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Homeowners!

Yesterday Alex and I closed on our first home.  We are both in quite a daze, but also very excited.  I have not officially had a home to call my own since I was 18 and was preparing to leave for college.  Since then I have bounced around from dorm rooms to part time stays in Atlanta, Indiana, Virginia, New York, and Maine.  In each of those places I made a huge effort to create a domestic environment around me, but it always lacked a certain something- permanence.  I am proud to say that after years of moving around- that I have found a home in Maine with with my almost husband (10 days!).

This is a huge step for Alex as well.  He has lived in his same apartment for the last 11 years.  At one point he even worked at a newspaper located directly under his apartment.  It is now a sandwich shop and there are kids drinking soda where he once wrote under deadline.

We’ve looked for about a year and a half now and I was starting to give up hope that “our house” was out there.  We came close to perfect with one a few months ago only to discover it was under contract and hadn’t had the status changed.  That was heartbreaking until we found this home.  Nothing had even come close to this home and it has all the features we wanted.  He wanted a man cave, I wanted him to have a man cave, I wanted a 2 car garage- saves on scrape down time in the morning- December to April ;), we both wanted offices, a place for his comic collection and a place for my photo studio (www.lola-studios.com, more on that later).

So here we are during the first moments of realizing ownership.

We camped out there for our first night!

~ Lauren

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3 Weeks Gone Raw

I’ve completed 3 of 6 weeks on my raw diet and I’ve just finished reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw.  I’ve also lost 6 pounds and have been told to expect 6 more by the end of my 6 weeks.

I was very intrigued with this guide from the start and finished it quickly because it breaks down everything you need to know about starting a raw diet plus it gives many recipes.  I made four recipes from the book that I will share.

I decided to go with a Thai and Tahitian theme, however, the book spans many other cultural dishes as well.

Tropical Thai Coconut Soup

Pad Thai with Spicy Thai Almond Dipping  Sauce

Papaya-Pineapple Pudding with Tahitian Vanilla Sauce

These recipes are very detailed and lengthy so I felt it best to show the outcomes to entice you to check out the book instead.   It also has zero pictures on the inside which is why I decided to create some.  That is a huge pet peeve of mine since I usually can’t be enticed to cook anything without seeing an end result picture.  However, I couldn’t pass these up, picture or not.

my kitchen…gone raw…

Going raw is no doubt a lot of work in terms of stocking your kitchen, having the right equipment, and making the time to prepare foods that keep you interested. As much as I like to experiment in the kitchen, I am exhausted after 5 hours of shopping and preparing these 4 recipes.  The point is that you get what you put in to it and what you put in your body should be a priority.  I never understood that as much as I do now.

One more treat before I go…

This is not from the CIG to Eating Raw, however, it is fabulous!  Its from Whole Living magazine and it is a simple and delicious pudding for raw foodies and omnivores alike.

Chocolate Pudding

3 avocados

6 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used raw cacao)

1/4 c raw honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

  1. Puree avocados, cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Sprinkle pudding with salt before serving.

    A great raw alternative to traditional cocoa.  This organic treat has no added sugar and is full of antioxidants, magnesium, and iron.

    That’s all for now 🙂

    ~Lauren

Surprise Bridal Shower!

On Sunday Alex and I had plans to meet with his extended family at his parents’ house for our first reunion in awhile.  This was the first time I’d seen most of the people I’d met in the last 2 and a half years all in one room together.  In preparation for this reunion I wanted to make some of my favorite recipes from my maternal Grandmother.  These do not comply with my raw food diet, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from sharing the goodies with the family.

Grandma’s Lemon Cake

1 box lemon cake mix

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup Wesson oil

4 eggs

1 cup apricot nectar (juice)

Mix in bowl, grease bundt pan, pour in pan, and bake for 1 hour at 350.

Icing

juice of two lemons

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Mix and drizzle on cake

MMM!

I also made another favorite of mine from Grandma:

Strawberry Candy

(updated version)

2 large boxes strawberry JELLO, dry

1 bag of Baker’s angel flake coconut, 7 oz

3 drops red food coloring

1 can Eagle brand sweetened condensed milk

1 cup crushed nuts (I used walnuts)

Mix together, place in fridge for 1 hour, shape into strawberries.

I put a little thumb hole in the tops to make it look like their stems had been removed.

I love how simple these recipes are- easy to follow and quick to whip up.

Grandma & Grandpa

I’ve never seen a couple anymore in love than these two, maybe that was what inspired me to make some of her recipes.  With 25 days to the wedding~ love is in the air.

And now for the surprise!

The family reunion turned out to be a surprise Bridal Shower for me and Alex.  It was wonderful to have everyone together, but even better to make it a party.

My mother-in-law to be, Cissie, put it all together and got us this beautiful and delicious cake.

Thanks to all that joined us and for all the wonderful gifts, we look forward to using them in our new home!  Closing date is coming up!

~ Lauren

Eating RAW

Today signifies the end of my first week on my new raw diet.  I couldn’t have done it without the help of Elizabeth Fraser of Girl Gone Raw.  She is our local raw food enthusiast and helps others in the community reach their raw potential.

Elizabeth and her Veggie Maki Rolls

I have had many stomach issues since I was young and have tried many different avenues to help ease my pain.  It wasn’t until recently when my symptoms were spiraling that I decided to try something drastic.  I’d heard great things about raw food and Elizabeth in particular and decided to sign up for her 6 Weeks to a Healthier You program.  I couldn’t be more pleased with my decision.  In just one week, not only have my symptoms have gone away, but I’m actually feeling great!

I was a little nervous about diving in and leaving all my hot, greasy, fatty, cheesy foods behind.  But, now I actually crave my raw creations.  Its unbelieveable! Elizabeth has been very helpful each step of the way.  We meet once a week to cook an entire meal complete with dessert and she also introduced me to all the raw food goodies at Whole Foods.  So far, I’ve learned how to make my own almond milk, nut cheese, yummy cashew burgers, and even a chocolate bars!

I’ve just come home from another wonderful evening of raw food making with Elizabeth and want to share all the goodies we created.

Veggie Maki Rolls

You’ll need:

-4 sheets of Nori

Filling:

1 cup of cashews, soaked for 2 hours

1 carrot

1 minced scallion

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

sea salt to taste (1/4 tsp)

Veggies to Roll:

1 carrot

1 avocado

1 cucumber

8 sprigs cilantro

1/2 cup of sprouts

Dipping Sauce:

3 Tbs nama shoyu

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs tahini

grated garlic or ginger


1. Chop and mix filling ingredients in food processor

2. Julienne carrot & cucumber, slice avocado & mango into strips.

 

3.  Arrange filling an inch from bottom of nori.  Place veggies on top.

4.  With dry hands, roll the nori up and over the filling, keeping the roll as tight as possible.  As you roll and see a half an inch left, wet the end like and envelope and seal the roll.  Set aside.

5.  Whisk your dip together. Slice roll into half inch slices and enjoy with dip.  YUM!

This might be my favorite recipe so far, the dipping sauce is so flavorful and a great compliment to the rolls!

Veggie Stir Fry

Rice:

2 medium parsnips

1 clove garlic

Veggies:

1 1/2 cups broccoli

1 1/2 cups mushrooms

1 cup snap peas

1 carrot julienned

black sesame seeds

Marinade:

1/3 cup of olive oil

2 Tbs nama shoyu

1 Tbs agave

1. Place broccoli, mushrooms, and marinade in a bowl. Stir to coat.  Let it sit for 1/2 hour.

 2.  Peel parsnips, chop, and place in food processor with cashews and garlic.  Blend until mixture has the texture of cous cous.

 3.  Julienne carrots and chop snap peas in half.

4.  Mix cous cous, veggies, and broccoli mixture in a bowl.  Enjoy!

(Modified from Rawmazing.com stir fry recipe)

Frozen Fruit Sorbet

2 frozen bananas

1 cup frozen mango

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/4-1/2 cup water or almond milk

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth & creamy- approx 1 minute.

Serve right away and top with fruit, nuts, coconut, or agave.

Thanks Elizabeth for guiding me in my raw food journey and for letting me share these great recipes!

You can find Elizabeth at http://www.girlgoneraw.com

~Lauren

DIY votive jars

Today’s post goes out to all the DIY brides out there.  I’m only a partial DIY bride, but I did find some fun projects along the way.  This idea came from Pinterest, from Mark Montano, the pin is no longer available though.  So, I will walk you through what I did.  This craft can also be used for non brides for a fun picnic project, or to do with the kiddies.

My mom and I worked on this on in April when she came to visit.  I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

1.  Collect and wash jars of various sizes and make sure all the gunky label mess is off of them.

2.  Soak yarn in 1 part water, 2 parts glue.  Just swirl it around until its all covered.

3.  Carefully wrap the yarn around one jar.  You can play with different designs or keep it more organized in parallel lines.  Repeat with remaining jars.

4.  When yarn has dried, take jars outside to spray paint.  You can try mixing colors too.

5.  Let the paint dry.

6.  Remove yarn and attach ribbon.

7.  Enjoy your new accent piece with a votive.

Let me know how this works out for you!

~ Lauren

Happy New Lear?

I’m new to the blogging scene and I will be new to a lot of things pretty soon.  In less than 5 weeks I will be a newlywed, a new wife, new home owner, and newly honeymooned.  On top of all that I’ve just started a 6 week RAW/VEGAN diet.  I love to try new things, so I thought I’d try blogging as well.

I took some time to think of the best name for my blog and I was hoping for newly.com for awhile, however, it was not available.  Just as I was about to purchase newlyblog.com, I thought of newlylear.com, Lear being my soon to be surname.  So, it hit me, happynewlear!  My betrothed, Alex, proposed to me on New Year’s Eve at midnight 2010.  Not only was that a Happy New Year, but I will soon be a happy new Lear 🙂  Yea!

Alex and Lauren 12/31/10

I hope to prove to be someone you look forward to hearing from weekly, whether it be about wedding prep, marital bliss, conquering new home chores/projects, DIYing, my new adventures with my raw diet, and cooking for my veggie loathing other half.

See you soon!

~Lauren

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