Curry-Spiced Noodles

We rarely eat noodles but every now and again it is nice to have.  We probably haven’t had any noodles in the last year.  I had heard of the [amazon_link id=”B004CLCEDE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]miracle noodles[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B002GDH5Y8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]shiratake noodles[/amazon_link], but didn’t really research it too much since they were made of potato starch.  I did look for them once or twice at our local Asian grocery, but they were made of soy which isn’t in our menu! Continue reading “Curry-Spiced Noodles”

Living Local

This post is inspired by a friend of mine who now lives in Pennsylvania.  She has recently started a website that is called Green Living Co-op of Indiana, PA.  She is compiling information for healthy and local living.  The site is new, but GREAT so far!  I love the information she already has posted!  I think they are planning on having mostly local resources, but also provide healthy food resources as well!  I think Northern Virginia needs a site like this!

I do try hard to buy local as much as possible and to support local businesses.  Sometimes I do well and other times, not so much!  I know there has been a big movement towards this and it can seem very overwhelming to even think about it not to mention the possibility of things costing more.  Although, a higher cost isn’t always true.  Sometimes it dose include some lifestyle changes, but they aren’t all bad!  Usually a lot of great health comes along with it!

I actually prepare or grow as much as I can myself.  I try to make my own condiments like ketchup, mayo, mustard, salad dressings, etc. I also grow as much as I can in my little town house lot!  We did get some strawberries, herbs, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, green beans, peppers, cucumbers and a few other things.  I also make most of my own cleaning supplies and try to make them as multi-purpose as possible so that I can make large batches to go a long way and I don’t have to make so many different cleaners.  I also make laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste and more.  But this isn’t the reason for this post.  I list those things because I then don’t have to worry about finding a place that actually makes or produces these things locally.

So what are some of the areas that I try to buy local?
Food is a big one!  We go through a lot of it and we need it on a daily basis! Then there are gifts, housewares, toys, clothing, gardening items, auto repairs, home repairs and so much more.  Below are some of the options we have chosen on our path of commitment to our local community.

  1.  Meat – we purchase from a local farm buying club that has a local drop directly from the farm.  We are able to get all the grass-fed beef and pork, free range poultry, and raw diary that we need through them.  The prices are actually very similar to purchasing organic at the grocery store.
  2. We also like venison which provides very inexpensive meat to the table!  It is organic… unless it is feeding of the GMO corn in the fields around us!  It’s benefits are two fold.  We obtain great meat and we are able to help the local farmers to keep the deer from eating their crops!
  3. Produce – In the spring, summer and fall I grow as much as I can and also purchase from the farmer’s market as much as possible. Wegmans also purchases locally!  A variety of produce is labeled, indicating the farm it came from and where it is located!  They also have local meats!  This makes it a lot easier when they label it so clearly!
  4. Gifts – I often make my own or I purchase a lot from Etsy.   I love this site!  I know most of these items are made on a small scale and some of them are re-purposed and it’s easy to tell where they were made and are shipping from.  This is often my first place to go for gifts.  I also use it to give me ideas of what I can make myself!  I also purchase gifts at the farmer’s market – like a scrumptious jellies, beautiful knitted items, hand dyed fabrics, fragrant, fresh flowers, natural soaps, etc.
  5. Gardening – often my new flowers or perennials come from Freecycle, Craigslist or friends who are trying to weed out or thin their own plants.  Almost all of the plants in my garden haven’t been purchased. I did purchase my heirloom seeds for the vegetable garden from a place in southern Virginia, but then I have just seed saved for the last 5 years and haven’t had to purchase any more seed!  I also try to have plants that are native to the area to ensure they are easy to grow and don’t take over!
  6. Housewares – these are a little harder.  I try to look at the tags and at least make sure they are made in the USA.  I do like antiques and will often look at yard sales for old ice cream scoops, measuring spoons, etc which are often cheaper and I’m giving them a second or third or fourth life!
  7. Toys – Same as above – I at least try to purchase USA made.  We did have a toy kitchen built for our kids that was from re-purposed wood from northern Virginia and made by an Arlington, VA dad who likes to work with wood!  We have loved this and it is sturdy, will last a life time and be able to be handed down to our great grandchildren.  For Christmas the boys received swords and shields that are made from wood that I purchased from a local artisan from a craft fair in the summer.  These are a huge hit in our home! Craft fairs are a great place to find wooden toys for kids.  I also did a more detailed post on natural toys and our decisions regarding toys for our family.
  8. Clothing – It is a huge blessing that my mother-in-law supplies the majority of the kids wardrobes!  It is so helpful!  For the few things that I need to supplement I frequent consignment shops, thrift stores, yard sales, hand me downs, Freecycle, Craigslist, or even Etsy.  There are some great ways to purchase locally and to reuse clothing that others no longer need!  If I choose to purchase new, it is much harder and I usually settle for USA made.
  9. Auto repairs – obviously this does have to be local… I don’t think I know of anyone who ships their car overseas to get the windshield repaired!  It’s also hard to find out where the parts come from and if you can chose to have parts made elsewhere… however we can be choosy on the labor.  My brother-in-law is a mechanic and it is great to be able to help support their family. He  will often work on our cars at his home or after his work hours. He  makes a better hourly wage that way and we pay less.  This is a great arrangement although I know a lot of people may not have options like this!
  10. Home repairs – This is similar to the car repairs note above.  We do try to hire repairmen who own smaller businesses and are local.  There are a few that we know of in our neighborhood and who have been helping us work on our home.

Get to know your neighbors!  One of ours makes dog collars which we purchased two from her this year as a Christmas gift for family!  Another of our neighbors does home repair and is working with us to redo our carpet and counter tops in order to get our house on the market.  Another neighbor knows a lot about working on cars and motorcycles and has given my husband advice and help on multiple occasions, I’m a nurse and I’ve given medical advice to our neighbors before.  Build a community with those around you and you will be surprise at how much you can bless and help others and how much they in turn will bless you!

Photo credit

Mini-Skirts Mothers & Muslims

[amazon_link id=”0825460514″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Miniskirts, Mothers, and Muslims: A Christian Woman in a Muslim Land[/amazon_link]

Mini-Skirts Mothers & Muslims
by Christine Mallouhi

This book was lent to me by an American friend who is living in an Arab nation.  She read this before moving and said that it would be beneficial for me to read it as well.  Now that I’ve finished it I heartily agree! Not only is it fascinating, but I don’t have to be living in an Arab nation to appreciate and put into practice the information I’ve gleaned from it. Continue reading “Mini-Skirts Mothers & Muslims”


We were having a craving for enchiladas which is one of Brian’s favorite meals.  I don’t make them very often and the last time I did I made grain free tortillas.  I didn’t have the time to do that today and decided to just use the store bought flour tortillas and totally go off the diet!I probably could have done the corn as a different option although he isn’t really supped to be eating that either.  I haven’t found a good option to sub out the flour or corn tortillas.  The homemade grain free versionwas good, but not the same and not a GREAT substitute… not to mention making a simpleish meal and all day creation!I cut corners on the tortillas this time, but took my time on the rest!I had my own recipe for the sauce in the past, but wasn’t 100% sold on it.  I found a new one on Allrecipes and it is absolutely fantastic!  I did alter it a bit to my taste, but you can view the original here or mine below!

  • 1 lb cooked chopped chicken
  • 2 cups fresh spinach chopped
  • 2 cups soaked and cooked black beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 or 2 chopped red peppers
  • ½ of enchilada sauce (recipe below)
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped

Mix all above ingredients together.

Pour ¼ of  enchilada sauce (see recipe below) in bottom of 8×13 pan to completely cover to bottom so that the tortillas don’t stick.  Divide ingredients into 10 tortillas, wrap and place in pan.  Cover with rest of enchilada sauce and sprinkle additional cheese if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and enchiladas are hot.

Serves 6

Ten Minute Enchillada Sauce

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • salt to taste
Original instructions are to cook this to thicken.  I put all the ingredients into the [amazon_link id=”B003VN7VDW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]VitaMix[/amazon_link] and blend on high until all ingredients were well mixed and coconut oil was completely melted.  I continued to blend on high until it was steaming and slightly thick.  About 5 minutes.

There is no right or wrong ingredients to put inside the enchiladas.  Feel free to add whatever sounds good to you.  We change it up all the time and add what I’m craving or what sounds good or what can be found in the refrigerator!  Some of our other favorite ingredients to add include: Corn, olives, rice, hot peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  Just mix and match ingredients to your taste!
Also to make this dairy free I left the sour cream and cheese off of part of it for my dear hubby.  The kids and I have a love affair with sour cream, but he doesn’t seem to mind too much.  The cheese could have been left off completely and I don’t think anyone would have noticed!I also serve it with a side of sour cream and hot sauce.  Sometimes a little added cheese and olives to put on top.How do you make yours?  Any great ideas you like that I should give a try?

Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part XI – Salad Dressings

Removing commercial salad dressings from our diet is a great way to get rid of a lot of empty, negative calories, preservatives, stabilizers, artificial flavorings, artificial colors, sweeteners and MSG.  They are so simple and easy to make and taste amazing! Continue reading “Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part XI – Salad Dressings”

Life Sentences

[amazon_link id=”B005K5WY0Y” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Life Sentences LP: A Novel[/amazon_link]
Life Sentences
by Laura Lippman

This was a quick and easy read, but don’t really recommend it.  I did find it interesting and it wasn’t so bad that I put it down and didn’t finish it.  Of course I wanted to know how the book ended. There are so many other books out there waiting to be read, that I would recommend finding something else, but of course that is just my opinion. Continue reading “Life Sentences”

Homemade Fermented Ketchup

I had anxiously awaited that day for months!  I couldn’t wait until we finished the Costco sized bottle of ketchup.  I know I could have thrown it out, but I just couldn’t do it.  I could almost cry anytime I have to throw out food, especially when it’s really good whole foods!  That is certainly not the case with this particular corn syrup contaminated, red dyed, preservative infested brand!  Even though I knew that was true I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it out…. but we finished it in May of last year!  Just in time for summer bar-b-ques! Continue reading “Homemade Fermented Ketchup”

Do Hard Things

[amazon_link id=”1601421125″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations[/amazon_link]

This post is a little different than usual, but it is something we have been working on with our kids and have seen great results.  I’d like to share so that maybe it will serve you as well. Continue reading “Do Hard Things”

Vaccines Are they Really Safe & Effective? (2002 edition)

[amazon_link id=”1881217302″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vaccines: Are They Really Safe and Effective[/amazon_link]

By Neil Z. Meiller

I did an extensive review of the 1997 edition of this book and I really liked it then, but I’ve since read the 2002 version and like it much better.  I did finish it last year (2011) but am just getting around to writing the review!

This edition addresses additional vaccines that are now requirements since 1997 including pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines.  There is also a large section on the pertussis vaccine since this seems to be the vaccine with the most reactions, but also most dangerous disease if contracted by a young baby.

There is also a significant amount of info on the Anthrax vaccine, Small Pox and Flu shots.  I also appreciated the last section and the correlation is draws from vaccines to immune problems, genetic mutations, developmental disabilities, autism, ADHD, violent crime and drug abuse.

I personally don’t blame vaccines for all of these health problems, but I do think they are a factor in the bigger picture.  I think there are many agents that are causing significant changes in our overall health.  I think this book has much less of a conspiracy theory feel and sounds much more believable and backed by a lot more research and evidential proof.

Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

This stew was amazing!  As we sat down to dinner the first thing Tree Climber (hubby) asked was, “Does this have meat in it?” Since he work hard all day cutting trees, climbing trees, carrying trees, stacking trees, etc…  he has the appitite of a lumbar jack.  When I answered “No”, his response was, “Well, am I going to miss it?” Continue reading “Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew”