Thursday, November 10, 2011

Homemade Rinse Aid

I know you're impressed by my fancy schmancy picture! A while back I was blog hopping and found this tip for rinse aid (I can't remember where I read it, but it's not my idea!). I've never been one to really use a rinse aid in my dishwasher, mainly because I saw it as an unnecessary expense, until I saw that you can use straight vinegar. I use vinegar for my everyday cleaning, it's inexpensive and not harmful! When you pour straight vinegar into the rinse aid compartment, it's difficult to see when it's gone. So, I read to add a few drops of food coloring to it to tint the vinegar. Now you can have an expensive rinse aid that will help clean your dishes well and you can tell when you need to refill! It works for me!

Linking up with WFMW and

Monday, November 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 11/7/11

Are you ready for a new week? I sure am! And looky at the top ^, I figured out how to add pages! I'm still working on adding my recipes but hopefully in a few days you'll be able to find all of my recipes easier. I have a few more helpful pages in the works too! I mentioned last week that I've been feeling sluggish and just plain yucky. I think I'm in need of doing something about it! So, click over here and see what it is!

Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole, Green Peas

Pancakes, Bacon, Baked Apples

Chili and Corn Bread

Italian Roast Wraps (I haven't looked but I'm praying there's a roast in the freezer!), Easy Garlic Broccoli, Honey Roasted Carrots

Beef and Noodles, Green Beans, Corn

The Spinach Chicken Pasta was great! Luke didn't touch it and Eli picked the noodles and pasta out! And that's about what I expected. I loved it and it was great the next day too! You might want to also check out my recipe for Sausage Balls that uses whole wheat flour!

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning and recipe ideas!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sausage Balls (no Bisquick!)

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be experimenting with some of our favorite holiday foods by making them healthier. And by healthy, I don't mean low fat or low calorie. I mean I'm going to be making these foods with real food ingredients. For the game Saturday night, my hubby asked for sausage balls. The last time I made sausage balls was a while ago and it was made using Bisquick, which is premade with white flour and partially hydrogenated oils. So, I found a recipe online to try! They turned out great! Not only are these great party food but they are great for quick breakfasts! And though I haven't tried it, I'm sure they freeze well! I'll let you know because I'm freezing some of these!

Sausage Balls

3 cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur's White Wheat Flour, which I can only find at Winn Dixie)
1 1/2 TBS baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 lb sausage*
8 oz cheddar cheese, grated (we like sharp cheddar)

Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add cheddar and sausage and mix well with hands, it will be dry (and messy). At the end of mixing add in a few tablespoons of water to form a dough (you still want it to be fairly dry, not wet, just enough to form a ball). Form into 1 inch balls and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

*I used local pork sausage but you could also use turkey sausage. Click here for a great recipe that I've used many times. If you choose to use turkey sausage, I would add some fat to the recipe. One website I found said to cut in 4 TBS of butter into the dry ingredients before you add the turkey sausage and cheese. Don't forget, butter is good for you! I used child mild sausage and it was VERY mild. I would prefer something with a little more spice. So next time, if I have to get child mild (it was all they had), I'll add some other spices.

What is one of your favorite holiday snacks?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 10/31/11

Our meals are in need of an overhaul! We have not been eating very well here lately. We have been so busy so I've just been sloppy! It's got to stop! So, it's time for me to be more mindful about what I am putting on the table (and in my mouth)! I've been feeling really sluggish and I know it's partly because of poor food choices! Here is our healthy menu for the week:

Veggie Soup and Corn Bread (at my mom's)

Stir Fried Rice w/ Chicken and Veggies

Tuna Sandwiches and Spinach Salad

Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans

I'm definitely upping our intake of veggies this week and planning on lots of salads for lunch! It is amazing how much diet effects us! I'm also going to be making some whole wheat quick breads... I just haven't decided what kind. I'm seriously thinking of a sugar detox... I'm just not brave enough to do it alone. Anyone want to join me?

Check out Orgjunkie for more menu planning and recipe ideas!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fill my cup to the top...

We're taking a little break between school and the boys are suppose to be cleaning their rooms! I just wanted to take a second to share what has been on my heart the past few days. This past Sunday our pastor, who's been preaching through Ephesians, taught on being filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a fantastic sermon (I'll include the link below) and really hit home for me. For some time I've had the Holy Spirit on my heart and mind. I've done some studying on the fruits of the Spirit and just the Holy Spirit in general. I daily battle my flesh. There are sins that I fight so often I wonder if I will ever find victory over them this side of heaven. I know we will always fight sin as long as were in these fleshly bodies but I know we can have victory over sin as well! So what is the answer to this? The Holy Spirit. He is the One promised to us by Christ! He sanctifies the believer! My pastor pointed out three things that come from being Spirit filled:

1. We will have joy in our salvation.

Acts tells us, 'the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.' (13:52)

2. We can have victory over besetting sin.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
(Galatians 5:16-17)

3. We will have boldness in the proclamation of the gospel.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

I don't know about you but I want all three, all the time!! So, the question is, how can we be filled with the Spirit? Take a look at Luke 11:5-13,

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I don't have time to go into all the ways these verses are twisted to make God seem like Santa Clause (that's an entirely different post)! But I do have time to tell you that the answer is to the question is to ASK! So simple, huh? This is a prayer that God will faithfully answer if we are as persistent as the man in the story who was asking his neighbor for food! Our sinful flesh quenches the Spirit in us, so this is something that we have to consistently seek God for. Child of God, plead with your Father to fill you and He will! This is when God will begin to work and do amazing things in His people for His glory!

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13

If you'd like to listen to the sermon (and I highly recommend it), click HERE.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 10/24

Monday... WHAT? It's already Monday!? Last week was our fall break, so hubby took off! It was full of a lot of fun things... my sister came home, my hubby and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, we had lots of family dinners, Luke had his last 'official' soccer game, we visited the pumpkin patch, sis and I went to the Kari Jobe concert, we celebrated my 30th birthday and the Hub's grandparents 60th wedding anniversary! We were busy but it was great! Tomorrow the Hubs goes back to work and we start back school! It will be nice to get back into a routine though. Tonight I could really tell the kids were just worn out! And I am too!

So, what are we eating this week?

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, Steamed Veggies

Chicken Pot Pie

Vegetable Soup and Corn Bread

Lasagna and Salad (dinner with family)

This week I'm only planning 4 meals because I think we may have something planned one night (kind of up in the air right now...). If not a good grilled cheese never hurt anyone! ;)

This weekend is Alabama's open week so we're having a big meal with some family and friends! I use this recipe for my lasagna. It's a little bit of work but it's really good stuff! Totally worth it for special occasions! I usually make this when I'm taking dinner to someone (add salad and bread) and it always get compliments! I love a good recipe!

I'm planning on doing some pumpkin bread this week too! Have a great week!

Check out for more menu planning ideas!

Menu Plan Monday 10/24

Monday... WHAT? It's already Monday!? Last week was our fall break, so hubby took off! It was full of a lot of fun things... my sister came home, my hubby and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, we had lots of family dinners, Luke had his last 'official' soccer game, we visited the pumpkin patch, sis and I went to the Kari Jobe concert, we celebrated my 30th birthday and the Hub's grandparents 60th wedding anniversary! We were busy but it was great! Tomorrow the Hubs goes back to work and we start back school! It will be nice to get back into a routine though. Tonight I could really tell the kids were just worn out! And I am too!

So, what are we eating this week?

Bean and Cheese Quesadillas, Steamed Veggies

Chicken Pot Pie

Vegetable Soup and Corn Bread

Lasagna and Salad (dinner with family)

This week I'm only planning 4 meals because I think we may have something planned one night (kind of up in the air right now...). If not a good grilled cheese never hurt anyone! ;)

This weekend is Alabama's open week so we're having a big meals with some family and friends! I use this recipe. It's a little bit of work but it's really good stuff! Totally worth it for special occasions! I usually make this when I'm taking dinner to someone (add salad and bread) and it always get compliments! I love a good recipe!

I'm planning on doing some pumpkin bread this week too! Have a great week!

Check out for more menu planning ideas!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ranch Parmesan Chicken

(I didn't have time for any fancy photo because dinner was running late. Someone might have forgotten to turn the oven on. Food typically cooks better in an oven that has been turned on. Oh and something weird happened when I uploaded the pictures and this is underlined along with some other weird issues that obviously have to do with html. I don't know how to fix that kind of stuff!!)

This was a hit with the family! Well, minus Luke who doesn't like anything I cook unless it comes in the form of a baked good. I asked him several times what he didn't like about it and he couldn't give me an answer. I think he just chooses not to like it whether or not he likes it... does that make sense? I will definitely be making these again and again! I'm thinking about trying them as nuggets and I might could get Luke to eat them!

I used chicken tenderloins for this but you could also use chicken breast. Don't you love a good picture of raw chicken? Marinate chicken in dressing (have you tried making your own?) for at least 1/2 hour. I let mine go for about an hour.

Mix your breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and seasonings. I like to use my pie plate for things like this. It makes it easy to dredge! For my breadcrumbs, I used 4 slices of whole wheat bread that I toasted for about 5 minutes in the oven, then put in my little chopper thingy... you know what that is right?

Lay all of your chicken into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan. Try not to let them touch, though that's not easy as you can see in my picture! The little bit of space between them helps them to get crispy on the bottom! Oh and don't forget to soak your hands in clorox and then scour them under hot water since you were handling raw chicken... and then clorox every surface of your kitchen! Just kidding....

Sort of.

Pop them into the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. They come out nice and crispy! So easy!

Ranch Parmesan Chicken (adapted from The Baking Beauties)

10-12 chicken tenderloins (or 4 chicken breast)
1 cup ranch dressing
1 and 1/4 cups bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt (I use Lowry's)
1/2 tsp pepper

Marinate chicken in ranch dressing for at least 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 in baking dish. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasonings together. Coat chicken in breadcrumb mixture, letting excess dressing drip off before dredging. Lay chicken down in a single layer, trying not to let the chicken touch. Bake at 400 for 25-35 minutes or until chicken is done (this will depend on whether or not you use tenders or breast).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Be encouraged!

I have a love/hate relationship with facebook. I think I've mentioned this before. I could share a list of reasons why facebook gets on my nerves but today I'll share one reason why I love it. I got on fb earlier this morning and saw two people had posted this video. I'm a fan of John Piper and an even bigger fan of Matt Chandler, so I had to watch. And I just turned into a puddle of tears. A thankful, puddle of tears. It's so good to be reminded of His love, His grace, His goodness.. all of which is unmerited. So, believer, watch it and be encouraged.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 10/3/11

Better late than never, right? Here is our (rather boring) menu this wonderful fall week:

Sloppy Joes, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes

Best Whole Chicken In A Crock Pot (I'll let you know if it is!), Peas, Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Biscuits (a recipe I'm working on!)

Toasted Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Carrots and Ranch Dip

Spaghetti Bake, Salad

That's it! We had dinner with my mom tonight so these four dinners will last us until next week. If by chance it doesn't, I've got veggie soup in the freezer! :)

I bought a few cans of pumpkin to have on hand and I'm thinking about making these this week... Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins... yum!

Check out for more menu planning ideas!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WFMW: Gentle, Semi-Homemade Hand Soap

Ok, so it's not really 'homemade' if you just add water. But it is economical and good for you!

A while back I bought Dr Bronners Baby Mild Soap at Target to use in my homemade disinfecting wipes. A friend of mine mentioned to me that she thought that the sulfates and parabens in her hand soap (and mine too!) were causing a rash on her hands. So, I set out to see what I could find on the internet about healthy hand soaps. Isn't the internet amazing!? Sometimes I hate it because it can suck up all your time but it is a wonderful wealth of resources as well!

As I was reading about the different methods and products others use I thought, "Dr. Bronners!" I first mixed some with water in a normal soap dispenser but it was watery and while I didn't mind, it did make a mess. So, I thought some more and then read somewhere about using a foaming soap dispenser for homemade soaps.

I went out and bought the cheap Wal*Mart foaming soap ($1.97) and dumped it down the drain (I know, wasteful!) I then replaced it with an ounce of Dr. Bronners (which is concentrated) and filled the rest up with water (totals 8 oz). It worked perfectly! The only downside that I have read about is that sometimes the oils in the soap will clog up the pump. I'm thinking that running hot water through the pump every once in a while may help with this!

I am soo pleased with this method. Here is the breakdown in pricing:

Dr. Bronners 32 oz @ $18 = $0.56 per bottle of soap ~ Target

If you ordered this on Amazon, the price right now is $16.49 and qualifies for free shipping (when you add $8.51 of other eligible items). I plan on doing this the next time I'm stocking up on coconut oil, maple syrup or rapadura. So, the price per bottle would be slightly less.

So, why is this so much better for you?

1. It doesn't contain parabens and sodium lauryl sulfates (click the links to read some of the concerns of these ingredients) .

2. It is NOT antibacterial.

"Numerous studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than ordinary soap in cleaning your hands. Either kind lifts off germ-laden dirt. But antibacterial soap kills helpful bacteria on the skin, freeing up valuable real estate so that harmful bacteria can move in later. " Read the full article here.

Check out this post about the evils of Triclosan which is in numerous antibacterial soaps.

3. This is a personal result that for some reason I didn't expect! I have terribly dry hands because I wash them often during the day! I can hardly believe how in just a few days of switching to this soap how good my hands look! I even made the Hubs feel them a few nights ago to see the difference! No more rough, cracking skin! It's smooth and soft!

So, if you're looking for a healthy, inexpensive hand soap... give this a try! It works for me!

Just a little side note: I know that articles you read on the internet can be swayed one way or the other (though several are not blog posts but medical journals). Either way, there are gray areas in some of the information available on these subjects. But obviously there is research out that that has caused some concern, so I choose to err on the side of caution until scientific evidence is fully established.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 9/26/11

We're eating out of the pantry, fridge and freezer this week! So, I've been going over what we have to come up with our meal plan! Here it is!

Chicken and Dumplin's, Peas (I've got several kind in the freezer), Corn Bread

Beef Soft Tacos, Corn

Cabbage and Navy Bean Soup, Leftover Corn Bread

Crockpot BBQ Chicken, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Cheddar and Herb Biscuits (made with ww flour)

Chili & Fixins

I'm going to be doing a little baking too: Pumpkin Bread & Loaded Oatmeal Cookies (though now I make them with all whole wheat flour and only sucanat in place of the sugar)!

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recipe Review: Tomato Bacon Egg Strata

On days when my hubby is off I love to make hot, healthy breakfast for us! Egg based casseroles are one of our favorite and I tried a new one today from The Hour That Matters Most by Les and Leslie Parrott. (You can read my review on the book here)

I love trying new recipes and this was no exception! Of course I did change the recipe up a bit by substituting some of what we had on hand (and used more real foods). That is what is so great about this recipe, you can interchange some basics and have a whole new taste! So here is the recipe with my substitutions in parenthesis.

Tomato Bacon Egg Strata

4 cups cubed sourdough bread with crust
1/2 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp chopped garlic (used 1 clove)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cooked bacon crumbles (used local sausage)
2 cups shredded Swiss or mozzarella cheese (mozzarella)
1 cup nonfat liquid egg product (4 large eggs)
2 cups non fat milk (2% milk)

Spray (I buttered) a 9x13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Layer first 10 ingredients in the order given. Pour egg and milk over the top and cover (I beat my eggs and mixed them with my milk and then poured). Refrigerate over night or freeze to use later.

If you've frozen the dish, thaw completely. Preheat oven to 350. Bake covered for 35 minutes; then remove cover and bake another 30-45 minutes until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*As you see I used sausage but it would be great with bacon or even ham as well. I also used real eggs and did not use skim milk.

This recipe would work well with a variety of vegetables. I think adding sauteed onions would be great! And to get in some green veggies a couple of handfuls of spinach would work well!

The flavor was great! My only downside was the egg/milk mixture. I feel like I needed more eggs, less milk. I like a more egg-y, dense base. The ratio of milk/egg in the recipe leaves the casserole more custard-y and I'm not a big fan of that texture. I think I would rather have maybe 6-8 eggs and 1 cup milk. I will definitely try that next time! It really is just a personal preference! All in all it's a great recipe to have and is great for weekend family meals! I will let you know if I try any other recipes from the book!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: The Hour That Matters Most

I was recently given the opportunity to review the book, The Hour That Matters Most by Les and Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna.

The premise of the book is why the family meal is important and how to get the most out of that golden hour. We eat dinner as a family most every night. Of course, my boys are 5 and 3 so aside from soccer one night a week, our weeknights are free. Luke is homeschooled so all of our school work is finished early in the day, so no homework (Yes, lots of kindergartners I know have homework!), ect. Americans are too busy and the average Christian family is no exception. We spend too much time on extracurriculars, sports, practices, clubs thus neglecting family time. We are pulled in a million different directions and rarely spend any time as a whole family unit. And while these are huge soap boxes of mine, I understand that this book is not out to solve that problem. (Though I will admit that is all I could think about while reading the beginning of the book!)

So, what does the book actually attempt? To help you realize how important the family meal is and how to make the most of it. And I think it does a good job at this.

The book gives great statistics at the differences between families who have regular family meals and those who don't. Some of them really are surprising.

My favorite part of the book though would have to be the tips on conversation with your children. Drs Les and Leslie Parrot, practicing psychologists and family and marriage counselors, give numerous examples and ideas on how to engage with and relate to your children in conversation, as well as how to avoid unnecessary conflict! There is also a chapter on manners that I especially appreciated as sometimes I think that is a lost art! I know that these tips will definitely be useful in coming years as my children get older. For me, these tips will surpass the family table and will be helpful in all areas for my family.

I think this book would be a great read for anyone who is wanting to regain that time together at the family table. For those of us who already have regular meal times together, The Hour That Matters Most gives great advice on how to make the most of that time together.

At the end of each chapter there is a recipe and tomorrow night I'm trying out one! All of the recipes are simple to make and most of them are pretty healthy, although I'd have to make a few substitutions for a few of the ingredients! Check back for the review on Friday!

**I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange of my honest review.**

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 8/19/11

Busy week means a late and rushed menu! Oh well! I hope you have a great week!

Beef Curry (I've never had curry.. but we're going to try it this week!), Sweet Potato Biscuits

Tomato Bacon and Egg Strata (recipe from the book I'm reviewing), Fruit

Cheesy Baked Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Easy Garlic Broccoli, Brown Rice (didn't get to this last week)

Beef Stew, Leftover Biscuits

Spaghetti, Salad

Other meals: leftovers, sandwiches, ect

I'm also planning on making some zucchini muffins! Tried anything new lately?

Check out for more menu plans and recipe ideas!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Skin Deep

Pssstt... It was a CRAZY week! But God is good and I am thankful. So thankful. I mentioned a book review and it is coming... next week. I just did not get to it this week! :)

So, a friend of mine and I were talking a few weeks ago about body products and what we use. Over the past year or so I've began to be more and more cautious about what I put on my skin and what I put on my families skin. I've done more research on the subject just in the past few months and it really is amazing what companies are allowed to put into products these days. I'm thankful for the information that is available and I think it's wise to research to avoid ignorance on the subject. I've never been one to just take someones word for it (especially the governments!!). I like to know myself.

My only battle with finding good, clean, healthy skin care products is price. Sadly, just like food, the real, good stuff is typically going to cost more! The way I see it is, in life we have choices. We can ignore things and hope for the best or we can make sacrifices and do the best for our families. We (as in our personal family) can't do it all. We don't have the resources or finances to do that but we do what we can!

The numbers you see out beside each product is a rating from the Skin Deep website. They rate products according to the ingredients in them. Unsafe ingredients = higher rating. I like for my products to be 3 and under.. but that isn't always the case! I dare you to go check some of your products!! Double dog dare you! I haven't always used these products so I know what it's like to check and see a really bad rating!!

Some of these things I buy at WalMart/Target but most of them I get online. I keep up with them on Amazon and watch for deals.

So here is a list of the current healthier skin care products we use:

The Boys:

~Although, I've been using Dr Bronner's Baby Mild Castile Soap (1), because a certain little boy emptied almost a WHOLE bottle of Burt's Bees in the tub (yes, I almost cried). Dr. Bronner's seems expensive but it is highly concentrated so a tiny amount goes a long way. I use it in my homemade disinfecting wipes for extra cleansing power but it's perfect and gentle for a body wash. I'm also thinking about using it as a hand soap, diluted of course. I'm learning that this soap can be used for TONS of stuff. Homemade dishwashing detergent even... hmm!


*Before I go into my products let me explain my skin. I have oily skin and lovely adult acne. It's plagued me since my early 20s and it's so annoying. I'm continuously on the search for the product that will cure it all, but I haven't found it yet. I had hoped that changing to more natural products would have helped but alas, it hasn't. So, my next thoughts are that it's hormones or dietary. Who knows? Here's what I'm using currently but some is subject to change!

~Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo & Conditioner (I actually just bought this for the first time and like it. I got it on clearance at WalMart. Prior to this I had been using Suave and may go back to that if I can't find good deals. Shampoo/Conditioner is one of those areas where I have to be forgiving because of budget!).

~Dessert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash (1): I use this as a body wash & face wash in the shower. I buy the refill bottles and it's a GREAT buy! This is another product where a tiny bit goes a long way. I actually read in the reviews where someone uses a small bottle to refill and uses a 50/50 solution of wash and water. I might have to try that!

~Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser: I use this to take my make up off at night, right now. But I'm not impressed with it. I will probably go back to using the Dessert Essence face wash, day and night, when it's gone.

~Face Naturals Deoderant (0).... GEEZ. I just checked the prices and they've gone up! They work, smell good and don't feel goopy. But they are expensive. I ordered two sample sizes and they lasted me all summer. Can I be honest? I don't wear deodorant that often. I don't smell (at least I don't think I do?! Please someone tell me if I do!) and so I don't feel it's necessary unless I'm going to be somewhere where I'm going to sweat a lot. So, that's why the samples lasted all summer. And that's why I spent a little extra on them! :)

~Nutiva Coconut Oil: This is what I use on myself pretty much every day. A tiny bit will do you! It can be greasy if you use too much, so there is an art to it. It works AMAZING on feet, slather it on before bed with socks and you'll have super smooth feet! It's also what I used on the boys when they got sunburned this summer (only once!). I also use it on them in the winter for dry skin. It smells like coconut going on but the smell goes away. And FYI, I buy one jar for cooking and one for body use. ;)

~Say Yes to Carrots, Daily Facial Moisturizer: This is what I wear under my make up. It does a good job keeping me moisturized without being really oily.

~Yes To Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel (1): I really love this! No, my eyes don't look much different after using it but I just like it. I've used it all over my face before if I'm out of moisturizer!

~Alba Botanical Very Emollient Body Lotion (3): I use this on my hands during the day. It's easier to use than the coconut oil, which I usually just use after the shower. I only buy it when I have the money. It's one of those extra things but I use it sparingly so when I can buy it, it lasts a while. The skin on my hands are extremely dry!! I'm a hand washer... and a dish washer and a kid washer and a toilet washer... well you get the picture. My hands need lots of help!

The Hubs:

*note the Hubs could care less what he uses. But I love him. So I do my best to budget in safe stuff for his skin too. He uses regular ol' deodorant and shampoo at the moment. He tried the 'fancy' deodorant and didn't like it. And if he ever needs lotion for dry skin he uses mine. :)

~Burt's Bees Men's Bar Soap (1) I get this most often!

Sunscreen for us all:

So, what products do you use? Do you have any good quality, good priced all natural, healthy skin care products you'd like to share about? Have any homemade products that work for you? I want to know!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

Ok, you get it... we like muffins. I like making lots of different kinds because I get tired of the same ol' thing! The boys really liked this one!

I found this recipe and adapted it to make it a little healthier. This muffin was really yummy and very filling! Perfect breakfast or snack!

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal (I used 2 pkgs of instant oatmeal with flax seeds)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS melted butter
3/4 cup sugar (I used sucanat)
2 eggs
2 medium size bananas, mashed
1 cup buttermilk
6 TBS creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 12 cup muffin tin (I made mini's). In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients together. In medium size bowl mix the wet ingredients well. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until no flour streaks remain.
Divide batter evenly into muffin tin, filling almost to the top. Bake 16-20 minutes until toothpick stuck in center comes out clean.
Cool a few minutes before moving to wire cooking rack.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 9/12/11

Last week was a busy week! No blogging time! Hopefully this week will be a little more relaxed. And I'm hoping to have a few posts up this week (including a book review!). Here is what we're eating this week:

Chicken Fried Steak Strips, Green Beans, Sauteed Squash & Onions

Cheesy Basil Stuffed Chicken Breast (new recipe that sounds so yummy!), Easy Garlic Broccoli, Brown Rice

Homemade Pizza

Hot Ham and Swiss Sandwiches, Veggies and Ranch Dip

Last week I came up with a new muffin recipe (you're shocked, I know). They were really yummy. Hopefully I can share it this week, too. The ingredients included: bananas, peanut butter and chocolate chips!

I found a super good sale on Bob's Red Mill Organic Pancake Mix and picked up a package. I'm planning on trying the mix this week so we'll have pancakes & fruit for breakfast a few days. I love my favorite from scratch recipe but it will be nice for breakfast to have a mix. Other days will be cereal. :)

Lunch is totally boring around here... PB&J's or leftovers. :)

Homemade Snacks/Treats*:
Crunchy Granola Bars (we crush them up and make granola bites, which btw is yummy on yogurt or in milk as a cereal!)
And these healthier Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

*I do buy snacks as well... Kashi Fruit bars are a favorite around here... As well as Annie's snacks. I buy a few boxes when Target has them on sale to keep for quick snacks. And we usually have some kind of cracker, right now we have some Cheez Its and some Kashi Pita Crackers. And of course cheese, yogurt and fruit! I'm the mean mommy who makes their kid eat fruit or yogurt when I hear "I'm HUNGRY!!".. then if they're still hungry, they get something else.

Have a great week!

Check out OrgJunkie for more menu planning ideas and recipes!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spiced Pear Muffins

We were given some yummy pears a week ago and I thought they would go great in some muffins! We love muffins! So here is the recipe I came up with! The boys weren't crazy about these (they aren't big on nuts so if I make some more I'll do half without)... but I thought they were great! Perfect for these cooler mornings we're getting!

Spiced Pear Muffins

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup oil (I used coconut)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups chopped pears*
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda salt and spices together. In a smaller bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Fold in pears and pecans. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely so that muffin doesn't stick to paper cups.

*I used 2 full cups of chopped pears and it was A LOT. They were good but you could definitely use less and they would still be good!

A Full Day Button