Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homemaker Monday: A Raw Vegan Thanksgiving

Welcome to the 69th weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" goes to Hannah over at Mulberry Spot! Hannah sewed the most adorable shopping bag and I thought this would be the perfect link for today's Homemaker Monday, as the biggest shopping season of the year is approaching. Behold the cuteness...

To find out where you can get the pattern and make one, too, click HERE. Thanks so much, Hannah, for linking up with us and we look forward to many more posts from you!

MINE: Today's "MINE" isn't actually mine, but rather a guest post from my daughter, AKA the 20-year-old girl. I mentioned her in THIS POST, about how to cut an onion with crying, and referred to the fact that she eats a predominantly raw vegan diet. This sparked many questions in the comments section and a few requests that perhaps we do a post on raw vegan living. we are! "Why raw", you ask? Here's what the 20-year-old girl has to say...

"Cooking your food over 115 degrees F kills natural enzymes and roasts most of the nutritional benefits your food already has in it. When you kill these enzymes, you then have to draw from your body’s enzymes reserves. Digestion is easier, leaving more energy to spare to put towards doing what you love! Cooking your food also evaporates a lot of the water out of your food, meaning you have to drink more rather than getting it from your food. The bottom line really is: why do you need to alter your food, when you can eat it in its natural state, free from frying, sautĂ©ing, microwaves, grease, preservatives and chemical alterations?"

For thanksgiving (NOT turkey day!), the 20-year-old girl prepared an unsurpassed bounty of raw vegan cuisine. As I listened to her tell me about the recipes she used over the phone, I began to have an urge to take up this type of food preparation again, as I ate like this for a few months at the beginning of the year, but reverted back to my old eating habits during the most difficult part of my early pregnancy. I imagined how wonderful her and her guests must have felt after having eaten all of this raw plant food for thanksgiving instead of the greasy, buttered, fair we ate. While our traditional dinner was absolutely delicious, none of us felt too good after stuffing ourselves! So, here, let me show you what she made. We did not post all of the recipes, as most of them came from cookbooks, but if you'd like the recipe for a particular dish, please leave me a comment in the comment section with your email address (or email me at mom2my9 [at] gmail [dot] com) and we'll get it to you. However, the 20-year-old girl did find a delicious "eggless" nog recipe on the internet we can share with you at the end of this post. Enjoy!

(From left to right: Brussels Sprout, Eggless Nog, Marinated Portobella Mushrooms, Mashed Root Vegetables, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Candied Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Pie)

(Marinated Portobella Mushrooms: Marinated for 10-15 minutes in marinade of onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, sea salt and pepper. Feel free to add king oyster mushrooms to act as “white meat”.)

(Brussels Sprouts: Marinated for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of olive oil, maple syrup, pistachio oil, sea salt, and pepper. May be dehydrated for up to 45 minutes for more tender sprouts.)

(Cranberry Sauce: Cutie oranges (including rind) processed with freshly frozen cranberries mixed with grated apple. Sugar added to taste.)

(Stuffing: Processed cauliflower florets, ground pecans, carrots, celery onion, truffle oil, and herbs.)

(Mashed Root Veggies: Celery root, jicama, parsnips, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, scallions, and truffle oil processed with a pine nut creamed with water.)

(Pumpkin Pie: Crust- Almond flour, maple syrup powder, date paste and coconut butter.
Filling- Cashews, coconut meat, coconut butter, carrot juice, and spices.
Candied Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds soaked for 4 hours, then tossed with a maple syrup powder/ginger mixture, then dehydrated for 12-24 hours.)

"Eggless" Nog


One cup raw, unsalted almonds
Three tablespoons of raw, organic agave nectar as your sweetener
Two 14 ounce cans of Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk
Two cups unsweetened rice milk or hemp milk
Three tablespoons of rum flavoring
Two tablespoons of vanilla flavoring
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, powdered
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, powdered
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, powdered
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, powdered


Step 1: Soak the almonds in a covered jar of water overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, drain the almonds in a strainer and put almonds in your blender to liquify. Add the coconut milk, agave nectar, and the soy milk on top of the almonds. Then add the rum and vanilla flavorings. Finally, add the spices--cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Optional, add 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom.

Step 2: Liquify all ingredients in a blender. You have the choice of serving the nogg with the tiny ground almond pieces in the liquid or straining out any almond pieces or skins. Either way is fine. It's a similar to a choice between serving juice with or without the pulp.

Step 3: If you want to remove the almond pieces not liquified, then when everything is liquified, strain the contents of your blender through a cheesecloth so that the almond skin and itchy to swallow pieces of almond skins are strained out and the liquid and spices runs through the cheesecloth into a bowl, container, or jar.

Step 4: Chill in the refrigerator and serve with a small amount of cinnamon on top. If you want a thicker eggless nog, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of grapefruit or apple pectin powder which will turn the nog into a gelatin-like consistency. Or keep the nog thin the way it is. Serve cold with your holiday dinner or desserts. If desired, top the nog when served in small glasses, with grated coconut or chopped nuts. If you want a sweeter nog, add a teaspoon more of agave nectar until you reach the sweetness level to your preferred taste.

Does all this cuisine not look absolutely amazing? 20-year-old girl, I want to thank you very much for helping me with this post and for the the wonderful example you set of healthy living. Love you!

And now, because it is almost December, I would like to share with you one of my favorite Christmas musical arrangements ever. The video isn't the most spectacular thing, but I could listen to this music over and over again, and have. I even ordered the piano sheet music and it is every bit as beautiful. And just for your enjoyment, I will attach a musical Christmas Youtube video with every post I do until the end of December. Yes, that's how excited I am about Christmas, and how much I care about you.

OURS: Okay, now it's your turn! Do you have anything Christmas-y to help us get ready for the holiday season? Feel free to link anything homemaking, even if you have to dig through your archives. We all love learning from fellow homemakers! I hope you all have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Never Imagined This Time Would Come

My first husband had this jacket when we met in 1988...

He thought that to wear it was the coolest thing ever, whether he was chopping wood on a camping trip, tinkering under his truck, or enjoying an evening sunset...

He wore it from the time we met until he died, six children and 16 years later. To him, it never went out of style, although to me, it certainly did.

When he died, I placed all of his clothing in large plastic bins, unsure of what else to do. To give them away at that time felt like I was giving part of him away. It felt like I was giving part of our children's memories away. I thought that perhaps the then 12-year-old boy might want to wear them one day, as a way of connecting with his lost father, so I kept them.

Then the 12-year-old boy grew up. He passed his father's stature of 5'10" when he was 14 years old and now, at 17, stands over 6'1". I realized three years ago that he would never fit into his father's clothing even if he had wanted to, and that, even if he could, his father's clothing would certainly be out of style. So after three years of hauling those plastic bins of his clothing through four moves, I finally gave them to a young man we had hired to help build our home who was roughly my husband's size. I think he appreciated it. I hope he did.

But apparently I didn't give away everything. And what I never would have imagined was that the then 8-year-old boy would one day grow up into a young man of 13 years....and find....and want to wear every chance he could....his father's favorite jacket.

(Yes, 13-year-old boy, the photo shoot is over. Thank you for your time. :) )

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christ-Like Behavior,..and The Lack Thereof

The lack thereof....

This morning as I was making preparations for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner, an event I will be hosting with over 25 people in attendance, the 3 three and under collectively decided they wanted glasses of juice.

I stopped the work I was doing and gave them each a plastic cup half-filled with orange juice. I stood there watching them for a moment to make sure that was what they wanted, then continued my work nearby.

About four seconds later, I heard a splash on the ground behind me, jerked my head around and saw that Twin B had intentionally dumped the contents of his cup onto the kitchen floor. I quickly walked over to him, snatched the cup out of his hand, bent down with my finger in his face and shouted, "NO, NO, NO, Twin B! You do NOT dump your juice onto the floor!" I abruptly turned around and tossed his cup into the sink, then turned back to him and added, "And you're not getting any more juice!"

The twins can comprehend nearly everything I say, but because they aren't verbal yet, Twin B simply stood there and looked at me. I looked back at him.

Christ-like Behavior...

As I stood looking at Twin B and simultaneously reaching for a hand towel to clean up his mess, both twins did something I don't think I will forget for a long time to come. Twin A reached out his cup, still half full of orange juice, and handed it to Twin B. Twin B gently took it, but instead of drinking it all, or running away with his brother's cup, he took a small sip, then carefully handed it back to his brother.

I have never, ever, in my entire life, been so humbled by such small children. I felt as though I was the size of a worm.

The scriptures say that the natural man is carnal, sensual and devilish. But in 3 Nephi 11:38, Jesus also said, "And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."

Today, regarding both of those teachings, I knew exactly what He meant.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: The 3 Three and Under's Favorite Page in "The Human Body" Book

How to Make Powdered Sugar

As if yesterday's post wasn't informative enough, I have something today that will change the way you view your world. Okay, I'm exaggerating, and maybe I'm the only person in the world who finds this tip I recently learned fascinating, but I'm going to share it with you anyway.

My kids love to bake and they love to make confections which require icing or frosting. Everyone knows that to make these dessert toppers, one must have confectioners sugar on hand. This is easily accomplished for most people, but for us, living in a tiny farm town in Mexico does not always allow for this kind of convenience. Sometimes we simply run out of powdered sugar before we anticipated we would and are left to purchase it at the over-priced convenience store down the street, or, if we decide to have a baking spree late at night, the over-priced convenience store will have already closed at 8:00, thus leaving us in a terrible quandary. Here is how we make our own powdered sugar in the frequent case of emergency...

Step 1: In a blender, pour one cup of refined sugar. Turn blender to high and blend until refined sugar becomes powdered sugar.

The cool thing is that when you remove the lid, a cloud of sugar dust will waft into the air, like this...

(Actually, this is only cool if you have kids helping. If you don't, it's annoying because then you have to dust any nearby small appliances.)

Here's what it looks like when it's finished...

...and here's what we used it for in our case of emergency...

(For this somewhat healthy 100% whole wheat orange-glazed doughnut recipe, click HERE.)

You're welcome. Thanks for listening.

Please join us RIGHT NOW for the "Questions About Mormonism" Live Chat!

Good morning and welcome to the weekly "Questions About Mormonism Live Chat". :)

If you have ever have any questions about Mormon beliefs, lifestyle or doctrine, I will be sitting here by my computer from 10:00 to 11:45 AM MST to chat.

In searching for a message for you today, I decided to share this minute and a half video about how we can discover ways The Lord works in each of our lives daily. I hope you enjoy it....

If you would like to participate in the chat, just click on the "COMMENT (SHARE YOURS!)" link below, enter your comment in the box, then refresh the page as desired to view my response. Even if you don't have a question, please feel free to drop in and just say hi! Have a great day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homemaker Monday: How to Make High-Quality Fire Starters Out of Trash

Welcome to the 68th weekly edition of...

Thank you for joining us! If you're new to this carnival and would like to enter your post, please check HERE for the rules and regs.

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" again goes to Tara over at Feels Like Home. She was featured last week as well, but I had to pick her again for her post on "The Best Pecan Pie EVER"! Since Thanksgiving is in four days, I knew this would be the perfect link to include. Plus, her photo is so delectable and mouth-watering...

For Tara's recipe, click HERE. Thank you so much, Tara, for faithfully participating in Homemaker Monday every week and we'll look forward to more great tips and recipes from you in the future!

MINE: I kind of have an obsession with dryer lint. I can't seem to throw it away. It's just that it's so soft and fluffy and sometimes it's vibrantly colored. Once, about ten years ago, I saved up enough to fill a gallon Ziploc bag and this I used as a decorative pillow insert. This worked very well until the Ziploc bag broke and the pillow became very dusty. After that I never really found a good use for dryer lint, except to put in a 72-hour emergency kit to use as a fire starter. That is, until now.

Way back on November 9, 2008, a woman named Carol was featured on THIS Homemaker Monday and she linked a tutorial I never forgot. However, I never got up the gumption to try it until last week, and now I will share with you what I learned.

Carol taught that one can make high quality fire starters using dryer lint, cardboard egg cartons and candle wax. Here's why this is important to me...we heat our home with FOUR wood-burning stoves. Each box of fire starters we purchase is about $10, which means $.50 each time we start a fire. This can add up quickly, so I finally decided to give these a go. Here's how it went...

Here's what you'll need...

Step 1: Place egg carton on a towel...

Step 2: Place a small wad of dryer lint into each egg receptacle...

Step 3: Melt the wax in the old candle you didn't like the smell of. I did it by sitting them atop my wood-burning stove...

...and pour this over the dryer lint...

Step 4: Let dry until hardened, then separate each egg receptacle with scissors or a serrated knife. Here is your finished product...

(I know, not too pretty, but you just wait.)

Here is the true picture of how they work.

First we stacked large logs into our wood-burning stove...

We then placed the fire starter under a couple of the logs...

The fire starter caught within seconds, which was much more awesome than the fire starters we buy at Walmart...

It burned for about fifteen minutes...

...but soon thereafter, to my shock and chagrin, began to dwindle...

...until only the bottom of the large logs were glowing...

I was so crestfallen. However, I thought that perhaps the momentum could be picked up again by inserting another fire starter in the same location. This one caught just as awesomely as the first...

...and kept burning...

and burning...

...and burning until these beautiful logs were lit and we had a full-fledged fire! Woohoo!

Conclusion: For trash, these fire starters are awesome and I won't be purchasing the fancy fire starter boxes at Walmart ever again!

OURS: Okay, let's hear what all of your awesome homemakers have for us today. Feel free to link an old post if you don't have something especially prepared for today. Thank you so much for linking up and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Message From The Streets of New York City

Today I'd love to share this cute and inspiration Thanksgiving message with you. It'll make you laugh and it might even make you cry. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We're Giving Away $50 Worth of Toys!

Yes, just in time for the holidays! I've teamed up with ebeanstalk toys, who will be giving away TEN $50 gift certificates to their awesome on-line store.

Ebeanstalk is a website dedicated to selecting great, safe kids toys and baby toys. They rely on the opinions and feedback of bloggers and moms around the country. Also their team of child experts help to pick out learning toys...but you be the judge!

To enter, just email in a photo of your child playing with a toy, and all entries will be judged on "cuteness"! Nothing could be easier, right? However, I'm going to enter, too, and am probably going to win because there is nothing cuter than one cute baby except two cute babies! Just kidding! But seriously, here is the photo I will be sending in...

Nothing special really, and I'm totally sure some of you can outdo me for cuteness. Go ahead and give it a try! When you email, don't send in your child's full name, just the first name and don't send in your mailing address. (Ebeanstalk promises not to spam you with any info you do send in.) If you win, you can send your mailing address later. Here's where you email the cuteness....

And if you don't win, guess what? ALL of my blog readers will receive 10% off at checkout on any purchases! Just enter the code ebeanstalk100 at the cart. Click HERE to get to ebeanstalk toys and have fun! Oh, and the winners will be picked on December 1, 2009! GOOD LUCK!