Today I began in full force to try to get my items listed on Etsy, but for two days now, Etsy has had intermittent technical issues and this means it takes a million years long time to list. I stopped that project and started another, but midway through realized that something was off...I didn't feel productive. I realized that I haven't had a day off in weeks and weeks...so guess what? I decided to take a half-day off. I worked until about two in the afternoon and then turned my attention to some fun things.
First on the list was to finally use my felted soap kit (purchased here). I loved her bars when I bought them before the holidays and gave them away for Christmas, so shortly afterward, when I saw she had a kit prepared, I decided to go ahead and get one.
My plan is to give everyone felted soap bars for the holiday, but this time they'll be my own! The idea is to cover the soap with wool and then as you add water and follow the directions, the roving shrinks and you end up with a tightly covered bar of soap that can be used just like normal soap, but the "washcloth" is attached.
It's such a generous kit because once you use it, you know how and then can pick up wool roving and soap and begin making bars in whatever quantity and shape you like.
I got the hang of it by the third bar (at the top of the post). Leah makes such a great kit. Everything is included and there's enough roving to make another bar. I plan to keep these and make more for giving in browns, oranges and greens.
After making soap, I decided to finally get to those agave sweetened muffins. I used this recipe and substituted about 1/2 cup agave for the sugar (I could have used a little less, but this seemed perfect). Agave worked well, but when I beat the "sugar" and butter together, instead of becoming fluffy, it became creamy.
I reserved a tiny bit of the butter and agave mixture and mixed it with cinnamon and then made a piece of the world's best cinnamon toast.
It's important to note that agave isn't lower in calories than sugar and it isn't sooooo much better for you than natural organic unrefined sugar, but it doesn't cause the same kind of immediate blood sugar spike that sugar (in any form) does. It is better than honey in the sense that it mixes well with cold or hot beverages, so you can mix it in iced tea or iced coffee with no problem and it has no aftertaste. Agave and tequila are made from the same plant so I'm slightly hungover as I write this. :)
It should also be noted that agave is very high in fructose and even though the glycemic load is significantly lower than sugar and honey (I'm not as big a stevia fan anymore because of the aftertaste) it should still be consumed in moderation (she wrote after having cinnamon toast and two muffins for a late lunch).
Later, I headed over to the Urban Frog to hear Howard Lyman speak. It was great to see the place packed, though my photos were not a success and don't do the crowd justice.
There had to be 80-100 people there and it was a great talk. I learned more about the gross things factory farmed cows are fed that I ever wanted to know. Did you know that cows are fed ground up cats and dogs that have been eunthanized? Howard was sued along with Oprah for saying so...they were found not liable, because he spoke proven/verifiable truth.
I was sick to my stomach when he said that cows (naturally herbivores) are also fed ground up road kill collected off the highways and sold cheap. Cows used to be fed other ground up dead cows and while that practice is over, chickens are still fed ground up chickens that died of illness/mistreatement.
He said he knows that people aren't ready to give up everything, but that we can choose to eat better tomorrow than we did today.
I give Terry (the owner) a lot of credit for bringing Howard in from Virginia to speak because after all, she has a restaurant that offers dairy and meat choices. Terry addressed this and said she wants people to be educated about food and that she does all she can to get her food locally grown and organic. Even if it isn't all organic, she wants people to be aware so they can make good choices in their comfort zone, whatever their comfort zone may be.
Howard got me thinking... no big statements about becoming vegan here yet, but he did get me thinking.
So, you can see that I made the most of my half day off and had a pretty darn good time.