Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Kashi Cereal - Honey Sunshine, and Oat Flakes & Wild Blueberry Clusters - Plus Get Your Free Sample!

I'll admit it: I am a cereal girl.

Growing up, I loved having cereal. So did my dad. While I had mine with milk, and dad likes his dry, we both agreed that cereal was the perfect snack.

Fast forward to today, Green Organic Girl loves her cereal, too. But unlike the sugary frosted, marshmallow-laden, over- processed flakes of what used to be a nutritious grain, dyed in colors that don't exist in nature, I try to steer her choices in the cereal aisle to something a little more healthier. I also do the same for myself.

I just happened to walk by the TV, and Kashi.com is offering free samples of three of its breakfast cereal line. Kashi makes some wonderful, all-natural, whole-grain products, including granola bars, frozen entrees, and snack crackers. Kashi prides itself on using their famous "Seven Whole Grains & Sesame" blend in their products -- a combination of whole barley oats, hard red winter wheat, rye, long grain brown rice, triticale, buckwheat, and of course, sesame seeds. I particularly like this blend in their crackers, and I've been meaning to try more from this company. I also love their strawberry frozen waffles. They have an amazing strawberry flavor, and the grains give the waffle a much heartier texture.

The Honey Sunshine cereal (shown to the left in the above picture) is unfortunately not one of my Kashi favorites. The pillows are bite-sized, but I was expecting much more of a crunch. Even dry, they have kind of a Styrofoam-y feeling. Also, while I do commend Kashi for finding something other than high fructose corn syrup as a sweetner, I think the evaporated cane juice syrup was perhaps a little over-used in this particular cereal. Very sweet Styrofoam. With milk. Gradually getting mushier and mushier. Not exactly what I call a bowl of "sunshine".

I am, however, looking forward to receiving my sample of Heart to Heart Oat Flakes & Wild Blueberry Clusters. Will post a follow-up when that arrives :)

**** UPDATE ****

My sample of Heart to Heart Oat Flakes & Wild Blueberry Clusters arrived while we were on vacation.  Not only did it come in as little packaging as possible (a box only slightly larger than the sample size of cereal itself), there was also a $2.00 coupon in there, good for my next purchase of a full-size box of Kashi cereal.  Awesome :)  I already know which variety I'm going to buy: this very same Oat Flakes & Wild Blueberry Clusters.  It tastes great!  As I type, I'm looking at the Rice Dream rice milk in my bowl that has taken on a slight hint of color from the real blueberries in the cereal.  Nothing artificial here.  The oat flakes have such a nice crunch, and the clusters are just the right texture and firmness (not the break-your-teeth variety).  Toss in some ingredients aimed at helping maintain a healthy heart, like soluble fiber, vitamins, and extracts from green and white tea, and this is one nice little cereal :)  

Highly recommended :)  Thank you for the sample, and coupon, Kashi!

As an added bonus, I just taped up the top of the Kashi sample box, and it's now going to be part of my daughter's play kitchen.  Perfectly sized :)


Kashi cereal image courtesy of Kashi.com

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review and Giveaway: Stonyfield Farm Organic YoBaby Yogurt


Our Great Green Giveaway #3 has come to a close! 

What a great turnout we had!  Many thanks again to the wonderful people at Stonyfield Farm for sponsoring this adorable Organic YoBaby prize package!  And of course, thank you to all the bloggers who commented, tweeted, and followed :)

Here are the results, from our Random.org drawing:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
17
Timestamp: 2009-09-07 21:11:34 UTC

Congratulations to #17 - Cherry Blossoms!  Please check your e-mail, and we'll make arrangements to get your YoBaby prize pack out to you :)


Happy Labor Day everyone!

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

Happy Back-to-School everyone :)

There's excitement in the air, and we have a big review, and another fantastic green, organic giveaway from one of our family's most favorite companies: Stonyfield Farm!

Green Organic Girl is moving up to the preschool class! WOOHOO! Oh, but it's a bittersweet moment; my little baby isn't a baby anymore. They grow up so fast.

I am very thankful that my daughter is a very healthy eater, and enjoys a wide variety of foods, to help her mind and body grow healthy and strong. She does enjoy milk, yogurt, and cheese (Lord knows how much that girl loves cheese... hahaha). We were very happy that Stonyfield Farm's Organic "YoBaby" products were available in our local grocery stores, when it came time to introduce Green Organic Girl to her first solid foods. I've been a HUGE yogurt fan my whole life. Not only is it a great, portable, creamy, sweet and fruity treat, it's low in fat, packed with protein, loaded with calcium, and contains all sorts of probiotic goodness to keep your digestive system in check. We were very pleased (and so was our daughter) that Stonyfield created a special line just for babies -- not too sweet, certainly not bland, no artificial flavors or colors, and just the right size. Back then, our favorites were the blueberry YoBaby yogurt cups, and the YoBaby banana smoothies. Green Organic Baby had at least one serving every day.

Since then, we continue to enjoy many products from Stonyfield Farm. I recently developed a milk allergy (an allergy to the milk protein itself), but I can still safely indulge in Stonyfield Farm's O'Soy yogurt. I've been buying this product for a number of years now, and I am very pleased to see that Stonyfield Farm has continued to dedicate itself to greener business practices, and O'Soy yogurt is now 100% organic! WOOHOO :) Watch for it in it's new redesigned packaging, which I think is lovely (but the image and product details haven't yet been updated on Stonyfield.com, so stay tuned). I find it tastes creamier and richer than the previous versions. Also, the peach cup that I had contained a little bit of fruit puree at the bottom. Was that a manufacturing error? If so, please do it again! LOL! I loved having that little bit of fruit at the bottom. It was a welcome and tasty surprise.

Stonyfield Farm was very kind in contacting us, and providing a multitude of coupons for their wonderful line of products. But that's not all. One of our lucky readers here will be selected to receive the lovely Stonyfield Farm YoBaby Gift pack shown above; containing a reusable YoBaby Bag, an adorable Eric Carl Growth Chart, a YoBaby travel bowl with lid and utensils, an organic YoBaby bib, and a bundle of five YoBaby coupons!

To enter this contest, first visit Stonyfield.com and check out their wonderful, informative website. Then, come back here and please leave a comment below, letting our readers know what you enjoyed on the Stonyfield Farm website. 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 above, and tell me your comment number(s)).
For additional entries, please first leave a comment about your favorite aspect of stonyfield.com, and then do any one (or all) of the following, for a maximum of 6 (six) 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 are already, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Follow this blog on FaceBook with NetworkedBlogs by clicking the link, or on the button on the right-hand column of this blog (or if you are already, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Follow me on Twitter @greenorganicmom (or if you are already, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Tweet about this giveaway with the following text, or via the birdie icon below (and paste a direct link to your tweet in your comment): Win a YoBaby Organic Prize Package from Stonyfield Farm at http://www.greenorganicmama.com
  • Blog about this giveaway (and paste a direct link to your blog post in your comment)

By entering this contest, you have read and understand the rules and fine print of this contest:
  1. Contest ends Monday, September 7th, 2009 at 5:00PM EST
  2. Contest open to U.S. residents
  3. Giveaway prize consists of one (1) gift pack containing: a reusable YoBaby Bag, an Eric Carl Growth Chart, a YoBaby travel bowl with lid and utensils, an organic YoBaby bib, and a bundle of five (5) YoBaby coupons; to be awarded to one (1) randomly selected winner
  4. One (1) winner shall be chosen from the pool of valid comment entries, using Random.org
  5. Winner will be contacted via e-mail, and will provide a U.S. mailing address, which will then be provided to the giveaway sponsor, Stonyfield Farm, for the purpose of directly mailing one giveaway prize to the winner
  6. Stonyfield Farm reserves the right to modify the prize package offering and quantities
  7. Winner will be announced here on this blog, and on Twitter, and on FaceBook
  8. No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Good luck to everyone!! :)

Click here to be taken to the comments form to place your entry/entries.





YoBaby Giveaway Prize Pack image courtesy of Stonyfield.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

myEARTH360.com Coupon Code!

Just in time for some green back-to-school shopping, Lynn over at myEARTH360.com is offering our GreenOrganicMama.com readers a special coupon code for 10% off!

Order by midnight on August 23, 2009, and enjoy 10% off everything -- including sale items! Make your back-to-school shopping a little greener with eco-friendly backpacks, pens and pencils, notebooks, reusable, non-chemical-leaching water bottles, lead-free lunch boxes, and even art supplies!

Enter coupon code:
ORGANICMAMA

My favorite has to be this adorable Banana Paper notebook! Not only is it made from 80% post-consumer recycled paper and 20% banana fibers, meaning no new trees were cut down, I also have a soft spot for baby sea turtles :) There are also numerous other bio-diversity-minded designs to choose from.

Speaking of back-to-school, Lynn is also the heart and soul behind "I Count For My Earth". This non-profit organization has two goals: to bring environmental awareness into our schools, and to help with fundraising as well! Click to learn more about how to sign up your child's school, and bring this wonderful program into their learning environment.

Lovely green products to sample, three giveaway prizes, a great coupon code to use for any number of fabulous eco-friendly products, and a wonderful, environmental education program that enriches our children's lives... Lynn, you are an amazing lady! :)



Sea turtle notebook image courtesy of myEARTH360.com
I count for my EARTH image courtesy of icountformyearth.com

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Winners of Eco-Giveaway #2 Are...

Our Green Giveaway #2 has come to a close! Thanks again for all of our entries! As promised, we are awarding THREE lucky winners today. Here are the results of our Random.org drawing:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
6 19 13
Timestamp: 2009-08-16 21:13:41 UTC
#6 is Henrietta

#19 is denise_22315(at)yahoo(dot)com

#13 is the very lucky Nickel Pickle! She also won our first Fuji EnviroMax giveaway! Lucky lady ;)

Ladies, please check your e-mails, and we'll make arrangements to get your SKOY cloth out to you! You're going to love them :)

Thank you again to everyone for visiting GreenOrganicMama.com and myEARTH360.com, and checking out their fantastic assortment of eco-friendly products. And a big thank you to Lynn at myEARTH360.com for allowing my family to try some of them out :) Please consider us to be your next regular shoppers.

Don't forget to check out the other great green giveaways on our Mister Linky.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fall-Off-The-Bone Roast Chicken - ver. 2.0 - Beer-Can-Style On The Grill!

As if we couldn't make our favorite Fall-Off-The-Bone Roast Chicken any better, today I'd like to introduce you to Version 2.0: we are doing this summer-grilling style ;)

We're in South Florida, so summer is even more unbearably hot for us. Our A/C's are barely keeping up, so the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven for four hours. Time to go outside and grill :)

Over the 4th of July weekend, we treated ourselves to a brand new Brinkmann gas grill. Man, have grills come a long way. They're full of all sorts of user-friendly features now; especially when it comes to cleaning up. The Home Depot has many grills already assembled and ready to take home! We picked the one we wanted, loaded it up in the mini van, rolled it onto the backyard patio, hooked up the propane tank, and the next thing you knew, we were grilling :)

One of my dearest university friends was a bit kitchen-challenged 'back in the day'. But that didn't stop her from wanting to learn :) She made us all proud with her very first attempt at a dish all by herself, and made a fantastic beer can chicken that got raves from her family! WOOHOO! It sounded so yummy!! Ever since then, I've wanted to attempt this myself, too :)

After researching online, I discovered a lot of "recipe disclaimers", warning people to be careful of toppling over open beer cans on an open flame. Yes, that is literally a recipe for disaster. A few other cooks mentioned potential toxins leaching out from the beer cans themselves, when heated to extreme temperatures. A little more digging revealed many contraptions readily available just for the sheer purpose of holding beer cans (and other vessels of liquid) steady, while roasting a stand-up bird. I ended up back at our local Home Depot, and picked up the Charmglow Chicken Roaster shown above. This is a great tray, specifically made for the purpose of grilling "Beer Can Chicken", with a built-in cup to hold any kind of liquid (wine, apple juice, etc etc), and also a very generous basket, that serves to stabilize the bird, and allow side dishes to grill right along with the main entree. That basket is perfect for grilling seasoned potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and any other of your favorite veggies, and to keep them from falling through the grates. The Charmglow Chicken Roaster was the smart choice for us: it is non-stick, easy to assemble (and disassemble), and washes up in a snap. It's also half the price of many other comparable products; although with those pricier models, I think you're really just paying royalties to the BBQ guru whose name is stamped on the box :P

Our Fall-Off-The-Bone Roast Chicken recipe adapted perfectly for outdoor grilling, beer-can-style. Leave the bird cavity empty (obviously), but the aromatics can be added to the cup of beer/seasoning liquid itself. After preheating the grill, I set the bird, on its stand, over on the left side of the grill. I then shut off all the other burners, save one on the right, and put it all the way on low. Don't forget the oven thermometer. One burner on low keeps our grill at a steady 250 degrees F; perfect for slow-roasting our chicken. No need to baste. The cup of beer steams the chicken from the inside, keeping the meat moist, and adding so much flavor :) However, depending on the distribution of heat and the size of your grill, your chicken might benefit from a quarter-turn intermittently during cooking, to get the skin to brown evenly. That extra effort will be well worth it :)

Bear in mind that the chicken skin is going to render off a lot of fat as it roasts. Some cooks recommend putting foil underneath to catch the drippings. My grill has a removable drip tray, and is actually very easy to clean, so I opted not to.

About three-and-a-half hours later, get ready to dig into some juicy, succulent chicken, with that special flavor that only grilling can achieve :)




Charmglow Chicken Roaster image courtesy of HomeDepot.com

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Product Review and Another Green Giveaway: SKOY Eco-Friendly Cleaning Cloths

Our Green Giveaway #2 has come to a close! Thanks again for all of our entries! As promised, we are awarding THREE lucky winners today. Here are the results of our Random.org drawing:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
6 19 13
Timestamp: 2009-08-16 21:13:41 UTC
#6 is Henrietta

#19 is denise_22315(at)yahoo(dot)com

#13 is the very lucky Nickel Pickel! She also won our first Fuji EnviroMax giveaway! Lucky lady ;)

Ladies, please check your e-mails, and we'll make arrangements to get your SKOY cloth out to you! You're going to love them :)

Thank you again to everyone for visiting GreenOrganicMama.com and myEARTH360.com, and checking out their fantastic assortment of eco-friendly products. And a big thank you to Lynn at myEARTH360.com for allowing my family to try some of them out :) Please consider us to be your next regular shoppers.

Don't forget to check out the other great green giveaways on our Mister Linky.

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

Continued from Part 1 of our myEARTH360.com Product Reviews...

Thank you again to Lynn at myEARTH360.com for providing us with some fabulous eco-friendly products from their green online store to review.

As promised, our family dedicated this week to using our all-natural cotton-and-wood-pulp-cellulose SKOY reusable cloth, in place of as many disposable recycled paper towels as possible, and here is our update. This SKOY cloth is truly is an amazing product! At first, you might wonder just how this bumpy, stiff little board is going to help you clean. As shown in the picture, dampen the SKOY cloth with plain water, and watch the transformation before your eyes. With just a little water, the cloth immediately softens up, and is ready to use! It has a nice thick feel to it, but amazingly, it's so easy to wring out, and doesn't leave a dripping trail of water droplets. None! I swear! I used our SKOY cloth, dampened with a little soapy dish water, and managed to wash dishes, and wipe down the whole kitchen, after preparing all of our daily meals. Even dried, cooked-on egg white on the stove was no match! The SKOY cloth wiped up grease, juice, sauce, you name it. The bumpy texture also made it great for picking up crumbs. And each time I returned the SKOY cloth to the sink of soapy dish water to rinse out, all the residues came right off! No stains, whatsoever. Even scrubbing with the logo-side of the cloth didn't damage the lovely globe design. That's some amazing dyeing there. When I was finished, I rinsed out the SKOY cloth with clean water, wrung it out, and clipped it with a magnetic clip to the side of the fridge. Within an hour or so, it was that stiff, dry board again - clean, no stains, no smells, and ready for its next job. I didn't have to use any of our all-purpose spray cleaner, or paper towels. Amazing! These SKOY cloths are amazingly durable, and even with all that scrubbing, ours still looks like new! The nice thing is, when it does eventually wear down, these cloths are 100% biodegradable. When the time comes, I'll be heading to myEARTH360 for more (and probably try out some of their other nifty products, too!).

While I'm definitely hooked on SKOY cloths and will be ordering more, here's your chance to win one for yourself! myEARTH360.com is giving away not one, not two, but THREE SKOY cloths! We're going to select three winners with this giveaway, and each will get to enjoy one of these fantastic SKOY cloths.

To enter this contest, first visit myEARTH360.com and check out their other lovely green products. Then, come back here and please leave a comment below, letting our readers know about another great myEARTH360.com product and what you like about it. 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 above, and tell me your comment number(s)).

For additional entries, please first leave a comment about another product at myEARTH360.com, and then do any one (or all) of the following, for a maximum of 6 (six) 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 are already, 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 are already, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Follow me on Twitter @greenorganicmom (or if you are already, leave a comment telling me so)
  • Tweet about this giveaway with this (and paste a direct link to your tweet in your comment): Win one of three green prizes from myEARTH360 at http://www.greenorganicmama.com
  • Blog about this giveaway (and paste a direct link to your blog post in your comment)

By entering this contest, you have read and understand the rules and fine print of this contest:
  1. Contest ends Sunday, August 16th, 2009 at 5:00PM EST
  2. Contest open to U.S. residents
  3. Giveaway prizes consist of three (3) SKOY cleaning cloths; with one cloth being awarded to each of three (3) randomly selected winners
  4. Three (3) winners shall be chosen from the pool of valid comment entries, using Random.org
  5. Winners will be contacted via e-mail, and will provide a U.S. mailing address, which will then be provided to myEARTH360, for the purpose of directly mailing one giveaway prize to each winner
  6. myEARTH360 reserves the right to modify the prize package offering and quantities
  7. Winner will be announced here on this blog, and on Twitter, and NetworkedBlogs
  8. myEARTH360 sent me three products to review for this blog, and they will send each of the three (3) winners one (1) SKOY cloth. No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Good luck to everyone!! :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

myEARTH360.com Product Reviews

Many thanks to Lynn over at myEARTH360.com for inviting me to try out some of their awesome very green, and very sustainable products for the home.

The package arrived in the mail, and when I opened it, I found a lovely little packet, wrapped up in unbleached tissue paper and raffia ribbon. It was so simple, but that's what made it so pretty. What a great and eco-friendly way to wrap a present. I'll have to remember that the next time I have gifts to give :)

Lynn enclosed not one, not two, but three different products to try out, along with leaflets from each manufacturer, printed on recycled paper. It's great to see myEARTH360's commitment to green business practices.

The first of these products is the SKOY cloth, shown above. About the size of mousepad, and feeling like a piece of foam, at first I wasn't quite sure what to make of this thing. LOL! But Lynn's enclosed leaflet explained it all. SKOY is an "Earth Friendly Cloth", made from natural cotton, and wood-pulp cellulose. As the picture shows, just dampen the dry SKOY cloth under running water, wring it out with your hands, and voila! It's ready to go! It's 100% biodegradable, machine-washable, and is meant to replace sponges and paper towels. In fact, one SKOY cloth is supposed to do the job of 15 rolls of paper towels! I'm guilty of using a lot of paper towels (100% post-consumer recycled, but still... they are disposable, and headed to the landfill), as a house full of pets, a small child, and a mama who loves to cook can make for a lot of messes! As such, I've decicated this whole week to using this SKOY cloth in the kitchen, instead of reaching for my beloved paper towels. (Click here to be taken to our update on our kitchen adventures with SKOY, and enter to win one of three SKOY cloths for yourself!)

The next two products go hand-in-hand, literally. We have a set of sustainable, and biodegradable disposable dinnerware! Down here in the Florida Keys, palm trees are everywhere. They're a friendly reminder everywhere that we're living in paradise ;) However, like all trees, their leaves fall, and boy, do they ever drop leaves. It's not uncommon to see trash cans full of palm fronds lining the ends of the driveways of my street (and that's just a week's worth of fallen leaves!). Palm fronds are huge, and unfortunately due to their massive size, they are difficult to try to stuff in the compost bin, and the sheer quantity means we have to have them hauled away (even the hat and basket weavers can only do so much with them). At least one company is doing something about fallen palm fronds: Verterra!

In my package was the most amazing little plate, completely made of palm leaves. Verterra uses a special process involving nothing but steam, pressure, and heat to form fallen palm leaves into these unique biodegradable plates! These plates are amazingly sturdy, hold up to sunlight, heat, and liquids, and yet they are so lightweight. They're also much more attractive than your typical disposable plate. Unlike conventional disposables, there are no dyes, chemicals, bleaches, or plastics involved in the manufacturing (you wouldn't guess that, after seeing what a smooth finish and sheen these have). The leaflet even mentions that these are microwave-, oven-, and refrigerator-safe! Toss these in the compost bin after your party, and they will break down. I certainly can't say all that about Styrofoam ;) Check out myEARTH360 for a multitude of sizes (6"x6", 8"x8", and 10"x10") for your next get-together. We're going to send our sample 6"x6" plate with the little one to preschool, and ask her teacher microwave her lunch on our Verterra plate. With 80 children eating lunch everyday, these teachers have microwaved a lot of lunches. We'll see how the Verterra plate compares to regular unbleached paper plates.

Of course, if you're hosting a party where you need disposable plates, you'll probably need some disposable cutlery, too. myEARTH360 has a sustainable solution for that, too. Our package was completed by a set of Aspenware; another chemical-, bleach-, and dye-free product, that is totally biodegradable. Aspenware repurposes the scrap wood from logging aspen and birch, that would otherwise be left to rot, or burned away, and turns this wood into lovely pieces of cutlery. Aspenware is even Kosher! Our 3-piece set of Aspenware is very lightweight, yet sturdy. The pieces are just the right length, and are very smooth, rounded, and have a nice feel to them. The spoon, perhaps, could be better improved with a slightly deeper bowl (not great for soups, but still very usable). The knife is certainly my favorite, as it's perfectly angled for easy cutting. Like the Verterra plates, these are very attractive pieces, and would add a nice outdoorsy decorative touch. As with the Verterra palm plates, just toss these in your compost bin at the end of your party :)

Please be sure to check out the rest of the products at myEARTH360, for their full line of innovative, eco-friendly, sustainable, green products. And be sure to check back here again for updates on how our family did with these products.



No promotional consideration was paid for this post. SKOY, Verterra, and Aspenware images courtesy of myEARTH360.com.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Winner of Our Great Green Giveaway!

Our contest has officially come to a close! Thanks to all who entered our Great Green Giveaway, sponsored by Fuji's EnviroMAX eco-friendly batteries! 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, and we'll get this great prize pack out to you :)

Thanks again to everyone who entered, and for sharing your tips for simple ways to go green! Don't forget, these batteries are now available at Target and Amazon.com.

Don't forget to check out our other Mister Linky green giveaways!






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