I’m in the final 7+ weeks of pregnancy and I’m continually amazed at how fast this is all going now. The midwestern heat is finally here, and with it comes the bountiful selection of produce at the farmers markets. As consistent as ever with this pregnancy, my palate wants lots of crunchy raw vegetables, smoothies, and watermelon, so now’s the time for me to reap the benefits! I still don’t have too many complaints about being knocked up- my weight gain has been gradual and perfect thus far, my ankles are still visible, I have yet to get a new stretch mark to add to the puberty collection, and my mood has been stable. The only complaint I have is the occasional heartburn that creeps up, but since I started taking papaya enzymes for my digestion, it’s really only been 1-2x a week, and hasn’t been too bothersome. I hear weeks 35 and 36 are when women start to want to throw in the towel, so I’lll keep you updated.
I had a lovely baby shower thrown by my two best friends and my sister. My sister*- also vegan and gluten free- made an incredible spread of finger foods for us all to enjoy. *Yes, ONE person made ALL of that food in 48 hours. I’m seriously spoiled/lucky.
Items pictured are Chocolate Chip Cookies and Mediterranean Croquettes from Alyson Kramer’s Great Gluten Free Eats, German Potato Salad sans bacon, Blackened Tomato Canapes from Vegan Yum Yum made with GF bread, Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches, open faced on GF bread , from The Post Punk Kitchen, a super delish coconut cocoa macaroon tart that she ad-libbed herself, plus various crackers, dips, and fruit.
I’ve been ad-libbing in the kitchen myself, too. My newest concoction is raw energy squares. I’m a Lara Bar fan, but I’m avoiding purchasing them because the company supports the non labeling of GMO’s. So, I figured I’d try my own hand at making them. They’re basically just dates, nuts, and dried fruits, right? Right!
Raw Energy Bites with Chia
Makes roughly 72 bites
2 cups raw almonds
1/2 c raw pepitas- pumpkin seeds
1/4 c dried cranberries
1/4 c raisins
1/2 c shredded coconut
1/4 c chia seeds
1- 1 1/2 lbs deglet dates, pitted
Line an 8×8 brownie pan with parchment paper. Put the almonds in the bowl of your food processor and grind until it resembles sand. Add everything but the dates, and process until chopped. At this time, you may need to divide your nut meal in half to avoid overworking your machine. With the machine running, add your dates, 2-3 at a time, until the mixture hold together and begins to clump easily. Pour the mixture into your pan and press down. It should become a solid mass very easily. Repeat with the rest of your nut meal and add to the top of the first layer. You can use just about any dried fruit and raw nut combination to make these; I’m dreaming of a batch made with dried strawberries, coconut, and raw cashews- divine!
Once packed into your pan, chill them for at least an hour before cutting and storing. I cut mine into 6×6 rows, and then cut each row in half width-wise once pulled from the pan to give me 72 rectangles. To store, I tossed them in coconut flakes to help keep them from sticking, and popped them into the fridge.
I also made a super delicious loaded veggie potato salad, recipe modified from here.
Veggie Potato Salad, adapted from Southern Living
Makes 4-6 servings
1 1/2 lbs baby red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups snap peas, ends trimmed
1 medium carrot, shredded
4 radishes, sliced thin on a mandoline
1 stalk celery, minced
1/2 c loosely packed parsley, chopped
2 tbs Veganaise
2 tbs Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together all of the dressing components and set aside. Steam the potatoes until tender, and cool until chilled. Toss the veggies, potatoes and dressing together and chill before serving.