Be Simple!

More with Less

 

Dayempur Farm: The Business of Food, Fellowship and Faith

I was at Dayempur Farm near the end of April, learning about this self-sufficient Sufi community’s sustainable spin on farming and living in Southern Illinois. The journey took me to the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, onto 60 acres of pristine land, some cultivated, some left wild and wooded, but none sprayed by pesticides and herbicides that mar most modern commercial agriculture.

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Guest Chef Sally Burgess Gives Us Protein Recovery Balls

My friend Sally Burgess is a fellow environmental activist—a member of my new group of comrades, the Confluence Climate Collaborative, and a student working quickly toward her PhD. But today, she’s somebody else: Today, Sally is the Green Gal guest chef for March and has developed a delicious Protein Recovery Ball, using the featured New Hope Influencer Product Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer.

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Love What You Have 40-Day Challenge

Remember Project Drawdown— and the Eco-challenge issued through the Northwest Earth Institute to take small everyday actions that were proven to mitigate climate change? Well, I’m happy to report Project Drawdown continues and is gearing up for another round of challenges this spring beginning April 3 and running through April 24. You can register your team or just join as an individual to begin your own drawdown on climate change. But why wait! I have an immediate suggestion….

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From-Scratch, Real-Food Power Bars: Love at First Bite

How homemade can you go? If we are really committed to eating a diet of REAL food and promise to know exactly what is in our food and how it got there, we have a lot of work to do before breakfast, don’t ya think? Is there a simple approach to health and wellness that includes sustainable decisions and foods we actually like?

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Love Real Food

Well, OK. Don’t we all love real food, especially when our favorite dishes are on the table? Mmmmm….what are those dishes? Did you prepare them or did you open a box of stuff prepared by someone unknown…in a laboratory…for a major corporation?

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New Year—New You? Guidance from My Friend Jane and the Always-Helpful New Hope Network Blogger Box

Well here we are once again—saying goodbye to the old year and ushering in a new one, promising to never to “that” again and vowing to change all our evil ways overnight. Good luck.

Or better than luck, why not go with “healthy curiosity and personal-best strategies”? Make your new start into 2019 an exploration rather than an ultimatum. Start with a few small changes and keep building. I know, you are rolling your eyes and thinking: “There she goes again with her anti-New Year’s resolution stuff.” Well, ok, I hear ya. So I thought this year, I’d let someone else share her success and hopefully inspire you to find yours—meet my friend Jane, an accomplished educator, master baker, beautiful woman (inside and out) and recent convert to a Ketogenic way of life.

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Shop Green, Shop Local, Shop Women-Owned!

One of the most important ideas I try to impart here at Green Gal of the Midwest is to buy responsibly—to buy local and green whenever possible—and to choose carefully when products come from far away. There is a greater impact on the world than you might think when you speak with your hard-earned dollars. And, of course, buying less big stuff and spending more on simple and healthy gifts from local artisans, business people and my wonderful farmers is echoed all the time in these posts—but particularly at this time of year when the shopping frenzy reaches an all-time peak and grasping for the best deal, not matter what the cost to your health and wellbeing—not to mention the planet’s wellbeing—can be downright toxic.

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A Ray of Hope

I often wonder if the next generation will take up these causes because, let’s face it, I’m old. This Earth and these rights I’m fighting for belong more to the next generation than they do to me at this point. So when my friend Sasi asked if I would share my activism with his Environmental Anthropology class, how could I refuse? Of course, the first thing I did was bake up some Granola Bar & Pumpkin Pudding Squares because food closes the generational divide pretty quickly, in my opinion.

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Falling Into Wellness Naturally

We all get a little down in the dumps sometimes. And in today’s fast-paced, instant-fix world, we might be overlooking some simple solutions and healthy healing strategies. If you are like me, the dwindling days of fall can weigh particularly heavy on your soul, causing you to wonder if you could use a little help staying positive, grateful and motivated.

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Healthy and Planet-Friendly Lunchbox Treats

Well of course, I’m hoping you will make your own Ground Cherry Chews for a healthy afterschool snack—even if you need to substitute a peach, nectarine or mango for those scrumptious ground cherries. But what about the at-school and at-work snacks? Ground Cherry Chews are kind of a no-go there. Thanks to the great selection of healthy treats from the New Hope Network Blogger Co-Op, I’ve got some yummy selections to recommend that your kids will love…and so will you because you won’t have to sacrifice nutrition or green choices to make your little ones smile when they open that lunchbox.

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New-Take Tabbouleh

Once we hit July and everything steams up and the sun is up in the East before 6 a.m. with its glow on the western horizon until about 9 p.m., I am seldom in the mood for long hot days in the kitchen. I want to come home from the pool, hop off my bike, hit the shower and plop myself down with a bowl of fresh veggies. So my newest version of classic Middle Eastern Tabbouleh is a perfect summer dish. It will also make a great side to the chicken and pork Molé, if you are planning something more intense—like a party!

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Simple Steps to Feeling Pretty: Blogger Box June 2018 Recommendations

Heather and I and a few of our friends and family decided to “pretty up” this summer with new products featured in the New Hope Network Blogger Box. We had a blast testing products to which we rarely treat ourselves. Some worked from the outside in and others from the inside out. Of the many selections, we found a few high-performing products from ethical companies that we will continue to use, so we thought we’d share of favorite finds…

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Summer’s Simple Pleasures

Here’s one incredibly simple idea for an impressive, delicious, yet embarrassingly easy side dish to go beautifully with that grilled chicken or burger next week. In minutes, you can take a few fennel bulbs, some red globe radishes and a few peeled turnips and transform them from ordinary fair to something entirely unexpected… just toss with oil and salt and roast or grill as follows.

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The Compost Cracker

No, I didn’t make a typo. But I did use a lot of food scraps to create a pretty tasty cracker bread. Here’s how it happened…

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How to Bake a Miracle

Many years ago now, one of my very best friends Mary Lynn had a second thought about some overripe bananas and turned them into a miracle. I remember the day she and I were on one of our marathon phone calls, and she told me what she’d done just a few days before, saying that, though she wasn’t sure why, this simple act made her feel as if she had done something BIG. And as we continued to talk, we both realized she had. Here’s the story:

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Create a Bowl Full of Blessings

While I am usually encouraging you to fill your bowls with wholesome breakfast grains and good-for-you soups, I’m suggesting something a little different this time: prayers and blessings. Near the end of January, I attended an online event hosted by Elsie Kerns, a wellness educator with over 20 years of training and expertise in the field of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. The seminar was called Prayer Bowl Blessings & Healing. It was a free event and will continue this month on Wedensday, February 28. I’ve already signed up for the second class; here’s why…

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Where Is Your Wild?

While watching this particular Nature episode on arctic wolves, I was also feeling a little sorry for myself. It’s doubtful my husband and I will be doing much traveling this year. Our decisions about less paid work and more family time—which I will never regret—have left us with less expendable income for stuff like vacations. So PBS may be my only brush with what is truly wild… or maybe not.

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Feast and Famine, Waste and Want

Delicious Living authors Lisa Truesdale and Jenna Blumenfeld recently wrote a series of articles about hunger in the U.S. Their research and resources make one thing perfectly clear: there are two main barriers that stand in the way of healthy food for all: lack of access to good food (either because of geography or lack of funds) and careless waste of good, plentiful food (by individuals, the US government and the commercial food industry). Inaccessibility and Waste are nearly inseparable partners in crime.

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The 2017 Christmas Box

My 2017 Christmas box contains a combination of old favorites and new surprises. Green Gal Granola is an annual “must-include”; my homemade citrus salt is making a repeat appearance from last year; and I’ve created another set of homemade cards, using leftover papers and previously sent cards for my designs. Back by popular demand is my special fruited chocolate bark, too. But there are some new items, as well, including a too-die-for gluten-free cookie, some special holiday items from the folks at New Hope Blogger Network’s Blogger Box and local artist finds from potter John Boss and Chad and Felicia of Mississippi Mud Pottery.

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Trick or Treat? What’s in Your Pumpkin?

So this year, I decided to let Heather take the Green Gal taste test challenge on Halloween goodies. My choices come from the New Hope Blogger Box selections that I started reviewing and recommending last month. Remember the Artisan Fermented Honey from Glorybee Foods?

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Simple-y Super Honey Recipes

OK, so maybe “homemade condiment” doesn’t sound all that simple to you, but… be brave. If you read along on this blog, you’ve come across my recipe for Harissa, an easy-to-make homemade condiment, which stores weeks in the frig and can turn anything from ordinary scrambled eggs to basic soup into something spectacular in the blink of an eye. Well, now—thanks to an article in the August issue of FEAST Magazine (page 56)—there’s a new favorite from-scratch condiment in the Green Gal kitchen… Z’hug. Huh?

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Planting Seeds for Taking Simple Steps Toward Big Change

Climate Change is a BIG deal, and it is overwhelming for most of us. We often feel there’s no point in trying to stop it—it’s just too big, complex and frightening. And that feeling of “there’s no point in trying” is our worst enemy. So don’t give up.

Knowledge is power, and once you learn some facts about Climate Change, you can figure out solutions to its problems. The Delicious Living Magazine interview below with Tracy Misiewicz, the associate director of science programs for The Organic Center, will get you started. Then keep reading and discover Delicious Living’s nine simple steps you can take in your own kitchen to combat Climate Change.

How Organic Farming Impacts Clim

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