29 February 2012

Challenge Wednesday #23: Adventure Time

If you've been around these parts before, you know today is Challenge Wednesday. And that means I'm blogging from A Drop in the Bucket.

Jen asked about our favorite family hobby, geocaching. It's frugal, it's fun, and it suits the whole family.

Hop on over and check it out.

And, don't forget about the giveaway to win some great beef jerky and grain free granola products...they are delicious!

People were having trouble leaving comments, so I've extended the entry time another week. You can leave your comments to enter until Monday, 12 March 2012 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be announced Tusday, 13 March 2012.


28 February 2012

Pin it. Do it. Cereal, Caveman Style

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for your chance to win! Details are Here...make 
sure you leave your entry comments and good luck!

When we started a Primal diet as part of our Game ON! Fitness Challenge, one area we struggled was breakfast time. Eggs every day, as diverse as they are, can get kind of old.

So I was thrilled to find this recipe for  grainless cereal from Civilized Caveman Cooking.

I made a couple small changes based on what I had available: I used coconut oil and a combination of almond and coconut flour. It seemed a little too oily with the full amount; maybe that was because of my substitution, but the next time I made it I decreased the oil slightly and it turned out perfect.

Judging by the speed it disappeared, I'd say it was a hit. Next time I'm making a double batch.

Ok, on to the good stuff:

Servings: 10
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Tools you may Need:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 Degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients
  4. Microwave on high for 20-30 seconds to help it mix better
  5. Once warm, pour your wet ingredients over your dry seed and nut mixture and mix well with a fork to ensure you coat everything
  6. Place your mixture on a foil lined baking sheet and spread thin and evenly
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes 
  8. Remove from the oven and stir around to ensure nothing burns, I put it back in the bowl and then respread it on the baking sheet
  9. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes
  10. Remove and let cool, it tastes better cold and also develops its crunchiness as it cools
  11. Serve in a bowl with some almond milk or coconut milk and enjoy

Skip To My Lou

Tip Junkie handmade projects


27 February 2012

Funday Monday: Giveaway!

What could be more fun than a giveaway? I found an amazing company called Steve's Originals and was immediately smitten.

They make products like nitrate free beef jerky and grain free cereals and granola bars. You can buy just the jerky, or you can get "PaleoKits", which are combinations of jerky and dried fruits. They also make a kid version of these kits called Berky, which includes - you guessed it - jerky and dried berries. The original grainless granola bar is always offered, as well as seasonal versions available for a few months at a time.

I placed an order for a variety of items to try them out, and so far I love them all. I've eaten the Paleo Krunch cereal, the dark espresso and espresso Paleo bar, and the Fruit and Nut PaleoKit. I think the granola bars are my favorite, but believe me, it's all delicious. The jerky is from grass fed cows and is vacuum packed to avoid nitrates.

But even better, Steve has started a movement to get at-risk kids involved in Crossfit. A portion of all his proceeds go towards his nonprofit organization, Steve's Club.

Steve's Originals also ships to APO addresses for military folks (and offers a 10% discount) and will ship worldwide (although they are limited in what they can ship to certain countries - check the website for details).

And so, because these snacks are delicious, and because I know not everyone has time to make all their food all the time, and because I bloggy love you all, I am hosting my very first giveaway.

The lucky winner will receive a Steve's Club Sampler. This kit is packed with PaleoKits and PaleoBars.


From the website:

Steve's Original makes it easy to Fuel your Journey with our new Steve's Club Sampler. Perfect for Paleo beginners, gifts for your cave friends, or prizes at your gym. Whatever the occasion, the Steve's Club Sampler is guaranteed to deliver a tasty mix of our staple products. Our Steve's Club Sampler consists of:

1 Original Large Paleokit

1 Grassfed Small PaleoKit

1 GrassFed Just Jerky

1 PaleoKrunch Bar

1 PaleoKrunch Original Flavor Cereal

1 Coconut Small PaleoKit

There are three ways to win:
1. Follow Me by clicking the button the side bar and write a comment here with which Steve's Original product you are looking forward to trying the most.

2. Like Control the Chaos on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me so.

3. Spread the word by linking this post to your own blog. Or, if you don't have a blog, spread the word on Facebook and leave a comment here with a link to the post.

If you already like or follow this blog, just leave a comment here telling me so. You can still be part of the fun!

Please leave a separate comment for each entry, provide your email address with your comment, and provide a link to the blog post where you spread the word.

**Many, many people have said they are having trouble leaving comments here. It has been going on for over a week, so if you are having trouble, you may enter by leaving your comments on my FB page instead. I will combine all the entries for the giveaway.**

Entries will be accepted until Monday, 12 March 2012 at 11:59PM. Check back here on Tuesday, 13 March to find out if you've won.

Go check out all of the great products, and then come back here to enter for your chance to win. Good luck!

24 February 2012

Five Minute Friday: Grit

So, last Friday I went on a family trip to Norway, but I was sure to write my Five Minute Friday post before I left. It wasn't until I returned home on Tuesday that I realized I forgot to post it! Oh well. It wasn't the greatest anyway. I'm back and ready for the challenge.
On Fridays we write like we believe we can fly. Won’t you join us? 
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:


Grit. The kind of determination that needs its own special qualifying word. The kind of perseverance that can't really be planned; this word is reserved for someone who is in the middle of demonstrating it, or who already earned the title.
It requires a willingness to continue no matter how deep things get, how muddled and trapped in quicksand you might feel.
Source: cracked.com via Jed on Pinterest

Like to be a single parent several times over as your military spouse leaves for months on end.
Or to fight for your special needs child despite all the odds.
Or to follow Jesus, an unpopular choice in this postmodern society. This place of relative truth everywhere you look.
I *think* I want grit to be a word that describes me. I only think so because I am not sure I can handle the title. Or bear the burden. 
For once I show grit, can I ever take the easy road again? Once I prove I can be that determined, is it possible to simply follow the masses? Or must I always choose the narrow and difficult road? 
Grit. [Always and Forever].

23 February 2012

Worth the Investment

I enjoy spending my time making real food, nontoxic cleaners, and homemade gifts.  But I realize that some of you might not be quite convinced.  Yet.

Maybe you aren't willing to invest the time, because you just don't have that much time to give?

Below is a breakdown of the time I spend making things from scratch, separated by category.  Judge for yourself if the time required is worth the benefits.


A few notes:

  • These are average times, so some days I spend 30 minutes on something and then don't have to deal with it for a week.  Because of my hectic days chasing a toddler, I tend to do parts of things in few minute increments.
  • I use very few recipes for household cleaners.  For me, making cleaners usually means putting vinegar and water in a bottle, and maybe adding a few drops of essential oil.
  • My garden is entirely in containers, so I probably spend less time than others would because I don't have to weed or prep the soil as much.  
  • I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen.  By far.  But as my experience with cooking from scratch increases, so does my efficiency.  If I turn on the oven, I keep it on and group together some baking projects.  Or today, as I made pancakes for the freezer, I also sliced and peeled apples for applesauce.
  • I do not currently soak grains for bread.  I have begun soaking grains for other baked items, such as pancakes.  But I primarily use this book for bread baking (and it really does take just a few minutes a day):

Well, there you have it.  This is the price you must pay to know what is in your food.  This is the cost of keeping chemicals out of your household and personal care products.  You can buy organic everything and all natural cleaners and beauty products, but the only way to know for sure what goes into your body and your home is to do it yourself.  

What do you think? Is there something on this list you can find time for? Is it worth your time?

22 February 2012

Challenge Wednesday #22

Today's guest post is from my wonderful friend Jen @ A Drop in the Bucket:

Hi friends!  Here it is, another Wednesday.  Already?  Hmm. 

Well, just as a reminder, Tracey and I share our blog homes each Wednesday with each other...and with you!  We have a lot in common, and a lot to learn from each other.  Isn't that true for a lot of us?

So here we go with another learning experience.  Will you join me? 

And now, Jen, I want to know how you are living in the moment in Scotland. What kind of things have you explored? What memories are you making? What opportunities are you taking advantage of while you are living in the UK? Come on, spill the beans, we want details!

Eek. You caught me Tracey.  I've been in Scotland about three months and I've done barely anything to take advantage of it.  

Wait.  Scratch that.  

I have been taking advantage of the conveniences that are here, but not in the Netherlands.  Which is both a good (Skinny Cow ice cream treats) and bad (loads of American t.v., Skinny Cow ice cream treats) thing.  But that is a story for another day.  

Living in the moment?  Well, always. How could I not with this cutie pie?

But, probably not to the level I could be.

So.  We made a plan.  J#1 (my husband) and I sat this weekend and listed out the places we want to see in Scotland, England and Ireland.  And planned out the trips we will take throughout Europe while we are still in this part of the world.  Click on over to my bucket list to see the long list of UK sites that we are excited to see.  

And Europe?  We are planing a trip to Scandinavia (so, Tracey, you'll have to fill me in on Oslo),  Switzerland and Austria and perhaps even a cruise out of Rome, to see Turkey and Greece!  I think I may even try my hand feet at skiing for the first time in Switzerland.  I'm sure they have bunny slopes, right? 

Source: google.com via Jordan on Pinterest

I know that now that we have done the planning we need to get out and DO it.  We have already challenged ourselves to get out of the house {and our routine} and do something new or different at least twice a month on the weekends.  Maybe we'll even try geocaching?  I've heard it can be fun. 

And who did I first hear about geocaching from?  Tracey, of course.  So Tracey, would you please tell me about your favorite geocaching experience and about any key things that we need to know if when we start doing it?    

Oh, I am so excited to get to write about geocaching next week on Jen's blog! I'm a geek, I know, but if you are looking for a frugal, fun, family activity that takes you to places you would never otherwise see, tune in next week.

21 February 2012

Pin it. Do it. Week 16


I made this avacado and tomato salad on a Sunday afternoon when visitors joined us for dinner. I usually try to cook seasonally, but it has been so cold and I am so very tired of being cold that I decided to go with something that reminded me of summer.  

Since we are still trying to eat primally, I made the entire meal, including dessert, to be primal friendly.

I found the recipe on Ashley's Cooking Adventures and immediately pinned it as a great primal way to get veggies and healthy fats.

Here's the great recipe she created:
Mozzarella, Tomato and Avocado Salad
From Val So Cal
1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 carton fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, drained
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/3 cup basil, julienned (I used my frozen basil I had on hand, it was perfection)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Baguette - optional

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and parsley. Set aside.
In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. 
Pour over tomato mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Just before serving stir in the chopped avocado. 
Serve with a slotted spoon and toasted baguette. 
This salad turned out fantastic. Be sure to get high quality fresh mozzarella, and wait to add the avocado until just before serving.

Check out Ashley's Cooking Adventures for a ton of other great recipes. I've pinned several of hers, and I'm excited to try them all.
Skip To My Lou

Tip Junkie handmade projects

20 February 2012

Less Cooking, More Meals

What do you cook when you can't cook?  Or when you don't want to cook?  I used to try various packaged and convenience foods, because I figured I needed to have something on hand in case I don't have time to spend in the kitchen.

They all tasted gross to me, though, so then I would buy a different convenience food and start the cycle over again.

Yeah, that didn't work so well.

Finally, I got smart. Or maybe just not so stupid. I created a list of some simple meals that can be made quickly but still use whole foods and fresh ingredients.

Simple, fast meals using nothing but whole foods:
1. Eggs - you can never go wrong with eggs.  They are so versatile and pack a nutritional punch.

2. Cheese and homemade bread - put some veggies and fruit out with it, and you have a well rounded but easy meal. Obviously, you need to make the bread, but you all have homemade bread every day, right? If not, grab a loaf from a corner bakery.

3.Soup - a classic make ahead dish that freezes well. When you have time, make extra so you always have something in the freezer for a quick meal.

4.Beans/lentils - frugal and nutritious, beans and lentils can be soaked and cooked when you have time and frozen the same as soup. Add them to rice, soups, or eat them plain with a little cheese on top.

5.Quinoa - in broth, with ground beef, or mixed with sauteed veggies, quinoa cooks quickly and is a complete protein, so no need to worry about what to serve with it if you are truly pressed for time.