Crystal Ball for 2010

December 31, 2009

New Year’s Eve in Times Square- millions of people all over the world watch the crystal ball drop to mark the new year. The lowering of the ball has been a tradition since 1907 barring ’42 and ’43 for wartime “dimming out”.

The first New Year’s Eve Ball, made of iron and wood and adorned with one hundred 25-watt light bulbs, was 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds.

(Above) New Year’s Eve Ball, 1978. Photo credit: The New York Times.

We’ve come a long way from what was, at the time, a brilliant and marvelous sight. The ball this year is a Waterford Crystal. “WATERFORD CRYSTAL created an exclusive “Let There Be Joy” design for the crystal triangles on the new Ball. Designed and crafted by Waterford artisans in Ireland, “Let There Be Joy” features the design of an angel with arms uplifted welcoming the New Year on each of the 1,728 new crystals.  The remaining 960 triangles are last year’s “Let There Be Light” design of a stylized radiating starburst.”

And here is the part I love: Capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million colors and billions of possible patterns, the 32,256 Philips Luxeon LEDs in this year’s Ball represent more than three times the number of LEDS used last year, to deliver a brighter and more beautiful New Year’s experience than ever before. And this year’s Ball is 10-20% more energy efficient than last year’s already energy-efficient Ball, consuming only the same amount of energy per hour as it would take to operate two traditional home ovens.

For those who are New Year’s Eve aficionados check out this youtube featuring every drop from ’78 to ’07.

Although the crystal ball does no predicting, we all are looking for JOY in every possible way. Here’s to a JOYFUL 2010.

via:  www.timessquarenyc.org (check out the photos of this year’s ball)

Thank you to KJ for her exuberance over New Year’s Eve Celebrations that she has experienced all over the world.

Just Because She’s Famous

December 30, 2009

Just because someone is famous- does that make them an authority on health? I think we all can make up our own minds on that. I will say that the excerpt that GAIAM posted from Alicia Silverstone’s new book is engaging, sincere and invites the reader to see life simply and with possibility. We read that through eating yummy and healthy food, Silverstone changed her life and she encourages the reader to try it too. Sounds good to me. She writes about healthy lifestyle- I love what she says about yoga:

The reader reviews I have read are mixed- one writes that there are too many photos of Alicia and her husband. So what. It’s her book. I’m more interested in the recipes about which someone else complains that there are obscure ingredients like umeboshi paste and lotus root. Those are easy to find Asian foods – can’t have a book with only potatoes and carrots, can we? Being vegan means one will have to work hard at finding variety and new tastes. This book offers some interesting options. The Kind Diet is about being kind to oneself and the planet. I personally feel there is a place for animal quality food in our diet, however, if you are Vegan, there are good things for you in this book.

Jessica Porter (author of the Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics) co-wrote this book with Alicia- although I cannot find her name associated with it online.

via: Gaiam.com

Micah sent me the link to these amazing photographs of a Croatian National Park. Courtesy of TwistedSifter.com. The Plitvice Lakes National Park was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1979. The beauty of the National Park lies in its sixteen lakes, inter-connected by a series of waterfalls, and set in deep woodland populated by deer, bears, wolves, boars and rare bird species. Covering 116 square miles, the park was a tourist attraction in the 1800’s, hotels were built in the 1890’s and in 1949 were made into national park. The water colors vary from azure to green and grey.

I have always heard about how beautiful Croatia is. We even spoke about going to live there for a short while- then the war broke out there. Some summer I will definitely take a trip there.

Permaculture

December 24, 2009

Just heard a great talk by Andrew Faust, Permaculture expert. He is an expressive, articulate speaker, a powerful advocate for big thinking about how we live and interact on and with this planet. Check out a short piece on pollution of our water on youtube.

Eric sums it up

December 22, 2009

This was a difficult decade. I do not want to sum it up. Eric Tabone gives us his version- a bit depressing, yet important to remember what occurred lest we repeat it. I look hopefully to the future and intend to do my best to inspire, support and innovate ways of living in peaceful harmony with our earth.

Raw Chocolate Delights

December 20, 2009

I am not a fan of a raw foods diet in the winter months (it just doesn’t make sense when I need to keep my body warm). But a small amount of dessert made with raw chocolate is compelling, satisfying and high in anti-oxidents!

I have been researching Raw Chocolate Truffles to make with Teresa and Gina tomorrow. The plan is to meet at Gina’s with 2 dessert recipes and ingredients for each of us and we’ll cook lots of yummy, organic, gluten-free, dairy free, naturally-sweetened desserts for our families to enjoy this week. Here is a site called the SunnyRawKitchen with many other raw cacoa recipes.

My plan for Truffles, designed after Nance Pettit’s truffles:

Chocolate Truffles

Inside ingredients:

1 C Cocoa powder (raw powder is high in anit-oxidants)

½ C Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

3 T Agave

2-3 T mint tea infused coconut milk

4 drops Peppermint Oil

Pinch seasalt

Outside ingredients:

Repeat with  ½ C Coconut Butter instead of Coconut Oil

Making the inside layer:

Slowly melt coconut oil in jar in bowl of hot water or on a low temp on stove top

Add agave or other sweetener

Add peppermint

Add Raw Cocoa powder and stir out all lumps.

Optional: can also put in handful cocoa nibs or pinch of cayenne, dried fruit…

Cool to room temp and spread in flat container. Cover and put in fridge or freezer.

Making the outside layer:

Repeat, substituting coconut butter, without the peppermint or other options.

20 minute Yoga Infusion

December 16, 2009

You have a small window of time, didn’t get out to yoga class as you had planned, your body needs some breathing and concentrated movement – what to do? Dial up a 20 minute private session online through the Yoga Today Blog!

This afternoon I”Perked Up MY Posture” with Neesha. She is such a sweet teacher, who shares phrases like,  “Breathe sweetly through your nose. Your breathe is the flow of life itself and the breathe itself is play of opposition. This very essence of life which flows through you in a paradox is exactly what we engage with to experience more strength, stability and steadfastness and simultaneously more openness to the world and yourself”.

In this session, Neesha leads a 20-minute sequence that will correct stooping upper back posture with heart openers. This class is especially applicable after a long day at your desk!  I’m a fan. Can’t wait to tell Teresa about these gems.

Yoga Headstand

December 15, 2009

I have had this wonderful contraption for years. There are times when it just sits against the wall and collects yoga blankets or dust and there are times when I use it everyday. I am back into it. It’s a wonderful way to save your neck and shoulders from strain and still receive the benefits of an inversion.

TotalHealthyYoga.blogspot.com has a great article on the benefits of inversions. Some benefits include: calming the mind, enhancing the endocrine system and increasing body awareness. I think it is also wonderful for our internal organs to go the other way for a bit- I am at the age when gravity may be starting to take a bit of a toll…

If you are a beginner and do not feel quite ready to do the upside down thing, a beginner pose is demonstrated through the yogajournal.com site.

This is a great video on how to safely do a headstand, from Gaiam. I also recommend the “Body Lift”. Gift yourself.

This is yummy, healthy comfort food, served warm on a cold winter night. Traditionally it is made with milk and sugar,  however, it is very easy to make with non-dairy and non-sugar ingredients and just as yummy. My friend Teresa liked my tapioca dessert so much last night she had more with her breakfast this morning.

Tapioca is made from the starch from the cassava tuber. It is made into flour as well as pellets and pearls. It’s light and fluffy made with eggs, but I am working on my recipe without eggs – stay posted. The flavor of tapioca is fairly neutral, making it an excellent choice of thickener for both sweet and savory style foods. Tapioca also has little nutritional value- so the nourishment is from coconut milk and eggs in this recipe.

1/3 cup Small Tapioca Pearls (I used Bob’s Red Mill for this recipe)

1 cup water

2 cups coconut milk (lite or regular)

pinch seasalt

2 organic eggs separated

½ cup water (keep handy in case it gets too thick)

1/3  cup maple syrup or agave syrup

½ t Vanilla Extract (I use Frontier, organic made with glycerine, no alcohol)

Soak the pearls in water for 15-20 minutes in a saucepan.

Beat yolks into coconut milk with pinch of salt, stir into saucepan with soaked pearls. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil and lower heat (use a flame tamer if you have one) and simmer, stirring often. You wouldn’t want to burn this yummy dessert.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites with agave or maple syrup. If you can get the whites to peak, great, other wise, gently fold into tapioca and stir for 3 minutes.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes and add vanilla.

Optional: add fresh fruit on top or mix in, serve warm or cold