These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Are you singing in the song in your head yet?! For some reason, this time of year, the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic tune from The Sound of Music always fills up the space between my ears. In fact, a few years ago while in Stowe, Vermont, 2Chili and I visited the Trapp Family House, which was quite enjoyable.

Anyway, moving along to the actual point of this post, it’s been a while since I’ve done a “favorite things” type of post, so I thought I’d hit you up with some items I’ve been enjoying lately. These are all over the map – no real theme here – and definitely no lyrical song can be made from the below (I tried).

  • Greek Style Coconut Milk Yogurt from So Delicious. For those of us that are dairy free, finding the probiotic goodness of yogurt can be elusive. But, thanks to So Delicious, it really doesn’t imagehave to be. I tried this yogurt a couple of months ago when I was hit by a nasty bout of food poisoning, and, true to the name, it is so delicious! Even the plain flavor, which I favor due to its low sugar content (7 grams), is really quite good! For the vegetarians, it’s also nice because they add vitamin B-12. I will admit, the price is a bit steep – $1.99/each at Whole Foods, but, it is likely you can find this at Target if you have one of those fancy Target Groceries, and, you can get coupons on their website as well.
  • Nutritional Yeast. If you’ve never tried nutritional yeast, you may be scratching your head on this one. Nutritional yeast, or “nooch” as it’s affectionately referred to in some circles, is a way to provide some cheesy interest/flavor without actually using cheese. I like it on air popped imagepopcorn (use a spray mister to mist a little olive oil on the popcorn and then sprinkle to help it stick), as a topping for DIY kale chips, or sprinkled on a bowl of chili. It can also be combined with raw cashews to make a cashew “cheese” spread. Notably, nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins, and some brands fortify with vitamin B-12. You can get it in the bulk bins at most health food stores, and sometimes even regular grocery stores, or online from sites like Amazon.
  • Oil of Oregano. This is a bit of an odd one to put on a favorites list, since I’m not very keen on the actual taste of this product, and most people aren’t. However, I swear by it this time of year to avoid catching the sickies-du-jour. Oil of oregano is a powerful natural antiseptic, but you need to be sure to get the real deal – it needs to have at least 70% carvarcol. We had a flu visitor in our house last week, but I have yet to catch this bug, and I attribute it to 10 drops of oil of oregano a day, dissolved in a very small amount of water. I just happened to start taking it when we got back from L.A. because we encountered so many sick people on our journey (especially on planes). I put a very small amount of water in a dedicated glass just for this purpose, add the drops, hold my nose, and gulp it down. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! 
  • Eureka Envirosteamer. The Friends fans out there will relate to this one, I think. You see, of the characters, I am a Monica, no question. I am a bit compulsive about cleanliness, and in addition to vacuuming every day (okay sometimes twice per day), I like to mop every 2-3 days. When you have a dog and a cat and live in the rainy Northwest, it can be hard to keep floors clean. Over the past few years, I have dramatically reduced the amount of chemical products we use in our house. No more Swiffer wetjet (which is super wasteful in addition to being lots of chemicals and fragrances). I am completely enamored with this steamer, which does an amazing job on our dark tile floors – no streaking, no residue, and no chemicals required! 
  • Persimmons. Persimmon season is short and fleeting, but it is still possible to get them. Do not eat a persimmon before it is soft – otherwise, you’ll be in for a disappointing experience. But, when they’re ripe, there is nothing quite like this cute little fruit! Here is a good tutorial on persimmons and how to eat them, though it’s pretty simple: wash, remove top, eat.image
  • Prepared beans in paper, not can, packaging. I really try to avoid canned goods as much as possible, but admit to succumbing to the convenience of prepared beans these days for a variety of reasons. There is of course, concern, about BPA – Bisphenol-A –  in canned goods, especially salty, fatty, or acidic foods. Canned beans can often be salty (which is why I always rinse them), but it is nice to have options these days to not have BPA in the cans. Whole Foods now offers their 365 Everyday Value brand of beans in no-salt added varieties packed in Tetrapaks, which are usually on sale 4 for $5. Incidentally, I did some research a while back and found out that Trader Joe’s canned beans are packed in BPA-free cans.
  • Fitness Blender Workouts. Ordinarily, I would be all about trying P90X3, the latest P90X program from BeachBody that just came out this month. I had great success with P90X, and would love to try a shorter time commitment version. Alas, that is not in my cards right now, since my workout capacity is currently much less than ever before as I rehab my broken knee incident. After 5 months, I am getting around somewhat normally – well, what I’m calling the new normal — but “high impact” is definitely not a word in my vocabulary right now. I lost a ton of muscle in my left leg in the two months I was immobilized, which is not surprising! I’ve tried lots of online workouts in search of something doable but also challenging, and these workouts have been great for me! I started off with their 30 day low impact plan, which was a nice way to get back into a routine, and now have just started one of their 2-month plans, which I’m modifying as needed to make low impact. There is a variety of cardio, strengthening, and pilates/yoga in their plans, which I find to be very balanced.

And, on a final note, have you upgraded your version of the Ninja Blender Handbook?
published a second edition a couple of weeks ago with 25 additional recipes and some more FAQs and “how to” info. If you already own the book, it’s a free update, which you can get by going into your Amazon Account>Manage My Kindle. Then, search for the book by name, and you should see an option to update it.

I wanted to do a special “Free” promotion around Christmas for folks that don’t already own it, but apparently I am out of promotion days until the end of the year, so, I’ll probably do some sort of special early in 2014.

Note that the update does not include information on the new Ninja Ultima, because I do not yet own one. But, the recipes will work just fine in the Ultima, you just won’t see specific jar/speed settings for that model.

Now that you heard my very random, disconnected list, what are some things you are enjoying this holiday season?!

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