Saturday, October 31, 2009

Google It!

Periodically I check my Google Analytics to see what people are Googling to find my blog. The consistent top performers are Texadelphia Mustard Blend and Brad Paisley. I took all the Google searches that led people to my blog in the last 30 days and commented on them. I tried several colors out to highlight the search terms and settled on blue. Halfway through I realized that was a really dumb choice, since the default color for most links is blue. Oh well, I'm not changing it now.

"shaken faith syndrome" - yep, I have it

brad paisley 2009 stage - There were lights, and, um, places for the band to stand on up high, a lot of paint, and um, some digital displays, and, um, hey, what's that shiny thing over there?

Here's a picture that shows the stage:

brad paisley bobblehead - they sell these? Oh yeah, it was part of the scrapbook on the digital display. Like this, in the lower left corner:

brad paisley concert 2009 - AWESOME. Maybe someday I'll write a review. Ha.

green smoothies for beginners - spinach, pineapple, and banana. You could even do lettuce instead of spinach. Add an avocado for good fat and creaminess.

katies word - I wrote more than one word.

"almonds" - I'm selling them until next Friday.

"danica anerson" - Who on earth is that? OK, I googled it, and it's one of the kids in the Brad Paisley articles I pasted here.

"it's a daddy thing" - "Cleaning This Gun" is a great song; one of my favorites!

"marty+robbins" matilda - I don't think I've ever written about this song. But in a 2006 post, I shared my list of artists in my music library, which includes Marty Robbins, and I also mentioned listening to Matilda by John Williamson (the Australian folk singer)

"rod smith" green polk dot box - I am pretty sure he's a good guy. I trust him.

25 lb bag of chia seed - I am selling this too. I would encourage you to buy it. Think of how many chia pets you could make!

back to the future swearing - Oh yes. This is where my kids learned to swear.

bajio mexican grill calories - A lot? I think I've been there once. It still can't beat Don Carlos in Houston.

basic beginner green smoothie - spinach

beginners green smoothies - and pineapple

big green polka dot box - Great company. I think they're going to hit it big.

bob lonsberry - Completely loony.

brad paisley american concert what songs - I am sure I missed some, but I took videos of many of the songs he sang, including these:
Start a Band
American Saturday Night
Mud on the Tires
Wrapped Around
Waiting on a Woman
I'm Still a Guy
Catch All the Fish
I'm Gonna Miss Her
She's Everything
The World
Letter to Me
When I Get Where I'm Going
Feel Like Making Love (cover of Bad Company's song)
Welcome to the Future

brad paisley bobble head - I want one now.

brad paisley camp for kids - If so, he is even more awesome.

brad paisley concert line up song - See above.

brad paisley concert people with funny hats - Yep, these people were right in front of me:

brad paisley concert review 2009 - I forgot to do mine, didn't I?

brad paisley concert song line up 2009 - see above

brad paisley concert song line-up - see above

brad paisley concert supposed to end at the amphitheater - It ended at 10:55 pm.

brad paisley concert tour 2009 songs - see above

brad paisley concert what songs he is playing - see above

brad paisley concert with funny hats - yes

brad paisley concerts how long are they - Ours started at 7:30, with Jimmy Wayne and Dierks Bentley up first. Brad Paisley came out at 9:10 and played until 10:55.

brad paisley songs he sung at his 2009 concert - See above

brad paisleys blue jeans - OH. YES. Very nice. I never figured out what brand they were though, sorry. Not that I looked, of course. I'm a good girl (snicker). He had paint on his jeans; did you notice? And he doesn't wear them as tight as Rodney Atkins; bonus! I did notice the nice stitching on the back pockets of the ones he wore at our concert. Of course I was looking at the stitching, what did you think?!!? Here's a partial jeans shot. I have a video that shows them a lot better, but I'm not messing with videos tonight.

can't figure out my love language - keep Googling; I don't have time to explain it now. Do it now though, before your relationship goes down the tubes due to lack of communication.

chia seeds lasts how long in storage - hmm, my friend Robyn says "Chia is a wonderful food for storage, because its crunchy exterior protects it from oxidation and keeps years without rancidity. Buy up to a five-year supply, and keep it in a cool place if possible. (Vacuum sealing it with a Food Saver in quart jars is a good way to keep it on the shelf for years.)"

concert rain wet - I didn't get very wet because I brought my BYU sweatshirt. Brad Paisley got soaked. I would recommend bringing a sweatshirt. But if it's going to get really wet and dirty from the acid rain/smoke in the air, maybe you should bring a University of Utah sweatshirt instead. If not the U, then bring University of Texas.

cooking for families cheap - I recommend a lot of grains and vegetables. Not processed foods. It's surprising how much you can save if you cut out all the candy/junk.

cuddling hold hands falling asleep - Awwww, sweet! I think I would LOVE this, but I'm not sure. I like my space too.

dreadlocks - You should definitely do them. You would look good in them.

elder oaks - Yeah, he's got a lot of supporters and detractors right now.

elder oaks talk on bob lonsberry - Oh dear. Did this really happen? One thing I didn't like about Mr. Lonsberry is how every day was like an LDS church lesson. And then after the Utah show was over, he would do his local New York show, wherein he would make frequent comments about big breasts. Loser.

foamy green smoothie - if mine gets foamy, what do I do. . . . . hmmm. I can't remember. Maybe wait for it to settle, and then stir it gently if it separates.

foamy smoothie - see above

foodsaver - Tupperware?

green polka dot box - definitely do it

green polka dot grocery - you should go for it. Using my referral link.

green smoothies beginner - pineapple

green smoothies for a newbie? - and spinach

how to show the love language physical touch - YES! Something I am an expert on! Let's assume you're talking about a woman. Touch her whenever you walk past. If she's not 'in the mood', keep it on the shoulders, arms, face, or hair. If she is in the mood, grope away! Give her a hug and kiss whenever you leave or get home. Make it into a dramatic kiss if you really want to knock her socks off. Make out a lot. Hold hands whenever you get the chance. Play footsie. Cuddle to watch movies. Lots of sex. Play with her hair. Stroke her face. Hold her. Help her out of the car. Open doors for her and touch her on the back as she goes through. Cuddle while she falls asleep. Is it getting hot in here?

im a tough and suppress my feelings - Yeah, me too. My counselor recommended finding a safe, quiet place, and setting aside time to allow yourself to feel. Start writing what you're going through if you need help getting started. Good luck with that. My counselor recommended I do this about 6 weeks ago -- I have been putting it off.

katie words - yes

love languages of a female - could be any of them

men's touch to show love - From what I hear about men in general, probably there will be a lot of groping involved. Woot!!! If there's too much groping for your tastes, refer your man to my answer about physical touch above. Here's a couple fun facts: Oxytocin is the hormone that bonds you to someone when your body releases it. Women release oxytocin when they are touched. Men release it at orgasm.

nick vujicic orthodox church - is he orthodox? I wasn't sure. Actually, I don't even know what that means.

nick vujicic's doctrine - Evangelical, definitely. Love everyone. Keep your chin up.

people who speak different love languages are not compatible - I don't know if I would go that far, but I'd say it can be VERY HARD for people to learn other love languages sometimes. I would recommend learning to do it while you're in the early stages of the relationship so that you're not fighting an uphill battle later.

polka dot box utah - Yes, do it! Use my referral link!

raw egg in green smoothie - I would do it (unless you're vegan obviously), and to be extra safe, I would use pasture-farmed eggs from a local farmer you trust.

rod smith green polka - He has answered my emails personally. Seems like a great CEO.

song line up at brad paisley concert 2009 - see above

texadelphia mustard blend ingredients - The ingredients to make it yourself are said to be mayonnaise, yellow mustard, Gulden's spicy mustard, Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce, honey, and water

texadelphia mustard recipe - I haven't ever tried to figure it out! In fact, it's been over 3 years since I've had Texadelphia (SAD), so I don't even remember what it's supposed to taste like.

texadelphia queso recipe - I don't know about Texadelphia, but Don Carlos's queso is approximated by Velveeta + milk + jalapenos. So simple and so processed/fake, but tastes pretty close.

texadelphia queso recipe houston - Send me some, will you? How about a regular beef (NOT with extra meat) with 3 mustard sauces? Here's a lovely picture of a Texadelphia cheesesteak with mustard blend. But I don't get jalapeños on mine.

then powertab brad paisley - If you play 'Then' for me on your guitar and really mean it, I will totally marry you.

veterinary school - I wouldn't recommend it if you don't like animals or get sick around blood/guts.

what is the song paisley sings infront of guitar hero? - Crap, I can't think of it right now. . . . I'll have to get back to you. Oh yeah, it's CELEBRITY.

who is in brad paisleys guitar hero video - The old guy with the sweet jackets is Little Jimmy Dickens! I'm fairly certain that everyone in the video is a guitar master, which is what makes it so funny.

who many words can be spelled with kate - Assuming you mean 'how' many, then I find these: a, at, ate, eat, take, tea, & teak

Wow, this was a huge, mostly pointless waste of time. I wonder if it will cause a paradox, because people will google these terms, which will lead to a post about googling, and then the Space-Time continuum will blow up.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Remember how I said I learned to cook from a recipe book my sister put together for me? One of the recipes she included was for Beef Stroganoff. It has ended up being one of my favorites. It requires 1 pound sirloin steak and 1/2 pound mushrooms. Over the last couple years I've made the stroganoff with extra mushrooms instead of beef.

Yesterday we went shopping, and I decided that since I've been feeding my kids somewhat crappily (fairly whole foods, but certainly not well-rounded), maybe they should have some beef in their diet. So I bought some ground beef.

Remembering how much I used to love ground beef, I decided to put 1/2 pound in the stroganoff. I am eating leftovers for lunch now, and ew, it is so gross. The stroganoff is too delicious to be ruined by the beef, but it certainly is not adding anything. Every time I bite into a chunk, it's just gross. It has this completely flavorless, too-chewy texture. It might be just the texture that's bothering me. If I used sirloin and cook it gently as the recipe calls for, maybe I'd love it.

Anyway, I just thought that was interesting. I haven't been meat free by any means, but I've had a lot less recently than usual. Maybe my tastes are changing. Although, knowing that my kids refuse to eat the completely mild and non-offensive stroganoff, I made spaghetti for them. I put ground beef in Prego sauce, and wow, it was about 1000 times better than usual. BUT that could have been because it was getting so late and I was STARVING when I tried it. Being starving certainly adds a great appeal to most dishes. Maybe I should challenge my hypothesis with a nice filet mignon!

Here's the stroganoff recipe, as I make it. And after writing this down, I realize I'm not that great at writing recipes. You should be able to follow it easily if you're an experienced cook, but if you're a beginner, sorry :-D

Beef Stroganoff
Makes a lot. For me anyway, since I am the only one who eats it.

Start making some brown rice (I use a covered glass casserole dish and use a ratio of 1 C rice to 2.5 C water and cook it in the microwave on full power for 40 minutes)

Chop 1/2-1 onion and several cloves garlic and sauté in butter or oil. (Sometimes I leave the garlic cloves whole and then fish them out and smash them or put them through a garlic press after the sautéing. The difference is that the first way browns it, the second way doesn't.)

While the onion is sautéing, chop 1 - 1-1/2 pounds mushrooms into large chunks. Sauté mushrooms until they are as tender as you like.

Blend 1/4 cup flour with 1-1/2 cups milk. Add to mushroom/onions and stir/cook over medium heat until thickened.

Add 1 teaspoon paprika, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and about 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Take off heat and add 1 cup sour cream. Add more milk if it is too thick.

Serve over rice. A lot of the flavor comes from the mushrooms, so pick a variety you like! I assume that if you have high-quality paprika you'd get more flavor from that. Mine is cheap, so it doesn't change the flavor too much.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Little Cans of Tuna

You probably thought that title was a metaphor or something. Ha! It's not. When I was a kid, my mom would make tuna fish sandwiches for two adults and two kids using only one can of tuna fish. We would eat them with chips for lunch on Saturdays. When I make tuna fish sandwiches now, I add onions and chopped Bubbie's naturally fermented dill* pickles. Even with the extra onion/pickle volume, I typically only get ONE sandwich out of it. I can't quite fit ALL of it on my bread, but it's usually only a few spoonfuls left over, and I eat it plain, before I eat my sandwich. I don't usually eat anything along with the sandwich. So what's up? Has everyone's appetite grown since the mid-80s? Are cans of tuna significantly smaller? Do I have an unusually hearty appetite?

*Thinking of dill reminded me that I left a bunch of red peppers and dill in the dehydrator a couple days ago. Oops. Fortunately we're in the desert and it's winter with forced air heating, so the air in the house is about as dry as. . . as dry as. . . (nothing's coming to me). . . as dry as something really really dry!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I was going to try to torture you with Brad Paisley videos, but embedding is disabled. I guess to really torture you, I'd have to figure out a way to MAKE you listen, so whatever. Brad Paisley has lots of songs about lust, but he's also got plenty about mature love. I realize popular songs aren't necessarily reflective of reality, but still, the message of this song is so precious. The video's great because the intro is funny, it's got Andy Griffith, and it's got THE GOATEE!! Special thanks to Kim, Brad Paisley's wife, for sharing him and his goatee with the world.

Waitin' On a Woman

Friday, October 23, 2009

One More Try

OK, OK, I get it - you guys just can't appreciate good music!

How about this? Someone's got to think this is awesome -->

Greg Simpson was my seminary teacher once upon a time. As far as I knew, everyone at my school loved him as a teacher. I definitely did. Plus he was hot and awesome; that sure didn't hurt ;-) He taught us the names of the Twelve Apostles to the music of Journey's Faithfully. He said that he wanted us to think of 'the Brethren' when we were dancing too close at the dances, ha ha!! I also remember him admonishing us for calling him "Brother Simpson" at his concerts. I think he may have also made us try kim-chi (he went on a mission to Korea). Eventually he abandoned our school and defected to Bonneville High School.

When I got to BYU, I found out that one of my floormates went to Bonneville. She said they all thought Brother Simpson was gay and they weren't all that impressed with him! The main reason she gave for thinking he was gay was that he wore vests. At Northridge, that meant he was super sharp. I guess BHS students just don't know how to identify a well-dressed guy!

According to the Youtube comments on the video up there, Brother Simpson is a bishop now. Sweet - he can sing if the talks get too boring. When we lived in Sandy, one of the counselors in our bishopric had shoulder length curly hair and a sweet beard. He was also a musician and is credited on The Singles Ward (I think). Maybe they should get together and form the Bishopric Band!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I have a big exam tomorrow and I'm pretty much freaking out. So I thought I'd post some good songs to calm me down.

Now, I feel like you guys aren't properly appreciating the music that I post here. That has got to change! Bon Jovi, Rodney Atkins, Oldies. . . . how can you NOT like that stuff?!

This song is great -- it even has sweet hippie girls dancing in the video. This remains one of my favorite songs of all time.

I can't embed this one, but you have GOT to click on it at least for a second and check out:
- a guy apparently wearing a garbage bag (at the beginning, left side)
- some sweet hippie glasses (0:21)
- the worst lip-syncing and instrument-syncing ever (the entire thing)
- some of the worst haircuts ever (entire thing)

The Byrds on Ed Sullivan

Actually, I wish I could go back and 'un-see' this. I was listening to this song today because I was getting nervous and it is one of my all time best 'calming' songs. I've listened to Oldies music since I was a kid, and I never knew what the Byrds looked like. So I looked the song up on YouTube and found this video. I think I was better off not knowing what they looked like, ha ha!

Now that I'm all calmed down it't time to listen to Rodney Atkins to get me in the mood to get everything ready for tomorrow!

Now tell me how anyone can dislike this song. Really! OK, I guess if you're opposed to drinking, smoking, guns, and Rodney's too-tight jeans, I GUESS I could see your objections. But other than that. . . !? It's down-home America! I love it!

If I haven't convinced you how awesome Rodney Atkins is, try this song. Seriously, watch it. Now.

There's nothing objectionable in this one except it's got McDonald's and distracted driving, camouflage pants, and unhelmeted four-wheeling. And that's Rodney Atkins' real son in the video!! How cute is that?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pay Attention!

I get a Monday Motivating Moment in my email every week. The story this week is one you've probably heard before, but a good reminder nonetheless. I've copied the entire thing, headers/footers and all, so as not to run into copyright issues:

Monday Motivating Moment
October 19, 2009
Your Weekly Attitude Booster


It is not unusual for us to get so caught up in meeting our needs, desires, and goals that we lose sight of what is happening around us. From time to time, we may be stopped in our tracks by some unusual event that will cause us to pay attention to what is important. Those lessons can cause "dents" as happened in the following story.

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching as kids darted out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something.

As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door! He slammed on the brakes and spun the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. He jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid who was standing there and pushed him against a parked car shouting, "What do you think you are doing?"

Building up a head of steam he went on, "That is a new car and the dent from the brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money to repair. Why did you do it?"

"Please sir, please. I'm sorry, I didn't know what else to do," pleaded the youngster. "I threw the brick because no one else would stop..."

Tears were dripping down the boy's chin as he pointed around the parked car. "It's my brother, sir," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him."

Sobbing, the boy asked the executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair, sir? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He lifted the young man back into the wheelchair and took out his handkerchief and wiped the scrapes and cuts, checking to see that everything was going to be okay.

"Thank you and may God bless you, sir," the grateful child said to him. The man then watched the little boy push his brother toward their home. It was a long walk back to his Jaguar... a long, slow walk. He never did repair the car door. He kept the dent to remind him not to go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention.

Author Unknown

Everyday, we have the opportunity to be aware of what is going on around us and to notice who might need our assistance or attention. When we are so focused on ourselves or getting where we are going, it may take a brick to get our attention.

Let's slow down and truly "see" what is around us. How many "dents" do we need before we make it a habit to "stop, look, listen, feel and care?"

Affirmation for the Week:
“I maintain awareness and vigilance in my life. I need only a feather to tickle me, not a brick to dent me, to bring my awareness back to the moment when my attention and focus strays.”

Have an observant week!

Mary Rau-Foster,

Copyright 2009 by Mary Rau-Foster. All rights reserved.
However, if you find this information helpful, we grant you permission, and strongly encourage you, to print this page and put it on your bulletin board, or download an Adobe PDF file with a printable version. Thank you.

Sign up to receive your personal copy of the Monday Motivating Moment each week.

Read other Monday Motivating Moments

Sunday, October 18, 2009

2009 Almond Group Buy

The 2009 raw almond group buy is here! The focus of this group buy is raw almonds because they simply aren’t available anywhere else. You cannot get truly raw California almonds anymore through retailers, and if anything says “raw,” that just means “not roasted.” California law in September 2007 mandated pasteurization of almonds, which kills enzyme potential through heat.

Something exciting about this year’s buy is that despite food prices rising all year, I have been able to keep the price for raw almonds the same as last year!

However, I have even more exciting news. This year I am also offering ORGANIC raw almonds, imported from Spain! My price is far below what you’ll find anywhere else.

In addition to almonds, I am also offering several other high-nutrition items, including raw honey, extra-virgin olive oil, organic extra-virgin coconut oil, raw organic blue agave nectar, dehydrated green drink, pecan halves, hulled sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, cashew pieces, raw sesame seeds, raw hulled chia seeds, organic raw flaxseed, dates (chopped, in oat flour), organic whole dried apricots, and shredded coconut.

Since I can't easily provide an order form through my blog, please contact me if you want to order anything. Prices are as follows:

Raw Almonds: 5 pounds (comes in 50-pound box) - $20.00 ($4.00/pound)
Raw Organic Almonds: 5 pounds (comes in 50-pound box) - $31.30 ($6.26/pound)

Almonds should last up to a year at room temperature in your pantry. You can keep them in jars or freezer bags in the fridge for 2 years, or indefinitely in the freezer. They will germinate (sprout) after they are frozen, so this is a good way to preserve almonds and other nuts.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: one-gallon tin - $32.00 (a case is 6 tins)
This oil in the group buy, from Italy, is not only inexpensive, but it is also stored in tin, which helps the oil retain nutrition and not oxidize. (If olive oil is stored in clear bottles and with exposure to light, it will oxidize quickly, and your oil will be rancid within a year.) I have been told the oil will be good in cold storage for 15-20 years in these tins. I personally would plan on rotating it within five years, however, just to be safe. This oil is very green, from the first pressing of the olives, which indicates the highest nutrition levels.

Organic, Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil: one-gal. bucket - $53.00 (a case is 3 buckets)
This coconut oil comes in white plastic (food grade) buckets so the oil is protected from air and light. It is a saturated and therefore highly stable fat, and goes rancid much more slowly than other fats and therefore stores well. Plan on rotating it within a few years, and buy no more than a 5-year supply for your baking, cooking, and beauty regimen needs. If you don’t have a cool area to store the oil in, I recommend buying only a two-year supply.

Raw Honey: five-lb. bucket - $17.00 (a case is 6 buckets)
Honey literally keeps forever, never goes bad. This is in part because it is a natural anti-bacterial. You can put it on cuts and scrapes and burns for excellent healing properties. My source is in Utah, and the bees range on alfalfa. The honey is completely raw.

Organic, Raw, Dark Agave: one-gallon jug - $41.00 (a case is 4 jugs)
Agave will last many years on the shelf. Keep the amount you want for long-term storage in a cool area if possible, and buy up to a five-year supply.

Green Drink: 17.6 oz.-bottle - $53.00 (a case is 6 bottles)
One bottle of dehydrated greens product (brand name available upon request) is a 60-day supply for one person, if you use 1 tsp. daily shaken or stirred into a glass of water. It gives you incredible nutrition and energy, without fillers and at a decent price. Here is a list of the incredible ingredients, all dehydrated under 100 degrees to preserve enzymes, vitamins, and mineral content:
• Six grasses, dehydrated below 100 degrees for enzyme preservation (including barley, kamut, and wheat grass), micro-ground to release the energy in the cell walls
• Juices of alfalfa leaf, broccoli, kale, spinach and parsley
• The best plant protein in the world from freshwater spirulina and broken cell-wall chlorella, both nearly 60% protein and incredibly mineral-rich
• Kelp and dulse, the two best sea-plant foods to nourish the thyroid, needed by most women older than 20 and many men, too
• Every single enzyme your body needs
• A vast range of probiotics and natural soil organisms to promote gastrointestinal health and fight infection

Chia Seed: 5 pounds (comes in 25 lb. bag) - $29.40 ($5.88/pound)
Chia is a wonderful food for storage, because its crunchy exterior protects it from oxidation and keeps years without rancidity. Buy up to a five-year supply, and keep it in a cool place if possible. (Vacuum sealing it with a Food Saver in quart jars is a good way to keep it on the shelf for years.)

Flax Seed: 5 pounds (comes in 25 lb. bag) - $10.40 ($2.08/pound)
Flax oxidizes quickly when ground, so use them right away after grinding (in your blender or a coffee grinder). Freeze gallon bags of flax.

Shredded Coconut: 5 pounds (comes in 25 lb. bag) - $10.40 ($2.08/pound)
The product we are providing in the group buy is NOT what you get in the grocery store, which has two dangerous ingredients, among (potentially) others: sugar, and propylene glycol. What we are providing is pure, without additives.
You can keep it in jars for six months on the shelf, or you can refrigerate or freeze it in gallon freezer bags.

Pecan Halves: 5 pounds (comes in 30 lb. bag) - $31.40 ($6.28/pound)
Pecans do not last particularly long on the shelf, so buy only enough for a few months unless you have freezer space (they will keep frozen indefinitely, and quite a long time refrigerated as well).

Raw Pumpkin Seeds: 5 pounds (comes in 27.5 lb. bag) - $20.00 ($4.00/pound)
Store your pumpkin seeds in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for them to last a year, or freeze them indefinitely. They will remain fresh only a couple of months at room temperature, or 1-2 years vacuum sealed in quart jars.

Dates (chopped): 5 pounds (comes in 30 lb. bag) - $8.90 ($1.78/pound)
Store similarly to other dried fruits.

Sesame Seeds: 5 pounds (comes in 25 lb. bag) - $12.60 ($2.52/pound)
Keep it in jars for six months on the shelf, or you can refrigerate or freeze it in gallon freezer bags.

Cashews: 5 pounds (comes in 25 lb. bag) - $25.40 ($5.08/pound)
At room temperature, they’ll be good for only 6 months, so I recommend keeping them in your freezer indefinitely, or vacuum seal them in quart jars for 1-2 years in storage.

Dried Apricots: 5 pounds (comes in 28 lb. bags) - $18.20 ($3.64/pound)
Store similarly to other dried fruits.

Raw Sunflower Seeds: 5 pounds (comes in 25 lb. bags) - $10.20 ($2.04/pound)
Keep sunflower seeds for years in the freezer. They sprout very easily when you soak them overnight and then drain them. Leave them in the jar for a day or two, rinsing and draining twice a day. Their nutrition is maximized after the end of the seed just barely begins to grow a tail. Refrigerate them immediately at this point so growth slows and they are good for a week.

Toe-Tapping Fun Song

(Ignore the trashy parts)

Here's Brad Paisley talking about the song, or something:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Freakish Dream

Last week I had a really creepy dream, and that's about all I remember about it. Last night I had a really freakish/scary dream. My co-workers and I had just finished a meeting and stepped outside a building but several floors up (maybe on some kind of walkway or deck). My one co-worker said "wow, look how low he's flying" as we all turned and looked to see a massively huge black helicopter flying very low. There were hundreds of thousands of people, packed onto the sidewalks, like you'd see in New York City. The helicopter was the size of a C-130 plane, and I felt like it was a military helicopter, but it was shiny black. Then we realized it wasn't flying low on purpose. It was crashing. As it crashed into the people, and started to explode and send debris flying, we realized that because of its size, the debris cloud(?) was going to be like that from a bomb, and it was going to hit us. We turned and ducked, and huge pieces of metal flew over us and past us, hitting me, but not hurting me.

We went down to ground level and started to walk the opposite direction from the crash. I walked past bodies, which I won't describe. The next place I ended up was an LDS-looking chapel. It was obviously some kind of mourning service for the victims of the crash. There wasn't any program going on, just people sitting and talking/crying together. I immediately saw two of my friends from high school who are still single -- each had their own row in the chapel. I went and gathered both of them up in a big hug and we just stood there together. My mom said "she wants to make them into a big happy family."

Then I was at some kind of stake or ward dance!!! I saw a young John Travolta coming through the crowd and stopped him. I said "What you did today was really great. You pushed me out of the way and saved my life." After I woke up, I realized that dreamKatie must have been trying to get a date or something, because he was NOT there during the crash, ha ha! I think the dance part of the dream went on longer, but I don't remember it.

What a strange dream. I guess I have reasons to have dreamed most of these things. I was supposed to go to a meeting with co-workers yesterday. Military helicopters were in the news because of the kid supposedly in the science balloon. I might have thought of the people who were hurt in the crash because of NieNie. I have no idea where John Travolta or the stake dance came from. I watched some clips from "Saturday Night Fever" on YouTube a few weeks ago, and I love dancing, but that's all I've got for that.

Hopefully now that I've written it all out, I can forget it, because it was a nasty dream, and now you can all think of it instead!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Kidlets

I need to say something about my kids. I rarely talk about them on this blog. You might get the impression that it’s all about me, me, me, and I don’t really care about them. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are my life. I love them beyond words. They absolutely delight me. They are so wonderful and precious. I worry that if I was always gushing about how much I love them and how much I just want to gobble them up, people might think there is something wrong with me! I feel that I fail daily as a mother, but I love it anyway.

All I ever wanted to do was be a mother. I don't think I had career aspirations. Yeah, I had some ideas of what I wanted to study in college, but I never thought beyond that, or if I did, it was only with kids in mind, or it was a backup plan. I found in my old journal a schedule of how I wanted my life to go. I was going to major in pre-veterinary medicine, go to veterinary school and then have my first baby. I don’t think I planned on working after vet school. Once I got to college, I quickly realized that going to veterinary school wasn’t going to be an option. I knew without a doubt that given the right opportunities (i.e., finding a man and being able to have children), I was not going to last 8 years without having children, and I knew that going to veterinary school with young children wouldn’t work out very well.

Even now, I still think of myself as a stay at home mother with a really annoying problem of having to go to work every day. I say all this only to explain that my lack of writing about my kids has nothing to do with how I feel about them.

So why don’t I write about them? I think there are two primary reasons. First of all, I want to reduce their exposure on the internet. I might share too much about myself on the internet, but at least it’s my own choice. I want my kids to be in charge of what they share (once they’re old enough) and not have to deal with their mom sharing every little thing about them. I’m not really afraid of the internet, but I’d rather share too little than share too much about them. Also, my oldest is 7 and he is already very embarrassed when I share certain stories (that aren't even truly embarrassing stories) about him with grandparents or friends. I remember my mom doing that to me, and I HATED IT. SO MUCH. I can’t even imagine how embarrassed I’d have been to know the whole internet was seeing my stories.

I haven’t shown many pictures of my kids on this blog, but here’s a cute one:

The second reason I don’t write about them is that this is my space to vent or talk about adult topics with other adults. This space is all about me, me, me. My kids get my time when I’m at home. I rarely leave them to go out for fun. The last time I did was for the Brad Paisley concert in September. The time before that was. . . . I have no idea. I looked through my 2009 calendar back to January and didn't see anything that I left them for. I went to a book club in July, I think. Does that count? I leave them to go to occasional church meetings and other necessary appointments, and that’s about it. It might be healthier for me to do more for myself (I’ve wanted to take a clogging class), but my kids are so young that I think they need me more. They are already grievously robbed of the time with me that they rightfully deserve and they so desperately want. So this is the way that I ‘get out’. If I didn’t write and interact with other adults online, I think that I’d only be conversant in baby talk. It’s getting better as my kids get older, but seriously, in the past I’ve had to stop myself from saying something in toddler language at work. Blogging and other forms of online interaction help keep me sane. Maybe if I spent less time online I’d have more time for real life friends that could serve the same purpose, but probably not. I can jump online after my kids go to bed; I can’t go out with friends and talk. If friends come to me, or the whole family goes together, that is great, but otherwise, it’s not happening.

So, the moral of the story is – I love my kids beyond words and don’t ever think differently because I don’t write about them. No one has ever accused me of this, and I don't think you don't love your kids because you don't write about them, but you never know what people are really thinking.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lifelong Learning Organized Tree Hugger

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm a
Lifelong Learning Organized Tree Hugger

As I was taking this quiz, I was thinking wow, there's tons of these that I want to do. But I haven't actually done them. I thought it was going to return the result that I was a slacker who imagines that I do a lot but doesn't actually follow through :-) Maybe "lifelong learning" is a nice way of saying "hasn't done much but will eventually". I guess it said tree hugger because I checked off eating locally grown food, using cloth grocery bags, and recycling. I go to the farmer's market 2-3 times a season. I always mean to go but rarely follow through. I used cloth grocery bags approximately twice. Since then, I always forget them. I recycled for about 2 weeks, until I changed my work schedule and could no longer make it to the recycling drop off before 5 pm. I hate putting my reality into print because it makes me feel like a total slacker.

Sara Janssen and Dreadlocks

In my last post, I had originally written a little bit about Sara Janssen and dreadlocks and my midwife's assistant. But then I decided it was totally irrelevant and took it out. "Since when has a story's relevancy ever bothered you before, Katie?" you're probably wondering. Yeah, I know. Whatever.

Here is what I wrote about Sara.

Sara Janssen has got to be one of the awesomest ladies ever. Look at this face. Really, click on the link and look. Look at her smile. You know just from looking at her that she is happy. You cannot fake the light that she radiates (no matter how much you Photoshop it). Sara is living a fabulous life, traveling around the country in an RV, living on the money they make from doing photography, raw food demos, raw food coaching, etc. They stopped in Bozeman for a while (a year?) to have their second baby but they’re headed out on the road again soon. Sara is such an inspiration. I promise you will be uplifted by reading her blog(s). She doesn’t even know who I am, but I think she is great. The main reason I admire her so much is not because she lives in a sweet RV or because she eats raw food, but because she decided what she wanted out of life, and she did what she needed to to get it. I tend to allow myself to be a victim of circumstances, and I whine and complain a lot. Sara is the opposite, and I am totally inspired by her. I love her decorating and her ability to make a beautiful, uncluttered home out of a small space. Before starting the RV trip, Sara, her husband, and their daughter lived in a 300 square foot home.

Sara is growing dreadlocks. Sometimes I think dreadlocks look so awesome and then I think they look like pieces of poop. See, I'm a walking contradiction, yet again. Strong, awesome women and dreadlocks seem to go together. Maybe that's why I like them, rather than actually liking the look. Chandelle tried dreadlocks once, which proves my theory about strong/awesome women having them. One of the midwife's assistants when I had YoungestSon had great dreadlocks. Her name was Katia, which I liked. I never got to see her dreadlocks down, but she said they were hip length. She was so awesome. I only got to meet her twice, but she really seemed to be a strong, confident woman. I'm not sure where she was from originally, but she lived on a farm in Costa Rica and (obviously) wanted to go back there to be a midwife. One of the silly 'societal questions' I struggle with is whether women should shave their legs. I know that the practice has been around for thousands of years (see Egypt), but here in the U.S., it was popularized by the razor companies around the time of World War I. I am grateful for razors (because men need them to have goatees), but I think that advertising campaigns by razor companies is a stupid reason for an entire nation of women to shave their legs. So sometimes I decide that I'm never shaving again. I can't shake the perception that it's gross if I don't, but I try. Anyway, before my baby was born, I shaved my legs so my midwives wouldn't think I was gross and uncivilized. My main midwife is a total hippie, so I should have known this was a non-issue. And during my seemingly-eternally-long labor, I discovered that Katia had unshaven legs. Far from thinking it was gross, it made me think that she was strong and confident. I realize I only met her twice, but from what I saw, she was worth admiring.

Friday, October 09, 2009

People Pleaser?

I think one reason it has been difficult for me to find my true beliefs and desires is that I tend to be a people pleaser, sometimes. Sometimes I want to debate and offend everyone, but other times I just want everyone to like me, and I think that if I agree with them, they’ll be my friend! In reality, that’s probably not even true, because most of my friends and acquaintances are confident and outspoken and would probably rather hear my true feelings and debate with me than have me agree with everything they say. And they are mature enough that they can still be my friend despite serious differences. And if they couldn’t do that, they’re probably not the right friend for me. But nevertheless, sometimes I just want to be agreeable. Or maybe I’m just spineless? That’s a possibility.

Another possibility is that because my experiences have been varied, I can truthfully agree with opposing viewpoints:

“Oh, you’re a raw vegan?” ME TOO!!
“Oh, you eat traditional foods, including lots of animal products?” ME TOO!
Both of those are true, or have been true, or at least I like the ideas. I haven’t decided which way I want to eat, so I really do agree with proponents of most diets (diet as in ‘way of life’ not ‘temporary/unsustainable plan to achieve weight loss’).

“Oh, you are a true believer and you really do believe that everything we are taught is literally true?” ME TOO!
“Oh, you have so many doubts that it even goes as far as wondering if God exists?” ME TOO!
I have felt both ways, sometimes all in the same day.

Another possibility is that I’m empathetic or sympathetic. I’d like to think I have those qualities. But maybe I have too much of them. When someone tells me their opinion, I try to see the benefits or positives of it, and I sometimes ignore the negatives. So if two people have opposing views, I can see the positives of both sides, and I think I agree with both sides.

I guess I’m just a walking contradiction!

So I started thinking of ways to be sure that I am making my OWN decisions (on religion, diet, and other societal issues like wearing makeup and dressing fashionably) and not trying to please anyone else. Of course I need to keep my kids in mind when I make decisions, but other than that, I really don’t need to worry about what anyone else will think.

I decided to imagine myself all alone, living in the wilderness. I wanted to imagine how I would feel, making decisions for only myself. What would I do? What would I believe? It was lots of fun to think about, but I don’t think that the exercise served the purpose I thought it would.

I pictured myself constantly on the move, walking through meadows, wandering through forests, swimming in my lake, gardening in my square foot gardens. Sometimes I would be inside my cabin, cooking or cozied up in a blanket in front of a fire, reading, doing some handwork, or just rocking and thinking.

My hair would be down loose and wild and flowing all around me, or sometimes subdued in two French braids. Clothes would be solely for warmth or to prevent injury. I would wear long, flowy dresses or funky long johns from Hanna Anderson.

I would never wear anything restrictive or uncomfortable (nylons, bras, tight shoes). Shoes would be something moccasin-like – soft and flexible. I wouldn’t shave or wear makeup. Bathing and hair washing would be accomplished with frequent swims in a beautiful clean lake (this is my fantasy world; there’s no animal poop in this lake).

I would grow a huge garden and gather nuts and berries and anything else I could find. I couldn’t decide if I’d be able to kill any animals come winter time. I imagined that I wouldn’t have electricity, so it’d be difficult to preserve enough vegetable food for winter.

I pictured myself communing with God and nature every moment of the day, but religion suddenly became meaningless. When you’re the only one in existence, good works become irrelevant. Since I was the only one, God would commune with me directly – there would be no scriptures, no ordinances, no temples, no meetings, no advocacy, no fighting evil, nothing.

And there’s where my vision broke down.

I realized that even though it was fun to imagine, this exercise would not assist me in the slightest in figuring out how I want to function in real life, particularly with regard to religion, but with the societal questions as well. In real life, there are other people around. Even if I could, I don’t want to be a hermit. Society affects us, whether we want it to or not. If I went to a professional job interview looking the way I looked in my vision, I probably wouldn’t get the job, even though I fit in very well in the forest.

But most of all, the religion part of real life is different. To me, the ultimate point of religion and spirituality is how we treat others. Every single part of religion does or should point back to how we treat others. In my vision, religion became meaningless because there was no one to help, comfort, uplift, encourage, or love. So basically, this daydream did nothing to help me decide what I want to or should believe or think. But it was fun to imagine. And I’d definitely like to include some of the elements I imagined in my ultimate plan for my life.

My daydream definitely helped remind me that it really is my ultimate goal to treat others kindly. I have a major struggle with this. My first impulse is to be sarcastic and critical. My desire is to be kind and encouraging, to be the person that everyone feels loved by.

In the past I’ve struggled with my beliefs because I wasn’t sure what my measuring stick was. What do I hold up each belief next to, to see if it measures up? Is it the Book of Mormon? Is it the Bible? Is it a Conference talk? What? I realize now that ‘treating others well’ is a great measuring stick. I need to refine that a bit, and define exactly how I want to treat others. Some things can’t be completely measured by that one criteria, but I think it’s a good start.

And I think I’m going to end this here, because I’m not really sure where to go with it now.

Misadventures In Cooking (Epic Length Version)

I am frustrated by my cooking skills. I LOVE cooking. If I could do anything with my life, it would be related to cooking or food (or dancing). But honestly, I am not sure I'm all that great of a cook. My kids certainly don't think so. Unless I make them hot dogs or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, they're not too impressed. (It’s my fault for ever allowing that crap to cross their lips; I know!) TheEx wasn’t always very appreciative of my cooking, so I asked him for a list of meals he liked. He gave me a list of seven dinners -- the same seven he’s liked for years: steak, baked chicken with BBQ sauce, chicken parmesan, vegan lasagna, salmon, sausage/beans/rice, and what we call ‘goulash’, which is elbow macaroni + stewed tomatoes + creamed corn. I like these dinners, but not EVERY WEEK. And not when I’m trying to have us eat vegetarian. Literally, he would have liked to have only these, every week. I need way more variety than that, but I made them as often as I could stand them (which frequency decreased as time went on).

Within the last year or so, TheEx got better at complimenting me or at least thanking me for cooking dinner, especially when I made these meals. Mainly the way it would work is that he wouldn’t even come to the table – he would just take his food to his computer and eat in there. In the last year he did start eating at the table, but would jump up as soon as he was done. When I informed him that traditionally, families would stay at the table until everyone was done and then help clean up together, he informed me that traditionally the mother would do the cooking and clean up afterwards. I am sure this has affected the kids’ understanding of how to be grateful for their mother’s cooking, and I will be working on that with them. Part of it is my fault – I let them skip dinner if they don’t like it, and up until the past couple of years, I would even make something else for them. Now, they don’t have to eat their dinner, but they can only eat bread or whatever else they can come up with on their own. I know I need to put a stop to that – it’s not compassionate parenting, it’s ridiculous, permissive parenting.

So anyway, why am I not as good at cooking as I’d like to be?

1 - I have a real problem following directions. I never follow the directions in recipes (or I just make them up entirely), and I usually pay for it. This is especially true in baking. I KNOW you cannot mess with the ingredients in baking, but I always do. EVERY time. I know that the adage “if a little is good, a lot is better” DOES NOT APPLY when you’re measuring spices. But I always ignore that and use more anyway. Maybe I'm just rebellious.

2 - I have little patience for or knowledge of aesthetic food presentation, so when I make something that tastes great, it doesn't look quite so nice. I am always just trying to get it on the table as fast as I can. For instance, I make great vegan lasagna (at least I thought it tasted great until I got sick of tomato products). When I started making it several years ago, it was a 3-hour recipe. I have it streamlined way down now, but even so, I get impatient and can't wait 10 minutes to let it cool after it is cooked. I end up just slopping it on to the plates, where it completely falls apart. Classy!

3 - I am easily distracted and I am always thinking about other things. I am not the best multitasker. I have very little cooking time and very ravenous kids. These three things combine to make me a very scatterbrained, rushed cook. That's just not a good combination.

At least 50% of the time when I cook, I burn myself. I think this is related to being easily distracted. It is also related to me having a trashy oven wherein the springs on the door are rusted, so the door doesn’t actually open all the way. And if you try to force it open without bracing it, the stove starts to tip over. It is also related to me being a cheap, forgetful procrastinator. I use ancient potholders and have needed new ones for years. I don’t even have oven mitts any more. 98% of the time I forget to buy them when I go to the store. 1% of the time I remember, but then see that it will cost $10, and I’m too cheap/broke to spend it. 1% of the time I remember AND have $10, but think I think “oh, well I might change the kitchen color scheme* soon, so I shouldn’t get new stuff!” (*The ‘color scheme’ includes the valance I made to go over the window. It’s not like I have a kitchen full of only one color.)

I have a row of scars on both wrists where I've burned myself getting stuff out of the oven. I circled the biggest ones in this picture:

I’ve burned myself in various other ways as well, thankfully never severely. I specifically remember two burns from this weekend. On Friday night, I was 'deep' frying 'scones' (fry bread) in my cast iron skillet, and then I decided to GRAB THE HANDLE to move it. I capitalized this part because I am blown away by my cluelessness. I have been cooking with that skillet for 3 or 4 years. Every single time I have cooked with it, the handle has gotten VERY HOT. Why on earth would I suddenly forget that fact?

My second burn of the weekend came about because I don't like to clean up cooked-on splatters. I was making gel Fels Naptha laundry soap (yes I know just as toxic as anything, but it’s CHEAP) Saturday night and decided to be PROACTIVE and clean up the spills as soon as I was done with the stove. Yeah, I grabbed the burner grate within a few minutes after I had turned the flame off. I am SMRT!!! (Also, I had to Google for at least 5 minutes to figure out the term ‘burner grate’.)

Last night I made pizzas using a stoneware pizza stone (thanks, Alisa!) and a stoneware baking sheet. The pizza stone doesn’t have any kind of lip or handle, so you would think I would definitely burn myself getting it out. I didn’t!! I was so proud of myself. But get this – I was wearing dangly earrings made out of a bunch of thin metal discs. I was leaning over the oven for a long time while I was switching the pizza pans from rack to rack halfway through the cooking time. I started feeling like my NECK was burning. It was! The heat from the oven heated up my earrings and they kept smacking into my neck. They didn’t give me an actual burn, but they were pretty hot. Crazy. Also, a couple hours after dinner, I discovered that I had shredded a knuckle while shredding cheese. Oh well. At least I didn’t burn myself directly this time.

I have shattered at least 3 glass baking dishes that I can think of. Each time it was because I was adding room temperature liquid to a hot dish. One time I was making a chicken or a turkey and basted the turkey with broth. It hit the baking dish, and CRACK! Another time I was making Chicken Parmesan and the dish shattered when I added the tomato sauce. A third time I was making squash and was cooking the squash flesh up, filled with butter. Apparently the liquid in the hollowed out squash was not as hot as the glass dish, because when I pulled the oven rack out, the squash tipped a little, and when the liquid hit the dish, it shattered. I think I did some of these twice, so I have probably broken more than 3 dishes.

The story of “deep frying” the “scones” is a good example of my unique cooking style. My poor MiddleSon had been sick all day last Friday. He slept 7 hours straight, except for waking up to drink water and go to the bathroom. About 8 pm, he was hungry and asked for scones (meaning UTAH scones, which is basically fry bread). I knew scones were not a quick recipe, but I figured I’d start it anyway since he’d been sleeping all day – he’d probably be awake for a couple of hours. Then I found a recipe that didn’t require rising time. Even better! A couple of years ago when I finally got a wheat grinder, I insisted on getting a steel burr grinder. I decided this was preferable to an impact grinder because it wouldn’t superheat the wheat. Why I thought this was essential, I have no idea! If you’re grinding wheat, you’re going to be BAKING it anyway, so who cares if it gets hot? I cannot for the life of me remember why I thought this was so important. There is the principle of soaking grains/flour overnight in an acidic medium before using them – maybe I thought it wouldn’t be effective if the flour had been heated? I don’t know. The other reason I insisted on getting a burr grinder is that it could be used in an emergency if there was no power. Now, that IS a valid reason, so I am glad I have it. (Mine attaches to my Bosch, but also has a hand crank for emergencies.) And I wanted to get a grinder that could do various sized grinds. Regardless of my reasoning, I now have a burr grinder instead of an impact mill. Unfortunately, the burr grinder does NOT grind finely enough for some things. It’s great for bread. It’s fabulous for making cracked wheat and farina (like Cream of Wheat), which an impact mill cannot do. But it’s no good for cookies and other pastries. Yet I insist on continuing to use it for those things.

So I had this sub-par recipe for fry bread, and coarsely ground flour. When your flour is the consistency of fine corn meal, guess what? Recipes aren’t valid! Coarsely ground flour doesn’t soak up near the amount of liquid as impact-milled flour. So of course I was improvising the flour amount. Then, I was supposed to deep fry the fry bread. Despite working at Burger Bar for at least two years, I have no idea how to deep fry. I was never advanced enough at Burger Bar to be allowed to work the deep fryer (maybe this should’ve been a warning about my future cooking skills). I know that you’re supposed to have a lot of oil, and you’re supposed to get it hot enough, but not so hot that you burn your food. Well, I was going to be frying with organic extra-virgin coconut oil, and there was no way I was going to waste even a drop of it. So I was trying to fry with probably ½-3/4 inch of oil. Anyone who has deep fried anything, particularly puffy fry bread, is probably shaking their head at my cluelessness. After it had heated up for a while, I tested a bit of dough in the oil and it seemed to be frying well – sizzling/bubbling nicely, and not burning immediately. I am not really sure what the problem was, but those fry breads soaked up TONS of oil. After they were done, if you tore a piece off, you could see how far inside the oil had soaked. Gross!! At least it was coconut oil, so it still tasted good.

Despite my cooking disabilities, I still love cooking, and I think I always will. I think the more I learn about cooking, the better I will get. I knew nothing about cooking when I went to college. My sister did a lot of the cooking at our house, and she made me an awesome recipe binder as one of her Laurel projects when I left for BYU. Everything I know has been self taught, from that binder, or other cook books. I would love to take a class or cook with other people and see how they do things. There are also a ton of scientific cooking books and cookbooks out there that I think I would really like. I am burned out on the recipes I have been making for the past 8 years, but I am always collecting new ones. Check out my highly-organized recipe binder. The stack of papers stuffed into it is almost as thick as the stuff actually in the binder.

It looked very nice and well organized when my sister made it for me. I’ve crammed it full of stuff since then. I’m not sure how I want to organize my recipes, but I think it might be good to have one binder of traditional recipes, one with healthier recipes (no refined flour/sugar, vegetarian/vegan), and one with all-raw recipes. That way, when I decide to go all raw for a week, I won’t have to be tempted by looking for a raw recipe and accidentally running across a Ribeye with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce recipe!

Here are my other cookbooks. I've tossed out tons of cookbooks, usually when I suddenly become committed to being vegan or vegetarian. I'd like to start up a new collection of instructional cookbooks and those that focus on whole foods (whether Traidition, vegan, vegetarian, or raw).

One resource for cooking that I LOVE is Cook’s Illustrated (also see Cook’s Country). I wish they had more color photographs, but I love their scientific approach to cooking. I started to get a subscription to the magazine, but I decided it was too expensive or something, so I didn’t go through with it. Every time I go to the library I check out at least one issue and love reading it, even if I don’t end up making any of the recipes. The magazine’s front and back covers are always gorgeous, which I really like. They have an extensive subscribers website (as well as a lot of free information), and when I have more time to spend on cooking, I’m definitely signing up for a subscription.

Another site that I haven’t checked out too much, but looks really helpful, is Cooking for Engineers.
Some of my favorite food blogs are:

Smitten Kitchen So beautiful, and she works in a TINY NYC kitchen. I was always whining and complaining that I didn't have enough space to cook properly. No more excuses -- her kitchen is TINY.

Kayotic Kitchen Beautiful pictures.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Most of her recipes are very unhealthy, but I have learned a lot from her picture-by-picture instructions

Whole Food Whole Family
Chandelle has blown up every blog she’s ever started, so seriously, copy the entire thing. I have a copy of her previous food blog on my computer. She hasn’t blown up Whole Food Whole Family, but she’s now posting at phytophiliac (LOWERCASE, people!)

The Sunny Raw Kitchen Carmella's raw food blog.

Adventures of Raw Goddess Heathy Heathy's raw food blog.

Nourished Kitchen I figured since I had some raw food blogs, I'd better throw in some Traditional food blogs. This one is a new find.

The Nourishing Gourmet This is also a new find.

Green Smoothie Girl You all know I love Green Smoothie Girl. Go there now and buy her Twelve Steps to Whole Foods program -- it will take you through a year of transitioning to whole foods. It's a $29 ebook now. Or you can wait - Robyn is beefing it up to a whole educational program with audios, DVDs, etc. But I assume that's going to be a lot more expensive.

Baking Bites Probably not a healthy thing on here, but IT LOOKS SO GOOD!!

Vegan Lunchbox Lots of good ideas.

Monday, October 05, 2009


I need to add some clarification to a few of my religious-themed posts. I have been aware that I was leaving things out, but it's so hard to explain everything without getting into epic-length posts.

Anyway, some of my posts, especially Sunday's, make it sound like I believe the only reason a person would lose their testimony was if they aren't doing everything right (prayers, scriptures, etc.). I absolutely DO NOT believe this and know that the opposite is often true. I have read about many testimonies being lost because the person studies the scriptures and other official Church publications and they make comparisons and think about things and realize that things within the Church don't match up, or they don't match up to the person's beliefs. I do recognize this and don't mean to imply that you would only lose your testimony if you weren't faithful enough at scriptures, prayer, etc. I think that people like to believe that because it's a talisman against the loss of their own testimony -- if they can just do everything right, they'll be OK. Maybe I shouldn't extrapolate that to "people" in general -- but that's how I've felt in the past.

OK, it's really late -- this probably makes no sense. I plan to expand on this later.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Nick Vujicic and Conference

Before I talk about Conference, there are a couple of things I've been thinking about over the past week or two. The first is my annoyance with all the requirements you have to fulfill in order to keep your faith. You have to read scriptures in various groupings (individual, family), pray in various ways (family, individual, couple, meals), pay tithing, attend church, attend the temple, serve, love, etc., etc., etc. Even though the Church doesn't have any mechanism for requiring these, everyone pretty much agrees that if you don't do these things, you'll lose your testimony. I've felt like it's ridiculous, and that if testimonies were real, we would maintain our faith regardless of what we do.

But I realized that's not some conspiracy of the LDS Church to keep us locked into the mold. It's a human principle. If you are a runner and you get to a point where you can run 8-minute miles, and then you slack off and stop running entirely or even start skipping runs and workouts here and there, you WILL lose ability. You will slow down and lose endurance. If you go long enough without a run, you'll probably lose the ability to run entirely. Of course once you start back up again, everything comes back fast. This seems to be true of everything in life. If you abandon your viola, you won't sound so good when you pick it up 5 years later. I've hated when they say that a testimony is found in the bearing of it. That sounds so false. But then I thought about studying language or dancing. You can read Spanish or read about dance moves all you want, but until you start speaking it or doing it, you're not really going to learn anything. I believe the testimony principle is similar. Before, I was beginning to believe that doing all those 'basics' was just a plot to keep us all active for whatever reason. But now I believe that that's just life, and it truly is for our benefit.

The second thing I've been thinking about is that I want to do life BY MYSELF. I do not want to have to be reliant on anyone, even Jesus Christ or God. I want to be independent. I don't think I should have to rely on anyone else.

I already posted this on Facebook, but in the last week, I discovered Nick Vujicic. He was born with no arms and no legs. He is now evangelical Christian and is a motivational speaker. I was so inspired by his speaking. He went through years and years lacking faith, but then gained the faith he has now. He attributes his joy to his changed heart and belief in God. His whole message is inspiring, but there was one little part that hit me because it specifically addressed what I was thinking about. I can't find the YouTube video where I saw him say it, but he talks about how the world is teaching us now that we do not need to rely on God, and THAT IS A LIE. When he said that, I knew that I had been thinking the exact same thing, and it hit me that he is probably right. I'm not 100% there yet, but I think he's probably right.

I was pretty disappointed to find out that Nick spoke in Utah (at the Tabernacle and at some other churches) last month, just a few weeks before I discovered him.

Here is a 4-part talk by Nick:

I always look forward to Conference, and it seems to go by SO fast, and I only hear 10% of what I want to. I don't ever have time to watch movies, but my kids watch a lot, and so maybe we're just used to 2 hours at a time flying by. And as for not hearing it, at one point I even threatened that the next person to speak would get sent to their room ☺

It's so true that each person will hear what they need. I don't know if my faithful friends heard this, but to me, nearly every talk was directed to or mentioned nonbelievers/unbelievers/struggling believers. So many topics of concern to me were addressed. I loved Eldar Bednar's talk -- so much good stuff, and so comforting for parents of normal children! Elder Oaks' talk was one that I didn't hear much of, but it seemed harsh to me, because he called out things that I struggle with. For example, I do think that a loving God would not keep a family apart because they weren't sealed for many reasons. (I haven't reconciled that belief with the Church's doctrine yet.) But I didn't hear the whole talk -- I need to go over it again before I decide what I really think of it. I didn't take notes, so I can't discuss very many points specifically, but I really enjoyed most of the talks and felt that every one was directed to me in a way that could help me. When the doctor spoke about missing church for a nap, I am afraid that I could not relate with him. Whenever I've left sacrament meeting in a fit of craziness because the kids refuse to cooperate, and I've gone home to take a nap, I've NEVER not been able to sleep. It's more like I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and I'm so grateful for the extra time ☺

It seems that I am at a crossroads. I don't see myself staying where I'm at, dissatisfied and struggling. I will either leave the Church, or gain a new kind of faith in the LDS Church. If I had to guess right now, I think that I will choose the second -- a new faith. For many years, I'm not sure how far back, I've pictured myself leaving the Church. It was always something far off in the future. So it is possible I could go down that road. But right now, I'm thinking I won't. I love so much about the Church, regardless of the doctrines I struggle with.

Though I have not listened to the podcasts the Faithful Dissident references, she perfectly describes how I feel. I love the final quote:
"It's not about "getting my faith back." My old orthodox faith is gone and it's never coming back. But a renaissance is possible. And who knows what it will look like then."

I didn't hear this part of the talk myself, but I understand that President Uchtdorf spoke about focusing on doctrine, and not the man-made add ons. I love that, and I think that is going to be key in my new faith. I have always been a very black and white type of person, and I believed that pretty much everything the Church released to us (in Conference, lesson manuals, letters, magazines, etc.) was True Doctrine. But last week I stumbled across an article on Imperfect Scriptures at Mormon Times. It helped assuage some of my concerns, but even better, it led me to a book the author wrote, called Shaken Faith Syndrome. He has posted a sample chapter on his website. I haven't bought the book yet, but the sample chapter, which is on Confusing Tradition with Doctrine, has some great stuff. He gives examples of how traditions can turn into perceived doctrines. He says that he believes that very few LDS teachings qualify as true doctrines. Reading this was an epiphany for me. I know that I can't write off everything I don't agree with as 'not doctrine', but the concept is absolutely worth exploring.