Almonds in the Raw

So for months—maybe years I’ve watched my husband go through pounds of raw almonds. How could he eat them like candy?

When I asked he just shrugged and said, “They’re good.”

Sometimes his lack of words frustrates me. I wanted to know why they are good? Why can’t you stop eating them? What is about the taste that draws you back to them consistently?

He had no answers. Just that they are good.

So I decided to try and discover the answers. Raw almonds like those found at nuts.com can be found in any grocery store that has bulk bins. Warning these little gems are not inexpensive but in the name of discovery I bought more than I usually do.

Understand please, that being gluten free I eat almonds in many forms. I use almond flour, almond milk, almond butter with honey on toast—oh my—it’s almost like having a doughnut for breakfast only healthy.

Slivered almonds, tossed and tossed with green beans are ever so delightful.

Toss in some roasted almonds in a salad and it becomes gourmet–at least in my house!

almonds almonds almonds

Give me those delicious almonds wrapped in dark chocolate any time over a candy bar, just not a bunch because I can’t stop eating them.

Almonds with salt are a perfect follow up to the dark chocolate almonds.

But naked almonds? Really? Can they be as tasty?

Yes, I have to admit to my husband he is right. Theyare good. But I have more words to use than he does so I can tell you they taste like pure almonds, no cover up sweetness, salt or roasted flavor. They fill me up and leave me happy and not searching for something else to snack on. They feel good in the palm of my hand. Heavy, like I’m having something to eat as opposed to those cheesy air puffed corn things I love.

What’s your experience with almonds of any kind? Do you use almond flour to cook? Do you snack on almonds? Do tell in the comments.

And if you, like a few of my friends are allergic to nuts I apologize for this hunger inducing post.

If you’re looking for recipes to use almond flour check out this post

made from against all grains

Using GoodReads as an Author

Happy 4th of July weekend to my American friends and family. How odd it is to write that sentence. I live in America and never thought growing up I’d be in contact with anyone who didn’t live here. Times have changed so much since then.

Fireworks!

If you are a reader I hope you’ve connected to GoodReads. It’s an amazing way to learn about new books and readers rule on that site. If you like please follow me and you’ll see the reviews I write. Diana Lesire Brandmeyer on GoodReads.

Today I’m over at Angela Breidenbach’s site discussing the upcoming Montana Writers Retreat and how authors will learn how to use goodreads without fear.  You can read the article Mastering GoodReads here.

 

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze

This morning  there was a familiar but not recognizable smell in our home and it wasn’t from last night’s dinner. This smell triggered happiness and youth, but I couldn’t figure out what it was or where it came from.

Copyright: idal1981 / 123RF Stock Photo

Then I noticed the curtains dancing in front of an open window. A memory clicked into place.

Summer mornings waking up to white sheers billowing over my bed. A summer breeze was the best, notes of fresh grass, moisture from the dew and possibly, could it be hoped for? A cooler day?

Our house didn’t boast central air, not even a window unit graced our home. We had fans and soaked washrags in cold water to cool ourselves. A summer breeze offered refreshment that couldn’t be obtained anywhere in my neighborhood.

Now we have air conditioning all summer long–or at least we did. Ours in now waiting to be repaired which is why the window was open, and today I’m glad.

Every year we go from heat to air conditioning because of allergies. We’ve become insulated from some gifts that God brings us in the morning. Today, I was reminded of a time when summer breezes woke me with a curtain kiss.  I closed my eyes and breathed in the sweet air and remembered when the house was quiet, brother was asleep, and if I was quiet I could sneak past his room and have cherished time with my mom.

This song was a hit when I was a teenager and it makes me think of summer too.

What’s your best summer memory? Please share in the comments.
Tweet: Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel Fine http://ctt.ec/21Cqw+ #summer #blog

Not A Grain Breakfast Bars

Testing and reviewing the No Grain Breakfast Bars from the Against All Grain cookbook by Danielle Walker.

made from against all grains

Is breakfast a meal you’d rather skip? If so, the Not A Grain Breakfast Bars might be perfect for you. They aren’t difficult to make, take a minimum of ingredients and freeze well.

recipe page breakfast cookies

The recipe calls for blueberry preserves but I switched that out for cherry preserves.

Breakfast cookies Not A Grain Breakfast Bar

This is protein power packed breakfast  with almond and coconut flours.  Against All Grains Cookbook doesn’t list nutritional values which is a downside for me. I’d like to know how many calories, how much protein and sugars to enter into the MyFitnessPal app. All the recipes in the book are Paleo, gluten-free and dairy free. The recipes are easy to follow and what I’ve tried so far can’t be described using the word “lacking.” Walker’s recipes make you no longer care that your food has to be made differently.

If you need to eat gluten-free–even if you don’t, I’d recommend picking up this cookbook.

against all grain book

 

If you aren’t ready to commit to purchasing you can find this recipe on AgainstAllGrain’s website.

GLUTEN FREE BREAKFAST COOKIES PINTEREST

 

Logitech Wireless Keyboard

I have a logitech Wireless Keyboard and mouse but it died! So I made a video about getting a new one. Don’t you hate when the video freezes and you look like a demented person? 

Shocking video, I know! This is what an author looks like at the end of the day with no caffeine, allergies and lack of sleep! 

After much pretend typing on display keyboards I bought another logitech combination. I’m sad it doesn’t light up but I don’t think the lights would encourage me to write faster. They would most likely distract me especially since they are blue. The old Logitech Wireless keyboard and mouse lasted through writing 5 published books, countless emails and many hours of research. I’m hoping this one does as well.

www.dianabrandmeyer.com

So tell me, do you have all the letters on your keyboard?

Do you have trouble sharing your computer?

Are you willing to do a video about fun fact? 

*Thanks to Shelley Hitz for telling me next time to turn my phone sideways to record so I don’t end up with the black box.  Next time, if I’m brave enough to do this again I’ll do that. So much to learn!

 

 

Goji Berries Benefits

Goji Berries benefits are huge but were never on my bucket list of foods to try. When Viva Labs contacted me about writing a review I had a weak moment and said, “Yes, I’d love to try them.”

They came and I approached them with caution. Did I mention I am a picky eater? goji berries in a bowl

They looked like red raisins, didn’t smell awful so I popped one into my mouth. Then another, and another. These things are seriously good and good for you! That’s a bonus, right? They aren’t real sweet and I thought they left a warm buttery flavor on my tongue.

So what kind of benefits can you get from Goji Berries? Nice skin, they are loaded with beta- carotene, they can boost your immune system and protect your eyes. They are a good source of vitamin C and can reduce cold symptoms. They also have a lot of antioxidants. But don’t eat them if you are on blood thinners or take blood pressure or diabetic medication at least that’s what WebMd says.

There are also claims of weight loss, better sleeping and feeling calmer. I don’t know if those are true but if you like them why not see what happens?

Need more information about Goji Berries?

They have over 20 trace minerals and 18 amino acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin C along with a rich supply of antioxidants. Plus they are a source of dietary fiber so don’t eat a whole bunch in one day!

goji berries Viva labs

Want to try them for yourself?

Easter Meaning

The Easter celebration is a reminder that we no longer have to fear eternal damnation as long as we believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us.

Deep down I know this but I find at times my fingers grasping  chainlink staring at the cross, wondering. Did He really die for me? Why?

There’s nothing special about me, not really-sure I have some talents, I love my family and friends–even the cats who annoy me several times a day.

What makes me special enough to save?

cross behind fence

In Jeremiah 1-46 NIV We’re told before we were even formed in the womb God knew us! He knew what He was creating and all the faults we would have and the struggles we’d encounter to do what we are called to do. He knew if we choose to accept Him as Our Savior then we will come home to Him.

I’m letting go of the cold chain link and walking to towards the cross embracing what Jesus did for me. I will step aside from the insecure feelings that I’m not good enough. I am His. That’s the Easter Message I need to remember.

Perm Machine

 

For years my mom has said she’d rather go to the dentist than to the hair salon. This made no sense to me as I love to have someone fuss over me and make my hair do things I can’t.

woman in dental chair

Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

The discussion about her dislike came up again when I asked, “Mom, when you were little did you have curly hair?”

I wanted this information because I’ve decided to let my hair be what God intended–wavy and I wanted to know if I got it from my mom or dad.

“Oh no! My hair has always been straight. When I was 4 my mother started taking me to get perms. That was terrifying.”

“How could that be scary, mom?”

“There was this big machine that had curlers that dropped down. Electricity ran through the wires into the curlers making my hair into kinky curls.”

I stopped walking willing to let the Fitbit rest while I considered if I should drive to her house to make sure she was okay. “Electricity sent to your hair?”

“Yes, and I’ll never forget it. You go look it up on that machine of yours and you’ll see. It would have been about the mid 1930s. Then call me back.”

I said I would thinking,  “Mom has lost it. No way such a thing existed.” So I turned on my ‘machine’ that’s what mom calls the computer and searched for perms in the 1930s.

This is what turned up.

1930_girl_perm_machine-222x300

Thanks to PBA Progress for the use of the photo.

I had to call mom and tell her I found a photo.

She’s right it looks terrifying. The girl in the photo looks to be about the age my mom would have been.

So I’ve learned wavy hair doesn’t come easy if you don’t have it. I do and all I had to do was learn how to take care of it. It’s not as easy as it seems. I had to buy a book! This one:

Turns out I was doing everything wrong to get my waves to behave. I had to give up my flat iron and learn to leave conditioner in my hair. Someday I’ll post a photo. Not yet though because my hair hasn’t quite recovered from smashing it between the hot plates of the flat iron.

And just for fun here’s a short clip from a movie where the 1930s Friedrich perm machine is used.

And if you think this looks more like fun than scary I read that it is coming back in the form of a digital perm. Send me a photo if you have one done.

 


Downton Abbey and Blended Families

 

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched the season finale of Downton Abbey stop reading now.

Really, if you haven’t seen it stop reading or don’t blame me for telling you part of what happened.

Downton Abbey and Blended Families Wooden door in stone building England www.dianabrandmeyer.comCopyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

In the last episode of Downton Abbey, Isobel Crawley tells Lord Merton she can’t marry him. She refuses to live the last years of her life with children who do not like her and say they never will.

Never mind these are not small children they are Lord Merton’s adult children. Isobel Crawley gives up love, a position in society and amazing gardens because of bratty adults.

Did she do the right thing?

As a blended family mom I’m conflicted. True, the widowed Crawley has already had a child, seen him married, buried and has a grandson. She’s experienced a lot of living in her many years, has good friends and no serious need of someone to support her. That does make it easier to send someone away.

But…

She let love slip away.

She wasn’t willing to see if God had an amazing plan for her.

She wasn’t willing to see if those adult children would come around and find a way to at least like her.

I find it sad she wasn’t willing trust that love can work miracles. While I watched the last show, I understood her reasoning and for a second considered she was making an admirable choice by not bringing discord to Lord Merton’s home. After all, would he continue to feel a deep love for her if his sons refused to accept her? Perhaps even refused to come home for holidays?

Blended families didn’t have the help that’s available now. Maybe that’s one of the reasons she didn’t marry Lord Merton. Would she have made a different decision if she’d had someone to discuss this with? Another couple whom married despite objections and found a new world of love?

Something to think about.

For me, I’m so glad I was willing to remarry and blend a family. It was hard at times but so worth it. I don’t mind telling others-wrote a book about it so others considering blending would be aware of issues and find a way to work through them.

It isn’t always fun, but hey do you know a family where every day is like a trip to Six Flags?

Check out the book. We’re Not Blended We’re Pureed a Survivor’s Guide to Blended Families.

Please share this post with your friends.

 

10 Reasons To Get Away

Do you need 10 reasons to get away? I’ve got some for you.

It seems like we all should plan yearly vacations to exotic places or just to the beach and yet many of us don’t. Some jobs allow you to take a vacation but it seems like you can never get away.

If you work for yourself  leaving town means zero dollars are being added to your bank account. That’s our life but we decided to take a 36 hour break from our work and head to Michigan. Brr! Though it was cold and the winds were brisk at 40 miles per hour I came back relaxed, happy and ready to commit to writing a new book.

 

Tree on frozen lake

1. Leave behind a to-do list that will never be finished.

2. Bolster creativity with a new environment. This is the first time I saw Lake Michigan with ice. Impressive. 

3. Reconnect with your spouse or family.

4. It’s a chance to break out of the ordinary, Meatloaf Monday, Taco Tuesday and Pizza Friday menu.

Snowman made to look live Elvis

5. Working out in a new environment–hotels have great underused equipment.

6. There are no expectations of being on the job the moment you finish breakfast. As a freelancer, I’m at my desk as soon as my tea is made.

7. Long drives gives you a chance to talk with your spouse about dreams, the future or the reality of your lifestyle .

8. Someone else will take care of the pets. I love my cats but when I’m gone I don’t miss cleaning the litter box or opening the door 50 times a day.

Cat sitting on desk

9. Time to read without interruptions! (hint: grab one of the books I’ve written)

10.  A chance to take amazing photos for your Project Life scrapbook. 

Don’t wait to get away until you have a free week. Let these 10 Reasons to Get Away inspire you to take a short weekend trip.

And don’t forget to keep you memories to enjoy later in your Project Life scrapbooks!