Thursday, October 13, 2011

Made in the USA mostly...

I have been looking for years for a nice chest of drawers and side table for Addy's room. I have looked at stores, thrift shops, garage sales you name it. It was coming down to sheer desperation.  Addy was getting ready to go to preschool and we had clothes piled in baskets which inevitably ended up on the floor.  I took advantage of the fact that Daron was with us on this shopping trip and  showed him the set that was on sale at Stout's Furniture in Hurricane, UT.  It was a deep blue color but the headboard was made for a twin bed and we recently purchased Addy a nice full size mattress. I was happy to see that the decision wasn't any easier for Daron than it was for me.  We were just about to throw in the towel and forget the whole thing when Daron spotted a blue leather recliner in Addy's size.  "Hey Addy come here."  Now picture me running in slow motion hurdling couches, end tables and recliners as I yell "Nooooo."  I was too late.  Daron was already twirling her around in it saying "Isn't this neat, you could watch football..."  Needless to say the brilliant salesman said Daron could get the chair and foot stool (of course) for 125 dollars (as opposed to the 300 original price tag that was conveniently misplaced - I would say it would have made a difference if Daron had seen the price but probably not!) if he purchased the chest and side table. I was thrilled that the furniture was Made In The USA except of course the recliner. In my mind I figured they canceled each other out. 
I was so happy to find furniture Made in the USA

I love this furniture and felt good about our purchase
Not made in the USA which was a total bummer but Addy and Elmo are happy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Carrying My Own Bags

I know that there are more people out there who keep buying reusable grocery bags and leaving them at home! It drives me nuts.  The reusable bags are great especially when carrying heavy cans. You can also carry a lot more stuff in fewer bags which means less trips to and from the car once you get home! Whoo Hooo!  I have started storing the bags in my car which has helped immensely unfortunately I sometimes forget to put them back in the car. I will use my reusable bags every time if I have to write it on a sticky note and place it on my steering wheel.  I seem to remember to take a reusable bag if I am walking to the store or riding my bike.  I guess it is a necessity then because a plastic bag wouldn't make the walk home and if I am riding my bike I have to use my backpack.  If I try to use any other bag on my bike it swings around to the front of my body and almost topples me over.  It has been a good thirty two years since I fell of my bike and scrapped my knees (I am knocking on wood) and I would like to keep it that way.

We all know that making plastic bags uses huge amounts of oil and that they kill marine animals who mistake them for food but there are many more reasons not to use them.  One of the things that irritates me most about plastic bags is that they are everywhere they are not meant to be. There are two high up in the tree tops outside my front door.  I saw one today on my walk home from the auto shop that was hanging in a bush.  I noticed it because it looked just like a longhorn skull.

I am even worse when it comes to the produce bags!  I have bought lingerie bags to use for produce but I am embarrassed to say that I haven't actually used them yet. I do however try to use less of those plastic produce bags.  For example, I have put two kinds of peppers in one bag or cilantro and parsley in the same bag. I make sure to tell the person checking me out that there is a variety in there and that I am not trying to rip them off just save the world one less bag at a time.  I am not sure if they are recyclable like the plastic grocery bags but do admit to shoving the plastic produce bags into the middle of the plastic grocery bags that I recycle.  With my luck doing this ruins the whole batch and I am someone speeding up global warming.

One day I proudly toted my recycled grocery bag into the store (I was cheering to myself  "I remembered I remembered!") but my self promotion soon fizzled when I realized I forgot my lingerie err "produce" bags. It wasn't until I was home and unpacked my groceries when I realized the "produce" bags were in the recycled grocery bag the whole time. One day I WILL get it right!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recycled Crafts

Our homemade mouse from one of my old T-shirts and leftover curtain fabric.

When I was a kid I would find things I wanted to create in my favorite book - The Everything Book.
I would immediately pick an activity or project and ask my mom if we had this or that. My mom would tell me to make a list of supplies I needed and on our next trip to the store we would pick them up. In theory it sounded good but I wanted to make something NOW! I didn't want to wait or plan.   Back then  I had to get creative and look through drawers and closets for things that I could use.  I had to improvise and think outside the box. I am happy to say that after more than a few decades things haven't changed a bit! This is extremely beneficial since we live 75 miles from the nearest art supply store or big box store! Addyson and I have really enjoyed walking through town and visiting the local thrift store. It is a great place to buy arts and craft supplies as well as office supplies.  It supports our local hospital, saves us money and reuses things that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Addy stuffing a toy cow we made from left over fabric.

Addy and I have painted and repainted this canvas many many times.

Sea creatures and cat (I guess) made from a skirt and a shirt that I was going to take to the thrift store. The skirt had six big blue buttons (octopus eyes) that I am keeping for other projects. Now I look at old clothes with a whole new eye.

Preschool Snacks - Planet and Kid Friendly

Miss Addyson just started preschool and because her name starts with A she was first on the list to bring a snack. I scoured the Internet for creative and fun ideas. I found a "Go Fish" idea that sounded awesome. Yes, it is obvious that I am way more excited about preschool snacks that Addy is. Many of the ideas I liked required plates, cups or small dishes. It was important to me to try and be eco-conscious.  I looked at the paper plates, paper cups and all the other possible options. I decided on blue plastic reusable bowls and tiny plastic containers with lids.  There are fourteen kids in her class and the blue bowls were three for a dollar  and eight small containers with lids for a dollar.  I am sure both were made in China and not BPA free but since I was not microwaving or serving anything hot in them I figured it was fairly safe.  I can't wait to create a cool October snack!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to the Start

Chipotle Mexican Grill has a mission - Food With Integrity.  Check out this short little animated video
about going back to the start.  Music by Willie Nelson.

I copied the following excerpt from Chipotle's website.  Of course if you read the fine print you will find that  not all of their 700 restaurants have meat from family farms but at least they are heading in the right direction.  All seven restaurants in the Seattle area do use sustainably raised meat.

It means serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value.
It means that we support and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care.
It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical. And that we use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones.
Food With Integrity is a journey that started more than a decade ago and one that will never end.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Homemade Dress

This is a semi-green project.  I made the dress which I consider a green project BUT I bought the fabric.  I am assuming the fabric is probably from China.  I of course had to make Addyson's buddy Elmo a matching shirt!  From now on I will do better finding organic materials, using scraps from friends or buying thrift store material.  I am now inspired to make toy mice, birds etc. with my leftover material and old clothes! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Old End Table + Leftover Paint = New Side Table

I have been hunting for years for the perfect bedside tables and end tables. I never find one that I just LOVE.  I have found a few that I really like but then I look at the price and say "I don't like it thaaaat much."  I seem to have the best luck with hand me down furniture or "earth friendly" I like to say because it is recycled and I am saving it from a land fill.  In fact that is the main reason I refuse to buy a brand new house and fill it with top of the line new furniture. Ahhh anyway...   Here is my recent work in progress.  I will post a photo of the finished project too. This bedside table  has been painted and repainted numerous times by left over paint. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adopt a Dog - Recycle!

As the owner of a beautiful black rescue dog I have to encourage everyone to take advantage of this special event!  Zeena was black in her youth but is getting up there in age and seems to be changing into a white dog!

Right now, thousands of wonderful black animals are waiting for adoption at shelters and rescue groups nationwide.

Like all pets, black animals have many different personalities-each one unique. So you're bound to find the perfect match for you. But black dogs and cats are often overlooked for adoption.

To help them find good homes, participating animal shelters and rescue groups are offering 50% off the adoption fee for all black pets during the "Back in Black" adoption promotion from August 15-September 17, 2011.

Find a participating shelter or rescue near you:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Addyson snapped a picture of the first eggplant we picked!

Addy took this photo after she watered the plants.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Just TRY it already! Jeez.

Our little garden has produced a great amount of basil, tomatoes and eggplant.  We failed horribly with the peppers and carrots.  The carrots never sprouted from the seeds and the peppers I believe got too cold.  We had one sad struggling plant that produced one itty bitty pepper but it never got bigger than an inch or two.  The basil however has been awesome and I have created two different pesto pasta dishes. One with basil, walnuts, garlic and olive oil and the other with basil, sunflower seeds, garlic and olive oil.  Both were good but I liked the dish with walnuts better.  If I was smart I would stop at the road side stands that sell pine nuts and make it the traditional way.  My husband ate the pesto pasta but not Addy stating that she doesn’t like the “green stuff.”  Awesome. 
The second dish I made was spaghetti sauce. I was determined to keep the fact that there was an eggplant in it a secret.  I figured if I mashed it up in the Cuisineart with tomatoes no one would notice.  Apparently allergies and tobacco smoke don’t dull my husband’s sense of smell.  He walked into the kitchen and said “I smell cucumbers.”   I tried distracting and redirecting but eventually he figured out that something was in the tomato sauce that he wasn’t quite sure of (which means he won’t eat it).  I admitted there was eggplant in it and he tried it.  When I say he tried it I mean he got the most miniscule bit on the very tip of a fork and dabbed it hesitantly on his lips.  “Oh my gosh” I exclaimed “Just put it in your mouth already!”
He made tacos.  What-ev-er.  I ate it and I wasn’t impressed at all it didn’t have enough spices which I should have realized while making it!  I knew it was good for me and there was an eggplant from my garden in it so I ate it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Explaining the Vegetarianism and Vegan lifestyle

I am slowly on my way to vegetarianism and it sometimes irritates my husband.  I am sure I would have done it long ago if I wasn't so worried about what other people thought (stupid I know).  My sister has been a vegetarian for something like twenty years and I swear people are just now getting used to it!  My husband gets frustrated when he asks me to taste his chicken dish and I won't do it. It irritates him when vegans are "so picky" when they go out to eat.  I am sure many people feel this same way.   His theory is why not taste the chicken it is dead already and if you don't eat it I will.  In addition, you don't want the chicken to have died in vain.  This is how I explained it this morning and he got it.  He said I should share it because it really hit home for "someone like him."  So here it is.  I am sure others might not agree but this helped clarify in our household.

Daron I said pretend a friend of yours stole $2000 from a single woman and her four kids.  He then  offers you $50 of that money. Daron says "No, I can't take that money."  Your friend says "I am going to spend it anyway. You not spending it won't help the folks I stole it from." 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beautiful Purple Eggplants

Eggplant June 2011
 It seemed like the eggplant wasn't going to grow for the first month or two and then all of a sudden it seemed to double in size daily! Today I have four eggplants and I believe a few more will be making an appearance soon.  The strawberry plants are growing but have only produced a handful of berries.  I read that the second year is better for strawberry plants so we will wait and see.  The two lettuce plants did great and I harvested chamomile and mint to have in tea this winter.  We are lucky here because the air is so dry that it is very conducive to drying herbs.
The tomato plants have grown like crazy which is probably why the other plants seem to not have grown much.  I read that you really shouldn't compare other plants to the fast growing tomato plants. We actually have one little yellow pepper on the only surviving pepper plant. I believe the cold killed them seeing that I got a little over zealous and planted way too early. 

Eggplant July 7, 2011

Little pepper with tomatoes behind.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

But I REALLY love seafood...

I love seafood.  When I was a kid my Dad and I shared a love for crab legs and shrimp scampi. Ten years ago got violently ill every time that I ate crab legs.  I know you are thinking why the hell did you keep eating it? Well the first time I thought of it as a bad batch, the second time I cooked it and thought I didn't cook it long enough, the third time I said "to hell with it I am never eating crab legs again!"
Please remember this is a personal blog and I am not trying to be an expert or even an activist.  I just share what I find and explain how I feel about it.
Apparently becoming violently ill turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With all of the horrible devastating fishing practices going on today I would hate the temptation of warm buttery crab legs floating around in my head..  Today I am afraid to eat and buy any of it.  I however don't understand why it would be hard to factory farm fish in a clean and healthy environment?  Why does the water have to be disgusting and full of waste and parasites? These conditions of course lead to the use of antibiotics.  The aqua farmers want to increase the size of the fish FAST (can you say Cha Ching) so they alter the environment (like light).  In addition they rely on drugs and genetic engineering to accelerate growth and change reproductive behaviors. This is exactly the same methods used to factory farm land animals.  The turkeys we eat today are not capable of reproducing the way nature intended and can grow full size in just four months. Oh yippee.

WAIT! Don't stop reading yet.  Is there light at the end of the tunnel?  I'm not sure but there are some resources that I found to help you make informed choices and tell you which fish to steer clear of. Check out     I also added some interesting facts from the  Food and Water Watch site and from the book Eating Animals.
  • Less than 2 percent of imported seafood is inspected.
  • Over 70 percent of domestic shrimp and about 60 percent of domestic oysters came from the Gulf of Mexico prior to the April 2010 oil spill.
The book Eating Animals really opened my eyes on the seafood industry.  These two sentences really hit home for me

"Shrimp account for only 2 percent of global seafood by weight, but shrimp trawling accounts for 33 percent of global bycatch."  What if seafood came with a label such as the following.
"So, with trawled shrimp from Indonesia, for example, the label might read: 26 pounds of other sea animals were killed and tossed back into the ocean for every 1 pound of this shrimp."
I can't imagine eating shrimp again unless I catch it myself.  However there are labels on cigarettes saying it is known to cause cancer and people still smoke...just saying.

I have also wondered about tuna. Everyone was concerned about the killing of dolphins.  Well turns out that not only sea horses and dolphins get caught as "bycatch" but so do 100 sea animal species.

The definition of bycatch varies but it is basically the other species of sea life that fisherman catch but discard because it is not the targeted fish.  I think I am going to research raising my own fish.  With my luck I wouldn't have the heart to kill them and they would become really big and expensive pets!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Artichoke and Fresh Basil from the Garden!

Addy smelling the Basil.
Addy and I whipped up some artichoke-basil dip because Addy wanted to pick some leaves on our basil plant. It's an easy and very healthy recipe.  A can of artichoke hearts, about 6 or 8 basil leaves, 2Tb of mayo, lemon or lime juice, 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.  We dipped chips in it, spread it on grilled cheese sandwhiches and quesadillas and added it to scrambled eggs.  Addy wouldn't try it but Daron liked it!  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Lettuce" tell you About Growing a Garden!

Lettuce in April
Wow, Wow, Wow the lettuce is growing.

I trimmed the lower leaves and ate them same with the Bibb lettuce in the back.
I can't remember WHAT the tall lettuce plant is.

Drink Garden in April - mint and chamomile
Drink Garden in May - Mojitos and Tea

Onions in April

Onions June 1st

Salsa Garden in April

Salsa Garden in May - Peppers on far left not doing well but tomatoes and onions are.

Addy took this photo of our Rosemary. It is doing well.

Eating our own lettuce !!!

Addy took this photo we call it "waiting for strawberries..."

Addy took this photo of one of our lettuce plants.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Do you have TOMS on your Tootsies?

My choice Vegan with inspiring words.

What do you wear on your feet?  Is it hide from an animal? Glue from an animal? Rubber that will never decompose? I have all of those but I have found some earth/animal friendly vegan shoes from Toms.  Toms is starting to gain interest because they give a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes purchased.  They are a bit more pricey but you have to think of it like a donation as well.  In fact, who needs 10, 20, 200 pairs of shoes? Really.  Luckily for me I cannot walk in high heels and I refuse to have back pain for fashion purposes.  Therefore, I have two pairs of running shoes, a pair of hiking shoes, a pair of hiking boots, rubber rain boots (also great for feeding chickens), flip flops etc.  I am trying to pare down like the gal from Zero Waste Home.  She has six pairs. Period.  My new theory is that with all the money I save from not buying various shoes I can put more money into the few that I do purchase. They aren't the pretties pair of shoes I have ever seen and I am not sure how comfy they are but I think I will give them a try.  I saw a kid with a pair of Toms shoes on yesterday and they looked nice and I liked the fact that some other kids who needed a pair of shoes finally had a pair!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Edamame & Veggie Pasta

Yesterday I wanted lunch.  I couldn't figure out what to make.  If we had chips I would have just eaten those and called it a meal. Fortunately we don't have chips that I like in the house.  Yes, that is planned.

I knew I needed to eat veggies so I started there.  I took a bowl and dumped in some grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sauteed onions, edamame, lots of olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and rosemary tossed with some whole grain pasta. It turned out pretty good and Addyson loves edamame so that worked out great. Edamame is great because it is packed with protein and has all of the essential amino acids.  It is also high in fiber!

Shredded Veggie and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Trying to fit more veggies into my daily diet. Everyone in my family loves quesadilla's so I made one with goat cheese and shredded radishes, tomatoes (seeded first so they weren't too mushy), broccoli, cilantro, cucumber and onion. I would have LOVED some avocado in there but I didn't have one.  The veggies were organic from the food co-op but I couldn't find any information on the goat cheese company.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get it past the 3 year old or the 38 year old ;)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden update

Today I realized that my plants are actually growing!!! I took a photo of my lettuce plant.  The onions and lettuce and strawberries are doing the best.  Tomatoes seem very slow to grow.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recycled Garden Box Update

Carrots - the seeds haven't sprouted at all.

Chamomile and Basil - new plants that's why they are still green! Ha ha.

We've managed to keep the strawberries, lettuce and basil alive.

Had a lot of little onions to plant so I added some around the yard to see where/if they grow.

Extra onions that are probably too close together.

Salsa garden in the HEAVY iron tub.  No sprouts from seeds but plants doing ok.

Sunflower seeds doing great.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Kale Chip is Oh So Hip!

How did I get so behind the times?  Apparently people have been eating Kale chips forever.  Well this week Daron's mom and I made not only Kale chips but Swiss Chard chips too.  We liked both.  Daron even ate them.  Eating them and truly liking them are two different things but he will eat them and get some veggie nutrition so that is a score for me!  I LOVE the texture - the kale ruffles really make them crunchy and cool tasting.  There are many recipe variations so I would suggest trial and error.  We like ours just a tad bit brown. See how I do it below.

Wash kale and rip leaf off the stems.

Place on tinfoil covered cookie sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and salt.

Bake at 425 for 10ish minutes.