DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Finished Wool Dryer Balls

Simple.  Natural.  Effective

As soon as I came across these balls I knew I had to have them!!!  Like so many awesome things, I found them on pinterest.  Like etsy, I LOVE pinterest.  Others loath it.   No biggy.

I drip a few drops of my fav essential oils onto each ball and I use 4 balls all at once  I’ve NEVER bought dryer sheets.   When I left home mid 20’s it never crossed my mind to ever buy them.  Now in my early 30’s I’m glad I didn’t waste my money or health on dryer sheets.  They contain awful, synthetic chemicals and call them “mountain fresh”.  I love the mountains and I can tell you first hand they do not smell the way dryer sheets claim.  Using wool dryer balls, with or without essential oils, is a safe, effective and economical way to dry clothes.

PILLING ALERT ** I would NOT recommend using them with any materials such as Nikes DryFIit, Adidas ClimaCool, Lululemon Luon etc.  The wool balls will cause pilling!

Benefits of using wool dryer balls.

– wool is a natural material containing no harsh synthetic chemicals

– shortens the drying time of your laundry by helping to separate the clothes.

– uses less electricity and saves you money

What you’ll need 

– R-E-A-L wool (not a wool blended with any other material like cotton or acrylic)

***it must be real 100% wool for the balls to felt properly

***be sure the wool is not super wash wool

What you’ll do

– start by wrapping the wool around 3 fingers about 8-10 times.

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– remove the wool and wrap the centre about 6-8 times.

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– carefully begin wrapping the wool around its self to begin creating a small ball.  I prefer to wrap the wool one direction about 5 times and then slightly change the direction and repeat.  It’s important to wrap the ball with some tension.  Too loose of wool could result in slight unraveling of the outer layer of your final dryer ball.

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– secure the end of your wool by threading it through a tapestry needle and pushing it into the centre of your ball.

– i prefer to make the ball 10.5 inches in diameter BEFORE I felt it.

Remember the wool will shrink (aka felt) so that 10.5 inches will be much smaller once washed & dryer HOT!

Felting happens when the wool is washed in HOT soapy water and dried in HOT.  This shrinks the wool, causing the wool fibers to cling together.

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– place the ball in a stocking/pantyhose & tie a knot, add the next ball, tie another knot and repeat.  You  should be able to fit 4-5 balls per stocking leg.

– throw the wool ball/pantyhose combo into your regular wash .  Agitation is important so try washing the balls with jeans and try to avoid washing them with items like towels.  Once the wash is done toss them into the dryer, while still in the pantyhose and with your clothes.

– after the dryer is done, simply untie each knot in the pantyhose and admire your new wool dryer ball!

*** If the ball looks like its unraveled a bit not to worry.  I simply wrap the ball a few more times with new wool and repeat the HOT water wash & dry like before.  I get some unraveling about 20% of the time.  It just means I didn’t wrap the outer layer of wool tight enough.

Don’t feel like making your own??  These will be for sale on my etsy site shortly  I’ll share the link once its up!

Best,

Julie

Coconut Crusted Chicken Legs

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YOU WILL NEED

2 full chicken legs – no skin, free range preferably:)

1 cup shredded coconut flour/flakes

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

pinch of sea salt

1 whole egg + 1 egg white

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WHAT YOU WILL DO

Pre-heat your oven at 450 degrees

Line a pyrex dish or something similar with parchment paper

Mix the coconut four and the seasonings together in one dish

Crack the eggs into their own dish

Dunk the chicken in the eggs, cover both sides completely

Dunk the chicken in the coconut flour, cover both sides completely

(- Repeat both the egg & coconut flour dunks for extra crispy chicken)

Place chicken in the baking dish and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes.  Keep an eye not to allow the coconut to burn.

cluck-cluck!

🙂 Julie

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It’s soup season in our home and there’s an abundance of squash at the produce stand in the Vancouver area.  I went nuts and bought 6 butternut squashes!!!!  This recipe has plenty of flavour and healthy fats!  Good for brain function and energy:)

butternut Soup

 

Here’s what you’ll need

– a 9 x 13 glass or ceramic dish

– 1 medium OR 2 small sized butternut squash

– 2 cups chicken stock (I made mine from GoBio Chicken Bouillon Cubes)

– 1/2 cup coconut milk (to blend with the soup)

– 2 tbs melted bacon fat

– 2 tbs MCT oil (Multi-chain-triglyceride) OR regular coconut oil

– salt and pepper to taste

– 1 tbs coconut milk to add to each bowl just before serving.

Here’s what you’ll do

COOK YOUR SQUASH & MAKE CHICKEN STOCK

– turn oven to 400 F

– cut squash in half and scoop out seeds

– put 1/2 inch of water into your glass or ceramic baking dish, place the squash upside down in the water, bake it for 45 minutes.  * you’ll want the squash nice and soft so it’ll blend easy.

– While the squash cooks, dissolve your chicken bouillon cubes into 2 cup of water – allow the stock to cool before you blend it!!! – hot liquids can be dangerous to blend –

– allow the cooked squash to cool (I usually put it in the freezer in a room temperature dish).  Once cooled, remove the peel and cut or scoop the squash into 1 inch cubes for easy blending

*Now you have your cooled squash and your cooled chick stock,

– put both the squash and chicken stock in the blender or food processor  – being careful not to over fill either, you may need to blend or process the soup in two batches depending on the volume your machine can safely hold.

– add the coconut milk, melted bacon fat, MCT oil OR Coconut oil to the blender or food processor and process until it reaches your desired texture.  I blend mine until it’s smooth and buttery.

– add salt & pepper to taste.

Before serving add a tbs of coconut milk and swirl it with a spoon for presentation and a punch of sweet flavour!

Cheers to Soup!

Julie 🙂

Almost Paleo Coconut Cookies

I’ve a HUGE bag of coconut flour.  Today it was time for me to put it to use!  I’ve titled this “Almost” paleo coconut cookies because needless to say there is some wheat four in the recipe.  The original recipe is from the blog Beautiful Disasters. I changed the original amount of flour from 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour to 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup almond flour.  The cookies came out AMAZING!  I would be willing to try it with all almond flour next time.

coconut cookies

Here’s what you’ll need

– 1/2 cup butter (I prefer butter from cows fed an all grass diet)

– 1/4 cup brown sugar

– 1/4 cup white sugar

-1 egg

-1 teaspoon vanilla

– 3/4 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 cup almond flour  (*almond flour is simply raw almonds that I ground in a food processor.  Almond flour can also bought)

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– pinch of salt (optional)

– 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Here’s what you’ll do 

*preheat open to 350 degrees F

1. cream the butter and sugars together

2. add the egg and vanilla, beat well

3. add the all purpose flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt, mix again

4. place parchment paper on a cookie sheet (keeps cookies from sticking & keeps cookie sheet clean!).  Spoon teaspoon sized batter onto the parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.  The cookies cook evenly without having to press them down or making perfect cookie clumps.

5. bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges have just started to turn golden.  Allow the cookies to cool for a minute or two before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Hubby came home and has eaten a good load of them already!  I think they’re a hit:)

If you make these and have success with any recipe changes please come back and share your success!

*store cookies in an airtight container or sealable plastic bag.

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coffee date-bites

date bitesThe delicious morsels are AMAZING and i’d betcha you can’t eat just one.  I found the original recipe from a great site “Our Paleo Life”.  Kendra is the master mind behind the site and she is clever in the kitchen.  Her bites recipe was for key lime pie bites and cherry pie bites.  Needless to say but I’ll say it anyway, “I am happy to stumbled across her delicious bites recipe”.  I’ve made her bites three times and on fourth time I decided to play around with the recipe myself.  I like my coffee, but I don’t always want to necessarily make a cup mid day.  To satisfy my craving for a mid day coffee as well as a snack I came up with these coffee date-bites.

Here’s what you need

-10 Medjool dates, pitted

– 1 cup Almonds (unsalted)

– ½ cup Cashews (unsalted)

– ¼ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (aka coconut flour)

– 1.5 tbs water or chilled coffee (you could need a little less depending on the moisture in your dates)

– 1 tsp real vanilla extract (adding some real vanilla beans is awesome too)

– 1.5 tbs freshly ground espresso beans

Here’s what you’ll do

– Put the dates, almonds, cashews, coconut and ground espresso beans in a food processor. Process the mixture until there is variety in its texture.  half fine, half coarse.

– With the food processor running, slowly pour in all the vanilla and THEN the water (or chilled coffee) a little at a time.  You may not need all the water (or coffee) depending on the natural moisture already present.  Too much moisture will make the mixture too sticky and difficult to roll into bites/balls.

– When the mixture begins to ball together, turn food processor off.

– Roll your mixture into what ever sized bites you prefer!  large marble size works well:)

– Bites will keep for unto a week when stored in an airtight container in your fridge.

ENJOY these!!  They are awesome! And give thanks to Kendra over at Our Paleo Life

Slow cooker meat balls – paleo

Meat balls

GRASS FED MEAT BALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE

These were quick and loved by all three of us.  They took 10 minutes to prep, 2.5 hours in the slow cooker on LOW and made 15 meatballs

I adapted the recipe from   “The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook” by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett.  The original recipe is also really easy but it’s not paleo.

Here’s what I used –

1 lbs ground beef (I prefer 100% grass fed beef)

1 egg (I prefer free range eggs)

2 large garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped

1 tsp fresh oregano*

3 tsp fresh parsley*                                                                                                              (*italian seasoning is a good alternative to the individual oregano & parsley).

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 oz almond flour*, fine ground                                                                                          (*almond flour is simply raw almonds that I ground in a food processor.  Almond flour can also be bought).

As for the tomato sauce, I bought my sauce from my local butcher shop.  They make it from scratch there and it’s delicious.  I prefer my bought sauces to come from a glass jar and not a can.  I’ll try making my own sauce one of these days:)

Mix all of the meatball ingredients into a bowl and mix it well.  I just used my hands, they seem to be the best mixer for these.

Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a golfball.  Place the balls onto parchment paper or on an oiled surface so they won’t stick.

Placed the balls in the fridge for 45 minutes minimum.  This allowed them to firm up and stay together while they cook.  The balls can be kept in the fridge over night if you’re preparing them the night before.  Be sure to cover them so they don’t dry out!

Pour enough sauce to cover just the bottom of the slow-cooker.  Arrange the meat balls in the slow-cooker with approximately the same space between them.  Balls placed too close together won’t cook evenly.

Pour the remaining tomato sauce over all the meatballs.

Turn your slow-cooker onto LOW and set your timer to *2.5 hours.                                   (Now is a good time to prep the rest of your meal or take a nap if it’s part of your routine like it is mine;)

*I’ve only ever used one brand of slow-cooker so I don’t know if the cooking time fluctuates among brands.  Many other recipes have said to cook the balls for three times as long as I did.  I just happened to check them at 2.5 hours and they were cooked 95% of the way through.  To me they were done.

We ate the meatballs with rice and grilled bell peppers.

My family loved this recipe!  So go on!  Adjust it to your tastes, set the timer and relax busy mama & papa Bear.

garden glory! its a neighbourly thing to do!

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stk115701rkeJune 2013, Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Gardens, flower beds and trees are flourishing here.  With a little rain and a little sunshine good things happen!  Just like life, rainy days and sunny days balance us out so we can grow!  Thank goodness otherwise I’d either be soggy and miserable or all dried up and miserable!

In the Greater Vancouver area community gardens seem to be popping up in nearly every neighbourhood!  The city provides the land and the future gardeners along with a few other key community players come together and practically build the garden!  Its awesome!  It looks like an army of ants crawling and digging in the dirt.  The community garden brings out all ages and cultures. The stereotypical image of a “green thumb” is blown out of the water.  Vancouver and the surrounding suburbs are really mixed in terms of cultures and ethnicities.  At one garden plot may be a 50 year old son and his 75 year old mother from the UK and at another could be a mom in her mid 30’s and her two kids from Japan.  The gardens encourages people to get out of their homes and their usual routine.  Conversations spark and new friendships happen.   It’s a magical pile of dirt where we learn we have more in common with each other than not.  We all share a common connection to the land through community, food, air and water.  Curious about a community gardens in your area?   Check out local city hall website and see if they have any information regarding a community garden.

If a community garden isn’t feasible in the near future keep bugging city hall until it happens but in the mean time consider backyard sharing.  Backyard sharing is just what it sounds like!  Person A has a backyard while person B does not.  Person A shares their yard with B, and probably others, to grow healthy, delicious food!  It’s a cool concept.   It opens the door to some old fashion community and fellowship.  It’s a “get to know your neighbour” kind of thing!

Get out there and grow!  – Julie

What’s in a name?…Sugar!

So what is another name for sugar…

SUGAR.  The word is tossed around like a rag doll these days.  I felt it was time to dig a little deeper and find out what lurked behind the simple name “sugar”.  Like many, I’m conscious of the amount of sugar I eat.  Now that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a mouth-watering baked good every once in a while.  I am a self-proclaimed lover of cookies after all who’s seeking new ways to enjoy some old treats!  At the moment this is the assortment of “sweet additions” in my kitchen, brown sugar, refined white sugar, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut milk and fruit.  So there, I’m not prefect!  I have nasty white refined sugar in my cupboard that is slowly making its way out the door!

Ok so what’s the big deal about sugar anyway?!  Well I made it a “mom Protocol” for me to read some pretty amazing books on the topic of food in general and sugar more specifically!  The Better Baby Book: How to Have a Healthier, Smarter, Happier Baby (affiliate link) by Lana Asprey M.D. and Dave Asprey.  The Better Baby Book has been my nightly read before bed because I feel like there’s always more to learn when it comes to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  My pregnancy with M was great and he’s a healthy 14 month old.  Reading The Better Baby Book confirms some of what I already do as well as it has  introduced me to some new avenues to achieve great health before, during and after my next pregnancy.  The second book is Rich Food Poor Food: The Ultimate Grocery Purchasing System (GPS) (affiliate link) by Jason Calton, PhD and Mira Calton, CN.  “Rich Food Poor Food” is definitely geared for grocery shopping in the USA but is still very useful for Canadians since we can find many of the same products on both sides of the boarder.  It’s loaded with information for anyone trying to shop and eat the healthiest way possible.  “Rich Food Poor Food” clears the clutter and confusion that can come along with reading labels.  It’s like a GPS for the grocery store!

Here’s to less sugar in our lives!

Crackin’ eggs and takin’ names!

We’re going primal (aka paleo) in our house and LOOOOVING IT!  We’ve jumped right into “The Practical Plaeo” as well as “The Bulletproof Executive” and could not be happier about food and the positive influence this way of eating has had on us.  How does loosing 7 lbs of fat sound?!   Let me tell you, it feels amazing and I credit it ALL to going primal.

Now if eggs aren’t your thing you may need a little warming up to eat this way.  I sure wasn’t, and some days still not, a huge fan of eggs.  I’ve been playing around and found some good egg eatin’ to satisfy my household.  Here’s the secret mama’s or designated chef of the house, the eggs gotta be from free range birds who eat a natural chicken diet (worms, bugs, scraps, grass etc).  Think chickens happily pecking the ground out in the open air.  Why?  A healthy, happy chicken eating the way nature intended lends its self to healthier eggs and as well as happier & healthier moms, dads n’ babes who eat the eggs.

Here’s a delicious recipe I use often.  It makes enough grub for the three of us for three mornings.  I highly recommend cooking in bulk it’s a “mom protocol” that’s helped keep our mornings flowing well with full bellies;)  Go eat!

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Cuppow!

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Cuppow!

Cuppow!! It arrived in my mail box this morning and this gal could not be more excited for “the little things in life”. This awesome cuppow lid transforms a regular mason jar into a travel cup for hot or cold drinks. It’s made in the USA, is BPA free and can be recycled if need be.  I bought mine on line from Delish General Store located in North Vancouver, BC, Canada.