coconut

why I’m not a vegan nutritionist / rawesome pumpkin snowballs

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I am in fact a vegan but I am in no way a nutritionist. I’m a slacker nutritionist. Translation: I can’t do chemistry. I have a BA in English, which is for the most part useless. I’m well educated but lacking those shiny letters that start with an M or a P that are all the rage now. You have a college degree? Nobody cares. You have a Master’s or a Phd? Now you’re talking.

So several years back in my scheme to become a certified nutritionist, I bravely enrolled in Chemistry 101 – not once but on three separate occasions. Why? I obviously didn’t get the message the first two times when my eyes glazed over at the sounds of the words “covalent bonds.” Look, I’m not an idiot but when you’ve been out of college for five years, (and in those five years have been either living with your parents or on an island in the pacific waiting tables and bodysurfing), you forget things. Not important things like how to drive, make credit card payments, and which recyclables go in which bins, but those annoying things that are only relevant in an academic setting. Translation: how to find the area of a triangle, isolating X to find the answer, the difference between a mixture and a solution, finding the square root of some useless number, the necessity of litmus paper, graphing calculators, and three-ring binders, the importance of the Pythagorean theory, and the term degenerate as meaning things having the same energy instead of losers who steal cars. These are the things that evanesced from my brain like morning mist after a sunrise, lost forever beneath the blinding necessities of real life. But in Chemistry 101 I quickly learned that all of these things were incredibly important again. Needless to say, my brain rebelled. Everything the fuzzy bearded professor said went into my ears and was savagely attacked by a reckless horde of macrophages (yes, I do remember what a macrophage is. They are quite possibly the only thing I remember from my high school Biology class.)

I took notes, drew pictures, and tried to ignore the pimple-faced children surrounding me. But I quickly realized that I had become that weird older person that comes to class and no one knows what the hell they’re doing there. I lasted two classes. The second time I attempted Chemistry was while I was living in Hawaii. Need I say more? I made it through one class before realizing the absurdity of choosing Chemistry 101 over drinking beers on the beach. The third attempt was the most horrifying because I had come to the brilliant conclusion that the best way to tear through prerequisite Chemistry courses was to do accelerated classes. Translation: an entire semester of chemistry in four weeks for smart people with science backgrounds.

This time, the professor was hideously overweight with a wrinkled grey shirt that blended in perfectly with the cinder block walls behind him. The room was uncomfortably warm and smelled of pencils and stale chips, and in a matter of moments, he was scribbling furiously on the blackboard about atomic mass and density and other nonsense while I stared bug-eyed with horror at the equations and sweat rings under his arms. The other students nodded their heads with boredom, and I nervously asked the girl next to me why she was taking the course. I’m pre-med, she said, I just want to get a few classes out of the way over the summer. My height went from 5’9″ to 5 inches and I quickly learned that the other geniuses in the room were doing something similar. Pre-med, said one, Engineer, said another.

My fears only increased when we left the grey classroom and entered the lab. It smelled like vinegar and the countertops were freezing to the touch. An eyewash station with orange toggles hung by the door, and again the professor wasted no time before doling out beakers, Bunsen burners, graduated cylinders, and Erlenmeyer flasks. Then he announced that we were going to be finding the “Mass Percent Composition of an Aqueous Hydrogen Peroxide Solution.” That was about the time I started seeing unicorns everywhere.

rawesome pumpkin snowballs!

Now that you’ve failed at Chemistry and have decided to rescue ducks for a living, why not make yourself a sweet treat that’s autumnal and makes you want to carve pumpkins and dress in slutty costumes? Raw desserts are my favorite thing to make because they don’t need sugar (see my post “the devil is white and sweet, not in a 50’s housewife kind of way”), they don’t require any baking nonsense, and they’re good for you! This recipe combines pumpkin and cinnamon and everything that makes fall fabulous, minus the colorful leaves (because vegans don’t eat leaves I swear.)

Rawesome Pumpkin Snowballs

Makes about 12-14 balls

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/2 cup pitted dates, any kind will do

2 T unsweetened shredded coconut + more for rolling the balls in ( I recommend Let’s Do Organic)

1 T pumpkin puree (I recommend Fig Foods)

1 T virgin coconut oil

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice blend (I recommend Frontier Naturals)

1 tsp coconut nectar (I recommend Coconut Secret)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

rolling the balls in toasted hazelnuts

In a food processor, add dates and pecans and pulse until starting to crumble. Pour in the remaining ingredients and blend until mixture resembles a large, gooey ball. In a shallow dish, pour some shredded coconut. Now roll quarter-sized balls in the palm of your hand, and then afterwards, in the shredded coconut. For a variation, you can also roll your balls in other toppings like toasted hazelnuts, cocoa powder, or anything else that makes you happy. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve to 6 Chemistry dropout unicorns in need of a sweet fix.

concerning "quaint" towns / raw coconut water

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Every time I visit a town referred to as “quaint” or “nestled” in any type of landscape whether sea or mountains or whatever, I become suspicious. These overused adjective’s usually mean one thing only: fudge shops. Small town fudge shops draw fanny-packed Americans into their sugary arms like retired Floridians to egg salad sandwiches. And each of these lame towns always proclaim themselves as having “the best fudge in the country”. Who the hell eats fudge anyway?
These types of towns scare me. They always have that “Truman Show” look about them. The sidewalks are cobblestone and pristine, the shop windows are framed in gingham-checked curtains, and you instantly get the feeling that you’ve entered a time capsule. My unicorn friend picks up a complimentary map from the trolley conductor, but since the town’s only 3 inches long, I tell him we’ll manage. There’s a barber shop with the weird twirly striped thing outside the door, a “country” store that sells peanut brittle and salt water taffy, about a dozen or so antique shops (translation: stores filled with some old cat lady’s weird junk), little benches with bronze statues of small children at play, horse-drawn carriages driven by bearded men in top hats who speak with an accent that suggests they’re from the 19th century, and of course–the dreaded fudge shop. Salted fudge, fudge with nuts, fudge filled with coffee, fudge shaped into dogs, and fudge store novelty items: stuffed animals holding hearts and a small bag of fudge, magnets, teeshirts, and other useless crap that tourists scoop up with exuberance so they can show their friends back home. “We went to this quaint little town and they had the best fudge…”
These towns were probably great a long time ago, before they knew how marketable they could become by exploiting their charm to the point of nausea. All you have to do is clean up your town a bit (translation: add cobblestone, hanging flower baskets, street lamps, and an old cannon or some type of rusting weapon of yesteryear in the main square…there must be a main square). Then add a Life is Good franchise. Tourists love that spindly-legged do gooder. You should also have a “walking tour” of the town, described in a series of plaques every few hundred feet: “This is where Joe-I-did-the-american-dream-thing-Smith first landed” or “This is the oldest tree in America”, etc. The important thing is to make sure that this walking tour isn’t longer than about a 1/2 mile, not only because you’ll end up in the next town but because Americans don’t like to walk. Actually, if you really want to shake things up, open up a Segway rental shop and soon you’ll have fanny-packs zooming around your town like nobody’s business! And you can charge twice as much for everything. As long as it has the town’s name plastered all over it, tourists will overlook the golden “Made in China” sticker.

Now that you’re parched from stuffing your face with fudge and you’ve totaled your Segway, why not sit on one of those creepy benches with the bronze children and have some coconut water? Raw coconut water is the water found inside of fresh young coconuts. It is one of the most naturally hydrating liquids on earth. It’s full of electrolytes and has the same nutrient balance as plasma. The brand I love most is called Harmless Harvest. Unlike most brands, Harmless Harvest’s coconut water is unprocessed and raw, which allows for greater nutrient bioavailability and a superior taste. You can also purchase a young coconut from most natural foods stores and stick a straw in the top and suck the water out for yourself. Either way, it’s insanely delicious. Try it out and give it to your unicorn friends!

buying a new car / key lime & coconut tarts

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DSC_0285My husband and I recently bought a subaru.
Go ahead. Tell me that I’m a liberal, a lesbian or a homeschooling mother of three because to you I will simply say Ha! I am destroying that stereotype, one granola bar at a time. But let’s be honest, stereotypes develop for a reason…
Take my car buying experience. As soon as I walked through the door, I was royalty; the most beautiful and interesting person they had ever met (translation: ignorant car buyer going to slaughter). Everything I said warranted a light chuckle and a nod of the head. I could do no wrong in this fantasy world of shiny cars and shinier smiles; all they wanted to do was help me. Or so I thought. Now I’m not so ignorant as to be fooled by these kinds of sales tactics, and fake niceness is right at the top of my list of least favorite things. Believe me, I’ve been there, on the other side, handing out orchids to tourists and pretending to care about their Hawaiian vacation when I’ll I really wanted to do was con them into buying timeshares. And I did. Again and again with the slyness of a used car salesman. All they wanted was directions to the Cheesecake Factory and now they are going to a free luau with orchids behind their ears after buying a timeshare they don’t want = Job done (I quit that job to save myself from becoming the slime of the earth). But I digress…
So I’m buying a new car and I don’t know about you, but in my estimation there can only be so much conning going on. I know the msrp is a joke and I can work with that. I just have to play their game, hem and haw over everything and scrunch up my face so that I appear to be in deep contemplation. Lie and tell them I’ll come back later after I’ve thought about it some more (even though I already know I’m going to buy the car). I know what I’m doing…
The sales guy I’m working with keeps disappearing with a line like “I don’t have those numbers in front of me, in fact I’m not privy to them, but I can check with my manager and see if he can work something out for you”. Because I’m special, right? Wrong, they say the same bs to every poor slob who walks in, and you know what, most of them probably eat that crap right up.
I finally get the numbers in front of me after negotiating with the guy for an hour (translation: I ask for a deal, he theatrically sighs and carries on, then talks to the manager, then comes back, then sighs and tell me that they don’t normally do this, but he wants me to be happy, etc…bs, bs, bs).
Then it gets interesting…I buy the stupid car so they should be happy, right? Well they are, but not until I’ve bought all of the extra crap that I don’t need. The extended warranty I understand, but why doesn’t it include everything? I have to buy tire and wheel coverage separately, dings and dents separately, and the worst of all? A little extra called glasscoat. This is a poly-based paint that bonds to the paint job on the car and apparently protects it (translation: covers it with an extra coat of paint that it doesn’t need so the dealership can make more money off of you). As I write this, I’m embarrassed/pissed that I fell for it. The salesman that sold me the car hands me off to the king of slime balls, the dreaded “manager”. He’s a greasy, baldheaded guy stuffed into a wrinkled shirt, who’s about to see how stupid I am. A few stories and two framed photos of his family later, we’re big buddies and he’s let me in on a little secret: this glasscoat stuff really works, and it’s only $7.99 per month. With horror in his eyes he recalls to me the dangers of tree sap and road salt. How could my precious new baby subaru handle it? So I sign up, then realize three days later (thanks to my father’s brilliant opinion: “that’s *$%^!”) that I don’t want it anymore. Now upon signing, my “new best friend” had told me that I could easily alter anything if I changed my mind. Yea, right. I called them up and told them I didn’t want it anymore. They were shocked! stunned! stupified! and told me I had to bring in my contract and that it was going to be very complicated. Great. So I went in and my same bff tried to sell me on it again with the premise: “I’m not going to try to change your mind, but…(enter sales pitch here)”. After he ranted on for several minutes, I told him that I didn’t understand why a brand new car needed another coat of paint. He brought up the tree sap again and I started getting antsy.
“I don’t want it, period”, I finally said. And that was the end. No more glittering smiles and fake chuckles; I had become the dreaded customer with an opinion. He grumbled and started punching keys on his computer, all the while telling me that no one had ever canceled glasscoat before, so he wasn’t even sure if he could cancel it. Now I really hate this guy. Not only is he blatantly lying to me, he’s making me feel like I’m the problem. I want to say “I’m on to you, you money grubbing snake!” but instead I say, “you expect me to believe that this is the first time a customer has ever canceled glasscoat?” He looks at me with beady eyes and lies to my face again. Then he says he can’t change the contract because it’s already “in” (in where? a secret vault of untouchable contracts?), so he’ll have to write me a check for the amount.
“Does this mean that I’m going to be paying interest on it?” I ask. In a nutshell, yes. Then he asks me if I want the tax back. Um…duh, I think to myself. He says he might not be able to get it back. I am ready to scream at this point and my unicorn friend has decided to test drive the new outback while waiting for me. I whisper to him to park under a pine tree and wait for sap. Then I look back at my enemy, the stuffed turkey of a manager, and ask “if I return something to a store, do they give me my money back and keep the tax? No, because that would be illegal.” He smiles and says he totally understands, but somehow this is different, more complicated (translation: he wants to keep the tax because he’s a thieving bastard). He calls someone named Debra who must have all the answers, but alas she’s unavailable. He’s going to have to get back to me on that. Oh, but he’ll take my credit card number and call me once he finds out. I look at him square in the face before I leave and say, “you’re on my side, right?” His sweaty palm grabs my hand and I want to say so many horrible things to him, but my unicorn friend anxiously flags me down. I go outside and we get into my shiny new subaru, and my unicorn friend tells me that he accidentally stabbed his horn through the sunroof of the outback he was test driving. “Great”, I say, “there goes my tax.”

our new subaru impreza sport!

It’s the middle of winter and you’ve just gotten screwed over by a car dealership. Solution? Indulge in some velvety smooth key lime tarts to lift your spirit! This recipe is raw, free of refined sugars, gluten free, soy free, and guilt free because it’s made from healthy ingredients like avocado! Hooray!

DSC_0275Key Lime & Coconut Tarts

Crust:
1/2 cup almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup dates, pitted
pinch of sea salt

Filling:
2 avocados, pitted and removed from skins
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (I use Dr. Bronner’s)
2 T coconut nectar (you can substitute agave nectar or honey)

Topping:
Handful of shredded, unsweetened coconut (I use Let’s Do Organic)
Zest of one lime

Add crust ingredients to a food processor and blend until crumbly and moist. Press mixture into six ramekins or muffin tins or vessel of your choosing. Now blend the filling ingredients in a high-speed blender (like a Vita-Mix) until smooth and fluffy. Add a dollop of the filling to each ramekin and spread over crust. Top with a sprinkle of zest and coconut flakes. Chill in the frig for at least an hour before serving. Makes 6 ramekin-sized tarts, enough for 6 unicorns seeking revenge.DSC_0276