Now that the kids in back and school, the routines can begin again. In my house we prepare for school the night before by making sure the homework is checked, clothes are picked out, and lunch is packed. Often times, I find that we get stuck in food ruts and pack the usual sandwich and carrot sticks. To battle the food rut I look to the internet to search for new and healthy ideas, and I get overloaded with options.
Here are a few new favorite foods that are loved in our house so far:
Whole-wheat “Pita Pizza” (toasted in the toaster oven and then served cold)Organic Ham and Cheese Rolls
Whole-wheat waffle sandwich stuffed with fresh fruit or jelly
Plain yogurt with a variety of delicious add ins
Peanut or Almond Butter
Vanilla Extract and Coconut Flakes
Vanilla Extract and Mini Chocolate Chips
Apple with Peanut Butter
Whole-wheat carrot applesauce muffins
Grilled Cheese with Pesto on Whole-wheat (served cold)
Whole-wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Organic Cream Cheese
BLT on Whole-wheat
An other great choice that allows your child to have fun is packing lunches themselves. Here are two really terrific and yummy packed lunches from the Blog 100 Days of Real Food:
Build a Taco Lunch
Shredded Pork Taco Meat with Bell Peppers
and other desired sidesConstruct a Pizza
Organic Tomato Sauce
Additional Desired Toppings such as Vegetables and Pepperoni, etc.
Don’t get stuck in a rut because there are a lot of great sources that help you to expand the food options you can pack in the lunches. Whatever you choose to pack, make sure it is delicious and nutritious!
Summer is a fantastic time to visit the farmer’s market and buy all fresh and in-season produce! When I go to the farmer’s market, I will leave with armloads of delicious, fresh produce. Sometimes, I purchase more than I can use. To fix the problem of excess produce, I have taken to the internet in my search for recipes as to not let them go to waste. I stumbled upon a fantastic recipe from Food52, Fried Greens Meatlessballs. This recipe is great for using any leftover greens and turning them into a yummy snack or appetizer.
Serves 3 to 4 as an appetizer
1 bunch greens
3 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1 or 2 eggs
oil for frying
Pulse greens in a food processor or finely chop with a knife—they should be small but not puréed or mushy. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cilantro, and cumin seeds. Stir for 30 seconds.
Add greens to pan and sauté for a 1-2 minutes, until they have wilted. Turn the mixture into a large bowl.
Let cool for five minutes, then add the breadcrumbs and feta. Mix well, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Crack one egg into the bowl and mix. Squeeze a small ball of the mixture and if it holds together, begin portioning out the remaining mixture into small balls. If the balls do not hold together well, add another egg.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add balls to pan—they should sizzle when they hit the oil—then turn heat down to medium or medium-low. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Use a fork to flip the balls to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes or so.
What would happen if you only ate organic food? To answer just that the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL conducted a study on the effects of eating only organics. Watch this short video, The Organic Effect, to see the results.
The decrease in the amounts of pesticides present in the body after eating only organics is astonishing. Buying organic when possible is a great way to have less exposure to chemicals and pesticides used in conventional items. “There were a whole number of chemical removed from my kids’ bodies and I don’t want them back.”
For more information on the study and the full report, click HERE.
If you work in an office, have a busy schedule and drink coffee everyday… then there is a good chance that you used a share of the 9 billion Keurig K-Cups that were sold last year! And who could blame you? In our fast-paced society, it’s hard to resist the opportunity to have hundreds of beverages available at the touch of a button (and without all the hassle of cleaning out yesterday’s pot of coffee).
A few weeks ago I came across an article on The Atlantic website that confirmed the fear that had slowly begun to creep in as I brewed my coffee every morning: eventually these K-Cups are going to take over! I had already noticed the waste building up in our office, but James Hablin’s article, A Brewing Problem, really opened my eyes to just how big this issue is becoming. If we were to line up all of the K-Cups that were sold in the past year alone, they would circle the earth at least 10.5 times! Not only that, but the K-Cups are made using a type of plastic that is not recyclable in the US…which means that the only home for those 9 billion K-Cups is the landfill.
This knowledge is worsened by the fact that several competitors have successfully designed a recyclable or biodegradable version of the K-Cup…and instead of embracing it, Keurig has trumped the competition by launching a second-generation machine that only works with Keurig-brand cups. Last year, Keurig promised to come up with a fully-recyclable version of its K-Cup by 2020. However, that promise was not enough to stop Egg Studios from producing a theater-quality horror movie about the impending “K-Cup Apocalypse.” While it may be a little far-fetched, this video has certainly gotten people thinking and has lead to the #KillTheKCup movement on Twitter.
By the end of this article, you may find yourself considering giving up coffee entirely (I know I was), but wait — there’s still hope! Somewhere in the course of the past few weeks, a lovely little box (like the one below) showed up in our kitchen. Turns out, there is a way to recycle these things after all! Click here for more information about Keurig’s Grounds to Grow On program.
There may still be room for improvement, but I can honestly say that my Keurig-brewed coffee takes a little sweeter now that I know that the K-Cup can be converted into something useful!
When most people see a food item that is labeled organic, they automatically assume that it is healthy for you. The truth is, food is labeled organic based on how it is grown, raised, or prepared, not based on the nutritional value. Unhealthy foods can be made with organic ingredients and be labeled as such, but will still be lacking in wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Check out this fun video that explains the difference between organic and healthy and will let you know what to look for next time you are shopping for a healthy meal:
Father’s Day is a great time to recognize all of the wonderful things dads have done for their children this year. There are many ways to show appreciation, like planning a special event, finding that perfect gift, or doing something nice to help him out. Here are some ideas that are fun for Dad and friendly for the environment.
Prepare an organic breakfast-in-bed
Buy him a nice organic-cotton tie, shirt, or bathrobe
Take him on a trip to a farmer’s market or a local restaurant
Take him to a concert, festival, or sporting event
Set up a hammock for him in the backyard so he can relax
Take him bird watching and take pictures of birds you see
Go on a hike or bicycle ride and spend some quality time together
Get a pair of fishing poles and take him out to the river
Find a nice recipe for dinner that the two of you can make together
Whatever you decide to do, the best part of Father’s Day will be spending some quality time together!
Now that school is out and the weather is hot it’s time to think about what kind of fun activities you can plan to keep the whole family happy. Here is a list of 25 ideas we came up with. Use some of our ideas or come up with a few of your own.
Volunteer at a local animal shelter, nature center, or organization that you support.
Plan a camping trip and head out to the great outdoors.
Visit your local farmer’s market for some yummy produce and local goods.
Use the berries you pick or the farmer’s-market finds to make delicious smoothies!
Have a picnic at a park.
Go canoeing at a local lake.
Have a backyard campfire – with s’mores.
Go biking on a trail.
Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvas or cardboard.
Visit a museum.
Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible.
Go outside and play. Volleyball, basketball, baseball, badminton- whatever game you love, get out and start playing.
Get a map of the US and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit.
Lace up your skates and go rollerskating.
Make popsicles with your favorite organic juice.
Visit a flea market.
Pick up a new hobby like painting, writing, fishing, etc.
Visit a national park. The kids can even become Junior Rangers!
Have a game night with charades, Pictionary, Jenga, Monopoly, etc.
Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
Find a local carnival.
Have homemade-pizza night.
Fall into a good book.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the summer, be sure to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun!