It is going to be a rainy weekend around Boston so it’s the perfect time to make some homemade chicken soup. Many people are afraid to make their own broth, but this is a great way of “recycling” the chicken carcass.  Yes, it takes time, but it’s really the cooking time that is lengthy, not the prep.
First, I love to cook a whole chicken in the oven, typically 4-6 lbs, and use the leftover bones and wings to make stock.  When I roast the chicken, I stuff it with Lemons and Garlic, which will get your stock started with great flavor.

1 Whole chicken carcass (stripped of cooked meat)
Carrots, Celery, Onion  (great to use up when they start getting soft)
small handful of peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
Salt to taste
Place everything into a large stockpot, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce to the lowest setting for about 3 hours. Strain stock into a large bowl, let cool to room temperature.  The stock can be refrigerated for about 3 days, but frozen for up to 4 months.  I like to freeze some in quart size freezer bags for future use.  By making your own stock, you get to control what is added.  Limited sodium, and no preservatives.  Please let me know if you have any questions about the recipe above.  happy friday. 

Two new state bills were passed in MA today, and both are positive moves in the right direction.
First, they passed a bill which “calls for selling nonfat and low-fat dairy products, non-fried fruits and non-fried vegetables, whole grains and related products, and beverages without additives or carbonation, non-sweetened water, and 100 percent fruit juices.”  (
While I wish parents spent more time paying attention to their kids nutritional needs, at least this will reduce some of the temptation for poor choices in schools.  Maybe kids can teach their parents a few things too in the process.
I can’t wait to see Jaime Oliver’s new show Food Revolution (ABC) starting on 3/26.  It is amazing how many families don’t understand what is healthy, and what it not.  I hope this sheds light on how important good nutrition is from the very beginning of a child’s life.

MA Senate also passed anti-bullying law too, which is a positive move after some sad events.
These are good moves by the legislature…much better than the new state regulation that requires me to document if my one year old daughter “walks” to school every day. Crazy.

We got a taste of spring fever this weekend around Boston.  It was finally warm enough for all the neighbors to get outside and catch-up with each other.  We met new neighbors that moved in during early winter, we just hadn’t seen them yet!

As soon as it got warm enough in the house, I opened windows.  Really opened windows, not just the inch or so I do when it’s freezing out.  The reason I open windows, even in the dead of winter, is that our homes are polluted.  Not with smoke or exhaust like we typically think of when someone says pollution.  No, it’s polluted with chemicals from everyday items in the home.  It can come from your cleaning products, furniture, rugs and more.  People spend 90% of their time indoors, so exposure to all these pollutants builds up over time.  The EPA provides a list of various sources of pollutants in the home to further explains what causes this.  While some sources need professional help to improve air quality (such as Radon removal), increasing ventilation in your home helps a lot. Children are especially susceptible to the chemicals in the air and improving the air quality make also help improve their allergies or asthma.

There are a few things we can easily control which can improve your air quality, without purchasing an expensive air purifier.
      1. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products.  There are so many on the market now to choose from.  Think about every time you open the dishwasher at the end of a cycle, you get a chemical facial if you are leaning too close!
      2. Ditch those air fresheners that come in ugly plastic containers, or plug into the wall.  Not only do you cut down on plastic usage, but possibly energy use too.
      3. Use the vent in your kitchen when you are cooking, especially at high heat.
      4. Get rid of dry cleaner bags once they come home to your closet. They are typically #4 plastic and can get recycled with your grocery bags.
      5. If you need new furniture, choose used.  The off gases from many new furniture items will also pollute your home. This also includes cribs.  As long as a used crib meets safety requirements (and check for recalls), it may be a healthier alternative to new wood.  Not only will you improve air quality, but you kept something out of a landfill.

Now, open your windows and enjoy the fresh air.

I was very excited to hear about Gap’s promotion to bring in your used denim, and get 30% off a new pair of Gap denim jeans. (even better 35% off with a Gap Card!)  I am already a fan of Gap’s new denim line, but I was most pleased to see they are partnering with Cotton From Blue to Greens.  This group recycles denim into insulation and other products.  For more information, see my prior post on this great recycling opportunity.
Recycled Denim?

Gap’s offer is good until March 14, and is in Stores only…you can’t find it online. I wish they would at least promote this great recycling opportunity on their site.  The offer is good on full price denim only, but with a 30 or 35% discount, it’s a great deal.   Happy Shopping!

You may be working very hard to recycle the plastic items in your house, but what can you do with all those #5 plastic items? These items made with polypropylene need to be separated from the #1-3 plastics. Bring your #5 Plastics to your local Whole Foods, which has recycling centers for these items. This can include medicine bottles, margarine tubs, some yogurt containers and more.

You can also mail your #5 Plastics to:

Preserve, a company committed to reusing #5 Plastics.

Preserve Gimme 5

5823 NYS Rte 13

Cortland, NY 13045

I have taken my name off junk mail lists, but continue to get many random credit card offers in the mail.  I have no need for them so they go straight to the recycling bin.

I found a website to get my name off the mailing list for these offers. You can choose to do this permanently, or for 5 years.  I choose 5 years, as you never know if in 5 years I’ll be in the market again.
The site is called OptOutPrescreen.  It takes less than a minute to sign “out”, and is a safe and secure site.
 Hopefully this will cut down on everyone’s daily sorting of the mail. More time to spend relaxing after a long day!

Last spring I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book and enjoyed every page from beginning to end.  With spring around the corner, I find myself going back to this books for ideas about early spring plantings.
The book is Kingsolver’s family’s true story of spending a full year living off their land, and also that of their neighbors.  They are on a farm, complete with heritage turkeys and fields of crops.  Kingsolver has added a bonus to the book with short essays by both her husband and older daughter.  I particularly enjoyed the daughter’s narration of the challenges they faced and the recipes that sustained them through the year.  I can say I ordered Ricky the Cheese Queen’s cheese making kit after reading about their summer trip there.  I made mozzarella that tasted amazing using local, whole organic milk and served it at my book club.

Each month is a chapter, narrating the newest crops, or finds in their local market.  It is an inspiring journey to read and really makes you think about how to shop locally and provide some of your food yourself. I am going to try to plant more tomatoes, spinach, and herbs this summer to share with my family. Hopefully the New England weather cooperates. As a new mother, I am very aware now of how much I appreciate knowing where my daughter’s food came from. I am going to try to buy more chicken at our local poultry farm and visit the farmer’s market when they come back in the late spring.

Happy Reading…   Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.)

Cotton Babies has seconds on sale of their BumGenius product.
I have placed two orders for seconds in the past and have never been able to find the defects.

Here is the link: Cotton Babies
Be prepared to be patient, there is usually a lot of site traffic when these sales happen so it may take more than one try.

Good luck!

While I was busy searching for a new car seat at, I discovered their Green shopping section.  What a great find!  I decided to add to my cart a new, cute Thermos for packing lunches.  Target has a wide variety of products included, from baby care products to furniture.

It’s a little tough to find…Click on See More, and then go to the eco-friendly link….or click here.

During a recent investor call, Whole Foods talked about the organic business in light of challenging economic times.  Here is the comment by their COO Walter Robb, “Organic remains a strong part of the business, and I think the trend association just released new data on the size of the organic industry at $26 billion for the growth rate of 5 to 6 percent. Our own internal numbers show very clearly that. And you can look at the Nielson numbers too — organic dollars and units, while they’re down from historical double-digit results, are still well ahead of conventional growth rates.  That tells us, and we see it in our own data, that organic continues to be (important to us) even in the darkest of times.”

Everyone’s consumer dollar counts and clearly a lot of us are still choosing to take the organic road…