streaking in June, part 2

Where were we?

Oh, yes.

June.

#streakingwiththecoolkids  

walking

Okay, you all remember we were about to begin our June streak?  To refresh your memory, just click here:

https://sundayschildfullofgrace.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/june-streak/

Hello, Halfway point!  Nice to see you.

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I’ve been doing the walking.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

I thought I would share some of the beautiful flowers I have found along my walks.

How is your streak going?  Did you make a HAPPY calendar?  Are you starting to look forward to your walk?  Have you come across any beautiful flowers?  Have you walked in the rain and the sunshine?

In this together friends….. here’s to our good health, Cheers!

Chat soon.

smarty pants cheese, please

Raise your hand if you have ever stood in a grocery store and cried.

I have.

When you have to give up meat (yes that means chicken, too), sugar, dairy and gluten it can and does seem slightly overwhelming.

20180207_173730-1_resizedToday’s topic is  PIZZA.  yum.  Ooey, gooey, stringy, flavorful pizza.  Caramelized onions, mushrooms galore, hot out of the oven, dripping with goodness.  A bit salty, a hint of sweet, that robust sauce….. overwhelmingly one of the top comfort foods around.

When that age-old question pops up, as it inevitably does, “What’s for dinner?”  you don’t have to do much to sell the suggestion of pizza.

To begin with, let’s talk a tiny bit about dairy first.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving up dairy products for the upcoming season of Lent, cannot tolerate lactose, are vegan or because you have educated yourself and know that dairy promotes cancer…….giving up the satisfying comfort of cheese is tricky.

(Side note here:  We all know any human over five years of age has no lactase in their body.  Lactase is the enzyme necessary to digest dairy products.)

Hang on one minute, yes, I promise to get to the good stuff……pizza.

First, please indulge me to give one quick homeschool lesson?    We all know Dr. Neal Barnard is one smart cookie.  I will be brief and with his help,  remind you why it is so DANG hard to give up dairy.

Skip reading the next paragraph if you are already a smarty pants and don’t need to be reminded of this stuff.

Cheese has casein as an unusual protein.  Casein fragments are called casomorphins – that is casein derived morphine-like compounds.  And they attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.  In other words, dairy protein has opiate molecules built right in.

Light bulb moment coming up…………………………………………………………………………..

SO THAT’S WHY I WAS CRYING IN THE GROCERY STORE!  I was addicted to cheese/dairy products.

If you are a smart cookie and want to be even smarter, may I gently suggest to head over and do a little reading on what Dr. Barnard has to say about cheese?  https://www.forksoverknives.com/addictive-food-cheese-pizza/#gs.uOviSTQ

20180207_180019-1_resizedToday, I am writing this with one person in mind.  She doesn’t need to give up dairy for any reason other than she chooses to.  She is an intelligent, talented, athletic and beautiful, vegan teenager.  Her hard-working, creative, beautiful mother and I have been friends since we were teenagers.

Over the last five years, I have spent a lot of money, time and effort trying and taste testing products, recipes etc.  I have thrown away more than I care to remember.  So, when a recipe or product turns out to be heaven-sent and amazing…………….instead of just sharing with people who laugh at me, roll their eyes, make fun of me, or stare at me with disbelief,  I decided to share with someone who would jump up and down and use jazz hands to share her happiness.  (sometimes, you just gotta play to the right audience)

Who knows?  Maybe this talented, budding rock star will one day write and sing about dairy-free pizza?20180207_180019-1_resized

I think we all agree teenagers are hard to impress.  I have made it my mission to secretly, share recipes, restaurants and ideas with my friend.  The mission is simple.  Help my friend win “Mom of the year” award.

Frankly, I shared my faux bacon recipe and she could quite honestly skate through the year with that one delicious recipe alone.  I know this pizza/cheese brilliant recipe secret will just add extra credit.

Tap, Tap, Tap…….can I have your attention, please?  Please join me in saluting this one brilliant, beautiful vegan teenager!  I raise my slice of pizza in your honor!  You, my dear, have figured out this healthy “thang” way before many adults.  Rock on future clean plate club member! 20180207_182008-1_resized

Okay, here is the secret.  Go buy Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull.  Just do it.  I am so fuss free vegangrateful that Santa was smart enough to give this to me.  This one book will make your life so much tastier, your teenagers will vote you Mom of the year and your guests will thank you a million times over.  She has an amazing recipe for “Life Changing Mozzarella”.  I stuck 5 gold stars on that one page alone!  Gather your ingredients:  tapioca starch, green olive juice, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt and water and let’s make a pizza.

If you don’t have a teenager to impress, I gotta say, Mr. Right gave it two thumbs up, with his mouth full and we were both clean plate club members.  So get out there and find someone to share a pizza with.

Pizza equals HAPPY!

May you make, serve, share and devour the best dairy-free pizza of your life!!!!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

 

 

 

I forgot angels baked cookies

Yesterday, 4 years and 11 months, ago I was diagnosed with cancer.

I was told that I had one year to live if I didn’t do as they told me.   big sigh.

I did not forget the day, nor have I been able to go a day and not know what the tally is.

I have dabbled, sharing my story here and there over the almost five years.

20151206_182052_resizedFor some reason, yesterday, was a tough day. Then I put on a cute & sassy pair of big girl panties, extra jewelry, beautiful lipstick, kick-ass red cowgirl boots, asked Alexa to turn on some music and just like that, the day, as well as my outlook, changed dramatically.

Sometimes I can be a dunderhead and forget to put “it” out there for the universe to handle.

I can sum up the last few years with one sentence.

I chose the road less traveled.

I made the choice to respectfully and quietly decline the offer of chemotherapy and radiation.

(very important side note:  those souls who choose chemotherapy & radiation and live, are amazing.  When 97.3% of the time, it doesn’t work, those folks walking among us are astonishing.  Tip your hat to them for what they have endured.  They are living miracles.)

Having cancer is tricky, harsh, brutal, crappy, awful, LOUD, difficult, lonely and surprisingly, takes away your breath, some of your courage and brave people skills.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frostroad-less-travelled-lg

The thing about Robert Frost’s quote is that while being true words, he doesn’t mention how dark, scary, lonely, quiet, and not fancy that road is.

On one hand, frightening and unknown, pink ribbons, goodie bags of spirit-lifting lipstick, pink boas, friends rallying around, pins, hats, walk-a-thons, embroidered vests, support groups, a very clear, mapped out route awaits.

The other choice was an equally frightening unknown, however dimly lit path, with Mr. Right and I holding neon yellow high lighter pens for research & studying and gallons of green juice with a couple of folks in your corner.  Sort of a bizarre version of a sad, dull, blush colored lipstick, sad face “before” picture you see in fashion magazine layouts.

I get it.  It is scary.

In the beginning of the journey, I was heartbroken when “friends” jumped ship. Others politely & quietly moved to the other side, no big break-up, just quietly faded out of the picture.   I was crushed when some relatives thought my choices were ridiculous & uninformed and chatted behind my back.   I won’t even go into the mean & hateful things some of my doctors & medical staff said to us. Certainly not worth my breath to repeat.

While trying to re-build my broken immune system (yes, every single person with disease has a broken, damaged immune system) for quite some time I stayed away from groups of germs people.   Extremely limiting gatherings, extracurricular groups, church, outings, movie theaters, planes, etc.  Lonely during the days until Mr. Right came home from work.

Enter social media and technology.  Figuring out a way to make new friends through the world-wide webs.

Holy Toledo, because of this blog, I met a new friend and have what is shaping up to be a forever friendship. I’ve reconnected with friends from elementary school.  I even put on my brave lion mask and wrote to folks in an online counted cross stitch group.

A couple of months ago, while sounding rather juvenile, I excitedly told Mr. Right, I met a new friend.

For some unexplained reason, I jumped in with both feet. I felt brave and saucy.  I can’t explain the bravery.  Maybe an angel was nudging me in that direction?

I forgot.

I forgot how lovely it feels to have someone visit and talk and not feel sorry for you.  I forgot how wonderful it feels to relax and just write for fun.  I forgot how it feels to be curious about another person and ask questions and listen for answers.  I forgot how much fun it is to plot and figure out a surprise gift to give to someone else.  I forgot how satisfying it feels to make something for someone who understands handmade presents.

I also forgot how gobsmacked it feels to get an unexpected box of pure HAPPY in the 20171221_153135-1_resizedmail!  I forgot how flabbergasted I am when someone makes me something.  Believe it or not, it left me speechless (for a moment).  Cookies and treats and stitchy stuff (HUGE shock, no one has ever bought me stitchy stuff) and paper and ribbon and a hilarious card…. oh Lordy, get out the smelling salts.  

I had completely forgotten that when some folks jump ship, it just leaves room for new friends to jump aboard.

angel wingsI am here to tell you that angels walk among us. When you least expect it and need it most.

Fierce angels wearing bad-ass, fancy, insanely large, Victoria’s’ Secret kind of over the top wings.  They bravely wear juicy, saturated intense color lipstick, bake cookies20171222_114143-1_resized and wear glorious shoes we all drool for.

My fierce angel has glorious dark curly hair, wears amazing lipstick and has red pointy toe shoes with glorious big bows on them that I covet. However, in my mind, even to work, she wears fancy aqua colored wings.

In an effort to help me sleep through the night,  I began writing this blog 1,152 posts ago.

This installment will most assuredly help me sleep through tonight.   Lots of good, some bad all removed from my shoulders and put here for safe keeping.

Thanks oodles for listening to me, holding my hand, keeping me company, leaving kind & uplifting comments.  Such sweetness pushes my swing.

Today, I am mighty grateful that angels do indeed bake cookies. Delicious & beautiful cookies.

Here’s hoping that you are happily and surprisingly gobsmacked by a fierce and amazing angel in your corner. One that bakes cookies.   Once you catch your breath and stop feeling light-headed, it is a rather lovely feeling.

In this together, friends,

Chat soon

 

 

 

 

 

visions of sugar plums…

sugar plumsVisions of sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free plums danced in their heads.  (just kidding)

Right smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle that seems to hover over this month, have you taken time out for you and your person?  In between signing cards, wrapping boxes, baking treats, have you taken a few moments to bathe your master bedroom in grace & goodness?

Have you announced to the universe that your sanctuary is of value and importance?

Does your better half know without a shadow of a doubt that you hold your relationship in the highest of regard and continue to lift it up on a daily basis?

Have you taken 30 minutes to quickly deep clean, de-clutter, dust, vacuum, and gussie up your sanctuary? Are there fresh, ironed (yes, ironed) linens on your bed?  Have you brought in fresh flowers or greens or even a tree?  Have you brought in beautiful candles, a soft, cozy throw for the bed?  Did you place that festive pillow you found in your decoration box, just so,  to add a little something-something to your bed?  Have you sewed new, softer than mink, white pillow covers that look like they are covered in mini snowballs?

Or has it become the catch-all?  Wrapping paper leaning behind the door.  Gifts secretly crammed beneath the bed.  Clean laundry waiting to be folded.  Does your dresser top hold odd change, one stray button, and a broken necklace?  Is the room filled with stress?  Do you close the door to avoid looking in there?

Or the moment you step into your private sanctuary, does it fill you with calm and beauty? Can you feel it? Does it feel like goodness?  When you spy that bed, do just want to burrow in and surround yourself with fluffy coziness?  Just by walking into that room, do you feel fortunate, harmony and peace? 20171215_094358-1_resized

A gentle suggestion?  Take 30 minutes and create a little beauty.  Our world is harsh, tricky and can be brutal.  Some days it feels like more bad news than good.  We all need a place that we can go to breathe and feel the solitude and safety.  No electronics, no ugly noise, no demands.  We all need and crave a place to restore our spirit & soul.

May you make and enjoy a small corner of peace this season.

Sweet dreams.please do not disturb

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

vinegar & nuts

Vinegar and Nuts.

What am I talking about?

Laundry of course.

In my ongoing quest to have sparkling clean laundry as well as NOT use chemicals…. I have a couple of new tips I want to share.  Of course, I would love to hear your all your ideas, please share your tips and suggestions.  I am always willing to try something new that aims towards good health.

Let’s jump in?

Yes, we all know that dryer sheets contain 9 Toxic chemicals and 3 of those known carcinogens (that means they cause cancer).   However, those little sheets of chemicals do a mighty good job at reducing static and that annoying cling.

Big sigh along with a sad face.

Alas, my friends, I have solutions galore (maybe not galore, but at least 3)!

Here is what I do instead;

One trick I figured out is that I use wool dryer balls.  They do an excellent job 3 seasons outdryer balls of the year.  That leaves us with those cold, static-filled winter months.

20171108_160244-1_resizedNext, I’ve added this little beauty.  Now, don’t get your fancy panties in a tangle, I used a bright-colored piece of fabric so I could find it easily when sorting dry clothes.  However, you can just as easily use safety pins on a single sock or an old washcloth.  The pins act as a lightning rod inside your dryer.  (Gentle note to readers: if by chance you don’t have any or you are saving your “fancy panties” for good and right this minute wearing old, dingy, faded, boring undies ………………for the love of everything wonderful in the world, throw your un-fancy undergarments to the curb (what I really mean is:  in the trash, no one wants to see a bunch of faded, broken elastic, sad-looking undergarments near the curb, no one. )

The next thing I did was order some makeup cloths from Amazon.  YouTube has several20171113_122106-1_resized (1) 20171113_114848-1_resized(thousand) I am sure, quick videos about how to make your own dryer sheets.  Here is what I do:  roll the makeup cloths (so they equally absorb the magic elixir), Add magic elixer….. better known as 1/2 cup white vinegar and 20 drops of essential oils, put cloths in a jar with a lid, make fancy label if you wish.  Done.  Just as you would with the chemical-laden dryer sheets, toss one of these gems into the dryer along with your load of clothing.  (Gentle Note to the reader:  Doesn’t magic elixir sound better than white vinegar and good smelling oils?  Also, when I say to toss one of these “gems” into the dryer…. I am referring to the dryer sheets, not actual gems.  That would be ridiculous. )

Now to the nuts part of this post.

laundry balls 1Again, yes, we all know that laundry detergent has some mighty powerful chemicals (yes, some are carcinogenic, yes, we all know what that means).

No, I do not use detergent.  Sure, I make my own laundry soap, however, 95% of the time I use laundry balls (about 4 years now.)

Enter my ongoing quest to do better. Trying something new to me.

Soap Nuts. 20171114_084640-1_resized

Soap Nuts are a berry shell that naturally contains soap. They grow on the Sapindus Mukorossi (Soap Berry) tree in the Himalayas.

When agitated with water they release soap. ( Yes, safe for septic systems, yes, completely nut allergy safe.  Soap Nuts are actually a berry fruit related to the lychee and are not nuts at all.)

You add 3 or 4 soap nuts to the muslin bag and toss into the washer.  No chemicals, and yet somehow (magically) the laundry gets cleaned.  Yes, yes, I know the soap actually does the work, I just like using the word magical.

In this together, friends.

Here’s to our health & wellness, even in the laundry room. (insert happy face here!)

Chat soon.

 

tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.

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Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)

 

or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.

 

 

Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

Chat soon.

life of the party, hello parsley

Parsley.

Yesterday, I shared a picture of one of my herb gardens.  A friend asked, “what on earth are you going to do with all that Parsley?  I answered, ” We are going to eat it.

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You know, that itty bitty piece of sad green on your dinner plate?  That’s parsley.

Hello!  Nice to meet you.

When you went to aGerman Schnitzel with garnish restaurant in the 90’s more often than not you got your meal presented with a flourish.  As a last minute garnish, one cherry tomato or slice of lemon was getting friendly with the 1 inch or smaller piece of limp looking parsley.

Last night, I took a picture of just how much parsley I eat every single day.  I put a pen in the picture for scale.   We pick it fresh and it is put into my daily juice routine.  Beyond daily juice, I also pick and cook with as much as I can.

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The under celebrated herb called Parsley (Latin:  Petroselinum) is filled to overflowing with beneficial nutrients, essential oils, and antioxidants – to the point that it’s often called a superfood.  Along side freshening both you and your dogs’ breath, parsley helps with inflammation, acid reflux & arthritis, this marvelous herb can clean out your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder.

Popeye would have been twice as strong had he known that Parsley has TWICE the iron as Spinach!

Dr. Mercola gently reminds us, eating parsley is an excellent way to detoxify our systems of harmful compounds like mercury.

Do you want strong bones?  If you want to be impressed by parsley, take a look at its vitamin K content – a whopping 574% of the daily recommended value.  This is BIG news, friends!

Parley’s vitamin C content is 3 times more than in oranges, and the vitamin A augments the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, helping to prevent eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Dr. Axe is a smarty pants and here is what he has to say about parsley and the “c” word:

Parsley contains unique elements in its oil known as volatile oil components — myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. These powerful oil components benefit the body’s immune system and help fight cancer-formation, in particular, slowing tumor growth, neutralizing oxidative stress and fighting off carcinogens from harming the body. (7)

Parsley is sometimes called a “chemoprotective” plant because it helps protect DNA from damage, stops cell mutation and helps induce apoptosis, or the death of harmful cells. One of Parsley’s beneficial compounds called apigenin has been found to “inhibit progestin-dependent synthesis of human breast cancer cells, significantly delaying the development of, and decreasing the incidence and multiplicity of mammary tumors”, according to research done in 2013 by the American Association of Cancer. 

There are several good sources (those sources are at your finger tips, people) to learn oodles and oodles more about the glorious plant called Parsley.

Time to add some life to your party!   Tonight when you cook those stunning fresh green beans, toss in a handful of parsley.  Tomorrow when you make a gorgeous vegetable soup, again, toss in some beautiful green.  That Shrimp & Grits you are going to serve?  Freshly chopped parsley will add a little somethin’ somethin’.  That ice cream sundae?  Just toss on…….ha, I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

Here’s to our health and wellness!

ps.  The home school mom came out in me today. haha  Now,  I want us all to do a watercolor painting or chalk drawings of parsley.  I want my chef helper to pick, wash & chop parsley for dinner tonight.  Let’s use parsley in a sentence……

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.