“He said Detroit!”

I have this running thing going with my sweetheart that someone references Detroit one way or another everyday. Every time I hear/see it, I say, “see EVERYday!” The President just said it for today.

Thank you, Mr. President. SOTU’12

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Food Scores

We shopped at Hy-Vee for the first time last night. The first one in our area opened recently and we happened to be in that part of town, so we popped in to knock out our weekly grocery run. Overall it was a great experience, but I was *obsessed* with the nutrition grades on many of the foods, called NuVal.

On a scale from 1 to 100, 100 being the best, foods are scored for nutritional content. Here are some examples as I remembered them: Oranges = 100, Apples = 96, Broccoli = 100, Winter Squash = 100, Bacon = 6, Turkey Bacon = 17, Strawberries = 100, Fat Free Cool Whip = 1, and etc.

Below is an excerpt from their website explaining “The Science Behind the NuVal™ System.”

The NuVal™ Nutritional Scoring System is powered by a patent-pending algorithm (the Overall Nutritional Quality Index or ONQI™) that summarizes the nutritional quality of foods and beverages into a single number. It was developed over a two-year period by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts from leading universities and health organizations.

The NuVal™ System considers more than 30 nutrients when developing a Score – including carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It accounts for how these nutrients influence health outcomes and how they relate to recommendations from the USDA dietary guidelines and Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes.

Go to the following webpage for a directory of food scores and see how your favorites measure up. http://www.nuval.com/scores

What do you think about the food scoring system and how it might help people eat better? Is it a marketing ploy or a real way to improve lives? Do you think you would make a food choice in the aisle based on the nutrition score?

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My Only Hope for a Claim to Fame

I was recently reading the Bible in the book of Acts and this particular section of Scripture stood out to me. Peter and John (Jesus Christ’s disciples) were arrested and on trial because they had healed someone. Their only argument for what they had done was to glorify the Name of Jesus — no apology. The passage goes on to to give the reaction of the Sanhedrin in Acts 4:13. “The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.”

Thousands of years later, we are reading about these men (who are known only by their first names) not because of how educated they were or something that they had done in their own power, but by who they were acting like — Jesus. What a humbling reminder this has been for me. As I strive to better myself in this New Year, let me never forget that it is not about what I know, but Who.

How does my life show that I’ve met him? Love? Kindness? Mercy? Honesty? Forgiveness? Hope? Generosity? Service? Peace? How about you?


Read more here:

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Cozy Squash Soup

At only about 80 calories per cup, Vitamin C, Calcium and a over 400% of the daily allowance of Vitamin A, squash is a powerhouse of nutrition and a super tasty vegetable to include in any diet. What better way to enjoy it than in a cozy warm soup? I have an easy recipe that you’ll have to try. This was a workday afternoon treat that I pulled together with a salad in about 30 minutes from pantry to table.

Cozy Winter Squash Soup – Makes about 8 Yummy Servings

1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons “Better Than Bullion”
4 cups of pure water
½ teaspoon nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Get all the veggies chopped up. Meanwhile in a big pot melt the butter. Add the onions, carrots, celery and squash. Cook them on medium/high heat on the stove until the onions are clear, but not browning for about 5 minutes. Add the water & bullion (or equivalent chicken broth) and spices. Simmer for about 15 minutes (while you set the table and get your salad ready) until the vegetables are fork tender. Turn the heat down to low. Carefully move the cooked vegetables to a blender and blend until smooth in small batches of 3-4 cups at a time. (Please be very careful, the hot puree can slop around really easily – ouch. You could also do this with an emersion blender if you have one; I don’t.) Serve hot.

I put a dollop of fat free, plain yogurt on top…and some parsley flakes to be fancy.

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Black Bean Hummus Recipe

I love hummus. I grew up in Dearborn, Michigan (Google it) and had the privilege of experiencing *real* hummus made by real Middle Eastern-American people. So I guess you could say I’m a hummus snob now. (Don’t judge me.) I do not care for the store-bought pre-made kind. Actually, as much as I love hummus, I never buy it that way – in the tub. I make my own. The traditional kind is made with chickpeas (or garbanzo beans). I didn’t have those today, so I used up some black beans and made some black bean hummus tonight. I’ve made hummus with edamame beans before, too — another delightful, nutritious variation.

At about 100 calories: 4 grams of fat, 9 Carbs, 4 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber for a quarter cup serving, this is a healthy snack or a delicious part of a light lunch.

Here’s the recipe for Black Bean Hummus
(makes about 8 – ¼ cup servings)

1 1/2 Cups Well-Cooked Black Beans
3 Tbsp Tahini (Sesame Paste)
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed
1 tsp Ground Cumin
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Hot Water
Sea Salt to Taste
Olive Oil and Paprika to garnish (lightly toasted sesame seeds or pine nuts are fancy on top, too if you have them)

In a blender (or food processor), add the Black Beans, Tahini, Garlic, Cumin, Lemon Juice and Salt . Give it a whirl. Add the hot water and any extra lemon juice as needed to keep is moving. Blend until smooth (like natural peanut butter).

Put it in a dish (one that you can store later may be nice because this makes several servings). Garnish as desired and chill.

Serve cool with veggie dippers, fresh pita or use it as a topping on a sandwich.

Side note: I cook the beans myself. I sort and rinse the dried beans, soak them overnight and then cook them according to the package instructions. You could use a can, if you like. If you do, be sure to taste it before you add any salt. Usually canned foods have added salt, so you don’t want to over do it. I also find that canned beans have a (what I call) metallic taste. No one that I have ever met can taste this, but believe me it is so there. (smile)

Give this a try and let me know what you think!

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DIY: Hang Accessories on Cabinets

This year I hung decorative stockings on my china cabinet (image 1). It was so nifty I wanted to share it with you. (The pic helped me realize it needs to be tidied up a bit in there. :))

I attached a removable 3M hook inside the cabinet. I placed it (according to the package instructions) on the inside of the door near the top and upside down (image 2). I tied a piece of ribbon into a loop and attached it to the stocking, then over the cabinet door, and on to the hook. I used a coordinating-colored ribbon (which happens to be pink for my kitchen). I did the same for the second one. I adjusted the length a little to make sure that they were at least close to level…and voila!

What do you think?

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Homemade Toothpaste?

OK, I am thinking about making my own toothpaste now. First, I made our all-purpose home cleanser then laundry detergent, and dishwasher soap. I love it. Maybe I’m crazy, I’ll admit that, but I prefer using things that I am clear on what the ingredients are. I know that this is not for everyone and that just maybe some people might think that I’m a little “out there”.

But come on, just check out this simple super cheap recipe: http://www.tammysrecipes.com/homemade_toothpaste


Sure there is no fluoride, but in further research, I learned that using a rinse like Plax and chewing gum with Xylitol after eating anything with a carb is just as good or better.

What do YOU think?

How the Two Rags Get Rich, Two

First of all, that’s for checking my blog! Welcome!

Now, how is it coming friends? Do you have all your bills together. (See previous post: How the Two Rags Get Rich, Volume One, Edition One)

The next step together will be August 1! Will you be ready? This will be so fun together. Maybe Mr. Rags will be willing to share one of his custom spreadsheets to download for free! I’ll ask. I have a little pull.

Feel free to ask questions. We’re here for you!

Do you want to join us on the journey to GETTING RICH together? Subscribe for updates by email.

See you again soon!

Don’t Tell Me the Sky’s the Limit

On the Moon

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are foot prints on the moon!”

I can’t take create for the quote or the photo for that matter, but this idea got me thinking. I’ve always liked the idea that the sky’s the limit, but wait a minute, who says that THAT is the limit? People can and have gone even further than that! So many times we set unnecessary limits on ourselves. Maybe we’re scared, maybe we haven’t worked hard enough or let go of heavy stuff, maybe someone told we couldn’t or maybe, just maybe we haven’t dreamed big enough…yet.

What footprints do you want to leave? Where do you want to leave them? Tip-toed in a tiny circle around your couch? If so, that is great for you, but for me I want to leave deep, giant-boot-shaped prints on…Venus, yes, Venus! What I mean is I want to make a real mark on the universe during my short, little life.

I’m still dreaming and working, but who would have ever thought that the little C-average middle child of a working class family near Detroit would have a college degree, amazing marriage, professional career, and a graduate degree? Not I! I’ve lived in Spain, sang the National Anthem at a pro ball game, live everyday totally in love and I’ve only started; there is so much more. I need to dream it, work it, pray it ask for it, wait for it and BELIEVE it! My God is bigger, he created it all and wants to much for us. Promise!

How the Rags Save – Volume One, Edition One

How do we save at least $600 a year? We do our own hair. Simple isn’t it? I cut Mr. Rags hair with a good hair clipper set that I picked up at Kmart for Christmas. I think the set cost about $50 — the price of about two of his haircuts. At first, I just cut it all one length – with a “one” guard. Since I’ve had some practice, I know how to keep it a little longer on top and it’s super cute (if I do say so myself). Also I can keep it all trimmed up (around the neck and such) any day I want. Perfect! I do not recommend cutting your spouse’s hair for everyone, but for us it totally works. Mrs. Rags happens to be pretty crafty (and a little brave) AND we are both very committed to THRIFT, so home haircutting works in the Rags house.

And for Mrs. Rags? I just don’t ever cut my hair…it’s down to by belt line now. I actually do visit the salon about once a year (on half off day, of course) to give it some shape and texture with some layers. I keep my hair trimmed on my own at home with a good pair of haircutting sheers I picked up at a beauty supply store several years ago. I also happen to be very lucky that I was born with thick, wavy, glossy hair that seems to be very strong, so it kind of does its thing pretty well. I keep it healthy also by allowing it to rest between heat styling. I try not to straighten or curl too many days in a row. I also don’t necessarily wash my hair everyday either. I will, what I like to call it, “recycle it” by touching it up with the straightener on straight days or wetting it and reviving the curls on curly days. AND I hardly ever blow dry. It takes way too long and too much effort anyway.

Yes, we do our own hair and in my opinion not looking too shabby…If I do say so myself.

Rev & Mrs Rags