Unreal Dejunked Candy Vs. Old Junked Favorites

Libby gets UNREAL
You know that dream many women have of being paid to stay home and just eat chocolate? (What?  Just me?) Well it became my reality this week. Thanks to the Brilliant Babes at Resourceful Mommy Media and the  Unreal Candy company, I got to make some spending money AND sit around with a bunch of friends eating candy!  

The project was to host a party of friends who would sample Unreal Candy and share their thoughts about it.  Pretty fun right? I was very excited to learn about this candy.  I cook most of our food from scratch, always reduce sugar in muffin and cookie recipes, and try to buy organic, healthier junk food when I do buy junk.  But it is expensive.  The Unreal Candy is priced close to regular candy and available at CVS, Walgreens and local grocery stores. Their goal is to make it accessible to normal folks instead of just at health food stores.  The folks at Unreal hope to continue unjunking our other junk food too, isn't that great?  (Hey Unreal Company--my friend Beks wants you to do gummy candy next, ok?) 

I was very stoked to shop at Target  for my party decor and fooferah.  (I even made an Unreal Candy WREATH craft!)  When I got home with my goodies, my sugar fiend self was over the moon at the big box on my front porch. I just knew that box was full of Unreal Unjunked CANDY.

UNREAL Peanut Butter Cups YEAH!

I couldn't / didn't want to / it might be that time of the month/ wait until the party the next day.  Or even until I had eaten lunch.  Chocolate goes with everything, right?  The UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cup was my first selection.  OHMYWORD.  Fantastic flavors but alas it's richer taste just doesn't photograph well.  I was in love.

I delivered the Unreal # 8 Chocolate Peanut Caramel Nougat bar to my girlfriend Liz who foolishly offered to take both of my children for a playdate. I knew Snickers was one of her favorites.  So the Unreal candy bar, her verdict?  Tasted more like dark chocolate, which she loves, and when she checked the Weight Watchers points the bar came in at FOUR POINTS.  She thought a Snickers was about five points, but when she looked it up she was stunned and disappointed to see a Snickers Bar is EIGHT WEIGHT WATCHER POINTS.  I think she is ready to DEJUNK!
Liz checking Weight Watchers Points

I started organizing the goody bags and sorting the stash of Unreal Candy when I decided to pour out a sample of the candy covered chocolate(Unreal Candy # 41)and same with peanuts(Unreal Candy #54).  The peanuts didn't look great.  I was kind of sad about that.  It is more the aesthetics of it really, the colors are pretty and translucent, but the assembly line guy must be doing more eating than separating because half the peanut candy pieces were clumped together instead of separate peanut candies.  I had to eat several before deciding they tasted JUST GORGEOUS!!!  YUM.  I love the colors. I especially love that they are NATURAL and do not have a bunch of chemical numbers to tell me what they are.  I know what Tumeric, Beetroot and Purple Cabbage are. Kind of.

So I fed my friend Carrie and hubby John that night too.  I'm not much for waiting.  I had them taste the conventional version and the Unreal versions of all five candies.  Then of course, I took candy to my 5:30AM spin class for six folks at our local YMCA to try out.  Because I am that kind of girl.  Ask me about the time I brought cupcakes to class for another blog post.
Spin Instructor Theresa, with UNREAL Breakfast of Champions
The next day, the day of my actual candy tasting party, I had a great turnout with thirteen more mamas and neighbors. (THANK YOU Roxanne, Beks, Stephanie, Lori, Alisha, Katie, Erica, Lauren, Whitney, Liz, Amber, Steve, Pino and your kiddos.  Thanks for falling on the sword of friendship and eating a lot of candy with me at ten o'clock in the morning!)   
Stephanie, Beks, Whitney, Baby Corinna, Liz, Baby Libby, Little Molly, Lori and Roxanne
Apparently everybody likes candy and everyone appreciates a healthier take on their confections!  So from twenty-one total folks, here are the most noteworthy comments I recorded.
My friend Beks who came for the tasting sent me an email later about the tasting:  
"I thought the UNREAL candy was wonderful!  I didnt feel sick after eating 
a good amount as you could really tell the sugar contents were actually at a normal level and not over the top like regular candy...I loved actually savouring the taste of the real ingredients. The smoothness of the nougat and caramel. Tasting the Peanuts and not just the chocolate!"
Liz, Little Peyton, baby Libby, Amber, Baby Jack and Katie 
UNREAL #77 Peanut Butter Cups
Alisha in deep taste testing conversation
John said it was hard to tell the difference in everything except the Unreal #77 Peanut Butter Cups.  Since Reese's Cups are his favorite, he did prefer those, mostly because of the familiar taste.  Other tasters from the party like Katie preferred the Unreal version as it reminded them of something homemade, with REAL peanut butter.   Steve said the Unreal cups weren't as sweet as the junked version.  Alisha and Roxanne said they were creamier. Roxanne noticed the Unreal cups were not as salty either. YAY!

Campy Whitney with Baby Corinna
UNREAL #5 Chocolate Caramel Nougat Bar
The Unreal # 5 Chocolate Carmel Nougat bar tasted just like a Milky Way to Carrie.  One of the little girls, Peyton, LOVED IT.   Other tasters agreed it was a perfect match for the higher sugar junk filled version, but some folks thought it tasted a little fibery...and that is part of what makes it a great snack option....I dare you to find another CANDY BAR with FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER in it!

UNREAL #8 Chocolate Peanut Carmel Bar
Beks and Carrie thought it had less peanuts than the conventional bar, but most thought it was a close match. Alisha, Whitney and I couldn't tell much of a difference.  Liz thought it was more like a dark chocolate, richer and not as sweet.  

UNREAL #41 Candy Coated Chocolates
Amber with Twin Jack, UNREAL Candy FAN
Carrie, Theresa, John, Lora, YMCA Katie, Sharon and I loved the Unreal candy coating colors and didn't notice a taste difference in either set of candy coated options.  Some people thought they had a fruitier taste they didn't care for.  One kid put back the Unreal version.  Most people, myself included, really enjoyed them.  The colors were a huge hit and we all liked the absence of artificial coloring.

UNREAL #54 Candy Coated Chocolates with Peanuts
Pino, Erica  and Katie both liked that both candy coated chocolate samples had a flavor that was less sugary, less abrasive than their junked up competitors.  Erica liked the Unreal version better, it tasted almost like dark chocolate to her. Carrie said the peanuts tasted like real peanuts, maybe better quality?

Lora, Katie and Sharon at the YMCA Desk

When I left the YMCA the morning before my party, I saw the handsome well dressed young man who had been leaning over the counter inspecting the UNREAL #41 Candy Coated Chocolates I had shared with the front desk team. I struck up a conversation as we walked to our cars:

ME: Hey, What did you think of the candy?
GUY:  I didn't taste it.  
ME:  Why not?  
GUY:  I told them the same thing at the desk: When I have kids I'm gonna tell 'em eat what you want, whatever I have you can have.  I grew up on all the junky stuff and I'm 24 and I turned out just fine!
*brief pause while I considered the folly of youth*
ME:  Oh, you are pretty young still.  I bet when you are actually a parent you won't say that.
GUY: ( As he smiled and slid into his sports car)  You are probably right.  I won't.

I think as we grow older and stop taking our lives, our bodies for granted we make better choices.  I know when I became a parent I began to hide to eat my junk food my choices changed because I am now modeling a way of life for other people.  I want sweetness, I want health, and let's be honest the people WANT CHOCOLATE!!!  Isn't it great this little company in Boston  is recreating a simpler, more wholesome option for our sweet tooth?  We can all Unjunk Halloween (and every other day) with UNREAL Candy!  Junk food unjunked:  now THAT is UNREAL!

Now that you know from UNREAL Candy that  junk food UNJUNKED still tastes awesome and is affordable for everyone, tell your friends....and get more involved HERE.  I would love to hear your thoughts on junk food.

Craftastic: Unreal Candy Party Cardboard Box WREATH

I got this idea from my pal Google who introduced me to this fine duo's blog "Magpie and Cake".  I wanted a fun Fall wreath, so I bought the cheapo grapevine wreath from Target's dollar inflation aisle for $2.50  I was planning to hot glue a row of sticks onto it from which I can stick/hang/HOTGLUE any ol thing that strikes my fancy for the Fall months leading up to Christmas.  

BUT.  I unjunking my candy this Halloween by having this cool candy tasting party for Unreal UNJUNKED candy.  The Unreal logo and packaging colors are so electric....

Check out the stack of candy boxes I got yesterday!

Knowing I wanted to do more with the wreath later, I secured the 'leaves' to a cardboard thingamajigger and then glued that lightly to the wreath. This way I can pull it off when I am ready to move to sticks after the candy party.  I twisted two emptied candy wrappers together for a nice foil bow.  

I made a fun party decoration for free, used the cardboard packaging again instead of just recycling, and now have a memento I can keep forever a week.

THANKS Siobahn and Lindsay!!! And a BIG THANKS to Get Unreal for making better candy for my sugar addiction.  

"Cleavage Gets a Drink" and Other Dating While Married Tips

I'm doing dishes.  Really!  I am not writing this inspired piece when my house needs to be condemned some serious attention.  I am wearing a decidedly uninspired cardigan  and washing dishes and thinking about how cleavage gets a drink and other dating while married rules.
Heading out a different night to a wedding!
I shared this tarty bit of wisdom today, in all places, in my bible study group.  I'm not a good church girl, I just love Jesus.  (And if you don't that is fine by me, and if you are married, keep reading!)  The study we are doing is Stormie Omartien's "The Power of the Praying Wife" and we were talking about sex, affection, and alongside that scintillating topic (church girls DO have sex with their hubbies, fyi.) we also hit on finances etc. These two topics definitely go together.

I relayed a story from date night with my husband John from last week.  We went out to a high end dinner joint, Pikk's Tavern here in Valpo and I had dressed for the occasion:  Cleavage.  For my husband.  After becoming a Christian many years ago I do not show off "the girls" often, but once in awhile I like to toe the line and remember that I am not just a wife and mother, but a foxy wife and mother with some tricks up my sleeve. Plus after being married and having kids I do not want my husband to only see me as the mother of his children.  I want him to remember me as ME.  With curves.

I ordered a drink that cost almost as much as a meal.  Eight bucks.  An old fashioned, like my Dad makes for me on occasion when he upgrades from box wine.  I know we are on a budget, I know babies need shoes and I know I do not really need to have an overpriced drink.  I ordered it anyway.  I felt fabulous, sassy, sexy and in love with the man across the table from me.  

THEN HE SAID:  "Wow!  Eight bucks....Heather, that drink was eight dollars!"

We can afford it.  I know if we were dating I could have ordered lobster and he would barely have blinked.  John works hard so I can stay home with our girls and we still live a very comfortable life.  But.  He felt the drink was over the top.  It might have been, I didn't care. 

SO I SAID:  "Cleavage gets a drink!"

I explained that when I am The Wife in a cardigan and jeans, I'll drink tap water.  Boxed wine.  Almond Milk.  BUT.  When I am on a date with him, and I am wearing date clothes, and I am looking to be treated like a bombshell instead of a mama, I'll order a drink.  And he will pay for it.

And pull your chin up, stop scoffing, I do not mean to sound vulgar or arrogant.  I simply mean I deserve to be pampered, and John deserves to have a woman worth pampering.  When we were getting married he called me high maintenance but quipped that he enjoyed maintaining me.  I believe men want goals, they want to conquer, and once they have married us....ummmm what conquering is there?  So I strive at times to give him a challenge, coy, sporting, romantic or otherwise.  

It is our job to keep each other sharp, engaged and alive as we navigate life together as husband and wife.  I love him so deeply, and trust that he will allow me to be a little high maintenance at times and still make the doable effort to maintain me.  I know he trusts me to keep it to  the smaller things.  Although I  do want  some big things...I do not really need them. ( But...well... my cleavage may think differently!)

BC Osakas: Chinese Outfit to a Japanese Restaurant?

Sooooo...I am not too sharp on politics.  Or world events. Usually I am ok with this.  Yesterday was my darling Hubs' birthday, so I gussied the girls up in special Chinese outfits from my Uncle Frank and Aunt Ruth.  How cute, right?
 Then That Man came home, looking handsome and not a minute older(actual bday is the 25th!)  and off we went.  Our destination was a mystery to him, but I wanted to try BC Osaka the new Hibachi Grill Buffet place in Merrillville, Indiana.  John thought the girls were darling and said "So we are going to a Chinese restaurant?"  I said "Maaaaayyyyybe..."  And then he said the game changer:  "Well I certainly hope we aren't going to a Japanese place with the girls dressed like this."  


I wasn't 100% the nationality of BC Osakas.    I kind of figure it is all dumbed down cuisine for us 'mericans.  And even though I was kind of aware of the conflicts between Japan and China (thanks Hubby....since we do not have the newspaper, I do not watch TV....wow, would I be so much more ignorant without you.) it never occurred to me that my girlie pies in Chinese outfits could be offensive.  Or get our food spit in.  Or worse?
After a short bout of selfish tantruming from yours truly including "Well THIS ruins my vision of a darling evening!"  We changed the girls into street clothes in the back seat of our car before going into the restaurant.
We had a FANTASTIC meal.  We didn't even realize the $7-$10 three course kids meal was FREE on Mondays...maybe Mon-Wed, I cannot remember.  We sat on the hibachi side, and our food was wonderful and there was plenty of it. It was totally worth the extra charge to get chicken fried rice, fyi.   I have never been to one of these places so it was a great event. Their buffet also looked ah-mazing, huge, and fresh. I looked online beforehand to see about bringing the Littles, found the general consensus was dinner and a show and the chefs generally play to the little kids.  Our 1.5 yo and 3.5 yo girls were very entertained, ate a lot of food (portions were adult like!) and checked out the bathrooms three or four times(yay potty training Libby!)

Then because it was John's birthday they brought out a whole cake!  It had a lotus flowery sparklery musical topper they let us keep. John wouldn't hold it up to his ear like a pretty flower decoration for pictures. I think he might be afraid of it.   It did spark a bit.
So we had a great night, at BC Osakas. I wonder how it might have been different if my hubby hadn't rescued folks from my insensitivity.  What do you guys think?  Have you ever had a big social faux pas?  I would love to hear your stories.


Shoes I want but cannot walk in.  They have nothing to do with this post.

I am thinner!  I am thinner!  I broke 180 for the first time in a year!!!  

I am also a reasonably smart woman, and so the classic struggle with eating bad for me food and gaining weight stymies me.  I know what to eat, even what to snack on as a pseudo indulgence, yet....I actively purchase and consume stuff that ain't on that list.

I figure it is like when I quit smoking:  Just keep quitting.  Even if my friends roll their eyes at my newest effort (sugar fasts, Atkins, Appetite suppressants, Shakes, low carb, South Beach, Biggest Loser, Sugar Addiction diet, Made to Crave, Insanity, Weight Watchers, Spark People, Loseit, daily workouts...what next?) I will just keep quitting junky living until it "takes" and I am a healthier THINNER version of myself.

My pal Liz wanted to recommit to Weight Watchers, or WW.  I did that before and liked it, so I thought I would follow along using my LoseIt tracker on my smartphone. She gave me some of her well loved tools and I could translate my daily eating into  points.  Which I might have done once.  We started about a week ago, and she started using Lose It too.  I had bad days, and then a good day, then bad days.  

A few days ago I was recommitting AGAIN to actively eat healthier and work out and was ensconced on the throne reading a devotional.  (Not terribly Godly, but I bet that is where you read 'em, if you read em and have small kiddos like me!)  It was Joyce Meyer "Starting Your Day Right"  and here is what it said "I press on toward the goal to win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward." Phillipians 3:14  Like any mediocre Christian, I translated that to encourage my healthier lifestyle. Of course it speaks to a higher calling, but you know where I was sitting and here I am only talking about my posterior circumference.  Isn't it cool God can nudge me thinner?  The next day, same scene, same kind of devotional.  I was motivated.
Marci and Courtney Crozier from Biggest Loser Season 11!!! Marvelous Women!

Now here it is a few days later, I'm down THREE POUNDS breaking an ugly line I have stared down for at least a year now.  And that third pound went away yesterday right before I went to my 5:30am spin class with Liz, Lindsay and Lori(who missed, now is super bummed!)  As a grin from God that morning, in an "attagirl" form and a "Nope, you aren't slacking this morning in class even if you HAVE worked out every day this week!" nudge, Courtney and Marci from Biggest Loser TV Show, Season 11  were right across from me in class!  Talk about motivation!  

Near the end of class I asked Lindsay if she would take my picture with them if they were willing.  She rolled her eyes and said "They've just taken  spin class..." I realized I was being tacky.  So of course I still asked them!  I also said "I'm a smart girl and I know what not to eat, yet I keep shoving crap in my mouth.  How do you stop that?"  Courtney said "You can't have it in the house.  PERIOD. You can eat a whole bag of green beans if you want to , you wouldn't want to, but if that is all you have around if you are actually hungry you will eat it.  You aren't eating because you are hungry.  You cannot have it in your house."  I found her blog you can check it out here.  Then Marci used a term (what was it Marci????) for finding your "Want To" to motivate yourself.  She said at Omni Health Club where she works they have a "Thin & Healthy" program and finding your "Want to"  is what helps you stay motivated.

It was so great to see this mother daughter team in real life.  It was motivating to talk with them and hear what I know to be true:  Being healthier is a CHOICE.  Am I worth it?
All I know is I am not about to get on the scale until next Friday.  We will see....if I am yet thinner again.  How about you?  

TRK: "Vegan Indian Cooking" Book Review (In time for World Vegetarian Day!)

In this Tiny Red Kitchen post I am reviewing  the Vegan Indian Cooking cookbook by Anupy Singla.  I was pleased to receive my very own copy of the cookbook to review, but other than that did not get any compensation. (Nor did I need any...I already purchased her first cookbook, The Indian Slow Cooker and love it!)  I met Anupy at the Brands and Bloggers Summit in Chicago this summer  and snatched up one of her cookbooks right away.  Her blog is "Indian as Apple Pie" (Indian food with an American Flair) and she is MARVELOUS. Yep.  Just you wait.

If you love eating and cooking or haven't eaten or cooked Indian food before, this is your cookbook!  It was well explained from history to process to final recipes.  The food is delicious in the way a restaurant cannot touch.  As my husband said "This is good.  It is REALLY good.  And it isn't overpowering like some Indian food we've eaten."  For those of you who know my hubs isn't exactly a rah rah kind of fellow, this is HIGH praise.

I adore Indian food but there are not any locals joints here in Valparaiso, Indiana.  So I make my own.  I'm also lazy, so the slow cooker recipes will be great.  We go meatless quite often so the vegan version will be good too.  Then there was THIS!  I agreed to go meat free for the month of October, now I am entered to (maybe) win $1,000!  Whoo hoo!  I expect I could loose some weight, too. Although my Dad is rocking it out in the weight loss dept. with Paleo Diet.
The Tiny Red Kitchen at Full Capacity
I couldn't decide what to make for the review, so I made three things plus a few spice dealies.  Anupy has AN AWESOME SPICE TRAY called a "Masala Dabba" or "Spice Tiffin" and anyone could get that for me for my birthday in November.  Seriously cool.  And a lot better than my ziplock bag collection of spices for Indian & Ethiopian culinary adventures.  I had just run out of Garam Masala and there was an explanation for that on page 34 with a recipe I missed till now on page 59!  Plus she encourages us foodies to roast and grind our own cumin & coriander;  I had the seeds so I did that too.  And do not get me started on the ginger garlic paste page 67.  I thought about eating that straight out of the food processor it smelled so good.  Why on earth would I buy a jar of that for $6 when I can make it myself?

Starting the Mock Keema Magic
I also made "Baked, Spiced Tofu" from page 68.  It was simple to make and I especially liked that she didn't have you press it like most baked tofu recipes....then again I didn't like it as well as I do pressed and marinated tofu like this.  Her goal was to make a replacement for Indian Paneer, a cheese cube in many recipes...so she didn't have a lot resting on it as a stand alone item.  And it needs SALT!  (Sez my over demanding 'merican palate!) I cut it into cubes and added it to the Mushrooms in Cream Sauce.  My daughter Portia thought it was chicken!  Hee hee hee. Nope.  Not chicken.

Mushrooms in Cream Sauce

I made "Mushrooms in Cream Sauce" page 188 and since you are paying attention you wonder what makes a VEGAN (i.e.: no animal products) cream sauce.  The same bit of delectable magic I experienced when Tal Ronnen first introduced it.  Basically you soak RAW cashews overnight in water, run them through a food processor and you have a thick creamy sludge that stands in for cream in pretty  much anything.  I eat it by the spoonful.  PLUS if you fail to plan ahead/fridge is too full or produce you aren't eating/you are lazy you can pour boiling water over the cashews and just throw them in the food processor after a bit instead of soaking overnight....still fabu. I finished making this mushroom dish and thought it might be kind of bland and boring.  I snuck a bite (or four....) and it was FABULOUS...rich and flavorful without being obvious, or anything close to bland.  I think I exclaimed out loud in the kitchen all alone how good it was.
Cookbook's Keema

My Keema...PRETTY!

I finished up the adventure with "Spiced Crumbles with Peas (Mock Keema)" on page 205.  It seemed to use a lot of spice combinations and I thought it might be too much.  Then I reread the directions and realized I needed TWO 12 ounce bags of crumbles.  I had ONE of Quorn which is awesome but creepy in a 'we'll all be eating this in the future for all of our food' kind of way.  I diced up some Boca burgers to get enough 'meat' for the recipe.  WHEW.  Glad there wasn't an emergency run to the store at 5pm on a Sunday.  Oh, this Keema dish was my favorite.  So spicy and tasty and I would not have known it wasn't meat for one second. Unless it comes back to remind me later, in a most indelicate non sexy manner. But, I'm married already right?  John should have known what he was getting himself into amiright?

I used my Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day for whole wheat naan, flattening out a peach sized lump of dough and throwing it into a skillet with a tablespoon of oil on high, flipping it after a bit.  it's not real naan, but for us it is a fine stand in.  I looked through the Vegan Indian Cooking book to see if Anupy had a naan recipe, which she omits for the healthier "rotis" and now cannot wait to make stuffed rotis from the book.  MMMM!

We set up in the living room to watch an Indian documentary during dinner to round out the trip to India.  The girls are raised to eat food we eat, but sometimes....well, this was sometimes.  They gobbled the naan because no bread item stands a chance around those two.  Portia asked for seconds of the Mushrooms in Cream Sauce but Libby didn't feel adventurous today.  She isn't even two years old, I won't hold it against her.  And for the record she barely touched her cottage cheese either.

When I finally stopped eating for a moment and caught my breath, I asked John what he thought and you already heard his rousing approval.  He had seconds and I am pretty sure he cleaned up the girls leftovers too!  Portia kept asking for more of the mushrooms, but we cut her off at a point.  Anupy said in the book the Mushrooms in Cream Sauce was the recipe that started the book, and it is obvious how that happened.  

I strongly recommend this "Vegan Indian Cooking" cookbook.  It is filled with gorgeous pictures, useful information (did you know that curry powder in your cupboard isn't Indian???) and personality along with wholesome food almost anyone will enjoy making and eating.  (If you are the white bread & slice of Kraft cheese singles equals a grilled cheese sandwich type...this ain't your book.)  BUT if you are a foodie, health conscious and adventurous, go buy this book now.  And you can buy the spice tray AKA "Spice Tiffin" for someone special too.  You know.  In November.

Thank you, Anupy for such great cookbooks.  You are making vegan eating and Indian cooking more accessible and DELICIOUS for all with "Vegan Indian Cooking"!

Eat Up!

Wanna Be Paid to be a Vegetarian?

It is World Vegetarian Month in October, and they are entering folks into a drawing for up to $1,000 for abstaining from meat for one day, one week or one month!  You can read more about it here.

You can pledge to take some time off from meat here.

There are a variety of reasons to go meatless from saving money, liking cute animals, being a tree hugger, losing weight, reducing health risks, or just to see if you even can!

I myself LOVE MEAT.  But.  I often get grossed out by it, and sometimes feel sick later.  Like today after a McDonalds big beefy mess.  SICK! I also drove past huge nasty feedlots in Colorado that always make me question my choices.  We eat vegetarian often already, but mmm meat!

I was also vegetarian for almost two years because of the label on my beef jerky that used the words "POST MORTEM" to clarify that the jerky was made from cows that died as opposed to were slaughtered....mmm.  

I didn't really miss meat as there are so many really good substitutions out there.  I once served  my bible study "Beef Stew' from the "Skinny B***" books and it was AWESOME.  It was vegan and they never knew.  Till I told them, and a few folks had a second bowl!  You can find the recipe here.

I am doing a Vegan Indian Cook book review that will coincide with Meat Free October, so stay tuned for that even if you aren't into skiing meat every day.  Dr. Oz says going meat free even one day a week can do grand things for your health.

This should be fun as my Dad is on the Paleo diet and visits us weekly!  There is a vegan and vegetarian Paleo diet out there, fyi.  Look em up!

Here are some reasons to go meat free from the website:

  • Reduce the risk of major killers such as heart disease, stroke and cancer while cutting exposure to foodborne pathogens
  • Provide a viable answer to feeding the world’s hungry through more efficient use of grains and other crops
  • Save animals from suffering in factory-farm conditions and from the pain and terror of slaughter
  • Conserve vital but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources
  • Preserve irreplaceable ecosystems such as rainforests and other wildlife habitats
  • Decrease greenhouse gases that are accelerating global
  • Mitigate the ever-expanding environmental pollution of
    animal agriculture

Let me know if you want to take the challenge with me. We can go throw lentils at folks as they leave the hot dog vending cart!  And...maybe I should tell John?

Watch Our Listen to Your Mother Show Videos!

Listen to your Mother Show Videos are UP!

You can watch any or all of the Northwest Indiana show I was in HERE.  

Or since you are my pal, maybe you only want to watch mine but you are shortchanging yourself.  Everyone should watch every piece from EVERY show. 

Please stop staring at my double chin.  

Remember my 'How to look great in pictures post"?  My poor chinneck* in this video really bothers me, and you will see it is not because I am self indulgent with the junk food but because the camera is low....unflatteringly low.  Please say something about how darling I am in the credits.  Please!  AND send me moolah for appetite suppressants or Weight Watchers.  UGH.

*Chinneck: Adj. An unfortunate physical manifestation in which one's neck and chin appear to be one physical characteristic.  Often indicative of excess Cheese Pringles consumption or unflattering video or camera angle.

Look Better in Photos: No More Double Chin (Before and Afters)

Want to hide your double chin, real or imagined? Just remember:  Camera Up, Chin Down

Lots of folks have body image issues, even women I think are 'prefect' like my gorgees SIL.  I am not delving into all of that.   What this here is all about it to make your pretty face as pretty and fabu as possible even if someone hateful likes to draw double chins into your photos.

There are two rules:  Be BELOW the camera, and Drop your chin forward and DOWN.  AKA "Camera Up, Chin Down"

I learned to be below the camera from my bestie Jenny!  I sure wish I knew where I learned the chin thing, it saves me.  Here are two before and after examples....thanks to my girlfriends Jean and Michelle (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!)  for willingly showing their extra charms.

This is me and my pal Jean.  We are MUCH cuter than this, but we are being photographed by someone seated and are unintentionally showcasing our chinage. (Hey we only had a few blueberry donuts!!!)

Five seconds later, look how darling we are!!!   Background doesn't hurt either, I s'pose.

DO NOT lift your chin up in pictures.  That was bad advice and makes you look silly:

Here is my pretty Sister In Love, who unwittingly channels my fav Julia Roberts.  What the heck is wrong with her neck?  (Oh, that?  That was her attempt to hide "hideworthy neck attributes" she doesn't even have!)

MUCH better.  Chins down and out....feels weird, but looks great, yes?

Anyone have other photo tricks for us Babes to use?

Random Things 3

This is a $5 mug I bought with and for my best friend Jenny and a matching one for me too.  It says "Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts." Colossians 3:15   I need that peace.  One of my "Life (with toddler) Rules" is to CHOOSE Peace.  Boy is that hard.  Choosing to BE peace amidst the chaos is a struggle for me, but I know my deepest friend is doing the same thing.  And we are appreciating the beauty of this mug in the morning despite the distance between our houses.

My big girl holding my little big girl and singing her bedtime songs was comically precious.

Weird little kid things:  If you cannot tell what that is(in my little GIRL'S Buzz Lightyear underpants), I am shore not s'plaining it.

PK started Preschool, and they bring these buckets to and fro each day...I cannot wait to post about my sudden maternal struggles with decorating that sucker.  

This is Gentleman Jim.  He is often found in our YMCA lobby playing his harmonica!  Since my Dad plays for the girls every week, they get a big kick out of Mr. Jim's tunes.  We might have had a dance party in the YMCA lobby yesterday.  

Random Things, Again! AKA #2

My Husband's professional equivalent of a beer can tower.  He has this in his office and I forget about it but when we visit him it makes me happy.  We are also LaCroix junkies and I am always endlessly needlessly proud to have started his addiction.

This mural hangs in the library at Indiana University Northwest AKA Gary.  I love it as an example of the coolness and smarts to be found at this underrated University.  I wish IUN got more credit for what it is doing in their community simply by educating people.  I have several friends who have attended there, and the girls and I enjoy visiting John there:  Thrill of the Grill ROCKS!

This is some little girl's sticker stuck to my most precious "Betty" porch glider.  I bought her as a rusted white old battleax, dragged her to and from three houses, and thanks to Peaches Bed and Breakfast in Grand Rapids Michigan learned the sandblast & powder coat trick that brought Betty to her current shiny red glory.  I am annoyed there is a sticker on her, but  I cannot seem to bring myself to remove it.  It seems to whisper the many delights of having small babies trampling my former self to beloved bits.

This is the sub mail carrier for our favorite lady, Pat.  As we chatted on the porch and he petted our 92 pound dog 'Steve', this guy showed me his dog warning card.  In case you cannot read it clearly and want to rob a house, it says "VERY FRIENDLY".  On what is supposed to be a dog WARNING card.  Harumph.  

Mushrooms can be inappropriately funny.

Apparently I need to eat my carrots faster.  Or it is an alien pod from whence someone has escaped.

Highly anticipated "The Green Goat" new and used household decor store FINALLY opened here in Valparaiso Indiana.  HINT: Tres Petite Friendly despite the posh appearance! Animal Crackers for the kidlets and things at every price point.  Check em out and tell them the Lunch Lady Sent You!

My husband working my Dad's Heather Valley Honey Booth.  He goes everyday and I don't.  Sure, I have the kids card, but....oh he rescues me again and again as any Prince Charming should.  He loves my Dad and me by hawking honey with nary a complaint.  Thank you, Lord, for this man.