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Archive for November, 2011

Organic Family Cookbook GIVEAWAY ~ US/CAN ~ CLOSED

I was absolutely thrilled to receive a copy of The Organic Family Cookbook for review – already being a big fan of author Anni Daulter from Ice Pop Joy and Bamboo Family Magazine, I couldn’t wait to see what she’d come up with for this cookbook.

Truly, my expectations were surpassed. I am a lover of cookbooks in general and I have to say that this one goes right up there with those 70’s style Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks in the category of awesome (have you seen those? They really are awesome… :)).

The recipes, extra tips, pictures, personal stories – there is so much to be found in here. I could go on forever, but let me highlight a few of my favorite things…

 

Family

This book is truly a family cookbook. Anni’s 4 beautiful children are involved throughout the project – it’s very obvious to see how much inspiration they provided, even to the point of contributing recipes. Together with that, there are tips everywhere on ways to get kids involved – whether at the farmer’s market, gardening, preparation, you name it – I can’t wait to start applying these ideas with Bean.

Real

With ‘organic’ in the title, you know the ingredients you’ll find here are going to be the best. The recipe for banana bread really stood out to me in this regard – it was one of my first experiences in baking a sweet treat that used absolutely no refined ingredients – something I really was quite skeptical of. But truly – this was the best banana bread I’ve ever had – the flavor was amazing and I felt so good about what was inside! I’m actually planning on making this bread for Christmas gifts this year (a twist on an idea Anni shares in the book) and am so looking forward to sharing it with loved ones.

Flavor

Of course, all those real food ingredients make for amazing everything in this book. I’ve made well over half the recipes and been so happy with every one – as have Bean and the husband!

Some of our favorites have been the Bakery-Worthy Mini Broccoli & Cheese Crustless Quiches, the quinoa made both sweet and savory (Bodhi’s Warm Berry Quinoa w/Honey Butter & Simple Quinoa w/Peas & Corn), Austin & Cameron’s Pastrami & Bleu Cheese Melt (drool!) and of course, the Whole Roasted Herb Chicken with Roasted Veggies & Dark Chocolate Dipping Sauce (I’ve never made anything that made me feel so decadent!).

Several of the recipes I tried were ones I actually didn’t think I would like – I am quite picky but I was inspired to be adventurous (that pastrami sandwich was one of them!) and I was just blown away by how good it all was.

Easy Read the rest of this entry »

The Gratitude Challenge – 100 Things That Make Me Feel Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving Americans!

We’ve already done Thanksgiving here in Canada (way back in October! Weird, I know ;)), but being a born and raised American, I always feel justified in celebrating two Thanksgivings…we just move our November turkey day to the weekend.

This year I’m adding meaning to my celebration by joining the lovely Amanda Metro of Let’s Take the Metro in her Gratitude Challenge – basically, making a list (together with lots of other bloggers) of 100 things that make me feel thankful.

I’ll start with the warm fuzzies I know I’m going to get from writing this post and reading the others…and without further ado (in no particular order beyond the first two):

1. Baby Bean always tops the list! I am more grateful than I can ever say for this little girl who’s been so much more to me than I ever could have imagined…every day I love her more…every day she surprises me – if I had nothing else to be grateful for, she would make it all worth it.

2. The husband comes in at a close second. :) He is awesome and handsome and funny and loves me – I am thankful to have been married to him for 5 years now.

3. Sushi. What’s not to be thankful for?

4. Llamas. Same ? as above.

5. Pinterest. It’s awesome.

6. Good friends. You know who you are. I always wish we could live closer, but you are often in my thoughts and I couldn’t do it without you…

7. Bubbles.

8. Sunflower Seeds.

9. Music. Whether it’s driving home in traffic and having a favorite song come on (Foster the People, anyone?) or singing to Bean or listening to her sing – it always makes me feel better in so many different ways.

10. Cloudy days.

11. A chance to sleep in.

12. A night out with the girls.

13. Luther the dog (as much as he also frequently annoys me, I am very thankful for him).

14. Sage the cat (same aside as above).

15. A trip to the pumpkin farm (and the apple farm, and the berry farm, and the Christmas tree farm…)

16. Water. I love water. I love drinking it, swimming in it, walking in the rain, soaking in a bath, starting at a lake or the ocean, standing under a hot shower and letting it soothe me. I cannot emphasize enough how very, very thankful I am for water. Read the rest of this entry »

Mindful Mama Blog Carnival ~ Call for Submissions {December}

November 22, 2011 Update: We’ve noticed that the wonderful Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction is hosting The Safe Cosleeping Carnival on the same dates as Mindful Mama. Well, we want to support and participate in both carnivals, and I am sure many of you do, as well. I am grateful that the three of us were excited to make small changes to our schedules so that we can support one another’s carnivals. I hope you find this helpful, too. Please note the new publication date for Mindful Mama below is December 13th. And hop on over to Monkey Butt Junction for details in participating in The Safe CoSleeping Carnival. It’s going to be an entire week of Parenting Goodness!

We all talk about how we want to bring more connectedness into our lives. We may want to connect with spirit, our bodies, acceptance, forgiveness or simply to find peace. Whether you already have a practice that centers you or you want to have a practice, but haven’t yet begun, here is a chance to write about what keeps you going or keeps you from starting and read what others are experiencing on their own journeys.

Kelly from Becoming Crunchy and Zoie from TouchstoneZ are pleased to announce the Third Mindful Mama Carnival.

Topic: Staying mindful during the holiday season

Some suggestions:

  • Do you have a mindfulness practice that works to keep you centered during the holidays?
  • How do you reconcile giving and receiving with being mindful of waste, the environment, the economy, accumulating objects, or other issues you follow a philosophy about?
  • How do you manage your finances mindfully during the holidays?
  • How do you manage relationships with family or friends you may spend time with during the holidays that you may not agree with on mindfulness topics?
  • How do you balance (or not balance) your conscious relationship with your body when there are so many temptations over the holidays?
  • For all of these suggestions, is there something that prevents you from living the your life as mindfully during the holidays? Why or why not?

Remember, these are just suggestions to get your creative juices flowing. Please let us know what mindfulness looks like for you during the holidays.

Deadline: Thursday, December 8, 2011. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to BOTH Zoie and Kelly by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: zoie{dot}touchstonez{at} gmail{dot}com and kelly{at}becomingcrunchy{dot}com

Carnival date: Thursday, December 15, 2011. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on December 15 before 9am PST and email us the link if you haven’t done so already. Once everyone’s posts are published on December 15 by 9am PST, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants’ links to generate lots of link love for your site. We’ll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

I hope you’ll join us in writing about staying mindful during the holiday season. Please submit your post on the form below by Thursday, December 8th 11:59pmPST and have your post up on Thursday, December 15th. We will send you code for the top and bottom of your post that will link to any other participants in the carnival Wednesday, December 14th with final update on December 15th.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or email  zoie{dot}touchstonez{at} gmail{dot}com and kelly{at}becomingcrunchy{dot}com

Copy this badge code and add it to your blog sidebar:

Mindful Mama Carnival


To stay connected:

You can fill out the form at the bottom of this post or go directly to the submission form Here


A Tradition of Love

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Sneaky Chef

Some of the memories I cherish most from childhood are those of helping my mom in the kitchen. It was mostly the occasional baking for a treat or holiday; she actually wasn’t a huge fan of cooking for the most part, but she pretty much always let us help from as early as I can remember…starting off with stirring and eventually moving up to being able to complete each task.

From that point, I was never held back from experimenting in the kitchen.

We had this crazy 70′s style plastic case full of recipe cards that had a whole section of recipes for children. I think I made almost all of them – my mom was happy to buy the ingredients and I got my little brother in on the action. Now that I think about it those were probably some hideously disgusting recipes lolbut I was so proud of myself for putting it all together!

As we grew older my brother and I took over many of the cooking duties, and I continued to learn and experiment – we even hosted a ‘French’ dinner for my parents one night in the backyard, where I made quiche for the first time – so exotic!

I kind of laugh at myself now about it all, but I really do remember the joy I had in all of those activities – especially when I figured out how to make something really great and shared it with friends.

For me, it’s a rich legacy of tradition, creativity, and family all mixed together – so of course I can’t wait to pass all of it on to my own little ones.

I’ve actually been surprised at how easy it’s been already to involve my daughter in the kitchen – she’s only 14 months after all, but I’ve already seen several ways to include her… Read the rest of this entry »

Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts GIVEAWAY (CLOSED ~ Worldwide)

Out of all the changes we’ve made as a family over the past 14 months or so (and there have been many!) – the transition to real food has been one of the most difficult. That’s why I’m always happy to find a resource that helps make it easier – and Treat Yourself: Real Food Desserts from Kate at Modern Alternative Mama definitely falls into that category!

It’s pretty easy to find all kinds of healthy, real food recipes when it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I haven’t seen as much on the dessert side of things…and the treats I’m used to making are generally full of white flour, white sugar – basically all the processed stuff I keep trying to work toward eliminating.

But it turns out real food desserts (that really taste good) really are do-able…

I’m thrilled to be sharing this special collection of recipes with you through today’s review and giveaway, and hope you’re as happy as I am with these sweet treats!

Kate of Modern Alternative Mama was actually one of the first people to really get the idea of the importance of real food into my head. I’ve learned a lot from her blog and her Against the Grain cook book…in fact I feel I owe quite a debt of gratitude to this mama – so I’m always happy to recommend her stuff.

But I have to say, Treat Yourself surpasses it all (but maybe that’s just because I really like dessert ;) ). Really though, there are some amazing recipes in this one…I’ve already tried several and can’t wait to get to them all.

First, the details: you won’t find a hint of white flour or white sugar anywhere in this book. The only 3 sweeteners used are honey, maple, and sucanat – the truly all natural sweeteners – and Kate gives a great explanation of each of them at the beginning of the book.

Two thirds of the recipes are grain free, and some are even GAPS friendly – almost all are adjustable for substitutions to fit unique dietary needs.

In my own testing I’ve started out with some of the grain free options…mainly out of skepticism – I’d already tried a few grain free recipes (adapted from grain based recipes and using replacements like almond flour) that I haven’t been very impressed with, so I kind of wondered if it was possible to make something like that good.

First was the chocolate cake (Chocolate Cake II). I was very (pleasantly) surprised to find how good it was – and that it really tasted like chocolate cake! If I can ever manage to really stick to GAPS, this will definitely be our birthday cake of choice.

One of the other grain free recipes I really enjoyed was the carrot cake – the spices made it taste so amazing – this one did not last long in our house!

Of course, the top of the list was the chocolate brownies – and I gave these the ultimate test by sharing with my niece (who at this point in her toddler-hood does not do ‘healthy’) – she loved them as much as we did! I’m just happy Kate’s given permission to share the recipe – you won’t want to miss out on this one!

Chocolate Brownies Read the rest of this entry »

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