Sunday, May 31, 2009

Twittergarten

Do you remember in kindergarten, when you learned about sharing, listening to others when they are speaking and sharing what you think and feel politely? Welcome to Twitter! In a world that has become so sex driven, real human connection has become lost. Twitter is getting us back to fundamentals of connecting to others through the sharing of thoughts and ideas minus the distraction of superficial physical connection. Employing the communication skills you were taught in kindergarten will take you far in the Twitter world.

In my post Twitter Freak, I discussed the brilliance of the 140 character limit on Twitter. The fact that Twitter asks "what are you doing" is missing the mark in my opinion and I'm convinced that Twitter is the result of a bunch of developers who got lucky and created a forum that has taken on a life of it's own. But as far as the greater good is concerned... kudos! Because along with increasing the efficiency of our speech, Twitter is also creating a real-time environment for real, personal and beneficial connection, relearning what we as a society have gotten very far from.

The whole forum is run on a follower system. I love this system. If you don't communicate well, you are unfollowed (what I lovingly refer to as being voted off the island). If you do communicate well, everyone jumps on the #followfriday bandwagon telling all their friends that they need to hear what you have to say. But what makes a good tweeter? REAL connection is the answer. If you think that you are going to log on to Twitter once and have a million followers by days-end, you better think again. The same superficial devices you may have been using to win friends and influence people, doesn't work in the Twitter world. You have to come prepared with real thoughts and a willingness to contribute to the on-going conversations in a real way; at the same time respectful to the fact that this is an open forum and your audience is EVERYONE! If you can't listen and share respectfully... you won't make it here! I believe the effects of Twitter are going to be great and I wish them to be long lasting. The unfortunate thing is that there is going to be some growing pains.

People who have difficulties learning how to communicate will struggle, offend many, and then wonder why they hate Twitter so much. If you are someone who is easily offended, don't bother registering. Everyone has differing opinions on Twitter and if you can't participate in the conversation without personally attacking someone... you won't be successful on Twitter. Then there will be others who just can't seem to connect. They will spend their entire Twitter experience giving everyone a play by play of what is happening in their day holding back every bit of who they are as a person all because Twitter asked, "What are you doing?" Or the people who think Twitter is a forum to sell something. Failure to invest yourself on Twitter is failure on Twitter. And finally, there are the people who are sex driven. These people have taken every forum out there and morphed it into some sort of perversion. How sad that that's all their lives consist of. I believe that you've met your match with Twitter. While I don't think vermin can be completely eradicated, I do believe that the follow/unfollow system is a brilliant mechanism to keep them at bay.

Now for the fun that is Twitter. I believe that the explosion that has become Twitter is a result of society's craving for interpersonal connection. I mean connecting with people at their heart. And you win on Twitter when you are respectful to others, are willing to share, clearly communicate what you think and feel and allow others to do the same. These are all basic communication skills that should have been taught in kindergarten but have been lost somewhere along the way. Twitter is bringing it back. The only thing missing from Twitter is nap-time (oh, and a teacher who knows the lesson plan... come on Twitter!).
*I'm going out on a limb to say that I believe Twitter will single-handedly be the reason for the divorce rate to plummet.... I got a $5 spot on that. Anyone else want into the pot??? Connecting to the inner person is where it's at people!!! THAT is real love and happiness!!!


Friday, May 29, 2009

I Did It!!!

See, now this is what I'm talkin about when I talk about duplication! Casual Lavish has an amazing tutorial video posted for a nail polish technique called water color (?). This tutorial is so good that the pic you see here was taken after a first try! For such a pretty effect, you wouldn't think it would be super easy... but it is! It involves applying two colors of polish while the polishes are still wet. Very interesting! And it turned out beautiful! First try<--- No Joke! Step one: Applied base coat and one coat of green. Let dry completely between coats. Step two: Applied a second coat of green, immediately pulling the polish brush out of the cream color bottle and letting one drip of cream polish drip onto the still wet green polish. Once the wet cream droplet hits the wet green, you will see the cream sort of spread out on the surface of the nail. Step three: Dry cream color polish brush on a paper towel and with it brush over the cream polish mixing the two colors together. I found that brushing upwards across the bottom half of the nail and then brushing upwards on the top half of the nail gave me a very pretty "marble" look. I had to clean the cream polish brush a couple of times during the process on each nail. But just keep playing with it until you get the desired look. Here's mine. Be sure to clean the brush very well before putting it back in the bottle so you don't accidentally mix the two colors in the cream bottle. Here's what mine looked like.

Step four: I finished with a Konad Nail Art Stamp. Super easy, but you wouldn't think so to look at it!


**Everyone... don't forget about the nail polish give away. You have until June 15th! Here's the link. And 20% off Konad with free shipping on orders over $20 at http://store.ocnailart.com/. Use discount code "MENTAL" at checkout! :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Scrapbook Layout

Wow! This week is just fabulous! I was asked earlier in the week to contribute a scrapbook layout for someones blog. Well, here it is... drum roll please!!!
I sent her four layouts (I think) and she said that she was going to be utilizing all of them. It's just nice to be recognized. I have never thought of myself as an artist, but all of you are certainly making me feel like I am. You better be careful! My head already makes me look like I'm a walking caricature... any more and I won't be able to lift it at all!

Be sure to leave a comment on Scrapimenta's blog... it'll be a ton of fun if you don't speak spanish! LOL!

Food Saver Gold - Give Away!!

Sometimes I am just not a master of the obvious! Most of the time, pretty simple things elude me, but this time...

Here is a VERY small sample of my stash (wow, that almost sounds illegal)! It was during one of my organizational rampages that I discovered this amazing and economical use after having to throw out bottles of polish that had gone unused for years. What a waste!!! And yes, I missed that particular use in the infomercial from way back when! :) NOW I know that when you hit sales on things like nail polish or shampoos, you can stock up and vacuum seal them and they stay just like brand new for when you're ready to use them. This is something that will free many polish lovers who fall in love with a specific color but cannot stock up for fear that the polish will dry up before they are through with the first bottle. Not anymore polish addicts and future polish addicts... here's your fix! I even did that with last years Halloween makeup! You know... the make up that you only get to use once, have a ton left over that you hate to waste and cannot save because the make-up cake/crayon dries up before the next Halloween rolls around. I'll have to let everyone know how the makeup works out THIS Halloween. Anyway, I scour the internet for specials on lots as well as hitting my local beauty supply stores when they're having a sale; I stock up on the discontinued items that I love, seal them and save them in a shoe box packet on the top shelf of my closet. I never have to worry about running out of my favorites of anything... well, at least not for awhile anyway. Check with me in a year or five when I'm crying because I'm completely out of the 4 bottles of the China Glaze Ghoulish Glow I have horded! hahaha! There's NOTHING like glow in the dark nails to make the trick-or-treater's eyes pop! It's awesome over black polish! By the way... I reseal my Ghoulish Glow between uses because it doesn't get used except in October. Well, but that excludes today, because looking at it made me want slap some on. I'll reseal it tonight and put it back in storage for a few more months! {Wink!}

Now for the fun stuff! Do you own a Food Saver; what creative and helpful ways do you use yours? Everyone who adds me to their follow list and leaves a comment to this post by June 15th will be entered to win the brand new, wonderful and amazing 'A Match Made In Heaven' set that you see here. This is open to current followers as well... just post a comment! :) The set includes three full size bottles. The three bottles are: Seche Vite base coat, Seche Vite Top coat (my all time favorite!) and China Glaze Innocence. The set also includes nail art decals. Winner will be posted on my blog on June 16th. Good luck to everyone!

NOW 20% OFF!!!

Ok... THIS JUST IN!! Anyone who loves the Konad Nail Art like me can now purchase it at 20% off AND get free shipping on orders over $20... so AWESOME!!! Go to http://store.ocnailart.com/ and enter coupon code "MENTAL" at checkout!!! To see some examples of this amazing nail art (that I love so much), check out my other blog posts in the TOPICS INDEX under Nail Stamper! :)Have fun gang... it's just a great deal!!!

PS. Those who know me know that the coupon code "MENTAL" could not be more perfect for me! LOL

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Flatter Me!

Immitation is no longer the greatest form of flattery. The greatest form of flattery is... DUPLICATION! I have just been asked to feature my Konad posts and pics at http://store.ocnailart.com/! I am beyond excited! This is the second time someone has asked to use my blog content this week! And I've purchased from OCNailArt, so this makes this even more special... I BUY FROM THEM!!! I don't know how long it will take for my pics and posts to be up and running, but click on the link as often as you can... and tell your friends!!! I'm so freakin excited!!!

Not only will you get to see the nail art stamper that I just can't get enough of, but OCNailArt also offers free shipping on orders over $20.... oh, and don't forget you'll be able to see my stuff! hahaha!
The pic that is featured in this post was the very first nail stamp I ever did (around Valentine's Day) and it turned out perfect... I was hooked from then on! Cuz this is just FUN! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Got Milk?

This one is just for fun! I don't really have much to say on this one... it kind of speaks for itself. I'm just having some fun with the nail stamper you all know that I love. Although I do want to share this blog that I found with some pretty great nail designs. I'm gonna give some of them a try. The Christmas nails just look fun!

Anyway, I got this particular Konad image disc (M61) a long time ago, but never got the chance to use it. I had my sister-in-law in mind when I got it. She has a thing for cows.

They're Coming Back

About two months ago I began preparing my backyard for my very first garden. While I was so excited to start this new adventure (adventure, really?), one of its consequences broke more than my heart. I managed to break every last nail until I realized that I should just keep them short until all of the hard work was done...(sniff). Some have said, "just wear gloves." Well, easier said than done. Try getting ahold of a stubborn weed at the root wearing gloves! No, I was just resolved to short stubby nails... until now!!! They're coming back... hello luva!

Realizing that all the hard work in the garden is done for the time being, I decided to pull out my Konad nail art and play. Yes, the pic shows short nails, but I assure you that they are quite long compared to the length I've been sporting lately. I'm just so happy to have pretty nails again. If someone can point me in the direction of a miracle treatment for cuticles, that would be just super. I found that the garden wrecked them as well and I'm trying desperately not to cut them (something you should never do, and I had to learn that the hard way)!

Bonus: One of the blogs that I just started reading posted a contest for the Konad Nail Stamper B Set. It's a little too late to order the set, but if you already own it, check out Casual Lavish for more info.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

First Fruit

The first zucchini!!! This is the very first vegetable I ever grew in my organic garden. This beauty was exactly a foot long and was 4 inches in diameter. This one zucchini fed my whole family and was so incredibly yummy. When I pulled it from the garden, it didn't have a mar on it and looked better than ANY zucchini I have ever seen. I also pulled an 8 inch summer squash that was also very yummy. Not a single pesticide was used! There was nothing added to the soil aside from organic compost. I simply planted the seeds and watered. This gardening bit is really an addictive thing and even more exciting now that I actually get to eat from it! What the heck am I going to do when everything finishes growing and I REALLY have a harvest. Deuteronomy 14:22-23 "You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, or your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always." Deuteronomy 14:28-29 "At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do."
Wow! I'm so glad that I read that... I wasn't quite sure what to do with ACTUAL first fruit! hehehe!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why Ask Why

I have a brain that loves to dive into situations and seriously dissect them... sometimes asking 'why' to a fault. But there are times when I will hear something (usually on the news) about politicians or scientific research that really sets me back and I wonder... how can that NOT make sense to everyone? Why is no one asking why?

With obesity on the rise, it amazes me how little responsibility Americans take for their own health. WHY do we sit idly by and wait for someone else to help us? So I'm watching the local news (SOMETHING I RARELY DO) as the anchor talks about obesity studies and research grants that have been awarded to try and find the cause of the highest obesity rate America has ever known. Our researchers are traveling (all expense paid) to foreign countries to study other cultures whose obesity rates are at normal levels. Why?

So I'm walking through the gardening department (<--- because I'm officially a gardener now, YAY!) at my local home improvement store and pass by an entire isle of fruit, vegetable and plant growth enhancers. Huh! I get home and turn on Discovery channel to hear the tail end of a documentary on commercial chicken processing. Do we as Americans realize that meat that is being grown, from birth to processing, is being cranked out in record time? Everything that we are using to fatten up our food and our wallets is being ingested and is MAKING US FAT! Do we need to pay scientists millions to discover why Americans spend $80 billion annually for diet pills, diet foods and fitness products while obesity continues to climb? Is it really any wonder why America is having trouble losing weight? Hello! We are eating growth enhancers. More specifically fattening agents. When are Americans going to learn that there is NOTHING we can do better than just the way God made it. And has anyone kept a record of how many "discoveries" came from other countries that are only employed in the US? I'm not really into conspiracy theories, however I have to wonder how many great ideas were sold to the US to weaken us as a nation. Why aren't we asking why? I mean, I don't think it's accidental that China has been trying to poison us for years. I find it hard to believe that they are actually using the products they are selling to the US... Come on, look at their population! We are dying and becoming sick from using products they produced while they continue to grow. And why haven't I heard anything about our government ceasing trade with China? First lead and now toxic drywall, why are we lacking in common sense? For every two poisoning agents we have found coming from China... how many have we missed? It's sad that we've become a culture of why ask why, someone else will protect me. The government will discover the cause of all my ails and will make sure that America is protected. What will happen when we realize that has not been happening? When everyone is ill, all the money is gone and the groundwork has been completely laid for a God-hating country to take control of weak America will not be the time to ask why. The answer is, "Because we let them. And we did it without question."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meet Drill Sergeant Dan

I hope that my story doesn't make anyone squirm, but I lost weight by having an alter ego. Anyone who really knows me could have told you that it was bound to come to this. Like some of you reading this, I'm completely insane. I just embraced it to get to my weight loss goal. For those of you reading who aren't insane, I'm gonna make you change your mind... literally.

For years I could not get this excess weight off. It was driving me crazy (pardon the pun) hearing everyone say, "we all know what to do, it's just a question of doing it." If that were the case, then why was diet and exercise an $80 billion business? Why were we paying people to tell us what we already know? We aren't paying them for that! We pay them to help us with the doing. I am just so leery of anyone telling me that they will teach me how to eat... and paying them for it! I think that is why Nutrisystem didn't work for me. It was time to get to the doing, something I knew I couldn't do alone and couldn't afford to pay for, so I allowed someone in. Drill Sergeant Dan! I have an alter ego and the last thing I 'knew' before my lifestyle changed was that I was going to give Drill Sergeant Dan a life and power. This is not an unfamiliar phenomenon; people do this every day as a mechanism to deal with bad things that happen in their life (Sybil). So why would it be so unheard of for the opposite to be true. Why couldn't another personality take over for good things to happen?

Every morning when I wake up I'm greeted by Drill Sergeant Dan who tells me that he doesn't care how I feel today and to get my butt out of bed and to the gym. And he's been tested. One morning I woke up whining, telling my husband, "I'm too tired. I just can't go to the gym!" To which my husband replied, "Are you sure?" He didn't say another word as I rolled over to go back to sleep. About a minute later I was out of the bed with a start grabbing for my shoes and socks. My husband asked what was going on and I informed him that he could NOT cave like that. If I was going to make some changes, I needed him to stay strong for me. But that wasn't fair to him and quite frankly was not true. I have my own personal Drill Sergeant and things have definitely changed over the past 8 months.

Please don't get me wrong, unlike someone with REAL multiple personalities, I understand that it's really just me motivating myself to do what I know needs to be done, but if playing a character gets me to my goal... isn't that really what counts? There's something to be said for dressing the part. To get up in the morning and into camo workout gear really does change my whole attitude. Looking at that chocolate cake with a very stern, "Not Authorized!" yelling in my head works. Every night I sit down and create a plan for the next day. I create my menu and workout plan. My morning mantra every day is, "No thinking until Noon. Stick to the plan and execute. How you feel plays no part in executing the plan!" Now you want a split personality too don't you? I knew I'd change your mind! This would be classified as "mental" in my fundamental changes! LOL

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans

I don't know about you, but I used to LOVE chocolate covered coffee beans from Starbucks. They also used to carry the chocolate covered cherries too, but the coffee beans gave you that bonus buzz that nothing (but their coffee) could compare to. I rarely drink coffee, but today I got an overwhelming craving for those dang coffee beans. Was it the sweetness of the chocolate, the bitterness of the coffee bean or the rush that I wanted? No matter, I whipped me up a little chocolate covered coffee bean of my own... sort of.

Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean Shake

1 serving of Vanilla Protein Powder (I use Myoplex Lite)
1 1/2 tsp. of decaffeinated instant coffee crystals
4 oz. cold bottled water
4 oz. almond milk
1 oz. dark chocolate (I used Raw Dark Cacao)
Ice Cubes (I used about 6)

In blender, combine all ingredients, blend on high and enjoy. I used my Magic Bullet (cuz I love it) and it turned out amazing. It was almost like the ice made the cacao break into pieces so when I drank the shake I got to chew on those little bitter chocolate pieces. Mixed with the sweetness of the vanilla flavored Myoplex and the kick from the protein, it was almost as if I was enjoying those chocolate covered coffee beans right then and there! Yep, it was pretty freakin great! I hope you all enjoy one!

Almost There!

So in my blog post, It's Official, I have a HUGE caption on the plant pictured there as ZUCCHINI. Yah, turns out that is NOT zucchini. What I planted was actually summer squash. And beautiful they are (check out the pic... no really, check it out)! And they are just about ready to eat. Oh, I did plant zucchini as well, but they are not growing as quickly as the summer squash. I will be plucking the first batch by next week. I'm so excited!!!

And in the meantime, I will be nurturing the corn, watermelon, cantaloupe and cucumbers! Here are the updated pix.












Be sure to click on the pics for a closer view. I originally planted spinach next to where the actual zucchini are planted and the leaves got so large, it blocked the sun and I lost the spinach. So that will be my project this weekend AFTER I pick up some gardening gloves. Now that my nails have started growing again, well, I'm just not willing to sacrifice. I hope everyone enjoys the update. I'm thinking that I'm in for one amazing salad! LOL.

Almond Milk Gelato

Ok, for those who may ask... here is my recipe for my gelato. As soon as I make another batch, I will post a pic. I just froze some organic peaches, so that's going to be the featured flavor... see how that works!?! hahaha!

Gelato

2 Cups of Almond Milk
3/4 Cup of Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar
1 tsp. Pure Organic Vanilla extract
2 Cups of your favorite organic fruit.

Mix all ingredients in high speed blender and chill until very cold. Prepare in ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions. If preparing in a Vitamix, you do not need an ice cream maker. Just increase fruit to 3 Cups and make sure fruit is frozen prior to blending. Be sure to use tamper while blending for a creamy consistency.

Almond Milk

So I have an indulgence that has kept me going on my lifestyle change to eat healthier. In fact, I credit this for piquing my interest in raw food... almond milk!!!

I have NEVER liked milk. I did not drink it growing up and in fact, watching others drink milk makes me gag. I just never got it! For me, cow's milk had a very 'off' consistency (somewhere between liquid and solid, GROSS) and an even more 'off' flavor. Enter almond milk. Almond milk was the very first raw food recipe that I attempted. I was quite successful, if I do say so myself.... and I do! I made the almond milk as a base for a gelato recipe I was also trying for the first time. I have an equal and opposite reaction to almond milk from cow's milk, but had no way of knowing, so imagine my surprise when I finished making the almond milk and poured myself a "test glass". With pursed face and squinty eyes, I plugged my nose and took a sip. "Holy Machunka! This stuff is good." There I was, standing in front of the refrigerator drinking a glass of milk as I had seen so many other people do a million times always trying desperately to avoid looking. This milk was creamy and yummy and the way I had always imagined milk was supposed to taste. Wanna know how I made it?

Almond Milk
1 Cup Raw, Organic Almonds that have been soaked 4-6 hours
4 Cups of Purified Water
In high speed blender (I use my Vitamix), blend almonds and water on high for about a minute. Pour into milk bag and squeeze all liquid into a separate pitcher. Be sure to rinse the high speed blender pitcher. Once squeezed, you should be left with a dry almond pulp inside the milk bag that can be frozen and used in other recipes. Set the almond liquid aside.


Pitcher of almond liquid
1/4 Cup of Agave Nectar
1 pinch of sea salt
1 Tbsp of Lecithin (optional)

Return just the almond liquid to the high speed blender pitcher and add remaining ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds. Enjoy.

I hope you all love this as much as I do. I usually have to make a double batch because I love it that much!

Emotional Vampires

Wow! I'm drained just thinking about this post! Emotional Vampires are what I call people who suck the life out of you when you have to deal with them and is a characteristic of a Takist that I did not cover in my post (Serial Takists) last week. After experiencing the burst of adrenaline while dealing with a Takist, you are left drained. Add to that a guilt trip and multiple dealings and it all leads to some serious fatigue. Over time, just anticipating having to deal with a Takist zaps your energy long before the actual, unavoidable confrontation occurs. But, while ALL Takists are Emotional Vampires because of this energy drain, not all Emotional Vampires are Takists. In fact, they are two totally separate things for a reason.

Here are some quick similarities and differences. Unlike Takists, Emotional Vampires are not violent. However, like Takists, Emotional Vampires seek control. Their tactics are VERY passive as they utilize guilt playing on sympathy to get their way. Most of them have a very low self esteem and are in constant search for validation. Emotional Vampires rely on others to make them "feel good" and will latch on to anyone who shows the slightest bit of interest in their plight. Also like Takists, the Emotional Vampire complains A LOT. Their complaining is geared toward influencing a persons sympathies. Their chief complaints, many times, will be centered around their health... or rather the lack of. Be careful with this when dealing with a Vampire because unlike Takists, Vampires present themselves as very pleasant all the time. Emotional Vampires will play the martyr when someone they're dealing with doesn't fall for their tactics. Instead of getting outwardly violent, they bully themselves with internal emotional torment that lends to propel the dealing with the next person (more ammunition for sympathy if you will). In my experience, Emotional Vampires will very often choose to be with a Takist. The two seem to give each other what they are looking for. The violent Takist gives the Vampire pity stories to share with others for sympathy while at the same time receiving control they are after when the Vampire martyrs themself. I have seen this relationship dynamic work very well for both although quite uncomfortably for others when the two are in the same room. They both seem to have mastered the codependent relationship and constantly give the other what they need. We all have that friend who tells horror stories about their spouse. For years you have consoled them or cried with them always asking yourself and them, "why is such a terrific person with such a monster? You deserve better." OH, BIG MISTAKE! As I said, be careful. That wonderful person is playing into your sympathies. If this is the sixth time you found yourself saying that about and to the same person, then you're dealing with a Vampire.

I'm going to conclude this by saying that it is my opinion that both Emotional Vampires and Takists subconsciously know that others cannot deal with them and that they will get their way because of it. In most cases, it's just easier to give in to get rid of them. I do not believe that either of them are purposeful drains on anyone, but rather have been programmed by everyone they have ever interacted with who did not tell them that their behavior was inappropriate which leads to quite a dilemma... they just do not know any better and have no clue how to change. What could have been easily corrected while they were young has become a compulsion that, like a drug addict, will have to result in hitting rock bottom before they can change. Unfortunately, like Takists, older Vampires are usually sad lonely people. By the time the Vampire is old, the Takist has either moved on to another victim or has died from physical manifestations of the years of constant self-poisoning from anger. It is a sad ending for the Vampire who could never quite feel love for themselves. The Takist on the other hand....

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Such a Kid... Again!

As of late I'm finding myself focusing on the fun of working out. Actually, truth be told, I look for the fun in everything hence the blog name... LOL! But I'm noticing the workouts that I WANT to do are the one's that make me feel like a kid again. I now have two such workouts that I want to share with you. These workouts turn exercise into playtime and I LOVE them!

Some months back I attended a Body Flow class at my gym that I lovingly call Yogalachi. Body flow is the mix of Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. Sounds like it should be difficult, but that is exactly what made it so fun. The Body Flow moves really make you focus on balance and really develops your core. When you're successful you feel a great sense of accomplishment, when you're not, you feel a great sense of, "hey, I'm seven years old again!" I have NEVER laughed harder when working out (which, by the way, increases the fat burn). I noticed the first time I took the class that even the instructor lost her balance a couple of times with a giggle. That class is honestly the most fun hour and one that I actually look forward to! It's the kind of fun that makes you forget that you're sweating your tookus off! Warning though, because it's the kind of fun that makes you forget you're working out, don't over do it like I did the first time I took the class. I found myself not able to move the next day!!! I literally had to roll out of my bed and crawl to the bathroom when I woke up the next morning. YIKES!

This next workout is one that I just did today for the first time. It's called Turbo Jam. I first saw this workout on an infomercial from BeachBody.com. Again, this workout gets me in touch with my inner seven year old and I can't wait to do this workout again! It's kind of a mix of boxing, martial arts and dance. Turbo Jam is loads of fun and I highly recommend it. Unlike with my first Yogalachi class, I took it easy today. I need to be able to move tomorrow morning to get on the stationary bike! hahaha!

Well, these are my top two workouts that make me look forward to playtime... I'm such a kid! I hope they bring out the kid in you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Faces Of My Sunglasses

I am addicted to sunglasses. I have gotten at least one pair of sunglasses every year for the past 14 years (usually for Christmas). I want to explain the relevance of owning so many pairs and more importantly, why I need more! :)

General Protection: In a previous post, I explained the importance of your eye wear protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. A good pair will provide full protection, but polarized glasses takes safety a step further and actually makes your vision crisper and clearer. Polarization cuts out glare that may hinder your vision while driving, etc.

Making a Statement: Depending on the situation, a great pair of sunglasses speaks volumes. For example, when you're on a poker tour. Nothing says "I'm a serious gambler" like wearing a pair of sunglasses indoors... at night. Or here's another statement, "Hey, I'm a uni-bomber." Hopefully you're seeing how a great pair of sunglasses tells a lot about a person. And I'm seeing a preference for black. Maybe it's the new pink?

Accessorizing: Topping a great outfit with an even greater pair of sunglasses is a no-brainer, but on days when the outfit isn't saying "I'm hot!", a great pair of sunglasses will. I have a pair of sunglasses in just about every color (although my Bvlgari 857B's in yellow and my Tiffany and Co. 4004B's in Ivory seem to elude me) to accessorize with my entire wardrobe. I will go a step further to say the my sunglasses actually make up my wardrobe as it is my experience I can be wearing sweats and a t-shirt... but mess up my hair, throw on some lip gloss and a rockin pair of shades and I'm ready for my close up!

Natural Selection: Finally, I find myself drawn to other people's sunglasses and will strike up a conversation just to get a closer look. Food for thought here - it is preferred that you actually go through the motions of establishing a relationship with this person BEFORE asking to borrow or try on their sunglasses. Skipping this step may result in orders of protection and/or police visitation. The latter is actually kind of cool because the police usually wear very sporty shades, but they have a tendency to not let you try theirs on either. Yah, the natural selection can turn into unnatural selection unfortunately. I wonder how many uni-bombers I've talked to?

By my example you can see, sunglasses go way beyond protection and provide many benefits and services. Think of all the money you will save, all the friends you will meet (Officer Friendly is just a name... trust me) and the interesting life you will have just by owning great sunglasses. This completes my civic duty. I'm a giver and blog with a purpose.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Which Witch Is Which?

Have our spiritual lives become dogmatic? Or are we tuning ourselves to real, Divine, spiritual expression? Who are we really trying to connect with? And in our attempt to have spiritual connection, who are we ostricizing?

I had an interesting conversation while passing through the 'New Age' section at Barnes and Noble. For some reason people (I'm talking about complete strangers) trust me with seriously fragile information instantly upon meeting me. Information that is usually reserved for a best friend is given to me freely without any fear that I might judge them. It really does shock me most of the time. I must have a really trusting face...

So, I had a very interesting conversation with a witch. I always love it when people assault my sensibilities and make me think. I can tell you, she was wonderful! A very long time ago I decided that my spiritual beliefs would be based in non-denominational religious practice. What does that mean? To me it means that I was going to honor my personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and respect others who were doing the same no matter what faith they professed. That if I truly believed that the Holy Spirit (that is at work in us) is the teacher of all things and is doing what He was sent to do, then there would be no reason for me to judge.... only trust. Over the years, that decision has been tested quite a few times and I have certainly faltered, but I believe that I have reached a place of self respect that allows me to give that respect freely. And all of that (I think) is evidenced by the amazing trust that is given to me by complete strangers.

As we were talking about our "inner temple", I realized that she and I shared fundamental beliefs. She expressed that she absolutely believed in Jesus Christ and that he died for her sins. She believed that God created the earth and all that is in it and that God created her in his likeness... a creator. We talked further about Jesus (because I wanted to know what she really believed... I was so interested) and she pointed out that if, as Christians, we are striving to live and walk like Jesus... didn't that include connecting with the Divine and performing miracles? Wow! I had nothing to say. I thought about Jesus' miracles and healing or Joshua and Daniel interpreting dreams and wondered what exactly is entailed in sorcery or "witchcraft"? I had never really given it much thought. I mean, come on, turning water into wine would be considered sorcery by any one's standards to be witness to it! To witness Moses' staff turn into a serpent, that must have been a sight to see. And at what point are words with various meanings misinterpreted? Misused? I asked God to iron that out for us both. I also asked that I have clarity while reading The Inner Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak. It is the book she recommended for me to understand her core beliefs. I bought it and have begun to read it. Does the word "witch" mean today what it meant when the bible was written? With 328 pages, I wouldn't exactly call this light reading! But am anxious to dive in. I also want to say that I appreciate that she did not judge me either and very nicely answered all my questions. Thank you!

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 "There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord." Definition of witch?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's Really a Question Of Science


I have been studying my Bible for years! So it's no surprise that when I sat down to run a list of blog topics I wanted to talk about, Bible studies were at the top. Don't get me wrong, I'm not preachy or what one would consider a "Jesus Freak", but I do believe in one Almighty Creator and believe that his son was my redemptive sacrifice to get to heaven. The REAL reason for this belief.... SCIENCE!

Now, to talk to me you'd never take me for a science lover of any kind. Those who knew me growing up would laugh in disbelief if you tried to convince them that I would ever LOVE Quantum Physics. I actually just had a little chuckle! But the more I learn about science the stronger my faith grows. Just going to church has never done it for me spiritually. I mean, I would learn scriptures to memorize, but that's as far as it would go. For a very long time I thought there was something wrong with me. How is it that so many christian friends have amazing stories of being overtaken by the Holy Ghost while I sit here wondering why I don't even possess a mustard seed of faith? It wasn't until someone explained the science of energy to me (specifically in the form of sound waves) that those memorized Bible scriptures popped into my head. And it all clicked! Years have gone by, struggles have occurred, misery over not "feeling the spirit" all culminated in this one amazing spark of, "evidence of God in my life!"

So, I finally understood two things. In Exodus 3 when God hears the cries of his people... YOU GUYS... He really hears our cries. The energy from sound waves travel FOR EVER! And while space is without air molecules for sound vibrations, it does not mean that the powerful energy is not traveling... amazingly enough space is also a vacuum... interesting. So do you want to know how powerful sound waves really are? Set a cylinder tube (cardboard tubes from paper towels works well) on top of two cans (one under each end of the tube) for height. Set up a candle next to one opening of the tube making sure that the flame is the same height as the opening. From the other end of the tube attempt to blow the flame out through the tube. You will not be able to. But tap on that same end of the tube and the sound waves will travel through the tube and blow the candle out. That from just a tap! Convinced there is a God? Convinced that he absolutely can hear you? The second thing I understood was that God does not always set off fireworks the minute you accept Christ as the Lord of your life. Sometimes you really do feel absolutely nothing (as was my case). Listening to others amazing stories of experiencing God in their life and being taken over by the Holy Spirit always made me want to TRY and be more spiritual. Based on others testimonies, I often wondered if I was really saved at all. What did they have that I didn't? What did they know that I didn't? So I studied my Bible in hopes of learning the mystic secret that would show God in my life. Well, today I'm glad that I did. Romans 10:17 - So faith comes from hearing , and hearing through the word of Christ. So reading my Bible laid the groundwork for God to show himself to me through science many years after I had actually been baptized. Now I experience Him all the time!

I believe today that I did not have faith when I was saved; I had hope. I came to a place in my life where I was consciously incompetent that there was something missing. No, not missing... under-developed and with salvation had the hope that the one who created my spirit would turn it around. At the very least get me in touch with it. So for any of you who are struggling spiritually, I say hang in there! Stay in your Bible. It doesn't matter how you feel or what you perceive in those around you. This is your journey. Besides, even without spiritual development, the Bible is a GREAT read. Great stories from romance to mysteries to suspense and there are soooo many translations out, that finding one that will bring those stories to life for you has never been easier.
Resource Sponsor ---> Discover 40 Bible Study Methods

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kudos To Trump!!!

Our "American" standards need to be set to be universal standards across the board. When a model possess for pictures in her underwear not showing anything that our children can't see on any daytime television show, then we NEED to see them for what they are. I also want to point out that if you are after "dirt" you absolutely will find some. Not that there's any "dirt" present, just that anyone can make anything dirty.

For example: Ms. Tyra Banks pictured here. Appropriate or inappropriate? Pictures like this can be seen on a couple of channels where America's Top Model is being aired. Why the heck would ANYONE deem that Ms. Prejean's photos are any worse or "inappropriate"?

Donald Trump is to be commended for his press conference just a few minutes ago. It's about time that someone with some clout stood up for this amazing beauty queen!

Anti-American!


For some reason, we just cannot leave poor Ms. California alone! I can't help but think that in a land where we prize freedom of speech, that Carrie Prejean could be so condemned for exercising it. It seems to me that her answer to "Mr." Hilton's question should have made her a shoe-in for the title for exercising the freedom that we prize so highly as Americans.

The temper tantrum that Mr. Hilton exhibited on his vlog is case in point. He felt the need to personally attack her without consequence while she attacked no one and is getting crucified. I say heck with freedom of speech (we've managed to warp it into something seemingly very unjust)! Go to a society where we are truly held accountable for what we say and how what we say effects others, and 'OFF WITH ALL THEIR HEADS'. Just kidding of course! Why, that's anti-American!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Twitter Freak!


I've gotten heavily involved with Twitter as of late, but had a very hard time explaining why. I was asked, " What is Twitter and why do you like it?" Ok, well, Twitter is a way to communicate. It asks you what you are doing and you explain in 140 characters or less. Stop! I've revised! Here is my answer:

"I am officially a Twitter Freak! Twitter is, in my opinion, the greatest form of communication there is. As a matter of fact, if husbands and wives could communicate solely through Twitter, I believe that the marriage rate would increase because of it. Yes, I said that I'm a FREAK! But let me tell you why. Twitter asks, 'What are you doing right now?' But what you are doing now means very little in the Twitter world. Tweeple (the people you talk to on Twitter) want to know, 'What do you think right now.' That is the true beauty of Twitter. It is multiple on-going discussions with many people simultaneously and SERIOUSLY entertaining! You have the option to just listen in on other's conversations or participate. It is beyond cool!

So here's why I believe it could help every marriage.... How many times have you talked to someone who added WAY more info to the conversation than was needed to get the point across? Well, I tend to be one of those people. I am a talker. And when confined to 140 characters to convey a thought, I find that I speak far more efficiently. Something I know that any husband would appreciate. Also, what you say can be viewed by everyone (there are privacy settings, but generally people tend to speak freely... another aspect that I love). Talk about putting your thoughts out into the universe!!! This is an amazing forum to insight some real positive change. It promotes communication in every facet of your life from work to home to school with strangers, family, co-workers, friends... the list goes on. I can actually sit down at my computer and in about an hour connect with over 100 people in real time. And at the same time, those 100 people can forward my 140 character or less thoughts out to 100 people that they're connected to. That is some serious compounded communication. But beware here. If you communicate the wrong things, it can also cause some negative change. Say to 100 people that you hate dogs and watch 10,000 dog lovers cut you right out of the Twitter community. The power of the followers to 'unfollow'!"

The one thing that I would like to see change is what Tweeple on Twitter are called. I think the 'followers' catagory should be changed to 'connected to' or 'unconnected'. I've never considered myself a follower by any stretch of the word and have always associated the word 'follower' as being kind of negative. And after all, isn't that what communication is all about... the people we connect with or don't connect with? Just some food for thought for the Twitter folks. Or better yet, they can change the category to "freaks" and "others". Just kidding of course. Yah, I'm a FREAK... on Twitter!

Serial Takists

I learned at a very young age that there are takers in this world. I call them Serial Takists. I also learned that Takists are a lot like rapists in that their victims are always left feeling violated, taken advantage of and angry. The effects from a Takist attack stay with you and reverberate long after the attack is over. I survived a Takist attack and I want to share with you how to spot, deal with (or avoid all together) a Takist attack yourself.

How They Operate
Takists are not kleptomaniacs; they do not take for the sake of taking. But like kleptomaniacs, their behaviors are compulsive. It is their compulsion to try and manipulate everyone and everything around them to gain something, anything. If a Takist is talking to you, they want something. Takists will always appear pleasant at first but will turn on you the moment they see that their manipulative tactics aren't working. Failure to bend to their will results in angry, dismissive behavior. I will touch on that a little more in a second. There are Takists from every walk of life, men and women. They are not a respecter of persons and start young. A Takist cannot interact with anyone (I mean ANYONE) without working an angle to position themselves for "the take".

How Do People Become Takists?
I believe that Takists are born of a deep feeling of inadequacy. Through giving too much or not giving enough, a young Takist is not taught the basic fundamentals of interpersonal interaction. Either through severe abuse or through severe spoiling, the person was programmed to believe they could not provide for themselves and taught to loathe themselves and others for what they personally lack or for what others have. They learned to manipulate to get what someone else created. Usually from their upbringing they feel like they do not have control and manipulation for "the take" is the only way for them to feel in control. To simply receive a gift is not good enough for them, the control of being manipulated to give is what they are after.

What To Look For
While a Takist always appears very comfortable, they never seem to really be listening to you. They don't ever give you focused eye contact. This behavior is often dismissed as simple distraction but its not simple at all.

Who is in their circle? Because a Takist spends their whole life caring only about "the take", they never establish permanent or real relationships. Work relationships, family, friends are sources for "the take" and what they have to gain. When the source has been tapped, the Takist moves on to the next victim. This is also a manipulation tactic. If a Takist cannot manipulate you, they will shut you out hoping to make you wonder what YOU did to make them angry and when you go to them to try and mend the rift, they will use guilt to take from you again. Usually this cycle will continue until the victim wises up and finally leaves for good. The Takist is an expert in this vicious cycle and was already working on the next "take" before you ever decided to stop being their victim. Fortunately, over time, the victim pool significantly decreases as a Takist is revealed for who they are. You will usually see older Takists living sad, lonely lives.

The Takist is often irritated about something. I haven't figured out if this is the only way a Takist can relate to other human beings, or if this is what a Takist uses to gauge their victims before their attack. Either way, a Takist is rarely happy about anything, and complains A LOT!

Takists are usually confrontational. They understand that most people shy away from conflict and will use this for manipulation. As a matter of a fact, this is usually the first type of manipulation they will use. Failure to get whatever they are after from you results in anger and/or violence. If over time they learn that this does not work for you, they will move on to other tactics and/or other victims. I believe they learn this behavior very young. I have often wondered when holding their breath stopped being a tactic for them.

How To Deal With A Takist
1. Stay calm! Anger is just a manipulative device the Takist uses to force "the take". The calmer you stay, the less effect the tactic has on you.

2. Know yourself. Know what you are willing to give to someone and why you are giving. If you are giving to keep someone from being angry with you, then you are giving for the wrong reasons and MAY be a Takist's victim.

3. Know Them. Know that a Takist cannot help themselves and truly doesn't believe that they are doing anything wrong. This behavior was learned quite young and lived out their whole lives. It is a compulsion. Understand that they are not capable of caring about you, what they've taken or what you've lost for their gain. A Takist will leave you destitute and then wonder why you don't want to be around them.

4. Stop Immediately. If you are dealing with a Takist, stop! Do not give. If they immediately cut you off, count your blessings. The sooner you sever ties with a Takist the safer you will be.

5. Finally, do not get angry. It's hard when you've been victimized by a Takist not to get angry, but understanding that a Takist cannot help themselves should help to relieve that anger.

My sincere hope is that this blog post protects everyone from Serial Takists. I am currently working on an article about Emotional Vampires. Stay tuned for that. I want to be sure to cover that because I have found that most Serial Takists are also Emotional Vampires, but not all Emotional Vampires are Takists... it's interesting... stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cook Yourself Thin

Last Week!!!

Lifetime Television Network is coming out with a new show called Cook Yourself Thin... I just saw the promo on it today. I'm really kind of excited about it. For some time now I've prescribed to the whole Volumetrics way of eating and this show seems to really incorporate those principals. From the promo, it looked like three girls who take recipes and reduce the amount of calories without changing the flavor. It looked like there might be some sort of judging? ... kind of cool! So it's like Paula Deen meets American Idol.... at a weight watcher's meeting. HA! It does look very good and informative and I can hardly wait! It comes on next week... I'll keep you posted!

Today!!!

So I am currently watching Lifetime's Cook Yourself Thin, and its not quite what I thought it was going to be in that there isn't any judging.... awe! But the show is wonderful!!! It started off with chocolate chip muffins that were around 800 calories being reduced to 200 calories!!! They looked wonderful!!! They then moved on to a chicken caesar salad and ended with spagetti and meatballs. I don't know what to say here.... you have GOT to see this show! Ok, sorry Paula Deen, this is my new favorite show!!!

I gotta run! They are airing another episode!

Perception

How fun is change really?

The hardest part is always discovering that you need to change because THAT place is usually the most painful. I say usually because at the point you realize that you need to change, but do not move in that direction, brings about a sort of slow agony. The insanity of running around in circles living a life you know you aren't happy with, and that knowledge in and of itself brings the unhappiness (thanx Eve! You just couldn't leave the fruit alone!!! HA!). People don't change when they are perfectly happy. I found that out with smoking. For years I had smoked and knew that I had to quit. I had tried quite a number of times always to find myself back to smoking. I would always say, "I'm just not ready to quit.... I like smoking." Which to some degree was true, or I would have quit for good. But no, the slow agony began and eventually gained momentum. First it was the smell that I started to hate. I started noticing that people would look at me funny when they smelled the smoke on me. Then I had a doctor ask me how long I had been smoking without me telling him that I was a smoker. "How did you know?" I asked. "I can tell by your blotchy skin. Cigarettes mess up oxygen flow and circulation." Wow.... THAT was painful! You'd think with how vain I am that I would have quit then and there, and I think I tried, but nope.... on I went with this nasty habit that was s-l-o-w-l-y becoming something I didn't want to want to do anymore. I had a family member who was diagnosed with C.O.P.D. and was STILL smoking. I remember thinking, "You are going to die if you don't quit. You would rather smoke and die than quit and live?" But the realization hit me that I was taking the exact same option. Just because I hadn't been diagnosed with a disease, didn't mean that I didn't have it or was going to have it. I finally realized that I couldn't expect to live this way and be happy. I mean, can one really expect to smoke and live a full life? Even if you live to a ripe old age, is that life going to be lived with respirators and nebulizers and oxygen tanks and expensive medicines that you're too sick to earn money for? The reality was, I could not imagine doing this for the rest of my life. I finally came to a point where I decided I "was over it". Then, amazingly, I was.
My ex-sister-in-law told me an unbelievable story many years ago about accepting Jesus Christ as her Savior and quitting smoking instantaneously. She told me, "God just took it from me." Now, I gotta say, I thought she was out of her gourd (she thought the same of me, I'm sure... gotta love the 'ex' status. hahaha), "no one quits smoking like that." I did. It was years later, but I quit smoking like that. It was easy and painless and pretty instantaneous. And this is where my blog title comes into play because I realized how fun change in my life could be. The freedom of just living without wondering where the money's going to come from for the next pack of cigarettes. While exercising one day I discovered that I was smiling. It hit me that while I was breathing hard, I was breathing strong. I was not breathing hard from lack of breath. It never hit me before that there would be a different feeling to breathing hard because you're short of breath versus breathing hard with strong breath. That sudden feeling of health overtook me with a happiness that I just cannot put into words. I was enjoying my exercise and REALLY enjoying not smoking.

Every other time that I had quit smoking was so hard! What made this time so different? It really was all in my head. Who says that quitting smoking is hard? I say that it is only as hard as you believe it is. If you think you will gain weight when you quit smoking, you will. I did. All the past times that I quit smoking I gained weight. The final time I quit, I lost weight. If you think that you will suffer without the cigarettes, you will. I did. Every time I had quit in the past was agony. I would count the days that I hadn't smoked and would cheer. The last time I quit counting after day 22 when my husband asked me why I was counting. The brilliance of that question blows me away to this day. If you're done, why give it even that much thought? People who don't drink alcohol, don't think about how many days they haven't drank alcohol. People who don't WANT to drink alcohol think about it all the time. It's the difference between something you just don't do or something you don't want to want to do. So when the rare occurrence of a craving reared its head, I would always respond with a laugh and say, "Oh My God... I don't do that anymore." And I would move on and forget about it. This particular change is not only a fundamental change that I have made in my life, it's been the "funnest" and most mental change I have made yet. This is the change that showed me perception is everything.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coconut Ice Cream

Yesterday I made Coconut Ice Cream from one of my favorite raw recipe books called Raw Food Real World. The recipe itself called for an ice cream maker as well as a Vitamix, but I just used my Vitamix and it turned out AMAZING!!! It tasted great with strawberries too! I did alter the recipe from the book just a little because of the ingredients I had on hand and it still turned out fantastic!

I used 1 cup of raw, organic coconut meat that I had frozen in a food saver bag a couple of months ago. I also used (from frozen) 1 1/2 cups of raw, organic coconut water, 1/4 cup agave nectar, 2 stevia packets, 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of coconut butter blended in the Vitamix on high for about 1 1/2 minutes until it was very well blended. I placed the Vitamix pitcher with the mixture into the freezer for about 3 hours and then blended again on low using the tamper until the mixture was smooth and placed back into the freezer for another two hours. It turned out PERFECT!!! Because the consistency of this ice cream is a lot like gelato, you will need to take your storage container out of the freezer about 15-20 minutes before serving so that it will soften a little. Enjoy THIS healthy indulgence!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Girl and Her Toys

Yesterday I posted a blog with the recipe for my raw candied yams and mentioned slicing the yams. I forgot to put in the post that the fun little gadget that I used to make all my yam slices uniform was a "mandolin" slicer. So this got me thinking about all the gadgets in my kitchen that I use and LOVE. As I have posted in the past, I am a gadget girl and thought it would be fun to showcase some of my "must have" tools. Here are my top 10.

This is my #1: the mandolin slicer. Mine is an OXO V-Slicer. It is, in my opinion, the very best slicer on the market and the one I used to make my candied yams. It is easy to use, easy to clean (everything goes into the dishwasher) and easy to abuse. Basically, "it takes a lickin and keeps on tickin". It will slice four different slice thicknesses as well as julienne and fry cuts. I literally cut an entire bag of yams in about 10 minutes. Seriously quick food prep.

And speaking of quick food prep, #2 is a food processor. My mother in law just gave me a Cuisinart 11 Cup processor and I LOVE it! I don't know how I ever lived without it. Thank you Ma! Of course, if you read my blog you know that I also LOVE the magic bullet, which is my #3, AND the makers of the magic bullet also came out with a food processor/juicer/high speed blender (check it out)! Speaking of blenders, # 4 is my Vitamix. This blender is the king of blenders! The motor is so powerful that it can cook... no joke, you can even make ice cream with it! Because of the powerful motor "pulverizing" whatever you put into it, whole fruit and vegetable smoothies come out perfectly with this machine. It even comes with a complete recipe book when you buy one. Impressive!

#5 on my list of kitchen favorites is relatively new, it's the Spirooli (pictured)! This gadget is really interesting in that it cuts things like zucchini and potatoes into pasta-like strings with two different string cuts and a wide curl cut. This one is just fun and again, takes seconds to use with clean up being a breeze.

My #6 is something that has become a very important part of my kitchen, but I'm not convinced that it really belongs in this "gadget" post.... Well, I'm gonna include it anyway! It's called a Nut Milk Bag. I use it to make almond milk as well as to sprout different grains. I had never even heard of it until last year when I began incorporating raw food into my diet. Once I got one (for around $5), it became one of the most used tools in my kitchen.

I can't talk about raw food without including my #7 gadget which is my food dehydrator. This thing is a necessity as well with raw food prep... remember my mock pumpkin pie??? So yummy!

#8 is my rice cooker. My rice cooker was a "cheap" rice cooker that I got on clearance from a store that was going out of business. I think I spent about $13 on it, but it turned out to be a treasure for my kitchen. There is nothing like throwing ingredients into a cooker, not having to monitor it, and returning to perfectly cooked rice every time. This thing is used at least twice a week and prepares brown rice and quinoa which are staples in my diet. It's also another time saving gadget as it came with two steamer racks. I throw some fresh veggies and left over chicken to re-heat onto the steamer racks that sit on top of the cooking rice for the last 15 minutes and I have an entire meal (healthy meal) in less than a half hour and dirtied one appliance. LOVE IT!

#9 is my flexible cutting mats. I got mine from IKEA for around $3 a piece. I bought four of them. They take up practically NO space to store, they are super light, and come in different colors so that I'm sure not to cut up veggies where I just cut up meat.

The last item on my top ten list is actually my superstar work horse. This gadget has saved me the most time and the most money. I have actually owned two of these over the years because the first one I owned got used till it broke. I have saved the very best for the very last. My #10 is my Food Saver. This little vacuum sealer gets used to vacuum seal large quantities of the staples I mentioned earlier so that I only have to cook once but have food for many meals. I also vacuum seal and freeze left overs right onto thick paper plates so that there is always a healthy "frozen dinner" in the freezer when I'm needing something quick to fix. Just recently I ate three year old Rosemary Chicken (thank goodness I have always dated my food saver bags) that was vacuum sealed and frozen; it tasted like I made it last week. It was one of those things that fell to the bottom of the freezer (stand up freezer). I wondered how it would really taste after all this time in storage, so I popped the unopened freezer bag into a pot of boiling water for ten minutes. It was surprisingly great! My husband kept an eye on me throughout the day though to make sure that I didn't get sick. Hahahahaha! Don't lie, you would have tried it too!!! I'm tellin you, it tasted great! This wonderful gadget is going to get even more work as I'm going to be fixing 30 meals in three days and freezing them. This should be tons of fun! And I bet I will be using every last one of these incredible gadgets for that project! LOL!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Candied Yams


These are the real thing baby! They are super simple and were SO yammy... uh, I mean yummy! :)

All I did was peel and slice the organic yams and place them into a large Ziploc bag with 1/4 cup of maple syrup powder and then shook the bag. The natural juices from yams will mix with the maple syrup powder and make the yams "gooey". I then placed the slices of yams on my Excalibur Dehydrator tray and set the dehydrator to 105 degrees for two days. When they were done, I had a gooey, chewy, super sweet treat.
I found out that my dogs LOVE the yam peels, so I am working on a recipe for organic, raw, yam doggie treats. That one should be fun! I'll let you know how it goes....

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Official!

It's official... I am a gardener! hahahaha! I feel like I need a badge or something. That might be the little girl in me who never got to be a girl scout. If I start selling cookies, then I think we might need an intervention. But in the meantime, here's the updated photos on the garden. Just awesome!!!

I left to go on a little mini vacation for four days and when I returned... tah-dah!











The leaves on all the squash are just about bigger than my hands. Wow!
And last but not least, the watermelon!!! I have said it in the past, and I will say it again, I NEED to keep a log of everything that I'm planting and how long it's taking for things to sprout. It might be helpful to know what worked and what didn't.