Archives for June 2012

Emergency Evacuation Bags

I posted on my facebook page about the Waldo Canyon Fire that is threatening Colorado Springs and the surrounding towns. Our home is currently safe, but the conditions remain dangerous. As part of the Waldo Canyon fire, the nearby town of Manitou Springs was evacuated during the night. If you had to leave your house in the middle of the night, would you be ready to go? Until today, I would have been scrambling. And, at 1:30 AM, I can assure you, I am not at my best.

My first order of business was to put together a few bags that could easily be grabbed. These would have the items we would need if we had to vacate our home quickly and move into a shelter. I know many of you also live in natural disaster zones – hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados – if you have anything you’d add, please leave a comment!



I packed three bags. The first was a backpack I was given last year at Blogher, and the other two were bags my mom got as a free gift with purchase. They are kinda girlie, but they were free and readily available to pack.

The bags were divided into three categories: Consumables, Comfort, & Care.


Emergency Evacuation Consumables Bag

The idea is to try to have enough food for 72 hours. These supplies fall short, but would provide snacks in case we were stuck in traffic vacating town or if we needed to be in a shelter. The packed items include:

  • Protein Bars – (10)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Fruit Leathers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tuna
  • Cereal
  • Ravioli
  • Pineapple Slices
  • Pet food & treats
  • Starbucks Via **Total comfort consumable**

You might notice I didn’t include water. What I chose to do was to put a case of water under our bags. These could easily be loaded into the car and would provide more water than what a bag could hold.


Emergency Evacuation Comfort Bag

I packed this bag with all the items that would make us more comfortable should we have to live in a shelter.  If we left without this bag, we’d be ok, but we wouldn’t be as comfortable. Items included are:

  • New underwear for all family members
  • Socks for each family member
  • Washcloths
  • Wipes
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss
  • Soap
  • Lotion
  • Comb
  • Kleenex
  • Eye drops
  • **Hair Ties & Ball Cap – personal addition. I’m thinking we won’t be paying much attention to our hair!
  • **Card Game – again, a personal item addition to try to make an ugly situation bearable.


Emergency Evacuation Care Bag

The idea behind the care bag is what would be REALLY need to take care of our family in a true survival situation. Packed items include:

  • Contact lens case & solution
  • OTC medications (if anyone in your family requires a prescription, you’d want to pack a 3 day supply.)
  • First aid kit
  • Sewing kit
  • Rain ponchos
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Scissors
  • Heavy duty trash bags
  • Sunscreen
  • Work gloves
  • Candles
  • Lighter
  • Can opener
  • **I included hand and toe warmers since we live in CO.

I now have the three Emergency Evacuation Bags hanging outside our garage door ready to grab and throw in the car.


I also have cases of water stashed below. Now, in the event of an evacuation, I know I will have the basic supplies ready to go!

Grilling Eggplant: A Quick and Healthy Side Dish

Grilling eggplant makes for a quick and healthy side dish or vegan main dish.
Grilling eggplant for a quick and healthy side dish.

If you are looking for the simplest way to cook eggplant slices, look no further than your grill. Eggplant can easily be grilled with the most delicious results.

To get the best results, you’ll want to start by selecting the perfect eggplant. If you’ve selected a ripe eggplant, there is no need to salt it. However, many people will elect to salt their eggplant to remove any potential bitterness. Here’s how to prepare your eggplant before grilling.

How to Cook Eggplant Slices on the Grill

  • Cut the eggplant however you choose – into rounds or into planks. However, if I’m serving with a dip, I have a preference to slice the eggplant into rounds. You’ll want your slices to be between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch wide.
  • There is no need to peel the eggplant. Peeling is a personal preference.
  • Heat the grill to medium high heat.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Brush the eggplant slices with the olive oil and garlic mixture.
  • Put the slices directly on the preheated grill.
  • Cook until dark brown on both sides – about 5 minutes per side.

grilled eggplant

Optional Flavor Boosts for Grilling Eggplant

  • Before brushing with olive oil and garlic, make shallow cuts in the eggplant to allow the garlic to penetrate further into the eggplant.
  • Add finely chopped onion and parsley to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Add finely chopped rosemary and oregano to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Add salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Omit olive oil and garlic. Mix approximately 1/4 cup miso with a splash of mirin and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and baste eggplant during grilling.
  • After grilling, brush with a mixture of lemon juice and finely chopped mint.

grilled eggplant rounds

Grilled eggplant is excellent served hot directly off the grill. However, if you end up with leftovers, stuff into a pita with some hummus for a delicious sandwich the next day.

How to Cook Eggplant on the Grill

Pea Trellis

On March 15th – St. Patrick’s Day – I did a brave, brave thing. I planted pea seeds.

Peas Grown from SeedMy sugar pod peas about 1 month ago.

A little early for Colorado, but we had such a beautiful spring I just couldn’t resist. I planted two varieties: Oregon Sugar Pod and Sugar Snap. Since the sugar pods are expected to grow to 6 feet, we needed to build a trellis.

We built 3 separate pea trellises. Here is why:

  1. They are heavy. Building 3 separate ones made them manageable.
  2. We plan to rotate our crop. This year they are in a 12 foot bed. Next year, we will move them into the tomato bed which is only 9 feet. Building 3 separate trellises will allow us to use them in the shorter bed.

How to build a pea trellis:

  1. Build an A-Frame out of lumber. You can use recycled wood for this project if you have a source.
  2. Remember the trellis should be about 6 feet high for most varieties of peas.
  3. Use hinges to secure the tops so they can be folded down and stored over the winter.
  4. Staple fine mesh chicken wire across the frame.
  5. These are heavy, but we found they blew over in the high Colorado winds. Secure them when installing them.

These are my pea plants today! They are underplanted with leaf lettuce – which we’ve already harvested one crop – and I added a cucumber plant as well. My plants have blooms and I drool just thinking about the day we have actual peas!

Pea Trellis


Why rotate our peas and tomatoes? Peas fix nitrogen to the soil while tomatoes require a great deal of nitrogen. By rotating them, you use the plant’s natural biology to get a better crop. Will it work? I’ll let you know next year! {wink}

3, 2, 1 Custard | Paleo Breakfast Recipe

There are only 3 real food ingredients in these quick and healthy custards.

3 Ingredient Custards
Can you guess why this is 3, 2, 1 Custard? Um hum. You use 3 eggs, 2 ripe bananas & 1 can of coconut milk.

That’s it!

3, 2, 1 Custard is my new favorite breakfast treat. The flavor is exactly like banana bread – but these custards are gluten-free and free of any added sugar!

I started making this custard paleo breakfast recipe when we did our Sugar Detox. It quickly became a family favorite.

Custard ingredients

In case you have never cooked custards, they cook in what’s called a water bath.

To make a water bath, simply place your custards in an oven safe baking dish large enough to hold them, then add hot water about 1 inch up the sides of the custard cups.

If you fill the pan while it is on the oven shelf, and you use a tea kettle, you can avoid a lot of spills.

Water Bath

I use half pint mason jars to make my custards. This makes the custards easy to store in the fridge. Allow the custards to cool, screw on a lid, and into the fridge they go!

What I really love about the mason jars is they are portable for an easy breakfast when you are in a rush.

If you fill the mason jars about two-thirds of the way full, this recipe makes 6 custards. It also leaves room for toppings.

My girls enjoy cinnamon, walnuts and a bit of real maple syrup on theirs. I’m partial to a bit of toasted coconut or cacoa nibs.

3, 2, 1 Custard

3, 2, 1 Custard


  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 can coconut milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Crack eggs into a blender. Add bananas and coconut milk. Blend.
  3. Place 6 half pint mason jars in a baking dish large enough to hold them.
  4. Divide custard batter evenly between the mason jars.
  5. To cook custards in a water bath, pour one inch hot water into pan surrounding mason jars.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the water bath before refrigerating.

If you want to change up the flavor a bit, try adding about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the blender.

Looking for more sugar free recipes? Follow my Sugar Detox Pinterest board.