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fall issue 01

A letter from Mia

We live in a very busy world, filled with so much to do and so much to consume. What I am slowly learning is that I don’t need all that busyness, and neither do my children. My husband and I have always been minimalists – but then we had kids. One day about five years ago, I looked up to see our once modern, minimalist apartment was filled with trains, trucks, dolls, and other toys – and all their accessories. It was too much. And to make matters worse, we were rarely home to use them – enjoying the park or a museum, soccer or the playground, instead. At the same time, I was newly pregnant with number three, and knew we needed a big change. We made many transitions the past few years, but a few stand out as most important: •

We outgrew our space and sold our apartment. We put 85% of our toys and knick-knacks in storage and quickly realized that we did not miss them. We gave away our TV for good.

I read the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. Even as a child, I was obsessed with decluttering and organizing. But when it came to my kids I got so much resistance from society, it always felt like a battle; it was the only area in my life where I didn’t follow my gut. With the guidance of Kim John Payne, I was reassured by research that my instincts worked and were important for our kids.

We enrolled our two children in a Waldorf School, which came with a community of people who supported slowing down childhood.

And last, but definitely not least, I found out I was allergic to gluten and started to pay attention to what I ate. I eventually had to also cut out soy and dairy to nurse my daughter, and also later experimented with eating a totally raw vegan diet for two years. I realized how tightly linked food is to my moods and clarity, which led me to start looking at what my kids ate.

So here we are almost five years later. I find that giving my kids the gift of simplicity is a practice, much like yoga. As my kids grow (they are 3, 6 and 9), I realize that the fast pace of the world affects our lives no matter what – the loud radio at the ice cream store, a neighborhood friend talking about the latest movie, toys that somehow creep into the house despite my best intentions, after-school activities. Even things I genuinely love – handmade toys, great industrial designs, kids’ artwork, books, and clothes – start to add up over time. I find clearing clutter is now a regular practice, and remembering to take it easy (“exhale moments”) sometimes need to be added to the day, just as one would schedule a dance class. The one thing that most radically changed our household, and made the space to simplify overall, is food. I found that to truly eat well and affordably, we can’t do every activity and leave five minutes for meal preparation, or have so much stuff that we are always cleaning. I see how much my kids learn from trips to our farm share, helping plan the weekly meals, growing some of our own veggies, cooking in the kitchen, and sharing meals together. We are not perfect by any means. My kids still want to eat cookies and donuts – sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no, but more often I just try to make a healthy version that I can always say yes to. When my kids do have processed foods, I know there will be a spike of energy and then a crash, and I mentally plan for those moments. The great thing is that over time and with conversation, my kids are becoming more aware of how different foods affect their bodies, and are learning the tools that they can later use to make good choices. So all this leads me into this publication, which I will produce four times a year. Some recipes will be from my blog, but there will be lots of new stuff too! In future issues, I will bring in some other foodies and simplifiers to share their insights. Simplify! Eat well! And have fun this fall!

StayBasic Fall: Issue 01 FEEDING OUR KIDS Rhythm of Food Vegan Lunch Ideas Yummy Snacks The Supplies

FEEDING OUR Family Feeding Ourselves: Lunch on the Go Kale Sweets to Feel Good About

SIMPLY HOME Meal Planning Getting out the Door Clothes

Copyright Š Mia Moran,, 2012. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. If you are interested in highresolution versions of anything you see here, please contact mia(at)staybasic(dot)com.

The Rhythm of Food Fall is a busy time. Moms shuffle kids all around town to school and activities. Work projects kick into gear. Farmers are busy harvesting and storing. The cool air seems to encourage us to be “worker bees” – no matter what our work may be. As always, we try to nourish our bodies with healthy food. During these busy times, easy recipes and thoughtful plans make a big difference. Each week I make a plan. There are some constants — Pancakes on Saturdays, oatmeal on Wednesdays, beans and rice on Mondays, soup on Thursdays, dessert nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I base our plan on what’s in season, work days vs. home days, school days vs. weekends. I make a fairly detailed description of dinners for my reference, and try to create an abridged version for the kids to make every Sunday. (Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks are planned too, but more on that at another time).

Baked Squash for Soup

Green Rice

Stuffed Peppers

Sweet Potato Fries

week 01

week 02

Monday Moroccan Chick Peas Green Salad, Green Rice

Monday Lentil Stew Leafy Greens Salad Millet

Tuesday Edamame, Carrot, and Corn Fried Rice Radish and Cucumber Salad Fruit Wednesday Veggie Garlic Pasta Thursday Ratatouille over Quinoa Spinach Salad Pear Tart Friday Egg and Grits Salad

Tuesday Sesame Tofu, Sautéed Bok Choy Gomasio Rice, Chunky Salad Sorbet Wednesday Beets, Sautéed Garlic Kale Sweet Potato Fries, Corn Bread Thursday Tomato Carrot Soup Garlic Bread, Salad Apple Crumble Friday Make your own Pizza Salad

week 03

week 04

Monday Black Beans and Brazilnut Milk Rice Radish and Turnip Salad

Monday Red Beans and Rice Radish and Turnip Salad

Tuesday Asian Salmon over Rice Sesame Cucumber Salad Apples and Honey

Tuesday Pad Thai Cucumber Avocado Salad Sliced Banana

Wednesday Stuffed Peppers Green Beans Salad

Wednesday Fish Tacos Radish Salad, Cabbage Salad Guacamole

Thursday Squash Soup Whole Grain Croutons, Salad Chia Pudding

Thursday Veggie Soup Cheese Bread Pumpkin Pie

Friday Make your own Bean Burritos

Friday Make your own Baked Potatoes Broccoli Salad

We are indeed much more

than what we eat,

but what we eat can nevertheless help us

to be much more

than what we are. Adelle Davis

Vegan School Lunch Simple main course ideas still taste yummy three hours later. Grains Quinoa, Radish, Cucumber Salad Brown Rice, Edamame, Carrot Salad Pasta with Pesto Soup (served with whole grain dipping bread) Squash Soup Lentil Stew Potato Leek Soup Wraps Avocado, Cucumber Sticks, Shortgrain Brown Rice wrapped in Nori Chickpea Salad wrapped in Lettuce Shredded Carrots and White Bean Hummus wrapped in Whole Grain Tortilla Sandwiches Almond Butter, Raw Honey, and Banana on Whole Grain bread Black Bean Veggie Burger on Whole Grain Roll Avocado, Cucumber and Sea Salt on a Baguette


brown rice and veggie salad

squash soup

Ingredients 1 cup cooked Brown Rice 1/4 cup chopped Cucumbers 1/4 cup chopped Radishes 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar 1 teaspoon Olive Oil A dash of Salt A dash of Maple Syrup

Ingredients Any type of Squash 2 Leeks 1 tablespoon Olive Oil Cumin A dash of Salt

Directions Mix the dressing ingredients. Toss the dressing with the rice and veggies. Make this your own. Carrots and beets would be great if that is what is in your fridge. Add White Beans or Chickpeas for protein. Quinoa is a great alternative to brown rice. This is for one serving assuming you are using leftover rice.

Directions Peel and remove seeds from squash. Bake sqaush at 350° for 45 minutes OR Steam diced squash for 15 minutes. Slice the leeks and while squash is cooking, sautÊ them in the olive oil until translucent. Blend cooked leeks, squash, cumin, and water (1+ cups depending on desired consistency). I usually make this for a weekend meal and send the leftovers for lunch one day during the week. I send it with whole grain bread that is cut to dip.

Lunchbox Extras

Dehydrated Fruit*

Homemade Granola*

* Recipes can be found at

mango lassi

chocolate hemp shake

Ingredients 1 cup Mango 1 ½ cups Almond Milk 1 ½ teaspoons Raw Honey

Ingredients 2-3 Bananas 2 Dates 2 tablespoons Raw Cacao 1 tablespoon Hemp Seeds 2 cups Coconut Water

Directions Blend in high-speed blender (such as Vitamix).

Directions Blend in high-speed blender (such as Vitamix). Notes I buy lots of bananas. I peel them and freeze them when they are really ripe for when I want cold smoothies. Hemp is a great source of protien.

cashew cream Ingredients 3 ½ cups Soaked Cashews 1 ½ cups Coconut Water 2 tablespoons Raw Honey 1-2 tablespoons of Vanilla Dash of Nutmeg Directions Blend in high-speed blender (such as Vitamix). Notes I pack a small container of Cashew Cream and a separate big container of diced fruit that is half full, so the children can pour the cream over when they eat it. Cashew Cream tastes great with berries, diced apples, diced pears, sliced banana, or even something like granola.

I fill glass jars with smoothies and put them in my childrens’ lunchboxes. If glass jars don’t work at your school, I would look for a wide-mouthed bpa-free container. And remind little ones to shake their smoothie before opening it.

the logistics of school lunch stainless steel containers for snacks and sides I have Kids Konserve in a variety of sizes and colored tops.

stainless steel container for warm food I love LunchBots Thermal Stainless Steel Insulated Food Container.

divided, bpa-free containers I use LunchBots Stainless Steel Containers for snacks and bpa-free plastic ones by EasyLunchbox for lunch.

reusable bags There are so many of these now! Check out health food stores, Etsy, or make your own!

cloth napkins More durable, better for our planet, and my kids love seeing what pattern they get.

a flat wide lunch box to contain it all – personalized of course! Love EasyLunchboxes! Simple and the perfect size.

glass jars for smoothies


Rather than feeling like I am always saying no to my kids and depriving myself, I try making sweets that taste good and feel good. With these, dessert sometimes comes before dinner!

Cookie recipe coming in Issue 2: Winter.

gluten-free and vegan banana muffins Ingredients 1 cup Brown Rice Flour 1/3 cup Hazelnut Flour 3/4 teaspoons Salt 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder 1 3/4 cup Mashed Banana 5 1/3 tablespoons Coconut Oil 1/4 cup Maple Syrup Directions Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix banana, coconut oil and maple syrup in a blender. Add mixture to dry ingredients. Pour in cupcake tins greased with coconut oil. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350.

raw macaroons Ingredients 3 cups Raw Coconut Flakes 1 cup Raw Cacao Powder 1/2 cup Raw Agave Pinch of Sea Salt 1 teaspoon Vanilla Directions Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with hands until well integrated. Make bite size balls. (Refrigerate for an hour if mixture is too soft to make into balls) Keep in refrigerator for up to a week. You can also make these with almond meal instead of cacao. With the almond meal version, I add extra vanilla to taste.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. – Virginia Wolf

.... important for all parents out there who think they are doing a great thing by putting their kids first at all times. Your well-being is of utmost importance and when you eat well, you are being a great teacher.

1/5 Colorful Veggies Carrots Beets Cucumber Avocado Radish Turnips Squash Tomato Celery

1/5 Grains Cooked Quinoa Raw Sprouted Quinoa Brown Rice Millet

2/5 Dark Leafy Greens Spinach Kale Parsley Pea Shoots Lettuce Collards Chard Mache


1/5 Protein Raw Sprouted Seeds Cooked Lentils Tofu Garbanzo Beans

Lunch in a Jar Inspired by a friend, I have been packing my lunch in a jar then pouring it into a large bowl when I am ready to enjoy it. What a great way to keep greens crisp! Play around with this. The only real rule is to add the dressing and protein first, so leafy greens and grains won’t get soggy.

Asian Almond Dressing

Creamy Cashew Dressing

Tia T’s Tomato Dressing




5 Tablespoons Almond Butter

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews

1 Big Tomato

1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

(soaked for 5-8 hours)

3 or 4 fresh Garlic Cloves

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/2 Cup Water

1 full sprig of Rosemary

1 Tablespoon Tamari

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil

2 Tablespoons Lemon

1 teaspoon Maple Syrup

1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

2 Tablespoons Dulse Flakes 1 Tablespoon Brown Rice Miso

2 tablespoons Olive Oil (extra virgin is a little too bitter)

Blend in high-speed blender



(such as Vitamix).

Blend in high-speed blender

Blend everything but oil. Slowly add oil, allowing to emulsify.


(such as Vitamix).

Directions Blend in high-speed blender (such as Vitamix).

I love kale! I love to drink it, eat it raw, cook it, and dehydrate it. Oh, and I love to grow it! Dinosaur Kale, Flat Kale, Russian Kale. Kale is packed with antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K. Anyone who is skeptical, start with chips! Kids can become fans too!

green juice

cheezy kale chips

Ingredients A bunch of dark leafy greens (7-10 leaves of Kale, Chard, Collards, or Spinach) 2 stalks of Celery 1 Large Cucumber One Lemon (rind off, seeds ok) One Apple (whole thing cut, core is ok)

Ingredients 1 cup Red Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped 1 cup Cashews 3 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast 2 tablespoon Coconut Nectar 1 tablespoon Olive Oil ½ teaspoon Salt 4 tablespoons of Water 1 large bunch of Kale, cut off of stem into bite size pieces

Notes It tastes really good to add mint, or a large handful of parsley or cilantro. You can substitute lime or grapefruit for lemon. Switch up the greens. Always aim for organic. Greens are actually really easy to grow.

Directions Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Mix everything else, but the hemp, in high-speed blender. It will look like mustard. Pour mixture over the kale and use your hands to massage the sauce all over the kale. Lay kale on dehydrator screens, sprinkle with hemp, and dehydrate for 4-8 hours until crispy. (Overnight is fine). I always make 2-3 bunches at a time.

kale salad

autumn vegetable soup

Ingredients 5 cups Kale sliced into very thin strips 1 tablespoon Cider Vinegar ½ teaspoon Sea Salt 1 tablespoon Coriander 3 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast 5 tablespoons Hemp Seeds Juice from 1 Lemon 2 cloves of Garlic pressed 2 scallions minced 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Ingredients 2 Leeks diced 1 Onion diced 4 cloves of Garlic diced 1 Delicata Squash or half of a Butternut Squash diced 3 small Potatoes diced 5 Carrots diced 2 Golden Beets diced 8 Kale leaves diced 2 cups chopped Green Beans 2 tablespoons Olive Oil 64 ounces Veggie Broth 1 tablespoon Brown Rice Miso 1 tablespoon Tamari

Directions Massage kale with vinegar, salt and lemon. Add all other ingredients, but olive oil, and mix well. Add olive oil when ready to serve.

Directions Sauté the onion, leeks, and garlic in the olive oil for 5–10 minutes in your soup pot. Add stock and miso and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the veggies and cook until the carrots and beets are done. Add the tamari.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. – William Morris

Uncluttered shelves

A drawing basket that moves

Window seat for reading in kitchen

Toys made with care

A Game of Marbles on the Kitchen Floor

3 Meal Planning 1 Bags for each Activity 2 Less Clothes This fall, I am experimenting with three new ways to simplify our home — three small doable changes. So far so good.

1 Bags for each Activity This idea does not seem like rocket science, but getting out the door has always been a stress point for all members of our family, so I needed a better system. I bought 8 plain canvas bags and some ribbon. There is a ballet bag for my daughter — everytime her leotard gets washed, it goes back in the bag, not in the drawer. After my children practice instruments, their books go back in their bags. When we leave for school or an activity, it is really easy to find what we need.

2 Less Clothes I have not had to buy too many clothes for my children. We have had lots of hand-me-downs and generous relatives. Because it was not something that I was buying, I did not really ever think about just how many dresses my girls had – and so, too many choices. This summer when we travelled, it dawned on me how much easier life was with fewer clothes (and less to wash). So this year I really pared down. I chose a color scheme for each child. Having that in mind really helped me when I weeded out clothes for those who had too much, and went shopping to fill in the gaps. My biggest surprise was pajamas... how did we get so many? A holiday dress or a few too many shirts that I really like go in the basement, so I can switch those items as needed.

boys felix’s Colors

6 pants 6 short sleeve t-shirts 6 long sleeve t-shirts 3 sweaters/sweatshirts 7 pairs socks 7 underwear 2 night outfits 1 Rain Jacket 1 pair Rain Pants 1 Fleece Jacket 1 Down Vest 1 Winter Coat 1 pair Snow Pants 1 pair sneakers 1 pair slip on shoes 1 pair (rain/snow) boots

GIRLS Orly’s Colors

PERLA’s Colors

8 leggings/pants 5 tunics/dresses 8 t-shirts 2 sweaters 7 pairs socks 2 tights 9 underwear 2 under tanks 2 night outfits 1 Rain Jacket 1 pair Rain Pants 1 Fleece Jacket 1 Down Vest 1 Winter Coat 1 pair Snow Pants 1 pair sneakers 1 pair mary janes 1 pair (rain/snow) boots

3 Meal Planning I plan each week every Sunday. There are a few constants, like beans on Mondays and soup on Thursdays. I only plan the weekdays, and I make a point to create new foods or more time-consuming foods on the weekends, and really have fun with them. I tried the Simplicity Parenting suggestion to pick a food for each day of the week and stick with that — pasta on Mondays, soup on Tuesdays, rice on Wednesdays, etc — but it felt too rigid for me, so I went back to doing as I pleased each day. After a while I realized that it was stressing me out — I was going to the grocery store more frequently, spending more money, and getting more food complaints from the peanut gallery than usual. So came this hybrid.

In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trips to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes. Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting

See you this winter! Issue 2 will have contributions from other foodies and simplifiers. In the meantime stay connected at

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StayBasic inspires busy parents to be active participants in their family's health — nutritious recipes, stories about food and simplicity,...


StayBasic inspires busy parents to be active participants in their family's health — nutritious recipes, stories about food and simplicity,...

Profile for staybasic