Mariana Cotromanes

Writer, Blogger, Crunchy Mom


Crunchy Mom Goes Oily

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

As a mom for the second time, I’m making new discoveries concerning all things infant again. One thing I wish I’d known about years ago, that I’ve just discovered through a friend of mine, is the use of essential oils. 


In the past I’d heard about it in the context of aromatherapy w...

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The Best and Worst of Motherhood Advice

Posted on March 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Most expectant mothers are overwhelmed with advice-- from loved ones (and strangers!) and all the parenting books.  Personally, some of the advice I received was helpful, some of it was horrible (and absolutely wrong-- like from my former pediatrician), and some of it just didn't fit with me and my baby. 

This got...

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Cinnamon Raisin Bran Muffins

Posted on February 15, 2012 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

These are the yummiest bran muffins I've ever eaten! Made with maple syrup instead of sugar, and applesauce and yogurt instead of butter, they're tastier AND healthier (full of fiber, vitamin A, and protein) than your average muffin.

This recipe is adapted from

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2/14: Forever Bittersweet

Posted on February 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It just hit me-- like the shame and guilt of forgetting a loved one's birthday-- today is not just Valentine's Day.  Today is the 4th anniversary of the Northern Illinois University shooting.

Everyone mourns differently-- and events li...

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Turning Thirty: Great Expectations

Posted on January 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Today I turn thirty.  It's funny, I don't feel thirty.  Wait... What's thirty supposed to feel like?

For years I've actually envisioned what thirty might feel like, and it was more about goals than about any particular emotional reaction.  Since I turned twenty-two I began dreading birthdays, feeling my youth ...

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Russia's Mismanagement Kills Nuclear Waste Shipment

Posted on December 10, 2010 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

For decades scientists have been searching for the most healthy and environmentally sound manner to dispose of spent fuel.  Spent nuclear fuel is "the world's most dangerous radioactive high-level waste," according to Vladimir Chuprov, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace Russia, and in Russia much of the nuclear waste is being mismanaged

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NYTimes- Tara Parker-Pope: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Even for Carnivores

Posted on November 22, 2010 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

"A Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Even for Carnivores"


Published: November 22, 2010

Shifting the focus from the bird to the rest of the meal can have a surprising effect.


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5 Ways to Fend Off the Winter Blues

Posted on November 16, 2010 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Daylight savings times ended a week ago, and now I'm dreading the winter blues... 

Here are 5 of what I have found to be the most effective ways to fend off those winter blues:


1. Make it a p...

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The Truth about Cheese: Not Just for Vegans to Skip

Posted on November 1, 2010 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Warning: Read no further if you're a vegetarian who is in love with cheese and wants to be spared the truth!


Back in F...

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The Mystery of Gardasil

Posted on October 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Images of smiling teenage women flash across the television screen. One shoots a basketball into a hoop, another pounds on the drums, and another jumps rope with two friends chanting “o-n-e l-e-s-s, I wanna be one less, one less!” Indeed, this commercial promises women that if vaccinated with Gardasil she will be one less young woman affected by four strains of the virus that cause cervical cancer. But despite the benefits for most who a...

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A Quick Note on Frozen Veggies as a Good Choice

Posted on October 20, 2010 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Vegetables come in a variety of forms today: canned, frozen, fresh. Undoubtedly, fresh vegetables-- organic or from IPM (integrated pest management)-- bought locally are best. However, not everyone lives near a farm, or has the time to get to a farmer's market. Furthermore, if you live in the northern United States, winter is upon us and the farmer's markets are closing, and Community Supported Agriculture subscriptions end in late October. A goo...

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Organic may be best, but that doesn't make IPM bad

Posted on October 12, 2010 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

It's two in the afternoon and I'm the only customer on the farm, surrounded by green corn turning into a crisp gold, the sun beating its hot pulse above, total silence except for the wind and a car whizzing by. I stroll over to the barn to see what vegetables are being sold today.


Within minutes I fill several bags with corn, gre...

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After a Campus Shooting, a New Reality

Posted on September 10, 2010 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (6)

The Chronicle of Higher Education

May 23, 2010


After a Campus Shooting, a New Reality

By Mariana A. Cotromanes


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Radiating with Purpose

Posted on May 3, 2010 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

On what would be the last warm day of 2009 before winter would set in, out in the cornfields of northern Illinois I walked with my labradoodle Lucky through the tall grassy land next to the park, just down the street from our home. We stop walking for a moment—he puts his nose down into the forest at his feet to sniff whatever critter is crawling on a leaf. I close my eyes, put my head back, and let the sun kiss my face. My chest expands as I ...

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Bad Knees?... That's what you think!

Posted on February 11, 2010 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The winter sun casts its brightness on me through the front window of the gym as I finish my two-mile run on the treadmill. My skin glistens with sweat, my breathing is in a steady rhythm, and I’m energized and feeling great! Except for my knees, that is…


I’ve been a “runner” (using the term v...

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