Sunday, December 18, 2011

Homemade Almond Milk

I made almond milk!!! I am amazed at how good it taste!!! I don't know why I am so surprised why wouldn't it? Organic raw almonds mixed with purified water with a date and a tiny bit of organic vanilla. That is it! No additives, preservatives or gluten! Fresh, fresh, fresh!!!! Can you tell I am excited about this?????? All you do is put one cup of organic raw almonds in a blender, add 3 1/2 cups pure water, one raw pitted date and a tiny bit of vanilla...or a little decide. Put the lid on and let it sit about 6-8 hours. After the almonds are finished soaking turn the blender on and run until all is chopped good. You can now strain with a fine mesh strainer or put the mixture in a cheesecloth sack and let it drip through. Store in an airtight glass jar. I have several old mason jars that I use in my pantry to keep my dry goods dry and fresh and I have a couple I use for salad dressings and now almond milk!!! You will never buy almond milk again when you taste the difference. I got the idea from a lady named Mimi Kirk. She is a raw vegan vegetarian who is 73, looks 50 and acts 20. Here is her link if you want to check her out.

I bought her book also....haven't received it yet....maybe it will come tomorrow!!! Anxious to try some of her recipes. As I try them I will share. Got to go have a glass of almond milk...icy cold. Yum.

One more thing, save the pulp from the almonds. You can make raw cookies or crackers with it. You could also use it in another recipe....just don't throw it away!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Homemade Chili With Memories

The Cook-Off

 Beans, beans, beans all in a pot.
Chilies and onions sizzling hot.
Tomatoes and garlics and burger too!
Cover with a lid and let 'er stew!
Judges everywhere tast'n and swish'n.
Throats a burn'n and ears a smok'n.
I hear from the mic, they called my name!
A BLUE RIBBON they gave me...

poem by Nancy Craig ©

(Yes, I won a blue ribbon at a chili cook-off!)
Chili and beans cooking in my cast iron pot.

Pot of chili cooked slow all day. Yum.

I grew up in Southern California where the sun shines most of the time. The winters are not that cold and the rainy season is short.  A few days of rain here and there with lots of rainbows because the sun breaks through. The rainy season runs from November through March with lots of sun in between. I have memories of hot hot Thanksgivings and in the 90's on Christmas and New Years Day.  I looked forward to the first rain. For me it was a big deal and is one of my favorite memories. On the first day that it rained every year my mom would make a big pot of homemade chile along with a big pan of cornbread. I knew when I walked through the door after school, soaking wet, that there would be a pot of chili waiting. I could smell it as I got closer to our house and when I walked through the door I would say something like, "I smell chili" and my mom always acted surprised that I could smell it that far away! When I was raising my children I started the same tradition. The first rainy day of the season I made chili and cornbread. It rains more than just a little bit where I live now and I have continued the tradition even though my children are all grown up and have moved on. My husband learned quickly that if it rains there will most likely be a big pot of homemade chili and cornbread smelling up the place. It rains a whole lot here so I make it the first rain and then at least once a month until the cold weather is over. There is nothing as cozy or delicious as a bowl of chili and a side of cornbread to warm you up as you watch the rain pour down!!! It sure smells good in this house!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Decoration

My Angel.

This is a wall hanging that Larry's mom made in the 1940's.
A group of bells covered in hundreds of sequins.

Old canning jars with string lights inside them on my mantel.

My star tree topper.
We actually decorated today!!! I know some of you had your tree and all your sparkly decorations up the day of Thanksgiving or shortly after, but two weeks before Christmas is pretty normal for us.  It is really for my grand kids who will be here to celebrate Christmas. I love to see the sparkle in their eyes when they open presents. They are so precious. I am also working on my Christmas cards today...trying to get them out this week. I can't believe how fast the Holidays got here this year! It seems I say that every year. Merry Christmas everyone!

I LOVE TREES!!!!!!!!

Eagle's nest.

Palm trees in San Diego, Ca.

Trees in the field behind our apartment.

Trees in Oregon.

Look at how the branches are all going one direction.

Woods out at our friends house in Junction City, Oregon.

Woods at Deception Pass.

These two photos I took from a moving train. I love them.

Canadian Olympics

The Cauldron
Downtown Vancouver

Crazy car! It is covered with toys and stuff!!!!

Olympic Rings.

Canadian Flag on corner of building.

I had the privilege to go to Canada during the Olympics!!!! I drove across the border early and then met with my family to ride into Vancouver. We did not actually go to an event but we did enjoy the hoopla and the excitement of just being there during this time. It was crazy fun! We got to stand right in front of the Cauldron! It was a really amazing feeling to see it and to just think that the flame on it traveled around the world starting in Greece being passed off until it finally made it to it's final destination. There was all kinds of entertainment happening. Crowds of people stood around to watch street performer's as people swooped by overhead zip-lining across the city. Exciting! We stayed all day and just took in all that we could. Great memories with my family!! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sprague River

I love Sprague River!!

        Sprague River, A Real Place
Sitting on the deck
Sipping iced tea.
Shhh—-listen to the wind
Whistling through the trees.
The pine needles are so thick
As you walk through the yard.
When you stand still
You actually hear…nothing.
Looking towards the hills
A pasture with cattle grazing.
The blue sky dotted with
White fluffy clouds.
It’s like looking at a painting
But with….fresh air.
written by Nancy Craig © 2002

Fling some Joy!!

I fling joy-beyond my next-door neighbor’s fence, clear across town, and into the universe. Then it curves right back to me. Sometimes with a whack on the head when I need it. Sometimes with a whack into my heart. Sometimes landing with a crack at my feet. But it always comes back. No doubt about it.
Barbara Johnson

Half Marathon Seattle

Here is a pic of the crowd in front of me as I waited for the Rock n’ Roll Seattle Marathon ‘09 to start. It took a long time to get to the start line. I finished the race with a big blister. It really hurt badly but I did not stop. I finished.  :))
I do not quit when I am tired. I quit when I am finished.
Here is a pic of the crowd in front of me as I waited for the Rock n’ Roll Seattle Marathon ‘09 to start. It took a long time to get to the start line. I finished the race with a big blister. It really hurt badly but I did not stop. I finished.  :))
I do not quit when I am tired. I quit when I am finished.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Comfort of Flowers

I love shopping at Trader Joe's Market. I mean LOVE. It is my time. I love the people who work there and I love the products that are sold there. I love getting my little cup of coffee and sipping it as I browse through the store. I don't want to forget my favorites nor the things I really need so I carry my list. Of course my cart always has way more than what is listed! It was crowded today as usual, because of Christmas coming up so quickly I had to maneuver through the isles with patience as people scurried about throwing their favorites into their carts. I was so engulfed with looking at all the specialty items that I actually walked off with another ladies cart. Although, I didn't get that far with her collection of goodies as she yelled at me, "That's my cart".  I giggled and honestly I don't think she saw the humor in it! When I was checking out my checker was a little snippy from the get go. I just smiled at her even when she accused me of doing the debit machine wrong when it would not work for me twice. I was determined to be positive and have an enjoyable time at my favorite market right to the end. As I walked towards the door I was uneasy and I thought about telling the manager how I was treated but decided to just take a deep breath, say a little prayer and go on. I took my groceries to my car.  I took in a deep breath of fresh air and tried to just let it go.  My mind raced with uneasiness and by the time I returned with my empty cart I had decided to tell someone. When an employee walked up to me to take my cart she gave me a big smile as she took it from me.  She could tell something was bothering me and asked if I was okay. I told her what had happened without mentioning which checker it was, and that my experience was not a great one today. She apologized and said maybe the checker was just having a bad day. I told her how I love to come to Trader Joe's and it has always been a pleasant experience for me. She again apologized and said to me, "Would you like some flowers?" I told her that the only reason I shared this was to just get it off my chest and she responded that she was glad I did. She insisted on me not leaving until she made sure I ended my shopping trip on a happy note. She handed me a big bouquet of flowers and patted me on the back and said, I hope this makes you feel better." A few tears ran down my cheek as I walked away blessed and comforted hugging my flowers.