The Queen Of Marinades

I don't cook.

But, since my new organicness requires that I actually turn on the stove...I have been giving it the old college try.

The most versatile skill I have been developing is the use of various marinades.

Last week it was the beer and garlic concoction.

The other day it was the mustard...which if I just may say was extremely yummy!

Last night is was half a bottle of white Merlot and a Tbl each of rosemary, basil, sage, and thyme.

And, tonight it is lime juice and coconut milk...and I am cooking my rice in coconut milk as well.

I love that I can throw everything in a giant bowl and let it soak overnight.

I feel like since whatever I am cooking makes the house smell so good and comes out with such flavor...that I have really accomplished something.

If any of you have ideas for really good marinades let me know!


Mrs. K's Mustard Chicken

I was watching Food Network last night and saw this recipe used for catfish. Since I would never ever eat catfish, I substituted chicken. I must have been hungry, 'cause I usually don't like to try new things, but I have to say it was pretty good.

Mustard Chicken

Cut chicken breast into strips (as many as you like)

Dredge chicken through mustard, and then seasoned bread crumbs.

bake until chicken is fully cooked and they are golden brown.

Easy and deliscious!


A Reason To Love July

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90% of the nation's population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) encourages retailers and consumers to celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month. In 2008, National Ice Cream Day will be Sunday, July 20.

The U.S. ice cream industry generates more than $21 billion in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens. About 9% of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation's dairy industry.

Founded in 1900, IICA is the trade association for manufacturers and distributors of ice cream and other frozen dessert products. The association's activities range from legislative and regulatory advocacy to market research, education and training. Its 80 member companies manufacture and distribute an estimated 85% of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the United States. IICA, as a constituent organization of the International Dairy Foods Association, can be found online at http://www.idfa.org/.

Check out these sites:

Horizon Organic

Green & Blacks Chocolate

Ben & Jerry's Organic



June Is National Iced tea Month

That a homemade glass of iced tea has more antioxidants than a full serving of fruit or vegetables?

It's true.

It is good for your skin, lowers cholesterol, and even fights cancer! read more here. Don't forget, too, that you are getting all these benefits in a giant glass of water. So...ZERO CALORIES!

I have had an iced tea maker for about 12 years and I use it all the time! It is made by Mr. Coffee and it has lasted all this time. It is incredibly easy to use...there is literally 1 button and 10 minutes later ready-to-drink!

I love mine so much, I bought my grandmother one for Mother's Day. They are cheap too..I think it was $19 in Wal-Mart or something.

Now, if you are a tea drinker you'll know what I am talking about here. You need to find real tea. It does make a difference. The teabags you buy in the store are not tea...they are tea "dust" as Mary likes to call them. I guess the best thing to do is try different ones and find one you like...I have been buying the Celestial Seasonings Organic Black Tea.

My thing is...I like tea and not any sort of flavorings, like say passion fruit (inside joke) for example.

Anyway, last weekend at Jan's, she was telling me about some guy on The View who did a whole segment on tea. One of the interesting things she learned (and passed on to me) was that almost all teas come from the same plant, cameliasinensis, and that the color variations that we get sold on (green tea, black tea, etc) are the same plant at different stages of processing. The "guy" on The View is Mark Ukra, AKA Dr. Tea, and owns a tea garden in West Hollywood.

A few things you need to keep in mind:
1. The amount of tea, NOT the brew time, determine the strength of the tea
2. Use good water, if it doesn't taste good out of the tap, it won't do anything for the tea either
3. Don't squeeze the bags (anymore)...this just adds tannins to the pot which = bitterness

Another benefit to brewing at home instead of stopping @ Dunks or Starbucks, or wherever...is the price. At Seattle's Best...a large iced tea which is 20 oz...is $2! At that is a plain no frills iced tea! For another $1.50 or $2...you could get an entire package of tea or tea bags and make several pitchers at home.

Now...if you are into the frilly stuff here are a few ideas:
1. The Arnold Palmer - 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 iced tea
2. The Twisted Palmer - 1/2 limeade and 1/2 iced tea
3. The Boston - 1/2 cranberry juice and 1/2 iced tea
4. Jazz up your ice cube by freezing berries, lemon slices, or mint inside the cubes
5. Freeze ice tea cube so your drink doesn't get diluted as the cubes melt.
6. While the tea is brewing add your own herbs, like lavender or jasmine
7. Use simple syrup to sweeten instead of the white granulated kind...it mixes and sweetens better.
8. Instead of the traditional lemon, why not oranges or pineapple?

If sweet tea is more your bag (ahemKathy) here is a pretty easy recipe, but you definitely give up the zero calorie factor.

Southern Sweet Tea
4 cups water
8-10 regular-sized
Simple syrup (1+ cups)
Pinch of baking soda
Additional water
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.

Turn off the heat, add teabags (tie the strings together to make 'em easy to pull out) in the pan with a pinch of baking soda. Once it's suitably darkened, and still hot, pull out the bags.

Stir 1/2-1 cup of the simple syrup into the tea until it's thoroughly blended.

Pour the mixture into a 1 gallon glass or metal pitcher, and fill to the top with water. Stir, cool to room temperature and chill in the refrigerator.
Once the tea has cooled, serve it in tall glasses 2/3 filled with ice, with sugar syrup on the side so that guests may sweeten according to their personal taste.

*Simple Syrup is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir constantly until cool and clear.

And since I am all about maximum usage these days...save the old teabags. After brewing (and NOT squeezing) throw the used bags into a baggie and into the fridge. When you are heading into a bath or just need a quick decompression after work...lay down with the cool bags on your eyes for 15 minutes. The teabags help reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes!


Mrs. K's Flatbread Philly

They say not to shop when you are hungry, but this time it paid off! I found this Indian flat bread at Whole Foods the other day, and I thought it would be so yummy warmed with a little olive oil and herbs.

Anyway I ended up making these steak and cheese jobbies, and Mr. K said "This is the best thing you ever cooked...EVER!" Even though he meant it as a compliment, it was insulting because I threw it together in about 10 minutes...and I instantly recalled the numerous times I have been in the kitchen for hours at a time.

The bread was called NAAN, and it came in a few different flavors.

The meat was just a top sirloin that I cut into strips and marinated overnight in terryaki sauce. You can marinate in any sauce you like.

Here is the recipe:

1/2 lb. marinated top sirloin (cut into strips)
2 pieces of the NAAN
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup of cheese (whatever kind you like)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Lay 2 pieces of NAAN on a cookie sheet. Brush each with 1/2 tbl of olive oil. Sprinkle each with 1 and 1/2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/4 cup of cheese. Place cookie sheet in the center of the oven.

While, the bread is in the oven, saute the meat in a pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and plate. Divide the strips of meat evenly over each one, and enjoy!


Jumpin' Jack Flash

I know this is sort of a dead horse, but everyone I know is still talking about the price of gasoline.

It is freakin' ridiculous.

I went to Mr. K's restaurant opening this weekend in Beverly Hills, and the gas there was $4.99 per gallon. It's only slightly more than what we've been paying here in LV, but for some reason, the $5.00 mark was a new threshold for me.

After some minimal digging, HI, CA, and AK seem to top the list for the most expensive gas prices in the US. So, I guess if you don't live in one of those 3 states you can breathe a tiny sigh of relief.

I, also, found a list of gas prices around the world, and like the article says...."if you think you're paying a lot..."

On the other hand...twelve cents in Venezuela?!?!?!

It's so crazy! And, the supply and demand argument only goes so far, there are people who are getting richer and richer and we are helping them get there.

So, I started car shopping online for greener options and more economical choices as well. There is more out there than just the Prius! Here is a list of the greenest cars of 2008.

Honda really seems to be the front runner in the alternative fuel market their Civic GX model uses natural gas, and next year's FCX Clarity model uses hydrogen. Definitely worth looking into.

If you aren't in the market to buy a new car just yet, there are little things you can do while you are at the mercy of the big oil company's.

Here are 10 things you can do to conserve the gas you've got:

1. Follow the speed limit! Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent.

2. Avoid aggressive driving. Flooring the gas pedal not only wastes gas, and it can be dangerous. I am bad at this one, and I know my friends in Boston are too! But, in the end, it's going to take as long as it takes to get there. It isn't worth the gas, the frustration, a ticket, or an accident.

3. Avoid rush hour. That's a tough one, but the stopping and starting you do in traffic uses more gas up than normal driving.

4. Take a load off. Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent. So, if you don't need it where you are going, don't take it! Only keep what you need in the trunk.

5. Conserve the AC. Using the AC increases fuel consumption. I am the biggest AC abuser. I am ALWAYS too hot. But, when it is cooler I do use the windows and the sunroof. When I can't get by on wind alone, I have started turning the AC down to the lowest setting I can, whereas before I kept it full blast the entire time I was in the car.

6. Buy LRR tires (Low-Rolling-Resistance). Switching to a typical set of replacement tires lowers a vehicle's fuel economy as much as 4 percent.

7. Routine Maintenance. Whether you do it yourself or go to a mechanic, a tune-up can increase your fuel economy. Changing the oil, too, will also help your car or truck last longer, replacing the oil and oil filter regularly will also help fuel economy.

8. Use regular gasoline unless your owner's manual says otherwise. Unless your car requires premium, high-octane fuels improve neither fuel economy nor performance and will just waste your money. Don't overfill the gas tank or try to top it off beyond where the automatic nozzle clicks off. Patronize gas stations that have vapor-recovery nozzles (those black, accordion-looking plastic devices attached to the nozzle) whenever you can.

9. Park in the shade in summer to keep your car cool and minimize evaporation of fuel. Windshield shades can cut down on summer heat and help keep the frost off in the winter.

10. Carpool. Why are we all so against this one? It is huge, not only for the environment, but it could cut your gas bill WAY down. Don't forget to start small, try it once a week, and see how it goes. Talk to your coworkers and see who's in. Don't forget to utilize airport shuttles too and save money on gas and parking!


Smell Like A Material Girl

"Pink Lotus", it is the name of the fragrance created at the request of Madonna by the American perfumer Mandy Aftel, this one is available at Scent Systems, one of the most pointed shops of London. Pink Lotus is a heady perfume containing very rare flowers : pink lotus, carnal tuberose and sandalwood.

The good news? It's organic and you can get a sample for only $20.

The bad news? If you like it, it's $150 for 1/4 oz!

Stop & Watch The Hummingbirds

Even though I have lived here for nearly 5 years, most people know LV isn't in my top ten places to live. However, every now and again, there is something that stops me and makes me...if only for a moment...happy I live here.

Most recently, that something has been the hummingbirds.

Cori looks out the window for hours at a time, so out of boredom from being out of work with my foot, I decided to join her. It was about dusk, and I was initially sitting and feeling sorry for myself because Mr. K was away AGAIN, and I was facing another night alone. Then, something very unexpected cheered me up. The hummingbirds. They are most active at dusk. Maybe because the bugs are too or maybe because its cooler. I'm not sure.

The first time I saw one, I truly thought I was looking at the fastest and largest flying insect I had ever seen! But, after it landed up in my tree, I was able to get a closer look, and found it was a teeny tiny bird. You know how something is called something else and you never really know why? Well, for some reason I thought hummingbirds were called birds, but not really birds. I was wrong. So, over the last 5 years, I have seen them but very infrequently. You can read all about them here.

Back to the other night...I was sitting in the front window, and I spotted one swooping around my neighbors tree across the street. I kinda got lost in my thoughts while I was watching it, and all of a sudden it flew over to our yard. It was about 2 feet from the ground and straight ahead of me about 3 feet away. So close! Like he came over just to say hello.

I don't know what it is that I like about them, but I do. And, it sort of reminded me that we should all take those small unexpected moments of purity and joy...and really seek them out and savour them.


Awesome Summer Snack



Try it!

I just buy a bunch of organic grapes...when I get home I pull them off the stems and into a collander. I wash them off and separate them into baggie and FREEZE.



The Joys Of H2O2...

...otherwise known as hydrogen peroxide.

Let me first say, I love hydrogen peroxide. I have always loved it.

When I was little my mother used it to clean cuts and scrapes and such. I was easily distracted by the bubbles, what can I say? This was before the invention of Neosporin I think, or maybe we were just po'.

Later, I just liked to say hydrogen peroxide because my grandmother would laugh and correct me, arguing it was just peroxide. You say tomato and I say tomaaaato...

Whatever the case it seems like everything has hydrogen peroxide in it these days...from toothpaste to laundry detergent.

I have no idea why, but Mr. K's mom emailed me this morning, to tell me it was on sale at

Wal-Mart. I, however, had already purchased three 2-bottle industrial sized packs from Costo for about $3! Admittedly, I haven't tapped into my supply yet, but I have done an eensy bit of digging on what all this product can do for you.

1. Bleach alternative. Even though I LOVE the smell, Bleach itself is WAY evil to the environment, especially if it winds up in the oceans. So, go green and add a cup to your whites.

2. Whitening Toothpaste. As smart as we are, its amazing what we blindly put in our mouths. If you walk down the toothpaste aisle you're sure to see tons of pastes offering baking soda and/or peroxide. So why pay $4 a tube and get all the other crap, too? Take a tablespoon of baking soda and enough peroxide to make it a paste. Add the flavor you miss with a drop of mint extract or a pinch of cinnamon.

3. Antiseptic Mouthwash. I don't have an exact recipe for this one. I read different recommendations from a tablespoon of peroxide in a glass of water all the way up to gargling with straight peroxide. In any case, the peroxide will aid in the healing of mouth sores, kill bad breath germs, and and work on whitening in those hard to reach spots.

4. De-yellower? To remove yellowing from lace curtains or tablecloths, fill a sink with cold water and a 2 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Soak for at least an hour, rinse in cold water and air dry. Again, there is a bleaching process going on here, so don't try it on darks.

5. Vegetable rinse. To help kill bacteria such as E. Coli on fruits and vegetables, add a quarter cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of cold water. immerse, rinse with cold water and drain. By killing bacteria this will also help keep fruit and vegetables fresher for longer. You can also use a spray bottle containing a 50/50 mix of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water - just spray and rinse.

6. Kill Fingernail and Toenail Fungus. Soak your fingernails or toenails in a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide every day and it will kill harmful fungus.

7. Help Houseplants Grow Healthier. Mix up an ounce of hydrogen peroxide into a cup of water and spray your houseplants with this solution. It will help your houseplants grow greener and more lush. I found this one on a few sites, but never found what it actually does to the plant.

8. Remove Waxy Build Up From Your Ears. Tilt your head and put three or four drops of hydrogen peroxide into the ear that has the waxy build up. Let it set for 5-10 minutes. Then, flush your ear out carefully with warm water. Maybe better to try right before a shower. i also found 2 sites that said doing this on a regular basis in both ears prevents colds and sinus infections. Hmm...

9. Kitchen/Bathroom Sanitizer. Mix up a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and tap water and pour it into a spray bottle. Use it to sanitize your counter tops, appliances and help keep your kitchen or bathroom germ-free. Only make enough for a single use because hydrogen peroxide the peroxide breaks down. There is a reason it comes in a brown bottle! Light is the enemy. When you're done, pour the extra into the toilet to clean that too!

10. Antiseptic. We all know this one.

These were the most common household uses I found. Give them a try and let me know what works or doesn't work. If you want more information on what hydrogen peroxide really is and how it really works click here.

June 7th



Mrs. K's Chicken, Broccoli, & Ziti

YAY...I finally found a recipe that Mr. K really liked. I know he liked it because he asked for seconds, but then again he may have just been starving because he hadn't eaten all day because of his dental escapades. I am going to be optimistic.

He mentioned the other day that he has been on a garlic kick. I love garlic, too.

He has been traveling so much...so I decided to surprise him and actually cook something. Those of you who know me well, know I don't cook. Anyway, I was at the grocery store wondering around in search of some inspiration, and for some reason I started wishing I was back home so I could go to The Pushcart, which was like this salad bar sort of restaurant. They also had awesome frozen yogurt before frozen yogurt was cool. I'm not even sure it's still around...it didn't seem to do as well after they switched locations, and it moved further away from our house.

But, I digress...the other thing I used to love there was their chicken, broccoli, and ziti. Kathy makes a pretty good copycat version. I know I have asked her for the recipe a million times, but as I said I don't cook that often so it doesn't stick in my head.

I called her again to get to recipe...and then I had to adapt it to my organicness.
Like I said, Mr. K and I both liked it...and it was easy to make.

Here is the recipe.

1 pint of organic heavy cream or 1/2 & 1/2
2 tbl of organic butter
4 organic garlic cloves, minced
1 lb of organic penne pasta (you can use whatever pasta you like)
2 organic chicken breasts (diced into bite size pieces)
1 packet of organic alfredo mix
1/4 & 1 cup of shredded organic parmesan cheese
2 cups of organic broccoli (diced into bite size pieces)

Before I start...I put a large pot on the stove (no heat) so I can throw ingredients in as I go.

Cook the pasta, drain, and rinse. This will be the 1st thing to go into your large pot.

Make the alfredo mix according to the directions. You can add additional spices according to your own taste, like basil. Add the garlic, and set to the side.

Cook the chicken, you can grill it and then chop it up...I usually chop it up and cook it in a pan. When it is cooked, add it to your sauce.

Steam the broccoli. I just put the broccoli in a bowl with a little water and microwave for 2 minutes, then drain. It should be tender, but still a little firm. Add this into the pasta bowl.

Once everything is prepared, pour the chicken and sauce over the pasta and broccoli. Add the parmesan cheese, and toss to coat.

Garnish with lemon.

If you are halfway decent at multitasking, it should take no more than 30 minutes to throw together, and it makes enough for 4-6 people.


Organic Beer

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
~Ben Franklin

After my posting about organic wines, I had a voicemail request from someone who requested to remain anonymous, asking "What about us beer drinkers?"

My initial response was this..."I hate beer".

But, I decided to be nice and do a little research and see what I could come up with for my hoppy friends.

Here's what I got for ya...

There is much more to an organic beer than just ingredients. In a truly organic beer not only must all ingredients be certified as organic, but also the production process used in brewing the beer must be certified as an organic process... the storage of the organic ingredients, the milling of the organic grain, the flow of the wort and beer through pumps and hoses, etc. The organic certification process is a rigorous inspection that even involves a check of sales records to determine if more organic beer is being sold than was produced. This inspection is completed annually. Only then are you allowed to declare that the beer is an organic beer. There are only 11 Breweries in the US that are certified organic.

Check out the sites below:

Peak Organic Beer (Based in Maine)

Otter Creek - Wolaver's (Based in Vermont)

Eel River Brewing Brews Up Organic Beer (Based in California)

American Craft Beer Fest (ACBF) (New England Beer Festival)

Still need some convincing? Well, how about taking a look at your bottle of regular beer and seeing just what exactly your getting? Wait, beer makers aren't required to list ingredients.

Umm....why not?

Maybe you're getting more than you bargained for!

The additives that go into our beer make for grim reading. Isinglass, used for fining, is the industry name for ground fishes' air bladders. And two types of seaweed extract are used, namely "Irish moss", to clarify the boiling hop solution, and alginate, which helps beer retain its head. Sulphur, in the form of SO2, is a preservative (and a major cause of hangovers among the allergic) and the pure chemical form of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, is used as an antioxidant. Then there is caramel for colour, betaglucamate to accelerate brewing, enzymes to assist the yeasts and even salts and minerals used to correct the brewing water.

How does organic taste now?


Our Addiction

You wouldn't know it by looking at us, but Mr. K and I have an addiction. Addictions are hard to break all by themselves, but the problem is compounded when both people in a relationship have the addiction.

Our addiction is using paper towels.

In my defense, Mr. K's half of the addiction is much worse than mine.

As I have stated in my earlier posts, these new habits we are developing are to be done gradually. First, I waited until we used up all the other evil paper towels. Then, at Whole Foods the other day, I bought 100% recycled paper towels. I debated between the natural and the bleached. Both were 100% and the plain made from recycled products. In the end I went for the natural because they were tan colored, and I figured I could "sell" them to Mr. K by pointing out that they match the kitchen.
They feel and work pretty much the same, just not quite as soft as our usual quicker picker upper...but why do I need soft paper towels? Are my counter tops sensitive?

My ultimate goal is to eliminate our paper towel usage all together. Right now I only occasionally use rags to clean the kitchen. Kathy was and is SO good at that. Why didn't I pick up that habit?! Oh well...I'll get there...someday.

Anyway, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery...and i already did that!

What inspired me to make the effort? Well, actually I was watching a travel show about the 10 best places to in the west. Of course, The Grand Canyon was #1, but the one that really caught my eye was Sequoia National Park. Some of the trees are more than 20 feet around and tower 100's of feet in the air. And, they have been around for 1000's of years...even before Christ!

These trees are awe inspiring even if you aren't a nature buff! Seeing them caused me to have an "aha" about the trees I help destroy everyday. 40% of landfills are paper products! The NRDC estimates that if every household in the United States used one less roll of paper towels, we could save 544,000 trees. That's incredible!

So, back to the baby steps...

1. Start by switching to recycled and/or natural paper towels.

2. Make a conscious effort to cut down. Instead of 4 to clean up the kitchen, try to get the job done in 2.

3. Work on switching to cloth rags whenever you can. They work just as well and when you're done you toss them in the laundry.


Homemade Shampoo?

The other day Mr. K's mom sent me an email. Basically chronicling what people did or used in 1908 for different things.

What a difference 100 years makes!

What struck me most about the email, besides feeling lucky that my annual household income is more than $200, was that some of the things they used out of necessity are what we are trying to get back to. The people who are going green or choosing organic today, are simply looking for ways to get back to simplicity and back to nature.

What made me happy was that so many of the cleaning recipes I have posted here, are from ingredients that have been around for well over 100 years and are NATURAL.

For example the email says that people used to use eggs and borax to clean their hair...which got me thinking.

If I am cleaning the house naturally, why not myself?

You may have heard, or even tried, some homemade hair care remedies. Eggs. Mayonnaise. Beer. Essentially, it is the protein and oils that make these ingredients good for our hair.

Anyway, I scoured the web for some of the more simple recipes and sites, so you can go natural on your haircare too!

Check it out!

How To make homemade shampoo and conditioners eHow.com

Home Made Shampoo by risingsun

If you're not up for making your own shampoos and conditioners, why not try a healthier version? There are lots of alternatives to the ones you pick up at the grocery store, which are more times than not tested on animals.

Here are some Organic options to try:

Organic Bath Co.

All Natural Bath & Body Care Products - by Elayne's Garden

LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics -- Welcome

Official Site of Inara® Organic Body Care

THE New Channel

The Discovery Network family is growing! Tomorrow they are launching a new channel completely devoted to all things green...Planet Green.