Saturday, December 31, 2011

Snapware and Prepping.....Resolution #2.

Resolution #2 is also a small idea but one I have been working on for a couple months and want to get it down like clockwork this year. My friend, Jenny, posted a picture of her fridge on her Facebook so here is a couple shelves of what mine looks like. We think alike. 

My goal is to have veggies and fruits prepped and ready at all times as soon as they are delivered or bought or picked. Since I am not doing plastic bags, and don't want them stored in plastic bags, I need to keep them fresh in containers. By having them all prepped and ready to consume, I find my smoothies are much better and I eat more. There are lots of varieties ready to eat so I eat more variety. It also looks so much more organized. I also wanted to get away from anything with BPA in it so I have now switched over to all snapware containers (I need an updated photo for my new containers) . They are BPA free and I love the rubber seals on the lids. Spill proof. 

I purchased a big set from Amazon that come with some great sized containers, especially for kids lunches. I have other sets great for larger produce as well. Costco also has a set of 42 I have been told. I need to go check that out!

I also love seeing the produce as soon as I open the fridge so I don't forget something hiding in the back. I hate when good, organic produce goes to waste. That way, I can plan my menus around what I need to use up. Jenny uses dry erase markers to write on the containers. Great idea. 

If any of you have some great ideas, pass them on. I would love to hear some. 

More ideas coming. This year is going to be my year of Fine Tuning. I think that is the buzz word(s) for the year. Fine Tuning. I need that. I feel like last year I just kept up and didn't really progress much. This year I am ready for a little tweaking and perfecting. I need that. Especially when it comes to a little "me" time. Tweaking is an understatement there. The gym misses me. 

Happy New Year! I am home partying it up with the littles while the husband works. Hooray for Me! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pineapples and Preschool....

Pineapples are only $1 at Sprouts thru 1/4. They are sweet and delicious. I buy tons to freeze for smoothies. Stock up! Also, if you were bummed like me when they took the coconut sugar out of bulk section, you can still get it in bulk for a discount if you just ask! They will order it for you. You get a 10% discount on bulk orders. I don't know what constitutes "bulk", but I ordered 25 lbs. 

I have 5 spots left for preschool next year. 3 and 4 year olds only this year. Tuesday and Thursday's. $100 per month. One am slot and 4 pm. Email me or comment if you are interested. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012.....going green, resolution #1.

2012 is fast approaching and that means I get to pick out some new goals. I know you can really start goals anytime, but I am a sucker for the New Year resolutions. I look forward to it. I have a whole gaggle of resolutions on my list this year and I would love to share a small handful of them with you.  I will run a little series of "resolution ideas" for you this week just in case you can't think of anything on your own. They really are good ideas. Promise.

#1.....Going green. 

 I know, nothing original but for some reason, this year, going green is a top priority. It is funny how you can pick and choose what important things in life apply to you. For instance, I didn't buy organic food until I read and understood what truly was covering my conventional produce. Now, I can't go back to conventional. That rule applies to me now. When Tate was diagnosed with Autism, lots of rules started to apply to me that were never in my world before. We can just sort of ignore things until we gain knowledge. When we catch the vision, we are then responsible for change. Going green has been something I have worked on now and then but after a conversation with my husband a couple months ago, I get it. Completely. Now, I can't be one of those who ignores the real problem. I am now included in that rule. 

I'll let you in on the conversation. 

My husband has been anti-water bottle for a couple years now. He has been great about bringing his own where he goes and setting the example. I mostly followed suit but when we were out of town, I would always bring a case for the kids. It was just easier. 

My family loves the ocean. It is our happy place. There  is something so calming and spiritual about being near such a grand creation. When my husband told me what his favorite surfer, Laird Hamilton said about water bottles, I took the bait and the rule applied to me completely. Laird said that years ago, he would encounter a water bottle out in the water every now and then but that in recent years, they are everywhere in the ocean, littering the beauty and the sacredness of the waters. I had heard the statistics of water bottle consumption in America but thinking about what that really meant didn't cross my mind before. Did you know that we use 2 million water bottles every 5 minutes!!!! Analyze that for a second. It is stated that we use enough water bottles every day to go around the world in a line 3 times. Our world is pretty big. Those statistics are mind boggling. With those statistics, our oceans are soon going to have little room for ourselves. Somehow we can just ignore it and keep drinking our water bottles because it is easier. Like it is really hard to refill a water bottle our selves or plan ahead and bring water bottles with you. We really are lazy people.

So, as of a couple months ago, I am water bottle free, unless there is an emergency. My kids are pretty good at this as well now. We have the collapsible water bottles and other BPA free Nalgene bottles that we take with us. Pretty simple. I feel so much better to not be contributing to the plastic overload in this world. I HATE to see all the water bottles littered everywhere after my kids soccer and baseball games. They are everywhere! We need to make changes.

The next part of my going green is at the grocery store. I used to justify the plastic bags since I needed them to wrap diapers in. Now, we are diaper free and they just collect under the sink. Now that I see the weekly accumulation, I am amazed at how much plastic waste I am contributing to. I went out and purchased reusable grocery bags and produce bags. The hard part for me now is actually remembering to bring them into the store. We forgot last night and I had each of the kids carry handfuls of groceries out to the car without bags. I am committed now so that means no excuses. We did look like a bunch of shoplifters. 

The produce bags are great. I found them on Amazon but it would really be easy to make yourself.

I don't need them too often since I get my produce delivered from the Backyard Farmer but every now and then when I hit the farmers market, I can't justify bringing in reusable grocery bags and then putting the individual fruits and veggies in little plastic bags. I won't even go into the idea of BPA's in the bags themselves. We are just talking pollution today. They don't weight really anymore than the plastic bags. Such a great idea.

I feel better to not be contributing to pollution. I know often we think we are just one person and it really doesn't matter but what if lots of "one persons" make a change. Make the rule apply to you, unless you hate the ocean and don't care if the world is filled with trash. Just an idea.

Stay tuned for more great ideas for the New Year.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We were spoiled beyond belief. Thanks to everyone for making our season wonderful. The best was having my family in town. I am so blessed.

Check out the Amazon links on my sidebar!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reindeer names

Just in case you are new to my blog and missed this great idea.... here is a revisit for you. 

Reindeer Names

Friday, December 2, 2011

Canyons and Parsnips.

I am still alive. It is just that time of year when my whole being wants to swell with all the family I can get and the blog world gets shut out. It is this time of year that I am glad that I don't get paid to blog and have to blog on demand. I do have things to say....I will fill you in on the conversations going on in my head but all in due time. I will be a little poky for the next month. You understand.

I just returned from the beautiful canyons of Utah. They are breathtaking and rejuvenating. It was wonderful to have life halted for a week and to just take in the beauty of the earth and the love of family. We packed 22 family members into one beautiful home for crazy fun. Conversations until 2 am, nightly; musical jam sessions by my amazingly talented family; all 22 of them attending and LOTS of food! I won't go into details about the Thanksgiving dinner but when you have a family of chef's; it comes out something of grandeur. I would rob someone for this stuffing. It is really that good. 

Now back at home, reality is awaiting. The reality is that I have been eating way too much treats and need to get back into the healthy lifestyle. My body is begging me along with pleading with me to get back into the gym routine. Such an inner struggle after two back to back vacations. I have had way to much meat and am trying to create meals with little to no meat and no dairy and no sugar and all organic and all from scratch and of course all under an hour. Sometimes I get stumped and I am sitting on that stump right now. Time to get some inspiration. 

I started to look through some cookbooks tonight for some new ideas. I am really sick of my usuals. It was soup weather and I wanted a new soup to slip down my palate. The Backyard Farmer delivered some tasty treats to me yesterday so I had a variety to choose from. (P.S., he now has corn/soy free chicken feed and organic beef and chicken. Yipee!) I had a pound of parsnips and found a soup that intrigued me. Creamy Parsnip and Apple soup. Don't knock it until you have tried it. Super yum.

First, in case you didn't know about the parsnip in detail, let me explain: 

  Parsnips have been around for a very long time. When the potato became popular, they in turn became a little less popular as they do take on the flavor a bit of a potato. They are a very under appreciated vegetable but loaded with nutrition and very easy to use. They look like a white carrot and have a mild flavor. They are great to roast or steam or add to a soup. They contain lots of folate and B3 which is super important for pregnant women. They are also low in calories and packed with fiber to help get the wast out of the body. They are a superior food for liver and kidney health. They are also rich in vitamin C and potassium. 

When selecting a parsnip, you want one about the size of a large carrot and with smooth skin. Peel them like a carrot and cut them as desired. 

Here is the soup I made last night. The flavor was perfect and I loved it pureed but the kids would have liked a little more chunks. I made it totally dairy free  but it tasted like a cream filled soup. You definitely did not need dairy in this. I served it with a whole grain cinnamon roll made with coconut sugar. Delicious and perfect for a cold night! Enjoy!

Creamy Parsnip and Apple Soup
Adapted from Martha Stewart

3 T. butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 lbs. leeks
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 apples, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
3/4 lbs. red or white potatoes, peeled and cut 1 inch.
24 oz. chicken broth
3-4 cups water
1 C. almond milk or milk/cream
salt and pepper

Prepare leeks by cutting top greens off so that the whites and the light green are remaining. Take off outer layer and slice into small circles. Saute in butter or oil for 5 minutes. Add parsnips, potatoes and apples along with chicken broth and 3 cups water. Add more water if needed so that veggies are covered with enough water. Pressure cook at second ring for 6 minutes or bring to boil and simmer about 20-25 minutes until veggies are tender. 

Puree soup in blender until smooth or leave some chunks. Add more liquid if needed. Add almond milk/cream and salt and pepper to taste. 

*****I will placing oil/supplement orders on Tuesday.