Monthly Archives: September 2013

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Bountiful Baskets Day!
1375961_10200373528691577_1638730865_n
Can you say YUM! Here is a picture of my latest haul from my co-op. 

Breakdown: 12 bananas, 2 pomegranates, 7 bell peppers, 4 limes, ginger root, 1 cucumber, 1 butter lettuce, 6 tomatoes, biggest yam I have ever seen, 1 onion, 1 cantaloupe, 2 apples, 4 beets w/ greens, carrots about 3-4lbs, strawberries, bunch of Kale, bunch of Parsley, bunch of Celery, romaine lettuce, 1 pineapple, and 3 oranges (hiding behind the romaine) all for $25!

Then I swung by my local market and picked up some interesting finds: sunflower sprouts and sorrel. (oh and local corn on the cob!)
20130928-130748.jpg
Then I finally found some farm fresh eggs! (not that they never had them, I just never thought to look there) I really love how unique each egg is. They all have unique colors and sizes, not just all brown or white large eggs. Something about that is really creepy to me now!
20130928-130801.jpg
Also snagged a slice lemon strawberry banana bread from a local vegan co-op and some homemade pumpkin chocolate chip bread from another baker! Not to mention all the great people I met and free knowledge I acquired.

Local makes me happy!
-Ellie

P.S.
I picked up some wool dryer balls from a local crafter, I am excited to use them and will review them ASAP!

All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for any of these local reviews. I encourage you to find local markets in your community! Featured image courtesy of antpkr | freedigitalphotos.net

Advertisements

Cat Meowtain

Before anyone gets all upset, I know I know this blog is about eating….but….

After two years of living in our apartment, and an unforeseeable amount of time we will live here (at least another 1-2 years), I am really tired of living in white walls and fear of personalizing my space because of fees. So I also want to share my small projects with you all. (It also helps that I am not really working for the first time in years and focusing on college, so much free time ha) So please don’t hate me! =D

One day on Pinterest I came across this cool picture of stairs/shelves going all around an apartment as a cat walkway.

http://kittyloft.blogspot.com
kittloft1.1

This was our inspiration to do something really awesome for our pets. I have two cats and one of them is a little chunky monkey, so my guy really thought this would be a great thing to get him moving and help him exercise along with his new diet.

1236807_10200190181028000_476206606_n

We live in this two-story loft style apartment, so we wanted to make this unused, high window accessible to our kitties. So we took a trip to Ikea and bought some floating shelves. We have a crazy, eclectic style. So we were really looking for something with a pop of color and something we could really customize, so we went with the LACK shelves in pretty much every size and color.

Then we also bought a microfiber rug (at Ikea) to cover the large top shelf where they would hopefully lay the most and look out the window. We went to Target and bought some placemats to cover the 3 smaller shelves because they weren’t high gloss like the other shelves and it seems backwards, but actually felt slicker than the high gloss shelves. Since they aren’t as long, we didn’t want little kitty paws slipping off!

Now it is time to put it all together!

Materials

Shelves
Ladder (thanks to a friend for letting me borrow one!)
Drill/Hardware (screws/anchors [if not using studs])
Hammer (if using anchors)
Level
Stud Finder
Painters Tape
Pencil

Step One:
image-7
Use your stud finder to locate and mark the studs on your wall.

Step Two:
image-8
Use painters tape to lay out a design before drilling. We also used Painters tape vertically to mark the studs so we could see exactly were we should place the brackets.

Step Three:
image-9
Have a brave guy climb up on a ladder and drill in the floating shelf brackets. (Technically before this he used a laser level to mark a light straight line, held up the brackets and marked X in each hole where he needed to drill, and drilled pilot holes and hammered in anchors all while I was in class so it was not captured on film =p)
image-10
Coming together nicely.

If you are covering shelves:
image-11
Lay out the shelf on top of fabric and cut out rectangles for the corners.

Note: This is totally a beach towel and not really an American Flag! We had a good laugh as my guy was taking pictures and realized it totally looked like I was a terrible person and everyone was going to yell at me for working on an American flag (which it’s not!)
image-12
image-13
I used spray adhesive glue on the fabric and shelf (make sure you are spraying the top and side you want down on the fabric)

image-14
Then obviously, cover it!

image-6

Step Four:
Finish installing according to shelf directions

image-2

image-3

image-4

Step 5:
Let the cats enjoy!Stella and Diablo really loved them, it was hard to get pictures because they wouldn’t stop moving!

image-1

image-5

image

Side Note:
We have an open loft window in our bedroom that lines up nicely with our new open window. So just for privacy we ran out to Target and bought some curtains and a tension rod. Easy peezy!
photo

My future holds filling up the gap to the right of Cat Meowtain (hopefully with more shelves, just need a taller ladder!) and filling up the walls around our new “window” outside of our bedroom. =D Oh and fixing the trashy looking curtain downstairs that we quickly hung up with command hooks on day ha!

Happy Eating and Decorating!
-Ellie

P.S. Sorry for the picture quality! Just used my iPhone because I didn’t want to juggle a DSLR and power tools!

Breaking My Co-op Cherry

lovetoeat

How great is that sign? I saw it on Pinterest, and now I know I need MUST make one for my kitchen!

When I first started my journey to eating healthy, I convinced myself I would become a juicer and go on a juice feast and lose tons of weight. Looking back, I can see how laughable that was, knowing myself and how much I love food. So instead of juicing, I started mega food restriction and ate maybe once or twice a day. How bleak life was. Even my guy was becoming depressed with our eating habits, even though we were technically losing weight.

One day it hit me, that it was time to fall back in love with food, except this time I would date the good foods and not be tempted by those “bad” foods as so many other girls (and guys) do!

This is still probably one of the most important things I have learned. For me eating is now about the love of preparing my own dishes (whether they end up good or yucky) from the freshest, natural ingredients whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or desert!

Sometimes when something tastes “blah” I have to remind myself that I am just used to the greasy, salt covered version and it will take time for my tastebuds to love the natural flavors!

I didn’t know that Co-ops even existed, which might sound crazy to some people. But when you live off frozen food mutations and restaurants, did you really expect me to? So when I stumbled upon I was excited and leery. I spent weeks “filling” up my online basket with extras and goodies, only to never submit them before the deadline. After picking up my basket this morning, at the awful time of 7am on a Saturday mind you, I wonder what took me so long to hit submit!

coop1

First things first, what I received (keep in mind these change):

Fruit/Veggie Basket ($15) (All organic option also available for $25): Pineapple, mini watermelon, cantaloupe, 6 bananas, 2 avocados, 1 pomegranate, 1 celery bunch, 2 onions, 2 heads of butter lettuce, green beans, 5 tomatoes, and a package of whole mushrooms. (you always receive 6 fruit and 6 vegetable items, but as you can see one item like bananas or tomatoes will contain multiples but still count as 1 fruit item.)

Mexican Veggie Lover Pack ($8.50): 1 bunch of cilantro, green onions, 3 onions, garlic, 4-5 jalapeños, 4 Anaheim peppers, 5 limes, and 12-13 tomatillos

Bread Pack ($10): 2 loaves 9-Grain bread, 2 loaves of english muffin bread, and 1 baguette.

A $3 basket fee, that is one time only (your first time)
A $1.50 processing fee for payment (always pay because they only accept credit/debt)

Total $38.00

So by going through my local weekly ads and some estimation along with weighing some things at home I estimate this would have all cost a little more than $50 at the grocery store. Subtracting my fees and counting just food, I saved 33% on my food. The best part is the bread will more than like last us all month since its 4 loaves. But for me this isn’t all about the savings per say. It is also about eating local, fresh ingredients.

Note: On their website they estimate the fruit/veggie baskets are worth about $50 grocery quality food, so either I’m under estimating, or they are over estimating. Either way, in the end it is cheaper!

They also offer a variety of extras every week/season. Things like coconut oils, bulk (around 25lb) fruits/veggies, bread packs, tortillas, italian packs, mexicans, and many more!

Literally the only downside is that you never know exactly what you are going to get. Like this week I received fruits and veggies I would never buy/eat. But I am taking the opportunity to try new things and cook new recipes. Or you can always donate the items to another family or local homeless shelter!

Okay, maybe waking up SUPER early on a Saturday is another downside, but I could drive like 30 mins to another city to pick up a basket at noon, or save the gas and time and suck it up!

Next I want to check out another local co-op called Earthwise Gardens. They have (what I think to be) a slightly high monthly membership fee of $100 for only 8-9 produce items a week. But I hear they have a store so I might have to check it out. I am still looking for a great place to find fresh eggs to use my super cute dishes.

Here is a picture of the “space wasters” as my guy likes to call them. I picked them up at World Market for $6 each! They are ceramic and come in white and yellow (that I could find!) and hold 12 eggs. (These are just organic, cage-free eggs from my local natural food store).

fridge

I then later reorganized my fridge (and still working on the pantry) so the eggs “wasted” less space. But the first picture shows them better!

fridge2

And speaking of eggs….

omelet

It’s not that most beautiful omelet but I did run straight home and use some of my mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and spinach (that I already had) to make us a nice fresh breakfast! Later we had grilled peanut butter and honey sandwiches from the 9-grain bread and local Texas honey and organic 1 ingredient [crunchy] peanut butter, yum!

Happy Eating!
-Ellie

Target Savings

It’s Fall Y’all!

I love fall and Glade scents, so when I saw that Target had some on sale, I had to go pick some Pumpkin Spice things up!

glade

I also bought a 24oz Dove body wash and 3 (64oz) Cranberry juices. My over all total savings without tax was $23.41 or 49.9% off retail price. Let me break it down.

Total Retail: $46.70
Total Spent: $23.41
MF/Target Paper Coupons: $13.74
Cartwheel:$0.80
Employee Discount:$2.84
Red Card: $1.24
In store Sale: $4.67

It’s not as free as my last trip, but I only planned like 30 minutes for this one and stocked up on expensive Glade items! Not too shabby for 8 plug-in refills, 1 pkg wax melts, 1 can aerosol spray, 1 double spray starter kit, 24oz Dove soap with a tiny sample, and 3 (64oz) cranberry juices!

Not to mention we will actually use all of the stuff, so it’s not really wasting money!

-Ellie

Note: all prices are before tax!

What Day Is It?!

You caught me, it is not really Hump Day, but I had like the best experience of my life the other day when I visited a wildlife ranch and I can’t stop thinking about all the cool animals I got to meet!

Image

Image

I only like this picture because I look decent without knowing I was being photographed. Finally proud of losing 30 lbs.

Image

 I love this little guy. 

ImageImage

 

My face is priceless. This sweet guy survived being hit by a car with only a shattered jaw.(My face is like this because he snuck up on me and all I felt was his drool on my leg!)

Image

One of my most favorite pictures just because my guy captured my true childlike happiness!

Back to business!

Oh how the time flies when you are having fun being slightly overwhelmed!

This changing my life and “getting clean” has been a really eye opening experience in more ways that one. I have learned so much in many different areas. So many things I probably won’t remember to write them all down! But here are a few things I do remember.

Life Lessons

1.CALORIES AREN’T #1! I repeat, Calories Aren’t #1! Seriously. Why has it taken all of my life to figure this out? You know what is important? The things you put inside and on your body. This includes: foods, drinks, lotions, makeup, personal hygiene items, even household cleaners. Now I am NOT saying go out and eat all the organic, clean desserts that you want. Just eat quality foods with fruit and vegetables being the main focus, then whole grains, meats, and dairy. And the occasional dessert, because this is not a diet it is a lifestyle, and no one should feel guilty about eating something they love!

2.Skim milk tastes like $%*! Who convinced us that wonderful cow’s milk is good for us when they remove all the cream or “fat”? Well I fell for it all my life, until last week when I tasted some non homogenized whole milk. Sure you have to shake it up. Just look at it as your daily arm workout, like that worthless Shake Weight but in milk form! It has the best, creamy texture and a nice fresh flavor! So much flavor, you might be able to stop serving your family that high fructose syrup/artificial colors junk they label as “strawberry” and “chocolate” flavoring. (Or at least make your own at home, which I hope to review one day!)

3. We’re Lazy and we like to waste money. I cannot believe the money I have wasted on buying some pre-packaged things such as pizza dough/crust. Did you know it only takes: Yeast, Flour, and Salt. Oh and water if you count that! I bet most people have all of that in your pantry, and if you don’t have yeast you can get a big bottle for around $5 that will last forever since you only use 1 teaspoon per batch. Note: yeast won’t literally last forever, I’m pretty sure it is only 6 months in your fridge after opening. There are many other examples out there: pizza sauce, pasta sauce, ketchup, bread crumbs, salad dressing, mac n cheese….well you get the idea. Even things as simple as shredding or slicing your own cheese! At my local natural store this week bulk cheese blocks were on sale for $2.99 a pound. Pre-shredded cheese of the same variety you ask? 2 for $6 (8 ounces each pkg aka 1lb total). That’s right, double the price per pound! Drop that bag of shredded cheese and run towards a cheese grater!

4. Change doesn’t happen overnight! If you are like every other American, you love instant gratification. Well this is a long process, that will take time and patience. I say it is long because of all the research I have done on every single item I want to change, going to the grocery stores around me to find the best prices, reading a LOT of labels, tasting some not so great recipes, cleaning out my home, and I am still not even done!

5. You can’t force someone to like or want to eat clean. I can feel my guys eyes roll into the back of his skull every time I open my mouth about “being clean”. You just have to do it for you and provide them with the healthy clean item. If they want something bad, make them go out and buy it/cook it for themselves. 

That’s All Folks!

-Ellie