Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The 7 Hills of Richmond, VA

Much like Rome, Richmond is a city that was built on seven hills. While there was an ordinance in 1937 to make them official by a local councilman, unfortunately it was never passed. As a Richmonder, you know there is an unofficial list of the seven hills. They are:

  1. Church Hill
  2. Union Hill
  3. Libby Hill
  4. Chimborazo Hill
  5. Oregon Hill
  6. Richmond Hill
  7. Shockoe Hill

Each of the seven hills were all located in the downtown area and each area unique to creating the city we see today. I am planning on starting a blog series exploring the uniqueness of each area of the river city and its impact on the city today. But first, let's take a look at the city as it grew to the grandeur we see today.
The proposed 7 Hills
Richmond in the 1930's was a thriving metropolis, despite the rough economic woes of the Great Depression thanks to the thriving Tobacco industry. Within five years of the depression, Richmond had bounced back and began attracting businesses as it was one of the first right-to-work states. As factories and assembly plants moved in, jobs soared and Richmond was budding with white collar workers. Street cars ran along broad street transporting workers from the outer neighborhoods to the main city limits, until 1949, when streetcars were replaced with busses.
Broad Street, 1920's
With the expansion of transportation in the form of roadways, and railroads, high populated areas pushed for the innovation and creation of turnpikes and highways we see today. Jefferson Davis Highway (which shares US 1 and US Route 301) was the busiest north corridor and after too many dangerous head-on collisions from drivers commuting into the city, the construction of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike connected Richmond along Interstate 95.
Construction of Interstate 95
In the mid-1960's, Richmond began its "downtown boom", with the construction of over 700 buildings. With the merger of Medical College of Virginia (MCV), Richmond Professional Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in 1968, the educational giant began taking roots in the city. However, devastation hit the city in 1972 when Hurricane Agnes dumped 16 inches of rain, flooding most of the downtown area- and broke an over 200 year old rain record. Richmond build its famous floodwall in 1995 to protect the city and the area of Shockoe Bottom from flooding.
View of Main Street Station from Interstate 95, 1972, Hurricane Agnes
Richmond has seen her fair share of up's and down's and her citizens are proof that she is here to stay. No matter how many times you leave her, she still welcomes you back with open arms. From the history buried within each brick of Main Street Station to every gravestone in Cemetery, ou have shown you have survived great odds and can withstand the test of time. From the calmness of the James River to the sunsets at Libby Hill, your beauty does not go unnoticed.  With each passing year you age, you are reminded of how much we love your diversity and strength.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Thrifty Grocery Store Shopping Tips & Tricks

Hey Friends! It has been way too long. Thanks for sticking around. I have been on quite the blogger vacation! Between moving, life changes and everything in between, it has been a bit busy in this busy owl's life. Well, let's get down to business. If you have been following me on Instagram (@baconneggs), then you have been keeping up with some of my thrifty purchases and mini walking tours of my city. However, I have a few things I have been saving specifically for those blog-reading-loving-fanatics and so I am going to just get back into the groove of things!

These thrifty ideas are not in the clothing department today. Today I am talking about something we do Most importantly, food shopping. Groceries can be expensive, but we all have to buy them. So, why waste your money and throw out items that you spent your hard earned money to get? That's like taking your paycheck and throwing it in the trash. No one likes to waste. I am here to give you a few tips that can help you save a ton of moolah- and time!
  1. Buy some items in bulk. Not like Costco (all though that can save you some money on staples like toilet paper and paper towels), but buying items on sale. This past week I went to my local grocery store and they had a 6 pack of corn for $3 (that is 50 cents per ear). I brought them home, shucked them, cut them in half and froze them for later. Of course I am not going to eat all that corn anytime soon, but I can buy it now and save myself some hassle (and money) later on. And, it ended up being cheaper than the fresh canned corn I buy.
  2. Keep an Eye on Manager Specials. Go check out the meat department. Do you see any items with the clearance stickers on them for steaks? Grab them. The butcher of the store is in charge of circulating meat and if that meat has been on their shelves too long (less than a week), they put them on clearance so they can put their new meat in. This meat is still good and you can freeze it. Take those steaks home, slice them up for fajitas, steak tips, etc. and you will have saved yourself some dough in the process.
  3. Go on Off days. The best time to go to the grocery store is Tuesday or Wedneday. The least amount of shoppers go grocery shopping that day and you can always find the best sales, especially if the trucks are coming in. Talk to your produce manager to see when the truck comes in to your grocery store. This is also the best time to get fresh produce- instead of on the weekend when it has been picked through by the crowds.
  4. Talk to the grocery store staff. Befriend these folks. They are gold on your food budget. If you make friends with the butcher, they will recognize you and often cut you a great deal for your loyalty to the store. And, they can also help you with recipe ideas, etc., so start talking to them and before you know it, you will have one more friend in the store that can help you!
  5. Bring and Use Coupons. Most people do not like using coupons. This is free money my friends! Let's just say you need cereal. There may be a coupon that could save you on top of the savings from the store's sales ad. Which means you could save twice as much money as if you had just gone in without the coupon. I know they can be a hassle and it is time consuming to cut them out of the sunday paper. However, if you have seen the extreme couponers, you know, you can save some serious money with coupons.
And these are just a few tips I try to keep in mind when shopping for my groceries. I know some of you have a lot of tips and tricks. So, feel free to share them. I love to hear new ideas

Monday, September 26, 2016

DIY Swiffer Wet Jet Refill

I always get tired of paying so much money for Swiffer WetJet Refills. Even with coupons, you are still spending a lot of money for just another cleaner. I told myself I would find another way to do it and I did!

First, I had to remove the top. All I did was fill a pan with water, allowed it to boil, and then stuck the top in for about 20 seconds to see if it would remove- and it did!
As you can see, the top came off really easy. **It will be hot so use a kitchen towel to twist the top off.**
Now, that you have the top removed. You will only need a few ingredients to recreate the mixture.
All you will need is a measuring cup, White Vinegar, Water and dish soap (something you like the smell of).
You will need a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar. I used 2 Cups (1/2 a bottle of a Vinegar) and 2 Cups of Water.
Next, add a few drops of your dish soap into the Swiffer WetJet container holding your vinegar and water mixture. (Dish Soap is optional but it will make it smell great! I used Method's Pear Ginger Dish Soap- found at Target but any will do).
Once you have added your soap mixture into the mix, close and secure the top onto the bottle. Wipe away any excess spills you may have.
 Add the container back into your Swiffer WetJet Mop and continue cleaning! It is that simple and costs very little to continue refilling.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How To Thrift for Furniture

Via Pinterest
Furniture may be one of the more expensive items you ever thrift - but it does not have to be. However, depending on the piece, it can last you for years- and may end up being one of your more favorite thrifted items. The most important element of thrifting furniture is variety. Go to different stores, flea markets,estate sales, etc - if you limit yourself to where you go, you may not find that diamond in the rough.

I find that when you are looking at used furniture, keep an open mind. Look at the piece and wonder how you cantransform it. Would it look great with a new coat of paint? Can you add new fabric for a fun, festive look? Keep in mind all pieces of furniture have potential - you just have to imagine what it could be. Mixing and matching old and new pieces can be fun so think of how you can blend the item in with what you already currently own.

Before I purchase any piece of furniture, I always look it over. Does it have good bones? Was it built to lastor will it break down after a few years? Will I still love it in 5, 10 years from now? Does it have handcrafted details? Does it have an iconic feel/look to it (70's, 60's)? Not all these things need to matter when you are considering an item - but these questions may help you decide if you want to invest in a piece that may not last you as long as you want. 

Furniture is an investment, like a long-term relationship. It takes time to find the right piece that fits into your home and lifestyle. If you aren't 100% in love with the item, or find yourself second guessing it, then maybe it is time to pass on that piece so you can find the piece that you fall for from the start. Remember, the fun is in the hunt!

Happy Hunting Thrifters!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Book Review: I Brake for Yard Sales

I was browsing my local bookstore the other night and stumbled across this little gem. I browsed through it, considering I have been so into antique stores lately for my home that after thumbing through it, I brought it home and immediately started reading it. This book gives great tips from figuring out what your personal style is, incorporating the pieces you find as well as what to look for in furniture for lasting quality and style. This is a really great tool to help a newby like myself get started and how to make something so beautiful last so much longer (with just a little TLC). For $20, it was a bit high but compared to other home improvement/style/interior design books, it is well worth the price! Snag up a copy for yourself if you are interested in finding great pieces to incorporate into your home with just a little face lift.

Monday, September 12, 2016

DIY Project: Fun Earrings

Happy Monday!! I have been searching for quite a bit of time now for some mustard colored earrings for fall. I have been lacking in finding good accessories lately. After much searching, I kinda gave up- realizing that what I was looking for just wasn't where I was searching. I realized that maybe what I needed was to make my own. Something where I could make a cute pair of earrings really my own- not just another neutral pair to fill my jewelry box. 

Going into Target the other day, I came across these cute telephone charms for bracelets- knowing I had found exactly what I had been looking for (and scoring them 50% off- now $2.48/each), I knew I was in luck! I rushed home, excited about making them. Now, I am going to share with you how I did it- since it is super easy and very inexpensive to recreate.

You will need:
  • fish hook earring wire (or any earring base you wish)
  • 2 charms (I choose my two charms from Target)
  • 2 pairs of jewelry pliers (any craft store will have these - i used needle-nose like these)
  • 2 links from a jewelry chain (you can also buy jump rings- that will work too) of the same color as the earring wire you have selected
For these particular charms, I had to remove the claw clasp that was originally attached (it would have connected the charms to the bracelets/necklace). Some charms you will not need to do this step. For these, all I did was take my jewelry pliers and separate the charm from the claw clasp at the gold jump ring (this connects both pieces together).

Next, you will need to take your jump rings (or chain links) you have set aside and open them using your pliers. To do this, simply grab the jump ring with the pliers, and using a second set of pliers, pull one side of the jump ring towards you - not all the way as some can break easily- just large enough for the charm and earring wire. Once open, slide the charm and the earring wire together on the jump ring and securely close the jump ring with the pliers. And there you have it! Easy to make earrings!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Recipe: Accidental Vegetarian Tacos

Have you ever had amazing food that you didn't know you would actually like? Welcome to my world of Food. This past weekend I was lucky to venture to this place for a sampling of their fine tacos, one of which was a vegetarian option on the menu. I have been to quite a fair share of vegetarian spots and are always willing to try something new to me out. Well, let's just say after my meal, I was hooked. Soy crumbles with spices and seasoning was just too perfect. So, after one of my vegetarian friends pointed out that I could make them at home with his vegetarian "meat", I figured I would make my own to see how they stood up. 

As simple as tacos can be, this one is just as so. You will only need a few ingredients.
  • Soy Crumbles ( I used BOCA brand- as they were what was recommended to me)
  • Tortillas/Taco Shells (I have to eat gluten-free so I choose corn tortillas)
  • Taco Seasoning (I use McCormick's Perfect Pinch Mexican)
  • Toppings (I prefer a lower cal option so I opted for Romaine Lettuce and Tostitos Salsa)
Here is what I did:
  1. Soy Crumbles come frozen, and already pre-cooked. All you need to do is heat up your desired amount (i used 1/2C for two tacos since I like mine pretty full) in a skillet. This only takes about 5-7 minutes just for the crumbles to thaw and warm. Add a pinch of olive oil so the crumbles will not stick.
  2. While the crumbles are cooking, chop your romaine lettuce.
  3. Since the oven has already preheated early (350 degrees) simply place the tortilla shells on the oven and allow them to hang for taco-shape. This will only take about 3-5 minutes so you will want to do this last.
  4. Before removing the crumbles, add taco seasoning to pan. Remove from heat and stir.
  5. Remove taco shells from oven and place on plate. Fill tacos with crumbles and toppings of choice. Serve warm!
As easy as it was to cook those crumbles, I was simply amazed. Now, as apprehensive as most people are of soy products, I find this a great replacement for beef. This would be great in spaghetti, tacos (like seen here) or any other dish where you could subsitute ground beef. Just keep the crumbles well seasoned and you will not taste the difference. Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

How To: Freezing Kale

Kale. What a great new healthy veggie for our table. High and vitamins and minerals, this little leaf packs a punch. And with such a budget-friendly vegetable that is so versatile, it is one staple you're going to want to keep around. One of my personal favorite things to do with kale is to turn it into kale chips (btw you can find the recipe I follow here). Since I have been buying it in large quantities of  it I have always wondered if I can freeze it. Then that day came this weekend. So when I went to the farmers market here I asked the local farmer who grew the kale if they knew if it was possible to freeze (they said yes). So since I was in the dark for so long I figured I would pass my kale freezing tips onto you.
First thing is first you will need to prep the kale. Since it normally comes so large you will need to snip the pieces off of the stalk. Just take some regular old kitchen shears and snips the pieces to desired length ( I kept mine on the larger side so that I would snip them later).  Make sure you also clip off the yellow or brown pieces.

Next, you will need to start a large pot of water. Once it starts boiling, you are going to place a few stalks in to start blanching. This will essentially clean the bacteria and dirt on the veggie. Since my kale pieces include the stalks, I am going to keep them in for 3 minutes. If you prefer to  remove the stalks on each piece, you will only need to blanch the pieces for 2 minutes each.

Next set aside a bowl of ice. Once each pot of kale has been blanched, you will need to shock the kale- to stop the cooking process. This will allow the kale to be half cooked and bright green but allow you to be able to fully cook it later on.

After you have shocked the kale, set it in a colander to drip dry while you complete the rest of the pieces you have remaining.

Once you have finished all of the kale, you will need to allow it to fully dry before placing it in freezer bags for storage. If it is not fully dried, it will be soggy and therefore will not freeze well- so ensure it is completely dry first ( I used paper towels to get excess water as well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Few Quick Tips for Thirfting

Thrifting can be super easy and fun. It is not very difficult to do and once you start, you may get addicted to it. Personally, I think thrifting is like a treasure hunt to find the best deals for great items. Some people set a budgeted amount they want to/or are willing to spend. Others go in looking for that hidden gem. Regardless of how you want to approach it, you can get the same amount of enjoyment out of thrifting.
I will say not all trips are a success on finding items. Sometimes you will not find anything you love, some times you find items to laugh about or love the nostalgia of but do not want to purchase the item. That is okay, it happens to everyone. Do not get discouraged. Sometimes it is the place you go to has not had any new items of interest and other times it may be that items really aren't YOU. Why buy something you don't love? 
There are a few things i like to keep in mind when i go thrifting and i am gonna share some of my tips with you.
  1. Hunt early in the morning. Regardless if you are hunting at a yard sale or thrift store (like Goodwill), it is important to get there early. It allows you time to shop and snag your treasures before most of the busy crowds get there and it gives you time to snoop around. 
  2. Go Often. This is really no big surprise. Going into a favorite local shop and seeing what is new will allow you time to inspect the new items of interest. If you are shopping a store that has constant turn arounds (like Goodwill, which is continuously adding new supply daily), you will want to shop those store as much as possible.
  3. Buy something you LOVE. I have heard this regarding buying pricey art work..."if you don't love it, don't buy it because you are the one that has to live with it. Same with thrifting. 
  4. When thrifting furniture, look for good bones. Was it made well? Is it going to fall apart when i sit a glass on it? Furniture can be painted and redone...but the bare bones stay (most of us aren't going to break it down and rebuild it)so look for a solid piece that will last.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing. If you are going on the hunt for a dress, shoes, etc, you want to wear something that you can easily get in and out of in the dressing room. I tend to dress simple (jeans, tshirt, jacket, slip-on shoes/flats. It allows me to try on the clothing quickly and without a lot of undressing and redressing time.
  6. Keep a List of items you are on the hunt for! I keep a small notepad in my purse or a mini-list in my wallet of items I want (a particular piece of clothing- good pair of cowboy boots....or something for a collection - i love owls so i look for anything owl related-..maybe a houseware item I need- hello Pyrex!) and when I go in a store, I try to keep an eye out for those items. It is an ever-changing list but i keep it handy incase I know that particular store is good for finding those type of items.
  7. Search the store COMPLETELY! Visit the sections you would not normally visit. Go to the men's section...look over every hanger. Look at every item..move every plate in the stack. Take a risk and buy something out of the ordinary. I have found some of my favorite pieces by not wanting them at first (and DIY'ing them). And, if you still cannot fall in love with it/DIY/redo it, at least it was cheap or can possibly be redonated!
  8. Thrifting can be expensive. Yes it can be cheap too but if you buy expensive items (furniture, jewelry), it can add up. Going in with a set amount you are willing to spend will allow you to not go overboard when you did not plan on it.
  9. Thrifting for clothing can save you a bundle...but it comes with a cost. Some of my best finds have been clothing. And I have saved a ton if money by not going directly to the mall. However some clothing had to be altered, washed and de-stained, etc. Keep in mind some thrifted items DO need a little TLC.
  10. Thrifting is fun. At the end of the day, bringing home items that would normally been out of my price range is thrilling. Going to a new store to check out their goodies has been fun while on vacation or discovering a new town. And, some of the nicest people work in thrift stores. 
So google thrift stores in your area and check them out. You not only may save yourself a ton of money but it is always super awesome to support a local business that caters to the budget-friendly shopper. Good Luck and Happy Hunting!!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Mountain Biking in Richmond, VA

Meet Lola. She has been my biking companion since i bought her 9 years ago. When I got my first bonus at my corporate job, she was what I purchased. She is a SCOTT Voltage YZ 20. A couple of weekends ago, she and I went trail riding at Lake Anna State Park and she got a bit muddy. Since I enjoy MTB quite a bit, I thought I would share some of my favorite trails in the area.

Some of my favorite trails are in my own home city: Richmond, VA. Thanks to the MTB Project, they have created (and even ranked) some of the best biking trails in the area. Since MTB works closely and collaborates with the International Mountain Bikers Association (IMBA), they have created a great website to view photos, post reviews and even rate biking trails. This, in turn, has allowed bikers to get an idea of difficulty, prepare for training, and even increase the challenge and experience on their bikes.  And, since it is all free, you can contribute and upload your own photos and reviews of the trails. Richmond alone has 32 trail options to MTB, so you have a lot of options just in the immediate city alone.
My favorite biking trails in the RVA, is with the James River Park System. With a variety of trails compiled together, you can get an array of different difficulties, grades and experience in just one large loop. As it run from one side of the city to another, it really does give a MTB rider like myself a variety of challenges. As this trail also contains runners, dog walkers and families, you may experience some high walking traffic along the route.
Pocahontas State Park, located in Chesterfield, VA (20 min drive from Richmond), has one of the best excursion trails for a MTB rider who wants a little more jumps in their ride. With the inclines, hills, and jumps available, the Blueberry Hill trail makes for a fun, unique ride just outside the city. Some of my friends can get a really great jump in the air on this trail and it makes for a great place for group riders.
My personal starter trail for MTB was in Deep Run Park, located in Henrico, VA (a 15 minute drive from Richmond). The Outer Loop is by no means a beginner trail, but it does allow you to easily learn to maneuver your MTB in a fast-paced setting. Also, if you are learning to use clipless pedals, this is a great place to start practicing locking and unlocking your shoes. While not all the terrain is ideal (it does have rocky paths, sandy paths and some steep turns), it will help you in the beginning of your training.

If you want a long, scenic ride, you can also try the Cap2Cap trail ,which stems from Richmond to Williamsburg. It is a long ride along paved trail, but it is a great day trip from one city to the next. Regardless of where you go MTB, the ride is always a lot more fun than the walk. So, this Labor Day weekend, take a bike ride!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Making the Switch: Moving to Organic Products

Since my mid-20's, I have looked at healthier options for my skin and body. I find health to be a long-term investment and the sooner you start, the better off you are.

I feel I have finally come to the point I can fully divulge into my system of organic care. And, it is my hope that by sharing this with you, someone may find it just as beneficial as I have. Choosing products for your skin, your beauty, your body is a very personal thing. And, while these products are not for everyone, I feel they worked really well for me. And, since switching I feel I have benefitted from the change.
I have felt the products closest to the skin are the most important to keep as natural as possible. Sadly, the FDA does not have a standing definition for what is considered "Natural", so any company can place the word Natural on their product, without it even having ingredients that are good for your health. So, in lieu of this, I have gone to EWG in order to search for the best products I can for myself and my home. EWG is a non-profit organization to keep the consumer informed on products and other things we use and inform us on the best products to help the environment as well as ourselves. Their system, based on their strict guidelines, determines what products they approve of; everything from seafood, to produce, sunscreen products, and cosmetics. They are a great resource to get you started on purchasing clean products. All you have to do is go on their website and search for a product or brand you wish to know how "clean" it is and it will give you the full breakdown.
Feminine Products
Let's just start with the most personal topic, shall we? Breaks ice. In all seriousness, I feel the female body is capable of cleaning itself well on its own. And, I feel I do not need any perfumed products, like sanitary napkins and tampons to change the scent to something more "floral" and "ladylike". So, I have chosen options with organic cotton without dyes or perfumes. One of my favorites is by Seventh Generation tampons and pantyliners. Target always has them on sale. However, if you do not like Seventh Generation, there is also Honest Co., Veeda, and Organyc to name a few. If tampons and liners are not your thing, the Diva Cup is also a great alternative; I have personally tried the Diva Cup and did not like it.
With the increase sensitivity to gluten and other additives to cosmetics, organic beauty products are becoming more popular. Celebrities like Miranda Kerr, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba, and Gwyneth Paltrow heavily support the organic lifestyle and only use organic products. And, as a result of this, there are many price points where you can obtain organic makeup without breaking the bank. W3llPeople and RMS Beauty are my two favorite organic cosmetic lines. Physicians Formula is also a great line that is budget-friendly - just watch as they have non-organic products as well.
In the past year or so I have been a lot more diligent with my skincare routine, incorporating a lot of anti-aging remedies to help prevent aging issues like pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines. One of my new regiments is the KORA Organics 3 step system for awhile now (I will have a blog post on my full review soon, so stay tuned). In addition to KORA, I also use 100% Pure eye cream, Caudalie Organic Grape water spray (makes a great facial mist), and when I want to do a mask or body scrub, i always use Organic Coconut Oil mixed in with my ingredients- it is super nourishing. I also love Tata Harper's face serum. And, above all I use SPF/sunscreen daily; my favorite is by COOLA. It smells heavenly.
Soaps/Deodorant/Hair Care/Oral Care
I admit this particular section was a bit of a hard habit to break. It truly is easier said than done. However, I think I have seen great success since my changes. First is Deodrant. We all need it and all have to have it but with aluminum in most deodorants (which leads to breast cancer), it was time for a switch. I have been using the Crystal deodorant with a lot of success. It was a big change from the Toms I was using, but I am happy to have made the change. I also like the Lavanila line as well- and i keep their minis in my gym bag. As far as body washes go, it was a bit rough at first to switch from a lotion-based product like Dove, but I have found I love the Body Shop's shower gel scents a lot better. As far as haircare goes, I have enjoyed Avalon Organics or 100% Pure for my shampoo and conditioner. Styling is pretty simple: I use Nexxus Phyto Organic Hair spray, Lulu Organics dry shampoo powder, and Parlor heat protecting spray. As far as toothpaste, I like Dr. Bronner's and The Natural Dentist mouthwash.
Now, it is just as important to incorporate good organics into your body and you do on your body. As they say, you are what you eat. Garden of Life has been the favorite for quite some time now. I use their RAW probiotics daily as well as their Women's Daily. And, when I feel a cold coming on (which is quite rare for me), I start taking their Vitamin C.
House Cleaning Supplies
Now, of all things, I know many of you may not follow under this category and that is fine. However, I feel when I have a good, clean environment that is not full of chemicals and byproducts, I feel better about it. I found that when I was using plain old store bought products, the fumes would bother me intensely. It make it difficult to clean. And, I was not even thinking about my impact on the environment. (Side Note: I have made my own from Dr. Bronner's soaps - and I highly recommend it for money-saving. However, if you want to purchase some great products, I have some options for you.) For my all-purpose spray I use Seventh Generation and Method  specific cleaners for my toilet bowl, glass, floor and tub/tile. For my dishwasher, I use Seventh Generation tabs and Earth Friendly dishwasher rinse aid. When I do not run the dishwasher I use 3M Scotch-Brite Sponges and Caldrea dish soap. For detergent, I use Whole Foods 365 Laundry Detergent. (i do not buy fabric softener as I use a mix of hair conditioner- any one will do, just choose a scent you like- and white vinegar)
Well, there you have it. It is a long post but a lot of information. I hope I have helped in some way to help you choose better alternatives to some of your current products. While most of these in my eyes are "pure of heart", you may not like them and that is fine. I find most of these products can be made easily on your own- like cosmetics, skincare and home cleaners using Castile Soap- with just a simple google search. If you wish to do so, please share what you have made. I am always up to seeing what others have done. And, if you have some other great organic products, I would love to find out a great new product!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Wine and Herbs

No doubt if you have been following me on Twitter, you have seen my leftovers from my amazing French-Inspired Pork Tenderloin dish. I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It takes about 1hr 45m to complete - about 90 minutes of cooking time, so this may be a late week day dinner or weekend dinner, but it is well worth the wait. Pan searing the pork tenderloin was what really impressed me with this recipe and I am so thankful for finding a new way of cooking pork tenderloin. This can easily serve 4. I had mine with a side of asparagus.


  • 2 lbs. Pork Tenderloin 
  • 1 1/4C Dry White Wine (additionally, you will need another 1/4C to deglaze)
  • 1/2C Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2C Heavy Cream
  • 1/4C Shallots
  • 1/4C Herbs de Provence (substitute: 2Tbsp fresh Rosemary, 1/4C fresh Sage) 
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  1. Heat your oil in a large, deep skillet on medium-high heat. Saute garlic and herbs/shallots. Stirring for about 1 minute. Add the pork tenderloin to the pan on top of the herbs and sear each side until golden brown - about 5 minutes per side. Remove pork tenderloin and place on a plate. Add white wine to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Use wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all ingredients that have stuck - this will aide your sauce. Cook until you no longer smell the alcohol, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Lower the heat to medium-low setting. Return the pork to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover the pan with a lid and cook for 1 1/2 hour., flipping the pork and scraping the bottom every 20 minutes. Ensure there is always liquid in the pan- if not, add 3 Tbsp of warm water.
  3. When pork tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees, remove the pork to a plate to rest. Increase the heat of the pan to Medium. If the pan has low liquid, add in 1/4c wine set aside. Stir well to loosen the herbs stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let mixture cook until alcohol smell disappears, about 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock. Remove the pan from the heat to cool for 20 minutes. 
  4. When the sauce has cooled, add cream and place back on stove on medium-low heat. Stir constantly as sauce begins to warm and thicken. Avoid boiling. (If mixture does not thicken, in separate bowl mix 1Tbsp of Cornstarch with 1Tbsp of Water, and add to mixture until it begins to thicken). Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. 
  5. Place resting pork tenderloin on cutting board and cut as needed. Add sauce mixture on top and serve.