Fresh From The Tree

This week I was given fresh organic oranges. I spent quite a while juicing them in my Nutribullet. For Christmas and a belated birthday gift my husband and I bought ourselves a KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the ice cream attachment. I thought, “Why not try making a sorbet using some of this fresh orange juice?” I had some simple syrup with pineapple left that I made the last time I tried to make sorbet.  Success! My husband said it was good. I am very pleased that we have fresh sorbet with no chemicals. Unfortunately I had to use sugar, albeit, organic to make the simple syrup. Next time I will use agave nectar and give it a try.

The frozen yogurt shops just lost a customer. I can make my own and know what is in them. I think next time I will try one of my vegetable Nutriblast. Vegetable Sorbet. Mmmm.

FYI: I am also trying the image format for you Blogging 101 colleagues. In the Capoversa basic theme it is not making a big difference from the standard format.

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Wonderfully and Painfully Remembered

I had a wonderful childhood. However, the wonderful memories about my family, neighborhood, church and school are surrounded by the shadows of bigotry, hatred, Klansmen, segregation and fear. Even as children we understood the eminent danger of walking down the street in black skin.

I grew up in the Jim Crow south. Alabama to be specific. I was a child during the height of the Civil Rights movement, but I vividly remember those days from my 12 year old perspective.

I remember the Monday night meetings where we heard inspiring speeches and the protest plans and instructions for the following week.

I remember the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham when those four little girls were slain. That morning we were preparing for church when we got the news. We didn’t have email or texting in those days but it seemed we got news lightening fast. I remember not wanting to go to church because our church had received threats. When I overheard the grownups talking about the threats I wasn’t afraid. Who would bomb a church? But that morning the threats were suddenly real. That could be me and my friends.

I remember wanting to go to Selma for the march and how disappointed I was when my grands told me I was too young to go. So I watched it on television in the false safety of our den. I felt every blow inside me that they experienced on the Petus Bridge. I was angry, scared, hurt for them, and angry all at the same time.  Yea, I said angry twice.

I know I felt all of this pain because I relived it last night when I viewed the movie, Selma. I was back in Alabama watching the march on television angry, hurt, in pain and angry all over again.

I commend you Ms. Ava Duvernay for the excellent job you did in educating us and reminding us. Continue to tell our story in historical accuracy and truth.

Has My Step Been Re-Sprung?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”

I read the prompt and wondered what has happened to me recently that would have me rejuvenated. I realized that the answer was a lot of little thins for temporary changes but nothing lasting. That revelation was very disheartening. How can I motivate others when I am fatigued? I can’t successfully because they can see something is not 100% with me.

I have had taken a day here and a day there to rest physically. It helped to some extent I am sure. I can go on.  I awaken this morning feeling stressed out with the list of things I need to do NOW. The only solution I see is to make my list, prioritize and work the list.

Maybe then my step will get sprung. Physical rest is nothing without mental rest.

The Awesome Lemon

The lemon is known for many attributes. It is known as a purifier, flavor enhancer and makes great lemonade. Today I read an article about using lemons to clean the microwave. I tried it. It worked. It was so simple. It said to let sit for 5 minutes. I didn’t. To get rid of the stains I repeated the process. If I had waited the 5 minutes, I might not have. Nevertheless, in less than 10 minutes I had a clean, purified microwave (including the splatters on the door).

I decided to try it on the stove top. Those of you who cook a lot know how hard it is to get the grease build up off the stove back. You know where the clock and controls are. You try to clean it off as you cook but sometimes you don’t get it all. I decided to use the hot lemons from the process above and I rubbed it all over those areas. I let it sit for 2 or 3 minutes. It wiped off.

I have used lemons to sanitize my counter tops and cutting boards. Now I will add the microwave and stove to the list. Grease and food splatter that soap and water doesn’t completely get is now the victim of pure lemon juice.

Here is the link to the process. http://lifehacker.com/use-a-lemon-to-make-cleaning-the-microwave-easy-1525960405

Is There a Food Cartel?

I woke up yesterday morning thinking of cartels. I guess I was influenced by the CSI:New Orleans episode I watched the night before. We usually think of the drug trade south of our borders when we use the word cartel. I decided to look it up because I realized that I really didn’t know what it meant. This is a definition from one of several sites.

car·tel

  1. an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
    “the Colombian drug cartels”
    • historical

      a coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest.

When I read it I thought this seemed awfully familiar. The definition below is what I remembered from a business class I attended.

 OLIGOPOLY
A situation in which a particular market is controlled by a small group of firms.An oligopoly is much like a monopoly, in which only one company exerts control over most of a market. In an oligopoly, there are at least two firms controlling the market.

When a market is controlled, doesn’t that include prices and restricting competition?

There is a campaign going on against foods containing genetically modifies organisms. The battle is mainly against the Monsanto corporation. But it doesn’t seem like they can have the kind of power they are having without help. Some believe members of our Congress have been bought by Monsanto. Others believe the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is in the mix. The things that have been happening certainly make you wonder. I just read an article about the meaning of “natural” on our food labels. This is an excerpt

“What is important to understand is how natural flavors are created. Scientists, or flavorists as they prefer to be called, blend natural or synthetic chemicals to create flavorings. The only difference between artificial and natural flavorings is the original (natural) source of the raw ingredients/chemicals. The formulas for both are the same although a small change can result in a different flavor.” The bold is mine.

These are FDA approved foods. Is this what you think of when you want natural? If you are like me, you thought natural meant devoid of artificial or chemical anything. I was in the 2/3rds mentioned below. Are you? We have been deceived for years.

“When we see a product labeled as such we perceive it as better for us, in fact a Consumer Reports survey found that two-thirds of Americans think the word natural on the label means it contains no artificial ingredients, pesticides or genetically engineered organisms and as a result has launched a campaign to ban the use of the word “natural” on both packages and in all marketing for foods and beverages.”

Read the rest of the article. The FDA has no clear definition of what “natural” means.

So now we have Monsanto and the FDA appearing to be working together to control what is in our food. What part is Congress possible playing in this. Antitrust and fair trade agreements? All I know is that it seems others profit at our expense.

The last parties to this perceived cartel is the medical profession and the pharmaceutical concerns. I don’t mean all doctors. I am referring to the system that they have to operate in. Treat the symptom, don’t search for the cause. Prescribe a pill because it cost too much to spend the time searching for the cause. Doctors are required to operate in that 15 minute window unless they are private practices that control their own offices. I had an interesting conversation with one of my husband’s doctors. Because of some heart problems, he has been prescribed Warfarin or Cumidin, rat poison. I asked the doctor if he could regulate the situation with foods that are natural blood thinners. She said no. I asked why. She said because they could not track it. This is how they track it. Take a certain number of tablets and check the blood. If the thinness is in a certain range you are okay. If it is too high, decrease the number of tablets. If it is too low, add more tablets. If the blood test is the telling factor, you could eat more or less of the vegetables depending on the thinness level. They rather he take poison, so they can regulate the dosage, rather allow him to eat fresh, certified organic vegetables and get healthy. Does that even seem reasonable to a rational, thinking mind?

I love my country but “the love of money” has removed standards and logical reasoning that can be trusted. What cartel should we fear first?

The end of the article mentioned above states the only way you can be sure your food is natural is to purchase USDA certified organic products. I am also buying from stores who have verified their products as non-GMO. I don’t know what those organisms will do to us.I am choosing to go that route. I hope I can trust the USDA.

I Remember That Night

Yesterday, I felt the lonliness and foreboding reflected in hsteinhayer101’s post  This Is Really Bad.  The story was told so well that I felt I was there. The “not knowing what to do” and the danger of making the wrong choice touched me. Her situation was far more serious and intense but her words took me back to my front porch over 30 years ago. My world was dark and lonely. It should have been one of the happiest times of my life. I had a newborn son, a wonderful husband and a helpful daughter. Nevertheless, my world was dark and lonely. The one overshadowing thing about depression is feeling all alone. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was suffering from Postpartum Depression. I just knew I wanted to end my life because for some reason I thought my family would be better off without me.

hsteinhayer101’s decision was choosing the correct place to sit. My decision was which direction to run that would guarantee getting far away to kill myself or be killed. I lived near two very busy streets that had a lot of traffic. A woman walking down the street in a thin nightgown would draw attention. It sounds silly now but that night I would have appeared to be a runaway from a mental asylum and the police would have picked me up. My husband found me and held me. I didn’t even know how to accept that at first. I felt he had spoiled my plans. When you are depressed and in that deep. dark place all you see is how good ending it all would be.

So many of us suffer from mental dis-ease and don’t realize it. We don’t consider depression from job loss or grief from a death mental dis-ease but it is. It may not last long or be as intense as others that cause them to seek escape in drugs or the control from another person.

I thank my husband and my Lord for bringing me through that time. The shadows of depression still linger just on the outskirts of my consciousness but I recognize it. It will not conquer me.

Letter To My Dream Reader

Letter To My Dream Reader]

A Letter To My Dream Reader

It is a joy to explore the world through your eyes. Everything is seen with wonder and excitement. Hearing the question “What’s that” in that little voice makes me smile. I felt the same with your mother and uncle has they began their exploration of the world around them.

Every twinkle in your eye, every little side-eye smile signals the brain-circuitry is firing on all cylinders.

My dream for you is that you never lose that curiosity, that desire to learn and experience  new things. You have no fear. Move through your life with confidence and wisdom. Rely on your parents’ teaching and guidance. There may be times in your life that you disagree with them but don’t every discount their wisdom. Remember, they have been where you have yet to go.

Remember, Grandma loves you.      Heart

 

 

This was my original post. I tried to post it as my new-thing to me and let you read my letter as a PowerPoint presentation. It did not work quite like I wanted. I guess I have to go through the Slideshare route.

Thanksgiving Cooking Experiment

I posted this on ladywiggins.blogspot.com  for Thanksgiving. I thought I would repost it here. Vegans out there please share your recipe successes.

I hope you had a wonderful time with your family. It was just my husband and I. Our children were away this year. I had a ball. Not because they were away though. I experimented with our traditional recipes. I was motivated by my newly vegan son and my dairy-intolerant grand-baby. I had wanted to try vegan cooking for a while and I figured now was a good time.

Mac and Cheese

Attention went first to my mac and cheese. This is my grandmother’s mac and cheese so the flavors are sacred. I decided to use rice elbow macaroni. I never used it before. Next concern: How do you bring those southern flavors to vegan world: Butter, real milk, sharp and mild cheddar cheese? I was skeptical but I went all in. I replaced the cheese with veggie cheese. I replaced the milk with flax seed milk. I found it to be creamier than almond and other nut milks I’ve tried. However, what to do about butter? I found some vegan butter in my favorite organic store but the cost was ridiculous. Google came through. I found several vegan sites that had recipes for making your own vegan butter without using soy products. I made my first non-dairy butter. The results were good but I still didn’t know how it would work in my mac and cheese. It was wonderful. That gave me hope for my sweet potato pie.

Sweet Potato Pie


This was not completely vegan but it was still an experiment. I used my non-dairy butter, a blend of flax and evaporated milk and egg. I thought my husband had bought an egg substitute but he bought egg whites instead. The filling was good. The real experiment was the pie crust. I decided to try gluten free flour. Who knows why? I used coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or shortening. I either had a crumbling mess or something that was very oily looking. I wanted that flaky crust I was familiar with. As it turned out, the taste was great but the texture was too thin. Saved by the flavors.

I have learned a lot through this experiment.

  1. I will never plan to buy dairy butter again.
  2. I have since found a recipe for homemade baking shortening. That’s next.
  3. Coconut oil, refined and unrefined are my new best friends. It has so many uses besides cooking.
  4. I have found a website of a vegan sweet potato expert. Things are looking up for my Christmas pies.  http://sweetpotatosoul.com/2014/01/how-to-make-vegan-sweet-potato-pie.html
  5. Sunflower oil has entered my pantry.
  6. I found non-soy, non-gluten, non-wheat egg replacer. They also gave the ingredients and I have them in my cabinet. I wonder if I can make my own?
  7. I just found an egg replacer recipe using chia seed. Who knew? Got to try this. http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-make-egg-substitute-chia-seeds/

I also found this link for powdered egg replacer recipe. If any of you have used these recipes, I would certainly like to hear from you. My holiday baking begins in about a week and a half. I am planning to experiment ahead of time.

Vegans out there please share your experience and wisdom. I am on fire to test things out.

Who I Am and Why I Blog

I have several strong interest presently. They are nutrition, mental wellness and the Bible.

Several years ago my husband and I did a Daniel Fast. That fast is based on the dietary practice of the prophet Daniel and his friends in the book of Daniel. In one instance, they ate only plant-based foods for 21 days. The results for them were clarity of thinking and glowing countenance. The result of our fast was an elimination of beef and pork. The following year it was an elimination of chicken. The other result was an interest in vegetarian cooking. My new interest is vegan cooking because of the dairy free recipes. I am lactose intolerant. I still eat turkey and fish, so I am not truly vegan. The reasons for vegan recipes have increased to include gluten-free, soy-free, certified organic foods. You can thank GMOs for that. I am decidedly moving in the non-GMO direction as much as possible.

My community activities are in the area of decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness and therapy in the black community. I have a heart for helping black boys become strong black men. One of the obstacles they face is learning style. I have encountered so many who have felt that they cannot learn, when the problem was not theirs. It was our school system. Studies have shown black and brown young men flourish in an activity filled learning environment. They have to touch it, feel it, build it, explore it. In other words, the “sit still” lecture environment is not that helpful to the majority of them. In this endeavor, I have discovered that nutrition is a factor in our academic success. As I learn about brain and emotional health’s relationship to food, I would like to share that.
My biblical belief is the foundation and framework for all that I do and I would like to share my new finds as a I study.
I can’t wait to converse with you all.