Thursday, December 30, 2010

You Expect Me To Eat That?


I saw this picture yesterday and it took me on a little trip down memory lane.  Memories of strawberry frozen yogurt from TCBY.  Mmmmm, there's nothing like some old frozen yogurt to brighten a child's day.  But alas, this picture is not yogurt.  In fact, it's chicken.  Chicken?!?!?!  Doesn't look like chicken to me.  Who would eat chicken that looks like that?  That's just nasty.  It ain't natural!

So, my inquiring mind wanted to know how on Earth chicken got to look like that, and who are the poor unsuspecting saps to whom it is fed.  I didn't like what I learned, not one little bit.  As it turns out, what you see in this picture is what ultimately becomes chicken nuggets.  Hmm, I wonder why this picture doesn't make it into the commercials of our fabulous fast food restaurants?

Chicken nuggets rarely contain white meat.  The remaining parts of the chicken, the dark meat and a host of undesirable parts, are sent through a grinder, rinsed in ammonia (due to the large amounts of bacteria), and then artifically flavored and colored.  Did you catch that?  Ammonia, ARTIFICAL FLAVOR AND COLOR?  Why on EARTH would you have to change the flavor?  Oh, maybe to cover up the ammonia taste or the taste of the "undesirable" parts of the chicken.  The lovely video below shows this process in detail.  Yum, yum.  Enjoy.



Some chicken nuggets have a host of other ingredients that are VERY troubling.  "In 2003, McDonald’s launched smaller, all-white-meat McNuggets after a federal judge dubbed the food “a McFrankenstein creation of various elements not utilized by the home cook." Among the ingredients that remained in the new McNuggets: tBHQ and dimethylpolysiloxane"  http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/25/a-tale-of-2-nuggets/?hpt=Sbin

Full ingredient list for a Chicken McNugget (from McDonald’s website):
White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, extractives of rosemary). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

Just in case you don't know the meaning of some of the ingredients mentioned above, let me enlighten you!
Dimethylpolysiloxane, the antifoaming agent, is silicone and is also found in silly putty and cosmetics.   How about TBHQ which is used as a chemical preservative?  Ever heard of it?  Well, TBHQ is a petroleum-based product and a form of butane (AKA lighter fluid).  According to “A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, "One gram can cause nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.”  The allowed amount of TBHQ in the oil for nuggets is .02.  The claim is this amount does not cause harm.  But do we really want to feed ANY amout of silicone or butane to our precious, trusting children or even ourselves?  Have you ever heard anyone say, "I really love butane, but I just can't eat very much of it."?

Funny thing is that in Europe, McDonalds developed chicken nuggets that do not contain either Dimethylpolysiloxane or TBHQ.  Amazing huh?  Europe has stricter regulations regarding food.  I guess McDonald's will rise to the occasion for financial gain.  Why can't McDonalds offer this same McNugget in America?  Whatever the reason, as consumers we must educate ourselves about the food we eat. 

We should stand up and DEMAND better for our children.  It would actually be quite simple: stop buying them.  If enough of us do that, McDonald's will get the picture.  If I'm the only one who does it, at least I'll be healthier.  Something tells me I can make it without McNuggets. 

Our children can't make choices about the food they eat.  As parents, we make the choices for them.  They trust us.  I feel like I owe it to my children to provide them with the best of everything.  This includes the food they eat and their nutrition.  This is a daunting task in our fast food culture that has changed the way food is raised and handled.  I can't be so trusting, at least not in the food choices I make.  I must search out the information on my own.   And when I learn something I don't like, I must be willing to vote with my dollars.  The mighty dollar is a powerful incentive for change, either positive or negative.  My kids are depending on me.  If I don't make healthy changes, they will eventually pay a high price with their health and quality of life. 

Homemade chicken nuggets: time 15 minutes, ingredients: organic chicken breast, flour, egg, salt, pepper, paprika, and grapeseed oil (or organic canola) for frying.  Happy little person!



sources:  http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/25/a-tale-of-2-nuggets/?hpt=Sbin, http://gizmodo.com/5659271/behind-the-chicken-goop-the-truth-and-science-of-chicken-nuggets



Monday, December 27, 2010

My Kids LOVE PBJ And ABJ


With 2 little ladies in the house that love PBJ, we needed to learn to make peanut and almond butter.  The fabulous Vitamix has come in so handy.  First we tried the Almond butter recipe in the Vitamix recipe book but it came out too runny.  Today, we perfected Almond Butter.  The photo above is the yummy almond butter on Organic Sprouted Bread.  FYI: Drizzled honey on top of the almond butter bread is out of this world!

Almond Butter:
3 cups Roasted Almonds
2 or 3 Tablespoons Almond Oil 
We like our almond butter chunky so if you try this you may need to add more almond oil.

I made Peanut Butter the other day too.  The recipe just called for peanuts.  The consistency was much drier and different than store bought peanut butter.  Next time I'm going to add a dash of almond butter.  Dr. Oz recommends buying organic peanuts/ peanut butter as non organic peanuts have high levels of pesticides.

We are going to experient between using raw and roasted nuts soon.  I'll keep you posted.


As far as bread is concerned I have been buying organic sprouted bread.  It is not my favorite but it works.  Central Market has a store brand we get that is located in the freezer section.  Men's Health wrote an article about the top 20 organic products.  The article recommended a bread by Bread Alone Bakery Organic Whole Grain Health Loaf as their top bread choice.  This product is widely available in New York.  For the rest of us I guess if we want to try the bread pictured above it's the website.  Looks so good I just may have to order some to try.  http://www.breadalone.com/shop/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=20 

During the winter when fresh blueberries are very expensive, I always try to offer blueberry fruit spread to the kiddos.  Blueberries are such a wonderful super food filled with antioxidants, phytoflavinoids, and high levels of Vitamin C and Potassium.  I try to chose fruit spreads over jelly or jam as they are sweetened with concentrated fruit juice instead of sugar.  We have found a fruit spread that is a big hit with the little folks, all 3 of them.  Crofter's Just Fruit Spread Organic Wild Blueberry.  http://www.croftersorganic.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=241  The ingredients are concentrated organic grape juice, organic wild blueberries, apple pectin, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Citric Acid.  Until I have the chance to learn to make fruit spreads myself I feel comfortable offering this to my little people.  They always lap it up and there is NO SUGAR!  Win/win for mommy and kiddos.

Going to serve this little meal up for lunch.  Have a great day!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"The best-laid plans of mice and men...

Often go awry."  And this was the case for our Christmas.  I had a fabulous menu planned full of new recipes that I couldn't wait to try and then share with my friends.  However, they fell by the way side.

This Chrismas was full of unexpected mishaps.  Christmas Eve started out great.  We finally decorated our Christmas tree with our hand made ornaments, opened a few presents, made Christmas cookies, left reindeer food on the lawn and read The Night Before Christmas.  Everyone was dressed in their special Christmas pajamas.  And after putting out all the presents, the grown ups were off to bed.  2 of 3 and 3 of 3 had other plans.  After holding, rocking and soothing them half the night we could finally put the two stuffy little people to bed.  As soon as we fell asleep 1 of 3 ran into our room then turned around and stormed back to her room.  I heard that dreaded noise.  The one that causes a mommy to rise up from bed and run for her child.  I did just that.  I made it in time to hold her hair back and comfort her.  After a bath and hair shampoo, a stripping of the sheets, and a cleaning of her room (and the American doll which is now going to have to go to the dolly hospital for a clean up) it was time to try to sleep again.  Ahh, the wee small hours of the night.

Nobody made it down on Christmas morning in their cute Christmas pajamas.  No special Christmas breakfast was served, only dry toast.  It was at this time I was reminded again that the greatest gifts I have ever been given, with the exception of the grace of God, are my 3 little people.  It is a blessing and privilege that I can be a comfort to them in their little time of need, that I have the ability to calm them and relax them.  I even told 1 of 3 as I was bathing her and washing her hair at 1 a.m. that one of the best gifts to mommy is to be the one to take care of her and help her when she's sick.  One pale faced little girl glowed for a moment as a huge smile covered her face.  It was truly a meaningful Christmas even though it wasn't the one I had planned or expected. 

I did get a few really great cookbooks for Christmas I'll be trying out soon.  Hoping you had the Merriest time at Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DIY Santa Clause Ornament

I couldn't leave my baby boy out of the homemade ornament extravaganza so today I made Santa ornaments.  They are super easy and darling.  I hadn't made these ornaments since I was about 16.  I think my memory served me well and they turned out just like they were supposed to.  As I was taking pictures to put on the blog 1 of 3 said to me, "Why are you putting craft things on your blog.  Isn't it supposed to be about FOOD?"  I know it ususally is, but I thought these were fun crafts to share. 

Supplies:
paint brushes
clothespins
acrylic paint:
Tuscan Red
Black
Flesh color
White
Steel Grey
Metalic Gold
Light Pink

Here are the directions:

                                                First, I painted the skin color on Santa's face.

                               Then I painted the beard, hair and eyebrows of Santa with a grey paint.

             Rosy cheeks were added next.  I used the face color and added light pink to get the rosy color.

The white beard came next.  I just went over the grey beard and made it snowy white.  This could also be done last.  I did go back and touch up at the end.

Santa can now see!  I added eyes with black paint.

Santa's suit is next.  Don't forget to paint the inside of the clothespin.

    Santa's boots and belt painted with a small brush.  Don't forget to paint the inside of the clothespin.

Ta Da.  A HO HO HO Holiday Santa ornament.  You can drill the sides of the head and use a wire string or use the legs to sit on a tree branch.   


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  I'd love to see pictures of any of the ornaments you make.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DIY Little Girl, Angel or Fairy Christmas Ornament


Today was the day we made Christmas ornaments.  Every year I like to get my children Christmas ornaments as keepsakes.  This year I decided we should make them ourselves.  And we did just that.  The ornaments turned out just precious.  Here are the directions we came up with for this project.  Note:  I don't usually like to use varnish but the wood just seemed to soak up the paint and it looked so dull without it.

Supplies:
Wire to hang ornament
skinny ribbon
round doll clothes pins
wooden dowel cap with 5/8 inch hole
flesh colored pipe cleaner
acrylic paint
gloss varnish
paintbrushes
glue gun
fabric for dress and wings
drill

First my sweet husband drilled a hole in the top of the wooden dowel cap on the doll's head for the wire to hang the ornament.
Then I painted the head and the top of the clothespin a flesh color. 
Next we painted hair on the wooden dowel.  I used my paintbrush to outline the shape of the hair, then I filled it in.


Eyes, mouth and rosy cheeks were added next.  For the lips I found it easiest to make a small heart and then curves for the lips. 



Once the face was dry I painted a coat of varnish on it. 


Then I added the wire to hang the ornament. 

 As the face was drying we painted the legs a pretty color and went over the color with a clear glitter paint.


Now it's time for the fabric!  We cut out our fabric with pinking sheers so it won't fray.  We cut the wings out in different shapes then pushed the pipe cleaner arms through the wings.  Later we will attach the arms to the clothes pin.










FLOWER OR GIRL INSTRUCTIONS:  Cut a circle out of fabric and cut a small hole in the middle of the fabric.  Then cut two small arm holes on the sides.  Put the pipe cleaner through the holes.  Pull the center hole over the small top of the clothes pin.  Tie a bow around the dress or use some type of tie to belt the dress.  To make the petals for the flower dress at the top I used wire ribbon and sewed the petals. 

FAIRY OR ANGEL INSTRUCTIONS:  If you are using wings then only cut the middle hole that will go over the head.  Tie a bow around the dress or use some type of tie to belt the dress.  Put the pipe cleaner through the wings and glue to the back of fabric.  Then use a bit of hot glue to attach the arms and wings in the back of the dress/belt.

Finally hot glue the head of the ornament and attach to the body.  Hold in place while the glue dries. 


My sweet E made the ornament above. 




Can you tell that a certain little lady in the house really like pink?  E, 1 of 3, has 2 ornaments that she made, the twins as she calls them, and both dolls will be wearing the same outfit as above.  She really like pink!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Traditional Christmas Recipe That Is Just A Bit Healthier!

Green Bean Casserole.  Love it!  I found a recipe on Organic Authority that calls for making my own white sauce and french fried onions.  No processed food!!!  I'm trying it out on Christmas.  Wanted to share it with my friends too!  It sounds fabulous. 

Green Bean Casserole
 Ingredients:
30 oz. of fresh green beans
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 small sweet onion, diced finely
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups of milk
1 lb of bacon, cooked
2 cups of French fried onions
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup of shredded Colby cheese
Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook butter, onion and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat for a minute or two to let the onion soften. Add flour and cook for another minute. Then whisk in the milk slowly, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Now it’s time to add the salt and pepper. Voila - a nice, well-seasoned white sauce.
In a large bowl, toss together the green beans, white sauce, 1 cup of the French fried onions, bacon and cheese. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. Take it out of the oven, and remove the foil. Top it with the rest of the French fried onions, and put it back in the oven for ten more minutes uncovered.
French Fried Onions
Another dish that you can purchase in a can… or make yourself! Here’s the recipe to make them fresh.
Ingredients:
2 or 3 big sweet onions
Milk
Salt to taste (1 – 2 teaspoons is a good place to start)
Pepper to taste
1 ½ cup gluten-free flour (such as tapioca, rice, or soy flour)
Oil for frying
Methods:
Slice the onions into rings, separate them, and soak them in milk for a few minutes.
Place oil about an inch deep in a frying pan, and heat it.
Coat the onions in the flour, and then place them in the pan with the heated oil. Once the onions float, turn them over and cook until they are a nice golden brown. When you remove them from the oil, place them on a paper towel.
Then, add them to your green bean casserole!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Candy Canes For Breakfast

Doesn't sound like something this mommy would do.  But she did!  And the girls loved it.  We read a sweet book called The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg and celebrated Christ our saviour with a candy cane.  My girls love reading stories about the true meaning of Christmas.  Here are a few of our favorites:  The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, The Three Christmas Gifts by Jennie Bishop, and The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall.  They all remind us of the love of Jesus and that He is the best gift of all.  Please share your favorite Christmas stories.  We would love to try new books.  May you all have a blessed Christmas.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Turning into Maw Maw Waters!

I'm turning into my grandmother, Violet Rose Waters, aka Maw Maw, aka Bee as in always busy as a bee.  That sweet little lady cooked 3 meals a day for a family of 6 and at age 86 still cooks now and then.  I LOVED to spend the night at her house.  I'd wake up to the smell of bacon, biscuits, and whatever kind of egg I was in the mood for.  It was the life.  My childhood is filled with so many wonderful memories of her and her fabulous cooking.  Not saying my food is fabulous yet but I've got to start somewhere!  Today that somewhere was homemade chicken nuggets.

For some reason the idea of cooking homemade chicken nuggets seemed like a daunting task.  In fact it seemed humorous it was so far fetched.  I just couldn't imagine COOKING my own nuggets while 3 small children ran around the house.  Then I read an article about ingredients in most chicken nuggets.  It was GROSS.  So I checked the ingredients in the organic nuggets and they seemed fine.  But then I was curious.  Could I do it?  Could I make nuggets myself.  How long would it take?  And if I make them would they be edible?  That was the big question!!!  My last thought was do I really want to move away from processed food or just find healthy alternatives for processed food.  My goal was and still is little to no processed food. 

Curiosity got the better of me so I decided to try to make chicken nuggets last night.  I thought they were great but the kids thought differently.  I didn't season them as it was my first try.  With ketchup and a dash of salt the kids ate them.  Today I was determined to make them again and this time they would be great.  And they were!  They were GREAT!!!  So great that my babysitter who comes for a few hours a week said they were the best she had ever eaten.   All three kids came back for seconds and then thirds.  That rarely if ever happens around here.

The best part about it was it didn't take long at all.  In fact no longer than it would have taken me to cook frozen nuggets in the oven.  And it was much cheaper than store-bought nuggets.  In fact, half the price of the organic nuggets for twice as many! 

To make the nuggets I used an egg to coat the chicken.  Then I dipped the chicken in an organic, unbleached flour that was seasoned with paprika, salt and pepper.  Finally I dropped the nuggets in a pan of hot organic canola oil.  If you are interested in a non-GMO diet, organic canola oil is a must.  Canola crops are about 85 genetically modified.  One other thought, I considered using olive oil but opted against it as it has a low smoking point.  I wasn't sure how it would do.  A friend of mine mentioned grapeseed oil today.  I want to research more about it.  Have any of you tried it?  I would love your thoughts.

Almond butter and hummus are a few other products we have "home made."  The amazing Vitamix whipped them up in a flash.  The recipes that Vitamix gave us need to be tweeked.  When I feel they are fantastic I will share them.  In the meantime I am looking to make my own jelly and bread.  I would love to try your favorite recipes!  Please leave a comment and I'll try them out and post about it.  You just may make some little people's day!  And thanks Stacey for encouraging me to make my own chicken nuggets.  They were simply the BEST!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seventh Generation Cleaning Products


Seventh Generation Free and Clear laundry detergent has been washing our clothes for about 2 weeks now.  The switch was really out of necessity at first.  Our high efficiency washing machine had an odor.  We couldn't take it any more and began to research what in the world it could be.  We discovered that the liquid laundry detergent was the problem.  Who knew?  Then we began the search for another free and clear product in powder form.  This was one of 2 options.  I was a bit hesitant about a natural product.  How good could they clean?  And really if it was so good why weren't all products natural?  Well after 2 weeks of testing I can report to you that we are extrememly satisfied with the detergent.  And that horrid smell is GONE!  This product is hypo-allergenic and biodegradable.  The company states they list all of their ingredients.  It makes me wonder if that is a rarity in cleaning products.   


With one success behind me I felt a bit braver to try other green products.  In fact I have begun the process of transitioning all of our cleaning supplies to green products.  The next product we tested was the dishwashing detergent.  I remember hearing something years ago on the news about the dishwasher producing the most toxic fumes in a home.  They recommended washing the dishes at night while everyone was asleep as to not inhale the fumes.  I began to do this.  Then just recently I wondered why in the world I would want to use a dishwashing detergent with dried chlorine and have the chlorine fumes in my house day or night.  I have found Seventh Generation to do a great job in cleaning the dishes.  Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid is free of phosphate and clorine and is non toxic.  Again I have to wonder why any company would produce a toxic product when there is a non toxic solution that performs just as well.


The last Seventh Generation product that I have tried so far is a disinfecting wipe.  The wipe uses a thymol (from thyme oil) natural botanical.  The site states it kills 99.99% of all household germs.  I could only use this product in the bathrooms as I have granite countertops.  It stated that is was safe for all non porous surfaces.   It did a great job cleaning but left the room with an unpleasant smell similar to moth balls.  It was obvious to all the people in this house that something stink, stank, stunk.  I'm not sure if we are just so used to a strong chlorine/bleach smell that something other than that is offensive.  I will use up the rest of the wipes and reevaluate then.  If we still find the smell to be repulsive we'll look for other alternatives.  Overall, I have been very pleased with the non toxic products Seventh Generation offers.  I am very glad to have removed yet another potential hazard from our home.

Here is a link to sign up for Seventh Generation coupons and links to all the products mentioned above.  Happy and healthy cleaning!
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/coupons
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Free-and-Clear/Laundry-Detergent
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Dishwasher-Gel
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Disinfecting-Wipes

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Note To Self

Dear Natalie,

This is a reminder to you from yourself of why you want to eat healthy and why you MUST eat a balanced breakfast.  You want to enjoy your life, spend quality time with your children and feel better.  Yes, it is true that you have had the kids from morning until bedtime this week but you must stay on track.  I know it's tempting to just grab something fast to hurry and get to the kids.  Just ask yourself how you felt after you ate an organic Z Bar for breakfast?  How did you enjoy that afternoon sugar crash?  How was the nap on the couch in the playroom with little hands hitting you in the head every few minutes?  You know that you feel SO much better when you eat real food.  It really is smart to take a few extra minutes and slow down, fix breakfast and EAT it.  For you, breakfast sets the tone of the day.  In the past you have neglected it.  For the past 2 months you have done great.  Tomorrow is another day.  Eat wisely!

Natalie

Monday, December 13, 2010

All I Want For Christmas...

Is a new set of Ceramic Cookware.  I didn't really know I wanted this much less that I NEEDED this until a few nights ago when I was doing a bit of research.   "Ceramic cookware is not only extremely durable and easy to clean (even the toughtest cooked-on foods can be wiped away after soaking it in warm water), it is completely inert, which means it won't release any harmful chemicals into your home or your food unlike other sets of cookware."  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/03/06/non-stick-cookware-continues-to-prove-its-toxicity.aspx.This trying to be healthy and as chemical free as possible kind of life is full of many changes and most unexpected! 

The pots and pans that are currently being used to make all of our meals are stainless steel.  Years ago I ditched all of my teflon cookware as I became aware of the dangers of non-stick Teflon.  I have attached a list of links at the bottom of the blog if you are interested in reading up about it.  I was unaware of any potential danger in other types of cookware.  This chart by Dr. Mercola outlines the potential problems with cookware commonly used.  So all I want for Christmas is ceramic cookware! 
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/03/06/non-stick-cookware-continues-to-prove-its-toxicity.aspx.


Cookware Material
Potential Hazard
Non-Stick
PFOA induced potential health hazards -- from your immune system to birthing activities
Aluminum
Is a reactive metal and suspected casual factor in Alzheimer's disease
Stainless steel
Potential likelihood of metal leaching into your food and allergen issues
Copper
Due to the possibility of copper caused discomfort, recommended to never have direct contact with your food

If you are interested in the dangers of Teflon here are a few links to read.  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/03/06/non-stick-cookware-continues-to-prove-its-toxicity.aspxhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/4716.php
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/04/19/nonstick-cookware-part-two.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/08/11/nonstick-cookware-chemical-is-in-your-food-packaging-and-you-dont-even-know-it.aspx

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Buffalo Guys Hot Diggity Dog!

We have found "our" hot dog.  A buffalo hot dog.  I must admit after cooking the buffalo roast a month or so ago I wasn't so sure about the hot dogs.  In fact I only intended to feed them to my kids.  Kind of mean, huh?  Here is a bit more honesty.  I asked my husband to feed the hot dogs to 2 of 3 and 3 of 3 while I ran to pick up 1 of 3 from a Christmas party.  I didn't want to be at home when they fussed about the dogs!  As soon as I walked in the door I yelled, "We're home!  How'd they like the hot dogs?"  My husband said, "They LOVED them!"  My response, "REALLY?  Oh, good."  I was truly surprised.  1 of 3 ate one for dinner too.  She also found them quite tasty.  She has requested that these hot dogs become "our" hot dogs.  So with 3 cheers from the peanut gallery, I decided to try the hot dog.  I decided to try the one I over-cooked.  The one that was shriveled and burned.  It was even good!  1 of 3 and I fought over the remaining pieces.  We all thought they tasted similiar to sausage.  They had a hint of spicy to them.  Not enough to really notice, just enough to add a fabulous flavor.    

So here is the low down on the buffalo hot dog. It is a product of The Buffalo Guys.  http://www.thebuffaloguys.com/our_products.asp  picked them up from the freezer section of Central Market for $6.99.  The package/website states the buffalo are range raised without antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal biproducts.  Their buffalo are never cloned.  Oh no!  I didn't know that cloned meat was on the market now.  I'll have to check into that.  OH NO!

The serving size of The Buffalo Guys hot dog is 42g per hot dog and 5g are fat grams.  Compare this to Oscar Mayer hot dogs.  Their hot dog serving size is 45g and 14g are fat grams.  The buffalo hot dog is pretty lean too!

The buffalo hot dogs are uncured, skinless, fully cooked, no presertives, no MSG, no nitrates, nitrites, or fillers added.  Ingredients:  Buffalo meat (American Bison), water, salt, spices, turbinado sugar, paprika, beet powder, garlic and onion powder.  The beet powder makes me question if this company is using GMO beets.  I'll have to make a call in the near future to find the answer.  Until then we are enjoying hot dogs again!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cool Smart Food Apps For iPhone And Helpful Websites

I discovered that there are iPhone apps available for the health conscious consumer.  And if you are reading this blog you are probably somewhat health conscious.  Thought you may enjoy them!

The free apps are my starting point.  I want to see how much we use them and if I like them before I paid for more.  Also since I don't have an iPhone and need to rely on my husband for the phone or the information we need a trial period!  The free apps also seem to be the most helpful for us with our organic and
non-GMO lifestyle.

ShopNoGMO:  This app has a list of products and brands that are GMO free.  Fantastic site!  If you're like me and don't have an iPhone go to http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/ to find a complete list of products and brands that are GMO free.  Do your research at home and head off to the grocery store with a list.  No iPhone needed!  I just found a few items I didn't know existed non-GMO!  I can't wait to try them!!  This site also includes information about dining out non-GMO  Fabulous, fabulous site. 

GoodGuide:  This app looks up the barcode or name of products and gives the nutritional information, health information, and environmental/social information.  The site says it has over 70,000 items.  We checked most items at our house and had no luck.  We did learn that the Organic Blueberry Nectar I've been buying for the kids was rated poorly due to high amounts of sugar.  See organic isn't always better.  Must still check labels, Natalie, not just prices!!!

Here are a few other sites that may interest you.  Some are free but offer only limited access.  There is a small fee for most of the apps. 

Cooks Illustrated: provides taste test reviews and recipes.  I have found their information helpful in the past!  I use Da Vinci olive oil on their recommendation and love it.  Limited access free, unlimited yearly fee $34.95

Harvest:  offers information on the selection of produce and how it's stored as well as information on pestiside residue risk for all non organic produce/items.  $1.99

Seafood Guide: offers a comprehensive seafood guide and uses a color coded system to show the best choices.  Free.

How to Cook Everything:  details basic cooking techniques, offers grocery lists as well as 2,000 recipes from best selling author, Mark Bittman.  $4.99

Local Eats: provides a list of the top 100 locally owned restaurants in 50 metropolitan cities.  Austin is included!  $.99  This app is compatible with Android and Blackberry.

Zagat to Go:  restaurant guide.  $9.99  This app is compatible with Android and Blackberry.

Locavore:  locates farmer's markets in your area and links to Foodista.com to look up seasonal recipes for the seasonal produce purchased at the farmer's market.  $2.99

I would love to hear from you.  Please let me know if you try any of the apps and if they were helpful.  Have a glorious day, friends!

Friday, December 10, 2010

November Report Card



The month of November was a good month!  Both my husband and I turned a year older and of course wiser!  Our birthday celebrations usually result in a feast at our favorite restuarant, Eddie V's.  I can't believe I am going to say this, much less that I acutally feel this, but I  prefer my crazy, full of greens and vegetables stir fry to a filet mignon anyday.  Wow.  Now that is a change.  Big Change.  My husband doesn't feel the same.  No way!

I have cooked and cooked this month.  And we have eaten and eaten.  And eaten.  In fact one day we made morning glory muffins and ate all of them in less than 24 hours.  This "no processed food" kind of life is good but at times challenging.  There have been times we needed food and fast.  Luckily Central Market has kits for soups and sides dishes that I grabbed for those crazy days.  I realize that all the ingredients in the kit may not be organic but it is better than fast food or processed food.  The goal is better, not perfect.

We also have greatly expanded the variety of our food choices.  In case you don't know me well, I'm not an adventurous eater.  If I even think I might not like something I'm not going to try it.  This process has opened  a whole new world of eating.  Sweet 2 of 3 comes by it honestly!  Well I have tasted and it is GOOD!  Here are some of our new family favorites: acorn squash, lentils, garnet yams, kale, chard, arugala, oyster mushrooms, purple bell peppers (I'm sure it has a fancy name but I don't know it) and bok choy.  FYI, the garnet yams taste like sweet potato pie.  Just cooked it, added a bit of butter and a dash of cinnamon.  We were fighting over the last of it.  The list goes on and on.  This process has opened up our world to so many delectible treats.  Whole foods, as in unprocessed foods, have made such a difference in our lives in just a few months.  I could never have imagined! 

I find it interesting that in the month of November with 2 birthdays, Thanksgiving and my husband traveling for work for a few days we both still lost weight.  I lost 4 1/2 pounds and my husband lost 4 pounds.  I have lost a total of 10 pounds and my husband a total of 11 pounds in about 2 months.  Best part about it is we are eating great food!  Again I have to stress we are not on a diet.  This is just a natural consquence of our lifestyle changes.  On that subject I will say this, I use mostly olive oil and hardly ever use butter.  The rare occasion that causes me to rely on trusty old butter is usually on sweet/baked potatoes for my kids. 

I hardly eat sweets as I have blogged earlier, I've lost my craving for them.  I will eat some sweets every now and then but as for just getting up and making them or really wanting them, I don't.  Just in case you're wondering I had 6 desserts in the month of November with birthdays, Thanksgiving and dinners with friends.  That seems like a LOT now that I write it down.  I actually prefer the Treasured Earth Foods treats as they hit the spot for me.  We eat a lot--and I mean a lot--of fresh vegetables and fruit.  In an ideal world I want to eat 51% raw (uncooked) food.  Basically more than half of my diet fresh, raw foods.  Not always so good at meeting that goal but I'm at least trying. 

As far as how I feel I'm not so sure right now.  I've got a cold or bad allergies and it is hard to remember ever feeling normal.  Kinda that "I'm always going to feel like this" feeling.  2 of 3 and 3 of 3 are also under the weather.  It's a wonder I don't have pneumonia from all the face sneezes and coughs I get a day, not to mention the snotty nose surprise kisses.  In reality I have had my 3 little people all day by myself for the entire week.  I've done better than I would have a few months ago.  I have been able to engage with my kids and play.  I've also been able to cook and keep up our healthy eating.  So that said, I would still have to say that my energy is much higher and my emotional state, even sick and having been up most nights this week either not able to breathe or with a sick baby, is strong.  My "sick" now is comparable to my "well" a few months ago.  That, to me, is just amazing.  One thing I was thinking about yesterday was that I would have never started a blog before this journey.  Never.  Wouldn't have had the energy.  Wouldn't have found the time.  Wouldn't have taken the chance. 

Wondering how much of a toll a full month of all organic and non-GMO foods took on our wallet?  I am too!  We just did the finances for the month.  Our food budget didn't really change from the days of eating out all the time.  And I have a pantry full of vegan meals to make in a pinch, pizza supplies and a host of other goodies to make in December.  This also includes the cost of stocking up on staples I need for cooking such as olive oil, coconut oil and organic canola oil just to name a few that will last a long time as I hardly ever use anything other than olive oil.  This week is our first week to pick up our CSA organic vegetables from Johnson's Backyard Garden.  Looking forward to trying it out and measuring the effect it has on our budget next month.

Very thankful for my crocheting project that allowed me to have some free time to watch documentaries.  Food Inc. started my research and questions into the mass production of our food.  I didn't want to take any documentary's word.  I needed to know myself.  I did not like what I learned.  The more I research, the more I dislike and distrust our FDA, Monsanto (main producer of GMOs) and the mass production of food.  I would highly recommend you watch Food Inc. too.  I would highly recommend you do a bit of your own research into the food you are eating and serving to your family.  It just may rock your world! 





Thursday, December 9, 2010

Applegate Organic Chicken Strips


I would really like to be the super mom that makes all of my children's food fresh and homemade.  However, I am just not there yet and not sure I'll ever be completely.  Often lunch is a last minute meal that leaves me feeling guilty for my poor planning.  Junk that will sustain my child but not nourish them.  Ever feel that way?  So when I started this organic journey I wanted to have healthy choices that were still quick and easy.

Not sure if you remember my blog "Mission Impossible" where I reviewed a grass fed chicken nugget.  It was not our answer.  I will say this for the nugget, the next time I cooked them they were better than the first.  However I felt the nuggets were too expensive when my kids ate so little of them.  The search was on and after 6 weeks of going without the beloved chicken nugget, we found a wonderful organic chicken nugget that the children really enjoyed.  Applegate Organic Chicken Strips.  http://www.applegatefarms.com/products/organic_chicken_strips.aspx  The chicken strip was fully cooked so I just had to pop it in the oven for a few minutes and didn't have to worry about it reaching the correct temperature.

2 of 3, my really picky eater that covers her mouth with her hands as if to say, "I won't let you poison me again!"  loved them.  She ate all of her nuggets and asked for more.  When all the "unspoken for" nuggets were gone, she headed over to the baby's highchair to "share" with him.  I was so pleased to see that she loved them.  1 of 3 said, "I love these chicken nuggets.  They are the best!  Can I have them again tomorrow?"  We all enjoyed them.

The one box fed this family of 5 for one meal.  The box of organic nuggets was purchased at Central Market and cost $6.99.  I thought it was on the high side.  Then I remember that I would easily spend that plus more at Chic Fil A.  The benefit of these chicken nuggets as opposed to Chic Fil A?  No child complains of a tummy ache and feels sick for an hour or so after eating.  Worth it to me! 

The thing about all this taste testing is I only bought 1 box of the "test" food at the store.  I surely don't want to be stuck with yucky nuggets.  The kids wanted more and more. And again this is not an every day meal.  Just a once in a while treat.  And boy is it a treat!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Meet My Family: The Testers Of All Things Organic

These little cuties are the good sports who are undergoing quite the lifestyle change.  From kit kats and candy to kikas and veggie brownies.  And they don't seem to mind.  At all.  Amazing.  In fact, they dance around when they are offered their new treats.  That, my friends, does a momma's heart good!


First up, E, 1 of 3.  Reader, artist, constant craft maker, hardest laugher, snuggler, singer/songwriter, organizer, hostess, dress up queen, and big sister extraodinaire.  The sweet little lady that made me a momma.  Dearest of hearts, precious little soul that can brighten a day with her hug and smile.  Polite as a princess, thoughtful and quite the artist!  This girl can turn around and ask a question that will cause your mouth to hit the floor.  Many times I've had to say, "We'll have to check out a book to teach us about that."  All the while I'm wondering why I had to be the parent to get THAT question!  Come on she's only 5!


 Next up is A, 2 of 3.  Giggler, twirler, singer, hide and seeker, dress up princess, high heel wearer, self dresser and tooth brusher, lover of routines, friend to baby, follower to sister, occasional hugger of mommy and daddy. The spunky little lady that knows what she wants and makes sure she let's you know.  She is the pickiest of eaters.  Just today I asked her to just touch something to her lips.  So she pursed her lips and touched the food to them.  Then asked for cereal.  For my next attempt I asked her to lick the next bite.  She did just that.  Thought about it for a minute then asked for cereal. 


I'm pretty sure what he's eating is NOT organic!!!
N.  3 of 3.  The baby.  The caboose.  Really neat little guy.  Really neat!  Walker, squealer, pointer, ball thrower, toddler, explorer, occasional all night sleeper, cuddler, learner, eater.
This little guy loves to eat.  Of all the little people he is loving going organic the best.  His menu has just exploded.  And he loves it!  Loves it.  He happily eats all things green, even leafy greens!  It may just be easiest to say he eats whatever is put in front of him with a smile!


My husband, Michael.  Attorney, entrepreneur, avid reader, tall mountain for kids to climb, bridge for kids to crawl under, crazy dancer, daddy of the year, any year, any time.  The best.  My best friend and favorite person.  We've been married for 11 years.  He is quite handy in the kitchen.  He often will help prep the meals.  How nice is that?  The vitamix is replacing him though.  Faster.  How nice is that?  Hoping to get him to volunteer to do clean up.  We'll see.  He is enjoying the switch to organic.  I know I am loving it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dr. Oz Segment On Organic Processed Foods: Spend or Save?



I tuned in to Dr. Oz on December 7 as he was discussing GMO food.  I'm working on a group of posts about Genetically Modified foods and can't wait to share them!!!  Anyway, after the GMO segment there was a segment regarding organic processed food.  Audience members taste tested the foods and guessed which one was organic.  Then Dr. Oz gave his opinion as to if it is worth buying organic or not.  I thought you may find it interesting.  Three of these products are about the only processed food we buy anymore with the exception of tortilla chips.  He didn't talk about tortilla chips but since corn is genetically modified I always buy organic chips. 

Just FYI: Heinz has organic ketchup and it is a hit with all the little people in this house.  Our favorite organic cereal for all the Austin folks is Central Market Honey Nut O's, and O's.  I buy organic peanut butter in bulk at Central Market.  It is much more expensive that the $1 Dr. Oz says is the difference between a national brand and the organic brand.  I'll look for another option until I am able to try out my own peanut butter making skills with the viatmix!  Don't really do organic frozen dinners so I can't help you on that one!  Please let me know if you find any organic items of interest.

Have a great day!

Confessions From The Kitchen Or "Bloopers" May Sum It Up Best!

As most of you know I am trying to feed my family all organic, whole food.  We are also trying to eliminate genetically modified food (GMOs) from our diet.  So far my husband and I have lost quite a bit of weight and I for sure feel so much better and energetic.  It has been tricky to cut GMOs out of the diet.  Very few processed foods are a must and it usually means eating at home.  So I cook A LOT!  Sometime I cook 3 times a day.  When you're cooking that often there are bound to be bloopers.  I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you.  So here goes.

We just got a Vitamix and it came with a variety of smoothie recipes.  Sunday, 1 of 3 begged for one.  Why not?  I was going to make the ultimate healthy smoothie by sneaking in veggies.   It worked for the man at Costco when he was doing his demonstrations.  I remember!  He hid all sorts of veggies in his concoctions and my kids drank/ate all of his up.  I could do it too!  I made smoothies with blueberries, black grapes, spinach, celery, milk and ice.  Who wouldn't want that?  Apparently two little girls that live in my house.  After one taste the girls made horrid faces and ran screaming from the room.  I begged them to try just on more sip.  I didn't want the ingredients to go to waste.  They said, "No way!" and again ran away from me screaming.  2 of 3 covered her mouth with her hands, like she so often does, as if to say, "You won't posion me again!"  Nick however was trapped in his highchair.  He ate his!  He actually liked it but he's a baby and probably doesn't know any better.

Last night 1 of 3 begged for a smoothie again.  Won't she ever learn?  I want to be able to trick her like the Costco man!  I want to put hidden veggies in the smoothies.  Really I DO!!!  But alas I didn't.  I made blueberry smoothies with milk, yogurt, blueberries and honey.  I did put a teaspoon of flax meal in there too.  Just couldn't help it.  I still got a negative response from the little ladies of the house.  However, the response was a bit different from the night before, there were tears.  Big tears.  Tears of disappointment.  Huge DISAPPOINTMENT!  I'm thinking it was the organic wild blueberries.  Hummmm.  I am determined to right this wrong for my sweeties!

Then there was the time I tried to serve my little ones frozen food.  This was not really on purpose if you're wondering.  I often put their hot food in the freezer to cool quickly, and I left their dinner in the freezer cooling way too long.  That meal was now semi-frozen.  It had to reheated in the microwave before it could head to their plates.  One may think I'd learn but one would be wrong.  Yesterday morning I opened the freezer to get something and saw SUNDAY NIGHT'S corn and peas.  Frozen rock solid.  It was at this moment I realized I served them no veggies Sunday night.  No wonder they were telling me they were hungry at bedtime.  And I didn't believe them.  Half of their meal was refreezing in the freezer.  Getting a good laugh yet?  It gets better. 

I can still taste my almost yummy meal.  The lentil stuffed tomatoes that were stuffed with the undercooked and a few slightly burnt pieces of rice.  Yum.  I followed the recipe directions.  Cook the rice and lentils together for 10 minutes.  Okay I did make one small change.  I used brown rice instead of white rice.  That can't make that big of a difference huh?  Apparently it makes a VERY big difference.  Another lesson learned, use organic frozen rice as a quick alternative.  Burn me (and the crunchy rice) once but not again!

How about squash for our dessert two Sundays in a row.  The lovely meal I cooked was fabulous with one exception: the squash, or better yet, me forgetting about the squash.  The first week I pulled it out of the oven to serve only to then realize I never turned on the oven.  That squash was great 30 minutes later for dessert.  Then, the next week I was all about making sure the squash was done on time.  I TURNED ON the oven and cooked for 30 minutes.  Finally I checked the squash and it seemed tender.  WOOO HOOOO!  I did it.  I took it out of the oven where it sat on a counter for 15 minutes.  When it was time to serve it for our meal I again realized it was not done cooking.  I must have poked the thinnest part of the squash.  Boy there were some parts that were hard as a rock.  Really, I think I could have broken a window had I thrown it.  The thought did cross my mind.  BOOO HOOOO!  I didn't do it, again.  That crazy squash would have been ready to serve if I had tested the thickest part too.  It sat out for 15 minutes!  Again, it was yummy for dessert.   Oh well!

Oh I can't forget the first time I cooked a grass fed whole chicken.  I blogged about the super, skinny grass fed chicken if you remember.  It failed to feed my family of five.  Really it would have failed to feed a single person.  Probably even the baby, 3 of 3.  And I might add that the meat that was on the chicken could have bounced it was so rubbery due to over cooking.  Lesson learned: grass fed meats don't cook as long or at as high a temperature.  Interesting.

And the best of all was on Thanksgiving when I made a turkey for a fairly large crew.  I always make the turkey and it is always good.  Not this time, baby!  This turkey was grass fed and the directions stressed not to over cook the meat or it would be too tough.  I followed the instructions, placed a meat thermometer in the meat and took it out when it reached a certain temperature.  I was definitely going to do exactly what the recipe said!  I remember tough grass fed meat is GROSS!!!  I watched that turkey like a hawk.  I hardly left the oven that last hour.  Well that's not entirely true.  Both babies refused to nap, screamed non stop and constantly needed something.  So I watched when I could.  When I finally got the turkey it was 10 degress hotter than the instructions said.  I just knew it was ruined.  I took it out and it look just perfect!  It wasn't ruined.  I did it!  I conquered cooking grass fed meat!!!  I felt like superwoman.  Just a few minutes before we were set to leave for our party I realized that ONLY the top was cooked. Are you kidding me?????  Apparently the pan I used to cook the turkey was too small and the air didn't circulate.  I was right, it was ruined.  But it was ruined for being RAW on the bottom.  Next time I'll opt for tough as opposed to raw.  Wouldn't you?  So for dinner we microwaved the meat from the top of the bird.  I was almost in tears.  The meat tasted pretty good in spite of the drama.

The list goes on and on.  A few times I have been on the verge of a melt down (Thanksgiving), then I realized that I'm just beginning my journey.  I have such a long way to go, but I've come so far.  Once upon a time I loved to cook and was very good at it.  Then I had my second baby, moved twice in a six month period, had my third baby and became the EAT OUT QUEEN!  I'm relearning my old skill.  It's like riding a bike, you never forget but sometimes you fall down. 

My little people are my priority.  Often when I'm in the kitchen, one little person is holding my legs and walking on my feet as I'm preparing this or that, another little person is pulling out every plate in a cabinet and still another one is forever working on a craft project and in need of just a bit of help.  Sometimes that means I don't get it just right.  I just do the best I can and move on.  I know one day I will look back and be so grateful for this journey and this time with my family.  1 of 3 melted my heart when she said, "Mommy, I am so glad you started feeding us organic food.  It is so yummy.  I just love it!  Thank you!"  Then she hugged me.  2 of 3 and 3 of 3 have loved it too.  I can tell!  They have gained quite a bit of weight, which is good because they were a little on the small side.  The baby, 3 of 3, has gaind about 4 or so pounds and I would say about the same for 2 of 3.  I have even joked with my husband about writing a blog titled "Organic Food Is Hurting My Back" as those two jokers haved gained so much weight they are HEAVY!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Twist On Chicken And Rice Soup

All three of my little people are not feeling the best.  And as luck would have it, I'm not either.  Allergies, cold, whatever it is, it's no fun.  When 2 of 3 asked me to make her soup today for lunch I was eager to oblige.  Using the lovely Vitamix food processor my mom gave me as an early Christmas present made it a snap!  The onion and celery was chopped in about 5 seconds.  And I didn't need to wear sunglasses to prevent any tears from chopping the onion either!  And yes, I really have done that.  WOOOO HOOOO!!!  I put 2 chicken breast in water with Better Than Bouillion organic chicken base.  Have you ever heard of this product?  Fabulous.  That is about all I have to say.  http://www.superiortouch.com/retail/products/better-than-bouillon

While the chicken was cooking I chopped the carrots in the blender in about 10 seconds!!!  I am just giddy about the Vitamix!  Here is a link if you want to check it out yourself.  https://secure.vitamix.com/acb/stores/4/?COUPON=&store=1   Then added them to the soup.  As you may remember from an earlier post, I'm not the best at cooking rice and having it come out tender.  So I bought frozen organic brown rice.  I popped it into the microwave and 3 minutes later it was done!!!  I know, I really want to wean myself off of the microwave too.  I'm just not there yet.  Baby steps.

2 of 3 and 3 of 3 were thrilled with soup for lunch.  1 of 3 not so much.  She ate the chicken.  I wanted a bit more substance to my soup so I decided to experiment.  I sauted 4 baby portabella mushrooms and swiss chard then added it to my bowl of soup.  It was so tasty.

So this winter if you find yourself feeling a bit under the weather try adding mushroom and swiss chard to your soup.  It makes for a tasty, hearty addition.  I think I'm going to have it again for dinner.

Note:  I just did a quick bit of research to find out the nutritional value of swiss chard and learned something.  Chard is best boiled as the acid is pulled out into the water leaving behind a sweeter tasting chard.  The site mentioned to discard the water used in boiling as it has a high acid content.  As far as nutritional value goes, chard is "one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following our analysis of the total nutrient-richness of the World's Healthiest vegetables."  http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My First Organics-Helping Kids Eat Their Veggies!

Zulily is a site that has discounts on baby/toddler/kid clothes, toys, maternity and a host of other items.  I found many of my little people's Christmas gifts on sale from zulily.  That is always good, right?  I just noticed that they had a deal on my first organics.  www.myfirstorganics.com  Here is a link for zulily so you can register and see/buy this deal.  http://www.zulily.com/invite/nlovins929

Below is the information from the zulily website about the my first organics deal.  I think 1 of 3 would LOVE this.  Going to tell Santa!!!  FYI deal ends Dec. 6th at 6am. 

For $15, receive $30 for organic seed starting kits

About this deal

Got a kid who's not crazy about eating their veggies? This eco-friendly event will help them live a more green lifestyle—they'll eat more veggies and learn about sustainability.

Here's the trick: teach them about nutrition early and get them involved with My First Organics seed starting kits by Surf City Growers. Planting and harvesting their own has been proven to encourage kids to eat lots more vegetables.

Winter is just about the perfect time of year to get veggies started on the windowsill so you'll have healthy, sturdy starts come spring. They'll be ready to be planted directly into the ground or a container, biodegradable organic pot and all.

What can I get for $30?

You can get everything kids need to grow cherry tomatoes, snap peas, bush beans and more. The My First Organics seed starting kits start at $16.95. Additional packets of seeds are available for only $1.50. Kits designed for classrooms and homeschooling make great gifts for teachers and homeschooling families.

My First Organics kits offer easy-to-grow seeds that are specifically chosen to grow well in containers, so you don't need an outdoor garden. Here's what comes in each kit:

  • Organic seeds
  • Organic biodegradable pots
  • Organic plant food
  • Soil approved for organic use
  • A reusable and recyclable mini greenhouse made out of FDA-certified, food-grade plastic
  • Instructions

You can also pick up How a Garden Saves the Earth, a picture book written by the makers of My First Organics. Just right for preschoolers through third graders, it tells the story of a girl who gardens and a boy who buys his produce at the supermarket. The story illustrates why growing organic food is good for kids' bodies and the planet.

About My First Organics

My First Organics is part of Surf City Growers, a company founded by Trent and Linda McNair, a couple who spent a combined twenty-five years in the tech industry before deciding to create a business that would surround them and their family with what they love: organic gardening. As the parents of two kids and a menagerie of dogs, cats and chickens, the McNairs are passionate about sustainable agriculture and gardening. Their joy is helping people connect with their own physical heath and the well-being of the planet. Surf City Growers also runs a campaign called Real Food Action, which raises funds to give My First Organics Classroom Bundles to teachers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And The Winner Of The Chocolate Kika Contest Is.....

COURTNEY!!!!  Thank you so much for following my blog and entering the Kika contest. 

Special thank you to Treasured Earth Foods for the Chocolate Kikas.  If you are interested in trying the Kikas, Ruth will be at the Barton Creek Farmer's Market tomorrow, Dec. 4th and Dec. 18th from 9am-1pm.  If the farmer's market is not an option stop by the website http://www.treasuredearthfoods.com/ and treat yourself to the kikas.  You'll be happy you did. 

Have a  great day friends!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Almost Yummy Meal

Tomorrow one of my lucky followers is going to be the eater of an oh so yummy chocolate kika from treasuredearthfoods.com.  It is not too late to follow my blog for a chance to win!!!

In an effort to keep costs down on my organic, grass fed meats, clean food lifestyle, I decided to make vegetarian meals a few times a week.  Allrecipes.com had a vegetarian link that had some interesting recipes.  http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Twenty-for-Twenty-Vegetarian-Edition/Detail.aspx

Well, with 3 runny nose little people that needed to be held, rocked, and pampered all day, tonight was  going to be a cereal night.  Then I remembered the 20 for 20 link.  I went to the computer and stopped the netflix movie 1 of 3 was watching much to her chagrin.  I found the information I need to have a quick yummy meal.  I chose to make the Lentil Stuffed Tomatoes for the grown ups.  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Lentil-Stuffed-Tomatoes/Detail.aspx  And I can tell that next time they will be great.  This time the meal was almost great.  It was my first time to make lentils and I never use uncooked rice.  I was reminded why tonight.  The stuffed tomatoes had a lovely flavor but the lentils and the rice were probably a bit crunchier than intended.  I will make this again but make sure the rice is cooked before the tomatoes were stuffed and cooked.  And that is why it was my almost yummy meal.  I ate 2 of the stuffed tomatoes inspite of the unintended crunchiness.  Just for laughs I'll tell you this.  I was hurrying to prep grown up dinner and I forgot that little people's dinner was in the freezer for a quick cool down.  When the meal was retrieved it was almost frozen.  Bless my babies!

On another note I have also tried the baby spinach omelets and they were fabulous.  Well, mine were almost fabulous, more like scrambled eggs with spinach.   http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baby-Spinach-Omelet/Detail.aspx  Notice a theme here?  I'm working on my cooking skills.  Practice makes perfect, huh?

Here is the 20 for 20: veggie edition by allrecipes.com.
 

Twenty for Twenty: Vegetarian Edition

Don't like repeated trips to the grocery store? Stock up on these 20 ingredients, and you can make 20 delicious dinners.

The Ingredients


To make the 20 recipes below, stock up on these 20 ingredients (and be sure your pantry includes the essential ingredients listed on the right).
1. Tahini
2. Lemons
3. Limes
4. Canned garbanzo beans
5. Canned black beans
6. Fresh ginger root
7. Tomatoes
8. Tomato puree
9. Celery
10. Raw jalapeno peppers
11. Spinach
12. Onions (white, red, green)
13. Garlic
14. Bell peppers (green, red, yellow)
15. Tofu
16. Lentils
17. White rice
18. Eggs
19. Parmesan
20. Cheddar cheese