Saturday, April 6, 2013

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mint Milkshake

This is a recipe I made up so, as always, you will have to be patient with me as I'm not perfect at exact measurements. If you want this to be raw you will have to make your own almond milk. If you only care that it is vegan but not raw, you can start with a base of store bought almond or soy milk. First, the recipe for the almond milk.

For the almond milk you will need the following

1 C. Almonds (soaked 8+ hours) throw soak water away
4 C. Water             
4-5  Dates (if you don't have a vitamix you may want to soak the dates for 10-15 minutes to soften)
1 t. Vanilla    
Cheese cloth of some kind and pitcher


Start by adding all the ingredients except 2 C of the water. Blend until WELL blended then add the remaining 2 cups water and blend again.


Pour the mixture through the cheese cloth and squeeze as much liquid out as you can.

This is what the pulp will look like. Do NOT throw this out! I put it in my raw cookie recipe or raw crackers. Also, you can dehydrate it until dry, blend it well, and use the almond flour in recipes for baking.


You can enjoy your milk plain, but to make a Chocolate Mint Milkshake you will need to pour some milk into an ice cube tray to freeze.

This is what you will need for the Chocolate Mint Milkshake:

1-2 C. Milk
1 Frozen banana
2-4 T. Raw Cacao Powder (add 2 then taste to see if you want more)
6 Cubes frozen milk cubes or more if you want it to be thicker
3-6 drops of peppermint oil (you can omit this if you just want a chocolate milkshake)
Agave to taste (I use between 2-4 T. depending on how sweet I want it)

This pic shows a double recipe or more.

You can't tell by the picture, but these milkshakes are thick and frozen like a milkshake you would get from an ice cream shop. They are sweet, creamy, and delicious! Next time, I'm going to make a strawberry milkshake! :P

Have a happy healthy DAY!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Almost Free Way to Improve Your Health Instantly!


Picture Source

I could make an entire blog on water if I wanted to, but I'm going to make this post short, sweet, and simple. Water, believe it or not, has become a controversial topic amongst the health gurus. I'm not getting into the controversy on this post. I'll leave that up to you to research on your own.

I'll start with the benefits of drinking water. Everyone knows them right? Well, let's see if you learn anything new! We all know the obvious benefits of water, number one being to hydrate the body. However, there are some unique benefits to drinking water that are not as commonly discussed.

The Not So Commonly Known Benefits:
~Gives you energy
~Reduces risk of Cancer
~Helps to eliminate headaches
~Helps with weight loss
~Less likely for sickness
~Enhances your mood
~Helps brain to function properly
~Decreases risk of sprains
~Helps to prevent cramps
~Helps with constipation
~Healthy skin
~Helps to build muscle
~Good for the joints
~Improves workouts

Picture Source

Sometimes when you have a lot of information in your head, it is hard to keep things simple, but that's what I am going to do! My best advice: Drink, Drink, Drink!! My second best advice: Don't drink TAP water! I don't care where you live, don't drink it! Below is a pic of what we install in every house we move into. They are about $150 on average at Lowes or Mendards. It is an under the sink RO system. Money WELL spent for healthy clean water. We replace the filter every 6-12 months and that usually only costs us about $40-50.

Also, I want to stress something here you may not be aware of. Please do not drink water, or any other beverage, with your food. There is a thick digestive juice in our stomachs that aid in the digestion of our food. When we drink fluids we dilute that thick juice into an extremely thin liquid. This slows the digestion process down immensely. Proper digestion is such an important part of our health, proper bowel function, and even weight loss. Drink water at least 30 minutes before a meal and don't drink for at least 2 hours after a meal. This may be a very hard adjustment, but you will notice the benefits almost right away. 

My tips for drinking water:
Fill 2 quart size jars with water in the morning. Store them on the counter or in the fridge. That is the water you should be drinking each day. This is a great way to track how much water you are drinking and to ensure you are getting enough. Drink more if you are trying to lose weight or cleanse your body.

Fill a pint size jar with water, put a lid on it, and keep it on your nightstand or by your bed. Each morning upon waking, drink the entire jar before you even get out of bed. There are many benefits to drinking water first thing in the morning.

One more don't. Do not store water in plastic water bottles in your car if it is warm. Never drink water in plastic that has been hot at any point. Toxins from the plastic get into the water when the plastic is heated.

Have a happy, healthy, hydrated day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Making Fire Starters

Since school was canceled today due to ICE I decided to do a post that will bring some warmth and a sweet reminder of summer! Fire starters. These are super easy, fun, and inexpensive to make, and they work GREAT!

You will need:
Candle wax (I buy cheap, broken candles at Salvation Army, garage sales, or other thrift stores)
Cardboard egg cartons (Styrofoam does NOT work)
Lint from your dryer (FREE:)

I use a size 10 can to put the wax in. When I was taught how to do this they suggested using a crock pot, but I didn't want to deal with the mess of cleaning it out or having an extra one just for this purpose as they suggested. I put the can directly on the stove to melt the wax.

Once the wax is completely melted, I spoon the wax into each individual well of the egg carton. The first few times I did this, I filled the carton with the lint first then poured the wax in (as I was taught). I found it sticks better when you put the wax in first then fill the carton with the lint. Below is a picture of both methods.

Below is a picture from the bottom on the difference between the two. Putting the wax in first definitely works better! The one on the right had the wax put in first.

The more lint you can cram in there the better. Cram, cram, cram it in there. This is the free part so don't be afraid to use it.The more you use the more affective the fire starter is and the longer it will burn. I often will pour more wax in over the top once the lint is in. There always seems to be a little more room for more lint.  I even have other people collect lint for me. However, with a family of 8 we collect lint pretty fast ourselves. :) 

Once the fire starters have cooled (putting them in the fridge or freezer is ok), you can leave them whole as they are and break them apart when you need one or you can break them apart and store them as individual starters. My kids enjoy breaking them apart so we do that before we store them.

One day when we made these, my son and I decided to turn it into a "science experiment" and time how long the a single starter would burn.

What it looks like when it is initially lit.

After 12 Minutes!!

After 18 Minutes!! It finally stopped burning at 21 minutes!

What are the results of these fire starters? Free Family Fun!!! I am SO ready for summer to come and enjoy some campfires! I think I'll go make some fire starters today to help "burn" away my winter blues. These are also great to put in your 72 hour kits!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream (Raw, Vegan Style)

This is a simple 1-2 ingredient recipe requiring only 2-3 steps! That being said, I will use very few words to explain this recipe. If you have more questions post them below and I will be happy to answer them. =) First, peel and freeze several bananas. Be sure they are very ripe, but not super brown and soft.


Second, put them through a juicer (twin gear works best) or a blender.

Watch the FuN!! 

Dish out the YuMMineSS!

 Add a few frozen strawberries if you'd like a strawberry flavor. We also make a chocolate syrup made w/raw cacao powder if we are in the mood. You can add nuts for a variety if you'd like. There is all kind of things you can do. =)

Watch the children enjoy!! Sit back and wait. . .yep, they will ask you SOON to make that again! The frozen, creamy, sweet texture is addictive, yummy, and super good for you! Oh, and did I mention, it's even cheaper then ice cream!? And this is a treat mommy can eat w/out the guilt. ;) Enjoy my friends. :)

Have some quick, easy, inexpensive, and HEALTHY snack or meal ideas? Please, share them below.

Have a HEALTHY, happy day!!  =)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Let Positive Thinking give you a Happy New Year!

I LOVE this time of year! I know people say that we shouldn't wait until a new year to set goals and evaluate our lives. I agree! However, there is just something so powerful, exciting, energizing, and magical about the beginning of a new year. It is as though the last year of mistakes are erased and good memories are recorded in our minds and sometimes our journals or facebook statuses. It's not as though we will forget our bad choices but rather learn and grow from them. A new year has the tendency to give us the sweet feeling of a clean slate, a chance to "start over". I personally love that feeling! It makes me feel like a new woman! The draw back?. . .Why does it have to be COLD outside!? The new found energy I get from the new year makes me want to go outside and run! But alas, I hate the cold. I have the tendency to hibernate in the winter causing me to eat more, sit more, watch movies more, take more long hot baths, and read more; all of which are not physical activities. Well, I found a way to combine one of these activity with a physical activity and I was able to do it for FREE! Well, except the $7.99 monthly fee for Netflix.

This post is actually more about the power of positive thinking and giving love and service. Several years ago I gave my brother and his wife my old treadmill. I bought a nicer one later only to sell it when we made our big move this last summer. Well, now that winter has hit and we are settled in a bigger home, I REALLY wish I had kept my treadmill. If you read my previous post you'd know we bought a large TV for very cheap. Well, my niece gave me her old large TV a little while later. I liked it better so I gave mine to my brother and his family. I thought nothing more of it.

As the snow began to DUMP here in the mid-west (and stick)I really began to long for a treadmill. I began to look on Craigslist, but the truth was I had already spent enough money on Christmas that I couldn't justify spending more money. We did keep Christmas simple, but even at that simple for 7 kids and 2 parents does dip into the budget. I was able to purchase all presents on eBay or Craigslist. Anyway, I decided I would stay positive and something would come my way! (just like the tv) =) My hubby came home from taking the TV to my brother's house (it wouldn't fit in their van) and told me all about the very nice treadmill my brother got for very cheap for his wife for Christmas. Light bulb!!! I immediately sent my sil a text:

I picked it up at the New Year's Eve party we went to at their house. I dragged it in the house first thing in the morning of New Year's Day. I scrubbed it up, tightened some screws, and shifted the belt a little. My iPad fit on it perfectly. I put in the headphones I got for Christmas, turned on Roswell on Netflix and started walking! Thanks to my new old treadmill I got in my 10,000 steps goal from the UP bracelet my niece and her hubby got me for Christmas.

I want to point out here that the whole reason I wanted to post this was because this happened on my first day of my 7 day mental diet challenge. I wanted to record positive things that happened to me when trying this mental diet. You can join me on the mental diet challenge by clicking here. This is my 16 yo dd's page.

I can't promise things you want will appear "magically" as it seems to have done for me. What I can promise you is that you WILL feel more energized and excited about life if you begin to focus on nothing but the positive in your life. Trust me when I say there is SOMETHING positive in your life no matter what you might feel now. Take note of changes you see in yourself and even in others as YOU begin to think positive! Positive thoughts bring positive things in your life. The harder you work at this, the more you will see the sad, negative, and hard to handle stresses in your life will either be gone or feel much more manageable to you.

What will 2013 bring you? THAT is up to you, your mind, your thoughts, your actions, and your words my friend! =)

Have a wonderful, positive, healthy new year! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black Friday Frenzy!!. . .How to benefit w/out the craziness!

If you know me, you know I HATE shopping! I especially hate crowds. I hate grocery shopping, clothes shopping, and even "necessity" shopping (for things we need). I have endured a few Black Friday shopping days for the sake of my daughter (it falls on or near her bday), but it is only out of the love of my daughter. She is fully aware of this and expresses her gratitude.

This year she requested again to go black Friday shopping for her bday. By some miracle, we got my hubby to go this year.We live in a fairly small area so the crowd wasn't insane as I have seen in the past, but it was still a little too crazy for me (and poor hubby). However, as most people there, I had an agenda! Socks, jeans, and a movie or two. I felt justified, as these were necessities (except the movies) and super cheap. Frugal and simple! That's me!

However, as I walked (rather squeezed) through the crowd, two things came to mind.
1. I was SO glad I couldn't find a cart! There was NO way I would have gotten through the crowd with a cart!
2. The TV's tempted me! The prices were great and we were in "want" of a new TV! We are a family that enjoys movie nights (and popcorn), and the 8 of us were crowding around a 32" TV that was slowly losing the sound! The TV's were so big and pretty and cheap! No wonder people went nuts buying them.

But, I controlled myself and so did my hubby! After all, it was a "want" and not a "need". If we still wanted it later, we would find an even better deal (positive thinking)! We left the store with 8 packs of socks, 7 pairs of jeans, 5 $2 movies, and a curling iron and perfume for dd's birthday. I left feeling accomplished, free of guilt, and without unnecessary "things".

A few days later, a thought came to me! What are all those people who did buy TV's on back Friday going to do with their old TVs? Why, sell them of course! I got on Craigslist and went "shopping". I was shocked!! There were LOTS of TV's for sale. . .big, in good shape, and cheap! At least 5 of the posts that I read said that the TV's worked great, but they just bought a new one on black Friday. My assumption was confirmed! To make a long story short, we bought a 60" TV (with remote) that was only 5 years old. How much? $100! Our 32" had a built in dvd player so I talked to my daughter and she had an extra one that she gave us for FREE! So we went from this:
To this:
We fulfilled a family want with a very inexpensive budget and in a much more Earth friendly way. We were able to benefit from the sales of Black Friday without the expense to our wallet. And we did not have to contribute to this:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Weakness. . .How I plan to eliminate it. . .maybe!

So when it comes to whatever lifestyle we choose to live, we inevitably have our down falls, pitfalls,  or weaknesses. For those wanting to eat healthy they might have that certain food that they fail to resist. Those wanting to live a life of positive thoughts seem to have the one vice that brings them down to negative thoughts. For those who wish to not judge others, might have that one person they struggle with.

I wish to live a life of simplicity, minimalism, and to consume as little as possible. I can pass garage sales w/out thought, go into a Salvation Army and walk out with only items of great need, go into a Wal-Mart and only buy necessities like food and TP. I am no longer tempted by ebay, Amazon, or other online shopping. Commercials no longer entice me. I have no sentimental attachments to "things", and have NO problem discarding unwanted and unneeded items. It brings me great joy and peace to see empty spaces. Yep, I've come a long way. . .

So, what is my weakness?. . .HALLOWEEN!!!

I love EVERYTHING Halloween!!! I love the cute as well as the scary, decorations and costumes, animated specials and horror movies, carmel apples and candy corn, grave yards and haunted houses, spider webs and witches, dry ice and fog machines, passing out candy and dressing up the kids, parties and carving pumpkins, telling scary stories and BOO-ing the neighbors, trunker treating and trick or treating!  I love it all! It is one of the reason Fall is my favorite season. When I drive by the Halloween City stores or see Halloween decorations in the store a sense of joy permeates through me. Emotions and feelings take over my common sense. I want to buy it all, make it, all, and decorate every square foot! A begin making a list of the the 31 things I want to do with the family to do a 31 day countdown to Halloween. I begin to plan costumes and decorations before October even comes. Our Halloween budget was once bigger then our Christmas budget!

How do you downsize such a passion when trying to live a frugal minimalist lifestyle? I don't completely. I have downsized a lot of my budget, keep decorations to use next year (I used to do a different theme each year), and don't decorate inside anymore unless it's a craft the kids make (that I throw out each year).

I don't downsize the type of candy I buy for trick or treaters, I haven't eliminated my outside decorations, and have not stopped having the party we throw each year. Some things I will just have to keep the same. How do I justify this? Because we ARE the Adams Family! Seriously, this is what our family loves. We love this holiday and to change it too much would take away a very fun family tradition.

I am not saying that if you have an expensive family tradition that you should stick with it at all cost. Sit down as a family and discuss your expectations. Be open and honest with your kids on what the budget is. We still have deep rooted Halloween traditions, without a lot of cost. We shop used stores and come up with very creative costumes. We also do a lot of our shopping after Halloween for the next year (not for candy). We save a LOT doing it that way. We don't feel like shaving our budget has cut down on our traditions in any way! In fact, it has put a fun twist on it as we play on pinterest to find fun ways to make up our own decorations. Click here to see my Halloween board on Pinterest.

Traditions are a VERY important part of creating strong family bonds. However, traditions can still be accomplished on a budget, without over consuming, and while maintaining a simple life.

HaPpY HalLoWeEn!