I know I should blog more, one of the many things I wish I had done at the end of the day. I just feel more clarity when I journal.

This week is all about change. The kids started school today. I start school Thursday. I'm grateful for the two day delay, there have been a few bumps in the road for the kids today and I'm glad I was here. I can't say I'm nervous about heading back to school myself, the feeling is more relief. I've felt a need to do this for some awhile, now the timing is right.

I cooked all morning. I'm using the term loosely, since all of what I made this morning didn't actually involve any cooking, just a whole lot of chopping, blending, mixing and pureeing. I also cut my finger. The blade for my new food processor is sharp, it fell on the back of my hand why I was cleaning the sink and cut one of my fingers pretty deep. Startled me more than anything. Luckily, my husband was a medic and still knows how to use a band-aid. Most of today's food was for lunches this week. I think it has been over 10 years since I had to regularly pack a lunch, but that changes Thursday. How odd, my kids have lunch at home, I have lunch in Cruces. For today, the house smells wonderful.
Earlier this week I was at our local grocery store and was a little shocked by the prices in the produce department. They have dropped slightly since, but being vegan, this is a big deal. I don't know how prices compare across the country, but I know the prices had doubled from a few days before. This was a great motivator to pull out my gardening supplies and get serious about this year's garden.

I plan on putting in several fruit trees this year. There is a lot of agave in my yard, and since I don't make tequila they're just here for looks. Several are dying after the hard frost that hit this year, so that is where the fruit trees will go. The hardest part is which ones first.

I have decided to go with dwarf size. This will maximize the variety of fruit I'll be able to have in my yard. I know several people here locally that have had success with a variety of fruit and several that have had problems with the same variety! So here's hoping. I would eventually like plums, pears, nectarines and apples. I live in zone 8.

I will also be adding a couple beds this year in the vegetable garden, as well as a blueberry bush. Actually most of the labor for the additional beds and fruit tree planting will be supplied by my hard working, helpful husband.

My notes from last year are really unorganized, so this year I splurged and got a moleskine garden notebook. Not a necessity, but I'm so excited! Here's the video...if only I could draw like that!

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I fervently wish I could somehow get everyone, yes everyone, to read "The China Study". The information inside is truly life altering. I have never read a book that is as important, excluding the Bible. It is that essential.

I have family who are suffering from health problems that I believe are truly unnecessary. The answers are so simple and straightforward, just hidden. This book explains health and wellness in such detail that the facts seem to jump from the page. It also empowers the reader to make choices and take action.

At times it can be a little heavy on the research for the casual reader. But it is conveniently divided into sections that focus on specific illnesses. The reader could simply read the general information and then look to the chapters that specifically address areas they are concerned with.

If you live close, I have a copy to lend. :)

I'm in love with my new kindle. I originally wanted a color nook, but when I realized it was backlit, I got the kindle instead. The screen is perfect and doesn't hurt my eyes no matter how long I read. It is easy to use and has lots of great features. I love the notes and highlights as well as the ability to use google. Now my kids want one!

Now I'm reading "The China Study"
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At least for awhile. Callie and I both have been showing signs of gluten sensitivity. So as of Monday we are gluten free. We are going without for 21 days to see how we feel.

This isn't too big of a deal, I'm currently without a stove. We are working on the kitchen and have dumped the old one. I'm waiting till everything is done to get a new one; too busy to bake anyway.

Here's some pics of the work.

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The living room seemed like a good place to start. With my kitchen as small as it is, the living room is the center of my home. This room has plaster walls and a cove ceiling. I love the sheen of the walls and wanted to keep that so I went with a satin finish on the paint.

This before shot is a little unfair. It was taken on Christmas day and the room was a mess. Still, you can see the cold feeling the white walls give the room.
First the patching. We had lots of cracks in the walls, charming in an old home, but getting out of hand. Also, there were two different whites in the room. Hard to see in the picture.
Still I was able to get paint up on the walls on day two. Because the walls and ceiling have to be the same color, I went with something light, but still warm. A buttery yellow called Palm Stem by Dutch Boy. It was so pretty.
The bookcase was tough. I decided to bring in the colors from the other rooms to tie the home together. I saw this in a home design book years ago and thought it would be perfect here. Brent was a huge help painting the backs of these shelves. The colors were also from Dutch Boy. Tomato Salsa, Young Sprout, Broken Pot, Midnight Swim and Tangerine Crush.
I also painted some old side tables I got at IKEA many years ago the Tomato Salsa color. I thought they turned out lovely.
It took about a week, but the results are well worth it. I would love some new furniture, but it's amazing how a coat of paint can make your things seem new. Now the rest of the house looks so drab.
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Crazy Sexy Diet Club
I've been a member of Crazy Sexy Life for awhile.  I love the atmosphere of the site and all the great information.  Kris Carr just released a new book, Crazy, Sexy, Diet and I ordered it tonight.  I love all her stuff and am very excited about the cleanse portion of the book.  I also love me some green juice, just can't get enough kale.  Plus, I'm curious about seeing what it would be like to remove gluten for awhile.  I will miss you seitan!
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I have avoided Whale Wars on Animal Planet long enough.  After watching The Cove I could avoid it no longer.  So this weekend we had a Whale Wars marathon.  We watched the 1st two seasons on Netflix on Saturday and Sunday and Animal Planet conveniently played Season 3 all day Monday.  We are all caught up.  I almost made it.  I cried during Season 2's Stuff of Nightmares.  So sad and unnecessary.

Please inform yourself about the plight of whales.  We are planning to send a care package to the Sea Shepherd crew.  They have a wish list here.  They are doing amazing things.
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I love Caprese salad.  The first time I tried it was several years back, enjoying dinner out with a friend.  It was extra special because it was made with heirloom tomatoes.  When our main course came, we just wanted more of the salad.  It was that good.  They also served an amazing Lavender Martini.  The restaurant was Stanley & Seafort's in Tacoma WA.

At the Farmers Market this week I picked up some basil and my favorite tomatoes from Rockhouse Farms.  But, this time I felt like pasta, not salad.  I wish I could include pics, it was so pretty.  I should have a camera soon.

Here's the recipe:

When I have the salad, I prefer whole basil leaves, but I thought a pesto would work best to coat the pasta.


1 1/2 cups of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pecans
3 T vegan Parmesan cheese
dash of kosher salt
1/2 extra virgin olive oil

OK, not traditional pesto, but that is what I had.  This is the first time I used pecans instead of pine nuts.  It was delicious.  Pecans are plentiful here and I always have them on hand.  I used my Ninja, adding everything but the olive oil, pureeing it, then slowly stirring in the olive oil until it was the right consistency.


4 servings whole wheat penne
4 large tomatoes (splurge and get the good ones)
1/4 c balsamic vinegar (approximately)
kosher salt

Cook the pasta in salted water as directed.  While cooking, dice tomatoes.  Place tomatoes in bottom of large pasta bowl.  Add pesto and balsamic and mix thoroughly.  Drain pasta and add to pasta bowl.  Mix and serve with Italian bread.  I like to roll several basil leaves and thinly slice them into slivers and sprinkle them on top.

I served this warm, just the heat from the pasta, but leftovers would have been equally good cold, if there had been any.

Fellow lovers of this salad might notice the absence of the fresh mozzarella, but I haven't found a suitable vegan  substitute for it, and honestly no one noticed.
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I've seen Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) in a lot of recipes, but I've been a little scarred of the stuff.  In it's dry form, straight out of the bulk food bin, it looks a lot like Grape Nuts.  However on a recent trip to the Health Food Store I decided to face my fears and grab some.

I quickly found myself needing a taco fix.  Perfect way to test the TVP.  Making it is easy enough.  I measured 1 cup of TVP into a mixing bowl and poured 1 cup of very hot water into it, stirred it, and covered it for 5 min.  After that I just used it as I would ground beef.

I sauteed some red onion, garlic and jalapeno in a little canola oil over medium heat.  Then, added the TVP and sauteed for a few minutes until onions were soft.  I added some homemade fresh salsa, Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime, taco sauce, garlic powder, cumin and salt to taste.  I was out of taco seasoning.  I then added about 1/2 cup of water, reduced the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 min.  This stuff tastes awesome.  Like taco meat without the grease.  So good.

I can't wait to try it in other things...sloppy joe's first.
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OK, some days are longer than others and today was exceptionally long.  I'm feeling a little better since I just self-medicated with some yummy coconut/almond milk homemade ice cream with chocolate sauce.  I definitely feel my mood improving.

I need more friends with teens.  Or am I simply not meant to understand?

Also, this picture of Marshmallow on Vegansaurus  could make anyone smile.
Though not pretty, this lentil soup was so good Callie and I ate it for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner until it was gone.  Amazing.  Now I want some more.

Classic Boca burger, vegan potato salad and tortilla chips.  Yummy!  We also enjoy the Morning Star burgers.  
I made this homemade granola several times ( I think I will again in the morning).  It is wonderful, especially with ice cold almond milk.  
Veggie pizza made on my pizza stone in my grill.  So delicious.
My first attempt at falafel.  A new family favorite!
This vegan Caesar was truly awe-inspiring.  The cookbook:  Clean Food.
Simple, comforting soup.  
Tempeh taco filling.  This was way better than anticipated.  So good and super fast to make.
Asparagus and Mushroom risotto with sauteed greens. I felt like I was eating out somewhere fancy.
Not quite tuna sandwiches.  Very nice in the summer.
Cheesecake, vegan cheesecake.  I cheated and used a prepared graham crust.  It was wonderful.  We ate it topped with cherries.
Burrito night! I made green chili sauce from scratch.  
Cinnamon Mochi.  This stuff is supper addictive!

Well, that's what we've been eating.  There was more, but it was consumed too quickly to get its picture taken.  Like Roasted red pepper and portabella paninis, Grilled "chicken and gnocci, homemade vegan sausages, baked beans and ice cream sandwiches...
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Wow, it seems when life gets interesting and busy, there is simply no time to write in a blog!

A lot has happened since my last post.  As a family we have finally made the plunge and are vegan, save the occasionally egg from our own well loved nuggets.  And even that may be changing soon.

Homeschool is out for summer, so theoretically I have more free time.

I have resumed knitting, thanks to a good friend who wanted to learn.  I'm about half way through a beautiful ruched scarf, but am disappointed in the quality of yarn.  I grabbed a cheap skein to use as instruction.  Oops.  Now I want to make the same pattern with new yarn.  There is a lady on etsy that makes yarn using bamboo and I'm thinking of ordering some soon.

My garden is dying.  Something is getting in and digging and eating with abandon.  We are down to the last 2 plants and nothing we do seems to stop it.  I wake up every morning to see more of my lovely plants destroyed. Devastating.

My camera is broke.  It was an accident, Brent is forgiven, but it will be awhile before pictures are on here again.

JT was gone two weeks in Albuquerque for work, yet I rarely slept alone.  My kids are sweet, what they don't realize is occasionally Mom likes to sleep in the center of the bed.

Callie spent a few days in Santa Fe for to see an Opera.  She had a great time.

Brent and I spent a wonderful day alone in Downtown El Paso checking out museums and art galleries.

There's more, but I think that's enough.

Oh, there's been laundry, lots of it.
I've been meaning to get out and take pictures of our flowering cacti.  I finally did it, almost too late!

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