Today we welcome Melissa Sokulski from BirchCenter.com and FoodUnderFoot.com for another episode of Pure Jeevan's Makin' It Monday "Guest Raw Chef" edition. In this episode, Melissa demonstrates how to make raw tortillas (this recipe uses a dehydrator). You'll be amazed at how pliable these tortillas are!!

Just a quick announcement today:? I just pressed "send" on our gorgeously produced November 2009 e-newsletter. While we've done periodic newsletters in the past, we've now revisited our commitment to doing them regularly. So, each month going forward, we plan to send out a new e-newsletter.

And they're always crazy fun!? They're kind of like bouncing on a trampoline -- like flying, you know ? Nothing but care-free, transcendent happiness, soaring amid the tree branches, smiling ear-to-ear, gravity-defying hair flying every which way. (Okay, maybe they're not that much fun. But, they are at least generally enjoyable -- and informative!)

For today's Makin' It Monday feature, we'd like to present "Salsa Campechano." We'll have to admit, though, that we do not speak Spanish. So, we have to give some credit to Google's online language translator. When we went to name this recipe, Wendi suggested that this is a "manly" dish (since I created it). However, we didn't find the perfect Spanish word to fit the recipe.Then, considering the walnuts in the recipe, Wendi suggested that perhaps "hearty" was a better adjective. Google returned the Spanish word campechano for this, and we immediately thought: Yes!, that sounds just perfect!? So, here's an amazing recipe for you. It's a hearty salsa recipe, but I actually like to eat it as a soup.

I was standing in line at the grocery store the other day and plopped a package of chicken wings up onto the conveyor belt. The cashier made some sort of smalltalk -- I think she asked whether I liked wings -- which prompted me to say, "Oh, the chicken is for my dog, Julia."

She looked at me, eyebrows raised. "For your dog "

On this Thankful Thursday I am feeling especially thankful for the Internet. Without the Internet I wouldn't be able to learn as much as I've learned about raw foods in such a short period of time. The Internet has connected me with people from all over the world who are also interested in natural health and raw food living. I am part of a larger community, one that would never exist without the Internet.

So, today I am especially thankful for the Internet. What are you thankful for today?

Wow, what a strange episode we have for you tonight! As you'll see, it was a really bizarre day here at Pure Jeevan. Wendi's out of town with her friends Rawbin and Jeff (owner of NaturalZing) helping NaturalZing with their booth at the Green Festival in Washington, DC. Too bad she's away; she missed opening the mail today and seeing a highly unusual letter from the Department of Homeland Security! The topic? Well, it turns out Pure Jeevan is under governmental surveillance -- and our chief surveillor, one "Larry Ferguson," actually decided to introduce himself and make some comments about our Bananas episode (which we hadn't even released yet!). Sounds highly unusual, I know. But, he was actually doing us a favor. Take a look (vid shows me reading part of his letter, then the banana episode proper):

As you heard, Larry writes: "I believe your viewers deserve to know, for example, that bananas have roughly 100 calories each, are high in Vitamin C, and fiber. You might also want to mention that they contain considerable levels of B6, which is good for metabolic functions as well as nervous and immune systems. B6 also helps you produce antibodies to fight diseases and plays a strong role in brain function and even maintaining hormonal balance. Your body can't store B6, btw, so you need to get it every day. Of course, most people will know already about the great potassium levels in bananas. Potassium is great for controlling blood pressure and certainly reduces risks of heart problems. Bananas also contain manganese, which your viewers probably already know about after your persimmons video."

Jim here... As you're probably aware, Sunday marks the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. While the Pure Jeevan family certainly includes many raw foodies living in the southern hemisphere (*nods to our friends in Oz and beyond currently heading into winter*), the majority of our readers will equate Sunday with the official kick-off of much longer, much hotter days. So, we'd like to provide some topical, tropical inspiration for you.

How do you feel about heat Personally, I used to *hate* it. I thought I knew what real heat was, too, having grown up in St. Louis where the summers can be brutal. But, Wendi and I traveled to India once (so far!) and, wow, THAT was real heat. I clearly remember standing on an airport tarmac in a place called Trivandrum, just 8 degrees north of the equator, almost in shock over how hot it was there.

I love this video, in which Wendi interviews our new Portland-based realtor, Bill Futrell. It's a nice interview, but I love the way Wendi's enthusiasm for raw foods rubbed off on Bill almost immediately. There's even a moment in here in which Bill starts talking about Natural Zing. We thought for sure everyone would think we put him up to that, but he did it absolutely spontaneously! So, thanks Bill for helping to support our Snack Sponsor. Anyway, here's what he had to say about Portland, about where we'll fit in, and about his first exposure to raw foods:

One thing I can tell you for sure: Portland is WAY more expensive than Pittsburgh. A year ago, I invested a ton of time reading about low-cost cob houses, straw-bale construction, Earth-ship homes, homes fashioned from "obtanium," thatch roofs, off-the-grid systems, igloos, you name it -- anything DIY-oriented. (Okay, well not igloos; that was a joke. Even though igloos are probably pretty neat-o.) I'm sure we'll get to many of those types of projects one day still. But for now, as you can see, we're going to put down roots in a really great city out West. We're doing it with intention, though, and in harmony with our mission to help ourselves and others obtain the highest levels of health and happiness.

Let's have a bit of fun today here on the blog. All week long we've been focusing on brain health and minimizing our chances of developing memory loss as we age. So, how sharp is *your* brain right now? What can you remember as the key highlights of ways to increase memory, ways to eliminate memory loss? What else can you remember reading over the past week here on Pure Jeevan's blog about having a sharp mind?

Share your resp0nses in the comments (and don't read those left by others until you've left your own!).

Jim here... I'd like to mainly talk about organics today, but thought I'd wrap that subject into a longer, rather quirky piece on ranking produce on some sort of a scale that would indicate how awesome (or awful) it is. See what you think...

Have you ever thought of arranging produce into a sort of "heirarchy of quality"? Well, I'm not going to attempt to do that here, but I would like to discuss the concept for a moment in order to at least explain what I'm getting at. While I've not yet attempted to do this exercise, I nonetheless occasionally envision a large chart or something that conveys my feelings about how I personally rank the quality of fruits and vegetables I put into my body. This all probably sounds vague, so let me share some examples.

Tomorrow I'll finally be posting about the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat that I organized. I took a few days to myself after the event, and then I needed to catch up on a lot of things (which included formatting an almost 150-page publication). It's hard to believe that two weeks have passed, already, since the retreat ended.

I have a lot of photos from the event! Some of the guests prefer to remain anonymous, however, so I can't share all of them with you. However, there are a lot that I can still post on a public page for you to view! I'm waiting to receive some more images from the ashram's camera. Once I have them, I'll be able to complete the photos pages and share images from that wonderful weekend.

BIG THANKS to one of the guests, Angel, who happily took my camera and captured images that weekend. I am extremely grateful that she did, and I'm also impressed with her creative gift with photography! The image she captured of another guest, Faye, is absolutely beautiful! I'm looking forward to sharing the pics with all of you!