Friday, May 4, 2012

Green Smoothies as part of a raw diet

I've been so excited seeing just how many of my peers have decided to adopt a truly healthy lifestyle when it comes to eating. I think it's a movement that picking up momentum, in our home and many others.

The issue we ran into when we moved here to Florida is the lack of healthy food choices. Organic is a foreign term here, so we've started a non-hybrid garden with seeds from However, our yard isn't large enough to accommodate an entire produce section, so I was still on the prowl for a place that offered the healthy food we've been looking for. Last weekend, I finally found a small natural foods store about 45 minutes away. I LOADED up my cart with Kale, Cilantro, Kiwi, Bananas, Carrots, and Apples. When I got home with my loot, I started washing and prepping everything. I have a silicone muffin "pan" that isn't great for baking, but it's great for freezing. I whipped out my blender (which is a crazy, awesome blender), and starting making purees of the fruits and veggies. I froze individual "pucks" of each ingredient, then sorted everything into individual smoothie bags. It's so easy to just grab a bag every afternoon and throw it into my blender with a little organic fruit juice.

Here's pictures of my purees. I used my silicone muffin bakeware, as well as ice cube trays.

Not pictured is my papaya puree and cantaloupe puree - including the seeds!! The seeds in most fruits are incredibly good for you, but most household blenders can't break them up. There is as much protein ounce for ounce in cantaloupe seeds as there is in chicken! Crazy, right? Perhaps I'll post another blog with details about my blender soon. But I'm getting off topic!

In addition to the fruit/veggie purees, I add a couple tablespoons of whole flax seed, and I always add a tablespoon of turmeric powder and a teaspoon of ginger powder. They are very strong anti-inflammatories. I IMPLORE you to research the affects of inflammation on your body - it is linked to almost EVERY ailment, from allergies, acne, migraines, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, even cancer! Every food we put in our mouth either causes inflammation, or fights against it. Sugar, for instance, causes inflammation. Whereas Kale is an anti-inflammatory. Perhaps the best resource I can give you is this website:

You can input any ingredient into the search and it will not only bring up the nutritional content for that item, but will give that food item an inflammation score, and a "completeness score". The completeness score is very important, and it has helped me determine the optimal ingredients to put in my smoothie. The highest scoring food I have found so far is cilantro. Scoring 93 points (on a scale of 1-100), it contains almost every key nutrient the body needs. Kale is a close second at 85 points. Whereas sugar has a completeness score of zero. Basically, If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life and that one thing had to meet all your nutritional needs, you would look to the completeness score of a food to find out what would best sustain you. This is why cilantro weasels its way into every dish I make!

As far as inflammation goes, everything we're putting in our bodies is either scoring negatively or positively on the anti-inflammation scale. At the end of the day, shoot for a positive score of at least 50. Meaning, if you're going to have a 16 oz. Coke, your inflammation tally comes to about -48. So to bring your score to a positive 50, add a teaspoon of ginger powder to your hot tea, which has an anti-inflammation score of 482!! I'm telling ya... incorporating ginger and/or turmeric powder (turmeric being even more powerful) will do WONDERS for your body!

In closing, here is my complete recipe for my green smoothie! You can also see how it ranks nutritionally! 

PS, if you create a login on this nutrition website, you can create recipes and then get a tally for the nutritional contents of your creations! Find out how complete that dinner casserole is so you can fill in the nutritional "gaps" with complimentary sides for your family!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DIY projects: Thrift store buffet-turned entertainment center

This DIY project we recently completed is the one I'm perhaps most excited about. And I'll be honest, I stole this idea from my sis-in-law Mandy. Except her husband let her paint their dresser Tiffany blue. Must be nice Mandy, must be nice! But for the rest of us who's husbands aren't as artistically adventurous, an aged charcoal black was an agreeable compromise.

The idea is simple. You take an old dresser or dining room buffet, and re-purpose it into an entertainment center furniture piece that hides all the wires, cables, gaming consoles, media players, etc. Our TV doubles as a ginormous computer monitor on which my husband plays flight simulator. So in addition to the dvd player and sound system, we also have a computer, mouse, keyboard, etc. Not to mention an Xbox, Kinect, and multiple controllers, plus a slew of DVDs, remotes, and whathaveyou. Suffice it to say, if all of this is exposed, it is an eyesore.

SO, I found this buffet at a thrift store for a mere $25. It was old and ugly, but it had great "bones". Unfortunately I got so excited about getting started on the project, I neglected to take a before picture. I combed through Google and this was the closest thing I could find. So let's pretend this is my before picture.


I let Josh hack the furniture to pieces before I started painting. He cut holes in the back for wires and cables to be fed through, as well as a vent for his computer. He then removed the bottom two drawers, keeping their faces, and placed hinges on them so they open down (and a cabinet magnet keeps them closed). He's a genius, right? And handsome right? Oh... anyway, the two "drawers" open easily to turn on the sound system or computer. The top 3 rows of drawers store the keyboard, mouse, remotes, and other odds and ends. The two cabinets on either side hold the X-box and our DVDs.

I really couldn't sand this piece of furniture down because it was a fake laminate finish (a sticker with wood grain printed on it, basically). So I used Glidden's grey gripper latex primer, and Behr premium latex paint in a dark brown espresso color. (Don't use oil based primer under latex paint or visa-versa. Oil and water don't mix - causes peeling!) Once again, I got out my nifty air compressor and spray gun, and went to town. Once I finished painting, I mixed a cheap $1 bottle of acrylic black craft paint with equal parts water and with a cheap paint brush, did a quick "wash" of thin black over the entire piece. This gave it a charcoal type-finish, and a deeper color. Also it left some faint brush strokes, which I thought added a nice touch. Gave it that sort of aged look.


We kept the original hardware. I appreciated how tarnished it was. Spots of brass show through here and there, but it's got a nice oil-rubbed bronze look to it. Plus, new hardware is expensive. And the point of doing these thrift store re-dos is to save money.


I love that the bottom two drawers are on hinges! And everything is hidden so well.


By the way, it was only after doing this project that I realized dining room buffets would make a great nursery changing table. They're the perfect height, and lots of storage.

My next show-and-tell blog will be about my spray-painted shoes! Thanks for stopping by!

DIY projects: Dining room table

Yesterday I posted about our updated light fixture in our rental. That was a quick fix, and my only actual involvement was picking out the lamp shade and acting as photographer/cheerleader for Josh, who was the "hands-on" guy. But this dining room table project was all me! And I'm pretty proud because it turned out pretty great :)

Perhaps the best part? We got the table and 6 chairs at a thrift store in Pennsylvania for $45, the day we moved out of our house. We drove the U-haul to the thrift store, and there was this table set, as well as a buffet (more on that in next post!). Even better? The Air Force paid us $0.60 per pound of what we moved, so we technically got paid for buying the dining room set and buffet. Not bad!

The table was solid, but unattractive. 70's upholster (which I pondered keeping, actually), and chipped, peeling finish over the oak colored wood. Our plan all along was to paint it white and put it in our eat-in kitchen. One of the reasons the dining set was priced so low is because the table is missing its extension leaf. We eventually plan to make one, but haven't done so yet. But, I digress.... Here's the before pictures of the table and chairs.


I used a spray-on paint stripper just on the table top, followed by a good sanding. I sanded the top of the chair backs since they were all peeling. For the table top, I used a high-density foam roller and used and oil-based primer and oil-based epoxy enamel. I chose oil base over latex even though clean-up is a real pain. You have to buy a separate paint thinner for oil base paints since soap and water will not clean your brushes.  However, I went with oil base because it is waaay more durable (there's a reason cars are painted with enamel rather than latex), and I know our table is going to get a lot of abuse and be exposed to moisture from spills, etc. I chose a high-gloss finish so the table can be wiped clean easily. Additionally, the paint I got is enamel-epoxy, meaning there's a glue binder in it. This particular paint is meant for high-heat appliances, like a stove top or a grill. It provides an ultra-hard finish that is just about scratch proof. Make sure though, that if you ever use any sort of oil-based paint, it's for a project you can work on outside. The fumes are almost overwhelming even when you are outdoors!


Once I had primered and painted the table, and used a brush to get into the grooves and details of the legs, I was starting to feel like I didn't want to move onto the 6 chairs! I knew I was going to have to use a brush, which takes forever. I told Josh, "Gaaaah, this would be so much easier if I had a paint sprayer!" And he was like, "Oh, yeah, I have one."

Um.... what? In the words of Robbie Heart in The Wedding Singer, "That sort of information would have been a lot more useful to me yesterday."

Anyway, we rolled Josh's 40 gallon air compressor out to the back yard and hooked up the paint sprayer. It seriously made priming and painting the chairs a SNAP. It is my new favorite tool!

So, after the chairs were painted, I headed to Joann's and picked out some upholstery for the seat cushions. I went with a yellow-goldish color with a damask imprint. I wrapped the new fabric over the old and used a staple gun to secure it (our staple gun was around $10 at Home Depot, and I think it's a tool everyone should own). I was so happy to see how it all came together, and it looks great in our dine-in kitchen. The finish turned out really smooth, even on the table where I didn't use the spray gun. High density foam rollers are the next-best thing to airbrushing, if you're careful go over your lap marks with light strokes.

In closing... in that middle picture of the table, do you see that window? Yes. Well, we had our pastor and his wife over for lunch after church a couple weeks ago (we barely know them), and the wind was blowing crazy outside, and that window came crashing down on the pastor's wife's head. Yes, you read that right. Completely embarrassing for all. Apparently, the window pane wasn't secured in the framework for whatever reason. It's secure now.

Well, that's the project. My next post will be on our thrift store buffet-turned entertainment center!