theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Pop, pop, pop….Homemade Popcorn

Not too bad after a little sea salt and some melted unsalted butter.

Okay, I know for some people they are probably thinking: “You’re writing a post on homemade Popcorn? That’s easy to do! Why write about that?”

But as someone trying to go from mainstream junk food happy america to real food I’ve never made homemade popcorn. Unless you count the popcorn we made when I was little with the popcorn machine we had. That was years ago. I’ve always found the idea so intimidating for some reason. It seemed hard because  DH and I have eaten microwave popcorn for years. So easy. Unwrap the plastic, unfold the bag, and pop it in the microwave. And besides, what could the harm be with a bunch of corn kernels? (Ha! I forgot I live in America. We even know how to make fruits and vegetables unhealthy. How sad. )

Well, I recently read an article in a newspaper

that I found outside our local Whole Foods Market called Natural Awakenings, that had me thinking I would give HM popcorn a go. To put it simply, some microwave popcorn bags contain a coating called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is a substance known to cause cancer/and or lung disease in laboratory animals. There is also some controversy on the “butter” used in many microwave popcorns. It is thought that some of these “butters” contain diacetyl, a common food flavoring agent  that can cause lung disease. Scary!

So…..bring on the organic homemade popcorn. I just used the general directions in the article I read about microwave popcorn.

Oh boy!

I’m more of a recipe kind of gal.

Getting ready to heat up my Canola Oil. I used 4 Tbs. of oil and heated on medium heat in a medium size sauce pan.

I know the lids not the right size. I grabbed it in a panic because I forgot to add a lid to start with. Uh oh!

But in the end, it was pretty tasty and pretty inexpensive. A quarter cup of seeds yielded a HUGE bowl or popcorn. And did I mention how easy it was?

 

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Baking Bread | Week One

So this I week officially began my self-imposed bread challenge which is to make some sort of bread product every week. The end goal is to be able to make all our bread and not have to buy any. I’ve heard that when you make your bread at home you can save so much money! Just buying the ingredients  and making it from scratch will save you money. Take it a step further and buy the ingredients in bulk, you save more money. Then take it one step further and….grind you’re own wheat that you bought in bulk (or your brother bought for you) and you’ve just saved even more money and upped the nutrition as well as flavor. Thanks to my big brother I now have enough wheat to bake bread to my heart’s content and use freshly ground flour. He drew my name for Christmas this year so of course we had to set up my new grinder and try it out while all the family was there.

Here’s me giving it a go. Let me tell you, grinding your own wheat really gives you a work out!

Here’s my niece grinding away! She wasn’t even tired afterwards. Oh, to be young and energetic again!

Here’s the end result:

And there’s my brother holding Teddi while we continue working on the flour later that evening. He look’s a LITTLE scared! Hehe!

This week I started with an olive oil recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. One recipe makes about 4 pounds of dough and keeps in the fridge for about a week.   I made breadsticks (not pictured because we ate them all before I had a chance to photograph them. They we’re that good!

I’ve also made pizza crust…

and a smaller loaf of bread that we used to make patty melts with green chile on ground elk meat

and some regular sandwiches too.

We supplemented some ham & cheese sandwiches of days later with whole wheat store-bought bread after that was gone. That’s okay with me at this point.  In the past I probably would have just put a frozen pizza in the oven and eaten butter bread with our spaghetti-good but not as tasty as the breadsticks. Just one step at a time,right?


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I’m so excited…..I just had to share.

(Squeal) I’m so excited…and motivated…and pumped! I don’t know if you remember what my new year’s resolutions were, but one of them was to eat healthier and also another was to make bread once a week. Well…it looks like I am going to be able to head in that direction thanks to an awesome gift from my brother, a great bread book, and a link from a great friend which has lead me to another link and then another link and another and another….! Need I go on?

Any guesses what this is???

Up until about a week ago I had really been struggling trying to accomplish anything other than taking care of T. And I refuse to drop breastfeeding if its in my control. (That’s a whole different post and I will go there someday, but not now.) Now don’t get me wrong I think its a super important job and I love it with all my heart but I’ve really felt like other things, important things, have just been neglected. I’ve just been overwhelmed to be honest. How in the world can I keep my kitchen clean? How can I get all the laundry done and put away? Things like that. I’ve just felt such a strong pull to get my household in order in terms of food and health and cleanliness and yet not forget to enjoy and celebrate the special moments that are oc

curing before my eyes. I know these moments will go by so fast and I can’t get them back.

So I’ve been asking God to help me to find a way to accomplish the things that need to be done and just let the other stuff go when needed, and also wisdom to know the difference.It wasn’t long before I found Flylady and then a very good friend sent me the link to Kitchen Stewardship (I will be featuring somethings I try out from over there soon. Can you say homemade yogurt or whole wheat tortillas  and yummy warm soups?!?) Although they might seem insignificant sometimes, I do believe God cares about even the little things in our lives. The sudden influx of inspiration and links and connections has convinced me of this.  I hope you’ll join me as I explore them all here on my little blog. We’re going cozy and self sustainable and efficient!


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One Word Wednesday: Still

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

(So I missed posting this yesterday, such is life with a baby I’m learning, but this still resonated with me so I thought I would go ahead and share with you.)

The older I get the more I see tragedy and loss and pain. Sometimes, it can begin to get a little overwhelming. And while I appreciate the movement God has been bringing into my life in so many ways lately, I felt that still small voice speaking to me about stillness last night.

Last night we we’re on our way home after a four day trip to Tucson, AZ to mourn the loss of a wonderful family member. My heart has been so heavy for those closest to him. While in Tucson, we also heard about the shooting that happened there a couple of days before. We actually unintentionally drove right by the place where it happened. There was a stillness there… still. It was such a stark contrast to the busy street we were driving on.

But the drive to Tucson and the drive home were not very still for us. Miles and miles of scenery flashed by, my 3 month old daughter grew weary and sore from her uncomfortable (yet super safe) carseat. To be honest my tushy was sore too. My mind grew weary just thinking about  hurt and loss and I was worn down by the drive. And then when we were almost home, and my daughter needed that one last nursing before our final push to get home, I looked down at her, and  I was reminded of this passage in Psalm 46. “Be still, and know that I am God…” “Okay God, I can do that,” I thought.  I can take this moment and breathe and appreciate it for what it is: Calm, beautiful, and still.

***P.S I just found this website: myoneword.org It’s all about finding your word for 2011 and using that to focus on to make change happen in your life.


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One Word Wednesdays

The power of words has really been hitting home to me lately. I believe I have already found a theme bound to reoccur in my life around the word “movement.”  Then as I was reading a new to me blog, AlieEdwards.com, I noticed that she posted her word for 2011,”light”. I got a little excited. Lots of  people think there are words that fit their lives for a period of time? Wow! Actually, I know Joyce Meyer would agree with me too. She stresses the power of words in her sermons. “And God said…” and that’s when things really began to happen at the beginning of time.

And so I’m going to start doing One Word Wednesday posts. Maybe just a quote, a definition or a picture. Something simple to just remind me about how big of an impact one little word can have on our lives and on others and share it with you. I hope you will share any that you come across that have meaning or impact on you. (=

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This week I’ve been thinking about resolutions. There were 12 different definitions listed on dictionary.com, but four of them seemed the most relevant for what’s been on my mind:

Resolution (noun)

1.a formal expression of opinion or intention made
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.+

+Could that last one explain why so many people don’t keep their New Year resolutions? Do we lack firmness of purpose in our mind from the outset????
Here are the resolutions I’m considering for 2011. Notice I said considering not resolving. Not sure I can take these all out at once (hey I’m just being honest with myself, I know I don’t have mental resolve right now),but they are definitely on my “let’s try this out list”:
  1. Bake bread every week. (More details on this later).
  2. Craft time every day-even if its just for 15 minutes. I love to craft and I’ll take what I can get.
  3. Develop a household routine. I’ve been reading flylady.net and I’m trying out some of her baby steps.
  4. Exercise  regularly/ eat healthy. (I need to get down to details on this one still. I’m starting out with just drinking more water and trying to eat at least 1 vegetable or fruit at each meal.  Yep that’s how far off I’ve gotten over the holidays. Eating 1 vegetable or fruit is an improvement. Sad I know.

Oh, and if you’re really feelin’ the power or words too, you might want to check out this workshop that Alie Edwards is doing too, called One Little Word. I’m thinkin’ I just might have to sign up for it. I’ve been so wanting to get back into my scrapbooking….


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Contentment.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I did! I spent it with my family. Yes I could have used a very descriptive adjective back there. My family IS wonderful,they ARE loving, they DO give generously and from the heart, they are fun and silly and strong, but trying to pick out just one adjective and label my family with it wouldn’t really do them justice. They are just my family. I don’t know any different, I wouldn’t trade them for anything, and I couldn’t love them more or be more thankful for them if I tried. God has blessed me very much indeed!

And did I mention just how special it was to celebrate my baby girl’s first Christmas? So many special memories, so many times I just looked at her and wanted to cry with contentment. That sweet baby girl sitting over there with her grandma or  an auntie. Her personality is really beginning to show and if possible I love her more everyday. She has woven her way into my heart never to leave.

And yet it is amazing that with all these wonderful blessings there is a drive in myself and I have seen it in others to push on and improve ourselves and our lives. I’ve been working on a list of things I’d like to accomplish for 2011. I didn’t purposely start compiling the list, it’s just sort of gradually been forming itself in my mind. But I think I’ll share that next time though. For now, I am content to just sit around in my new super cute lounge pants (thanks,gina!) and drink some candy cane cocoa and enjoy the snow falling outside. Cheers!


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Been thinking about…Movement.

Have you ever noticed themes running throughout your life? I’ve heard that if something keeps popping up again and again in your life it’s God’s way of trying to tell you something.

For most of 2010,I would say my theme has been preparation and growth. Make that 9 months of preparation for the beautiful bundle I’m now holding in my arms. Now how is it possible to be holding something-or someone rather, and still be typing you may be asking yourself. Ah, that would be thanks to the Moby Wrap. A super long piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself and your baby and move around hands free (and might I add guilt-free) all the while being able to keep an eye on your baby. Not to mention my baby LOVES it. She loves the movement.  She falls asleep within 5 minutes almost everytime I put her in it.  It’s fabulous! It was extremely intimidating the first few times I tried to put it on but after that first successful attempt its been smooth sailing. My laundry gets folded, dishes get picked up and moved to the kitchen, mail gets opened and best of all my baby is right next to my heart. I know, that last one just tugs at you right? Sorry couldn’t help myself. But it brings me to my point. I think my new theme must be movement.

Another example:  While most people are getting up at 4 am on Black Friday on the hunt for good shopping deals, I will probably be up nursing my daughter and then trying to catch a few more zzz’s before DH and I head on over to the local U-Haul.  You see, DH and I are moving-again. Just down the road, literally about 20 miles, but we are moving again, nonetheless. It will be the 10th move in our 9 years of marriage. And for me it will be about the 20th time to move in my life. Just call me the travelin’ woman. My brother jokingly says our family is a bunch of gypsies because we all move around all the time or enjoy traveling more than most people. So, known as the travelin woman or gypsy, I’m on the move again. Just down the road, but I’m moving.

Then there’s the week long family ski trip planned for spring break. Movement here I come! This last year there’s was no skiing for me. I was too busy growing my DD. But this Spring, just stand back and watch me go. I wouldn’t recommend getting in my way. Mostly because I’m not that great of a skier and not always able to stop myself, lol! But you get the picture (=  And there’s going to be some serious movement leading up to that point to get myself in shape before then. Recovery from a c-section is not going to be had from sitting around eating Christmas fudge. Unfortunately. Insert sad face here if you know what I mean.

So after 9 months of preparation,  2 months of recovery and adjustment, movement has found its way back into my life. So I’m realizing out that it must be the new theme of my life. I’ve had a little time on my hands think while nursing DD can you tell?  I want to walk, run, dance, and feel the wind in my hair. I want to move.

Movement really is a wonderful thing. I am so thankful for it. And for so many things in my life this Thanksgiving. I hope that wherever you are this Thanksgiving that this post finds you with those you care about the most. May you all have a wonderful and blessed  holiday weekend.

xoxo, Rachel