Archive | August, 2012

How To Survive The Impending Milk Apocalypse

25 Aug

ImageRight about now mothers all over the USA are fretting about the likely price hike and shortage of milk in the near future due to the current drought. The International Dairy Federation estimates the average American consumes about 23 gallons of liquid milk per year, and that does not include the abundance of products that contain milk.

The average cow drinks about 50 gallons of water a day and produces about 6 gallons of milk. But what about all the water needed to produce the 100 pounds of feed a cow eats each day, not to mention water used for sanitation and procession of milk and milk products? In all, it takes a whopping 2,000 gallons of water to produce just one gallon of milk. Does that sound like a great return on investment to you?

Rather than being paralyzed by the impending milk Apocalypse, now is a great opportunity to break dependence on milk consumption. But wait, the TV says “milk does a body good” so it must be true, right? That message is brought to you by Madison Avenue, the same people who told you cigarettes were not only not dangerous, but that they were actually good for you and that doctors recommended smoking! For generations people bought that crap hook, line and sinker and for generations we have paid the price both financially and in human suffering.

If you are “lactose intolerant”, congratulations; you are actually normal. Yup, no animal was designed to drink another animal’s milk nor drink milk beyond infancy when babies loose their “baby teeth”, and humans are no exception.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or still believe the world is flat, you know most milk does not come from picturesque farms where happy cows graze lazily on lush hillsides, but from inhumane, filthy, factory farms were abused, stressed, and often diseased animals are pumped full antibiotics and synthetic hormones; not to mention a whole host of pollutants from pesticides to diesel fuel. Yum-yum! You, in turn, are feeding this to your precious babies. Dairy product consumption has been linked to numerous illnesses and diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, various allergies and Crohn’s disease.

So what do you do about it?

Back in the 1970’s when there was a milk shortage, we poured cold water over our cereal or just ate it right out of the box; it wasn’t a big deal. Today great milk alternatives like rice, soy, and almond, are chock full of nutrition with out the harmful chemicals. The protein and calcium that you get from milk you can easily get from other sources. Click on this link for a handy nutrition chart of great alternatives.

With no shortage of online recipe sites, it’s never been easier to incorporate good nutrition into your daily meals. Children imitate their parents so you will have to set the example by eating your vegetables, but you’re all big boys and girls now so I have no doubt you can handle it. You’re going to do great!

Fun & Yummy Recipes For Farmer’s Market Finds

16 Aug

ImageFarmer’s Markets are a great way to support the local economy while incorporating the freshest produce into your summer menus. But you might be reluctant to take advantage of some of the greatest bargains because you can’t quite visualize what form they would take on your dinner plate. Well, wonder no more; here are some fun and yummy recipes at the ready!

Carrots: Don’t try to tell your kids carrot fries are the same as French Fries or it will be an epic fail. Instead just let them enjoy it as a tasty and fun way to eat carrots.

Turnips: Ditto. Don’t even tell them these fries are turnips.

Beets: Mmm, crunchy chips!

Loose leaf lettuce: Crunchy and light alternative to flour wraps.

Yellow squash: Everything is tastier off the grill!

Zucchini: Great as bread or muffin for breakfast, snacks or dessert.

Cabbage: Crispy and refreshing salad.

Tomatoes: These are great paired with broiled fish!

For 45 million Americans who rely on food stamps to make ends meet, most Farmers Markets now accept EBT/SNAP cards (which only makes sense since food stamps is a USDA program designed to help subsidize farmers by making food surplus available to the poor). So, in the words of the late great Julia Child, “bon appetite”!

7 Ways To Stop Your Refrigerator From Wasting Your Money

10 Aug


  1. Out with the old. Refrigerators are huge energy hogs, on average gobbling up 8%-12% of your total household energy budget! Fridges and freezers made before 1993 can cost you TWICE what a new Energy Star model does to operate; and the news is worse for models before 1970—a whopping FOUR times the cost! Because of the foreclosure crisis, the market is flooded appliances at dirt cheap prices allowing you to buy a newer used unit for a fraction of the cost. Not to be outdone, retailers of new appliances have had to slash their prices and a savvy shopper can negotiate an even better deal.
  2. Chill out. Your fridge has to work that much harder if you don’t allow your food to cool before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
  3. Wrap it up. Condensation from improperly wrapped food makes your fridge work harder.
  4. Shut the damn door. Remember when your mom would yell “shut that damn door, we’re not cooling off the neighborhood”? Mom was right; 7% of fridge energy is wasted when we leave the door open or browse. That is the energy equivalent of a wash load of laundry once a week for almost a year!
  5. Get organized. You will have less open door time if you know were to find what you are looking for; using clear containers, labeling, and organizing by grouping like items all make it easier.
  6. Save some space. Refrigerators and freezers function best at about 75% full. Why? You need room for the air to circulate and cool each item properly, yet enough cooled items to help maintain temperature.
  7. Keep it clean. Those coils on the back of the fridge serve to dissipate heat and help it run more effectively. Not only should you keep a distance from the wall and away from the stove, but you should clean the coils every 6mos. It’s not difficult and will take less than an hour, but will make a big difference not only in how your fridge functions, but also in keeping those expensive repair bills at bay.

Replacing an outdated fridge will save you at least $100 per year, and the other tips an additional $100. Cool, huh?  But don’t take my word for it, check out this savings calculator and find an appliance recycling program near you.

Straight Couples Cash-In On Civil Unions

3 Aug

ImageThink Civil Unions are just for same-sex couples? So not true! If you are over 40, chances are you have already been divorced at least once. If either you or your honey are gun-shy about taking the plunge again, Civil Union allows for many protections without the penalties!

Benefits of civil union:

  • Avoid paying “federal marriage tax penalty”
  • Keep pension & Social Security Survivor Benefits of deceased spouse
  • Hospital visitation & emergency medical decisions
  • Ability to share room nursing home room
  • Right to take leave to care for a sick partner
  • Exempt from testifying against partner in court
  • Adoption & parental rights
  • Right to file wrongful death claims for a partner’s death
  • Inheritance rights
  • Right to partner’s remains
  • Pension benefits
  • Right to a dissolve union, court division of property, & visitation of children in times of break up

This is a great opportunity for women, especially senior citizens.  If an older woman’s husband dies and she remarries, under federal law she loses her pension and Social Security Survivor Benefits. If she chooses Civil Union she can keep these benefits because federal law does not recognize Civil Union, so she can have the best of both worlds. Domestic Partnership is a much lesser status and offers very few benefits.

Since each state has its own laws governing marriage, divorce, civil unions and domestic partnerships, check with your state government for details. So if you don’t have your little pink heart set on the big church wedding with a gazillion bridesmaids and bridal registry for a full set of china you’ll never use, this may be a very good option for you.

When To Trash Your Make-Up

1 Aug

ImageWe all do it; finally find your favorite color and stock up for the Apocalypse.  But aside from the danger of being a time-warp fashion victim, you are setting yourself up for some serious health problems.

Expired cosmetics not only fail to perform, but also result in skin irritation, dermatitis, allergic reactions and infection. Then there’s the problems caused by dirty make-up and applicators, and yes I’m talking about “the f-word”…feces! Critters include infectious bacteria such as staphylococcus, micro-coccus, and E. coli; causing attractive conditions like herpes, pink eye, strep throat, skin boils and abscesses. I know you’re a clean person but think of all the things you touch in your own home, like door knobs and faucets handles, that are loaded with germs no matter how much you clean.

So what’s a girl to do? Here are some helpful tips:

Never share make-up. I don’t care if it’s you BFF or your twin sister; this is one of those situations where it is OK to be selfish.

Step away from the testers. I know it’s hard when those cloying cosmetic sirens are beckoning you from the display, but be strong and don’t touch them. Picture a dirty public toilet; I don’t care how ritzy the store is. Ditto with mall makeovers, I don’t care if they do use fresh applicators, you don’t know where the opened product has been.

Know your dates. There are 2 dates you need to remember: expiration date and period after opening (PAO). The expiration date tells you the shelf life of an unopened product, the PAO is the time period you can safely use the product after it has been opened.

Here are some PAO expiration guidelines:
Powders (blush, eye shadow, bronzer, finishing)  1-3 yrs
Nail polish  1 yr
Sun screen  1 yr
Lipstick, lip gloss   1 yr
Pencil (Eye, Lip)  1 yr
Crayon (eyeliner, eyebrow)  6-8 mos
Skin care products: jar  6-10 mos, pump 1 yr
Bronzing liquid   6 mos
Mascara  3-6 mos
Liquid eyeliner  3-4 mos
Foundation liquid 1 yr

Keep it clean. Buy makeup in air-tight containers instead of jars. Leave lipstick or a closed tube of mascara in the freezer overnight to kill bacteria and germs. Scrape off the top layer of pressed powders occasionally. Sharpen your eye and lip pencils to remove the bacteria on the outer layers and use diluted bleach to clean the sharpener. Use disposable applicators or wash your brushes every week.

Use common sense. If you see changes in color, texture or smell; throw it out.

Cosmetics are to enhance your natural beauty, by keeping your make-up new and clean, you can keep it that way.

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