Pizza please?!

                                                               Photo by Sonnet, For the Love of Food

If you ask my kids what they’d like for dinner, pizza comes up more often than not.  I’m very spoiled with a Whole Foods up the street that has an in house pizza oven and makes pizzas to order BUT they come in an unfortunate cardboard box.  So, after looking at Sonnet’s For the Love of Food blog, I’m going to give her 15 minute pizza a try this summer on the grill or even stove top.


No, you are the river

Photo via you are the river

See those planters?  File cabinets repurposed!  See that fence?  Built in a weekend by a savvy, stylin’ little lady (hopefully from re-claimed wood…..nope Home Depot).  Want to know how Faye made it all happen?  Check out: you are the river

Ah, to be young and cool with a power tool.


Yogurt Cup

Our cups went for a frozen yogurt outing and in the process we threw a wrench in their yogurt program.  It was one of those, grab a disposable cup, self-serve yogurt, add toppings and then weight and pay places.

First stop was to let them know we’d be using our own cups, did they need to weigh them first?

Them: Huh?  Well, we don’t really do that….huh….hum…I could maybe take 20% off your total order?

Me:  Okay.  Let’s do it.

Them:  Yeah, we don’t normally do this so maybe don’t expect this in the future, okay?  I’m happy to do it today because it’s just me, but I don’t know about someone else.

Me:  Hmm, well, maybe you could mention it to your boss, we’d come more often if we could use our own containers.

Them:  Yeah, okay.

So, we fill up, sprinkle on our toppings of choice and I’m grabbing money to pay just as my oldest reaches for a neon colored plastic disposable spoon.

Me: Nooooooooooooooo

Her:  Huh?? (as she places disposable spoon in the yogurt)

Me:  Never mind

Needless to say as we enjoyed our treats we discussed one use products and how we could use the spoons we brought from home instead of the plastic ones from the store.

All finished.  We stacked our dirty cups, passed around the family napkin, then used it to wrap up our cups.  Next – off to the park to burn that sugar.


Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free?!

I was recently sitting with a bunch of parents and the conversation turned to food sensitivities and allergies.  4 out of the 9 parents there were told by a doctor to restrict their children’s diet in some way  or another but few of the parents were sent home with any steps in how to successfully manage this transition.  One parent of a gluten-free child had started relying on rice crispy treats in the morning, what the hell doc?  This is an opportunity for a re-education in nutrition, give them a chance by arming parents and kids with some good alternatives.

Breakfast is our best chance for starting the day on the right foot, you guys know I’m a fan of the morning smoothie.  But when kids have been used to cereal or pop tarts or crispy treats switching to smoothie 7 days a week can be too big of a transition.  Here’s something that’s served in our house at least once a week, Gluten-free Baked Oatmeal.  It’s so flexible, and can accommodate so many restrictions.  I make it the night before and leave it on the counter for an easy, breezy morning (refrigerate in airtight container after morning breakfast – keeps 3 days).  Here’s the basic recipe:

(adapted from Baked Oatmeal on MayoClinic.com)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2 eggs (cage-free, organic)

1 TBS Safflower Oil

1/2 Cup applesauce (unsweetened)

1/4 Cup brown sugar

3 Cups Gluten Free Oats (Bob’s Red Mill offers a good one and I’m working on getting this in bulk at our regular g store)

2 TSP Baking Powder

1 TSP Cinnamon

1/2 TSP Sea Salt

1 Cup Nut Milk, Rice Milk, Goat’s Milk

Coconut Oil or Ghee or Butter to grease your baking dish (I use a 9″ pie dish)

Combine first four ingredients, add 1 cup oats, add Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Sea Salt, stir.

Add rest of oats (1 cup at a time), add milk, stir.  Once combined, pour into a greased or oiled baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375.

Make it Vegan

Skip eggs and Add another 1/2 cup applesauce, making it a full cup.

Refined Sugar free

Skip brown sugar and substitute with equal amount agave nectar, stevia or try 3 TBS honey or maple syrup

Sugar free

Skip all sugar or sugar alternatives and add a layer of fruit on the bottom for sweetness, chopped apple, sliced banana, or blueberries mixed in.

Have kids with different tastes or needs?

-More protein:  After baking slather the top with peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter

-Sweet tooth – Drizzle with maple syrup or sliced banana on top or both after baking 🙂

-More calcium or magnesium – sprinkle with sesame seeds after baking

You get the picture, it’s one versatile dish!  Gets about 7-8 servings, so that’s usually two easy breakfast mornings for me!

For lots more information here are some sites I think are beautiful and healthful:

My New Roots

Roost

Elana’s Pantry

Green Kitchen Stories


100 Things and counting

In college one of my favorite classes was a sociology class that I took my sophmore year and one of my favorite assignments was to take an inventory of all of our possessions. At the time I was renting an apartment that was filled with rented furniture, my possessions were few….or so I thought.  After my inventory uncovered no less than 20 white t-shirts, I was hooked – how did I have 20 white t-shirts, where did they all come from, certainly I didn’t buy all of them, was I wearing them all, how many does a person need?  BINGO, it was insightful and fun and it stuck with me.

So, here I am all grown up (kind of) and a friend recently sent a link about this guy and his 100 thing challenge.  The concept (simplified) is slimming down your possessions to the magic number of 100 things.  This guy’s written a whole book covering the topic and the how-to’s, which I have not read, BUT just for the sake of fun (and dorkiness) I picked up a pen and some paper and started a list.  My list was more a stream of thought, I looked around and started writing and numbering what I saw.  In less than 3 minutes, I had 100 things down on paper.  Please understand this list is NOT comprehensive of my possessions, merely the first 100 that popped into my head.  I have also assigned categories to only one number, for example “books” or “tops”  – not accurate as this is far MORE than one thing!

However, it was enough to inspire me to re-live my college assignment and take inventory of the things in our house and garage.  This is really perfectly timed as my husband and I continue working through our Simple Living Manifesto, I SHOULD be aware of the things I choose to keep in my life, these things cost money, I might spend time cleaning them, I’ve found a space for them in my home, if I still have 20 white t-shirts I want to know about it and rectify the problem!

For the fellow dorks, here is my inaccurate, incomplete list of the first 100:

1.  Books    2. Computer    3.  iPod    4. iPhone    5.  Television    6.  Apple TV    7.  Bed    8. Dresser    9.  Twin bed    10.  Twin bed    11.  Dresser    12. Toys    13. Bed  14.  Dresser    15.  Dresser  16.  Tops 17.  Pants 18.  Art    19.  Decor/Mirrors    20.  Sofa    21.  Rug   22.  Rug   23.  Rug    24.  Dresser    25.  Rug   26.  Night stand    27.  Night stand   28.  Lamp    29.  Light fixtures   30.  Drapes   31.  Dresses   32.  Shoes    33.  Exercise clothes    34.  Towels   35.  Toiletries   36.  Plates/Bowls/Cups    37.  Glasses     38.  Silverware     39.  Pots    40.  Pans    41. Toaster    42.  Juicer    43.  Blender    44.  Kitchen Utensils   45.  Kitchen Storage containers   46.  Refrigerator   47. Dishwasher     48. Stove    49.  Knives     50. Kettle     51. Grocery bags     52. Chalk    53.  Paper     54. Pens   55.  Pencils      56.  Printer      57.  Desk     56. Chair        57.  Washer      58.  Dryer       59. Soap     60. Trash Can    61. Laundry bags      62.  Winter Hats     63.  Scarves   64. Boots    65. Rain Jackets      66.  Winter coats      67.   Mittens    68.  Sun hats   69.  Dog leash    70.  Dining table      71.  Dining chairs       72.  Bar   73.  China cabinet    74. Buffet    75.  Champagne buckets      76.  Sofa       77. Chair        78.  Rain stick        79. Guitar       80.  Water storage    81.  Food       82.  Make-up   83.     First-aid       84.  Medicine     85.  Pictures       86. DVDs     87.  CDs     88.  Speakers/Docks     89.  Place mats    90.  Candle sticks      91.  Candles      92. Candles   93.  Toaster oven     94.  Cake tins    95.  Pop over pans      96.  Baking sheets     97.  Colored pencils      98.  Markers      99.  Crayons       100.  Shelving

If you’ve made it this far in the post you can see I’m probably in possession of more like 1,500 things!  I’ll let you know when I get my final number, for now more de-cluttering!


Lesser waste birthday party?

We recently celebrated a birthday in the house and it was an opportunity to re-think the waste possibilities.  Full disclosure, reducing waste was NOT our primary goal, it was to entertain a bunch of kids and make sure the birthday boy had a wonderful time.  With the exception of 3 three things, everything for the party was done on the fly that day.  Here are the pre-thoughts:

1.  A birthday banner – a friend who sews, faster and more proficiently than myself, put together a banner from scraps she already had. We will use this for every one’s birthday from this moment on.  Thank you Rhonda.  Decorations – Check.

2.  Custom Legos – I know, I know, NEW Legos?!?!  Like I said, reducing waste was not our primary concern, however, although I purchased new I was determined not to have any “instant waste” attached to my purchase, meaning packaging.  I have to give props where they are due and Sean at the Lego store, helped me for a painful 50 minutes while we custom built a Lego car. We then collected and collated the legos needed for 7 future birthday goers and lastly I slipped our hard work into one of my trusty bags.  For the party we built the cars….and then we raced them 🙂 Party activity – Check.  Party favor – Check.

3.  Teddy Bear toss – Took a trip to my not so friendly neighborhood Goodwill store and picked up 3 used stuffed bears.  We took turn tossing the bears into buckets we already had at home.  Party activity #2 – Check.  Future dog chew toys – Check.

Other than that, we had great weather so the party kicked off with chalk drawing in the driveway.  We outlined each kid and they decorated themselves, 10 minutes later I had a drive way full of mini-super heroes.

I baked a cake, whipped up some cream and we all sat down to water or milk and cake and whipped cream and strawberries.  Here’s our birthday set-up, the glasses are actually old jelly jars…..does that make-up for my new Legos?…..Didn’t think so.

Obviously glasses and glass plates might not work for certain kids, for example ages 3 and under, but for our little soiree, it was right on and the waste was a bit of painter’s tape versus disposable plates, napkins, cups, etc.

We had a few other games and activities that involved paper and other waste but I feel like this was a good first step.  We have lots of room for waste reduction improvement but when the birthday boy told me in a sleepy voice at the end of the day, “best birthday ever”, I was feeling exactly the same way.


Well I never!

Twice this week my smoothie was insulted for it’s unappealing appearance!  So when this morning’s heathy goodness blended into a particularly interesting green-brown color I went for a pretty glass to honor this concoction that brings me energy, happy feelings and nutrition all morning long (also all of my other glasses are dirty).

 

Inner beauty:

1 scoop Vega

1 scoop Amazing grass

1/2 banana

1/3 cup frozen rasberries

1 large handful spinach

1 pinch cardamon

1 pinch cinnamon

1 heaping tsp raw cacao

1 cup Rice Milk

Generous squirt flax seed oil

Handful of ice cubes

Cheers.