05 April 2009

Combining blogs

I have currently been writing two blogs. This one and another which focuses more on my family and happenings surrounding the boys. After contemplating why I was seperating the issues out, I have decided to combine the blogs. Thus if you are still interested in reading about our adventures in green living please feel free to visit my other blog. This will be my last post on this one.

Tales of an EarthMama

08 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well somehow another week has gone by. This week seemed to fly. As I turned off my computer on Monday (my goal for every week this Lent) every day I felt I was a day off. Anyway, the meals this last week were really good. I expcetally enjoyed the meatloaf from Frugal Recipes.com Although I only used a pound of beef while the recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds. My husband said it could use the extra 1/2 lb in his opinion. We didn't get to the lasagna as I was sick on Friday. I've added it to this week, because I really want to try out the recipe. Plus I still have all the ingredients.

Monday:Mushroom, Spinach & Artichoke Lasagna, bread
Tuesday: Baked Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Couscous and green beans
Wednesday: Pi Day Church Potluck- bring Broccoli and Bacon Quiche
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie, bread, fruit salad
Friday: Homemade Hamburger Helper
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Crepes

For more menu ideas and recipes be sure to visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

05 March 2009

The power of soap and water

I have been doing major cleaning in my kitchen this week. I have to admit I'm horrible when it comes to deep cleaning my house. I take care of the basics (usually) but really deep cleaning just slips by me. So this week I decided my kitchen really needed some major deep cleaning. I've started with just the outside. I've cleaned off the outside of all the cabinets and walls. I moved the stove and swept and mopped behind it. My kitchen sparkles now. It feels really good. And I only used hot water and soap. Oh and lots of elbow grease. :) There was so much build up on some of the walls (like behind the stove) and cabinets. And I'm sure I could have gone to any grocery store and found ten products claiming that they would just wipe away the grim. But really, why bother. Hot water, soap and a old tooth brush in hard to remove areas did the work just as well. And without all the added chemicals. According to Green Clean website "Simple castile soap (made with olive oil) and vegetable-based soap (such as Murphy’s Oil Soap) have a neutral pH. Soap cleans by attaching to soil at the molecular level, so that the soil can be rinsed away with water." I am currently using Ecover Aloe Vera Dishwashing Liquid I have enjoyed it. Although I might try making my own once I'm done with this bottle. One of my many pet peeves with society is our constant need of antibacterial products. True there was time when I half heartily bought into that mindset. And sure there are times when I make sure to disinfect a surface. Like when handling raw meat I tend to zealously clean the surface afterward. But it is through the use of all these antibacterial products that we create strands of bacteria that can withstand such chemicals. Plus the real kicker is we kill all that good bacteria along side the bad. This all leaves our immune systems weaker not stronger. I'm not saying we shouldn't clean. I'm saying that I am constantly amazed at the power of simple cleaning products. Plain soap and water, along with baking soda, vinegar and others, do amazing jobs and both cleaning and disinfecting. And they don't pose problems toward the environment or towards creating super bacteria. So if you're not already, look into natural, alternative cleaning products. Make sure your soaps are derived from vegetable oil and not petroleum. Check out the below sites for tips on using vinegar and baking soda to help clean your house. Or check out your local library for a copy of Green Clean. Some of my favorite homemade recipes are from there. We currently use the Borax Kitchen cleaner and the dishwasher detergent. Although you have to be careful about the amount of detergent used. Too much will leave residue on your dishes.

Vinegar Tips- cleaning

GreenLivingtips- baking soda

There are lots of other resources out there. Look around, your bound to find other great information.

01 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last weeks meals went very well. I ended up enjoying the Green Spaghetti all by myself. :( My husband had a stomach virus. And for what ever reason, my son decided not to eat that night. Oh well, I enjoyed it and will have to make it again. I didn't end up cooking today. We had so many leftovers that I decided we needed to eat what was in the frige. And I didn't end of making the tuna pasta for potluck this morning. I brought fruit jello instead. I was mostly just being lazy. :) Well here is this weeks meal plan.

Breakfast: cereal or oatmeal, eggs if I feel I have energy

Lunch: leftovers, pb&j, or hot dogs (have I mentioned I hate hot dogs. My husband loves them so I figure since I make him come up with his own lunch most days he can have them.)

Monday: Confetti Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, and green beans
Tuesday: Bacon Potato Chowder, with muffins or bread
Wednesday: Church meal
Thursday: Small Group meal- bring bread
Friday: Mushroom, Spinach, & Artichoke Lasagna, garlic bread
Saturday: out to eat (I'll be at a La Leche League conference till late afternoon.)
Sunday: Leftovers

Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menus and recipes this week.

25 February 2009

Local Raw milk

A few of my friends in town have recently been getting raw milk from a local farm. After hearing wonderful comments about it, deciding that the local factor was well worth it, plus seeing that the $3 per gallon was very comparable to the grocery store price, I decided to try a gallon. So I talked to my one of my friends and he pick a gallon up for me when he went to get his. Yesterday I got the milk! I used it in the spinach sauce for our dinner and had a glass to drink. I think I'm hooked. I had my husband only pour me a half glass thinking it was be really thick. My husband and I tend to drink 1% and I buy a 1/2 gallon 2% for cooking and for my 2 1/2 yr old to drink. He's skinny and I feel can probably use the extra fat (of course so could my husband, but 1% is a compromise. He grew up on skim :( ). I was pleasantly surprised to find it tasted alot like 2%. I was expecting a thick whole milk feel. Of course it's been awhile since I've had whole milk so who really knows. The important thing is I like it. The down side is that right now I don't think DH is going to drink it. So I'll have to keep some 1% on hand. I keep thinking I should at least look at the organic at our local whole foods store. Check prices and such. The down side of raw milk is that I'm told it tends to go sour by the end of one week. But really that's not a problem for us. We use a lot of milk. Another fun thing I'm hoping to try with this milk is making my own yogurt. I know you can make yogurt with pasteurized milk, but another friend who is using raw milk says that her yogurt turns out so much better using the raw. So now I just need to try. I've never been motivated to try to make my own yogurt. However I'm starting to feel some motivation coming.

22 February 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well last weeks meal plan went very well. I ended up switching Thurs and Friday. My 2 yr old son had stomach flu and it was easier to do the pizza than what I had planned on Thurs. Of course then I had to deal with him want pizza and not really being able to eat it because he was sick. :( Poor guy. We didn't end of eating out of Sat. Instead we ate at my mother's. It was a wonderful meal. I also had to come up with a last minute Sunday supper because we didn't have enough left overs. We had a lentil chili over homemade buns that was very tasty. Plus there is enough leftovers for lunch this week. Even if we eat it everyday, we'll still probably being eating it till Wed or Thurs. Well here is this weeks plan.

Breakfasts: Cereal or oatmeal
Lily pads on Tues or Wed- spinach type pancakes found in Sesame Street Silly Snacks (very cute and fun kids cookbook that is separated into color groups that match a monster)

Lunch: leftovers, pb&j, hotdogs
Sunday lunch- church potluck- bringing Tuna pasta

Monday: Cheese Corn Chowder
Tuesday: Green Spaghetti
Wedensday: Church meal
Thursday: Italian Beef & Veggie Casserole
Friday: Baked Chicken, stuffed potatoes, peas
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Crustless Broccoli Quiche

If you want more ideas for meal planning this week visit Organizing Junkie

20 February 2009

DIY plant pot- milk jugs and more

I've really wanted to start growing some of my own food. But I have little motivation to start an outside garden for two reasons. One, we don't own the house or plot of land it sits on. So I know all the hard work I put into clearing a spot for a garden may not be utilized after I'm gone. Which feels sorta like a waste. Two, we may be moving this summer. And if not this summer most likely by the next. So I may nor may not even get a full growing season out of the hard work. So in hopes to both fully me desire to grow my own food while keeping the work load manageable I've decided I can plant herbs and maybe even a few vegetables or whatnot in pots. That way I can start now and when it gets warmer just take them outside. My big dilemma with this is I don't want to spend money on buying a whole ton of pots. :( Luckily I ran across this tutorial for making a planter out of a milk jug on Instructables.com. Quick and Easy self-watering garden planter. I've already tried it and I have two little sprouts that just popped up yesterday. I was so very excited!!

Well this got me thinking of other things lying around my house that I might be able to use. We don't really drink pop, so I don't have 2L bottles. But I do have other things that might work. My big idea is using a tidy cats plastic container as a planter for a tomato plant(or other larger plant). We have three we got off of freecycle to use as a diaper pail. But we really only use one right now. We keep it in the garage and take it with us on all day trips. Anyway, while I don't have cats and their for don't buy litter, I'm sure I could get more off of freecycle. And they should be just big enough for one tomato plant. :) Yeah!!!!! So now I just have to go try it. I think I'll probably wait till I finish planting the rest of my herbs. Just need to finish this next jug of milk.