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A can of disinfecting wipes (depending on the size) can cost anywhere from $4 to $13 dollars. Considering for this batch, I did not need new paper towels, or new cleaning supplies, this cost me the same as half a roll of paper towels that I got in bulk 12 for $12, so this ultimately cost me under a dollar.

If you buy all of your materials at once, you probably won’t break even. However, in the long run, making your own wipes can save you money – and it’s certainly worth excluding a monthly expense once in a while.

This makes sense for me for 2 reasons: 1) I have a phobia of not wiping down my counters before I leave a room, so I go through Clorox wipes EXTREMELY quickly and 2) I get the industrial size cleaning solutions that I keep in my closet and dilute in water as needed for new cleaning solution (saves me TONS of money on cleaning supplies – and it’s all natural so I don’t need to worry about the harshness in areas like my kitchen), so this costs me no money on a monthly basis, and in total, under $20.00 for the cleaning solution and towels every couple months.

 

Step 1) Dilute any solution you have, or grab your favorite liquid cleaning supply.

 

Step 2) Take a paper towel roll and make sure it fits in your container. You can use any air tight container, I’m using an old Clorox container.

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Step 2) Take a knife, and cut your roll so it is the same height as your container (Excess paper towels can be used in another air tight container (Like an old baby wipes box) After you cut it, place it back into your container, cut side down.

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Step 3) Pour your favorite cleaning substance into the container. Just enough to lightly soak the paper towels.

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Step 4) Stick your hand as far into the container as you can, and begin pinching the cardboard pipe until you feel it can easily be removed. Slowly, with frequent pinching, ease out the cardboard from the roll.

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Step 5) After it is removed, reach down the center, and take an inside piece of paper towel, and bring it through the center, to the top of the container.

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And voila! Pop on the lid and you have your own cleaning wipes! Like I said, this is a long term reward – and you will save even more money by buying industrial size cleaning supplies, storing them in your closet, and slowly diluting a cap full with water as needed.

Having a batch of a basic stir fry in your fridge at all times is borderline necessary. I’ll use my stir fry throughout the week/couple weeks for all sorts of basis in other dishes – and I even love eating it alone as well. For this post, I am showing you my multi-grain stir fry as it’s a great way to introduce your body to different whole grains and cut back on rice/pasta.

The three grains I used here are Quinoa, Buckwheat, Lentils, and Brown Rice (About 1/4 cup of each because I was cooking for the whole week – one cup can serve about 2-3 people)

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Begin by pouring your grains into a big pot (Dry, No Heat). Then, Add some homemade chicken/beef stock! (Oh yes, I will always promote home made over store bought – but that’s another blog). Remember: Grains to liquid are a 2:1 ratio – meaning for every 1 cup of grains, you add 2 cups of liquid. I added just under 2 cups because some of my grains were small.

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Tip: Give your grains a stir before you cover the pot and bring it to a boil -this helps them not to stick together and cook evenly :) Then – you guessed it! Cover and bring to a boil —- then turn down to a simmer until the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes)

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While my grains cooked – I browned some fresh ground lamb from the market and sautéed some veggies in a large sauce pan.

I combined all of the ingredients in the pot when I was done and added some soy sauce and VOILA! A gorgeous stirfry!!!

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Ta Da 😉 I like to make a whole batch of this because I can eat it alone, I can stuff peppers, zucchini, make little pizza bites, or a casserole – the possibilities are endless with such a great stir fry base!

 

Go be creative!

 

 

Ingredients: APPLES, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C)

Those are the ingredients straight off the Mott’s Applesauce website. Not only do I have a problem with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) but I also have a problem with the SIZE of the containers it comes in! I would much rather stretch my applesauce and make it home made. (Did I mention when you make it home made you can add whatever spices/ingredients you want??) Nothing is better than hot apple sauce with cinnamon, sugar, and raisins. Nothing.

 

Furthermore, making your own applesauce is SO SIMPLE. There is actually no excuse.

 

Step 1) Peel and cube your apples

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Step 2) Put about 1 inch of water in your pot. I’m serious. Don’t worry about the apples drying out – their natural juice will secrete. :)

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Step 3) Put your cubed apples into the water, cover the pot, and bring it to a boil. (On high/medium heat about 6 minutes)

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After you can tell your pot is boiling, (the steam/the bubbles….) turn the heat down to low – and let it go about another 15-20 minutes. You want the apples suuuuper soft!

Once your apples are soft, set the pot aside and let it cool off a bit. Put it in the blender and blend to your desired smoothness! Put it back in the pot and season with some sugar, honey, cinnamon, whatever you want! I like to add some dried fruit or grains for a heartier snack.

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&&& the best part???? no added chemicals.

Check out my Video on how to make applesauce for a visual!

 

It’s the little things that you change in your life that will add up to  a much healthier “you”. Like using real beans instead of canned, or making your own ketchup instead of buying it, or making your corn instead of getting canned.

ONE Can of Corn contains 489 mg of sodium.Are they serious? You don’t even need salt on your corn! Just pop some butter on it it’s naturally delicious!

Cooking corn also could not be easier. The hardest part about cooking your own stalks of corn – is boiling the water.

Step 1) Peel your corn (This should be intuitive. A survival gift given to you by God).

Step 2) Boil Water

Step 3) Put your corn in the boiling water

 

Step 4) After about 2-3 minutes, remove the corn with a pair of tongs. Top with 100% natural butter, and enjoy!

 

If you’d like to eat your corn on a plate, or in a dish rather than on the cob – Just use a knife to cut off the corn from the cob. They may stick together in a row when you do this, so just lightly separate the corn with a knife – serve with butter and a pinch of salt!

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Let’s just admit it already – Football season is coming up and we need to start perfecting our chili making skills now.

I have the most delicious low calorie option for chili that will taste exactly the same as that heavy chili business your mama makes.

You will need:

  • Homemade Stock (Ok fine, if you have to buy it in the store do so , just please please read the ingredients and get low sodium. Otherwise what’s the point?!)
  • Two chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of beans (your choice!) (Don’t make me go into everything they put in canned beans – for the love of all good foodness use REAL beans!)
  • 1 can of Tomato Paste
  • Whole Grain Flour
  • 1 orange
  • A bit of Soy Sauce
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt, Pepper, Cumin, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Fresh herbs (I used Oregano and Thyme)

 

Begin by Cooking your Chicken breasts. You can do this however you like, I just baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

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They weren’t completely done, as you can see they are a little pink, but that’s OK because they will finish cooking in the chili.

Cut your chicken into cubes and prepare your onions and garlic.

Sautee your onions and garlic in a large sauce pan for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in a little bit of your chicken stock (Just about half a cup – we will add the liquid as we go – otherwise we will be making a soup not a chili!)

Add in your beans, and add more water if necessary. The water should just barely cover your ingredients – whatever they are.

Add in your cubed chicken breasts/thighs. Add in more stock if necessary. Cover, and let it simmer about 10 minutes.

Come back and check in on it. I added tablespoons of flour as needed to reach the thickness I desired. You can add some bell peppers, some broccoli, some corn, or nothing at all – whatever you want! I added Corn because I love the texture of corn in this.

 

Now for the secret ingredients. I add to my chili 1 – 2 fresh juiced oranges, a little bit of soy sauce, Almost an entire can of tomato paste (just eye ball it for thickness and taste), a couple handfuls of fresh parmesan cheese (again this thickens it), chili powder, cumin, and other Indian spices and herbs. I then let it go another 10 – 15 minutes with the herbs. This is what I believe makes it truly delicious!

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Let it cool a bit and then fill up your mason jars for a quick grab lunch on the go for the work week!

 

Bon Appetite! And GO HAWKS! (Well not yet – but when Football “Officially” starts 😉 )

Iowa_Hawkeyes

 

Are you ready? Because you’re going to love this.

 

Ingredients:

  • Brown Rice & Egg Noodles
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Chicken Thighs (or breasts)
  • Onion/Garlic
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Any assortment of Vegetables of your choice ( I used fresh tomatoes, Zucchini and Carrots from my garden!)
  • Stock/Water/Wine
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

 

I do step 1 the night before.

Step 1) Place 1 spaghetti squash in an oiled pan, and coat with oil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 45 – min to an Hour (I do this Fri or Sat Night, and keep it in the fridge until Sunday when I’m ready to cook)

 

On Sunday

Step 1) Cut your spaghetti Squash in half, and scoop out the center of seeds with a spoon. Use a fork to create “strings” from the squash. This will come natural to the squash so don’t worry about doing it wrong! Put the spaghetti squash in a large bowl and set aside.

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Step 2) In a sauce pan, melt some all natural butter (I use all natural irish butter unsalted) with olive oil. Pour 1 cup of brown rice and a handful of egg noodles into the butter/oil mixture. DO NOT SEASON. Not Yet.

 

Step 3) Pour your stock/water/wine into the sauce pan. (2 cups exactly for every 1 cup of rice). Cover the pan and bring to a boil then turn to a simmer for 10 – 15 minutes (or while you prep your other ingredients)

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Step 4) Cut your chicken thighs into cubes, and put them in a bowl. Sanitize, and cover the chicken with an olive oil/lemon juice / salt and pepper/spice mixture heat some olive oil in a skillet, and cook your cut up chicken until it is firm and white in the middle.

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Step 5) While your chicken and rice cook, prep your vegetables (Any and as many as you like)

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Step 6) When your rice mixture has all of the water absorbed and tastes like the consistency of rice, turn it off of the heat and season it. Take out another sauce pan for your sauce.

 

Step 7) To your new sauce pan, sautee some onion and garlic in oil, add a can of tomatoes, some water/stock/or wine, fresh herbs of your choice (optional) and seasoning. Cover the sauce pan and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. By then, your chicken will be done.

 

Step 8) As your chicken finishes, and your sauce simmers, combine your spaghetti squash and rice in a large bowl or pan. Season more if necessary.

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Step 9) Spray a large casserole pan with PAM or coat with oil. Slowly add all three ingredients to the pan, mixing it in the pan as you go. (A little bit of rice/spaghetti squash, a little bit of chicken, a little bit of veggies, etc.) Add in the sauce as you go and mix as well as you can.

 

Step 10) Cover the pan with fresh mozzarella cheese, and cover with foil.

 

Step 11) Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. (This meal is best after a couple days in the fridge so it’s perfect for lasting you a whole week (or in my case two weeks!)

 

ENJOY!

 

Do us all a favor, and DITCH THE CEREAL! Ditch the cereal, ditch the pancakes, and we are just going to pretend for a second you have never had a breakfast sandwich or a heat up waffle.

I think I actually just barfed I my mouth as I typed that. But it’s a truth among all, that trying to find a fast and healthy breakfast is a real struggle. I agree. Completely. And I’ve sat around day after day scratching my head thinking: “How can I incorporate fresh veggies into a breakfast?”

 

Well friends, I have the solution. And it is actually delicious. And incredibly simple to make when I wake up at 7am and need to be out the door by 7:45, make up, hair, and all.

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The key here is to prep your ingredients in plastic baggies the night before (or even on Sunday). You will need

  • Pre Chopped Tomatoes
  • Prepared Greens of your Choice (Great opportunity for spinach, kale, or collard greens because the fat of the egg offsets the bitterness while it still adds flavor- -I cut the greens into small bite size pieces and store them in a plastic bag for a quick grab throughout the week)
  • Onions/Garlic
  • Green Onions (And whatever other vegetable you want! I’ve used summer squashes/eggplants/anything you want)

 

So you wake up in the morning feeling like anything but P. Diddy. After I take my shower, before I start in on hair and make up – I head to the kitchen. Grab my pre-chopped ingredients, and a skillet.

 

1) put a dollop of olive oil in a pan, and put in the pan your onions and garlic. (I start by putting one or two pieces in the oil and when it starts to sizzle, I add the rest). In the amount of time it takes to prepare your coffee – the onions are done.

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2) Pour in your greens and tomatoes and cover with a pan. In the amount of time it takes to put on a shirt and brush your hair – the greens are wilted.

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3) Season your veggies give it a stir, and pour in your egg mixture. (I literally just crack two eggs, and a splash of water, and salt and pepper – no cheese or milk for me but feel free to do it your own way)

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4) Turn your pan to LOW and let your eggs go for about 4-7 minutes or as long as it takes to do your make up. (The French (the good chefs) like to cook their eggs on low for a long period of time – but as a yuppie you definitely won’t have time in the morning for that!)

5) Pour your food in a Tupperware to eat on the way to or at work – or just snarf it down like I do in a matter of 5 seconds (Ok minutes).

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People seriously underestimate how fast and easy it is to have a quick breakfast. Heck, cooking just two eggs on a sprayed pan on medium low/ covered, sunny side up, takes about 5 minutes and is a totally healthy and easy breakfast in itself! I also will make a smoothie the night before, and keep it in the fridge for the morning – or pre-cook some oatmeal and heat it up with cinnamon and sugar when I get to work. Be creative and do research and step out of the mentality you need “morning food” for breakfast!!

It’s not a secret that I am completely prone to sinus infections. Therefore, I seriously limit my intake of any creamy “white” food – and let’s be honest – things like Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, and Heavy Cream really aren’t that great for anyone. So it’s probably not unheard of for a lot of you to already be trying to avoid those ingredients.

Then the question remains: How can we still enjoy things like cream of mushroom soup?? Even if you aren’t cutting out those foods – buying cream of mushroom soup in the can is far from a “healthy choice”. A can of Campbells mushroom soup includes ingredients of: vegetable oil, enriched wheat flour, cream, corn starch, whey powder, soy protein isolate, monosodium glutamate, tomato paste, calcium caseinate (a milk protein), yeast extract, spice and garlic powder. I bet you couldn’t pronounce a lot of those words… well try googling one and looking up the harms those chemicals can do to the body – not to mention ungodly amounts of sodium. Aint nobody need that – and I think I have rested my case why making your OWN soup is an enormously great alternative.

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For a healthy (and still creamy) mushroom soup you will need:

1 bag of mushrooms (I like baby bella 😉 )

Stock or Water (I highly recommend stock – it is what makes this meal healthy and tasty. I of course use my own home made broth, but you can substitute whatever you please – you can even just use water and it’s fine)

Onion/Garlic

Seasoning of your Choice

A blender

 

Step 1) Put some chunks of onion and a garlic clove in your blender/food processor and give it a couple pushes

 

Step 2) Heat olive oil in a pan over medium/high and put in a couple pieces of onion. When those couple pieces start sizzling, add the rest and let it go for a couple minutes (I like to season my onions and garlic at this point in time)

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Step 3) Add in your mushrooms. I like to drizzle some more olive oil on top of the mushrooms at this point for extra moisture, and then cover the pan and let them cook. Heat can still be on medium high. This will take only a couple minutes for them to welt down.

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Step 4) When your mushrooms have wilted, add some salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice ( I like adding Chervil leaves to my mushrooms – a tip from my grandfather )

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Step 5) Fill the pot with water, or in my case, home made beef broth. I had two cans of the foundations of French onion soup made with home made beef broth – but didn’t want French onion soup – so I just added this to the mushroom soup. (I think the onions in the beef broth added a great a mount of flavor – but you can use whatever liquid you want (you can even add wine! which I did. obviously.)  )

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Bring this to a boil, and then turn it down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

After 10 – 15 minutes, take the pot off of heat, and let it cool before putting in the blender. When the soup is easy to manage, put the soup in the blender and blend to the consistency you prefer. Some people like big chunks of mushrooms in their soup some want it as smooth as possible. I like it somewhere in between :)

 

Step 6) Transfer your blended mixture back into the pot. (These next couple steps are optional):

  • Heat the soup on a medium/low setting over the stove. This is the part where we thicken the soup making it seem “creamy”
  • Add seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Cumin (optional) whatever you like
  • The longer and the lower heat you have going on this the more it will thicken naturally – Also add some home made processed nuts (home made flour-ish) or some whole grain flour to thicken as well. I added a couple tablespoons and that thickened it just fine. I didn’t make this too thick because the soup will naturally thicken in the fridge.

 

Step 7) Add the soup to mason jars and store in the fridge for the week. The soup WILL thicken in the fridge – so when you go to heat it up just add as much water as you want (a splash for a thicker “creamier” soup, and a little more for a thinner soup). Heat in the microwave for 1- 2 minutes and enjoy!!!

 

 

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 OK, so this may seem completely basic but the truth of it is – a lot of young people don’t even know how to cook a chicken breast. So many of my peers grew up in families that just simply didn’t cook – so I try to incorporate some basic kitchen skills into this blog.

This post is an easy go to – meal that is easy to make when you have no food in your house and just came home from a hard work day. I buy my meat in bulk in the suburbs when it’s on sale to avoid high meat prices. I then cut open the bulk package, grab some saran wrap, and individually wrap each piece of meat and keep it in a zip-lock bag with a date on it so I know how old it is. Then, when I come home from work I take the meat straight from the freezer to the oven and within minutes have a fresh delicious meal.

 

Step 1) Line an oven pan with tinfoil. This will keep you from having to wash the pan after you cook it! Also, preheat oven to 350 – 400 degrees. (I just turn on the oven first thing when I walk in from work and jump in the shower. By the time I’m done with my shower the oven is ready to go!)

 

Step 2) Take your meat out of the freezer and plop it in the pan. Sanitize hands before going to step 3

 

Step 3) Grab a fork and some olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other spices you want. I also sprinkle some lemon or lime juice on top as well. I use the fork to turn the breast over and season the other side, so I do not need to sanitize my hands again – just clean the fork :)

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Step 4) Season your meat with your olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon/lime juice (if you want) and any other seasoning you want.

 

Step 5) Pop it in the oven and let it cook for anywhere from 20 – 40 minutes depending on the size of your piece of meat. A frozen breast typically takes me about 30 – 40 minutes. (Tip: For a juicier chicken and a bigger mess, you can put the chicken breast on a hot skillet with oil for about 3 minutes per side and then put in the oven – but lets be honest – after a long day at work I want as little mess and as little effort as possible in my dinner making)

 

People are usually good up until this point – but then get scared —– “HOW DO I KNOW ITS DONE?”. Simple! You know your chicken breast is done and safe to eat if you put a sharp knife in the middle of it and when you take out the knife and push down the juice that comes out is clear.

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You can also tell if a breast is done by simply cutting the breast in half, and if the center is white (not pink) your chicken breast is done.

 

A lot of people like to pound their breasts before they cook them – which is a great technique but again, will add an extra step and won’t be as low-effort (after all, this is the LAZY way to do chicken – right???)

 

I like to top my chicken breast with a wine sauce, or in this case I put on some broth and mushrooms from my mushroom soup before I blended it. Truth is, you don’t need to top your breast with anything and can eat it as is! So go experiment!

 

 

 

 

Quinoa Stir Fry Casserole
Have leftovers from last week but are sick of eating them?? It took me less than 30 minutes to turn some old quinoa stir fry into a yummy casserole that lasted me over another week!!Ingredients:
– any old pasta/grain dish stir fry
– add… meat (i added beef to this)
– create a sauce (i just added a can of tomatoes to the mixture)
– oil up a baking dish and pour it all in topping with some cheese!

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20-30 minutes See More