Saturday, February 28, 2009

Year 3 of Drought & Chanterelle Dreams...

This afternoon I made a trip up to look for chanterelles in my favorite area in the Oakland Hills. I found TWO chanterelles. Even if there were other people up there before me who picked all the mushrooms, there are usually signs of mushrooms, even if it is a discarded mushy chanterelle thrown off the trail or a nice chanterelle that fell out of someone's pack -- these have cleanly cut bottoms (deer don't use a knife to pull up chanterelles).

One great indicator are the wood rat middens -- nests that are basically great big piles of sticks that are occupied by little wood creatures also known as "pack rats." There will often be tiny button size chanterelles growing in the middle of those nests and I don't know any mushroom hunter who will go out of his or her way to disassemble a midden to clear every single sign of chanterelles.

The chanterelles just aren't happening. We had such late rain and it may be too little -- we have more rain expected this week but the governator has already called it a drought. Fingers crossed that these rains will reverse our drought and rescue the mushroom season.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cleaning Up

MARDI GRAS is approaching, and though I am not catholic, it seems like good timing to make some resolutions for the 6-week period of abstinence often observed after Fat Tuesday. Inspired by A Year Without, I'm going to cut out all refined sugar for 6 weeks. I don't eat a lot, I suppose, I don't even eat my own preserves on a weekly basis (!), so I have put together a general plan to really tighten up my diet and fitness regimen so I can lose 15 pounds that are hanging on.

Diet changes:
  • no alcohol
  • no refined sugar
  • no wheat
  • no potatoes
  • no packaged food
  • no fried food
  • no chocolate candy (exception: raw cacao powder/nibs)
  • take all my vitamins every day!
  • as much raw as possible
Fitness changes:
  • Yoga 2x-3x/week (from 1x)
  • Run 2x/week (from 0x)
  • Cardio/exercise bike 4 hours/week (from 1:20 - 3:20)
  • Weights 4x/week (from 5x/week)
  • Swim 2 x/week, starting TBD (from 0x/week since November when I slept funny and woke up with a painful neck kink that is still troubling me)
  • Massage bi-weekly (from weekly)
Exception: I will allow for Saturday as a "free" day to indulge in only one of the excluded items, whether it's wine or pasta or chocolate but not everything. Of course, if there is a special dinner - the "free" day will float.

So, this should be interesting. It will definitely affect the food I put together on my blog over the next several weeks.

I'm also cutting down on "noise" - I'm going to take a break from reading and commenting on blogs, social network sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, TBD, etc) and focus on starting seedlings for my garden, improving my motorcycle skills in dry weather, and in wet weather, scanning a humongous collection of family history documents and photos so I can start sending the originals back to my mom and reduce the amount of "other people's stuff" in my house.

I will still be accessible by phone and e-mail, as well as by comments here on my blog. After Tuesday, however, I won't really be responding to notes and such on any social network sites, so please don't take it personally. It's not about you - it's about my gigantoid ass and my bad habit of taking on more and more family history docs to the point that it has become the project that has eaten my spare bedroom. And, yes, there will be a website with the docs if you're interested in it when it is done.

Plenty of gardening, raw vegan yum yums and other delights will still be posted here during my semi-fast thingy. Someone just has to remind me when easter happens so I can get back to eating chocolate and fried tofu with peanut sauce.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sad News About Zachary's Pizza...

But at least this explains why I get hives for days after I eat it:

Hi Jennifer-
Thanks for the email. We can't give out all the specific ingredients in our dough, however I can tell you that our dough is not vegan. It contains butter.
If that makes our pizza out of the question for are welcome to buy our sauce and make your own version of Zachary's Pizza at home! It might not be the exactly the same...but I have heard some people make a version that is pretty darn close.
Becki Gagnon
Zachary's Pizza Manager

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flaxseed Crackers - the latest experiment

THERE IS NO WAY you can screw up flaxseed crackers if you have a good blender, soak the hell outta your nuts, and use good fresh or dried ingredients and don't abuse salt or any powdered spices.

This week's experiment in sweet flaxseed-almond crackers was an attempt to make a raw biscotti.

Orange-Cranberry Almond Flaxseed Crackers
2 c. orange pulp (from juicing) & zest from as many oranges as you have patience to zest with your microplane
1 lb frozen cranberries, defrosted and pulsed in the blender or food processor
2 c. raw almonds, soaked and sprouted and pulverized into med (smaller than coarse) pieces
2 c. flax seeds, pulverized in your blender and soaked with 4-5 c. water
1 c. agave
1 t. sea salt of your choice (I like pink)

Mix it all together - add some raw cacao powder if you want to get fancy. Spread it out on your dehydrator sheets and put it in the dehydrator. Make sure you pop any unbroken cranberries (makes nice red splotches).

Yum. Pictures coming if I can manage to take any before I eat all these.