Oh Nuts!

>> Monday, November 28, 2011

The holidays are upon us so it’s time to break out the good eats! We tend to have more nuts around during this time of year for either snacking or incorporating into various recipes.

Recently, I had the chance to try some raw macadamia nuts and raw, shelled pistachios from Oh Nuts! Oh yum! These are great to snack on all by themselves so it was becoming difficult setting some aside for something else delicious.

Let’s start with the macadamias. Macs are full of fat – good mono-unsaturated fats – which translate in lots of energy. They also contain ample amounts potassium, calcium and protein. So while it’s probably not wise to eats these non-stop on a daily basis, consuming some now and again, is very good for you. Better for you than buttur n ol (say it like Paula Deen).

My original plan with the macs was to make some raw vegan cookies. Mm, that failed (note to self: do not over-process nuts!). But…not all was lost, my friends. Instead, it became decadent, sweet nut butter.

Sweet Macadamia Nut Butter (raw, vegan)
3 TBS agave nectar
pinch of  Celtic sea salt
½ vanilla bean, scraped

Blend in food processor or high speed blender until smooth. Serve immediately or store in fridge. Suggestion: if storing in the fridge, scoop out what you need and place in dehydrator until warm or ready to use.

This will be great on toast or on something more fancy one leisurely morning (pumpkin waffles maybe?). Even in smoothies or topped on ice cream. It can put whatever you do with it “over the top!”

Next, pistachios. These little green gems help in lowering cholesterol and contain lutein, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol. Also, antioxidants! These are definitely a fave around here. YS2 loves to eat pi-tach-i-ohs, as he calls them. Again, it was hard to not just eat these straight up. Well, actually that didn’t stop anyone so I had to act fast.

I present to you Pistachio-Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookies. Yum is all I gots to say!

Pistachio Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (vegan)
½ c pure cane sugar
½ c packed brown sugar
½ c Earth Balance spread
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp Celtic sea salt
2 TBS cornstarch or arrowroot whisked with 2 TBS water (or other equivalent to one egg)
1 ½ c regular oats
1 c all-purpose flour (I used refined spelt flour)
½ c Oh Nuts raw pistachios
½ c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix all ingredients, except oats, flour, nuts and cranberries. Now, stir in remaining ingredients.

Drop rounded dough (I used a cookie scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool.

And hey, Christmas colors!

I love using raw and unsalted nuts because they’re healthier and have great flavor. Plus, they’re more versatile, I think.

Click here for more info on the macadamias I used and for the pistachios, click here.

Oh Nuts currently has specials going on that you might be interested in (hello, Cyber Monday!). And now’s the time to stock up! Besides nuts, they offer seeds, candy, chocolate, gift baskets for any occasion, granola and snack mixes…and more.


Disclosure: I was provided with products mentioned above to review and use in recipes; however, I was not paid or influenced to say anything but my honest opinion.


Giveaway: Shabby Apple

>> Friday, November 25, 2011

Hey hey hey! How was Thanksgiving? Ours was nice, low key and turkey-free. :)

Now, the chaos begins as Christmas isn't too far away. I love Christmas and I love to shop but shopping during the holidays and fighting the crowds isn't my idea of a good time. Maybe some of you aren't fans either and prefer to (and smartly) shop early, which I should do, or online. Perhaps you're in need of something special just for YOU.

Shabby Apple, an online boutique of women's dresses, has some great specials going on as you may have seen posted in my sidebar. If you love shopping online, check out some of the deals going on.

Now the giveaway news! Shabby Apple is generously offering one reader their Francine skirt!

Shabby Apple has so many women's dresses...and skirts...and accesories to choose from, it's actually hard to choose! Even maternity and little girls'. But the Francine pencil skirt, made from canvas twill, is versatile yet classic with a vintage flair. Its high-waist and bow are the kind of details that keep it from being the least bit boring.

Time to enter -- follow the instructions posted in the Rafflecopter widget below (click 'view comments' to get started). Follow the instructions, then once completed, hit 'I did this!' It's really easy.

Giveaway will go from now till end of day, December 8th.

Thanks Shabby Apple! And good luck to all of you!

P.S. I am an affiliate of ShabbyApple.com but  was not compensated to host this giveaway, nor was I obligated to host this giveaway.


Thoughtful Thursday

>> Thursday, November 24, 2011

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.
--Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.
--Edward Sandford Martin

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
--Erma Bombeck

Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.
--J. Robert Moskin

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.
--Estonian Proverb

O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
--William Shakespeare

Gratitude consists of being more aware of what you have, than what you don’t.

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
--Cynthia Ozick

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
--William Arthur Ward

When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them.
--Chinese Proverb

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel.
--Author Unknown

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
-- Aesop Fables

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
--W.T. Purkiser

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.

To hear someone say 'Happy Turkey Day' makes me sad because they have nothing to be thankful for and no one to whom to be thankful.
--Robert Flatt

No longer forward nor behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
--John Greenleaf Whittier
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving (or Thursday if you're outside the US *wink*)! I am thankful for all of my connections with each of you, the friendships, and the support. I love being part of such an amazing community. Enjoy the holiday, traditions, and family as you create memories.


Fall in the PNW

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hey-ho everyone! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, can you believe it? Where has this year gone?! Want to wish little Baby A a happy birthday tomorrow! She's one. Aww!

Par for course, it's definitely Thanksgiving time here in the Pacific Northwest because since Monday it's been a soggy mess. Pretty much every Thanksgiving (maybe the same elsewhere?) the storms set in. And it seems in an instant there are now more leaves on the ground than on the trees. Just last week, there were still a ton yet to fall. Show's over, I guess. If you're traveling, please be safe!

So to remember those crisp beautiful fall days we had just not too long ago, here are a few pics:

reminds me of Charlie Brown for some reason

YS2 was a little nervous about this swing, in due time he will be racing to it

Got a funny story to share. Sam and YS2 worked on a fun project recently where they made bird food suets. We have a store-bought one, which you know, has funky ingredients. Anyway, after it was made and set, a chunk was placed in the little suet cage and hung outside next to the other suet. Birds love both but it's nice to see they really love the homemade one (do little chickadees need rendered beef fat???).

One morning I noticed the cage to the homemade one was open and the suet had fallen onto the deck, which is on the second floor. Hmm...curious but figured the latch just came undone but I left it for Sam to fix later (lazy? yeah, but it was cold out!). I'd forgotten all about it until a few hours later. When I looked outside it was GONE! Huh, what? Where would the big chunk of heavy suet go? Who could possibly take it? The birds we get are really small and with the deck on the 2nd floor, there are no animals large enough running around that could jump up there so that leaves the squirrels, I think. Squirrels or one beefcake squirrel apparently made off with the suet. Tsk tsk! Can you believe that? I knew they were crafty and clever but didn't realize they're so strong too. Oh well, at least we know they're well-fed and that it was a tasty treat. Crazy thieving critters.

Because there's not a whole lot to do outside with it raining so much or previously, being so cold, YS2 and I often visit the kitty shelter. He loves animals and especially kitties and puppies. At this shelter, he's able to interact with and pet the kitties (he's still learning how to do these things properly -- hee hee). Most of these kitties are so sweet I wish I had huge property to rescue them all! But at least I know they're being taken care of here and are often adopted.
getting the hang of the kitty toys

brother or sister?

sister or brother?
this one is so sweet and pretty

There's one kitty, Lucie, who is either feral or had some things done to her before coming here because it's not often she allows you too close -- it's like once she realizes hey I don't know you, she socks ya! She won't use her claws but you will become her punching bag most times. It's actually kinda funny seeing kitty paws move that fast.
Lucie hiding
Got more things coming up for you but this is all for today. A special Thoughtful Thursday is coming your way tomorrow being Thanksgiving and all. :)

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopefully, a long weekend at that. Some real craziness begins now right? If you're one to brave the crowds on Black Friday, just know I think you're nuts! heh heh! Enjoy it all!


Profile: Cymax Stores

>> Monday, November 21, 2011

Cymax Stores, Inc. – have you heard of them? No? Well, let me introduce you. I hadn’t heard of them until recently either, which is rather surprising because they’ve actually been around for nearly eight years.

This Canadian (Vancouver, BC) company was founded in 2004 by Arash Fasihi and they primarily sold TV stands and other entertainment furniture. Later that same year, they started their own website and began selling online. Today, they have 120+ online specialty stores that sell everything from small kitchen appliances to home décor to furniture for your office and home (Wikipedia). Of course, they still offer TV stands and entertainment furniture but now so much more. And with specialty stores, you’re more likely to get good quality merchandise, customer service and warranties.
They ship anywhere in the US and Canada. You can order by phone and obviously, you can order online. With your order they ensure your privacy and security, which is so important these days, so there’s less worry when shopping online with them.

Everyone appreciates a guarantee so Cymax is committed to making sure your shopping experience is positive and that you’re happy with your purchase. It can be challenging buying something online without seeing/feeling the product first but they will work with you if you happen to be less than satisfied.

They also want to hear from you! If when browsing their website you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask them and they’ll try and find it for you. Never hurts to ask, right?

Because of their values and commitment to each customer, Cymax has continued to grow over the years and rapidly. In fact, they have earned a spot the last four years in the Top 500 online retailers by Internet Retailer Magazine and in the Top 200 the last two years. And just recently, they were nominated as one of the Hot 100 Best Retail Websites of 2010. Pretty impressive achievements and recognitions, I think, in a relatively short amount of time.

So the next time you’re in the market for furniture of some kind or housewares or anything, give Cymax a look. You just might find what you’re looking for. And with the holidays coming up (ack, so soon!), now’s a good time. I’m thinking Cyber Monday as I try to avoid Black Fridays. "Like" them on Facebook to keep up with specials or new products they have.

Cymax is also on LinkedIn so if you are too, feel free to connect with them.


Winners: Kroeger Herbs

Hello Friends! Happy Thanksgiving week! I have loads to talk about but I'm challenged with a lot of work so posts will be slowly but surely coming along. Hmm, maybe even my garden post I keep meaning to share (ugh, so late with that one and I keep saying I'm going to post it...just need to download pics).

Not sure if you've noticed but in my sidebar I've been posting daily specials from ShabbyApple.com to check out and take advantage of. There will be another sale tomorrow on a specific item (can't reveal what it is yet!) and then on Wednesday, the 23rd, there will be one last one. And from what I understand, it's not to be missed! I have no idea what it is yet but you'll see for yourselves on Wednesday. Just an FYI, I am an affiliate of ShabbyApple.com so if you go through my site, I have the opportunity to earn a small commission, however, I won't get all pushy about it. There will be a link in my sidebar with the occasional blip from me but mostly, I just wanted to alert of you the awesome promotions going on now and a head's up of ones coming up.

Let's get to the two winners of Kroeger Herb Products. Many thanks to Kroeger Herbs for sponsoring this giveaway. Please check them out; they offer a lot of great products that are natural and healthy. Also, thanks to those who tweeted and helped spread the word.


     #14: Sharanya -- winner of a bottle of Resveratrol Six
     #45: Nancy -- winner of a bottle of Schizandra Complete Concentrate

Congrats ladies! I will be emailing you shortly. Please respond within 48 hours with your name and shipping address.

Stay tuned for another giveaway! It's also a goodie not to be passed up.


Thoughtful Thursday

>> Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many...embrace the lines on your face, they are the maps of your journey. Love the laughter lines for the memories that created them; appreciate your frown lines, since the struggle that formed them helped you find your strength. Respect your body, with all its scars, they are testament to your survival, and may mark you as a mother. Be kind to yourself, you made it this far, enjoy the rest of the days you are blessed with, and for goodness sake, please don't waste that time resenting your body's imperfections, a perfect corpse has not lived, only existed. Embrace life, and celebrate its marks on your physical form, let the beauty in your heart shine through, you're too beautiful not to!



Product Review: Inspirin

>> Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recently, I had the chance to try a new product (to me) called Inspirin by Versativa. Its main purpose is to help ease pain and stress in your body. For me personally, it’s an afternoon pick-me-up. Read on and you'll understand why.

Inspirin is a superfood in and of itself but it consists of the following super foods:

     *Essential oil of black cumin seed -- the compounds of the seeds boost production of bone marrow, natural interferon, and immune cells, all of which help in fighting against diseases and viruses.
     *D-Ribose -- a naturally occurring five-carbon sugar, made by the body to combine a number of important compounds such as DNA and RNA but also ATP, the “energy currency” of the cells. ATP is critical to health and maintaining normal energy-dependent body functions.
     *Malic acid -- most commonly found in fruits and veggies, this natural substance is important for the energy producing cycle that usually takes place in the human mitochondria present in cells -- the small structures in cells that generate energy for the cell to use.
     *Red raspberry -- helps the body ward off illness.
     *Essential oil of black raspberry seed -- rich in antioxidants including tocopherols and tocotrienols. Tocopherols are great in rounding up and beating out free radicals. The oil is low in saturated fat and a rich source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids.
     *Magnesium malate -- a combo of magnesium and malic acid. Magnesium is essential for heart health. Magnesium malate has the ability to chelate metals, and most importantly, toxic metals.
     *Resveratrol -- comes from grapes. It’s cancer-fighting!
     *Blackberry – it contains omega-3, vitamin C and vitamin K. It also is rich in anthocyanins, which are beneficial in preventing inflammation and increase collagen production.
     *Hemp seeds -- protein, amino acids, digestible, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese…
     *Marine phytoplankton – provides energy and vitality, good for liver health and heart health, good for your vision, improve sleep, stabilize your body’s sugar levels, relives pain and inflammation, and great for your brain.


I wasn’t kidding when I say Inspirin is a superfood. They come in one-ounce packets that are handy to tote around for when you’re on-the-go. Just take one out and drink up! Because these contain no chemicals or preservatives, they’re safe for anyone, anytime (you don't have to wait till you're experiencing pain or need a stress reliever) plus they give you all the nutrition and omegas you need. Sometimes I start my day with one.

I will say it’s sweeeet! It has stevia, organic cane juice, and xylitol in it. So yeah it’s sweet. But this is why it’s the perfect afternoon jump I need to keep going (usually just one). A case of the sleepies goes away. Some may not agree with xylitol, in thought or in body. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener derived from plants, usually birch bark. So it’s a personal preference in that regard. For me, I did not experience any ill-effects. No spikes or crashes.

I half expected this to taste funny or have a lingering aftertaste but it didn’t. Sometimes stevia (and xylitol) tastes kind of artificial to me so I was pleasantly surprised this didn’t. At all. After the initial shock of sweet in my mouth, I found it to be rather tasty.

Awhile ago, I also got to try Versativa’s hemp raw energy bars. Very good! My favorite is the cherry. Much like the Inspirin, it’s made with wholesome, organic ingredients. Love that!

If interested in trying any of these products or others, contact Wendy. Her info is located at the bottom of the page. And if you do try either of these products, let me know what you think.

Disclosure: This is not a paid post. I was provided samples for review only and opinions expressed are my own. Yours may differ. This product is not a cure-all but a health food supplement. Please do your own research or contact your health practitioner.


Thoughtful Thursday

>> Thursday, November 10, 2011


Kroeger Herbs: Review + Giveaway

>> Monday, November 7, 2011

Hey friends! Survive the weekend? Love that we've gained an hour, don't you? It was so nice waking up a bit more refreshed Sunday morning. Falling back isn't too bad, it still messes up schedules especially with little ones but it's the spring forward time change that's a doozy. I just wish the whole time change hoopla was done away with. Moving on...

Stay with me as I share a couple of reviews for you + a giveaway at the end. Yay! My good pals at Kroeger Herb sent me a couple of their new products to sample. No problem! They have awesome products – you really should check them out if you haven't yet.

Schizandra. Are you familiar with this fruit or have you been hearing the name lately? It’s gaining in recognition for its medicinal properties. The shrub, also known as the magnolia vine, produces berries that are harvested and dried. In traditional Chinese medicine, schizandra is used to help with sleep disorders, depression, anxiety (and other mood disorders), sexual dysfunctions, liver health, skin health, resist infections, and increased energy -- just to name a phew!

Resveratrol Six. Gingko biloba, grapeseed, hawthorn, pomegranate, rosemary, and resveratrol. This one means serious business with this combination of herbs. Talk about protecting you from the inside to the outside! Rich in anti-oxidants, it’s anti-aging, fights free radicals, improves cell function and elasticity, and also improves the condition and appearance of the skin.

I’ve been taking these, somewhat regularly (I don’t always remember to take vitamins and supplements everyday -- oops), and have noticed some slight improvements. I do have more energy and feel balanced (not that I’m typically out of whack but you know…). Time will tell though if I have other notable improvements. It certainly can’t hurt! And with Kroeger Herb products they are the real thing: no fillers, binders, flowing agents, or excipients. You get exactly what you expect.

You can buy these now at Hanna’s Herb Shop. The Schizandra Complete Concentrate is $14.99 and the Resveratrol Six is $19.99.


You could try to win them! Kroeger Herb Products is generously offering a bottle of each.

There will be TWO winners
one will win a bottle of Schizandra Complete Concentrate
one will win a bottle of Resveratrol Six.

*Limited to the Continental US only.*

Just start entering by way of Rafflecopter below (click ‘view comments’ to get started) and follow the instructions there.

Two great natural herb products from Kroeger Herbs – worth a look.

Go enter -- good luck!


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