Archive | July, 2012

Drizzle, Don’t Pour

31 Jul

ImageWant to lose weight and save money? Then stop treating salad dressing, pancake syrup, ketchup and other condiments like gravy, or worse, like soup. Stop and look at the fat, carbs, and calories per serving, then look at how much constitutes a serving; usually about 2 tablespoons. You may as well crack open a bottle of Karo syrup and drown your food, or pop open a can of Crisco and load on a great big heaping dollop. No one is suggesting you should deprive yourself, just be moderate. After all, they are tasty and can enhance your food; you just don’t want them to overwhelm your food and your waistline.

So what do you do about it?

  • Never set condiments on the table in their original container. If you see more, you use more. And besides, it’s just tacky.
  • Don’t use gravy boats or similar dispensers that promote pouring condiments on your food. You may as well water your flowerpots with a firehose.
  • Use condiment cups and spoons. There was a time when condiment were not just reserved for fine dining but were standard at family restaurants too. If you don’t have one, a custard cup and toddler spoon will do the trick. This method forces you to take time and effort to drizzle condiments rather than drown your food. Since there is only a limited amount available to the entire group of diners, you are more aware of your portion size since you have to leave enough for the others (don’t refill them during the meal).
  •  Use a spritzer bottle to dispense condiments, like salad dressing. Some are already available in these bottles, or you can buy and empty container in the housewares section of most stores.

This will not only cut your grocery bill, but your waistline as well.

How Eating Fiber Will Save You Money

30 Jul

ImageAlthough any fiber will have an effect, the best fiber is from fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains that are whole and raw or minimally processed. I do not recommend fiber laxative and fiber added foods because they are processed and have all sorts of undesirable ingredients added, like sugar, plus they are expensive. Buy the real stuff, it’s cheaper and tastes much better.

Save on groceries. You can grow fruits and vegetables in your own yard or container garden for free. Meat and dairy are expensive and unless you buy truly organic, you are subjected to harmful substances such as hormones, carcinogens, antibiotics, and disease. Yum, right? Animal products contain no fiber (animals have bone, plants have fiber). But you need protein, right? No problem. Legumes are packed with fiber and protein, without all that fat and cholesterol, and are available very cheap, especially in dried form.

Save on weight loss remedies. You can lose pounds quickly just by just pooping. If you don’t have enough fiber you are literally carrying around extra pounds of poop (usually 5-25 lbs) constantly. Sexy, huh?  With less poop plugging up your intestine walls, nutrients can enter the blood stream and toxins can exit, giving you more energy for exercise. Fiber helps you feel full faster and longer which means less desire to snack or overeat.

Save on medical bills. Fiber can help prevent, control or reverse a number of expensive and debilitating diseases. The first and most obvious is relief of constipation and hemorrhoids by moving feces out of the body more quickly and easily. High cholesterol and resulting ailments like heart attack and stroke, benefit from fiber in much the same way by preventing and cleaning out build up in the circulatory system. Fiber helps control blood sugar levels which is critical in preventing, managing and even reversing Diabetes. Diabetes is a really expensive disease, not just for the medications and supplies needed for daily management, but for the complications caused by the progression of the disease. The disease can be completely cured in many with Type 2 by making lifestyle changes including diet. Gallstones and kidney stones can result the release of large amount of insulin in to the blood to cope with the sugar spikes; fiber slows digestion to prevent this. Fiber can help prevent or remedy infection, especially diverticular disease, by preventing and removing build up of toxins in the colon.

So which would you rather have: tasty natural inexpensive fiber, or debilitating conditions and expensive treatments? Seems like a no-brainer to me!

29 Jul

Attractive & thrifty! Pringles canisters are great for storing spaghetti.

I Want To Be Crafty!

With the new baby, I have an overabundance of random-sized canisters.  They can be super useful even if they are no longer being used for storing formula or, in the case of the tall one, Pringles.  Again, I hit Pinterest for some ideas.  I saw some canisters covered with fabric and some covered with scrapbook paper.  I chose to use scrapbook paper simply because there seems to be a greater variety of pretty, small patterns and one sheet will cover a lot of area.  I Mod Podged like a maniac and then spray painted the lids a coordinating color (gold in this case).  They turned out quite nice.

I added a divider to the interior of the larger Enfamil canisters.  I plan to keep balls of yarn in them and thought the divider might help keep the yarn from tangling.  (I prefer outward pull yarn balls.  Crazy, I know, but…

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28 Jul

Another hidden cost of fast food.

Sustainability for the Common Good

Everybody creates waste (garbage) in some form or another. We try to convince ourselves that because we throw the plastic bottles into the recycle bin that we are doing our part, yes that is a good thing. In truth it is just the tip of the iceberg for reducing waste generated in a household. In truth there are is a lot of stuff that can be recycled in ways many people never even considered. For my personal sustainability project (psp) I will attempt to reduce the amount of unrecyclable garbage that leaves my house.
A quick run down of the household; I live with my younger brother and 3-4 days of the week his 2 children stay with us. Kids can produce a lot of garbage, everything from broken toys, batteries, un-eaten food, to dirty diapers. All of these things I have witnessed in the garbage. Now I don’t know…

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Dangerous Fabric Softeners & Safe, Cheap Alternatives

27 Jul

ImageNo parent in their right mind would say, “ I don’t mind that my kid suffers  from allergies and the side effects of that medication because he smells snugly fresh, and that’s what’s really important!” But we are creatures of habit, so it’s all about making a few little changes that add up to a big difference.

“Non-toxic” fabric softener or dryer sheets likely include some of the following not-so-snugly ingredients: alpha-terpineol, benzyl acetate, camphor, benzyl alcohol, limonene, ethyl acetate, pentane, and chloroform. Fabric softener chemicals appear on the Environmental Protection Agency’s hazardous waste list and can cause:

  • central nervous system disorders, headaches, and loss of muscle coordination
  • irritation of mucous membranes and impaired respiratory function
  • nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or drowsiness
  • liver or kidney damage
  • skin disorders and allergic reactions
  • cancer

People are exposed to the chemicals by breathing those great smelling molecules in the air near the clothes or by absorbing them through the skin via direct contact with the snugly soft clothes. Ahhh,  fresh…and deadly! (Remember “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning”?)

Then there’s the damage to your septic tank and gunky buildup in your washer and dryer which is a breeding ground for all sorts of microscopic critters. Eww! Not to mention all the money you spend on whiteners and brighteners to try to undo the effect of the waxy film softeners are designed to leave on your laundry to make them soft and fragranced. You may a well pour scented candle wax in your wash water, its essentially the same thing.

So, what do you do about it?

  • Hang dry. To minimize static, don’t dry clothes completely in the dryer. When they are still at least somewhat damp, hang them to dry or use a drying rack.
  • Dry synthetics separately. Synthetic are really the static culprits, they are the main ones that should be hang dried. If you do use a dryer, keep them separate from natural fabrics like cotton.
  • White vinegar. Its a natural fabric softener and will also help clean the gunk out of your machine. Use 1/2 cup in the wash cycle. Don’t use bleach since it may cause toxic fumes.
  • Baking Soda. Add a 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water in your washing machine and let it dissolve prior to adding your clothes. It acts as a water softener and helps makes clothes super soft.
  • Natural detergents & softeners. There are natural laundry soap containing soy-based fabric softener and liquid fabric softener, such as Ecos Earth Friendly.
  • Aluminum foil. Adding a foil ball to your dryer will dissipate static, and the ball bouncing around will help fluff up the fibers too.
  • Dryer balls. They fluff up the clothes but don’t stop static, so follow the first 2 suggestions when using this method. They also double as massage balls (but not all massage balls can be used as dryer balls). Don’t use tennis balls because their materials release unwanted gasses and can stain clothing.

So lets review: little changes that safeguard your health, washer, clothes, septic tank, which translates to additional savings in medical costs, repair costs, replacement costs, and laundry additive costs. Good for you, good for your budget, good for the environment!

Good news readers, you can now follow me on Facebook! Simply visit Real Penny Wise and click LIKE. Be sure to SHARE with your friends too.

Hate cauliflower? 5 Recipes & 5 Health Benefits To Change Your Mind!

26 Jul

ImageIf you’ve never been a fan of cauliflower, here’s some tasty recipes and compelling health information that is sure to win you over. So ditch those expensive supplements and eat something nutritious and delicious for a fraction of the cost!

  1. Bend It Like Beckham with Indian favorite Aloo Gobi.
  2. Colcannon, the Irish equivalent of mac & cheese.
  3. Low carb version of the classic potato leek soup is every bit as yummy.
  4. Mmm, cheesy casserole!
  5. Uber easy garlic roasted.

Here’s some healthy reasons to love cauliflower!

  1. Antioxidants. Cauliflower is a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, which are both powerful antioxidants. It also contains carotenoids beta-carotene and phytonutrients kaempferol, ferulic acid, cinnamic acid and caffeic acid. All these compounds will help protect you from free radical damage and reduce your risk for diseases caused by oxidative stress, especially cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory. Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation, and other anti-inflammatory substances include glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. Cauliflower consumption can help decrease the risk of inflammatory diseases including arthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis.
  3. Vascular Disease. Cauliflower’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Decrease in diameter of blood vessels leads to decreased blood flow to essential organs: brain (stroke), heart (heart attack) and kidneys (kidney failure). By decreasing chronic inflammation, cauliflower is able to maintain excellent blood flow to essential organs of the body.
  4. Digestive. Cauliflower has fiber, and we all know fiber cleans the poop off the walls of your intestines, which allows for better absorption of the nutrients in your food. It also contains glucoraphin which helps protects against bacterium helicobacter pylori in your stomach lining, reducing your risk for stomach ulcer and cancer.
  5. Nutritional. Cauliflower is chock full of  vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folic acid), and serves as a good source of proteins, phosphorus and potassium.

So, grab a fork & spoon and dig in!

Little Luxuries: Root Candle

25 Jul


Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pamper yourself. Root Candle may not be as popular as Yankee Candle, but it is far superior. Root has been a family company since 1869, and uses only the finest and purest ingredients like beeswax and essential oils.

And if you want a real bargain, visit their outlet store in Medina, Ohio, where you can buy wonderful items for less than you would pay for another brand at a department or discount store. Usually the only problem with the items is that they are overstock, past season, or a change or problem with the packaging. Buy the best and pay less. But a word of warning, this place is addictive!

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