Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's been a long time!

I can't believe how the months are flying by. I have missed posting but there have been so many things going on around here that I haven't been able to find the time. I am currently working on a few things to share such as what's going on with me and my family, some new tried recipes, some new tips etc... Hopefully, I will be able to start posting again soon. Thanks for not giving up on me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hummingbird Nectar

Well today I brought out the hummingbird feeder to find the flowers needed to be repainted so I tackled that. Next was to find a recipe for hummingbird nectar and fill the feeder. I remembered my friend at sparing-change.blogspot.com had posted one last year so I hopped over to her blog and found it.


Hummingbird Nectar(4:1)

Ingredients:

Water
Sugar


Directions:

Heat water in microwave for 3-5 minutes or until hot
Add sugar
Stir until sugar has dissolved
Let nectar cool to room temperature
Fill feeder(s)
Store remaining nectar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Side Note:
It is not good for the hummingbird food to stay in the feeder for more than a week.  Otherwise, it tends to get moldy or cloudy.  For this reason, I make smaller batches of hummingbird nectar and refill the feeders more often.  Many times, I make 1 or 2 cups of nectar with ¼ cup or ½ cup of sugar.  Or, I make the full 4 cups and keep the extra nectar in a glass jar in the refrigerator so I can easily refill their feeders.

My note:
When you heat water in the microwave it loosens up cooked on food. After the water is finished, take a few minutes and wipe down the inside of your microwave.

Reuben made from leftover corned beef - now and later

The day after St. Patrick's day usually brings leftover corned beef. Usually I just reheat and eat it the same as the day before. Tonight however I tried my hand at making a Reuben. No exact recipe but this is how I made it.

Leftover corned beef sliced thinly across grain (I warmed mine up)
Sauerkraut- drained and warmed
Thousand island dressing
Swiss cheese
Rye or pumpernickel bread (I used a rye and pumpernickel marbled bread)

Butter one side of each slice of bread, lay one slice butter side down, spread on thousand island dressing to taste, add slice Swiss cheese, add corned beef, add sauerkraut and top with second slice of bread butter side up.

Grill til desired doneness.

Later

Slice corned beef thin and add to small freezer bag with slice Swiss cheese.
Take sauerkraut and put in small freezer bag.
Take 2 slices bread, wrap in saran wrap,and add to a small freezer bag.

Take all the small bags and add to a larger freezer bag. Label bag with date and Reuben and put in freezer for another day.

I did this for one sandwich but you could do as many as you like.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Getting ready for the planting season

Well the warm weather has come earlier than normal and things all around are in bloom. So naturally that makes me want to plant. I started some seeds inside to transplant to outdoor pots eventually, started some herb pots and also trying my hand at garlic since my cloves had sprouts. I planted a few cloves outside in the flower bed and then 1 in a pot. I also finally got around to transplanting the aloe I purchased last year.

Dark and light brown containers are basil, garlic, parsley, chives, cilantro and oregano. The 36 seed starters contain snap peas, garden bean tender bush, Roma grande tomato, Roma vf tomato, jalapeƱo peppers, and cayenne pepper. I hope these all succeed in growing as the seeds are leftover from last year. I guess time will tell! Happy Planting!

Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots with Horseradish Cream


Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Cream

Corned beef- trim excess fat off
Baby red potatoes
Baby carrots
Cabbage

Trim excess fat from corned beef and put in crock pot. Add seasoning packet that comes with it. Then add your potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover items. Cook 8-10 hrs on low.

Cut cabbage into four wedges and put in pot. Take broth from crockpot and add to cabbage and cook until desired tenderness.

 
Horseradish Cream (recipe from Gina at Skinnytaste.com)

1 tbsp prepared grated horseradish
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Directions:

Mix ingredients together and add to top of sliced corned beef.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Red Raspberry Cane Giveaway

Check out this great giveaway over at Sparing Change. Better hurry though because the Giveaway ends Thursday, March 15th at midnight and the winner will be announced Friday, March 16th.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Article in Washington Post

I want to share with all my readers an article written in the Washington Post concerning an incident with my son in his school recently.

If you have children please try and monitor their Internet postings.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/when-school-fights-land-on-youtube/2012/02/25/gIQAyrujkR_story.html
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UPDATE: 2012 Personal Challenge #3 - Green my laundry room

Challenge #3 is going great! I just love the Sun and Earth detergent and it's light citrus fragrance. We have used only this now for a little over a month.

The white vinegar did well for a while but leaving some clothes with a little too much static so for now I am using fabric softener sheets. When the weather will allow me to hang out clothes I will stop using these.

UPDATE:2012 Personal Challenge #2 - Find a better alternative for trash bags

Well Personal Challenge #2 started off easy with finding the right trash bags to use but we are still working on reducing our trash and composting. I really need to step this up as it has been over month.

What are ways your household reduces trash? Do you have a compost pile or container of some sort?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Island Spiced Salmon and Asparagus

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 salmon fillet (2pounds)

In small bowl combine the first five ingredients. Mix well. Rub over flesh side of fillet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place skin side down in a 13x9x2 baking coated with nonstick cooking spray(I use olive oil spray).

Lay asparagus in pan and spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle garlic powder on top.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blog Tag......now you're it

Adrianne over at happyhourprojects.com has tagged me in a blog tag.  So here you go....a little insight on who I am.

RULES:
 1.  You must post the rules.  
2. Answer the 11 questions that the tagger posted for you & then create 11 questions to ask the people you've tagged. 
3. Tag 11 people and link them in your post. 
4. Let them know you have tagged them. 


1. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

Hmmmmmm let's see I guess that would be caring. 

2. What's your guilty pleasure?

I would have to say Margaritas. I love them on the rocks and frozen, traditional, raspberry, strawberry, it doesn't matter the flavor and of course the rim has to salted or sugared.

3. Socks or barefoot?

It depends on the temperature. If it is 70 or above I choose barefoot but below that definitely socks.

4. What's the fastest way to make you mad?

Say or do something to one of my kids or say something negative about my mom.

5. What's your favorite time of day?

At night when everyone is asleep and I am the only one awake.

6. What's your most embarrassing moment you dare to share?

I was working for a car dealership and our body shop was located outside in a trailer. I needed to take something out there. I was in a dress and heels and it was raining like crazy. When leaving I slipped on the first step and tumbled down the rest in front of many people and of course I couldn't get up due to injuries. Needless to say they made stay where I laid until the ambulance could arrive. Minutes later a fire truck came because it responded first but all they could do was asset my injuries until the ambulance arrived.  All in all, a fire truck, an ambulance, a paramedic and numerous, employees and customers watched me as a lay in the rain on my back, feet all sprawled out and dress all pulled up this way and that.  Oh the joys of having two left feet.

7. Sweet or Salty?

Actually both....chocolate milkshake with salty french fries!

8. What's the story about whichever you prefer to share: either your first car, or your first kiss?

Is it horrible to say that I don't remember my very first kiss? So I guess it's about my first car. I really didn't care to have my license and am embarrassed to say I took the driving part 3 different times and with 2 different vehicles before I passed. It was during this time that I would become the proud owner of a.........1979 Ford Pinto station wagon. Yes, you heard right and to top it off, it was blue with woodgrain.

9. If you could only have one box of craft supplies, what would be in it?

Papers, scissors, stamps, adhesive, brads, buttons, ruler, hole punch, paint, paintbrushes, hot glue gun, glue sticks, and scrapbook embellishments.

10. What's something you're proud of?

My children...my oldest for putting herself through college while supporting herself and immediately landing a job teaching, my 19 year old for battling illnesses ( both physical and mental) since birth and despite the fact of recently being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis pushing herself through college and working full-time, my 14 year old for trying to stand up for himself even though for years he has been a victim of bullying and my 10 year old for being in honor classes, chorus and band and still managing honor roll and at times straight a's.  These four are my pride and joy!

11. What is the best gift someone could give you?

Their time and friendship!


That wasn't as easy as I had anticipated. Lol  Now for the 11 questions that I want my tagees to answer.

1.  What is your favorite holiday and why?

2. What is your favorite pastime?

3. If grocery stores were closed for a long period of time, how long could you survive with what you have at home?

4. What is your favorite childhood memory?

5.  If you could only eat only 1 meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

6.  What is your favorite thing to wear?

7.  If you could vacation anywhere you wanted, where would you go?

8.  What is your favorite season?

9.  What is your favorite movie?

10.  Do you have children, if so how many?

11.  Where do you do the majority of your grocery shopping?


Now for my tagging 11 bloggers....I hope you all join in on the fun.

Meg
Amber
Danielle
Aleacia
Kraft Max
Nicole Humphrey Cook
Toni
Michelle
Marilyn
Tonia
Lori


I

Rudolph Day - February

Well it's the 25th of the month so let's do something to help us prepare for Christmas. Hmmmmmm I think today will be a good day for me to write my Christmas card list and my gift list. What are you going to do?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reminder tomorrow is Rudolph Day

Just a heads up that tomorrow the 25th is Rudolph Day! Let's get ready for the 2012 Christmas Season.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bullying and Cyberbullying

I have been debating over what to write regarding this topic but knew that I needed to write something.  This is a tough and touchy subject for many including myself and my family as two of my very own children have been through this.

This is a post that has been making it's way around Facebook for quite some time now and I couldn't say it more perfectly! 

The boy you punched in the hall today. Committed suicide a few minutes ago. That girl you called a slut in class today. She's a virgin. The boy you called lame. He has to work every night to support his family. That girl you pushed down the other day. She's already being abused at home. That girl you called fat. She's starving herself. The old man you made fun of cause of the ugly scars. He fought for our country. The boy you made fun of for crying. His mother is dying. You think you know them. Guess what? You don't! Re-post if you are against bullying.♥ I bet 99% of you won't, but repost this if you're that 1% with a heart.

It is up to us parents to educate our children so they are aware of the effects of the decision to bully someone whether in person or over the wonderful world of the web. It is up to us to set good examples and be role models. We need to teach our children that it is not okay to hurt someone physically, emotionally, or mentally. This means no poking fun, no name calling, no teasing or taunting and no posting anything over the net that might be harmful to another child regardless if you find it amusing. What one person might find amusing another one might find it humiliating.

Bullying of any sort can cause damage to a child that can not be undone. A perfect way to enforce this was recently shown over the internet. A teacher in New York had her children perform an exercise that gave the children an idea of how a victim of bullying was scarred for life. Take a new piece of paper and crumble it up real tight. Now have the children try to get all the wrinkles out..it doesn't work! Each one of those wrinkles can represent a time where a child has been called a name, hit, teased, taunted, etc... and that stays with them. There is no way to erase all those mean and hateful things no matter how hard we try.

Bullying can cause the victim to become withdrawn, depressed, and/or angry.   Everyone has a breaking point where they can no longer take it and some take drastic matters such as suicide or attacking their bully and sometimes even committing murder. Then there are some that become so stressed that they get headaches, upset stomachs, don't want to set foot back into the environment where the bullying takes place, can't sleep etc...

It doesn't stop there...sometimes the bully can turn around, retaliate and become the bully to get back at the other child. Now you have two children, both of whom have been the bully and the bullied and the cycle continues.

Parents talk to your children and monitor their internet and phone usage. An informed parent is a child's greatest asset.

Let's put a stop to this before it gets any worse!

Versatile Blogger Award


I have to admit that I was shocked to have been given this award by Meg over at Sparing-change and would like to say thank you very much! It warmed my heart to have you think of me and all the random things I blog about.

Here are the RULES for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention seven random things about yourself. (see below)
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.


Now for my seven random facts about me:

1. I love to make homemade iced vanilla coffee and add French vanilla whey protein isolate to it.

2. I love to make myself scared by watching scary movies.

3. I clean houses for a living.

4. I am pretty much plain Jane who doesn't care to wear makeup.

5. I love spending time with my children...well actually any children.

6. I am actually quite shy until I get to know you.

7. I don't like speaking in front of others like in a group setting.



Now for me to have the honor to list the 15 blogs I feel are deserving of this award (these are in no particular order):

1  Heartfelt Balance/Handmade life

2. Happy Hour Projects

3.  I'm Bloggin

4. Penniless Parenting

5.  The Daily Dish Recipes

6.  366 Random Acts of Kindness

7.  Surviving and Thriving

8.  Mama Dani's Musings

9.  Krafty Max Originals

10. The Frugal Girl

11. Frugal for Life

12. Suddenly Frugal

13. The Diary of a Frugal Family

14. Make it From Scratch

15. Simple Green Frugal Co-op

Thanks again Meg for thinking of me!

Review of Couponchief.com

Recently I was contacted by couponchief.com and asked to write a review of their site. I was a little taken back as I have never been asked to do anything like this and I had no idea what this site was.

After reviewing the site and playing around with it I decided to accept the offer and share this wonderful site with all my readers.

If you are not familiar with this site, they offer online coupons and promo codes. If you are like me, you have searched endlessly for codes to use during checkout to help save you some money only to be overwhelmed with the results returned. Well....look no further! This site offers an easy to navigate search feature where you can put in the store or item you are looking for.

A big plus for some will be the fact that you don't need an account or sign in to use the coupons. However, it is recommended if you want full access to the other assets of this site.

What sets this site apart from all the other sites that offer the same things? They offer a pays2share program, where you sign up for an account, upload coupons, and if someone uses your coupon, you get 2% of the sales!  It is not a quick get rich scheme but just another way to help you earn some pocket change without a lot of work on your part.

Why not hop on over to couponchief.com today and check it out for yourself!


Disclosure: I have been compensated for the time I spent reviewing this website.  However, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by the compensation received.

Monday, February 20, 2012

UPDATE: 2012 Personal Challenge #1 - Give up Paper Towels

I thought I would take the time to update on my personal challenge #1 since it has been almost 2 months now.

I have stuck to this and we have not missed them in the least. I feel pretty confident in saying that this has now become a habit and a lifelong commitment and it feels great not adding those pesky paper towels to our trash pile.

Why not join me in saving a few extra dollars along with being a bit greener?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Facebook and minors

Does your child or children have a Facebook account? If so, are they over the age of 13? Did you know Facebook specifically states that no child under the age if 13 is to be allowed on Facebook? Do you monitor your childs Facebook account and profile? Do you have the password? If you have a Facebook are you a friend of your child? All these are very important questions to ask yourself.

So many things are posted on Facebook and sometime things are posted about us or our children that we don't want posted. I recently was able to access some of my child's friends pages and see a video that had been posted and shared with over 20 other students. This video was very humiliating to my child and very upsetting to myself, siblings and other relatives. Did you know this can be classified as cyberbullying?

It is up to us parents to inform our children of the rules of Facebook and the privacy of others. What they may find funny may be very damaging to another child.

This also brings up another issue, the safety of themselves. If I can locate a complete strangers page and view all the contents on it then the privacy settings need to be changed. Especially if that person is a minor. There are some very dangerous and sick people in this world and it is up to us to limit their access to our children.

Here are some common rules that should be followed:
Facebook rules for teens

Here are some guidelines for parents of teens asking to be on Facebook. Similar guidelines apply to other social networking sites. This can be a starting point for discussing Facebook with your teen.

UPDATE: New concerns about Facebook

Several things have happened since these rules were written that have raised some new concerns about Facebook. These include:

The presence of advertisements in news feeds.
The fiasco with the "Beacon" feature automatically posting news about online shopping purchases. See for example this article in PC World.
The promotion of proxy-bypassing Facebook "unblocking" sites.
Consequently I am less optimistic about the long-term future of Facebook as a safe and wholesome place for teens to interact.

1. General comments

Facebook has a wide range of privacy settings available, and in general you want all the privacy you can get. Most of the horror stories about social networking involve kids making information public and/or making contact with strangers. The rules below are generally designed to avoid all contact with strangers. The key concept is to use Facebook only to interact with real personal friends.

I don't believe any part of the internet can be made safe enough to allow teens, particularly young teens, to browse around unsupervised. The rules below assume you are a parent who will take an active interest in monitoring your teen's online behavior. I strongly suggest that teens (and adults!) should always use some type of internet filtering, and that the computer they use to access the internet should be in a public place, not in their bedroom.

Lest you think this is paranoid, consider the following statement from the official Facebook terms:

We recommend that minors over the age of 13 ask their parents for permission before sending any information about themselves to anyone over the Internet.

Note that children under 13 are forbidden from using Facebook entirely.

Facebook has been making rapid and radical changes over the past year, some of them involving pricavy controls and some of them quite controversial. It can be difficult to know exactly how public your information is, so you want to assume the worst and limit the amount of personal information posted.

Facebook has been in the news recently because they in some cases don't guarantee that you can delete information you post. Apparently you can't ever delete your account, only "disable" it. And they admit they share a limited amount of information with third parties (particulary advertisers) regardless of your privacy settings. And some of your information gets automatically emailed, after which deleting it is no help. So be careful what you post!

2. Privacy settings

All your privacy settings in general should be set to "only my friends" or "no one". Check these pages occasionally to make sure nothing has changed. Note there are several privacy pages, and you need to check them all. Dangers from predators or other types of harassment go up significantly when your profile is public.

Who can find me in search: Only my friends or people in my network. Consider leaving this on "only my friends" except when you are trying to link up with a new friend who needs to search for you.
What people can do with search results: Disable viewing your friend list. Following friends of friends is in general discouraged.
News feed: If your other privacy settings are set to friends only, the settings here are not extremely important. But be nice to your friends and don't send them news feeds about everything. You especially don't need automatic news about changes to settings, etc.
Applications: Remove the events and marketplace applications. Don't add other applications without permission and don't browse the applications menu.
Block list and limited profile list. These are primarily for people with a public profile, so you can block a few select people and keep the information public to everyone. This is Facebook's answer to stalkers. However, you want your profile private to begin with. There is no point in blocking one of your friends - just remove them as a friend instead.
3. Profile

If your profile privacy settings are correct, these settings are not so crucial since only your friends can see the information. However, since privacy settings can be accidentally set wrong, it is safest not to put unnecessary personal information here.

Basic: Leave "interested in" and "looking for" unchecked (they will not show in your profile). Facebook is for interacting with your friends, not meeting strangers and building new relationships. Select "don't show my birthday" (this is a possible security risk).
Contact: Enter only email and screen name. Any of your friends can get any other information from you directly if needed. Don't risk making it public by accident.
Personal: These are empty boxes that can be filled with anything, so be careful that you don't accidentally put something here that you shouldn't make public. Remember that anything you say here can and might be used against you. Don't think you can just delete it later and no one will ever know, either. On the internet information has a way of getting passed around and becoming permanent.
4. Friends

One of your parents has a Facebook page and is your friend. This allows your parents to monitor what you do on facebook.
Only people who are true friends in real life can be your friends in Facebook (friends of friends don't count unless they are already a personal friend to you too).
Beware of spoof facebook pages, claiming to be someone they are not. Someone might do this to one of your friends as a "joke" and cause lots of confusion and trouble. This is one reason to interact only with true friends after you know it is their real facebook page.
Parents approve all of your friends, or at least reserve the right to disapprove friends just as they presumably will in real life.
Friends who use Facebook in a dangerous manner cannot be your online friends.
Assuming you will have to say no to some friend requests, think ahead about how you can kindly turn down these requests. Also, think about the possible awkwardness of removing someone from your friend list, and don't add lots of friends casually.
Recognize that there are many different kinds of friendship, but Facebook only recognizes friends or not friends (this is part of the risk of using Facebook). Don't put too much importance on whether someone agrees to be your Facebook friend or not.
5. Networks and Groups

Only join networks and groups that are real organizations or groups in real life. This includes generally only your school, home town, church, and other similar organizations. Do not join other online Facebook networks. Recognize that geographic groups like towns and states can contain some people you really don't want to be associated with. Recognize that any network, including your school, may contain imposters.
Get your parents' permission for any new networks or groups you join.
6. Places you go

Don't visit profiles of anyone except your friends. Facebook is for keeping up with your friends, not for browsing profiles of people who are not your friends. This includes friends of friends.
Don't browse new applications. Think of facebook as a place to exchange info with your friends, not a playground to goof off with strange apps like food fight. Any new app may have privacy risks you don't know about.
Don't search except for the purpose of finding your true friends to establish friend links with.
7. Features you don't use

Events - public announcements of events online is risky, unless they are really public events. You don't want strangers dropping in on your birthday party, do you?
Marketplace - this is probably not the best way for you to buy and sell stuff either. Selling stuff and maintaining privacy don't go together. Nobody should know about you on Facebook except your friends, and if you want to sell to them there are better ways.
8. Other

Your parents need to know your facebook password. They need to log in as you occasionally to understand how Facebook looks from your point of view.
Your parents agree not to change or make posts on your facebook page.This can be very embarrassing and defeats the purpose of Facebook. They access it for monitoring only, unless of course you post something really inappropriate.
You agree that if you misuse facebook, your parents can disable your facebook account.
(C) Bill Lovegrove, 2007-2008. All rights reserved.

 

Friday, February 10, 2012

2012-Personal Challenge #4- Green my Toilet Paper

Well I have been wanting to start this but had to wait until my current stock of toilet paper has been depleted.

Well yesterday I ran into Giant to purchase my Sun and Earth laundry detergent as this is the only place local that sells it, and wouldn't you know they had Marcal Small Steps toilet paper on sale $4.99 for a 12 pack. It was on my list to get and was actually a few cents cheaper than what I pay for our normal toiletpaper so I grabbed a few.

So I am slowly replacing paper products in our home with reusable items or greener options. I think the only paper product left to replace are the Kleenex. Which I see Marcal makes those also.

Not familiar with Marcal products? This is their story, which can also be found at
Marcalsmallsteps.com

Based in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, we at Marcal Manufacturing have prided ourselves as being one of the oldest environmentally friendly paper companies in the US. For 60 years Marcal® has been making paper products using recycled paper.
In 2009, Marcal Manufacturing, LLC, introduced the Marcal® Small Steps® line of 100% recycled bath tissue, towels, napkins and facial tissue for both home consumption and to distributors for commercial use. These products deliver strong performance without the typical “green premium” cost. The name Small Steps® signifies the small and easy steps toward making a difference in the world that you can make by using these recycled paper products.
For over five decades, Marcal has reducing landfill by making our paper products from recycled paper. We use paper collected from curbs in residential neighborhoods in cities and towns across America–from the small blue baskets in office buildings, unwanted junk mail, and waste from printers–all in an effort to do something good, to produce something that people need.
Marcal is an integral part of the northern New Jersey community. Our company uses recyclables from local municipalities and recycling facilities for our paper recycling process.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Homemade Crispy Chicken Strips

My new favorite way to make chicken strips

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup mashed potato flakes
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs
Garlic powder to taste
Paprika to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Directions

Cut chicken into 1-in. strips. In a shallow bowl, combine the potato flakes, seasonings and bread crumbs. Dip chicken in egg, then in potato mixture. Fry in oil. I used a deep fryer but you could use a skillet. Make sure you drain the grease from them after cooking.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

E2 French Toast

What a satisfying breakfast. No need for butter just drizzle a little pure all natural maple syrup over all and enjoy!

E2 French Toast

Serving 1

Milk substitute of choice - 2 ounces ( I use Almond Breeze unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon ( make sure you are using real and pure vanilla, I use Spice Islands)
cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
Bread ( whole grain)- 3 slices ( I use Ezekiel)
Banana - 4 ounces
Pure maple syrup (optional)

Combine banana, milk substitute, cinnamon and vanilla in a shallow bowl.

Dip bread slices in mixture until fully coated on both sides. Cook in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why Milk is Bad for You and Your Bones

Did you know that in Medieval England parents would tie rabbits’ feet around their babies’ necks to ward off illness? Doctors would also spit on wounds because saliva was believed to have healing properties.

Indeed, history is replete with unfounded health beliefs, and to everyone’s detriment, the milk myth is among the most tenacious.

Milk is much more than just a drink; it’s a cultural phenomenon that can be traced back thousands of years ago. And still today, the milk myth resonates loud and clear: in 2001, the average American child consumed 104 quarts of cow’s milk.

Milk depletes the calcium from your bones

The milk myth has spread around the world based on the flawed belief that this protein and calcium-rich drink is essential to support good overall health and bone health in particular at any age. It is easy to understand that the confusion about milk’s imaginary benefits stems from the fact that it contains calcium – around 300 mg per cup.

But many scientific studies have shown an assortment of detrimental health effects directly linked to milk consumption. And the most surprising link is that not only do we barely absorb the calcium in cow’s milk (especially if pasteurized), but to make matters worse, it actually increases calcium loss from the bones. What an irony this is!

Here’s how it happens. Like all animal protein, milk acidifies the body pH which in turn triggers a biological correction. You see, calcium is an excellent acid neutralizer and the biggest storage of calcium in the body is – you guessed it… in the bones. So the very same calcium that our bones need to stay strong is utilized to neutralize the acidifying effect of milk. Once calcium is pulled out of the bones, it leaves the body via the urine, so that the surprising net result after this is an actual calcium deficit.

Cow’s milk is custom-designed for calves

Thanks to our creative ingenuity and perhaps related to our ancient survival needs, we adopted the dubious habit of drinking another species’ milk. Nobody can dispute that cow’s milk is an excellent food source for calves. Weighing around 100 pounds at birth, a calf typically gains approximately eight times its weight by the time it is weaned. But unlike humans, once calves are weaned, they never drink milk again. And the same applies to every mammalian species on this planet.

Also, each mammalian species has its own “designer” milk, and cow’s milk is no exception. For example, cow’s milk contains on average three times the amount of protein than human milk which creates metabolic disturbances in humans that have detrimental bone health consequences.

It’s important to bear in mind that mother’s milk is excellent nourishment for human babies, but its composition is very different from cow’s milk.

Scientific studies show that milk increases fracture risk

Many scientific studies contradict the conventional wisdom that milk and dairy consumption help reduce osteoporotic fractures. Surprisingly, studies demonstrating that milk and dairy products actually fail to protect bones from fractures outnumber studies that prove otherwise. Even drinking milk from a young age does not protect against future fracture risk but actually increases it. Shattering the “savings account” calcium theory, Cumming and Klineberg report their study findings as follows:

“Consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in old age. (“Case-Control Study of Risk Factors for Hip Fractures in the Elderly”. American Journal of Epidemiology. Vol. 139, No. 5, 1994).

And the 12 year long Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that those who consumed the most calcium from dairy foods broke more bones than those who rarely drank milk. This is a broad study based on 77,761 women aged 34 through 59

The best milk substitutes

My favorite milk substitute is unsweetened almond milk, not only because it is alkalizing (as almonds are), but also because it’s delicious and tastes very similar to milk. I even cook with it!

If almond milk is hard to get, you can also try rice or soy milk. I strongly suggest consuming only organic soy milk to insure it’s not made with genetically modified soy. There is also some controversy about unfermented soy products, so try to use it in moderation.


*taken from medicalwellnesscenter.com

E2 Black Beans and Rice

This dish is so colorful, tasty and filling! A perfect dinner for a Meatless Monday!


E2 Black Beans and Rice

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 – 1 ½ C water or vegetable stock
1 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 t chili powder
2 – 3 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 C corn fresh, frozen or canned
Red, yellow, or green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
3 C cooked E2 Brown Rice
Salsa 
Heat the beans with water or stock, Bragg’s and chili powder. Place the chopped vegetables and cilantro in individual bowls. To serve, place several big spoonfuls of brown rice onto large plates and ladle beans on top. Add generous handfuls of chopped vegetables, cilantro, and avocado on top of the beans. Add salsa or tamari to taste.

Serves 3 – 4

From “The Engine 2 Diet”

Almond Milk vs. Rice Milk: Which is Healthier?

The comparison of rice milk to almond milk almost serves as an unfair debate. Almond milk drastically outweighs the rice variety in nearly every category regarding health benefits. The milk derived from almonds naturally contains more nutrients in higher levels.

Nutritional Similarities

Almond milk and rice milk contain no soy or lactose. Both of these dairy and soy milk alternatives have no cholesterol, trans fats or saturated fats. These choices do have healthy fats and limited amounts of protein as well.
Rice milk and almond milk have low sodium.

Nutritional Differences

Almond milk has slightly less sugars than the rice alternative.  Each has a low amount of sodium, but almond milk has slightly more with 150 mg compared to 100 mg in rice milk.
Both almond and rice milk have iron, except almond milk has a 2% higher level at 4% of our recommended daily value.

The Big Differences

The following list shows all of the nutrients that almond milk has an abundance of, while rice milk has none of or a very limited amount.
Vitamin A
Vitamin E
Vitamin D
B Vitamins
Calcium
Phosphorus
Magnesium
Manganese
Potassium
This data alone shows why rice milk falls short as a dairy milk alternative.
Rice milk also contains double the calories of almond milk. One cup of the rice option has 120 calories compared to 60 provided by the almond choice.

Health Benefit Issues

Since rice milk lacks several key nutrients provided by nearly every other milk variety, we do not gain any significant positive health benefits from drinking the beverage.
One major benefit that rice milk does not provide involves bone and teeth formation and health. The calcium found in almond milk works in sync with Vitamin D and magnesium, in order to increase bone density and proper growth.
This benefit becomes especially important in young children, infants and the elderly who tend to encounter bone deterioration.

The Carbohydrate Difference

Since rice milk comes from a grain, the carbohydrate content of the beverage climbs far beyond that of the almond option. Almond milk has about 8 grams of carbs per serving with 1 coming from fiber. Rice milk, on the other hand, has nearly 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Usually, people consume their beverage of choice to quench thirst and fight off hunger, not to gain weight. Drinking rice milk, which has a high calorie and carbohydrate content, generally causes more weight gain than almond milk.
Our bodies have the ability to store a certain amount of food energy. Consuming too many carbohydrates will result in an energy surplus, in which we store simple sugars as fat around the body. If you thought about adding rice milk to an already carbohydrate rich cereal, think again.
Since rice milk has such a high carbohydrate content, it becomes less practical for nearly every purpose. Adding rice milk to a hot or cold breakfast cereal will further increase your carb consumption. Drinking rice milk before bed will more than likely cause unwanted weight gain.
Almond milk provides a light drink or food additive during all times of the day because of its low calories and carbohydrate content.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Calcium in Milk vs. Soy Milk, Almond Milk and Rice Milk

Milk and dairy products are a major source of dietary calcium. You are required to take in at least 1000 milligrams of calcium per day though your diet, and having 2 to 3 servings of dairy everyday can help ensure proper body functions like cell metabolism, conduction of nerve impulses and healthy bone development. However, milk may not be suitable for everyone such as people with lactose intolerance or casein allergies. Fortunately, nondairy alternatives with a similar taste to milk can be made from soy, almond and rice. By nature, these products have quite different calcium contents, but through food fortification, the calcium deficits in various nondairy milk products are no longer an issue.
 
Natural Level of Calcium in Dairy and Nondairy Milk

In nature, it is without a doubt that cow milk holds the highest amount of calcium compared to other milk alternatives. Each 8 ounce serving of milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium. Soy milk comes in second at approximately 50 milligrams. Because calcium in almonds and rice are significantly lower compared with the previous two, milk made from these ingredients have a much lower calcium content. There are only 2 milligrams of calcium in an 8 ounce cup of plain almond milk, and less than 1 milligram is found in rice milk. Therefore, homemade or unfortified almond and rice milk should not be used to replace cows milk as a source of calcium.
Calcium and Vitamin D Fortifications

Popular producers like Silk, Blue Diamond and Rice Dreams profoundly make up for the insufficiencies of natural nutrition in their product. In terms of meeting the dietary requirement of calcium, these companies usually partner the addition of calcium with vitamin D. This is because your body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium. Because cows milk is naturally high in calcium, it is only necessary to incorporate extra vitamin D during fortification. After the process, cow, soy, almond and rice milk are approximately equivalent in both calcium and vitamin D concentration. An average cup of fortified dairy and nondairy milk contribute to about 30% of your daily need for calcium and 25% to 45% of your need for vitamin D.
Calcium Absorption in Dairy and Nondairy Milk

A lot of people argue that calcium found in natural foods is better absorbed by the body than from fortified foods. Whether this argument is true really depends on a number of factors.
Stomach Acidity: Calcium is better absorbed in acidic conditions. In this regard, lactose found in dairy milk does accelerate your body’s calcium uptake.
Presence of phosphate: Phosphate can inhibit calcium absorption. Studies have shown that fortification of nondairy milk with tricalcium phosphate have 25% less absorption efficiency compared to cow milk. However, if fortification is done with tricalcium carbonate instead, this disadvantage in absorption no longer exists.   
Calcium Precipitation: Fortified calcium can precipitate to the bottom of the container which decreases the total availability of calcium in your milk. Shaking your cartons well before serving is crucial to avoiding this problem.
Estrogen: Soy milk contain plant estrogen that increases your body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Soy Milk vs. Almond Milk: Which is Healthier?

In comparing the two, soy milk and almond milk provide similar health benefits. Depending on your dietary requirements or physical fitness goals, one or the other will serve as the better option. In their plain forms without additives, both soy and almond milk contain high levels of vitamins and minerals essential for bone and cell growth.  

The Simple Similarities

At a glance, soy milk and almond look nearly the same according to their nutritional labels. Both have low levels of fats. Neither of the two contains trans fats or cholesterol. Another similarity lies within the mineral contents. Per every one cup serving of either soy milk or almond milk, each provides us with 30% of our recommended daily value of calcium.
Both almond milk and soy milk have low carbohydrate content, though in each type, most of the carbs come from sugars. Each has 1 gram of fiber per one cup serving, while 6 to 7 of their carb sources come from simple sugars.

The Simple Differences

While soy milk provides about 100 calories per every one cup, almond milk has about 40 less at only 60 calories. Soy milk has 4 grams of fats compared to the 2.5 grams in the almond alternative.
The protein content also varies between these two milk choices. Most natural almond milk choices will have no more than 1 gram of protein per serving, while soy milk usually has close to 7 or 8 grams.
Almond milk does have some nutrients that the soy product does not provide. Soy milk has no phosphorus, while almond milk has about 6% of our daily recommended value per serving. Almond milk also contains high levels of Vitamin E, while soy milk has none.
Generally, soy milk will carry more B Vitamins because of its high protein content in comparison to that of almond milk.

The Health Debate

We all know that almond milk comes from almonds while soy milk comes from soy beans. However, this little piece of knowledge acts as the main source of debate between these two products.
Some people have a strong objection to soy products based on its potential ability to disrupt hormone production in men and women. Since almonds have shown no sort of potential risk, many people feel much more comfortable consuming products derived from the snack nut.
In any sense, almond milk serves as the better choice for those fearing the effects of soy, even though the product does contain superior levels of beneficial nutrients.

Choosing Almond Milk

Since almond milk and the almond nut provide no serious known risk (provided you don’t have a nut allergy), choosing this option serves as the safer choice. One study in 2008 did in fact show how consuming excessive soy derived products negatively effects the sperm concentration of males.
For women, drinking too much soy has shown connection with an increase in breast cancer. This connection became prevalent in a study connected in the year 2000, but was later negated by a study that showed the exact opposite results.
One certain fact explains that soy and its long term effects on our health remain uncertain.

Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.
Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns Inc. in association with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. Meatless Monday was founded in 2003 by marketing professional Sid Lerner. The program follows the nutrition guidelines developed by the USDA. 

But where did it originally come from?

During World War I, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to help the war effort. Conserving food would support U.S. troops as well as feed populations in Europe where food production and distribution had been disrupted by war. To encourage voluntary rationing, the FDA created the slogan “Food Will Win the War” and coined the terms "Meatless monday" and "Wheatless Wednesday” to remind Americans to reduce intake of these products.

The campaign returned with the onset of World War II, calling upon women on the home front to play a role in supporting the war effort. During this time meat was being rationed, along with other commodities like sugar and gasoline.

Do you participate in Meatless Monday? What is your favorite meatless meal?

Some websites to help you achieve the goal of becoming part of Meatless Monday:

http://www.meatlessmonday.com/
http://www.mondaycampaigns.org/meatless-monday/
http://meatlessmonday.tumblr.com/
http://www.meatfreemondays.co.uk/
http://meatlessmondays-australia.com/
http://meatlessmondays.ca/
http://www.meatoutmondays.org/index.php

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hooters Buffalo Wings

I made these today and let me tell you...they are great! I have added my own notes at the end.f


Hooters Buffalo Wings

 By Todd Wilbur

Total Time: 27 mins
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins


Ingredients:

Servings: 2

¼ cup butter
¼ cup louisiana hot sauce
1 dash pepper , Ground
1 dash garlic powder
½ cup flour
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
10 chicken wings
bleu cheese salad dressing
celery
vegetable oil , for frying

Directions:


Combine the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small bowl.

If the wings are frozen, be sure to defrost and dry them.

Put the wings into a large bowl and sprinkle the flour mixture over them, coating each wing evenly.

Put the wings in the refrigerator for 60 to 90 minutes. (This will help the breading to stick to the wings when fried.)

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees.

You want just enough oil to cover the wings entirely -- an inch or so deep at least. Combine the butter, hot sauce, ground pepper, and garlic powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat until the butter is melted and the ingredients are well blended.

Put all the wings into the hot oil and fry them for 10 to 15 minutes or until some parts of the wings begin to turn dark brown.

Remove the wings from the oil to a paper towel to drain.

But don't let them sit too long, because you want to serve the wings hot. Quickly put the wings into a large bowl.

Add the hot sauce and stir, coating all the wings evenly.

You could also use a large plastic container with a lid for this.

Put all the wings inside the container, add the sauce, put on the lid, then shake. Serve with Bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side.


*I used Franks hot sauce, after covering wings in flour mixture I let them sit in the refrigerator for 4 hours, and I served with Ranch. Next time I will let the wings sit a little longer in the sauce instead of just covering them and shaking in a covered bowl.

Skim Milk vs. Rice Milk: Which is Healthier

Skim milk has far more nutrients when compared to rice milk. The fat free dairy milk contains essential vitamins and minerals that many other milk alternatives do not. Rice milk has a fraction of the calcium and iron provided by the dairy option, making it less beneficial to most consumers who choose the product.

Similarities – Skim and Rice Milk

Both skim and rice milk contain low cholesterol and low levels of sodium. Skim milk was produced in order to provide a fat free version of dairy milk, making it an acceptable choice by those on low fat diets.
Skim milk and rice milk contain less than 15 grams of sugars. Both choices have low levels of iron. The sugars in these milk options have low glycemic loads, meaning they have little effect on our blood sugar levels. This helps regulate metabolic function while limiting the chance of fat storage.
Skim milk and rice milk do not contain soy.

Minor Differences – Skim and Rice Milk

The skim choice has slightly higher levels of sodium per serving at 130 grams compared to 100 grams in rice milk. Skim milk has about 5 mg of cholesterol per every one cup serving, while rice milk has none.
The dairy option has no fat content while rice milk contains 2.5 grams of healthy fats.

Major Nutritional Discrepancies

Skim milk has a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and moderate levels of other key nutrients that help us achieve health benefits. Rice milk contains only traces of calcium and iron, two nutrients that carry high percentages in the skim option.
This list contains nutrients found in skim milk:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Calcium
Thiamin
Riboflavin
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Folate
Magnesium
Phosphorus
Iron
With the exception of calcium and iron, rice milk contains none of these nutrients. All of these vitamins and minerals work together to provide our bodies with the proper tools to build healthy tissue in bones, teeth, skin and muscles.

Health Benefit Differences

The B Vitamins provided by the protein in skim milk helps us grow, repair and maintain muscle fiber. We also benefit from the vitamin groups’ ability to metabolize food into energy, giving us the strength to carry out physical activity. Rice milk contains no more than 1 gram of protein per serving compared to skim milk’s 8 grams for every one cup.
Skim milk has beneficial properties that help us grow and develop bones. Calcium, along with magnesium, prevents bones from growing brittle throughout aging while helping young children develop a supportive frame.
Skim Milk and Rice Milk Cautions

Although skim milk serves as a much more nutritionally dense option, many people suffer from lactose intolerance. This limits their ability to enjoy the benefits of most dairy products. The sugars in milk come mostly from lactose.
If you do decide to choose rice milk instead of skim or any type of dairy choice, consume the beverage in moderation. Rice milk has a much higher carbohydrate content compared to most other milks since the liquid comes from a grain. Too many carbohydrates usually puts us in weight gain mode. Use moderation when adding rice milk to cereals and consuming the beverage during sedentary parts of your day.

Soy Milk vs. Rice Milk: Which is Healthier?

Soy milk contains far more nutrients than rice milk. However, a long standing debate continues to occur over whether or not soy acts as a safe product to consume (in excessive amounts). More research will need to take place in order for the Food and Drug Administration and other governing groups to come to definitive conclusions. Rice milk does not show any significant signs of causing health damages, but it lacks nutritional content.
Soy vs Rice – Similarities

Both soy milk and rice milk contain low amounts of fat and no cholesterol. Each has under 150 grams of sodium and under 15 grams of sugar for each one cup serving size.
Neither of the two contains Vitamin C, a nutrient not found in almond milk either; dairy milk does contain this nutrient.
Both soy milk and rice milk come in a variety of flavors and vitamin and nutrient-added versions. Since neither of the two precisely match up to some more nutritionally sound dairy milk varieties, a number of added nutrients helps make these options more desirable and beneficial.

Soy vs Rice – Minor Differences

Soy milk has 4 grams of fat, while rice milk contains about 2.5 grams. Soy milk also contains 1 gram of saturated fat while the rice option has none.
Rice milk has a slightly lower level of sodium than the soy product. The soy alternative has a higher level of iron than the rice beverage at 6% compared to 2%.

Major Health Differences

Rice milk does not deliver nearly close to the amount of health benefits as soy milk does because of its lack of vitamins and minerals. The only nutrients other than a limited amount of healthy fats and protein provided by rice milk include calcium and iron; a one cup serving size of rice milk gives us only 2% of our daily recommended intake of both.
Soy contains about 8 grams of protein per serving size while rice milk generally has less than 1 gram per equal serving size. Protein helps us feel fuller for longer periods of time. This macronutrient works in sync with B Vitamins, also found in soy milk, to provide several muscle functions.
Soy Milk contains high levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2 and calcium; rice milk contains none of these, and a very small amount of calcium. This drastically limits rice milk’s ability to deliver the nutrients that soy milk does.

Choosing Soy Milk with Caution

In short, soy milk has more beneficial nutrients than rice milk varieties. Soy milk serves us with a better choice that provides far more health benefits than rice milk. However, some studies have in fact shown that women have a greater chance of developing breast cancer from over-consuming soy products.
Other studies have shown that soy products disrupt hormone regularities in both men and women. Yet, other research tells us that these findings prove nothing, as similar tests show opposite results.
Some people suffer from soy allergies. Consulting with a medical professional before consuming products containing soy will help you identify any possible risks or future health related complications resulting from soy.

Skim Milk vs. Soy Milk: Which is Healthier?

Soy milk was designed to provide a lactose free version of dairy products like skim milk. Even though the soy variety does come close to dairy milk in many categories, skim milk remains as the superior choice based off of nutritional content and health benefits.

Soy and Skim Comparison

Both of these milk choices contain high levels of calcium and Vitamin A. Each have a moderate amount of protein per serving size as well. The sugars in soy and skim milk carry low glycemic loads, meaning they do not suddenly spike insulin levels. This helps regulate a healthy blood sugar level, while maintaining proper metabolic function.
Skim milk and soy milk contain B Vitamins like riboflavin and folate. These vitamins help regulate normal muscle function, repair and growth.
Soy and skim milk options contain limited amounts of cholesterol and fats. Skim milk contains only traces of fat. This provides the reasoning behind the 0 grams listed on the back of the nutrition facts label; though the label will still show that about 4 of the total 90 calories come from fat.

Minor Skim and Soy Differences

Soy milk contains no Vitamin C, while skim milk contains about 4% of our daily recommended value. Skim milk also has one more gram of protein than soy milk. Skim milk falls short of the soy option’s iron content, but remains ahead in the categories of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium.
Soy milk has far more Vitamin B12 compared to skim milk. This nutrient helps us gain energy from our food sources while metabolizing food calories into useable muscle power. The soy option also contains more folate than the dairy alternative, a nutrient that plays a similar role in our bodies.
Soy milk contains nearly 30% of our daily value of Vitamin D, while plain skim milk contains none of this nutrient. Many companies sell Vitamin D enriched skim milk choices, though.

Health Benefit Debate

The key difference that makes skim milk a healthier and safer choice stems from the debate circling around the soy ingredient. Soy milk and products containing soy have shown to disrupt hormone production and function in both male and female consumers. We greatly depend on our hormonal balances to help us make daily decisions and carry our normal functions.
Soy products have also gained negative attention after studies attempted to prove their carcinogenic effects on test patients. Some studies showed that soy consumption increased the likelihood of women to develop breast cancer, while other similar studies proved the exact opposite results.
This uncertainty has made several consumers weary of the soy product, making skim milk and other milk choices the easier choice. In time, more research will prove whether or not soy poses long term health risks and side effects. However, as of 2010, many people feel as though a lack of information causes them to avoid soy products.
Skim milk does face negative feedback, as well, since it contains a high amount of lactose. People who are lactose intolerant generally choose the soy, almond or rice milk option instead of dairy milk varieties.

Article taken from 3 fat chicks.com

Skim Milk vs. Almond Milk: Which Is Healthier?

We have many choices regarding milk selection, including non fat options like skim milk. Choosing almond milk serves as a similar alternative to the fat free skim option, though it does bring up the dairy versus non dairy debate. Many people choose almond, soy or rice milk to avoid the lactose found in skim milk and other fat varieties. However, almond milk also poses problems for those allergic to the snack nut.

Skim and Almond Milk Comparison

Skim milk has a low caloric content, much like almond milk. Both of these choices have less than 100 calories per every one cup serving. Skim milk and almond milk each contain less than 200 mg of sodium and under 10 mg of cholesterol per serving as well.
Each contain abundant amounts of calcium, vitamin A and many other nutrients.

The Simple Differences

Compared to skim milk, almond milk has only 7 grams of sugars compared to the 12 grams in the dairy option. One cup of plain almond milk contains about 30 mg more of sodium than skim milk, however.
Along with most other dairy milk choices, the fat free skim milk option has around 8 grams of protein per serving size. Almond milk has only 1 gram or protein per each identical serving of 1 cup.
Almond milk does contain slightly higher levels of iron than skim milk, though it does fall short in the categories of Vitamin A and Vitamin C plus calcium too.
Several people choose skim milk due to its near fat free nature. Almond milk has 2.5 grams of total fat. The skim choice serves as a good option for those looking to strictly limit fat consumption in their diet.

Health Value Comparison

The lactose containing skim milk option often gets avoided by those with lactose intolerance problems. Statistics show that more individuals have lactose problems compared to those with almond allergies. This gives the skim option a negative check mark in the compatibility category for a large number of consumers.
One major difference between dairy milk and almond milk involves protein and B Vitamins. Since almond milk only has 1 gram of protein per each serving, dairy milk serves as a much more practical protein source with 8 grams of the macronutrient per serving. Skim milk also contains more riboflavin, folate and Vitamin B12 than the almond alternative.
The main difference that separates the two in the health debate lies within their sugar and carbohydrate contents. Skim milk contains 12 grams of sugars, which accounts for all 12 grams of carbs found in each serving of the beverage. Almond milk only has 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving, 7 grams coming from low glycemic sugars and 1 gram from fiber.
Most people tend to pick skim milk over other dairy milk alternatives because of its protein content and because of its fat free nature. Even though there are benefits from the protein and B Vitamins found in skim milk, there are sugars present. Therefore, if you do make skim milk your milk of choice, drink it in moderation.

You will find milk lovers defending their cow's milk the same as you will find almond milk lovers defending their choice of milk; the truth is, almond milk and skim milk do have their differences. The differences range from taste to health benefits. In fact, many people are switching from cow's milk to a milk alternative, like almond milk, because of the health benefits associated with almond milk. Cow's milk was once thought of as the best way to get the calcium the body needs, but almond milk also offers calcium.

Similarities

Almond milk and skim milk are both white with a watery texture. Almond milk and skim milk both offer protein; however, skim milk offers a higher percentage. They both come close in the fat grams that they contain. They both can be used in a baking recipe with very little differences. 

Differences

Skim milk comes from a cow and almond milk is made with almonds and water. Unlike cow's milk, almond milk is lactose free. This makes it easier to digest in lactose intolerant individuals. A person with allergies to nuts may also have a low tolerance for the lactose in skim milk, and thus may not be able to drink either almond or skim milk. However, it has been reported that there are more people with lactose intolerance then reported cases of allergic reactions to almonds. 

Almond milk can be made as fresh as it is needed, and although it tastes better cold, it doesn't require refrigeration like skim milk. Skim milk, even though it has less calories then whole milk, has more calories then almond milk. Almond milk offers the benefit of not having any cholesterol, saturated fat or sodium, while skim milk does have at least 5 mg of cholesterol and 130mg of sodium.

Raw Food

For the raw foods enthusiast, almond milk is the better choice as it doesn't need to be heated or cooked, unlike cow's milk. Taste is everything and almond milk taste nothing like skim milk. Almond milk has a nutty flavor and comes in vanilla flavor too, which has a sweeter taste.

Baby Food

Skim milk is never recommended as a baby formula, as it does not provide enough nutritional value. In the Middle East, almond milk is considered a baby food. It is fast becoming an alternative for babies who don't like the taste of cow's milk here in the states too. 

Heart Disease

High cholesterol and saturated fats have been linked to heart disease. Almond milk does not contain cholesterol and saturated fats, which makes it a wise alternative to skim milk in people at risk for heart disease. 

Diabetes

For diabetics seeking to drink milk, almond milk provides a better choice than skim milk, as skim milk has more carbohydrates. Carbohydrates break down in the body as sugar, which is not a desired outcome for diabetics.

*article taken from 3fatchicks.co,

I prefer Almond Milk to Skim and I purchase the Almond Breeze unsweetened Vanilla. Try it you won't be disappointed.
Sqwq

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Look What's in These Chicken Nuggets - Part 4 of 4 - Chick fila Chicken Nuggets

Chick-fil-A® Nuggets    

100% natural whole breast filet, seasoning (salt, monosodium glutamate, sugar, spices, paprika), seasoned coater (enriched bleached flour [bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], sugar, salt, monosodium glutamate (msg), nonfat milk, leavening [baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate], spice, soybean oil, color [paprika]), milk wash (water, egg, nonfat milk), peanut oil (fully refined peanut oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness and Dimethylpolysiloxane an anti-foaming agent added).


These seem to be the better choice compared to McDonald's except the fact they are fried in peanut oil with TBHQ and Dimethylpolysiloxane added. 

And if you don't recall what those ingredients are..

TBHQ: It is a derivative of petroleum and it is sprayed on the nugget directly or into the box to preserve freshness. It is also a form of butane, or you may know it as lighter fluid. They obviously don't use very much of it, because a single gram of TBHQ can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse." Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill. 

Dimethylpolysiloxane: Used as an "antifoaming agent" is a type of oil derived from silicon. It stops the McDonalds deep fryers from foaming up and boiling over. It's also put in shampoos and used in the manufacturing of contact lenses.

So now the decision is yours...choose wisely or make your own

Friday, February 3, 2012

Look What's In These Chicken Nuggets - Part 3 of 4 -Banquet Chicken Nuggets

Thirdly, we have Banquet chicken nuggets.

Chicken Thigh, Water, Breader (Wheat Flour, Salt, Dextrose, Spice, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Extractives of Paprika), Batter (Water, Yellow Corn Flour, Cornstarch, Dextrose, Salt, Spices, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Modified Food Starch, Garlic Powder, Guar Gum, Leavening [Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate]), Textured Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein, Isolate, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Flavorings. Fried in Vegetable Oil with BHT.

Warnings
Contains: wheat, soy.
(taken from wegmans.com)

Guar gum: a fiber from the seed of the guar plant that used as a laxative.
It is also used for treating diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), obesity, and diabetes; for reducing cholesterol; and for preventing “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
In foods and beverages, guar gum is used as a thickening, stabilizing, suspending, and binding agent.
In manufacturing, guar gum is used as a binding agent in tablets, and as a thickening agent in lotions and creams.

BHT or Butylated Hydroxytoluene,  is an anti-oxidant which reacts with oxygen free radicals to slow down the autoxidation rate of ingredients in a product that can cause changes in the taste or color. As such, it is primarily used to prevent fats in foods from becoming rancid – but it is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, jet fuels, rubber, petroleum products, electrical transformer oil, and embalming fluid. 
Look what is found on the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) 

Do NOT let this chemical enter the environment.
Combustible.
Ingestion causes Abdominal pain. Confusion. Dizziness. Nausea. Vomiting.
The substance may have effects on the liver.
The substance is harmful to aquatic organisms.

Sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) is a sodium salt of triphosphoric acid that has the appearance of white crystal powder. It is odorless and is water soluble. In a highly controlled environment, it is made by combining monosodium phosphate and disodium phosphate. Among its many uses, sodium tripolyphosphate generally is used as a builder and a preservative.

As a builder, sodium tripolyphosphate mainly is used in detergents and soaps. This includes dishwasher detergents as well as laundry detergents. It is used in most gel, liquid, tablet, and powder forms of each type of detergent. In the detergent, it helps strengthen the cleaning action.

Sodium tripolyphosphate is a strong cleaning ingredient that typically can rid dishes and fabrics of soil and spots. Its key function is that it allows surfactants to work at their full potential. Also, it prevents deposition of soil and acts as a pH buffer. It softens detergent water and can be used as a water treatment, as well. Many household cleaning products, including surface and toilet cleaners, contain STPP due to its cleaning component.

The uses of sodium tripolyphosphate also include using it as a preservative. It can be used to preserve foods such as red meats, poultry, and seafood, helping them to retain their tenderness and moisture. Pet food and animal feed have been known to be treated with STPP, serving the same general purpose as it does in human food. STPP also has been used in helping to preserve the quality of drinks such as milk and fruit juices.

There are many other uses of sodium tripolyphosphate, as well. It is used in paint as a pigment dispersant. Ceramics use it to help disperse clay, and paper mills use it as an oil-resistant agent when coating paper. It additionally has been used as a tanning agent in making leather, and the minerals in cement have been known to be treated with it. Sodium tripolyphosphate also has been used as an additive in toothpaste due to its cleaning action.

It generally is advised that sodium tripolyphosphate be stored in a cool and well-ventilated area. Direct sunlight and damp areas usually should be avoided. If STPP comes into contact with skin, the area should be thoroughly rinsed. If eye contact is made, it is important to immediately flush the eyes. STPP is not intended to be ingested or directly inhaled either by human beings or by animals.

Dextrose: Sugar

Autolyzed Yeast Extract: Is a substance that is formed when yeast is broken down into separate components and is a less expensive form of MSG. MSG has been reported to cause numerous health concerns such as severe allergies, cancer and heart disease.

Sodium bicarbonate: also known as baking soda, is a chemical salt that can found in things from baked goods to toothpaste to medication. When used in cooking, baking soda makes chicken skin crispy, keeps veggies crisp and is a major ingredient in bread. Soda bread is an Irish staple that relies on baking soda for leavening. 

Sodium Aluminum Phosphate: as a leavening agent or acid for mixing baking powders, this is a new product in the baking industry. It has a different performance profile than other leavening agents; it reacts slowly with the Sodium Bicarbonate in the mixing stage, there is only a 20 to 30 % Carbon Dioxide delivery from available. The difference is released during the oven stage. It also has an excellent buffering action for flour mixes, enhancing the properties of the formula ingredients. When using it the product is crunchy and has fine texture. Its use is very generalized.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Look What's In These Chicken Nuggets - Part 2 of 4 -Tyson's Chicken Nuggets

Secondly, let's look at Tyson's Chicken nuggets.

INGREDIENTS:
Boneless chicken breast with rib meat, water, salt and natural flavor. BREADED WITH: Wheat flour, water, wheat starch, white whole wheat flour, salt, yellow corn flour, corn starch, dried onion, dried garlic, dried yeast, brown sugar, extractives of paprika, and spices. Breading set in vegetable oil.

CONTAINS wheat
(taken from Tysons.com)

A much shorter ingredient list with ingredients you are familiar with and can

Look What's In These Chicken Nuggets - Part 1 Of 4 - Chicken McNuggets

Do you know what's in your kids Chicken Nuggets?

There has been so much talk about all the unknown items in the chicken nuggets we have been feeding our children. So I decided to take a little time and actually read the ingredients of a few different ones and then research any ingredients that I am not familiar with and then share all that information with you.

I will start with the famous McDonald's chicken nuggets. 

Chicken McNuggets® (4 piece)

Allergens: WHEAT
White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning [autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid], sodium phosphates, natural flavor (botanical source). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch. 
CONTAINS: WHEAT. 

Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.
*information taken from McDonalds.com

Wow, I never expected to find this many ingredients in chicken nuggets and so many that I can't even pronounce.

Here's a breakdown on some of these ingredients.

Modified Food Starch: This is cornstarch that has been chemically altered and added to the nugget to help glue everything together and as a bulking and filling agent to reduce the actual amount of chicken used in the nugget and consequently save McDonalds money. 

Autolyzed Yeast Extract: Is a substance that is formed when yeast is broken down into separate components and is a less expensive form of MSG. MSG has been reported to cause numerous health concerns such as severe allergies, cancer and heart disease.

Dextrose: Sugar( why do you need sugar in chicken nuggets)

Sodium Phosphates: Used in some products as a laxative, but is mainly used as a texturizer and emulsifier which stops all the nasty oils from separating within the nugget.

Bleached Wheat Flour: Its essentially flour that has been bleached... yes bleached, often by using the same chemicals you use to clean your bathroom and get your white's so sparking white... to extend shelf life and stop pests and insects from eating it. If they won't go near it, what does that say?

Sodium Aluminum Phosphate: Is used for leveling, and hasn't been thoroughly tested. Although aluminum has been widely researched to cause Alzheimers and dementia. Oh, and sodium aluminum phosphate is also used in eye drops and pesticides.

Hydrogenated Soybean Oil: The oil is chemically altered and bleached to turn it into a solid to avoid it going rancid. The problem with this, well it turns out our body's have a hard time digesting and using this chemically altered oil, so it causes weight gain as well other degenerative diseases. 

TBHQ: It is a derivative of petroleum and it is sprayed on the nugget directly or into the box to preserve freshness. It is also a form of butane, or you may know it as lighter fluid. They obviously don't use very much of it, because a single gram of TBHQ can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse." Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill. 

Dimethylpolysiloxane: Used as an "antifoaming agent" is a type of oil derived from silicon. It stops the McDonalds deep fryers from foaming up and boiling over. It's also put in shampoos and used in the manufacturing of contact lenses.

Do you really want your children eating these?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cystic Fibrosis

What You Need to Know

What Is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis

People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including:

very salty-tasting skin;
persistent coughing, at times with phlegm;
frequent lung infections;
wheezing or shortness of breath;
poor growth/weight gain in spite of a good appetite; and
frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements.
Statistics

About 1,000 new cases of cystic fibrosis are diagnosed each year.
More than 70% of patients are diagnosed by age two.
More than 45% of the CF patient population is age 18 or older.
The predicted median age of survival for a person with CF is in the late 30s.
*information from cff.org

My 19 year old daughter, Rachel has been sick since she was just weeks old. First diagnosed with gastronomic reflux at 2 weeks and then asthma at 6 months of age. That was only the beginning of the long journey to her recent diagnosis. For four (4) years she was in and out of doctor offices, emergency rooms, etc with everything from constipation, fevers, colds, respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, dehydration etc.. Then finally we were referred to Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. It was there, where the extensive tests were done, numerous procedures combined with numerous hospital stays that she was diagnosed borderline cf (cystic fibrosis) , gastronomic reflux was confirmed and a diagnosis of bronchiectasis.  

So what is borderline cf? A sweat test was performed several times and each time the numbers came back high. Too low to be called normal but not high enough to say they were 100% sure it was cf. The only thing this did was cause problems with the insurance company because she needed to be treated with the same medications as a person with cf but the insurance didnt want to pay for it because she wasn't actually diagnosed with it.

She was treated as if she had cf and was on medication for years and then one day she no longer needed the medicines she had been taking for her breathing. So then they said ok she is fine. Her only diagnosis then was the gastronomic reflux and asthma despite the fact that she continued to have bowel problems which was never treated. We were always told to increase her fiber intake, give her laxatives etc...

A few years later her health started to decline again and no one could figure out the problem.  She was having problems with breathing, her chest hurt and she wasn't having bowel movements. 

To make a long story short, a few months ago we finally got the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and she is being treated. However, the medications, the special diet and the light exercise doesn't cure and sometimes doesn't even help.

They have come along way with extending the life and quality of life of someone with cf but they still have a long way to go before they have a cure.  So why not give so they can further their studies and experiments and hopefully one day come up with a cure.

Try this. Go outside take a deep breath of fresh clean air and exhale slowly. Doesn't it feel good to feel that fresh crisp air fill your lungs? Then come inside and thank God that you are able to do that.

Rachel (picture below) has formed a team, Reaching out for Rachel, to walk on June 2, 2012 with Great Strides to help raise money for a cure. Please find it in your heart to walk with us, make a donation or if you want to, do both.  If you cannot do either we will gladly accept prayers. Please pray for each person afflicted with cf, their families, their friends, doctors, researchers and any person who is adversely affected by this disease.Thank you from the bottom of my heart and May God Bless each and everyone of you.

DONATE NOW

Seven Reasons You Eat More Food

Have you ever wondered why when you go out to eat the Restaurant keeps it freezing in there no matter what the temperature is outside? Keep reading to find out the reasoning behind this.


1. Time of Day
Through routine, we condition our bodies to expect breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day, says Randy Seeley, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati." Part of the reason you're hungry at noon is because that's the time you've eaten for the last 100 days."
The Science of Appetite


2. Sight
Research using MRIs shows that brain patterns of people viewing photos of foods they like and foods they don't like are "very different," Seeley says. "The body anticipates when food is about to enter the system." And that's why your mouth starts watering when you see Mom's pie.
The Science of Appetite

3. Variety
Even after eating a large meal, we often "make room" for dessert, because a desire for sweets hasn't been satisfied. Ann Gaba, a registered dietitian at New York Presbyterian Hospital, says that sometimes all it takes is a bit of fruit in a salad during a meal to curb a sugar craving.
The Science of Appetite

4. Smell
Scent is one of the key ways we cue our bodies that food is near. Once the trigger goes off, it can induce the insulin secretion that makes us think we're hungry. Says Sharron Dalton, a nutrition professor at New York University: "Smell and sight alone activate the appetite cascade."
The Science of Appetite

5. Alcohol
Drinking has not been scientifically proved to stimulate appetite, but too much beer, wine or liquor can impair judgment, causing us to eat more. "Most people who are on a diet will say it's a lot harder to push themselves away from the table if they've been drinking," observes Seeley.
The Science of Appetite

6. Temperature
The colder the temperature, the more people tend to eat, which is why restaurants often keep thermostats low. "Your metabolism drops when it's time to eat, and eating warms you up," says David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics at Harvard. "Heat is a satiety signal."
The Science of Appetite

7. Refined Carbs
After a meal heavy in refined carbohydrates, like white pasta, the body may crave food again within only a few hours. These foods cause blood sugar to drop, and "when our blood sugar is crashing, we're going to be a lot more interested in food in general," Ludwig says.
The Science of Appetite

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's Tax Time

Here is some great information I wanted to pass on to you all that a friend of mine recently gave me. I hope it helps someone out!

www.irs.gov Offers online Free File Fillable Forms for you to fill out and eFile your federal taxes for Free if you are comfortable doing youir own taxes.

If you prefer to use tax software, they also offer FreeFile, which is a link to an outside website like Turbo Tax and H&R Block. You have to go through the IRS website to get there in order for it to work. These sites offer their online tax software for FREE for people who meet certain criteria. Most of the companies want your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) to be less than $57,000 or less, depending on the company. (Check last years tax return to get an estimate of your AGI if your Gross income is over this amount.) There may also be an age limit, usually 52 or younger. Some tax software is only available for certain states. And U.S. Citizens and resident aliens with foreign addresses. The criteria are clearly listed with each tax software company's website. It's very easy to get to this point.

Once you choose a Free File company, it takes you step by step through each phase of the tax software asking questions and making suggestions to increase your refund. You can also do your state taxes through some of these sites but they charge a fee for eFiling those. I use the tax software to figure out my state return without filing and then do my state return at Maryland's tax website and check numbers against each other because the state site can be a bit tricky.

Once you are finished and ready to file your Federal Return through Free File, you have the option to have a check mailed to you or direct deposit into your bank account. I always do direct deposit and get my return within 2 weeks. If you have never eFiled before, you will have to choose a 4 digit pin number and enter last year's AGI. If you don't have last years AGI, you will have to print out a form to sign and mail to the IRS. That will be the only thing you will have to mail in.

After you efile, you will receive an email from the software website that your return was electronically sent and the IRS has sent a confirmation that they received it. You will get a follow up email letting you know that the IRS has accepted your return. You can also log into the software website to check for this information.

After your return has been accepted, you can check on the IRS website to find out the date your check will be mailed or direct deposited. It's theWhere's My Refund? link located on the main page. Very helpful and reassuring!

Maryland's State Taxes iFile can be done through Maryland's website. They have their own software to help you figure out your return and efile. Resident Maryland Tax Return under Tax Year 2011 is which link you choose.

This software hasn't been crystal clear in the past which is why I suggest that you do your State return on the site where you are filing your Federal returns (but don't file there!) to get a return or payment amount to compare to the State's site. eFile your taxes after your numbers match or close it to. I was $5 off on my parent's state return last year which drove me crazy. Come to find out it was a mistake on the state's site, not my calculations, so I filed and sent the state a nice little email about the glitch.

Every year you can log into the State's site and all your info will be pulled up including your and your dependent's names, social security numbers and address. The online software website you choose to efile your Federal returns will not let you do that. You will have to enter in your personal info each year even if you use the same site every year.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Foster Parents

Okay everyone I know this is a little off compared to what I usually write but because of recent happenings in my life I just had to share my opinion.

I have been taking care of my daughters god daughter since the 1st of September. She has lived with us and been treated as if she were my own. The plan was for her to live with us til this September so mom could get on her feet and get a place of their own etc... Yesterday that all changed when she came to retrieve her daughter so they could move out of state with the promise of visiting in the summer. As we had no court ordered papers just ones we had signed and notarized the parental rights superseded them. So now my home and family is minus one family member and we are all heartbroken even though we knew this time would eventually come.

So to all the foster parents and families, I offer my prayers to you and commend you on a job well done. I don't know how you do it! Keep up the good work and may God bless each and every one of you. You all are very special people!

To all those considering becoming Foster Parents, make sure not only your heart can take it but the other family members as well. Raising a child as your own and then losing them is not an easy task to handle.

To all the children in foster care, may God bless each one of you with a loving family!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It shows in the numbers.....

We have all heard it time and time again..exercise is good for you and important to your body. So how many of you actually exercise? I don't mean cleaning, working in the yard or whatever household or job related activity you do. I am talking about taking time out each day or every other day to do some deliberate exercise such as lifting weights, walking, or something similar.

I will be the first to admit that I only do it occasionally and I go through spells where I will exercise consistently then stop all together. It is a vicious cycle for me and one I really need to conquer.

I will use my boyfriend as a perfect example...He takes several medicines day and night for cholesterol, diabetes etc.. Well during the months of September 2010 thru May 2011 he was very diligent in going to the gym 3-4 times a week to get in some cardio on one of the machines and to use some of the weight machines.  He was able to decrease his diabetes medicines and when the doctor did bloodwork his numbers were great. Well then summer rolls around and he figures he will get enough exercise working out in the yard and stops going to the gym. It wasn't long and he not only had to increase his medicines to where they were but eventually had to go even higher as the months passed and his numbers weren't good on his next set of tests.

Just recently  he started back to the gym and guess what? You got it...his numbers are going back down to the point where he may have to adjust the dosage of his insulin. 

So there's the proof! Exercise is a key ingredient to feeling better and being healthier. Get in the habit but don't burn yourself out. If you happen to get in a rut don't quit. I know easier said than done but we can all do it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

McDonalds Sweet Tea

My daughter was in love with McDonalds Sweet Tea and then she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis and put on a special diet which restricts her from eating white sugar, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, artificial anything etc... Needless to say the tea was cut from her diet. Well, that's until I found a recipe for it on topsecretrecipes.com.

Yes I know how to make sweet tea and I must say it's pretty good but apparently it doesn't taste like McDonalds. So I set out to find a recipe that I could tweak to fit her diet guidelines.

Mcdonald's Sweet Tea

3 Lipton tea bags - standard size
2 qts water
1 cup sugar

Bring water to a rapid boil, remove from heat, add tea bags, and cover and let set for 1 hour. Add to pitcher and add sugar. Mix well.

*please note that I use decaf tea bags and instead of white sugar I use Sugar in the Raw.

Needless to say my daughter is very pleased with the results.

Forks Over Knives

Have you ever heard this mentioned as a book or movie? Have you watched the movie? If not I recommend that everyone watches this eye opening film.

Over the past few weeks I have been reading and researching healthy eating and came across this particular movie in Netflix. I put it in my queue to watch at a later date and didn't think much more about it.

When I walk on the treadmill I like to watch a movie, read a book, etc on my iPad. A few days ago as I was preparing for my walk, which is usually 30-35 minutes, I decided to watch this. Over the next 3 days I watched this in amazement. In between I would research and read more about what was discussed in it until I came to the decision that I want to change our way of eating to eventually become a family who eats a whole food plant based diet on most days if not everyday.

I will not throw myself or my family straight into this and I may not even bring them in at all right away until I can make it a habit for myself. My plan is to start slowly by removing dairy products and to incorporate this way of eating at breakfast. Once I accomplish this, I want to move on to changing lunch, then snacks and then eventually dinners. Wish me luck and I will try and keep you updated along my journey.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

E-coupons and Printable Coupons

Are you familiar with the term E-coupons? It is the newest invention among couponers. Just go to the site,register your store card or cards, and click on the coupons that you want on the cards. It's that easy! Some of these work a little differently that the traditnal coupons though. One site you can earn money but it doesn't save you at the time of shopping and one site uses your savings to help build a college education for your child.

The printable coupon sites are great also as you can just pick which ones you want or you can print them all. Also some sites will let you print more than one of each. However, I have never been able to print more than 3 of one coupon.

I will share the list of sites I use and/or am familiar with. If you happen to have any not listed please share them with us. Thanks!

Printable: 

RedPlum.com 

SmartSource.com

CouponNetwork.com 

Coupons.com 

Shortcuts.com


eCoupons:

SavingStar.com - Giant, Food Lion, CVS, Rite Aid. Can register multiple cards from same store. Reloads on Thursday. When you buy a product, the savings does not come off your grocery bill like a coupon. You get credit for it on SavingStar.com and when you reach $5+ you can request the money back via your bank account, PayPal or gift card.

Safeway.com Register your card and/or log in, click on the Just for U tab then Coupon Center and add all the deals to your card each week. Pretty sure you can stack these and manufacturer coupons.

P&G eSaver Looks like you can register any store card since you type in the name and number. It says "Coupons must be redeemed from card to add more". Not sure if that means you have to use the ecoupons you select before you are offered any more?

uPromise You don't get the instant discount, but the ecoupon amount will go into your uPromise account for college. Plus click the "Coupons and Deals" tab to find promo codes for discount at TONS of online stores.

FoodLion This is powered by RedPlum, which also has some ecoupons so I'm not sure if they will conflict. Never hurts to try!

RedPlum You can load eCoupons to your FoodLion card. Looks like the same ecoupons from the FoodLion site.

Shortcuts.com Register your Safeway card as a Carrs card. I have redeemed ecoupons from Safeway using this site. Also has printable.

Coupons.com For your Safeway card and has printables. Interestingly, some of the eCoupons are the same as the printable and I'm wondering if they can be stacked?