Happy New Year!!!!!  I hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve if you went out, or stayed in.  We stayed in as I said we would be.  I actually put my family to bed about 11pm for Skylar and Scott fell asleep about 11:30pm which allowed me time to munch on popcorn and vegan chocolate chips in utter silence while reading a couple new cookbooks.  And I have to say, it was wonderful!

Before I get to the pile of mail I received in December, I wanted to thank you for your comments on my post yesterday about my 1am grocery run for vegetables

Bag of Italian Salad
Vine Ripened Tomatoes 

 

Sliced up cucumbers

 And Fruit

Diced up pineapple
Bunch of bananas

and for appreciating the frustration that was having U.S. Customs confiscate my fresh produce leaving me snack-less for my flights.  I was sooo ticked about it and the officer told me that he was “going to waive the $300 fine” that it should be for bringing vegetables into the country.  But the junky candy and chocolates that I also admit to purchasing in Aruba, those were allowed on the plane with me, no problemo.  And nothing against the meat eaters, but there were people on the plane eating these half-raw looking burgers that they brought with them on the plane and I couldn’t help but think e. coli city, but I couldn’t bring my broccoli.  Ok, I’m over it….haha!

So moving on…
What did I get in the mail while I was gone in December?  Lots…

Cards Collage-Style from My Bloggie Friends

Collage of Christmas Cards

Katie of Lil Veggie Patch and Miss GC’s cards are in the collage…Thanks Cuties!!!
And Here’s Mama Pea and Janetha

Two Christmas Cards

Nicole the Fitness Freak

Christmas card from friend Nicole

Cindy of Mariposa Girl

Christmas card with family photos

Erica of Dancing Around the Kitchen

Christmas card with children's photos

Deb of Smoothie Girl Eats sent me an awesome Gift!  She sent a trio of her homemade nut butters. 

Christmas Card from  blogger friend

Sunflower Seed Butter

 
Sunflower Seed Butter

Holy Mole!

Holy Mole

And my personal, I’m Getting Really Excited flavor: Spiced Nutella!

Spiced Nutella

I haven’t cracked the seal on this plastic baggie yet, because when I do, lookout! 

Bag full of the butters and dips sent with Christmas Card

See trio now, see trio disappear will be the name of that tune.

Spiced Nutella in bowl

Thanks, Deb, you rock!  Did you all catch Deb’s Guest Post on Yoga Mat FoldingPrepare to laugh!

Naomi the One Fit Foodie sent me her amazingly artistic rendition of my family:

Hand drawn picture of family

I loved it!!!!!!!!!  And she enclosed a couple snacky poo’s.  Yum! 

Hand written card sent with some snacks

And I also won Evan’s Contest for TruWhip and the Certificate came. 

Truwhip coupon
Thanks Evan & TruWhipI can’t wait to redeem that one!

Thanks to all my friends that were sooo thoughtful to send me cards or gifts for the holidays and if I’ve missed someone’s card or gift, apologies!!!  Still a little sleep-deprived and jet-lagged and the month’s pile of mail was massive, but in a heart-warming, awesome way.  I am sooo thankful to have met so many amazing, caring, kind, thoughtful people in 2009 and thank you all for being there, being a friend, and for being your generally awesome, fabulous self!!!  muah!!!!!! xoxox

Moving along….
And there was a couple jars of Pace Picante Sauce.  I know a little random, but hey, it was free.   

Two jars of Pace Picante Sauce

My only complaint about most salsas, as I mentioned in this post

 Mrs. Renfro's Pineapple Salsa

…is their sodium content

Nutrition Facts on Pineapple Salsa
Label of Nutrition Information on jar

Some people say they can’t eat as many calories as others, some people can’t do dairy, others don’t do refined sugar.  I can’t do sodium.  My body doesn’t process it well and I swell up like a balloon no matter how much water I drink to flush, flush, flush.  Just not a fan of sodium, what can I say.  But thanks, Pace!

Also got these free Halls lozenges.

Various Refresh Products on countertop

We are required now as bloggers to disclose when something was free.  I know Anne blogged about this the other day.  We always have been ethically obligated to mention it, but now, we’re supposed to be extremely upfront or face $11,000 fines!  So yeah, I scored free throat lozenges everyone.  And they’re really good!

Two flavors of Halls Refresh throat lozenges

I love strawberry-flavored items so those were my faves, but the tropical wave was good, too!

Two flavors of Halls Refresh throat lozenges

The mail continues with the most lovely holiday gift from Alisa, One Frugal Foodie.  She sent me a copy of her book, Go Dairy Free.

Go Dairy Free Book
Close up of Authors name: Alisa Marie Fleming
She’s also founded the site, Go Dairy Free

As Gena mentioned in this post, ditching dairy can be really beneficial and I don’t do dairy, either.  I am definitely dairy-protein sensitive and intolerant to it so this book is perfect for me! 

Cover of Go Dairy Free Book
Back cover of book

Alisa was kind enough to also send me a copy of My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky.  All the recipes are for dessertsPerfect.  And there are more than a dozen that are both vegan and gluten free.  Totally perfect!

My Sweet Vegan Book
Back Cover of Book

For those who are Vegan, but can tolerate gluten-containing flours such as whole wheat or pastry flour, this book would be a magnificient edition to your kitchen!  Not to put labels on anyone, but Mama Pea, HungryHippie, ya listening?  And for those who want to veganize their sweet creations that they’re always tempting me with, Jessica, Janetha, Susan, I think you’d love this book too!

Thanks again, Alisa!!!!

And last but not least, was my Foodie Blogroll Tote I won

Close up of The Foodie Blogroll label

Cute and practical.  I love re-useable bags!  Thanks Foodie Blogroll!

The Foodie Blogroll tote bag

So it was a huge month of mail ’round here and that about sums it up.  Whew!  I hope you enjoyed the recap!  I had to get that off my chest iPhoto!

Last night’s dinner was Raw Kale,  Brock, Cauli, Cukes, & Tomatoes slathered in my homemade Vegan Slaw Dressing.

Kale and mixed vegetable salad with Slaw Dressing

 

Overhead of Slaw Dressing in Jar
Close up of Salad with Slaw Dressing

Dessert involved a few High Raw Vegan Sugar Cookie balls

Raw Vegan Sugar Cookie Balls
Close up of Raw Vegan Sugar Cookie Balls

Yoga Today is Ardha Sirasana (Half Headstand).  Go into full headstand and then carefully lower so that your legs are parallel with the floorAbs anyone?  Holding your legs 90 degrees from your body while fighting gravity is a sure-fire way to help increase your core strength.  Core strength is so important for everything from balance to remaining injury-free and as a benefit, your abs will look better.

And please, when going up into headstand, DO NOT DONKEY KICK UP!   You need to go up slowly and with control; start in downward dog, make a crown for your head with your hands, and start to walk your toes forward, forward, til you go up, up, and away.  No kicking up into headstand as it’s a sure-fire way to fall and get injured, severely.

Woman doing Ardha Sirasana yoga pose

Tip of the Day: Christmas Punch!  I know it’s not really Christmas season anymore, but citrus is so great for warding off the sicky germs this time of year.  Enjoy!

Karen’s Christmas Punch

From Successfully Raw Issue 191:

Mmmm… in the run up to the holidays this is a truly lovely drink to get you in the spirit, perfect for when you feel just a little bit chilly or in need of a comforting hug or simply in need of a genuinely scrumptious drink! And what’s more, the ingredients are super-simple and super-cheap – hurrah!
Makes about 1 pint of punch (serves 2-3 people).
Ingredients:
* 3 apples
* 4 oranges
* ½ lemon
* Cinnamon (to taste)
* Five spice (to taste)
* Slices of lemon and orange for decoration
Directions:
1) Juice the apples, oranges and lemon (including lemon peel) and pour into a blender jug.
2) Add in the cinnamon and five spice to the jug and blend until spices are thoroughly mixed into the juice.
3) When fully blended, pour into pretty glasses and serve with fruit pieces floating on top.
RAW COACH’S TOP TIPS:
* If you’d like to, you can gently heat this drink in a pan on a very low temperature. It won’t necessarily make it taste any better, but if you’re used to hot drinks or love them, then this will really perk you up!

What’s your take on bloggers having to fully disclose in no uncertain terms how they acquired the products they are featuring on their blog?  For the most part, I think it’s a good thing and for most of us, we have always done a fantastic job linking back and mentioning when a company sent us products to sample or review.  However, there are bloggers that get tons, i.e. thousands of dollars worth of free products, and I think for those Big Fish, these rules are much more important.  Because really, who cares if I scored some free cough drops, but I think at a certain financial level, that yes, disclosure becomes more important.  What do you think about The New Rules?  Will it change the way you blog?  Will you be more direct and less subtle when you feature products?  I think I’ve always been upfront and pretty linkage-happy,  so I will probably not change too much, but I’m curious what your thoughts are!

Stay Tuned For Weekly Highlights and the Week in Review…

 

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