Saturday, April 21, 2012

Couple Helpful Household Tips

I have a very busy weekend visiting with relatives in from out of town. But quick, I'll share a couple cool things I learned this week--

Simple, natural deodorant idea I tried that actually worked- Extra virgin coconut oil.  That's it. At this time of the year, the oil is still pretty solid (it begins to melt at 76 degrees) so I just used a spoon to get some out of the jar, rubbed it between my hands to melt it, and rubbed it under my arms. At the end of the day, I was still fresh and odor-free! I LOVE coconut oil for so many things. I keep a jar on Charlotte's changing table to use on her skin; for any rash or irritation, the stuff works like a dream! I just recently began using it more in cooking, due to it's heat stability it's great for frying. Although it is high in saturated fat, it's a natural oil that has many health benefits outweighing it's high fat content. A great website for information on coconut oil-

Also, I have been having trouble with my dishwasher for the last few months. It simply doesn't clean the dishes. I have tried thoroughly rinsing them before loading it, I switched dishwashing detergent, added extra heat, used the pre-wash, nothing helped! Last week I tried filling a glass measuring cup with straight white vinegar. placed it on the top rack, and ran a cycle with the hottest water available, hoping it would de-gunk whatever was preventing the machine from working. I saw this pinned on Pinterest, though I'll have to delete it since it DID NOT WORK. Well then I heard from a friend of mine that she had made a natural type of dishwashing detergent and uses vinegar as the rinse agent (like where you'd put your "jet dry.") I tried this, and voila! Streak-free, clean dishes for the first time in months. Straight white vinegar did the trick. Oh, how I love homemade, natural household remedies!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Charli's Grande 2nd Birthday Fete

I sent the invites for Charlotte's second birthday party in May. We decided to invite family at an earlier time, and then include our annual Memorial Day party with friends later on in the day. I went with a "hot air balloon" theme and a rainbow color scheme. Created the invitations on Microsoft Publisher and printed them out at home, so easy! Can't wait until it all comes together.

 invite front

invite back (I edited our phone number & address out for this)

Afterparty invite

Going to attempt a version of this cake using fruits and veggies instead of artificial food coloring to tint the layers of the cake the colors of the rainbow.

Hoping to make this out of streamers

and a huge balloon banner!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Forks Over Knives

I'm so geared up to see this movie, when I can get my hands on a copy of the DVD. We are not yet vegans, but I am hearing more and more how animal products are just not necessary in a healthy diet. This movie claims that most of the diseases that afflict us can be controlled or even reversed by rejecting all animal based and processed foods. Processed foods, no problem. We're pretty much there...but I looovve my cheese, yogurt, sour cream..well, any kind of cream, OMG what would I do if I started the FOK diet?!? Gotta see this DVD to find out-

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Last Night's Dinner

I recently discovered a way for my family to enjoy grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats and seafood from a local farmer. I've always wondered silently if there was a way we could know exactly where the meat we were eating came from, and after doing some web surfing I found a family owned farm in Iowa. The name is called Wallace Farms, and they have a Naperville Farm club that I was able to join with a drop off just minutes from my house. Such an amazing group of people working together to produce quality meat and seafood!! So I placed an order for a sample package that included one Ribeye or New York Strip, one Top Sirloin, a Ranch or Eye, a Roast, & three lbs of Ground Beef. I also ordered some delicious, nitrate-free sausage made with spinach & feta cheese, & some italian sausage links.

Last night I had scheduled myself a client around dinner time, so I figured a crockpot meal could feed Spencer & Charli while I was busy. I decided to try a potroast with the roast from the sampler. I threw some small yellow onions, a couple large carrots,  three whole potatoes, and a few stalks of celery into the bottom of my crockpot. I then seared my roast (which was seasoned with ground black pepper and sea salt) on a very hot skillet to brown all sides. After searing it, I plopped it on top of the veggies and sprinkled five or six crushed garlic cloves (the more garlic, the better! SO good for you!) over it. I opened a small can of plain tomato sauce, and poured that over the top. Then I filled the crockpot about halfway with msg-free beef broth. Sprinkled a little ground sage, more sea salt,  pepper, & a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary in before I closed the lid and let it simmer gently for about 6 hours.
Let me tell you, the meat was the leanest I've ever eaten in regards to potroast. It wasn't dry (where it almost sticks to your teeth when you're chewing it) and had a lovely flavor. And just knowing I fed my daughter meat that was not pumped full of chemicals made it taste even better. Now, unfortunately the crockpot was still set on warm when I had gotten back up into the kitchen from working, and it could have easily been shut it off completely an hour earlier. Crockpot meals seem to stay hot forever! That could be the reason it was ridiculously steaming hot for a good ten minutes before I could take a bite without fear of scalding my mouth! If you enjoy potroast, this one was pretty darn tasty.