Saturday, June 30, 2012

Take the Crock Pot Outside

Have you ever thought twice about cooking in a crock pot during the summer because you did not want to make your hot house even hotter? I have! During the hot days of summer, I try to limit my use of the oven and the crock pot, and sometimes even the stove. Obviously, cooking with the oven, crock pot, and stove will increase the temperature in your kitchen. I read a little tip on a eco-friendly forum about keeping your crock pot in the breezeway/mud room or even outside on the patio table. Basically, keeping the crock pot out of the house. Since we have a perfectly good (and hot) breezeway, I thought this would be the perfect location to leave the crock pot cooking all day long. The breezeway is right outside of the kitchen, so I could keep an eye on the crock pot, but not worry about making it hotter in the kitchen or smelling up the house. Additionally, I am sure that the hot temperature of the breezeway helped the crock pot stay at the right temperature. If you have electrical outlets outside your house, such a breezeway, deck, patio, or even garage, take the crock pot outside to keep the heat out of the kitchen. If you are worried about flies or bugs, place an old kitchen towel over the top surface area.

>> What are you tips for keeping heat out of the kitchen in the summer?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - First Pick of the Season

They were soft, but still a little sour.  I will need to let the others ripen longer.

(Ignore the plantless pot in the photo. I trimmed the thyme down a little too short and it has not grown back...yet!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eco-Friendly Workout or Not?

I have not been to the gym in months because I have been running outside in the mornings. However, running as my sole form of working out gets boring after a while. Since it was hot outside, I thought that going to the gym (a cool and controlled environment) would be the perfect way to motivate me to work out. As I walk in to the gym, I realize that it is very hot inside. I walk around the corner to the elliptical machines and sneak a peak at the thermostat - 87 degrees! Eek! I assume the air conditioning was out. Either way, I was at the gym and I was determined to work out!

As I am working out in 87 degree weather (no fans, no breeze, no water with me), I start to think about the convenience, but also the environmental impact, of air conditioning. Yes, I love being able to go into a cool gym to work out. The air conditioning gives just a little motivation to work out. Would you want to work out if it was 87 degrees? I think not! However, cooling a huge facility also has tremendous impact on the environment.

As I finished powering through the 30 minute workout, I was a little bit glad that the air conditioning was out. I was not using any electricity to power air conditioning. Despite the feeling that I was going to pass out, I was glad to had this small win for the environment.

Disclaimer: I am not promoting working out inside a gym that it is 87 degrees. If you find yourself in a similar situation and you decide to continue with your workout, please drink lots and lots of water.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Oil [Review]

My first experience with Coconut Oil was not during cooking. I was searching for organic, natural, and non-toxic ways of taking care of my skin. All moisturizers in the store, even some of the organic and natural moisturizers, still had some funky ingredients that I was leery of putting on my skin. Coconut Oil ended up being just the right lightweight moisturizer. I do not even remember how I came across using Coconut Oil, but I am grateful that I did. Once I bought my first jar of Coconut Oil and began using it on my face, I started using it for cooking also. The beauty of Coconut Oil is that it is multipurpose!

One of my favorite brands of organic Coconut Oil is Tropical Traditions. I love their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.

Tropical Traditions
Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil
    $29.95 (1 Q, 32 oz)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Multiple uses

Long lasting, a little goes a long way

Great taste

Photo of organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil 32 oz. glass jar from Tropical TraditionsI'm not going to go into the details of the benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil because I would like for you to check out the Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil page. The page contains so much good information that I could never capture all of it here.

Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil has never let me down. The high quality and amazing taste of this brand is incomparable to any other brands I have tried. Here are some of the ways I use Coconut Oil in my daily life. 
  1. Cooking - Virgin Coconut Oil melts quickly and tolerates high heat. Don't worry, your food will not taste like coconuts.
  2. Moisturizer - Virgin Coconut Oil goes on light and absorbs quickly, leaving skin soft and shiny. I have received many compliments on how soft my skin is.
  3. Conditioner - Virgin Coconut Oil can be used as a conditioner, pre-wash and post-wash. I have used it as a deep conditioner pre-wash and it has left my hair very soft and silky. 
  4. Sunburn Relief - Virgin Coconut Oil is anti-inflammatory and gets rids of the redness from sunburns. I have also heard of people using Coconut Oil as a sunscreen, but I have not tried myself.
After using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil for quite some time, I would highly recommend this product and this brand. I have gotten several of my friends to use Coconut Oil in the same ways I use it above and they have seen the same amazing results. Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil will benefit your health and body in many different ways.

Disclosure: I received the sample from the company in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. I am under no pressure to return the product to the company or to write this review. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Freshly Picked From My Garden

A lot of people don't understand why you should know where your food comes from, that they should try to grow their own food, and that sometimes, it can be quite easy to grow food yourself.  Yes, sometimes it is also difficult and frustrating.   I encounter a lot of opposition, push back, and confusion about having a garden and trying to grow my own food.  Sometimes, I even encounter it on a weekly basis.  But, I reminder myself why I grow some of my own food.  I do not do it for others.  I do not do it to get praise from others.  I do it for myself.  I do it because I get satisfaction from growing some of my own food.  Something about it just feels right to me.  Once in a while, sometimes a long while, I come across another person that does it for themselves.  And this person reaffirms that I am doing the right thing.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

TheraNeem Nail and Cuticle Oil Pen [Giveaway]

My review of TheraNeem's Nail and Cuticle Pen demonstrates the multiple uses of Neem Oil in promoting the health of nails, cuticles, and skin.  You can win a pen for yourself below. 

Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. All entries will be verified.

TheraNeem Nail and Cuticle Oil Pen ($14.95 value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Healthy Nails with TheraNeem Nail and Cuticle Oil [Review]

Have you ever heard of Neem Oil? Neem is a tree native to Southeast Asia. Neem leaf and bark are used for internal supplementation and Neem oil is used on the skin. If you use natural skin care (and if you are an avid gardener), then you are probably familiar with Neem and its amazing properties. Needless to say, Neem has an number of benefits for a wide variety of uses. Neem has antimicrobial properties, which make it a gentle, yet effective ingredient in natural skin care. Let me tell you about Organix TheraNeem Nail & Cuticle Oil Pen.

TheraNeem Nail & Cuticle Pen               $14.95 (Organix South)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Easy application
Oil absorbs slowly
Compact container

Multiple uses

One of the first things I did with the TheraNeem Nail & Cuticle Pen is open the cap and smell the oil. The smell was very pleasant and floral. Not the synthetic floral fragrance, but the natural fragrance that comes from the many certified organic ingredients.

The pen is very easy to use. Turn the end once or twice and the oil comes out. Brush the oil on to the nail and wait for it to be absorbed. I did notice that the oil took quite some time to absorb into the skin and the nail. Be careful not smear the oil or get it on something else. I usually brushed it on when I sat down at the computer because I knew I would be sitting for 20-30 minutes.

I have mainly been using the TheraNeem Nail & Cuticle Pen on my toes because I have runner's feet and I wear heels every day. After a few days of using the Neem oil, I found that the cuticles on the toenails were softer. As I continue to use this product on a daily basis, I hope to see stronger nails and healthier cuticles.

As I am typing this review, a new mosquito bite on my arm just started itching. The dog is sleeping in my lap right now, so I cannot get up and get my usual remedy (vinegar or lemon juice). I just read that Neem has so many other uses, including treatment for irritated skin and insect repellent. So, what do I do? I open the pen and brush the Neem oil on the mosquito bite. Instant relief! Wow, I am impressed!

I can see myself using the TheraNeem Nail & Cuticle Pen for other uses such as insect bites or irritated skin. In addition to supporting healthy and strong nails, while soothing and softening cuticles, the certified organic ingredients in this product have so many different uses. You can also try product in a pump application, but I would highly recommend the click-style pen with brush because of the super easy application. This pen is going right into my purse!

Disclosure: I received the sample from the company in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. I am under no pressure to return the product to the company. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Affecting Change in My Community [#CTWW]

This week's challenge comes from Reduced Footprints.

This week, watch the following video. Then share it in some way ... email it to a friend, share it on a social network, post it to your blog, etc. AND THEN ... consider how you might affect change in your community. Of course ... we want to hear all about it!

This video reminded me of our recent focus on buying local produce and meat. The CSA that we joined is a great way to support an organic and heirloom farm located right in our city! I also realized that I do not have to go to farmers markets to buy local, I can find local produce and meat at Whole Foods. I feel empowered to affect positive change in my community.

>> How are you supporting your local community?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scrambled Eggs with Garlic Scapes [Recipe]

One of the treats in our weekly CSA pick-up was garlic scapes. I have never seen garlic scapes, nor have I heard of them. I did a quick search online and found that you can do just about anything with them, from adding chopped scapes to pastas and omelets to making pesto. This morning, I made scrabbled eggs with chopped garlic scapes. They were a little awkward to cut, but the results were delicious.

Raw scapes have a slight garlic taste. Cooked scapes reminded me of asparagus. Here is the simple recipe that I followed. Za'atar was used as a seasoning.

Handful of garlic scapes, chopped

1. On medium heat, sautee garlic scapes in butter for about 5-10 minutes until tender and browned.
2. Add egg mixture and preferred seasonings and cook until eggs are cooked through.

You can also incorporate chopped garlic scapes into an omelet.

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