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Top 10 Reasons I Hated Disney World

NOTE: UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST TO CLARIFY THIS MOST CONTROVERSIAL POST When seeking a vacation, I typically look for some variation of the following things: The opportunity to have at least some time apart from my children The chance to indulge in delicious cuisine, maybe even a few farm-to-table restaurants Some outside-the-box fitness – scenic […]

How to Make the Perfect Peppermint Mocha Tea Latte

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What the heck is a tea latte, you ask? It’s similar to a latte made with espresso, only it combines frothy milk with a concentrated brew of tea. Trying to kick the coffee habit? Well let me tell you, this tea latte is a really tasty alternative that won’t leave you missing your morning cup of joe! […]

The post How to Make the Perfect Peppermint Mocha Tea Latte appeared first on The Soft Landing.

Make Your Own Halloween Treat Bags

It isn't always easy to find healthier Halloween treats to hand out and it is even harder to find non-candy treats that won't get your house egg'd. Last year I got the last minute idea to hand out stickers instead of candy but couldn't find any individual boxes of stickers. Instead I bought sheets of stickers and a bunch of other small items to make treat bags. The total cost was less than 46 cents per bag with the lollipop making up half of that cost.

Make Your Own Halloween Treat Bags

I made these bags for the kids and for the teenagers I handed out just candy. These bags works well for kids with allergies too as the main feature of the bag isn't the candy.

What You Need
Crayons/markers/pencil crayons
Stickers
2-3 items to put into the bag 

Craft ideas - Pencils, erasers, stickers, tattoos

Toy ideas - Dinky cars, rubix cubes, playing cards, bouncy balls, jacks, yo-yo's, finger puppets 
(Tip - check out your local dollar store or party store for the best value)




Instructions
  1. Shake your magic 8 ball to figure out how many kids you think you will get this year. Typically it is the (Number of kids from last year * 2)/300 (if rain or snow expected) or 1.5 (if normal weather expected). Don't forget to add the co-efficient for Halloween falling on a weekend. In this case multiply by 7 million and then divide by the weather variable. 
  2. Get your kids to work drawing random Halloween type objects on the front of each bag. 
  3. Cut a the stickers and tattoo sheets into sections so that each bag is getting 3-4 stickers/tattoos
  4. Add everything to the bag, fold the bag down 2 times and seal shut with a sticker. If for some reason the stickers won't hold it shut, try stapling it instead.

What do you give out for Halloween?  What do your kids typically bring home?

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The Easiest Homemade Valentine
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5 Tricks for a Green Halloween

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Raspberry Seed Crackers

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I love raspberry jam but most people turn their nose up at the “seediness” of the jam.  So now I put my raspberries through a vegetable juicer to separate the jam from the seeds.  I wish that my juicer could leave all the jam and just give me the seeds, but inevitably I also lose a lot of jam with seeds.  Since I am a waste-not girl, I found a use for all those seeds in the form of raspberry seed crackers!

Come on. I will show you how.

Sweet, puckery and crunchy.  What else can you ask for?

Why Not Compost them?

Surprisingly raspberry seeds are pretty darn good for you.

  • They contain fiber which helps limit your risk of cancer, constipation, high blood sugar, cholesterol and heart disease.
  • They contain antioxidants which helps reduce damage from free radicals thereby reducing your risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and heart disease.
  • Are rich in vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids.

And yummy as heck.

How to Make Raspberry Seed Crackers

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Just an FYI.  You can use this recipe for blackberry seeds as well. I did.

Ingredients:

Separated raspberry seeds and jam

Lemon Juice (This is the one I use.)

Lemon Zest

(That’s it!)

Instructions:

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1.  Separate the raspberries from the seeds.  You can either mash them through a strainer which is tedious.  (See above.)  Alternatively, you can use a vegetable juicer to extract the seeds from the juice.  My machine isn’t that great so I had to run the seeds through twice.  You will have a lot of jam with the seeds which you want.

2.  Put raspberry seed mash in a bowl and add a tablespoon of lemon juice  or more to the mixture.  I added a tablespoon but I had a cookie tray of mash.

3.  Then add half to one lemon peel zest.  Use fresh.  Don’t use dried lemon peel. (I love adore my  lemon zester.)

4.  Spread raspberry seed mixture on either a silicone mat or parchment paper for the oven or the dehydrator.  Note: if you use parchment paper, it will make permanent lines in your cookie sheet.   (Just sayin’ so you don’t get upset if your cookie sheet is marred.)

5.  Spread thinly–about a 1/2 inch thick.   If you have too much, don’t pile it on.  You will get Flintstones like cracker.  They will be like biting into a rock.   You can’t eat them.  (You can grind them up to use them in your smoothie.)

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6.  Once you spread the mash, score it with a knife as if you were cutting brownies.  Just don’t go all the way down to the parchment paper.  Scoring allows you to have perfectly square cracker.  It is so much easier to lift up the crackers if the mash is scored.

7.  Crack open your oven with a prop such as Chinese chop sticks.  There is a lot of moisture in the mash so you want to let out the steam.  Half way through, I removed the chop sticks and let the oven do its thing.

8.  Cook forever.  I am not kidding.  It took me 2 days to cook this mixture at 130 degrees.  One batch was my fault since I did make Flintstones’ crackers.  It took forever to dehydrate.  Just keep checking your oven.  (I have this stainless steel dehydrator.  By the way, the racks are chrome.)

9.  Alternatively use your dehydrator and set at 110 degrees and get a very long book.

10.  They are done when they snap like a cracker.  Pry them apart and put them in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

They are very sweet!

Alternatively, you can just same the raspberry seed mixture and use it for smoothies.  But what fun would that be?

PS You know I grow raspberries?  Want to learn how?  Read HERE.

Join the Conversation:

What do you do with the leftover raspberry seeds?

Disclaimer:  There may be affiliate links in this article. Purchasing of any item in the links helps supports Green Talk. Thanks for your continued support. Similar Posts:

The post Raspberry Seed Crackers appeared first on Green Talk®.

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Philadelphia School District Rep says “Hard to Make Direct Connections to Exposed Asbestos and Health Risks”

AN EMAIL AND A RESPONSE: 11:36 a.m. Subject: Philadelphia School District’s Representation on Al Jazeera America Dear Ms. Floyd, I had the opportunity to watch your appearance on Al Jazzeera America last week in response to the reports of lead based paint, exposed asbestos, mold, rodents, and myriad other hazardous conditions in our Philadelphia public […]

Getting Over the Green Holiday Guilt

Every year I try to think of a new way to give gifts that are light on their environmental impact and it's exhausting. One year I even tried not giving physical gifts but rather experiences and it totally bombed. Less than half of the recipients used their gift and not because they weren't a good choice for the individual but because they just didn't have the time. I get it, a lot of people probably cursed my name for getting their kid lessons or classes that required them to drive them somewhere once a week. I just couldn't do any more toys. Kids have so many toys, so.many.toys


I normally would jump to Etsy as my solution to find non typical toys or non-toy gifts but the Canadian dollar is so frickin terrible right now that it makes options on Etsy very limited. Even when I search only stores in Canada I still get hit with the high shipping charges, which in most cases totally busted the budget.

Then I had a light bulb moment. What if I just gave people what they wanted instead of looking for the perfect wooden toy made in Canada with solar powered wind mills and fair trade recycled not old growth wood that was harvested and carried through the tundra by unicorns. (If you sell this product please call me).  

What if I gave with purpose rather than trying to live up to some guilt ridden ideal that I keep placing on myself? Craft supplies, STEM products and games are all under the tree this year, and yes some of them contain plastic. I was looking for a dream catcher making kit and the one I had my eye on came with a wooden ring as the base for the dream catcher. The problem was that it was twice the price of the kit with the plastic ring. Was I really going to spend an extra $20 just to get a wooden ring? No. No I was not. 

Often I find the perfect gift when I am browsing Mom2Mom Facebook groups or thrift stores but that holiday guilt creeps up and I wonder what others will think of a 2nd hand gift. I do it all the time for my own kid, and he thinks its pretty cool, but not everyone is okay with it. And honestly, I bet they would think that I am cheap. 

I'm starting to find peace with a non 100% green holiday. My food will still be organic, gifts are wrapped with upcycled paper, and about half of the gifts for B are 2nd hand or homemade. But our gingerbread houses are full of HFCS, our tree isn't real and there is a plastic bow and arrows under the tree. 

Do you put pressure on yourself to have that perfectly green holiday?


Related Posts - Check them out
Buying Gifts for an Eco-Conscious Girl
Can Christmas Be Waste Free?
Holiday Gift Guide - Thinking Outside of the Gift Box

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - 2 Ways

I feel like food is my love language this fall. Apples! Pumpkins! Cinnamon! We have hit the sweet spot between Canadian and US Thanksgiving where it is perfectly acceptable to eat all.the.fall.foods. When you are making your pumpkin pie or wondering what to do with leftover pumpkins from Halloween consider pulling the seeds out of those suckers and roasting up some holiday goodness. And because variety is the spice of life I have made our seeds in 2 different ways....Sweet and Spicy.

Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients
Pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions
  1. Wash pumpkin seeds after removing them from the pumpkin (use the rest of the pumpkin to make pumpkin pie tarts!). To easily remove the pumpkin guts from the seeds add the seeds to a colander and cover with water. Swirl the seeds around so they float to the top and the pumpkin meat settles on the bottom. 
  2. Spread the seeds onto a baking sheet lined with a tea towel and allow to sit for at least several hours. I prefer overnight.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Remove the tea towel from the baking sheet and spread the seeds around on the sheet. If you have too many to form a single layer, remove some and create a second batch (how do you think I got both sweet and spicy ones this year!).
  5. Add maple syrup to the seeds, mixing it in. Add more if it doesn't look like everything is coated.
  6. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and stir.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Taste to see if they are to your desired crunchiness. If they aren't, bake in 5 minute increments. 

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients
Pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil (room temperature)
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
pinch of salt

Directions
  1. Follow Steps 1-4 above.
  2. Coat seeds in coconut oil and stir to cover.
  3. Mix all spices in a small bowl and start by adding half to the seeds. Stirring to coat. 
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Taste the seasoning of the seeds and if it is not spicy enough for you add the remaining spice. 
  5. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Taste to see if they are to your desired crunchiness. If they aren't, bake in 5 minute increments. 

What is your favourite way to roast pumpkin seeds?

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Harvesting Greywater for Garden Usage

One of the most cost-effective and eco-friendly things a gardener can do is recycle water for use in the garden. Harvesting greywater to water vegetable plants and trees helps them thrive during times of drought, reduces your carbon footprint on the earth and will also help to lower your household’s water expenses. What is Greywater? Greywater […]

The post Harvesting Greywater for Garden Usage appeared first on Nature Moms Blog.

Buying Gifts for an Eco-Conscious Girl


Yesterday Joe asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I hate this question. If I answer it then that is probably what I will get and then I won't be surprised. Plus I figure that someone who has been with me for nearly 10 years should know what to get me. But what if the consumer market isn't set up for someone like Joe to be able to find gifts for a crunchy gal like me. As you walk through any mall or even an online store, you are bombarded by toxic filled gift packs that are aimed at being a quick and easy gift for women.


Shopping for an eco-conscious woman means that your list isn't a simple as bath set, leather wallet, necklace. Instead it outlines the chemicals to avoid and the brands that are good. Fear not! It really isn't all that hard, especially if you have access to the types of products that she already buys.


Tips for Buying Gifts for an Eco-Conscious Girl

Support your local CSA and pre-order boxes. It doesn't have to be every week or for the full year. I like to order them for every 2nd or 3rd week in the fall and winter when my access to local organic produce is otherwise non-existent.

Ask to see her Etsy Favourites. This will give you a good idea of the shops she like and the items she has already marked from them. Pro tip - when you search in Etsy you can narrow the search results to shops near you.

Mason jars are always good. They can be used for canning, food storage, making homemade foaming soaps or storing homemade body care products. You know what, any glass storage container is a good gift.

Skip the physical gift and arrange an experience. Let's face it, activities are way cooler than "stuff" anyways. Cooking classes, yoga passes and museum tickets are all great ideas and deals can easily be found on Groupon and Wag Jag.

Look through the bathroom and her closet to see what brands she already loves. Chances are that she has done a ton of research and the brands she owns are the ones that she trusts.

Cast iron pans are a great addition to any kitchen, just make sure that you get one that isn't pre-seasoned with chemicals. Opt for one that is un-seasoned or go to an antique market to find an old one. 

Buy e-books and load up her e-reader right before Christmas morning.

Did you know there is organic wine, beer and spirits? Grab a sampling, box them up and BAM Christmas saved.


What is something that someone could get for you? Or if you are the one buying, what is the biggest challenge you face?


Related Posts - Check them Out
Can Christmas Be Waste Free?
Thinking Outside of the Gift Box
What Does Local Mean?

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How to Cut Corn Off the Cob. The Easy Peazy Way

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I know it isn’t corn season but everything I harvest somehow ends up in the freezer.  As I was purging the freezer, I realized I had over 50 ears of corn stuck in a bunch of different places.  How the heck was I going to cut the corn off the cobs to make room in the freezer?  Cutting the cobs one by one was waaay to tedious and hard.  So, enter the bundt cake pan.  Learn how to cut corn off the cob with the aid of a bundt cake pan.

No fooling.

No, this isn’t some sort of trick.

Well, sort of.

Before I tell you my new magic trick on how to cut the corn off the cob, let me tell you all the different  tools I used before I pulled out the ole bundt cake pan.

But first things first.  Just to give you a frame of reference, this corn was blanched then frozen.  I defrosted it before attempting to cut off the kernels.  The cobs were a little soggy.

Cutting fresh corn would have been easier.

Okay–since you now know the state of the union of the corn.

On to my different attempts to cut off the corn.

Try a  Drill to Remove the Kernels

I tried using a drill based up on the video below but you have to have a special drill bit that I did not have. Some people created their own but I am just not that handy.

If you have a lot more corn than me you might want to consider buying this gadget.  You can buy the Kleen Kutter Corn Cutter HERE .

 

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Corn Cutter

I did purchase the corn peeler but hubby said it was hard on his hands.

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It works if you have a few corn cobs or really strong hands.  (You can buy it HERE.)

If you have tons of corn to de-kernel, the hand held corn cutter is not the tool to use unless you have multiple family members willing to take turns.  (This is not happening in my family–even if I paid them.)

If You are Handy, Create Your Own Tool

If you are handy, you can create your own tool.  See the video below.

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How to Cut Corn Off the Cob with a Bundt Cake Pan:

I settled on using a bundt cake pan since it keeps the corn upright.  I did nick my pan a lot.  Watch my video below:

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Grab a bundt cake.  Notice it has a hole in the middle.  Someone knew you could use it to cut corn kernels. I swear.  They were just waiting for us to catch on.

Joke is on us.

I used a simple cutting knife to get off the corn.

I tried using a larger chopping knife but found it to hard to use.  My corn isn’t that big.

Also, I scratched the bundt cake top. Just be careful.  I was just zipping through the corn without a care in the world.

Don’t be that gal or guy.

Stop cutting at a certain point near the top of the hole. Flip over the corn and finish cutting the missed kernels.

Some of the corn will be inside the hole on your counter-top. Don’t forget to scoop it up when you are putting away your kernels.

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Free the Bundt Cake!

Maybe you are no longer using your bundt cake since you are watching your sugar intake or lowering your carb intake. Well, here is a chance to free your bundt cakepan  and give it a new life!

Can you do me a favor so more bundt cake pans  don’t hide in the cabinet anymore? Can you share my post on social media and especially pin it on Pinterest. (Just click the below picture and a pin it button will appear.)

Everyone needs a second chance. Don’t you think?

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Join the Conversation:

How to cut corn off the cob?

Disclaimer: There may be affiliate links in this post.  Green Talk makes pennies from purchases made for the links.  Thanks for the loyalty and help keep the site running.Similar Posts:

The post How to Cut Corn Off the Cob. The Easy Peazy Way appeared first on Green Talk®.

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