I'm Gonna Be a Big Star... One Day

After a couple of days of craziness I finally met with the woman who was trying to get me to do a raw food demo on her internet television show. We worked out a simple menu featuring kale and I bought the few ingredients I needed last night. I went into work around 6am and put in a full day’s labor, finally telling Christy I had to leave at 6pm. They were shooting the show at a home studio and I dashed home, picked up Sonseeray and the food, rushed back downtown, got into the studio and set up. The woman, named Madison Carlista, also MadSexy, a play on her real name, which she uses to introduce and describe herself, showed up and made me very comfortable with her positive and calm energy. We did a half hour show, chatting while I prepared three raw dishes. It was streamed out live over the internet. I was so focused on the show and presentation that when it was over I turned as saw about twelve people had filed into the studio, waiting to do the next show. They all gave rave reviews to our performance and as I was trying to clean up they were clamboring to eat the leftovers. If I only had cards.

Madison and I talked for a few minutes after the show, and she said she wanted me to consider coming on her show regularly. She introduced me as a “celebrity chef”, which I thought was quite humorous. Sonseeray said I did very well and she was extremely impressed. She thought it was a very neat and fun experience. She’s all in favor of me doing it again.

The video should post to her website soon. After I take a very thorough look at it, and if I am suitable pleased, I may post the link for anyone who wants to see it. Damned jacket makes me look thick in the middle, though.

Check it out:http://apps.attainresponse.com/MediaF5/liveRecording.htm?id=99095

Birthday Presents for Friends

Two friends who are healthy eaters, Earth-friendly and not about material things celebrated their birthdays yesterday(they are seperated by a couple of days). We went to a vegetarian diner downtown and had a lovely lunch.

Inspired by Metafora77’s post about making gifts for her family, I decided to make birthday gifts for these special women. Something I hoped they would enjoy and appreciate. And it had to be something kind of quick, too. Things have been busy here since the first of the year and it was Saturday before I could carve out a couple of hours to work on this.

I made each of them a jar of home-made Sun Dried Tomato and Kalamata Olive Tapenade, mascerated strawberries with raspberry wine, and sweet pickled baby carrots. I was going to make special labels with their names on them, but since they were both getting the same things, that didn’t seem like such a special touch. So I gave them all simple names and labels and packed them in straw in gift bags. Both women looked at me a little askance when we got together at the diner and I gave them the bags, but they were happy and excited when they discovered there was foodstuff within.

It was a nice, personalized, inexpensive and unique way to solve the dilemna of what to get for a gift. And I can make it myself.

See more progress on: I can make my own...

Recipe Adjustments

Today’s shakes were good and not so good. My fruit shake is a sweet and tart way to start the day, even as cold as it is. Using the frozen fruit with some almond milk or juice gives me a thick consistancy without using dairy products like yogurt, and I can save the tofu for just once a day. So far I haven’t found any substantial drawbacks to tofu consumption, it is a great source of protien (2x as much as milk), easily digestable, full of calcium and other minerals, relatively low in fat and no cholesterol. And when I blend it into my shakes, I cannot see it or taste it. This calls for more experimenting.

Dinner smoothie was based on my recipe for Green Love. I cracked open a green coconut which gave me more that 8 ounces of coconut water, then I scraped the flesh, thinking it would thicken the shake. I used a banana to help thicken, then added sprouts and spinach and an entire bunch of parsley. Spinach is another nutrient dense leafy green with tons of benefits. Its a great source of vitamins K, A, C, B2, & B6, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, and potassium. Itâ™s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, itâ™s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.(I know most of you are yawning, but I used to spend $45 a month buying capsules that had all that. This is exciting to me!) And since it’s raw in a smoothie, all the nutritional content is preserved and consumed.

What didn’t translate was the taste. A bit on the ‘bleh’ side. It was pretty sweet from the coconut and the banana, and I forgot to add a dose of lemon juice. And I made too much again. It’s not going to waste, I’m drinking it all. But apparently I made faces while doing so. S. would not sample tonight’s brew. Fine. More for me…

See more progress on: Shake off those holiday pounds

A Smooth Transition

Back to work seemed a perfect time to reorganize the eating habits I had gotten away from. January looks to be the month of smoothies. I loaded up at the grocery store with frozen fruit and fresh juice (no corn syrup or additives) and almond milk to make fruit smoothies for breakfast. This morning the temperature was about 17ºF so a frozen smoothie was rather counter intuitive, but tasty. I loaded up with teabags so I could have lots of green tea at work rather than coffee. When I got to work one of the prep girls told me immediately she had begun brewing fresh coffee for me and it was sugar with no cream, si? “Ready for you uno momento!” Soooooo…. Not wishing to be discourteous I started the work day with a big cup of coffee even sweeter than my fruit smoothie. I did have only the one cup, though.

I stopped by the farmer’s market on the way home and loaded up with lots of fresh greens and fresh fruit to make the famous and feared green smoothies which are going to be my dinner for a month. My first concoction looked like a green horror but tasted very good. My blender isn’t a VegaMix, which could puree these greens to a smooth shake, but it did okay. It was kind of like being a kid and drinking something made from lawn mower clippings and water from the hose.

But there was nothing weedy about the smoothie. I included an entire bunch of parsley, kale, sprouts, a green apple, aloe water, and organic sprouted soft tofu. I made 2X as much as I needed, but more accurate recipes will develop.

The parsley isn’t just for garnish. It is a herb that is loaded with iron and Vitamin C (which helps absorb iron), and has a long list of healing properties. Mostly it is recognized as a blood cleaner (liver detoxifier, kidney cleanser), immune booster and digestive aid. I have learned that kale is probably the front-runner for complete superfood, based on information that states kale is super rich in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Even pureed it is full of fiber and helps digestion. Both parsely and kale are full of antioxidents and phytochemicals that may protect against cancer. Let’s not forget the all important antioxidant Vitamin E. Fiber from the apple and protien from the tofu made it a complete “meal”.

I’m going to do the cleansing rich parsley shakes for the rest of the week (I have to alternate the types of main lettuce between things like kale, spinach and arugula), then I’ll probably go by the healthfood store, get some mineral rich mined salt and do a salt flush on Saturday (If you don’t know what that is… stay tuned). My main goal through the month is to eat raw and vegan, and get in lots of cleansing foods to detox and mop up all the bad things running around my system.

See more progress on: Shake off those holiday pounds

New Year, New Entries

The first few days of January, such a busy and productive time. We forget we have all year to do all the things we promised and planned. We want to get off to a good start.

When I started this it was a food blog. I wanted to track and record my experiences and success with eating a raw/vegan food diet. I was experimenting with the proccess of creating a blog and it got off into personal areas and that was okay, but it needs to return to being a food blog.

Since I don't plan to be 100% raw/vegan this year, it will cover more areas of food. Mostly I expect to deal with organic, low fat, low-gluten, low meat eating and new foods and recipes. I want to talk about the way food interacts in our daily lives, the way the media presents food options, what the current talk is about healthy food and it's connection to longevity, how to eat for health, food myths, and ways in which food is used for more than just nourishment.

Certainly I can continue to put some personal notes in here. I expect some parts of my daily life to overlap with these food interests.

So, after a long break (and well deserved, I think) I will be back to contributing some hopefully interesting things to this blog.

How to buy a house in the spring (summer)(now officially fall) of 2009

"A "Buyer's Market" doesn't mean its going to be easy."

How I did it: We used the internet, real estate agencies, magazines, newspapers and lots and lots of leg work to find a house that was exactly what we wanted to avoid: a short sale.  After we put in our bid we settled in for the long two week wait we were told it would take.  Nine weeks went by and we watched other properties we were interested in slip under contract and close.  Every time we were ready to give up and move on, a new sign of progress made us stay the course.

When they finally approved our offer, the whole deal was nearly bungled by a careless mortgage broker who submitted our loan package incorrectly and with missing information.  She nearly screwed us out of the home.  We were lucky enough to hook up with another broker who was the exact opposite of her.  He was quick, assertive, efficient, informative, and responsive.  Within four days he put a new package together and got it approved, despite local floods and the unfortunate loss of a co-worker.  We were qualified and approved and closed in record time with our new lender, and we are now proud property tax payers.

Lessons & tips: First, get ready for a long process.  Lots of people are buying and selling right now and the banks and agents are swamped.  Short sales are unusually high and many are getting shuffled to the bottom of a pile.

Get a good team in place _before_ you begin your search in earnest.  Talk to the people, take recommendations from fiends, don't be afraid to change players if one doesn't make you happy.  If you get a bad feeling about a member of your team, don't waste time, make a change.

Get your financials, including savings, in shape.  They are going to dig deeper than you can imagine.  It is going to cost you more than you plan.  Be ready and flexible with your resources, and make sure your credit is solid.  Don't count on them overlooking something, they pick you apart with tweezers.

Resources: Get an agent you are comfortable with, a broker you trust, and a closing attorney who kicks ass and takes names.  These are professionals doing a job for money... _your_ money.  Demand that they perform.

It took me 7 months.

It made me all of the above

Closing Day!

Contract signed, house is ours!

After seven months of searching, bidding, losing, waiting, financing, hoping, waiting, waiting: we are now homeowners. My #1 goal for the year is actually accomplished. Everything we put on hold for the year can now begin to creep forward. We have the keys, we have a home. My wife's first "home" since she left her parents' house at age 17.

Of course we raced back to the rental and got our bottle of champagne and camp light (the electricity, water and gas are still off), and toasted our accomplishments. We wandered room to room, still getting used to the idea we are responsible homeowners now. We left reluctantly after a couple of hours and had dinner and wine at a local restaurant, the first of our neighborhood outings.

We have the next two weeks to make the transition and move before our rent expires where we are now. Plenty of time to clean and paint, move, unpack, clean and paint. We are moving to a new area of town and hope to meet fun and interesting people and participate in the community.

My thanks and gratitude goes out to all the people who supported and cheered me on this goal. I retire it with a great deal of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

Final Walk-Thru

Did our final walk thru of the house this evening. Everything was as it should be, no water damage, vandalism, broken windows. Our broker called us with the final numbers and we are getting a cashier’s check in the morning. All our vacation and fun money, and lots of other things we gave up, is going into the closing costs. It was so nice to walk around the empty rooms and know that in less than 24 hours we will be the proud new owners.

Only days now

The clock is counting down to homeownership. We have our tentative closing date of 4pm Friday, October 16th. We are settling in for the longest 4 days of this whole experience. We are jittery with excitement and nerves.

Sand slipping through an hourglass

We have moved forward very well with our new mortgage broker. All our financials have been approved, we got final approval on the status of our loan, they have completed the appraisal and we have crossed every âœtâ and dotted every âœiâ they have asked us to. We have a closing date of October 16th. Of course, no one will guarantee that date, âœso many things can still slow the process down, you knowâ. What I know is that it is little wonder there is a banking and housing crisis given the number of difficulties, challenges, mistakes and downright carelessness we have had to content with. But we are on the yellow brick road to our own abode, and keeping happy thought things continue on the right track. There is a bottle of champagne cooling in the fridge for the day those little brass keys fall into our hands and change our lives.


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