Low Oxalate Roast

My husband has been prone to kidney stones for almost 10 years. After his last hospital trip, about a year ago, his doctor recommended he start a low oxalate diet. Most people probably haven’t even heard of oxalate, but it’s a compound found in most to all plant-based foods, in varying levels. Once in the body, it likes to bond to calcium and form crystals (aka kidney stones), but most people’s bodies prevent this through citric acid, which my husband’s body does not make on it’s own. Hence, the low oxalate diet.

This diet, as it turns out, is very restricting. It has been a bit of a challenge coming up with meals that he can eat and having variety in our diets. Most of the time, it’s ground turkey with taco seasoning.

The other day I tried out a roast and it turned out pretty good, so I thought I would share it here! I wasn’t originally planning on writing up a recipe, so I don’t have exact measurements. This also can obviously be adjusted to fit your personal tastes and dietary needs.

Some things you might find in a typical roast that my husband cannot have include carrots, celery, potatoes, and black pepper. See below for what I used instead and let me know how you like it if you try it!

1 cup organic mushroom broth

1 cup organic low-sodium beef broth

1 cup filtered water

1/3 cup coconut aminos

1 red bell pepper

1 orange bell pepper

1 small sweet yellow onion

1-1.5 cups baby bella mushrooms

1 large chuck roast, seasoned with salt, garlic powder, and Jimmy Bland’s season rub*

Add broths, water, and coconut aminos to slow cooker and turn on low. Slice and add bell peppers and onion. Rinse and add mushrooms, then stir. Set large roast in the middle of the pot, season top with a big pinch of salt, a generous amount of garlic powder, and a generous amount of Jimmy’s spice rub. Carefully flip roast over and season the other side with just Jimmy’s rub.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Take roast out to pull apart with forks, then add back in.

Serve over rice, riced cauliflower, noodles, or potatoes.

*A friend of my dad’s named Jimmy used to make the best spice rub ever. It’s kind of a family secret for having the most delicious and tender meat ever. Substitute with your go-to rub or your favorite blend of spices.

Going Green

I know I’m a few days late for Earth Day, but I’ve been wanting to write about ways I’ve “gone green” this year. I thought about making it a New Year’s post, but I think Earth Day is more fitting.

Before I get into it, I want to say this is not sponsored in any way. These are just ways I am making changes in my own home, for the environment and for my wallet.

For Christmas last year, my husband and I decided to buy subscription boxes for each other instead of just one-time Christmas gifts. I’d had my eyes on a particular subscription box for a while and they were having a really great deal we didn’t want to miss out on. In November, my husband signed us up for Mighty Nest’s subscription service, Mighty Fix.

Mighty Nest has hundreds of great products to choose from. Their Mighty Fix sends one product to you each month, either of your choice or a surprise. With the Mighty Fix, you can also add on any items you want without any additional shipping charges. It’s a pretty great deal.

I’ve been receiving Mighty Fix packages for about 6 months now and have loved each and every one of them! I’m going to share what products I’ve received and what I love about them.

My first fix came with a little welcome letter. Each fix comes with a nice detailed little card about that month’s particular fix, what it can replace in your home, and how to use it.My first fix was two Swedish dishcloths.

These dishcloths are much more absorbent than regular cloths and much more Earth-friendly than typically plastic-y dish sponges. They are also compostable! We use ours literally every day and usually just toss them in the dishwasher or washing machine to get them clean. I recently ordered a third one to add to our collection.

My next fix was wool dryer balls.

I had plastic dryer balls before that didn’t last very long. These have held up very well. I just keep them in my dryer, unless I need to wash them, and use them with every load.

In addition to the dryer balls, I chose to add something to my monthly package.

I am sensitive to perfume-y smells and air fresheners, so before our cat I just used essential oil diffusers to keep our home smelling fresh.

My husband and I also have allergies and I use an air filter in our apartment, but wanted something more. Air quality is especially important to me, living with allergies and asthma. The Moso Natural Air Purifying bag naturally cleans the air with natural charcoal. It does not emit any smells, just purifies. I currently have it in our bedroom.

I believe the next fix I got was a set of Lunchskins bags. I don’t have a picture of the ones we first got, but we use them so much, I ordered more. Lunchskins are reusable sandwich and snack size bags. They velcro shut, are dishwasher safe, and replace plastic baggies. We love them.

Another fix we got shortly after was a set of Bees Wraps. I’ve had and used Bees Wraps in the past and like them. They are great for covering glass bowls or wrapping cheese. I will say, I have noticed a bit of a transfer of flavor with these. I used my big Bees Wrap to cover some homemade banana bread, and I guess the banana bread was warm enough to affect the beeswax, because there was definitely a bit of a flavor from it. That being said, it is beeswax, so it’s not harmful and has a slightly honey-flavored taste to it.

After that fix, I received one of my favorite and most used fixes.

I arguably have far too many kitchen utensils. The silicone spatula and spoon I received from Mighty Nest could easily replace half of them (and have! I threw many old and worn out utensils away). These food-grade silicone utensils are safe up to 450 degrees and won’t wear out like plastic. They are also chemically inert, so no chemicals leaching into our food! I use these almost every day and they are dishwasher safe.

Ok, now for my biggest fix.

I recently added a bunch of stuff to my Mighty Fix order. I just opened this package today.

This package includes some fixes I received in the past and liked enough to order more of, such as the Lunchskins. I also order new products to try, like the Avocado Huggers. The fix for this month was the Meliora All-Purpose Cleaner.

So, I’ll be honest. I’m not sure how much I will use this fix. I have an all-purpose cleaner I love.

I make my own bleach-strong, kid-safe all-purpose cleaner with Force of Nature. This stuff uses salt, water, vinegar, and electricity to make powerful, germ-busting cleaner. I use it for everything, from my glass-top stove, to mopping my floors.

Gross, I know, but a little Force of Nature on a microfiber towel on my Swiffer, and my floors are clean! This is way better and cheaper than the perfume-y Swiffer Wet Mop wipes.

I am looking forward to seeing how the two cleaners compare and I will probably post about it on Instagram.

Something I already love about Meliora (besides the cool Latin name) is how few ingredients they use to make their vegetable soap.

I also ordered their laundry soap stick in this month’s box. Both cleaners container 4 simple ingredients: Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, and Water. I can’t wait to see how they do!

Another new product I ordered was this cute cotton bowl cover:

I brew my own kombucha and have been using coffee filters for covering my vessel. I don’t drink coffee, so that’s literally the only thing I use those coffee filters for. I am excited to use this cute cotton cover instead!

I think the last thing in my box I have yet to talk about is the Avocado Huggers!

We love avocados and rarely have halves leftover, but when we do, it’s hard to store it in a way that keeps it from browning and going bad. Cue Avocado huggers! These are cute, food-grade silicone, and dishwasher safe. I’m sure I will put them to use (probably soon!).

Ok, I think that about wraps up my Mighty Fixes!

I love Mighty Nest for so many reasons. I hate doing chores and when I do have time to clean my home, I want it to be effective and safe. These products help me feel good about what I’m doing.

We’ve all seen those interviews of people with their little mason jars of trash from over the years. Zero waste seems so unattainable in real life, but companies like Mighty Nest are changing that. Their products always come in recyclable packaging. Each fix comes with a card that tells you how it replaces a disposable in your home. If you are not one for subscriptions or just want cheap ways to be greener, I do have a couple more suggestions for you. I do highly recommend Mighty Fix and find it very budget friendly, but there are other easy swaps anyone can do.

As pictured above, I use microfiber towels for mopping with my Swiffer instead of Swiffer WetMops. They are pretty cheap at Walmart and I use them for most of my cleaning. They are washable and reusable, and I like the soft texture.

I also have reusable produce bags.

These cotton ones I ordered from Amazon are machine-washable and perfect for bulk produce like rice or dry beans. I transfer my bulk produce to glass mason jars for storage.

Here you can also see my mesh produce bags, which I bought at Fresh Thyme.

I use these for fresh produce like fruits and veggies. I toss them in the wash after I use whatever was in them.

No matter where you stand on global warming/climate change, I think we can all agree we need to take care of planet Earth. Anyone can do it. Amazon has great swaps for common disposables. Reusable totes can be bought at literally any grocery store. Reusable products just make sense. They save money and save the planet.

I hope this post will help you find ways to make healthy changes in your home! Happy Earth Day!

Live and Learn

It’s still January, so I give myself permission to still write about new year’s resolutions… Now and in another blog later 😬

My new year started off with me working just two jobs instead of three, and let me tell you, the extra time has been amazing. I feel like I can actually breathe. The end of the year was a whirlwind and I feel like I barely got to notice, much less enjoy, the holidays.

With this extra time, I’ve decided I want to do more baking.

This post is NOT about my successes in the kitchen this new year. Oh no. It’s about the flops.

Because that’s just it! The new year is NEVER going to go perfectly. There is so much pressure on January 1st to be the first day of a shiny, “New Year, New Me”. Why do we do this to ourselves? I will be writing a whole post about my thoughts on this, so I digress.

One new thing I started last year was brewing kombucha.

It is so much fun and so much cheaper than store bought. My husband even likes it better than store bought! Now, we don’t drink tons of it at a time, so I have bottles of booch sitting in my fridge. I thought, why not try making sourdough? I’ve seen lots of folks post about it in the Kombucha brewing groups I joined on Facebook.

I gave it a go. This is what happened.

Yeah… All over my cabinet. If that’s not bad enough, it totally smelled like rotten eggs when I opened it. So, that jar went in the trash.

I do plan to try it again. Just not yet.

On MLK day, I had the day off, and didn’t want to be completely lazy all day, so I turned to instagram for baking suggestions. The one I got was to make French macarons. I have long desired to make my own delicious and delicate little macarons, but been far too intimidated. It seems my fears were not irrational.

I don’t even know. It was pretty much hopeless. Not to be wasteful, I formed the dough into balls by hand and pressed it onto parchment paper.

They surprisingly turned out pretty tasty! Overcooked and crunchy, but not terrible. I only tossed out about half the dough.

The new year shouldn’t be the only time to learn from our mistakes, but it’s certainly a good reminder to be patient with ourselves. Life is often imperfect, but we can always make the best of it.

Happy new year, happy baking, and please, if you have any tips for macarons, send them my way!