Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is Flax Seed The #1 Superfood?

Organic Flax Seed


Do you remember the first time you actually heard about flax seed and the fact that you can eat it?

Flax has been around for thousands of years.  How is it that ancient cultures knew of this tiny seed and all its health benefits?

According to Wikipedia, "Flax is grown both for its seeds and for its fiber. Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap."  You may also recognize flax, or otherwise known as linseed, as an oil in paints and varnishes.  Flax seed has also been used for cattle feed, most recently as an extra omega-3 boost for chickens (e.g., Omega-3 enriched eggs) and the plant itself is used as fiber (linen) - much as cotton is used.

In Elaine Magee's, MPH, RD article The Benefits of Flaxseed, she wrote that today, many consider flax seed as one of  "the most powerful plant foods on the planet."

Flax seed contains plant Omega-3, Fiber (soluble and insoluble), and Lignans (antioxidant and fiber-like benefits).  There are three stages in which raw seeds may be found; white and green seeds are harvested prior to full maturation, black seeds are the opposite and are harvested long after the seeds reach full maturity, and the ideal color range that you want to find is an amber or gold to a tan or brown in color.

Over at The World's Healthiest Foods they show us creative ways to add flax seed to our daily diet.  You may have already seen baked goods in the grocery store touting "Now Made with Flax Seed" or something to that effect.  Now you can do the same at home by simply sprinkling some on your food (cereal or smoothies) or adding some to your mixes such as muffins, cookies, breads, etc.


  • Among all 129 World's Healthiest Foods, flaxseeds comes out number one as a source of omega-3s!  
  • Researchers rank flaxseeds as the number one source of lignans. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, high-lignan content, and mucilage gums—are key factors in the unique health benefits of flaxseeds.

The World's Healthiest Foods believes "that a combination of nuts and seeds, including flax seeds, that adds up to 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces, or 42 grams) per day is a dietary step well worth taking for most people."

Possible Benefits of Flax Seed:

  • Reduce the risk of Heart disease
  • Aid in Digestion and Absorption of nutrients
  • Aid in Peri- and Post-Menopausal Symptoms
  • Reduce the risk of certain types of Cancer
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes
  • High Fiber content
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-Inflammatory
Cold-Milled Flax Seed


Many main-stream grocery stores are starting to carry flax seed in the health food aisle or mixed in with the baking or hot cereal aisles.  You can find flax seeds in their whole form or ground.  Either way, you will want to store your flax seeds in the refrigerator to maintain their quality and benefits.  I've read that whole flax seeds can last in a sealed container up to 12 months and ground flax seeds can last up to 16 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.

Although ground flax seed tends to be more prone to oxidation it seems to be the most commonly used method when adding to foods.  If you prefer to grind your own flax seed, you can do so with a small coffee or spice grinder.

Words of Caution:

When adding new items to your diet, be sure to check with your doctor first.  Also, go slow and add small amounts or change your diet slowly.  This will help with gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating or in some cases flatulence.

Another really big thing to be sure to do is increase your water consumption because of the high fiber content in flax seed.  Not only that, our bodies are over 60 percent water (or something like that) so we really need to stay hydrated for our organs to work efficiently.


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.
Substance of Living

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monthly Budget Planning in 6 Easy Steps - Step 4

The FOURTH step is to have a plan that will help you attain your goals.


Find a program that works for you.  There are so many forms on the internet, books written containing forms, computer programs, and Apps that you will need to know yourself and what will work best.
  • Gather as much information as possible this first month.
    • Paychecks
    • Bank Statement
    • Credit Care Statements
    • Car Loan
    • Other Loans
    • Child Care
    • Insurance Statements (Mortgage/Rent, Life, Health, Car)
    • Cable Bill
    • Phone Bill
    • Membership Dues (Fitness Club, Golf Club, Movie)
    • Subscriptions to Newspapers and Magazines
    • Guesstimate how much you spend on groceries, eating out, entertainment, doctor appointments, shopping, hair, nails, massage, gas, etc.
  • Add more information next month with actual receipts.  (Try the June 2012 Money Management Challenge)
    • Groceries
    • Meals out
    • Entertainment
    • Shopping
    • Hair, Nails, Massage
    • Gas
Now you can really sit down and figure how much money you have coming in each month and exactly where your money is going.  Revisit this process for a couple months and start looking at each item to see if it's still important or how it can cost you a little less.

No one, at least I don't know of any cases, where people love punitive measures and actually stick to a rigid plan to see the fruits of their labor.  Anything can be tolerated for a short period of time but we're looking much further out so we need to find what will work best.

Good luck!  You can do it!!!

P.S., Please seek a financial adviser for in-depth analysis of your particular situation.  We are not financial advisers but have been in similar situations and want to pass along our experiences.

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, July 29, 2012

Grilled Polenta with Peppers and Spinach


Grilled Polenta with Sweet Peppers

1 Tube Polenta
Sweet Peppers
1 Bag or Bunch Fresh Spinach
1/2 C Tahini Gravy
2 t Olive Oil

From pulling the items out of the refrigerator to sitting down to eat should take less than 15 minutes.  This is a great week-night dinner and yet colorful enough for special occasions or pare the portion down and serve for a luncheon.

Preheat a lightly greased grill pan.  Cut Polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place Polenta slices and Sweet Peppers on the grill.  It will take about five minutes on each side to grill and heat thoroughly.  I like to place a lid over everything to help the peppers soften a little. 
Grilled Polenta with Sweet Peppers and Spinach
In a separate pan, heat Olive Oil.  Add Tahini Gravy and Spinach.  Cover and allow Spinach to slightly wilt over low to medium heat.  Stir occasionally to make sure the Gravy nicely covers all the Spinach.

Plate, serve, and enjoy!



P.S., I'm linking with The Winthrop Chronicles, Mandy's Recipe Box

Saturday, July 28, 2012

10 APPs that Make Life a Little Easier

There seems to be an App for just about everything.  We have them on our phone, tablets and laptops.  It seems with all this technology that we can find ourselves in overload or not knowing where to begin.

If you're looking for ways to get organized, shop smarter or stay in touch, here are our Top 10 FREE choices to get you started:
  • SKYPE - Free
    "Make free voice and video calls to anyone else on Skype, whether they're on an Android, iPhone,
    Mac or PC, as well as IMs to your friends and family."
  • BARCODE SCANNER - Free
    "Scan barcodes on products then look up prices and reviews.  You can also scan Data Matrix and QR Codes containing URLs, contact info, etc."
  • GARAGE SALE ROVER - Free
    "Locate local garage sales on a map.  Get the largest source of garage sales, yard sales, tag sales and estate sales anywhere!"
  • GEOQPONS - Free
    "GeoQpons delivers thousands of mobile coupons, offers & deals every day from top name brand retailers, restaurants and local businesses."  No need to print!
  • GROCERY IQ - Free
    "Build new shopping lists quickly by: saying the item name, scanning the barcode, or using predictive search."
  • NOTE EVERYTHING - Free
    "A note (notepad) application where you can create text-, voice- and paint-notes.  Your notes can be organized in folders."
  • XMAS ORGANIZER - Free
    "Xmas Organizer lets you organize all your Christmas gifts.  Keep track of your ideas and gifts.  Always be aware of your budgets!  Never forget to buy a gift for anyone!"
  • MOBILELIFE FAMILY ORGANIZER - Free
    "MobileLife Family Organizer includes a shared calendar, shopping lists, to do lists and a family journal."
  • THE WEATHER CHANNEL - Free
    "The Weather Channel provides the most accurate and relevant weather information whenever weather matters to you."
  • EXPENSE MANAGER - Free
    "Expense manager is [a] great application for managing your expenses and incomes."

What Apps do you have?  Have they helped or are they one more thing to manage?  What App, even if it is a game, are you finding yourself not being able to live without?

P.S.,  If you are a creator of an App, please let us know where to find it, how it works, how it will make our life easier or if it is a game.

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.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Weekly Menu for 7/29/2012 - 8/4/2012

July 29, 2012 - August 4, 2012
Day Menu Item Shopping
Sunday Cecily's French Lentil Casserole
White Wine
Thyme
Bay Leaves
Herbs de Provence
Red, Green or French Lentils
Swiss Chard (Spinach or other Greens)
Carrots
Leek
Walnuts
3 cloves Garlic
Monday Mexican Casserole
Vegan
  Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)*
1 can Chopped Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 can Black Beans
1 Red Pepper
1 Orange Pepper
1 Onion
Cumin
Vegan Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Small Jar Salsa
Tuesday
Potato Spinach Casserole
Vegan
Lemon Juice
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1 lb Frozen Potatoes (your choice of style)
1 8-ounce Frozen Spinach
Wednesday Polenta Casserole
Vegan
2-3 Bell Peppers
Zucchini
Onion
Soy Sauce**
Kale (Spinach or Other Greens)
Pasta Sauce
Cornmeal
Nutritional Yeast
Thursday Mushroom Pasta Casserole
Vegan
1 Medium Yellow Onion
Celery
10 oz White Button Mushrooms
Soy Sauce**
Vegetable Broth
Lemon Juice
1 can Chickpeas
Potato Chips or Bread Crumbs
  Fusilli Pasta***
Friday Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
Vegan
4 large or 6 medium Sweet Potatoes
Orange Juice
Maple Syrup or Agave Nectar
Nutmeg Powder
Cinnamon Powder
Brown Sugar
Pecans
Saturday Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole
Vegan
Brown Rice
Vegetable Stock
Soy Sauce**
Nutritional Yeast
Lemon Juice
Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
Broccoli Florets


You will also need:

Vegetable Oil, Vanilla Extract, Sugar, Salt, Pepper, Parsley, Dill, Onion Powder, Oregano, Basil, Salad, Salad Dressing, Olive Oil, Mayonnaise, Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, Gluten-Free Bread, Butter or Margarine, Milk of your choice

*You can find Gluten-Free TVP - Textured Vegetable Protein in health food grocery stores but sometimes in the major chain grocery stores.
** Liquid Aminos or be sure to find gluten-free soy sauce vegan and gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.
*** Gluten-Free Pastas can be found in most grocery stores either mixed in with the other pasta selection or in a specific Gluten-Free area.


This week is all about Casserole dishes that can be served as sides or main dishes.

These recipes provide great week-night meals for your family but they are also perfect for entertaining or special occasions.  If you or anyone has a special dietary need, these recipes are also easily adapted to Vegan, Gluten-Free, or Vegetarian.  An example of changing out ingredients in a meal to make it Vegan is to use soy or another nut milk, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, vegan mayonnaise, or vegan Parmesan cheese.

Another note: When purchasing canned goods, try to get organic and low sodium whenever possible.

At the end of the week, or sometime during, please sound off about 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?

P.S.,  Please share your family's favorite quick and easy meal.

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.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Are You In Charge of Planning a Family Reunion?

Family reunions and picnics seem to have been made for one another.  They both require people, food, and are most often held outdoors.

Picnics and reunions are a cost effective and fun tradition.  Themes are a great way to make each year unique.  Often the location chosen will help guide the theme and types of games or activities.

It's a relaxing way for everyone to come together and it's also a good excuse to see each other more than once a year!

Things to Consider When Planning a Family Reunion:

  1. Choose a date that is convenient for the majority of attendees
    • Choose three possible time frames; spring break, summer, winter break
  2. Choose a location - outside venues are typically the least expensive and will hold the largest number of people
  3. Consider overnight accommodations such as inexpensive hotels or camp grounds
  4. Select a site with plenty of shade
  5. A pool, river, ocean, nature trails, and playground facilities are great options with "built-in" activities
  6. Restroom facilities at or near your picnic area 
  7. Day or weekend reunion to enable the visit to be the most cost or time effective 
  8. Have a backup plan or location for a rainy day/weekend
  9. Have a theme so you can coordinate gifts, invitations, decorations, games, food, music, etc.

 Ask for help!

  • How much should each family contribute?  Will there be additional expenses?
  • Welcome gifts
    • This could include a welcome note, itinerary, sunscreen, local area souvenir (magnets, pens, notepad), T-shirt or visor, beach towel, sand shovel kit (beach), flip-flops, personalized family reunion CD, etc...
  • Who will be the Activity Coordinator?
  • Will there be T-Shirts or other memorabilia?
  • Who will be in charge of the Prizes?
    • Everyone loves prizes - even those who don't participate in activities.  What about best pie or BBQ sauce?
  • Who will be the Photographer?
    • Candid photos
    • Family photos
    • Group photos
  • Will there be an MC for the day?
  • Does someone enjoy scrap booking?  Have everyone contribute something such as a recipe, write about a favorite family memory, what they are thankful for, a drawing, or favorite picture and create a book to send everyone or each family afterwards as a reminder of their time together.
  • Who will Plan the Menu?
    • Where is the best place locally to buy groceries and supplies?
    • Is there a kitchen?
    • Where is the closest place to buy ice?
  • Will there be a Decorating Committee?
  • What about a Clean-up Committee?

What You Will Need:

  • Find out what items can be brought and what items need to be purchased or rented locally
  • Portable BBQ sets
  • Games or Activities
  • Cater the Picnic or have each family bring something (plates, serving and eating utensils, food, salads, trash bags, drinks)
  • Pop-up tents
  • Water - for drinking and cleaning
  • Additional picnic tables, chairs, blankets
  • Sunscreen
  • Music

Activities:

  • Games
    • Family Charades
    • Red Light, Green Light
    • Red Rover
    • 3-Legged Race
    • Balloon Toss
    • Musical Chairs
  • Guess Who? Baby photos
  • Silent "auctions"
  • Have each person bring a wrapped gift.  In return they are given 1/2 a card or ticket and the other 1/2 goes into a bucket for a drawing
  • Family themed Trivia
  • A fun  way to encourage people to talk with other members of the family they may not know is to see who can remember the most names and match them with the person
  • Visor or T-Shirt Decorating
  • Craft Table

Put on your thinking cap, pull out your calendar, gather phone numbers and emails and get ready to relax, laugh, and make memories with the people you love the most!

How did you plan your last family reunion?  Did you do everything through the internet or did you use traditional methods?  Did you set up a website where everyone could interact prior to the big event?

What would you do the same and what would you do differently next time?
 

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.
Substance of Living

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sparkling Sea Breeze


This is a great spring or summer drink for gatherings.  Depending on the size of your glasses and the amount of ice you add to each drink, this recipe can easily serve eight people.  That would be about a cup per person.

Try this as a nice non-alcoholic refreshing vacation in the middle of the afternoon.  Blend the juices with Lemon-Lime soda or Club Soda.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 cups Cranberry Juice
2 cups Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 cup Vodka (Try a Cranberry or Pomegranate flavored Vodka)
1 (750ml) bottle Sparkling White Wine, chilled

Garnish with pink grapefruit wheels or wedges

Preparation: Combine the Cranberry Juice, Pink Grapefruit Juice along with the Vodka and shake with ice.  Pour into individual glasses and then gently add the sparkling wine. Garnish if desired.

Remember that, just as in life, sometimes we have to ad-lib.  Well, you can do that here too.  How would or did you change this drink?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Playing Dress-Up in the Kitchen

The kitchen is the hardest working room in the house.  On top of that, it seems to be where we spend the majority of our time.

Don't you deserve to be surrounded by pretty, if not completely functional, items in the kitchen while you're working hard preparing meals for your family?

Here are some fun projects (easy to intermediate) to make for your family kitchen, vacation home, or to give as a hostess gift.  The great thing about making things is that you can tailor the colors or theme to match your decor.

Painted Confetti Kitchen Towel
Make and Takes
This painted confetti towel looks so fun and would pair perfectly in a retro-kitchen.  Can you see this as a theme for an ice cream party?


Angharad Handmade
Ever wonder where you put your special cloth napkins?  Missing a napkin to a set?

This is a nice two-part tutorial for making a double-sided napkin set and holder.


I have to Say over at All Crafts
Wouldn't you just love to receive this kitchen set as a gift?

Do you know a special graduate or someone moving into a new home?


iLoveToCreate

This is too SWEET and FUNctional.  There are so many colors and ideas that could be themed with this adorable apron.  If you're more of a "sometimes sewer" or fit more into the beginner category, a simple apron would look adorable with iron-on patches and ribbon.



ShelterPop
Isn't this an elegant table setting?  If you have a table cloth already, the addition of a "skirt" and wide ribbon would immediately dress the table before you even set out the china.

While you're visiting this website, you might also enjoy the tutorial for a "no-sew table cloth".


What projects have you made or received for your kitchen?  Where do you find your inspiration?  Did you create an entire theme around your project?

P.S., If you enjoyed today's projects, please share your ideas below and remember to grab one of our Substance of Living buttons to share the link love.  Thanks!

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.
Substance of Living

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monthly Budget Planning in 6 Easy Steps - Step 3

It's important to know how much money is coming in, going out and where it's going.  It's also very important to have goals.  We need to ask the five W questions Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? so we can set clear goals.  Answering the questions will turn the dream or thought into an accountable and attainable goal.  The efforts to reaching a goal must be track-able.

Who:  Who is responsible for each task
What: What is the path, What will get paid off first
Where: Where will the savings go
When: When is the deadline or date
Why:  Why save money
How:  How is each task going to be accomplished

The THIRD step is to look at your goals.

  • Budgets that have short or long-term goals are most effective.  For example, a short-term goal might be to eat out once a month without using a credit card or taking money away from the bills.  Or, a long-term goal might be to take a vacation and pay cash.
  • Start slowly with monthly short-term goals that are easily attained to build confidence and test your methods.
    • Some suggestions for being able to eat out once a month without using a credit card are to:
      • Take your lunch instead of eating out
      • Use coupons on items you regularly purchase and try to get them while on sale
      • Pay yourself $5 or even $1 each day and place it in your "Goal" jar
      • Save your change at the end of every day
  • Once you've mastered your smaller or short-term goals, start thinking long-term: Vacation, New Car, House, Patio Furniture.

How did you get out of debt?  Have you ever used a "Vacation" jar or other "Goal" jar?

Please write us at substanceofliving @ gmail(dot)com if you'd like some help setting your goals or if we can be your cheerleaders.

P.S., Please seek a financial adviser for in-depth analysis of your particular situation.  We are not financial advisers but have been in similar situations and want to pass along our experiences.

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, July 22, 2012

Deluxe Nachos

Nachos with Greek Yogurt

These nachos are packed full of protein and yumminess.  There are a couple things I like about nachos; they can certainly be eaten alone but are way more fun when shared.  They are colorful, messy, and there isn't a wrong or right way to make them.

We have dubbed this platter "The Nacho Platter".  Everyone knows what that means when we ask for it even though nachos aren't going to be made.  It's the perfect size.  Not too big and not too small.  It's oval in shape so four people can easily dig in at the same time.

These nachos are layered with corn tortillas, dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed), homemade olive tapenade (which isn't really peaking through in the picture above but did add some great flavor), shredded cheese, salsa, and Greek yogurt. -- If you replace the Greek yogurt with dairy-free sour cream this would be a delicious Vegan platter of nachos.

I have to confess, I am not the Nacho Maker in the family.  My sweet husband makes the best (he deserves a blue ribbon) and prettiest platter of nachos.  I tell him they should be world famous!

fish nachos
We have made nachos with spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, peppers, broccoli, TVP, tofu, grilled vegetables, avocado, olives, sour cream, mushrooms, hummus, fish, and anything else we can think to put on it.  Nachos are a bit like soups; anything can go on or in them.  Clean out the refrigerator and make some nachos tonight!



P.S., Organic, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, and Dairy-Free products are used in each of my recipes whenever possible or unless otherwise stated.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

6 Qualities of Someone that will “Get the Job Done”

Have you every wondered how you are supposed to “find the right person for the job”?  With these guidelines you can quickly assess a prospective hire or at the very least know some key areas to bring up in conversation. 

How to spot the right person for any job, whether you are hiring a new team member or someone to paint a room in your house:

  • They are busy people
    • They know how to prioritize.  They are good time managers.
  • They are goal oriented
    • Which means they are ambitious.
  • They are not the “sales type”
    • They attract not attack.  They want to build relationships not one-time acquaintances.
  • They don’t know a lot of people
    • If they are new to the area or just starting out, they will be much more likely to want to develop a strong reputation.
  • They are good decision makers and not procrastinators
    • They don’t see themselves as victims of circumstance.  Not all the lights on the road are green at the same time!
  • They are family or community oriented
    • They are motivated by the needs of those around them.

Do you fit all six categories?  Have you found yourself in a position that you needed to make new friends or business associates?  Where did you go and how did you find them?

Can you see how these areas might make someone more successful?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekly Menu for 7/22/2012 - 7/28/2012

July 22, 2012 - July 28, 2012
Day Menu Item Shopping
Sunday Best Ever Potato Salad
Red Potatoes
  Bacon (Vegan Bacon)
Dijon mustard
Eggs
  Celery
  Onion
Green Bell Pepper
Monday Crunchy Coleslaw

Cabbage
Green Bell Pepper
Carrots
Bermuda Onion
Jicama
Celery SeedDry Mustard
Cilantro
Fresh Parsley
Cider Vinegar
Tuesday
Quinoa Salad with Black Beans
Mango
Red Bell Pepper
Scallions
Fresh Cilantro
Red Wine Vinegar
Grapeseel Oil
Quinoa
Black Beans
A few leaves of lettuce for plating
Wednesday Ambrosia 1 lb Miniature Marshmallows
Pecans (optional)
Maraschino Cherries
1 lb Pineapple Chunks
7 oz Coconut Flakes (optional)


1 can Mandarin Oranges
16 oz Sour Cream
Nutmeg
Thursday Perfect Seven Layer Salad (Vegan) Extra Firm Tofu
Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning
Nutritional Yeast
Organic Fresh Spinach
6 – 10 stalks Green Onions
10 oz Frozen (Sweet) Peas
Vegan Bacon Bits (such as Bacos)
8 oz Vegan Cheddar Cheese
16 oz Vegan Mayonnaise
Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup
Friday Terry Hope Romero's Red Chile Corn Salad with Limas and Cherry Tomatoes Corn
White Lima Beans
Cherry Tomatoes
Red Onion
Fresh Cilantro
Lime
Chile Powder or Hot Smoked Paprika
Agave Nectar
Saturday Virginia Louise's Hearty Summer Salad
2 x 15 oz. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 x 15 oz. Black-Eyed Peas
2 x 15 oz. Artichoke Hearts
4 Large Tomatoes
Large Onion
6 Cloves Garlic
Balsamic Vinegar

You will also need:

Vegetable Oil, Salt, Pepper, Basil, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dried Parsley, Salad, Salad Dressing, Olive Oil, Mayonnaise, Gluten-Free Bread, Milk of your choice


This week is all about Salads to serve at a picnic or to bring along for a pot-luck.

These recipes provide great week-night meals for your family but they are also perfect for entertaining or special occasions.  If you or anyone has a special dietary need, these recipes are also easily adapted to Vegan, Gluten-Free, or Vegetarian.  An example of changing out ingredients in a meal to make it Vegan is to use soy or another nut milk, vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, vegan mayonnaise, or vegan Parmesan cheese.

At the end of the week, or sometime during, please sound off about 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?


P.S., Have a favorite salad?  Please link your favorite salad recipe and be sure to grab one of our buttons and place it on your post.

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.
Substance of Living

Thursday, July 19, 2012

30 Simple Tips for Busy People (One Tip to Adopt per Day)

One of my close girl-friends appears to be the most self-contained, organized, together person I know - that is outside my sweet DH.  Then again, is she really?  Last week she asked me how I always seem to keep it all together!  Go figure!  I was like, "WHAT!!!"

Believe me, and DH can tell you how scattered I can be and how he wonders that things get done.  I guess we all have our own method of doing things.  I'm the queen of lists and little pieces of paper.  EVERYWHERE!

I'm really good as long as I keep a running list of my 6 most important things to do each day.  As long as they get done, I'm okay with everything else.

In fact, the days that I tend to stay in motion are the days that I'm super organized.  What I mean by that, is that I like to write on days that I'm feeling creative.  Days that I'm not feeling creative are spent doing research, organizing, making lists, writing emails, etc. as long as I'm moving forward.

I also find that it's much easier for me to stay focused if I work in 60 minute increments; for a full 60 minutes I concentrate on one thing and then the next 60 minutes is something completely different.  As soon as the bell goes off, whether I'm finished or not, I go on to the next thing.  I'm allowed to come back to the project for another 60 minutes later.


Here are 30 Simple Tips To Get You Started:

  1. Plan menus (or sign up to receive Substance of Living's Weekly Menus).
  2. Keep a running list of items needed in between shopping trips, then shop.
  3. Keep lots of good-quality ingredients on hand for quick and easy meals such as pastas, canned beans and tomatoes, frozen vegetables, and cheeses.
  4. Consolidate your food preparation.
    • Make two separate casseroles using similar items.
    •  Make a double-batch of a one-pot dish (lasagna, chili, enchiladas).  Serve one now and freeze one for another night.
  5. Make plain rice, pasta, or beans and use them throughout the week.
  6. Get everyone involved.  Have them choose a meal for the next week.  It might be as simple as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with soup, spaghetti, french toast or grilled pizza.  They might be more inclined to help with the dishes or cleaning around the house.  :)
  7. Decide what is important and "Just say No" to the rest.  A lot easier said than to actually say but have faith and keep trying. 
  8. Simplify.  Remove one task from your list a day or at the very least a week.  Do the dust bunnies under the furniture need to be swept every day?
  9. Get a Daily Planner to keep everyone's schedule in one place.  Use a different color for each family member.
  10. Color code your monthly planner:  Blue for spiritual time, Yellow for family, Green for work, etc.
  11. Corral the chaos in your entryway or mudroom by having bins, buckets, hooks, shelves for each member of the family.
  12. Clean for 10 minutes each day.
  13. Keep the floor clear of clutter.  The house already looks cleaner!
  14. Multitask. 
    • Clean out a kitchen drawer while waiting for the coffee to brew in the morning.
    • Set out tomorrow's clothes while waiting for the bath water in the evenings.
    •  Organize refrigerator before grocery shopping.
    •  Purge your wardrobe when putting away the laundry.
  15. Keep a donation basket and drop it off each month.
  16. Schedule time in your day to read emails, make or return phone calls or get on the computer.
  17. Take your trash with you every time you get out of the car.
  18. Keep a cleaning basket in each room for quick clean ups.
  19. Make a list of the 6 most important items that need to get done during the day.
  20. Schedule a "Date Night" for you and your sweetie.
  21. Have each family member keep a personal calendar to write down future events.
    • With the advent of smart phones and the ability to have a calendar attached to your email, everyone can link or invite another member of the family so everything gets logged.
    • Have one email set up for the entire family.  Leave notes or reminders.  Use this email for doctors, dentists, coaches to use.
  22. Schedule and pay your bills online through your bank.
  23. BREATHE.
  24. If you work from home or are a stay-at-home mom or caretaker, remember to take care of yourself.  Take time out each day to take a shower and get dressed - even if you're not planning to step outside.  I know this sounds like a no-brainer but it is vital to your self-esteem.
  25. Designate a file folder, bin or box for each family member.  Important papers that need to be signed, bills, notes, etc. go in each specific slot.  Go through the bins at night and then again in the morning before leaving the house.
  26. Create a family bulletin board.
  27. Write letters, cards, sort mail while waiting at the doctor's office or during your child's practice.
  28. Send text messages (NOT while driving) to stay in touch, send reminders, say a quick hello, and to schedule a convenient time to talk or get together.
  29. When leaving voice messages, leave detailed messages so the other person can do the necessary research before returning your call.
  30. Automate.  Automate.  Automate.  Use technology to your advantage.
Instead of trying to incorporate all of these suggestions at once, try adopting one simple tip each day.  Then modify the tip to fit within your life.

How do you stay organized?  What are some of your secrets?  Do you have an area in your house dedicated for each person to drop their things?  Please share with us!

Here's to hoping you have an organized day!

P.S.,  Please link your organizational charts, secrets, posts, lists, or DIY projects here and be sure to grab a Substance of Living Button over on the right side of the screen to place on your post.  Thank you!

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.
Substance of Living

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tahini Gravy

Tahini Gravy with Grilled Gluten-Free Seitan and Vegetables

Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds.  The flavor lends itself naturally to Eastern or Oriental foods.  This gravy pairs well with Seitan or vegetables.  In fact, as this thickens, you might like it as a dip for fresh vegetables or crackers.  It's also delicious spread on bread with olive tapenade.

 
Tahini Gravy

Ingredients:

Grilled Sweet Peppers1 C Tahini Paste
2/3 C Water
2 T Amino Acids
2 Cloves Garlic minced or crushed
3 Small Sweet Peppers Grilled
1 T Toasted Sesame Ginger Seasoning

Combine all the ingredients into a small saucepan over low heat.  Continuously stir until thick - do not allow to boil.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beautiful Patio Inspirations


Although it's the middle of July, it's never too late to start planning a patio garden or gathering landscaping ideas.  Here are some pictures that I took last week while I was out as well as some great ideas around the internet.

These ideas inspire the imagination.  How about a stay-cation in the back yard?  Turn the backyard or patio into a quaint deli for the afternoon or imagine visiting a luxurious bed and breakfast.  The fantastic thing about all these ideas is that they are absolutely do-able!
Isn't this a beautifully landscaped sloping back yard.  They have privacy and still have a view of the golf course.

Better Homes and Gardens
Even though this is actually a patio, it would make a beautiful sun room or a cozy area on a covered porch.  (Can you see the kitty?)

Better Homes and Gardens
Perfect.  Absolutely storybook perfect.  This is a lovely example of using the space between the house and garage or a small back yard.  Very rustic and yet tea-time perfect.

Potted Floral Garden on Patio
This and That in My Treasure Box
Beautiful arrangement with colors, containers, heights, texture, and I'm sure smell.  Can you see this as a backdrop to an afternoon bridal shower or the setting for a book club meeting?

Better Homes and Gardens
The colors in this setting draws me in and makes me want to linger for awhile.  Notice the various heights as they work out away from the patio offering privacy.

Better Homes and Gardens
Flower boxes are like welcome flags.  They open their arms and say, "Hi!  I'm glad you stopped by today.  Come on in and have some iced tea."

Planter Herb Garden
Southern Living
Herbs are timeless.  They are also really nice to have just outside the kitchen for cooking.  The other thing that is nice about them is that they are happy to grow in containers.


This lovely little garden is right out in the open for everyone to enjoy.  This tiny space, that joins the common area of four buildings, has a rose garden, watermelon and cantaloupe plants, cucumbers, herbs, potted flowers, and bird feeders not to mention all the other hidden gems.


Here is a fun way to have a garden, a view, and still have room for seating on the patio.

What are your gardening secrets?  Do you have a full garden, planter garden, or do you prefer the square-foot garden method?  Is your garden organic?

What does your ideal or perfect back yard or patio look like?

P.S.,  Please link your patio, garden, landscaping posts with us and be sure to grab one of our Substance of Living buttons to place on your post.  Thank you!

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.
Substance of Living

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monthly Budget Planning in 6 Easy Steps - Step 2

Wearing a Mask Doesn't Always Protect Your Identity from Thieves
Wearing a Mask Doesn't Always Protect Your Identity from Thieves

 

The SECOND step is to protect your identity. 


Did you know that there are probably over 500,000 people, each year, that have their identities stolen?


Thieves have ways of stealing your personal information: They could hack into your computer, break into your home of office, riffle through your trash, steal your mail, steal your purse or wallet, copy your credit card information.  There are probably as many ways as there are thieves.

What specific items are these thieves seeking?

  • Credit Card information
  • Your FULL Name, Mother's Maiden Name, or any other information they may think you might use for your security codes or passwords
  • Anything with your Social Security Number, Tax Information
  • Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers
  • Your Family's Names and Addresses, Email Accounts
  • Where you went to School
I'm sure there are more items.  Think about the information you might provide on applications, tax forms, insurance, or school.

What can you do to protect your one and only commodity that actually belongs to you?  I'm talking about your IDENTITY.

  • Use the PRIVACY filter when using the internet
  • Pay and receive your bills online
  • Ensure the web address starts with https:// when you're filling in any forms or giving any personal information away
  • Do NOT click through on a link to a website you receive in an email -- Go directly to the website through your browser
  • Lifelock protects your identity from theft
  • Zendough is offered by Transunion and protects your identity from theft
  • Do NOT give out personal information or even confirm personal information unless you are the one who initiated the phone call or visit
  • Purchase a Cross-Cut Shredder

I didn't mean to scare you but identity theft seems to be a MAJOR deal these days and with the internet it is worldwide.  Your information may be stolen here but it could be used on the other side of the world.

What steps are you taking to protect your identity?  Has your identity been stolen or has someone attempted to open an account in your name?

If you don't usually share or comment, please do so today.  Please help us all by pitching in with links or advice that you may have or that have helped you.

Thank you,

P.S., Please seek a financial adviser for in-depth analysis of your particular situation.  We are not financial advisers but have been in similar situations and want to pass along our experiences.

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, July 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Seitan


Grilled Gluten-Free Seitan with Vegetables

Seitan is a Vegan meat substitute.  It is one of the main ingredients in a faux turkey or mock duck.  It's delicious and can be used in many ways.

The problem with prepared Seitan is that it is "What Gluten".   This is a very basic Wheat-Free / Gluten-Free recipe to get you started once again or for the first time enjoying Seitan.

Ingredients:

1 C Flour Mixture
¼ C Corn Starch
¼ C Nutritional Yeast
1 t Cumin
1 t Turmeric
1 t Sage
1 t Italian Seasoning
1 t Ground Black Pepper
1/3 C Water
¼ C Ketchup
2 T Butter
2 T Amino Acids


I hear ya!  It looks like there are a lot of ingredients but you can use as many or few seasonings to suit your taste.

Preheat the oven to 350F.


Stir all the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients.  A pastry cutter works really well here because you don’t want to over work the dough.

Gluten-Free SeitanKnead the dough shaping as desired for 2-3 minutes then rest for about 5 minutes.  Cover with non-stick tin foil.  Bake 15 to 30 minutes depending on how thick you make your Seitan.  If you’d like the exterior crispy, uncover and bake a few more minutes.

This batch was made flat because I wanted to grill a few slices.  Each side was brushed with a little olive oil and placed on the grill.



Gluten-Free Seitan with Tahini Gravy

Check out Vegan Cooking and Meat and Egg Free for additional Gluten-Free Seitan recipes.

You might also enjoy Carol Gelles "1,000 VEGETARIAN RECIPES".  It's a great recipe book to give yourself or anyone you know who is a vegetarian or just wanting to incorporate more vegetarian items into their diet.  The only downside (that I've found) to the book is that there aren't any pictures.

Where do you find most of your recipes?  Are you confident cooking new recipes without having pictures?