Butternut Squash Soup!

Welcome fall! It’s soup time. :-)

The other day, I finally got my Vitamix. I was SO excited. That first night I just started throwing some stuff in: tomatoes, zucchini, red pepper, and I don’t know what else and it was good! I was amazed at how the Vitamix actually made the soup hot without cooking it and it really filled me up.

Today we were out shopping and I saw a butternut squash. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever eaten butternut squash before but I don’t think I have. I wanted to make soup out of it.  My first challenge was: how do I peel this thing?

Julienne Peeler

A week or so ago, I got a great julienne peeler that I hadn’t had a chance to use yet so I thought I’d try it. It worked great! Chopping the squash after that was a breeze. 

I loaded the cut up squash into the Vitamix and blended it. Then I added onion, apples, ginger, allspice and cinnamon and blended it all on high for five minutes.

I ended up with this amazing, photogenic soup!

raw_vegan_butternut_squash_soup

This was delicious and I will definitely make it again. I think the next time I’ll try some different spices. The ones I used this time were great and lent themselves to the sweetness of the squash and apples but I think maybe something spicier might be nice, too! :-)

 

Book Review: When The World Was Young

When the World Was Young: A NovelWhen the World Was Young: A Novel by Elizabeth Gaffney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book, loved the characters, didn’t want it to end.

Wally is nine on VJ Day at the end of World War II. She is the daughter of Stella, who is a doctor and granddaughter of Gigi who is also a doctor. Her dad is serving in the Navy overseas.

The story wends it’s way through Wally’s life from the time she is nine until she gives birth to her own daughter.

This is a richly woven story and I highly recommend it!



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Book Review: Whatever Life Throws At You

Whatever Life Throws at YouWhatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a great book!

Annie and her dad move to Kansas City where her dad has been hired, back into baseball, to be a pitching coach for the Royals. Specifically for a new rookie pitcher who might be a handful.

Annie wants her dad to move away from Arizona and the place where her mom can find them since every time her mom comes around, it emotionally destroys her dad. She quickly assimilates to her new school, new team (she’s a track star) and new life as a Royals kid.

She also falls in love with the rookie pitcher her dad is coaching. I loved this story and the people in it. I’m glad Annie and Brody got together at the end.

I highly recommend this book! :-)



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Book Review: Flawless

Flawless (A Hostile Beauty Novel, #1)Flawless by Jan Moran

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book! The characters were wonderful and I didn’t want the story to end.

Verena Valent is the head of a skincare company that her grandmother started when she first came to America. With a proposed expansion into Asia and the bad economy Verena finds herself in a bad spot financially and trusts her fiance’ to come through with funding for her. He seems to only be involved with her to take her company away which he finally does in the end.

He was icky and I didn’t like him at all. But Lance, the chef that Velena bumps into one night after a gala she had to speak at. He cooks for her then and he is captivated by her. She has feelings for him which she eventually gives into and by the end of the book they are together.

I loved Verena’s spunk and I loved her friends. I felt the characters were really well written and I hope to read more about them! I highly recommend this book.



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Hug A Vegan Day

This morning I was listening to KRMG when the morning host, Dan Potter, mentioned that it was National Hug A Vegan Day. But then he snarked on, that you should be careful because they’re frail. And they smell funny.

KRMG Tulsa

Say what?

Admittedly, I have only been a vegan since September 1, but in the past 25 days I have seen such amazing changes in my health. And I was already a healthy person! Prior to this month, David and I had been eating a paleo diet since November of 2010. But, for me, it was unsustainable because I have a huge sweet tooth and the cookies eventually called. I also loved beer and gin and felt deprived if I couldn’t have a cocktail. 

In the past 25 days, I have had NO sugar. And guess what? It’s. Been. EASY! I’ve also had no desire to have a cocktail, I sleep better, my joints don’t hurt and I’ve been absolutely flying when I walk in the a.m. I don’t even feel like I’m walking anymore, but gliding. 

13:20 min/miles walking!

13:20 min/miles walking!

More than being just a vegan, I’ve been a high raw vegan and have had cooked food only a handful of times. The raw meals have been awesome and delicious. I’ve lost 24 pounds and I’ve never been hungry because I’m eating close to 3000 calories a day. 

I think people can get a lot out of a vegan lifestyle and I’m not saying it works for everyone but it has for me. 

Oklahoma is the 7th most obese state in the nation. Instead of gross generalizations, I believe Mr. Potter could’ve used his platform to suggest to listeners that after they hug a vegan today, maybe they can ask him about his lifestyle and the health benefits of it.

Oklahoma is the 7th most obese state in the nation

Meanwhile, I’d pit my fitness against just about anyone’s any day of the week. And I’m far from frail. So, please, if you notice me becoming frail or smelling funny, I hope you’ll tell me. In the meantime, bring on the hugs! :-)  

Book Review: A Different Me

A Different MeA Different Me by Deborah Blumenthal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really great book about a girl who is obsessed with having her nose “done”.

Allie is 15 years old and all of her insecurities revolve around the fact that she has a bump in her nose. She wants desperately to have a nose job but hasn’t told her parents. She joins a plastic surgery forum and meets two girls who feel the same. They become good friends. After the second friend has her surgery, Allie finally talks to her parents who agree that she can also have the surgery.

While all this is going on, Allie is assigned to tutor the most popular, beautiful girl in school. An unlikely friendship is born. After Amber’s mother has some depression issues and Amber is pulled out of school, Allie is given David as a fellow student to mentor. Another unlikely friendship is born.

I love how Allie grew through these two friendships and, after seeing how she looked to other people, was able to see herself more clearly.

I think this is a well written, positive book of growth and highly recommend it! :-)



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Book Review: Broken Monsters

Broken MonstersBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG this was a GREAT book! I couldn’t put it down.

Really well written, creepy, grabby, I loved the stories. The book is told from four different viewpoints. It took me awhile to see how on earth they would ever intersect but they do. Beautifully.

The police discover a dead body but it’s more than just a dead body because it’s have human and half animal. The killer strikes two more times before they finally figure out who the murderer could be.

This is horror, fantasy, good. It reminds me of old Dean R. Koontz. I love the characters as they are developed and was on the edge of my chair at the end of the book when everything starts happening quickly.

Loved it! Highly recommend. I’ve never read the author’s work before but I will be checking it out.



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Book Review: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes

All's Fair in Love and CupcakesAll’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a cute book that I really enjoyed! I will say there were a couple of times I wanted to kick Kat and Lucas in the butt but overall. loved it.

This is a cute story about a guy named Lucas who secretly loves Kat who is wasting her cupcake baking talents in her aunt’s very old fashioned cupcake bakery. Unbeknownst to her, he enters her into Cupcake Combat, a reality show. He did it to show how much he loved and supported her but belatedly finds out that if she wins, she will be moving to New York for a year to work in a famous bakery.

The story takes them through Cupcake Combat and to each other. I highly recommend this book! :-)



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Today I Entered A Pageant

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Now that I’m no longer directing, why shouldn’t I compete again? You know, just one more time?

So today, I entered a pageant. :-)

The American Beauty Pageant takes place next June in Orlando. I’ll compete in the Elite division which is for women aged 50 and over. I’m excited to lead by example and show other women that they don’t have to give up their pageant dreams just because they’ve turned 50. 

The last time I competed was in 2000. I competed for the second time in the All American Pageants, another system with multiple divisions. My sister joined me and competed in her first and only pageant. We had a lot of fun!

Before deciding which pageant to enter, I looked at all of the options I had. And there are many! I finally decided on American Beauty because my friend, Cat, competed this year and had a great time, and it has a beautiful crown. :-)

American Beauty Crown

The areas of competition are interview, fitness wear or swimsuit, and evening gown. I’m so glad I don’t have to wear a swimsuit. I just don’t think I’d feel comfortable on stage in a swimsuit at this stage in my life. I’m excited to be a competing Glammie! :-)

So now, I’m sitting tight waiting to hear if I will get the title I applied for: Elite Oklahoma. 

The pageant will take place next June in Orlando and I just can’t wait ot be on the competitive stage once more! :-)

Book Review: Jasmine Skies

Jasmine SkiesJasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really liked this book a lot. I read in the reviews that it was a sequel but I would have never guessed that a book came before it. I didn’t feel like I was missing information or drowning in back story.

Jasmine Skies is about Mira Levinson who flies to India to meet her cousin’s family. She knows that her aunt and her mom had had a falling out many years ago and she wants to discover what happened to cause it.

Mira finds India to be exciting and interesting and she eventually learns the family secrets while finding a new best friend in her cousin and love with Janu.

I highly recommend this book. I loved the descriptions of India and the story itself. I will definitely put Artichoke Heart, the first book, on my to read list! :-)



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