On A Mission

What does fundraising mean to you?

Honestly, I think of kids going door to door trying their hardest to push that wrapping paper. After all, they REALLY want to qualify for that new gaming system.

I think of co-workers avoiding eye contact with parents doing all the foot work. There’s a new bike on the line for the ‘winner’.

I think of promises of pizza parties and ice cream sundae parties if our class brings in the most cans for the canned food drive.

I think of those school assemblies where the candy bar company salesman comes to pump us all up to SELL THAT CHOCOLATE! We’ve got prizes!

The true reason for all the fundraising gets lost in the shuffle of ‘what’s in it for me’ sometimes. What if the reason was the true prize? This is why I am a participant in my local Relay for Life event.

Cancer touches so many lives and the motivation to find a cure and help to make a difference truly comes from a place of compassion and love. There’s no need for incentive. No need for the new TV, the MP3 player, or the fancy trip abroad. The giving here is real  and selfless. It’s a dedication to those we love and a commitment to researching for a cure.

This event is such an uplifting experience and such a happy and joyful time, but I am always deeply moved and truly touched to see so many dedicated participants of all ages. There are survivors, fighters, caregivers, children, parents, friends, neighbors and coworkers. They all put in the work, they all follow through and they all emit an overwhelming sense of purpose and love.

I am proud to work among these wonderful people and to say that I am, indeed, ‘fundraising’. Help me to put the life in this relay!

Relay for Life

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Curry Cauliflower Soup For Those Cold Florida Nights

I’ve been on a major soup kick.

We’ve been having soup eating weather lately and no, I don’t live in the Northeast….I live in Florida. It’s been “Florida cold” and I think it’s all relative. When you’re used to warm, sunny weather and you’re suddenly hit with slightly cooler sunny weather, it’s just a shock to the system. I had to break out the hoodie…and the soup.

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I was inspired by the monster of a cauliflower I bought at the farmer’s market.

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That is a Tablespoon for size reference!

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The base of this soup is cauliflower that is pureed until silky smooth. Just boil it or steam it until soft. I used two cups of chopped florets. I blended it with my immersion blender and added enough water to get it going. I also blended in 1 Tablespoon of tahini.

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I’m still building up a spice cabinet in my new place and this was basically everything I have… except for the pumpkin pie spice.

I love Indian flavors and curries and heat so I have curry powder, turmeric, chili flakes, fennel seed, cumin and powdered ginger. I never measure my spices, I just go with the spicy flow.

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To get started I heated up a little coconut oil and added three chopped scallions and a handful of chopped kale.

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All the spices in.

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Creamy cauliflower/tahini puree in.

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A few cups of water until it reaches the consistency you like. I like it a little more loose so I added three cups.

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Let it simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes and it’s ready to go! I served mine over some spaghetti squash and topped it with my favorite coconut milk and some ground flax seed. Fancy 🙂

My Favorite Brand of Coconut Milk

I’m a big fan of coconut milk.

I put it in my coffee, I make whipped topping out of it and I put it in smoothies, curries and puddings. It also makes a great dip! It’s delicious but not all canned coconut milks are created equal and I’m always on the look out for new brands.

THIS. BRAND. is fantastic. I found it at Walmart for just over a dollar and twenty cents.

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It’s hard to find a coconut milk without added stabilizers such as guar gum so I was expecting it to be thin but it was very thick and rich.

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Full fat coconut milk can be a little heavy for drinking straight up or using in a smoothie so I like to blend it with extra water. I mixed 1 full can with 4 cans of filtered water.

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It got all nice and frothy and still retained a good flavor and consistency.

By the way, this blender totally exploded the other day 😦 Did you notice the ginormous crack running up the side? Yeah, I didn’t.

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The absolute best part about this brand is that it set up really nice overnight in the fridge. I didn’t have to separate any liquid, I just poured the whole can in a jar, gave it a good shake and left it in the fridge overnight. I’ve used other brands before to make coconut whipped cream and have ALWAYS had to drain off the liquid from the solidified fat. It’s not a difficult task or anything but this one was all ready to go 🙂

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SUPER THICK

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Dip Makes My Day

Dip. is. delicious.

My love for dip runs deep. What’s not to like? It’s flavorful, versatile and fun to eat. It can be sweet or savory, hot or cold, and a party can’t start without it. My friends and I take our dipping very seriously and have created a ritual gathering dubbed “The Dip Train.” 1) Everyone brings a dip  2) The host provides the dippers and 3) Obviously you line up all the dishes like a train and make train sounds

While these Dip Trains are awesome, getting everyone together is like herding cats. We’re all busy and spread across the country now which makes a Dip Train extra special when it all comes together. However, I need dip more than once a year.

Which is why I make this flax-y, pumkin-y, nut buttery single serving dip.

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I just recently started using flaxseed meal. It’s interesting and I like the nuttiness. When you mix it with water it creates a sort of gel.

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I add about 3-4 Tablespoons of water to a heaping tablespoon of flaxseed meal and let it sit for 5 minutes.

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Whisk it really well and the flax mixture will froth slightly. Then I add 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin.

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I added two Tablespoons of tahini to this recipe but I’ve also made it with coconut butter and several different nut butters and it’s always good 🙂 Use what you like

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After adding the tahini you need to really whip it. It gets nice and fluffy and you get a bonus workout.

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How great is this monkey bowl?

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Oooooooooooooh noooooooooooooooooooooo!

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Serve with something that scoops up dip well. I like it with carrots and celery but it would be great with fruit as well.

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Sometimes You Just Need A Fudgsicle

Fudgsicles were one of my grandma’s favorite treats.

Her freezer was always well stocked with these pops and every opening of the freezer door presented the risk of death by popsicle avalanche. They never seemed to be able to stay in the box.

I have many fond memories of weekends at my grandma’s tiny apartment and the offering of a fudgsicle being the pinnacle of hospitality. For a kid, something that is chocolate, frozen AND on a stick is a snack made in heaven. I loved them.

Tried them as an adult: not so much. What happened? Was cardboard always an ingredient? Oh, the disappointment. So I tried to create my own homemade version.

I flavored it with orange because my grandma and I also loved the chocolate oranges in the orange foil wrapper 🙂 Actually, we just loved chocolate in general.

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Ingredient: 1 Orange

Technically, it’s a Honeybell. I’d never had a Honeybell but they are super juicy and have a nice thin skin. AND they were 5 for $2 so you know

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Ingredient: 1 avocado

Careful with the avocado. Also, not a traditional fudge pop ingredient.

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I have ridiculously great avocado hand/eye coordination. If you don’t, place a nice thick kitchen towel to protect your hand or use a spoon to scoop out the pit.

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This is where things get chocolatey real quick. 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder.

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Immersion blenders really are the best.

Also, you can add some sweetener here if you want and a pinch of salt. I threw in some cinnamon as well.

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If you have cute popsicle molds now would be the time to use them

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These fudge pops may not have a stick or be the right shape, but they were definitely rich, chocolatey and delicious and I even made a mess while eating it!

What What Coconut

I love my food processor. ❤

I recently moved and the first box through the door carefully cradled my beloved kitchen appliance. I didn’t have a bed to sleep on or plates to eat off of but at least my priorities were in order 🙂

I’m currently drafting an ode…

From silky vegetable purees and vibrant pesto to cookie dough and dips (ooooh, the dips!), I seriously don’t think I could maneuver a kitchen without it. One of my very favorite things to obliterate by stainless steel dual blade is flaked coconut. It blends down into a creamy, delicious concoction in a snap and its definitely a staple in my pantry. Here is a rather in-depth tutorial:

Step 1: Gather all ingredients…..Did I mention it’s just the one ingredient? I mean I added a little salt but c’mon.

*A little tip on buying flaked coconut: BUY IT IN BULK. Way cheaper.

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Step 2: Load ‘er up.

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I blitzed down the first container a little before adding the second container. I was able to fit a pound of flaked coconut in this puppy.

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Step 3: ….um, watch.

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Step 4: SCRAPE! The sides that is!

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Step 4 cont’d: Let ‘er roll! We’re about 8 minutes in folks.

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Step 5: Scrape again and marvel.

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Step. Six.

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Don’t worry, I worked that spatula in ALL the nooks and crannies…

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So good.

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I Blog Now

This is my official first attempt at entering the world of social media and the general interwebs. I feel like just about everyone on this planet has a blog and I guess I feel like I’m late to the party and missing out. I’m technologically challenged and I have no idea what I’m doing but I’ll keep clicking through and hopefully get words on a ‘page’ or a ‘post’ thingy …with a ‘widget’ doohickey and ‘tag’ it all up nice. My goal is to share bits and pieces of what I am interested in including food, cooking, things that make me laugh, food, reading, and making food. My other goal is to not sound like an idiot. I know that blogs are all about sharing and making new friends and I’m really looking forward to hopefully making that happen here. (Does anyone else find the term “followers” creepy?)

There’s just so many links……and settings…..It’ll be fine.