Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why "The Skunk Lady" ?

The uniqueness of  my blog address has come up more than once and people seem curious about it so I thought I would answer it in a blog post!

I've always loved skunks! My son found this picture of a baby skunk in a man's hand (sorry to disappoint anyone, it's not my hand, sorry) and I thought it was the cutest thing. We joke about it being so cute it makes us ANGRY!!! This picture should be in the Guinness Book of World Records in my opinion for the cutest thing ever!

When I was at the family reunion one of the relatives found out about my profile picture on Facebook and he got all excited and said "You're the Skunk Lady? My wife LOVES that picture!" So it stuck with me  and when it came time to put a name to my blog I thought the skunk lady would be appropriate because of my profile picture and the story behind it! And it was an address name that was available so I went with it.

So that's my story behind the skunk, and "I'm stickin' to it!" Thanks everyone for your interest, support and questions. Love you guys!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Raw Vegan Chocolates

Raw Chocolates (Base) from Kristen Suzanne's "Ultimate Raw Vegan Chocolate Recipes" pg49

Do you want simple, pure, basic, but also delicious, nutritious, and easy raw vegan, bit-sized chocolates? Well, here you go. Once your cacao butter is in liquid form, this recipe takes only minutes to prepare and it's so dang good! I always have these in a ready-to-toss-in-the-air-and-catch-in-my-mouth stash in the refrigerator.

1/4 c. + T. raw cacao butter, liquid
2 T. raw agave nectar
1/3 c. raw chocolate powder (raw cacao powder)
1 1/2 T. lucuma powder

Stir all of the ingredients together well. This "base" recipe is delicious as is, and ready to be poured into candy molds or mini candy paper cups. Place in the freezer to set for about 10 minutes. I usually use candy molds that hold about 2 tsp. per mold, making the perfect sized chocolates to enjoy.

Julie's notes: I usually increase this recipe 8 times.  Add-ins such as: trail mix, coconut, chia seeds, chopped pecans, raisins or whatever you want to add are excellent. You can either add extras to the chocolate before you pour into molds or put a layer of the add-ins on the bottom of the molds and pour the chocolate right over it. You can liquify cacao butter in a bowl in the dehydrator or you can use a double boiler arrangement--just watch the heat to make sure it doesn't get too hot. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Green Smoothies!

Q: What do you put in your green smoothies?
A: Everything but the kitchen sink! Seriously, half fruit & half greens in a base of water in the blender!

If you have a high speed blender such as Vita Mix or Blendtec:

In my 96 oz Blendtec Wild Side blender carafe I add some water (eyeball the amount), add more or less depending on the amount of the other ingredients, (can also use vegetable or fruit juice or even the water of a young Thai coconut). I then add a couple of large handfuls of dark green leafies (dandelion greens, wild edibles, spring mix, spinach, kale, collard greens, to name a few, the darker the better), a handful of grapes, a peeled banana broken in chunks, an apple cut in chunks, a peeled orange cut in chunks, a handful of blueberries or strawberries, & some frozen mixed fruit. I then blend this on the #4 setting which is the Whole Juice setting on my blender. In 48 seconds I have an amazing, smooth, creamy and yummy smoothie.  I divide this mixture into 2 large bottles, add water to the blender again and make another batch of more of the same mixture--adding whatever fruit is on hand that needs using up, or whatever my body wants that day. Sometimes I add a scoop of hemp protein, or some other super food powder like pomegranate powder or lucuma powder or maca powder. You can add anything you want. Making 2 batches like this is enough for 2 days for me or if the family wants to share it's just the 1 day supply. Store in the refrigerator. This mixture tends to thicken during the day  due to the pectin in the fruit--if this happens just add a little water to it and shake it up. Shake also before drinking as the mixture sometimes separates.

If you have a regular blender of the department store variety you can still make great smoothies! Just make smaller batches, cut ingredients into smaller pieces, run for longer periods of time and accept the fact that it won't be 100% smooth and creamy but it is still healthy and wonderful nutrition for your body. Here is what I used to do when I had a regular blender:

In the blender carafe put in about 2 cups water (or juice, coconut water, or other liquid), add a small handful of greens, and maybe 1/2 c. of fruit pieces. Start the blender going and let it run for a bit; as it's running, slowly add a small  amount of greens at a time, alternating cut up fruit pieces and greens and letting it blend and incorporate as you go along. Let it blend until it's as smooth as you think it's going to get and pour into whatever container(s) you're using. If you make a big batch like I do, you'll want to  make about 3 or 4 blenders full and let them blend as long as needed to make them as smooth and incorporated as possible. 

If you're new to green smoothies: Add more fruit than greens or even mostly fruit if you're trying to interest the kids. Then as you get accustomed to the idea, increase the amount of greens. Vary your greens for variety and to prevent the buildup of oxalic acid in your system. Using frozen fruit for part of the smoothie makes it frosty and cold like a slushy or a milkshake. If the kids (or you) are not able to handle the visual of the green color, put it in a travel mug with a lid--or a sippy cup with a fun straw. Freeze it and eat it with a spoon! Heck--how about smoothie popsicles! You could even watch Ghost-busters and drink/eat your "ectoplasm" concoctions! Never force the smoothies (or any food) on people for that matter! Let them see how much you are enjoying it and how much healthier you feel. Just set the example--let people (or your family) approach you and ask for a sample.

Keep things simple! I love the frozen mixed fruit I get in big bags at Sam's Club or BJ's. These are very convenient and save a lot of time. There are also available frozen mixed berries, or sliced or whole unsweetened strawberries. If you have a garden and are able to grow  your own things fresh is best. Buy things on sale, get huge quantities and freeze it in individual zip-top bags in the amounts needed to make your smoothies. When preparing to freeze bananas, peel them first and cut them in chunks before freezing--trust me on this!

Cleaning up after making smoothies is the funnest part! Usually the blender and any utensils just need rinsing and you're good to go--only washing as needed. From start to finish and cleanup is usually 5-8 minutes for me. (Keep in mind I make a HUGE batch) What could be easier or quicker? Doesn't it take about that long to wait in line at the drive-thru of a fast food/coffee place? I would say if you are only able to do one thing to improve your lifestyle/diet I would say include green smoothies! As you gain better health your body will naturally crave healthier food choices on its own.