Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homemade Cleaners

So, a few years back I was very dissatisfied with cleaners I was buying from the store.  I am talking about expensive brands, cheap brands, store brands, you name it.  I started wondering about making your own cleaners.  I mean come on, way back when you couldn't buy all these cleaners at the store.  So, I started doing some research online.  The first thing I wanted to look into was an All-Purpose Cleaner.  Something that I could use to clean my bathroom, my counters, etc.  I found one that I really liked and started using it.  However, the more I kept looking into homemade cleaners, the more I started trying out other cleaners.  I made a homemade bathroom cleaner that I adore.  I could not believe that way it made my tub shine!  So, I started using those cleaners regularly and stopped buying store bought.  My hubby (being the smart one he is) discovered a homemade window cleaner that is incredible!  I don't care what they saw, Windex, and all the other brands will leave streaks....always.  This homemade cleaner does not and our windows have never been more 'clear'!  I use it on mirrors, our tv, computers, phones (touch phones), CD's and DVD's, too!  I was also very frustrated with my wood floor cleaner.  I have wood laminate, so they're not REAL wood, but I use wood floor cleaner.  Well, I noticed how my floor never "shined" like I wanted it to, or how it rarely looked like I mopped it (which I did!), I became very frustrated.  So, I looked up online homemade wood floor cleaner and found that if you just use warm water and ammonia it works like magic!  My floor shines and it stays that way!  Even after a week and people have trampled on it, it still shines!  I have been so impressed with homemade cleaners of all types and highly recommend them. Plus it is MUCH cheaper to make your own!  I have never tried to make my own laundry or dish detergent, but I know you can.  Maybe this will be the next thing I try...until then, here is a list of my favorite "recipes" for homemade cleaners.  Enjoy and get cleaning!

All-Purpose Cleaner
½ Cup Vinegar
¼ Cup Baking Soda (or 2 t borax)
½ gallon (2 liters) water
Store overnight, shake up the next day and you’re ready to go! Use on water deposit stains, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc!
Homemade Window Cleaner
½ Cup Ammonia
½ Cup vinegar

1 TBSP dish soap
Combine in a spray bottle and fill the rest of the way up with water.
Comet Type Scrubber
Baking Soda
salt (optional)
Sprinkle baking soda onto sinks, counters, and anywhere else. Dampen slightly and scrub with a soft cloth.
Carpet Deodorizer
Baking Soda
Sprinkle baking soda onto carpets. Let sit for 15-60 minutes and then vacuum. I was amazed at how it also softened my carpets!

Bathroom Cleaner
½ Cup dish soap
Fill rest of the bottle up with vinegar
Laminate Floor Cleaner
½ cup Ammonia
1 gallon hot water
Mop with as you would any other floor cleaner.

Counter Cleaner
Bucket full of water (or fill your sink about ½ way full)
Put in 2 caps full of vinegar. Scrub your counters and be amazed at how they shine!
Drain Cleaner
½ cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon boiling water
Pour baking soda down drain/disposal, followed by vinegar. Allow the mixture to foam for several minutes before flushing the drain with boiling water. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meal Plan week of March 14-20

A few people have been asking me to share my meal plans.  So, I thought this would be a great way to do that!  I have included most of the recipes, in case you want to try it out yourself!  Enjoy!!!

Monday:  Recipe: Southwestern chicken and pasta, homemade wheat rolls, salad
Dietitian's tip: To reduce the amount of sodium in this recipe, use homemade salsa instead of store-bought salsa. To make the salsa, combine chopped fresh tomatoes, diced onions and peppers, cilantro and fresh lime juice. 
  • 1 cup uncooked rigatoni
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each 4 ounces, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 1/2 cups canned unsalted tomato sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh or canned corn
  • 1/4 cup shredded CoJack (Colby and Monterey Jack) cheese
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly.
Spray a large, heavy skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, saute the chicken until browned and opaque throughout, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the salsa, tomato sauce, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black beans and corn. Stir thoroughly and cook until heated through. Add the pasta and gently toss to mix evenly.
Divide the pasta between individual plates. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve immediately. 
Nutritional Analysis (per serving) 
Calories 482 Cholesterol 81 mg
Protein 41 g Sodium 700 mg
Carbohydrate 59 g Fiber 8 g
Total fat 8 g Potassium 700 mg
Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 151 mg
Monounsaturated fat 2 g    

Tuesday: Chicken Florentine Pania & Mixed Vegetables

1 (10 oz) can Pillsbury Refrigerated Pizza Crust
1 (9 oz) pkg. frozen spinach
1/2 cup mayo
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T olive oil
1 Cup chopped red onion
1 T sugar
1 T cider vinegar
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 t dried Italian seasoning
4 (4 in) slices provolone cheese

Heat oven to 375.  Unroll dough; place in ungreased 15x10x1 in. baking pan.  Starting at enter, press out dough to edges of pan.  Bake for 10 mins. Cool until completely cooled.
Meanwhile, cook spinach as directed on package.  Drain well, squeeze dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, combine mayo and 1 garlic clove, mix well and refrigerate.
Heat oil in small saucepan ovr medium-high heat.  Add onion, cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until crisp tender.  Add sugar and vinegar.  Reduce heat to low simmer 3-5 mins. or until most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
To flatten each chicken breast half, place between two pieces of plasti wrap or wax paper.  Working from center, gently pound chicken with flat side of meal mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick; remove wrap.  sprinkle chicken with Italian seasoning and minced garlic.
Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat over medium-high heat until hot.  Add chicken, cook 8 minutes or until browned, fork tender and juices run clear, turning once.
Cut cooled pizza crust into 4 rectangles.  Spead each piece with 1 T mayo mixture.  Top 2 rectangles with chicken, spinach, onion mixture, cheese and remaining crust rectangles.
Heat large cast iron skillet over med-high heat until hot.  Place small skillet or panini skillet on top to flatten slightly.  Cook 4-6 minutes or until crisp, and heated through, turning once (not if you have panini press, don't turn then). Cut each warm sandwich into quarters.

Mixed Veggies Grilled or Roasted
Mix together in a bowl:
8 asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 strips
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium sweet potato, cut into rounds 1/4 inch thick
For seasoning:
2 T light brown sugar
1 1/2 t basil leaves
1 1/2 t garlic salt
1/2 t table salt
1/8 t ground pepper 

Drizzle vegetables with 2 T olive oil.  Toss with seasonsings, coat well.  
For grill, place veggies directly onto preheated grill or large broiler pan.  Cook over med. heat, stirring often, about 10 minutes until they are fork tender.
For roasted: place in a shallow pan and bake at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.
6 servings.

Wednesday: Roast with potatoes and veggies

Thursday: Jamaican barbecued pork tenderloin 
Dietitian's tip: As lean as chicken breast, pork tenderloin has a milder, slightly sweet flavor. Here, it's coated with a jerk-style spice rub and grilled or broiled. 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound, trimmed of visible fat
1 1/2 teaspoons dark honey
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons white vinegar

In a bowl, combine the ginger, allspice, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Place the meat into the bowl and rub the spice mixture over the pork. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler (grill) to medium-high or 400 F.
In another small bowl, combine the honey, tomato paste, vinegar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to blend. Set aside.
Place the pork on the grill rack or broiler pan. Grill or broil at medium-high heat, turning several times, until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat and continue cooking for about 14 to 16 minutes. Baste with the vinegar-honey glaze and continue cooking until the pork is slightly pink inside and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 160 F (3 to 4 minutes longer). Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
To serve, slice the pork tenderloin crosswise into 16 pieces and arrange on a warmed serving platter, or divide the slices among individual plates. 
Nutritional Analysis (per serving) 
Serving size: 4 pork tenderloin slices
Calories 180 Monounsaturated fat 3 g
Protein 24 g Cholesterol 75 mg
Carbohydrate 6 g Sodium 508 mg
Total fat 6 g Fiber 1 g
Saturated fat 2 g    

Recipe: New York strip steak with whiskey-mushroom sauce (I don't like the whiskey sauce, so I will just be making steaks) 
Dietitian's tip: The nutrient analysis for this New York strip steak includes 75 calories from the whiskey, which is counted as a sweet when calculating servings and exchanges. 
  • 2 New York strip steaks, each 4 ounces, trimmed of all visible fat
  • 1 teaspoon trans-free margarine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 ounces button mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
Grill or broil the steaks until slightly pink on the inside, about 10 minutes each side. Or until a food thermometer indicates 145 F (medium rare), 160 F (medium) or 170 F (well done). Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
In a small saucepan, heat the margarine over medium heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms, thyme and rosemary. Saute lightly until the mushrooms are tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully add the whiskey (be careful not to flame). Stir the sauce for another minute. Top the steaks with the mushrooms sauce and serve immediately. 
Nutritional Analysis (per serving) 
Serving size: 1 steak
Calories 296 Cholesterol 63 mg
Protein 26 g Sodium 87 mg
Carbohydrate 4 g Fiber 1 g
Total fat 12 g Potassium 561 mg
Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 22 mg
Monounsaturated fat 6 g  

Saturday: BBQ Steak Burritos
Makes 10 burritos

Marinade Ingredients
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
2 rib-eye steaks (you can use chicken too!)

Burrito Ingredients
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
3 cups white rice, cooked
1 cup barbecue sauce
10 (10 inch) tortillas

Trim fat from steaks, remove bones, then cut meat into short, thin strips. Mix marinade ingredients in a medium bowl, add the steak, and mix to coat. Chill for at least 2 hours.

After the steak has been chilled, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir-fry the garlic, jalapeno, bell pepper, and steak. 

Turn off heat and add cooked rice and barbecue sauce. Mix until combined well. Lay warmed tortillas on a flat surface. Spoon about 3/4 cup of filling onto each tortilla and wrap. Serve with more barbecue sauce drizzled on top of each burrito if you wish.

For moist tortillas that wrap easily, layer the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, placing a slightly moistened paper towel between each one. Microwave for 30 seconds or until the tortillas are warm and moist. Dry tortillas will tear and taste chalky.

Sunday:  Leftovers