2.23.2015

Golden Girl Granola Giveaway {Giveaway Post }




Right as I made the decision to give February over to a Whole 30 challenge wouldn't you know it a box of the crunchiest, tastiest granola arrived on my doorstep. I opened the box and it seriously made me reconsider starting wholewha? Since I was ALREADY committed and had the husband on board I went ahead with my plans to go Whole30 but not before snitching from each of fabulous flavors they sent. Well except ONE which I saved and have continued to save from the children who never stop eating, I have plans for a nice big bowl of granola and yogurt early next week. I'm already dreaming of it.



I was sent 4 nice big bags of Golden Girl Granola to sample and because, as I already mentioned, I have the children who never stop eating, I was glad to have something new and (shhhhh!!!) healthy to offer them. I received Forest Maple, Home Sweet Honey, Truly Tropical and Chocolate Decadence and immediately sampled 3 of them because I knew what the next day held. I put the Chocolate Decadence away on the very tippy top of the pantry to wait until March 3rd which is conveniently just days away, in my book anyway!


My kids, by now, are by far better samplers than I am, they can find things I don't notice or that appeals to kids. Like in the Truly Tropical Granola they marveled at how many cashews were in the bag and were actually surprised to find real dried mango in there too. And in Home Sweet Honey they could actually taste honey not just honey flavoring but real honey. Something I noticed and found refreshing was a hint of salt, not salty, but it's there backing up the sweet and doing what salt does, adding depth and enhancing flavors. My boys enjoyed all three varieties just about equally except one was more smitten with the cashews in Truly Tropical, I don't blame him.




The boys both had bowls of yogurt and granola for snacks after school or put right in their lunch boxes while I enjoyed celery. That's a lie I didn't enjoy celery but they did enjoy granola at every possible moment, like directly after a filling and nutritious meal, bedtime snack, elevenses, high tea, low tea and any other occasion that can be made better with food.

SO while I toil away on a Whole30 I thought maybe you might want to enjoy Golden Girl Granola for second breakfast? I can help!









I received product for this giveaway and no other compensation. 

2.22.2015

Thrifter Share

A place to share your thrifted finds, whether you keep them, sell them or give them, share them here first!




Back in December I joined up with the Reverse Advent Challenge that StreetBank was putting on. It was a pretty simple task, give something away every day of Advent, I ended up donating about 38 bags of stuff, which put a dent in our household stuff load. I think what I did was akin to losing the "fluff weight" you lose really quickly at the beginning of a diet, poof it goes so quickly and feels great. Then after the fluff weight is gone you get down to serious business of losing the weight that's been around for along time. It doesn't care to go away so nicely, in fact it is fighting for its metabolic life (as my doctor put it) it wants to live and you're trying to kill, it so it's going to make it harder to lose it. At this point in the diet you have to dig deep and keep on keeping on, you can't give it up. That's where I am in our clutter diet, I have to dig deep and find the stuff that's been kept for some reason, figure out if the reason I've kept it is valid and if I NEED this stuff.




I thought a little inspiration might be in order so I joined the 40 bags in 40 days of Lent challenge. I didn't sign up or join any group I just decided that I can do this too, and I am. Except it's harder this time around, I gave away a LOT of the easy stuff last time, the annoying things in my way or sticking out like a sore thumb, those were so easy to donate or give to someone who needed them. Now I'm getting down to the things that aren't bugging me but I know I don't use often enough to keep, or things I've kept for sentimental reasons. This is the hard stuff to let go of, the ice skates from when I was 14, I don't wear them they're too small but I've kept them for 30 years. Why? Sentimental. Dishes I've bought and loved but have too few to do anything with? GONE. Magazines my grandmother loved and passed to me, I've kept them but now they're heading out to other houses to inspire other people.




It's the next level for me on the declutter trip we're on and it's a tough one. I decided to throw in some NON "stuff" items to make it a little less painful. I'm going to comb through my digital pictures and trim down my library to make it somewhat manageable. I'm going finally get to the bottom of my email inbox and truly delete everything in it, I'm close but it's still above 200. I think I'll finally get rid of all the email subscriptions I receive too. These things aren't tangible clutter but they're there lingering on and muddying up the clarity, so they have to go. My cookbooks could use a trim down, I need to cull personal care items, our game closet is hideous, these things aren't sentimental and they'll be considerably easier to clean out than things inherited from family members so they'll be mixed in with the tough jobs.





Those are 4 of the 6 Bags/Boxes I've gotten rid of so far. I'll be working on getting another bunch of boxes together this week so I can stay on track. I think our house is going to look and feel a lot better once the 40 days are up. I know everything will be better once Lent is up, my husband is Orthodox and once we finish up Whole30 he's rolling right into Orthodox Lent (I join him in solidarity but not completely) and it. is. tough. So by the time we finish it will be spring, we won't have had free choice in food since the 2nd of February and out house will be feeling light clean and fresh. I kind of can't wait but I'm going to try and enjoy the journey at the same time.






2.20.2015

Give it a read?

I wrote a little piece for SheKnows in their experts area, why they asked me I'll never know, but they did and I wonder if you'd give it a read?


ABOUT WHAT?



Get this, it's not about food, thrifting, life in Alaska or even *gasp* life with boys or growing our own food. Totally different subject matter and that was totally intimidating. Ok well I guess it has to do a LITTLE bit with living in Alaska.


Thank you!

2.19.2015

A little Minimizing Challenge for you

Could you commit to giving away stuff for Lent? Instead of giving up something, like oh say chocolate, could you give up stuff? 

Interesting idea, and it sounds easier than Orthodox lent which is tough(!), so our house is giving it a GO. And we're still participating in Orthodox lent because we like things painful, real painful. No junk and no food, excellent!


40 bags in 40 days. First two have been dropped off, the next item to go is prepped and ready to find a NEW HOME.


Anyone care to join us as we minimize possessions to claim our freedom?

2.18.2015

Homemade Geodes

Yep totally NOT real geodes but who cares, sometimes the awesome is in the process not the result. Although in this case the results were "amazing" to our boys.



I am wholly conscious of the fact that my boys are growing up, every fun kid thing we do may be "the last time we get to do that" and so I've decided I need to make sure we do those things one more time. I certainly have no desire to keep them from growing and maturing, I'm supposed to raise them up and let them fly, but I sure as heck plan to have fun while we can.




This little geode project was brought to my attention by my youngest son, he found it in a rock collection booklet. He seemed so genuinely interested in it that I didn't hesitate to tell him we could do. Turned out we had all the stuff to make them so a tentative 'can we do' this turned into an instant project. And it was great fun to watch the geodes grow on our window sill. I did have to modify this a bit though, the original directions had a paltry 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to 2 cups water, I amped up the salt and dropped the water to make sure grew nice big fat crystals.





TO MAKE HOMEMADE GEODES YOU WILL NEED

an egg carton
several clean egg shells halves, you're going to be filling them with water so try to collect halves if you can, you'll need enough to fill the carton or fewer will work too
1/2 cup Epsom salts
3/4 cup water
food color if you want colored crystals

place clean egg shells in the egg carton
mix the Epsom salts in the water until they dissolve, the water will get kind of thick
carefully pour a bit of the water in each shell
drop a little food color in each shell if you want to grow colored crystals, stir them with a toothpick
alternately mix all the water one color and add different colors drops to each egg--experiment, have fun!
set them in a sunny or warm place
after a few days the water will begin to evaporate and the crystals will begin to form
once the water is fully evaporated the geodes are done
they are relatively sturdy and can be carried around, they will break if dropped though
of you find the water isn't evaporating quick enough you can pour a little out of each shell, the crystals will still form


As you can see in the picture below we got a little TOO carried away when filling the eggs, they were messy, hard to dry and then stuck, so fill them less than overfull for an easier time of it.

drying, hopefully...

ok that's better







2.17.2015

Crispy Coconut Chicken

Crispy Coconut Chicken is my favorite Whole30 recipe for chicken, it's tasty and easy to make and my kids enjoy chicken nuggets right alongside of me. 



I don't often buy boneless skinless chicken parts, so when I do it's for a good reason. Crispy Coconut Chicken is one of the best uses of boneless skinless chicken I've ever found, the flaky crunchy coating is the perfect counterpart to the tender juicy chicken it surrounds and it's totally clean eating too. No gluten, not sweeteners, no breading just nuts, coconut, eggs and oil. 




Cut the chicken big for strips or cut them small for nuggets, they're good both ways, you just need to adjust your cooking time accordingly. I like the strips served on a giant salad with a nice spicy mayo chipotle dipping sauce but my kids prefer nuggets and a less spicy sauce. 


Crispy Coconut Chicken

6 boneless skinless thighs, no additives like injected broth
1 cup almond meal or ground almonds
3/4 cup dry flaked coconut 
2 eggs
2-3 TBSP oil


preheat the oven to 400˚
cut each thigh into 4-6 pieces or leave them bigger for strips
pat them dry
set up an assembly line in this order, bowl #1 beaten egg, bowl #2 almond meal, bowl #3 oil, bowl #4 coconut, at the end of this place a lightly greased baking sheet
dip the chicken in the egg, roll in almond, lightly dip in oil and then into the coconut 
repeat with all the pieces and bake for about 10 minutes
turn the pieces over and bake another 5-10 minutes or until baked through
if you made bigger strips just cook for a few extra minutes on both sides

2.16.2015

Whole30 Birthday Cake

Wahhhhhh who plans their Whole30, no sugar(sweets), no grains, no dairy, diet reset over TWO consecutive Birthdays AND Valentine's Day??


RIGHT HERE.



THIS GIRL.


Thats right.


ME.


And so we celebrated with this 'cake'.



Yes, ideally we're limiting dried fruits too because you can easily overeat on them but this was a super special occasion and we felt like this was an acceptable substitute for the 4,000 calories worth of sugar, fat and flour we might have consumed instead.