Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hodgepodge - Volume 192

This week's questions from Joyce at From This Side of the Pond center around the changing season/month, food trends, and responsibility.  Curious?  Read on. Then if you want to see what other bloggers have said to these same inquiries, click here: From This Side of the Pond.

1. Are the leaves turning color where you live? Have they begun to fall? Will you have to rake when it's all said and done? Is that a chore you love or loathe? 

Golden yellow Aspen trees at  Kenosha Pass, Colorado, 10,033 feet above sea level
Yes, the leaves are changing here in the foothills as well as in the mountains. The Aspen trees steal the show. We drove up to see them in all their glory this past weekend. 

We live in a brand new housing development, so there aren't any mature trees here yet. No, we won't have to rake any leaves; however, in our last house Beloved just went over them with the lawnmower and that wasn't a problem.

2. When did you last shake like a leaf?

In December 2008 I literally trembled with shock and disbelief immediately after a fall from a standing position on our kitchen counter that shattered my left shoulder. (I was decorating above the cabinets -- I don't do that anymore!) 

3. After 20 seasons with the NY Yankees, Derek Jeter played his last official game Sunday afternoon. Jeter has been described even by opponents as a 'class act', both on and off the field. The NFL is back in action this month too, with several players in that sport also making headlines. What are your thoughts on athletes as role models? Should a professional athlete be expected to act as a role model or is that going beyond their job description? What responsibility do the organizations these athletes work for have when it comes to dealing with off the field behavior? Discuss.

Whether we like it or not, we are ALL role models to somebody and that most certainly does not exclude athletes. As for the responsibilities of sports  organizations when it comes to dealing with off-the-field behavior, whatever their employees (the athletes) do reflects on the character and reputation of the organization. I think the sports organizations should be strict with off-the-field behavior and be swift in ridding themselves of the offending players. These people are getting away with crimes with relatively little repercussion for their actions. There are plenty of other players who can replace them, who would be grateful for the opportunity to fill those positions honorably. 

Why do they keep players who commit crimes but release fine men like Tim Tebow??? I will answer my own question.  Today in sports the theme is "win now" with thugs instead of developing the playing skills of good character players. (phrased with the help of my hubby, an avid Denver Broncos fan).

4. What season of the year is toughest for you in terms of your health? Why?

The winter season is the toughest. We love our cold climate, so that, combined with the germs of the general public makes anyone more susceptible to colds and flu.  I will say, however, that in the past nearly six years Beloved and I have been markedly more healthy since we lost weight, began eating even more nutritiously, added in exercise, and nicotine was ushered out of our home.

5. The top six healthy food trends of 2014 according to Eating Well are --

clean eating (more veg, less meat, less sodium, limit alcohol and processed foods)

trash fish (you know, those fish that get caught in fishermen nets and are thrown back?  It seems chefs are finding creative ways to make them more appetizing)

cauliflower (this year's IT vegetable)

kaniwa (essentially baby quinoa, so like quinoa only smaller)

fermentation (think pickling except with twists on flavor we're not accustomed to)

community supported food (farms operating with community support/membership).

Okay -- so how many of the hot healthy food trends for 2014 have you experienced, encountered, enjoyed? Any you're tried and said ewwww? Any on the list you'd like to try before year's end?

Of the choices given, Clean Eating best describes how we eat and it serves us very well. Trash fish just sounds disgusting; Cauliflower run through the food processor makes a wonderful, healthy and low-calorie substitute for rice*; I love quinoa; I drink about 2 Tablespoons of fermented Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar every morning with a glass of water; and community supported food is a great idea. I wouldn't mind giving kaniwa a try, as long as it's gluten-free (is it?).

6. In seven words or less, bid September adieu.

May September's blessings overflow into October! 

7. What's something on your October calendar that makes you happy just thinking about it?

There is not one single day or event that stands out for me in the month of October, but it is a fun time of year. This is the month when we often get our first snow on the ground.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I had not planned to share a recipe today, but since I mentioned Cauliflower Rice in my reply to Question 5, here is how to make it:

Cauliflower Rice, makes 2 servings

1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp organic coconut oil
1/2 head raw cauliflower
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp salt and pepper (to taste)

Rinse cauliflower under cool water and pat dry. Roughly chop the white portion of the cauliflower. Use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower to the desired texture (until it looks like rice; it won't take long!).

Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute' the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is relatively translucent. Add in the cauliflower rice and continue to sauté' for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

I took this snapshot of my dinner plate one night last week when I served Cauliflower Rice under an orange chickpea recipe with a green salad. Look closely to see the white Cauliflower Rice. 

Cauliflower Rice is low in calories, healthy, and gluten-free

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Food for the Soul

street scene from historic South Park City in FairPlay, Colorado

We have heard with our ears, 
O God, our fathers have told us,
what work thou didst in their days,
in the times of old. 
Psalm 44:1

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all thy works;
I muse on the work of thy hands.
Psalm 143:5

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday's Hodgepodge on Thursday

Hey all, I've been busy with stuff this week and am just now getting to the Hodgepodge questions. I won't be taking the usual amount of time to complete it this week but I didn't want to entirely miss out on the Link Party. Thanks, Joyce, for the entertainment you provide for us every week!

To see what other bloggers are saying with these questions, go to From This Side of the Pond.

1) It's fall. Y'all. My favorite season of the year! What's something you love to do this time of year that makes you feel it's officially fall? and unrelated to that, do you every say 'y'all?

At this time of year I love to pull out my autumn-colored quilts and display them throughout the house. Beloved and I enjoy taking long drives to see the changing Aspen leaves.  And I LOVE to hear the most satisfying CRUNCH  of a big dried out leaf underneath my shoe! When the weather turns cooler, we enjoy a big pot of chili with cornbread.

As for saying 'y'all, I seldom say it. We don't really talk that way in Colorado. I'll leave that for the Texans!

2) When did you last have a falling  out with someone? Has it been resolved? 

Beloved and I ran into a little snafoo with each other one day last week, but we got it resolved quickly.  We don't stay mad at each other for very long. If we don't have at least an occasional falling out, are we being completely honest with each other??

3. A song you love with the word 'fall' in its title?

Elvis: I Can't Help Falling in Love with You

4. What's something you've recently let 'fall by the wayside'?

Dusting the baseboards of my house.

5. When did you last attend an event, read a book, watch a movie, try a new recipe, or visit a shop-restaurant-tourist attraction that fell short of your expectations? In what way? 

The Cedar Cove series on the Hallmark channel. I will continue to watch it because I want to know how it goes, but so many of the characters are making stupid unwise choices and I get so irritated with them. I guess that's what keeps the show interesting.

6. Describe a time you said or thought, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

The older my daughter gets, the more I marvel that she's picked up some of my ways. We haven't lived in the same state for over 17 years.

7. Was today better than yesterday? Why or why not?

Yes! This morning we got the good news that the baby our daughter and son-in-law are expecting in February is a GIRL!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Are Gladiolas supposed to bloom in late September??? I planted 20 bulbs this past Spring and only 4 of them came up, the most recent one earlier this week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Peanut Sauce Over Leftovers

Monday night's supper

Late yesterday on the way home from book club in Denver, I stopped at my local Kroger grocery store deli to select an entree' for Beloved's dinner.  While he enjoyed that (orange chicken a la Panda Express style), I had vegan leftovers.  

In the past week I had two kinds of beans, one of them cooked with kale.  The remains of those dinners were served atop a bed of colored lettuce greens along with gold and red grape-sized tomatoes, and finished off with a homemade peanut sauce for the dressing.

making Peanut Sauce in the food processor

I posted a picture of my dinner on Face Book and Peggy promptly asked for the Peanut Sauce recipe. It is good on salad, and also as a dip for Spring Rolls, or on top of rice, quinoa, or tossed with gluten-free noodles. 

Use it sparingly. It's healthy but also high in calories. 

Peanut Sauce

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp Tabasco Sauce (or to taste)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
1/4 cup gluten-free Tamari
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp roasted sesame oil

In a small food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and process until coarsely combined.  

With the appliance running, add 1/4 cup warm water and continue to process until smooth and creamy with the consistency of ranch dressing. Makes about 1 cup. Refrigerate.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Food for the Soul September 21

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.

Psalm 16:7 NIV

Lately I've been putting this verse to work. As I close my eyes at night, I ask the Lord to counsel and instruct me as I sleep. 

One of the best ways to solve a problem is to take it to bed with you, but then, leave it in the Lord's hands. I don't always get an answer the first night I pray this way, but I keep at it and in the Lord's perfect timing, He reveals to me what I need to know.  

Give it a try!

P.S. Credits: quilt from Walmart; heart pillow from JoAnns Fabrics & Crafts. This is our guest bedroom.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Show 'n Tell

flowers from Beloved for me!
It's turning out to be an odd few days here at Meadow Cabin.  A lot of waiting around for some medical news, the death and memorial service for a long-time family friend, the sun is rising later and setting earlier, testings of patience and learning to find peace in it all. 

A verse that is getting me through the tough stuff is II Corinthians 1:20, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "yes" in Christ. And so through Him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

And two more that have bolstered my spirit are found in James 1:3-4, Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfectly and fully developed, lacking in nothing.

Well! Enough about my troubles. With this blog post I am sharing pictures I took as I traversed through Thursday, which was not altogether unpleasant. My pictures are focused on the pleasant parts. (I am sparing you a photo of the torn up parking lot at Walmart that completely caught me off guard as I rounded the corner.... sigh!)

... ALSO, since I have so many pictures to play with in this post, I am experimenting with a wonderful photo editing program recommended to me by my Louisiana blogging friend, Lea, over at her blog, Cici's Corner. The program is called Pic Monkey and you can explore it for yourself at http://www.picmonkey.com

Kale and Quinoa Salad
Jean and I met at The Cheesecake Factory to celebrate her birthday (a week late). Now I know many of you will look at this salad and immediately cross it off your list of anything you would order. But it really was delish with a lemon vinaigrette.

I forget the name of this salad
Jean's salad was a literal work of art, and this was just the "lunch size."  We wondered what the dinner size would have looked like.

some of the desserts at The Cheesecake Factory
We shared one slice of Godiva cheesecake (ALL chocolate!!) and I forgot to take a picture of that. But suffice it to say we waddled out of the place after lunch and then waddled through 2 floors of the mall in a feeble attempt to walk off the calories! By the way, everything I ate at The Cheesecake Factory was gluten-free.

Beloved with a complimentary appetizer at Siena at the Courtyard

The rest of my afternoon was taken up with driving back down to my newly-adopted home town and doing the weekly grocery shopping at Walmart (well, some of it, anyway.  I'll finish that task up tomorrow at another store that stocks what Walmart was missing).  

blog author outside of Siena at the Courtyard

Beloved often takes me out to dinner on the nights after I've done the grocery shopping, and this was no exception.

photo collage made with Pic Monkey
Beloved had not yet been to dine at Siena at the Courtyard in Historic Castle Rock, so that's where we headed. The evening was so beautiful that we enjoyed our dinner comfortably out on the patio under a large umbrella, close to the fountain. He had the Siena Ranch Burger while I enjoyed the Siena Caprese Salad. 

photo collage made with Pic Monkey

Dinner was followed by a leisurely stroll around a couple of blocks where I enjoyed snapping pictures right and left.

photo collage made with Pic Monkey
I think the Chamber of Commerce goes out of their way to make our cowboy town-turned tourist haven a very attractive place to enjoy.

photo collage made with Pic Monkey
We even got to see one of our many daily trains go speeding by (top right corner, with the orange engines). 

photo collage made with Pic Monkey
After feasting our tummies and our eyes, it was time to head back to the car and go home. The evening was a wonderful balm to my ruffled spirit and I felt better for the experience.

all photos by blog author

Green Grapefruit Smoothie

blending a grapefruit smoothie in a Vitamix blender

One of the most wonderful changes I've made in the last 12 months has been to add a fresh green smoothie to my daily food intake.  

ingredients for my Green Grape fruit Smoothie
Nutritionists are always saying we need to eat more dark leafy green vegetables. The darker lettuces (kale, chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, arugula, etc) are what they are referring to. These greens are the most beneficial foods we can eat because they have a very high concentration of the nutrients our bodies need.

preparing the grapefruit
Dark leafy greens strengthen our energy levels, provide protein and fiber (which promotes a balanced pH level), maintains homeostasis, promotes weight loss, slows down sugar absorption, decreases the chances of diabetes (and improves previously diagnosed cases), help to prevent cancer, reduces cholesterol, keeps the bowels working properly, prevents hemorrhoids and ulcers, and strengthens the heart. 

Grapefruit, banana, kale, and orange juice in the blender

When we eat chlorophyll-rich foods (i.e. dark leafy greens) our red blood cell count is increased, our immune system is improved, vision is helped, inflammation is reduced, and environmental toxins are counteracted. 

Ready to process 
I love knowing there is something I can so easily do to enhance my health without having to take handfuls of supplements (as I used to do for years).  

Every morning we have one of the dark leafy greens that I have previously frozen in about 1-cup amounts in zipper plastic bags. To that we add 2 cups of water, or orange juice, or almond milk and usually 1 sliced banana. Then each day of the week I vary the fruits and a protein in nut or seed form. We have strawberries one day, blueberries another, mango, etc. On one day I use a fresh beet instead of a fruit (but admittedly, that one is for the most hearty of nutrition-minded people!).

I also vary the nuts and seeds from day to day.  My favorites are chia seeds, ground flax seed, and hemp seeds. It's a good idea to rotate the type of greens, fruits, and nuts/seeds.  The body handles variety better than having the same thing day after day.

Grapefruit Smoothie

Tuesday's Green Grapefruit Smoothie (makes 4+ cups)

2 cups orange juice (I used Tropicana)
1 cup fresh Kale, chopped
1 ruby red grapefruit*, peeled
1 sliced banana
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender until smooth. If your blender is not super-powerful, you can still make this smoothie.  Just chop the ingredients smaller before putting them in the pitcher, to reduce the strain on the blender's motor. 

I follow the example of my daughter by drinking mine out of a quart-sized canning jar, with a straw.  This fills me up and is all I need for breakfast.

For the best nutritional and taste value, drink the smoothie immediately after you make it. However it can be kept for 24 hours if tightly covered and refrigerated. If you don't drink it right away, it will separate as it sits. Stir it up well before drinking.

*A word to the wise: some cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs advise avoiding grapefruit. The grapefruit and the drug (statins, in particular) are apparently not compatible.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 190

It's Wednesday (although I'm actually writing this on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday), which means this is Hodgepodge Day.  Joyce comes up with the most amazing questions, all centered around a theme of some sort, and a bunch of us who blog do our best to respond.  

Joyce is celebrating a birthday this week (she didn't say which day nor which year, but I am certain she's younger than me -- check out her picture on her blog and you'll agree). So Happy Birthday Joyce!  I hope all your dreams come true!

With that said, here are the questions and my answers.  Click here to see how other bloggers have responded.

1. I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.' Would you agree? If not, why not?

That's a pretty deep quote. I had to read it a couple of times to let it sink in. But yes, I agree, especially on the "as old as your fear." Fear can really do bad things to us.

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birth year, just the same date/same month.

What an interesting question! I Googled my birth month and day and learned that on March 16th in 597 BC the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, replacing Jehoichin with Zedekiah as king. For somebody who has done a lot of Bible study over the years, and especially in the Old Testament, I find this discovery to be intriguing.

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'

Last year when we moved to our brand new house, I wanted to also have a drop-dead, north-to-south expansive view of the Rocky Mountains.  That didn't happen. Those lots don't come cheap, ya' know!

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

Whenever my hair is long enough to wear a fluffed-up, curly ponytail, I feel young (my hair's too short for that right now). Looking at the photo on my current driver's license makes me feel old (it's a terrible picture.  I should pay the extra money to have another one made; it's that bad.)

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?

I wish I could think of a clever response for this one but I feel brain dead. Putting a binding on a quilt is pretty easy for me. And people often tell me how nice it looks when I'm done.

6. Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage)

Marriage. Marriage gets better with age because, if the foundation of the relationship is based on Biblical principles, through the years we learn to love and respect each other the way our Creator intended.

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away?  By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.

I am not acquainted with blog give-aways, so I have no idea what to suggest. Maybe something to do with blogging.  Hmmm ... One of my most useful tools when I write is my thesaurus. Maybe a thesaurus with Joyce's autograph! Yes! That's my suggestion. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of birthdays, this is what I posted on Face Book today:

"I know I'm getting old when I'm buying more Sympathy cards than Birthday cards!!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti Pie

This is a fun vegan entree that I baked earlier this week for supper. It calls for a 10-inch springform pan (or you can use a deep dish pie plate). A spring-form pan is fun and since the side of the pan is removable, the pie is very easy to slice with a pizza cutter!

Spaghetti Pie, before slicing

I've been eating mostly raw vegan for nearly a year. Now that the weather is turning cooler and the evening news is worse nearly every night, a hot main dish sounded comforting. 

Except for the baking, I prepared the pie after lunch one day. I covered and refrigerated it, and then when Beloved texted me to say he was heading home from the office, I preheated the oven and had it baking by the time he walked in the door.

Monday night's supper

The pie sliced very easily and worked well with a large green salad.
The only thing I would do differently next time is to drizzle some marinara sauce over the top so the pie wouldn't be quite so dry.

Vegan Spaghetti Pie (makes 6 - 8 servings)

8 ounces gluten-free spaghetti 
1 pound firm tofu,* well drained and blotted dry
3/4 cup gluten-free vegetable broth
2 Tbsp sherry cooking wine
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 (8 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely-chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped black olives

1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Marinara sauce of choice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly spray a 10-inch spring form pan or deep dish pie plate and set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until it's tender. Drain and return to the pot.

In a high-speed blender, combine the tofu, broth, cooking wine, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, garlic powered, dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Process until smooth and well-blended.  Transfer the tofu mixture to the pot containing the cooked spaghetti. Add the artichoke hearts, green onions, olives, tomatoes, and parsley. Mix gently to combine.

Spread the spaghetti and vegetable mixture evenly in the prepared pan. At this point you can cover and refrigerate to bake later.

Bake, uncovered, until firm and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot. 

Optional: serve with marinara sauce.

This recipe made more than what Beloved and I can easily eat in one week, so I froze the remaining servings in pie-keepers (a gift from The Cook on Fifth Street a couple of Christmases ago).

*be sure to get Non-GMO tofu


This dish is much better when a marinara sauce is spooned on top. And for those who need animal protein, you can alway add meatballs!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Flexibility in the Kitchen

Chia Date Nut Crumble atop sliced bananas; placemat from Bed Bath and Beyond

Recently I posted this picture of a dessert Beloved and I enjoyed while watching a movie at home on an unusually cold late summer's night. My focus in that post was more than food, so a recipe was not included. 

However, since that time, one of my most faithful readers, The Cook on Fifth Street, has written to request the how-to of this easy dessert. 

Banana with Chia Crumble Topping

1 banana per serving, sliced
1 Tbsp (per serving) Tollhouse Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels*
1 Tbsp Chia Crumble Topping, per serving (recipe follows)

Place one sliced banana in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave by  cooking on HIGH for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat. Do this as many times as necessary until the chocolate can be spooned over the sliced bananas. Sprinkle the Chia Crumble Topping over the melted chocolate.

Chia Crumble Topping
1 cup walnuts
1  1/3 cup Medjool dates, tightly packed
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt

Slice each Medjool date in half; remove and discard  the seed.

In a food processor pulse together the walnuts, Medjool dates, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and salt. The mixture should be crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the melted chocolate. Store leftovers of the Chia Crumble Topping covered in the refrigerator.

Depending on availability in your area, some of the ingredients may have to be purchased from a health foods store.  But in reading the recipe, you get the idea that it's just a mixture of finely-chopped nuts and dried fruit. You can substitute raisins or dried apricots, etcetera, for the dates. Use any nuts you prefer, and substitute poppy seeds, ground flax seeds, or omit the seeds entirely. 

We all learn to be flexible in the kitchen when certain ingredients aren't on hand. While typing up this post, I decided to make up the recipe again, but we were out of bananas. So in their place I diced up a yellow apple, combined it with some applesauce, and then topped that with the melted chocolate and Chia Crumble Topping.

*Tollhouse Nestle Dark Chocolate Morsels are gluten free 

Food for the Soul

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you,
That even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,
which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven,
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat?
or, What shall we drink? or,
Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)
for your heavenly Father knoweth that 
ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, 
and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6:28-34

Friday, September 12, 2014

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ September 12 Edition

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For Today
September 12th, 2014
(with thanks to Peggy, our kind hostess for
The Simple Woman's Daybook)

Outside my window... it is just after 10pm here, which means it's dark outside. We heard on the news tonight that the most northern parts of Colorado might be able to see the Northern Lights tonight, but we are too far south for that. It's very cloudy anyway.

I am thinking... I am glad the weekend has begun. It's been a stressful week for both Beloved and me. Things tend to be easier Friday night - Sunday.

I am thankful... for the warm socks and shoes and hoodie sweatshirts I bought this week because we got a light dusting of SNOW last night and today has been cold!

I am wearing... (since it's nearly bedtime) my jammies and slippers.

I am creating... created quilted squares for our recliners. Neither of them came with  protective covers for the arms and head rest, so I made these out of the same pattern with differing fabrics. Mine is the chair on the left, and Beloved's is the one on the right. I love to decorate with quilty things.

I am going... no where in particular tomorrow. 

I am wondering... the gender of the 3 babies expected to be born in our family in the next several months. 

I am reading... Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. It is a good read, but her writing style is very, shall I say 'freestyle' so she loses me at times and I have to go back and re-read.

I am hoping... there will be a good turnout of ladies at the new Bible study that begins this next week at church.

I am learning...  more and more to entrust my concerns to the Lord. He did not create any of us to worry. Our bodies are not designed for that.

Around the house...  I have some sewing projects planned, mostly table runners and wall hangings that I have not yet made since we moved into this new house last year.

In the kitchen... this is a dessert we had tonight.

I am pondering...  "the whichness of what," which is a term Beloved made up when we aren't ready to share what's really on our minds!

A favorite quote for today... "lean not on thine own understanding", from Proverbs 3:5  So many times I get myself all in a twist about something when later I find out that I didn't know all the facts.

One of my favorite things... is the quiet time I get to spend at my desk most weekday mornings for an hour or so, reading my mail, updating my Daytimer, things like that.

A few plans for this week: church this Sunday, Ladies Bible study, helping our kids with their move and putting in kitchen shelf paper for my daughter-in-law.

A peek into my days...  I've been putting out some of my autumn decorations. 

mantel quilt

Lime Coconut Dessert

cooking and quilting by blog author

Stephanie, a new friend, came to dinner at my house last weekend while both of our hubbies were at a men's retreat in the mountains with the church guys. 

My dessert after the pasta and salad dinner was a successful first-time effort with no dairy, no gluten, and no heated cooking. It looked and tasted like Key Lime Pie.  I adapted it from Brad Gruno's book, Brad's Raw Made Easy

Friday night's dessert

The original version of this recipe calls for "maca powder" but I left that out. Truth be told, the day before Stephanie came over, I made up the crust with the mysterious maca powder (purchased at a local health-food market), which is said to be a really amazing healthy and tasty plant root that comes from Peru, often smuggled out due to its  growing popularity.  

The recipe called for just 1 teaspoon, but wowzers, did that little teaspoon pack a punch! I had a little trouble going to sleep that night and the next morning I felt so very dizzy! That feeling lasted about 24 hours after I had my first taste of the stuff. 

After the vertigo hit me, I read on the Internet that one is to gradually work up to using this ingredient because of it's potency.   It also issued a warning if one is pregnant. Hmm. Just one teaspoon had put me over the edge.  I decided  I couldn't do that to my dinner guest and tossed out the maca powder, along with the pie crust. Then I started over. The second pie crust was still very tasty and didn't give me a "high." 

I tell you that to say that this venture of mine to transition to gluten-free, dairy-free, mostly raw and mostly vegan has not been without it's adventures and this was one of them!

Mr. Gruno's recipe also called for dried apricots, but I forgot to pick them up at the store, so I substituted 4 Tablespoons of golden raisins. I have absolutely nothing against dried apricots (love 'em, as a matter of fact).

Lime Coconut 'Cheesecake', adapted

1  1/2 cups walnuts, soaked overnight and drained
10 Medjool dates, sliced in half and pits removed
4 Tbsp golden raisins
1/4 tsp sea salt

3 cups cashews, soaked for 2-6 hours and drained
1/2 cup raw honey
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp lime zest

Make the crust:
Place the walnuts, dates, raisins, and sea salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Scoop out the dough and push it into the bottom of an 8-inch pie plate. Put the plate into the refrigerator while making the filling.

Make the filling:
Place the cashews, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, lime juice, and lime zest in a blender and puree until smooth. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and pour in the filling. Freeze for at least 4 hours to set. 

When ready to eat, cut the pie into 12 slices and let them defrost at room temperature.  This is not a low-calorie dessert but it is very healthy and flavorful.

look close to see the flecks of lime zest