Hey Everyone, I have a bunch of new recipes coming your way this week, but in the mean time I wanted to pass along this article discussing the decrease in fast food customers between the ages of 20 and 30. In a week filled with negative food legislation and unseasonably cold weather that is delaying crops for a lot of farmers this was a positive ray of sunshine for the true healthy food movement. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!
Yesterday I wrote about making your own laundry detergent, today I’m continuing the trend and including a recipe on the next easiest household cleaning product you can make, dishwasher detergent. It uses a couple of the same ingredients as the laundry detergent does, plus a couple of other easy-to-find household staples. Again, I have not done a cost comparison, personally, but considering that most people now buy the type of dishwasher detergent that are individual blocks or packets I would say that it it is most likely cheaper to make your own. Not to mention of course that you know what ingredients are in your homemade soap and they are all environmentally friendly. This recipe is even quicker to make than the laundry soap because it doesn’t involved grating a bar of soap, so next time you have 3 minutes to spare here is a great way to save some money and help the environment.
1 cup of Borax
1 Cup of Washing Soda
1/2 cup of citric acid (Find this in the grocery store with the canning supplies)
1/2 cup of Salt
In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and funnel them into a container. Use 1-2 TBS per load in your dishwasher and include 1-2 TBS of white vinegar per load as a rinse agent, this prevents any residue from being left.
I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for a few months now, but this past weekend it was time to restock so I thought it may be a good time to share the process with all of you. With the start of the new year I began reevaluating how to make my life less wasteful financially and more environmentally sustainable. One of the first practical ideas that surfaced in my research was homemade cleaning products. I have not done a personal cost comparison on homemade laundry detergent vs store bought but many people have, and they have found the the homemade type comes out to pennies per load and beats the store bought type hands down. In terms of environmental sustainability, knowing what is in your detergent is not unlike knowing what is in your food. When you make it at home you can rest 100% assured of what products you are interacting with on a daily basis. However, when you buy it in a store you are at the mercy of manufacturers who are, quite honestly, only out to make a buck regardless of whether your clothes get clean or our water supply stays unpolluted. This homemade laundry detergent recipe only uses simple, environmentally friendly, ingredients and its easy on your clothes, gets them clean, and doesn’t contain any harsh skin irritants or allergens. It takes all of about 5 minutes to make and it lasts a long time. If you are interested in trying to make small manageable steps towards environmental sustainability and saving money I highly recommend this as a starting point.
Homemade Laundry Detergent:
1 Cup of Borax (Find in the laundry Aisle of your Grocery Store)
1 Grated Bar of Ivory Soap
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Hopefully you all are out having fun today, but for anyone enjoying a relaxing day at home I have a wonderful movie recommendation for you. Last night, I had the pleasure of watching the film “Ingredients”. This documentary is entirely about the local food movement and is very fascinating.
There is a fantastic blend of imagery and imagination as the narrators fill your head with images of European towns filled with diverse fresh food and daily markets transposed next to our reality of agribusiness, food recalls, and monocrops. There are also countless interviews with real, local farmers who give histories of their farms in the context of market industrialization.
I highly recommend checking it out, and to make it even better it is available for instant stream via Netflix for anyone with access to service. For more info on the film click here or check out the trailer below.
Truly “free” weekends are a valuable luxury around our home. My husband works in a church that is over an hour away, so we do not count Sundays as weekend days and while we work very hard to place boundaries around our Fridays and Saturdays, at least a few weekends out of the month are usually spent traveling to visit family and friends or doing other fun things outside of Raleigh. That being said, when a free weekend does arise I am usually bound and determined to use it productively.
This past weekend, with spring in the air and our apartment lease renewed for a second year, I decided it was time to paint. I have always loved brightly colored walls. Growing up, I had rooms of pink, blue, purple, red, and green and even as a college student I painted the entire bathroom of one apartment the brightest aqua color I could find so that I would literally feel like I was in the ocean. The color of my walls is a source of expression that has always been important to me.
Unfortunately for me, my husband had a twelve-page paper to write and submit this weekend so I was on my own. I moved the furniture, taped the trim and readied my roller. After painting for a few hours the wall was covered and the first coat was drying. I was pleased, but it is certainly a bold color.
I have been blessed with a very chill husband who usually lets me go off on my whims of DIY projects, recipe experimentation, and home décor without complaint but with a color this bold I wasn’t entirely sure what his reaction would be. He came out of paper – writing hibernation for dinner and surveyed the wall. With a nod of approval he gave me a hug and said “thank you for always trying to make our house a home”. Obviously, that is an amazingly sweet thing to say, but even after the happy butterflies in my stomach subsided that comment still rattled around in my mind. What was it about a simple coat of paint that made us feel like this house was a home and why does that even matter?
In her book Radical Homemakers, Author Shannon Hayes talks a lot about the importance of centering our lives around our homes and communities. One of my favorite quotes from the book says this, “When people choose to center their lives on their homes, creating strong family units and living in a way that honors our natural resources and local communities, they are doing more than dismantling the extractive economy and taking power away from the corporate plutocrats. They are laying the foundation to re-democratize our society and heal our planet. They are rebuilding the life-serving economy.” Hayes makes the point that if we are committed to living in a way that supports our community and our family we first need to center our focus on our home and onto turning our home into a place of production rather than consumption.
So what does this have to do with paint? For me, painting the walls the color I want them is an acknowledgment of putting down roots. When we first moved into the apartment it was with the understanding that it may only be temporary. We spent all of our first few months trying to decide what our ideal living situation would look like, and in the end we realized that we already had it and we wanted to stay put. Almost immediately upon making that decision, my relationship with our home and community changed. I embraced the relationships I was making with people in the area, signed up for events I had been putting off, and began to see my little one bedroom apartment as more than just the place where I sleep and store my possessions, I began to see it as a home and I wanted the walls to reflect that transformation.
On the journey towards reducing our dependence on an extractive economy, embracing our communities, and redeveloping our understanding of health and happiness we cannot expect to get very far without first embracing that which most closely surrounds us… our home.
I do not consider myself a green-thumbed individual. I’m fairly certain that the last thing I grew from a seed was the bean plant starring in my 6th grade science fair project, and lets just say that was a long time ago and it wasn’t a great project!
That being said, I was raised to have a deep appreciation for homegrown food because my father is one of the most green-thumbed individuals I know, especially when it comes to fruits and veggies! His vegetable garden has literally caused people to stop and take pictures in the past… I’m not even kidding.
So, a few weeks ago in an effort to take my local food campaign to its next logical step I got some pots, some dirt, and some seeds and said a little prayer that I had a bit of my dad’s gardening DNA in me after all. I chose spinach to start with because I have very little sun around my apartment and spinach is a cool weather crop. Also, it can be cooked, eaten raw, or frozen so it seemed like a versatile choice.
Very excited, I planted the seeds, found the sunniest spot I could find, read the seed packet, counted ten days forward and marked my calendar with the exciting event entitled “spinach germination”. Ten days came, ten days went, more days came, more days went. Every morning I checked the pots, made sure the soil was wet, but not too wet, made sure they were getting sunlight and explained to my coworkers why my high-heels were slightly dirty every day. However, every morning I was met with the same pot of boring old dirt that had greeted me the day before.
Finally, last week I decided to try to germinate some more seeds indoors and plant them once the roots had started. This worked, so I went outside to transplant my new seedling and low and behold I was met with four tiny little green sprouts! Part of me doesn’t want to admit how excited I was, but lets just say I there was a little dance involved! Today, there was even more little sprouts! Looks like I might have some dormant green thumb DNA after all!
There are so many people who have incredibly impressive vegetable gardens surrounding their apartments, homes, offices, or city streets. Obviously, growing your own food is as local as it gets and I hope that one day I will have a photo-worthy vegetable garden like my dad! For right now, however I’m happy gaining a little experience with my spinach plants and making a trip to the farmer’s market for everything else! What about you all, do you possess some valuable gardening DNA? Are you planning a vegetable garden this year?
I plan to start this week off by beginning a discussion about the paleo diet. I have mentioned it a few times so far, however my passing references may have started to confuse some folks, and rightly so. With all of the fad diets out there what gives my way of eating any more validity than any other way? Today I plan to introduce you to a VERY brief overview of the paleo diet itself, and later this week I plan to talk about my personal journey on this eating plan and how it has helped my health and wellbeing.
I want to begin by saying that the paleo or primal eating concept is by no means my own invention. There a few primary founding fathers in the paleo eating community. Different people subscribe to the different nuances inherent in each plan. Personally, I align most closely with the Primal Blueprint diet outlined by Mark Sission. For full information on him and the wonderful resources he provides check out his website at Mark’s Daily Apple. On his website, you will find ample amounts of scientific studies and in depth information backing up this Neolithic way of life. Here on my blog however, you will find a very brief outline of what to eat, what not to eat, and the basic answer to the question of why. Here it goes:
The Overall Motivation Behind the Paleo Lifestyle:
That the human body is an intricately designed entity is a fact un-denied by most. Whether you believe that we are the products of evolution, divine creation, or both there is no denying the complexity inherent in us all. That being said, regardless of our origins, up until the industrialization of the food supply, less than 100 years ago, humans had successfully subsisted off of an earth based diet of plants, seeds, nuts, fruits, and meat. With the dawn of the industrialized food era came the widespread prevalence of “Western” diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is no coincidence. Even today, in countries and cultures with a naturally occurring, traditional, food culture diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are completely unheard of. Our bodies were designed to function a certain way, off of a certain type of fuel. When we stop giving our bodies the fuel it was designed to run off of we risk malfunctioning. When we give our bodies the correct type of fuel, we begin to work in harmony with our bodies rather than against them. Health becomes the norm, not an uphill battle. That is the bottom line.
What You Can Eat:
– nuts (but not peanuts)
– maple syrup
What You May Be Able to Eat:
– dairy in small moderation from grass fed cows
– sweet potatoes
What You Should Not Eat:
– All Legumes
– White potatoes
– All Grains
– Processed foods
In future posts I am sure I will discuss why the foods mentioned above are not good to eat, however in the mean time I do encourage you to read the information in the Primal Blueprint Plan.
The best way to think about the dos and don’ts of paleo is to simply ask yourself “would a caveman have been able to hunt, gather, and cook this?” if the answer is no, than you’re not designed to eat it either.
Now, if the approved foods list is looking a little too short for your liking let me assure you it is not that actually short at all. Within the realm of those twelve ingredients listed, lies a world of literally endless possibilities. Baking is a deliciously tasty art with almond and coconut flour and a dash of honey. Meat is a dish that needs no explanation, and who doesn’t want fruit and chocolate for dessert?
The best part about the paleo diet: there are no calories. This is not a diet in the modern sense of the word. It is a way of eating, yes. However, it is not a way to deprive yourself of nutrients, starve yourself until the scale moves, or count calories until it becomes obsessive. As long as you are eating whole, naturally occurring foods you can eat as much or as little as you need to, to be full and happy. Your body will sort out the rest, because that is what it was designed to do.
I believe in a perfect God that designed the earth and all things in it, including the evolutionary process. I believe that all of mankind is created in the image of God. Why then, if God is perfect and I am created in his image would I have a body that is never fully functional? That is incapable of converting food into energy in the efficient way it is theoretically supposed to? God didn’t command man to only eat 2,000 calories a day and run on a treadmill 6 days a week. Our ancestors didn’t know what a calorie or a gym was. They survived, passed on their genes, and did not succumb to an obesity epidemic. Why then, should we?
This coming week I plan to talk a little bit about why I follow the paleo diet. That being said, I wanted to share this wonderful video with you all today. It is a great introduction to the logic behind eating a diet free of grains and processed food. I hope you take a look at the video and I encourage you to visit slimissimple.org and learn more about this awesome campaign!
While my husband and I usually enjoy our weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market on Friday, this week we were visiting with family on Friday so I took a solo trip to the market on Thursday.
My goal this week was to focus on at least one food that was especially in season, and thus cheaper. This is easy in the summer when berries, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini flood the market, but in the spring the pickings are a little slimmer. I chose kale, for a recipe you will get to enjoy reading about later this week. However, I also got lots of other wonderful fresh food as well. Our list included 1 dozen eggs, 1 package of pork sausage, 1 package of bacon, 1 block of cheddar cheese, 4 tomatoes, 1 bunch of kale, lettuce, apples, 3 sweet potatoes, 1 head of broccoli, and some spaghetti squash.
The spaghetti squash was my most exciting find this week. They have been out of season for a few months and thus not appearing at the market… this puts me in quite a quandary because it is a staple of my paleo diet. Paleo vs local? Tough call. But, thankfully, not one that had to be made this week!
All said and done we got everything on the list for about 40 dollars. Not a bad price for any bargain shopper, farmer’s market junkie or Sam’s clubber alike.
Are you heading out to your farmer’s market this weekend? What was your favorite find? Any guesses on what recipes I’ll be trying out this week? Post in the comment section and let me know! Have a great weekend shopping local and changing the world!
Walking through the meat section of your local grocery store looking at shrink wrapped package after shrink wrapped package its hard to even imagine that the meat in the packages could ever equate to a whole animal.
While I’ve never conducted a survey, I have a sneaking suspicion that, if asked, many shoppers would not be able to tell me which cuts of meat belong to which part of the, formerly living, chicken. It is also extremely telling that, when examining grocery store prices, it is possible to get a whole chicken for between five and ten dollars depending on the sales, but a package of solo chicken breasts rarely goes below seven dollars. Why are we paying the same amount for a singular part of a chicken when we can get the whole thing for the same, if not a better, price?
My guess is because we are living amongst a generation of bone and skin phobic cooks who only know how to slice open shrink-wrap and throw away Styrofoam. Today’s cooks were simply never taught that there was another way. That ends now. Jointing a chicken is actually much simpler than it sounds or looks. To be honest, I only just started doing it myself, so I can say from a place of inexperience that if I can do it so can you.
I followed the instructions given by Gordon Ramsey in the video I’ve posted below and after rewinding it about twenty times I got the hang of it. After completing the task I simply sealed the individual cuts in freezer bags, labeled them and put them in the freezer. In the end, we paid about ten dollars for our local organic chicken and got enough meat to easily last us two weeks or more. Buying the pre-cut parts would have been much more expensive.
Think about this little tip when you do your grocery shopping this weekend, you may find it is well worth your time and money!