Saturday, December 31, 2011

And now...what you've all been waiting for...

...Happy New Year!  =)

The great thing about another year is a new start. As I think about goals, I am reminded of the blessings I've received from the Lord - blessings of new friendships, new challenges, meaningful family time...the list could go on...

What are you going to do in 2012 that will make a difference in someone's life? Do you have a legacy to leave when your time on earth is done? Maybe I'm the only one who considers this at the beginning of each year. But it does make me think about my future...and my children's future.

There's a saying that sounds like this, "If you have no goals, you'll hit them every time." Hmmm. Something to think about isn't it?

There's a song I like to sing that goes like this:

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
His mercies never come to an end,
They are new every morning, new every morning,
Great is thy faithfulness, Oh, Lord,
Great is thy faithfulness."

It reminds me that we have a fresh day every single day! The mornings are new. We don't have to wait for January 1st every year to start over, reboot, refresh, or make new goals. We can do it every day. And what a true blessing that is. To know that we can make changes and start right where we are. We don't have to wait for the timing to be right, or be at the right place in life, or have the right resources/friends/car/house/you-name-it...We can do it anytime. And the great thing about that is, you can do it anywhere, anytime, with whatever you have/don't have, right now.

You, my friend, are irreplaceable and I can't wait to see what the Lord can do in your life! May this year be your best year ever. May tomorrow be better than today.

Blessings to you today. ~ Loretta

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Resolutions???

Where has the time gone? I was talking to my son today and we realized that people still have time to finish their 2011 New Year's resolutions. Not too much time, mind you, but consider it a head start for January.

I'm not one to put too much stock in resolutions, but it does get one thinking about good habits replacing old bad habits. Or getting one more thing done on your "life" list.

Two years ago, I wrote this post about broken resolutions. I hope that you take some time to think about being positive and maybe using this chance to be kind to another.

On another note: One of my hopes this year was to gain the chance to be slim (part one & part two). I have happy news...I not only had the chance, I took the opportunity to be responsible for my own health. The results so far have been good, but it will be saved for another post. Suffice it to say, I am happy that I've made a turn for the better.

I realize that support to get to goals is a must. No one can really, truly, do things alone. With God's help, my husband, children and others supportive of my goal, I am slowly able to believe that such a thing is possible.

Oh, and I didn't start in January with the idea to do anything spectacular this year. But I have a feeling that this year will be the best one yet! Stay tuned for a post soon to come! =)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Raw "Peanut" Sauce

I've been loving the recipes in Ani Phyo's book, "Ani's Raw Food Essentials". I think this book is a must for those of us who want to incorporate more raw foods into our diet. I'm not 100% raw, but you can't go wrong with more raw food in your diet. 

Here's a great savory recipe to try. And even if you put it on a base of something cooked, it's still got to be better than other dairy laden sauces out there. Definitely more interesting than tomato based sauces too. Add a little spice with this almond version of peanut sauce. I tweaked this recipe a little to include more almonds and less coconut oil than her original recipe. My version follows. 

Please feel free to change the amount of hot pepper to your liking. Remember the fat content of this recipe will definitely tone down most of the spiciness. So don't be afraid to put some in, taste and add more to get some zing. You might be surprised to find how much you can put in. I actually used a bit of dried cayenne pepper, since I didn't have any fresh jalapenos on hand. 

Raw "Peanut" Sauce

1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tablespoons (or less) Nama Shoyu (soy sauce)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon seeded, chopped jalapeno (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 water

Blend everything together in a blender until smooth.

Use this sauce for anything you would use peanut sauce with. Be creative. This is a nice, but rich sauce, so think of low calorie veggies for topping with this sauce. Suggestions: shredded cabbage, kelp noodles, sliced cucumbers, zucchini shreds. Thinned down with a bit of water, you can even use it as a salad dressing.

When I made this, I actually doubled it, since I wanted leftovers for a couple of meals. My family loved it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homemade Almond Butter

We enjoy almond butter instead of peanut butter these days. I like using raw nuts and seeds to make nut/seed butter. No roasting required. Good raw food.

I want to note here that it is harder to find true raw almonds. As many of you know, almonds are now routinely pasteurized in the US. This means that raw almonds are heated before they go to market and therefore are not truly raw. You may wish to seek out a health food store (or source online) that carries raw (versus pasteurized) almonds. They will cost more per pound, but they have all the life still in them.    

Making this recipe will generate some heat. If you prefer to make it on the cool side, thereby preserving all the enzymes and keeping it totally raw, then you'll need to be patient. Just process until you feel some warmth, but not too much. Stop the food processor and let it cool. After cooling, continue and repeat until smooth. This may take a few hours. You can do this over the course of the day, while doing other things.

To make 1 cup of almond butter:

Homemade Almond Butter

2 cups raw almonds
salt, to taste (optional)

Using a food processor with the "S" metal blade in, process the almonds for a few minutes until smooth. Every few minutes, you'll need to stop processing and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and continue. (A food processor works best, but a good blender can work in a pinch. A food processor is easier to clean, in my opinion, after making a nut butter.)

As a variation, you could add a (preferably raw) sweetener after the nut butter is smooth as a mix in. This will limit its use to sweet preparations though.

Look for a raw "peanut" sauce recipe coming soon that uses the (unsalted) basic recipe for almond butter.