Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions 2010

Wow! I can not believe another year has past. I am only 24 and I feel like every year that passes I have a midlife crisis and don't want to get any older. I just want it to stand still for a while and let everything else get caught up. Everything is running by and I really don't know if I will ever have the chance to feel like everything is right or if everything is destined to feel a wreck for ever. The one thing that is great is My husband and I. Our relationship has been better then ever this year and it has really brought us closer. But this isn't for me to gripe about getting old or tell you how in love I am..

This is were I update you on where I am on last years resolutions... cough.. cough... gag.... And set my new resolutions... So here is a list of last year resolutions and how I made minor changes to make them more valid.

1. To go totally VEGAN.. Yes! , I am so excited......
  • Change: By Feb 09'
  • This did happen but not by February. It took us a little longer then expected and people still haven't gotten the point that we really don't eat animal products at all! They still try to send home stuff like cake & cookies. Sometimes John accidentally eat something because he doesn't cook much and really doesn't know what is in certain foods... But other wise we are doing great. And i love it! :)
2. To get my Etsy sales up and running...
  • Change: By March 09' ...
  • Well this is what happened. I purchased stuff to make things to put online. Then I got busy and /or sometimes just procrastinated. :(

3. To exercise regularly probably about 4 times a week.... I mean lets be honest if I'm going to hit it. Lets make it a realistic number. lol...
  • I have some health issues with hormonal levels some alot of the time I feel like total crap. Luckily this has been a better year for me. But I still procrastinated and didn't stick to the plan. :(
4. To be a better blogger... Blog more often and have tons of pictures.
  • Change: Blog at least 8 times a month between the 2 blogs.
  • I thank for some of the months I stuck to this. I try to remind my self ever so often. but on those months that my health wasn't that great I didn't cook as much so. I did neglect the blogs sometimes. :S
5. Cook as often as possible- 4 times a week.
  • Again I did try and when I didn't feel good I didn't cook. But we did try some new things this year and I did cook a good amount but not what I intended. :(
6. Keep the house cleaner....
  • I did do this. I have been organizing stuff in some parts of the house. For a few months the living room and kitchen were really good. But stuff comes and goes. But over all it hasn't been an awful year for cleaning. :)
7. Work on lower our debt to credit ratio. :)
  • Change: I set our estimate at $6,000 off by the end of the year.
  • I would have made it if I wouldn't have added some money back on. we added a couple hundred for some plumbing issues, we went to veg fest & ocean city, had some medical, dentistry, and vet bills, brought a new puppy into our lives, & went out for black Friday. But we did get $4,700.00 paid off. And I have gotten rid of alot of my credit cards. So alot of what is left are loans.
Although I didn't meet all or even half of my resolutions I had a good year last year and I am not looking back in regret and I am going to look to my future for further improvements in our lives. So I am going to go through this coming years resolutions. Wish me luck! :)

  1. Be a more out spoken & reliable Vegan: Meaning reading labels better, being more out spoken when it comes to letting family know that I will not waiver my belief just because they don't have the same. I havn't really been out spoken about it in the past. I just kinda say No Thank you and that was the end. But it has been happening for so long not just since I went vegan. So I am going to try to be friendly but more out spoken.
  2. Pay off at least $6,000 worth of debt. I want all of our debt to be gone in the next 5 years.
  3. Cook at least 3 times a week. With one of those meals being new.
  4. Keep the house cleaner then last year. Put more effort into getting things organized.
  5. Read more at least 15 books this year
  6. To be a more consistent blogger.- 8 times a month between the 2 blogs.
  7. Take better care of my health- Exercise 3 times a week. Start running. Eat healthier, Cut out some of the diet caf free pepsi, try to use some of the relaxation techniques that the therapist was trying to teach me when I was younger.... :) So I won't be so stressed out all the time. Pray that my hormones are even better then they were last year :)!
  8. Learn more about Amino acids
  9. Donate to atleast 3 charities.
  10. Take out- no more than 2 times a month
So I hope you all are making great resolutions or atleast trying to grow personally.
One should never stop growing and become closed to the world around them. Because everyday is a new learning experience. You just need to open your eyes to see it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Open mindedness and Religious beliefs

I was raised as a Christian and still have many Christian based beliefs. But if someone would ask what my beliefs are I would probably say I have beliefs from many different religions. I think other various religions can teach us alot. Alot of religions come from the same places around the world. And alot of those same religions have pagan derivatives in them.

Now you may be saying Christianity has no such thing. But that Christmas tree that is probably still standing in your living room right now was first a pagan tradition. It predates Christianity by many centuries. Pagans, Druids, Hebrews, and many others celebrated the Winter solstice on December 21. They would decorate coniferous trees with pieces or metal, fruits, & candles. They were celebrating the change of the sun and a new season for growth in the coming year. The taking down of the tree on January 1st is also another Pagan tradition. They would take the cut evergreen and burn the Yule log for remembrance of the past year.

My only point is some Christians make religion so cut & dry without really thinking about what was truly behind many "Christian" traditions. They care not to learn were traditions stemmed from. They just do it because the rest of the Church does. Their belief systems are based around not only the bible but what is the popular belief. i.e. meat eating... I have been on the retrieving end of alot of grief for my beliefs that are not popular belief or that stem outside of Christianity. Even if in stemming outside of Christianity it is just spoken differently but really has the same meaning. I have literally been verbally attacked and they want to actually argue about why my beliefs are "wrong" and why theirs are "right" and why I am going to hell for having various beliefs outside of what they consider to be "Christianity".

I mean things like.. I don't feel it honors our lord to mass slaughter & eat his creatures...

Take the mass slaughter of animals today. God teaches compassion, love, & respect. Mass slaughtering creatures that were supposed to be made by him probably isn't a thing that is looked very nicely upon. God was said to have made humans in his likeness. Well I think that if that is true he would want us to care for his creations to the best of our ability. All of his creations including people, animals, and our world . Creatures that he has made to have emotion and feel pain, and have lives of their own should be respected right along side humans.

Wiccas have a creed and in this creed it states "Live you must and let to live. Fairly take and fairly give" its also states Eight words the Rede fulfill "An' ye harm none, do what ye wilt". Those are all very important words to me. I think they are all three good values to live by. When I was growing up and people would find out I didn't eat meat the first thing they would say is "Well god put them here for us to eat" and I am sure everyone has heard that. And even though I knew god taught love, compassion, & respect I started reading through other religious materials. I wanted to find more teaching of kindness towards all. Wicca was one I stuck on and to this day still read about.

Another religion that I am sure you have heard of is Buddhism. In Buddhism there is so much respect shown to all. The most foundational teaching is Ahimsa-the prohibition against the bringing of harm and/or death to any living being. Why should one refrain from killing? It is because all beings have lives; they love their lives and do not wish to die. They fear death just as you and I do. The Karma of killing is also seen as the root of all suffering and is the cause of sickness & war. To a Buddhist the purpose of life is to end suffering and become enlighten. They believe that all living creatures are sentient and that they all have a chance to become a Buddha, or perfectly enlighten. But unlike Christians they do not believe a god created the world. They do however look to the Deities for assistance.

Other religions also share kind thoughts about other living creatures besides our selves.


"Meat cannot be obtained without injury to animals, and the slaughter of animals obstructs the way to Heaven; let him therefore shun the use of meat." The Laws of Manu V, 45 - 52 (Indian Sacred Book)

"All creatures on earth are sentient beings. "There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings - but they are communities like you." The Quran, 6:38

I don't feel that I am going to hell for these beliefs outside of per say "Strict" Christian beliefs. I know that I am in good standing knowing in my heart that I am on the right path and that god is in my heart. So many Christian beliefs stem from outside religions Christians are just afraid to find the original origins. They are stuck inside their box. And I think that is a huge down fall. I think there is a love and calmness you can feel in your heart from being in tuned into nature around you. By not hurting any of it and feeling the love. Empathizing with each other and the animals. I think empathy is a beautiful state of being.

The only reason that religion was brought up was because I was at Borders purchasing a new Calender. I have been thinking about getting one of this type for a while and just so happened to run into it. So I picked up a Witches' calender. When I checked out with it and an art book the cashier was all nice at first and then looked at the calender then me then her happy none caring attitude kinda dried out. I don't know if it was the calender but that was the only thing that she looked at then at me and then... she was different. Who knows. Then thinking back over the holidays at how proud Christians are. They have such pride. And no thats not a bad thing. But when their pride makes them act like they are right about everything & better then everyone else it makes for a not so great holiday, view of the church, and of Christianity all in one. Sometimes it is time to drop the pride and not be so rude to each other. To have a more open mind instead of being on the attack of others beliefs. And to not be so hypocritical about those religious beliefs.

Avatar: The movie

Today we went to see Avatar. I was expecting it to be good but totally wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. Just to think of the sheer magnitude of work it took to put this film together is amazing. The art work/ CG is something to be awed by. But the message is the clear sentiment.

I knew this movie would have so much to say. I have been watching interviews for about a month now. I wasn't really very interested in the movie before the interviews started. The cast really have a message to spread and I think they have been doing a pretty good job. I mean they got me to go. I had also figured it being 150 minutes long would make me get jittery by the middle & I would loss interest and want to leave. But I didn't!

So let me start off by saying from the beginning of the movie it really pulls you in. We seen the 3D version and I was amazed by the effort that was taken to make this land, Pandora, so beautiful. Breathtakingly so. You are looking around trying to take in the entire screen. Because every scene is gorgeously done down to the smallest detail. As caught up as I am in the Art realm of things you can't help but to get caught up in the Na'vi peoples lives. They live in such a beautiful peaceful way. Their people are linked and everything around them is too. Their land is their life, soul, & being.

During this movies there were several times that tears came to my eyes and I couldn't help but to empathize with the characters and the path their lives had taken. At the beginning Pandora had a calm feeling. A feeling of connectedness's through the land, creatures, & each other. Because the people respected what they had, where they lived, and the creatures that shared it. So much of what todays world should be. The problem with our world today steams from no respect for life in general. Be it human, animal, or plant. People need taken back to a simpler time to show how precious & beautiful life is and why it is so important to pass that respect on to future generations. I feel this movie in its own way is trying to do that. Show people that we should stop messing with nature and start respecting what is around us.

I feel there is alot in the world today that is so caught up in one mindedness that they can't tell their ass from their face. This is the way the Corporation & military act in this movie. Money is the game and they will go through anything to get it. Including destroying the land & murdering all the people. Isn't that so true of todays corporations. They own America & with that the politicians and the people really have no say at what goes on. Money is everything... Greed runs the world.

The destruction during the war between the Na' vi & the corp/ military is sure to keep you eyes tightly gazing at the screen. But at the same time I felt a sadness not just for the Na'vi but for the
people who could not see the beauty in the culture and land. They were so blinded by the want for money that nothing mattered but that one thing. Again there is a message that should not be missed.

I am really not sure how to put my thoughts on paper about this movie. It was beautifully done. A couple things bothering me. Like the Na'vi hunting. But there is so many more things I want to say about this film and I guess I should have been taking notes during the movie so I could remember all of it. I can't wait to see it again. I am going to wait till it comes out on film though. But I will give it a 4.75 out of 5. It loses a .25 for the hunting... But the film was really great.. so check it out!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kitty Sitting

All the cats put up with alot from Roxie but Dewy helds the Title for Most understanding Kitty :)

Christmas Eve- Maple Sweet Potatoes & Celery Flax Bread Stuffing

Christmas Eve was very busy for us. John had to go into work to switch out a van full of equipment. Then we needed to be at John's Families house for a small gathering at 9am. Then I had to come home and make a Christmas Dinner for 1:30pm at my parents house. Then we had to go back to John's Families house for a Christmas Family gathering at 4pm.

So our morning was supposed to start at 5am. But Johns alarm clock had turned off in the middle of the night so we didn't wake up till 6:45. So John rushed into work. I was left to get everything ready at the house. Didn't even get time for a shower that morning... The dogs needed fed (which takes a good 20 minutes, let out side takes a good 10 or 15 minutes, Feed & water the chickens, cats, & ferrets, eat breakfast, trip over the dogs 10 times trying to get ready. Find clothing in my atrocity of a bedroom that has stacks of clothes that need to find a place to live.... Find socks in the humongous miss matched basket of socks... Leave to drive to the In-laws w/o John because he didn't make it back in time. And the only reason they had it at 9 am not later was because that was the only time we could make it. John did show up there though.

At Johns families they had funnel cakes and smoothies for breakfast. Carolyn asked me if we ate milk & eggs and I said no and so she said sorry they were having Funnel cakes & Smoothies. But we could eat some of the frozen fruit. Thats ok though I had already ate. I wish she would have told us in advance though. I could have brought everything with us to make both in a vegan way. Maybe I will mention it next year. We watched the kids open their gifts. Then left around 11am.

Came home and I had to cook our dinner to take to my parents house. So Tofurky w/ Carrots, Flax Stuffing, Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Green beans & Corn, & a Berry Cobbler... and I had till 1:30pm to get it done. So the first hour was all prep and John and I was also trying to get stuff done around the house. A few presents still needed wrapped, I had to find bowls to get everything from our house to my Parents. Then at 12:15 pm I put in the Tofurky, then the sweet potatoes, the stuffing, and last the cobbler. All supposed to cook at different temperature. Oops... So I evened it out the best I could. Then about 1pm I started the potatoes on the stove. Then what happens. They take for ever to boil. Everything else is getting done. My Mom starts calling at 1:15 to see where we are. And of course I finally make it there at about 1:40pm. So a little late.. But all the food was good! Very yummy!

Anyways. After we ate we opened presents. Then played around with Cheys toys for a while. I still had to go home to take a shower. We left my parents house at 3:30. Came home showered and blowed out and straightened my hair. Then we showed up late for Johns families dinner. But thats ok. We missed the awkward " Go get something to eat. There has to be something you can eat" comments over and over.. But there really isn't except if someone brings fruit. There was some Cantaloupe when I passed the table. Everything else had, cheese, milk, eggs, lard, butter... You name an animal product it was probably in something. So we visited until 6:45 and then went back to my parents house to spend some time.

I played Pets Monopoly with Chey and showed her how to play on the Nintendo DS. That was the first time I had seen one.. They are really cool! We had the cobbler I had made. But the cobbler topping wasn't all the way cooked...oops. Forgot about the time difference with the heating lowered. Hey the top was browned. Figured it was done.... :) But I finished it in the microwave. Then poured some yummy almond milk over it Mine & Johns. It was so good.. Then finally about 10pm.. Home.... But it was a good day! And we got to visit with alot of family so that was nice.

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

These potatoes turn out sweet and yummy. They are easy & you will never miss the Heavy syrup canned version. This also allows you to use Organic which I jump at the chance for with most veggies, fruits, & legumes.
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 or 3/4-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Organic Brown Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F

Peel, Rinse, & Chop Sweet Potatoes into nice bite sized pieces. About 1/2 inch cubes. ( I wear gloves because they dye your hands orange. But its not necessary.)Throw them into a Medium Mixing bowl. Then add all the Ingredients listed above and toss together till all potatoes are nice & coated. Place on a 9x13 in baking sheet. Cover with Aluminum Foil and place in Preheated oven. Let bake for 15 Minutes covered and then uncover & stir place back in oven uncovered. Bake another 15 minutes and stir again. Then bake another 15 and stir. They are done when they are tender and some are being caramelized.

Celery Flax Stuffing
Super easy & quick!

4 Cups Dry Bread stuffing
Vegan Butter
1 Cup Celery
4 Tbsp Flax Ground

If you use plain bread add 2 tsp poultry seasoning, its just mixed herbs

Add oil or vegan butter to a pan and saute celery until tender. Put butter & broth into baking dish and add the celery & flax (You can hold the flax till the end if you don't want to put it in the oven, If has more nutritional value if its not heated.) Bake as directed on bag.

Mixed Berry Cobbler

Berry Filling
  • 2- 12 to 14oz bags of frozen Organic Berries (Fresh organic berries about 4 to 5 cups)
  • 1/2 to 3/4th cup sugar (depends how tart you like your berries. Only add 1/2 cup if they are really sweet berries)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Cobbler dough
  • 1-1/3 cups (165 g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons (70 g) Vegan butter (I use Smart Balance light)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Almond, soy, or other non dairy milk
If berries are not frozen put all ingredients in and set aside so berries get juicy. Even if the are frozen you can do this. Preheat oven to 375F.

To make dough. add all dry ingredients to bowl. Crumble butter into flour till it feels like wet sand. Then put in the almond milk. Mix till it makes a sticky dough.

Place the Berries into a non oiled 8x8 pan or a Pyrex container for baking. Make sure its atleast 2 inchs high. Place a pan under it in the oven to make sure it doesn't boil over. Place berries in baking dish. Take your fingers or a spoon and pull apart the dough and place on top of the berries. Take a little extra almond milk and brush the top of the dough.

This needs to bake a good 45 to 50 minutes. Let top brown. Make sure the underside of the dough is done! This will be the last part of the cobbler to finish cooking. And it does take dough a pretty good amount of time to cook in the top of a cobbler.

A part of India

I may have mentioned before that my husbands mother was from India. Her family, Grandparents, Parents, & Siblings came to live in South Carolina in the 70's. I have met his family a couple times. The first time being in September 2004. They were very kind & generous. His Grandmother, was very enthusiastic and full of energy. I have never seen someone of her age with so much energy. I also met two of his Aunts & one their daughters. We ate there that evening. They were taking part in Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is the month of fasting. So they fast from morning to evening and then they may eat small meals. Fasting is a purifying ritual that is meant to open the Soul and heart to let go of all sins and to take in presents of their spirituality. It also teaches patience, empathy, & sacrifice . They also say prayers throughout that day to ask for forgiveness of their sins and to ask for guidance. They seek purity of sights, actions, & thoughts.

We ate the meal that was prepared for the end of their evening fast called Iftar. It was lentils and I'm not sure what else. But they assured us that it had no meat. An we ate it with Roti and at that time we were not vegans so John had it with Yogurt. Which he had with Indian food when he was growing up. They eat alot of foods with yogurt. What ever it was was really good. After that I asked for some recipes and the one we had during Ramadan. But she wasn't sure what she had made so she sent me a list of recipes. Different parts of India cook totally different and she sent me a few from different parts. So I am not even sure exactly what part they are from to try to find the original recipe.

After that I came home and tried to cook some Indian cuisin but never really got the hang of it or just couldn't find what we were looking for.

John, was on a work site one day in Morgantown and he was at an Indian families house and she sent food home with him after she heard that John really doesn't see his family very often but we really love Indian food. This isnt the first time Indian Families have sent home food. They are very generous people. So she sent home a rice pilaf, roti, and a pepper curry. The curry accidentally got dumped so we didn't get to try it. :( but the Rice pilaf was so yummy & the roti was really good too. She uses who spices luckily so I was able to pick out the whole spices and look up what the rice was. So I found a couple variations. And the ones I have fixed have all been good. It have messed with the recipes a little though. But spices are a huge put of the meal. And I have even started making roti again! But with all the carbs comes weight gain. I try to put tons of veggies too but lots of rice and bread....

But here are 2 rices that are very yummy! I love them. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. I am going to try some more Indian cooking next year. So I can't wait to get so more Ideas. So if any one has recipes let me know and please send them to me. And if you have information on India and Foods based on different areas of India please let me know. I am very interrested in learning more about the food and areas. As well as the culture. We don't get to see his family very often. Actually we haven't seen them in like 3 or 4 years. John grew up having some Indian food when he was at his Grandparents house but his Mom cooked alot of "American Classics". But anyways I will just post the recipes....

An Indian Rice Recipe with Veggies & nuts & Roti

Indian Rice w/ Veggies & Nuts

1 1/2 Cups Long Grain Organic Brown Rice
1 Tbsp Smart Balance Light or Vegan butter of choice
1/4 tsp Cloves or 4 whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick, small
1/2 tsp Cardamom or 3 to 4 Cardamom pods
1 tsp Cumin (If the cumin is strong I cut it back some)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Veggies, Like carrots, peas, corn, green beans, edamame
1/4 cup chopped nut of choice ( I like cashews or almonds)
1/4 Cup Organic white raisins
2 1/2 tsp salt
3 to 3 1/4 cups water

Let rice set in water for 30 minutes or longer. Strain and let rice dry out some. Heat the pan with the butter. Add he rice. Let the rice soak up the butter and fry a few minutes then add spices (Not Turmeric). After a minute add the Turmeric and let cook for another 3 minutes. Add Veggies, Nuts, salt, & water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 30 minutes with a lid on. After the 3o minutes if there is no water visible and there are wholes in the top of the rice, take the lid off and cook for 5 minutes. To let some of the water evaporate. Put lid back on and let set for 10 minutes. Make sure there is water left before you leave it open on the stove for those 5 minutes. Stir it if you see water then leave it on the burner. If not take it off and just let it set for the 10 minutes with the lid on. This way it will not burn. Fluff with a fork and then it is ready to serve.

Roti- Indian flat bread

Will make 12 small Roti or 8 Big Roti

4 Cups flour
1 1/4 Cup water
Smart Balance Light or other vegan butter

Mix flour & water into a dough. Knead then set aside for 15 minutes. Break into 12 balls and the role each bowl out with a rolling pin. Put butter on the skillet and fry each piece of Flat bread on each side. Let small sections brown. If there is a small amount of flour left on bread when done that is ok.

You can also serve this with Curry & a protein source. We normally have tofu or tempeh.

Another good way to eat this bread that isn't so good for you is with butter & sugar. It is very yummy! :)

Jan 18, 2010- Just made this again last night. Put in half the cumin. I'm not a big fan of cumin. Plus I added edamame instead of peas and it worked great! Plus it added protein to the dish! Loved it with less cumin and the edamame will definitely always put in the edamame!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Snow Storm, Chickens, & the Hawk!

For a while now we have had very cold weather. But we have finally started getting snow. But I really shouldn't say finally because we haven't gotten this much snow before Christmas since I was little. We even had a snow storm the other day.

John & I went out to finish up Christmas shopping and get some groceries. We ended up being out all day. We were trying hard to get home before the snow storm hit but it caught us at our last stop about 30 minutes from our house. So we left about 10 minutes after it started snowing for our drive home. It was a very eventful trip. I was on edge the whole way home. Lets face it. I live in WV and what is in WV.. Hills... Mountains... Luckily no mountains on my way home from were I was. But there is 3 large hills/ inclines.. that were awful. First we leave Walmart and our first turn we slide around. So after that we went very slow. John handled the slide very well and countered it. Did I mention he drives for a living.... Then we make it about half ways home and start coming off a pretty good hill and all the cars in front of us are spaced out nice. But the jackass behind us was right up on our bumper. So we pulled off on the 2nd pull off going down the hill. Well he sped up and while everyone else had gone maybe 10 down the hill he pretty much flew. Then the car behind him also sped up and we watched that car end up right in the ditch. Nose first and there was no coming back from that. So we called 911 and I talked to the cops. Then we sat there for another 30 minutes. No cops ever showed up while we where still sitting there. But finally John talked me into going down the hill. We didn't go over 3 or 5 the whole way down... There was 2 more hills the one went smooth. the last one which is 5 minutes from our house didn't go that well. We made it about half was down when we started sliding. We slid a good distance. It slid long enough for my digital camera to be turned on and for me to catch the end of our sliding on camera... It was a very frightening experience. But again John came through and we made it without kitting the ditch. I don't know how he did it but luckily we were fine. Although I was a little shaken up..

The roads were bad for the rest of that night and the next 2 days. John did leave for work when the roads were still awful on Sunday. But they had be treated in other places. So they were not as bad. We live in a small town and there is no good way in or out. Because there are hills * mountains all around us. And we are the last people to be treated if there isn't any school. and of course there was only one day of school schedule for the week because of Christmas vacation. so they never treated out road. But John made it hope safe thankfully.

The night that we slid down the hill it snowed all night and all day Sat & Part of Sunday. But Friday night at 3am going into Saturday we decided to let the dogs out. They loved the snow! They ran and played. And even Chloe played. And she doesn't play very often with the other dogs. She even played with our new dog, Roxie. Which was unheard of... :) So that we a good night. John, the 3 dogs and I spent about 20 minutes out there that night and it was so quite and there was no cars. It was really nice. The neighbors probably didn't enjoy all the noise from the dogs and us talking though.. oops...

One group that really doesn't like the snow would be the chickens. In fact they really hate the snow. They don't want anything to do with it. They hide under the chicken coop all day. Although Lil Banti has decided to actually take up a corner in the chicken coop and lay on eggs. So who knows. we may end up with winter chicks.... and that I am not looking forward to. I don't even know how many eggs she is laying on. Lets hope its one and that its a hen not another rooster. Either way we are going to keep them but. I don't need to any more. I am going to have to enlarge the coop.

All summer I have felt bad and really wanted to move so the chickens would not have to stay in an enclose. Our chickens do live in a good sized enclosure attached to their coop. Under some trees with tree limbs to climb on and sit. They love sitting on there tree branches. But I have been telling John that I wanted to move to a bigger piece of land so they could be totally free. Then the other day after it had snowed. There was still snow all over the ground in there enclosure so they were still staying under there coop and under the roofed part of the enclosure. All of a sudden I heard a lot of noise and I seen them out the window landing in the snow having a cow...! so I put my boots on run outside expecting to find a dog. I walk out and I don't see anything and then out of nowhere a Hawk dives and runs straight into the side of the enclosure... Right under the coop. Just diving at the mesh like nothing was there. He did it three times and then landed on the top of the enclosure and stared at me like he was coming after me next. My parents live beside us so I ran next door not sure what to do about this hawk. By the time my dad and I walked back the hawk had left.!!! So right now at this point my chickens could have all been killed by this hawk... wow... Now I am rethinking taking them out of their enclosure... This hawk could have had everyone of them and the sheer speed this bird had was totally amazing! So now they probably really beyound hate the snow... Today they stayed int the coop most of the day.

Well the roads have finally cleared about 4 days after the snow. I love the snow but at the same time. It is crazy what a little snow can do. We only got about 8 to 10 inches. So we were the lucky part of the state. There was over 90,000 in WV w/o electric and some are still without electric today. 4 days later....Some of my family live in Beckley WV and they received over 2 feet. So... As much as I love to take pictures and watch the dogs play. I hope we don't get to much more winter. But we still have a few more months. So we will see.

O' yeah.. and all this cold weather brought on comfort food and 5 pounds.... Evil.... I tell you... Evil !

The Crockpot + 2 Simple Soups

I bought a Crockpot on Black Friday and I have to say I really like it. I won't say love. Because I think I like things a certain way. Like I wish it would heat a full pot to boiling or simmer quicker. If you want that to happen a Crockpot is not a good way to cook. But if you have at least 6 to 8 hours on high then its great. Plus with the longer cooking time on low heat the flavors have more time to come together. So in alot of recipes slow cooking is a great way. Plus heating it slowly and not simmering or boiling the entire cook time helps to hold in some of the vitamins that high levels of heat can destroy.

So here are 2 meals that I have tried. All are very simple & quick to throw together. But all take atleast 4 to 8 hours of cooking time in the Crock. I also throw in the quick instructions. You can also go to my other Blog and they are listed as individual entries for easier finding & printing. Plus I have been entering recipes & photos there long before I come and enter them here. So check it out! Leave me some feedback if you have time! I would love to hear from you!

Crock Pot Chili or A Quick Chili

Crock Pot Chili - 5 QT

3- 15oz Cans Chili Beans w/ liquid
2- 15oz Cans Chili Beans w/ liquid
2- 15oz Cans Mixed Beans w/ liquid
6 Carrots, Chopped
4 Stocks Celery, Chopped
2 -28oz cans Chopped Tomatoes (1 w/ liquid & 1 w/o)
2 Simply Organic Mild Chili Packets
1 Tbsp Chili powder
Paprika- Optional to taste

Put all the ingredients in the crock pot and set on High for 4 to 6 hours. Its done as soon as the carrots & celery ate tender & the flavors have combined.

Quick Pot chili

Same ingredients but add 1 onion. and 1/2 a small can or tomato paste.

Place chopped carrots, celery, & onion into pot w/ a small amount of oil. Cook till tender. About 10 minutes. Add Tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add all the other ingredients. Let cook on stove at a simmer for about 30 min- to 1 hour. Just long enough for the seasoning to grow and share its flavor. Then you are ready to eat!

Chili is even better the 2nd day. The flavors have time to come together some more and the sauce thickens a little more. It is so good!

  • You can also add pasta, rice, quinoa, barley, etc.If you do this make sure you don't let it cook for to long after wards.
  • Kale & other hearty green would be good to wilt in at the end as well.
  • You can also turn left overs into pot pie!
  • You can also pot ground flax in this recipe for some Omega-3
  • Or you could add some Vegetable puree like sweet potato or chunks of sweet potato to add to the nutrient spectrum.

Smoky Barley & Veggies - 4 ways, Crock Pot, Speedy, Bake, Pie

Crock Pot Smoky Barley & Veg Soup

This is almost basically a "rock" soup. Meaning you just throw in everything you have. This is a basic recipe. You can add or take out any of the veggies or barley. Add A little more paprika if you want a little more flavor. This will fit tight in a 5qt Crock pot.


1 Tbsp Oil
6 Carrots, Chopped
4 Celery, Chopped
1 Onion, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic
3 Potatoes, Chopped
1 Cup Corn, frozen or Canned
3 Cans Beans, Drained (I use Kidney & Black beans)
1 Cans Chopped Tomatoes
6 Cups Veg Broth
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Hot sauce ( add an extra if you like it hot, I use the smoky Tabasco)
3/4 Cup Pearled Barley
Salt & pepper to taste

You could also fold Kale into this soup.

Cook covered.

Heat Crock pot for 15 or 20 minutes. Put oil in bottom of Crock pot. Chop up all veggies and put them in the crock pot with the oil, paprika, corn, garlic, & bay leaves. Mix up well. Then add the drained beans Tomatoes, Veg Broth, & Hot sauce. Let cook on High for 4 to 6 hours. Add the barley 15 minutes before you are getting ready to eat. But even if you leave it cook longer the barley will hold up pretty good. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Quick Stove top Fix

Heat pot on stove. Add oil. Add all veg, garlic, paprika, & bay leaves. Let cook till veggies are tender. like 15 minutes. Add Everything else including the barley. Cook covered. Let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

All Done!

I like to take toasted bread & let it soak up some of the broth. It is very yummy!

Bake/ Pot Pie/ or Shepards Pie
You can also turn this into a cake. Follow instructions as listed above. Except just let veggies start to get tender. Don't let them get totally tender. You can add the barley or not. It you add the barley. Add an extra 3/4 Cup. Let in soak up all the liquid.. Put in oven and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Check doneness of veggies to know when it can come out. About 10 to 15 minutes before it comes out of the oven add the vegan cheese (such as daiya). Let it melt and slightly brown. Then it is ready.

  • You could also cook it like the pot pie below. Have everything done and stick in oven just to melt the cheese. But this won't caramelize the tomatoes and cheese on the sides. And that crunchy top is yummy.

  • You could also put biscuits on top to bake.

  • Or Mashed Potatoes like a Shepard's pie! Add a little Boca crumbles or other crumbled vegan meats.

Pot Pie
You could also turn this into a pie. Don't add all the broth & barley if you are going to do this. Only use like 2 to 3 cups broth. Cook till veggies are done. If the broth hasn't cooked down and thickened from the potato starch add some oil & flour mixture. Heat the oil like 20 sec in microwave. For every Tbsp of oil add a tbsp of flour. For every cup of liquid you want to thicken add 1 tbsp each. After this thickens put into pie crust. With a bottom and top crust. And bake till crust is browning.

  • If you are topping with crust, bread, or potatoes it is a good idea to take out the barley so that there are not as many carbs in the meal.

I will be back to add some links to some crust & biscuit recipe....

Johns 28th B-day

John turned 28 on Dec 20th and I made him a Vegan Red Velvet cake. He has been wanting once since we starting on our vegan journey but I kept telling him I would look into and just never got around it to. But this year he had mentioned it in advance and so I looked it up and looked up the sources or red dyes. So I made one. It turned out really yummy.

For the last year John has been telling me he was 28. And I kept thinking he must know its his b-day. But every time I added it up I would get 27. He didn't believe me. Finally a week before his B-day he went online to prove me wrong.. and guess what.. I was right.... Hahahaha..... So that is why on the cake it said. 28 again... 4 real this time... lol

He got a years subscription to Shooting Magazine. No he doesn't hunt don't worry. but he was in the military for 8 years and we go shooting ever so often. So he loves reading about new gun stuff. He also got 2 Wii games & a PS2 game. A razor knife of some sort, something else I can't remember, Socks, And Part of that 32' HD TV was his B-day. So he was happy.

After a made his cake I had left over batter so I made some donuts for his lunch.

He loves to be funny when I am taking

Christmas Parade

Every year there is a parade for Christmas in our small town. People from all around come to see it. It was pretty good this year. Wasn't as cold as normal and it wasn't raining this year. last year it was rainy, cold, and miserable. We always have a driveway full of people. The neighbors & my parents share a big drive way. So they always have people parked there. but since their daughter & me kinda married into the same family we get to see our there kids. And this year we had a surprise visit from their Aunt Cindy and her boys.

So enough said. Here are some pictures. Plus at the bottom I will give you my idea for the 2 parades that come through our town every year. Plus through other near by towns.

The lit up cement truck

With a bear falling out where the cement would come out. lol

This was people from the Church John used to go to. Not very decorative. They normally do a Crucifix.... Our nephews rode on it this year. They are 5,4, & 3.

Santa in a hammock under palm trees.. cute

Santa, Chey, & my Mom after the parade. He road in an airplane through the

Of course there was other people and cars i the parade. But these are the most note worthy out of the 68. Excluding the fire engines, queens, cop cars, etc....

John & I even decorated the house & yard with lights before the parade... Go us! :)

My idea. My dad just got my Grandfathers trailer hit thing. The things you pool behind the car. well next year I am thinking about doing a Veg Info float... thinking about it.. Not sure yet. But it is exciting to think about. So many ideas floating around in my head... :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Black Friday

For a third year in a row John and I went black Friday shopping. I love going it is a long boring wait for stuff but they have great prices and we would not be able to afford the bigger priced items if we didn't go. Some people may say I would never wait 3 or 4 hours for a tv or game or whatever. But if you can't afford it any other way its a great opportunity. Plus why spend more on something that you can get a hundred or more off on on Black Friday. Anyways..

We had an ok shopping day. I didn't get my hands on everything we went after but we did get a couple things.

Black Friday morning started off very slow. We had some heating issues and had to fix the heater. Then Johns stomach got really sick so we left about an hour past the time we was supposed to. So when we got to Walmart, which is basically our first stop every year, all the laptops I was looking at were already gone. So although I was sad I realized that I wasn't sure we could really afford one with the item John was getting for his upcoming birthday. So it was ok that they had sold out. I didn't end up with something yes I really wanted but I couldn't afford...

I also went to price match a few things at Walmart while John waited on his item. Which is again something I do every year as long as I am not stuck waiting on something. So I was going to price match a Bissel steam mop for 49.99 with Targets add but Walmart did not have them. Thats one thing I was really wanting.. Dang it. Maybe even more so then the Laptop. With all the animals it would have been nice to have a quick cleaner. There was some other stuff I wanted to price match that I didn't get either. But I did end up price matching 3 things:

#1 Nortans Anti- Virus w/ Anti Spyware. This items is normally $40 at walmart and I have never paid full price for an antivirus. Last year I picked up Norton's 360 for the same price. It was price matched with staples for $9.99. Office depot had Norton's 360 on sale for $9.99but I never got an add for them.

#2 Wii Ski. I have been wanting this game for a while and so I priced matched it to Best Buys pirice of $14.99. The game is normally $30.


Then we got the other things walmart had that we went for. Although I thought about purchasing a Cricut that I have really been wanting, I didn't. It was normally $300 and was on sale for $199.98. For the big one. I also thought about price matching the smaller personal cricut for $98. But I didn't because I wasn't sure if we really had the money to spend. But I do regret not picking one of the personal Cricuts up. But we did get:

#1 Johns 32" Emerson TV for $249.99. We paid for half and my parents paid for half for John B-day present.

#2 5qt Crock pot. $13

#3 14 Piece pyrex set $13

#4 Hamalton Beach Blender $13

#5 Wii Bowling $10- so not worth it....

Then we went to Target to try to get the mop and a sandwich maker but no such luck.
Then I stopped by Giant eagle to pick up 2 tofurkys to freeze. Then drove all the way from Morgantown to Clarksburg (about 45 min to a hours drive) to go to tractor supply co for a kennel for Roxie. They had kennels for 40% off. That is a great price. So the normal $99.99 kennel we purchased for $60! And this thing is huge! Not the biggest but the next size down.

Then we dropped by another walmart on the way home. We actually made it back in record time this year. But we didn't have to much money to spend so... I guess that could be the reason. But we still had fun.

We also got our first snow that morning. We had warnings out all week about the snow heading for us and did get some that morning although unless you went up on the mountains there was no accumulation. It was very pretty on the way home though. It wasn't so great when we was trying to load the car at Tractor supply and it was still like slushy rain falling pretty good and we had to rearrange the back seat to fit the big kennel box.

Good day over all though!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


This year was a little out of the ordinary. We try to eat the night before at my parents house. But for the last two years this has not happened. which makes me a little sad. But Mom seems to be in a hurry every year and John works the day before Thanksgiving so we don't get to eat till late. This year I cooked the tofurky to be ready around 6 or 7 and John never got home. So it sat till Midnight when he finally got home. He had called about 20 minutes before he made it home so I put it back in the oven to heat it up and made microwave veggies & stuffing. Which isn't ideal but I had told John we was eating Thanksgiving dinner that evening and I didn't want to disappoint him when he had worked so hard all day.

So we did have dinner and it was so good. The tofurky was so good that we ate almost the whole thing. I wished I would have bought two. So we could have cooked one on Thanksgiving.

John was supposed to work Thanksgiving but this year for a change they decided not to schedule most of the guys on Thanksgiving which was nice. We didn't know till the day before so we had already told everyone we wasn't coming to their dinners. o we got to spend our first Thanksgiving at home in the quite. Although I did some what miss visiting it was really nice to have the day alone with my husband. so we did take care of a couple things around the house and then vegged out and watched tv for the rest for the rest of the day. It was really nice.

So, What am I thankful for?
  • For having a husband that is wonderful, caring, loving, almost always understanding, there for me whenever I need him, & would do anything for us. He is the love of my life and I am so lucky and happy to have him in my life. He is my everything. We have such a wonderful relationship and we could never ask for more in a relationship. We have a wonderful friendship that I think is definitely the very strong base that is in our marriage. We talk about everything! We share everything. When its right its right and its wonderful!

  • For having so many wonderful animals to share our lives and the opportunity to be able to give them homes, love, and everything they need. We are truly blessed to know each and every one of them.

  • For our family & friends. Each and every person makes a difference in our lives and we love all of them very much.

There is so much more I could list but I will leave it at that.

Almond Breeze Brand Milk- Review & How to Make homemade almond milk

I have recently been collecting coupons and when I was at the grocery store stumbled upon 2 coupons for Almond Breeze which is made by Blue Diamond. It was already on sale for $2.99 and I used a .75 coupon that got doubled and a 1.00 off coupon. So I basically got the half gallon for .49 cents. Awesome right. They are also running a promotion right now for a printable .50 cent coupon on their website. Well I should have picked up a couple more because it is awesome! love the taste and texture so much. I have only put up with soy milk because I don't really like rice milk. But I never drink it straight and I really wasn't big on cereal with soy. But I still ate the cereal. But now I enjoy it! I even drink the almond milk straight! WOW... We have been missing out. It is a very smooth and creamy milk and just plain good. If you are used to drinking or using cow's milk this has a thicker quality like cows milk that soy milk doesn't have. I have only tried the original though. I will be trying the chocolate next time I go to the grocery store. I really can't wait to get some more. Ours only lasted a day! Definitely try this product! It is so very Yummy. I can't rate this high enough!

A while ago I was thinking about making almond milk. When I worked at a small Vegetarian owned store a few years ago. The owners made their own almond milk. But I never got to try it. I looked around a while back to price almonds and then decided it would be around the same price as just buying it made. Here it is normally around $4 for half a gallon that isn't organic. (Almond Breeze) I can make organic for around 3.50 to 4 dollars for 6 cups. So I have been thinking about trying to make it. It is very simple to make. There are tons of recipes online. Plus I love the fact that you can use the pulp for cookies, any thing with almonds or dry it and make almond flour. So you get a couple products not just the milk. So I do have some almonds for baking but I think I am going to soak some tonight and make some almond milk since we have already ran out. Can't wait to try it.

Almond milk instructions.
Basically you measure out 2 cups or 10oz of almonds and soak them over night. Then you drain them and put them in the blender with 6 cups of water. You blend it all together with a high speed blender. Some people like it plain others add some dates for a sweeter end product. After it has been blended you poor it through cheese cloth or something similar to remove the almond pulp. Then you have the milk. It will keep for 3-7 days. Then either freeze the almond pulp for cookies and such or dry it and make flour!all done.

I will post pictures and how it tastes or if it tastes similar to store bought almond milk later!