Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Simple Pleasures

In spite of having been a Mommy for almost two years now (May 8 is the day my son officially came home - we adopted him and he came home when he was 11 weeks old), there is one thing I've only recently started to do: take a nap while my son is napping. When he was an infant and I resembled something from The Night of the Living Dead, people always used to tell me, "Sleep when he sleeps! Nap when he naps!" But I used to just shake my head and wonder, But when else am I going to get X, Y, and Z done?!?! However, that mindset changed several weeks ago when my husband attended a 5-week work training session in Georgia, and my son and I tagged along to keep him company and enjoy (endure) some time in a hotel. All of a sudden, I had a WEALTH of time on my hands and not a lot of ways to spend it. I mean, our hotel room was approximately the size of my kitchen. We got tired of it pretty quickly and it's not like I had to clean it, vacuum it, or wash the floors! I also didn't have to cook everyday, so there wasn't meal prep and planning to occupy some of my time. So, my son and I spent a lot of time walking or running around the hotel, the parking lot, the adjacent mall, and the playground. All that running out in the sunshine left us both pretty tired by noon, so when my son laid down for his nap, I laid down with him. And you know what? I slept! Many days I slept for an hour and a half to 2 hours. It was great. It was blissful. Our hotel bed felt like a cloud and I was happy to just sink in and rest (especially because my son woke us up 2-3 times most nights, since apparently HE didn't enjoy sleeping in a hotel!) We've been home for a couple of weeks now, but I realized that napping with my son was something that we both enjoyed, so I've continued the tradition at least once a week. Today was one such day. My hubby had to leave for work at 6 this morning, and I decided to get up at 5 so I could sneak in a run before he left. After a morning full of errands and playtime in the yard, I was pretty tired by noon and decided it would be a great day for my son and I to share an afternoon siesta :) There's something so sweet about lying next to your child and listening to them sleep...I wish I hadn't waited so long to enjoy this!

Anyway, now we're both up and out in the yard playing. Well, he's playing and I'm sitting in a camping chair watching him while I blog :) I promised some pictures of last night's delicious raw tortilla soup, so without further ado....

This soup is so amazing - it's from one of my favorite bloggers, Gena from Choosing Raw. I make it pretty much exactly as directed, except I omit the fresh garlic and I always add a chopped medium zucchini to the blender. I like how it adds yet another veggie and also thickens the soup up nicely. After it gets blenderized...

...I always top the soup with some chopped avocado, tomato, scallions, corn, and cilantro. Then, the best part....I eat the soup like a taco dip and scoop up big mouthfuls with some blue corn tortilla chips! Ohhhh it tastes so naughty but it's so good for you! I like to use Guiltless Gourmet's Blue Corn Chips because they're pretty innocent as far as tortilla chips go, plus, they taste doggone delicious and I can always score a bag for $2 at Ocean State Job Lot. Score! I always make salad to go along with my raw soups, and last night's salad was baby romaine, tomato, avocado, corn, cucumber, and celery topped with some fresh lime juice, Bragg Liquid Aminos, olive oil, and a few shakes of dulse granules. This is one of my favorite dinners and it's super filling, but of course, that didn't stop me from making some popcorn later in the evening :) What can I say, I love to eat popcorn while I watch my TV shows!

After my run this morning, I had my absolute, hands-down favorite smoothie in the whole-wide world...Chocolate Cherry!

*Sigh* It is perfection in a pint glass. It makes me so happy! It's a spin on Kristen Suzanne's Chocolate Cherry Bomb Shake. Here's my version:

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Makes 1 large serving (or 2 small servings)

1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
1 large frozen banana
1 1/2 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon raw cacao powder (I use Navitas Naturals brand)
3 tablespoons raw hemp protein powder (I use Nutiva brand)
3-4 drops chocolate liquid stevia (I use SweetLeaf brand)
6-7 ice cubes

I use a Vita-Mix blender, which is super high-powered and blends my smoothie into submission. It gets sooo creamy, sooo chocolatey-cherry, and sooooo delicious :) And, seriously, it's like having a milkshake for breakfast except there's nutrition here!! Cherries and cacao are full of antioxidants, and the hemp powder has tons of fiber and protein, as well as Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 fatty acids. Bananas have fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, and the liquid stevia is a natural, calorie-free way to add some sweetness. Now come on, wouldn't you rather have this than a Pop Tart??

After my smoothie, I shared some oatmeal with my son. I think he loves it as much as I do :) Today's bowl was simply oats, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and some coconut milk. Yum!

Lunch was leftover raw tortilla soup, salad, and more tortilla chips :) After lunch, I took a nice afternoon siesta with my son. After we woke up, I had a carrot smoothie:

Carrot and Greens Smoothie
Makes 1 large serving (or 2 small servings)

2 cups carrot juice
large hunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1 large frozen banana
1 huge handful baby spinach
few shakes of cinnamon
6-7 ice cubes

Blend on high until smooth.

While my son noshed on a CB&J wrap:

The "CB" is cashew butter and the "J" was some black currant jam. I spread both on a whole wheat tortilla, wrapped it up like a burrito, and cut it in half. My son loves these and I love to make them - they're quick, they're not messy, and they're nutritious and filling.

Tonight I'm experimenting in the kitchen. I loooove the Asparagus Quiche with Tomatoes and Tarragon from Veganomicon, but they didn't have any of the pre-made frozen quiche crusts I like at Whole Foods, so I decided to deconstruct it and make a big dinner salad instead. We'll see how it comes out!

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