walk daily because I know it is the best thing I can do for myself. Still, in doing all these great things, I sometimes slip.  Even when I don’t,  I usually experience pain.

I am considering the elimination diet again.  Not because I am concerned I have an allergy to a new food, but because it makes me feel clean on the inside.  It feels somewhat like a detox for me.  Regardless, I know this is an option and I also know now is not the time.  For now, I am being more mindful of my food choices, making sure I incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in abundance.  I came home from my walk and made an amazing brunch.  This egg scramble and green juice concoction was filled with inflammation fighting ingredients.  Try it for yourself and feel great!

This weekend the weather will be fantastic again.  In fact, a little too hot for me!  I will be heading to the beautiful Oregon coast for the weekend where it will be a perfect 70 degrees with blue skies!  My Sunday “church” walk will look a little different yet still just as beautiful.

Egg Scramble

Saute’ 2 garlic cloves in 1 1/2 tsp of olive oil until softened.  Add 1/2 cup shredded kale and cook until just wilted. Crack 2 eggs into pan and scramble with a fork, incorporating the kale and garlic.  Cook to your desired consistency then add 1/4 tsp of cracked pepper to your finished dish.

Green Juice

Chop the following produce into chunks to add to your juicer:

1 beet (I used an orange beet)

1 Bartlett pear

3 carrots (mine were unpeeled)

2 celery stalks

3 good sized kale leaves

I recommend adding the greens last.  That’s just my opinion.  However you juice, enjoy this drink.  Your body will be happy you did!20150531_104347 (1) 20150531_110213

Weekly Photo Challenge: On The Way

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On the way, every day I see beauty with every step.  Never dull, always ordinary.  I notice.  I see artistry.  I see elegance.

There is nature all around me.  Peaceful quiet.  Happy morning chirping from high in the trees.  Sights of wild life and intoxicating scents.  I forget I live in the city sometimes.

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On the way I find moments of awe;  spirit awakening, deep gratitude, heart overflowing reverence for my walk in this world as I continue toward my destination.

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On the way seems very ordinary yet so incredibly enlightening.  Every day, on the way I feel a profound appreciation for this; my neighborhood and my journey to here.

This gallery contains 8 photos

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