Menus & Shopping Lists

I've been having a terrible time getting meals together and shopping since I had my last little munchkin. We're be living on milk and bread too much from Costco, with a pizza thrown in for good measure. I've been trying to get an idea of how much food I need to buy in bulk per month and found this list, with most of the stuff I need...although looking at it this is what we'd go thru in a week easily. We're still waiting on the food stamps...we got some emergency funds in February, and hubby went to see the supervisor a couple of weeks ago to see why we still don't have them. I really don't know what's going on, but she put another month on our card. Each case worker has around 1,500 applicants to work thru, how crazy is that. I don't know if we'll get any more, we'll see. Hopefully hubby will have some work, he's had a bit here and there, and we've had good tax returns, we were a couple of years behind. He had a job for a supervisor with a friends site in the city, but that hasn't started yet.

I'm finding the womans day monthly menus great too, I just tweak them for our needs.!

Here is the list for us:

1 lrg Oatmeal
1 bag Grits
10lbs Flour (5lbs All-Purpose and 5lbs Whole Wheat)
10lbs Sugar
2 lb Brown Sugar
5lb Potatoes
5 bags frozen veggies
3 bags frozen broccoli
6 cans tomato sauce
8 cans tomato paste
6 cans diced tomatoes
10 pkgs raman noodles
2 bags dried beans
6 cans beans
4 lbs spaghetti pasta
1 lb elbow pasta
2 bags egg noodles
6 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 tub margarine
1 lb butter
3 doz eggs
4 gallons milk
1 dry milk (last 2 months)
4 gallons Apple Juice
5 lbs various cheeses
2 lrg containers vanilla yogurt
1 lb lunch meat
1 bag popping corn
3 boxes Graham Crackers
2 boxes Saltines
1 jar Peanut Butter
1 jar Simply Fruit Grape spread
1 bag Choc Chips
1 box Family Size Tea Bags
10 pkgs flavored drink mix
3 boxes instant pudding
2 boxes Pancake/Waffle Mix
1 Pancake Syrup
1 Lrg bag Dog Food

Meats I buy when I find Manager's Specials and Markdowns so I never really pre-plan. Generally I have a good freezer selection of meat. I want to limit myself to $40 per month of fresh meat. Things I look for marked down are:

whole chickens
chicken thighs
chicken breasts
Beef Roasts
Top/Chuck Roasts to cut into stew meat
Ground Turkey
Sweet Italian Sausage
Ground Beef
Pork Butts

All of this based on our current prices runs right at $200/month. We like soups/stews, casseroles, pasta meals and baked potato dinners. And, since we homeschool all our meals are at home. With this list I should be able to add another $50 per month for misc (spices, baking needs etc as needed) or a special treat here or there. And then another $50 for diapers and HBA items. That should get me to $300!
Sat 1st – Salmon en croute with red pesto, roasted sweet potato, asparagus, baby corn, carrots
[Salmon fillets spread with red pesto and wrapped in filo pastry]

Sun 2nd – Falafels, pitta breads, salad
[First attempt at these – basing mine on an Ainsley Harriot recipe]

Mon 3rd – Vegetable biryani
[Usually make this with prawns but trying a veggie version this time – onion, garlic, carrots, peas, green lentils, tinned tomatoes, curry paste, basmati rice, veg stock made from stock cube]

Tues 4th – Greek salad frittata, jacket potato, salad
[Another new recipe, can’t remember what inspired it now! Red onion, feta cheese, eggs, olives, tomatoes, oregano]

Wed 5th – Chilli con carne pie, carrots
[Chilli con carne base already in freezer, frozen peas to be added to base, then top with mashed potato with tinned sweetcorn mixed in and some grated cheddar on top]

Thu 6th – Pasta with spicy tomato sauce, roasted peppers, capers, olives and fennel seeds
[Peppers roasted in oven with a sprinkling of fennel seeds, then added to cooked pasta along with homemade spicy tomato pasta sauce, some olives and some capers]

Fri 7th – Chicken fajitas
[Chicken breasts, tortilla wraps, Chicken Tonight fajita paste, mixed peppers, onion]

Sat 8th – Sausage and pea risotto
[Grilled sausages chopped and added to fried onion and garlic, along with frozen peas, rice, chicken stock made from stock cube, oregano, chilli flakes and Worcestershire sauce…if I’ve got any in the cupboard I sometimes add sundried tomatoes to this]

Sun 9th – Caramelized onion soup, garlic bread
[Been bumping this on and off my menu plans for months now, but WILL make it this month! Onions, garlic, stock, herbs, little bit of sugar to encourage the onions )

Mon 10th – Tuna and mushroom pasta bake
[Cooked pasta mixed with tinned tuna, chopped fresh mushrooms, tin of low fat condensed mushroom soup, herbs, chilli flakes and a drop of water, then topped with grated cheese]

Tues 11th – Lentil soup, pumpkin bread, cheese
[An old favourite – onion, carrots, celery, red lentils, veg stock, peppercorns and herbs]

Wed 12th – Salmon with fennel, mash, broccoli, carrots

[Another new experiment…thought I’d bake some salmon fillets topped with fennel seeds and maybe a little dab of butter, then served with mashed potato with stir-fried fresh fennel added to it, and the other veg listed]

Thu 13th – Chickpea and spinach curry, naan bread
[Chickpeas, homemade tomato sauce, spinach, curry paste, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, ground coriander, veg stock, will get OH to rustle up some home made naan bread!]

Fri 14th – Spaghetti Bolognese
[Another old favourite! Beef mince, onions, garlic, celery, carrot, mushrooms, streaky bacon, tinned tomatoes, beef stock made from stock cube), oregano, bay leaves and Worcestershire sauce]

Sat 15th – Off to best friend's hen do – Pizza for OH

Sun 16th – Mushroom and spinach risotto
[Another new dish to try – onion, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, chilli flakes, rice, veg stock, herbs]

Mon 17th – Bacon and roasted pepper tortilla, salad
[Fancy omelette type thing really! Fry bacon and onion in large frying pan, then sliced cooked potatoes, roasted pepper pieces and herbs, then add beaten egg and cook until egg is nearly set on top…finish under the grill making sure frying pan handle is not directly under the heat…not that I would do a thing like that of course…]

Tues 18th – Chorizo and chickpea soup, crusty bread
[An unusual but tasty soup, very filling! Fry onion and chorizo…fat from chorizo should be sufficient to cook these in…add chickpeas, chopped savoy cabbage, chicken or veg stock, chilli and herbs…simmer for a bit and serve with some nice crusty bread to dip in]

Wed 19th – Cheese and red bean pie
[Another pie without a flake of pastry in sight! A base of onion, garlic, red kidney beans, chilli, and homemade tomato sauce, topped with a mashed potato and grated cheddar…very simple, cheap and very tasty!]

Thu 20th – Salmon with garlic, ginger and chilli, roasted sweet potato, broccoli, carrots
[Salmon fillets topped with crushed garlic, grated fresh ginger and dried chilli flakes and roasted in oven wrapped in foil]

Fri 21st – Spanish chicken risotto
[A special request from OH…red onion, garlic, chicken, chorizo, peppers, olives, herbs, rice and chicken stock]

Sat 22nd – Moussaka, salad
[Made with Bolognese sauce as I don’t like lamb]

Sun 23rd – Chicken en croute with red pesto, potato gratin, courgettes, braised celery
[Using up some more of that filo pastry]

Mon 24th – Carrot and coriander soup, bread, cheese
[Can’t beat a bowl of homemade soup can you? )

Tues 25th – Cottage pie, brussel sprouts, swede
[Made with Bolognese sauce, tin of baked beans on the bottom, then mashed potato on the top]

Wed 26th – Cauliflower and green bean curry, rice
[Cauliflower, green beans, homemade tomato sauce, curry paste, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, ground coriander, veg stock]

Thu 27th – Rustic pasta
[Another of OH’s favourites – grilled sausages added to homemade tomato sauce along with frozen peas, and then mixed into cooked pasta]

Fri 28th – Steaks, homemade potato wedges, salad
[OH’s birthday so using the last of the lovely sirloin steak we bought back from Devon with us at Christmas]

Sat 29th – Have left this day blank for now as OH’s family are coming for the day – there is talk of a big picnic but will make firmer plans nearer the time

Sun 30th – Chickpea enchiladas
[Chickpeas, homemade tomato sauce, cumin seeds and chilli flakes, spooned into tortilla wraps which are then rolled up and popped into a baking dish, top with some grated cheddar and bung in oven until cheese is melted and browning a little]

Mon 31st – Toasted sandwiches, salad

Avocado, Tahini & Tomato Sandwich

Someone made this for me in my hippie days, out in the boonies, where everything is still wild, and the home grown food tastes delicious. It's still one of my favourite lunches. It's also great as an open sandwich on homemade bread or toast.

Pretty simple to make ;) spread tahini, avocado on bread, it's better on homemade...slice a tomato, and salt and pepper. Also great on an open sandwich, with toasted bread! Enjoy!

40, 50, Fit & Fabulous

Well this week was a very slow the beginning of the week, I scratched a mole off my back, and it's been very i didn't want to do more damage...must go to a doc.

I did take 3 lovely walks, and managed to start eating healthier. including in the menu this week, fruit salad for breakfast, 2 salads, I made my pasta sauce with a bunch of fresh tomatoes added. I managed to make some green drinks - my preference is kale and strawberries, so refreshing! Snacks consisted of raisins & almonds, fruit.

This week I really have to start stretching my aching bones...and I will start juicing, my juicer is ready to go again. I will make a note to put my vitamins out, and take a multivitamin every day, and the big one...I need to get to bed earlier...I'm a night owl. I'm hoping for more energy and less aches, because then I will be happy to be more active.

Goal is to enjoy whatever I'm doing.

2 tips...

TOMATOES - I really liked having fresh tomatoes in my pasta sauce...I always go by the reduced produce stand...there are often packs of tomatos that are very ripe. I wash them, slice the tops and put them in the freezer whole and cook them as needed. If you're adding to cooked food...just pop them in 1/2 cup water and boil for a few minutes, the skin comes off very easily when pulled with tongs. They can also be used uncooked for cold soups. I would like to make my own from scratch like this or  this and keep it in the freezer for when I need it.

STRAWBERRIES - I like to buy frozen strawberries, i find they're often cheaper and don't require cleaning, don't go bad immediately, and my kids don't eat them as soon as they come into the house. My husband was buying them from Costco...but I bought some from Trader Joes this week and they were smaller, riper, and had so much more flavour. We cooked some with a little organic sugar and made strawberry syrup for our pancakes (recipe), and of course I used some in my green drink.

Here's a nice little blog on organic vegetable gardening in case you're really is the time to get planting.

40, 50, Fit & Fabulous

This is the first week of my very own fitness program. Come join me.


Here is my plan:

1 - 5 minutes of stretching....more if I want, the goal is to get my body moving, get rid of the aches & pains, and become more limber.

2 - There are four areas I'm unhappy with right now...arms, legs, hips, and waist so I will try to do an extra toning exercise in one of those areas each day.

3 - Funfilled activties, is really something I'm looking forward to - I would like to try a brisk walk Monday morning with my toddler after I take my prek'er to the bus. Just to take a deep breathe of fresh air, clear my mind for the week....let it go from there. Wednesday I would like to commit to playing raquet ball with my girls down the street at the local basketball courts...even just for 1/2hr, and Friday I would like to walk down to the library with my young children. 2 miles. I also walk to any afterschool sports, which during spring will be maybe once a week for my 2 oldest. I would love to find someone to walk with, so I will see if I can find a willing partner.

4 - My plan of healthier eating is to try and eat at least 2 salads for lunch, fruit in the mornings, start making fresh juices, and we're already eating a lot more vegetables with dinner eat week, and being warmer weather, I'm making a salad niscious once a week, and salad as a side at lease once. My pitfall right now is just eating cereal or bread or toast all it's just carbs with little nutrition. I think for this week I will make the fruit and juices the priority.

Thai Red Curry Paste


1 shallot OR 1/4 cup purple onion, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, minced ( see instructions below) OR 2 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian stores)
1-2 red chilies, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced
2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup (OR 2 Tbsp. tomato paste + 1/2 tsp sugar)
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper (available at your supermarket or Asian food store)
3 Tbsp. fish sauce (OR 4 Tbsp. soy sauce if vegetarian)
1-2 tsp. shrimp paste (omit if vegetarian), available by the jar at Asian stores
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. regular chili powder
1/4 can good-quality coconut milk (or just enough to keep the blades turning), reserve remaining for the curry
2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
Optional: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (OR add 1 cinnamon stick to your curry pot)


Spicy Asian Noodle and Chicken Salad


1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons (or more) low-salt chicken broth

3/4 pound linguine or dried chow mein udon noodles
4 cups thinly sliced cooked chicken, cut into strips
2 large carrots, coarsely grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
6 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves


Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and 3 tablespoons broth in processor; blend until smooth. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water to cool and drain again. Transfer pasta to large bowl. Add chicken, carrots, green onions, bell pepper, and cilantro; toss to blend. Pour dressing over and toss to coat, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if dressing is too thick. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 main-course or 8 side-dish servings

Thai Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles


4 1/2 ounces rice stick noodles (maifun)*
4 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 purchased roasted chicken breast halves, boned, skinned, shredded
3 cups shredded Napa cabbage (I substituted with lettuce)
1 cup coarsely grated carrot
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 medium cucumbers, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted salted peanuts


Cook noodles in small pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; cut noodles in several places with scissors. Spread out on platter.

Puree next 7 ingredients in blender. With machine running, gradually add oil and blend until dressing is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine chicken, cabbage, carrot, pepper, onion, and cucumbers in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Arrange atop noodles, sprinkle with peanuts, and serve, passing remaining dressing alongside.

*Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets, at Asian markets, and from

Makes 4 servings


A perfect accompliment to any soup!

from an old on image for recipe.

Eggplant Parmesan Rolls with Swiss Chard and Fresh Mint

The Original: Breaded, fried eggplant with a thick oregano-flavored tomato sauce. Our Version: Broiled slices of eggplant wrapped around a mint-and chard-flecked ricotta filling.


2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/4 pounds total), trimmed, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Coarse kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 1-pound bunch Swiss chard, center ribs removed (I used frozen chopped spinach)
2 large eggs
1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 15- to 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1 8-ounce ball fresh water-packed mozzarella,* drained, thinly sliced


Cover bottom and sides of each of 2 large colanders with 1 layer of eggplant slices; sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Continue layering eggplant slices in each colander, sprinkling each layer with coarse salt, until all eggplant slices are used. Place each colander over large bowl; let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Rinse eggplant slices to remove excess salt; dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Position oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat source and preheat broiler. Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared baking sheets. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Broil 1 sheet at a time until eggplant slices are tender and beginning to brown, watching closely and removing eggplant slices as needed if cooking too quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool eggplant while preparing filling.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add chard to pot and boil just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Squeeze chard very dry, then chop coarsely. Squeeze chard dry again between paper towels. Whisk eggs and pinch of coarse salt in medium bowl. Stir in chopped chard, ricotta cheese, 1 cup Parmesan, mint, and black pepper.

Lightly oil 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread half of tomato sauce evenly over bottom of dish. Divide chard-ricotta filling among eggplant slices, placing about 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each. Starting at 1 short end of each, loosely roll up eggplant slices, enclosing filling. Arrange rolls, seam side down, atop sauce in baking dish. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over. Place mozzarella slices in single layer over rolls. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and chill.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake eggplant Parmesan rolls, covered with foil, until heated through, about 30 minutes if freshly made or 40 minutes if refrigerated. Uncover and bake until brown in spots and sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Crockpot Bread Pudding

I commented on a post with Tami at Feeding a Hungry Soul and in an email I mentioned the food project we have in the woodworks and she told me about her food business. She has a wonderful homemade Gourmet business and she sent me one of her packets to try. Here is it (photo below), Crockpot Cranberry Bread Pudding. It was so delicious it was gone within the hour. I am very impressed  by her system, you should go check it out. Here website...Homemade Gourmet.

This is a recipe I followed for the regular bread pudding. I can't find the photo at the moment but will update.


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups milk
2 eggs
4 cups 1/2 inch cubes stale bread or cake
1/4 cup raisins or craisins


Beat sugar, nutmeg, milk and eggs. Completely combine. Put cubes in buttered crockpot. Pour egg mixture over them. Allow to stand until liquid is absorbed. Mix in raisins. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours. (I found this easy to burn on high, so keep your eye on it.)

Vegetable Latkes

This lighter take on the classic recipe will be gobbled up as quickly as the original—and is still best served with applesauce and sour cream. Warning this reipe ony makees enough to serve you'd better do your math.


1 large parsnip, peeled and shredded
2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and shredded
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
3 leeks (white and light green parts only) or 1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. In a colander, rinse the parsnip and potatoes under cold water. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels; transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. Stir in the carrots, leeks (or onion), flour, baking powder, eggs, salt, and pepper.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Drop in large spoonfuls of the batter, flattening each with the back of the spoon. Cook, turning once, until brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes a side. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel–lined baking sheet in a 200°F oven until serving.


Carrot Soup


2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds carrots, peeled, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
5 whole cloves
4 cups (about) canned vegetable broth or water
1/2 heavy cream or half and half

additional goodies
ginger or ginger ale
orange marmalade


Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, and cloves and sauté until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups broth. Cover and simmer until carrots are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Remove cloves from broth and discard. Puree soup in batches in blender. Return soup to same saucepan. Mix in cream or half and half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Thin to desired consistency with more broth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Stir soup over medium heat until heated through. Ladle into bowls. Drizzle cream over. Top with parsley.

Plain ol' Pancakes

but they were the best!

I have a great receipe for pancakes with sour cream. The reason I liked to use this was because as a couponer I always had up to 10 tubs of sour cream in my frig, taking up way too much space (tiny frig, 9 people) so I had to find new ways to use it up.

Not having a car, I'm often out of ingredients when I want to cook something, and I've learnt to make do with what I've had instead of bungling up a bunch of kiddies and walking to a store to get one or two things.

All that to say this pancake recipe is a very basic one using the ingredients I nearly always have on hand. If you use bisquick I would liken the mix to that...but better and of course natural. To date I'd rate it the best pancake mix I've's a keeper!


2 cups ub flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
6 t baking powder
2 t salt
2 T sugar
2 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter (4 t)


I confess I love to dump all my ingredients and stir...I know I'm a terrible cook, but you probably would too if you had 7 kids under foot acting like they'd never been fed! Just smother with real maple syrup and you'll be back in heaven, at least til breakfast is over!

Menu Plan Monday

french toast
lemon pancakes
apple turnovers
tuna curry
thai coconut chicken
beef & barley soup
fish & chips
veggie chilli
beef bourginion
split pea soup


Spaghetti with Best ever Bolognese Sauce

A good old favourite and a giveaway!


1-1/2 lbs. 85 percent lean ground beef chuck
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp sweet basil (dried or fresh)
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 14- to 16-oz. pkg. dried whole wheat, multigrain or regular spaghetti
Grated Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese (optional)
Fresh oregano (optional)


1. In 12-inch skillet brown ground beef, onion, and garlic until meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain off fat.
2. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, seasoning, pepper, and salt. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until thickened.
3. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti, with 1 tablespoon salt added to water, according to package directions Drain. Serve spaghetti with sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and oregano. Makes 8 servings.


This makes a perfect marinara sauce, and delicious with some sliced up, grilled sweet & spicy Italian sausages added.

photo: BHG

Roasted Vegetable Loaf


This vegetarian entrée will be a hit with meat-eating partygoers since it’s stuffed with lots of flavorful ingredients including walnuts, two kinds of cheese and roasted vegetables. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet on the stovetop to bring out their nutty flavor. Add leftovers of the loaf to chili, or use slices to make “mock meatloaf” sandwiches.


1 cup brown and wild rice blend (such as Lundberg)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 bay leaf
11/2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 slices whole-grain bread
11/2 cups chopped red and yellow bell pepper
11/2 cups chopped eggplant
1 cup chopped yellow or white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup 1-percent reduced-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

1. Combine rice, 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, bay leaf and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Set aside to cool slightly.

2. Tear bread and place into a mini food chopper or blender. Pulse until it forms small breadcrumbs.

3. Add peppers and eggplant to a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; place on nonstick baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for four to five minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook one minute. Remove from heat and add to rice. Stir in breadcrumbs, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, eggplant, nuts, cheeses, parsley and pepper.

5. Reserve 1/2 cup of vegetable mixture. Stir remaining vegetables into rice mixture and carefully fold in eggs; pat mixture into an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan coated with a small amount of olive oil. Arrange reserved 1/2 cup of vegetables across the top of loaf and press down gently with fingers to make them stick. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until loaf is firm. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 to15 minutes before slicing. Cut into 12 slices and serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 12 servings (1 slice)


French Chocolate Bark


8 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces very good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries


Melt the 2 chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a ruler and a pencil, draw a 9 by 10-inch rectangle on the paper. Turn the paper facedown on the baking sheet.

Pour the melted chocolate over the paper and spread to form a rectangle, using the outline. Sprinkle the cashews, apricots and cranberries over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 hours until firm. Cut the bark in 1 by 3-inch pieces and serve at room temperature.

Food Network

White Chocolate Bark

I just found this recipe thru Southern Butter and couldn't first love....ok my 2nd love....what caught my eye is that it is made in the reason I haven't been baking and you see nothing sweet on my website is because our oven and 1/2 our stove is everything in our house right now. The other reason is because my eldest daughter loves to bake and she pretty much takes over as soon as I show her something yummy to make. I've been trying to coerce her into going into the baking business...but she's just too smart for that...just my luck!

I'm rather amazed that Ina Garten's recipes haven't made it to this website yet...I think I've made her monthly recipe (or a variation of) in House Beautiful every month for 4 years. We don't have TV but I must go back to her website, I've yet to eat something of hers that isn't delicious.


1/2 cup walnuts
16 ounces very good white chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup medium-diced apricots


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a pencil, draw an 8 by 10-inch rectangle on a piece of parchment paper placed on a sheet pan. Turn the parchment paper over so the pencil mark doesn't get into the chocolate.

Place the walnuts in 1 layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool and then chop roughly into large pieces.

Place 3/4 of the chocolate in a glass bowl and place it in the microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don't trust your microwave timer - time it with your watch.) Stir with a rubber spatula. Put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds and stir again. Continue to heat and stir every 30 seconds until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately, add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. (If you need to heat it a little more, place it in the microwave for another 15 seconds at a time.)

Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it lightly into the drawn rectangle. Sprinkle the top evenly with the cooled walnuts, the cranberries and apricots. Set aside for at least 2 hours until firm, or refrigerate for 20 minutes. Cut the bark in 16 pieces and serve at room temperature.

Coq au Vin

click on image to enlarge

Pioneer Woman also has a recipe for this on her website.

Menu Plan Monday

curry chick peas & naan (trader joe's has the best)
or I could try this atta or pakora (when I was in the south of India they served this on top of a large crepe and topped it with a fried egg and it was delicious
spinach lasagne (ravioli)
I have a super easy recipe I'll post the day I make this
leftovers with roasted veggies (I steamed and roasted the potatoes and added a couple of bags of mixed frozen veggies with chestnuts, brocoli, peppers & snap whole crew loved it, I should've made more coz the baby missed out (he was sleeping).....yeh you snooze you looze in this house!
Last week I did something I don't normally do with our leftovers. I usually do leftovers Friday or Saturday night, so I don't have to do much cooking...but this time I had Indian Chicken leftover and made some roasted veggies on the side, and the leftover beef stew with some frozen steamed veggies, so we got 2 good dinners out of them. I am definitely going to keep doing worked so well.
You don't know how thankful I am that we have food stamps for the moment. Can you believe the amount they've given us is about 3 times what we normally spend on food each month. We went to Costco and stocked up on all the pantry items, chicken. Hopefully i'll find some meat on sale this week and get a few more things we need, then I won't have to buy much except bread, milk & produce each week. It is a little harder living without 'John's farm'....where I've been buying nearly everything between 39c - 99c a lb...but I'm sure we'll manage.

Beef and Sweet Potato Pan Roast

Thank you, Elizabeth for mention Mr Lents' book. As interesting as it sounded, the thought of involuntarily having to live like that....well....let's just say it doesn't appeal to me. And I don't consider myself a fussy person...I travelled in India for 2 months on about $2 a day (that included accommodation) and I was as happy as Larry (whoever he be).

I'm glad to say, we've been rescued by the Government (now you can't say they're not good for anything)...and have food stamps to carry us thru the next month or two.

In the meantime...I've been thinking more along the lines of good ol steak & staple diet. I snagged this from the BGH's site, seeing as they were considerate enough to send it straight to my mail box...and I noticed it didn't have many herbs and spices, which I have depleted in the process of turning mush to gourmet.


1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp. bottled roasted minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. medium orange and/or white sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch wedges
4 6- to 8-oz. beef shoulder petite tenders or 1-1/2 to 2 lb. beef tenderloin
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 recipe Chopped Parsley Topping


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a bowl combine Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and crushed red pepper. Stir in olive oil. Divide seasoning mixture between two large self-sealing plastic bags. Place sweet potatoes in one bag; shake to coat potatoes. Spread potatoes in a single layer on greased shallow roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, place beef tenders in remaining bag. Shake to coat. In a skillet brown beef tenders over medium-high heat, turning to brown evenly. Stir sweet potatoes in roasting pan and push to edges of pan. Place beef tenders in center of pan. Roast, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes; roast 10 to 15 minutes more or until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of thickest part of tenders registers 145 degrees F for medium-rare or 160 degrees F for medium doneness. Let stand for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with Chopped Parsley Topping. Makes 6 servings.

3. Chopped Parsley Topping: Stir together 1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley; 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel; 2 cloves garlic, minced; and 1/8 teaspoon salt.

4. Test Kitchen Tip: To substitute beef tenderloins for shoulder petite tenders, prepare potatoes and meat as at left, except do not roast potatoes before adding beef. Place browned tenderloin in center of greased roasting pan. Place potato wedges around pan edges. Roast, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes for medium-rare (140 degrees F) or 40 to 45 minutes for medium (155 degrees F). Let stand for 5 minutes before carving beef.
5. Beef Shoulder Petite Tenders: The versatile petite tender is relatively new to the market. This juicy, lean cut from the top of the shoulder requires little or no marinating. Serve it roasted, grilled, or stir-fried. Each tender serves two.

Approx costs $12
serves 9


I was happy to find a little salad left in the frig, so I collected all the ingredients and made the best frittata ever! Here's what was in it.

chopped onion
chopped orange pepper
crumbed feta cheese
grape tomatoes, halved
arugula & spinach
salt, pepper, oregano

It was so good all of it didn't even make it to my plate!

Tender-Crisp Spring Braise

I'm thinking this would make a nice change to chicken noodle soup.


3 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
4 small carrots with tops, trimmed and diagonally cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups mushrooms, halved (12 oz.)
1 large onion, cut in thin wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1-1/2-inch pieces
2 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. snipped fresh tarragon


1. In extra-large nonstick skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat Evenly layer potatoes and carrots in skillet. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes, until potatoes are golden, turning once. Add mushrooms and onions. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring often. Add garlic and asparagus; cook 3 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl; set aside.

2. In same skillet heat remaining oil. Sprinkle chicken with half the salt and pepper. Cook chicken in hot oil about 3 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 3 minute or until no pink remains. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in cooked vegetables; heat through. Stir in snipped tarragon and remaining salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.
from BHG - for more one pot chicken dinners

Quails falling from the sky?

Well....almost. My hubby was at Costco a couple of days ago and loe & behold what did he find? 2 chickens in a package, sitting in the parking lot.

So I put one in the pot and made some braised chicken.

This is a yummy recipe, one that somehow come over with me from Australia over 20 years ago. I lost the recipe but fortunately I remembered how to make it. My family loves it.

served with skillet corn bread


1 chicken (or pieces)
chicken stock
3/4 cup balsalmic vinegar
1 can tomatoes
snow peas
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper


Generously smother the chicken with crushed garlic, oregano salt & pepper. Brown on both sides in a pan. Add to pot remainder ingredients, except peas. Cover & simmer approximately 3/4 hr. Take lid off and cook 10 minutes for sauce to thicken. Add peas, cook for five minutes and serve.

I usually serve this with couscous, but last night I made mashed potatoes and substituted the canned tomatoes with tomato sauce & sundried tomatoes which was also very good.

It was nice to have a fuller meal after eating this this week. Have to say it's been easier on the cooking side.

Creole-Style Oven Hash Browns

I used the following recipe for my hash browns.


6 large red-skinned potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning or 1 additional teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup olive oil


Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook potatoes in medium pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Spread potatoes on heavy large baking sheet. Sprinkle with paprika, chili powder and Creole seasoning. Season with salt. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and stir to coat.

Bake potatoes until crisp, turning with metal spatula every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes.

Grilled Salmon Cakes with Lemon Mayonnaise


1 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
6 green onions (2 minced, 4 cut into 4-inch lengths)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/4 pounds skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive oil


Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 minced green onions, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Season lemon mayonnaise to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine remaining 4 green onions and chopped parsley in food processor; blend until finely chopped. Add cubed salmon, Dijon mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. Using on/off turns, blend until salmon is coarsely chopped. Transfer salmon mixture to large bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. With moistened hands and using about 1/3 cupful for each, shape salmon mixture into 8 patties, each about 1/2 inch thick. Brush both sides of salmon cakes with olive oil.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill salmon cakes to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Divide patties among 4 plates. Serve lemon mayonnaise alongside.

Every diet

Here's a fun can get your exercise for the day....(just one) and
you'll find reviews on every diet out there...just in case you ever wondered if
it would really work.

Weekly Menu - Emergency Menu

Well, the rubber's hitting the road this week...I'm going to be challenged (which is nothing new). I shopped 2 weeks ago...with $100. I bought fresh fruit & veggies, a steak, pork, canned salmon, flour. My husband hasn't worked for 2 months so the funds are depleted. We received 2 bags of food from our church, and they have the menu & recipes, so waste not want not....I figured I'd post it all this week, maybe someone else will be facing this challenge and find it helpful.

From the church we have
2 bags rice
4 cans kidney beans
4 cans black beans
1 box raisins
1 packet pasta shells
a bunch of dried chicken soup
1 can campbells chicken soup
4 cans tomato sauce
2 boxes kraft mac & cheese
2 tins powdered milk
4 cans vienna sausage
2 cans spam

I have on hand
2 cans salmon
some organic salad
fresh green beans
1 bag frozen corn
2 yellow peppers
green onions
1lb carrots
1 package cranberry bread pudding
   compliments of Tami
2 eggs
sour cream
some frozen peppers & tomatoes
1 apple
a couple of bananas
1 cresent bread

dh bought tonight at Costco
1 bag brown sugar
2 gallons milk
1 3lb loaf of bread
2 lbs cheese

Heres a rough menu

mueslie with grated apple
ww pancakes

banana sandwiches
toasted cheese sandwiches
pb & jelly sandwiches
egg salad sandwiches
cucumber & salmon sandwiches

my kids eat more when they come home from school than any other time of the day
rice pudding
cranberry bread pudding

I made some sofrita for the beans & rice tonight and cooked the green beans
fried rice, made with the spam, eggs, salad, green onions, peas
or I could use the spam as kebabs if I have pineapple, with peppers & onions
mac & cheese with tuna & corn
chicken soup

I don't know what to do with the vienna sausages. My toddler may eat some. My son suggested making mini hot dogs with them using cresent rolls.

Last time I had spam we made these...

and the kids loved them. (I just did a quick search to find the recipe and're gonna love this....spam.) Epicurious has a recipe too....and just in case you are craving more I noticed Top Chef featured a recipe with spam which was a winner! Who knew!

Hope to buy
chop meat

click to enlarge

Lentil Soup


1 lb lentils
1 onion
4 medium tomatoes
1 parsnips
2 carrots chopped
1 tablespoon each thyme, basil, oregano
salt & pepper
Mrs Dash (if you have)


I made this the other night before our blizzard, I literally threw all the ingredients in the pot and we went out shopping (my husband doesn't give me much warning) it cooked for 3 hrs. Great to come home to a hot pot of soup. Great served with corn bread.

Tomato tip - If you're luck enough to get very cheap tomatoes or grow your own and find you have excess, you can throw them in the freezer and add them whole to you dish. They break down nicely and you can remove the skin if it's not desired. Much healthier than the canned variety.

Children's Diseases Linked to Chemicals Are on the Rise

This is an excellent article and just too important to ignore. 

Posted by: Dr. Mercola
October 24 2009

Chronic childhood diseases linked to exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment have been surging upward, costing the U.S. almost $55 billion a year.

There are 3,000 high-volume chemicals used today; for roughly half, there is no basic toxicity information publicly available. For the past six to eight years, national surveys have found these chemicals present in the blood and urine of practically everyone in the U.S.

Asthma can result from a range of environmental factors, including tobacco smoke, pesticides, mold and cockroach droppings. Cancer in children has been linked to exposure to radiation, solvents, paints and pesticides.

Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel October 1, 2009
Dr. Mercola's Comments:

There are about 75,000 chemicals regularly manufactured and imported by U.S. industries, and of the 3,000 high-volume chemicals (over 1 million pounds per year) used, about half have no basic toxicity information available. What this likely means is that no one knows whether commonly used chemicals all around you … in your food, water, and air … are safe.

And unfortunately it is our future generations who will pay the price for this lack of safety concern.

Pregnant women may be most at risk from environmental chemicals, as an embryo and fetus develop at a much faster rate than adults. While this development occurs, cell division and growth is rapid -- and these rapid changes provide many opportunities for mistakes to occur.

What Happens When Fetuses, Babies and Children are Exposed to Toxins?

If a baby is exposed to numerous toxic compounds in utero, changes may occur that either directly cause cancer, or lengthen the period of sensitivity to carcinogens, therefore making the child more susceptible to cancer, and other diseases, later in life.

Babies are actually born at considerable risk nowadays due to the toxic load of their mothers. One study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that blood samples from newborns contained an average of 287 toxins, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, and Teflon chemicals.

Of the 287 chemicals EWG detected in umbilical cord blood, it’s known that:

180 cause cancer in humans or animals

217 are toxic to your brain and nervous system

208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests

Children, meanwhile, experience greater exposure to chemicals pound-for-pound than adults, and have an immature and porous blood-brain barrier, which allows greater chemical exposures to reach their developing brain.

Children also have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, according to EWG, which allows more of a chemical to reach their organs, while systems that detoxify and excrete chemicals in adults are not fully developed. These factors, coupled with the fact that a child will be around for 80 years or more, allows more than enough time for chemicals to do their damage signals a major challenge for kids born today.

Experts believe rising rates of birth defects, asthma, neuro-developmental disorders and other serious diseases in U.S. children are a result of these early chemical exposures.

How are Children Being Exposed to Chemicals?

Like adults, children are exposed to chemicals every day. During pregnancy, many chemicals are passed on to newborns either in utero or through breast milk, and once born contaminants are literally everywhere … in your home, food, water and air.

In an average day, children are exposed to 61 chemicals in personal care products alone, 27 of which have not been found safe for kids, according to a national survey by EWG.

This means that the simple acts of shampooing your baby’s hair, giving him a bath and putting on some lotion, several times a week or more, is exposing him to chemicals that could very well harm his health. Even though they are likely small exposures at each bath time, over time these exposures add up and may contribute to disease … and the same scenario goes for chemicals that exist all around you.

Of course, this does not mean that the only safe option is to live in a bubble. Awareness is the first step, and I suggest you first become aware of some of the most ubiquitous toxins and begin taking the steps you can to avoid them …

10 of the Most Common Environmental Toxins and How to Avoid Them

1. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls): This industrial chemical has been banned in the United States for decades, yet is a persistent organic pollutant that's still present in your environment.

Risks: Cancer, impaired fetal brain development

Major Source: Farm-raised salmon and other farm-raised fish. Most farm-raised salmon, which accounts for most of the supply in the United States are fed meals of ground-up fish that have absorbed PCBs from the environment and for this reason should be avoided.

2. Pesticides: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to be carcinogenic. Alarmingly, pesticide residues have been detected in 50 percent to 95 percent of U.S. foods.

Risks: Cancer, Parkinson's disease, miscarriage, nerve damage, birth defects, blocking the absorption of food nutrients

Major Sources: Food (fruits, vegetables and commercially raised meats and dairy products), bug sprays

3. Mold and other Fungal Toxins: One in three people have had an allergic reaction to mold. Mycotoxins (fungal toxins) can cause a range of health problems with exposure to only a small amount.

Risks: Cancer, heart disease, asthma, multiple sclerosis, diabetes

Major Sources: Contaminated buildings, food like peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic beverages

4. Phthalates: These chemicals are used to lengthen the life of fragrances and soften plastics.

Risks: Endocrine system damage (phthalates chemically mimic hormones and are particularly dangerous to children)

Major Sources: Plastic wrap, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers. All of these can leach phthalates into our food.

5. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): VOCs are a major contributing factor to ozone, an air pollutant. According to the EPA, VOCs tend to be even higher (two to five times) in indoor air than outdoor air, likely because they are present in so many household products.

Risks: Cancer, eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment

Major Sources: Drinking water, carpet, paints, deodorants, cleaning fluids, varnishes, cosmetics, dry cleaned clothing, moth repellants, air fresheners.

6. Dioxins: Chemical compounds formed as a result of combustion processes such as commercial or municipal waste incineration and from burning fuels (like wood, coal or oil).

Risks: Cancer, reproductive and developmental disorders, chloracne (a severe skin disease with acne-like lesions), skin rashes, skin discoloration, excessive body hair, mild liver damage

Major Sources: Animal fats: Over 95 percent of exposure comes from eating commercial animal fats, so seek out grass-fed, naturally raised, organic animal foods instead.

7. Asbestos: This insulating material was widely used from the 1950s to 1970s. Problems arise when the material becomes old and crumbly, releasing fibers into the air.

Risks: Cancer, scarring of the lung tissue, mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer)

Major Sources: Insulation on floors, ceilings, water pipes and healing ducts from the 1950s to 1970s.

8. Heavy Metals: Metals like arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum and cadmium, which are prevalent in many areas of our environment, can accumulate in soft tissues of the body.

Risks: Cancer, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's disease, foggy head, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, decreased production of red and white blood cells, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessels

Major Sources: Drinking water, fish, vaccines, pesticides, preserved wood, antiperspirant, building materials, dental amalgams, chlorine plants

9. Chloroform: This colorless liquid has a pleasant, nonirritating odor and a slightly sweet taste, and is used to make other chemicals. It's also formed when chlorine is added to water.

Risks: Cancer, potential reproductive damage, birth defects, dizziness, fatigue, headache, liver and kidney damage.

Major Sources: Air, drinking water and food can contain chloroform.

10. Chlorine: This highly toxic, yellow-green gas is one of the most heavily used chemical agents.

Risks: Sore throat, coughing, eye and skin irritation, rapid breathing, narrowing of the bronchi, wheezing, blue coloring of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs, pain in the lung region, severe eye and skin burns, lung collapse, reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS) (a type of asthma)

Major Sources: Household cleaners, drinking water (in small amounts), air when living near an industry (such as a paper plant) that uses chlorine in industrial processes, tap water in your shower/bath.

You should also look out for bisphenol A (BPA), a common ingredient in many plastics, including those in reusable water bottles and resins lining some food cans and dental sealants that can change the course of fetal development in a way that increases your risk of breast cancer.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), meanwhile, found in grease- and water-resistant coatings and cookware like Teflon and Gore-Tex, is a likely carcinogen that can be partly avoided by not using Teflon non-stick cookware.

10 Simple, Common Sense Tips to Reduce Your Chemical Exposures (and Your Child’s)

Rather than lamenting over past toxic exposure to yourself or your family it is far healthier to take control over that which you can positively influence, such as your diet, your physical fitness, your emotional state, and your current and future exposure to toxins.

You can limit your exposure to environmental chemicals as much as possible with the following tips:

Buy and eat, as much as possible, organic produce and free-range, organic foods.

Rather than eating fish, which is largely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, consume a high-quality purified krill oil.

Avoid processed foods -- remember that they're processed with chemicals!

Only use natural cleaning products in your home. Most health food stores will have these available or you can search online for them.

Switch over to natural brands of toiletries, including shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. Same sources here, either your local health food store or you can search online.

Avoid spraying insect repellants that contain DEET on your body. There are safe, effective and natural alternatives out there.

Remove any metal fillings. Amalgams are a major source of mercury and any metal, including gold, can cause biogalvanism. Be sure to have this done by a qualified biological dentist. Although nearly any dentist is technically qualified to replace your amalgam fillings, far less than 95 percent have any clue on how to do it properly so your risk of mercury exposure is minimized.

Avoid using artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners or other synthetic fragrances as they can pollute the air you are breathing.

Avoid artificial food additives of all kind, including artificial sweeteners and MSG.

Limit your use of drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) as much as possible. Drugs are chemicals too, and they will leave residues and accumulate in your body over time.

Finally, Dr. Doris J. Rapp, MD, board-certified as both an environmental medical specialist and pediatric allergist, has a web site,, that is an excellent resource for anyone interested in avoiding environmental toxins.

I highly recommend browsing through her site for more information, and also reading Dr. Rapp’s intriguing book Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call. It contains many insights that can protect you and your family from the toxins that are so common in your environment.