Thursday, March 29, 2012

Suwanee Springfest

I put pictures on Facebook, but I will take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about our trip to Suwannee Springfest, a music festival that we went to last weekend.  Raziya invited us to join her and Marley there, so the kids and I left on Thursday morning.  It took us 5.5 hours to get there.  Four and a half hours of driving time, plus two 30 minute stops.  Lotus got bored a lot and kept asking to nurse.  When we finally got there, it was so nice to get out of the car and explore the park a little bit, but finally I felt the need to find a campsite and set up before dark.  At that point, Lotus finally fell asleep, so I was able to set up in peace!  The park is really big, and you can camp anywhere, not just in designated sites, but finally I just picked a quiet spot in the woods walking distance to the river.  As night fell, I saw two owls swooping and landing in trees, and Solana and I watched a racoon climb a tree.
Friday we walked down to the festival activities.  We swung in hammocks, listened to music, met some people, went to the kids' tent, and then caught a ride back to our campsite from a nice man in a golf cart.  Then we waited for Raziya and Marley to get there.  It was so great to see them again after 7 months!
Saturday it poured.  We went to the store in my van for bananas, oranges, and umbrellas.  It was raining so hard I could barely see the road.  But it stopped.  We bought some firewood and went back to the festival.  In the late afternoon, David arrived.  We went for a walk to the river, made a fire, ate some food, went to listen to some awesome music, and sat around our fire.
Sunday we went back to the river beach.  The sand was really fine, and the beach was very sloped.  Quite different than the ocean.  The water looked like it wasn't even moving, until you got in.  There was a rope swing hanging from a tree on the other side and people were swinging and jumping off.  I decided I couldn't miss this chance for an adrenaline rush.  The part I was most nervous about was the coldness of the water.  So once I started swimming across the river, that part was dealt with.  It's called the Suwannee River, but it's hard to think of it as a river compared to the rivers in Peru.  In the jungle, the rivers are wide, with visible currents, and in the mountains they are fast and rocky.  This looked more like a canal to me.  I say this just to explain that swimming "across the river" was no big deal at all.  The only hard part was dealing with the current when I got to the other side, which got suddenly much stronger at the edge.  But there were porous rocks to grab onto, with big hand holds.  I climbed up to the rope, found a stick to reach the rope, and prepared to jump.  By then I was shaking with cold and nerves, so I passed the rope to a guy that had just showed up.  After he and his friend jumped and the crowd had stopped cheering (and looking!) at me, I jumped.  I didn't want to do it while I was shaking because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to hold on long enough to be over the water.  As soon as I was swinging and letting go, my only thought was, "Again!"  So I climbed up and jumped a second time and then swam back to my family.  Pretty soon David decided to leave, but the kids and I stayed and played in the sand and water for a long time.  Solana said it was the best day ever!  Eventually we did have to leave, and headed out around 5:30.  Got home at 10:45 after stopped 4 times.  The trip home was mostly peaceful, punctuated by a couple loud, brief screaming sessions.  Mostly having to do with using the potty (in the van) and having to smell the other kid's poop and hear the other kid's screams until I could pull over.  I'm not a big fan of driving that long with no other adults, but it was worth it.  It was great to be out in nature, with friends, and have new experiences.
I got a tick on my thigh, Lotus had two ticks, on her chest and neck, and Solana had two ticks, on her thigh and on her head.  Lotus never knew about hers; we removed them while she was sleeping, but Solana found both hers herself.  I removed the one on her thigh while she was awake, but I had to remove the one on her head while she was asleep.  Hope we didn't get Lyme disease!
During the four days, we ate all raw food.  It was actually quite convenient for camping.  We didn't have to make fires or wash dishes.  We ate about 40 bananas (mostly by Solana), carrots, cucumbers, spinach, celery, cabbage (from Dana's garden), about 2 dozen oranges and a dozen apples, nuts, raisins, dips I had made ahead of time out of nuts and veggies, dehydrated food that I had made such as trail mix bars, kale chips, granola, and fake meat (made from walnuts, mushrooms, zucchini, parsley, tamari and lemon juice.)  I started out with ice in one of the coolers, but even though it melted after the first day, nothing spoiled.  At meal time, I would open the coolers and spread a bunch of stuff out and Lotus and I would just sit there and eat with our hands.  The most I had to do was peel and slice a few things on the cutting board.  The cucumbers were so crunchy, I sliced them into circles and enjoyed them like chips.  Lotus made forests out of carrot sticks in the dips.  I had one made from almonds, one from cashews, and one from sesame seeds and zucchini.  She liked all of them, and devoured the kale chips.  She was very upset when the oranges ran out on the way home.
It was sad saying goodbye to Raziya and Marley, but they are planning to come visit us on their Spring Break in a couple weeks!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

7 years

So March 17 marked seven years since Aaron's transfer to another dimension.  I took the girls camping at John Prince Park in Lake Worth, and then we spent two nights at Dana's house.  We went to the beach, and Solana and I got in the water.  She even duck dived under a few waves.  It was a beautiful sunny weekend.  After we said our goodbyes though, I shed a few tears and it rained on us as we were driving away.

We really enjoyed the banyan trees, the sunsets, and Dana's company.  We are keeping his memory alive!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Veggies of Vero

We recieve a box of locally grown produce every week from a CSA farm called Veggies of Vero.  This bounty just shows up on our doorstep!  I can't help taking pictures of the beautiful stuff before I chop it up, blend it up, and eat it up.
This was last week's box contents.  Lotus dives right into the strawberries and they disappear the first day.
When this fennel showed up in our box, I was at a complete loss.  I looked up recipes online, and my search led me to an interesting web site that launched our home-front healthy revolution!  Here's the fennel that started it all:   

Is it normal for cauliflower to have a swirly pattern like this in the middle?  I thought it was really neat!

I had just washed these greens and laid them out to dry.  Photo-op!

Purple cauliflower to match her dress :)


I just looked at my blog and saw that the last post was in August of last year!  Well, I'm back.  Today I'm going to talk to you about sprouts.  Yes, it took 7 months for me to have something to blog about, and the muse is sprouts.

Something amazing happens when a seed is soaked and sprouted.  It's like all the potential energy for that plant is released into an easily digestible form for people, packed with nutrients, vitamins, enzymes, protein, etc.

I started with mung beans, because they were easily available at the grocery store.  I soaked 2 tablespoons of mung beans in filtered water overnight.  In the morning, I rinsed them in a colander, put the colander over a bowl and covered it with a dish cloth.  Then I rinsed and repeated that twice a day until the leaves started to appear.  I don't remember how long that took, but about 2 - 4 days.  Once the leaves appear, they start to taste bitter, so at that point I put them in the windowsill to get some light and then stored them dry in the refrigerator.  The don't get as big as commercial mung bean sprouts, which are gassed.  There is no need to rinse the hulls away; they are edible.

mung bean sprouts

That was so easy and fun that I decided to try a seed blend that I got online:  broccoli, crimson clover, red radish, and alfalfa.  These I couldn't do in the colander because the seeds are so tiny.  So I soaked them overnight by putting 2 tablespoons in a jar of water covered with a mesh cloth secured with a rubber band.  I drained the water through the mesh and let the jar sit at an angle in a pot and covered it with a cloth.  To rinse, I filled the jar with water through the mesh as before and drained.  Simple.  Rinsed twice a day until the leaves grew and shed the hulls.  Then I put the sprouts in a big bowl of water and the hulls floated to the edges.  I scooped the sprouts from the middle and put them in a colander to dry and get some light before storing.

This was slightly more complicated than the mung beans, but the main problem was that the radish sprouts were way too spicy for me.  I could barely eat them, and they were all mixed together with the other sprouts.  I'm assuming it was the radish that was the culprit.  So I got some plain old alfalfa seeds and did it again.  Fortunately, David did not mind the spicy sprouts.

It was exciting to watch my little sprouts grow.  They went from boring little dots to a jar full of life!  The kids loved watching them sprout and grow.  It happens so fast that they could see it happening.  I'm taking seeds on our next campout for fresh veggies in the woods!

Lotus inspects my alfalfa sprouts