Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dehydrating Fruit

I don't know if you love dehydrated fruit (or any fruit for that matter) as much as I do. But it's even BETTER homemade. When you buy dehydrated fruit from the store, it has sulphur-dioxide added to it, which not only makes it taste not as fresh and sweet, but has dangerous side effects as many additives often do. The sulphur-dioxide makes the fruit look prettier -- it maintains its color and looks nice in a package (or even in your hand before it reaches your mouth for that matter). Once you've tasted the homemade kind, you will detect that bitter additive and long for fresh and chemical-free!

Health food stores (and probably other stores now that health foods are more widely sold) do sell dried fruit without sulphur-dioxide. So if you don't have a dehydrator to make your own, you're not out of luck. It's pretty pricey though, which may not matter because you just don't eat a whole tray in a day like I have today. :) You'll get less, but high quality less.

I bought a lug of apricots from a friend who sells wholesale fruit (apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples, and one other thing I can never remember) each summer. These fruits don't grow in our climate (well, the apples do, but the rest don't), so a truck delivers them to her door and we come pick them up that day. I bought the apricots this time and most were ripe enough yesterday to split in half and put on my dehydrator trays.

Dehydrating fruit has got to be the easiest way to preserve them. Well, I guess freezing isn't that hard either. Both are raw methods and keep the maximum nutrients (and enzymes -- don't forget those enzymes!) in tact. But canning -- as fun as it is -- is much more laborious and messy! Lots of steps there. Simplicity here.

My dehydrator is in my laundry room and each time I opened that laundry room door yesterday, I got this most wonderful whiff of warming apricots. Just loved it! I ate a few last night as they warmed -- like I imagine my grandpa might have had my grandmother warm on the stove to go with some Half & Half or something.

Then this morning I ran down after my workout and found them most of the way done. Crispy on the edges -- still a bit soft in the middle. I stopped peaches once last summer at this stage and as wonderful as they were to eat, they rotted after about a week. They didn't have enough moisture out of them. So I've continued to let them dry. And I've been eating and eating them all day long. I need to go drink a few quarts of water to equal out the fruit I've eaten! Notice 1/2 the apricots on that tray are gone? So are the ones on the tray beneath it? I can share some of that blame with my daughter, but most is due to me. Truly tasty!

I have some apricots left that weren't quite ripe enough. My daughter has been asking and asking for me to make fruit leather out of them instead. I think I will by blending them up with some apples. Should be tasty. I just love the tartness that comes with dehydrating fruit. Reminds me of all the candies I used to love as a child -- like SweeTarts or Spree. I imagine if I ate either of those now, I'd realize how artificial they are, but they were my early fling with sour (that and all the lemons that wrecked the enamel on my teeth! :))

I'll post my recipe for the fruit leather once I make it. I've made it before with frozen berries, peaches and mangoes too, but I've never written down what I did. Have to start doing that if I want to repeat my favorites. That's for sure.

I'm also in search of a good recipe for Swiss Chard so what I have in the fridge won't go bad. If I find something simple and great, I'll be sure to share. After all, it's been awhile since I've posted a raw recipe. TTFN!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Beachbody opportunity!

Right after I finished my workout this morning, the phone rang and the Caller ID said "Product Partners." My brain did a quick whirl and I thought, "Isn't that Beachbody?" (their business name) My husband does business from home, so I thought it may be some company for him that I was confusing it with, but I was pretty sure it was Beachbody. I figured it might be Anna.

I answered and it was a man telling me the e-mail he had for me wasn't going through (my old cable company got bought out and changed our e-mails -- grrr!) and could he get my new one so he could send one out about the June 21st infomercial. I asked if that was when a new one would air? No, he said, they were going to do more filming and needed us to come to Beachbody again? Another trip to Beachbody? June what?

When we were notified for our QVC trip, we had 4 days notice. Did they want us to go this week? Wait, June 21st was last week. So I questioned him on it and he said he meant July. Then I asked about the trip - -I hadn't heard about another trip down.

He was surprised I hadn't heard before, but filled me in that they're filming more for a new infomercial and want us 4 plus a few others to come. First they need some body shots and one face shot to see to make sure we haven't changed much since the last time we were there (1 1/2 years ago). My hair's a little longer and my body may be a little different. But I'll take some pictures and see what they think.

He said they wanted us 4 (me, Jocelyn, Monica, and Kali -- the cast members from Slim Series Express) to come down and do some more taping for a new infomercial. I actually don't know how I'd handle seeing myself on an Slim in 6 infomercial talking, but the process of filming last time was so much fun.

I loved the last trip and hope to get to do it again! I just called Jocelyn and she said she'd heard about it in April from Anna (she said the e-mail was to all 4 of us), but when she didn't hear anything and e-mailed Debbie about it in May, Debbie said the creative team changed their minds on filming more. So she thought it was over until she got an e-mail from Beachbody yesterday.

Hope it works out! All the more reason to eat raw and live well!

Edited to add that I'm going on the trip! It will be July 22nd-25th and I'm excited. I've been doing Slim Series workouts 5x week to get my body ready. I've also bought a few exercise tops to have for rehearsal and filming. They haven't said if they'll supply the workout clothes, but I'm thinking for that many people, they probably won't. Hopefully I'll get more details this week. TTFN!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Public Speaking

This morning I gave a talk in church. That's what we call a speech or sermon at church. I love speaking in front of everyone. Most people have a hard time with it, but it's something I've always loved. Usually they give me the topic to speak on, but this time I got to choose. I chose to talk about nutrition -- all in the context of our bodies being gifts from God that will work amazingly well if we feed them as He planned for us -- using his creations, the abundant plants upon the earth to feed our bodies.

There were probably 200 people there and I hoped not to scare them off with talking about something so personal. I was mindful of the overweight people when I walked in -- knowing what I'd be saying and hoping they didn't get offended.

I had many people come up to me afterwards and tell me they loved my talk -- that it was inspiring to them to eat better -- that they agreed with all I said. One friend told me she was going home to throw all the food out from her kitchen that wasn't healthy. Good for her!

I just wanted people to know that with our stewardships for our own bodies and essentially for the bodies of our children and husbands (if we cook for them), we need to wisen up to nutrition and really look at what we're eating and preparing in our homes.

I'd planned to tell them that they could call me or come over any time to talk about it more. 15 minutes isn't a lot of time to really get into the meat (pardon the pun :)) of the discussion on food. But my husband followed up well (he spoke after me). He said that this was probably my favorite thing to learn about and talk about -- and that I talk about it all the time at home. So perhaps if anyone does have questions or needs support, they'll know it's something I'm happy to help with. He also said it was the best talk I've ever given. How sweet is that? If you knew him and his minimal nature of giving out complements (and how critical he is about speeches -- not that he's mean in his judgments, just hard to impress), that would mean even more.

I wrote my talk up on WORD last night and could post it here. I just don't want to mix too much religion in with this blog -- not that I'm shy about sharing, just that this wasn't my intent for this blog. I'll have to think about that one. Until then, eat from the abundance of the earth and enjoy good health!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I just found a new raw food website called that has some playful information on it. I'd copy and paste it here, but they have a copyright on it.

They have a page -- Laughing for Health -- with some humorous takes on raw nutrition. I'm not sure how to find this webpage on its own -- I stumbled upon it while doing a Google Search last night. So you'll have to use this link to find it. Lest it doesn't have the fun fruit/veggie tale that I want to share with you at the top of the webpage forever, scroll down to the article called "Fruits and Vegetables" (written in green and purple) for a fun look at how we so readily medicate ourselves, yet miss out on the essentials. Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Time & Clotheslines

I'm so out of the loop with writing. Even after school ended, the graduations were over, the relatives had gone home, and I finally caught up with ALL THAT LAUNDRY (phew!), I wasn't ready to write again. I love writing, but that groove of the kids being in school is gone and I've been directing traffic here ever since. All but two of my children are gone tonight, so it's a little quiet and I have time to ponder a bit. What to write about? I'm really not sure.

I just looked out the window and even thought it's well after 8:00 at night, it's still light outside and it hums that summer sound. I just love summer days. The warm air seeps into my soul and makes me smile from the inside out. My very favorite thing to do in the summer is to hang clothes on the line. I used to do it for all of our clothes when we lived near Sacramento with hot, hot summers. We had a tiny 110 dryer that didn't took forever to dry our clothes, so I used the clothesline whenever I could.

Our two oldest girls were little then and would play in the yard while I hung the clothes. My husband bought a long railroad tie (big square-ish post if you're not familiar with the term) at a yard sale and put it on top of the two posts that held up the clothes line. He hung two swings from the post and the girls would swing while I hung the laundry. Sometimes it was so hot that the first clothes I hung would be dry by the time I finished hanging the last of the load.

Some young boys from down the road would run by with their soaker water guns, threatening to spray us. I'd throw them off by asking if they'd come spray my head -- just soak it like crazy to cool me off. It felt wonderful, just wonderful.

I just looked for a photo of that clothesline and found just one -- but it's way in the back right side of the picture -- hardly visible. And no clothes are on it. I must have been caught up! I don't even see the swings or the railroad tie. This looks like it was close to the time we moved away. Maybe we removed it before going, I don't know. But I still get that warmth from seeing that setting. This was when our oldest son was a baby -- 14 years ago. I'll keep looking for photos though. I was pretty positive I had a few of the girls swinging with clothes up above.

Back to hanging clothes, it's somehow as satisfying to me as getting a good fire going in the wood stove. I feel a connection with the earth as well as knowing I'm doing something productive (my brain yearns for that at all times -- call me crazy). And it's just a peaceful, pleasant thing to do. It's not quite as warm where we live now, but when that sun comes out, I run and put clothes on the line.

Our climate is generally cool and moist. In fact, one thing I have to really be mindful of when I use the clothesline is getting them off before the sun falls over the redwood trees. If the clothes are still there once the sun has gone down, chances are, the clothes are cool and moist -- sometimes even damp. There have been many times that I've just left the clothes on the line for another day to dry out again (hoping some deer with ticks doesn't brush by them during the night). There have been a few times that I've done this 2 or 3 days in a row -- mindless me!

This time of the year, though, it's warmer, sometimes even hot (today, I'm thinking we hit the 80s -- woo hoo!) and the clothes dry faster and I can use it multiple times. Very, very fun!

In light of gas prices, insane propane bills, and a search for other ways to perform our modern day tasks, I wish I could find other ways to do things by hand -- using the sun or other sources to help eliminate cost and fuel dependence. The wood stove helps a bit (when I can find wood at a decent price or use tree trimmings from our yard). I just need to find a way to get hot water w/o the propane -- $200 a month for that and a little cooking with the gas stove is just too much. I'll do some research and will let you know what I come up with. Until then, I'll be smiling in the sunshine while I hang my clothes! :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sorry for not writing!

It's been well over a week and I realize I haven't written. My oldest daughter is graduating from high school next Thursday and my oldest son is graduating from 8th grade the night before that. I volunteered to make scrapbook pages for each of the 8th grade graduates (there are only 8 of them, but multiply that by 3 pages each) to display at Graduation, plus I'm making an album for my son of all his school day photos from pre-K on up. (This was a tradition I started with my oldest daughter 4 years go -- a wonderful thing to make and have, but takes a lot of time away from everything else).

Sooooooooooooo, once I finish this up, I'll have to catch up on laundry and all that before my relatives come to visit. THEN, I'll start writing again (and the kids will be out of school for the summer, so I'll have to regulate the computer so I have computer time myself to do it!)

My exercise is going just great -- still doing my STS-like 14 week rotation with Cathe Friedrich for weights and either Cathe, Cardio Coach, or something else fun for cardio -- and yoga here and there. My eating is pretty good, but could definitely be better. I just don't have as much time for preparation as usual. Also, my head is a little scattered......but I'll get back with it soon -- yes, I will. I can't wait to write more regularly too. See you then!

P.S. (Last night was Senior Awards night at the high school and my daughter received more awards than anyone -- a total of 10 scholarships and other awards or recognition. She's done such an amazing job in school!)