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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Alice.

Alice, this story is yours, may you never doubt your strength.


I am writing this story as you slumber in our family bed with Dad. You are 9 ½ months. I need to write this. Each night as we lay down to sleep I think about your birth in my head & I feel it in my heart. Tonight I am writing this, for you, for me.

So I will begin this with how grateful we were to find out we were finally pregnant! We had been wanting this for 4 ½ years, little did we know it was only the beginning or just how much our hearts could swell with love & joy. I knew that I had wanted a homebirth since I was in high school. I had read an article in Seventeen magazine about Cindy Crawford’s. That’s what I wanted for you. I was inspired then, it sounds ignorant, but I didn’t even know it was a possibility, wasn’t it scary, risky? That’s the society that we live in. I knew no one who had a home birth & aside from my Grandparents anyone who was born at home. I do now, I know plenty. I called the midwife that our family doctor had given me a number for, the same midwife who had attended his baby’s births. We would later learn that she is undoubtedly the best & so very perfect for us. So I called her in the parking lot of my massage school during the first weeks of our pregnancy & chatted for a few minutes. She asked did I know anyone whose birth she attended & did I know anyone who had a homebirth. I did not. She said let’s make an appointment to meet, bring a food journal for three days & the only requisite was that I was to be fearless. I said ok & from there on out I was, completely. I cried tears of joy after I got off the phone, this was happening. We met & fell in admirable love with Pat & felt so very secure with her as our guide to bring our child peacefully into the world. Our pregnancy progressed perfectly uneventful. The only intervention we used was to do a blood panel on me, because we had a high likelihood of moving to Florida before our birth & Pat thought it good to have that to take to another midwife part way through. We did not move. We had no ultrasound, no tests aside peeing on a sugar/protein stick each month, no medications, no fetal monitoring other than experienced hands on my belly and listening with a manual feta scope. We met once a month at Pat’s studio and near our edd twice at our home. I felt wonderful pregnant, not one day was I sick, I did get to enjoy afternoon naps as much as I could outside of school & part time work. I walked, stretched, used essential oils on my growing body, did 2 lb arm exercises, did daily cat/cows, down dogs, & supported backbends over our balance ball. I drank Himalayan salt water. We bought a slant board and I laid on it daily. The first time I felt the baby move I was lying on the slant board & it completely took my breath away, she felt like a little fish! I looked forward to and loved each movement that would follow in my great big belly. The hiccups baby would experience were a little disconcerting to me as a first timer, but I learned to relax with them too. I went to two of my yoga classes & decided to take a break from it aside from what I was practicing on my own at home. My belly grew, boy did it grow. I knew I was having a girl, I had seen her a short time prior to becoming pregnant. She came to me while I was in between sleep & wake, I knew just who she was. I told David when he got home from work that day that I had seen our daughter. Through our pregnancy I saw an acupuncturist who read my pulses and confirmed what I already knew. David traveled quite a bit for work during our pregnancy, he was in Texas or Florida for about a third of it. My body did some early work with Braxton Hicks contractions starting around 7 months. I learned to soothe them with warm Epsom salt baths, herbs, and remedies. One of my sisters in law came to stay the night with me during continued BH contractions while David was out of town. I spent much of the night in bed & the bath. I continued to drink my herbal teas, crawl on hands & knees, which was ideal for creating very clean floors I rolled instead of sitting up in bed, visualized birth, read about birth, & did no abdominal work. We needed stretchy space for baby to turn when she needed. I gained 65 pounds. I ordered, gathered, & organized our birth supplies. We borrowed Pat’s birth pool & bought a liner. I prepped our bath herbs, tinctures, & remedies. As our edd of Valentine’s Day approached and passed I did not grow anxious, I was so calm and very at peace. I did grow tired of being checked on by seemingly everyone we know ;) I guess that will happen in an age of texting when you are 9 days past your edd. Folks care though & were sharing in our excitement. I woke often during the night to pee & get comfortable, one hip or the other was aching. During our last home visit Pat had taught us some tissue stretching technique to prep if we wanted to, we wanted to, but never did. During that visit we learned that the baby was as far down in the birth canal as possible & in perfect position. Most of our pregnancy the baby was breech. Once baby turned, she was posterior. We asked baby to adjust to anterior, a few days later she did, she was preparing. Shortly before David was home from work on a Wednesday in February while I was cleaning our Maggie cat’s litter box I felt some wetness on my legs. I was wearing gauchos with no underwear how Pat encouraged. Was I peeing a little? Did I pee a little & then since I wasn’t wearing underwear not be able to stop? Was I leaking?!? I was. Pat had told me to possibly not expect a gush of fluid as baby’s head was basically a cork. I was never checked for dilation or thinning until well into labor after Pat asked if I wanted it at which point I was fully. I suspect I was dilated for a while before birth. I was still always comfortable, but ‘felt like baby’s head is so right there’. I cleaned up and changed clothes. David came home and I told him what I thought was happening. He was happy. We ate dinner; gosh I wish I remember what we had now, I think it involved kale salad. I sat at the table and hand stitched a label on a quilt that a dear friend had made us, the label had come in the mail that day. I got 3 of the 4 sides done & couldn’t sit still. Dave turned the fireplace on and started to get the pool ready. I used the bathroom a few times, my body was getting ready. We posted our do not disturb sign on the front door. David had called Pat to fill her in, she told us to call when we had progressed to a certain point. David helped me out of my clothes & I would continue to labor naked & give birth wearing hiking socks 25 ½ hours later. We progressed. I labored first by our fireplace in the lower level of our home sitting & swaying on an old wooden desk chair, my childhood desk chair, with Maggie lying by my feet. Then on our balance ball & walking around, I did a lot of walking. I got in the pool, Pat arrived, we progressed. The warm water felt so nice, my muscles relaxed as much as I could let them, I felt lighter. Opening was so very intense. I relaxed as much as I could. Our second midwife, Linda, arrived. Hours passed, I was done with the pool. I walked some more. We all chatted, I was in and out of paying attention to what was going on around me. I remember saying how it sounded dumb, but it didn’t feel like there was a baby. Pat chuckled & said isn’t it funny. At least I knew I wasn’t the first to feel that way. I needed to meet you. I was unaware, but David was texting my Mom to keep up on what we were doing. She came and delivered food supplies to the porch. Linda napped and snored softly on the slant board in front of the fire. I was with three people who believed in the natural process of birth as I was bringing my baby into the world.  They believed in me.  They all busied themselves with prepping, eating, and taking care of me. I imagined myself among all the other mothers laboring to bring their children into the world that night too. I imagined the strength of the wild animals doing the same out in the cold mountains somewhere. I thought of the millions of women who had done this before me. Twelve hours had passed. The sun had set & risen. I felt the need to push so I did. They explained to me how to let go where & to push where. I pushed & pushed. Pat monitored baby’s heart rate, through the 12 HOURS of pushing Alice’s heart rate would never waver from 120 bpm. She is a rockstar. We were realizing this was not going to be one of the estatic/orgasmic births I had read & watched movies about, haha, it was not. Nor was it going to be a 3 push birth. They wondered if David was hindering progress somehow. He went upstairs to rest & eat. He was not hindering progress. I wanted him by my side. I should try and pee, I surely had a full bladder. I did not want to sit on the toilet, no way. Linda said can you pee in the shower. Yes I can. I couldn’t, I labored in the hot shower for a bit. Pat checked in on me & asked if any part of me wanted to go to the hospital. I said no, no part of me did, no part of me was scared or unsure, not even a cell. I was doing this. Why was it taking so long? I lay on my bed; they gave me a catheter & emptied my bladder. We went back down stairs, I continued to push. I wanted to cry.  Linda wisely said this is not the time to cry, we can do that after the baby is here.Contractions came consistently each minute & then they slowed & then they came back at a minute. I said ‘I don’t know how much longer I can do this’ I didn’t feel that, it just came out. I also expressed how I was amazed that women have more than one baby. I was assured they felt the same way in their first labors, yet they each have 3 babies. I asked Pat if I could have a Kevita, she said sure, do anything you want. It brought me my second wind. I walked & pushed. We tried many many positions, they brought in a birth stool. Pat supported me in a full squat, we were making slow progress. I wanted another Kevita. David’s sister brought us Kevita & chocolate. Dave took over supporting my squats each minute. I was encouraged to find my primal voice & use it.  I found it as best as I could.  I grunted & growled with each coming contraction.  We doubled & tripled up pushes with each powerful wave of my uterus.  We continued to make slow progress. I could feel my baby’s head! It was so so soft & full of the softest hair. Oh my, our baby was coming. We made the turn past my pubic bone. Her head was born. I got on my hands, one knee, and a foot. She was a compound presentation. Her hand was on her face. She was not an 8 pound baby. I waited for a seemingly long time for the next contraction, it came, I puuuuushed, Pat wrestled Alice out into the world. It was 7:14 pm, our baby was earthside. The world had just become a better place. Huge snowflakes fell.  She shares her Grandmother’s birthday. Pat laid her on a towel, I sat, and scooped her up & kissed her. We had our daughter. David sat back on the sofa & breathed a sigh & a tear. We did it, he is my rock. I cradled this sweet sweet girl who gazed up at her mother. She was big & pink & healthy from fingertips to her toes. She was bright eyed & alert from her first breath. She is absolutely amazing. Our daughter was greeted by the two pair of longing eyes of her parents & two pair of knowing, skillful mother’s eyes. It was perfect, all of it. Linda took our photo, thank you Linda, I so cherish this. We climbed onto the sofa and I cradled my daughter who latched on and we shared our first of many nurses. Our cord continued to pulse. I felt it. When it was done, David cut our cord & it was tied with fabric tape. I enjoyed the ONE piece of chocolate that was saved for me, it was white with raspberry center. I drank a smoothie they had prepared for me & took herbs & algae. The next afternoon David and I named our daughter Alice Hope. We would measure her length in a few days at 22 inches. Pat placed Alice in her spring scale. She was so long, she used another blanket. She weighed 11 pounds 3 ounces! I laughed, we did it. I said ‘we did it’ Linda replied, there’s one more stage of labor yet, but there’s no bones involved, we all laughed. David held his daughter, I sat on a bowl & gave birth to a very very huge blood clot. I asked was that it? It was not. Pat encouraged our cord a little, our beautiful placenta was born. I needed no stitches. We did it, we worked hard for over a day, my daughter is so very strong. I was helped up to our bath, Alice & I shared our first herbal soak together. We all adored Alice. I would choose this again, a million times over. I remember with fondness how days later I was still too weak to stand & shower alone.  Your Daddy & I showered & he washed me & my new strange deflated belly.  I remember how severely sore I was for weeks & then how less sore I was for months, in a heartbeat I would choose it again. We got out of the tub, diapered & dressed Alice & were helped into bed. Pat & Linda tidied up everything, cleaned, & did the laundry. Linda took our placenta & left to attend their next birth. A boy would be born 7 hours after Alice, who we would serendipitously meet in the coming months. Our placenta was dried & returned a few days later. Pat checked on us and headed to the next birth as well. Alice was here, Alice is here. It was the best day of my life. I brought my daughter into the world in the comfort of our home with her Dad. I will never be the same & I am grateful. I am empowered. We all slept, the three of us, in our room, for 10 hours.

Thank you Alice. Thank you for choosing us. Thank you for trusting me. My body is so strong. I have overflowed with gratitude for the unwavering support of your Dad. It feels good to trust birth. I am so proud. This is for you. These are my heartfelt words, they fall short of expressing just how truly amazing birth is. Always know how strong & deeply loved you are. You are a beautiful perfect force of nature.

Alice Hope Deller, born at her home in Ypsilanti, Michigan

February 23rd, 2012, 7:14pm

11 pounds, 3 ounces, 22 inches





Wednesday, November 30, 2011

big fat sand =)

My favorite sandwich lately here has been generous amounts of homemade hummus (Creamy Hummus from Vive le Vegan!), cucumber, avocado, spinach, and Dijon.  So good, filling, and quick to prepare, after you've made the hummus.  This week was the first time I used dried beans to make hummus (so much cheaper, no cans, etc.  We have been using Eden beans for years (no BPA in the can lining), but this is better financially and it's fun.  It does however take a bit of planning ahead of time, I ended up having to wake up in the night to put the cooled beans in the fridge ;)  they had just gotten done cooking at bedtime.  I used the instructions from an Eden foods catalog:  rinse beans 3 times with cold water, soak beans covered in cold water by 3-4 inches (the beans will get bigger) for 7-8 hours, drain and cover again with cold water by 4 inches or so in a pan, add a piece of kombu, bring to boil and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until beans are tender (you may need to add more water), ours were perfect at an hour and a half, remove kombu, and let cool and refrigerate. 

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Thanks to Angela at Oh She Glows I made one of our new favorite dinners.  Check out this recipe for butternut squash mac n cheeze!  I have it bookmarked on the computer and have made it a few times since, so good!  When I found the recipe I had some leftover cooked (cubed on the stove in water) kabocha squash from the night before and used that.  I've also used pumpkin, but the kabocha was my fav.  I stirred in some frozen peas at the end of course ;)

stirring the squash into the cheeze sauce

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delectable dinner =)

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Lots of protein smoothies here lately too:

water/unsweetened almond milk
2 bananas
fruit (berries, oranges, or mango, etc.)
greens
spirulina
avocado (want a creamy shake?  put in an avocado, mmm!)
dates

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And some food photos from the summer...

fresh organic asparagus!  some raw in salads, some steamed for dinner

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with nut butter carrot and parsnip fries 

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collards and rice seasoned with these two.

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I love trying new hummus recipes...what is your favorite recipe?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Good Frosty Morning =)

Good Morning from a frosty Michigan!  We're starting to get some colder weather and had a beautiful burst of blowing snow yesterday for our second snow fall of the year, no accumulation yet, which is just fine, we have some long cold winters here!

This week I went to visit my Momma for the day and night for a girls sleepover and packed some sustinance for my trip.  First I totally enjoyed this green juice sitting in the sun. 

Organic juice of:
romaine
cucumber
spinach
ginger
apple
orange

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I made the Broccoli Salad from The Cancer Survivor's Guide to Foods That Help you Fight Back.  (I am not ill, but I think this book is wise).  It's really simple to make, I did leave out the sugar the recipe calls for because I don't think it needs it. 

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Mom and I pretty much devoured this for lunch and dinner!

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This was my dinner plate:  broccoli salad, boiled organic beets (yum!), raw cauliflower with raw curry pate dip, brown rice and quinoa mix from Seeds of Change (we did not heat in the bag).  It was delicious, awesome foods =) 

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In the morning I started off with an organic green protein smoothie that I had packed:

2 fresh bananas
unsweetened almond milk
frozen peaches
fresh spinach
1 tsp spirulina
2 pitted dates
splash of almond extract
2 scoops of Raw protein powder

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for my back log of photos I found these from Hubby and I's dinner for my birthday in May this summer.  We went to Jazzy Veggie downtown Ann Arbor for a vegan dinner that is always so tasty. 

Hubby had the potstickers

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and the sausage n peppers hoagie

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we shared their delicious baked sweet pot fries

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I had what I pretty much always choose, the sweet potato quinoa burger. 

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Here I am turning 33.

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We walked around town after and stopped into Schakolad for a piece of chocolate.  They have a nice few options of vegan chocolate.  I believe these were coconut, MI cherry, and PB.  The guy working keep giving me free pieces once he found out it was my BD ;) 

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and this was the sky on our drive home, gorgeous.  I'm a lucky girl. 

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

raw tortilla chips!

I was so excited to finally make these raw corn tortilla chips from Everyday Raw.  I won this book last year and have yet to make any of the recipes in it, but I knew when I first looked through it that the tortillas were what I wanted to try first.  So finally it was time...after I was fearful hubby was going to turn into a corn chip from eating so many (we usually have the Kirkland organic ones, which are yummy and fried), but I wanted him to snack freely on something he loves so much, he eats them plain, blech!, maybe I could make it a bit quite a bit healthier for him, and being reinspired after lunching with a girlfriend at Red Pepper Deli where we had their raw chips with avocado and pico. 

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frozen, thawed organic corn, onion, spices, water

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stirring it all together with the flax meal

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2 or 3 days later ;)  I am still becoming proficient with spreading chips really thin on the dehydrator sheets so I let them dry extra until they were nice and crispy.  I dried 30 mins. then scored into chips, then dried maybe 24 hours, moved to mesh trays to finish to our crunchy desires.  We both really like them (and these I can eat plain!) lots of flavor and good crunch.  Have you all made raw corn chips? 

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A couple nights ago I made (along with our staple big salads) these quinoa and bean sloppy joes that a friend posted the recipe link for on Facebook.  I really like making these, they are a good protein meal, easy and quick, and sometimes it's fun to eat a sandwich, something we don't make much of here.  Here's the recipe link.    They make great leftovers too inside romaine leaves for lunches.  We sadly didn't have any ripe red peppers this time so I used extra toms, and made tom sauce out of opened paste and water, and used our favorite bean the aduki/adzuki bean instead of pinto.  We like to top them with relish and yelllow mustard on a Rudi's wheat bun.  So good and comforting, especially when it gets chilly here!

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Now that I have gRawnola made my mornings have consisted of this at some point.  Cultured almond milk and granola.  yum, yum, yum!

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I am pretty excited to try the new Greek style coconut milk yogurts when I find them!

We have a new coffee mug that we are digging by Klean Kanteen.  We got the insulated 16 oz mug and the cafe top.  The cafe top comes apart for thorough cleaning, is BPA free, however it is not leakproof.  We've only had it a few days, so I have yet to use it myself, but hubby loves it, washing it is a breeze, and now I have two to rotate sending to work with him since two of our other SS insulted mugs have been left other places :/ 

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We ordered from REI since our local stores don't seem to stock them and I had a gift certificate as part of a massage tip=)  Did you know they'll ship to your local store for free?  cool deal right? one of the many things we love about REI.  Also, while I was there picking up our mug I saw that they had Pure bars.  I picked up my favorite blueberry and the cranberry orange to try.  Trader Joe's here always has just the same two flavors that happen to not be my favs. 

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and for the photos from days past...

we have delicious wheatgrass with half a haircut

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and Maggie protecting hers ;)

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Hope the sun is shining where you are today, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween/Samhain!

Happy Halloween, well the day after.  Hope everyone had a fun time and not too many sugar hangover headaches this morning!  Fruit leathers are what we handed out this year to our trick or treaters.  We found them in boxes of 48 at Costco.  We had just under100, a bit less than usual, and I think the most common costume here was the green lantern ;)

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I have been searching for this nog, had a major craving for it!  We found it this weekend at Plum Market, thought I was going to sing in the store.  The mint chocolate is yummy, but the nog is SO yummy.  I don't know if I've ever had traditional eggnog, but as a kid I loved this mix that my grandparent's had that you could stir granules into a glass of milk for instant eggnog anytime of the year.  Hubby made a big mug of warmed nog, almond milk, and a few chocolate chips last night as it was a little chilly greeting the kiddos. 

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We've been enjoying big salads made with organic local spinach varieties, red peppers and tomatoes from our garden, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. 

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We had our first hard frost this past week, a couple days before it happened I felt it coming and gathered up our green toms and peppers that are now ripening up nicely in the window =) 

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I've made a couple of recipes from Vive le Vegan recently.  One of them is the Creamy Poppyseed Dressing that is awesome!  It calls for soft tofu, but I subbed the same amount of raw cashews instead to keep it raw and it worked perfect, just adding a bit of water for blending. 

poppyseeds are so pretty.

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We have a couple of these bamboo ladles from pampered chef that work so well for dressing salads. 

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The other recipe is for her Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies, which are always delish.  This was our sweet treat for the holiday since we don't buy candy.

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Has anyone tried the new organic olive oils that Whole Foods has now?  We have tried this one and I have to say it is really flavorful and nice.  One thing you miss when you've been to Italy is the flavorful olive oil.

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Our backlog photos of the day are of our quick pickles we made this summer. 

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We used this recipe for Icebox Pickles from Earthmother.  They were soooo good, very apple cider vinegary, which we love.  Hope our cucumbers are more productive next year for making more pickles!  Hubby and I love our pickles. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Strawberry Chia Milk!

I remember seeing a post with a recipe on The Raw Food World's Facebook page and thought it sounded so good for strawberry chia milk.  Growing up 'pink milk' was one of my favorite treats, I loved to dunk my pb&js in it, seriously was there anything better?  My strawberry milk then was made by stirring pink Quik into a glass of milk and I'm sure that I used extra ;)  This is a decidely healthier real strawberry milk without any of the little blue specks.  Anyone else remember those?  I always wondered why there was blue in it and what it was, now I know;)  So, anyway here is the link to the recipe.  I made some changes so I'll give you the recipe I came up with.

2 cups unsweetened almond milk (not raw)
2 T organic chia seeds
3 T raisin soak water (I had been soaking raisins for pudding)
2 medjool dates, pitted
scant 2 cups of frozen organic strawberries (what we had left)
splash of organic fairtrade vanilla extract

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blending away, isn't it pretty?

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2 servings, one went with me on a bank errand and the other is for a treat today =)

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This milk is really delicious, very creamy and sweet.  If you want it a little less sweet, leave out the dates and see how you like it. 

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Thank you Raw Food World for sharing your recipe, their site is a great place to order your chias from, it's where we first got ours when I was chia curious ;) 

Onto dinner last night, this rice bowl sounded perfect (and we had all the ingredients on hand) that I found on Happy Foody while starting to catch up on blog reading yesterday. 

changes I made:
used collards as the green (are garden is abundant yet =)
I skipped Nori (ours is expired, not sure if that's ok or not...) and used dulse flakes instead
added chopped red pepper, we had a little late crop in the garden =)
used raw agave as the sweetener
used ACV as well

using our little frozen chunks of aging ginger (it's so much easier to grate this way too) to make the delicious dressing. 

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microplanes rock

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dressing ready

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juilenned collards fresh from the garden

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stir them into your brown rice when it is ready

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top with all your goodies and dress, the cucumber really added a nice fresh crunch to this bowl,  Adding beans would also be great. 

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For a treat last night I had made these Winter Squash Muffins with leftover bnut squash from dinner this week.  I used 2 mashed bananas as my eggs and they turned out great, very moist and a nice treat with chocolate chips ;)  I actually ended up eating my dessert before dinner while I was getting dinner prepared, sometimes that happens here. 

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While I was in the garden getting greens I picked what will be the last of our tomatoes this year.  These will ripen up nicely in the kitchen window. 

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A new favorite Theo bar is this salted almond!  Our WF rarely carries different flavors, I was very excited to find this on sale. 

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and for back log photos of the day:  Mom had made a surprise visit to see me on my birthday back in the end of May...it was nice and sunny and I was out on a day off soaking up the sun and drinking some lemonade, not quite like today, haha. 

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super easy lemonade recipe:  water, dates, and fresh lemons.  You'll want to remember this one for the summer, you can adjust your sweetness to your liking, we use less dates and more lemon for great tartness =)

The sun may not make it through the clouds today, so I have a day of organizing in order here. 
Take good care, xo