Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cod with Fennel Butter

I want to share this recipe that I prepared a couple weeks ago.  It is a wonderful light dish that goes well with any vegetable.  I served roasted potatoes and steamed artichokes with it.  The recipe is from "The Cook's Encyclopedia of Four Ingredient Cooking"  by Joanna Farrow.   I did change it slightly though, it called for Haddock fish, which is expensive and hard to find.  I instead bought cod fish for it.

A note about buying fish:  Overfishing and trawling have drastically reduced the number of cod in the Atlantic Ocean and destroyed its sea floor. A better choice is Pacific cod (a.k.a. Alaska cod); it is more sustainably fished and has a larger, more stable population, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.  I always try and buy sustainable seafood.  Marine Stewardship Council is a great organization that provides labels and information on fishery companies that are operating in a environmentally responsible way.  When you buy seafood with the Marine Stewardship Council blue ecolabel on it, you will know that this fish was caught in a sustainable and ocean friendly way.  I am also very blessed with a brother who is a fly fisherman and occasionally brings me fresh caught fish.  He of course catches his fish in a sustainable way too! 

COD WITH FENNEL BUTTER (The Cook's Encyclopedia of Four Ingredient Cooking by Joanna Farrow)

Ingredients:  (4 servings)

1 1/2 pounds cod fillet (or haddock), skinned and cut into 4 portions
1/4 cup of butter
1 lemon
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper.  Melt one-fourth of the butter in a skillet, preferably nonstick, and cook the fish fillets over medium heat briefly on both sides.

Transfer the fish to a shallow ovenproof dish. Cut four wafer-thin slices from the lemon and squeeze the juice from the remainder over the fish.  Place the lemon slices on top and then bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in the skillet and add the fennel and a little seasoning.

Transfer the cooked fish to plates and pour the cooking juices into the herb butter.  Heat gently for a few seconds, then pour the herb butter over the fish.  Serve immediately!


Happy Cooking,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Menus, Babies, and Bellies!

As most of you know my husband is a professional photographer (and my personal photog tutor) and we have decided to throw a really fun mini-session portrait party!  SO...for all you Portland mamas out there check this out!

This is a great opportunity to save over 50% off regular session fees!  I will be there assisting any moms or kiddos that need it!  I will also be providing light snacks as well as discount coupons and information on local companies who support local mommas!  There is limited space available, so please book your session time NOW!!  I hope to see all you glowing mamas there!

On to some pregnancy musings.  I have been researching a lot about cloth diapers the past few days.  We did cloth diapers with my son and loved it.  When we first started, so many people said it was too hard and we wouldn't be able to do it.  HOGWASH, I tell you!  It was much easier than anticipated!   We had a cloth diaper service for the first couple months that my son was born, which made it SO incredibly easy.  But even when we no longer had the service it was just as easy.  With the easy factor comes the green and toxin-free factor.  Happy babies, happy planet, happy mamas!  Cloth diapers have little to NO toxins, which protects our precious little one's bottoms!  Keeping disposable diapers OUT of the landfills, helps our beautiful planet....our home!  The average child goes through 6,000-10,000 diapers from birth to potty learning and these diapers sit in landfills for over 300 years!   GROSS!

So, why am I researching cloth diapers if I already know about them?  I want to learn about all the different cloth diaper products that are out there.  Let me tell you....there are LOTS!!!!  We used Bummis and BumGenius diaper covers with organic cotton diaper prefolds!  We really loved both products and kept them all.  We plan to use the ones we kept but I want to add to my cloth diaper stash.  I want to try a different brand!  So my research continues.  If any of your mamas out there recommend a different cloth diaper brand, send it my way.  I plan to put together a whole blog about cloth diapers, how to use them, and tips for all you mamas out there!  Keep an eye out for that! 

And for our menu this week!  I hope everyone is taking steps towards a healthy organic way of eating for your body and our planet!


MONDAY:  Vegetable Polenta Bake (moved from last week) with a green salad

TUESDAY:  Egg Salad Sandwiches with a green salad

WEDNESDAY:  Shrimp Tacos with black beans

THURSDAY:  Spaghetti with homemade veggie/tomato sauce and steamed kale

FRIDAY:  Veggie & Tofu Stir fry with brown rice

SATURDAY-  Vegetarian Cobb Salad and leftovers

SUNDAY-  Potato Casserole (*recipe to come) and Mustard Crusted Salmon

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

Peace, love, and understanding,

"The best medicine in the world is a mother's kiss." - Anonymous

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Menus and Greenhouses

This past weekend we spent some time at our farm.  We almost finished our greenhouse.  All we have left is a small part of our roof and the shelves to build on the inside.  Our goal is for it to be done by the end of this month.  Our seeds should be here in a few days and we will immediately get some of those started in starter trays!  We have added two other families to our co-op farm this season.  We now have 6 families total and very excited for them to be joining us.

The greenhouse plastic use to be huge industrial plastic bags.  One of the families we work with on the farm had it stored in their garage for a long time, so we decided to cut the huge bags and use the big plastic sheets for our greenhouse!  I am proud of ourselves for keeping the plastic out of the landfill and thinking of a great way to reuse it!!!!  We have been so conscious about our carbon footprint and impact on this earth, that it is starting to just come natural to us.  Reducing our impact on this earth has fit its way into our daily rhythm, that it is just a part of our lives now.  That is how it should be and what I hope for everyone on our earth.  It's not hard work to nurture our planet!

Our neighboring farmer's bees!  They are working hard!
Our neighboring farmers torn down their shed and told us we could use any of the wood!  We got way too excited over wood!  This wood is perfect for making shelves for the inside of our greenhouse!  Again, we were happy to be recycling and reusing this wood! 
My husband being cute!

Ready to drill!!!

It was quite muddy out there!  I am surprised I could get this picture around my big pregnant belly!
Meet Chalo!  He is awesome!  He works for the farm we lease land from.  He is always stopping by to chat, see if we need any help, or take the kids for a ride! 
The kids exploring and having fun in the mud!

Bringing me the pitch fork!  Yes, I know he is barefoot!  Have you ever walked in mud barefoot?  It feels so good!  Don't worry I made sure there wasn't anything dangerous he could step on.
 Our greenhouse almost done!  Just need to finish the roof and put up shelves!  

More farm adventures to come!

On to our menu for this week.  We are doing so well with our menu planning and continue to try new things!  We do everything we can to eat healthy, organic, local, and sustainable food!  It is harder in the winter months but we are getting better and better at it.  I am glad my son is growing up learning the value of healthy food and knowing where his food is coming from!  This is a big life lesson that I am glad he is learning now!


MONDAY:  Vegetable & Barley Soup with a green salad (moved from last week.)

TUESDAY:  Angel hair pasta bake

WEDNESDAY:  Vegetarian Cobb Salad and leftover pasta bake (*recipe to come)

THURSDAY:  Creamy Spinach Asparagus Soup and baked lemon-pepper salmon (substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth)

FRIDAY-  Dinner with some good friends!

SATURDAY-  SOLV's Beach Clean-up! Eating at one of my favorite little restaurants on the Oregon Coast.

SUNDAY-  Polenta & Vegetable Bake and a green salad

What are you cooking this week?

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

Happy cooking,


"We have forgotten who we are, we have lost our sense of wonder and connectedness, we have degraded the earth and our fellow creatures, and we have nowhere else to go . . . " - Earth Charter

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reusable Produce & Bulk Bags and the Beauty of Upcycling

Time is slipping away from me.  Things are happening fast and I am finding it harder to sit and blog.  That means it is time to re-adjust my daily rhythm.  Which makes life fun!

I am finally finding some time to blog about the reusable produce & bulk bags I made last month with my mama.  I was so intimidated by my sewing machine but found it a lot easier than I anticipated and it gave me some much needed practice on my machine.  I am ready to start making some more fun things!

Needed materials:
  • Organic Muslin fabric (We used some that my mom already had and we bought a couple yards at a fabric store.  I strongly believe since it will be used for food, that I shouldn't use any dyed fabric.  I don't want any color dyes to get onto my food that I will be consuming.)
  • Cording or thick string (We upcycled gift bag handles.  We took off all the handles of any gifts bags that were no longer reusable at my mom's house)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Hooking tool
  • Wood Kebab Skewer

I cut the fabric using a cutter and a cutting mat.  I first wanted to make a smaller bag, to make sure I knew what I was doing.  So I fabric measurements that I cut were 26 inches long and 9 inches wide.  The smaller bags are perfect bulk bags for flour, sugar, oats, almonds, any grain, etc.


I then took the cut piece of fabric and folded it in half.  I then sewed the sides at an 1/2 inch.  On one of my sides I left about 3/4 inch unsewn at the top.  This is provide an opening for the cording/string to fit in. 

Then I took the top of the fabric and folded about 3/4 inch.
Next was to sew the top fold.  Make sure to leave an 1/2 opening for the cording/string.

 Turn the fabric inside out.  

Take cording/string and push it into the top opening with a wooden skewer.  Once you get the string/cording half way in, put the hooking tool in the other side and pull the cording/string out.

 Tie and enjoy your finished project!

    You can of course, change the measurements for the size of bag you want or personalize it however you want.  You can also upcycle in fabric or cording from you house to make these bag.  What better way to make an green impact on this earth but to upcycle for a reusable bag.  Get away from those nasty plastic bags!  Put your creative hat on and have fun with it!

    I really enjoyed this project and plan to keep making bags, all different sizes and for all different uses!  It has motivated me to keep on creating, especially items that promote an ecofriendly environment.  My sister gave me a book called "Rubbish!  Reuse Your Refuse!"  by Kate Shoup.  This book shows you how to give everyday household items a new life.  With more than 30 creative projects upcycling and reducing trash, I will be one happy "green" mama!  Keep a look out for some fun eco-friendly upcycling projects posted on here.

    Happy Creating,

    "Every day is Earth Day." ~Author Unknown

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Menus and Sending Hope to Japan

    As I sat yesterday to write my menu for the week, I felt some guilt come over me.  I am sitting here worried about what I am going to make for the week and the people in Japan and many others in this world are worried if there are going to eat at all this week.  My small issues are so trivial compared everything going on through out this world especially Japan's devastation.

    The day of Japan's earthquake I awoke at 5:30am and couldn't sleep.   I decided to get out of bed and get online to check my normal things, coming to find out about the devastation that was occurring in Japan.  I sat watching the footage with tears rolling down my face.  It is hard to even grasp or truly understand the severity of it all.  My heart and love goes out to all of our brothers and sisters in Japan.  I know that we are so far away from the devastation in Japan but we are connected.  Our planet is our home, we are all a family and we are all affected.  This is so big!  It is time we start listening to our planet.  She is tired and trying to tell us to be kinder to her and to one another.  To tread lighter on her.  As I watched the events unfold in Japan this weekend, I was wishing that I could do more than just watch from overseas.  So, when a friend shared a link with me, it motivated me to help a little.  Even though we can't do much, I know that even a little bit will help someone in Japan who has lost everything.  The link my friend shared is from Mother Nature Network (a great website), who lists all the different ways you can help Japan!  Click here....How to help Japan now!  We have chosen an organization on this list and donated to it.  If you are in the Portland area, you can also go to the Japanese Gardens to view the Wish Arbor as a Memorial for the victims in Japan.  Click here for more information on the memorial.  One planet, one family, one love!

    I am posting my menu this week, wishing I could prepare each meal for all the victims in Japan.


    MONDAY:  Vegetable egg stir fry with brown rice

    TUESDAY:  Homemade veggie pizza and fresh garden salad

    WEDNESDAY:  Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup and leftover pizza

    THURSDAY:  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Veggie sausage, Red Potato Irish Colcannon, and roasted aspargus

    FRIDAY-  Leftovers and a green salad

    SATURDAY-  Cappellini with shrimp, lemon, and basil (*recipe posted next week)

    SUNDAY-  Almond Crusted Salmon, steamed broccoli, and whole wheat couscous

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

    What are you cooking this week?

    Peace, love, and understanding,
    "When things are at there worst, people rise to be their best " -Santana

    Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Music for the Soul AKA Song of the Week

    I have SO much to write about this week and SO little time.  Is it against the blogging "rules" to blog more than once a day?  But then again, do I even have time to blog more than once a day!   I was traveling this past week and have a lot of blogging "catching up" to do.  I am back with lots to write about! 

    I use to do Song of the Week, where I would post a song I love weekly but began slacking on it the past few months.  After many comments and requests from friends who loved the Song of the Week, I am bringing it back but with some changes.  I will be posting it on Sundays and renaming it to "Music for the Soul."  As I said in my first Song of the Week post, I am in love with music and I have been since the day I was born.  My mother and father brought me up in a household where music was always playing and it taught me to appreciate music.  I truly believe that music is the international language that will unite all humans and bring peace to this world.  It is important to us as a family and we listen to music almost all day long.  My taste in music is in a very broad spectrum...from bluegrass to underground hip-hop.  I like it all!  Check out my first Song of the Week post for more about why I am in love with music and why I want to share with you all some of my favorite songs!

    Tonight I am sharing two songs!  This musician/activist is just too good to pick only one song.  Xavier Rudd is one of my family's favorite musicians.  We first heard Xavier about 6 years ago and instantly fell in love with his amazing lyrics embraced by his acoustic, tribal, reggae style music.  From Australia, his music brings us socially conscious lyrics focusing on environmental and human right issues.  The first time I heard Xavier I felt my soul and spirit awaken and become refreshed.  His music sends a message of unity and global awareness that we all need to hear.  My husband and I feel blessed to be able to see a lot of musicians play but have yet to be able to see Xavier.  I was beyond ecstatic to find out he was playing the week of my birthday here in my hometown.  I told my husband, the only thing I wanted for my birthday was for him and I to be able to go see Xavier Rudd play.  I can not wait to hear him play and especially hear his amazing talent on the didgeridoo!

    This first song is called Better People.  Everything about this song is beautiful.  It is one of our favorite songs and we play it constantly at home.  You could say it might be our "theme" song.  Please take a few minutes to really listen to the lyrics and his message.

    The second song I choose to share with you all is called Messages.  This was the first song we ever heard from Xavier back in 2005.  It is one of the most powerful songs I have ever heard.  We are so blessed to be living on our beautiful and incredible planet!  It is changing....we are changing!  We need to nurture it and protect it so that our grandchildren can see the beauty it holds!  The message of this song also speaks about us as humans changing and following our own path....something I hold dear to me as I have listened to my heart and started a journey that was true to myself and who I truly am inside.  Enjoy and embrace!

    Happy Listening,

    Saturday, March 5, 2011


    My little baby Ayden boo is turning three today!  He truly is an amazing, magical, imaginative, hilarious, kissable, caring, love of a little boy.  He is my bundle of joy and brings his dad and I sunshine to each day.  I feel honored and blessed to have the privilege to be his mama. 

    He loves me.  And I love him.  He has the greatest giggle and it spreads like wildfire in our home.  The instant joy and love he brings to our home is pure and amazing.  My life truly didn't start till he entered this world.  

    Thank you, my lovely, for being you and for showing your dad and I what life is truly about.  Happy Birthday my sweet sweet, silly, lovey, little man!  I am so glad you are here!

    Just hours old!
    My 3 year old!

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    One Small Change- March

    My February One Small Change(s) went amazing, as usual.  It has felt so good, to be doing all of these changes for our planet and for us.  People ask me if it is too much work but it is mostly pretty simple.  Simplicity is the solution to most of these changes.  We did have two hiccups this past month when trying to achieve a couple of our goals.  The first one was having to reschedule our SOLV's neighborhood clean-up.  Life happens and sometimes we can't do everything we hope to do!  We rescheduled to do the neighborhood clean-up in the beginning of April.  I will make sure to tell you all about it.  Our other hiccup (and the saddest) was our point and shoot memory card was lost with all of our pictures of our tree planting on it.  Major sad face!  I hope it shows up soon so I am able to share the pictures of the awesome time we had planting.

    During the month of February, I had a great time with my mama making our produce and bulk bags.  I will share how I made them on a separate blog this week!  The tree/bush planting was so much fun.  My son had a great time and I am so glad he was able to experience this at a young age.  The weather was quite bizarre this past month with some rain, sun, snow, and ice.  Every chance we could, we got outside.  I will continue being outside more this coming month.

    Here are a couple "teaser" shots of when we made our own produce bags.  By the end of the week I will post a blog all about how I made them.  

    My March One Small Change Plan: 
    • We are joining SOLV with their Spring Beach Cleanup.  I have done this in the past with family and enjoy my memories from it.  We usually pick the Manzanita, Oregon area since it my absolute favorite beach from growing up there.  If you are in Oregon, please check out SOLV's website and join the clean-up.  Help keep our beautiful beaches and ocean clean!  
    • My son's birthday is this week.  We are having a small party with some of his little friends and our family.  I am choosing to do eco-friendly party favors in place of a plastic or a sugar coated favor.  Since Spring is around the corner, we are going to be giving out little growing pots with a packet of seeds.  Pictures will be up of this! 
    • I am starting my spring cleaning the "green" way.  I am only going to do the first three steps of my spring cleaning this month and will be at it full force next month in preparation of our new little one arriving in the summer.  My first step of spring cleaning this month is reducing our stuff.  I will be carefully going through every corner of my house and making a pile of stuff we don't need anymore.  My next step is reusing!  I won't be throwing away this pile of stuff we don't use anymore.  My goal is too keep most of it away from our landfills.  I will go through it and make sure there is not another use for it either at our house or our farm.  My last step for the month is donating.  All the stuff that I know we can't reuse will be donated.  I have a few plans of where I want to donate this stuff to and let you all know.  I will share the rest of my green spring cleaning steps (there are 10) next month.  
    I will share how this went with pictures at the end of March.  Check out my first One Small Change to see why I am doing this challenge or if you are new to my blog.  Also, check out the One Small Change blog for more ideas about environmentally friendly changes you can make. 

    What changes are you making to lessen your carbon footprint on this planet?

    Happy March,


    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Menus and Seeds

    Sorry for the lack of posts the past two weeks.  My husband did a lot of traveling the past two weeks which caused our scheduling and rhythm to be a little jumbled.  Then of course when he returned we needed a few days of straight family time.  So I chose to put my blog on the back burner while I focused on other things.  But I am back full force and with lots to write about!  Today it is all about seeds!   

    I have been overly excited about Spring and find myself talking about it all the time.  It is driving my husband crazy since he is ALL about winter time.  His other love (besides me and his children) is snowboarding....oh and I guess photography too.  But come winter time, he is in love with that board of his.  So every time I talk about spring, he puts on his sad face.  Poor guy!  As he is tries to ignore the signs of Spring, we still will be ordering our seeds for the farm this coming week.  I am really excited and I think he is secretly excited!

    We are buying our seeds through Abundant Life Seed Company because they are local and they have mostly organic seeds.  At our farm we are required to grow only organic seeds because the land we are growing on has been certified organic by the Oregon Tilth.  Anything that we can't find through Abundant Life, we will be getting at Naomi's Organic Farm Supply (which is an amazing store).  Today I just wanted to share with you all the different types of seeds we are growing this year at the farm.  

    Beans- (4 different varieties)
    Cucumber- (3 different varieties)
    Lettuce- (3 different varieties)
    Mustard Greens
    Onion- Scallions
    Peas-(2 different varieties)
    Peppers- (1 sweet variety, 2 hot varieties)
    Potatoes- (3 different varieties)
    Spinach- (2 different varieties)
    Summer Squash/Zucchini- (2 different varieties)
    Swiss Chard- Rainbow
    Tomato- (7 different varieties)
    Tomatilllos- Purple
    Winter Squash- Acorn

    Basil (2 different varieties)

    Bee's Friend

    We already have garlic and strawberries in the ground and growing!  I can't wait to get my hands dirty and all the seeds planted.

    What are you growing this year?

    Tomato sprout from last season!
    With all this seed talk, let's bring it into my menu for the week.  I am glad my husband is home this week and we can have our family dinners back.  It was really hard to plan and cook for just me and my son, basically cooking for one and a half.  So I cooked only quick easy dinners.  This week I am reconnecting with my food and the cooking process that I love.  I am still using one to two recipes a week from the cookbooks I have at home and will post a separate blog with the recipe within a week. 


    MONDAY:  Vegetable stir fry with brown rice

    TUESDAY-  Whole wheat spaghetti with homemade tomato/veggie sauce and steamed broccoli

    WEDNESDAY-  Egg salad sandwiches and Warm Red Quinoa Salad

    THURSDAY-  Fish tacos* and homemade Spanish rice *recipes coming up next week

    FRIDAY-  Spring Asparagus & Broccoli Soup and Baked Lemon-Herb Salmon

    SATURDAY-  A family dinner in celebration of my son's 3rd BIRTHDAY!  Homemade pizzas and a big fresh green salad!

    SUNDAY-  Baked potatoes and leftover soup (for hubby and son).
                       Work party/dinner for mama!

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

    Happy growing & cooking,

    “Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle…a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.  And the anticipation nurtures our dream.” – Barbara Winkler