You don’t have to suffer

Raw Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Cake on a detox? MMMMM!

Back on the detox wagon again! This summer was a doozy, but the issues have been resolved and I started the fall needing to get myself back on track. So now I’m in the midst of the detox (I’ve been told that ‘cleanse’ is a better, less harsh word).

Last week, I taught a raw foods prep demo and we had a blast. I think everyone left inspired; I know I did. I have been so busy making healthy foods for Christopher and myself. And I’m starting to recover.

I had arthritis pain in my feet that was so bad I could hardly walk. My hip was not far behind. I felt stiff and achy and my attitude was not exactly desirable. After two weeks on the cleanse the pain is decreasing and my energy levels are increasing. I’ve returned to my yoga class and started riding my bike again.

Eat live food and feel alive. Eat dead food … you get the picture.

And now for some more photos of what I have been up to:

Buckwheat sprouts for granola and rejuvelac

Homemade Kimchi

 

Kimchi filling

 

Wilting napa cabbage for kimchi

Japanese turnips and greens

Making rejuvelac, a fermented beverage with live B vitamins

Use a mandolin grater to cut matchsticks of daikon radish for salads

Incredible salad: red romaine, rainbow chard, red cabbage, napa cabbage, brussel sprouts, daikon radish, red bell pepper, orange sweet peppers, seedless baby cucumbers, asparagus and fresh dill. Get creative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Addicted to excitement

Isn’t it interesting how addicted we humans are to excitement?

Now that the detox is over I’m not so revved up about cooking.  When the program was shiny and new, when I received my new dehydrator, THEN I was all over learning new food preparation methods.  It was exciting to try new recipes and see how they turned out.  But like with most things, my energy and interest waned when the program ended.

So what’s with our need/desire for constant stimulation/excitement?  I remember when seeing a group of guys on stage with guitars was a big deal.  Then light shows were added.  Then smoke machines, etc., etc., until now we have these incredible ‘concerts’ which I describe as ‘performance art meets a million dollar budget.’

I avoid too much of this anymore.  I prefer a good story to a fast paced action film.  I just don’t think it is healthy to keep stimulating ourselves to the point where we don’t know how to act if we aren’t multi-tasking.  I deliberately sit and stare into space at times, allowing myself to daydream.

It’s good to have space in my brain.  I like the experience of vastness.  There’s room for things to come in.  I invite creativity by stopping the craziness in my head.  This is not necessarily an easy thing to do, but I find it quite rewarding when I am able.  I love when creativity shakes things up and challenges my thinking.  These are the most exciting moments … to discover that I don’t know everything and that inside me is a well of possibility.

Now I want to go home and create a beautiful meal … big sigh.

 

A quiet mind is a beautiful thing

I made a promise to get more and more healthy this year.  But bigger than that, I made a promise to say yes to my heart and inner wisdom.  I am finding that the more I say yes, the easier it becomes.  It’s like starting a new exercise program.  Incredibly difficult to begin moving on that first day … so much resistance and so many reasons not to show up.  I’ve got a million of them!  The mind is a powerful adversary some days.

HOWEVER, I have been saying yes since January 10th and it is now January 26th.  I have over two weeks under my belt and it gets easier every day.  Tonight I decided to turn off the TV.  Yikes, what an addiction it can be.  I felt myself desperately trying to come up with an excuse to turn it on.  OK, so I checked and there was nothing interesting in tonight’s line up ON ANY CHANNEL, but even so, my mind said ‘go to On Demand and rent a movie.  You’re tired, you didn’t sleep well last night, you should rest.’  The call was worse than that almond croissant beckoning me to eat it.

UGH!  So I just turned it off.  Just like that.  Forget the grasping onto habit!  I’m saying yes to myself.  I cleaned the kitchen, watered the plants and now taking some time to write in my blog.

The best part of saying yes is that I find I can rest easier at night.  I am keeping my word to myself and that makes me very, very happy.  A little more every day.  Bit by bit.  Step by step.  As one of my dear friends says ‘left foot, right foot.’  There is a huge sense of relief.  I don’t have to keep making excuses inside my head for the things left undone.  And a quiet mind is a beautiful thing.

So turn off your TV and listen to your Self instead.  I’ve been wanting to clean out some drawers for weeks now.  I think tonight is the night.

PS  I am now at Day 16 of my detox program.  I am starting to feel great.  I am losing weight.  My second chin is diminishing.  I asked Christopher to set my bike up in the basement so that I can start getting some aerobic exercise going.  More later!

Vegan Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sun Dried Tomatoes

OK … so a lot of people would like to see some recipes!  I’ll start with the Risotto.  It is amazing and I can’t believe that there is no dairy in the recipe.  I’d love to get your feedback about how the it turned out for you.  Was it easy to follow?  What would make it better?

Vegan Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sun Dried Tomatoes

2 cups carnaroli/arborio rice (I have been using carnaroli)
1 large yellow onion, cut into large dice
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1/4 cup diced, hydrated, sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup white wine (I used gewurtztraminer)
Kosher salt
about 5 cups vegetable broth/stock
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – EVOO

1.  PREPARE THE SQUASH.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Toss the squash with about 1 tablespoon EVOO and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Arrange the squash on the cookie sheet so that the pieces are not touching.  Roast the squash 10-15 minutes, until tender and the side touching the pan becomes caramelized.

2.  PREPARE THE SUN DRIED TOMATOES.  Drop them into boiling water.  Turn off the water and let them sit for 10 minutes.  Drain, cool and chop into dice.  (I buy the kind that are already re-hydrated in olive oil, so all I have to do is chop them.)

3.  HEAT THE BROTH/STOCK.  In a separate pan, heat the vegetable broth to a low simmer and keep hot while making the risotto.  Once it is hot, a low flame will do the trick.

NOTE:  I use a heavy, LeCreuset type pan/dutch oven to prepare the risotto.  I am not sure how it will turn out if you use a lighter pan.  Probably OK, but I think it could tend to burn/scorch more easily.

4.  PREPARE THE ONIONS & GARLIC.  Heat the dutch oven over medium/medium high heat.  Put 2 tablespoons EVOO in pan and when the oil is hot (about 10 seconds), add the onions.  Put a little (approx. 1/2 teaspoon) Kosher salt on the onions.  You want them to become soft and translucent, but not brown and caramelized.  When the onions are just about there, add the garlic and cook another minute or so.

5.  PRE-COOK THE RICE.  Add the rice to the onions and EVOO.  Stir the rice so that it is coated with the oil and pre-cooks a bit.  Do not brown the rice.  Keep stirring until the color changes a bit.  It gets a little less translucent.  This takes about 2 minutes.  This is an important step and adds to the creaminess of the risotto.  Do not skip this step.

6.  START MAKING THE RISOTTO WITH THE WINE.  Turn the heat up and add the entire cup of wine and stir constantly until all the wine is incorporated into the risotto.  Once a strong boil is achieved, you can turn the heat back down to medium/medium high.

7.  CONTINUE THE RISOTTO WITH THE BROTH/STOCK.  Add 3 soup ladles of the hot stock (about 1 1/2 cups) and stir, stir, stir it into the risotto.  Keep stirring until the liquid is absorbed by the rice, then add 3 more ladles of stock and so on until you use up most or all of the stock.  I find that the amount varies every time I make this dish, so you have to taste the rice when you think you are getting close to done.  The rice will have an ‘al dente’ feel to it when it is ready.  Make it to your taste.  The more stock you incorporate, the softer the rice will become.

8.  ADD THE VEGETABLES AND FINISH.  TASTE the dish to check rice tenderness and seasoning.  Add salt if needed. Stir in the squash and sun dried tomatoes.  Serve immediately.  Drizzle a little EVOO on top.

This dish reheats well, but the texture is not exactly the same as when it is first made.

You can vary the recipe by adding any vegetables you like.  I tried crimini mushrooms sauteed with garlic and wine, and also spinach and sun dried tomatoes.  Both were fantastic.  I like to add a little fresh ground black pepper before eating.  You can also add fresh herbs when serving.

All recipes are the intellectual property of Terry Mueller and copyright laws apply.

Diet without a face

I decided to prepare really rockin’ vegan food that would make my honey want to stay the course for the detox program we started last week.  I love to create art in the kitchen and have been wondering how I could apply my skills to a diet without a face.

I achieved my desire!  Some of the fantastic dishes I prepared include:

  • a roasted butternut squash and sun dried tomato risotto (no dairy)
  • a combination raw and cooked salad in a vinaigrette with capers and kalamata olives
  • orange curry with sweet potatoes, squash and red bell peppers
  • a cornmeal and spinach soup.

I’ve been recording my recipes and taking photos.  There may be a book in the making here.  This would make my friends very happy since they have been asking me to do this for many years. Here are some photos.  Let me know if you’d like to see some recipes here.

Orange Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Squash and Red Bell Peppers

Orange Curry close up

Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Risotto with Sauteed Mushrooms

Overcoming Resistance

I’ve been reading Mama Gena’s Guide to the Womanly Arts and most of the material is familiar.  I’ve heard about it in reading Jerry & Esther Hicks’ Law of Attraction and probably every other self help book that I’ve picked up.

The thing they are all trying to get us to do is simple:  say yes to ourselves.  That’s all.  Bottom line.  Simply and purely.  One thing.  Say yes to ourselves.  Between ourselves and the yes is all our baggage and our opinions.  All our conditioning.  There it is, we know it’s there.  We spend thousands (if we’re lucky enough to have them) on every class, therapy and ‘experience’ we can to overcome them and the resistance they create.  And I do mean WE.  I am guilty as charged.

And here I am, still trying to overcome the resistance.  What is it?  Why do I and so many people limit themselves from embracing their heart’s desire?  This question has plagued me all my life.  What is it?  Why is it so powerful?

And the answer to the dilemma is:  We hold our opinion in higher priority than the messages from our hearts.  What we think about it, our opinion, doesn’t matter.  When we can release the importance of our opinion, we can say yes to our hearts.  It is as simple as that.

Of course, the key is being able to sense what is in my heart versus my mind.  It sounds easy, but is it?  Is that desire for that almond croissant in my mind or in my heart?  At the time, it sure feels like my heart is longing for it.  Imagining the pleasure I’ll receive from eating it … mmmm.

But is that my heart?  My heart longs to be active, to create, to exercise, to feel the strength of my body … and eating almond croissants on a regular basis is not going to fulfill my heart’s desire for health and a fulfilled life.

So … I have always said that healing comes with awareness.  The mind is a trickster.  It has controlled us for so long that we are unaccustomed to being aware of the messages from our hearts.

So, this morning as I was watching Jaques Pepin make berries with pastry creme and lobster rolls, thinking about how much I love to create with food and gee, maybe I should go to culinary school.  And then also remembering that I am not so physically able to do anything quite so strenuous right now.  All this made me kind of sad.  Mama Gena’s playfulness came through my heart.  And I asked myself, what does my heart want?

Simple answer, my heart wants an active and fulfilled life.  (Details on what that is later.)

How can I embrace an active and fulfilled life in my current physical state?  (Details on that later.)

What is the PRIORITY here?  MY HEALTH.  Pure and simple.  I can’t achieve my dreams with my body in its current condition.  So first and foremost, I must dedicate as much energy as is required to get my health where it needs to be.  Once I have the tools, then I can pursue a dream.  It may be culinary school, it may not.  First things, first.

I know what to do to regain my health.  I’ve been studying these things for years.  And, for sure, my health has improved quite a bit from where I started.  Here’s what I’ve got to work with:

Basically healthy:  Cholesterol levels good.  Blood sugar normal.  Blood pressure 110/70.  Genius IQ.  Lots of friends.  Lifetime student of mindfulness and personal growth.  Bone density strong.  Love to bicycle, walk and swim (when able).  Organic diet since Whole Foods opened.  Great cook.  Physically active most of my adult life (until about 2005).

The downside:  Ultra high levels of lead toxicity from eating off lead glazed plates for over 20 years – discovered in 2007.  The consequences of the lead (my opinion based on educating myself):  asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, memory loss, hypo-thyroid and fatigue.  Other issues include:  obesity (mostly my doing), bulging discs in neck and lower back, and sub-arachnoid cyst at the brain stem (completely benign).

The problem:  The fatigue and arthritis limit my physical activity, so I can’t exercise as much as I would like.  I can exercise, however.  I go to yoga once a week and ride my bike as much as I can.  Christopher was kind enough to set it up in the basement for me this week so that I can start using it every day.   (I just need to remember my heart’s desire and let that fuel my motivation!)

This week I began a 30 day detox program that I designed based on my expertise, experiences and reading.  I’m really glad to be detoxifying again.  The first time I did it, the rheumatoid factor in my blood dropped by about 10%.  I lost 20 pounds and the pain levels decreased by about 50%.  I am a big advocate of detoxification.  It works.  It can be emotionally challenging and I don’t like that part.  But so what?  It’s only my opinion.  Sometimes the detox is emotionally exhilarating and I like that.  Again, but so what?

The truth is that the program takes me closer to my heart’s desire.  I need a healthy body to do what I dream of.  I need more energy to accomplish my goals.

And so it is.  Starting today and every day after this, I begin the day by finding a way to connect with my heart and it’s desire to live an active and fulfilled life.  For the past week or so, I have been saying to myself:  It is my dominant intention to see only that which I am wanting, which pleases me and moves me to my heart’s desire.

Today it is starting to manifest.  Thank you God.  I also make a habit of feeling grateful for all that pleases me, that fulfills my heart’s desire to living an active and fulfilled life.