Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Christmas Celebration Has Just Begun

Unlike those who start "celebrating" Christmas on November 1st by stringing up all those lights around town, our Christmas begins on the Vigil of December 25th. And the party keeps on going. We get to celebrate into February if we wish with our trees, lights and nativity. I'm sure the neighbors wonder why but who cares, we wonder why they start so early so I guess it balances out.

 Check out this wonderful explanation, I couldn't have said it any better myself so I am going to quote her. It is probably the least complicated explanation I have ever read and THAT is exactly why I love it!! Simple is best! She says its complicated but I dare to disagree and am grateful that I found her post. Read what Lacy has to say:

"It’s a little complicated, but here we go: The Christmas Season begins on the first Christmas Vigil Mass, usually the evening of Christmas Eve. The Roman Catholic church returns to green vestments (Ordinary time) the day after the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast day moves, but it’s never before the Epiphany. However, many churches and families celebrate until the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Feb 2. The Vatican leaves up their tree and nativity until then. From December 25- February 2 is 40 days.

Liturgically, we celebrate an octave of Christmas, which is 8 days. (Just FYI- we also celebrate an octave of Easter starting on Easter Sunday). The church treats each of these 8 days as Christmas day. During these days, we feast the whole time! This means we’re exempt from abstaining from meat on Fridays and the such. The octave of Christmas ends on January 1, which is a holy day of obligation (the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.)

The Epiphany (when the kings show up to see Baby Jesus) is traditionally celebrated on January 6, but it gets moved to the closest Sunday in the United States. There are 12 days from December 25- January 5 that lead up to the traditional Epiphany. These days are referred to as the “12 days of Christmas”, but because the Epiphany moves around, there are rarely exactly 12 days.

Here is a Liturgical Christmas terms cheat sheet I put together for you:
Christmastide- fancy way of saying “Christmas Season”
Epiphany- day the kings show up to see Baby Jesus. Traditionally January 6, but is usually moved to the closest Sunday.
12th night- night before the Epiphany.
12 Days of Christmas- December 25- January 5
Presentation of the Lord- Feb 2.
Candlemas- another way to refer to February 2, the Presentation.
Octave of Christmas- the 8 days of Christmas that we feast, starting on Christmas day."

Personally we usually keep all of our decorations up until the Epiphany. We then celebrate the Feast Day of our Lord's Presentation with the children by reading the Bible and doing some sort of craft/coloring page to hang up. They get a kick out of it and it gives them a hands on experience, which I hope will give them ideas to pass on to their families some day.

So how about a recipe? I like to call this Super Simple Slaw. The flavors are so fresh and simple and that is what makes it special...not to mention you can eat all you want, unlike fatty coleslaw. Yum!

Super Simple Slaw

1 bag of Brocco-Slaw, chopped
1/2 C organic raisins, soaked and drained
1 10 oz carton of organic Grape Tomatoes, sliced
1 C of organic cilantro, minced
Juice of 2 tangerines
In a bowl, mix the slaw, raisins, tomatoes and tangerine juice. Allow to marinate 30 minutes and top with the cilantro right before serving. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and happy Christmas Season!!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful to pass on the Faith to our beautiful children. It's the most important job I have.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Raw Applesauce 3 Ways

Christmas is almost here and our children are getting very excited, as you can imagine. Today we finish our decorating by stringing the lights on our tree, arranging all of the ornaments, and decorating the outside of the house and the yard. We wait until Christmas Eve at our house to light everything up. It makes the anticipation of Christmas more exciting for the children and really makes THE day even more special.
I have been playing around with my raw applesauce recipes and ended up making 3 versions of the one sauce. The first one couldn't be any easier; it is simply organic Gala apples that I blended up in the food processor.
To that sauce I added some fresh cranberries and a few dates to add some extra sweetness.
The third version was a combination of the first two that I smothered in cinnamon--yum--and added some fresh organic raspberries in the middle. Sooo good, and yes, I ate the entire bowl!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for the fact that our shopping is all done and we can just sit back and wait for our Christmas celebration.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kid Approved Green Smoothie

Over loaded Blender!

I have a problem of over loading my blender when making green smoothies for the family. My Blendtec blender actually flashes a warning memo to me when I do'd think I'd learn. I load it this full, pulse it a few times and then add in the rest of the greens. That usually works.  
Our kiddos are quite accustomed to their green smoothies but if you are slowly easing into green smoothies there is a method that proves successful. Start out with your ratio of fruit to greens high. Use more fruit than greens and slowly creep the ratio of greens up. This way your tastes will change slowly and you will succeed at consuming larger quantities of greens. If you jump right in using too many greens you set yourself up for failure. A good example is this recipe I am going to share. It has 4 cups of fresh dandelion greens in it; that's a lot of greens. When I first started making the children green smoothies over 3 years ago I started with maybe 2 leaves of dandelion! Then each week added more and more greens until they were able to drink smoothies with 4 cups of fresh greens in them. They never noticed the taste changing because I did it so gradually. This same principle holds true for adults trying green smoothies for the first time. And don't forget to rotate your greens each day. Alternate between say kale/romaine/collards/dandelion using a different one each day.
Here is one of our current green smoothie recipes. If you are new to them simply reduce the greens to a few leaves of your choice. Try that ratio for a few weeks and then add 2 more leaves of greens the third week and so on...

Dandelion Mango Tango

serves 8
4 cups of fresh dandelion greens, with stems
16 oz bag of frozen mango
6 ripe, peeled bananas (skins should have loads of brown spots)
Juice of 3 tangerines
water as needed for blending
Blend all of the ingredients in blender until smooth. Enjoy!

They always ask for more!! Beautiful!

+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for a very powerful and forgiving blender!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Plant Strong Anywhere!

Rip Esselstyn

Rip Esselstyn

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Real Bears

Here is a cute movie exposing the dangers of processed sugar in the form of soda. Take a look:

These facts are taken directly from site. It is amazing the dumb things people will say, but you have to remember it is all about the $$$ for these liars.
"The Truth
Soda Facts 101"
"Research has proven a direct relationship between consumption of sugary drinks and an increase in obesity, which promotes diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and many other health problems.

Now you know the plight of The Real Bears. Real human families should also know about the risks of drinking too much soda. Here are the unhappy facts.


"There is no scientific evidence
that connects sugary beverages
to obesity."

- Katie Bayne,
Coca-Cola President of Sparkling Beverages,
North America
Truth: Each additional sugary drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese by about 60%. Sugary drinks are connected to other health problems
as well.

Truth: Each soda consumed per day increases the risk of heart disease by 19% in men.

Truth: Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.

Truth: Diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction.


"If you're consuming the calories
from the banana and there is the
same number of calories as in a beverage that you consume, the impact on your body is calories
are calories."

- Maureen Storey,
Former Senior Vice President for Science Policy, American Beverage Association
Truth: Liquid calories are more conducive to weight gain than solid calories, because the human body doesn't compensate by reducing calorie intake later in the day.

Truth: Sugary drinks are the single-largest source of calories
in the American diet, providing an average of about 7 percent of total calories per person, and that average includes all the people who rarely drink them. The percentage of calories from sugary drinks is much higher for people who consume them often—such as several times a day.

Truth: Most sugary drinks are devoid of nutrition—vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber—and contain only empty calories.

Truth: It would take the average adult over one hour of walking to burn off the 240 calories in a 20-ounce Coke.

Truth: Americans consume about 38 pounds of sugar from sugary drinks each year.


"At The Coca-Cola Company, we know our business can only be as strong and sustainable and healthy
as the communities we serve."

- Muhtar Kent,
Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO
Truth: If communities were healthier, Coca-Cola Co. would
be selling a lot fewer Cokes. The tripling of sugary carbonated drink consumption since the mid-1950s is one of the major causes of obesity.

Truth: Between 20% and 50% of the approximately 300 calories Americans have added to their diets in the past 30 years is attributable to increasing sugary drink consumption, now at
an average of 178 calories for men and 103 calories for women per day.

Truth: Coca-Cola plans to spend more than $21 billion over
the next five years to expand its business in just four countries: China, India, Brazil, and Mexico—which will undermine the health of "the communities we serve."

Truth: When Congress was considering a soda tax to help pay for health-care reform and improve the health of communities, Big Soda increased its lobbying expenses by 3,000% over the 2005 levels.

Truth: Big Soda gives generously to community groups, organizations of public officials, minority groups, and medical and health groups to influence policy positions and discourage criticism of the companies for undermining the health of communities. It often "changes the conversation" by focusing on building playgrounds and encouraging physical activity.


"[O]ur member companies do not advertise beverages other than
juice, water or milk-based drinks
to any audience that is comprised predominantly of children under

- American Beverage Association
Truth: Not only do children under 12 see Coke and Pepsi logos everywhere, but Coca-Cola Co. promotes its products heavily at Disneyland, on American Idol, and on telecasts of the Olympics, all of which are seen by huge numbers of
young children. Also, they sell kids' tee-shirts, toys, games,
and stuffed animals with Coca-Cola logos at its web store,
and the company licenses similar kid-friendly products at
Toys "R" Us, and elsewhere.

Truth: Coke has long reached millions of young children by marketing its drinks at child-friendly fast food restaurants, including McDonald's, the home of Happy Meals.

Truth: While soda companies, thankfully, have not advertised on TV shows intended for little kids, they have spent heavily to get their brand names onto school scoreboards and their products into elementary, middle, and high schools. An internal 1995 Coke newsletter exclaimed, "The Coca-Cola Company is focusing upon the education market with revitalized efforts around the world." Only recently did
public pressure force them to stop.

Truth: Soft drink companies do market aggressively to teens. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2006, companies spent $474 million marketing carbonated beverages directly to adolescents-more than twice the marketing budget for any other consumable product.


"Coca-Cola is an excellent complement to the habits
of a healthy life."
- Douglas Ivester,
Former Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO
Truth: Coca-Cola and other colas undermine that healthy
life with loads of obesity-promoting high-fructose corn
syrup, mildly addictive caffeine, caramel coloring with its carcinogenic 4-methylimidazole contaminant, and tooth-rotting phosphoric acid.

Unfortunately, this is no lie:

"There is a large portion of the population that relies on the carbohydrates and energy in
our regular beverages."
- Katie Bayne, Coca-Cola President
of Sparkling Beverages, North America
Truth: Far too many people do rely too much on soft drinks for their calories. Sugary drinks' empty calories displace healthier foods, and Americans already consume hundreds more calories per day on average than they did 30 years ago.

Truth: Two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are overweight or obese.

Truth: The American Heart Association urges Americans to consume 60% less sugary drinks by 2020.

Truth: Overall, males 12 to 19 years old consume 273 calories per day from sugary drinks; female teens down 171 per day
+JMJ+ Today I am grateful that our 5 children have never drank soda pop! We taught them about its dangers just like we did when teaching them the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Start young and it sinks in.

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie Lately I've been blessed with fresh, green, Florida coconuts from my neighbor's trees. We enjoy drinking...