Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembrance and Memoriam

It's gotten to the point where Memorial Day stands for BBQ's and the beginning of summer, instead of the day of remembrance that it should be.  I'm sure most Americans don't even know the history of the holiday, and for any American holiday for that matter, and that's very sad to me.  You shouldn't know more about celebrities than your own country...Just Sayin'....So anyways, I did the legwork for you and for those of you that care enough to read, here is the history of Memorial Day:

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

  • by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
  • by visiting memorials.
  • by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
  • by flying the 'POW/MIA Flag' as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).
  • by participating in a "National Moment of Remembrance": at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.
  • by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael wrote this in memoriam:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

And this is a really good day to remind people:
If you are interested in more info there are lots of sites, but I found this one and thought it most helpful!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Much Anticipated- CARROT CAKE MILKSHAKE!

Recently I stumbled upon C.C.K.'s blog where I have been re-inspired to enjoy all things dessert!  I obviously fell in love with her Raw and Vegan sweets recipes, that allow you to enjoy healthy treats that are almost too good to be true, and in particular, I fell hard for her recipe for a Carrot Cake Milkshake.  Carrot Cake is one of my top dessert faves, but A) it's not exactly healthy and B) it is kind of expensive to make if you make it from scratch as I do.  That's what makes this new recipe one of my top FAVES!

You've got to think outside the box to realize that this:

Can be condensed into this:

And not only that- but it can be made HEALTHY too!

My recipe isn't as light at C.C.K.'s, but I wanted stronger flavors.  Fear not though, because I cut some calories before I added others, so it probably evens out.  She had frozen banana instead of oatmeal, but I thought the oatmeal gave it a better texture and the cinnamon in the oatmeal helped out too.  I also added a dash of nutmeg and a bit of sweetener.  Just remember that you don't need a lot of sweetener and if you add more than a dash of nutmeg- it will overpower and that's all you end up tasting.  I found all this out for myself, because I made this 4 times before I called my recipe approved... I wanted to make sure I gave you the best recipe possible, aaaaannnnnd you're welcome!

Begin by gathering/preparing your ingredients:

  • 1/2 a packet of Cinnamon Oatmeal 
  • 2/3 cup almond milk 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 carrot
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp splenda
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 tbs coconut butter

 Find the recipe for the coconut butter here:

You can leave out the coconut butter, but I would at least add some fresh coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil or coconut extract.  Just stay away from over-processed-sweetened coconut because that detracts from the healthiness of the shake and adds "crap". 

I prepared the oatmeal first, while steaming the carrot.  I saved half the oatmeal for my next shake or dessert and then blended the other half with all of the indredients and ice.  Just add ice until it's a good milkshake consistency, pour into cute mason jars like these and you are ready for a blissful experience!

This recipe only serves one, but if you need more just double it.  I would however, be careful with the cinnamon and nutmeg, so as not to go overboard. 

Feel free to check out C.C.K's version and definitely check out her blog- you won't be disappointed!

Happy Memorial Weekend, Y'ALL!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Coconut Butter- You Know...Like Peanut Butter!

I CAN'T WAIT to give you the recipe for the Carrot Cake Milkshake, but first I must tell you about the Coconut Butter that I used as an ingredient!   That's right- I said Coconut Butter...Sounds divine right?  When I heard of it, I knew I just HAD to have it!  What's even better, is that it's pretty much the easiest thing EVER to make.

 If you've ever been to Whole Foods or some other Natural Foods Store, then you know that they have grinders to freshly grind your Peanut Butter and Almond Butter.  Very cool, I know.  But did you know that you could do it for yourself at home?  ALL YOU NEED is the nuts and a food processor! Your food processor works just like they're grinder and you can make as little or as much as you want!  What's even better is that you can make other butters, such as COCONUT-and I am obsessed enjoy all things coconut ;)

Now you could buy it in the store or online, but who wants to pay $16.99 for a 16 OZ jar like this:

OUCH! That's over $1/OZ! thanks.

Instead, pick up some fresh coconut or some Organic Unsweetened Coconut:

Dump it in your food processor:

and blend until it creams like peanut butter!  Seriously, that's it....and then you will end up with this:

That can be used in baking, drizzled over sweet potatoes, drizzled over desserts, as an awesome addition to smoothies and anything else your little hearts desire!

Doesn't that just look phenomenal??

But just to warn you- It's about 90 calories/tbs, so don't over do it.  They are very good calories, however, so don't write it off because of that...It's definitely worth it <3
There are two upcoming recipes that I used it on/in, so GET READY!! 
Happy Friday, Y'all!

Oh and PS~ I'm still having issues with Blogger and commenting, but I have written to Google, and hopefully they'll get back to me soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 Fact Tuesday/ Blogger is Being Lame Lately ;(

Is it just me or  are any of you having issues commenting?  Blogger isn't allowing me to comment back on any of my posts or on anyone's blog that doesn't send you to a comment form.  This has been going on for a few days, so I'm getting FRUSTRATED!  grrr....

So, instead of stalking and commenting on all of your lovely blogs as I would like to do, I'll post a quick "10 Fact Tuesday".

Today's facts will be coming from this lovely gem that I happened to pick up from the library:
The author, Cassandra Kent, compiled a very comprehensive collection of "How to's" for any home.  Some of them I was familiar with and some are going to be nice additions to making my life easier ;)

1) Most people know that if you use newspaper to clean windows and mirrors, you aren't left with the lint that paper towels leave, but did you know that the ink actually adds shine to the surface?  I thought that was pretty nifty.
2) When you end up with small pieces of bar soap leftover, you can cut a slit in a bath sponge and slip the soap inside to to use as a fun self-foaming sponge!
3) If you get a grease stain, place brown or blotting paper over the spot and then hold an iron to it to lift out the grease. The heat will pull it right into the paper. Got a grease stain on your paper or presentation for work/school? This will work for that too!
(On furniture you can also pour talcum powder on the grease and wait till it soaks it up.)
4) Boil white socks with slices of lemon to return them to pristine condition.  My friend Emily tried it, and she said that it works!
5) If you are at a hotel with no iron, place clothing items under your mattress over night, and your body weight will press it while you sleep.  All of you lazy motivationally challenged Bloggers will love that one ;)
6) For long-lasting buttons, dab the threads with clear nail polish and they'll hold a lot longer...I don't know about you, but I HATE losing buttons.
7) Rub an ordinary pencil over a zipper if its sticking.  The graphite will help it slide smoothly.  I do wonder, however, if it will get on your other clothes?
8) Give stainless steel pans a good shine by rubbing them with flour and remove heat marks with a scouring pad and lemon juice.
9) Rub vegetable oil into your hands to remove dried paint, then wipe them dry with a paper towel.  It works great and won’t dry your hands like turpentine.
10) If an old paint brush has become stiff from not being cleaned properly, simmer it in vinegar until it’s soft and scrape off the old paint.  That'll make it good as new!

Hope you found these intriguing/ informative!  I have som more, but i'll save them for a future post.  Gotta keep you coming back for more!

Can I also throw in a "YaY!" for Public Libraries?!  I love FREE books at my fingertips!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Easy, Savory, Dijon-Vinaigrette Salad

It takes two-minutes to throw together (if your eggs are pre- hard boiled like mine are because my husband LOVES them) and is so filling, yummy and savory!

Step 1:
Boil some eggs. 

 If you are not well versed in egg-boiling or just want to make it a no-brainer, then pick up one of those little beauts' and you will have eggs just the way YOU like them.  Personally, I like them every way, but one good option for this salad, to make it even lighter, is to scrape the yoke out and feed it to your husband or disposal to save yourself 50-100 calories, depending on how many eggs you use.
Step 2:
Once your eggs are cooked, pop two pieces of bacon in to cook.  I highly suggest this bacon:
And yes I know turkey bacon usually isn't that good, but this is tofu, so they have added a very nice flavor to it, and it has the perfect crunch!
(plus it's only 20 calories/slice!)

Step 3:
Clean some vibrant spinach, throw in some chopped onion (I prefer red), your sliced egg, the cripy bacon and whatever else strikes your fancy.

Step 4:
Spoon some Course-ground Dijon Mustard and add Red Wine Vinegar to taste (basically, just make sure it's all evenly coated)

And you'll end up with something like this:

How yummy does that look?  This is the simplest version, but I've also prepared it with shrimp (my fave), chicken, tofu, steak, etc....Throw in some pine nuts, seeds or even cranberries and you'll still come up with a fabulous salad!

Monday, May 23, 2011

D.I.Y. Signs- So Simple That We Forget...

Or at least I do...I don't know about you, but I'll see cute signs in a store and I'll tell myself, "I can make that myself!"  Why then, do I always forget to make them?  Well, except for this sign right here:

I think was inspired enough to make this one because I had only been married about six months and my new last name excited me...  I'm pretty proud to call him my husband and equally excited to have accepted his last name, albeit I was sad to lose my father's name, as he is my hero <3 It's funny how a name can truly mean so much...After having one last name my whole life- all of a sudden I had to get used to a new one, become part of a new family, while trying not to disconnect from my roots.

Unfortunately, I don't have as many picutres as I would like to share, but I simply want to share and inspire on this lovely bleh  Monday!

First off, pick up some supplies if you don't have them lying around.  Obviously, those supplies need to reflect the theme/color scheme that you are going for.  I had previously picked up a wooden board, such as this:

other supplies: paint brushes, paint- mixture of spray paint, craft paint and laquer if you so choose, craft glue, hot glue gun, ribbon, string or hemp to hang it, glue-able artifacts, butons, etc...

Day 1: I braided some hemp together and attached it to the back as my hanger (let dry as you begin painting), but you could also attach any old picture fram hangers.  Then I painted the background color-it may need 2 or 3 coats, so just give them ample time in between to ensure maximum dry time.
Day2: I hot-glued the border on and began painting the lettering.  The border is simply some decorative wire mesh that I found, but the skies the limit on what you would like to use! 
I free-handed the lettering, but feel free to pick up some stencils to make your life easier.  I also did 2 coats on the lettering and then added gold accent after all that had dried.

Day 3:  If you decide to make it shiny with laquer, this would be the day (after everything is dry of course). I didn't, so on this day I hot glued little vintage metal decorations (hearts and stars) around the edges, so that I couldn't see where the mesh border was glued on the board and I think it tied it all together nicely!

Again, this is how it all turned out:
-and originally, I hung it on the interior door of our old apartment-

-but now it looks great on our living room wall!

(and no, our Christmas decor is not still up-these are just old pics lol)

Hopefully, I will remember to make another one soon! ;)
Happy Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cancer- You Are NOT A Worthy Opponent!

At least not for my Lauren!!  

Some of you might remember a while ago that I posted about my friend Lauren who had cancer.  I dedicated a post to her and how to make "cooked" sushi HERE.  I am now happy to update you all and give you the good news that 95% of Lauren's cancer is GONE!!  There have been many wonderful people pulling for and praying for her recovery and it seems to have paid off...I just knew she could do it!

Thinking of Lauren reminded me that the first real vacation Will and I took was to see Lauren and family in New york!  They live in Staten Island, so we got to use the ferry.  A lot, actually.  While we were there, we saw the Rockettes, shopped, toured the city, ate yummy pizza (of course) and enjoyed catching up!

Rockefeller Center the day BEFORE the tree lighting...Lauren had talked me into coming to NY to see the tree lighting and failed to mention that you can't get anywhere near it during the lighting...She's so sneaky!  Too bad all she had to do was ask and of course we would come <3

How gorgeous is she?  She has been the life of the party her whole life, and she truly completed our trip. I can't imagine every going to New York without her, so I won't.

She has to be okay...we need her, and more importantly, this little nugget needs her.

2011 is gonna go down in history for us...Now I know that it's going to be a good year ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordish Wednesday- Dedicated to My Hero

Oh How I Love My Husband...Let Me Count The Ways...

I was a whiny, sad, cry baby this evening and he held me close, sent me upstairs to watch my shows, ate my failed dinner and offered to clean the kitchen.  It wasn't that dinner was bad. It was just that my heart was not in it and that disappointed me.  He assured me that it was more than edible and seemed to enjoy it enough, but I can't wait to make him the dinner he deserves....

He is my best friend...

My favorite date...

My partner in crime...

My provider...
(In oh so many ways)

My missing puzzle piece...

...And I just don't know what I would do without him in my life....

I am thankful for all that he is, all that he does and all that he well become.  He is my everything...

I added my very first button!

(You can find the actual button down on the right-hand side!)

It's sad that I don't really know what "adding a button" does, but I see everyone doing it, so it must be important...I think it means I'm supporting this blog and showing my love for it...Hopefully, I'm right?  I really need to catch up on "buttons" and "link parties".  I'm feeling left out, and who wants to be left out?  Don't judge me for my lack of knowledge- just teach me your ways!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Enjoy My "Eat Your Heart Out" Page ;)

If you look up at the tabs, you will find that I just added a tab titled: "Eat Your Heart Out" and I am EXTREMELY happy to introduce it to you!  It is in its infancy stage, but I hope that it will grow to inspire and intrigue.  I, myself, am inspired by food and hope that I can channel that through this page.  I am disheartened when people tell me they get frustrated with buying and cooking healthy, so I hope to impart some of my knowledge and show you that it can be much easier, cheaper and more fun than you could possibly imagine!

(Excuse the no-makeup, just woke-up look ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Check-In!

Not only have I been very busy with work, but I have been having issues with Blogger too...booooo.  I was frustrated and didn't have time to figure it out, so I just took a lil' break.  Will has been in the field all week, which did NOT help my situation, but- guess what? HE'S ON HIS WAY HOME!!

He was supposed to be home by 10pm this evening, but then I hadn't heard from him yet.  I happened to be on Facebook, and a picture popped up from one of his guys, saying that they had lost something and no one could leave till they found it.  I then sent Will a text that said "Which idiot lost what?", and he laughed that I had already found out what was going on (I swear I should be a spy ;).  The really funny part though, was that the radio that was "lost" was really in the supply room, where it was SUPPOSED TO BE.

Now that life will be getting back to normal, I hope to be cooking some new recipes and keeping up with using all the fresh, healthy foods that I have been enjoying.  I am sooo excited to make sweet potato pancakes, tofu french toast, coconut butter, veggie mac and stuffed zucchini...all sound amazing right?  I will be posting about them soon ;)  I also have some other recipes to update y'all on, so GET HUNGRY READY!

I will leave you with an old funny picture of my husband...It was at one of our BBQ'S in Virginia, and as usual he hurt himself by cutting his foot open.  This is me bandaging him up.  He should be a poster boy for Band-aid brand lol.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend! I'll be working, so make sure to enjoy it extra for ME.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Incline, Colorado Springs

Or at least our ATTEMPT at climbing The Incline ;)

To give you an idea, The Incline is a trail that runs straight up the steepest part of Pikes Peak, and as you climb up the railroad ties (placed like makeshift stairs), the air gets thinner, the sun gets more powerful and at points you practically have to continue on all fours....The slope actually reaches 50 degrees at one point. YIKES!
Doesn't look so bad right?

It says no tresspassing because they don't want the liability from how insane this gets... photo 227803_732156306065_2754729_n.jpg

We were feeling somewhat overzealous when we began and were disheartened when we had to take a break after only 20 minutes.  At least the view was encouraging...

We had to take LOTS of breaks.... photo 229243_732156475725_276782_n.jpg

Wanna know my claim to fame for the day?  I was in the LEAD the WHOLE time!!  I was with my hunky-Army-hoss and Taylor-the-personal-trainer, who both work out EVERY day, and lil ol' me (who is not normally physically inclined) was the front runner all the way up!  Will was the most surprised, if that tells you anything.  I love making him proud, even if it was only 'cuz I was in a hurry to get to the top to get it all over with....if you tell him I said that, I will DENY it!! ;)

my sexy man! photo 228108_732156844985_3172949_n.jpg

not even halfway up.... photo 215313_732156680315_7789525_n.jpg

All of a sudden, we were seeing nasty clouds, so we decided to cut the trip short and take the "bail out", which is halfway up.  If anyone asks, THE ONLY reason we went back to the bailout was the weather we saw coming. Honest. W were still proud we made it as far as we did and SUPER happy that we all made the decision to quit avoid the weather ;)

So happy to have celebrated our first year of marriage...Best year of my life!! photo 229798_732154060565_2299477_n.jpg

But don't forget, we still had a 2 mile trip down!  
It was leisurely compared to The Incline, but we were racing that weather, so we were keeping a healthy pace. We were literally getting PELTED with hail as we got in the car and this time I'm NOT exaggerating one bit!! Can you imagine if we had been on the mountain in a hail storm? Sheesh.

  Maybe next time we will make it to the top.  Maybe (not).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...