Organic Shoppers Rejoice! BerryCart is here to help you Save!

You may have seen my post on Smartphone Apps mention BerryCart, but I haven’t posted about it specifically, so, let’s dive in and I’ll fill you in on all the deets.

berrycart-logo-300x73.pngFor those of us who are Organic/Healthy Shoppers, a lot of the shopping apps can be a bummer because there are not a lot of choices.

BerryCart to the rescue! With BerryCart, you can find Cashback deals on the best Organic, Gluten-Free, non-GMO, Vegan foods and more.

What I really like is that you can combine BerryCart savings with other savings apps (like Ibotta, Checkout51, and Fetch Rewards) to double and triple dip! BerryCart can be used at any store that sells the items in your BerryCart list!

You can also use coupons and other savings (like your Target RedCard to save an extra 5%) to bring down your out of pocket costs!

What I love about Berrycart is that a lot of these brands are carried at stores that don’t accept coupons like Grocery Outlet and 99 Cents Only.

Examples of items I have seen for sale at our local Grocery Outlet in the past week:

BerryCart is a game-changer for those of us who want to eat better, but have a budget.

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All Cashback rebates are redeemed through the BerryCart iPhone or Android apps. To get started, click here to check out the website and download the app.

Recipe: Pasta Free Lasagna

img_3880WHAT? Pasta free lasagna? Are you nuts? I know that’s what you are all thinking, but bear with me.

I know so many people are sticking to their New Years Resolutions of eating healthy, but they are longing for the warm, cheesy, rich gooey-ness of their favorite comfort foods. Mr. just finished a 10 day cleanse, and we are slowing adding things back into his diet. He missed cheese, so I set to find a recipe that contains cheese that I could make a little more healthy by omitting some of the other things that he isn’t quite ready to add back in (meat and lots of heavy carbs). I did make spaghetti to go on the side, but you can skip that if you want.

We had a bag of yellow squash in the fridge, so I decided to make lasagna using the squash in the place of the lasagna noodles.

With this recipe, you can add as many veggies as you want. I opted for mire poix (I had bags of it prepped in the freezer), garlic, shallots, tomatoes, and little pieces of the squash that I chopped into bite size pieces. These were the neck or end that I couldn’t cut into planks. I recommend that you use what you’ve got on hand that you really like. You can add ricotta between the layers, but I skipped it because we didn’t have any, and Mr. isn’t ready to add eggs back in yet (if you’ve never made lasagna before, the ricotta filling is a mixture of egg, Parmesan cheese, and ricotta).

img_3875This recipe makes a big 9×13 inch baking dish- There will be leftovers!

Pasta Free Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow or green crooked neck squash (zucchini), cut into planks, Reserve remaining pieces for sauce
  • 1 jar sugar free pasta sauce (or use your favorite)
  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 can (approx. 14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Italian seasonning
  • 2 T. Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesaen cheese
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese
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Dinner is served (salad not shown)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large stock pot, saute onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and shallots, reduce heat. Cook until garlic and shallots are soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Burnt garlic is gross.
  4. Pour wine over veggies and scrape any yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot. This is called De-glazing the pan. Those brown bits are full of flavor.
  5. Add pasta sauce, herbs, and both cans of tomatoes (diced and paste). Cook on medium for 15-20 minutes. If you want, you can simmer the sauce on low for as long as you want. Make sure to stir frequently and put a lid on the pot.
  6. Add reserved squash bits to sauce. They will cook quickly, so you need to add them last.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Ladle sauce in the bottom of the 9×13 baking dish, just enough to cover the bottom of the dish.
  9. Cover the sauce with planks of squash, then layer cheese, and sauce.  repeat until the pan is full- the top layer should be cheese. If you like lots of cheese, use more than the 2 1/2 cups listed above.
  10. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350. after 20 minutes, uncover pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.
  11. Remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  12. Serve with salad and a small portion of whole wheat pasta. I made whole wheat pasta and topped it with a dollop of Chef Shamy Garlic Butter. It’s amazing.

Variations: This meal is already vegetarian and gluten free. If you are vegan, use dairy free cheese. I cannot promise it will be as gooey and delicious, as I’m not familiar with how dairy free cheese cooks.

If you just gotta have meat, start by sauteing 1 lb of ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, or turkey), then continue the recipe as written.

Free E-Books!

mf809.jpgIf one of your New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, eat better, and get healthy, here are a few awesome free e-books from Amazon. Remember, prices on Amazon can fluctuate- so it may not be free for long!

 

Talk Back: What is your favorite healthy snack?

DIY Tutorial: Bathbombs!

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They turned out pretty good!

In my goodie bag from Wow Summit a few months ago, we all received CBD oil balm from +CBDOil, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it. It has a coconut oil base, so for me it was too greasy to use as a topical pain relief (I hate having greasy skin, and stuff like Tiger Balm and Ben Gay make my skin crawl). I had been using it as lip balm, but really, I didn’t need that much lip balm.

 

I have a few books on making your own beauty products, so I looked for a recipe for bath balms, as I seemed to recall that they called for oil to bind the other ingredients. I also did a quick internet search. I took 5 recipes and sort of Frankensteined together a really good recipe.

Most of these ingredients you have in your pantry already. Citric Acid (also called sour salt) can be purchased at Sprouts or whole foods in the bulk section, or in a grocery store with a large Jewish Food section. Or, of course… There is Amazon.

I weighed my dry ingredients using a food scale, so these measurements are by weight.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces (by weight) Baking Soda
  • 2 ounces (by weight) Corn Starch
  • 2 ounces (by weight)  Citric Acid
  • 2 ounces (by weight) Salt (You can use Epsom salt, table salt, or Kosher salt)
  • 2 T. Water (more or less make be needed depending on the weather conditions at the time you make the bath bombs)
  • 1 T. +CBDOil Balm (it has peppermint oil in it, so I opted to add no additional essential oil)
  • Optional (but fun): natural food coloring. I used Watkins. Start with a few drops and add more until you get the color you want.

 

Directions:

  1. In a glass bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
  2. Add balm, and stir until it starts to clump.
  3. Slowly add water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. Add food coloring and stir.
  5. You can either use bath bomb molds like these, but I used a 1/3 cup measuring cup. I packed the cup, let it sit for a few minutes, invert, and gently tap the bottom of the cup until the bomb releases.
  6. Let them sit overnight before using.
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The Finished product, waiting to cure overnight. 

This recipe makes 4-6 bath bombs, depending on how big you make them.

If you don’t want to use CBD Oil, you can substitute coconut oil, and add in 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil.

A few of my favorite Essential Oil Combinations include:

  • Lavender and Vanilla
  • Orange and Clove
  • Rose and Almond

Talk Back: Have you ever made bath bombs? Did you like it?

 

 

 

 

 

My New Favorite Cooking Oil: Malaysian Palm Oil!

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 10.41.45 PM.pngAt The Moms Meet Wow Summit last month, I was introduced to Malaysian Palm Oil. As someone who cooks daily, I’m always looking for new, healthy ingredients to incorporate into the family diet.

I’d never tried palm oil before, nor had I heard of it, so here are some cool things I learned:

  • Palm oil comes from the fruit of a special species of palm tree grown near the equator. Oil palm plantations are incredibly high yielding and also provide an environment where native animals can thrive. You can learn more here.
  • Palm oil comes from the palm oil fruit, not the tree itself, so there is no deforestation. Also each tree produces fruit all year long for up to 25 years! In Malaysia, palm oil is only produced on legal agricultural land in compliance with Good Agricultural Processes. Fifty percent of Malaysia’s land area is mandated forest cover.
  • It’s better for cooking as it is stable at higher cooking temperatures, is free of trans-fatty acids, rich in vitamin E tocotrienols, and red palm oil is also an abundant source of pro-vitamin A carotenoids.  Red Palm oil has more carotene than carrots and tomatoes.
  • I recently used the Malaysian Palm oil in place of Olive Oil when making Pizza Crust last weekend. It didn’t change the crust at all texture-wise, but it did give it more or a golden appearance and a more buttery flavor.
  • Overall, Malaysian Palm oil have a very velvety, butter mouth feel and taste.
  • I like that Malaysian Palm oil is a Non-GMO. More than 90% of other cooking oils (soy, corn, rapeseed/canola) is made from crops grown with genetically modified seeds,
  • Malaysian Palm oil is a natural substitute for partially hydrogenated oils (the trans fats). That’s great news for me, since I cook a lot of scratch!

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 9.30.53 PM.pngI wanted to showcase the oils natural buttery taste and feel, so I whipped up some popcorn on the stove top, the old-fashioned way.

Screen Shot 2018-12-15 at 9.31.27 PM.pngAll you need is:

  • 3 T. Malaysian Palm Oil
  • 1/2 C. popcorn kernels
  • Whatever seasoning you like (I like salt and pepper)

Directions:

  1. In a large pot (6+ quarts, I have this one), heat the oil and add 3 kernels. Cover with the lid,
  2. Cook on medium-high heat until kernels pop. Remove the pot from the heat, scoop out popped kernels, and add in the rest of the unpopped popcorn kernels.
  3. Cover with the lid, and give the pot a good shake (use potholders!). Let sit off heat for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
  4. Put pot back on the heat (medium-high), set the lid slightly askew, so the steam may escape. Shake the pot a few more times. Once the popping starts, it pops quickly.
  5. Once the popping has slowed, remove from the heat and pour the popcorn into a bowl and top with desired seasonings, butter, etc.

A big thanks to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council for the bottle of Palm Oil and Popcorn to try out this recipe. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated.

I can’t wait to substitute Palm Oil into my favorite recipes!

 

Setting up a Family First Aid Kit!

file0001924831000.jpgWhen you have kids or are accident prone (like I am), a comprehensive first aid kit is a must. After so many years and iterations, this is the first aid kit that works best for our family.

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Before!

Earlier this week, I set to clear out any old/expired ointments, medications, bandages (they don’t expire, but they can become… unsticky), and re-organize. The kids were asleep, so it was the perfect time to get started. I did have one helper. Fiona. Her idea of help was to jump into the first aid box whenever it was empty.

A few years ago, we started off with a pretty well-stocked First Aid Kit, which you can see in the photos is the black, cloth, zippered pouch.  Since we take it camping with us, I’ve also added tampons (They have practical first aid uses as well), Arnica cream, extra scissors, hemostats, and hand sanitizer. It lives under our bathroom sink, and is easily accessible in case of emergency. It’s great- I’ve replaced stuff as we’ve used it, but it’s really not an “All you need” when you are accident prone.

 

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The aftermath!

 

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I love both of these products!

In addition,  we need burn cream, stuff for bruises, Wart Remover kit (little boys!), Cold Calm, Oscillococcinum (for flu like symptoms), Arnicare (which is awesome for leg cramps), a temporal scanner thermometer, Ben Gay (Don’t Judge!), CBD oil products, Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide (not shown), and exam gloves (which are great for stuff besides cleaning up owies). For that, I turned to a Sterilite plastic shoe box without a lid- I’m sure it broke years ago.

Once all of the old/gross/expired stuff was disposed of safely, I scrubbed out the box, labeled it, and repacked it. Because this box does not have a lid on it, it’s kept on the top shelf of the linen closet.

I really want to thank the awesome folks at Boiron for hooking me up with free products at last weeks Wow Summit. I love their products! I have been a fan for years. I bruise like a grape, so Arnicare gel and roll-on are life.

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My Helper, Fiona!

Talkback: I’d love to hear what’s in your family’s First Aid kit! If you don’t have one, now is your chance to grab a plastic tote and get started!

 

Women’s Health Week!

Womenshealth.gov - National Women's Health Week!
It’s only fitting that Women’s Health Week starts on Mother’s Day. While not every woman is a mother, everyone has a woman they care about in their life. National Women’s Health week is May 13- May 19, 2018.

The Women’s Health Week website has all sort of great guides and resources all about how women at any stage of life can care for themselves. And they are SIMPLE STEPS!

Here are just a few daily choices that women can make to live a little more healthier:

  • Eat healthy — go to ChooseMyPlate.gov to get started
  • Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity
  • Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep

See, baby steps!

A few other helpful hints that are good for your body & mind as well as your wallet…

If you have health insurance, don’t forget to get your annual check-up/exam (it’s covered for free under all health insurances in the US)! You can take that time to address health questions with your PCP. If you don’t have health insurance, many Planned Parenthood Clinic offer annual exams (in addition to annual reproductive health exams) for free or very low cost.

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Getting outside with a friend (or pet) is a great way to relieve stress!

If you don’t belong to a gym or health club, many employers offer discounts or work with gyms to offer discounted memberships.  If you aren’t a gym person, check out your local parks. Lots of parks in our local area have special walking loops and even fitness stations (Mast Park in Santee has both!). Other parks in San Diego with fitness/exercise stations include: Mission Bay Park,  Embarcadero Parks North & South, Tidelands Park near the base of the Coronado Bridge as you arrive in Coronado, Hilton Head Park in Rancho San Diego, Chollas Lake Park, and Morley Field (near Balboa Park). If your local park doesn’t have a fitness course, play on the jungle gym or go for a walk!

Taking care of your skin is a great way to practice a little self-care and relax. Here is my DIY Frugal Facial.

And the easiest step I can recommend to better your health: Have a glass of water! We have all sorts of water bottles at home, including infuser bottles like this one. The kids each have a water bottle too!

And if you are a budget, don’t forget to check out freebie sites for health and beauty freebie- I’ve gotten free SPF, skin care products, a pedometer, and vitamins!

I’d love to hear from you: What simple steps do you incorporate into your life to improve your health? Guys, you can comment too!  Better health is for everyone, not just ladies!