Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Friday, October 28, 2011

fun friday ~ the French way to exercise

a friend showed this to me, leave it to the french to find a way to burn.....



email friends click this link to YouTube : the French way to exercise

Thursday, October 27, 2011

being green~ Green Festival is this weekend








Celebrate a world where there is a clear path to a greener, more equitable tomorrow, Celebrate a community where economic sustainability, ecological balance and social justice are as important as the bottom line. Celebrate the greening of your lifestyle and your city.

Welcome to the nation’s premier sustainability event… where 250 exhibitors and 125 visionary speakers will combine to inspire, inform and engage you. Green Festival is the world’s most trusted environmental event covering the broad and diverse elements of economic sustainability, ecological balance and social justice.

Green Festival is about having fun! You can screen documentary films, listen to cool music, sample organic beers and wines, taste delicious and healthy vegetarian cuisine, learn about developing green careers, watch and eco-fashion show, play in the Green Kid’s Zone with emerging environmentalists and shop at the nation’s largest green marketplace filled with national and regional sustainable business.

Created by two non-profit organizations, Green America and Global Exchange, Green Festival is an amazing event celebrating what is working in our communities and offering abundant opportunities to be inspired, open your mind, use your voice, and heal our planet.

for more information about Green Festival:   Green Festival home 
             
                                   


and coming next month for those northern California friends


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

meal ideas ~ delicious pumpkins

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
The lovely color, exceptional flavor, and creamy texture of this soup make it a nice side dish recipe. It's made with heart healthy soymilk.

 Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped leeks
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups peeled and cubed pumpkin or acorn squash
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or ground nutmeg (optional)
1 cup light plain soymilk
1/2 - 1 cup water
1 - 2 teaspoons sugar 
3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, toasted (optional)

1. Lightly coat an unheated large saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add olive oil; heat over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook and stir until leeks start to brown, stirring occasionally.
2. Stir in pumpkin, broth, pepper, and, if desired, cloves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. Transfer half of the pumpkin mixture to a blender or food processor; cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture. (Or use an immersion blender directly in the saucepan.) Return all of the pureed mixture to saucepan.
4. Stir in the soymilk and enough of the water to reach desired consistency; heat through, but do not boil. Stir in enough of the sugar to taste. Serve warm.
5. If desired, garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or pine nuts. Makes 6 (3/4-cup) servings.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
SERVINGS: 3 cups
1            egg white
2          tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1          tablespoon canola oil
1          teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/4      teaspoon kosher salt
1/4      teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4      teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4      teaspoon ground allspice
1/4      teaspoon chili powder
1/4      teaspoon cayenne pepper
2          cups unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil; lightly coat paper or foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg white, sugar, oil, lemon peel, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper; whisk until egg white is frothy and sugar is nearly dissolved. Add pumpkin seeds; toss gently to coat.
3. Spread pumpkin seeds evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pumpkin seeds are dry and crisp. Cool completely; break into pieces. Makes 3 cups
Test Kitchen Tip: Keep some of these crunchy seeds on hand to use as a topper for salads.
Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare as directed. Place in an airtight storage container. Cover; seal. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes
Miniature Pumpkin Bowl directions below

1          pd medium baking potatoes, peeled & quartered
2          cloves garlic, peeled
1          cup canned pumpkin
2          tablespoons (Neufchatel) cream cheese 
1          tablespoon butter 
1/8      teaspoon ground sage
1/4      cup fat-free milk
1          recipe Miniature Pumpkin Bowls (optional)
 Fresh sage leaves (optional)

1. In a covered large saucepan, cook potatoes and garlic in enough boiling water to cover for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. Mash with a potato masher or beat with an electric mixer on low speed until nearly smooth. Beat in canned pumpkin, cream cheese, butter, ground sage, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Gradually add milk, beating until light and fluffy. Return to saucepan; heat through.
2. If desired, spoon mashed potatoes into Miniature Pumpkin Bowls and garnish with sage leaves. Makes 4 servings (3/4 cup each)

Miniature Pumpkin Bowls: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut off 1/2 inch from the tops of 4 miniature pumpkins (6 to 8 ounces each); discard tops. Using a spoon, scoop out seeds and membranes and discard. Place pumpkins, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or just until pumpkins are easily pierced with a fork.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

healthy living ~ pumpkins

You see them all over, this time of year. If you're out in the country, you'll find them in the fields in such profusion that they turn the ground orange. They'll make their way to your local grocery, where they'll be stacked neatly (at first) by the door. And eventually they may appear on doorsteps or in windows, hollowed out and carved into likenesses both silly and serious.

Oh, and they come canned, too.

The pumpkin is a ubiquitous part of the American fall season-which is understandable, considering that it's indigenous to this part of the world. The Native Americans used it as both a food and a medicine. The first settlers from Europe added it to their diets. Then some of them helped spread it to the rest of the world by returning to their birthplaces in Europe with the seeds.

This time of year, many people will get the biggest specimens they can find, collect their kids (and maybe the neighbors' as well), and have a pumpkin-carving party. This can be great fun. There's just one problem-after the outside is carved, most of the time the inside is thrown away. And that's a shame, because the "meat" and seeds of a pumpkin can have some great health benefits.

What's so good about pumpkins, anyway?
Pumpkin meat is very high in carotenoids. They're what give pumpkins their orange color-but that's the least of their benefits. Carotenoids are really good at neutralizing free radicals, nasty molecules that can attack cell membranes and leave the cells vulnerable to damage.

Pumpkins are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which scavenge free radicals in the lens of the eye. Therefore, they may help prevent the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a serious eye problem than usually results in blindness.

Besides carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all antioxidants, pumpkins have a lot of common nutrients, like iron, zinc, and fiber. Iron, of course, is needed by red blood cells. Zinc deficiency may be related to osteoporosis of the hip and spine in older men. And fiber is important for bowel health.

What's so good about pumpkin seeds, then?
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are very high in protein; one ounce of seeds provides about seven grams of protein. They also contain copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. And their oil is high in phytosterols, plant-based fatty acids that are chemically so like cholesterol that they can replace it in the human body-contributing to the reduction of blood cholesterol levels.

More about pumpkin seed oil
Pumpkin seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs have many benefits, among them the maintenance of healthy blood vessels and nerves and the lubrication of all tissues, including the skin. And as mentioned above, they can help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

EFAs are not the only constituents of pumpkin seed oil. This oil also contains vitamin A, which (among other things) helps keep our eyes healthy and stimulates the T cells of the immune system to help fight off infection. And it has vitamin E, which acts like lutein and zeaxanthin to get rid of free radicals.

Tips for using pumpkins in the kitchen
- Bigger pumpkins have tougher meat than smaller ones; that's why pie pumpkins, also called baking pumpkins, are so much smaller than the ones used for carving. But you can still cook and eat the meat of a carving pumpkin; it just won't be quite as soft.

- A whole pumpkin can be stored at room temperature for up to a month, or in the refrigerator (if it'll fit!) for up to three months.

Great pumpkin recipes in tomorrow’s “meal ideas” posting

Monday, October 24, 2011

autumn

Everywhere I look I am reminded just how much I love nature especially in the autumn season. I want to share some of my favorite poems and pictures of autumn.

 "Just before the death of flowers, and before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season when nature is all aglow."
 Author Unknown

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away."
  Robert Frost, October

"October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band."
 George Cooper, October's Party



"The harvest moon hangs round and high
It dodges clouds high in the sky,
The stars wink down their love and mirth
The Autumn season is giving birth.
Oh, it must be October
The leaves of red bright gold and brown,
To Mother Earth come tumbling down,
The breezy nights the ghostly sights,
The eerie spooky far off sounds
Are signs that it's October.
The pumpkins yellow,. big and round
Are carried by costumed clumsy clowns
It's Halloween - let's celebrate."
  Pearl N. Sorrels, It Must be October




this week's journey

entrance to my secret garden
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what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek at my other blogs


don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pics and webcam updates added this week. 

new "in the garden" pictures

Thursday, October 20, 2011

being green~ go green for halloween

Top Ways to Go Green This Halloween

Here are the top tips for a “green” Halloween. They’ll save you money, too!

Reuse Costumes---Tap into the treasures hidden in your closet or attic to pull together a fun, no-cost costume (it won’t take any longer than going to the mall, and will be a lot cheaper). Trade costumes with friends and family if you don’t want to wear last year’s get-up. Shop for accessories at yard sales or resale stores. Use your imagination but don’t obsess. The point is to have fun, not be fashionable!

Trick and Treat---In lieu of junk food, hand out pencils made from recycled paper, erasers, nickels or dimes – be creative!. My neighbor started doling out small cups of apple cider when she realized how much kids love a drink of something when they’re running around like banshees. NatureMoms offers lots of great links to organic lollipops and other fun and healthy treats.

Reverse Trick and Treat---Global Exchange is encouraging kids to help educate adults about Fair Trade cocoa by handing Fair Trade chocolates back as they trick or treat. The chocolates are attached to a card explaining why Fair Trade offers an alternative to child labor, low wages for farmers and a healthier environment. Order by October 13.

Have a Party---If you opt to celebrate at home in lieu of trick or treating, put out bowls of snacks rather than serve up individual throwaway treat bags. Offer pop corn, hummus and pita chips, carrots and dips, fresh apple cider, bat-shaped cookies and muffins. Kids will enjoy painting pumpkins, decorating cupcakes, reading scary stories, bobbing for apples, and going on “flashlight hunts” in the yard (if the party’s after dark) for hidden Halloween surprises. Send electronic invitations to avoid wasting paper and postage.

Decorate with Nature---A trip to your yard or the farmers market will provide everything you need to dress up your house for Halloween: leaves and branches, hay bales, gourds, pumpkins, mums, dried flowers. Maybe even a puppy too....

Light up the Night---If you string lights (especially to keep walkways safe for kids), use strands of LEDs like these fun spider lights. They use much less energy than conventional holiday twinklers. Illuminate carved pumpkins with candles from beeswax or soy. Decorate windows and glass door panes with these beautiful non-toxic window paints from Hearthsong. If kids need flashlights to get around in the dark, try the BOGO light recharged with solar energy.
 
Turn It Over to the Kids---Forget the store-bought hanging witches and skeletons. Have your kids make hand print spiders for the walls and windows. Upcycle egg cartons into bats. Carve and paint pumpkins.

Try a New Bag---The best option for candy collectors is last year’s bag; a pillowcase; or a reusable shopping bag with handles. But if you need something new, try the reusable Chico Halloween Bag. Kids will love its spooky design. You’ll love that it only costs $5.

Save for Next Year---When Halloween is over, pack up costumes, treat bags, lights, and decorations in one big box or bag. Store everything in an easy-to-find place so next year, you don’t have to start completely from scratch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

meal ideas ~ moroccan beef & pumpkin bake

Moroccan Beef and Pumpkin Bake
          Autumn is here and so are the pumpkins—to some the name of this recipe sounds…. ewwe, but trust me, it is really yummy and I suggest you give it a try.
          Last night I used acorn squash it was just as tasty as with the pumpkin.  It can be made ahead of time and reheated in the micro. 

1          pound lean ground beef
2          C 1/2-inch pieces peeled pumpkin or winter squash
3/4      C coarsely chopped red sweet pepper
1/2      C coarsely chopped onion
2          cloves garlic, minced
1          C frozen whole kernel corn (optional)
1/2      C couscous- microwave-cooked beforehand
1          recipe Moroccan Spice Blend
1          C lower-sodium beef broth
4          oz reduced-fat cream cheese, cut up
1/2      C yellow cornmeal
1/3      C all-purpose flour
1          tbls sugar
1-1/4   tsp baking powder
1/2      C fat-free milk
1          egg, beaten
2          tblspoons olive oil
 Snipped fresh mint (optional)
 Pumpkin seeds or sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large nonstick skillet or a skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, cook ground beef, pumpkin, sweet pepper, onion, and garlic over medium heat until meat is brown and onion is tender, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat. Stir corn, cooked couscous, and Moroccan Spice Blend into meat mixture in skillet. Heat through. Add broth and cream cheese, stirring until well mixed. Transfer mixture to 2-quart rectangular baking dish.

2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter over beef mixture in dish.

3. Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into topper comes out clean. If desired, garnish with mint and pumpkin seeds. Makes 8 servings (1 cup per serving)

Moroccan Spice Blend: In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

healthy living ~ healthy Halloween for kids

Healthy Living doesn’t start at 50 years old, or even 30 or 20, it should start the very moment we put that first bite into our chubby little mouths. Holidays are the worst for letting children over-indulge in “bad health habits.” However, you can teach yourself and your children ways to remain healthy during this upcoming Halloween season.

Even if you are not a fan of this holiday, you can use Halloween’s usual candy-fest as a "sweet" opportunity to teach your children lessons in health and nutrition.

Children are naturally drawn to salty, sugary, and unhealthy fatty foods, so this time of year is almost irresistible to them with all the free candy, cookies, cakes and other sugary “goodies” that are literally poured into their hands.  Research shows that sugar suppresses the body's immune system - particularly problematic as we're now in the much-publicized cold and flu season, with the additional risk of H1N1 swine flu.  Sugar can also be destructive to your family's health in a host of other ways.  
  
With a little planning and foresight, you can help your kids control some of those natural cravings, moderate their sugar consumption and impart some terrific nutritional good sense in the process!  Here are seven suggestions to help take the trick out of the treats your children bring home this Halloween:

Send your children out with a full stomach. Give them a good wholesome meal making sure it’s low in sugar, starches and bleached white flour.  Prepare high protein meals like chicken or beef with veggies like green beans, broccoli, salad and/or carrot sticks.  Have them drink lots of water and minimize any sugary drinks including juices, soft drinks, and sports drinks before going out.  Remind the kids that since they’ll be eating candies tonight, the deal is that they have to eat a good dinner.  They will be motivated to eat up so they can get started.

Offer to buy your children's candy from them. Even if it's 5 or 10 cents per piece, it’s worth not having them consume the unhealthy sugars, dyes and other chemicals in the “treats” for days or weeks on end. 

Have your kids trade in their sweets for a better treat.  Even if the trade is for one or more of their favorite desserts this is a much better option.  Make a special event of it by taking them to their favorite dessert destination.
   
Offer to trade those bad treats for healthier activities like going to a movie, putt-putt golfing, bowling or some other fun family outing.  The few hours you invest in having fun will make a special memory that will last much longer than a lollipop.

Offer to take your children on a trip to the health food store and let them discover healthier alternatives.  Discover new treats like healthy CocoChia® Snack Fuel Bars or natural chocolate, carob, yogurt-coated nuts and raisins.  
                   The list is endless!  Remember treats are fun, not staples in your diet.

Teach your older children to read labels and ingredient lists. Encourage them to avoid “goodies” with hydrogenated oils and artificial colors. Making them an active part of their nutritional choices now will lead them to making healthier lifestyle choices later in life.

Offer the trick-or-treaters who come to your home healthy treats like packets of nuts, seeds, raisins, beef jerky, popcorn or pretzels.  Take the dollars you'd spend on the treats and convert them to loose change, passing out the coins to the kids.  Take a stand and set a trend!

A safe and healthy Halloween is something all parents want for their children. Teaching children how to enjoy themselves without over-indulging can set the pattern for healthy lives and stop the disturbing increase in obesity and diabetes type II that has become a major public health concern.

Monday, October 17, 2011

ruts, winds, and new paths


Winds of Change are blowing…..
 
If you don’t force a change, then nothing changes; when nothing changes, then you walk within a rut--- I am stepping out of my rut and letting go of the notion that improving my life for the future will not include needing to make changes here and now in the process.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” and that statement could not be more accurate. If your dream life is different from the life you are presently living, then you are going to have to make some changes, and those changes could be drastic, and even complex. However, if I may tip the hat to another great quote (author unknown), “Do today what others won’t so you can do tomorrow what others can’t”.

As you look toward the life that you want to lead, you may very well have to look at some radical or uncomfortable changes that need to occur in order for you to start living that life. The winds of change – as they continually blow across the sands of time – will sometimes rock your boat or get sand in your eye, and sometimes they will even knock you flat on your backside. Nonetheless, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is there waiting for all of those who do what it takes to power through and take hold of their dreams.

My inspirations for blog posts usually come from my very own life, and that is the case with today as well. My own life is about to radically change (for the better!), yet at the same time, the tasks involved in creating that change are large and could easily be overwhelming if I don’t take care to control certain kinds of emotions: desperation- fear of the unknown- hopelessness- and even anger.

So, rather than freak out and turn into a useless mass of blabbering inefficiency, I have instead come up with a great plan of action that will require some radical changes on my part in order to make it all happen. In order to come up with that plan, I will utilize a simple 4-step challenge solving process:

Identify the Primary Goal – There are a number of factors that go into any challenge; however, there is always one primary goal that will fuel or enable the rest of the tasks. Find that one primary goal, and focus on that one thing, to the exclusion of everything else.

Assess what Resources you have Available – Often money helps to grease the wheels of goal attainment, but you may still have to access other resources as well – possibly in order to get that money. Those resources could include your own skills, your experiences, and your circle of influence.

Find a way to use those Resources to attain the Primary Goal – Now is the time to think outside of the box. Remember, if nothing changes, then nothing changes. If you’re alive, then you have something to offer that will help you to get what you want.

Refuse to accept Defeat as an Option As long as you continue to hold onto some sort of safety net in case things don’t work out, those things WON’T work out, because you will always know in the back of your mind that if you fail, the net will catch you. DECIDE that you are going to get what you want, and COMMIT to getting it at all costs. Failure is NOT an option!

taking a new road and not looking back

this week's journey

venture on an unexplored pathways

_________________________________________________________________________
what's new elsewhere... click on the links and take a peek at my other blogs


don't forget to visit  Journey  pages for pictures and webcam updates added this week. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

fun friday ~ simple cuteness


A newborn Africa elephant lifted his trunk in search of his mother at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The male calf was born at 5:45 a.m. on Monday10/3 to Umngani. In this rare moment, the calf stood alone after he had wandered off a few steps, but shortly thereafter his mother, 5-year-old sister Khosi, and 2-year-old brother Ingadze rushed over to tend to the unnamed calf. Throughout the day the family watched over their newest member, letting him only stray a few feet. The Safari Park is now home to 18 adult elephants and 10 youngsters. The adults were rescued in 2003 from the Kingdom of Swaziland, where they faced being culled. The average gestation period for African elephants is 649 days or 22 months. A newborn calf averages 200 to 300 pounds. Calves can be weaned at 2 to 3 years old.
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another aaaaahhhhh...  
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mother cat hugs and snuggles her kitten, who looks to be having a bad dream. 



following this video, you can click to see a couple of other cute kitten shots

Thursday, October 13, 2011

being green~uses for brewed tea bags

Tea is the second-most-consumed beverage in the world after water. Tea is so popular, in fact, that it contributes fifteen hundred tons of waste to landfills each year. So if you're a tea drinker who's also concerned about the environment, you'll be happy to know you can use brewed tea bags in a number of ways before throwing them into the garbage.

HEALTH AND BEAUTY TEA BAGS
  •  If you have a bruise, sunburn, bee sting, mosquito bite, or cold sore put a cool, damp tea bag on the affected area and use like a compress. The tea will bring comforting relief, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.
  • The tannin in tea also helps treat plantar warts. Just press a wet, warmed tea bag directly on the area for ten to fifteen minutes and let the skin dry naturally. If you repeat this treatment for a few days the wart will eventually disappear completely.
  • Looking for a natural way to soften your skin? Just run your bathwater over some used tea bags and have an indulgent, restoring soak that will leave you with impossibly soft skin. Any kind of tea will serve this purpose, but the antioxidants in green tea are particularly effective for rehydrating your skin.
  • Warm or cold, tea bags help revitalize tired, achy, or puffy eyes. So lie back with brewed, refrigerated tea bags over your eyes and the tannins in the tealeaves will stimulate blood circulation and diminish the bags and dark circles under your eyes.
  • Soothe razor burn and relieve nicks and cuts by pressing a wet tea bag to your skin. Not only will the tea take some of the sting out, it will also stop the bleeding.
  • Drain a blister or abscess without pain by covering the affected area with a wet tea bag overnight; you'll see results by the time you wake up the next morning.
  • If you've just rolled around in some poison ivy, moisten a cotton ball with strongly brewed tea and dab it on your skin to dry up the weepy rash.
  • Use tea bags for a DIY, at-home facial that would cost you hundreds at a spa. Simply place a brewed tea bag in a bowl of hot water, position your face above the bowl, and cover your head and the bowl with a towel to hold the steam in. The antioxidants and tannins in the tea will tighten your pores, reduce puffiness, and leave your face glowing!
  • Give your feet a daily tea bath that calms, restores, and also eliminates offensive odors! Just boil three or four brewed tea bags in one quart of water for ten minutes. Once the water has cooled enough to be comfortable for your feet, soak them for twenty to thirty minutes.
  • Rinse your hands with water and a brewed tea bag to remove food odors, especially onions and fish.
  • Warm up a brewed tea bag, take the leaves out of it, roll them in a scrap of fabric, and use as a compress for a painful toothache, canker sore, or fat lip. 
TEA BAGS IN THE KITCHEN
  • Cook an incredibly moist turkey by adding a brewed tea bag and a cup of water to the pan. The tannin in the tea is a natural meat tenderizer and adds a unique, delicious flavor.
  • Did your dishwasher fail to clean that big, greasy dish of stuck-on lasagna? Just soak the dish overnight with hot water and a few brewed teabags and the tannins from the tea with break down the grease by morning.
  • You don't have to buy a box of baking soda just to get rid of the odors in your fridge. A brewed tea bag will do the same thing and can easily be replaced.

TEA BAGS AROUND THE HOUSE
  • Deodorize stuffy rooms by pouring one quart twice-brewed tea and four tablespoons lemon juice or your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle.
  • Clean your dark leather shoes by wiping a damp, brewed tea bag in a circular motion.
  • If you're a smoker or have an ashtray out for guests, put a wet tea bag or the leaves from a wet tea bag into the ashtray. When you or your guests ash in the tray, the wet leaves will hold the ash and absorb some of the smell from the smoke.
  • The antibacterial contents of tea bags will help neutralize the odor in your litter box, as well. Just sprinkle the dried out contents of a brewed tea bag into the kitty litter.
  • If you sprinkle the damp tea leaves from a brewed tea bag over the ashes in your fireplace before cleaning it out, the tea will keep the ashes from rising and making a mess when you lift them out.
  • Wipe cast-iron pots and pans with a brewed tea bag to remove and prevent rust.
  • Empty the dry contents from several brewed tea bags onto smelly carpets or pet bedding, allow to settle for ten or fifteen minutes, then deodorize the area when you vacuum and leave the refreshing scent of tea behind. This will also deodorize the vacuum cleaner bag at the same time.
  • Make your mirrors sparkle and shine by using cooled, twice- brewed tea as a cleaner. Just dip a soft cloth in the tea and use it to wipe away dirt and grime, and then buff dry. 

OUTDOORS TEA BAGS
  • Tear open a brewed tea bag and work the contents into the dirt of acid-loving plants like ferns and roses. The tannic acid and other nutrients will be released when you water the plants, spurring their growth. If these plants are ailing, watering them with cooled, twice-brewed tea will set them on the path to recovery!
  • And for healthier potted plants, place a few brewed tea bags over the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter before potting. The tea bags will retain water and leach nutrients to the soil.
  • Speed the decomposition process and enrich your compost pile by pouring a few cups of strong, twice-brewed tea into the heap. The liquid tea will hasten decomposition and draw acid-producing bacteria that will create acid-rich compost. Oh, and you can compost any of the used tea bags you can't find use for, as long as you remove the staples first.

information from Chasing Green.org

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

meal ideas ~ chipotle chili with hominy & beans

Chipotle Chili with Hominy and Beans

This recipe came from a Diabetic Living Quick & Easy Meals book that a friend gave me recently. Steve, my husband, quickly found several meals that we plan to have over the next couple of weeks. This one was very tasty and super quick to make. Using no-salt-added tomatoes and rinsing the beans and hominy helped to keep sodium levels down.

8          oz. lean ground beef (or uncooked ground chicken or turkey)
1          cup chopped onion
1-1/2  tsp. ground cumin
1/2      tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1          to 2 tsp. chopped canned chipotle chile
            peppers in adobo sauce*
2          14 1/2-oz. cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1          15-oz. can red beans, rinsed and drained
1          15-oz. can yellow hominy, rinsed and drained
1          small red sweet pepper, chopped
1/2      cup water
1/2      cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

 In large saucepan, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until brown. Drain off fat.

 Stir in cumin and oregano; cook for 1 minute more. Add chipotle peppers, tomatoes, red beans, hominy, sweet pepper, and the water.

 Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Top each serving with cheese. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Thanks Judy!!! This was yummy