How to Be A Conscious Consumer

How to Be A Conscious Consumer

Do you know how the products you are buying were made? Are they environmentally friendly? Do you budget? If you answer yes to these questions then it means you are a conscious consumer.

Over the past decade consumption levels have increased across the globe. As the income level rises, so is the greater access to a wide variety of consumer products. Presently, unconscious and unethical consumerism has brought about several problems such as pollution and erosion of income savings. It is for this reason that the idea of a conscious consumer is being propagated.

Therefore, how do you become a conscious consumer?

Know the Product Background
Ever wondered how your favorite snack or t-shirt is manufactured? Well, many people are not aware of how many of the products they consume are made.

Over the years, several companies have been accused of unethical and inhumane manufacturing practices regarding their products. So, to be a conscious consumer, it is prudent of you to dig a little and find out the background details. How are they made? Where are they manufactured? Who manufactures them? How are they shipped?

Knowing all this will ensure that you consume products that have been ethically produced. Besides, it will allow you to hold accountable the companies should they contravene the consumer protection laws and regulations.

Avoid Unbudgeted Spending
Currently, consumption rates have increased tremendously as people’s spending powers also increase. However, it is prudent to undertake sound budgeting to ensure conscious consumption every day. It calls for sound financial and budgeting skills.

Start by determining your net monthly income and then use it to budget as per your needs. As a conscious consumer, you should be able to meet most of your monthly needs comfortably without feeling the need to overspend. Moreover, with a budget, you will minimize spending your money on unnecessary purchases.

Aim for Lower Cost Purchases
Well, with lots of money comes the power to spend. Nonetheless, it is imperative to cut on cost where necessary. Shop well, shop less, and shop consciously.

If you can find a way to make purchases at a lower price, then take it. By doing so, you will be able to save extra cash on the side for other essential life investments such as education.

Aim to cultivate a more conscious consumer mindset by distinguishing between wants and needs. For instance, you could make purchases on second hand retail stores, where surprisingly, you will find quality stuff for low prices. But as you do that, also be mindful of the quality of your purchases. You do not want to buy a piece of furniture only for it to break within a few days.

Embrace Environmental Consciousness
Much of the products people consume have their raw materials sourced from the environment. So, it makes sense to take care of Mother Nature in return.

One way would be to ensure that you minimize using plastic products and embracing disposable and biodegradable made products. For instance, instead of buying products from fast food stores that serve using plastic cups and plates, you could opt to visit a store that uses disposable take out boxes.

Proper management of trash is also an excellent way to cultivate ethical consumer consciousness. As a conscious consumer, you should prioritize on recycling and reusing where necessary.

Outdoor Entertaining – Free Corn on the Cob Recipe!

Outdoor Entertaining – Free Corn on the Cob Recipe!

Summer is almost here!  And in our family that means outdoor entertaining!  It’s always a good idea to take advantage of good weather and dine alfresco every chance you get!

I know that outdoor entertaining means backyard barbecues complete with grilled meats, corn on the cob, and other mouth watering goodies we can make outside.  Don’t forget the S’mores!  But really outdoor entertaining isn’t limited to cooking stuff on your grill, there are so many ways you can enjoy dining on your patio or backyard.  It could be an intimate breakfast for two, a rambunctious kids’ birthday party, or a more serene adult dinner party for friends and family.

To get your creative juices flowing I’ve got 7 ideas you can build on to take your summer time entertaining outdoors!  By the way outdoor entertaining doesn’t mean you have to invite the whole neighborhood; you can enjoy a nice quite meal outdoors with just your immediate household!

How about an intimate breakfast for 2?

They’ve always said breakfast is the most important meal of the day; how better to start your day than with breakfast outdoors with your spouse or partner?

You don’t have to go all out.  A nice cup of coffee and a croissant will do; or if you’re feeling inclined a plate of bacon and egg and some warm biscuits will hit the spot.  Whatever the menu all you’ll really need is a simple table and chairs on the patio or in the backyard.  (And maybe keep the kids indoors so you can have some quiet time!)

If you’re not a morning person then make it lunch or dinner for two.  Remember the idea is to relax and enjoy some couples time!

Vintage Garden Tea Party

Tea is my favorite method of entertaining  and a Vintage Garden Party is a great to entertain outdoors.  I love tea parties, they’re simple and easy to prepare, they make you and your guests feel pampered, and they are so pretty!

Have everyone dress up in pretty summer frocks to make it an extra special event.  You don’t have to limit tea parties to adult parties, children, particularly little girls will adore a princess tea party for her birthday!  Our you can have a Teddy Bear Tea Party for boys and girls; each child is invited to bring along their favorite plush animal for the garden party.  Kids love it!

Kids’ Birthday Party

In my opinion kids’ parties should always be held outdoors, weather permitting of course.

There are so many options and themes for outdoor birthday parties.  The kids love it because they have room to run around and parents love it because it keeps the mess out of the house and makes clean up easier.

If your patio or yard isn’t big enough to let the kids run around then take your party to your neighborhood park!  Just be sure to clean up and place your trash in the trash containers.

Boho Adult Dinner Party

Adult Outdoor parties don’t always have to include grilled meats or barbecued anything for that matter!

A Boho themed or any themed outdoor party works for any occasion and it’s great if you don’t have enough outdoor tables and chairs.  Just stock up on large floor pillows or even picnic blankets.  Use low tables or a piece of plywood resting on cement tiles for your “dining table”.  Just be sure you cover it with a pretty tablecloth!

As for food serve anything your heart desires!

Baby or Bridal Showers

Who says indoor sofas and shelves can’t go outside?  Bring the indoors out and host your bridal or baby shower in the backyard.

It’s amazing what a bit of “redecorating” can do!

This works great if you have a small indoor living area and have lots of friends and family to invite!

 

Outdoor Weddings

I just love outdoor weddings!  They can be as low key or as fancy as the bride wants.

Lots of brides have learned to think outside of the box and hired some wonderful wedding venues.  You can check out vineyards, parks, beaches, and even zoos!

Depending on the venue outdoor weddings might take a bit more planning so it’s important to have a great wedding planner on your team!

Outdoor Barbecue

I can’t talk about outdoor entertaining without including the outdoor barbecue.  Take advantage of summer and take dinner (or lunch) outside.

You’ll definitely have lots of opportunities to host an outdoor barbecue between Memorial and Labor Days you’ve got Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, possibly a birthday or two.  Not to mention you don’t need a special occasion to barbecue, you can have one for the family just because!

Now one of my favorite things at an outdoor barbecue is the corn on the cob!  A barbecue isn’t complete without it.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Elotes, Mexican Street Corn, it’s super yummy!  Well it has mayo on it and my son will not touch anything with mayo.  So I had to find a way to make something similar to Elotes without the mayo and I came up with my Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob.  Here’s my recipe!

Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob

Ingredients:

Corn

(For the corn – I used frozen mini cobs or niblets and boiled on the stove – you can use frozen or fresh and boil it, bake it, or grill it.  This recipe is to boil frozen corn.)

16 Niblets – Frozen

1 Pot water

1 Cup Milk

Topping:

1/2 Cup butter softened

1 Tbs. Chipotle Pepper Powder

1 Tsp. Cumin

1 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp. Honey

Queso Fresco – crumbled

Cilantro – chopped

1 Lime – cut into wedges

Directions:

Make the topping by mixing butter, honey, and powdered seasonings together.  Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

Boil corn in water/milk mixture for about 20 minutes or until done.  Drain corn and transfer to a baking pan.

Place spoonfuls of butter topping on each cob.  Butter topping will melt.  Roll cobs in melted butter until all sides are covered.

Sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro.

Serve with lime wedges for each person to squeeze over cob if they want to.

You can keep this warm in the oven until ready to serve.

You can store any extra butter topping in the fridge and use for other things.  I like to use it to saute chicken or even veggies.  Pretty much anything you want to add a bit of spice to!

 

Fun Science Birthday Party Ideas

Fun Science Birthday Party Ideas

Don’t you find it harder and harder each year to come up with a fun party theme for your little one?  Sure when they were babies and toddlers you could pretty much do whatever cute thing you liked.  Um…that lasted til about their third birthday if you’re lucky.  Now that they’re older they want to have their say, and of course they should with a teeny bit of help from mom, dad, and in our case Nana!  One of my favorite party themes is a Science Birthday Party!

Why do I like it so much?  Well, it’s age appropriate until they’re almost in high school, just change the science!  A Science Birthday Party is such a broad theme you could literally use it every year until the kids are in high school just by changing the focus.  I mean science is such a broad term, it could mean chemistry, geology, botany, anatomy, medicine, space, and even computers!

Having said that here are a few ideas to get you started!

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Ice Cream or Soda Lab

I love this Ice Cream Lab by Left Brain Craft Brain!  I mean a Science Birthday Party would not be complete without a lab right?

If you prefer make it a Soda Lab and the guests can add different syrups to their sodas which of course will be served in beakers!  And the toppings can be placed in test tubes!

Or how about we combine the two and make an Ice Cream Soda Lab!

 

 

Here’s a cute idea – serve ice cream, soda, or whatever in DIY “Beakers”

Just make lines on clear plastic cups with a sharper and you’ve got “Beakers”!

 

 

 

 

Science Themed Labels

Add science themed labels, tags, and decor.  Love the water bottle labels by Clever Pink Pirate!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a photo booth backdrop?  How about covering the wall with the Periodic table using a piece of construction paper for each element?

 

 

 

 

Use Science supplies for food like these Petri Jello!  Love this idea from One Project Closer!

 

 

 

 

Fun Badges make great party favors

I just love the badges pictured above.  Just print out a name tag on card stock for each guest then place them in transparent holders with lanyards to wear around their necks.  Make it even more fun and give each kid a “Top Secret” clearance!

Science Themed Games and Activities

There are many science “projects” the kids can do to keep them busy, like building molecules with toothpicks and gumdrops – mini marshmallows work too!

You can make your own experiments or buy kits the kids can use.  There are many to choose from!  They can dig for fossils; create crystals; or build a volcano! 

You don’t have to buy pre-made kits, think back to your school days.  Remember building and electromagnet?  All you need is a large battery, wire, and nails!  Or play a game of Operation!

Whatever game or activity you decide on just be sure it’s age appropriate and doesn’t contain sharp objects or harmful chemicals.  I wouldn’t suggest dissecting a frog just yet!

 

 

 

 

 

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

Cinco de Mayo Celebration – Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

It’s Cinco De Mayo again and to me that’s the best excuse for a celebration featuring Mexican food and drinks!  Not that I need a reason to enjoy Mexican food, I’m just crazy about it!  No one ever has to twist my arm into making a pitcher of Margaritas or a tray of tacos and burritos.

 

But Cinco De Mayo is still a great excuse to throw a party!  You don’t have to be Mexican in my opinion to celebrate.  But if you really must know the reason Cinco De Mayo is celebrated it’s a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.  Just in case you were thinking it’s the Mexican Independence day, it’s clearly not.  I believe the largest Cinco De Mayo celebration is in Puebla.

History aside Cinco De Mayo has become somewhat a part of American culture simple because it involves great food and drinks I think.  What ever the reason it’s a great time to throw a party or at the very least have a “Mexican” night with the family.

It doesn’t have to be an invite the whole neighborhood block party, you can keep it simple and have a pot luck with friends and family or simpler still enjoy some Mexican dishes with just the family.  Here’s a few fun ideas you can use to make your celebration fun for all!

Set up a Margarita Bar

Guests can help themselves to margaritas, you can serve the classic margarita or add a flavored one or two like mango and strawberry.

If you’ve got kids or for any one wanting something non-alcoholic (like the designated driver) put bottles of Jarrito in a tub of ice, don’t forget the bottle opener!

Or set up a Horchata bar with several flavors of this refreshing Mexican drink.

Put up a Pinata

Pinatas are always fun.  They’re colorful and full of candy, what’s not to like?  You can use your pinata as just decoration or you can actually have the kids break it.

If you consider breaking the pinata with a stick too violent, I’m a bit iffy on it too, you can cut a flap on the bottom of your pinata and attach ribbons or string to it.  The kids just have to tug on it to let the candy and other treats out.  This is a safer option specially when there are toddlers involved!

 

 

Set a colorful table!

Use colorful dinnerware at the table and as serving plates.

They don’t have to be ceramic, you can mix and match colorful paper or plastic plates.

 

Decorate with bright colors and props

Dust off the maracas and sombreros and haul out the serapes.  Use colorful balloons, fabrics, banners, paper lanterns and flowers to spruce up the party area.

Don’t forget colorful baskets they can hold everything from flatware to favors!

 

 

 

Serve lots and lots of Mexican Food!

Tacos, burritos, nachos, chimichangas, enchaladas, you name it!  Serve up lots of your favorites.  If you’re just wanting to keep it simple then focus on an entree like fajitas, and serve up sides of rice and beans.  But don’t forget the salsa and guacamole!

If you don’t  a lot of time to cook then whip up a pot of my Beef Barbacoa, you can use it in tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, or whatever you want.  Best of all it’s made in an Instant Pot and can be made in less than 2 hours.  Your friends and family will think you slaved over a hot stove all day!

Here’s the recipe!

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Ingredients:

3-4 Lbs. Chuck Roast cut into large chunks

2 Tbs Minced Garlic

3-4 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (you can buy a can in the Mexican section of the grocery store) – chopped

1 (4oz) can of diced green chiles

1 Onion finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar

3 Bay Leaves

1 Tbs Cumin

1 Tbs Oregano

1 Tbs Sea Salt

1 Tbs Black Pepper

1/4 Tsp Ground cloves

3/4 Cup Beef Broth

2 Tbs Olive Oil

Directions:

Turn on pot to Saute and heat olive oil

Sear meat chunks in the oil

Add the remaining ingredients on top of the beef

Cover and make sure valve is set to “Sealing”

Change pot setting to Manual and adjust time to 60 minutes

Once it’s done let it sit in the pot for 15 minutes then carefully turn the valve to “venting” to depressurize the pot

 

Remove cover and shred beef – it shouldn’t take much to shred it by now the meat should be falling apart.

Leave in juices until ready to use

Use to fill tacos and burritos or to top nachos.  Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

You can store leftovers in its juices in a sealed container in the fridge for about 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

 

 



Beef Barabacoa Nachos! Just one of the dishes you can make using the Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

Pancit Palabok (Philippine Style Noodles in Prawn Gravy)

Pancit Palabok (Philippine Style Noodles in Prawn Gravy)

This dish too was caused my desperation to own Pancit Palabok. Now, within the Philippines you’ll be able to get this noodle dish virtually anyplace. It’s conjointly very talked-about for birthdays. However in my desperation this weekend to own this dish, I had to form it from scratch.

Pancit Palabok or Pancit Luglug (they square measure just about identical dish except Palabok uses a thicker noodle) is flavored with prawn gravy thickened with starch or flour and poured over rice noodles (bihon). What i really like most concerning this dish square measure the toppings – it”s a matter of private selection however the foremost common toppings embody prawns, pork, hard-boiled eggs, smoke-dried fish, bean curd and my personal favorite, crushed pork crakcling (chicharon)!

Click here  Pancit Palabok for recipes enjoy!
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INGREDIENTS

500 grams rice noodles (bihon)

30 ml (2 tablespoons) cooking oil

10 grams dried prawns

5 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon achuete powder

600 ml shrimp stock (see recipe below)

30 ml (2 tablespoons) fish sauce (plus more to taste)

salt and pepper

Toppings: grilled squid, prawns, pork belly, smoked fish (tinapa), crushed pork crackling (chicharon), spring onions, hard boiled egg (quartered)

PROCEDURE

  1. To make the prawn stock, peel the prawns and place the peels (including the prawn heads) them in a pot and cover with around 600 ml of water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Make sure to press the peels as the stock is simmering to extract as much flavour as you can. Continue to simmer for around 30 minutes and set aside. The peeled prawns can be used for the toppings.
  2. Heat the cooking oil and saute the dried prawns and garlic until fragrant, around 2 minutes. Next, add the flour and the achuete powder.
  3. Add the prawn stock, a little at a time as if making a roux and mixing well after each addition. The sauce should now be thick (like a custard or a thick bechamel). If you prefer to make it thinner, add some water to dilute. Add the fish sauce and some salt and pepper to taste.
  4. For the toppings – this should be done to taste. Marinate the squid, prawns and pork belly in equal quantities of soy sauce and fish sauce for around 30 minutes then grill or pan fry.
  5. Fill another pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the bihon noodles and cook for around a minute until tender. Strain then place in a bowl Top with the prawn gravy, and the toppings (see above).

 

Pancit Palabok (Philippine Style Noodles in Prawn Gravy)
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Pancit Palabok (Philippine Style Noodles in Prawn Gravy)
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April Showers Parties and Events

April Showers Parties and Events

April showers bring May flowers, and it also ushers in the spring/summer party season!  Yup the cold days are mostly behind us and the forecast says sunny days ahead, or so we all hope.  So what’s better than throwing some April Showers Parties this month?

April Showers Parties can be birthday parties, baby and bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings, or just because it’s spring parties.  So get out your umbrellas, rain boots, and flowers and host a colorful April Shower Party or even.  Here are some ideas to get you started!

Umbrellas!

April Showers Parties just wouldn’t be complete without umbrellas.  Use them in your decor.  I just love the floating inverted umbrellas filled with tissue flowers by Sweet & Petite Party Designs don’t you? (Top photo)  And the clear bubble umbrella, same concept, different style of umbrella, I found on Pinterest.

And what about these adorable little paper umbrella?  Use them as cake/ cupcake toppers, and float them on drinks.  Who doesn’t love a tropical concoction, with or without alcohol, topped with a colorful umbrella?

Rain Boots!

I just love kids’ rain boots they come in all sorts of colors and designs.  Stock up on some to use as centerpieces and flower vases.  If you don’t have kids who will use them send them home with guest who do!

You can use adult sized rain boots as vases too.  They look great by the door or in an odd corner or two.  Or on rainy days place them by the door and use as umbrella stands.

Watering Cans

Watering cans make great flower pots or for a bit of whimsy make them float in the air!  Dangle them from tree branches or light fixtures with clear fishing wire.  They’ll look amazing!

You can also use them to hold flatware at your buffet table!

 

Flower Pots

Small terracotta pots make great party favors.  Place flowers, (real or silk) or pinwheels in the pots and tuck in a seed packet or two.  Guest can take them home as favors!

Of course you can use them to hold flatware at the buffet table as well, and they make awesome centerpieces when you fill them with colorful spring blooms!

 

Clouds and Raindrops

Make a colorful raindrop backdrop using white balloons for clouds.  You can cut out cloud shapes from poster board and use that too!

Cut out raindrop shapes from cardstock or construction paper then string them up on clear fishing wire, they look so pretty.  Remember the raindrops can be any color you want!

 

 

These are just a few of my favorite ideas for April Showers Parties.  Do you have a cool idea?  Please share we’d love to hear from you!