Today is the 8th anniversary of my mothers passing away.  That day and the signs of death are still so vivid in my memory and probably always will be.  It’s funny how things happen sometimes when we think about it but I know everything happens the way it’s supposed to.  I wasn’t supposed to be with her when she took her last breath, I told God I couldn’t handle it.  I arrived to her hospital room about five minutes after.  That gave the nurses that were with her and that had helped care for her over the 10 months she was in and out of the hospital time to start mourning.

Thank God and my mother for the strength that was given to me that day and the immediate days after.  I was able to fall apart and truly realize that I had lost my mother and best friend in the months that followed.   She was for a long time the first thought in my head when I woke and the last thought before slumber.  While it’s easier now, the pain will always be there and some days it seems just like yesterday that I was speeding through the streets to get to the hospital and running down the hospital hall to get to her on December 14th, 2002.

When I really think back I realize what a strong woman I had as a mother.  I never remember seeing her cry even during very stressful and dramatic times.  She was full of life and laughter even during adverse times.  She was selfless even during my selfishness.  She sacrificed more for me than I will ever know.  I miss those days of shopping together, lunches out during the week, invitations to dinner at her house after I had moved out, her love for Christmas and Halloween, the compassion and heart that she had for the children she took care of for her job.  I miss her calling me everyday at the same time even though it made me mad at the time because I was trying to watch The View.  Maybe I took it all for granted.

As crazy as it may sound sometimes I think she gave up her life so that I could have a life.  I am forever grateful for my memories and everything that my mother taught me, with words or without.  May you continue to Rest In Peace.  Forever in my heart ~ E.P.T. 12.14.1955 – 12.14.2002




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Food 101


Some of you know I am currently in Morocco right now until January.  Wow, how this trip has opened my eyes in different ways.  Starting with the food.  I just happened to watch a rebroadcast of Oprah Food 101 yesterday.  It reassured me that the changes I have already decided to make about the foods I put in my body when I get back to the US are the correct ones.  Here I have access to plenty of fresh inexpensive produce.  We have a bag of tomatoes in the fridge – $1.00 for 2.5lbs.  Where can I find a deal like this in the US?  Exactly.  Not only are these tomatoes inexpensive but they taste good.  I can tell a definite difference in the taste of produce here.  I can actually taste what I am eating because produce is not treated chemically the same way here.  I do not need glazing agents added to my produce to make it appear “fresh” longer.  While a lot of produce here is locally grown, not all.  I have put my mouth some of the best bananas ever, from Ghana. 

Nearly all of the meals eaten here are prepared at home, not by some fast food chain.  Meat or fish, vegetables, beans and bread, fruit for dessert – with this why do we need boxed macaroni and cheese, boxed mashed potatoes (**gag**) or frozen dinners?  Food is seasoned with spices, garlic and onions versus flavors that have been chemically produced or have had food coloring added.   Spices are all the food coloring we need.  Really next time you go grocery shopping read the labels.  Do you know what over half of the ingredients listed are?  I sure don’t.  Bread is made fresh daily.  While bread is one of my weaknesses and I have been battling with myself not to eat so much here, I will start baking my own bread.  While I may not leave Morocco any thinner because I can’t lay off of the bread and muffins for breakfast, I will leave healthier and will take with me “home” culinary ideas that are priceless. 

While the convenience of fast food is tempting and cheaper, we have so much disease, obesity, etc in the US.  Why not make a few changes now versus paying the serious price as we get older?  Start with small changes.  Why not make a big shopping trip on Sunday stocking up on produce, beans, whole grains, grass-fed/free range meat?  Yes, your shopping trips will be a bit more expensive but think of all the health benefits.  Used to eating out four nights a week?  Try cooking at home two of those nights, or even cook foods that will do well as leftovers for the next night.  Perfect example: roasted chicken – and I mean roast it with herbs, spices, throw some onion and garlic in the cavity, a little olive oil and you can even roast some fresh veggies in the same dish!  Hello!  It can be used a million ways as leftovers.  Chop some leftover chicken up for a tossed salad (let’s even work on making our own dressing!), quesadilla with spinach, black beans, a little cheese and homemade salsa/guacamole, soup with veggies and rice.  Getting the idea?  Like spaghetti?  Try making your own tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic (no garlic powder!) and herbs.  Make your own pizza, instead of reaching for that frozen one…you can even use some of that left over roasted chicken for a topping with fresh veggies.  Snack on nuts, fruit and full fat yogurt instead of a rice cake.  Find some quick bean soup recipes online for lunch instead of that God awful frozen dinner that you think is lite and HEALTHY.  Really, what’s there to think about.  Read the ingredients of that frozen dinner and read an easy bean recipe that would have simple ingredients like this: beans, onion, garlic, tomato, spices, chicken bullion.   

Let me know which you would prefer after reading your ingredient labels and reading up on the health benefits of spices – turmeric, cumin, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, etc and eating whole, close to the earth foods.

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