Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We had a great day surrounded by family, and our son loved his kitchen and felt food. We set it up in our dining room, and as I’m typing this he’s got an entire meal prepared and served at the dining room table. And as predicted, our baby had all sorts of fun with the boxes and wrapping paper. My parents brought over my new walker, and it works perfectly for dips, reverse push ups, and all sorts of leg/knee raises. I love it!
Now that Christmas is over, a lot of us start thinking about the new year and what we hope to accomplish or change during it. We don’t do resolutions per se, but we do set goals for ourselves and make plans for what we want to do in the coming year. For us, 2012 will be all about our basement – we’re hoping to finish it entirely by the end of the year. And of course we have our standard financial goals of maxxing out our IRAs, contributing to our SEP IRAs, and putting aside money to eventually pay off our mortgage. One of the best things about automatic contributions to savings accounts, retirement accounts, college savings plans, etc., is that you don’t really have to think about them. If you’ve been meaning to set up an automatic savings contribution, do it now so that you’ll be off to a great start in the new year.
If any of you have plans to eat better in 2012, you might want to take advantage of a special sale coupon valid until the end of the year at The Raw Food World. This awesome online store is owned by Matt Monarch and Angela Stokes-Monarch. They recently had a baby who was born at home in their tub – of course I loved that story! I’ve been ordering stuff from their store for a while now, and it always arrives with samples of things like chia seeds or Supergreen powder, along with a photocopy of a handwritten note from Matt.
From now until the end of December, you can use the code HOLIDAY18 when you checkout at The Raw Food World online store, and you’ll get 17.5% off any size order (the coupon code works for everything in the store except appliances and exercise equipment, so they’re also offering another coupon – HOLIDAY12 – that you can use on some exercise equipment and some appliances. Check out their store for more details). It’s a pretty awesome deal, and I’m definitely going to be stocking up on some stuff this week.
In addition to the coupon, they have some awesome at-cost specials going on at the moment – I got an amazing deal on a bag of 1000 chlorella tablets last week. And the best part? Our three-year-old chomps on a chlorella tablet every morning with his breakfast and says he likes the taste!
I buy our chia seeds from them too, and we go through a lot of chia seeds around here. Our Christmas morning breakfast was overnight oats/quinoa/chia in a mixture of almond milk and coconut milk eggnog (an amazing seasonal treat from the folks at So Delicious). I had leftover quinoa in the fridge so I dumped it into a bowl with raw oats and a bunch of chia seeds. Then I added the almond milk and a bit of the eggnog, stirred it around, and let it sit overnight in the fridge. We had a great breakfast the next morning without any effort at all. I make all sorts of chia puddings – they’re like magic! I usually start with 1 part chia to 2 parts liquid and go from there, adding more liquid if it seems too thick. I blend up nuts and fruit (cranberry chia pudding is a favorite around here) to change the flavor, and we always love a bowl of chocolate chip mint chia pudding during the summer when our mint plants are bursting with leaves. Chia seeds are a great source of calcium, so if you’re looking for alternatives to dairy, these might be a perfect solution.
One of our new favorite foods – which we also found at The Raw Food World – is kelp noodles. For about six months now, we’ve been eating very little wheat (or grains at all, other than oats and seeds like buckwheat and quinoa), and I’ve been searching for substitutes for pasta. We used to eat a lot of whole wheat spaghetti, and I had replaced it with zucchini noodles (made with a spiralizer) in the summer when our zukes were in season, and spaghetti squash in the fall. I thoroughly enjoy both of those options, but while my guys didn’t mind them, I don’t think they loved them either. Then I found kelp noodles and my husband and son are coming back for seconds. They are more expensive than spaghetti, but I’m able to stretch a single package into two meals for our family by adding tons of veggies. That makes the cost of the noodles much more reasonable (and I love leftovers, since it means I get to skip cooking a meal). Kelp noodles have almost no calories (6 calories per serving), but they provide calcium and a little iron too. Their flavor is neutral, so they absorb the flavor of whatever you put on them. Our favorite thing to do with them is sautee a ton of veggies (broccoli, onions, garlic, carrots, bell peppers) and some tempeh, and then make a variation on Gena’s awesome Asian sauce (I use less oil and more water, but you can tweak it however you like). Then we mix the sauce, noodles, tempeh and veggies and have a fantastic dinner that comes together quickly and leaves us feeling satisfied but not overly full the way pasta sometimes does.
Anyway, if you’re looking for some inspiration and excellent deals on super-duper food to start off the new year, I highly recommend The Raw Food World. Everything I’ve bought from them has been great, and they have a huge selection of products. There’s a link at the top of their left sidebar for “at-cost specials” and they have all sorts of great deals there (like 1000 chlorella tabs or 1000 chlorella/spirulina tabs for $15.95, and those amazing kelp noodles are also in the at-cost specials list right now). Or you can just browse around the site and know that you can save 17.5% on whatever you buy this week. They really do have an amazing selection of stuff, which is especially helpful for people who don’t live near a health food supermarket. In addition, they sell products in all sorts of sizes, so you can try a little of something new or purchase a bulk size if you already know it’s something you love (that would be an especially good idea this week, with the HOLIDAY18 coupon code). Have fun, and here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!