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Time to Get Pickin’

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All the fruits and veggies that I love are out and ready for hand picking or picking up from the local farmers market. My most loved, however, are blackberries. It just so happens that my grandparents and my best friend have a few acres of roaming wild organic blackberries that pop up every summer, this year the season came a bit earlier than usual and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

Yesterday afternoon my husband, a few of our closest friends and I headed out in our sturdiest clothes and picked some of the most juicy, beautiful berries I have seen. I am excited for homemade jam, blackberry ice cream, blackberry syrup, and most importantly, blackberry cobbler.

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Make your own cobbler with this delicious recipe from www.bunsinmyoven.com.

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For the dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose organic flour

1/2 cup raw organic sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

9 tablespoons cold organic butter

1/3 cup boiling water

 dough

For the filling:

2 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 cup cold water

1 tablespoon organic fresh squeezed lemon juice

4 cups fresh organic blackberries

1/2 cup sugar

 berries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until you have a coarse, crumbly mixture. Pour in the boiling water and stir together well so that all of the dough is wet. Set aside.

For the berries, dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, berries, and sugar. Mix together well. Transfer berries to a 10 inch cast iron pan.

Heat mixture over medium heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Drop spoonfuls of dough over the berry mixture and place the cast iron pan on a foil lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the berries are thick and bubbly.

(If you don’t have a cast iron pan, bring to a boil in a sauce pan and bake in a 9×9 baking dish.)

ENJOY!

Zzzzz Pose

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If you have a hard time getting enough sleep at night, there may be an easier solution than you think. A more natural and relaxing technique that has been around for centuries may be just the answer you have been looking for: Yoga. I use yoga not only as a great form of exercise and meditation, but as a way to relax right before bedtime. This isn’t a powerful flow sequence, but something more gentle. Follow this great sequence from Women’s Health Magazine (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/yoga/bedtime-yoga), to relax your muscles and mind before taking a long restful night of sleep.

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Short Meditation

Sit up in bed comfortably, either with your legs folded or straight in front of you; whatever you can do with the most ease. Sit up and lean slightly back on your pillows or backboard. Close your eyes and rest your hands on your thighs and just breathe here for a few minutes. This doesn’t have to be a serious meditation but just a short while to do nothing but breathe.

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Seated Twists

Stay in your seated position and twist around to the back of your bed. If you have a backboard you can grab onto that to help your twist. Breathe into the twist for a few breaths and then try the other side.

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Easy Forward Bend

Keep your seated position and gently bend forward at your hips and let your hands stretch out straight in front of you on the bed. This will feel good in your hips and your wholeback

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Legs Extended Forward Bend Flat Back

Slowly start to straighten your legs in front of you. You can keep your knees bent slightly since we are working towards sleep here instead of the power yoga move of the day. Reach towards your feet with your knees bent and keep your back flat. Bend your knees as much as you need to keep your back flat. This is a really nice hamstring stretch.

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Legs Extended Forward Bend Round Back

Keep your legs extended out in front of you and round your back gently over your legs. This is a nice stretch along your spine.

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Lying Down Knee to Chest

Roll back down on your back and rest your head on your pillow. Bring one knee into your chest and grab your shin to pull it closer to you. Breathe here for a few breaths. This lengthens your extended leg and loosens up your hip. Switch legs and do the other side.

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Hamstring Stretch

Extend your leg straight up to the ceiling. Grab behind your knee or closer to your ankle. Keep the leg straight and slowly start to bring it closer to your head on each exhale. Try the other side. Remember to stay gentle with these stretches–almost like you are half-doing them. This will help you drop any tension left in your body before bed.

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Half Happy Baby

Bend your knee again and flex your foot to face the ceiling. Grab the outside of your foot with the same arm as foot and bend your knee towards your armpit. You can also do this with both feet at the same time.

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Bend Knee Lying Down Twist

Bend your knee back into your chest and twist your leg across your body. Turn your head in the opposite direction and bring your arms out to a T shape. Make sure to do the other side.

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Star Shape Twist

Extend your leg that is twisted over and reach with that foot out to the diagonal. Reach with your opposite hand to the opposite diagonal. Look towards your hand. This is a really nice twist. Try the other side.

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Knee Hug

Hug both knees into your chest and rock slowly side to side on your back. Let your whole back relax into your bed.

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Savasana

You’re almost there. Extend both legs out straight into a savasana position. Rest here for a while. If you prefer to sleep in this position then you’re all set and have a great sleep.

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Sleep

The best yoga position: sleep. Roll over on to your side and enjoy your night of rest.

Natural Mosquito Repellants

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Summer is (almost) here, along with all of those pesky critters that seem to have been hibernating over the winter– including my least favorite, the mosquito.

This year, I went on a hunt for a natural remedy that is less toxic and harsh than store-bought bug spray that usually includes DEET (http://www.nrdc.org/thisgreenlife/1006.asp). There are so many great remedies out there (some that I already knew about), and others that I am definitely going to try see which ones work for me.

Here are the top 9 ways I’ve found to keep from getting eaten this summer:

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1.  Know where they are.  You may notice that there are a lot more mosquitoes around water.  Lakes, pools, ponds, and any place there is standing water will attract the pests.  If you know you are going to be around water, be sure to plan ahead and carry your natural repellant with you.

2.  Don’t smell too good. Mosquitoes are attracted to floral and sweet smells, like perfume and body lotion. Reducing these as much as you can may help lessen your attractiveness to them.

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3. Spritz yourself with vanilla.  Simply dilute pure vanilla extract in water and spray it on.

4. Wear light clothing.  Mosquitoes are drawn to darker clothing and colors.  Wearing light colored clothing can be your first line of defense against these insects.

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5. Make a garlic paste. This is not something I can see people doing everyday, but it is definitely great for repelling those little critters. Make a paste with garlic powder and water and apply to pulse points, behind the knees, on shoes and ankles, and a bit on your cheeks or somewhere on your face and neck. (Keep it out of your eyes, it will sting!) You can also spray garlic powder and water around your yard and bushes for an extra preventative measure.  (Rumor has it it will also keep away unwanted vampires.)

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6. Dab on a little Eau de Vinegar: If you don’t mind the smell of vinegar (and neither do those around you),  dabbing on a little vinegar is a great way to repel mosquitoes. Put a little bit on exposed areas, or dilute with water and use as a spray.  Many people swear by this one!

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7.    Use essential oils. Citronella, lavender, catnip, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, tansy, basil, thyme, cedar, tea tree, peppermint, and lemongrass will all help keep the mosquitoes at bay. Mix with rubbing alcohol, witch hazel or water, (just one or any combination), shake well, and spritz on your body. You can also add a few drops to baby oil or olive oil and rub onto your skin, avoiding the mouth and eye areas.

8.    Eat up! Certain foods we eat are rumored to repel the bugs. B1 vitamins, brewers yeast, lemon and, of course, garlic have all been thought to  deter mosquitoes because of the smell that comes out of your pores after eating them.

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9. Exercise your green thumb. Potted plants, such as lemon thyme, citronella, lavender, basil, catnip, pennyroyal, tansy, and marigolds, will help keep mosquitoes out of your yard.  Place them around your porch or patio, and when you need a little more protection, break off a leaf and rub it on your clothes and skin.  You can also infuse the leaves in water and use as a spray.

Everyone has a different body chemistry that may make different methods work better than others. Try them out and let us know which of these natural remedies worked for you!

Raw Food Cleanse

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When the springtime hits, I like to take on a challenge by doing a raw foods cleanse. With social gatherings and weddings surrounding me these days, I have shortened my usual 6 week cleanse to 3 weeks. I like to think of it as spring cleaning for my body. I thought it would be fun to share a delicious and easy raw food recipe.

If you aren’t into doing a full-on raw cleanse, this hearty, delicious green smoothie is a great way to supercharge your body with a bountiful amount of delicious nutrients. This wonderful recipe for one of my favorite green smoothies is from one of my favorite raw-food blogs: rawmazing.com

Good Morning Green Drink

Serves 2

2 cups organic spinach

1 1/2 cups organic grapes

2 organic carrots

1/2 organic cucumber

1/2″ piece of ginger

1 stalk organic celery

2 dates

handful ice

1/2 to 1 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix. Start with 1/2 cup water and add more to desired thickness. Blend until smooth.

I also like to add some raw protein powder and instead of water, add some coconut water for added flavor.  The best part about these smoothies is that you can easily change the ingredients to best suit what you prefer!

ENJOY!

This Bed is JUST Right!

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Did you know that several destination hotels and resorts feature luxurious OrganicPedic mattresses in their guestrooms? Many locations across the country have put their guest comfort and the purity of their space first by featuring OrganicPedic mattresses.  These inns provide their guests with fun activities, impeccable hospitality, and of course, a great night’s sleep.

Just like Goldilocks, we are all searching for the mattress that is “just right.” If you are still on the fence about which OrganicPedic mattress to buy and need a little extra time to feel a mattress before you purchase, staying at one of these exclusive resorts can help you find your perfect mattress.

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In partnership with Houston retailer New Living. Modern B & B is featuring an OrganicPedic Terra mattress in their Treehouse room.

New Living is offering a promotion to try out the Terra (at a discounted rate); If you decide to purchase an OrganicPedic mattress from New Living, your stay at Modern B & B is 100% applicable to your purchase! Call Molly at New Living for more information: (713) 521-1921. Click HERE for more information.

Modern B &B rates and information:

(832) 279-6367

4003 Hazard St, Houston, TX

www.modernbb.com

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The Blue Pearl in Laguna Beach, is a yoga, hiking, and cleansing retreat center featuring an OrganicPedic mattress in every room. Either the Terra or the Lago will welcome you to a wonderful night of peaceful, safe sleep.

For rates and information:

(949) 715-1674

21095 Raquel Rd, Laguna Beach, CA

www.thepearllaguna.com

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Park Lane Guest House is one of the best-kept secrets in Austin, TX. They have a Terra in their Garden Cottage, and plan on bringing OMI mattresses into every room of their guest house in the future. The innkeepers even sleep on the Terra, and are the biggest testament to its comfort and luxury!

For rates and information:

(512) 447-7460

221 Park Ln, Austin, TX

www.parklaneguesthouse.com

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Grace Grove Center is a healing center for digestive aid. They feature either the Terra or the Midori in every room. And our Matons can be found in the living room.

For rates and information:

(928) 649-0456

1280 E. Willow Point Rd, Cornville, AZ 86325

www.gracegrove.com

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Topia Inn is an award-winning inn that features OMI mattresses in four of their beautifully designed rooms. The Greek and Iroquis Rooms have Duo mattresses, the French Room has the Midori, and the African Room has the Classic Innerspring.

For rates and information:

(413) 743-9600

10 Pleasant St, Adams, MA 01220


www.topiainn.com

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Green Gate Guest House is Northern Minnesota’s premier sustainable lodging. With the feel of a vacation rental, they feature an OMI Lago in their Sunrise Room.

For rates and information:

(218) 290-2607

5748 Country Rd 138, Biwabik, MN, 55708

www.greengateguesthouse.com

A Razzle Dazzle Christmas from OMI

Have a Razzle Dazzle Christmas from everybody at the corporate offices of OMI and Lifekind.  We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday this year and a wonderful New Year.

(make sure you tune in after the credits for more holiday fun!)

A Twist on Traditional Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving comes with all kinds of delicious favorite side dishes. Since we are in the office on Friday after Thanksgiving, we at OMI like to have a potluck at lunch where we bring a side dish with a twist to the classic recipes (as well as evolving them into our own organic creations). Here are a few of our favorites…

       

I myself am a wine lover, so when I found a recipe that included a sangria flavor with the traditional cranberry sauce, I knew that I would love it. Such a tasty rendition if you love the classic but want it a little different this year.

Sangria Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1. organic lemon

1. organic lime

1. organic orange

3 cups fresh organic cranberries

1. container (16-ounce) frozen organic strawberries

1. cup red wine

1 1/2. cup raw organic turbinado sugar

Directions

1. From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice. From lime, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. From orange, grate 1/2 teaspoon peel and squeeze 1/4 cup juice.

2. In 3-quart saucepan, combine lemon, lime, and orange peels, cranberries, strawberries, wine, and sugar; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon, lime, and orange juices.

3. Spoon cranberry sauce into serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours.

 

Here’s a way to try something new with stuffing. Add a few veggies you have never used before, or like this fun recipe, add wild rice and wild mushroom

 

Herb Wild Mushroom and Wild Rice Stuffing

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) organic butter


2 cups sliced wild mushrooms
( options to try: morel, oyster, trumpet, shiitake, chanterelle or porcini, in any combination)

1 cup chopped organic celery


1 cup chopped organic white onion


1 tablespoon chopped fresh organic thyme

1/4 chopped fresh organic Italian parsley

1 teaspoon sage, rubbed

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

4 cups cooked organic wild rice


2 cups dry unseasoned bread cubes
(try gluten free bread)

1 ½  cup organic chicken broth

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in large skillet on medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery and onions; cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in seasonings.

2. Mix rice and bread cubes in large bowl; stir in vegetable mixture. Add broth; toss gently until well mixed. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking dish; cover.

3. Bake 30 minutes.

This new take on sweet potatoes with a streusel topping instead of the usual marshmallows makes for a delicious, sweet side.

Sweet Potato Gratin with Pecan-Ginger Streusel

3 pounds (about 6) medium organic sweet potatoes

1/2 cup apple cider or juice

1/4 cup organic Grade B maple syrup

3 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Streusel Topping

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour (gluten free, coconut flour)

3 tablespoons packed organic light brown sugar

3 tablespoons cold organic unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

2 tablespoons chopped organic crystallized ginger

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a shallow 2-quart baking or casserole dish.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just barely tender when tested with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Pull off skin, then slice into 1-2″ thick rounds.

3. Arrange slices in prepared dish in concentric circles, overlapping slices slightly. In a liquid measuring cup, combine cider, syrup, butter and salt pour over potatoes. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make streusel topping:

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or combine mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in pecans and ginger.

2. Remove potatoes from oven. Uncover and sprinkle with Streusel Topping. Bake, uncovered, until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

3.  Refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat, covered, in a 375º F oven until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Whatever choices you make for your meal, we hope you have a happy holiday and give thanks.

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