tag: simple

dinner ideas 2.10.12

February 10, 2012

Posted by in dinner ideas

dinner ideas dinner ideas


kale chips  | sweet potato chili | butternut squash and red onion pasta | pumpkin coconut bisque | basil cashew cheeze | vegan lasagna

nomnomnom! i get hungry every time i write these posts. my favorite recipe this week? probably this pumpkin coconut bisque. what was yours?

monday: vegan lasagna with basil cashew cheeze (i’m addicted!)
tuesday: sweet potato chili served with kale chips
wednesday: butternut squash and red onion pasta
thursday: southern fried tofu and waffles from the global vegan waffle cookbook
friday: pumpkin coconut bisque served with a seasonal salad, topped with roasted chickpeas

what was on your plate this week? any favorite recipes you’d like to share?

we follow a whole foods, plant based diet. the dinner ideas posts are a way for me to log our dinners, how we make eating this way easy, and hopefully inspire you to try some new things as well. they are always meat free, dairy free and often gluten free. you can follow the posts here, and i encourage you to share your favorite recipes with us as well!

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Diy Dried Apples

January 30, 2012

Posted by in simple living

diy dried apples

Homemade dried apples are such an easy and inexpensive way to sneak more fruit into your diet. Of course, nothing beats a fresh, juicy apple, but I like dried apples for their portability and versatility. A little bag of apples can be slipped into a small purse for an anytime-snack, and they make a great topping for salads. They’re also a fantastic way to preserve a large bounty of apples through the winter. The idea came from the book How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried, and I modified the directions to fit my needs.


- apples
- lemons
- water


Slice as many apples as you would like into pieces 1/4″ thick or less. They can be as wide or long as you like. You may also peel them, or leave the peel on. I chose to leave the peel on and they came out great.

Soak the apples in a mixture of equal-parts lemon juice and water. The lemon juice not only preserves the color of the apple, but it creates depth to the apple flavor without having to add sugar.

After soaking, place the apples on a cake rack on top of a cookie sheet. If you don’t have a cake rack (I don’t!), then just place the slices directly on the cookie sheet. I did not need to grease the pan – the apples came off fine on their own.

The oven should be preheated to 140 degrees F, and the apples should remain in the oven for five hours. If your apples aren’t on a rack, flip them half-way through. I found that my apples really needed about 6 hours.

The apples should be flexible and bendy. You can eat some immediately, or all of them if you just used a couple of apples. If you’re looking for long term storage, then after they have cooled, place them in a sealed jar for a few days.

Shake the jars every so often. Pasteurize them by freezing them in bags for two days, and keep them for up to 6-12 months in a cool, dry place.

ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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Posted by in simple living

this month, it will be one year since my husband and i became a couple of veg-headed vegans. i know it can be a controversial issue, and so i encourage you to read the reasons on why we decided to make the switch in the first place. today though, i only want to share with you why it’s been the best decision of our lives. the results that we’ve experienced from the change is undeniable. tomorrow, i plan to share with you why i believe it is also incredibly easy. stay tuned!


{sweet cherries}

you can read the reasons why we decided to become vegan, but in short, here’s our story. we decided to be vegetarians about 7 years ago, a decision we made in efforts to avoid the antibiotics and hormones found in meat, for promised health benefits and to do something to alleviate the horrid practices of factory farming and environmental distress. several years later, we realized that we were relying heavily on cheese, milk and eggs, especially when we ate out. in our case, that meant that about 90% of the dairy we were consuming was not organic and came from who knew where. there we were, still eating antibiotics and hormones, being unhealthy and supporting the factory farming business of dairy cows and laying hens (which are absolutely terrifying, ask if you want more info!). so we made the switch, here’s why it was the best decision i ever made!

just to clarify, we don’t take supplements and don’t believe you should need to. we eat a well rounded, balanced diet full of incredibly tasty and nutritious things

1) i haven’t gotten sick now for the longest period of my life. it’s been one year with no sickness, woo hoo!
2) i feel better than ever. my energy is up and my eyes are bright.
3) i’m more eager to wake up and get going in the morning. seriously! i have felt a decrease in my ‘sluggishness’.
4) i’m more focused. i have found a noticeable difference in how focused i am and how much more productive as well.
5) my skin has finally cleared up, completely. i’m off all of the creams my dermatologist had me on and use no particularly special routine for my skin for the first time in my life.
6) my fitness has improved. i feel better when i run and have seen quicker results in my endurance than ever.
7) my body odor has decreased. not sure how to explain this one, but it’s true. better breath and no need for deoderant.
8) my nails and hair haven gotten stronger and prettier.
9) i have a sense of responsible about my lifestyle. like i’m making a difference in my health, my future health and the health of our planet.
10) i’ve lost weight. not much, but 7-8 pounds, effortlessly.
11) i love cooking vegan! no spoiled dairy, no germy meat. i haven’t had to disinfect my kitchen in a very long time.
12) my digestion is better and noticeably healthier than it was before.
13) i love being a part of the community. it’s (mostly) filled with inspiring, supportinve and truly lovely people.
14) i have less headaches. i used to get frequent headaches and occasional migraines, and haven’t had hardly any at all this year.
15) as soon as we cut out all the fillers (meat, cheese, eggs) our diet expanded tremendously. there are so many grains, beans, fruits, veggies, nuts, sea veggies and seeds that we never had tried before!
16) my allergies have gotten better. again i can’t really explain this but studies agree that cutting out dairy and meat can help alleviate allergy symptoms.
17) we save money. we don’t waste as much money on eating out (though it is easy to eat out if we want, i’ll tell you why tomorrow!). and we don’t buy as many snacks and unhealthy filler foods at the store.
18) reduced PMS symptoms. something about eliminating dairy does this!
19) i’m not as sleepy in the afternoons. i haven’t felt the need for an afternoon nap in months and months.
20) we’ve increased our awareness of the foods we put into our body. each food makes us feel a certain way, and we’ve become much more aware of it.

i will say that many of these benefits weren’t noticeable right away. it’s something you have to stick with. i lost the weight after 6 months, my skin cleared up after 10 months. but, i started feeling better almost instantly. give it a try, but be prepared to stick with it for amazing health benefits down the road.

tomorrow i plan to share with you why i also believe that it’s incredibly easy. stay tuned!

gotta question? comment? are you a vegan? do you have any benefits you’ve experienced? please share them with us in the comments section! i’ll ‘meat’ you there. :)

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dinner ideas 11.18.11

November 18, 2011

Posted by in dinner ideas

dinners this week were a mixture of some old favorites combined with a few new recipes as well. for some reason, i found myself craving peas and sweet potatoes all.week.long, so you’ll find those intermixed within these recipes!

i’m also trying to learn more about food photography. it (sadly) gets dark here around 5:00 now, and pictures without natural sunlight are jut not-my-thang. i found this post on food photography for bloggers (also from one of my favorite recipe sites!) and hope that it will help. do you have any good tips on food photography, especially after dark? dinner ideas

monday: hearty sweet potato chili with sliced avocado and homemade bread
tuesday: mini veggie pot pies served with a garden salad
wednesday: vegan fettuccine alfredo with shiitake mushrooms, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes (yum!)
thursday: vegan sausage and cabbage saute* w/ potato cakes & broiled black pepper tofu
friday: tofu bay cakes (image via vegan dad) and a side of steamed veggies (we love these bay cakes!!)

vegan sausage and cabbage saute


-  2 Tbsp olive oil
- field roast smoked apple sage vegan sausage (this is so good. find it here!)
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups white wine
- 1 15-ounce can of white beans, drained
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium cabbage,  sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 leaves fresh sage, chopped


1) heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add onion and sausage, stir until lightly browned- about 5-7 minutes.

2) add the white wine and can of beans and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. cover and cook for about ten minutes.

3) add the veggie stock, cabbage and bay leaves. cover and let cook until liquid has evaporated and cabbage is soft- about 20-25 minutes.

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dinner ideas 11.11.11

November 11, 2011

Posted by in dinner ideas

dinner ideas

oh, the flavors of fall how i love you so much!

monday: butternut squash and apple soup served with stuffed figs and seasonal salad
tuesday: (leftover!) butternut squash and apple soup, savory carrot fries, spiced apple cider and homemade bread
wednesday: roasted purple potatoes and spaghetti squash saute*
thursday: spaghetti squash saute*, steamed broccoli and broiled black pepper tofu
friday: tofu bay cakes (image via vegan dad) with savory roasted potatoes and steamed kale

spaghetti squash saute

this week, we had one very big spaghetti squash arrive in our csa box. yum! it ended up lasting us two meals, because half was all we needed. feel free to sub other veggies into this recipe, or whatever you have on hand.


- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 tbs fennel seed
- salt and pepper to taste


1) roast the spaghetti squash: slice lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place face down on a lightly greased baking sheet. roast at 450°f until easily poked with a fork- about 30 minutes. take out and let cool for about ten minutes. using a fork, ‘fluff’ the spaghetti out with your fork (this part is fun!).

2) meanwhile add the olive oil, bell peppers, onion, garlic and fennel seed to medium pot and saute until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. add spinach, salt and pepper to taste and spaghetti squash. toss to combine and serve.

what are a few of your favorite recipes from this week?

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simple holiday decor

November 2, 2011

Posted by in home decor

pine cones

i love the simple style of these strung pine cones by bebehblog (discovered via birch + bird). our place is small, so i will no doubt be looking for simple solutions to holiday decor this year (side note- i still can’t believe that i’m even thinking about the holidays already!). this looks like one of the first projects i’ll be doing, especially since we have several pine trees by our house!

do you have any holiday projects planned?

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Diy Liquid Hand Soap

July 18, 2011

diy liquid hand soap

Making handmade liquid soap from natural soap bars is not only better for the environment, but it is a huge money saver as well. While the prospect of making your own hand soap might seem like a huge time investment, it is a very simple project.


4 ounce bar of natural soap

2 quarts of water


1 metal grater

large pot

hand mixer or whisk

container for storage


Grate your soap into a fine pile.

Heat the water; when water begins to simmer, add grated soap. Mix well, and remove from heat.

Allow mixture to sit for 15 minutes, and mix well with a hand mixer or whisk.

Allow mixture to sit over night. Stir soap mixture to test its consistency. If it is too thin, you may reheat and add more soap; of it is too thick, you may reheat, add more water, and mix well again. Remember to let soap set again if you adjust the consistency.

Pour soap into your favorite reusable container, or reuse disposable plastic containers. Store your extra liquid hand soap in air-tight container.


ashley paul indie pretty project Out to find ways to make life simpler, Ashley is tackling life one DIY project at a time. Learning as she goes, she also spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her Etsy shop.

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food waste matters

June 14, 2011

Posted by in simple living

when i recently read why food waste matters by jonathan bloom (author of american wasteland) , i started giving thought to all the food we buy, eat and sometimes waste. we’ve all wasted food before. even me, who married a garbage disposal wonderful man who eats a lot, we still find rotten food in the fridge. whether it’s moldy leftovers in the far back corner or a forgotten veggie in the ‘crunchy’ drawer, we’ve all been there.

the truth is, americans squander roughly 40% of our food and throw away $1,300 to $2,200 of food a year (together, that’s $160 billion annually). and that’s a big problem.

why, you might ask? well beyond the obvious reason of wasting our money, there are also environmental, ethical and economic reasons why food waste matters. a huge amount of resources (mostly oil and water) go into producing our food. when we waste a large chunk of it, we’re also wasting those embedded resources. and, by sending this food to the landfill, we’re fueling anaerobic rotting which creates methane. that means we’re largely contributing to climate change. we could also be smarter shoppers and give our savings to help feed the hungry around the world.

the good news is, fresh supplies us with several tips on how to reduce your food waste, save money and support the environment. here’s how!

claudia pearson{plum ketchup by claudia pearson}

- plan your meals in advance (remember this great guide?). make a menu for the week and stick to it. it will make your life easier, your grocery bills cheaper and decrease your amount of wasted food.

- make just enough. serve sensible portions, clean your plates and have minimal leftovers (plus, maybe shed some weight!).

- check your expiration dates. try to consume food that’s close to expiring, but always check it before you throw it out. if it smells good, tastes good and looks good, you’re most likely fine to consume it.

- love leftovers? go ahead and make enough for the next day, but make the most of it. eat them for lunch or work them into your next night’s dinner, but make it a priority to consume them within 24 hours.

- use the freezer. if you’re going out of town, can’t finish a jar of pasta sauce or just have too much food in your fridge, stick it in the freezer. you can freeze just about anything (even eggs!) so utilize your freezer to cut down on waste.

- learn to compost. by keeping food waste out of the garbage (even carrot ends and fennel fronds!) you’ll significntly cut down your environmental impact. you can compost anywhere, even if you don’t have a garden!

helpful sites: portion calculator, tips on how to freeze everything, how to compost

resources: fresh, why food waste matters

simple living

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