Thursday, October 17, 2013

Soap Berries

A few months ago the family went out to Heritage Prairie Farms and among other things at the farm we found a great product by Naturally Green. It was none other than natural laundry detergent and fabric softener in the form of soap berries. We tried a small pouch of the product and really enjoyed the outcome. Our laundry didn't smell like laundry, it smelled like fabric, if that makes any sense. There was no odor or scent and everything was soft and clean. This included our STINKY load of clothes from the gym!

As we've done with all of our other transition items in the house we used up the last of our Tide and Downey. I don't care for wasting what we've already purchased, so when we change items we always use up the last of the old. When I ordered our soap berries I went for the BIG bag of 350 washes.

Soap berries are a fruit that comes from the Himalayan region of Southeast Asia. They are dried when you receive them and ready for use. In my 350 washed pack I received the berries and 3 small wash bags. The small wash bags hold the berries for washing. You place about 4 whole berries, or 8 halves, into the the small bag and tie and toss into the washing machine. We use cold water for all washing, except towels, so our berries will last about 7 washes. In between washes you pull the berries out of the small bag and allow them to dry. The berries do not go into the dryer. 

We have always used Tide laundry detergent because it's the only thing that doesn't irritate Kevin's skin. So on average we pay about $15 - $17 for a large container that cleans 96 loads, $12 (120 loads) for Downey liquid softener and $12 (240 loads) for Bounce fabric sheets. Our total per load of laundry is about $0.30. We have a HE front loading machine. 

The cost of the soap berries 350 load bag, shipping included, is about $38 and comes out to $0.10 per load. This is a $.20 per load savings. I don't know about you but thats a good savings for us! On top of that it helps the environment and is a chemical free option. I realize there were shipped or flown here and it hurts that it's not local. I'm always on the search for new options to remove chemicals from our house and this is one that presented itself that we are very happy with. 

In the process of reading through the Naturally Green site I came across a video they shared from For Greenies. Their site is currently down so I can't fully check it out. But there appear to be a few other uses for soap berries. One being that you can use them in soap dispensers for hand wash. I'll be looking for that tutorial as soon as the site comes back on line. 

These are the cute little berries out of the package :) Here's to happy chemical free washing ahead!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

subURBAN homestead class


Once upon a time there was a little boy who didn't like salad. He would eat it with begrudgingly and only with ranch dressing on it. One night he went to a subURBAN homestead class at his mom's CrossFit gym and he watched Amy make a funny looking salad. The salad had some of Charlie's favorite things in it like apples, walnuts and paleo granola. The little boy ate the salad and went back for seconds. He then talked to his mom all the way home about the fun salads they could make on their own. 

Yes a funny little story above but so very true. As part of the 8 Week Paleo Challenge at our gym it was arranged for Amy with subURBAN homestead to come and talk to us about different herbs and what we can grow and how to use them. subURBAN homestead offers classes and lectures on "healthful subjects". Whether its a farm tour, organic growing techniques or a cooking class there are plenty of options to choose from. With wanting to grow more of our food / herbs I'll be checking out some of the upcoming classes. I'll also be reading up more on herbs!

Now for the awesome salad that Amy made the night of our class, if I remember it correctly. She used mixed green, delicata squash sautéed in bacon grease, some fresh herbs from her garden, fresh diced apples, and Paleo Granola from CJK Foods.   

 For the dressing she used a mixture of 2/3rd olive oil and 1/3rd of this great orange vinegar from Trader Joe's. I now have this Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar in my cupboard! Yum! The bonus is Charlie honestly liked the entire salad and the dressing. So he'll have another option besides ranch. 

Thanks again to Craig for arranging to have Amy visit our gym. Eating real food is a constant learning experience. It's not just boring chicken breast and a salad. There are so many flavors to marry, techniques to try, and foods to experience. So get out of your boring box! I encourage all of us to learn more and act on what we learn. It's for our health and to make fuel fun and yummy! 


Monday, October 7, 2013

Southwestern Patties

Ok so I've become obsessed with roots / turnips. I found a new one at the store recently called Parsley Root. The leaves are parsley and you eat the root part. So a double use that's a win win. They are dirty looking white roots in the veggie section. Don't let that sway you to not pick them up. They don't tastes like parsley, which was my concern. 

When I got them home I treated them like any other 'potato' type root such as parsnips. I put them in fauxtato salad along with parsnips and didn't taste any difference. So I purchased them again this last week and found a wonderful new use for them.....Southwestern Patties! If you don't have Parsley root we also made a second round and used rutabaga in it's place and it worked just as well. So you have some options and no reason not to make these!

6 cups shredded parsley root or rutabaga
8 eggs
2 tablespoon taco seasoning (The recipe I use is from Whole New
1/2 cup green onions
1/4 diced poblano pepper
Coconut oil or ghee for cooking

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. 
Preheat pan and add either coconut oil or ghee to the pan and melt.
Add a large spoon full (1/4 - 1/2 cup in size) to your pan then flatten into a round patty. 
Cook on the first side for 4 min on a medium heat. When first side is cooked then flip and cook for 4 minutes on the 2nd side. 

Top with SOOO many wonderful options and enjoy! We went to town with a few different options. 

 A patty topped with burger and all the toppings of your choice.
 Patty topped with sausage patty, egg, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and olives.
 Patty topped with coleslaw, alaskan pink salmon (fresh from the source! thanks dad!), tomatoes, avocado and hot paleo mayo.

The first meal of the above that I made was with a burger. I shoved the patty into the bottom of the boys lunch thermos and cubed up their hamburger. They were raving about it after school. 

Enjoy this awesome patty! Share with me on Facebook how you use it! I love seeing food photos :)