Mesmerising Naturally Coloured Homemade Pasta

homemade star pasta by Salty Seattle

I am completely blown away by the skill of the amazing Linda Miller Nicholson, a mum from Seattle who dyes her own pasta with natural colours creating edible works of art. I think these would make amazing presents if you were able to get the hand of them, plus the ingredients aren’t expensive so what have you go to lose.

This love affair with colourful pasta started as a way to get her son to eat more vegetables and each of the 30-odd different colors of dough that Linda makes is 100% natural. The ingredients she uses to colour the dough includes; purple from blueberries, green from matcha tea, orange from harissa,  fuchsia from beets, deep brown from raw cacao, yellow from Goji berries, pale green from parsley and black from activated charcoal powder.

striped frafalle by salty seattle

She had to adapt the traditional egg pasta recipe to achieve some of the colours. For example the butterfly pea flowers used to make blue pasta would be altered by the addition of yellow eggs so she makes an eggless dough to create the ravioli you see above. Linda also makes the patterns by laminating sheets of pasta on top of one another and feeding it through the pasta maker again.

If you like what you see and what to be treated to regular inspiration by Linda used check her out on  Instagram @saltyseattle, Facebook thesaltyseattle, Twitter @saltyseattle or Snapchat saltyseattle

She also has a cookbook deal with Harper Collins, and a weekly Facebook Live show for the Food Network.

Nourishing Joy also has a very helpful blog post on using natural food dyes in baking if you’d like to start experimenting.

E

 

Baby Buying – What you DON’T need

organic wooden frog rattle

I must have liked some baby stuff recently because Google and Facebook keep showing me ads for baby stuff at the moment. This reminded me of just how much crap i accumulated in the run up to my first baby, most of which was completely unnecessary and took me ages to dispose of in a sustainable manner.

Here is my list of all the stuff you DON’T have to buy in preparation for your bundle of joy.

  • Toys. Unless you are completely devoid of family and friends you will be inundated with more than enough toys, which you will struggle to pass on when the time comes. Your baby won’t really be in a position to play with many toys for a good while anyway and when they are the best way to find out what they like is to go to a ‘parent and baby’ morning and let them try out a range of toys. Charity shops, freecycle Facebook groups and adverts.ie are also a great place to find second-hand toys.
  • Muslin cloths. Okay get yourself one nice cloth to use outside of the house but in the house scraps of old clothing works just as well and they’re practically free.
  • Nappy changing stations. I found a towel on the floor much safer, cheaper and easier to clean than those furniture items with foam changing mats, which always ended up ripping and having to be binned.
  • Parenting books. My first few weeks of parenting were ruined by me obsessing over the ‘right’ way to rear a child. Before you give birth for the first time, find a parent that you can trust you to tell it as it is and ask them if you can ring them for advice. Most will be delighted and at least you’ll be getting real advice. I found parent and baby groups great for this but be warned, watch out for the lying ‘Johnny slept through the night since day one and has never had a tantrum’ brigade!
  • Newborn clothes. Babies typically only wear these for a couple of weeks and most parents will be happy to loan you some.  In fact buying clothes for kids is such a waste of money. Find a parent in your area with a child slightly older than yours who wants to pass clothes on. I was always delighted to move clothes on and delighted to receive them from others. It didn’t mean that I never bought clothes but the amount i had to buy was dramatically less than if i had’t receive pre-loved clothes.
  • Moses Baskets. Again something you only use for a very short period of time so borrow, borrow, borrow.
  • Slings / harnesses. These can be a life saver but you have to find the one that suits you and your baby. There are babywearing and sling library groups on Facebook or simply ask parents with them to let you have a go.
  • Blackout Blinds. If you’re child is a bad sleeper, and I had two of them, you’ll try anything to get a good nights sleep. If this is you then give the black out blinds a go; what have you got to lose, but don’t buy them before you need them. Babies that get used to sleeping in total darkness may have trouble settling in other settings so you could be making an unnecessary rod for your own back.
  • Mobiles, especially musical ones. If a baby gets used to listening to a tune when it’s going asleep it may need that tune every time it needs to settle back to sleep and with babies this is VERY often. Like blackout blinds, above don’t make a rod for your own back unnecessarily. Mobiles can make lovely room decorations but they’re not essential.
  • Cot bumpers. These are slightly padded lengths of fabric that are tied around the cot to protect baby’s head from bumping off them. Some children have become tangled in these and died, and there has been a suggested link with SIDS so I’m not even sure why they’re still on sale.
  • Plastic breast milk storage pouches. Easier to just store in a glass jar in the freezer. Just remember to leave enough space at the top of the jar for the liquid to expand when it freezes.
  • Grobags. There are like sacks you put your children into to sleep at night. I found them useless firstly because they’re arm-less and my kids arms got cold, waking them up and secondly, when you’re kids start trying to climb out of the cot – and they will – these grobags are lethal and you’ll inevitably hear a thud in the middle of the night as your little one drops to the floor. Our family much preferred heavy sleepsuits / onesies.
  • Blankets. Every parent I know ended up with way more blankets than they needed. I only really needed one nice blanket for the pram / buggy that I could washed and dried easily. Blankets in cots just end up over your babies head so I found these best to avoid completely.
  • Baby Shoes. These are gorgeous and those without kids just love to buy them but if I had a euro for every baby shoe I lost I’d be rich. All I have to do now is find a one-legged leprechaun to pass them onto to.
  • Playpens. These are huge monstrosities that parents are only too delighted to get rid of when the time comes so don’t buy a new one.
  • Stairgates. As above parents are usually delighted to see the back of these when the time comes so ask around or check adverts.ie

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Sutainable Ethical Swimwear

under the same sun bikini

Thankfully I don’t have to buy a swimsuit this year. This is a task I absolutely abhor and it is something you need to do you have my sympathy. Here are a few swimwear companies that may offer a more ethical, sustainable option than your high street. The first two consider the sustainability of the materials that they use, while the others are simply made closer to home, i.e. the UK.

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Summer Activities with Kids – 2017

painted cactus rock garden

I’m not the type of parent that feels the need to fill every hour of my kids’ days with entertainment. I think boredom is a great encourager of creativity and I feel that my kids, now 9 and 7, are more than capable of being responsible for their own entertainment. That said it’s nice to have a few crafts / activities up your sleeve for those whiny days that all parents get, and as always I am focusing on compostable / recyclable materials wherever possible.

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Origami Money Gifts

origami money heart

I used to buy kids presents in advance and have a little ‘present box’ so that i wasn’t dashing to the shops every time my kids got an invite to a party. As I’ve moved towards Zero Waste I’ve given up on this. I no longer feel comfortable supporting the production of non-recyclable plastic toys by multinationals based outside of Ireland. So I’ve started to give cash, and when i say cash I don’t mean those nasty non-recyclable gift cards that expire. I mean cold hard glorious cash. Let the birthday girl or boy buy themselves exactly what they want, or better still save it.

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Planet Positive Tokens for Teachers

Summer cupcakes

Okay, I’m going to admit straight out that I think giving teachers gifts at the end of the year is a joke! If everyone got a gift for doing their job well the world would be drowning in crap that no-one wants. I think a verbal thank you or simple handwritten note is more than enough to show gratitude.

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Sustainable Ethical Nightwear

Ethical Silk Company

Considering that we spend approximately 1/3 of our day in our pjs (I wish) it makes sense to me that they should be considered carefully. I have a thing for pjs. No matter how bad the day nothing beats a shower, followed by clean comfortable pjs and fresh bed linen. Everything just seems so much better after a nights sleep started this way.

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Zero Waste – Just Doing your Best

Second Hand Furniture

The Zero Waste movement seems to be exploding across the world, which is fantastic. Our own Zero Waste Facebook group in Ireland has grown from a few hundred last year to over 5,000 now! Our group focusses on very practical advice on where to buy things sans packaging or good quality, long-lasting items to invest it when replacing items but this doesn’t always tally with portrayals of Zero Waste that i see in the media. Often articles on Zero Waste focus on the aesthetics of the movement; labeless mason jars, cloth produce bags, stainless steel water bottles, and increasingly a sense that there is ‘right way’ to do Zero Waste.

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