Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Honest Foods Granola

Today I tried an Honest Foods Blueberry Vanilla Crackle Granola Plank. Since I have been following Eat To Live, my snacks are almost always fruit or veggies, but I was super hungry this afternoon, so I gave this a try!



Verdict: about a B+.

The flavor was yummy, but somehow the thickness of the plank made it seem a little stale and hard to chew. Maybe I'm just out the the granola loop though. It was a little pricey at $2.79 plus tax, but I'd definitely grab another one next time I am in need of a fairly healthy snack.

Have you tried these? Whatchoo think?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Trading Rocks...especially when there are cupcakes involved!

Hello my blog reading buddies! This might be my most favorite post ever! It combines so many things I love!!

A few weeks ago I posted a silly Facebook status involving a wish for a used Ani DiFranco shirt in my size to magically appear in my life. I drool over the Righteous Babe store regularly, but am doing so well not buying new stuff! I figured I'd just put my merch lust out there in the world and see what happened. Guess what?! One of my friends replied the next day that she had just such a shirt that didn't fit and was free to a good home!! It's this really cool Hand & Fret shirt. I snagged a pic from the RBR site. (There's a pic of my own shirt in my Flickr Thrifty Style set!)


Baking is pretty much my strong suit in terms of things to offer someone in a nice trade, so behold...the most delicious cupcakes ever, traded for the coolest shirt this side of folkdom...

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World



All bundled up for delivery!!



AWESOME!!!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunny


Sunny
Originally uploaded by orangehousegirl
Happy Day!

Brownies!!!!

This post is about both food and keeping my committment to the No Buying New Stuff plan! It's been 33 days and I haven't bought anything new! Used...uh yeah. I have hit up the Goodwill and garage sales for stuff a' plenty, and made a few non-necessity purchases on Ebay, but it's all 100% used and cheap-o-rama thus far. I think the same thing is happening last time I did a Compact experiment: I have so much fun that I don't even notice I am doing anything different...and stop keeping track.

I got a great surprise when a new CD came in the mail...I forgot I pre-ordered this several months ago. One big ole downside of not buying anything new is missing out on that fun of new packages in the mail! I was delighted to tear open this cd, and the music is just super super wonderfully excellent!


So on to the food!! Part of the no-new-stuff plan for me is planning ahead and making/putting together thoughtful gifts without buying them in a store (unless of couse it's a thrift store! Yay!). A little munchkin and I got in the kitchen and made these adorably-marketed organic brownies to give to a friend for her brirthday. Success on all counts!!

These Arrowhead Mills baking mixes are made especially for cooking with kids.


It came with a cute little stencil for making stars on the cooked brownies...


and cute little instructions too!!

We baked and sprinkled!


And then we packed them up for a bike journey to the party!



Bye!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Green Smoothies & Wishes

Sooo...talking about weight loss has gotten a bit boring, but...just as an update: I'm still following Eat To Live. I am moving more slowly in terms of weight loss now, as I'm not interested in dissapearing! Just a few more steps until I reach a healthy weight, so I am doing more of maintenance eating and exercise (yay for moderation). I eat treats sometimes, but have really found that my tastes have changed. Also, not to sound like a health nutty-nut-nut, but I love the way I feel now! When I "cheat" and eat something that doesn't fall under nutritarian, I just feel tired and sluggish and gross. For real!

On that note, I loving my green smoothies. They make my life better! Here's a few from lately. My general mix is chia seeds, greens powder, water, strawberries/peaches/mango/berries/etc., a banana, and a handful of spinach leaves.

Smoothie with pretty flowers from my coworker, "To-Go" smoothie with a napkin/cozy and a straw :)

In other news...the other night we went to a local fountain to make a few wishes. Here we are, throwing pennies and laughing!


Bye for now!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wreck This Journal!

 I read about this neat book called Wreck This Journal over at Simplicity Soup. It looks like my kind of book!


Here's what Amazon says:
"For anyone who's ever wished to, but had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook comes Wreck This Journal, an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake- and mess-making abilities to fill the pages of the book (and destroy them). Acclaimed illustrator Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in "destructive" acts-poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting with coffee, and more-in order to experience the true creative process. Readers discover a new way of art and journal making-and new ways to escape the fear of the blank page and fully engage in the creative process."

Neato!

And now for a little food...I give you a delicious vegan Lebanese stew on top of millet, topped with a sprinkling of vegan "parmesan cheese." (Hahaha....it seems odd to eat foods that need quotes)



Happy creating!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coffee Treat & More ♥

But not what you think...it's to wear, not drink! So...Compacting has been pretty fun for me. I haven't bought anything new, and I have really been getting creative about coming up with great stand-ins for things that I would normally just go buy. It's a satisfying feeling. Garage sale-ing is an awesome thrill. Last weekend, I went to an event specifically about shopping with my mom, girls day out for us! All I purchased was a cup of non-dairy mango sorbet. There were some super cute dresses and things, but I have lots of supercute dresses at home too ;) I just couldn't stop thinking about what a beautiful day it was, and I wished I was out bike riding or reading on my patio instead of being in the bustle of  100s of very determined shoppers on a Spring Day.

I love the Goodwill, though I am trying to stay out of there unless I actually need something specific. (I am working on an upcoming post abut all the awesome things that you can always find at Goodwill.) The most fun I have buying stuff is usually groceries anyway...I love making food!

The Compact allows for personal care items, and part of my goals is to use up the myriad junk I have, and replace all that with a few good quality items that will last and work well. A nice clean counter with 2 or three items...nice. I thought about the intent of the Compact and wondered if I should just go cheapie on personal care stuff, but I decided that better ingredients and supporting someone's home business seems way more in line with simplifying and improving quality of life...plus, let's not play...I love good toiletries!

Lucky lucky me...I've used up my moisturizer supply and it was time to find a replacment for all those lotions and potions!! The last container flew into the recycling bin and I was on the hunt!

Enter Raw Element. I saw this shop on a giveaway at Tout-est-des-roses and loved it! (Pssst...you can still enter!)

I've ordered the Cup of Joe-sie Coffee Bean Creme and I am prancing around like a soft cappucino-smelling wonder!! The ingredients are clean, the packaging is recyclable, and Julie from Raw Element is really nice! I am also thinking about ways to reuse the awesome tin it came in. I had been lusting after those magnteic tin spice jars, but once I looked around my house I nearly have a set. A soy candle, this lotion, etc...I can use them up, clean the tins, and attach magnets. Voila! A free spice tin set- yay!

Check out all the awesome stuff! at Raw Element.


In other news, I am just in love with Paperbackswap.com. It's a free service where you post your books and trade with other people. The only money involved is media mail shipping. It's awesome fun! If you decide to join, please put me (Leslie Richman) as a referral. I dunno what that does, but I'm sure it's good. Can't wait to swap more books! I have wishlisted a ton of books I can't wait to read!

I also started myself a little photo project, Thrifty Style, to document some of the outfits I come up with in my year of no buying. Viva la Flickr!

In other, other news...look at my honey and one of our fur babies! Cuteness!!


See ya next time!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Love is all over the place!

Yellow Lentils With Spinach & Ginger

Just one thing to say: Make this please!!! It is so delicious that I made it twice in one week!! It's super easy, healthy, and you might even have most of the ingredients in the pantry already!



Serves 4


Ingredients

1 teaspoon white or black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced (I've subbed green onions once, and purple onion once- turned out great both ways)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 cup yellow lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained (I've used red too)

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or broth (I used low-salt veg broth from bouillion)

1/2 cup light coconut milk

2 cups baby spinach leaves, stemmed and chopped, or 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
Directions

Toast only the white sesame seeds before using. Place the sesame seeds in a small, dry saute or frying pan over medium heat. Cook briefly, shaking the pan often and watching carefully to prevent burning. Remove the seeds from the pan as soon as they begin to turn brown. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, ginger, curry powder and turmeric and cook, stirring, until the spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the lentils, stock and coconut milk. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the lentils are tender but still firm, about 12 minutes. The mixture should be brothy; add a little water if needed.
Stir in the spinach, cover and simmer for about 3 minutes longer. The lentils should still hold their shape. Uncover and stir in the salt. Serve hot, garnished with the cilantro and toasted white or untoasted black sesame seeds.

Deeeelicious!!

And for dessert... ;)

Look what I discovered when I tilted my head up in our backyard! A beautiful blooming Japanese Magnolia tree. How wonderful!! This is our first spring at this house..who knows what will bloom next!!

Have a great day!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Carrots, Eggs, and a cup of coffee....

My cousin sent me this and I liked it!!


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans... She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

After about 10 minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied...Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.
Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, how ever. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.
When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.
May we all be COFFEE!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yummy Quinoa Bowl with Raw "Cheese" Sauce

This was my first time making quinoa...I have to say I much prefer millet, but quinoa is very pretty to look at, and was tasty in this dish...

I started with a raw "cheese" sauce from Goneraw.com via Happy Foody. Yum!!


Next I sauteed some yellow squash, zucchini, and organic broccoli I got on the quick-sale at the grocery- yay for cheap produce!!


I added the veggies to the cooked millet...


And added a bunch of the "cheese" sauce. I also tore up a bunch of baby spinach and mixed it in. This was a surprisingly rich-tasting meal for such a healthy combination of stuff. Score!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Giveaway Winner!!

 Pixiepine Headquarters....

We organized a very scientific and methodical process for choosing a winner of the Rabbit Food Cookbook Giveaway.

First we found the most official drawing container in the house...


Then we wrote all our entries out...

 P rolled her arms, warming them up for the big moment. C held the ever-important helmet of entries!


All precautions were taken to ensure a fair drawing!


And the winner is.... Freely Living Life!! Congratulations!!!!
Thank you all for entering, and keep your eyes open for another awesome giveaway coming soon!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I ♥ the Goodwill

I love a Goodwill run! I have found so many great things there lately, which really strenghtens my committment to my 2010 challenge to myself...Í'm working on the Compact in which I will attempt to not buy anything new for 1 year (besides food, toiletries, etc.). Instead, I can choose from any variety of sources: garage sales, Ebay, Goodwill, thrifting, trading, handmade, free, etc. etc. etc. (yay!). Hopefully, I will get super resourceful and also have a lot of money saved up from this experience. I'm not being too hard on myself if I do have to get a few new things (some people don't love used stuff for gifts, but I plan on getting really creative too!), but I haven't struggled at all so far with following the guidelines and it's fun! I am also incorporating stuff like meal planning and keeping up with local free events going on.

Here are some highlights from my recent Goodwill runs. I spent less than $40 total on all of this!!!! I'm putting brands, but I dunno how much most of this stuff runs new. Way more than $3.99 an item I bet!!

*a long foam cushion ($1.99) to help rebuild my couch (the cat teeteed alllll over my vintage cushions and I have been brainstorming new and CHEAP ways to make the couch comfy, but disposable if necessary. Ay ay ay!!!)

*vintage 1970's scented stationary set- pink plaid with strawberries!!!!!

*new green flip-flops

*yellow thermal from Delia's

*ruched turquoise cardigan from Dex

*adorable red plaid dress with an eyelet ruffle at the bottom, cap sleeves, ohhh sweet as can be! (Papaya brand)

*Cruel Girl dark wash jeans

*sparkly multi-colored woven scarf

*Mojoware t-shirt ( a local favorite)

*this cute little lovebird-print hoodie from Aerie/American Eagle



Oh the joy!! Oh the bargains!! I might be the best dressed no-new-stuff lady ever!!

Goodwill is good, but garage sales are better! I went this weekend and totally racked up. For mere dollars I came home with lots of brand new stuff for gift-giving, clothes,a sisal welcome mat, a brand new board game, etc. etc. etc. I love thrifting!!! ♥

Don't forget to enter my Rabbit Food Vegan Cookbook Giveaway! Today is the last day :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

On top of spaghettiiiiii....

Helloooo! Look at this beauty!!


I used some frozen leftover ragout , no sugar added pasta sauce, and whole grain pasta to make a very happy and healthy meal! Topped with veg meatballs and veg parmesan "cheese." Yum!

There's still time to enter my Rabbit Food Giveaway!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Compacting Thoughts

So I had a challenge last night...we needed a gift for someone. Long story short, my husband paid for it and I used my own repurposed materials at home to wrap it. It was an odd experience, being in a big store and feeling the struggle. It wasn't a big deal, and I didn't want to buy anything for myself, but it felt kind of beside the point to just have Brad pay for something new we were buying so I wouldn't "break the rules."

Lesson: It is going to be a major thing to me to learn to get creative with gifts...and to plan ahead! I already have a "gift box" going where I keep used/vintage/homemade gifts I find, so I'll be ready when occasions come along.

I definitely don't want this Compacting experience to become something negative or restrictive. My whole goal is to see how long and far I can go on creativity and resourcefulness! I want to just give the debit card a break until I can get back to a point where buying a new dress or a gift or something is a  really special and well-thought out experience. I've read a lot of articles about people who just basically got grouchy about shopping or walked around in duct-tape mended jackets. No thanks!!

I'm getting crafty! More updates as I go along :)

Christmas in March!

My mister and I were planning to get each other new bikes for Christmas.Somehow winter travel, winter weather, and football kept us too distracted to get new bikes. We looked several times but never did pick anything out. But now, oh boy now we made up for it!! Looky at my new ride!!!!
It is so beautfiul, but suprisingly nicely priced compared to the Electras I was looking at. Here's the description:

Cruise the neighborhood and bike path on this stylish Ladies Nel Lusso Bike. Nel Lusso means "lap of luxury," and this classic single-speed cruiser from Huffy has a rich butterscotch color reminiscent of luxury cars. The bicycle features a large spring saddle, dual-density pedals and grips for improved handling, and weather-resistant painted alloy rims and painted fenders. The front basket and rear rack are perfect for carrying a small bag of groceries, your purse and other items.


Gaaahhh!!! I am so excited!
 A beverage holder, for Pete's sake! Not a water bottle clip, but a flippin coffee holder! I'm in love!! I cannot wait to cruise all over town on this bike. She needs a name....

Don't forget to enter my Rabbit Food giveaway!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Formspring!

I've joined Formspring, so if you have any questions, fire away! Widget is in my sidebar as well.

Have a great day!