Saturday, August 29, 2009

Recipe: Applesauce and Oatmeal Bars

This is from a book I found at our library that a local bakery published in 1995 called "Recipes from the Bakery of Three Hawks and Friends". It's a darling cookbook full of little funnies, interesting facts, inspirations, and facts about our small town.

These bars made for a great after school snack and didn't last 2 days in our house! I found a link for a similar recipe here. I'm sure one could maybe sprinkle raisins on top of the applesauce to make it extra yummy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

So Much to Learn About Going Natural

On my journey to becoming more natural, green, and frugal I do alot of reading. There are many blogs out there dedicated to just this.

Like anything there are extreme's that I've found with each person's journey. I'm not ready for raw milk, , making fermented foods or making my own sanitary pads... yet.

Some, like me, have just begun to find out what it's like to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle; read We Are THAT Family post on The Difference Between Thrifty and Frugal and laugh out loud with me at all her Green Acres posts.

While other's have lived the natural way their whole lives like Gina over at Home Joys. Be sure to have a look at her recipes and "Reader's Share" sections. I've tried many of her recipes and blogged about them. Her gardening tips are especially inspiring to me as it's a great start for beginners because she explains everything in detail, by month and includes lots of photos.

I'm also enjoying reading the "Baby Steps" that Organic and Thrifty recommends to changing over to a more natural lifestyle. #1 Baby Steps for Transforming to a Real Foods Diet, #2 Make Peace with your Kitchen, #3 Saving Money by Meal Planning.

Over at Biblical Homemaking her Frugality section is so full of tips that it'll take me a month to read them all! Keeper of the Home has even published an ebook with all she's discovered "Healthy Homemaking: One Step At A Time".

One blog that I found today was a "Whoo-Hoo!" moment for me. The Prudent Homemaker amazes me. She's dedicated her site to living and eating frugally and has given step-by-step instructions and pictures for everything including canning, seasonal recipes, stocking your pantry, sewing, gardening, and more! I am in awe of what this woman has accomplished for her family. She is my inspiration and I dream of one day having a food supply like her.

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and wondered through the store not knowing anymore what to buy. I wanted to make healthful choices, buy food without too much preservatives or packaging, and hopefully buy something local. I was stuck and just walked around the store realizing I couldn't buy hardly anything there! On the bright side, I only spent $95.00 which is amazing to me. See photo of my purchases below.

I'm also beginning to turn away from coupons - gasp! - as I've found they are mostly for junk items that I don't want to buy anyway. I save the coupons for general merchandise but I can see this will change soon too.

Mostly all my produce, besides banannas and grapes which our family loves, comes from farmer's market's and road-side produce stands. I cooked eggplant for the first time in my life just this week!

I'm currently reading these books that I got from our local library. There's so many good guides, recipes and tips within these. I just scan the shelves and pick-out whatever catches my eye.

The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking by Edna Eby Heller
Back to Basics: How to Learn & Enjoy Traditional American Skills by Reader's Digest
Make Your Own Groceries by Daphne Metaxas Hartwig

This week I made my first successful bread in our breadmaker (purchased for $4.00 from our local thrift store), am making fruit leather's in our new food dedydrator (purchased for $20 from Craig's List), sent daughter to school with homemade waste-free lunches everyday, and have served up lots of fresh local produce for dinner. Whew!

Oh dear.. I fear this is going to be a very long journey but a worthwhile one. With blogs like The Prudent Homemaker, the oodles of books on the subject and more to guide me, what excuse do I have not to? I'm still trying to convince my hubby to buy half a (grain fed) cow and to sign-up for a pig butcher without much success.

In the end I know I'm doing the best I can, with the knowledge I have gained, in the hopes that my family's health and budget will have the best benefits of all. One step at a time, with a balanced approach.

How about you?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review: Children's Books on China

Our daughter is in 3rd grade this year and one of their main focus of study will be social studies and geography. I hope to enhance her learning by doing some follow-up at home with books from our library.

Next week her class is reading The Ballad of Mulan. This is one of our daughter's favourite stories.

These are the books I've selected to read after school each day.

The Legend of Mu Lan: A Heroin of Ancient China

The Multicultural Game Book: More Than 70 Traditional Games from 30 Countries by Louis Orlando

This is a great book and includes lots of easy games. The games from China are 1, 2, 3 Dragon; Challenge; Dominoes; Fan Tan; Harvest; Nim; Spellicans; Tangrams.

Count Your Way Through China by Jim Haskins
The book counts from 1 through 10 and teaches how to write and say it in "Chinese" and covers topics such as history, geography, religion and traditions.

The Legend of the Panda by Linda Granfield
This is the legend of how the panda got it's black spots. The pictures are so beautiful.

Happily submitted to Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT Family.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Fashionable Small Town SAHM?

I read a post by Ali over at The Cleaner Plate Club recently and it had me laughing out loud. She lives in a small town, like me, and found herself at an outdoor (unexpected) upscale party feeling a little out of place... sans a down vest.

The premise of this post is that she ended up finding a great at-home "green" dry cleaning tip from a kitten heeled, cashmere sweater wearing lady. How unexpected!

I laughed so hard at this post mainly because I often laugh at my own transformation to small town SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I used to blow dry my hair, get dressed-up, dawn a pair of high heels and work everyday. I love fashion and getting dressed-up, yet as I sit here typing this post I'm in my jammies still at 8am - gasp!

I often laugh at my own daily "mom wear" of jeans, sneakers (or as you American's call it "running shoes"), and t-shirts (I like to call them "mom shirts"). Very functional but not very fashionable. Whenever I run "into town" to go shopping I have to double-check myself to make sure I'm fashionable enough to shop at the mall and get some respect from the sales people. It's true, they won't give you the time of day with running shoes on.

I have a "mom" section in my closet and a "dress-up" section. I can hang out at the park and feel fashionable, or go to one of my husband's fancy work functions. My goal is to create a nice "in between" section.. not too frumpy, not too dressed-up. I've vowed never to wear athletic pants or Crocs and have (thus far) resisted the temptation. Although, I do love my rubber boots when outside in our yard and LOVE my down vest.

Be sure to read Ali's post and enjoy this laugh with me :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recipe: Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies

This recipe is from Everyday Food Magazine, September 2009, page 136. I have a subscription to the magazine and really enjoy the recipes. I find the featured recipes are mostly in season, and easy to make. IV>

In their September 2009 edition they have a great recipe for Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies. Oh my, these are lemony and delicious! The only thing I did differently from the recipe is I pealed my zucchini prior to shredding - which I came to realize later I didn't have to do!

Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon packed finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1/2 cup fine cornmeal

1 medium zucchini, grated on small holes of a box grater (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy. Stir in vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Add flour and cornmeal and mix until mixture is crumbly. Add zucchini and stir until a thick dough forms.

Drop by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown at edges, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Makes 25 cookies.

per cookie: 80 cal; 3.8g fat (2.3g sat fat); 0.8g protein; 11g carb; o.3g fiber

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recipe: Baked Potatoe Casserole

This recipe today comes from Gina over at Home Joys. She is one of my favourite blogs as her recipe's are made from scratch, include beautiful photos, are healthful, and in-season. I've copied her recipe below and you can also find it here.

I have a bowl full of potatoes that I need to cook, so I'm making this for supper tonight!

Baked Potato Casserole

5 pounds potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (I use my homemade yogurt.)
1 T minced chives
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine potatoes and bacon. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add to potato mixture and toss gently. Bake in greased dish, uncovered, at 325 for 1 hour or until bubbly and light brown.

This also works well for the crockpot. Put it on low for 2-3 hours.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Volunteering: Gleaning The Harvest

Recently I've begun to volunteer with the Society of St. Andrew - Gleaning America's Fields. I'm helping glean the harvest which is then donated to our local food banks. Our first harvest was sweet corn kindly donated by Foxfire Farm of Louisburg, KS, a u-pick farm.

From the their website:
The Society of St. Andrew is a grassroots hunger relief ministry that relies on volunteers to glean nutritious produce from farmers' fields and orchards after harvest and deliver it to people in need across the United States.

Gleaning the Harvest is a Biblical term and comes from ancient times when farmer's would allow the poor to harvest their leftover crops that would otherwise go to rot.

Our 3 year old son joined us for the harvest. I wasn't sure what to expect from him as he's wary of new people and isn't an early riser. He ended up having a great time helping mommy load the ears of corn in the bucket and meeting me at the end of the corn row for more. When he got tired of these things I let him eat his picnic lunch in the front seat of our vehicle and play with his toys.

The Society of St. Andrew coordinates these harvest donations to the local food banks. The day we picked, there were 4 volunteers and we harvested 782 lbs of corn in just a couple hours! With so many people struggling to feed their families these days, this was a great way to give back!
Another great organization is Be sure to check out their website to see if there's any local chapters in your area. They collect donated produce from people's personal garden's to donate to local food banks.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Snicker Doodles

These are so delicious and easy to make! On Life As Mom on Friday she suggested "TGIF: Bake Someone Happy!" by making a batch of these Whole Wheat Snicker Doodles and I'm so glad we did! Find her recipe here and I've copied it below.

A healthier twist on an old classic, these are delicious. And kids love to help roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Whole Wheat Snickerdoodles

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sucanat or brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup flax seed meal
2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flours, flax meal, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Mix well and chill. Meanwhile, in small bowl combine sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll through cinnamon sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on rack.

Free Stuff: Living the Country Life Magazine

Free one-year subscription to Living the Country Life magazine here.

From the website:
Look at all you get ... ABSOLUTELY FREE!• Inspiration for your lawn and garden• Ideas for landscape projects • How-to’s for working on fences and barns • Tool and equipment reviews• Maintenance tips to keep your tractors running their best• Help to attract and control wildlife• Sizzling backyard barbecues ... and more!Simply fill out the form below to claim your FREE subscription!(U.S. orders only, please)

After I filled out my request it stated that I'll receive 3 year subscription. I imagine I'll have to cancel my subscription after the first year so I won't be charged anything.

Living the Country Life Magazine 3 years (18 issues)Usually ships within 4 to 6 weeks Living the Country Life Magazine is published 6 times per year

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Natural Cures Tuesday at

In my quest to go all natural I read lots of books but I also read many blogs. One such blog that caught my attention this weekend is Every Tuesday she hosts a carnival of Natural Cures. So far this year she's covered everything from weight-loss, overcoming depression, alternative health, swine flu and much more.
Have a look and let us know if you see any that really caught your interest.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

KC Food Circle: Eat Local, Read Global

I saw these book recommendations on KC Food Circle's website. They look to be very informative, inspiring books and will be added to my list of must reads! It's wonderful to have so much great literature available during my transition to a more nature lifestyle.

Below is from the KC Food Cirle website.

New books focus on trends within the local food movement:

Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea (Chronicle Books; $24.95).
In 1971 Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse, a Berkeley, Calif., restaurant serving local, organic, in-season fare. She has since become one of the most influential chefs in the world and has inspired a revolution that has forced Americans to think about where their food comes from. Since 1996 more than 3,000 students have graduated from her Edible Schoolyard program, which gives children a hands-on way to learn about food. Using a feast of photos and inspirational text, Waters takes readers down the garden path in an effort to plant the seeds of her visionary model in schools and communities around the globe.

•The Backyard Homestead (Storey; $18.95).
What’s a locavore to do? Farm the backyard! Self-sufficiency is in vogue. Learn how to milk a goat, prune a fruit tree, dry herbs, make dandelion wine, bake whole-grain bread, tap a maple tree, make fresh mozzarella, brew beer, mill grains for flour and save seeds for next season. Author Carleen Madigan is the gardening editor at Storey Publishing and has been the managing editor at Horticulture Magazine. Her 365-page handbook shows you how to produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre.

•The Green Kitchen: Techniques and Recipes for Cutting Energy Use, Saving Money and Reducing Waste (Kyle Books; $18.95).
This book is based on “The Green Kitchen” column written by Richard Erhlich for The Times of London. Erhlich is a fan of eco-conscious cooking and cooking with the lid on to save energy. He also weighs the pros and cons of microwave ovens and pressure cookers, as well as no-cook cooking and cooking for multiple meals (all with recipes). And he includes chapters on greener cleaning and garbage reduction (packaging, food waste, bottled water, grocery bags and composting). So it just seems appropriate that such an eco-conscious book is printed on 100 percent recycled paper.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Frugal Friday: Buying Used Books

I love buying books, especially books for our children. Books, however, can be expensive to buy. What I do is shop sales, garage sales, thrift stores and Friends of the Library used book sales.

Garage sales can fetch you books for as little as $0.10 each and the Library book sales $0.25 to $1.00 each. A small library near our home is currently selling used books for $1.00/bag. They're older reads but still good. I bought a couple bags and shipped them to our adopted soldier in Iraq and am reading a few myself.

Our local thrift store has books half price every Tuesday. Last time I shopped there, I bought 10 brand new Dr. Seuss books that had never been opened for $0.50 each.

My last purchase at the library's used book store, I spent $16.00 and got the huge collection of books below. If our darling son wasn't so fussy in the store at the time, I'm sure I would have bought twice that much.

What we do with our books when we're done with them is donate them. Here's the general criteria we follow:

~ All perfect condition hard cover kid's books.
~ All our son's outgrown, once loved board books.
I check the online catalogue first to see if they have them and if they don't, or only have one copy then I donate the book.

~ All paperback kids books get donated to our daughter's classroom library after she's read them. This is a good incentive for her to read and I get her to sign the inside of each book before it's donated.

~ All other hard cover kid's books that may have just a few marks in them get donated to my daughter's school library.

This works for us on many levels. We get to purchase, read and enjoy the books then pay it forward when we're done with them. Our library and school greatly appreciate these donations.

Happily submitted to Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monthly Care Package to Iraq: August

As posted previously here, we adopted a 19 year old female soldier who's currently serving in Iraq through This month our adopted soldier will be receiving a box of mostly feminine products. We always try to send candy, magazines, books and bug lotion as well.

I heard from her this month and she says she's stationed in Baghdad, Iraq working 12-14 hour days and is very tired.

We are thankful for her service there everyday. Does anyone else have a family member, friend, or neighbour serving overseas? If so, what are some of their favourite things to receive in their care packages? Please comment and include a link if you blog about your care packages or supporting a soldier.
This will be part of "A Time to Give" Thursdays on Saving And Giving.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Recipe: Tomatoe and Cannelli Bean Soup

This recipe comes from Woman's Day September 1, 2009 magazine. They ran an article on Jewels and Jill Elmor new cookbook "The Family Chef: Make Your Kitchen the Heart of Your Family" and previewed a few recipe's like this soup. I already had a bowl full of fresh tomatoes, that a friend had given me from her garden, and fresh onions from the farmer's market. This was a great way to use them.
Jewels’ Favorite Soup Jill Makes Recipe
By Jewels and Jill Elmore from Woman's Day; September 1, 2009 September 1, 2009

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 36 minutes
2 T bsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 ripe tomatoes (fresh or canned), cut in small chunks
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
6 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
3 cans (15 oz each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1⁄4 cup parsley, chopped
Serve with: grated Parmesan
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and sauté 5 to 6 minutes until soft. Add tomatoes and salt, and sauté 3 minutes.

2. Add broth, beans and garlic, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes for flavors to blend, adding the parsley during the last 5 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan.
The soup was quick and easy to make, very colourful and delicious. I served it as a side dish with london broiled steak. The leftovers I poured into a gallon Ziplock bags and froze flat to save for later.

Book Review: Kitchen Tricks by Ben Charles Harris

I came across this great book at our local library - isn't it great when that happens? In my gradual process to a more natural lifestyle I find I have to read alot! I tend to refer to older publications as these seem to be the best guides for doing things the "old way". They offer lots of solutions for things that would have been considered "everyday knowledge" and would never consider things such a processed or highly refined foods.

This book reads like a dictionary with numerous suggestions, tips and tricks for all kinds of items from your kitchen and home. He breaks these uses down for food, garden, medicinal, household tips, cosmetic and more.

In his Introduction he writes:

"But the kitchen is the place from which our health (and our preventive medicine) comes. An since our food allotment is probably the largest slice of our budget, it's a very good area to be thrifty in. When you think about it, the kitchen is the most important room in the house, in terms of dollars and sense - health sense that is."

He goes on to say:

"Health should be enjoyed and maintained by doing things the right way in your kitchen every day. Don't wait until the doctor insists that you cut out salt and harsh spices and that you cut down on meat and sugar. .... Avoid processed food (often nonfood), minimize overly acid food, especially at night. To preserve nutrients, minimize the cutting and the cooking of foods. Eat small meals! Don't overtax your digestive system and avoid thereby the dangerous excess weight that strains the heart and indeed all organs. Rest. Try fasting on a regular basis. .... Try growing some of your own food (organically of course). An use delightful, healthful herbs in cooking and in your teas as daily tonics and digestiv aids. (Suggestions for herbs abound in this volume!)"

This book was published in 1975!! Terms like natural living, organic, stay away from white foods such as sugar, rice, etc. These terms and ideas all seem so "new wave" nowadays and here they were thought of, discussed, and published years ago.

Here's just a few of the neat things I read in his book:

"Percolate coffee with eggshells or whole yolk to add favor and nourishment."

"A facial tratment of gently warmed buttermilk conteracts blemishes and oiliness. ..."

"Live within the laws of Nature and you'll live a healthful, simple, worryless, long life."

"CARROT TOPS: Try growing the root in the kitchen window. Hollow out the center of a large root, tie a thin wire around or through the top, and suspend it in the sun. Keep the hollow filled with water. In a few days, the lacy foliage will appear and present you with a dlightful hanging basket."

There are literally hundreds of tips in this great book. As a beginner it's an inspiration and great guide to all things natural. I look forward to reading many of the other books he's written such as "Eat the Weeds" and "Kitchen Medicines".

This post will be included in Tammy's Recipes "Kitchen Tip Tuesdays".

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Children's Book Review: Listen to the Wind by Dr. Greg Mortenson

I ordered this book for our daughter as I'm about to read "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson soon as well. This is the children's version of the journey of Dr. Greg Mortenson. After his failed attempt to climb K2, in memory of his deceased sister, he was lost in the mountains and fell ill. He stumbled upon a poor remote village and these villagers helped nurse him back to health.

He wanted to find a way to thank them and noticed the children attended school on a flat rock with sticks to write in the dirt. He promised to return one day and build them a school. And so the story goes of the "mountainous" challenges he faced to fulfill his promise and the numerous school's he's had built since then. This is an inspiring story and the artwork is gorgeous. It's told in simple terms that children can understand.

When our daughter had a friend over, I had them take turns reading pages then I asked them what they thought about it. They said they really liked the colourful pictures and they thought the people in the village were nice. My hope is the story will make them ponder how other children in the world go to school and what they can do to make a difference.

This year my goal is to have my daughter continue to read the book while I read "Three Cups of Tea". Then, on her own, suggest she participate in Pennies for Peace and approach her school to start a campaign.

I've already received a package from the Central Asia Institute with everything we'll need to start a Pennies for Peace campaign at her school this year. The idea is that the school children collect pennies (achievable for all children) which are then donated to help build schools in impoverished regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Most of these schools are built for girls who wouldn't otherwise receive an education due to cultural beliefs. The villagers themselves are in charge of the planning of the school and build it themselves. This seems to have discouraged acts of terror on these schools as the local villages fiercly protect what they've come together to build. The girls, in turn, become educated and when they become mothers later in life, will be less tolderant should their children take on extreme beliefs.

I ordered our books through the Three Cups of Tea website which links you to They receive the most money for their cause this way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Family Activity: KidScape at Johnson County Museum

KidScape is a hands-on exhibit at the Johnson County Museum running until January 9, 2011. I've visited this display twice and have spent over an hour there each time with our kids, 8 and 3 years.

The exhibit is a miniature city of sorts. It's handmade and beautifully painted. It includes a Park, City Hall, Kids Book Store, Fashion Boutique, Hospital and Theatre.

Inside City Hall there's numerous vehicles, movable buildings, roads, and lots of building stuff. The Boutique is full of items to encourage your kids creative talents. The Kids Book Store is full of books, crayons, and quiet places to curl up with a book.

The Hospital has a fake human that can be "operated on" and lots of babies to be checked. The Park includes a fishing bond, mini golf and a Wii station. The Theatre has loads of costumes, a stage, theatre seating and the kids can even control the lighting.

The first visit was on a Tuesday at 10am and it was very busy with field trips and lots of parents and kids. We were so engrossed with the whole display and activities that we didn't even notice how crowded it was.

The second visit was on a Sunday (museum is open 1-4pm) and our family had the whole place to ourselves for over an hour! We got to take our time and explore each display. The kids put on a stage show for us much to our delight! It was a full production with numerous costume changes.

Did I mention the best part? It's free! Donations are encouraged but not necessary. This was a great, affordable family day and we look forward to visiting again and again.

This post is part of Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom.

Recipe: Parmesan-Coated Sweet Potatoe Fries

Delicious! Great way to use sweet potatoes and is a healthier alternative to packaged frozen french fries. Our 8 year old daughter did all the breading, which was a bit messy, and took some time as each fry needs to be dipped 3 times. We served this as a side-dish for hamburgers.

Here's the recipe from Whole Living's website.

Parmesan-Coated Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
4 small sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed and quartered lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and then set aside.

In a shallow bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of water until combined. Place the Parmesan on a sheet of waxed paper or put it in another shallow bowl.

Dip the sweet potato first in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Then dip each wedge into the egg white mixture until coated. Finally, dip the sweet potato in the Parmesan, pressing the exposed surface of the potato into the cheese. (Don't worry if some gets on the skin.) Transfer potato wedges onto the prepared baking sheet as you go.

Bake potatoes until tender and crisp, about 25 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more salt if desired.

Below is a picture of our daughter dipping the sweet potatoe fries. She was very patient and dipped 2 trays full! Note our little guy helping with the flour clean-up (as always) in the background.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Whole Foods Shopping 101

Thank you The Thrifty Mama for posting about how to shop and save at Whole Foods for us "newbies"!
Our nearest Whole Foods store is 45 minutes away so I want to make sure I plan my trips well before I go there. Shopping at Whole Foods used to seem so expensive for our budget but I'm willing to give it another try. As I wasn't prepared to can and preserve this year, I'll needed to find a good alternative to the farmer's market's for the winter months and Whole Foods may be my best option.

The Thrifty Mama shares some great tips on how to find and use their in-store coupons. She's also going to post their weekly deals on her website. Just this week she posted that Organic Valley Milk was $1.59 per half gallon. Be sure to add her site to your reading list for these updates!

When I make my next trip to Whole Foods I'll share with you how it went. I am nervous to use their coupons as I'm afraid I might be the only one in the store using them. Of course, our local Whole Foods is in the most affluent area in the city and I'm sure there won't be many ladies like me using coupons. More for me I guess? Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Green and Frugal Cleaning: Laundry Soap Options

Passionate Homemaking is one of the many blogs I follow and enjoy. She has many great tips on natural alternatives to cleaners and personal care products. She's recently posted about a new liquid laundry detergent made from Soap Nuts.

I'm a "newbie" when it comes to going green (yes, I started recycling just this year) so this soap is completely new to me. I've read about Charlie's Soap, Dr. Bonner's Soap, and homemade laundry soap so far.

I've switched over to the Arm & Hammer liquid soap until I get this all figured out. I've always washed in cold and would like to continue. I'll certainly give this new soap a try and will blog about what laundry soap I've found to be the best.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Spring Hill Farmer's Market

The Spring Hill Farmer's Market is quickly becoming my favourite mainly due to the variety of crafts and different produce to choose from! I bought so many different things today and enjoyed exploring and talking to the vendors.

Today I bought:
Rhubarb Jelly and Kiwi Jelly from O's Jelly
Whole Wheat Bread from Artisan Bread and More
Chai Latte scented 100% Soy Candle from Prairie Wind Candle Co.
All Natural Handmade Soap from Connie's Potting Shed
Holy Cross Sculpture (handcrafted)
Lighthouse Birdhouse (handcrafted)
Fresh Basil
Fresh Dill
New Potatoes
White Onion
Green Peppers

The guidelines for this market (from their website are):
Spring Hill Farmers Market is brought to you by the Spring Hill Lions Club as a community service to the Spring Hill area citizens who wish to try their hand at earning profit from their own produced goods, or who wish to find fresh, quality goods supplied by people within a 30 mile radius of Spring Hill.

Now that's what I call shopping local! This market is open May through October on Saturday mornings 7:30am until noon.

Watch for my recipes this week for the many ways I plan to cook this season's bounty!

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