Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creating a Compost Area

This is the spot! Right behind Addy will be our new compost station.

Luckily we have a big backyard. Addyson and her dad scope out the perfect spot for a compost pile. I must admit we have been composting for years but I use the word composting lightly. It was more like throwing scraps in the chicken area and calling it a day! I would bury some of the scraps periodically. Now we have decided to do it right. Well as close to right as we can. Hopefully next year we can use the compost in our garden area.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Yummy Natural Bug Repellent

Apparently mosquito's hate the smell of vanilla!  Who knew?  Luckily, I love the smell of vanilla.  Although we don't have a lot of mosquito's in Kanab it is always good to have bug spray on hand in case we go to Duck Creek. 

2 oz of pure, clear and sugarless vanilla extract
2 oz of water

* Be sure you use the clear sugarless kind otherwise you'll be a buffet for other bugs.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's a Strata not a Quiche!

Daron and I are always looking for creative ways to use the fresh eggs we get from "the girls"  and I am always looking for ways to increase the veggies in our diet.  This recipe from Cooking Light combines both plus my LOVE for goat cheese.  I of course didn't read the recipe thoroughly before starting so I didn't layer it.  I just dumped it all together and it turned out fantastic.  To make it even better my husband LOVED it. I think the key is NOT calling it a quiche.  Men don't like the name and would never say to their friends "My wife made this great quiche last night" so be sure and call it a Strata.  Strata sounds more manly and men like foods that start with the letter S (think Stromboli, subs, salami).   He even ate the leftovers for lunch the next day.  My three year old however not so much.  Due to my health/fitness days I think it is important to add that artichoke hearts are rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. 

Artichokes & Goat Cheese Strata
To make ahead, prepare through step 2, cover, and chill. Before baking, let bread mixture stand at room temperature 10 minutes while the oven preheats. Then assemble and bake. The cook time will increase by about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
Total: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped shallots (about 1 large)
  • 1  (10-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried herbes de Provence
  • 1 3/4  cups  1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 4  large eggs
  • 1/3  cup  (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2  (1-pound) loaf country-style white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) crumbled goat cheese, divided


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallots, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in artichoke hearts and garlic; cook for 8 minutes or until artichoke hearts begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in herbes de Provence. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Combine milk, black pepper, salt, and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and bread; toss gently to combine. Stir in artichoke mixture, and let stand for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375°.
4. Spoon half of bread mixture into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of goat cheese, and top with remaining bread mixture. Sprinkle remaining half of goat cheese over top. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cheap and Green Ways to Clean Your House

White distilled vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are the three most important cleaning agents in your cupboard.  I have listed a few things that I use these items for but there are literally hundreds of ways you can use them. Basically if any cleaning needs to be done I turn to baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide first.  There are many benefits to using these items for cleaning but my favorite is that I don't worry about my 3 yr. old daughter getting into it and she can help me clean!

White Distilled Vinegar
  1. Vinegar & water for cleaning mirrors and windows.
  2. Vinegar in the laundry not only helps clean, freshen and brighten the clothes but also helps with the mold & smell that can happen in the rubber seal of fancy front loaders.
  3. Vinegar in the drain for odors.
  4. Vinegar in the bathroom to kill germs and mildew.
  5. Vinegar on counter tops for a nontoxic cleaner.
  6. Vinegar and baking soda on nonstick pans for burnt stains.
  7. Vinegar for cleaning car interior and windows.
  8. For more great ideas visit  Vinegar Tips.

Baking Soda
  1. Baking soda for cleaning sinks, toilets, bathtubs.
  2. Baking soda for cleaning your teeth.
  3. Baking soda in the laundry.
  4. Baking soda in the dishwasher.
  5. Baking soda in shoes.
  6. For more ideas Google baking soda cleaning. 
Hydrogen Peroxide
  1. Anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties make it great for door handles, counter tops and bathroom.
  2. Add to baking soda for a toothpaste also as a mouthwash.
  3. Good uses for garden and cleaning pet products too.
  4. Good site for ideas Use Hydrogen Peroxide.
I reused shampoo bottles and a Febreze bottle.  I have straight vinegar, straight hydrogen peroxide and two bottles of vinegar and water for windows and counters.  I am using up all of the store bought cleaning products and when they are gone I don't plan to buy anymore.  Eventually this will be the only cleaning supplies we use. I also use olive oil on my wood table.  A lady in an antique store in Houston, TX gave me that tip over ten years ago. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Indoor plants and coffee mug planters

 I am ready to plant my garden unfortunately it is still too cold and night and some days to plant anything outside.  So Addy and I decided to pick out a few herbs and indoor plants to try make us feel better.

I had two coffee cups that would look great in the kitchen as planters.  I drilled holes in the bottom and wallah two new planters.  It was a great way to recycle two mugs I wasn't ready to part with.

Cilantro and Parsley!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bye Plastic!

When Addy was a baby and we started using bottles and sippy cups the news announced the BPA warnings. Not something an already nervous new mom wants to hear. We did some research and eventually got rid of all the plastic things that weren't BPA free.  Now that she is older we have been microwaving her single serving  mac and cheese. By the way single serving mac and cheese is surely not green.  Talk about extra packaging. I'm not sure if microwaving is green - anyhow that's for another day.  Back to the noodles.  Every time we stuck a plastic "microwave safe" BPA free bowl in the microwave I cringed at the thought of chemicals seeping out. We started using our ceramic bowls (made in China and painted with lead I am sure).  Occassionally I caught my husband heating things in a corner store plastic soda cup.  Really? It would come out warped and half melted and he still didn't see the danger.  So I went to the store to find better bowls and then it dawned on me - glass.  Duh!  Good old fashioned glass bowls.  Growing up we had glass soda bottles, glass ketchup bottles, glass medicine bottles and glass peanut better jars. My husband just reminded me that mustard jars were glass and we both remember the clinking of the knife against the jar. How soon one forgets. I have had a few bowls chip but  I am happy about this because I get to go shopping to replace them.