Friday, May 2, 2014

The Natural: Stain Treatment (from TC)

I recently tried some of The Natural brand products from TripleClicks (TC) and so far I've been very pleased. Most recently I tested The Natural Stain Treatment.

I have two dogs and they are both fourteen, so they are getting quite old. The one has frequent accidents. I wish I could work from home and didn't need to leave him, but we do have a friend that stops in daily while we're both at work to check on the dogs and let them out. However, my one boy still has frequent accidents which can be difficult to clean and keep from leaving stains.

The Natural Stain Treatment has been reviewed 34 times at the time I write this and has a 4 star rating (out of 5 stars), so that's pretty good. It arrived within just a few days with standard shipping. I was actually a bit skeptical that this product would work, but it was worth trying since it is not tested on animals, is a "natural" product, contains no animal ingredients, and I get bonuses for using the product. So why not, right??

Anyway, the photo at the site shows green liquid but the product I received was basically clear. I have only purchased it once thus far, although I plan to purchase again, so I don't know if it comes in two different versions or what... The product has a very light peppermint aroma which is pleasing to me, but was the product effective?

I followed the directions and shook the product, saturated the stained area, and let it sit a few minutes. Then I lightly scrubbed the stain and let it sit another minute or two. Finally, I took a clean paper towel and patted the area dry. The stain came up almost completely. If you didn't already know the area had been soiled on the carpet you would REALLY have to strain to spot it.

This product works MUCH better than other products I've tried, and many of the products I've used in the past were name brand products that are supposed to be the best of the best. Well, I can honestly say, for price and performance, there is NO comparison! This product wins in both departments.

For a quart it is less than $6 and a gallon can be purchased for less than $19. I can testify that it performs well on different types of stains. I don't want to gross anyone out, but I've used this product to clean blood, feces, urine, and different food items on upholstery, clothing, and carpet. It performs well across the board not only for fresh stains, but also for set-in stains that are a few hours old. It did not release old stains that were previously cleaned with other products many weeks ago, but I didn't really expect a stain that set for a month to be cleaned at this point.

I highly recommend this stain treatment product. It's better for the environment, your family, animals (no animal testing or animal ingredients), AND it works incredibly well in my personal experience.

To purchase, click the link of the size you'd like:
The Natural Stain Treatment: QUART SIZE
The Natural Stain Treatment: GALLON SIZE

Photos of the product I received:

Here is the description directly from TripleClicks:

BENEFITS/DESCRIPTION

This remarkable laundry, carpet and upholstery stain treatment removes organic based stains caused by wine, blood, soil, grass, mold, food, vomit, feces, urine, and perspiration. Utilizing the power of natural enzymes, it breaks down and deodorizes organic matter as it cleans, leaving a fresh peppermint scent.

DIRECTIONS

Shake just before use to energize the enzymes.
Stains and severe odors: Apply directly to odor source or stain after removing encrusted matter and solids. Let stand for 15 to 45 minutes. Scrub with a white rag or soft brush. Blot with a white towel. Rinse if desired.
Drains, grease traps, bowls & urinals: Use 4 oz. per fixture weekly to eliminate odors and build-ups. Keeps drains free running and odor free.
Laundry pre-spotter: Mix with 1 to 10 parts water and apply directly to spots and stains 15 to 45 minutes before washing.
Deodorizing garbage cans/dumpsters: Mix with 3 parts water and apply to source of odor.

INGREDIENTS

Natural Enzymes, Non-Ionic Surfactant (naturally derived detergent in an ethanol derivative), Peppermint Oil, Propylene Glycol, Ozone Treated Water (for purification). Contains no preservatives.

PRICE COMPARISON

K2R Spot Lifter The Natural
Price-per-Ounce $0.74 $0.25
Price-per-Quart $23.62 $8.06

ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

* Non-toxic.
* All ingredients are biodegradable or break down into harmless natural elements.
* Biodegrades without forming micro toxins.
* Contains no hazardous ingredients as per OSHA regulations.
* Free of petroleum distillates, butyl ether, ammonia, chlorine, phosphates, benzene, pine oil, or strong acids.
* Free of all known or suspected carcinogens.
* Gray water and septic tank safe.
* Biodegradable without effluent treatment process.

ANIMAL RIGHTS

* Cruelty free.
* Contains no animal ingredients.
* Has not been tested on animals.

CAUTIONS

Keep out of reach of children. Not for internal consumption. Avoid contact with eyes. In case of contact, flush thoroughly with water.

To purchase, click the link of the size you'd like:
The Natural Stain Treatment: QUART SIZE
The Natural Stain Treatment: GALLON SIZE


If The Natural Stain Treatment doesn't appeal to you,
check out what Amazon offers for your needs:


Saturday, April 5, 2014

EASY RECIPE: Layered Enchilada Bake

Enchiladas are delicious, but it can be time consuming to assemble and roll each one then bake. This recipe is simple, full of veggies, vegan (of course), and easier to make than traditional enchiladas while still capturing the flavor and essence of the classic dish. Use corn tortillas to keep this dish gluten free.

As always, my recipe can be tweaked to fit your own tastes. I say 10 to 16 ounces sauce because some people love lots of sauce (me) and others only like a small amount. Similarly, if you don't like a certain veggie I use, omit it or substitute something else. Broccoli and cauliflower are great in this recipe, so are leafy greens, but I chose not to use them this time. If you want to use them, the more the better! ; )

Layered Enchilada Bake Recipe

Ingredients:

tortillas (use corn tortillas to keep recipe gluten free)
10 - 16 ounces enchilada sauce
1 large zucchini, diced
1 large yellow squash, diced
about 10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large bell pepper, chopped (any color) about 4 ounces cooked black beans
about 1 cup corn
about 10 ounces refried beans (be sure to use "vegetarian" or "fat free;" check ingredients as some brands use LARD!)
dashes of: garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, onion powder
*optional* about 2 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese to top (I used Daiya** cheddar shreds)

Veggies cooking for the gluten free vegan enchilada bake.

Directions:

1. Saute the squash, mushrooms, and bell pepper in small amount of olive oil for about ten minutes until they start to soften (left photo directly above). Season with small amount of salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, and onion powder and mix well. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a baking pan with oil. Pour a small amount of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan to coat a very thin layer.
3. Spread half the refried beans onto the tortilla then place on the bottom of your baking dish. Evenly sprinkle the corn and black beans on top. Add some seasoning if desired.
4. Spread the other half of the refried beans on another tortilla and layer that on top of the bean-corn mixture. Evenly spread your mixed veggies (mushrooms, squash, peppers) on top.
5. Place one plain tortilla on top then cover with enchilada sauce. Top with vegan cheese if desired.
6. Bake about thirty minutes or until heated through and bubbly in the oven. Remove from oven and let stand at least ten minutes before serving.

Serve hot. Top with vegan sour cream or guacamole if desired (right photo above).
Makes at least four to six large servings.

I topped mine with classic Wholly Guacamole. It was delicious and filling!
I hope you enjoy the recipe. : D

I had some leftover refried beans, tortillas, and enchilada sauce, so I decided to make an enchilada wrap for lunch (photo above).

I put the little bit of remaining refried beans on a tortilla, a bit of kale and corn as well as some Diaya cheddar, rollde it up like a typical enchilada, then smothered it in the remaining sauce and covered with another sprinkle of Daiya. It was divine!

**Daiya vegan cheese shreds are gluten free as well.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Veg*n on a Budget: Easy, Healthy Breakfast (Inexpensive Too!!)

This is my third installment regarding eating vegan on a budget. The first post discussed staples all vegans and vegetarians should have in their home. The second post provided a simple, cheap, healthy rice and beans recipe with many ways it can be used (wraps, side dish, entrees, etc). This post is a dedication to one of my favorite breakfasts. It is simple, healthy, and delicious!

It is bursting with vitamins and nutrients as well as flavor (and color!). It keeps me full for a long time and I know right off the bat for the day I am getting at least one or two full servings of vegetables, which starts the day off right!

Beth's Veggie Breakfast Burst

Ingredients: Use a handful or two (about a cup and a half per serving) of all your favorite mixed vegetables, it's super easy if you use frozen veggies! Grab a little broccoli and cauliflower mix and some stir-fry mix at the store for this for a delicious mix. I like any of the following:

broccoli
cauliflower
onions
squash (zucchini or yellow squash is best for this recipe)
shredded or chopped carrot
bell pepper
kale, spinach, or other leafy greens
mushrooms
tomato
and the list goes on!

You'll also need a slice of bread (I lightly toast a slice of whole wheat bread), a dash of olive oil to cook the veggies, and spices to season the dish. I often use garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, a small dash of cayenne pepper, a dash of sea salt, and a MUST: nutritional yeast. I sometimes use turmeric, cumin, and other spices, but you can choose whatever you like for both spices and veggie mix, making this dish very versatile and easy to vary so you don't get bored of it.

Directions:

Cook the veggies in a small amount of olive oil (or hemp oil, coconut oil, whatever healthy oil you prefer) over medium heat for a few minutes until they are heated through, usually about five minutes.

While the vegetables heat, lightly toast a slice of whole grain bread. Turn the heat off and leave vegetables in the pan. Add whatever seasonings you prefer.

Place the bread of toast on a plate and top with the hot vegetables. Optional: Add a touch of Daiya cheddar or whatever topping you like. Serve hot and enjoy a healthy breakfast that was prepared in less than ten minutes!

Sometimes I spread avocado or guacamole on the toast for a creamy change of pace. It adds even more nutrients, including healthy fats.

Other times I top my dish with a cheddar or American style cheese from The Non-Dairy Formulary: Vegan Cuisine for the Ethical Gourmet. There are a ton of delicious vegan recipes in this book, including how to make vegan fried eggs that really taste and look like fried eggs, dozens of homemade cheeses and sauces, and even homemade vegan butter. Check it out, there is a free preview on Amazon at the above link provided.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vegan on a Budget Series: Rice and Wraps (Post #2)

My previous post Veg*n on a Budget started off with a simple list of mostly inexpensive and healthy staples all vegans should have in their home. Cheaper produce such as bananas are always great as well as heads of lettuce, apples, oranges, and other produce, especially when it's on sale. Also, rice, beans, and frozen veggies are great to stock up on and can be used in a variety of ways.

Today I will focus on seasoned rice with beans and corn. Make it however you like it, but it can be enjoyed by itself, as a side dish, a snack, or used in wraps, tacos, etc. The list goes on, just be creative. The following recipe is how I like my seasoned rice, but use more or less seasonings to your own specific preferences. The recipe is for two servings, so multiply for more servings, depending on if you are making it for the family, making it ahead just to have in the fridge, etc. It will stay good for about 7-10 days in the refrigerator.

Seasoned Rice

2 servings rice (prepared according to package directions)
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup beans (any type {black, kidney, navy, etc} either canned or dry and prepared according to package)
1/4 cup corn (frozen or canned)
about 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
about 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (and/or black pepper)
about 1/3 teaspoon cumin
about 2 tablespoons water

After you've prepared the rice according to the package instructions, keep it in the pan and add all ingredients in. Stir well over low heat for about five minutes. Serve warm or cold. (I like mine better warm.)

Wraps with Rice

tortilla (flour, corn, or veggie)
about 4 heaping seasoned rice
about 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
any of the following: avocado/guacamole, olives, diced tomatoes, hummus, diced zucchini, salsa, fresh spinach, mushrooms, refried beans (be sure the can says vegetarian, sometimes the fat free varieties are okay, but some refried beans have beef fat or lard or other animal ingredients in them), sprouts, shredded carrot, veggie patty (vegan chicken or burger), falafel, etc. Again, be creative!

Gently place all ingredients on the tortilla. Be sure not to put TOO much or it will be hard to wrap and eat without it falling apart. Wrap and enjoy! Mmmm!

Again, this seasoned rice is really versatile and can be used however you'd like. It goes great with salsa and Mexican / Tex-Mex / Spanish foods such as tacos, fajitas, burritos, etc, but use it however you'd like. Please comment suggestions or how you like to use it! : )

Check out these sites I found with good, inexpensive and easy (so they claim) recipes:

Vegan Kansas City Easy Recipes
VegVine.com: Cheap Meals, Vegan Recipes
Eating Well: Easy Healthy Vegan Recipes



Monday, January 6, 2014

Veg*n on a Budget

I often hear people saying that it's more expensive to be vegan than to eat animal products. That is so untrue! Not even counting the health benefits of a whole foods and plant-based diet which can save on your medical bills (especially as we age), you can live very well and buy very healthy foods on even the strictest budget. If you are trying to bulk up on frozen fake meats, however, that will hurt your budget faster than you can say, "Can I get a discount?!"

What really burns me up is that meat is subsidized. This means part of MY taxes go towards making these murderous products cheaper! If meat were not subsidized it would cost FAR more (at least three or four times more) than it currently does, but that's a whole other issue...

  • Frozen Vegetables
  • Frozen veggies are usually really cheap. I see them on sale for a dollar a bag, which contains typically four to eight servings. There are many varieties. Some of the healthier choices are the leafy greens such as broccoli, kale, spinach, collards, etc. There are also lots of blends such as peas and carrots, stir-fry blends (which usually have snap peas, carrots, water chestnuts, onions, broccoli, etc.), and too many other varieties to list. They keep for a long time in the freezer and you can portion them out very easily; use as much or as little as you want.

  • Fresh Fruit and Veggies
  • Fresh fruit CAN be pricey if you go for those out of season or exotic fruits, but bananas are incredibly healthy and usually dirt cheap. Eat two for breakfast with a piece of toast and you'll be full for a few hours! I often find different types of berries on sale (but just beware they only have a short shelf life so they need to be consumed within a week or less usually), and bags of apples and oranges are often on sale as well. Look for sales on bags of avocados and other fruits and veggies.

    Fresh vegetables are not usually priced too high, either. You can get a whole head of dark green lettuce such as romaine or red leaf lettuce, a head of cabbage, bag of carrots, and a few other items. This can make you many salads throughout the week. Pile some berries on top and add some store brand Italian dressing (read the ingredients to be sure there is no cheese listed or other animal products). A whole week of salads (lunch, anyone?) for about $10. You might even get more servings than that!

  • Rice, Pastas, and Grains
  • Find store brand brown rice and pastas and stock up when you can. I often see them on sale for $1 a box, which usually has about eight servings for the pasta and about twelve servings for the rice at about $2 a box.

    With rice you can make stir-fry (use the frozen veggies and some soy sauce), rice and beans, and even wrap it up with some hummus and/or guacamole and fresh vegetables for a delicious and healthy veggie wrap. The possibilities are endless!

    With pasta you can create spaghetti marinara, of course, pasta salads, pasta with veggies, etc. Use your imagination and you'll see there are many things you can create.

    With quinoa, barley, rice, and other grains you can add to almost any dish and they are GREAT in soups!

  • Beans and Legumes
  • Dry beans are usually pretty cheap, and even canned beans are not priced too high. These should be staples in your pantry as they are high in fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. You can make bean tacos, burritos, veggie wraps, put them on salads, and make an infinite number of recipes with beans.

    If you can find a grocery store that sells bulk nuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and other nuts are great for snack or, again, adding to your salads. Other legumes such as lentils and peas are great options as well.

  • Egg Substitutes and Miscellaneous
  • Applesauce, bananas, Ener-G Egg Replacer and other commercial egg replacer products, flaxseed, and many other substitutes can be used. Do a search online for more information with Goodsearch.com. They are easy to find on Amazon and can be bought in bulk at a discount (usually with free shipping) and stored for a long time.

You can find so many free recipes online and tips how to live frugally as a vegan (or vegetarian). Best wishes, and eat healthy on the cheap! Simple recipes to follow in the next few days, please check back often and follow me if you're so inclined. Thanks. : )


Sunday, December 22, 2013

So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurts

I've enjoyed So Delicious coconut milk yogurt for quite some time now. All flavors are delicious, but my favorite is vanilla. It's so creamy and tasty, just the right balance of sweet and tart, and smooth just like dairy yogurt.

I am only able to find the vanilla flavor at the grocery store that's by my work rather than the one that's by my house. When my boyfriend went grocery shopping the other day he saw these new Greek style yogurts from So Delicious and picked up some almond milk vanilla flavored ones and some coconut milk blueberry flavored ones.

As you can see in the photos below, the containers are very similar. The shape is a bit different, however, and the Greek-style seems a bit thicker plastic construction. The Greek yogurt has Greek bordering / symbols on the label and is not the same circular shape when looking at the container from above as the regular coconut milk yogurts. There are some other minor differences, but it would be easy to pick up one for the other as a mistake if in a rush and not paying close enough attention.

The Greek style almond milk yogurt is definitely thicker than the regular style coconut milk yogurts. The texture is still very creamy and, to me, it seems like a mix between yogurt and pudding as far as consistency and appearance (see photo below). The vanilla yogurt has a bit of a chalky after taste to me. While the taste is not overwhelming, there are certainly more preferable varieties I would choose rather than the vanilla Greek style almond milk yogurt.

On the other hand, the blueberry flavored coconut milk Greek style yogurt is very delicious with no after taste. It still has a smooth, slightly thicker consistency (still much like a combination of pudding and yogurt). I think the coconut milk works a little better for yogurt than almond milk since coconut milk is naturally slightly bitter, just like dairy yogurt.

Overall, I will stick to occasionally buying the So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla flavored yogurt, as that's my favorite. Unfortunately, I can only buy it sporadically (especially when I have coupons!!) as it's a bit too expensive for my budget. : (


If you are looking to earn extra money from home (part-time OR full-time), now is the time to check out SFI!