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Vegan While Out: Karyn’s Raw Cafe (Chicago)

After talking to Christa about Karyn Calabrese’s raw vegan restaurant, I made it my first stop when I landed in Chicago last week.

The title of Karyn’s book is so comical to me. LOL

I haven’t read it yet, but based on the description, she talks a lot about eating a raw diet rich in fruit, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.  Karyn is 64 years old and credits her over thirty years of healthy eating and detoxification for maintaining her youthful appearance and energy. Go Karyn!

I liked how intimate and relaxing the decor was.  The sitting area was for about 15 and there was a separate health food store with mostly Karyn’s products next door.

I started off with a shot of wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is beneficial in lowering blood pressure,  has a high concentration of chlorophyll, and is said to have anti-aging properties.

Appetizer- Raw, vegan nachos – Delicious!  Crispy corn tortilla chips with guacamole, sweetened sour cream, black olives, marinated red onions, caramelized jalapeños

This dish made me consider getting a Excalibur Dehydrator and making my own nachos at home.

Main Entree~Empanadas – made from flax and corn masa pastry dough stuffed with three pepper chorizo and house blend chili spice
Served with a side of authentic raw chocolate mole and a salsa verde

Dessert – coconut ice cream with strawberries and coconut wafers-Yummy!

Great service and a nice date spot. I visited this restaurant with my male cousin who has never considered a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and he enjoyed all of the dishes.

Vegan food isn’t meant to make your life restrictive, but is a way to eat what you want in a healthier way.

Happy eating!

Finding Simplicity in Unpredictable Situations

For the last few days the east coast has been quite busy with unprecedented earthquakes and the anticipation of Irene heading toward several states.  While talking to The Hubs earlier, we discussed how our views on possible power outages have changed since the ice storms of last year.

I can vividly remember being quite upset during those 24 hours of no electricity.  I complained about being cold and wanting to watch TV.

Our kids didn’t seem to mind the change; in fact, they embraced it wholeheartedly.  The boys played board games, made up activities, and excitedly covered the dining room table with blankets to build a fort to sleep in that night.  Since it was so cold, we spent a great deal of time in bed cuddling and talking.  I don’t remember specifics from those conversations, but I do remember feeling peaceful and wondered why we allowed the weather to force us to spend this much quality time together.  We spent 24 hours without TV distractions, cell phones ringing (batteries died), and no computer. I wondered why we didn’t consciously carve out this time together more often?

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Black Bean Tacos

This recipe is a healthier alternative to tacos with ground beef or chicken.

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Vegan While Out: Molly’s Cupcakes (Chicago)

I had a bit of a sweet tooth while in Chicago. After my sister and cousin stuffed their faces with popcorn at Garrett, I was on a mission to find vegan cupcakes. Sprinkles was my first choice (because it was closer to where we were) but when I checked their menu on my BlackBerry, I only saw a red velvet option and I wanted chocolate.

After watching a street show, we caught the bus to North Clark St for sweets.

I don’t have much experience with vegan cupcakes but this one was quite dense.  I think I went there with an unrealistic expectation of a fluffy cupcake like the conventional ones (with eggs) typically are.  I spoke to an employee who said she didn’t have an ingredient list but ensured me there were no animal byproducts.  I only wanted to know the ingredients to make sure I used the opposite of what they did for when I experiment with a few recipes on my own. LOL  I personally thought the $3 wasn’t worth it.

Off to look for cupcake recipes…wish me luck!

Sign outside of the bakery

What are your vegan cupcake experiences?

These Chipmunks Can Swim

Alvin & Theo enjoying the water

I posted in June about my boys not being about to swim, even though they actively spend time in the lake or pool each summer.

Since then, The Hubs has been working with them, and now all three can swim quite well.  They jump off the diving board (8 ft) and Simon can even swim the full length of the neighborhood pool. Woo-hoo!

The irony is Simon has been teaching me how to swim.  I must say he’s a very patient instructor.  🙂

Hair Crush: Teyanna Taylor