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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Prairiewoods Tour & lunch at NewBo City Market #iowabloggers

On one of the most beautiful, snowy mornings of the month I had the pleasure of hanging out with some of my Iowa blogger friends for a special tour and lunch in Cedar Rapids. I want to tell you about it, k?

We all met up at Praireiwoods Franciscan Spirituality Center in the morning to tour a portion of their 70 acre site, taking an in-depth look at their eco-friendly features. Emy was our guide, and she was so fun.


You'll remember that I toured Prairiewoods last year on a similar morning, which was just as stunning in the snowfall. I enjoyed checking out the retention ponds, the straw bale cabins, the solar panels, guest house, root cellar, and trombe wall.

And I really enjoyed taking a peek inside the Prairiewoods heated hoop house:


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Perfect Popcorn Seasoning Combos + TINY POPCORN & PAPRIKA GIVEAWAY!

One of my favorite treats while on our Two Weeks. Unprocessed. challenge is stovetop popcorn. I had the pleasure of trying Tiny But Mighty Popcorn, which is an Iowa-based company, and can safely say this popping corn has replaced all of those scary-ingredient-microwavable-bags-o-crap that I have been consuming for years. 

This 'tiny but mighty' popcorn reminds me of the popcorn my dad made on the stovetop when we were kids. In fact, I know my dad would love this popcorn for his family-famous crazy crunch

There are so many ways to jazz up this simple, healthy, unprocessed snack. I'd love to share a few of those with you. I also have a stellar giveaway of IOWA PRODUCTS that you'll love, no matter where you live - so read all the way to the end!


Here are our favorite seasonings (feel free to pin your favorite!):

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 117 + URBAN HOMESTEAD 'UNPROCESSED' MEAL PLAN!

If you're an Eastern Iowa resident, or know someone who is, don't forget to enter to win a $25 New Pioneer gift card and reusable chico shopping bag - -

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have a confession to make: Yesterday I totally blew my unprocessed eating challenge. I attended a blogger event and had a burger and fries, a big gourmet cupcake, and some banana chips. In this week's meal plan, you'll find that I refocused and that some items are bolded, which indicates a homegrown or local item from our urban homestead. Remember, we're eating #unprocessed for TWO WEEKS, which is why I included our breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in this meal plan. Usually I just share our dinner plan. 

Breakfasts will include: 
  • Steel cut oats with local maple syrup and dried cranberries
  • Homemade granola cereal and milk 
  • Toasted homemade bread and homemade jelly
Lunches will include: 
  • Leftover meatballs and asparagus
  • Leftover pizza
  • Spinach salad with hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds, blue cheese, black olives
  • Leftover spaghetti 
  • Fresh cut pineapple, almonds, hard boiled eggs
Dinners are: 
  • Monday - Beef meatballs and frozen asparagus
  • Tuesday - Whole wheat spaghetti with beef and marinara sauce
  • Wednesday - Spinach, feta, and veggie quiche 
  • Thursday - French toast from homemade bread with local maple syrup and sausage patty
  • Friday - Sausage and mushroom pizza on a homemade crust with home canned marinara sauce
  • Saturday - Homemade peach jam-glazed pork chop and frozen broccoli (didn't have this last week)
  • Sunday - Apricot chicken and frozen homegrown sweet corn 
Snacks are almonds, oranges, granola, and stove top popcorn

Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:


Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to My Sister's Pantry for linking up Peeping in Our Pantries to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 
<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Great River Maple: An Iowa Maple Syrup Producer You Need to Try #2weeksunprocessed

It's almost been a full week since we decided to go unprocessed for two weeks. Yep, we're eating no commercially processed foods for 14 days. (Although I did slip up and buy some peanut M&M's a few days ago…) After only 6 days I feel like my digestive system is ironing itself out, and I definitely am less bloated that I was before the challenge. Also, I've lost 4 pounds. I know, right?!

You'll remember that I shared a bit about a local Iowa flour mill a few days ago, and I am so impressed with how excited you guys were on Facebook to hear about Early Morning Harvest. Ben from New Pioneer Food Co-op graciously supplied me with another Iowa treat: 100% pure maple syrup.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Iowa's Premier Flour Mill and Producer #2weeksunprocessed

Sometimes, when I discover a new Iowa gem, I am disappointed in myself. Disappointed that I didn't know about their business, product, or service sooner! When talking with Ben from New Pioneer Food Co-op about this unprocessed eating challenge, he said one product I absolutely had to try was Early Morning Harvest's GMO free, organic, Whole Wheat Flour.


Why? The flour is milled right here in Iowa; a short drive from our home, in fact. Also, their whole wheat flour has exactly one ingredient: 100% organic whole wheat. No preservatives. No additives. Nothing but ground wheat, baby. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mostly Homemade Mondays - Week 116 + unprocessed food shopping list!

First, did you enter to win the $25 New Pioneer gift card giveaway? If you're an Eastern Iowa reader, this is the perfect giveaway for you! Enter using this Rafflecopter form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yesterday I introduced to you our Two Weeks. Unprocessed. series, and today I want to share some of the items on my shopping list.
  • Pure maple syrup, made right here in Iowa
  • Nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
  • Fruit (oranges, pineapple, berries)
  • Honey
  • Popcorn
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Greens (kale, spinach, salad greens)
  • Beans (dry and canned, if there are no additional preservatives)
  • Frozen vegetables (peas, green beans, broccoli, spinach - no sauces, just plain)
  • Mushrooms
  • Dried fruit (cranberries, raisins)
  • Organic dairy products (milk, cream, plain yogurt, butter, cheese, etc.)
**I am purchasing dairy products, which are technically processed. I will also eat, on occasion, organic pasta that is minimally processed. Why? Because I don't have access to raw dairy, I don't have time to make my own pasta, and this is my challenge so I'll do what I want :) **
Anyway, on to the party:



Mostly Homemade Mondays is a series for people that are on a journey to better living, via healthier eating and a more natural lifestyle. We realize that there are different paths that we all take to get to that place, and this bloghop celebrates that. Whether you’re a seasoned raw foodist who has banned all things unnatural, or a rookie who is starting out by cutting out junk food, we’d love to hear from you! Link up with your favorite recipes, projects, crafts, or rants and raves.

The Hosts:


Homemade Mondays will open every Monday. You have until Thursday to make your submissions. We will share our favorite posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and shout it from the rooftops.
  • Link up. Use the submission form below to add your blog posts to our gallery below. You can add as many links as you’d like, as long as they’re on topic. 
  • What’s eligible? Recipes, crafts, DIY projects, gardening, fitness, green ideas or just plain old advice. We’re pretty open.
  • Tell us about yourselves. Leave a comment telling us a little about your site and what you’ve shared. Of course this isn’t mandatory, but it’s a good way to stand out.
  • Link back. Share the love by adding a link back to this party with your readers so they can see all of these great ideas as well.
  • Follow our Pinterest board. Remember to check out our Mostly Homemade Mondays Pinterest board where we're pinning some of our favorite posts from the week.
Here was our favorite post from last week: 


A special thanks to Simply Stacy for linking up Sweet Potato Home Fries to Mostly Homemade Mondays! Feel free to grab this "I've Been Featured" button and share the great news with your readers, family, and friends: 
<a href="http://s1333.photobucket.com/user/TheSustainableCouple/media/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1333.photobucket.com/albums/w637/TheSustainableCouple/TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg" border="0" alt="I Was Featured button for MHM photo TSCIWasFeaturedButton_zps18158259.jpg"/></a>



AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.






Sunday, January 18, 2015

Two Weeks. Unprocessed. - Overview & Day 1 GIVEAWAY!

Sometimes cooking for two people is hard. You know what I mean, right? When you're only cooking for one or two, it's hard to get the motivation to make something healthy in a small portion.

Sometimes cooking for two people is so hard, that I don't cook at all. Needless to say, my digestive system is taking a beating because I'm not cooking or eating like I usually do when we're cooking from scratch. Add the catered lunches I had last week for a work training, and you have a hot mess up in here.

*sigh*

But you know what this also means? This is the perfect time to experiment with a healthy eating challenge that will refocus my efforts to cook from scratch, get nourishment from good food, and 'vote with my dollar' by purchasing local, unprocessed food.



I am going to challenge myself to eating 100% real, whole foods that have no commercial processing. I am going to challenge myself to cook meals from scratch daily for 14 days, where the only 'processing' is the cooking that I do in my own kitchen.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cate's Creations earring and cuff GIVEAWAY & review!

Today we're stepping outside the box a bit, so I can tell you a little bit about Cate, from Cate's Creations



Cate is a college student majoring in Accounting and Business Administration at Columbia Basic College in Pasco, Washington. If you are a recent graduate or have children in college, you know that tuition costs - even at small colleges or community colleges - are exponentially high. Cate started her Esty shop in 2010 when she was in high school with one goal in mind: To save all of her profits and put that money toward her college tuition. 

Now that she is in college, she continues to use the profits from Cate's Creations to offset the costs of her tuition, books, and other college-related expenses. She hopes to be a business owner in the future, starting with growing her Etsy shop to offer hand made items that people can actually afford.

Cate's most popular seller is her ear cuffs, which come in over a dozen different colors. Recently she began making earrings and flower hair clips to match. 


The high school teacher in me is so, so proud. And humbled. And excited for what the future has in store for Cate. Clearly, if homegirl has this much tenacity now, just think of what she'll do with a college degree. 

In order to promote Cate's shop, I've agreed to host a free giveaway for one lucky reader with the prize being a pair of Cate's most popular ear cuffs AND matching dangle earrings. 


To enter, all you need to do is complete the Rafflecopter form below. I'll have random.com choose a winner in two weeks. In the meantime, you can find Cate on Facebook, and shop via Etsy

a Rafflecopter giveaway


AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for bloggers and sites to earn advertising fees by promoting and linking to Amazon properties. Rest assured that I only link to products that I use, recommend, or covet :) Clicking on or purchasing something I have recommended from Amazon does NOT increase or impact your cost in any way.

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