For The Greater Goods (sm)

Organic World

7 Benefits of Feeding Your Family Organic Food

I get many questions about the importance of organic foods. People ask if it is really that big of a deal, and some sadly don’t even know what organic means! And so, here’s a quick reminder of what organic means:organic food

Organic (or-gan-ic): Food produced without the use of artificial or chemically formulated substances.

That’s it. Plain and simple. Eat organic and consume less toxic chemicals! A few years ago, I made organic brownies to bring to a social function and a gentleman asked me what my treat was, I told him they were dark chocolate organic brownies…and he immediately said that he doesn’t eat “that stuff”. I said, “What do you mean? Organic just means that no chemicals were used.” This man had no clue what organic meant. It’s so sad, and I know there are many others out there like him.

Seven benefits of eating and feeding your family organic foods:

1. Less toxic load.

We get enough toxic load from the air we breathe (think car exhaust, secondhand smoke, chlorine in our water, etc.).  The last thing we need to do is eat our chemicals. Choosing organic can lessen your toxic load by two-thirds; that’s pretty significant to me, and a much better for your family. A note for babies: The advantages of organic foods might be highest for babies because of the amount of food they eat relative to body size. The average baby is born with around 200 toxins and carcinogens in their body. By the time kids reach their 2nd year, most have passed the lethal limit for the toxins. By feeding your child organic food, they will have about one-sixth the amount of carcinogens in their blood. Thus you will decrease the chances of illnesses significantly. Therefore, especially for infants and children an organic food diet is incredibly important.

2. You know where it comes from.

Food is considered organic if it comes from a farming system that avoids man made fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics and growth regulators. Instead, most organic farmers rely on basic crop rotation, using animal and plant manures, and hand weeding to grow their products. That benefits us because the foods contain no hydrogenated fats, artificial colors or flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

3. Avoid GMO’s.

More recently, an increase in production of GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and the lack of labeling of these foods is causing many of us to choose organic. The impact of GMO foods and our health is still being studied, but the results so far do not look good. Rat studies show depressed immune systems, reproductive dysfunction, cancer, allergies, toxicity and more. In one 2005 study, conducted at the Russian Academy of Sciences, a 55% death rate of rat pups born to rats fed a GMO soy diet was discovered, compared to a 9% death rate of rat pups born to rats fed a non-GMO soy diet. Nearly 70% of all processed foods contain GMO ingredients, so choosing organic is the only guarantee that our food is free of GMO’s.

4. Tastes Better.

Yes! Have you ever ate an organic strawberry vs. a conventionally grown strawberry, or even an organic pastured egg vs. a conventional egg? The taste is so different. You will find that organic fruits usually always tastes sweeter and vegetables will taste bolder in flavor. It’s hard to go back to conventional once you have tasted organic. I think this is also true for how organic food looks. Organic foods just look more vibrant and healthy in size, shape and color!

5. Nutritional punch.

Antioxidants are important nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables and have been shown to impart multiple health benefits, including the prevention of many cancers and helps to slow our aging process. Some studies show that organic foods may have more antioxidants compared to commercial varieties. A 2012 study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture discovered higher antioxidants, including vitamin C, in organic broccoli compared to conventional.

6. Organic meats or meats produced by local farmers are healthier.

As for organic meats and poultry, to be considered organic, animals cannot be fed animal byproducts (which reduces the risk of mad cow disease) and antibiotics additives that means that organic diary and meat products do not contain these residues. Repeated exposure to low doses of antibiotic residues can disrupt the normal flora of the human gut, reducing the number of healthful bacteria and leaving humans more vulnerable to harmful bacteria and illness, because remember 70-80% of our immunity is in our gut. Also organic fed animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep the animals healthy.

7. Help Detox.

Eating organic foods for just five days can rid the body of virtually all pesticide residues. Think you can’t afford it? Look for in-season deals at local farmers’ markets, buy in bulk, buy organic food online and preserve the excess to enjoy during the winter months.

I think the best benefit to eating organic foods is the guilt-free pleasure associated with the whole experience. Isn’t it reassuring to know that, by eating organic, you’re not only helping the environment but you’re feeding your family good, pure food that’s fresh and preservative free?! I think so!

Here’s the bottom line: If you’re trying to reduce pesticides and chemicals in your family’s diet, the best thing is either to buy food labeled “organic,” or ask the grower directly if you are concerned about how they grow their food. Most farmers are more than happy to share with you.

What are some of the benefits your family has received from switching to an organic diet?

Healthy Snacks for Heading Back to School

For most of us parents, the back to school countdown has officially begun. I know I’ve got my own countdown going on. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer time with my kids, but I can’t wait for the familiar daily routine we have when the kids are in school. I do know that with school also comes the after school snacks. If you’re a parent you’ve undoubtedly heard something like this a few… hundred times, “Mom, can I have a snack?”   healthy snacksI hear this every single day right after they walk through the door, after they kick their shoes off and set their backpacks down. It’s like clockwork.  Sometimes I actually have a snack ready for them, other times I’m scrambling around the pantry and refrigerator to figure out what I can make with the options I have.  The one thing I do know: every snack I feed them is a healthy snack.   So what kind of snacks are they?  I will list a bunch of easy ideas for healthy snacks, then maybe you can get creative with your own!

20 Healthy Snacks Ideas:

  1. Almond Joy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
  2. Trail mix (1c soaked nuts, 1/2 c seeds, 1/2 c chopped dried fruit)
  3. Homemade Granola
  4. Homemade popcorn using organic popcorn seeds and coconut oil.
  5. Smoothies
  6. Veggie sticks with dip (try making your own homemade ranch dip)
  7. Nitrate free meat or deli slices rolled up with cheese sticks
  8. Peaches and Cream with cinnamon: sliced or diced fresh peaches, drizzled with milk of choice and cinnamon
  9. Cherry Chocolate Truffles
  10. Organic Greek yogurt sprinkled with choice of toppings (chopped nuts, seeds, fresh or dried fruits)
  11. Frogs on a Log ( the classic celery with nut butters and raisins or dried cranberries on top)
  12. Hard boiled eggs with sea salt
  13. Homemade popsicles 
  14. Leftovers (this is especially true if we made homemade pizza the previous night)
  15. Plantain chips with homemade salsa
  16. Toast  (we are gluten free in my home so sometimes they like gluten free bread toasted , spread with coconut oil or ghee and topped with raw honey or homemade jam
  17. Lettuce boats (yep my daughter likes these for snack…butter lettuce or romaine hearts are good for the “boat”, lay some nitrate free meat in there with a little cheese or an avocado slice)
  18. Homemade Chocolate (and yes, it’s healthy)
  19.  Homemade Fruit roll ups (recipe here)
  20. Cucumber slices with cream cheese

I hope these healthy snack ideas gave you a good back to school start! What are you kids favorite healthy snacks? Heck, what are yours?

Pet Dental Health – Top 5 Tips + Products That Help

As with humans, good dental hygiene in pets is linked directly to good health. While pet dental health has only become a focus of care in the past decade or so, it’s clear that taking care of your pet’s dental needs in a preventive manner is much less costly and far better for your pet’s overall health. With that, let’s look at our top five pet dental health tips and a few products that might make your life as your pet’s dental hygienist a bit easier!pet dental health

It’s often wise to take your pet for a checkup with your vet for a baseline on their tooth and gum health then create a plan for improvement (if needed). Your vet can tell you what to look for in your pet – dental health is partially related for overall health and partly tied to genetics, just like humans. So, get an idea of current status then use these tips to improve your pet’s dental health over time. Our four-legged friends can’t tell us when they have dental problems, so keep an eye out for changes to gum color or tongue, changes in eating habits or appetite. Beyond that, try these tips to keep Fido or Fluffy in great health!

1. Healthy Diet

Clean food is key to good dental health. Be sure to feed your pets clean, organic food appropriate for their age and activity levels. Fresh veggies can be great low calorie treats and add to your pet’s nutritional health. My dog loves raw carrots, apples and cucumbers and they sure make her breath sweet.

2. Clean, fresh water

Make sure you provide your pet with clean, fresh water daily. It’s vital to their overall health. Clean water every day (more often if your dog is like mine and drops her filthy tennis ball in the bowl). If you leave your dog outside in a yard at times, ensure there’s water outside as well. Even in winter, the dry weather can dehydrate your pet quickly.

3. Appropriate chew treats

Treats that your dog will chew on help clean teeth and scrape tartar off at the same time. According to the ASPCA,’ chew toys can satisfy your dog’s natural desire to chomp, while making teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help massage gums and help keep teeth clean by scraping away soft tartar. Toxin-free rawhide, nylon and rubber chew toys are best. Gnawing also reduces your dog’s overall stress level, prevents boredom and provides an appropriate outlet for the natural need to chew. ‘

4. Do A Sniff Test

Your dog’s breath should smell, well, like a dog (and your cat’s like a cat) – but it shouldn’t be so horrible that it makes you faint. A health dog (or cat)’s mouth shouldn’t stink. A strong, foul odor is a sign of gum disease or an infection, both of which can be harmful if left untreated. Your pet’s gums should be pinkish, not white and not red. Check frequently so you know what ‘normal’ is for your pet then you’ll be able to spot changes and consult with your vet, as needed. Dark spots, bumps and other irregularities should be noted and monitors. Some dogs and cats have speckled interiors, so you should learn what ‘normal’ looks like and ask your vet if you see something new, different or concerning.

5. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth…If You Can

Sometimes it’s easier said than done. If you train your dog from a young age to tolerate your finger (and then a toothbrush) in its mouth, you may be able to brush its teeth. If you adopt an older dog who won’t tolerate it, use chews and treats that have a similar effect. My 10 year old Border Collie (adopted at the tender age of 9…) won’t bite when I brush, but some nights it’s a three-ring circus getting to the brushing. I use chews that are intended to clean her teeth and it’s a good compromise – brush sometimes, chew others.

Looking for products to help with pet dental health?

Castor & Pollux Rawhide Chews

Newman’s Own Organic Dental Dog Bone

Ark Naturals – Breath-Less Brushless Chewable Toothpaste

Ark Naturals – Breath-Less Plaque Zapper

Do you have any tips on pet dental health that have helped you and your fur-family?

Stay Hydrated with Flavored Water Recipes

Its summer time and I know most of us are hot. Hey, I’m in the Northwest and we have been having some pretty good summer weather this season. It’s been wonderful, but hot too, and when it’s hot we perspire more, which means we need to replace the liquid lost more frequently.  So what do you do when you get bored of just drinking plain water to stay hydrated?  Well there are many things out there, but just make sure you stay away from things like soda, energy drinks, caffeinated cold drinks etc. Those are all diuretics and will actually dehydrate you even more.  I’m going to give you a few fun flavored water recipes that will not only keep you hydrated but are also fun to make, taste delicious and good for you too. The sky’s the limit when it comes to ingredients you can use!

Fruits and Herb Flavored Water Recipes and Combinations

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart Mason jar (you can use a 2 quart jar or container if wanting to make larger quantity, just double recipe)
  • 1 cup of fresh fruit (always use organic fruit when possible)
  • If using herbs add a sprig of fresh herbs
  • Ice cubes and spring water
  • sweetener to taste (optional): Stevia or raw honey are good options.

Directions for making Watermelon Basil flavored water:

Step 1: Get all your ingredients and supplies ready

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Step 2: Add fresh herbs to jar and mash with a wooden spoon (I use the handle) this helps release the flavor

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Step 3: Add fruit to jar, and again mash, mix the fruit to release the juice. The more you mash the more flavor it will have.

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Step 4: Fill the Jar with ice cubes then add water to reach top of jar, add sweetener if using. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight for a stronger flavor.

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Step 5: When ready to serve, pour into serving glasses, you might want to strain out the drinks that may contain seeds. This will keep about 3 days in the refrigerator.

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Flavor combinations for flavored water recipes are unlimited really.  Here’s a list of some of my favorites, feel free to play with it and make up your own. This is a time to let your creativity flow!  And remember you don’t have to use herbs, you can use just fruit if you wish.

  • Watermelon Basil (like pictured above)
  • Tropical: pineapple, mango, papaya. You can even pour in a little coconut water for that extra tropical boost and more importantly that will give you some beneficial electrolytes
  • Citrus: lemon, lime, and orange- just need a few slices of each
  • Berry Bliss: blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
  • Cucumber Lemon is a classic flavor combo
  • Strawberry Mint
  • Orange and Lavender-I have not tried this combination yet due to a lavender sensitivity but, this was suggested to me by a few friends of mine. If you try this combo I would love to know how you like it. Make sure you strain this one! I might have to try this one with grated fresh ginger in place of the lavender.

Chocolate Mint Flavored Water Recipe

This recipe is so simple.  This one is my kids favorite… really who doesn’t love chocolate!

Ingredients:

  • Mint leaves (as much or as little as you like, depending on your preference)
  • Chocolate flavored Stevia (5-15 drops to taste or depending on size of jar or water bottle)

Instructions:

Fill any jar you wish with spring water and simply add mint leaves and chocolate stevia. Give it a good shake and enjoy.

I hope these recipes help encourage you to drink more water and to stay hydrated the rest of the summer!

What is your favorite way to drink or flavor your water?

Kitchen Tools – the Essential 7

I was in my kitchen the other day cleaning out and organizing my cupboards, and realized that I have so many kitchen tools that I have barely touched in the last five years.  It’s really amazing how your kitchen changes when you begin a healthy lifestyle. I came across an angel food cake pan, cookie cutters, bread machine and many more kitchen gadgets I haven’t used in years. So what do I use most in my kitchen these days?

Here’s a list of seven of my most favorite kitchen tools, gadgets and items that are definitely essential to me and my healthy lifestyle.

  1. Vitamix (a Blendec will work too): The Vitamix has been a lifesaver for me. I’ve had mine going on four years now and I use it at least 2 times a day!  I make everything with my Vitamix, from nut milks, smoothies, ice-cream, soup, even mayonnaise, and much more! I think it’s my favorite item in my whole house!
  2. Chef Knife: I use my chef’s knife for everything in my kitchen, well all the cutting and chopping, that is. It’s my universal knife. I love it. A chef’s knife is usually 8-10 inches long (I like the 8″) and has a slight triangular shape.  Make sure it’s sharp and good quality.
  3. Nut Milk Bag: If you are like me and make your own nut milks then you probably have a nut milk bag. I really find it’s my favorite way to make milk, just blend up your nuts for a few minutes and pour it in the bag and strain. Super easy to use and quick to clean!
  4. Mason Jars:  If you come to my house, you will see these jars ALL over the place. I use them for everything (e.g. canning, freezing broth, drinking glasses, making kombucha, fermenting veggies, storing homemade lotion, salves and balms, and I even use them to make my tinctures). In my home these are a very essential item.
  5. Bamboo cooking utensils: I ditched the plastic years ago, and replaced all the cooking utensils I could with bamboo. Bamboo is much more natural and eco friendly choice, and much more cost effective I might add. Oh, same goes for the cutting board, make sure it’s bamboo too.
  6. Measuring cups/spoons: I like to eyeball a lot of ingredients, but when you bake it, it gets kind of tricky, so it’s better to take the guess out and be precise.
  7. Salad Spinner: I eat salads daily and I love to wash my lettuce and herbs then throw them in the spinner to dry, it’s quick and easy.

I know I could add a few more to this list, but for my kitchen those are the top essential kitchen tools I use mostly on a daily basis! What are your favorite kitchen tools? Could you narrow your list down to just seven?  Try it, it’s hard!

Organic Salad Recipes & DIY Dressings

Today is all about salad!  Summer time is perfect for salads.  Our gardens and Farmers’ Markets are overflowing with beautiful organic vegetables and one of the best and easiest ways to use those vegetables is to make a organic salad!  You salad-dressing-101can’t go wrong with a salad, plus fresh veggies are chock full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, so if you can eat at least one fresh organic salad a day your body will be thanking you!  What makes salad even more fun to make?  Salad dressings!  I don’t know about you, but making salad dressing was always kind of intimidating for me, but not anymore with our little Salad Dressing 101!  This salad dressing cheater is my life saver, making dressings have never been easier.  Just pick 1 option from the first 2 steps and throw in any flavor options you like from the 3rd step and you have a delicious dressing for your organic salad. Feel free to come up with your own!

3 Organic Salad Recipes & DIY Dressings

Quick Bacon Spinach Salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 slices of organic bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • 12 oz of organic fresh spinach (pre-washed)

Salad Dressing 101: Orange Vinaigrette

To prepare:

In a blender, combine the orange zest, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until combined. Transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator.

To serve, put the spinach in a large bowl. Toss with enough of the vinaigrette to coat the spinach. Sprinkle with the crisp bacon crumbles, toss again, and serve.

Massaged Kale Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (packed) torn organic kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 radish or small daikon thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 large organic avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 organic cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 organic bell pepper chopped ( I like orange or red for color)
  • 1/2 organic red onion diced
  • 1 small thinly sliced organic carrot (or grated)
  • organic sunflower seeds

Salad Dressing 101:

To prepare:

First whisk the salad dressing ingredients together. Place the kale that has been washed, and torn (no stems), into a big bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the kale and massage the dressing into the kale with your hands until all the leaves are coated sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Set aside and chop your vegetables.  Add chopped veggies to massaged kale and toss.  Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top (optional) and serve!

Butter Peach Pecan salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup organic pecans (roasted and chopped)
  • 6 cups organic butter lettuce torn
  • 1/2 cup organic white cheddar cheese chopped
  • 1 ripe organic peach sliced

Salad Dressing 101:

From step 1 - grapeseed oil (2 tablespoons)

From step 2 – champagne or organic red wine vinegar (1 1/2 tablespoons)

From step 3 – organic dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon, raw honey 1/2 teaspoon

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, pinch of salt and  pepper. Add the butter lettuce, peaches, cheddar, and pecans and toss to coat. And that’s it!

Now these are just a few ideas of some easy organic salad recipes and dressings that you can make. I would love to know what your favorite salads and dressing recipes are!

Remember, use organic ingredients whenever possible!

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.

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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*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?

 

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