Veggie Vittles – Butternut Squash Pie

Okay, I’m back to bringing you vegetarian recipes once a week.  Sorry I got a bit slack there for a bit.  This week’s recipe actually wasn’t a huge hit at our house, but I think families with a preference for blander foods might enjoy it.  All in all, I found it to be edible, but not full of yum.  It was also rather a pain in the rump to make.  So, why am I even sharing it?  Well, because I’m giving the skinny on what it is I made….good, bad, or ugly. 😉  I got this recipe from Whole Foods, so I’ll put things the way they had them with some mild suggestions from me. 😀

Looks pretty. 😉

What you need:

*one large butternut squash (a 3 pounder)
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*salt and pepper (to taste)
*1 yellow onion – sliced  (I would chop it up!)
*2 tablespoons dry white wine (the recipe calls for this, but I don’t feel like it added anything….if you’re not wine drinker, I would consider just skipping it)
*1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (sounds fancy…if I were going to make this again, I’d just throw in some shredded parmesan from a bag)
*1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped  (I think walnuts may have actually worked better here)
*1 egg, lightly beaten
*1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I’m not sure that “fresh” is really necessary.)
*1 frozen pie crust (I suggest getting a deep dish version or all of your stuff won’t fit.)
* a cookie sheet type thing (two would be even better)
*a big bowl for mixing things
*skillet
*patience
 
(Take note!  “To taste” means I have no idea how much I used…I just threw some in there and hoped for yum to happen.)
 
 
What to do:
 
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Peel the squash and cut it into 1 inch cubes.
3.  In bowl, toss squash with 2 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper.
4.  Put the squash (in one layer) on cookie sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes….mix it around every once in a while so it roasts evenly.
5.  While the roasting is happening, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.
6.  Add onions to oil and cook (stir a bunch) until brown (7 to 9 minutes).
 7.  Add wine to onions and cook for another minute…keep stirring.
8.  Put the squash back in the big bowl and add cooked onions to the bowl.
9.  Add all other ingredients to the bowl (except for the pie crust, of course) and toss gently.
10.  Add your (now gently tossed) mixture to your pie crust and pat it down gently.
11.  Bake for 40 minutes or until crust is a pretty brown.
12.  Let cool for 10 minutes.
13.  Eat!
 
How was it received by my family?  As I mentioned earlier, we thought it was a bit bland.  I wouldn’t say it was awful, but we didn’t enjoy it enough to make it again.  It may be right up your alley though….if you make this and love it, I’d love to hear from you.  I’d also love to hear if you make any changes to the original recipe.
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Fluffy Bunny Friendly Product Review – Soap and Body Polish

I took a little trip to Earth Fare this weekend and made an unexpected, though very pleasant, discovery.  As I was strolling the aisles looking for fluffy bunny friendly products to test out for the blog, I ran into Hugo Saavedra.  He had a table set up in the bath and beauty section to promote his products, so I stopped for a chat.  He talked about his products with such enthusiasm….it was contagious!  He was also one of those wonderful people who just radiates warmth and friendliness. 🙂  After chatting for a bit, I chose a jar of body polish that he suggested.  At that point, he started giving me things!  (A thrifty girl’s dream!)  He threw in a big piece of soap (that he cut right from a huge block on the table) for my husband and me.  We had also talked a bit about my stepdaughter, so he gave me a big piece of pink soap for her and two lip balms!  (For the skeptics out there:  I never even mentioned that I have a blog or that I review products for a blog….this was sincere kindness and product promotion.)  So, how were they, you ask?  Read on….

Soap and  Body Polish by Hugo Naturals

How does it smell?  Yum, yum, yum!  Even my husband (who seems to detest all things that don’t smell like hamburger) loved the smell of the soap.  The body polish and lip balm also smell wonderful.

Environmental factors?  These products are all free of scary chemicals…they’re made with natural ingredients that sound good enough to snack on.  In fact, Hugo tells me that you can eat these products….I’m not sure why you would, but you could. 😉  The containers are recyclable and, of course, there is no animal testing involved. 

Does it work?  Oh my, yes!  The soap is made of awesome.  Just the right amount of bubbly, just the right amount of scent, and a perfectly clean feeling after you rinse.  I believe I have found my new “use all of the time” soap.  And as a bonus, I also feel softer than I do after using other soaps….but not greasy or icky at all.  The body polish is also fabulous!  My knees and elbows thank me after just one use.

Does it cost a million dollars?  Nope.  I will not tell a lie…these products do cost more than picking up a store brand bar of soap or bottle of lotion from the grocery store, but they are not ridiculously expensive either.  The body polish was $12.99 which seems right in line with similar products from other companies.  On the web site, a bottle of lotion is $9.99 and a bar of soap is $4.99.  So, yes, the prices may be higher than products you’re used to seeing on the shelves, but they’re not insanely high, and the products are so worth it!

Overall rating?  I give these products five bunnies out of five bunnies.  Make that five dancing, singing, frolicking bunnies.  Yep, I am very pleased. 🙂  I’m excited to get my hands on shampoo and lotion from Hugo Naturals so I can try those too. 🙂

The Veggie Slacker Attacks Again

Since I am slack, I am always looking for ways to be a vegetarian without actually having to do much work. 😉  I am very good at thawing things, microwaving things, and pulling things out of wrappers!  *ponders listing skills on future resume*  In light of that, I am continuing my efforts to give no-brainer suggestions for super-slack vegetarian options that don’t fall too squarely in the land of junk-food-vegetarianism. 

This week’s suggestion:  Make a sandwich!  They’re delicious and easy.  Throw some stuff on whole grain bread, put a bowl of tomato soup next to it, and you have a dinner that’s not too awful for you or your vegetarian pursuits.  I love sandwiches!  (You will be seeing more here in the future.)

Grilled cheese and tomato soup...yum! A super-easy vegetarian option. 🙂

Fluffy Bunny Friendly Product Review – Shampoo

For those of you who want to simultaneously protect the bunnies from harm and have clean, glorious, flowing hair: this review is for you!  I am re-reviewing one of my favorite cruelty-free shampoos…it’s actually the one I use on a daily basis when I’m not testing another shampoo for the blog.  So far, no other shampoo has pleased me more than this one (though, honestly, it would take some sort of hair transplant for me to have glorious and flowing hair).

Shampoo by Organix

How does it smell?  Wonderful!  I use the cherry blossom ginseng version, and I loooove it.  Of course, I had to sniff every type available at the store, so I can safely say that they all smell awesome.

Environmental factors?  The bottle is easily recyclable and made from post-consumer products.  Even the labels and ink are eco-friendly! 

Does it work? Oh my, does it ever!  The type I use promises volume and shine, and I can tell a huge difference when using this shampoo.  It delivers….no false promises and hype here.

Does it cost a million dollars?  Not really.  A 13 ounce bottle is in the $6.00 to $7.00 range.  If you’re used to buying store brands that cost 2 or 3 bucks, it’s going to be a bit higher than you’re used to (it’s worth it!)….if you’re used to buying salon brands, it’s going to be considerably cheaper (do it!).

Overall rating?  Another 5 out of 5 bunnies experience.  This is another product that does what it promises to do without causing madness and mayhem in the world. 😉  The bunnies are happy.

Be Nice! (With Yarn and Coffee)

I’m on a new quest to devote more time and energy toward charity, volunteer work, random acts of kindness….that sort of thing.  This week I ka-powed someone with kindness at Dunkin’ Donuts by paying for the person behind me in the drive through line.

Kindness….one caffeinated beverage at a time.

But I’ve been thinking I’d like to commit to a more long-term type project….something that’s suited to my abilities and high level of slack.  I think I’ve come up with the answer!  A few years ago, I picked up this book:

 

So, this is the plan.  I am going to commit to knitting 5 hours each week and work my way through the suggested projects for the various charities and organizations in this book.  And what is the first project I’ve come to in the book?  The Ships Project (www.theshipsproject.com) …. they provide hand-knit items for sailors and soldiers.  So, my first goal in this endeavor is to spend at least 5 hours a week knitting a hat and a pair of socks for a military person with a frozen noggin and chilly toes.  Seems like a splendid way to start, no?  Actually, the first several projects are for the military.  It makes me happy to help in my goofy, little way.  Never fear, I’ll post pictures of finished projects and works in progress. 😀

Fluffy Bunny Friendly Product Review – Body Wash

This one is for those of you who prefer body wash to bar soap.  So as not to keep you in suspense, I’ll let you know that this stuff is made of pure awesome….read on to find out why.

Body Wash by pure & natural

How does it smell?  Fab-u-licious!  I went with the “Cleansing” version (that is the point of soap, right?) and it has a rosemary and mint scent that is definitely for the win.  The whole bathroom smells lovely when this stuff is in use.

Environmental factors?  The bottle is easily recyclable, and the product is biodegradable.  Of course, no fluffy (or non-fluffy, for that matter) creatures were harmed in the making of this body wash.  In fact, pure & natural makes a minimum $100,000 donation to World Wildlife Fund each year. 

Does it work?  As usual, I didn’t bust out the microscope to do a confirming germ count, but I do feel perfectly clean after using this body wash.  There is none of that weird, lotiony stuff that makes you feel ready for the deep fryer after a shower.  And did I mention that it smells fabulous?  It fills all of my soap requirements. 🙂

Does it cost a million dollars?  Nope.  This 16 ounce bottle was around $5.00 at Target.  Slightly more than bar soap or a less environmentally-friendly option, but well within the limits of reasonable humans. 

Overall rating?  This is another 5 bunnies out of 5 bunnies product.  Soap that gets you clean, smells yummy, and doesn’t harm the bunnies?  Brilliant!

In Pursuit of Craftiness – Makin’ Pickles

Now that I have successfully made cherry jam and apple butter, I feel that I am ready to try my hand at dealing with some veggies.  I mean, if you don’t take into account the strawberry jam mishap (and we’re not going to), this is all going fantastically well!  I’m not particularly interested in buying a pressure cooker at this stage of my craftiness…I’m going to have to see if this continues to entertain me for a while before I invest that kind of money.  So, the clear answer is pickling!  My plan for tomorrow involves pickling my brains out. 😉  Check out these lovely victims:

Just waiting to be doused with brine and thrown in a vat of boiling water. *insert maniacal laughter here*

Yep, pickled okra, pickled garlic, and pickled, well, pickles (yes, I know they’re cucumbers) will begin happening right in my kitchen.  I’m so ridiculously excited!  It’s like waiting for Christmas, except I’m going to have to clean up a huge mess when it’s all over.  Wait, I guess that means it’s exactly like Christmas. 😉  I look forward to sharing the results….in picture form, of course….I won’t be mailing out jars of preserved goods to random strangers or anything. 

 
In other crafty news, I’ve started adding some of my knitting patterns to my Etsy shop.  Here is one of my most tried and true favorites that seems quite popular in other venues (Ravelry, mostly):
It’s a Scoodie! Half hood, half scarf…like a centaur-type-thing, but easier to wear.

I’m working on a new knitting pattern to add to the shop….I’ll be posting pictures of progress soon.

 
 

 

Vegetarian – Slacker Style

In a continued effort to support the lazy vegetarians of the world, I bring you another so-simple-you-can’t-fail-no-matter-how-sorry-you-are veggie dinner option.  Next time you’re in the grocery store, go to the frozen food section and pick up one of these:

Tasty veggie fare….with very little work!

Of course, there is quite a variety of veggie options to choose from…you’re not limited to pasta primavera.  I’m a store brand kind of girl, so our budget stays satisfied too.  (Some of the name brand meals of this type can be a bit pricey.) 

 
Once you get that sucker home, it’s just a matter of preheating the oven, popping the meal in (after you remove it from the box, of course), and patiently waiting. 
 
This has been your weekly reminder that you can be a lazy bum (like me!) without sacrificing your dedication to avoiding meat. 😉

Fluffy Bunny Friendly Product Review – Dish Liquid

As promised, here is the second fluffy bunny friendly product review for the week.  To balance out the less-than-stellar review I gave to dry shampoo earlier this week, I thought I would review a product that got a fantastic review from me in the past….

Clean Day by Mrs. Meyer’s

How does it smell?  Fan-freakin’-tastic!  I chose the lemon verbena scent, and I love it!  It smells so yummy, it almost makes me look for reasons to use it.

Environmental factors?  Product is at least 97% naturally derived, according to the label.  It is also biodegradable.  The bottle itself is easily recyclable and made from 25% post consumer plastic.  And, of course, no bunnies were harmed in the making of this dish liquid.

Does it work?  Does it ever!  This stuff does a wonder-tastic job.  Dishes are clean, clean, clean.

Does it cost a million dollars? Nope.  Enough time has passed since I bought the bottle that I’m using now that I don’t remember how much it was exactly….that, in itself, is evidence that it couldn’t have been too freakishly expensive.  If memory serves (and it frequently doesn’t), I paid around $4.00.  It is listed on the Mrs. Myer’s website as $3.99, so that all jibes.

Overall rating?  This dish liquid gets five big, fat, healthy bunnies.  Of all the products I have reviewed so far, this is still the one that I am most impressed with.

Size Doesn’t Matter (So Be Nice!)

No, I’m not talking about that.  Geez…potty brain. 😉  I’m talking about charitable things.  In our area, a new website has been born…one that gives a person the opportunity to donate to very specific projects and causes.  Last night, for the very low price of $18.00, I was able to help provide birds with worms for the year (at a specific garden, not globally or anything) and contribute to the purchase of a snake for a local science museum.  How exciting is that?!? 

I’ll hop on the honest train for a minute and confess that I have been less-than-active in charitable pursuits in recent history.  Where has that idealistic, save-the-world-one-tree/bird/person/bunny/whale/plankton-at-a-time girl gone???  Well, I’ve got some apathy to atone for, and what better time to start correcting the situation than yesterday?  (And a big thank you to kindness girl for reminding me to get off my rump and be nice to someone already! 😉 )

So, here’s my plan: I’m going to commit to getting my random-acts-of-kindness on at least once a week.  Then I’m going to report back to you, my lovely readers.  It’s not a “oh look what I’ve done” type of thing….it’s more of a “this will force me to pay attention to this/accountability” kind of thing.  And if someone finds a new charitable cause to support or a little way to be nice to someone from this blog, then that’s awesome too. 😀

So, what was that website, you ask?  www.power2give.org  They have tons of projects to support, so you’re sure to find something you can’t resist.