Free Stuff, and Stuff on Sale!!

If you're thinking about starting a Miessence business, now is the time. From now until 28th of February 2013 if you join with a Fast Start or a Super Fast Start you not only receive a discounted joining fee (on a Super Fast Start order, joining is free) but you also will receive a free Intensive Body Cream absolutely FREE!

Our regular joining fee is $40, but until the 10th of March 2013, we've changed the fee to $10. 

Meal of the Day: Toasted Tomato Sandwich

Yup! Totally used my awesome little sprouts to make myself a sandwich on my homemade bread! I was impressed. 

Organic On A Budget - Tips and Tricks 1

Okay, so it's January. In Edmonton that means thats it's freaking cold outside, and there's at least a foot of snow on the ground. So until they find a way to grow lettuce in snow, we'll be importing it and other leafy greens from other countries in the winter months. 
While digging through and cleaning out my pantry (I'm still trying to find space to do canning this summer - let's just say it's an ongoing process...) I came across some small bags of organic sprouting seeds and a couple of jars that my mom gave me a while ago. I pulled them out and decided to give it a try. 
Just to be clear, I suck at growing stuff. I've managed to kill every houseplant I bring home (RIP plants), so I'm not sure how I'll ever manage to grow a garden. However, it turns out that I can grow sprouts and not kill them. As an added bonus, they are super cheap as well! You can pick up a bag of organic seeds for about 5 bucks, and get at least 3 jars worth of sprouts. It's a super easy, yummy, inexpensive alternative to lettuce and mature leafy greens in the winter. 
I'm pretty sure that sprouts could also be used as a legitimate therapy tool to help combat the winter blues. There's something so happy about growing your own little seeds that you know are super healthy and saving you money.

Movie Theatre Popcorn

Meal of the Day - Healthy(er) Apple Pie

I'll admit it - I have eaten this pie for breakfast. It was amazing. No shame.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup vegetable shortening

6 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon (more if you like cinnamon!)

Organic On A Budget: Entry 3

I DID IT!! I lasted a whole week! I must say I'm pretty proud of myself! I did a small shop yesterday to help tide me over until Saturday when I will raid the Farmers Market for my next weeks worth of food!
It feels so good to accomplish a difficult goal that you've set for yourself!
As for things I've learned, the one that really sticks in my head is that age old saying "waste not, want not."
When you work so hard to make a menu plan, pull all your hair out from trying to stay on budget, and spend hours in the kitchen making things from scratch, you are MUCH less likely to just throw food out. You will suddenly find that your mindset will shift from wasteful to useful. I found myself doing things like using the leftover flour from coating my chicken for gravy instead of fresh flour from the bag, and cooking only what I know we'll use. If I'm still hungry, I can always make more - but there's no point in cooking too much.
It's the little things that count! I am looking forward to another eventful week full of new and exciting things!

Meal of the Day - Fish and Potatoes

I'm personally not a big fish person - I eat it because I know it's good for me, not because I like the taste. So I go for lighter tasting fish, and cover it with a crispy batter.
Thinking about after the fact, I would have made a gravy to go with the potatoes, but my kids were screaming to be fed at the time, and so I nixed the gravy.

Organic On A Budget: Entry Two

Day five of my going organic journey! 
Turns out I'm part pirate when it comes to my menu schedule.
"The code is more of a guideline than actual rules really." seems to be my motto. I find I much more enjoy 'surprise' cooking. The mentality of going into the fridge, rummaging through the ingredients, and coming up with whatever I feel like eating at that given moment gives me pleasant shivers of joy. However, the menu has come in handy when I've just woken up from a night that did not consist of much sleep, I have hungry babies tugging at my nightgown for breakfast, and I've forgotten what I was planning on making for breakfast that day.
Other than that, I went on a shopping trip to the farmers market. I was in heaven! After buying a homeless guy some lunch, I walked around taking note of what was available and buying a couple of treats such as fresh grapes from BC. 
I found it hard to compare produce prices with that of the store because everything goes by weight at the store, and most of the produce at the market goes by bag or container. From what I can tell though, the market is cheaper. The bags of food tend to be more expensive than the store, but they are also substantially larger.

I am also looking into a service here in Edmonton called 'The Organic Box'. I'll let you know how that goes!

Meal Of The Day - Spinach Omelette

Okay, so while the shopping nearly killed me, the eating certainly isn't!!
Check out this beauty that became breakfast this morning...

TADA! Jealous yet? It tastes even more fantastic than it looks! (not to mention it's ridiculously simple to make) I could get used to this kind of royal, organic treatment.

What's that? You want to make it too? Sure, I'll tell you how!

Oil up a trusty cast iron pan, and fry up some chopped celery and onions. Once they're tender, move them into a bowl, and put a bit more oil into the bottom of the pan. Toss in your spinach (enough to cover the bottom of the pan), scrambled eggs with seasoning and sour cream mixed in, the celery, some mushrooms, and then top it off with a bit of cheesy goodness!
Good layering is key, as well as having everything pre-chopped! You can then either cover it on the stove until it's cooked and the cheese melts, or put it uncovered in the oven for a toastier result.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an omelette to eat!

Organic on a Budget: Entry One

So, yesterday was my first 'organic shop'.
I nearly cried from the pain.
It was excruciating, but I did it. I bought enough groceries for the week and came in more or less on budget. (I was $10 over - it was the veggies that threw my counting off.) I haven't made it to the farmers market yet, but my local Save On Foods had a 15% off day, and they have a decent organic selection. I'm crossing my fingers that the farmers market will have more reasonable prices. Anyways, here are some of my thoughts so far:

1. Meat and Dairy product prices are stupid. Use as little of them as possible. aka, I may have to adopt veganism until there is more money for food...

2. Make stuff from scratch. Buying a $6 loaf of bread just doesn't make sense when you can make your own for way less.

3. Find a farmer!! I'm extraordinarily blessed to have parents who work a farm. I can get organic, fresh ground flour from them for $0.60/lb, and I occasionally get beef off them too.

4. I really should start canning. I think my next project will be cleaning out my pantry and cupboards and see if it's at all possible to find extra space.

5. Finding Raw milk is is like trying to find a needle in a haystack without a metal detector. The closest I've come so far is I have a friend in Bonnyville that milks a cow, but I'm not about to drive a 6 hour round trip every week for it - I'd spend way too much on gas. This part will require some intense detective work.

6. I still suck at head math, and have to carry a calculator everywhere with me.

7. Meal plans with ingredients lists are the most incredible thing in the world. Hard to put together, but once written down, can be infinitely reused!  This was the one I put together:

As you'll notice, we do meals a little differently. We don't have the regular breakfast, lunch and supper. It's just what works for us. I also didn't buy every item on the shopping list (which is by no means exhaustive). I still had stuff in my pantry that needed to be worked through. And if you were paying really close attention - you'll notice that the Sunday slot is blank. God tells us to take one day a week to rest, and so Sunday is the day we go through all our leftovers at our house. No cooking or cleaning, just enjoying family and worship! The dirty laundry will still be there on Monday.

So far, so good. I wonder how long I'll last?

Organic On A Budget: Introduction

"I'd like to try eating all organic food." I announced to Andrew one afternoon.
"You're nuts" he replied "There's no way we can afford that!"
"If I promise to stick to a budget can I at least try?" I pleaded.
He shrugged his shoulders and doubtfully replied
"I really don't think that's possible, but I suppose we can try it for a few weeks..."
I inwardly did a fist pump and high-fived myself for my superb ability to finally coax Andrew into a wary yes.
With a leap that would rival that of superman, I sprang to my computer chair to begin some preliminary research. Where are the closest organic supermarkets? Where are the best Farmers Markets? Seasonal eating, local eating, community gardening... I was having a hayday.
It wasn't until a little later while I was doing dishes or some other mundane household chore that a dose of reality hit me.
"Oh my gosh," I thought "Andrew's right - there's no way I can do this..." I began listing off the obstacles  in my path to local organic eating and living - First and foremost is our already tight budget. Continuing to live in a small one bedroom apartment with our two little girls is already proof of that.
Living in a small apartment also comes with many disadvantages to an organic lifestyle - mainly that there is no storage space. I do not really have the ability to can, freeze, or otherwise store large amounts of food for any period of time.
I wondered if the neighbours would complain if I tore down their wall and added a few extra feet to my closets.
I also became keenly aware of the fact that any sort of dirt and/or soil was quite a long ways in a downward direction, and that my apartment manager might not take too kindly to me ripping up what small patches of grass there were simply to satisfy my craving for fresh carrots.
My patio window doesn't even face south. If faces east and has a lovely view of the adjacent run-down apartment building where I often observe my neighbours getting drunk and dancing half naked on their own balconies. That sight alone would probably kill my poor tomato vines anyways, so it doesn't even matter.
Then there was also the hurdle that was aptly named "January" I'm pretty sure I picked one of the worst months of the year to try and find cheap organic, local food in a northern Canadian city like Edmonton.
I nearly admitted defeat before I had even begun, but I rallied - reminding myself of why I want to eat organic and how much better it will be for me and my family. I read some inspiring blogs, said an earnest prayer for an abundance of wisdom (as well as the ability to do head math so I won't have to carry around a calculator) and then to top it all off, watched some motivational documentaries on TV about organic and sustainable living.
I also then decided that it was more important to me to be buying local, seasonal food as opposed to just 'certified organic'. Most of the local stuff is organic anyways - the small farmers just can't afford to get certified. U-picks also struck me as a good idea (at least when they aren't covered in snow. That will be something to think about a few months down the road.)
So that's the game plan... for now.
Wish me luck!!

Portion Sizes

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

(original post from

First thing I do every morning is drink a large glass of lemon water, it balances PH, keeps your skin clear and glowing, it kick starts your digestive system, helps with weight loss, and helps to control your coffee habit. Lemon is also a natural energizer, it hydrates and oxygenates the body so it feels revitalized and refreshed!

1. It’s good for your stomach 
Lemon can help relieve many digestion problems when mixed with hot water. These include nausea, heartburn and parasites. Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and as a cleansing agent. The intake of lemon juice can cure constipation. It is even known to help relieve hiccups when consumed as a juice. Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.

2. Superb for Skin Care
Lemon, being a natural antiseptic medicine, can participate to cure problems related to skin. Lemon is a vitamin C rich citrus fruit that enhances your beauty, by rejuvenating skin from within and thus bringing a glow on your face. Daily consumption of lemon water can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. It acts as ananti-agingremedy and can remove wrinkles and blackheads. Lemon water if applied on the areas of burns can fade the scars. As lemon is a cooling agent, it reduces the burning sensation on the skin.

3. Aids in Dental Care
Lemon water is used in dental care also. If fresh lemon juice is applied on the areas of toothache, it can assist in getting rid of the pain. The massages of lemon juice on gums can stop gum bleeding. It gives relief from bad smell and other problems related to gums.

4. Cures Throat Infections
Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat andtonsillitisas it has an antibacterial property. For sore throat, dilute one-half lemon juice with one-half water and gargle frequently.

5. Excellent for Weight Loss
One of the major health benefits of drinking lemon water is that it paves way for losing weight faster, thus acting as a great weight loss remedy. If a person takes lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water and honey, it can reduce the body weight as well.

6. Controls High Blood Pressure
Lemon water works wonders for people having heart problem, owing to its highpotassiumcontent. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as well as provides relaxation to mind and body. It also reduces mental stress and depression.

7. Assist in curing Respiratory Disorders
Lemon water assists in curing respiratory problems, along with breathing problems and revives a person suffering from asthma.

8. Good for treating Rheumatism
Lemon is also adiureticand hence lemon water can treat rheumatism andarthritis. It helps to flush out bacteria and toxins out of the body.

9. Reduces Fever
Lemon water can treat a person who is suffering from cold, flu or fever. It helps to break fever by increasing perspiration.

10. Acts as a blood purifier
The diseases like cholera or malaria can be treated with lemon water as it can act as a blood purifier.

Bonus: Lemon water is an excellent source of anti-oxidants and vitamin C, which prevents formation of free radicals. These free radicals can cause death of the cells and rob electrons. It’s an excellent remedy for a hangover!

Fun Fact: Lemon water is as calorie-free as water, but it taste better, acts as a blood sugar stabilizer, boosts metabolism, helps with digestion, contains calcium, and can clean your skin.
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