First CSA – “Lovage” It

As a sick little boy slumbered for his nap upstairs, I anxiously awaited Dave with the arrival of our first CSA share. What would that little box contain? The farm had sent an email stating the bounty of seedlings they had recently planted, but given the recent cold snaps in the weather, I was doubtful we’d have much to show for it this first week.

Winston was immediately interested in the overflowing, larger-than-expected waxy box. Of course, it smelled like “outside”; his favorite smell. (He loves us when we spend the day outside doing yard work and gets upset when we shower. Strange to us, normal to him.)

The first time through this box was a little of an emotional rollercoaster for this pregnant lady. I noticed a few flower buds and grew excited, “Flowers?? Or, no…wait!” Yup, I knew what it was: chives. They were bundled with a small handful of an unfamiliar herb. It looked like parsley with huge leaves, but upon smelling I knew it couldn’t be. Celery? What herb smells like celery?

Upon further inspection, we found lettuce of all sorts, which admittedly sank my heart a bit. This pregnancy, I have had zero appetite for salads (or much of anything that’s super healthy, honestly), so I thought, “Dave’ll be having lots and lots of salads…or I’d better find an awesome new dressing or vinaigrette recipe to make them palatable.” Keeping positive, this is my plan.

Aside from the overabundance of salad greens, we got 5-6 potatoes, a bunch of radishes, some scallions, and some Swiss chard (another “never cooked with that” item). Overall, I’m super happy with the take, and was surprised at just how much we got, all things considered.

So, this week I’ll be on the lookout for a recipe that the family will actually endure for Swiss chard and a dressing that will help ME endure all the salad in our futures (I had a warm bacon one years ago that I may need to revisit).

As far as the “mystery herb” is concerned, I’ve already done my research (Mother Earth News gave the best information). Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of “lovage”. Needless to say, I never had before. It was apparently a very popular herb, up there with parsley and dill, until just a few generations ago. Funny how an ingredient can be well-known for literally centuries only to lose popularity and become practically unknown in modernity. It definitely says something for the narrowing of our collective taste buds. Hmph.

So, anyway, the facts. Lovage has traditionally had both culinary and medicinal uses, dating back to…well, nobody knows where or when specifically it first originated, but it’s said that the Romans first brought it to England, where it was grown at medieval monasteries. (It could very well have started its life in Asia, for all we know.) It was used to treat rheumatism, and was even brought by the American colonists to consume in tea form in order to ward off the inevitable aches and pains of the New World.

Smelling strongly of celery, it can actually be used any place that celery generally is. However, it is much stronger in flavor, so should be about halved. (Note to self.)

That said, we’re keeping it, along with the chives and their pretty buds, in a bit of water until I can track down some more ingredients. If it’s not too warm over the weekend, a chicken soup would take care of it nicely, as would stuffing (in June? Really, Dellecese?). The leaves also add a bit of celery flavor to salads, so I may have to remember to use them when we’re making our inevitable salads feasts.

Grumble.

Any suggestions for making a food (salads, in general) that has seemed completely disgusting and inedible to a pregnant lady more appetizing? I’ve eaten maaaaaybe one a week. Tops. And it hasn’t been fun. (My husband, who could absolutely live on them, looks at me strangely and, I’m guessing, doesn’t get it.)

I’m thinking BLTs (I don’t eat tomatoes, but I’m down with this…maybe with avocado, yay healthy fat!), using it as a lettuce wrap (Had may be down for this…not sure it’ll help me at all), or just shoot the moon and do taco dip piled high with lettuce. Maybe. Any other ideas??

5 Reasons I’m Okay Spending $100 on a Dinner

Depending on the time of year, we go out maybe every 1-2 months and get a pizza every, eh, 2-3 weeks. Compared to the old days when pizza was weekly and going out was, well, probably also a weekly thing (plus any fast food stops, especially back when we were first dating and acting in shows), this is pretty stellar. 

So, I thought I’d talk about briefly about why it’s totally cool with me that Dave’s taking me out for my birthday for what’s undoubtedly going to cost probably $100…give or take. 

via Trip Advisor


Special Occasion – I don’t usually give into the “it’s my birthday, I deserve it” sort of thing. However, we often decide that we’d rather take advantage of a super rare date night (seriously, if we get four a year, we’re doing something) than to actually buy gifts for the other person. This year, I don’t find myself “in need” of anything, so an incredible meal it is. (We often do something similar for our anniversary or Valentine’s Day.) Plus, any time we can eat without the little one is pretty much a special occasion. 😉 Thanks to the sitters (grandparents) of the world!!!

Insane Food – I know you probably already assume that insanity has to come into play when it comes to spending over $100 on dinner, but it’s not our insanity; it’s the INSANELY AWESOME thought put into the cuisine at our favorite restaurant. I’ve chatted about what an incredible spot The Tailor and the Cook is in the past, but yeah. I’ll repeat it again, it’s just. That. Good. The word “delicious” doesn’t describe it well enough. Also, the fact that we eat out less than the “good ol’ days” makes us really enjoy this style of food more, even if we do it only a couple of times a year. 

Locavore’s Paradise – We obviously wouldn’t be willing to spend the big bucks at a regular, local restaurant (or chain) that serves the usual fare. But, much of the food served here is based on the local ingredients they’ve sourced. The care in the menu alone shows the thought put into the season and proper preparation of the food (hello, fiddleheads and ramps!). Plus, knowing (and often seeing at our local farmers’ markets) the farms and food producers displayed in a totally proud, transparent way? We have to get behind that. 

The Anticipation – Okay. I haven’t had a huge appetite lately, but when I found out we’d be going to T&C, I couldn’t help but check out the menu. Seriously, I can’t decide what to get, but it doesn’t matter! Just look at that menu! And the things that sound strange are what end up being your favorite, so I put my faith into the hands of the chef(s). 

It’s an Investment – People consider all sorts of things investments. Saving for college. (Okay, we do that.) Buying cars. Collecting dolls. All sorts of things. For us, food like this is an important investment. We care about the food’s treatment before it even gets to the restaurant, we care that the chef(s) give it the best possible flavor profile, and the experience of the entire evening fulfills us to no end. So, yeah. It’s an investment we’ll gladly make.   

St. Patrick’s Day Green

I’m an Irish girl. Er. Irish-American. Whatever. But, still, the vast majority of my ancestors? Irish peasants. I’m fascinated and proud of the heritage.

That said, I’ve never used the traditional “Irish” holiday as an excuse to drink. It’s an awesome holiday, of course, but the people who tend to go all out (whether Irish or not, whether they know a lick of information about St. Patrick himself) make me shake my head. I still remember going to a college class on St. Patrick’s Day only to observe heads in garbage cans and bodies of passed-out people riddling the common areas. At 9AM. I’m not a prude, but… No. Words.

But, if you’re planning on hitting the pubs this year, try a different green beverage before donning those green beads.

We recently tried out this recipe for super-simple “beginner’s luck green smoothie.” Dave hadn’t jumped on the smoothie bandwagon yet, and none of us had tried a green smoothie. Of course, Hadley LOVED the thing, and Dave enjoyed his more than I expected. Our variation of the original goes like this…


Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie
(adapted from 100 Days of Real Food’s recipe)2 cups spinach
1 cup milk (any kind)
1 cup water
1 banana, in chunks
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup pineapple chunks

Blend the spinach with the liquid until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you’ve reached the consistency you prefer. (Add more liquid if you like it thinner, or use all frozen fruits or ice cubes for a thicker consistency.)

***************************************


Ours was perfectly sweet with the mix of banana, strawberries (which Hadley requested) and pineapple (although the pineapple admittedly left a few random “strands” of texture here and there), but you could drizzle in agave, honey, or a sprinkle of sugar if you need it. 

Leftovers might just help alleviate a hangover. *wink, wink*

And if you wear some green in celebration (or, um, drink green beer), here’s a little trivia for you: The green (of the Irish flag) doesn’t represent the green grasses and shamrocks of Ireland so much as it does the many Irish Catholics who died at the hands of Protestant rulers. In the 1700s and 1800s, while England and Ireland clashed, Irish persons were hanged for wearing green.

So, please. Wear it proudly.

Or drink it proudly, as the case may be.

Essential Oils – How We Do

Mama Must-Haves

Today’s post contains affiliate links. They won’t make your computer explode or steal your identity…I hope.

So many friends and acquaintances on Facebook (and, y’know, in the real world) are having babies left and right. We’re in talks ourselves, but are still putting off a second bambino for the time being. We’re also pretty private about things; that “don’t tell anyone until the second trimester” thing is law for us, outside of one or two close family members or a BFF.

All these gorgeous shots of tiny shut-eyed beauties got me thinking about Hadman and what it was like to bring him home those 2+ years ago. Oh, how terrified and unprepared we felt. I’m tons more laid-back now, and Dave’s improved immensely. We’re kinda rocking it, parentally. Most of the time. 

Whenever we choose to have another (if we should be so lucky, knocking on lots of wood), I’m excited to try some things that, for one reason or another, didn’t work out with our first little guy. I’ll admit that, while I “tried” cloth diapering, I didn’t succeed — okay, I failed at it. So, that. There’s that.

Also, with how humongous our monkey was, babywearing didn’t really work out, either. It is what it is, but I hope to try it in the future. Maybe a future babe will enjoy it (and it’ll probably make life a bit easier with a bigger brother running around).

But enough of the stuff that didn’t work for us. Here are some of the stuff that I wouldn’t live without that worked out awesomely for us…

#1 – It took awhile to decide on a pump to use at school everyday, so I took a risk purchasing this Medela In Style Advanced Breast Pump. Turns out, it wasn’t such a risk, after all! This thing is a work horse. It comes with everything you need (you’ll need to replenish your storage bags, but that’s pretty much it). Once you get the hang of, y’know, feeling like you’re being milked in a small space at work, it feels like routine — thanks to this machine. Considering how nerve-wracking the whole concept of pumping can be, having a pump you can trust with such a delicate process is golden.   

#2 – I know, I know. You’re thinking, “isn’t this supposed to be essentials for parenting a baby?” Yup. We read to Hadley from week one, and it’s pretty much his favorite thing to do today. And he’s two. This was our first Mo Willems book, and we’ve been addicted ever since. Have you met Elephant and Piggie? If not, you totally should. They’re the gateway drug to Pigeon. I also foresee some Knufflebunny in our future.

#3 – This Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair (in a neutral color; ours is tan with polka dots) is probably the baby product with the most longevity. We used it from about 5-6 months until the present, and I foresee using it for awhile still. As the name implies, it saves the space of a regular high chair by utilizing a regular old dining chair as its base. When the time comes, this thing will store awesomely, too. I just can’t say enough good about it. Seriously.

#4 – Dave insisted that I include Sophie, and I can’t blame him too much. She’s a classic, she’s adorable, and Hadman lovingly chomped on her for quite awhile. Plus, giraffes turned out to be his spirit animal during his first year, so it was a perfect match. Don’t mind the price tag on this one; she’s worth it.

#5 – Glass bottles?! Are you insane?? Yes, but that’s beside the point. These classic Evenflo glass bottles worked wonderfully and put my super-obsessed mama mind to rest about BPA and all those other nasties, especially when warming. We also used the smaller 4 ounce size, especially when he was holding his own bottles. Side note: When the kiddos get bigger and you’re heading to a place that you know will have a tile floor, just keep an extra eye on the bottles. Made that mistake once; will never make it again.

#6 – If you’re a new mama and you’re having a hard time getting your little one to sleep at night, all I can say is — SWADDLE, SWADDLE, SWADDLE! Then swaddle some more. These organic muslin blankies are what I prefer thanks to their breathability (especially when your newborn is a summer baby) and flexibility, which allows just the right amount of movement and comfortable snuggliness. Seriously, it sounds crazy, but these were a lifesaver. Probably the only reason we got ANY sleep.

#7 – The sooner you get a potty chair, the better. Santa brought this Bjorn Baby potty, which has since lived in the kitchen (under the above Space Saver chair, actually) and is utilized daily. He’s not fully trained yet, but the fact that he’s shown an interest since about 18 months is incredible. Thank you, Santa! He also knows that it’s HIS special potty, so that’s pretty great, too. Quick tip: Get a cheap little plastic bin and leave a handful of board books, along with dipes and wipes, next to your main potty. You’ll get sick of the books (seriously, we could recite our four books from memory), but it’ll make potty time way easier and fun for everyone.

#8 – We got a few bottles of Baby Bee shampoo-and-body-wash for our shower, and I’m so glad we did. I don’t think I’ve had to buy a bottle yet! I just keep refilling my small one from the huge bulk-sized one. This is Hadman’s main soap (he’s also used one I had to review, which was fine), and I prefer it because a) it works, b) it’s natural, c) it smells AWESOME (he doesn’t smell like a little hippie baby; he smells just like a BABY…you know the smell…the one you want to bottle and never let go), and d) it makes for a super fun bubble bath. I’ve even been known to use it as shampoo when I’m low from time to time. #noshame #notsorry

What were some of your essentials? Do you agree/disagree with any of my suggestions?

Oh, and feel free to check out the rest of my baby list items (I’m still adding) if you need a few more suggestions. Hint: Cheapest organic crib mattress EVER. Just sayin’. 

Getting Oily


If you’re into holistic lifestyles (or the concept that the current health care system ain’t cuttin’ it), you’ve probably heard about essential oils. These are highly concentrated oils from plants, herbs, flowers, and fruits that, when applied to parts one’s body, taken in capsule or beverage form, or diffused into the air, can have tremendous healing powers. The more I read, the more I realized how beneficial they could be to try out. Headaches, illnesses, stress reduction, even for cleaning around the house — there seems to be an almost endless list for their uses.

The skeptic in me kept searching, not for whether to try the stuff or not, but picking from which company to purchase essential oils. I’m part of an awesome Facebook group that had some great suggestions, and, upon searching further, I found a blogger that wrote tons of articles comparing popular brands and discussing whether cheaper really was better. At the end of her series, she posted this article announcing “Native American Nutritionals” as the winner for quality (and for “not too good to be true” value). Check out the post to see her reasoning.

Her reasons (and invaluable research) were compelling enough for me to consider purchasing their basic kit. It was priced, at the time, at $154.35 (10% off as a kit). See why I’m hitting myself over the head trying to select the right brand? This $&#% is expensive (and rightfully so)! Oh, and quality matters big-time since there are some sleazy people out there trying to pass crap off as the real thing. Also, I didn’t want to get into the other companies’ “buy this much a month, get this much free” stuff because a) I was still skeptical as to its validity (if it would work for our family) and b) I’m not good at the pressure of purchase. (You know, like if I get a 30% off coupon for Kohl’s, the pressure that I should go use it because goodness knows when they’ll send a 30% off coupon again. Hate that. It makes me cry in aisles, I kid you not.)


But I kept hearing of Young Living and doTerra as people’s favorites. This article helped me to whittle it down to YL (which most of my FB buddies recommend, anyway). Still, I searched further (gotta love in-depth comparisons where folks do days and days worth if work for you. Apparently I’m lazy). Finally, the these links (here and here) are the two-part analysis that gave me a result that was clear. I’d be plunking down $154.35 (plus S&H…or is it S&P?) to try NAN.

I *FINALLY* ordered earlier this week, so I was kinda shocked when they arrived on Wednesday. I’ve used them a couple of times on our pillows (lavender one night, a blend called “tranquility” last night) and they were wicked relaxing – but that’s all so far. 

This is clearly the start of something, so I’ll be sure to share my findings. If I find a need to switch to another brand in the future (namely the highly recommended YL), you’ll hear about it. If I find that EO are the greatest thing since sliced bread, you’ll know. For now, I’m just ecstatic to finally get going!

Bad Grocery Juju

Why, oh why do I stray from the norm? Seriously, Meg: stick to Hannaford, the occasional Aldi stop, and go nuts with farmers’ market trips.

I was in the need of a handful of stuff. You know. Not a “stock the cupboards” type of trip; more of a “just the necessities that we’re out of” thing. So, I thought naively, why not give the new local Price Chopper a go? And bring the guys along?

Ugh. So. Dumb. *points to self*

Mistake #1: Assuming that this new, snazzy Price Chopper was going to be equal in options to, say, the same branch about half and hour away, or even (goodness forbid) our local Hannaford. *buzzer*

Totally different. Not much room to maneuver, especially the areas we needed (namely produce). And HARDLY ANY NATURAL/ORGANIC OPTIONS!!! Hannaford wins, hands-down, in that department just be, um, HAVING “that department.” I walked through a ton of aisles just to see what options they had mixed on the shelves. ONE organic cereal, and it was Kashi (which we don’t buy thanks to some unsavory practices…say, being owned by Kellogg).

Lesson: Stick to what you know. Locally, Hannaford is our best bet. It just is. Prices were generally comparable, there are occasional sales at both places on the organic produce so it’s hit-or-miss, and there’s just SUCH a selection at Hannaford, hands-down. 

Mistake #2: Assuming that bringing the guys along would be a pleasant experience for all involved. I should’ve known better on this one, honestly. It’s completely my fault.

Considering I had seen in advance on their new flyers that an ex from college is apparently in management at the place…that created one awkward environment. I can’t be the only person to whom this type of ridiculousness happens, right? Normally, I’m cool talking to people from my past, but this guy clearly wasn’t over…well, anything. Just…awkward and stupid.

Lesson: Shouldn’t I know better by now? Don’t subject family to potentially awkward situations if at all possible. (smacks forehead)

Then, the “toddler itch” kicked in. Oh, yes. The grab items (a non-organic Granny Smith apple which he proceeded to chomp down on…eh, at least it kept him quiet for awhile. “Go ahead, sweetie. Eat the sticker.”), squirming to get down, fine-poor-daddy-will-walk-you-all-over-the-store itch. We later figured out that the little guy’s teething up a storm, so I feel a tad less upset about this whole part. Not to mention it was a very big “I told you so” moment since Dave has a crystal ball and realized the place wouldn’t be as well-stocked as Price Chopper. :-\ Eh. He’s right, what can I say? When the man’s right, he’s right.

Lesson: Well…I kinda wish Dave had voiced his concern beforehand, but I’m stubborn and not sure I would’ve listened. However, I have already learned that a) a shopping trip with Dave and Hadley along always has a different level of “excitement” (and takes longer). I should’ve just gone on my own and been done with it. Not to mention, Hadley wouldn’t nap when we got him home, so that made for a crazy visit at my parents’ later in the evening.

FINAL THOUGHTS (I’m Jerry Springer!): If you aren’t looking for natural options, this new Price Chopper would be a fine choice. If you’re not dragging a brood along (seriously, it’s tough to maneuver those aisles!), it’s a fine choice. If you haven’t dated any of their employees who have clearly not yet dealt with their issues, it’s a fine choice.

If you WANT good organic and natural choices, if you WANT everything on your shopping list, if you WANT a pleasant environment, if you WANT to have a fun grocery shopping trip with your entire family…maybe not the best choice.
By the way, your situation may be completely different, and this could be an isolated thing. It’s entirely possible.

Digging In

So, the day that I shared this garden plan with you, I happened to be busy at work lugging picking up supplies, prepping the soil, and planting the darn thing. While I still have some more outdoor chores to tackle (*ahem*flowerbeds*ahem*), I’m ecstatic to have this checked off the list. After all, it can’t grow until it’s in the ground…or, in this case, the raised beds.

The drawing I showed you Monday, of course, got changed a little bit. As with all things, life seems subject to availability, doesn’t it? So, I grabbed 8 (9, although I didn’t end up using the last one; will keep it for next year) bags of organic dirt and some peat moss (as my mother calls it “poor man’s fertilizer” — although I always assumed that’d be manure), then headed out to get plants.

First, I ventured to a local joint, T&J’s, to see what they had. I got a handful of marigolds (wish I’d gotten a second tray, but whatevs) and two types of lettuce, then headed to Lowe’s. I would’ve hit up a couple of other local places, but I was on a time crunch and trying to avoid Memorial Day parades, so this was my last stop. This is where I had to hit the brakes on a couple of the veggies we were hoping for.

So, due to lack of supply, we cut out the peas (we were late planting those, anyway) and added a couple of squash plants and cucumbers (my husband’s new favorite water flavoring). I grabbed six bell pepper plants rather than, um, a ton (two red, two yellow, two green…like a stoplight) and juggled around the arrangements a bit. I also didn’t get any potatoes, but since those wouldn’t be ready until the fall I’m still considering them.

Here’s a pictorial play-by-play of how it all went down. (And feel free to use my example as a guide, but remember that I’m a trial and error type of gardener, so don’t blame me if something goes wrong!)If you already have raised beds, weed ’em. If not, build ’em. (This is the closest to how we did ours, although in hind sight we would have build them taller. Ya live, ya learn.) Yup, those are weeds, not veggies…

Then, rough up the bed and spread that dirt. We add a few bags every year to each bed; this year, we added FOUR bags each.

Oh, and that peat moss. Mix that in.

Sexy Band-Aid, lady.

 



Then, I like to take the plants out of their containers (unless they’re biodegradable) and place them where I may like them in the beds. This way, I can move them around and adjust accordingly BEFORE they’re in the ground. I also try to take into account what the packaging/tags say regarding distance from other plants and so forth.  


Then, dig your spot, plunk the plant in, and cover that business with dirt. I gently tamp it to ensure that any larger stalks are able to stand straight. It’s really pretty self-explanatory and simple.

Pretty cool, huh? So, in each of the four corners, I planted three different types of jalapenos. (Must say with inappropriate accent.) In the middles I planted four marigolds, but kind of wish I’d doubled up on both types of plants to evade cat and bug attacks.

Since the back bed is full sun (but still gets less of that super hot afternoon sunshine with a fence and tall bush/tree thingies behind it), I planted my romaine and “mixed” salad greens on the left, a cucumber in the middle, and two tomato plants (which will take over the planet if given the chance) on the right.

In the front, I planted the three types of sweet bell peppers on the left, some carrot seeds in the middle (hence lookin’ all empty), and the two squash plants on the right. And, in all honesty, I thought I was grabbing a squash and a zucchini, so this pissed me off royally.

I’ll be sure to provide some updates (weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Does anyone caaaaare?? ;-)) to let you know a) how it’s growin’ (see what I did there?) and b) if the neighborhood cats win the battle. You know what I’m saying, right?

Right??

Oh, and it’s SO silly easy to plant plants that, of course, we made a video. I mean, how could you not?

Chobani vs. Stonyfield

I’ve stated my love for Chobani Greek yogurt here a long, long time ago. I’ve used it in tons of recipes (especially as a thick replacement for sour cream and in dips/dressings) and used to eat it religiously everyday as a snack. Since it’s a local business doing huge things, I’ve generally been proud of the work they’ve done.

Since we’ve gone mostly organic, however, and now that Hadman’s a toddler (ie it’s cheapest/easiest to buy generally the same products), all of our milk products are made of organic milk. Any time I’m cooking with a yogurt, I’d rather it be whole milk since he’ll be eating it, too (and there are plusses to whole vs. lowfat), although we “adults” still eat Greek.

So, we had to do some soul-searching on our yogurt choices.

That said, Chobani isn’t the best in the world as far as its ingredient transparency. While I try not to be down about such things, especially when they’re providing so many opportunities for local workers (although I have heard mixed reviews on working there), the fact that their cows are fed GMO ingredients (and, for that matter, are raised in the “traditional” less than humane way), I had mixed feelings about feeding the stuff to my son. Plus, Greek yogurt, by nature, is lowfat or 0% fat. Not the greatest thing for a youngin’.

So, we made a jump to Stonyfield. We were already buying their milk (since it’s from humanely-treated, mostly grassfed cows), so it was an easy decision…once I let the guilt of not purchasing Chobani fall off my shoulders.

Stonyfield makes all kinds of yogurts, but we purchase the regular (plain is always in the fridge; once in awhile vanilla, but since it has added organic sugar, I limit this), the Greek cups for work (I love the “super fruits” flavor with pomegranate and Dave’s a blueberry guy), and half the time I either buy Hadley the baby cups (way less ingredients than the toddler or kid versions, and less sugar) or make little take-along cups with my small Ball jars. Apparently we eat a lot of yogurt. 😉

Oh, and let’s just say we were shopping at a different store last week in a hurry and I found our Greek cups for $1 apiece. Let’s just say I literally jumped back a couple of feet and squealed amidst the very busy dairy area, I was just that excited. Yes, folks. A proud moment for my husband, I’m sure.

Yes, it’s usually kind of expensive, but not by much. Almost every week, I go onto Stonyfield’s website (that’s actually a link to sign up for special offers) to see if there are any printable coupons, and I receive the occasional email offer to print. Let’s just say that I had a coupon that was expiring the next day and I didn’t have use for the item, so when I saw a woman picking up that very item I stopped her and handed the coupon over. She couldn’t believe it and kept saying “Are you sure? Are you sure??” Yep. I’m sure. Spread the organic love, folks.

Oh, and if, by rare chance, I find organic no-name yogurt at Aldi, you know I grab every last carton I can find. Cheap + organic = gold. (Probably why that lady was so shocked I was handing her a coupon.)

I feel super happy, though, knowing that the cows that have made our yogurt aren’t pumping GMOs (through their corn-based feed…naughty corn), antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides into our milk products. The fact that they’re generally grassfed also helps me to sleep soundly (as soundly as one can with a toddler nearby). 

What about you? Are you a yogurt eater? Whole milk? Or Greek? What brand wins your own yogurt showdown?   

Food Revolution Day — Again

It’s that time again! Rollin’ right around the corner, May 16th is Food Revolution Day (#frd2014), hooray!!

What’s this? Well, simply, it’s a way to engage with food in a public way. This can mean a bunch of things and can be achieved a kazillion ways, but in essence it’s meant to bring attention to the fact that eating responsibly-grown and -raised foods is a) healthier, b) more beneficial to the local economy, and c) way better for the environment. All awesome things. It’s also about learning how to cook from scratch, which tends to be a bit cheaper and healthier for all of us.

(Side note: Clearly, hittin’ up McDonald’s and calling it a day won’t cut it. Sorry!)

Last year, I had high hopes of making an awesome meal, but the fact that Dave was out of town and I was feeling crappy took it down a peg. Luckily, I still found my own way to celebrate — even if in a pretty private way.

This year, I’m hoping to celebrate a little more as a family since, well, Hadley eats regular food now and Dave should be home. So, while we may just do one or two of these things, it may help you get your mental juices flowing (ew) if you decide to take part, too. Here are a few ideas I’ve got for our family (there are a ton more to check out here, and I’m sure you could come up with a ton more far better than mine):

Go out for a lovely dinner. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t this all about making your own food?” Yes, and I know what you mean. However, we have a handful of kick-arse locavore joints that we’re dying to try out. It’d be nice to have a date night with the hubby and know that the food we’re eating is Besides, we hardly ever get formal dates, so when we do we tend to try new places or old favorites (which, ahem, tend to be slightly more expensive places; we don’t eat out much normally, so we put more value in what we’re eating when it’s locally-grown and well-prepared).

Try something new. I’m thinking it’d be fun to trek out to the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, buy a new ingredient (plus any other “needs” we might have), then try a new recipe. My meals lately have been pretty one-note, so this might help kick-start me into getting back into the swing of preparing summer-type meals (which tend to be more creative…or to me, at least).

Plant our garden. We’ve already drawn out (literally) a simple plan for our veggies (and one fruit), and one of my biggest issues is usually not planting early enough. Given that our frosts are gone for the season — which they may NOT be, given our crazy weather patterns — this would be the perfect weekend to buy our plants (I don’t think I’m growing anything from seed this year; I’m taking the lazy mama’s way out) and get ’em in the ground.

You may notice that these ideas are ones you really can’t complete in one day…er, at least, not at our house! I tend to look at Food Revolution Day as more of a weekend celebration than a one-day thing, especially since it generally lands on a Friday (a work day). It’s kind of like how some celebrate the whole weekend of Memorial Day, y’know?

So, you’ve got a little over a month. Are you planning on doing anything for FRD? (Or FRD weekend, as it were?) If so, what? I’d love to hear!