Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Do you have a hard time eating your vegetables?  Do you get so busy that some days you can't remember anything that you ate with your health in mind? 

Make yourself a smoothie.  Now I'm not talking about the smoothies that you buy at most locations.  I am talking about a fruit and veggie packed healthy explosion added to your diet.  S loves smoothies and juices, and has always been the driving force behind us drinking them and I have to admit the benefits they provide far outweigh the occasional "green" flavor he creates.  (Or earthy, as he calls it.)

Todays smoothie was spinach, banana, grapes, blueberries, and peaches.  The day is hardly begun and I already have beta-carotene, lutein, lipoic acid, vitamin C, potassium, tryptophan, pectin, and so many other great things in my body working hard for me.  And everything in that smoothie is good for me, there were no sugars added to counteract the benefits. Now I know that there is a lot of sugars in fruit.  But I believe that there is a huge difference between those naturally occurring sugars, and the sugars that are artificially added to foods.   But that's a topic for another day. There were no pre-processed powders with mystery ingredients, everything was designed specifically for my body to consume, and my body has had ages of practice breaking these foods down into the most useful components possible.

Now as I mentioned before, depending on your mixing choices you may have a more "green" tasting smoothie some days.  If you care a whole lot you can add fruit.  Or you can just focus on drinking it as fast as possible (my personal choice.)  But if my 11 month old daughter can drink her smoothie - I feel confident that you can do it too.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Homemade Yogurt

Ever since visiting E and L in Arizona I have been wanting to make some homemade yogurt.  While we were there L made VF some homemade yogurt that was delicious, and to be honest I had never considered the possibility of making yogurt at home. I mean, making yogurt involves special equipment - right?  It probably means getting milk at a certain stage of its processing - right?  No it was just milk.  Just slightly heated, slightly cultured milk.  L absolutely inspired me in wanting to do this at home. 
When L  made us yogurt she used a yogurt maker, so I started out shopping my options.  Turns out yogurt makers aren't all that expensive - however in my online research I came across this page - http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/ and decided to give it a try.  These instructions were straightforward and easy to follow,  and if you want to make some yogurt I do recommend using them.  What I will be writing below is pertaining to my experience and not as detailed as using the other site for instructions.  The plus to this site's directions that it is done without a yogurt maker which means that I wouldn't have to have any additional equipment to store.  This definitely made it worth trying before buying.  So yesterday I decided to jump right in and make my own yogurt.
First things first I pulled out all the items that the site said I needed.  A large soup pot, a small pot, a spoon, a thermometer, a cloth, a heating pad, and milk, yogurt (for the starter.)  The thermometer that I used was a candy thermometer that I already had.  Next I got the water bath started.  I boiled water in the large soup pot and used that to sanitize all my other items.  I also used it to sanitize the jar that I was eventually going to use to store the yogurt.  Then I used that storage container to measure out the milk so that I knew exactly how much yogurt I would be making.  Once everything was sanitized I set the smaller pot inside the larger pot and poured in the milk. 
 Now a water bath can be a bit of a pain, but it was one of the main reasons why I chose this set of instructions over others.  When L made the yogurt for us she mentioned that getting the milk to the correct temperature was the only tricky part of making yogurt.  Scalding and boiling the milk was the only place that you could really go wrong.  Using a water bath definitely made it easier to catch the milk at the right temperature.  I know for most people this wouldn't be a concern, but when I have a baby to tend to at the same time as making yogurt having a system work with me is definitely a plus.
Once the milk was at the right temperature I held it there for about 20 minutes, this was to help it be a thicker yogurt.  Doing this was a bit trickier than I expected.  The instructions seemed to show that just keeping it in the water bath would keep it the right temperature.  I found that it would get quite a bit warmer.  So I alternated between being in the pot and out, I am sure there are easier ways to do this.  After the proper time had elapsed I jumped it into the icy water, waited to reach the right temperature, and then added my culture.  I gave it a stir with the spoon, but as the yogurt going in was in a clump I wasn't sure just how vigorous to get.  A part of me wanted to use a whisk to be sure it was fully mixed, but I stuck to the spoon in case the additional air a whisk would add mattered.  I put it on the heating pad as instructed and waited.  Waiting can be a tricky thing for someone with as little patience as me.  I admit I opened it up a couple times to check the temperature, and every time it was as it should be, maybe next time I can trust it and leave it alone.  After 7 hours it looked just as one would expect, and just like the picture on the site.  Last night I was feeling very confident as I put it in its container and in the fridge. 
This morning what I found was perfect yogurt.  Delicious and tangy.  I think it tastes like Dannon yogurt.  This was great!  Once I get some fruit blended in there it will be super amazing.  Making my own yogurt is definitely the way I will be going in the future.  I would say it had 1 hour on hands work, and the product makes up for that easily.  I challenge you to give this a try and see just how rewarding it is to make your own yogurt.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Thigh Gap

Can we please take a moment and discuss this latest physical beauty obsession?  I am talking about the craze of needing a gap between your thighs - and not just a sliver but a full on up to your crotch gap?!  Ladies, please.

This is what comes of skinny jeans coming into fashion again.  I was against it from the start.  I knew that no good would come of it.  Mostly at the time I was against seeing people who should clearly not be wearing skinny jeans wearing them.  And  worse leggings came back and don't even get me started on the people stretching those out all over town.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not hating.  Just not all looks work for all people and its good to dress for what suits the body you have today instead of following every trend blindly.  But I digress.

Let me ask, what is the purpose of having a great thigh gap?  Is it to impress men? I don't think I have ever heard a couple guys talking about a ladies amazing thigh gap.  I have however heard them talk about a girls scrawny legs.   Ladies, guys are clueless about your body.  If your guy is pushing you to change your body in any way other than just encouraging you to be healthy he is a loser. 

V: What do you think about thigh gaps?
S: What is it?
V: The gap between a woman's thighs.
S: You mean a vagina?

Clearly the pressure for a thigh gap isn't coming from men.  So is it coming from other women?  Is this a self inflicted obsession rooted in body envy?  Do we see the thighs of other women and wish for the same?  What happened to self-love?  Why can't we appreciate the amazing things our bodies can do while at the same time loving the uniqueness of each one?  Shapely legs are the ones that show off womanly curves.  Legs with great thigh gaps look like the legs of teenage boys.  As a woman why not be proud of the things that make us a woman.  That extra layer of fat that makes your thighs touch is there for a reason.  If you become pregnant it is the first food your baby will receive.  Let's accept this as one of the amazing things about being a woman and embrace it.   Comparing ourselves to the random people we see only encourages feelings of isolation and depression.  Instead we should admire traits in others without feeling like our own traits are in any way deficient.  We are all different, and we are all beautiful.

Media will always be pushing an image at us.  Whether it wants us to have a thigh gap, abs, a size 0 body, all while eating the fast food and pizza's; or owning a huge house, with a  new car, and a four-wheeler or boat for recreation despite the low income job we work; we have to stay strong and be true to what we know is for our best.  We need to look at our bodies as the amazing machines they are and keep them healthy and strong.  We need to learn to disregard the disparities that the media shows us because the media is tricky beast.  With one hand it tells us to be dissatisfied with our lives and with the other it is selling a $19.95 solution to that dissatisfaction.  Stay strong and remember that you already have all the tools you need to succeed within you.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

On the Web Again

Guess who has internet again.  Go on.   Guess.


This means I will be able to jump on here all day long and tell the whole world about all of the exciting things that happen in my life.  For example I can post pictures of my meals.  I can share my fashion tips, my house keeping secrets, my workout  progress.  I can tell you about every little moment so that we can be the very bestest of buds!

Kidding.  You know I wouldn't do that to you.  I will try to be a bit more regular in my communications though.

Over and out!