Wednesday, December 14, 2011
You can buy Shrinky Dink kits at toy stores or craft stores, or you can buy just the plastic sheets at craft stores like Hobby Lobby. First, draw your source image on a blank sheet of paper, or you can use a ready-made image (like we did in class). Place the sheet of plastic over the source image, and trace it onto the plastic with permanent markers. Color and draw to your heart's content. When you are finished, cut out the plastic image. Don't try to cut out the image precicely, it is better to cut items out in an oval or circular shape since pointy parts will be sharp and might fold over on themselves when they bake. Be sure to leave a large space big enough for a hole punch, if this is to be an ornament or necklace. Next, line a cookie sheet with tin foil or thick paper (grocery bag thickness), and bake the cut-outs at 325°. They are done when they've shrunk and are laying flat. Keep an eye on the cut-outs while they bake so they don't curl up on themselves.
Tip 1: Make your source image big; they aren't called "shrinky" dinks for nothin'. After baking, the final image reduces down by at least half.
Tip 2: Markers on the plastic sheets makes for a glossy, stained-glass like finish. To get a matte finish, rub the plastic sheets lightly with sandpaper before coloring.
Have a safe and happy holiday. We'll see you next year!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
A second way to remember Pearl Harbor is through the artifacts left behind. Wheeler Air Force Base is one of the few buildings from the attack that was not rebuilt, and retains bullet holes and damage from the attack to this day. A Japanese Zero was found crashed a field. The pilot survived and hid with sympathizers. The Zero is on display at the Pearl Harbor Museum, along with the Hickman flag and a B-25, the bombers from the Doolittle Raid.
After the people and artifacts, a third way to remember Pearl Harbor is through the actual sites. After US citizens, Japanese citizens are the 2nd largest group of visitors to the Pearl Harbor memorial sites. But Japanese tend to view memorials differently than Americans. To the Japanese, memorials are not to glorify the dead or remember a battle, but are to reflect a lesson learned. The Hiroshima memorial has no names, rather it is a monument to peace. Americans tend to capture the moment in our memorials, whereas the Japanese see view memorials as what to avoid. How we each interpret the site is how we remember the event.
Finally, a fourth method to remember Pearl Harbor is through our cultural memory. We keep Pearl Harbor alive through movies, TV, books and the internet. Many good (and bad) films try to capture what happened that day.
After staying on the island for two weeks, interviewing survivors, visiting the museums and memorials, Dr. Harvey said the biggest impression she took away with her was the one the survivors most wanted: reconciliation. At the Arizona memorial, there are two roses laid down each week; one red, one white. When we say "never forget" are we talking about the battles, or are we talking about the lives lost and the bigger lessons learned from that war? What do we want the lesson of Pearl Harbor to be?
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
1-2 soup shanks (a.k.a. soup bone or sugar bone)
3-4 medium potatoes cut into thin strips (like French fries)
1 can Swanson Vegetable Broth (optional)
2-4 table spoons of oil. Dr. Schmidt uses vegetable or canola oil. Olive, grape seed or any other is also okay.
1 small onion chopped
1-2 medium carrots shredded
1 tomato chopped (optional)
1/4 orange or red bell pepper cut into thin strips (optional)
2 small or 1 medium beet peeled and shredded
4-5 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes (Dr. Schmidt prefers Hunts variety), but you can substitute with tomato sauce.
1 small or 1/2 large cabbage finely shaved
Salt and pepper to taste, and Season All
2 bay leaves
Garnish - sour cream, fresh finely chopped dill and/or parsley
1) One or two days ahead of time boil soup bones until the meat is falling off the bone (3 hours). Refrigerate until you are ready to make the soup.
2) When you are ready to start cooking the soup, heat up the broth with the bones, take the bones out and separate meat from bones, fat, etc... You may discard the meat and bones altogether, surprise your dog, or add the meat to the soup.
3) The broth might be too rich, so consider adding 1 can of Vegetable broth and 1 can of water.
4) Add potatoes cut into strips into the broth and let cook.
5) You may add pieces of meat at any time in the process. Dr. Schmidt usually adds the meat after the potatoes.
6) Meanwhile, on medium heat in a frying pan, saute onions in vegetable oil until translucent or slightly golden. This is your vegetable mixture.
7) Add shredded carrots and continue cooking.
8) When the carrots are cooked, add the following ingredients one at a a time and let cook: thin strips of bell pepper (optional), chopped tomato (optional), shredded beets.
9) When the vegetables are almost done, add 4-5 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.
10) Back in the borscht pot, the potatoes should now be cooked. Add the vegetable mixture to the pot and stir.
11) Add salt, pepper, and Season All (makes everything taste better!). Remember, beets and cabbage "eat" salt, so you might have to add more than what you would normally use.
12) Add finely shaved cabbage and 2 bay leaves.
13) Bring everything to a boil, let simmer for 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook the cabbage.
14) Serve in a soup bowl with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with finely chopped dill and parsley.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Georges explained to us some of the basics of French desserts, focusing on the classic dishes of crème brûlée and bananas foster. Crème brûlée means "burnt cream" in French, but we like the way it sounds in French better. Did you know that vanilla beans actually come from an orchid plant? Did you also know that you can cheat at a Crêpe Suzette recipe by buying the crêpes already made at the grocery store? Both are true, but you probably don't want to say the latter to a French cuisine connoisseur. Also, feel free to use a kitchen blow torch or a candle lighter to light your bananas foster on fire. You are less likely to burn your house down using that method over the traditional tilt-the-pan method.
Check out some of the famous French recipes at Georges' website below, and be sure to celebrate National French Week this November 8-14th.
Your funny for the day: when asked if he had any sugar-free French dessert recipes, Georges replied, "You're asking the wrong person. I don't do anything for free." Thank you Georges!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
When making your jewelry, try to lay out the entire piece first on a cloth (so the beads won't roll away). It is much easier to string the beads after you've organized them so you don't realize halfway through the process that you've made a mistake and have to start over.
Tools you will need:
Crimping Tool - to attach the toggle bead at the end near the clasp
Wire Cutters - to cut the tiger wire when you are finished making the necklace
Round Nose Pliers - use these to make earrings
Bent Nose or Flat Nose Pliers
Places to get supplies:
Hobby Lobby - half their beads on sale each week - never pay full price!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Ga Xao Xa Ot - Chicken with Lemon Grass (RECIPE #1)
500 g chicken thigh/breast fillets, cut into bite size pieces
3 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp sugar
2 lemon grass stalks, white part only, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 long red fresh chilli, finely diced
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
1 cup young coconut juice or chicken broth (optional)
Coriander/cilantro for garnish
Preparation: In a mixing bowl combine fish sauce, sugar and mix until sugar has dissolved. Add half of the lemon grass, half of the garlic, half of the chilli and all of the chicken. Coat the chicken then marinate it covered and refrigerated for 1 hour or over night for a better result. Bring a large saucepan or wok to medium heat, add oil and remaining lemon grass, garlic, chilli, and fry until fragrant and slightly brown. Turn heat to high then add the chicken sealing all sides until browned, around 2 minutes on each side. Now add coconut juice, onions and cover with a lid, then cook on medium heat for a 5 minutes or until sauce has reduced by half. Transfer to a bowl, garnish with coriander and eat with jasmine rice.
LEMONGRASS CHICKEN (RECIPE #2)
1 tbs peanut/olive/vegetable oil
600g single chicken breast fillets, thinly sliced
1 long fresh red chilli, thinly sliced diagonally
2 stems lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped
2 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs brown sugar
3 shallots, ends trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally
55g (1/3 cup) roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Steamed rice, to serve
Preparation: Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until just smoking. Add one-third of the chicken and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a large plate. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with the remaining chicken, reheating the wok between batches. Add the chilli and lemon grass to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the chicken, fish sauce, sugar and half the shallot to the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute or until the chicken is heated through. Divide the chicken mixture among serving plates. Scatter the peanuts and remaining shallot over the chicken. Serve with steamed rice.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Friedrich Nietzsche believe that philosophy protects the truth.
Jorge Luis Borges in his story "Ficciones" imagines philosophy as a library of babel.
Albert Camus believed that suicide is the only philosophical problem.
Plato believed that philosophy was a journey.
Professor Thorsby believes that philosophy is living, and occurs within us all. We can search for the truth, but we will never find it. But we get a little closer each time we make the journey.
As Kyle Broflovski said in the South Park episode "The Tooth Fairy":
"...I've learned something today. You see, the basis of all reasoning is the mind's awareness of itself. What we think, the external objects we perceive, are all like actors that come on and off stage. But our consciousness, the stage itself, is always present to us."
Reminder: Think Factory is the last Wednesday of each month from 4-6PM.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Go to Stardate.org for more constellation info, and if you are ever in the mood for a day of space-oriented fun, be sure to visit the Johnson Space Center.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Our health is as unique to us as our fingerprints, so no one answer works for everyone, but some things you can do to improve your bone health overall are:
1) Eat 5-6 small meals a day. Why? It starts with stress. When you are stressed your body produces cortisol and slows down delivering nutrients to your bones and other organs. So reducing stress is key to bone health (and health in general). Hunger is a form of stress on the body, so eating small meals and snacks regularly prevents hunger. On the other end of the scale, insulin surges (from eating big meals or eating infrequently)cause cortisol levels to increase. So eating several small meals throughout the day prevents hunger and insulin surges, which can lead to bone nutrient depletion.
2) Go to sleep earlier and regularly at the same time. Sleep is another method the body has to combat stress. When your melatonin levels rise, your cortisol levels decline, so get your 8 hours, get them early and get them regularly.
3) Eat your Omega 3 fatty acids and have a diet balanced in lean meats, healthy fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil, seeds, etc) and low carbs. Diet plays a large role in our bodies' mineral absorption, so eating healthy will greatly help your bones.
Check out Dr. Hayden's slide show below, and don't be a lazy bones anymore. Beat stress through meditation (yoga, prayer), fun (social times, play) and exercise. And keep your bones healthy and strong for years to come.
Dr. Hayden's website
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Chitra's Website - http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/
Gulfcoast Reads - http://www.gulfcoastreads.org/
One Amazing Thing @ Cy-Fair Library - htttp://librarycatalog.lonestar.edu.lscsproxy.lonestar.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=13G620K0L8023.73459&profile=nhmc&source=~!horizon&view=subscriptionsummary&uri=full=3100042~!1350063~!0&ri=6&aspect=subtab80&menu=search&ipp=20&spp=20&staffonly=&term=one+amazing+thing&index=.TW&uindex=&aspect=subtab80&menu=search&ri=6&limitbox_3=LO01+=+cyf#focus
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Today we learned how to sketch a portrait by our resident artist and husband of LIFEer Lorraine, Tony Afkram. According to Tony, sketching a portrait is as easy as sketching an apple. Instead of trying to accurately reproduce what you see, try to draw the shapes that you see in the person's face. Break the person down into shapes first, then put in your details and shadows.
To get the general shape down, try the following:
- Lightly draw an oval. Make the oval fairly large since it will contain all the facial details. Do all the next steps lightly since this is building a frame that you will later erase as you sharpen your details. The top of the oval is the crown of the head, and the bottom is the chin.
- Draw a line through the center of the oval vertically and horizontally. The horizontal line is called the eye-line, and is where you will draw the eyes.
- Halfway between the eye-line and the chin, draw another horizontal line. This is the underside of the nose.
- About a third of the way between the bottom of the nose and the chin, draw another horizontal line; this is the mouth line.
- Draw a small square box to fit in the bottom of the oval to be the chin highlight.
- Draw a small isosceles trapezoid (I looked up the term, how often do we say "trapezoid") on the line making the base of the nose. This trapezoid (I used it twice) will become the tip of the nose.
- From the inner/top corners of the trapezoid (three times!) draw two vertical lines upward to the eye line. This shape becomes the bridge of the nose. From the outer/bottom corners of the trapezoid, draw two vertical lines upward to the eye-line. These become the sides of the nose.
- From the the two spots where the nose-bridge lines hit the eye-line, draw two hexagons that extend not-quite to the edge of the circle, making sure the eye-line bisects the hexagons across the middle. These hexagons become the eye sockets. The eyebrows will eventually go on the top of the hexagons. Under-eye shadows and wrinkles will go toward the bottom. The eyes (horizontal ovals) will sit comfortably in the middle.
- Draw a line connecting the tops of the two trapezoids. You've just made another isosceles trapezoids which will become the highlighted space between the eyes and eyebrows.
- Draw three arches to mark the forehead area. One arch above each hexagon and one above the trapezoid marking the space between them. These areas will later be used for highlighting and shading.
- Extend the upper/outermost line of both hexagons down a little, maybe halfway the distance from the bottom of the hexagon. Connect this line with the upper corners of the chin box. This line marks the bottom of the cheek bones and shows where you will do cheek shading later. It also marks the outer edges of the mouth now, on the mouth line.
- Extend the lines making the tops of the hexagons out of the oval on both sides. Extend the line marking the bottom of the nose out of the oval on both side. This marks where the ears go. Ears are usually very thin and look like skinny ovals on the side of the head, but some peoples' ears stick out!
- Now you have the general face in proportion, with lines showing roughly where to highlight and where to shadow. Now start adjusting these shapes to your actual subject. Maybe your subject's face is wider than an oval. Maybe their chin is more rectangular than square. Maybe their eye-line isn't exactly in the middle of their face. Maybe their nostrils are wider. We drew all of the preliminary shapes lightly so we can edit/erase some of that work and put in better details later.
- Consider where your light source is coming from and start shading.
We hope you enjoyed our class today. Portraiture is much easier when you think of faces as a jumble of connected shapes. The next time you are bored (not LIFE class) whip out a pencil and start sketching the people around you. You'll see how easy and fun it is.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Houston's Dance Salad brings dancers together from all over the world to perform unique pieces never seen before. As always, Dance Salad reminds audiences that dance is not just about ballet, ladies in tutus and men in tights, but about storytelling through movement, light, sound and costume. This year we saw a piece called "Fawnee" about how knowledge passes from one generation to the next. An older dancer taught the younger dancer how to live and how to be, while the younger imitated and played throughout the scene. Another story called "Return of Ulysses" told the emotional story of Penelope, Ulysses' forgotten wife who is trying to hold her kingdom together until her husband returns from war, but is threatened by the numerous suitors trying to force her to marry. The piece at some places almost seemed violent and upsetting, but we must remember the dance is representing Penelope's feelings and inner struggle, and at times she feels attacked. The last piece was called "Orchestra of Wolves" and was set to Beethoven's famous 5th symphony. A conductor tried to lead an orchestra of wolves to play, but wolves being wolves weren't interested in playing, and after much fighting between the two sides, the wolves attacked and comically ended the conductor and the dance.
We always appreciate getting to see highlights of the dances from Dance Salad. Alas, we cannot show you any of the dances here, but for season highlights or for information on next year's dances, please check the links below.
See you next week!
2011 Dance Salad review - http://www.dancesalad.org/previous_concert.html
2012 Dance Salad times/dates - http://www.dancesalad.org/index.html
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
When he was 10 years old, Gordon read the book "Story of the Paratroopers", and wanted to be a paratrooper ever since. He joined the ROTC in high school, and enlisted in the army upon graduation. Although the Vietnam war had already started, and there was strong resistance to it (draft dodging and protests) Gordon was determined to follow his path.
The Special Forces (SF) began in 1952 as the Green Berets. If the Soviets invaded, the Green Berets were the troops sent in to get behind enemy lines and train the locals how to fight back. The US had a need for such soldiers in Vietnam to help the locals fight the guerrillas, and the Special Forces were called into action again because, well, they were guerrilla fighters themselves.
During Basic Training, Gordon was pre-screened before being invited to a recruitment camp (had to have no criminal record and the IQ of an officer). Once there, the Sargent spoke simply. "I am Special Forces. I have no quota. I don't care if you all walk out." He then asked a series of questions that slowly weeded-out the class.
- Are you willing to jump out of a perfectly good plane?
- If you were drafted, are you willing to work one year beyond your draft? (Draftees worked two years, enlisted men worked for three).
- If you joined to get trained on special skills, it won't happen in the SF.
- Would you do anything the government asked you to and go anywhere it asked you to?
After being one of a dozen or so left in the room, Gordon joined the SF and departed for infantry training at Fort Bragg. All in all, about 6-10 men out of 100 succeeded in Special Forces training. Reminds you of the Ballad of the Green Beret;
Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men we'll test today
But only three win the Green Beret
SF training did have lots of physical demands, but most of the time was spent in the classroom learning how to teach your skills to others, since that is what they would do when shipped out. Their very first class was a basic math review. In late 1968 he got his 60 day notice that he was about to ship out, and left for Vietnam in early 1969.
SF camps were scattered all over the country. Gordon's camp was Chi-Linh, about 70 miles north of Saigon near the Cambodian border. The camps typically had a one A-Team (12 SFs), and 500 "local" soldiers and their families. Their purpose was to protect the local villages and scout the local trails for the Viet Kong. The local soldiers were usually Vietnamese, but some were Cambodian, ethnic Chinese, even Mexican-Americans. Because the soldiers' families were present, the camp felt more like a small town with a school, clinic, pool, and snack bar. But the residents never forgot this was a military installation; it was surrounded by 18 machine guns, layers of barbed wire hidden in the brush. All told it looked more like a prison.
Gordon did not speak much on the action he saw, and who blames him. He focused his talk on the time spent with the people and families in the camp. He remembers when Martha Raye visited the camp (she's in the middle of the group image on slide 8). Martha was an Army Reserve Nurse before becoming an actress, and is the only woman to be made an honorary Green Beret for her many unpublicised trips to visit the SF in Vietnam, where she saw action. Gordon also remembers his interpreter "Ringo" (see slide 11) who loved western movies and would often respond "I know whatcha mean, pardner." He remembered lots of walking in the heat and humidity through brush that resembled Texas' Big Thicket national preserve.
To this day, Gordon says that joining the SF was "the best thing I ever did". The experience gave him a broader appreciation for life and the many types of peoples on the earth. He wishes he could go back to Vietnam, although most of what he remembers has likely changed by now. We thank you for service Gordon, and for taking the time to share your memories with us.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Professor Thomas Kelly (a yankee, but we won't hold that against him) joined us to teach us all about the facts (and dispel some fictions) about the Lone Star State. Some interesting highlights:
- The original Tejas (state of Mexico) encompassed the south-east portion of the current state. The Republic was much bigger in part because after the battle of San Jacinto, Santa Ana withdrew his troops to the south side of the Rio Grande. In the treaty of Velasco, Santa Anna agreed to withdraw his troops from Texas (Tejas he thought). But since he withdrew to the Rio Grande, the Rio Grande became the new boundary of Texas.
- Texas was a Republic for 9 years, but it applied for US statehood each year of those 9 years, so one could argue it was a republic by default. The US rejected Texas' application for several reasons; possible war with Mexico, possible war with the Indians, and concerns about the massive debt Texas would enter the union with due to its recent war with Mexico.
- True or false: Texas is the only state with the right to fly the state flag at the same height or above the national flag. False. There were no rules about flag flying at the time of the Republic, and the Lone Star flag wasn't made the official state flag until 1933. The official US flag code allows any state flag to fly at the same height as the national flag, provided the national flag is on the left side, from the viewer's perspective. The Texas flag code also states that when on a single flag pole, the national flag must be on top.
- True or False: Texas has a treaty with the US that allows it to split into 5 states someday. Trick question. Texas has no treaty with the US. It was annexed by an act of Congress in 1845 (and we went to war with Mexico in 1846). The annexation allowed Texas to someday be broken up into 5 smaller states, mostly because of slavery. Other states (namely California) entering the union at the time were entering as free states, and southerners wanted to maintain the balance of slave states to non-slave states, so they reserved the right to create more (slave) states out of Texas, although most Texans were not slave owners. This was all settled with the Compromise of 1850 (where Texas got its current shape), and the entire topic was rendered moot by Article 4, Section 3 of the Constitution.
- Does Texas have any special laws? Yes! Texas is the only state that was granted the right to own its public lands. This is huge and for some reason few people know about this. More than 225 million acres of land were public at the time of annexation, which didn't do much for the state at first until the discovery of..oil! Massive profits from the oil sales went into Texas educational funds, which are still being used today.
Please read Professor Kelly's slide show below, and check out the links to the Texas state web pages for more information on (or verification of) today's history lesson.
Ya'll come back now, ya' hear!
You can learn more Texas history at the state’s official website:
Narrative History of Annexation of Texas:
The actual annexation document:
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Cake balls are exactly like they sound: small balls of cake dipped in icing making for the perfect sized desert. The nice thing about cake balls is it lets your friends and family try several types of cake without having to eat an entire slice. So you can have a red velvet cake ball, chocolate cake ball, carrot cake ball, etc... and get a little taste of each one. Push a little stick inside the ball for a cake pop as a twist. These are great for parties, wedding receptions, or just a fun treat for guests. Check out Krissy's recipe below and enjoy this tasty, bite-sized treat!
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
One issue surrounding weight loss and diets that we are beginning to hear more about is our blood type and our blood pH. These two factors are crucial in many of our bodies' functioning, and yet many people know little about it. A diet plan for a blood type A won't necessarily work for a type O, and vice versa. Our blood types developed over thousands of years due to people living in specific environment surrounded by different types of food sources. Eskimos have different blood types than Australian Aborigines, who differ from the ancient Maya who differ from Pygmies. Our blood types have mixed over time as humans crossed the globe, but we are still tied to our ancient DNA. Knowing your blood type can help you determine which foods to avoid and what foods to eat in your quest for health.
Another issue is your blood pH, or potential of hydrogen. Go back to high school chemistry. Remember the pH scale? The scale ranges from 0-14, with 1 being the most acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being the most alkaline. Our blood wants to be about 7.2-7.4. But the western diet is heavily acidic, which lowers our pH. So our body has to pull alkaline minerals like calcium, iodine, potassium, magnesium and others out of our bones, organs and tissue to help balance our blood pH. As a result, our bones are more brittle and our organs function more poorly simply because of our diets. The answer is what you've been told all along: eat more fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables) and very lean meat. Fruits and vegetables are alkaline, and don't require our bodies to sacrifice any nutrients to balance our blood pH. But wait, aren't lemons and limes and tomatoes acidic, you ask? In their natural, uneaten form, yes. But, once we've digested them, they function as alkaline in our bodies. Cut out processed foods, alcohol, dairy and grains and you will see a dramatic improvement in your health. Of course, you should never begin a weight loss program or diet without consulting your doctor, but if you went to your doctor and said you wanted to eat mostly veggies and lean meat, he or she will probably be thrilled.
Check out Dr. Chase's slide show below. Below that is a link to a YouTube video explaining more about our blood pH and how our foods impact our health. Stay happy and healthy my friends!
7826 Black Gap Drive, Cypress TX 77433
Pick up hours are 4-7PM
Go to the Rawfully Organic website, put in your order and choose the address above as your pick-up point. Rawfully Organic will email you when the delivery is made so you can pick up your food. See the link below.
Eat healthy my friends!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Kristina was diagnosed hyperglycemia at age 16. She was in the grocery store one day when she was approached by a stranger asking her if she was a raw foodie. Not knowing anything about it at the time, Kristina did some research, and decided to try the raw food diet. After 30 days, Kristina felt noticeably better, and her blood sugar was testing within the normal range. After a year and a half of the raw food diet, Kristina's condition was gone. Now in her early 20s, she runs several miles a day and keeps up with her blood tests, but her doctor reports her health is excellent.
Inspired by this turnaround, she started working with organic farmers to bring more organic foods into the Houston area. She began by selling the food (not-for-profit) out her garage, which evolved into the Rawfully Organic coop, with several locations around Houston. The coop prices are on par with, and sometimes less than, organic food prices at regular grocery stores.
Suggested books on the raw food diet:
- The China Study by Colin Campbell (available in the library)
- The 80-10-10 Diet by Douglas N. Graham
Suggested equipment: Vitamix blender http://www.vitamix.com/index.asp - Kristina makes a lot of smoothies with leafy greens that regular blenders have trouble with
- Blueberry Peach
2 Cartons of Blueberries
- Banana Blueberry
1 Carton of Blueberries
- Blueberry Kiwi
2-3 Cartons of Blueberries
- Blueberry Strawberry Banana
1-2 Cartons of Blueberries
Handful of Strawberries
- Blueberry Nectarine
- Blueberry Pineapple
2 Cartons of Blueberries
1/2 a RIPE Pineapple
Mexican Sweet Corn Salad:
2-3 Ears of Sweet Corn
3-4 Tomatoes (Add More if Desired)
1/2 or One Full Cucumber Diced
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Red Bell Pepper (Optional if picked as a choice item)
Fourth of One Yellow Onion (Optional)
Quarter of One Avocado (Optional)
Bunch of Basil, Cilantro, or Parsley (Free to add a little of all if desired)
Half of One Fresh Squeezed Lemon
For Extra Pizazz, Add in a PEACH!
Cut and dice up all ingredients and mix into a bowl. Mix all of the ingredients together until the flavors mix and create a savory salad!
The Side Salsa:
Third of an Avocado
4 Celery Stalks
Slice of Yellow Onion
Herb of Choice
Fresh Squeezed Lemon or Lime (optional)
In a food processor, combine all ingredients for a short period of time and then pour over salad! Mix!!
Baby Bok Choy Salad:
1-2 heads of baby bok choy (depends on for how many you are preparing)
Juice of 1-2 Lemons
Bunch of Cilantro
Quarter of Red, Green, or Yellow Onion
1 Garlic Clove (optional)
1/4 of One Avocado (optional)
1 Tomato (optional)
Chop up the baby bok choy stalks until they are good to put into a salad. Tiny chunks are much better here.
Dice the cilantro, tomato, avocado, and onions together.
Dice up half of the cucumber, and save the other half for the dressing.
Put these ingredients on top of the salad, and mix them in with your hands. That's right, get messy! Eating with your hands is liberating!
For the dressing, you have two options.
For the first option, you can merely sprinkle the salad with a squeeze of your lemon, chop up a TINY bit of garlic, and mesh it all within your salad.
For the second option, you can use the other half of the cucumber and blend it in your vitamix with a stalk or two of celery, lemon juice from one lemon, a bit of cilantro, and a TINY bit of garlic. If you wish, you can add in a tablespoon of raw sesame seeds to grind in the mix.
Enjoy this salad, and be creative with it! The more flavors, the better for this one!
Learn more about Christina and the Rawfully Organic coop at their website, http://www.rawfullyorganic.com/
Eat healthy and stay happy my friends!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Omega 3s serve two important functions in our bodies: they allow for mineral transportation out of our bloodstream and into our cells, and they protect the cellular lining. This doesn't sound like a big deal, but remember, our brains are roughly 60% fat, so fatty acids are critical for optimum brain functioning and mineral absorption. (Side thought: does this make being called a "fat head" a compliment?)
Dr. Chase was bombarded with questions like "so what vitamins should I take". Unfortunately there is no singular answer. Everybody is different. Some people spend enough time in the sun that they don't need Vitamin D. Other people get enough fatty acids in their food so they don't need to take supplements. But a general rule of thumb that won't hurt people (provided you have healthy functioning gallbladders, kidneys and livers) are to take about 1000 milligrams of Omega 3s each day (usually 500 mgs twice a day). Dr. Hayden recommends supplements from whole foods, that is, the label says the ingredients are from animals or vegetables like kale, cod liver, algae, etc... A good rule of thumb is the 4th grader test: if a 4th grader couldn't read and understand the ingredients, it probably isn't from a whole food. For Omega 3s, Dr. Hayden recommends cod liver oil (yes, your grandmother was right). The label should say the only ingredient is cod liver oil. In general, you should be wary of supplements. The FDA does not regulate this industry, so there are lots of fakes out there. Do your research and consult with your doctor before trying anything new.
Check out Dr. Hayden's slide show below, and stay happy and healthy my friends!
Saturday, June 4, 2011
- My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera - civil war historical fiction about a woman trying to become a medic with a Lincoln cameo
- Room by Emma Donoghue - heavy on the "ick" factor, but a great read and unanimously voted one of the best books of the year by all who've read it, a moving tale from the point of view of a 5 year old boy locked in a room with his mother
- The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - story of a Hungarian Jewish family and how they survived WW2 with the war approaching on two fronts
- Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert - beautifully written story about an obituary writer in a small town who gets involved in the case of a missing girl
- Informationist by Taylor Stevens - action/adventure similar to the Steig Larson books, the heroine does jobs no one else will do, here she is hired to search for a missing girl in Africa
- Still Missing by Chevy Stevens - story of a missing girl, a dark and more disturbing story
- I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson - a young David Cassidy fan in Wales grows up and struggles with her mother and boyfriend
- Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - fluff, a fun read about a widower in a British village trying to get his father's gun back while befriending a foreign woman in town
- In the Garden of the Beasts by Eric Larson - story of William Dodd, the America's Ambassador to Germany in the 1930s
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - story of a Maryland woman who died of cancer but whose cells have lived on and contributed to science in many ways
- Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - story of Lewis Samborini, an American Olympic athlete who enlisted in WW2 and was a POW in Japan
- Divergent by Veronica Roth - action, distopian future with a heroine
- True (Sort of...) by Katherine Hannigan - outgoing teen befriends a troubled girl
- If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This by Robin Black - stories of love, loss, grief, kids, marriage, etc...
Blue Willow Book Shop is located near the intersection of Memorial Drive and Dairy Ashford. They have lots of fun events and automatic discounts for frequent customers.Blue Willow Book Shop
14532 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079(281) 497-8675
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Lets go through some FAQs.
1) What size ball should I use?
Height Ball Size
4'11 - 5'3 55 cm
5'2 - 5'11 65 cm
5'8 and up 75 cm
2) Is this the only thing I need to exercise?
No, an exercise ball does not replace regular and strenuous exercise, it is a good supplement.
3) What does the ball do?
The ball makes the body constantly change its center of gravity in order to remain balanced and still. Over time, this improves your balance and core muscles.
4) What muscles do I use to sit on the ball?
Abs, glutes, all leg muscles, and postural muscles (neck, upper & middle back, shoulder girdle).
5) Should I replace my desk chair with a ball?
Why not? Begin with 10-15 minutes a day, and gradually work your way up. (Author's note: I tried to go whole-hog and sit on a stability ball all day - it was very hard to do, so seriously, do this gradually). Remember you are sitting on a ball, and not a chair on wheels, so be careful reaching for things. Also, I don't recommend sitting on a stability ball in a skirt. Just sayin'.
6) What exercises can I do on the ball?
Sit and balance
Side oblique pulls
Reach & squat
Hamstring & glue bridge
Your ball should come with an instruction sheet illustrating some of the exercises you can do on it. You can also go online or go to your local gym and ask a trainer for instruction. Check out the pictures from class below, and try using a stability ball the next time you work on the computer or watch TV (gradually).
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
First things first, lets take the lay of the land. What are the e-reader options, and what are their pros and cons?
Nook - by Barnes & Noble - base model starts at $149
- lighter weight than Kindle
- allows you to checkout library books
- easily replaceable battery
- can get in-store service at any Barnes & Noble location
- smaller selection of e-books than Kindle
Kindle - by Amazon.com - base model starts at $139
- huge selection - almost every book on Amazon.com is available in e-book format
- PDF reader is better than Nook
- has keyboard at the bottom, as opposed to the Nook's virtual keyboard
- battery very difficult to replace - many people just buy a new Kindle
- library books not available yet, but claim they will eventually allow this
iPad - by Apple - base model starts at $499
- is also a computer, not just an e-reader
- can get free Nook or Kindle applications, thus iPad functions exactly like either the Nook or Kindle (or both)
- more expensive and heavier because its a computer
- screen is backlit (it is a computer screen) which can cause eye strain - also has a glare in bright light making it difficult to read
- is constantly being upgraded so obsolescence factor is high
The good news about these devices is that you don't need a computer to use them (because they have wi-fi or better), except for the Nook, where you need a computer to use the library check-out function. More good news: all devices remember page numbers, and a single "book" can be shared among family members using the same account. You can also read newspapers or magazines online, but you will have fewer ads, no coupons and loose the regional feel to the paper. Another great function; you can save your e-library on your computer if you buy too many books to fit into your e-reader. If your computer memory gets wiped out, or if you delete a book, you can always go back and retrieve them from the host website, which remember which books you bought. And of course, carrying around an e-reader on vacation is much easier than lugging around a big bag of heavy books, or paying top dollar for a book at the airport.
The not-so-good news. This is all new technology and the rules are being written and revised as you read this. Harper Collins, the primary e-book publisher, will only allow libraries to check out an e-book 26 times before the e-book is deleted. The logic goes: real books wear out over time and eventually have to be replaced, so the same should go for e-books. I however think 26 checkouts is too low. If you agree, write to Harper Collins before other e-publishers follow suit. Another issue; technology is changing quickly, and you may spend lots of money buying e-books for a device that won't be around in 5 years. We've seen this in the music and movie industry (I officially own 5 copies of the first Star-Wars trilogy and hate George Lucas for his very smart yet very very greedy marketing strategy.) The e-readers will likely be around longer, since they are only e-readers and not tied to a specific computer. Devices like the iPad and iPhone are rapidly changing and will be obsolete within a few years. So choose your device wisely.
All this being said, I need to put in a good word for books. I love books. I love owning books. I still have several of my childhood books, many with additional illustrations by moi - now priceless to me. I remember exact pages in books where a favorite piece of information is located. I love dog-earring pages and taking notes in the margins. While e-readers are getting closer and closer to resembling books, some fundamental aspects of books cannot be digitized. E-readers cannot hold smells, drawings, or memories from previous owners/readers.
For more information on e-readers, go online and read the countless articles that compare the different devices. The Cy-Fair library will have a tutorial for e-readers (how to download books, listen to e-audio, etc) coming soon. Check back with us and keep reading....
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3-4 large lemons)
1 tsp lemon zest
1) Make simple syrup by heating sugar and water in saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
2) Mix lemon juice, zest and simple syrup and chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bath.
3) After mixture has chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
4) After frozen, store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Note: If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can still make sorbet. Just place the sorbet mixture in a shallow pan in the freezer and occasionally stir with a fork until the mixture is frozen. If the mixture is still chunky, you can place it in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
While a controversial subject to some, Professor Miller did raise the valid point that science does not have all the answers to basic questions: how did the universe unfold, how old is the earth, how did mankind arise, etc... Scientists might counter that not knowing is the point of science: a theory is put forth until evidence disputes it. Creationists might respond that the Bible is historical evidence and should be taken into account when explaining our origins. Whether or not you agree with creationism, the topic is a fascinating one, and this was without a doubt one of the most dynamic and engaging LIFE classes we've had in a while.
Check out Professor Miller's presentation, and we'll see you next week!