Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Raw Flax Crackers & Sprouted Hummus

I love hummus!  And I mean, LOVE.  I've been known to just eat it from a spoon.  Don't judge me.  I think Mediterranean food is amazing.  It's so flavorful and full of vibrant color, you just can't go wrong.  I don't find anything inherently wrong with their cuisine, with the healthy fats, fresh veggies, and moderate wine consumption.  They definitely know how to enjoy a meal.  But, being the challenge-lover that I am, I thought, "I wonder if I can make that raw?"
     Sprouting is something I took up when I decided to get healthy.  It's incredibly easy, and sprouts are about the most nutritious thing you can consume.  I've done the obvious; alfalfa and red clover, but also the more adventurous; fenugreek, lentils, peas, and now chickpeas.  When I set out to make hummus raw, I first soaked about four cups of chickpeas overnight in purified water inside my sprouting jar, which is just an oversized mason jar with a mesh lid.  Mine came from Sunshine Nutrition and cost about $7.  I realize now that four cups was too much, but as Jimmy says, I always make enough food for an army.  (I grew up in a family of five, so I learned to feed them and have leftovers for lunch.  It just stick with me once we all went our separate ways.). The next morning, I drained and rinsed them until the water didn't firm bubbles as it ran over the beans.  You want to soak seeds to remove the digestive inhibitors.  This also allows the seed to germinate.  After they were rinsed and drained well, I rested the jar on a towel on my kitchen counter at a 45 degree angle.  I left them in that spot, rinsing twice a day for two days.  After two days, I could see tiny, and I mean itty-bitty tails starting to pop up from the point of the peas.  They were ready.  

2 cups sprouted chickpeas
1/4 cup tahini, sesame paste
Juice of two or three lemons, depending on how tangy you want it
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Sea salt to taste

Just blend it all and you're done!  Easy stuff.  Aside from sprouting time, it takes minutes to make.  You can add other favors to accommodate your tastes.  I like jalapeƱo and cilantro, but Jimmy and I love Mexican food, so it's kind of our thing.  

     Since I had my dehydrator working hard this weekend, I decided to try my hand at some flax crackers.  I mean, isn't hummus delicious on crackers?  I found a recipe online, and set to work.  They turned out beautifully, but I think next time, I'll cut back on the agave.  The flavor came through a bit much for my taste.  I wanted them more salty than sweet.  The recipe was extremely simple, and I was pleased with the results enough to make them again.  
     So, having made this time-consuming mass of raw goodness, I've been enjoying flax crackers with sprouted hummus topped with fresh Cherokee purple tomatoes from my garden.  The balance of salty, sweet, crunchy, and creamy is pretty wonderful.  If you're feeling froggy and wanna attempt the crackers, please do.  I think you'll be proud of the end product.  However, if they seem like more work than you'd care to undertake, the hummus is perfect for chopped veggies for nori wraps, heck, maybe even a sandwich. It's all up to you.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

It's that time of year again!  No, not the holidays.  I'm talking about pomegranate season!  Right now, pomegranates are everywhere, and even better yet, they're on sale.  "But how do you eat a pomegranate?"  Well, some might tell you to cut it in half and smack the outside with a spoon, but I find that just doesn't get all of the seeds out.  When I'm opening one, I stab the top, score the sides, and tear it apart.  When I do, all of those gorgeous, jewel-tones bits of juicy goodness start to drop onto the counter.... Or into a bowl.  Personally, I like to just gently roll the seeds out one by one while carefully peeling back the membrane.  I'm poor, so I don't want to waste a bit.  It takes a little time, and your hands will get slightly stained, but I just consider that nature's fall manicure.
     I'm a purist, so I love to just pop the seeds out and grab a spoon so that I can enjoy them while watching an old episode of The-X-Files, my most recent Netflix rerun addiction.  (I developed a crush on Mulder at ten years old, and well, it's never left me).  If you want to try something more creative, just toss them into a salad with some baby greens, green onion, avocado, and a simple oil and vinegar dressing.  The seeds will burst with sour-sweet pops in every bite.  What about you?  How do you enjoy these delicious fall fruits?

How did I get here?

I've finally done it!  I've started my blog.  Welcome.  If you're looking for information on living naturally or searching for healthy plant-based recipes, this will be your spot.  For starters, I'm Lindsey ("hello, Lindsey"), and I'm a new mom living in Middle Tennessee with my handsome husband and beautiful, sweet daughter.  I've always loved to cook and became heavily involved in the fitness game when I was a bikini model in my mid-twenties.  After years of yo-yo dieting and questionable life practices, I found myself at 28 years old, being told I would never have children without medical help.  When the doctor suggested that I take birth-control pills to help, which made absolutely no sense to me, I made the choice to take my health into my own hands, and I started researching.  I've never looked back.
     Starting right then, I cleaned up my diet, relying on mostly plants.  I started drinking green smoothies for breakfast EVERY morning, and juicing when time allowed.  By September of 2011, I had transitioned to a raw vegan diet incorporating lots and lots of leafy green veggies.  I felt better than ever, even though I actually GAINED weight... Only about five pounds, but more than I wanted.  I later realized this was my body preparing me to be fertile again.  I had been under-weight and over-exercising for years.  I truly enjoyed making and eating nothing but living, raw foods.  I also felt so at-peace not eating any animal products.  I'd experimented with vegetarianism at times, but it was always a health choice, however, after knowing the feeling of a clear conscience while eating such fresh, beautiful food, I now understand the ethical choice behind it.
     Fast forward to August 3, 2012.  I was alone at home, having no cable or Internet at the time (we had just moved to our new home in July and hadn't been very pro-active.). Laying on the couch feeling purely exhausted for the first time in months and craving potatoes, which I'd never been a huge fan of, the thought occurred to me... "Hmm... Could I be pregnant?"  You see, I'd not had a regular cycle in at least two years, so I wouldn't know if I'd missed a period.  I remembered that I'd had a pregnancy test under the bathroom sink at the old house.  So, I set to work digging through boxes.  "Hey, Lindsey, why not just go to the drug store a MILE from your house?"  Well, the thought hasn't occurred to me at the time.  After searching for about 30 minutes, I found it!  I have a massive herbal tea addiction, so luckily I didn't have to wait any longer for nature to call.  We all know what happened next, so we'll  skip the dirty details.  It didn't take long for the two pink lines to show up.  I was excited, scared, and extremely surprised!  How?  This wasn't supposed to be possible!  It was awesome, but was it true?  That's when I remembered the drug store down the street.  I bought three more tests, and all three were positive.  Once it finally sank in, I felt fear.  Not fear about being a mom, but fear about losing this little miracle before I got the chance to meet them.  If the odds were so low that I'd get pregnant, how could I have great odds if carrier the baby to term?  My husband and I agreed to wait until the second trimester to tell anyone outside of family, just to save the heartbreak of having to explain our loss later.
     But the weeks went by and I felt awesome, had energy, and didn't feel any morning sickness at all.  I did, however have cravings... Cravings for meat, cravings for dairy.  I made a deal with myself that if I was craving anything, it was because my baby needed it.  I wasn't going to feel guilty or deprive myself and my child because of dietary guidelines.  And so I ate the healthiest versions of anything I craved; grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, raw milk and cheese, and of course, tons of veggies.  When we heard her heart eat for the first time at ten weeks, I knew I was doing the right thing for her.  I had such an easy, healthy pregnancy, and in March, at 41 weeks (!) gestation, Charlotte was born.  After 37 hours of labor, she came into this world perfectly formed and healthy.  I'll fill you all in on those 37 hours and how a birth plan can be turned upside down at a later time.
     Since Charlotte's arrival,  I've never once craved meat.  I've been vegetarian these past seven months and she's thriving.  If I may say so, she's packing on the pounds at a very rapid rate, quite a chunker, my little girl.  I'm a huge believer in the power of plants to heal, but I'm not dogmatic.  I'm here to tell you that what matters is finding what works for you and being happy about it.  Losing those last ten pounds won't mean anything if you're miserable at the dinner table every night and pining for cake.  I've found my happy place, and I want this blog to help guide you to yours.  In the coming months, I'll take you all along for the ride as I pursue certifications in raw food prep and plant-based nutrition, and I'll answer your questions along the way.  Until next time, live clean and eat your veggies!