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3 Organic Recipes for Grilling Season: Kabobs (+ bonus dessert ideas)

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By Bart Everson from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Veggie Skewers) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s that time of season for firing up the grill, and one of the best dishes to make is kabobs.   Kabobs are the perfect way to serve up a complete dinner from the grill. Its fun for kids and adults like to eat food on a stick, plus there are endless combinations so everyone gets something they like.

The sky’s the limit in organic recipes for the grill! To get the most from your meal, always remember to choose organic ingredients, this will guarantee that your food is GMO free!

3 Organic Recipes for Grilling Season: Kabobs

Organic Peanutty Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic (pastured raised) skinless boneless chicken breast halves or thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup organic crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp grated organic ginger-root (or 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper
  • Organic chopped peanuts, if desired for topping

Directions:

  1. Heat grill
  2. Mix all ingredients except chicken and peanuts; set aside 1/4 cup
  3. Thread the chicken on four 11-inch metal skewers, leaving space between each piece. Brush chicken with half of the reserved peanut butter mixture.
  4. Cover and grill kabobs 4-6 inches from the medium heat for 15- 20 minutes, turning and brushing occasionally with the remaining peanut butter mixture, do this until chicken is golden brown on the outside and no longer pink in the inside.

Serve with organic jasmine rice or quinoa and veggies

 

Quick Grilled Italian Pizza Sausage Kabobs

These were one of my husband’s favorite. He liked to sprinkle fresh mozzarella cheese on these after they were done grilling to get the real pizza taste!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds organic Italian sausage links, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium organic yellow zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 button mushrooms
  • 2 medium organic bell pepper (Use any color you like, green red, orange or yellow), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup organic pizza sauce

Directions:

  1. Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until partially cooked; drain.
  2. Thread sausage, zucchini and bell peppers alternately on each of six 12-inch metal skewers, leaving space between each piece. Place a mushroom on end of each skewer.
  3. Cover and grill kabobs 5 to 6 inches from medium coals 20 to 25 minutes, turning and brushing 2 or 3 times with pizza sauce, until sausage is no longer pink in center and vegetables are crisp and tender. Serve over any style pasta, rice or with a salad.

* You can use wooden skewers as well – just make sure you soak them in water so they don’t burn.

 

All Organic Veggie Kabobs

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Soak skewers in water 1 hour (if using wooden/bambo)
  2. Whisk together broth and next 6 ingredients until well blended; reserve 1/4 cup mixture. Combine remaining broth mixture and vegetables in a large bowl. Cover and put in refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Remove vegetables from broth marinade, discarding marinade.
  3. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high). Thread vegetables onto skewers, and grill.
  4. Transfer the skewers to a platter or serving tray and remove vegetables from skewers, if desired.
  5. Serve with reserved 1/4 cup broth mixture.
Here is a fancy guideline of how long to cook different types of veggies:
  • Zucchini and squash

Prep: Cut into 3/4-inch rounds; thread onto skewers. Grill time: 7 – 10 minutes on each side or until tender.

  • Eggplant

Prep: Cut eggplant into 3/4-inch rounds. Cut Italian eggplant crosswise into quarters; cut into 3/4-inch slices. Thread onto skewers. Grill time: 5 – 6 minutes on each side or until tender.

  • Bell peppers

Prep: Cut into 1-inch-thick strips; thread skewers. Grill time: 4 -5 minutes on each side or until tender.

  • Mushrooms

Prep: Trim stems, and thread onto skewers. Grill time: 3 – 5 minutes on each side or until tender.

  • Onions

Prep: Cut into wedges, and thread onto skewers. Grill time: 3 – 4 minutes on each side or until lightly charred.

  • Cherry tomatoes

Prep: Thread onto double skewers. Grill time: 1 – 3 minutes on each side or just until skins begin to split.

Grilled Organic Fruit Kabobs

Who says you can’t grill dessert. Here are some fun grilling ideas for your sweet tooth… that’s healthy too!! These are a hit for kids and adults alike!

Fruit Ideas:

  • Strawberries
  • cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Pineapples
  • Mangos
  • Bananas
  • Kiwis
  • For Basting
  • Honey
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice/lemon juice
  • Unsweetened Coconut Flakes (optional)

Instructions

If you use wood skewers, soak them in cold water for an hour to avoid burning them. Turn on grill to medium heat. Thread each skewer with your favorite fruits. Warm some honey and mix with orange juice so it’s nice and thin and runny. Baste each kabob lightly with honey/orange mix then sprinkle with coconut flakes. Grill until the fruit gets some nice grill marks on each side. Remove to a serving plate (optional: drizzle with a little dark melted chocolate).

Dipping ideas:

  • Yogurt with honey
  • Coconut cream sweetened with honey and fresh squeezed orange juice (I love coconut cream sweetened with a bit of honey and blended with fresh strawberries)
  • Coconut butter
  • Chocolate
  • Your choice of nut spread

What are you organic recipes for grilling season?

 

Organic Salsa: Four Recipes to Spice up Your Summer

Can you think of anything that pairs better with a tortilla chip than organic salsa? Nope, I can’t either. organic salsaSalsa and chips are one of the best summer-time snacks, and they’re nutritious too, just always make sure your corn/tortilla chips are organic and you are good to go! Have you ever made your own organic salsa? There are so many different types you can make! You can practically make salsa out of any fresh produce. Last year I fell in love with watermelon salsa… so yummy! Don’t be afraid to be adventurous in the kitchen!

Four Organic Salsa Recipes

Lacto-Fermented Salsa

This recipe for lacto-fermented salsa is from one of my most favorite books Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This is my absolute most favorite salsa. Not only that you are getting wonderful benefits of the probiotics, it tastes delicious too! There is a little more work and waiting involved in this recipe, but I promise you, you will love it. This recipe makes one quart of salsa, which must be refrigerated, not canned.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium organic tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 small organic onions, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped chili pepper
  • 6 – 8 cloves organic garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 bunch organic cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic oregano
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons whey (if not available, use an additional 1 tablespoon salt)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water

Directions:

To peel the tomatoes, use a slotted spoon to place them gently into a pan of boiling water and watch for the skins to split. This only takes from 15 to 45 seconds, depending on the size of the tomatoes.

Then lift them out of the pan and place them in a colander set over a large bowl to catch the draining water. Allow them to cool while you chop the other ingredients. Then peel and seed tomatoes and cut into small chunks.

Mix all your ingredients together in a large bowl and ladle into wide mouth quart canning jar. Press down gently with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer, adding more water if necessary to cover the vegetables.

The top of the vegetables should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar. Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator.

 

Fruity Salsa

Perfect on top of a burger!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 2 avocados diced
  • 1 ripe organic peach, diced
  • ¼ cup organic red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup organic fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (if you want a kick try cilantro)
  • ½ TBSP avocado oil (could use olive oil also)
  • ½ TBSP orange (squeezed)

Directions:

Throw all ingredients in a bowl and stir. That’s it!

 

Classic Homemade Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 small organic onion, diced
  • One organic Jalapeño, diced
  • 1 large organic Garlic Clove, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 {28 oz can} Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  • 1 {14.5} Can of Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • One big Handful of Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon organic sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of half a Lime

Directions:

Add the chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic to a food processor or blender. Next add the can of whole peeled tomatoes (with their juices), fresh cilantro, sugar and salt and the juice of half a lime. Pulse until you get the desired consistency (chunky or smooth). Add diced tomatoes with green chilies. Give a few more pulses. Let refrigerate for a couple of hours at least before serving, but over night is best!

 

Homemade Blender Salsa

Quick easy salsa you can whip up in under 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 15oz. cans organic stewed tomatoes (you can substitute 1/2 fresh if available)
  • 1 4oz. can organic chopped green chiles
  • 1 organic Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 organic jalapeño pepper – chopped & seeded
  • 1 bunch cilantro – chopped (add as much as you’d like)
  • 4 green onions – chopped
  • 1 tsp organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend to your preference.

For best results and best for your health. Always choose organic ingredients. Do you have a favorite organic salsa recipe??

 

DIY Cleaning With Essential Oils: Green Your Home

I cringe every time I think about how my mom used things like Comet, Pine-Sol Zep, and Tide when I was growing up. essential oilsBack then when I would smell those things, that meant mom was busy cleaning.  I grew up thinking that was the “clean” smell.  Now I have a totally different view of what clean is supposed to

smell like. It’s supposed to smell like the earth, a natural smell, I guess I’d say. The perfect way to make sure your living space is clean and healthy and germ-free is to use safe cleaning products that you can make yourself, using natural and inexpensive ingredients. It’s cost-effective, simple, satisfying and rewarding. Not only do essential oils help make your home smell good, many essential oils have strong antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which make them the best defense against those pesky germs!  Time to clean out your cupboards of those toxic commercial cleaners, and replace them with better no-toxic DIY cleaning products.

DIY Essential Oils Recipes

Lemon All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. In a large measuring cup or bowl combine water and vinegar.
  2. Add baking soda a little bit at a time so that the mixture doesn’t fizz up and overflow.
  3. Add drops of oil
  4. Pour mixture in spray bottle
  5. Shake

 

Lavender Air Freshener Recipe

Ingredients:

Now, I used 30-40 teaspoon drops of lavender oil, because I wanted it to be slightly stronger, but you may want to test it with 20 drops first before adding more, just in case!

Instructions:

Spray this on anything. It is wonderful to spray on mattress (let dry for a moment) or in between the sheets.

 

Furniture and Stainless Steel Cleaner Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oil (vegetable oil, avocado oil, or olive oil)
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions:

Add to bottle and use a few drops on clean towel to rub onto surface.

 

Powder Dishwasher Detergent

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 10 drops of lemon essential oil

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. Drop back to 1 1/2 Tablespoons if you find spots on your dishes.

 

Liquid Laundry Soap Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon Jugs (I use old vinegar bottles)
  • 3T Borax
  • 3T Washing Soda
  • 2T dish soap (I like to use Dr. Bronners)
  • 10-20 drops of Essential oils (I always use a few drops of Tea Tree, then I mix it up with peppermint, orange, lemon or lavender oils)

Instructions:

Boil a pot of water and pour into jug. When it cools slightly pour in your ingredients (I use a funnel for this, makes it much easier) shake around until mixture dissolves. When the mixtures cools fill the jub with water. Use 1 cup per load.

 

4 Other Uses with Essential oils

  1. Add a few drops of rosemary into your shampoo/conditioner bottles. Rosemary helps stimulate the scalp and promotes circulation and hair growth.
  2. Add about 12 drops of your favorite oil to your bath to help relax. Wild Chamomile, Mellow Mix and Lavender would be great choices.
  3. Add a few drops to your favorite lotion or oil.
  4. Use in a diffuser.

What are your favorite ways to clean with essential oils?

Healthy Fats for Healthy Kids

Did you know that a low fat diet for children can cause more harm than good? Yep, low-fat diets do not meet the nutritional needs for children. Instead, they can lead to inadequate energy intake and can interrupt or compromise normal growth and development. healthy fatsWhen kids are eating a low-fat diet, they typically eat more high sugar and starchy carbohydrates, which can lead to blood sugar problems and decreased immunity. This is sad because many parents believe that good nutrition is all about low fat and low calorie instead of healthy fats and nutritionally dense foods. We need to stop this way of thinking.

Healthy fats are essential for children’s growth and development including their brains, which are made up of 60-70% fats. Good fats are also another source of energy, which kids need. If you have kids or spend time around them, you’ve probably noticed how they are always craving snacks that are sugary or sweet, that’s because sugars/sweets are fast burning sources of energy. Satisfying them with healthy fats is optimal, because they are a slow/long burning sources of energy.

For proper growth, kids need to absorb all of their nutrients (vitamins and minerals), and they can do this by eating healthy fats. If they are deficient in fats or not eating proper fats then they are not absorbing and using those fat-soluble nutrients vital for their development, especially vitamins A, D, E and K. Fats are also important for their immune function, which helps them to heal more quickly.

What are the best healthy fats for kids?

Healthy Fats For Cooking*:

*Always look for the words: unrefined, cold pressed, organic, and expeller pressed.

 

 Healthy Fats for Dressings/Salads/Mayo/Raw*

*These oils should not be heated; only use them when you’re not cooking them.

Foods That Contain Healthy Fats

 Here are some tips to help get more fat into your children’s diet:

  • Supplement with FCLO
  • Add a few tablespoons of healthy fat of your choice in smoothies (I like to do coconut oil or coconut cream and a scoop of nut or seed butter)
  • Heavily butter their toast or muffins with coconut oil or ghee
  • Add healthy fats to their oatmeal (usually ghee or coconut oil)
  • Make homemade mayo (I like usually avocado oil for this)
  • Cook eggs in butter
  • Sauté vegetables in ghee/coconut oil

 6 Bad Fats to avoid:

  1. Trans fats! Hydrogenated fats and partially hydrogenated fats These fats are toxic and interfere with the essential roles in our body.
  2. Oils in a plastic clear bottle are already rancid from light exposure. These should be avoided.
  3. Any fat that says refined; stay away
  4. Also another tricky play on words to watch out for is Cold-Processed (they want to make you think it say’s cold pressed)
  5. Canola oil and cotton seed oils are highly processed oils and should be avoided.
  6. Soybean oil

Read my earlier blog post for more information about healthy oils (fats) we should be eating

How do you get extra healthy fats into your kids’ diet?

DIY: Make Your Own Homemade Gourmet Salt Blends

Did you know you can make your own flavored gourmet salt blends? I didn’t until recently! To be honest, it never really occurred to me that I could makeDIY Gourmet Salt Blends so many different kinds of blends until I started trying some! You could end up paying a pretty penny for fancy salt blends, but today I’ll give you some fun recipes so that you can make your own gourmet salt blends at home.

First, let’s ditch the table salt. Table salt is heavily processed and refined, which means it is stripped of all it’s minerals except for sodium. They also usually add an anti-caking agent like aluminum back in. Our bodies cannot break the chemical bonds that are to be absorbed and used by our body, which leads to many health issues. Instead we need to use sea salt. Himalayan is a good choice as is Celtic sea salt. Both of which have wonderful health benefits.

DIY Gourmet Salt Blends

Seasoned Salt Recipe

Before finding out about all these exciting blends, this was the only salt recipe I’ve made and keep on hand.

Ingredients:

Directions:

Mix well in a glass gar or you can give it a quick spin in your blender or food processor.

There are so many different combinations you can make.  Start with the spices do you most use in your cooking. You can take a few of your favorites to make your own gourmet salt blend.

Some More Ideas for Flavoring Your Gourmet Salt 

  • Traditional Seasoning Salt: Salt, Sugar, Paprika, Onion and Garlic
  • Lemon Pepper: Salt, Pepper, Lemon Peel
  • Rosemary Garlic Salt: Salt, Rosemary, Garlic
  • Celery Salt: Salt, Celery Leaves, Celery Seeds
  • Tarragon and Wild Mushroom Salt: Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Dried Chanterelle Mushrooms, Salt, Tarragon, White Pepper
  • Taco blend: Salt, Paprika, Chili Powder, Cumin, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, Oregano

And here are a couple of other recipes I found and I cannot wait to try!

The sky’s the limit. Have you made gourmet salt blends before? Which spices did you use?

Eat These Organic Foods to Fight Arthritis

organic foodsBy the year 2030, an estimated 67 million (25% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, but did you know there are two types of arthritis? The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis, a degenerative arthritis (wear and tear of the cartilage) usually associated with poor nutrition and aging. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. That means that the immune system attacks parts of the body. The joints are the main areas affected by this malfunction in the immune system. Over time it can lead to chronic inflammation and joint damage. A lot of doctors just treat arthritis symptomatically, meaning they will give you medication to help with the pain. However, there is growing research that just making dietary changes, like adding these organic foods to your diet, can go a long way with both types of arthritis.

6 Organic Foods to Help Fight Arthritis

1. Turmeric

Turmeric has a high antioxidant value and helps to boost the immune system. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is popular among those with arthritis and joint problems.

2. Vitamin C Rich Foods

One important function of vitamin C is in the formation and maintenance of collagen, the basis of connective tissue, which is found in the skin, ligaments, cartilage and joint linings, bones and teeth. Vitamin C rich foods include organic:

  • oranges
  • lemons
  • grapefruits
  • limes
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • dark leafy greens
  • cabbage
  • asparagus

3. Fish/Omega-3’s

Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids by eating more cold water fish, olive oil, walnuts or freshly ground flaxseeds. You may also want to consider taking a fish oil supplement to help keep your protein intake low.

4. Ginger

Ginger is another great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it’s said to be a superior anti-pain remedy, beating out over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Advil.

5. Berries

Berries including blackberries, raspberries, strawberries have anthocyanin’s which are a potent antioxidant responsible for the reddish pigment in foods, which may help reduce inflammation.

6. Blackstrap Molasses

High in valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, blackstrap molasses has been a cherished home remedy for arthritis for a number of years. As a dietary supplement (easily consumed as a drink), blackstrap can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, thanks to its vital constituents that regulate nerve and muscle function, and strengthens the bones. 1-2 tablespoons a day straight or mixed with warm water.

Though there isn’t an official Arthritis Diet (I don’t think), the following could benefit those with arthritis greatly:

  • Avoid processed and fried foods, both of which promote inflammation.
  • Decrease the amount of sugar you intake each day. The less sugar you eat, the less inflammation, and the stronger the immune system to defend us against infectious and degenerative diseases.
  • Avoid dairy products. Dairy has a known protein called Casein which may irritate the tissue around the joints.
  • Refrain from tobacco and alcohol use, which can lead to a number of health problems, including some that may affect your joints. Smokers are more at risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis, while those who consume alcohol have a higher risk for developing gout.
  • Drink your water. Water does more than hydrate you, it also helps lubricate our joints.
  • Limit or eliminate nightshades from diet. They are known to contribute to pain, inflammation and arthritis. Nightshades include: tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.

Have you found anything to help alleviate arthritis pain? If so tell us what worked for you?

References:

21 Outrageous Organic Recipes: Veggie Burgers

organic recipes veggie burgers

Store bought veggie burgers are an easy ‘go-to’ meatless meal when you’re in a hurry and want to put something warm and comforting on the dinner table, but making your own at home is quick and easy. You’ll also be using cleaner, fresher ingredients with these organic recipes. And in the end you’ll save some money too!

You can prepare any of these organic recipes ahead of time and freeze them for later use, making them super-convenient.  Just lay the patties (raw or cooked) in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about 60-90 minutes. Once they’re frozen you can stack the patties with parchment paper in between each patty and freeze in a ziploc bag for later use.  Uncooked patties should be defrosted in the refrigerator before cooking.

I’ve gathered a collection of my favorite organic recipes for veggie burgers from some of the best food bloggers and compiled them in the list below.

21 Outrageous Organic Recipes: Veggie Burgers

  1. Vegan Beet Burger from Eat With Your Eyes Closed
  2. Moroccan Yam Veggie Burgers from Oh She Glows
  3. Spicy Curry Chickpea Burgers from Calm Mind Busy Body
  4. Thai Quinoa Burgers from One Green Planet
  5. Spiced Green Pea Veggie Burger from Organic Authority
  6. Olive Lentil Burgers from Post Punk Kitchen
  7. Hijiki Tofu Burgers from Vegangela
  8. Lentil Walnut-Apple Burgers from Plant Powered Kitchen
  9. Black Bean Sweet Potato Tempeh Burgers from The Kind Life
  10. Red Lentil Cauliflower Burger from Vegan Richa
  11. Raw Vegan Spinach Burgers from Choosing Raw
  12. BBQ Tofu Burger from Vegan Miam
  13. Homemade Sunshine Burgers from The Vegan Chickpea
  14. Za’atar Chickpea Burgers from Keepin’ It Kind
  15. Curried Eggplant, Lentil and Quinoa Burgers from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
  16. Walnut Lentil Beet Burgers from Hell Yeah It’s Vegan
  17. Smoky Bean & Spinach Sliders from Thug Kitchen
  18. Smooth Chickpea Kids Burger from The Flaming Kitchen
  19. Fabulous Un-Fried Falafel Burgers from Forks Over Knives
  20. Acorn Squash Veggie Burgers from My Whole Food Life
  21. Roasted Garlic Artichoke Veggie Burgers from Connoisseurus Veg

Do you have any favorite organic recipes for veggie burgers? Share below!

Organic Gifts for Mother’s Day

organic giftsIt really wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I truly appreciated the things my mom did for me and my siblings. I often find myself thinking about her many times throughout the day. I think of her when the kids are fighting, and the house is a mess, and I feel as though I’m about to pull every single hair out of my head. I think, I’m only raising three at home, and she had four! How did she do it?!

When my littlest one falls asleep in my arms and I feel a love so fierce that I just can’t stand it, nor explain it in words, I think of my mom. In those moments I think about all the times my mom held me the same exact way, and felt that same fierce love for me as I do for my daughter.  I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world than that. No one will love you like your mom and sometimes it takes becoming a mom to truly understand that. I sincerely hope you take as many chances as you can throughout the year to show her how much you love and appreciate her as well.

Here are a couple different ideas for some fantastic organic gifts that I think any mom in your life would appreciate this Mother’s Day.

Custom Organic Gift Baskets

You can really do any kind of basket you want. What does your mom like? Coffee, Chocolates, spices, tea, snacks?

Organic tea basket

Pick out a few organic teas – these are some great brands:

If she likes a little sweetener you can add in a liquid stevia or raw honey

Organic Essential Oils/Aromatherapy Basket

Essential oils are wonderful to use for making home care products and diffusing in the air. Add a few essential oils in this basket with a diffuser.

Organic Spa Basket

What mom doesn’t want to relax? I know I do. Here are some of my favorite items to make a nice organic spa basket.

There are so many types of baskets you could make. You could do an Italian Style basket and fill it with organic pastas, spices and sauce.  What about an organic snack basket? You can fill it with things like organic popcorn, chips, crackers and cookies? Whatever gift you decide to give to your mom this Mother’s Day, is going to perfect. After all it’s not the gift that matters, it’s the person giving the gift! Happy Mother’s Day

What organic gift ideas do you have this Mother’s Day?  

Peek Inside My Organic Pantry: Essential Foods To Have On Hand

My pantry actually goes through many changes and gets plenty of makeovers. It really depends on my family’s ever changing way of eating and organic pantrylearning. It took our family five years to get from a fully stocked non-organic, chemically-laden, processed food pantry to an all-natural, organic pantry. That might seem like a long time, but back then it was a learning process for me. Those were the days long before Pinterest and blogging so it was a slow process. So how do you stock an organic pantry? It’s actually easier than you think. All you have to do is swap out your non-organic staples with its better-half: the organic version! I promise you, you can do it. It took me five years to figure this stuff out on my own, but now I’m giving you the tips and know how to start today!

First things first: go through your pantry and throw out all your outdated and expired items. Next, I strongly advise you to throw out any products that have these ingredients listed on the label:

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
  • Aspartame/Sucralose (artificial sweeteners)
  • Artificial Food Coloring (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 etc.)
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • Sodium Nitrate/Sodium Nitrite
  • Trans Fat (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)

* The above ingredients are all detrimental to your health; they are chemicals, preservatives, additives that have no business being in your body.

Now that you have cleaned your pantry, it’s time to re-stock it.

Here are fifteen essential go-to organic pantry items:

  1. Sea Salt
  2. Organic/Raw Honey – this lasts forever practically, even when it gets hard and crystallizes, it’s still perfectly fine to eat.
  3. Organic Flours (almond, coconut, all-purpose, or whatever your diet allows)
  4. Organic Oils (coconut, olive, avocado oils)
  5. Organic Baking Powder/Aluminum Free Baking Soda
  6. Organic Pasta (if you can eat grains)
  7. Organic Dried Beans (long shelf-life too)
  8. Organic Coffee
  9. Organic Tea
  10. Organic cornstarch or Arrowroot
  11. Organic Broth
  12. Organic Maple Syrup
  13. Organic Canned/Jarred Tomatoes
  14. Organic vanilla Extract
  15. Organic Spices

That wasn’t too bad was it? Now you are on your way to having an awesome organic pantry! The items above are my top picks for essential organic pantry items. What are your favorite pantry items and if you haven’t already are you going to make the switch to organic? Organic is always going to be worth it. It’s much better to feed you and your family food without the added chemicals, preservatives and additives.

Earth Day Spring Cleaning: 13 Natural Products Using Baking Soda

There are many ways to celebrate Earth Day, but one of the simplest ways, to celebrate is by switching to a greener way to clean. Having children really motivated me to switch to natural products, because so many traditional cleaning products contain a number of harsh chemicals. Those harsh chemicals are not good for the environment and not good for my family! What’s amazing about making the switch is that using natural products is incredibly cost effective. And the best part: one great product, baking soda, can be used to clean just about anything in your house!

Today the spotlight is on baking soda. Yes, baking soda has a ton of uses, not just for baking. Here are some of the ways you use baking soda in place of harsh chemicals for cleaning.

Spring Cleaning: 13 Natural Products Using Baking Sodabaking soda uses

1.      Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Who needs Comet or soft scrub when you can sprinkle baking soda in your toilet bowl? Sprinkle a little bit inside your toilet bowl like you would any other cleaner. After you scrub just let it sit until the next person flushes.

2.      Hair Brush Cleaner

Soak hair brushes and combs in a mixture of 1 teaspoon baking soda and a small amount of warm water. Rinse and dry.

3.      Odor Remover

Keep a small open box or a bowl of baking soda in your fridge to absorb the odor. You can also sprinkle a little in the bottom of your trash can to cut down on the smell.

4.      Scouring

When you have food burned on the bottom of a pot sprinkle in a little baking soda and cover with hot water. Let sit for an hour or so, the burned food will have loosened and be much easier to clean out.

5.      Clean Silver

To shine tarnished silver, combine three parts baking soda with one part water. Rub onto silver with a clean cloth. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

6.      Laundry

Add 1/2 of a cup of baking soda to your wash to freshen your cloths and keep the colors bright. This allows you to use up to 1/2 the amount of detergent.

7.      Drain Cleaner

Pour 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/2 a cup of white vinegar, and a cup of hot water to clean your clogged drains.

8.      Diapers

Sprinkle baking soda on each cloth diaper as you add it to the pail. It will reduce to odor and add a cleaning boost when you wash them.

9.      Soft Scrub

Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part dish soap to make a paste to scrub a stubborn stain in your bathroom or kitchen.

10.    Soak Toothbrushes

Soak toothbrushes in a mixture of ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup water; let brushes stand overnight for a good cleaning.

11.     Clean Dishwasher

Run dishwasher on an empty cycle with baking soda to clean. You can also do this with your coffee maker too.

12.    Carpets

Sprinkle lightly on your carpet before vacuuming as a natural deodorizer.

How do you use baking soda to clean? What other natural products do you use?

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