Tuesday, October 4, 2011

100 Days of Paleo: Our Cave-Family's Update


What a perfect time to check in, and report our family's progress.  We're now on Day #100 of eating Paleo; life without grains and the plethora of processed junk, advertisers and manufacturers continually try to convince us is food.

Just to recap, our family has grown, since we started following the Paleo way of eating.  In addition to Cave Mom (that's me), Cave Dad, and Cave Girl, we added an extra saber-tooth kitty (read: shelter cat), for a total of three, in addition to our two wolves (read: rescued dogs). Our newest cat came to us as a huge chunky monkey (twenty-two and a half pounds of cat; more than our other two cats put together), and I'm happy to report that he's slimming down well, while enjoying plenty of organic beef liver and grain-free food.  I'm glad we got to him and were able to provide him with a healthy home, before any onset of diabetes, or other weight-related illnesses.

So how is our human family faring?  Even with much resistance from Cave Hubby, we've made it!   We're healthier, much fitter, and nobody has gone screaming out the door, in search of chocolate cake.  I, myself, battled with post-baby weight for what seemed like forever, and have now finally lost those inches.  I treated myself to a new wardrobe, just after my first month of Paleo, and even those clothes are now hanging loose.  My skin is clearer, I'm sleeping better, no more late-day digestive issues, and the midday afternoon slumps are gone, too.  Did I mention my pants are loose?  Woohoo!!  No beating myself up at the gym, or exhaustive cardio: it's amazing what cutting out grains can do for you.

As I've blogged about before, Paleo dinners are especially easy to prepare, making meal-planning and prep work much easier for this full-time working Cave Mom.  Many others are joining the ranks of Paleo eating, and there are numerous blogs, Facebook groups, and even more recently-released cookbooks, too, with an endless array of tasty and easy recipes.  We may have cut out grains, but we certainly don't leave the dinner table still hungry.  Even our six-year-old has adapted, and gets to enjoy whipping up a batch of grain-free muffins with mom, from time to time.  Paleo is certainly family-friendly, and can be integrated into even the busiest schedules.  We're definitely not going back to our former bad eating habits.

Just last night, I got caught up on the "I, Caveman" Curiosity series on Discovery Channel.  Lo and behold, my favorite Paleo author, Robb Wolf, was one of the ten participants in this "Survivor-esque" series, about going back to our caveman roots.  There is an ever-growing interest in our human origins, and of course, my mom friends and I are always talking about diet.  A few want to make the leap to going Paleo, but they're not quite sure.  Things are definitely going to change, when switching to primal eating, and there are some key things to remember:
  1. We, as a society, have been effectively brain-washed.  Everything you learned in school, from pyramids, nutritionists, and the health industry, about grains being healthy and necessary is WRONG. 
  2. Big Pharma, Big Agri, and especially the politicians, are all in it together.  They don't want us to break out of this highly-profitable, vicious cycle: the more cheap, grain-based, nutrient-poor junk they trick us into consuming, the unhealthier we become, and the more we rely on drugs to get through life.  You'll never see a fortified stem of broccoli.  Why is it then that we're constantly bombarded with messages to eat artificially-fortified grain products?  Nutritionally, grains can't hold a candle to the meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts we were born to eat.
  3. Weight gain, allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic aches and pains, and taking daily medication to deal with those things IS NOT the norm.  Our bodies are like machines; operating best on the proper type of fuel.  If we continue to fuel ourselves with the wrong foods, we're bound to start breaking down.
  4. You will not starve.  I'm a 5'2" Asian, my husband is 6' and All-American, our growing daughter continues to be one of the tallest and brightest in her classes, our dogs and cats are healthy and content, and none of us are wasting away.  It doesn't matter how big or small you are, how young or old, or your species: eat what nature intended you to eat.
  5. This is the one diet that makes sense, it truly works, and you'll stick with it.  Give it a full 30 days.  At the end of it all, your grocery store manager will be waiting, with open arms, to lead you back to the cereal and bread aisles, any time you want.  Once you have that first cheat meal, your body will definitely tell you what's right and wrong for you.
Here's hoping more of you will give Paleo a short 30-days of your time, and with any luck, a lifetime after that.  You'll be healthier for it.  I know we are ;)

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The information presented in this website is in no way intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical counseling. The information should be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your physician. Your physician should be aware of all medical conditions that you may have, as well as the medications or supplements you may be taking.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

All Natural Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

We're on a roll, with our adventures in making our own homemade cleaning products.  We started a couple weeks ago, by making our own super easy, super frugal, homemade laundry soap, and it was a hit! It's cheap, it's effective, and better for the environment.  I won't be going back to the store-bought stuff anymore!

Next on the list of homemade cleaner recipes: automatic dishwasher detergent.  First, a little background: it is so incredibly difficult to find a good dishwasher detergent that doesn't contain chlorine.  My mother, especially, is very chemically-sensitive, and it was a lot of trial and error, before I started using Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwasher detergent for my own family.  It cleans thoroughly, especially with our hard water, it's phosphate-free, and doesn't produce noxious chlorine fumes.  Still, that came at a price; almost five dollars a box at my local grocery store.  Lucky for us, after having made our own laundry soap, we had almost everything already on hand, to churn out our first batch of homemade detergent for the dishwasher.

Much like the laundry detergent, this recipe calls for borax and washing (not baking) soda.  Both are readily available in grocery store and big box store laundry aisles, at a couple dollars a box.  The one ingredient I had to buy was citric acid.  It comes in a white powder form, and should be available where you buy your vitamins and supplements. I ordered a huge five-pound tub from Amazon.  The rest of the ingredients are just pantry staples: kosher salt, and a little bit of uncooked rice (a great tip, from DIY Natural, for keeping the powder from clumping).

No soap grating in this recipe: just mix the various dry ingredients together, in a container with a tight-fitting lid, label, and you're done!
1-cup measure
Storage container with tight-fitting lid
An old 1-oz. plastic scoop

1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda
1 cup citric acid
0.5 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp dry, uncooked rice

Add all of the ingredients to your storage container, close lid tightly, and shake until thoroughly mixed.

Use 0.5 oz (1 tbsp) per load.

I just ran a load of plates, flatware, glasses, mugs, and even a stoneware baking dish.  Everything is squeaky clean!  Vinegar also magically makes a reappearance in the kitchen.  Last month, we introduced it as a fabric softener for your washing machine.  Now, it goes in your rinse agent dispenser, to get sparkly, clean dishes, without the hefty price tag of store-bought rinse agent.

Happy frugal cleaning :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Grain-Free, Paleo "No Corn" Corn Muffins with Bacon & Ham

A huge thank you to Kara over at The Primal Home, for sharing this awesome, mouthwateringly-delicious recipe for the paleo equivalent of a grain-free corn muffin!  One of my girlfriends has already replicated the recipe, and my freshly-baked batch is being devoured before my eyes.

These are totally gluten-free, and made with just a few basic, healthy ingredients, including the miracle that is coconut flour.  Coconut flour is just ground-up, dried coconut.  Surprisingly, the coconut flavor is not overpowering, and the muffins came out with a great, fluffy, moist texture.  If you don't tell your friends they're grain-free, they probably wouldn't even notice.

I made a few tweaks, including substituting the cooked bacon for diced deli ham.  Just like Marie Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond, I keep a "jar of fat" in the fridge, so the bacon grease was already on hand.  That saved a little prep time, but you can always follow Kara's method and render three strips of bacon.  Here's how I just created our batch of these awesome little muffins:

3 tbsp bacon grease
5 slices deli ham, diced very small
6 eggs
1/3 cup local, raw, organic honey
1/2 cup organic coconut flour
1 tsp fresh Italian herbs, chopped fine (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line your muffin tin with nine paper liners.

Melt bacon grease in a large Pyrex mixing bowl, in the microwave.  Heat until mostly melted (do not overheat).

Whisk in honey with the melted bacon grease.

Add the six eggs and Italian herbs, and continue to whisk.  Add the ham.

Add the coconut flour, and mix thoroughly, breaking up any lumps.

Once blended, whisk in the baking soda.  Immediately scoop the batter into muffin tin, filling 3/4 of the way, and bake for 15 minutes.

Transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

These came out so delicious, even my reluctant-caveman husband went back for seconds!  I'm trying to keep myself from going back for a third.  This is going to be a regular baked-good item in our Paleo household ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

All-Natural Homemade Laundry Powder Detergent

DIY Homemade Laundry Soap

A big thank you to my dear friend, and Super Mom, Nance, for introducing our gang of mommy friends to the wonders of homemade laundry soap!

Now, why would anybody want to make their own laundry detergent, when every grocery store, drug store, big box store, and even the corner convenience store carry the ready-made stuff?  First, it's frugal!  I finally have the HE (high-efficiency), front-loading washing machine that I was salivating over for years, and I love that it uses so little soap per load.  Still, that soap doesn't come cheap.  Whereas some detergents can run upwards of twenty cents a load, homemade laundry soap works out to mere pennies. 

Our go-to brand of all-natural powder detergent does list all of its ingredients, but many popular brands do not.  Just like cooking your own meals at home, making your own laundry detergent also means you know exactly what went into it. [Note: please don't eat your soap.]

Many of our friends have family members with sensitivities to perfumes and chemical additives.  This is definitely one way to get around those issues.  Avoiding those nasty chemicals also means that they're not being released into the environment, every time you do a load of wash.  Basic ingredients go into this recipe, which works out better for everyone.

This is also going to be one of the simplest DIY projects you could do.  A quick detour down the laundry aisle at my grocery store was all it took to locate a box of borax, and washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda).  Please don't try to substitute baking soda for washing soda; it's a totally different animal.  Besides, both boxes were a mere couple of dollars each.  For the final ingredient: choose one bar of your favorite soap (preferably petroleum-free, like castile, glycerine, coconut-based, or olive-oil based like what I used).  That's it!  Here's how I assembled my stash of homemade laundry powder, in about 20 minutes, while standing in the kitchen, catching up on HGTV:

Box grater with non-slip base
Flexible, non-slip cutting board
Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
1-cup measure
Storage container with tight-fitting lid
An old 1-oz. plastic scoop
*optional - food processor

1 bar of soap
1 cup of borax
1 cup of washing soda

Place the box grater on top of your flexible cutting board, and grate the entire bar of soap (finer is better).  Use the flexible cutting board to pour the grated soap flakes into your mixing bowl as you go.

After grating, if your soap flakes are still a bit large, you may optionally pulse them in your food processor.

Add the borax and washing soda to the soap flakes in the mixing bowl, and blend thoroughly.

Store in lidded container, and use 0.5 oz (1 tbsp) per load.

We have a quilt that we keep on our bed, for the sole purpose of keeping the rest of the bedding clean, from our beloved cats (and sometimes the dogs) who think we don't know that they steal up there to nap when we're not around.  That quilt was the Level 5 test subject for this newly-minted batch of soap.  It passed with flying colors!  I have another friend to thank, Jill, for reminding me to use a bit of plain, white vinegar in place of fabric softener.  Even with no dryer sheet, the quilt came out fresher, cleaner, and softer than ever!  No lingering vinegar smell; I promise! :)

Thank you, ladies, for your fabulous, eco-frugal laundry tips!

Happy wash day :)


Monday, June 13, 2011

Paleo Lemon Bars (Gluten-Free)

Paleo lemon bars gluten-free dairy-free

Thank you to George over at Civilized Caveman Cooking for turning me on to these awesome lemon bars, made Paleo style.  I'm now on Week 3 of primal (i.e. grain-free) eating, losing weight, firming up, and feeling great!  It's nice to know that even cavemen and cavewomen can still enjoy some baked goods, once a while.  These lemon bars hit the spot!  My reluctant caveman husband just "Mmm... mmm... mmm"ed his way through a slice.  I'm savoring some myself, while sharing my tweaks to this recipe with you.

Due to shipping delays, I had to make do with ingredients on hand, and made a few substitutions.  I thought the crust was looking a little wet, so I added 1/3 cup of organic coconut flour (essentially, ground up dried coconut).  That worked like a charm! I also started the lemon topping the night before, and let it set in the fridge overnight, and made the crust the next day.  Here's how I made our super-lemony lemon bars:

For the lemon topping:

6 organic eggs
1 cup freshly-squeezed organic lemon juice (about seven lemons)
1/2 cup local honey
1/2 cup coconut oil (measured in solid state)

For the crust:

1 cup raw whole almonds
1 cup raw whole pecans
1/3 cup organic coconut flour
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or butter, or ghee)
1/4 cup local honey
2 organic eggs

To make the filling:

Slow and steady warming, and continued whisking -- that's the key here for a thick, smooth, silky topping, and not lemon-flavored scrambled eggs.

- Whisk the eggs, honey, and lemon juice in a cold sauce pan
- Turn heat on medium, and continue to whisk 
- As mixture warms, add the coconut oil
- Continue to whisk, allowing mixture to reduce and thicken
- When the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low, and whisk for two more minutes
- Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature, before transferring to a lidded container, to chill in the refrigerator.  Lemon topping can be made a day in advance.

To make the crust:

To get that nice crumbly texture, pulse the nuts in your food processor, to ensure some chunks and pieces.

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (I used 375 degrees F in a convection oven)
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the honey, melted coconut oil, and eggs
- Chop the nuts in a food processor on pulse setting, to achieve a crumbly, mealy texture (not powder)
- Add the chopped nuts and coconut flour to the wet ingredients
- Grease a 9"x9" baking dish with light layer of coconut oil
- Spread an even layer of the nut mixture in the baking dish
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until nuts are golden brown, and edges are crisp
- Allow crust to cool to room temperature before layering on lemon topping
- Serve chilled
These are seriously delicious!  Our first flourless dessert is a success!  Seriously, you won't even notice those missing whole (and not so whole) grains.  I plan to make a few different versions of this delectable treat; raspberry and lemon, cranberry and lemon, and I can't be a resident of the Florida Keys without making a Key Lime flavor sometime ;)



Friday, June 10, 2011

Easy Last-Minute Paleo Dinner: Garlicky Steamed Mussels

Ah, I love seafood.  I also love quick, easy, healthy meals.  After a busy week, and a quick run through the grocery store on the way home, I came home with two pounds of delicious, fresh mussels!

It took a few minutes, but I finally convinced the lady at the seafood counter that yes, I wanted the plastic bag open.  She looked at me like I was crazy, but it's important to remember that unlike a lot of the seafood in that chilled case, mussels are alive, and they need to breathe.  Mussels can live out of sea water for a short period of time, and they can survive in the fridge, but they do need air. An experienced seafood monger will pick through bulk shipments of mussels, and throw out any with broken shells, or ones that are sealed shut.  Live, happy mussels have their shells open.  When touched/jostled, they will close up to protect themselves.  It's the live ones that open back up.  They should also have a clean, briny smell.  Those are the ones you want to enjoy.

Mussels are super easy to prepare, and fast!  Dinner is on the table in mere minutes.  No salt needed: mussels bring their own distinct briny goodness to the dish.  Here's how to do it:

2 pounds fresh mussels
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
1 clove crushed garlic
a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper

To prepare:

Preheat a heavy-bottomed lidded pan/dutch oven on medium.

Gently rinse the mussels in a colander under cool water.  (Do not submerge these saltwater creatures in fresh water, or they will die.)

Coat the bottom of the pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Sweat the onions until translucent. Toss in cherry tomatoes, and cook for another minute.

Turn heat up on medium high.  Stir in crushed garlic and black pepper.

Add mussels and white wine/broth, and cover tightly with lid.

After two minutes, switch off the heat.  After three more minutes, carefully open the lid, and check to see if all the mussels have opened.  If not, cover and let sit for a few more minutes, until the majority of the mussels have opened.

Gently toss the mussels, throwing out any that haven't opened, and serve immediately with the broth.  
I gently pull the halves of the shell apart, loosen the mussel from the bottom shell, leaving the little inedible stem in place, scoop up a little of the broth, and down the hatch!  Have a big plate ready to catch all of your empty shells.

Although we usually prepare extra portions when making dinner, cooked mussels don't work too well as leftovers.  Only buy/make as much as you'll eat in one sitting.  Enjoy with a nice fresh side salad, for a quick, easy, any-night dinner.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Getting Healthy By Going Grain-Free: The Paleo Solution - Eat Like A Caveman

The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
In the words of a famous gecko, "it's so simple, even a caveman can do it".  

Years ago, we began our organic journey, when we found out we were expecting our little girl.  That quickly evolved into making smarter ecological choices for everything we buy and use, and I know we are healthier for it.  There are so many helpful resources nowadays, to make it easy going green and choosing organic.  Still, I have to thank another source for our family's most recent lifestyle change: my beloved dogs and cats.

After much research, I recently switched our fur babies over to grain-free food.  Our pets' wild ancestors certainly did not sit down to meals of ground corn and bowls of wheat, and more and more pet food manufacturers are acknowledging this.  While reading into the health reasons for pets to go grain-free, I couldn't help but wonder why we human beings are eating grain, too?  That's when I picked up a copy of The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet, the New York Times Bestseller by Robb Wolf.

Once in a while, a book makes your eyes open wide, and makes you question everything you thought you knew.  The Paleo Solution certainly did this, and turned my whole view of diet and nutrition upside-down.  My friends and family already know how much I detest the food giant Monsanto.  I firmly believe evil food conglomerates, the pharmaceutical industry, and crooked politicians are all in cahoots, poisoning our environment and us, taking advantage of hard-working farmers, and squashing those who do try to do things right.  I was so pleased to find someone else who feels the same way, in author Robb Wolf.

We've all grown up with the belief that we need to eat grain (whole grain at that) to be healthy.  Every little pyramid and diagram that has been put in front of us has included this as a recommended "food group".  Robb Wolf, who comes from a bio-chemist background, prior to being a health and fitness consultant, is quick to present data, showing just how little nutrition is in grain.  Our ancestors lived for thousands of years without agriculture; living as hunter-gatherers.  Our diets consisted of meat, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.  It wasn't until wide-scale farming of grain began, that anthropologists began seeing evidence of health problems in the remains of our ancestors.   

Bringing the story up to modern-day, Robb Wolf paints a detailed picture, showing how the ingestion of grain causes chain reactions in our bodies, throwing everything off-kilter, from our cholesterol, insulin levels, and most visibly, our waistlines.  I myself have retiree parents, and my mother in particular has been plagued her whole adult life with cholesterol issues, high blood pressure, and in recent years, osteoporosis.  The whole time I was reading Robb Wolf's explanations, I kept picturing my own mother.  Mom, you and I are going to sit down and have a long chat about Paleo eating, when we come visit.  We want you off your medications and with us for a long, long time.

So, it's been a week since I began my Paleo eating shift; focusing my meals on lots of vegetables, roasted meats, broiled wild-caught seafood, and snacking on fresh fruit and nuts.  The result?  I feel fantastic!  No more midday slump at the office, my skin looks clearer, and I can visibly see myself getting leaner!  You know where your own "problem spots" are, and I can tell you, mine are shrinking before my eyes!  WOOHOO!  This switch has honestly been very easy.  The meals are surprisingly filling, and keep me full for a longer period of time.  I haven't missed the cookies, bread, or pasta.  As a bonus: Paleo meals are so incredibly easy to prepare, which is fantastic for this busy working mom.  Just steam/roast/sautee some vegetables, while broiling/roasting some meat, and voila!  Dinner is served!  I could seriously get used to this.

So, my apologies to the grain industry: you've lost a customer.  To the pharmaceutial industry: I won't be following in my family's footsteps, and you can keep your high cholesterol/blood-pressure/diabetes medications.  I'm off to say hello to a healthy, long life, and my pre-pregnancy clothes ;)

Thank you, Robb Wolf, and the Paleo Solution!

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Image courtesy of Amazon.com.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Organic is More Than Skin Deep: Pesticides and Herbicides May Be Causing Rapid Animal Population Decline

Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution

A great article from Natural News caught my eye this weekend, drawing a possible correlation between rapidly declining animal populations around the world, to the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides.  We've all seen the headlines lately: birds falling dead out of the sky, honeybees threatened with extinction, and countless more.  My immediate thought of this was another popular article that was making its rounds once again: "The Dirty Dozen", and its counterpart, "The Clean Fifteen".  Both of these guides from the EWG try to summarize for consumers a list of produce that should be purchased organic, and those that aren't so risky, based on the EWG's analysis of how much harmful pesticide residue is on, or getting past, the outer layers of commonly-purchased fruits and vegetables.  Not a bad way for those just getting into organics to start, but I firmly believe these guides are misleading: organic is about much more than just not consuming pesticides.

People choose organic for many different reasons.  For us, we made the shift when we found out we were expecting.  What began as a goal to keep harmful chemicals out of my developing daughter's body, quickly blossomed into considering the impact of these chemicals on our entire household, and our environment.  I did a lot of reading into the entire organic life cycle, from "farm to table", as they say.  One of my favorite documentaries, Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution, depicts exactly what happens when chemicals are unleashed on the environment, through conventional farming.  There's a great scene in this film, shown on the border of two farms, where one side was farmed conventionally, and the other the organic way.  The conventionally-farmed soil was like stratified sand, packed hard, and couldn't absorb water or nutrients, if it tried.  Right next to that was the organic farm's soil, dark, rich, and full of life; the way soil should look.  When farmers devastate their land with chemicals, they aren't just contained just to that area; they leach into the ground water, and into the surrounding air.  That's the message Natural News was getting at with their article: choosing organic is about keeping harmful chemicals out of our environment as a whole.

So the next time you're at the market, do consider that you're shopping not just for yourself, but for the planet that we all share.

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Image courtesy of Amazon.com.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Adopt A Rescue: Meet Our Newest Furry Child

It's been an exciting last couple of weeks in the Green Organic household.  Please say hello (or woof-woof) to our newest fur baby, the hair ball above with the eyes, nose, and tongue.  Under all that fluff is such a sweet, happy boy, who up until recently, was a parasite-infested stray.  He came to us through the same rescue group where we adopted the shy Schnauzer mix, peeking into the frame above.  They are such a great match, and it didn't take long for them to become BFF's. That now makes four furry children in this household, including two adult shelter cats.  There's a lot of furry love under this roof.

Shelter and rescue animals are sadly too numerous.  If you and your family are looking to provide a forever home for an animal, please do consider adopting.  Not every one of these animals comes from a harmful or neglectful situation. Like our Schnauzer mix and one of our shelter cats, many come from loving homes, but had to leave, due to changes in living arrangements, job loss, passing of an owner, etc.  The rescue group where our dogs came from, does a great job, trying to get a good sense of a particular animal's behaviors and personality, to try to match up with a fitting forever home.  As long as you have a good understanding of your own family's dynamics, and your expectations, that will better the chances for a good fit, when the right animal comes along.

On that same note, I highly recommend everyone to read Cesar Millan's books, and watch at least some of the Dog Whisperer episodes.  We humans have forgotten that while dog is man's best friend, he's still, by nature, a dog.  After reading Cesar Millan's books, I firmly believe that if this was required reading material, prior to bringing a dog into a household, we wouldn't see quite so many unwanted animals out there. Understanding breeds, training, and care is just the tip of the iceberg.  Millan teaches that it's more important to know yourself.

We feel very fortunate to be able to provide a loving home for at least some of these needy animals, and in turn, they give us unconditional love back.  Caring for animals is also a great teaching tool in our household.  Early on, my daughter learned how to approach them, and use a gentle touch.  She's learned that animals are a lot like us; they eat, they sleep, they play, they, uh ... go potty. ;)  She knows they have feelings, too, and she's learned how to respect them.  She's watched how they communicate, with each other, and with us.  She knows they are her friends and her family.  When she's older, we'll be sharing some more pet care duties with her as well; adding to her sense of responsibility.  There's a lot to be learned from our furry friends.

For those looking for a new pet, please do consider your local rescue groups and shelters.  Here's to more happy tails and forever homes :)

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Product Review: Fluffy, Delicious, and Picky-Eater-Approved: Bob's Red Mill Organic 7-Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix

Ahh, I love Saturdays.  It's the one day that we're all off and home together.  We always start the weekend with a big, yummy breakfast.  On the menu today: homemade whole-grain waffles.

I love my family for having put up with my attempts to feed them healthier.  While we had great success with Bob's Red Mill Buckwheat Pancake and Waffle Mix, my husband continually asked for something more traditional-tasting; something lighter, fluffy, and golden-brown.  After some research, we turned again to Bob's Red Mill, and ordered a case of their Organic 7-Grain Pancake and Waffle Mix.

Each package has simple instructions for turning out the most delicious pancakes or waffles.  Waffles were the goal today, so I plugged in our beloved Cuisinart waffle iron, put it on setting #4, and prepared the mix.  How easy is this:
  • 1 cup of mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk (we used almond milk, to keep this dairy-free for me)
Mix it all up, and drop a couple ice-cream scoops of the thick batter onto your preheated,  lightly-greased waffle iron.  A few minutes later, we were enjoying the most delicious homemade waffles!  These came out so big and fluffy.  The picky eaters in the house didn't even bat an eyelash at the whole-grain content.  Mission accomplished ;)  Paired with some turkey bacon, these were a hit!  My pickiest eater even asked for seconds.  This is definitely another pantry staple :)

No promotional consideration was paid for this post. This is a review of personal purchases.
Image courtesy of Amazon.com.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Culture of Cola: Take the Caramel Color Ban a Step Further & Ban Soda Completely

By now, most everyone has heard the call by a consumer group to the FDA to ban caramel color from soda, due to the presence of two cancer-causing chemicals.  While the elimination of potential carcinogens is always a good thing, I think this is an even better opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture: soda itself.

Thinking back to my childhood, soda was everywhere.  It was just another one of those everyday items, offered along with your meal, and nobody ever thought twice about it (especially my parents, who worked in the food industry).  With the exception of vending machine bans on school property now, not much has changed.  Almost every restaurant, food court, gas station, and many households will offer you a sugar- and chemical-laden carbonated cocktail.  Even 20,000 feet up in the air, soda has become this inescapable part of daily consumption.  

I'm hoping that many will hear about this call for the caramel color ban, and perhaps take this opportunity to ask why so many of us automatically reach for one of these, and even crave them.  Soda is nothing but water, high fructose corn syrup, and a mess of other artificial ingredients.  It has no nutritional value, and not to mention, we are charged an arm and a leg for this stuff.  I've actually been soda-free for several years now, and I won't let my daughter have any, either.  I came to the realization that soda is NOT normal; even though the big manufacturers and the media have been telling us otherwise, from the time we were children.  What is normal?  Water, tea, coffee, juice, and milk (cow's, soy, and almond are our favorites).  I think the rise in eco-awareness in recent years, with its onslaught of reusable bottles everywhere, has created more water-drinkers.  I know we drink more plain water now, and that is what nature intended.  Ever see a deer wander the forest, searching for a stream of brown cola?  Maybe on Planet Pepsi :P

So please, raise a glass of clean, pure water with me, and toast to your health!  Let's leave soda behind, along with asbestos and lead paint, as another one of humankind's prior mistakes, that we've learned and moved on from.

No promotional consideration was paid for this post.
Image courtesy of news.sympatico.ctv.ca.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Meet my Digital Alter-Ego: Tech blogging @ TechnoMommy.com!

Hello everyone!  It's a new year, and I'm venturing into new territory.  I'd like to introduce all of you to my newest blog: TechnoMommy.com.

Many of you already know that I'm a computer geek at heart; as evident by my technology-laced posts.  Over the past few months, I was shopping for a new cell phone, and was all set to go the iPhone route and leave T-Mobile for Verizon.  Wrong!  I'm glad I didn't.  I've found all the qualities in a great, user-friendly phone that I wanted and more in an Android.  That went so well that a friend has followed suit, and ditched her old clamshell Motorola for an Android, too.  Please stop by my new blog to check out what went into choosing my Anti-iPhone ;)

Not to worry... GreenOrganicMama.com isn't going anywhere!  Being eco-friendly isn't a fad; it's a lifestyle change.  That's ingrained in our everyday life.  The green posts will continue to come.  TechnoMommy.com is another one of those "You know, I really should be writing this stuff down," ideas ;)  I've been the go-to tech support person for as long as I can remember, so it's only natural to bring this into web form.  Other moms have posted about the latest tech gadgetry, but few actually explain what to do with this stuff, and how to use it, and get the most out of it.  That's where TechnoMommy will come in.

So, I hope to see you all over on the tech side!  Thanks for being such loyal readers :)

All the best in 2011!!