OTHER WAYS TO USE SALT by Vickie Kline

Salt is an inexpensive item that can be used in many ways other than flavoring our food. Use it as an air freshener, a cleaner, or even to help keep your favorite bottle of wine chilled. Here are some ideas:

1. To help remove odors from your garbage disposal, pour 1/2 cup of salt directly into the garbage disposal. Run the disposal as usual and the odors will disappear.

2. If you’ve been cleaning fish and want to remove the odor from your hands, simply rub them with a lemon wedge dipped in salt. Rinse with water and all is fresh.

3. Use salt to make homemade air freshener. Cut an orange in half and remove the pulp (hopefully you eat this). Fill the peel with salt and experience a fresh scent easily placed anywhere in your home.

4. In a hurry and forgot to chill the wine? For a quick chill, place bottle in ice bucket or other tall plastic container. Add a layer of ice on the bottom and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of salt. Continue to layer ice and salt until it reaches the neck of the bottle. Then add water to ice level. Within 10 to 12 minutes you’ll have the perfectly chilled bottle of wine.

5. To perk up the flavor of your morning coffee, add a pinch of salt to the coffee placed in the basket of your coffeemaker. This works by helping to remove some of the acid taste.

6. In addition to number 5, if you’d like to remove coffee stains from the inside of your glass coffee pot, add four teaspoons of salt, one cup of crushed ice, and one tablespoon of water. Gently swish until clean… then rinse.

7. Looking for a way to remove rust from scissors or tools? Add one tablespoon of salt to lemon juice to form a paste. Apply the paste to rusted area with a dry cloth and rub.

8. I love to wear white. I love to drink red wine. Well, as you know, the two don’t always mix. When I splash a bit of wine on my white shirt, I immediately pour enough salt on the stain to soak up any liquid. Then, immerse in cold water for approximately half an hour, and launder as usual.

9. Let’s not forget the healing properties of salt. To alleviate a sore throat, gargle several times per day with a mixture of 1/2 cup warm water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Or to simply relax after a long day – prepare a salt water bath for your feet. Use 1-1/2 gallons of warm water, 1/4 cup of salt, and 1/4 cup baking soda. Soak feet for up to fifteen minutes and feel the day soak away.

Salt will do more than flavor your food, it’s a good item to keep on hand for everyday uses.

Strive to be healthy!

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MY PRIVATE REFRIGERATOR by Vickie Kline

I noticed the other day how different my refrigerator looks…  I hadn’t really paid attention over the past few months as my refrigerator slowly morphed from a habitat of processed foods to one of colorful, fresh, organic fruits and veggies that are begging to be eaten. Sometimes I open the door just to look in… and I immediately feel better about the healthful eating choices in front of me. This photo is an actual picture of my refrigerator. Some things are hard to see – but there are lots of fresh foods on the bottom shelf and other  things like Agave Nectar, Greek yogurt, green tea, Coconut milk, and Ricotta cheese perched there.

A huge part of this new eating plan has been the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program I recently joined. Each Wednesday I pick up a bag of fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruits. The items range from greens, to several types of peppers, to potatoes, to pears, and apples. It’s always a wonderful surprise to open the bag and see what’s inside. I’ve discovered many new foods too, such as, okra, eggplant, and dandelion greens. The challenge is finding ways to use everything from the bag each week.

Several weeks ago as the veggies were taking over the fridge and I was afraid some would spoil before we could get them eaten, my husband suggested using the extra for soup stock. So, as items began to lose their freshness, I would place them in a bag in the freezer. We ended up with three, gallon-sized bags of all sorts of things. (As I cut vegetables to make a salad, I even began saving the tops of peppers or okra that I would have previously thrown away). We took the veggies from the bags, placed them in a large pot of water on the stove with a touch of salt and let them cook. After being on the stove for approximately 1.5 hours, the veggies were taken from the pot and pureed, then returned to the pot of water to continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes. Next, we strained the mixture and returned to the stove for another half hour until the water cooked down a bit. We were left with a beautiful, rich brown stock that is completely natural from locally grown produce. I placed the stock in six ziplock quart bags (2 cups each) and dropped in the freezer. As winter approaches, we will have soup stock ready for chicken and noodles, miso soup, or any recipe calling for vegetable stock. The house smelled wonderful the entire afternoon as the veggies cooked on the stove too!

Not only has my refrigerator changed, but my counter top of unrefrigerated items is growing as well. Some of this is purchased from Natural Grocers, but the pears, squash, onions, and dried oregano are from the CSA program. It’s easy to eat healthful if you try new things and search for items you like. There is a whole world of natural vegetables and fruits out there waiting to be tried that will nourish your body and help you feel wonderful. Go for it… you’ll be glad you did.

Strive to be healthy!

RECIPE FRIDAY: Quinoa Greens Feta Salad

Recipe shared through courtesy of Be Nourished By Nature

Ingredients:

2 medium or 3 small beets (any color) roasted
1 cup kale or green of your choice (collard greens, chard, beet greens)
1 cup quinoa

Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced or pureed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (may substitute 1 to 2 tablespoons walnut oil for 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil)
1/2 cup broken walnut pieces
2 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled (more if desired for garnish)
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, marjoram, chives, mint
1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the greens. Blanch for two minutes, and transfer to the ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.
2. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the quinoa and cook as directed.
3. While the quinoa is cooking, make the vinaigrette: Whisk together the sherry and balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic and mustard. Whisk in the oil(s). Add to the quinoa. Peel and dice the beets and add, along with the greens, feta or goat cheese, herbs and walnuts. Toss together, and serve warm or room temperature with a little more cheese sprinkled over the top if you wish.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE by Vickie Kline

Today I have been really busy at work. It’s the time of year where I budget for 2013 and spend my entire day looking at numbers, spreadsheets, and calculating the expense of building our next show/production. And honestly, I ran short of time to write my blog… so I’m going to take this opportunity to share something with you.

This is a website called “Words of Wisdom” that I participated in a few months ago. It’s a site for caregivers and family members of Alzheimer’s patients. Please take time to read the tips and suggestions listed here by myself and others who have lived with, and/or helped, another who suffered through Alzheimer’s.

http://www.alzheimersdisease.com/info/alzheimers-caregiver-tips.jsp?audio=9&usertrack.filter_applied=true&NovaId=4029462041670607863

Strive to be healthy!

RECIPE FRIDAY: OLIVE FETA TURKEY BURGERS

This recipe is shared courtesy of All Recipes at www.allrecipes.com

These are extremely fast and easy, but also TASTY!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat the grill for medium high heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine turkey, feta cheese, olives, oregano, and pepper. Mix together, and form into patties.
  • Lightly oil the grate. Place patties on the grill.  Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through.

RELIEVING DRY SKIN by Vickie Kline

As winter approaches and the air begins to dry out, our skin dries out too. During the fall and winter, your skin may show signs of being dry, flaky, and rather unattractive. Aging, low humidity, too many hot showers, and cleaning products all cause your skin to be dry. Regardless of the reason, there are simple home remedies you can use to hydrate your skin and help it look healthy and beautiful.

If you have dry or chapped hands due to washing dishes, try sprinkling baking soda in your dishwater. If your hands are chapped, but not from washing dishes, try using vinegar. Wash and dry hands thoroughly, apply vinegar, then put on a pair of soft gloves and leave overnight.

If you have a dry skin problem on more than your hands, add baking soda to your bath water and soak. Use one cup of baking soda in a full tub of water. Soak for 30 minutes and then let your body air dry. A handful of cornstarch or instant oatmeal will also work wonders in your bath water. Or, if you’re brave, coat yourself with oil before retiring for the night. You may feel uncomfortable sleeping like this, but will awaken with healthy, glowing skin. Vegetable, sunflower, or peanut oils offer relief from dry skin. (If this doesn’t sound like something you want to do, add a few drops of the oil to your favorite body lotion and apply all over. You’ll get more of the softness without all the mess).

To help put moisture in the air, you can boil water on the stove or purchase a humidifier. Anytime you create steam, you’re putting moisture in the air and relieving dry skin caused from lack of moisture. Other things that will help are to take cool or lukewarm showers. It may not sound appealing, but your skin will thank you. Hot water dries out your skin by drawing out all the natural oils. And, be selective about soap. Anything containing heavy perfumes or scents may dry your skin. Once you get out of the shower, use body lotion while you’re still damp. The lotion will help your body retain the water present on your skin and seal in the moisture.

I don’t like to think about it because I enjoy my red wine… but, alcohol inside or outside can make your skin dry. Whether drinking an alcoholic beverage or using a product on your skin that contains alcohol, you can help prevent dry skin by decreasing usage. Work toward beautiful skin this winter by treating it right.

Strive to be healthy!

RECIPE FRIDAY: Quinoa Cakes

This recipe shared courtesy of EatCleanDiet.com

Okay, I know it’s Saturday… but I was without internet yesterday. Recipe is still just as good… even though it’s a day late!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 large egg whites (or whole eggs if you haven’t had your healthy fats today)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chives
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese or old cheddar
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • Olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • spinach greens
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (optional)

Instructions

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except for bread crumbs, olive oil, vinegar and spinach. Mix in the bread crumbs and stir gently until evenly incorporated. Form the mixture into ice cream scoop sized patties.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat and swirl to coat, or do it on a griddle pan. Add the patties to the pan so that they are not touching. Let cook about 4 minutes or until the first side is lightly browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and let the second side cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining patties, using additional olive oil if needed.

Serve on a lush bed of spinach greens and top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

Another great treat that tasty and good for you.

Strive to be healthy!

Photo from: Poor Girl Eats Well