Thanks for the guest post by Jo Levy
My husband is definitely the technology guru of our house. He is great with gadgets and computers, and can really repair anything. It’s awesome to have someone like him around since we increasingly use technology to get though our everyday lives. We use a ton of electronic appliances in our kitchen, so whenever one of those starts acting up, it gets fixed immediately. Last time my phone was acting weird, it was my husband who fixed it. Then when our computer started going crazy, he came to the rescue again. Sometimes I just wish I could fix things myself! That is why I was so excited when I searched St. Paul wireless internet and found Clear Wireless. My husband was really impressed that I found a service that not only provided wireless internet service for our home, but I got him a mobile hotspot too. It felt really good to finally be the one in the family to fix one of our problems! From now on my husband can keep on fixing things and messing with all of our gadgets, but I’m officially in charge of finding great internet deals!
In the past I’ve only focused on healthy food. I’ve decided to expand the focus of this blog to include all aspects of healthy living. So, now there’ll be great information on diet, still with lots of good original healthy recipes, but I’ll also cover other things that influence your overall wellbeing like emotional and mental patterns; household products; and personal care products.
Over time I’ll start offering healthy lifestyle coaching in small groups and individually. There’ll be free videos, as well as DVDs with lots of great information on them for you to purchase. I may even start to carry some of my most favorite products to make finding them easy for you. I’m in the planning stages now, so check back throughout January to see what changes are happening.
We’re just a couple days away from celebrating Christmas. It is amazing to me to realize that almost every tradition on the planet has a special holiday during these bleak winter months. The exact days and traditions vary, but the same ideas are behind all of them, at least as far as I can tell.
It is a time to celebrate the return of the light. We go through the shortest day in the year. In some traditions this also means the renewing of your own internal light. For some it is a time of remembrance of the spiritual founder of that tradition. Overwhelmingly it is a celebration of love, the overarching core of every tradition on the planet.
For many, this season is a special time of family and friends. Where you eat traditional foods and engage in traditional rituals, whether that be Santa visiting, playing dreidel games, doing special crafts, dances and special stories, or helping at a homeless shelter, etc.
My wish for the entire planet is that we stop looking at our differences and trying to make everyone be carbon copies of ourselves, and start celebrating those things we have in common and the uniqueness of each individual person on the planet. Existence is infinitely creative molding each one of us to be totally unique, even if you’re an identical twin, you’re not quite identical, and you’ll have your own unique contribution to give to the planet. May we focus on bringing out each other’s uniqueness and allowing each person to flower and spread their beautiful essence to those around them and even the world.
May you all have the most blessed holiday season ever, and may your life be filled with bliss, love, health, and prosperity.
Living in the mid-Atlantic states our winter weather is very variable. If we have winds from the south, like today, it is warm enough to walk around without a coat. However, tomorrow’s high may only be in the 30s or 40s if the wind is out of the north. On days when we have a surprise cold snap a wonderful steaming bowl of soup is on the menu. Here’s a hearty soup recipe that will cook up in approximately 30 minutes from scratch. I’ve used it for years now and we love it every time.
Please note all the amounts are approximate, because I just throw this soup together. You don’t really need to measure anything except the lentils.
Red Lentil Soup
- Fill 3qt pot ¾ of the way full with water
- 1-3 tsp salt (depending on your tastes)
- 1 cup of several of your favorite soup veggies: frozen lima beans, frozen or fresh peas, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, even leftover veggies work great
- Italian herb blend (start with 1 tsp on each of the herbs, then adjust to taste)
- Dried basil
- 1 cup red lentils (must be red to cook fast)
Put pot on to boil, add salt, vegetables, and herbs. Bring to boil and boil for about 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and cook for another 10-15 minutes until lentils and veggies are cooked to your liking.
You can have tamari, pepper, ghee, or yogurt for people to add according to their liking. I particularly like it with a little extra freshly ground pepper, a dab of ghee, and a couple good sized scoops of yogurt in it, which gives it a nice tang.
Serve with homemade pumpernickel rolls (which I let the bread maker knead) with vegetarian or vegan sharp cheddar melted over it and you’ve got a healthy, nourishing, comfort lunch. We had it today and it was awesome!
Christmas is a time when we think of family get-togethers, memories and traditional treats and meals. With many of the traditional ingredients: white sugar and flour, dairy products, trans and saturated fats, and refined carbs, on the “no-no” list you may be wondering what you’ll eat this holiday season. We don’t want our families to feel deprived of the traditional treats they’ve come to associate with the holidays, yet we want to provide healthier choices.
You might want to try some raw food desserts and see how friends and family respond. Most people make faces when you tell them you’ll bring something raw, but once they’ve tasted it, they come away grinning and smacking their lips. With just a few simple kitchen appliances you can put together a great dish. Jenny Cornbleet’s book called Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People is a great place to start. I’ve tried a number of recipes in this book and they’ve all be delicious. In it there are dessert recipes for cakes, cookies, fruit crisps, pies, tarts, puddings, mousses, shakes, and ice cream. All of them are totally raw. Guess what? They taste better than their sugar-laden counterparts.
One recipe is for a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce. It calls for 1 ½ cups walnuts, dash of salt, 8 pitted medjool dates, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp water. For the raspberry sauce you use 1-cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw and drain if frozen) with ¼ cup pitted medjool dates, soaked for 30 minutes and drained. Place the walnuts and salt in a food processor with the S blade and process until finely ground. Add dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla … process until mixture becomes sticky. Add water and process briefly. Transfer to a serving plate and form a 5 inch round cake. Place the raspberries and dates in a blender and mix until smooth, pouring over the cake just before serving.
You don’t need to give up all your comfort foods, just find a healthier recipe for it. The taste may be a bit strange to you the first time, but after you’ve switched to healthier ingredients for a while, you’ll find the original recipe inedible. Should you choose to nibble on a few old favorites, don’t go down the guilt trail, thoroughly enjoy those few bites, but use moderation. Over time you’ll replace the unhealthy treat with a healthy one and start a whole new set of traditions for you and generations to come.
Over the past few years I’ve found some of my favorite foods skyrocketing in price. The reason? They’ve been found to have high nutritional values, especially when it comes to antioxidants. Let’s see… pomegranates. You know those weird fruits that you used to have at Christmas that hardly anyone knew what to do with, so they would just sit around until they shriveled up. Well, I’ve eaten and enjoyed them since I was a kid. A few years back you could get a really, really nice pomegranate for 99 cents. Now, on sale they’re $1.50. At regular price, you’re looking at $3 apiece!
Another favorite is pumpkin seeds. Again some amazing curative powers and they went from around $4 a pound, to $8 a pound in one year!
Blueberries are another. You used to get a pint on sale for 99 cents. Now? This past season they were on sale for $1.50 one time, the rest of the season $2.29. Thank goodness we have 6 blueberry plants that had bumper crops this year.
The thing that most people don’t understand is, just adding a few of these items to your diet isn’t going to do much good. If you’re constantly living an unhealthy lifestyle, filled with fast food, sodas, couch potatoeing, alcohol, etc., a few antioxidants might knock a few free radicals out of your system, but they aren’t going to protect you from degenerative diseases. It takes a dedication to a healthy lifestyle to make any real changes.
A few years back we were at an expo. At that time my husband was on a 100% raw diet, I was on about 50-60% raw. They had this machine that measured your level of antioxidants. The average level was around 15,000, my husband was at 80,000, I was at 60,000. We’ve been dedicated to a healthy lifestyle for our entire marriage and even before. Over 22 years of watching what we eat, drink, how we move, and think, now that’s a recipe for health.
So, those of you that are just eating a few of the new “fad” health foods, but still living an otherwise unchanged lifestyle, either start really changing your ways or stop eating them, so that they’ll become affordable for those of us that really do take care of ourselves.
Maybe this is your first holiday as a vegetarian, or your college age child just announced they’ve gone vegetarian. Maybe you’ll be having some vegetarian guests, or you just want to eat less meat yourself. Whatever the reason, having several options for a holiday meal is a good idea.
For main dishes there’s the mock turkey recipe from my last post, but you can also have winter squash. I remember attending my first vegetarian Thanksgiving. The people had cooked a huge, and I mean gigantic squash. They’d taken zucchinis and turnips and made legs out of them and made the whole thing look like a giant turkey. It was really fun!
You can still have your usual sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, and stuffing (made outside the bird, but it still tastes great!) You’ll have to buy vegetarian marshmallows, though. Bean casserole is OK, too, as long as you make sure the sauce doesn’t have any meat or meat broth in it. Use honey or evaporated cane juice for sugar, as some white sugar is processed using bone char, which they may object to. Everything will have a nice earthy sweet flavor and will be good for you, too!
You’ll have to substitute something for your usual Jello salad, as gelatin is made from animal hooves, maybe a green salad. Gravy can be done, but not from the bird drippings, and you’ll need a good pumpkin pie recipe that doesn’t use eggs.
You can also ask a vegetarian to bring one of their favorite dishes to share, as well. Most often they’ll be happy to oblige. I’ve even offered to cook several dishes when I’ve been visiting family. That way they get introduced to new and delicious altrenatives and I have more than one dish to eat!
Here’s a good vegetarian pumpkin pie recipe. It may not taste exactly like what you grew up with, but it is darn good! This is a recipe from a friend of mine, who likes to bake.
Tofu Pumpkin Pie from Anna
Servings: 1 – 9″ pie
Cooking Time: 55-60 min.
- 1 16 oz. can pureed pumpkin
- 3/4 c Sucanat
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cloves
- 1 10-12 oz. pkg. firm tofu
Blend tofu until smooth. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and place in a 9″ pie crust. Bake at 425˚ for 15 min., then lower heat to 350˚ for 40 min. Cool and serve.
When I first became a vegetarian I didn’t miss any meat, except turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had it every single holiday that I could remember and the first without was interesting. What was I going to fix? At that time there was no Tofurky available. For a number of years we just ate butternut or acorn squash to replace the turkey. Then I found this recipe from Ann Gentry. I first used it about 15 years ago. I was amazed to find her sharing it in a recent blog post.
I’ll tell you, if you want the taste of turkey without having to kill one to eat it, this is the recipe for you. I love this recipe. It does take a little bit of prep time, but it’s delicious. The recipe also makes a huge amount, so I usually halve it, because there’s only two of us. Even then we can have “turkey” leftovers for several days afterward, just like we did in the “olden days.”
I serve it with my own herbed gravy, which I’m sharing below. So, here’s a great base for holiday meals without the meat. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Prep Time: 20 min
Servings: 1.5- 2 cups
- ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup rice milk, unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp safflower or sunflower oil
- 1 tsp dried, crushed sage
- ½ tsp dry thyme
- ¼ tsp dry marjoram
- pinch black pepper
In 2 qt. saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and stir often for 2 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool for several minutes. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Whisk together with the flour/oil, half at a time to avoid lumping. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally. If gravy seems too thick, whisk in additional water, 1 Tbs. at a time until desired consistency is reached. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
You can substitute soy or almond milk for the rice milk.
With the holidays just around the corner, there are going to be a lot of opportunities for entertaining. Often at least one of these parties requires evening attire. You’re probably fretting these events if you’re not a Make Up guru. The last thing you want to do is to host your gourmet group and feel like you look like somebody hit you in the eyes. If you don’t do the techniques right you can end up looking pretty bad.
Sometimes your friends can help you out with Cosmetics Tips. However, even they may not know all the make up tips for the smokey eyes, or how to apply a metallic shadow effectively, as it’s not something they would do everyday. In those instances some good online Make Up Tutorials can really help you achieve the sultry look you desire. So, be the talk of the party this year, but for all the right reasons. Be the one that turns heads this year.
Guest post written by Erin Wooster
I am quite the cook. Or I guess that I would rather say the baker. See I’m not that into cooking, but I really love baking things. I just think it’s so much easier to mix something up and let it bake on its own instead of standing there and supervising it. To me, that’s just plain annoying and too much trouble.
Plus, it seems to be a general consensus that most of the things that you can bake are far yummier in comparison to things that you just plain old cook. I love to look online for all kinds of new things that I can try baking as fun. I was online a few weeks ago looking up some new fall baking recipes when I ran across some info on internet providers. I looked through it some and after that I decided to change over my home internet service to it.
I found these really awesome sounding pumpkin cookies and made those for my family. They were quite the hit! But so are all of the other things that I bake for them.