I have released four recipe books so far:

The Best of the Sunny Raw Kitchen
The Best of Raw Freedom Community
Delightfully Raw and
Deliciously Raw

These feature some of the most delectable creations to have come out of my raw kitchen and will appeal to anyone interested in a healthier diet, regardless of their level of knowledge and experience. From easy one-step everyday fare to more elaborate and involved gourmet dishes and layered cakes, they offer something for everyone and every occasion. Incredibly tasty smoothies, creamy and comforting warm soups, sexy salads, delicious nut cheezes, satisfying entrees and scrumptious guilt-free desserts...

Healthy food never tasted so good!

To learn more about my recipe books, click here!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

SRK Tour Adventures: Texas Part II

I said I'd be back soon, didn't I!?! ;-)

Brazos Bend State Park, Needville
From Houston we went straight to Brazos Bend Park which is only about a one hour drive from downtown. What a radical change of scenery from the big city! Named among America's top state parks, Brazos Bend includes almost 5,000 acres. Whoa, that's gotta be the biggest park we've visited so far! The park contains three different ecosystems and is simply bursting with wildlife. One of its main features are the huge Spanish moss-draped live oaks that I've come to love so much.

The campground offered about forty sites, some of which were quite private and with lots of tree coverage. So funny how each place we've camped at has its own quirks. I thought this one was mostly geared for RVs rather than tents, as the sites' access are paved and the location of the electrical outlets was a bit awkward. Our extension chord was too short and didn't reach all the way to the picnic table, so we ended up doing all of our blending on the ground.

Thirty-five miles of trails run through Brazos Bend State Park so there's a little something for everyone. You can walk, bike or horse ride along one of its many creeks and lakes, through swamp, prairie and bottomland hardwood forests. It rained for a few days while we were camped there but we still managed to explore several of them.

We went for a short walk before setting up the tent. It was that perfect time of day when everything just seems to glow. Be-yu-ti-ful!

Horseshoe Lake

One day we walked the popular 40-Acre Lake, Spillway and Elm Lake trail loop which is about a 5-mile hike.

Here's an oldie!

This combination of trails is said to offer the best wildlife viewing anywhere and they weren't kidding!

I swear I've never seen so many birds all at once! It says on their brochure that more than 300 species can be observed in this park. We actually bumped into a few birders with the great big cameras and powerful zooms along the way. "The right type of collecting" as one of them said. Ohhhhhh, the serenades we heard every morning! Don counted nine different bird calls one time.

If I was a birdie I'd like to hang around here too! lol

A great blue heron

But our wildlife sighting didn't stop at feathery creatures, no sirree!

Ever since our arrival in Florida we've seen warning signs about alligators, as they can be found in many bodies of water in the South. In spite of our keeping an eye out for these scary guys we hadn't encountered a single one. We'd heard that Brazos Bend was well known for being the home of plenty a gator. In fact, the park's brochure even describes the proper 'alligator etiquette'. It says: "Avoid any alligator sunning itself in the middle of the trail or lake bank." I couldn't help but chuckle when I read this as it sounded so unreal to the Canuck that I am.

Well, we didn't see one gator that day, we saw four of them!!!

We stumbled upon the first two (don't worry, it's just a figure of speech! lol) as we were approaching a small bridge. They were quietly resting along a bank, less than ten feet away from the path!!! (They actually advised "to keep at least 30 ft. from an alligator.") Even though someone had warned us about them, I nearly jumped out of my skin! After some hesitation I gingerly detoured as far away from them as I could. I mean, they were like so close!!! They didn't seem to take much notice of me except for one of them following me with his gaze.

When we walked by the gators again about an our later, they had barely moved. In fact, they were staying so still that Kylo didn't even see them. I could just picture Kyky going over to them and lifting his hind leg to pee thinking they were logs. Eeek

This is the big guy (or maybe it was a momma?)

And here's the smaller one.

As we approached the bridge on the way back, there was a couple reading the information marker on the opposite side of the path. "I bet they haven't even noticed the gators!" I told Don. Sure enough, they hadn't cuz when I silently pointed behind them they jumped back. (I'd have been freaked out too!) The woman started talking a little hysterically and I don't think Big Guy liked it much as he began to hiss. (Oh-oh, another one of the 'no-nos' on the alligator etiquette thingie!) Whoa, you should have heard that low primordial sound! "Bug offfffffff!" I could almost hear him growl. lol Definitely not the type you want to upset!

A little further along the trail was another gator snoozing in the water.

And here's Gator #4 aka 'The Floating Head'.

Phfew, what a thrilling experience that was! On a much milder note, Don spotted this little turtle.

After all the excitement of the day before, our walk along the Bluestem and White Oak trails was rather uneventful. It was still pretty, though! At one point the path hugged the Brazos River after which the park is named.

One evening we saw a bunch of deer grazing in the woods right across from our site. I actually took this pic from inside the tent!

Rain, Rain, Rain
As I was mentioning before, it rained on and off for the last three days that we were at Brazos Bend. Our next destination didn't look much more promising, so we thought we might as well wait it out as it is no fun to pack up in the wet. On the bright side, it allowed me to catch up on my blogging. Yay! It's so hard to keep up, as the stories and pictures are accumulating more quickly than I can type! Thanks to the tarp we've been rigging over the tent, the roof didn't leak. On the other hand water started to seep in through the floor as the soil couldn't drain it fast enough. A lake had begun to form itself right next to us so Don bailed some of the water. It helped a bit. It was a pretty major operation, trying to dry the bed and our blankies inside the tent as there was no laundry facilities. All part of the camping adventures, eh?

Puss Goes Raw
I just had to share a few photos of Miss Puss who was on a mega fruit kick while we were staying at Brazos Bend. It started off with her feriously licking some honeydew melon we had sitting in a bowl on the bed (which is also serving as our table these days. ;-) ) She'd expressed an interest in melon before so we weren't overtly surprised. Apparently it might even be a 'cat thing', as someone else told me her puss loved melon too.

Munching Away On Melon

But then she attacked durian with a vengeance; now THAT was weird! You gotta understand that she's normally super picky, suspiciously sniffing and more often than not turning away in complete disgust from anything that isn't her regular (although healthy) cat food. We've gotten her into eating a raw egg yolk almost every day, but there are times when she's even not into that. She'll only eat it if I finger feed it to her. So for Puss to be into stinky durian... Wow! She wasn't even just licking it like she normally does with fruit or anything that might spark her interest, she was wolfing it down! I guess that confirms our theory that there is something strangely attractive about this exotic and unusual fruit. ;-)

Mmmm... That was goooood!

Palmetto State Park, Gonzales
From the great big park that is Brazos Bend, we made our way to little Palmetto State Park in Gonzales, about an hour drive east of San Antonio. Angel, the lady I'd talked to in Louisiana, had told me it was one of her personal favorites and we, too, couldn’t resist its quiet charm.

This 289-acre park resembles the tropics more than the surrounding brush country and has drawn a lot of interest from the botanical community. The park is named after the dwarf palmetto found throughout it; something of an oddity for being so far west.

It provided us with the perfect hanging spot to relax for a few days. We arrived on a Sunday and almost had the place to ourselves, which was nice. The host camper kindly made a point to come to our site to welcome us. “Well, if y’all need anything let me know!”

Shortly after we finished our dinner, we saw a fantastic sunset on the San Marcos River. The latter runs through Palmetto Park and passed right behind our campsite.

God sure took out His paintbrushes that night...

As a bonus the weather was beautiful and warm, which was much welcomed after the rain spell at Brazos Bend. It gave us a chance to walk around Palmetto’s very nice brand new trail system. I thought that the mixture of trees, palmettos and cactus made for a really interesting landscape.

Another thing that was unusual about this park was that there were heaps of vines attaching themselves to the trees. Some would shoot straight up for several feet before finding a branch. Makes you wonder how they even knew it was there!

You can see one to the left of the trail. It's a little darker than the surrounding trees.

Kyky among his first real big cacti.

And just one more pic I particularly like.

Ooopsie, this is turning into yet another long post. Alrighty then, stay tuned for more of our Texas adventures!


  1. Is there a possibility your kitty is pregnant?

  2. Full of priceless pics.
    Especially the one of Puss "meditating after durian".

  3. Hehe... Nope, she's not pregnant. She just loooooooves food, like me! ;-)

  4. Thanks for sharing! That's so wild that your cat ate durian!

  5. I'm sorry to have missed you on your trip through Houston. I was giving hospice care to our old pup Gertie, who passed away this week after a long, wonderful life--and could no pull myself away.

    I'm fascinated by your experiences in Texas. I had kinda been looking past the beauty of the place in my quest to move on to other pastures...and you have helped me remember the nice bits. I do think we have some of the prettiest sunsets here. You are right, they do "glow!"
    Happy Adventures to you and yours!

  6. what gorgeous parks and photos. they make me want to hop in the car and start drivin' south!

  7. great trip pics! i am sooo afraid of gaters. glad you remained safe.

    curious what puss does when you go out and about? does she stay in the car or tent? i love that she eats durian.

  8. I am soooo jealous! This looks like an amazing place!

  9. My kitty is a picky eater too, but seems to love broccoli and peas. ?? I'm off to try the melon experiment on him...

  10. Wow! Alligators! Thrilling...Dangerous but what an adventure!
    I have a puss that won't eat anything but her cat food...maybe I'll get her to try durian...if I can find it!!!
    Sheryl xx

  11. Wow, check out those reptiles! I love all the pics!

  12. I've read that all animals love durian in the wild and that must be one of the reasons they evolved with such spikey shells and on 60 ft. trees. Sumatran tigers apparantly love them, so Puss is in good company!

  13. I've truly been enjoying the stories and pictures from your trip. Your cross country tour has seemed so carefree. I really admire how you guys just take everything as it is - cold, rain, or warmth and sun - and seem to enjoy it all. Thanks for sharing!

  14. So cute, your kitty enjoying durian - as you say, usually an acquired taste!

    I grew up in B.C. (Lavington, to be specific, a little east of Vernon and west of the Kootenays) so it was interesting to see you lived there too.

    I love your blog and I you have been a huge inspiration for me, a raw newbie.

    If you have forgotten what a dehydrator looks like (while on the road), take a look at one of my first attempts to dry a bunch of stuff!


    All the best on your journeys and spreading the raw word!

  15. This were really cool pictures and it
    looks like you had really cool
    adventurous vacation. It great that your dig also eat raw food.
    villas bali

  16. Thanks junglegirl for that little bit of info. That's so cool!

  17. Hi Carmella, Don, Kylo and Puss!

    I have been enjoying your blog Carmella very much. Not having access to internet for sometime has left me out-of-the-loop, but I plan to follow your blog more often.

    Looks like you are all on quite the adventure, an amazing learning experience I'm sure.

    I really enjoy your blog; the beautiful recipes and photos.

    I would love for you to come visit my virgin blog one day if you have a chance. It's only a wee baby and not as exciting as yours, but it's been fun to post to it!

    Love your blog and appreciate all of the time you put into this cozy little mobile sunny kitchen!

    Many blessings to you all for a safe and happy road adventure.