Monthly Archives: January 2013

How Do You Grocery Shop?

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Back in my college days, those days of living independently for the first time, I shopped solely based on how much things cost.  I rarely read labels, had probably never eaten anything termed “organic”, didn’t seek anything local out and mostly lived on carbs- maybe a few veggies and fruit from time to time.  In hindsight, I can’t believe I felt okay and appeared healthy.  Now, years later, after living in various cities, watching one too many food documentaries and seeing the organic / local trend grow we are much more apt to spend a little more money on quality, natural foods than less money on processed, factory produced things.  We realized that after making the decision to want to eat “food” (not chemicals) we noticed our portions became smaller -in a good way, (not so glutinous) and we seemed to have more energy and felt better overall in our every day lives.

I think often times people who are not used to shopping organic assume that it’s SO much more expensive, when really, it’s not.  Sure, some things, like a gallon of skim organic milk or the meat you would normally buy are more expensive but there are ways to cut down on your grocery bill and still eat healthy foods.

1. Think about what you can take out of your current diet / grocery trips.  Do you really need the frozen dinners or soda? (I understand too that giving up some of the things we are used to eating and drinking is a challenge but I think you will find that even just after a few weeks of eating less processed, sugar filled foods it will be come like second nature)  In our house we drink water, buy one sugar less juice and organic skim milk.

2.  Think about eating less meat.  I’m not here to make a case for becoming vegetarian, but I am aware that organic meat is much more expensive than non organic.  When my family decided to make the switch to organic foods we simply started eating less of it because it is expensive.  We noticed that we started eating more vegetables and fruits to make up for the lack of meat.  Seems like a pretty good trade off to me.

3. Cut coupons.  Most people assume you can not use coupons on organic products but you can!  Sites like Organic Deals has just what you’re looking for!

4. Talk to your family about the changes that are going to happen. Get the kids involved in picking things out and helping cook in the kitchen.  Having them feel like they are a part of something new for your family will make for a smooth and healthy transition over them feeling like you are simply taking things away.

 

Nature Vs. Nurture

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I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of Nature Vs. Nurture.  How much life experience influences personality over someone just being a certain way from the moment they were conceived.  As my husband and I are expecting our first child, we talk about this often.  What kind of parents we want to be, what kind of experiences we want to give our children- idea’s that are quickly followed up with, “well, we may have to change plans as we go depending on what type of children we have.”  My husband is reading a book on this very topic called Origins- How The Nine Months Before Birth Shape The Rest of Our Lives.  It’s so interesting to read and hear how much of human personality and characteristics are already set in place without having a single ounce of life experience.  Sure, we still want to offer our children all the things we hope to- unconditional love, support, encouragement, travel, a nice place to live etc, and while I am now convinced each person is unique from the moment they are formed, I do think these types of emotions and life experiences play a role in shaping what type of adults they will be.

Getting in those greens

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Over the past several months we’ve been making a conscious effort to eat more greens.  There are so many nutrients and benefits to eating those leafy greens, the effort in putting kale, spinach and the like in our normal evening meals has been well worth it.  We’ve found that you really can put kale in anything!  Finely chop it and put it in your normal morning fruit smoothie or spaghetti sauce.  Mix it in with your salads raw and you won’t even notice it or cook it with a little garlic and olive oil as a delicious side dish.  We’ve been feeling great and feel good about eating something that really does provide our bodies with such incredible nutrition.

This portobello mushroom and kale stroganoff recipe’s from Bev Cooks is one of my favorites!

* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
* 1 Tsp smoked paprika
* 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
* 1 Tbs. tomato paste
* 1 bunch chopped kale
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 bag egg noodles (probably 2-3 cups)
* 1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt) (or you can use a little less if you get the creaminess you like) (I used maybe 3/4) (okay bye)
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the garlic and mushrooms; season with the smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté another 3 minutes, until the mushrooms have softened and are darker in color.

Lightly dust the mushroom mixture with the flour and toss to combine.

Add the stock and the tomato paste. Stir to sort of dissolve the paste. Add the kale and the bay leaf; simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the egg noodles in boiling water until it reaches al dente, maybe 5 minutes. Drain and add to the mushroom skillet.

Add the sour cream and stir to combine. Hmmmmm, creamy. Remove the bay leaf and dig on in, y’all.

A Mama Must Have

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We recently got into Earth Mama’s lip balms and have to say – they are just wonderful! There’s no season where our skin and lips are drier and finding products not filled with chemicals to help soothe cracked skin can sometimes be a bit of a challenge.  My personal favorite is the Lavender Meringue! Your lips will thank you, I promise.

A LOCAL FAVORITE

logoAs someone who enjoys eating natural, local foods there’s nothing better than enjoying a delicious snack from a company who prides itself on their local, natural ingredients.  Whirlybird Granola was founded a couple years ago by a Cincinnati Ohio native passionate about creating and sharing her homemade granola recipes with friends and family.  Now you can find Whirlybird all over town and online too, of course! A few of my favorite granola idea’s that are a bit unique from the normal granola and yogurt straight from the Whirlybird website include:

  • Grilled Pineapple Crunch - Simple grill your sliced pineapple, then add ice cream and chocolate granola as a topper…This is a unique and delicious party pleaser!
  • Apple, Peanut Butter, Granola Sandwich - Simply core your apple, cut it horizontally into thick slices, and add peanut butter and any flavor granola as your filler. It is absolutely delicious!
  • Chocolate Covered Grapes with Chocolate Granola - Melt white chocolate and dip red grapes into the chocolate using a toothpick. Then dip them in any flavor of granola, but the chocolate is delicious. Once this is complete put on wax paper and refrigerate. Hours later, you will have a delicious treat. YUM!
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Kombucha Starter Kits and Benefits

00000948_lKombucha tea has been on the rise now for the past several years and now these starter kits have been popping up and we couldn’t be more excited.  If you are not sure what Kombucha is, let us explain.  It is a fermented tea that contains a culture generally made of a number of yeast, bacteria, organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes.  It all seems pretty scientific but the easy-ness of the kits and health benefits of drinking Kombucha are very well worth it.  You can also find Kombucha tea already brewed and bottled at natural food stores and in some organic sections of your local grocery store.

A few health benefits of Kombucha tea:

-Detoxification: Known to help keep livers healthy and prevent certain strains of cancer

-May prevent arthritis or help treat arthritis

-Probiotic

-Improves digestion

-extremely rich in anti-oxidants which improves immune system and boosts energy levels

 

Simple Greenery for the Home

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If there’s one type of greenery that’s a constant in our home it’s baby’s breath.  It’s simple, beautiful and even when dried and dead it’s still beautiful.  We have baby’s breath scattered through out our home in mason jars and hanging above the mantels with a little piece of washi tape.  It’s the perfect spring touch around the house in the midst of the winter season.

Pregnancy: the home stretch

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Hello friends! Here we are just 5 weeks away from my due date and finally starting to feel a bit at ease about labor and delivery.  A friend of mine sent me some affirmations that i’ve been listening to each night and i’ve just started compiling a calming music playlist to bring to the hospital while I labor.  My hospital bag is mostly packed, the baby’s room is mostly finished and our childbirth workshop / class is scheduled for next weekend.  I’ve had a lot of help from friends and family about putting my mind at ease for labor and delivery.  Being a first time mother is scary for many, many reasons and for me the first challenge of parenthood is simply bringing this baby into the world. I worry about the pain, of course but I also worry something could go wrong with our daughter during delivery.  I will be surrounded by an amazing team of nurses and doctors but that motherly fear of not being able to protect your child still exists.  What were some things you did to help ease your delivery worries?

HEALTHY GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR

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HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! We hope the end of this holiday season finds everyone rested, rejuvenated and ready for the year ahead.  Like so many, the new year is a time to set goals and intentions for whats to come in the next 12 months.  We’re no exception and wanted to share of few of them here.

- Eat greener, more local foods: It can be so easy to run to the supermarket, grab what’s cheapest and quickly throw a meal together for your family.  We want to intentionally eat more green foods, buy local when possible and stay clear of processed and frozen foods which can be so hard to do at times when it’s so easy.

-Spend more time with family and friends and less time online: It seems like a lot of people can relate to this one this year.  We have become a social media, blog obsessed culture and while it’s fun to read what’s going on in someone else’s life, we need to intentionally take the time to enjoy our own.

-Grow as parents: My husband and I will be first time parents in the next 6 weeks and more than anything we want to learn together and grow not only as parents to our daughter but as partners.  We strongly believe that if we model a positive, healthy relationship with one another, everything else will fall into place.

-Compost: My husband and make so many smoothies and eat so many vegetables, lately we’ve been feeling so guilty just trashing the scraps.  Composting is such an easy solution and a great way to fertilize our soil for planting flowers and gardening.

What are some of your goals for the new year?