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Category Archives: DIY

Spring is in the Air…

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Spring is finally here! After an unusually bizarre winter with the “polar vortex” swirling around the east and the dry skies in the west, we’re all ready to enjoy the pleasures of springtime. The sun is shining, maybe a little rain is still falling, but warm weather is here, hopefully to stay!

 

Here is a list of 10 things to do, get outside… enjoy the weather and your family and friends.

1. Read outside on a blanket in the sun

2. Go fishing with your buddies

images-13. Do some spring cleaning to fun music

4. Make these beautiful spring centerpieces, using simple glass jars and lemons for a touch of color!

20893414909de221e35e3b2d0ff7b1fa-15. Fly a kite on the beach

6. Plan a “staycation” with these cool ideas

7. Take pictures of wildflowers

5847087633_598af01050_z-18. Make this delicious “dirt cake”:

6309663259aac1a07cbdb3f4d3e9cf879. Walk barefoot on cool grass

10. Make a fairy garden like this one!

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Spend This Earth Day Outside

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When the sun is shining and the signs of spring are all around enjoy the day outside with Mother Nature.  Pick your favorite local area such as a park, river or lake and enjoy the day with your friends and family. Here are some ideas of Earth-friendly activities that you can enjoy on Earth Day:

  1. Pack a picnic

    picnics

Pack a delicious lunch of locally grown food and keep it natural by using biodegradable or reusable tableware.

  1. Clean Up Litter

    E00001

After your lunch spend an hour picking up trash around your favorite area to keep it clean and enjoyable for all.

  1. Take A Walk

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Enjoy a leisurely walk or hike to explore the wildlife.  Bring along a field guide so you can learn about the different plants, tree and animals in the area.

  1. Make a list of Resolutions

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Discuss ways you can lessen your impact on Earth and make a list of resolutions that you would like to incorporate into your everyday routine, such as recycling, energy use, volunteering, cleaning up litter, shopping locally, buying organic, and more.  For a list of possible green resolutions see our previous blog, “Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Green Year’s Resolutions.”

However you spend your Earth Day, be sure to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Earth.

What to do with Easter Leftovers

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When I think of Easter, I think of a big delicious Easter ham. This year, however, we are having a much smaller family gathering, and we will have so many leftovers! What do we do with them?

OMI tip: Try a farm-to-table approach and buy your ham from a local farmer. Or see if your local grocery store carries (or can order) no-nitrate ham.

Perusing the internet, I have found a meal for every part of the day, from a ham cup with scrambled eggs to a delicious ham, broccoli, and cheese pocket to a light, savory ham and lentil soup. (Veggies, eggs and cheese can be found at local farmers markets and artisan shops, as well.)

Try out these tasty recipes for the week after Easter and let us know what you think.

Ham cups

(Photo Credit: http://www.recipebyphoto.com/breakfast-ham-cups/)

Ham and Cheese Egg Cups

Ingredients:

6 free-range brown eggs

2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or any kind of cheese you prefer)

2 young organic green onions

12 ham slices, cut a little thick

salt and pepper

Don’t feel limited by these ingredients! You can add just about anything, from mushrooms to tomatoes to spinach to onions, etc. and even top them off with avocado!

Cooking Directions:

Grease pan with non-stick cooking spray; line with ham slices.

Sprinkle cheese inside ham slices.

Pour in the egg mixture (ggs, salt and pepper) beat well with a fork.

Chop small green onion tops and divide among cups.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes

Broccoli Ham And Cheese Pockets 2

Ham, Broccoli And Cheese Pockets

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough (enough to make 2 large pizzas)

6 tablespoons grainy mustard (optional)

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups organic broccoli florets, cut small

1/2 pound ham, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons italian seasoning

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Lightly dust a cookie sheet with fine cornmeal or line with Silpat or parchment paper.

Combine mozzarella and cheddar cheese and set aside.

Divide pizza dough into 6 equal-size balls.

Roll each ball into a thin circle. Make sure to keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel while working.

If using mustard, spread 1 tablespoon all over circle. Place 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese mixture on half the dough. Top cheese with 1/3 cup broccoli and 1/6th of the ham. Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese.

Fold dough over the top to form a pocket and press all the air out. Seal the edges using a fork.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Brush olive oil on the top of each pocket and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light brown.

(A great option to freeze and eat later, or all week for lunches!)

(Original recipe courtesy of Serenabakes)

ham and lentil soup

 

Delicious Ham and Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

3 cups organic chicken broth

3 cups water

1 medium organic onion, cut into thin wedges

1 ½ cups chopped organic celery

1 ½ cups thinly sliced organic carrot

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained

6 ounces cooked ham, diced

1 ½ teaspoons dried organic thyme, crushed

3 cups shredded fresh organic spinach

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved

Cooking Directions:

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine broth, water, onion, celery, carrot, lentils, ham, and thyme.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Stir in spinach. Ladle into bowls. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

(Original recipe courtesy of bhg.com)

10 Eco-Friendly Solutions to Start Your Spring Cleaning

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It’s that time of year again when we all get out the cleaning supplies and start our spring cleaning.  Rather than using harsh chemical cleaners, here are some more eco-friendly options that I use for my deep spring clean.

1. Make Your Own Surface Cleaner

Surface cleaner comes in handy all around the house, and is super easy to make. Combine 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a spray bottle. This natural all-purpose cleaner quickly kills germs and evaporates, making for a clean and clear finish.

2. Lift Stains with Lemons

Lemons in White Bowl

Getting that tomato sauce stain off your countertop or cabinet is easier than you think. Simply wet the stain with lemon juice, let sit for 30 minutes or so, and then sprinkle baking soda on the abrasive side of an all-purpose kitchen sponge and scrub the discolored area. Most stains will vanish, and your kitchen will smell fresher.

3. Clean Your Kitchen Drains Without Harsh Chemicals

Not all drain cleaners need to be made of toxic chemicals.  The chemistry between baking soda and vinegar is so powerful that this combo can flush grease out of kitchen drains. Just pour ½ cup baking soda into a clogged drain and follow it with ½ cup white vinegar. Cover the drain for a few minutes as the chemical reaction dissolves the grease — then flush the drain with warm water.

4. Clean Windows Without Leaving Streaks

My-stack-of-newspapers

To make those windows and mirrors shine without awful streaks, use newspaper! The paper leaves behind virtually zero lint. Just spray the glass with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar, rub the glass with a dry cloth, then go over the surface with a piece of newspaper.

5. Freshen Up the Air Naturally

Even the worst odors can be eliminated with fresh lemons. To get rid of strong odors such as garlic, fish and other tough smells use half a cut lemon or some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. To freshen indoor air, simmer lemon peel on the stovetop, adding water as needed.

 6. Eliminate Smells in Your Fridge  

11437245-a-bowl-of-coffee-beans

There are many different and unexpected uses for coffee, but one of my favorites is to absorb odors in the refrigerator. If you have some stale coffee grounds just place them in a bowl in the fridge for a day or so.

7. Clean Your Oven Without Killing Your Arms

baking soda

Ovens can be the worst mess to clean, but with this trick you can clean your oven without having to scrub until your arms feel like they’re going to fall off!  Baking soda makes it as easy as it gets, and your next batch of cookies won’t taste like chemical cleaners. Sprinkle it liberally all over the floor of the oven, spray it with water until it’s well dampened, and leave it for a few hours. Then just wipe out the mess and use vinegar to remove the film of baking-soda residue left behind.

8. Use a Little Lemon and Water to Clean the Microwave

Microwaves can be a pain to clean with all the stuck-on food residue, but the citric acid in lemon juice can loosen even the crustiest food.  Place lemon wedges in a small bowl of water and microwave for two to three minutes. Leave the door closed and let sit for approximately 10 minutes, then wipe out the inside. If there are any odors or food residue left behind, use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub it right out.

9. Polish Your Wood with Olive Oil

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Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a quarter cup of lemon juice for a non-toxic, gentle furniture polish that will remove dust and bring wood surfaces to a brilliant shine. Due to its natural ingredients, this furniture polish will not build up a dull finish.

10. Turn Your Mismatched Socks and Old Towels Into Rags

If you lose the battle of the socks to your dryer like I do, then you probably have a few unmatched socks gathering.  There’s no need to throw them away these socks can be used for cleaning!  Put one over your hand like a glove and use it to dust surfaces around the house.  If you don’t have any mismatched socks, towels that are no longer soft can provide you with a dozen or more new, totally free cleaning rags. Just cut the towels up and you’ll have a whole new supply.  This is a far better option for the planet than using disposable paper towels.

7 Natural Remedies to Fight the Flu and Seasonal Colds

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This year I have seen my share of germs and viruses attack our house, the majority of which are courtesy of my 5-year-old and her adventures at school.  So with all these colds and flu viruses flying around all over the place, I have gathered quite a list of great home remedies that help pull my family through the sick patches. Here are some of the best that I have found, and I want to share them with you!

Homemade Cough Syrup

Take a red onion; cut into quarter inch slices and restack with a dollop of raw local honey  in between each layer.  (The local honey will also help prevent allergies in springtime.) Allow to sit overnight.  In the morning you will have a syrup that not only helps get rid of the tickle in your throat but also helps you rest easy about not adding chemicals and medications into your system that you don’t need.

Garlic Tea

Cloves of garlic have been used for YEARS to help alleviate cold and flu systems. Garlic is naturally antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial. Simply cut 2-3 cloves of garlic, place into boiling water, and allow to steep for 10 minutes. For added taste use lemon juice, raw honey or ginger.  Ginger is also a great way to naturally help soothe tummy aches and digestive issues.

Onion Juice Earache Relief

One of the most effective remedies I have found for an earache is onions.  Take an onion and bake for about 15 minutes at 425° F (be sure to leave the skin on the onion, as it helps keep the juices inside while cooking.)  Let the onion sit until cool enough to touch then crush it in a bowl to extract the juice.  Using an eyedropper, place the warm juice in the ear.  This will usually help relieve the pain within a few minutes.

Warm Salt Water

Add a generous amount of salt to lukewarm water and mix well.  Gargle with the lukewarm salt-water mixture to help soothe your sore throat and promote healing.

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Hot Washcloths/Ice Packs

If you have sinus congestion, a great solution is to apply either hot or cold around the congested sinuses.  Take a damp washcloth and heat it for about 50 seconds in the microwave (be sure to test it first too make sure it is not to hot).  For a cold pack, you can use frozen vegetables/fruits or place a damp washcloth in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes.  Chose hot or cold, whichever feels more comfortable.

Water, Water, Water

Drink it, steam it, and soak in it! Keeping the fluids in is the best way to flush out toxins when you are sick. A comfortable way to help clean out your head is to run a hot shower, since the steam will help moisten the air around you, especially good for dry coughs. Lastly, when you are feeling body aches or muscle pain from the flu, try a nice hot bath to soothe aches and pains. Try throwing in some oils like tea tree or eucalyptus, to help speed up the healing process.

SLEEP!

Sometimes the thing that best helps beat the flu is time and rest. Allow your body time to rejuvenate and bring itself back to its usual healthy, energetic state.

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Stay healthy this germy season!

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, just a mom, so be sure to check with your healthcare provider before using any of these remedies.

Organic Romantic

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I was looking for some new ideas for Valentine’s Day when I found this great article on how to be an “Organic Romantic”. From organic chocolates to locally, sustainably grown flowers- the options are endless for a more eco-friendly V-Day! Check out the article HERE.

A Razzle Dazzle Christmas from OMI

Have a Razzle Dazzle Christmas from everybody at the corporate offices of OMI and Lifekind.  We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday this year and a wonderful New Year.

(make sure you tune in after the credits for more holiday fun!)

Home for the Holidays

This is a great time of year, when families get together and celebrate the holidays.  Here are some eco-friendly tips to get your house ready for the festivities.

Have old ornaments that don’t make the cut to be used on your tree?  Use your vintage or extra ornaments to create a sparkly wreath for your front door. ChristmasWreath1

Centerpieces on your table are a great way to add decoration with a variety of materials.  Let nature be your guide.  Use things your can find in your own yard such tree branches, oranges, apples, pinecones, and more.

Creative-Eco-Friendly-Christmas-Decorating-Ideas-Green-Orange

Or you can use edible treats in clear vases to add color and fun to your tables.

Christmas_centerpieces_3

Are you getting a Christmas tree? Rather than getting a tree that was grown on a tree farm or one made of plastic try making one out of reclaimed wood to add a unique and fun look.

upcycle-eco-friendly-christmas-tree-fun-cute-rustic-decoration-idea-wood

Even the holiday cards you receive can be used as decoration, by simply hanging them on some ribbon.

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So whatever you chose, have fun decking your halls!

A Twist on Traditional Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving comes with all kinds of delicious favorite side dishes. Since we are in the office on Friday after Thanksgiving, we at OMI like to have a potluck at lunch where we bring a side dish with a twist to the classic recipes (as well as evolving them into our own organic creations). Here are a few of our favorites…

       

I myself am a wine lover, so when I found a recipe that included a sangria flavor with the traditional cranberry sauce, I knew that I would love it. Such a tasty rendition if you love the classic but want it a little different this year.

Sangria Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1. organic lemon

1. organic lime

1. organic orange

3 cups fresh organic cranberries

1. container (16-ounce) frozen organic strawberries

1. cup red wine

1 1/2. cup raw organic turbinado sugar

Directions

1. From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice. From lime, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. From orange, grate 1/2 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1/4 cup juice.

2. In 3-quart saucepan, combine lemon, lime, and orange peels, cranberries, strawberries, wine, and sugar; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon, lime, and orange juices.

3. Spoon cranberry sauce into serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

 

Here’s a way to try something new with stuffing. Add a few veggies you have never used before, or like this fun recipe, add wild rice and wild mushroom

 

Herb Wild Mushroom and Wild Rice Stuffing

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) organic butter


2 cups sliced wild mushrooms
( options to try: morel, oyster, trumpet, shiitake, chanterelle or porcini, in any combination)

1 cup chopped organic celery


1 cup chopped organic white onion


1 tablespoon chopped fresh organic thyme

1/4 chopped fresh organic Italian parsley

1 teaspoon sage, rubbed

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

4 cups cooked organic wild rice


2 cups dry unseasoned bread cubes
(try gluten free bread)

1 ½  cup organic chicken broth

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery and onions; cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in seasonings.

2. Mix rice and bread cubes in large bowl; stir in vegetable mixture. Add broth; toss gently until well mixed. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking dish; cover.

3. Bake 30 minutes.

This new take on sweet potatoes with a streusel topping instead of the usual marshmallows makes for a delicious, sweet side.

Sweet Potato Gratin with Pecan-Ginger Streusel

3 pounds (about 6) medium organic sweet potatoes

1/2 cup apple cider or juice

1/4 cup organic Grade B maple syrup

3 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Streusel Topping

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten free, coconut flour)

3 tablespoons packed organic light brown sugar

3 tablespoons cold organic unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

2 tablespoons chopped organic crystallized ginger

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart baking or casserole dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just barely tender when tested with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Pull off skin, then slice into 1-2″ thick rounds.

3. Arrange slices in prepared dish in concentric circles, overlapping slices slightly. In a liquid measuring cup, combine cider, syrup, butter and salt pour over potatoes. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make streusel topping:

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or combine mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in pecans and ginger.

2. Remove potatoes from oven. Uncover and sprinkle with Streusel Topping. Bake, uncovered, until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

3.  Refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat, covered, in a 375º F oven until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Whatever choices you make for your meal, we hope you have a happy holiday and give thanks.

Fall Changes Bring GREEN Decorations

There’s no need to spend money on elaborate centerpieces when you can find beautiful décor in your own backyard. Pinecones and fall leaves, or even evergreen branches can be used to add holiday color and fragrance. Here are my top 4 favorite tips:

1. Gather things to make a wreath that can be placed around a candle or vase, then reuse it by hanging it on your door for the holiday season. If you have never created a wreath HERE is an easy tutorial.


2. While shopping for holiday meals at a local farmer’s market, keep an eye out for edible items such as colorful squash and gourds, apples, pears, berries and much more. These can be used as centerpieces, or if you cut out the center and place a candle inside, can be used as candleholders.


3. A clear vase is great for centerpieces! Since you can change its contents to fit any holiday, you can find many items around your home to add to it. This Thanksgiving, try adding fall leaves or some citrus. Simply cut up and set in water with a floating candle. Add cranberries for a bit of that holiday red!

4. Round discs cut from large tree logs can make unique pie or cake plates, candleholders, or even chargers. When cutting firewood, my husband slices ½-1” thick discs off the end of a log for me. And if they get spilled on at dinner, I just toss them back in with the firewood.

Make your holiday as eco-centered as possible this year by using what nature provides. Have a colorful and conscious holiday!

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