Friday, August 26, 2016

Goodbye Ziploc, Hello Blox!

We have been going through an INSANE amount of Ziploc bags lately... as in 10 sandwich bags a day for packing my daughter and boyfriend's lunch. RIDICULOUS!! Not only is it expensive, but it's detrimental to the planet.  So I searched for a divided container that I could pack their food in, but not worry about the fruits leaking or the flavors mixing.. a soggy sandwich would not go over well with a four year old.  After going through tons of containers, I found the perfect one.  Not only is it small enough that it fits in her lunch bag (and leaves room for her juice and yogurt) but all of the sections are perfectly divided for all of her food.  Introducing: The Rubbermaid Salad Blox!!! I think the term "Blox" is insanely cute too.

Yes, yes.. I know it says it's for salad.. but it's SO perfect for lunch. I can fit her sandwich and snack/treat in the bottom, and then her fruits, vegetables, and dip are divided up beautifully in the top portion.  AND it comes with it's own blue freezer pack that snaps directly onto the bottom.  I still put the freezer pack (the one that's for $1 at Walmart) that I had bought previously in the bottom of her lunch bag, so her lunch stays extra cold.  I no longer worry about her food becoming room temperature throughout the day.  I also don't have to worry about her smashing her food.  We've been using this for about a week now and I simply adore it. It's easy to use (and clean), keeps my daughter happy, saves us money, and keeps us from damaging Earth.  Rubbermaid also has sooo many other Blox to choose from: Sandwich kit, Entree kit, Flat Lunchbox kit, and they even sell some of their containers separately.  We are definitely going to be buying one for my boyfriend's lunch bag.  Goodbye Ziploc...and hellooooo Blox!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Home Management Binder: Food Section

Next section: food! We all know food makes the world go round.. or something like that. This section includes:
The section cover

A weekly meal planning sheet
A super grocery list that not only tells you what you need at the grocery store, but also helps you keep track of how often you need to buy a specific item (to help you know how to buy in bulk without it going to waste) and to keep track of what you are paying for each item.  I know in our home we tend to use the same groceries over and over, so this helps with budgeting too!

A recipe table of contents

And lastly, a blank recipe card.. for a bonus I'll even include the Honey Wheat Bread recipe:

To download this binder section, click here!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Homemade Honey Wheat Bread

I don't know about you, but in our house we go through a TON of bread, between making toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch every day.. equals at least 16 slices per day. CRAZY! So to cut down on expenses, I decided to start baking bread at home (plus it tastes better too!). I found and tweaked this delicious honey wheat bread recipe, and everyone has fallen head over heels for it.

Honey Wheat Bread

3 cups hot water
1 1/2 Tbsp yeast
1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp pink Himalayan salt
5-6 cups whole wheat flour
Butter or butter substitute

In a large bowl, add hot water and yeast.  Dissolve the yeast and wait until it froths (or bubbles) which takes about 5 minutes.  Then add shortening, honey, and salt, mixing in slightly with spatula (the dough will just get stuck in a whisk and a spatula makes it easy to scrape off the sides).  Add flour a cup at a time until you have a soft dough that isn't sticky. Put dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it's a good, solid dough (add more flour if it still sticks to your hands, but not so much that it's tough.. we still want it to feel like dough). Put dough back into the bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and let it raise until it's doubled in size - about an hour.  If you put it on top of a warm oven (about 250), it raises beautifully.  Then place it back on the floured surface and knead it again. Divide the dough and place it into baking pans, pressing it into shape, and let it rise again for another hour.  Preheat oven to 350.  Bake bread for 30 minutes.  Pull oven rack out and butter the top of the bread, then back another 2 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pan, and let cool another 10 minutes before slicing.

Regular shortening and salt will work with this recipe, but the ingredients I have listed make it a healthier, tastier (and vegan) version. And make sure you use HOT water... if you use cold water, it won't rise correctly and it will look like this:

It will still taste good, but it will be more dense and flat.  Don't ask me how I know this.. hah.  Happy baking!!

Friday, August 5, 2016

DIY Facial Mask

There were sooo many DIY facial mask recipes, and none of them were quite right for me.. The majority of them were too runny or just didn't do anything to my skin.  So I tweaked a simple coconut/honey recipe and found this to work amazingly.  All of these ingredients are sooo good for your skin:
Coconut oil helps strengthen underlying tissues and helps remove excessive dead cell on the skin's surface that makes your skin rough and flaky in texture.
Honey is naturally antibacterial, full of antioxidants, opens up pores (making them easier to unclog) and is very moisturizing.
Lemon Juice decreases dark areas, balances oiliness, enhances skin tone. It's also a natural disinfectant and exfoliant, and is just great for acne.
Brown Sugar is great for exfoliating sensitive skin and is full of glycolic acid (which is crucial for maintaining healthy skin).
Ground Coffee treats redness, is a natural anti-flammatory, reduces dark circles under the eyes, and reduces cellulite.
Vanilla Extract is high in anti-oxidants, reduces the occurrence of wrinkles and age spots, is rich in Vitamin B complex, treats acne, and smells amazing.
Peppermint Extract reduces pain, is high in anti-oxidants, and has a cooling effect.
Lavendar helps treat acne, eczema, and tired muscles.  It also detoxifies, tones, and heals skin.
Oatmeal cleanses, locks in moisture and normalizes skin's pH.

DIY Facial Mask

1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 drops peppermint extract
5 drops lavendar essential oil
2 1/2 tsp oatmeal

Mix all these lovely ingredients together and put facial mask mixture in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  Apply to face and let set for 10 minutes or so.  Wipe off with warm cloth and voila! A smooth, soft, healthy face!