Monday, January 30, 2012

Compost Crackers Fail and Natural Odor Eliminator

Compost Crackers (using pulp from juicing to dehydrate and make crackers)-I've seen others make them but have never actually seen a recipe for them. For as long as we've been juicing I can't believe I've never tried this before! Normally I give the juicing pulp to our chickens...who look at it, and then look at me with a "Pulp again, seriously?" kind of look. The roosters rustle their feathers, coc-a-doodle at me, and get in a fighting stance. So using the pulp for another use would be a blessing to my relationship with our flock! But sadly, they didn't turn out well. After 5 patches (I was doing a juice fast and had a ton of pulp to play with) I finally got a few batches that was thick enough it didn't crumble when you picked it up and even though I heavily seasoned them, they didn't taste very good. All the kids tasted them and spit them out. I took a bite and had a hard time swallowing them. Not to mention, with all these batches in the dehydrator for something like three days straight, the house smelled horrid! I had our air purifier going on high and still the smell knocked you out when you walked in the house. Then sitting at my oldest sons wrestling practice, I could still smell them. My jacket had absorbed the smell. I couldn't even stand to smell myself!!! My jacket is the first thing around the corner from the kitchen, so it got the worst of it. It made me realize how much I love dehydrating fruit and sweet smelling foods, it makes the house smell so nice. So I went on a mission to de-funkify the house. First, I tossed all the crackers outside for the chickens...maybe, just maybe, the won't notice it's pulp in a cracker form =) Then I wiped out the inside of the dehydrator in case there was even one little smelly crumb. Which now brings me to my homemade natural air freshener/odor eliminator. Commercial air fresheners just mask the smell, they don't eliminate it, meanwhile floating all sorts of toxins and chemicals through the air you breathe. A simple combination of water and vinegar will do the trick just fine! Maybe I'll try saving the pulp to try veggie burgers some time, though I'm not super hopefully that will be any good either!

Natural Odor Eliminator-Air Freshener
1 part white vinegar
5 parts water
Spray bottle

Mix the water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray. That's it! For REALLY tough jobs you can do a 2:1 or 1:1 combination if you wish. For everyday use the 5:1 ratio will work fine.

I also did this:

Natural Kitchen Deodorizer:
Place a pot of water on the stove. For every cup of water you have, put 1 tb of white vinegar in. Cook on medium for about half an hour. Remove from heat and let it sit there. The smell of vinegar will disappear with the food smell. This worked WONDERS in my kitchen to remove the compost cracker smell.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade Natural Carpet Cleaner (Spot Cleaner)

Along with the joys of having a new puppy, there's also housebreaking, and carpet stains...sigh. I've made carpet cleaner for my steam cleaner before, but never actually needed a spot stain-treater (4 kids...amazing huh?) I'm longing for the days when we had a house with all wood floors, boy were those easier to clean up messes on! Puking bug? No problem, wipes right up. Pet accident, no problem. Now...we have carpet. We are currently renting this green-colored-carpet house (I mean like dark green, very dark green, bla) while we are looking for a new house. So trashing the carpet is NOT an option! So not paying for that when we move out. Did I mention that getting a puppy was my idea? I've been begging for a puppy since last spring. What was I thinking? It's freezing outside. So we have to stand outside in the freezing cold and convince this tiny little puppy to go to the bathroom. Who eventually goes...and then comes inside and goes again, sigh. Then there's the weekends when we actually want to sleep in a little....and the little puppy says "NO" (hear: whine, whine, whine, whine, WHINE, WHINE, WHINE) until we get up. When we got the puppy, my sister-in-law said she would rather have twin infants than a puppy. Minus the twins, but I agree that somehow an infant is easier than this puppy. I run around trying to get things done while she's sleeping because I know there's no risk of her pooping behind the couch if she's asleep! Then there's the need to go to bed early, because the dog is already asleep and will be up nice and early. Of course there's meal time. She has to be restrained at meal time or she'll go potty on the carpet or harass us the whole time we're eating! Seriously, it's like having an infant without the joy of having an infant you brought into this world. But she's a sweetheart and will eventually be housebroken. Not to mention she'll get bigger and we'll miss the days when she's this little. As with when a child grows, we won't remember the hard times. Since this spot cleaner works so well, there won't even be any evidence!

Homemade Natural Carpet Cleaner (Spot Cleaner)
You need:
Baking Soda
White Vinegar
An old toothbrush or some kind of scrub brush
That's it!
Mix together a little baking soda and vinegar (how much you need depends on how many stains you have) If you have never mixed baking soda and vinegar together, be WARNED that it fizzes up like crazy, so do the mixing over the sink. Start with a little baking soda in the bowl and pour in a little vinegar at a time while mixing until you have a paste. Rub the paste on to the stain and scrub with toothbrush. Let dry. Rough it up a a bit and then vacuum. With our dark carpet the baking soda left a white mark but with a bit more roughing up it went away, along with the stain.

This is a natural stain remover and deodorizer that is safe to use around kids and pets, not to mention super cheap! As with any cleaner, test a small part of your carpet first. Also keep away from your eyes and face.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Organic Spicy Queso Dip

Doesn't that picture make you drool? Mmmm....well I'm drooling whether you are or not! This is so good! Make it along side my Copycat Baja Salsa and you have some awesome dipping action going on! Movie night, company, or just a fun dinner...try it, you'll love it.

1 TB organic coconut oil or evoo
2 organic tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2-2 jalapenos (1/2 has a little spice, 2 has A LOT)
1 organic onion, diced
Pinch of good salt
8 oz block organic jack cheese, shredded

Heat oil in a skillet. Add tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until all the veggies are soft. Stir in cheese until melted. Scoop into a serving bowl. Serve immediately with some organic tortilla chips.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Canned cream of mushroom soup is so laden with sodium and other random ingredients, not to mention the bpa lined can it comes in. So not worth it when you can make it yourself, at home, in your crock pot! Then store in the freezer until needed. So easy...and so good for you! Try it, you'll be so happy you did. Not to mention you'll save a little money while you're at it!

2 lbs mushrooms, organic is recommended
6 cups water
2 organic vegetable bouillon cubes 
1 ts good salt
2 TB organic Italian seasoning
1/2 ts organic ground pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 TB organic dried minced onion
4 cups organic milk or cream (for adding later)

Wipe your mushrooms clean and dump in the crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients except the milk. Cook on low for 8 hours. VERY carefully blend soup with an immersible blender. If you don't have an immersible blender, very carefully blend in small batches in a blender. Add milk and blend. Let cool completely before placing in freezer containers. I freeze it in 2 cup portions (or 16 oz). A regular can of soup would be 10 oz. Freeze in the amount that works for you! Don't forget to leave a cup out to sip on when you're done. YUM!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make beans in your crock pot

We go through a lot of beans since we eat vegetarian a lot. Plus, if you haven't noticed, I totally love Mexican food. But buying organic canned beans has a lot of issues, like price, and the bpa lined cans. Then there's dry beans which take fooorreeevvveeerrr on the stove. So the solution? Cook dry beans in the crock pot all day, or night, while not having to worry about them. Then freeze in portions and you have great organic beans for a fraction of the price. I once figured that my cost was about 50 cents for the same volume of a $3 can. So that's a great deal, without the danger of bpa lurking in your food.

You need 4 cups of dry beans (I like to always have on hand: black, pinto, kidney, and garbanzo). Rinse your beans in a colander and pull out any bad ones (great job for kids!). Soak your beans for 8-12 hours. Drain and rinse again and place in crock pot. Cover with water. You want the water at least an inch above the bean line. Pour in a teaspoon of good salt. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Test to make sure they are done, then drain and rinse. Let cool completely before packing in freezer containers. You can freeze them in any quantity. I usually do 4 cups, but I used to do 2 cups...back when I had half the amount of children running around.

Make your own deodorant

Commercial deodorants are laden with aluminum and ingredients that contain aluminum. But did you know that many deodorants that are sold as "natural" do too?  The most widely used form is potassium alum, which is what those crystal stone deodorants are made of. They claim to be "aluminum free" because they don't contain aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride, aluminum hydroxybromide or aluminum zirconium.Check out the label, still contains potassium alum or potassium aluminum sulfate.
Aluminum is linked to breast cancer, Alzheimer, and other diseases. It is a poison that has no beneficial role in your body.
Here is a recipe for a great homemade deodorant. It really works, and it saves you money, try it!

Homemade Deodorant
1/4 cup aluminum free baking soda (Bob's Red Mill makes one)
1/4 cup organic cornstarch
About 2 spoonfuls organic coconut oil

Mix the powders together. Melt the oil. Mix the oil in to the dry ingredients until just wet. Store in a glass container with tight fitting lid. Rub a SMALL amount into your armpits. You don't want to use too much or you'll leave oil stains on your clothes. I use just about a pea size amount. 
So easy!

Produce codes (PLU)

Have you ever wondered what those codes mean on the little stickers on your produce? If you haven't, you should! It's a quick way to know if your produce is commercially grown, organic, or genetically modified. I actually just chuckled to myself that genetically modified produce is always labeled (so if you see one, RUN AWAY!!!) but if packaged foods contain genetically modified ingredients, they don't have to label it, yet. Californians are trying to pass a law that all genetically modified products be labeled. If it passes in Cali, I suspect more states will follow suit, Yay! Anyway...back to the produce codes:

Commercially grown: 4 digit number
Organically grown: Add a 9 in front of the 4 digit number, making it 5 digits
Genetically modified or GMO: Add an 8 in front of the 4 digit number, making it 5 digits (Though this is at "grocers discretion", so you're best best is to find the produce with organic codes to be certain it's not gmo)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Copycat Baja Salsa

There are many things I miss about living in California....My family most, my friends, Trader Joes, Year round farmers markets....AND BAJA FRESH!!!! When I was pregnant with my oldest there was NOTHING else I wanted to eat except bean and cheese burritos from Baja. Literally I ate at Baja 5-6 times a week during that pregnancy....poor hubby! He was such a great hubby and indulged me...most of the time. There were times when he put his foot down and said I had to get some other nutrition into my body...which I am thankful for. So sometimes I would get a tostada from Baja ;) In all seriousness, I did have a smoothie and carrot juice for breakfast, and would limit myself (most days) to only eating at Baja once. That being said, we referred to our oldest as "Our little pinto bean" for quite a long time. Most women who crave something so much during pregnancy don't ever want to even smell that food again...yeah, not me. I would probably still eat there "almost" every day given the chance. Sadly for me the closest Baja to us is 5 hours away. That's actually probably a good thing for my waist line and overall health considering the white flour tortillas and most likely gmo corn tortillas =( Not to mention they probably also use canola oil which is highly gmo'd also. Soooo, now that I've talked myself into thinking it's a good thing I don't live near a Baja....I think I've nailed copy-catting the brown Baja Salsa! I did a lot of research into this recipe and kept finding copy cat recipes where the author would say "Well I've never actually eaten at Baja Fresh, but here's a recipe for the salsa...." Um, you've never eaten there but you're going to say this is a copy cat recipe? Weird. I found several recipes that included chicken broth. That too was weird to me. Granted, Baja could totally use chicken broth in theirs, I have no idea. But to me, salsa should be vegetarian. I also truly hope they do not put it in theirs since I ate it for years while a vegetarian =/ Either way, it doesn't matter. I combined several recipes I found and tweaked it myself and I really think I nailed it! This is in NO WAY the recipe Baja Fresh uses (though wouldn't it be hilarious if it was and I totally made it up??? HA!) But it VERY much tastes like theirs and satisfies my craving! Not to mention, I  know I'm using organic ingredients, Score! So if I haven't lost you after all this rambling, and I hope someone is still reading because this recipe is AWESOME....Here goes....

Copy Cat Baja Fresh Salsa (Organic Ingredients are ALWAYS recommended)
7 tomatoes, 1 diced, 6 sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 jalapeno
2 garlic cloves
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 onion
1/2 cup water
Handful cilantro
1 ts salt

Preheat broiler to High. Place the 6 tomatoes you sliced into rings on a baking sheet along with the jalapeno, stem removed. (Most recipes I saw actually did this on a grill. Well it's freezing outside, so I used a broiler =) I also tried a cast iron gridle once....didn't go that well and set off the smoke alarm one too many times while the kids were napping, so I axed that idea too) Place baking sheet under broiler and broil until blackened (about 20-30 minutes). Flip tomatoes and pepper, add one clove of garlic, and place back under the broiler again until blackened on the other side (Probably another 20 minutes but check often) Pull them out of the broiler and cool. Place tomatoes and pepper into blender with the other ingredients except the one diced tomato, and blend. Place diced tomato in a bowl and pour blended mixture over it, stir.
Go ahead and taste it if you want. I highly recommend letting the flavors blend for 6-18 hours in the fridge. The first batch I almost nailed tasted MUCH closer to right after sitting in the fridge for 18 hours. The 2nd batch (recipe above) tasted almost perfect right away, and tasted completely awesome after sitting in the fridge for awhile! Enjoy with some organic tortillas chips or on a burrito!
Note: Baja Fresh makes their salsa much more liquidy. If you would like it to be more like theirs, add more water, a little at a time until it's the desired consistency. I left mine not so liquidy so it would scoop on chips better. (Darn spell check really doesn't think "liquidy" is a word....seriously??? Whatever, ha.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's in your dehydrator?

This week I am a dehydrating fool. My current kitchen has no counter space so sadly my dehydrator can't sit out all the time. So when I dehydrate, I go on a rampage! I dehydrate everything in sight! Dehydrators are a raw-foodists best friend. Well, maybe their juicers and blender are their best friends, but dehydrators come in closely behind. So far this week, I have done beef jerky (from organic pasture raised cows of course!), apples, bananas, pineapple, and blueberries. Up next....fruit leather! After that, maybe some onions and garlic. Honestly, dehydrated onions are highly addictive! Not only can they be snacked on, but they can easily be thrown into recipes to rehydrate. Dehydrated slices of cucumbers are great for dipping. Does anyone else love using their dehydrator? I'd love to hear about what your favorite things to dehydrate are! Comment below!

Paula Deen announces she has type 2 Diabetes

Earlier in the week the queen of southern comfort food cooking, Paula Deen, announced she has type 2 diabetes, and has for years. Now, if you've ever seen or tried her recipes, it really is no surprise. Her cooking promotes high fat (bad fats), high sugar, high calorie crap. Granted, I'm sure they taste wonderful to the average person, every time I have looked at one of her recipes I just cringe at the awfulness that make up that highly rated recipe. She has promoted this awful way of eating for years, while suffering from diabetes. She has the opportunity here to promote a healthier way of eating. It is shown that exercise and a healthy diet can reverse diabetes or minimize the dangers of it. So is that what she's decided to do? Nope. She's decided to eat the same stuff, just less of it, and be a spokesperson for a prescription diabetes drug. So what does that tell the world? All she cares about is making money on all the cruddy recipes she's put out there in the past and making money from a dangerous prescription drug. For the love of money is the root of all evil. It is unreasonable and hypocritical for her to think it's ok for her to promote such an unhealthy way of eating, all while promoting a drug, and keeping her diabetes diagnosis a secret for so many years.
Executive producer of "Forks over Knives", Brian Wendel said, “We request that Paula Deen watch Forks Over Knives and carefully consider the evidence that a whole-food, plant-based diet can oftentimes reverse type-2 diabetes.  A person suffering from this disease can usually become free of or significantly reduce the need for diabetes medications.  We hope Paula will follow this course, become healthier and use her unique position to educate thousands of people on the power of food as medicine.”
She previously showcased her recipes with no concern with how unhealthy it made her viewers. She could take this chance to revamp her recipes to a healthier version of themselves and do so much for her followers. I really hope she decides to do the right thing, the healthy alternative, instead of continuing to promote a way of cooking that is killing this country....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Italian Dressing Mix

I love making my own salad dressing! When I make it I always know what's in it. No hidden ingredients! Plus it's so much cheaper. Organic salad dressing can be ridiculously expensive. Not to mention, half the time when I try a new one, everyone HATES it!!! When usually for less than a dollar I can make a cup or two of salad dressing myself. If no one likes, no biggie. I like this Italian dressing mix because I can make up a batch, keep it in a jar, and I always have it ready when I need it. You could also use it for a dry rub on chicken, Mmm! Or fish...or sprinkle over veggies and roast....

Italian Dressing Mix:
2 ts organic garlic powder
2 tb organic dried oregano
1 tb organic dried parsley
1 ts organic dried basil
1/4 ts organic thyme
1/2 ts organic celery seed
1 tb organic onion flakes
1 tb sucanat or organic sugar
1 tb real salt
1/2 ts organic pepper

Mix together and store in an airtight jar.
To make salad dressing:
Combine 2 tb of dry mix with 1/3 cup vinegar (white wine or apple cider) and 2/3 cup olive oil.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cheesy Tex-Mex Casserole

I'm not usually a big casserole making fan...but it had me at "tex-mex" =) This is a variation of Emerill's Ooey Gooey Tex Mex Casserole. His recipe calls for stew meat AND ground beef (among several other variants) my opinion that's just too much beef! But if you're a big beefy fan, go ahead and try it. Or add some beans instead like I do and have a great well rounded meal, not too beefy. This is the first recipe with beef in it that my 2 year old has EVER eaten! AND she had seconds!!! Granted, I slathered it in organic sour cream...but still, I've never been able to get her to eat beef before. This is one of hubby's favorite meals. He once came home from a long day and had eaten a burger on the way home but didn't want to tell me (I hate it when he eats right before coming home when I've made a yummy meal!!). I had made this meal that day and he still had 2 servings of it because it's just THAT good. He JUST told me tonight about the burger, and that was like 2 years ago! So even if you're anti-casserole, try this, it really is THAT good!

1 lb organic ground beef
2 cups organic black beans, cooked
1 organic onion, chopped
4 TB organic tomato paste
2 large tomatoes diced
1 veggie boullion cube
2 cups of water
(or instead of water and boullion you could use 2 cups veggie stock, or beef if you must be that beefy, ha)
Approximately 6 whole wheat tortillas
2 cups organic jack cheese, shredded
2 cups organic cheddar, shredded

In a large skillet, saute onion in a little oil for 3 minutes. Add ground beef stirring constantly until cooked through. Add beans, tomato paste, tomatoes and boullion/water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off burner. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large baking dish, pour a couple ladles full of beefy/bean mixture. Top with a layer of tortillas. If using small tortillas, place two side by side. If using large ones, place one whole one and a strip of another to cover the remaining space. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, and cover with beefy/bean mixture. Follow with another layer of tortillas, cheese, and beefy/bean mixture. Keep layering until beefy/bean mixture is done or you're at the top of the dish. Your last layer should be tortilla covered with cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream and some hot sauce

Meet our new white boxer puppy, Lacey!

 Meet our new white boxer puppy, Lacey! You know, I really thought with 4 kids that the sound level in our house was pretty high. Our kids are very well behaved but kids are kids and still have to let off steam and energy. I cherished nap time for the lack of noise and being able to hear my own thoughts. Well, take 4 kids and add an 8 week old insane puppy and the noise level is unbelievable!!! Then there's nap time, Lacey spends a good amount of time whining because she misses the kids! I think I need a good pair of ear plugs =) Then there's the fact that she likes to grab on to kids pants and get dragged around. Abbie, who is 2, is not a fan of that. So not only is the sound level increased, Abbie is whining and crying on top of it because the dog won't let go of her! Though she is a cuddly mound of cuteness and will only be a puppy for so long and we are enjoying every moment....just can't wait until she's housebroken =)
Bundle of cuteness
No pictures please!

Shhhh...I'm sleeping

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip "Cookie Dough" Balls

These are super yummy and taste amazingly like cookie dough! But these are much healthier for you. You could "almost" call them health food ;) ...but I wouldn't, ha! I adapted this recipe from one I found at

Makes approximately 20 1 inch balls
1/2 cup unsalted raw organic cashews

1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1/4 cup organic white whole wheat flour (unbleached)
1/2 tsp real salt
2 tbsp organic cane sugar
4 tbsp organic pure maple syrup (add gradually until desired consistency is achieved)
1/2 tsp organic pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic cacao chips
1/4 cup EnviroKidz organic Koala Krisp cereal (like a chocolate rice cripy cereal)

In a food processor, process cashews and rolled oats until fine. Add flour, salt, and sugar and pulse to combine. Add vanilla. Add maple syrup while processor is running, a little at a time. (If you wish, you could substitute 1 tb of maple syrup for 1 tb organic sunflower butter, that would be really yummy!) Occasionally check dough to see if it's a consistency to make balls. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add more syrup. When your dough is ready, pulse in chocolate chips. Scoop dough out into a bowl and knead in cereal. With wet hands, form 1 inch balls. Store in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy! Yum!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Poblano Bake

This is so yummy, I could eat it all the time. Well...almost all the time...I have to leave room to eat enchiladas and french onion soup =) This turned out to be totally family-friendly. The first time I made it just for hubby and I because I thought it would be too spicy for the kids. They kept asking for bites and ended up eating a ton of it. Though, here's a disclaimer, some poblano peppers are spicier than others so if I had really spicy ones it wouldn't be so kid-friendly. But I've made it many times since then and they still gobble it up. So maybe cooking them for so long makes them less spicy, I don't know. Either way, we love this recipe!

24 oz organic crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
2 organic onions, chopped, divided
1 jalapeno, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
3 cloves organic garlic
2 cups organic beans, black or pinto
1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1 cup pepperjack cheese
1 ts organic cumin
4 large poblano peppers, organic if you can, I can't find them =(

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, puree tomatoes, 1 onion, jalapeno, 2 garlic cloves, and a dash of salt. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.
Mince remaining garlic clove. In a large bowl combine garlic, beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, 1 diced onion,  cumin, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 ts salt, pepper to taste.
Slice peppers in half and remove stems and seeds. Place in baking dish and stuff with bean mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
Invert another baking dish to cover the dish and place in oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese browns.

Crockpot Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is such an easy recipe, yet so yummy!  Enjoy!

4 tb organic olive oil
4 large cloves organic garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 organic onion chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
6 cups organic chicken broth
2 organic bay leaves
1 tb organic chili powder
4 tb organic cumin
1 ts organic garlic powder.
1 1/2 ts good salt
4 shakes cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked organic chicken, I used 3 thighs, diced or shredded

chopped green onions
dollop organic sour cream
tortilla strips (a couple corn or wheat
tortillas cut into strips, brush with oil and bake for 10-15 min)

Optional: Before starting to put everything in the crockpot, you could saute the garlic, cilantro, onions and tomatoes first. I personally don't like dirtying pans when I'm using the crockpot, but it would give it a deeper flavor...I think, I don't know though, since I don't do it =) Otherwise:
Heat your crockpot to high and add oil. Chop garlic, cilantro, onions, and tomatoes and stir into oil. Let these heat up for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.

Reuse your green onion ends

How many times have you thrown away the white end of your green onions? Yeah, me too. Until I learned that you can take those white ends with the roots, put them in water, and they will grow back!!!(I love Pinterest!) How cool is that??? I was SOOOO super excited when I learned this! I use a lot of green onions so this is wonderful for me! Maybe you're not as excited or don't use as many....but it's still a useful tip. Even if you only use green onions occasionally, go ahead and throw those suckers in water and they'll be waiting for you the next time you need them. It might even encourage you to use them more often =) Within a couple days of putting them in water you'll see them start to grow.  Within two weeks they will be fully grown!
Here, check out my pics:
After a couple days

About 6 days

9 days!!! Giddy, jumping for joy!

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Make your own oatmeal flavor packets

I've heard many times that you should never eat instant oatmeal but have never actually heard a reason why. So until I learn why I keep buying instant oatmeal (Now I know someone is going to tell me since I said that!!!). I'm a busy mom of 4 kids, I love instant oatmeal. Granted I also have regular cook on the stove oatmeal too. But sometimes I just don't have the 10 minutes to cook it. Now that I've typed that it seems silly that I don't have 10 minutes to cook oatmeal. But every time I cook oatmeal on the stove it's guaranteed that someone didn't want oatmeal, or someone wants more than I made, etc.  But organic instant oatmeal packets are SO expensive for what you get! There's only like 6 packets in a box, divide that between 4 kids....yeah, a day and a half of oatmeal IF they only want one packet each, which rarely happens. So I thought, why couldn't I make my own? Absolutely I could! Our grocery store sells canisters of plain organic instant oatmeal. So I buy a couple of those for a week. So at $2 each, that's a max of $4 in oatmeal a week...IF they finish both, and they don't usually. For $4 I can buy one box of 6 packets of instant oatmeal. To go with the oatmeal I take a small glass jar with a lid. I fill it about 3/4 of the way with Sucanat (stands for sugar cane natural). Then I add a couple tb of organic cinnamon. Shake, and voila, flavor for your oatmeal. In the past I've also dehydrated apples, ran them through the food processor to get small pieces and added that to the flavor container. But with four kids I've learned that not everyone of them will want the same flavor as everyone else every time. So I now keep them in a separate container and sprinkle them on if requested. Or raisins, same deal. Or dried cranberries. Or blueberries. You get the idea! Keep all those in separate containers and it's like your own homemade oatmeal variety pack =) I think it's genius, my kids think it's breakfast.

Oatmeal Flavor container
Small glass jar with a lid
3/4 full with organic Sucanat, or organic sugar, or turbinado, or brown sugar
2 tb organic cinnamon

Optional ingredients in a separate container:
organic dehydrated apples, chopped
organic raisins
organic dried cranberries
organic dried blueberries (or fresh...or frozen!)

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Homemade baby powder

Commercial baby powders are laden with ingredients that are not good for your baby. Talc is toxic. It's closely related to asbestos. If inhaled it can cause numerous problems in your lungs. It is also linked to ovarian cancer when used in that area on females. The particles can move through the reproductive organs and imbed itself in the ovaries. Since the early 80's, several thousand infants every year have died from accidental inhalation of talcum powder.

I'm baffled as to why they need these ingredients when cornstarch itself makes a wonderful baby powder. Simply putting cornstarch in a shaker and sprinkling on baby does the job. Or try the recipe below for a great diaper rash reliever and preventer.

Cornstarch Baby Powder
1/4 cup organic corn starch
2 tb powdered chamomile (If you can't find powdered, grind it up in a spice grinder)

Mix together and keep in a sealed shaker bottle on your changing table.
It's as easy as that!

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

80 Healthy Organic Snacks

For a printable PDFDOWNLOAD FILE
After reading some other "snack" lists that were saturated with processed foods I decided to create a healthy, minimally processed, organic snack food list. I was very inspired putting this list on paper because there are so many snacks I forget about on a daily basis that are SO easy to prepare. So instead of grabbing a granola bar or chips from the pantry, try some of these....

1. 1 oz organic raw cheese
2. A handful of raw organic almonds
3. A handful raw organic sunflower seeds
5. Frozen organic grapes
6. Ants on a log (organic celery with almond butter and raisins)
8. Sliced organic apples with organic almond bar
9. Organic berry medley (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
10. 1 frozen banana blended with 2 tsp cocoa powder
11. Organic popcorn, not microwaved (try seasoning with herbs instead of butter)
12. Organic apple sandwiches- slice apple in rings, top with organic nut butter, raisins, chocolate chips, and granola, top with another apple ring.
13. A handful organic cashews
14. A handful organic walnuts
16. Herb Balsamic Tomatoes or go even easier with just slicing tomatoes and topping with herbs
18. An organic orange
19. Sliced organic cucumber with organic garlic salt and dill
20. Smoothie popcycles -  use leftover smoothies to freeze for yummy treats
21. Parfait - make your own yogurt to have on hand all the time. Top with fruit and granola.
22. Organic homemade hummus with pita chips - simple hummus with garbanzo beans, tahini (or sesame seeds), a couple cloves of garlic, salt, and a splash of lemon juice.
23. Hard-boiled, organic eggs
24. Baked jalapeno poppers-I make a big batch and keep them in the freezer
27. Sliced mango
28. Sliced kiwi
29. Watermelon-especially good on HOT days!
30. Organic beef jerky - dehydrate your own and it's much healthier, and cheaper than buying organic beef jerky
31. Sliced cantelope
33. Blended Salad - put mixed greens along with any other veggie and a dash of salt in the food processor. TONS of nutrition in a few bites!
35. Organic raisins
36. Organic seed crackers
37. Raw organic cheese dipped in organic mustard
38. Organic dried fruits - avoid any with sulfur, dry your own is the best idea!
39. Dried veggies used as chips with hummus or other healthy dips
41. Homemade Pina Colada "Ice Cream" - Keep some of this in the freezer! You won't be sorry!
42. Chicken and Chile Wrap -  I like to keep the cooked chicken and chiles in the fridge for a quick snack with a small tortilla. It's also good to have on hand for throwing in packed lunches.
43. Organic pistachios - my kids love cracking open these babies!
44. Quick organic apple crisp - slice an apple and place in a small baking dish. Top with maybe a tb of organic butter, sprinkle with oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Bake until soft.
45. Organic olives - get the ones stuffed with garlic, Mmmm!
46. Homemade organic pickles - store bought is ok but it's a great idea to can them in the summer when cuc's are plentiful!
47. Homemade pickled green beans -  green beans are something in the produce section that are always cheap! So pickle some with tons of garlic, dill, and if you like spicy -some hot peppers!
48. Handful of organic blueberries - frozen ones are fun to eat in the winter
49. Handful of organic raspberries
50. Sliced banana topped with organic sunflower butter
51. Grape tomatoes - my kids love popping these into their mouths!
52. Salad with homemade dressing - my fav afternoon salad is organic mixed greens, green onions, organic sunflower seeds, and a little shredded organic raw cheese. I prefer this with an organic ranch dressing but I've never found a recipe that was just right, so -Try this dressing - Balsamic dressing
53. Cinnamon raisin ezekial bread topped with some organic homemade butter
55. Grilled pineapple with organic bbq sauce
56. Guacamole -avocado, tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt and lime
57. Pico de gallo-Tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, salt.
58. Tortilla rolled up with organic sunflower butter and organic jelly - kid fav around here!
59. Taco roll-up - Tortilla spread with sour cream, salsa or guacamole, shredded organic raw cheese, beans, and green onions.
60. Baked tortilla chips - Slice tortillas into triangles, spray with olive oil - sprinkle either organic cinnamon and sugar, or try a savory blend. Bake until crisp.
61. Baked potato chips - Slice organic potatoes real thin, I use a slicing blade on food processor. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Feel free to flavor with any herb combination after baking. Bake until crisp.
62. Organic bean salad - Any combination of organic beans (kidney, garbanzo, black, green bean, etc) tossed with organic italian dressing.
63. Organic peach
64. Organic apricot
65. Organic sweet potato fries -  Sliced and tossed with a little olive oil and salt. Bake at 400 for 10-15 min. My kids love dipping them in real organic maple syrup.
66. Chopped organic veggies dipped in organic ranch dressing
67. Quick chicken salad - Chop leftover organic cooked chicken, toss with homemade mayo and green onions.
68. Burrito in a bowl - Toss together organic black or pinto beans, organic diced onion, shredded organic cheese, organic salsa, organic sour cream.
69. Organic whole wheat banana bread
70. Fruit cabobs - any combo of organic fruit on a skewer, great for kids!
71. Organic bread dipped in balsamic vinegar and herbs - Keep this bread on hand -Yummy bread
72. Make your own tortillas for completely homemade wraps
74. Other fruit smoothies - blend frozen fruit with organic raw milk or orange juice
75. Organic fresh carrot juice
76. Make a big salad at the beginning of the week and dish some out as needed (different salad every week)
77. When making soup or chili, make a big batch and freeze small portions to whip out for snacks
78. Pomegranates - So messy, but so worth it, and so fun for kids
79. Organic Dates
80. Organic fruit leather-puree fruit and spread on parchment paper and put in dehydrator. Follow instructions for your dehydrator. We like to do a mixed berry combo with a little honey.