Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How I make Chicken Stock

I promised a few weeks ago that I'd go over the way I make chicken broth.  Most recipes I've found online call for a huge amount of chicken bones.  I don't have space to store bones, so I make it as needed and when I have a few bones available.

Start off with some chicken bones.  I think cooked bones are recommended by most, but I've found I get a more flavorful stock if I use raw.  This picture is actually a mix of both.  This came from one 3 dollar organic package of thighs and legs from whole foods.  I typically buy bone in because I don't want to pay for someone's processing.

Throw said bones in a pot full of plain water. Add some carrots and celery.  A bay leaf, or any other herb that you prefer.  Sometimes I just throw in rosemary and salt.  Keep it simple.  Remember your not making chicken soup, your making stock, which is just an ingredient for cooking.  Plain is better here so you can tweak the recipes you use the stock for better.

After about three hours covered at a gentle boil,  you'll have a stock that looks like this.  That's when I uncover it for about 30 minutes and bring the temperature up to a rapid boil.  After that I strain it through cheesecloth and a strainer.

I put them in clean freezer safe canning jars, and store them in the fridge overnight.  As they cool the fat rises to the top, and I can skim it off easily.  Then they're ready for the freezer, where they can be stored for up to three months.  This particular batch made 5 half pints.  If you've never made chicken stock I highly suggest you try.  It's so easy, you can't mess it up.  You've just saved yourself bucks because your using things you would have normally tossed in the trash.

Tuesday Tag-Along

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Lots of links!

We're getting settled into our new place here in Colorado, and enjoying the easy summer weather here. I hope everyone's had a chance to see the Angel Bear Yoga Giveaway that ends this Friday. This week we'll be eating light healthy food. We've recovered nicely from our long drive last week with healthy whole foods, and we'll be continuing it this week.  I have had to look up most of my recipes though, all of my recipe books are still packed up.

I'm in love with Whole Foods stores.  I went to one for the first time this week, since I have one less then 2 miles away.  Where I lived before I was more then 50 miles away so obviously I didn't go.  I'm getting spoiled by the huge amount of organic and whole foods there.  Anyway, here are our plans for the week.

Monday: Tomato Bruschetta
Tuesday: Homemade Pizza (fresh tomatoes and basil!)
Wednesday: Greek Chicken Salad
Thursday: Cheesy Chicken Pasta
Friday: Spaghetti and home made garlic bread.
Saturday: Turkey Burgers and home made fries.
Sunday: Leftovers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday in my City -- Colorado

Well, we're in Colorado now, and if you haven't seen my giveaway you should go take a look.  Anyway, we got some nice pictures yesterday morning while exploring our new city.  Enjoy the view. :)


Ni Hao Y'all

Friday, June 25, 2010

When green is cheap -- buying refurbished items

Most of you know I've recently moved.  I have two very expensive items on my wish list.  One is a new vacuum, which is a MUST.  When I left Virginia last week, my dyson lost it's suction *gasp!* and I left it behind.  My dad is working on trying to fix it, I sucked up a tissue...and a tissue did it in.  I loved my dyson though.  It's an amazing vacuum so don't let the death by tissue deter you.

So, I bought this Dyson from overstock.com.  Granted, with limited time with packing and all that I only shopped for about 20 minutes, but I'm very proud that I found a good vacuum that's almost $120 bucks cheaper then one brand new.

So, have you purchased anything that was refurbished before?  Did you have a good experience with it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Local Warming

I just wanted to do a little advertising about an event being held in my old stomping grounds next week. Local Warming will be doing be premiering at the Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. The showing is part of a local Solutions Fair and wine festival intended to inspire action on lowering the carbon footprint in the community.  Several of the key filmmakers will be at the screening, including the director, Tom Reilly, musician Rob Lynch, who wrote five original songs for the movie, and Director of Photography Jon Van Gorder.

If any of my readers attend the event, please let me know.  I would love to hear about it, or post pictures.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day one with Angel Bear Yoga

Yesterday before our movers came, we had our first yoga session.  My daughter was thrilled and open minded about yoga (or as she calls, Yoda).  My son on the other hand wanted to just play and have free time.  It took some convincing, but I managed to get him to do it with me.  I told him that if he didn't like it, I wouldn't force him to do it again.  He made me pinky swear. :)

We started off with a meditation and the first story in the Adventure Stories CD. The relaxing sounds and calm voice of Christi's husband Mark Eley helped the kids get rid of their sillies and focus on the visuals that Mark was describing.  After the relaxations, I did the readings and poses in the first lesson (mind you, there are over 50 lessons!).  This first lesson took about 10-15 minutes, we did a simple stretching pose, and discussed abundance, which is the first lesson.  My two kids didn't know what the word meant, but after this first lesson they understood it completely.

After the first lesson was finished, I took time to thank my son especially for doing this with us.  I asked him if he would do it again tomorrow, and he said yes!  He liked it.  He was one tough cookie to win over, but I think because it was brief, and because it engaged his imagination it was a great first introduction to yoga.

Official Giveaway -- Angel Bear Yoga

I have paired up with Christi Eley over at Angel Bear Yoga to bring to you my first giveaway.  All entries must be received by Friday July 2nd.  I will announce a winner, and they will have 24 hours to contact me with their address information and Christi will send you your winnings.

What you will win is the Angel Bear Yoga Lesson Book, the Angel Bear Yoga DVD, and the Angel Bear Story CD. Christi has done a lovely job with this curriculum, you will not be disappointed.

How to enter:

1.  Leave a comment
2. Follow me by clicking the follow button on your right 
(if you're already a follower, that counts too, just put a comment below saying so).
3. Follow me on facebook.
4. Link back to this giveaway on your blog.
5. Tweet this giveaway.
6. Purchase an item from Angel Bear Yoga during this contest.

For each option you use, please post a comment describing your method.  The winner will be chosen through a  Random Number Generator.

Good luck!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Angel Bear Yoga Giveaway -- Christi Eley

It is my pleasure to introduce my readers to Christi Eley.  Christi Eley is a Certified Yoga Instructor.  She recieved her children's yoga training and certification through YogaKids (Phase I), a premiere international yoga program for children.  She also comleted YogaEd. Teacher Training and Certification; a nationally known program working to bring yoga programs into schools throughout the country.  Christi also has an extensive background in child development.  She is an IAIAM Certified Infant Massage Instructor, Itsy Bitsy Yoga trained, as well as Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga Certified.  She has taught children's yoga at a variety of places including preschools, public and private schools, yoga studios, psorting centers, children's museums, camps and chruches.  She developed and implemented an innovative yoga curriculum for The Downtown Elementary School of Winston-Salem.

The Angel Bear Yoga program was created by Christi to make yoga a more meaningful experience for children. By attaching a character trait to each pose and by combining yoga with her love for nature the pgoram teaches children to embody positive behavior and appreciate the natural world.

This program is designed to be led by parents, teachers, or anyone who works with young children - you don't have to be a yoga instructor.  Christi wanted to make it accessible to anyone, so all chidlren could receive the positive benefits the program has to offer.

In the next few days, I'll be posting my children's reaction to Christi's program, along with offering a giveaway.  Keep checking back!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

What a week!  We're in Colorado, and this week we're focusing on healthy whole foods eating to purge the crap we ate for the last three days.  It took us three days to get from Virginia to Colorado.  I haven't seen much of Colorado yet, as I've been unpacking and just making sure the kids have all the things they need.  Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be out to explore.

Anyway, here's my recovery menu for the week.  These will all be home made whole foods.

Monday: Spaghetti Alfredo, Salads and fresh fruit
Tuesday: Pepper crusted round steak (local!!), fresh salad, and fruit
Wednesday: Spaghetti, Homemade Garlic Bread, fresh salad, and fruit
Thursday:  Chicken Tacos (Taco Salad for grownups!)
Friday: Homemade Pizza

Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Moving this week

 We're moving this week.  This will be the last post until I"m in Colorado.  Going to start off my new home with a giveaway from Angel Bear Yoga. See you guys in a week!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Boycott BP

I'm sure you guys watch the news.  I won't insult you by telling you what you already know. What I will do however, is show you what is painful for me to look at.  Until now, I have not posted about the oil spill, mostly because it makes me cry.  I haven't gotten angry until now.  Apparently they used riskier methods to seal their wells before the blast.  Be sure to read the article linked above.  My heart breaks for the gulf.

Sources: Boston.com

Seize BP Petition button

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One year old Happy Meal

A few months back I remember reading about this happy meal posted by Nonna Joan over at Baby bites. I bring this up, mostly because on a road trip, the best eaters sometimes have little choice other then fast food. I mean, you don't even have to get out of your car. Find a McD's drivethrough, and you have a lunch the kids will eat. Well, before you do that, I'd take a look at her post Happy Birthday to my Happymeal. I honestly get strange looks from acquantainces when they learn I don't eat fast food, or refuse to allow my kids the occasional fast food burger.

Here is the picture of the happy meal the day she bought it.

Here is one year later:

Other then looking a little dried out, you'd never know it wasn't fresh.  What kind of food won't decompose?!?  This is not fit for human consumption.  Seriously.

Tuesday Tag-Along

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday -- Still moving

This week is all about quick easy meals, and (as pictured above) convenience food...my style. As in fresh fruit and veggies, and other organic meals.  We have horrible reactions to preservatives.  Plus, I don't want to have to detox everyone once we get to Colorado.  Movers are coming Thursday, so not sure how often I'll be posting after that date.  Gig on Saturday, party with the girls Saturday night, then painting, cleaning, then I'm off to Colorado.  *sniff*

Anyway, here is the plan for the week, kinda.

Monday: Haddock with Bearnaise sauce and french fries. (Chips and Fish!!)
Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie (last official dinner...I know I said that two weeks ago, but I can't help but cook)
Wednesday: Out with friends, maybe catch dinner out.
Thursday: Moving date, likely to get dinner out again.
Friday: Who knows!!
Weekend: We're screwed, lol.

Anyway...hope you guys have a better week in the kitchen then I do.  If you have any thoughts to easy one pot meals, I'm all for them, except that all my pots are gone passed Thursday!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday in My City -- at home

The movers come this week to take all of our things to Colorado.  Next week, I'll be painting and cleaning the carpets.  We've found a potential renter, and a decision has to be made as to weather or not I accept her, or keep looking for a more qualified tenant. Bleh...

So, today I wanted to share with you my beloved home that we will be leaving in about ten days.  It's green, very green right now.  Blackberries are in season, and my daughter and I went out to pick away.  She was careful to avoid the poison ivy I showed her the other day.  I think the lesson sunk in.  We have black berries growing all through our property here, so we visited quite a few different places to gather a healthy snack this morning.

It amazes me how she can be so girlie, with her skirts and fingernail polish, but she's also not afraid to get dirty.  She loves being outside.  Her brother caught us having fun, so he came out to pick his favorite, the sugar snap peas.  He's not so much of an outdoors man, but he loves to eat.  I introduced him to these last year, and he just thought they were so amazing, little snaps of sugar popping in your mouth when you chew them. I"ll stop gabbing now and just let you enjoy some pictures from my garden.

Unknown Mami

Ni Hao Y'all

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Poison Ivy...or??

Being a Virginia native, I've done my share of hiking and enjoying the beauty that I've lived in. I taught my kids a valuable lesson the other day about poison ivy, and comparing to what else was around. I thought I'd share this lesson with you too.

First is the little saying I was taught as a kid: Leaves of three, let it be. But if you're not shown what those three leaves look like, you think everything in the world is poison ivy. My house is nestled in the woods, and we have black berries everywhere, which also have three leaves. I wanted my kids to be able to distinguish between the two.  This first picture here on the left IS poison ivy.  Note the three leaves, they are shiny, and it is a vine.

The picture on the right is NOT poison ivy.  It is actually part of the black berry bushes that grow right in the same place.  The most notable difference between the two is the stem color, and that blackberries have thorns.  Poison Ivy does not have thorns.  The leaves here are not shiny either, and the stem is grey, not green.  Although that's not always the case.

This poor tree's got it tough.  Not only is it being crowded by the blackberries, it's got the poison ivy vine hanging on it, and it's got Virginia Creeper on it.  Virginia Creeper is commonly mistaken for poison ivy, the biggest difference being that it has five leaves.  Where I live, it grows everywhere, I am in Virginia after all. :)  This is one nasty that I have to pull off my fence, my deck, it even will grow up the house if I let it.  Fun stuff.  Anyway, that's my Poison Ivy lesson.  I wonder what stuff we'll have to learn together out in Colorado.  Is there even stuff like this out there?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pesticides in Veggies

If you weren't sure you needed to go organic, please listen why it's so important.  Especially for your children.  Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's the state of your air?

While researching the area I will be moving to in the next few weeks, I stumbled across the American Lung Association's website.  There were lots of interesting facts about air pollution in general, and you can get the latest tests results for your area.

I found their section Air Pollution Myths interesting too.  I'll lay them out for you.

Myth 1 - Air pollution is no longer a problem. It used to be, yes, but not anymore.Facts - Fortunately, we have cleaner air, but the air in too many places can still make people sick. This year’s State of the Air report shows that 175.3 million people live in counties air pollution can cause coughing and wheezing, send people to the doctor or the hospital, and even shorten their lives.

Myth 2 - Anything “green” or “eco-friendly” is good for the air, too.Facts - Not everything “green” is good for your lungs. Take burning wood for fuel, for example. Although wood is natural, renewable, and “green,” smoke from burning wood contains particles and gases that can be very dangerous, even life-threatening.  In many communities, wood-burning in the winter is the biggest source of their unhealthy air. So be careful to avoid burning wood or trash, and be sure going “green” is also good for your pink lungs.

Myth 3 - The more miles per gallon my car gets, the less air pollution it will produce. Facts - Cars emissions are based on the type of car it is, not on the amount fuel it uses. Car manufacturers design each vehicle to meet certain limits on the air pollutants that can come out of the tailpipe. The limits are the same for all the cars in that category no matter how many miles to the gallon they get.
Myth 4 - All we really need to do is to cut our carbon footprint and we’ll solve the air pollution problem.
Facts - Unfortunately, no.  Yes, some of the sources of air pollution also produce carbon dioxide emissions.  And changing our climate may make air pollution worse than it would have otherwise been in the future. However, cleaning up air pollutants requires different equipment than cleaning up carbon dioxide— like dust filters, for example.  Actually, some air pollutants cause global warming, too. So cleaning up those pollutants can help fight global warming. So.  it’s a good idea to be sure that we clean up air pollution in anything we do for our environment.
Myth 5 - Air pollution may still be a problem, but only in Los Angeles or Houston.Facts - Both of those cities continue to have serious air pollution problems, but so do many other cities and counties across the nation. Many communities have air pollution levels that researchers have found harms health.  Some places in any community may be even more harmful, like near a major roadway. Research has shown that pollution levels near busy freeways may be high enough to be dangerous even in otherwise clean air communities. 

To find out the air quality in your area, put your zip code in the box below.

Plant a tree with Odwalla

Plant a tree with Odwalla.  It takes just a few minutes and it's kinda fun to do.  Their website is beautiful, and easy to get around.  They paired up with Facebook, so if you don't have an account with them, they may pester you to do so.  I think Texas is leading the race with the most trees planted, but I have to say, I'm pretty proud of Virginia for being ranked third.  Where does your state rank? 

Go plant a tree, and have fun!!  Thanks Odwalla!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moving Sucks...

It's 7:45pm here and I just realized it's Tuesday.  Maybe memorial day threw me off, maybe the fact that I'm moving threw me off.  Not sure, but apparently I'm off.  Packing, cleaning, purging.  It's all full steam ahead.  Tomorrow I show the house for the first time.  So, I'm nodding off wanting to go to bed, the sun isn't even down yet.  What a day. Movers will be here in 9 days.

Tuesday Tag-Along


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