A better Me

I have been starting to make changes in my life again to be healthier. I have been a bit lazy in recent times with everything going on so it is time to get back to it. First, I have a homemade toothpast. I did research and came up with my own mixture that has actually been remineralizing my teeth and minor cavities I had, as well as decrease the sensitivity. Not to mention it has whitened them from the commercial whitening paste I had been using for months. I can’t promise it works for everyone but it did work for me. Mine is a mix of coconut oil,baking soda, ground cloves, salt, powdered egg shell(heard it was the best way to get calcium over using a powder form), and a few drops of tea tree and peppermint essential oils. I just sort of blended everything together so I dont have exact measurements, I did fill up a small baby food jar with it.  I am going to see what happens after a month but I think I will need to get the rest of my family on board with it if it really does heal my cavities. 2 are noticeably healing(small holes and one was pretty deep), and I had dark sticky spots on two molars that are getting lighter as well. I wish I took pictures but i was too skeptical to believe it!

Second, I have been doing a 30 Day Ab and Squat Challenge.  I am on Day 14 and still going strong. My last challenge I failed after the first week. I have noticed some changes at this point and am feeling better about myself already.  It is an easy way to get into a routine and starts out easy for those who are out of shape like myself.

Next will be getting back to no-poo since I have stopped when my baby was born a year ago. I definitely notice the difference since my hair is a lot more frizzy as well as dandruff coming back.

Starting January I am going to attempt a 30 Day Whole Food challenge as well as another workout challenge.  I have a lot I want to do, I just need to keep my mind on it to follow through!

 

Adventures in Bread Making

So I have been trying to make sourdough bread, complete with making my starter from just mixing flour and water. Well so far I have had no luck. I get OK bread but definitely nothing resembling sourdough and surely nothing resembling bread from the store. I have tried various bread recipes and nothing ever turns out quite right, doesn’t rise enough or is too crumbly or just is not working for some reason. Well all that changed the other day. I found a easy bread recipe and it worked! I mean actually worked. My hubby even asked for more which has so far been unheard of in my bread-making attempts. So now I will share the recipe with you:)

 

I found this recipe here at dailydishrecipes.com 

Only thing I did was cut the recipe in half to experiment and be sure it worked and boy did it!

This is all from the above website, all credited to Nicole Cook

You will need:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 Tbs. butter, softened (we’ve used margarine, but you will have better results with pure unsalted butter)

Take the time to proof your yeast first. It works better.

In a bowl, pour the water and the sugar. Mix until dissolved. Add the yeast. Again, mix until dissolved.

Set it aside for 10 minutes. When you come back it should have bubbles formed all over the top of it. This is how you know it’s “alive” and ready to go.

Next, throw in the flour and the salt. Then, slice up the butter into smaller pieces and add it. This just makes it easier for it to blend when you’re mixing.

Now comes the fun part. Knead the ingredients together for about 10 minutes by hand, about 5 minutes with a mixer. You can usually tell it’s done when it feels slightly elastic, smooth and isn’t sticking to anything.

Knead the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl. Cover it with some plastic wrap that you have sprayed with cooking spray or rubbed with some oil. (believe you me, we have forgotten this step before, and it makes a difference. I have no idea why. It just does. So do it.)  Set the bowl in a warm place. I actually just cover mine with two kitchen towels and put it on the counter in the back out of the way.

Allow it to rise for one hour.

After an hour uncover the dough. It should be pretty big and poofy at this point. Take your hand and punch into it once or twice to get it to push all the air out of it.

Knead it again (you don’t have to take it out of the bowl, I do it right in the bowl) for about a minute or two, forming it into a ball.

Sprinkle flour onto your table or other wooden work surface.

Put the ball in the middle of the work surface.

Cut the ball into two equal pieces using a bencher, or I just use a kitchen knife.

Taking one half of the dough, knead it a little folding it over itself over and over. Create a sort of ovalish shape with it and then place it into your lightly greased loaf dish.

Now repeat everything with the second wedge of dough.

Put both pans back where you had the bowl for the first rise, but leave them uncovered. For one hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough has risen the second time and doubled in size, it’s time to put them in the oven.

Just put ‘em in there for 35-40 minutes. I’m pretty faithful with my 35 minute timing, but it could take more in your neck of the woods.

When they’re done, pull ‘em out of the oven and allow them to sit in the pans for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, using a potholder or towel, turn the bread out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool the rest of the way. Since you’re aiming for sandwich bread, it is better not to cut them until they are completely cooled, otherwise they get a little crumbly.

Once cooled, trim into slices and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (if it lasts that long, because we go through one loaf in 1 day!) lol

 

 

Veggie Shish Kabobs

 

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Don’t the look yummy? They really were! I should have taken more pictures but alas got too caught up in eating them! 

Veggie Shish-Kabobs

Crimini Mushrooms

1/2  medium/large White Onion

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Green Bell Pepper

Cut up veggies into chunks about the size of the mushrooms and alternate on skewers. I did two mushrooms on each skewer and alternated onions and bell peppers and had 7 skewers made. Bake in an oven at 350f for 30 minutes or until the veggies look done. 

 

Marinade

This is just the ingredients, I didn’t measure when I dumped everything in the bowl so my measurements are a guess, but the hubby loved it! Feel free to adjust to your tastes! 

3/4 cup Vegetable Oil (as an after thought it was probably a little much)

2 TBSP Worcester sauce

2 TBSP Soy sauce

3 TBSP brown sugar

2 TSP garlic powder

2 TSP onion powder 

1 TBSP red wine vinegar

 

Whisk together in a bowl and pour over veggies before cooking, use leftover marinade as a dip when the shish-kabobs are done. No need to boil since there is no meat! 

 

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The Three R’s. Three simple words that everyone should follow but most don’t. Three simple ways to help out our planet especially with the global population booming, yet in even the most industrialized countries most of the time this does not happen.

So here I am living in a state in the middle of the desert. Upon moving here I realized that recycling is really not a big part of the city and what they do. I have to admit it made me a little upset although happy because I did not have CRV to pay anymore. The tap water here is terrible so we buy water since we are renting a unit we cannot install a water purifier for the nasty hard water we have and a pitcher filter just doesn’t cut it. So we have thrown away more bottles than I care to admit to. We do however have a reusable 5 gallon jug that we use most of the time for our drinking water. I really need to invest in reusable personal water bottles to stop buying bottled water! That would definitely help on my part to reduce waster, just a matter of doing it. I have used some of the bottles to grow seeds in but even then they still end up in the garbage after I am done but I did get the reuse part covered.

Next… Plastic bags. Those things are the enemy to just about everyone. We put our garbage in plastic bags. Put our groceries in plastic bags. Produce. Meat. You name it and it probably came into (or out) of your home in a plastic bag or package of some sort. I do reuse the plastic grocery/produce bags to pick up dog poop so those do get covered under reuse. To limit how many grocery bags I do get, I have half a dozen reusable bags that I love and are actually pretty durable for being $1 each. I just need to find a better way to pick up the dog poop from a dog that poops on almost every walk (4 times a day, yuck!) so that I can try finding alternatives to the plastic bags for produce and bulk items.

However on the plus since moving here I have started a vermi-compost bin which helps by reducing our food waste and turning it into black gold for my plants. That does have to be my favorite thing that I am doing to help the environment. I add in food every few days to my bin and store extra in my freezer that cannot quite fit into my bin so that times I don’t have leftovers I can just take out of my freezer to feed my worms. Moco loves playing with my worms every time I go out to play in my bin (mixing it up, taking out some of the finished material, etc). Can’t blame him though I loved playing with worms as a kid, now as an adult I have a reason other than for the sheer enjoyment. Ok so I was a bit odd as a child at least I enjoyed it!

Another great benefit of reuse, thrift stores and second hand items. There are so many unwanted items out there that still have a lot of life but get thrown in the garbage. If you have items like that try donating or selling it to someone who can put the item to use. I know I have given a lot of items away as well as purchasing tons of used items to help keep things out of the landfill. For example, quite a few of my dresses as well as a lot of my boy’s clothes are all second hand and still have a lot of life left in them. I also have purchased furniture and even kitchen items second hand. I get a great deal on a gently used piece and give it a longer life, what is wrong with that?

How do you reduce, reuse or recycle items in your home? What are some steps you are taking to help reduce your impact on the planet?

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

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Michelle from http://pearlsofgreenwisdom.wordpress.com nominated me for the Liebster Award. I know I have been around a while and really did not think I was making an impact but now I see that I really am and it encourages me to keep blogging!

The rules are for the Liebster Award: 

  • Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
  • Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

Here are my questions from Michelle

1. What’s your favorite animal? Tiger
2. Mountain or Beach? Beach
3. What’s the coolest place you’ve ever visited? Oh toughie… Great Wall of China or Pompeii. Can’t choose!
4. What are you doing to help the environment? Take a look at my blog to see my journey. Vermi-composting is my favorite but getting rid of chemicals is a huge plus too!
5. What would you do if you had $10 million? There are too many things I would do. I would start by helping out my family first then work on helping my community and maybe creating a dog rescue. Such a softie for dogs!
6. What is your favorite holiday and why? Christmas, spending time with my family and good food, and of course the presents!
7. Why do you have a blog? Started out as a way to keep me occupied from the monotony of stay at home mom life, and has progressed into sharing my journey on going green. 
8. Favorite book? The one book series I go back to again and again is the Odd Thomas series. I can’t pick on just one favorite though!
9. What item could you not live without? My phone. 
10. If you must have a last meal what would that be? Peaches and Cream with Lobster and king crab. Yum!

 

 

Questions for my nominees:

1. What encourages you to blog?

2. What is one thing you post about that gives you the most joy?

3. What part of the world are you from?

4. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

5. If you were Ruler of the world, what law would you implement that would benefit everyone?

6. What was your favorite childhood game/activity?

7. What is your current hobby?

8. If you could stop aging at a certain age, what would you choose?

9. If today was your last day to live, how would you spend it?

10. What is your favorite eco-friendly way to clean?

Nominees:

I need to spend some time on the computer to discover some new blogs to help promote them! 

1. http://poorasfolk.wordpress.com/

2. http://tennesseetransitions.wordpress.com/

3. http://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/

4. http://tryingchange.wordpress.com/

A few updates from my hiatus

Well I was away from my blog for a few months because I just got so busy in life. so here are a few updates on what has been going on. 

 

I started vermi-composting(using worms) and it is thriving nicely though I think I want to get some more worms to put in my bin. 

 

The only plant that has survived this dreaded heat is the basil, out of which I planted a whole packet of seed and only two little plants are still living, even then I don’t know for how long. 

 

I started a job around the time my hiatus started and recently quit because working outside of my home really is not for me. Some women are able to handle the day to day life of a job (some out of necessity) but it really is not for me especially when I have my wonderful husband who is able to support our family. It is too stressful for me to try and maintain my home and raise the kids while trying to work. Kudos to those who can but it is really not for me. I love my role as a stay at home mom and housewife!

 

Here is to the end of summer and more blog posts!

Removing commercialism…

Another small step toward getting rid of commercial chemical laden products in my home! So as I have been posting, my husband and I have gone no-poo. Right now we are between using toothpaste and using baking soda or just brushing with water. I use vinegar and dish soap to clean my tub. A good scrubbing with hot water (maybe vinegar) for pretty much any other hard surface.  Well today I took the step to make my own laundry soap and it was really, really simple. I have a big tub of commercial detergent so I kept putting off making my own. Well today I finally decided “who cares? I want to do this!” and I bought the items to make my laundry soap, made it, washed a load of laundry and am happy with the results. 

 

Here is my recipe what I decided on after searching high and low over the web. If you need tips just search homemade laundry soap and it will take you where you need. There are many recipes that all have slight variations, and this is mine for my hard water. 

1 cup grated pink Zote soap 

1/2 cup washing soda*

1/2 cup baking soda

1 cup Borax, divided

7 cups water, divided

*You can make your own washing soda by cooking baking soda at 400 degrees F for half an hour or so until it starts turning a light golden brown. Store in an airtight container if you make more than what is needed for this recipe.

Boil 3 cups water and add in grated soap. Stir until dissolved. Add in washing soda and 1/2 cup Borax and remaining water, let the mixture simmer while stirring constantly. Let cool and then add in baking soda and remaining Borax. Whisk or use a mixer until all mixed together. Pour into an old laundry detergent container or a glass jar, what ever you have on hand. I just used a scoop from my laundry detergent, so I think it measures about  1/4cup for small load and 1/2cup for large load. Gauge your laundry though, you may need to use more or less depending on your water and how dirty the load is.

I used mine about an hour after that final mixing. I was too impatient to let sit 24 hours like everything I read. However it worked beautifully on what I did wash. Doesn’t quit get out all stains but it doesn’t bother me since it wasn’t clothing (note to self: find good pre-treatment). My towels came out soft without using chemical fabric softener or adding white distilled vinegar to the washing machine. Only one load so there is not much to be said from it but I am excited to see how it works over time with our clothing. 

 

Slowly but surely eliminating those nasty chemicals from my home and feeling better for it. Next will be natural dish soap, I wonder if I could use the laundry soap on dishes? I want to make my own soap eventually but once my supply runs out (that I have had for close to two years now…) I am going to buy natural soap unless I developed the guts to make my own! 

 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

 

Gardens, No-Poo and work!

So I re-entered the work force for the first time in nearly three years, needless to say I have been focused on that and spending time with my family more than anything else. I am enjoying getting out of the house but I am really missing my kids! I just have to see what time brings for me and working though.

I found my method f no-poo and can go a week between washes (maybe more but I don’t want to push it right now). Best part is, no one at work can tell! I definitely feel much better about my hair, well aside from the day after I wash or if I am in a rush and blow dry. Blow drying my hair makes it a frizzy mess just like the day after I wash, YIKES!

On the plus, my garden is growing and I am very excited. Albeit worried because of the heat we have been experiencing. Tomatoes, cantaloupe, green beans, garlic, green onion, watermelon and potato. Tried growing mint but it just didn’t happen. Oh, I have lettuce growing too from the base of a romaine head I purchased! I received some red wrigglers in the mail for my compost so I am hoping that helps along with my compost, well composting process. I just have to wait and see though again because of the heat I don’t want the poor worms to die but the hubby doesn’t want that bin in the house.

Overall I have been busy with life and still haven’t figured out how to get my pictures up here so that is something I will work on so I can share my lovely garden and my hair with no-poo even though I have no before pictures of that. I will try to keep updates at least once a week but I am getting busy with work and family that it is hard to find time!

Happy Thursday!