Did you say ‘fooling around this week’ or ‘fooding around?’

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It’s Berry Time. It’s Berry Time!! (I’m putting these babies in my morning parfait.)

Antioxidant central here at the house…I’m loading up my morning bowl with Berries — plus a little banana, steel cut oats — and fortified coconut milk (getting in my calcium.)

My morning drink — this is 4 cups water — VITAMIXED — with about 5 ounces of cucumber and 1 teaspoon ginger. (Cucumber is rumored to keep the mosquitos at bay.) Anyone hear that?

RAWSOME!

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With more raw fruits and veggies, I’m at the farmer’s market almost every Saturday.

Wow. Can’t believe this is my first post of 2017.

In January I pulled myself off DAIRY and stopped eating ANIMAL PROTEIN. (Replacing the calories with a lot more raw fruits and veggies.)

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This was one of my favorite raw salads — purple cabbage, spinach — with a citrus blueberry finish. Yum!

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Actually the best organic blueberries have been coming from Costco. (I love the blueberry/banana smoothie combo. Ginger too.)

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This was from the Salad Bar at Whole Foods in downtown Austin. Their cooked black beans served as dressing.

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While I’m trying to be ‘very raw,’ I still have cravings for comfort food. (like vegan tortilla soup.)

Recipe: Date-Sweet Protein Balls, Vegan too

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Decorate with cacao nibs, shredded coconut or just leave plain :)

Decorate the protein balls with cacao nibs, shredded coconut, or just leave plain 🙂

Today I’m making GOOBIE BALLS.

(How they got called that is a post for another day lol!)

I came up with the ‘balls’ to replace my need for store-bought protein bars.

These are a great RTE: READY-TO-EAT.

These are designed to be an RTE: READY-TO-EAT. (Just put ’em in Ziplocs, then store in the freezer/fridge.)

(I knew the bars at the store were loaded with junk I didn’t need, but they were SOOOOOO convenient, and tasty.)

After experimenting for several months, I found a mixture with the right amount of sweetness — and packed with protein. (please enjoy the recipe below!)

First step is making the date paste (super simple ... just soften dates and process.)

First step is making the date paste (super simple … just soften dates with water and process.)

These ‘balls’ have only 1.3g date sugar per 1 oz. serving.

(And dates are the only sweetener used, so PERFECT for the No-Sugar-Added Challenge at Pure Austin. As you know, store-bought bars can carry about 18 grams of natural sugar per 1.7 oz. serving.)

Any nut butter will do, but I found this TJs raw almond butter has the right amount of oil to yield the consistency for the 'cookie dough.'

Any nut butter will do, but I found this TJs raw almond butter has the right amount of oil to yield the consistency for the ‘cookie dough.’

Ingredients:

3 cups Vegan Protein Powder (Sun Warrior Classic Natural)
4 TB Ground Flax Seed Meal (Nature’s Path)
4 TB Cacao Nibs*
4 TB Shredded Dried Coconut**
4 TB Trader Joes Raw Creamy Almond Butter
3/4 cup date paste***
pinch of salt
water
Directions
Measure out ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and add about 1 3/4 cup water. Use a mixer to blend together.
(You will probably need to add another 1/4 cup water as you are trying to reach the consistency of cookie dough. The mixer should move easily through.)
Then roll up 1 ounce balls with the dough.

(Makes about 40 servings/balls).

*In Whole Foods bulk section (spices area) **Whole Foods bulk section
*** (only 5 pitted medjool dates, warm water, makes about 3/4 cup paste)

It’s not ‘goodbye,’ It’s: ‘Until NEXT TIME’

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Me and Mariko enjoying our time off work (she was my work mate at the Clayburn Inn B&B. I got sooooo lucky!)

Me and Mariko enjoying our time off work (she was my ‘partner in crime’ at the Clayburn Village B&B. I got sooooo lucky!)

Yesterday, I left Abbotsford, B.C. and headed to Vancouver.

(This was probably the last time to ever see the wonderful friend I made from Germany — and my wonderful hosts at the Clayburn Village B&B. I thought I wouldn’t get emotional over it, but I did.)

Something REALLY HAPPENED there for me — and it was this amazingly BEAUTIFUL thing — that was produced from people really working together. Really collaborating and supporting each other 🙂

Mariko and I were there for over two weeks hosted by the most kind people I think I’ve met in a while — Leslie and Ramsey Oren, owners of the Clayburn Village B&B (in Abbotsford, BC).

Scones were made almost every morning. (Now I know best ones come straight from the oven and in one's mouth.)

Scones were made almost every morning. (Now I know best ones come straight from the oven and into one’s mouth.)

I will miss Leslie’s EPIC scones fresh from the oven. I will miss walking into her kitchen to smell the apple butter cooking in the crockpot. I will miss being called to a dinner that is fully complementary to the hard work that day. (Add on top of it Leslie’s apple crunch, or her banana cocoa ice cream, and it just feels like ‘mom’s love.’)

Leslie made apple butter in the crock pot -- using apples that were picked from her trees. (Guess who got lucky enough to take some back to Texas??)

Leslie made apple butter in the crock pot — using apples picked from her trees. (Guess who got lucky enough to take some back to Texas??)

I will miss my German friend Mariko for her youthful exuberance — and what I kept referring to as her German ‘efficiency.’ I will miss having to share a bathroom with her. (She kinda felt like my little sister.)

We thought we wouldn't have a chance to even lay the pavers on this side of the path...but we worked long hours toward the end of the week to see that we had a frame work we could at least see take shape.

We thought we wouldn’t have a chance to lay the pavers on this side of the path…but we worked long hours and got it done…so we were happy to set up the framework for the ‘finishing sand’ stage. (Yep, that’s me crouched over placing pebbles with mortar.)

I will miss watching Mariko get excited about something they don’t have back home. (I will miss desperately trying to find something on tv we can both understand…preferably something in ‘SLOW ENGLISH.’).

We also rebuilt this brick wall surrounding a drainage pipe. For Leslie, it's a new planting area.

We also rebuilt this brick wall surrounding a drainage pipe. For Leslie, it’s a new planting area.

As we left the house yesterday I hugged Ramsey and we both told Mariko we would be seeing her famous buildings one day (as she has not only a creative mind but the determination to sell her visions/ideas.)

On the last two nights 'Bek' from New Zealand showed up. (She'll be finishing out the path. She had this great idea to use colored pieces for some detail work. It'll look amazing once the finishing sand goes on.)

On the last two nights ‘Bek’ from New Zealand showed up. (She’ll be finishing the path — and came just in time … Bek had this great idea to use colored pieces for some detail work. It’ll look amazing once the finishing sand goes on.)

(Mariko, my German friend, I truly, truly enjoyed getting to know you and being the other half of our team. I know you are just as proud of the work we accomplished. CHEERS!!!)

More path detail

More path detail (of the area we ‘finished off’ with polymeric sand.)

I love the path so much I had to take this one.

I love the path so much I had to take this one.

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Funny…the ants like the path too…see that little mound of dirt by the middle of the picture — those guys took up shop! The audacity!!

Exploring more Beautiful B.C.

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Our host had a special treat in store -- one that's not even in the tourist handbook -- the Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C. (this is where monks go to get schooled.)

Our host had a special treat in store — one that’s not even in the tourist handbook — the Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C. (this is where monks get schooled.)

Dazzling colors fill the huge prayer hall -- each minute provides a new light combination.

Dazzling colors fill the huge prayer hall — each minute provides a new light combination.

Outside the hall the grounds are filled with flowers and pathways -- this one leads to an overlook with a 'view to die for.' (That's Mariko and my host Leslie.)

Outside the hall, the grounds are filled with flowers and pathways — this one leads to an overlook with a view of the valley ‘to die for.’ (That’s Mariko and my host Leslie.)

We were so happy to get this 'killer view' at a table inside the Nordstrom restaurant (downtown Vancouver).

We were so happy to get this ‘killer view’ at a table inside the Nordstrom restaurant (downtown Vancouver).

Mariko's kale and apple salad was just beautiful -- and she said it tasted yummy. (Nordstrom restaurant.)

Mariko’s kale and apple salad was just beautiful — and she said it tasted yummy. (Nordstrom’s Bistro Verde restaurant.)

This is Vancouver's public library. Killer architecture, eh??

This is Vancouver’s public library. Killer architecture, eh??

This is on the walk from the public library to China Town.

This is on the walk from the public library to China Town.

Cool old building in China Town.

Cool old building in China Town.

 

Building brick path with intricate design

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(Clayburn Village Bed and Breakfast, Abbotsford, B.C.) -- The rain prevented us from working on the brick path today. (This image is from Friday, when we worked on finally setting some of the pavers in place to create the 'wavy, curvy pattern.'

(Clayburn Village Bed and Breakfast, Abbotsford, B.C.) — The rain prevented us from working on the brick path today. (This image is from Friday, when we worked on setting the first of the pavers for the ‘wavy, curvy pattern.’)

I'd like to take credit for the 'swirls' and 'waves,' but Mariko provided the vision for the design. (actually, we all admitted this project was above our experience, as we've had to consult a few 'how-to' sources. ('pebble mosaic' will go into the big gaps -- and at first, none of us were sure that would work over time...the thought was great, but how would it hold up in this climate??'

Mariko, my German work mate, had the vision for the design. (actually, we all admitted this project was a bit above our experience, and that we’ve learned a ton just dreaming big about what this can be.)

We had to research the kind of mortar we'll use to plug up the 'big gaps.' We'll be filling these with pebbles as well.

The big gaps will feature ‘pebble mosaic.’ (So you can see we played with how stones might fit with the mortar … but we are not sure how well it will hold up over time.)

The 'design' portion was a lot of 'let's lay them the way we would if we were going to place them,' pull them back out, and put them back down again. (This picture was taken first thing Monday morning -- just so we could get an idea of how many 'waves' could fill a particular section.

This image was taken at the start of the design part — so we could get an idea of how many pavers this particular section would hold …. The ‘design’ portion was a lot of: ‘Hey, let’s lay the pavers as if we are going to place them … then we’ll pull them out … and put them back down again more permanently.’

By mid-morning Friday we had that first section laid out -- we were feeling pretty confident :)

By mid-morning Friday we had the first section of pavers solidly in place — and were feeling pretty confident 🙂 In fact, we celebrated over the weekend by treating ourselves to a nice day in the big city of Vancouver.

Cascade Falls Regional Park: A Canadian ‘swimmin hole’

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Cascade Falls Regional Park (in Beautiful B.C.)

Cascade Falls Regional Park (in Beautiful B.C.)

We worked very hard this morning so we decided we deserved a trip to the local swimming hole (about 32 minutes by car.)

It’s called Cascade Falls Regional Park (you just head north from the bed and breakfast in Clayburn).

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As far as swimming holes go, the scenery is beyond spectacular. For the locals I talked to, this is the spot among all others they choose.

There she is ...Mariko my German friend ... not afraid of frigid water.

There she is …Mariko my German friend … not afraid of frigid water.

By Texas standards, the water was frigid cold. But my German friend was not swayed, and was determined to jump from the many perches into the crystal blue water. (I told her she was crazy and belonged to the polar bear club.)

So I did not go diving off big boulders singing COWWWWAAAAABBBBBUNNNGGGGAAAA.

cascade_falls_sunshineIn fact, I hung out on the rocky shore, laying on my beach towel, soaking in the sun, and taking pictures. (After schlepping granite earlier in the day, this is exactly what I needed.)

So as I’m HANGING, I get to talking to a group of locals and they find out I’m from Texas and spending my last days in Vancouver before I fly back home. (They said for fish at Granville Island — the Sandbar restaurant does it just right.)

Then they said for a Vancouver institution …  it’s Joe Fortes. (I dare you to look at their website and refrain from walking to your fridge. ha!)

As we talked about fish, I realized I hadn’t published my picture of fish from the grocery in Victoria.

This was seafood department inside the Thrifty Foods grocery store in Victoria, B.C. (Incredible!! That day I bought a six ounce piece of fab fish for like $4. It was to die for. And look at that pink, pink salmon. YUM!)

This is just part of the seafood department inside the Thrifty Foods grocery store in Victoria, B.C. (Incredible!! And look at that pink, pink salmon. YUM!)

This is the piece of fish that cost me only about $4 Canadian...so even 20% less, since I have American dollars.

This piece of fish cost me only about $4 (Canadian). Back in the states, it would have cost at least $7 — I’m thinking Whole Foods would be the only place close with such quality.

Now, on the way back from Cascade Falls today we had to stop to take a picture of Mount Baker — because it seems like such an imposing figure over everything in these parts.

Mount Baker as seen from Abbotsford, B.C.

Mount Baker as seen from Abbotsford, B.C. Just spectacular!!

This map gives you an idea of how close we are to the American border and Mount Baker.

This map gives you an idea of how close we are to the American border and Mount Baker.

Locking in a design for the brick path

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Mariko is a graduate of architecture school -- and lucky for me -- my partner in working on this brick path. (How fabulous is she -- putting together this sketch for our path design.)

Mariko is a graduate of architecture school in Germany — and lucky for me — my partner in working on this brick path at the B&B. (How fabulous is she — putting together this sketch for the design.)

We got super excited today because we can see the end of the beginning — that is — we’ve extracted almost 90% of the earth that needs to go. We even started on the ‘fun part’ — the design part — which was quite a boost!!

While we still have dirt to remove (on one part of the path) -- we are also beginning to spread granite as the very bottom base layer (at one of the entry points to the path).

While we still have dirt to remove (on one part) — we are also beginning to spread granite as the very base layer (at another part). (That’s Mariko at the end of the path.)

To give you an idea of how long this path is -- we counted 30 trips to dump the wheelbarrow that we loaded with excavated dirt. (That was just today. In total there have been about 60 trips.)

To give you an idea of how long this path is — we counted 30 trips to dump the wheelbarrow that we loaded with excavated dirt. (That was just today. In total, there have been about 60 trips. We figure we have 10 more trips tomorrow.)

This is my 'work on paper' today...I know, compared to Mariko's I clearly add no value lol!!!

This is my ‘work on paper’ today…I know, compared to Mariko’s, I clearly add no value lol!!! (And with the Perrier, you’d think I’d been on vacation in Ibiza lol!!)

Week ends with ‘Beautiful B.C.’ sunset

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Tonight there was a beautiful sunset best captured from the tree house at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, B.C.).

Tonight there was a beautiful sunset best captured from the tree house at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, B.C.).

There are so many interesting things going on every bit of the day -- you have the guests who come from all over Canada and the United States -- then you have the neighbors in the village stopping by to say hi and chat. (Plus, we usually eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together in the main house.)

The grounds of the Clayburn Village B&B where I’m staying (in THE COTTAGE). Every bit of the day something always going on — you have the guests who come from all over Canada and the United States — then you have the neighbors in the village stopping by to say hi and chat. (Plus, we usually eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together in the main house.)

I'm working on a brick path and in exchange I stay at The Cottage for FREE (meals included.) We've excavated about eight inches of earth and hauled 30 wheelbarrows full of dirt away from the site.

I’m working on a brick path and in exchange I stay at The Cottage for FREE (meals included). We’ve excavated about eight inches of earth — all which we hauled away.

We are reusing old historic bricks from the village -- and right now are trying to make sure we have enough pieces for our design.

We are reusing old historic bricks from the village — and right now are trying to make sure we have enough pieces for our design.

If I need a little snack while working I just walk over to the cherry tomatoes...oh goodness they are tasty!!

If I need a little snack while working I just walk over to the cherry tomatoes…oh goodness they are tasty!!

You gotta remember to 'stop and smell the roses.'

You gotta remember to ‘stop and smell the roses.’

We are all awaiting the harvest of this 'bad boy' watermelon. Oh this is gonna be tasty.

We are all awaiting the harvest of this ‘bad boy’ watermelon. Oh this is gonna be tasty.

The big problem here is what to do with the abundance of apples (so far, I've had the best apple crunch of my life -- and apple waldorf salad. (Our host even pulled out a crock pot recipe for apple butter ... next time I'll show you how that turned out. YUM!!)

The big problem here is what to do with the abundance of apples (so far, I’ve had the best apple crunch of my life — and Apple Waldorf. (Our host even pulled out a crock pot recipe for apple butter … next time I’ll show you how that turned out. YUM!!)

Clayburn Village B&B: In Fraser Valley, B.C.

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Claiborne Village B&B, Fraser Valley, B.C.

Clayburn Village B&B, Fraser Valley, B.C. (This is my lovely home for the next three weeks.)

The entrance to the cottage at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, Fraser Valley, B.C.)

The entrance to the cottage at the Clayburn Village B&B (Abbotsford, Fraser Valley, B.C.)

So about a week ago I landed in Vancouver -- and just yesterday left for three weeks at the B&B here in Clayburn Village (right outside Abbotsford, B.C.)

About a week ago I landed in Vancouver — and just yesterday arrived at the B&B here in Clayburn Village (right outside Abbotsford, B.C.).

Right down the street from the B&B is a 'sweet shop.' (But they decided they would close up for Sept....so there you go.)

Right down the street from the B&B is a ‘sweet shop.’ (But they decided they would close up for Sept. … was super bummed about that.)

Too bad the sweet shop is closed. I imagined myself sitting there and drinking tea and reading a good book.

Too bad the ‘sweet shop’ is closed. I imagined myself sitting there drinking tea and reading a good book.

this is the side entrance to the 'sweet shop.' Too bad it's closed.

Side entrance to the ‘sweet shop.’

The 'old church,' which dates back to like 1908, I believe.

The ‘old church,’ which dates back to 1908, I believe.

How cute is this...take a fresh cut flower, or two, or three, and pay on the 'honour' system.

How cute is this…take a fresh cut flower, or two, or three, and pay on the ‘honour’ system.

Way cute house (neighbors to the B&B).

Way cute house (neighbors to the B&B).

I knew I would get an 'old red barn' in here somewhere :)

I knew I would get an ‘old red barn’ in here somewhere 🙂

This village is old -- 1905 - 2005

This village is old — 1905 – 2005

This is a zen garden at the B&B, right next to THE COTTAGE where I'm 'hanging my hat.'

This is a zen garden at the B&B, right next to THE COTTAGE where I’m ‘hanging my hat.’