It is an Evenson family Earth Day tradition to visit the Oregon Garden. Each year around Earth Day, the park welcomes visitors for free, local musicians provide a
free serenade,there are fountains and a children's village with hobbit hole to play in for free, and volunteers help kids plant a free bare root tree in a pot to take home. And did I mention this is free?
Free fun is the best kind of fun – especially for families. You never know when a kid is going to have a breakdown or pee their pants leaving you no option but to turn tail and go home for naps or clean undies.
If you’ve spent too much on admission, you either abandon good parenting skills and try to pacify poor behavior or embarrass your kid by making them tie a sweatshirt around their waist to hide a wet bum.
Any chance I have to save a little green – I am all in! So I was particularly interested in the Oregon Gardens composting system. I compost at home and it is always fun to see different techniques.
I started composting so we could opt for the cheapest, smallest trashcan from our local garbage service. It helps that composting also saves on fertilizer for our backyard garden, which just happens to save money on groceries.
When my husband and I were young parents still in college, we learned quickly about saving money. We re-used grocery and produce bags instead of buying garbage and Ziploc bags. Paper towels and jarred baby food dropped off the shopping list in order to fund our baby clothes budget.
It’s funny how saving greenbacks has made our family incredibly “Green.” We turn off lights to save money. We have a small lawn and water it very little to save money. We keep our heat low in the winter and avoid running the air conditioner in the summer to save money. We have a small, high mileage family car to save money. We strategically plan our errands so as to drive as little as possible in order to save money. We buy in the bulk foods department not only to save on garbage space from loads of unnecessary packaging but, you guessed it, to save money.
Pretty soon, walks to the grocery store became fun instead of necessary money savers. Gardening became more about teaching my children about responsibility and healthy habits than stretching dollars. And nature walks and camping is not only about cheap fun, but appreciating this incredible, beautiful world that God created.
It is a misconception that Green living has to be expensive and trendy. Sometimes simple living is the best way to be Green.
Happy Earth Day!
Genesis 1:12 “The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.”
Genesis 2:15 “The Lord God took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to . . . take care of it.”
Green and cheap, Lime Lentils are healthy and hearty. Lentils are an inexpensive protein and you can find them in the bulk foods section – save that plastic bag to pack sandwiches for lunch! This dish is perfect for entertaining, camping, or packing for later since it is best served at room temperature and is a complete meal with healthy protein, carbs, and fiber. To up the clean quotient, substitute quinoa for the cous cous.
1 cup lentils
¾ cups cous cous
½ cup pistachios kernels, chopped
½ cup feta crumbles
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar (you may substitute sugar or 3/4 tbsp honey)
2 tsp kosher salt (optional)
1 lime for garnish (optional)
1. Place lentils in a pot with 5 or more cups of water. Bring to a bowl then reduce heat to simmer for 10 – 15 minute until lentils are tender but not split and mushy. If lentils are over cooked, they will fall apart and become mush when handled.
2. Meanwhile, boil 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Add 1 tbsp oil and cous cous. Stir one time around the pot, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes.
3. Once lentils are cooked, drain in a colander and run cold tap water over them to stop the cooking process and cool. Zest the lime over the lentils.
4. In a large bowl, combine 2 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, salt (optional), and juice from zested lime. Whisk together then add cous cous. Gently mix cous cous into the vinaigrette just until coated.
5. Add lentil to cous cous mixture. Gently fold together so as not to break or mash lentils. Just before serving, add ¾ cup pistachios and ¾ cup feta. Nuts and cheese with become mushy and soft if stored.
6. Transfer lentil mixture to serving dish/plate and garnish with remaining pistachios and feta and sliced lime (optional). Serve at room temperature.
Makes 4 entrées or 8 sides
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