Full Circle Vegetable Box Review

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in Cooking / Baking, Wellness | 0 comments

Our first vegetable box from Full Circle arrived first thing Monday morning, as promised.

Initial thoughts:

      In hindsight, this was probably too much leafy greens, as they all require cooking. It may be tempting to eat the spinach raw, but others suggest the nutrients are better assimilated when lightly cooked (particularly with fats).
      The avocado is rock hard even 3 days later, but I guess I can’t complain for getting one in December in Seattle. Same goes for the satsumas, which are delicious.
      Too bad they cut the leaves off of the beets, they are equally nutritious and can be prepared as a side to accompany the beets.
      Despite some minor complaints, it’s great to get fresh organic vegetables delivered to your doorstep. Why did it take us so long to do this?

To get the most bang out of your buck, it’s important to revive any vegetables that appear wilted and store them in a sealed container. Add some paper towels to the bottom of the container to soak up any water that remains from washing.

Now it’s time to figure out what to do this all these veggies! I guess that’s the fun part. Again, I’ve looked to Health-Bent for inspiration.


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Dirty Dozen Fruit and Veg Guide

Posted by on Jun 23, 2011 in Wellness | 0 comments

Dirty Dozen Fruit and Veg Guide

EWG has just released an updated version of their Dirty Dozen / Clean 15 list. We try to buy local and organic food as much as possible, but we like to reference this list when the price between conventional and organic produce is significant.  This is why I never pay extra for organic avocados!

Remember that thoroughly washing your produce is an important step in reducing toxicity.  Be sure to wash the skinned stuff too – even if you’re not eating the skin, it will inevitably come into contact with the cutting board and/or the inside of your piece of fruit or vegetable.

Wallet-sized list:

If you’re like Ray, you don’t need to carry the list in your wallet.  You just catalog it in your brain-safe for future retrieval.

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Gluten Free January

Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 in Wellness | 0 comments

Gluten Free January

Ray asked me to go gluten free with him for the month of January, and I reluctantly said yes.  This was the closest I’ve ever come to having a new year’s resolution (I value personal growth, but cave under the pressure of setting goals).  Even though it was only to be for one month, I have a spotty history with diet programs.  I followed a pretty strict nutrition program when I was working out with a personal trainer a few years ago, but otherwise I can’t seem to stick with any big changes.  This time around it was way easier.

First off, understand that I don’t cook, nor do I take much initiative in feeding myself.  (I do enjoy baking for some reason.)  I eat the same thing for lunch every weekday (brown rice, black beans, cheese, tomato, avocado and hot sauce) and it takes everything I have to remember to purchase those items and bring them to work with me.  Otherwise, when Ray is not around, I usually don’t eat, and I mean that literally.  Yeah, I get hungry, but then I’m all eh, I’ll just go do something else.  In cases of extreme hunger I might eat an orange or get takeout.  Guilt prevents me from eating too many ready-made, fast-food items, but I can’t be bothered to feed myself anything else, and that’s a probably a bigger problem for another blog post.  Luckily Ray loves to cook, and he feeds me wonderful, tasty things on a daily basis.  I do most of the cleaning, so we even out.

Ray did a great job of preparing and freezing a ton of gluten free options before and during our gluten free trial, so there was always a tasty chili or filling mashed potatoes waiting to be baked.  We also tested out a few gluten-free restaurant options.

Blue C Sushi
Most sushi is gluten free, you just have to avoid anything with tempura or sauces.  To my surprise, nearly all soy sauce has gluten, but tamari is a gluten-free alternative that tastes almost exactly the same.  Whole Food sells gluten free tamari soy sauce, and Blue C Sushi offers it upon request.

Jet City Pizza
After cooking delicious meals all week, sometimes Ray needs a break.  We tried the new gluten-free pizza dough from Jet City Pizza with Canadian bacon, pineapple and cheese.  The dough was very thin, so we polished off a large pizza, no problem.  I’d totally order the gluten-free dough again, it was quite tasty.  The crust is buttery and a little sweet with a very familiar flavor that tastes a little like a buttered english muffin.

Flying Apron Bakery
This gluten-free bakery in Fremont was just what I needed one day after work.  I was running up to Home Depot and needed some gluten-free energy.  Of course I had nothing at work but my lunch fixins, so I took a little detour and stopped here for a chocolate-dipped macaroon, which was delish.  I picked up an apple turnover for Ray to enjoy later.  It was a bit expensive, but worth the convenience.

My favorite thing about going gluten-free was that it caused me to focus more on ingredients in food.  Sure, wheat flour has gluten and rice does not – that’s easy.  What was eye-opening for me was all of the items that have gluten hiding inside. I’m proud to report that I avoided gluten except for one, stupid mistake.  I went out with some girlfriends and had a couple of mojitos and fajitas without the tortillas, like a good, gluten-free girl.  But when we migrated to a tavern down the street, the only options were beer and wine.  I really hate beer, and I especially hate wine.  But with a few drinks under my belt, I decided to keep the evening going by joining in on a pitcher of Bud Light.  A few glasses in it suddenly hit me that BEER HAS FUCKING GLUTEN IN IT.  Can you believe it?  The one time I accidentally cheat is with BEER. I hate beer.  I much rather would have eaten a doughnut or a pancake.  That said, Bud Light is mostly water so I didn’t beat myself up over it.

After the Bud Light Incident I wondered if I would feel sick or gross after not having gluten for so long.  However, I actually felt no different that night or the next day.  In fact, I felt pretty normal the entire month, leading me to believe that my body likely has no problems processing gluten.

Weight loss is common when first starting a gluten free program, so I decided to do a before-and-after weigh-in to judge my results.  The problem was, I didn’t really feel like finding out my initial weight.  Not to be all dramatic and cliche, but that little number on the scale can hold a lot of power, especially for women.  I’m totally happy with my body and health, but there’s always room for improvement.  Ray suggested that I hold something really heavy while weighing myself so that I would know the difference in my weight, but not the actual weight.  Genius!

Naturally, I chose one of our 25-year-old Fisher speakers.  Those suckers are heavy!

Side note – This set of speakers has been in my family since I was just a little girl.  Here I am around age 5 – see the speaker, with the black cover?  Little did I know that in 23 years I’d be heaving that thing onto a bathroom scale.

After carefully teetering over to the scale, being careful not to drop the thing and crush a toe, the speaker and I weighed in at 179.  (Get this – after all that work to obscure my actual weight, I had a doctor’s appointment the next week.  Where I was weighed.  Oh well, this way is more interesting.)

Four weeks later, the speaker and I weighed in at 178.  Considering my weight normally fluctuates about 5 pounds anyway, the results were decidedly inconclusive.

I all but abandoned my workout routine this month so I wasn’t expecting huge results.  Combine that with the fact that I don’t eat much gluten anyway, and I don’t think Gluten Free January had much impact on my health.  But I’m glad we did it!

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Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Posted by on Jan 25, 2011 in Cooking / Baking, Wellness | 2 comments

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

Ray and I went gluten free for the month of January (more on that later) so I was excited to find a gluten free brownie recipe that used black beans instead of wheat flour.  We’ve been noshing on these amazing (but expensive) bite-sized brownies from WOW foods, so I figured I could make something similar.  I was unsure about the black beans, but almost all of the reviews said that the brownies were amazing and fudgy and delicious.

Here is the recipe with my edits:

1 (15.5 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used ghee, you can also use butter)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 pinch salt (I omitted)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee (I used 1 teaspoon of brewed coffee)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (recipe said optional, but in retrospect, these are very necessary).

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and melt the butter

2. Grease an 8×8 baking pan

3. Combine everything but the chocolate chips into a blender or food processor until smooth.  Add the chocolate chips and mix by hand.

4. Pour into the greased baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.

The verdict?  Meh.  They definitely satisfied my sweet tooth and had a “fudge-like” consistency.  They even tasted like chocolate.  But they were just a little off. As Ray’s friend Ben said, “They’re missing something… I think its gluten.”

Sigh, some things just aren’t meant to be gluten free.

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Buckwheat Hull Pillows

Posted by on Nov 18, 2010 in House Stuff, How-To, Wellness | 3 comments

Buckwheat Hull Pillows

Ever since I read about buckwheat hull pillows I’ve been wanting to try them out – craftiness and ec0-friendly, toxic free living combined into one project?  Yes!

So a couple of months ago I purchased some organic cotton and followed this zippered pillow case tutorial.  I ordered my organic buckwheat hulls from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I used about 2 pounds in my pillow (I like really flat pillows) and Ray’s pillow is sitting around 3-4 pounds.

They took some getting used to, but we’re both loving our new pillows.  Buckwheat hulls are great because they offer firm but flexible neck support.  You have to dig a little divot for your head, and they’re kind of loud when you roll over – but it feels great to be sleeping on something organic and sustainable.  Plus, the cases are fully washable and the hulls can be aired out during washings.  These will last us for years and years!

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