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Veggie Stir Fry With Brown Rice – A Nutritious, No Fuss, Natural Family Meal!

Quick and healthy don’t always go together – but more and more natural mammas and pappas are making it happen!

When it’s 5:00 and I still can’t figure out what’s for dinner, I used to reach for the frozen fish sticks or chicken nuggets – not anymore!  We’ve got a stash of go to quick, easy recipes the whole family enjoys.  One of our favorites, and probably one of the most healthy, is veggie stir fry with brown rice.

Stir fry is such a great natural family meal because it’s so versatile.  Got a garden bursting with _____ veggie – make a stir fry with it.  Joined a CSA – you can make a different stir fry each week with whatever they give you.  Cleaning out your fridge and have some lone veggies?  Use them up in a stir fry!

Of course like all other meals you could actually plan a specific type of stir fry, and you can add meat too.  Or give it a bit of oomph while keeping it vegetarian by adding some seasoned tofu or tempeh.

Best of all, if you have a large family like we do, stir fry is excellent because everyone can have what they want usually with minimal fuss.  Add some soy sauce, hot sauce, or other seasonings you like and you’ve got a meal any natural family will love; and that’s easy to prepare, even in a pinch!

The one thing is it does take about 20 – 30 min to cook the brown rice.  One of the ways around this issue though is to make a bunch of brown rice one night then store the extra in the refrigerator.  That way it’s ready and waiting for whatever veggies you want to ad, as well as for other meals too like bean and rice burritos, or as an awesome side dish.

veggie stir fry and riceYou can also make stir fry quicker and easier by cutting up the veggies in advance (a great idea for making salads easier too).  You might also consider keeping a bag of organic frozen mixed veggies on hand; which will cut your prep time down considerably.

Best of all though, everyone will enjoy this yummy family meal, and, you can even puree some for the baby if needed!  Plus, this meal is super affordable, a great way to use up left overs, it’s nutritious, and, we’ll just say it again, it’s EASY!

Fix up a stir fry tonight and see what we mean!  Most likely, it’ll become a staple on your weekly natural family menu too.

PS – we’re feeling lazy – and are wicked busy right now too (like always!!) – so we didn’t include a recipe.  While it’s pretty basic, if you feel like a recipe for stir fry will help let us know and we’ll add one right away!

Got Wood? Then Cordwood Masonry Might Be the Right Green Building Method for You!

Do you have a wooded property or easy access to cord wood?  If so, then you might want to check out the Cordwood Masonry Method for building a green home, office, spa, chicken coop – or whatever else you’re building!

It’s difficult to pinpoint who “invented” the cordwood style of building.  Also known as cordwood masonry, stackwood construction, and stackwall construction, this style of building has been found as far back as 1,000 years ago in portions of Greece and Syberia.

Cordwood is a very easy, affordable and, depending on where you live, very green method of building a structure.  It can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, and the style offers a look of natural beauty all it’s own once complete.

This unique building style involves stacking pieces of cord wood, also known as fire wood, as you would bricks, using mortar in between them to seal up the holes and gaps around the logs.  Wherever you can manage to get your own logs, you can build a very eco friendly, natural home with the help of this green building technique.

cordwood home from the 1950s in oregon
Early 1900s Cordwood Masonry home in Oregon


For example, in the United States, Cordwood Masonry became popular in places like Wisconsin, Vermont, and Upstate New York during the Depression because these areas are heavily wooded.  Generally, you need to clear the trees for your home in these locations.  As a result, it becomes quite economical when you can use the same trees you’re cutting for your home site anyway as the building materials for your actual structure.

You do need some time to season your wood which requires planning and preparation, but, in many situations, time is far cheaper than materials costs.  You’ll also need to buy the ingredients for your mortar.

Speaking of which – Experts differ on the exact amounts and combinations of ingredients to use for cordwood mortar, but most recommend a mixture of sand, lime, portland cement, and soaked saw dust.  This is all mixed by hand and applied between each log.

cordwood house at night with recycled glass windows shining
Cordwood house in Del Norte, Colorado showing it’s colors at night via


When done correctly these walls offer and exceptional R value and their thermal mass (or ability to absorb heat and slowly radiate it back to the surrounding space) is fantastic.  They also look really really cool inside and out!  Many even incorporate recycled glass bottles, stones, or unique wood ends to add even more style to their finished project.

Want to learn more about cordwood masonry?  There are many wonderful books and even classes you can go to in order to learn more about this building style.  Even novice builders can excel at building their own cordwoood building, but, they should complete a few practice projects first in order to hone their construction skills before delving into a large structure.  To help this along there are also places that facilitate building parties/classes in which participants help build a host’s home.  You get the benefit of experience and they get help with their home.

However you do it, if you have the right property and the right project, cordwood masonry is a green building style that will help you build an earth friendly, natural home or other structure easily.

cordwood peace sign

Fall Organic Gardening Tips

Fall is an excellent time to be in the garden.  While much of what you’ve planted over the summer is coming to a close.  There is a lot you can still do in your organic garden both to continue the harvest for this year and prepare for an even better one next year.

Here is a quick list of fall organic gardening tips that will make your flower and veggie gardens look their best now and in the next gardening year ahead.

Plant Cool Season Crops

Leafy greens like Lettuce, Spinach, and Kale along with root crops like Carrots and Radishes, are back in full swing in most fall organic gardens.  Peas and most varieties of beans are some other cool season crops that with a bit of preparation  can also thrive in the fall in most areas.  Depending on your zone the variety of other crops you can plant for fall harvest will vary.

Mix in Some Compost

Remember to add compost in the fall both to those spaces where you’re replanting for a fall harvest as well as the spaces in your garden finished for the year.  Adding compost in the fall is really ideal for your organic garden.  This way it has time to really sink in and feed the soil while it rests for the winter.  The proof is in the abundant and healthy harvest you’ll reap next year from your preparedness this fall.

Plant Bulbs

Both vegetable and flower bulbs like garlic and tulips can be planted now so they’ll be ready in the spring.  Again, be sure to add in some compost and mulch as needed during plantcold frame for organic gardeninging.

Get Out the Hoop House / Cold Frame

Now’s the time to put the hoop houses and cold frames back up to extend your growing season along with your viable crop varieties.  Again, depending on your zone when you actually need these items will vary but, better to be prepared; the first frost can sneak up on you.  If you have your cold frame ready though you can protect your crops and keep your harvest going long into the winter if not year round!

Sow Cover Crops

Depending on your garden fall is also a nice time to sow cover crops.  Feeding the soil with cover crops is another way to prepare for the next growing season and has a myriad of benefits for the organic farmer and gardener.

Add Trees and Perennials

While this is something that can be done in the spring as well, adding trees, shrubs, and perennials is a smart thing to do in the fall because they’re often at a discount this time of year.  Garden centers need to get rid of the last of the years stock before winter and some money is better than no money.  If you wait long enough you can find plants and trees anywhere from 40-50% Off and more!  Get them now, save money, and have new plants to anticipate seeing in all their glory this coming spring and summer.

While this can seem like a lot of work, fall is a wonderful time to be outside and, the garden will only benefit from your special care this time of year. Use these fall organic gardening tips and extend the harvest this year as well as prepare for a bountiful and beautiful organic garden next season.




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