Tuesday, July 20, 2010

12 alternative uses for coffee filters

This is a great article and recycling a very common household item.... 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Many Uses of Baking Soda

This is a great article I read today on the many great uses of baking soda.  It's cheap and non toxic. Check it out.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tricky Purees

I recently read an article about a new fad celebrity diet that consisted of basically eating nothing but baby food.  In conversation with my co-workers, I began to divulge that while I am not believer in an adult person living solely off of baby food, I am a believer in the added benefits of using purees in your cooking.  I was shocked to learn that many of my co-workers kids don't eat any fruits or veggies, or very minimal amounts at that.  The excuse, "They refuse to eat them and I can't make them."   It wasn't a big shocker to find out that most of them didn't eat them either.  Impossible challenge? I beg to differ.

During my pregnancy with my daughter I could barely eat.  Not only did I have nausea 24/7, but the thought of 90% of foods disgusted me.  Things I once loved were horrid.  The worst of it all was I could not stomach a single vegetable.  I started to loose weight, and my doctor made it very clear that she was not happy about that at all.  So, I sought out some solutions.  Milkshakes just weren't cutting it for me.  Although very tasty, I didn't feel that it was enough nutrition for me and my growing baby.  So I went out and bought a popular book for kids cooking that incorporates purees.  I tried various recipes in the book and created variations of them to better suit my taste.  It worked!  I was able to incorporate over 5 servings of veggies into my meals daily and ate things that I enjoyed like banana bread, fruit smoothies, baked potatoes, pasta, etc.

Now that my daughter is going into the toddler stage I dusted off my old cookbook and am putting it to good use once again.  My daughter loves starchy food, I mean who doesn't. I am able to incorporate a lot of various fruits and veggies into her daily meals without hassle.  I always include a visible side of veggies or fruit to slowly encourage her to eat them without pressure, and surprisingly she has started to take a few bites of those as well.   Just the other day she inhaled a small baked potato, with pureed cauliflower, ground flax seed, and a small dollop of smart balance butter.  She followed that with mini berry smoothie that I blended with a handful of fresh spinach.  She wasn't the wiser.  The fruit out powers the spinach and you can't taste it at all.   I have also taken these ideas and incorporated them into our family dinners.  The goal is to incorporate at least one veggie into every single meal, and 2-3 fruits throughout the day.

There is some pre-planning involved, yes, but it's not that difficult.  I put aside an hour in the evening, once a week, to steam up a few selected veggies for pureeing.  I use a magic bullet blender, and store the purees in one cup and 1/2 cup servings in the freezer in small freezer bags.  I just pull one out when I need it and it only takes a minute to thaw in warm water. The trick is to select veggies that blend well with the meal that you are making.  I personally don't recommend using broccoli in any dish that is not overpowered with flavor and seasoning.  Broccoli is the one puree that I've found to have an overwhelming flavor, so I usually mix it with another.  You can even incorporate these purees in place of water in many recipes.  Another added bonus is it cuts back on food expenses.  Often times you can buy a fresh bushel of cauliflower for cheap, a lot cheaper than frozen in most places, and with the purees it doesn't go bad because you don't eat it in two days.  This is also a good opportunity to incorporate seasonal organic veggies and fruits.  If you buy what's in season, the cost is much cheaper.

We all feel the benefits of these added nutrients and it is a huge help in my health transition.  So even if your not a believer, just try it, and you will see even the pickiest kids, and adults alike, can be tricked!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cheap and Easy Way to Disinfect

I must admit that I have a bit of a germ phobia. The idea of teeny tiny little bacteria growing all over my kitchen and bathroom makes me cringe. Disinfecting is the key for me, especially in those areas. I used to always use name brand chemical products almost on a daily basis. I found that every time I went to stock up on them, I was spending a fortune and it hurt, it hurt real badly. So I searched high and low for alternatives. I tried the usually suggested white distilled vinegar. I found that it works well with certain things, which I’ll discuss more about later, but it just didn’t disinfect well enough for me. One day while watching an episode of Dr. OZ, I came across an ingenious way to disinfect. Peroxide! That’s right, just straight old, brown bottled peroxide. Come to find out from friends and family in the medical field, most hospitals, doctors offices, and surgery centers use peroxide to disinfect all the time because of its effectiveness in killing all types of bacteria and viruses on surfaces. So, the next day I went out and got a fresh reusable, spray bottle and a single bottle of peroxide. The total cost was under $3.00. The bottle of peroxide itself was about $0.98.  Keep in mind the spray bottle is a onetime investment (ok, maybe an annual investment). You can’t get better than that, when a leading chemical brand can run over $5 for a similar size in ounces. I was so excited to get home and try it, and yes I do realize that makes me a bit of a home nerd. I knew if it worked, it would save me $20-$30 a month or more.

The first place I tried it on was around the kitchen sink. That area always seems to stay filthy with all the activity that goes on around it. To make my test even better, the sink had just been cleaned earlier that day with one of the other disinfectant products that we had (brand name). Now, if you are not familiar with peroxide, it bubbles up into foam when there are a lot of bacteria for it to kill. I sprayed around the back perimeter of the sink, which appeared to be the cleanest part. A few seconds later it began to foam up. I was surprised, considering it had been cleaned not long before. I was even more surprised at how much it continued to bubble up. I had at least inch or two of foam. I couldn’t believe it! I was completely disgusted and happy all at the same time. Happy, it was killing it and I could actually see it working and disgusted that even using these other products, there was still this much for the peroxide to work on. I continued on and cleaned the entire kitchen area. It worked great removing grime and grease from the stove, cleaning the faucet fixtures and making them nice and shiny, cleaning the microwave, you name it I cleaned it. The beauty of it all was no lingering smell at all. It actually just smelled clean. I added a little lemon juice in the sink, because I personally like a citrus smell in the kitchen. It must totally be a marketing related quirk, the idea that the smell of citrus means clean. The real test was coming back the next day and wiping down the sink again, 24 hours later. There was not nearly as much foam, although I could still see that it was cleaning well. A sigh of relief that I found something that actually worked and I could literally see the results unfold before my very eyes. This is a beautiful thing for someone who is germ phobic. Thanks to Dr. Oz I became a firm believer in the beauty of peroxide as a disinfectant cleanser.

After doing a little more research I found that it has a lot of other great uses.
  1. Disinfectant
  2. Disinfects toys, and other baby items
  3. Makes dishes cleaner, by adding a cap full to your dishwasher detergent, will keep your dishes from being spotty.
  4. Makes whites brighter, by adding a tablespoon to each average size load, can be used in place of bleach.
  5. Removes stains on whites, as a spot treatment (including coffee, grease, and blood)
  6. Works great for mopping floors, with a few drops of lemon juice added.
  7. Run it through your humidifiers to clean out thoroughly, by filling the tank with a bottle of peroxide and let it run until empty.  It is completely non-toxic.
My co-worker just did #7 on the list and was surprised at how much goo was falling out of the humidifier that she cleans, according to the directions every few days. Most importantly it is very inexpensive, eco-friendly, and safe for the home and those who live in it.

*Side note: In order to maintain its strength you should only pour into the spray bottle what you anticipate using that day. The dark bottle maintains its compounds that make it such an effective cleanser.

All items posted here are solely the opinion of the writer based on personal use and experience.

Welcome to Green Home, Happy Family

I'm sure you have seen many green blogs and websites out there, given the climate of today's thinking.  We all want to create a better future for our children and have a cleaner and healthier planet.  Who doesn't want that?  But let's be realistic about it.  Going green is not always cheap and not every family brings in over 100k a year.  Like many other moms and dads out there, my pocket book can not keep up with my desire to go green in my home and go organic with our food everyday.  Even with all the sites that I can Google about going green, I have found I have to dig deep to find inexpensive and easy things that I can do in my home and for my family.   I have also gone out and tested many green products on my own and find they are not all the same.  So that brings me to this blog.  I want to share whatever useful information that I can find with anyone who wants or needs it.  Easy tips for the frugal family. I hope it can help you as much as it has helped me to do my part to have a green home and a happy family. :-)