Sunday, August 3, 2014

I'm in Thailand!

I'm having problems with WordPress.
You see that title up there. Yeah. I'm wondering if that's why I can't get any of my pictures on the internet through the site.
Thought I would try here and let you guys know what's up.
Jex and I are in Thailand for a schooling/humanitarian mission trip. We'll be here for the rest of the year. Plenty of time to try and not completely slaughter a tonal language. (^_^)
We spent 21 hours flying over here on the 1st and 2nd. Yesterday was our first full day and today we're starting to feel a little more like human beings again.
Here we are minutes before getting on a double decker plane.


I'm not kidding guys. We had a staircase and a store in the back, which I didn't get good pictures of. But here's the plane. See, two rows of windows!

Some of my first impressions of Thailand are pretty standard I think:
Holy Crap there are a LOT of scooters!
I can read nothing.
These food portions are tiny.
Not spicy is still spicier than most the things I eat on a regular basis.

It kind of reminds me of Italy in a weird way. There are really nice suburbs right next to farms and little lean to shacks. Everything is cobbled together with really nice right up against really shabby.

We went to Walking Street in Chiang Mai last night. I didn't take a lot of pictures, we were both kind of jet lagged and out of it. But I did manage to get some neat footage of our "taxi" ride. I didn't get any of the more exciting parts, like slipping in between a pair of trucks and going through a red light around a turning vehicle and into on coming traffic. But I think you guys might like to see the neat little vehicle that took us home.
video

Today I'll get some better pictures hopefully.
Till next time my lovlies,
~The light heart lives long.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Stress Management

Hello, my name is Ashes, and I'm about to lose my #&%^!
That's kind of how I want to introduce myself sometimes. But I don't. I smile and make happy small talk and do my best to make every one happy. I think most people have some kind of mechanism we can call a "Stress Management Button". We hit it when we don't want to look like idiots, burden the poor cashier with our woes, or generally simply don't want people knowing we're drowning in a sea of WTFamIsupposedTodo?!

Sometimes we lose that filter. I seem to have misplaced my filter at some point on Monday and I would be pleased if I found it again. Yesterday and today for some reason I cannot find my Stress Management Button. Not that I'm going around screaming at the top of my lungs "Dear God Why?!" but I simply can't say anything to anyone for fear of blurting something like "I'm having a terrible day, thanks for asking." Probably in a snarky tone, as I crinkle my nose.

Because of this recent destruction of my calm I've been thinking a lot about how human beings manage stress. The Google has a lot of articles about 'taking time out for you' and 'making lists to help manage your time' and 'how to get back in control'. Nothing that will help my brain stop playing things on loop, or imagining horrible scenarios, or keep me from telling Jex that his Vulcan-ness is going to give me more work than anything else ever of all time.
I can't 'take time out for me' there's too much crap I need to do, I will not enjoy the shower/nap/game/downtime at all; actually it will probably key me up even more than I am already.
I've done the list, the list is what is stressing me out. It keeps growing, nothing is ever actually finished. And why on earth did someone write 'fix Jex's drivers' in that tiny space between 'check visa status' and 'find shot records'?! Is that what it says? All I see is a scribble? OMG this is probably a super important scribble I have to figure out what it says!

That's just it. I can't get back into control. Because if I would really be honest with myself I was never actually in control to begin with. I cannot control what Jex does or does not say in the most mathematical and unfeeling way. I cannot control that what he says may or may not make someone cry. I can't make the car in front of me stop slamming on it's breaks every time the phone in said car get's picked up by said car's driver. There is no law of the universe that will allow me to get everything I need done in the time I've allotted to do it in if any of those things requires more of me than I previously thought it would. We can't control our world, we can't control our peanut butter, our government, or the guy next door; It's simply not a possibility.
And that is why we're stressed.

We think we should be able to 'get back in control' of our lives, our job, our money, our refrigerator, closet, body, pets, children, cable package, phone bills; the list goes on and on. I don't know when we got this idea that we can actually control things, but there are magazine articles galore about the topic.
We can influence, of course. We can make changes for the better, make informed and wise decisions, we can guide our path, we can put forth effort. At the end of the day however, we cannot actually control anything.

It's hard to admit, personally.
Though now that I've written this out and taken a step back I feel better. I can't control what's going on; honestly who would want all that responsibility? The only thing I can control is myself, and even that control is a bit shoddy sometimes. That's fine. I'll learn from it, get better, move on to the next challenge life tosses in my face.

Stress Management looks different for everyone. Contrary to popular belief the Google Machine and the people on the internet do not have all the answers. I don't have all the answers; actually I probably have none of the answers.
I kept my mouth shut all day, got home and cried, then sat down to work through the problems via text. Read through the horrid stream of consciousness blather and streamlined my thoughts, let them less of a chaotic shape; this is my deep breath. Now I'm imagining myself as someone kickass like Red Sonja, She-Ra, or Wonder Woman (yeah her outfit is silly, but she's still awesome). Later, with those images in my head, I'll probably go on a walk. It's dumb, but it works. I think I can manage not to freak out when the internet gets slow, or crashes when I HAVE to email TIME SENSITIVE documents to someone, now. (^_^)

What does your deep breath look like? If it involves a hot cup of delicious you are required to share.

Till next time my lovlies,
~The light heart lives long.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Visas and Veganry

Hello my lovlies!

Jex and I are wading through the wonderful world of "Visas for a foreign country". It's awful! (^_^) no really it's not very fun. Mostly because the agency we're working for has to go through another agency because of all the hullabaloo with the Thai government right now and it's making everything take that much longer. Time is something we're kind of running short on. Doesn't help that they send us the Visa package on a long American Holiday weekend so I can do NOTHING to start the process till Monday.

That being said I'll just skip to the reason I hopped on the blogger (other than trying to find my zen because of the above). I want to share with you the Awesomesauce I cooked up a couple Vegan Vendzdays ago. Why not wait till Wednesday? Because I have no idea if I'll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off or calling 400 different people and agencies and dancing around the house to horrid hold music for hours this coming Wednesday, that's why.

Ashes' Protein Stuffed Mushrooms

1/4 of a med onion chopped
1/4 cup or a little less shelled pecans
Six good sized Stuffing Mushrooms or One Sm Portobello mushroom
Fresh ground Sage, Rosemary, and Salt to taste.
Coconut oil for cooking the onions.
about 1/4-1/2 cup of water for steaming the mushrooms.

Chop the onions coarsely and throw them in a sm pan over med heat. Stir every now and again, cooking till they're almost golden brown. While the onions are cooking shell the pecans or if you bought shelled pecans throw them in a food processor with the spices and pull the stems from the mushrooms (I saved the stems for omurice the next day, but you can throw them in the pan with the onions if you like. Just add a little extra oil).
When the onions are the desired level of gold throw them in with the nuts and spices. Blend away!
Fill each mushroom with the mixture. It should be fairly moldable, not super crumbly. If it's too crumbly to work with add a touch more coconut oil.
Using the same pan you cooked the onion in place each mushroom stuffed side down, turn the heat up to med and brown the tops, about 2-4 minutes. Flip the mushrooms over and turn the heat up to med high. Add the water (I use less water for smaller or portobello mushrooms and more water for white mushrooms, also less water if you cover your pan, more if you can't or choose not to cover your pan).
Let the mushrooms hang out for 5-10 minutes, serve warm with your favorite sides.

I pared our mushrooms with some garlicy green beans and pan fried carrots.
I'm also thinking about trying to make a miso version of these mushrooms.

Till next time,
The light heart lives long~

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lost in Space!!!

Maybe, I don't know.
I keep losing track of time, and objects, and memories, and oh my god did I feed the dog today?! It kind of feels like my brain has melted, or I'm going through puberty again. *shrugs*

Anyways. I think I announced on this particular space that Jex and I are going to Thailand soon.
We just got back from Storm Con last Monday and I think I've been fighting the germs of 500 people since then while trying to still be a responsible adult. I think so far I've gotten a C+ for my attempt.

So, Storm Con 2014.
Jex decided that it would be a GREAT idea for us to sell Foam Swords or 'Boffer Weapons' at the con this year because we were having LARPers this year and a group of Knights of the Fiat Lux (look 'em up, they're kind of ligit). It didn't turn out so well in that the con was on a UTA weekend thus I was alone running the damn table, and the vendors were cordoned off in a room away from all the gamers so we had very little traffic. But I did get to play in a Call of Cthulu game that was streamed over youtube (didn't see that till the next day, I really just wanted to play with Lance and Amber in a fun Cthulu RPG setting) where I totally choked, and Jex and I won a game called Belfort (so many tiny pieces!!!!). Oh and I LARPed for the first time ever! It was fun. The group wasn't psycho crazy or anything, they were actually all really really nice and helpful to the noob, it was kind of like RPing at a table but we all stood more and were in costume.
Can't find them online though, I'll have to ask the GM about it next time I see him.

Anywho, I met some super rad people I want to tell you about. I guess being a vendor is kinda like being a Gypsy, the moment you're in the ring of tables you're all accepted and stuff (one of us, one of us). I loved all the other vendors that hung out and watched me table for me so I could go to the little girls room. No really you guys are awesome.

Begin the shameless plugging!

The first guy who made an impression on me was this super cute kid (hell he might be older than me, but he seemed like a college student) who was running a booth by himself as well. He just had the best attitude. His name is DJ and this is his booth.


That's him painting away. He and his family will be at Dragon Con this year. So be sure to keep an eye out for them. They're stuff is really cool. They even have an Etsy store if you just HAVE to HAVE a captain america or galifreyan clock.

This was my sad little table. To be honest I had no idea what the crap I was doing. I think if Jex want's to keep doing this as a side job we need to make some weapons racks.


This is the super rad comic book guy, Jerry, corner. He let me watch world cup on his smart phone. Best dude ever!
He has a facebook page if you want to find something particular: Facebook.com/ParkCircleComics

These are the Impudent Mortal guys. I didn't get to talk with them much, they were on the other side of the room and I didn't wan't to shout over the Event Horizon guys. I did walk over to see their stuff though. They have some super rad buildings for RP and Warhammer stuff. 
You can take a look at www.impudenmortal.com .  No really their stuff was amazing. 


 This is Mia and Will. I thought their stuff was all one booth but I was wrong.




 Will makes these patches and cuppy things.
Buy his stuff on Etsy!



 Mia makes all this stuff. And this stuff is amazing. If I wasn't going to be near a Mitsuwa here in a couple of weeks I would totally be rocking that Tardis dress right this second.
 Mia will be at Dragon Con aswell this year if you want some incredibly awesome Nerd Accessories. Or you can visit her portfolio at: artwanted.com/miacorn Or her Ebay store.

These are the beautiful brains guys. They're business cards are also savage worlds playable adventure cards!
 You can visit them Here.




Last, but certainly not least are the Henna/Glitter chicks. They're only local to the Charleston Area, but they're work is really good. I forgot to take a picture of the Henna Desi did for me, but she free handed it and I was impressed, and I'm not easily impressed.
If you're in the Charleston area and interested in her services you can find her on the Book of Face.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Net Neutrality?

Hey guys.
A lot of you have probably heard about the issue with American Law Makers and Net Neutrality. It's hard to understand and there's all this crazy legal speak and internet companies assuring us that 'nothing will actually change'; if that's the case why are they even doing anything?

Here is an amazingly well put together bit on Net Neutrality and what little bit we can do about it at the moment by John Oliver.


I'm working on my comment to the FCC right now. I want to make sure I don't say anything that can be twisted around by lawyers. Bleeeeeh. If that's even possible.


Just a little heads up; Jex and I are going to Thailand in August. I'll have to manage two blogs, a facebook community page, and a bunch of teenagers.

Pray for me. *laughs*
No really, I'm not joking; I'm going to need divine intervention.

Till next time my lovelies,
~The light heart lives long.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

But... what would we do without Facebook?

It's something a friend asked recently.

Facebook has almost single-handedly taken over the internet in my opinion. Only a handful of years after it's creation did other websites start emulating their super post modern minimalist design. MySpace died a horrible death; I liked MySpace. *sadface* But for some reason a page with less options, less customization, less... well everything... exploded and eats up more of people's hours than anything but the Google search engine.

And they're getting scary. First it was the maps thing that tracked where you were posting things from by examining your IP location. I don't know where that thing has gone, but I hope it's far away and forever. Now their app is going to have the option to listen to you, aaaand I really just hate having to reset all my preferences every few weeks. It never fails that something turns itself on to email me every hour, pages I've never been to show up in my "liked" feed, people wondering why I posted something so incredibly right wing when all I did was like a picture of a kitten my friend shared that gave some political page the right to post for me for some reason I can't fathom... *deep breath* Then there's just the crap.

I've been thinking about saving all the pictures I've been tagged in that I don't have personal copies of, like my sister's wedding, and bailing off the Facebook ship.
But... it's so easy to see what people are doing and share little tidbits and pictures and Facebook owns all our content and... and... and... what would we do without Facebook?

What we did before it ever existed! We'll post blogs and use emails for more than spam catchers. Maybe, just maybe, we'll actually call one another to tell some one about our day. Also who said you can't put short posts on your blog?
Imgur is full of fun pictures and the Google engine is more than capable of finding all the memes. I don't see why Facebook has to be the center of our online socializing universe.
I have made more real relationships with people on forums than with people who I've met in real life and been Facebook friends with. I miss you FPians! I'll come back soon... I hope.

I don't need to shout things into the internet in short bursts of fire, my life is not an assault rifle. I don't need to have people click a little button approving of my choice of content to share. We don't need Facebook to keep the friends that matter to us.
I don't mind social networking. Honest. I just don't understand how we've let it blind us to the fact that we have other options, that if we really don't like it we can leave.

... then again that worked out really well for me and the blogger... didn't it? *laughs*

Till next time lovelies,
~the light heart lives long

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vegan Wednesday

Good evening! I thought I would share the experiments going on in my house today.

Breakfast is not very vegan friendly. It just isn't. Every culture I've been exposed to eats some kind of meat in the morning. The United States and the United Kingdom both have classic bacon and egg breakfasts, though rashers (UK) and streaky bacon (US) differ a bit, still the same concept. German breakfasts are equally not very vegan friendly. We eat breakfast sandwiches with butter, cheese, deli meats and some kind of crunchy green thing like lettuce or pickles, maybe an apple too. Japan has miso soup, the broth of which is made with tiny little dried fish. Some kind of leftover meat from the night before and rice with a raw egg yolk (My favorite!).

Vegans can have non of this. Out of the four above Japanese breakfasts come the closest to vegan. I've tweaked the broth for miso soup and it was palatable (but not awesome), rice, pickles, and grilled veggie slices (I like sweet potato and asparagus) are all great first thing in the morning. If that's all you eat though, it gets kind of old.

So, instead of a fruit smoothie, or some strange almond milk pancake (those never turn out well for me), I decided to try some stuff from one of my favorite vegan cooking sites Olives for Dinner. I love her because she typically doesn't use things like vegan sausage, earth balance (pretend butter), or vegan cheese slices (dear god, why?!), and the food still turns out pretty tasty.

This morning I fed Jex Coconut Crepes with Smokey Herbed Mushrooms.
I have never actually made crepes before. My sister and I made them together once (I think) but she was the baker in the family, still is, so she did most everything and I pulled out and put up all the ingredients. But I'm confident in the kitchen, this should be easy enough.
Oh no Batman!
Crepes are kind of hard to make. For me anyways. The first four were mangled beyond recognition before I was able to get the hang of it (then I promptly did a victory lap around the house). Even with all the mistake making I had enough batter to make enough crepes to hold all the mushroomy goodness.
Don't worry. As long as you spray/grease your pan between crepes, let them sit long enough on the pan, and have a goodly amount of time to make breakfast in the morning you should be able to pull it off.

It freaked Jex out a little when the crepes were savory instead of sweet. Which kind of made my day. *laughs*

The black bean soup I made for lunch wasn't the best ever, but I'm really not a big fan of the veggie broth I had in the fridge. 'Better than Bullion' how could you make something so nasty?

Then we have dinner. My crowning achievement for the day; General Tso's Cauliflower. Oh my goodness those little fried Cauliflowers were yummy! Even with the bad luck I have with battering things for frying they turned out perfectly crispy with a warm, soft, center. Mmmmmmm.
Rice flour is hard to find where I live (so is everything else I need/want) so I simply added equal parts starch and flour to make up for it.
I found the sauce entirely too gingery. Dear god, a 1/4 cup of ginger. Half of that was a touch too much in my tongue's opinion. With a little tweaking to one's own palette though it should turn out very nicely the second time around.

Eat well my friends!
~the Light Heart Lives Long~

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I've decided to stay... ummmm

So I've decided to keep this blog and not completely abandon Blogger.
Why?

Well for one there was some begging by a pair of people I love more than chocolate, and that's an amazing amount of love right there. For another I really wasn't all that impressed with other sites.
Being a frugal gal I really didn't feel like paying to make my blog look the way I wanted it to. Picking colors should be free in my opinion. Nothing about the competition really stood out as amazing to me. A lot of the same stuff  mostly in a stark two color scheme and menus that were all pretty much the same. Interface varied little enough that what was different felt dumb instead of innovative or easier to use.

I'm still upset with the Googlesphere for not giving me options with my Nexus linking up with blogger but I won't be abandoning ship just yet. I suppose I'll just not write blogs or upload pictures directly from the device; even if having it around for instant posts when something interesting happened was one of the reasons I got the little thing.

On a completely unrelated note I found out that I say "ummmm?" when I get cut. Which totally makes sense, right? I mean, if one has a medic for a spouse "ummmm?" completely conveys that you're in pain and bleeding everywhere, doesn't it?
No not really.
I thought of all this while trying to find something to hold over my finger. Why "ummmm?" instead of "Oh My God!" or even a simple "Ouch!"?

Oh, I guess I should let you know how I sliced my finger open.
My awesome dude bought me a set of Cold Steel kitchen knives. Those puppies are incredibly sharp, and so much better than the set we had cobbled together from Goodwill and various garage sales. I really wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been while washing dishes and a bowl I was holding slipped and in the juggling of pottery and splashing of hot sudsy water I managed to jam my finger right into the back corner of the chef's knife waiting to be cleaned. I won't need stitches or anything, but it bled like a glass cut and hurt like a colorful expression.

I'm almost done with my second quilt ever! Yay! I'm excited to post a picture because the thing is awesomely technicolor.

Anywho, that's about the most exciting thing going on in my week so far.
I'll just leave you with a little gem I found on the cooking channel website.

Till next time lovelies,
~The light heart lives long.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The End?

Hey guys.
Google has recently cured me of using any of their services other than their search engine... and even that isn't so much to my liking anymore. This unfortunately includes Blogger. *sadface*

I'm looking at Wordpress and Tumblr as alternatives. Actually I think I have a dusty Tumblr account floating around somewhere. So if anyone knows much about either of those alternatives let me know what you love and hate about them.

The reason for this is that recently all my blogger pictures sync'd themselves to my Nexus. No big deal right? Except I already have all those photos on my desktop, I don't want them on my tablet, and it won't let me erase them. That is only the beginning of my huge issue with the new and improved Google machine.
I've been on the interwebs for a little while now, and I really hate where it's going.
It used to be a fun place full of imagination and colors and poorly designed webpages and you didn't have to pay for access to things. It just was, and it was great. Now everything is stark colors, blue and white, orange and gray. Minimalist... boring.

Well anyways. This blog wasn't doing what it was supposed to anyways. So I guess this is The End. Maybe I'll catch some on you guys on the other platform I try to figure out. Maybe not.
Thanks for being awesome.

The Light Heart Lives Long~ Old Irish Proverb

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cheaters Never Win

My Vegan experiment is up in two weeks. Well, actually a week and a half.
Even with all the complaining I've done it has actually been a very positive experience. Being forced waaaay out of one's comfort zone is a good thing every once in a while. I've learned all kinds of delicious recipes and so much about veggies in general. Jex has been very supportive, even if he was a jerk and told me about how great the beef jerky was he was eating on our drive to Sandland while he sat there next to me filling the car with meat smell. *laughs* We're going to have Vegan Vednesdays. You know, German pronunciation... *coughs* well we thought it was clever.

Since the race and promptly after the start of my cycle I hit another "all things meat and cheese" wall. I've researched the hell out of what to eat to make sure I'm getting iron and all the protein I'd usually get from meat. Nothing I've eaten has been enough. I swear that salad burns up on entry to my stomach. I'm back to that first two week starvation period.
Jex being the loving husband that he is (probably tired of my puppy faces while I watched him eat hamburg steak) declared that I could just do a juice cleanse and shave a week off before I go Vegetarian (milk + eggs). Of course in my weakened state I was all over this idea. That's not cheating, nooooo.

Today, day 1 of the juice experiment, I learned that cheaters never win. The juicer that my mother in law gave me was fine when I tested it last week. Halfway through my breakfast juice it kind of exploded. I spent the last hour taking it apart. Everything looks fine. It's a balance issue that I can't get to without actually cutting into the case around the little motor. Annoying.
No big deal I'll just use the Ninja and juice like I have before. The ninja apparently needs ice or water or some other liquid to do it's damn job. Oh and my mesh strainer is 4 inches in diameter. Gah!!! It took me almost an hour to juice my breakfast juice.
Snack juice #1 is straining as I type.
On top of all this I just got over a head cold and my left hand is some what useless because of a deep tissue injury on my middle finger.
I'm sure there are a zillion proverbs about adversity one could whip out at a time like this.

So, let's see them.
What is your favorite saying about adversity, trouble, trials? No really I want to see them. Don't be shy interweb friends.

In any case I'm still going to juice. Because I started, there's really no stopping now. I just need to figure out a system for it. Hmmmm.

Oh yeah... race pictures. I don't have any good ones. So I stole a couple from my sister in law.

The obligatory PreRace Group Photo



Jex being all manly. That's a pipe filled with water, and I think maybe sand as well. It was really hard to keep the balance right.


The crawl under barbed wire. FW and the Sister in Law there at the bottom of the hill.
I swear there was broken glass in that mud.


And the obligatory PostRace Photo.



Till next time my lovelies!
~The Light Heart Lives Long~

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Recipes and Race Day

Hi!!!

Doing the Vegan dance is hard. We get invited over for some homemade Tuna Casserole, I have to bring a sack lunch, or we get invited out to some bar and grill where NOTHING is remotely even Vegetarian, let alone Vegan to hang out with Jex's unit mates; not being allowed to bring my own lunch I end up ordering one of those tasteless iceberg lettuce salads with a slice of lemon instead of their questionable dressings.

But that's not all. Recipes are kind of a pain too. A lot of the Vegan cookbooks I found were crap. I'm sorry but if I can't eat butter I'm not going to buy a "Vegan Buttery Stick" or any of the other pretend meats, cheeses, and egg substitutes. For one thing their probably incredibly processed, for another I'll just eat the real damn thing for cheaper. Skinny Bitch was an especially big let down. I live in a town just barely big enough to have a ligit mall. Even if I was going to eat all the Vegan pretend foods there is really nowhere to buy them.

So I've made stuff up as I went along, it's still hard some days but I'm getting the hang of it. Below is my recent favorite made up recipe. Hopefully you guys like it too.

Nonbasa
This is a spin off a meal that my dad would make for us from time to time that he called simply Kielbasa, because that was the main ingredient of the dish. 

1 Med Zucchini, cut into inch thick slices, then quartered
1/2 an Apple (Fuji, McIntosh, or Granny Smith)
1 small onion, quartered then sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup Mushrooms (optional)
2 cups Cabbage (optional) 
2 Table spoons Coconut oil
Salt, pepper, and cayenne (red pepper) to taste
A cap full and a half Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar

In a med skillet with a decent lip, or wok, melt the Coconut oil on med-med hi heat and toss the onions and apples to coat. Stirfry about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the vinegar, stirfry for another 3 minutes or so before turning the heat down to low and covering. Cook until cabbage and zucchini are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Uncover and add the vinegar, toss and taste, adjust seasoning to taste. Serves 1 very hungry new Vegan. 

Here are a few of my favorite places to get ideas when I have no idea what to make for dinner, or if I feel like branching out.

Olives for Dinner - I think this one is my favorite because the food photography is gorgeous.
Love and Lemons - I like the recognizable meals, like bean burgers and various kinds of root veggie fries that this blog has to offer.

Also, guys tomorrow is race day!!!! I'm going to die!!! I'm also hoping to get some pictures. Yay!

Till next time.
The light heart lives long <3 p="">

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week 3

Well, I'm halfway through my experiment. Week 3, the magical number that I'm supposed to feel better by. Let me tell you what, I kinda do. Now I don't feel like a million bucks or anything, but I'm done feeling super gross. Yaaaay!!!

I am running out of ideas for food though. Doesn't help that I'm not in my own kitchen. But that's ok! Asian food is easy.
I also want to give my heartfelt thanks to the vegan bloggers who post recipes. Really, you guys are life savers.
Here try some Coconut Creamed Spinach.


More than the veganry, I'm kinda here to complain a little.

You all might remember that my dude is military. Perhaps you noticed that my blog got really really quiet while he was deployed.
Jex is a reservist. It basically means ten times the stupid, a quarter of the time and a few of the benefits. Unless you have the stupid pink reserve Dependant ID on a nonreserve base, then no one knows what the hell is happening.
I just spent the better part of an hour trying to find a reserve support group online to help me out with the finer points of Jex's reintegration headache. Specifically the healthcare bit. Guess what I discovered.
Army, Nat. Guard, or Marine reserve spouses have it covered. Navy and Air Force reserves, not so much. I think I was more surprised over the fact that Marine reserves exist rather than the lack of support for someone in my position.

I live over 300 miles from my husband's station. No I did not type that wrong. To top it all off were in a totally civilian community. It is so hard to connect with some one who has lived in one place their entire lives. Especially when your struggling to figure out something like TAMP.
There is no key spouse to walk you through things. To share stories of the times she fell to little tiny pieces when no one was looking. To laugh with you about the lovely, but totally awkward, phrases the nonmilitary wives would say to to you. And as much as the active duty spouses get it there are still things they don't have to deal with because, well, it's kind of completely different.

I want to start a site for people like me. But from what I hear every reserve base does things completely different from every other base. I also have no idea what to do.
You know that "Yeah, that's a great idea" moment that is immediately followed by silence? Yeah that's where I am.
I guess I could try the Facebook thing... Even though I kind of despise the book of face.
Oh well. I guess I'll figure it out. Always do, eventually.

Till next time,
The light heart lives long.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Running into Recipes

The Spartan sprint is coming up guys!!! March 9 I'm going to go do a stupid 5k filled with stupid obstacles for a T-shirt, some beer, and a little Pride.
You might have to be in the military, or a military brat to fully apreciate this next bit. While testing my 3.1 mile time on base the anthem played.
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with why that might have been an issue let me explain. At about 4pm every day the base speakers play the anthem. While the song is playing you stop driving, walking, doing whatever it is you were doing, face towards the nearest flag and put your hand over your heart or stand at attention (if in uniform).
I have done this all my life. Never have I been caught mid PT. And there I was, running my buns off, fighting with my self. Do I stop? Would it be ok if I jogged in place? Is it ok if I keep running?! I had no idea what to do.
Being so close to the end of my run I kept going; feeling guilty the entire time.


Over the past few days I feel like the luck fairy kissed me on the nose while I slept. I have discovered delicious things to eat. Thank God! Salads were starting to make me want to cry.
So, I decided to post some recipes here, maybe some aspiring vegan or someone who is having a vegan over for dinner will stumble across a post or two.

Here's a tip: Asian food is the easiest to veganize.

Lunch/snack
Avocado and brown rice Onigiri (rice balls)
Makes 6 Onigiri

1 Avocado
1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice. Note: rinse your rice before you cook it or it won't stick properly. I rinse mine 5 or 6 times.
2 tsp white cooking wine/sake
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
Salt to taste.
Furikake (optional seaweed topping)
Saran wrap for forming.

Cut the avocado into cubes. In a small bowl combine the other ingredients. Add the avocado and toss.
Tear off about 16 inches of saran wrap. Place 1/4 cup of the brown rice in the center of the wrap and squish it down into about 1/2 inch layer. Place a heaping teaspoon of sauced avocado in the center and fold up the sides. The saran wrap keeps your hands clean as you press the rice ball together.
Repeat the process, and tada!!! Tasty vegan food.

Till next time my lovelies,
The light heart lives long~

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I can't believe it's not butter!!!

On any regular day I'm about as far away from 'vegan' as one can come. No I don't binge on Velveeta Mac n Cheese or eat TV dinners on the regular. But I do, or did rather, eat a lot of meat.
Every meal typically had a flesh element to it. Or did before I decided to run my little experiment. Most, if not all my recipes are centered around meat in one form or another. Chicken pies, beef and broccoli, pork chops with apple stuffing and sweet buttered carrots; you get the idea.
Relearning how to cook has been the single hardest part of being vegan for me. But even more difficult than finding new recipes and not so mainstream veggies (one can only eat carrots potatoes and onions for so long) has been what to use instead of butter. I cook everything in butter; everything. Pan frying things with butter has been my go to when I don't know what to do with a new menu item.
I love butter. Buttered toast is one of my favorite snacks. I miss butter.

Coconut oil is a silly fad. Or at least that's what I've thought. Before my foray into veganry I even bought a jar of it to see what the big deal was. You know the white louanna jar one can find in just about every grocery store. I wasn't impressed. It smelled kind of nice, but that was about it. I think the jar is still over half full and I've had it fore more than 6 months.
While shopping I realized something: I don't buy cheap butter. I spend a little extra on the challenge butter. The only butter in my area that says on the package "No rbgh." So, why was I buying the cheap coconut oil?
I bit the bullet and bought the organic, virgin, unrefined coconut oil. Truth be told I was prepared to be let down. You can imagine my surprise when it was actually really good.
Not only is it smooth and creamy you can spread it over toast with a little salt and it tastes just about the same as butter. I kid you not. Jex tested it for me. He had a piece of toast with the salted coconut oil and one with butter, both melted so he couldn't see a difference, and he couldn't tell which was which.

I'm so excited!!!!! I'm still forever hungry, but at least I discovered a few new tricks to make my life a little better.

The light heart lives long~

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Hungry Blogger

If you read my previous couple of posts you'll note that I'm trying to go Vegan.
Some of you might not appreciate how hard this has been for me. I eat bacon, eggs, down raw milk because warm and with a little honey it's kind of Ambrosia, and veggies are more or less a side dish that should be covered in cheese or garlic cream sauce.

It's been a little over a week now and I've not been satisfied since starting my veganry. I cannot get enough food. I ate 8 cups of broccoli soup and I might as well have been eating cheap sugary cereal, there's this gaping hole were my stomach should be. It's awful, I'm literally hungry all the time. I keep nuts and dried fruit on me to snack on. The closest I got to being full was when I ate some Spicy Stir Fry night before last over Brown Rice.
Doesn't matter how much I eat I'm never satisfied. I'm always hungry. God, it's like sophomore year all over again! *laughs*

I also have learned that you'll find animal and milk bits in the weirdest stuff. I was going to buy some of those premixed seasoning shakers. You know like McCormick has the different spice mixes for different meat and all that. I think it was like 'spicy asian five spice' or something; in any case I was reading the label more out of habit that anything and found 'chicken fat' in the ingredients list. It kind of confused me. Any 'italian' seasoned thing is going to have parmesan in it. Interestingly enough nasty packaged cookies are pretty vegan as far as I can tell, hey I might have to eat them if this infinite hunger continues to be.... well... infinite.

Jex says it's probably because I'm detoxing but I feel gross. I have more muscle spasms that ever, my intestines are kind of pissed off at me, no energy, lots of weird joint pain, and did I mention that I'm hungry? It's only been a little over a week and I already want to give up; throw in the towel and eat a brick of cheese, or a nice hot Ruben. Ugh!

I'm still doing cardio at least twice a week for more than 20 minutes, and smatterings of strength training here and there when I remember. *shrugs*
Even though I really, REALLY, want to quit being a vegan already I'll stick with it. Jex said that one of his coworkers assured me that I'll start feeling much better after week 3. *sadface*

Till next time my lovlies,
THe light heart lives long.

Friday, January 31, 2014

I hate hills

Helloes!

I'm feeling more like a normal human being. There's nothing quite like a nice juicy grass fed steak.
Wait, didn't I say I was going vegan for 6 weeks? Yes, yes I did. I am. As soon as I finish the gallon of milk in my fridge.
I don't waste food if I can help it. I have 3 beers (alcohol is one of the other things I will cut out for the 6 week veganry, not that I drink a whole lot of it anyways. In fact I bought that 6 pack back in October) a third of a gallon of milk and one 8 oz block of cheese that will get eaten by the end of the week.
While I have this little extra cush time I've been checking out the prices and selection of the organic available in Appalachia. It's kind of disheartening. The town we live in seems like a black hole when I look for things. There are NO comic book stores, what kind of an American town doesn't have a comic store... that's just unAmerican. NO organic/natural markets. They say they have a farmer's market but I'll believe it when I can find the damn thing. NO quilting/spinning/old lady type stores (no JoAnn's doesn't count). Not a camping specialty store (think REI) in 50 miles of us. Bleeeeeeh.
But I can do it!!! I've already amassed some good recipes. I'm actually kind of excited for vegan shepherd's pie and noodleless lasagna.

Oh right, activity. I was supposed to be discussing my activity today. (^_^)
Well I've finally got the Zumba class worked out. I run every other day for at least 20 minutes, usually 25-30, up and down the hills around our house. I'll have to take a picture/video for you guys; I don't think you'll understand the title of this post unless I show you.
Also I've been throwing in some strength training for the Spartan Sprint Jex and I are doing with Sir Will and Melly. I'll definitely post pictures of that! It's not a whole lot, just three rounds of body weight lunges, rows, and burpees. I plan on working my way up from here.

I joined this really cool site called NerdFitness. It's been a big help. If anyone wants to hop on over and check it out just stick a '.com' on the end. It's really great to have a community to turn to when you're making changes in your life. So far I love the people. They're really positive and helpful, and totally nerdy so it make analogies so much easier for me. *laughs*

I just wish there were more people within arms reach of me.
Call me old fashioned but I miss knowing my neighbors. When we lived on base overseas we could run up the stairwell to borrow some sugar if the Commissary was closed. Or have tea with the ladies down the street. I miss being with people. I kind of hate the computer screen.
I'd love to have a running buddy. We could run up and down the damned hills and curse them together. Share our goals, swap weird heath food snacks, and, I dunno, be friends.

But I digress.
Anyone else working on working out this year? I know it's a popular new year's resolution.
How well are you doing, or not doing? So far I've kept up a par performance. Which is kind of amazing for the Queen of Inconsistency.

Till next time lovlies ~ The light heart lives long.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Because I'm back, from Outer Space!!!

I can't even remember the last time I posted anything. And you know what I'm just a little too lazy to go and check.

Hello Internet and my Internet Buddies!!!
Like the Phoenix I kind of thought of while naming this blog I completely gave up and now I'm back again.
It is the nature of being me. I'm like the ocean tide or something.

Did you guys know that there's a Super Moon out today!!! I haven't seen it yet. It's also a Black Moon, which is what one calls a new moon if it happens to fall in a month that has already had a new moon.

So I'm back for a bunch of reasons. A) I missed you guys. B) My life is less hectic right now while still being full of fun stuff, and C) I'm going to be a vegan for 6 weeks for reasons I will explain below and decided that I might need to log my journey in a more public forum because I know I'm not the only person in the world going through what I'm going through.


*Ahem* You guys ready for a little bit of a sob story?

Jex and I have been trying to have kids for over 2 years now. Yeah. No big deal, right, we're young maybe we're just not timing things right or whatever. Then my periods and my hormones went absolutely insane. I'm not kidding. I had some serious breakdowns where I felt kind of trapped in my own body watching it ride around on a crazy train while I tried to reassert control. It was all so new and weird and not on any kind of schedule I could figure (even after keeping a food/activity log).  Recently I finally got my butt into a gynecologist's office and they found two little fibroid cysts.
Did you know that fibroid cysts are like little demons that feed on your hormones and mess up all your 'normal' girl stuff? But there's not a whole lot about them on the interwebs. And even my super nice, super straight forward, doc said that there's not a lot of research done about them because they are benign growths that, unless in a bad position or if they get very large, don't really effect one's over all health.
They'll make you crazy and randomly bleed for no reason, but they won't effect anything else.

I know that the food in this country is all kinds of bad. How? Because I didn't grow up in this country and because I  left the country for 2 1/2 weeks in December and came back.
What the hell does that have to do with knowing the food in America is TRASH? I'm glad you asked.
When I first returned to the U.S. I got sick, really sick, so sick I had multiple infections and was forcing myself not to throw up on the regular.
Nope, I wasn't eating McDonald's or any of the greasy offerings that the University Cafeteria had to offer. I was eating salads, veggies, meats, and cheeses that my friend's would buy and I would cook up. I was eating healthy and it still wrecked my system so badly I had to go on antibiotics.
I just figured that was from 10 years of being away from all the molds, pollens, you know the environment or whatever.
Well it happened again, to a lesser degree, when I came back just a couple of weeks ago. I feel like shit, pardon my french. I have no energy, I threw up a lot the first week back 'home', and I wasn't eating anything stupid. I made stirfry with brown rice and ate veggie omelettes with hormone free cheese. I'm not eating potato chips or boxes of hamburger helper and cheap mac-n-cheese and I feel awful.

So, I'm going to try and cleanse my system. As well as get a freaking job to pay for the-must-be-gold-plated-because-this-price-is-ridiculous CSA organics I want/need to get my hands on this year.
I did a little bit of research. Mostly talking with friends who have changed their diets and had a lot of success. It looks like going vegan for 3 weeks, doing a weekend cleanse, then going back to vegan for 3 more weeks is the path I'm going to try.
All the veggies are going to cost me a fortune, because I won't buy anything non-organic and I'm doing my best to identify and avoid GMO's but that's harder to figure out. But like my dude says: Which is more expensive; hospital visits or food?

Pintrest is kind of my best friend. Why? Because I can't eat soy. In small quantities it's ok but it can't be a big part of my diet. And that is where 80% of vegan recipe's get their protein. Ugh.
But there's a great board on Pintrest full of gluten-free soy-free recipes. Thank GOD!
Also because I'm a meat and potatoes girl. I don't do the above mentioned crap. Give me a steak and a baked potato covered in bacon and cheese and I'm a happy camper. I don't feel right without a slice of bacon, sausage, leftover steak, with breakfast. I don't eat fruit if I can help it, though oranges are nice. As logic would have it all my recipes reflect this. Vegan is so totally opposite my usual diet that I honestly got anxious simply thinking about it.

Also, there's this image that one associates with vegans. You all know what I'm talking about. That one person who turns their nose up at anything offered them because it's not their diet. They 'don't eat anything with a face' or 'I don't exploit animals' or whatever crazy crap you assume will come out of their yoga pants wearing, size 2, sickly skinny, hemp smelling face.  Somehow they come off as looking down on you as an inferior/ primitive human being. (Note: I have since met a really sweet, cool, vegan so I know not all ya'll are like this)
^ I am not that person! ^
Frankly I don't really even want to be associated with those people. But it's something I feel like I need to do. If for no other reason than to force myself to find places that sell more fun veggies, please I just want my celery root and kohlrabi, in this land devoid of natural grocers and to learn which producers use GMO and which don't. To force me to get creative with my dinners instead of the rut I've dug myself comfortably into. And maybe to get and keep my hormones in check since I have two little demons hanging out in my uterus.

So, send me your positivity, well wishes, and/or prayers, please; because this is probably going to be the most difficult thing I've done in my life. I don't even know what to do with quinoa or how to even pronounce it. I remember my mom used to eat it with milk or something. I don't know! And this post is already so long I think I'll talk about my activity plan tomorrow or the next day.

Anywho, I wish you all the best in your own endeavors.
Remember~ The light heart lives long.