There are (literally) tons of benefits of choosing organic products. Check out this report from The Organic Center recently released by the USDA about the impact you can have by making an organic purchasing choice.
For the full report click HERE.
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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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.
Make your own cobbler with this delicious recipe from www.bunsinmyoven.com.
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
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
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.)
Summer weather is finally here, and with the days staying lighter longer it gives us more time for fun activities. Planning those activities can feel daunting at times, however here are some ideas that will help you create great summer memories while being eco-friendly.
Connect with nature by taking a walk in local park or nature trail. Take time to check out the trees, wildflowers and birds. Allow the kids to get exercise while enjoying the beauty of nature.
Biking is a great exercise, and can be really enjoyable, especially in the evening after dinner. Work off that meal you ate while peddling along with your family and friends.
Search for hidden treasures at street fairs, or find great locally grown produce to incorporate into your menus for the week.
Work on making a small garden for some fresh homegrown treats. Gardens come in all sizes from window box gardens to large producing gardens. Find an area for your garden and plant some of your favorite produce.
Invite friends over for an evening of fun. Potlucks allow guests to bring a dish, so this cuts back on energy used for cooking. Pick a theme for the dinner, such as Italian, finger foods, etc. The themes will keep your dinner options varied and allow for some creative cooking.
Escape the summer heat by visiting a local lake or community pool.
Find a local organization such as a local food banks or animal shelter, and offer some help. These organizations are always in need of a few extra hands.
Just because you can’t get a whole week off this summer does not mean you can’t take a mini vacation. Plan a weekend trip to an area within driving distance and enjoy being away from home. You don’t have to stay at an expensive hotel, but you can camp in a campground by a lake or river. Just give yourself time to relax and “unplug.”
Whatever you decide to do this summer, remember to have fun, make some great memories, and as always, think about what you can do to keep your summer eco-friendly.
Staying cool in the summer months is hard to do sometimes, especially when trying to stay hydrated. Rather than reaching for those sugary drinks or just plain old water, here are a few recipes to spice up your drinking options in a healthy way!
Nectarine and Thyme Sun-Brewed Iced Tea
What you will need:
Large beverage dispenser or pitcher
Organic loose leaf tea or 6 black tea bags, more or less depending on how strong you like your tea
1 gallon water
4 organic nectarines, sliced
5 medium sprigs fresh organic thyme
Put the water, tea bags, and thyme in the beverage dispenser and place in direct sunlight for 3 hours. Add nectarines and ice for a cold, refreshing drink.
Fruit and Herbal-Infused Water
One of the best things about infused water is that you can take just about any form of fruit, and herbs from your garden or local farmers market and give your water a boost in flavor.
Feeling simple? Drop a few raspberries and a sprig of rosemary in a glass of iced water.
Feeling adventurous? Toss mint, strawberries, lemons, limes, cucumbers, and raspberries in a pitcher of iced water for your next outdoor BBQ.
My personal favorite is orange water! Just slice up an orange and place it in a mason jar full iced water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the flavors of the orange with your water, and ta-da! A delicious cold, not-so-boring beverage!
Another great way to add a bit of color and flavor to iced beverages is to take an ice-cube tray, fill it with water (I have even seen them filled with tea!!!), and add some organic blueberries, lemons, or mint sprigs!
What’s great about these recipes is that they are not just “two cups of this or that.” You can experiment with different fruits and flavors to get your own unique delicious drink!