Thursday, May 31, 2012

Transorm Your Home into a Spa Retreat

Last night, DH and I were talking about cruises, retreats, bed & breakfasts, presidential suites, and how we can take those wonderful places and make them a part of our new home.  It's not like we have a staff of employees or a personal chef to provide us with turn-down sheets and specially made meals or to pack a picnic basket but we should be able to make the ordinary extraordinary.

We started bouncing around words and ideas that conjure up feelings of contentment: Aromatherapy, plush bedding, chocolates, fancy soap, luxurious towels, colors on the walls, bird feeders, sounds of the ocean.  Hey!  These are all things we can have at home - and at reasonable prices.

A retreat is a place where we go to be pampered, relax and to forget life's stresses.  Why not make our home our retreat?  We can start small by incorporating a few things at a time.  We will find ways around obstacles such as wanting a fireplace when we don't have one or have the space to bring in an electric one.

Aromatherapy

Potpourri, Candles, Incense, Soap

Atmosphere

Clutter Free, Fire Place (DVD), Fish Tank (DVD), Lighting

Luxurious Linens

Cloth Napkins, Table Cloth, Plush Bedding


Our Goal is to be Stress FREE

Life can be pretty busy and and crazy sometimes.  We may not be able to completely create a full-time retreat in our home but we can add special touches throughout or create one room that is tranquil.  Vacations are wonderful but a lot of effort goes into planning.  Why not have a "stay-cation" and create an in-home spa? 

Can you see how adding a few touches here and there can make life a little easier?  Do you have a "zen room" or a meditation corner?  Do you have a favorite "recipe" for a spa treatment or do you have a "menu" of spa items?

P.S., Please remember to schedule some time today just for you.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

10 Delicous Tofu Recipes

Tofu.  You've seen it in the grocery store.  Read about the benefits.  Now you find yourself with a tub of tofu in your refrigerator and wondering what on earth you're going to do with it.

Here are 10 delicious recipes that ought to get you started.  Who knows, tofu might become your favorite "meat".
  1.  Spice Seared Tofu from the Gourmet Guy at Men's Health
  2. Crispy Breaded Tofu by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows
  3. Baked Tofu by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen
  4. Tofu Walnut Meat Balls by Helen Fried at What's Cooking America
  5. Quick Easy Vegan Tofu Vegetable Quiche at the Savvy Vegetarian provided by Lonica Lee Eisenbraun of The Organic Company
  6. Tofu Scramble with Spinach by Jolinda Hackett at About.com
  7. Tofu, Lettuce, Tomato Sandwich by Eating Well
  8. Macaroni and Cheesy Tofu by Strollingtroll at Recipes with Tofu
  9. Grilled Herbed Tofu with Avocado Cream provided by chef and TV host Giada de Laurentiis at The Food Network
  10. Tofu Cacciatore by Kozmic Blues at Food.com
If you are gluten-free or vegan, be sure to substitute ingredients for your dietary needs.

What is your favorite "go-to" tofu recipe?  Do you prefer it in a smoothie or as a dip?  Did you have to substitute ingredients, if so, which recipes did you try and what did you use?
 
P.S., If you enjoyed this post please tell your friends and also be sure to sign up to receive each post directly to your email inbox.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix

King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix

Doesn't this look yummy?  Is your mouth watering yet?  Are you thinking hot fudge sundae brownie?  Or are you a little more practical and imagining sitting down with a delicious cup of coffee and indulging in this moist brownie?

King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix



Any way you can imagine enjoying this little piece of bliss, King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix will not fail.

King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix

Believe it or not, I typically follow the recipe exactly like it is on the box.  Although, I am thinking about changing it up a bit and making blueberry muffin brownies.  I think the small bite-sized muffin pan would be perfect.  Oh, wait a minute!  What about mini brownies with fresh raspberries?!  How decadent is that?!!!

King Arthur's Gluten-Free Brownie Mix

This is a must-have item in our pantry.  It only takes a couple minutes to prepare, bake while enjoying an impromptu dinner with friends, and by the time you're ready for a drink and dessert, you have BROWNIES.

P.S., What is your go-to, must-have dessert for company?  Have you made this recipe without eggs?

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Art Lacey Overcomes Obstacles

I received this story through email and had to share it with you.  This is a terrific tale about a dream (or bet) that turned into a goal and eventually a reality.  Read about Art Lacey's adventures, obstacles, and other hurdles he had to overcome.

Art Lacey's Bomber Station
Art Lacey's Bomber Station
Photographer and Initial posting unknown


Shortly after WWII a guy named Art Lacey went to Kansas (actually, it was Oklahoma) to buy a surplus B-17.  His idea was to fly it back to Oregon, jack it up in the air and make a gas station out of it.  He borrowed $15,000 from a friend for it.  He asked which one was his and they said take whichever you want because there were miles of them.  He didn't know how to fly a 4-engine airplane so he read the manual while he taxied around by himself.  They said he couldn't take off alone so he put a mannequin in the co-pilot's seat and off he went.

Art Lacey's Bomber Gas Station
Art Lacey's Bomber Station
Photographer and Initial posting unknown



He flew around a bit to get the feel of it and when he went to land he realized he needed a co-pilot to lower the landing gear.  He crashed and totaled his plane and another on the ground.  They wrote them both off as "wind damaged" and told him to pick out another.  He talked a friend into being his co-pilot and off they went.

Art Lacey's Bomber Gas Station at Night
Art Lacey's Bomber Station
Photographer and Initial posting unknown
They flew to Palm Springs where Lacey wrote a hot check for gas.  Then they headed for Oregon .  They hit a snow storm and couldn't find their way, so they went down below 1,000 feet and followed the railroad tracks.   His partner sat in the nose section and would yell, "TUNNEL" when he saw one and Lacey would climb over the mountain.            

Art Lacey's Bomber Gas Station Crew
Art Lacey's Bomber Station
Photographer and Initial posting unknown
They landed safely, he made good the hot check he wrote, and they started getting permits to move a B-17 on the state highway.  The highway department repeatedly denied his permit and fought him tooth and nail for a long time, so late one Saturday night, he just moved it himself.  He got a $10 ticket from the police for having too wide a load.

P.S.,  If you'd like to read more about this heart-warming story and to participate in restoring a piece of history, visit B-17 Wings of Freedom Project.

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Peach Smoothie

Vegan Peach Smoothie

Running late and no time for breakfast?  It has been said time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to jump-start our metabolism and in order to maintain our optimum energy level we should not skip a meal.

This smoothie is definitely a meal packed with protein.  According to the Health Food Guide, the Chinese have known about the benefits of peaches for many years and Popeye should have rethought his food of choice.  In fact, Andrea Cespedes of Livestrong.com says that peaches include vitamins A, C, E, K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and that doesn't include the rest of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or fiber benefits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole sliced peach or 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/8 cup soy protein
  • 1 T flax seed
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (soy, almond, rice, coconut)
  • cinnamon or apple pie spice to taste

Save time, money, and your waistline.  This delicious drink is filling and makes enough for a meal now and one to share or fill a thermos and take it along with you for a mid-day snack or meal.

What is your favorite smoothie?  Do you make your own or purchase it while you are out?  Where do you like to buy your smoothies?  Please share your comments below.


P.S., If you liked this recipe please tell your friends and also be sure to sign up to receive each post directly to your email inbox.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beauty Pageants – Man-made or Naturally Born Beautiful


After reading Yahoo’s article Tuesday, March 27, 2012 titled Miss Universe Canada Disqualifies Transsexual Contestant: She was Born a Boy I’m really not sure where I stand on the issue.  Some comments stated that since the pageant is privately owned then they should be able to have the right to state the rules.  Then others commented that not only should the participant be born a female she should also not be allowed to have any plastic surgery.

Are beauty pageants a thing of the past?

How do you feel about a contestant having a sex change or plastic surgery?  Does this compare with steroid usage in other competitions?
 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekly Menu for 5/27/12 - 6/2/12

Each week we will try to offer you a variety of quick, healthy, easy meals and a grocery list to accompany each night. Using a menu helps with the never ending quest for "What's for dinner?" even if you change the order. Shopping with a list and visiting the grocery store once a week has also been proven to save time and money. Time and money are precious commodities today. If you make a little extra, it can also save on extra spending at lunch. Not only will you save money and time you will also know what ingredients are in your food and enjoy the health benefits


May 27, 2012 - June 2, 2012
Day Menu Item Shopping
Sunday Stuffed Peppers
6 large Sweet Peppers
3 small Tomatoes
Frozen Corn
1 small Sweet Onion
1 can Red Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 can Chopped Ripe Black Olives
Monterey Jack Cheese
Fresh Basil
3 Garlic Cloves
Spaghetti Sauce
Parmesan Cheese
Monday Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa
  1 Lime
Unsalted Butter
Quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) Can Black Beans
2 Medium Tomatoes 
Scallions
Fresh Cilantro
Tuesday Frittata Eggs
Fresh Oregano
1 Red Bell Pepper
Scallions
Crumbled Goat Cheese or Vegan Feta Cheese
Wednesday Vegetable Stir Fry Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables
Rice
Vegetable Stock
Soy Sauce or Liquid Amino Acids
Agave Nectar
Chili Flakes
Thursday Zesty Vegetable Lasagna Ricotta Cheese
1 cup(s) Pecorino Romano or Parmesan Cheese
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Large Egg
1 pounds Cremini Mushrooms (These are baby Portabella Mushrooms)
1 Large Onion
2 (each) Red and Yellow Bell Peppers
12 ounces Fresh Baby Spinach
Marinara Sauce (Spaghetti Sauce)
1 pound Lasagna Noodles (Gluten-Free)
1 1/2 pounds Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Friday Shepherd's Pie 1 1/4 pounds Small Red Potatoes
Frozen Peas
  Parmesan Cheese
1 Large Yellow Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
  Curry Powder
  Ground Cumin
2 Small Red or Green Bell Peppers
Eggplant
1 (15 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes
Saturday Baked Ziti 16 -20 ounces Pasta (Gluten-Free Ziti, Rigatoni or Penne)
45 ounces Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb TVP* or 2 cans Beans
Parmesan Cheese
Shredded Mozzarella or Italian Blend


You will also need:

Flour, Vegetable Oil, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Basil (dried), Oregano (dried), Salad, Salad Dressing, Gluten-Free Bread, Milk of your choice, Rice




How did you enjoy this week's menu?  Did you enjoy the websites?  How were the recipes?  Were they easy to follow and the ingredients easy to find?  Did you have quite a bit of the ingredients already on hand?

Did you find cooking different meals having similar items easier?  Were you able to prepare multiple meals at once?

What would you like to see on future menus?


* TVP = Texturized Vegetable Protein (look for Gluten-Free)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day Celebrations

The last Monday in May is Memorial Day providing many Americans with a three-day weekend unofficially kicking off  the beginning of summer.  Memorial Day is the remembrance of those who have died during war protecting our freedom.  It's a funny holiday because while we are mourning, it is also a day for celebration.  Celebration for the lives of those who have died, celebration of summer, celebration of the school break, in essence - FREEDOM.

What if we started a tradition of our own?  Why not celebrate life, remember those who have passed, and group many of the spring and summer festivities into one?  Think of the traditions golf tournaments, races, and other sports have and combine the best.

Mimicking some of the traditions of our favorite sporting events, we too can celebrate our winners in like fashion:


The Sports we LOVE!



Racing = Three-legged Race, Potato Sack Race
Football = Water Balloon Toss, Flag Football
Tennis = Ping Pong, Badminton, Volley Ball
Golf = Bocce Ball, Croquet
Boxing = Tug of War


The Awards!

  • The WINNER drinks Milk or sprays Champagne
    • How about drink milk or blow bubbles

  • The WINNER wears a Memorial Wreath
    • Create a Memorial Wreath made of silk red Tulips

  • The WINNER wears a Jacket
    • Have an Apron, Jacket or Floral Shirt

  • The WINNER receives a Trophy
    • Create a Trophy out of a Colander or from a Souvenir Glass

  • The WINNER receives a Belt or Buckle
    • Create a Sash


If you're looking for additional ways to celebrate this year's weekend, here are some more suggestions:


P.S.,  Have a safe and fun Holiday Weekend!

Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Email I Received...


It will take just 37 seconds to read this and change your thinking..

 


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.


The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..


Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.


The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.


The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.


As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.


One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.


Days, weeks and months passed.


One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.


She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.


As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.


Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.


It faced a blank wall.


The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.


The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'




 

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.


Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.


If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

 
'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present.'
 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gluten-Free Brands



For those of you who have been gluten-free for some time probably know about these products but for those of you who are new it may seem that there isn’t anything out there.  There are new products being introduced practically daily.  Mainstream brands are also beginning to understand that they need to provide alternatives.  For example, Bisquick and Betty Crocker now have gluten-free products.  There is a HUGE expense to this diet and that it seems our items are 3X the price.  Then again, the price at the cash register is so much LESS than what a doctor visit, medication, and the overall suffering of not eating properly causes.
Gluten Free Pantry

Aleia*
bob's Red MillBetterBatter*
Bob’s Red Mill (Flours, Oats) – This item can be found in most grocery stores in the baking or health food aisle.
Chebe (Pizza Dough Mix, Bread Dough Mix, Cinnamon Rolls Mix)
Deboles (Pasta) -- This item can be found in most grocery stores in the pasta or health food aisle.
Dr Schar (Pasta) -- This item can be found in most grocery stores in the pasta or health food aisle.
Gluten-Free Pantry (Baking Mixes) -- This item can be found in most grocery stores in the baking or health food aisle.
Heartland Penne PastaGlutino (Baking Mixes, Ready-Made Snacks) -- This item can be found in most grocery stores in the baking or health food aisle.
Heartland (Pasta) -- This item is mainly found in specialty grocery stores or health food stores.
Mrs Leepers (Pasta, Boxed Meals) -- This item can be found in most grocery stores in the pasta or health food aisle.
Namaste*
Really Great Food*
Rudi (Bread) – This item is mainly found in specialty grocery stores or health food stores.
Thai Kitchen (Asian Noodles) – This item can be found in most grocery stores in the pasta or international aisle
Tinkyada (Pasta) – This item can be found in most grocery stores in the pasta or health food aisle.  Look for the little bunny on the package and you’ll know you have a great pasta to try.
Trader Joe'sUdi (Bread, Bagels) – This item is mainly found in specialty grocery stores or health food stores.

 


I am not being paid to mention these items.  They are listed with hopefully some helpful notes to get you started.  You can also find these items throughout the Internet and have them delivered directly to your door.  In many cases, you can also purchase them in bulk quantity.  I have also found that some of the stores are now carrying gluten-free products under their label.  In Texas, HEB has their own brand of gluten-free pasta and Trader Joe carries gluten-free pastas – both of which are a fraction of the cost to the other brands.

Have you tried any of these items?  Are you finding them relatively easy and are they priced comparatively to their non-gluten-free counterparts? 


 * Items I have not yet tried.

Monday, May 21, 2012

June 2012 Money Management Challenge

One of the greatest satisfactions in life is feeling the relief of paying off a debt.  We all know that debt causes stress, and don't we already have enough of that in our life?

Financial freedom is not necessarily having the finances to purchase whatever you want.  Financial freedom is having the knowledge and the wisdom to create a plan that allows you to live within your means.


Each month's challenges will help us attain our
Financial Freedom in the
Money Matters Monday
series.


  • Throughout this series we will look into the management of our expenses.  We need to know where and when we are spending our money.

  • We will then learn to categorize our spending.

  • Then we will talk long term about some financial planning choices and where to start searching out the questions and answers.


This month's Money Matters Monday challenge is to collect receipts.  That's right, it's as simple as collecting receipts for everything you purchase throughout the month of June.

Receipt Collecting

  • To get you started, you'll want a letter-sized manilla envelope to house your receipts for the month or a smaller envelope for each week.  Actually carrying around a smaller envelope might be a little easier if you're carrying a purse.
  • Next, ask a good friend, family member (or someone who is brave enough to be honest) to help you with this month's task.  Have this person write down how much they think you spend throughout a month and seal it in an envelope.  They can break down their estimate if you'd like; for example, daily coffee, magazines, groceries, entertainment, drinks, etc.  This amount does not include fixed monthly payments such as rent/mortgage/bills.
  • This will only be what you purchase with cash, debit, check, or credit card.

This is not a behavior modification exercise.  This is for us to go through the month, as we always do, so that we can actually see where our money went.  So, in order for this to work, please go about your activities as you always do but be sure to collect a receipt.


Each Monday, we will check in and get a sense of how we're doing.  We'll talk about how we're feeling, are we changing our behavior knowing that we will have to collect a receipt, etc.  However, we will save the receipt analysis for the end of the month.

No peeking until the end of the month!





Please share me with your friends! Please forward this post to your friends or better yet share on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  THANKS!  Your comments and help in spreading the news about this site is ALWAYS appreciated!  Be sure to sign up to receive future articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burgers


2 – 15 oz cans of Black Beans, rinsed and drained (separated)
Black Bean Burgers
Black Bean Burgers1/2 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Cornmeal
1/2 Cup Salsa
2 t Ground Cumin
1 t Garlic Powder
1 T Nutritional Yeast
1 T Italian Seasoning
1/4 Cup Water

In the food processor add 1 can black beans and all the rest of the ingredients.  Blend until a nice and thick paste (kind of like bean dip).  Add the second can of black beans to the mixture in a bowl.  Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours before cooking.


You can cook individual patties and refrigerate the rest for up to about four days.  I like to prepare the ingredients one day, cook up a few burgers for lunch or dinner and then cook up all the burgers the next day.  The burgers cooked the second day seem to be a bit stronger in flavor (similar to spaghetti sauce) since the flavors have melded.

Another way to enjoy these burgers is to cook or grill them all up and freeze.  Wrap each burger individually and place them all in a container to freeze.  When you want to eat one, remove it and treat it as a burger you purchased frozen from the store.

This recipe yields 6-8 good-sized burgers.

Black Bean Burgers

The important seasonings in this burger are really the cumin and salsa.  The other seasonings can be altered.  Maybe use barbecue sauce instead of the salsa or add fresh onions in place of the garlic powder.  If you don’t have the nutritional yeast or Italian seasoning, it’s OK.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Changing the World One Person at a Time


Ever think that your contribution doesn't really matter since you are only one person?  One vote?  Think of all the changes one person at a time has made over the years.  One person sat in front of a building, one person took public transportation, one person had a dream, one person fought for gorillas, one person has made the difference.

Although organizations are made up of many people, it is each person being involved that makes the collective voice.  Here are five of my favorite websites that are changing the world one person at a time.


What are your favorite charitable websites?  What cause are you passionate about?  Do you think schools should offer gluten-free lunches?  Should companies pay for your parking or subsidize your public transportation to help alleviate the strain on the rising price of gasoline or reduce the amount of cars on the road every day?

Leave your comment below and let your voice be heard.  Let us join in your cause.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly Menu for 5/20/12 - 5/26/12

Each week we will try to offer you a variety of quick, healthy, easy meals and a grocery list to accompany each night. Using a menu helps with the never ending quest for "What's for dinner?" even if you change the order. Shopping with a list and visiting the grocery store once a week has also been proven to save time and money. Time and money are precious commodities today. If you make a little extra, it can also save on extra spending at lunch. Not only will you save money and time you will also know what ingredients are in your food and enjoy the health benefits.


May 20, 2012 - May 26, 2012
Day Menu Item Shopping
Sunday Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
Rice
Cheddar Cheese
5 Eggs
Milk
Broccoli Floret
Monday
Lemon-Basil Pasta
  Linguine or desired pasta
1 can White Kidney (Cannellini) Beans
1 Lemon
Fresh Basil Leaves
Tuesday Creamy Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
  Onion
1 1/2 pounds Sweet PotatoesChicken or Vegetable Broth
1 pound Carrots
  Half-and-Half
  Sour Cream
  Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
Wednesday Salmon-Potato Cakes 14 ounces Fresh Skinless Salmon fillets (or try using canned Salmon)
Sour Cream
Chives
Seasoned fine dry Bread Crumbs
Fresh Dill
Potatoes
Thursday Pizza with Zucchini
2 large Zucchini
1 Clove Garlic
  Pizza Dough
Ricotta Cheese
Gruyère (or Swiss) Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Friday Poached Salmon Nioise Salad
2 Bay Leaves
  White Wine2 pounds Skin-on Wild Salmon Fillet
3 Garlic Cloves
  Whole-Grain Mustard
  Champagne Vinegar
  Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
Fresh Basil
2 large bunches Watercress
10 small Yellow-Skinned New Potatoes (or any New Potato)
4 Eggs
Niçoise olives
3 Roma Tomatoes
Saturday Ina Garden's Roasted Vegetable Torte 2  Zucchini
1 Red Onion
1 Clove Garlic
2 Red Bell Peppers
2 Yellow Bell
1 Eggplant
Parmesan Cheese


You will also need:

Flour, Vegetable or Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Oregano (dried), Parsley (dried), Crushed Red Pepper, Butter, Cinnamon (ground), Nutmeg (ground), Salad, Salad Dressing, Gluten-Free Bread, Milk of your choice




How did you enjoy this week's menu?  Each item came from a popular magazine.  Did you enjoy the websites?  How were the recipes?  Were they easy to follow and the ingredients easy to find?  Did you have quite a bit of the ingredients already on hand?  Did you have to substitute any items, and if so, what did you use?

Did you find cooking different meals having similar items easier?  Were you able to prepare multiple meals at once?

What would you like to see on future menus?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Cleaner House ONE Task at a Time


"Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world."
-- George Bernard Shaw

Choose any five (5) days a week to do the following projects.  Try to do at least two items a day and to ensure that they are done, schedule them in your calendar.  Over a month's time, everything should have been done at least once, if not more often.  Some items won't be done at all due to the time of year.

I have not scheduled the amount of time each task will take because the size of rooms, number of people in a house, etc.  The first time you do each task mark down how long it took so that you know approximately how long it will take next time.  You will probably find that each task will end up taking a little less time as you get better organized.  You might be able to complete a load of laundry in while you clean the tub, sink, toilet, and floor!

Clean out the refrigerator while you're getting dinner ready or organize the freezer when you come home from the grocery store.

When will you have time to watch TV or listen to your newest book?   While you're sorting through a drawer or mending clothes.  You are a MASTER Multi-Tasker!

Kitchen

  • Sweep the Kitchen Floor
  • Wipe down the tops of the Kitchen Cabinets
  • Mop the Floor
  • Clean out the Refrigerator
  • Clean out the Freezer
  • Dishes Washed and Put Away
  • Wipe down all the Counters
  • Organize the Pantry
  • Organize a Kitchen Cabinet (next time choose a different cabinet)
  • Inspect Dishes for Cracks
  • Clean the Stove top
  • Clean the Oven
  • Cook (can you make a couple days worth of meals?)
  • Empty the Trash

Laundry Room

  • One Load of Laundry (washed, dried, folded/hung, put away)
  • Sweep the Floor
  • Mop the Floor
  • Iron
  • Organize the Laundry Room
  • Clean the Dryer Vent
  • Empty the Trash

Living Room

  • Dust the Living Room Furniture
  • Vacuum or dry/wet Sweep

Bedroom(s)

  • Dust the Bedroom Furniture
  • Make the Bed
  • Change the Sheets
  • Vacuum

Bathroom(s)

  • Sweep the Floor
  • Mop the Floor
  • Clean the Toilet
  • Clean the Sink
  • Clean the Shower/Tub
  • Empty the Trash

Office

  • Clear off Desk Top
  • Vacuum / Sweep
  • Dust
  • File Papers (create beautiful folders or color coordinate such as water bills is blue, electric and gas is red, etc.)
  • Sort Papers
  • Shred documents no longer needed that contain personal information
  • Empty the Trash

Outside

  • Mow the lawn
  • Water the lawn and garden
  • Weed the garden
  • Empty out the Car (Remove trash, put away maps, shake out floor mats)
  • Update Car Maintenance
  • Repair Mailbox
  • Clean out the Garage

Miscellaneous

  • Change out the Air Filters
  • Mend the Clothes (Basic Sewing Kit)
  • Take Donation Items to your favorite charity
  • Windows!
  • Vacuum the Main Rooms
  • Move the furniture and clear away the dust bunnies that have multiplied
  • Organize a Drawer (junk drawer, sock drawer, etc.)
  • Put together a basket for window cleaning supplies
  • Put together a basket for dusting the furniture
  • Put together a Cleaning Supply Bucket (one EACH for Window Cleaning, Dusting, Car)
  • Have a fireplace?  Make sure it's safe for your next use
  • Sort through your Magazines, Books, and Newspapers
  • Weekly Grocery Shopping

Be sure that you schedule time for your Faith, Family, Work, and then cleaning and commitments outside the home.

Dates or days of the week were intentionally omitted so that you have more flexibility and freedom to do each task when you have time according to your own schedule each week.  Later on we will talk about scheduling time to maximize the most out of each day.  For now, hopefully choosing a couple items a day will help you find more time in your week to spend with the family or even a little personal time for yourself.

Do you schedule time to clean or do you do a thorough cleaning every weekend?  Would you like to see my calendar showing when I get each item done?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Faux Souffle

Faux Souffle
Faux Souffle


Preheat your oven to 350F and grease a 2-quart souffle or casserole dish.

Mix together and place in the souffle dish:

8 Slices of wheat-free/gluten-free bread (cubed)
1/2 Cup grated Mixed Cheese
3 Tablespoon melted Butter

Beat the eggs and mix additional ingredients:

3 Eggs
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Liquid Aminos
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slowly add the scalded milk to the egg mixture:

2 Cups scalded Milk

Pour the entire egg mixture over the bread cubes in the souffle dish.
Faux Souffle


Faux Souffle 

Bake 45 minutes
Faux Souffle 








 


and serve immediately.








Makes: 3 1/2 cups or about 4 servings







This recipe was adapted from Carol Gelles “1,000 Vegetarian Recipes” cookbook.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

French Bread

Gluten-Free French Bread



This very moist and airy French Bread was baked using the GLUTEN FREE PANTRY French Bread & Pizza Mix.

I followed the directions with a couple exceptions:
    Gluten-Free Pantry French Bread & Pizza Mix
  • Instead of using 2 eggs and 1 egg white, I used 2 eggs + 1 T Ener-G Egg Replacer + 1 tablespoon water.
  • Melted Butter was used instead of the vegetable oil.
  • My bread pan is a little smaller than the 9x5 inch loaf pan called for on the box.
  • The Oven Method was used rather than dragging out the bread machine.  (My machine was great in theory but pulling out the mixer from the bottom of the loaf of bread after baking is a mess.)
  • Slightly greased the plastic wrap to allow the bread to rise.
  • A few minutes before taking the bread out of the oven, I brushed some olive oil over the top instead of using an egg wash.  The egg wash was supposed to be brushed on the loaf prior to baking.  This is to aid in the browning of the top.
  • Baked for 43 minutes which was half way between 40 and 45 minutes as stated on the box.

We've used the GLUTEN FREE PANTRY items before and have been impressed each time.  In fact, we've halved the recipe and added the remaining flour to our "Flour Stash".  Our Flour Stash is truly a mish/mash of flours (all wheat-free/gluten-free) combined over time.  For example, when a recipe calls for a cup of flour, we add the remaining to the Stash rather than keeping all the flours separated.  One day I will sit down and actually create a flour mixture.



Gluten-Free French Bread

Have you used boxed mixes and what has been your success?  Do you recommend a specific company?  What flour or flour mixes do you use?  Do you make your own flour mix?  I've actually read that one lady uses oat flour for all her baking. 



P.S., I was neither paid nor endorsed by GLUTEN FREE PANTRY or anyone else and the opinions are solely those of Substance of Living.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bulk Savings of Epic Proportions

Did you read the Yahoo! article 10 Things You Should Always Buy in Bulk dated March 25, 2012?  It was a good article and also mentioned some great websites such as Hassle-Free Savings and Suddenly Frugal.

I don’t know if all the things I purchase at wholesale clubs are considered “bulk” but some items I purchase using my wholesale membership include the following:
  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Gum
  • Smart Balance tubs of butter
  • Kitty Litter
  • Toothbrushes
  • Soap – Bath, Liquid Hand
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dish Washer Soap
  • Vitamins
  • Frozen Fish (Wild Caught, not farmed raised)
  • Razors
  • Pasta Sauce (Gluten-Free)
  • Cans of Tuna Fish
  • Milk – Organic and Soy Milk
  • Frozen Fruit (Organic)
  • Canned Diced Tomatoes (Organic)
  • Oatmeal
  • Wine
  • Computers

This is not to say that I will only purchase them there.  For example, the vitamins can run me about the same when they are on sale at the drug store.  The kitty litter can also cost me the same at the pet store or a major discount store.

The biggest reason for buying them at my local membership warehouse is 1) I’m already there picking up other items, 2) Coupon came in the mail, 3) The more I purchase throughout the year, it pays for my membership.

Remember the saying that, “It takes money to make money” or “You have to spend money in order to save money”?  Well, I figure the price of the membership is like spending money on gas to get to the grocery store.

I also find myself purchasing very specific items from the grocery store and not items that I can purchase at “The Warehouse”.  The more I can stay out of the stores or malls the more money that stays in my wallet. I wish I could purchase the following at my local wholesale club:

Wheat/Gluten-Free Pasta
Wheat/Gluten-Free Bread
Vegan “Meats”
Guar Gum

It was a long time in the making that these items could be found in a regular grocery store and now look around the stores even have their own brand of these products.  The price is also beginning to come down.  Until then, the quest continues. Where do you do most of your shopping?  Do you use coupons?  How do you use your savings?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Aren't mothers the best?!  There are just some things in life that only mothers understand.  They know when to talk, when to remain silent, they are in our corner whether they agree with our decisions or not.


This year, with the help of letterwhiz, I'd like to publicly write my mother a letter.


Dear Mom,

I wish you a Happy Mother's Day today, but also wish you many other happy days as well.

You are the one person who has always been there for me, to support me when I needed a hand, to nudge me along when I needed to let go. You were there when I needed to cry, allowed me to yell when words failed me, and stayed up with me all night when I was sick.

I love you, and appreciate everything you have ever done for me. A Happy Mother's Day is the very, very least I could begin to wish for you in return.

Love,
Marie 

                                             
One of the many fun activities provided by the Disney Family Fun website.
                                               

You are welcome to use my letter as an example to write your mother, or how about Disney's fun letter that you can create on your own stationery.

If neither one of the options above sparks your creativity then there is this beautiful letter written by Dr. Mia Rose A Letter to Mom on Mothers Day thanking Mom for all the words of wisdom that have made us better people.

For all of you that are mothers, even to critters, we wish you the best Mother's Day of all!