Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recipe: Arugula-Cashew Spread

Week 2 of my class on healthy living and whole food, we're talking about getting more greens and plants into our diet.  This is a a lot like pesto but it doesn't have any cheese, and when you taste it you won't even miss it.  We also made home made hummus, with garbanzo beans that we'd soaked and cooked until tender.  This is a link to the recipe I've posted before.  

One day last summer we went to a restaurant in Irvine called Native Foods Cafe for a cooking demonstration, this recipe was one of the things they served.  They called it a crudité but it’s really more of a spread or pesto.  I’ve made it a few times and it’s excellent as a pesto on spaghetti squash or pasta or as a dip for crackers or vegetables.


Arugula-Cashew Spread

3 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I used Braggs)
2 cloves of garlic
6 cups of arugula or baby spinach or a combination of both
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
dash of fresh ground pepper
dash of red chili pepper (optional)
In a food processor, pulse the cashews, nutritional yeast and garlic, so that the ingredients are mixed but the cashews are still crunchy. Empty into a medium sized bowl and set aside. In the food processor, add the olive oil and lemon juice first, then add the greens. Pulse to blend well. Mix the two together and add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Serve with vegetables, crackers, or flat bread. Enjoy.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Water and snacks and a Recipe for Cocoa Bites

So, for the first night of our class on healthy living and whole food we're talking about water and snacks.  There's a lot of differing opinions about how much water you should drink each day, 8 glasses for most people is not enough.  I typically drink 5 water bottles a day (23.6 oz) which is almost 120 oz, so that's about an ounce per pound for me.  That's in addition to any tea, coffee, or smoothies that I might have during the day and I still get dehydrated sometimes, especially during the summer.

As for snacks, my friends laugh at me because I always have some kind of a snack in my purse.  I find that most people end up eating something unhealthy or going through a drive through because they're starving and don't have a snack with them.  If I don't have access to a frig my favorite go to's are Kind bars or Larabars.  They're gluten free, have a very short ingredient list and are very convenient.  If you're looking for an easy, home made snack both of these are perfect.  (The picture is of the cocoa bites)

Peanut Butter Balls


1 c oatmeal
2/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c almond butter or peanut butter
1/2 c ground flax seeds or wheat germ
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/3 c honey
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract


Mix together honey, nut butter, vanilla, and chia seeds.
Add the oatmeal and flax seeds or wheat germ. Roll in coconut or chocolate chips. Enjoy.

Cocao Bites


1 cup raw seeds or nuts of choice (I used sunflower, flax seeds, and walnuts)
1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1-3 tbsp water (I used 3)
1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips*
cocoa powder, sesame seeds, or shredded coconut, optional for coating


Place seeds/nuts in a food processor, and process until finely ground. Pulse in cocoa, vanilla, and salt.
Add in the chopped dates and water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together nicely.
Process until all ingredients are distributed evenly.
Pulse in the cacao nibs or chocolate chips.
Roll pieces of the dough into small, tablespoon-sized balls. Optional: roll them in the cocoa powder, shredded coconut, sesame seeds or any other toppings of choice. Refrigerate or freeze for about 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

*Cacao powder and cacao nibs are vegan and raw

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall update and why I haven't blogged in a while...

This past year my blogging has taken a back seat and I mean way back.

6-26-14 Corona Arrival Barb Feeding Jim D
My dad suffered 2-3 massive strokes and I’ve become his primary caregiver.
As I watch him slowly slip away,  grief has become a wet blanket over my life.
If you’ve read “The Shack” by William Young you’ll understand what I’m  talking about.
Sure I still go to work, take care of my kids, my house, etc., but I haven’t been inspired by much in a long time.

I'm starting a class on healthy living and whole food next month and I hope to blog my way through it.  Check back for updates :)

Until next time. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Recipe of the week: Moroccan Chicken Salad

I'm a big fan of California Pizza Kitchen, I've been eating there since the late 80's when they first opened in Beverly Hills.  I lived by the one in Marina del Rey when I was first married and it and The Cheesecake Factory were our go to places for dates.  One of my favorite items on their menu is the Moroccan chicken salad, it's full of rich flavors and hearty vegetables and very easy and affordable to make at home.  I used left over chicken tonight but if I were to make some for this I'd grill or bake 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts seasoned with some Moroccan spices.  Or I'd use a little olive oil, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.  Just make sure the chicken is cooled off a bit when you add to the salad so it doesn't wilt.  I added the chicken and hard boiled egg after I served a plate to my hubby since he doesn't eat those....this is one of those recipes that's easy enough to modify for a vegetarian or a vegan.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

1 bag of mixed organic salad greens (most bags are 8oz)
1 large head of romaine, chopped
16 oz or 2 cups butternut squash, diced and roasted
2 -3 large beets, diced and roasted (or 1 can of beets drained and diced)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 to 2 avocados, diced (depending on size)
1 large carrot shredded
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4-6 large dates chopped depending on size
1/3 cup toasted almonds
2 hard boiled eggs diced
2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the dressing:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss everything (minus the chicken and egg if you're making it vegan) in a very large bowl.  In a small bowl add the vinegar, mustard, and honey, drizzle in the oil add salt and pepper to taste.  Once the salad is toss you can add the dressing and toss or dress on your individual salads, that's what I usually do in case I have leftovers....I don't want it soggy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recipe of the week: Homemade apple chips

Panera Bread has a salad called the fuji apple chicken salad and I love it.  On the top it has fuji apple chips and it makes the salad.  Unfortunately most apple chips have sulfur dioxide, corn syrup, and some kind of oil in them.  Trust me, I've read all the labels.  So after the last time I had this lovely salad and Panera, I came home and tried making apple chips, they came out pretty good (they must have if they were gone in less the 24 hours).  The key to getting them crisp is slicing them really thin.  I have a mandolin slicer and set it to the thinnest setting.  Be careful with these, they are wicked sharp!  You could sprinkle a little sugar or drizzle a little honey on the apples if you like, I didn't and they were plenty sweet for me.  You can use any kind of apple you like, I used a couple of red delicious, granny smith, and fuji.  I sprayed my cookie sheets with coconut oil spray (available at Trader Joe's). Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

4-6 apples of your choice thinly sliced
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)

In a large bowl toss the apples with lemon juice and cinnamon (sugar if you're using it).  Arrange the apple slices on cookie sheets without over lapping.  I used 2 cookie sheets, bake for one hour.  Flip the apples over and switch the cookie sheets so the top one is now on the bottom and the bottom one is on the top.  Bake for another hour.  Turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven, they will crisp up faster that at room temperature.  Take the apple chips off the cookie sheets and store in an airtight container (if they make it that far!)  Enjoy.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

50 Things to Let Go of Before Your Next Birthday


50 Things to Let Go of Before Your Next Birthday

50 Things to Let Go of Before Your Next Birthday

When the pain of holding on is worse than
the pain of letting go, it is time to let go.

In the fall of 2002, after a stressful day at work, I snapped at Marc and locked myself in our home office to work on a web application I had been coding on the side.  Marc’s grandmother, who was living with us at the time, knocked on the office door a few minutes later.  “What?” I screamed.  She didn’t answer.  When I opened the door in frustration, she smiled and said, “Honey, someday you will think it’s funny that you were so darn serious today.”

Boy was she right.  And now, every time I catch myself entering a bout of stress-induced irritability, I take a deep breath and do my best to let it GO.  Today, I encourage you to do the same.

Truth be told, today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you will ever be again.  It’s kind of scary, but it’s true.  If there was ever a perfect day to start letting go of the needless drama and stress that’s been holding you back, that day is today.  And since we often use our birthdays as mile markers to track our personal growth and accomplishments, I challenge you to this:

Before your next birthday…

  1. Let go of what isn’t helping your soul smile and grow. – Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.  Follow a path that moves you.  You are always free to do something that makes you smile.
  2. Let go of the baggage you know you need to leave behind. – As we grow older and wiser, we begin to realize what we need and what we need to leave behind.  Sometimes walking away is a step forward.
  3. Let go of feeling like you aren’t making progress fast enough. – No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
  4. Let go of the idea that you have too much to lose. – In the end, you won’t regret the things you’ve done nearly as much as the things you didn’t do when you had the chance.  I’d rather have a life of “OH WELLS” than a life of “WHAT IFS.”  Wouldn’t you agree?
  5. Let go of worrying about everyone else’s opinions of your life. – When writing the story of your life, don’t let someone else hold the pen.
  6. Let go of your tendency to avoid problems. – You cannot change what you refuse to confront.
  7. Let go of all your empty complaints. – If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
  8. Let go of the excuses. – If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
  9. Let go of lazy attitudes and routines. – You can’t underestimate a person who always works hard.  Be that person.  In life, you don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for.  (Read The Power of Habit.)
  10. Let go of making the same mistakes over and over. – You can’t make the same mistake twice.  The second time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake, it’s a choice.
  11. Let go of the fantasy of perfection. – If you want to get really good at something, let go of the notion of perfection and replace it with the notion of endless playful exploration.
  12. Let go of believing the best is behind you. – Your life isn’t behind you; your memories are behind you.  Your life is always right here, right now.  Seize it!  Choose to let each of your experiences today be a gateway to an even brighter tomorrow.
  13. Let go of thinking you should always get what you want. – Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  14. Let go of the notion that life is fair. – If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself.  That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.
  15. Let go of thinking others have it better than you. – Truthfully, nobody has it easy; everybody has issues.  If everybody threw their problems in a pile for you to see, you would likely grab yours back in a heartbeat.
  16. Let go of the expectations that are holding you back. – The quality of your life is always 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it.
  17. Let go of thinking there is a perfect time. – You can’t keep waiting for the perfect moment – it doesn’t exist.  You must dare to do it today because life is too short to wonder what could have been.
  18. Let go of the need to always feel comfortable. – If you want to make an impact, big or small, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.
  19. Let go of thinking you have to know everything first. – You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.  Just do the best you can until you know better.  Once you know better, do better.
  20. Let go of the “all or nothing” mentality regarding success. – Appreciate the grey area between the extremes of success and failure – the journey, the experiences, etc.  And above all, never let success get to your head or failure get to your heart.
  21. Let go of your mistakes. – Don’t carry your mistakes around with you.  Instead, place them under your feet and use them as stepping stones.
  22. Let go of letting your daily struggles get the best of you. – Hard times often lead to greatness.  Keep the faith.  It will be worth it in the end.  The beginnings to great things are always the hardest.
  23. Let go of excessive worrying. – Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace and potential.  Stop over-thinking everything.  Life is too short.
  24. Let go of wanting stuff you don’t need. – Don’t think of cost.  Think of value.  And remember, it’s always easier to find wealth by needing less, instead of making more.
  25. Let go of your ungrateful thoughts. – Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have.  So be thankful today.  Life isn’t perfect, it’s just pretty darn good.
  26. Let go of all your reasons to be unhappy. – Stop looking for reasons to be unhappy.  Focus on the things you do have and the reasons you should be happy.  Positivity changes everything.  (Read Buddha’s Brain.)
  27. Let go of any hypocrisy. – For instance, don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.
  28. Let go of assuming other people are more “normal” than you. – The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well.  Period.
  29. Let go of the emotions that often get the best of you. – Stay strong.  Even when it feels like things are falling apart, they’re not.  Take control of your emotions before they take control of you.
  30. Let go of your temper. – Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.
  31. Let go of ugly words. – Saying someone is ugly doesn’t make you any prettier.
  32. Let go of your superficial judgments. – We meet no ordinary people in our lives.  If you give them a chance, everyone has something amazing to offer.
  33. Let go of trying to change others. – For the most part, you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try.  Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them.
  34. Let go of thinking you’re too cool to be kind. – It takes a great deal of strength to be gentle and kind.  And you are much stronger than you think.
  35. Let go of being “too busy” to SHOW your love. – Loyalty is hard to find.  Trust is easy to lose.  Actions speak louder than words.  Tell your loved ones you love them every day, and prove it.
  36. Let go of one-sided relationships. – If someone truly cares about you, they won’t make you feel like you need to constantly fight for their attention.
  37. Let go of those who have never been there for you. – Remember, it’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you.
  38. Let go of negative influences. – You can’t expect to feel good if you surround yourself with negativity.  Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.
  39. Let go of all self-hate. – Love yourself!  Forgive yourself!  Accept yourself!
  40. Let go of any lies you’ve heard that you aren’t attractive enough. – More women worldwide are suffering from anorexia and bulimia than are fighting breast cancer.  Love yourself the way you are.  You are already beautiful.
  41. Let go of trying to be someone else. – Someone will always be prettier.  Someone will always be smarter.  Someone will always be younger.  But they will never be YOU.  And that makes you powerful.
  42. Let go of the things people say about you. – Try not to take things other people say about you too personally.  What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.
  43. Let go of the petty arguments. – You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you.  All you can do is change how you react and who you choose to be around.
  44. Let go of putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own. – Give as much as you can, but don’t allow yourself to be used.  Listen to others closely, but don’t lose your own voice.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
  45. Let go of needing everyone to like you. – Everyone doesn’t need to like you.  But remember, just because some people don’t seem to care for you, doesn’t mean you should forget about everyone else who does.
  46. Let go of changing just to impress people. – Don’t ever change just to impress someone else.  Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future.
  47. Let go of life’s little annoyances. – Don’t let dumb little things break your happiness.  True wealth is the ability to experience and appreciate each moment for what it’s worth.
  48. Let go of yesterday. – Don’t let yesterday steal your present.  Don’t judge yourself by your past; you don’t live there anymore.  Let go, grow, and move forward.
  49. Let go of thinking that giving up means failure. – Giving up and moving on are two very different things.
  50. Let go of the idea that it’s too late to start over. – Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.
  51. (Note:  Obviously, if your birthday is tomorrow, or next week, pick a couple points to work on now, and make it a goal to complete the list by your next birthday.)