A Meatless Easter Feast

Are you trying to reduce the amount of meat you eat or experimenting with a vegetarian diet? Make vegetables the main attraction in your meatless Easter feast with these recipe ideas. This menu is a good start if you are new to going meatless, the recipes aren’t vegan as they contain milk, cheese and eggs.

Why go meatless? People are choosing to reduce the amount of meat they eat or giving up meat as a healthy lifestyle change, to save money on their grocery bill, or to reduce their ecological foot print.   Continue reading

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How To Green Up Your Easter This Year

Before we know it the Easter bunny will be hopping down the bunny trail leaving a swath of plastic Easter grass and dozens of plastic eggs in his wake. Does it make the environmentalist in you cringe? Don’t be hopping mad, here are some ways to make Easter green without festooning the planet with fake grass!

green easter1. Instead of a basket filled with plastic, cheap chocolate and sugary treats give your child a decorative cloth bag with a set of child’s garden tools, seeds, and/or other gardening supplies. A nature kit or science kit are other alternatives.

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Unique and Thoughtful Gifts That Will be Appreciated

unique gift ideasFor some (many) people gift-giving can be the cause unnecessary stress – for both the giver and the give-ee! But there is a new, growing trend, many people are choosing to live simpler, greener and/or more mindful of accumulating too much “stuff.” If you are looking for less-material gifts that will still be appreciated by the recipient, here are some ideas for unique and thoughtful gifts that will be appreciated. Continue reading

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How Do You Like Your Popcorn? Cheesy!

How do you like your popcorn?
What do you like on your popcorn? Butter and salt, or do you like to spice it up? How about cheesy!  Try this parmesan popcorn recipe!

One of my Grandson’s and my favorite things to do together is make a big bowl of popcorn. He loves to cook and this was one of the first things we made. It’s quick, easy and safe for young children. He gets to measure, pour and mix.  Watching popcorn pop in a hot air popper is a fun activity all on it’s own.

Popcorn is a wonderful healthy snack. But the best part is snuggling up together while we share our snack. Continue reading

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Honey Barbecue Boneless Wings

Watkins barbecue sauce

Watkins barbecue sauce

Wings are a popular appetizer, snack or even a meal. These honey barbecue boneless wings are simple and delicious no matter when you eat them. This makes a big batch, feel free to cut the recipe in half for a smaller crowd.

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons honey
1 bottle Watkins barbecue sauce

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Sweet, Spicy and Savory Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Sweet potato fries are all the rage and it’s no wonder! They are a tasty, yet healthier alternative to french fries, especially when they are baked in the oven like this recipe. Your family will love these sweet, spicy and savory sweet potato oven fries. Feel free to experiment with the spices and seasonings to suit your own taste!

sweet potato oven fries2 to Continue reading

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How You May Benefit From Doing Nothing

1.doing-nothingIn the busy, fast paced, hyper connected world we live in when was the last time you sat and did nothing? Really, how long did it last? Now, we’re not talking about sitting in front of the TV folding socks and t-shirts. We’re not talking about chatting on the phone with your best friend or your mom. Or when ever you sit down to work and end up reading Facebook updates and pinning Pinterest recipes for twenty minutes. We’re talking nothing. Doing nothing at all: simply sitting still and doing nothing. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Did you know, you may actually benefit from doing nothing?

Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne (one of my favorite authors) said, “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” While some people will argue that we don’t do that enough. Stopping to listen has its benefits. Continue reading

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Which Is Better Natural Sea Salt or Table Salt?

Sea Salt & GrinderHave you been wondering, “Which is better, natural sea salt or regular table salt? Perhaps you haven’t given it any though

Maybe you’ve heard that natural sea salt is a healthier alternative to common table salt? Perhaps you’ve seen sea salt used by gourmet chefs on cooking shows and in restaurants. But is there really a difference? Does it taste better or is it healthier?

Well there are most definitely differences, and many would argue that sea salt is healthier due to the minimal processing and lack of refinement it undergoes. Others maintain that the only difference is taste. So let’s take a look at some of the claims and real differences between these two kinds of salt.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium chloride is sodium chloride, and most people associate the term “salt” with this chemical compound. While both sea and table salt contain sodium chloride, table salt contains no other minerals. Table salt does, however, usually have additives such as iodine.

Sea salt does not have anything added to it, but it contains varying amounts of natural trace minerals and other constituents. Continue reading

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Candied Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pecans

Mm, these candied pumpkin pie spiced pecans make a wonderful holiday snack and are perfect for gift giving. You’ll also find a handy bonus recipe for pumpkin pie spice mix. It’s convenient to have on hand for pie, coffee drinks and other recipes that call for this spice mixture.

You can substitute other nuts such as almonds or even peanuts. Pecans are my favorite. What are your favorite nuts?

pecans

pecans (Photo credit: meghanmconrad)

Ingregients:

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below) Continue reading

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Save Money Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Wrapping Paper

Do you look at the mounds of crumpled, torn wrapping paper after Christmas and wonder about all the waste?  Many people share this concern for the environment and are looking for ways to save money while being more eco-friendly. Making your own wrapping paper this holiday season is a small but significant way to address both of these concerns. After all, wrapping paper can cost more than $5 a roll, and most if not all of it is torn up and thrown away.

Did you ever decorate butcher paper when you were a child? The technique has not changed, and neither has the rewarding fun. Get your kids involved in this green, economical project this year. Here are some ideas for making home-made gift-wrap.

English: The front of a paper shopping bag, is...

English: The front of a paper shopping bag, issued by the Eaton’s department store in Canada during the Second World War. “Make this bag last! Paper is vital to the war effort. Help save it. Parcels carried – save gasoline, rubber and wrapping materials.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Paper bags

This is a simple, uncomplicated way to make wrapping paper. You can just use the decorated brown paper bag as a gift bag, or cut the bags up to make sheets of wrapping paper. If you have rubber stamps, by all means use those. But if you don’t, or if you want a different design, there’s no need to run out and buy them – you can make your own ink stamp from a potato, or employ your children’s hands to make multi-colored hand-prints with tempura paint.

To make your own potato stamps, you’ll need:
- a potato
- a permanent marker
- small knife, such as an Exacto
- ink or paint

Cut the potato in half. Use the permanent marker to draw a simple design, such as a triangular tree-shape, on the cut end of the potato. Then, using a small, sharp knife (grown-ups only for this step!), cut away the negative space around your design. The part that is not cut away will be your stamp. Use the other half of the potato for another design.

Dip the potato in ink or tempura paint and stamp away. White paint on brown paper adds sparkle, green and red are seasonal, and a variety of colors is interesting and fun. Let the stamp design and color choice say something about you and your family, or about the gift recipient.

2. Newspaper and catalogues

Wrapping a gift in the colorful Sunday funnies is old-fashioned and economical. You can also contact your local newspaper and ask if they will give you the “butt ends” of the paper rolls. These are blank ends of the newspaper rolls that are thrown away after each printing. You can decorate this as you would the paper bags.

Use the pages of all those catalogues you get in the mail for colorful gift-wrap. Some of the pictures in catalogues can be really beautiful, and they are certainly festive and seasonal.

3. Old maps

Who doesn’t have old, unused maps lying around? Search your car, desk drawers, etc. and you will probably find a map you no longer need. This is an especially whimsical way to wrap a gift for someone who is moving, has just moved, or otherwise lives far away.

4. Skip the bows

Instead of wasteful bows, fasten something creative to your wrapped gift, such as seashells, interesting seed pods or other natural autumn treasures, or dried flowers. A sprig of holly, cinnamon sticks, or feathers also make creative gift-finishers.

Have fun making your own wrapping paper this season, and enjoy saving money and going green!

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