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Paige Bass Posts

Growing your own sprouts

May 12, 2013 • Paige

sproutinglentils-fivedays07How to Sprout Lentils

Sprouting is something that everyone can do to grow fresh nutritious food for very little cost.  For about five years, the Gustos have been growing our own sprouts and eating them every day.

At this point, we have developed our own method of sprouting, which is what I am going to show you.

To start things off, we’ll focus on lentils.

What’s a Lentil?

Lentils are a small brownish green legume found with the dry beans and rice. The store brand usually costs about $1.40 per pound.

Note: You can sprout several different types of dry beans, but some of them are poisonous, so make sure you choose something you can safely sprout!  Example: NEVER eat sprouted kidney beans.


What do I need to start sprouting lentils?

A bag of dried lentils

A wide-mouth glass jar

A lid and a screen

  • Metal ring lids that come with a canning jar (they rust, only use them once or twice).
  • Plastic lid, cut with a hole-saw
  • Metal screen from hardware store, cut with heavy duty shears. You need this for sprouting small seeds.
  • Plastic screen, cut from craft store “Plastic Canvas”.  Large holes, lots of air-flow

If you don’t have any of that stuff, a rubber band and some window screen works pretty well, too!


Getting Started:

Prepare your materials

Wash and sanitize the jar, lid, and screen to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Do this before each new sprouting “crop”

  • Wash in hot water by hand or in a dish washer.
  • Rinse in a light vinegar or bleach solution.

Start with about  1/4 cup of dry lentils.

Pick through them and remove any small stones and debris, and rinse well with cool water.
Note: I used a half cup for this tutorial – it was way too much!


Cover lentils with water and soak for 8 – 12 hours. 

Leave lots of room for lentils to expand.


Rinse and Drain

Drain and rinse your lentils well with cool, clean water. They will have doubled in size.

Rinse and drain lentils every 8 – 12 hours.

Place jar upside down in a bowl or rack at an angle steep enough to prevent water from pooling. Ensure there is plenty of air-flow through the lid. We keep our sprouting jars in a dish drying rack with a drainboard that drains into the sink.

Photo below – Left: Lentils               Right: Black Eyed Peas.
We have switched to all plastic lids now, this photo is a few years old.


At approximately 24 hours, the lentils are beginning to sprout. 

If you are going to cook them, you could stop here.  I like to sprout them a lot longer so that I can eat them raw.

Sprouted lentils after 36 hours:


Sprouts are Ready to Eat!

At 3 days, (below), the sprouts can be eaten raw.



At 3 to 3.5 days, the sprouts begin growing little leaves.

That is when we start eating them!

Five Days



Stopping the Sprouting Process and Storing your Sprouts

Refrigerating lentils almost stops the growing process.
Rinse sprouts and drain very well, gently pat dry with a towel.

  • Store sprouted lentils in a clean, dry jar secured with an airtight lid.
  • Rinse and drain well once per day.
  • Eat within a few days.

Lentil sprouts smell heavenly when you lightly saute them, but we usually eat them raw, sprinkled into our salads.  We usually have two jars going so that we have a constant supply of fresh sprouts.

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How to Avoid Burn-out: Make a List

April 2, 2013 • Paige

candlebothendsAltruists and volunteers are generally enthusiastic and big-hearted people who want to help everyone and fix everything – but no one person can do it all.  Over-committing leads to burnout, and burnout leads to less Good Stuff happening in the world.

I highly recommend making an actual, real list of all the things you’re committed to, and keep that list somewhere close at hand.  Put ALL of your commitments on there, including your job, your responsibilities at home, being Mom’s Taxi for the kids music lessons and sports, and all of your super awesome altruistic volunteering activities.

Once you have a list that you can actually look at – you will have a smaller chance of ever feeling like you don’t do enough, and you will have a smaller chance of committing to anything new that you don’t have time for.  Of course, that last part requires that you CHECK your list before saying YES to anything new, unless you are going to REMOVE something from your list.

I admit, I just wrote my list.  I’m shocked at how much is there.  There is no way any one person can do all of this on a regular basis for very long.  What that means is that some stuff has to come OFF of this list – whether I like it or not.

Looking at my list now, I am having a difficult time making a decision about what stays and what goes, but the alternative is not pretty.  I can’t remove my job, and I can’t remove school, nor can I remove anything I do for my family.  Like it or not, I must carefully consider all of my volunteering and altruistic projects and then decide on which of all these worthy causes I will devote myself to and KNOW that I’m going to kick ass and get it done because I’ve made room in my life.

Part of what we are all working towards is to inspire other people to make room in their lives for Good Deeds and to inspire altruism, and you will not accomplish that if the people around you are seeing you struggling to do it all.  Burning out is not going to inspire anyone to get off the couch and join you.   Make a list, make room, and make sure you can continue to be someone who is Getting Stuff Done.

LAI: Feeding People 02/23/2013

March 6, 2013 • Paige

Working together with Streets of Charity, the Louisiana Initiative (Moxie, Cognito, and Servo) fed more than 80 people a hearty, nutritious meal.

Sharing food is one of the most basic and powerful ways to help people. Considering that 1 in 6 people in America face hunger, there needs to be more of us feeding those who are struggling.  Cooking for 100 people is easier than you might think! Read more about this in Moxie’s article at:

Helping People 101: Sharing Food

March 4, 2013 • Paige

LouisianaInitiative_streetsofcharitySharing food is one of the most basic and powerful ways to help people. Considering that 1 in 6 people in America face hunger, there needs to be more of us feeding those who are struggling.  Cooking for 100 people is easier than you might think!

Every Saturday in Downtown Shreveport a group of people gathers in an empty lot, just before 5:00pm.  They set up folding tables and serve a meal for 50 to  100 people and then clean up, break down, and vanish leaving no traces that they were ever there, all within a single hour.

This past Saturday it was my turn to cook.  Because it is near the end of the month, I was told to expect a lot of people – as many as 100.  Normally I cook for three people so this undertaking seemed like a big task.  It really wasn’t.

Cooking for a large group is not difficult at all; it just requires some planning and forethought, plus a little extra equipment.  If (when?) you decide to do something like this, be sure to tell all of your friends and family what you are planning.  My mother-in-law happily donated her 3-gallon (12 quart) and 4.5 gallon (18 quart) stock pots to the cause, along with two pounds of frozen meat. A coworker donated a bag of chicken, which meant I didn’t have to purchase any meat at all. We picked up 4-gallon (16 quart) stockpots at a popular discount store for $12.00 each.  As long as you’re making stews or other foods with a lot of liquid and keep the heat fairly low, the cheap stockpots will do just fine.

I only spent about an hour researching “Cooking for 100 people” before I had a good understanding of how much food I needed to make. It takes about 6.5 gallons to serve one cup of food to 100 people, so I decided to make 8 gallons of stew and 10 lbs of rice to serve with it.  The last thing in the world I wanted was to run out of food before everyone got to eat. I have included my recipe below, including all of the day-before preparations and some advice to help you avoid my mistakes.

Here is a slide-show that I prepared from photos taken along the way.  In the past I have been against posting photos of good deeds, but I’ve since discovered that this is an EXCELLENT way to let friends and coworkers know what I’m doing  – and hopefully – inspire them to pitch in and help!  After sharing this around a little bit, I already have several people lined up to help me next month.  It is hard to argue with what works.

Hearty Bean Stew for 100 People

15 lbs of dry beans, any kind.   I used a mix of kidney, pinto, black, navy.
2 lbs pork tenderloin
6 lbs of chicken breast
1 lb pork sausage
3 bunches of celery, chopped
4 lbs of onion, chopped
chicken broth (I had homemade bone broth)
few teaspoons of liquid smoke
few scoops of minced garlic
Tony Cachere’s – green can
Oregano, salt, pepper

6 – 7  lbs of white rice  (I cooked 10 lbs – way too much!)

The day before:

Rinse and soak beans for a minimum of 8 hours.
Boil and shred the meat. Save the broth.

The day of:

Drain the beans and use fresh water and the broth from boiling the meat. Boil the beans hard for about 10 minutes.  Add a mountain of chopped onion and celery.  Add the meat, garlic and seasonings then reduce heat to low for about 3 hours.

I cooked 10 lbs of rice but 6 or 7 lbs would have been plenty.  The best way to cook large quantities of rice is in steam table pans in the oven, but if you don’t have those just cook it in several smaller batches.   I used a large stockpot which produced very mushy rice. It wasn’t a big deal this time since the rice was being mixed with stew.

The pots stayed very hot wrapped in blankets, and the baskets made it all easy to carry.  We didn’t have to worry about spilling in the car.

Love Yourself, so you can Trust Yourself

January 21, 2013 • Paige

‘Trust Yourself’ is a phrase we like to use, both in encouraging other people and in encouraging ourselves.  It seems so simple but it really isn’t, is it?  I can’t count how many times in the last year or so I’ve looked myself in the eye and said it right out loud so I could hear it:  “Come on, Moxie… Trust Yourself.”  Where does that Trust come from?  It’s hard to Trust Yourself if you don’t first LOVE yourself.

beautiful_woman_looking_into_mirrorI do pretty well with loving who I am, but it can be hard work sometimes.  It has helped that I don’t have a TV, and I never, EVER read those poisonous womens’ magazines.  You know the ones….. they tell us how we should look, what we should buy, and who we want to be like.  The central message is this:  “You need to change everything about yourself. Nothing about you is good enough.”

Take a very close look at the women on the covers.  Not only do the magazines feature women of only ONE body type, those shots are heavily altered.  There are websites  out there devoted to spotting altered photos and exposing them for the fakes they are.  Now that I’m hip to it, those cover models look like aliens with their over-sized heads and digitally sculpted waistlines.   I was in the grocery checkout line recently, eyeing a magazine cover featuring a photo story about “Hollywood Stars’ Bad Beach Bodies”.  After I finished snickering at the digitally added fat rolls and fake stretch marks, I got angry at the message being broadcast there.

How dare these women be comfortable in their own skin?  How dare we eat when we are hungry?  You should conquer that hunger because it is wrong!  How dare we mothers allow our stretch-marks to show in public?  How dare Demi Moore go to the store without makeup?  She can’t do that!

Guess what? She can. And so can you.

You all like to post photos of yourselves on FaceBook, so I know what I’m talking about when I say: You Are Beautiful.    You were beautiful when you woke up this morning. You are beautiful without your makeup.  I know that I am!  Don’t get me wrong – If you like to wear makeup, DO IT! You should do whatever you like to do, whatever makes YOU happy and forget what the magazines and commercials tell you.  Listen to what your own heart tells you.  It will tell you what I have told you: You are Beautiful, and there is so much to love about YOU.

I’d like to thank Temper for turning me on to this particular video from Laci Green.  Laci hit the nail on the head when she talks about feeling as if   “I’ve got the wrong boobs!”      [youtube=]

At first,  I had a difficult time believing that a woman SO gorgeous and perfect (hah!) ever struggled to love herself, but she has been subjected to the same marketing and societal pressures as the rest of us. We are not so different after all.

Laci Green is not the only lady to inspire me to work harder to love myself.   I’d like you to also meet Rachele.  Some day, I want to be like her:  Confident. Fierce. Unapologetic.  Beautiful.

Simple Skillet Granola

January 6, 2013 • Paige

Happy New Year!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?  The number one New Year’s Resolution is eating healthier. The most important thing is to get started – but where do you start?  Breakfast is very important, so begin each day with some clean, healthy food.

Granola is incredibly easy to make and if you vary the ingredients, you’ll never get tired of it.  Once you try home made granola – you may never buy boxed cereal again.

Skillet Granola – simple version

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats  (NOT quick cooking!)

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly stir in honey until combined.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of  foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.


Or if you want something more complex:

Skillet Granola – ‘to die for’ version

2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons real butter
1 cup of old fashioned oats  (NOT quick cooking!)
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, added just before the oats.
1/2 cup dried fruit added just as the granola begins turning golden brown.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Slowly stir in honey until combined.
Add sesame/sunflower seeds and cook for about two minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the oats and cook about 4 minutes, continuing to stir.
Add dried fruit just as the oats start to brown.
Granola is done when the oats are a golden brown.

Spread granola on a sheet  of  foil to cool.  It will crisp up as it cools.

Moxie’s Coat Drive 2012

December 30, 2012 • Paige

Something really cool happened this year.  I had a successful coat drive, but it wasn’t because I put in a lot of effort.  I just wasn’t able to this year.  Life happens, you know?

Rather than beat myself up about what I couldn’t do, I will rejoice in the fact that my coat drive happened almost WITHOUT ME!

Everyone who knows me, is aware that I do this every year. People were bringing me an item or two all through the year.  My “donations corner” slowly filled up.  About a month before I planned to post flyers and start advertising, a coworker gave me two huge bags full of stuff she had been saving for me.  This is now something I am known for – and hopefully next year I will have time and energy to accomplish something big.  If not, I’m still going to be happy that everyone in my life is thinking about donating coats and clothes all the time.

In a way, I’ve already accomplished something big!

It’s hard to tell from the photo below, but this is a giant box for shipping a dishwasher.


Moxie is co-Founder of the Louisiana Initiative, and a regular contributor for S.T.A.N.D.

Things That Matter

December 22, 2012 • Paige

Since the world ended yesterday (12/21/12), we are now all living in a brand new world. 

That made me start thinking about things that matter:

* Having clean water to drink
* Having enough food to eat
* Having someone to love and love you back.
* Having some place safe to sleep
* Having a purpose to your days.

Eat. Drink. Love. Sleep. Have purpose. Let everything else go.

Welcome to a new world.

– Moxie Gusto

Moxie is co-Founder of the Louisiana Initiative, and a regular contributor for S.T.A.N.D.

Simple Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

November 20, 2012 • Paige

I’m not originally from the South, but after nearly ten years, this West Coaster has acclimated pretty well.  One of the first things I noticed when we moved down here is that holidays in the South mean lots and lots of cooking.   I couldn’t believe how much work is invested in the huge and festive holiday meals.  Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love a Southern holiday feast.  Time spent with family sharing a delicious meal is precious.

I brought some of my family traditions down south as well.  My mom wanted holidays to be a time for everyone to enjoy time together, so her holiday meals were geared towards deliciousness that didn’t keep her in the kitchen all day.  I created this version of sweet potatoes a few years ago and it was a huge hit with all of my family.  Now it is an important part of our holiday celebrations.

Simple Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

4 – 5 lbs sweet potatoes cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
1 1/2 sticks of real butter
1 cup Steen’s cane syrup
1/4 cup of honey
1 to 2 tsps cinnamon
1 to 2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Coat the inside of crockpot with butter.  Cut the remaining butter into chunks and set aside.  Toss in cubed sweet potatoes, and then add the rest of the butter, cane syrup, honey, cinnamon, and vanilla.  Add chopped pecans when the potatoes are about half done.

Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for about 4 hours.

Shelly and Jake: Pet Therapy Pioneers by Moxie Gusto

October 29, 2012 • Paige

Happy Halloween from the Dread Pirate Shelly and her Terrible Sea Monster Jake

This was my mother and our family dog preparing to visit a convalescent hospital on Halloween, many years ago.  Every week Shelly and Jake visited patients in the hospital for rehabilitation, and they came to be well known around our little community.

My mother saw a news story about therapy animals being used in hospitals across the country and decided that we needed something like that our small town.  Neither Mom nor Jake had any formal training, yet they became the first pet therapy team in our area.

Mom spent most of her time doing things for other people, and had a frequent habit of rescuing and rehabilitating abandoned or abused animals.  After her children were raised, it was only natural that she created her own volunteering niche in the community.

Jake was adopted from the pound as a puppy, so we have no idea where he came from.  He was very well-behaved and incredibly affectionate, with a special talent for giving the best hugs ever.

I was too much of a teenager at the time to fully appreciate what they were doing, and never got involved myself, but I always listened to my mom tell stories after each visit to the hospital. I put up the ‘disinterested teenager’ front, but I was so proud of both of them.  She would get fired up describing the happiness that Jake brought to the patients.  Some of them never got any visitors except for Jake and Shelly.

It was not her intention, but my mom brought an incredible amount of joy to her own life through volunteering at the hospital.  She didn’t have any special skills, but she did have an abundance of love and a kind and friendly nature that uplifted everyone around her. She probably didn’t think I was listening but I came to understand that lifting up other people is one of the most important things you can do with your time. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from.  There is always something you can do that brings hope or joy into the lives of others.  Thanks, Mom.

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”   —   Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Footnote: Shelly and Jake underwent appropriate health exams, updated their immunizations and were screened by hospital staff prior to visiting any patients.