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Well, it's nearing the end of 2009, and I've been unwell for half of the year. (To make a positive statement out of that, I'll add that I've been well for the other half!) It's hard to believe so much time has gone by and about half a year of my life was spent in pain, tears, and sometimes fear (mostly in the beginning of the lyme disease). I'm definitely looking forward to the new year, to leaving this disease behind me while taking the lessons I've learned with me into 2010.

As many of you know, I was very proactive in finding a "cure" to the disease as soon as it was identified. I tried allopathic remedies (antibiotics for about three months), alternative remedies (herbal protocols, vitamin/mineral/supplemental protocols, aromatherapy techniques, healing massage, hands-on-healing, water fasting, prayer/meditation/positive visualization), and so much more. Nothing completely cured my body from the lyme bacteria that seems to have spread throughout my body and found favorite spots to multiply (particularly in my shoulders and arms).

For some odd reason, I've had the privilege of "doing Thanksgiving" with a lot of different friends and families over the years. Because of this, and of course just from talking with others and reading things others have posted, I'm fairly certain that Thanksgiving means different things to different people.For some, it's their favorite annual holiday and fills them with joyous memories of Thanksgivings past and incredible anticipation of Thanksgivings to come. Some historian friends of mine seem fascinated by the historical aspects of the holiday -- the whole story of the pilgrims, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, I've actually encountered a few people who take offense at the very idea of this holiday (and they've got some convincing reasons to protest the wider celebrations)!

While all holidays are certainly "food-centric" by tradition, it's arguable that no other holiday (at least here in America) can match Thanksgiving's reputation in terms of feasting. It's kind of funny when you think about it because many holidays (or, "holy days") are actually traditionally observed by abstaining from food. So, there are fasts, and feasts. I think the majority view, based on my own sampling of various friend and family traditions, seems to be: It's mostly about having a huge meal. Yes, there is certainly an undercurrent of being thankful out there. A few families I've been with have had traditional, almost ceremonial, activities that went along with the meal (e.g., going around the room, taking turns stating what you're grateful for).

Jim here... Wow, did you read yesterday's post ? Wendi is away for a month starting today. That's like a year in Internet time, right?

So, I guess I have the blog to myself for a while. So strange... I mean, I helped her set it up back in late '07, contributed numerous articles and a lot of behind-the-scenes time along the way, and then got really involved here (regularly -- daily, even) about a year ago. But, I never "had the keys" all to myself for a long spell. I feel as though I've been entrusted with something important, you know ? I must control that strange compulsion within me to, you know, run a silly cat video or something. But, I'll resist and keep things on-point. (LOL)

Jim here... Conventional wisdom says we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, right? Well, what about recipes? Should we judge them by their names?

When KDcat was young -- well before we followed a raw diet -- her friends sometimes scoffed at our typical vegan fare. After all, few kids would voluntarily eat "Pasta with Spinach Sauce."? But, we discovered, change the name and suddenly they're lining up for seconds. Instead of "Spinach Sauce," Wendi came up with "Jungle Sauce"! How exciting, right?

I was just thinking about a particular phenomenon, but don't know what to call it. This is something I used to notice mostly after watching movies, although it's something that happens all the time in life -- and I think it does in fact relate to diet, so I'll share. Here it is:

Ever leave a theater after viewing a particularly uplifting film Recall what it's like for a moment. You walk outside, maybe with friends or family, still filled with that magical feeling of having visited another world, or having been moved beyond words, or being filled with inspiration. There's a glow about you, and the air seems sweeter as you stroll out to your car, absolutely care-free. You spin around as you walk, laughing with your friends, joking and hugging each other, engaging in imaginative conversation all the way home -- and the spell lasts for a good long time thereafter. Oh, I love, love, love great movies!!!

Here's a handy alphabetical archive of Pure Jeevan's award-winning Know Your Food video series! (Disclosure:? Okay, maybe it's not award-winning, yet. But, surely it will be someday. Btw, see end of list for "other" episodes.)

Apples (Episode #1)

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

Here's a picture I took at Portland's Saturday Market last week. We've been pleasantly surprised to find that artichokes grow rather well here in the Pacific Northwest. We don't recall seeing them much back East, but many of our neighbors grow them (both for the artichokes and, I suspect, as ornamental plants).

I suspect that some raw foodists tend to overlook artichokes because they're so traditionally linked with the image of something steamed, stuffed with breadcrumbs, and drizzled in butter -- so, "cooked," "breaded," and "dairy" all together in one recipe! Being half Italian, I grew up eating them this way. My mother almost never said "artichoke"; she always called them an Italian word that sounded like "ga-GO-che-lee." ?She made them just a few times per year, and they were always a huge treat (and we'd often fight over the hearts -- by far the best part!).

Today, we're going to show you haw to make some tasty brownies. Best of all, this recipe takes only a few minutes. Let's get to it!

First, throw a couple of big handfulls of raisins into your food processor.

We're still busy researching cities in order to find our future home town!? Our original list of potentials is now more of less narrowed down to a few select areas. That's not to say that we're not still open to further suggestions. (See here for our desires in a new home town.)? At the moment, of the cities/regions remaining on our "active" list, the Ashland, Oregon area is looking fairly attractive. So, we thought we'd take a moment to ask a few questions about Ashland. But first, here's why...

Originally, we felt highly drawn to Corvallis, Oregon. It seemed like the absolute perfect place for us -- a phenomenal homeschooling / unschooling community (which is what first caught our attention), a progressive / artsy atmosphere, affordable land, and super-clean air. Great, right ! ?But then we looked at the amount of sunshine the city received ... hmmm, no improvement whatsoever over Pittsburgh (in fact, Corvallis is, unfortunately, equally as gloomy -- at 44% of the days having sun).

Jim here with another exciting edition of Weird Wednesday. You know, each time I say "weird," I don't always mean the same thing. Sometimes "weird" means odd or strange. Other times it means funny or ironic. It might also mean unusual or out-of-the-ordinary. Come to think of it, the definition of weird is also weird.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Jim Banholzer. He lived next door to Wendi and me when we first moved to the D.C. area in 1991. We all lived in a small "garden apartment" complex in Falls Church, Virginia. Our roommate at the time worked as a leasing agent there, which qualified us for a decent rental discount. I think we paid $800 or so for the place, an upscale 2-bedroom townhome close to the community pool. Jim lived next door with one of the more unstable people I've ever met (and, trust me, that's saying something).