5 Refreshing Ramadan Drinks

The month of Ramadan is officially here and I am so excited to share something that I’ve been working on with my friend Amanda from Amanda’s Plate. We both know all too well how tough it can be to fast during the heat of the summer months so we got together to shoot some of our favorite drinks for an often overlooked aspect of fasting: staying hydrated. The importance of getting in plenty of fluids cannot be overstated but let’s face it, sometimes that’s hard to do. Chugging water can feel like a chore and store-bought drinks filled with artificial flavors, colors and excessive sugars are just not a health-conscious option. To make it fun and easy to stay hydrated, we’ve created five refreshingly delicious and simple to make Ramadan mocktails (obviously non-alcoholic) that are sure to impress your iftar guests and quench your thirst as the days get hotter. Behold, our Rocktails (Ramadan+Mocktails)!

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The wonderful thing about these drinks is that you can customize them to your taste (substitute your favorite fruit and herbs) and dietary preferences (even less sugar). The best part, however, is getting creative with the presentation.

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Watermelon Basil Bliss

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Watermelon Basil Bliss
Serves 6

  • 8 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup sugar, optional

Using your blender, combine watermelon, basil, lime and sugar (if using). Blend until smooth. You may wish to strain the drink but that is optional. Garnish with fresh basil and lime wedge. Enjoy!

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Recipe via Amanda’s Plate

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Sparkling Lavender Lemonade
Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon culinary grade dried lavender
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups cold sparkling water

In a small saucepan, combine granulated sugar with one cup of water and lavender. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain out the lavender and pour the simple syrup into a pitcher. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and sparkling water. Garnish with lavender sprig and lemon wedge. Enjoy!

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Recipe via Amanda’s Plate

Blackberry Honey Lime Spritzer

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Blackberry Honey Lime Spritzer
Serves 1

  • ¼ cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 12oz sparkling lime water

At the bottom of a glass, mash the blackberries and honey with a fork. Layer with ice cubes and pour over the sparkling lime water. Garnish with lime wedges, blackberries, and mint. Enjoy!

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Guava Pina Colada

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Guava Piña Colada
Serves 1

  • ½ cup of frozen pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup guava nectar

Blend pineapple, coconut milk, and guava nectar until smooth and frosty. Garnish with edible flowers and pineapple wedges. Enjoy!

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Tangy Tamarind Mojito

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Tangy Tamarind Mojito
Serves 1

  • 1-2 tablespoons tamarind simple syrup
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed sweet lemon
  • ½ cup sparkling water or plain water

Tamarind Simple syrup

  • ½ cup wet seedless tamarind paste (approximately ½ a block)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 cups water


In a small pot, bring the water, sugar, and tamarind paste to a boil. Mash the mixture with a fork and let simmer until well dissolved (about 10 minutes) then let cool and strain the syrup into a mason jar for storage. To make one serving, combine 1-2 tablespoons of tamarind simple syrup (more if you like it sweeter), sweet lemon, and sparkling water in a sugar-rimmed glass. Serve over ice. Enjoy!

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Let’s see what fun and refreshing concoctions you come up with! If you make any of these drinks or create your own, use the hashtag #ramadanmocktails and tag us @Amandasplate and @Thecozyhomechronicles. We will also be sharing more healthy and nourishing food and drink ideas on our page so be sure to follow along!

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Soy Chorizo Vegan Chili

We are so behind on our post schedule it’s not even funny but I figured as long as I’m not posting this recipe in June, we’re cool (your standards change when you’re a parent of two). So March is less than a week away but that means NOTHING here in Michigan because our weather is a wild card of unpredictability (sigh). I’m not totally complaining though because for those really chilly spring days, we have just the recipe to warm up our bones and souls. If you’re in graduate school like us or lead generally busy lives, this is another easy and delicious recipe to add to your meal plan during those really hectic weeks.

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As I’m sure I mentioned before on here, we are always looking for ways to cut down on our meat consumption and a few years ago I stumbled across this pretty stellar soy chorizo at Trader Joe’s for just $1.99. I know, right?! At first we used it in our egg scrambles but one day it hit me that it would make a great meat substitute base for a vegan chili. Spoiler alert: It does! Not only does it have that perfect ground beef texture but it’s so spicy you may find you don’t even need to season your chili at all. You can also cut the preparation time for this recipe by opting for canned beans instead of dried beans but either way, your watch, wallet, and tummy will be satisfied with this hearty bowl of goodness.

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Soy Chorizo Vegan Chili

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup of finely chopped carrots
1 cup black beans, cooked
1 cup kidney beans, cooked
1 12 oz. package of Soy Chorizo, casing removed and crumbled
1 15 oz. can  of tomato sauce
4 cups water or vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Note: *If you prefer your chili to be less thick, you can add more liquid to water it down. *You can also tweak this recipe to your liking and include more vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, and corn. *I find the soy chorizo makes the chili spicy and flavorful enough for our taste, especially with the kids in mind, but if you find the flavor isn’t cutting it for you, you can add the following: 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional).

Directions
1. In a deep pot, drizzle a bit of olive oil and sauté your onion, and garlic on medium heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Next add in the carrots and soy chorizo. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the ingredients are well incorporated.
3. Finally, add in the water/stock, beans, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil then let simmer on low until reduced and thickened, about 20-30 minutes.
4. Taste the chili and season to your liking or adjust the thickness.
5. Ladle your chili into bowls and serve with vegan cheese, non-dairy sour cream, and crispy tortilla chips.

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If you liked this recipe and tried it, we would love it if you would share or leave a comment below. For more related content, you can find us on Instagram where we share more of our day-to-day and Pinterest where we share our ideas and inspiration. And as  always…

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Ashta-Inspired Overnight Oatmeal with Orange Blossom and Rose Water

My son, who will be turning three later this summer, recently started this weird picky eating phase some time in November. Where before he would eat EVERYTHING, he is now much more cautious and often downright rejective. One thing he has not lost, however, is his love for oats. Hot oatmeal, granola, overnight oatmeal, muesli….anything with oats (even with nuts and dried fruit), he will eat. For the sake of variety, I’ve been experimenting with different ways of preparing them and I’m happy to share today one of my successful creations that I’ve been meaning to post for quite some time now.

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This specific overnight oatmeal recipe was inspired by the flavor profile of Middle Eastern sweets, specifically that of Ashta; a Lebanese clotted cream used as a filling in phyllo pastries and other desserts. From the creaminess of the milk, the fragrant sweetness of orange blossom and rose water, to the nutty bite of the pistachios, this nutritious breakfast will feel like an utter treat. The best part is that it’s naturally sweetened and there is no cooking required; the oats soften overnight as they soak in the milk. You can make them in a bowl if you’re eating breakfast at home or you can pack them in little mason jars for a quick breakfast on the go. According to the Minimalist Baker, one of my favorite food bloggers, overnight oats keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, but are best eaten within the first 12-24 hours so you might not want to make them too far ahead of time. As long as you have your ingredients on hand, you can whip one up every night in well under 10 minutes. Alright, let’s make some Middle Eastern dessert for breakfast!

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Ashta Overnight Oatmeal

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
1/2 cup of Old Fashion Rolled Oats (We prefer Bob’s Red Mill Regular or Organic)
1 cup of unsweetened milk of choice
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon rose water
1 tablespoon honey (more if you like it sweeter)

Toppings
Quality Honey
Ground pistachio, unsalted
Dried rose petal

Notes:
*Serving size: 1.

*If you want your overnight oats to have a thicker, slightly gelatinous texture like pudding then add 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds. My husband isn’t a fan so I leave them out.
*If you’re not a vegan and would like some extra richness and creaminess, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of ashta or greek yogurt.
* I purchase my pistachios whole  from Trader Joe’s and grind them myself in a small food processor.

Directions
1. In a bowl or mason jar, add milk, honey, orange blossom water, and rose water. Stir to combine.
2. Add in the oats and stir until all the oats are fully immersed in the liquid.
3. Cover securely and place in the fridge overnight.
4. The next morning, take your container out of the fridge and stir the mixture. . Drizzle with quality honey and top generously with crushed pistachios and rose petals. Enjoy

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What are your favorite ways to eat oats? We would love to hear from you in the comments below and if you try this recipe, share your thoughts  and tag us on Instagram so we can see. And as always if you enjoyed this post, please follow us and share.

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Salted Maple Vanilla Caramel Sauce & Snack Board

**This is a sponsored post written by us on behalf of DairyPure. All opinions are 100% our own.** 

Cozy. It’s a simple, four-letter word that evokes plenty of warm fuzzy feelings. It’s also at the heart of our blog. Coziness, for us, is less about having a particular sense of style and more about cultivating specific practices that are meaningful and beautiful to you. One practice we find universally cozy (and we are sure you’ll agree) is the ability to create joyful memories with loved ones.

IMG_8106Everyone knows that food brings people together and while this is true, it doesn’t mean you have to prepare a three-course dinner to have a successful family gathering. A simple snack will more than suffice and that’s exactly what we have for you today. A delicious, naturally sweetened caramel dip that pairs well with your choice of wholesome snacks like apple slices, pretzels, and rice cakes. The best part about this caramel dip, is that it’s easy to make in a pinch. With just 5 ingredients and in under 20 minutes, you will have a decadent dip that would satisfy any sweet & salty tooth. And not just any ingredients. This dip is made with ingredients you can feel good about feeding your family; from the DairyPure cream, backed by its 5-point purity promise and sourced from local dairy farms to the 100% pure Maple syrup. Considering store-bought caramel dips are filled with artificial flavors and colors, these ingredients might even make you feel less guilty about eating the caramel straight from the jar (guilty as charged). With the holidays around the corner, we could all do with a little more relaxing and a little less stressing. Whether it’s your next family game night or your annual ugly sweater Christmas party, this snack board featuring our salted maple vanilla caramel sauce is sure to help you do just that!

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Salted Maple Vanilla Caramel Sauce

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
1/3 cup DairyPure Half & Half or Heavy Cream
4 tablespoons unsalted quality butter
1 cup 100% pure Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon natural Vanilla extract
Pinch of Salt (I use Himalayan pink)

Note: If you want the sauce richer and creamier, you can substitute the DairyPure Half & Half for DairyPure Heavy Cream instead.

For serving:
Apple slices
Pretzels
Rice cakes
Waffle crisps
Shortbread cookies

Directions:
1. In a deep saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil then turn on low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until the syrup has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
2. Add in the butter, vanilla, and salt and stir until the butter has melted.
3. Now pour in the half and half, stir for a minute or two and pour into a bowl or jar for serving. The sauce will solidify more as it cools so don’t be alarmed if it’s loose. If you want it thicker you can always let it simmer for a little bit longer.
4. For a fun presentation, arrange a cutting board with snacks for dipping around a bowl of caramel sauce.

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What are your favorite family-time snacks? Let us know in the comments below and if you make this recipe or any other DairyPure simple recipes be sure to share and tag us on Instagram @thecozyhomechronicles and use the hashtag #SIMPLYMADEMEMORIES for a chance to be featured in our stories. Be sure to check here for special holiday coupons before you make that shopping trip!

As always if you liked this post, please follow us and share!

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Simple California Sushi Bowls

We LOVE sushi. What we don’t love, however, are all the dangerous ingredients hidden in restaurant-made sushi. The artificial colors in the surimi, the alcohol  and high-fructose corn syrup in the unagi, the MSG in the soy sauce. Many think of sushi as a healthy option but when you break it down, it becomes clear that these ingredients are far from clean and healthy. So what’s a sushi lover with little time to do? Make homemade sushi bowls of course!

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As you know, both my husband and I are in graduate school so the less time we can spend to have a filling and healthy meal on the table, the better! While I enjoy making sushi rolls every once in a while, I really don’t have time for it with my schedule. This is why I’ve been working on meal plans with little time investment but big impact. With a little bit of preparation, this meal can easily come together in under 30 minutes. 20 minutes for the rice to cook and cool while you cut up the vegetables and make the crab salad. That is it! For the crab salad, we use a surimi that is made from Alaska pollock and is free of alcohol, artificial colors, and phosphates. You can make this recipe even healthier by substituting the sushi rice with brown rice or cauliflower rice and using a larger variety of vegetable toppings including carrots and daikon. Either way you’ll have one amazing bowl packed with all the flavor of a California roll for a fraction of the cost and in no time at all!

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Simple California Sushi Bowls

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
2 cups sushi rice (subsitute brown rice or cauliflower rice)
2 cups cold water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
12 oz. flake style surimi (we use Simply Surimi)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (more if you like it creamier)
1 teaspoon Sriracha (more if you like it spicier)

Toppings
Cucumbers
Avocado
Scallions
Sesame Seeds
Nori

Note: This recipe makes between 4-6 sushi bowl servings depending on how big your serving size is. If you’re an individual making this recipe, it is enough to have you covered for a week of lunches. If you’re a family of four, it will take care of one meal time.

Directions

  1. Prepare your sushi rice by rinsing the rice in a bowl under cold water until the water becomes clear (about 3 times).
  2. In a medium saucepan bring the rice and 2 cups of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes then remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes while you prepare the vinegar and sugar mix.
  3. While the rice is cooking you can dice your toppings and prepare the crab salad as outlined in step 6.
  4. Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl then pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  5. Transfer the rice to a large wooden or glass bowl and add the vinegar mixture, folding gently to coat the grains. The rice is now ready for assembling the sushi bowls.
  6. In a food processor, pulse the surimi until you get a shredded texture. Then pour into a mixing bowl and add the mayo and Sriracha. Adjust to the level creaminess and heat depending on your taste.
  7. Assemble your sushi bowls by layering the sushi rice base and topping with the crab salad, nori, cucumbers, avocado, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve alongside spicy mayo and soy sauce.

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Tomato Parsley Rice Soup

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With colder weather finally on the horizon, I thought it would be a perfect time to share one of our favorite soup recipes. I wasn’t much into soup as a kid because I didn’t think it was a legit meal but this one always filled me up. I remember actually being happy coming home to see my dad standing over a large bubbling pot of his famous Tomato Parsley Rice soup. It’s the same look my husband gives when he comes home and sees it simmering on our stovetop. Pure joy. Because who doesn’t love a warm, hearty soup? The wonderful thing about this soup is that it is super easy to make with just a few simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. Although I call this recipe a tomato soup, it’s not so heavy on the tomato; the tomato paste is more for a bit of color. The real flavor lies in the broth; in the sweetness of the onion and richness of the beef. If you’re not into the meat scene, you can easily make this vegan by leaving the meat out and replacing the broth with a vegetable stock or tomato soup. I’ve made this meal countless times with a tomato soup base and it was a perfectly delicious, healthy, and filling alternative.

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Lately, I’ve been experimenting with boiling meat in advance and storing it with its broth in the freezer and I can happily report that it has not changed the quality of the meat. As long as you boil the meat until it’s tender you can have the base of a great stew or soup at the tip of your fingers. Simply defrost and add whatever flavoring, grains, and vegetables you like and you’ll have dinner ready in no time! This has been a huge time saver for me while my husband and I both navigate graduate school and homekeeping.

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Tomato Parsley Rice Soup

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:
1 pound beef stew cubes
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1 large bunch parsley, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1/4 cup uncooked rice ( I prefer long grain like basmati)
2 dry bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste (more if you like it a deeper red)
8 cups water/vegetable/beef stock
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more if you like it tangier)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, drizzle a bit of olive oil and brown the beef stew cubes and sauté the onions until translucent.
  2. Add your bay leaves and water/vegetable/beef stock and bring to a boil before reducing the heat. Be sure to skim any impurities that rise to the surface. Then cover and cook on a low simmer until the meat is tender (about 2 hours).
  3. Once your meat is tender, fish it out and shred it with a fork.
  4. To the broth, add in your rice, lemon juice, and tomato paste. Give it a quick stir and let it cook until the rice is tender (about 15-20 minutes). Stir in your shredded beef.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Take the pot off the heat and add in the parsley, give it a gentle stir and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
  6. Ladle into bowls, garnish with extra parsley and serve with a side of fresh crusty bread.

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If you do give this soup  recipe a try be sure to share with us. We love seeing our recipes on your table 🙂 And as always, if you liked this post please follow us and share!

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Vegan Portobello Shawarmas

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I can’t believe how quickly the summer has ended! Although my husband and I both survived our first few weeks of the semester, we know that life is about to get  much busier and even more challenging. Blogging obviously isn’t going to be a main priority (booo, I know) but it will be nice to share some of our adventures as we trudge along through the rest of the school year. Some of the things that will still remain a priority, however, are eating clean and healthy and working toward a simple, sustainable lifestyle. To do that we will definitely have to become more efficient at organizing, meal planning, and prepping and that will certainly be easier with an arsenal of quick and easy recipes.

If you haven’t noticed, one of the things we’ve been trying to do around here is cut down on red meat. Sure there are many vegan dishes out there, including plenty of Middle Eastern options, but gosh darn it when you’re craving a shawarma, sometimes you really need to have your fix. Luckily, I found a way to have just that without the grease and fatty surprises and without all the baggage that comes with eating red meat. Eating portobellos as a meat substitute isn’t something new for us but incorporating meatless substitutes in very classic Middle Eastern recipes is. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? I should note that this recipe has been tested and approved by my brother who leans toward carnivority (not sure if this is a thing). I won’t pretend that he was completely fooled but he had nothing but good things to say (he’s also a man of few words). I guarantee that you’ll be very pleased with this faux shawarma sandwich; the texture and flavor of the mushrooms combined with all of the vegetables and creamy tahini sauce, tastes pretty darn close to the real thing. Not only is it delicious but it is super easy to make and with minimal ingredients too. But you don’t have to take my word for it, try it yourself!

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Vegan Portobello Shawarmas

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
2 pounds portobello mushrooms
1 teaspoon shawarma spice (more if you like it spicier)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Olive Oil
Salt (to taste)

For sandwiches:
Pita bread
Tomatoes, diced
Onions, thinly sliced
Parsley, chopped
Pickled cucumbers or turnips, sliced
Sumac
Taratoor (tahini sauce)

Note: This recipe makes between 4-6 sandwiches depending on how stuffed you like them.

Directions

  1. Gently wash your portobello mushrooms and slice very thinly.
  2. In a large pan, drizzle olive oil and add in the mushrooms in batches. Each time the mushrooms start cooking down, add another batch to the pan.
  3. Once all the mushrooms are in the pan, add in the shawarma spice and vinegar, stir well to incorporate.
  4. Cook on medium-high until the liquid cooks off and the mushrooms begin to brown, approximately 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, prepare all your sandwich toppings and condiments.
  6. Open your pita bread into halves and layer on the goodness: portobello shawarma, tomato, parlsey, pickles, onions, sumac, and a drizzle of taratoor.
  7. Roll up and enjoy!

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Mindful Homekeeping: Ditching Plastic Bottled Water

A few months ago we started a series called Mindful Homekeeping in order to share simple homekeeping practices, DIYs, and products that we feel are mindful of the environment, body, and soul as we journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Because we live in a time where convenience and cost drive consumption, we really wanted a space to think critically about our practices and what we can do to make healthy, meaningful but also economical choices. Many of the topics we will cover are changes that we successfully implemented and wanted to share in the hopes of motivating you to consider making them too. In this post we will be addressing a practice that is commonplace in American households: buying and drinking bottled water. Now before you go off thinking that this is such an insignificant part of your life it isn’t worth examining…you are mistaken. Your actions can absolutely make a difference.

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Bottled water has always secretly angered me. In an environmental anthropology class I took back in undergrad, we read and talked a lot about the environmental impact of Nestle and other companies that turned a free natural resource into a multi-billion dollar industry. It especially hit home for me because we live in the Great Lakes region and I was beyond bothered that a corporation could just own something that should belong to all people. And then the whole Flint water crisis and Dakota pipeline happened and it really brought the issue of clean, accessible water to the forefront. We pledged then that we would no longer purchase bottled water except on rare occasions {read as “never if we can help it”}. While we have always kept glass bottles filled in the fridge for ourselves, we were still keeping bottled water on hand for visitors. After our pledge, we invested in a larger collection of glass bottles to accommodate guests as well. Most of our collection is from IKEA and the carafes range anywhere from $1.99-$4.99.

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Why are we telling you this? Because with the cost being so cheap there’s really no reason not to completely make the switch. All you need to do is make a small investment in reusable bottles/carafes/pitchers {the cost will depend on the size of your family, we spent around $10} and then make a habit of filling them regularly. When one empties, you clean and refill it while you enjoy the next bottle. Expecting company? Fill a pitcher ahead of time and put it in the fridge. Going for a run? Fill up your canteen with cold water from the refrigerated carafes and refill the carafes for later. These simple practices can easily become habits that eliminate the need for drinking plastic bottled water. Heck you don’t even need to necessarily buy anything. I can think of plenty of glass you can upcyle {think milk jugs, cold-brew coffee, juice bottles} to use for the purposes outlined here. The best part about filling your own glass bottles ahead of time is that you can switch things up by making colorful and refreshing fruit waters. There’s no limit to what you can create once you start mixing up fruit, herbs, and citrus. I recently made a cherry, lime, mint water and it was DELICIOUS. Definitely beats boring plastic bottled water any day!

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If you are still not convinced, here are just some of the many reasons you should give up bottled water. You can read the sources for these facts in-depth here and here.

  1. The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400.
  2. Eighty percent of the water bottles we buy end up in landfills, the absolute worst place for them to be.
  3. Plastic leaches into the water it holds, which has been linked to health issues like reproductive problems and different types of cancer.

Of course we don’t want to be too rigid. Plastic bottled water can have its time and place. We just don’t think it should be every time you reach for a drink of water. To conclude we will leave you with a goal and two action items that you can work toward:

Goal: Reduce plastic bottled-water consumption
Action item 1: Remove plastic bottled water from your grocery lists
Action item 2: Build collection of sustainable water bottles that you can refill over and over again

If you’re still thinking “it’s too hard to make the transition,” try starting with one glass bottle in your fridge and reach for that instead of your plastic bottle. Then as your plastic bottle supply depletes you can slowly build your collection of sustainable water bottles. We know that making these changes are not easy but they definitely make a difference and that is something you can feel good about.

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Chickpea soup with tomato pickle salsa (Hummus M’Sabaha)

Ever since I purchased an Inkwell Press Meal Planner back in January and forced myself to commit to meal planning, we have been pretty consistent about practicing Meatless Mondays. Having a set genre for each day has really helped narrow down the selection for the menu, which is something I had a hard time doing prior because I enjoy making many different things. Today I’m sharing one of our favorite meatless dishes that’s nutritious and simple to make. It’s very similar to another Lebanese dish called foul and hummus except it’s without the foul or fava beans. Foul and hummus is usually eaten for breakfast and while I enjoy it now, I used to HATE it growing up. It was just too heavy for me and it wasn’t nachos or pizza so I was understandably upset when I could smell the distinctive aroma of garlic and fava beans wafting through the air. My father, the negotiator that he is, would allow me to leave out the fava beans as long as I ate everything else and that’s how my love for this dish of hummus m’sabaha blossomed. Traditional Lebanese hummus m’sabaha is much thicker and creamier than what I show here. Usually it’s roughly mashed and a little bit of tahini is added for creaminess. This spin on my childhood favorite is like a mix of hummus m’sabaha and lablabi, a Tunisian chickpea soup. We personally enjoy the combination of the light lemony, garlicky broth with the texture of whole chickpeas.  And speaking of broth, please don’t use canned chickpeas. Technically you can but if you do make sure to drain the chickpeas well and simmer them in a vegetable stock or bone broth. Starting with dried chickpeas is essential for getting flavorful chickpea broth that is not a metallic tasting goop.

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I always soak the dried chickpeas on Sunday evening and boil them first thing on Monday morning. My recipe calls for two cups because that’s what I soak but we don’t necessarily eat all two cups unless I planned to eat leftovers the next day {usually we don’t because it’s Taco Tuesday ;)}. Whatever I don’t use I will freeze for a rainy day. I grew up learning to cook from my father who never measured ingredients so I’m still working on how best to write and share these family recipes. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

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Chickpea soup with tomato pickle salsa (Hummus M'Sabaha)

  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients
2 cups dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking soda
10-12 cups water
2-4 garlic cloves, minced*
1/2-1 cup lemon juice*
high quality extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
salt & pepper to taste

Salsa:
1 cup diced Lebanese pickled cucumbers
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped

To serve:
Radishes
Lebanese pickled cucumbers
Sweet onion, sliced
Pita bread
Lemon
Fresh herbs like mint and parsley

*Note: If you’re not afraid of flavor, you might consider adding more garlic and lemon juice.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, add your chickpeas and baking soda and cover with water. Let the chickpeas soak overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  2. Drain and rinse your chickpeas and cover with 10-12 cups fresh water in a lidded pot. Bring to a boil then let simmer covered for 30-45 minutes or until tender.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, mince your garlic cloves with salt until you have a smooth paste.
  4. In the meantime make your salsa by combining diced tomatoes, diced pickles, chopped mint, and chopped parsley.
  5. Once the chickpeas are tender, add in your garlic paste, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. You can use your pestle to give some of the chickpeas a quick mash for thickness if you desire. Let simmer for another 10 minutes then adjust seasoning to your taste.
  6. Ladle into individual bowls, drizzle with olive oil generously and top with sweet onions and salsa. Serve with fresh pita bread and garnishments of your choice.

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Banana Honey Walnut Toasts

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Although Ramadan ended over a month ago, we are still having a difficult time breaking some of our Ramadan schedule and habits. Not only do we still stay up pretty late (midnight is the norm for me), but we also eat like mice early in the morning because it feels strange to fill up right after we’ve woken up. With all the things we have going on in our life, we certainly can’t afford to skip out on the most important meal of the day so today I’m sharing a simple breakfast idea that’s sweet, crunchy, and filling. Banana sandwiches are something we grew up eating as a treat. My father would make it for us and share stories of his picky-eating days, growing up in Beirut, where all he would eat was bread and sugar to fill up. I guess you can’t really go wrong with bread and banana! Thankfully none of us turned out that picky but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the product of my father’s resourcefulness 🙂

When I got married, I was introduced to a whole different world of foods I had never eaten. One of those things was geimar, a creamy Iraqi spread similar to clotted cream. It’s thick and rich in just the right way and it’s unsweetened which makes it the perfect base for a sandwich like this. We don’t eat it often but when my in-laws are in town we make sure to get our fill of geimar, samoon (Iraqi flatbread), and honey. When I photographed this recipe, I used sourdough toast that I had on hand but you can use any bread you like. If you desire more substance and less bread, you can cut the banana length wise and roll it up in a thin pita bread just like my dad used to do.

Ingredients
Quality artisan bread/toast
Salted butter or clotted cream
Banana
Honey
Walnuts

Note: You can use unsalted butter if you’d like but I find the saltiness works wonderfully with the sweetness of the honey and banana.

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Directions
Toast the bread of your choice and generously lather on some butter while it’s still a bit warm. Layer on banana slices and walnuts and then drizzle on some honey. Serve alongside a nice cup of piping hot tea.

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