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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ 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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Bushel of PeachesImagine you are watching a movie and the scene takes place in a small southwestern town, at the annual festival.  Local musicians are on stage:  young girls with violins and guitars, men trying their hand at singing to a recorded track, little girls in frilly dresses singing broadway tunes.   Politicians are out en force, with their signs and bumper stickers, manning booths.  There’s an auction going on, bushels of peaches going to the highest bidder.  Announcements are being made about the winners of the cook-off from earlier in the day.  People cool themselves with handheld political fans while they stand in line for homemade ice cream and fried pies.  Toby Keith plays over the sound system while signs are everywhere giving Jesus all the glory.  Dogs and babies are having a day out.  It’s hot and sunny.  Men wear cowboy hats; women stroll with umbrellas. 

And there you’d sit in the movie audience, thinking “Man, this is really over the top.”   And I would have to agree with you.  But on July 17, 2010, at the Stratford Peach Festival in Stratford, Oklahoma, it was all of that and more. 

And my friend Lise and I did just as we were supposed to do as visitors:   we strolled and looked at the vendors selling homemade food and crafts, bought snacks and eyed fresh produce.  I bought an apron that a nice lady had made.  Then we each got a peach fried pie, and ate while waiting in line for peach ice cream and peach iced tea, all the while commiserating with a stranger on how hot it was and how the line should be in the shade.  We mosied over to the pavilion to catch some talent and watch part of the peach auction.  Lise visited with another stranger about her daughter selling pies and snowcones in another Oklahoma town.   Little kids were dancing and some boys were fanning their dog to keep it cool.   We had to revisit a roasted nut stand so I could get cinnamon almonds to take home.   Then off we went to purchase our share of the delicious fresh peaches. 

Looking back, I would say it was just about as perfect as a small town festival could be.   It was one of those days when you feel lucky that you got to step into the scene and experience it — entertaining while you are there and nice to remember when you eat your warm peaches at home.   So, to you Okies, if you ever get a chance to go to the Stratford Peach Festival, I can recommend it.  Oh — and the peaches are good, too.

Fresh Watermelon for SaleBoys fan their dogGirls playing violinHomemade Peach Ice Cream

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THIS PAST WEEKEND HAS BEEN busy and has spilled over into this new week, starting with a trip to the nearby Moore’s Farmers Market on Thursday.  My friend Marcie lives up there and she took me around to introduce me to some of her new farmer friends.  I had a great time!  I also came away with some good zucchini, other types of squash, and onions.   I love the freshness of the food just brought in from someone’s farm!    Two of the farmers gave me info on their farms, which are open to the public — I can’t wait to go visit.  An Oklahoma winery was also set up there, and I grabbed their info on the way out, for yet another field trip. 

After some quick planning, I managed to get my act together for planting some vegetables and herbs.  I had my beds all prepared, but no plants.   I made a quick run to the local Lowe’s and grabbed a thyme plant, rosemary plant, and organic seeds for two types of tomatoes, two types of lettuce, bell peppers, and basil (omg I love basil).   Yesterday I got the plants into the beds, and all of the seed into trays.  (Side note:  Lowe’s also has a couple of different organic soils.)   The lettuce seed is unplanted as of yet, since it is sown directly outdoors and just sprinkled with soil.  We had a gully washer today, and I didn’t want my little babies washed away.   I’ll likely spread the lettuce seed tomorrow.    Once I get the plants hardy enough to move outdoors, I want to fill in spaces with plants that attract bees and butterflies.  I’ve posted a lot of good gardening links for homemade bug sprays and other things on my facebook page. I hope you can have a look and “Like” the page.

I took Sunday to begin planning a good schedule for this blog, and I am working on some ideas for a couple of new blogs (can’t wait!)  Tomorrow will be one more day of planning, and then food shopping, before I get back into the full swing of things. 

Tonight I threw together this soup for dinner:

Lisa’s Farmer’s Market Soup

32 oz. organic vegetable broth

1 cup broccoli heads

1 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

1/4 white onion, chopped

1 cup cooked whole grain brown rice

Cracked black pepper & thyme to taste

Cook the rice ahead and put aside (check package, can take 45 minutes to an hour).  Into a saucepan or skillet, pour broth and add all  vegetables.  Add pepper and thyme,  and bring to boil until carrots are softened.    Stir in the cooked rice and serve hot.

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This weekend I attempted to give a boost to my exercise and healthy living routines through shopping.   I picked up a couple of pieces of workout clothing, a new gym ball and dvd, an interesting little heart health kit from Dr. Andrew Weil.  (Non-contributing things bought were two pairs of shoes and a cute sweater from Eddie Bauer – you can’t keep a girl down.)

I’m totally excited about the gym ball — I did the dvd routine this morning and it was surprisingly strenuous.  I’ve been using it as a chair at my desk, too, which requires me to balance and use my leg muscles rather than just sit here like a lump.  I’ve found that I need to switch out to my regular chair after about an hour, more for the need to lean back and rest my back than anything to do with my legs.

I’ve been walking an hour every other day for a few weeks now, but it’s not enough.   I’m trying to add things to my daily life so that just living causes me to exercise.  I have my standing desk, too, which I hope to get painted this week so I can put it to use.   Between the ball sitting and the desk standing, maybe I can turn being at the computer all day into something a bit less sluggish.

I picked up two shirts for walking/biking.  One is just a cute brown hoodie, but made of very lightweight cotton, so I won’t have to worry about getting too hot.  It has a cool kind of hippy-ish flower print on the front and back, too.  The shirt I’m most excited about has pockets!  Woohoo!   It turns out that I do not own one single pair of gym shorts, workout pants, or any t-shirts or biking shirts with pockets.  So when I walk, I have my keys in my hand, or tucked into my waistband, which is not ideal.  Sometimes I take my phone, too, in case a nice photo op presents itself (you know, like a really still squirrel or nice tree blossoms – important stuff that must be blogged).    Shirts with pockets rock!!

The Healthy Heart Kit by Andrew Weil is in a nice little box and has a 52-page workout, 2 audio CDs and 25 heart health cards.  I just got it for fun and because it was on deep sale, since it’s been for sale for a couple of years.  But, it’s also kind of cool.   The cards are made up of six diet/exercise cards with varying topics.   Other card categories are heart inspirations, mind body, and self care.   That will be something fun to play with and look at when I need a boost from boredom. 

Tonight when the temps cool down a bit (expected high of 94 today), I’ll go for my regular walk.   And I did the ball workout already, so I feel good about today’s bit of exercise.   I announced today on Facebook that I want to lose 10 pounds by July, which means dietary restrictions for me.   The plan is to eat only fruits and veggies, and my two eggs for breakfast.   Which leaves me with my usual coffee dilemma.  Coffee = sugar in my world.  We’ll see how it goes — I think my best option would be an “every third day” plan or something similar, where I have coffee every few days as a treat. 

Wish me luck!  I’ll keep you posted on the success or failure of my weight loss over the next month.

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I JUST RETURNED FROM TARGET, where I found the cutest little artisan petite wheat breads!  The small loaves are about 5 inches square and two inches flat, so they will be perfect for slicing horizontally to make toast squares.  I’m going to use them to make the Thursday Cooking Club recipe my Facebook friends have so kindly agreed to make with me this week.

This is a good wheat bread. Target also has full-sized wheat loaves, and an artisan rye.  You can get the loaves sliced at the deli counter.  The small loaves are only 99 cents and the large loaves were around four bucks.  Not bad at all.

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This is part of turning 50 - juggling glasses (AND I wear contacts)

I HAVE HAD A VERY INTERESTING 3 months.   What a ride!  I started out on a diet and exercise plan and have ended up mostly vegetarian, almost vegan and raw, and completely wrapped up in agriculture, organics and going green.  But like a friend said who was at my house for a viewing of Food, Inc., one thing leads to another and another and before long, here you are. 

I am so glad I started this “get healthy by 50” plan as early as I did.   A slow evolution takes place on the road to health.   I have so many aspects I want to control along the diet/exercise/healthy living spectrum.   Just the eating and food aspect has taken up most of my time so far.  Only in the last couple of weeks have I truly started to exercise regularly.  I’m still wondering where my diet will end up, as I work my way through foods that make me feel good and are beneficial. 

Right now I eat vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts.    I don’t eat anything processed (if I do I guarantee it has few ingredients and only good stuff)  unless it’s a whole grain organic product, and grains are proving difficult for me, even though an occasional whole grain pasta is very satisfying.   I eat oatmeal with maples syrup and cinnamon.   And I eat eggs every morning.  That will never change – I love my eggs, they give me strength.  I don’t use any butter.  I eat vegetables plain and the flavors are so good!  I do eat organic chocolate occasionally, peanut butter, apple butter, and juices.    Lately I’ve tried some very high quality canned tuna and canned salmon.  When I eat out, I make concessions but I try very hard to be true to myself, knowing my body won’t react favorably to most restaurant processed foods. 

Lifestyle changes in the kitchen have been the result of reading about food contaminants such as plastics and BPA.  So I eliminated plastic from the kitchen, removing plastic cooking utensils and buying things in glass containers.  I stopped drinking water bottled in plastic and buy it bottled in glass.   We have high levels of arsenic in the water where I live, so the water is a concern.  

I stopped drinking diet coke, totally and permanently.  I still drink coffee in the morning, but not every morning.  I use evaporated cane sugar in my coffee and vanilla almond milk.  I also drink hot tea with honey or iced tea unsweetened.  I can’t give up caffeine — it’s my drug.  My brain goes crazy when I can’t have it. 

Exercise:  I walk an hour every two days.  I plan on increasing that to an hour every day (starting today? lol).   I want to get back to biking by the end of the year – love it.  Can’t wait to go on some long rides.  I used to do around 18 miles a trip, three times a week.  And that wasn’t even really pushing myself too much.  I look forward to being back at that level and maybe beyond.    I also found a good gym to go to, and that’s next on the list.  I think it’s important to keep the options open for variety.  I get bored soooo easily.  I hate routine.

This summer I want to grow food on my patio.  In fact, I need to get that going this weekend.  I’m going to go visit some gardens of friends and family for inspiration.  Naturally, I’ll share with you what I find.  I’m already behind for gardening here in Oklahoma, but it IS only April, for Pete’s sake.  I think I can still grow a tomato by October. 

I guess that’s about it on the update.  Not much to talk about — just living.  It takes a lot of planning and a lot of thought in the beginning,  but I enjoy making these changes.  I do feel better, I sleep better and I have more energy.   So, the odds are good for me reaching a great level of health by 50, but I do have 11 whole months to go . . . I could snap any minute.  We’ll see.

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