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Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Save Water, Money, and Empower Yourself

Did you know that saving water is good for your pocketbook, conserves a dwindling, precious natural resource, and empowers you? To assure we have enough water to meet daily needs now and in the future, we need to do our share. I'll describe which efforts worked for me. Please try them as well as think of additional ways you can save water too.

First, ask yourself whether you’re for water and take the “WaterSense Pledge.” It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Check toilets for silent leaks (the link below explains how).
2. Twist and tighten pipe connections.
3. Replace the fixture if necessary. 

See more at WaterSense Pledge

Then, look for the WaterSense Label, which is affixed to products that have been independently tested and certified to meet EPA WaterSense criteria for efficiency and performance. Following are many easy ways to save water, so read to the end. After you're through, please take a moment to comment. I'd love to hear whether you're concerned about a water shortage throughout the world and what are your tips for conserving water too. Here's the sign that will appear in stores that sell WaterSense Products.


We recently updated an older model toilet to a new gravity-flush water efficient model. Our old toilet was stained from the hard water we have here in Arizona, and the toilet had started to leak. My husband and I were mindful to purchase a new one that limits water consumption to 1.28 gallons or less per flush and is designed to resist staining. It does the job, reduces water consumption, and saves money too, because low-flow toilets reduce water usage by 40% to 50% a year.

We found out that if a toilet was made before 1991, and you replace it with one that carries the WaterSense label, you may be eligible for a tax rebate from your local water supply company or municipality. The store where you purchase your new toilet will supply rebate information and discuss details about rebate programs in your area. 

By replacing old, inefficient toilets with the WaterSense labeled models, the average family can save at least $110 per year in water costs, and $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilets. Nationally, if all old, inefficient toilets in the United States were replaced with WaterSense labeled models, we could save 520 billion gallons of water per year, or the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in about 12 days. 

For more information contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Helpline at- 1-866-987-7367 or write the Office of Wastewater Management (4204M), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20460.

See what makes it easier to pick out a new toilet from Consumer Reports at Consumer Reports Help for Selecting Low-Flow Toilet


Wash only full loads of laundry to get the most out of water use. Your washing machine water level should assure that clothes are immersed in water and move easily, but goes no higher. When it’s time to replace this appliance, choose one that has a top Energy Star rating. In the long run, you'll save dollars and water. Energy Star certified clothes washers use about 20% less energy and 35% less water than regular washers. They also have a greater tub capacity which means you can wash fewer loads to clean the same amount of laundry.


Convert to a water efficient shower head and cut your showers by two minutes. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons per month.


Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats running tap water to cool it for drinking. This measure saves 200 to 300 gallons a month. 


Be sure to fix all leaking faucets. The water that comes out of faucets in your home or apartment accounts for more than 15 % of your total indoor water use or 1 trillion gallons of water across America each year. The aerator tip of the faucet determines the maximum flow rate of the faucet. If you have an older kitchen faucet, consider getting an inexpensive new, water-effective one.

When preparing fruits and veggies, refrain from using running water to clean them. Instead, fill the sink or a large bowl with water and immerse produce to clean. Afterward, water can go to water plants in your garden and cuttings can be dumped on your compost pile.
This can save 150 to 250 gallons of water per month.

"When you're brushing your teeth, turn off water, while you are actually brushing. Use short bursts of water for cleaning your brush. This saves about 80% of the water normally used.” For additional tips about conserving water go to the Water Project Website Water Project 17 Tips for Conserving Water


For home landscaping water needs, remember automatic landscape irrigation systems are a home's biggest water user. To make sure you're not over-watering, adjust your irrigation controller at least once a month to account for changes in the weather and install a rain shutoff device, soil moisture sensor, or humidity sensor to better control irrigation. Create a visually attractive landscape by selecting low-water, drought-resistant plants. Conform to water conservation methods like watering early in the day and plan for water harvesting of rainwater and gray water use.

Here’s a thought provoking article from Robert Brears who eloquently states, “We live in an interconnected world where water and food scarcity will impact us all no matter where we live in the world.” See it at

When you take simple steps to reduce, reuse, and conserve water you are being proactive and this is empowering. Help yourself, your family, your country, and the world by doing your part in saving this finite resource. "Water is key to all life and survival." Nancy Andres

The quotation for today follows:

Water is the driver of Nature -Leonardo da Vinci 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrate July 4th with a Luscious Red, White, and Blue Dessert

Prepare a colorful strawberry, blueberry, and coconut dessert to celebrate Independence Day or any day you want a healthful treat. You're sure to see smiles on the faces of family and guests as you look round your dinner or picnic table, if you serve it. This three ingredient recipe is a snap to assemble. Just follow the steps below.


1 Quart Organic Strawberries or about 16 oz. of berries that are lightly washed in cool water and hulled (see links below)
1 Quart Organic Blueberries or about 16 oz. that are washed in cool water
1 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut (either fine or coarsely shredded)

Read what Molly Watson @ says about washing and hulling strawberries.

4 hulled strawberries

What to Do:

1. Wash and hull strawberries and wash blueberries as described above. Place them in a medium-sized glass bowl and mix them together.
2. Sprinkle the berries with coconut flakes.
3. Insert serving spoons into bowl and place on your holiday table or portion out into individual dessert dishes for a more formal touch.

Strawberries and blueberries contain many healthful elements. They are high in vitamin C and phytonutrients and have no cholesterol. The shredded coconut provides fiber, iron, and healthy fat that satisfies and staves off hunger. 

Look at the links below for additional nutrition facts from

Nutrition facts about blueberries

Serve this color rich dessert to celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 4th or on any day you want to have fun topping off your meal with a red, white, and blue dessert.

Before you go, please ask yourself how often you serve summer berries, those you find at a farmer's market, pick in a home garden, or purchase at a local shop. Produce loses nutrients the longer you keep it, so please serve within a day or two of purchase. What are your favorite ways to serve strawberries and blueberries? Please share about that by leaving a comment on this blog. I'd love to learn about your favorite recipes and concerns.

Here's the quotation for today from Jordin Sparks:

"I love berries. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, anything with an 'errie' in it!"

This post is shared at Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Hop
The-Healthy-Happy-Green-Natural-Party-Blog-Hop # 32

This post is shared at The Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up # 19
The Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up # 19

Saturday, June 7, 2014

How to Make Fabulous Cooking Spray in 2 Easy Steps

Make your own healthy, happy, and eco-friendly homemade cooking spray from 2 ingredients you probably already have on hand. It’s economical, gentle on our planet, and good for your health.

How to do it:

1. Get a small glass spray bottle, remove the top, and sterilize both parts by placing them in a saucepan of boiled water that is off the stove. Let the spray bottle and top soak for a few moments.

2. Use a funnel and pour in 5 parts distilled or filtered water to 1 part organic canola or organic soybean oil. Then, put on the top. Make the commitment to your health to use organic products, and avoid ingesting genetically modified ingredients. 

Here’s a link from that provides information about cooking oil fat content and health benefits.  WebMD

    This is a link that explains when it's appropriate to use olive oil:

Note: It’s true that oil and water don’t mix, but if you shake the container right before you need to use the spray, enough will combine to make it work.

Why Mixing up your own oil spray is a good idea:

Compared to using a costly cooking oil spray sold in supermarkets, this homemade version costs pennies on the dollar.

Commercial sprays contain propellant as a rule, a chemical that enables the substances inside the can to be misted. Most contain grain alcohol as a preservative, and some contain artificial flavors and additives too. All are ingredients I'd rather not have.

The aluminum spray bottles used to house commercial sprays have to be thrown out after they are empty, and aluminum may have a link to Alzheimer’s’ disease. Read about it here:

Glass or BPA free plastic spray bottles can be reused. When you make your own cooking oil spray, you are free to select the exact grade of cooking oil you prefer and control the quality of the oil. I used organic canola oil, because it has a high smoke point.

Note: Try experimenting with the percentage of water to oil being used, and see whether you can reduce the fat content even more.

Happy Cooking with your New Homemade Spray Cooking Oil Dispenser Folks! 

* Please let me know which kind of oil you prefer and how this make-your-own venture turned out for you.

Here's the Quotation for today:

The people who can most successfully lose weight and maintain a healthy life style are foodies. When it comes to healthy eating, people who know how to cook and make ingredients taste good have a distinct advantage over those who can't.

Edward UgelI'm With Fatty: Losing Fifty Pounds in Fifty Miserable Weeks, 2010

This post is linked up to the:
Share the Food & Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #15

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I'm in the mood to cook, Good Eats include baby bok choy, portobella mushrooms and brown rice

Baby Bok Choy, Portobella 


and Brown Rice Dinner

I love the contrasting colors, savory and pungent flavors, spicy aromas, and health benefits of eating this low fat, complex carbohydrate, nutrient rich gluten free dish so much that I serve it often. See whether this fresh medley of goodness entices you.


1 lg. red organic onion peeled and chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
2 portobella mushrooms, cleaned, and diced into 1/4 in chunks (about 3 cups)
1 Tablespoon peeled, grated ginger (snap off a knob, peel, and grate)
2 cloves fresh garlic peeled and chopped (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 Tablespoon Braggs Liquid Aminos or other gluten free liquid seasoning
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley minced and/or other fresh herbs. The more the merrier. I used parsley, oregano, and thyme.
1 cup organic basmati brown rice and 2 cups water or vegetable broth for cooking rice
1 Tablespoon extra- virgin organic Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon water or vegetable broth
6 baby bok choy heads (about 4 cups baby bok choy that as been cleaned and chopped)

What to Do

1. Rinse brown rice in cold water and pour into a small saucepan with 2 cups water. For additional flavor, use vegetable broth. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook according to package directions (approximately 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is medium-soft).

2. As soon as you lower heat on the rice to a simmer, assemble, clean and chop onion, mushrooms, bok choy, herbs, and spices. 

Note: If you're unfamiliar with how to prepare portobella mushrooms for cooking, look at this video or read about how to do it at the link:

Place onion in one dish, mushrooms in another, bok choy in a third, and green herbs in a forth. Put garlic and ginger in a fifth. Each is separated, because of differing cooking times.

3. Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan or wok over medium heat and sauté onion for 2 or 3 minutes, add garlic and ginger and continue cooking until onion is slightly browned. If all the oil is absorbed before the onion is golden brown, add a drop of Braggs, vegetable broth, or water. Then, put in sliced portobella mushroom chunks and continue cooking for 5-8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and you can stick a fork in them easily. 

4. Add chopped parsley and other herbs and turn off heat.

5. Check the rice, testing to see whether it’s finished cooking. As soon as it is, turn off flame and cover.

6. Add the baby bok choy to the frying pan ingredients and warm for 2 minutes. Take care not to overcook. Bok choy needs to be crunchy for best taste and nutrition. It's high in vitamin A and C.

6. Fluff rice with a fork and portion out 4 servings. Top each with a quarter of the mushroom and bok choy mixture and serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Here's a link which describes the health benefits of bok choy from WebMD.

WebMD Nutrition information

Here's the quotation for today.

“How would your life be different if...You were conscious about the food you ate, the people you surround yourself with, and the media you watch, listen to, or read? Let today be the day...You pay attention to what you feed your mind, your body, and your life. Create a nourishing environment conducive to your growth and well-being today.” 

Steve Maraboli, The Power of One

This Post Has Been Shown at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #25 and Featured at Blog Hop #26

Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #26

This post has been shared at the Meatless Monday Round-Up and Link Up!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Eat Out Eat Smart!

Eat Out Eat Smart

There are times when even the most devoted cook needs a break from kitchen routines. Certainly, it’s refreshing to eat food made by another person, be waited on, and leave the clean up to someone else.

Before you set out to that new restaurant or café you’ve been meaning to try, here are five tips to assure that when you eat out, it will be a healthful experience.

  1. Call ahead to ask which menu items are steamed, baked, or grilled with little or no oil or butter, and whether they are low in salt and sugar. Ask for vegan options or heart healthy vegetarian items on the regular menu.
  1. When you arrive, let the hostess or maître d know you are on a healthy eating plan. Make sure you tell your server this information as well. Supply details, if you have any food allergies or food aversions. Savvy modern eateries cater to their patrons’ tastes and preferences, by providing flexibility in food preparation styles, portion size, and they allow for substitutions. 
  1. Select dishes that are packed with fruits and vegetables. Ask to have the salad dressing and sauces served on the side. Hidden calories, fats, and sugars lurk in gravies, toppings, sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheese. Request fresh herbs and spices, lemon juice, marinara, or salsa replace fattening ingredients. Drink tea, coffee, and water rather than sugary soda.
  1.  If there is no wise choice on the menu, look at the side dishes and order a crispy baked potato with steamed greens, a large salad, and a cup of lentil or pea soup.
  1. Skip the dessert or share it with your dinner partner. Ask for fresh melon, sorbet, or mixed seasonal berries instead of cake, ice cream, or other cholesterol laden offerings.

     Delightful meals on the town can be a flavorful part of your life. For more inspiration check out WebMD

 This post has been shown at "Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party" Blog Hop!

The quotation for today is:

William LondenTo insure good health: Eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.

Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog and will return again. Wishing you a day that's brimming with good health and peace. Warm regards, Nan