I love traveling. Well, let me rephrase that: I love seeing new places. The travel part of it isn't always so fun. To make things easier, I try to pack as light as I possibly can, and dress as comfortably as is socially acceptable. See what helps me do so!
In January of 2018, I shared that one of my favorite books I read in 2017 was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I went full force tidying out every category in my home and enjoyed every minute of it. I have always enjoyed tidying and cleaning and organizing. Seriously, as a preteen and teenager I was (and still am) a sucker for a good home interiors magazine with an organizational article! Cleaning and reorganizing my room was the most fun I would have on a weekend. I get bored and like to freshen things up sometimes.
This year, with the whole explosion of the KonMari method with the show (has anyone out there seen it yet?), I thought I might share a few (just a few!) of my favorite organizational tools. I’ve used these and I love them for their functionality as well as their style.
I’ve always gravitated toward products that help me organize every room in my home - especially when they look nice! Honestly, I probably shop more for home things than clothes or toiletries for myself! I just love it when my surroundings are clean and orderly and organized and free of clutter. It clears the mind and does wonders for creativity!
I love how these items help me keep my things in order and seen from my pantry to my dresser drawers!
What are some of your favorite organizational tools and products?
I was not really allowed to snack as a child. If I was hungry before bed, my dad would let me have a spoonful of honey or a cracker. If I was really good, sometimes both. I do understand now - eating a ton before laying your head down to sleep is not the best thing for your body. Instead of getting the rest it needs, it spends the night digesting and creating crazy dreams with crazy plotlines.
But I'm not here to tell you about eating before bed (or my crazy dreams). I'm here to talk about a cracker. The kind you eat with soup and dips, of course.
Sometimes I get these wild ideas in the kitchen when I don't feel quite up to the task at hand - namely the dishes. This particular time, it was to see if I could make a cracker. I'm a tad tired of bread and spread (but not really). I like crunchy foods, and what is crunchier than a wafer of flour and olive oil? Really.
But of course, me being me, I couldn't just make a plain cracker. Oh, no. I had to make an Italian cracker. I happened upon some flavoured olive oil in my cupboard and decided to use that to infuse some Italian deliciousness into my little snacks. It worked perfectly. Of course, if you do not have herb-infused oil, feel free to add the herbs directly to your dough!
The yeast flakes were to add a little "cheesy" flavour and colour. I love nutritional yeast flakes and add them to pretty much everything I eat, so it was a natural choice, really.
I wonder who invented crackers. Was it a mistake? Was it some attempt to make bread last longer? I'm going to have to look that up some time.
I am not sure why it took me so long to attempt making a cracker. After finding out how easy they are to whip up, I can't wait to experiement with more flavours and ingredients!
Related: Vegan Corn Chowder
EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan)
what you need:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup olive oil* (I used an infused one)
1/2 cup water
3 cloves garlic**
what to do:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.
2) Pour olive oil in slowly, mixing it together. Some clumps will be created, but don't worry about it - it will help make a flakier cracker.
3) If you are adding garlic and herbs, mix in now
4) Slowly add water, mixing well. The dough will be rough, but that is okay. Do not overwork it. Add a tablespoon or two if the dough is still dry.
5) Divide the dough into half and form them into a ball.
6) Press the dough into a rectangle shape and place it in-between two pieces of parchment paper.
7) Roll the dough until about a quarter of an inch thick and the size of about half a baking sheet.
8) Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle garlic on top if so desired. You can cut the dough now, or wait until after cooling to break it apart as you desire.
9) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges are brown. Break apart once cooled if you chose not to cut them.
* I used Italian-flavoured olive oil. If you would like that flavour, just add 1 teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning.
** You can mix the garlic into the dough, or brush the tops of the crackers before baking and sprinkle it on top.
During the school year, it’s surprisingly a little easier for me to be intentional about making sure I stay hydrated. My water bottle comes with me every day, and kiddos love to be selected to get me a refill - they get a break, and I get fresh water. It’s important that I make routines when it comes to staying hydrated.
Water is so important for our bodies! It makes up over half of our bodies and is necessary for them to function! It’s been told that one should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day - and more if you exercise or sweat a lot (read: HOT WEATHER). A good indicator of if you are drinking enough water is by looking in the toilet. Yup. It shouldn’t be crazy yellow. When you drink enough water, your body will thank you. You will feel less fatigued and stressed and your body systems, like digestion, will work the way they are supposed to.
I’ve had people tell me they don’t ever drink water and instead drink things like sports drinks and orange juice from the grocery store to stay hydrated. Yes, these things contain a percentage of water, however, they also contain ingredients that are not so good for our bodies such as sugars and dyes! There are much better ways to get your water - even if you don’t particularly like drinking it. Let’s look at some creative ways to get more water
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Start your day out with some hot herbal tea to get your digestion going. Your body will thank you. Avoid sweetening tea with refined sugars - it’s always best to brew your own and avoid the bottled type that does include those as well as artificial preservatives. I like to brew herbal tea every morning to take to work and I’ll usually have some in the evening as I’m winding down for the night as well.
Liven up your water by adding fruits and vegetables to it! Infused water tastes great, looks great, and makes you feel fancy. Everyone could use a little more fancy in their lives. There are so many combinations and flavours you can have. I like a simple plain lemon infusion, but ginger peach is also a favourite!
Switch out your nut or soy milk for water or coconut water to get that extra boost of water! If you miss the creamy smoothie feel, add avocado or frozen bananas to it! Nut butters are great to add as well to thicken it up. Think whole foods!
Water Tracker or Set a Timer
Keep motivated by tracking your water intake. You could do this in your planner or keep count of how many times you fill your water bottle. If you keep forgetting to drink, try setting a timer to remind yourself!
Carry a Water Bottle
Speaking of water bottles, keep one on you! If pretty water bottles motivate you, then by all means, get a pretty one (I like the glass ones best). But just keeping a refillable water bottle with you at all times will remind you to drink! Just try not to get into the trap of buying water bottles that you never use!
What are some ways you intentionally enjoy your water?
Some of my favourite hydration tools:
If you ask my husband, he will confirm that I am a “spaghetti with my parmesan” type of person. I love toppings. On everything. I also love gravy. But toppings. I like them when they’re generous and basically the main thing. Fried onions? Load ‘em on! Parmesan? I like pasta with my parmesan!
But of course, when you go plant based, or take part in Veganuary, parmesan is no longer an option - or is it? Well, maybe not parmesan in the traditional, stinky-feet smelling sense anyway. I do have a really tasty alternative, however.
The following is a true story: I spent a Christmas only college campus one year with someone who sprinkled ground nuts on their pasta and I was really excited about that. It tasted delicious. Then, a few years later, my dad started putting ground flax seed on everything to up his fibre intake. He would grind his own flax seed and keep it in a little bag. I decided to subscribe to that as well. I figured as well that since I love nutritional yeast flakes on popcorn, that I could start doing that too. Then I saw some vegan parmesan recipes floating around and it had nuts and the yeast flakes in it. I added my ground flax and some onion powder and became a happy camper.
I hesitate to call this a vegan parmesan because it tastes nothing like the smelly cheese, but it sure tastes delicious. I can’t not have this on top of my spaghetti now. It’s also delicious on green beans, and even salad! Seriously, just go to town with it, because it’s so yummy!
There is no reason to think that just because you go on a plant based diet that you will have to give up so much. Instead, you gain so much because you get to experiment with flavours and foods that you would not have normally expected to!
Vegan Parm-Like Topping
what you need:
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 TBSP ground flax seed
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp onion powder
what to do:
Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix until combined well.
Keep mixture in the fridge for about a month.
PRO TIP: Did you know that the tops of parmesan cheese containers fit perfectly onto a mason jar? If you have one, keep it to use for this stuff!
Do you love toppings too?