Weekend Things

>> Friday, November 21, 2014

Hi, friends! It’s been a cold one this week, and we’re so ready for the weekend. We’ve spent some time starting to decorate the house for the holidays, and I can’t wait to share more of that because it’s one of the best parts of the season for me.

Let’s just jump in to these fun links, shall we?

#1: Check out what this city did with an abandoned Walmart. It will astound you!

#2: I completely agree. The One Question Every Parent Should Stop Asking. I’ll probably write more about this soon on WCT.

#3: Have you seen this one yet? It’s all about those gains, that muscle . . .

#4: A video via Mother Jones. Grandmas smoking up for the first time in WA.

#5: Here are all the US states I’ve visited. What does your map look like? I’m sad to say otherwise I’ve only traveled a bit in Canada.

#6: Some deals!
#7: Oops. How Texting Is Warping Your Spine. Time to work on that posture.

Lately on Writing Chapter Three:

// I’m SAD about Seasonal Change. Here’s what I plan to do about it this year.

// Here’s In Real Life -- what’s happening in my life these days, behind the scenes.

// Ada’s fabulous Ariel Birthday Bash. It was a huge success and lots of fun.

// Sorry, guys. I won’t be writing about TTC anymore -- here’s why.



Psssst: Check out previous editions of Weekend Things!

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5 Winter Homesteading Goals

>> Thursday, November 20, 2014

Now that winter is almost here, my homesteading projects have slowed considerably. I used to spend quite a bit of time outdoors gathering up our garden’s tomatoes. I’d also spend hours in the kitchen on the weekend making recipes to fill our freezer with or otherwise preserving our CSA foods for the season ahead.

With the cold, we’ve retreated. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped my progress toward my goals. Instead, they have shifted to stuff I can do indoors. I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list, but for right now, I’m trying to keep the focus simple and plain. If you have experience with any of these items, I’d love to hear from you! Sharing knowledge and skills is one of the greatest (and FREE!) gifts we can give one another.

1. Research Chickens

This may be premature, as I haven’t yet checked with our town for local ordinances, but I’d like to consider raising a few backyard chickens. We eat so many eggs each week, though I have read that the price and upkeep of the chickens doesn’t necessarily save lots of money on eggs. I also think the experience would be worth it. There are a lot of pros and cons, so this winter I’d like to do the initial research to see if chickens might be a good fit for our family and our goals. Friends who have chickens (and I know quite a few!), I’ll likely be pecking at your brain for ideas!

2. Make Soap

Along with the DIY Lotion Cubes, Natural Vapor Balm, Homemade Deodorant, Green Cleaning Supplies, and other things I’ve been mixing in the kitchen, I’d like to try my hand at making soap. And after I get the hang of basic soap, I’d love to expand the idea to make my own shampoo bars!

3. Make Cheese

I had everything ready and set to start making cheese in the fall, and the weekend I planned to do it got swallowed up in a house full of sickness. There are few ingredients needed, it’s mostly the time and attention that I need. With so many months indoors, I’m sure I’ll finally get my chance. Here’s the recipe for homemade mozzarella I planned to start with.

4. Plan Garden

We have a small raised bed garden in our new backyard. This year, the previous owners had planed the thing full of mostly cherry tomatoes. We enjoyed them, but next year I’d like to expand and diversify. Several of you have recommended the book Square Foot Gardening, so I’ll be picking up a copy to aid in my education on the matter. I think we’ll still keep the operation somewhat small this year, but hopefully grow as we learn more. Of all veggies, I’m most interested in sprouting up some dinosaur kale!

5. Knitting, Etc.

If you follow my other blog, you know I recently picked up the Martha Stewart Loom and Weaving Kit. Of course, most of my occupation with the thing is just a hobby. But I’d love to learn how to create more than basic scarves and hats. I found this cool mitten tutorial on YouTube, and I even have aspirations of stitching together a sweater someday. Wool is my favorite fiber, and I’d love to create a homemade stock of woolen items for all these chilly months we experience every year. Plus, it’s relaxing!

And don’t miss . . .

Related Posts

Cleaning With Baking Soda Basics
Cleaning With Vinegar Basics
Homesteading Stuff You Can Buy at the $1 Store
DIY Natural Lotion Cubes
10 Smart Ways to Use Epsom Salts
Powerful DIY Laundry Detergent
5 Green Cleaners That Work
5-Minute Homemade Deodorant
8 Ways We've Eliminated Plastics
Cleaning Produce The Natural Way
Chemical-Free Clean With Castile Soap

* Here’s the image source for the 1800s garden above.

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Vegetarian Low Glycemic Foods

>> Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So, I guess I should just start by sharing that I’m not eating zero sugar. Still, I had been dealing with some major sugar highs and lows, dizziness, and other weird symptoms from eating too many carbs and sweet things. What started out as a mission to level out my blood sugar quickly turned into a quest for more protein. I have discovered that a lot of the low glycemic foods I am choosing to fill my stomach with are also the ones I need to fill other nutritional gaps in my diet.

What I was eating before, at least on the surface, didn’t seem that horrible to me. Then I started to see how I was relying on bread to make up the bulk of basically every meal -- after have evaluating myself for this same issue multiple times in the past.

I’d begin the day with a homemade bagel, have a sandwich for lunch, and then pasta, pizza, and quesadillas for dinner. Of course, I’d mix in fruits and veggies, too, but bread was still the main filler, the thing I’d go back for seconds of. When the meal was over, I’d snack on chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods. So, more sugary carbs.

I was eating basically everything on this Foods to Avoid list.

It’s easy to see how my blood sugar was rising and falling all day long. I’d reach 2 pm and feel like I needed a nap, but I couldn’t figure out why I was so tired. Obviously, if you’ve been reading here long, you know I’ve experienced this sort of stuff before. But it’s funny how easily you can slip back into bad habits.

This time around, the dizziness has prompted me to seriously reevaluate the situation. I noticed I’d actually get lightheaded a little while after a sugar-heavy meal. When I swapped foods, I’ve been without this awful symptom every since, even with the occasional treat.

Here’s some of the foods I’ve been enjoying:
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Fish*
  • Nuts
  • Homemade peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Barley
  • Ezekiel Bread
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Almond milk
  • Berries
  • But usually vegetables over fruits


Notice anything about this list? 

Yeah. Me, too. A lot of these foods are also vegetarian protein sources. In all the bread I was eating before, I calculated that I was maybe getting half my protein requirement . . . at most. (I’m using this scale, which says I should get around 75-80 grams each day.) Now? I’m not having trouble meeting that mark almost every single day.

* You also notice fish. I've been a vegetarian for a long time. I have absolutely no desire to eat fish from a craving or taste perspective. In fact, it’s like taking medicine for me right now. I experimented with cooking it for dinner last week to see if it might be a good protein to add to the mix (Stephen eats fish). I’m still not sold, but I will likely try it a few more times because when I had finished the meal -- we cooked tilapia in foil pockets with a mix of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, lemon, and herbs atop some cauliflower rice with sautéed kale on the side -- I did feel pretty great. Clear-headed.


That being said, I have easily been able to meet protein requirements eating totally vegetarian and also low sugar, which is great. Here’s a sample of what I ate yesterday.


Steel-cut oats with pumpkin
1/2 cup Greek yogurt in the mix
2 tablespoons homemade peanut butter

25 grams protein


2 eggs scrambled with 1 ounce of cheese mixed in
2 slices Ezekiel bread
1 avocado (spread on the toast)

30 grams protein


1 cup soy milk with protein powder

20 grams protein


Roasted butternut squash + portabella mushrooms
Homemade miso-tahini dressing
Homemade WW naan bread (Greek yogurt in recipe)
1 serving tofu

20 grams protein

For the day, that’s around 95 grams of protein. I mean, wow. I seriously doubt I was getting anywhere close to that in the past. And I didn’t feel tired or foggy-headed all day long. I did have a dessert with some sugar -- 2 tablespoons of cookie butter from Trader Joe’s. Otherwise, I think I did really well keeping the sugar low.

And why do I care so much about the protein? It keeps me fuller for longer. It helps curb the cravings.

This post ended up being a bit less organized than I had intended, but I hope it is helpful to you. I think it’s easy as a vegetarian to get caught up in a carb rut, especially this time of year. During the spring and summer months, I eat a ton more fresh produce from the market, and as the temperatures drop -- the offerings dwindle and I’m lured more by comfort foods and treats!

If you have questions and thoughts, I’d love to hear ‘em!

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