Monthly Archives: January 2012

Community in a Columbus Coffee House

I’m always so thrilled to find other mothers who are as passionate about the same things as I am.  Motherhood can be quite a challenge without having friends around you, but when you have passions that aren’t as mainstream as everyone else’s, well, allies are hard to come by.

Photo Credit: Jenny Confer Linn

Thursday, I made another trip to Columbus to meet with the ladies of Moms Clean Air Force Ohio, a few newly interested moms and Ben Famous, the aid to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).  It was a great session for questions and answers.  For the second time in a month, I got to sit back and watch other mothers find their own passion.  It’s just the most gratifying thing in the world to watch someone learn a new thing.  The amazing part about being involved with a group that is on the ground is that you don’t have to wait for the page to reload to watch the changes in people’s lives.  You can see it right in front of you.

Moms Clean Air Force is a community.  Just by meeting these women, I’m making new friends, learning new things and finding other mothers who are as wild about the air we breathe as I am finding myself growing day by day.  So Thursday, I got to sit in a coffee shop with my children and listen to Ben Famous talk about Senator Brown’s position on clean air.  I got to be re-inspired and watch other mothers be inspired.  And I loved every second.


I have a kind of love-hate relationship with snacks.  Love in the sense that I am a salty, crunchy, grab-a-bite-walk-out-of-the-room-do-something-come-back-grab-another-bite-repeat-repeat-repeat sort of person.  Hate in the sense that I am a grab-a-bite-walk-out-of-the-room-do-something-come-back-grab-another-bite-repeat-repeat-repeat sort of person.  Seriously.  I have no self control.  My biggest downfall in the world?  Cheetos.  It’s a shame really that my self control is in such short supply when it comes to those things…

Anyway.  The subject of this post.  Snacks.  Considering how often I am nursing Sylvia, I’m frequently hungry and have been looking for something that was filling and nutritious, but could be eaten with 1 hand.  And I wanted something I could toss in the basket on my nightstand and eat at 330 in the morning without feeling guilty.  Granola bars fit the bill for this request the best, but let me tell you, I’ve not had the best luck with homemade granola bars.  Either they come out with the consistency of re-bar or they crumble with the first bite.  The search for the perfect granola bar has been ongoing for over a year.

I order books from the library a few times a month and often don’t see the books before I pick them up.  I tend to order based on topic and in December, I was looking for more ideas for vegetarian meals so the book The Organic Family Cookbook caught my eye.  I’ve tried several recipes from her book and must tell you that I’ve really enjoyed it.  So much so that I put it on my Amazon list and was delightfully surprised to open it as a Christmas gift!  This granola bar recipe is adapted from the formula listed in the book and I am truly pleased with how they turned out.  I cut and wrapped the bars individually and they’ve stored quite well.

Granola Bars (adapted from The Organic Family Cookbook)

  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. flax seed
  • 2 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup local honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the oats, seeds, flax seed and wheat germ.  Spread the mixture out on a lined baking sheet.  Toast for 8 minutes.  Then, pour the warm mixture into a mixing bowl and add the cranberries, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a small saucepan combine the almond butter, honey, brown sugar and coconut oil.  Heat through, until the ingredients are thoroughly melded and liquid-like in consistency.  Remove from the heat and pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.  Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and grease well.  Press the granola mixture into the pan with a spoon.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting.
(Makes18 bars about the size of Cascadian Farms granola bars.)

An Open Letter to the 2012 Republican Candidate Hopefuls

This has been Cross-posted at Moms Clean Air Force Ohio

An Open Letter to the 2012 Republican Candidate Hopefuls:

Dear Sirs,

Every morning as I drink my coffee, I read the news updates on your preliminary campaigns and I’m so sad.  All of you are religious and conservative.  You’ve made your positions clear on issues like Abortion and National Debt and Education.  Not one of you agrees 100% with the other and that’s ok.  That’s why there’s a choice and how we decide who will be the best fit for our presidential candidate.  As time as passed and debates have been won, I feel a very limited sense of confidence in my potential Republican candidate.

I realize that since President Nixon’s tenure, Republicans haven’t placed a high priority on the environment, but now is the time for change.  NOW is the time in our  country’s history that you need to stand up and make positive choices for our natural resources.   These resources are all that we have to give our children for their future.   These children are the future of our country!

Mothers all over the US are angry.  We’re angry about the pathetic state of our air quality.  We’re angry that our children suffer from asthma in unprecedented numbers and cannot live like children should live: enjoying their days, running and playing.

As a mother in Ohio, I don’t want my state to continue to be the most toxic state in the union.  I don’t want to wake up on summer days and worry about the air quality being too poor for us to play outside.  I want to be able to let my children enjoy nature without fear of toxins and pollution.   Please hear our voices and take the time to revisit your positions on environmental issues.  Take the time to truly count the cost of the Clean Air Act and see the long-term benefits.  Consider the damage done if we  throw away all that has been worked toward in the last 2 decades.  Listen to us mothers, fighting for our children, their health and their world.  If necessary, go against the party line and take a stand with us for our environment and for Clean Air.

I implore you to think about our children, your children, and their future.   Remember as you debate over healthcare, that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from Asthma.  This Asthma eats up billions of dollars in healthcare, causes thousands of missed days at school or work and sadly claims hundreds of  lives each year.  Asthma sufferers would be some the first people who could benefit from some consideration for our environment.  Please consider the whole picture as you make your decisions and don’t write off the environmental issues as ones that won’t really be worth your time.  I promise you, that when it comes to Clean Air and our children, even the smallest issue is worth your time.


Laura Burns (Mother of 2)


The Mommy and Me Fitness group in town has a blog and they have been doing monthly food spotlights.  This month, the food spotlight was Quinoa.  It’s a nifty little food that is chock full of amino acids, which combine to form proteins, so it’s kind of a super-food in my eyes.  I’m used to eating quinoa in the form of a salad called Tabbouleh, but I hadn’t ever experimented with it.  Anyway, shortly before I read Julie’s post, I had seen these little quinoa bites pinned all over people’s Pinterest boards and I was intrigued.  And intrigued enough to play with the recipe.

I added some flavor and more vegetables so that I could use these as a complete meal for my lunches.  This recipe made 3 dozen little bites, there were less than a dozen left after Matt and I “tested” them.  They were so good!  And I just couldn’t stop eating them.  I dipped them in a mixture of sour cream and Italian dressing, but you could eat them without a dip.  One tiny note though before I share the recipe, if you decide to make these in a mini muffin pan without the wrappers, make sure you grease the cups well.  I didn’t and had to ah… convince… some of them to come out of the pans.  Other than that, you may need to hide them from your husband, because shockingly, mine certainly enjoyed them!

Veggie Feta Quinoa Bites

  • 2 c. cooked quinoa (this is 1 c. dry quinoa)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. finely shredded carrot
  • 1/2 c. finely shredded zuchinni
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced sundried tomatoes
  • 4 oz. feta cheese
Saute the onions until transparent in a dash of olive oil.  Then add in the carrot, zuchinni, garlic, and sundried tomato and mix well.  Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the spices, feta and eggs.  Then, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and fill 3 dozen mini muffin cups to the top with the quinoa mixture.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Tropical wishes Pancakes

Yesterday morning dawned cold and bright as the sun sparkled on the snow.  I like to make pancakes for the family on the weekend, but we’ve had trouble with Sylvi and dairy.  She always wants to participate in meals with us, so I played around the recipe to cut out the dairy.  In addition to these changes, I also took the opportunity to cook the pancakes in my stainless steel skillet.  I haven’t touched the teflon one in weeks, which means we haven’t had pancakes since then either.  Both changes turned out perfectly and I am pleased to tell you that these pancakes somehow turned out lighter than those I’ve made with baking mixes!  I couldn’t find the syrup when I made breakfast, so instead, we spread strawberry jam on them.  They were wonderful and I’m a little sad they’re all gone.  Oh well.  Next weekend!


  • 1 1/2 c. All purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift together the dry ingredients and mix together the wet ingredients.  Slowly stream the wet ingredients over the flour mixture while whisking constantly until fully incorporated.  Pour batter onto a hot griddle or skillet spoonfuls at a time and cook until browned on both sides.  Serve with strawberry jam, fresh fruit and yogurt.  Then, take a bite, close your eyes and pretend you’re on a sandy beach.  Make as needed to cure the winter blues.