Welcome to Makin' It Monday, Guest Raw Chef edition. Today, Dave Sokulski of www.BirchCenter.com and www.FoodUnderFoot.com gets a little silly while making some delicious raw cacao treats! Enjoy the video:

I'm going to be including questions and answers more often on the blog, since we've had a lot of emails from many of you saying you found last week's Q&A helpful and fun to read. I have many questions I've been saving to share with others, and more come in daily. Don't be shy if you have a question about anything that you think I'd possibly be able to help you with. Simply send me an email asking, and I'll reply to you personally. Questions that I feel might have a more general interest may be shared here on the blog (with the questioner being anonymous).

[Please email questions to me, rather than post them here on the blog: WendiDee [at] PureJeevan.com.]

To help keep all of you inspired, we ve asked some

remarkable individuals to share their raw food stories with you. Enjoy!

After leaving Salem, Oregon, Wendi and KDcat drove less than an hour to the city of Corvallis where they met up with their hosts the Zander's -- Joni, Steve, Bekka, and Stephanie -- a fellow unschooling family Wendi had come to know in an online forum. It was great to be in their company and we loved them right away,? Wendi wrote. ?Their home is absolutely beautiful on a really cute lot with plenty of plants and trees around ? including the most delightful flowers that smelled divine (I think they were called Daphne).

Corvallis is the city we ve mentioned multiple times -- the city that feels like it s the right fit for us. Well, it lived up to our dreams in just about every way. It s a progressive, hip town with a lot going on. The people are friendly, the weather is beautiful, the land is gorgeous, and there are lots of unschoolers. Access to fresh, ogranic, raw foods doesn't seem to be an issue anywhere in Oregon, according to reports from the road so far. While they've been away, we've talked quite a bit each night about what they're finding -- and fresh organic produce seems pretty much everywhere out west. "The west," wrote Jim Morrison, "is the best." (Surely he was a raw foodie.)

Jon Gold, owner of the Sunny Side Up Cafe (a vegan and vegetarian restaurant there) and an unschool father, put together a little gathering of unschoolers for KDcat and Wendi. They were able to meet some local unschoolers and ask questions. There was also a gathering one day at the cafe where KDcat was able to do some art at a table with some other unschool teens. It's definitely a creative, easy-going town with some fantastic people in it!

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Jim here... A few months ago, I'd posted an article here on the topic of Cognitive Dissonance. This theme seems to crop up from time to time in questions people ask about the raw foods lifestyle. For example, one new raw fooder recently posted a question in a raw foods forum asking whether other raw foodies had reached a place in their lives at which things changed so much that they felt as though they were living a contradiction. Because this struck home for me, I'd like to reiterate my response, somewhat edited, below.

Correction: I said "Lenuria" a number of times in this video, but it's actually Lunaria! In any case, we wanted to share some additional description for this plant. Here's a quick paragraph from Wikipedia:

Lunaria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Brassicaceae, native to central and southern Europe. It includes two species, Perennial honesty and Annual honesty. They are widely grown as ornamental plants in gardens, and have become naturalised in many temperate areas away from their native habitat. In the language of flowers, it means Sincerity and Forgetfulness. ...The common name "Honesty" arose in the 16th century, and it may be due to the translucent seed-pods which are like flattened pea-pods and borne on the plant through winter. In South-East Asia, it is called the "Money Plant," and in the United States as "Silver dollars," because its seed pods have the appearance of silver coins.

Jim here... Here's an interesting way to finish out the week: Today just happens to be my one-year "rawniversary." That's right, for the past full year, I've existed as a 100% raw food vegan.

Sure, I'd been "high-raw" for a couple of years prior to September 18, 2008 -- and it was during those high-raw years when the bulk of my weight came off and when I kissed prescription meds goodbye (I'd been on powerful beta-blockers for my heart and blood pressure).

Every Tuesday we introduce an individual or business that may be of interest to our readers. Our introductions vary from those that will help support your body, mind, spirit, or emotions. This Tuesday we are pleased to introduce an individual who brings a holistic view to her work and nourishes your body, mind, spirit, and emotions on all levels.

Take the Time to Meet

"Only somebody who really takes the time to understand [Pure Jeevan's Salsa's*] potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ... ancient on the planet." ~ Miles Raymond in "Sideways" (2004) (*slightly modified).

Jim here... Over the weekend, I'd made a string of videos for Pure Jeevan using my handy-dandy new phone. To my great surprise, when I went to post them to YouTube, they all came out sideways! So, I'm sorry, friends... you'll have to endure (if you so choose) a somewhat disorienting video, below. But, hey, at least it reminded me of that wondrous quote from the movie Sideways! I imagine Paul Giamatti describing one of my own recent creations this way -- a sort-of half-raw, yet still very healthy delight that I like to make sometimes.

My reason for featuring a less than 100% raw recipe is two-fold. First, I'd been discussing transitioning to raw (see yesterday's post). And, adding more raw into your non-raw diet is a great way to transition. I believe that raw sauces are an excellent way to achieve this, as I'll explain in the video. Second, if you do prefer a 100% raw dish, then you can simply replace the beans with something else -- perhaps sprouted beans, or maybe your own invention from the dehydrator.

Hi everyone. Did you miss me on Friday? Was your entire day absolutely hinging on evaluating the quality of the raw salad dressing recipe that you very rightly expected to see demonstrated right here? ... and then I posted nothing at all! Well, missing one day isn't so bad, really. I think it's the first one I've missed since Wendi stepped away from the blog temporarily. Anyone want to guess what happened? ... Yep, a nasty case of the flu took me down!?

O, my raw friends, I thought I was a goner Friday -- thought for sure I had th' deadly swine. But, being the resilient, nearly infallible raw foodie that I am, I totally kicked it's porcine rear end, and am now supercharged and ready to rock and roll once again here on Pure Jeevan's blog!

Short post today... We're currently dealing w with a pesky kitchen drain issue that's wreaking havoc in our household. Fortunately, a very talented and power-tool-weilding local plumber just fixed the problem. In the process, he seems to have applied those power tools to our bank account -- $175 for less than one hour's work!? (Ouch!) And the kicker is that the current state of our kitchen is "absolutely atrocious."? I'm serious... we're at like DefCon 5 in terms of the disastrous nature of that room -- and as you well know, for a raw household, that's probably 10 times more frustrating than it is for others. (I smell a whole post coming soon on this topic ...)

Today, we mainly just wanted to say that, at the end of our post yesterday, we briefly asked what you would like to see more of here at Pure Jeevan. We have received some great comments and emails in return, and have decided to devote tomorrow's post to responding to / addressing some of the suggestions we received. So, if you have any further thoughts to share about raw foods content you'd like to see more or less of, please let us know either by commenting below, or by email. Wendi is at WendiDee [at] Pure Jeevan.com. Jim is at Rawdiant [at] gmail.com.