Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving week vacation

I traveled to California over Thanksgiving week to see my brother and his family. He celebrated a milestone birthday the week before, and instead of visiting him then, he suggested a Thanksgiving gathering. Since we hadn't been together to share this holiday in well over a decade, I was very happy to accept this invitation.

I last saw my brother and sister-in-law in March. At that time, we celebrated my birthday. At the time I was following a vegan food plan. In July, however, I experimented with eating 100% living foods for a week. Well that 7-day adventure has grown into nearly 5 months of continuous uncooked, unprocessed, vegan foods. The more I eat this way, the more I enjoy and choose to eat this way.

Because it had been his birthday and because I personally wanted to eat live food, I prepared a dinner for the family the next day after my arrival. That meant going to the supermarket to purchase organic produce. Fortunately my adult niece offered to take me and she also became my sous chef once we returned from the errand.

I brought with me kelp noodles so I could prepare Thailicious noodles. I've made it 4-5 times. The trick was that I didn't have my trusty VitaMix. Instead I was using a Cuisinart. Since the machine belonged to my niece, she helped assemble it and then told me that there was too much liquid so that we could make it in batches. This introduced a new challenge of getting the seasoning correct since I was serving the whole dish, not portions of it. In my opinion, the end result was delicious as evidenced by the fact that everyone had second helpings.

Instead of salad, since the majority of the family had eaten one for lunch (why we couldn't eat a second one I didn't understand), so I made soup. This was my first venture preparing Thai carrot soup. This too required ingenuity in making it in batches and then correcting the seasoning. Again it was successful.

My dessert was maple and chocolate ice cream. I found immature Thai coconuts at the store. We managed to crack them open, pour out the divine liquid milk, and then scoop out the gel-like pulp. Not having the VitaMix for this recipe was a major drawback. The food processor was unable to make the base creamy enough. At least the raspberry cookies I brought from home were a hit.

For Thanksgiving we had a potluck meal. My sister-in-law had ordered and then roasted a speically marinated steak. Obviously I wasn't going to consume this item! Nor did I want to eat it. Had she roasted a turkey and I smelled it cooking all day long, I might have wanted to taste it. But steak? No way. Although I had given myself permission to eat anything during this trip, when checking internally I truly wanted and was satisfied by living foods. So I got busy and prepared lots of dishes.

For the previous dinner I had made kale salad and a sunflower pate. Because there was a lot of leftover pate, I used it to create an appetizer: celery sticks stuffed with pate.

I had plenty of kale that I lovingly prepared, removing the spine and massaging with lemon juice and a touch of olive oil. To this I added dried cranberries, pecans, and carrots. I didn't even make more dressing as it seemed fine and light as it was.

For a main dish I made my chili using soaked almonds and carrots as the base. I brought with me organic sun-dried tomatoes that I purchased from Aimee's Livin' Magic. They're the best. I soaked them and then added seasonings and vegetables that constituted chili. The dish has a lot of oral satisfaction, lots of chew, lots of textures, and great taste.

Finally, I also made dessert, my famous carrot cake. I invented this recipe and the only challenge was the lack of access to the kitchen equipment I so cherish: juicer and VitaMix. Fortunately I noticed that there was a blender in this home, and it helped make the icing smooth.

Since I had access to a blender, I also made some cacao treats from cacao powder, medjooul dates, cacao nibs, gogi berries, and pecans. I hope my sister-in-law likes them because I understand she enjoys good quality chocolate.

Happily I took kale salad and chili with me on my long return flight home. What a treat it was to eat living food in the midst of airplane fare!

I received as a gift a Canon digital camera. Hopefully I'll be able to add some photos to this blog in due time.

I'm glad to be home again. I spent the day shopping for fresh produce and preparing food that required dehydration. I made some delicious yam chips by simply coating the chips with nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper and basil. I liked this recipe so much I'm going shopping for more yams!

Hope you enjoyed your holiday week.

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