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Archive for the ‘Entertaining’ Category

With the holiday looming and just days ahead, the internet has gone crazy with links to recipes, planning, decorating and anything else to do with our American Thanksgiving.  Rather than try to produce much of my own information, I want to share links here for those of you who might not be able to monitor the net all day, or who watch different websites than I do.

I will update this list as the week progresses — I cannot stand to not share!   Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

National Geographic Thanksgiving Quiz & Games
Some amazingly delicious drinks from my friends at Madtini.com
Eatdrinkbetter.com – Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes from around the world
Whole Living – Warming fall recipes
Mini pumpkin pies for the kids to make – from National Geographic
Indiana Public Media –  Easy baked apple crisp
OrganicAuthority.com – Article about volunteering this Thanksgiving
Easy Thanksgiving side dishes from delish.com
Be the Hostess with the Mostess
Gluten-free pie crust made with coconut flour
A very nice handful of Thanksgiving links from Organic Valley
The Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Hotline Info

I’ll try to keep up with the mad amount of info crossing my computer, so check back for new links.  Yay for Turkey Day!!  I can’t wait!

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I woke up with so many things on my mind today, things related to this blog and the reasons I started it, that I just had to share. 

On the food front, I am still very much guzzling the purple kool-aid of the organic “real food” movement.   There is a difference between organic and non-organic food, and I think it’s important to avoid chemicals, hormones and other awful things in food.   I think the thing that makes it hard for people to embrace the “bad food” idea is that nothing bad happens to you immediately when you eat bad food.  Any ill effects will be later in life, like cancers.  And since you can’t point to it and say “Oh, I got that pancreatic cancer from eating _______ for 10 years,” then it just goes on and on.   A friend of mine (to whom I’ve been talking about bad food for six months) said a couple of weeks ago (about some food evils), “This is really bad, these companies need to be held responsible, the government should be involved, people need to be told what’s going on!”  And then I told him, people ARE being told what’s going on.  But until having a healthy dinner becomes more important than getting to the kid’s soccer practice on time, no one will care.  And then he said “No, I mean they need to REALLY be told, it needs to be all over the evening news and in the papers.”  Well, guess what?  It is!   All of the bad meat stories, e-coli stories, food recalls, health issues, good documentaries, websites, groups — how many times and ways do people need to be told something before they HEAR the information?   So then we concluded it does come down to taking care of your own family and conscious purchases/lifestyle.  When enough people are doing that, then it becomes a real movement and creates real change.

So, I continue to beat my friends over the head on Facebook and Twitter, and use my dollars to vote at the checkout stand – my small way of trying to make change.  

A fun thing I’m getting to do this week is to revamp a friend’s pantry.  He’s finding it complicated to sort out his diet, and I’ve accepted the challenge.  So I first assessed what he normally buys for home, and I’m going to have him replace his unhealthy choices with healthy ones as he needs to restock.  I’m pretty excited about it for a couple of reasons:  I can blog about it and help others do the same thing with their food, and it helps me document exactly how I eat.  I’ll end up with a very good view of my exact food choices, something I’ve sort of internalized lately as it has become habit.

On the fitness front, I’ve joined a gym with a friend where I do stationary bike, rowing machine, a couple of arm machines, and a crunch machine that is KILLER.  It’s a pay-as-you-go place, perfect for me when I just don’t want to work out at home or outdoors.  I’m also still walking, my usual five mile walk a few times a week.  I bought a Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred dvd and it punishes me regularly.

I have also signed up for a couple of challenges through Twitter this month, both for dieting and losing weight, to try to keep on track for a month at a time.  Here’s what I’ve learned from that:  if I think someone else is making me do something, or even paying attention to my success at all, I won’t do it.  It’s a personal flaw, seems like.  So, while I have slowly lost a few pounds, and while I am weighing on the scale more often which I think is a good thing, I think I am more successful when left to self-monitor and not report to anyone. 

Which leads me to my next idea:  I think I am reverting to only fruits and vegetables for the next seven days.  Those of you paying any attention to me at all will remember I’ve done this before.  My reasons are 1) it’s easy to remember what to eat and grab whatever I want, whenever   2) I get plenty of nutrition, while eating no wasteful calories  3) I LOVE fruits and vegetables, and I care less for grains and nuts and legumes.  I have always been a bit of a hobbyist dieter, and evidently if I’m not manipulating, restricting, or otherwise jumping through some kind of food hoops, I’m not happy.  This will keep me entertained for a while, and I hopefully will see some quicker weight loss.  I only want to lose around 10 to 15 pounds, and you would think that would be the easiest thing in the world to do, but as I add muscle (just go along with it) my weight has reached a true plateau.  So seven days of fruits and veggies it is!

And lastly, please friends, do everything you can to be more GREEN.  Cut back on packaged products, try to use recyclable packaging, no plastic, and use responsible home and body cleansers.  Bicycle and walk places with your friends and families.  Buy local food to save on the transportation energy usage.  Read, read, read online about being green and really implement the things you read about.   The environment is not outside of us, it IS us. 

And now I bid you adieu – I’ll be back in two weeks to pick up my regular blogging schedule.  I hope you and yours are well.  Big hugs to you all!

(Forgive any typos or nonsense, I’m on an 8″ netbook in a very cold coffee shop. )

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TODAY I’VE THROWN TOGETHER this new recipe from Real Age for Sweet Potato and Cabbage Slaw.   I followed the recipe fairly closely, but I did use green onions instead of shallots, since I had some on hand and I did use half an anaheim pepper left over from another recipe instead of the serrano or jalapeno pepper.   And I have to say, it’s still a very delicious slaw!  I love the smoky nutty flavor of the sesame oil.  The flavor of the sweet potato is so similar to a shredded carrot that I really can’t tell the difference and when I made it last time I even had to tell people that it was sweet potato.    I’m taking a bowl of this to my friend Tracy’s house tonight to have with some tilapia she is making.   She doesn’t realize it, but she’s just begging to write a guest post for this blog!

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The Sam Noble Natural History Museum at the University of Oklahoma was celebrating its 10th anniversary last night.  To help with the party, they had the special exhibition “Chocolate” from The Field Museum in Chicago.   A few restaurants were also on hand, giving out chocolate treats.   Sam Noble Natural History Museum

The show was a nice look at the processing of cacao beans, the history of chocolate, and even associated dishes and utensils used with chocolate in the past.   I ran into some friends there:  Mark and Cindy, Karen and Bob, and saw a lot more people that I recognized from around town –  even met some new friends!   The event ended up being a nice local gathering for a Friday night. 

I tasted a lot of different chocolates, from covered dried cherries and grapes to covered nuts and coffee beans.   The chocolates ranged from milky to dark, and everything in between.  One restaurant was giving out chocolate covered Gummi Bears but I couldn’t bring myself to take a bite.  That’s just wrong.   Another vendor had warm fondue-type melted chocolate and butterscotch, with marshmallows on skewers.  I went against the grain and dipped a chocolate biscotti into the butterscotch.  It was so good I almost lost my mind and double-dipped, but of course I didn’t!  (But I wanted to.)   Another table had a chocolate fountain –  I was going to hold an apple wedge under it but I took a bite first and I swear it was the worst apple I’ve ever tasted.  

All in all it was a fun event — I’m glad Tracy invited me along!  I always enjoy getting out, going to local events, and who can say no to chocolate? 

10th Anniversary10th Anniversary10th AnniversarySam Noble Museum10th Anniversary Chocolate ExhibitionSam Noble Museum

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Today is my first “Friday with Friends” post!  Each Friday (or most), I hope to tell you about a dinner with a friend where we cooked a good healthy meal.   I’ll be able to share my friends’ recipes with you and hopefully you can get some ideas for meals and entertaining. 

Last week, my friend Tracy allowed me to take photos while she prepared a delicious Grilled Tuna with Rosemary using this recipe from “The Sonoma Diet Cookbook” by Dr. Connie Guttersen.   The recipe calls for capers, but because I’m super special, capers taste like perfume to me.  Tracy is such a good friend, she left the capers off the finished dish.  She also cooked it on a George Foreman grill instead of the conventional grilling.   The rest of the recipe was followed to the letter, and the herb of choice was dried rosemary, crushed.   Tracy served Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Fusilli made by Archer Farms on the side and I brought some asparagus to steam. 

Halfway through the prep of the meal, I thought I just had to have some coffee.  Tracy’s household is currently between coffee makers, but she very graciously found me a drip cup thingy, the filters for it, and pulled out some delish organic free trade coffee.  I sprinkled some cinnamon on top of the grounds and the flavor was so perfect when it was brewed up!

I like cooking with friends (harassing them with my camera and questions) and hope to have many more dinners to blog.   I will happily take my show on the road and come to your kitchen!   So let me know when I may stop by.  ; ) 

This meal was delicious — thank you, Tracy!  Let’s do it again sometime. 

(Funny quote:  I said to Tracy “Isn’t it fun hanging out with me while you cook and I photograph it all?  Tracy replied, “It’s different.”  LOL!  See how nice she is? )

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Today was a special day in my family, the birthday of our beloved Mema, Shirley G., who is a grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, close friend and so much more to so many.   My Aunt Karen arranged for us all to surprise Mema at her home on my dad and stepmother’s farm today — we arrived in three cars total, with lunch by Karen and gifts in tow.   Karen’s plan went off without a hitch (minor bumbling on the way with our phones and iPads, but all worked out thanks to Sarah’s phone and driving skills) and Mema was completely surprised when we arrived.   We were so glad our close family friends Suellen, Leslie and Elle could join us!  

The meal by Karen was amazing, the flowers from Leslie were beautiful, and Suellen brought the most magnificent and delectable Italian Cream Cake.   Karen arranged for family members to email birthday wishes to Mema, and she had the messages printed out to present to her all tied up in a pretty bow.  

A fresh spring meal, the company of good friends and family, a trip to the farm and garden, and a celebration for one of our most favorite people in the world — what more could anyone want out of one day?   Thanks to Karen for putting it all together. 

Happy Birthday, Mema.

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This is a recipe from Happy Herbivore.   They looked sooooo good, I just had to try them and let me tell you, these little chickpeas do not disappoint!   I followed the recipe exactly, except for the sugar – I use evaporated cane sugar which is pretty fine in texture, so I just skipped the blender part and sprinkled the sugar right on the chickpeas at the proper time.   They are magnificent!   I will get addicted to these, no question about it. My house smells like a roasted almond stand.   I’m pretty sure I just found my new favorite snack.

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