Hi Everyone. It's Friday... Let's have some fun!? For today's blog entry, I thought I'd post my submission to the recent video contest held by the Vita-Mix company. They were looking for a new spokesperson, and offered a $10,000 prize for the best video. I didn't make the final cut, but did have a good deal of fun making this short video. Hope you like it:

I hear the question all the time: "Don't you miss eating out at restaurants " My answer is always, "No. I prefer the fresher organic foods I can create for myself in my own home. I can pay the same amount for better food if I stay at home to eat." It's true, too. I don't miss eating out at restaurants. Sometimes I miss the convenience of someone else doing my food prep and cleaning up afterward, but as far as the actual food that I consume, I prefer the foods we eat at home. Besides, when you eat out as a raw foodist, your choices are limited to only a salad if you live in an area with no raw food restaurants.

Sometime last year, as a treat for Jim, we went to a restaurant. I got a huge salad that I used to love when I ate cooked foods at that particular restaurant. I remembered the greens were always dark, the onions were nice and flavorful, and the dressing was a simple oil and vinegar with salt. Well, after consuming only fresh foods in our home for quite some time, the salad that I used to think tasted so great now seemed to be lifeless and limp. It wasn't enjoyable to eat, and I sure didn't like paying so much for a nonorganic salad that didn't even taste good to me. So, we didn't eat out again after that.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Today for Thankful Thursday, we wanted to say a special THANK YOU to our readers. It means so much to us that you come to visit our blog. With every new comment (both here on the blog and through email) it fills us with great happiness!

Is there something you'd like to see more of here on our blog? Something you'd like us to discuss? We know you are looking for more recipes, since you've told us (be sure to check out our recent posts where we've linked to some fantastic sites offering recipes!). What else would you like to read about or have us share with you?

I knew right away that I would be filing this under our "Fun-filled Friday" bannner. Finding pawpaws is a huge treat! They're surprisingly little-known, and also very surprisingly tropical in nature. Who would think that something this delicious and exotic-tasting would thrive in so much of the non-trpoical world!? In this video, you'll learn where to look for pawpaw groves, how to identify a pawpaw tree, and what pawpaws look and taste like.

You know about raw foods, I know about raw foods, and we both know people who know about raw foods. It seems like more and more people know about this lifestyle than ever before -- and that's absolutely true! But, it's still true that, on the whole, the average person on the street knows almost nothing about it. As such, if you're a raw foodist, you often find yourself in situations in which you're explaining it to people. (Obviously, as raw foods bloggers, we're more than happy to do so, of course!)

Amid all of these explanations to new friends and new readers, it's not too uncommon to hear people scoff at the idea in one way or another. Common objections include things like:

Last time on Raw Foods 101 we answered the question, "Why should you soak nuts / seeds before eating them."? Naturally, many readers then asked the next logical question, "How LONG should I soak them before eating " Great question!

Don't forget:? You're soaking the nuts and seeds to "wake them up" as would happen in nature. When seeds are soaked in the springtime rain, they wake up and begin to sprout. When this happens, the nutritional content of the nuts and seeds changes (they become an even greater powerhouse of nutrients).

Quick note: Jim here... So strikingly pervasive is the "winter blues of 2010" that I suspect many of my friends will think this is about them. But, it's just some thoughts, really -- not in response to anything or anyone in particular. (In fact, if anything, it's in response to something related to our dog, which we'll no doubt write about at some point.)

I sense that there is a useful blog post on the topic of "raw during tough times." However, after pondering the topic at length, I'm just not exactly sure what to say about it. I do know that quite a lot of people come to feel disappointed in themselves for straying from the healthiest path. It's a story I've read over and over on raw web sites and blogs, perhaps more frequently in the winter. It starts out the same: Someone goes raw, gets all fired up about it, and soon starts feeling youthful and vibrant again. The high lasts for a while, but then ... something happens. They slip back to cooked foods -- or worse, to junk foods. Sometimes the process repeats itself for years.

Jim here... Here's a compilation of vids from my little Flip camera, all taken over our weekend roadtrip to Washington, D.C. It's not all strictly raw-food related, but does include some raw tips. First up, you'll see our rawsomely packed food coolers. Between using ice and frozen fruits, everything kept cool just fine.

Early in the video, Wendi shares a handy tip for keeping your smoothies cool on the road. If you're going to drink your smoothies right away, you might have little concern for keeping a drink cold. However, we had eaten breakfast already and knew we wouldn't want to get into our smoothies for another hour or so after leaving. Frozen berries to the rescue! (Just make sure to hunt down a large glass bottle with an opening large enough to pour frozen berries into.)

After making a 'batch' of green smoothies, what is generally considered an appropriate serving size?

Thanks for the question, Gary!? I don't think I can give an across-the-board answer to fit everyone, since we're all so wonderfully different. The answer would have to take into consideration various factors, such as:

Continuing on, again, with Wendi s San Francisco travelogue:

After leaving Pete and Blessing, we had a little time before our next meeting. So, KDcat and I explored San Francisco a bit. We saw the largest rainbow flag we've ever seen, experienced the steep hills (much steeper than the ones in Pittsburgh), and checked out an overview spot called Twin Peaks. Our San Francisco host taught us later that evening about how to "curb" your car and always apply the parking brake (which is necessary in a place with such steep hills).

Later we met up with Shivie and Cemaaj, who heard we'd be in town and invited us to visit them for a raw meal? in their home. Wow, what a delicious and beautiful meal we were served! Shivie and Cemaaj are gentle, loving people with a true gift for preparing and serving gourmet raw foods. We were honored to be invited to visit with them and loved them both instantly. They were a lot of fun getting to know, and very generous (sending raw foods with us before we left to eat and share with our San Franciso host). Cemaaj is also a gifted musician and taught KDcat some rhythms on the djembe African drum, which she quickly learned and enjoyed very much! Cemaaj is a gifted teacher and great with kids. It was fun watching him ease her into the instrument, which she now says she'd love to own and practice on!

So, we've been building up to something exciting all week long -- and here it is! As it turns out, Kevin Gianni is not only a "renegade health" expert, motivational speaker, and all-around great guy; he's also a singer/songwriter!? And he even has his own CD called "God Loves Guinea Pigs" (original songs and artwork by Kevin).

During the past few days, we shared some great interviews with Kevin. In addition to all of the material covered so far, both Jim and Wendi had asked Kevin some musical questions. So, we saved those parts of the interviews for today. Here are the bonus sections from those interviews, including the funny story about Kevin dropping his pants in public!