Showing posts with label tip of the moment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tip of the moment. Show all posts

June 17, 2014

Fast and Simple Smoothie Tips

It's smoothie time around here again!  As if I haven't mentioned my smoothie love enough (like here and here and here), I'm going to just dive in and mention the cold concoction yet again.

Today's slant: shortcuts to ensure quick and easy smoothie making success!

Whatever produce you decide to use in your smoothie is great.  However you decide to make it smooth is fabulous.  I'm not going to get into those details.  Let's start with my jar of slop instead.  I call it: 


Each evening of smoothie season, I fill a 16oz wide mouth jar with:

*1T chia seeds
*3-4T oats (not instant
*enough milk kefir (or milk or yogurt) to fill 3/4 of jar

I stir it all up, screw on the lid, and put it in the fridge overnight (you could keep it out on the counter for full soaking effects, but I like my smoothie ingredients to be cold). By morning, the chia and oats have softened to a perfect texture for smoothie making.  No more icky hard, or chewy bits in my drink, but still lots of protein and fiber goodness! 

These are what milk kefir grains look like.  Pretty, eh?  If you're interested in some, this post has a link to where I got mine.  Milk kefir is similar to yogurt, and when made at home it's super cost effective.  


I keep bags of smoothie creating produce in my freezer.  The fruits vary, but you can almost always find a bag of kale or spinach in there.  Usually some beets too.  The frozen fruits and veggies help keep my smoothie cold, and the small, clear bags front and center in the freezer make ingredient gathering quick and efficient.


I keep small bottles of juice and nectar on hand so that when the smoothie making mood hits I'll be ready-and not irritated that someone has drunk all the orange juice again.  The smaller bottles are just the right size for a few days of smoothie making; any larger and I start worrying about not using all that juice before it might spoil.  My current favorite is the tart cherry juice by cheribundi- I use about 4oz of it per smoothie.

Those 3 tips plus a little raw honey, perhaps a few bits of fresh fruit lingering around, a pat of coconut oil, a splash of milk...
Blend 'em all together and voila, SMOOTHIE SEASON BEGINS AGAIN.

June 08, 2014

Weekending: photo posters and SportDOG collar

      that tree isn't my screen saver, but a reflection from outside.

Hanging above that table, just out of view, is a photo poster.  An old, giant frame was milling about with nothing of note highlighted in it.  After measuring for size, I remedied the situation by creating (in Picmonkey) a poster using one of my own photos of our lake and overlaying it with a much loved quote by Wendell Berry.  After scoring a discount at Walgreens, I was able to create some wall art for under 20 bucks!  Walgreens is currently running a few photo specials right now; visit the site to create your own photo poster, banner, or board print.   

A pause here on Sunday to check in- hope your weekend has been spectacular.  Mine certainly was since Grammy and Pappy were here!  Family is always a blast to have around, but these folks?  I get all kinds of free time when they're around since they are like loving, patient octopi to Bear and Ace.  Want proof?

They give the boys heaps of attention while using their seemingly endlessly available limbs to hold, hug, read, and assemble Legos. That takes talent I tell you.

A few other weekend moments:

Bear kicked off his birthday season- it's on 7/8, but why not start now?

See Huckle's collar ( disregard the coconut)?  It's a waterproof hunting dog collar by SportDOG, purchased at Cabella's.  It suits our needs perfectly around here!  It's an electric collar which means it does have the potential to be used as a zapper.  I however, stick to using the beep sensor which makes the collar similar to clicker training.  Since everything is electronic, Huckle's collar responds with a beep each time I push a button on the remote controller.  I've combined the beep training with some hand signals to resolve an issue we were having with Huckle knowing when it was time to come in from his swim on our lake.  So far it's been working... swimmingly...!  Huckle can paddle around in the water and I know he's going to come back to shore when I signal for him.

Finish up this weekend in style, gang!

June 05, 2014

Earthing 101

How best to describe Earthing?  Well, it's the concept that the more closely we are connected to the Earth, the more in sync we feel with our world.  Hold up though!  The word "earthing" sounds weird in and of itself; describing it with a matra type tone just makes it worse.  Starting over...

The Earthing Institute describes Earthing in this way:

Earthing, or grounding as it is often called, simply means connecting to the Earth’s natural, negative surface charge by being barefoot outside or in bare skin contact with conductive systems indoors while you sleep, relax, or work.
A simple concept, yes.  But one with profound impact on the physiology.
Connection with the Earth restores a lost electrical signal to the body that seems to stabilize the complicated circuitry of our essentially-electrical body.  Our built-in self-regulating and self-healing mechanisms become more effective.  There are head-to-toe improvements.  Better blood flow.  Less pain and inflammation.  More energy.  Deeper sleep.  

Do you have the gist of the claim?  Skin contact (even if lightly covered with clothing) with the Earth results in good vibes.  In less modern times this was easy.  Who even wore shoes?!  And when he or she did, the shoes were soled with leather- a breathable, natural material.  Now life has become more complicated.  We are disconnected from the Earth's energy because of the rubber soled shoes we wear, the phones and gadgets in our pockets that send out vibes (some would say negative) of their own, the sheer lack of time spent outside in soil and grass and water.

When I first hear about earthing, there was little information on the web so I ordered the book, half expecting it to be a big crock 'o... but still I ordered it seeing as I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction reads.  I read it.  Thought it over.  "Earthed" and talked about it with my children.  Occasionally thought I sounded like a quack when discussing it with Champ.

Here's where I am at with earthing:
- I think the general concept is great.  I've always disliked shoes, so an excuse to go barefoot?  Sure!
- I don't live on a farm so there are no questionable substances in my grass and I don't live in a city where soil and grass are a bit harder to come by.
- my crosscountry coaches in college encouraged us to occasionally   run barefoot.  I figure they were on to something
- I don't see shoes on folks at the beach, but I do see a lot more smiles.   Hmmm...
- I would never in a million years buy any earthing products to enhance my experience
- but I did buy  sheepskin moccasins (natural sole) for the boys and I since at the end of summer we needed new shoes.  They are so cozy it makes me happy to wear them... could it be the earthing effect?!

            Bear thought bear needed his own pair of earthing shoes

I'm glad to have discovered earthing.  A little reminder blip goes off in my brain when the boys and I are outside.  Sit in the grass for a minute!  Dip your toes in the lake!  Garden without those clogs on!  I DO feel better when I am barefoot-regardless of if it's a placebo effect or the true effect of earthing. 

Intrigued?  Outraged?  Here are some links to help firm up your decision.

Good luck whatever you decide and may the flow be with you.

December 17, 2013

No microwave doesn't mean no microwaved mac 'n cheese

Vermont is so quirky.  It has these strange norms, ways of life that would seem crazy in another state, but work perfectly here.  One of the phenomenons I had to get in on was a food buying club although if you are in the know, it is cooler to refer to it as co-op or food co-op.  Let's call it co-op from now on. 

Co-op in it's most basic form is like a BJs or Sam's Club, but Vermont style.  A group of people join together to form one large club with one giant order.  This order makes it worthwhile for a food company (in my specific case, UNFI which also serves places like Whole Foods) to add your club to it's route of deliveries.   Co-op members place their order on a monthly basis and then a bunch of us get together for the "divide".  This is where it gets kind of laughable: imagine a tractor trailer truck stopping along a dirt road and unloading it's wares of: a 5lb bag of oats, 24 boxes of salmon filets, 1lb oolong loose tea, 2 pairs of Maggie's tights, a 12 pack case of Tom's of Maine peppermint toothpaste... to some assorted, eager Vermonters who then sort out the items on a tarp and eventually send them on their proper way home.  I couldn't help but laugh the first time I participated in all of this.  It is outlandish, difficult to explain, and so very cool.  I mean, a group of folks who see a need in their (rural) community and take action to solve the problem?  How is that not cool?

All the ordering is done online, so while I hit it right 90% of the time, occasionally what I think I ordered and what is delivered are two decidedly different things.  Like the case of Annie's Mac 'N Cheese.  It arrived as small pots that could be microwaved.  I do not have a microwave and tried to wish those cup packages back into the rectangular boxes I thought I had ordered.  It didn't work.

Next up, I boiled some water and poured it into the cup to the fill line.  Waited a few moments until the noodles became edible, poured out a little of the excess water, and stirred in the cheese packet.  My kids were none the wiser.  PHEW. 

This post could have alternatively been titled "How I fixed my mac 'n cheese ordering blunder".  Also "Get creative so you don't lose money on what you now have in your pantry."  But really it was a little jaunt to take a break from my holiday happenings.  How are all of your holiday preparations going?

Other enjoyable break activities include playing in the snowy woods and drinking hot cocoa.

May 10, 2013

Fast and Furious "Hard Baked" Eggs

You can always tell when Spring has arrived in Vermont because every friend and neighbor starts giving you eggs.  Lots of eggs from giddy, quite productive hens.  A stark change from donning hats and gloves to trudge through snowy months begging anyone and everyone for a handful of eggs.

All these eggs gave me room for failure while trying out a method of "hard boiling" I had seen on Pinterest.  But in the end, it didn't fail at all!!  It worked amazingly and now we are eating all manner of eggs from sun up to sun down.

Fast and Furious Hard Baked Eggs 
- preheat oven to 325*
- decide how many hard baked eggs you want to make
- grab a muffin tin, mini muffin tin, or in my case- a cast iron madeline pan 
- place eggs into each individual cup and bake for 25 minutes (or 30 depending on your oven).
- remove from pan, rinse in cold water and store in fridge until ready to use.

And the bonus?  My fresh from the chicken eggshells peel off faster than you can say "DEVILED"!  No more poking at a raw egg with a needle for this girl, thank you very much.

It's the simple things in life that make us feel productive and competent, right?

Have an eggcellent weekend (you knew that was comingeveryone!

January 31, 2013

If only they sold oregano oil at 7-eleven

Still riding that wave of sickness?  Here is a list of tips that helped us muddle through it.

-Oregano oil. I read this book a few months ago and decided to give oregano oil a try as it is considered to be anti viral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti inflammatory (among other traits).  It continues to impress me.  I rub a few drops into our feet each night before bed as an immunity booster, and rub some into our chests if congested or coughing.  We take it internally if in full battle with a cold.  I put 3 drops (about 5 for me) into a little bit of water or juice.  Ace likes the stuff enough that I can put a few drops in his drink cup and he sips on it all day long, otherwise we take the drops every 3 hours or so over the course of a day.

-Coconut oil.  Some claim it is anti fungal and antiviral. Here's what I know: it feels heavenly to rub some on an irritated nose.  If it helps keep the germs out while moisturizing, well then all the better.

- ginger lemon tea.  A few hunks of peeled ginger root, a squeeze of lemon, smidge of honey, and some hot water.  ReliefSteeping it in a Teavana tea tumbler that a super awesome friend gave you is optional.

-Elderberry syrup.  My sister-in-law, S, introduced me to elderberry syrup, maybe in your family it was your grandmother.  Whatever the case, it is a proven immunity builder and we take it daily during the winter months.

-Apple cider vinegar.  You know how you can almost feel a cold coming before it truly hits?  You're a little off, a little dizzy.  Maybe you are extra sleepy and don't have an appetite.  As soon as I notice myself  becoming unbalanced I take 1T ACV in a little water and keep at it every few hours over the course of the day.  I don't know why it works exactly- maybe the balancing out of acidity in my system?  No idea, but it has helped me get two feet back on the ground.  It's not a cure-all, I still get colds occasionally, but I've found that if ACV can't nip 'em in the bud, it does help limit their duration.

-Thieves.  The back story to how this oil was created is worth the read.  I make a homemade version of it and use it in the pot of water on the woodstove, and to wipe down door and toilet handles.  Once again, we rub it on our feet whenever I feel our systems could use a little boost.

Sometimes all of the above just doesn't fully cut it.  When that occurs, pile your sons into the car and drive to 7-eleven (your nearest store).  Buy a few slurpees*, peanut butter crackers, and 7-eleven's version of Tylenol cold (because that's all they apparently carry).  Come back home, feed the boys their super healthy lunch, take some cold medicine, and all curl up on the bed.

*for the record, the medicine blew my mind and I won't be taking any more.  However, that slurpee was just what the doctor ordered. 

January 09, 2013

About those magnets on your fridge...

Our 2013 phone book arrived with a magnet glued on- "Abatem Exterminating Company!" it said.  I'm not in the market for any exterminators, but I did yank that magnet right off the yellow page and place it in my craft surplus drawer.  Those suckers come in  handy for swift little projects and so I stockpile.

{This was taken a few months ago while we had company.  The scene reflects the wild time we had- with the Boston Marathon medal hanging on the stove where dishes are stored, cushions tossed all around, chair askewAnd this was just a glimpse to one wee corner of my house...

My friend A introduced me to the magic in the magnet.  She had gifted Bear with a farm set of magnets upcycled from her stash and I thought it so clever.  Let me teach you how to be as clever 
as she...

 Supplies: advertizement magnets, stickers, scissors, wide roll of clear tape.

Peel off the paper part of the advertizement magnet as best you can.  Place stickers on paper side of the magnet.  Space them close together so that you can make lots of new magnets.

Lay tape over top of stickers being careful to avoid making any wrinkles.  If needed, smooth by pressing over wrinkles with your fingertips.

Cut out the stickers with a sharp pair of scissors.  Mine were not the sharpest, so I had to keep a margin around most of the stickers to make cutting easier.  I've since sharpened my scissors, so Abatem magnet, you had better watch out.

And DONE.  Now go out into the world and hunt down those calendar magnets.  Accept magnets from any business person you meet.  Feed your stash and then amaze folks with thoughtful birthday gifts! Your own magnetic poetry tiles!  How about a complete set of the characters from Homer's Odyssey?  If you can imagine it, I'm sure there's a sticker for it.

 Abatem?  I don't mean to abuse your generosity.  Here.  A link to put my readers in contact with your services.  Your welcome.

November 15, 2012

Capturing Carrots

The carrots were the only thing left to get out of the garden, so when the weather warmed up last weekend I headed to my two patches.  I then distracted myself from working by deciding to take a picture which led me to tromp in to the house for the camera and then to fiddle with the Manual setting (because I am determined to learn, hear me??!!).  I was so going to take a picture like all those other blogs with the standard issue "picture shot from above with cute shoes and some sort of produce or pile of goods in it".  I snapped and all the screen displayed was carrots.  I repositioned and hit the shutter again.  Carrots, nothing else.  And again.  
Carrots, just blasted carrots.

Finally it dawned on me, OOOOH they are using a wide angle lens to take those shots!!  I grabbed my fisheye attachment and thank the Lord Almighty got my carrot pile and boot shot.

It just confirms that even the seemingly easiest pictures to take might just have a little secret of their own behind the lens.  Makes me appreciate quality photography that much more!!  The same quality that is totally lacking in my carrot pictures, but eh, there's other things one can do with carrots besides mount photos of them on the wall.

You can make soup!  Here's a super yummy, super fast recipe shared with me by my sister in law S:

Carrot Ginger Soup
2T butter
2lbs carrots peeled and chopped
2 onions
6C chicken broth
1C cream
2T ginger (I use fresh, chopped)
- put onions and butter in stockpot and heat over med-high until onions are transparent.  Add broth, ginger, and carrots.  Heat to boiling then cover and reduce heat.  Simmer until carrots are tender and then puree.  Add in cream and serve. 

Or, you can make those fruit purees your toddler is so interested in!  My prototype involves a cake decorating bag and some masking tape.  I then dig around and find any produce that would make a good puree candidate- especially if it's been hanging around a little while.

Anything and everything makes the cut: apples, pears, blueberries, cherry juice, bananas, tofu, grapes, kiwi, last night's green beans, CARROTS...

They somehow end up tasty no matter what is in them and the boys think it's simply fabulous to eat them.  My prototype is quite wasteful though and more times than not I spoon the puree into a bowl rather than a disposable bag.  My crew does not think that is half as fabulous, but now that I've solved the "picture shot from above with cute shoes and some sort of produce or pile of goods in it" I'll have more time to devote to creating a sustainable puree dispenser.