Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I accomplished something last week that was a pretty awesome accomplishment.  Well, in my eyes it was an awesome accomplishment.  I made homemade whole wheat bread.  I wanted to bring something to my mother's birthday dinner and she LOVES homemade bread, so I thought I would try for this special occasion.  I got a pretty basic whole wheat recipe from my cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen.  I thought I would just try a basic bread recipe since it was my first time making bread.  The recipe called for mostly whole wheat flour and honey but I added some flax seed to the mix.  It went so well.  I had a few questions but my mom helped me with all of them.  She has always told me that there was something special about making homemade bread with your own two hands and she was so right.  It is such a therapeutic, amazing achievement.  My family loved it and seemed very impressed with the bread.  What a great feeling!  I think I will continue my journey of bread making!  I would love to be able to stop buying bread at the store and just make my own for our family. 

Menu planning continues to be successful and delicious!  Our journey of cooking with healthy, organic, and sustainable foods is getting better and better daily.  I'm excited for spring to join us, so we can start our garden and the farmer's markets start back up. 

MONDAY-  Dinner with my family at McMenamin's-John Barleycorns

TUESDAY-  Whole wheat spaghetti with homemade tomato/veggie sauce, a loaded salad, and homemade bread

WEDNESDAY-  Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna and a loaded salad.  I have made this Lasagna several times and I either leave out the sausage completely or substitute it with vegan sausage. 

THURSDAY-  Drew & I are attending an art/photo show this evening.  We will be eating finger foods at the show.  Our son will be eating dinner with his Aunt Katie!  Thanks Katie! 

FRIDAY-  Salmon Burgers, steamed broccoli, and oven fries

SATURDAY-  Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce with tofu, served over brown rice.  I found this Tikka Masala Simmer Sauce at Whole Foods and loved it.  I highly recommend it.

SUNDAY-  Mushroom and broccoli pasta in a white wine sauce with a spinach salad

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy eating & cooking,

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet" -Albert Einstein

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Small Change

I have decided to join the Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change project.  The challenge is to make one small environmentally friendly change each month leading up to Earth Day.  It can be something small or something big, just something that we do as a family to make a positive green impact for ourselves and this beautiful earth we live on. 

We do a pretty good job practicing ways to be more environmentally friendly but there is always more steps to be taken.  We decided to do two small changes this month.  Our first One Small Change is to build and start our compost.  We had a great compost going when we lived in Bend but we moved and we haven't gotten back into it.  Just in time for spring we are starting it!  The compost will help with our little organic garden and it will reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in the landfill.  My father is a garden genius and any questions I have will be sent directly to him but there is tons of information online about creating a compost.  I would love to build our own compost bin but we are in a rental home and I don't want to make anything permanent.  I will be purchasing this compost bin instead, The Earth Machine.  We will also put something in the kitchen to hold scraps until they go into the compost bin.  I found this compost pail at Crate and Barrel and I have a gift card for there that I think I will use.  I am very excited to get going on this project of ours!

The other One Small Change is to get rid of our vinyl shower curtain liner.  These liners are more toxic for ourselves and the environment then we really know.  That "new shower curtain smell" is caused by very toxic chemicals called volatile organic compounds or VOC's.  These poisonous chemicals that off-gas into the air, can persist for the first 28 days while the curtain hangs in your home. There are many non-toxic options out there.  We have found a shower curtain made from PEVA, which is a PVC-free, non chlorinated, biodegradable lightweight plastic that does not emit off-gases.  Ikea has them for no more that $9.99.  YES!!!!  There are also tons of natural fiber options: organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, or linen that you can find on different online shops.  We are going to try out the Ikea shower curtain and see how we like it.

What small change can your family make?  If you are interested join Hip Mountain Mama's One Small Change Challenge.  Check back on March 1st for an update on how our changes are going and what new changes we will make in March.

Be well, friends

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I sure hope everyone had a great weekend and Valentines Day.  I had a great Valentines Day with all kinds of people that I love.  I was able to go to my aunt's house for a fun and delicious Valentines/Mardi Gras Party.  When I showed up my son opened the door with 2 daffodils for me (my mom took him over early).  It was the cutest thing in the world and made me smile from ear to ear.  He really knows how to make everyday special.  We came home later that evening to put my little man to sleep and I started cooking a simple, late dinner for my husband, who was on is way home from a photo shoot in Seattle.  I bought some fresh crab from Whole Foods and made a lemon garlic dipping sauce for it.  Then I roasted some potatoes and asparagus.  For dessert I made homemade lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  He came home with flowers in his hand and a huge warm hug & kiss.  I missed him!  The food & talk were great that night. 

I am ready for another week.  This week I am dedicated to planning my son's birthday party!  It is coming quickly!  As for recipes, we are trying just 2 new recipes but I am pretty sure they will be delicious!  The other recipes are some of our family favorites!  Please remember that we try our best to use ingredients that are organic, sustainable, and healthy.  We do this for our bodies, souls, animals, and the earth.

MONDAY- Sushi with a best friend and our kids!

TUESDAY- Blackened Salmon Sandwich (I leave out the mayo), steamed broccoli, and Cajun potatoes.  We chose this recipe in celebration of Mardi Gras.  Drew is cooking tonight because I am working late.  He will save me some leftovers! 

WEDNESDAY-  Homemade minestrone soup and a loaded spinach salad.

THURSDAY-  Green Pizza with homemade dough and a veggie salad.  (I made this pizza before and it is delicious...I highly recommend it!)

FRIDAY-  Veggie Fajitas

SATURDAY-  My mom's birthday dinner at my aunt's house.  I will be bringing something but I am not sure what it will be yet. 

SUNDAY-  Poached Halibut with Herbed Vinaigrette, steamed garlic asparagus, and whole wheat couscous. 

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy Eating & Cooking,
"Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can't taste that beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie." – Astrid Alauda

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

She's Crafty.....

A month or so ago I had made the decision that I would stop buying greeting cards of any kinds.  No more Birthday, Christmas, holiday cards, invitations, thank-you's, and any kind of cards.  I have two exceptions to my new rule.  The first one is to keep and send the cards I already own.  I am STILL working on my Thank-yous from our wedding.  I know...I know....WOW it is taking me forever.  Well in my defense it's very hard to keep up on stuff like that when I have a 2 year old, work, school, a husband, a house to keep clean, and a small business to help run.  BUT I am working on them slowly and send one or two at a time.  So after those are done I will have no more in the house.  The other exception are cards I would buy that were made locally in support of a local business or artist (Saturday Market, etc.).

I decided that from now on I will make my own cards.  It is cheaper, a lot of fun, more personal, brings out your creative imaginative self, my son can join the fun, and if you use the right materials is better for the environment.  I am slowly going to start building on my collection of craft materials and hopefully soon I will be able to bust out a card for any occasion in minutes!  I am also going to start looking for environmentally friendly papers and craft materials that I will be able to use.  I might start looking for things to reuse around the house that would look cute on cards or other craft projects.  Things like buttons, old magazines, any kind of paper, ribbon, photos, old greeting cards, etc.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!  I'm excited to start being more crafty and watch my son use his creative little mind.  Keep an eye out for more blogs on my crafty projects!

Of course since Valentine's Day is coming up, I had to start making some Valentine cards.  A couple of weeks ago I had some girlfriends come over and we made our own Valentines.  Everyone brought a little bit of their own craft materials and we all shared.  We didn't have templates, models, cheat sheets, or instructions.  We just used our creative minds!  Ayden even made a Valentine before he went to bed. It was such a fun night filled with delicious food, yummy drinks, great company, and fun crafts!  I think I might host more crafts nights like that!

Since that craft night Ayden and I have been working on doing some more Valentines.  Every few days we make more.  It is so fun and Ayden is really enjoying the crafts.  It is so amazing to watch him be artistic and use his creative mind.  I can't wait to see what his creative outlet will be when he gets older.

Here are some pictures from my girls/craft night.

Here are a few pictures from my point and shoot camera of Ayden making Valentines with me this morning.
Happy Card Making everyone!

"The only things in my life that compatibly exists with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit." -Ansel Adams

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Hello everyone!  On to another week and more menu planning!  We are doing so well keeping on track with menu planning.  I think there has only been 2 or 3 days every month when we changed dinner plans at the last minute.  It is so helpful for us in so many different ways.  I hope everyone is giving it a try and enjoying it!

Last week was yet another great week for my dinner plans.  The Potato, Spinach, & Leek soup was amazing.  It was not my first time eating it but my first time cooking it.  It was delicious!  This week will be a little bit different because Drew is gone all weekend for a big photography job in Seattle.  He won't be back till late Sunday night (Valentines Day).  I am sad he will be gone for Valentines weekend but this is a big photography job and we just can't pass it up!  I am going to have a surprise late dinner and dessert waiting for him when he gets home on Sunday!  AND he promised to take Ayden and I to the beach next week!  We don't need to celebrate our love just on one day....we celebrate it EVERYDAY!

Cheers to another great week!

MONDAY-  Black Bean Soup

TUESDAY- Spinach Enchiladas*(This is my late work night, so Drew will be cooking for himself and Ayden)

WEDNESDAY-  Roasted Vegetable & Polenta Bake and a loaded spinach salad

THURSDAY-  Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia Pasta with Roasted Aspargus

FRIDAY- Scoopable Chinese Salad and vegetable fried rice for Ayden (my friend, Wendy, gave me this recipe and I found it online too.  We are of course substituting the chicken with baked tofu and the mandarin oranges with fresh tangerine oranges)

SATURDAY-  Old Spaghetti Factory for a friend's Birthday dinner

SUNDAY- My aunt is throwing a Valentines/Mardi Gras Party.  I am going to bring a Valentines Dessert.  I am trying to decide on a few different ones.  I will post a blog about what I decided and the recipe for it.  I will also post my surprise late dinner for Drew this weekend.  I don't want to ruin the surprise for him just yet! 


SPINACH ENCHILADAS-  (from the cookbook, Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen)

4 oz cream cheese, softened (I use fat free)
1/2 lb of Jack Cheese, grated
1/2 cup chopped ripe olives
1 small bell pepper, minced
Baby Spinach- a bunch
2 scallions, finely minced
a few dashes of cayenne

Combine in a bowl and mix well.

We usually make our own Salsa Verde sauce but since tomatoes are not in season we have chosen to use a enchilada sauce that Whole Foods sells.

Moisten the tortillas (this encourages flexibility).  Dip them briefly in water.  (Briefly means a dunking, not a bath).
Assemble the enchiladas by placing a few tablespoons of filling on one side of each tortilla and rolling it up.  Pour a small amount of sauce into a shallow baking dish, add the enchiladas and pour the remaining sauce over the top.  Cover the foil, and bake for about 30 minutes in a 325 degrees oven.  Serve hot!

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.
Happy eating & cooking,

"Food is our common ground, a universal experience."- James Beard

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Happy 1st of Feburary!  I feel time moving just right under my feet!  It is already time to start planning my son's 2nd birthday party!   Last week was great and we loved the shrimp tacos we tried out.  It was my first time using tomatillos.  They are an interesting and delicious fruit, which resembles a green tomato.

I hope everyone is taking those little steps towards eating locally and sustainable foods!  I am working on writing a nice big blog about what steps you can take and where to get information on making this change.  Keep a look out for it!  Here is another week of meal planning!

MONDAY- Whole wheat spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce.  (I added tons of vegetable to the sauce as well.)

TUESDAY-  Vegetable fajitas  (It's my late work night, so this is Drew's cooking night.)

WEDNESDAY-  Potato leek soup (slow-cooker)  I am getting this recipe from a friend.  I will post it on Wed when I make the soup.

THURSDAYHoney-Soy Broiled Salmon with broccoli and whole wheat cous cous

FRIDAY- Loaded Vegetable Spinach Salad and Leftover Potato Leek Soup (we have a busy day & night so we are eating simple and quickly)

SATURDAY-  Vegetarian Hot Pot with lettuce wraps

SUNDAY-  Super Bowl- we are attending a party and bringing Southwestern Layered Bean Dip

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.
Happy eating & cooking,

"Good food ends with good talk." -Geoffery Neighor