The other day, before grocery shopping, I didn't have a lot of food in the house. When that happens, I usually take a look at what I have and then try to come up with something tasty. It's kind of an art form, to create something out of next to nothing. I think I learned the art from my mother, who had to make things stretch on a very minimal budget.

Here's what I created, and it turned out great!

Our weekend is going to be filled with Spring cleaning. Many may not think of any type of cleaning as fun, but there's something special about Spring cleaning. Maybe it's because when we do Spring cleaning in our home, we tend to make it a family event. When we do things together as a family, even though there may be a little bickering here and there, but for the most part we have fun. There's something truly rewarding about working together as a team for something that is going to benefit everyone.

Today, for Take the Time Tuesday, I'd like to introduce you to an online social networking Web site for those with similar interests to get together, meet, and hang out in the physical world. If you haven't already heard about it, check it out!

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!).

Wow, what a stressful weekend! We spent pretty much the entire past two days going through the dozens and dozens of suggestions we received in response to our July 30 post concerning our move (in which we asked for help in finding the perfect new place to live). We listed every city suggested to us, as well as a number of cities we specifically wanted to consider. Then we attempted to gather data from the Internet to rank these cities. Here's a HUGE snapshot to show our progress. (I'll explain a few things below.)

As you can see, we ranked each city according to many criteria. These included the number of sunny days per year, average high and low temperatures, air quality (higher #s better), water quality (higher #s better), Superfund statistics (an indication of the general toxicity of an area -- higher #s better), land prices, crime rate (the numbers "x / x" indicating scores from 1 to 10, lower #s being better, for "personal" crimes and "property" crimes), and finally a "liberal / conservative" ratio based on voting records for that town.

According to Mike Adams of NewsTarget.com:

"Many Florida oranges are actually dipped in an artificial orange dye in order to make them more visually appealing. It's the same dye that's been banned for use in foods because of cancer risk."

On March 6, Wendi and KDcat arrived around dinner time at their next location, Grants Pass. We've known their hosts as online friends, so it was a real treat to meet them in person. Rebecca Leaverton, her hhusband Dominic, and their twins Aubrey and Sebastian live in a beautiful home in one of the more beautiful places W&K have visited in Oregon (and that's saying something, as EVERY location in Oregon has been absolutely beautiful). Grants Pass is surrounded by the most breathtakingly gorgeous mountains, close and ever-present no matter where you are in the city. If we ever do decide that city living isn't for us, Wendi said she'd love to live in the mountains surrounding Grants Pass!

Here's some video... In the first clip, Wendi shares a raw traveling trick she came up with -- kind of a high-energy, super-fast sandwich. Then Rebecca (aka SuperfoodGirl -- from www.SuperfoodGirl.com) demonstrates one of her favorite pieces of kitchen equipment, the V Slicer. (Wendi loved it and says we need to save up and get one when she returns from the trip.) And then we couldn't resist a few moments of footage of Rebecca's twins out exploring the kale and wheat grass in? theback yard.

To continue with our Summertime Raw series, we took a trip to Pittsburgh's Frick Park to enjoy the beautiful day. Before leaving, we packed another meal to show you how easy it can be to eat a raw food diet while away from home.Frick Park was wildly popular among dogs; we saw canines of all shapes and sizes -- all playful, yet calm in comparison to our lovely Julia, a rescued blue Doberman. Joogie enjoyed the outing very much because she was able to snack on cucumbers (a favorite treat), chase after a few joggers (we're teaching her that this isn't proper doggy behavior), knock the cooler out of Jim's hands when we were leaving (which broke a few of our best glass dishes), and lick the faces of a few new furry friends. We've been to many parks, but we have a feeling this is now Julia's favorite. ?

In yesterday's blog and video post, we showed you how easy it is to simply grab fresh fruits and veggies and head out the door for an outing. In that show, no refrigeration or preparation was necessary. However, we also know that many of you are new to raw foods, and perhaps eating simple chopped produce isn't so appealing for you compared to traditional foods you'd normally eat while in a park. So, today's goal is to demonstrate how simple it can be, making it easy for you to stick to a raw food lifestyle and not feel tempted by the cooked foods that may be around while you're out enjoying the summer with friends and family. So, today's video is about stepping it up to the next level.

Last night I dreamed of meandering through an unfamiliar cityscape, following some lonely sidewalk next to a river at night, feeling particularly sad and miserable beneath dim yellow street lights. I wore a black suit, carried a highball glass, and was absolutely drunk!

Having crossed the river, I soon realized (even in my dream-drunken state) that I'd been wandering aimlessly. Feeling rather pathetic, I decided to walk back across the river and sober up in a casino that I knew was there. Drunk and depressed, I figured I'd just sit in front of a slot machine for a few hours.

Well, after three long days of train travel, Wendi and KDcat arrived in Portland. I knew they'd had a rough trip (as I'd posted, Wendi experienced some serious motion sickness!), so I booked them into an awesome Bed & Breakfast, literally across the street from the raw restaurant they were planning to visit. That B&B is called the Lion and the Rose Victorian Bed & Breakfast Inn. Wendi said everyone there was super-nice. (There was a neat synchronicity about it, too, which I'll post in the comments section.)

Thanks to everyone for the motion sickness tips! Wendi's feeling better, but after such a long train ride, she and KDcat still feel the effects on their balance (feeling like they're still moving, slightly dizzy, ears blocked a bit etc.). I suppose train travel takes a little getting used to. But, again, they're feeling much better.

Even though it was a short stay in Portland, they managed to squeeze in a meetup with two Pure Jeevan family members, Ann Chatterton and Tracy Partridge Johnson (as well as Ann's children, Zoe and Zack, and Tracy's son Brandon). They met up at the Blossoming Lotus, an organic/vegan venue that offers some gourmet raw dishes. Here's a slideshow!

Jim here...Well, something awful happened today at Pure Jeevan, something utterly shocking to any raw foodie on the planet -- our Vitamix container broke! I know, I know... breathe with me: Deep breath in... deep breath out. There, that's better. It's going to be okay, I just know it!

Here's what happened:? The agitator assembly (the metal part at the bottom that connects to the blades inside the container) wore out. It blew some kind of bearing or something, lost its internal oil, and started making an infernal noise when we blended our morning smoothie. It was pretty clear we'd blended up our last elixir in that container.