Christmas Tree Lightings all over the Island this weekend and next!

1
2019 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting & Display

Rockefeller Center – TONIGHT
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New YorkNY 10012
Visit Website: Website.
05:00 PM
Dec 04, 2019

2
Moriches’ 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

at Center Square Shopping Center
552 Montauk Highway
Center Moriches, NY 11934
Visit Website: Website.
07:00 PM
Fri, Dec 06, 2019

3
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Mary Jane Davies Green, Manhasset

at Mary Jane Davies Green
Plandome Road
Manhasset, NY 11030
Visit Website: Website.
04:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Fri, Dec 06, 2019

4
Orient Beach State Park’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

at Orient Beach State Park
40000 Main Road
Orient, NY 11957
Visit Website: Website.
06:30 PM
Fri, Dec 06, 2019

5
Annual Brookhaven Town Tree Lighting, Holtsville

at Holtsville Ecology Site
249 Buckley Road
Holtsville, NY 11742
Visit Website: Website.
06:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Fri, Dec 06, 2019

6
The Maidstone Hotel’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony, East Hampton

at The Maidstone Hotel
207 Main St.
East Hampton, NY 11937
Visit Website: Website.
05:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

7
9th Annual Patriotic Holiday Tree Lighting, Nesconset

at 316 Smithtown Boulevard
Nesconset, NY
Visit Website: Website.
05:00 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

8
Kings Park’s 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

at Kings Park Library
Main Street/Route 25A
Kings Park, NY 11754
Visit Website: Website.
04:30 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

9
Freeport Holiday Boat Parade & Tree Lighting

Woodcleft ave
Freeport, NY 11520
Visit Website: Website
05:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

10
Grace Tree Lighting at Grace Episcopal Church, Massapequa

23 Cedar Shore Dr.
Massapequa, NY 11758
Visit Website: Website.
05:00 PM
Sat, Dec 7, 2019

11
Annual Train Car Tree Lighting and Visit with Santa, Port Jefferson Station

Terryville Chamber Train Car Park
1003 Rt 112
Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776
Visit Website: Website.
06:00 PM – 08:00 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

12
2019 Christmas Tree Lighting at Deepwells, St. James

at Deepwells Farm County Park
Route 25A and Moriches Road
St. James, NY 11780
Visit Website: Website.
04:30 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

13
Belmont Lake State Park’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, West Babylon

at Belmont Lake State Park
Southern State Parkway, Exit 38
West Babylon, NY 11703
Visit Website: Website.
04:15 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019

14
Bellport Village’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony

at Bellport Village
Bellport Lane
Bellport, NY 11713
Visit Website: Website.
06:00 PM Sat
Dec 07, 2019

15
Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery’s 2019 Tree Lighting Ceremony

at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery and Aquarium
1660 Route 25A
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724
Visit Website: Website.
05:00 PM – 07:00 PM
Sat, Dec 07, 2019.

16
Nesconset’s 2019 Holiday Lighting – Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting

at Gazebo Park
127 Smithtown Blvd
Nesconset, NY 11767
Visit Website: Website.
02:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Sun, Dec 08, 2019

17
Medford’s 2019 Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting

at Medford Memorial Park
Route 112
Medford, NY 11763
Visit Website: Website.
04:00 PM
Sun, Dec 08, 2019

18
Stony Brook Village’s 2019 Holiday Tree Lighting

at Stony Brook Village Center
111 Main Street
Stony Brook, NY 11790
Visit Website: Website.
05:30 PM
Sun, Dec 08, 2019

19
OLA Knights of Columbus Children’s Christmas Parade, Copiague

at Great Neck Road/OLA
1400 Great Neck Road
Copiague, NY 11726
Visit Website: Website.
06:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Fri, Dec 13, 2019

20
15th Annual Tree Lighting at Planting Fields, Oyster Bay

at Planting Fields Arboretum
1395 Planting Fields Rd.
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
Visit Website: Website.
06:00 PM – 08:00 PM
Fri, Dec 13, 2019

Enjoy!

-Dr. P
dr-polcino.com
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Christmas Time Bucket List

Happy snowy Tuesday!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there, so we put together a little “Christmas Time Bucket List” to help keep you organized this holiday season.
Enjoy!

Week 10 – Crockpot Apple Cider

Crockpot Apple Cider From Scratch

Today’s recipe for homemade slow cooker apple cider might seem like a lot of work but it's super easy. It’s made 100% from scratch and has been one of my favorite entertaining recipes over the past few years. Don’t believe me, try it for yourself!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 20 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cider, apples, crockpot, slow cooker
Servings: 10 Cups
Calories: 125kcal

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 8 gala apples quartered or any apples you have on hand Remove the core
  • 1 orange sliced leave the rind on
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Instructions

  • Place your quartered apples into a slow cooker.
  • Add in cinnamon sticks, orange, whole cloves, and allspice in there and pour in the 10 cups of water.
  • Cook on high for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours, mash the apples with a potato masher.
  • Add in brown sugar and cook an additional 1-3 hours on low.
  • Using a cheesecloth, strain the solids from the liquids.
  • Discard solids and store liquids in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for later use.
  • Enjoy!

This Not That Thursday – Skip the Bread, Veggie Stuffing recipe

Skip the Bread, Veggie Stuffing recipe

If the group you're feeding on Thanksgiving Day has someone who is vegetarian, gluten-free or following a low-carb special diet, this is the stuffing recipe you’ll need to make the day perfect!
Skip the carb-filled stuffing and have extra turkey 😉
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Thanksgiving
Keyword: comfort food, Gluten Free, low calorie, low carb, low fat, stuffing
Servings: 6
Calories: 90kcal

Equipment

  • large skillet

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 meduim onion chopped
  • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 medium head cauliflower chopped
  • 1 cup 8-oz. package baby bella mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt add more to your tase
  • 1 tbsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. freshly chopped sage or 1 tsp. ground sage
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until soft, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower and mushrooms and then season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.
  • Add parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir until combined. Pour over broth and cook until totally tender and liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Week 9 – Crockpot 4 Cheese Spinach Artichoke dip

Crockpot Four-Cheese Spinach & Artichoke Dip

If you’re looking for a great holiday appetizer, this serves a ton of people and is super yummy! 
I love the combination of these two simple vegetables into a creamy dip. The recipe I’m sharing today is leagues above the recipes I’ve made in the past, taking spinach and artichokes from simple to extraordinary thanks to the addition of the 4 cheese blend. You are welcome!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: artichoke, comfort food, crockpot, slow cooker, slowcooker, spinach
Servings: 16

Equipment

  • Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 1 jar 12 ounces roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1 jar 6-1/2 ounces marinated quartered artichoke hearts
  • 1 bag 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cubed
  • 6 ounces cream cheese softened and cubed
  • 1 ⅓ cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 ⅓ cup provolone cheese shredded
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

Instructions

  • Drain peppers, reserving 1 tablespoon liquid; chop peppers.
  • Drain artichokes, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid; coarsely chop artichokes.
  • In a 3-qt. slow cooker combine spinach, cheeses, basil, onion, mayonnaise, garlic, artichoke hearts, and peppers.
  • Stir in reserved pepper and artichoke liquids. Cook, covered, on high 2 hours.
  • Stir dip; cook, covered, until cheese is melted, 30-60 minutes longer.
  • Stir before serving; serve with crackers.

Week 8 – Crockpot Maple Pork Ribs

Crock Pot Maple Pork Ribs

Skip the same old boring barbecue sauce and opt for a maple dijon syrup glaze to slick up these pork ribs. These tender ribs are slow-cooked in a luscious maple-mustard sauce.
Easy peasy and finger lickin good!!!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crockpot, maple, ribs, slow cooker, slowcooker
Servings: 4
Calories: 428kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Crock Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 pound boneless country-style pork ribs trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 medium onion sliced and separated into rings
  • 4 cups maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard or spicy brown if you prefer

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, brown ribs in oil on all sides; drain.
  • Place ribs and onion in a 1-1/2-qt. slow cooker.
  • Combine syrup and mustard; pour over ribs.
  • Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 5-6 hours.

Week 7 – Crockpot Chicken and Vegetables

Crockpot Chicken with Vegetables

Even a beginner cook could make this crockpot chicken and have it turn out perfectly. This recipe could not be easier. A few minutes of prep and you’ll come home to a deliciously cooked chicken with veggies on the side.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time7 hrs
Total Time7 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken, comfort food, crockpot, Gluten Free, one dish meal, slowcooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 329kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Crockpot, Slow-cooker

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium Carrots peeled, and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 Ribs Celery and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 Medium Onions halve 1 and slice the other
  • 8 Small Red Potatoes quartered
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt divided
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper divided
  • 1 Medium Lemon halved
  • 6 Cloves Garlic (I leave them whole since my kids don’t eat them)
  • 1 3/4 Lb broiler/fryer chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon dried rosemary crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Paprika

Instructions

  • Place carrots, celery, 3 cloves of garlic, sliced onions, and potatoes in a 6-qt. slow cooker; sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Place lemon halves, onion halves and 3 garlic cloves in the chicken cavity.
  • Tuck wings under the chicken and tie drumsticks together. Place the chicken over the vegetables in the slow-cooker, breast side up.
  • Mix together rosemary, lemon juice, oil, paprika and remaining salt in small bowl; rub all over the chicken.
  • Cook, covered, on low until a thermometer inserted in thigh reads at least 170° and vegetables are tender, 6-8 hours.
  • Let stand 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the vegetables.

Week 6 – Crockpot Shredded French Dip Sandwiches

Week 6 – Crockpot Shredded French Dip Sandwiches

Shredded French Dip Sandwiches

Nothing says “comfort food” like the aroma of a warm roast wafting through your home. These Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches are a perfectly satisfying and easy dinner option for this rainy Halloween night. The contrast of the crusty French bread and the tender, juicy meat brings this sandwich to the next level.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: American
Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, french dip, high protein, slow cooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 397kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 3 lb Boneless beef chuck roast Trimmed
  • 1 Can 10-1/2 ounces condensed French onion soup, undiluted
  • 1 Can 10-1/2 ounces condensed beef consomme, undiluted
  • 1 Can 10-1/2 ounces condensed beef broth, undiluted
  • 8 to 10 French or Italian rolls split

Instructions

  • Halve roast and place in a 3-qt. slow cooker.
  • Combine the soup, consomme, broth, and bouillon; pour over roast.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Remove meat and shred with 2 forks.
  • Serve on rolls.
  • Skim fat from cooking juices; serve juices on the side for dipping.

This, Not That, Thursday – DIY Indoor Herb Garden

Good afternoon lovely people. 

We have something special for you today! Our “This, Not That, Thursday” is about indoor herb gardens. An indoor herb garden is a great way to have fresh herbs all year long and in almost any climate. Plus if you grow them from organic non-GMO seeds, you’ll know you’ve got the best of the best for your family.

Savor the flavor of your favorite herbs and add a bright bit of green to your kitchen when you bring your herb garden inside. If you have a sunny windowsill with at least four hours of sunshine a day, you have everything you need for a flourishing garden full of herbs such as mint, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

There’s no benefit to growing herbs you aren’t going to use. Start with the ones you use often. If you’re still not sure which to grow, here are some ideas:

Rosemary – This herb is spicy and warm and great paired with beef, lamb, or chicken. Rosemary is also helpful for keeping rodents and mosquitoes away.

Thyme – Thyme is most often used as a spice in culinary uses and its aromatic and rich flavor is perfect for soups, stews, and marinades.

Oregano – Oregano is often used in Greek and Italian food (especially tomato dishes).

Mint – Mint is a tasty herb that adds some freshness to any dish (especially lamb!).

Basil – Most well known as the main ingredient in pesto, basil is a delicious and mild herb.

Sage – Sage is a great herb to add to pork or turkey sausage and combines well with any other herb on this list.

You can start your herb garden from seeds, or to get a quick start, you can purchase established herb plants from your local garden center or grocery store. When you purchase established plants you won’t have to wait long until the plants are mature enough for harvesting fresh herbs when you need them.

-Dr. P
dr-polcino.com
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Week 5 – Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

Love chicken dinners? Love slow cooker meals? Love Italian food? Then you will LOVE our slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe! This amazing chicken cacciatore is packed with protein and vegetables that are slowly cooked for maximum flavor and minimal work. Set it & forget it!

Set it, forget it, then serve it up hot!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Love chicken dinners? Love slow cooker meals? Love Italian food? Then you will LOVE this slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe! This amazing chicken cacciatore is packed with protein and vegetables that are slowly cooked for maximum flavor and minimal work.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time7 hrs
Total Time7 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Chicken, crockpot, Gluten Free, high protein, low calorie, slowcooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Yellow onions thinly sliced
  • 1 3/4 Lbs broiler/fryer chicken cut up and skin removed
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can 14-1/2 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 can 4 ounces mushroom stems and pieces, drained, or 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup white wine or water

Options

  • Serve with Pasta or Gluten Free Pasta for a GF version.

Instructions

  • Place onions in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Add the chicken, seasonings, tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, and wine.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve chicken with sauce over your pasta choice.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
1 serving (calculated without pasta): 207 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 73mg cholesterol, 787mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 3g fiber), 27g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 2 vegetable.

This, Not That, Thursday – DIY Natural Cat Treats

Hello again! Since many of today’s cat treats are full of preservatives and chemicals, why not make them yourself? That’s why this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” is on DIY Natural Cat treats. It’s relatively easy and quick, and, best of all, you know what kitty is eating!

DIY Natural cat treats

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: cat treats

Equipment

  • food processer

Ingredients

  • 1 5 oz can tuna in water, drained
  • ½ cup oat flour*
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon catnip

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processer with the blade attachment.
  • Blend until mixture is smooth.
  • Roll into small ½ teaspoon balls and place onto the parchment. Press a finger each ball to flatten slightly
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until they are slightly browned. Cool completely before surprising your kitty with a treat made just for them!

Notes

*NOTES
To make your own oat flour, simply grind old-fashioned oats in a clean coffee grinder until transformed into a light powder.

Week 4 – Heavenly Crockpot Potato Soup

Slow Cooker Heavenly Potato Soup

Grandma Antoinette's Potato Soup loaded with chunks of tender, hearty potatoes and made with a rich and creamy soup base. This soup is a family favorite and for good reason – it’s easy to make and absolutely delicious! Top it with cheese and bacon and no one will be able to resist.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs 30 mins
0 mins
Total Time9 hrs
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: comfort food, crockpot, low calorie, one dish meal, slowcooker
Servings: 12
Calories: 179kcal
Author: Grandma Antionette

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

Main Ingredients

  • 8 Cups Diced Russet potatoes
  • 48 Ounces Chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian version
  • 1 10oz Can Condensed Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted or Cream of Celery soup for vegetarian version
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped yellow onion
  • 1 Large Carrot diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery diced
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 8oz Package of cream cheese – Cubed

OPTIONAL

  • ½ Lb Sliced bacon cooked and crumbled (Omit for vegetarian version)
  • Minced chives
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine all the main ingredients EXCEPT the Cream Cheese.
    Cover and cook on LOW for 8-9 hours or until potatoes are tender.
  • Add cream cheese; stir until blended. Serve immediately & enjoy.
  • Garnish with bacon, cheese & chives if desired.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
1 cup (calculated without bacon): 179 calories,
9g fat (5g saturated fat),
25mg cholesterol,
787mg sodium,
21g carbohydrate
(2g sugars, 2g fiber),
4g protein.

This, Not That, Thursday – Bat Houses for Organic Pest Control

Did you know that a single little brown bat can catch up to 600 mosquitoes in one hour

One gray bat will munch on 3,000 insects in a night. I don’t know about you, but those statistics make these little nighttime flyers pretty popular with me. Would you like to attract some bats to your homestead for natural, non-toxic organic pest control?

The first way to get the little critters interested in your yard is to leave a dead tree if you happen to have one. Some dead trees can pose a problem if they are close to your house or other structures, but if you have a tree that can be left on your property, chances are the bats will eventually move in. The bark that loosens up and pulls away from the trunk when a tree dies provides a perfect little crevice for bats, who love to squeeze into small spaces.

If you’re like most people and having a dead tree on your property is not an option. The next best choice is to install a bat house. If you are handy and want to try building your own bat house, here is a link on DIY Bat house plans https://homesthetics.net/bat-house-plans/ If you’d rather purchase a ready-made bat house, those are also available online, amazon sells them for $25-$60. You may want to visit the website for Bat Conservation International. You’ll find bat house plans, ready-made houses, and all kinds of fascinating bat information.

Now, onto where to place your Bat house. They are best located near a permanent source of water, especially a marsh, lake or river, which is by far the most likely to attract bats. They should be hung roughly 12–15 feet above the ground, where their approach is unobstructed by vegetation or utility wires and they are sheltered as much as possible from the wind. A bat house can be placed on a tree or pole, although those attached to the side of a building have had the most success because they provide temperature stability.

Since appropriate temperature may determine how (or even if) your bat house is used, you may wish to consider several factors before mounting it. Lower temperatures, due to higher altitude or latitude, require that bat houses intended for use by nursery colonies be oriented to receive maximum sun, especially in the morning (southeast exposure). Another way to gain heat absorption is to add tar paper or dark-colored shingles to the Bat house roof. Even in hot climates, bat houses should be positioned to receive morning sun


No matter if they are summer residents only or hang out all year long, it is well worth your time and effort to attract them to your homestead by installing one or more bat houses on or near your home. Encourage other community members to do the same. You’ll enjoy the natural pest protection that they will happily provide you and your family.

Week 3 – Crockpot Rosemary Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

Crockpot Rosemary Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

This is one of my weekend favorites. 2-3 hrs in the slow cooker and before you know it, a superbly delicious, soul-warming meal. I use this when I have leftover chicken handy, usually grilled chicken or leftover rotisserie minus the skin. Skip the chicken and rosemary and you've got yourself a wonderful vegetarian mushroom risotto! Either way, enjoy 😉
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course, One Dish Meal, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Comfort, Italian
Keyword: crockpot, one dish meal, risotto, slowcooker
Servings: 8
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups precooked chicken skinless
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms about 8 oz
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 3/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine or additional chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Rosemary or a few fresh sprigs
  • Asiago or parmesan cheese shreds optional
  • Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves optional

Instructions

  • In a large skillet saute mushrooms, onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat . Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until mushrooms are lightly browned and liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in rice, stirring to coat for 2 minutes.
  • Dump the rice mixture to a 4-quart crockpot. Stir in broth, chicken, wine, and pepper.
  • Cover and cook – low-heat setting about 2 hours and 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Top with cheese and/or parsley. Serve immediately.

Notes

Cooking times may vary a little depending on slow cooker brands. Some run  hotter than others. For this recipe, I used Crock-Pot.

Week 2 – Crockpot Sweet & Sour Pot Roast

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, this week’s Crockpot recipe is a flavorful pot roast for a delightful family dinner. (Brisket can be used if you prefer).

The rules are simple: Get a good piece of meat from your butcher, season it, cover it with liquid or sauce, and cook a long time over low heat. You’ll need to have this on for about 7-8 hours but it will be worth it!
L’shana tova umetukah

Crockpot Sweet & Sour Pot Roast

The rules are simple: Get a good piece of meat from your butcher, season it, cover it with liquid, and cook a long time over low heat.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Jewish
Keyword: Gluten Free, nut free
Servings: 8

Equipment

  • Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 3 pound pot roast
  • 2 large onions
  • 6 large carrots cut thin
  • 5 stalks celery chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • 6 Tbsp of cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • A handful of fresh cut herbs – parsley and tarragon

Instructions

  • Heat up a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle all sides of your pot roast with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Add pot roast to the sauté pan and brown on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). When pot roast is browned, add to crockpot.
  • In same skillet, add a touch more oil and sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for about 5-10 minutes, cooking the vegetables just a touch.
  • Meanwhile in a measuring cup add wine, stock, brown sugar, ketchup, and vinegar. Whisk and set aside.
  • When vegetables are done add cranberries and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine mixture and add herbs, bring to a boil.
  • Carefully pour vegetables and sauce over pot roast, cook high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours.
  • When done, take out the meat, let it cool for 5 minutes or until it’s easy to handle, cut, plate and spoon some vegetables over with a touch of gravy.

Notes

Side note: This pot roast can be cooked a day in advance; let the meat and vegetables cool in the crockpot in their juices, and then cover and refrigerate. Reheat, covered on high, about 30 minutes.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Using Apple Peels & Cores

Apples! Did someone say apples? This week “This, Not That Thursday” is all about saving those apple peels and cores.

Every fall we take at least one trip to an apple orchard near us. They have family-friendly activities, wonderful local canned goods for sale, and of course, apples. So many apples! Plain apples, apples to make applesauce, pies, crisps and the “mother” of them all… Apple Cider Vinegar

When making any of the above you will probably peel & core some of those apples but did you know you can use the peels and the cores to make apple cider vinegar? This way you have virtually no waste! WINNER!

It is also totally possible to make apple cider vinegar from the whole apple so don’t worry if you don’t have leftover peels and cores from anything.

There are several more elaborate ways to make apple cider vinegar at home, but today I’m gonna show you how to make it from apple scraps. I especially like this method since it allows me to use the apples for other stuff while still making a valuable product from the “waste”.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 d
Total Time5 d 10 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb, low fat, low sodium, nut free, soy free, vegan, vegetarian
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • One quart jar
  • One canning lid ring OR a rubber band
  • Coffee filter OR paper towel

Ingredients

  • 5-6 Large apples Apple peels & cores any browning/discolored flesh from organic apples
  • 2-2 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar I like Turbinado raw sugar
  • 2-2 1/2 cups water boiled and allowed to cool

Instructions

  • Cover the bottom of your jar with apple scraps, filling no more than 3/4 full. The apples need room to expand and stay submerged.
  • Add 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar and 2 cups of filtered water to the jar. The apples should be completely submerged. Mold can grow on any portions of apples that are not covered and ruin your batch of vinegar. If your scraps float to the top of the jar add a smaller jar on top to keep them submerged.
  • 3.Stir the apples, sugar, and water and cover with a coffee filter. Secure with a canning band, or a rubber band.
  • Allow apples to sit in a warm, dark place for 2 weeks. Above the refrigerator or on the top shelf of a cupboard are great places. Just don’t forget you put it there!
  • After 2 weeks, you might notice some fizz or bubbles. That’s good news! Strain out the apple pieces and compost. Cover the apple cider vinegar again with a coffee filter and canning band. Allow continuing to sit at room temperature for another 2-4 weeks.
  • The vinegar may become cloudy or a SCOBY could form on the top, both of which are normal. Taste test the vinegar once a week until it’s to your liking. You can stop the fermentation process by replacing the coffee filter with a canning lid and storing it in the refrigerator.
  • Use your homemade vinegar just like you would store-bought vinegar– for cooking, cleaning and everything in between

Notes

Tip: You don’t HAVE to use a quart-sized jar, but it’s what I readily have available. Feel free to use whatever size jar you have on hand. If you use a different size jar, the ratio is 1 Tbsp sugar per 1 cup water.
NOTE: About preserving and pickling with homemade vinegar: It’s generally recommended that you do NOT use homemade vinegar for any sort of preservation. In order to ensure the safety of your home canned products, you need a vinegar with an acetic acid level of 5%. Since most of us don’t have a way to check the levels of our homemade vinegar, it’s best just to skip using it for canning or preserving– better safe than sorry!
NOTE: You want the peels to be from apples that have been scrubbed very, very well. Organic apples are preferred, but simply buy the best you can afford and wash them very well. Secondly, it’s okay to use brown or bruised apples. However, it is NOT okay to use moldy or rotten apples.


Week 1 – Crockpot Apple crisp

Crockpot Apple Crisp

This Crockpot Apple Crisp is a perfect way to use some of the apples you got while apple picking out east! This super easy dessert is bursting with juicy apples, brown sugar, and a buttery oat crumble topping, just like grandma used to make.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: soy free
Servings: 8 People
Calories: 366kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Crockpot

Ingredients

The Apple Mixture:

  • 8 Granny Smith apples (Or what you have on hand) peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

The Crisp Topping:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter cut into cubes

Instructions

Apple mixture:

  • Place sliced apples in the slow cooker. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir. (Be sure to use a non-metal spoon so as not to scratch your slow cooker insert.) Let sit while you prepare the crisp topping.

Crisp Topping:

  • Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir until well combined. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the oat mixture until the mixture starts to clump together.
  • Back to the apple mixture, stir one more time and then spread apples out into an even layer. Now, sprinkle on the crisp topping evenly.
  • Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 3-3½ hours, until apples, are soft. Turn off heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving (keeping the lid on).
    We serve it with vanilla ice cream, but you can use any flavor you like. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅛ recipe
Calories: 366kcal
Fat: 13g
Saturated fat: 7g
Carbohydrates: 64g
Sugar: 42g
Sodium: 158mg
Fiber: 7g
Protein: 4g
Cholesterol: 31mg
 

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – DIY Aloe Vera Gel

It is easy to make aloe vera gel at home. All you need is a few healthy leaves of the aloe vera plant. If you have an aloe vera plant at home or in your garden, then you are lucky! Aloe vera gel is an excellent all-natural healer for skin issues such as sunburn, rashes, acne, among others. Aloe vera gel is also known to promote healthy hair growth. You can even preserve the gel for a month by adding natural preservatives.

How to make Aloe Vera Gel

Make your very own natural healer and skin cleanser!

Prep Time 30 mins – Total Time 30 mins

Appliance Needed: Blender, Refrigerator Serving size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 aloe vera leaves
  • 500 mg vitamin C (optional)
  • 400 IU vitamin E (optional)

Instructions

  1. If you have access to an aloe vera plant, take a sharp knife and cut off a leaf from the outside of the plant, close to its base. They are usually more mature and contain plenty of gel. If your plant is too young, make sure you do not cut off too many leaves at once. Aloe vera leaves are also available in supermarkets in the produce section. You can usually get 1/2 a cup of gel from 1 mature aloe vera leaf.
  2. Wash the leaves under cold running water to remove any dirt on the skin.
  3. Place the leaves upright in a bowl to let any white or yellow resin to drain off. This can cause irritation to the skin.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin of the aloe vera leaf on one side. You will see the sticky gel underneath.
  5. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the gel. Collect the gel in a clean glass container and make sure you do not get any pieces of the leaf skin in it.
  6. If you have collected a lot of gel and want to preserve it, you can mix it with natural preservatives. In a blender, add aloe vera gel and vitamin C or vitamin E capsules. For every 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel, you can either add 500 mg of vitamin C or 400 IU vitamin E. The foamy gel should be put in a clean, airtight glass jar. It will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 months.
  7. You can also use fresh aloe vera gel to make a nourishing aloe vera juice or add it to smoothies.

Notes

Consider growing an aloe vera plant in your home as they are low-maintenance plants and grow easily. Aloe is generally safe for most people, but if you have an underlying health condition or take medicines or use herbs, talk to your doctor before using aloe as it could react with other medications and substances.

-Dr. P
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Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

"This is a creamy variation of a family classic. The Cream cheese addition takes it to the next level. Serve over hot, cooked egg noodles to complete this easy peasy dinner ."
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: high protein, nut free, soy free
Servings: 4
Calories: 376kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 ounces cream cheese

Instructions

  • In a slow cooker, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce and water.
  • Cook on Low setting for 8 hours, or on High setting for about 5 hours.
  • Stir in cream cheese just before serving.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving: 376 calories;
27.3 g fat;
9.5 g carbohydrates;
22 g protein;
97 mg cholesterol;
711 mg sodium

This, Not That, Thursday – Beeswax Wraps

On this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday,” we want to discuss beeswax wraps. Last week we touched on DIY reusable snack bags to move away from disposable plastic, so this week we’re focusing on plastic cling wrap.

If you’re like me, there’s probably no love lost between you and plastic. Most food-related plastics – including cling wrap and so-called “BPA-free” containers – “can release chemicals that act like the sex hormone estrogen”* 

Fortunately, there are so many amazing alternatives available like leakproof glass containers and silicone stretchable lids that stretch to fit a variety of container sizes, and of course beeswax wraps!

When you pack your own lunch every day (maybe your kids’ too), it might feel like you’re always adding cling wrap to your grocery list… enter beeswax wraps. The pliable covers fold up around foods and cover bowls of leftovers. They rinse clean with cold water and mild soap (hot water would melt the wax!) and you can reuse them time and time again.

These bee-autiful storage solutions sell for about $18 for a pack of three on Amazon, but if you’re feeling crafty, they’re super easy to DIY. Either way, you’ll easily recoup the cost by buying fewer sandwich bags and plastic wrap. If you use three plastic bags per day and a box of 150 costs about $10, you’re already spending more than $70 per year on something most people just throw away after one use.

These beeswax food wraps are not hard to make, but they do take a little bit of time, so plan ahead for that. This recipe makes four wraps, but it’s easy to double the recipe if you want to make more.

Cut the muslin cloth to whatever size works best for you, or even different sizes if you wish. You can use pinking shears if you want to make the edges fancy. I personally love the look it gives. The pine resin is probably the hardest ingredient to come by, but I was able to find a good source on Amazon. Beeswax pastilles are probably the easiest form of beeswax to use here, or you can do what I did and grate some off a block of beeswax.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼  cup beeswax
  • 2 tablespoons pine resin
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
  • 4 squares of 100% cotton muslin fabric (I used 12″ squares)

EQUIPMENT

  • small saucepan
  • glass pyrex measuring cup
  • parchment paper
  • baking sheet
  • 1″ wide paintbrush
  • clothes drying rack
  1. Melt the pine resin in a double boiler (I use a glass pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water) over medium heat. 
  2. It takes a while for the resin to fully melt, but once it does add the beeswax. Stir using a wooden or bamboo stick until the resin and wax are completely melted together. 
  3. Then slowly drizzle in the jojoba oil. Turn the heat to low to keep it all melted. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 225°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one square of muslin on the parchment and use the paintbrush to brush it all over with the beeswax mixture. 
  5. Place the baking sheet in the oven just long enough to fully melt the beeswax. It should only take a couple of minutes. Take it out of the oven and spread the beeswax around again with the paintbrush, so that the whole muslin cloth is coated evenly. 
  6. Then take another square of muslin and lay it on top of the first square to blot up the extra wax. Flip the two squares over so that the blotting square is now on the bottom. 
  7. Return the baking sheet to the oven briefly, just long enough to liquefy the wax. 
  8. Remove from the oven, and hang the first piece of beeswax coated muslin on a clothes drying rack to dry. 
  9. Use the paintbrush to spread the wax on the blotting square, which is now your working square, and repeat the whole process again.

Once they are all dry, they are ready to use! They work perfectly for covering bowls, just as you would use plastic wrap. The beeswax can be warmed in the hands and will conform to the bowl and stick to the rim. The pine resin gives it some stickiness as well.

FYI: Beeswax wraps aren’t air-tight and won’t keep highly perishable items (like raw meat) fresh. We recommend using them to cover foods you’ll eat within a couple of hours or the next day, like a sandwich, bowl of pasta, or piece of fruit. For longer-lasting leftovers or smellier items like cheese, you’re probably better off sealing them up in reusable glass containers. With that in mind, here’s how you can make your own beeswax wraps <3 

*Concluded a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives(source 1, source 2)

This, Not That, Thursday – Diatomaceous Earth

This week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re talking about Diatomaceous Earth. It’s the “Jack of all trades” of natural home care products, and it has applications in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and more. An added bonus is that DE is so safe and non-toxic, it’s frequently used in water filtration.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth, Anyway?

DE is, as mentioned, a white powder naturally occurring from the fossils of diatoms (a type of algae found in river beds and lake beds). The diatoms form a very hard shell of silica in a tubular shape.

When dry, DE appears very fine and soft to the naked eye but microscopically it has some very unique qualities:

  • High Silica Content: These fossilized diatoms have a very high silica content (which is used to build hair, skin, and nails).
  • Hard as Nails … or Diamonds: DE is very hard (only two points lower than diamonds on the hardness scale). It looks like a tiny cylindrical tube with many holes in it when viewed through a microscope.
  • Holds a Strong Negative Charge: DE has a very strong negative charge, which makes it purifying and beneficial in several ways.

Since the 1960s DE has been commonly used in things like toothpaste, as an anti-caking aid, for clarifying beer or wine, and to eliminate pests naturally. In fact, you’ve likely consumed products that contain traces of DE without even knowing it! While I’m usually not a fan of hidden ingredients, DE is one we don’t need to worry about.

Note: you should only use “food grade” Diatomaceous Earth if you intend to use it around your house. This is distinct from “pool grade” Diatomaceous Earth, which is coarser and designed to help filter pool water. 

Copper Polish

Do your copper pots look dull? A mixture of vegetable oil, vinegar, and DE can return it to its store-bought shine. Just rub the mixture vigorously into the pots until you can start to see that copper color come back.

Water Stain Removal

Notice a buildup around your water faucets? Mix together lemon, vinegar, vegetable oil, and DE in a small bowl. With a damp cloth, use that substance to scrub the deposits away.

Oil Spill Cleanup

Interestingly, DE can hold up to twice its weight in liquid. That makes it useful when you accidentally spill oil on your driveway. Just coat the spill in DE and let it soak the oil up. Then, sweep up the DE and throw it away. When you clean the area with hot, soapy water afterward, it’s much less likely to leave a permanent stain.

Shoe Deodorizer

Do your shoes sometimes resemble a petri dish? Hey, don’t be embarrassed. Fungus thrives in conditions exactly like the inside of your shoe. However, there’s one crucial ingredient that all fungi need in order to thrive: moisture.  

By sprinkling DE in your shoes, you’ll steal away that moisture and neutralize foot odors at the same time.

Refrigerator Deodorizer

DE absorbs odors. That’s incredibly valuable when you have an old fridge that is filled with the smells of years’ worth of groceries. 

To improve the odor, first, find a container (like a coffee can or a mason jar) and stick a few holes in the lid. Pour DE in the container, slap on the lid, and stick it inside of your refrigerator. As the air slowly circulates, you should notice it start to smell more neutral in about a week.

Repel Bugs & Fleas

Pest infestations in your home are maddening. But it’s possible to clear your home of insects without using pesticides. Since DE absorbs oils, a small sprinkling of the stuff can cause bugs to shrivel like raisins and die, even though the substance is harmless to humans and pets. If your home is under siege, thoroughly clean your bedding, carpets, and upholstery, then dust these surfaces with DE.

Have you ever used Diatomaceous Earth? What did you use it for? How did it work? Share below!

This, Not That, Thursday – Reusable Snack Bags

Good morning! It’s almost Back to School & snacks are a big deal. This week “This, Not That, Thursday” is focusing on reusable snack bags. There is so much waste that comes from using single-serve packets or using plastic bags every day. Reusable snack bags are amazing and will save you money in the long run. You can buy them of course but we’re going to tell you how to make them.

Materials for Making Reusable Snack Bags:
– Outside cotton fabric—dig through your fabric stash! You just need enough to make two 6 1/2”x5″ rectangles (or whatever size you choose)
– Waterproof food-safe fabric
– Velcro
– Coordinating thread
– Scissors
– Ruler
– Seam gauge
– Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but makes this project even quicker!)How to Make – Reusable Snack Bags:
1. Cut your fabric. Cut two pieces each of the outer fabric and the line (6 1/2″ x 5″) but any size will work. Cut a strip of the Velcro/hook and loop fastener to 6 1/2″ (or whatever width your bag will be).
2. Pin one half of the velcro strip 3/4″ from the top of one-liner piece, and sew all around the edges of the fastener. You may be tempted to not pin, even if you tend to freehand your sewing, you WILL want to pin in this.
Repeat with the other piece of lining fabric and the other half of the hook-and-loop fastener.
3. Pin one piece of the lining fabric to one piece of the outer fabric, right sides together (for the lining, the “right side” is the one with the fastener on it). Sew along the top, 1/4″ from the edge.
Repeat with the other lining and outside fabric piece. Open up both pieces and run your finger along the seams to press them open. You’d usually want to iron here, but the high heat may damage the liner.
4. Put together both pieces, right sides together, matching up the seams and the Velcro. Starting at the bottom of the lining fabric, sew around the perimeter of the piece, leaving a 2″ space open at the bottom of the liner to turn the bag. Backstitch at each end of your sewing for security.
5. Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening in the bottom of the liner.
6. Close the opening at the bottom of the liner by folding in the edges to create a seam. You can either topstitch over this or slipstitch it.
7. Push the liner inside the bag, and you’re done! To make the bags lay flat, you may want to either finger press the top seams or briefly run over the bags with a very low iron.
Cleaning Your Snack Bags
Most of the time, you can just turn the bags inside out and wipe clean. But if it gets really dirty, wash in cold water and hang up to dry. If you choose to put these through the washer, I recommend putting them in a mesh laundry bag first, just so the Velcro doesn’t get caught on the rest of your laundry

This, Not That, Thursday – White Rice Alternatives

On this week’s installment of This, Not That, Thursday, we bring you 7 healthier alternatives to white rice.

White rice is a cheap and easy starch many people choose to cook with, but there are healthier alternatives to white rice out there. Use these alternatives to amp up the nutrients in your meal.

1. Red Or White Quinoa

Quinoa contains the second most protein of any grain and has all of the essential amino acids. It is also naturally gluten-free and high in fiber.

2. Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is a great, low carb alternative to rice. It is also gluten-free and one serving contains a day worth of Vitamin C.

3. Broccoli Rice 

Broccoli rice is another great gluten-free low carb alternative full of fiber, plant-based protein, and iron.

4. Barley

Although not as popular as some of the other grains, barley provides a good serving of fiber and many other important minerals such as selenium.

5. Farro

Farro is an easy to digest grain that is full of protein and iron.

6. Sweet Potato Rice

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber and also gluten-free.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – 5 uses for used coffee grounds

Something that never felt right to me was throwing away used coffee grounds. Many people wake up in the morning looking forward to their cup of coffee and then habitually toss the grounds into the trash without a second thought.

As it turns out, there are many wonderful things you can do with these spent coffee grounds. Before you throw out those grounds after brewing up your morning beverage, give one of these ideas a try.

1. Coffee grounds are wonderful at exfoliating your hair. 

To exfoliate hair, use 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup used coffee grounds, depending on hair length. In the shower, wet hair thoroughly. Massage grounds through hair focusing on the scalp. It helps to part the hair and work in sections. Once you have covered the whole scalp, thoroughly wet the hair again. Don’t try to rinse the grounds out as it won’t work. Use your shampoo to work up a nice lather. Then you can rinse it all out. A second shampooing may be necessary. Finish with your normal conditioner or apple cider vinegar rinse.

2. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants. 

Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil. Tomatoes love acidic soil!

3. Neutralize refrigerator odors. 

Placing them in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.

4. Weigh Down Ashes for Fireplace Clean-up:

If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, those old coffee grounds will become your best friend. When it is time to clean out the ashes, cover them with a layer of wet coffee grounds to moisten and weigh them down. This will greatly reduce the amount of ash that will float up and coat your living room when you scoop them out.

5. Pest Repellent

Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of used grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Live Music

This week’s installment of This, Not That, Thursday, is about getting out of the habit of sitting at home watching TV after work. Instead of the boob tube, we’ve made a list of local, free live music to help get you started. Tonight is – Live at 5 in Patchogue & Music on Main in Farmingdale! Check it out

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Air Purifying Plants

Good afternoon everyone.

It is a beautiful sunny Thursday and were happy to bring you this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.” This week we will be talking about Air purifying plants.

Why does indoor air need purifying?

Well, there are plenty of toxins floating around outside thanks to pesticides and herbicides, vehicle fumes, and other industrial pollutants. Sadly, you’ll find a ton of toxins in the air inside your own home as well.

Your indoor air quality is affected by the following:

  1. Cleaning products, especially laundry detergent and fabric softener, as laundry chemicals are the top indoor pollutant
  2. Chemical flame retardants in furniture, mattresses, and children’s PJs
  3. Formaldehyde found in gas stoves, garbage bags, paper towels and tissues, carpet backing, and some fabrics
  4. Fragrances
  5. Other toxins carried in on your clothes and shoes from outdoors
  6. Electromagnetic frequencies (from computers, WiFi, and other electronics)

Opening your windows can go a long way, but a solution I really like is plants. These houseplants are the most effective at removing indoor air toxins and contaminants.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms are effective at removing chemical contaminants from the air like formaldehyde and benzene. They also help to keep the air moist, which is helpful during winter months when all types of heaters can produce overly dry indoor air.

Bamboo palms have a tropical appearance and, though green instead of the typical tan bamboo color, have the characteristic tall, skinny canes and fanned leaves.

Rubber Plant

The rubber plant is very effective for removing formaldehyde from indoor air. It’s favored for its ease of growth, as well as its appearance, which features large, rubbery leaves.

The rubber plant can grow up to 8 feet tall in the proper conditions. This large plant is bred for toughness, which means that it’s not only one of the most effective plants for purifying indoor air, but it’s sure to be hardy even in less than ideal conditions.

English Ivy

English ivy is most often seen growing as a covering in atriums and lobbies, but it makes a lovely feature if grown as a topiary. Like the rubber plant, English ivy is known for its ability to remove formaldehyde from the air.

English ivy needs lots of light to look its best, but does well when the temperature doesn’t get too hot. It is, however, very adaptable to its environment, as it will climb and spread over any surface given the chance.

Dwarf Date Palm

If you’re into tropical plants, the dwarf date palm is for you. It’s like an adorable mini palm tree that fits in your living room.

The dwarf date palm is one of the most effective palms for removing indoor air pollution, especially xylene, which is found in solvents and paint thinner. It’s also quite good at keeping the air moist and is fairly easy to grow.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – How to start a compost pile

For this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we’re discussing “how to start a compost pile.”

The EPA estimates that 22 percent of solid waste that enters the landfill is food.

Composting is a perfect way to divert a lot of that organic matter away from the landfill. While it’s still important to cut down on food waste by eating leftovers and using up produce before it goes bad, no one is perfect. So, composting the kitchen waste that can’t be saved is a great way to reduce food waste.

How to start a compost pile

Starting a compost pile requires a few simple steps: creating the compost heap, adding organic materials, and watering and turning the compost as necessary. 

Creating your compost heap 

Location – One of the most important factors for starting a compost pile is its location. Choose an open, level area with good drainage. You do not want your compost to sit in standing water. An area with partial sun or shade is also ideal. Too much sun can dry the pile out, while too much shade can keep it overly wet. Finally, choose a site that is easy for you to get to and avoid areas near dogs or other meat-eating animals. 

Size – The recommended size for a compost pile is generally no smaller than 3 feet high and wide and no larger than 5 feet. Anything smaller may not heat up efficiently and anything larger may hold too much water and become difficult to turn. It is recommended to start your pile on the bare ground rather than on asphalt or concrete. This impedes aeration and inhibits microbes. Placing a pallet underneath the pile is fine, however, if you prefer. 

Adding organic materials 

Many organic materials can be composted, but there are some items that you should keep out of your compost pile. 

These include: 

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Fat
  • oil products 
  • Carnivorous pet feces (e.g. dog, cat) 
  • Diseased plants, or weeds that have seeded Human waste Charcoal or coal ash (wood ash is ok though) 

The key materials for composting are nitrogen/greens and carbon/browns. When starting a compost pile, the recommended practice is to layer or alternate these greens and browns, the same way as you would for making lasagna. 

Your bulkier organic materials do best in the first ground layer, so start with a layer of browns, such as twigs (less than ½ inch in diameter) or straw, about 4 to 6 inches. 

Next, add in some green materials, such as kitchen waste and grass clippings, again about 4 to 6 inches thick. Additionally, animal manure and fertilizers serve as activators that accelerate the heating of your pile and provide a nitrogen source for beneficial microbes. 

Continue to add layers of nitrogen and carbon materials until you reach the top or run out. Lightly water each layer as it is added, firming it down but do not compact. 

Watering and turning the compost 

Your compost pile should be moist, but not soggy. Most of your water will come from rain, as well as the moisture in green materials, but you may need to water the pile yourself on occasion. If the pile gets too wet, you can turn it more frequently to dry it or add more brown materials to soak up excess moisture. Once you turn the pile the first time, these materials will get mixed together and compost more efficiently. Keeping the compost pile turned on a frequent basis will help with aeration and speed up decomposition. Using these simple instructions for composting, you will be well on your way to creating the ideal compost for your garden. 

-Dr. P
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Insta Pot Beefy Gyros

These Instant Pot Beef Gyros are a quick meal filled with healthy, clean ingredients and veggies that will make your mouth water! Ready in 25 min what could be better?

Beef Gyros with the Insta Pot

These Instant Pot Beef Gyros are a quick meal filled with healthy, clean ingredients and veggies that will make your mouth water! Ready in 25 min what could be better?
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: low carb, soy free
Servings: 6
Calories: 395kcal

Equipment

  • Insta Pot

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef roast thinly sliced *I've also used loin flap meat and it's so easy to slice and cook
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp parsley dried
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or beef broth
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp oil olive, coconut, avocado, etc
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar optional
  • 1 tsp olive oil optional

Toppings

  • Pitas or Naan bread
  • carrots sliced
  • onions sliced
  • grape tomatoes quartered
  • cucumbers sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Feta or goat cheese optional, use container to measure

Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cucumber peeled seeded, and chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill

Instructions

  • Turn Instant Pot on saute and let the pot warn up. When it’s warm, add oil to the bottom of the pot and let it get hot.
  • Add meat, seasoning, garlic, and onion to Instant Pot. Sear and let onions soften for 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour lemon juice and broth over the meat. Give the meat a quick stir, then lock lid into place. Turn the steam valve to sealing. Using the Meat/Stew preset, cook the gyro meat for 9 minutes.
  • Let the pressure naturally release for 3 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure using the quick release method.
  • While the gyro meat is cooking mix together the Tzatziki sauce and slice your vegetable toppings. For added flavor, drizzle apple cider vinegar and olive oil over vegetables.

Notes

Note: To make your gyro, layer the lettuce at the bottom of the pita or naan bread. Then add your meat, toppings, and sauce. This will keep the pita
or naan from getting soggy.
Nutrition
Calories: 395 cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2.5% | Vitamin C: 5% | Calcium: 6.9% | Iron: 18.1%

-Dr. P

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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural oven cleaner

When cleaning your oven, you think of a giant chore & super harsh chemicals. 

Well, we’re here with this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” to offer you a better way. You don’t even have to clean your oven in a day. By getting started the night before, you’ll save yourself time and aggravation. Thanks to white vinegar and baking soda, you won’t need to use harsh chemicals. They are environmentally friendly, remove hardened stains and eliminate germs and odors.

Natural Oven cleaner

Tools:

  • Dish gloves
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • A spray bottle
  • A sponge or cleaning cloth
  • A scraper or spatula
  • Paper towels
  • Bucket or bowl

Steps

1. Remove the racks from your oven and wash them in warm, soapy water. Some oven racks are dishwasher-safe, but check your oven manual first to make sure they won’t be damaged in the dishwasher. Dry the racks and set them aside.

2. Remove any loose food particles from your oven. Use a scraper to get all the burnt bits out.

3. Make a paste using three parts baking soda and one part water. 

4. Spread the paste around the inside of your oven. If there are really tough, burnt-on spots, put a little extra baking soda paste on them. Avoid putting the paste on heating elements inside the oven.

5. Close your oven, and let the paste sit overnight.

6. When you’re ready, moisten your sponge or cleaning cloth with warm water and wipe away the baking soda paste. Use a bucket or bowl full of warm water to rinse the sponge or cleaning cloth as you’re removing the baking soda paste. For any stubborn messes, use a scraper or spatula.

7. Fill a spray bottle with one part vinegar and one part water. Spray down the oven and wipe away leftover baking soda paste with paper towels or another cleaning cloth. 

8. Replace the oven racks.

Your oven is going to be so spotless, the next time your mother-in-law stops by, you’ll make up excuses for her to open it up.

-Dr. P
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Summertime Grecian Flounder

“Flounder baked with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, and white wine. Serve with basmati rice and any green vegetable will do but asparagus is my favorite!”

Summertime Grecian flounder

“Flounder baked with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, onion, and white wine. Serve with basmati rice and any green vegetable will do but asparagus is my favorite!”
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb, low fat
Servings: 4
Calories: 282kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 Plum (Romtomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 pinch Italian seasoning
  • 24 kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 leaves fresh basil chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese freshly grated is best
  • 1 pound flounder fillets
  • 6 leaves fresh basil torn

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Plunge tomatoes into the boiling water and immediately remove to a medium bowl of ice water; drain. Remove and discard skins from tomatoes. Chop tomatoes and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic and Italian seasoning; cook until tomatoes are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in olives, wine, capers, lemon juice, and 1/2 the basil. Reduce heat, blend in Parmesan cheese, and cook until the mixture is reduced to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes.
  • Place flounder in a shallow baking dish. Pour sauce over the fillets and top with remaining basil leaves.
  • Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.

This, Not That, Thursday – Sugary Drink Alternatives

Hi everyone! 
For this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” we are looking at healthy alternatives to sugary drinks. Numerous studies have shown the negative health effects of drinking sugary drinks on your waistline and your teeth. It may have far more health risks than many of us may realize. Drinking sugary drinks can cause a decline in kidney function, an increase in your risk of diabetes, and can cause vascular issues. Sugary drinks also deplete your mineral levels and leave you dehydrated. Sugary drinks are also linked to dementia and cancer.

These are just a few of the negative health effects of sugary drinks. Help to cut the cola with these healthy and delicious sugary drink alternatives.

Tea – iced or hot-
With all the different ways to enjoy it hot or cold, tea is likely one of the best sugary drink substitutes on this list. Tea has an extensive variety of flavor profiles and caffeine levels. There’s a tea out there for everyone! Perfect for any season or time of day, tea is a versatile sugary drink substitute and easy way to enjoy flavored beverages with little to no calories. Herbal tea can be used to help you unwind, boost your immune system, or reduce pain or soreness.

Freshly-squeezed lemonade-
A classic summertime pick-me-up, fresh lemonade—maybe with a dash of cane sugar or agave nectar for a hint of sweetness—has enough citrusy flavor to help wash away those memories of your sugary drink guzzling days.

Sparkling water-
After decades of public health initiatives, consumers are leaving sugary drinks behind for its sleeker, healthier counterpart: flavored sparkling water. Nowadays, sparkling water makers are everywhere, from homes to offices, hotels to restaurants. Rather than buying bottles and cans, avid sparkling water drinkers often invest in carbonated water dispensers to mitigate the environmental impact of buying cases of fizzy water. Now that’s some savvy sipping!

Kombucha-
Kombucha is a recent health trend that shows no signs of fizzling out. While its poignant flavor is not for everyone, Kombucha typically contains little to no sugar and is a potential source of probiotics, which are known to promote gut health. It contains antioxidants and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Sparkling water with a splash of juice-
Perfect for brunch, sparkling water with a splash of pineapple, orange, cranberry, or mango juice is a great non-alcoholic, low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks or mimosas at brunch.

Fruit and herb infusions-
Infusions are a great way to use up any extra fruit and herbs in your fridge before they spoil. Simply chop whatever fruit and herbs you have, throw them in a pitcher or reusable water bottle, and you’ll be sipping on some fruity goodness in just a few hours. If you enjoy fruit flavors but don’t want the sugar rush of juice, infusions are the way to go!

Coconut water-
Like Kombucha, Coconut water is a health fad and popular healthy substitute for sugary drinks that’s been on the scene for a few years now. Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is a natural source of potassium and electrolytes, making it the perfect tropical alternative to plain water.

Mineral water-
Mineral water contains zero calories and has the added nutritional benefit of minerals such as calcium, magnesium sulfate, and sodium sulfate. Mineral water is an everyday sugary drink substitute that’s sold at most grocery stores and online. It can help to lower blood pressure, regulate blood circulation, strengthen bones, and promote digestive health.

-Dr. P
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Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

Red, White and Blue Summer Salad

In this salad, we combine traditional Caprese flavors with summer blueberries, peaches and added prosciutto for saltiness, creating a balanced and flavor-packed dish. Caprese and fresh fruit always remind me of summer.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten Free, heart healthy, low calorie, low carb
Servings: 12
Calories: 233kcal
Author: Grandma Antoinette

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil julienned
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves julienned
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cups fresh arugula
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese pearls drained
  • 2 medium peaches sliced
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto julienned

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk the first 9 ingredients. Add tomatoes; let stand while preparing salad.
  • In a large bowl, combine arugula, mozzarella, peach slices, blueberries, and prosciutto. Pour tomato mixture over top; toss to coat. Garnish with additional mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes

Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 233 calories, 18g fat (5g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 486mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 2g fiber), 8g protein.

My word, today is just perfect. Too perfect in fact, to be inside slaving in front of the stove for dinner tonight. In just 20 minutes this delightfully fresh dish is on the table without the need of an oven heating up the whole house. 
Let Grandma Antoinette help you with dinner <3

-Dr. P
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Summer Bucket List for Long Island Kids


For our latest installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you Dr. Polcino’s “Summer Bucket List for LI kids.”
It features oodles of ideas when it comes to places to go, things to do, events, and activities to do with kids on Long Island! From toddlers to tweens, our Summer Bucket List has great ways to spend the days, and you’re sure to see a smile on everyone’s face.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Rabbit Repellent

Hey all! We’re back with another installment of “This, Not That, Thursday.”
If you need a way to deter rabbits from eating your flowers, try this organic rabbit repellent recipe. It uses garlic and red peppers to repel the rabbits naturally without damaging your plants. And don’t worry–those cute little critters won’t be harmed at all.

You just need a couple of items to make this Natural rabbit repellent: garlic, peppers, dish soap, and an empty milk jug.

Natural Rabbit Repellent Recipe
Items needed:
empty milk/water jug
7 garlic cloves
2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1-gallon water
1 tablespoon dish soap (see our other posts for a Natural Dish Soap)
Directions:
To make the repellent fill an old jug with water, add 7 crushed garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of crushed red peppers (you can save a packet from the pizza delivery for this) and 1 tablespoon of dish soap.
Shake well. Then let it sit in the sun for a day or two to make sure the water is saturated with the flavors and smells.
Shake well. Then spray or pour on the plants that you don’t want the rabbits to eat.
I had to reapply the rabbit repellent once a week for a couple of weeks to convince the rabbits that my tulips were never going to taste good again. With my other bulbs, I sprayed them with the natural rabbit repellent as soon as they started to poke through the ground and then reapplied the repellent once a week and after it rains.
Good luck 

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Dish Soap

We’re here with this week’s installment of “this, Not That, Thursday” – Natural Dish Soap.
Here we go….

Every single recipe I’ve tried just kept falling short. It didn’t suds enough or it wasn’t soapy or slippery enough, or worse – it left a nasty film on my dishes. There are lots of factors at play of course (type of soap, water hardness, etc.) so I’m not saying that those recipes didn’t work – just that they didn’t work for me. THIS ONE DID!

Homemade Dish Soap: A Natural Recipe
Ingredients
1 ¾ cups boiling water
1 Tbsp borax
1 Tbsp grated bar soap (use homemade soap, castile bar soap, Ivory, or whichever natural bar you prefer)
15-20 drops essential oils, optional
Instructions
Heat water to boiling.
Combine borax and grated bar soap in a medium bowl. Pour hot water over the mixture. Whisk until the grated soap is completely melted.
Allow mixture to cool on the countertop for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Dish soap will gel upon standing.
Transfer to a squirt bottle, and add essential oils (if using). Shake well to combine.

*do not use vinegar – As per Dr. Bronners daughter Lisa “In great part, it’s due to the fact that vinegar is an acid and the castile soap is a base. They will directly react with each other and cancel each other out. So, instead of getting the best of both (the scum cutting ability of the vinegar and the dirt transporting ability of the soap), you’ll be getting the worst of something entirely new. The vinegar “unsaponifies” the soap, by which I mean that the vinegar takes the soap and reduces it back out to its original oils. So you end up with an oily, curdled, whitish mess. And this would be all over whatever it was you were trying to clean – your laundry or counters or dishes or whatever.”

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Gardening Tips

In this week’s installment of “This, Not That, Thursday” we bring you some Natural Gardening tips. Gardening is tough enough, but to do it without chemicals is well worth the effort for you & the family.

Fertilizer
Although you can use ready-made organic fertilizers, it is best to learn how to create your own organic fertilizers. Not only will it be better for the soil and the environment in the long-term, but it also helps you gain valuable insight into the world of gardening.

Homemade Fertilizer
Adding compost to your garden is an excellent way to improve the quality of your soil with natural fertilization. However, not everyone has the space or time for composting.
We’ve got you covered! There are some other easy ways to fertilize your garden naturally. For one thing, instead of a huge compost pile, you can simply save some of the stuff from your kitchen you’d normally throw away.
Three things that can benefit your garden:
Coffee Grounds – adds nitrogen to the soil and is ideal for acid-loving plants like tomatoes
Banana Peels – decompose quickly, replenishing potassium and other minerals to the soil
Egg Shells – can add calcium carbonate and help avoid blossom rot in peppers and tomatoes
Another common kitchen ingredient to help fertilize your garden is molasses. Just mix a few tablespoons of molasses with a gallon of water and then water your plants with it. The molasses acts sort of like a probiotic. It helps increase beneficial microbes.

Garden Pest Control
Every vegetable gardener faces pest issues from time to time, and learning how to manage the little leaf-munching menaces without using synthetic chemical pesticides is an essential step in growing a healthy, productive garden. To help you with this task, we’ve put together tips for keeping those pesky critters out of your garden.

Orange Peels
Orange peels can be placed around plants or attached directly to the stem to ward off and eliminate some pests. That’s because orange peels contain a natural chemical known as d-Limonene, which can kill off ants and aphids. The chemical destroys the waxy substance around the bugs, causing them to suffocate.
Even the scent of orange peels, as well as other citrus peels, can keep those plant-destroying aphids and ants away.

Plant Marigolds Around the Perimeter of the Garden
Many gardeners put marigolds in their vegetable gardens. It’s believed the pungent smell potentially repels pests while attracting beneficial insects. Some say that the aroma of marigolds might even help keep rabbits and other rodents away from your vegetables too.
However, not everyone is a believer in the marigold theory. In fact, there are some gardeners who say marigolds may actually attract harmful spider mites. Regardless of whether it works or not – marigolds will at least add a splash of color to your vegetable garden.

Cayenne pepper
Sprinkling cayenne pepper, pepper flakes, and/or garlic pepper on and around your plants when they are ready to bloom is an excellent deterrent. Squirrels won’t eat anything with cayenne—which you can often buy in bulk.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Cleaners

On this week’s “This, Not That, Thursday” segment, we’re looking at all natural cleaning tips. Switching to homemade DIY cleaners might sound like a lot more work, but it’s actually quite simple. The ingredients are easy to come by and last a long time.

The natural cleaning ingredients we like to keep on hand are:
* white vinegar
* liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners)
* natural salt
* baking soda
* borax
* washing soda
* hydrogen peroxide
* lemons
* microfiber cloths
* essential oils (optional)
* a spray bottle or two (preferably glass)

Our 3 top recipes!

All-Purpose Cleaner Ingredients
* 1 tsp borax
* 1/2 tsp washing soda
* 1 tsp liquid castile soap
* Essential oils of choice – I use 4 drops lemon, 4 drops lavender, and 10 drops orange
* Glass spray bottle for storage
All-Purpose Cleaner Instructions
1. Place borax, washing soda, and soap in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
2. Add 2 cups of warm water. Distilled is best, but any water that has been boiled will work.
3. Add essential oils of choice.
4. Cover bottle and shake well. Use as needed. I use as bathroom cleaner, floor pre-treater, kitchen cleaner and on toys.

Glass Cleaner Ingredients
* 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
* 2 tablespoons vinegar
* 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon (optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell)
Glass Cleaner Instructions
Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window. I like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.

How to Make Washing Soda
If you have an oven and are feeling crafty, try this simple method of making washing soda. Another bonus is that baking soda is typically even less expensive (especially at big box stores) and making this at home can help further reduce the cost of budget-friendly cleaning recipes.
Washing Soda Ingredients
* Baking Soda
* A large baking dish or baking sheet (I use these stainless steel restaurant pans for this and all of my baking and cooking)
* An Oven

Washing Soda Instructions
1. Turn oven on 400 degrees F.
2. Pour a thick (1/2 inch or so) layer of baking soda on the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring 1-2 times in the middle, or until it has changed in look and feel. Baking soda has a silky/powdery feel and washing soda is more grainy and not silky. The baking soda will need to reach the full 400 degrees for this reaction to take place, so be patient.
4. Let cool and store in an air-tight jar.
Use this homemade washing soda as you would store-bought in natural cleaning recipes and laundry soaps.

-Dr. P
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This, Not, That Thursday – Natural Ant Repellent

There’s nothing like walking into your kitchen first thing in the morning, bleary-eyed and ready for your morning cup of coffee only to find that your home has been invaded by ants. Below are some of the best natural remedies you can try to get rid of the ants infesting your space.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an effective household ant repellent. Its smell discourages ants from entering your house and scrounging in your kitchen.
According to a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, cinnamon essential oil yields positive results in both repellency and insecticidal activity.
* Add 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil in a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this solution and wipe down the areas where ants may enter and dwell. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone.
* You can also put ground cinnamon and whole cloves near entry points.
Note: Use the cinnamon oil spray strategically in places of ant infestation; do not put it all over the place.

White Vinegar
White vinegar will also send an eviction notice to ants on your premises. They cannot bear its strong smell. In addition, the smell masks their scent trails, making them lose their direction.
1. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
3. Add a few drops of any essential oil and shake the bottle thoroughly.
4. Spray this solution around baseboards and other entry points.
5. After an hour, wipe up the ants using a damp paper towel and discard them.
6. Repeat once daily until the ants are completely gone.
You can also use this vinegar solution to clean floors, windowsills and countertops to prevent ants from crawling over these surfaces.

Peppermint
Peppermint is a natural insect repellent that can effectively keep ants away. Ants hate its strong smell, which also disrupts their smelling capabilities so they cannot detect food sources.
* Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to 1 cup of water. Spray the solution on all areas where ants are present. Repeat twice daily, until the ants are gone completely.
* Sprinkle some dried peppermint around your doors, entryways and garbage areas to repel ants.
* You can even grow peppermint plants in your kitchen garden.

Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) also works well as an ant repellent. This powder is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton.
The microscopic razor sharp edges of DE can cut through the ant’s exoskeletons, gradually causing their body to dry out.
1. Gently sprinkle a thin layer of DE on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, in and around garbage cans and any other places where you see ants.
2. Repeat once daily until all the ants are gone.
Note: Do not wet the DE or it will not work.

-Dr. P
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This, Not That, Thursday – Natural Weed Killer

In our office, we have been discussing natural alternatives to common, everyday products. These are ways of handing things like pest control, weeds, household cleaning, body products, and more, without the harmful chemicals. With all the natural alternatives that we have been discovering, we are excited to share these with you!

So without further adieu, I present “This, not that, Thursday.”

Weeds:

When looking for a natural alternative to herbicides, a cocktail of vinegar, salt and liquid dish soap has all of the ingredients needed to quickly kill weeds. Acetic acid in the vinegar and the salt are both very good at drawing moisture from weeds. Dish soap acts as a surfactant, which is an agent that will reduce the surface tension that can cause the weed-killing concoction to bead on the leaves instead of being absorbed by the plant. On a warm, sunny day, the results of this homemade spray will be obvious in a matter of hours as weeds turn brown and wither.

Unlike some chemical solutions, this formula is not built to work its way into the root system, meaning multiple treatments will probably be necessary to keep weeds at bay. Additionally, when looking for a quick fix, sunshine makes a big difference. And remember to look for vinegar that has at least 5% acetic acid.

Natural Weed Killer
• 1-gallon white vinegar
• 1-cup salt
• 1-tablespoon liquid dish soap

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for best results.☀️

-Dr. P
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