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Category Archives: Fall

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

A Salty Halloween Snack

Halloween is fast approaching and I am getting my house ready for trick-or-treaters. My simple Sea Salt Seeds are the perfect treat to enjoy while carving Jack-o-lanterns. Make them yourself using the seeds from carving pumpkins.

 Carved Pumpkins

Sea Salt Seeds

1. Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out the insides. Clean all the pumpkin goop off the seeds and rinse them well in warm water.

2. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and place seeds in boiling water for 10 minutes. This will help soften the seeds and make them easier to digest. Also, the steam inside the seeds will cook them more thoroughly.

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. After boiling the seeds in water, place them in a colander, then gently pat dry with a paper towel (they don’t have to be completely dry, but shouldn’t contain too much excess water).

4. Place the seeds on a baking dish with olive oil and sea salt to taste. (Use 1 tbsp per cup of pumpkin seeds).

5. Cook for approximately 10 minutes. Stir seeds on baking dish and cook for another 8 minutes.

6. Take out of the oven and enjoy!

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For some great variations, during step 4, replace the olive oil and salt with: 1. Cinnamon, sugar and butter

2. Fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

3. Ginger, clove, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg (for pumpkin-pie-spiced pumpkin seeds, mix with a little bit of butter)

4. Seasoning salt and olive oil

Soupy Decisions

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With the weather getting cooler and the food getting warmer, soup is the first thing I start to crave. Favorites like chicken soup and tomato soup are always great, but this fall I wanted to try something new. There are so many great ingredients that you can throw together to make a delicious-tasting (and healthy) soup! These great recipes are sure to broaden your soup horizon.

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From Top Left to Right:

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Asparagus Soup

Broccoli White Cheddar Soup

Mushroom Chestnut Soup

Creamy Broccoli Basil Soup

 

 

 

Conscientious Fall Clothing

It’s almost time for the sweaters and the boots to make their way to the front of our closets and to send back the shorts and tank tops. Maybe you are in need of a new pair of boots or want some cute new tops to go along with your favorite pair of jeans. This year try to shop a bit more consciously.6905011699_7462d1f2fc_o

Try shopping at a second-hand store. Consignment stores are a great option for purchasing designer clothing (at a great price) or even clothes that are in excellent condition that someone else didn’t want anymore at a great price. Thrift-store shopping is also a wonderful option because many thrift stores use proceeds to help non-profit organizations, such as Goodwill. In addition to shopping at either consignment or thrift stores, remember you can also donate your unwanted clothing as well.

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While looking to add to your closet but not wanting to over-purchase, try an eco-conscious 5-in-1, skirt or dress. Sold in stores across the US, you can find many different styles to fit your needs. Thieves Boutique has a beautiful drape-style dress that can be worn as sleeveless, halter, long, medium or short to get the most bang for your buck. They also have a beautiful selection of clothing by sustainable designers.

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Another way to shop is trying an organic or eco-conscious brand for your everyday clothing. Threads 4 Thought is a personal favorite. Not only do they use organic cotton, but they give to large charities as well as promoting a cleaner environment by recycling. It doesn’t hurt that their clothing is absolutely adorable as well.

Remember when shopping to bring your own reusable bags to reduce waste and carpool with friends for fun and to reduce your carbon footprint.

Back to School, Easy as 1-2-3

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It is time for the kiddos to go back to school. Whether they are starting off their first year of school in kindergarten or finishing their last semesters at college, every student can take a step toward being more conscious of the world we all live in.

Here are some great first leaps to make to help preserve our precious resources!

1. Recycled Supplies:

TreeSmart is a company based in Oregon that makes pencils and rulers out of recycled newspapers! They also make recycled crayons, pens and coloring booklets that have educational messages about recycling, endangered species and ways to help the environment.

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Have a small nub of a crayon left that seems unusable? Donate it to Crazy Crayons, which makes 100% recycled crayons from unwanted crayons collected by The National Crayon Recycle Program. They collect old crayon stubs and melt them down to liquid, then pour them into cute and funky moulds to give the crayons new life!

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2. Pack it in:

One of the best ways to recycle for the coming school year, is to reuse your old backpack, or swapping with a sibling or a friend can give everyone a new pack. If you are in need of a new one however, EcoGear provides very stylish and certified organic cotton backpacks for kids of every age. The Panda Eco-Pack Backpack in particular is great because it uses minimal plastic as well as being the perfect smaller size for young kids in school.

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3. Lunch with Love:

It might be adorable to tell your lil’ one on their first day of school how much you love them on the outside of their brown bagged lunch. By getting reusable containers for your kids to take lunch in. Reusable bottles for liquids instead of juiceboxes, as well as reusable forks, spoons, or even sporks, can help reduce the amount of plastic and paper going into our landfills every day. Plus, you can still stick a sweet note in their lunch box.

Extra Credit! First Day Outfit:

It feels great as a kid to go shopping for the first day of schools’ outfit. Second-hand stores are a great way to recycle old clothing and buy something “new” for your kids to wear, at a fraction of the cost of brand-new clothing.

For those of you with kids going off to college (or if you are a college student yourself), check out our tips for getting your dorm room ready.

Beat the Chill This Fall With New OMI Blankets

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As the hot nights of summer are coming to an end, fall is bringing cooler weather.  It may be time to think about adding a blanket to your bed.  Here are our new offerings for staying cozy and warm on chilly autumn nights:

Thermal Blanket  

CrepeWeave

Starting at $55 MSRP

Perfect for lightweight warmth or for layering in colder seasons. The pebbly textured fabric is 100% organic cotton in a crepe weave. Offered from crib to king sizes.

Baby Heirloom Blanket

Hearts

$55 MSRP

Featuring detailed hearts. It is woven of 100% certified organic cotton, and is machine washable.

To learn more about how to dress your bed, check out our previous blogs “How Does Your Mattress Stack Up?” and “Mattress Protection: The OMI Mattress Pad Line”.

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!

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.

Fall Changes Bring GREEN Decorations

There’s no need to spend money on elaborate centerpieces when you can find beautiful décor in your own backyard. Pinecones and fall leaves, or even evergreen branches can be used to add holiday color and fragrance. Here are my top 4 favorite tips:

1. Gather things to make a wreath that can be placed around a candle or vase, then reuse it by hanging it on your door for the holiday season. If you have never created a wreath HERE is an easy tutorial.


2. While shopping for holiday meals at a local farmer’s market, keep an eye out for edible items such as colorful squash and gourds, apples, pears, berries and much more. These can be used as centerpieces, or if you cut out the center and place a candle inside, can be used as candleholders.


3. A clear vase is great for centerpieces! Since you can change its contents to fit any holiday, you can find many items around your home to add to it. This Thanksgiving, try adding fall leaves or some citrus. Simply cut up and set in water with a floating candle. Add cranberries for a bit of that holiday red!

4. Round discs cut from large tree logs can make unique pie or cake plates, candleholders, or even chargers. When cutting firewood, my husband slices ½-1” thick discs off the end of a log for me. And if they get spilled on at dinner, I just toss them back in with the firewood.

Make your holiday as eco-centered as possible this year by using what nature provides. Have a colorful and conscious holiday!

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