Ramblings

>> Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hey-ho! My week’s been thrown into a weird cycle - I’m off a couple by a couple of days. Yesterday I thought it was Monday because it was my first day in the office after the weekend. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good that the weekend is closer than I thought but also bad because I’m behind. Ah well.

google images

I’m making a few cosmetic changes to the old blog here. Nothing too major I hope. Mainly cleaning up, reorganizing, rearranging, updating my blogroll, and that sort of thing. Hmmm, maybe I'll actually update my banner with the proper fonts (it's only been nearly a year since I updated)...but you might also see an appearance or two of an affiliate program I’m participating in. I’m not a salesman, okay? I don’t plan on getting all up in your face pushing something on you or expecting you to buy something exclusively through me. I might mention deals and discounts and that sort of thing but won't push it on you. With that said, I hope I post things that might be of interest to you so if you’re in the market to buy…well, please consider going thru me. It’s possible I could earn a small commission but I’m not ready to quit my day job yet.

I’ve had affiliate links and google ads on my blog before but took them down. I go thru cycles where I do this and if it becomes too many then I find it’s just clutter and remove them all. Will ads make an appearance again? Not sure on that one. I like being able to control what’s placed on my blog so for now, no ads (updated to clarify: no google ads or other random ads I can't control will be placed on my blog however, affiliate ads/links I support may or will be posted but not many).

On my links tab those aren't necessarily ones I have an affiliation with per se - none that I have signed up for - they're just ones I like and/or support and are there as a resource. I might add a DIY section to that...(thinking out loud here).

How do you feel about ads or affiliate programs? For me, none of those things usually bother me no matter whose blog I visit (except popups – those ANNOY! I don’t like “in your face” marketing of any kind) but I’m sure for some it might. I hope none of you are bothered but certainly welcome your comments and opinions.

I just got the details finalized on one of the giveaways I was working on which means I will have two giveaways coming up for you to check out. I’ll try to post both of them this weekend.

Speaking of giveaways, I’ve won a few myself. I won a couple of books from Melissa at Contagious Health. I may have mentioned this before but it truly was an awesome giveaway. I got a copy Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr (I’m currently reading and enjoying) and a copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions (so fun!) by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. Then I also won a bottle of NutraVege from Bitt’s blog, a vegetarian omega-3 supplement, which we’re taking everyday; even giving some to YS2. And then, I just won a book of choice from Sasha’s blog, Blyssful Health. Since I had the Crazy Sexy Diet book I chose Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Kitchen. You know, to complete the Ani set. :) Anyway, I’m thankful for these ladies and their giveaways and that I won!

When I enter giveaways I don’t expect to win - of course, there’s a hope that’s why you enter, right? Well, and to support your blogger pal. So you enter and then forget about it until you get that special email in your inbox announcing you’re the winner. I love that!

It takes time to post reviews and/or giveaways so I appreciate those who do these – I’m talking about the ones who you know put the time and effort into each one, whether it's an occasional or frequent thing. Those whose blog it is to post reviews and giveaways everyday (or multiple ones weekly), wow. I bow to you and also think you're crazy! ha ha!

Last year, I entered more than my fair share of giveaways at various blogs. I took a looong break of sorts which is still going but have (obviously) entered a few here and there. I know it takes time to enter giveaways so I appreciate every entry I receive on any of mine.

Good grief! I’ve rambled on enough about a whole lot of nothing. I have this need to ramble sometimes I guess. Just be sure to check back on those giveaways I’ve got coming up – you might be the one who gets a special announcement in your inbox soon.

Enjoy your weekend!

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Beet It-Just Beet It-Woo!

>> Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Did the title get you to sing the MJ song? You're welcome. :)

So I mentioned before that I did some dehydrating over the weekend. Awhile back I received an email from someone who was asking about dehydrating beets – how to get them crispy. Honestly, I’ve never tried beets before. I’m not a huge raw beet fan except in juices. Typically, I like my beets roasted. However, beets are so pretty and earthy and full of wonderful nutrients that I was willing to try my hand at this. You never know, taste buds change and I might end up loving them.

I don't have many pics because it was late from when I first put them to when I got them out so here's one:


For my experiment, I bought a bunch of organic beets (3 medium sized ones to this particular bunch) and one gigantic sweet potato (it was orange flesh – a yam? A sweet potato? I don’t know –can’t remember the variety).

I found a basic recipe and how-to from Mommypotamus and got my veggies cleaned up and ready to go. For the beets, I followed her recipe but adjusted the oil for three beets instead of two (probably a mistake right there - see the pic? some beets are a little too shiny) and then for the sweet potato I upped the oil to 3 tbsps to accommodate its obese size and added in some Italian seasoning (much like as though I were baking them as fries).

Now, I do have a small, hand-held mandolin which actually scares me a little, okay, a lot. The blade is ceramic and sharp as anything and believe me, I know from experience. Cheese graters scare me too. I’ve got scars on my knuckles from those things but anyway, I have sliced part of my thumb off on this stupid mandolin of mine. For this though, I managed to stay intact and injury-free!

I sliced both veggies on the thinnest setting (0.5 on mine) which for the beets still seemed a bit too thick and at times a bit too thin for the sweet potato. After coating/mixing the veggies I put them onto the Teflex sheets. I started with six trays, four of them were just sweet potato! I put them in at 115 degrees for about two hours before I removed the Teflex sheets and put them on the mesh screens. They dried the rest of the way like this for a total for 20 hours.

In the end, the sweet potatoes were crunchy like chips with good flavor but I think sweet potatoes have a less than smooth texture when kept raw. For the most part, this doesn’t bother me but still prefer baked fries because I like them squishy soft in the middle. The beets, well, they were still chewy (bummer). I needed to slice them thinner and can’t achieve that with the mandolin I have. Mommypotamus does suggest finishing them up in the oven if you want them crispy if you can't get them thinner. So depending on your views or preference, you may agree or disagree with that last step. I didn’t do that but should’ve tried it though because I like my chips crispy. I’m still getting used to the flavor of raw beets – these chips still hold that earthy flavor well and I take that as a good thing plus they're much healthier than fried beet chips.

Okay, this post was probably longer than it should've been for simply reliving my experience with dehydrating beets but hey, whatchya gonna do? hee hee!

Thanks to Mommypotamus for her recipe, suggestions and how-to’s and thanks to my reader who asked me in the first place and got me inspired to try raw beet chips.

I’ll probably attempt beets again but down the road sometime. Hands down though, my favorite dehydrated veggie chips still stand as kale (cheesy, of course!) and zucchini.

Have any of you successfully dehydrated beets?
What are your favorite dehydrated veggie chips (whether bought/made for you or you make yourself)?

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The Best Laid Plans...

>> Monday, March 28, 2011

...of mice and men often go astray - adapted from Robert Burns, To a Mouse, November 1785

Hola amigos (I should just say amigas since there are more girlies reading this than boys I’m sure…)! Hope you all had a fine weekend. Me? Well, you can guess based on the title and opening line things didn’t quite go as planned.

Before I begin, I’d like to say to whoever is charge of making weekends a 2-day thing to please consider 5 days. That would be really nice. K, thanks.

Saturday started out as planned: busy. To get me going, I made my usual smoothie with banana, spinach, peanut butter, cacao, and other tasty things. YS2 likes this too so we shared.


To spare you the play-by-play, we ran our errands and did our things. We did stop at an Asian market that just opened a little closer to us. And we did our part to support them by sampling a few veggie eats (we ignored for the moment the possible bad things in it [animal products were avoided, however]) and picking up a cute miso bowl for YS2 and some cutting boards! I promise to not burn them this time. After all was said and done, I was able to get some things into the dehydrator. That will be a separate post coming up.


Because Saturday ended up being busier than planned, I was bummed I was going to miss out on meeting Ashlei who was in town for a convention. I was hoping to meet up with her and hit VegFest (guess next year). This is where things take a turn…

Sunday: I began my AM with a girlie-girl smoothie courtesy of Lauren (see her sidebar for recipe). I missed out on the mint (didn’t have any but it would’ve been perfect if I did) but did include some chia seeds and coconut butter. Yum! Thanks Lauren for that inspiration.

YS2 and I played before he went down for his nap but then he woke up crying. Hubby went in there to check on him and let’s just say “cleanup on aisle 7” was a repeated phrase many times over. Everything else planned or unplanned was ignored for the rest of the day, although laundry did make it to the top of the to-do list. ;(

Thankfully, YS2 slept like a champ last night and is much better today. It had to have been something he ate (or licked – you know how toddlers are) but we have no idea what. He’s eating and drinking today and keeping it all in. I opted to stay home today just in case but we’ve kept it low-key while he recovers.

Being home today I was able to make one of my favorite lunches: avo, tomato, sweet onion on spelt bread (or any bread preferred). Spread a little vegan mayo (or regular if you so desire), a few shakes of sea salt and some black pepper and you’re good to go! To make this completely raw, it’s also great on Russell James’ Mediterranean bread and cashew mayo.

Before I end today’s post, I wanted to you know about a new book by MaryKay Mullally, 118 Degrees Delicious: Live Vegan Raw Food Recipes for Life! (Volume 1), on sale right now on Amazon.com for $21. It’s a collection of 60 of MaryKay's favorite raw vegan recipes (gluten-free, too) that she created on her healthy journey. Check it out and let me know what you think.

I’ve got more to blog about so I’ll be back later.

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Spring-Love-Perfect

>> Friday, March 25, 2011

Hey-ho everyone! Glad you enjoyed the springtime quotes. I love quotes and beginning of spring was the perfect time to share some lovely ones. If you noticed I published at the very minute spring was official. Sah-weet.

I’ve been enjoying hearing all the new spring sounds lately. I love hearing the birds sing and the frogs (toads?) at night. It’s so perfect. We’ve actually been seeing more sun. Now there’s a treat!

Another thing about spring, it's when YS2 was born. I’m shaking my head in disbelief that he’s almost two! It's gone by so fast! While it’s so amazing watching him grow everyday there’s still a part of me that wants him to stay little. I just love that boy – more than anything. My heart swells – overflows – with love because of him. If you knew him in person you'd also be entranced by his love of everything and everyone. He's such a compassionate soul it's beautiful and inspiring. *sigh* (more like sniff) Not a day goes by without expressing how grateful I am to be blessed with him in my life (even when he rips pages out of the book I'm reading).

Anyway, had to take a moment for some sappiness...
  
the day YS2 got his new boots
Okay, one more thing about spring…gardening. Woo hoo! Hubby got all the seeds organized and is now starting the little seedlings. They’re popping up already! Really keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed we have great summer weather so we see lots of everything. We’ll be growing tomatoes, peppers, kale, peas, berries, lavender, and who knows what else. I’ll have to get gloves and a little face mask though because we get chenopods like crazy and I’m highly allergic! Maybe I’ll sport a bandana across my face so I look like an outlaw. ;) I’d like to have a little section in the garden just for YS2 to play/plant in the dirt. He’s already got his gardening boots.

I don't profess to have a green thumb of any sort - hubby's got that (two of them) - so I don't have any plants that I take care of at home or at work however, I couldn't resist this little cactus trio. I don't have to worry about killing it by forgetting to water it often and the bonus is that cute little happy orange flower.


I’ve got some fun things (I hope) coming up to post about. Like dehydrating “chips,” a book review, and a giveaway or two (one’s not finalized yet). Now, this has nothing to do with either giveaway I’ve got coming up but what’s weird was a vendor contacted me awhile ago offering to send me a case of their product to review. Hmm…still haven’t seen it. I followed up with the guy but heard nothing back - it's been weeks. Lame-o if you ask me. It’s no skin off my nose, he offered, but do think it's unprofessional IMO. Oh well. Guess that would be my review of them (without tasting their product): lame-o. I'm hesitant to mention the company's name in case it's just a fluke.

It's VegFest this weekend. I've never been so maybe we'll go this year. Tomorrow is a busy day so that leaves Sunday...maybe...would be fun to go though.
So glad it’s Friday! Last night I kept thinking it was only Wednesday but how nice for it to finally sink in that it was Thursday. Now that Friday’s here I’m ready for the weekend! Hope you enjoy yours!

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Spring has Sprung!

>> Sunday, March 20, 2011


Listen, can you hear it? Spring's sweet cantata. The strains of grass pushing through the snow. The song of buds swelling on the vine. The tender timpani of a baby robin's heart. Spring.
~Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider, Northern Exposure, Wake Up Call, 1992


In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
~Mark Twain

 
Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke


Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
~Doug Larson


Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.
~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

 
It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~Mark Twain


Awake, thou wintry earth -
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, An Easter Hymn


No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.
~Proverb


Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.
~W. Earl Hall


In spring time, love is carried on the breeze. Watch out for flying passion or kisses whizzing by your head.
~Emma Racine deFleur
 

Happy spring everyone!


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Fun: Blog Awards and a Meme

>> Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan relief, click here.

Hey, I’ve seen spring people! Yes, I have - I saw it over by Trader Joe’s. There were pink blossoms, lots of them, on the trees. It was a lovely and welcome sight. I still haven't seen much sun though. Anyway, I have the feeling I’m not alone in saying buh-bye winter, hello spring!

You may have noticed some blog awards being passed around lately. I was bestowed a couple myself I’d like to share with you, plus a fun meme.

First up, I received the One Lovely Blog award from Elizabeth at RAW Living and Learning. Muchos gracias! I was familiar with Elizabeth on my blog rounds but only recently learned of her blog (I’m apparently behind!). Now in addition to her lovely comments, I get to enjoy her blog, too.

For the One Lovely Blog award:
     1. Thank and link the blogger who has given you the award.
     2. Copy and paste the Logo in your blog.
     3. Share 7 things about yourself.
     4. Nominate 15 other Great Bloggers.
     5. Comment and let them know of the award.


7 Things About Me:
1. I learned to crochet (basics) about a year and a half ago then put it down until recently. Of course I forgot some important steps but relearned them thanks to my darling SIL (who’s a pro I swear). Now, I’m being ambitious and committed myself to making my first afghan. I’ll let you know how it turns out…in about 10 years! Some might say I’m a granny in training but that’s alright – I enjoy it.

2. I’m adopted. Didn’t you know that already? Yeah, I am.

3. I’m a lefty! Woot woot! However, if you need me to throw or kick a ball it’s with my right. With my left I throw like a girl (hee hee!)

4. I love sports. Not necessarily to play although I love to play volleyball. I actually enjoy watching football and some baseball. I’m not like a sports guy who will watch anything or any team, I’m more selective but love to watch a good ol’ football game.

5. I got chased by two cops once – on foot. I crossed the street (in a crosswalk) about two seconds before the light turned in my favor (no, really it was only a of couple seconds) and I heard someone from behind yelling but didn’t think it was directed at me so I kept walking. Wrong. I eventually turned just as a cop was running after me calling for his partner, Rudy who was across the street, to help. Seriously? I’m a threat and you’re calling for “backup?” Don’t you have real bad guys to catch? Sheesh. Honestly, I barely remember seeing him leaning up against the wall before all this drama and thought he was a security guard. Gave me a stupid ticket for $150 or something for crossing the street against the light.

6. I love to read. I don’t read as much as I’d like to but have always enjoyed reading, especially mystery/suspense novels. Currently I’m reading Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr and Incendiary by Chris Cleave.

7. I’m shy. This one seems to throw people but yes, I am a bit shy at first and was even painfully shy as a child (but very obnoxious with friends). Once I’ve had a chance to warm up, watch out! I just might be a bit goofy, loud, a ham and talk your ear off.

Now, I’m supposed to forward this to 15 other bloggers. I’ve seen this on a lot of blogs already that I don’t know who hasn’t gotten it so I’ll list a few, not knowing if they’ve received this award or not, and leave it open to anyone else because in my mind you all deserve it.


The next award I received, the Stylish Blogger award, is from the ever so lovely Terilynn of The Daily Raw Café. She’s pretty stylin’ herself. Her blog has been one of my faves since I first ventured into raw living a few years ago. Her dishes and creativity have always amazed and inspired me. So I’m honored she thought of me for this award.

For the Stylish Blogger award:
     1. Make a post that links back to the blogger who gave you the award.
     2. Nominate ten more bloggers to receive the award and list them in your post along with links to their blogs.
     3. Tell them they’ve received the award by posting a comment on their blog.
  • Melissa - Contagious Health - Heart of gold this one. Melissa has a refreshing style to her blog. It’s casual, it’s warm, it’s inviting and welcoming, it’s honest. I have a feeling she’s all those wonderful attributes in real life and more.
  • Elena - Vega-licious - she just moved and updated her blog and it looks great! She’s also a professional photographer so her pics are full of color and vibrancy. What can I say? She’s stylin’ for sure.
  • Antony in London - He’s definitely someone I’d love to hang out with. He’s an intelligent and witty guy who loves good food, good films and good books.
  • Kelli - Animal Friendly Eating - She’s creative in whatever she does whether in the kitchen or with crafts. I enjoy going to her blog often for inspiration or a smile.
  • Rawdorable - This girlie’s got it going on in the kitchen! You’ve seen her raw vegan cupcakes haven’t you? I’ve been following her blog for a few years now and enjoy seeing how she “rawifies” things.
  • Lauren - Ginger is the New Pink - She’s Italian, she’s funny, and she loves Sunshine burgers and Bubbies pickles. A girl after my own heart (although, I’m not Italian but love Italian food if that counts). And her little family is so darling esp with Baby A added to the mix.
  • Rawkin Mom - Her blog is new to me but love the recipes she shares and involving her kiddies in the process. And she has an affinity for kale chips like me! She is rawkin’.
  • Elizabeth - RAW Living and Learning - Sweet Elizabeth, always leaving kind and supportive words wherever she goes and her blog is no exception. Definitely worth a visit.
  • Rawleen - Another source of inspiration for me. She makes everything look so simple and beautiful. I’m amazed how she manages to keep herself put together while running a full household (her girls are beautiful!). Okay, she might be modest and disagree but seriously she amazes me.
  • Noelle - An Opera Singer in the Kitchen - She makes and shares many delectable delights! Plus she’s got a beautiful voice to boot. Singing and cooking in the kitchen? Great combo! She also just released her first e-book.
Last but certainly not least, I was tagged by Junia for Top 5 Daily Essentials.



My Top 5 Daily Essentials
1. Kisses and loves from my two boys – Yardsnacker and Yardsnacker Jr.
2. Water – okay, I don’t drink nearly enough but still it’s essential for me.
3. A book – I commute by bus most days and need something to do!
4. Something spicy - a jalapeno, some hot sauce or a sprinkle of cayenne on something and I'm good to go.
5. Avocado – now that they’re in season, oh yeah, time to load up! Guacamole anyone?

I’m leaving this one open, too, for all to do if you’d like.

All these awards make me think about my own I live to give out, that it's time to pass it along to someone new. Next time.

Hope you enjoyed!

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