Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here I Go Again!

Why must I ALWAYS go against the grain??? :)
John 15:5"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him will bare much fruit, for without me you can do nothing." What does this really mean? This is one of the first verses I ever committed to memory (still wriggling into my heart) years ago when I took the Experiencing God Study Course for the first time. It is an amazing Bible study that I highly recommend for anyone... but specifically for new christians. I wish I had known about this Bible study sooner. It was responsible for reconnecting me with God and really teaching me about God the Father instead of God the Deity, as this was all I ever knew him as up to that point. But this verse still pops into my mind every now and again as I ask:
What is our dependence on God? I have been hearing a trend lately that is sending my skin crawling because I want to speak out, but I know it is completely inappropriate. But it is driving me crazy to hear people say, "I am praying that God will give me the strength to accomplish XYZ and that God will do beyond all I can ask or think." NO!!! The verse is Ephesians 3:20: "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." The verse says that he is able according to the power at work within us. Not only does that imply that the power is already there, but at the very least our answers in abundance requires activity on our part... even if it's just acknowledgement. Please don't confuse activity with salvation. The Bible clearly states that your works do not determine your salvation. But I do believe that your works determine your blessings. The word abide is a verb, meaning that activity on your part is required. It is not a one way street. I do not believe that God intended christians to be weak and co dependant. He intended us to know where we came from, and to trust that "it is done" by the power that is already there.

I've said it before, grace is just one of those benefits of accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior, but blessings and gifts are given to everyone (1 Cor 12:4-7). You do good, you get good. It's the simple law of reciprocity. And the irony of EVERYTHING being two-fold (physical body/celestial body, light/dark, good/evil, physical manifestations/spiritual manifestations) is not lost on me OR my love of quantum physics. One of these days I would love to talk about how I believe the brain (thought waves actually) binds both sides of the coin. I'll have to babble about that later though... it's kind of late right now. Although I will just mention this: it is only the brain that interprets physical/spiritual, light/dark, good/evil. Our brains are the "little referees" between two worlds... by that I mean the brain is the only visible (thought waves being measurable) common denominator that is present for both sides at the same time. Awesome!

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2 Seconds To Chai Heaven


Anyone trying to get in shape knows that protein shakes are a MUST, especially if you're trying to get 5-6 meals in each day! And finding one that is quick and actually tastes good seemed like an impossible combination for me to find. Well, as I mentioned in a previous post, sugar free flavored syrups worked very well for me and got me experimenting with other "additives" that would make ANY protein shake mix taste great. I think I'm getting this down to a science and the treat in today's post is super simple and super delicious (see my side note for how I make it super quick too)!
2 Seconds To Chai Heaven
2 teabags of your favorite chai flavored black tea
8 oz. water
Ice
1 serving of your favorite vanilla flavored protein powder
-
Steep teabags in 8 oz of boiling water (approximately 5 - 10 minutes until tea is very dark.... not exactly 2 seconds, but I had to get you to read this somehow! LOL). In a blender or shaker, mix tea with ice and protein powder. Enjoy a seriously yummy protein shake that will make you feel guilty because it tastes so good... gourmet even!
Just a little side note here: that is a Magic Bullet mug in the photo. I now use the Magic Bullet for all of my shakes because I only have to dirty one mug and I save so much time. The Magic Bullet mug goes from my microwave, to the blender base, to my table. The easier something is for me, the more I am guaranteed to easily incorporate it into my day to day routine and the more that routine will stick! So in one (Magic Bullet) mug I add the water and teabags and pop them into the microwave for 2.5 minutes for a really good boil. I use the Good Earth Brand Chai Teabags because they have the very best flavor for me and also because the bags are not assembled using a staple (staples are NOT microwave friendly and should NEVER go into the microwave!!!). Once I pull the water and teabags out of the microwave after 2.5 minutes, the tea is usually pretty black already. I add my protein powder (I use vanilla flavored Myoplex Lite) and fill the mug the rest of the way with ice. I attach the blade, blend, remove blade and add the colored rim attachment with straw and enjoy! Just slightly more than 2 seconds but this treat is so yummy that if it took an hour, it would be soooo worth it!!!
***I am currently working on a raw, organic version of the above recipe and will post as soon as I have it! Just for you Sista!***

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bon Vivant

Returning from the Bon Vivant Celebration that took place at Rawhide this year is a little bitter sweet. Bitter because I had to leave in the first place, but sweet because I have a really great topic to blog about.

First of all, being that attendees pay about $100 - $150 to attend the event, it's important to note that the proceeds benefit a VERY WORTHY cause... The Boys And Girl's Club! But, for the money that is spent, the food and spirits are amazing and worth every penny! I ate some of the most delectable food and sipped the smoothest drinks from wine to prickly pear vodka. I have spent far more than $100 on a meal that had far less to offer and was far less satisfying, but amazingly, since I volunteered at this event last night... it cost me nothing! Upon receiving my special entry badge at the door, I received a plate that had a special insert to hold the wine glass I was also given. Those were mine to use throughout the evening and to even take home! Very nice! The first station that I came to was a delectable array of chocolate goodies from fudge brownies to chocolate dipped strawberries. Then it was on to a station set up with the most decadent pasties I've ever had in my life. After passing another (oh, I don't know) 30 stations of this confection and that wine, I ended up at the back of event where all of the main courses were set up to savor the very best of the best I had that night (or any other day or night of my entire life). The first bite of the grilled beef tip with a slaw that looked like it was a mixture of fruit and veggies with a "bite" from some kind of liquor topped with a green paste that by itself was kind of bland but eaten with the beef and slaw was heaven!!! Oh yeah! This event was MADE for me!!!
In fact, I believe that it was NAMED for me! LOL! The english translation of the french "Bon Vivant" [pronounced bone veevau] literally means good living, and is used to describe a person with refined taste, especially one who enjoys superb food and drink. Oh, that is SOOOOO me and has been all my life. Who knew (I didn't until tonight, at this, my first event) that there is a special french name for me and there are A TON of other people like me? I was finally with my own people tonight, as if the car ride to the event was somehow a magical teleport to my home planet where the most amazing drinks are served and heaven sent culinary masterpieces are yours for the tasting. It was unbelievable; I hope to be able to attend again next year. And I hope to see you all there!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We've Come a Long Way Baby!


I love, love, love this picture!!! I pulled this pic off the net. It's going around because some ridiculous story broke about Kim Kardashian's cellulite! Wow, are our priorities so mixed up?!?
Well, I'm here writing about it too, so I've established that my priorities are mixed up but there's something amazing to be said about this pic AND Ms. Kardashian's response:
"So what, I have cellulite!" Ok, first of all, from looking at this pic, there are (MAYBE) three areas that look digitally enhanced and I only noticed those areas because the two pics are side by side. I did notice that someone washed her color. I can honestly say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the natural pic is way more beautiful to me because it is real, and she is really a beautiful woman without anything retouched. This is the same thing that just happened with Jessica Simpson in recent months. When are we going to stop doing this to ourselves? We are trying to live up to false images of what women are. Thank God that Ms. Kardashian responded the way she did. I wish Jessica Simpson had done the same. Although, I noticed that BOTH women decided that they needed to change themselves as BOTH used the very negative and harmful media attention to "motivate them to change". Doesn't everyone realize that NO ONE, not even the women in the pics, can live up to those unrealistic body images. I think that if I were Ms. Kardashian, I would be mad that anyone altered me in the first place. I would be mad that someone hired me to do a job and then basically said that I wasn't good enough for what they hired me for and felt the need to "adjust" it. I liken that to my husband asking me to marry him and then wanting me to have breast augmentation and then lipo suction, veneers on my teeth and lose weight, etc. That would make me ask why he married me in the first place. If he wants me to change all of that, clearly he had someone else pictured in his head to marry. It would make me feel very bad about myself, so I can only imagine what these poor women are going through. Hollywood NEEDS more women like Jamie Lee Curtis who is real and is completely hot because of it. And besides, if the current state of our economy continues (or God forbid gets any worse), cellulite IS going to be the next sexy "IN" thing!!! Only the rich and famous will be able to eat, so all that cellulite will suddenly become the false body image that every woman wants. I'm just sayin....

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Motivational Quotes

Every day I read through a list of motivational quotes as my night is coming to a close. That is a little part of my day that I really look forward to every night. So I thought I would share my top 10. All of them I found online from various websites. I do not remember where each one of these came from, but I want to make sure that everyone knows that I did not come up with these. If anyone has some motivational quotes they would like at add, please do. I am collecting them and would like to have as many as possible.

1) "Obsessed is the term the lazy use to describe the dedicated."
2) "Potential just means ya ain't doing crap right now"
3) "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour or a day, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself which would I rather live with?" Lance Armstrong
4) "Everyone has a breaking point. By continually raising the bar in the gym, you can avoid reaching it."
5) "Train the body to go the distance and the mind will be prepared for the journey."

6) "Accomplishing goals can become habitual."
7) "In training everyone focuses on 90% physical and 10% mental, but in the races its 90% mental- because there's very little that separates us physically at the elite level."
8) "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle
9) "You never know how strong you are, till being strong is the only choice you have."
10) "You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." Mary Pickford
11) Ok, so here is a bonus.. hahahaha! "One Day At A Time. Focus each day on THAT day's plan and just simply execute. No thinking until Noon!!! "

Aren't We All In Training?

I always wondered about people who say they've talked to God. How can that be? Well over the years I came to understand that since Jesus' death on the cross and all of us receiving the holy spirit to dwell inside (when we ask Him to), that God really does talk directly to us. It's not an audible thing. But when we're connected to God, that link culminates in the most amazing thought patterns. For instance: today I was surfing the web reading this and that about one of my favorite subjects... exercise. One article I read said, "What is interesting is that at the moment you want to quit, the moment the pain has become too great, that is the moment that usually means you are close to a breakthrough!" I suddenly had no thoughts of exercise or weight training. I thought of all the times in my life when I thought I couldn't handle something only to find out that I did handle it and my life turned out great because of it. I also thought of all the times that I thought I couldn't handle something and quit, ending up "what if-ing" those particular situations to death. It's funny how we never truly let go of those. What I got out of today's conversation with God is that he will never put more on us than we can handle (see 1 Corinthians 10:13) and that we spend much of our lives determining what we can or can't handle, but we don't really know. What we thought we would never make it through or could never survive, we find out afterward that not only did we survive it, but in a lot of ways we are grateful it happened. The article today was about self imposed limitations when conditioning your body. What limitations are you putting on yourself when conditioning your spirit... because aren't we all in training?

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Why Does This Bother Me So Much?

I just read an article about a topic that is VERY near and dear to my heart. Being that I'm in recovery for "being offended all the time by everything", any article written about the subject sounds whistles and sirens for me. This article that I found on PeerTrainer.com's blog is one of those articles. I would venture to say that it is MY FAVORITE article on the topic because of the wording and suggestions on ways to deal with "being offended". Being offended is not an easy topic to discuss, but being a christian, I believe that it is even more important NOT to be offended. To be offended means that you have given control of your emotions to someone or something else, and where does your faith go? And I love this writer's question, "Why does this bother me so much?" That is the perfect question to get your emotions back in check. Your emotions are only to be a gauge for your spirit... not take it over. Understanding that everyone is connected and we all want the same thing in life (that is to feel good and feel loved) helps me to overcome momentary offense. It's hard though, don't get me wrong. The reality is that there are people in this world that associate the "feeling good and feeling loved" with being offended because then everyone around them tries to take the offense away making them feel important, good and loved. The only way to break that cycle is to not get offended yourself and move on. Their offense is not your problem. If you were wrong, apologize, and mean it. Then move on. I recently blasted an email discussing the topic of immigration in the US. It was an email composed by someone else that I forwarded. Of everyone I sent it to, there was one who got offended and felt the need to express their offense to me. Instead of respecting me as a person who may (or may not) have a differing opinion, she felt the need to berate me. Well, being that I work very hard to not be offended, I thanked her for her message, told her that offending her was not my intent; I would make sure she was not part of my future blasts and stated that it was just a differing opinion. No matter where one may stand on this issue, we ALL are descendants of immigrants if we are American, however, the reality that immigration issues in the US are being handled quite a bit differently than they ever were when past ancestors arrived is cause for open discussion as friends and that I was hoping her intent was not to just be offended. I left it at that, removed her from my email address book and moved on. Truth be told, the second I opened the email and read the first two lines, the blood rushed to my head (you know that tingley feeling you get when you know you are going to deal with a conflict) and for the briefest of seconds I was offended. That's where the "moving on" part comes into play. But the piece that I've always missed, the piece that should come before moving on, is the simplest of questions. "Why Does This Bother Me So Much?" If the answer is, "because the other person's bothered," then you are taking something that doesn't belong to you. You're taking on that person's issue. You do, however, owe it to the other person to express your intentions in whatever you said or did... apologize even, but then you owe it to yourself to move on. And don't be afraid to apologize. Romans 12:18 says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." It is amazing how a meaningful apology can defuse a situation. And if it can't, moving on is the best thing you can do to keep the peace.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Twilight

Ok, I have spent the entire weekend watching/blogging/talking about Twilight. Why does it work? Why does it move me and every teenage female that I meet? Because there is something very sexy about a bad boy with a good heart. "He" is the ultimate fantasy guy. And by the way, I am not the only adult female pining over the hero in this movie... no this is not reserved for teenage girls. There were quite a few moms at the release party discussing this very topic. All I know is that this story is amazing, the characters are incredible and I want to run out and buy all the books. Now to be objective, the actors playing the main characters can use a few acting lessons, but the cinematography and the directing were superb. Editing was wonderful (nothing lagged on) and the music score will be part of my dreams forever. I also LOVED Stephenie Meyer's cameo! That was a nice personal touch to the movie that I missed the first two times around. hahahahaha! I'm hoping that the producers of New Moon invested in the lead actor's performances a little and this next movie will be even better than the first. I can't wait until November.

Forgotten Fun


Increasing daily activity is important to anyone looking to shed the pounds or improve health, but it sometimes seems like the planned, or forced, activity dulls the mind making activity feel like a chore. Impromptu relays are the sure fire answer to cure that. In your back yard or a nearby park, set up fun family relays. We did jump rope, water haul ( 5 gallon container) and frisbee catch this past weekend. It was a lot of fun and would be even more fun to make it a party and invite friends and neighbors. THAT, by the way, is what I'm planning! :) The activity over the weekend got me in touch with the kid in me and made the exercise feel more like play time! Anyone for hopscotch? Maybe next weekend. In my mind's eye I'm picturing everyone on my block getting together at the local park once a week for potlucks and relays. I'm picturing families who could otherwise not get their children away from their X-Boxes or Wiis, bonding and getting in shape together at a fun weekly event where real life human beings actually connect. And I'm picturing that the kids can't wait for next weekend's festivities. And I'm picturing the world is a better place because of it. Crazy... but let's see if anyone shares my vision.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

LOVED IT!!!!

Ok, so it is 2:30 a.m. and I just finished watching Twilight. Yes, I am a freak of nature! I actually stayed up all night to watch this movie and now sit down and blog about it! I had to wait until 12:01 exactly to get the movie at blockbuster's DVD release party which actually took me until 12:30 a.m. because the freakin line was out the door... and that was for all of us who prepaid! Luckily I have been in training for many years for this very moment (insomniac.. hahahahaha!). That movie was incredible and I cannot wait for New Moon to come out! I am going to have to watch it a few more times. That was the most climactic, anticlimactic movie I have ever seen. There is something so exciting about "the wanting more"! That is what this whole movie was about. Doing the right thing when you are so tempted to push things further. Oh, it was good. That's all I have for now. I must go now and dream. I would end this with telling everyone to go see it, but based on the line at the video store's release party, you probably already are! :)
It will interesting to see the DVD sales just for tonight's sales on the news in the morning.

8:34 a.m. I woke up at 7:30 a.m., did my workout and just started the DVD AGAIN!!! I really am a freak of nature. This is just such a good love story and to be honest, I wanted to check out the Phoenix shots again to see I see if there are any extras that I know, or stuff that I recognize! LOL. OK, so I really just wanted to see the really good love story again! hahahahaha!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Serious Values For Such An Unconventional Story

I never made it to the theaters for the screening of Twilight which is odd. I'm totally into the whole romanticism of vampires (not the demon stories so much as the forever love stories) and really enjoy teen movies. Don't judge!

It was not until after Twilight was out of the theaters that I found out that the author of the book by the same title (Stephanie Myers) is a mormon. Interesting. I am not a mormon, but since I have many friends who are, I have gotten a little glimpse into their values and beliefs.... love story you say? Very Interesting. I then did a little research and found out that this love story is the old fashion kind, the kind that I LOVE. You know, the kind where two people actually get to know each other and don't give too much of themselves away... what!?! This is a vampire story right? Ok, so I'll cut to the chase. I just bought this movie (sight unseen) and am set to pick it up at 11:00 p.m. this evening at the release party being held at the video store. Yes, this DVD debut is being rolled out at a release party full on with a costume contest (character make-up encouraged) and "good guy/bad guy" debate. I think the thing is going to be catered as well. Wow! This is going to be an experience. Someone mentioned that Stephanie Myers was even going to make an appearance at the video store on the west side, I think they said that she lives in AZ. This is beyond crazy and is building the suspense to see this film. But I am a sucker for a good love story and even more of a sucker for a VAMPIRE LOVE STORY!!! This better not suck (pardon the puns... overkill)!
Edit Note: Apparently I cannot pick this DVD up until midnight. The party starts at 11:00 p.m. for anyone who might be going. Wanted to make sure that the correct info is out there. Also, the Stephanie Myers appearance is a rumor...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dehydrated Candy Apple Chips

Pictured here is the "before" picture of my apple chips that I was dehydrating after marinading them in pure organic maple syrup. I then sprinkled organic and raw maple syrup powder over top. After three days of dehydrating (unheard of in an Excalibur) I realized that they were NOT going to be chips at all. They were not getting crunchy! While they were staying firm, I could bend them in half and the two halves would stick together with the maple glue I had created.

Well, there is not an after picture, because you see this little failed dehydrating experiment actually created a very yummy candy/caramel apple treat and they were completely gone the day that I turned the dehydrator off. The family loved them! I still have an entire bag of sliced apples in the fridge that I will put in the dehydrator tonight. Hopefully there will be an "after" pic from that batch. I won't be marinading in syrup this time. I might just try sprinkling with the maple syrup powder and some cinnamon. We'll see how that turns out. But I'm definitely filing this one in the Halloween Treat file! :)

Afraid Maybe, But Still Neutral!


I posted a blog a couple of days ago about the Bountiful Baskets. I talked about all the beautiful organic produce I received. Well, for a moment I was afraid... very afraid. Part of the bounty I received included some really weird leafy green that had red stems. I had never seen anything like that before (at least I don't think I have...). After a little research I discovered that it was swiss chard. Ok, now what? I then "Googled" how one goes about preparing swiss chard and the online consensus seemed to be to saute it for the best flavor. And when I say saute, I mean saute in butter. THAT was not going to work for me. So today after starting the roast in the crock pot I decided to get a little creative. I chopped up garlic and cut up the chard and put them both in the same bowl to marry. What can I say, I'm a romantic! LOL. When the roast was done, I removed it from the pot and added the cut up chard, garlic and all into the still hot broth in the pot. The broth consisted of water, garlic, onions, celery, fresh cracked black pepper, olive oil and sea salt that had stewed the roast all day. Yes, my house smelled WONDERFUL!!! I left the garlic/chard in the hot broth for about 5, maybe 8 minutes, just until the leaves where slightly wilted and then removed and served with the roast. Oh, I almost forgot! The time that the chard spent in the crock pot was the same amount of time that the roast, that I had removed right before, spent in the broiler. I don't need to tell you how wonderful tonight's dinner was. Organic pot roast with organic and fresh stewed swiss chard. The picture speaks a thousand words. Ok, it was AMAZING!!!! :)

Happy Birthday To Me... Almost!

Birthdays are the best, and mine's not even here yet! I received this amazing pink watch yesterday as an early birthday present. I'm so spoiled (as it should be)! But this isn't just ANY watch, it's a Mio Motiva Pink Petite watch. Why is THIS watch so special? Because a portion of the proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation! It gets even better! This watch also monitors heart rate, tracks calories burned and has a count-down/count-up timer among other functions. I haven't had time to sit down and read through the entire user manual yet, but so far, this is the PERFECT sports watch and exactly what I wanted. The package included the wrist band you see in the pic as well as a solid pink band. I also got a light blue/orange combo band and a gray/black combo band. Hello ladies! Now you can coordinate your watch with all your gym clothes. Just kidding... I don't own anything that's blue and orange. Hahahaha! This is definately a birthday gift to feel great about on so many levels.
Of course I HAD to do my nails to match! I'm such a girl! On my nails: one coat of Color Club Stuck on you, 2 coats of OPI Heart Throb, 1 coat OPI Alter Ego. Konad Nail Art Stamp was done with Color Club Pink Lust with a Seche Vite top coat. Looks great!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick Tip and Treat Continued

Well, I received the magic bullet and it's everything I hoped it would be. I have already sold a couple people on it as well. You just can't beat single serving blending. The juice extractor attachment is a nice bonus and the motor IS very powerful. It blends the ice for my protein shakes like I'm mixing butter. All the pieces (except for the electrical base) can be thrown into the dishwasher for super fast clean up. I haven't used this in the microwave, but haven't seen any issue with putting the mixing cups into the dishwasher or freezer. It really does grind up spices and coffee VERY well and unlike the expensive nut and spice grinders, all the "powder" from whatever you are grinding stays contained in the cup. You just remove the blade and you can serve directly from the cup. The vented lids are perfect for sprinkling those fresh ground spices or cheeses. Exactly what the infomercial said, it's absolutely true.

I would love to write a letter to the makers/marketers of the magic bullet to let them know the misconception I had of their product based on that corney infomercial. This product is a serious product that takes very little space on the counter and satisfies a ton of needs. You never get that impression from the advertising (what was with the chic and the fake cigarette!!! YUCK!). I know that they've sold a lot of units, but would probably sell even more if they did some serious advertising.

But I'm here to tell you, it works great and is WELL WORTH the VERY SMALL investment! LOL! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Little Johnny, We CAN'T Just Write a Check

Can someone PLEASE explain to Mr. Obama that you cannot write a check when there isn't money in the account? Can someone please explain to him that a check is a promisory note promising to forward funds THAT ARE AVAILABLE? Writing a promisory note without the funds to cover it is fraud which is why post-dating checks is illegal. Can someone also inform congress that they are there FOR THE PEOPLE and not for themselves? Their service, while VERY OVERLOOKED by the majority of Americans, is not overlooked by God and they will be held accountable. Please correct me if I'm wrong: congressmen earn around $180K per year and EVERY one of them retire millionaires. If they are doing so legally than in the name of service, shouldn't our congress people be sharing their keys of success to help our nation prosper financially. Our kid's kids will be paying those fraudulent promisory notes and would benefit greatly from the knowledge that our government "officials" clearly have (I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume their earnings are completely legal.... anyone with me?). But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that as long as we allow our government to abuse power, we as Americans deserve everything that's coming our way. Our children will most certainly suffer the sins of their fathers. As long as we do not rise and take our government back, anything we allow to happen is our own fault. We have a responsibility to stop injustice and collectively have the power to do it, but we don't. I often wonder how thousands and thousands of jews were abused, tortured and killed in concentration camps by a group making up maybe hundreds. I wonder why the same holds true in Africa today and held true when slavery in America was going strong. How does a group as large as these in history, with the power they possessed as the majority allow much smaller groups with much less power control and become all-powerful? I personally believe its the same thing that has and is occurring in America today. I just don't think that I'll ever understand it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mock Pumpkin Pie Recipe

You DESERVE a piece of pie!!! :)
This is the recipe that I promised the wonderful group at the co-op today. Sorry for the late post! A little note: Most of my raw recipes come from a recipe book called Raw Food, Real World, as does this one. I love this non-cookbook! You will need a pie/tart pan, a high speed blender and a dehydrator.

Crust

1 1/2 C. Coarse almond flour
1 1/2 C. fine almond flour
3 T. Date Paste
3/4 C. Maple Syrup Powder
3/4 C. Coconut butter
Pinch of sea salt.
Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Dough should form and all ingredients should be completely combined. Press dough into pie or tart pan. Place in fridge for at least an hour to set up.


Filling

1 C. Raw Cashews, soaked for 4 hours or more
1 C. Raw Coconut meat
2 C. Carrot juice
3/4 C. Agave nectar
3/4 C. coconut butter
1/3 C. Date paste
1 T. vanilla extract
1 T. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. sea salt
In high speed blender (vitamix is recommended), blend all the filling ingredients until completely smooth. Fill pie or tart shell while the filling is at room temperature. Place tart in the fridge to set, about one hour or more.

Ok, that is the recipe. I followed it to the letter and it turned out soupy. I am new to the raw food world, so I did not know that most pie recipes turn out that way. So to fix this (because soupy pie is not pie at all), I placed the pie in my Excalibur Food dehydrator at 95 degrees for 10 hours and it turned out BEAUTIFUL!!!! The recipe in the book also included adding candied pumpkin seeds for effect I'm sure, but I had to omit those from the top because, at the time, I couldn't find organic raw pumpkin seeds. The picture in the recipe book looks incredible and so gourmet with that little addition. The pic you see here is a repost from the original blog post a few days ago... check that one out also to see what the whole pie looked like... almost identical to the real thing!!!

Seriously Crazy!


Oh man! Look at the fridge in my garage. And that's only about half of it!!! The rest of my Bountiful Basket is in the fridge in my kitchen. Crazy!
I'm here to tell you about my very first experience with Bountiful Baskets. I was told that Bountiful Baskets was a great way to save money on quality produce, so I thought I'd give it a try and see; and you can tell by the pic, that was today! Well, my fridge is PACKED! And every bit of it is organic. Look at how nice all of that produce looks. It's beautiful. After signing up on the website (click link above), I started reading that you can volunteer at the pick up site and help distribute; for your work, you can get extra produce. That was a nice bonus, but today I volunteered with the nicest people and to be honest I had so much fun, I would have done that for free. Needless to say (but I will say it anyway) I will be doing this again in 2 weeks.
So here's the lowdown. For $25 dollars, I got what you see in the pic here as well as what you don't see in my kitchen fridge. I spent $3 for a one/first time "basket" fee and then around $7 for an additional "asian stir fry pack". For approximately $35 I was LOADED with produce.... and organic produce at that. If I wanted to buy conventional produce (pesticides and man-made nutrients and fertilizers used), I could have saved $10. I figured it was worth the 10 extra dollars to leave out anything that might be poisonous. What do you think? I'm guessing that if I were to buy all this food at a grocery store it would cost me well over $100. Not only is this produce better looking than anything I could've bought at the store it was WAY cheaper and more fun to get. I hope that everyone takes the opportunity to try Bountiful Baskets and I hope you all get to meet wonderful people like I got to meet today. I invited everyone to my blog, so you might just get to see them around! LOL. SO MUCH FUN!!!
OH! I almost forgot about the time savings! For those of you that are obsessed with organizing and time management or for those of you, (like me) who are trying to organize your life, you are going to love this. The pickup time was at 8 a.m. and my husband and I were out of there by 8:10 a.m. We volunteered with distribution from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. I don't think I've EVER purchased produce and gotten through the checkout line in 10 minutes. Let alone with 2 laundry baskets full of produce. Did I mention how CRAZY this is. What a brilliant concept! Yah, Bountiful Baskets Rocks!

Friday, March 13, 2009

THE Latest and Greatest Diet Program!

Diet programs come and go and are usually accompanied by an instruction book of some sort. Atkins, Southbeach, Volumetrics.... they all have them and all of them claim to have proven success. Well gang, I have the latest and greatest! This diet program has been around for a very long time, but often gets overshadowed by the latest fad. But THIS program works! And the instruction book can be found for FREE at every library, most hotels and every church building. That's right, it's the Bible. I am doing a Bible study on proper nutrition and so far, it's great! We first established that our bodies are the temple of the living God. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?" Then we are asked, what are you doing to your body to steal away your health. God has already healed us all, it's already done. It is ours for the taking. Isiah 53:5 says, "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." Key word to note here is "are" healed. So if it's already a done deal, why do so many christians get sick and die? We always pray for others to BE healed, but according to God, we already are. What's up? Well, that leads me to Exodus 15:26, "If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians for I am the Lord who heals you." Well, there you have it. The condition for our healing. Do you know that you do not have to be born again to reap the benefits of that promise. It's that way for ALL of God's promises, whether you are saved or not. You will reap what you sow; if you give ear to his commandments, do what is right in his sight and keep all his statutes, you will live a long healthy life. That's what the Bible says. It doesn't say anywhere in the Bible that his blessings are reserved for the people who are saved. The Bible says that salvation/eternal life is the only agreement/covenant/meeting of the minds that is offered to people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The how to's and where for's can be observed by anyone and anyone will reap the benefits. I say test it! Any non believer out there, tithe the first 10% of everything you are blessed with (otherwise known as earnings) and see if God doesn't bless you even more. You don't have to be saved for any of this to work. The same holds true with your health and healing. And when you find out that God's way of life really works, and you want to "make a deal" or "enter into contract with God", salvation and life eternal is yours for the taking. Some would tell you that it's an all or nothing deal, that trials with God's promises negate the spirit of salvation. I do not believe that. God tells us to test Him. Thomas questioned Jesus, did that negate his salvation? I personally believe that God does not want us lukewarm. He knows how important being a willing participant in this covenant/contract is for everlasting life. Because that is what it really is. It IS the road less travelled. It IS an agreement to give your body, mind, spirit and life over to God. He loved you so much, He gave you free will and you are basically giving it back to him. Other than giving the body and blood of your only son to Him.... that is pretty much the ultimate gesture of love that we have the ability to give. Wow! What a profound thought! And the circle keeps going from there. Because you give Him your free will and he gives you life forever, your death is no longer death but birth into yet another amazing life with God. But all the promises of life on this earth that are found in the Bible are there for EVERYONE believer or non believer. You follow God's statutes and you will be blessed whether you believe in Him or not (health, wealth, all of it). Sorry I segued off topic here, but I believe it's important for people to understand what salvation really is. To many people try to "sell" salvation in recruiting efforts, but that is not what salvation is. People don't need to be sold, they need to be informed. There's nothing to sell, it's already been bought and paid for.
Well, here is where I've left off in the Bible study: Jesus cleansed the temple to get rid of the "thieves". How many thieves are in your life?
I will pick up on this when I've got a little further in the study book. Just so everyone knows, this Bible study is from a book by Dr. Richard H. Mays titled The Bible Diet. Great read so far!

Resources Sponsor ----> http://tinyurl.com/ojco7q "Learn To Study The Bible"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dehydration Goodness!

Pumpkin seeds!!! I have a wonderful recipe (from Raw Food, Real World) for Candied Pumpkin Seeds, and I am all over it! Using my dehydrator, I will be mixing maple syrup powder, ginger and pumpkin seeds that have been soaked for 4+ hours. They will dehydrate at 115 degrees for 12 to 24 hours. I just found out that this little recipe creates a "super snack"! The perfect ratio of protein to carbs and can be added to just about anything. But the real reason for my sudden excitement is all the health benefits from eating this amazing snack. Click here for an article called 10 Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Seeds... and it's HUGE (especially for men)!!! Here's to your health! I just gotta find raw, organic pumpkin seeds!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mock Pumpkin Pie

This masterpiece is my Mock Pumpkin Pie. A recipe that I found in Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis. This book is my new favorite! Every recipe I have done from this book turns out beautiful. Well, this one had it's moments. Just a little tip for those of you trying your hand at raw recipes... the pies turn out soupy, as did this one. Since soupy pie is not pie at all, I popped it into the dehydrator for 10 hours at 95 degrees. It came out perfect! And you would never know that there isn't a lick on pumpkin in it. The batter is basically cashews and carrot juice mixed with all the pumpkin spices. The crust is made of almonds. It tastes BETTER than pumkin pie. The carrot flavor is very very subtle. You cannot tell that there's carrot in it exactly, only that this pumpkin pie has a mysterious "kick" that makes it WAY better than the real thing. It's weird, but soooo yummy!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Gadget Girl!

I am a gadget girl; I love kitchen gadgets. It's not strange at all to see my husband buying a blender or a bread machine or even a new sauce pot for me on a special holiday. No, he's not a husband with a death wish... he just knows what I love.
So today's post is all about the new kitchen tool. It's called a Spirooli. It turns vegetables into pasta-like noodles. What is pictured is tonight's FANTASTIC dinner. Organic Cayenne Chicken with Zucchini Pasta Alfredo. The alfredo is one of the new raw recipes I was trying and it turned out BETTER than amazing. Here's the recipe: In a blender, add 1 tablespoon of garlic, 1 tablespoon EVOO, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed organic lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste. For a raw recipe, add a 2 teaspoons of Liquid Amino. For a traditional flavor add a tablespoon of dijon mustard. Blend well and set aside. Cut zucchini into 2 inch sections and place on spirooli. Turn handle to create noodles per manufacturer's instructions. Toss with dressing. It's that easy. It takes all of about 3 minutes to make. The chicken on the other hand took about 20 minutes but they were already pre-cut into "fingers" so they were oh-so-easy to dust with garlic powder, cayenne, parsley flakes and sea salt. A very quick and easy meal that is beyond nutritious and gorgeous to boot!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Weekend Project

For about a month now, I have been trying to convert to a naturalistic diet. One that consists of organic meats and raw, organic veggies. You wouldn't believe that would be hard to find in a world where our resources are endless... but it is. This transition has not been an easy one. From time to time, after purchasing produce, I have found myself wondering, "Where did this come from really?"
Last week I visited the Queen Creek Olive Mill (My new favorite place). As I walked toward the entrance, I noticed a gorgeous, but quaint, little garden on my left. I couldn't take my eyes off of it! Inspiration hit me. I was finally going to start my garden (and I knew my husband would help... and so did he)! Well, here is my weekend project; the garden. After weeding, tilling, placing pavers and adding compost, I planted the following "crops": mint, basil, dill, strawberries, yellow and red peppers, romain lettuce and onions. Tomorrow I will plant leeks, green peppers and cucumbers. This is our first garden and have already learned something new. The ground should really be leveled prior to building your rows to plant. I now have to go in and level out the trenches so that each row gets even watering. Something I discovered after I had watered and noticed that the water was pooling in some areas causing my rows to collapse a little bit. And since there is now too much water, I will have to wait until things dry up a bit. That's ok. Lesson learned. I still have a TON of garden to work on.
But I am so proud of my husband and myself. We worked so hard this weekend. I am going to be spending the next couple of weeks learning how to tend to an organic garden as well as tilling the second half of the garden to eradicate any weeds that are still present. It was a lot of work, but surprisingly fun and I'm really looking forward to getting my own healthy produce whenever I need it or want it. The second half of the garden is reserved for seeds that I'm going to plant. So far I have radishes, zucchini, squash, corn and watermelon. I am hoping this garden is even more beautiful than the one at the Olive Mill! I can only hope!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why The Move To An All Natural Lifestyle?

This article is from the Los Angeles Times. It was written by Alan Zarembo.

"In an experiment in mice, researchers have found that treatment with an antidepressant early in life increases the appearance of depression and anxiety-like symptoms in adulthood. The researchers gave daily doses of fluoxetine, better known as Prozac, to mice from four days after birth until their normal weaning age of three weeks - a period that roughly corresponds in humans to a fetus in the third trimester of pregnancy up to early childhood. At 12 weeks - adulthood for mice - the test animals showed signs of abnormal behavior. The study, which will be published this week in the journal Science, is seen as a starting point for determining the long-term effects of prescribing antidepressants for pregnant mothers and young children. "It underscores that there is really very little known about how medications that affect the central nervous system affect child development," said Dr. Victoria Hendrick, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, who treats and studies depression in pregnant women."

This article reminds me that western medicine continues to miss the mark. Why do our doctors always turn to drugs/surgery? Why can't our first option be natural, non invasive remedies? Encognitive.com posted an article from a 2006 study suggesting that our diets SHOULD be the first form of treatment for psychological disorders stating, "The findings support a growing body of evidence that food can have an effect upon a person's mental health and behaviour that is both immediate and long lasting because of the way it affects the structure and function of the brain." And we already know how changing our diets affects us physically. It only stands to reason that our diets should be our first line of, not only defense, but offense as well. A natural lifestyle is proving to be more and more appealing in its prevention AND treatment!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It Has a Beat And You Can Sweat To It..

Generally speaking, I like music from all genres. Some days you'll catch me listening to classical, other days I'm listening to country. But during workouts, I've gotta have a beat. The rhythm has got to match my heart rate which, if I'm having a good workout, is somewhere between 130-160. I'm sorry but in this particular situation classical, country... not even alternative music is going to do the trick. So I went in search of "My Ultimate Playlist". The songs that inspire me to work and sweat. These are the songs that make it fun. But where did I start? That one's easy; it had to have a beat. Then it had to inspire me to workout in one form or another. Here is my playlist. Feel free to steal it! I will attach little notes as to why I chose that particular song.

1. Justin Timberlake, SexyBack and Damn Girl. The rhythms for these songs are amazing, but more importantly these songs remind me why I'm working out in the first place.

2. Rihanna, Don't Stop The Music and Disturbia. These two songs get the blood pumpin and inspire me to move.

3. Usher, Yeah. Good beat.

4. Black Eyed Peas, Pump It. In my opinion, this song is the PERFECT workout song.

5. Pussycat Dolls, Wait A Minute. Another one with a really good beat.

6. Christina Aguilera, Keeps Getting Better. This song changes my mood when I wake up and DON'T want to workout. LOVE IT!

7. Britney Spears, Me Against The Music and Do Somethin. Again, these two songs are the PERFECT work out songs. I feel that way when I'm working out... competition with the music. And 'Do Somethin'? Well, come on! That one's pretty self explanatory!!

8. G n' R, Welcome To The Jungle. Another one that's pretty easy to see why it's on my playlist.

9. Charlie's Angels Full Throttle Soundtrack, Feel Good Time and Saturday Night's Alright. Both have great BPM, but more importantly they inspire strength. I feel stronger when I'm working out to those tunes!

Ok everyone. That is my workout playlist. If you have any to add, please let me know as my search for the perfect workout playlist is not over. I'm looking for more than just dance music. I'm looking for inspiration and motivation.

Again With The Nail Stamper???

Yes! Again with the nail stamper. I am jokingly telling everyone that I broke my driving finger and needed to camouflage! While it's true, I broke the nail on my middle finger, and this psychedelic Konad Nail Stamp certainly does a great job in camouflaging, that was not why I did this.

I have been dreaming of doing this since I saw another blog showcase this Color Club Lazer Pink! I adore pink, black and white together. That color combination, for me, is as "girly" as you can get! And this stamp turned out every bit as awesome as I thought it would. Psychedelic indeed!
***Be sure to scroll down to my Topics Index and view more posts about 'Nail Stamper'***

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Quick Tip and Treat!


So I was on my group message board at Peertrainer.com and someone made a recommendation that I thought was wonderful! So wonderful in fact that I spent the afternoon balancing my checkbook to see if I can afford it!!!!

Apparently the Magic Bullet is quite the go-to gadget for trainers and athletes! Why? Isn't that just another piece of garbage that they are trying to push on those infomercials??? Well, that's what I thought, but I've gotta say that more than one person in the discussion said that this piece of garbage is invaluable in keeping them on track with their nutrition. Here's what I heard today about the Magic Bullet:

It's got a really powerful motor
It really is quick and easy to use (the infomercial didn't lie)
The handy single servings make it quick and easy to whip up a power shake for a quick "treat"! If you drink more than one a day, you can make many different types of shakes without continually dirtying up an entire unit! NICE!

A couple of suggestions to make in the Magic Bullet were mixing some greens with apple, adding a splash of pinapple juice and a tablespoon of yogurt for a vitamin packed energy smoothie. Or you can try this, choose your favorite protein shake mix with water, ice and a splash of Sugar Free DaVinci Gourmet Flavoring Syrup, any flavor for a super sweet treat that will satisfy that sweet tooth but keep that diet in check! I am totally picturing Vanilla Myoplex with Root Beer Syrup.... OMGosh! Rootbeer Float!

PS. Can't afford it just yet, but will definitely be saving my pennies! But they are two for one right now through Magic Bullet's website, so don't be afraid to go in "halvsies"! ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

OOOO, See! Not Just An Obsession!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a shoe lover. I am not addicted to purses or clothes. I do, however, have a very strong pension for sunglasses. And it turns out that this love will serve to protect my eyes in the future. So, doesn't that work out nicely? Unlike purses and shoes that potentially put strain on the back, my obsession will actually enhance my overall health. All the more reason to run out and snag that pair of Coach sunglasses I've been salivating over! Here is the article I will be citing to justify all future "optical protection" purchases. The article can be found at http://bodyforlife.com/exercise/articles.asp.

For Your Health: How to protect your eyes.
By Victoria Freeman
Sunglasses—more than just a fashion statement

Q: I can’t seem to keep up with sunglasses. I either break or lose them as fast as I buy them. Are they really that important for eye protection?


A: Sounds like you need to come up with a retention plan! And in answer to your question, yes they are important for eye health. Sunglasses protect your eyes by enhancing your natural light-filtering capabilities and by blocking the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. Both can do serious damage to your skin, but it’s the UVA rays that are linked to impaired vision. According to the American Academy of Opthamology (www.aao.org), long-term, cumulative exposure increases the risk of disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. Like you’ve probably heard for skin protection, UV rays are the strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., so be extra cautious then, even in overcast weather.

Here are a few tips to consider when selecting your next eye gear.
*Look for a statement about how much UV radiation the lenses block. Go for 99 to 100
percent of both UVA and UVB rays.
*Since sunlight can still come through the top or sides of your glasses, it’s also a good idea
to wear a visor or wide-brimmed hat and pick a sunglasses style that wraps around your face.
*Different colored lenses may be better for different activities. For example, gray lenses are
ideal for driving as they don’t distort primary colors (like traffic signs and signals). Brown-
tinted lenses can sharpen detail and reduce glare so they’re good for outdoor sports, and
green lenses are good for cloudy conditions.
*Dark tinting doesn’t necessarily mean better protection. UV barrier coating is invisible and
therefore unrelated to lens darkness or color. As a matter of fact, dark lenses that don’t
carry UV protection may be the worst of all because your pupils have to dilate to adjust to
reduced light, which, in turn, allows in even more UV radiation.

Ok everyone! There's some really good information... here's to YOUR healthy eyes!