Friday, May 20, 2011

Plastic Kid's Tablesettings

I read this post a few months ago about options for BPA-free kid's tableware. I've had it as a pretty low-priority on my list of au-natural lifestyle changes because there's only so much my brain - and budget - can handle at one time. But the other day at lunch I just had to take a picture of the Monkey's meal.

Organic tomato soup, grilled cheese on homemade organic wheat bread with organic butter and cheddar, organic raw whole milk. And all served in bpa-ridden, dyed plastic. It was pretty funny. And sad. And it bothered me enough that I'll probably do something about it soon. Not immediately, but soon.

I've mostly started just using our regular dishes with the Monkey as often as possible. We have had a broken plate already but she's generally very careful. And really, my plastic collection is not in great shape after just one child's usage. So my plan is just to toss the stuff I have over the next few months and probably buy a stainless steel set for the baby when it's time.

I do still need to figure out a sippy cup solution. The Monkey does great when sitting and focused at the table but that's not going to happen every time a drink is requested. And I have plastic cups for our every-day use water cups. Maybe I'll be switching to a stainless steel set for that too. I don't want to use glass all the time. Any ideas?

Italian Pasta Salad

Well this really isn't super healthy but I enjoyed it. I was mostly trying to use random things up that we had in our fridge and I didn't measure anything so it's not a recipe - but I do want to document it as a meal idea that wouldn't usually occur to me.

I used multicolored bowties, kalamata olives, Italian parsley, feta, salami, hot sopressata, Parmesan, spinach, yellow bell pepper, and topped it with balsamic vinaigrette. It turned out really well and was different enough from my normal repertoire that it kept my interest for three whole meals.

I will say I was surprised at the volume of toppings that the pasta seemed to suck up. I felt like I chopped a ton of stuff to go in it and I probably could have doubled the volume of everything but the pasta and still been ok.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oil Facewash - No Seriously

I saw this post about homemade facewash and was intrigued so I read more about it here. I am excited about switching out my beauty products for homemade all-natural versions but I'm more in the baby steps/read about it phase while I use up what I already have.

Well, I found this idea right as I ran out of my usual favorite fashwash so I thought I'd try it out. I have to say, this au-natural stuff works amazingly well. It's kind of weird, yes, but it totally works. My skin feels fantastic for 2-3 days after doing it. The only odd part is getting used to not washing my face with anything in the shower. You're just supposed to splash with water on the days you don't do the full cleanse so that's taking some getting used to.

But seriously, this facewash is great. And it's totally natural, easy to make, cheap, and I don't need to use moisturizer when I'm done (so double the cheapness factor). Oh, and you can adjust the proportions for your skin type. V even likes it. Which is saying something.

30% or less Castor Oil
70% or more Olive Oil
few drops essential oil for scent (opt.)

Mix oils together. Put about a quarter sized amount on your palm. Rub your hands together to warm the oil. Rub all over your face for about 5 minutes or until oil has been well massaged into all the pores on your face.

Turn on faucet and let water get really hot. Wet a washcloth under hot water and squeeze out. Washcloth should be hot. Drape over face and let sit until the washcloth cools off. Repeat 4-6 times or until it feels like the oil has been well removed. You shouldn't need to wipe it off with the washcloth, just let the hot towel sit on your face and it will draw it all out of your skin.

Repeat as needed - about 2-3 times per week or more often for troubled skin.

Notes: Use about 15% Castor Oil for dry skin and up to 30% Castor Oil for oily skin. Feel free to experiment with proportions. Also, if you like it, get a small bottle to store it in so you don't have to make it every time.

Knit Dishcloths

I've been making these in my spare time for the last few months. I'm up to 8 now so I have officially switched over from my cut up towel rags. Which is nice. The towel rags were definitely more absorbent but these are much prettier and scrub things surprisingly well. I found the pattern here.

Cast on 4
Knit 4
Knit 2, yarn over, knit across row
Repeat until 40 stitches
Knit 1, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to the end of the row
Repeat until 4 stitches left
Bind off and weave in ends

Use size 7 needles with worsted weight cotton yarn. Mine is the Sugar 'n Cream brand.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brocollini with Roasted Garbanzo Beans

This is a variation of the Garbanzo Beans with Swiss Chard recipe that I found last year. I had brocollini to use because we forgot to eat it with our braciole and I needed some protein to go with dinner. This turned out really well. I would definitely make it again and would be up for experimenting with other random vegetables.

1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 onion
5-10 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
fennel seeds
sea salt and pepper
olive oil
1 bunch brocollini

Drain garbanzo beans and put in an 8x8 pyrex dish. Chop onion, peel and smash garlic cloves and add to beans. Add bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle fennel seeds generously over the top. Mix. Pour olive oil over mixture until beans are covered in oil. This seems like a lot of oil but it will be fine. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350' for at least 45 minutes. 90+ minutes is better.

Once beans are done, boil water in a pot and cook brocollini for about 5 minutes or until stems are starting to soften to desired doneness. Drain. Add back to pot with roasted garbanzo beans and as much oil as desired. Saute a few minutes so flavors can meld. Serve.

Notes: This is pictured being served with Roasted Rutabaga root vegetables. Also, I recommend saving any leftover oil from the roasted beans. It's infused with garlic and would be delicious used to season other cooked vegetables or in hummus.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Roasted Rutabaga

V got a rutabaga to go in our roasted root vegetables. I'd never used a rutabaga before. It was exciting. And this root combination was really flavorful and yummy. It really doesn't need any extra seasonings.

2 turnips
1 rutabaga
3 small yams
2 medium onions
5-10 cloves garlic
olive oil
sea salt and pepper

Peel and chop everything. Drizzle olive oil generously and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well with hands. Divide between 2 baking sheets and bake at 400' for 45-60 minutes or until desired doneness.

First Meal

This was our first actual meal in our new place. V made bracciole and I did a simple side of fingerling potatoes roasted with butter and salt and pepper. The Monkey usually doesn't like potatoes but goes to town on the fingerlings.