Twitter: Exchange tweets with CrunchyOpal…

twitter_logo.06.02.10.pngAre there any tweet peeps out there? Over the past few years, I’ve used Twitter off and on. I don’t have the original account I started with, having abandoned it when I got out of the habit of tweeting.

The other twitter account I recently stopped updating, mainly because I’m taking a break from gaming. Yes, it’s true that I’ve tweeted about gaming/non-gaming info but since I’m not actively playing anything (at the moment) I don’t want to be hammering my tweet gaming peeps with almost 100% non-gaming related posts. Make sense?

Anyway, if you’d like to follow my tweets you can do so by following CrunchyOpal.

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Social Media

Mulberry Smoothie; Healthy and Delicious

mulberry.05.31.10.jpgThe invasion of mulberries (in our back yard) is a definite sign that Summer is in full swing.

Mulberry harvesting is one of my most enjoyable gardening past times. The mulberries are thick. If you look down you won’t find a green grassy carpet instead you’ll find mulberries covering every inch of ground. You’ll also find them in the Mulberry trees too.

What makes mulberry picking even more enjoyable, is the variety of birds that pay us a visit during this time. They all converge to feast on those mulberries. There is such an overabundance of mulberries that you really don’t miss the ones that they eat. Mulberries are great in raw ice creams, mulberry jams, tossed into fresh and raw salads, sauces… they’re also delicious in smoothies too.

Yesterday, after arriving home from our carnival adventure, I decided to take some of the mulberries I had picked that morning and make a pitcher of Mulberry smoothie. Although this isn’t a green smoothie recipe the Mulberry smoothie is simple to make, and extremely delicious. I like the tangy (slightly bitter taste) of our mulberries so I normally don’t add anything besides a liquid (this time I used unsweetened apple juice) to sweeten it. However, you can choose another liquid or sweeten with a natural sweetener like honey or stevia.

Mulberry: Health Benefits
Mulberries are delicious, and they have the added bonus of being good for you too.

    • Mulberries are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Mulberries contain; fiber, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, carbohydrates, iron and proteins which are great for ones health.

    • Mulberries have an antioxidant action.

Mulberries contain anthocyanins (pigments in the fruit) which also has an antioxidant action. Scientist has studied mulberries as a means to fight cancer and diabetes too.

    • Promotes health liver and kidneys
    • Helps eliminate constipation

I’ve used mulberries many times when I’ve had bouts of constipation and it has helped eliminate this condition.

    • Used to treat anemia.

Mulberries are high in iron, so is natural way to treat anemia naturally.

Mulberry Smoothie: Healthy and Delicious

    • 4 cups of Mulberries

fresh is best but if you are unable to get those, get frozen mulberries

    • 3 cups of apple juice

You can also try pineapple juice, or one of the natural sweeteners I mentioned above.

  • 2 bananas peeled and sliced


  1. Slice the bananas and place into a sealable container; freeze until hard.
  2. In an electric blender, combine the Mulberries, bananas, and bananas; process till smooth.

This smoothie is slightly thick, if you prefer a thinner smoothie add more liquid.

Instead of reaching for a sugary drink devoid of health benefits, why not choose a smoothie that’s not only taste delicious but is loaded with nutrients too? Enjoy!

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Recipe, Recipes, vegetarian, whole food, Smoothies

Memorial day; Local carnival and the rocket ship of terror

carnival.06.01.10.jpgFor those living in the USA, I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day. My daughter and I attended a few Memorial Day events. No BBQ’s here, we kept it simple.

Since there’s a carnival in town I decided to take check it out with my daughter. I really had no choice, she’s been talking about it for days. Ever since seeing it as we went to school and church so yesterday was the perfect day to check it out.

Originally I thought the carnival would be packed, but being that it was early. It wasn’t. I imagine people were still out attending various events and most likely would be stopping by the local carnival when it got lively (evening-time.)

I paid the $20 per person for unlimited rides. Yeah kind of pricey, especially since the carnival was small but I had gone purchasing the tickets route I would have spent a lot more money. Having the bracelets wrapped around our wrists my daughter, and I could get on unlimited rides, and  our carnival adventure began.

Since it wasn’t crowded, my daughter and I were able to get on as many rides as she wanted without a line. Some of the operators were nice enough to let us stay on as long as we (she) wanted too. Many thanks to the nice operators out there, you really made my daughters day. We had so much fun hopping on the ferris wheel, bumper cars, big ol’ super slide. She enjoyed all the rides with the exception of one…

It’s rocket type ride. It was a lot like this one shown in the video, but ours was shaped like a rocket. Also, the rockets only carried two passengers and you are completely enclosed.

Daughter:Mommy, I want to get on that ride!

My seven year old daughter pointed at the rocket ship, impatiently yanking on my hand.

I look way up in the sky! I’ve been on this ride when I was younger and I know how it operates. I loved it but honestly didn’t think she would.

Me: (Glances at her, the rocket–looks doubtful) Are you sure?

Daughter: Yes mommy, come on! Come ON!!!

…and so we got on the ride. She was really excited until we got up to the highest peak and plummeted down to the ground.

Daughter: Mommy! (scared) I don’t like this ride! I want to get off! I want off! (screams)

Me: It’s ok, just hold on.

Lies! I knew it wasn’t ok, although she met the height, my daughter is slim (just like her mommy) some of those rides will toss you all over the place especially if you’re a string bean. The bar only goes down so far.

I grabbed onto her to so she knew I was there, hoping that would calm her down. Nope, not computing! My daughter is too scared and wants to get off NOW! The attentive operator heard her (seems he had his doubts too) screaming and me talking to her. (I had to talk loudly since she was screaming so much) and let us off the next time we coasted back to earth.

Daughter: Jumps over me and out of the ride.

Yeah that’s right she didn’t even wait for me to get out and help her out. The cab was very low to the ground though, but still…

Daughter: (chants and claps) I’m never getting on the ride again! I’m never getting on the ride again!

My daughter proceeds to hop around like an extremely hyper rabbit. She hopped around the ride, hops around me, the attendant. My daughter (still not satisfied) hops around some more. She burns off the nervous energy and is fine. The operator and I looked at her, we’re both relieved (and slightly amused too.)

Mommy Lesson Learned: If I have my doubts about a ride, you’re not getting on it.

After that incident, we got on several more rides. There were some we repeated many, many, many (did I say many) times because she really liked them. Since it was early, we were able to get on most of the rides without a line, hooray for her. Naturally, I won her a stuffed animal too. Hey, what’s the carnival without winning one of those ridiculously overpriced stuffed animals? Fortunately, I’ve always been good at those games, so I don’t spend a lot of money winning a big prize.

It was 92F (33.33C) yesterday. Yeah it was a hot (but enjoyable) day. Naturally, I came prepared. I was armed with a towel and water spray to keep my daughter cool.

Did we eat at the carnival? No, I was fully prepared to buy my daughter something if she wanted it. They actually did have some nice choices. Which was good! I wasn’t interested in anything for myself but she didn’t want to eat anything at the carnival. Regarding ‘junk food’ my feelings are similar to what Storm Talifero’s view on the subject.

I discovered The Garden Diet (website run by his wife and himself) a few years ago. I really appreciated the emphasis on eating whole foods. I don’t think you need to be a raw foodist, vegetarian, or vegan to be healthy but we do need to make healthy choices in regards to what we do put into our bodies.

Ok, back on topic…
Tired but extremely happy, we finally headed home. Of course, she told me numerous times she was never eVer eVEr eVER EVER getting on that rocket ship again!!!

I’m hoping everyone had a memorable Memorial day.

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Memorial Day, Carnival, Holiday


Memorial Day: Honoring those who've died while serving the military

Memorial-Day.05.31.10.jpgIn the USA, May 31st is the day we observe Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a Federal holiday.

Memorial day is a lot more than getting a day off of work and having celebrations with family and friends. Memorial day was created to recognize the those who died during the Civil War.

I love history. Over the years, I’ve read a lot about this particular holiday. Did you know In 1865, freed slaves took part in a huge celebration in Charleston, South Carolina? The celebration was held at the Washington Race Course now known as Hampton Park.

What’s interesting is that this location had served as a temporary Confederate prison camp for captured Union soldiers. Mass graves on the site contained Union soldiers. I found it fascinating that in 1865 freed slaves removed bodies from the mass graves and placed them into individual graves. They also placed a fence around the graveyard, and declared it a union graveyard.

On May 1, 1865 a crowd of up to 10,000 people (mostly African American) gathered at the Washington Race course. According to some records there were a lot of different activities that were held that day; speeches, sermons, singing, and family picnics.

If you’ve been following Memorial day history (like myself) you’ll notice that a lot of states have claimed being the first in regards to Memorial Day celebration however those claims didn’t start until around 1865. The largest scale Declaration Day (Memorial Day) event was conducted in 1861, by the freed African American slaves in Charleston, South Carolina.

Did you know that

Memorial Day: Did you know?

  1. Memorial Day used to be called Declaration Day
  2. Memorial Day was originally recognized on May 30th, but has since been moved to May 31st.

Across the United States, there are numerous events held to recognize those who’ve died while in military service. For example, the National Memorial Day Concert is an amazing event, and takes place on the West Lawn of the United States Capital.

I’ve included a few Memorial Day traditions below.

A few Memorial Day Traditions

How do I celebrate Memorial Day?
For myself it’s a time to recognize those who’ve died while in service, which usually means going to a specific location that has a ceremony. This year my daughter and I will be going to Fort McHenry, it will be a great chance for her to see some reenactments, check out some of the history I’ve told her about and interact with others too.

Question: Do you have any plans for Memorial Day?

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Memorial Day

Grilling: Black Bean Burgers


Grilled Bean Burgers: First batch of bean burgers

Grilling is something I enjoy doing when the weather is nice. I’m an outdoor girl, so soaking up the sun while I grill a variety of dishes on the outdoor grill is tops on my list.

In my pre-veggie days, I wasn’t too fond of grilling meat. I did enjoy grilling the sides that accompanied the main meat dishes; asparagus, greens, beans, French fries, root vegetables, etc., Well… you get the idea.

Yesterday, was an incredibly warm day the flavorful veggie sandwiches played the starring role in our afternoon meal but I decided to toss some bean burgers on the grill too. Huge bonus points that some non veggie friends sampled and raved about the bean burgers.

I’ll get around to posting a recipe for these bean burgers. I admit since closing my foodie blog a little over a year ago I’ve gotten out of the habit of measuring whatever I prepare. I’m not one to follow a recipe, so toss in whatever feels ‘right’ at the time.

For the most part, I tend to stay away from the fake meats. Instead I use whole food ingredients that don’t mimic their meat counterparts but taste good anyway! Initially when I attempted to make grilled bean burgers, they would fall apart. Wendy from The Vision Quest of Life mentioned encountering this issue to. In response to her comment I said…

My bean burgers used to fall apart too, it took some tweaking before I had a burger that stayed together on the grill. I tend to chill my bean burger mix at least an hour, but usually overnight, before adding them to the grill. Adding a binding ingredient such as ground flax seeds can help also.

Since following these rules I haven’t had an issue with my vegetarian/vegan burgers crumbling. Why flax seeds? Flax seeds acts a binding agent, so it can be used in place of eggs to bind your ingredients together. Therefore giving you a firm burger that won’t crumble as easily. I’m all out of flax seeds, so didn’t use them in yesterdays grilled bean burgers but they held up their shape throughout the grilling.

Celebrate Life is a new blog. It’s less than a week old. Since that’s the case, I really don’t have a lot of readers; however, I’d urge those that have wondered to my virtual home to check out Wendy’s virtual home too. I’m enjoying reading through her posts. Check out her post on a Summer BBQ Feast. I think it’s great for those looking for veggie friendly BBQ ideas. While you’re there, you might want to read her Why not Dairy post too.

What’s in the Grilled bean burger?

  • Black beans
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Collards
  • Garlic
  • Corn meal
  • Squash
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Sea Salt

With the exception of the carrots and some of the green onions, I tossed everything into my food processor and pulsed. The grated carrots and green onions were grated and folded into the mixture.

I would love to say that the grilled bean burgers are still around but they’re gone. No, my daughter and I didn’t eat them all ourselves. I had friends over, remember! Non veggie friends that gobbled them up. There was only one lowly burger left this morning and that burger was chopped up and added to the homemade home fries I prepared this morning.

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Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, whole food

Gardening: The Benefits of Mulching

Mulch.05.30.10.jpgCongratulations, you’re garden has finally been planted. Now you can sit back, relax, and wait for your crops to grow, right? Hey, not so fast! Another important part of the gardening process is mulching.

Of course, mulching will add an extra step to your gardening time, but the benefits make it worth it. When mulching I tend to use about three inches of mulch around my plants. I don’t put the mulch against the plant, I tend to mulch up to a few inches around the plants.


Mulching: Adding mulch to the flowers (I had no idea my daughter was taking my picture.)

As someone who’s gardened with and without I can definitely see the results of adding it to your gardening routine.


Gardening: Peach Blossoms

I’ve decided to include some of the benefits of mulching below.

Benefits of Mulching

  • Consistent moisture for your plants.
    I use about three inches of mulch around my plants, I’ve found that adding mulch reduces evaporation and retains moisture.
  • Weed reduction
    Weeds can rob your plants of nutrients and water. Some weeds can take over a garden fairly quickly. Mulch can help smoother the weed seedlings before they have a chance to take control.
  • Mulch breaks down, over time they add nutrients to the soil.
  • Mulch keeps your soil from drying.
    Have you ever seen a heavy downpour and watched the rain run off hard packed/baked soil? Definitely something you don’t want, when you are wanting your plants to grow! Mulch helps prevent this since the ground isn’t exposed to the elements. Adding mulch keeps the soil brittle, enabling water and air to reach it.
  • Mulching helps plants roots maintain an even temperature

    Gardening: Vine loaded with grapes

    You can have a great garden without mulching, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement when I started adding mulching to my gardening routine.

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Gardening: Table of Organic Produce


Gardening: Organic produce fresh from the garden

As a child, my parents had a nice size garden. It was a little over one and a half acres. I’ll admit, assisting my parents in the garden wasn’t a job I enjoyed but I truly appreciate it now.

It’s amazing how much you can remember from childhood. I applied a lot of that knowledge into my gardening today. These days my garden isn’t quite that size. It’s a little over three quarters of an acre, but it still brings in a lot of produce.

When I worked out in the corporate world, a coworker brought me in his only zucchini plant. It was a pitiful looking thing. For some reason it wasn’t thriving in his tiny garden. He gave it to me since he knew I had a ‘green thumb.’ I took ‘Little zucchi’ (what I named his plant) home and planted it amongst my other zucchini plants. It flourished and when it was time it produced a lot of zucchini, I happily brought in the zucchini (along with tons of other vegetables) to my co-worker. It wasn’t something he was expecting, but he surely appreciated receiving the produce. I really enjoy sharing with others. It makes me feel great!

Gardening is my ‘me time’, yes at times it can be strenuous work but it’s an excellent workout. On the intense gardening days, I tend to skip my rigorous gym workouts. The initial phase require a lot of commitement; tilling, hoeing, weeding, sowing the seeds or putting out the plants, mulching, composting, etc., but seeing the fruits of our labor, makes it worth it. It also gives me a healthy respect for those where farming is their full-time job.

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whole food, garden