Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Whole grains are an essential part of any balanced diet.  They contain vitamins, minerals and ample amounts of fiber.  Fiber has been scientifically proven to prevent certain types of cancers and improve digestion.  The USDA recommends 1/2 your grain consumption (6 oz daily) to originate from whole grain products.  First off, what is a whole grain?  

Whole grain products include all 3 parts of the original grain: bran, germ and endosperm.  Refined grains (grains that aren't whole) have gone through a process in production where most of the bran and germ are removed, eliminating most of the fiber and nutrients.  

Note:**(Some refined grains have vitamins and minerals added back into the product, called enriched grains.  Although, the enrichment process does not provide as much fiber or match the content found naturally in a whole grain product. )

Color isn't always and indication for whole grains.  In fact, some manufacturers are pretty skilled at tricking their consumers into thinking their product is whole grain.

Avoid falling into these consumer pit falls by knowing these tips, for determining a whole grain from a "whole grain imitator".

FOOD LABEL 101: Food labels are an excellent resource for identifying whole grains. Pay attention to the ingredient list, if the first ingredient says "whole" or "100%" you know its whole.  Be leery of the word "enriched" if you see this you know you have an imitator on your hands. 

MISLEADING CLAIMS- Product claims can be very misleading.  Though manufactures are required to state honest claims, they can and do twist the truth.  Avoid phrases like "made with whole grains, "mulit-grain"and "enriched grain". These products may contain a whole grain, but it is NOT a whole grain product.  

KNOW YOUR GRAINS: Know what to look for.  Here is a list of common whole grains. Try to incorporate them into your diet by substituting them for refined/enriched grains your already consuming.
  • Whole wheat
  • Whole oats or oatmeal
  • Whole grain corn/ Popcorn
  • Buckwheat
  • Whole grain barley
  • Brown rice / Wild rice
  • Quinoa

LOOK FOR THE LOGO: Similar to Organic, None GMO, and Kosher products, Whole Grain products can contain a stamp indicating that it is a certified whole grain product.  If you see this stamp, you know you have the real deal!

Whole grains play an essential role in any balanced diet.  Commit to making 1/2 your grains whole today!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Are you guilty of underutilizing baking soda??  Baking soda is one of the most useful substances in your home.  

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Baking soda is a mild alkali (aka: low acid content), which makes it an effective cleaning agent for dirt and grease.  Causing them to dissolve easily in water.  It is also a pure, natural product that is used in food and non-toxic, unlike many other household cleaners, which makes it a safer option to use around your home.  
Image result for baking soda cleaning

Here are a few tips to utilize baking soda in your home today!

  1. FRESHEN UPHOLSTERY & CARPETS: deodorize your upholstery and carpets by sprinkling baking soda and allowing to sit for 15 min, then vacuum up.   ***for tougher oder allow to sit over night.
  2. CLEAN TILE, GROUT & COUNTERTOPS: A mixture of baking soda and water will remove dirt from a tiled surface or countertop without scratching it.  Scrub with a brush or rag, allow to sit and wipe clean.
  3.  CLEAN & SHINE COOKWARE:  Make a paste of baking soda and water and cover the pan.  Let sit for 10 min or overnight for stubborn messes, then rinse clean.
  4. CUT THROUGH GREASE: Cut through grease on your kitchen cabinets, back splash or other surfaces by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge and scrubbing.
  5. UNCLOG A DRAIN: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the drain and follow with a cup of vinegar.  (It will fizz and make noises as the 2 solutions react.)  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, rinse with very hot water.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


This fresh summer recipe is as easy as it is delicious! Featuring fresh pineapple which is now on sale at our local grocery stores (through 7/17/18).   Only 3 ingredients and less than $3 to fresh sorbet, the perfect summer treat!


  • 1/2 Fresh Pineapple, peeled and cored (2 cups pineapple chunks) the juicier the better
  • 8 TBL Sugar
  • 1/2 C Water
  1. Cut the pineapple into chunks and puree in a blender with granulated sugar and water.  Mix until smooth.
  2. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions.


  1. Cut the pineapple into chunks and freeze until solid
  2. Create a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil, or until sugar dissolves; let cool.
  3. Place fruit into food processor OR blender, add the simple syrup and mix for 2-4 min until desired texture is achieved.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Lemons are one of mother natures super foods! 

Lemons make a generous contribution to our health and well being, from preventing kidney stone growth and Vitamin C absorption to improved skin quality and aiding in digestion.  These things really pack a punch when it comes to health benfits.

But the wonders of lemons don't end there. Lemons are also fantastic kitchen helpers.
 They contain high amounts of citric acid which makes them a great natural cleaning option.  Citric acid is a great tool for removing soap scum and even set in stains.

  Check out these tips and tricks for safe natural cleaning around the house.

Clean your microwave: 
Squeeze enough lemons to yield 4 tablespoons of juice. Fill a 4 cup capacity bowl with 1 cup of water and the lemon juice. Place the bowl in a microwave and turn it to a high setting. Let the mixture steam up inside of the microwave. Wipe down the microwave. 

Get stains off of countertops: Pour some lemon juice on top of the stain. Wait a few minutes while the lemon juice's acid works to break down the stain. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on top of the stain and scrub the stain away. 

Scrub your kitchen sink: 
Squeeze the juice out of three lemons and mix with salt until you get a paste. Drop some of the paste into the sink and gently scrub the sink with it. Rinse after scrubbing. 


  • Citrus peels (enough to fill at least half of your mason jar) 
  • White vinegar (enough to fill up your mason jar, and cover the peels)

1 large mason jar with a fitted lid (I prefer a large jar such as a half gallon or a couple of quart jars). 
Fine mesh strainer
Large bowl
Spray bottle


  1. Save your citrus peels: As you use up different types of citrus, save the peels instead of throwing them away. Add these peels to a large mason jar.
  2. Add those citrus peels to a jar of vinegar: As you collect citrus peels, add them to a large mason until it's filled at least half way. (This could take a few weeks.) Once the jar has enough peels, pour vinegar over the peels until it fills the jar. Cover your jar with a lid, and allow it to sit in a dark place for two weeks. The longer you let it sit, the more the citrus will infuse into the vinegar.
  3. Strain it: After two weeks, strain your citrus cleaner using a fine mesh strainer placed over a large bowl. Discard the peels.
  4. Pour the cleaner into a bottle: Add your citrus cleaner to a spray bottle and use it as you would any other all purpose cleaner.


Monday, July 9, 2018


School's out and so is the sun, prime season for family vacations.  Whether your vacationing to an exotic destination or exploring the great outdoors, food will be an essential part of the plan.  

While the majority of your planning will be dedicated to meal prep, try to make a valiant effort toward healthy snacking options as well.  Planning for healthy snacks can help satisfy hunger and cravings while on the road and keep you moving towards your daily food group goals.  

Healthy snacking can be easy. With a little prep and planning your family can achieve their health goals even while on the road. Consider these easy AND healthy snack solutions on your next family adventure:

BUILD YOUR OWN - make your own trail mix with unsalted nuts and add-ins such as seeds, dried fruit, popcorn or a sprinkle of chocolate chips.

PORTION DISTORTION - plan ahead and portion snack foods into baggies or containers so they're ready to grab-n-go when you need them.
COOL IT - bring along a small cooler and frozen gel packs to keep yogurts, sting cheese, hard boiled eggs, and fresh cut fruit chilled along the drive for a fresh cool treat along the way.

VIBRANT VIBES - cut and portion out fresh veggies like bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers spears and cherry tomatoes for a little crunchy indulgence.

"DRIED" AND TRUE - keep dried foods like jerky and fruit on hand, for a low maintenance health packed treat to stay fueled and energized along your journey.

Enjoy your summer vacations and feed your body the fuel it needs to keep you healthy.  HAPPY VACATIONING!


Wednesday, July 4, 2018


A new month, which means new opportunities!  Here is a fun activity list to keep your family active and involved this July. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018




Rub the rust off of your cookware: Use 1 half of a lemon dipped in salt, scrub in a circular motion.

Keep milk fresh longer: Add a pinch or two of salt to milk or cream to last longer. It will not affect the taste. 

Separate bacon easily: Roll your bacon into tube while still in the package. Roll it to both the inside then the outside. This will loosen up the bacon so the strips just peel right off and make it easy to separate them for cooking. 

Seal plastic bags: Cut off the top portion (approx. 2") of a clean pop bottle.  Place the bottle top inside the bag and replace the lid, to ensure a strong seal.  Limited oxygen exposure will increase the shelf life of stored items, especially produce.