Thursday, October 25, 2012

Non GMO candy options

Most if not all commercial candies are filled with non-organic and GMO ingredients. So what is a person to do for Halloween candy? Or just a stash of candy for snacking? Or pinatas? Or rewarding for potty training (haha, that's me this week)? Aside from making your own, which I've actually been working on (!!!) I have compiled a list of great options for non-gmo candy. Here I will post a list with links and a fun graphic! Read, share, tweet, and pin! Enjoy!

 Surf Sweets Jelly Beans
Buy here

They also make gummy worms, bears, etc.
 Envirokidz Chocolate Crispy Rice Bars
My grocery store sells mini versions of the full size bars in a big bag.
 Organic fruit wraps (These are from Trader Joes).
Don't have a TJ's, there are many other brands.
Check your grocery store, bet they have them!
YummyEarth Organic Lollipops
Buy here

Or try their gummy bears here
 Annie's organic bunny fruit snacks
Buy here

Or try the cracker bunny packs here
 Endangered Species Chocolate Bug Bites
Buy mint here
Dark Chocolate here
Milk Chocolate here
 Righteuosly Raw mini chocolate bars.
Check out their website here

Mmm, now I want chocolate....
And check out these organic non-gmo candy canes here

If anyone else has some options to share please help out us candy lovers and post it in the comments!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

French Toast with Strawberry Butter

Here is another yummy recipe from the kids cook book that my kids have been enjoying. It may not look super great in the picture but boy is it tasty! My kids made this entirely by themselves, with me standing by twiddling my thumbs. So, kids, roll up your sleeves and wash your hands, lets get cooking! Moms-you want to stand by to supervise the stove. My older kids (8 and 6) can cook on the stove pretty safely, but I still like to be standing by.

French Toast with Strawberry Butter
Adapted from KidsCooking - A very Slightly Messy Manual
Brought to you by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

Serves 6

6 organic eggs
6 slices of bread
1/4 cup organic milk
1/2 vanilla extract

3/4 stick organic butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pan.
1 cup organic strawberries (stems removed)
1/4 cup organic sugar

For butter: In a blender, mix together butter, strawberries, and sugar. Set aside.

Heat your pan to medium heat. In a wide bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Melt some butter in your pan. Place one slice of bread at at time in your egg mixture and let them get good and wet, don't need to soak them. Add to pan and cook on each side until just brown. Repeat with all the bread.

Top each slice of french toast with a dollop of strawberry butter. Dig in!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Roasting pumpkins and making pumpkin puree

It's fall...and that means pumpkins! We don't carve them but we sure do eat them! I've been playing around with a lot of pumpkin recipes this fall and loving it. I have to say my all time fav is still the seeds though =)
The pumpkin in the picture above is not a small pie pumpkin. It's a large pumpkin, I'm talking like 10 lbs. My friend who owns a local farm stand store gave me a run down of their pumpkins. This particular one is large, but still very sweet. I felt it was the best for my money considering the size of our family. Small pie pumpkins don't need to roast as long. You could do a couple of them at a time. My large one was all I could fit on a baking sheet. Here's what I do:

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees
~Cut off the stem. Slice your pumpkin in half. Scoop out guts and seeds and set aside to make yummy pumpkin seeds later.
~Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay your pumpkins face down.
~Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 45-90 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkins)
You should be able to easily poke a fork through the skin.
~Remove from oven and let cool.
~Scoop flesh out of the skin.

You can use the pumpkin at this point for recipes, or sprinkle with seasoning salt and dig in. Or you can continue on to make pumpkin puree and never buy canned pumpkin again!

~Place flesh in a blender and blend away. You want it super smooth so let it go for a minute or so. If you aren't using it in a recipe you can strain in a cheesecloth to remove excess water. My 10 lb pumpkin made about 10 cups of pumpkin puree.

And there you have it! Roasted pumpkin and pumpkin puree!

Just another way to enjoy fall even more!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall and Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Fall is here in all it's glory! Beautifully colored leaves are everywhere.
Scroll down for some pictures of fall and a recipe for perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds.
 This was from a recent trip to a pumpkin farm on our third boys 5th birthday! A wonderful group of our homeschooling friends joined us for all the fun. There was tons to do, a corn maze, giant slide...

And of course, PUMPKINS!!!
Here's Jake, our newly 5 year old =)

Perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds, YUM!

These are actually squash seeds, but they work too!

Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
by Amanda @ Natural Organic Lifestyle

Scoop out your pumpkin and separate the guts from the seeds.
Proceed to have a pumpkin gut fight.
Clean up said fight.
Back to the seeds.
Rinse seeds very well in a strainer.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Add about a ts of salt.
When boiling, dump in your seeds.
Boil for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Strain seeds and lightly pat dry. (They don't have to be super dry, just not dripping)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread seeds out on it.
Toss seeds with a little olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and seasonings of choice.
My favorite combo is onion salt and garlic powder, YUM! But cayenne and salt is good too. There are so many choices! Or you can just do salt.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Bake another 10 minutes.
Stir and check for doneness. Make sure the seeds inside aren't burning. You want the outside just browned.
If needed, bake longer but check every 5 minutes or so.
Baking time can vary depending on your oven.

Enjoy fall in all it's beauty and yumminess!

What are your favorite fall activities and recipes?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Carrot Raisin Salad

My kids got a kids recipe book from the library not that long ago and have been cooking up a storm ever since. I thought it would be fun to have a "Kids in the Kitchen" section on the blog. My kids love helping in the kitchen so of course they were delighted to have a book full of recipes that mostly didn't need my help. This is one of those recipes. They totally loved this and everyone had seconds, some had thirds. Maybe it's because they made it, or maybe it's just that good ;) So, kids, wash your hands and lets get to work!

Carrot Raisin Salad
Adapted from KidsCooking - A very Slightly Messy Manual
 Brought to you by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

5 organic carrots
3/4 cup organic raisins
1/2 cup(or to taste) Mayonnaise 

Shred carrots. I had my kids use the grating disk on my food processor for the sake of saving their knuckles. But you can use a box grater too. Toss together shredded carrots, raisins, and mayonnaise. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Non GMO Awareness month 2012

It's October, which brings us upon Non GMO Awareness month. What better time to educate or re-educate yourself about GMO's. Here is a great shopping guide for avoiding GMO's. Reading labels on packaged foods is essential in this day and age. If you want to avoid GMO's and still insist on buying packaged food, you most definitely should only buy 100% organic food. Especially considering the recent announcement that now wheat products now contain GMO's, which probably means they have for awhile and just decided to tell us. I saw this great chart, if you're going to buy packaged foods, these are great organic/non-gmo options:
 Some tips to avoid GMO foods: But organic, look for non-gmo labels, avoid non-organic corn, soy, canola, and cotton, buy organic meats (though gmo meats are not approved for human consumption, gm crops most definitely are being fed to non organic raised animals).

The only real defense again genetically modified foods is to buy organic whole foods and cooking them yourself. Make your own crackers, or graham crackers,or these  crackers, or make your own tortillas and turn them into chips, slice organic potatoes and coat them in organic oil and bake for some great baked chips.

Every time I hear the name Monsanto it makes my blood boil. They are purposely poisoning the world....well the parts of the world that actually let their citizens (and encourage them to) eat gmo food. Then my hubby read this blog post to me. What a great perspective on an awful situation. Seriously, thank you Monsanto for opening more and more peoples eyes everyday to what food they fuel their body with. Sure, there are tons of people out there that really just don't care, but it's OUR jobs to HELP them care! Why is cancer increasing every year? Why is heart disease? Why are younger and younger kids being treated for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and hosts of other terrible diseases at such a young age? It's the food their eating, the environment they are being exposed to, the air they are breathing. But we are finding out more and more that GMO's have a HUGE part in why so many people are sick. On a side note, we have been searching for a house to buy for years now. Last weekend I was driving through a town that we've hoped to find a house in and was seriously disturbed by the amount of GMO farms there. Yeah, we won't be buying a house there. Contaminated air, water, bugs, thank you.

In honor of Non GMO month, I challenge you all to go out there and share the dangers of GMO's with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers. Even if you don't live in California, do whatever you can to support Prop 37. If California can pass that law it will be a huge step for this whole country.

If you don't know much about GMO foods, Mercola has a whole page set up dedicated to GMO's. Check it out here for more information.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Homemade cough syrup

This stuff is amazing! I believe this idea originates in Korean culture and boy does it work. Make up a jar of this and put it in the fridge for when you need it, you'll be glad you did. I usually use a spoonful of this in tea, or just mixed with hot water itself, but I also give small spoonfuls straight up. I've found this is really good for those "in the middle of the night coughing attacks". I'll give the cough-er a small spoonful and it generally will stop the coughing and they can get back to sleep. It's very soothing.

Homemade cough syrup
by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

Mix up in a pint jar:
Raw honey
a couple slices of lemon
a one inch sized piece of ginger chopped

That's it. Just throw it in the fridge and use as needed.