Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Good morning and Happy Easter! What a glorious day it is :) I used to think of Easter solely in terms of candy, Easter baskets, egg hunts and the Easter Bunny. As a child, I used to get awesome baskets from my parents and my Dad's mother (Grandma). My Mom's mother (Mama) used to hide plastic eggs filled with coins and cash for my brothers and I to find - a tradition that continued well into our teen years! For some reason, I can remember what I got in one particular Easter basket...I must have been about 10 or 11 years old. I got a couple of Sweet Valley Twins books and a raspberry-colored pair of Chuck Taylors. I must have been so happy with my books and my new Chucks (I never got the same color twice and have probably had 25 pairs in my life!!) that it made a memory that's lasted over 20 years!

When I became a born-again Christian, I started to look at Easter from a completely different perspective. Before I was saved, I remember my husband telling me that Easter was actually a more sacred and revered holiday than Christmas, because Easter celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. I remember thinking, really? I had always thought Christmas was the big cannolli of Christian holidays, probably because I didn't really understand what Easter was. I knew Christmas was the celebration of Jesus's birth, but to me even Christmas was really more about the giving and receiving of gifts. How little I knew and understood about these holidays! I now understand the significance of both, and I do now get more excited about Easter than Christmas. I take time to reflect on Good Friday about the supreme sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross, and I celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday. How could I not! Before I knew Him, I was completely lost. Now I know that I have a Savior who loves me more than anyone on Earth ever possibly could! Amen!!

Okay, this blog is titled Bananas for Smoothies, so I should probably get back to the food. Last night, I threw together a quick pizza for dinner. I ran to Whole Foods earlier in the day for my once-monthly shopping trip. I go there to stock up on things I either can't find elsewhere or which are prohibitively expensive at conventional grocery stores. These include things such as raw cashews, pepitas, pistachios, unsulphured dried apricots, dried cherries, dried unsweetened coconut, candied ginger, 7-grain hot cereal, quinoa, millet, amaranth, and sucanat, all bought in bulk; kombucha, a bottled raw fermented tea; seaweed rice crackers; organic leafy greens, such as kale, chard, and collards; condiments, such as miso paste, raw apple cider vinegar, Bragg Liquid Aminos, tamari, Earth Balance sticks, and Tofutti sour cream; Daiya (vegan) cheddar and mozzarella cheeses; large tubs of soy yogurt; organic flaxseed oil; and treats such as graham crackers, carob chips, Sweet and Sara vegan marshmallows, and Ricemellow creme (all of which I use to make some amazing vegan S'mores!!) While I was there, I figured I'd grab a few other things which might make their way onto the (as-yet-unplanned) dinner menu: some baby bella mushrooms, some organic baby spinach, and a chayote squash. I'd read about chayote on other blogs but had never tried it before, so I figured I'd grab one and try to use it this week.

After I spent an insane amount of money (which is why the chain is also known as "Whole Paycheck,") I brought my groceries home and put them away. I like to store my bulk items in glass jars I've recycled and repurposed, such as old pasta sauce jars, almond butter jars, and even spice jars. Hey, you've already paid for the jars, so you may as well use them! Glass is better than plastic for many reasons anyway (no chemicals leeching into your food), plus they just look nicer on your shelf :)

So, dinner time rolls around and I still haven't decided what to make. I ask my hubby and son if they want some mushroom pizza, and I get an enthusiastic "pizza! pizza!" from my son, so pizza it was! Since it was almost 6 pm, I didn't have time to make a yeast dough from scratch, but I remembered the Fastest, Easiest Homemade Pizza Dough recipe from VegWeb, which uses beer to give your dough an instant rise. I halved the recipe and also used half all-purpose flour/half whole wheat pastry flour along with some spices (salt, oregano, basil, thyme). I prebaked the dough for 10 minutes, then topped with my quick homemade pizza sauce (canned tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, thyme), some caramelized onions, dry-sauteed mushrooms, and some Daiya mozzarella cheese, and baked for another 10 minutes. I topped my slices with some garlic salt and enjoyed it with a nice cold beer. The pizza was both hubby and toddler approved!

This morning I decided to go for an early run before my hubby had to head to church for choir duties. After my run, I was in the mood for a carrot smoothie. I juiced up a bunch of carrots and a big knob of ginger:

Chopped up a few leaves of organic red kale:

And threw it all in my trusty Vita-Mix, along with a large frozen banana, the rest of my baby romaine lettuce, some cinnamon, 6 ice cubes, and a big spoonful of raw almond butter:

I blended on high for a minute or so until it was smooth and ohhhh so delicious!

After my smoothie, I figured I'd get a head start on chopping my veggies for tomorrow morning's juice, since I already had my knife and cutting board out. I chopped up some carrots, ginger, celery, cucumber, kale, and chard:

I'll juice this along with some fresh lemon tomorrow morning after my yoga! I like to do the P90X yoga DVD on Monday mornings and then follow it up with a fresh juice. It's a great way to start my week and I feel all clean and healthy on the inside!

Later on, I had some 7-grain hot cereal topped with dried cranberries, walnuts, and coconut milk. Sorry, no picture because I ate it so fast :)

I had another smoothie for an early lunch (why so hungry today?!) and then had a quick raw wrap for a mid-afternoon snack. I took a raw chard leaf, spooned some leftover raw cashew goat cheez on it, and topped with some carrot and cucumber. 

I rolled this baby up like a burrito:

And then happily munched away:

Thennnnn I enjoyed a Gingerade Kombucha, since it was Easter and all :)

Tonight I'll be trying a new recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Appetite for Reduction by vegan icon Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Enjoy the rest of your day!

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