Friday, March 30, 2012

Delicious and Healthy Smoothie Recipe!!!!!

This is a little bit of heaven in a glass. And sooooo good for you too!



Green Smoothie Girl's Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie

makes 1 quart

1 1/2 c. coconut liquid (a young Thai coconut is best, but canned coconut milk also works)
1/4  of a red beet
1 carrot
1/4 c. raw cashews
1/4 c. dates
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 frozen strawberries

Blend all the ingredients except the strawberries in a blender on medium speed. Then add in the strawberries and blend again.

Seriously. You have to try this smoothie.

Mormons and Meat, Dairy and Sugar

I'm at my grandparents' house doing laundry right now. My Grandma has a cookbook on the table that I guess she's been investigating. It's called The Worldwide Ward Cookbook and it's by Deanna Buxton. I opened it up hoping I'd find some rather exotic recipes from all over the world, but I was sorely disappointed. I didn't find much that was new and different for a ward cookbook- especially one from Utah- which means most of the recipes were high in meat, dairy, and sugar. (And most of the recipes came from Utahns or Americans living in foreign countries.)

I am still mystified as to why meat, dairy, and sugar are considered staples of a Mormon diet. It's obviously a cultural thing because the diet that our scriptures advise us to follow in Doctrine and Covenants Section 89 reads as summarized:
  •  This is a word of wisdom given by invitation and not by command or constraint. It is given because there are those in 1833 and in the future who would use misinformation about our health for their own gain.
  • Stay away from wine and other alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not ingest tobacco; use it for treating bruises and also in treating sick cattle, but in these capacities it should be used with judgement and skill.
  • Hot drinks (primarily coffee and tea in 1833, which were often ingested at near boiling temperatures to warm the body's vital energies) are not good for the stomach or other systems of the body.
  • Eat any and all the leafy greens that don't have poisonous properties and eat them in their season. Greens are for the nature and constitution of man. (Could this be interpreted as the most important part of our diet? Greens are the most nutrient dense food in the world...)
  • Eating meat is acceptable to the Lord, but should be eaten sparingly and is specifically for times of hunger, cold and famine. It is pleasing to the Lord that flesh of beasts not be used at all.
  • Eat any and all grains. They are given to be the staff (support) of the diet of men and animals. However, wheat is most recommended for humans, while other grains are better for other animals- which, again, are supposed to be eaten sparingly. (Note, this was long before genetically modified grains caused allergic reactions and most wheat didn't sit for long periods of time on store shelves and develop fungus.)
  • Eat fruits and vegetables. (This includes nuts and seeds, by definition.)
  • Everyone who does these things will be healthy and avoid disease (a.k.a "the destroying angel").
If this sounds unfamiliar to you other Latter Day Saints out there, I challenge you to go open D&C 89 and read it. This is exactly what it says. But most Sunday School and Seminary lessons dance around everything after the "no alcohol-no-tobacco-no-coffee/tea" parts because it's very uncomfortable to address the fact that most Mormons are not observing the "do's" of the Word of Wisdom. The average Utah Mormon's diet is largely meat, dairy, and sugar. Why, I don't know.

Maybe we Relief Society sisters should have a cookbook rebellion. Maybe we should put out a cookbook full of delicious recipes that won't contribute to heart disease and diabetes (a.k.a. "the destroying angel"). I'd put my black bean brownies in the dessert section.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    Date Tantrums

    Duckling is not the perfect child, nor am I the perfect parent. He does get fussy from time to time when he wants a treat. I'm told that his tantrums are nothing compared to what other kids throw, but the funny part is the treats he wants. He gets fussy for "nanas" (bananas), "at'ns" (apples), "nangos" (mangos), and the latest favorite is dates.

    Today we were at the grocery store with Grandma and I heard the cry of "DATE!" reverberate throughout the supermarket.

    Yup. That's my kid; the one yelling for dates.

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Black Bean Brownies

    The Practical Rabbit's Black Bean Brownies


    1 c. dry black beans
    3 Tbsp. flaxseeds+ 6 Tbsp. water
    3 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
    1/2 c. non-alkilized cocoa/ cacao powder or carob powder
    1 c. honey or raw agave
    1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    1 tsp. mint extract (optional)
    1/4 c. walnuts or pecans
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt

    24 hours before you want your brownies to be ready, start soaking your black beans in water. The beans will double in size over the soaking time, so don't skimp on the soaking water. If over the soaking day your beans soak up a lot of the water, add more to keep them covered. When you're ready to make the brownies, drain your beans and rinse them in a strainer, then put them in a pot filled with four cups of water. Turn the heat on high and heat the beans to boiling, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the beans are tender and can be pierced with the tines of a fork (about twenty to thirty minutes). Once the beans are done, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and add all of the ingredients into a high power blender and blend until everything is smooth. (About speed 2 or 3 on a Blendtec). If you're having trouble blending the mixture, add a little more water. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13" pan, throw it all in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Once the brownies are out, wait for them to cool. If you have any brownies left over, store them in the fridge. These brownies actually taste best when they have sat in the fridge over night, but I have a hard time leaving them alone that long.

    Public Service Announcement

    Dear Male BYU Student Who Has Planned A Date Of Hiking To Stewart Falls:

    I think I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "A hike up to a waterfall sounds really cool!" Perhaps you're hoping that the stunning view will help when you make your move to put your arm around your prospective sweetie pie. Perhaps you're thinking it sounds more fun than a movie and ice cream. Perhaps you're thinking it sounds cheaper than dinner and a movie. But what I know you are thinking is, "Hey, the weather is nice down here in the valley, so it will be great up in the mountains!"

    I see your type every time I hike Stewart Falls with my husband and baby (all of us attired in snow clothes). But your type is especially noticeable in the spring. I see you hiking in shorts and running shoes in thigh deep snow while your date (also attired in shorts and running shoes) follows along, shivering and miserable, armed only with a water bottle and hoodie. I'm sure you're aware that Stewart Falls is by Sundance and that Sundance is a ski resort and that ski resorts mean SNOW. On the other hand, many of you are from warm climates like California or Nevada and may not be aware that sometimes ski season doesn't end until July here. But that is why Aspen Grove and Sundance post weather conditions. Take note that the snow doesn't melt up until June; May at the earliest. Also take note that when the sun goes down, the temperature drops outside. So planning to start your ultra-romantic hike to Stewart Falls at 7:30 pm is not a wise idea- especially when your date is wearing shorts and a hoodie. Remember that the three criteria for a date are that it must be planned, paid for, and paired off. So PLAN and look up the weather conditions. Because I can almost guarantee, if you don't plan out your first date to Stewart Falls, it is unlikely that you will have a second one.

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    The Self Acceptance Experiment

    The other day Malamute and I watched a new documentary on the food and diet industry vs. whole foods called Hungry For Change. I really can't recommend this film highly enough. Please drop whatever you're doing right now and go watch it. (They are doing a free worldwide premier until the 31st. You can register for instant access and watch it online.) One of the great things they did with this documentary was to delve into the emotional issues behind eating. This gave me real pause because I have been working on my emotional issues and negative thinking. Dr. Christiane Northrup (one of the most respected OB-GYN's in the country) came on and started talking about issues with self-acceptance and how they start impacting our health. She said she has a prescription she gives to her patients. She tells them to say the following out loud, in front of a mirror, twice a day for thirty days: "I accept myself for who I am today."

    She says that when you first start doing this, all the negative things you tell yourself will start bubbling up after you say that you accept yourself. She says that's OK. Just keep doing it for the whole thirty days.

    So.

    I have embarked on this experiment. I am on day 2. So far, I've actually been feeling pretty good. I've been making a big effort to focus on positive things as well, and I think that's helping. But for the first time in my life, I'm beginning to feel like there are some good things about me. The thing I like the most about myself right now is that I'm excited to go on long hikes and try out backpacking with Malamute. I'm adventurous. So over the next thirty days, I am going to be devoting a few blog posts to how The Self Acceptance Experiment is working.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    If I Ran BYU...

     I teach correct principles and let them govern themselves.- Joseph Smith Jr.

    I went to BYU for three and a half years and in that time (and since) I've learned a few things about the inefficiencies of my alma mater. Now, owing to the fact that BYU fans consider everything about the school to be divinely mandated, this post will sound downright blasphemous to a lot of folks. Nevertheless, this is my blog, so I am going to say what I think.

    Things I Would Change About BYU:

    • The Honor Code Office-  I would do away with it entirely. The cutesy angels singing "That's against the Honor Code" at freshman orientation, the people yelling at you to "Honor your valentine this Valentine's Day!", the ecclesiastical endorsements, they don't make one bit of a difference to those who are carnally minded.  If someone messes up, have the bishop report it to Academics and they can take whatever action is needed. We don't need a separate entity governing worthiness.
    • The "Hurry up and get married!" attitude- It's pretty clear that the BYU administration fears students' sexuality and is under the impression that if we would all just get married, we'd stop lusting. As a single student the message I got over and over again from some religion teachers and bishops, not to mention the entire Honor Code Office was, "We know you single people want to have sex and breaking the law of chastity is all you think about, but for the love of Pete, hurry up and get married and then you can have sex and will no longer be plagued by lust!" I can't tell you how strongly I disagree with this sentiment because a) It comes from a perspective of normalizing sin and negates personal responsibility and b) It gives singles the impression that marriage is all about sex. It's not. Marriage is about building a life and a family together and sex is part of that, but not the whole story. We do YSA's and youth a disservice when we tell them that we expect them to think and act lustfully and that marriage will solve the problem. You can't stop people from feeling and thinking about sex and marriage this way, but BYU needs to stop promoting this attitude in its activities and advertising and encourage its employees and bishops to do likewise in their interactions with students.
    • Academic suspension for moral infractions- Believe it or not, this ends up being counter-productive. Many people don't tell their bishop when they've messed up because they don't want to be stopped from making progress in school. After I graduated, I met a guy who (looking back) had a really serious sex addiction. He had had problems as a kid and teen, but one very busy summer he committed just about every sexual sin you can imagine and was terrified of being suspended. When it came time for ecclesiastical endorsements, he rationalized everything away except having full intercourse with a woman he met online. (While engaged, no less.) To deal with that he told his bishop that it really wasn't his fault because even though he was 6 feet tall and worked out at the gym regularly, the girl forced herself on him and he hadn't been able to stop her. The bishop saw what a nice looking, clean cut returned missionary the student was and sympathetically signed the endorsement so the RM could finish school without those nasty sins mucking up the timeline. In contrast, a really sweet girl in my ward got pregnant by her boyfriend. They decided they wanted to make home for their baby and got married and started working with their bishop to get sealed. They got kicked out. The environment BYU is creating is one where people who hide their sins are rewarded and those who repent are punished. What should happen instead is that the student initially goes on probation and must meet with an academic counselor, bishop, and psychologist down at Women's Services throughout the semester. If adequate progress is being made, all three can sign off on the student returning to good standing, if not, suspension or expulsion could be considered. Obviously, serious infractions of the law could be grounds for immediate dismissal.
    • Those once a semester talks from the bishop on chastity- If you think an extra chastity talk is going to stop people who believe they can't control their sexual urges from messing up, you're dreaming. See item #2 on my list.
    • Married students as singles ward bishopric 2nd counselors- I don't know if they're still doing this and I hope not. Nothing made me feel more like I was a sub-par member of the Church because I was single than this. I know the message was supposed to be, "We care and want you to know that we understand your unique circumstances as a student." But what it came across as was, "If you were more righteous like Sally, you'd be the wife of a second counselor at 21. What's wrong with you?"
    • BYU approved housing- Housing single students in separate buildings will not stop them from having sex. Living in the same building as a member of the opposite sex does not cause un-chastity. Entertaining lustful thoughts and desires causes un-chastity.
    • Casual dress code- I really think this would make a HUGE difference in the entire attitude on campus. I think BYU should institute a "by invitation" business casual dress code. Such a dress code would be defined by what to wear, rather than what not to wear. Appropriate items of clothing for ladies would be pantsuits, slacks, skirts that are knee-length or longer, blazers, sweaters, blouses, and button-up shirts. Gentlemen could wear slacks, button up shirts, blazers, jackets, sweaters, vests, and suits. Ties would be optional. Dress socks or nylons and close-toed shoes would complete the recommended ensemble. BYU-Idaho isn't supposed to be as academically rigorous as BYU, but they have a dress code that prohibits flip-flops and overalls. Heck, the professors have to dress up, why shouldn't the students? I think there would be a lot more respect between the professors and the students and amongst the students themselves. I think people would take their studies a lot more seriously with this sort of an invitational dress code. And I think having it be invitational would increase compliance. And with all of these professional looking students, I think we would no longer need...
    • The prohibition on beards- The times they are a-changin' and facial hair is becoming a lot more accepted in the outside world. As long as the beard is well-groomed, it shouldn't be an issue. I agree with the shave policy for missionaries because they are front and center as representatives of the Church and actively proselyting. But I don't see why having clean shaven men lounging around campus in sweats and flip-flops is superior to having well-dressed men with well-kept beards. (Oh and BTW, remember the philandering student from above? He felt beards were a serious sin and would frequently point to his clean shaven look as proof that he was among the faithful.)
    • No garden space- "The prophet said to plant a garden..." and that's what we should do. A campus garden would be a great way to encourage self-sufficiency and healthy eating amongst the student body. It would also provide a pleasant place to hang out.
    So there you have it. If I ran BYU, that's what it would be like.

      Wednesday, March 14, 2012

      My Favorite Things (a.k.a "What Do You People Eat?")

      Sorry, those of you who were hoping this would be something like Oprah's Favorite Things. There's no free stuff. Mostly because the things I'm going to list here are easily obtained at your local health food store. Some of our favorite treats:

      Artistic Malamute
      • Homemade sourdough bread, especially part rye flour loaves and especially loaves that have fermented in a summertime garage.
      • Raw chocolate mousse
      • Chocolate Hazelnut Coconut Bliss. This is the only brand of ice cream we eat. It is that good. And the ingredients are wholesome too- a rare combination.
      • Raw chocolate wafers. Soak a bunch of fruit and nuts overnight, blend it up with some honey or agave and chocolate powder and dehydrate for several hours.
      • Braeburn apples
      • Bosc pears
      • Chickpeas and Broccoli Over Rice (Malamute calls it "Chick Rice"). Soaked and cooked chickpeas tossed with sauteed onions and garlic, steamed broccoli and toasted almonds and served over rice, seasoned with Himalayan salt, lemon juice and first cold-press olive oil. I think Malamute would eat this every day if I made it.
      • Roasted veggies with quinoa and spices. Slice up some beets, sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots, coat with with a small amount of olive oil, Himalayan salt, cinnamon, cumin, and chili powder and shove it all in the oven to roast for a while. About halfway through, I shove in some soaked quinoa- the more the better as far as Malamute is concerned.
      • Young Thai Coconuts.
      • Cherry Chia Seed GT's Synergy Kombucha.  Kombucha is a delightful fermented (non-alcoholic) drink that has probiotics, B vitamins, and electrolytes. Malamute LOVES the chia seeds.
      • "Old School PB & J" Pro Bars.
      • Homemade raw red cabbage sauerkraut. A probiotic food, not the nasty vinegar stuff you find in the grocery store.
      • Medjool dates
      • Pistachios
      • Organic peaches
      Determined Duckling
      • See above. He and Daddy are pretty much two peas in a pod. Except for things like "Chick Rice" and roasted veggies and quinoa, which he doesn't have enough teeth for, though he makes many noble attempts. Homemade raw red cabbage sauerkraut used to be Duckling's favorite food, and then I started making Raw Chocolate Mousse. That is now is his favorite food.
      • Chia seed and mango GT's Synergy Kombucha. These are the only ones that Duckling likes, but they are also the mildest without much fizz.
      • Mommy milk.
      • Pro Bars of any flavor.
      • Avocados and bananas in any shape or form.
      • Papaya
      Practical Rabbit
      • KALE CHIPS. I love kale chips. I didn't get around to making kale chips over the weekend and I started getting so desperate, I told Malamute I might go hold up a health foods store just to get a little, tiny package.  I use sunflower seeds instead of nutritional yeast in mine and I chop up the kale into little pieces instead of doing big, whole leaves. One day, my MIL was watching a cooking show and the host started making kale chips in the oven on lowest heat, so I guess they're fashionable now. Be sophisticated like me and eat kale chips.
      • Chunks of energy- the soy free, dairy free ones. Carob banana and cacao goji berry are my favorites.
      • Apple cinnamon Crunch Pro Bars
      • Organic peaches
      • Organic blueberries
      • Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies. The recipe is coming soon. Really, I promise this time.
      • Chocolate Mint Galactica Coconut Bliss
      • GT's Synergy Kombucha in any of the Botanic flavors
      • Whole Foods trail mixes. These are my guilty pleasure and I don't do them very often because they contain evaporated cane sugar, organic chocolate chips, and canola oil. But they are tasty.

      Monday, March 12, 2012

      The "Wrongful Birth" Lawsuit

      The media is a-buzz with the latest "can-you-believe-it?!" lawsuit. Ariel and Deborah Levy of Portland, Oregon sued Legacy Health System because their doctor botched a test for Down's Syndrome and told them the girl was "normal" when she actually had Down's. The couple say they would have terminated the little girl if they had known, but because the doctor messed up, they are now supposedly saddled with the enormous and expensive burden of caring for the child and not by their own choosing. The Levys sued for $7 million dollars to cover the lifetime expenses of care for their daughter and have been awarded $2.9 million. Besides the fact that I find termination of a pregnancy because of a birth defect morally repugnant to me personally, there are a couple of other problems I have with this case:

      • I have seen plenty of articles bemoaning how some people (like the Levys) simply can't afford to take care of a special needs child. I know from personal experience that where there's a will, there's a way. I've heard of people who take out second mortgages, get second jobs, churches that hold fundraisers, whatever they have to do to pay for treatment of their kid. Furthermore, the Levys' daughter is probably receiving Supplemental Security Income payments from Social Security and is probably on Medicaid because of her disability. In fact, the Levys' daughter probably would have gotten money more quickly than some other disabled kids since Down's Syndrome qualifies for immediate payments. And if your child qualifies for SSI, they qualify for Medicaid too.
      • But not everyone wants to raise a special needs child. And because of the doctor's negligence, the Levys were not afforded that option, wails the media. Well, nothing was stopping them from placing the little girl for adoption- except maybe their own fears that family and friends would think less of them. But if they choose to value others' opinions over their own feelings and desires, that's no one's fault but their own. People can and do place special needs kids for adoption and other people can and do adopt them. The doctor screwed up royally- there's no denying that and for damages relating to the actual birth of the child and emotional distress the couple should sue for negligence. But it isn't the doctor's or the hospital's fault that they decided to keep the baby and there by become financially responsible for her.
      If you want to really feel sorry for someone who is having financial troubles supporting a special needs child, take a look at parents of autistic kids or kids with a "mystery" syndrome.  Parents of autistic kids are often on long wait lists for Medicaid waivers and some waivers only cover severe autism. They may or may not qualify for SSI. And if you can't get a diagnosis, it's even more difficult to get help.

      This is a question of personal responsibility on the part of the Levys. If they don't want to raise their daughter, fine. Place her for adoption. If they want to raise her, fine. Suck it up and embrace the challenges. But don't expect those of us who are successfully raising a special needs child without a $2.9 million lawsuit to feel sorry for you.

      Thursday, March 8, 2012

      "I Can't Afford To Eat Healthy!"

      I hear people say this from time to time and I totally understand where they are coming from. I usually try to say something encouraging, but non-judgemental like, "It's hard, but it's totally worth it!"

      But the real question is, "Is it too expensive?" Can you afford to eat unhealthily?

      First there are the long term effects, like diabetes and heart disease. Then there's cancer on top of that. People who eat several servings of processed meat per week (hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, pepperoni, etc.) have the highest incidence of colon cancer. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and kale go a long way to preventing breast cancer. (This October, forgo the pink ribbons and go green- or white in the case of cauliflower. Actually, you can go yellow or purple as well since there are yellow and purple cauliflowers too. But I digress.) Monosodium glutamate is a food additive found in most processed foods (Top Ramen, Doritos, etc.) and fast foods (Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, etc.) and has been shown to be a neurotoxin. Genetically modified foods have been linked to the rise in food allergies. At some point, we are all going to have to pay the piper. When we're faced with serious and debilitating health problems will "saving" money on groceries be a comfort? That's a question we all have to answer for ourselves.

      But there are short term risks as well. I know this intimately because Malamute has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis and multiple food sensitivities. We have noticed a very strong correlation between what he eats and how he feels, which in turn affects how productive and happy he is. Dairy, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, citrus, and commercial yeast have all been problems for him. When he has these foods, his energy drops and he becomes massively tired, depressed and irritable. Productivity and happiness go out the window. When I have flour that isn't freshly ground- even if it is whole wheat- I get crazy. I become more anxious and depressed than usual. You can't put a price on the happiness and the energy that come from eating well.

      For us, we just make it a priority because there is no way we are going to survive as a family if we don't take care of ourselves. It's that crucial. And some how, the money has always been there for us to buy fresh, whole foods. It's like the law of tithing. The staple of my mom's cooking repertoire when I was growing up was hamburger and she said that we couldn't afford anything else. But you can get a bag of beans or lentils for a couple of dollars or a few pounds of sweet potatoes for a couple more and that will give you multiple meals and more nutritional value. It's fun when my dad comes by and samples some of my vegan cooking and likes it. But he was never too crazy about my mom's hamburger dishes to begin with either.

      I've been reading a lot of success books lately and every one of them say, "Don't wait to be happy. Don't wait to pursue your goals and dreams. Do it now, because some day will never come otherwise." And that is how I feel about healthy eating. Don't wait for some day. Do it now. You can't afford not to.

      Wednesday, March 7, 2012

      Perspectives on the Economy

      "I have lived through a real recession. A lot of my current clients and coaching members and and a lot of readers of this book have not. I know what it is like. You may not. I just about started out in business in the Jimmy Carter economy. Carter single-handedly did more economic damage at a faster pace than any president in history. In short order, he had us with a nasty trifecta ticket in hand: 18% inflation, 18% interest, and 18% unemployment. Plus gas lines."- Dan S. Kennedy

      In 2007, a Gallup poll reported that 92% of Americans were experiencing angst or depression over the state of the economy. The very same month of that poll, Rush Limbaugh (whom I am not a fan of, but we'll examine his thoughts for the sake of argument) sent out newsletter with what he said were facts about the economy. Like:
      • The GDP grew 3.9% in the third quarter, faster than expected.
      • Productivity grew 4.9% in the third quarter, the fastest pace in four years.
      • Since January, 1.25 million non-farm jobs had been created, totaling 8.4 million new jobs added since the Bush tax cuts.
      • The GDP was up 18.5%
      • The deficit had fallen to just 1.2% of the GDP
      On the other hand, people are losing their houses.

      A relative of mine worked for a company that was granting mortgages during the housing boom and they skipped credit checks. Politicians told us that it was every American's right to "own" a home. (When you have a mortgage on a home, you don't own it, the bank does. This can be a very good arrangement for you and the bank if you are prudent about the process. But it can get you into a lot of trouble if you're not using good judgement.) Some people were financing homes that cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars with very little money down.

      So this begs the question, if we believe it is our right to get something for nothing, is there something wrong with the economy or with us?

      Today I am thankful for warm clothes.

      Monday, March 5, 2012

      Cooking With Dry Beans

      Have you ever walked down the legume aisle in the grocery store, seen the bags of dried beans next to the canned ones, and wondered, "Who cooks with dried beans any more? That has to be really complicated and time consuming"?

      I used to do that all the time. Until I figured out how to cook with dried beans.

      I actually really like using dried beans- even more than canned. Dried beans have a different energy about them. They are fresher and don't have all the issues of absorbing metal from cans. There is something about a bowl of beans soaking on the counter, being readied for tonight's dinner that just feels so wholesome and natural. Alright, I'm starting to wax ridiculously poetic here, so I'll cut to the chase.

      I burned a lot of beans trying to figure out how to cook them. The trick is to plan ahead a little and get your lovely legumes soaking 24 hours before you plan to use them. That way they will be nice and soft when it comes time to cook them and it will only take about 20-30 minutes of cooking for them to be ready to use. I start mine off cooking on high and when the water reaches a rapid boil, I decrease the heat to medium and cook them until they are easily pierced with the tine of a fork. If you're doing a crock pot soup, you can probably just toss the soaked beans in as is. Soaked beans that have been slow-cooked for 6 hours are very nice and tender.

      For those of you stock piling for food storage, take note that dry beans last a lot longer than canned ones. And bags of them are a whole lighter than cans.

      So now that you have your beans soaking, what are you going to do with them? The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas:

      Jazzman Jamabalaya- I'm making this tonight without the tomatoes (Malamute has a tomato sensitivity) and using Bragg's Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce.


      Easy Crock Pot Black Bean Soup- This is a Sunday favorite for us, served with sourdough bread of course.


      Black Bean Brownies- recipe coming soon! This is my favorite dessert!

      Today I am thankful that blueberries have been on sale.

      Perspectives on Worrying

      Last night, Malamute was reading to me from Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. One of the short accounts in the book came from a man who had felt extremely burdened at one point in his life and wrote down all of his worries. He put the list away and forgot about it until he was moving his things to a new office a year later. When he took out the list, he found that every one of his worries had either solved itself through his work and the grace of God or hadn't come to pass at all.

      I used to worry about a lot of things in high school. I worried about what people thought of me, whether the utilities would get turned on again when my parents caught up on their bill, whether I would pass an audition into a certain group, etc. When I was in college I worried about having enough money, about whether my parents would get me their tax information so I could apply for financial aid, how I would do in my classes, what my professors thought of me, and the list goes on and on. And you know what? All of those problems either solved themselves through my work and the grace of God or didn't come to pass at all. But I wasted a lot of time and effort making myself miserable.

      So what if the things I've been worrying about lately are the same way? What if I'm just wasting time and effort making myself miserable? History shows that that is probably the case.

      Today I am thankful for books on success and positive thinking.

      Thursday, March 1, 2012

      Black Priesthood Holders In The Old Testament

      Did you know that there were black priesthood holders in the Old Testament? Phinehas was bi-racial and was the third high priest in Israel. I highly recommend reading this presentation given at the 2005 FAIR conference. It is titled Blacks in the Bible and was written by Darius Gray. Totally awesome and sooooo interesting!