Thursday, July 2, 2009

Long posting, coming up!

Hi friends! I promised I would get back on track once I was back in Chicago, but things have been so busy!! I started this blog once my job working in a school was out for the summer, and I am wondering how in the world I will find the time to blog regularly once I am working again!! Any advice, from any of you expert bloggers out there?

So, going back to YESTERDAY:
I woke up not very hungry, so I checked my email for a bit and then headed out for a run first thing. I had planned to run yesterday instead of today because the weather was super cool - highs in the 60s - which I LOVE! It was rainy for most of my 4 miler, which made it really enjoyable. In fact, I was sad when the rained stopped toward the tail end of the run.

Once I got back I STILL wasn't quite hungry, but eventually I had a bowl of blueberries - I had this bowl x2.Also, here is a picture of some Naturally More samples the company sent me: last night I dipped into the almond butter, which was great! However, Elise just notified me that except for the stuff that is specifically labeled as "raw", these, and most other nut butters, are NOT raw. But, I have them in the house, so I will probably eat them until they are gone! Hubby doesn't eat a lot of PB.
While staying with my grandpa in Indiana the past few days, I stumbled onto this guy - a mini, pint-sized version of a food processor. My gpa said I could take it since they have never used it - I was psyched because I was just about to spring for a full sized one, but they are so pricey!! Even though canned beans are not entirely "raw", to me they are still healthy and better than some crap I could eat instead, and again, they are something my husband won't eat so I wanted to use them up.

I threw the can of chickpeas (or were they garbanzo beans? does anyone know what the diff is?) into the mini FP with a little bit of lemon juice, some water, some garlic, and some salt. It was soooooo delicious and creamy!! I know technically if it doesn't have tahini in it than I don't it's called hummus, so I don't know what you want to call this concoction, but it was a great salad topping!

For dessert I made a GM with half soy milk, half almond milk, spinach, a shot of Amazing Grass wheatgrass, and a shot of Amazing Grass chocolate amazing meal. Yummy!

The plan for Wednesday night was for me and Mike to go to the Taste of Chicago. Now, oddly enough, even after living within an hour of Chicago for most of my life (and now living IN Chicago), I have never been to the Taste! Most people think it's miserable anyway - hot temps, crowds of people, the cops usually end up breaking up fights, etc. However, I had wanted to go at least once - especially since I hear they have a lot of fun new veggie options these days that I wanted to try! We also live pretty close to Grant Park so I figured it would be a fun night.
However, after getting a call from my friend Sarah, we made a last-minte change in plans. We were invited to go on a yacht ride on Lake Michigan to see the Navy Pier fireworks!!!! I was so excited to be asked (after getting over my initial discomfort with the whole boat idea - last time I was on a boat I got seasick!) - that I ran to the kitchen to whip up some treats to take on the boat.
The amazing, delectible cookie dough that I made was SO FABULOUS that I ate every last drop. Hmmmmm, so much for that plan to take some with me... so I went to the store to stock up on more ingredients, came back and made another big batch! Here's the recipe:
Yummy Yacht Balls:
3 c. coconut (unsweetened if you can find it) + 1/4 c. for dipping later
3 c. dates
3 c. walnuts
8 T. agave nectar
3 T. almond butter or other nut butter
dash of vanilla
pinch of salt
cinnamon to taste
Grind up the walnuts in food processor or nut grinder. Throw all ingredients into Kitchenaid mixer (or FP if you have a good one) until mixed. You can add more agave nectar or peanut butter if the flavor needs enhancing, or if it would help thin out the texture.
Now, I'm sure these would be awesome baked, but since they are egg-free and don't have to be baked (and I wanted to keep some sembance of raw-ness), I made them into balls and rolled them in remaining coconut. Store in freezer.
Please make these, your stomach will thank you!! ;)
Later for dinner I wanted to experiment with making pesto in my new mini. I threw in ALL of the basil off our little plant, some EVOO and lemon juice, garlic, and salt. This did nothing - I think I needed to have more ingredients for it to start to blend it properly. So, I threw in a ton of spinach and some water, and this ended up working ok. I also added some pine nuts for texture and flavor.
I tried to be cool (as a cucumber?) and make cucumber "pasta" by shaving it a la Gena-style (using a veg peeler since I don't have a fancy spiralizer), but the slices were too thin. It was decent.....

Luckily I had eaten about a dozen Yummy Yacht Balls prior to dinner so this filled me up.
Here are some pix from the beautiful yacht!!

Mike and I - I would have loved to get some pictures of the whole group (Sarah, Travis, Travis's cousin Andrew, and Andrew's girlfriend Gina), but the flash on my camera is broken so once it got dark there was no more picture taking for me.
The fireworks on Navy Pier!!! They were stunning!!

I snacked on a few of my YYB (which are healthy and vegan, in my opinion) on the yacht as well as went through a bottle of Riesling. I love Riesling! Nice and crisp for a night on the boat :)
Mike and I were completely stuffed by the time we got home around midnight. But.... I saw a package had come for me.
Ahh!!! I was SOOO excited to receive this enormous package from Newman's Own Organics!! Honestly, this picture doesn't do it justice, there is a TON of stuff here. Also, here is some info about the new Newman's Own Organics product line, that the company sent me:
"When Nell Newman and business partner Peter Meehan started Newman’s Own®
Organics: The Second Generation® in 1993, they were sure there was a market for organic snack foods, but they couldn’t have anticipated just how fast the demand for their products would grow. What started with pretzels and grew to include other snack foods has now expanded to many other organic items: coffee, tea, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, organic dried fruit, and pet food. The partners anticipate adding a number of new items each year in all these areas.
Nell approached her father in 1992 about the possibility of an organic division. He offered to cover one year’s expenses for Nell and Peter to determine the feasibility of an organic product line under the Newman name. The one stipulation was that, once established, they would return the seed money, so that it could be added to his charity money. They not only managed to do this within a short period of time, but also became an independent company in late 2000. This had been the goal from the beginning. They were, though, committed to following the philanthropic role of Paul Newman and bringing out products that he was proud to have his name associated with.
Newman’s Own® Organics' products meet all the requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program. Ingredients have been grown on farms that have not used artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years or more. The farms and processors have also met the USDA’s organic standards. The products are sold nationwide in a number of mainstream supermarkets and in a large number of stores featuring natural and health foods. The pet foods are sold in specialty pet stores as well as many of the other outlets.
The Newman’s Own® Organics Guide to the Good Life: Simple Measures that Benefit You and the Place You Live (Villard) written by Nell with Joseph D’Agnese was published in spring, 2003. It is filled with practical advice for improving the quality of one’s life and the environment without drastically altering one’s life. Packed with facts, anecdotes, humor, and a heavy dose of sanity, it is organized around the way people actually live, allowing readers to easily identify what areas of change are viable for them.
The sale of Newman’s Own Organics products generates money for the Newman’s Own Foundation to give away. Since 1982 Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have donated more than $250 million dollars to educational and charitable organizations worldwide."

The truth is that I would never have eaten anything after I got home if I had not had that nice wine buzz going - I wasn't really hungry at all - but Mike and I were giddy with excitement about our new goodies!! So, we split these:

I LOVE white cheddar flavored anything, and this did not disappoint!!! I kept going on my own and had these:

They were good too, but left a super BBQ-y taste in my mouth which left me wanting something sweet. Instead of reaching for a healthy but delicous YYB, I reached for this....

I dipped these in some soy milk. Sooooo good!!! So far I'm extremely impressed with all of the Newman's Own Organic food products. I can't wait to try more of them! :)

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