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Dreaming of a Green Christmas Giveaway Next Week!

11/11/2011

Christmas Giveaway Tree 4I am so excited to tell you that next week is the Dreaming of a Green Christmas Giveaway Bash! I’ll be participating in the Giveaway Bash along with four other fabulous bloggers.

The Giveaways

I have four giveaways lined up  next week from these great companies!

Monday: Eco Natural Soap

Wednesday: Rose of Sharon Acres

Thursday: Graham Gardens

Friday: Cosmoda

Make sure you subscribe to my blog (you can subscribe by email (over in the right hand column at the top) or RSS feed) or follow me on Facebook so you don’t miss out on any of the goodies next week.

 The Other Fabulous Bloggers Participating in the Giveaway Bash

There’ll also be giveaways going on all next week at:

Simply Rebekah

A Delightful Home

Live Renewed

The Greenbacks Gal

I’ll be posting links to their giveaways throughout the week as well, but make sure to follow their blogs or like them on Facebook so you don’t miss anything. (Because who doesn’t like free stuff?!)

Recipe: Better Than Ranch Dressing

11/09/2011

Earlier this year, I posted about how much I like Hidden Valley Ranch dressing and how I wasn’t willing to give it up (even though it has MSG and other crazy chemicals in it). Fast forward to a couple months ago. I tried a recipe for Ranch dressing without any crazy chemicals in it and its amazing. Seriously. I wouldn’t switch over to it if it wasn’t. In fact, I think I like it better than the store bought stuff since its thicker and creamier. I won’t go as far to say this is healthy for you (since I’m still using store bought mayo), but I think it’s a good compromise.homemade ranch dressing photo

Better Than Ranch Dressing

(Very slightly adapted from the recipe found at Kitchen Stewardship)

Ingredients

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4+ tsp each: parsley, dill, and chives (I’ve used fresh and dried chives, and both were good)

Pepper, to taste

Salt, if desired

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together. I usually just mix it right in the jar I’m going to store it in so it saves me a dish to wash.  :) (I like to reuse peanut butter jars for this!)  Its tastes best if its had time to sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors develop. I’ll let you decide how long its good for. I’ve had it in the fridge for up to a month without any problem, though.

Clean Start E-book Winner!

11/07/2011

  Rachael R. is the winner! Look for an email from me, Rachael!  If you didn’t win and would like to read the book, you can buy a copy of it here. (That’s my affiliate link, by the way.)

Speaking of giveaways, I have LOTS of giveaways lined up next week, so be sure to check back here. I’m pretty excited about it!

What Inspired My Crunchiness?

11/02/2011

There have been a couple books and movies that have been a huge part of my perspective change from a “normal” consumer (processed foods, body products loaded with unpronounceable chemicals, etc) to a greener and more health conscience consumer. These  mainly talk about food and our food system, but I found once I started really thinking about that, it naturally starting influencing other areas of my life besides my food choices.  I’d like to share some of those with you today. Be careful though! They may rock your little world like they did mine! :)

Books

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan– Hands down this is the book that really catapulted me into crunchiness. I was already starting down that path before reading this, but after that, there was no looking back! Pollan follows corn from its beginnings in the field to what it ultimately ends up as—most of our processed food in different forms. (High fructose corn syrup, anyone?) He looks at why this is (overproduction) and how its affected us (obesity). He talk about farming (and CAFOs).  He visits Polyface Farms and looks at how an organic farm is runthat actually works with the animals and the land and not against them. (One of my goals is to visit Polyface Farms someday after reading the book.) If you haven’t already read this book, you need to. It’ll get you thinking about our food system in a whole new way. Here’s a short summary of the book.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver—This was the first book I’d ever read by Barbara Kingsolver and I loved it. My husband finds her a bit verbose, but I like her writing style. In this book, she chronicles the year that her family only ate  from local sources—mainly their back yard. They go through things like eating seasonally (which for some reason had never really occurred to me before), planning for the winter, and lots of other interesting information about our American food system and about homesteading. She does rant about the industrial food system in the first few chapters (I agree with most of what she says, and even I was tired of reading that part by the end), but if you can get through that little section (or skip it some of it!), the rest is an enjoyable and eye-opening read.

Movies

Food, Inc.— This movie also looks at the American industrial food system. It covers the rise of industrialized food—the reason for it and the effects of it. I found a great synopsis of the movie here. If you don’t have time to read the above books (and don’t want to listen to them on audiobook like I do!), then you should watch this movie. Its on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, if you belong to either one of those. If you’ve read the above books and liked them, then you’ll like this too.

Audio

Can Faith be Green by Tim Keller – I listened to this sermon as I cleaned last week and it gives a great account about why Christians should be green. We’ve been called to be good stewards of the Earth and our resources and our choices should reflect that. He even quotes Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms in his sermon, so you know it has to be good. :) I really enjoyed listening to it and am planning on a second listen sometime soon. You should listen to it if you are even remotely interested in your role as a steward of the Earth. Besides, Tim Keller is a really good speaker–he has a very conversational style and its an easy listen.

Have you ever read/seen/heard  of any of these?  What things have inspired you to a greener lifestyle? Please share in the comments!

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Disclaimer: The Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you use those links to buy something, I’ll get a small compensation. However, I highly recommend NOT buying the books/movie and just checking it out from your local library. Much more frugal that way. :) Thanks!

Menu Plan Monday–First Week of November (with Yummy Baked Fish Recipe)

10/31/2011

 

Here we are in our costumes. Not sure what my daughter is doing with her face.

We had a fun weekend with two parties and the kiddos dressed up both nights, which they loved. I was a Renaissance woman, my daughter was a butterfly, and my son was a bee. (My husband didn’t get to come because he was called in to work on Saturday.) Although, after eating hot dogs and the various cookout food two nights in a row, I’m really craving some healthy food.

 

 How Do I Meal Plan

plan-to-eat-logo-smI thought I’d mention quickly that I use Plan to Eat for my meal planning. I signed up for it in May (it was my Mother’s Day present) and its really made planning much easier. (I know. Weird Mother’s Day gift. But I was really getting annoyed with how long it was taking me to meal plan.)  It’s a bit time consuming to get your recipes in there (although they made that as easy as possible with a button you can add to your bookmarks bar to quickly add a recipe), but once you’ve got them in there, you can quickly plan your meals. I like that I can also print out a grocery list and even add other items I need. You can sign up with a free 30 day trial if you’d like to try it.

Menu Plan

Monday: Yummy Baked Fish with Sautéed Zucchini and Brown Rice (recipe for the baked fish at the end of this post)

Tuesday: Nachos with Homemade Refried Beans (which are made in the crock pot) – I’ve got an Usborne book party in the morning and then we have family photos scheduled that afternoon/evening, so I need something easy and fast. I’ll put the beans in the crock pot that morning and try to have all the other ingredients already cut up beforehand.

Wednesday: Cilantro lime chicken with spanish rice – This chicken recipe is SO good, but be careful with the adobo peppers.  They are spicy!

Thursday: Panera Bread Broccoli and Cheddar soup (it’s a copycat recipe), breadsticks, and salad – I’m on the MOPS Steering Teams this year and we’re all meeting at my house on this evening to plan for our November meeting. I’m looking forward to it!

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday and Sunday: Either leftovers or we’ll do something easy like a big salad or green smoothies.

Recipe: Yummy Baked Fish

(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients

6 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp basil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp parsley

dash of dill

2 cloves minced garlic

Fish fillets (either white fish or salmon)

Instructions

Mix up all of the ingredients (except the fish) in a little bowl. Then place the fish in an oven safe 8×8 (or whatever size you need)  dish. Pour the stuff in the bowl over the fish. Cover with foil and refrigerate at least an hour before you bake the fish. When you are ready, pop it in the oven (preheat to 350F) and bake it until the fish is flaky and your kitchen smells delicious. (Baking times will vary based on how much fish you are baking and how thick it is.)

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Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate of Plan to Eat, although I do use it for all of my meal planning and would recommend it even if I wasn’t an affiliate. If you sign up with a paid membership, I’ll get a small compensation. Thanks for supporting Kinda Crunchy Kate!

I’m linking up with Organizing Junkie and Keeper of the Home!

Clean Start E-book Review and Giveaway!

10/28/2011

I have a lovely giveaway for you today and I am so excited! Michelle over at Openeyehealth has written a very helpful e-book all about natural cleaning and just released it this week. She sent me a copy of the book to review and also offered to give a copy away to one lucky reader.

Clean Start E-book Review

Clean-Start-Flower-Banner-250x250This book is a quick read. Its only 23 pages, which I like. Natural cleaning isn’t complicated and it doesn’t need to have a whole lot of different ingredients to be effective. Michelle has boiled everything down so its very easy to read and understand. I especially like that she’s included a cost comparison between the normal cleaners you’d buy at a store and the ingredients you need to make your own natural cleaners. Another section I thought was particularly helpful was about why the natural cleaners work. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate understanding the reason behind using certain ingredients. The book is broken down into different sections for different parts of your home (kitchen, bathroom, floors, etc.) and gives you a couple of different cleaning recipes to try for each section. I learned some new things and I’m excited to try her real wood floor cleaner recipe. (My wood floors need some help!)

This book is perfect for someone just starting out with natural living and wanting to switch over from toxic cleaners. Its also a great reference for those of us who have been at this a while now. Like I mentioned above, I learned a few new things from reading it!

Would you like to win a copy of the book?

You’ll need to complete this form to enter the giveaway. Comments on this blog post do not count as an entry. You must fill out the form. There’s no required information except for your name and email address. You can earn extra entries for doing the following things:

  1. Like Kinda Crunchy Kate on Facebook.
  2. Like Openeyehealth on Facebook.
  3. Follow KindaCrunchyK8 on Twitter. (I know. I’m pretty clever with that whole K8 thing, huh?)
  4. Follow Openeyehealth on Twitter.

That’s it! If you don’t win and would like to purchase a copy of the book, you can do so over at Openeyehealth. To celebrate the release, Clean Start will be available for a limited time for just $4.95! With the purchase you will also receive two free downloads– a home cleaning planner with additional tips and tricks, as well as a “your recipe” page to include any notes, modifications, or recipes that you come up with while naturally cleaning. Click here to visit Openeyehealth and purchase the book.

The giveaway will be open until 11:59pm on November 4th, 2011.  The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on Monday, November 7th. The winner will be notified by email.

Go here to fill out the form and enter the giveaway!!

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Disclaimer: I was given one electronic copy of the book to review. The link to buy the book is my affiliate link and I will receive a small compensation if you decide to purchase the book through my link. Thanks for supporting Kinda Crunchy Kate! This sweepstakes/giveaway is only open to residents of the USA. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. You may only fill out the survey once, for up to a total of 5 entries. One entry per household. If you win, you will be contacted by email and you will receive one electronic copy of the book, a home cleaning planner, and a recipe page. All of these are electronic, just so you know. Check your email inbox if you win, not your USPS mailbox! This giveaway is void where prohibited by law. (That sounded so official!) The odds of winning are based upon the number entries received. If you’ve read through all of this stuff, you might as well head on over and read my official disclosure policy too.

From Pinterest to Real Life: Flowers, Bracelets, Burlap, and More

10/28/2011

Let me start out by saying that I love Pinterest. If you are even remotely crafty, creative, artsy fartsy, or just have 1000 pages bookmarked on your computer, you need to join. We can be Pinterest friends! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Megan explains it all here and here.) I’ve noticed that since I’ve started using Pinterest, I’ve been much more likely to actually make some of the items that used to languish in my bookmarks folder and I’m really enjoying it!

What I Made this Month

Flowers for Pins and Barrettes

You can find all kinds of DIY flower inspiration on my board Felt and Fabric Flowers.

tshirtflowers

T-shirt flower tutorial from Matsutake. I used a t-shirt that had gotten a stain on the front to make my flowers. This was so quick and so easy that I made two. I made it into a pin and have gotten many compliments on it. You can change the look of the flower based on how wide the strips of fabric are that you use.

more tshirt flowers

Another t-shirt flower tutorial from Emily’s Little World. This one made a really nice full flower. I’m going to glue a barrette on the back so my daughter can wear it. I made it from the same t-shirt as the other ones.

fabric rosette jewelry tutorial

Fabric Rosette tutorial from Little Birdie Secrets. This is also super easy and very pretty.

fabric flower

This is a fabric flower tutorial done by brittany soucy on Flickr. I really liked the results, but the way it came together in the back wasn’t very well suited to making a barrette out of it. I just set it on my bookshelf to look pretty since it matches the lamp shades I redid.

Bracelet

I saw a bracelet that someone had made by crocheting or knitting around a hard bracelet form floating around the Pin-sphere. (Does that make sense? And I definitely just made up that Pin-sphere word.) I remember thinking, “I bet I could cut up an old sweater and make that.” When I went back to go find it, I couldn’t find it anywhere. While I was searching all over, I came across this lovely tutorial from Organize and Decorate Everything to make a bracelet out of an old sweater. Sweet!

I took this sweater that I bought at a yard sale (but never actually wore  because it didn’t fit right) and a bracelet that I got for free and made a sweater bracelet! (Don’t worry. I only took the neon yellow bracelet because I had this project in mind. I don’t usually wear day-glo jewelry.)

Before

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I know you can't read what I thought I so cleverly wrote on the picture. Click on it if you want to see it bigger. Sorry!

After

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Burlap

Burlap is everywhere on Pinterest right now. I had some leftover from a project my husband was going to do years ago, but never did. So, I cut it up and put it around my house to decorate for Fall/Thanksgiving.

Here’s my little entryway table.

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More

I made this sight words game for my daughter (which she LOVES right now), which was inspired by this pin. (You can see more Homeschool Inspiration and Activites on my board.)

I used this tip and made a ginger garlic paste for my Indian meal this week. I also tried a pumpkin spiced latte recipe, but I didn’t really like it. (Its probably because I don’t really like coffee and this tasted more like coffee than I am used to. I think with some tweaking, I’d like it.)

Have you joined Pinterest? Do you find it helps you to be more creative or do you think its just a time suck?

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I’m linking up to Simple Organic’s From Pinterest to Real Life link up. Check it out for more pretty things!