Thursday, September 16, 2010

Social Expectations

This week one of my son's who has no interest in our dietary changes was telling me that it was a selfish thing we are doing since it benefits no one but ourselves. He pointed out that we have paid a dear price for our newfound health and have sacrificed our relationship with our family to do this. I can certainly understand where he is coming from, and I have had to deal with some of these feelings myself.

It is true that many of our social conventions revolve around food and drink. There is hardly an activity you can think of that doesn't. Believe me, we've tried. The closest we have come is having a birthday party at the baseball field during one of the games (since I have a summer birthday). Not only was there the game for those who liked baseball, but there were alternative snacks for those who didn't care for our healthier fare. We played some family games as well, and it was a lot of fun. At least I thought so. But, as my son notes, it just isn't the same...

Could it be that a lot of what we are missing is the knock-out effect these foods have on us? We're all aware of the drug induced reaction we get after Thanksgiving dinner. Scientists have discovered that roast turkey induces a drug-like state after consumption. Maybe we're looking more for anesthesia than companionship...

Beast box results are in with some surprising results. Some of our family favorites have lower scores than items we personally don't like as much, so that goes to prove our palettes are different than most others. Here's the results (scale is 1 bad, 5 great):
4.9 unfried no bean
3.8 elotes con crema
5.3 macadamia ricotta
4.7 Waldorf salad dressing
5.5 marinara sauce for pizza
5.3 cucumber salad
3.7 Mexican rice
4.4 Asian salad
4.0 everyday bread
4.2 Mexi-cali wrappers
5.3 honey almond butter
4.5 ballpark sunnies
5.3 chocolate trifle
5.5 pumpkin pie

Anyone with better analyzing skills than I have want to figure this out?

This week's menus have a Mediterranean angle with sprouted garbanza bean hummus, pita chips, and raita. Dessert is a nice coconut frozen custard called Panna Cotta. We're also making a delicious spinach salad with a raspberry vinaigrette, crunchy candied pecans, and a sliced pear. Fantastic!

Our olive cheese spread is very popular. Each of us in our family likes this a different way; I love it as a dipper for celery, and Roger likes to smear it on veggie crisps. Darius likes it on cucumber slices and tomatoes. It is also good as a salad topper. It isn't as olive-y as it sounds, but since I am a big olive fan, maybe I wouldn't know if it is.

Pad Thai is an Asian addition to our menus this week. We shred zucchini, sliver up some red peppers and onions and toss with a delicious mock peanut sauce (almond butter substitutes nicely for the peanuts in the traditional sauce).

Our version of surf n turf is some nice arame sea vegetables mixed with sweet pepper, onion, and carrots (for the turf part). These are tossed in a nice ginger marinade. My favorite way to eat this is on top of shredded romaine.

Our soup this week is a spicy broccoli cheese soup. There are people who would literally walk (drive) miles to have some of this soup while others don't see what all the fuss is about. I am anxious to see how this one does in the survey. In our family, we like this with Alicia crackers which have a cheesy flavor all their own. The salad part of the soup / salad combo is a savory kale salad. Julienned kale, chopped onion and tomato are dressed with avocado and a nice vinaigrette. Very tasty... Who would have thought kale could be tasty not cooked?

We're also including zucchini chips and crunch meister in our box this week, both of which should be very popular. There's also a chocolate topped cheesecake. My brother who is a professional chef says this is the best cheesecake he's ever eaten, baked or unbaked. Ours is made with cashew cheese and the chocolate topping is made out of the best raw cacao I've ever tasted. Nothing else to say about that...

We've had requests for a few other items, including my favorite dessert: apple crisp. We also have pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse trifle, and key lime tarts. Hard to decide... We're also making Waldorf salad, veggie crisps, Mexi-cali wrappers, guacamole, sweet kale salad, more of that delicious spicy almond dressing, unfried no-bean, veggie soup. Wow, I'd better get to work! Enjoy and have a delicious week...

I almost forgot the recipe!

I'm going to share the recipe for our spicy almond dressing. This has been hugely popular. You will never see it available again as my family will probably kill me for sharing this with you...

Spicy Almond Dressing
2 cups almond butter
4 Roma tomatoes
½ cup braggs liquid aminos (or Nama Shoyu if no gluten intolerances)
¼ cup sesame oil
2 T lemon juice
2 T maple syrup
1 t miso
3 inch piece of ginger
1 jalapeno pepper
cayenne pepper to taste
1 scant t sea salt

Blend in a blender until completely smooth. Thin with water as needed. Yield: 1 quart.

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