Tag Archives: routine

Gardening Without Breaking the Bank

Ladies, it’s just about time to break out those watering cans! Summer is just around the corner and we know what that means… fresh vegetables and flowers straight from the garden! We wanted to help you make the most out of your gardens this year while still being able to stay within your budget. Also, we have a few ideas to keep you out of those annoying hardware stores buying gallons of chemical-filled products for your garden, and instead spending more time enjoying your garden by making your own products at home!
First, did you know that you can actually regrow some vegetables like lettuce, celery, onions, tomatoes, carrots, and even potatoes from the scraps left in your own refrigerator? This is a huge time and money saver because you’re regrowing from something you have already purchased and you’re starting from a base instead of a seed! So, stop throwing them away and find a planting pot, fast! For flowers, you and your neighbors can share and propagate cuttings from your larger flower bushes/plants in order to save one another money.  Plus, this way everyone has beautiful flower beds while building stronger relationships with their neighbor! Another super easy way to save money is to, instead of waiting until the middle of the day when it’s the hottest to water your flowers or vegetables, do it first thing in the morning or after the sun has started to go down. This saves money because you end up using less water because plants will need more water in the middle of the day to prevent becoming wilted. However, if you water them in the morning or the evening, then they already have all the water they will need to make it through the day! While this may seem like a difficult time of the day to squeeze another task into your morning/evening routine, spending quality time in your garden during the most peaceful times of the day is good for the soul. You might even find that it puts you in a better mood for your day by just spending a few extra minutes in your garden each morning/evening.
gardening1Making your own organic sprays or fertilizers in order to avoid spraying your flowers or vegetables with potentially harmful chemicals is a great alternative! Even better is that making your own organic sprays prevents you from going into those overwhelming home improvement stores trying to sell you unnecessary things in order to have a successful garden. If you are active on Pinterest you can find tons of recipes for both organic pesticide sprays and fertilizers here. Our favorite organic pesticide spray to use on vegetables and flowers is from LavenderandLime.com and contains only the best ingredients to keep pests and chemicals out of your garden! For more ideas on how to have a successful garden and how you can get an early start, pick up our March issue out now!

Written by Kathleen Duffy

Removing the Clutter from Your Life

A few small changes to your surroundings and your routine may be all you need to reduce stress and improve efficiency during your work day. Check out some of the recent changes I’ve made and leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Decluttering:
Every room in my house needed help. Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was very inspirational to this process. I’ve cut my entire wardrobe (summer and winter clothes included) in half. There will be no more storing clothes in their off seasons. Getting dressed in the morning is easier— and in two weeks, I have yet to wake up and say, “I have nothing to wear!”

Deleting unnecessary smart phone apps:
I once used three screens on my iPhone to house all of my apps. Now I’m down to one. There are quite a few that you can’t delete, but you can push them out of the way by making a folder for all your extra stuff. And, speaking of unnecessary apps…

Limiting time on social media:
I used to “relax” and “unwind” before bed by surfing through Facebook.
As it turns out, after deleting the app from my phone, I’m sleeping better— for a couple of reasons:
Watching people exchanging harsh words on Facebook over any issue is stressful. I often wonder if the same people would approach someone in a crowded restaurant and have a heated argument with them if they were wearing a shirt broadcasting their opinion instead? Sometimes a keyboard shields us from the fact that there are actual humans on the other side— and becoming emotional about an issue that a Facebook debate will not solve is detrimental to a good night’s sleep.
Reports from the pages of various news outlets on various catastrophes do not bode well for shut eye. I’m not saying I don’t want to be informed— but I am saying that stirring up my fight or flight mechanism before bed probably wasn’t the best idea.

Exercising:
Staying active on a regular basis is just better for your health. With less distractions in the form of physical and social clutter, I spend more time getting my nervous energy out on the trails or the track— which helps get my brain ready for focusing at work.

Eating a better breakfast:
I’ve eliminated coffee and bread from my morning— only because it is better for ME. Ask yourself what would be better for you—maybe even talk to your doctor about healthy foods that could meet your needs. I start my mornings by drinking an entire bottle of water and eating a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple. I have more energy and I don’t have to worry about the dreaded caffeine crash mid-morning.

 

How do you get relax and stay organized during the week? Let us know!

Swapping Habits for Healthier Living

When it comes to cooking, you’re always on the lookout for new recipes, easy shortcuts and ways to make familiar recipes healthier without sacrificing the great taste. If you are a health-minded cook, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Add colors to your foods – Colorful fruits and vegetables quickly decorate a traditional recipe and make food appear much more appetizing. Look for deep greens in spinach, vibrant reds in tomatoes and a rainbow of colors in peppers to add to your casseroles, lasagnas or meat dishes.

2. Swap out the plate size – It may surprise you to learn serving meals on smaller plates encourages people to eat less food. So downsize your dinner plates, and you might find your family eating the proper portions. You’ll also ensure they clean their plates!

3. Change your take-out menus to meal plans – If you have a stack of take-out menus in your home, replace them with recipes and a daily meal planner. Having a planner will help you arrange a weekly grocery shopping list and save you time and money by limiting the number of nights you eat out.

4. Flip the after-dinner routine – Instead of settling down into the couch after dinner, jump start your digestion and take a family walk around the neighborhood together. For healthy bodies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people work their way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activities per week, which can include a brisk walk (at a 15-minute mile pace).

5. Vary the ingredients – If you already have family-favorite recipes, look them over to see if there are ways to swap healthier ingredients in place of others. For example, corn oil can help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil, according to a recent study sponsored in part by ACH Food Companies, Inc. which sells Mazola(C) Corn Oil. The research found plant sterols, which are naturally present in corn oil, have heart healthy benefits such as preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Corn oil contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils, making it a healthier swap for your favorite recipes.

If you’re looking for a new delicious recipe that uses corn oil, check out this Kick’N Chicken recipe:

chickenKick’N Chicken with Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (one pound total)
2 tablespoons Weber Kick’N Chicken Seasoning
1/4 cup Mazola(C) Corn Oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice

Mango Pepper Salsa
2 cups diced fresh mango, 1/4-inch dice
1 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4-inch dice
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons minced, fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat grill to medium heat, or between 350 to 450 F.
Trim excess fat from chicken, rinse and pat dry using paper towels. If necessary, pound chicken to an even 1/2-inch thickness using a mallet, rolling pin or cast iron skillet (this will ensure the chicken cooks evenly). Place chicken into a 1-gallon size resealable plastic bag. Add seasoning, oil and lemon juice to the bag. Seal bag and turn to thoroughly coat chicken.
Grill chicken over direct high heat for 6 to 8 minutes. Turn chicken and continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes until cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a serving plate.
Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl; stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.)
Top grilled chicken with mango salsa and serve immediately.
Recipe tip: Try slicing the chicken onto warm, low-fat tortillas, top with mango salsa and crumbled queso fresco cheese for delicious spicy chicken wraps.