The BEST Tahini Dressing

Here it is…the best Tahini Dressing recipe!

Hands down this is Kerwin’s favorite salad dressing. He loves to drench his lettuce and veggies in it. No matter the salad, somehow this dressing always goes perfectly. AND I’ll share a secret with you – making this dressing was the very first time Kerwin used our Vitamix blender. He  even asked me to show him how to make it so he didn’t have to wait on me.

It lasts forever in the fridge so we always make a double batch of it and store it in glass mason jars or bottles with lids.

Ingredients

  • 3/8 cup Tahini * (of course!)
  • 1/2 cup Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce. Our preference but Liquid Aminos is a good, and cheaper, 2nd choice. Tamari is another decent option.)
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Organic too if possible)
  • 1/4 cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (with the ‘mother’)
  • 4-6 Cloves Garlic (we love garlic so adjust to your liking)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Directions

  • Put all ingredients in a blender and let it run until the garlic is broken down.
  • If using a Vitamix blender, no need to chop or peel the paper off of the garlic. There are lots of nutrients in the ‘skin’. 🙂
  • This recipe can handle lots of garlic, as there aren’t a other spices or competing flavors.

Pour onto your salad of choice and enjoy!

Original credit to Alissa Cohen for this recipe that we found years ago in one of my very first Raw food “cook” books.  

* To make your own Tahini, all you need is raw sesame seeds and a food processor. Watch my In The Kitchen video to see a demo.

Vegas Gardening | What’s Growing

Dusk is one of my favorite times to wander around in my garden. 

I thought I’d take you along with me and give you a bit of an informal tour to show you what’s currently growing and what you can discover when you look more closely. 

It’s easy to miss produce ready to harvest or a plant that is giving you clues it needs help (before it’s too late!). Taking a couple moments to slow down and ‘look’ is key. It’s also a great way to wind down from the day and ground yourself amongst Nature, who rushes for no one. 

Green Beans!

I missed taking a picture of the plants themselves, I was so happy for my harvest! I'd earlier seen 2 beans ready to be picked so I went to grab them and then sat down and started looking. A bunch more were hiding! They blend in with the leaves. lol.

First Tomatoes!

I was not expecting to see 'red' amongst my tomato plants yet. What a happy surprise! I checked my records but still can't seem to figure out what variety these are. lol. Bigger than a Juliet tomato but smaller than a Roma. All I know is they definitely aren't the Yellow Pear tomatoes I thought I planted here. haha.

Anaheim Peppers

Still a small plant but it's cranking out peppers so quickly! Look how many there are only days away from being ready to harvest. Time to start thinking of what to make with them. AND I have 4 more plants just like this one...

Basil

I love basil so much that I planted 5 varieties, or so. They are really starting to take off! I am determined to keep up on pruning them this season so they stay healthy and to make sure I don't miss out on any of their yumminess! Pesto, dressings and salad greens are my favorite uses. This variety is the more traditional Sweet Basil and has larger leaves.

Chamomile

This plant has the SMALLEST seeds I've ever seen! And the resulting seedlings are just as tiny and frail. Mine didn't survive the transplanting. THIS plant I bought from Star Nursery and it's exploded. I can't wait to harvest the buds to make my favorite tea of all time. 🙂

Calendula

These guys are doing so well, it's a joy to see all the blooms and pop of color they bring. I grew them indoors from seeds and look at the growth!

The New Bed

This, the New Bed as I call it, was bare just a few short months ago. This Spring/Summer growing season is the first planting in this bed that I built over the Winter. Do you see all that's growing?! Dill, Green Onions, Sunflowers, Basil, Bell Peppers, Asparagus and some baby seedlings I'm not exactly sure of right now.

Eggplant

I've already harvested 2 fruits from this young heat loving plant. Do you see all of the babies? There are at least 6 of them that I need to keep a watch on, the sooner you harvest the more the plant will produce. Waiting for them to get bigger is not better. More blossoms are already popping up!

Sunflower

This little-er guy could easily be overshadowed by the giant 9 footers he's growing in the shadow of. But I spotted him blooming AND he's facing my yard! 🙂

Can you spot him?

Here's the wide angle view. Do you see the one that's hiding? Look closely!

Oro Blanco Grapefruit

Looks like limes right now but nope, this is the most amazingly delicious Oro Blanco variety of grapefruit. It's a 2 year old tree and last year was it's first season with us - produced a solitary fruit and OMG was it ever good. Now I am happy to see there are a bunch, I hope they do well!

Lemongrass

First time growing this plant but it's doing wonderfully well! I'm excited for the tea I'll be able to make with the leaves. It's also a perennial and as I'm really trying to find edible plants that are longer lived than annual, I'm very pleased it likes the space it's growing in.

Fig Tree (I forget the variety)

This new tree has had 1 fig on it for several months now. I took a closer look and saw it is now bursting with figs! Do you see them too?

Aloe

What a recovery this plant has made! It sat in a tiny pot on the patio for a year, randomly being watered. It had grown to bursting from the seams and all brown. I pulled away all the babies and gave it some space in a 5 gallon pot (that my nectarine tree came in). It not only recovered with good dirt and consistent irrigation, look at all the new babies! If this keeps up I'll be able to start using aloe in my smoothies. Sweet!

Nectarine Trees

Sun set behind them but these 3 different varieties of nectarine trees are filled with fruit getting super close to harvest. I need to keep a close eye on them as the birds will poke holes to check for ripeness and then BAM! when they are ripe, it's game over.

Nectarine Fruit

Not a great image sadly, as it was getting dark but you get the idea. Currently than a golf ball but smaller than a pool ball.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my yard at dusk! If you like this closer look at my garden and would like me to do it again as the season progresses, let me know. 😊

THE Lemon Vinaigrette

Dressing poured over a salad

This is The Best Lemon Vinaigrette I’ve ever had! It’s creamy, savory, packed with flavor and yet, it’s simple to make. 

It’s a pet peeve of mine when searching for recipes online that you have to SCROOOOOLLL forever on each blog post to get to the ingredients to know if its even an option. In the middle of making dinner I don’t have time to read the story behind the recipe (sorry to my fellow bloggers!) so I’m going to cut right to the chase for you. 😛

Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbl Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbl Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Heaping tsp Dried Oregano (Marjoram, Thyme or Winter Savory could be used in place of Oregano)
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Directions
  • Chop the garlic and then add all ingredients together and blend to emulsify the oil/vinegar. If you’re using a Vitamix, no need to chop OR peel the garlic. I find though that for a quick dressing, with less clean up time, that a small individual blender works perfectly. I have a Magic Bullet and it’s the same one I use for grinding coffee beans and whole spices. I love it! But as I DON’T love hunks of garlic in my dressings, I pre-chop. 

It’ll store in the fridge in a sealed jar for several weeks (or more!). Most every ingredient is a natural preservative LOL.

I like to double the recipe and we still have no problems using it up within a week. 😃

If you don’t want to make your own Dijon Mustard, the one I like is linked below ⬇️.

*This dressing IS very sharp and strongly flavored so adjust the lemon, mustard and garlic to your liking. Keep it mind it will definitely soften when blended with your salad ingredients. In our house, we’ve found that it goes famously with a salad of spinach, kale and quinoa (which on it’s own is very bland) and a combo of the basic veggies we like to have on hand – celery, bell pepper, sweet onion, carrots, tomatoes, green beans and avocado topped with pumpkin seeds. Yum!

Please come back after you make it and tell me how you liked it or what changes you made! I’m always open for “tweaks”. 😃

I hope you enjoy this vinaigrette as much as my husband and I do! 

Resources:

My Gordons & Me Project | The Breakthrough

Since I began this project with my pack, so much has changed. Today the changes really struck me as I was getting dinner ready so I decided it was time to plug back into this blog and share an update.

It became clear pretty early on that my original 60 day timeline was not going to be sufficient. There were, and still are, so many elements I wanted to address and to know what is or isn’t working takes time and not making too many changes all at once.

It’s all turned out for the best really and I’m grateful to be on this journey with them. It’s been both very rewarding and extremely challenging.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Yup, I can confirm the truth of that quote. LOL

We ended up changing our vacation plans for this month and enjoyed a wonderful Staycation. Meaning, as it related to this project, that we didn’t need to be concerned about a pet sitter or boarding. 👍🏼

Ian

The trigger for this blog post in particular is Ian. When last I blogged about him, he’d been having his usual meltdown at mealtimes and I’d just spent over 2 hours listening to the boy cry and whine uncontrollably while waiting for him to recover his wits so I could feed him.

Well, the very next day we had what could only be called a breakthrough! All the sudden he had awareness in his eyes and I could see he was trying very hard to please me and stay present in the moment. Breakfast went so smoothly I was in shock really.

I’d intended to sit down and document the moment so…..though it’s 6 weeks later, here I am. 😝 Ian has continued to make progress, although setbacks have definitely been part of it all too. Tonight was definitely the former.

Here he is, with 4 bowls full of food on the counter right above him:

THIS is a a cause for celebration! This moment makes me so proud. 💜 My heart is filled with love and joy. He did it!  He was so quiet I honestly didn’t know he was there at first. Time froze as I looked at him and he looked back….until I was snapped out of it as the thought hit to grab my phone and document the moment. 🤣

While giving Nicklas his bowl, (he goes first) Ian started to get excited and cry. I calmly got his attention, said “hey, that’s enough. You need to be quiet.” I slowly repeated ‘quiiiiiiet’ as he made eye contact and I could see the understanding in his eyes. He knows what Quiet 😶 means. Hoooray!

Now if I could only teach this word to Nicklas to stop him barking all the time, over every single little thing, I’d be in heaven…that, however, is a project for another lifetime I think. 🙄🤷🏼‍♀️

And me?

I thought I had patience before, well I am almost zen like now in comparison. Haha. Honestly though, even as much as I’ve learned, I now know that I have barely tapped the surface of what Calm, Patience and Kindness feel and look like. Ian has loads yet to teach me. 😉 As long as he’s game, so am I!

In recap…

  • Meal prep is tough. My limit is now 2 hours (preferably way less!) of looking, touching and smelling raw meat and I think that’s more than long enough to ask Ian to handle for now as well. I’m strategically buying food in smaller batches and trying to get prepackaged portions instead of a huge 40lb box I have to portion out (with 🐶🐶🐶🐶 all watching) and put in the freezer.
  • Baby Gates. Keeping the dogs away from underfoot has given me some much needed space to maneuver and keeps peace amongst the boys as they aren’t able to jostle for pole position in case of droppings.
  • Laying down. Heads hanging over the gates or Larkin laying down in front of the gates blocking access (and guarding) wasn’t working so all 3 boys have ‘the spot’ they wait in. Putting them back into position again and again and again (remember that patience I’ve been learning?) is one area where I am still challenged. Them having a job, laying down close to each other, staying and being quiet, works to keep them out of trouble and me less stressed. One day I dream they will know, and believe, I mean it when I say “Stay”.
  • Elly has been included in this process, if she’s not in the bedroom sleeping.
  • Snoods now go on one at a time as they each get their bowl. Seeing snoods was a real trigger to start the excitement and noise making so this shift was a great help.
  • Meditating. I don’t know who it helps more, me or them but I DO know that there is better balance in the pack and they have greater patience with each other on the days I meditate. I’d like to increase the % of days I meditate versus those I don’t. Are the effects cumulative? That’s the question I want to answer.
  • Exercise. This is a work in progress and deserving of it’s own blog. I’m excited for my new mindset!

I think that’s all for now. It’s more important that I publish this quickly than my not leaving out any details. I can always edit or address in a future blog post.

Life is moving on and so is Time.

Stay tuned for more adventures from the pack!

Previous blogs on this project can be found here:

Raw Apple Bread

Do you LOVE bread?

Do you feel you can never let go of pasta, pastries and breads? Are processed carbs the reason all your diets fail?

Then you’ll love this recipe!

I too was challenged as I started eating raw, plant based. What do you use as a base for everything you want to pile on top? What do you do about bread?

Well, it’s an ongoing process that is continually improving but…the great news is I’m finding new recipes and learning to get creative. Woohoo! Who knew I was creative in the kitchen?! I sure didn’t. 😛 For example, Jicama slices make DELICIOUS taco shells, Romaine or Kale leaves make fabulous wraps and Onion Bread is without a doubt simply unforgettable while also making your whole house smell incredible for an entire day while it’s “baking”.

Actually, the end result is that I’m loving these new “breads” replacements even better than the bread itself! Yes, there is indeed hope! I get super excited every time I come across a new recipe, like this one ⬇️…

I had these apples that were too soft to eat that I’d been saving to find the perfect dish to make with them. Enter the simple Apple Bread from one of my favorite Raw books: The RAWvolution Continues.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups shredded, cored apples (I chopped mine up in the food processor to make it faster. It worked, minus a few chunks I pulled out and nibbled on. Lol)
  • 1/2 cup Flaxseeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup Sunflowers seeds, ground
  • 4 tsp Maple Syrup (coconut nectar was listed in the book but it’s not my preference.)
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon (I love cinnamon and don’t think you can really over do it LOL but you could use less)

Directions

  • Combine all the ingredients and mix by hand. It’s so fun!
  • Spread approx 2 cups of the mixture into a Teflex sheet lined dehydrator tray
  • Repeat until all mixture is used up. I’ll come back and update once I make it again and remember how many trays it uses. Lol. I’m thinking maybe 3.
  • Dehydrate at 105° for 6-8 hours, until it’s solid enough you can peel it off the Teflext sheet.
  • ‘Then flip it over onto a second dehydrator tray and carefully peel off the sheet.
  • Dehydrate an additional few hours until it’s the desired level of firmness. You want them to hold their shape, be firm enough they don’t tear but still flexible enough they don’t crack when you bend them. I did approx 4 more hours. They will firm up a little more after cooling. You can always put them back in if they are too soft.
  • I stored mine in the fridge in a ziplock and they lasted 2 weeks, no problem. The challenge was not eating in one sitting! You could also store them uncovered in the pantry.

They are yummy, not too sweet, with just the right amount of chew. Also great for travel, giving you lots of options of what to put on top that you might find locally on your travels and they really don’t require being in the fridge.

I did a how to video when I was making them for myself. Once I’ve edited it, I’ll come back and post the link here.

Enjoy!

My Gordons & Me | The China Study

It was a fun and enlightening time this morning as I was feeding the dogs.

I’ve been reading The China Study and today as I looked at their bowls I was struck by how very different they are from us humans.

The animal products (meat, diary, eggs) that create the “diseases of affluence” (heart disease, cancer, diabetes) in humans do the exact opposite for our dogs. A raw meat (whole animal) diet as they’d eat in the wild creates health, vitality, longevity and a zestful life in our dogs.

It’s easy to forget they were once wild animals that we domesticated to bring into our lives and homes. They may love being part of our pack (family), find fulfillment in doing work for us, and depend on us to feed and care for them but we certainly haven’t bred their internal animal design out of them. Left on their own, dogs would revert to the wild. That really hit home today for me.

So why do we, as the general population, feel it’s okay, appropriate and even healthy, to feed them a dead diet filled with ‘by products’ and filler ingredients (beet pulp, grains…) they would never eat in the wild and their digestive system can’t even process? And what about a vegan diet? Seriously?! No matter they live with people, they are still carnivores, not herbivores (deer, cattle), and to me respect for life means we honor their amazing design by feeding a species specific diet.

It makes me sad ? to see otherwise.

Wolves don’t get cancer. It’s only a human and domestic animal disease. Hmmm….rather curious, don’t you think? ??

Cancer is not a mutant gene ? we need to eradicate, it’s our bodies way of telling us we are not in balance and we need to get stronger. Same for our dogs.

How do we bring back balance?

Food. Exercise. Rest. Love. Surrounding, us and our dogs, with life force energy.

So as I prepared the meal for my pack today I was grateful for the life force I was giving to them. You know how they say never cook when you’re angry as you’ll transfer the negative energy to those who eat the food you’ve prepared? And how Ayurvedic medicine says to only touch your food with love?

That was me. I may personally find it difficult to handle raw meats and the thought of non-meat eating me actually having to prepare and eat it myself….?…

But when I take “me” out of equation and change my perception I can look at this food, this meat, as LIFE and everything I want to give my dogs. ? So yes, handling it brings me JOY! Compartmentalizing is a beautiful skill my brain is becoming adept at. ?

I love how a simple diet change for Nicklas, to feed him more Gounding & Cooling meats, has made SUCH a difference in his energy, happiness and peace. Still high energy and don’t even think about skipping morning play time with the balls ?? but there is a feeling of Ease in him now. ??

So as I added pork heart, beef liver, chicken, pork, eggs, beef, green tripe and the toppers of blended apples, Turmeric powder and fresh chopped garlic to their bowls I was thankful and yes, I was feeling Joy.

I have more changes still to make as I bring harmony and greater health to my gang but I’m seeing progress and feeling well on my way!

Make It Monday | Creamed Spinach

Talk about a simple dish. This is perfect when you’re hungry and want something fast that’s got a kick of rich flavor. And the dressing is Oil Free!

Enjoy!

All you need is…

  • Spinach
  • Creamy Garlic Dressing (recipe below)
  • Walnut Taco Meat (optional)
  • Toppings are optional. I used Black Sesame Seeds but sunflower seeds or buckwheat groats would be nice too.

The dressing recipe came from the book The RAWvolution Continues

My changes were to use ~

  • 1/8 cup Liquid Aminos (instead of 1/4 cup coconut aminos)
  • 1/4 cup water (Add more of less till the consistency is how you like it)
  • 1 cup of mixed white nuts – Cashews, Pine Nuts and Brazil Nuts (I didn’t have a whole cup of cashews lol)

  • You could also use this yummy spinach in a wrap with cauliflower rice, red bell peppers, dulse flakes, carrots and cucumbers. Sounds delicious doesn’t it?
  • In The Kitchen | Raw Walnut Taco Meat

        Recipe:
    • 1 cup Raw Walnuts (soaked in water 4 hours or overnight), rinsed and drained
    • 1 Tbl Soy Sauce, Liquid Aminos or Tamari
    • 1 tsp each Cumin, Chipotle and Garlic Powders
    Blend until nuts are broken down into a crumbly, meaty texture. Be careful not to blend too long and turn it into paste  Chew factor is important!  

    The most delicious Unpasteurized Soy Sauce, from Japan. 

    My Gordons & Me – Quiet Mealtime

    Ian Barn Hunting

    Tonight, for whatever crazy reason, I decided I would tackle Ian’s out of control excitement, crying and anxiety when it comes to meal times.

    I tried putting gates up so they were not underfoot by the food; I tried making him lay down; I tried a spray bottle; I tried saying “no”; I tried holding his face staring into his eyes to see if I could shake him out of it; I tried calmly praising him the brief moments when he was quiet; I ignored him; I put him in another room; I crated him; I tried to put snoods on before getting out the food bowls;…nothing worked.

    Mealtime is clearly where Ian has challenges and his poor energy spills over to Larkin who growls at him, Nicklas who starts to copy him and Elly who wakes up from her nap and runs out excitedly barking causing them all to bark. A madhouse!

    I’m so happy they all love their food now and have healthy appetites but OMG, the craziness needs to stop.

    Tonight, I fed everyone else one at a time as they were all happily calm, having listened to me and received praise for patiently waiting, sitting nicely and putting on their snoods with good manners. After they each finished eating, I sent them outside leaving only Ian who was running around, spinning circles and being loudly vocal, knowing it was finally his turn as there was only one bowl left. ??‍♀️ (sigh…)

    He finally quieted down a bit, although still anxiously breathing, but every time I reached for his snood he would lose it and start howling again.

    Nothing I was doing was working, I was getting frustrated and that’s not helpful. At my wit’s end with how to help him, I walked away and sat down in the library to meditate. I did it for me. I know it’s not the right time for the dogs to expect them to participate in a meditation when it’s mealtime, playtime or bio break times but goodness, I had nothing else left to try so as a last resort I wanted to calm ME down.

    Ian escalated his efforts, coming over to shrilly bark and cry right into my face, rattling my ears, all while I had my eyes closed and was “meditating”.

    Determined to ignore him (that was certainly a challenge!) I persisted and after finally starting to feel more centered and able to be kind, I stopped meditating, opened my eyes, gently grabbed Ian’s cheeks and firmly said No.

    He eventually laid down at my feet where I decided I was going to stay sitting and watch a documentary while I waited him out. He got quiet after some time passed but if I made a move to get up, he’d immediately start excitedly crying.

    At some point, now over 2 hours since I’d first started prepping their dinner, he moved to the couch and curled up.

    After a few minutes, I calmly and ever so slowly got up and walked to the kitchen, all the while not looking at him. He followed and calmly sat there looking at his food bowl on the counter. I looked at him then and when he looked back at me I wanted to jump for joy! My handsome boy was looking back at me, making a connection. The crazy man who was out of his mind was gone.

    We had a few tiny hiccups with the snood but he quickly got it this time, that he had to be quiet ?. He kept eye contact with me the whole time as I smiled and praised him for being quiet. Snood was on!!!

    I turned to grab the bowl, expecting the howling to start but though he followed the bowl, he kept his manners, was politely excited to see his bowl coming, sat down in ‘his spot’ and quietly waited for the “ok” after I had put the bowl down.

    What a shift! Hallelujah ?

    THIS was my handsome gentleman, Ian, that I love and the Ian I feel like I lose at every mealtime. A Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

    It was such a joy I felt inside and such a beautiful moment.

    2 1/2 hours later and dinner is finished! ?

    Was is the meditation? Ignoring him? Leaving the kitchen? Him being alone with me? My not giving in or giving up? All of the above?? I don’t know. All I can say, I’m documenting this for posterity so I can remind myself and I hope we had a breakthrough tonight as I’m not ready for another marathon at breakfast. ?

    Ian Eating Dinner