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Tomato Cucumber Salad

With the end of the summer season coming to a close, it's about the time of year where I figure out how to use the remaining tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden. One of the quick and easy recipes I've come up with the last two years is a tomato and cucumber salad. It's a delicious and healthy way to incorporate a few vegetables, especially if you're needing to use several at once that could possibly go bad before using them for individual dishes. The best part of having a garden in your own backyard is being able to walk outside and get whatever you need for a certain dish. 

This year's garden we grew tomatoes (cherry, Roma, and beefsteak), cucumbers, nasturtium, pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, onion (red and yellow), watermelon, butter lettuce, cabbage, and peas. We had good results from a few crops, but others not-so-much. We have come to the conclusion that they aren't getting enough sun each summer. So, we are going to move some things around next growing season. 

Our tomatoes and cucumbers did well and with that overabundance, I created this summery dish. Here's how it's made.

  • Four to five medium to large tomatoes (any kind), diced into bite-sized pieces
  • Four to five small to medium cucumbers, sliced and then cut in half
  • Black olives, whole, cut in half
  • Three to four pickles, diced small
  • Four to five tablespoons olive oil
  • Splash of vinegar, to taste
  • Two tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
Add everything to a large dish and toss. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes before serving. Eat right away, or store for up to three days in an air-tight container. It's delicious the following day, too!

Sometimes Wants (Summer '23)

 These are the summer time, "Sometimes Wants," that have caught my eye lately.

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3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

  1. Lately I've taken to seeing a lot of spice racks change their jars out for ones that are more uniform and minimal. Although we purchase organic spices, and all of them come in glass containers anyway, it would be nice to have some that look cohesive in the cabinet. I have had my eye on these lately, because they have bamboo lids and come with labels. I am also liking these from KonMari, as well. The black bamboo lids look sharp.
  2. You can never have enough good quality cotton t-shirts and these are so soft and comfortable. They come in three colors, but the company makes a lot of great cotton items to add to your wardrobe and clothing rotation. I've replaced a lot of my lesser quality cotton shirts with these and I love all three colors and sizes from XXS to 6XL. FYI: They are perfect for yoga sessions and working out, and if you size up about three sizes, they are great for sleeping in and lounging around, too.
  3. This was a pricier purchase for me this season, but one that I will be making again. These are some of the best lip balms I've ever used. They are smooth, classy, and feel great on the lips. They are just under $50, and are 16 ounces each. I've been using them now for about two months and I love them a lot. The colors I have are the Clear, Translucent Garnet, and Sheer Rose, but will be purchasing the Clear, Peony, and Tomato soon. The Clear along is a great lip balm to just have on hand, too.
  4. I have been using these pot brushes for everything lately. We've been cleaning up areas on the bus and these have come in handy to get into small cracks and crevices to really get the grime out of them. We recently finished placing insulation is the wall areas and these little pot brushes came in super handy to be able to clean the small areas before putting in the insulation sheets. I've also been using these around the house to clean and scrub appliances, floors, and even walls.
  5. Been rethinking how I ship things lately and the amount of waste that goes into packaging items to ship through the mail. I recently found these biodegradable shipping bags. They come in a 50 count package and are perfect for smaller items being shipped. They are compostable poly mailers with eco-friendly packaging that break down over a short period of time. The company also makes other biodegradable packaging and other items that make me feel just a bit better about doing my part of the environment.
  6. Looking at light puffers lately and I fell in love with this longer puffer from Everlane. It's a nice color for fall and can be worn clear into June here in the Willamette Valley. It's comfortable and does a nice job of keeping even my legs warm on road trips. Comes in black, as well and is made from 100% recycled polyester material. Easily packs up and can be worn alone or in layers, I just love it. It comes in XXS to XL and tends to run a bit larger.
  7. Along with going more eco-friendly in our house, I have found better ways to help the environment, while not compromising my cleaning habits. We have been using better sponge options lately and these are great. They are all natural, biodegradable, made with hemp/sisal plant, non-scratch, chemical-free, and odor free. With a bit of elbow grease, they really get the job done. I use one for about three weeks with my regular daily cleaning routine and toss them in our compost bin. They work for household cleaning, as well as dishes, and countertops.
  8. We are still loving our Daxlena Safeparty Firepit Mat and when Summer Solstice hits we always know it's time to break it out for the season. With having the school bus now when we go camping, it has definitely come in handy no matter where we end up. We loved ours so much we ordered two more to use in different locations. We use it under anything hot to save the surface of what's underneath. We also use it in the sand and on our lawn when needed, as well. It's a great addition to your camping box, or just to use every day at your own home. Check out my blog post on the Safeparty Fire Pit Mat here.
  9. These notebooks were a random find while working with some Amazon affiliate companies recently and they are perfect for what I needed at the time. We are planning a big trip here soon and I'm hoping we can document the trip in our own words in a notebook. These pastel colored notebooks will be just the right thing for that. I can't wait to be able to get back and read what all of us put in our notebooks about our trip. These come in the pastel colors pictured, more bold colors, and vintage colors and are 16 to a pack.
  10. We've taken to coffee scrubs lately and not to discredit the companies that make quality coffee scrubs, but some are way overpriced. We found a good recipe, after some trial and error, that works for us and have been making it now for about three months. It's a simple recipe that has ethically-sourced ground coffee in it, coconut oil, sugar, and a bit of essential oils. The essential oils we change out depending on the season and whether we want to mix it up for a more uplifting scent. We create about a pound at a time and separate it into 20 ounce containers. We keep one of the 20 ounce containers in the shower and use it at least three times a week. The coffee we use is from Ethical Bean Coffee and we love that their coffee is better for the environment and the farmers that grow and harvest it. They carry whole beans and ground. If you're a coffee drinker, this a great brand to add to your morning brew.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

This recipe has pretty much become a go-to for holiday snacks in our house. We sometimes make them before we take off to go camping, or before the weekend begins. They can be made up ahead of time and placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator and popped into the microwave, air fryer, or oven for a short time to warm them back up, because they are best served hot.

  • 20-30 jalapeño peppers (seeded and cut lengthwise in half) **use gloves for this**
  • 3-4 (8oz) blocks of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon of jalapeno juice (this adds some additional spice to the mix)
  • 10-12 jalapeno seeds (more or less to your own spice tolerance)
  • Cooked bacon (entire package)

Mix cream cheese, onion powder, pepper, salt, and seeds together in a bowl and fill each jalapeño shell with mixture. Be sure to overfill to your desired amount. Cut bacon into small diced pieces and sprinkle on top of cream cheese mixture. 

Place on baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven, or until the tops are browned and bacon becomes crispy.


Nuts and Seeds Banana Bread

  • 1/2 cup melted salted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground or grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (not imitation)
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup, or more of seeds and nuts (peanuts, pumpkin, flax, sunflower, almond, cashew, chia)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), and butter a loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the ripe bananas and melted butter. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Then add in sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour last.

Pour the batter into greased loaf pan and sprinkle 1/2 of the nuts on top. Halfway through baking, sprinkle the remaining nuts on top and finish baking.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing.

This recipe is customizable in so many ways. Instead of bananas, try canned pumpkin, zucchini, even watermelon. Instead of nuts, add raisins, cranberries, currants, blueberries, or even strawberries. The possibilities are endless. We have tried all different ways to incorporate foods into this recipe. It should be called, "Everything in the Cabinet Bread."☺ I hope you enjoy it, because it's a huge favorite in our house! If you give it a try, let me know by tagging me on social media. I would love to know what you think of it, or if you added something fun.

Sometimes Wants (Spring '23)

These are the spring time, "Sometimes Wants," that have caught my eye lately.

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

  1. BunchaFarmers Stain Stick. I have been on a mission to completely overhaul my cleaning routine and this has been added to my arsenal. It's all natural and 100% biodegradable. The outer packaging is recyclable and is completely environmentally friendly. The best part, it actually works for a wide range of stains, even ones on furniture and car upholstery.
  2. QALO/Pela Women's Rubber Silicone Ring. Such a great ring that you can feel good about wearing. It's breathable, durable, and comes in a wide range of colors. It's compostable, made from plants, sustainable, and affordable.
  3. CBD Pain Relief Stick (Sport). This CBD stick has been my go-to for over a year now. I am actually wearing some on my right shoulder as I type this out. ☺ I absolutely can not say enough about it. The CBD helps with mild pain relief, while the cooling camphor and menthol bring much needed aid to the area asap. It's non-gmo and vegan, and works great for period cramps and migraines, as well. 
  4. MountainHares Organic Cotton Body Pouf. This pouf, as well as this shop are a self-care lovers dream. If you've been looking for some items to add to your Self-Care Sunday routine, this is it. This body pouf is a good start. It's 100% organic cotton and comes with a crocheted loop to hang dry. It feels more like a smooth pouf than an exfoliating one, but it is a nice "hug" in the shower while using.
  5. Hugs Blanket (Minky Couture). I can't do weighted blankets, but this is a great alternative to that. It is so soft and comforting. It comes in a wide range of colors and sizes from (infant (30in x 30in) to (grande 60in x 84in).
  6. NARS Audacious Lipstick. These lipstick colors have been a new change for me. Some days I feel upbeat enough to wear *Scarlet* and other days I want to disappear, so I wear *Pink Beige* to kind of "blend in." The texture of the lipstick is a nice smooth feel on the lips and doesn't rub off onto glass rims. It's paraben free and well worth the price. I may venture out and try other shades, too.
  7. SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore. I've been using this lipid restore since my breast surgery in 2020 and I will say that it has definitely made a difference. It's a bit pricier than other brands, but it's well worth it. It has drastically reduced the appearance of my surgery scars and also helped in softening and the stretch marks I gained from before my surgery from the size of my breasts previous. I highly recommend it. I like it so well that I sometimes cheat and use it on other areas of my body, as well. ☺
  8. Your Super Life: 100+ Delicious, Plant-Based Recipes Made with Nature's Most Powerful Superfoods By Michael Kuech, Kristel de Groot. I love their powders, so of course I preordered my book. Excited to see how to incorporate my mixes in everyday recipes. 
  9. Monster Away Spray. This is such a cute and relaxing way to help children with their "scaries" at night. It is made with cedarwood, chamomile, vetiver, orange, and ho wood essential oils. I already use a spray similar here, but this one I would definitely try just to see how relaxing and mind calming it is for adults. But, if you have a child with nighttime worries about monsters under the bed or in a closet, definitely give it a go.
  10. The Self-Care Planner. For anyone that knows me, like really knows me well, will tell you I have to have a routine and I am very OCD about that routine. One missed moment in my routine and it sets me up for a lot of mental health issues later in the day, or even in the week. It seems to be something that helps keep me from falling apart, honestly and this self-care planner has helped a great deal with me staying on track and focused. Through the last several years I've even gotten better at telling people, "NO!" Just to be able to stay the course and on my routine. The best part of it all, though, is the ability to change up a few things if I wanted to do that for myself. Say I have a dentist appointment one day, I can move and shuffle my routine around that fits best for me to be able to fit that appointment into my own personal schedule. I do suggest this planner if this sounds like you, too. You'll love it!

Happy Spring Equinox!

A Few IKEA Favorites

 Recently we've done a few shopping trips at IKEA for things for the bus, and while we are there we happen to come across some items on sale. These items were also part of our IKEA master list we keep, so we promptly grabbed them up. Here are a few of those items lately. 

(And of course, Skylar loves putting them all together!)