Friday, July 27, 2012

Cauliflower with a twist

I am a big fan of fresh veggies, they taste super yummy and are very easy to prepare. The health benefit is great.
Farmers markets are my favorite, I get so excited when I see all these vegetables displayed, the colors, the smell and just the idea of making something delicious out of them lets my heart beat faster. 
I am not a very good recipe follower and seldom cook after recipe, I like to experiment when I have the time, my Hubby has to rate my dish after dinner, lets hope he has been honest:)).

My latest creation is cauliflower with Almonds and arugula. The earthy flavor of the cauliflower synergies well with the nutty flavor of the almonds. 

Here is what you need: 

  • a head of cauliflower 
  • almonds
  • arugula
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • garlic powder or garlic salt. 
And now what :)

cut the cauliflower into florets and steam them until tender. in a large (serving bowl) mix olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Add the cauliflower and mix in oil mixture until cauliflower is slightly covered with mixture.
Add almonds and mix again.
short before serving add Arugula and serve. 

The measures for the oil, salt and pepper is something that every person needs to decide for themselves. How salty do you like your dish and how much oil do you like on your veggies. 

Roasting option

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a cooking sheet spread out cauliflower florets and lightly brush olive oil mixture over them, sprinkle almonds over cauliflowers and roast for about 20 minutes. 
You can put the cauliflower on top of a small arugula bed. 

Enjoy and let me know how you liked it 

Live with passion 

Daniela

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Save on your cable bill




Do you ever wonder what all these extra charges on your cable bill are? What do they mean by Franchise Tax and what is HD VOW? 
And when you first sign up with your provider they give you all these promotions, so initially your bill might not seem to bad, but once these promotion expire your cable bill goes up as much as 30% or more. 

The last two places I lived, the local cable company was the only provider for my area, so I got stuck with them and their over priced service. But since new services are popping up left and right the existing cable companies are facing challenges and fighting hard to keep every customer they can. 

Here is what you can do. 


1. Get your bill and check what services you have, what type of internet and what cable package etc. 

2. Now do a quick 5 minute research on other providers, like U-Verse, Fios, Dish etc.

3.This one is important: Go onto your cable providers website and start a Life chat! Do not call. The technicians at the life chat forums don't work directly for the company and are more willing to  help you  out. 

4. Have your account number ready and be cordial, don't play hard ball! 

5. Start your chat and let them know that you would like to lower your bill and that you are thinking to switch to another provider (if you can be specific... like U-Verse ) since they are cheaper. 

6. The technician will go back and forth with you and at some point during the chat I got the feeling that hey are dragging the chat out. ( while on the chat I made lunch, changed diapers and fold a laundry :)). But hang in there. 

7. Ask them about current promotions and if they offer you a promotion, take it. They are time limited mostly about 6 month to a year. 

I tried this today and I still have a few promotions until September that lower my bill, but I got rid of the extra HD charges which is about $15 a month. I did hear from people that they did end up saving about 30%
Give it a try and let me know:) 



Live with Passion


Daniela 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Most common cleaning supplies



Most common cleaning mistakes! 

1. Using harsh cleaning supplies. 

A lot of Cleaning supplies have really harsh chemicals in them that harmful. I think the first time we really become more aware of the chemicals is when we get our first family friend, a pet. We surly don't want to harm them. Then comes the first Baby, they love to take everything in their mouth and crawl on your floors. Certain leading brands are really harmful to your children.
The good part is that there are less harmful cleaning supplies out there. Here are some basics you should keep in our house. 
  • big container of white vinegar
  • baking soda 
  • fresh lemon/ or lemon juice
  • rubbing alcohol
  • hydrogen peroxide 
  • Dish soap
Make your own cleaning supplies and you will see that they clean as well, but less harmful to your family and much cheaper.

2. Mopping your Hardwood/Laminate floors.

I am sure by now everyone pretty much knows that your Hardwood floors should be cleaned with a damp mop and not a soaked mop. Too much water ruins your floors.
Also you only need a bucket of water with a little bit of white vinegar. That makes the floors nice and shiny and cleans them at the same time. Do not add Lemon to this mixture, since lemon is an acid and might take the finish of your floors. 

3. Too much Product. 

This one is a very common mistake. We think the ore the better the results will be but thats not only wasteful but also the opposite is true. 
A leading brand of hardwood floor cleaners has specific instructions on how much to use but a lot of use don't even measure we just pour a quick swish into the bucket. It will fire back, Hardwood/ Laminate and tile become really sticky. 
Same for laundry detergent, if you use too much you harm your clothes and they do start smelling. 

4. Use of Carpet refresher and fabric refresher.

The commercial on TV makes you believe that the smelling gym bag smells like a rosebush after using a fabric refresher... but what they don't tell you is that "the good smell" does not last very long and now you have to do it every day in order to make it smell good. If you use it on curtains and throw pillows you will notice that without the product they start smelling like damp old clothes that were left in the washer for a few days. Same goes for carpet refresher and they will break your vacuum cleaner, the fine dust will spread everywhere in will cause damage. 

5. Washing laundry on cold

Ok I have not tried the "cold water detergent" yet but my regular leading brand laundry detergent does not well with just cold water. The detergent leaves stains and fat stains. I prefer the warm cycles. Especially with little kids! 

Please let me now what you think a common cleaning mistake is!

Daniela

Saturday, July 14, 2012

                                                               Launch Pads 
                          
Launch Pads became really important in my house and will become even more important when my son starts preschool. 

Launch Pads are: 
Designated areas in your house that help you to be organized and get out of the house on time. 

Here is how it works:
I have different launch Pads throughout my house 
Bathroom
  • clothes for the day for myself 
changing table for my oldest 
  • clothes and shoes 
  • a book
Pack and Play:
  • clothes for our little guy
  • blanket for the day
  • burp cloth
  • pacifier 
Fridge:
  • Prepared milk sippy cup and juice 
  • milk for the baby 
Diaper Bag 
  • Restocked with diapers
  • extra change of clothes
  • snacks for the day 
  • wipes 
  • bib 
  • nursing cover 
  • cooler bottle bag 
  • wallet
Kitchen counter (small area) 
  • Sunglasses
  • car keys
  • protein bar 
  • phone
  • water 
Launch pads are to be prepared in the evening and really does not take very long, maybe 5-10 minutes. But the peace of a flawless "getting out of the house routine " is so worth it. You are not searching for that pacifier or thinking what clothes should I wear etc. 
even my husband mentioned how smooth and ON TIME we get out for church on Sundays. 
For me it is now essential when we have early plans in the morning. I totally regret when I do not plan ahead and pay for it with extra trips back and forth. 

Live with Passion 



Daniela

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Clean House


A Clean House?!







Wouldn't it be nice to have a cleaning service come, let's say once a week? Oh that would be lovely I could have so much more time. But that's not realistic, besides I like cleaning it is somewhat therapeutic. 
When I was working I had a cleaning person come twice a month and I loved it, but now being a SAHM does not justify a cleaning service. 
I personally love to clean when the kids are napping but that's for the bigger tasks like mopping the floors or wiping counters etc. So when I clean I either listen to an audio book or listen to one of my shows as background noise:) 
Here are a few tips that helps me, especially having two kids now things need to be organized and easy accessible. 

1. Everything has a place!

This one is super important and the key to a clean or picked up house. We all have clutter or items that we don't know where to place, for that I have a designated basket that I will store in my laundry room. I will clean it out every couple of days and find a designated place. Here you go clutter you earned yourself a spot in my house. 

2. BASKETS BASKETS AND BASKETS!

I love baskets they make for great storage solutions and look very decorative in your house. I have baskets in different areas of my house. 
  •  cute baskets on both of my staircases with nice little tags on them that say: Playroom, Zachy's room, Upstairs. Whenever I clean downstairs I will place items in the basket that belong to the upstairs rooms, I will bring them upstairs whenever I pass them and empty them. They will be put back on the stairs. 
  • portable baskets: Since we have a newborn who sleeps in our bedroom right now we change a lot of diapers. So I made a changing baskets for both of my boys, in there you will find: changing blanket, wipes, A&D, diapers sizes 2&5, thermometer, desitin. I have one for upstairs and downstairs. Once a week I will refill the diapers throughout the house. 
  • The "room to room basket": I have one basket that I will bring in every room when I clean, that way I don't always need to leave the room that I am in to place items where they belong. I place all the items into the basket and when I am done with the room I will then put the items where they belong. It saves me trips and time. 
3. prioritize and what makes the most impact!

I do not have a lot of time to clean in the mornings since we usually are out on a fun adventure, but I don't like to come home to a messy house either. So there are a few things that I do in the morning: 
  • Make the Bed as soon as you get up ( I try to get better at that) 
  • empty the dishwasher from the night before: that way you can place your dirty dishes you make during the day straight into the dishwasher.
  • Start a laundry, preferable the whites on a hot prewash cycle take the longest. 
4. Hold on there is one more thing before you leave the Room!

That one is really a brainer for me since my mind is always one step ahead! But let's say you go in your  kids room to get something, is there anything that needs to go into his room that's lying around the house, just new bought items from Target, like the diaper genie refill? And when you in your kids room is there anything that needs to go downstairs? Maybe the diaper genie needs to be changed? or the bed needs to be made! 
This way you keep the clutter to a minimum and you are in the room already, so why not giving it a quick scan:) 

5. Don't try to clean your entire house in one day!!!

This really does not work with kids anyway. But I found when I did hat in the past I got tired by the time I hit the last bathroom and my cleaning became a little sloppy. 
Designate Different weekdays for each room and don't beat yourself up if you don't get it done, make your bathrooms and kitchen your priority! 

And there is always next week :))

Live with passion 

Daniela



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

DIY Baby wipes

I tried this myself and I love these wipes better then the store bought kind. They are moister and clean much better. I use them mostly at home since I have not figured out how to make a diaper bag version.

Here is what you need

  • Paper Towel ( I used the Target Brand) 
  • 2 tablespoon of baby wash 
  • 1 tablespoon of baby oil 
  • 2 cups of water 


use sharp knife and cut paper towel in half 



Mix water, baby wash and baby oil and whisk. 



place paper towel in deep plastic container and pour water mixture over paper towel. now remove inner paper tube. 




pull first sheet from the inside of paper towel (like clorax wipes). with a knife cut a cross into plastic container lid. 


I did make some extra solution and I cut some more paper towel, so when I run out I am prepared. 


I hope you find this helpful, stay tuned for DIY Glass wipes. 

LIVE WITH PASSION 

Daniela 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Recipe: side dish- Polenta

Polenta is very yummy and makes a great side dish! I like mine from Trader Joes:)
Recipe #. 1: Polenta with Parmesan
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 polenta
1 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth
Optional: sun dried tomatoes

1. Dice onion and mince garlic put in hot skillet with a little olive oil for about 3-5 minutes.
2. Cut polenta in cubes and add to skillet. Add the chicken broth and stir until polenta looks like purée.
3. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve while hot

Recipe # 2: balsamic tomato polenta
Ingredients:
1 polenta
2 tomatoes sliced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Balsamic vinegar
Basil (dried)
Pinch of salt

1. Cut polenta and tomatoes in slices
2. In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and dried basil.
3. Brush polenta slices with olive oil mixture.
4. Heat skillet with olive oil and add polenta slices. Cook both sides for 2 minutes on medium heat.
5. Put tomato slices on top, cover skillet and let cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Add cheese in the end.
6. Serve on arugula or spinach bed.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How to store your fresh berries!

It is July! The season of Blueberries, raspberries and cherries!
Here are some tips and tricks how you can enjoy them longer!
• after your buy your berries wash
them in water with a splash of white
Vinegar added. ( kills the spores).
• rinse and dry on paper Towel.
• use plastic containers and line the
bottom with paper towel.
• place your berries in the plastic
container and close lit tight!

Voila Enjoy!
Live with passion every day!

Monday, July 2, 2012

UP UP UP....DOWN DOWN DOWN

Happy Monday!

Not sure how the weather is where you live but here in middle Tennessee it's so hot, dangerously hot. With a newborn and a 2 year old that's a combo of disaster if you can't get outside too much!
Here is one of my favorite games with my 28 month old!

I take his favorite small toys like his racing cars or Dino's! I then hide them throughout the house. My little guy loves Searching for his toys. While he is looking for them I give him directions like.... Look up, down, behind you, to the left, underneath etc. It teaches him directions, and places. Recently I found that he is using these words more and more in his everyday language:)

Live with passion and stay cool!