Farmer’s Market love :)

Last year a farmer’s market finally opened close enough to make it convenient to visit every week during the summer when it’s open. Safe to say I was exceptionally excited about it 🙂 They continued this year and even have a few new vendors.

This past week I went and checked out the different stands with everything from fruits, veggies, honey, and other home-made goodies. I made out like a bandit!

Normally at the regular grocery stores or even the health stores tomatoes are easily 50 cents or more per tomato. At the farmers market I spent about $10 on tomatoes and ended up with more than 25 tomatoes of various shapes and sizes. I also got five pounds of fresh blueberries and a bucket of potatoes.

With the tomatoes I made some home-made spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes, onions from the garden, oregano from the bulk section, salt, and almost a whole head of garlic and voilà, a whole pot of sauce. With all the tomatoes combined I ended up with 8 jars of sauce (there are 9 in the picture because I still have one left over from a smaller test batch I made a few weeks ago), easily enough to last the whole winter 🙂 The best part is they’re delicious and I made them for about a dollar a jar, which is less than store bought jars.

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*helpful hint- tell the vendor/farmer that you’re canning the tomatoes, and they might just have a bucket to the side of “uglier” tomatoes they’ll sell you for cheap. Usually they’re just a bit riper and have a few discolored skin spots, but if you’re canning the skins come off anyway, so win-win!

Now with the blueberries I went ahead and rinsed them before letting them dry off a bit. I then laid them out in a single layer on a glass baking dish in batches and froze them just enough they wouldn’t stick when I switched them to the mason jars. Once I knew they wouldn’t stick to each other I scooped them out and put them in the jars and back into the freezer. Five pounds ended up giving me a bit over 10 jars of berries which I can defrost as I need/want them and add them to smoothies or even just eat them plain as a tasty snack.

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The potatoes were the easiest, going straight from my reusable bag to my potato bowl.

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All in all I now have enough blueberries and tomato sauce to last most if not all of the winter, and it took only a few hours of prep and cooking the sauce to make it happen.

If you haven’t checked out your local farmer’s market I recommend you go, you never know you might find a hidden gem or two. Bonus- you get to meet local farmers and support their business in your own community. (It always tastes better when your food has travelled a shorter distance and has been picked within only a day or two of getting to you)

Extra bonus- no produce stickers 🙂

P.s. Don’t forget your reusable bags!

Have any of you scored at the Farmer’s market? What’s your favorite thing to get fresh from the market? What’s your favorite thing about the farmer’s markets near you?

 

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Defining your Green priorities (a.k.a. making shopping easier!)

Choices. They’re something we make every single day of our lives. What to wear, what to buy, what to eat, and what to do…

Sometimes those decisions are tougher than others, for instance when you go grocery shopping and are trying to both be healthy (by purchasing organic foods) and reduce plastic packaging. In a perfect world I’d be able to do both without a problem, but this isn’t a perfect world and sometimes a choice has to be made between purchasing organic potatoes in a plastic bag vs. conventional (read: pesticide infused) potatoes loose.WIN_20150609_173707

Decisions, decisions.

I’ve encountered these conundrums so many times that I’ve had to take a hard look at my priorities when it comes to food as well as other purchases.

What do you put first, the health of your body, or the health of the planet? The organic potatoes aren’t covered in pesticides, thereby better tasting and much better for my health…but they came wrapped in a plastic bag which isn’t so good for the planet. On the other hand I had conventional potatoes, loose, without plastic, but not as great for my health. Then there’s always the problems the pesticides and herbicides have had on the planet through runoff and poisoning the ground. Organic ones are produced sustainably and so don’t have that effect. But sometimes the miles they’ve traveled to get to my local store are more than conventional potatoes….can you see my dilemma?

Which would you choose?

I went with the organic ones even though they were wrapped in plastic.

Why?

For me it all comes down to my priorities. When I go shopping I ask myself a few things..

  1. How was this item made/grown?
  2. Will consuming it benefit me or hurt my health in any way?
  3. How is it packaged? If it is packaged, is the packaging sustainable?
  4. If it’s not the best packaging (which would be no packaging at all) and I still want to buy it, is the packaging easily reusable/recyclable?
  5. Considering all of the above, do I feel comfortable spending money (which is essentially casting a vote telling the producer to make more of said item) on the item in question?

Now from this list you can see a few things.

Firstly, my health and the health of the planet are my top priorities, but when I have to choose between the two of them, MY health comes first. I’m not saying the health of the planet is a secondary consideration, or unimportant, but when I have to make tough decisions my personal health tends to come first in my own priorities.

So, when I bought the potatoes I was mainly looking at my own health, but I also thought about how them being grown organically, thereby having a much better impact on the planet as opposed to conventionally grown potatoes, was probably enough to offset the environmental cost of one plastic bag and twist tie.

Honestly, when I looked at the bags I figured I could at least reuse it for dipping cat litter, but alas all of the bags had holes in them. So, unfortunately said bag went straight from the store into my measly trash can after removing the potatoes.

Was this the right decision?

Some may say no, that I should’ve avoided the plastic at all costs, and others may say I could’ve found a way around it by buying from a farmers market, etc. (unfortunately 1. Potatoes are not in season at the market, and 2. Most of the vendors at said market spray pesticides on their produce as well)

Anyway, for me it was the right decision, because I have defined my priorities when it comes to consuming and purchasing goods. Take a peek at the top 5…

  1. My health ALWAYS comes first. Period. Simply because I’m a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I would rather avoid the doctor’s office it at all possible. A healthy body is less prone to sickness and disease.
  2. Next is the planet. Now this and number one usually align pretty well, and sometimes it isn’t as black and white as it seems between thinking about shipping miles and packaging and ethical sourcing, etc. But I try my best to put the health and well-being of our lovely planet next on the list. Ex: No packaging is best, but Glass and metal are better than plastic, which is slightly better than Styrofoam, etc.
  3. Budget. Quite honestly some would argue this should be first, but I put it third. Not to say I ever go outside of my budget, but more wiggle things around WITHIN it. For example, I might forgo getting a jar of juice one week in lieu of purchasing the organic apples over the conventional ones, etc. An easy way to stay within your budget is to evaluate every purchase and decide if you really need said item.
  4. Supporting local stores/farmers. It’s best to try and buy locally for many reasons, but sometimes they don’t meet the three above priorities and that’s why they are number four on the list.
  5. When in doubt, make your own. Grow your own food if possible, make beauty products, etc.

This is my list, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a bit different from your own. Each one of us has to make the decisions about what is most important to us. It’s not a bad thing if your list is different from my own, just different 🙂

So when I do go shopping, either online or in a market or brick and mortar store, this is the list I go by to make my purchases. I always feel extra lucky if I can at least fulfill the first 3 priorities at the same time, but sometimes sacrifices will be made.

But having defined my list makes shopping much easier, as I now have a definitive ranking system to weigh my options with. So the next time I’m wavering between buying different soaps or pieces of fruit, I will be at ease with my decisions.

I’d love to hear about your lists of priorities when it comes to shopping! Are they similar? Different? What’s your number one priority?

XO

Candice

Minimalist and Zero-waste exercise ideas.

Hey hey everyone,

So you’ve started your journey towards minimalism, zero-waste, or hopefully both and now you’re thinking about your health. Not only healthy eating, but maybe getting in a bit more exercise during the week.

The excuses people give for not exercising are endless, but most fall into three main categories. 1. I don’t have enough time/energy. 2. I don’t want to have to buy any special equipment. 3. I can’t afford a gym membership.

So, I’ve compiled a list. Ideas that don’t require a gym, fancy equipment, or a ton of time. They can be made easier or harder depending on your fitness level. Some use things people already have and some require nothing. I’ve got a few ideas for you and you can pick and choose which fit into your lifestyle. Maybe you start with an easy one, then a week later add another or swap out for a more difficult one…it’s all up to you.

Check them out…

  1. Ditch the expensive gym membership you hardly ever use and instead utilize your public library. They have hundreds of workout DVD’s for every age, shape, and interest. I personally have tried everything from yoga to hip hop dancing to ballet videos. I even tried a little Thai-chi. For those of you a little more hardcore they usually have weightlifting DVD’s or ones where the workouts are uber intense. The best part of this suggestion is #1- it’s FREE, #2- there’s no excuse not to go to the gym, because your living room is now your gym, and #3- they’re fun and waste-freeWIN_20160802_120635
  2. Okay, so you’re not into the library or DVD’s, heck, maybe you don’t even own a television. I’ll bet you have a radio, or an Ipod, or a cell phone that can play music. Strap that baby on and bop to the beat while you do dishes or laundry, kill two birds with one stone, and make your chores a little more fun while you’re at it.
  3. All right, so you’re a guy, and you think dancing while scrubbing your kitchen sink is a bit silly. You can always strap on the music and use it as a bit of a distraction while you go old-school and do manly push ups or sit ups. (I, unfortunately have the upper body strength of a wet noodle and can’t do push ups to save my own life lol)
  4. If you don’t like sit-ups or dancing, try going for a walk around the block, with or without music and with or without a walking buddy, it’s still a basic but great way to get a bit of exercise, not to mention some vitamin D. 🙂
  5. If you have a park near you, like I do, or even a school playground, go during the off hours when no kiddos are around and use the monkeybars or the swings to get in a bit of fun exercise. Or if you have kids, or can borrow some nieces or nephews, take them out and chase after them at the park for a few hours. Never underestimate the amount of exercise you can get with a little one running around.27023_116681815014717_3333171_n
  6. If you happen to own handweights or even a few heavy books you can use them to work out your arms by lifting and moving them around. You can also substitute young children for the handweights by carrying them around or doing that crazy thing dads do by throwing their children into the air before catching them…it gives me a mini heart attack every time I see it. (Disclaimer: I do not advocate things that could potentially harm the children in any way)
  7. If you happen to have a public pool near you, or even a beach, you can go swimming. Easy, and no extra stuff required besides a bathing suit…unless it’s a nude beach, but I digress…
  8. Sneak in exercise by doing things like parking in a spot further away from the store entrance, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Easy things that don’t seem like much, but they add up if you do them even a few times a week. (I may use the parking technique to make a few family members get a bit more exercise without their knowledge, but keep it on the DL)
  9. If you must check emails on your phone or computer at home, stand while you do it instead of sitting. It takes more muscles to stand, and as a bonus it might motivate you to put the phone down more often 😉
  10. Even if you’re PMSing and don’t want to move a muscle, you can stretch. In bed, lay flat and lift one leg up at a time and hold it before slowly lowering it back to the bed. Stretch your arms and your back, this isn’t the most invigorating exercise in the world, but some is better than none.
  11. If you’re short on time, try ten squats or jumping jacks or lunges the moment you get out of bed or right before you hop into the car to head to work. While you’re driving contract your stomach muscles and hold them for thirty seconds before letting go (just remember to breathe!).
  12. During work get up every half hour or hour and take a quick walk to the copier, or the bathroom, or just around the office.
  13. Instead of using the grocery cart to carry your totes to the car, heft one on each arm. (If you have more than two, bring a shopping buddy or just use the cart.)
  14. Instead of going to a car wash, get out there on a warm day and take a bit of time to wash it yourself. Just needs a little soap, a rag, and a bucket or two of water…and some elbow grease.
  15. If you have someplace you normally go, for me it’s the library, that’s within walking distance from your place, save the gas and walk there if the weather is nice enough. My library is about two miles away, so it’s a four mile roundtrip walk for me, and the bonus is I get to rest halfway at the library while perusing books and new workout DVD’s 🙂
  16. Grab a friend and do something fun like trying partner yoga poses or playing basketball. One I love is if you have a large group to play Ultimate-Frisbee. Check it out, it’s so much fun.
  17. If you’re in the mood for a new look in your bedroom or living room, try rearranging the furniture. It’ll get you up and moving, chances are you’ll capture a few errant dust bunnies while you’re at it.
  18. Go dancing with friends or your significant other, or just push the coffee table out of the way and dance there.
  19. If you have a lawn mower, use it without the fancy automatic moving gizmo, push it instead for twice the workout.
  20. If you or your kids are addicted to videogames, check some out from the library like Just Dance or Wii fitness.
  21. Build a snowman.251164_10150210546031725_6383626_n

All right, there are plenty more ways to get in a bit of exercise, but hopefully one of these might give you some inspiration for starting off.

Remember, it’s not about how many miles you run or how many calories you burn, it’s about making exercise fun and an easy part of your regular routine.

Have any other suggestions for minimalist/zero-waste exercise ideas? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!