Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tex-Mex Chicken Lasagna

I was trying to use up a lot of leftovers and came up with this. :):D

Tex-Mex Chicken Lasagna

1 box lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced onions
Two large boneless chicken breasts, cut (or shredded) into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
Approximately 32oz (4cups) salsa
3.5 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey jack, or other Mexican blends work well)
1 pint sour cream

• Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.*

• Sauté garlic and onions in a saucepan on medium heat until it garlic becomes fragrant and onions become translucent.

• Add chicken and spices and heat mixture until chicken is thoroughly cooked, stirring often.

• Stir in salsa and reduce heat. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.**

• Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375.

• Mix 2 cups of the shredded cheese with the sour cream in a mixing bowl. Set the remaining cheese aside for topping.

• Lay lasagna noodles in the baking dish so that the bottom is completely covered. Spread cheese mixture on the noodles, topped with salsa mixture. Repeat layers once more and top with noodles. Cover with the remaining salsa, then top with the 1.5 cups of cheese set aside previously.

• Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble.

• Allow time for cooling and enjoy!

*To save time, cut up/shred chicken, dice onions, and mince garlic while the water is heating and noodles are cooking.

**This is a good time to shred your cheeses, if you didn't buy it already shredded.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day today, I thought I'd add a list of ideas for greening your routine-ing. I made that rhyme. How cool is that?

1. Cloth diapering - I've been doing it for about four years (and two kids) off and on (mostly on), and we've saved a ton of money - not to mention the environmental impact.

2. Open windows for light during the day.

3. Try these homemade household cleaners and cosmetics:

4. Walk, use public transportation, or try cycling to get around from time to time to save gas.

5. Try to use thrift stores, Craigslist, Freecycle, Cheapcycle, Ebay, and other second hand shops for making purchases.

6. For the women - consider trying the Diva Cup, or a similar product. I've been using mine off and on for a couple years, and I've just gotten the hang of it. I love it!

7. Replace your household light bulbs with energy efficient, environmentally friendly bulbs.

8. Watch your water usage. There's many ways to do this:

  • Try to limit your shower time. Try setting a timer and see if you can shave a few minutes off. A little bit makes a big difference.
  • You can also try limiting the frequency of your showers. I now shower about 2-3 times a week, depending on how dirty I get. Even cutting out one shower a week will save a lot of water. My hair has adjusted to the wash routine, and there are a lot of ways to "touch up" between showers. It's amazing what you can do with a sink full of soapy water and a washcloth.
  • Watch how much you flush - if it's yellow, it's mellow, if it's brown, flush it down.
  • If you're in the market for a new washer, consider a high efficiency, front loading machine. They save both water and energy.
  • Turn the water off when you brush your teeth, shave, lather up, shampoo your hair, soap up your hands, etc.
9. Avoid drive thru food and coffees. You can bring food and coffee with you and save money and waste.

10. Donate! If you have items in good condition, donate them to your local thrift store or see if you can sell them on Craigslist or Ebay.

11. Recycle! If you don't have curbside pick up, you can arrange a weekly trip to the recycling center as a family. This is a great way to teach your kids about recycling, if you're a parent.

12. Upcycle! The web is full of ideas for upcycling old clothing, fabric scraps, furniture, and more! Here's one I'm dying to try. It's a pillow chair made from old t-shirts and scrap foam.

I think I'll end for now. Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Green Tip of the Day...or Week...or Something.

This is probably an obvious one, but I recently discovered that I accrue a lot of paper, as many of you probably do. I get handouts from early intervention specialists, therapists, and teachers, and while I could simply put it in the recycling bin, I found another way I can get some more mileage out of it before I do that. A lot of it is blank on one side, and this blank side is perfect for printing out coupons, maps and driving directions, coloring pages for your kids - all sorts of stuff. Then, after that purpose is served, it can be recycled, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I saved some trees. :)

Have fun and enjoy being green!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Testing yet another thing

Hello! Testing one two three.


Testing a new thing

I'm mainly checking to see if my blog entries will automatically publish to my facebook page.

Meanwhile, coming soon: Why I'm an Intactivist. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some of My Coth Diapering Advice

I've been cloth diapering for almost 4 years, and I'm currently CDing two kids (although my oldest is in pre-K now, and they don't do cloth, so he wears disposables there). We've saved thousands of dollars over the years by using cloth. I'm a big fan. I've also used disposables, and while there are some pros, I still prefer cloth overall.

For my youngest, I use bumGenius 3.0 one size and occasionally, unbleached prefolds with a Thirsties cover. You can Google any of those to see more information on them. I'm a big fan of the bumGenius 3.0s. The Thirsties have worked really well for us, too.

When he was a newborn, we used bleached prefolds with Dappi covers. I got them in the "Just the Basics" at Cotton Babies. Unfortunately, it's not longer available as a kit, but the individual items are. The kit came with 12 prefolds, 4 Dappies, 2 Snappies to fasten the prefolds, and 1 bumGenius 3.0 to use at nighttime. The covers work surprisingly well for the price, and the kit is enough to cloth diaper a baby for about a day, maybe longer if they're older. For the price, it was a really good kit, in my opinion. It's a really good way to start out if you're on a really tight budget.

Now, they're started the Econobum and Flip kits, which I've never used, so I don't know anything about them. I think that's why they phased out the "Just the Basics" kit.

For my oldest, I use unbleached prefolds with Thirsties covers. I've used other diapers on him in the past, but he grew out of them, and these are the best fit for him now that he's bigger.

This is my laundering routine:

* Spray off solids in toilet.
* Throw diaper in dry pail (I use a step operated lidded trash can).
* When pail is full, toss diapers in the washing machine (I have a high efficiency, front loading machine).
* Run a cold wash/cold rinse with baking soda in the wash and vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil in the rinse.
* Run a hot wash/cold rinse with an extra rinse and a *tiny* bit of detergent (I use less than a teaspoon, probably) and baking soda in the wash cycle, and vinegar and a couple drops of tea tree oil in the rinse cycle.
* Line dry the pocket diapers and covers, and tumble dry the inserts and prefolds. You can line dry those, too, but we have a pretty humid climate, so to prevent mildew, I like to tumble dry them for at least a little bit to dry them faster.

Here's some of my other cloth diapering tips:

1. Get a few different kinds of diapers and try them all out so you can decide what kind works best for you. Check out this site. They have a trial package that you can try for 21 days for a deposit, and if you send them back, they give you your deposit back, minus $10. Trial and error is a big part of cloth diapering. You might find that what you initially wanted doesn't work as well as you thought once you try it, and you might really like a kind of diaper that you didn't think you would. It never hurts to try several kinds, and with this package, you don't have much to lose.

2. Get a diaper sprayer. It will make cleaning up poop so much easier for you, especially if you don't use liners (more on those in #5). All you do is plop the poop in the toilet, and spray off the residue - no dunking in the toilet.

3. Baking soda, vinegar, and tea tree oil are your friends when you're cloth diapering. I use baking soda in the wash, and I use vinegar with a few drops of tea tree oil in the rinse. They keep my diapers stain and odor free. I also use tea tree oil in the pail to keep it from smelling.

4. You only need a very tiny bit of detergent. I use Charlie's Soap. I use maybe a teaspoon, if that much. Using too much detergent will cause build up in your diapers, and they'll start to repel urine and leak. You can ruin your diapers this way. Trust me, you don't need very much detergent *at all*. This chart is very helpful in finding a good detergent for your cloth diapers.

5. You can buy biodegradable, flushable diaper liners to make poop clean ups even easier. I, personally, don't use liners, but if you want to cut costs while saving yourself a little mess, you can try these.

Also, check out these sites for more information and answer to your questions. Good luck!

Cotton Babies - I bought all my diapers here.

The truth about cloth diapers - fact Vs fiction

If you're on a budget, you can look into second hand or handmade cloth diapers at Diaperswappers, Ebay, Etsy, Craigslist, Freecycle, or Hyenacart.

More to come later!

Good luck!

Monday, March 29, 2010

About to do some renovations!

I'm getting ready to revamp and pretty up this here blog of mine, so get ready! I've really missed blogging, and this is my free-for-all blog, so I plan to use it a little more pretty soon. It will sort of be a mish-mash of topics, but I have several in mind.

So, stay tuned!