Win An Assortment of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa

Bob's Red Mill Quinoa

I rarely feature products on Happy Simple Living, and when I do it’s for something I’m truly crazy about. You may know that I’m a big quinoa fan, and not just because it’s incredibly nutritious. I love quinoa’s nutty taste and fluffy texture, but since since this lovable little seed gets relegated to so many bland, diet, low-fat, low-cal recipes, I thought quinoa deserved its own cookbook showcasing its wonderful flavor and versatility.

In the back of The Quinoa Quookbook, I list a handful of top organic quinoa sources—including Bob’s Red Mill. Unlike some corporate brand names, there really is a Bob at the helm of this employee-owned company, Bob Moore. Bob’s quinoa is a very high quality, organically grown product that’s positively delicious. I’m also an enthusiastic fan of the company’s blog, which features wonderful recipes and helpful information about grains and cooking techniques.

Just in time for back to school and autumn cooking, the nice folks at Bob’s Red Mill will generously give away an assortment of three full-sized packages of quinoa to one lucky Happy Simple Living reader in the U.S. or Canada. If you win, you’ll receive a pound each of their white quinoa, red quinoa and pretty tri-color quinoa.

White quinoa is the most common variety, and I use it in baked goods, appetizers, salads, dinners and soups. With its pretty color I like to use red quinoa for recipes like carrot cake and meatballs, and the tri-color variety is fun when you want the quinoa to really star in a dish.

To enter the giveaway, simply answer this question:

What are you looking forward to this autumn?

Whether it’s the return of football season or putting on your favorite flannel shirt, just dash off a quick response in the comments below and you’ll be automatically entered. The giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada through next next Tuesday, September 2 at midnight MST. I’ll draw one random name from everyone who comments, and announce the winner next week.

Thanks so much to our friends at Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this giveaway, and good luck!

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

The Quinoa QuookbookP.S. If you’d like your very own copy of The Quinoa Quookbook, the Kindle version is on sale this week only for just 99 cents. (You don’t have to own a Kindle; just use the Kindle reading app to enjoy on virtually any computer or device.) The paperback version is also on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This book contains 100 tried-and-true recipes featuring nutty, nutritious, delicious quinoa, and once you try it you might find you add it to just about everything.

P.P.S. I wasn’t compensated in any way for this giveaway—it’s just for fun!

 

Confessions of a Type A Personality

Sunshine in the trees

 

When you’re at home relaxing, what do you really see? I’ve been thinking about this question all week, after I had something of an epiphany about myself.

I had let our dog Maddie outside, during a quiet work day at my home office.

Black dog on green grass

 

Impulsively, I followed her out and sat down on the grass under the shade of a maple tree. Ahhhh…

Enjoying a summer day

 

The day was glorious as only a late-summer day in Colorado can be, and after I’d closed my eyes for a minute I opened them to take in the blue skies, lazy clouds, bees buzzing the flowers, and ripe tomatoes ready to be picked.

Black-eyed susans

 

cherry tomatoes

 

Feet against the sky

 

I would love to write here that I remained truly present, in a Zen way… that I simply appreciated the moment, soaked up the sunshine and fresh air, and experienced the surrounding beauty with a heart full of gratitude.

I experienced those fleeting feelings for a few moments, but then something shifted and my eyes settled on different things.

I began to notice the flaws.

My eyes slid down from those gorgeous blue skies to a hole in the chimney siding that a flicker drilled this spring. No! Add another home repair to our never-ending list.

Flicker hole in siding

 

I saw that the summer sun had caused the paint around the window trim to peel, too.

Peeling paint

 

The side garden has tendrils of bindweed climbing everywhere.

Bindweed

 

I saw dead tree branches that need to be trimmed, and I noticed that the hinges on the back gate have come loose again. The kids must have knocked over the brick edging I so carefully placed this spring.

Problems.

Whether I’m inside or outside our home, just about anywhere I look I can see something that needs to be fixed, or a chore that needs to be done. I realize I’ve developed a bad habit of focusing on these flaws and adding the tasks to my mental ‘To Do’ list, a habit which clouds my ability to see our home with grateful eyes.

Yet I am so very, very thankful for our home. In her book A Million Little Ways, Emily Freeman writes of being “addicted to measurable productivity.” How I recognize myself in her wise words.

Being a serial do-er isn’t necessarily bad, of course, but when my Type A tendencies mean that I can’t even sit under a tree for fifteen minutes without critically eyeing all the things that need to be done, something is out of balance. So my prayers and meditations this week have been these:

Let me be truly present.

Let me simply breathe in all that is precious and imperfectly perfect.

Let me always see our home through the eyes of a grateful heart.

Enjoy these lovely late summer days, my friends,

The signature for Eliza Cross

Tomato Countdown and a Garden Update

Holy cow, how did it get to be August already? Summer is speeding along, but the good news is that it’s almost time for garden tomatoes. This year I tried mulching the tomato plants with pine needles, and despite five hail storms and not a lot of attention from me, the plants seem quite happy.

cherry tomatoes

The cherry tomatoes are almost ripe!

 

Early girl tomato

Some of the Early Girls have just begun to change color. We should be enjoying this one in a matter of days!

 

green tomatoes

The Better Boys are looking fat and happy.

 

Green roma tomatoes

The Romas should be red in about ten days. Pasta time!

 

Baby leeks

I thinned the leeks last week, so that they can have room to grow. (Just ignore those little weeds.)

 

Tomato garden

The tomatoes have started to look a little wild, and they haven’t stayed tucked in their cages at all. Where in the world did they learn those rebellious tendencies, I wonder?

 

Black-eyed Susan

Just when some of the other flowers start to fade from the heat, the Black-Eyed Susans open their faces to the sun. So pretty.

How about you? Have you harvested tomatoes yet, or other produce? I’d love to hear what’s happening in your garden. Meanwhile, let’s savor these glorious summer days of August while we can…

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

How To Remove a Sticky Label or Stubborn Price Sticker

Use this trick to remove a sticky price sticker

Pity the poor security people who work at places like Ross, Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx. They must have had to deal with an epidemic of people switching price stickers on already-discounted stuff. Why else would they affix such impossible-to-remove price stickers to their merchandise? The adhesive sticks fast on even the slipperiest nonstick surfaces, and to further deter easy removal the stickers are perforated in about sixteen places. This is all fine and well as a security measure, but what about us honest citizens who purchase something and do not care to enjoy said item with its price sticker forever affixed?

I’ve wrecked fingernails and tried razor blades, soaking in hot water, and solvents like Goo Gone and rubbing alcohol to remove stubborn stickers. These methods all have the unfortunate side effect of sometimes ruining the very thing you’re trying to preserve. When I finally discovered the magic trick to remove the stickers, I knew I had to share it with you.

First heat your iron to its lowest setting. You’ll also need a little scrap of fabric or a thin cotton dishtowel to protect the item while you get the sticker off. I used a small scrap of paper towel. Very gently and being careful not to touch the item with your iron, run the pointed part of the iron over the fabric or paper towel covering the sticker.

Remove a stubborn sticky price sticker with this trick from Happy Simple Living.

Test the sticker and see if it will cooperate now. If it doesn’t peel right off, hit it a couple more times with the iron. You may need to raise the temperature a notch or experiment a little bit. Just go slowly and err on the side of caution so you don’t melt anything except the stubborn glue on the sticker.

How to easily remove a price sticker, from Happy Simple Living.

As you can see, after about ten seconds with the tip of the iron this sticker came right off of a cellophane-covered package.

Remove stubborn price stickers with this tip from Happy Simple Living.

You readers are so smart you’ve probably been happily ironing off your price stickers for decades, but for me this discovery was life changing. How about you? Have you ever tried this tip?

Keep calm and carry on! Hugs and happy Monday,

The signature for Eliza Cross

Slow and Steady Can Lead to Big Things

Turtle in the grass

Allow me to introduce Turnip, a beautiful female turtle my son and I are caring for this weekend. Her photo seems fitting for this final day of my six-day experiment to take photographs daily for 15 minutes.

Slow and steady is a concept I’ve learned to embrace. Big projects can be overwhelming, but I’ve discovered that working in small increments can help me make real progress. The key, for me, is to honor those small chunks of time and create space for them in my busy schedule.

How about you? Were you successful in devoting a little time to something meaningful this week? What would you like to focus on next? I always love hearing your comments and thoughts.

Enjoy the weekend and thanks for joining me in this endeavor. Here’s to slow and steady progress on the things that matter, for all of us.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. Georgina, a signed copy of The Quinoa Quookbook is headed your way. Congratulations on making time to write in your journal during a busy week.

Do Just One Thing Today

ladybug and daisies

Weird early morning shot of a ladybug and daisy buds

 

One of the best time management tips I ever heard was to jot down a list of Top Three Priorities each morning, and commit to accomplishing those three things. When I take a moment to do that and stay focused on just getting through my short list, I accomplish so much more than when I let the day self-direct itself with e-mails, calls and other demands.

 

Clematis vine

The clematis in full bloom

Let’s simplify this idea even further, and just focus on a single priority.

What’s the one thing you would love to accomplish today? Write it as a comment.

And then, let’s each do that one important thing.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. I committed to spending 15 minutes a day this week taking photographs. If you’re new to this blog, you can read more about accomplishing big things in small increments of time.