Stuffed Cabbage

Deceptively simple to prepare and always admired, stuffed cabbage can be filled with spiced rice and kept in the over on a low heat as needed. They’re best served with a colorful tomato or cranberry relish.

Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed Cabbage

What You Need (Serves 4)

  • ¾ cup mixed wild and basmati rice
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup apple cider, juice or hard cider
  • ¾ cups raisins
  • 1 small head Savoy cabbage
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable bouillon

What To Do

    • Preheat the oven to 350°F
    • Put the rice into a 2-quart pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a bare simmer, cover, and cook for 50 minutes, adding more water if necessary until the wild rice is tender. Drain and let cool
    • Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Put the apple cider into a small pan and gently sauté the onion, garlic, and raisins in it until the onion is soft
    •  Stir the mixture into the rice and mix thoroughly

 

    • Prepare a 4-quart pan of boiling water
    •  Trim the stalk of the cabbage and pull off all the leaves that are large enough to stuff—there are likely to be 12 to 15
    • Drop the leaves into boiling water and leave for five minutes to soften
    • Drain
    •  Working on a flat surface, smooth out a leaf, put the stuffing in the center and fold up the sides, then roll up. You can trim away any thick stems that make rolling difficult
    • Pour a little bouillon into the bottom of a baking dish and arrange the cabbage rolls on top, making several layers if necessary
    • Pour the rest of the bouillon over the dish, cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes
    • Remove from heat, and serve

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. We hope you enjoy this recipe.

Everyday Vegetarian
Excerpted from Jane Hughes book – Everyday Vegetarian; 365 Days of Healthy Recipes, by St. Martin’s Griffin. Jane has been a vegetarian for 25 years. She is the editor of Vegan Life magazine and author of The Vegetarian Travel Guide.  She has been a member of the Vegetarian Society since the 1980s and is currently Secretary of The Guild of Food Writers

We would love to see your pictures if you make this at home. Use tag #WillyBMum and
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5 edible plants that You can easily grow at home

Do you want to maintain a healthy and balanced diet without limiting the amount of pesticide residue on your foods? Don’t we all! Well, the best option is to grow your own food at home naturally, all you need is a nice little patch of soil or a sunny place for potted plants. Additionally, this will help trim down on your food expenses while encouraging less food waste, as you can just pick what you need and let the rest grow and look pretty.

Our vegetable garden

Our vegetable garden including kale, tomatoes, and green beans

Every year my family grows a summer garden, surely winters in New York can be very harsh and unless you have a greenhouse it is impossible to continue growing outdoors. However, you could re-pot some of your summer plants and bring them indoors for the winter. I have successfully done this with bay, rosemary, mint and basil in previous years. Once the warmer months are back, I replant them outdoors. It’s quite easy with a little know how, especially if you follow container gardening guides online.

If you want to start producing your own food at home, here’s a short list of my favorite easy-to-grow edible plants, that are ideal for newbie green thumbs.

Basil

Basil from my veggie garen

Basil, grown in our garden

The smell of basil lifts the soul, and can aid mental alertness in time of fatigue. Basil is also high in Vitamin A, C & K, and fiber. It is an annual that has to be planted every season, and can be grown from seed easily enough. Basil complements the tomato plant, this is beneficial for many reasons like pest control; some bugs do not like the strong scent of basil so they will stay away from the tomatoes, which means more for you! In this example of companion planting, both basil and tomato have the same growth requirements being plenty of sunlight and water, and high temperatures to grow.

Tomato

Growing tomatoes at home

Nice bunch of homegrown tomatoes

There is nothing like the genuine taste of a homegrown tomato. Not to mention the pure pride of growing them from scratch. Tomato is a low-calorie food, and they are also low in fat which makes them a popular food if you are watching your weight.  Interestingly, it is said that cooked tomatoes are actually better for you than raw ones, as more beneficial chemicals are released during this process.

Tomatoes need constant attention and maintenance to ensure a healthy harvest. For example, if you see “suckers” growing in the crotch joint of two branches, you want to make sure you pinch them off. This is not going to bare any fruit, and will only take energy away from the rest of the plant, and we you not want that.


Rosemary

Teaching Miles how to recognize a rosemary plant

Teaching Miles how to recognize a rosemary plant

Rosemary is a versatile plant that has been enjoyed around the world probably since the beginning of time. It is a fantastic as a hair rinse, and smelling the plant is said to help with mental clarity and concentration. My husband likes to make oven-roasted focaccia bread with olive oil, sea salt and fresh rosemary sprigs – delicious.

Keep in mind that this bushy plant is not a fan of a lot of water, and enjoys living in well-drained soil. Also, rosemary is easier to grow from a seedling, than starting at scratch with a seed.

Drying rosemary, maintains its flavor and fragrance, so if you experience ungrowable winters you can still enjoy your harvest throughout the year.


Dandelion

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The sunny dandelion is a super food which is so much more than what most here in the United States consider a weed. Each dandelion plant is jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help you live a healthier life. It is also fascinating that science tells us that this plant has lived on earth for 30 million years!!

Dandelions have been eaten as a food, consumed as a drink, prescribed as a medicine, used as a dye and as an ingredient in apothecary products throughout human history. Every part of the dandelion plant can be used for something! I personally just transported some that I found growing in a paddock, into my veggie garden, where I plan on harvesting the leaves throughout the warmer months as an addition to salad greens.

If you want to learn more about the dandelion plant your can read a more in-depth article we wrote HERE.

Bay Leaf

Attachment-1The Bay Leaf is a popular culinary herb which is used either dried or fresh in cooking like soups or stews, and is not usually eaten, although it is safe to do so.

I have transplanted my bay leaf plant from an indoor pot in winter to an outdoor garden in summer for 3 years successfully. However, this year to make it easier I am just keeping him outdoors in the pot, which bay leaf can grow quite well in. You just want to make sure you fertilize once a year, with a safe version for food!

During warmer months, bay leaf will need more water. During cooler months, water regularly but let the dirt completely dry out before watering again.

These are my top 5 edible plants for growing naturally and pesticide-free in your summer garden, hope you enjoyed this article and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Yes, this Korean Kimchi Burger is Vegan

Years ago, I had a vegan Korean BBQ burrito in Los Angeles. The burrito had jackfruit to replace the steak, and I still think about it when I’m figuring out what to have for lunch. Jackfruit is pretty pricey and hard to come by in Brooklyn, but whenever I get nostalgic for that burrito, I make these spectacular burgers. They combine the signature sweet Korean BBQ sauce with a “beefy” veggie burger and spicy kimchi (a sort of hot Korean sauerkraut usually made with napa cabbage, radishes, and green onions) to create a dinner just as good as those burritos. Plus, you’ll hopefully have some leftover kimchi as a side for lunch the next day.

Korean Kimchi BBQ Burger photo credit Annie Shannon

Yes, this is burger is vegan

What You Need for 4 Burgers

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • Dash of vegan liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or Thai chili sauce
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

To Assemble

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 cup vegan kimchi (read labels to make sure yours is vegan; some contain fish sauce)

What To Do

  1. Make the burger: In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the vegan beef, green onion, molasses, ginger paste, soy sauce, vegan liquid smoke, onion powder, and garlic until blended. The molasses is really sticky, so this is kind of messy and weird, but it’s totally worth it. Promise.
  2. Form the mixture into 4 patties about the size of your hand. Place them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all the BBQ sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat
  5. 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the burgers until lightly crispy around the edges, then reduce the heat to low and brush the burgers with
  6. BBQ sauce. Flip and coat the burgers a few times to get a nice saucy patty, but watch out for the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining burgers, adding the remaining oil after the first batch.
  7. Toast the burger buns while the burger patties are cooking.
  8. Serve each burger in a toasted bun with lots of kimchi on top.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

shannon_MasteringTheArtOfVeganCooking_HCGrand Central Life & Style is thrilled to present MASTERING THE ART OF VEGAN COOKING: Over 200 Delicious Recipes and Tips to Save You Money and Stock Your Pantry by Annie and Dan Shannon from Meet The Shannons. The book will be released on May 12, 2015, as farmer’s markets and CSA’s gear up for the spring/summer season of fresh fruits and veggies.

 

Excerpted from the book MASTERING THE ART OF VEGAN COOKING by Annie and Dan Shannon.
© 2015 by Annie and Dan Shannon.
Reprinted by permission of Grand Central Life and Style.
All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credit - Annie Shannon

Babyproof Your Nursery in 10 Simple Steps

Your baby is growing and getting bigger. This is an exciting time for both you and your child, as you get to watch the baby learn and explore the world. This is also the time to take some steps to keep your child safe in the nursery. As your child continues to grow, so does the importance of safety. Your child will want to touch and taste everything, without any awareness of potential danger. Put yourself in the perspective of your child and consider what areas or items in the nursery may be risky. The important thing is your child’s safety, rather than how the room looks. These ten simple steps will help you transform your baby’s room into a safe haven for fun, play and exploration.

Baby-proof Flooring
As your child becomes mobile, his or her whole life will change, as will yours. This is such an exciting time as you watch your baby crawl, pull up and take those first steps. To keep your little one safe, you’ll want to invest in nursery-safe flooring. Ceramic and linoleum tiles can be slippery and are a hard surface to land on if your baby takes a tumble. The safest floor for a baby is one with a low-pile carpet to cushion those falls.

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Windows and Doors
Your little explorer will not recognize the dangers that windows and doors present. Install locks on the windows as well as devices that only allow the windows to be opened an inch or two. Make sure each window in the nursery has a screen. Closet doors should be sliding rather than folding. Sliding doors won’t pinch little fingers. The door into the nursery should be kept closed overnight for fire safety. During the day, keep a wall-mounted gate up to keep your baby safe.

Blinds and Curtains
Choose blinds and curtains that are baby-proof, such as cordless window coverings. If you can’t find any in your area, you can order a free window covering repair kit for curtains and blinds that have cords. Avoid window films, as these can become loose and become a hazard.

Poison-proof Walls
Decorating your baby’s room is a joyful experience for parents. When you’re choosing paints, select those that are free of emissions. Instead of hanging frames with chemical-laden finishes or plastics, consider using wall decals instead. Wall decals are easy to remove as your baby grows into a preschooler and develops opinions about style. Australian designer, Love Mae, has the most beautiful decals.

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Furniture Security
Use wall anchors or braces to secure the baby’s dresser and other furnishings. Keep in mind that your baby will be mobile and may try to climb the furniture by pulling out the drawers. Install drawer latches to discourage this.

Crib
Choose a safe crib with strong slats no more than two inches apart. Choose a new crib for your baby. Not only is this fun, but it also ensures that the crib meets current safety standards. Drop-side cribs no longer meet safety requirements. Make sure that the crib mattress fits snugly. Only one of your fingers should fit between the crib mattress and sides. Keep blankets, toys, crib bumpers and pillows out of the crib. Place the crib along a solid wall, away from windows, shelves and ceiling fans.

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Electricity and Wiring
Babies and toddlers just love poking and prodding electrical outlets. Place plug covers over any outlets that aren’t in use. Seek out the type of outlet cover that protects the whole electrical plate, as a determined little one could pry the individual outlet covers out of the electrical sockets. Use a cord shortener to keep lamp leads and other cables safe.

Toy Box
Friends and family will bless your baby with lots of fun toys. Store the toys in a safer toy box that doesn’t have a lid. Other cute ways to store toys include storage cubes and baskets. These containers will grow with your child. Put the storage cubes or baskets on a low shelf so your baby won’t have to climb to use the toys.

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Lights and Ventilation

Choose CFL or LED light bulbs for your baby’s room. These don’t get hot and have a long life. Choose a low-wattage that will be gentle on baby’s eyes. Keep the nursery at about 72 degrees Fahrenheit for comfort. A ceiling fan will promote airflow and help dispel carbon dioxide from around your baby during sleep.

700_chick-a-dee-smoke-alarm-in-situ
Fire Prevention

Make sure the nursery has a working smoke detector. Change the detector’s batteries every six months. Remove anything combustible from the nursery, such as papers or extra boxes.

This one from Chick-A-Dee is adorable!

 

Always think about safety when planning and decorating your baby’s nursery. With a little planning, you’ll be able to create a comfortable environment that promotes your baby’s health and stimulates learning and development.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Patricia-Dimick-Headshot
Patricia Dimick is a wife, mom, and advocate to her child. 
She is also a writer, passionate coffee drinker, 
table tennis player, big fan of nature and DIY jobs.
You can reach her @patricia_dimick

Kelp Noodle Dish

Looking to add some additional healthy dishes to your family’s summer menu? Well look no further than yoga extraordinaire, Beth Shaw’s new book, Yogalean. Her book is full of plant-based recipes and yoga poses to promote weight loss and increase vitality, including this Kelp Noodle creation. While not specifically targeted towards young-family living, this book is surely a resource to Mom or Dad. After all, healthy parents, make for healthy children.

My 4-year-old loves crunchy seaweed slices as a snack, and although this is not quite the same thing, trying out a kelp noodle dish has been on my list of things to do for a while. Surely, it is just a healthier version to a pasta dish and he loves pasta.

Health Factors
Kelp is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, providing us with 46 minerals, 16 amino acids and 11 vitamins. When eating for youth, it’s important to give skin, hair, nails and organs a proper dose of all these things to keep them rich and vivacious. Broccoli, in case you’re not aware, improves eye health and the repair of your skin. Not forgetting, it is an excellent plant protein source.

Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 2.22.50 PMWhat You Need

  • 8 ounces Kelp Noodles
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 Tablespoon Toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Teaspoons freshly grounded black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 Cups of thinly sliced yellow onion
  • 2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 Cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 Cups of baby spinach
  • 2 Cups of finely chopped broccoli
  • 2 Teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Make it Lean

  • Cook noodles according to package directions. Rinse and cool
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the tamari, sesame oil, agave, salt and pepper. Add noodles, coat with sauce and set aside
  • In a large sauté pan or wok, heat grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushroom and garlic and cook for 2 additional minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach and broccoli and cook until spinach is wilted.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Add vegetables to the noodles and toss until well combined. Garnish with sesame seeds.

YogaLean_Shaw_0303[1]
Beth Shaw is an internationally recognized yoga and fitness expert as well as the author of YogaFit and YogaLean. She divides her time between Los Angeles and New York and is the president and founder of the YogaFit training systems, the largest Yoga School in the world.

 

Excerpted from YOGALEAN by Beth Shaw. Copyright © 2014 by Beth Shaw. 
Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division 
of Penguin Random House LLC. 
All rights reserved.

Child Friendly Guacomole – no spice and no tomatoes please Mummy

With the widely celebrated Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo fast approaching. This colorful and happy celebration which is widely celebrated in the United States, goes hand-in-hand with consuming the avocado-based dip, guacamole. However, for Little Ones, celebrating with a traditional dish is not always an option because of the spices or herbs which are usually added. 

Here is a simple recipe which is fast and easy, that will have you Little One/s asking for more!SONY DSC

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit — California Avocado

Never Enough Guacamole
My family has mixed dietary requirements. I follow a vegan diet, meaning I do not consume any animals or animal products. My Son is a pescetarian/vegetarian meaning he eats seafood and dairy products, but not the flesh of any land animals. And, sadly my husband eats anything! However, all 3 of us have one thing in common with our diets and that is we heavily lean on a plant-based diet. Vegetables, Fruits, Grains and Seeds make up the majority of our meals, compared to other foods. And, yes guacamole is something we have on hand at all times in our kitchen. We eat a lot of it!

My 4-year-old recently asked me to make him a variety of his favorite guacamole that wasn’t spicy that he can enjoy, and “Hold the tomatoes too Mummy” he said. So, I made a really simple avocado based dip specifically for him, respecting his current anti-tomato stance. So far, it is a huge hit, with my son and my husband alike.

Happy guacamole face

Happy guacamole face

For parents who are on-the-go and looking for something fast, nutritious and easy to make, this is perfect! Once the ingredients are prepped, it literally takes a few minutes before you have a beautiful fresh food right in front of you ready to eat.

It has no hidden additives or added sugar like most commercial brands, rather it is made just the way food should be – healthy and wholesome. All you need is avocado, lemon, sea salt, olive oil and some garlic. Oh yeah, and a happy guacamole face!

 

Homemade guacamole

Homemade guacamole

What You Need

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 avocados peeled, pit taken out, and cubed into small pieces
  • 3 gloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Place all ingredients in blender, and mix until smooth with a creamy consistency.
Serve with chips.

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Not a chip fan? Why not try the guacamole with salad, or with a veggie burger, crusty bread or raw vegetables like carrots. My husband of late, is just spooning it straight out of the mason jar I store our guacamole in. Now that’s love! 

SONY DSCAs a side note, if you are have your Little One at home while making this dish it is always fun and educational to include them as well. My Son had great fun making the guacamole face you see pictured above, and even more fun trying to figure out how to use a lemon juicer for the first time. Sure it was a bit messy, but the determined look on his face was priceless. Pretty soon, he is going to be making the guacamole for the family and I can sit back and relax!

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum, we hope you enjoy our simply perfect guacamole.

 

 

Choosing safe and eco-friendly toys for your children

Play time is important for children to develop skills, to learn how to share and to use their imaginations. One way that young children explore the world is by sucking and chewing on those toys. Unfortunately, many toys have hidden hazards within them. Choosing the right toys that are fun but also safe is an important part of parenting your children.

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Reading Labels

Just grabbing the cutest or most fun looking toy is easy. However, it’s important to take a minute to see what the toy is made of and where it comes from. Look for toxic-free options that are labeled as PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free.
Although a few years since publication, the blog “Safe Mama” has a helpful cheat sheet to help you choose a company who produce safe toys for children. See HERE.

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Avoid Batteries
Disposable batteries are known to be harmful to the environment and health. Batteries, especially the lithium button ones, can be swallowed or leak, resulting in life-threatening injuries to your child. These batteries are commonly found in musical toys and cards, remote control cars and other gadgets. To be safe, stick with toys that don’t use batteries.

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Re-purpose Crafts
Something you already have on hand may make a perfect toy. Look around your home and see if you have wooden spoons, teflon-free pots and pans, a whisk, empty boxes, fabric scraps, or stainless steel bowls. These items provide hours upon hours of open-ended fun for children of all ages.

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Long Lasting Toys
Look for multipurpose toys that encourage creativity. High-quality toys cost more up front but generally last longer. Your grandchildren may even be able to play with them. Think classics like wooden doll houses or kitchen sets.

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Avoid Plastic Toys

Plastic toys are durable, inexpensive and easy to clean, but they may also contain high levels of lead, phthalates and other harmful chemicals. Seek out toys that are BPA-free and PVC-free. When plastic is the only option, remember that not all plastics are equal, and some are safer than others. look for safer plastics like those labeled  with the number 2 AKA High-density polyethylene (HDPE), number 4 AKA Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or number 5 AKA Polypropylene (PP). You can find these numbers inside the recycling symbol on the product.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 5.25.00 PMGoodbye Mold
Avoid bath toys that have openings, as water can settle into them and grow mold. These toys commonly contain PVC, which is hazardous. Instead, choose organic cotton bath toys that can be washed.

Choose Local
Opt for locally made toys that are eco-friendly. Seek out local artisan shops for safe one-of-a-kind toys. You’ll conserve energy and resources while supporting a small business. Avoid toys made in China, India, and Taiwan and other countries with lax toy regulations.

Buy from Trusted Brands
Consider where and how the toy is made. Focus your dollars on brands that are responsible and transparent about how they select or produce their products. Choose shops that are known for offering fun, unique and safe toys.

556256_406757729368197_1138574861_n11Buying less
Buying fewer toys is much more eco-friendly and wallet-friendly. Fewer toys means less to clean up. Ultimately, your child’s favorite item to play with is you. Time spent with your child is more treasured than any toy.

Go Natural
Look for safe toys made of natural materials like solid woods with a non-toxic finish. For fabric toys, seek out organic materials like cotton and wool. Any finishes should be lead-free, food-grade and non-toxic. These toys boost the imagination, mental health and physical development.

 

The challenge in buying toys for your children is finding products that are safe. When you go green, you can’t be wrong. Your child will have fun and you won’t have to worry about issues that can result from playing with unsafe toys. Continue keeping an eye on your children as they play. Consider other fun activities too, such as crafts and games.

Patricia-Dimick-Headshot

Patricia Dimick is a wife, mom, advocate to her child. She is also a writer, passionate coffee drinker, table tennis player, big fan of nature and DIY jobs.
You can reach her @patricia_dimick.

Moving home, the eco-friendly kind of way

Living in a different country, far away from where you spent your childhood is hard, to say the least. I know this firsthand, as I grew up in Australia and ended up falling in love and marrying a New Yorker. While my husband is very accustomed to New York City life, I admit to finding it challenging at times. Lately it seems more difficult with overwhelming feelings of missing my home, my family, my friends and just wanting to see familiar things. I think this is because my Son is growing so fast, and there is much I wish he could be experiencing living in the beautiful country I call home.

With these thoughts in mind, I started thinking about how one can move in a “greener” kind of way, whether that is a few blocks down the Street, or to the other side of the world?

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Maybe one day this will be our every day reality. My Son at 17 months meeting the locals in Australia.

Moving is one of those life experiences that tend to be stressful, not just for people but for our Planet too. Lowering one’s carbon footprint is not looking so good with endless boxes, rolls and rolls of packing tape and plastic wrap sitting in front of you. Not to mention, what about the fuel to transport all of your worldly possessions to your new location? The waste leftover has a detrimental effect on our environment, and although we all have to move at some point during our lives, there are ways for it to have less of an impact on Mother Nature.

Preparing to Move

Set aside some time to choose your eco-friendly items to help with the move,

  • Moving Boxes, use cardboard boxes which are made from recycled material, or containers made from sustainable sources. If you are looking for recycled and the most affordable moving boxes in Australia check out the Moving Box Co for options.
    Even better if you can pick some discarded boxes up and reuse them from your local supermarket.
    In the United States and Canada, consider a company like LifeBox who offer boxes which contain tree seeds, when you’ve finished moving just put the boxes in the ground, and wait for the area to bloom. Genius!
  • Packing Tape, you may choose to use a tape which does not use hot melt adhesive as the sticky part, and is made from biodegradable and recyclable materials. Generally, hot melt adhesive uses petroleum-based ingredients which are shipped in from the Middle East, according to The Binding Edge, it is also an energy-intensive process.
    Another option is using tape which is made more of plant-based materials.
    A good rule of thumb is to avoid standard plastic tape at all costs as it takes a long time to biodegrade, if at all.
  • Packing Materials, have a look around your home and see what you already have to start. Newspapers, magazines and blankets can all be used to wrap and protect items.
    Otherwise, use green packing peanuts which are made from plant materials and are biodegradable.
    Shredded paper instead of plastic wrap is another way to go “green” with your move. Plastic wrap is also troublesome if it ends up littering our Earth rather than being put in a landfill. Hundreds of thousands of innocent animals die each year, because of plastic being caught on their bodies or suffocating them, at least with paper these creatures have a better chance of surviving.
  • Marker Pens are a necessity when moving, to write the contents of the box on the outside thus no need for additional labels. Choose a brand that is non-toxic like these from the Ultimate Green Store.

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Choosing Transport

If you are moving locally, hire a vehicle that can transport your possessions in as few trips as possible. The more trips that you have to do, the more fuel being burnt. A preferred alternative is finding a vehicle that is a hybrid. Or, use a truck which runs on biofuel, which is fuel made from renewable sources like plant-based oils. If you are moving across country, consider using a train which on average uses 4 times less fuel than a truck over the same distance.

After Your Move

When you have moved to your new home, you are going to be left with a lot of packing materials and possible empty boxes. Rather than just throw these away, try and find another use for them. Cardboard boxes can be used for storage, or give them to children to play with in the garden.

Ideally we are all becoming more environmentally conscious in everything that we do, and with these tips, you can also make your next move a little “greener” than it may have been otherwise.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

A tutorial on Cold Pressed Soap Making

Ever wondered about how to make your own all-natural soap. Personally, I did for years, until I finally taught myself how to make it. Now it is all my family uses. Today, we have fellow Mum and Apothecary, Sarah from Sage Flower Hill guest posting with an overview of how it is done. Sarah is an expert, who makes the most beautiful products in the Napa Valley area of California. Enjoy!

Most store-bought soap, isn’t actually “soap”. Many mass-produced soaps are actually bars of detergent! True soap is the byproduct of fats reacting with an alkali (a substance that has a pH greater than 7… a base). The alkali that modern soap makers use depends on the type of soap that they want to make. Solid bars of soap are made using the alkali sodium hydroxide. Natural liquid soaps, however, are the byproduct of potassium hydroxide with oils or fats. This reaction between oils and alkali is called saponification. The byproduct of this chemical reaction is soap.

SFH #1Preparations
Soap making, like many things in life, is 90% preparation. Before I get anything started, I do a bit of research. I pull out my soap making books and research my oils. Just about any oil can be used in soap, but all impart different qualities in the final soap.  Some oils can be used up to 100% in the recipe while others can only be used successfully up to 5%. Some oils are super skin conditioning but don’t lather well, while others lather well but cause the soap to be soft when used in high percentages. Not all oils are created equal. Books and web sites are great sources of formulation inspiration.

Do your research on ingredients you plan on using in your soap
Once I have the oils figured out, I go online to calculate the exact quantities of oils, water and lye for my batch of soap. There are several great soap maker’s calculators online but my favorite is the Brambleberry one. After I enter all of my oil percentages, the online calculator determines the exact amount of lye and water that should be used in the recipe. Using the quantities of ingredients that the calculator gives me, I can now begin the actual soap making process.

 

Safety First
Soap making can be a dangerous activity so it is necessary to take safety precautions. When making soap, I ALWAYS wear thick rubber gloves, a long sleeve shirt, long pants and safety goggles. If lye splashes on my skin, it will burn. Short of wearing a hockey mask, I cover the majority of my skin while making soap. When I make large batches of soap, I use a respirator when I mix the lye with the water. Other precautions that I take are using utensils and implements dedicated to soap making. I never, ever, ever use implements that would be used in cooking or for lotions/non-lye based products. These safety precautions are not just important but required to keep myself and my other products lye free!

SFH #4Let’s Make Soap
The first thing I prepare is the lye water. I carefully measure the water in a stainless steel container. Next I measure the lye in a separate stainless steel container. Before I mix, I always say this little saying to myself about lye and water: “The snow falls on the water.” If the water is poured on the lye (the water falls on the snow), a lye volcano will erupt on the counter. Once the lye (snow) is added to the water, the mixture must be stirred thoroughly.  The mixture of lye and water heats up very quickly and will need to be put aside in a safe place to cool down.

SFH #5Now, the oils need to be measured and mixed. Some of my favorite oils, such as coconut oil and shea butter, are solid at room temperature. I measure these oils first and then melt them over a double boiler. Liquid oils such as olive oil and rice bran oil go in a separate stainless steel soap making pot. Once all the oils are melted, I mix them in the soap making pot.

SFH #6When the temperatures of both the oils and the lye water are below 120 degrees F, it is time to mix them together. I place my mixer in the oil then pour the lye water down the side of the mixer to decrease air bubbles in the mixture. Now, the oil and lye needs to be mixed in short bursts until it reaches the consistency of thin pudding. This is called trace. I then measure the temperature to make sure it is below 80 degrees so that I can add my essential oils. I prefer to stir my essential oils with a spatula so that the soap doesn’t get too thick

Since I don’t usually add colorants to my soap (sometimes I add clay at this phase of the soap making process), it is time to pour the soap into the mold.  Once poured, I like to take a dowel and run it through the soap to create a pretty little swirl.

SFH #11The Waiting Game
The most difficult of soap making has to be the waiting. Wet soap needs to sit in its mold for a day or two before it can be cut. I cover it with a towel and wait for it to cool. Once a day or two has passed, I remove the soap from its mold and cut it into bars.

This is where patience comes in. The soap needs to sit in a well ventilated area and be turned every few days. The soap will sit this way for up to 6 weeks while the oil saponifies the last of the lye. And then, and only then can this fabulous soap be used in the shower or bath!
SFH #14
I highly recommend making your own soap. It is so much fun but be warned, this hobby could take over your life!

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

Healthy Vegetable Create-A-Stir

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Della Rice offers 5 different flavors

Today at Willy B Mum, I am creating, step-by-step, a delightfully healthy plant-based “stir”, perfect for lunch or dinner. As a canvas to build on and to have some fun with, I am using one of my favorite Non-GMO Della Rice varieties – Jasmine with Roasted Garlic.

A “stir”, is something that one creates by  combining a protein, some veggies/fruit, and a sauce served on top a bed of Della rice. This is usually created with food you have on-hand in your home. So as long as you have a well stocked kitchen, the possibilities are boundless!

For this particular “stir”, I am using broccoli as the protein. Yes, as far as vegetables go, broccoli is one that packs the most protein. Says the LIVESTRONG.com website “A cup of cooked chopped broccoli provides 5.7 grams of protein — 10 percent of a man’s 56-gram daily protein requirement and 12 percent of that for a woman”.  Additionally, the sesame tahini and bean sauce I made as a dressing is high in protein, not to mention delicious.

The nutty aroma and creamy taste of this rice is something to be believed, likewise my kitchen smelled heavenly while it was boiling in my trusty rice cooker. Personally, I love the smell of cooking rice. I chose the jasmine with roasted garlic Della rice as I feel it really compliments the variety of ingredient’s textures, colors and tastes. Especially with the avocado and the tahini sauce in the mix! However, if you are looking for options, Della Rice also offer 4 additional flavors – ArborioBasmati White Rice, Light Brown Basmati, and Jasmine White Rice.

Before we start, take a minute to check you fridge, check your pantry, check your cupboards to do a tally of what you have available? If you do not have one of the ingredients I used, substitute it for something else. Thus, making it a genuine “stir” by using what you have, rather than heading out to buy something new. Waste not, want not!

Healthy Veggie #CreateAStir

Healthy Veggie #CreateAStir

What You Will Need

  • 1 cup of Della jasmine with roasted garlic rice
  • 1 cup of roasted broccoli
  • 1 large boiled beetroot chopped in quarters
  • 1/2 cup of bean sprouts
  • 1 cup finely sliced kale
  • 6 small radishes cut in half
  • 1/2 an avocado sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sauce of tahini, lemon and black beans

  • SONY DSCIn a blender, drain 1 tin of black beans,
    reserving the liquid
  • Add 2 tablespoons of sesame tahini, a juice of one big lemon, 2 tablespoon of brewers yeast, 2 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 gloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste
  • Hit Blend until completely smooth, adding the reserved water as needed to make sure that it is a thin sauce. You do not want
    it to be to thick as otherwise it is hard
    to dress the meal with. Add additional water if need be, I added an extra 1/2 a cup to mine

Step By Step

Now let’s get started, cook your Della Rice (as per manufacturer instructions which you can see HERE) to a visual of fluffy perfection, adding it to the center of bowl/plate.

Della Jasmine Rice with Roasted Garlic

Add some roasted broccoli, if you want a quick tutorial on that you can check a former instructional we posted HERE.

Organic Broccoli all the way

Next up, let’s include some boiled beetroot. You can be a superstar and do this yourself, or buy them ready-made at your local supermarket (that’s what I did).

Growing up in Australia, I always ate a ton of beetroot

Chop and add some raw high-in-vitamin-C radishes for a little crunch to this Create-A-Stir.

High in Vitamin C, I love to snack on these raw while on-the-go

Add some sliced all Hail the Kale, which I suggest always buying organic. Little critters also love kale, and as a result farmers have to drown it in pesticides to keep them away. Kale au naturale is better for everybody!

All Hail the Kale

Throw in some tasty bean sprouts. Popular in Asian dishes, and for good reason.

Go Bean Sprouts
“Have an Avvo today” as we say in Australia, yes we are known to shorten everything, and “avvo” is short for Avocado. A Willy B Mum stir is not complete with some of this appetizing fruit, also known as an Alligator Pear.

SONY DSC
And lastly my delightful tahini sauce, dress it all over. The recipe for this sauce makes a bunch so be sure to refrigerate it, to maximize the use-by time. I also love to have it on salads and veggie burgers.

SONY DSC

And, voilà just like that we have a colorful, healthy meal. I must say, it does make it so much easier seeing it manifest one ingredient at a time.

All Della Rice is gluten-free, and is available at ShopRite supermarkets in the North Eastern part of the United States. Or, you can find a stockist in your state by clicking HERE.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!