Friday, October 29, 2010

Wallypop Winner!

The winner, chosen by Random.org, was Sally! Congrats!

Sally, please get in touch by Nov. 1 so I can get your info to Wallypop!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Product Review: Late July Organic Snacks

Everybody needs a snack sometimes! I try to choose snacks that satisfy my junk food cravings without doing a number on my health.

Late July offers lots of healthy snacking options for little kids and grown-ups alike. I've tried their Oreo-style cookies before, and they were kind enough to send me some other items to try out.

Though not vegan, these new boxed cookies are worth highlighting. They are a project in cooperation with the Jane Goodall Institute. The cookies are sandwich style and feature 7 different endangered animals. Profits support the Jane Goodall Institute. The cookies also boast whole grains, calcium, and organic ingredients.


I was very excited to do the hard work of snacking on these goodies!! The cookies are vegan, have antioxidants, and include 4 grams of whole grain per serving. It's nice to get some benefits that balance out all the sugary goodness I munch on sometimes! I love the Vanilla Bean with Green Tea flavor especially. The peanut butter crackers are also vegan and organic! These little packs are perfect for lunches. They also are great travel snacks when you aren't sure what kind of vegan/healthy-ish stuff you'll be able to find.


I really like the family- and earth-focused ethics of Late July. Check out their site for more! Hit up your local health food store for Late July products as well :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Orleans Fun!

Despite the fact that we ate ALL weekend, there aren't any pics of food! Here are some other highlights though!

Champion's Square before the game:


On the roof! The Dome is behind Brad :)



Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel:



Lafayette Cemetary:


Soy iced mocha at Rue De La Course on Magazine St.:


Hope you all had a great weekend!!

Remember to enter the giveaway!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sausage, Round 2!!

Sausage from Vegan Brunch was so easy and yummy that I did a second run, this time with Italian Sausage. I forgot to mash the beans, but it was still deeelicious!

 I loved it and made some yummy gravy from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah/The Dirty South to go with it.


I really want to make vegan hot dogs now! Anyone have a recipe? I made some Sarah Kramer chili to freeze for later, bought sauerkraut in a can, and now I just need my dogs!!

Remember to enter the produce bag giveaway!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wallypop Review & Giveaway!

I'm a fan of anything that reduces waste and adds a little character to my life. At our house, we use cloth napkins, dishtowels instead of papertowels, roundies instead of cotton balls, and so on. That being said, there is a crazy range of quality and value out there for "green" products. I've seen amazing, I've seen sad, and everywhere in between. 

Today's post is on a company I've kept up with several years after reading about it on another blog: Wallypop!

Wallypop has products for cloth diapering and babywearing, as well as natural lifestyle products.  Wallypop is an example of green and healthy products that are of good quality, affordable, and (always a biggie for me) cute!

Imagine your baby's bottom in this:


Or your table set with these:


Wallypop sent me those adorable napkins and this great cloth menstrual pad, both of which are wonderful!



Sarah of Wallypop very generously also sent a reusable produce bag that one of you can win!


Wallypop Produce Bag Details:
  • Made from unbleached muslin.
  • Close with a drawstring and cord lock (just let us know if you do not want the cord lock).
  • Approx. 12x14 inches. Will hold about 8-10 apples.
  • Easy-care: just toss in with regular laundry.
  • Light-weight: doesn't add any noticeable weight to your produce purchase.


Simply head over to Wallypop and comment back here with your favorite product! Giveaway will end 10/29. Thanks and good luck!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Article!

First, the good news: You probably won't get cancer. That is, if you have a healthy lifestyle. "As many as 70% of known causes of cancers are avoidable and related to lifestyle," says Thomas A. Sellers, PhD, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Diet, exercise, and avoidance of tobacco products are, of course, your first line of defense, but recent research has uncovered many small, surprising ways you can weave even more disease prevention into your everyday life. Try these novel strategies and your risk could dwindle even more.

1. Filter Your Tap Water
You'll reduce your exposure to known or suspected carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. A new report from the President's Cancer Panel on how to reduce exposure to carcinogens suggests that home-filtered tap water is a safer bet than bottled water, whose quality often is not higher—and in some cases is worse—than that of municipal sources, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group. (Consumer Reports' top picks for faucet-mounted filters: Culligan, Pur Vertical, and the Brita OPFF-100.) Store water in stainless steel or glass to avoid chemical contaminants such as BPA that can leach from plastic bottles.

2. Stop Topping Your Tank
So say the EPA and the President's Cancer Panel: Pumping one last squirt of gas into your car after the nozzle clicks off can spill fuel and foil the pump's vapor recovery system, designed to keep toxic chemicals such as cancer-causing benzene out of the air, where they can come in contact with your skin or get into your lungs.

3. Marinate Meat Before Grilling
Processed, charred, and well-done meats can contain cancer-causing heterocyclic amines, which form when meat is seared at high temperatures, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which get into food when it's charcoal broiled. "The recommendation to cut down on grilled meat has really solid scientific evidence behind it," says Cheryl Lyn Walker, PhD, a professor of carcinogenesis at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. If you do grill, add rosemary and thyme to your favorite marinade and soak meat for at least an hour before cooking. The antioxidant-rich spices can cut HCAs by as much as 87%, according to research at Kansas State University.

4. Caffeinate Every Day
Java lovers who drank 5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 40% decreased risk of brain cancer, compared with people who drank the least in a 2010 British study. A 5-cup-a-day coffee habit reduces risks of cancers of the pharynx and mouth almost as much. Researchers credit the caffeine: Decaf had no comparable effect. But coffee was a more potent protector against these cancers than tea, which the British researchers said also offered protection against brain cancer.

5. Water Down Your Risks
Drinking plenty of water and other liquids may reduce the risk of bladder cancer by diluting the concentration of cancer-causing agents in urine and helping to f lush them through the bladder faster. Drink at least 8 cups of liquid a day, suggests the American Cancer Society.

6. Load Up On Really Green Greens
Next time you're choosing salad fixings, reach for the darkest varieties. The chlorophyll that gives them their color is loaded with magnesium, which some large studies have found lowers the risk of colon cancer in women. "Magnesium affects signaling in cells, and without the right amount, cells may do things like divide and replicate when they shouldn't," says Walker. Just ½ cup of cooked spinach provides 75 mg of magnesium, 20% of the daily value.

7. Snack On Brazil Nuts
They're a stellar source of selenium, an antioxidant that lowers the risk of bladder cancer in women, according to research from Dartmouth Medical School. Other studies have found that people with high blood levels of selenium have lower rates of dying of lung and colorectal cancers. Researchers think selenium not only protects cells from free radical damage but may enhance immune function and suppress formation of blood vessels that nourish tumors.
8. Burn Off This Breast Cancer Risk Factor
Moderate exercise such as brisk walking 2 hours a week cuts risk of breast cancer 18%. Regular workouts may lower your risks by helping you burn fat, which otherwise produces its own estrogen, a known contributor to cancer.
9. Ask Your Doc About Breast Density
Women whose mammograms have revealed breast density readings of 75% or more have a cancer risk 4 to 5 times higher than that of women with low density scores, according to recent research. One theory is that denser breasts result from higher levels of estrogen—making exercise particularly important (see previous item). "Shrinking your body fat also changes growth factors, signaling proteins such as adipokines and hormones like insulin in ways that tend to turn off cancer-promoting processes in cells," Walker says.

10. Skip The Dry Cleaner
A solvent known as perc (short for perchloroethylene) that's used in traditional dry cleaning may cause liver and kidney cancers and leukemia, according to an EPA finding backed in early 2010 by the National Academies of Science. The main dangers are to workers who handle chemicals or treated clothes using older machines, although experts have not concluded that consumers are also at increased cancer risk. Less toxic alternatives: Hand-wash clothes with mild soap and air-dry them, spot cleaning if necessary with white vinegar.

11. Head Off Cell Phone Risks
Use your cell phone only for short calls or texts, or use a hands-free device that keeps the phone—and the radio frequency energy it emits—away from your head. The point is more to preempt any risk than to protect against a proven danger: Evidence that cell phones increase brain cancer risk is "neither consistent nor conclusive," says the President's Cancer Panel report. But a number of review studies suggest there's a link.

12. Block The Sun With Color
Choosing your outdoor outfit wisely may help protect against skin cancer, say Spanish scientists. In their research, blue and red fabrics offered significantly better protection against the sun's UV rays than white and yellow ones did. Don't forget to put on a hat: Though melanoma can appear anywhere on the body, it's more common in areas the sun hits, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers have found that people with melanomas on the scalp or neck die at almost twice the rate of people with the cancer on other areas of the body.

13. Eat Clean Foods
The President's Cancer Panel recommends buying meat free of antibiotics and added hormones, which are suspected of causing endocrine problems, including cancer. The report also advises that you purchase produce grown without pesticides or wash conventionally grown food thoroughly to remove residues. (The foods with the most pesticides: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, and blueberries.) "At least 40 known carcinogens are found in pesticides and we should absolutely try to reduce exposure," Sellers says.
Provided by Prevention

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Stash Teas!!

Welcome to another Pixiepine product review!

Today's post is another round of tea love! I extolled the virtues of my Yogi teas and discussed favorite Celestial Seasonings flavors a while back.

Star for today: Stash Teas! 

My first Stash tea was the Chai Green Tea.



I didn't take right to it due to the very deep flavor. Now, as I am trying to cut down on coffee, the full-bodied flavor and spice is perfect for me!  It also is ideal for warming up when you have a chill. Don't steep too long, as this one can get bitter quickly!

Stash was so kind as to send me some herbal flavors to review.

All I can say is...delightful!!

 The Fusion Red, White, & Blueberry tea was so fragrant...the scent was wonderful before I even made the cup! I also love the antioxidant punch of those ingredients!

The cinnamon apple...ohhh.... it was so cozy and delicious!! Perfect for winter sipping.

I'm saving the red raspberry for a rainy day treat!

Do you have favorite herbal teas?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Food: Soup & Bread

Fall is so wonderful...hanging my clothes out to dry, cooking yummy warm foods, cleaning the house with cinnamon, clove, and lemon oils so everything smells cozy ♥♥


...And the Sarah Kramer cookbook love continues! 

Here's one yummy fall meal brought to you by clearance produce (slightly squished tomatoes, bendy carrots, and getting-a-little-brown peas)!!



Harvest Herb Bread from How It All Vegan ( I think this is my 3rd time making this- we love it!) 


Yum yum yum!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hang 'Em Dry Challenge Check-In

Just checking in on the Hang 'Em Dry Challenge.

Louisiana weather is still so mild at this point that hanging hasn't been a problem at all! I haven't used the dryer any for my clothing or our household items like linens. (My husband still uses the dryer for most of his and the kids clothes'...they are not down with the crunchy towel factor just yet!)



What I love about line-drying: 
*it forces me to slow down and enjoy myself: I truly like hanging my clothes, enjoying the breeze, smelling the fresh air, etc. The extra time it takes doesn't bother me because it's relaxing.


*no bumping and clunking of the dryer


*saves $$ and energy


*I like the fresh air smell of my clothes. I am using a homemade washing soap, so I also enjoy the lack of flowery chemical smell on my clothes. 

Challenges: 

*my cats! They have some major hairball/yakking problems and I seem to be washing blankets constantly. Thankfully we have a lot of small/thin fleece type things, so they dry super-quickly on the line. 

*I have to stay on top of things. Can't save up tons of laundry and do it all in one day due to it taking time and room on the line to dry. 

Troubleshooting: 

*I hang my shirts on hangers, then hook them over the line. That way they dry in a natural shape. 

* I try to get my clothes washed and hanging early to take advantage of the sun. 

* I hang stained stuff in the sunny spots, but our yard is so shady that I'm not sure this will be a good stain-removal system. 

Credit: istockphoto

Any experiences or tips?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bargain Grocery Shopping, 2nd Edition!!

I had so much fun writing my first post on bargain shopping that I knew I had to post this latest run!

This morning I spent $29 and change on the following:


The breakdown of sale stuff:

My favorite beverages: coffee on sale for $3, giant wine on clearance for $5.99
Smoothie stuff: strawberries $2.29 sale, grapes $1 last chance produce bin
Veggies: orange bells in the last-chance bin for .50 each!
Salad: $1.49 clearance spinach and spring mix
Cheese for the fam: $1/bag on sale!

Whoohoo and ohh yeahh! I love a deal!
Found any great deals lately?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Indian, Sarah Kramer Style!!

Yes ma'am, yes sir! I'm back with another winning meal from Sarah Kramer! (Oh and I can't wait to get a 2011 calender- yayyy!)


Onto the food! Recently the mister and I biked to a local Indian restaurant and had delicious Aloo Gobi and Vegetable Biryani. I decided to try and give it a go at home using my trilogy of SK recipe books!

I used 2 recipes and served them together (my mouth just watered when I edited the photos- this meal was awesome!!).

The rice:

The Aloo Gobi with cauliflower and potatoes:


My bowl covered in Sriracha...cuz I like it spicy!!


Kapow!!! What restaurant meals do you like to make at home?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lovely Headgear...

Part of my fall/winter product reviews is particpation in a special review series for Hip Mountain Mama. Yup, that's right, I'm in the Hip Mountain Mama Sisterhood! Stay tuned for more reviews of great handmade, ethical, sustainable, hippie ray of sunshine stuffs!



This installment shall focus on a super great tie dye headband. I bought this thinking it was a knit stretchy tube, much like the souvenir "buff" my mother once bought me from the Survivor show...oh the old days :p



Anyhoo, it arrived and I was surprised and happy to see it's actually a gauzy headband with a thinner stretchy area at the bottom to keep it on yer head. Yay! It works like a band or a nice girly version of a bandana style kerchief if you pull it down over your hair.


This headband is perfect for those "in-between clean" hair days. Especially during the winter, I don't like over-washing my hair or the rest of me. That brings on the itchy winter blues! This headband is great for putting on and letting those natural oils take care of your scalp, while still looking cute!

Now I just need a pink and purple one...or orange and yellow...mmm!!

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for lots of great product reviews and ideas I'll be sharing on the blog!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vegan Chorizo!

I *finally* bit the bullet and approached making vegan sausage at home.

You know what?

It was embarrassingly easy and quick. I have no idea why I have been avoidng this process. Compared to making seitan, this was like instantaneous goodness.

I checked out Vegan Brunch from my library in preparation for a brunch at our house.


I used the chorizo recipe but can't wait to try the other sausages!

Here's the process:

Mixing:


Wrapping/Steaming (I used a basket and a pot, no fancy equipment necessary!)


The result:


Ready for a quick sautee:


I added BBQ sauce because I'm just like that! Someone asked how we'd get the gory bumpy bits that come in real chorizo- I've never had it, but as you can see, we had authentic bumpy-bit style texture!

Brunch success!!! :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the HoopPretty giveaway didn't get in touch...so a second lucky winner was drawn!

Congrats, Erika of Inspired Mama Musings! Please get in touch with your info :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Giveaway Winner & Sushi!

First of all, the giveaway winner is: "Mark Twain"- please get in touch with your info and I will pass it along to HoopPretty. Thank you to everyone who entered!!

And now onto the food! Recently I posted about my bargain groceries. Here's some of what I made!


The .33 baby veggies turned into a nice sautee with a garlic and soy sauce dressing. And who doesn't love veggie sushi! This one involves cucumber, spinach, and avocado.


This meal cost soooo much less than a sushi dinner out, and we got to lounge on the couch to eat it. Score!!

Have a great day!