Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Now that the holidays are over, you might be looking for a hearty meal idea that is not only healthy, but quick and easy to make. Here is a comforting and cozy soup recipe that is deliciously creamy and will warm your bones during these cold winter months. This soup only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, and is sure to satisfy.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup half and half, or more, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken thighs, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in half and half until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and rosemary, if desired.

Enjoy!

Holiday Green Gift Ideas

Not sure what to get for your friends and family this year and you want your gift to be clever and unique? How about a gift that is safe for the environment. Help lower your carbon footprint and show your friends and family that you’re environmentally conscious with these great green gift ideas.

  1. Conservation gifts – Adopt a animal or buy gifts that benefit an organization of your choice. The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and National Wildlife Federation are a few great organizations to choose from.184111_10150276836305270_6448691_n.jpg

  2. The gift of an experience – A bike tour, wine tasting, cooking class, movie tickets, sporting event or comedy show. A lot of people prefer these types of gifts because of the experience they get out of it.

  3. Gifts that cut down on waste – Water filter, dish towels, compost pail, bamboo utensil set, reusable water bottle and coffee thermos are some great waste-free ideas.

  4. Useful energy-saving gifts – Water- or energy-saving gadgets like a new thermostat or smart light switches for people who love tech gadgets.

  5. Make-it-yourself gifts – Use your creative talents with homemade candles, paper, lip balm, jewelry, photo prints, or a hand-knitted scarf. A personal touch is usually the best gift to give.

  6. Food gifts – Edible gifts like homemade jams or preserves, syrups, local honey, homemade candy & breads, or a subscription to a local meat or cheese club can also be tasty.Image-1.jpg

  7. Gifts that keep on growing – Herb plants, tree-planting kit, seedlings, or seed paper are all fun ideas. When giving a plant gift, it’s always helpful to include care instructions.

  8. Gifts for the outdoor lover – Ski lift ticket or season pass, rock-climbing lessons, sailing club, or fishing trip.AdobeStock_28806899.jpeg

For more information on green gift ideas click: HERE

The dangers of common dust in your home

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Thinking about skipping out on dusting while you clean your home? Did you know that even the smallest amount of dust can harbor harmful chemicals? According to a new study, researchers analyzed dust samples collected from homes in 14 different states. The results revealed 45 chemicals in dust that came from simple household products, such as vinyl flooring, furniture, cleaning products, perfumes, and even pizza boxes and popcorn bags.

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The 45 chemicals were found in five classes of compounds: Phthalates, flame retardants, phenols, fragrances, and highly fluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked to health hazards such as hormone disruption, fertility problems, and cancer. Click Here

Children are more likely to be at a higher risk for exposure to these chemicals from dust, because children often crawl or play on the floor and put their hands in their mouths. “These categories of chemicals are certainly of concern,” said Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, New York, who was not involved in the study. However, the new research shows only that the chemicals are present in dust. Future studies are now needed to examine the extent to which these chemicals get in to the body and contribute to harmful effects on health, Spaeth said.

In addition, this new study explains that dust exposes people to multiple chemicals at once, as opposed to just a single chemical at a time. For this reason, more research is needed to better understand the exact health effects of dust exposure, the researchers said.

This makes it very difficult for consumers to avoid these chemicals, because many are found in common household items. Manufacturers are often not required to include the substances on the label. However, there are ways for people to reduce their exposure to chemicals in dust. These methods include washing hands frequently, using a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, and opening windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the home, when possible.

Some companies have already banned some phthalates from children’s products, and the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering a petition to ban phthalates from food packaging, according to researchers.

To find out more about this study, visit the website HERE

10 Sleep Facts That May Surprise You

We all know that sleep is a very important part of everyday life. Most of what we know about sleep has come about in just the last 25 years. We might think we know all there is to know about sleep, but here are a few facts about sleep that may surprise you.

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  1. Dolphins are very unique in their way of sleep. One half of their brains are awake while the other half is asleep. This is called “unihemispheric sleep.” Dolphins also sleep for, 1/3 of their lives, just like humans.

  2. The word “catnap” means short sleep. Some people take catnaps with their eyes open and may not even be aware of it.

  3. When a person wakes up in the morning, half of a dream is forgotten in the first 5 minutes. 90% of the dream is gone within the first 10 minutes.

  4. 12% of people dream only in black and white.

  5. People can survive longer without food than without sleep.

  6. A snoring partner affects a non-snoring partner by waking the non-snorer an average of 20 times per night, making the non-snorer lose approximately 1 hour of sleep each night.AdobeStock_71711347.jpeg

  7. Our brains are more active during sleep than they are while watching television. Sleeping also burns more calories than watching television.

  8. The phrase “good night, sleep tight” came from woven mattress bed frames that were tightened with a key when the ropes started to sag.

  9. The largest bed ever made was in Great Britain. It was built in 1596, measured 11 feet by 11 feet, and could sleep 12 people comfortably.

  10. The famous Charles Dickens was an insomnia sufferer. He claimed that he could fall asleep fastest by sleeping in the middle of the bed, facing north.

    How many of these sleep facts did you already know? For more information on these fun sleep facts, visit HERE

 

 

Fall Into Cozy with OMI Pillow Tops

Made with certified organic Eco-Wool™ and/or 100%-organic natural rubber latex, our pillow tops offer a welcome layer of plushness. Wool is a wonderful natural choice for a sleep surface. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, it wicks away moisture and dissipates it into the air over time. Certified organic natural rubber adds a supportive softness, cushioning pressure points while resisting body impressions. Covered in certified organic cotton sateen fabric, our pillow tops add a luxurious feel to any mattress.

The Wooly Lite (1½”)

woolyliteThe Eco-Wool™ Wooly Lite is perfectly suited for the sleeper who needs just a little extra surface cushioning.

Starting at $395

The Wooly (3”)

woolyhighThe Eco-Wool™ Wooly is well suited for sleepers who need a softer surface depth or who enjoy a bed with a “nesting” feel.

Starting at $595

The Wave (3”)

new_waveThe Wave pillow top is made of 3” of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic cotton knit fabric. The Wave features a sculpted surface to provide comfort for sleepers with pressure-point issues. This comfortable and resilient natural-rubber pillow top provides added surface depth for sleepers, but with more firmness than a wool topper and without reducing the support of the mattress.

Starting at $795

The Allura (2”)

new_alluraOur 2” thick natural rubber topper offers surface softness. It is made with a single core of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex sap, and is covered with our signature OrganicPedic® knit quilting.

Starting $895

The Verona (2”)

new_veronaTwo inches of GOLS-certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic natural rubber latex encased in certified organic cotton knit fabric. This super-soft layer adds that extra “Ahhh” to any OMI mattress.

Starting at $795

For more information on our pillow toppers and other OrganicPedic® products click HERE.

Top 10 Best and Worst Cities for Sleep

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Ever wonder where your city ranks for getting the best night’s sleep?

Here’s a study that has the answer. Find out if your city made the top 10.

“Sleep in the City” Study Examines Relationship Between Sleep and Happiness

A new study unveils the best and worst cities in America for getting a restful night’s sleep. Minneapolis was ranked as the best place for restful sleep while Detroit was identified as the least likely city in which to wake up. New York City is notorious for being “the city that never sleeps.” Perhaps that’s why it was ranked 6th among the worst cities for sleep.

The analysis was based on five criteria, including:

  1. Happiness index
  2. Number of days when residents didn’t get enough rest or sleep during the past month
  3. Average length of daily commute
  4. Divorce rates
  5. Unemployment rates

 

Best Cities for Sleep

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Anaheim, CA
  3. San Diego, CA
  4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Northern NJ
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Boston, MA
  9. Austin, TX
  10. Kansas City, MO

 

Worst Cities for Sleep

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Cleveland, OH
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Cincinnati, OH
  5. New Orleans, LA
  6. New York, NY
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Miami, FL
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. St. Louis, MO

 

For the best-ranked cities for sleep, the study found higher scores for overall happiness and low unemployment. The cities that scored poorly on number of nights with good sleep also had low scores on measures of happiness, and were established as the worst cities for sleep overall. According to the study, Detroit earned the distinction as the worst place for sleep due to a low number of nights with good sleep, along with a high unemployment rate and a low happiness index. Minneapolis was identified as the city where residents may have the easiest time getting a restful night’s sleep. Other factors that helped Minneapolis clinch the title of best city for sleep were a high score on the overall happiness index, a short commute time, and low unemployment.

For more information on this sleep study, visit HERE