Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Pot Pasta In A Flash

Since we are eating bigger lunches and itty bitty dinners these days, I was looking for a good, quick pasta dish to make the other day (I will not live in a world without pasta, I don't care how healthy I am trying to be), and I came across this one.  After tweaking it a bit for my family, I tested it, and it was a hit!

I hope it is for your family too!

Here goes:

In a good sized pot, dump a bunch of uncooked pasta.  I used roughly 12 oz, and I think I will be eating it all week.  Also, I used penne.  Because I love penne.  Feel free to use whatever you love.  Here it is:

To the uncooked pasta add a handful of fresh basil:

Just chop it up and throw it in there.  It's pretty.  See:

Guess what?  I got that basil right off of my own basil plant.  Grew it right on my porch.  I guess I can grow something after all. *Stands back in amazement, nearly collapses*

Than add a can of diced tomatoes:

You could use fresh tomatoes too, if you have the time.  I didn't, so canned it was.  Would it help if they were low sodium?  In the interest of full disclosure, they weren't.  Oh well.

A whole lot of fresh garlic.  Really.  A. Whole. Lot.  Because garlic is good:

About a 1/4 cup of white wine, give or take (mostly give, of course.  Duh.):

And 1/2 a sliced onion:

Now give it all a good mix...

...And add about 3 1/2 - 4 cups of broth.  I used chicken, but you could use veggie if that is your thing:

A drizzle of olive oil:

And a pinch of Oregano, which I forgot to take a picture of.  *Sigh*

Give it all another good stir, bring it to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and let it go for about 7-10 minutes, stirring it every few minutes.  Remember, it is going to keep cooking after you turn off the heat, so better to stop a little underdone than to get it just perfect and have it be mushy 5 minutes later. 

That's it.  Seriously.  The pasta cooks in the broth, and what you are left with is a saucy pasta dish chock full of flavor.  Add whatever you want from there.  I plan to add some grilled chicken next time.  Oh, and sprinkle some parmesan over it.  That would probably make it perfect.

Quick.  Easy.  One pot.  What more could I want?

Except maybe some bread to go with it.  Because we all know how I feel about bread.  Very similar to how I feel about coffee.

What is your favorite fast lunch?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Best Stain Remover Ever!

 Lately, Noodle has been loving having smoothies for breakfast.  Smoothies with blueberries and strawberries in them.  Smoothies that look awfully purple just sitting in a glass.

The other morning it was a bit chaotic around these parts, and I let Noodle drink her breakfast smoothie while sitting on my bed watching something extremely educational, like Word Girl.

When I finally got around to making my bed that morning, want to know what I found?  You guessed it.  Smoothie splorp.  In. My. Bed.

I have cream colored sheets.

The smoothie was purple.

And had dried.

You can guess my reaction.

Now, if I had had my wits about me, I would have started taking pictures of what happened next, but I didn't so any pictures you see in this post are a recreation.  Sorry about that.

Here is a recreation of what my sheet looked like, using a white (not cream, WHITE) tea towel that I have:

Need to see that a little closer?

Yeah, I know.  Ick.

Contrary to what you might think, I didn't panic.  Or scream.  Or throw things.  No, I very calmly stripped the sheets from my bed and took them into the laundry room where I keep a bottle that looks like this:

The bottle says Basic H on it, but that isn't what's in it.  It also says Windows on it.  It isn't for windows.  It was just an extra that I had sitting around, and I mixed up some powdered Nature Bright and water in it about, oh, maybe 3 or 4 months ago. 

Nature Bright is a natural laundry booster along the lines of Oxiclean, but all natural, biodegradable, phosphate free and bleach free.  Oh, and awesome.  It's that, too.

By the way, if you try mixing up Nature Bright and water for a stain remover, be sure to leave the lid off of the bottle for a while.  A good, long while.  And don't fill it too full.  See Nature Bright reacts in water, and bubbles are formed, which may or may not have an interesting reaction if you store it with the lid closed too tightly. 

I had sort of forgotten about it, since I haven't had any really impressive stains to get out lately.  Pretty much everything has come out just with my Shaklee laundry detergent.  But I was pretty sure that the smoothie stain was a keeper if I didn't do more than just detergent.  So out came the Nature Bright mixture.

I sprayed it right on the stain:

And check out what happened when I sprayed it right on the stain:

I about had a heart attack.  I was pretty sure I had just made the biggest mistake ever.

But I kept spraying, really saturating the fabric.  And I let it sit for a bit, then sprayed some more.  Then just for good measure, I rubbed a little detergent on it and let it sit for even longer.  Then I sprayed some more, and went to do something else.

And forgot about it.


When I went back to it a few hours later it had dried.

And the stain was completely gone.


So I threw it in the washer and dryer, and ended up with this:

I repeat:

It's actually good that I had to recreate it on my white tea towel to see if it was a fluke, but no.  It happened exactly the same way.  Right down to forgetting about it, which we won't discuss, because that says more about me than I care to admit.

If you haven't guessed by now, I am completely thrilled with my Shaklee products.  So much so, that I can't encourage you enough to try it for yourself.  And to make that easier, I am offering a free Shaklee membership to anyone that wants to try it out in the month of July.  That's a $19.95 value for free, and that membership lets you save 15% on all products!  Oh, and there is no minimum purchase for the free membership, and no monthly commitment after you buy (but be warned, you will keep buying.  It's just that good!).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sock Dryer Balls With Essential Oils

Want something to do with your socks once they get a hole in them and are of no use to you anymore?  Try this:

Take a pair of socks with holes:

Why, yes, it does look like they are different sizes.  I don't know if that is because they are different sizes, or because they are stretched from being rolled.  Keep reading.  You'll understand what I mean.

Take some essential oils of your choice.  I use Lemon and Lavendar.  Sometimes.  Sometimes I use Wild Orange all by it's little self.  And sometimes I use Lime.  Because I love lime and pretty much use it for everything.  And sometimes I use Citrus Bliss, because it has all the scents I love and smells a little bit like the recovery drink that I have after I work out.  When I work out, because it's pretty hit and miss, and my recovery drink is all that gets me through my workout.  Because it is so, so yummy.  In fact, let's use Citrus Bliss for our purposes today, wanna?  Because I do.

Now, put several drops of essential oil on your first sock.

Drop it right around where the ball of your foot would be.  How many drops?  How much do you want your laundry to smell?  Because if you want the scent to stick with your laundry, you need to put a pretty good amount on there.  I am happy just having my dryer smell amazing every time I open the door so I just use about 10 drops or so.

Now roll the sock up from the toes to the top, as tight as you can (you want it to be dense)...

...and fold the top of the sock over the roll to hold it in place.

Now take the second sock and put several more drops of essential oil on the ball of the foot of that sock.

Place the rolled up sock on the toe of the flat sock...

...and roll it all up, just like you did with the first sock...

...and fold the top of the sock over the whole roll to hold it in place.

Voila!  There you have your new sock dryer ball.  If the socks were big enough, you should have a little heavyish bundle that can bounce around in your laundry and help your clothes (or anything else you are drying) both dry faster and smell better.  Do this with a few pairs of socks and you have a little army of dryer efficiency.

Hooray for no more thrown away socks!

What essential oils would you like your dryer/laundry room to smell like?