Friday, August 31, 2012

Have a very Pinteresting Weekend

To start this long holiday weekend off (for those of you who are in the United States) I thought I would share some of the super cool stuff I found on Pinterest this week.

Yes it is an addiction and I don't know how to slow it down.

The little voice in my head says "keep pinning."

So join my vice and pin these pins :)

Happy Birthday Maria!

Happy 142nd birthday Dr. Maria Montessori!

From Google (whose founders credit you with their success)

To these innovative individuals who have given so much back to society:

Alice Waters
Julia Child
Helen Keller
Alexander Graham Bell
Thomas Edison
Henry Ford
Mahatma Gandhi
Buckminster Fuller
Leo Tolstoy
Ann Frank
The Dalai Lama
Yo Yo Ma

We have been taught to think independently and to strike out on our own.  To love nature and to respect others.  To grow based upon your teaching principles.

We have been nurtured in a class that allows you to select your own work and complete tasks at your own pace.  This has allowed us to excel and grow and move far beyond those of traditional school.

It's been 30 years since I was first exposed to the wonder that is a Montessori classroom and since I fell in love with my favorite work, the Pink Tower.

It is with joy that I send my own children to Montessori in hopes that they will also have a love of learning that knows no boundaries.

If you've never experienced a Montessori classroom please view the video below to get just a taste of what it is all about.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A lesson in simplicity

Yesterday on Twitter I received some Earth shattering information.

Well that might be a slight overstatement...but seriously I was pumped when I learned

I could grind my own flour.

And not with a fancy grinder mind you with my Vita-Mix.

I was tweeting with Janae of Bring Joy and she said making her own flour was as simple as a few seconds in her Blendtec.

Well my excitement mounted because I was really not wanting to spend tons of money on oat flour, millet flour, chickpea flour, rice get the picture.

So when I got home last night I put her simple words to the test.

And you know what? 

She was right, it is easy.

I took a cup of white rice (I happen to have a 15 lbs bag of organic rice from Costco on hand...doesn't everyone?), and it made this:

Beautiful fine powdery flour.

Next up were some dried chick peas that I had on hand.


I was a little concerned that these might be a little big to grind up.

Nope not in the least.

Out came this beautiful pale yellow flour (now it did make an awful lot of noise in the blender at first...but the monetary savings are worth it).

I haven't decided what I am going to do with my rice flour, although I think I am going to make Silvana Nardone's gluten free all purpose flour mix.  I would like to experiment with a little more with gluten free foods.

As for the chickpea flour I have had my eye on socca for quite a while.  And not just any socca...this socca from Laura at Sprint 2 The Table. 

This weekend it will be mine (hopefully it turns out ok and doesn't get stuck to the pan).  Pray for me please.

Just as an aside 1 cup of chickpea flour has 10 grams of dietary fiber and 21 grams of protein...holy smokes!

So have you ever made your own flour (please don't let me be the only person who didn't know you could do this)?

Do you bake gluten free...any recipe tips or suggestions?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIAW Now That The Kids are in School

Well the school year started for my kids on August 22nd.

Now that they are back in the school groove it seems my meals look a lot like a kid going to school...must just be simpler for me to not make too many varieties of meals.

Today I am participating in the fave blog party What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Jenn of Peas and Crayons fame.

I haven't participated in a while, but I hope this is like riding a bike and I am able to get right back on without too much trouble.

I present to you this Wednesday my Tuesday eats!

For breakfast the day started out with a bowl of honey nut cheerios with almond milk (very kid friendly):

Mid-day I enjoyed a cup of Mate Factor yerba mate (delicious)

For lunch I had a brown bag staple of peanut butter & jelly with a side of some clementines (those things are so cute and tasty):

For dinner I had a delicious and simple meal (insprired by Cucina 49) cucina povena (poverty kitchen) a delicious dish made from very simple ingredients:

Our version was vegan and we added artichoke hearts (because they are my FAVORITES), mushrooms, and carmelized onions.

This was simple meal to whip up but by far was one of the most delicious I have had in a while.

So what have you eaten lately that knocked your socks off?

Be sure to head over to Peas and Crayons and snoop check out what other bloggers are eating.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Let's Talk Vegan Cookbooks

I was given a chance by Da Capo Press to review Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton.

I am so very grateful that they allowed me to have this book for review.

It contains 200 recipes that cover everything from breakfast to dinner to desserts (and everything else in between).

In addition to recipes Dreena provides a reference section entitled Plant Powered Pantry.  Here she discusses the variety of ingredients she uses.  She provides examples of their flavors, where to use them, how to cook them, what compliments nicely with them, etc.  For example:

I could sit and just read this section like a book and absorb all that she has here.  It is the perfect reference guide for those who may not be as familiar with whole foods or vegan foods.

In all of her recipes Dreena includes whether they are gluten free or nut free (to be sensitive to those with allergies).  This did serve to provide me with a little bit of confusion.

In my house we don't have any allergies or sensitivies to gluten.  So for me figuring out the various types of flour (millet, chickpea, rice, spelt, etc) has been a bit challenging.  It has been a welcome exposure though as I feel like I always depend on all purpose flour.  The flavors these flours provide enhance the recipes and have opened a new world for me.

The recipes also contain hints and tips through Dreena's "Ingredients 411" and "If This Apron Could Talk."

I selected two recipes from the book:

Coconut Banana Muffins

These have just a hint of banana, a slight chew from the coconut, and a crunch from the turbinado sugar topping. 

I was excited that oat flour was one of the ingredients as I got to make my own.  I took quick oats and gave them a spin in my vita-mix.  I was stunned because it worked like a charm and was so easy.  I doubted that it would make the flour so fine, but have no fear it really does work.

These were the perfect muffins to get my crew going on their first day of school.

I also tried out:

Lemony Luscious Almond Cake
topped with fresh strawberry sauce

Holy Smokes Batman...this is good.  The cake is super moist which is on account of adding 2 whole lemons.  Yes that step is what intrigued me to make the recipe.  You boil two lemons and they go in this cake (minus the seeds).

I love the combination of strawberry and lemon together so I chose the Dreena's strawberry sauce, instead of the maple sauce recommended by the book, to accompany the cake.

Overall I love the diversity of the book.  I am still struggling with the variety of ingredients that I don't normally keep on hand, but I am slowly adding items to my pantry so that I can make more of her recipes.

I think this cookbook is definitely one to be added to your collection.

If you would like to hear another opinion, and perfectly penned review check out Gena at Choosing Raw who also reviewed this book.

Friday, August 24, 2012


The internet is abuzz with news about California's proposition 37.

If you don't know what that it is it is the proposition to label genetically modified foods.

I think the most disheartening reveal from the slurry of information out there is that some of the organic companies that I love are paying to say "No" to GMO labeling.

To me that seems completely counter intuitive, but when Pepsi/Kellogs/General Mills, etc own you they own your thoughts as well.

Such a shame!

I don't want to be preachy but I just have to say if you have nothing to hide then should not be concerned about labeling.

If you are proud of the product your produce you should not be concerned about labeling.

I found this chart on the website of the Cornucopia Institute (a 501c who promotes family scale farming).

Larabar put out a message today addressing their position on the "No" side.

Dear LÄRABAR Community,

We hear your passion and concerns regarding California Proposition 37, and we acknowledge the strongly held views on this topic.  We would like to restate – LÄRABAR products do not use any GMO ingredients, and never will. As a further sign of our commitment, we are in the process of enrolling our brand in the Non-GMO Project.

Like most food companies that sell products beyond California, General Mills (the parent company of LÄRABAR) is not in favor of state-based labeling laws.  General Mills believes labeling regulations should be set at the national level, not on a state-by-state basis, as Proposition 37 would mandate in California.  To learn more about General Mills’ position on Proposition 37, we encourage you to
read more here.

We welcome your constructive, respectful feedback and will make sure that your comments are shared with General Mills.  For further questions or to share your comments, please
contact us.

Simply yours,

My issue with this missive is if you oppose state labeling why not spearhead national labeling?  Would it be so hard to spend some of that money to lobby for nationwide labeling?  Show the consumer community that you don't have anything to hide.

That is my rant for today, it has been sitting in the pit of my stomach all week.

To get a bigger breakdown of who owns the organic industry see this chart.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

I promised to share with you a recipe that would remind you of fall and so today I am sharing with you my Nana's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.

Why make pumpkin pie in the summer when it is traditionally a fall delicacy? 

Because my 9 year old who never specifically asks for a dessert asked if I could make him a pie.

On hand I had everything for pumpkin, all other pie recipes would have required a quick trip to the store.

This recipe makes 2 pies so you, or your child, can be doubly happy.

Mary's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

3/4 C dark brown sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
3/4 C almond milk
1 1/4 C canned pumpkin
3 egg whites
1/3 C sugar

On medium heat in a sauce pan combine brown sugar, gelatin, salt, and spices. 

Combine the egg yolks and milk and then add to sauce pan.

Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin.

Allow mixture to chill (I put it in the fridge for about an hour).  The mixture should mound slightly when spooned out, that is how you know it is ready.

While the mixture is cooling beat egg whites to soft peaks and then gradually add sugar.

Continue beating until stiff.

Fold into your pumpkin mixture (below is a quick video if you need a visual on how to fold without deflating your egg whites).

Divide your pumpkin mix between two pie shells and cook at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (or until the pie is firm to the touch).

The pie was delicious and just the right amound of spice, just like I remember having at my Nana's house.

Was there a special dessert that you got at your grandmother's house? 

Now that I have made her version I am going to test a little and try a vegan version to see if it comes out as yummy.  If it does I will be sure to share it with you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Indulge Me

Well like all good moms there are times where you just want to show off the kids.

My 5 and 3 year old are show offs when the camera is on, my 9 year old not so much (he often won't even turn around for a still shot):

I just have to share two short videos of Andrew and Caroline that I thought were pretty darn funny.

Tomorrow I will have a recipe I promise (it will get you in the mood for fall!).

"Dancing Queen"

"Fists of Fury"

Were you ever a ham for the camera?  Are kids in love with the camera?

May you all have a great Tuesday and be sure to enter my Conscious Box giveaway (it ends tonight).

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Addition

No we aren't having a baby (I've had 3 and that is enough).

No in the mail we received a new addition to our family (about 1000) of them.

Would you like to take a guess as to what it is?

They come all packaged up in a linen bag.

Oh so intriguing I know :)

We have worms!!!

We have decided that instead of a traditional compost bin (which we've had for years) that we are going to switch over to worms.

Vermiculture to be exact.

We have about 1000 worms that reside a big rubbermaid container (yes holes were drilled for air and ventilation).  Inside you put in a bed of cardboard and sherreded paper as well as your food scraps (veggies, fruit, pasta, and meat they are vegetarians like me).

It is truly a cool process to see how much the worms can go through and how fast they can break down the organic matter.

Once we have enough castings (aka poop) we can spread that in our gardens for some of the richest fertilizer you will even find.

Do you compost?  If so what is your chosen method.

Be sure, if you haven't done so already, to enter my Conscious Box giveaway (it is open until midnight on Tuesday the 21st).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Vegan Happiness

Well today is Friday and the weekend is almost upon us.

Today I want to share a giveaway...and a vegan one at that.

I have written about the subscription service Conscious Box on here before (here, here, and here).

Well I am back to let you know that something new and exciting has happened at Conscious Box...they have a vegan box.

How cool is that?

Conscious has teamed up with former pro triathlete Brendan Brazier.

You know the author of the Thrive diet and exercise books and formulator of Vega.

By the way Brendan, if you are reading this...I LOVE my vanilla Vega every morning!

Brendan is curating all of the contents of the box.

From past experience I know that those happy little boxes are always packed to the brim.  I cannot wait to see what comes in the vegan box.

*disclaimer you do not have to be vegan to enjoy this* :)

I've submitted to get my subscription...but how would you like to win one?

Conscious Box has offered me the opportunity to give away one of their vegan boxes to a reader.

I am so excited to share this with you all.

Conscious has some of the best customer service around and they truly care about the products they supply.

To be eligible to win you need to go to Facebook and like the Conscious Box page.

Leave me a comment that you "Liked" them and feel free to leave any other comment (or questions).

The giveaway will be open until Wednesday the 22nd (I will announce the winner in Wednesday's post).

The vegan subsciptions start in September so it will be mid-month that you will receive your box.

I do need to quickly say congratulations to Tamar from Ladies Holiday.  She won my $50 BabyLegs giveaway prize pack.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Do you have any plans?  If so please share :)  I will be getting everyone haircuts (so they are all trimmed up for school) and working in the garden.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School Giveaway

Well in yesterday's post I promised a giveaway today.

I am not one to welch on a promise so here it is.

I have a $50 gift pack to giveaway from BabyLegs Organics (which includes at least 2 pairs of leg warmers).

Now you may be asking what are BabyLegs?

Well in April of 2005, a young mom was confronted with a diaper rash that just wouldn't quit. The rash needed some fresh air to heal, but she was also concerned about keeping her daughter warm. In a moment of inspiration, she snipped the feet off of a pair of socks and fitted her daughter from hip to ankle with a cool set of leg warmers. These leg warmers not only kept her daughter warm, but also protected her from the elements, made diaper changing and potty training easier, and protected her soft knees while crawling. With some fun designs and some grassroots marketing support, the functional and fashionable leg warmers that began as a solution to keep little legs warm quickly became much more.

Now they produce these very cute and fashionable legwarmers for both boys and girls:

They have got TONS of more styles, and I just don't have the space to show them all...but they are precious.

For younger children they really do provide nice protection for their knees.  For the older children it is a wonderful opportunity to add a little flair to their outfits.  For someone like my daughter these are just a dream AND they don't interfere with her potty training.

There is different sizing depending on what product you might purchase (they sell socks, tights and leg warmers), but a link to that is here.

If you would like to see what other fans of Baby Legs are saying you can head over to their Facebook page and check it out.

I bet right about now you are asking your self "How do I enter this giveaway?"

Simple use the Rafflecopter below.  I will announce a winner on Monday August 20th.  Be sure to share this opportunity with your friends.   And remember Baby Legs are for boys and girls so this is open to everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Playing Catch Up

Happy Tuesday to one and all.

You will have to forgive me for writing a "catch up" post.  I am in a serious state of food bliss, I blame this on the Whole Foods salad bar I had for lunch capped off with a GT's kombucha (seriously addictive stuff).

I have been catching up this past week on my blog reading, I have been sorely behind.

I found out that one blogger is have a baby, congrats Steph!

Anna made some gold medal worthy s'mores krispies bars.

Laura made some French toast Elvis would be envious of.

And Sharon made some gorgeous (or lush as she would say) vegan jello.

Once I made it through my blog loves I had to check out Pinterest.

Pinterest has a ton more interesting stuff on it, since I was last there. 

I found a cool work out...not sure if it will work, but it won't take much time to find out:

These delicious doughnut pancakes caught my eye:

However one thing left me puzzled:

Seriously?  With 3 kids I don't have time to read 99 ways to simply life.  How about simplifying the list.

Maybe this is what is needed to help simplify:

Source: via Rachel on Pinterest

Anything caught your eye lately?  Recipes that you want to try?  Are you as addicted to Pinterest as I am?

Tomorrow I have a giveaway for you lovely people and I can't wait to share it :)

Happy Tuesday to you all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekend Fun

This past weekend my family, and I, travelled up to Richmond to visit my aunt.

Cathy was kind enough to watch our 3 children for the night as we went to see Dralion by Cirque du Soleil

This is not the first Cirque show I have been to see, but it is my favorite thus far.

My husband was more a fan of the clowns than the acrobatics.  I however was just completely in awe of each act.

It is amazing to me what they can get their bodies to do, and the strength that they posses is unreal.

The fun didn't stop with the show.  We also went to Silver Diner.

To me the name doesn't do it justice, but it is not diner food at all.

Silver Diner embraces the farm to table movement and sources their food locally.

And if that wasn't enough to pull you in, they have juke boxes at each table:

I am not sure how many times my kids pressed the buttons, I am just glad they didn't break it!

Their menu is huge and has breakfast items served all day (big plus if you are a five year old addicted to pancakes).

The have choices to suit everyone from the vegan to the carnivore.

I do have to say that the customer service was wonderful.  My husband ordred a hamburger with no mustard.

When his dinner came out the waiter noted that he thought mustard was on it.

They both checked and sure enough there it was.  However the manager brought over a new burger and a coupon for a free meal next time we were there.

Now to me that WAY over and beyond what I would expect.  A new sandwich and an "I'm sorry" would have sufficed.

It is nice to see though that they were willing to go out of there way to ensure we had a good meal.

So that wraps up the weekend for us.

I think we have a nice quiet weekend ahead of us just before school starts.

Silver Diner on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Family Beach Vacation 2012

This year we went to "The Edge of America"

At least that is the claim by Folly Beach residents.

Folly Beach is an island about 15 minutes south of Charleston, South Carolina.

It is a beautiful and relaxing beach community.

The two best things for me were that we could walk everywhere and the food was fresh, local, and bountiful with vegetarian options (I would recommend The Drop In, Snapper Jacks, and Planet Follywood).

For my kids the only tough decisions they had to make was whether they wanted to visit the beach:

(bathings suits were optional)

Or go to the pool:

There is the fabulous Pirate Cove playground (there is a lot of pirate lore in the area), for when you needed play time but didn't want to get wet:

 Yes Dad was racing Owen to the top...and Owen won!

And of course we took a day trip into Charleston to see some of the beautiful homes:

We ended the day by picking up cupcakes (this one is a vanilla cake with raspberry filling) from Cupcake (trust me these are TOTALLY worth every penny).

The cupcake was the only food I manager to capture because we were always too ravenous to photograph the take out that we got from the local restaurants.

However I can say that the seafood was very fresh (you can't beat it when it comes straight off the boat to your plate and no time to be frozen and wait on a grocery store shelf) and the restaurants care about the food they produce.

If you are looking for a quiet beach getaway that is perfect for anything from a family vacation to a romantic getaway or even a girls only trip Folly Beach is for you. 

There are bunches of vacation rentals but I have to recommend the condo, Swell Time, we stayed in because the owners, Charlotte and Boyd, were so attentative and really provide tons of amenities.

So what is your favorite summer vacation location (beach, mountains, desert)?