Thursday, July 30, 2009

Green Blog Giveaways!

We're very excited to be hosting giveaways for some wonderful eco-friendly prizes. For even more giveaway fun, we've added Mister Linky to GreenOrganicMama.com to share more green giveaways!

If you're a blogger, hosting a giveaway contest for a green, organic, and/or eco-friendly (and no-strings-attached) product, please do link up and share with our readers!

Please enter a brief description of the prize, your nickname, and contest ending date, and a direct link to your blog's contest page (no shortened URLs please) :)

Example contest description: Green EnviroMAX Gift Pack, GreenOrganicMama (8/2)

We hope Nickel Pickle is enjoying her prize pack, as the winner of our very first Great Green Giveaway package from Fuji's EnviroMAX eco-friendly batteries! :)

And what luck!! Nickel Pickle also won in our second giveway, sponsored by myEARTH360.com! Nickel Pickle, along with Henrietta, and Denise are each enjoying a lovely all-natural, super-absorbent, biodegradable SKOY reusable cleaning cloth!

Joining the hall of winners is Cherry Blossoms!  Hope you enjoy your Stonyfield Farm Organic YoBaby prize pack :)

And packing some of her delicious treats from her amazing repertoire of mouth-watering recipes for her kids to take to school is Rachelle @ Mommy? I'm hungry!  Enjoy your Food Kozy reusable wrap mat from Kids Konserve!

Please do enter and link up below :)



Mister Linky Instructions:

When filling out Mister Linky, the "Your Name:" field is actually the text that will show up in the Mister Linky list (kind of misleading... I know... but unfortunately I didn't write the code) ;)

If you make an error, just post your giveaway link again, and drop me a line by clicking the Contact button at the top of the page, and let me know you make a boo-boo, and I'll delete the erroneous entry. No biggie... we're all human ;)

Thanks for sharing and entering :D






Monday, July 27, 2009

Review and Green Giveaway: Fuji EnviroMAX Batteries

Our contest has officially come to a close! Thanks to all who entered! Here is our lucky winner, as selected via Random.org:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
16
Timestamp: 2009-08-02 21:01:49 UTC

#16 is Nickel Pickle!! YAY! Congratulations :) Please check your e-mail.

Thanks again to everyone who entered! Don't forget, these batteries are now available at Target and Amazon.com.

************************************************************************************

Welcome to our very first Green Organic Mama.com Giveaway Contest!

This past weekend marked the arrival of Fuji's EnviroMAX line of environmentally-friendly alkaline batteries, now available at Target stores, and online at Amazon.com. These revolutionary line of batteries have already been awarded the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval for its “Impressive Performance” and “Environmentally Respectful Manufacturing Process”, as well as the iParenting Media Award for “Outstanding Product”.

This is what Fuji has to say about their new line of "Super Alkaline" and "Digital Alkaline" batteries:

Fuji EnviroMAX batteries bring long-awaited peace-of-mind to consumers who “live green” when choosing consumable products. The batteries:
  • do NOT contain poisonous cadmium, lithium, or mercury
  • are packaged with recycled paper and fully recyclable PET plastic.
  • can be harmlessly disposed of through normal waste systems
  • do not contain ingredients harmful to the environment
  • are landfill safe as they degrade
  • equal or exceed performance/longevity of major equivalent brands
  • offer outstanding performance at an affordable cost
  • ozone-depleting compounds have been eliminated in the production of Fuji EnviroMAX batteries
Fuji is kindly providing me with a pack of these batteries to try. While our family does try to use rechargeables whenever possible, sometimes that's not always practical. For example, we live in the Florida Keys, where power failures are very common, as our electricity travels down undersea cables from the mainland, and of course, there's always the threat of hurricanes. We can't exactly charge up rechargeables when there's no power. That's why we always keep a large supply of alkaline batteries in a watertight storage box, along with our emergency supplies. We'll be glad to switch to these environmentally-conscious EnviroMAX batteries, as our akalines-of-choice. I'm certainly guilty of forgetting to bag up my used disposable batteries for "safe" disposal by our recycling trucks. Now, that won't be a problem anymore. Safer batteries from a trusted company, that keep the environment in mind from their creation to their disposal, and are comparable in performance with major brands -- sounds like a winner to me.

Speaking of winners, in addition to providing me with a package to try out, Fuji is offering a variety pack of EnviroMAX batteries to one lucky reader of this blog! This variety pack includes a mix of sizes in AA, AAA, C, and D in Super Alkaline, and AA and AAA Digital Alkaline (MSRP $30.00).

To enter this contest, please leave a comment below, letting our readers know what you do to live a little "greener". Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so I may contact you if you're the lucky winner. (If you want to stay private, e-mail me via the CONTACT button below, and tell me your comment number(s)).

For additional entries, please first leave a comment about what you do to live "greener", and then do any one (or all) of the following, for a maximum of 5 (five) total entries in this giveaway contest [please be sure to come back and leave a follow-up comment for each of these completed tasks, in order to be counted as an additional entry]:
  • Follow this blog with Google Friend Connect, by clicking the button on the right-hand column of this blog (or if you're already doing so, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Follow this blog with NetworkedBlogs by clicking the link, or on the button on the right-hand column of this blog (or if you're already doing so, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Tweet about this giveaway with this: Win an eco-friendly pack of Fuji EnviroMAX batteries at http://www.greenorganicmama.com
  • Follow me on Twitter @greenorganicmom






By entering this contest, you have read and understand the rules and fine print of this contest:
  1. Contest ends Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 at 5:00PM EST
  2. Contest open to U.S. residents
  3. Winner shall be chosen from the pool of valid comment entries, using Random.org
  4. Winner will be contacted via e-mail, and will provide a U.S. mailing address, which will then be provided to Fuji EnviroMAX, for the purpose of directly mailing the giveaway prize to the winner
  5. Fuji EnviroMAX reserves the right to modify the prize package offering and quantities
  6. Winner will be announced here on this blog, and on Twitter, and NetworkedBlogs
  7. Fuji EnviroMAX sent me one pack of batteries to review for this post, and they will send the winner a variety pack of batteries. No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Good luck to everyone!! :)









Sunday, July 26, 2009

Black Bean Soup with Garlic Red Pepper Miso

Ahh, there's nothing quite like a steaming bowl of homemade black bean soup. And it's so simple to do, and so incredibly inexpensive to make.

I've made several batches, tweaking Kathy's recipe for Black Bean Soup II over at Allrecipes.com. Kathy's calls for two cans of black beans, which helps speed up cooking time immensely. But I've always enjoyed making soup on the weekends, when I have extra time, and stock up the fridge with plenty for quick lunches during the work week. Dried black beans are so cheap, and it's just a matter of covering them with water in a resealable container overnight.

Included in our "Fruity Booty" organic produce share from Annie's Buying Club this past week were beautiful red peppers. I chopped up one of those, along with organic onion, and organic garlic. As a special little twist, I decided to spoon in some South River Miso unpasteurized miso, in Garlic Red Pepper flavor. WOW! That gave the soup an incredible kick. I'm going to have to make it this way from now on. But if you don't have miso paste on hand, not a problem. The soup is still delicious, even without (just adjust the salt to taste, if not using miso). However, if you are using unpasteurized miso, do remember that it is a probiotic food and it is alive (read: don't cook it and kill all the good bacteria). The miso is added at the very end of cooking, with the heat turned off. Here is the super-easy recipe:
1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups water
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp chile flakes
1 tbsp plain rice vinegar
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra to season later with fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp South River Miso Garlic Red Pepper paste (optional)

In a dutch oven, sautee the onion, garlic, and red pepper in olive oil until soft.

Add the water, beans, cumin, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, chile flakes, and rice vinegar. Also add 1 tsp salt at this point.

Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until beans are soft. Turn off the heat. Ladle out 1/2 cup of the broth, and stir together with the miso paste. Return this mixture to the pot.

Puree the soup using an immersion blender. Season with fresh ground black pepper, and add more salt, if desired.
Sometimes I'll add a rib or two of diced celery in with the mix of sauteed vegetables. Totally up to you! Feel free to drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, or add some chopped tomato when serving. Enjoy! :)




Garlic Red Pepper Miso image courtesy of SouthRiverMiso.com

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Organic Banana Bread

I love organic bananas! Our shares from Annie's Buying Club have been providing us with plenty. Organic bananas really do taste so much better than the conventional kind. I find conventionally-grown bananas tend to taste sickeningly sweet and turn to a disgusting, pasty mush as they continue to ripen. For some reason, organic bananas don't seem to do that. They are still just as tasty, even when they're completely brown, and begging to be baked into a special treat. Not having to toss overripe bananas at the end of their useful life is another plus in choosing organic.

I've been freezing peeled, ripened bananas in zip-top bags and tossing them whole and still frozen into the blender for breakfast smoothies. At one of our recent buying club pickups, each family was sent home with TWO giant bunches of bananas, so we still had plenty, even after freezing a batch. Time to make banana bread :)

Here's another mouth-watering recipe, based on one originally posted by Shelley Albeluhn to Allrecipes.com for her "Banana Banana Bread". The name says it all! Just like when I made my Straightforward Carrot Cake, I wanted the main ingredient to stand out. Shelley's recipe does an awesome job of doing just that. I made a few tweaks, like using organic bananas, and also substituting some of the white flour for organic whole wheat. I also occassionally bake banana bread cookies, but they're not exactly healthy (they're loaded with shortening). But they do involve a little touch of vanilla extract, which I then decided to add to this banana bread, too. A few reviewers of Shelley's original recipe reported trouble getting the banana bread to bake evenly, so I poured my batter into a metal bundt pan, and also lowered the baking temperature, as I do with my Sour Cream Pound Cake. That worked out perfectly. We've since made two batches of banana bread, as hubby eats about 1/4 of a whole loaf by himself in one sitting. LOL! The little kitchen helper had fun assisting mommy in putting this together, too. I peeled the bananas and put them in a large bowl and gave her the potato masher, and away she went! I imagine that would be a great stress-buster for adults, too. LOL! Here's the recipe:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 and 1/3 cup mashed overripe bananas (about 5 medium bananas)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a metal bundt pan with cooking spray (I use PAM for Baking).

In a large bowl, stir together the two flours, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar, until light and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla. Mix in the bananas and combine well. Spoon in the dry ingredients, blending until it just comes together. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Bake for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the banana bread for about ten minutes, before turning out on a wire rack to finish cooling.
This banana bread freezes really well. I pre-slice extras, and store them in a zip-top bag in the freezer. A few seconds in the microwave is all it takes to warm them back up and enjoy :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baked Spinach Chips

It's been a while since I posted a recipe, so this is one of two for this week :)

I've been meaning to try the Crispy Collard Chips recipe from our buying club. Think potato chips, but they're actually crispy bite-sized shreds of real organic leafy greens! It sounded so easy to do, and apparently, lots of kids loved them!

I remember years ago, during one of our many food-filled family reunions in Vancouver, BC, we had one preparation of spinach that I haven't soon forgotten. It was merely a garnish to a beautifully prepared scallop in its shell, served in one of Vancouver's numerous Chinese seafood restaurants. Alongside each scallop was a little cluster of flash-fried baby spinach leaves. They were so light and crispy, and melted in your mouth. Delicious! This quick and healthy snack was inspired by the collard chips, and this spinach garnish that I had years ago.
1/2 bunch spinach leaves, thoroughly washed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sprinkle of fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Dry the spinach leaves in a salad spinner. Place the leaves in a large bowl, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with just a little bit of salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Toss gently with tongs.

Spread the leaves out on a single layer on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the leaves are crispy. Serve immediately.
Mind you, done this way, they won't come out looking as pretty as the picture of those done by Andrea over at cooking-books.blogspot.com. Andrea used store-bought, pre-washed, bagged baby spinach leaves, and looks like she painstakingly laid them out evenly on parchment paper, and ever so carefully peeled off the finished chips. I used organic spinach from our buying club, and merely spread out an even layer of leaves prior to baking. Not as pretty, but still very tasty!

Unfortunately, my little princess wasn't too keen on either the collard chips or spinach chips. That's okay... more for mommy ;)




Spinach chips image courtesy of cooking-books.blogspot.com

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