Top 5 Nutrition Habits to Keep You Healthy

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, Organic, detox diets….it is no wonder people are confused about nutrition.
I am not a dietician. However, I have a passion for health and wellness. I have read numerous books, blogs, and research articles to develop my nutrition philosophy. I have tried for YEARS to find the “perfect” diet. However, I have failed. Nothing seems to be the “answer.”

Each diet has its own set of positives and negatives. However, I have found following certain nutrition habits help me stay focused on nourishing my body, but not focusing on diet perfection!

LEAFY GREENS! I eat a spinach/kale salad almost every day! I also SNEAK Spinach into my smoothies. Greens offer so many powerful antioxidants to fight aging and disease, it is important to incorporate them into your diet!
DON’T OMIT food groups! Many people would disagree with me on this. However, I STRUGGLE cutting out food groups, it just doesn’t work for me! I LOVE DESSERT AND PASTA! However, I focus MOST of my diet on plant-based items. I try to limit dairy, gluten, meat, and high sugar foods to a few times a week!

ENCOURAGE YOUR FAMILY to eat healthily! It is VERY difficult to eat healthy when your family is eating McDonald’s, and Taco Bell. You don’t want to feel alone in your nutrition journey. Make meals together, and only allow certain foods in your fridge and pantry! You can still have some “kid food”.

LEMON WATER, especially in the morning! I am not great at this habit, however, I am currently trying to drink warm lemon water every morning(and then I switch to BLACK coffee!) Lemon has AMAZING Benefits which you can read about here!

ENJOY YOUR FOOD! Enjoy a glass of wine, a piece of cake, or whatever you choose to indulge in! Food is meant to fuel your body, but it is also to be enjoyed! Don’t fixate on your food….embrace it!

I hope you enjoyed my 5 simple nutrition habits! I am not perfect, and still, struggle to follow my advice…but, I’m trying!!!

6 Strategies for Natural Pest Control in the Garden

Using natural strategies to prevent pests in the garden will keep crops like these green beans healthy and thriving.
The projected last frost date isn’t always accurate, but I keep a keen eye on my calendar anyway. Spring is finally here and that means gardening! The garden is tilled and I’ve planned out this year’s crops. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, onions, strawberries, and copious herbs always make the list and a rotating cornucopia of edible favorites abound.
Hopes are high for a rich bounty, but not without some effort.

As much as I love the vegetable garden, nefarious pests have the same tastes, and keeping them at bay is always a challenge. Keeping pests out of the garden is an ongoing effort, but starting with a few basic pest control techniques works wonders without resorting to the use of synthetic chemical treatment.
What are you growing this year? Whatever you have in mind, these strategies for natural pest control can help keep the garden healthy and thriving this growing season.

Know What to Plant

If certain pests have been a problem in the past, selecting crops that don’t appeal to them is a good start. Even better, try companion planting. Many plants act as natural insect repellents and including them in your gardening plan will keep plant-munching critters at bay without lifting a finger.

Planting basil near tomato plants will discourage thrips, flies, and mosquitoes. Chives will ward off destructive Japanese beetles and garlic is a natural aphid (and vampire) repellent. Thyme deters cabbage worms, catnip is a squash bug, weevil and ant buster, and petunias send tomato worms packing. Knowing what doesn’t appeal to pests is an easy way to keep your crops happy without giving up the plants you love to grow.

Rotate crops

Crop rotation is about knowing when and where to plant certain crops. Many pests overwinter in the soil, re-emerging in the spring to resume the havoc you thought ended last fall. Changing up crop placement or skipping a year for plants facing serious problems in the garden can put an end to chronic pest problems and will help bolster soil nutrition.

Attract Beneficial Bugs

Not all bugs are the bad guys. There’s a battle going on in the garden and calling in the cavalry can make all the difference when it comes to pest control. Insects like ladybugs, damsel bugs, and parasitic wasps are all welcome in my garden as they feast on aphids, leafhoppers, and cabbage worms. Avoid wide-spectrum pesticides that will knock out these garden pals and determine what plants or flowers can be used to attract the beneficial insects that will have the most impact in your garden.

Cull the Weak

Sometimes an infestation is not without casualties. Not to go all Star Trek on you, but the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Remove infected plants beyond salvation to prevent damage from spreading so other plants may live long and prosper. Yeah, I said it.

Fences

When dealing with garden pests, it’s easy to forget the big ones until it’s too late. Insects aren’t the only danger to garden crops and four-legged marauders can quickly wipe out the entire garden. Enclose the garden with sturdy fencing to discourage deer, rabbits, dogs, and other animal pests from the garden.

Apply Elbow Grease

While planting strategies and beneficial insects make a huge difference, sometimes the solution lies with a good pair of gloves and a few hours on your hands and knees. Pull weeds frequently to keep plants healthy and discourage breeding habitats for garden pests. Manual removal of visible insects like aphids or other damaging garden visitors like snails and slugs is crucial for a productive garden, and time spent in the rows will allow close-up inspection of plants to detect any potential or developing problems.

Every garden faces different pest challenges. Keep an eye out for issues, identify the cause, and apply strategies appropriate to the problem. If chemical treatment is the act of last resort, use sparingly and avoid wide-spectrum pesticides to keep your garden and its beneficial inhabitants healthy.

A Groutable Vinyl Self-Stick Floor

Welcome to the latest in the never-ending saga of home improvements at our house, a groutable vinyl self-stick tile floor in our kitchen!

My hubby and I were blessed to be able to double the size of our kitchen about 3 years ago. We finished and painted the walls, installed new cabinets and appliances….and that was it. Fast forward three years and 5 house flip and we have been living with cement board floors and plywood counters (covered with brown sticky tiles). I have been okay with this arrangement as it is such a huge improvement over our previous kitchen.

Also, we have had so many compliments on our countertops, which always makes me smile! I think people just see a dark brown, suede-like finish and don’t look that closely.
Well, we are finally at the point where we can finish working on our own house, and boy is there a lot to do! Without even adding in funhouse stuff from Pinterest, we need to maybe drywall a bit and need to paint the entire downstairs (other than the kitchen). We also need to refurbish our lighting and install new flooring. In the kitchen, we needed to install new flooring and a backsplash, finish the opening for our skylight and install a new door and window trim. We also need to put in a new sink (we are leaning towards copper) and a faucet; we need to add some electrical outlets to the island and get a new countertop.

Right now, the downstairs flooring and countertop are out as they are big-ticket items. For the floor, I want a dark antiqued bamboo floor from Lumber Liquidators. It is much more durable than wood, which will be good with my doggies and it’s just plain pretty! For a countertop, I think we have settled on quartz, although I may bring up granite to my hubby, so that’s still open for discussion.

So, over the last couple of weeks we installed our backsplash (to be featured in another post), changed out the electrical outlets, and switches on that wall (also in another post) to better match the backsplash, and put in a floor.
I first saw this type of flooring at a friend’s house a couple of years ago- her tile looks awesome too! Now, this isn’t my “dream” floor (bamboo is) but it’s pretty sharp looking and practical and it’s only $1.29 a square foot!! It’s difficult to get a floor that’s this nice looking for a price like that. Now, just a note- it isn’t necessary to lay cement board to do a floor like this, but three years ago, we thought we would be laying ceramic tile, so in our case, the cement board is a bit of overkill.

So, if you’ve never heard of a sticky tile that you can grout, I’ll take you through the process.
These tiles are one foot by two foot and I told my hubby I wanted to lay them in a running bond pattern, with each row offset by ½ half of a tile.

We used spacers to keep our grout line consistent. The spacers worked so well, that upon laying the tiles on both sides of our large island and getting to the other end, we didn’t have to adjust horizontally or vertically. The tiles were right on. That was amazing and a miracle!

We also used a vinyl floor roller to ensure we were getting all the air bubbles out so that our tiles would have a good “grip” throughout their length.

I would wipe and rinse and wipe and rinse. Then I would get a new bucket of water and repeat, and repeat and repeat. I’m not sure how many times I had to wipe over each section of flooring with clean water or how many times I dumped my bucket and refilled it but it was a lot. In the end, I finished with a sponge mop, rinsing it between each swipe, and then my hubby used a damp paper towel to wipe the rest of the haze off of the tiles. There isn’t any way to speed up this process. The more the grout dries, the less residue you pick up and redistribute back onto the tiles.

The only thing that was left to do was to seal the grout. We picked a better sealer that will keep the floor sealed and protected for 20 years.

I am very happy with how my floor turned out, and better yet, have discovered a nice looking, economical alternative for my house flips! If you didn’t know better, would you think this was a ceramic tile floor?

Easy Scrumptious Chicken Enchiladas

These enchiladas are a family favorite. My mom got the recipe many years ago and passed it on to me. I’ve made some minor adjustments – one thing I love about this recipe is that the measurements don’t have to be precise, I usually just eyeball it.

Chicken Enchiladas

20 oz canned chicken
1 cup of salsa
1 cup Monterey jack cheese
1 tbs chopped green onions
2 tbs chopped green peppers
1 tsp garlic powder
Tortillas
Sour Cream

  • Mix all the ingredients (except tortillas and sour cream) together in a medium bowl.
  • Pour milk on a plate. Lay tortilla on the plate and then turn over the tortilla so both sides get dipped in the milk. (This softens the enchiladas so they won’t be crispy after being cooked.)
  • Add the chicken mixture to the tortilla (a spoonful or two).
  • Add a dollop of sour cream, roll the tortilla into the shape of an enchilada, and put it in a casserole dish sprayed with Pam.
  • After filling the casserole dish with the enchiladas, pour the milk still on the plate over the enchiladas. If you want, put some grated cheese over the top too. Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Bonus: Any extra chicken concoction tastes excellent on Ritz crackers.

I wanted to add some more vegetables to this meal, or maybe I just needed an excuse to use this great idea to cut cucumbers.
As you can see, these “cookie cutters” are actually for fondant, but the medium size still worked well on the cucumbers. It’s rather pointless but still fun.