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Make the Most of Your Organic Garden: How to Use/Freeze Zucchini

I don’t know about you but I love zucchini. Every year I get a ton of zucchini from my friends and family’s gardens. This year I wanted to return the favor, so I finally planted some zucchini in my little organic garden. Unfortunately, I started my garden a little late this year so I still have a few weeks until those flowers start to pop! So what do you do with so much zucchini?! Well, today I’m going to show you a couple freezing options that might help you make the most of your organic garden! This summer I decided to follow what my friends do and freeze my zucchini. I was surprised when they showed me how to do it…they blanched the zucchini first. I was clueless about this step, but blanching vegetables before freezing actually helps stop the enzymatic activity that decays the vegetables. I’d say that’s a pretty important tip for sure!

Get the most out of your organic garden and zucchini yield with these steps:

1. Wash your zucchini.

organic-garden-zucchini-1

2. Cut zucchini in rounds that are about 1/4″ thick.  Or if plan to use it for baking you can grate your zucchini too!

organic-garden-zucchini-2

organic-garden-zucchini-2.5

3. Blanch your zucchini by steaming or boiling (I decided to steam) for 3 minutes. (less time if grated). I boiled my grated zucchini for about 1 & 1/2 minutes which seemed to work fine (sorry forgot to snap a picture of that).

organic-garden-zucchini-3

4. Transfer blanched zucchini immediately to a prepared cold bath (bowl full of water and ice). This will help stop the cooking process.

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5. Once cooled – drain it to remove excess moisture.

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6. The last step is to bag them and freeze them. I only had gallon sized bags today, but you can use whatever size bag you want.  With the grated zucchini I created one cup mounds and stored them that way. That way they will be pre-measured when I want to use them in my baking.  A vacuum seal would come in handy here if you had one. If not you can do it the easy way. I just stick a straw in the bag and suck out as much air as I can. My grandma showed me that trick 20 years ago.

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I hope this blanching and freezing tutorial will help you preserve and use all that wonderful zucchini your organic garden is going to produce!!

And when you’re ready to purchase more seed for your organic garden check out the great selection of organic seeds at shopOrganic.com!

Here are some recipes that worthy of your zucchini! Give them a try!

Do you blanch and freeze your vegetables?  How do you get the most out of your organic garden?

 

 

5 Summer Recipes for Peach Season

You know its summertime when you come home with a ton of peaches and you’re left in the kitchen wondering what the heck to do with all of them. In the past I would just can them and put them in the pantry for later use. That was the extent of my creativeness. Recently I have branched out, and I’m here to share some summertime peach recipes with you!  Oh and did I forget to mention that peaches are great for our health too? Did you know that just one peach contains 333mg of potassium, which according to some helps prevent bone loss and kidney stones and helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure? Peaches also contain over 10 vitamins, including Vitamin A, C and E, so eat those peaches up! These summer recipes for peach season should help make it easy to enjoy your bounty!

5 Summer Recipes with Peaches

Peach Blueberry Cashew Cobbler Summer Recipe

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 4 organic peaches peeled and sliced
  • 1 c organic/wild blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon (optional)
  • 1Tablespoon arrowroot powder (thickener)
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar

Cobbler Topping

Optional spices (I used 1/4 tsp organic cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp of the others, but you can omit or use any combination that you like):

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

Toss fruit, lemon, sugar and arrowroot powder in bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.

Pour the fruit mixture in to baking dish. (I used a 1 1/2 Quart casserole dish)

In separate bowl combine cashew meal, salt, baking powder, sugar and spices if using, pour in the melted coconut oil, vanilla.  Hand stir until dough is well combined.

Summer-Recipe-peach-blueberry-cobbler-2

Spoon topping over the fruit mixture.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until fruit mixture is nicely bubbling around the edges and the topping is golden brown.

Serve warm.

Summer-Recipe-peach-blueberry-cobbler-3

*I like to let mine sit for 10-15 minutes, so it has time to sit and thicken a little (which I failed to do in the above picture).

Pickled Peaches Summer Recipe

(This is a nice alternative to canning and the flavor is so wonderful)

Directions

  1. In a large, nonreactive (stainless steel) stockpot over medium heat, bring 1 cup water, sugar, vinegar, 4 cinnamon sticks, and 12 cloves to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Allspice in a mesh boiling bag may be boiled with the peaches, but do not put into the jar. Reduce heat to medium-low and add peaches. Gently simmer, without reaching a boil, until peaches are heated through and a fork pierces the fruit with no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon and divide the peaches as equally as possible among 6 sterilized 1-pint canning jars, placing peach cavity side down. Add 1 of the remaining cinnamon sticks and 2 of the remaining cloves to each jar. Spoon cooking liquid into jars, filling each to within 1/2 inch of rim. Wipe the lip of each jar rim with a clean, wet cloth to remove any syrup or bits of fruit; then top each jar with a flat lid and screw on a threaded ring band without tightening completely. Roll jars on their sides to release any air bubbles that might be trapped in peach cavities; turn upright. Remove ring bands and lids, and add more cooking liquid, if needed because of settling, to fill jars to within 1/2 inch of rim. Replace lids and threaded ring bands, tightening completely to seal. Store pickled peaches in refrigerator for up to 8 weeks.  Serve cold.

Peach Ice Cream Summer Recipe

  • I c raw organic cashews soaked and drained
  • 4 cups frozen organic peaches
  • 1/4 c sweetener I prefer raw honey or pure maple syrup. I have used stevia which Has worked also.
  • A dash of sea salt

Directions:

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until creamy (looks like soft serve ice cream). Depending on blender you might want to add a splash of water to get the blending started. If using fresh peaches the outcome will be more liquid, which you can pour in to Popsicle molds

Peach Strawberry Lemonade Summer Recipe

Here’s an easy, refreshing twist on classic lemonade. Perfect for your next summer fun get together!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 cups chopped organic peaches
  • 6 ounces fresh organic strawberries
  • ¾ cup organic sugar or organic honey
  • 1 cup fresh organic lemon juice (5 or 6 lemons)

Directions:

  1. Bring water, peaches, strawberries, and sugar or honey to a gentle simmer for three minutes. Don’t let the mixture boil.
  2. Cool mixture.
  3. Pour mixture into your blender
  4. Strain mixture into a pitcher and discard solids.
  5. Add lemon juice.
  6. Pour over ice and add water to taste.
  7. Garnish with a few sliced strawberries
  8. Enjoy!

*Makes 4 servings.

Peach Mango Lime Salsa Summer Recipe

This one is great on grilled chicken or fish!

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic peaches, peeled and diced
  • 1 organic mango peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp organic raw honey or more to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup juice
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons diced organic red and green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced organic jalapeno pepper, or to taste
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped organic cilantro
  • 1 small organic clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped organic red onion
  • A dash of sea salt and ground black pepper

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until serving time. The flavors are best if the salsa is refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with grilled or broiled fish, pork, or chicken.
Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups.

Tip: If the fruit is under-ripe, toss with some lime juice and 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside to macerate for 15 minutes before adding the other ingredients and refrigerating.

Those are our picks for delicious peach summer recipes. What’s your favorite way to use peaches in your summer recipes?

 

Natural Insect Repellent – 3 DIY Recipes

Summer is official here! And it’s time to ditch the toxic bug sprays and make your own natural insect repellents. These three natural insect repellents are super easy and inexpensive to make. If your home is chemical free already you might have these ingredients laying around! Actually bug spray is not a product I even thought about when I went chemical free a few years ago. It wasn’t until last year that I decided to make it when my family was invited to a friend’s cabin on a lake. I knew mosquitos would be there waiting for us, and there is no way I wanted them munching on my sweet baby’s skin. I researched many natural insect repellent recipes and came up with a few I really love.

DIY Insect Repellent Spraynatural-insect-repellent-ingredients

Mix together and pour into a little 4oz amber spray bottle.

In my batch I used 10 drops of peppermint, 5 drops of clove, 5 tea tree, 5 rosemary and 5 cinnamon. I found this combination worked awesome at the lake, we got no bites, but I made sure I reapplied it to my kids every hour.

DIY Natural Tick Repellent

I don’t live in an area where ticks are very bad, but I have many friends that do. I have not tried this recipe personally but it works great for others in tick heavy areas.

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and spray when needed.

Fly Repellent

This simple repellent is super easy and works awesome too. This is perfect for outdoor settings, when you want to eat without shooing those darn flies away.

All you need is:fly-repellent

Directions: Stick the sponge in the Mason jar then sprinkle the lavender oil onto the sponge. 20 drops should do it. I also like to use peppermint too! Then secure a lid until you are ready to use. Set out on the ends or middle of the table and take off the lid.

Note: If you don’t like looking at a sponge or cotton balls you can always use a decorative jar or container too.

More Natural Bug Repellent Tips:

  • Drink Apple Cider Vinegar: Love this stuff, it can do everything! Not sure why bugs don’t like this, but they sure seem to like me less.  How much?  Take a couple teaspoons a day with water.
  • Wear light color clothing. Bugs are attracted to dark colors.
  • Empty all standing water in/around your home. Mosquito’s breed and lay eggs in standing water.
  • If you don’t have to, don’t go outside at dusk or dawn. This is when those bugs are most active.
  • Limit your use of perfume, bugs are attracted to scents.

There are so many bug repellent recipes out there, here are some more you might like:

If you don’t have time to make your own check out these ready to use natural insect repellents from Lafe’s and All Terrain.

What are your favorite ways to keep those pesky bugs away naturally? Post your tips in the comments!

When Organic Food Isn’t Enough; 3 Books That Changed How I Eat

I’m going to share with you three books that not only changed the way I look and think about food, but also how I prepare and cook my food, and even how I eat my food.  Eating organic food is, of course, very important but beyond eating organic food, these particular nutritional philosophies heavily influenced my diet and my health. Two of these books I think need to be read by everyone at least once and the last book should be a staple in everyone’s kitchen.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price, DDSorganic food

Dr. Price was a dentist who traveled the world for 10 years with his wife in search of the secret to health. What Price found was that it didn’t matter where in the world you went, or how different the diets were, people living on their native diet were in robust good health, had well developed jaws with straight teeth and negligible rates of dental disease. In addition there was practically no infectious disease, no mental illness, no crime and childbirth was also remarkably easy due to the proper development of the Mother’s pelvis. But, within a very short time of being exposed to the “modern” diet which included processed foods, sugars, jams, crackers etc., Dr. Price saw almost the opposite happening in these people’s health; facial deformity, tooth crowding, tooth decay, gum disease and all the degenerative and infectious diseases, and poor pelvic development leading to problematic childbirths. This book takes you through his whole journey of all the countries he visited and how he was able to reverse disease with whole foods approach.  I love how this books convinces you to really step back and think that what we eat really does impact the health of our bodies and our children’s bodies and even our future children.

 

 

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia

organic foodIf you’ve heard of the GAPS diet, this is the book that forms the basis of that protocol.  I have read this book a few times. The author does an incredible job of explaining how the digestive system works and how it can become damaged by the foods we eat and the environment we are exposed to (and how it’s passed on to future generations).  She also explains how different illnesses and conditions occur and why, as well as what can be done to help repair the digestive system and improve overall health.  More and more, researchers are discovering that gut health impacts many systems in the body.  With overuse of antibiotics and other environmental factors, we destroy the healthy bacteria in our gut, leading to numerous health conditions.

This is a must read book for ANYONE concerned with their health and how to stay healthy. It’s also an important book for all parents, regardless of the health of their children, especially given the state of the Standard American Diet (SAD) today.

 

 

 

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

organic foodThis book sits on my kitchen counter.  I think I need a new copy, I have only had it for a year now and you wouldn’t be able to tell by the looks of it.  It’s so worn out, highlight marks everywhere, pages are torn and crinkled from getting wet, and caked with ingredients from making recipes. This book may look a mess but it’s been good to me and my family.

Like the above books Sally Fallon adapts a whole foods, properly prepared approach to cooking. Even if you buy this book solely for cookbook use, you are going to gain so much more knowledge about nutrition. Everything you once knew will be thrown out the door, which is such an amazing feeling! I love that she even has tips for infants and nursing mothers too!

If you already eat organic food and you’re ready to take your health to the next level, I highly recommend these books.  Those are the three that changed how I eat. What books inspired you to change the way you eat?

 

Organic Coleslaw Recipes for 4th of July BBQs

I love the 4th of July; the patriotism, the fireworks, the family and friends, and of course, the BBQs. If you’re anything like my family you may be attending a potluck of sorts this 4th of July. Remember to always use organic ingredients and foods when you can! There are a ton of different dishes and sides that get me excited for the 4thof July, but one that I’ve always loved was organic coleslaw! Now that our family has made the switch to organic foods and healthier living I’ve been looking for a few different organic coleslaw recipes to try out. It can be as simple as shredding cabbage and carrots and using organic coleslaw dressing.

organic coleslaw

Image credit – TheCulinaryGeek via Flickr

3 Organic Coleslaw Recipes

 

Organic Coleslaw with Dried Cranberries

Ingredients:

 

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage
  • 1/2 of small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 tart apple (granny smith/pink lady)
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup of organic mayonnaise (or 4 tablespoons of olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup dried organic cranberries

Directions:
Use a mandoline or food processor to shred the cabbage and apple. Place shredded cabbage, sliced onions and apple into a medium size bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing.  Pour dressing over cabbage, apples, onions, and then toss until well combined. Stir in cranberries. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately, or chill a couple of hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld and the cabbage to soften.

 

Raw Super Slaw Recipe

This recipe from Healthy Blender Recipes sounds super healthy and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 organic red cabbage
  • 1/2 organic white cabbage
  • 2 bunches continental flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch organic kale
  • 2 – 4 organic carrots
  • 8 – 12 green spring onions

 

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews soaked for about 4 hours
  • 1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice or more to taste
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic (depending on preference)
  • A pinch of Celtic sea salt

 

Directions:

Chop up the vegetables individually in your food processor and toss in a salad bowl. Then blend the dressing in your high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and toss through the vegetables. Add in more lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt to taste to reach your perfect blend.

Serve on its own, or serve with boiled organic eggs.

Note: This salad will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Organic Coleslaw, Vegan

And of course, I couldn’t forget an organic coleslaw recipe for my vegan friends! This recipe comes from the Autonomie Project.

Ingredients:

Shred both types of cabbage into thin strips and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Grate the carrots and onions and add to the mixture. Toss the salad with prongs or just your clean hands. Add in the oil, apple cider vinegar, and Vegenaise. Next add in all spices and mix until all ingredients combine. If the mixture looks a little oily or too wet, add a more cabbage and carrots in until it looks nicely mixed.  For a fun twist and a little crunch add in 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds. Once you have mixed up the salad, place in the fridge to cool for about 20-30 minutes and serve.

I can’t wait to try some of these out! What are your favorite organic dishes and/or sides that you like to make for the 4th of July? If you have a good organic coleslaw recipe, please share!

Chill Out this Summer with Organic Frozen Treats

Summer is officially here. What better way to celebrate it than with frozen treats!! I’m going to overload you with some, delicious, quick, organic and nutritious summer frozen treat recipes!  (Beware, there is come cuteness going on below!)

 

Banana Nut Ice Cream Recipebanana-nut-icecream-organic-frozen-treats

Makes 1 big serving or 2 small.

Just two ingredients:

  • 4 frozen bananas  (in pieces)
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter etc.)

Break up 4 frozen bananas in a Vitamix and add 3~5 Tbsps. of peanut butter and blend for 30 seconds or until it makes those 4 puffy clouds. Eat right away as a soft serve ice-cream or put it in a container and stick in freezer to harden and save for later! You can also use a food processor too. Add some stevia, maple syrup or honey if you like it sweeter!

Notes:

  • Omit the nut butter if you are allergic to nuts.
  • If you want chocolate banana ice cream add in 2 tablespoons cacao powder!

 

 

Strawberry Mintsicles Recipe:Strawberry-Mintsicles-organic-frozen-treats

I have to give credit to my cousin on this one.  After going strawberry picking she came up with this yummy, quick summer treat for her beautiful little toddler *Pictured in the below fudgesicle recipe*!

Makes 6-8 popsicles

  • 10 ripe Strawberries
  • Few mint leaves
  • A bit of water
  • 1-2 Tbsp Raw honey (adjust to your taste)

Directions:

Blend all together, pour into your popsicle molds and wait a few hours and enjoy!

 

Peaches and Cream Ice creamPeaches-and-Cream-Ice-cream-organic-frozen-treats

Ingredients:

  • 3- Fresh ripe peaches, halved and pitted (or 1lb frozen sliced peaches)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp of milk (nut milks are great here)
  • 3 -4 cups of ice cubes (if using frozen peaches you won’t need ice)

Directions:

Add ice or frozen peaches first. Then add rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

 

Blueberry Dreams Recipe:

Makes 2 servings.

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This is one of my most favorite summer treats. Quick, easy and yummy!  Full of antioxidants too!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup liquid (I used water, but milk and coconut water would be excellent too)

Directions:

Add blueberries to blender and slowly add liquid until you get consistency you like.   If you don’t like the tart taste, add a tablespoon of honey.

 

 

 Homemade Fudgesicles

***Here Comes that Cuteness Overload I Warned You About***

Makes 5-6 popsicles

organic frozen treatsIngredients:

  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 small, very-ripe bananas (200g)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or more to taste, can also use maple syrup, Stevia)

Directions: Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze for 4 hours, and I am sure you will enjoy it as much as this precious little blondie to the right.

 

 

Smoothie Pops Recipe

organic frozen treats

Make ANY smoothie into a popsicle!

I do this ALL the time.  I usually have extra smoothie in my blender so I just poor it into my popsicle molds for quick healthy, summer treat!   My kids just love these for a snack!

Try this with fruit smoothies, green smoothies, or chocolate shakes.

 

 

Vanilla Almond Iced Cubed Coffee

Ingredients:

  • Coffee Cubes  (I like to make a little extra coffee and freeze the rest in ice cube trays for future use) click here for quality organic coffee.
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
  • Sweetener of choice (optional)

Directions

vanilla-almond-iced-cubed-coffee-frozen-treats

Fill up your glass 1/2 full of coffee cubes or if you like stronger coffee fill to the top. Add your vanilla and milk of choice, sweetener if using, stir and enjoy!

Tip: Pour a little hot water over coffee cubes (1/4 cup) to melt the cube a bit to get more coffee flavor right away. Then add the rest of your ingredients.

I’m not a huge coffee drinker. Coffee makes me too jittery, but I will have this drink on occasion.  This is especially good in the early morning before the kids wake up… oh such peace and quiet.

All the ingredients used in these recipes are either organic, raw, local and natural, and I encourage you to use the same! These recipes are all quick, easy and fun recipes that you can enjoy during the hot days of summer.  What are your favorite healthy summer frozen treats?

5 Organic Drinks for Summertime Refreshment

Yes, it’s almost summertime!  Can you think of anything better than sipping on a refreshing drink while basking in the hot summer sun? Today I’m going to give you 5 quick and easy, summertime organic drinks that will be sure to keep you hydrated and refreshed during the hot summer months!

Recipes for 5 Organic Drinks this Summer

1. Lemon Cake Batter Elixirorganic-drinks-lemon-batter-elixer

This drink is highly alkalizing, detoxifying and refreshing.

Ingredients:

  • Juice from 1 fresh squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Sweetleaf Vanilla Crème Stevia
  • Filtered water or if you want a nice fizz to it use sparkling water
  • Ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Pour water (filtered or sparkling) to a 16-20oz glass
  2. Add baking soda to water and stir until dissolved
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Note: Start with 5 drops of Stevia then add more to your liking.

 

2. Homemade Ginger Ale

This is a wonderful Ginger Ale that you can make right at home.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped (or grated, but may have a stronger outcome)
  • 3 tsp. lemon extract (or 1 Tablespoon lemon zest)
  • 1 cup honey (for vegans you can try maple syrup or coconut sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (optional, I just like the added vanilla flavor)
  • Sparkling Mineral water

Directions:

  1. Place ginger, honey, lemon zest/extract, and 3 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, so sugar (if using) can dissolve. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes*. Turn the heat to the lowest it will go (or turn it off completely) and let it reduce for about 30 minutes.
  2. Strain out the ginger pieces and pour ginger juice into a jar.
  3. Add honey (if using) and vanilla and stir well until all honey is dissolved.
  4. Let cool and store in refrigerator as a syrup concentrate.

To make: Add 1/8-1/4 cup of syrup to 6-8oz of sparkling water and serve!

 

3.  Healthy Sports Drink

Ditch those Gatorades and energy drinks l those and try this one instead, which has no dyes, no refined sugars and no chemical additives.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Fill any big glass or water bottle with ice.  Pour in the coconut water 3/4 full then add in your juice flavor of choice (or combination of any), and add your pinch of sea-salt and honey (start with 2 tsp and add more to your sweet tooth’s liking).  Shake or stir well and enjoy!!   This drink has a ton of minerals and will keep you hydrated and those electrolytes replenished!

 

4. Iced Vanilla Almond Coffee w/ Coffee Cubes

I’m not a big coffee drinker but on special days I like to treat myself to and iced coffee on a nice warm morning.  I make my coffee cubes from the leftover coffee that’s left in the pot. Just pour your coffee into ice cube trays and freeze for later use, hence this recipe!

Ingredients:

Note: If you have a sweet tooth you can add a few drops of Sweetleaf stevia, an organic flavored syrup, or even honey.

Directions: 

Put your coffee cubes into your cup, add vanilla and sweetener (if using). Pour your milk of choice and stir!   *You can also throw this all in a blender to make this a yummy frozen drink!

 

5. Orange Cream-sicle Smoothie

I used to love those little ice-cream cups when I was young. You know the one, with the orange sorbet and the vanilla ice cream…well now you can have that treat without the guilt!  This is by far one of my kids most requested drinks!

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges peeled
  • 1 cup milk of choice (cow’s milk, or any nut milk)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (for vegans you can use a brand like So Delicious Coconut milk yogurt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 handful of ice cubes
  • A sweetener of choice- Raw honey or stevia to taste

Directions:

Put the ice cubes in the blender first then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

What are your favorite organic drinks for summertime?

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for The Dad Switching to a Healthier Lifestyle

Is there a father in your life (maybe your own, maybe a friend’s) who is living a healthy lifestyle, or is considering (maybe even just curious about) switching to a healthier one?  If so, I have so many good Father’s Day gift ideas to share with you!father's day gift ideas

Since my own father passed away last year, this will be my 2nd Father’s Day without him, the first one was brutal, and though I miss him every day, this holiday can be especially painful. My dad didn’t live the healthiest lifestyle, and because of that, he left us far too early. So even if the fathers in your life aren’t currently interested in switching to a healthier lifestyle, I highly encourage you to keep encouraging them to make the switch.  My husband is the perfect example of a dad who wasn’t too keen on making this switch in the beginning, but after he saw my health and that of our children’s improving, he started taking baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle for himself as well.  It’s been a slow process, but it’s an extremely rewarding one to be a part of, and I love seeing him, and encouraging him on his journey.

If the father in your life (whether it be your dad or your husband, or just a friend) wants to switch to a healthier lifestyle here are a couple of tips for the support systems (you) out there:

  1.  Take it slowly. It might overwhelm him a bit if you take away all his “comfort” foods away, all at once. For my husband the first baby step had to do with the enormous amounts of sugar he put in his coffee. I introduced him to Stevia and after 3 days he was used to it and now it’s all he uses. A nice added benefit is that he lost weight with just that switch alone!
  2. Find ways to create healthier options for their favorite comfort foods. Whether you’re doing the cooking or they are, they’ll need some help coming up with healthy alternatives to their favorite meals.  Examples: tell them to switch conventional beef with Grass-fed beef (the taste is unbelievably delicious), or tell them to switch pastas with vegetables like spaghetti squash, using almond flour for salmon cakes instead of processed breadcrumbs.

Now what about actual Father’s Day gifts that you can give to the fathers switching to a healthier lifestyle? (Remember I’m just here to help get your mind thinking, all the men and father’s in our lives have different interests and hobbies so I will try to lists things that are good for all!)

5 Ideas for Father’s Day Gifts

Men’s Body Gift sets: Switching to a healthier lifestyle isn’t just about the food we eat, it’s also about what we put on our bodies. Here are some great skin care products you can introduce to that father in your life that won’t be so chemically hazardous to his skin and body.

Single Nest Hammock: These are so neat! Perfect for the father that likes to hike in your life.

Leatherman Tools: I’m actually thinking about my daddy right now. My dad always had one of these.  I can’t remember a time when he didn’t have one or the other in his back pocket… I know a ton of dads who love these tools and always have one with them!

Protein Powder: I know many men who are on the protein powder kick. Click the link to make sure they are getting a quality protein without all the added fillers, chemicals and additives

Gift card: If you don’t know what he likes a gift card is the perfect solution. Now he has the freedom and fun to pick out his own healthy choices!

Do you have a father in your life who is switching to a healthy lifestyle?  What are your ideas? The more ideas the better! And remember to give your father an extra big hug this Father’s Day!

Organic Sun Protection for Babies & Kids

organic sun protectionNow that summer is almost here and the sun has been making an appearance, I have been getting many questions on what I do for natural or organic sun protection for my kids.  Honestly, I don’t do much.  I stopped using conventional sunscreen on myself and my children a few years back.  Why? Because we have to remember that our skin is the largest organ on our body and what we put onto our precious skin WILL get absorbed into our bloodstream.   So Now I say, “If I can’t eat it, I won’t put it on my skin.” So I’m asking you, “Would you eat your sunscreen?” and the bigger question should be, “Would you feed that sunscreen to your baby or children?”   If you’re using conventional sunscreen, I hope the answer is a big NO!

Most people know by now that our best source of vitamin D comes from the sun and more importantly the UVB rays from the sun, but most people don’t know that vitamin D plays a critical role in our immune function and vitamin D also impacts around 3,000 of our 25,000 genes.  When we put conventional sunscreen on ourselves, our children or our infants it blocks out the UVB where we get most of our vitamin D from.  Also when you use conventional sunscreen not only are you blocking those important UVB rays you are also absorbing a huge load of toxic chemicals into your body, and those chemicals are much more dangerous than actual sun exposure.

What are we supposed to do for natural sun protection? Here are some good tips on what I do in my family and

1. Eat a whole foods, nutrient dense diet:

  • No processed foods
  • No refined sugars (with exceptions of raw honey and pure maple syrup)
  • Eat healthy fats (like coconut oil which has a natural SPF of 4, also ghee, nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fats)
  • Mineral rich foods (bone broths, and using himalayan or sea salts)
  • Pure spring or filtered water (hydration helps with all kinds of inflammation)
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits (Anti-oxidants help to protect our skin from radiation received from the sun. The more anti-oxidant rich foods we eat, the greater the level in our body for natural skin cancer (and many other types of cancer) protection. The highest levels of anti-oxidants are found in the most deeply colored produce)

2. Avoid burning

As I mentioned before, the rays from the sun actually help our body to make Vitamin D, an absolutely crucial nutrient, so we’re not out to avoid the sun. What we really want to avoid is burning, which is an unnatural state for our skin.

  • 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposures a day is pretty optimal for babies
  • Use sun protective clothing on your babies. You may not think about the fact that Ultraviolet rays can get through normal clothing and burn the skin. Clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 50+ can offer extra protection and peace of mind, and don’t forget about baby sun hats. They can be worn in the water or anytime there is direct exposure to the sun to protect your baby’s little bald scalp.
  • If you are pale skinned gradually increase sun exposure over time.  Start out with 5 minutes one day and increase a little each day as you get a nice base tan or color.  Usually a nice even tan = good vitamin D production. -20 minutes of unprotected sun exposures a day is pretty optimal for babies

3. Use organic sunscreen

There are organic sunscreens with safe ingredients:  Goddess Garden and Aubrey make good ones.  If you know you are going to be in the sun and want extra protection you can also try one of these great recipes.  My favorite is the top one, but I would try any of these:

Recipes for Organic Sun Protection

 

What are your favorite tips for natural or organic sun protection?

Build a Better Burger: Organic Recipes for Memorial Day

BBQ season is almost here. I know there are some of us who grill all year round, but for some of us, Memorial Day seems to be kick-off day to start up our grills!  Today I’m going to share with you some quick, easy, healthy and organic recipes to help make your burger better, by revamping some of our favorite condiments, without the additions of soy, sugars (HFCS), preservatives, additives and GMO’s.organic recipes

First, let’s start with tips about the meat. Make sure you are buying the best hot dogs (nitrite and nitrate free) and quality ground beef, which will be grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic free, read here about why grass-fed beef is better, not just for us but for our environment. If you can’t find grass-fed beef locally here is a wonderful resource.

Now let’s make our burger better by making a few homemade, healthy versions of our favorite store bought staples! You will never go back to store bought after trying these deliciously, easy and good for you, homemade versions.

Homemade Condiments: 3 Easy Organic Recipes

Quick Organic Ketchup Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes; stirring frequently. Remove from heat, cool at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Organic Mustard Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk the mixture until it’s smooth over medium heat, bringing to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low after the mustard comes to a boil, simmering for -about five minutes and stirring often. Remove the mustard from heat and place it in a covered container in the refrigerator for several hours until fully cooled (it will thicken as it cools)

Homemade Organic Mayonnaise Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg yolks (from pastured hens is preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from organic lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Lacto-Mayonnaise (Optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon whey

Directions:

Place egg yolks in food processor and blend for 1 minute (I’ve used my Vitamix for this too, and it’s worked perfectly.  Also a hand blender will also work). Add apple cider vinegar and blend for 30 more seconds. Add salt, and Dijon mustard. Turn on the food processor or blender (on low/medium speed) and pour the oil in very slowly; blend until you get the right consistency.

*If you want the mayo to last a few weeks, add 1/2 tbsp. of whey as your last step. If you do this, allow it to sit at room temperature for 7 hours before placing in fridge.

Do you have any favorite organic recipes for making your BBQ’s healthier? Share in the comments below!

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