Thursday, October 20, 2011


Non-Toxic Cleaning Products!

Simple Changes For a healthier Home, and a Healthier YOU
As Moms we want the best for our children. We would never willfully harm them, or worse poison them.  The old saying "What you don't know won't hurt you" and "Ignorance is Bliss" is just not the case when it comes to our homes and families.
What we don't know, can harm us.

Ignorance can be fatal.

Before I knew much about TOXINS I always assumed that if a product was out in the market, that it MUST be SAFE.  Luckily I have learned without the painful experiences that most come to learn, that nothing could be further from the truth.

92% of all poison exposures occur IN THE HOME, involving everyday household products such as medicines,cleaning supplies, cosmetics, and personal care items.

EVERY 13 SECONDS: a family calls a poison control center re: an exposure to poison at home!
And it isn't just swallowing a toxic product. The products we put on our skin and hair create possible toxic exposures though skin absorbtion.  (Think: Soaps, Creams, Lotions, cosmetics, shampoo, deoderants)
Think about it: The workers in the labs or workplaces that create and work with commen everyday household cleaners and products we use, are required to wear safty goggles, gloves, and sometimes even a respirator when they use or come into contact with the products!  But we use the same products with no protection, ventilation, and around our innocent little ones.
THE Consumer Product Safety Connission has reported that 150 commen household chemicals have been linked to allergies,asthma, birth defeccts, cancer and psychological abnormalities.
DID YOU KNOW? We tend to think of outside air pollution of being toxic, but according to the EPA most homes have airborne concentrations of hazardous chemicals that are two to five times higher indoors then ourdoors.
The REASON they are so high? One reason is because cleaning products, personal care products, etc release toxic chemicals in to the air when used. Some even when being stored. ( Take a wiff when you walk down the cleaning aisle, or even just think about it from previous trips... it smelled like the cleaners, correct?) The packages are all tightly sealed/closed, but you still smell them...

IN the Winter with windows shut and in the summer with the a/c air, these toxic fumes have no where to go except to build up to higher and higher levels.  Household cleaning products are amoung the most toxic substances we encounter daily.

DID YOU KNOW? ( over a 15 year period/study) researchers determined that women who worked at home had a 54% higher death rate from cancer then those who had jobs away from the home.  The study concluded that the increased death rate was due to daily exposure to hazardous chemicals found in ordinary household products.
WAY BACK in 1989 a house committee asked the National Inst. of Occupational Safty and Health to analyze 2,983 chemicals used in personal care products.
884 were found to be toxic.  778 of these can cause acute toxcity, 146 can cause tumors, 218 can cause reproductive health complications, 314 can cause biological mutation, and 374 can cause skin and eye irritations.
The same products we think should be promoting hygiene, health and beauty are making us sick.  Poisonings can happen slowly, in fact most do, over a period of time, by gradual skin absorbtion and daily exposure to toxics we breath in the air. Dr.understand that toxins build up in our bodies over time, and studies like one done in 2003 by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found an average of 91 industrial compounds in teh bodies of volunteers. Of the 167 chemicals found, 76 cause cancer in humans or animals, 94 are toxic to teh brain and nervous system, and 79 cause birth defects or abnornal development.
Are you Surprised?  Education is always a FIRST STEP, which just happend a bit though you reading this tiny little except.
THE NEXT STEP is to eliminate TOXICS from your home, and daily lives. Of course cleaning and personal care products are not the only souce of toxic chemicals in your home, they are amoun the most toxic and deadly.
START: Get ride of household bleach, all purpose cleaner, laundry detergent , dish detergant, and YES, those Clorox Wipes! Replace them! There are many products out there on the market that are non-toxic, and even organic. And to be honest, if you find the right ones, they will work better as well, and often, esp when making your own (Like Laundry detergent!) MUST LESS EXPENSIVE!
So you can SAVE YOUR HEALTH and YOUR CHECKBOOK BALANCE. and ENJOY your wellness~!

I personally use "Melaleuca" cleaners, detergents, make up, shampoo, deodorant, etc. This company has always been a wellness company, focused on non-toxic and organic products before people even knew that toxins were out there. You shop online monthly if you become a member of their company store, which gives you discounts, concentrated products. Think: 8 bottles of Tub and Tile cleaner that works amazing for $5.69  and most importantly, they smell great, work great and are safe enough to NOT have to have a child proof lock or cap. They are a company that believes in wholeness, going "Green", and saving and helping lives, and I LOVE shopping there!!!:

I also use vinegar, lime,baking soda,  and tea tree oil like they are all going out of style. All have natural antibacterial effects, and all clean well!

I have friends that use "Method" Brand of cleaners and "7th Generaion" or other Organic products. I personally don't want to spend all the extra money when I can get non-toxic, safe, great products for the same or less then the normal brands. We should be rewarded to live healthier , produce less waste for the enviroment, not punished with paying double or mroe the price, right!!?
With that, I still gotta LOVE Burts Bees, and have always been a Burts bee girl, esp when they have a sale, or coupons. Gotta splurge sometimes, right!

Ill get into makeup and personal care more later, but for now, I hope you will consider making the switch to safe, non toxic cleaning products and laundry and dish detergants! Your body, skin, and brain with thank you!
TIP! HOUSE PLANTS Can help absorb toxins!!! Click on the link below to see which ones!
15 Houseplants for improving indoor air quality!

Check out this short documentary calle TOXIC BREW !
that is part one ( above) and below is part two:
Even Oprah has done a show on this subject! She talks about Shaklee products, similar to Melaleuca, non-toxic, natural products.  A little more spendy, and I haven't tried them, but have heard they are AMAZING products as well!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Week in Dinners Oct 17-23rd

Monday Oct. 17th- Chicken and Rice Casserole
(For us, I made this in the morning since I would be out of town, so my hubby could just pop it in the oven for dinner, so it works well for that, or an easy meal after work, etc!)

2 chicken breasts
1 cup brown rice
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups broccolii,chopped
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups (shredded) chedder cheese
1/2 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves
Season salt
* Cook Chicken breasts in skillit w/a little oil,chopped onion, garlic, and season salt to taste. (Tip:Check and make sure you do not have any seasonings that have MSG (monosodium glucanate) in them! Just about everything can be purchased with NO MSG now days!)
*Cook 1 cup rice with 2 cups water until done.
* In a 9x13 baking dish, mix together  hot cooked rice, chicken ( chopped into bite sz pieces), broccoli, cream cheese(may be easier if you have out at room temp for easier mixing),  & chicken broth. Top with cheese. Bake @375 for 20 mins.

Autum Veggie Lasagna
Ingredients: 2tbsp unsalted butter, 2 1/4 cups peeled,cubed butternut squash, salt&pepper
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree ( or can use fresh cooked, 2 cups)
1 egg, 10 egg roll wrappers (5-in square), 1 3/4 cups shredded gouda cheese (8oz), 8 large basil leaves.
White sauce: 2tbspbutter,1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, 1/4 c flour, 2 cups milk (warmed) 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese. Salt and pepper ( Melt butter in saucepan, add shallots cook 5 mins, then stir in flour (2 mins) whisk in warm milk, bring to boil, and cook for 2 minutes. (whisk constantly) Remove from heat and stir in parmesan and 1/2 tsp salt &pepper.
*Directions: Melt butter in skillet, add squash and 1 cup water and simmer over med heat, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until water is evaporated and squash is golden and tender. Set aside
*(Position rack in upper third of ocen and preheato to 400)
Grease a 8 in glass baking dish, and spread 1/2 c white sauce in bottom. In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and egg.
cut half the egg roll wrappers into 3 strips each. Fill large bowl with hot tap water(as you work w/the wrappers, dip them in the water to rinse off the starch) Use 1 whole wrapper and 3 strips to cover the bottom of the dish in a single layer ( overlap will be ok) Spread a generous 1/2 c of pumpkin mixture on top and sprinkle w/ 1/3 c cheese. Repeate the layering.
Add another layer of egg roll wrappers, spread with 1 cup white sauce, and top with squash, basil and 1/3 c cheese. Add another layer of egg roll wraps,remaining pumpkin, and 1/3 c cheese. top w/ remaining egg roll wrappers, and white sauce.
Cover dish with Foil, and bake in upper oven for 30 mins., then uncover, sprinkle remaining cheese and continue to bake until top is golden/bubbling ( about 10 mins) Cool, and Enjoy!

Roasted Potatoes and Cabbage
This may seem to be too light of a meal for some, so you can easily pair with meat, but this is a easy meal night for our family, sometimes paired with Chicken or fish, other nights, we enjoy a fresh blended fruit smoothie (recipe below) after.
4 Potatoes of choice ( mix red and white, or just use russet!)
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp butter
salt, pepper, fresh or dried Rosemary and basil
Rinse, and cut potatoes into chunks. Set into 8x8 dish. Melt butter and add to oil, and pour over potatoes. Season to taste with above seasonings and mix well to coat oil,butter and seasonings. Cover with foil and bake @375 for 20 mins, then remove foil, toss and contiue to bake for 5-7 mins.
Cabbage: 1 med- large head of green cabbage.
2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, salt and pepper
Chop cabbage, and place in deep skillet with 1 1/2 cups water. Add cider, honey salt and pepper, and bring to boil, then reduce to low boil. Cover and simmer for 20 mins/until water evaporates.

Fruity Smoothies
1 cup mixed (or any) frozen berries
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
3/4 cup coconut milk
Blend above together in blender, and serve. makes two 8 oz glasses
Easy Turkey Chilli
1lb ground turkey, 2tbsp oil,1 onion chopped,2 cloves garlic, 1tsp ground cumin,1 tsp chilli powder, 15oz can chick peas, 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes,(or 14-15 oz can of diced tomatoes) 1/8 cup tomato paste, 1/4 cup sliced scallions.
Brown turkey in oil, add onion,garlic, and spices and cook.  Add chickpears, tomatoes and 3/4 cup water, bring to boil. Simmer until thick. Serves 4.
(add 1/2 cup sweet organic corn if desired at same time as tomatoes!)
Yummy Searved with Wholegraine tortilla chips or fresh bread!!

Lentil Stew ( with Sausage, chicken or sweet Italian)
2 tbsp olive oil, 1 lb chicken or sweet itailian sasauge, 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 large carrot, chopped, 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, 8 oz brown lentils, rinsed. 4 cups chicken broth, 2 cups kale, chopped. Parmesan cheese (to sprinkle over top if desired)
Heat oil over med-high heat, add sausage and cook until browned, transfer to a bowl. Add the onion and carrot, and cook 3-4 mins, add garlic and rosemary, then lentils and broth, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer until lentils are tender ( 25-30 mins) Stir in Kale and sasague and cook 3-4 mins.  Season w/salt and pepper.

Boston Baked beans ( Julie O'Hara)

1lb dry navy beans, rinsed
2 bay leaves, 1 large white onion chopped, 5 cloves garlic, chopped, 10 tbsp tomato paste, 4 tbsp sucanat, 2 tbsp pure maple syrup, 2 tbsp low -sodium soy sauce, 5 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp dried mustard powder, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp sea salt, fresh ground pepper to taste, and 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper.
In dutch oven or  heavy ovenproof pot, add beans and enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Nring to a boil unvovered on high heat, boil for 2 mins. turn off heat and cover and let sit for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans, wash pot and return beans to pot
to pot with beans, add 6 1/2 cups water, and bay leaves.bring to boil, reduce and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour ( partially cover w/a lid)
preheat oven to 300' and add remaining ingred. to beans and stir until combined. When beans return to a simmer, remove lid and transfer pot to oven. Bake uncovered 1- 1 and 1/2 hours stirring every 20 mins, until beans are thick and dry crust forms on top. if beans seem too dry add 1/2-1 cup addtitional water. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
260 calories per servings ( serves 8), 1.5g fat,49 carbs,15g sugar,14g protein

Weekend Baking

Flourless PB & Choc Chip Cookies
 *1 c Peanut butter, 1 c brown sugar, 1 lrg egg, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 c semi-sweet chips
* Beat first four ingredients together, stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tbsp of dough         two in apart on baking sheet.                                                                                   Bake @350 for 10 mins
Citrus-caramel Poached Pears
2 bose pears, peeled. 1 and 1/2 cups orange juice (5 oranges, plus zest) 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cinn stick
in sauce pan, place pears, orange juice, sugar, and cinn stick. Cover and cook over low heat until fork tender ( 30 mins) Remove pears and reduce liquid over med high heat until syrupy (12 mins), remove from heat, and drizzle over pears, garnish with zest.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our week in Dinners!

Veggie Black Bean Avocado Burritos w/Cilantro-lime Rice

Black Bean Wholegrain Veggies Burritos with Chipotle's Cilantro-lime Rice

2 Cups cooked Black Beans
4 wholegrain tortillas, warmed
1/2 cup sweet organic corn
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 head romaine, chopped
1/2 cup (each) Cilantro-lime Rice ( see below)
*Sour cream and shredded cheese optional

1 tbsp butter
2/3 cup Basmati rice
1 cup water
1 tpsp fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
1 lime(juice)
*melt butter in saucepan, add rice, and lime juice stir for 1 min. Add water and salt ans bring to boil. reduce heat, cover and simmer about 25 mins. Fluff with fork, before serving stir in cilantro. * Add additional lime juice if wanted.
Fill Burritos with beans,rice and veggies, fold tight, and enjoy!

Tuesday:White Chili with Chicken

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup sweet organic corn kernels
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon light olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
2 (15.5 ounce) cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
8 oz light cream cheese
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken


  1. In a large saucepan, cook onion, corn  and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in broth, beans, parsley, lime juice and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into chili. Add chicken and cream cheese. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 

Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
5 tablespoons olive oil vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper, plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) firm, ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 cup thin-sliced (1/4 inch) scallions (white and green parts)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is light golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and appears to be uncoiling, 18 to 20 minutes.
  4. Let stand, uncovered, until cool, about 10 minutes.
  5. To Make the Dressing: Sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet, and toast over medium heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeño pepper, garlic and salt. Transfer to a large bowl, and whisk to blend.
  6. Add the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes and scallions to the dressing, and toss to blend. Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and sprinkle the avocado and cilantro on top.
Fruit Kabobs!
*Grapes,berries and oranges on a stick. Served with plain green yogurt with honey mixed in for a sweet treat!


Thursday: Parmesan & Buttered Bowtie pasta, & Broccoli 
1 package of Bowtie pasta
1 stick of butter
1 cup shredded Parmesan  cheese
3 cups fresh, steamed Organic Broccoli florets 
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (for serving)
*Boil Pasta, drain. Add cheese and butter cook over low heat until melted. Serve with broccoli on side, or mixed into dish. Sprinkle cheese on top of each dish as served

Breakfast Friday- Hash brown casserole, Roasted peppers, and fresh fruit parfaits!
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • Sour Cream and Salsa for garnish
  1.   In a bowl, combine the  ingredients Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  2. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until set and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting., 
* Slice Red and Orange bell peppers, drizzel in olive oil, place in baking dish and broil 5-7 mins
* In see through cups layer fresh or frozen mixed berried, 1/2 cup yogurt, and 1/4 cup granola

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pantry Staples of a Mom with two toddlers

Whats to eat?

I have the sweetest two boys, one is 3 and my baby just turned 2. They are energetic, happy, fun, and a lot of work! I am constantly hearing and seeing that it’s ‘just too hard’ for moms that have young children to have healthy pantry items that are also quick and easy. But I am here to tell you, that is just isn’t so! It may seem so, but really, it’s possible to have quick, healthy, and yummy!  1) We do not own a microwave yet I do “quick & healthy “snacks and meals almost all of the time. 2) It doesn’t have to be out of the budget, in fact I am pretty sure that processed and fast foods add up to be much more in cost then when you prepare at home.
(Little secret:  I shop our local “Grocery Outlet” once a week and look for new Organic products to try at half the cost. I always check to make sure they are not near expiration date (never have had a prob. With that yet!) I have found some great items such as Organic Hot cocoa mix *I refuse to buy the regular hot choc mix so this is so fun for them esp. when the snow comes! I have found Organic Greek yogurts, and wholegrain organic cookies, even organic whole grain pop tarts! Organic Blue Agave (we use as syrup on pancakes/waffles), cheeses, veggies, etc.. All at literally ½ or less the cost of our regular natural food store.) See if you can find a store like this in your area!
Here are some of the “Pantry” Items my boys have in their “snack” drawer at home:
v  Organic Cliff Bars (adult sized/cut in half to share between my boys) their fave: Oatmeal Raisin. * My kiddos actually prefer these over the Kids Z Bars by cliff, but they do need to be halved to use as a snack, as a whole bar would be a meal for their tummies.

v  KIND Bars, Mango Macadamia (fruit and nuts and tastes like a treat!)

v  Organic pre-packaged Applesauce (comes in packs of 6) w/no sugar added

v  Trail Nut Mix – we often make our own together, and add crasins, and chocolate pieces as a bonus. We just discovered Sprouted Almonds, and they are a hit! Crunchy, easier to chew/swallow for toddlers, and easier to digest too!

v  Pirate Bootie- (Veggie). I put these in portion controlled Ziplocs and toss in their drawer for when we are heading out and need a snack for the backpack, or something like that. My kids love them so I have to portion size them out. =)

v  Annie’s Homegrown Crackers ( in Graham or Cheddar cheese) similar to fish crackers or grahams, but no  GMO’s, Fat, and 80% organic. Oh and wholegrain!

v  Fruit leather. Need a say more? It’s pretty much like candy to toddle
v  Snyders of Hanover Honey Whole Wheat (Organic) pretzel sticks. Paired with a slice of cheese=Yum!

For Quick and Healthy snacks that you store in the Fridge, here are our favorites:

v  Stony field Oikos Plain Organic Greek Yogurt with added honey and sometimes granola or wild blueberries
v  Organic Valley  Berry pourable Yogurt
v  O.N.E. Coconut water ( bonus: added electrolytes and potassium!)
v  Mozzarella Cheese sticks
v  Homemade hummus ( 1 cup garbanzo beans, 5 blk olives,1/4 red bell pepper 2 artichoke hearts, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp olive oil, pepper, onion powder, blend)
v  Carrot sticks or baby carrots ( dipped in hummus!)
v  Almond Butter and Organic Preserves ( we like apricot!) over crackers or wheat bread slices
v  Fruit ( of course!) At my kids ages they like berries, watermelon, apples, grapes and bananas the best
v  Organic ( Canned, I know!) Sweet Peas, rinsed well.  If your kiddo likes peas, why not give it as a snack?

And of Course: Frozen Favorites!
v  Gardein  Brand “chicken” (meatless) strips
v  Queron “chicken” (meatless) patties. Are  a fave of my kids with cheese on top
v  All fruit ( no sugar or fake sugar added) bars
v  Haagen-Dazs five vanilla bean ice cream ( has only 5 whole ingredients and is a super sweet treat!)
v  Frozen berries ( we ALWAYS have berries on hand for smoothies, yogurt, muffins,etc)