Jim here... As you may have noticed, Pure Jeevan was offline for the past week. I wish this absence had been for some pleasant reason that I could now write about. But, in truth, it was because my mother passed away last Thursday afternoon. It's not easy to write about so soon afterward; we're all painfully unprepared to describe my mother using the past tense. Her passing still just doesn't seem real to me or to anyone who knew her.She was without a doubt a remarkably beautiful, happy, and loving person who, for 65+ years, really made a difference in a lot of people's lives.

Beyond her ties to Wendi, KDcat, and me, she was also known to some Pure Jeevan family members as well as others in the raw food community. She appeared here just a few months ago to share a raw hummus recipe. And, I know she had visited and/or joined a few other raw foods sites during the past two years. She really did have an interest in it, and always loved her veggies and a good salad. In fact, she was one of those people who actually ate fairly healthfully, relatively speaking, yet still faced serious health challenges.

Jim here with another Weird Wednesday.

Recently, at the store, I came across a little plastic tool, priced at $1.49. It was an orange peeler. I'd never heard of such a thing. As someone who eats about 20 oranges/week, I was intrigued. Do you mean to tell me, I thought, that my days of laboriously de-skinning oranges would disappear (those trips to the company bathroom to remove the orange pulp from my fingernails!)?

Have you ever heard about mono meals? When I first did, it sounded like such a great idea. When you eat a mono meal, you eat one item (and only one item) for the entire meal. Eating that way is supposed to be very cleansing and it gives your digestive system a rest from processing different types of foods at the same time. Supposedly there is a boost in energy, as well, since your digestion isn't taking up so much energy.

I recently received an email asking for advice from one of our Hindu readers, asking what I could recommend as far as light eating during the nine-day Indian festival of Navratri. Navratri is traditionally a time of fasting for nine days, however in modern society most Hindus no longer fast. Many do, however, pay more attention to their diets, and they try to eat lighter meals that do not contain animal products. Since our reader is just starting his exploration into raw foods, I didn't want to offer him advice that would make his nine days of Navratri difficult.He recently purchased a Vitamix, so I suggested that he make a lot of smoothies, since he has been enjoying them so much.

Something has come up and it may put some of our projects on hold for about six months, or so! What could come up to make us give up our goals/plans for 2009? Umm...how about being awarded The Best Job In The World, the Island Reef Job! Australia is doing some major tourism marketing for their lovely Paradise Island. For six months an individual will live in a 3-bedroom home, comb the beach, blog about the experience, do some video blogging, respond to interviewers, feed fish, and just basically live a life in Paradise!!

To live this dream life, you'll be awarded $105,000 USD and be flown to the island!

This recipe is an adaptation of one from "Rawvolution", by Matt Amsden. As of this point in time, "Rawvolution" is my favorite recipe book. Most of the recipes are high in sodium and fat, but very satisfying for those who are used to eating cooked foods.

Egg-less Egg Salad

Let's take a quick look at a few dessert pictures, then compare and contrast, shall we First up is a small slice of some normal pastry:

Looks sinful, right It seems to proudly display its bready crust, its gooey chocolate center, some sort of butter-rich top layer coated with lovable little bits and bobs, and a liberal sprinkling of confectioner's sugar to make the whole thing cute as a wintry scene from one of those holiday specials hosted by the claymation likeness of Burl Ives. I'm sure it's delightfully rich, too. A tad small, though, eh ? It's probably all anyone can take of such decadence without worrying about clogged arteries or putting in extra time on the tread mill for the next three days.

Here it is: Putting it all together. Here you'll see what we use for our taco shells and how we build up our taco. Quite often, we also make a raw sour creme using cashew nuts and lemon juice. But, for these tacos, it'll just be meat, salsa, and guac. Enjoy!

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.

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

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

I wrote on Monday that today (Thursday), we would be discussing mint here -- specifically, harvesting some late-remaining mint from our mint bed (shown above in all its glory) and making something with it. I failed, however, to take into account that it's been getting darker earlier and earlier these days. By the time I was able to get outside and talk about mint, it was just too dark.

So, I thought I'd forego the video, and just write up some minty facts to freshen up your Thursday. To begin, I would highly encourage anyone who is new to gardening, and wants some early success, to experiment with mint (including spearmint, peppermint, and the various varietals available here and there). I can almost guarantee that you'll have some wild (and I do mean wild!) success, and will soon enjoy more mint than the law allows. It's so easily grown, and spreads around so easily (via its root system), that it would almost be considered invasive if it weren't so darned desirable and fragrant. (It's tough to walk past a mint bed without snatching up a leaf, rolling it between your fingers, and inhaling the scent deeply.)

As I write this, Wendi and KDcat have been en route to Portland for 39+ hours so far (including a long layover in Chicago)! Looks like they still have another 22 or so hours to go. What a monumental trip, eh ! Cross-country travel by rail really gives you a better appreciation for the distance, as compared with air travel or even highway travel. Imagine what it must have been like in the covered-wagon days!

So far, reports from the train have been not so wonderful. KDcat seems to be having a good time roaming around socializing. But, Wendi's experiencing some major motion sickness. Oddly, we never anticipated this problem -- which is incredible, as we spent more than a month planning this trip! But, it just goes to show you that you cannot anticipate everything in life!