Today I am thankful for the small things in life that often go overlooked. I'm thankful Jim made some sweet dessert last night when I wanted it. I'm thankful KDcat is having a fun time with some of her friends right now. I'm thankful that: the trash collectors just picked up the garbage (we don't produce a whole lot since going raw); the older woman across the street has started smiling and being nice to KDcat; the sun is out and the snow is melting; I have another computer job to work on for some income.

Can you believe it's mid-October already ? Here in Pittsburgh, for those lucky few who may have fig trees, that means harvest time! Well, almost. Take a look at this video we made about figs!

As stated in the video, we did a previous installment on figs in our Know Your Food series (which will definitely be returning once we finally sell our home and become full-time raw food inspiration providers!). Please visit that link for nutrition and other information on figs.

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.

Jim here...As vegans and vegetarians, we're familiar with what we believe is quite a lot of misinformation regarding our lifestyle. However, we've done the research and, for example, know how we get our protein (always a concern received from others), know the stats on B12 deficiency (another concern often cited by mainstreamers), and know our answers to other issues such as where we get our minerals from and whether we consume processed foods and sugars. Bucking the mainstream conventional wisdom emergent from within a world dominated by the Standard American Diet, we live defiantly as healthy examples of our chosen path. But, is there any wiggle room as far as what is and isn't healthy (for us, and for everyone)? What about some of the things that everyone "knows" is bad for you? With questions like those in mind, here's something unusual -- a full post developed from a simple Facebook update. (You are friends with Wendi and me on Facebook, right ) Yesterday, I posted the following:

Think of something that you think is bad for you, and then go to Google & type in "benefits of [that thing]" and see if there is a web site that is promoting that thing. I just did this for "caffeine" and read some thought-provoking ideas (that might all be utter BS, but are interesting nonetheless).

Here they are!! Images from the 3-Day Raw Food Spiritual Ashram Retreat! There were more taken by the ashram staff; once they are sent to me, I'll include those, as well.

Page One: Guests

Page Two: Raw Food

Sometimes you meet someone and you just know they have tapped into something special, something most of us search for but never quite find. That was the case when I met this lovely woman I'd like the rest of you to meet. There's a centered peace about her, down deep in her core, and yet she's overflowing with an energy that I've never seen matched by anyone else. She's delightfully insightful, intelligent, and playful all at the same time. ?

Take the Time to Meet

When I first decided to try a raw food diet again (I had sampled it for about three months a few years before going completely raw), I wanted to do it in a way to prove that it either does or doesn t work. The best way to do that, I figured, was through consistent blood tests. So, that s what I did. I have continued to document my path to health with regular blood tests. Many of you know that the results have been remarkable. My dramatic shift in weight is the most obvious to others, but there were equally impressive changes going on inside my body, as well.

It has been about a year since my last blood work was done, so I knew I should schedule an appointment to get the testing done soon (since I want to keep the tests somewhat yearly). I tend to always put the testing off, however. As much as I m curious about the results, the truth is that I m terrified of needles. Over the past few months, I was continuing to put this yearly testing off, but something has spurred me to get it done sooner than later.

Jim here... We had a whirlwind weekend last weekend when the uber-talented couple Rhio and Leigh came to Pittsburgh for a three-day visit. As many of you probably know, Rhio is a well-known pioneer of the raw food movement, having written one of the definitive books on raw foods, Hooked on Raw. She's also the host of a popular Internet radio show of the same name, for which Leigh serves as primary engineer and co-host. Both have extensive backgrounds in music, as well, which is fitting for such a colorful, vibrant couple.

Saturday, Rhio gave a two-part presentation to a capacity crowd at a local coffee shop / art gallery.Part One was a demonstration on making raw dairy-free yogurt using almonds (a technique demonstrated, I believe, on her new DVD, "What's NOT Cookin' in Rhio's Kitchen " -- available soon on her web site at www.rawfoodinfo.com). According to the yogurt eaters in the crowd (of which I'm not one -- never went in for much dairy), the recipe mimics yogurt perfectly! So, if you're a raw foodie who misses dairy yogurt, you're definitely going to want to connect wth Rhio to learn the technique.

As promised yesterday, here s the Pure Jeevan cross-country tour itinerary! Will Wendi and KDcat be in your town or city? If so, please be sure to let us know, so they can meet you in person! We re all very excited that Pure Jeevan will be meeting some of you in person very soon!

We'll be posting a button on the right side of the blog later this week. When you click on the button, it'll take you to an up-to-date itinerary of all cities on the tour, as well as any talks/gatherings, etc. that may be going on. On that page, you may also be able to view some live video streaming of Wendi and KDcat as they're out and about finding the perfect location for Pure Jeevan. Stay tuned for more info!

As you read this, calming violins open a familiar tune and that sweet mellifluous voice of Etta James soon enters your mind: "At laaaaaaaaassssst. My looooove has come along....." Great tune, right ! Well, it's appropriate here because, at LAST, here's the long-awaited Episode #9 of Know Your Food! That's right, friends, today we're going to explore the wondrous FIG in all of its sweet, soothing glory. One taste and happiness blossoms within you, washing over your entire being... We only wish that the following video was as professionally rendered as this paragraph of evocative prose... (but, we promise we'll get there one day).

In case you missed the actual nutrition info in that video (what little there was, LOL), here's the transcript:

You know that old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well, today we want to add a thousand words to your daily informational intake.

Take the time to meet