Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cleaning Green

It makes sense these days to budget your money and live as frugal as possible. I am sure we all have that little voice in our heads telling us to do this but then the convenience of the prepackaged life takes over when our schedules seem so full and we feel tired and need shortcuts. I am one of those with three children and they all lead busy lives making my life busy as well. But, I find that I like to be as frugal as possible when running my household. My interest in living a green life has increased more and more as people are making it easier to do so with products and services. I am thrilled that so many have joined the "Green Living" bandwagon and its filling up quickly.
I thought I might share some of my ways of trying to lesson our stamp on the environment.
First, the other day I shared my obsession with vinegar which is the gods gift to us in all forms of life. Also, Baking soda, corn starch, salt, club soda and olive oil as well.

To create your own cleaning products I have a few recipes that I use that you may find helpful for the environment as well as for your wallet.

Home made Furniture Polish

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix in spray bottle. Spray liberally on wood surfaces and wipe dry.


Fertilize plants

Don't throw out those old coffee grounds. They're chock-full o' nutrients that your acidic-loving plants crave. Save them to fertilize rosebushes, azaleas, rhododendrons, evergreens, and camellias. It's better to use grounds from a drip coffeemaker than the boiled grounds from a percolator. The drip grounds are richer in nitrogen.

Deodorize a freezer

Get rid of the smell of spoiled food after a freezer failure. Fill a couple of bowls with used or fresh coffee grounds and place them in the freezer overnight. For a flavored-coffee scent, add a couple of drops of vanilla to the grounds.

For homemade laundry starch, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 pint cold water. Place in a
spray bottle. Shake before using. Clearly label the
contents of the spray bottle.

Carpet Deodorizer
I use a cheese shaker and fill with baking soda and a bit of cornmeal I add put a broken cinnamon stick or a few orange peels in the shaker and leave them and sprinkle liberally over the carpets and sofa leaving to sit for awhile before vacuuming.

Scouring Powder:

Salt and Baking soda mixed in a shaker make a great scouring powder

Vinegar and Lemon Juice Wipes
I mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of lemon juice to about a quart of water then place in a container that I have folded brawny paper towels so they will soak. Now I have a handy WIPE for quick messes or wipe downs.

Air Freshener

A spray bottle with vinegar with a bit of lemon juice for fragrance sprayed into the air will absorb odor and freshen the room.

I also keep decorative bowls here and there with a bit of vinegar and lemon with rose petals floating for a decorative look. This keeps my kitchen odor free especially with the use of a lot of onion.


If you have a spill on your carpet or upholstery pour a large amount of salt over the spill and leave it to dry then just vacuum or sweep up. Great for wine spills

Lemon powdered drink like Kool-aid with water and baking soda makes a great all purpose cleaner. DO NOT USE anything but UNSWEETENED lemon powdered drink or you will have quite the mess!

Heres a great article by Michael Bloch on uses for Orange peels. I love orange oil and was very excited to find his recipe to make my own.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

A couple of denture cleaning tablets dropped in your bowl leave for awhile then brush clean with ease. You can also use alka seltzer tablets you need about 6.

Club Soda takes out a lot of stains in carpet and clothing blot quickly then launder.

Liquid Laundry detergent:

3 Pints Water
1/3 Bar Fels Naptha Soap, Grated
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
2 Gallon Bucket
1 Quart Hot Water
Hot Water

Mix Fels Naptha soap(Or grated Ivory soap) in a saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat. Add 1 Quart Hot Water to 2 Gallon Bucket. Add soap mixture, and mix well. Fill bucket with hot water, and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours, or until mixture thickens. Use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.

You can use a 1/2 cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to freshen clothes and clean the washer of any soap residue.
(This is not a green recipe because it includes borax which is not all natural but it is frugal if you are looking for ways to lessen the cost of laundry expenses.)

Homemade Fabric Softener
1 cup glycerin
1 gallon water
20 drops essential oil of your choice (Optional)

Dishwasher Detergent

Mix equal parts Borax and Baking Soda, and add 2 Tablespoons per load. Increase proportion of soda for hard water. Use vinegar in the rinse cycle like the jet dry and you will have sparkling clear glasses.
(This is NOT so green as borax is not a natural item but it IS frugal if you are looking to lessen the cost of commercial dish washing machine detergents)

I hope that some of these ideas and recipes are helpful to you, they are to me! Not only does it save me a great deal of money when shopping for cleaning products I know that my pets and my children are not exposed to toxic chemicals that could cause them harm. The best part is that I know that when I am cleaning and pouring things down the drain I'm not hurting my septic system or the earth!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Vinegar! The pungent scented clear liquid with a very strong flavor is not just for food! Do you know about the wonders of vinegar? A bit of history always enlightens me, and the history of vinegar is fascinating. Vin Aigre means sour wine in France and that it is indeed. Do you know that it has been around for over 10,000 years and was discovered quite by chance? It was a cask of wine that had gone way past its flavorful date and then became what we now know as vinegar.
It's basically fermentation of natural sugars to alcohol then another fermentation to vinegar.

White vinegar, which is actually clear vinegar, is made from allowing a distilled alcohol, like white wine, gin, vodka, sake, or others to oxidize. Oxidation combines oxygen with chemicals in a substance in a way that reduces the atom content of the substance. When a distilled alcohol is oxidized its chemical components change, and it becomes much more sour, and frequently, quite unpleasant to taste.

Combining the chemical compound acetic acid to water can also make white vinegar. This second type is very sour, and is more commonly used to clean and disinfect, than for food. In fact, much of white vinegar, especially when sold in gallon units, is not used in cooking. People tend to prefer red vinegars or apple cider vinegar for cooking purposes.

Beyond flavoring salads or using it for pickling or adding into foods you can use vinegar for many other uses in your home.
Its a wonderful non toxic cleaner that promotes a green lifestyle if you are looking for something that will clean and disinfect without any toxins or chemicals.
Also its a natural deodorizer and makes a great way to freshen up your place from odors or smells by absorbing them. What a wonderful inexpensive way to clean your house. Here are some of the wonderful uses for white and apple cider vinegar, try one or a few and see if you find that vinegar becomes more of a household name around your home!

Clean and Freshen your microwave:

Put a cup of vinegar in your microwave for 30 seconds then wipe clean with a damp rag.

Dissolve warts -
Mix one part Apple Cider Vinegar to one part glycerin into a lotion and apply daily to warts until they dissolve.

Remove stubborn stains from furniture upholstery and clothes -
Apply White Vinegar directly to the stain, then wash as directed by the manufacturer's instructions.

Grow beautiful azaleas -
Occasionally water plants with a mixture of two tablespoons White Vinegar to one quart water. Azaleas love acidic soil.

Relieve arthritis -
Before each meal, drink a glass of water containing two teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar. Give this folk remedy at least three weeks to start working.

Kill unwanted grass -
Pour White Vinegar in crevices and between bricks.

Clean the hoses and unclog soap scum from a washing machine -
Once a month pour one cup of White Vinegar into the washing machine and run the machine through a normal cycle, without clothes.

Cure an upset stomach -
Drink two teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar in one cup water to soothe an upset stomach.

Kill germs on bathroom fixtures -
Use one part Vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle. Spray the bathroom fixtures and floor, then wipe clean. Clean soap scum, mildew, and grime from bathtub, tile, and shower curtains. Simply wipe the surface with Vinegar and rinse with water.

Deodorize the air -
Vinegar is a natural air freshener when sprayed in a room.

Relieve itching -
Use a cotton ball to dab mosquito and other bug bites with Vinegar straight from the bottle.

Clean lime deposits and calcium sludge from an automatic drip coffee maker -
Once a month fill the reservoir with White Vinegar and run through the brew cycle. Rinse thoroughly with two cycles of cold water.

Relieve a sore throat -
Put two teaspoons of Vinegar in your humidifier.

Soothe sunburn pain -
Apply undiluted Vinegar to the burn.

Clean food-stained pots and pans -
Fill the pots and pans with White Vinegar and let stand for thirty minutes. Then rinse in hot, soapy water.

Clean rust from tools, bolts, and spigots -
Soak the rusted tool, bolt, or spigot in undiluted White Vinegar overnight.

Prevent bright colored clothes from fading -
Before putting the article in the washing machine, soak it in White Vinegar for ten minutes.

Keep a garbage disposal clean and smelling fresh -
Mix one cup of Vinegar in enough water to fill an ice cube tray, freeze the mixture, grind the cubes through the disposal, and flush with cold water.

Clean a toilet bowl -
Pour in one cup of White Vinegar, let it stand for five minutes, and flush.

Clean dentures -
Soak dentures overnight in White Vinegar, then brush away tartar with a toothbrush.

Remove perspiration stains from clothes -
Apply one part White Vinegar to four parts water, then rinse.

Deodorize a room filled with cigarette smoke or paint fumes -
Place a small bowl of White Vinegar in the room.

Cure the hiccups -
Mix one teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar in one cup of warm water, and drink.

Eliminate odors from used jars -
Rinse peanut butter and mayonnaise jars with White Vinegar.

Condition dry hair -
Shampoo, then rinse hair with a mixture of one cup Apple Cider Vinegar and two cups water. Vinegar adds highlights to brunette hair, restores the acid mantel, and removes soap film and sebum oil.

Clean mineral deposits from a steam iron -
Fill the water tank with White Vinegar. Turn the iron to the steam setting and steam-iron a soft utility rag to clean the steam ports. Repeat the process with water, then thoroughly rinse out the inside of your iron.

Remove light scorch marks from fabrics -
Rub lightly with White Vinegar, then wipe with a clean cloth.

Repel ants -
Use a spray bottle or mister filled with a solution of equal parts Vinegar and water around door jambs, window sills, water pipes, and foundation cracks.

Keep drains open -
Pour one-half box of old baking soda down the drain followed by one cup White Vinegar. When the bubbling stops, run the hot water.

Prolong and brighten propane lanterns -
Soak new wicks for several hours in White Vinegar and let them dry before inserting. Propane lanterns will burn longer and brighter on the same amount of fuel.

Remove decals or bumper stickers -
Soak a cloth in Vinegar and cover the decal or bumper sticker for several minutes until the vinegar soaks in. The decals and bumper stickers should peel off easily.

Deodorize a wool sweater -
Wash sweater, then rinse in equal parts Vinegar and water to remove odor.

Prevent lint from clinging to clothes -
Add one cup Vinegar to each wash load.

Prevent ice from forming on a car windshield overnight -
Coat the window with a solution of three parts White or Apple Cider Vinegar to one part water.

Prolong the life of flowers in a vase -
Add two tablespoons of White Vinegar plus three tablespoons of sugar per quart of warm water. Stems should be in three to four inches of water.

Prevent cracked hard-boiled eggs -
Add two tablespoons of White Vinegar per quart of water before boiling to prevent the eggs from cracking. The egg shells will also peel off faster and easier.

Clean windows -
Use undiluted Vinegar in a spray bottle. Dry with a soft cloth.

Eliminate unpleasant cooking odors in the kitchen -
Boil one tablespoon of White Vinegar with one cup of water.

Remove wallpaper -
Mix equal parts Vinegar and hot water. Use a paint roller to wet the paper thoroughly with the mixture. Repeat. Paper should peal off in sheets.

Eliminate animal urine stains from carpet -
Blot up urine, flush several times with lukewarm water, then apply a mixture of equal parts White Vinegar and cool water. Blot up, rinse, and let dry.

Relieve a cold -
Mix one-quarter cup Apple Cider Vinegar with one-quarter cup honey. Take one tablespoon six to eight times daily.

Deodorize a stale lunch box -
Soak a paper napkin in Vinegar and leave it inside the closed lunch box overnight.

Prevent soapy film on glassware -
Place a cup of White Vinegar on the bottom rack of your dishwasher, run for five minutes, then run though the full cycle. A cup of white vinegar run through the entire cycle once a month will also reduce soap scum on the inner workings.

Unclog a shower head -
Unscrew the shower head, remove the rubber washer, place the head in a pot filled with equal parts Vinegar and water, bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.

Relieve a cough -
Mix one-half cup Apple Cider Vinegar, one-half cup water, one teaspoon cayenne pepper, and four teaspoons honey. Take one tablespoon when cough acts up. Take another tablespoon at bedtime.

Retard patching plaster from drying -
Add one tablespoon white vinegar to the water when mixing plaster to slow the drying time.

Bumper stickers:
Remove bumper stickers by repeatedly wiping the sticker with white distilled vinegar until it is soaked. In a few minutes, it should peel off easily. Test on a small invisible area of the car to ensure there will be no damage to the pain.

Paintbrush softener:
Soak the paintbrush in hot white distilled vinegar, and then wash out with warm, sudsy water.

Cleaning the Radiator Vent
Turn down the thermostat. Unscrew the air vent, soak it in vinegar to clean it, then turn the thermostat all the way up. After a few minutes, you'll hear a hissing sound followed by a little bit of water spurting out. Finally, steam will start exiting that hole. Turn off the radiator valve and replace the vent. It should be straight up and hand tight. You should not need or use a wrench.

Frosted windows:
For those rare winter mornings when there is frost on the car, wipe the windows the night before with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar. They won’t frost over.

Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth. Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaning Leather Shoes
Make a solution of one part water to one part white vinegar, and use it sparingly on the shoes. Dip a cloth into the solution, and dab it over the salt-streaked parts of your shoes.
May have to repeat the cleaning a few times before all the salt is removed. Salt actually can damage leather, so it's best to clean shoes as quickly as possible. Don't let the salt stains build up.

Wash fireplaces with a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar to remove the blackened soot on glass front doors. If the doors have a spring-loaded clip, remove it, then take out the doors.

Lay them flat on newspapers, spray with the vinegar/water solution and soak. Wipe it off with newspaper.

Cleaner for Gold Jewelry
Use one cup apple cider vinegar. Submerge solid gold jewelry item in vinegar for 15 minutes. Remove and dry with cloth.

Remove Lime Stains from Car
Pour a small amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth. Gently rub the area of lime staining with the cloth until the stain is gone. Test a small are first to ensure no discoloration.

Worn DVDs:
If you have a worn DVD that has begun to stick or suffers from the occasional freeze-frame, wipe it down with white distilled vinegar applied to a soft cloth. Ensure the DVD is completely dry before re-inserting in the DVD player. (Note: This only works on DVDs that are scratched of dirty through normal wear.)

Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards:
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.

Brass polish:
Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and stir in flour until it becomes a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances
Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances. Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaner Dishes and Glasses
Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap. Wash full cycle.

Remove Refrigerator Smells
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator. Within 2 days, any smell is gone!

No-wax floors:
To wash no-wax floors, add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.

Carpet stain removal:
A mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water will remove non-oily stains from carpets. Apply it to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry. Repeat this procedure until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer. This should be done as soon as the stain is discovered.

Carpet Cleaning Solution:

Fill the machine with equal parts white vinegar and warm water; then, clean according to the manufacturer's instructions.

So grab a gallon or two of vinegar next time you head to the store and a fresh new empty spray bottle and make your own quality inexpensive cleaner! You will be cleaning your house literally for pennies.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Empty Nesting

As the spring arrives and so many activities are nearing I have a deep feeling of sadness hovering over me with the impending graduation of my eighteen year old son. I will not be experiencing the empty nest with my other two children still under mothers wing, but the thought that I will have to let go of my first born son is gnawing at my heart strings and giving me a feeling of sadness that I can't seem to shake lately. What brings this on so fierce I believe is that he's in a drama class with a teacher that treats the students horribly and for the first time I have to sit back and keep out of it. Normally, I would have a conference with this teacher and find out where she stands, I would move to the principal if I felt that I needed to further the discussion. But, my son is eighteen and needs to learn to handle predicaments on his own now. The stories that he shares about her behavior and her degrading comments to the students makes my blood run cold. I believe that a teacher is there to mold a student to lend encouragement and to teach. I know that it's not an easy task for any teacher to take on a group of teenagers, but a drama teacher should be most encouraging and wanting to ignite the fire within these students to carry on with this art even after graduation. From what I understand, from hearing bits and pieces from many sources this teacher wallows in her own life's dis-satisfaction, using these kids as springboards for her own anger and pain. It's wrong in my eyes, but here I am with my very own lesson in life, it's time to let go and let my son fight his own battles. With the sadness of him heading off to college next fall and the feelings of loss and fear shadowing the excitement for me, it's going to be a hard course for me to take all of this in stride and keep that smile on my face. I watch him quietly as he goes through his day and evening and tell myself I am doing the right thing, leaving my feelings inside and allowing him to start living his life as an adult.
But inside I worry about the safety of college campuses with all the recent shootings and him staying safe when he leaves home to venture into his own independence. I worry about him making the right choices and finding his way. But, like my father once told me at eighteen I can tell you about all the mistakes you will make but you won't listen to me, you will have to find out for yourself and learn from your own mistakes. That advice and those wise words have stuck with me all my adult life.
It goes to show us the circle of life that we lead. I can remember turning eighteen and moving 0n into my life like it was yesterday, but now it seems to feel like a different world for our teenagers. But, who is to say thats exactly how my parents felt when I was off on my own for the first time. I suppose as I venture into this new phase in my life I will learn many new things and emotions that I will express. And, I can only hope that when my next son moves on I will be able to deal with all of the feelings that I am having now, with a bit of new light!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Bunnies

Easter will be here on Sunday March 23, 2008 and I know that a lot of people find it a great gift to give the children a pet rabbit. I think it’s a terrible idea to have an impulse purchase of a pet. They are adorable but they also require care, love and attention. If you feel strongly that you want a pet rabbit take time to research having them before you rush out to get one for Easter.

We happen to have a delightful little pet rabbit. His name is Chuck Norris, which always gives me a giggle when I have to speak out loud his full name. Our pet is a mini rex and he’s a wonderful pet. Small enough for the children to hold and pet and very soft to touch and caress. He’s very docile and enjoys being held and carried but loves to run around free. He has a 4-foot long by 2-foot wide cage that we keep indoors. I know a lot of people put a hutch outdoors for their bunnies but they really should be kept in out of the weather. Our rabbit has a litter box in his cage that we fill with organic litter and he uses it so we don’t have a lot of mess. Rabbit’s are

quite easily trained to use a litter box and are very smart.

Rabbits can live for many years and are a long-term pet if you choose to bring one into your life. They are very social creatures and require attention. You can have a rabbit spayed or neutered and you should if you are going to have more than one. Rabbits require a healthy diet and should
be given a great deal of timothy hay. They need the fiber in their diets. They love to chew so keeping chew toys in their cages for them is a good idea. If you are going to let your rabbit roam free you should take care and make sure there are no wires laying around. You can thread them through a small PVC pipe so that they are protected from the rabbit. They will chew your baseboards and furniture legs as well. We keep our rabbit in his cage unless he is out supervised for periods. We have three dachshunds that would love to play with him and they would play too rough. So please be mindful of your other pets around your rabbit. It's best to have safety in mind for your pet rabbit.

Rabbits also love treats even though they should not be overfed foods that aren’t that healthy just like us as well but an occasional treat is alright.

Honey Balls


Weetabix crushed 1/4 cup
Oats 1/4 cup
Rabbit pellets crushed 1/3 cup
Carrot cut in tiny pieces

Mix all ingredients into a bowl (except honey) once mixed add as much honey as you
need to make the balls stick together.

Homemade Bunny Biscuits

1 small carrot, pureed
1/2 banana, mashed until really creamy
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup rabbit pellets, ground finely in a coffee grinder
1/4 cup ground oats, ground finely in a coffee grinder

Mix pureed carrot, banana and honey in a medium bowl. Add pellet powder and ground oats. Mix until blended. Knead in your hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll out the "dough" in 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick layers between sheets of plastic wrap. Cut into small cookies (about 3/4 inch across). Place cut shapes onto a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes (check to make sure they are not browning too much). Turn off the heat and let the cookies sit in the warm oven for an hour or so.

Remember, never to give rabbits a lot of foods that are sugary and high in carbohydrates you don’t want to upset their digestion and cause diarrhea. It’s all right for the occasional treat sparingly but not all the time. They do enjoy fruits and vegetables but be careful with iceberg lettuce.

If you are going to invest in a pet rabbit I know you will enjoy this animal, but please make sure it’s not an impulse purchase because it’s Easter.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pet Health

I know I mention the care and health of pets quite often but I feel like it can't be said enough when you have a pet. I have on my to do list today to call the vet and take the dachshunds up to have their nails clipped. I am sure you are saying why doesn't she do it herself. Well, my phoebe has crazy toes and its so hard to do and I'm always worried about hurting her. So, it's worth my peace of mind to have the vets office do it for me for a small fee. Delbert doesn't need it done often because he runs so much that he wears his down. Smoochie is in between needing it more than Delbert but not near as often as Phoebe. So, today I will make an appointment to take them all. There are so many reasons to do this, or have it done. Overly long nails on a dog can cause them pain and can interfere in their walking. Dachshunds already bear so much weight on their fat little paws with their length its important to make sure their nails are short.
Last month was national dental month for pets, and I took Delbert in to get his teeth done because he has a hard time with his mouth. Even being a month later I'm seeing the yellowing of his teeth once again. I try, and I say that with a grain of salt, to brush all their teeth once a week. But, Delbert will bite he does not like his mouth fiddled with at all. His last checkup he had two teeth pulled because they had gotten bad, and they did that in a matter of a couple of months.
I watched a program on Food Network this weekend by Rachel Ray and she had some delightful recipes for dogs. She highlighted some wonderful activities and places that cater to pets and if you get a chance to watch the program, take the time it was inspirational. I enjoyed watching it and learned a few things as well.
Just to highlight my little rant and rave on pet health and because today is St. Patrick's Day I thought I would give you a site to see all the pet holidays that we all probably miss. I spent the weekend trying to find toys for my aquarium because I feel like since my tiger Oscar has passed the other albino Oscar is lonely and bored. I didn't have much luck, but I am sure there is something out there to entertain social active fish.
Just one more tidbit, being that weather is getting warmer and your dogs will most likely get into things that make them smell horrid. Don't forget to learn the proper way to bathe your pets. It's important that the experience is not life altering or scarring to your dog. My doxies love a bath; the ones that haven't had theirs yet stand at my feet waiting for their turn! It's so adorable. I just love the personalities of my pets! It makes having them worth every moment when you look into those loving adoring eyes.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone I hope you enjoy the day and that you wear a bit of green! You don't want to get a pinch!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Easter and your pets

It’s time for another holiday and pets like to be included as well. But, be careful and know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. This delicious creamy tasty treat seems harmless even delightful to us, but to our four legged friends even though they love the taste the effects are dangerous. Be sure to watch your pets for symptoms of poisoning with all the darling children and their treat baskets running around. If you find that your pet has consumed chocolate make sure you seek medical treatment right away to avoid a family pet tragedy.

Another thing to watch is that plastic grass that we use in the baskets. That could be something your pet finds interesting and if they ingest the little plastic strands it too could end up with a trip to your veterinarian.

Also, the beauty of the Easter Lily or any Lily for that matter delights us all during the spring months and for the holiday. But please keep in mind that this flower is poisonous to dogs! There are many plants that are poisonous to animals. It's always a good idea to check before you add it to your home.

Be sure to keep the number to the ASPCA poison control nearby when you can't get in touch with your veterinarian.

I like to treat my dachshunds during holidays so that they don’t feel left out with the excitement of the day. I make an empty basket for them and fill it with appropriate treats and toys that they all enjoy rutting their noses through until each one finds what they want. I love to watch them all running around with their new toys and wrestling around trying to take each other’s fabulous finds from one another. My dachshunds are most entertaining and I get the biggest laughs from them every day.

Each one of my dogs has their own favorites and I try to use this time of year to replace toys that have been chewed up and look ragged. Delbert, he enjoys a ball of any sort but can crush the doggy type tennis balls and they turn to flat felt covered rags. Smoochie likes anything that squeaks and although he finds them entertaining for hours the squeaking can get on even the most patient persons nerves. And, I think that is why Phoebe doesn’t really play with toys but loves to chew and destroy them, especially Smoochie’s. Who can blame her she has ears too!

All three of them love snacks and treats. If you ask them if they want a Smoochie snack they all run to the kitchen. We call all treats “Smoochie Snacks” because Smoochie loves treats and will sit pretty, on his back hindquarters and his little stubby paws in front of him, for his morsel. With the recent scare of contaminated pet foods I worry over their treats, so to ease my mind I find it’s easier to make my own.

I am adding a few tasty recipes so you can try your paw at them as well!

Doggie Biscuits

· 2 1/2 c Whole wheat flour

· 1/2 c Powdered dry milk

· 1/2 teaspoon Salt

· 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder

· 1 teaspoon Brown sugar

· 6 tablespoon Meat drippings

· 1 Beaten egg

· 1/2 c Ice water

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a cookie sheet. Combine flour, dry milk, salt, garlic powder and sugar. Cut in meat drippings until mixture resembles corn meal. Mix in egg. Add enough water so that mixture forms a ball. Using your fingers, pat out dough onto cookie sheet to half inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter or knife and remove scraps. Scraps can be formed again and baked. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from tray and cool on rack.

Chicken Liver Goodies

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 3 tbs. Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup wheat germ or cornmeal if wheat allergies are a problem
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 cup cooked chicken liver, chopped

Combine flour and wheat germ. In separate bowl, beat egg with oil, and then add broth & parsley mix well. Add the dry ingredients to bowl a little at a time, stirring well. Fold in chicken livers and mix well. Dough will be firm. Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Roll out 1/2" thick and cut into shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet 1" apart. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Peanut Butter Bars

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375' In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter milk, and then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.

So make your Easter holiday safe and happy for your pets as well and take some time to whip up a few treats to put in their basket with a new toy and be sure to have your camera ready!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Beaming Mother Hen

I know every parent is a proud hen when it comes to his or her babies and I am not any different. I am truly so proud of all my children. Each one of them has something special and unique to them that they excel at and they all make me smile with beaming pride. I have to brag just a little about my son Evan, he is in his second year of school tennis at the Junior High School and he’s doing so well. He had his first match yesterday and as he said “owned” it. Thank heavens I’m hip and up to date so I knew right away that he meant he won. Tennis is a great sport to start with in youth. I played tennis in high school and into college. Now don’t get me wrong, I was not very good but I loved to play. I think it helps a child develop a lot of hand eye coordination and it does give them a good cardio workout with running back and forth and side to side. I am so proud that my son has taken to it, as he is very active in football and baseball and karate as well. He’s asked me to get out on the court once again and I may just do that when the weather warms up but it’s been a very long time since this old mom has volleyed balls on the court! I do like the game of tennis though.

And since I am on the subject of kids. It’s prom time around my house with my son’s last senior prom and its all the buzz around the house. The planning, the excitement, the crisis’s and the cost! Oh my goodness to think how expensive this one school dance turns out to be. I just melt when I see my young man dressed in that tuxedo with his boyish grin and dapper hairstyle. It’s that moment when you can’t believe this 200 pound 6 foot man is your baby! Graduation is this year for him and I have been feverishly planning his celebration. I’m so proud of him and I will miss him dearly when he leaves my nest for college.

Not to leave out my daughter who also does karate and just finished up her basketball season. She’s wonderful and I enjoy the age she is right now she is just coming into her own with wanting to fix her hair and wear a bit of makeup and the boy gossip is blooming as well. I have to smile when the drama just pours from her mouth as if I would never know anything like these stories before. It’s so entertaining!

With active growing kids in the house having quality snacks and foods for them is important to me. I thought I’d share a few recipes my hungry tummies enjoy!

Zucchini Muffins

Note: You don't have to peel the zucchini before shredding it for this recipe. It won't affect the taste and the peel will provide some extra fiber.

Prep time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 2 small)
  • 2 cups whole-grain pancake or biscuit mix
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • powdered sugar (enough to dust the muffins)

What to do:

  1. Wash zucchini and remove ends.
  2. Shred zucchini using largest holes on grater.
  3. Place grated zucchini on paper towels and squeeze to remove water.
  4. Measure 1½ cups of squeezed-dry zucchini.
  5. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  6. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  7. In a large bowl, mix whole-grain pancake mix (or biscuit mix) with spices.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, and lemon juice.
  9. Fold the egg-sugar mixture and shredded zucchini into the pancake-spice mixture; do not overmix.
  10. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full with batter.
  11. Bake 10–15 minutes or until golden.
  12. Remove muffins from tin and cool on a wire rack.
  13. Sprinkle muffins with a dusting of powdered sugar.

About a dozen muffins.

Pineapple Pops

Prep time: about 60 to 120 minutes


  • 2 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2 c. canned crushed pineapple (packed in its own juice instead of packed in syrup)
  • 1 can frozen pineapple or orange-pineapple juice concentrate, thawed


  1. Drain the can of crushed pineapple so all the juice runs out.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix them together.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the paper cups. Fill them almost to the top.
  4. Stretch a small piece of plastic wrap across the top of each cup.
  5. Using the popsicle stick, poke a hole in the plastic wrap. Stand the stick straight up in the center of the cup.
  6. Put the cups in the freezer until the mixture is frozen solid.
  7. Remove the plastic wrap and peel away the paper cup. You'll have pineapple pops to eat and share!

Serves: 6

Serving size: 1 pop

Peachy Freeze

rep time: 1 to 2 hours


  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. sliced peaches (they can be either fresh or canned)
  • 1 tsp. sugar


  1. Pour the milk into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid.
  2. Pop the "milk cubes" out of the tray and put them into the blender. Then put the peaches and sugar into the blender.
  3. Put the lid on the blender and blend on high speed until everything is all mixed together and very smooth.
  4. Pour your Perfect Peachy Freeze into serving dishes and serve right away.

Serves: 3

Strawberry Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes


  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. cottage cheese
  • 2/3 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Pour all of the ingredients into the blender.
  2. Put the lid on the blender and blend for 45 to 60 seconds until smooth.
  3. Pour your smoothie into a glass and enjoy.

Serves: 1

Serving size: 1 large glass

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunday Soup for the Soul

Have you ever wanted to make a loaf of fresh bread but didn’t have any yeast on hand? Perhaps you are in the mood for a warm slice of home made bread but don’t have the time or patience for starting a loaf from scratch? That’s what happens to me and I used to be in love with the ease of the bread machine. But, there again if you are out of yeast it leaves you scratching your head instead of scratching up a loaf of bread. I felt like a day in the kitchen, now that I’m getting past the flu and back to normal. I started a wonderful pot of cream of broccoli soup. As it simmered on the stove I thought we need something else to go with it. My husband has been back in the kitchen brewing his own beer again, and there are several bottles in the garage refrigerator that he’s displeased with, so I grabbed a bottle and made a batch of beer bread. I love the ease of making beer bread. The beer and the baking powder combine and create the gasses the loaf needs to rise and the taste and smell is fabulous. So, I threw a batch together and in the oven it went. So, now I’m thinking I have a nice pot of home made broccoli soup and fresh hot from the oven beer bread with a garlic butter I threw together. Now we need a nice dessert. There is something special about chocolate on a cold sunny Sunday. What better to tantalize our taste buds than a lava chocolate cake? And, the kids love that they are served individually in their own little dishes.

I know you are thinking that’s a lot of in the kitchen time, but it truly wasn’t and well worth the little bit of effort when my daughter just came out and said “this is a wonderful day mom, you are the best cook and you make the greatest things!” Who can trade words like that for a bit of time in the kitchen? Not to mention my middle son helped me with some of it and we both enjoy that time together. We had to run to the store and grab some cheese and eggs and he and I really appreciate those moments when he and I are alone together like that.

My eighteen year old came in from work and smelled the fragrant scents wafting from the kitchen and said he was “stoked” that I made soup. Moments like those where your kids look at you with that love in their eyes is well worth anything.

So, if you need a great kid friendly dinner that doesn’t take a lot of trouble I thought I would share my recipes.

Cream of Broccoli soup

One onion minced in the food processor

4 cloves of fresh garlic minced in the food processor

One large bag frozen broccoli minced in the food processor

½ stick butter

2 cups chicken broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbl cornstarch

2 quarts 1% milk/or Hood’s calorie countdown

Melt butter in the pan mixing in the cornstarch. Add the onion and garlic and broccoli and mix around sautéing. Add chicken stock and let come to a simmer. Add milk, salt and pepper and simmer until ready to eat. Add shredded cheddar cheese to your liking.

Beer Bread



341 milliliter

Bottle Beer (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon

Sesame Seeds

2¾ cup

All-Purpose Flour

4 teaspoon

Baking Powder

1 tablespoon

Granulated Sugar

½ teaspoon


¼ teaspoon

Dry Mustard

1¼ cup

Old Cheddar Cheese; shredded

This recipe for a delicious, no muss, no fuss, no yeast beer bread comes from Labatt's, to whom we are very grateful. Great with soup and/or salad.

Pour beer into bowl; let stand. Toast sesame seeds in dry skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes, shaking pan gently, until fragrant and brown.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, mustard and 1 cup cheese. Pour into beer; stir just to combine. Spread into greased 8 X 4-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and sesame seeds.

Chocolate Lava Cake

Makes 4 Chocolate Lava Cakes


  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3.5 oz dark chocolate (this is one standard chocolate bar)
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar as needed

Melt the butter and chocolate together over a double-boiler, or microwave for a short time. Stir to combine. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light yellow in color, and the sugar is dissolved.

About 3 minutes.

Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until combined. Sift in the flour, cocoa, and salt. Fold in with a spatula until combined. Spoon into 4 buttered 5-oz ramekins, and tap on the table to settle any air bubbles. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place ramekins in a baking dish and add water until it is halfway up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm. The cakes can be turn out, or served in the ramekins.

The Wonderment of Mother Nature

It's 29 degrees outside this morning and as I walked out the door bundled in my coat to take my dachshunds out for the morning I saw a section of my azaleas dripping with icicles. Last year there was an early spring cold snap that took the joy from my blooming landscape. I lost all the baby figs on my fig tree and all my blooming daffodils died immediately. This year I tried to prepare for the cold snap in spring. We covered the rose bushes and I tried to protect the hydrangea.
As you can see in the photo the stickly bush in the distance was my hydrangea over the summer because of the spring cold snap that took its toll.

I don't think that the first cold dip did any damage but I have a feeling this one did. Yesterday there was snow blowing in all day, and we had a nice dusting on the ground. And the temperature dropped from 50 degrees to 30 degrees within 30 minutes and has stayed in the 20's and 30's. I can only hope that some of my tender landscape and the ice laying on the azaleas is not the death of my spring blooms.

There is one thing about icicles, they are beautiful. I couldn't help myself and had to snap a few photos. Just as my daughter ran out doors yesterday to scoop up what dusting of snow she could gather in her small hands and form a snow ball that immediately went into a baggy and laid so gently into the freezer for safe keeping. I too, ran outdoors this morning with my camera to capture the beauty of the icicles dangling so magically off the leaves and stems of my shrub.

I still haven't figured out mother nature and how to protect my landscape from these early Georgia spring freezes. I think that I get one step ahead of the cold and then I am once again trying to figure out how to save what I can in the aftermath. I just hope that I have figs this year. We didn't get one fig last year after the last spring freeze took them all. I hope that eventually I will figure out the weather pattern of the zone that I live in and will be able to keep one step ahead of Georgia's spring freezes. For now, I will worry not about what lies ahead for my spring landscape and just take the time to revel in the beauty of nature and how the beautiful icicles made my day.

MOTHER NATURE - Nature, the gentlest mother
Emily Dickinson

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest, --
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, --
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Diabetes: a growing epidemic with animals?

It’s a known fact that a pet can bring happiness into your life. Of course, as the soft music plays in your head and the visions of you and Fido running together on the beach wrestling a large stick loops over and over we tend to forget about the day to day challenges and costs of pet keeping.

An avid animal lover I tend to overlook the work involved in having my three dachshunds, 55 gallon aquarium with delicate fish, and a bunny named chuck that my daughter promised she would take care of all by herself. Having all these pets does take time and requires a lot of patience and a part time job to cover their expenses. But every little tail wag or lick on the cheek, a sniff of the bunny’s nose and even when the fish greet me at the front of the tank makes it all worthwhile.

Having animals and also having three children, I feel that I can compare the two and comment that on many occasions as my teenager is arguing with me or my adolescents are bickering I look to my husband and say, had we known we could of just stuck with the dogs. Of course, my humor and sarcasm helps me get through trying times. I can’t imagine my life or my house without it being full of the happiness a large family gives me. Yes, I am including my pets as part of our family. They are really, wouldn’t you agree? According to an August 6, 2007 report with Business Week “$41 Billion a year is spent on furry friends.”

I am one that spends plenty on my pets. All three of my dachshunds have life jackets for when we go boating. They all have light weight t-shirts for cool weather and heavy faux suede coats for the cold weather. Toys are a large part of the pet budget. They all get dental checkups and of course all their vaccinations. Flea control and monthly heartworm prevention tip the top of the expense reports as well. Not excluding the aquarium and all the filtration charcoal, replacements and chemicals. Plants and feeder fish as well as new decorations to make their home eye pleasing to the humans. Then we have the bunny and his abode. He needs things to chew and all of his hay and food and toys. My daughter even has a little outfit for him so that she can take him on a leash around the yard. The amount of money we spend on our pets can get out of control if we don’t watch our budget.

Dog reports that “The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association predicts the pet industry will grow by 5.5 percent this year.” Now pet insurance is becoming another priority with of pet keeping. Is that feasible? With the cost of care rising and having animals that need a great deal of medical treatment, having insurance would be something to consider.

“One in every 400-500 dogs and cats is being diagnosed with diabetes” according to and websites. This is a staggering estimate; it’s now rearing its ugly head in the pet world as well.

With diabetes becoming more prevalent among Americans these days it’s no wonder diabetes is becoming a problem with animals.

What is diabetes mellitus you ask? This is a disease where one is unable to regulate their blood glucose levels properly. Regardless of your species, human and dog and cat we all have the same process with food entering our bodies and then either working properly to burn into energy or some sort of dysfunction causing us to have elevated blood glucose levels.

The pancreas secretes insulin to help regulate glucose that your body uses in its cells. When cells don’t utilize the glucose properly then there remains excess in the blood stream. The pancreas either does not produce enough insulin to work with the cells, that would be type one diabetes, or the cells are resistant to the insulin and there remains more glucose then the body can burn, that would be type two diabetes.

"Most dogs will be diagnosed with type two diabetes and are usually diagnosed between the ages of 7 and 9 and are over weight. Unspayed female dogs are more at risk for diabetes as well as certain breeds having a genetic predisposition to it such as Keeshond, puli, miniature pinscher, cairn terrier. With dachshunds, poodle, miniature schnauzer, and beagle being at a higher risk." This information sourced from

How do you know if your pet has diabetes? You can watch for signs such as excessive thirst or frequent urination. Lethargy and weight loss can occur as well as excessive appetite. Most pet owners find out when their dog goes blind. This can occur because of the diabetes and the rapid onset of cataracts.

You can have your pet tested with your veterinarian to find out if your dog or cat has diabetes after observing signs that concern you.

What do you do when your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes? Some might make the argument to put the animal to sleep. You don’t have to do that with your pet, an animal can have a very long happy life even after being diagnosed with diabetes. You might have to alter the way you do things and you will definitely have to invest more time, care and money into your pet but the long run pays off with your pet having a long happy life.

You must make sure you have a veterinarian that you feel comfortable with and that you can work closely with as you go through the process of creating a routine to care for your dog or cat.

Your pet having diabetes is not unlike a person having diabetes watching your diet and caring for yourself a little closer than you may have prior. Making sure medications are taken on time and every day and that the diet is proper for your health. The same goes for caring for your diabetic pet.

This brings us back to the contemplation of having insurance for your pet. Does it make sense to carry insurance on an animal? It’s becoming more popular today to have something there to help defray the costs of emergencies. With so many pets being like children to their caretakers it may be of some investigation to inquire about such policies before your pet develops a disease such as diabetes. This disease alone can be quite costly for maintenance, testing and medications.

What is creating this overwhelming incidence of diabetes across the board? Is it that we as humans feed our animals inappropriately just as we do ourselves? The epidemic does make one wonder where the real catalyst lies.

I think before anyone commits to having a pet they should really try to put the looping beach scene and heart warming music on pause in their head and sit down and contemplate if the expense of caring for another life is in the budget. The life of any living thing deserves to be the best that it can be and if we are responsible caretakers of animals, then we will do our best to make sure they live as well as we would like to live ourselves.

Sources: (* S.J. Ettinger, E.C. Feldman: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 5th Edition, Vol. 2, 2000 pg. 1438)

Feeling the effects of the flu!

I have spent the week with the flu and I am just amazed at how hard it hits you and how quickly too! Today, I have my fever down to 100 from 102-104 all week and I can't believe how weak I have been feeling. I am diabetic and I did get a flu shot, but the doctor tells me that there are strains of the flu that the shot doesn't cover, and of course it found me! I am sure when I took my son to the doctor last week I picked up the germ. I hate going into the doctors office and as I have laid on the sofa or in bed feeling like death is imminent I went over every person in that office that day trying to find someone to blame. There was an older lady sitting in the corner and she was definitely sick, she could of been the culprit. Or, my sons girlfriend came over and said her mom was home sick with the flu so she could of brought me the germ as well. No matter how it came to me it hit me hard. The only benefit is that having the vaccine already the doctor says that it won't last as long and I am starting to believe that. Although, I have had horrible blood glucose levels while being sick, and of course this is natural. When an illness occurs for a diabetic it can turn everything upside down. It's imperative that a diabetic check their blood glucose levels often during illness to keep everything in check, so that medical treatment can be sought if things get out of control. I am sure part of my weakness a part from the flu in general and the fever is that my sugar has been running relatively high.
To add to my joy this week my husband has been attending school for his job. He's not been here to help me with the children or animals, except in the evening and well by then the worst is over. Any mom knows its the mornings that are horrid when you are sick and you have others to get prepared for the day. No matter the age of children, mom still has to prod them along getting them up and ready for school, feeding them, making sure they have brushed their teeth and that they get out the door with all their homework, books and lunches or lunch money. It can be very stressful when you feel terrible! Of course, my husband fell into that get them ready for school category this week with his routine being upset having to rush around to get out the door much earlier than usual. Yesterday, in his rush he knocks his travel cup off the table onto the floor, of course the lid flies off and out spills all the COFFEE onto the carpet. I was at my worst at that point and thought oh great, especially since I had cleaned the carpet last week spending hours to get the entire upstairs done. Now, I have a nice cappuccino stain on the carpet, thankfully, my carpet is beige anyway so its just a shade off! I found a great site on how to remove coffee stains from carpet, I can only hope that my hard work pays off.
I might as well not stop here, as I whine and complain about my week with the flu! We have a 55 gallon aquarium with two Oscars and a plecto (algae eater) one Oscar was a tiger and the other an albino.

We have had trouble with our tiger Oscar for a long time thinking he had a fungus. We had medicated and cleaned the tank repeatedly, trying to heal this poor fish. He died the other day and although its very sad that whatever it was that was making him sick took his life, I do feel better that he's not suffering. I worried so every time that we put medication in the tank that it might be causing him pain, you know stinging when you put something on a open wound. I did research and found out it wasn't a fungus but it was what is called hole in the head disease. Which is common with Oscars. Hind sight is 20/20 I wish I would of looked and researched prior to his death to find out about it. We did ask the pet store and everyone would recommend different things that we would try. Now, I feel so sad for the other Oscar in the tank alone missing his partner. They were put in the tank together the size of quarters and grew up to the big beautiful fish that they are together. Now the albino just seems so lonely. I am considering getting another fish for him, but then I'm afraid it will be a mutiny with adding a new fish to an established tank. I may just opt to spoil this one rotten and try to give him extra attention. I know you are saying this woman is crazy thinking this way about a fish. Well, first if you know me you know I am a crazy lady when it comes to animals. I love animals. But, really Oscars are very personable fish that have great personalities and can even learn to respond to a name and do tricks as well. If ever you have had an Oscar you know what I am talking about and you know that I'm not crazy for wanting to spoil our albino and give him extra attention.

Now that I am on the mend, I am feeling more like cooking I guess. I have been living off of graham crackers and a bit of soup. My husband made me pancakes the other night which actually tasted quite good, its been hard to eat and I've lost 4 pounds. Now, that IS the only thing good about the flu! Everything I put in my mouth has tasted horrible it seems. I found a great website that has information about foods for people that are sick that should have healing benefits. It's got information about a lot of different nutrition areas, diabetics, illness, and more. Check it out! There are 7 healing foods that help fight colds and flus and if you can get them down they are supposed to be helpful. I think they are more suited for that time before you hit the sofa! So far, a bit of dry toast, chicken noodle soup and graham crackers has been my mainstay and of course as much water as I can drink. It's so hard to drink a lot of water when you are sick even though it tastes so good when you do drink it, but I think it's because you sleep so much!

Here's a quickie that I find nurturing when sick:

3 pkgs. frozen chopped broccoli
2 cans cream of celery soup
1 onion
1 pt. light cream
2 c. milk
Cook broccoli. Saute onion in butter. Mix broccoli, onion, and celery soup, then put into blender. Put back into pot and simmer, slowly adding milk and cream.

Mushroom Barley Soup Diabetic Friendly

(makes 6 servings)

1/2ounce (14 g) dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
1cup (240 ml) boiling water

olive oil cooking spray
3large cloves garlic, minced
2medium onions chopped
1rib celery, chopped
1pound (480 g) button mushrooms, sliced thin
2teaspoons (10 ml) light soy sauce
2tablespoons (30 ml) dry sherry
3cups (720 ml) 98% fat-free, no-salt-added canned beef broth
2cups (480 ml) water
1/2cup (75 g) medium pearl barley
3carrots cut into coins
2sprigs fresh thyme
1sprig fresh rosemary

freshly ground pepper

  1. In a small bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water for about 20 minutes. Chop the mushrooms on a cutting board and reserve the liquid. Strain the liquid in a sieve lined with a paper towel and set aside.
  2. Coat a heavy nonstick soup pot with cooking spray. Add the garlic, onion and celery. Cook, stirring often until the onion is translucent and soft. Add the mushrooms, soaked dried mushrooms, soy sauce, and sherry. Sauté until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broth, water, soaking liquid, barley, carrots, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Season with pepper and serve.
  3. Before serving, remove the herb sprigs. Ladle into warmed bowls. Serve immediately.
Per Serving:132 calories (5% calories fat), 7 g protein, 1 g total fat (0.1 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrates, 6 g dietary fiber, 0 cholesterol, 162 mg sodium
Diabetic exchanges:1 1/2 carbohydrate (1 bread/starch, 2 vegetable)

Hopefully, in a few days I will be back to good and ready to get back into my spring cleaning mode. That is still there in the back of my mind as I lay here watching my family make messes and know that as soon as I have my energy back I have a lot of work to do! :(