Friday, April 30, 2010

Garden Progress

Our garden is looking great. So far everything is healthy and I am very excited about getting to eat all our yummy food!

These little babies will eventually be grapes!



The flowers of the strawberry plants.





Does anyone need some mint?


Cilantro


Dill


Blueberry bushes


Lettuce

One of the many tomato plants!


The beginning of the sugar snap peas


Beans

Even Elias is in on the gardening action. My mom bought him some of his very own seeds to plant. He couldn't wait to dig in the dirt and garden like Daddy!









The flower seeds I planted are beginning to come up and I am crossing my fingers that I don't kill them. It's always hit or miss when it comes to me and planting.

Remember

Don't forget to check out the giveaway!

Happy Birthday to my Mama!

We love you and hope you have a great day!!!!

Isn't she adorable?










Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More snack ideas

We have tried two new snack ideas this week!

We made these this week.







I changed the recipe a hair, adding black sesame seeds to it and omitting hempseeds (which I didn't have). This recipe is pretty versatile and I might try it next with walnuts or pecans.  We ate it some days for breakfast, some days as a snack and even as dessert.



I also whipped up a dip today that can be used for dipping fruit or even used in the banana burrito.  Take a couple tablespoons of peanut butter (I assume any nut butter would work) and add about 2 t carob powder (it's caffeine free, rather than chocolate), a teaspoon ground flax seeds, a couple teaspoons agave (or maple syrup) and a little rice milk to thin it. Mix it up, yum! I chopped us an apple for Elias and mixed it all together. He loved it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Giveaway!!


I have an exciting giveaway for a $40 gift certificate to use on any of the CSN stores!! They have a lot of products to choose from, anything from kitchen appliances, corner tv stands, items for kids, pets, you name it. I am particularly fond of the bakeware!!






To enter to win the gift certificate, post a comment including name, email address and your all time favorite book. You have til May 5th to enter. I will choose a name randomly.

Good Luck!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Light Easy Meal

 
We had such a yummy and easy meal tonight even though, as usual, we were low on groceries!
I made rice in the rice cooker (half white/half brown) and then made a version of the Hot Rice dish from The Kind Diet.  When the rice was done cooking, I added 3 T lemon juice, 2 T olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and 1/4-1/2 t dried basil (I would have preferred fresh).  I cut up a head of fresh broccoli and sauteed it in a few t olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and cooked til it softened but still had a bite to it. I ate this over the rice.
Then Phil picked collard greens from the garden. I soaked and rinsed them and deveined them. I cut them up in large chunks and steamed them for 8-10 minutes, ran them under cold water and squeezed out the excess liquid. Then I layed them on a plate, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and lemon juice on them, til mixed.



They were SO good and SO good for you. We added some leftover lentils we had and sliced up a cucumber and we had a great light and healthy meal (and inexpensive)!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Photo Friday!

Our week in pictures!


Forcing togetherness!!



Our newest neighbor, Daisy!



Sweet Miss Lucy!



Elias and his buddy Greyson being silly.



Tubby time.



Elias and  Kathleen having fun in the backyard!

Earth Day, everyday!

I don't do anything different or special for Earth day! I simply try everyday to be mindful of how I can reduce my wastefulness and my impact on the earth. This includes:

  1. Using cloth napkins instead of disposable.
  2. Using cloth diapers (Elias is potty trained now, but we used Bum Genius)!
  3. Making and using reusable wipes
 When he was younger, I would wet them and store them in an empty disposable wipes container. At first I mixed together a solution of soap and essential oils, but soon got lazy (as I do) and just wet them and stored them. It worked just as well. Now I keep them near the toilet and use them on him instead of toilet paper and then throw them into a diaper bag to be washed later. I made a lot of these wipes and have used them for runny noses and even as a washcloth. I made a template out of some cardboard and used that as my pattern. I used flannel, stacked two together and serged them so that don't unravel.

4. I bought cheap washcloths and use them instead of napkins for Elias, to wipe up kitchen spills, and sometimes to wash dishes. Each night before dinner I wet one and set it beside his plate and as he needs he can wipe his hands on it. Then when dinner is over, I use it to wipe off his face and hands and the table around his plate.





5. Consider the thrift store first before buying new (or craigslist)!
6. I went through Elias' old burp cloths and got out the bigger ones and keep them in a drawer in my pantry for bigger spills, this reduces our need for paper towels.
7. Buy in bulk when available. Cheaper and less packaging to throw away.
8. Stop using so many throw away items, including the small things. I made reusable makeup removers and facial pads for washing my face.
9. Rethink your life. What you buy and why. How you live and where improvements can be made. Be open to change, it can be very exciting!! Consider the compact pledge. This blog is one of my absolute favorites, very inspiring and encouraging.
10. Swap it!. Swaptree.com is a great site. Out with the old, in with the new (to you). Isn't it wonderful getting something in the mail! By the way, I need a pen pal!!!
11. Repurpose. For instance, old sweatpants into toddler undies. Doesn't he looked thrilled!


Last but not least...consider the impact your diet has on the world around you. As I like to say: Vegetarianism is environmentalism. It is the single most important thing you can do to positively impact the environment. Carrying a reusable bag to the grocery store can't touch it!!

Enjoy the day. Enjoy your life!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Soaked steel cut oats

One of Elias and my favorite breakfasts is oatmeal (and variations of it). I usually intend to make it the night before because he always wakes up and is immediately hungry.  Since oatmeal can take a little while to make (we don't use microwaveable) a lot of times I will just end up giving him cereal or toast. Well I remembered last night and as I was getting out the ingredients to make him some oatmeal I decided that instead of cooking the oatmeal, I would soak the oats overnight.
First off, it takes forever for oatmeal to cool enough for him to eat after I have cooked it.
Second, with the weather warming up, hot, steamy oatmeal becomes a bit unappealing.
Thirdly, soaking it is much easier than cooking
Last off (and most importantly), soaked grains are soooo much better for you than not soaking them. By soaking your grains before (or in this case: instead of) cooking them you make them far more digestible, making the vitamins and minerals readily available to absorb, and therefore more nutritious! In fact, many people who are intolerant of certain grains find that by soaking them they are able to eat them with no side effects.

So last night right before I went to bed, I put about 1/2 to 1 cup of steel cut oats into a bowl and covered with filtered water. When I woke up I drained and rinsed them.
Then I added:
  • rice milk
  • cinnamon
  • raisins
  • pumpkin seeds
  • maple syrup
The oats were very soft by morning! It was a great alternative to cereal. It was raw. It was delicious. It was fast and easy!!!

Elias' bowl


He ate every little bit!


I put more rice milk in mine and made it more like cereal!


We also went on a nice 30 minute walk this morning around the neighborhood. This is my goal for the next few months: walking 4-5 times a week for 30 minutes and then do these exercises. I am motivated by a potential beach trip in July!!

The Weekend

Phil's family was in town this weekend and man did we eat!  I ate a lot of things that I really shouldn't have. Phil's mom is a wonderful cook and she showed up Friday afternoon with a dinner she had cooked for us plus dessert, loads of snacks and breakfast for the next morning. She is also such a sweetie that (as usual) she gave me a gift card to Starbucks!! This woman is gold!

We had a great time with everybody, spending most of our time outside on the patio enjoying the beautiful weather. We unsuccessfully tried to fly a kite, walked around eating asparagus and radishes from the garden, and I think there was a race between Phil and his sister at some point.  We also got out Saturday afternoon, drove down to Cannonsburg for the Pioneer Days.  Elias got to see a train. We all ate kettle corn, ran into some old friends who come to find out have started a new church ( I am really wanting to visit soon). Phil grilled out that night and afterwards we all vegged out and watched Hot Fuzz! Then on Sunday before they left we went to Far East for lunch! It was a great weekend and of course, I forgot to take any pictures.

Last night I made some mini chocolate donuts from a recipe I modified. I really wanted to take something over to my friend Lori, who had just had her baby (and I really wanted an excuse to see her)!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Babies, breakdowns and bargains

Our week so far:

Well, I am thrilled to say that my best friend's baby arrived yesterday morning around 8:30 am. Miss Lucy Dean Foutch!!  She is beautiful! We got to meet her and hold her and of course I forgot my camera. Boo!

This has been the week of the breaking down. Our air conditioner and our lawn mower pooted out on us. Luckily the air is working again (it took the guy working on it almost three hours and he had to call in backup). The lawn mower will  probably never work again. We bought it used and I think Phil said it was 20 years old or something. So we are combing craigslist looking for something affordable to buy by this  weekend.

Elias and I went to Goodwill this morning. In my attempt to remain decluttered and not buy out of habit, I am also trying to shop used/secondhand first. I feel better about my purchases when they are used and then when I am through with them (Elias outgrows it, I no longer need it, etc, etc) I won't feel so bad hauling it off to the thrift store. Kind of like I borrowed or rented it for awhile.
Here are some of our finds:

We are always looking for Dr. Seuss books. I am not a huge Winnie  the Pooh fan but the book had several stories in it and was in great shape.


I bought this because it reminded me of an old friend who used to hop trains across the country and I thought it was a great shirt for a little boy!

I am always looking for adjustable waist pants/shorts for Elias. These are from  The Children's Place and will grow with him.


I let Elias pick out a toy for himself since he was such a good boy in the store!


I rarely look for clothes for myself anymore at Goodwill...too many disappointing trips. Luckily today I found a couple shirts that I liked!!



Phil's mom and sister are coming in tomorrow for a visit and we are all very excited to see them. We love their company. We are celebrating Phil's birthday with them!

I am off to clean my house.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Planting time

Sometimes it seems we have more yard than we can handle. But this year I am trying extra hard to accomplish all  most of the plans I have for our beautiful backyard...and front when I get around to it. You would think the front would be high on my priority list (and I would agree ) but I really want to get the patio area looking good since we spend most of our time there.

Here's the haps on the back yard.



Relaxing, enjoying ourselves


The peach trees are in bloom!



I have been picking mint...drying some and using the other in ice tea!

The asparagus is beginning to come up. We just eat it raw as we are walking around the yard. Phil is the vegetable gardener in the family. I am the herb and flower gardener.



The grape vine is starting to flower~ It was planted by the previous owners. Last year Phil made wine from the grapes. 



I always thought I hated radishes. Phil loves them and I am coming around to them. They are especially delicious pickled  (right Mom!?)



There are flowers on the pear trees also and by late summer we will have more pears than we can handle. They are pineapple pears and they are fabulous.


I have planted some basil, the dill and cilantro has already begun to grow. I will also plant thai basil, parsley and whatever other herbs I can fit in the herb garden.  I have also planted a bunch of painted daisies, sunflowers and wildflowers in the front. In the back, around the patio, I have planted wallflowers, hollyhocks, sunflowers, marigolds, cypress vine, lupine and coleus. We'll see if anything grows. I am not known for my green thumb!