Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life Changing Products/Ideas

I think it's obvious that I don't blog anymore. Ever. But there are several things I would like to blog about if I were a serious blogger. I'm going to cram them all into one post. This post is dedicated to things I have discovered that have made my life easier. I hope you enjoy. (Oh the spinach pancake recipe will be in here somewhere-wherever I decide to throw it in)

1. Mason Jar Salads

I had heard of these so-called "mason jar salads" before and seen pictures on Pinterest. I looked into one blog and saw a giant food saver contraption and knew I would never venture into the land of mason jar salads. But then when my sister and I started The Doctor's Diet, she mentioned it to me and sent this hilarious video of these two crazy girls in which I learned about a $4.00 Ziploc tool that makes mason jar salads totally doable. I now buy the six pack of romaine lettuce at Costco and chop it all up at once and put it in my mason jars, pump the air out, stick it in my fridge, and I have prepped lettuce for days-weeks even! It's amazing. Watch the video for more info (pretend it's funny and you won't get annoyed)

Ziploc Product - found in your local Wal-Mart hidden away with all the Ziploc bags. Look closely and you will find it

2. Better Life Cleaning Products

Okay I am a Shark Tank addict. I love watching it and try to buy any product I can from it. As soon as I saw these cleaning products I went straight to their website and bought some. I am addicted to them. I hated using regular anti-bacterial spray because I kept thinking about wiping my cooking surfaces and Ellie's high chair tray with a product you weren't supposed to ingest. It didn't make sense. The what-EVER! cleaner is my favorite. The citrus scent smells amazing and it cleans SO good and I don't worry about cleaning eating surfaces with it. The Even the Kitchen Sink is incredible. It cleaned our nasty rusted drain without breaking a sweat. And lastly, the Produce Wash. It stinks but does a heck of a good job getting waxes and crap off of produce.

This is probably the best kitchen appliance I have. I didn't realize I was buying such a magical thing when I bought it. It is a rice cooker that is also a slow cooker that is also a sauté/simmer pot, that is also a steamer. My favorite quick and incredibly easy meal, is to put brown rice in the main cooker with lots of water and chicken bouillon cubes, then put the steamer basket on top with a frozen (yes frozen) chicken breast in it and cover it with frozen stir-fry veggies, season them up a bit (actually a lot) and push the brown rice button and I have a complete meal in about an hour with basically zero work. The only bad part is you have to make at least two cups of rice (dry) so you end up with a ton of rice. I always plan 3-4 meals with rice if I know I'm going to use it but it is so worth it.

4. Spinach Pancakes

Ellie hates vegetables. I keep putting them in front of her at ever meal and she avoids them. Except green beans, sometimes she'll eat those. Sometimes she will eat corn too. We're working on it, but until then, I put spinach in basically everything. I saw a recipe for spinach pancakes in my Family Circle magazine. I tried it and didn't like them. So I used my mother-in-law's pancake recipe which is the best pancake recipe EVER! They turned out amazing and Ellie loves them. I added chocolate chips in case she got freaked out by the green color. She scarfed two pancakes down so I call that a win. Recipe:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3 Tbsp oil
1 cup tightly packed spinach
3/4-1 cup milk or buttermilk (I used the last of my buttermilk and filled in the rest with whole milk)
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

In medium bowl, mix your flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a powerful blender, mix egg, spinach, and 1/2 cup milk. Blend it up really well. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Add more milk until it reaches a semi-runny consistency. I don't know how best to describe this. I add milk until when I lift my spoon out and let the mixture drip off my spoon, it flows quickly and smoothly, and is not super thick. The more batches you make, the more you will figure out what consistency you like best. I did discover it took more milk than usual to compensate for all the spinach, so you may use more than 1 cup. Add in your chocolate chips. Cook an a griddle over medium heat until bubbles appear all over and start to burst. Flip and cook until golden brown. After they cool down, I spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid, then put them in a freezer bag to store. In the morning just zap one in the microwave for 30 seconds, put it with a side of fruit and you have a complete meal for a picky eater. Yeah!!

These are just cool and I like having them. Not really life changing.

Okay this is a new discovery. I have seen these come across my feed and always ignored them. I HATE having done-up nails. As a pianist, I liked and needed clean short nails. I hate when they get past my fingertip and I hate having my nails painted because I'm constantly obsessing about the paint chipping. I got a sample of these from my sister-in-law and fell in LOVE. They are so awesome and after doing several loads of dishes and definitely being hard on my nails, they have stayed perfect. I ordered a lot and am throwing a party next month so get ready. I don't throw parties for any products but this had to be an exception because they are that awesome.

7. Finger painting with Greek yogurt

I saw this on Pinterest and thought about it but kept forgetting until a FB friend did it and posted a picture. It was AWESOME. I made homemade edible finger paints for Ellie out of mostly corn starch and I hated the texture. They tasted disgusting but Ellie kept wanting to eat them. I figured all that corn starch probably wasn't good for her system so I threw them out