Friday, May 28, 2010

Blueberry Orange Popsicles

I'm sure you've all noticed how freakin' hot it's been all week (I think we've had record highs and I love it!) and unfortunately our pool isn't open yet (if you could see me now, you' see my sad face). We're having problems with the plumbing and might need to dig it all up and repair it, which will take a while. Just ask Dave how he feels about having a pool and he'll gladly tell you how much he despises it, more than he despises car alarms (he really hates car alarms). So, without a pool to cool off in, my family has been searching for other ways. The best, most delicious way? Blueberry Orange Popsicles! My kids love Astro Smooth and Fruity Blueberry yogurt, like really, we go through a couple tubs a week, so I thought it would be fun to freeze it. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and vitamins, orange juice is full of vitamin C, and yogurt has calcium. It's the perfect, fun way to enjoy a healthy frozen treat!


1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup of orange juice - make the frozen concentrate kind with 2 cans of water instead of 3
1 cup of Astro Smooth and Fruity yogurt

Throw everything in a blender until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 3 + hours.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How does YOUR Garden Grow?

Today was probably one of the hottest days of the year so far (YES!! I love it!) and my hubby and I spent the day opening our pool and gardening. Where were the kids do you ask? Well, while Joseph took his morning nap, I put Super Why on for Rosie, and headed outside. Don't worry, we came in every 5 minutes to check on them. Later on that afternoon, by some miracle, both kids went for a nap at the same time, so I was able to do some more gardening. I've got to say, my backyard needs a lot of work! The previous owners were empty nesters, so they had WAY more time to dedicate to the garden, and they planted A LOT of stuff everywhere. It's like a jungle in my backyard. I guess it also doesn't help that last summer I didn't even touch the backyard because I was busy taking care of a newborn (a good excuse in my eyes), but now I have 2 years of weeds and craziness to contend with. Although there's a ton of work involved in fixing up my garden, I really shouldn't complain, because gardening is proven to be beneficial to our health. LOL, I'm going to be the healthiest person alive by the time I tame my garden:)

Gardening offers strength and cardio training, plus increases flexibility, relieves stress, and produces nutritious food, AND you're spending time outdoors in the fresh air! Sounds fantastic doesn't it? Think about it like this. How heavy are those watering cans when they're full? Maybe 8-10 pounds depending on the size, and lugging one of those around is a pretty good workout. Or how about pushing a full wheelbarrow? You'll be working those biceps pretty hard. All that bending, kneeling, and crouching is also going to help with flexibility. And hey, if you ask my husband about pulling out cedar bushes, he'll testify of all the hard work and sweat it takes.

Aside from all the pretty flowers that will soon be popping up, it's a great idea to plant some fruit, vegetables and herbs. Think of all the new recipes you'll be trying when you start picking all the fresh food from your (pesticide free!) garden and think of all the money you'll be saving at the grocery store. I started with some herbs, parsley, basil, cilantro... they are so easy to take care of and add wonderful flavor to any meal. We're planning of planting a raspberry bush this year too because I love raspberries so much and they are so easy to maintain. Another bonus to having a fruit, vegetable, and herb garden is that your kids will eat more. There's just something about kids and eating something they help grow themselves, and being able to pick themselves that appeals to them. A mother commented to me once that her son would never eat peas on his dinner plate but he would eat them right out of the garden.

Gardening requires you to use your head and your creativity. The time spent planning the garden and researching different plants is a great brain workout. Gardening gives us a chance to be creative. You can let your personality shine through in your garden. Don't forget to include the kids in the gardening. My mother used to give us a little section of our own to plant whatever we wanted. It was a lot of fun and taught us patience, hard work, and the consequences when we didn't take care of our plants.

Gardening connects you with nature and the rhythm of life. Gardening requires you to live in garden time. We all could use a lesson in slowing down, in our busy society. Studies have revealed just viewing a garden or nature has healthy psychological benefits and I know this to be true in my own life.

Have fun gardening. Relax and remember your garden doesn't have to be picture perfect all the time. Resolve to have a garden this year. Whether it's a window box or an acre garden, you will be healthier for it. I read somewhere that "gardening is a labor of love. A treadmill is just labor."

Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Friday, May 21, 2010

Recipe Friday - Chicken Noodle Soup

If you haven't already heard, I've been pretty sick for the last TWO FREAK'N WEEKS!! I have no idea what's going on with me. My symptoms just keep on changing. I went from sneezing, to mega runny nose, to coughing so hard I was throwing up, to sinus infection, and now, I think I may have pink eye (So crapy! That's what I get for rubbing my eye while I'm at the park with my kids) and I just started sneezing AGAIN! The worst part is that I'm still nursing my little guy a few times a day, so I can't take any medicine to fix me because everything says "do not take while breastfeeding". I guess I'll just have to stick to trying all those crazy home remedies people keep on telling me about on facebook. The most hilarious one, but I think she might have been serious, was to rub Vicks on my feet and wear red sock. She said they had to be red or it wouldn't work. Haa haa, I sure hope she was joking about that suggestion.

Aside from all the witch craft jibber jabber, one thing that does help me feel better when I'm sick, is a warm bowl of home made chicken soup. I so wish someone would have just made it for me, but as we all know, when everyone is sick, Mom takes care of them. But when Mom is sick, Mom takes care of herself. So, I grabbed a pot, and made myself some yummy chicken soup. Of course, Dave was super excited because he rates my chicken soup in his top five favorite meals.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2-4 bone in, skinless chicken breast
2 cups of diced carrots
2 cups of diced celery (you're basically going to use an entire bunch of celery)
2 medium onions, diced
12 cloves of garlic peeled
2 cartons of organic chicken broth (900 mL each)
2 litres of water
1 tablespoon of each, rosemary, sage, and thyme
1 tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning
salt and pepper
3/4 cup small shaped pasta


1. In a large pot add all ingredients except pasta.
2. Cook on med to high heat for about 25 minutes or until garlic cloves are soft and easy to mush
3. Fish out all garlic cloves and mush up, then return them to the pot
4. Fish out chicken breasts and cut up the chicken in bite size pieces. Return to pot
5. Bring pot of soup to a boil and add pasta. Cook for an additional 10 minutes (add more water if needed)

Serve with home made scones! ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Breath of Fresher Air

You may have remembered my post a few weeks ago about toxins in household cleaning products and the harmful effects they have on our health. Well, I never had the chance to get into one of the most toxic, yet commonly used products out there. I'm talking about air fresheners. The reason people keep on using these toxic-bad for the environment "air fresheners" is because people associate smelling good with being clean. I gotta say, toxic or non-toxic, masking odors with a fresh scent is like never brushing your teeth and just chewing minty gum instead (nasty!) Aside from masking smells, air fresheners are full of harmful substances that are so bad for our health. What's worse, these air fresheners won't kill any mold, germs, or bacteria, which is probably why your home has a bad odor in the first place. Not only are you harming your health by using toxic air fresheners, but the mold, germs, and bacteria are still there.

Reasons to Avoid Air Fresheners

1. Many brands contain phthalates which cause developmental and reproductive problems. Most companies won't list this in their ingredient list!!
2. Many brands contain formaldehyde which can increase your risk of developing asthma by 30-50%!
3. When a UW engineering professor analyzed of some of these popular items, she found 100 different volatile organic compounds measuring 300 parts per billion or more -- some of which can be cancerous or cause harm to respiratory, reproductive, neurological and other organ systems.
4. I read an article before (can't find it now, so don't quote me on this one) some air fresheners which claim to be "odor neutralizing" contain a chemical that temporarily numbs your sense of smell so you can't smell anything (that's scary).
5. Other chemicals in air fresheners can cause headaches, nausea, skin problems, and neurological problems.

What's the Solution?

1. Open your windows and allow nature to freshen the air.
2. Have you home or car treated with ozone. When oxygen is charged with electricity it becomes O3. This elemental form of oxygen is called ozone. In nature, ozone is created by either the sun's ultra-violet rays or by the electrical charge resulting from lightning. The fresh clean smell in the air after a thunder storm is the effect of ozone cleaning the surrounding atmosphere. The advanced Ozone generating equipment mimics this natural process, converting ordinary air into Ozone (O3). The electrified oxygen treatment will eradicate smoke, pet, strong cooking and other unwanted odours. In addition, the treatment will kill mold, mildew, and the bacteria that make your family sick. Best thing is that ozone won't harm you, or the environment! Trust me, this works 100%! We had our car treated after our daughter threw up and the smell was gone after just 25 minutes. For more information click here!
3. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets before vacuuming. The baking soda will absorb most odors.
4. Clean your house. A clean house will smell a million times better! Try scrubbing you sink with half a lemon and salt. It will leave your sink smelling so fresh.
5. Use a beeswax candle (beeswax will burn clean) add a couple drops of pure essential oil to the melted wax and you'll have a pleasant scent to in home.

Do yourself, and the environment a favor, and STOP using conventional air fresheners. They're all harmful, the sprays, the solids, the plug-ins, the scented candles, ALL of them are full of chemicals. Look to nature to freshen the air you breath.

Me Ka Aloha
- Elisabeth

Friday, May 14, 2010

Recipe Friday - Fruity Smoothie

I know, I know.... what's with the lack of posts this week? Well, my darn computer still has a virus and I can only use Dave's laptop when he's done work for the day (is he ever really done work?) AND I've been terribly sick. I've had the nastiest of colds since Saturday and I swear it's just getting worse. I haven't been able to breath through my nose all week. Probably the only bonus to not being able to smell is that I can't smell my kids poopie diapers when I change them LOL.

*runs to the bathroom* Oh man... I'm so sick right now. I just coughed so hard I threw up (well there's one way to lose weight - joking!) Be thankful you do not have this cold. It has totally ruined my week :(

Well, on that note, here's this week's recipe. I really like this one when I'm sick because it's so packed full of vitamin C and easy to digest. The smoothie is also soothing for my sore throat. You can adapt this recipe however you want, add more juice, or more ice depending on how thick you like it. My family likes it thicker, like the consistency of a slushy.

Fruity Smoothie

1 1/2 cup orange juice
6 ice cubes
1 cup (or more) mixed frozen fruit (I like the mix with peaches, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, mango, and melon)
1 banana

Throw everything in the blender. Blend until smooth.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Recipe Friday - Quinoa Salad

So sorry for the late/lack of posts this week. My darn computer has a virus and I'm pretty sure it came from the Jillian Michael's website :( I'm writing this post from my husband's laptop, so I can't post a picture of this recipe (all my pictures are stored on my computer).

Any way, this recipe is from my friend Jeannie, who is really into clean eating. She made this for a potluck party and I just HAD to get the recipe. It's similar to tabouli salad, but better, and made with quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain-like crop, known as a superfood. It contains a high percentage of protein and contains all 8 essential amino acids. It's a good source of fiber and is gluten free, so it's easy to digest.

Quinoa Salad

2 ¼ cups of water

1 tsp salt

2cups of Quinoa

1 large can of chick peas drained and rinsed

1 large purple onion minced (leave out if you don't want a heavy onion taste)

1 bunch of green onions cut up with scissors

1 to 2 cloves of garlic pressed

1 large bunch of parsley washed and chopped up fine

1 to 1 ½ cups (or more) of feta cheese crumbled (I used goats milk feta- so good!)

1 grated carrot

1 pkg grape or cherry tomatoes washed and cut into 1/4's

1 lemon squeezed

½ cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Bring the water to a boil add salt, add Quinoa bring back to a boil, cook on med high to low for about 10mins ( lid on), take of the stove let sit for another 20 mins.. do not lift lid. Let cool for about 20mins.

Add the drained chick peas, add minced purple onions, and green onions, garlic pressed, add chopped parsley, add carrot, tomatoes, add the feta cheese, and lemon and olive oil, and salt and pepper. I usually taste to see if it needs more oil or lemon. Enjoy its good for the soul.

- Elisabeth
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