Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Making and Experimenting

This blog has been unused for so long. I can't believe all that has happened since I started it, and then since I stopped writing. But blogs are so Two-Zero Zero...right?

I recently (two days ago) discovered a new product in the low-carb world. I think it's really under the radar, and I decided to source some and experiment with it.   I just found out my go-to sweetener Truvia is a LOT higher in carbs than I had assumed. (You know what they say about ass-u-me?)

I found a post on Pinterest that referenced home-made "Quest" bars.  The product used to sweeten them is IMO...or Isolmaltooligosaccharide, which is a prebiotic dietary fibre.  It has a lot of health benefits, and the company selling it in Canada just happens to be 15 minutes from my house!

 BioNuetra sells it online with the option to pick up at the warehouse. Score! I placed my order on Sunday night and it was ready to pick up the next morning.

I came home with a 5 Kg jug of the sugar free syrup and 1 kg of the powder. Of course I immediately had to try it out. I mixed up a batch of remineralizing toothpaste, using the syrup as a binder. It is soft and pliable enough that I could squeeze it into a purchased plastic squeeze container made for lotions and such that I picked up at Kolya Naturals.  I used bentonite clay, baking soda, magnesium citrate powder and calcium carbonate pills  (that I ground up).  I used vodka as a liquid to thin it a bit more, as I'd read it helps work as a preservative. I also added 30 drops peppermint EO, 1 drop lemon EO and 3 drops of Oregano EO.
 Whew, the oregano is really strong, but I do like the fact that it leaves my mouth feeling really clean!
It's a greyish colour, which is counterintuitive for a toothpaste, but I really like it. My teeth feel much cleaner, smoother and my breath fresher than any commercial toothpaste.  I will be playing with this one.

I have one more recipe to share here. It's delicious!

I wanted to make the Quest-ish protein bars that first led me to this product. I looked at the recipe and decided it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, and I wanted to be original so I made my own.

I heated 1/4 cup VitaFibre syrup in the microwave with 1/4 cup peanut butter till it was just starting to bubble (about one minute).  I added 2 tsp banana flavouring and 3 scoops Vanilla Protein Powder and mixed it all up. I had to add an additional 2 T of the syrup to get it to a moldable, soft dough state. I packed it into an 8X8 cake pan, but only covered 1/2 the pan as I wanted it about 3/4 inch thick. I pressed walnut pieces into the top while it was soft, and then covered it and put it into the fridge. It firmed up into a delicious, low-carb, high protein nougat-type treat that has a  banana bread like flavour. Mmmmm.

I will be playing with variations on this theme to perfect the flavours and content. I don't need as much protein in a treat, so I may experiment with different nut and seed combinations to replace part of the protein powder.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Coldest Day of the Year

Since it's already 2011, I guess calling today the "coldest day of the year" is rather premature. I should say it's the coldest day of the winter of 2010-11. I'm surprised it didn't break a record, but that may go to the winter of 1994...when Josh was a newborn.
It was -50 with windchill the day we took him home from the hospital....in a car with no heat. We only lived a few blocks from the hospital, and he was well protected in a brand new little snow suit from his Grandma Jeanette, and lots of blankets.
Still...it makes me wonder what we were thinking. We did have friends who lived close and would have driven us.
I think I was channeling my pioneer roots. I grew up with stories of my Mom and Dad racing my brother, who had asthma, to the hospital in a wagon in the middle of winter. It was the late fifties. They were farmers on a homestead. They lived at least 30 country miles from the hospital too.
Josh had it easy.

It was -39 here this morning, and I had to go in to the city to get a filling.

I hate cold. I forgot to plug my van in last night. It was a slow start this morning, and the trani and power steering pump did protest as I pulled s-l-o-w-l-y out of the driveway.

I also had a message from a friend that her son, just in his twenties, passed away yesterday afternoon. He was first diagnosed with cancer years ago, as a teen. He battled leukemia a few times, with chemo, radiation and in the spring of last year, at the same time as my brother Michael, he had a bone marrow transplant.
He's battled GVHD (graft vs host disease), common in transplant patients, since. He had another round of chemo and radiation. You'd think, through all that, a young man might get bitter and feel sorry for himself and give up. Not this young man. Not at all. I have never witnessed a more determined and positive attitude, and I have had close contact with a few cancer patients. Michael (yes, his name was the same as my brother) would walk the halls of the transplant unit, despite the pain and side effects. He was unstoppable. He was an inspiration to the other patients, and to the staff. He walked off the unit, discharged, on time, after the treatment. He had a smile on his face and a hope in his heart. He had a deep faith and a joy.

No, he was not perfectly cheerful at all times. No human could be. But he thought about his life and his mortality, and he wanted to live every moment, and it showed. My family, watching and helping my brother through his own illness, were in awe. Along with young Michael's mom, we laughed, prayed, cried and held each other as the two Michaels fought bravely.

We were heartbroken when, exhausted of strength and will, my brother passed away in his sleep at the Tom Baker Cancer Center on May 29th, 2010. Almost exactly two years after my father had passed away, also from cancer.

We cheered young Michael on though. We transferred all our hope and prayers to him. We prayed and waited and my sister made him a quilt to keep him warm. He was left very thin and was cold all the time, so we tried to send him a bit of warmth from our family.

Yesterday I heard from his mom, my friend, Terri. Michael passed away peacefully with his family there with him. I know his family. They have great faith. They know that their son, their brother, is now in a better place. But my heart goes out to them. I think of them watching the world go on, and I remember thinking, when my brother passed away, and when I lost my Dad, "How? How can you live and laugh and carry on?" But we do, we all do. We put one foot in front of the other and we walk, and we nod, and we accept the love and we make plans and we finalize things. We give thanks that the pain is over, and we weep in our own pain, and we wonder if we will ever fully fill our lungs again.

I send out a prayer to the Maker of the Universe, to hold on tight to both these brave Michaels and those we have lost, those gone ahead. I pray for peace for those left behind.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Macy Gray - Beauty In The World

Kim, you made my day with your loving post going out to those strong, positive women who inspire you. You do that for me too. I had to share this wonderful song. We're dancing at my house!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Blue Star

I love my Blue Star! Look at that beautiful colour. Cooking supper isn't even a chore.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook


We have not had this much snow since the year Josh was born in 1994. I don't think we had close to this much even that winter. The snow piles in the yard, where the boys are shoveling, are over my head! It is beautiful to look at but we have been stuck at home for a couple of weeks. The roads are treacherous.

I saw a link here to A Simple Woman's Daybook and thought I would play along.


Outside my window... the snow is piled higher than my head, there are deep shadows of blue and grey against the beautiful white drifts, and the trees are covered and drooping under the weight of the endless snow.

I am thinking... ~how much I wish Daniel would enjoy life and take that vacation with his Dad and brothers for his Dad's 80th birthday.

I am thankful for...the simplicity of my new living room decor.

I am wearing...new soft grey sweatpants, grey hoodie with purple trim, felted slippers made by Nessa. In a word...cozy.

I am remembering... doing projects in January. Pulling out the old journals and seeing what inspired me in years past.

I am going...to try to get out of the house this week and go to Edmonton.

I am currently reading... "The Golden Thread-A Reader's journey Through the Great Books" by Bruce Meyer

I am hoping... to get lots of studying in with the boys over the next few months.

On my mind...how good it feels as I de-clutter and let go of all the stuff that has been weighing me down.

Noticing that... it's easier to keep the house clean with less "stuff" in it.

Pondering these words..."Home is not just where the heart is...."..."it is also the center of perception, the force that shapes the soul of an individual and dictates the rules of how one should behave in the world." Bruce Meyer - from book I am reading (see above)

In the kitchen... Enjoying trying new recipes and planning ahead of time what I want to make for suppers.

Around the house... Still amazed at my new kitchen. I LOVE cooking on the gas stove!

One of my favorite things...getting a parcel delivered to my door. (today it's my New Directions essential oils).

From my picture journal...Zoot. He was digging at some styrofoam packaging and a piece stuck to his nose. He tried to ignore it as we all laughed hysterically.

Friday, December 31, 2010

End of a Decade

Tomorrow, when I wake up it will be the beginning of a new day, the beginning of a New Year, and the beginning of a new decade. How better to start it than with a dream of lovely days, lived one at a time, intentionally and with joy.

I always find the new year is a good time to take stock, and though I'm not great at keeping a list of resolutions, rather I like to look at the things I know, deep inside, that make a difference and make life sweeter.

This is what I am pondering.

How to Have a Lovely Day (Year, Life)

Smile when you see someone (even yourself in the mirror).
Slow down.
Say please and thank you.
Give lots of sincere compliments.
Dress nicely.
Wear your favorite perfume.
Really listen.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Say "I love you".
Deeply wish others a lovely day, even if you don't get to say it out loud.

So Happy New Year to you. May you intentionally seek, and find, that Lovely Day that is within our grasp, everyday.

Do you make New Years Resolutions?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Re-Make Project

Josh and I went to the local Salvation Army last Saturday and I found a couple gems. A 99 cent globe, and a great little chandelier in a box in the very back of the store. It was garish brass, but for $5 and a little TLC, it was worth it.
This is what it looked like out of the box. I thought the crystals were worth the $5 if nothing else. I like a little bling!

We stripped the crystals, covered the cut glass globe in the center with masking tape, and gave it a couple coats of white spray paint.
I use the term "we" loosely, Josh did the work. I tend to be a little too impatient with the spray paint. I put too much on too fast. Josh has a light touch on the trigger, and does a much better job.
Do you like his paint booth?

I thought I might put it in my half-bath, but the position of the ceiling fixture, door and cabinets make that grand idea impossible. It will likely end up in my studio. I love it now that the brassiness was covered with white paint and the crystals were soaked in OxiClean.
It looks great. I love the sparkle, and it looked great in my mountain ash in the front yard today, with the sun shining and the beautiful leaves.

The really amazing part of this project is that it was completed the same day as we brought it home! I hope this wonderful weather holds...we worked on a couple more projects today. Maybe we will finish them and post here...stranger things have happened.