Friday, March 25, 2011

Upcycled Milk Carton Bird Feeder- Toddler Friendly

 Despite how it looks and feels outside, the birds are chirping spring. What better way to welcome the season than fashioning a bird feeder with your tot. 
What you'll need:
empty and rinsed milk carton
Popsicle sticks or twigs
glue stick
non-toxic paint 
paint brush
cut photos from an old magazine
bird seed
wire or string for hanging
wooden dowel, pencil, or stick for perch
1. Paint your milk carton and let dry
Sierra painting her birdfeeder 2/23/11

2. Once dry, cut top of carton off (photo below)

3. cut a "window" into the middle of the carton (do this on one or several sides)
4. have toddler glue photos you picked out together from old magazine onto the milk carton
5. tape or glue popsicle stick "roof" onto the carton
6. poke a hole under the "window" and place dowel or stick to create a perch
7. under the peak of the roof use a long sharp object to poke hold all the way through (I used a metal skewer)
8. Feed your string or wire through and secure with knot
9. fill with bird seed and hang
10. Enjoy watching birds with your tot.
upcycled feeder before perch

with perch

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Three Bean Quinoa Chili

This easy vegetarian chili is packed with fiber and protein. Make it on Sunday and eat it all week or freeze extras.
Quinoa Chili 
1 1/2 Cup Black Beans cooked (or one can rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 Cup pinto beans cooked (or one can rinsed and drained)
1 cup kidney beans cooked (or one can rinsed and drained)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (click here for more info on qunioa-where to buy, how to cook)
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 can organic tomato sauce
1/2 can diced jalapeno chili's
1/2 white onion chopped
3 cloves garlic
3 T Taco Seasoning
   shredded cheese, cilantro or green onion, and crushed tortilla chips for garnish
1. In dutch oven on Med-heat EVOO. Add garlic and onion and cook until tender/lightly browned
2. Add seasoning and stir about a minute
3. dump in remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through
4. Serve warm adding garnish if desired
depending on how thick you like your chili you may want to add water to thin it out more

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yogurt Dill Dip

  I've been attempting to eat more vegetables when I get the urge to snack. I am no fan of raw veggies, but with my recently perfected dill dip they are totally tolerable. It's practically guilt-free since the dip is yogurt based, which adds extra protein. It's also great on salmon. Happy Snacking!

Yogurt Dill Dip
1 Cup Organic Non-fat plain yogurt (I use Trader joes organic non-fat plain yogurt. aprox $2.99 for 32oz)
1/2 T Dill
1 T minced dried onions (in the spice aisle)
1 t  season salt (I'm working on eliminating this at some point because it's not super "clean")
mix ingredients together and chill. Serve with preferred organic veggies and pita chips.
 I like to make a batch on Sunday and use throughout the week.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Water Ways

photo courtesy of Carver County Water Dept
   Anyone that knows me knows that I drink a TON of water (probably close to a gallon a day). So, when I read the news that cancer causing chromium-6 (remember Erin Brokovich?-same stuff) has been found in the drinking water of many US cities, I figured it was time to dig a little deeper. Sadly my research unveiled that Over 300 pollutants have been found in US drinking water and half aren't even regulated. Arsenic, weed killer, flouride, etc. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ENTIRE LIST of contaminants.
   After meeting with a few professional company sales people we decided it would be MUCH cheaper to buy a reverse osmosis system/water softener system ourselves and have a plumber friend install it (note that Reverse Osmosis is the only filtration that removes fluoride).

A note on flouride: The National Academy of Sciences found that in high amounts, fluoride can cause pitting and streaking in children's teeth. Also may cause brittle bones, cancer, hormone disruption.
The US is one of the only countries that fluoridates our water. Recently president Obama has called for reducing levels of fluoride. All you need to get the safe amount is simply a fluoride toothpaste (and some would argue that) . You don't need to ingest the stuff. And do we really want the government deciding what chemicals they should add to our water at any level?

   You can find out what's in your drinking water by entering your zip code below. Remember when reading your water report that not all contaminants are accounted for-just what's "regulated". Nothing can totally purify your water, but you CAN take steps to reduce your exposure.

CNN "Harmful Chemicals Found in Tap Water of 31 US Cities"
Fox News "EPA Reverses itself on Fluoride"
Weed Killer in Your Water
EWG: 300 Pollutants in US Drinking Water