May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend: The unofficial start to summer, lots of flags, BBQs, gardening and a day off work! I must admit that this year, being the first year that I have a immediate family member in the military, Memorial Day does lead to a little more thought and reflection than prior years. My heart reaches out to all the families of those who have been lost during combat and service.

Thor and I took advantage of the three day weekend to visit his folks and friends in Lynden, Washington. I wanted to document some of the beautiful landscapes that we got to drive through. I think that Washington is probably more diverse in landscapes and climates than people realize, so its fun to put together some pics of that here!

Driving through sun, as we watch rainfall in the distance.

Lush farmland just east of the Cascade Mtns.

Mountain Pass

Was it not just sunny?

We arrived in Lynden on Saturday night. I was so flattered to learn that Thors mom Patty was cooking some of the recipes from MY blog!!! For dinner we had The Creamy Pasta Bake and African Peanut Soup! I am happy to report that it was delicious (maybe so yummy because someone else was cooking)! After dinner we discovered that a good friend of Thors was attending the monster truck show with his sons. We decided to join them. It was .....interesting. LOTS of good people watching.....

Saturday morning I woke up earlier that Thor or his parents so I took a lovely walk to get some coffee...Here are a few of the views I got to enjoy.

Baking central in Pattys kitchen! She was whipping up some Apple Pancakes!


Oops, I drank all my smoothie before I took the picture!

After breakfast we visited more friends and beautiful families and then Thor took me to the raspberry fields that he worked during summers... so amazing to see row after row of raspberry bushes (and this was only one field of MANY)!

You go ahead and start picking....

We headed back to Spokane on Monday. Thor took an exit for a bathroom break and we realized we were 5 mins from Snoqualmie Falls! Seeing the longing look in my face, he conceded to a quick leg stretch and viewing!

Heading back over the Mtns....

About 1 hour after the mtns you hit desert! Pretty amazing!

Not many places would you find a horse in the pet area of a interstate rest stop...

Such a great weekend! A huge "Thank You" to Patty and Mark for all their hospitality and the great laughs! We'll be back in August!

May 24, 2011

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

Tomatoes, basil, garlic and cashews? SOLD! This a a wonderful pasta dish that's healthy, creamy, and packed with vibrant summery flavors. I can not wait to make this with home made pasta as a cold pasta salad in the summer! The gist of this recipe came from Oh She Glows!

2 servings uncooked pasta (I used whole wheat penne)

1 large ripe tomato
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 lrg garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
3-4 tbsp water or wine
1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Chop tomato and place in food processor ( a powerful blender will work)(including skin and seeds). Now add the cashews, water, olive oil, garlic and tomato paste. Blend until smooth.

2. Add your pasta to boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions.

4. Pour the sauce from the blender into a sauce pan, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and let it cook for 4-5 minutes, watching closely. You may add water or wine to thin out the sauce to you desired consistency, but this is not necessary.

5. Remove sauce from heat and stir in the chopped basil and pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking,  drain it. Add the drained pasta back in the pot and now gradually add pasta sauce until your desired amount is achieved. Stir and serve immediately.

May 23, 2011

Making Pasta!!

Thor and I had an AWESOME Sunday! This past weekend, we had the honor of being invited to a friends house to learn to make pasta! This was SO much fun and I have so much gratitude towards our friends Ralph and Gayle for all the work in prepping and cleaning, and all their gentle encouragement as we fumbled our way through pasta making! It was a little less intimidating than I thought it would be (thanks to their great instruction) and oh so yummy!!

 I did take a couple of my own dishes... the raw vegan cheesecake....looks MUCH better than the first time I made it...And a green mixed veggie salad.

 The fun begins.... Thor learning to work the pasta maker...

Our pasta drying on our new hand made pasta drying rack! I told you this day was awesome!

Lunch Time! Bring on the pasta!

As if these lovely people had not done enough for us today...they gave me such a sweet gift! A basket full of pasta making goodies! I feel so blessed, honoured and lucky right now, I actually have tears in my eyes as I type this.

Needless to say I have already been searching amazon for pasta makers....

May 19, 2011

Chocolate Pudding (and frosting!)

What do you get when you blend up some avocados, dates, cocoa, vanilla and agave?? The MOST amazing chocolate pudding/frosting on the planet!!!!!! I am so grateful that my coworker Sherry shared this recipe with me! This recipe makes "pudding" but I used it to frost Thor and his Dads Chocolate and Raspberry birthday cake last fall and it worked really well!

It was also used on these cupcakes that Sherry made for a work party...

Are you craving this yet?? I do recommend that you make people eat it BEFORE you tell them that the base is avocado... and its vegan and raw....but hey if you don't want to tell them, I wont spill the beans :)

PS. Rode my bike to work today so Im two for two in my quest to bike to work at least 1x a week!

May 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

If you have not figured it out yet I am kinda a fanatic when it comes to peanut butter and chocolate. I am sure that when I workout I sweat little molecules of PB and chocolate. My dear friend Emily and I got to take a little weekend trip to Seattle for a yoga training this past weekend so I decided I wanted to bake some treats to offer her brother and sister that we would be staying with, leave a little treat at home for Thor and also have a little sweet snack for the car ride. My only regret with these cookies is that I didn't bake more of them...Oh, and if you are wondering they are of course vegan, whole wheat and naturally sweetened, and oh so simple! This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows.


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/8 cup peanut butter (I used freshly ground natural PB, but use your fav!)
3/4-1 cup pure maple syrup
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk
Chunks of semi-sweet chocolate
Sea salt to Sprinkle on cookies after baking (if you are a salt fan)
**Depending on how dry or oily your PB is you may want to add a TBSP or two of olive or grapseed oil. Only need to do this if batter is a little dry **

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or tin foil. In a medium mixing bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, milk and vanilla. Stir until combined. Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter mixture and mix.
3. Shape dough in balls and use a for to flatten them onto the cookie sheet. (I have heard that if you refrigerate the dough for 30 mins before shaping it is easier, but I never have the time for things like that!)
4. Press chunk of chocolate into center of cookies. Sprinkle with salt if your a salty person... :)
5. Bake for 11 minutes at 350F and let cool for 5 minutes.

The best part about these cookies was that Emily's adorable little nieces asked for seconds!! YES! Kids will eat whole wheat, vegan, naturally sweetened treats if you bake them!! Woo Hoo!

May 13, 2011

Vegan Creamy Pasta Bake

OK, so this is actually a Vegan Mac n Cheese recipe but I don't think calling it a knock off of Mac and Cheese is fair because its so darn good in its own right. Even if you are not vegan....bake this! 

The recipe came from Angie at Oh She Glows, but of course I modified a few things just based on what I had in the house :)


  • 1 medium Yukon gold potato peeled and chopped (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/4 cups raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • ~300-340 grams dry/uncooked Macaroni or other pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance or butter
  • Fresh or dried parsley, to garnish (optional)
  • Paprika, to garnish

1. In a medium sized pot, add the chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion and fill with water until just covered. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low-medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, process 1 slice of bread until crumbs form in a food processor. Add in 1 tbsp of Earth Balance (or butter) and process until incorporated. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Add your pasta to a medium sized pot and fill with water until the pasta is covered by about 1 inch or so. Bring to a boil and reduce to low, cooking for about 7 more minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. Now assemble your cheese sauce ingredients (cashews, coconut milk, garlic, lemon, salt, pepper, mustard) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth.
4. Once the veggies are cooked, drain and add to cheese sauce mixture in food processor. Process until smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together your cheese sauce and drained + rinsed pasta. Scoop into your casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Now garnish with paprika and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley if you’d like.

Thor made the comment "it tastes like there is cream in it, but if its vegan it cant have cream right??" 


I'm off to Seattle for a yogafit training! Yay! When I return lots of pics and Peanut butter kiss cookies!

May 11, 2011

Commuting by bicycle!

OK please rest assured that I am in no way prideful or bragging about the fact that I biked to work today. I live 5 miles from work and get to wear exercise clothes and a ponytail, so if anyone SHOULD be biking to work regularly it is me!

However, I am just too much of a sissy to bike to work if its below 50, raining or super windy. And I make no apologies for that.... just not fun!

With that said...I had an awesome time biking to work this morning! The sun was shinning, blossom and flowers were blooming and I felt so energized and happy when I arrived at work! The best part is I have my bike here so I can take a nice little ride up on the palouse of Spokane's south hill before I head home tonight(and riding home is ALL downhill)!

I am setting a goal today to ride my bike to work AT LEAST 1x/week. This may be challenging through May and June when weather is still iffy.... but I should easily average more than that once summer gets into full swing through July and August. I am happy to think about the extra exercise, gas saved, and positive impact on the environment!

So I am sharing the commitment with all of you so you can help hold me accountable!! How many other bike commuters are out there in blog land??

May 10, 2011

Multi Grain and Seed Crackers

These crackers are delicious and nutritious! If you have a weakness for wheat thins, but hate all the processing, added salt and sugar, check these bad boys out! If you are a raw food lover you can dehydrate these but you will have to play with it because I don't dehydrate.

½ cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup Cashews
1 tablespoon Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour (optional)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon flax Seeds
½ teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1/2 tablespoon Vegan Margarine
¼ cup water

1.Pulse flour and cashews in food processor until well ground

2. Pulse in seeds, flax and salt until almost fully ground (leave a little texture for crunch)

3.Pulse in oil and margarine, then water; dough will form a ball in food processor

4.Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper or tin foil to ¼ inch (or less) thick. Use a little flour if its a bit sticky. You could always use a rolling pin but I prefer wine bottles....

5.Cut into 2-inch squares, 5 rows each way

6.Bake at 300° for 20 to 25 minutes

7. Salt to taste and serve!

These are great all by themselves or with some fruit and cheese!

May 9, 2011

Cake in a Jar

OK so a huge "Thank You!" goes out to Amy Bowns for this wonderful idea! All you do is mix up your fav cake batter, fill some sanitized (I gave my jars a bath in some boiling water) mason jars about half full with batter and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. While the jars and cake are still hot hot hot, screw on your sanitized lids. The heat will seal the lid just like you are canning! The cake will stay fresh for weeks so it is the perfect thing to send to loved ones stationed overseas!!

I have prepared my brothers package so that will get mailed tomorrow and it includes various cake in a jars and frosting! I will be late for his birthday but I hope this will communicate how much I am thinking of him!

May 6, 2011

Babies on the Brain!

Have you heard about fudge babies yet??? They are the biggest thing to hit healthy minded blogs since green smoothies. If you like nuts, and you like chocolate, and you like a sweet indulgence that is good for will LOVE fudge babies. I first heard of them through a couple of other blogs like Elana's and Katie's, so I had to whip some up pronto!!

I would have taken pictures....but the babies kind of disappeared.... so here are some pics of other peoples fudge babies!

I decided to make chocolate peanut butter fudge babies because, well its chocolate and peanut butter!!!


1/2 cup medjool dates (no pits)
1 cup peanuts
3 TBSP cacao or unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

1. Process peanuts in food processor until they start to cream up.
2. Add all other ingredients and process.
3. Roll into bite sized balls and serve!

Seriously, its that easy!

Its so strange how all of mine disappeared before any pictures were taken...hmm...

May 4, 2011

Vegan Tortilla Soup! (Great raw!)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Can you believe that I am doing an on-time theme recipe post?
Believe it or not I have two Latina friends who have birthdays on May 5th! I cant wait to meet them both for lunch....all though I am sure that the Mexican restaurant wont believe us when we tell them the two Latinas at the table both have birthdays on cinco de mayo!

I LOVE tortilla soup, but have never made my own. Now that I have my very own super new fancy smanshy food processor, I decided I should whip some up! This recipe uses all fresh ingredients and is very very tasty as a cold raw soup! I will be eating it that way this summer! Since it is still chilly here in Spokane, I could not resist warming it up a little and serving with some warmed corn tortilla strips.

When I bake I am a little more precise with measurements, but what I love about soups and stews is that you can totally get away with "pinch of this, dash of that" play with your own seasonings and have fun!

2 Tomatoes
1 handful sun dried toms
1/2 green bell pepper
2 carrots
1 small handful cilantro
2 Stalks of Celery
1 small clove garlic
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp lime juice
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Dash Sea Salt
Dash cumin
Dash chili powder
Small dash paprika
Dash cayenne pepper
1 can Black beans (optional)
Avocado (for garnish)
Corn Tortillas (cut into strips or whole)

1. Place the first 7 ingredients in food processor. Pulse until all dry ingredients are nicely diced.

2. Add water, lime juice and olive oil and process until smooth... (If you are using a blender, dice everything by hand and just throw it all in and blend may take a little more water to get it going)

3. Add spices to taste, mixing them in as you go. If you are raw, you can stop here, just garnish with Avos and you are good to go!!

4. If desired, warm soup on stove top. This is when you can stir in black beans or any other additions you would like (corn, tortilla strips, tofu etc)

5. Serve and garnish with sliced Avocados!


May 2, 2011

B-Day Weekend and Raw Vegan Cheesecake!

Just a quickie to recap my fab birthday weekend! From massages to lunching with out of town friends, to workouts and yoga and bike rides, to dinner and dancing, coffee and cooking! I am so lucky to have some amazing people in my life!!

This was my b-day gift from Thor....A FOOD PROCESSOR!!! So excited to get to creating .....check out my Vegan Raw Cheesecake below....

My wonderful man!

Friends sharing laughs over food and drinks!

My fav part of the day was sitting at dinner and just seeing this wonderful group of friends enjoying each others company!

Kate and Shane of A Kate Day!

My dancing buddy later that night....

Peter and I have been friends since we were 12!

Raw, Vegan Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake!

Now I actually followed a recipe exactly for this one so go check out the original recipe at Healthy Hoggin!

This is what it is supposed to look like...

And this is what mine looked like.... tasted AMAZING!!!!!!! Like oh my gosh I just died and went to heaven AMAZING! AND its healthy! It even has zucchini in it! I have some ideas for making it a little more visually appealing so I will keep you all updated... :)

UPDATE: My 2nd raw vegan brownies looked much better! I just melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and swirled them into my cheesecake top...yum!