Thursday, March 31, 2011

Organic Clothing...taking the plunge

So I have been considering lately taking the organic clothing plunge, meaning, when I buy a new item of clothing from now on, I want it to be organic or used (AKA the goodwill). Besides furniture this has been one of the last commitments I wanted to make knowing 1. it is EXPENSIVE (if I buy new) 2. it will limit my choices and wardrobe ( or perhaps I will just have to think outside the norm!) When I tried to talk myself out of it though I can't justify buying the cheap sweat house clothes from chain stores or cheap online sites. If I know where it is coming from, and I know the people who are making it for me are not being treated right I can't really morally buy it. Also if it isn't a sustainable resource I am part of the problem rather than the solution. When did it become okay to say "I am a consumer". Really? That is how I want to identify myself? So when I start to need some new clothes (which with all the clothes I have will take a while) I will let you know what I find.!  

Resources for fair trade, organic clothing:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Rolled oatsImage via WikipediaI was over at my father in laws last week. He was reading an email with quotes from 1955. The one that stuck out to me was " soon food is going to cost so much a week's worth of groceries will be more than $10 dollars!". Wow, how true that is. I consider myself blessed if I get out of the grocery store having only spent $60 dollars, and honestly that doesn't include meat since I buy that in bulk twice a year. I have noticed over the past few months the prices of food climbing slowly and steadily. I'm not talking cheap packaged food that one can use coupons on, I am talking organic veggies, fruit, whole grains and grass fed pastured meats. Despite these slow but steady price increases it is still possible to live on a grocery budget of around 300 a month. When I take into account the meat we use that I buy in bulk it ranges from 350 to 400 per month.  If we are really tight for money I can do it for less, but with the accountants raise and me babysitting part time this is the new budget we decided on. We lived on less last year, but this year with the raise in the grocery budget, cooking has been a little bit more fun and varied. I still like to try and make it out of the grocery store having spent less than 60 dollars though!

This week this is what I bought:

Organic Red Leaf Lettuce $2.50 (on sale)
Organic bunch of carrots $2.00
Organic Balsamic Vinegar (the real stuff not the died white wine vinegar) $8.00
3 Pounds of Organic Apples 3.50
Organic Rolled Oats 5 pounds $4.50
Pasture raised ground turkey 3 pounds $9.00 (on sale)
Coconut Kefir for baby 2.99 (on sale)
1 pound of fair trade organic coffee dark roast $8.50
32 ounces of raw grass fed half and half 6.99
Organic Russet Potatoes 6 pounds $5.00
Cultured Sour Cream, Organic 2.99$
1 pound of raw almonds $5.00 (on sale)
1 pound of organic Thompson raisins (2.99)
2 dozen pastured eggs $8 dollars

Total spent : $76

Menu for the week using above ingredients and what I already had:

 Coffee 2-3 times per week and cream ( I have a casein allergy but seem to be able to tolerate small amounts of raw milk products when taken infrequently)

Oatmeal or Egg Dish for breakfasts. I usually put toppings of coconut milk, maples syrup, almonds and raisins on the oatmeal, eggs come in the form of omelette's, breakfast wrap or sandwich, eggs on toast and so forth

A Salad a day for lunch for me, left overs or sandwiches for the accountant and Olivia


Steak and peas
Turkey burgers
Chicken Soup
Baked Potatoes with ground turkey and sour cream for the accountant
Stir Fry (veggie leftovers)
Grilled Sauerkraut Sandwiches

Vegan Thumbprint Cookies Homemade

The key to eating organic on a budget? Make it from scratch, plan ahead and stock up on sales!

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Living the Complex Life

Logo of LIFE magazine.Image via WikipediaAs the accountant and I have pursued a more "green", thoughtful and back to basics life I have come across many books and blogs talking about the "simple life". Saying the simple life romanticizes this desire to live on the land, raising our own food, driving old cars, living off one income, having as natural a birth as possible, staying home with my children and so much more. But honestly it's not simple, not in the true definition of the word. 

 Here is the definition I found 1. Having or composed of only one thing, element, or part. 2. Not involved or complicated; easy"

That does not define the life I live. It's complicated or complex. Think about it, is it simpler to run to the grocery store to pick up eggs someone else raised for you or buy your own chicks, build them a coop, feed them, keep them healthy, then eat their eggs? Is it easier to make your own food from scratch or go out to a restaurant and have them feed you? What takes more time and planning? This life we have chosen. It is complex, not simple. Each decision we make adds another layer to our lives. By having chickens I have created more dirt tracked in the house to clean, by planning an herb and vegetable garden I am choosing to live with the consequences of the weather, our soil and the time it takes to care for plants. It isn't "the simple" life but it is a thoughtful life. Instead of flying out the door in the morning to go to this activity and that, I have to plan for feeding the animals, caring for my kids and leaving some semblance of order about me. 

But despite it's complexity I crave more of it. I thrive on the difficulty, the challenge. I want more. More acreage, more animals, more dirt! (but not in my house) The wonder and majesty of seeing life up close is worth the hard work, and dirt. I thank God daily for the ability to live life in all it's complexity.!

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Turkey Burgers with cilantro relish

I had ground turkey in the freezer that I decided it was about time we ate tonight. I perused the web for recipes and decided on a modified version of the one I found on the whole foods website. I was minus a few of the ingredients so I took the liberty to substitute and omit. I think they tasted fabulous! The real test will be when the accountant gets home from his LONG day at work. I liked the sweet flavor that the chile pepper roasted sesame oil added to the meat. I will make these again!

Ingredients: (all organic preferred)

1/3 cup of organic seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
1.5 tablespoons of grated fresh organic ginger
juice of two small organic limes
1/2 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 a organic cucumber, diced
2 cups of pineapple, chopped
1/2 a yellow sweet bell pepper, organic, cored, seeded and chopped
1/2 a medium red onion, finely chopped

3 Tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame chile oil
4 green onions thinlly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 teaspoon of dry mustard
3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
1 pound of ground turkey

Of course the buns of your choice ( I used millet and flax gluten free buns) and condiments, perhaps lettuce too

Place all the ingredients for the relish in a bowl and mix together. It should look similar to this when it is done.
 In another bowl combine all the ingredients for the turkey burger except the turkey. Mix together than add the turkey.
 Shape into the desired size burger patty and cook on the griddle until done.

 Place on bun with condiments of choice, add relish and serve!

I must say these were delicious!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thai chicken dish

Saturday it was beautiful outside! The accountant and I enjoyed lots of yardwork and visiting with family and friends. I realized at about 7pm that we still had not eaten dinner and needed to sometime soon. Earlier in the day I had cooked up one of my whole chickens because I like to seperate off the meat and freeze it in small portions for quick meals during the week.
I decided to use some of this meat tonight. I looked in my pantry and fridge to see what I had and decided to make Chicken Pad Thai.

My pantry today:

Here is my ingredient list.

2 Tb of coconut oil ( subscribe and save)
1 small yellow onion
1 chicken breast (keep in mind mine was pre-cooked)
1/4 cup of cilantro (farmers market)
1 small tomato (farmers market)
1 sweet bell pepper (mine was purple from the farmers market!)
8 swiss chard leaves (my yard)
Thai rice noodles (Costco)
Sauce of your choice. I used a teriyaki sauce from trader joes
Optional: peanuts
This recipe serves 3 comfortably. Four would work but be a bit of a stretch.
With pre-cooked chicken it takes 25minutes to make

First I placed a pot of water on to boil for the rice noodles ( I cooked according to instructions on box)

In a pan on medium heat I placed the coconut oil, and onion. I let onion brown.

When onions were beginning to brown I placed bell pepper, chicken, cilantro, tomato and swiss chard in the pan

I waited for the swiss chard to wilt a little then I added the teriaki sauce and peanuts

At this point the water was boiling so I cooked the noodles and continued to let the stir fry simmer on low

When noodles are done, Serve!


Chicken and Coop Update #3

 Olivia and Preston want to spend all day outside with the chicks and sunshine!
 The coop is almost there. The accountant is roofing and siding it this weekend. Next weekend we are doing the run.
 We moved the chicks outside with a heat lamp, because well, they are no longer chicks! They stay nice and toasty warm in there at 65 degrees. My house no longer smells like chickens and I got my extra bathroom back!
 During the day if it isn't raining I jerry rigged this mobile coop run! They LOVE it. So does the dog, Wesley, I don't ever wonder where he is, he is always right outside the bars.

 I love my little polish guys. Their little head piece gives them quite the attitude. Not sure yet if they are male or female. They seem to be female. We will see.

Genetically modified pork

Another Monsanto invention is the "environmentally friendly GMO pig". I don't know about you but just the thought of eating a pig that has had it's DNA altered with bacteria and mice genes doesn't seem like it would be a good idea. Plus the FDA is not going to require labeling of GMO meat. Excuse me! I would like to know what I am buying at the grocery store. Granted the GMO pigs have not been approved yet, but it is looking like we are heading that way. What exactly did they alter? A gene that prevents pigs from excreting phosphorus into their poop. It seems like with this gene alteration instead of excreting it they hold onto it in their bodies. So what will happen if we eat these phosphorus laden pigs if they are approved by the FDA? Phosphorus in small amounts is beneficial to our bodies but what about large amounts wouldn't it be detrimental to our health? I guess if it is approved in 50 years our big human food experiment will give us the answer. I for one will not be partaking.

Photo credit

Link below for Canadian video on GMO pork:

Click Here: Genetically modified pork: "Mon, Jan 24: Some Ontario scientists are trying ..." (video)
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Green Smoothie That Even the Kids Love!

Olivia will eat anything...except things she can't chew or has a hard time swallowing. Greens are something that tend to make her cough and sputter. In this yummy smoothie though they go right down!
These are the directions for use with a magic bullet which makes one serving. If you are using a regular blender double or triple the recipe accordingly.

1/2 cup to 3/4 of a cup of the Milk of your choice. I used chocolate almond milk
Handful of organic spinach
1/8 cup of organic frozen or fresh berries
1/8 to 1/4 of a cup of frozen or fresh strawberries
2 Tablespoons of organic creamy peanut butter

Place everything in blender and blend! Serve.

 Had to filter out the chunks for one of the sippy cups, the other one I didn't.! They drank it right up, well so did I!(0:


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