10 Pinterest Ideas That Worked In My Kitchen

We’ve all seen the pins.

“65 Genius Hacks To Organise Your Kitchen”

“27 Kitchen Ideas To Try RIGHT NOW”

“Here Are 172 Professionally Designed, Perfectly Organized Kitchens That People Don’t Actually Live In, But We’ll Show You Photos For The Purpose Of Making You Feel Inadequate”

Oh, I know you know. I KNOW you know.

The ideas I’ve listed here are things I’ve actually tried in my own kitchen, and they actually work for me. The ideas themselves may or may not have initially come from Pinterest into my life (I do have a brain of my own, believe it or not), but I’ve seen them all on there.

1. Hang pot lids

This idea definitely came from Pinterest. I currently have 25 command hooks hanging in my kitchen. Twenty five. Partly because I’m an addict, sure. Partly because I find them in the clearance bin at Home Depot for 70% off. And partly because they just work. Using them to hang my pot lids on the back of our pantry door was a real win for me, since our lids don’t stack nicely in our pots or make for easy storage otherwise.
I will say, hanging stuff on the backs of cabinet doors really only works if 1) the stuff is basically flat and/or fits in between the heights of your shelves, or 2) you have cabinet shelves that don’t fill the depth of your cabinet.

2. Paper file on the back of a cabinet door

I’ve seen this used to hold cutting boards or baking pans or any number of other things, but we use this one to hold the pancake and waffle plates for our griddler. They’re large and odd to store, and we use them each at least once a week, so access needs to be easy. I just hung the file with command hooks, so I’d be careful of how much we put in them unless we were to secure it otherwise.



3. Magazine files on the back of a cabinet door


It took me a while to use these efficiently after putting them up, but now I have one for food storage and one for baking needs, so it holds my silicone baking mats as well (rolled up, secured with twist ties), and I love them.




4. Shelf stackers
Guys, look at this…
I’m not joking when I say that this has literally doubled the storage in this cabinet. Please ignore the unfinished trim work…it’s uh…a work in progress. I also find that we don’t have enough shelf space in our upper cabinets and we really could use another shelf in each of them, save maybe one. So I’ve popped this shelf in one of them to double our food storage space.

5. Vertical organiser for baking pans

I was a little skeptical of this one, but tired of my pans falling over themselves on the shelf. Because of the extra space between the pans, I’m not convinced that this gives me more cabinet real estate to work with, but to me it’s worth it for the ease of getting out exactly the pan I need so easily.




6. Turntables in cabinets

These are helpful particularly in the corner cabinet I have. We use them to simply make things easier to access, and they’re great for condiments and vinegars.



7. Turntables in the fridge

This is one thing that actually takes away from storage for us, so we’ve recently done away with it but we had a turntable in our fridge for a good long time. It made accessing condiments and other frequently used items really quick and easy.




8. Fridge and freezer organizer bins
IMG_5750I love having these, especially on our cavernous lowest shelf. When one is empty or we need more shelf space, I just stack them together. And we can change the labels as frequently as we need to. We pretty consistently have ones for meat, dairy, and things to use this week. This method also extends to the freezer, where I think they could work better if they were a different size, but it’s what we’ve got right now. In the freezer we keep bins for veggies, fruit, meat, and lunches, along with our ice bin.

9. Towel rod on the end of a cabinet

To be honest, when I came up with this idea (all on my own, thank you very much) I didn’t factor in that I’d soon have a walker/destroyer-of-all-things-tidy. So we do find it annoying that the towels are so accessible to Nolan and that he takes full advantage of that at times, but if I could go back I don’t think I’d change this because we find it so valuable to have somewhere predictable for our towels. They’d be all over the counters if we didn’t!


10. Magnetic knife rack

We oriented ours differently than is traditional, but having this rack freed up space in my one truly usable kitchen drawer, keeps my knives in better shape than being all jumbled together in their drawer organizer, and ensures they’re just a quick grab away when I need them. It’s also keeping the knives out of Nolan’s reach as he gets taller and has begun to reach into our kitchen drawers…PERK.




Any Pinterest ideas that have worked in your kitchen? Let me know below!

Homemade | Freezer Waffles

We’re not much of a prepped foods family, but one thing I’ve picked up from time to time is gluten-free freezer waffles. As time marched on, Nolan developed an addiction. Honestly, who can blame the kid? Those things are awesome. Quick, convenient, carby and sweet with that maple syrup goodness on top…nom nom nom. But when the experiment started I knew they had to go. Besides, even when they’re on sale, they’re $2.50 per box! After finding the pancake recipe I was bolstered into trying it in the waffle iron.

After the pancake post, this is probably pretty straightforward. I use either the same recipe as I use for pancakes or this recipe, make a big ol batch, wait for them to cool, wrap them with parchment in between, and pop them in the freezer to wait for when we need them/want them/must have them right this minute.

Now, a couple notes about either of those versions:
1) I don’t have a hardcore blender like the one recommended for the Live Simply waffle recipe and nearly burnt out my blender the first time I tried to make the entire recipe in mine. So until I can save up enough to get myself something bigger and better, I blend the oats and milk and stuff really well, leave it to soak, and later combine the other ingredients in a large bowl then whisk in the mixture from the blender. Just mash the banana really well and this works out just fine.
2) GREASE YOUR WAFFLE IRON! Super well! I use softened butter spread on the iron with a silicone basting brush. Easy to use, easy to clean up, and totally effective.
3) Things turn out better if you cook the waffles for more time rather than less.
4) They do not turn out crispy at first, and don’t crisp up quite as much as store-bought versions when toasted, at least in our experience.
5) If you don’t wrap them with parchment/something else in between, they WILL stick together and be an absolute bear to pull apart. Just trust me, you don’t want to travel that road. I did it for you. Accept that gift.

My Morning Routine

Since this blog is a totally selfish endeavour of documentation for me to look back on later, here’s my morning routine. I’ll be completely upfront: this isn’t really “5 simple steps to turn you into a morning person.” I’m not a morning person, and I don’t think I ever will be, but over time my personal priorities have changed. Mostly from, “Sleep. At all costs,” to something more like, “Please…pleasepleaseplease can I have just FIVE DAMN MINUTES TO MYSELF?”

My weekday morning routine is really just a wonderfully productive 20-minute walk from my bed to my dining room.
I start in the bedroom. I’m already there and I’m unlikely to go back, so I just plug away at stuff right away.

  • Make the bed. Mostly so I can’t get back into it as easily. And because if I’ve just gotten out of it, it’s right there. And once it’s done, it’s like I’ve jumped a hurdle. I’ve accomplished something, and everything else seems easier.
  • Change into workout clothes. Because it preps me to work out, which removes an obstacle to actually following through on that. And if it doesn’t happen that day, at least I’m not still in my pajamas.
  • Gather the laundry. Because the floor grows it overnight. All on it’s own. Constantly.
  • Grab my water bottle. Because if I don’t make it an intentional part of the routine, I’ll probably forget.

Then I head to the bathroom (see what I did there? No? Forget it…):

  • Put laundry in the bin. Works out well because suddenly the laundry that’s grown on the bedroom floor and the laundry that’s grown on the bathroom floor is all in the same place, so it can all make its way into the bin at the same time.
  • Clean up after Hubby. Because, like I said, the bathroom floor has grown laundry since I was last there. And because I keep low expectations for him, since he has bigger things to worry about than whether or not absolutely everything makes its way back into the cabinets and drawers.
  • Personal hygiene. Minor, because it’s usually like 6:17am and zero percent of me cares about being fancy at 6:17am.
  • Put bath toys away, if needed. We usually let them dry out on the counter overnight after a bath, so on the mornings after bath nights I just tuck them in their basket.
  • Replace tea lights. Candles are nice, and we often won’t even use lights in the bathroom at night when the candles are lit. So that saves electricity! Or something…
  • Wipe the sink. Remember my goals and how being ready for company is one of them? We have one bathroom in our bitty house, shared between two adults and a toddler, and it’s just not always clean. This is one way I keep it looking clean. So if a friend wants to come over for a playdate, I can panic a little less than I would otherwise.
  • Spritz room spray. Because it smells nice, I like nice things, and it takes no time.

And on to the kitchen:

  • Kettle on, mug out, tea at the ready. I’m pretty sure I basically do this while I’m still half-asleep.
  • Replace tea lights. So I can light them later that evening. Again, just because it’s nice  🙂  And takes very little time, since I keep a stash of tea lights in the kitchen.
  • Replace water in flowers, and water herbs as needed. I usually get flowers when I go grocery shopping. It’s an inexpensive way to make me feel special and give me a shot of joy during the day. Different flowers have different needs/preferences/thriving conditions, but they all need clean water, so I change it regularly. Also herbs. Because herbs. They get watered roughly once a week. Ish.
  • Fill and run oil diffuser. I’m already by the sink, so might as well get water for the diffuser. In the mornings, I like sweet orange oil. I can honestly feel a difference in my mood and my brain cognisance when I run this oil. So, obviously, it’s made of magic.
  • Put clean, dry dishes away. Anything left from the night before, and empty the dishwasher if needed, because this makes my life WAY EASIER than trying to do it with Nolan “helping.”
  • Clean up after Hubby (lunch dishes away, clean coffee pot). Again, I have very low expectations for him. And he’s not going to clean the coffee pot before he leaves for work, that’s just silly. And if I don’t do it right away, it absolutely will sit there all day long till I do it–no joke–rightbeforebed. I know this because it has happened probably hundreds of times.
  • As I’m getting the milk for my tea, I pull a sandwich out of the freezer for Kyle for the following morning and tuck it into the fridge. We’ve found that they thaw out best this way, so he doesn’t end up with a toasty english muffin ensconcing a frozen egg.
  • Open curtains. In the winter it’s nice to watch the sunrise, and in the summer it’s nice to have curtains open for the mornings, before it’s too ridiculously hot and we need them to keep the heat out.

And finally, my reward for roughly twenty minutes of very mindful work. Because yes, I just got all of that done in twenty-ish minutes. My time, with my tea:

  • Vitamins. Because it will not happen until bedtime otherwise. Also because I have magic prenatal multivitamins that I can take on an empty stomach.
  • French practice (Duolingo). This takes five minutes or less, unless I choose to do more. And it’s fun. And it kinda wakes me up. And I’m becoming a more well-rounded person during those five minutes, so it feels awesome.
  • Bible reading. If I’m working through a study book, I use that for this time. If I’m not, I use a timer set for five or ten minutes. Because it needs to be done, but sometimes it’s hard! If the timer goes off and I’m in the middle of something, I’ll totally read more. Not a slave to the timer.
  • News (theSkimm). I love this daily email I get. So cleverly put, and it quickly fills me in on the basics of what’s going on in the world.
  • Workout. I looooooove Barre3. Their online subscription workouts are perfect for me. Right now I’m trying to get in a better habit of doing it super regularly, so I’m trying to do it everyday, but only for ten minutes (because they’re awesome and understand real life and have ten-minute workout videos). But if I can start by a particular time, I’ll do a thirty minute video.

By that time, Nolan usually wakes up. His wake up routine is short (change diaper, turn off fan and humidifier, open curtains), and we snuggle and sometimes watch a show while he wakes up because it’s a process, man. We have breakfast at the same time every morning, then play and get some housework done. Sometimes he’s allowed to watch another show or two if he’s particularly cranky or if I have to buzz about to get other things done. We’re usually ready to go by 9 or 9:30, so we can get errands done or just get on with our day.

What does your morning routine look like? Anything I’m leaving off here? I’d love your input!

6 Things That Make All the Difference In the Whole Wide World While I’m Cooking

For someone who cooks as much as I do, having kitchen systems is super important. The idea of a pile of dishes, floating food scraps, and a mad search for particular tools can deter even the most enthusiastic of cooks (trust me…I’m one of them, and that sounds in no way appealing). However, with a very busy toddler, the rest of the house to take care of, and, I don’t know, SANITY, sometimes things can get out of hand and suddenly, having take-out for dinner sounds infinitely appealing.

These are the things I do to make cooking easy and consistently a blast.

  1. Take a look at the plan for the day.
    I really try to make our meal plan work with whatever we have planned out for the week, but sometimes on busy days (or just lazy days…) I forget to look at the meal plan and get dinner started on time. Taking a minute early in the day to remind myself of the dinner plan is really helpful!
  2. Start clean.
    This seriously makes a huge difference for me. When I have a counter full of clean dishes on one side and/or dirty dishes on the other side, or the sink is piled full of stuff waiting for my attention, or the dishwasher isn’t empty, or our compost bin is already overflowing, the entire process of cooking a meal is much more difficult. I try to make sure to start with cleared counters, an empty sink, and a not-clean dishwasher.
  3. Wash as you go.
    Another huge one, totally affected by #2. If you don’t have anywhere to wash dishes or to put clean dishes once you’ve washed them, you won’t be able to do this, so get things in order, then wash as you go. It’ll save you loads of time washing them all later, and it’s discouraging to see a whole sink or counter full of dirty dishes! I recently started taking a cue from my grandmother and just making dishwater before I start cooking, so that it’s ready to go when I need it. It requires me to start with a cleared out sink (because where else am I going to make dishwater…?), getting dishes washed up has never been quicker or easier, and I think it probably saves water in the long run too! If this washing-as-you-go business is a totally foreign concept to you, just start small. Commit to washing your chef’s knife as soon as you’re done with it every time. Then it’ll be ready for you to use again as soon as you need it, and you’ll find it easier to carry the practice on with other dishes.
  4. Get your kitchen orgainzed.
    Honestly, if I couldn’t find my stuff, I’d never cook. Little, inexpensive drawer dividers make life a lot easier. Here’s what my “workhorse drawer” looks like…
    It’s not fully stocked in the photo, since I’d been cooking all day when I took it. With three drawers total in my kitchen, and only one in my actual workspace, this puppy has got to pull its weight. While I’m standing at my cutting board, most of my tools are in reach.
  5. Have a plan for trash.
    This sounds weird, I get that. We live in a part of the country where we have like fourteen different “right” ways to dispose of waste. Also, I kinda have a thing for not making waste. So I make a plan. Usable veg scraps go in a baggie in the freezer to make chicken broth later. Unusables go in the compost bin, which I like to park next to the counter. Recycling and trash go in their respective bins under the sink. Boom boom boom boom and done!
  6. Prep ahead.
    Especially with a toddler, prepping ahead makes a ton of difference for me. As simple as it may be, if I don’t have to wash and cut the lettuce for a salad, we’ll probably actually end up having a salad with dinner.

Homemade | Granola

About a year and a half ago I showed up to meet my darling new friend for a walk. We knew each other by sight and had spoken a few times before, but we really became friends when I was in labor with Nolan. I went into our midwife’s office, she was there for an appointment (due about a month after me) and recognised me, and wrote me a sweet Facebook message wishing us well with the labor and new little one. Before I knew it, I had another best friend! This girl has blessed me immeasurably over the past couple of years, and I’m so thankful for the gift she’s been.

On this particular morning, when we met for a walk, she sweetly shoved a half-full gallon-size baggie of something in my hand. She’s a giver, just little stuff, all the time, and always super thoughtful and generous. It was her granola, and it was one of the very first gifts she ever gave me.

Guys, of all the gifts that keep on giving, this is seriously a biggie. One handful out of that bag and I was completely hooked on the lightly sweet, nutty GREATNESS I was noshing. I boldly asked for the recipe, sure it was a deep family secret but willing to risk the ask anyway. Just like she does with everything else, she generously, selflessly gave me the recipe. It’s gained a permanent place in my weekly cooking/prep day because when we run out, it’s really bad news.

She’s always downplaying her “domestic skills” and seriously every time she does I want to take her by the shoulders, look her straight in the eye, and say, “Your granola changed my life. Hush.”

Also great when taking dinner to new mamas, along with a quart of yogurt and some fruit!

This, my dear readers (all three of you), is Andrea Springer’s granola recipe, shared with her permission.

Preheat oven to 300F. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Put four cups of rolled oats in a big ol’ bowl.


Add 1 cup each slivered or sliced almonds, chopped pecans, and chopped walnuts, ½ c. unsweetened coconut flakes (or more…you know…if you mismeasure or something…), and ¼ c. flax or chia seeds.


Mix well.


Add 1 t. salt and 1 ½ t. cinnamon. Again, mix well.


Combine following ingredients: ½ c. coconut oil, ½ c. maple syrup, 1 t. vanilla.


Add liquids to dry mixture, and mix thoroughly.


Divide oats mixture evenly between the two prepared cookie sheets, spreading as evenly as possible.

IMG_5730 (1)

Bake 20 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake another 20 minutes until toasty and maybe a little golden, if that’s your jam. After you remove the granola from the oven add ½ c. raisins. (I condensed pans in the midst of other cooking, so this is both pans on one sheet.)

IMG_5732 (1)

Cool completely, then store. I like to store it in jars  🙂  How cute is that?


Go. Make granola. Be happy and live a fruitful life.

Andi’s Granola


  • 4 c. rolled oats
  • 1 c. sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts
  • ½ c. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ c. flax or chia seeds (or a combination)
  • 1 ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ c. coconut oil, in liquid form
  • ½ c. maple syrup
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • ½ c. raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, nuts, coconut, seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl, mixing well.
  3. Combine oil, syrup, and vanilla, and add to oats mixture. Mix well.
  4. Divide mixture between the two prepared baking sheets, and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake another 20 minutes, or until as toasty as desired.
  5. Remove from oven and scatter raisins across warm granola. Cool completely, and store in airtight containers.

Routines: A How-To

So routines are good for us, right? And they make our homes run more smoothly, right? Then why can’t so many of us make them work better?!

Unfortunately, getting on a routine is not as easy as taking someone else’s plan and plugging ourselves into it. It takes some serious thought to get it started, then it requires tweaking, and because it requires tweaking, it takes commitment to keep it going.

However, I find that when I’m in a routine, everything really truly does run better at our house, so I’ve established a few that have made a big difference for us! Here’s how I got started.


– What do you do regularly?
– From that list, is there anything you could combine, delegate, or drop?
– From that list, what would cause utter chaos if you didn’t do? These are your “musts.” If nothing else makes it into the routine, these need to.


With priorities in mind, and keeping the combine/delegate/drop thought nearby, I thought about how I could streamline my time. What things are you doing that are eating into your time? Are you spending valuable hours paying bills each month, or are you signed up for automatic bill payment services? Do you take time every single night to prep snacks to take/send to work the next day, or do you do that once a week? Do you comb through cookbooks and Pinterest each week trying to come up with a meal plan, or do you have a list of favorites you can pull from? What takes the most of your time, and how can you cut down on that?


This is your “why.” This is what will keep you going when you feel brain-stumped while planning your routine, or when your commitment to the routine falls off the rails, or when an hour of extra dozing in bed sounds better than anything else possibly could.
– What do you want to accomplish?
– What would make your life less stressful?
Here are mine:
1. Have the house be generally less cluttery and more pleasant.
2. Be ready for guests pretty quickly.
3. Make time for myself to work on habits/goals.


You have your “why” already, but here are some tools to help keep you on track with this new routine.

  • Outsmart yourself.
    Do you realise how much harder it is to get back into bed if your bed is already made? Make it as soon as you get out of it. Or how much easier it is to actually go through with your workout if you’re already prepped and ready to go for it? Change into your workout clothes before you have a chance to change your mind.
  • Make your stuff work with you.
    I’ve found that keeping things where I use them is hugely helpful in making a routine that’s quick and nearly mindless to execute. So, for example, I keep my bathroom cleaning stuff in the bathroom (locked up, of course, so kids can’t get anything out…don’t call CPS…) to wipe up the counter every morning, and my vitamins, Bible/books, and phone/charger in the dining room, where I use them first thing (perks to not keeping a phone in your bedroom here). I also keep a stash of tea lights in the kitchen, where I use them in the mornings to replace the ones on my sill.
  • Create routines that feed off of each other.
    It’d be harder to follow through with my morning routine if I also had to get my workout clothes out, put ALL of the dishes away, or even do something as simple as fill up the kettle. And it’d be more of a pain to go through with my evening routine if I had to also replace the tea lights or put dishes away from beside the sink. So I worked those kinds of prep things into each routine, and it makes my life a lot easier.
  • Figure out what works for you.
    My routines took SO long to put together! That’s why I wrote a freaking blog post that’s basically a “how-to” on setting up a routine…because life happens and I’m going to need a tutorial later. Honestly, finding what works for me during any given month can be a challenge. This is what seems to work well right now and it has for a while, but things and needs change. Roll with it! Don’t throw out the entire concept just because it will take some tweaking from time to time.

What are your routines like? Do you find it hard to stick to them? Share below!


What’s In Her Bag?

Oh boy, do I remember the days not so long ago when Nolan was a newborn. I’d purchased [what I thought was] an admirably practical, versatile, attractive, functional, inexpensive diaper bag that I was so excited to use and get all decked out with baby’s stuff. Things went the way that they do: that precious bag soon proved highly inadequate and I resorted to using a favourite old tote. Same old song, sung by mothers everywhere.

Over time I decided that I’d go ahead and design the perfect diaper bag, and I did. It’s still on paper, but I designed it, man…right before The Honest Company came out with theirs. Naturally. Since it’s a lot easier to buy theirs than to make my own, and since theirs was much more practical than our diaper bag or my big ol tote, that’s what we’re rolling with.


While we were traveling last year we decided that a backpack style bag would be best for getting through the airport, being on planes, and walking around all day. We were looking for something not-monstrously-sized, relatively lightweight, durable, and with great accessibility. So while I’d kill LOVE to have this bag for everyday use, this backpack has been fantastic, particularly for traveling and days out. We got it with our bundle, so it was 25% off. Not bad for a great-quality diaper bag! Kyle doesn’t mind carrying it around either, since it’s a neutral color and doesn’t look too much like a lady-bag  🙂


– We love the zippered pocket on the back of this backpack. It makes accessing the changing pad SO easy. We keep the changer stocked with travel wipes (usually in the wipes dispenser because it makes life a lot easier) and one diaper.

Diapers and an extra pack of travel wipes because you juuuuust never know. We can keep four of Nolan’s diapers in one of the interior pockets, and a decent number of newborn diapers.

– I try to always have a spare outfit for Nolan in our bag. He was a spitter as a baby and now he’s an adventurer. And a boy. So yes, extra clothes.

– A spare pacifier. Nolan usually only has his while he’s sleeping, but sometimes we miss nap time at home, or he starts feeling out of sorts, and the pacifier just makes life easier on everyone! He’s also addicted to it. Which is unfortunate. But works in our favor when we have to leave Mimi’s house and would prefer to do so without a full-blown tantrum.

– A bib. Self-explanatory. I also carry stain spray (see below), but I don’t like creating situations where I’ll have to use it.

– Nolan’s cup of water. We’re loving these Kleen Kanteen sippys and anticipate accumulating many of them over time. When the sippy lid is no longer appropriate, the 12-oz. bottle can be used with any other Kleen Kanteen lid.

– We have a couple reusable liquids bags similar to this that, naturally, we planned to just use for traveling. But then this one time we got back from a trip and I never unpacked the bag from the diaper bag, and it’s one of the best parenting hacks that my laziness has ever helped me find. You could use any small bag for this, or even just a quart-size baggie. Ours has had stuff spilled all in it and hasn’t leaked at all! Which is incredible! In it we keep:
1. A small spray bottle of stain remover: This is a LIFESAVER. You should steal this idea if you don’t have one already.
2. Hand sanitizer: because typical soaps turn my boy’s hands red, because I’d rather him zap the playground off of his hands before eating with them, and because sometimes it’s just easier and quicker than actually washing my own hands post diaper change or whatnot.
3. Organic healing balm: to use for everything…diaper rash, chapped baby lips, dry skin, cuts, burns, and anything else in the whole wide world.
4. A small spray bottle of surface/multi-purpose cleaner or vinegar water: to wipe down restaurant tables before we pull the high chair up to them, or to clean toys that he’s sneezed over before we infect other children with our excellent sharing skills, or to scrub down particularly grotty shopping carts. I’m all about building immune systems, but I’m less about actual grime and spreading whatever germs we’re already in possession of.
5. A container of chamomilla: because it’s magic. Calms my boy down and turns him into, at worst, a manageable crisis, and at best, a freaking angel.

– I keep the second reusable liquids bag stocked with snacks, because, while we do eat at really regular times and limit snacks in between, a hungry growing toddler is not something to mess with. We usually have small jars/containers of raisins, Annie’s organic cheddar bunnies, a couple Kind bars (because a hungry mama isn’t anything to mess with either), and some trail mix (because a hungry daddy is the worst of all beasts).

– And a third quart-size-equivalent bag of small toys, crayons and a tiny notepad, and other small entertaining things, including toy straps because they make life easier.

MAMA’S BAG: This is where I’ve condensed pretty much the entirety of what I used to carry in a whole pre-children purse. Turns out, I didn’t need the vast majority of that stuff! Everything I actually need just for me fits in a small, probably-intended-for-cosmetics bag, which is red and white striped with a twirly pattern on the inside because things should be pretty. I keep all of this in there:
1. Phone charger and battery-powered phone charger (yes…two phone chargers…in addition to the cord in my car…stop judging me…), bound with twist ties
2. A small clip-top bag that I got in Paris (again, pretty things) with bobbi pins, hair ties, an extra set of earrings for when I want to feel like a grown-up but don’t realise that before I leave home, and lip balm.
3. A travel-size first aid kit picked up at Target for $1.19 with bandaids, Advil, q-tips, sanitising wipes, and a gauze dressing. The bandaids get used surprisingly frequently. I expect this to change a bit pretty soon as I learn about more natural first aid options and how to keep those close at hand. And actually, to be completely straight up, I may have added the Advil myself…can’t remember, it’s one of the travel-size canisters that holds like nine tablets.
4. Feminine hygiene products.
5. Pens…because pens.
Obviously I also carry my phone, wallet, and keys as well, but they often end up in coat pockets.

Once Baby Girl arrives, we’ll add the following for her:

  • Newborn diapers (including one in the changer, along with her brother’s much larger diaper)
  • A change of clothes
  • An extra pacifier and leash
  • A compact swaddling blanket
  • Nursing pads
  • A couple burp rags, if she’s anything like her brother  😉

Any brilliant additions to your diaper bag that you’re willing to pass on? I’d love to hear them!

Homemade | Chicken Broth / No Waste | Veg Scraps

Chicken broth is a staple. I use it at least four times a week for different recipes, and I’m shamelessly guilty of drinking a mug of it for lunch from time to time. But at somewhere between $1.99 and $2.99/quart, that can add up.

This is a fantastic way to cut down on waste and get as much for your money as you can. Pretty much all I use in our broth is scraps: a picked-clean chicken carcass, vegetable ends/peels/pieces that I’ve collected while cooking through the week, and some seasonings.

With the growing popularity of bone broth, there are plenty of recipes and differing instructions out there. One thing you should know: you can’t really mess this up. Add whatever spices/flavorings you want or have on hand. Cook it for six hours or two days. As long as you actually get some bones in there and turn on the pot, the rest of the process is incredibly forgiving.

Having a cache of fresh chicken broth that I can dip into throughout the week is so nice! The numerous health benefits, the awesome taste, and the free price tag make it a no-brainer for us.

Do you make bone broth? What’s your favourite spice combination to add? Do you add salt? Share below!

No Waste | Almond Pulp

So now you’ve tried making your own almond milk, you got your almonds at Costco or Trader Joe’s so your price breaks about even with the store-bought brands, and your LIFE HAS BEEN CHANGED.

But you’re making an awful lot of waste with that almond pulp that’s left over because you’re not into drinking something that feels like tasteless dirt in your mouth. That’s fair, really it is. But in this Homemade/No Waste experiment, we’re not throwing stuff out until it’s worthless and has zero other uses, right?

Here, dear friends, you have a surprising number of options, and they’re all super duper health conscious and crunchy. You do have to make a series of decisions though…so if you’re no good with that, gear yourself up. Here we go.

OPTION 1: Use the “wet” almond pulp right after making almond milk, or store in an airtight container for up to three days until you’re ready to use it. After three days, it’ll store well in the freezer for up to three months.

Uses: 1) Use in smoothies the same way you would use almond or peanut butter for protein.
IMG_5484 (1)

2) Add into oatmeal or yogurt, the same way you might use ground flax or chia seeds, for some added fat and protein.

3) Make these crackers. I added more salt (partly because I have an addiction), and caution you to either not roll them too thinly or to keep a close eye on them during that second toasting so they don’t get that slightly burnt flavor that’s all-too-easy to bake into them. They do have a dry texture, so try them alongside some cheese or soup.

4) Make almond pulp hummus to eat with your crackers  🙂

5) Make these brownies.

6) Make these macaroons.

These are just the ones I’ve tried. Google has many more ideas!

OPTION 2: Set your oven to 200, spread the almond pulp onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and toast, tossing occasionally, for about three hours or until dry. Cool completely. If clumpy or otherwise deemed necessary, pulse in food processor until…not clumpy.

Uses: Anything you’d use almond meal or flour for, because that’s what you just made! (If you typically purchase ready-made almond meal or flour, this counts as a Homemade concept as well.)
1) Sub for ¼ to ½ the wheat flour in baked goods recipes.
2) Mix with cold butter and some brown sugar, sprinkle over fresh fruit, and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. Yummy fruit crisp!
3) Make THESE biscuits.

Any great uses for almond pulp in your kitchen? Do share!

Homemade | Almond Milk

In an effort to heal some health stuff that I’ve had going on, I’ve dropped dairy like a bad habit. Okay, that’s not true at all. But I’ve cut back on anything that’s not cultured (at our house we really believe in the goodness that is some great bacteria, so yogurt and kefir are welcome anytime! Also, butter. Because butter. But usually grass-fed, and I’m on a quest to make my own). I got more into almond milk a couple years after Nolan was born and I was trying to help my spitty boy. We’ve had it in the fridge off-and-on since then, and I’ve really come to enjoy it.

There are plenty of links and recipes out there that explain how to make almond milk, so I’m sure it’s hardly news that it’s a possibility. Part of the beauty of making things at home is how much less expensively you can usually do it yourself. As far as cost goes, the cheapest I can get half a gallon of almond milk for is $3.69. Now, nuts are expensive. At the cheapest I’ve found almonds, half a gallon comes out to $3.74. Paying $0.05 more and doing all the legwork yourself may not be worth it to everyone, but the fresh, super creamy taste of homemade almond milk, as well as the lack of filler ingredients makes it so worth it to me! And seriously, making two batches of almond milk (to come out to half a gallon) takes about ten minutes of time. It’s easy and quick.

I really like the recipe for almond milk found here. It’s an adorable blog with a knowledgeable author, tons of fun to comb through! I alter the recipe a bit by not adding vanilla (usually) and occasionally taking her suggestion to sweeten it with maple syrup rather than dates. And I usually forget the salt at the beginning…whoops!

Also, I’ve found regular raw almonds, rather than blanched, to be far more cost-effective than purchasing blanched. And I’ve found peeling the almonds once they’re soaked to actually be a lot of fun! I pinch/squeeze the narrow end and pop the almond out of the skin fat-side-first. Like a baby out of his mama.

Too far?

I purchased an inexpensive nut bag, but wasn’t impressed with the pulp that was left in the bottom of my bowl or mug after using that batch of milk. It was like drinking flavourless dirt. So I resorted to using a dish cloth, and was much happier with the result. If you just use a tea towel or something equally smooth, the pulp should rinse off easily (my primary concern with using a towel). My mom more recently gave me another nut bag that’s fabulous! We use this one. Recommendation: don’t super cheap-out on the nut bag. The good ones don’t cost that much more and you’ll actually use it.

Now that I’m not drinking milk at all, I’m using almond milk on my granola, in smoothies, and in my near-daily chai tea fixes, and I’m never going back to store-bought after the goodness that developed in my kitchen while making that recipe!

Stay tuned for ideas on what to do with the almond pulp/meal that you’re left with after making the milk!