butternut squash raviolis

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Continuing with the fall theme, tonight I made butternut squash raviolis- from scratch and vegan.  I had a small squash I was roasting and a little light bulb went on in my head while I was cooking it, remembering a butternut ravioli recipe on Trash is for Tossers that I read years ago and had filed in the back of my head.  Even though I wanted to make dinner soon (it was already 6 pm) I still wanted the raviolis.  I googled “vegan ravioli dough” since the recipe in Lauren’s post uses eggs, et voila, this recipe popped up and I was on my way to dinner in no time.  I poured a glass of wine and put on some Frank Sinatra and got down to business.  They were quite easy and fun to make even though I’ve never made them before, and we were eating by 7 pm, with a fresh salad to go with (the flexible fall salad from my previous post, with avocado and romaine added).  Here’s the recipes from the two sites, compiled and with added tweaks, notes, and pictures from me.

INGREDIENTS:

for the filling (adapted from trash is for tossers, link above)

1 small butternut squash- mine was about 1.25 pounds / 3 cups

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice blend or 1/4 teaspoon each powdered cinnamon and ginger +1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons of cashews (optional but delicious)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 cloves garlic

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

for the pasta dough (from keyingredient.com, linked above)

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2-3/4 cup of water

2 pinches salt

fresh thyme or sage or parsley, minced, for serving

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Peel squash and scoop out seeds (roast them too for a snack!) and cube the flesh.  Toss with the 2 teaspoons olive oil and roast until soft, about 20-30 minutes.  While the squash is cooking, first put all the other filling ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Then get started on your pasta dough.  Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil and 1/2 cup of the water.  Use your hands to incorporate the dry into the wet, starting from the outside in, little by little.  Add in the rest of the 1/4 cup water in increments if the dough feels tight and dry.  Continue to knead the dough for 5-8 minutes until it forms a nice and smooth elastic ball.  Wrap it loosely in a kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes (I made the salad and the filling during this time).  Your squash should be done about now, place it in the blender that has the seasonings in it and blend it up.  I did a rough puree so that there was still a bit of texture.

Now, back to the dough.  Divide the dough in half equally.  On a lightly floured flat surface, roll out one of the two pieces as thinly as possible- you don’t want it to tear, but you also want it to be thin because it will get a lot thicker as it cooks.  Fold the dough in half and in half again.  Unfold it and cut it into strips along the creases.

Dollop your filling on the strips, leaving an inch or so in between for room to cut and seal it.

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Wet the edges of the bottom sheet of pasta with water- this will help the top sheet to seal.  Place a sheet of pasta on top, press the edges to seal, stretching gently as you go to help them match up.  Cut in between the filling to make them into squares and press with a fork to crimp and seal the edges of each one.

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As you finish them, lay them on a baking sheet lightly dusted with flour.  Continue this process with the second half of the dough.  Cook them in salted, boiling water for 3-4 minutes, gently remove from the water with a strainer or slotted spoon to a serving plate.

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Drizzle with olive oil, chopped herbs, and cracked black pepper.  Serve immediately.

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a flexible fall salad

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This is a seasonal favorite of ours, a colorful salad with a strong vinaigrette that can hold its own and acts as a nice counterpoint to the denser, grounding, cooked dishes that our bodies gravitate toward in winter.  There’s hearty greens, crunchy vegetables, sweet fruit, toasted nuts and/or seeds, and a garlicky, mustardy vinaigrette.  I’ve added lots of substitution suggestions in the recipe as I don’t believe in rigid cooking.  Use what you have, what you enjoy and gravitate towards, whats available and fresh in your area.  One of the pleasures of cooking is sensing and feeling instead of measuring.  Also, if you have children, whisking vinaigrette is a fun job for them and they can learn the proportions and how make it themselves over time.  Serve it as a side or as a meal with soup, or add some legumes, tofu, or tempeh to make it a complete meal.   I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

VINAIGRETTE:

1 clove garlic, minced OR 1 small shallot, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lemon juice OR apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard OR whole grain mustard

2 teaspoons agave nectar OR maple syrup OR honey

S+P to taste

SALAD:

1/2 a head of kale, stems removed, sliced crosswise into thin strips OR any other hearty green like beet greens, bok choy, endive, escarole, spinach, or a mix.

1 cup sliced cabbage or brussels sprouts

1 large carrot, thinly sliced or grated OR radish OR celery- anything with CRUNCH!

1 large apple OR pear OR fuyu persimmon, sliced thinly

1/2 cup pomegranate arils

1/3c toasted nuts and seeds- any or all.  pumpkin+sesame, sunflower+hazelnut, almond+hemp, pecan+poppy are great combos

METHOD:

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a large salad bowl.  Taste and adjust to your preferences.  Add in kale to bowl.  Massage until softened, 3 minutes or so.  Add in the rest of the veggies and the apple and toss to coat.  Last, sprinkle the pomegranates and nuts+seeds over the top.  Serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

zero waste bathroom.

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note: see this post for a more in depth/updated look at our bathroom 

Zero waste can seem like an elite, ableist idea full of promise yet unattainable in today’s fast paced life.  Since we currently operate in a linear economy where things are specifically manufactured to eventually end up in a landfill (as opposed to a circular one where things are re-used, recycled, up cycled and repaired indefinitely), its easy to get frustrated and give up on trying to change all together.  Our family has had our ups and downs of moving towards a more waste free life.  I realized that 1. everybody in your house needs to be on board with the changes in order to make the most meaningful change, and 2. every change you can make, no matter how small, adds up over time.  Please don’t give up on even starting just because it seems way too challenging.  Its really not, and its SO rewarding to live in alignment with your values and the earth.  So, I thought it would be a good idea to try to touch on areas of our life and home, one by one, and show you how we easily have shifted to better alternatives.  A chunk at a time.  Here’s my zero waste bathroom cupboard essentials.

1.Bamboo toothbrush- Did you know that about 1 BILLION plastic toothbrushes are tossed into the landfill (aka our beautiful earth) every year just in the US?  That’s 50 million pounds of just toothbrushes!  There are so many bamboo toothbrushes on the market that have compostable handles.  We currently use the brush with bamboo toothbrush which comes in compostable/recyclable packaging.

2. Homemade toothpaste- We’ve been doing this for years and loving it.  Its easy, cheap, works well (approved by our family dentist!) and I don’t have to worry about my kids accidentally swallowing some because its all edible ingredients.  Here’s our recipe.  You can adjust to your preferences of consistency, sweetness, flavor etc.  You can leave out the clay if you want- it has minerals and detoxifying properties which is why I use it.  You can also sub xylitol for the stevia for even more cavity fighting power.

3. Floss in a refillable, recyclable container- I buy our floss from a small US company called Dental Lace that sells floss in a small glass vial with a metal lid, and separate refill spools.  All recyclable and compostable packaging.  The floss itself is 100% silk, so it is compostable.  You can also pull silk threads from a thrifted or old silk scarf to floss with, a la Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home .  Most conventional floss is coated with Teflon-like chemicals that make it glide easier between your teeth.  These chemicals end up in your mouth and therefore your body.  Plus, when you throw the floss away, those chemicals end up making their way into waterways and soil!

4. Copper tongue scraper- I love my tongue scraper.  It makes my mouth way fresher.  I like to use a copper one because the ones at the store usually have plastic handles, and copper is bacteria resistant.  Pick one like this up from Etsy and nicely request no plastic packaging in the note to your seller.

5. Homemade mouthwash- Same reasons as homemade toothpaste, but also because conventional mouthwashes are loaded with crappy ingredients, dyes, alcohol, chemical agents, etc.  One time I was using a Crest brand mouthwash and it STAINED MY TEETH GRAY over time!!!!!  I had to have it all scraped and polished off by the dentist.  He said chemicals in mouthwash can interact with your own personal strain of oral bacteria to cause this staining sometime.  UGH.  After that I started making my own.  Just 500 ml distilled water + 30 drops peppermint oil and 15 drops clove essential oil , stored in amber colored glass bottle – I use an old kombucha bottle.

6. Safety razor- aka how people used to shave before Gillette and other ripoff companies started the myth of a “smoother” shave with ridiculous amounts of expensive blades, creams, and other shaving accoutrements.  I bought ours (my husband and I share one) from Amazon about 7 years ago, along with a pack of 100 (!!) blades.  This cost us 42 dollars and we still haven’t used up all the blades.  I was scared to use it at first but it operates just like any other razor.  Easy and shaves close.  Here’s the razor and here’s the blades.

7.  Toilet paper- TMI?  Probably, but it is a real issue that we all have to deal with.  Normally, TP comes all packaged up in a giant plastic wrap.  I bought a bidet from Amazon years ago and so I use that + cloth wipes (left over from when my son was a baby and we used them instead of disposable wipes) for #1.  For #2, I use actual TP, which I buy in bulk at my local coop.  I buy the kind that comes individually wrapped in paper, like this and it all comes in a large recyclable/reusuable paper box.  Since I buy a case of it at a time, I get a 15% off discount, too.

Also, for further Zero Waste inspiration, please check out: Zero Waste Home , Paris To Go , Trading Waste For Abundance , and Trash is for Tossers .

Weekly grocery haul

update March 2018:  now we shop at the farmers market and our local coop exclusively- we canceled our Costco membership.  Budget is still the same though.

I often hear people say that they couldn’t afford to go vegan.  Personally, I find that a whole food, high carb and low fat style vegan diet is a lot cheaper than when our family ate meat and dairy, or high fat vegan.  The staples we rely on are some of the most affordable- bananas, potatoes, rice, beans, oatmeal, and frozen fruit.  I budget for my family of 2 adults+2 small kids $150/week for groceries. To make this work, I employ a combination of Costco (i try to limit these purchases because of all the plastic packaging), bulk bins at my local co-op, and the farmer’s market/produce stands.  This is what I bought this week: (first pic is from the farmer’s market, second from my Co-op and Costco combined).  Mostly everything is organic, but sometimes I buy conventional if the organic option comes from far away or doesn’t look fresh.  In this case, the almond milk, chocolate bar, and oranges are not organic.

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1/2 gallon of almond milk $2.99

bulk tamari (i refill an old 20 oz kombucha glass) $4.31 lasts quite a while

1 bunch kale $2.39

2x bunches celery $1.98

1 big cluster of shallots $1.69

gardein frozen “chicken” scallopini (the kids love these and i buy them maybe once every few months as a treat- not the best choice but you have to live a little ;))

90% chocolate bar (Lindt) $2.89 for treats- SO dark and bitter but very silky

10 Fuji apples $6

large hand of bananas $2.69

2 GIANT heads of romaine $4.78

large block of local tofu, from bulk section (put in my own le parfait jar) $3.11

black beans from bulk section (in my quart mason jar) $3.85 for black bean brownies!!

dried cranberries in bulk (quart mason jar) $4.79 for salads

chickpea miso paste $6.39 (lasts forever)

bulk bin chocolate chips in a pint mason jar $6.10 (expensive! but i prefer to forgo packaging whenever possible-kinder for the earth) for black bean brownies

4 gallons bulk reverse osmosis water in our giant glass jugs $1.17

6 large sweet potatoes

1 head red cabbage

25 lb local navel oranges $8.99- a super deal!  Not organic but super fresh and not sprayed with pesticides as per farmer.

4 lemons $1

6 limes $1

big bag of broccoli crowns $2.99

2 bunches asparagus

11 avocados $11

2 bunches green onions

1 kabocha squash- i love this steamed and drizzled with tamari, green onions and sesame seeds.  add rice and tofu for a complete meal.

GIANT bag of yukon gold potatoes- potatoes are life in this house, lol.  they get us through the winter.  roasted, in soups, oven fries, potato salads with vinaigrette, etc.

1 lb mixed greens

1.5 lb cremini mushrooms

2 large (Costco) bags frozen fruit: mango, and a tropical blend of mango, papaya,strawberry,pineapple

15 tomatoes

large bag of dried apricots, large bag of dried prunes- the kids love these as an after dinner treat and I have recently become inexplicably obsessed with prunes?

I lost one of the detailed receipts so I can’t list exact prices for everything , but I came in at approximately $160.  This is $10 over my budget for the week BUT some of these things (dried fruit, miso, tamari,choc chips,black beans) will last past the week and I came in quite under budget last week, so it evens out.

Some meals I’ll be making this week?

-celery, mushroom, cashew, tofu stir fry, seasoned with tamari and garlic+brown rice: one of our FAVE combos.  Super flavorful, filling, fast, and balanced.

-our “house salad”- mixed greens, green onions, kidney beans, dried cranberries, whatever chopped up veggies you have in the fridge+ a maple syrup/balsamic vinegar/dijon mustard dressing (3-2-1 dressing)

-quinoa, black rice, lentil, shredded kale salad- seasoned with shallots, herbs, and a bright mustard-vinegar dressing.  Probably will toss in some roasted asparagus or broccoli too.

-“house salad” + greek style lemon oregano baked potatoes- i use this recipe

-black bean brownies: seriously so good and i can let my kids have them for snacks because they are loaded with fiber, protein, and iron

-OJ+frozen fruit smoothies: such a easy and delicious combo.  loving OJ+ froz mango+ vanilla right now

-avocado sushi, duh

-forks over knives PIZZA with chickpea flour crust- recipe here

I’ll probably make other things too, but I don’t like to plan every meal.  I’d rather leave space for some creativity and intuition.

Hope this helps and please leave me a comment if you have a question or if there’s a specific topic you’d like me to post about!

 

sickness + turmeric ginger latte

Turmeric ginger pepper immunity latte flu prevention

(For the turmeric latte recipe, scroll to the very end of the post 🙂 )

My daughter is sick for the 100th time since kindergarten started.  Kids are so germy when they are all together.

Happily, no one else has gotten sick + she has gotten a thousand times better just from herbs and natural remedies.  So, today, let’s talk about about my herbal medicine cabinet.

I don’t use conventional medicines for kids, they are most often unnecessary + very harsh to a little body who is not equipped to process such toxins.  Remember when they recalled cough and cold medicines for kids because they are dangerous and don’t even work?!  I go the herbal route and it has worked for us almost every time, excluding a MRSA infection (antibiotics do have their place).

For fevers, I don’t give fever reducing meds like ibuprofen unless the fever is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  Children can safely have higher fevers than adults.  Fever is a natural defense your body utilizes to get rid of the virus/bacteria.

If you lower the fever, you are lowering the body’s ability to heal itself!  Lukewarm baths and cool washcloths for the head can help to comfort a child with a fever.  I’m not a doctor obviously, but my pediatrician agrees with me 100% on this.

Do not give cold liquids!  This is jolting for the body and it has to struggle to bring it back up to equilibrium.  Warm liquids encourage the removal and dislodging of mucus and congestion and are soothing for a sore throat.

Especially beneficial are herbal teas like chamomile, elderberry, slippery elm, and echinacea.  Traditional Medicinals brand teas has a great blend just for kids.  Stir in a tablespoon of coconut oil to coat a sore throat.  Also great: warm water with lemon juice added, and diluted warmed citrus or apple juices.

Support the body’s natural ability to heal with herbs!  I love the herbs for kids brand of tinctures, they have lots of different blends for different ailments.  The two I use the most are the echinacea +astralagus for deep immune support and the cherry bark blend for respiratory support.

If there is mucus, I always give marshmallow root.  It has mucilaginous qualities which help to remove mucus and break up congestion.  I buy it in capsules + empty 2  into hot liquid + stir it up.

For coughs and colds, I find Umcka syrup to be amazing.  It is a homeopathic syrup that is widely used in Europe to shorten the duration and severity of colds and it really works well.

Elderberry syrup is also wonderful for supporting the immune system and reducing the severity of illness.

As far as homeopathic medicines, I always keep belladonna (for high fevers, infections and inflammations) and pulsatilla (runny nose, mucus, clinging child) around.

Ear infections respond really well to warmed oil with garlic and mullein.  You can buy a ear oil blend in a little dropper bottle.  Just warm up the whole bottle by submerging it in hot water.  Test some oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.  Then have your child lay on their side and drop 5 drops of the warmed oil in each ear.  Sing or tell a story while you do this so that they will stay at least a minute on their side.  Do the other ear the same way too even if it doesn’t hurt.  HOWEVER if the ear is leaking pus/blood/liquid do NOT put anything in it, this means the eardrum has perforated.

If your child doesn’t want to eat, it’s OK!  Sick animals do not eat.  This is because digestion takes LOTS of energy.  Energy going towards digestion=energy taken away from healing and fighting sickness.  Give foods that are easy to digest with high water content, like juicy fruits (citrus, pineapple, grapes, mango) white rice, warmed broth and steamed broccoli.  Absolutely do not give your child dairy or wheat when they are sick.  These foods produce mucus in the body, adding to the mucus that is already there when they are sick, and are generally hard to digest and irritating to the digestive tract.

Essential oils are another great tool to have.

eucualyptus: breaks up congestion, good to dilute and rub on chest and to put in a diffuser and or humidifier, or in the bath.

peppermint: relieves headache.  Dilute and rub on temples, jaw, forehead to relieve pain.

Clove and cinnamon oils: are potent anti virals, dilute and rub on the bottoms of feet to fight and prevent illness.

lavender: very calming.  Great for massage or in the bath to calm an irritated or sad child.

And lastly, to ensure no one else gets sick, up your intake of immunity boosting foods…mushrooms, greens, vitamin c rich foods, lemons, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, garlic, etc.  If you feel like you are getting sick my favorite remedy is to blend lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic and honey all together and drink it.  It really works!  Also, this turmeric-ginger latte is a delicious favorite.  Here’s the recipe:

Turmeric ginger immunity latte

2c plant milk (almond, hemp, coconut, whatever)

A few quarter sized slices of ginger

1t ground turmeric

1/8t fresh ground black pepper (this increases the turmeric’s bioavailability a lot)

honey/sweetener to taste

bring the milk and finger slices to boil in a small saucepan.  Let them simmer for 5 minutes, covered.  Fish out the ginger and add the turmeric, pepper, and sweetener.  Pour into a cup and enjoy!

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