Thursday, April 30, 2009


Here are some pictures of our garden and the kids playing around it.

Our Garden
Sam Champion just said on the morning show, 17 million Americans are going to be starting their first garden this year.

My husband and I have been gardening for 18 years. We have always done it, because we don’t use pesticides. Even back before the “organic movement” started to really kick in.

I am sure what we buy in the store does, organic or not, who knows what is in the soil, but I know what we grow is really organic.

We also have a well, and our water is not treated with chlorine or anything. We don’t spray our lawn, in fact, dandelions are beautiful! I would never kill them. Lawn grass is not a native plant…and its not good for the enviroment I am told. Funny, my “lawn’ is not grass, but mostly weeds we keep trimmed lol. We bought our home from a 91 year old woman who was born here and I know she never treated the lawn, and we don’t either.

My husband and I have gotten bigger and bigger every year, starting out 18 years ago with a 6 x 6 plot to having our whole field planted! We have since decided to downsize to just a 40 x 80 foot garden. We like to give away veggies to our friends, but this year, we don’t care if they get any lol….they never help do any of the work and the bigger it is, the more work we have to do. There are many other things I want to do this summer so I am not going to worry about giving anyone veggies. (greedy huh?). I am learning as I get older, to worry about me first. I was always taught at church to service to others, and I believe in Karma, but it seems if I worry about everyone else, my life suffers. No wonder so many old men and women are blunt and seem mean lol. They know something we don’t! It's our goal to have a small garden this year, but I am not sure we will succeed, we always plant so much more than we intend lol.

We are lucky to find praying mantis babies all over the garden when we are out planting in spring, so it keeps the bugs down.
As you can see from the pics, we have an irrigation system that we use. We have a shut off valve at each row, and each row has its own drip irrigation "hose" going down it. Its a hose with tiny pin holes at each plant and that is the only place the water goes.
I find it amazing at how much food we can plant on our two acre property.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Puerto Rican Food

I love Mexican, Puerto Rico, and Cuban foods...

I have a flan recipe that is out of this world, that I got from Daisy Martinez's cookbook, "Daisy Cooks". In it, she has a recipe for "church lady flan" that is to die for. A friend of mine took a piece to her ex husband because she was going to pick her son up at his house and he said, it was better than his grandmother, but don't tell her he said that lol. (I think she said he called her his ablueo or buelo or something, but don't laugh, I am not spanish, although I do want to learn it). is her website and changes the recipes she features on her site every month or so.

I was chatting on facebook about the flan, and the key being the media crema (made by nestle and in the goya section of most grocery stores). A friend on facebook chimed in with a great website that has authentic Puerto Rican Recipes. I wanted to post it on here to share, but also, selfishly wanted to post it on here so I can easily find it again. (wink).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sushi Making

We made sushi last night..the pics are posted on my Enzo's Galaxy Blog. I didn't want to cross post the same post.

Check it out.


A local restaurant had sushi rolling last night and a friend went to it and had a good time. I was having dinner with family so I could not attend. I thought about going next time, but am very impatient so i went ahead and looked for it on you tube.

I have a few books on making sushi and some bamboo rolling mats but never attempted it yet. I even went as far as to get the nori sheets and sushi rice...we even got sushi grade salmon and tuna and well, we eat it as sushimi (which is just the raw fish alone) not only because we are so lazy sometimes lol but we love to eat the raw fish on its own.

After seeing it on you tube, now I really want to make some. I found this great site with instructions because I love the inside out California roll with avocado on it (tuna in). I am not big on cold rice, but I do like it if I had good Wasabi on it and a bit of soy sauce.

You tube has video instruction so you can also go there. And they sell books and kits at Barnes and Noble fairly cheap. I got my sons a kit for Christmas for about 15.00.
One thing all the you tubes and sites, and book tells you to do is to cover your bamboo mat with plastic wrap or it becomes so messy, you can't clean it.
I am on a mission now to get some sushi grade fish again and this time, we are going to roll some sushi!
If you never tried raw fish, get some wasabi and give it a try. Ask for sushi grade fish from a reputable fish market and slice it thin. I cannot stand canned tuna, never liked it, ever. I hate it..but I love raw tuna sushimi! You will be suprised.
My kids like it so much, I told their pediatrician and he gave them the food born hep shot. Of course, you need to worry about tapeworms, etc, so again, get it from a reputable fish market, slice it thin, you can see thru- it almost, and of course, keep it cold and use it right away the day you buy it.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Essential Oils

I have been using essential oils for years for home remedy medicinal purposes, cosmetic reasons, scenting the home safely, to clean with, and for insect control and things like that. Of course, for safety reasons, please read up as much as possible on them before dabbling in them...they can be dangerous if used improperly. Especially around young children. So please, take caution, and educate yourself.

They are inexpensive, after the investment of purchasing a bottle, you will not believe how far it goes. I have a woman about 20 min from me that sells homemade cosmetics and she sells me them at a super price for home use. I pay an average of 10.00 a bottle....5 for some and 20 for not fall into a trap of home sales companies that theirs are superior..Now brand sells good ones at a fair price. The home sale companies will scare you into buying severely expensive one's from them, because theirs are better. They are not.

It is said, that people used thieves oil to ward off the plague. This essential oil blend was created from research about thieves during the 15th century in England who rubbed oils all over their bodies to protect themselves from the Black Plague while they were robbing the dead and dying. A study also suggests that it kills super bugs, including MRSA. It is debatable what is in the products, and I don't want to speculate what they used in that study. As far as home companies selling thieves oil, you can blend your own. If you do a search online, you can find what was in the oils they used back then, or at least what we all think was.

Again, don't get into the gimmick of the home sales companies with essential oils...those multi-marketing schemes benefit the upper sales teams, and you end up paying multi-level salaries. I won't get into what I think of the multi level marketing schemes too much here. Just save yourself the money and get some from reputable companies, such as Now. or someone local you may know. I get mine from a gal who buys in bulk so I can get a 1 oz bottle for 5.00.
Another great site is
I dont' want to put down Young Living much because they seem very knowlegable about essential oils. In fact, the founders are mentioned in many of the books I own. I am not going to tell you not to buy their stuff, or to buy it..just don't blow your life away on the multi level schemes...

My sister in law just mentioned the ants are starting to come in her kitchen again. I have not had ants in years. I add essential oils to my cleaning products (and I use Shaklee Basic H2, and homemade cleaners that are environmentally safe so again, take caution what you add them to, educate yourself). The essential oils are known to keep away ants, bees, spiders, moths and other pests.

I add things like clove oil, lavender oil, orange oil, rosemary oil etc to my cleaners, it smells nice and has kept away pest for me with no effort. I just clean with it, and never see any. (When I come up with a deterrent for stink bugs, I will let ya know, they surely don't like those aromatherapy burn sticks). I love sweet orange in the dishwasher rinse aid compartment with water. Makes the dishes smell nice and its a cleaning agent too. Lemon would also work.

In the bottom of my superhuman trash can, under the plastic trash liner, I put a paper towel with a drop of whatever oil I want to smell when I step on the lid opener and throw in trash.

Patchouli wards of wasps, I use it on my patio here and there. Lavender wards off chiggers and ticks. Citronella oil for mosquitoes (careful, it keeps them away but attracts bees and seems to make bees crazy, which would you prefer coming after you?). I have, if you notice in the pic, a plug in with changeable pads for my home and my truck cigarette lighter, that you add a drop of any oil to make your home/truck smell nice. I make my own vapor rubs when I have a cold with coconut oil and eucalyptus oil...also eucalyptus in the hot tub is nice for when we are fighting a cold, and lavender in the hot tub to relax. I can come up with millions of uses for essential oils and I use them every single day for one thing or another.

We have a stink bug invasion problem in our part of the county, so I like to put some nice smelling oil on a paper towel and inside the vacuum cleaner bag zipper so if one happens to get sucked up, my house does not smell like stink bugs lol.

I save glass jars from things like horseradish, gourmet mustard etc to use for mixing and storing my concoctions. Label everything in case you would ever need to call the poison control center because of a child getting ahold of it. You may think it won't happen, if you dont' have kids etc, but it is better to be safe than sorry! LABEL EVERYTHING YOU MAKE

An investment of just a few oils can take you far. They can last a long time if stored properly, in dark glass jars out of sun and heat.

Some of the books I have on essential oils, to name a few are:

Essential Oils Desk Reference by Essential Science Publishing

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

Green This by Deirdre Imus

Green Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

Organic housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

Natural beauty at home by Janice Cox

Natural Beauty Basics Dorie Byers, RN

A guide to remedies homeopathy essential oils crystals home remedies by Barnes and noble publishing

Quick Reference Guide for using Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley (they are with the young living essential oil company, which I have to say is way overpriced, but their information in their book is great, I got it on eBay so not to be hounded to buy from the company)
Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy"Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D
Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide: Building Immunity, Increasing Longevity, and Enhancing Mental Performance With Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils D. Gary Young N.D
375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols"Jeanne Rose

I have a bunch more books on making cosmetics and cleaners, but these are the one's I have at my fingertips if I need to quick look something up.

Something interesting I found on the internet:
The Brown Recluse Experiment: Seeing how squirting a peppermint-water spray would kill flies in mid-air, I wondered what pure oil would do. So I did an experiment on a brown recluse spider. I captured a live one in a jar and carefully placed one drop of peppermint on one side. The pure peppermint repelled the spider who crowded to the other side to avoid the oil. When I tipped the jar to force the spider to fall into the oil, it merely squirmed and got away, still repelled by the oil, but not apparently harmed. Then I put a drop of water with the oil and tipped the jar so that the spider slid into the water and oil together and, instantly, it shriveled up and died.

Here is from a site I found for a recipe for Theives oil..which was used by theives to be able to go near dead bodies during the bubonic plague so they could rob the dead.
Thieves Oil
Two recipes for Thieves Oil.
One from Karen another from Debbie
Thieves Oil.
Here's the recipe:
equal amounts of eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, clove and lemon. Mix with base of olive oil.
I usually put a tablespoon of each in a 2 oz. bottle and then fill the rest with olive oil.
you can make a larger batch in a quart jar following the same proportion method.
Same ingredients, but measured out in different strength's.Clove Bud Oil 200 drops, Lemon Oil 175 drops, CinnamonOil 100 drops, Eucalyptus Oil 75 drops, Rosemary 50 drops.
Theives OilCourtesy of Caroline Rogers founder of Nutrition Naturally and co-owner of The Tidewater Companion- A Holistic Health Directory and Resource Guide!
SUGGESTIONS FOR COLDSAccording to the People's Desk Reference For Essential Oils, (The PDR) the following single oils are suggested: lavender, lemon, marjoram, frankincense, eucalyptus, melaleuca and rosemary. Young Living produces quality blends; recommended formulas include: Thieves, R.C., Di-Tone or Purification. Also suggested is a raindrop therapy treatment--see massage page for information.
THIEVESClove * Lemon * Cinnamon * Eucalyptus * Rosemary *An Essential Oil blend formulated by Gary Young, N.D.,owner of Young Living Essential Oils, Payson, Utah.
REMEMBER ....The stimulating aroma of cinnamon or cloves, but if you touched your lips with it, it could cause irritation.... or the fresh aroma of lemon and sipping a hot fresh squeezed lemon drink with honey if you had a cold or sore throat... and Vick's Vapor Rub....the menthol aroma...your Mom would rub it on your chest to help you breathe easier at night in times of congestion....the pungent rosemary herb in cooking...
Aromas evoke memories, and memories lead to family recipes in times of healing for use in colds, flu., congestion, headaches, body aches etc. The Thieves blend is such a recipe, historically recorded in the era during the plague. History records that the perfumers seemed to have an immunity against the plague.
Here is one story: The Four Thieves VinegarPerfumers by day, robbers by night. Four men made a concoction of herbs and essential oils in a base of vinegar and would douse their body with this before they went our plundering! They had a pretty good track record of stealing riches until the King found out and captured them, forcing them to give up their secret weapon against the plague. The herbal ingredients were wormwood, meadowsweet, juniper berries, rosemary, camphor, sage, cinnamon and cloves in a base of white wine vinegar.
PRESENT DAY THIEVESThe essential oils contained within this formula have been noted for anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic and anti-catarrhyal properties while stimulating the immune system, circulation and the respiratory system. According to research at Weber State University, Thieves was found to have a 99% kill rate against airborne bacteria when diffused.
MY EXPERIENCEDue to the cinnamon and clove contained, one must be cautious--it may cause irritation if improperly used. Fair skinned, blue-eyed individuals, redheads and those who tend to sunburn easily need to heed and dilute Thieves in a carrier oil (such as almond ) before applying to the skin. I have used 1-2 drops of Thieves on the bottom of my feet and also at the nape of the neck. Other places could be under the arms,and on the chest. I do not suggest using this in a bath or in a sauna! Diffuse for only short periods of time--20 minutes or less at work or at home. I used a lot of Thieves during January and February and felt the results were positive.


Thursday, April 16, 2009


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Holiday Chicken and cornbread Stuffing (crockpot)

~Shannon Dillman

Serves 10

1 rotisserie chicken (about 3 lbs), meat removed and chopped up (about 4 cups)
8 corn muffins broken into pieces (about 7 cups)
8 slices of white bread broken into pieces
1 medium onion chopped
3 cups celery chopped
2 cans (10.5 oz each) cream of chicken soup (concentrate only)
15 oz. chicken broth
4 eggs beaten
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup chopped bacon (cooked)
2 c pecans chopped coarsely
butter (about ¼ stick)

Mix all ingredients together and put into 5 qt or larger crock pot, dot with butter pats.
Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for about 7 hours until set.

This is great for a crowd. Your house will smell like its thanksgiving! Serve with cranberry sauce on the side. I love to take this to pot lucks. Not just for matter what time of the year, its sooo good. Everytime I make this, I get asked for the easy and yummy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

spring cleaning is a workout!

To see this article source and more..

"I'm not going to vacuum until Sears makes one you can ride on."
Roseanne Barr

10 Best Spring Cleaning WorkoutsBy Cecilia H. Lee
Tulips and daffodils are blooming. Butterflies and birds are flying under sunny skies. It's springtime! What better way to chase away the winter blues than to get your blood pumping by doing a bit of spring cleaning. A recent British study showed that the Brits burn over 50,000 calories a year (which adds up to almost 15 pounds of fat) just by cleaning their homes.
Here is a list of the top 10 highest calorie-burning chores (listed from the lowest to the highest, with the average number of calories burned per year). The good news is that the more you clean, the more calories you'll burn through. And the more body weight you're carrying, the more calories you'll burn. Not only will you get your workout, you'll have a clean house to enjoy afterward. So, get out that vacuum and get cleaning!
Dust and polish (burn 2,288 calories per year). This can be one of the easiest chores to overlook, but since you're doing a deep cleaning, why not get totally into it? You don't even need fancy furniture sprays—just a combination of olive oil and white vinegar. It's like salad dressing for your furniture, only better (combine 1 cup of the oil and a 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a bottle; shake well). Use a soft cloth to work it in and buff out your furniture. You'll not only expend elbow grease (getting a bit of upper-body exercise in), but you'll have naturally shiny furniture. Light dusting burns about 170 calories per hour (assuming a body weight of 150 pounds); with more heavy scrubbing and cleaning, you burn 204 calories per hour.
Change the bedding (burn 2,728 calories per year). Although there may be some debate about how often you should change the sheets on your bed, most people think that once every week or two is a good standard. To get in a little more exercise, be sure to make your bed every morning. This way, you'll have a nice bed to slip into every night and you'll also burn 136 calories per hour. Of course, none of us will take an hour to make the bed (Martha Stewart, notwithstanding), but even at 15 minutes, you've burned enough calories to make up for half a glass of wine.
Clean the bathroom (burn 2,891 calories per year). Sure, scrubbing toilets is no one's idea of a good time, but it doesn't have to be such a chore. Put on some fast music and get moving. If you make it a little race or game for yourself, you can get the whole bathroom clean in just 20 minutes. If you use large up-and-down movements (like when cleaning a shower door), you'll even get your stretches in. Just by cleaning the bathroom, you can burn at least 231 calories per hour.
Sweep the floor (burn 2,896 calories per year). For outdoor areas and garage floors, nothing beats an old-fashioned broom and dustpan. This activity burns 272 calories per hour. So, it makes sense to sweep up the driveway and even get out to the sidewalk. Although sweeping ranked 7th in calories burned, you can increase the level of your workout by getting to all the nooks and crannies of your property that you usually avoid. Even better, stretch up and knock down those cobwebs that have been accumulating in the corners of your garage.
Tidy up (burn 4,541 calories per year). This is a general household chore that you can add to your routine every day. Don't worry about being efficient because the more back and forth you walk, the more steps you get in. If you have stairs in your home, even better. Be sure to keep your abs tightened when you do your chores, since it'll give your ab muscles a bit of a workout and improve your posture. Also, be sure to put away heavy things (try carrying those storage boxes down to the basement) to get in some weight training exercise. Even a light tidying up lets you burn over 170 calories per hour. Step it up and you can get it to over 240 calories burned per hour.
Scrub the floor (burn 5,117 calories per year). Get on your hands and knees and scrub those tile or linoleum floors. Again, use big, broad circular movements and reach under the bed and other hard-to-reach places. You'll burn about 258 calories per hour, enough to make up for a serving of chicken nuggets.
Wash and dry the dishes (burn 6,781 calories per year). Give that dishwasher a rest and do your dishes by hand. You'll burn 156 calories per hour, just for standing and washing the dishes; but if you dry them by hand and put them away, you'll get even more bang for your buck. To get in a good stretch when putting away the dishes, twist and stretch to reach the higher shelves. If you want to save your hands from getting too dry, wear gloves.
Iron your clothes (burn 6,794 calories per year). Get out all those clothes you've been hiding in the back of the closet and get ironing. To make it more fun, do it in front of the TV or with the radio playing. Just because it's housework, it doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. Besides, dancing a bit while you're ironing will give you a little more of a workout. Ironing, sans dancing, will burn about 156 calories per hour.
Vacuum the floor (burn 6,800 calories per year). According to a recent survey, people found vacuuming to be one of the more enjoyable tasks to do around the house. To make it even less of a chore, put some of your favorite tunes into your portable CD or MP3 player and get going. Vacuuming burns about 238 calories per hour, but you can get more out of it by vacuuming the couches and pillows. Also, to make it more of a workout, put the pressure on your legs (don't strain your arms and shoulders, which can in turn strain your back). Instead of standing in one place and pushing the vacuum back and forth, walk with the vacuum from one end of the room to the other, like you'd do with a lawnmower. You'll get in more exercise and ensure yourself of not missing a spot. And now is a great time to find out how to best use all those attachments you've been wondering about and get in some lunges (keep your toes pointed straight ahead and bend your knees, but not more than 90 degrees).
Do the laundry (burn 9,464 calories per year). Now that you've changed the bedsheets and piled up all the dirty towels, you can get the laundry going. Although doing the laundry only burns about 150 calories per hour, because it takes a while to go through several loads (especially if you have kids or major cleaning to do), the calories burned do add up.
If you have outside space, you can burn even more calories by gardening (246 calories per hour), raking (264 calories per hour), or mowing the lawn (a whopping 363 calories per hour).
Now that you've cleaned the whole house, kick back with a tall glass of water and enjoy your handiwork. And remember that the same British study mentioned earlier showed that housework gave more of a workout than spending an hour at the gym. So, the next time you don't feel motivated to haul yourself down to the gym, put on your favorite music, and pick up your vacuum instead. Remember, doing your housework faster and more intensely not only makes for a better workout; you'll be done with your chores sooner. Happy cleaning!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Totally Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups

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This looks delish...from
(by the way, they have a new 200 recipe cookbook coming out with 200 calorie or less meals! I have it on order! )

I am on a healthy kick, determined to get in shape for bikini season....I have been P90X'ing my butt off and trying to eat healthy, at least a few days a week lol. (last night I fell off the wagon with bo jangles!)

Need a guilt-free international fix?
THIS is your lucky day...

Totally Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
PER SERVING (entire recipe): 227 calories, 4.5g fat, 875mg sodium, 21g carbs, 3g fiber, 12.5g sugars, 23g protein -- POINTS® value 4*
Peanutty and delicious, these wraps are great for lunch, for dinner, or as a snack!
3 leaves romaine, butter, or green leaf lettuce
3 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast, cubed
3/4 cup peeled and diced cucumber2 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tbsp. shredded carrot
1 1/2 tbsp. Thai peanut salad dressing or sauce (low in fat with about 35 calories per tbsp., like the one by Li tehouse)
2 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves
1/8 tsp. garlic powderDash red pepper flakes, or more to taste
Optional garnishes: lime wedges, sesame seeds
Directions: In a medium bowl, combine cucumber, scallions, carrot shreds, rice vinegar, cilantro, and red pepper flakes.
Mix well and refrigerate until you're ready to assemble your cups.
Bring a pan misted with nonstick spray to medium-high heat on the stove. Add chicken and sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook chicken, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 4 minutes.Place chicken and peanut dressing or sauce in a bowl and toss to coat. Remove veggie mixture from the fridge.
To assemble, evenly distribute the veggie mixture and the chicken among the lettuce "cups." If you like, finish with a squirt of lime juice and/or a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Chomp chomp!MAKES 1 SERVING