Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tea Party For One ♥

This post marks the beginning of a series throughout the Fall (and maybe winter!) wherein I post about interesting/good products that I know about or use. These posts will cover food, personal care, clothing, etc. The products will all be vegan and to the best of my knowledge, from companies with good ethics in place.
Thanks for reading along with me!

Today I am posting about one of my special loves: herbal tea!

I rigged up a little area in the storage room at my shop so that I can have hot tea anytime I want. I am pretty proud of my tea station, considering it was put together without spending money. It's a big bucket with a sample block of formica for the tabletop. I brought the Senseo from home and use it to make hot water (don't really use it for coffee anymore as the pods are pricey and I'm cutting back anyway). I keep a bottle of water from my house, a tea towel, a couple of cups, and a biiiig selection from my tea supply!


This way I can make myself several cups of tea throughout the work day :) I feel great when I have a few cups of green tea and an herbal tea to finish my evening. Last night I tried Sleepytime Vanilla and it was quite tasty. Not sure it made me sleepy, but ah well!

I love most non-black teas and drink red teas, white teas, green teas, and floral/herbal. I've found a huge range of flavors in green tea and I definitely have my preferences. I don't much like the grocery store brands like Celestial Seasonings, Bigelow, etc. for green teas. They tend to have heavier and more bitter tastes to me. (I do have an undying love for Celestial Seasonings non-green herbal varieties like Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Tension Tamer!!). My very favorite tea brand is Yogi across the board. I drink the Immune Support and got spoiled by finding 3 boxes on clearance for $2.49 each a while back. Yay!! I've used the Cold Season Sampler the past few winters to stay on top of my game when the sniffles start to show up.

The lovely people at Yogi were kind enough to send me a few green tea varieties to try and share about on my blog. The flavors:


Now, me and kombucha are not friends. I tried a bottle once and just did not enjoy it one bit. That being said, this Green Tea Kombucha tea is amazing! It's got a great crisp flavor...green tea with a fresh boost! The Super Antioxidant (doesn't that just make you feel energetic!) is also a light flavor with touches of fruit. I am careful to only steep my green tea 2-3 minutes. I used to think I needed to steep it to death to get all those good benefits, but green tea is perfect very minimally steeped. I love both these green teas with their distinctive tastes. Once again, Yogi succeeds in making vibrant flavors with clear health benefits. Thanks, Yogi!

The *awesome* little messages on the tea tags don't hurt one bit either:

(from here)

What teas are your favorites? Ever blend your own?

P.S. A few more days left in the awesome HoopPretty giveaway!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hang 'Em Dry Challenge

Hi all!


I'm taking the Hang 'Em Dry Challenge over at Crunchy Chicken.

Check it out and join the group if you're interested!

P.S. Get those booties clickin' and enter the giveaway!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hip Mountain Mama Skirt!

Hello lovelies! Along the lines of my recent Ethical Clothing Pledge, I am only acquiring things that are, well, ethical! I am barely purchasing at all, as that's the best way to save resources and money, but a girl's gotta have a few special things in the closet. In my efforts to Reduce Clutter, Create Space I have lightened my wardrobe load considerably. My goal is to have a manageable wardrobe that is pretty, well-made, and durable...ok and cute!!!

I'v been reading the Hip Mountain Mama blog for a while and have learned that they operate their business in a sooperdedooper ethical manner. I also love the focus on gratitude, hand making things, the colorful-ness, and the fun!

After the great closet cleanout/sale, the only wardrobe piece really missing was a good all-purpose, all-weathr skirt in a neutral color. I went to the Hip Mountain Mama shop to purchase something that would go with all of my shirts, is good for all seasons, and will hold up well.

Here it is!!


It's got a great cargo pocket, which I love!I feel all kinds of girly in this skirt! It is so cute with a tank top, and I can't wait to bust out my mini-collection of thrifted thermals for fall and winter. It's amazing how many awesome thermal tops -a weakness of mine- you can find at garage sales and thrift stores. Mine all looked new when I got them and cost about $1.99 each. Yay! I hang them to dry to they last a long time.

Anyway...back to this awesome skirt! It is handmade from hemp and organic cotton, and has a great foldover waist. I even unrolled the waistband, pulled it up, and tried it out as a dress and it's really cute! I am in love with hemp skirts that look a little crisp and tailored, and this one is wonderful. Hip Mountain Mama has lots more really cute, unique, and ethical clothing, and the owner, Suzy, was really helpful! I don't even want to think about the damage I could do e-shopping this site...I love these, and this, and these- oh the cuteness!

My new duds!

 Curled up with my husband (hand featured!) and the doggie- this skirt is very comfy!


Do you have any favorites for eco-friendly and ethical clothing and such?

Still time to enter the giveaway!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Best bargain grocery shopping ever!!!

Today I spent $25 on groceries. That covered 3 full sized sprouted grain breads (bagels, tortillas, and a loaf), organic veggies, tea, vegan bouillion, pasta, etc. etc. etc.  I got so mamy awesome deals I just had to post.

Here's the full run:

The following items were 100% free! I won the bread in a photo contest, and accepted the tofu as a treat from the store owner..it's just 1 day expired and still wholly awesome. That's about $17 of free food right there!


I got Yogi tea on clearance for $2.49! That's almost 1/2 off.


Foofoo fancy veggies for .33 each pack in the clearance produce bin! Yay!


and finally, a big bunch of tomatoes for $1! They were a little squishy and went right into a homemade tomato sauce to be frozen and used later. Tomato love!


I usually use my own cloth bags, but today I got 2 paper ones to reuse for mailing material for all my Ebay goodies going out. Wheee!


Very productive!

Monday, September 20, 2010

October Hang 'Em Dry Challenge Giveaway!

Head over to the Crunchy Chicken for a giveaway that will help you ace the October Hang 'Em Dry Challenge!

Alvarado Street Bakery

I ♥ Alvarado Street Bakery products!! Their sprouted grain bagels, tortillas, and bread have totally brought bready joy back into my life! Eat To Live really forbids all the yucky white bread stuff cuz it's straight up sugar and crap as I understand it. Being a complete bread addict, that was a rather poo-ish transition to have to make.

But...yay! Alvarado Street Bakery saved the day! I do love and use Ezekiel products as well, but I def. have a preference for Alvarado Street. The ingredients in both brands are healthy, but Alvarado Street manages to nearly perfectly replicate old skool bread products, whereas Ezekiel products taste a little more like "health food"...nuttier, grainier, etc.


To make matters eeeeven better, I entered a Facebook contest a while back and won a free loaf of Alvarado Street bread. Yay!!!! The contest was to photograph an Alvarado product being used. Here's my entry:

A tiny little crumb left on my Snack Taxi after I devoured my sandwich. Teehee!!


If you haven't tried Alvarado products, give them a shot. I buy them frozen at my local health food store. Bread love!!

P.S. Still time to enter the giveaway!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ethical Clothing Pledge

In puttering my way around the Interbot, I happened upon a neat blog, Isis Made. A very intriguing post here is the Ethical Clothing Pledge.

I've had an ongoing journey with buying less, consuming less, cleaning out, etc. so this idea is very timely for me! Since starting our store, I am also much more committed to supporting individual or family businesses rather than hauling down to Wal-mart or Target (ok, I still like Target, but it's really easy to leave with a cart full of stuff you didn't even know you needed...so I stay away!) for stuff we need or want. I'm also just acquiring less stuff overall. It feels good to get crafty, reuse, and ask friends for help with creative solutions. I have bought only two new items of clothing in the last several months, both from the ladies who made them- it feels great! (Check out my Texture review and look for another review coming soon!).

So here I go...making it official!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


T H E _ E T H I C A L _ C L O T H I N G _ P L E D G E

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I pledge to only wear clothing that is one or more of the following:

1. Pre-loved

2. Handmade

3. Reconstructed

4. Made with ethical / environmentally friendly materials

5. Made by a company with strong ethical policy & workers' rights

* Companies with environmentally friendly practices (such as cutting down on waste/energy/water) get brownie points

* If I get one little inkling of sweatshop labour, I'm outta there!

* Above all though, I think the most important thing is reducing the amount of things we use in the first place. Not purchasing ANOTHER piece of clothing just for the sake of it is the biggest statement we can make.
 
Sounds good, huh? Click the links in this post of the badge in my sidebar to get more info.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway, which just happens to be from a very ethically-sound business! :)

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Very Special Hoopy Giveaway!!

Hello lovies!! I am very excited to share the lastest Pixiepine Blog giveaway!

My love affair with the hoop continues...I am practicing my little moves and progressing slowly but surely.

To celebrate, I'm sharing this awesome giveaway made possible by Barbra at HoopPretty.

HoopPretty is a site that offers awesome hoop accessories like shirts, stickers, bags. Along the lines of my posts about ethical clothing, HoopPretty also uses natural fibers and eco-inks- awesome!! Their designs are girly and artsy and right up my alley!

The characters are adorable! Check out their blog for more.





I love this shirt that I first saw on The Happy Hoop. I ordered my own and love love love it! It fits perfectly and is super soft!


HoopPretty is offering Pixiepine readers a chance to win your own hoop merchandise! Up for grabs is is this Chicobag and supercute hooping stickers- I love them all!!



There are lots of ways to win!

First, (mandatory) you must be a follower of Pixiepine Blog- new and old followers welcome to enter! Once you are a follower, answer this question:

What's your favorite thing about hooping?

Extra entries:
You can do one or all of the following (each one is a separate entry, so please create a new comment for each one):
Subscribe to the HoopPretty blog
Post the giveaway to your Facebook page and become a fan of their Facebook page

Tweet about the giveaway and follow them on Twitter
 
Good luck! A winner wll be randomly chosen Friday, Oct. 1st.
Happy hooping!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hemp-a-rific!

Long ago in my hippie chick college days, I bought a hemp backpack. It said Hemp Mania on it, and I was forever getting ribbed about the extracurriculars that people thought were synonymous with hemp! Little did they know, hemp holds much more noble potential!


Years down the road, I am in love with my Texture hemp skirt, and still pull out that old backpack from time to time. I also have added hemp to another area of my life: the kitchen!


I've been throwing hemp seeds in my smoothies, on my salads, and using them to boost the nutrtional factor of foods like my sprouted grain toast and jelly in the morning.



I decided I needed to do a little reading and see what hemp seeds really do! Here some highlights from Hemp Line Journal and other sources:

*Hemp seed contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs.

*Hemp seed is the premier plant-seed provider of globulin starting material -- the highest in the plant kingdom. Eating hemp seeds will insure the immune system has the reservoir of immunoglobulin resources needed to make disease destroying antibodies.

*Hemp has 3 unique nutritional factors. It has an ideal balance of Omega 3 and 6 for sustainable human health, it has a full amino acid spectrum meaning it provides complete protein, and it has a massive trace mineral content - truly one of nature's superfoods.

*Other benefits of hemp seed oil include its effect on the skin and the hair, nourishing both on a cellular level. Hemp oil is easily absorbed by the skin and those EFA's go straight to work!


*And of course hemp needs no pesticides or fertilisers, is low maintenance and grows just about anywhere, making it the ideal crop for organic sustainable farming in just about anywhere in the world.

Nice! I'm gonna keep on sprinkling hemp seed on everything! How do you use it?

As an added bonus to my ode to hemp, Hemp Mania has offered Pixiepine readers a free shipping discount. Use the coupon code "420" when checking out. Yay!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bloggy & Thrifty Goodness!

Yay! I am excited about a new-to-me blog I found: Free Spirit Knits. It's full of all kinds of good stuff! One of my favorite aspects is the Reduce Clutter Create Space project, of which my blog is now a part.



I've mentioned Ebaying lately- it's amazing how taking some time to list even cheap-o items for .99 is liberating. I like the idea that my little cluttery items that keep getting shuffled around the house will now be put to much better use my someone who wants them! Extra nose rings (new of course!), spice packets, salt & pepper shakers, sports gear, you name it! The extra $$ is awfully nice too :)

Another good clutter-reducing habit I have is selling or trading my books. For selling, I use Half.com. For trading, I use the awesome Paperbackswap.com. Just this week I mailed out PunkKnits   and will get a free book credit for that. You just pay media mail shipping, books are free! Wheeeeeeeeee!!

Off to read my newest free book: Your Money Or Your Life :)

I'll leave you with this, from one of my favorite sites, Crazy Sexy Life.



Have a happy day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Zero WasteWeek Cooking #2

Hello all! Here's my 2nd Zero Waste Week cooking bonanza!

Last night at about 10:00 p.m. my evening green smoothie (full of kale!) kicked in, giving me lots of energy, and I decided to make some healthy food. I looked through the fridge and pulled out anything I had left that was languishing...hence the sad kale and shrivelly organic green onions:


Lots left to salvage:


I looked up appropriate recipes and settled on Auntie Bonnie's Curried Apple Soup from How It All Vegan...with lots of variations!

I started with the recipe as directed: sauteed onions, an apple, and curry powder.


Then I subbed the kale for the veggies in the soup:


My football crazed husband, who shaved his head yesterday in a football frenzy, paused with the temporary mohawk and gave the kale-icious dish his seal of approval!


The finished product!!


Zero wasting: used up the greens and onions, made a dish with only existing pantry ingredients, saved $$ by the crazed domestic punk rocker shaving his own head with his own clippers, brought kale for lunch the next day in a reusable container, made my own dishwasher detergent concotion in the same bottle I use over and over, dug out the Soap Nuts to use rather than buying a new bottle of detergent. Whoohooo!!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cooking for Zero Waste Week

Hi ya'll! Did you know this is Zero Waste Week? In the spirit of zero waste cooking, I made the following delicious and healthy meal!

Veggie Soup:


I started with the beans leftover from last week's enchiladas,  a mixture of pinto, black, and red beans cooked from dry. I sauteed some leftover onion with some garlic that was just about to go around the bend of freshness. Then came the soup part! 2 vegan bouillion cubes and a buncha water, plus every veggie in my kitchen that was on it's last legs: the potato sprouting new plants (hehehe), the can of no-salt added carrots thats been in the pantry forever, etc. The soup simmered, and I threw in all types of yummy non-salt seasonings.


Harvest Herb Bread from How It All Vegan:


I love bread with soup. I perused the grocery aisle of yummy focaccia mixes and such, but pretty stubbornly wanted to make something from ingredients we already had. I started with the recipe for Harvest Herb Bread from How It All Vegan. I used a combo of oat flour, rice flour, and whole wheat flour. "Eggs" were made from ground flax that I use in my smoothies.


Bonus zero-waste stuff:

*Aforementioned beans (seasoned with Indian spices) and eaten with leftover couscous from last week's Stuffed Bell Peppers- yummy! I read that turmeric is very good for you, so I'm throwing it in everything!

*using leftover "flax eggs" as a healthy addition to my green smoothies

On other fronts, I line-dried everything I washed this weekend, we biked everywhere we went, and I watered the plants with all the water left in glasses all over our house (heheh....making the most out of laziness!).

Anyone have more fun zero waste ideas?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stuffed Peppers!

I am finally getting more comfortable with kinda...winging it on recipes! I used to be a total stickler for measurements and stuff, but now I'm playing around! It's a great way to use up leftovers, too. I had sale bell peppers and left over couscous...so stuffed peppers it was!

These are based loosely on a recipe in Please Don't Feed The Bears (on sale at Microcosm!)

I sauteed some veggies, threw in some tomato sauce and water, and stuffed the peppers with it all. Baked for a while, and yum!



Green goodness!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Texture Clothing!

I am very happy to be able to bring this post to you!

I've seen Texture Clothing on both Walk Slowly, Live Wildly and Boho Photography (great blogs!). People are bursting with love for the company and the products. I checked out the site, and wow! Beautifully made clothes in gorgeous colors, admirable company ethics...pretty is as pretty does! :)


I am very careful with my budget these days, so I mulled it over a while and lucked up on a discount code, with which I promptly purchased an eggplant Sassy skirt! It's wonderful! I have been accused of wearing it for a week straight (fairly true!). I love the hidden pocket on the front. The skirt truly does get softer and more vibrantly colored each time I wash it. It was a great purchase and I feel confident I will be enjoying this skirt for years.


I rarely endorse anything, and am very cautious about what I support...Texture is the real thing! I contacted Theresa of Texture to tell her how much I loved my skirt, and she very kindly offered Pixiepine readers 20% off this month! Please go use this coupon (pixie20) and get yourself some of the most amazing clothes I've come across!


Also certified by the most discerning of ladies, Chloe the kitty!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Enchilada Night!!

Holy enchiladas! This meal was delicous, healthy-ish, and cheap- my three favorites!! A great one-dish meal full of beans and veggies! It also meets the needs of the Eat To Live eating plan, especially if you use whole grain or sprouted grain tortillas. Best of all, it got a thumbs up from the 12 year-old venturing into new foods!

I am getting very interested in sidestepping store-bought foods if I can make them at home. Behold, homemade vegan enchilada sauce!!

Here it is cooking:


I poured it into a reused jar. It was inexpensive, took just a few minutes, and I know exactly what's in there...namely healthy flour, minimal salt, and no weird chemicals. I also cooked my black beans from dry, avoiding the salt content and higher price of canned beans. The refrieds can also be homemade from dry pintos, but I ran out of time for that this round.

Here's the meal assembled:


It's basically tortillas (any kind), with layers of sauteed onions, chopped bell peppers, refried beans, salsa, tomato, black beans, and the enchilada sauce. Baked for about 25 minutes.Yum!!

Currently reading and loving, from my local library: