Saturday, December 22, 2007
Go play this game at http://freerice.com/index.php. For each word you get right, they donate rice through United Nations to help end world hunger. Its a fun game and actually kinda addicting......plus it give you a broader vocabulary - all while helping a worthy cause!
A CFL bulb uses up to 75% less energy than old-fashioned bulbs. Save up to $50 in energy costs! Every bulb changed means less coal has to be burned to produce power. That means cleaner air, less childhood asthma, and lower health care costs.
This porchlight was left in my mailbox.
To learn more about this project visit http://www.projectporchlight.com/. "
Friday, December 21, 2007
Okay, so I'm way behind the 8-ball with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. But like I've said before, better late then never. And I'm very excited to read it. I've been following the book club at Crunchy Chickens blog - and now I actually get to read it!
I've been himmmmming and hawwwwwwing over buying "Ecoholic" for awhile now. So I just bit the bullet and got it - as a Christmas gift to myself. LOL Its geared to the Canadian market so that's great. I'll let you know how that one is once I'm finished. I love the fact that both books are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper!
I only made three kinds of cookies this year. (gasp!!) Time is valuable to me and besides, I find that as the month goes on everyone loses interest in goodies anyways. People tend to overinduldge at holiday gatherings and eventually the blahs start to set in from too many sweets. Sooooo, I thought I would keep it simple. What you see here is a reusuable christmas tin filled to the brim with all three kinds: starting from the left - Vive le Vegan's Carob-Coconut-Pecan Cookies. I used walnuts instead of pecans and these are my favourite out of the three. Next, Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan's Jam Print Cookies - I used walnuts instead of hemp nut seeds, strawberry jam (made by yours truly) instead of raspberry and refined white flour instead of barley flour. Lastly, ED&BV's Tickled Pink Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies - I used a green sprinkle and omitted the beet powder. All three have a 'festive' taste/look to them.
I made up several of these christmas tins and will bring one as a hostess gift to each of the holiday parties we are attending Christmas Eve through New Years. As well, we are having company over a few nights so will keep a tin for us too!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
We managed to get an organic christmas tree this year!! We bought it from Mockingbird Hill Farm. The Farm depicts a typical horse-drawn homestead farm with the pioneer's menagerie of animals - a few pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, ducks, turkeys, cats and dogs. The Farm is open year round to the public. Farmer Bob sells christmas trees in the winter and we got this scraggly looking one for a mere $20! Can't beat that since some tree farms sell them for $50+. All our lights are LED and all our ornaments are hand-me-downs - which means I saved them from spending eternity in the landfill.
Talking about stuff like this just makes me giddy!
Tea anyone??? I've got 7 kinds of tea on top of my stove right now. Sometimes I have more, sometimes I have less. What you see here are my favourite kinds and I always keep these flavours in the house at all times. I'll try a new variety here and there too though.
2. MC Peppermint: I like peppermint tea and its good for late afternoons and evenings when I don't want any caffeine. Also, I keep it in the house for my daddy when he comes to visit.
5. Camomile Tea: love this in the evenings or if I'm having a particular stressful day.
6. Stash Organic Merry Mint: I just bought this one and I LOVE it! It is a green tea with peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, and spearmint. It has a very mild spearmint flavour (reminds me of gum). It is a nice change from regular peppermint tea. It is a holiday tea made by Stash so I won't be able to get it any other time of the year so I'm going back to buy lots more! ha ha
7. Choice organic rooibos tea: I have to admit it took me a long time to get used to rooibos tea. At first I didn't like it at all. And the varieties that make vanilla rooibos teas are gross. If rooibos wasn't so damn good for us, I probably wouldn't bother to make it. But, it is good for me, so I do drink it most days. Because it doesn't have any caffeine in it, I usually drink it in the afternoons or evenings.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Pictured here are a few products my kids use.
1. Green Beaver Winter Lotion: i've posted about this product before - it's great. Pros: No sulfates or parabens in it, made in Canada, and no fragrances. No Cons people!
2. Tom's of Maine children's toothpaste: Pros: the flavour we bought is Silly Strawberry - is a cute name that make the boys giggle everytime they use it. Is fluoride-free. Tastes good enough to make the kids want to brush their teeth. Does not contain artifical sweetners. Cons: has Sodium lauryl sulfate in it! GRRRRR. I missed that ingredient when purchasing it - otherwise wouldn't have bought it. And isn't Tom's of Maine getting bought out by Colgate-Palmolive Co.??? This means that Tom's of Maine, which currently stands at an impressive 16 out of 20 in Ethical Consumer's unique "ethiscore" rating system, would see its score cut to just 5 out of 20, if the takeover goes through. Tom's of Maine has, up to now, been applauded by ethical consumers and has received Ethical Consumer's highest rating for its environmental reporting, animal testing policy and for its paraben-free products. Parabens are hormone mimicking chemicals that have been linked to breast and testicular cancer. Colgate's current score of 5 out of 20 is attributable to its receiving Ethical Consumer's worst rating for environmental reporting and its animal testing policy. Soooo, Colgate isn't a company I would like to support. So once this toothpaste is done we won't be buying any more.
3. Badger Sleep balm: Pros: has organic natural ingredients; organic extra virgin olive oil, essential oils of bergamot, ginger, rosemary and lavender. So it smells great. I rub it onto their temples, face and neck before bed. www.badgerbalm.com Cons: none
4. Preserve Toothbrushes: Pros: the handle is made from the highest quality post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled plastics. Once we no longer have use for the toothbrush they encourage users to return them to Recycline, were they will grind it to make material for recycled plastic lumber. Included was a postage-paid return envelope to encourage us to do so. All of its packaging is made from recyclable materials, and the reusable brush canister provides a sanitary holder to keep the brush clean and portable when travelling. http://www.recycline.com/products/preserve.html
5. Aromaforce Lavender Essential Oil: if the kids have had a particular stressful or busy day i will put a few drops of this into their bath. I find this is far healthier then some of those 'bubble baths' that are out there - full of sulfates.
6. Olbas Salve: I rub a little of the salve under their noses and on their chests when they have a cold. Also, I've been putting it on the bottom of their feet (according to reflexology charts) to help with coughs and colds. I'll post another day about reflexology. Pros: smells like vicks (which we like that menthol smell) without the toxic ingredients. Cons: none
7. baby Derma Med Therapeutic Shampoo: pros: has organic ingredients, made in canada, no sodium lauryl or laureth sulfates. This shampoo works well for now as the kids are still young. As they get older and oiler, we'll likely have to look for something a bit stronger. Cons: no smell, which the kids seem to like smells associated in their bath.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
1. Kiss My face Liquid Rock: Pros: nice smell & long lasting odour protection. Cons: goes on wet and takes awhile to dry.
I've tried many natural deodorants and this is the only one that I found to keep me smelling pretty throughout the day.
2. Suncoat Natural Eye Shadow: Pros: Made in Canada - YAY!, Herbicide Free, GMO Free, Talc Free, Paraben-Free. Lasts the whole day without fading away. Cons: it is a roll on so it can be tricky to get on evenly. I found putting on my eye cream first helped.
3. AnneMarie Borlind Mascara: Pros: doesn't have any 'junk' in it. It doesn't clump. Cons: the wand is rather small so I find it takes longer to coat the lashes with it. It only comes in a 0.25 fl.oz size so it tends to go quickly.
4. Suncoat Organic Cream Blusher: Pros: once again, made in canada using organic ingredients. Cons: cream blush can be tricky to put on. The blush is fairly hard so I've had to dig below the surface to get the creamy stuff. Not sure if its too old or if this is how it's made.
5. Not shown here, but since I took this picture I bought another mascara: A Suncoat one. I will definately continue to buy this brand of mascara over the AnneMarie Borlind one. BECAUSE, the wand is longer so applying is easier AND its made in Canada. (annemare Borlind cosmetics come from germany).
I'd like to hear what natural cosmetics everyone else uses and why!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I pretty much have finished my christmas shopping this year! Now I can spend the month of December enjoying the season. I do not want to have to visit the malls or box stores in December - talk about frantic people. ALSO, I find all the stores just suck you right in - with their cheery music, flashy displays, and ohhhh, the bargains. How can anyone resist??? It makes you want to BUY, BUY, BUY!!! Well, let me tell you - I RESISTED!! It was freakishly hard at the time though. ha ha But the satsifaction that I get from using this resistance is all worth it. I just had to ask myself "do I really need another holiday tablecloth, or a new set of glasses (afterall, our mason jars and recycled olive jars work just fine) or more gift bags when I've got recycled ones left from last years gifts"???? Mmmmmm, no I do not. Christmas time generates a lot of waste and each year it gets worse. Not to mention what sort of expectations our kids have with each year that passes. Where do we draw the line?
These are some of steps we took when doing our shopping this year:
1. Gift Wrap/Bags/Tags etc. - I saved all the gift bags from last years gifts and will be reusing them again this year. I also kept boxes and will reuse them. We have wrapped a few gifts in brown paper bags and then the kids have decorated them with markers, stickers, etc. I kept last years christmas cards we received and will cut them into gift tags.
2. Second hand and thrift stores: I shopped at these places first and got what I could before heading to find something new at the mall.
3. Hand me downs: my kids have some seriously nice toys and clothing in excellent shape that could be passed off as brand new if they had the appropriate box and packaging. (of course I would not be that deceptive) These toys/clothing are not being used here anymore so I will be giving these items away as gifts.
4. If it ain't broke then don't fix (replace) it. I did not make any new purchases when it came to household items, i.e. tablecloths, platters, tree decorations, lights, etc. We have plenty from previous years and nothing needs replacing.
5. Christmas cards: I will be buying the same cards I do every year - 'tree free' cards that come in a reusable tin container.
There are a million little steps we can all take to reduce our impact on the environment this christmas. It just takes a little consideration.
Monday, November 26, 2007
And lastly, here is a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread and a carrot loaf. The carrot loaf recipe is from How it all Vegan - it is listed as a carrot cake. But I use whole wheat flour, less sugar and bake it in a loaf pan.
Fellow bloggers seem to be posting pictures about what's in their pantrys. So I thought I would do the same thing - however, be prepared to be disappointed. For one, I do not have a pantry - we live in a small home. Second of all, I desiginate one cupboard to food and two exterior shelves - that's it. We shop and eat by the week around here which means in an emergency we will be fubar'd. I need to start stocking up. We don't have a COSTCO here so buying in bulk that way isn't possible. I try to shop the sales but......I just don't have any excuses. Sooooo, what you see here on the top shelf are my jars of beans, lentils, rice, popcorn and arrowroot powder. Bottom shelf is canola, coconut, and olive oils; sprouting seeds, pastas, and cooking stuff. i.e. raisins. Putting my dried beans, lentils, pastas etc into jars has been a terrific way to recycle glass jars. I've used applesauce jars, pasta sauce jars, olive jars etc. Some you see are mason jars we've bought for preserving too. Using jars is so much easier than having a million bags scattered all over the shelves. And this particular shelf is above the stove so it's a pain in the a$$ when trying to retrieve stuff out of it. I'm 5'7 and I still need a stool to reach the stuff on the top shelf.
We put these two shelves up because of the lack of cupboards in our kitchen. They come from IKEA. On the first shelf is my Cuisinart blender/processer combination, and canned goods/milks etc. Second shelf are my cookbooks and some more jars with sugar, oatmeal, pasta, and homemade cereal (posted that cereal recipe a few weeks back).
Sorry to disappoint you all - not much to see in this house regarding food. ha ha
Friday, November 23, 2007
This picture doesn't do the dish justice. It was excellent! I have never made caramelized onions before and they will now be a favourite around here. The rice/lentil combo was waaaaay better then most I have tried. I was skeptical about the cinnamon and allspice in it - as we don't tend to like sweet dinner dishes, but the kids loved it. I'm happy I cut the recipe in half as it made lots for the 4 of us - with leftovers for tonight. You can also see the Spiced Pita Crisps - they were a nice addition to the meal. What you don't see here is the steamed kale - it was still on the stove. The lentil/rice dish has to be served warm or at room temperature so I let it sit while I made the pitas and kale.
This meal is definately a keeper around here!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Ester-C: I take these in the winter months.
Super Enzymes: I take one a day at dinner time but it says to take with each meal.
Spriulina: I put a tbl in my morning smoothie - gives me extra energy and 'green' goodness.
Vega Wholle Food Smoothie Infusion: I put a scoop in my morning smoothie. It has yellow pea protein, organic hemp protein, organic sprouted flax seeds, organic brown rice protein, organic green food blend (spirulina, organic wheat grass, organic alfalfa grass, organic barley grass, organic spinach, organic sprouted broccoli, organic kale, organic kelp, organic dulse), inulin (from chicory root), natural flavors, xanthan gum.
Organic Flax Meal: I use this is if I'm out of the Vega stuff or just want a change.
Aloe Vera Juice: I take a few 'shot glasses' worth when I take all these vitamins. It's supposed to help the body absorb the vitamins better.
Probiotics: I take with my main meal - but there again - it's supposed to be taken with each meal.
B12: us veg heads need this one daily.
Zinc: I take during cold and flu season.
Nu-Greens Profile: It is a green supplement. I take 15ml each morning on an empty stomach. I love that I only have to take a whiskey shot glass worth each day. LOL No pounding back a glass full of yucky green powdery stuff. I've tried them all and couldn't find one I liked.
Vitamin D: I take during the winter months due to the fact that Northern Ontario, Canada doesn't profide adequate amounts of sunshine from Nov-April. ....sigh....
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I made another batch of Tomato Macaroni Soup from 'Kitchen ramblings from a fairly odd tofu mom's blog. My oldest likes to take soups to school. I have been using macaroni in fun shapes for it. It's a big hit around here.
And I can't wait - this morning I'm going to make the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe I got off of "Don't eat off the sidewalks" blog. So i gotta run, i'll post back on how they turned out! Yum yum.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Weekends around here can be both hectic with errands and lazy at the same time.....no agenda and no meal planning. On week days I make every meal from scratch with whole ingredients. Soooo, on wknds I like to take a break and keep it simple. An example of a simple meal is burgers. I have tried them all! And as most of you will know, some meatless burgers are cacka, some are so-so, and some are fantastic. In my tastebuds opinion Amy's are the best of the bunch. To accompany this burger I usually make some potatoe spuds and a large salad. I put every topping imaginable on my burgers.....condiments, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, and sprouts to name a few. And speaking of sprouts, in a previous post I mentioned how I was sprouting. Since then I've read online somewhere that growing wheatgrass indoors makes it susceptible to mold. I've never seen any on mine, but it still makes me leery. Soooo, I'm continuing to grow sprouts, just NOT wheatgrass. I'll leave my wheatgrass on our table top as a decoration. Until its spring and I can grow wheatgrass outside, I'll stick to buying frozen wheatgrass juice as pictured below.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Ahhhhh, the subject of laundry. It is one of those tasks that never goes away. When we get through 3 loads, the next day there is 2 more. It is thankless and endless. Now I say this, but I actually don't mind doing laundry. Never have. Even when we lived in apartments for 5 years and I had to lug it all the way down into a dank, dark basement and pop change into a machine, I didn't seem to mind.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
We started our day with some warm thick porridge. I always sprinkle our hot cereals with ground flax and sesame seeds (ground by yours truly) and a dollop of almond butter.
For lunch I made the Spicy Tomato Peanut & Kale Pasta out of La Dolce Vegan. It sounds like an oddball combination but it was decent and the kids enjoyed it. I was skeptical that they would. Maybe it was the penguin and snowflake shaped pasta I used. I saw this pasta over the wknd and bought it with the upcoming holidays in mind. But I just couldn't resist and ended up tearing into it already! Ha Since we had such a hearty lunch I thought a bowl of soup with a homemade bread for dinner would be appropriate. I made a 'hearty seed bread' in my bread machine - which was ready just in time for dinner - nothing beats a slice of warm homemade bread. I made the Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup from LDV. I left out the curry paste as the kids were eating it. I LOVE this soup - I've made it often. Someday I'll have to try it with the curry paste - when the kids won't be eating it.
To end this comfortable day inside I made Dreena's Jamprint Cookies from her latest ED&BV. We ate them with a big hot mug of Yogi Bedtime tea.
ahhhhh, comfort food.......
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I'll share the recipe with you:
9 cups of puffed rice (is usually sold in bags)
1 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of sesame seeds (you can get creative and replace with other seeds/nuts)
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
Mix all together.
1/2 cup of oil (i use canola oil)
1/2 cup of honey alternative (i use agave nectar - adjust the amount to suit your taste)
1/2 tbl vanilla
Mix together and add to the dry ingredients.
Bake at 300 degrees for a half hour and stir at 15 minutes.
Once cooled stir in a 1/2 cup of raisions OR dates OR any other dried fruit.
Store in a sealed container.
Don't forget to use organic ingredients people!!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I made the Carob Chip Muffins from Vive le Vegan and boy were they a hit! I substituted spelt flour for the barley flour and they were so cakey and moist. We ate 12 of them in 2 days. Some did go out to the neighbours kids that were here playing that day.
Not too long ago I was inspired by vegtriathelete's blog to dig out my juicer. Juicing has been something I've been doing off and on for about 7 years. I've gone through 2 juicers in that time - each about $40 in value. I think when this current juicer 'blows up' I'll try to purchase a more expensive one. I sometimes wonder if I'm getting the most out of my veggies using the cheap juicers. At crazy sexy cancer's blog she advocates green juices so that's what I've been making - concoctions with celery, kale, cucumber, and sprouts. I'll blog another day about my new found talent on sprouting. My kids are even enjoying them - however, they aren't big smoothie and juice drinkers so they usually just take sips of mine - but still - they're getting some of the nutrients.
Ta ta for now.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Over this past summer I made a few 'green' purchases that were worth mentioning. First when my shower curtain got icky (we've had it for four years) I decided to get another one. I browsed a few sites and decided on a hemp one at rawganique.com. It was rather pricey but since I can get a few years out of mine I thought what the heck. It was delivered in no time! I am disappointed to say that after only several months it has mold on it in places. Now, before you say anything, I do want it to be known, that I ALWAYS leave the curtain spread out so that it can dry properly AND I wash it monthly to prevent mold buildup. Even after washing it the mold colour has stained the fabric. But whatever, it doesn't ick me out....I know it's only a stain. The part that was disappointing was the fact that I thought hemp was resistant to mold....if treated with care...such as I did. Anywho, my next purchase was a pair of Splaff flip flops. I needed a black pair of flip flops and wanted to buy an eco friendly pair. I found them at vegan essentials.com. They are made from recycled tires and tubes. They sure made for some interesting conversations this past summer. I'm happy with them - but a word to the wise - do not wear them for extended periods of time. They aren't the most comfortable flip flops. Lastly, a set of my bedsheets got so badly frayed that it was time to be replaced. I replaced them with a set of Bamboo sheets. And let me tell you - bamboo fabric feels glorious in bed!! I bought them at Zellers (of all places) and they were 30% off that week. So i got them for a real bargain. Zellers was also selling bamboo covered pillows at a discount so I bought a set of those too. I'm very impressed with the bamboo fabric and will definately buy more of it when other sheets get worn out.
Monday, October 22, 2007
It was a rather blustery fall day so I thought a good soup would do nicely. I'm totally into Catherine's (Food snob blog) soup month thing. So I made the Veggie Peanut Soup from La Dolce Vegan. I've never had a peanutty soup before and it was quite nice. Definately a keeper!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The other morning I tried the Acai Antioxidant Smoothie out of ED&BV and it is sooooooo good!! It has a chocolately flavour to it. I could even whip one of these up to satisfy a midnight craving in front of the boob toob. Anyways, I've had three now and ran out of the frozen pkgs of Acai so I ran to the health food store this morning and got some more - along with some more bananas. I also snagged some organic juice boxes that were on sale for the kids, some boxes of veggie bouillon cubes also on sale, and another bag of Spelt flour. I wish this store was within walking distance - I would be there daily if it was. Or is that a good thing?? ha ha
I'm still working on the whole attaching picture thing.....
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Today I made the Almond & Apricot Tea Cookies from Sarah Kramer's cookbook La Dolce Vegan. They were decent. I had a couple with some Island Mango White Tea. I'am lovin that tea right now.....that along with a Raspberry White tea. I didn't think my kids would go for the tea cookies because of the oatmeal in them and the lack of 'sweetness' but alas, the 2 year old ate one with a big glass of strawberry soy milk. I finally finished off the big bottle of artifical vanilla flavouring I had. Now I can go buy some 'real' vanilla.
Now for soup - yesterday I made the Spicy Tomato soup out of La Dolce Vegan. It was okay. Too many chunkies of onions/garlic.....but the dill in it is quite interesting. In comparison, her Tomato and Basil Soup from How it all Vegan is far better! When I made it a couple of weeks ago, I did what Catherine did and froze a couple batches minus the soy milk in the freezer for later. I will never have to buy another can of tomato soup again! The Tomato Basil recipe is far superior and so convenient when pulled from the freezer!
Today I made the Mellow 'Sniffle Lentil' soup from ED&BV. I didn't have any curry powder so I made it without. I'm not sure how much of an impact that makes on the soup, but I enjoyed it. I'm still waiting to see if it gets rid of my sniffles or not. ha ha
Well, until I get the hang of attaching pictures etc. you'll have to suffer through without them.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Kitchen - we are vegetarians / aspiring vegans. We do consume eggs and cheese on an occasional basis and someday hope to kick their butts to the curb entirely. But for now it is baby steps in that department. I try to buy as many organic foods as possible, with an emphasis on locally grown items. However, we do live in northern ontario so are quite restricted in the winter months. This past September i attempted to freeze and preserve as many local vegetables/fruits as possible so that they would last us into the winter. Now, being that this was my first attempt at this I wasn't sure how much to do - and alas all those items will likely be gone by Christmas. ha ha I just didn't buy/freeze enough. Next year I know to DO MORE! I did have a small garden in my back yard - the postage stamp size of a back yard. I grew tomatoes, herbs and peas. My grandmother had a fair size garden and she was very generous to us. The rest of the stuff we bought at the farmers market all summer long.
I cook most of our meals from scratch. This reduces the amount of pkging that comes into our house. AS well, we tend to buy in bulk - further reducing the amount of pkging we see. We use our blue and yellow bins faithfully and I compost as much kitchen waste as possible.
Bathroom - All of our personal care items are organic and as natural as possible. We have preserve toothbrushes and a hemp shower curtain.
Bedroom - when a set of our bedsheets was frayed and time to go bye bye, I replaced them with bamboo sheets. Whoa, wonderful fabric let me tell you! This is the only new purchase in that department. The rest of our replacements have come from hand-me-downs from my mother. She is always good to 'pass on' her sheets and towels to us. Any of our clothes we no longer wear have gone to charity or to other family members. We have two kids so the youngest gets the hand me downs. We have also bought the odd thing at a second hand store.
Household - All of our cleaning supplies are homemade - mostly consisting of vingegar, water, and essential oils. Our laundry detergent is also made by yours truly. The clothes get hung outside in the spring thru fall. The cold weather up here in winter time wouldn't be ideal for a clothes line. ha ha All of our lightbulbs are energy efficient ones; our monthly average power consumption is 300 kWh. (the average households kWh is 700); I turned down our thermostat on the hot water tank quite considerably.
Transportation - prior to moving to northern ontario I used the public transportation system to go to work and run errands most of the time. We also walked or biked to most places. However, since moving up here, that has been reduced quite considerably. I still manage to bike when i can or walk when I can.
There you have it - our contribution in a nutshell. It is a work in progress - we can still do a lot more to reduce our footprint on the earth. I am open to suggestions at any time on other changes that we can make.