Tag Archives: green moms carnival

Green Moms Carnival – Food Preservation

Welcome to the July Green Moms Carnival! I’m so excited to be hosting the carnival especially with Food Preservation as the topic because I think that food is one of the first ways that many moms choose to “go green,” by opting to eat seasonally and locally.  Once you’ve found your farmers you can learn to save money and enjoy that produce year-round by buying in bulk and preserving it.   Please take the time to visit each post!

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Food Preservation Basics

Tiffany from Nature Moms Blog gives a nice summary of different types of food preservation, along with some tips for getting started in her post Bringing Food Preservation Back to Our Kitchens.

Katy of Non-Toxic Kids (and my Moms Clean Air Force teammate) shares 3 Ways to Preserve the Summer Bounty.  Berry picking is a great way to teach your children where their food comes from and get some great pictures of ruby stained faces.  Katy also suggests pesto (yum!) and baked goods as ways to preserve.

Laura of Pug in the Kitchen shares tips for preserving food with little ones underfoot in her post Preservation: Pickles, Jelly and Sanity.  I’ve found that my canning has dropped way off (as in, come to a dead stop) since I had Joshua because big pots of boiling and a baby who wouldn’t let me put him down were not a combination I wanted last summer. 

Michelle of Green Bean Chronicles writes about canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting and not preserving in her post There is More Than One Way To Skin A… at The Green Phone Booth.

Canning

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There are so many different ways to preserve food, but many people think of canning first.  I have loved seeing the resurgence of canning in the past few years.  It’s hip to can! Can you believe it? 

Deanna of Crunchy Chicken, one of my long-time favorite blogs, contributed some fantastic canning recipes.  Just the titles make my mouth water!

Lisa from Condo Blues and Lazy Budget Chef writes about her first canning experience in I Canned Jam and Nobody Died.  There are so many people who are afraid of canning, but once they try it they realize how easy it can be! It’s blueberry jam, by the way.

Mary Clare from In Women We Trust totals up the return on a $20 seed investment in her post Can Yourself – Grow Money, Grow Friends.  You’ll be shocked!

Anna from Green Talk shows us how she has worked on Greening the Tomato Sauce Process.  There are great pictures to walk you through the steps of using a tomato press.

Linda of Citizen Green shares her tried and true recipe for marinara sauce in her post Use Your Garden Tomatoes in this Sauce.  It’s versatile and can be canned or frozen.

For those of us with a pressure canner and nerves of steel, Jena from Married to the Farm tells us about Pressure Canning Green Beans.  Don’t be scared!

I want to also share a few of my own favorite canning recipes from here at Farmer’s Daughter:

Freezing

Photo Credit: Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen

Lisa from Condo Blues and Lazy Budget Chef shares step-by-step tips on How to Freeze Fresh Tomatoes, for those of us who are a little too scared of the pressure canner.

Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares various ways to make organic strawberries from the local farmer’s market last and finds making freezer jam is even sweeter with her kids and a little reggae on the side in her post We’re Jamming.

Anna from Green Talk walks through the steps of Cooking Pumpkin and Squash for Easy Winter Storage.  She reminds us not to forget the seeds!

Karen from Best of Mother Earth explains that while she doesn’t do a lot of preserving, she does cook from scratch and makes sure not to waste the leftovers in her post How Do You Preserve Food?

Emily from Live Renewed shares a step-by-step tutorial for freezing fruit, along with a neat tip for pitting cherries, in her post Preserving Summer’s Bounty – Freezing Berries.

Lori of Groovy Green Livin shares how to find, freeze and thaw blueberries, as well as their health benefits in Preserve Summer: How To Freeze Blueberries.

Diane from Big Green Purse Blog shares a step-by-step tutorial on how to freeze tomato sauce in her post Make Your Own Delicious, Organic Tomato Sauce. Here’s How.

I love to freeze sweet corn for use in soups, stews and cornbread throughout the year. 

Drying/Dehydrating

Deanna of Crunchy Chicken shares Drying Herbs for Idiots.

Beth of My Plastic-free Life shows us how to make dried apple slices and fruit leather in her post Dry Summer Produce to Keep Through Winter Plastic Free

Mama Bear runs through a pro/con list of dehydrating in her post Kitchen Adventure: Drying Strawberries.   She outlines how to use the oven to dehydrate food.

Cold Storage

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Jena from Married to the Farm shows us how to store carrots throughout the winter in her post How to Store Carrots, and Save them for Seed

Dairy

Deanna of Crunchy Chicken shares:

Marci of Down on the Farm has two grass-fed Jersey milk cows and is in my opinion an expert cheesemaker! Check out her how-to’s:

Do you know what kefir is? I didn’t until I read the following two submissions. Now I want to try some! I have one question, how do you pronounce “kefir”?

Micaela of Mindful Momma‘s husband John shares how he makes homemade kefir in his guest post Kefir Madness.  Can I just say how cool it is that there’s a DAD joining the Green Moms Carnival?

Jen of Puddle Jumping shares her very low-maintenance kefir making system in her post Easy Homemade (Refrigerator) Kefir. I’ve gotta get me some of that kefir.

Baking in Bulk

Betsy from Eco-Novice shares her recipes for baking in bulk and freezing, which means she can have homemade food in a pinch!

Miscellaneous

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Deanna of Crunchy Chicken shares Homemade Rosolio and Candied Orange Peels.

Brenna of Almost All the Truth shows us how to reduce food waste and eat more of the green leafies with her post Getting Greens with Organic and Fresh Green Smoothies.

Phew! What a huge carnival! There were a grand total of 45 submissions! (Unless I counted wrong, my eyes are tired from all this typing!)  I want to send a special welcome to our new participants Marci, Zoie, Brenna and Jena.  Jena is a VERY new mom to her son Kent. Congrats Jena!

Thank you everyone for joining the Green Moms Carnival! Next month’s topic is Back To School and will be hosted by Micaela of Mindful Momma. The deadline is August 4 so get writing!

Please join in by sharing a link (or two, or a few) to your favorite food preservation post.

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Filed under Adventures, Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Recipes, Sustainable Living

Call for Participation!

Two big events this week:

MomsCleanAirForce             

First, join @MomsCAF with special guests @FarmDaughter and @Non_Toxic_Kids for MCAF Twitter Chat: Finding Time for Activism on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 9:00 PM EST.  Prizes include three copes of The Family Table, a Beaba Feeding Set donated by The Soft Landing and a Diva Cup donated by Diva International!  Follow the hashtag #MCAF.  Register here.

Then, I’m hosting the July Green Moms Carnival with the topic of FOOD PRESERVATION!!! Recipes, reflections, tips and tutorials all welcome! Send me your post by Thursday 7/14 to be included! Carnival goes live here on Monday 7/18.

Two great groups of moms, but we welcome everyone to join in!

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Filed under Adventures, Sustainable Living

Zombie Q-pocalypse

Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse with Coupons…

Those of you who belong to or follow the doomer blogs probably have heard of the importance of preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse by stockpiling food and other necessities that could be disrupted.  Now of course we’re not actually talking about zombies, we’re mostly talking about fossil fuel supply disruptions leading to power outages, empty grocery shelves, etc., that could last indefinitely. 

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I don’t typically talk about the apocalypse (in fact, I had to slow down and think about how to spell it each time I typed the word), but on some days I definitely fall into the “doomer” category.  I do, however, try to be an optimist.  But I think it’s important to have a supply of food and other necessities for emergencies that are more likely to occur, for example- power outages due to weather extremes, which will only become more likely thanks to our changing climate.  In fact, there are some people in our state who were without power for a few days after a strong system of thunderstorms moved through last week.  We didn’t lose power here, but in the event of such an outage, I can be sure that we’d be near the end of the priority list for the utility companies to turn the power back on.  They’re concerned with getting the electricity back on for the most people in the quickest amount of time, and since we live on a dead-end street with less than 10 houses, I’m pretty sure we’re low priority.  The big problem for us is water, since we have a well, so if the power goes out so does the water.

What does this have to do with coupons, you ask? After a recent discussion with a colleague who’s gotten into couponing, I realized how coupons could be the ticket to developing food stores for families like mine who simply can’t afford to go out and buy a stockpile of food when it’s not on sale.  Confession time: I never even looked at coupons until about two weeks ago.  I always figured that my store card gave me discounts and if I shopped the sales, I’d be all set.  But then I watched an episode of “Extreme Couponers” and started to feel like a chump! Here I’ve been, paying full price for most items all along, when I could be getting them for cheap or free! Who couldn’t use more money?

While I don’t plan to go the route of the extreme couponer, since I don’t need a “toothpaste room” or 100’s of containers of mustard, it couldn’t hurt to buy, say, an extra jar of vitamins or boxes of pasta when they’re on sale and I have a coupon.  The coupon discussion came up in the Green Moms Carnival yahoo group a few weeks ago and the consensus was that most of us won’t benefit from coupons because we tend to cook from scratch and avoid processed packaged foods, which are the majority of coupons.  However, I think there are some items that even the avid home cook should consider using coupons for: pantry staples that won’t go bad, basic cleaning supplies like baking soda and borax, vitamins, even bottled water. 

Now, I am typically opposed to bottled water but have come to the conclusion that I should have a few bottles in my pantry in case of emergency, since our water goes out with the power.  It’s a good idea to fill the bath tub before a storm so you’ll have water to flush the toilet, but that water’s not potable and I think it’s a dangerous practice with children in the house.  With a toddler, I’m simply not going to do that and will have to just resign myself to use flushes wisely.  You can, of course, use clean soda bottles with a drop of bleach for storing water, but that sounds like a lot of work to me.  If I have a coupon for bottled water, and that water goes on sale, why not stock up a little bit for pennies? It seems like a smart thing to do.

So, my resolution.  Once I’m out of school, I’m going to take both couponing and food storage more seriously.  I’m going to clean out and organize my kitchen and pantry, clip coupons, look for sales, and start stocking up on items I’ll actually use.  Since I’m hosting the July Green Moms Carnival and the topic is Food Preservation, I’ll be knee deep by then!  That picture above was my pantry back before I was a mom.  Look how orderly it was! Those days are gone, haha!

If you’re new to food storage, check out The Chatalaine’s Keys (formerly Casaubon’s Book) for a wealth of info.  And since I’m new to couponing, please share your tips in the comments!

This post is my contribution to the June Green Moms Carnival: Half-Year Resolutions, hosted by OrganicMania.

PS- I say “COO-pon” but I’ve noticed that all the extreme couponers say “Q-pon.”  How about you?

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Filed under Food, Home, Living from Scratch, Sustainable Living

Passionate Blogging

This post is my contribution to the Green Moms Carnival, hosted by Karen at Best of Mother Earth.

I’ve been honest in sharing that I started this blog out of boredom.  It was at the end of a long winter in March 2008.  We had finished building our house and moved in during the previous fall, after two long years of working nights and weekends.  I had also just finished my MS degree and found myself with an inordinate amount of free time and cooped up in the house.  So, I started blogging.

I may have started blogging out of boredom, but I soon discovered that I love to blog.  I have a passion for it.  I always enjoyed reading and writing, contributing stories or poems to my school’s literary magazine.  I particularly liked to write satires and read the American classics.  In my undergraduate work, I was part of an honors program that was writing-intensive.  I fondly remember the semesters that I spent studying Puritan and Native American literature (in a course called “Religion and Sexuality: Male Spirit, Female Flesh”), and analyzing Greek and Roman works.  At the time I would have said my true passion was anatomy and physiology of the vertebrates, but I knew reading and writing were a close second.

When I graduated from college and started my career as an educator, I missed reading because I had little time to read for fun.  I later realized I missed writing as well.  In my second year teaching, I completed an evaluative portfolio and discovered that I really enjoyed the self-reflection process.  I was also thankful for the writing training I received in college and from my mom, a former editor. 

Over the past three years my blog has evolved to be a place where I can share my thoughts, photos, recipes, gardening and parenting stories.  I’ve found friendships with kindred spirits and branched out into writing for the Breastfeeding Diaries, the Green Phone Booth, and (coming soon!) the Natural Parents Network

I love that my blog has become a written record of my life.  When I think of how much I have enjoyed looking through my great-grandmother’s recipe journals, my mother’s photo albums, or a volume of my family’s history, I like to imagine that someday my children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren will feel the same joy through reading my blog. 

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Green Decluttering

This post is my contribution to the January Green Moms Carnival: “Green Decluttering” hosted by Amber.

I am not an expert in cleaning, especially since Joshua was born. I honestly see no reason to continue to clean the same thing when you can’t even see the dirt there.  If something’s not visibly dirty, I’m not going to clean it.

However, clutter does bother me.  As a teacher, my biggest clutter problem is paper. Piles and piles of paper.  The only thing I’ve found to really remedy the paper pile problem is to not create the clutter in the first place.  In the past few years, I’ve made a real effort to not bring unnecessary paper into the house.   

Here are the best ways I’ve found to reduce my paper clutter at home:

  • Think before I print! I don’t keep my printer hooked up to my laptop at all times, so I actually have to walk into the other room to print.  This really helps reduce my printing because my laziness prevents it.  I have a pretty notebook that I write recipes in, so when I find one online, I copy it down into the notebook.  I’m sure you could do this electronically as well, but I like the notebook method.  
  • Only do work electronically at home.  I don’t bring lesson plans or assignment papers home.  I have them all saved on my computer, so it’s easy to work on documents on the laptop.  The only papers I bring home are ones I have to grade, and I haven’t yet found a way to reduce them!
  • Reduce and then immediately sort junk mail! When I get the mail, I only bring the important items into the house.  The rest of the mail stays in my car (we have a long driveway!) to wait for recycling day or goes right into the recycling bin.  I’ve tried to reduce our junk mail by removing my name from lists, but we still get junk almost every day.
  • Cancel the newspaper! You can read the news online for free.  Or watch it on TV.
  • Pay bills online or set up automatic payments.  You won’t need stamps or envelopes and you won’t ever have a late payment.
  • Immediately recycle envelopes and used scrap paper.  These papers only contribute to clutter and make your piles bigger.  You can save them to write on, but I’ve found that I’d rather use a contained notebook than disheveled scraps of paper.

Just like so many other aspects of being green, reducing consumption is a necessary first step.  The best way to declutter is to prevent clutter in the first place.  Now if only I could apply what I know about paper to toys…

Any tips on reducing toy clutter? I just throw them in a basket so far!

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Greening Back to School

This post is my contribution to the Green Moms Carnival.  This month’s carnival is hosted by Mindful Momma and the topic is “Back to School.”

Last night, a family friend asked me about what we teachers ask students to purchase for going back to school.  He had heard a radio story about people being asked to bring in rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and other non-educational items.  Can I just say that this is ridiculous?

Now, I may have a different perspective because I teach high school and my only requirements are that each student covers his or her book, has a notebook of his or her choice, and brings some sort of writing utensil.  I’m easy to please.  If kids want highlighters, colored pencils, a fancy trapper keeper (do they still make those?) or a TI-86 calculator, good for them.  But those aren’t REQUIRED items in my classroom.

As an environmental educator and an environmentalist, I encourage kids to skip purchasing new items and use the ones they have at home that are perfectly good.  At the end of each year when kids clean out their lockers, I inevitably see them throwing out binders, notebooks, folders, etc.  I spend much of my time standing by the trash, asking them if they’d like to donate it to my classroom instead.  I’d much prefer that they’d save it for next year, and I’m sure their parents would like that, but teenagers don’t always think cost-effectively.  Fast-forward to the next school year and I offer students my “salvaged” binders on the first day, first-come-first-served, and explain that they’re reusing, an important part of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.  Since I was on maternity leave at the end of last year, I have no binders to give away this year.  But I’ll encourage kids to check out what they have at home before buying new.

Some ideas: Do you have any idea how many partially used spiral notebooks there are? You probably have many in your house.  Why not cut out the paper and put it in a binder instead of buying new? Or simply rip out the used pages and you have a brand new notebook! Why not use scrap paper or junk mail instead of buying post-it notes or pads? Do you really need to buy new pens, pencils, crayons, rulers, calculators? Why not shop around at home before heading out to the store? It’ll save you some money and reduce your impact on the planet.

Finally, when it comes to buying toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer (my school doesn’t do this),  I think it’s crazy, but I can understand wanting to use as much of the budget for education as possible.  However, as a taxpayer, I don’t want to have to go out and buy these things that the school should provide.  It would make much more sense for the school to buy these items in bulk, and thereby save money, packaging and a lot of aggravated parents.  If your child’s school is asking for these items, I’d encourage you to contact the teacher, principal, superintendent or Board of Education.  It just makes no sense for children to bring these items to school.  (It reminds me of a story my grandfather told about being required to bring wood for the wood stove to his one-room school house, and that the kids who brought the most wood got to sit closest to the fire.)  Maybe you can explain that your family chooses to use cloth wipes instead of toilet paper? That would be a fun way to introduce yourself to the new teacher!

Do you have any tips for going back to school without being a mega-consumer?

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