Be Simple!More with Less
My new favorite Blogger Box product–Natreve French Vanilla Wafer Sundae Vegan Protein—takes the spotlight for Valentine’s Day 2020 in this rich and creamy strawberry smoothie, laced with organic natural cacao. Think those Valentine’s Day chocolate covered strawberries but minus the tons of sugar, questionably sourced and processed chocolate, and less-than-fresh tasting strawberries.
No, this is not my description of the winter months. All regular Green Gal readers know that I am already ungratefully counting the days until the pool opens. But, I bet my Frozen “Pear-adise” dessert will make the rest of winter much sweeter. Whatcha think?
This recipe began as many of my recipes do with a leftover. In this case, I had an extra quarter-cup of pumpkin puree with nowhere to go. You see, you can’t buy a two-cup pumpkin for your pie—you buy a pumpkin, roast, puree, strain and measure. Being one of the best food values going, an average pumpkin will yield up to 10 cups of puree. Really, one nice sized pumpkin is all you need for cookies, pies, soups and cakes during the holidays. But sometimes, there’s a little bit extra.
Cold, wet outside air meets dry indoor heat. It’s a match made…well certainly not in heaven. Chafed skin, brittle nails and peeling cuticles… so how are those busy little hands these days? If yours are like mine in winter, the answer is NOT GOOD. But I have found some help from the New Hope Network Blogger Box and a favorite new company, Herbal Healing.
Afterwords Books is a family-owned local bookstore, celebrating 10 years in Edwardsville. Customers can purchase new and used books, take advantage of a trade-for-credit program and join a book club like ours—there are clubs going on all the time at Afterwords, for every age and interest. Little shoppers also can enjoy the free children’s story times, while others participate in a thriving monthly documentary club. People come to shop for books at Afterwords, to be sure, but they linger for the community, conversation and coffee and tea.
What I love most about blogging is the creative witchcraft that takes place. Whether I’ve just discovered another blogger with great cooking ideas, or I’ve dipped into New Hope Network’s Blogger Box for the next Green Gal recommendation, or one of my friends passes on a fabulous recipe that was passed on by someone who found it on another blog somewhere out in the Universe, bloggers are a magic force of sophisticated sorcery.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville celebrates Diversity Day each October. Across the campus students, faculty and community members engage in various activities focused on the beauty of our differences and the power of our commonalities.
Overall, I’d say I’m a pretty stable and balanced person. Of course, a survey of family and friends might reveal a slightly different opinion, if I’m caught at the “right moment.” And, I’m guessing you have had some of those “right moments” too, when everything in your life is in overdrive, when every box on your little calendar is full. Sometimes it is just the simple and natural change of seasons that can push me a step past coping, especially if all the other factors are in play. And this pretty much describes my September 2019. But still I try to be strong, soldier through, resist help.
Can you say “stubborn”?
Yes, I think we are talking tradition now. At the end of last summer, I decided to review the many delicious items that arrive quarterly in my New Hope Blogger Network Box for perfectly healthy lunchbox treats. It went so well, I have decided to repeat the idea with some new selections that are tasty, healthy and planet-friendly. So no excuses as you pack up the family lunches because there are both kid-friendly and grown-up choices that will help you keep highly processed foods out of your kitchen and missing from your desk at the office
So, candy. Should it have a place in your diet? Well, if you read this blog consistently, you will know that I feel candy, despite its usually terrible rep, has a place, albeit a conservatively small place, in a healthy diet. What we eat, whether we are conscious of it or not, is more than just nutrition and, in my mind, shouldn’t be restricted to the point we feel deprived.
My friend Mary Lynn is always sharing these wonderful little stories that show how food is so much more than just sustenance, just nutrition for the body. You may recall the post from a while back on her banana bread story. She also tells this touching tale about a woman—quite old and sadly in a nursing home—who was unexplainably failing quickly after living a vigorous and healthy life on her family’s small farm.
Okay, here is a not-so-happy idea: the older I get, the more unwelcome changes my body presents. Perhaps, you’ve had similar ideas as the years have passed. We can whine and pout, but I think it would be more productive to face maturity head on—embrace the wisdom of age with gratitude and don’t let those growing-old cliché’s get us down. Because, while aging is inevitable, growing “old” is not. My grandma was a young—very young—97 when she left this world for a new one.
I let a lot of things go in Summer: the garden is happier with native weeds; just ask it. The house is usually empty because we are outside, so if no one’s there to see the dust fall, is it really dirty? The kitchen is due for a rest, too, I think, though there is the issue of healthy food and market goodies. OK, not everything is “let go.” But my grip is certainly more relaxed.
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.
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.
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….
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ahh…summer! Ahhh…swimming pool! Ahhhh…cocktails on the porch! Ahhhh…Ah-chu!
It is true. Cold and flu season may be on vacation, but it’s not a symptom-free ride for many of us during the summer. And what could be worse than summer colds and allergies that keep us indoors on bright , sunny days?