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Valentine’s sweetness

A Valentine’s poem to set the tone for the day

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Whether you’re single or married or any which way.

A feast for the eyes and not bad on the heart

The true indulgence is how you start.

With vegan and gluten free pancakes and a pink mimosa or two

These recipes are sure to delight all and you.

Mix your gluten free flour, bananas, apple, and flax

Then cook on your skillet and just relax

These pancakes will cook quick

And don’t expect them to be fluffy

They’ll be quite thick.

Then juice up your blood oranges, ruby grapefruit, and lemons

Add equal parts champagne

It will taste like the heavens!

Now make a nice place setting for one or two

It doesn’t much matter

This dish is for you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Whether you like Valentine’s Day or not- most people cannot pass up a good mimosa/pancake combo.  I came up with this concoction from my recent juicing and vegan dabblings.

Pink Mimosas with Blood Orange

4 blood oranges

2 ruby red grapefruits

1 lemon

1 bottle of your favorite champagne

Steps

1.  Juice fruits in a juicer and add to glasses with equal part juice mixture and champagne.

The color is amazing and the taste is a great blend of tart and sweet.

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The first time I had a blood orange I was sitting down to breakfast my first morning in Italy. I sliced into this unassuming orange only to find this deep dark blood red color inside.  I did not know what to do with this thing- the waiter informed me that these blood oranges are very common in the area.  From the first taste, I was in love. They have a much deeper sweetness that normal oranges and I’ve lusted after them ever since.  I just happened to find them at Hannaford during my juice fast so I had to make something special for the occasion.

And now for the pancakes… These may not be for everyone, but I sure was pleased.

Vegan and Gluten Free Pancakes (makes 5 pancakes)

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour

1 banana

1 apple or 1/4 cup applesauce

1/2-1  cup almond milk

1/4 cup ground flax seed

real maple syrup

Steps

1.  Blend banana and apple or applesauce in high speed blender.

2.  Mix mixture with flour, flax, and milk.

3.  Heat skillet to medium-high and spray with cooking oil.  Measure about a cup each for the pancakes.

4.  Enjoy with real maple syrup.

These will be a little more dense than traditional pancakes, but well worth it if you have the dietary restrictions.

Hope you have a great day no matter what you do!  A little self care note to share:  my amazing business leadership coach, Britt Bolnick of In Arms Coaching, is doing a self care workshop on February 9th from 3-6pm.  Learn more here.

Props: from etsy

Paper orchid from Flower Bazaar

Japanese silk from Inji

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A juice fast for all seasons!

Alex and decided it was time to shed the holiday weight and detox with a juice fast.  This was a first for us- we opted for 10 days- a bit of a stretch for first timers- we made it three.  We started with a salt water flush made popular by the lemonade diet.  You drink 32 ounces of water with 2 tsps non-iodized salt water.  It’s a great way to kick it off.  Overall, it was a great experience and we each lost about 6 lbs in three days.  We’re slowly incorporating food back in and we plan to do it for a few days each month. Here are a few recipes I threw together:

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The Kitchen Sink (green juice- makes about 2 servings of 24 oz.)

1 orange

1 grapefruit

1 head of kale

1 handful of spinach

1 head of romaine

1 cup of fresh cranberries

1 English cucumber

1 head of celery

1 in of ginger

This is a zesty and refreshing way to kick off your cleanse- also great for hangovers 😉

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Beet Beauty

6 beets

1 head of celery

1 head of kale

1 handful spinach

1 orange

1 lemon

1 lime

1 in of ginger

Do not be alarmed if you see a lot of pink when you visit the restroom- that is supposed to happen!

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Sweet Potato Pie

2 large sweet potatoes

8 carrots

1 apple

1 orange

1 in of ginger

– add a dash of cinnamon after you pour the juice

Happy juicing!

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Multi-Purpose Cones for the Holidays!

For our office holiday party this year I decided to try my hand at making a charcuterie tree out of a styrofoam cone and kale.  It was a little trickier than I thought, but came out pretty cool and was a hit!

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I started out with the cone and added kale pieces to it and attached them with toothpicks.  I then added the meats, cheeses, and olives to keep the kale down.

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I had some leftover for the hubby as well.

I also made some icing candy trees!

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There was a bit of trial and error here- I realized that you need to work from the bottom so it all doesn’t slide down and it helps to stack the candies instead of lightly dusting the icing with candy pieces like I did on the second one here.
Here’s the recipe for the icing- I had to add another 1/2 pound of sugar to make it thicker.
Royal Icing
1 pound (3-3/4 cups) powdered sugar
1-2 large egg whites
Mix all of the ingredients together using an electric mixer, until the icing is smooth and thick.

 

Hope you all had a great holiday season and enjoy a very merry new year!

 

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Second Update to 30 Acts!

Here is the first post from when we started and the first update.  To bring you up to speed, this is what we’ve done so far:

1. Thank you notes to North Yarmouth Fire and Police stations

2.  Cookies to Prince Public library

3. Donation to Animal Refuge League via Coinstar

4. Five lotto tickets to moms and seniors at Hannaford

5. Returned shopping carts in the parking lot

6. Money to people at laundromat

7. Paid for coffees at Dunkin Donuts

8.  Paid for coffees at The Royal Bean

9.  Cookies to Merrill Memorial library in Yarmouth

10.  Cookies to Yarmouth Town Hall

and today’s update:

11.  My mother-in-law, Cissie, contributed to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter in my name for this cause.

12.  I dropped off a car load of bottles and cans to Cans for a Cure hosted by Q97.9.  A special thanks for the help with can donations to my husband and my office at StockFood!

13. I also donated $50 to them to meet their goal of 500,000 bottles and cans.  I called up to help them finish up on their last day.

14.  I purchased coffee sacks from Others! to use for future projects.  All proceeds go to the Kenyan Water Project.

15. One of my past clients who did senior portraits with me via Lola Studios did a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness and raised money to buy Headwraps.  I participated and got my nails done up for my Storm Trooper costume.  She is still raising money through the end of the year for the Tree of Life.

16.  I bought a water bottle from LUSH that gives $5 per bottle to the Wellington Water Watchers.

17.  I wrote a letter to a friend I’ve known since kindergarten.  Our mothers shared a hospital room in January 1983- we were born two days apart.

18. Alex and I went to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital as Batman and Robin for their Halloween parade and passed out coloring books and crayons.

19. Clothes to Goodwill

20. $5 to Stand up for Cancer at Cumberland Farms

Ten more to go in less than a month!  My mom will be here soon and we’ll be wrapping gifts for the Make-a-Wish Foundation! Can’t Wait!

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Thanksgiving in the Carolinas

This year I went to visit my Dad in North Carolina- I was literally flying solo. Sans my hubby who stayed with his parents and our pup this year.  I missed having him around, but it was nice to have some quality time with my Dad. I don’t get to see him very much during the year especially after moving to Maine.

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We made a Thanksgiving spread for two.  It was a lot of food for two people, but it was the preparations and tradition that made it special for us. We have our favorite dishes we like to see each year.  If you caught my blog about my vegan diet- I did excuse myself from it for Thanksgiving day especially since I was preparing the bird.

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I made these fun turkey name cards a few years ago when I lived in Brooklyn. I found them in Martha Stewart Living.

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We always have a great time walking around town and we were lucky to catch the gingerbread display at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst.  The pastry chefs make remarkable replicas of the prominent buildings around town including, the Carolina itself.

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We also had a chance to have lunch at the country club in Pinehurst.  I hopped back on my vegan bandwagon with this amazing portobello and grilled veggie sandwich on foccacia bread.  It even had a long toothpick with a tee at the end.

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Happy Holidays!

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All Raw Vegan all the Time!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I’m back on my raw vegan diet.  I started a six week trial over a year ago and it was the first time in my life I didn’t suffer from stomach aches, fatigue, constipation (TMI?) etc.  There really is something to a plant based diet.  In addition to adding living foods I’ve also cut out lactose and gluten.  I always suspected that lactose played a role in my extreme discomfort and now I know it’s true.  Especially after reading about what our cow’s milk really is.  After my mom had similar severe issues she was told to go off lactose and gluten.  She’s been thriving ever since.  I figured it was worth a try for me too.  It definitely made an improvement, but for me it was hard to break 28 years of SAD (Standard American Diet) habits.

Enter Elizabeth Fraser of Girl Gone Raw.  A co-worker recommended her to me and though I was skeptical I was also intrigued.  Elizabeth’s knowledge and personal dedication to the raw vegan diet was inspirational and I looked forward to each week when we’d prepare meals together.

After the six weeks I was going strong until my husband and I got our first home and shared most of our meals together.  I gotta say it’s hard to eat a salad when someone is downing a burger next to you.  Alex was very supportive in my raw food journey he just wasn’t ready to hop on board.  The beer festivals didn’t help much either.  About a year later and 20 pounds heavier, I cannot sit back and let myself slide anymore.

This week I started working with Elizabeth and Maggie part time in their Kids Gone Raw kitchen and adopting the raw vegan lifestyle once again.

Here are just a few of the snacks they have to offer.  See more of their treats here.

I’ve already lost four pounds since Monday.  I like to keep track of the pounds I lose with this common items list.  Here’s another one.  I’m hoping to lose the average number of pounds of cheese Americans eat in a year (it’s 30).  Right now I’ve lost between a box of wine and a bag of sugar.

Sound intriguing? Here are some baby steps you can take:

1. Take 2 weeks each to eliminate meat, dairy, and wheat/gluten.

2.  What’s left you say?  Plenty!  The raw vegan diet is made up of plants, nuts, nut milks, nut cheeses, and coconut oil.

(These are just suggestions from my experience and are not meant to be thought of ask medical advice.)

3.  Use these resources to learn fun new recipes and faux versions of your favorites.

Girl Gone Raw

Alissa Cohen

Rawmazing

I’ll keep you posted- let me know if you’d like to try!

Second Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting!

Last year was so much fun that we had to round up the team again and grab a new flight of beers to try.

This year’s six contestants were:

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Chatoe Rogue Harvest Pumpkin Patch Ale, Southern Tier Imperial Pumking, Waschusett Imperial Pumpkin, and Unita Punk’n.

When we did this last year, we did a blind taste test.  This year I decided to scrap that because I want to know what beer I’m drinking.

Here are the judges’ notes:

Southern Tier Imperial Pumking-

Steve- 3- Taste lots of pumpkin

Alex- 3- Liquid pumpkin taste

Lauren- 2- Odd aftertaste

Unita Punk’n-

S- 2- Not as much alcohol. Organic. Wind, and solar powered

A- 2.5- A strange taste, but good to environment

L- 3- Strong body

Chatoe Rogue Harvest Pumpkin Patch Ale-

S- 4- Yummy

A- 3.5- Tripped my trigger a little bit

L- 4- Sweet flavor

Waschusett Imperial Pumpkin-

S -5- Nice aftertaste

A-4- Aftertaste is nice

L-4.5- Sweet and pumpkin-y!

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale-

  S- 4- No comment

A- Tastes like a dog and fish who just ate a pumpkin

L- 5- Strong flavor overall, spicy

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin-

S- 5- Winner!

A- 4.5 – Busted my biscuit!

L- 5- Awesome- great spice!

It was also Steve’s birthday recently so we couldn’t let him leave without a little surprise pumpkin cake!

Walter didn’t want to miss out on the action either, but sadly he’s under aged for this event.

Happy pumpkin season!

Free Grilling Ebook Today ’til Monday!

Starting today “No Frills Grillin” will be available for free until midnight on Sunday.  Follow the link here to download from Amazon for your Kindle or Kindle app for ipad.

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Also take a look at my last post for the recipe I tested from the ebook.

Grilled Peaches with Ricotta and Honey Almond Sauce

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Happy Grillin’!

Lauren

Grilled Peaches and Ricotta Topped with Almond Honey Sauce

Our new ebook has just hit the digital bookshelves and is available exclusively at Amazon.  The publisher is icook2day and they are the sister agency to the company I work for-  StockFood.  The e-cookbook is called “No Frills Grillin’ “.  I decided to try the Grilled Peaches recipe for you here and you are welcome to try it out and send your review.

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Grilled Peaches and Ricotta topped with Honey Almond Sauce

Ingredients

6 ounces flaked almonds

6 tablespoons honey, divided

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

4 ripe peaches, rinsed and wiped dry

1 fresh lemon

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons sugar

Method

1. Prepare grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high heat.

2.  Cut the peaches in half and remove the stone.  Oil the grill grate and place the peach halves on the barbecue, cut side down.  Grill for 8 to 10 minutes, until peaches are soft. Watch carefully.

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3. Toast the almond flakes in a dry frying pan.

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Then place in a small bowl and combine with 4 tablespoons honey and almond extract, gently mix.  Set aside.

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4.  Meanwhile, rinse the lemon and rub dry; grate the zest.  Squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice from the lemon.  Combine the ricotta cheese, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until smooth and creamy.

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5.  Spoon half of the ricotta into 4 serving bowls.  Brush each peach half with the remaining honey, place one peach half cut side up on top of the ricotta cheese, top with the remaining peach half, followed by a generous spoonful of the remaining ricotta cheese.  Spoon the honey almond sauce over the top.  Serve warm.

*Note* I used our grill pan inside because our outdoor grill is not set up yet.  I would say you would only need about 5-7 minutes on the grill with this method.

Happy Grilling!

Lauren

Vino, Vida, Vici

I wined, I saw, I conquered!  Alex and I shared a lovely evening at home with friends and family while we hosted a Wine Shop at home event.  Renee Curtis was our wine educator for the evening and walked us through the subtleties and nuances of three sweet whites and three bold/spicy reds.  We paired these with a few interesting bites to change the palate.   Good times were had by all and we were happy to enjoy our “new to us” deck furniture donated by Alex’s wonderful parents.

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I also got to do a craft I’ve been saving for about a year now- Tiki wine bottles!  I got the design from Design Sponge.

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Cheers from the Lears!

Lauren

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