Monthly Archives: February 2010

meyers-550

Home Product Review: Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap and All-Purpose Cleaner

Hey gang, for the past month I’ve been showing all of you how I make a lot of my own green cleaning products. But there are many of you (yes mommy you) that really don’t have the time or the inclination to make your own products. But you can still use healthier green products to clean house, even if you’d rather buy them.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All-Purpose Cleaner (Lavender Scent) $7.99

Sexy came home one day after the house was clean, and he commented about how good the house smelled. Once again, only 1/8 cup is used per gallon of water for, well EVERYTHING. I put some in a spray bottle and cleaned the granite coutertops, and the porcelain sink in the bathroom. Then I used an 1/8 cup diluted in a gallon of water and mopped my (sealed_ harwood floors). I also cleaned the bathroom tile, and the shower and even the toilet with the stuff. (That’s what, like 5 products you would buy separately?)

INGREDIENTS: Water, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Citrate, Fragrance*, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) Seed Oil, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Glycerin, Caramel, Disodium Ethanoldiglycinate, Methylisothiazolinone, Benzisothiazolinone

RATING*5 Savvy - Because this product can actually be used for so many things, including (diluted) washing dishes!


Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Dishwashing Soap (Basil Scent) $3.99

A little of this stuff really goes a long way. I was really surprised. We do dishes everyday (most of the time) and the 12 ounce bottle that we bought last month is only half empty! You don’t have to use as much as mainstream dish detergents. It cuts grease nicely. But just like any other dishwashing detergent, anything burnt or baked on should soak for awhile. The best part is it comes in different scents. My fave is the Basil. and when the dishes are done, my hands feel nice and soft and smell good too!

INGREDIENTS: Water, Lauramine Oxide, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Fragrance*, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) Seed Oil, Quillaja Saponaria Bark Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Disodium Ethanoldiglycinate, Methylisothiazolinone, Benzisothiazolinone, Citric Acid

PRODUCT INGREDIENTS ARE AT LEAST 97% NATURALLY DERIVED.

RATING*: 4 Smart – Smells great, but I think there are cheaper alternatives out there.


*Savvy Rating system:  5=Savvy  4=Smart  3=Sensible  2=Satisfactory   1=Stupid

•Anybody out there use this stuff? What’s your favorite scent? How do you use it?

desorgcondish

Naturally Obsessed Review of Desert Essence Condish

Now you KNOW how I am all about healthy ingredients right? No cones, parabens or sulfates for me! For more info on why, click here.

Well KinkyKurlyQueen just did a great review of not one but three delicious Desert Essence Organic Conditioners!

  • Italian Red Grape Conditioner
  • Green Apple Ginger Conditioner
  • Coconut Conditioner

From what she says they all provide great slip and moisturize really well. And the best part? (Wait for it)

They only cost her $5.12 each

Yep. Now I have your attention. Check out the full review below.

Naturally Obsesssed Review of Dessert Essence Conditioners

Has anyone else used Desert Essence Organic Conditioner? How’d they work for you?

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Baked Tortilla Chips

These are really flavorful and go great with the Easy Flavorful Hummus, I posted last week. and since they’re baked and not fried, they’re better for you!

Ingredients:

  • 6 white corn tortillas
  • 1/2 lime
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • garlic
  • chilli powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 3 tbsps of olive oil in a glass bowl or cup. Squeeze the half of lime into the oil and mix well. Stack the tortillas, and cut them in fourths.

cut tortillas

Arrange them on a cookie sheet and brush the lime olive oil mixture onto each side of the tortillas, then sprinkle with the remaining ingredients.

brush with lime/oil

sprinkle with spices

Bake for 15mins, or until the chips are crispy and the edges start to brown.

All Done!

This makes 24 chips. Just right for to eat with salsa dring the game. Feel free to double or triple the amount of tortillas in this recipe. You won’t need that much more oil and lime though.  Try it and lemme know how it goes!

band aid heart 3

10 Things You Can Do to Help Your Heart By the End of This Week

As we get to the end of “Heart Healthy Month” I want to hit you with some sobering statistics.

  • Men have the highest rates of heart-related illness in this country.
  • 8 million women in the US are currently living with heart disease; 35,000 are under age of 65.
  • 435,000 American women have heart attacks annually; 35,000 are under 55.
  • 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year, compared to 24% of men.
  • Under age 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely as men’s to be fatal.
  • Of all the nationalities of women who suffer from heart disease, women of African descent have the highest rates of coronary related deaths.

So here’s a list of 10 Things You Can Do to Help Your Heart By the End of This Week

1. Exercise 15-30mins a day- How many times have you skipped a workout because you “just don’t have an hour”. I bet you have 15 mins though. Try doing one exercise at a time. Like sit-ups when you get out of bed in the morning, squats in the shower, or push ups and lunges while you’re watching TV. If you get a longer workout in then great, but if not at least you’ve done something.
2. Eat more fiber, but less bread – Try eating more dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Eat one less slice of bread and 3 more vegetables today.
3. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup -Consumption of fructose causes a significant increase in the concentration of uric acid. An increase in uric acid can be an indicator of heart disease. It also increases lactic acid in the blood, especially in patients with diabetes. Avoid soda, and juices that don’t say “100% fruit juice on them”
4. Avoid Hydrogenated oils period- It doesn’t matter if it says soybean oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, or palm kernel oil. If the word “Hydrogenated” is attached to it, don’t eat it. Hydrogenation changes the very molecular structure of oil into a form that the human body cannot properly digest. It raises bad cholesterol.When cholesterol is too high, the insides of large blood vessels become narrowed or clogged. Stop eating microwave popcorn, cook more, eat more fresh foods vs. fast foods. Don’t eat Cool Whip.
5. Watch your sugar – It doesn’t matter if it’s brown or white, “raw” or refined, honey or agave. Although some of these forms of sugar are more easily digested than others, they are still sugar. And too much sugar causes problems like hypoglycemia and diabetes. Having diabetes can make your blood cholesterol level too high. And just like hydrogenated oils, your arteries can become clogged. Especially if you have a history of diabetes in your family. Try drinking your tea with sugar, don’t add more sugar to your cereal, eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice.
6. Take a break and get some rest – Take a few minutes in your day to just sit. No TV, no computer, no twitter , no Facebook no phone and just breathe. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just breathe. Take a nap if you can! Also getting more sleep really does help with achieving your weight loss goals. For more information on how sleep affects weight loss, check out Dr. Daemon Jones’ article “Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Make You Fat”.
7. Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet- Did you know that the current dietary recommendation is to consume about 1 teaspoon of table salt a day? High-sodium diets are linked to an increase in blood pressure and a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Eat more fresh fruits and beans and less canned ones. cut back on eating anything that comes out of a package.
8. Limit Alcohol Intake – Doctors say a little red wine every now and then at dinner is fine, but drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and can harm the heart. Alcoholic drinks also contain calories, which matter if you are trying to lose weight. If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount — one drink a day for women; two drinks a day for men.
9. Quit Smoking – Smoking injures blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. This applies even to filtered cigarettes. If you smoke, quit. (I know this is much harder than it sounds) If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Once you quit, your risk of having a heart attack is reduced after the first year. So you have a lot to gain by quitting. Look into alternative ways to quit smoking like acupuncture. Take some time this week to do some research.
10. Know your blood pressure – Don’t wait for that annual visit to the doctor to find out your “pressure’s up”. A lot can happen in a year! Your systolic pressure is the top number and your diastolic pressure is the bottom number. The American Heart Association definition of normal blood pressure is less than 120 / Less than 80. In other words 118/78 is excellent. I bought a blood pressure monitor for my mom and dad and they now check their blood pressure regularly. When it starts risig above those numbers, they know they have to make changes in their diet, exercise more, or stop getting on each other’s nerves in order to lower it. This one’s really cool, because it just wraps around your wrist!

Sources:

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4708

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4786

http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2222

carryonrev

Organize Your Life Like You’re Getting on a Plane

The night before I go on a trip, I check the weather for the destination’s forecast, and plan my outfits for the whole week. I narrow down my footwear to what I’m going to wear on the plane, a pair of sneakers, 1 pair of heels, and a 1 pair of black flats. I decide what size suitcase and what carry on to bring, and what will go into each. I stay up late planning, and prepping, and funneling various oils, creams and conditioners into travel-size containers with the precision of a chemist. I try to get cash and packets of oatmeal ahead of time, so I won’t have to deal with the high prices of food and $5 ATM fees at the terminal, and I reserve a parking space near the airport. This process usually works out pretty well, and I get to my destination ready to relax or work or whatever. Pretty savvy right?

BUT…

For some reason, getting up, working out, and getting out of the house and to the office by 9am on a daily basis completely eludes me. I don’t hear the alarm, nothing that I want to wear (or can fit comfortably) is clean, I can never find at least one of my shoes, my phone isn’t charged, I forget to feed the cat, (who in protest, has thrown-up on my yoga mat). Sexy is ALWAYS telling me to slow down after hearing me yelp out in pain from accidentally slamming one of my appendages into a stationary object. I walked halfway to the subway once when I realized that I still had 3 twists in a roller in the back of my head, I forgot my earrings, and the alarm company was calling me because the alarm was going off because I’d left my keys in the door and it had swung open.

Then it dawned on me.

Why not approach every (week)day as if I had to be on a plane, leaving at 9am? Hmmm. With some modifications, this just might work.

So here’s my top 10 list of how to get through the week a bit smoother. I have tried this and it actually works! Continue reading

hummus

Easy Flavorful Hummus Recipe

Hummus is basically a chickpea spread that is a very popular middle-eastern dish. Not only is it cheap to make, it’s high in protein. It makes a great spread on sandwiches in place of mayo, and of course a great meal when paired with pita bread and/or veggies.I have discovered that I get a more flavorful hummus if I use dried beans rather than canned. I’m trying to wean us off of canned stuff anyway. (There are tons of BPAs that are in the linings of cans that leech into the food itself).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas soaked over night (or 1 can of chickpeas)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste  at room temperature*
  • A handful fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1 tbsp dried)
  • 1 roasted red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 4 small whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1 tbsps olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Rinse chickpeas after soaking overnight. Put chickpeas back in pot and fill with water until it’s 2″ higher than the beans. Put garlic cloves in with beans and bring to a boil. Then lower the fire and simmer covered for 40 mins. (If you’re using canned beans skip this step)
  2. While the chickpeas and garlic are cooking chop the parsley and peppers and squeeze the lemon into a cup or bowl.
  3. When the chickpeas are done (you’ll know because they’ll smash easily between your fingers) drain them but save 1/2 cup of the water they were cooking in.
  4. Put chickpeas ans garlic into food processor or blender and blend until well blended
  5. Add the tahini and blend again
  6. Finally add the rest of the ingredients and continue blending until smooth. For smoother hummus, add more of the chickpea water, for firmer hummus add less (I like firm myself, cuz it’s more “scoopable”)
  7. Transfer to a container with a lid, and drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika for garnish.

Done! This is a great little snack to take to work with you!

This recipe makes about 2.5 cups of hummus. And since a serving is only 1/4 cup, you get quite  bit! It lasts about2 weeks in the fridge. If you’re using dried beans, this costs less than $8 a batch to make!

*Note: Tahini is sesame seed paste, and it can be expensive. (I’ve seen it at TJ’s and Whole Foods for as much as $17!) I have found some for cheaper that’s available in the Savvy Shop under Food/Condiments for $6. Check it out here. Since you don’t use much, it will last you for several recipes!

Do you make your own hummus? What do you use?

granite-countertop-cleaner

Homemade Granite & Marble Cleaner

Here’s a recipe that I found on tipnut for a cleaner that I use to clean my granite countertops in the kitchen. It works great, and disinfects well!

Ingredients:

2 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tsp pure castille soap (peppermint, etc.)
3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lemongrass essential oil

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a 32-ounce plastic spray bottle.

Check out the original link below
http://tipnut.com/granite-marble-cleaner/

3-Year-Old-TShirts-03

8 Cheap Ways to Go Green

This is a great post over at greenwala listing 8 things you have and can do to green yourself up a bit. Here’s the list, and below that is the link.

1. Recycle old t-shirts- into anything from dust cloths to yarn!

2. Baking Soda- you know I use this stuff for EVERYTHING

3. A freezer – to save your food and your money

4.  A portable reuse “everything” kit - I GOTTA get me one of these (maybe I’ll make one..hmmm)

5. Coupons -  they’re not just for your mama anymore!

6. Vegetable seeds – you can get much more green or cost effective that growing your own food

7. DIY skills – Sexy’s whole family is from Jamaica, trust me we got this one covered! LOL!

8. A Bicycle – Sexy bought a street bike that FOLDS. As soon as all of this snow melts a bit, I’m ON it.

Check out full descriptions of each item at The 8 Cheapest and Most Effective Lifestyle Tools

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How to Do a Dry Twistout

I’ve gotten quite a few emails and questions asking me how I do my hair, so here’s another how-to post. This is a cross between the Twist ‘N Curl (made famous by curlynikki), and a curly fro. It is very popular for women who have 3c,4a,4b hair type. (For more on hair typing, click here).

This style is achieved by separating the hair into sections and then taking each section and separating those into two and twisting them together. Then setting the twists on rollers. After a few hours, the twists are then separated, and can be worn as is, or, can be fluffed and separated more to add more volume. There are a hundred different variations on this style, but this is a basic one that I have in my arsenal. I’m going to show you how I do mine when my hair is dry. This is how I did my dry twistout after wearing it in a quick puff I made in the post How to Wash and Dry Your Hair in 1 Hour.

1. Loosen the curl – I take my Daily Homemade Leave-In Conditioner and spritz my whole head, gently pulling at my curls as I go to loosen them up from the puff they’ve been in.

spray hair with daily leave-in

separate curls with fingers

2. Section the hair-starting at the back of my head, I make a quick part with my hands or the tail of a comb from earlobe to earlobe I pin the rest of the hair out of the way with my metal toothless duckbill clips. I section this area into three sections, and I clip two back with another duckbill clip

3. Moisturize – I take a dab of whatever moisturizer I’m using that day (it can be a butter, cream, leave in condish, whatever) like Bee Mine’s Bee Hold Pudding or Wonder Curl’s Butter Than Love Hair Whipped and run it through the section with my fingers (No combing or brushing!)

4. Twist – then I separate that little section I’m working with into two smaller sections and twist them as tight as  I can all the way down to the ends (they’re going to loosen a bit, but they won’t unravel)

Note: I don’t have the time or the patience fore really small twists, so I always to medium sized ones. I judge the size of the twists by how well they stay in. If they’re too big, they’ll unravel right away. If they’re too small, I’ll have trouble unraveling them. This takes practice, but you’ll find what works best for you. Continue reading