Thursday, December 30, 2010

Animal Vegetable Miracle

Want a good Natural book to start with? Try this one. I loved it! It is a memoir of a family that lived off their land for a year. It is entertaining and infused with facts that will make you think about your food habits. It also has tons of links of ways to go Natural.

They also have a WEBSITE.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A few tips

Click HERE for a few tips on cooking.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Linkety link

There is a good article at I heart Mesa about natural eating.

Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Free Gardening Class!

I got an e-mail today promoting this. I totally want to go:

#1 Secret to Growing Incredible Gardens"

Thursday Morning

November 4th, 2010

10:00 am-12:00

If you’re interested in growing incredible harvest producing gardens, you’re going to love this

class and it will prove highly valuable to you and your family!

"Effective Microorganisms"

What effective microorganisms are doing around the world.......

* EM grows green onions that are the size of a shovel handle
* Mammoth chives – yields increased 3 fold
* Hog farm threatened to be put out of business due to stench. School next door now claims to smell nothing.
* Denmark – Lake had clarity of 8 cm from surface and after treated with EM went to one meter
* Pakistan – Brackish water now able to grow rice in Pakistan, 30% of land irrigates with salt water.
* Chickens fed a diet of 50% EM treated dung had increased egg production.
* Indigenous bananas which are normally ½ finger long are now several fingers long
* In Japan oranges clustered on trees like grapes.
* North Korea. – EM fertilizer increased corn production two times.
* North Korea - 9-10 kilogram cabbage heads were unheard of before EM.
* 1 hectare of land now produces 9 tons of rice – twice it’s normal harvest.
* Fifteen hectares can now support 20 times its normal land use because the entire land can be used rather than needing to allow land to rest, and because the yields have increased.
* CHINA - 3 meters of snow pack does not stay on EM field which produces enough heat to keep round from freezing.
* North Korea can now grow wheat in winter because EM increased soil heat by 10 degrees Celsius
* One application of EM in pond water will remediate 50% of the dioxin
* Cotton grown in Arizona grew balls that were 50% normal size.
* Received medal of accomplishment from ministry of agriculture by Japanese government for reducing compost density by half and increasing harvest by 50%.
* Growth regulators are used in plants to encourage bottom buds to open. The use of EM caused bottom buds to open on even very tall plants

Eric Lancaster-

Reveals the Secrets of amazing Gardening in Arizona

Eric will share “double your harvest” technique which has received many heartfelt thanks and testimonials from gardeners who have doubled or tripled their annual yield.

Eric is going to share tried and tested growing techniques with EM.

if you do just these things, you will be miles ahead of other gardeners, and have one of your most amazing harvests to date. Most people don’t know these things, and do the OPPOSITE, making 3 big mistakes, getting poor, cracked fruit, dead and sick plants, or just not the yield they could have had.

Thursday Morning

10:00 - 12:00

4220 E McDowell Rd #103

Mesa, AZ 85215

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tader Joe is Non-GMO

I made my title rhyme.

Anyhow, while I was enjoying my weekly stroll through my beloved Trader Joes I saw a marker board that read "All Trader Joes labeled products are from Non-GMO.

Woo hoo!

Ever since I watched Food Inc. I've been on the look out for Non-GMO food. It's hard to find because it doesn't have to be labeled.

I want to later do a post (or someone else can volunteer??) on Genetically Modified Organisms. You can get the basics HERE.

Basically the seeds are genetically modified. That's not natural. Often they are genetically modified for the purpose of compatibility with pesticides.


So as for ME I'm going to do my best to eat NATURALLY.

And apparently I'm going to be shopping more at Trader Joes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grab a button!

A big fat THANK YOU to my ridiculously talented friend Molly who designed these these buttons.

She made the buttons and I actually figured out how to make them work HERE. Then I learned how to make them available to you HERE.

Anyhow. Grab a button and put in on your blog!

How do you do that? It's also on that tutorial I linked. In blogger you add a HTML/Java script gadget. Then copy and paste the code. Make sure you get the whole code. That's it!

The button:

The blinkie:

You can grab one right off our sidebar!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ecos Laundry Detergent

I use this laundry detergent now. I got it at Costco. I love it. It's actually as cheap as the Costco brand. I looked it up to see if it was truly a more natural-less toxic product. What I learned is that companies don't have to list all of the ingredients in detergents--so theirs aren't listed. So I can't truly tell what is in it. But most of the "eco" blogs all gave it a thumbs up as I good product because if what it DOES NOT have in it.

I think you should try it.

If you want to know more here are some reviews:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Local Gardening Class

I just got an e-mail from the girl who runs Taste is Trump blog. She's all about natural eating.

She's promoting a class on gardening. This is what my e-mail said:

It's time to get in a fall garden. Come learn how to do it simply, and how to be successful in producing great produce all winter long!

Tuesday evening, September 14
6:30-8:00 pm in Gilbert, Lindsey & Williamsfield Rd. area
Cost is $10 for the class which includes materials and tasters
Pass the information on to those interested in being a successful gardener!

Register at with your name and address - and you will receive complete details!

Erleen Tilton

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Organic Weed Killers

I love this info on killing weeds. We have desert landscaping in the front (hate it) and it get SO many weeds. I'm totally going to try some of these options.

The Garden Guy

On one of our local TV stations we have an expert gardener called "The Garden Guy". He has great tips for using organic products to enrich your garden. Most of his tips are for normal gardening, not square foot. But a lot of his stuff works for both. He has great tips on getting rid of pests, which I need to try because some little jerk of a bug is eating my gorgeous basil. ARGH. Anyhow, I just saw this the other day and thought I'd share.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bentos and Bags

Another post on Bento. So I researched and linked and googled and linked some more to find out more about it. I finally decided on the boxes above. They are BPA free and since most of these bento boxes are made in china I was concerned about their quality. So that is why I decided on these, they were more expensive, but I loved their design and they were the only ones I found that listed being BPA free.

I got them at Kir Devries. Best store ever. I have had the best customer service I've had in my entire life. Seriously. Shop them--they are great. While I was wandering around their site I also saw that they had these:

They have the bags that I use and love and others as well. So if you are going to buy, buy here. They are seriously fantastic!

Bento Box

I am COMPLETELY OBSESSED with the Bento Box idea. Just google it. It can entertain you for hours on a Sunday. At least it did for me. It goes all along with eating healthier which I am also obsessed with. School lunches gross me out and I'm so bored with a sandwich, chips and juice. Bleck! The Japanese have it right. It's like an art form for mothers over there. Also, you stop using ziploc bags. I always feel so wasteful when I use them, so I'm stoked about this. You can check out flickr bento groups--specifically the kids ones and you get stuff like this:

Mini Owl Biscuits

lions, and tigers, and bears - oh my!

So you start with a Bento Box (or you could use any sort of little container). How cute are these? I found them HERE.

Then you buy little cutters to cut your fruit or cheese or whatever.

Then you put your food on these cute little toothpick sort of things.

And get cupcake holders to divide your stuff like so:

Your kid would have the coolest, healthiest lunch. I'm currently searching the Phoenix/Metro area for this kind of stuff. I'll let you know what I find. You can also check this blog.. Or just google away.

Friday, August 20, 2010

September Gardens

OK Guys, it's time to start getting ready for fall gardening. Plan out your garden and buy your supplies, because September is the perfect month to start planting (in Arizona anyway!).

Here's what to do:

1) Build your box: 4' wide by as long as you want. Just make sure you can walk on all sides of your garden!
2) Fill it with the perfect soil mixture: 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss.
3) Divide it into 1' x 1' squares.
4) Plan out what you want to plant. Each square can grow something different.

-Pick a flat area for your garden that gets at least 8 hours of daily sunshine.
-If you choose vegetables that need a trellis (peas, tomatoes, etc.), place them together on an outside row of your foot-by-foot garden.

And now, everything you need to know about September gardening:

Average: 0.66 inches
Record: 5.5 inches (1939)

Temperature (degrees F)...
Average High: 98.3 degrees
Lowest High: 66 degrees (1895)
Record High: 116 degrees (1950)
Average Low: 72.8 degrees
Highest Low: 90 degrees (1982, 1983)
Record Low: 47 degrees (1895, 1965)

Plant seeds: Snap Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce (Head & Leaf), Leeks, Mustard, Green Onions, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips
Plant Transplants: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Lettuce (Head & Leaf)
Stay tuned for information on how many of each vegetable to plant in each square!

***note from Jill:

The soil comes in big bags and can be expensive if you are planting a small garden, because you won't use it all. (I have 2' x 2' boxes I got from someone" The nursery on Baseline just west of Lindsay (I think it's A&P Nursery) has a pre-mixed bag of soil that has the exact mixture as above. It is the square foot gardening mix. Also, if you can't make your own box (which is the cheapest way) You can buy a square foot gardening set up at this same nursery.

--shout out to Amber for hooking us up with this info, I'm pretty stoked about it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are your body cair products toxic?

I have always wanted something like this. My friend Ashley sent this to me. It is a database of body care products. You can type in your favorite product and it will give it a rating of 1-10 on how harmful it is to your body. I am not shocked at all by the horrible ratings the products I use received. For my kids I use the Suave products because they are cheap. And every time I go to choose one at the store and I open it to smell it I think---chemicals. But it is what I can afford for now. But seriously. Looking this stuff up make me google all sorts of homemade shampoo and body wash recipes, which I am going to try next month. (I'm out of cash for the month).

So you should check it out HERE. It's very informative.

Let me know what you think, and if it makes you switch products or if you use products with a good rating, let us know in the comments. Let us know where you bought it if it was locally or online and the price--if you know it.


Monday, August 2, 2010

SO... Obviously I don't believe in evolution, but I do believe God put food on this Earth for us to eat because he knew it would benefit our bodies. Animals, Fish, Eggs, Veggies, Fruit, Nuts and Seeds. This video does a really good job of differentiating between life without processed food, and people who only consume processed food. Check it out if you have 5 1/2 minutes...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reset Button! Get Your Body In Check!

Most of you know I am not a carby person. I always skip the bread, pasta, rice, and cereal. After all my schooling and research and personal experience, I feel that those foods are just fillers. That's exactly what they do... fill you up. So, if we were in a famine and needed food that could be brought out of storage to fill us up, then okay. But the fresh food that the Earth naturally produces for our consumption should take first priority. 

To truly be "healthy" and as nutritious as possible one needs to get their body back to it's intended state. The state where all the sensors and triggers and survival mechanisms work properly. Our bodies are miracles and were designed to take on a mountain of circumstances. By eating overly processed foods in large quantities, we (usually) gain weight, increase our risk for Metabolic Syndrome (basically a precursor to multiple health problems) and all of those sensors are dulled and sometimes stop working all together. 

If we can increase the amount WHOLE food we eat and get our blood sugar and cholesterol under control, those sensors will work again and we can stop stressing about diets and cravings and deprivation. Once we "reset" our bodies we can just listen to them. We can react to hunger pangs and feel full at the appropriate times. Cravings for processed, sugary foods will lessen, because our bodies will now know what food makes it feel good and what food makes it feel bad.

For 2 weeks try to eat more of the foods below and say NO to anything that went through an extensive process to be produced. Comment and tell me how you feel.

It's not only those who suffer with diabetes that need to keep their blood sugar levels in check. More and more research is finding that the benefits of controlled blood sugar apply even to those who do not have diabetes and are otherwise healthy individuals. According to Dr. Mabel Blades, author of The Glycemic Load Counter, benefits of a low-GL diet include:
•Stable blood sugar levels
•Easier weight management and weight loss
•Increased energy
•Decreased risk of insulin resistance
•Improved memory
•Improved digestion
•Lowered cholesteroL
•Reduced risk of developing Metabolic Syndrome


Even though many fruits have a moderate to high GL count due to their high sugar content, it's unlikely that one would eat enough to spike blood sugar levels the way even small amounts of processed carbs will. There are many fruits that are very low in GL and have little impact on blood sugar. A low-GL value is considered 10 or less, and one 4-ounce serving of the following fruits all have a GL value of less than 10.

•Fresh apricots
•Fresh cherries
•Fresh watermelon


Vegetables are a little less tricky than fruit when it comes to GL, so very few vegetables will send blood sugar levels soaring, except potatoes and foods made from potatoes such as chips and french fries. The following vegetables are ranked as having a GL value of 0:

•Brussels sprouts
•Green beans

Take On the Challenge! Report how you feel!Read more at Suite101: Low Glycemic Load Fruits and Vegetables: Nutrient Rich Foods with a Low-GL Value

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why a Square-Foot Garden?

Before I post all about the hows and whats of square-foot gardening, I thought I would tell you why I LOVE this gardening method:

-Requires very little space; 80% less than conventional gardening.
-Can be done in as little as 4 feet by 4 feet, — or as large as you want.
-Your existing (bad) soil doesn’t matter because we don’t use it. Start with an ideal soil mix that is weed-free and requires no tilling.
-Uses much less water; only about 20% compared to conventional gardening.
-No fertilizers or pesticides to handle — it’s all natural!
-The planting method requires no thinning and very few seeds.
-All the hard work has been removed in the Square Foot method – only the enjoyable part remains.
-Can be started in any season.
-Produces 5 times the harvest of a conventional garden.
-Can be done by those with physical or mental limitations. If getting down is a problem, raise the boxes to a higher level.
-Makes a great family project, all ages can participate - kids love to garden.
-No Weeding! No Thinning! No Heavy Digging

Square-foot gardening really is SO easy! If you want to know EVERYTHING about square-foot gardening, go buy the book Square-foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Otherwise stay tuned and I will get you started with the basics!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Our bodies are full of all kinds of interesting bugs some are good for us and some not so good. Probiotics are good bacteria. Acidophilus, bifidus, lactobacillius, etc... they reside in the intestinal tract. As with most good things, our bodies, because of lifestyle and diet are lacking in these essential bacterias. So we look to other sources to replenish our lack. Probiotics are most commonly seen in yogurt, kefir and raw sauerkraut. Que the activia commercial. I will just make a bullet point list of all the cool things that probiotics do.

- they manufacture vitamins, especially B's, which help to detoxify chemicals and metabolize hormones
- they help the enzymes to maximize food assimilation and digestion.
- starve the bad bacteria of nutrients
- change the bodies acid/alkaline balance
- boost immune response, inhibiting growth of pathogenic organisims
- protect intestinal mucosa levels
- develop a barrier to food borne allergies
- neutralize antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria
- reduces cancer risk
- reduces risk of IBS and diverticulosis
- synthesizes need vitamins for healing
- prevents diarrhea by improving digestion of proteins and fats

If you are not a yogurt eater then you could look into a supplement for your probiotics. I recommend Optimal Health Systems Flora Plus.

I do not recommend taking antibiotics unless you absolutely have to (like life or death) because they destroy ALL bacteria good and bad. This is not good because it leaves the system with out defenses, can seriously mess up your digestive processes for a long time and these days we are seeing new and freaky strains of antibiotic resistant bacterias- this is because for years doctors have been handing antibiotics like candy and the bugs keep mutating. I recently had MRSA, which is a very serious staph infection that can kill you. I treated it naturally and I won!

Educate yourself! Doctors do not know everything, they know what drug companies tell them.

When the @#$% hits the fan you had better know how to take care of your family.

Fun Fact: There are over 4lbs of bacteria in the human intestinal tract!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Amber- Contributor

Hi Everyone- I'm Amber. I don't know a lot about "going natural" yet, but I am definitely excited to learn. What I do know is Gardening- and I absolutely L.O.V.E. it! Just thinking about what to plant next in my garden gives me a little rush of adrenaline... dorky, I know.
Things you should know about me:
-Much to the dismay of my husband, I wear a T shirt and jeans just about everyday.
-I have 3 kids. I am a SAH Mom.
-I love to read almost as much as I love to garden. My favorite book today is The Host.
-Dr. Pepper runs through my veins.
-I graduated from BYU in 2006.
-After reading The China Study two years ago, I try and cook only vegetarian meals.
-I am an entrepreneur. I have started 8 businesses in the past 6 years.
-My favorite show is The Biggest Loser.
-Someday I want to move to Colorado. Arizona is way to dang HOT!
I can't wait to teach you what I know about Gardening!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reusable Produce Bags

The plastic bags used for produce bug me. Because usually I just put my produce in them at the store and then come home and empty it out into my fridge in bins and such. It seemed like such a waste. So I looked it up and I found Flip and Tumble Produce Bags. So I ordered them. I love them! I use them for potatoes, apples, citrus, onions, cucumbers etc. etc. I don't use them for lettuce or herbs--things that need to keep some moisture to stay fresh, because they won't work. But as for all of the other things they are perfect. I took this picture so you could see the size:

I found them cheapest at but you can also find them on Amazon, at Flip and Tumble, even at Target online. (I haven't seen them in a Target)

I give this product a THUMBS UP. Try them and come back and leave your opinion, good or bad. OR try one of the other similar products make by other companies and tell us what you think.

Soap Scum Remover

So I was looking at the floor of my bath tub and it was all brownish in spots from soap scum. I usually use Comet but I wanted to try something natural, so I googled it.

Baking Soda. That was one of the answers, so I tried it. MAGNIFICENT! It worked like a charm. I found it worked better if I wet my sponge and put it directly on there to form a paste versus when I just sprinkled it on the tub directly. It was great because my almost 2 year old was right next to me and usually I freak out and lock him out while I'm cleaning because if that nasty chemicals. But it was great, I even let him help. And at one point I somehow inhaled some of the powder and I didn't have any fear or thoughts in the back of my mind of how wrong it was. No more Comet for me!

Also, heated white vinegar works. I've used that before and it works, but I found it to be more difficult than the baking soda.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Essential oils

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. If you have ever enjoyed the gift of a rose, a walk by a field of lavender, or the smell of fresh cut mint, you have experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. In addition to giving plants their distinctive smells, essential oils provide plants with protection against predators and disease and play a role in plant pollination.

Essential oils are non water-based phytochemicals made up of volatile organic compounds. Although they are fat soluble, they do not include fatty lipids or acids found in vegetable and animal oils. Essential oils are very clean, almost crisp, to the touch and are immediately absorbed by the skin. Pure, unadulterated essential oils are translucent and range in color from crystal clear to deep blue.

Try this at home: Squeeze the peel of a ripe orange. The fragrant residue on your hand is full of essential oils.

In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Modern scientific study and trends towards more holistic approaches to wellness are driving a revival and new discovery of essential oil health applications.

I have been using essential oils for a long time and I love them. Lavender is one of my favorites. I use it as a deodorant, just a couple of drops in the pits and I smell good all day, except for super sweaty days in summer, that would require some plain baking soda.

Three of the best oils to start your collection with are lavender, eucalyptus and tea tree. These oils are less expensive, so they are a great introduction to oils because your investment is not to intimidating.

Lavender is widely used and accepted for its calming and relaxing qualities.

Because of the many influential compounds found in eucalyptus, it is a key ingredient in cough and throat medicines and chest ointments. Eucalyptus is used widely both for its calming and clearing properties as well as to ease breathing* Just mix it with a little olive oil and rub it on the chest, throat and shoulders.

Recognized by its more common name "tea tree", melaleuca has been revered for its cleansing and regenerative properties, especially for the skin. Composed of more than ninety different compounds, melaleuca has limitless therapeutic applications. Tea tree is great for killing fungus, bacterias and viruses. Any time you get a cut, scrape, etc.. just drop tea tree on it.

If you are really interested in using essential oils then you should get yourself a book so you can learn how to use them.

There are a lot of companies that sell essential oils, I like several, however you should do your own research and find a company that you like.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Calli Overstreet--Contributor

My name is Calli. I am a food person. You could say I am a FoodNerd. You may not believe me, but I could probably talk about food all day long. Food is fun, it's culture, it's health, it's skill, it's exploration, it's sharing and serving, tasting, and learning. It's important to me.

I have a bachelor's degree in Nutrition Science with a minor in Communications from ASU. I work for a doctor, seeing those patients that need help with nutrition, weight loss, diabetes education, and food allergies. Group cooking classes, personal consulting, and chef assisting is what I do on the side occasionally. In my last year of college, I completed an internship with a professional chef, who is a naturopath. I developed, modified, and learned many recipes during that time. Shape Up US is an organization that created a continuing education course all about health and wellness and I was a writer and contributor for that project.

I am a dance teacher, since I was 16. I teach all ages and all styles. I have taught at many different studios around the valley, and still do. This fall I will be co-teaching a program called "Confidence Connection" at Premiere Performing Arts Academy. I am mostly teaching the students about nutrition and exercise and how they relate to self confidence and empowerment. It is a program designed to help youth gain life skill so they can take on the world with confidence.

On a personal note, I am married, no kids yet, love to laugh, be sarcastic, and have fun. I sing, dance, play the guitar, and cook. I love going to the superstition market and overflowing my fridge with fresh produce for $10. I love debunking that healthy eating is expensive.

My philosophy is what I like to call  90/10. 90% of the time we should eat whole, non-processed food, Ex: veggies, fruit, lean meats, fish, and nuts and seeds. The other 10% is just because we can't change overnight and be hardcore in a blink. We live in a world of food that is horrible for us, but happens to taste so good.

I will be contributing recipes, tips, nutrition facts and myths, and restaurant reviews of places that actually serve or will serve you healthy food!! That's how I roll, welcome aboard :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I really have no idea why I am about to post this picture- I just know it made me laugh and I hope it makes you laugh too.

My name is Marlo.

I have been a weird, hippy, witch doctor person for a long time- I was green when green wasn't even cool yet, before green was the new black, before Al Gore imagined up global warming, before carbon footprints, before...... just kidding.

I really should not be writing right now I am feeling way to hyper!

Nice deep breath. Get grounded. Get Zen. Hahaha!!

OK. I think I am ready now.

I am shockingly single.
Mother of one.
Sister to 5.
Occasionally obnoxious.

I am a massage therapist and a doula.

I want to visit Greece.

I love pizza.

I want to live on my own little farm someday. I want horses, goats, chickens and a pig. Horses to ride, goats to milk, chickens for eggs, and a pig just because they are funny looking.

I do not love blogging.

I am trying to learn Spanish.

Right now my hamstring is bothering me.

I am not good at team sports.

My favorite movie is Braveheart.

I think Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream is the best flavor ever invented!

I believe that all diseases can be cured by natural medicine and faith.

I love my friends.

I love guns.

I love trees.

I love 80's music and country.

My ideal outfit would be a fifties house dress with an apron and muck boots.

I wish I was a more creative cook.

I wish I had a man to cook for.

I wish I had a man who was a creative cook!!

I love to read.

Crocs are ugly but I wear them anyway.

My secret shame is that I love watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette.

I think it would be so cool to play the harmonica.

I like homeschooling, cloth diapers and home made jam.

I respect women who stay home with their children, make dinner for their man and breastfeed their babies.

I like men who drive trucks, use good language, and love this country.

I think dental health is crucial!! Brush the teeth people. Brush the teeth!

For some reason Jill thinks I have the time and talent to contribute to her fabulous blog- I will try to give some 2 cents every now and then.

And now I need to go to bed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Homemade deodorant

I sweat...I don't mind being sweaty as long as I don't stink.  So, I found this idea on How About Orange and decided to give it a try. I love this deodorant, it only has one downfall; here in Arizona it melts so I have to keep it in the fridge.  I just chop it into little bits and it melts in my pits when I apply it.  I would give this two thumbs up, it works great.

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
4 tablespoons coconut oil
10 drops/shakes grapefruit essential oil

-Mix together and store in a container (they suggest metal)

Recipe and photo from How About Orange

Friday, June 18, 2010

Baked Ziti with Eggplant and Spinach

I made this and we liked it. The kids totally ate it. I threw in some mushrooms and more spinach.


Baked Ziti

This recipe serves 4 (you can easily double and bake in a 9x12 dish)

1/2 lb. of ziti

1/2 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes

tomato sauce, yours or my recipe

1 cup ricotta cheese

a couple handfuls of fresh spinach, roughly chopped

a few leaves of fresh basil, roughly sliced

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

a handful of grated parmesan cheese

a sprinkle of dried oregano

What you'll do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make your tomato sauce. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box until very al dente (chewy) The noodle will cook more in the oven and you don't want them to get too limp. When the noodles are done, toss them in some tomato sauce to coat. (this will prevent sticking) Lightly saute the eggplant cubes in some olive oil with a pinch of salt till they just begin to turn golden.

Now for assembly. Spread some tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. (so the pasta doesn't stick) then put a couple spoonfuls of pasta down, the eggplant, the roughly chopped spinach, some chopped basil and the ricotta cheese. (for an extra surprise, sprinkle in some toasted pine nuts) Add another layer of ziti, then a little more sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and sprinkle with just a little dried oregano. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden. Serve with some extra tomato sauce for people like me who love tons of sauce!

Ratatouille Polenta Bake

I had been wanting to make Ratatouille ever since I saw the movie. I found this recipe and I loved it! My husband loved it too, my kids . . hmmm ... not so much, but they'll have to deal.

Calli would say to nix the polenta, which I believe would make it more authentic anyway.

But it's delish how it is.

**My husband requested that we switch the portions of zucchini and eggplant.


Ratatouille Polenta Bake

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 medium bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1 cup)
1 small unpeeled eggplant, (1 pound), diced (2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, diced (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 tube (16 ounces) refrigerated plain polenta (or any flavor)
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Spray 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook onion and bell pepper in skillet 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in eggplant, zucchini, salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes, breaking up with spoon; reduce heat to low. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Spray rectangular baking dish, 11x7x1 1/2 inches, with cooking spray. Cut polenta into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange slices on bottom of dish, overlapping and cutting to fit where necessary. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over top.

3. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and parsley. Bake uncovered about 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 260 (Calories from Fat 65 ); Total Fat 7 g (Saturated Fat 3 g); Cholesterol 10 mg; Sodium 830 mg; Total Carbohydrate 45 g (Dietary Fiber 6 g); Protein 10 g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 18 %; Vitamin C 26 %; Calcium 24 %; Iron 16 % Exchanges: 2 Starch; 3 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushrooms with Tofu

I tried this recipe and it was good. I didn't add the tofu because I can't stand the texture of Tofu. My husband and two of my kids liked it.

I will definitely make this again.

**I doubled the recipe and it was just enough for our family (all of the kids are under age 8). But I will be tripling the recipe next time.


Stir-Fried Broccoli and Mushrooms with Tofu

1/3 cup Progresso® chicken broth (from 32-oz carton) or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon apricot all-fruit spread
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup halved cherry and/or yellow pear tomatoes
8 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/4” cubes

1.In a cup, whisk together the broth, all-fruit spread, soy sauce, sherry, and cornstarch. Set aside.

2.Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until tender-crisp and lightly browned.

3.Add the tomatoes and tofu and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to collapse.

4.Stir the cornstarch mixture and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the mixture boils and thickens.



Hello people.

I'm Jill.

I started this blog.

I live in Arizona.

I have a husband and 4 kids.

My recent favorite color is purple.

I'm only 5 feet tall.

I'm originally from a small town in Arizona called Heber.

I dye my hair to cover the gray.

I live in Converse and flip flops.

I dream of having enough money to shop at Anthropologie full price.

I visit the blogs how about orange and decor8 daily.

I'm trying to be vegetarian 5 days a week.

I'm trying to eat fish and chicken the other two.

I do still love beef but now I'm limiting myself to the grass fed expensive kind you can only purchase at places like Sprouts and Trader Joes.

I've recently taught myself to like mushrooms.

I don't fear heights nor public speaking.

I have a B.S. from ASU.

I'm super annoyed at the terms "Go Green" and "Carbon Footprint".

I stay at home with my kids.

I have a current obsession with mangoes and Indian cuisine.

I don't have cable TV or a cell phone.

I suck at crafts.

I'm Mormon.

I'm trying to produce less trash and be less of a consumer of crap at the dollar store and McDonald's toys.

I'm going natural because:

I fear cancer
I get constipated when I eat too much meat
I watched Food Inc.
I need to better live my religion by following the Word of Wisdom
I possibly have Diabetes in my future
I think the earth is pissed at how we treat it
I want my kids to think eating healthy is normal
I want to learn more about holistic medicine, and prevention


Why is this blog here? Well I recently became obsessed with going natural. I want to eat more vegetables, use home made deodorant and have less chemicals in my home. So I have looking all over the internet for resources and talking to friends about what they do. I realized that my friends have a lot to say, and that I could link people from here to eternity. I didn't want to post the in my normal life blog, I wanted it to be separate. So I sent an e-mail out to my friends to see if they would join in. And lucky me, the coolest people ever said they would contribute whenever they found anything. So here we are.

I titled it SLOWLY going natural so as to not focus on those parts where I am full hypocrite--like dyeing my hair with chemicals and my love of Native New Yorker's honey-hot chicken wings. It's a process. We can all start small and slowly transition into a better lifestyle.

I've thought and thought about the categories I wanted to cover, so here they are:

Our Food--this includes recipes, nutrition, gardening, restaurants. Anything having to do with food

Our Home--Cleaning products, candles, bug control. Anything having to do with our daily home life.

Our Bodies--this includes deodorants, shampoos, clothes, facial products, lotions. Anything we may use on or next to our bodies.

Our Habits--Changing the stuff we know have become accustomed to. Reduce Reuse Recycle, Re-useable bags, crafts made from re-using stuff, etc. etc. You know--reducing, reusing, recycling.

We'd love your input. Do you have a good website you use? A product you recommend? A recipe for some sort of laundry soap? Whatever. Leave us a comment on the most recent post (we won't be checking old ones) and we'll check it out. Also, if you have some tip or something to add to a particular post, make sure to put it in the comments of that particular post, so others can benefit.

Thanks for stopping by.

Hope you like it here.

xoxo Jill