Friday, April 29, 2011

Forks Over Knives

"Forks Over Knives" is a new documentary taking a look at the effects of a plant based diet (or the opposite) on human health.  I am going to make a serious effort to see it (though it isn't showing in my area) as a part of my continuing education.  I would recommend anyone interested in how food can effect health do the same.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Annual Clean the Ditch

Everett and I recently took a nice day and hit the ditches. We spent an afternoon cleaning garbage out of the ditches along the road by our house. I am always amazed at how much trash ends up there! The good news is that there was less than in years previous. In the past where we have found mostly cigarette packages, this year there were none. I wonder if that has to do with Michigan changing its smoking laws. This year the biggest litter offender by far was fast food bags and cups. Eww!

Have you been doing local clean-up? Any luck with less this year? Are people getting a clue?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Whole Foods and Cooler Convenience

I have spent the past few posts sharing with you some of our restaurant stops on our recent trip. When there was no restaurant in the area or we just needed a quick, convenient stop, we utilized area Whole Foods stores, which were a real treat because we have none at home. Most Whole Foods have a prepared foods buffet, sometime with hot and cold foods. We found this was a great way to get really healthy food and more bang for our buck.

Before we left we printed out the list and locations of Whole Foods on our route and made note if we were hungry or in need of any earth-friendly snacks or supplies as we were driving by. One other thing that really helped with this method was having a cooler along. With the cooler, we could safely pack away leftovers to be eaten later in the drive (on the reusable plates, bowls, and utensils we brought along).
The cooler also stored pre-bought snacks, fruit, and frozen meals. Amy's Kitchen makes great vegan and gluten free option frozen meals. They are a little high in sodium but much better than the standard fast food fare. Other snacks we brought along included lara bars, Newman's Own Organic's cookies, Snyder's gluten free pretzel rods, and hummus.
If you are planning on a trip and have room for a cooler, definitely think about including one. Preserve makes great reusable table and flatware. And your local health food store can help you stock up on snacks.

What are some of your food convenience tips for traveling?

Saturday, April 23, 2011


In Lexington, Kentucky we took a short walk from out hotel (the Hilton Downtown) to the little restaurant Alfalfa. After a short wait (we forgot they are closed between lunch and dinner) we were quickly seated and set to enjoy a quirky but yummy meal.

Not unlike other places we stopped, the offerings from the kids menu consisted of grilled cheese and pb & j. We ordered one of each for the boys to split and they enjoyed both. I ordered the red beans and rice which was simply delicious. Not only because it tasted good, but it was actually very simple. Red beans, rice, a tiny bit of seasoning, and a whole lot of yum! I forgot how overwhelmed taste buds can get sometimes and how grateful they are just to take it easy once in a while. Paul got pizza of the day and a veggie plate for us to share. I enjoyed the baked apples from the plate for dessert.
All the food was good, but the thing I appreciated most was the salad. Their salads were a complex mix of greens, veggies, and sprouts (nowhere else on the trip did we find sprouts). Alfalfa is worth a stop as much for the atmosphere as the food itself. Watching downtown walk by while eating some healthy grub, surrounded by art from local artists was definitely a plus.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, the kids were antsy.

Any Alfalfa fans out there?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day 2011!

Happy Earth Day!  Of course around here we are always celebrating the Earth, but this is a great way to share it with those a lighter shade of green.  Are you doing anything special today?  What change have you made for the Earth that you are most proud of this year?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Foods Market and Cafe

Our first stop upon driving into Lexington, Kentucky was the Good Foods Market and Cafe. This charming little place (as the name indicates) is a combination market and restaurant. They sell all kinds of foods and products, but also have a buy what you need co-op.
For our food necessities, Paul and I split a dish from the pay by the pound hot lunch buffet (now with extended hours). We ordered from the deli for the boys who guessed it, grilled cheese. Turns out that this was one of our most affordable meals which also provided some of the most variety because of the buffet option. This is a great stop for travelers because you can not only get a hot meal and some wheat grass juice, but you can also stock up on any ec0-product necessities you might need for the trip.
We ate outside, enjoying the lovely weather and watching the (obvious) regulars come and go.

Who has been to the Good Foods Market and Cafe? Anyone a part of the co-op? Have you joined your own local co-op or have something similar in your area?
All photos taken from the Good Foods Facebook page

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Green Dog Cafe

The second stop on our trip's restaurant route was the Green Dog Cafe. This set away little place is the healthier cousin to the Brown Dog Cafe. Bonus for our family because it meant a little more of something for everyone with the carryovers from the one restaurant to the other.
We were able to enjoy their (not healthy but) delicious signature GD fries. I ordered the Green Dog Burger, made from garbanzo beans. My husband enjoyed Green Bowl which came in a huge portion with plenty for leftovers. There are vegan and vegetarian options, as well as something for the meat eater and the website does a great job at explaining the restaurants food sources and commitment to the planet.
Perhaps the best thing for us was that there was outside eating. We enjoyed the sunshine and breeze while eating our delicious food. The boys got to watch the surrounding neighborhood from the balcony (including the ever-fascinating tractor at work) and stretch their legs a bit from the car ride.
Any readers been to Green Dog Cafe (or its cousin Brown Dog)? Favorite menu items?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Being a Blessing to Others

Every morning I wake up and say a prayer that includes asking to be used as a blessing unto others. I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I examine my volunteerism.
While I consistently try to do the most good I can with what I have been given, recently I wonder if I need to put more thought into where I lend my time, money, and energy. Volunteerism should reflect one's passions and intentions in the world. Mine are constantly being tweaked and the time has come to examine the outcomes of my input.

So I continue to ask for the signs that lead me in the direction where I might be most useful. I keep my eyes and ears open for the answers.

Where do you give back?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tulip Noir

The first restaurant stop on our trip was Tulip Noir in Indianapolis. The restaurant has a lovely atmosphere almost as fresh as the food. While I wouldn't classify it as a kid-friendly restaurant, we were certainly made to feel welcome and the boys enjoyed grilled cheese and pb & j sandwiches with fresh fruit.
I decided to have the fresh veggie panini done vegan (no cheese) with hummus on gluten-free bread. The sandwich was tasty and satisfying, but after sampling my husband's spring saute, I almost wished I had ordered that. The favorite for both of us though were the asparagus walnut risotto cakes. They were in fact, my favorite food of the whole trip. Yum!
In addition to our meal, I enjoyed tea in the most charming little pot and a gluten-free lemon bar which was divine. If you live in or are traveling through the Indianapolis area, Tulip Noir is definitely worth a stop. Do go in the earlier hours though, as they only serve breakfast and lunch.

Anyone else ever been to Tulip Noir?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Make the Connection.

"Earthlings" is a documentary that forces humans to look at how they are sharing the Earth with other beings. I want to warn you that it is incredibly difficult to watch and has graphic images (perhaps not appropriate for children). But even though, perhaps because, it is so difficult, it is necessary. I certainly wish I had seen it before I planned for my recent vacation. I would have done even more differently. I will start making changes now.

Have you seen it? After watching it, what were you inspired to change?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Field Notes: Preparation

We are back from our first family vacation! A wedding necessitated that we travel to Lexington, Kentucky so we made it an adventure. Our stops consisted of: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, the Newport Aquarium, the Keeneland Derby, the Explorium of Lexington, the Louisville Zoo, and the restaurants along the way that allowed me to eat vegan (and aim for gluten free).
Preparation for the trip was extensive, since we knew there were dietary considerations and we are a low-tech family. Because we (purposefully) don't own a GPS, my husband printed off a detailed itinerary, including maps to and from each stop.
We also (purposefully) don't own a portable DVD player. To keep the kids occupied I compiled "adventure" kits for the kids including: a map with our routes outlined and stickers at our stop spots, reusable sticker books, a sketchbook to use as an "explorer journal" and draw pictures of our travels and tape in tickets stubs and such, eco-crayons, twisty pencils, stickers, coloring and activity books. I wrapped all of these in reused packaging paper and labeled them with numbers to be opened periodically throughout the trip and keep the kids busy.
Finally, we thought about food. I researched (using Google and Happy Cow) vegan restaurants in the areas we would be traveling, studied the menus, and decided which would be best for our needs. A couple days prior to the trip, a went to the local health food store and stocked up on snacks like gluten free pretzels, lara bars, organic snack mix, etc...We took a cooler for fruit and cold snacks and this helped keep us from compromising out food choices, spending too much money, or getting on an unhealthy track.
I'll post more later this week on the specific restaurants we visited.

What are your tips for keeping your travels family and earth friendly?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Saving the planet 1 dress at a time!

Made from the Metro Times

Today I am happy. Not just because I leave for vacation tomorrow, but because I just heard a story of good news. Turns out another one of my friends from high school is brilliant. Matt is the designer and creator of Saving the planet 1 dress at a time! He makes beautiful fashions from upcycled materials. Please go visit his page (and maybe even "like" it) if you have a minute.

made from wrapping paper

made from tissue paper for breast cancer awareness

made from flyers

He is also doing a show called The Paper Doll Exhibit on Thursday, April 7th if you are in the east Michigan area.

Which dress is your favorite? What is making you happy today?

I will see you all on the flip side of vacation and be back sharing all our adventures.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"None of us can do everything..."

"...but all of us can do one thing." These are the words Robyn O'Brien reminds us of in this video I cannot help but share.

What is your one thing to help this issue, and do as she says, "...the most patriotic thing you can do for your country."

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gardens Alive

If there is a downfall to changing our eating habits and doing more cooking than ever at home, it is that Indian meal moths have taken up residence inside our cupboards (gross, I know). Normally I am cool with critter cohabitation. That's the trade off for living in the woods. But these little buggers were driving me crazy. I even once asked an exterminator what could be done about them and he offered, "Put your flour in the freezer for 24 hours after bringing it home."

Helpful tip, and I would recommend it for prevention, but it didn't rid me of the existing moths. This is why I was intrigued to receive a catalog for a company I had never heard of called Gardens Alive. They claim environmentally responsible products that work and they offer Indian meal moth traps.
Not my cupboard

I ordered the traps and have been using them for over a week now and am amazed at the number of moths they have caught! It would appear at least with this product, Gardens Alive lives up to their claim.

Has anyone else tried anything from them? What are the pesky problems you are dealing with right now? I can't be alone in the pest department right?