Thursday, July 28

A not-so-fragile house.

Snack! Organic grapes and bananas and almond chai milk:

We are eating way, way healthier the past few weeks, I'm so proud of us ;}

I've also been trying really hard to stop using any kind of plastic, at the table, in the kitchen, ect. We do still have some vintage plastic plates that I love, but other than that it's working out pretty well.
I was looking at a website that sells glass and metal containers for your freezer a few weeks ago, at $20 a piece! I'm sorry, but I can find no reason to spend that much on a food container. But did you know that you can put regular canning jars in the freezer? You just have to leave them open for the first few hours to allow the food to expand, then seal them and they are good to go!
I got these jars at the BX for $3.50 a piece, a MUCH better price!

Pre-cooked and frozen sprouted chick peas:

I thought, well these jars are pretty awesome, so I bought several and have been using them for leftovers as well in the fridge. We also tossed all the sippy cups and now I just bring along a little canning jar like the ones in the snack photo above for J's on-the-road drink, if I can't find the canteen. It's amazing what your kids can learn if you give them the chance... like, don't dump your drink in your car seat and don't drop glass on the floor. A little time and patience and these things are non-issues around here while using glasses. Snacks get thrown into a metal bento box, or in one of the nylon or cotton bags I made awhile back. I like the jam jars for on-the-go because they are a little sturdier than recycled store jars, which I use to hold spices or other small ingredients most of the time.

Still, there are a few plastics left, like the gallon bags holding my foraged tea leaves. Maybe I'll get lucky and find some giant air-tight mason jars! :)

I'm not sure why people don't use glass more often? We don't NEED plastic. I've thought about the 'dangers' of glass, it dropping and breaking, ect. but I can't justify that as a reason for not using it... I mean, my son may drop a cup, but I am always nearby and would be able to 'rescue' him from the pieces. I guarantee you that he is not superman and will not squeeze a cup so hard that it explodes in his hands! ;D

Sunday, July 24

Prayer flag tutorial.

A few years back I discovered Tibetan prayer flags. I made some traditional ones for a friend of mine after her father passed, and I've loved them so much that over time they have become a staple in my life. 
You can google them for the full meaning, but basically prayer flags are a string of red, yellow, blue, green and white fabrics with traditional symbols and mantras printed on them. They are thin fabrics that unravel easily in the wind and you hang them with all of your good intentions in mind. As the threads unravel and blow off in the wind it is believed that they carry your good thoughts, prayers, blessings and intentions out into the world, for all to benefit. 

I was fixing up our yard a little this spring and wanted to hang some new ones up behind the house. I did go and buy a string or two of pre-made ones but I felt like something a little more personal was needed, so I decided to make my own. I picked fabrics that had colors close to the traditional kind, and ones that had the most meaning to me. The whole idea behind the flags is to send your best wishes out, so I wanted fabrics that were full of good memories and great wishes.

Hand sewing them is a great meditative task, but if you have a machine it will go much, much quicker. When you hang them please be in a peaceful and relaxed state. I think that anyone of any religion can make the most of these, as good thoughts and prayers are always needed for those around the world. 

When my friend Jessica was here she took some really lovely photos of the flags, although now they are pretty faded and thready :)

So here you go,  please excuse the awful format as I took photos of the instructions instead of scanning them. And also, my spelling ;p there's no auto correct on my note paper!

Saturday, July 23


I haven't shared thrifting finds in awhile, mostly because I haven't been doing much, but also because when I do, there's a lot! Or it's not very spectacular. I noted yesterday that I had a pretty boring haul, a simple basket with a few canning jars and some glasses. But THEN. There were the boots... and the bottle, and the vase....

That's a bottle full of nettle chai tea (love in a bottle, actually):

Last fall I was scouring Ebay for these boots. There were plenty of options but all pretty expensive or not nearly my size. These were just sitting there, in perfect condition- my size and only FIVE EUROS!!

One of a set of cute glasses for J's breakfast. His dad lets him watch old school Looney Tunes on the mornings he makes him breakfast, so I thought he'd like these.

And lastly, pink Depression glass! I try hard not to 'collect' things anymore because I have the tendency to collect too much and it gets overwhelming, but this glass is so lovely and pretty rare and I'd love a whole shelf of it in the future. I do use whatever I find and we did need a vase :) The covered dish I found a few weeks ago and I couldn't pass it up, it's now siting on the counter keeping this morning's biscuits safe from the dog. Even here at the thrift stores and flea markets it's a little expensive, but it's just so pretty!

Friday, July 22

Green and brown.

Green juice is the shizz. Unless it has cucumbers, then it's just gross. Still pretty though:

Soaked whole wheat pancakes for the boys: 

Sprouting lentils for Saturday's dinner:

I highly recommend reading about why sprouting is good, it's very enlightening!

As it turns out, chick peas are named chick for a reason- look at that little almost-sprouted bean! There's even a little beak, haha...

I'm loving all this new food exploration. It's pretty much the same things we ate before, just a step further into health-nut world, and I'm enjoying it!! I'm having a quinoa and hummus wrap right now for lunch and I'm actually craving spinach, I'd even settle for lettuce. That's new, I usually never want greens. Hooray for kicking the carb addiction!! Well, so far anyway. ;}

Wednesday, July 20

Food Intentions.

* This may be just part one on food, I'd also like to touch on our new, simpler meal planning and going nearly 100% organic.

I wish sometimes I could just write a food blog. I love taking photos of food, and I love eating it (um, who doesn't?). I've been trying for a few years to get healthier and healthier in my eating habits, but there is always room to improve. I especially want Johnny to grow up with a healthy pallet, accustomed to all sorts of natural, unprocessed foods.

So now our house is almost 100% vegetarian, and we eat vegan A LOT, mostly because we share so many meals with our vegan neighbors. Occasionally I buy a free range chicken for Chris, which I cook and freeze and that lasts almost a month.

The thing is around here, with J's allergies, things need to be simple and largely homemade (since soy and peanuts are in evvvverrrrrything, and we can't afford and don't desire to buy allergy free preprocessed foods all the time). I love to cook but as much as I'd like to be in the kitchen all day, there are other things that need to be done, so the simpler the better at this point.
I've been eating less and less dairy, now it's literally down to two or three servings per week, and all in organic cheese form. Johnny gets at least a serving of organic cheese a day, but no straight cow's milk or cream, not even yogurt. I'm working on making yogurt from alternative milks, but so far no luck (sad face). I'm trying tonight with coconut milk, which would be a great source of nutrients and fat for the boy.

We still eat a lot of sugar, although lately it's usually in maple syrup/agave nectar/honey form. While I was baking cupcakes for a craft fair last month I got pretty sugared out, and have hardly had any processed white sugar since then, and even limited amounts of natural cane sugar, which is the only granulated stuff we have in the house. I've made a commitment this past week to not eat any processed sugar during the week, only on the weekends, and only in limited amounts. This has caused me to give up caffein, as I can't tolerate black coffee. I hate giving up caffein, the headaches are atrocious, but after the three day hump I feel a lot better! I can't imagine how you can feel like doo until you have a cup in the morning when you usually drink it, but when you don't drink it at all you can feel more energized and "up" than if you did drink it. I don't get it, but I won't question it. My body is telling me to knock off the crap so I will.

So, no more sugary things, this goes for the boy as well, although he can have more than me, especially if it means me putting agave in his green smoothie so he will be more likely to drink it. Also, absolutely no white flour/rice/ect. These things may as well be white sugar, they do you no good whatsoever. Except for crusty German brotchens and Brenda's rice pudding. Those things are delicious and I will eat them, and savor them, since I won't be able to get them back home when we leave next year.
I also drastically cut back on wheat/rice in general. Not all out, but eating them only once a day as opposed to 4-5 times a day. I always have an angry tummy after I eat too much pizza, or rice, or bread. Johnny still gets several servings a day since he's a growin' boy ;)

So what are we eating?
Beans. We've been eating so many beans! I looooooove them in almost any form (but NOT on cornbread!!)
Lentils, grains, oats. Last night Brenda made spanish rice with quinoa instead of rice and it was amazing. I love quinoa like it's going out of style. Today I started soaking lentils to make stuffed bell peppers this weekend, I haven't read much on it, but I heard sprouting things makes them more nutrient-rich and easier to digest.
Fruits/veggies. A year ago, I didn't think it was possible to live on these alone, but I'm starting to think now it absolutely is. I make a BIG batch of juice/smoothie in the morning and sip on that most of the day, and I can't believe how far it gets me. Snacking on carrots/celery and hummus is super yummy.

This morning Johnny and I shared a pineapple/carrot/spinach/ginger smoothie and J had avocado-banana pudding with a big handful of blue berries and a whole-wheat carrot muffin. For lunch he had a string cheese stick, half a banana and half a sunflower butter sandwich on whole-grain bread. I sipped my smoothie and am about to eat some of the above mentioned veggie sticks and hummus. Dinner will be chickpea/quinoa salad and our friends are bringing over burgers for themselves and Chris. If J won't eat the salad I'll make him some whole wheat mac&cheese with peas (maybe cheesy quinoa and peas? mmmm..) I'd like to get to the point where he just eats what we have, but I made the mistake of making his food separate from ours for a long time, so we are slowly transitioning into that. He does pretty well and chooses to eat our food more often than I expected, so it's going okay.

J and his beloved guacamole, scooping with a baked spinach pita chip.

So, two things moving forward: I need a new juicer, mine was free but it blows. Brenda and I have plans to go in together on one soon. And I'd like a dehydrator to make fruit chips and roll-ups and things like that. That may have to wait until we move back to the States since I'm not going to buy a 220 one now and I won't run one off of a transformer for who knows how many days.

That's it I guess. There's really not a whole lot of point to this post, it's all just been bouncing around in my head so I had to put it somewhere so that I can move onto the next thing.

Happy eating!!

P.s. Check out Bonzai Aphrodite and Kath Eats Real Food on the internets for some good, all natural food inspiration.

* This may be just part one on food, I'd also like to touch on our simpler meal planning and going nearly 100% organic.

Thursday, July 14


I have a lot of them, often. Good ones mostly, sometimes silly ones. Some things I've been intentionally keeping in mind the past few weeks:

  • I will not let my sewing table overflow onto my kitchen table. Will not, I say.
  • I will learn how to write a persuasive essay as if I've done 400 of them in college.
  • I will bake, cook, juice, and walk my way into my smaller jeans.
  • I will follow my instincts 100% of the time.
  • I will get down on Johnny's level many more times throughout the day.
  • I will kiss my husband like I mean it every single day.
  • I will go to bed earlier and wake up earlier and enjoy it.
I also need to remember to charge my mobile phone, since we cancelled our home phone and no on can get ahold of me now. Sorry guys, that phone unfortunately has never had a priority spot in my life and now it's fighting for one pretty feebly.


Saturday, July 2

How to cook pizza without electricity.

I've been wanting to try grilled pizza for awhile since the weather turned nice. I didn't know it was even a 'thing' (I didn't even google it!) but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Step 1. Make a fire in your grill. Wait. 

While you're waiting, move onto Step 2. Make your pizza. I use a crust recipe from Jim Lahey, out of his book 'My Bread'. I will never, ever use another crust recipe again. This one has always been good, no matter how thick or thin or how it's cooked, it's the best crust recipe I've found yet, and it's relatively fast! Turns out, it's absolutely perfect for a hot grill. I think I may make some of his other breads on the grill as well. I'm pretty excited about this...

So anyway, Step 3. is: Break your wood up into coals, lay your grill grate over them and place a pizza stone (or two) in the grill, shut the lid for a few minutes and let the stone(s) warm up. It's very important to keep the lid shut to retain the high heat.
Dust the stone with corn meal and quickly slide your pizza on. Mine stuck to the plates a little but that just made for charming mis-shapen pizzas :) Shut your lid and wait, again- depending on how how hot/big your grill is, I really have no idea how long. Until the crust is no longer doughy and the pizza top is bubbly!

Step 4. EAT!
Chris had boring ol' salami pizza (which he holds so dear to his heart after all these years) so I didn't even take a photo of his.
Zak had onions, peppers, and black olives with no cheese.

Johnny had champignons with mozzarella cheese! His was a cute mini-pizza.

And mine was sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and also champignons with sharp cheddar cheese.

Oh yea... Step 5! Eat it with the craziest face you can come up with!