Thursday, December 9, 2010

I found my camera!

Best Blogger Tips Merry Christmas to me!

I found my camera last night while putting up the Christmas tree! It was under the chair. I think that it has been there for 3 or 4 months. I'm so excited!

No more out of focus pictures for my blog!

EllePin It Best Blogger Tips

Friday, December 3, 2010

TIPS: Winter Skin Care Part 1

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Winter is my second favorite season (autumn takes the number one spot).  There is something so pure and serene about the morning after a hefty snow; everything is dusted with white, causing the entire landscape to look clean.  I love the white flakes piled on the ground, my house, and, of course, the evergreen trees; I hate having itchy, dry skin.

Even if you have great skin the rest of the year, winter still can be brutal.  The drop in humidity and temperature dry out the air.  Most homes and businesses have forced-air heating, which makes the air even more dry and causing skin to dehydrate further.  As we age, the natural oil layer on our skin is depleted, while frequent hand washing and showering removes this layer. [discovery health]

I follow a special regimen to keep my skin moist in the winter.

Keeping my body soft and smooth.

1.  I don't use hot water when I shower.  The hot water can dry skin out even worse!  I can't handle cold or lukewarm showers, but I make sure they are cooler that what I prefer.

2.  I only use body wash if my body is really dirty.  I don't work outside or anywhere where I get dirt on my skin, so I rarely need to soap my entire body.  There are parts, of course, I wash every day. 

3.  At least every other day, when I shower I use Elle's Lemon Vitamin E Sugar Scrub.  It's very inexpensive, easy to make, and it lightly removes the dry skin.  The vitamin E oil provides a protective moisturizing layer over my skin.  The sugar keeps the skin moist (as opposed to salt-based scrubs) and dissolves in the shower. 

4.  Everyday when I shave my legs (yes, I'm one of those women), I use conditioner instead of any soap or body wash.  It is more moisturizing than most body wash (with the exception of Olay Pro Age Body Wash) and cheaper!

5.  I use Olay Quench Body Lotion every day.  This is the best inexpensive lotion that I have found.  I'm an Olay girl, though I really love the Lancome treats I buy myself once in a great while!

For my hands and feet.

I am a chronic handwasher (I have a three year-old and live with my husband, our 19 year-old male roommate, and two dogs!).  I also cook quite a bit from scratch (see RECIPES), therefore, my hands get REALLY dry, so dry they crack and threaten to bleed.  To keep my hands from drying out, I put Look Ma, New Hands! hand cream on them and wear moisturizing gloves at least twice a week.  Yes, it was awkward for me at first, but they keep the cream on my hands, giving it plenty of time to absorb.  I use the same cream for my feet and cover them socks several times a week, too.

Healthy winter skin and diet.
Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines, as well as flaxseed oil, some types of eggs, and grass-fed beef. Evening primrose oil and borage seed oil, which are high in omega-6s, help hydrate the skin and prevent water from evaporating, says Leslie Baumann, director of the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute. "If you don't like fish or are pregnant and can't eat it, omega-3 supplements are a good option."  []
I increase healthy fats like olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocados in my diet.  

And most importantly, WATER!

While most treatments call for keeping moisture in the skin, hydrating my whole body is a must for healthy winter skin.  Increasing consumption of water also helps combat the dehydrating effect of warming winter drinks like coffees and alcohol.

What do you do to protect your skin in the winter? Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, December 2, 2010

About recent lack of posts...

Best Blogger Tips I really haven't been feeling my best, fatigued mostly.  I'm sorry I haven't been posting.  I will do my best to start again soon and revamp my diet to start feeling well.

EllePin It Best Blogger Tips

Monday, November 29, 2010

SPIRIT: When I Didn't Want to Give Thanks

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There are people in my life who have wounded me, infuriated me, and rejected me.  Surprisingly, these same people end up on my "thank you" list. 

One year, I decided to write thank you cards for Thanksgiving.  Of course, I wrote to the obvious people:  the teacher who helped me through a very difficult time; my best friends who have laughed and cried with me; and others like my parents, who have always been kind, loving, and generous.  These were nice acknowledgments to amazing people, people to whom I have expressed my gratitude often.

There was a second group of people I wrote to:  those who had hurt me in one way or another. 

One card was to a teacher who, in front of my whole class, told me I would "never amount to anything"  and how I had "let the whole class down."  Even after my tears had dried, my resentment lingered for years.  This memory embodied her in my mind and I forgot all she taught me.  She inspired me to succeed and publicly recognized my achievements.

Writing her a thank you note healed any bitterness her public berating caused me.  I thanked her for all the valuable things she taught me and how she helped me.

This simple act of gratitude erased the pain this one event caused me and instead appreciated all the good she had done in my life.

There were several other recipients who I forgave through writing my indebtedness, though I never mentioned the hurt they caused.  In addition to giving each person a reminder of how he or she had contributed to my life, I also grew more grateful.   I remembered how infinitely valuable each person is.

Is there anyone who has hurt you, who you have thanked later?  

How do you forgive someone, especially if they never apologize?Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend!

Best Blogger Tips I have lots to post for you, recipes, tips, and more!

I'm aiming for later tonight or tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

EllePin It Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WELLNESS: Snack of the week--Edamame

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My new favorite snack is edamame. 

I got hooked on it when I was introduced to sushi, where steamed edamame pods often are served as an appetizer.  
I can sit and eat edamame all day!  There is debate about how healthy soy is, but it is something that I choose to eat in moderation.

Like any other food, the highly processed forms of soy (think fillers in processed foods) seem to be the types that are unhealthy, while soy foods in the most natural state such as edamame, seem to be beneficial to wellness. [

First of all, how in the world is it pronounced?  "Ay-duh-MAH-may" is the correct translation, which is the term used by the Japanese.  It translates to mean "beans on branches" because the pods grow on shrubby plants.  Edamame has been a vegan protein source in China for more than 2,200 years.

I steam frozen shelled edamame on the stove and add just a little salt.  YUMMY!

Do you eat soy?  Why or why not?

What types of soy do you enjoy?

What types of soy do you avoid?
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TIP: Keep food from sticking on pans

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Elle's green eggs in the skillet
I hate scrubbing skillets!  I learned how to keep most foods from sticking in pans by doing the following.

1.  Heat skillet or pan thoroughly.  You can test this by dropping a droplet of water into it.  If it dances and fizzles, then the pan is hot enough.

2.  Next, add the oil.  The oil will heat rather quickly.  It will seem to be thinner than when cold.

3.  After the oil is heated, add whatever you plan on frying in the pan.  Be careful!  If whatever you are frying has much water in it, the grease can splatter and you can get burned!Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Monday, November 22, 2010

TIP: Time Saver--Use Your Cabinet Doors!

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One of my cabinet doors
There are some recipes that I use all of the time: bread, granola, pizza crust. 

To save time, I have taped the recipe cards up on the inside of my cabinets above my food preparation area.

I don't have to search through my recipe file or cookbook to find my favorite recipes!

If you are really creative (and have good penmanship), you can use a black permanent marker to write recipes on the outside of your cabinet doors.

What recipes do you use all the time?  Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Friday, November 19, 2010

RECIPE: Elle's Cream Cheese Patties (Vegetarian)

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I'm all out of farm eggs! : (

All the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aid

My three year-old and I are the only ones in our house who are mostly vegan.  Sometimes it is really difficult since I am also the one who makes all the meals.  Thankfully, my family will eat several meatless meals a week.  This is one of their favorite recipes.


*8 oz. room-temperature Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat cream cheese)
*1 sleeve saltine crackers, well-crushed
*3 eggs
*1/4 c. minced onion
*1 clove minced garlic
Oil for frying


Creamy patty mixture.


1. Combine first five ingredients and mix by hand or like I do with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
2. Heat skillet over medium heat and add oil to coat bottom of pan.  Drop mixture by the tablespoonful  (or larger) into oil.  Mixture will be wet.
3.  After one side begins to brown, flip and press lightly with turner, flattening each spoonful into a patty.
4.  Remove from pan after both sides are golden brown. 

Yields 8-10 Patties


1. Add other herbs, depending on taste.
2. Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts.

Frying in the skillet


1.  I ground the crackers on a medium setting in my Vitamix Vita Prep 3.
2.  I use an ice cream scoop for uniform size patties.
3.  Heat the pan until hot, then heat the oil until hot before adding mixture.  It helps keep the patties from sticking.
All done!
Have you tried these?  What did you think?  

Did you add or omit anything?  If you share your variation in a comment, I will add it and credit you in the recipe!Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ON THE WAY: New Features for You

Best Blogger Tips In an effort to make The Way better for you, here are some changes to the site.

1.  Easier RSS and feed subscriptions.  I added new "Subscribe" buttons at the top right of this page so you can view The Way in your favorite reader service.   ----------------------------------------->

2.  More pictures.  Though I lost my camera over two months ago, I am now absorbing the cost of sending photos from my phone.  I want you to be able to see what I'm cooking up!

This menu is to the right of my posts!

3. Twitter updates.  I'm on Twitter!  Follow me by clicking at the bottom of this menu on the right of my posts.

4.  Suggestions for you!  I added a few posts you might like at the bottom of each post.

You'll find these at the bottom of each post.

These links are listed farther down on the right.

5.  Read What's Popular.  Another nifty gadget to the right is a listing of the most read posts.  If others like it, you might like it, too!

6.  Easier Navigation.  Added tabs at the top of the page take you directly to
On the Way 
 food for your SPIRIT 

The expanded toolbar at the top of the page provides easy navigation of my site.

Do you find any of these useful?  Are there any changes you would like to see me make?Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

RECIPE: Elle's Granola

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Adding everything to my Kitchen-Aid
We desire a satisfying crunch in our foods The food industry knows this, too, so they make Doritos chips, Cap'n Crunch cereal, and Chips Ahoy cookies.  This granola recipe fills that hungering for crunchy foods, but also adds Omega 3's for your heart, antioxidants, vegan protein, and fiber. 

Thoroughly mixed. (Do you notice my mess?)

*6 cups old fashioned oats
*2 cups whole wheat flour
*1 cup chopped almonds
*1 cup ground flaxseed
*1/4 cup soy protein isolate
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1 1/2 tsp. salt
*1 cup water or juice
*1 Tb. vanilla extract


1. Combine all ingredients and mix by hand or like I do with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.
2. Dry granola mixture in a food dehydrator or bake on two cookie sheets in a low-temp oven (170 F) until thoroughly dried. 

Yields about 13 cups of granola.


1. Add coconut to mixture before baking or diced dried fruit to dried/baked granola.
2. Add more brown sugar or other sweetener.

3. Add more liquid for chunkier granola.
4. The soy protein isolate may be omitted.

Dried granola.  It actually took two pans.

1.  Since ground flaxseed is more prone to oxidation and spoilage, I always buy it whole.  I usually grind the flaxseed in my Vitamix Vita Prep 3 right before use.
2.  I grind whole wheat berries in my Vitamix Vita Prep 3 right before use since whole wheat flour begins to spoil almost immediately after grinding.
3.  Again, I chopped the almonds in my Vitamix Vita Prep 3, too.


Did you like it?

What did you add or change about the recipe?  I will add your comments to the variations!

100% Soy Protein, Vegetarian Formula. Pure Soy Protein Isolate Powder supplies important nutrients which the body requires daily for optimum health. It provides essential amino acids in a versatile powder which is low in fat and free of carbohydrates. It is also a superior protein source for vegetarians. Enjoy the benefits of our low-calorie soy protein powder. Just mix with milk or your favorite beverage.Pin It Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SPIRIT: Mike and Me

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Framed by the metal detector!
Today, I celebrate my husband, Mike. We eloped nine years ago in a courthouse in Tolleson, Arizona.

Mike and I have known each other since he was nine and I was five.  Our parents are friends and though we became friends as we grew up, we never dated in school.   It seems like Mike was always part of my family, like a brother or cousin, making it strange when we became a couple.  I even lived with him and his mother for a while when I was in high school!

Mike & me, 1985

I was 20 when Mike and I began dating; it was surreal.  Here was someone who I had always known and always loved, but now I was learning about him in a new way.  I knew almost immediately that we would marry someday.  We fit together too well, had too much in common to only remain friends.  Less than a year after we began dating, we wed.  (Tip:  Don't elope without telling your family, especially if you are an only child, like me!  Also, make sure you tell your family right away instead of keeping it a secret for a few months!)

Mike makes me a believer in marriage.

Over the years our relationship has continued to evolve.  We became lovers, then husband and wife, and now parents.  Sometimes being married is hard.  In a way, we are like conjoined twins, sharing a body, but with different brains; we have different ideas of which way to go, but we have to move together.

Exchanging rings
Mike and I don't always agree on what to do with our time or our money.  Our ideas about how to be a good parent sometimes conflict.  However, when we dated we talked about what was important to us; we determined our values and what we wanted in a family.  When we have differences, we work through them.  At the end of the day, all that really matters is that we love each other; we love the family that we have built together.

I'm not saying our marriage is perfect, but I can say that Mike is perfect for me.

I just married my best friend
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Monday, November 15, 2010

JOURNAL: Scariest part about Halloween?? Sugar addiction! EEK!

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Last week the evidence surrounded my laptop: clear, crackling wrappers of Sweet Tarts.  They taste almost identical to Smarties, another vice from elementary school.  They are sugary sour goodness!

Although I attempt to keep Halloween candy out of our house by teaching my son to hand sweets out to other trick-or-treaters instead of going door-to-door, I fell into temptation at Target and bought two bags of sours.

A week later, I could feel the enamel wearing off of my teeth and the extra acid in my stomach.  The Sweet Tarts and Nerds were gone and so was my resolve to avoid refined sugar.  I felt awful and managed to put on a pound or two just from the candy.

In brief, why sugar is so harmful:
Did I mention that it is extremely ADDICTIVE!

Here is what I'm learning about quitting sugar on The Way:
  1. If I eat refined starches, sugars, or even fruits, I end up craving sugar the rest of the day. 
  2. Making sure I get enough vegetarian protein, helps me stay full between meals and keeps me from feeling hungry after meals.
  3. Sugar-fat-salt combinations are the most addictive! 
  4. Sugar has a lot of aliases.  Watch out for:

•Agave nectar
•Brown sugar
•Cane crystals
•Cane sugar
•Corn sweetener
•Corn syrup
•Crystalline fructose
•Evaporated cane juice
•Fruit juice concentrates
•High-fructose corn syrup
•Invert sugar
•Malt syrup
•Raw sugar
After I have been off sugar for a few weeks, I'm going to gradually re-introduce fruits back into my diet. 
What I would like to know about you:
Have you had problems with sugar addiction?  What was your food of choice?  How did you kick the habit or are you still struggling with it?
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

RECIPE: Green Eggs (Vegetarian)

Best Blogger Tips In order to get myself back off sugars, I'm taking some time to load up on vegetarian protein.

I used to make these all the time for my (then) two year-old son.  He wouldn't eat greens but after reading the Dr. Suess book to him, he thought these were great!

(The eggs I buy are from a family friend who cares for his chickens humanely.)

Local farm fresh eggs, spinach, and house seasoning

Green scrambled eggs with Ezekiel bread toast



*2 eggs (preferably organic, locally raised) or 3 egg whites
*Handful of fresh spinach
*House seasoning to taste


1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly in a Vita-Mix Vita Prep 3 or other high speed blender.
2. Use non-stick spray or cooking oil to coat the bottom of a small skillet.  Cook at medium-low heat until done.

Serves: 1


1. Top the eggs with cheese or soy cheese
2. Use for the base of a yummy vegetable omelet by topping with your favorite veggies!
3. Try making these using egg substitutes.  Let me know how they turned out and I will add them to the "Variations" on this post!

1.  The higher heat eggs are cooked at, the more chewy they become.  For fluffy eggs, cook at medium-low.


1.  Did you like these?

2.  If you don't eat eggs, why not?

3.  What other sneaky ways do you get your kids/family to eat healthy?
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