Archives for November 2015

Freezer Pasta Salad Recipe: Perfect for Lunchboxes!

This freezer pasta salad recipe is perfect for make-ahead lunches. It's a healthy, whole food meal that can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Do you ever get tired of making lunches? ME TOO! Which brings me to why I love this freezer pasta salad recipe. 

This recipe allows me to prep several lunches and pop them in the freezer.

Then, I can simply pull one of these out to defrost the night before and BAM! It’s a healthy whole grain lunch with a minimum of effort. Happy day!

Oh, and if you are ever out of bread (happens to me all the time), you have a ready alternative. This might be the best reason of all to make this recipe.

I use this whole wheat orzo:

Rice Select whole wheat orzo

It’s not organic, but it is non-GMO.

It can be hard to find whole wheat orzo in the regular grocery store, so I always order mine in a three pack from Amazon.

You do know my 5 Secret Ways to Save at Amazon, don’t you?

freezer pasta salad

As far as freezing the pasta goes, I use these freezer safe jelly jars. They hold about a cup of pasta salad and fit beautifully in the freezer door.

You’ll get between 5 and 6 jars of salad depending on how much you eat when you “test” your recipe or how tightly you pack the jars.

Since there is no liquid in this recipe, you can pack the jars to the top.

Of course, if you prefer to pack the salad in a freezer safe bag, that works too.

Feta cheese is my favorite way to add some protein to this pasta lunch.

However, leftover cooked chicken, sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, garbanzo beans and/or pine nuts are also great, healthy additions.

Freezer Pasta Salad Recipe for Kids

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • optional: feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dill, and garlic for dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a large bowl, combine orzo, peppers, onions, and olives. Toss with dressing.
  4. Allow to cool completely. Once cool, divide pasta into freezer safe containers. Freeze up to 2 months.
  5. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before packing in lunchbox the next day.
  6. Optional serving suggestion: top with feta cheese for a protein boost.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/freezer-pasta-salad-recipe/

If you are in a lunch making rut, I encourage you to make this easy freezer pasta salad recipe!

Easy Scented Homemade Playdough Recipe

This Easy Scented Homemade Playdough Recipe yields a smooth dough of non-toxic ingredients scented with any essential oil you choose.

Wait until you see how easy it is to make this scented homemade playdough recipe!

It takes less than 10 minutes to make a playdough that is softer and more supple than what you buy in the store.

We’ve played with this playdough extensively and have never ended up with those annoying little crumbles that end up all over.

Plus, this dough is WHITE!

Why is that a big deal? Because you won’t end up with colorful pieces ground up into your carpet! Are those not the worst???

This recipe is made from all non-toxic ingredients you can find in your kitchen.

There are several essential oils I’d recommend for use in this scented homemade playdough recipe:

Lavender – Use lavender essential oil for a quiet activity before naptime. Lavender is helpful for relaxation.

Peppermint Peppermint essential oil makes the perfect scent for around the holidays and for making playdough for gift giving.

Sweet OrangeSweet orange gives the dough an uplifting scent perfect for cranky kiddos.

Rosemary – If you homeschool, make a batch of dough scented with rosemary essential oil. This scent helps them focus.

To see just how easy it is to make homemade playdough, you can watch the homemade playdough recipe video.

Easy Scented Homemade Playdough Recipe

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
5 to 10 drops essential oil

In a saucepan, combine flour, salt and cream of tartar. Add the water and oil. Heat over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until a ball starts to form.

Allow to cool slightly. Add 5 to 10 drops of your essential oil. Knead a few times until it is smooth.

You are ready to play!

One recipe can easily be divided into 3 to 4 balls just the right size for gift giving.

Or, if you are making it for your own kiddos, you can store this is in a tightly sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 9 months!

If you find the dough has lost some of it’s scent, simply add a few more drops!

What scent will you use in your playdough?

GBG List of 3: The Best of Pinterest

Tencel Tunic Dress
Candid photo my daughter took. Eek.

Y’all. I bought something off Pinterest.

I was doing my general Pinterest thing (wasting time), when I came across this pin.

Normally I would just pin something like this to my style board and move on.

But the description said it was a Tencel denim dress. And Tencel is an eco-friendly fabric. So I decided to actually click on the link.

That’s when I discovered the dress could be worn over leggings in the winter and as a dress in the summer.

I’ve been working towards cleaning out my closet and only hanging on to pieces that I can wear in multiple ways.

So I bought it. And I love it. And I probably wear it once a week.

I love it so much I’m watching for a sale so I can get it in the other color. (Can you say soooo comfy plus you can dress it up enough to wear it to church???)

It’s a bit more expensive than my normal wardrobe purchases, so I shopped through Ebates so I could find a coupon code and get cash back.

Since I found the dress by searching for the Most Popular Pins, I thought I’d share what I’ve pinned that have been really popular. 

console-table-holt-interiors

No Fail Objects for Styling a Console Table – Repinned over 7000 times! Apparently none of us know how to style a console. 😉

January-Organizing-Free-Printable-Calendar-1024x819

January Organizing Calendar Repinned over 1800 times! Head over to her site and print this out so you can be ready to clean in January!

electrolux-dryers-vented-5kg-and-6kg-clothes-dryers

Small Laundry Room Ideas Repinned over 500 times! (I have the smallest laundry room ever, so I get it!)

Shoe Explosion

Shoe Explosion Repinned over 400 times. Doesn’t every house have one of these? This is actually part of a bigger article on organization around the house.

Super Simple Matcha Green Tea Latte Recipe

Out of everything on my site, my Super Simple Matcha Green Tea Latte is the most repinned. It’s been repinned almost 4000 times!

Have you ever bought anything off Pinterest? Or made something off Pinterest? How did it work out?

Have a favorite Pin to Share? Post it in the comments so we can repin with you!

DIY: Non-Toxic Oven Cleaning Recipe

DIY Non-Toxic Oven Cleaning Recipe

When was the last time you cleaned your oven?

That might just be the rudest question right after asking a woman her age!

My oven is a hot mess right now. I like to throw sweet potatoes into the oven and right onto the rack. Invariably, one of them will ooze and leave a blackened blob on the bottom of my stove.

Those are the only black blobs I can identify. The rest of them? Who knows what food left the mess behind.

In my quest to find the best non-toxic oven cleaning recipe, I tried several. This is the best non-toxic oven cleaning recipe I found to get your oven clean without harsh fumes and a minimum of elbow grease.

The main cleaning ingredient in this recipe is Borax.

A word about Borax. The Environmental Working Group recently came out and cautioned consumers against using Borax.

The reason? It is an eye irritant.

Ummmm. So is salt. Or lemon. Get anything in your eye and you’ve got yourself an eye irritant.

Considering most commercial oven cleaners will have ammonia as one of their main ingredients, I’ll take Borax any day.

Plus, it works!

The other main ingredient is Castile soap. All I had on hand was peppermint scented Castile soap I had picked up at Costco.

I’d really recommend using this unscented Castile soap.

Non-Toxic Oven Cleaning Recipe cleans without toxic fumes and a minimum of elbow grease

Non-Toxic Oven Cleaning Recipe

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons borax
  • 2 tablespoons Castile soap
  • 1/4 cup water

Dissolve the Borax in the water. Stir in the Castile soap. Add to a spray bottle.

Spray the bottom of your oven. Allow the cleaning agents to sit for about 20 minutes. Easily wipe up the mess.

For any stubborn or persistent messes, use a second application and a bit of steel wool.

DIY Oven Cleaner Non-Toxic

What do you say? Are you ready to try the non-toxic oven cleaning recipe for a clean oven?

Healthy Chocolate Turtles Recipe Made With Just 3 Ingredients

With just 3 ingredients, you can easily make this healthy chocolate turtles recipe.
Healthy Chocolate Turtles Recipe

When I first made this healthy chocolate turtles recipe for my daughters, neither one suspected they were made without caramel!

Now turtle lovers, please don’t be discouraged by the lack of caramel. I promise you plenty of sweet chewy goodness. It’s just that this recipe skips the refined sugars and relies on whole food in it’s place.

So what do you use in place of the caramel? Dates.

If you’ve never compared the flavor of dates to caramel, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much dates really do have a caramel flavor.

Using dates instead of caramel also makes this a super simple project in the kitchen.

I enlisted the help of my girls.

Easy to make healthy chocolate turtles recipe

They were responsible for ripping the dates in half (no knife needed) and stuffing each half with a pecan.

I bought the dates in a huge tub from Costco, and they come already pitted.

I also bought my pecans from Costco. (Nuts are definitely one of the 5 Things To Buy From Costco).

Using dark chocolate for this recipe means less refined sugars. I enjoy a deep, dark 85% chocolate, but if you don’t, try going for the 65% instead.

healthy chocolate turtles made with dates

Healthy Chocolate Turtles

16 ounces dark chocolate
Pitted dates
Pecan halves
Optional: Sea Salt

In a double boiler, melt your dark chocolate. Split the date in half. Stuff date with a pecan half. Cover each turtle with a huge spoonful of dark chocolate. If using, sprinkle with just a grain or two of sea salt.

Allow chocolate to cool and set.

That’s it!

This healthy chocolate turtles recipe is easy enough that even little ones can help. Which is quite useful if you want to make these for a large gathering or to give away at the holidays. Great paired with Lemon Truffles.

The Best DIY All Natural Dog Shampoo Recipe for Your Dog

DIY All Natural Dog Shampoo Recipe

My dogs are like my children. So when they need bathing, I go for all natural, non-toxic ingredients, like you’ll find in this DIY All Natural Dog Shampoo Recipe.

If you are a dog owner, then you know every dog needs to be bathed at times. Even dogs that don’t shed.

Oddly enough, my dogs tend to need bathing in the winter more than they do the summer. The snow leaves my backyard, the streets, and our hiking trails muddy.

I swear my dogs are just like toddlers – completely attracted to the mud!

When making a DIY All Natural Dog Shampoo, you want to pay attention to your dog’s skin’s pH balance.

The main ingredient in this shampoo is Castile soap (This is the unscented Castile soap I use.) Castile soap has a high pH balance of around an 8. Since most dogs have a skin pH balance of between 6 and 8.5, the high pH balance is suited for their skin.

The Castile soap is then combined with a few drops of dog safe essential oils. Please make sure you only use the specified amount of drops keeping in mind a dog’s sense of smell is 40 times more powerful than a humans.

You will need following essential oils:

Lavender essential oil – soothing to your dogs nervous system.

Peppermint essential oil – both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

Eucalyptus essential oil – this ingredient is good as a flea repellant.

Rosemary essential oil – this ingredient is also a good flea repellant and it gives your dog’s coat a healthy shine.

If you haven’t already, you may want to check out how I get my essential oils for a discount online.

DIY ALL NATURAL DOG SHAMPOO RECIPE

Natural Dog Shampoo Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups purified water
  • 1 tablespoon Castile soap
  • 2 drops lavender oil
  • 2 drops peppermint oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus oil
  • 2 drops rosemary oil

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bottle.
  2. Shake bottle vigorously before using.
  3. Use enough shampoo to lather your dog well.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/best-diy-natural-dog-shampoo-recipe-dog/

How to Bathe Your Dog at Home

To Bathe Your Dog At Home:

Make sure you wash them in a warm room.

Give them a good wet down using body temperature water.

Lather only once and avoid the face and ears.

Blow dryers can dry out your dog’s skin. Have several large towels ready and towel your dog dry as much as they will let you.

Do you tackle bathing your dog at home?

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken and 20 Recipes That Use Cooked Chicken

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken

I remember the first time I cooked a whole chicken. I was totally intimidated.

Newly engaged, I decided to take a cooking class through the Parks and Recreation department in our town.

Up to this point, I had only cooked tenders or breasts. I hadn’t even branched out into thighs and drumsticks.

Organic Whole Chicken

A whole chicken just looked so big and complicated.

Not to mention it looks like a chicken! None of that sterile parts on a styrofoam tray stuff.

I quickly learned it is not hard at all. And it’s one of the most economical ways to buy chicken. You pay far less per pound than you do the individual parts.

The main objection most people have is dealing with the insides. While not my favorite part, it’s just a matter of removing them. Quick and easy.

Once they are out, you need to rinse your chicken well and pat it dry. It’s then ready for you to smooth on all the spices.

Chicken ready for basting

This slow cooker recipe really does make cooking a whole chicken easy. All you need is the chicken, a lemon, olive oil and some spices.

You don’t even need to add liquid to the slow cooker!

The meat will turn out fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy every single time with very little effort on your part.

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 pound organic whole roasting chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Remove the giblets packet from the chicken cavity.
  2. Rinse and drain chicken, pat dry.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper into cavity of chicken. Cut lemon in half. Squeeze juice into chicken cavity then stuff lemon halves into cavity.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Rub mixture all over chicken.
  5. Place chicken in 4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Chicken is fully cooked when meat thermometer stuck in leg reaches 160 degrees.
  6. Allow to cool. Remove chicken from bones and chop.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/how-to-slow-cook-a-whole-chicken/

When you follow this recipe to slow cook a whole chicken, you will end up with about 4 1/2 cups of moist, juicy and flavorful cooked chicken.


Use your cooked chicken to jump start your meal plan for the week. Having cooked chicken ready to go means you can have a meal on the table in a minimal amount of time!

20 Recipes That Use Cooked Chicken

Chicken Fried Rice
Pumpkin Black Bean Chicken Chili
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken and Guacamole Tostadas
Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
Easy Chicken Salad
Skillet White Chicken Chili Dip
Chicken Pot Pie
Green Chile Chicken Casserole
Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
Pineapple and Basil Chicken Salad
Chef’s Salad
Thai Chicken Soup
Olive Garden Style Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Easy Homemade Chicken Alfredo Sauce
Cuban Chicken Tacos
Real Food Chicken Soup
Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

Have a recipe that uses cooked chicken? Leave a link in the comments!