My Case for Converting to Being (a more) SimpleHuman

When my dad moved from assisted living to memory care some things changed.  Change isn’t a good thing when you have Alzheimer’s by-the-way.  One of these changes was from a bar of Zest soap on a soap tray next to the bathroom sink to an automatic soap dispenser.  Not only does dad forget to wash his hands, he has the limited ability to learn how to do this type of basic task if anything about the way he performs the task changes.  So, I stood just outside the door of the bathroom in his apartment a couple months back shocked to hear the “zip” of soap coming out of an automatic dispenser.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  Was it possible that my dad just used the soap dispenser in his bathroom?  Yep, yay!

A couple of weeks later, while calling my husband’s name from the kitchen with chicken juice hands, I thought, “why don’t we have automatic soap dispensers?”  “I need a pump of soap in my hand honey.”   How many times had he or I said this to the other while making dinner? 

If you are behind-the-curve like I was, it’s time to convert to automatic hand soap dispensers in your home kitchen and bathrooms.  This is especially important if you have children or guests in your home.  With all of the evidence out there proving hand washing reduces the spread of (bad) germs that lead to illness, why haven’t we all made the switch? 

When my kids get home, after taking off their shoes, they head straight into the bathroom and wash their hands.  Investing in automatic soap dispensers was an easy and affordable proactive step toward creating an even healthier home environment   Maybe we’ll have those automatic faucets one day, but for now, I consider this progress.

If you’re ready to convert like I did, it’s super easy to order the dispensers online from Amazon.  My favorite, and the one we have in our kitchen and bathrooms, is the SimpleHuman Brushed Nickel Sensor Pump (8oz).  It’s under $40 and worth every penny.  It takes 4 AA batteries and the lid on the back is simple to lift to refill with your favorite (homemade) hand soap.  (Reuse, Refill, Recycle - Right?)  And while you’re at it, check out the SimpleHuman Mini Round Step Trash Can.  It fits in those tight little bathrooms like ours.  I mean, what was I thinking when I put non-lidded trash cans in our bathrooms?  I guess I wasn’t thinking about the hair I pull out of the shower drain that just gets tossed in that trash can for all the world to see.

No more calling my husband into the kitchen to get a pump of soap squirted into my meat-juicy hands after prepping the kabobs for the grill.  I kind of miss that (lol) but am pretty sure he doesn’t!

A Month in Pictures

I've been eager to post an update for weeks.  My bucket is overflowing with things to share- lots happening this spring.

Outside the windows of our cozy little abode, the grass is green, the air is warm and the birds are reminding us that it's "that time of year."  (a scene right out of Bambie)  The poppy and alyssum seeds are sprouting and little buds are popping up all around the rose bushes.  The bay tree outside my bedroom glass door is probably one of the most spectacular visions with it's puffy, creamy yellow blossoms against the shiny, deep green leaves.  And, the birds are up at dawn waking the neighborhood while the critters are busily bustling around on the telephone wires, in the trees and along the fences.

Aside from watching the action outdoors, I've been in the kitchen baking away.  Mostly baking hundreds of cookies.  My life in pictures..

 Star Cookies

Star Cookies

 Cookies for Riverdale's Prom

Cookies for Riverdale's Prom

 Ginger Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ginger Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cookies

But it's not all about cookies!  Some days it's also about DIY homemade aprons.  A shout out to my home economics teachers who taught me how to sew!

myaprons_jpg

Since I couldn't find aprons to suit me, I put my trusty ol' Hobbie sewing machine (the one I paid a $1 for at a garage sale) to work, and made my own.   I was fortunate to come across an exceptional bit of cloth (hemp / linen mix) in the perfect oatmeal hue. 

I've put my aprons to good use and did a little more baking.

 Bear Claws Before

Bear Claws Before

 Bear Claws After

Bear Claws After

 Boston Brown Bread Baked in a #10 Can (Coffee Can)

Boston Brown Bread Baked in a #10 Can (Coffee Can)

 Hazelnut Brownies

Hazelnut Brownies

I also made my second batch of homemade hand and body cream and a derby bourbon pecan pie.

 DIY Hand & Body Cream

DIY Hand & Body Cream

 Derby Bourbon Pecan Pie

Derby Bourbon Pecan Pie

 And, fed my Weck jar obsession.  (more almond milk)

And, fed my Weck jar obsession.  (more almond milk)

 Spending Time with Justin in the Kitchen

Spending Time with Justin in the Kitchen

 Poppy Before

Poppy Before

 Poppy After

Poppy After

Watching the flowers grow..

 Mother's Day at   Prasad   with Julian (Jules)

Mother's Day at Prasad with Julian (Jules)

 Peonies from Jules

Peonies from Jules

 Same Peonies Now

Same Peonies Now

For the past couple of years Justin and I have attended the Lake Oswego Art Show to browse the work of local artists.  This year we brought home a horse painted by our favorite artist.

My Horse

My work..

 My Little Pastry Case

My Little Pastry Case

 Mango Upside Down Cake & Mexican Mocha Cupcakes

Mango Upside Down Cake & Mexican Mocha Cupcakes

 Swan on the Lake - my version of an eclair

Swan on the Lake - my version of an eclair

 Birthday Cupcakes for an Event

Birthday Cupcakes for an Event

Springing Forward!

Hi Friends,

Can you believe it's already Sunday and the first week of March is behind us?  I was pleasantly surprised this morning when a notification popped up on my phone reminding me of daylight savings time.  I really didn't mind getting up either because it's been such wonderful weather.  I had a great 1st week at Lake Theater & Cafe and the weather this weekend has been amazing too; in the high 60's-low 70's!  I'm looking forward to more weeks like this.

Before I get into what I've been up to, I wanted to follow-up on our progress toward mindful meal planning.  We did really well during the trial-run week.  We made lots of home-cooked meals and watched our spending.   That being said, WEEK 1 has taken a bit of an unexpected turn.  I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast this past week and learned about Christa Orecchio's The Whole Journey candida cleanse program.  It sounded very intriguing and stirred my interest, based on my background in nutrition.   After doing some research, I decided to try it.  (my version)  A little internal spring cleaning!   

Here's what we bought WEEK 1 Groceries:  

  • Jarrow Formulas Saccharomyces Boulardii+MOS
  • Traditional Medicinals Organic (OG) dandelion leaf & root herbal tea
  • The Republic of Tea Decaf Ginger Peach Green Tea (this is my daily green tea)
  • Great Plains bentonite clay (liquid dietary supplement)
  • Gaia Olive Leaf (vegetarian liquid phyto-caps dietary supplement)
  • Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (ordered online, fresh water type, Amorphous Silica)
  • Traditional Medicinals Pau d’Arco tea (ordered online, have not yet received)
  • Evolution essential greens with lemon
  • California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil
  • Dr. Bronner's OG coconut oil
  • OG large brown eggs
  • OG Grass fed ground beef
  • 2 OG whole chickens
  • Whole black pepper
  • Fennel seed
  • OG Sprouted corn tortillas (refrigerated)
  • OG Raw cashews
  • A bunch of OG sweet basil
  • Roasted garlic hummus
  • A bunch of OG spinach
  • A head of OG Romaine lettuce
  • 3 Lg OG avocado
  • 2 OG sweet potato (have not yet eaten)
  • 1 OG butternut squash (roasted it, not even 1/2 eaten)
  • 1 bunch asparagus (have not yet eaten)
  • 2 Med OG tomato
  • Ginger root
  • 4 Sm OG zucchini1 head OG red leaf lettuce
  • 1 head OG green leaf lettuce
  • 1 container OG mixed baby greens
  • 2 Med OG cucumber
  • 1 OG fennel bulb
  • 2 bunches OG carrots
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 bunches OG kale
  • 1 OG onion
  • 1 bunch OG celery
  • 4 Sm bulbs OG garlic
  • 5 Sm OG limes
  • 3 Lg OG lemons
  • 2 OG Granny Smith apples
  • Stout beer (Justin's)
  • Frontera blue corn tortilla chips (New Seasons)
  • Echo Falls Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon (New Seasons)
  • New Season's guacamole (New Seasons)
  • Mary's Gone Crackers super seed crackers (New Seasons)
  • Brunswick boneless herring fillet (kippered snacks, Market of Choice )
  • Amy's vegetarian OG refried beans with mild green chilies (Market of Choice)

We shopped at Whole Foods Market except where otherwise indicated in the list.  The WEEK 1 Cost was $274.63.  (ouch, the supplements are expensive!)  Hopefully spending the money now to do some internal spring cleaning will save us money in healthcare costs in the future.  I won't go into every little detail of Christa's program here but want to share what I've experienced with you.  For an overview, I would suggest listening to the Balanced Bite podcast #180 and checking out The Whole Journey website.  Also, a quick online search could turn-up a pdf version of the program protocol (62 pgs).   After a week of pH testing, checking my saliva spit tests, drinking the "sludgy" cocktail, popping probiotics, waiting for gelatin to bloom and riding the antifungal rotation roller-coaster, I actually feel great, have not cheated once and am not having any food cravings.   The only side effects I experienced, cold sweats and headache, appeared on Tuesday the 3rd. I diligently followed the program protocol but, because of my size, reduced the dosage of probiotics and antifungal supplements recommended in the materials.  Unfortunately, it took a couple of days to get the diatomaceous earth so I started taking it a few days into the program.  And, I still haven't received the Pau d' Arco tea I ordered online.  Because it was the first antifungal on the 4-day rotation, I filled that gap with Dandelion leaf & root herbal tea.  For the past 4 days, I've been taking an olive leaf extract supplement, tomorrow will be the first day of 4 days on the grapefruit seed extract, followed by 4 days of oregano oil and by then, the Pau d'Arco tea should be here and I'll be able to start the 2nd 4 day rotation on-track.

Here are my notes after the first week:  

  • Continued the saliva spit test all week and all appeared positive for candida.  Note to self: plan to research the validity of this test online as time allows.
  • My new homemade "dressing": I mix it into salad greens, eat spread on my sprouted corn tortilla or spread over shredded organic chicken in a cast iron skillet and bake.  Ok, maybe I put this on just about anything!  To make, put equal parts cilantro, parsley and sweet basil into the small bowl of a food processor.  The bowl should be almost full of loose leaves (do not pack).  Add the juice from 1/2 a lime, salt, black pepper and process until the leaves have reduce significantly in size (similar to pesto).  Next, add 1/2 an avocado and 2 heaping spoons full of hummus and process again.  While it's processing, slowly pour olive oil into the processor to emulsify until it's the texture of a loose dip.  Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator  to keep fresh. 
  • For bone broth: I frequently add Great Lakes unflavored gelatin and shredded, roasted chicken meat to mine.  To make 1 cup:
    • heat a small sauce pan, add ghee and heat to melt
    • add roasted, shredded chicken meat (amount to taste) until it begins to brown
    • add Christa's Homemade immunity Spice Mixture to coat the chicken and continue to heat about 30 seconds to a minute longer (to bloom spices, approx. 1 tsp per cup of broth)
    • Pour 3/4 Cup of broth to the sauce pan and bring to a boil
    • Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of broth into a small glass bowl and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp  gelatin (I stir it).  Let the gelatin sit for about 5 minutes to allow it time to fully bloom
    • Add the bloomed gelatin to the sauce pan, stir to dissolve completely and reduce heat to simmer
  • Good snack: Frontera brand blue corn tortilla chips (organic indigo blue corn, corn oil, sea salt and trace of lime)  I realize this is made with corn oil but am only consuming in moderation (per the protocol) with New Season's guacamole (avocados, onions, cilantro, chilies, garlic, lime juice, salt & spices)
  • I like: Echo Falls Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon (salmon, hickory smoke)  This comes packaged ready to eat lox-style.
  • I soaked quinoa (had on-hand) in water for 3 hours, cooked it in bone broth and stored it in the refrigerator.
  • Try making blueberry almond milk - blend 1/4 cup frozen blueberries into 1 cup almond milk.
blueberryalmondmilk.jpg

  • For a snack spread to eat on Mary's Gone Crackers crackers, heat a Tbsp of coconut oil in a small cast iron skillet, add mashed butternut squash and a tsp of Christa's Homemade Immunity Spice Mixture.  Next add a small pour of bone broth, a Tbsp of cashew butter and salt and pepper to taste.  Heat until the bone broth has evaporated and the mixture is heated through and well combined.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.  Spread on crackers, add a piece of Echo Falls Smoked Wild Alaskan Salmon and top with a round of cucumber.
crackerspread.jpg

hile we spent a lot getting started on this interesting program, our grocery expense should be quite a bit less in WEEK 2.  I should mention that I didn't follow the recipes provided in the program but instead, created my own meals based on the program guidelines (a good exercise).

In the midst of being pretty consumed by the girls, all this meal planning stuff and work this week, I managed to stumble on a pretty cool spanish terracotta dish during one of our outings to New Seasons Market.  This is very exciting for me.  I have a single set of 6 glazed terracotta muffin cups, a random purchase I made years and years ago, that produce the most fabulous baked muffins.  I've since tried to find more just like them with no luck.  The dish isn't a muffin cup but if it produces the same quality baked items, I can't wait to put it to use.  I have to wait though because it has to soak for 6 hours prior to use.

terracottamuffincups.jpg
terracottadish.jpg