Why is the Giraffe Licking the Wall?

A gorgeous flower we saw in the Conservatory

Last week I finally was able to get together with two of my best friends from college and we had a blast! We stayed in a hotel, went shopping, played games way past my bedtime and went to Como Zoo & Conservatory!

Oh the things we found picture-worthy at the zoo...This giraffe was making out with the wall the entire time we were there. Does anyone know why?

It was the perfect day to walk outside with great company ;).

Me, Shannon and Amber - On a side note, we felt bad for the giraffes. I know that they have an outdoor area as well but this seemed like a small, cramped space for winter. :/

We also exchanged Christmas gifts and Shannon got me the coolest bamboo recipe box! now I don’t have to write recipes on random envelopes only to have them disappear…(that’s the idea, at least).

Apparently there's a ghost in this picture... (little round circle? yes?)

All-in-all it was a great trip and I can’t wait to see you two again!

Another beautiful flower from the conservatory.

Now onto a recipe for you! Because so many people checked out the bean dip that I made last week (and because I had a ginormous avocado that didn’t have much life left..), I decided to create another dip recipe. This dip is light and refreshing, making it hard to keep from eating it!

Avocado, Lime and Sundried Tomato Dip
[makes about 2.5 cups]

  • 1 Large Avocado (I used a ‘slimcado’ which weighed in at 11.7 oz.)
  • 1 15-oz. container organic Great Northern Beans
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tablespoon oil

– In a small pan, heat the oil and then sautee the sundried tomatoes for about 3 minutes (make sure the pan isn’t too hot or the tomatoes will burn quickly).

– Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

– Serve as a dip for veggies or a spread on a veggie sandwich or lettuce wrap!

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Sprouted Buckwheat Dip

Well I thought today was ‘hug a vegetarian day’ until I double-checked and it turns out that I’m a week late! Today is actually ‘ask a stupid question day’ according to days of the year.com. Oh well; we’re still accepting hugs ūüėČ .¬† I also missed ‘Eat a Hoagie¬†Day’, ‘Hobbit Day’, ‘Coffee Day’, and ‘Johnny Appleseed Day’.¬† Man! It’s just so disappointing.¬† Have you ever gone to day¬†of the year.com? It’s kind of fun! Although my birthday was ‘Step-Family Day’, which doesn’t really apply to me, and Elysia’s¬†birthday didn’t even have a celebration for 2011, which is clearly absurd.¬† Speaking of my birthday, I was very excited to receive a Ninja from my parents.¬† Yes, I do want a Vitamix someday but that’s definitely more of a dream right now, and the Ninja is cool because it has three different sizes to blend things in.

On the day that Elysia and I left for the marathon, I may have gotten a little carried away blending up a variety of foods in the Ninja (similar to when I got Elysia’s¬†present, a spiralizer, but more on that later…). The following recipe is the perfect example of throwing seemingly¬†random ingredients together for a tasty and healthy treat.¬† I happened to have sprouted buckwheat because I made some energy bars from Thrive: Fitness and had some left over.¬† If you have never sprouted grains or seeds before, don’t be afraid! It’s really easy to do so. Basically you soak said grain or seed overnight in water (or for about an hour with buckwheat), rinse in the morning, and place in a sprouting¬†jar (or strainer). Then you wait a day or two (rinsing 2x per day) and little sprouts start to grow! If you want a more detailed explanation, click here.¬† Alternatively, you could probably cook the buckwheat but that may alter the flavor. If you do, let us know how it turns out!

Sprouted Buckwheat

Sprouted Buckwheat Dip

  • ¬Ĺ cup sprouted (or cooked) buckwheat
  • 2 dried figs, soaked for one hour (optional)
  • ¬ľ cup cooked and mashed winter squash (I used butternut)
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • ¬ľ teaspoon garlic salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

-Place all ingredients in a blender and mix, adjusting spices to taste.

– I ate this on a salad of Kale with roasted tomatoes and baked Tempeh. It also tastes good as a dip for crackers or vegetables or as a spread on a sandwich.

Tiny butternut squash from our garden! I just cut it in half, took out the seeds, and roasted it in a 400 degree oven until it was easily pierced with a fork.

Blending it up.

The dip, although not very pretty, did taste good. I ate it with Kale, oven-roasted tomatoes, and baked Tempeh.

If you have any questions about sprouting buckwheat or any of the above ingredients, feel free to ask.

Happy ‘Stupid Question Day’! (No, I’m not saying that a question pertaining to these things is stupid ūüėČ )