Elusive WIPS

I can honestly say that I wish all my recent WIPs were already finished. I’m loathing them and bored to death!! I have so many other things I’d rather be working on. But today’s WIP has gotten the best of me.

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Meet Joyeux.
Its a shawlette type piece that I am just dying to get off the needles.
This pattern is from the lovely phydeux yarns, I believe she’s an independent dyer and pattern writer- and her yarns are amazing (yet pricey). I am using stash yarn, Dream In Color w/ cashmere. Yum!!

Joyeux is meant for my Mother in Law. Her husband was suddenly caught with pancreatic cancer and may die any day. She lives and speaks French fluently, so Joyeux (meaning Joyous) felt right.

But the pattern was $8!! And I’m loathing it. So wrong.

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I explained all of this to my knitting group- which lead me to actually picking it up after a month and some change.

I thought blowing past my deadline of her birthday was ok, but now- I just want it gone!!!

Do any of you have any WIPs you’re hating?

ūüôā

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Goings on

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been running around without a break. Knitting till I can’t anymore, looking up patterns, trying to get ahead on so many things! They just continue to pile up. In recent past, I did finish my sock weight on sz 2’s sweater. What an undertaking!!

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I messed up in a lot of places, but I’m ok with that in the long run, for my first full-size sweater, there was a lot at stake and I persevered and finished! I know now what to do. Every project that comes my way that is ambitious and requires a learning curve is something I have to take in stride. And although the frustration may be high, the reward is so much greater, and the knowledge put towards more awesome things!

I also got a job at a Local Yarn Store, which I couldn’t be happier about. I’m learning new things, taking things day by day and loving helping everyone with their existing projects and picking out new ones!

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I designed the window in the shop, knit the yellow hat and made the pillowcase dress..

I also finished my first “sock” or bed slipper.

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That’s my foot.

The pattern is by Church Mouse Yarns ~ Turkish Bed Slipper

Can you tell I love teal a bit too much yet?

Here’s another Loved FO that’s getting some awesome wear lately (like everyday)

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This is Very Cherry by Alana Dakos. She loves it. That’s all that matters right? And I had this vague prediction that’d it would be stored away mostly and kept safe, worn on special days that don’t involve playgrounds. I was wrong. But at least she’s enjoying it, right?

Another thing I decided would be a bright idea to add to my list..

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Taking that^ primed chest and turning it into:

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I’m still not finished yet- but I couldn’t believe what I saw when I opened the lid. A REAL cedar chest, to store all my wonderful yarn in! There is no markings or stamps on this piece, so I believe it was handmade by someone with love. I have stripped and sanded, stripped and sanded some more. It’s not over yet!

I also published two patterns on Ravelry, The Blossom Cowl, and a masked beanie hat.

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So. Many. Things. It’s been busy, but I’ve been loving it, and I’m so grateful for it all. I feel as though I’ve been launched into another world within the last 3-4 months. So many things to do, so many laughs to be shared with the new people that come my way, so many possibilities for growth in so many areas.

And I still have 5 WIPs. 

ūüôā

 

 

Celebrating the 4th and other Makings

Hello All!

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a little while around here! I’ve been busy being mommy and doing a million and one things (like cleaning my kitchen 6 times in 3 days). Feels like every time I turn around there’s something else to do (or another dish in the sink)! I took on several extra projects on top of my already “project-ed” life. I get inspired and make little things like this on a whim:

Ella& Scrappy princess

Ella in her princess scrappy headband, I love this picture.

The 4th of July was a lot of fun. I told myself that I wasn’t going to start any new projects for the 4th, but I went to JoAnns and got caught up in some festive patriotic fabric that was on sale. So I did the unthinkable and bought it, went home and made a dress for Ella in record time for our Independence day (one day).

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We were invited to tag along with our new neighbors to their family BBQ, and had a blast. Everyone commented on Ella’s dress and how cute she was and they were in awe that I made it. I have to admit it felt pretty good!! On top of all of that, I made an organic apple pie to take to the BBQ to share and contribute.. The hostess had provided some type of homemade apricot cobbler.. but my pie got rave reviews and disappeared within minutes. ( I have to admit, it was DE-LISH!!!) Ella, after we were all done eating and our bellies were full, sang “God Bless America” ¬†infront of 10 adults. I was so proud!! (And it was the cutest thing EVER!)

Apple Pie

After the BBQ we went swimming for a while and I was able to chat and get to know my neighbor better. We later on got to see some fireworks which Ella OOO-ed and AHH-ed over. It truly is the simple things in life, and it made me relish every moment.

About a week ago I held a giveaway on my facebook page for a set of bamboo-silk washcloths I knitted, I really wanted my friend to win, and she did! She is pregnant with her third child (a girl) and I wanted to bless her. So, in the middle of being mommy, making a scrappy princess headband, cleaning the kitchen 6 times in 3 days, making a dress, making an ALL- organic apple pie from scratch , and attending a BBQ, I was able to put my hands to some yarn and came up with this:

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A precious hat for a precious girl! ūüôā

Oh the life of a crafter…

A baker..

A seamstress..

A MOMMY!

Though the times are relentless, and the days come without fail, I look forward to the new things, and new creations I can do for her, and others.. to bless and enrich their lives.

What are some things that you do to let out your creativity? I will be posting the tutorial on stove-top popcorn soon! Stay tuned!

But for now my friends.. Keep smiling!

JESSICA

ME

GMO Free~ Baked Chicken Nuggets

Hello all!

Let me start by saying that I love… yes¬†love¬†chicken nuggets and fries, I am that girl. But after all this GMO hullabaloo, and desire to eat healthier.. I had to make it good, and better!

So here’s what I do, instead of frying in oil.

Chicken Nuggets

I used two large organic chicken breasts that I already had, cut them up long ways into somewhat thin strips then cut those strips into meaty “nugget” type pieces. This was for 3 people, so if you have a larger family.. use more!

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You need one beaten egg (organic) and a little milk.

And this..

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I also by hand added a little kosher salt and garlic powder. Of course.. I didn’t measure. Just beat your egg and milk in one bowl, and add your panko, salt and garlic powder to another.. and you’re ready.

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Take your fork and add nugget pieces to egg. I added half all at once and let them soak for a minute, then dipped them in the panko as shown above. Then added the other half of the chicken. Does that make sense? It’s like an assembly line. Half the chicken in the egg mixture, take them out one by one and dip them in the panko then onto the baking sheet. Then do the other half the same way. There.. hope that clarified things.

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Put them in an individual layer on a cookie sheet.

20130623_173624Bake 30 Minutes at 350 degrees!

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There you have it! They were super yummy! I (the salt addict that I am) added a little too much salt.. so like I said, add very little. The panko I believe is either salt free or SUPER low sodium.. hence why I added more.

You can make your own bread crumbs for this.. gluten free if you so desire. My thought is to take your gluten free bread and toast it in the toaster, cut it up and add to food processor along with some spices and whatever else you may want and pulse. Presto! Bread crumbs! But they also sell gluten free bread crumbs now.. Very cool. I decided to go with this. I liked them a lot. And they were in high competition with Chik fil A, a large crunch on the outside of the nugget. Ughh love that place and miss it. But I’ve said my goodbyes and hello to this!

I made sweet potato fries and petite peas along side this dish, again for that healthier alternative. I will post the fries tomorrow!

But for now…

Happy Eating!!

JESSICA

Ditching the Microwave Oven and Staying Healthy

Caution-Signs-00483-baSo I’m sure you’ve all heard at some point or another that microwaves are bad… they hurt you, they hurt the food… etc. etc.

I haven’t used a microwave since 2008 or before. And even then I rarely used it.

How often do you find yourself using it?

In this article it says, ” The price on convenience is to compromise your health.”¬†http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx

It is so true.. Imagine the cement in the middle of the day, it’s already been under the heat of the morning sun and the afternoon is getting hotter. You know that trick of frying an egg on the cement because it’s so HOT?

That’s what your microwave does in 5 seconds, not only does it do it in very little time by re-arranging the molecular structure of your food, but microwaving your food in plastic causes toxins to be released into your food.. then you eat it..

There is no nutrients left in the food whatsoever. mmmm Sounds tasty!

I won’t keep going on about the dangers, because they’re very real and very true. Take a second to reflect on your food habits and what brought you to them, what are you going to do to change it?

A healthier alternative is reheating your food on the stove, or buying a toaster oven. It doesn’t have to be fancy and huge (although a larger one, you could easily cook a chicken in, and save money on electric!)

I do a little of both.. mostly on the stove top. It is the fastest way to reheat my leftovers in a sufficient time manner, and have it coming out still delicious. NOT rubbery as you sometimes get with your microwave.

White Chili

Looks delicious right? White Chili reheated… always so yummy and MUCH more fresh!

That probably would have looked like sewage had it come out of the microwave and have “hot spots and cold spots” as microwaves never heat thoroughly unless microwaved for a really long time.. I think I’m going to switch to MW whenever I refer to the microwave so I don’t have to type it out. O.K… Moving on!

The trick with reheating on the stove is adding a little water or olive oil let it heat up for a second then add your food and stir the water and food up. Presto.. you’re done! And it doesn’t require that much effort.¬†

Popcorn Lover? This is the thing I LOVE about un-MW-ed popcorn… IT TASTES SOOO MUCH BETTER!!! Its light and fluffy.. and you don’t even need butter.. just a little kosher salt. And you’re getting less caloric intake from stove top popped corn because its not pre-packaged with whatever that butter stuff is that’s in the MW popcorn bags. Ditch it, you’ll never go back. If you REALLY want butter.. heat some up on a low setting in a small sauce pan. I find that it makes the popcorn too greasy for my personal taste in popcorn.. but to each his own!

popcornMaybe I’ll do a tutorial on making this amazing popcorn, without a lot of fuss soon..

Baby items…

Heating up baby bottles in the microwave is just THE most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of. Don’t do it. Your breast milk isn’t suppose to be MW-ed in the first place because it kills all nutritional value, but if you are formula feeding.. just don’t do it. All you have to do is fill up a sauce pot with water about 1/3 the way up and set the heat to medium or low. Insert your bottle (glass preferably) and the milk will be warm in no time. I did this same trick ( with smaller amounts of water) to glass jarred baby food like peas or sweet potato.

I know it may feel like an eternity when it’s the middle of the night. But you are Mommy.. and providing the most healthy nutrition for your baby is your responsibility. So be responsible and take the extra time. You can’t go back and unmicrowave it, and certainly can’t take back what nutrition or crap you’ve fed your baby in the first years.

Some people add hot water from the tap… which I thoroughly disagree with. Tap water contains unfiltered organisms, minerals (some not good) and lets not forget about the awful taste. If you so choose.. you can pre-boil water to add to your formula for your baby. Or boil water every time you need to mix formula. Pour in the boiled, hot water and then add some ice cubes. I did that personally many times.

Lets talk about frozen foods for a moment, and why they are bad.

Salt (sodium) content is usually through the roof to aide in preserving the food through the making, freezing, and making again process to keep its original flavor. But honestly why would you want to ingest all that salt content plus all the other junk they put in it just for a quick fix. Frozen foods are prepackaged and truly a dietary nightmare. Then imagine heating it in the microwave WITH the plastic on top which releases MORE toxins into the food which particularly have been linked to cancer. Sigh..

All around.. not healthy.

Including but not limited to the “Steam in the Bag” options. Vegetables and rice.. among other things. I commend you for trying, but it is not the right path to “cook” anything in the MW, it’s more like zapping your food with a nuclear bomb and having ¬†fall-out for dinner!

Steamers

Switching to a raw, more conservative diet is always a plus and it doesn’t have to be over complicated!! But you can always look for natural foods, and vegetables if so desired, that can be reheated on the stove or in the toaster oven. (Plus Green Giant is associated with… Monsanto). Yuck.

I know the more conventional way takes more time. But what’s bad about spending a little more time on our food to create something better? I will post my GO-TO meal for whenever I just don’t feel like going all out in the food department. It’s simple, fresh, and fast!

I hope you are inspired to try a little harder when it comes to food. And it has enlightened you to learn more. Thanks for the read!

Happy Eating.. And Keep Smiling!

JESSICA

Simple Guacamole

I haven’t ever liked Guacamole too much, it was never on my list of “must haves”. But recently I was craving it.. and needed some!!

I know there are a million and one ways to make Guacamole just the way you like it, but this turns out fabulous every time I make it and takes less than 10 minutes, and is uber fresh and healthy!

Here are some benefits to avacados before I begin: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5

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Ingredients: 

3 Organic Avacados

1 freshly juiced Organic lemon

1 shallot roughly chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Paprika

How to:

Cut avacados in half take out the seed. Take a spoon and run along skin to dig out the meat. Dice and place in food processor.

Juice the lemon and pour into processor.

Chop Shallot

Chop Garlic – Add both to processor

Salt, Pepper, and Paprika to taste. ( I used about 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp fresh pepper, and 1/8-1/4 tsp of paprika)

Here’s what mine looked like:

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Sorry about that picture.. it’s horrid and I tried several times.. at least you get the idea!

Once in the processor, pulse at short intervals until well blended. ( If you do not have a processor, you can mash the avacado up with a fork really well.. I mean really well! And you’ll have to chop the shallot and garlic up to almost mincing them).

You can add anything you want to this… peppers, fresh tomato salad on top (diced tomato, onion and chopped cilantro) ¬†would add some real flavor!! Yum!! But I like it simple, so this can be your base to let your imagination run wild or just make it as I have it here for a great snack.. or spread on a burger.. OH MY!

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I like pairing this with the blue organic corn chips, they are amazing and have a much more robust flavor to them.

This yields about enough for 2, maybe 3 people, it goes in a flash  ( my husband devoured all of it within 5 minutes, I had like 3 bites) . Make more if needed!!

If you try this, tell me what you think!! This is a non-GMO, Organic solution to buying pre-made, frozen guacamole, or the pre-packaged spice mix to add to it.

Happy Eating!!

JESSICA

GMO~ A No Go

People have been asking me what GMO is.. what it means, and what better choices about food can they make? Honestly, this is one of the reasons why I started this site. Knowledge is power in this area and I believe we can make a difference with the more we know. Here, I’m going to provide GMO in a nutshell, and try not to go overboard about this issue (which I tend to do). So here’s some insight to GMO’s and some alternatives that you can move towards, if not all at once, slowly.

GMO~ Genetically Modified Organism

Does that sound pretty? Not to me.

Monsanto, the “Agriculture” pesticide giant behind the what, who, when, and where was founded in 1901 in St. Louis, MO.

In 1969, they produced the product “Agent Orange” for the Vietnam War.

In 1991 they were found dumping toxic waste in Mystic River, CT harming hundreds of innocent people and causing lots of damage.

More on what they’ve done here:¬†http://www.gmfreecymru.org/news/Press_Notice20bOct20011.htm

While there have been some good strides in their¬†somewhat vague history, their latest endeavor is genetically modifying plant cells to feature none other than… Pesticides.

What they’re telling the public is that they are taking the plants and making them stronger, less vulnerable to disease and pests. When in reality they are making “super plants” that will be resistant to pesticides because the pesticide already exists in the plant itself.

The GMO crops are beginning to destroy our pollinating bees. Our wonderful workers that make all fruit and vegetables possible! http://www.globalresearch.ca/neonicotinoid-pesticides-ongoing-death-of-the-beas-epa-slapped-with-lawsuit/5334816

The FDA has been saying that the pesticide levels in GMO foods are all within normal range and are “ok” to consume. But as we know now, employees that used to work for Monsanto and do research there, now work in the FDA. Whose side do you think they’re on? Connecticut is the leader for passing the Label GMO Bill. Maybe they’re sore over the toxic waste plunged into Mystic River and have had enough?

Monsanto has spent millions of dollars back lashing the Bills congress tries to pass about labeling GMO’s. Giving the knowledge to people so they will be informed. I wonder why? Monsanto knows how sick their products make the animals.. now the humans can be the lab rats.

Sounds utterly delicious, right?

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Here are the 8 big GMO foods they’ve got under their belts:

1. Cotton

In 2013, 97% of the U.S. cotton is GMO. This includes derivatives from cotton, cottonseed oil, and fabric.

2. Soy

Soy flour, soy oil, lecithin, soy protein isolates and concentrates. Products that may contain genetically engineered soy derivatives: vitamin E, tofu dogs, cereals, veggie burgers and sausages, tamari, soy sauce, chips, ice cream, frozen yogurt, infant formula, sauces, protein powder, margarine, soy cheeses, crackers, breads, cookies, chocolates, candies, fried foods, shampoo, bubble bath, cosmetics, enriched flours and pastas.

3. Corn

Corn flour, corn starch, corn oil, corn sweeteners, syrups (high fructose corn syrup). Products that may contain genetically engineered corn derivatives: vitamin C, tofu dogs, chips, candies, ice cream, infant formula, salad dressings, tomato sauces, breads, cookies, cereals, baking powder, alcohol, vanilla, margarine, soy sauce, tamari, soda, fried foods, powdered sugar, enriched flours and pastas.

In recent history, Monsanto was testing a field of GMO corn in Denmark. The trials failed and Monsanto won’t give up the field results as to why. HMMMMM….. Denmark has since banned GMO field testing, among other European states.

Monsanto Corn~ Denmark

4. Canola

5. The Burbank Russet Potato

Watch out for fries you have no idea about and also potato products including flakes.

6. Sugar Beets

Most synthetic sugars out there are made out of this. And people were saying a long time ago it was causing cancer… aspartame.

7. Hawaiian Papaya

8. Zuchinni

I hate that picture up there with the lady smiling about the corn. Its sick. There are more GMO foods out there I am sure. I have seen tomatoes on the list, rice from india, dairy products that cows have been fed rGBH- a synthetic growth hormone.. or they’ve been fed GMO corn. Also the meat from animals fed these growth hormones. And wheat was recently brought to my attention.

This is a rat that was fed GMO corn…¬†gm_tumors

Yep.. those are tumors.

This food has been making its way to our dinner table for how long? The early 90’s? I for one do not want to eat anything or be affected by anything made in a lab!! In recent research, they are now linking GMO products to causing a lot of types of cancer. I have to take a really big breath at this point, because it just hurts my heart so much.

Once more, safe guarding yourself against these Monsters out for the almighty dollar seems like a flailing fight. But it can be done. The Organic Consumers Association (http://www.organicconsumers.org/) is devoted to trying to get GMO’s labeled, and also giving the public knowledge. More and more organic produce and grocery items are starting to label their ingredients and give this seal:

values-in-action-non-GMO-logo

Toxins have invaded our homes in every sense of the word. Cleansing products, pesticides, parabens ( a preservative found in food and cosmetics) and now our food. Our exposure to these things over long periods of time can only have one ill-effect. (Literally)

I have switched to buying organic.. but not only that, as I said in the “More on Me” issue, I have stopped buying products with ingredients I can’t pronounce, because reading the label is sometimes not enough, and vendors are not governed by law to label EVERY ingredient.

We, as a nation have gotten so far from our roots. We are eating food products, not real food. And by the design of our own mouths, we were meant for vegetation. Not a lot of meat. And certainly nothing artificial. We are living and breathing organisms meant for consuming living products of the earth.

We’re eating refined, over-processed crap that causes headaches, stomach and digestive issues, and cancer to list a few. We’re taking more poison (pills) ¬†to get rid of the problems, which land us more sick and in the hospital.

It’s a vicious cycle that can be reversed by re-evaluating your eating habits.

Organic

Some organic companies have been found to be linked with Monsanto as well including Kashi (owned by Kellogg) ¬†Cascadian Farms, and Celestial Seasonings. Even though their ingredients may be dubbed “natural” does not mean they are safe!

I dislike Monsanto with a passion, I dislike what they stand for and the millions of people they’ve effected with their greed and need for more money.

I have stopped consuming the companies that use Monsanto products, and henceforth support them. Here is a list of companies using Monsanto Products and/or own stock in the company: http://www.realfarmacy.com/printable-list-of-monsanto-owned-food-producers/

General Mills is a Monsanto operated company.. and Cheerios is on that list. How many commercials have you seen marketing that cereal towards children and mothers.. even people with heart issues. What are they trying to do? …… I’ll let you make your own assumptions on that one.

I for one was shocked to find that their supporters included Target, and Starbucks, Disney, and Wal-Mart. I’ve never been a huge Wal-Mart shopper.. but Target? I was really, really frustrated.

Also among them are Bank of America and are widely in business with Citigroup.

I find myself surrounded by companies that are tied to this monster and I’m determined to not let it get to me. Education, and knowledge are key when it comes to this arena. Don’t make excuses to continue to put GMO on your table. Boycott the companies, and do not support what they stand for.

I hope this gives someone, somewhere some insight into this company and what  they are doing to the U.S. food supply. And sparks interest to learn more. There are a ton of related articles standing against GMO consumption, and the Non-GMO movement is getting larger by the day.  I for one am not going to support them..nor ingest poison.

I could go on and on and on about this. Ranting and raving the importance of KNOWING what you’re putting in your body. But I will leave it here, and hope that a better tomorrow awaits, and companies like Monsanto will find their share of the earth they so desperately want to fool.

As always my friends, Keep Smiling!

JESSICA

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

I’ve never been a pro at smoothies. Seriously I am not good, they always come out strange and not smooth. The whole point is smooth and creamy, right? It was all bad… until recently when I bought a new processor/ blender. Let the games begin!

Ok, this one is super citrusy! I was happy with the outcome, and so was my family because it was GONE in no time flat. I didn’t measure anything.. but from my baking days I can pretty much estimate what I used, here it goes!

Ingredients Needed:

Fresh Pineapple– Maybe 1- 1 1/2 cup chopped. I placed in a small food processor and blended it until smooth. If you don’t have a processor try placing it in whole, I’m sure the blender will take care of things, I just went an extra step to make sure it was smooth.

1 Banana sliced

1  cup of Pineapple/ Coconut juice

1/2 cup orange juice

2 cups ice. I have no ice maker, but I used one entire tray… what is that? 18 cubes? That.

Place pulverized pineapple, banana, pineapple coconut juice, orange juice and ice into blender and pulse until well blended, then liquefy. Done!

Here is what I used:

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And…

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This was the outcome:

20130615_190906This came out super smooth, and just how a smoothie should be!

If you would like a stronger coconut flavor, you could skip the orange juice and opt for some pure coconut water or juice.

You could also do a carrot juice substitute for the orange juice.. that would add some earthy flavor.

Or if you like that citrus punch, you can juice your own oranges. I tend to lean towards quick and easy, and this was done in 10 minutes or less.

This will definitely have the sunshine beaming from your face, and you’ll be happy to say Good ¬†Morning!!

Let me know how you like it and what flavor combo you used!

Happy Eating!

JESSICA

(Even Better) Broccoli Salad

Hello friends!

On upon moving here I loved the selection of healthy foods and did my best to make this recipe yummy and satisfying to the taste buds yet healthier. Its so versatile for BBQs and lunches and helps stay cool.

First, everyone knows mayonnaise and sugar are in broccoli salad, but I didn’t want to use mayo with soy lecithin (Most soy products in today’s ingredients are GMO) in it or regular sugar. So I found a natural non-gmo mayo, and organic sugar. Lets get started!

Ingredients of salad:
3-4 heads of broccoli
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 medium onion chopped (or I used one shallot, chopped)
4 large strips of bacon, crispy, dried on a paper towel then crumbled( I used a local brand, applewood smoked, with no nitrates or preservatives)

Dressing ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup or so of organic sugar

Make the dressing and whisk together in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Cut florets off broccoli, make them small and bite size.

Measure out the rest of your ingredients and throw in with the broccoli.

Pour dressing over broccoli mixture, mix well, chill in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving and voila! So easy and simple! Will definitely be a hit at your next get together or make it and have left overs for snacking!

Servings: about 8

Broccoli Salad

I loved the flavor of this mayonnaise, the ingredients are so simple! It is very rich, you can find it here:

http://shoppe.sirkensingtons.com/jar-of-classic-mayonnaise/

Side Note: A lot of people don’t like raw broccoli, and honestly neither do I very much! But once the dressing saturates the ingredients and broccoli it turns much softer and is great with sandwiches or plain ole’ munchin!

If you decide to make this let me know how it turns out for you or if you add or take away anything… Happy Eating!

JESSICA

More on Me

I love waking up in the morning, feeling groggy and seeing a tired little face telling me, “Mommy, I’m hungry.” Ha! Although I do love that face, I am not a morning person in any way shape or form. And I have been guilty more than once to crawl out of bed, get a banana, hand it over, turn on some cartoons and land right back on my pillow (not my proudest moments). But at that point, I’m up. At least I tricked myself into thinking I was going back to bed. Today was one of those days. You just can’t shake the feeling of a “dooms day” effect. Nothing goes right. And you’re off. Even after the coffee. Try as I may, I seem not to want to involve myself in anything remotely concerning my child, but as soon as she leaves my sight, I’m up her butt.¬†Balancing

Oh the days of being a mommy. They’re work. HARD work sometimes! We’re balancing a phone in one hand, cooking an egg, rocking the cradle in the other, all while singing, “God Bless America!” Does that sound familiar? ¬†But it got me thinking today, what is natural living? Its not a cult, its not a fad, its not a dollar you can throw on the counter for a stick of gum for a quick exchange. Everything we know as Americans in today’s America has been pushed down our throats. The history of the United States, the wars, consumerism, marketing, money, jobs, and food. They’re all perception. What we “dub” as the rat race falls right into this category as well for me. I have been blessed to stay home (most of the time between a few short-lived jobs since she was born) with my little one. I thank my husband for that. Although he is not Ella’s real¬†father he blesses me like he is, loves her like she was always his. (It’s been a long road, but that’s for another story:) ¬†What “they” want us to believe has become known as “the way we live”. And who is “they”? It’ s a choice to change.Ella

When I was younger, and my mother actually¬†allowed¬†me to watch television, commercials would come on for the next big TOY, the best shaving cream, the best butter you EVER tasted!!! And I was hooked. I’ll admit, when I was finally on my own and had a job, I spent A LOT of my money consuming these things. Things I never really got as a child. Like, clothes I truly wanted, and shoes that were my style. Things that started defining who I was, including food. I’ve tried all the good stuff. I’ve tried all the bad stuff. I’ve tried everything in between the stuff. But nothing truly gets me like fresh picked strawberries from the farm, or a warm watermelon from a patch down the road. Can it get any better? Not in my opinion. I used to think Amish people were truly out of their minds. No modern conveniences at all. Not a single cell phone bar, “Hello?” But now that I’m older, I don’t want to pay for gas, or cell phone bills, OR television! But I live in a city, I have no yard now after moving to California from Georgia. I’m stuck in a box in residential hell! I want green pastures. I want big blue sky. And I want lots of vegetables ( without the sunburn). I know I live in a dream world. Having such a free-spirit as I have I still crave things to do with my hands, especially to do with the earth. But one day, I’ll have my little piece of paradise where ever it may be and will work my fingers to the bone (God willing)!Napa

Being able to sustain oneself and their family seems like a large feat nowadays. The farming traditions are usually passed down from one generation to another. Have you ever seen “The Money Pit“? With Tom Hanks and Shelley Long. They buy an old estate home and one thing after another, the house falls apart and they’re stuck in the¬†The money pit.¬†It’s a hilarious comedy, I always laugh. Watch it. But to make my point, our families pass down cell phones nowadays. Not houses with farm land and large bank accounts to help us. We’re stuck struggling along waking up working all day, helping the boss get fatter checks, coming home to see our families for 2 hours and go to bed. Sounds like a lot of fun, huh?Lonely House

The art of farming is slowly diminishing, the art of family is diminishing. Isn’t there a better way? What happened to the 1800’s and staying together, going to local market and spending $3.00 on a meal to feed 10 people? It’s wishful thinking nowadays to spend less than $4.00 on any item especially organic. I can’t go without spending $50. Seriously. I go for Peanut butter and come out with 4 bags. I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes as I walk out. Try as I may to stick to buying local organic foods, I struggle not to go to the larger more convenient health food stores. It’s a sin, I know, I’m addicted to trying to find the healthiest BEST deal I can. I feel like I’m on a mission and it’s FUN! I once had a watermelon plant that I did not remove from its pot. It ended up with three baby watermelons that grew and grew.. and then burst. I have no idea why, but I was shattered. ¬†Now, I am slowly accumulating a small garden of my own… on my patio (wince). Hopefully my green thumb starts acting like itself again soon. ¬†Uno Tomato

Changing topics a little…. We don’t have manners anymore. I’m in love with¬†Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility,¬†¬†Emma,¬†and Far Away Home.¬†I know they’re all love stories.. But those were the days that people truly interacted. There were no modern conveniences, the art of conversation is what truly mattered. Showing your ankles was considered indecent! Uh!! The horror!! Truly, I love it though. The mere delight in the drama that used to unfold was the highlight of ones life. I can’t imagine such a time. The men now wear pants around their ankles, the music is BOOMING from the speakers and the English language has been butchered and stabbed, and then stabbed some more. ¬†( I know I’m doing fabulously at it!) I want to, as an American, to get back to our roots. Get in touch with what really matters in life, the way things¬†used¬†to be. To me that’s ingesting food with no impertinent ingredients (useless), if it has more than 5 or six and you can’t read or pronounce the word, why buy it? Growing my own vegetables (as best I can with no bursts). Slowing down to an un-rat race pace to enjoy my family. And buying locally so I can put money back into the economy and support small business.

Now you’ve seen a little of me. A little rant can go a long way! Hopefully this gives some insight to my thoughts, and where I’m coming from. I hope you can relate just a little and if not you find it quite humorous! Haha! I am working on a breast feeding issue that I have not felt 100% about. I’ve struggled in some areas and had moments of nothing but words being pounded out on the keys. Sooner or later I will publish it. But for now, hang in there. What were some of the reasons you’re choosing to live a natural life? What does it mean to you? I’d like to hear your feedback!397662_10200248502676240_1504811754_n

Ben, Me & Ella

Until then… Keep Smiling!!

JESSICA