MODify: Make Your Own Easy Game Board Shelves 3 Ways, DIY Simple Shelving

Let's go back to a popular first world childhood dilemma. You're bored with pals, enjoying that luxurious free time you had no idea would be scant in adult years, and decide to bust out the board games to alleviate boredom. Lo and behold, you can't play because half the pieces are missing. Gremlins take them in the night, I tell you, because I have never had all of my game pieces remain intact. (Save for my precious Transformers Monopoly, naturally.) So what to do with the beautiful game boards now that you can't play? Turn them into sexy shelves!

There are three ways to approach this. 1) Attach your L Brackets to the wall, then balance your game boards on top. NOT very professional but it does work and doesn't damage potentially valuable old boards.

2) Attach your L brackets to the wall (opposite way that they're attached in the photos, "upside down") and glue your boards to the brackets! Choose a strong adhesive like E600 or hot glue. You can also use strong double-sided tape to attach them.

3) Instead of just placing your boards atop the L brackets you can nail the top of the boards to the wall, attach them to the wall with double sided tape, or use a picture hanging kit on the backs of the boards. You can attach the base to the L brackets with more glue or even attach a piece of wood for more stability.

Whatever method you choose, I'd make sure to stage these with lighter-items only! No breakables. This is not the spot to perch your bowling ball collection, clearly. I made my shelves from G.I. Joe and Mad Magazine game boards I found at the flea market last weekend. The project cost $6.00 total! (The L brackets were .25 cents each on clearance at IKEA.) It really balances out the other corner of my "office" space for the moment (until I install a wall-o-shelves, can't wait) and goes with my playful home aesthetic. Fun times, now to make a million more!

Dig through your closets to find game boards with missing pieces or keep an eye out for them, they're always popping up at flea markets and thrift stores!
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Pantry Staples: Spices and Condiments for Creating any Dish you Crave Healthfully

I've been cooking mostly healthy vegan and "raw" for 2.5 to 3 years at home and for over a year professionally in a raw vegan kitchen* and I've learned a bout how keeping your pantry stocked for making any dish you crave along the way. This is a great guide for anyone just trying to incorporate more home cooking into their life, too. Print and use it as a shopping list next time you're out. I like to buy herbs in bulk from places like Whole Foods and Native Sun (local) but Mountain Rose Herbs has excellent selection and quality herbs and spices as well.

An earnest peek at some pantry staples in-use in my kitchen right now. Spices above mixed with my roomie's meat marinates. Not a discriminative household! All kinds of cooking going on in here.

* Make sure all the nuts and seeds you use are raw, untoasted, and unprocessed. We like to soak them for at least a couple hours to remove the enzyme inhibitors, start the germination process and make them easier to blend and work with but it's not necessary, 

Nuts: Buy 'em in bulk by the pound at Whole Foods if you have one near your or order in bulk to save money. I don't keep all of the nuts below in my fridge myself, I just buy in bulk as needed and store them in glass jars in my fridge until they're needed. You can freeze them to keep them safe as well.

* Almonds, * Brazil nuts, * Cashews, * Shredded Coconut, * Pecans, * Sunflowers Seeds, * Walnuts, * Pine Nuts

Seeds: Again, easy to buy these by-the-pound in bulk as needed from a health food store near you. I'll comparison shop online and see what websites offer the best deals on delivering bulk nuts, seeds, and spices. I want to work with people to provide national discount bulk nuts, seed, herb and spice shipment options- you game for that? E-mail me! I can't prove we should do it without proving the need.

* Chia, * Buckwheat groats, * Hemp Seeds/Nuts, * Pumpkin Seeds, * Quinoa, * Sesame Seeds, * Sunflower Seeds, * Wild Rice

Dried Fruit: Many delicious raw deserts will call for dried fruit- and they're wonderful to snack on when you're traveling. You can also buy and order these in bulk.

*Cacao powder and nibs, * carob powder, * cranberries, * dates, * mangoes, * raisins, * sun-dried tomatoes

Oils: You can also buy oils in bulk (bring your own glass jars) at some health food stores. These add creaminess and flavor to a lot of healthy recipes. Sesame is a must for a lot of Asian dishes. Store your cold-pressed oils in the fridge to keep them from spoiling.

* Coconut oil, * olive oil (extra-virgin, cold-pressed if possible), * Sesame oil

Sea Vegetables (optional): We rarely use these in our kitchen but sea veggies are full of minerals and iodine and if you enjoy sea food (like I did!) they're delicious. Bonus points for being crazy low-calorie and thyroid/metabolism regulating. These veggies are bought dried, soaking them in water reconstitutes them. I love kelp noodles for pad thai and asian noodle dishes, nori for wraps, and we use irish moss as a thickener.

* Kelp noodles, * nori sheets (can be raw or toasted- toasted is much easier to find), * wakame, * irish moss

Sweeteners: I prefer stevia (preferably green powdered but use the white powder as well), it's zero calorie and doesn't register in your body as sugar at all. It should be the only sugar alternative versus the unhealthy aspartame filled Sweet N Low style varieties. The syrups below are natural and lower-glycemic, but the best sugar for us is straight from ripe fruit.

* Agave Syrup, * Brown Rice Syrup, * Maple Syrup (B grade), * Stevia Powder (pref. green unprocessed powder. You'll likely have to order it online.)

Spices: This is what really transforms a raw, vegan, or healthful dish into a dish resembling flavors you remember from your favorite foods. I assure you, you can make any dish you crave "more healthy" and still flavorful if you're using the right spices. These are my go-tos.

Middle Eastern/Mediterranean: Sala, Cumin, Paprika, Curry Powder
Mexican: Chili Powder, Chipotle Powder, Cayenne
Italian: Oregano, Rosemary, Ground Black Pepper, Sage, Basil, Thyme
Savory: Onion Powder, Ground Black Pepper, Himalayan pink sea salt
Deserts: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla (powder, alcohol-free extract, and beans), Ginger & Stevia Powder, Cocao and/or Carob Powder

Herbs: Fresh herbs aren't necessary but they can really make a difference in a dish. These are my go-to favorites. Use these as a guide for planting some herb seeds perhaps? I love picking herbs right from the garden and adding them to dishes.

Italian: Flat Leaf Parsley, Basil, Sage, Oregano
Middle Eastern: Curly Parsley, Spearmint, Cilantro/Culantro
Mexican: Cilantro, Oregano
Other Favorites: Chives, Green Onion

Condiments: These keep indefinitely in your fridge. I personally will cut the amount of salt in a recipe when I make it these days but it's nice to have nama shoyu or Bragg Liquid Aminos on-hand for flavor. Nama Shoyu is simply a raw, unpasturized soy sauce and Bragg Liquid Aminos is gluten-free, salty and similar to soy sauce but with a slightly different flavor. Try both and see what works for you. Miso is a fermented, cultured, salty food that adds soupy or "asian" flavor to a lot of dishes. Nutritional yeast is cheesy, delicious and full of B Vitamins.

* Apple cider vinegar, * bragg liquid aminos, * miso (unpasturized, preferably white), * nama shoyu, * nutritional yeast.

*I Used Ani's Raw Food Essentials and my experience working as a raw vegan chef as my guide. Great book!

* The raw vegan kitchen I work in part time, by the way is Shakti Life Kitchen. We deliver our food to almost every health food store in town, we're not a restaurant. Check out the deli of Native Sun and Grassroots to try the amazingly delicious food! You can also order dishes for delivery to your door. They're only local, sorry the tease! Just answering a frequently asked question. I can't share recipes from the kitchen, either but they do have a lot of delicious ones on their website. Nope, not paid to share any of this.

* Final Note, again, I'm not a stickler for being fully raw or organic. I just like to share ideas and information that help people live healthier. I had good results and want others to as well.

The Raw Vegan 101 Series: 
Part 1) What is it and Why is it Good for You?
 + Another Raw Info Post
Part 2) My Raw Routines and Tips to Stick to It
Part 3) 
Essential Raw Vegan Tools, Books, and Resources 
Part 4) Pantry Staples for Creating any Dish you Crave Rawfully (You are Here)
Part 5) Adding More Raw Healthfulness to Your Diet On-The-Cheap (April 22)

Extra) Straightening Out Misconceptions and My True Mission

Got any pantry staples/tips to share? I didn't include it but I do eat popcorn when I'm busy, not ideal but high in fiber, at least. Would a discount bulk nut/spice/health food staple service be something you'd use? Let me know, you gotta speak up if you want it.
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What I Didn't Buy at The Flea Market: A Human Skull, Anyone? Yes Indeed.


The day was appropriately sultry and grimy the first time I got to thoroughly examine a real human skull; who's flesh once covered these bones the world may never know. The flea market vendor claims to be a medical assistant and explained that the sell of human skulls is legal if they're used for medical use only. He bought the one above for $200 from his teacher and is attempting to sell it for more (likely $600ish) on eBay.

The seller, in his cargo cut-off army camouflage pants, wife-beater, tats and thick south-eastern accent doesn't look anything like the picture of a medical assistant but when out in my colorful sundresses (hunting uniform) I don't look like a person with action figure collections that can nearly recite the 1986 "Transformers the Movie" either. You never know.

Instead of questioning further I relished an opportunity to examine the remains; turned it, felt the heft and texture, made a mental apology to whatever special person this was (one that never imagined his skull would end up here in front of your eyes- hopefully not a murderer), snap photos, and leave with a renewed appreciation for the unique wunderkammer wonderland that is Florida thrifting.

You never know what you're going to find.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.
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