Southern Comfort: Healthful, Healthy, Happy Peanuts


Cuties, ha? 😉 The humble peanut. That is a raw, dried, then boiled, in-shell Virginia Peanut.

Now, I rarely cook; it’s always when I have guests. My adventures with peanuts started two Summers ago! Yep. I’ve had some of these pics since then. So please forgive me if this post is sort of jumbled and all over the place! I know I’ve repeated myself a few times…sorry.
Anyway, I came across some organic peanuts, needed to prepare something, and figured it was a sign to get this post up! I was surprised to learn they can sometimes be found at farmers markets.

“Healthy” Peanuts — yes, our peanuts should be healthy. We don’t want sicky peanuts! Luckily, ETLers don’t consume peanut butter, anyway, don’t have to worry about that contamination. Organic peanuts, however, are a better choice; and boiled peanuts are healthful like all legumes, including beans and peas.

SO, enter Boiled Peanuts  — or rather, “Bawld Peanuts”! 😀  A proud, Southern tradition. Unfortunately, boiled with loads (and I mean, “loads” of salt). If you are accustomed to low- or no-salt, then you will have no problem making them without; and you can spice them, as I describe later.

The traditional, is very basic: fresh, raw, “green” unshelled peanuts, boiled for several hours with salt. Some add some hot chile peppers!

Here are unshelled, organic, raw (dried — impossible to find fresh!) peanuts  soaking:

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Peanuts, boiled (crockpot):

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They should be thoroughly cooked; these had a bite to them, but were cooked through:


Peanuts boiled, shelled — they look more like beans now, or Spanish peanuts:

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The following two pictures were seasoned and cooked longer than the above (with their shells). You can see they look more thoroughly done. These had perfect texture; and now they look more beany 🙂 :


A look at another batch I made:


Here they are boiled and then dehydrated till nice and crunchy. Dehyrating as opposed to roasting, which we avoid because of acrylamides. (And acrylamide exposure is not exlusive to what you eat):

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Though, baking at a low temperature at as low a temperature as you can should be okay. Then they can be eaten like the roasted variety.

Here is a closer look at one boiled and then dehydrated:

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These are raw, soaked, and dehydrated at low temperatures to remain “raw”:

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Noodles enjoys those 😉

This is the site that was most helpful while I did my little layperson’s “research.” I love the fierceness of pride evident in the comments of  Southerners, haha. It’s a little sad, though, that some seem to be a bit defensive/ashamed of the drawl; but I understand it stems from outside cultural ignorance, which has deemed it to be. There’s nothing wrong with a regional “accents,” or any accent. Why are people so insistent upon focusing on minutiae of  “differences”? Ridiculous. Why the need to always be “better than”? Okay, there’s my little off-topic peeve of the day :D.

After soaking peanuts, they need to be drained, rinsed and fresh water added to a pot (a pot if doing stovetop). Then they should be brought  to a boil, heat lowered, then simmered covered. Online, I found varying instructions for timing — anywhere from 4-12.  Paula Dean’s (yikes!) instructions mentioned to  taste test for softness; if they still had a “bite,” then they were not done. So I assumed they had to be bean-like.

I do wonder, though, if salt in this case softens the peanuts…whereas s0me bean connoisseurs believe salt inhibits softening…hmm. Could be; however, I’d need to experiment with raw, green peanuts and dried raw, AND try with and without salt — any Southerners out there know about the salt thing?

Anyway, what I discovered is, It takes as long as it takes!

First time I made them, I simmered (first soaked, and in the crock) about 6 hours on “high,” and they had a tiny bite. I left them like that. I guess it’s a taste/texture preference thing as well as the state of the beans. Taste was really good! Really surprising was that they were slightly sweetish and didn’t need the salt one bit. It is “cook to taste,” basically. The softer, the better, for beans. The longer, cooked ones, are more savory and more bean-like in texture and taste. The ones with a bite were more peanut-flavored, in my opinion — delish, either way — but the dried, even though, raw, still take longer. And the quality of these legumes matter, just like any dried food.

If not soaking, they need longer cooking time. Up to 24 hours (in the crockpot), by some accounts!



Is that a — ?


Yep, you’re seeing that right: I was even able to do them in my Little Dipper! I thought it was just a warmer for fondues, etc.;  but this little baby eventually simmers — at least mine did!

It worked!


So a regular crockpot is what most of us use. But it’s good to know this little dipper works. I suggest starting with hot water, preferably boiling. Might make a nice travel companion for use in hotels 🙂 (Best not left unattended!).
I do not have a pressure cooker; but, from what I’ve read about them, they may possibly be the ideal way to cook these — they are a tough nut for sure!  Some are traditionalists and will have nothing to do with anything but an old well-seasoned pot on a gas stovetop; others find the crockpot best for the long slow simmering; and still, some think the p.c.’s rock these ‘nuts!

These can be used like any other bean in recipes; the only difference being, having to use pre-cooked or almost-cooked peanuts.  If you start with raw, shelled, they will need the many hours to cook and, obviously, your ingredients will turn to mush and be tasteless/useless! But that adjustment shouldn’t be too difficult to figure; it would be just like adding canned beans to a recipe (more on shelled below).

Or try the following  recipe for a finger food, edamame-like dish as described above — a healthier Cajun version of “Southern Boiled Peanuts.” 😀

Cajun Boiled Peanuts


This is my adaptation based on a basic recipe all over the web. None provide the amount of water needed — just “to cover,” which doesn’t work because they float! You can wing it or start with @ 6-8 C or whatever looks right to you, in a large pot or whatever fits in your crock (crockpot recommended, or experiment with your pc — and let me know how it worked!!) You should be checking it occasionally, to make sure it doesn’t run dry anyway, since the shells soak up a lot of water (more if you don’t soak before cooking).

The original recipes call for an extraordinary amount of salt.  So I think, reducing the amount of peanuts OR, adding more seasonings, such as a few garlic cloves, using a good veg stock, spices, etc., will bump up the flavor that salt usually enhances for dulled palates. As a low-salt or no-salt ETLer, you will have no problem with it without salt  😉

Boiled peanuts leaves you with lots of freedom to adjust to your taste and do some experimenting with other flavorings — how about a nice bbq-flavored? That might be nice for Summer.

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

1 1/2 lbs. Un-shelled Organic Virginia Peanuts, raw

1 bag of Zatarain’s Crab and Shrimp Boil ( see pic; it’s vegan, no salt) OR other favorite brand of Cajun seasonings, OR your own mixture.

Water to soak

Broth to cook (or water)

Spices, Vegetables, Herbs, Etc., if desired (Old Bay-LIKE Seasoning(s) for example is nice; Old Bay contains salt, unfortunately) Optional

You don’t have to soak, but I recommend it. Do rinse.

Soak un-shelled peanuts (at least 12) for 24 hours. Drain rinse, drain.

Add an ample amount of good-tasting light broth to the peanuts in a pot (seasoned with additions as mentioned above, if you wish). Bring to a boil. Cover. Simmer, checking occasionally for broth evaporation, adding more as needed.

Or add to crock pot along with hot broth and set to “high.” Check after 6 hours or so; If it needs longer, (which is most likely will, continue cooking and check again in a few hours, etc.

Continue “till done.” Again, it’s gonna take what it takes; you can’t rush a bawl p-nut 🙂  If you soak, they will be done faster.  One thing I’ve learned is that it’s almost impossible to over cook boiled peanuts!

Taste. They should be very soft like beans. Decide.

The flavor improves as they sit, as well; so they will be even better the next day after soaking in the broth in the fridge overnight. They also soften further if you let them sit after cooking for a day.

You can serve them in a bowl with their broth; as a side dish; or as a sort of starter type dish, like you would a bowl of un-shelled edamame — drained or not.

STore in the fridge with broth; or freeze without broth.

I read online someone said, “And with each peanut you crack open, you may find a small amount of the briny, spicy juice inside as special treat” True! And it is a nice treat.

So a nice finger food 🙂

Here is the Zatarain’s you want, found in regular markets (or a comparable one, if you prefer):


I use my homemade hemp bags in place of the plastic cooking bag the spices come in above. You can use a similar, cloth tea bag, or you probably have some cheesecloth, if you don’t want the plastic (both can be found in some markets):


This next pic shows (a smaller amount I made previously) some cajun peanuts that I stored in a mason jar for the fridge; they soaked up a lot of the broth, some of it being inside the shells, and some of it evaporated. You can use any leftover broth for other soups or for steaming greens, etc.


Unlike the salted boiled peanuts, these don’t need to be drained for storage, if you don’t want to. The reason to drain is mostly because they will continue to absorb salt and become inedible (as if salted weren’t already 😉 ). So, for the cajun, I like to keep them in the broth when I store in the fridge; you choose. For freezing, I drain.

***The Shelled***


Shelled peanuts, soaked and drained.

The following were cooked shelled peanuts (stovetop). Interestingly, they still took a very long time to cook (unsoaked AND soaked); I had assumed they would be much faster. These took over 16 hours, stovetop and still had a teensy bite. I’ve read some accounts online  (referring to peanuts with the shells on), where people state they prefer the texture they get from crock potting with these too. Many factors play in to getting ANY beans to cook properly; so peanuts are no different!

One of the ideas is that one must use “green” peanuts. Purists consider these, which are fresh, raw, peanuts, to be the only true “bawld” peanut 😀 . So, according to them, using the green eliminates a lot of the cooking issues too. I’ve looked for them and not found them organic; but, for me, I’ll swap the “authenticity” for the safety and quality of organic (especially with peanuts! Where’s “I’ll never lie to you” Jimmy Carter when you need  him?!!)  The green ones cook faster just like any other legume, and, yea, probably taste better too. And this is why some recipes will state they only need 4 hours or so to cook. (If anyone knows a source for organic green peanuts, PLEASE let me know!)

Each time I cook peanuts — whether in shell or out; whether stovetop or crock, soaked or un-soaked — the time differs. So don’t worry if you need to cook longer. It is for this reason, I have come to conclude that it’s best to use pre-cooked peanuts or almost-cooked peanuts in recipes where you are subbing for another legume. The unpredictability, and generally long cooking time required (regardless of the peanut) just makes this a smart bet.

The broth of the boiled peanuts (both with and without shells), itself, makes a nice broth. (Strain the broth of unshelled peanuts for little bits of shell debris.) It contains some of the oils released from the peanuts, adding flavor, too, which you can see here:


Here are some more pics of the beans:


Looks yummy even plain!


You can flavor these as you wish. They blend well, too, and can be used like any other bean.

I also decided to make a stew out of the cooked shelled peanuts. This is something I “winged” so don’t have a specific recipe. This is not the finished soup — I added GREENS (!!!) which are fantastic with peanuts (spinach is good) and fresh veggies later;but no photos of the completed stew. But, again, you can just use (pre-cooked) peanuts in any of your bean recipes. The fragrance of boiling peanuts is yummy, itself!


Yes, this is a vegan stew 😉



*** Basic Boiled (dried) Peanuts ***

Can be made stovetop:


or in a crock, shelled:


Or unshelled:


Basic (dried) Boiled Peanuts:

1 lb raw shelled peanuts OR 1 1/2 lbs. unshelled

Ample water, to start (more as needed)

On HI crockpot anywhere from 6-24 hours (Yep!)

Stovetop – bring to a boil and lower to a steady low-med simmer, continuously “till done,” replenishing water as needed. These take a long time; so prepare for double digits.

And, of course, if you are lucky enough to have access to fresh peanuts, they will cook much faster.

My crockpot actually boils, I’d say at medium, if not completely full, and at least a good simmer. I used to think it was defective because it boiled; however, I’ve learned to work with it. What I do know is that peanuts need to be at a “good” simmer,continuously in order to cook through. Stovetop works, but is a huge energy waster. I like the crockpot better.

Unfortunately, I can’t give any thoughts on pressure cooking; seeing as they are extremely long-cooking legumes, no matter how you do it, it’s going to take time. As well, it could be, like any legume or bean, that the ones I got were old which makes them take longer to cook. Altitude, weather, etc., also contribute to any bean’s cooking time. AND, these were dried, raw; not fresh “green” raw.

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Some other things you may want to try with boiled peanuts:

Toss the boiled drained beans with date sugar, cinnamon and other spices and dehydrate or bake at the lowest temp you can:


You can also coat them with pureed dates and toss in a spice mixture and minced nuts, coconut, or sesame or other seeds — just like you’d treat other nuts.

Sweetened cocoa powder works, nicely,  too; these are chocolate-curried:

And, of course they can be blended.

One thing you might try is using it in place of  (or as part of) the peanut butter called for in stirfry sauces, for example; I know Dr. Fuhrman has a stirfry recipe.  Some people use almond butter for the peanut butter in that recipe; so either sub it completely or maybe 1/2 boiled blended peanuts and 1/2 almond butter. Mincing some of the peanuts Probably the dried ones would be best) as well, will give a slight peanutty taste and the texture of chunky peanut butter whether you use the creamed peanuts or just the almond butter. If anyone tries it in a sauce, let me know if it was peanutty enough 😀 With peanuts, there really is no replacing the flavor of roasting, so don’t expect that!

If you happen to have any ideas or come up with anything yourself, let me know :D. Or if you’re a Southerner with some thoughts (or critiques!) your comments are welcomed! Until then, enjoy this Southern comfort delight —  “Bawww –” err, “Boiled” Virginia Peanuts 🙂

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ETL Friday! “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” IV – The Finale…

Okay, here we are, the final installment of guest blogger, Argent. What a fabulous trip this has been!  And I know you’ll agree, what a talented writer is she.

Now, for a refresher, read Part I, Part II, Part III

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Just a reminder that Parts II and III were posted last week in two separate posts; so if you only read one post, you missed part III; make sure to read it!

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Okay, and now, the Finale …

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Part IV

If the gremlins of restlessness reliably went silent on vacation, they just as reliably started chattering when I got home.

Most of the time, these noisemakers were no more than a buzzy background, like static. The least diversion — ordinary workaday busyness — drowned them out, and I went along most of the time in my even-keeled way: I was an unflappable worker, a calm acquaintance, a friend who was hard to offend. But at home at the end of the day, the world stilled around me, and I began to notice the old buzz of discontent. Often I would respond. My dear husband was the recipient of several bristly tempests. But most of my punishment fell on an innocent even nearer to me: my body. If there was psychic discomfort — a bit of anxiety, say, spinning itself into self-recrimination (Why are you feeling this way? What’s wrong?) — I hurried to silence it with food. Eating brought relief: the feelings evaporated, the uncomfortable self-talk stopped. Any complaint I could still hear came from my body, repeating in her polite way: “No thank you . . . Not now, thanks . . . More than enough, thank you.” Oh, but she was easy to ignore.

When I quit my 9-to-5 desk job and went back to school, life became stiller, and the background buzz became both easier to notice and easier to quiet with food. I was an intense student, but a little restlessness could drive me right out of my library seat, delivering me to the Lebanese place for moussaka, or to the student center for a flat of macrobiotic sushi. Knowing I was straying from ETL foods, my emotions became spikier than ever, and my habit of silencing them with food grew stronger. Not surprisingly, I gained.

After a year, I quit school to work again, this time freelance. My husband and I spent a footloose summer in San Francisco, in the Sierras, and in Montana, and, ah! what a break from the buzz of discontent that was. This past August in Missoula, Montana, I subsisted almost entirely on the weekly farmer’s market. I marveled to find my “appestat” in fine working order, its precision apparently proportional to my activity, so that running, yoga, pilates, and dance balanced my appetite for Montana-grown melons and huckleberries, bitter cooking greens and seven types of winter squash.

But when we returned to New York in September — Goodbye, balance, and Hello, buzziness! — I found that, six years and 2,000 miles from my ETL beginnings, I was still doing violence to my body. Yes, swiss chard can be a weapon.

I just want to pause here, because I’m not sure this lesson has entirely sunk in for me yet. Repeat: Swiss chard can be a weapon!

I know and I feel that vegetables are good for me. But the truth is subtler than that. The truth is, vegetables are good for me when my body wants them. My mind often pretends to know something about when I should eat, but this is simply not her sphere of expertise. Vegetables can actually be bad for me — gulp! — if I eat them when my body’s not hungry. That’s lesson #1.

Lesson #2 — also still in the assimilation phase — is about those gremlins of thought and feeling. If I want to cultivate a kind of perpetual vacationese, a life free of gremlins, I think I have to let them goad me without needing to silence them.

And so I’ve begun a practice of ignoring the gremlins. It looks something like this: When, for example, in the middle of writing this blog post, I get restless and frustrated because I’m not communicating as clearly as I’d like to, instead of hopping up and unhousing some vegetables from the fridge, I sit still, letting the energy rattle inside. I can hear my body, too, saying gently: “I’m not hungry, but thank you.” So I stay. In this way, I have begun to notice and interrupt the habit of leaping for food whenever a cloud scuds across my emotional sky.

When I first began this practice of staying, my body wasted no time in teaching my mind some important, practical facts. For example, my body pointed out, to my mind’s amazement: “I hardly ever need breakfast on waking. In fact, two sizable meals per day, mostly greens, are plenty. 10 and 5 are good mealtimes, generally, but I vary. Don’t get married to a schedule.”

These new expectations around eating soothe my mind, giving it reason to ignore the gremlins. Unhunger, my general state, used to be a major cause for gremlin concern: Why aren’t you hungry? Something wrong? they would prod. Now I know better than to believe their rabble-rousing. Body’s not hungry at noon, or three? Great! I can work, or walk, or write.

It’s almost as if I’m on permanent vacation. Except for the white sand, and fjords, and redwoods, and trout-filled rivers gurgling under the sun, and Yellowstone wolves trotting across the cool morning landscape. I guess I’ll still want to travel.


~ Fini! ~

I know, I know! I’m sorry it’s over, too. That was beautiful, Argent! Just beautiful writing too. Thank you so much for making the first installment of “ETL Fridays!” so wonderfilled and inspiring!

Folks, send in those writings, thoughts, recipes, tips, preparedness strategies, etc! Remember, it can be about anything ETL; if not sure about your content, just email me and I will let you know!

Thanks All. Let’s keep ETL-Friday’s! alive 😀

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Strange Days of Weather; Sundried Tomatoes…And A BIG Congrats…

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The above is a picture of  my cornflower water. It’s in an eye cup. It’s a concentrated concoction, which I froze to preserve (rather than add more ingredients), and will dilute for an eye bath.

The weather has been insane! First, an earthquake, then high winds, 85-degree-plus weather and dry, Dry, DRY! Ugh! Awful for the eyes. So, I broke out my cornflower water.

I let it defrost right in the sanitized* eye cup, then add pure water to dilute. I Drop my head forward on to the to the top of the cup and flip my head back. A suction forms around the orbital bone, while I open and close my eyes, move them left to right, and up and down to flush them thoroughly. Soooo Sooooooothing. Nice and cool and moist. No stinging whatsoever. I’ve used this more and more often since we now have “fire season” all year long. But, the whole “global warming/climate change” hippie stuff is just Chicken Little hyperbole, right? Right. Tell that to my Eyes, Baby –heck, my ears and throat too! Sometimes, I’ll even get a bit mucousy and my ears get uncommonly dirty and cakey…yuk, I know.

I’ve also used the cornflower water when I’ve had long days on the computer, straining, or been doing a lot of reading.


I got my cornflowers from MRH.  I like to make the infusion strong and freeze in small portions; then dilute it with water as needed.

As far as commercial eye washes, I will use Similisan’s eye drops. The cornflower water is more soothing, and works better.


Also been employing my Neti Pot! Honestly, in the past two years, the strange weather patterns have given me just as strange effects.  (Off topic here, but I believe that future wars are going to be waged over water. I don’t think that’s too far off.) It’s when this dry weather comes. California, in my lifetime, has never been a “dry”-climate state; though, as now, we are experiencing a drought (I think we’ve been in a drought for decades…) It’s always been fairly mild, and I’ve rarely gotten dry eyes; though, occasionally, on smoggy days, I’ve had itching and redness. Three years ago, I never needed to Neti  😦  Luckily, I have no allergies, or I imagine I’d be Nettiing daily.


Himalania Salt — the only time you’ll see salt on this blog 😉

I like to use the Pink Himalania Salt. (Yea, I know, fancy-shmancy overpriced…) But it seems to be the best choice. Iodized or table salt is certainly not for use with the Neti or anything else except maybe an abrasive cleanser!


Helichrysum ItalicumPhoto of Helichrysum Italicum, from WikiPedia Commons

Also due to this strange weather, I’ve occasionally awakened with puffy-ish eyes — and, weirdly, they are either dry or water-filled. Does that suck, or what? I mean, I haven’t’ consumed salt in 5 years, and to awaken “puffy” is like the old days of eating too much Americanized Chinese food the previous night — no fair! Anyway, I just add a couple drops of Helichrysum essential oil to a good-quality carrier oil (I prefer rose hip seed oil) or combo of oils, and spread lightly under my eyes (not in the eyes!) and it does the job, and moisturizes too. Helichrysum means “sun gold” in Greek. It is also known as “Immortelle,” and “Everlasting.” I have the hydrosol, as well, which is a fantastic toner for the face. One of its benefits is to reduce swelling and inflammation; and it is supposed to have rejuvenative properties (don’t they all?) I have read that it’s good for dark circles — over time — but I cannot attest to that; helps with rosacea, supposedly; lots of claims with this one — good for scars; and legend has it that it holds the key to eternal youth (Oh, yes! Haha), etc. It’s potent; so only a couple drops of oil are needed, and especially on the face and delicate eye area. If my eyes are holding water, the helichrysum will make them weep and reduce the swelling. Of course a tea bag — green or black — a slice of raw potato or cucumber over the (closed) eyes will work too 😉 .

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Sun dried Tomatoes


I like to sun dry my own, home-grown tomatoes! Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough space the past several years to do so — on the scale a tomato lover like me needs, any way :D.  VeganBarbie mentioned she’s going to be canning her homegrown this summer in her garden — I’m jealous! BUT, I have been growing them in pots, however, which still yields incredible tomatoes — and cherry/pear/etc. sweet tomatoes, too. They are always better tasting than any store bought.

I was purchasing Trader Joe’s brand of organic sun dried tomatoes; however, they told me a couple days ago (when I accidentally picked up 4 packages which had expired. For shame, T.J.’s!) that they are discontinuing them. Why?!! They were pretty good, being organic, for the price. Very disappointing. My only alternative — if I want organic, salt-free/oil-free/preservative-free/any-other-junk-free — is to buy from the bulk bin, which I’d rather not. There is rarely, if ever an expiry date or date of packaging, and people often stick their hands in those bins. Anyway, sometimes I can find “Just Tomatoes,” but those are more expensive than they ought to be. They are not “sun dried,”  which, isn’t TOO big a deal, if you need some; but, again, for the price? I expect
something better.

Goldmine Naturals, Organic Sun Dried Tomatoes


I often recommend Goldmine Natural Foods for their outstanding products — all very good quality, and fresh (Their beans and nuts are delicious). I had never tried their sundried tomatoes. So, on the hunt, after being rejected by T.J.’s  red_angry_mad_flame, I finally found a package at a local market in my area. As you see in the above picture, they are gorgeous. What struck me when I opened the package was the fragrance: It was sweet and floral — interestingly so! I’ve had sweet, fruity; I’ve had acidic, rich, deep-flavored; Etc. —  but floral?


So I soaked them and made my pasta sauce for Raw “Spaghetti”; and, while blending, the fragrance got more intense. The taste? Delicious, but different! It’s hard to describe, but these actually tasted floral. It was as if I had blended some sweet peas with them or something.  I’m kind of on the fence with these for pasta…It was an excellent sauce, but the flowery taste — while utterly delicious — is not what I’m used to with pasta; on the other foot, it IS a garden pasta, using zucchini as noodles, so, why not? 😀 Ha! I think I may just need to adjust the sauce for pasta. These would be delicious for my Thousand Island Dressing. I really like these and recommend them; but keep in mind my observations. Of course, these may have been from a particular batch. Growing conditions, soil, etc., effect different produce; so, perhaps future purchases will be different. If you try them, I’d like to know your experience and if you also got a floral bunch. It was certainly different.

I needed to place an order from Jaffe Bros., aka, “Organic Fruits and Nuts; so decided to order their organic, sun dried toms. I’ll let ya know how they fare 🙂 . ********* UPDATE : I will *never* buy from Jaffe again: lousy tomatoes, followed by the worst, rudest service I’ve ever encountered. Very sad, too, since I was a good customer…

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* You can also use the oven method or canning method. Always do thorough research before using any essential oil, herb, or other “natural remedy.”

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Congratulations, America!

Happy Inauguration Day, President Barack Obama!


This is certainly one day to celebrate in America 😀

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Don’t forget this Friday is the final act of,  “Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Part IV” by Argent 😀

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ETL Friday! “Oh The Places You’ll Go!” continued…

Hey, Everyone, welcome back 😀  It’s Argent’s journey from last week’s ETL Friday, this week. You can read the first installment, HERE.

And then continue here…

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! II

It wasn’t forbidden fruit, but it had the same zing. I had become extremely sensitive to zing. To be hungry is to have an enlightened mouth, an appreciative appendage that is almost painfully aware of the gorgeousness of the edible world.

ETLing myself to hunger that first year was a physical adventure. I felt along the edges of the sensation. I watched it between meals, engaged it at mealtime with mouthfuls of crisp, sweet salad, then watched it again. I felt like an extreme athlete—a mountain climber or big-wave surfer. In exchange for commitment, I had been given a heightened sensitivity, a vibrato aliveness.

Here are some stats, to put this all in perspective. I weighed 130 as an athletic, slender high-schooler, 145 or thereabouts the day I learned of ETL, 113 on my wedding day.

After my wedding day, my weight notched up. But, for a while, vanity and sheer habit kept me ETLing at 5 or 10 pounds below ideal.

ETL Year Two found me in New York City, working in a cubicle across from Mr. Prep, who also watched his weight. “Is it lunch time yet?” one of us would ask the other, hoping for leniency. We held each other to a 1 o’clock lunch, but occasionally 12:45 didn’t seem too egregious. At lunch, I gratefully ate a Whole Foods salad, or sometimes a hot plate of beans, greens, and kabocha squash at Souen on 13th Street. I often ate a dessert of a big, crunchy NY apple from the Union Square farmer’s market.

I remember the outfits I wore that year. I especially know what they did at the waist: the way the white blouse cinched with a tie in the back, the way the maroon silk skirt had both a hidden zipper and a hook-and-eye clip.

Soon I began a weekly swing, from strict and slender weekdays to binge weekends that I halted just soon enough to shrink back into Monday work clothes. I binged on vegan, whole food, but I binged.

The fluctuations widened like circles on a disturbed lake. Whereas at first, I was gaining and losing a pound or two within the week, I began to have wider swings that lasted longer. The lows became harder to hold on to; the highs put me in a panic. A high scale reading — low or mid 130s — would leave a residue of darkness that lasted hours and inspired tears and outbursts that I blamed elsewhere.

Was I ETLing, as I swung between 135 and 127, between self-loathing and a tentative, frightened self-satisfaction?

Sort of. And not really.

I think of this corollary question: Is it yoga, if you’re doing the poses but feeling tense all over and forgetting to breathe?

Sort of. But not really.

I had been given a fabulous tool for wellness, and I was sort of using it and sort of banging my head with it.

Generations of kale and cabbage, lettuce and arugula, have taken their places on my plate, supporting me as I emotionally pinball myself, waiting for me to get it.

To be continued…


~ Intermission ~

Go get yourself that Green Smoothie, sit back and read on! Part III is below 😉

ETL Friday! Oh The Places You’ll Go! Part III

Continued 😀 …

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Part III

For three years, I shopped at a corner grocery in Greenwich Village, arriving everyday after work for a bag or two of ETL foodstuffs. I took what I could carry: maybe a can of beans, a head of lettuce, a bunch each of collards and kale, two oranges, a red bell pepper, green onions, carrots. I was such a dedicated buyer of fruits and veggies that the produce guy started to have a crush on me, and the clerks looked to me for prices. But my weight continued to swing along that small arc with its big psychological shadow.

Baffling, isn’t it? I was a serious consumer of vegetables; I was a non-consumer of junk. I was also a consistent exerciser: I ran daily along the greenway edge of Manhattan, up and down beside the Hudson and East Rivers. And, yes, I was pretty slim, even at my fattest. But why did I feel like I was struggling against an inevitable tide, one that dragged me out every time I reached shore?

I remember sitting with my husband one weekend in City Hall Park after we had moved to a new apartment near Wall Street. City Hall Park is a lovely little triangular space with a big central fountain, and we were sitting on a bench near this fountain, surrounded by birdsong. And my very patient husband (sigh; I’m sorry, honey) was listening to me cry. I was again frantic over my weight. Maybe I had stepped on the scale that morning, opening the floodgates to anguish. Maybe I had passed 140. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You’ll lose the weight again.” He was right. “But that’s the problem!” I said, stifling my voice to avoid a scene, but feeling the emotion grate in my throat. “Why can’t I stay steady? Why is this such a struggle?”

There were times of calm, when the tide let me go and I fell effortlessly back to my natural weight. These were always moments away from home: when I went to Puerto Rico with my family, to Florida for work, to Massachusetts with friends, to South America with my in-laws, to the Sierras with my husband. Away from home, I discovered bad habits by noticing their absence. Digging my toes into white sand in Puerto Rico or ensconced in a couch in the overstuffed living room of a B & B in Massachusetts, I noticed I was missing some familiar companions: restlessness, anxiety. These usually crouched on my shoulders, little gremlins goading me: What’s going on? Why aren’t you hungry? Did you overeat? Ah, when are going to learn?! At home, to drown out my voluble friends, I — you guessed it — ate. But on trips, my shoulders were lighter, and it seemed perfectly obvious that the thing to do when one isn’t hungry is to  . . .

go swimming in the ocean!

take a walk through mangroves!

swing in the porch rocker!

get out on deck!

go bouldering down the river!

When I traveled, I felt like a natural. To eat or not to eat: the answer was obvious — and fun. If only I could take the trick home.

To be continued . . .


Haha! Next week, the Finale! See Ya then 😉

sm row smiles

Note: Anyone interested in having your say, email me and be heard! Share your ETL experience with a guest blog, and help others. You do not have to be a member of Dr., you just have to be an Eat To Live’r ) And don’t we all have something to say? ;)

To ‘Poo Or Not To ‘Poo…Plus, Henna…

I may give this another try…sometime. Anyone tried going NO ‘POO? I did this several years ago after someone on a discussion board mentioned it. Of course, I had to try it; I’m just too curious for my own good sometimes 😉 My results were less than stellar; however, it could be I did not give it long enough to work…I couldn’t afford “to wait a few weeks” with nasty hair to see if this works!

I did the baking soda thing, followed by apple cider vinegar (no, I did not create a sizzling foam reaction!) The vinegar is great as a conditioner, by the way, whether or not you ‘Poo. It leaves hair nice and soft.

My hair just didn’t respond in the — four days? something like that — time I did it.



I’m as paranoid about putting poisons in and on my body as any other loon, so I prefer to use Morrocco Method shampoos and conditioner, by Five Elements.

Sometimes you wonder about the “natural” part on the advertising of products, but one look at this stuff and there’s no doubt, Lol! This is serious mud:


I read about it online and the ingredients list sold me; This is for the “Sea Essence Shampoo”:

Our Simply Pure Fair Trade Ingredients

kelp; nori; kombu; fucus; sea silk & Irish moss; red, brown & white algae
:: revitalizes, stimulates hair growth
Klamath Lake blue green algae
:: nourishes heals
natural soapbark from Chile, Chinese green tea from Shanghai, cactus from Mexico, & yucca
:: 100% natural foaming botanicals
aloe vera, organic raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
:: enlivened enzymes
92 trace minerals
:: natural preservative
essential oils of frankincense and myrrh

This synergistic blend of enlivened, charged botanicals and hand-picked herbs are mixed, blended, and bottled according to the moon cycles used by ancient farmers.

Animal cruelty free.

All Morrocco Method 5 Elements products are gluten free.

Now, admittedly this will take some getting used to. When I first tried this it disappeared into my hair! It felt like I was putting nothing on, and so I added more and more until it felt like I might get a tiny bubble or two. This is not a sudsing shampoo. Of course, I was irritated. This stuff ain’t drugstore-priced junk! It seemed like I couldn’t get it throughout my hair and I was sure my hair wasn’t clean. But it was. It took a few more times to realize I did not need so much of it — maybe a bit more than others — but, really, the need for it is probably just in my head (ha!) It will not lather up like you’re used to; but you find out quickly, you don’t need it. Some of that foaming action in regular shampoos, comes from SLS, “sodium laureth sulfate”), which some say is carcinogenic; while others aren’t so sure. Even Dr. Fuhrman’s response to a question on the Dr. Forums to its safety, “… likely to be safe enough to be used on your skin, but not safe enough to eat ” is rather dubious. Hmmm…not very comforting!  I’ll stick with the natural stuff, for now. Anyway, have you read the list of ingredients on some of these things? Too many “glycols” such as propylene glycol which comes from petroleum, and other questionable additives. No thanky.

Here is the back of the Apple Cider Vinegar. You see it says to shampoo twice! I did this for a short time, but not for long. You don’t need to. Maybe it’s just to put people at ease when first trying it — I don’t know, but I certainly do not need to shampoo twice, nor use a lot like I used to.


I like the conditioners, too. I’ve used the conditioner and the sprays; I have not tried their styling gel or Hair and Scalp Therapy. I do have their oil, but I only used it a couple times because I make my own; and don’t really need it, anyway.

I get a little worried when a product gets “big” and then starts to expand: They’ve got these new Elixirs I’ve not tried, but I get antsy when I read about such dramatic claims, such as “Grow luxurious hair in 90 days!” You know? On the other hand, so far, the Morrocco Method has not disappointed…there goes my curiosity gene 🙂 Maybe, I’ll try it (!) And then there’s cutting your hair by the moon lol well, hey, who knows?

Before this product came to my attention, I hadn’t even thought of shampoo as a possible cause for gluten sensitivities! I wonder if there is gluten in some products like this that people don’t know about and are suffering needlessly. I swear you have to be Sherlock-friggin’ Holmes nowadays!

Back to their ‘poos, they are also a very nice face wash; my skin is left very soft,clean, and never dry or oily. It’s gentle and has a very soft exfoliation action, which I like because I don’t like those harsh ones that feel like you’re scraping your skin raw with corn kernels or something! I like the cider vinegar best for that. I feel much safer with ingredients like seaweed rather than diethanolamine (DEA).

I like this stuff now, and am used to it. Even with long hair, I don’t use loads of it. My hair also seems to not need to be washed often; which makes me wonder if I’ve sort of done a semi-No’Poo, since this stuff does not contain what other shampoos do.  My hair is left clean without perfumes or feeling weighted down by who-knows-what, nor stripped of all its oils.

~ *** ~


Hennaing for the body can be quite beautiful. It can be extravagant, as in for weddings, or quite simple in design.

I’ve always liked the look on feet…

Beckys Henna Feet on FlickR

"Becky's Henna Feet" on FlickR

Perhaps this summer 😉

But there is also hennaing for hair. I’ve never colored my hair, but, wanted to try the henna; So, I bought some once and never did use it! I did some internet surfing and found some cautions about henna being dangerous…Sigh…then I read that only *certain* henna products, made with some cheap, substitute, posing as real henna is what to avoid…Sigh, some more…so, back and forth, back and forth. I admit it, I was propogandized! I really didn’t know what to believe. Normally, since henna has been used for the ages, and there has been no major warnings about it, that I know about, then I would try it (though, having been used for centuries doesn’t always = safe, of course!) However, the whole thing about not knowing what is the good  henna, and which is the bad, well, it just gets ugly ( 🙂 ) — will the real henna please stand up? More sighs.

Anyone have experience with henna? I’d love to know your experience. If you know about the controversy (or maybe it’s all phooey ??)  and/or know a good source for the “good” henna, please, do tell!

~ *** ~

Final word on all this “No ‘Poo” business — no one mentions smell!  Many moons ago, I worked my way through school and supported myself in restaurants. Let me tell you, you *will* smell like the blue plate special at the end of your shift, whether you like it or not. Still, I rarely cook now, and I still get the smell of food in my hair! Plus, isn’t the hair absorbing a lot of the junk in the environment? Just going into downtown makes me feel like a good shower when I get home.

Perhaps the baking soda method would be enough. The vinegar, I’m sure rids most of the smell…but some of these methods say you need never wash your hair, only rinse with water!

I had a friend who never washed his face, only rinsed with water twice a day. Never would have known! He had great skin. Hmmm…Sure would be nicer on the wallet…Maybe I’ll go no-‘poo sometime, but I’m thoroughly happy with my Morrocco Method.

Anyone try going No ‘Poo or willing to to give it a try? 😉

O, and, lest ye thinks me remiss me smoothies, I shall leave thee with today’s GJGS — Dino Kale-Collards-Baby Spinach-Strawberry-Lemon Green Jucie Green Smoothie 😀

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ETL Friday!

This is the first installment of “Eat To Live Fridays,” a new category dedicated solely to Eat To Live, the real, “Best Life” program, it’s the lifestyle plan by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. On a designated Friday,  blog entries will be written by guest bloggers or myself on anything Eat To Live! This is more than a “diet”; it’s OUR lives.

The pages will be archived for easy access as well. So, without further ado, this, the first week of ETL Fridays will be an entry by “Argent,”  a member of the Dr.Fuhrman forums. This is her journey; It will be in parts, so stay tuned!

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! Part I

ETLing began for me in a little apartment in Gallup, New Mexico with some blubbering and a recommendation. The blubbering was from me, with my legs up on the wall as if to drain the self-loathing out of my head. The recommendation was from my fiance, a man of logic and steadiness, who loses none of his nobility in the face of blubbering.

Him: Maybe you’d be interested in this [poking at a book review in a magazine]. It’s a diet style by a guy named Fuhrman. Involves lots of vegetables.

Her: (perking up) Oh yeah?

When I’m down, offer me plant life. Soon I was sitting up like a revived houseplant, eating a salad. No more late-afternoon meals of mini Snickers and Three Musketeers while grading the papers of the kids the candy was meant to bribe. Not no more bribes. But no more candy.

Soon my engagement ring was loose.

“Look!” I said to my fiance, showing how it moved with even a little shake of my hand.

“Careful!” he said, as the ring flew off my finger and across the room.

Oh, did I get skinny. The next year I was in Riverside, California, a bride-to-be.

“Honey, I think you’re getting too skinny,” my Mom said.

“You almost disappear when you turn sideways,” my stepdad said.

And they were right.

My commitment to ETL that year was complete. “I’ve discovered the secret to delicious salads,” I reported. “Lots of toppings.” Bell pepper, broccolini, celery, carrot, cucumber, dill. A little persimmon. Some garbanzo beans. Dress with sweet vinegar and eat from a serving bowl while reading poetry from a splashproof cookbook stand. If you’re hungry, this is a wormhole to pleasure.

And I was hungry. Vibrant and shining and hungry. It is possible to get too skinny, full enough of vegetable love that the hunger isn’t too loud, feeling neat as a pin, enjoying the cheer of the falling scale.

On our wedding night, a friend gave my husband and me a basket of fruit and a can of whipped cream, for naughtiness. But I ate the fruit for a midnight meal instead.

To be continued . . .


Anyone wondering just what kind of fruit that was? Forbidden fruit I imagine 😉

Thank you Argent, we look forward to more. 🙂

Please share your thoughts with comments! We look forward to hearing from you!

Note: Anyone interested in having your say, email me and be heard! Share your ETL experience with a guest blog, and help others. You do not have to be a member of Dr., you just have to be an Eat To Live’r 🙂 And don’t we all have something to say? 😉

sm row smiles


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