Thursday, March 25, 2010

Healthy Snacks Free e-book

Check out this free e-book with 40 Snack ideas here.

When you first go there is a prompt to enter your email address, but you can just click close and go right to the download page.

I'm always looking for good snack ideas. This book isn't geared just for kids, but a few look pretty kid-friendly. I want to try the Low-fat Banana Yogurt Pops and Dark Chocolate and Cereal Snack mix.

Love these free e-books! I just save them and print off recipes as needed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Natural Cleaning Products

Now we are all feeling better... thank goodness!!!! I am on the quest for spring cleaning ideas, the weather is so nice but along the sunny weather comes more light which means I can now see the cobwebs etc... I want to CLEEEAAANNNN but I want to get rid of my old cleaning habits i.e. bleach, bleach and more bleach! There is something comforting about the smell of bleach especially in the bathroom. We know by now that it is harmful to the earth and our health so in want of better health and safer products its time to go green. I actually owe this post to Krissi who has already made the switch to Eco friendly cleaning products (for the most part).

So here are a few tips I thought I'd share & that I have put to the test!

# 1- White/Distilled Vinegar is great in the wash... it helps with funky smells, break's down laundry detergent and it is a natural fabric softener. Add with Lemon juice, and you can eliminate the bleach from your washing cycle too.

Pre-mix (equal parts) in a spray bottle for everyday use. In fact with this alone you can get rid of pretty much every spray cleaner you have in your house. This is great for bathrooms, floors, counter tops, kitchens, stove tops... Vinegar is a natural disinfectant, this is great as you don't worry about having your child gulp down the bleach, this will not harm your child at all!

# 2- Baking soda is great mixed with the vinegar, it is abrasive but not to much... use to clean stove tops, Tile etc...

# 3- Lemon juice is another highly acidic liquid, works great well on hard water stains, soap scum and believe it or not rust! Just mix it with baking soda (and Vinegar) and you have a great little paste to help you scrub away those marks!

# 4- Pink Solution this stuff is the BOMB! Totally natural, non-toxic and biodegradable... I LOVE this. Esp. on stained clothes. You just melt it into a liquid rub into the stain leave over night and then wash as normal and Voila! Gone every time... grass, blood, tea, tomato juice the list is endless.

# 5- Rubbing Alcohol Okay this is not non-toxic and is stinky but makes a brilliant window and glass cleaning cleaner.

# 6- Furniture Polish. Use a cup of olive juice and 1/2 a cup of lemon juice. Mix in a spray bottle and use instead of the store bought polish... it's best applied with a rag too!
So my favorite is the vinegar used in a spray bottle to replace all multipurpose cleaners... I LOVED the paste too, it got the grout in the tile back to original white with no used of bleach. I DON'T like the alcohol-based solution it's very smelly BUT it did a great job on the mirror's and windows, so I will be using this again. I do use a bees-wax for the polish so I haven't tried the olive oil recipe yet if you guys try it LMK.
The total cost for two spray bottles, two big bottles of vinegar, three boxes of baking soda, a bottle of rubbing alcohol and the lemon juice was about $40, this is going to last me a long time, maybe 4+ months, so it costs you about $10 a month... how much is a bottle of bleach?

Bleach Spray $3:50
Glass Cleaner $3:50
Clorox Wipes $3:00
Bathroom cleaner $3:79
Wet Jet refill $7.59
Total $32:38
Okay so you don’t replace these items every month but every other? Save money and the environment

There are a ton of great ideas out there to make the switch just Google and you will have pages of helpful hints! So go on make the switch, I dare you to ☺

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring optimism...

Every spring, I find myself struck with "Spring optimism", almost on schedule after the time change. Maybe it's the cherry trees blooming and all my favorite bulb plants magically appearing in my garden (right before being eaten by the snails). All of the sudden, it's sunny outside and warm, and I feel like I can finally accomplish everything that seemed impossible in the winter. That pile of fabric will be sewn into the gorgeous fashionable clothes I'm envisioning by the end of the month! Keep the house clean? Well, I've never been able to keep up the previous 30 years of my life, but I'm sure tomorrow will be different...Pioneer? I haven't been able to keep up the national average since the winter, but I'm positive I can do it! Take over the world? Sure! No, I don't need to check my schedule, I'm sure I can squeeze it in.
The only problem is, well, I could sure use some tips in my quest to conquer the world, or at least to keep the house clean. So what have you got?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chicken Soup for Picky, Sicky Kids

Hopefully everyone is feeling better than we are here at the True house. But if not, I found that this recipe is lovely, warm and satisfying and a little different from the normal Chicken Noodle. If you want to freeze either of these recipes, just omit the rice or noodle when making, then add after thawing.

Chicken and Rice Soup


* One 3-1/2 pound free-range chicken, cut into 8 pieces and patted dry
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 ribs celery, trimmed, diced
* 2 medium leeks, light green and white part only, diced
* 2 medium carrots, diced
* 10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley plus 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat- leaf parsley leaves
* 3 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 6 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
* 1/3 cup converted long grain rice, cooked according to package instructions


Season the chicken with the 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the chicken, and saute until well browned, about 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Remove meat from the pan and pour off any fat left in the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the remaining butter. Add the celery, leeks, and carrots, saute for 10 minutes.

Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme and bay leaf with a string and add to the pot along with the chicken and broth. Bring the soup to the boil, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the chicken and bouquet garni. Skim any excess fat from the surface of the soup with a spoon or a ladle. When the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones and cut into 1-inch chunks; add the meat to the soup along with the rice. Cook until the meat and rice are heated through. Season the soup with salt and pepper and chopped parsley. Divide the soup among warm bowls and serve.


If you are looking for the traditional Chicken Noodle soup, here's my go to recipe (warning, takes a couple pans!):

Rainy Season Chicken Soup


* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 leeks (white part only), split, rinsed, diced
* 1 medium carrot, diced
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1 large celery rib, diced
* 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons dry white wine
* 4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade), divided
* 1 cup fat-free sour cream
* 1 cup noodles
* salt and pepper, to taste


In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over low heat. Put in the leeks, carrot, onion, celery, and chicken. Stir gently, and cover to cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Take off the cover, stir the vegetables, turn the chicken, and check for doneness. (The chicken should be about half done.) Cover and cook another 5 minutes, or until chicken is just done—not overdone. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, vegetables, and pan juices, and stir to cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly add the white wine and 2 cups of the chicken broth. Stir and cook until bubbly and thickened. Add the sour cream very slowly. Allow to cook gently while you slice the chicken into thin, bite-size pieces.

In a large frying pan, bring the remaining 2 cups of stock to boiling, and add noodles. Cook until noodles are almost done. Do not drain. Slowly add the noodle mixture to the hot vegetables and sour cream mixture. Add the chicken and bring back to boiling. Serve immediately.