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.
From Top Left to Right:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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!
When the sun is shining and the signs of spring are all around enjoy the day outside with Mother Nature. Pick your favorite local area such as a park, river or lake and enjoy the day with your friends and family. Here are some ideas of Earth-friendly activities that you can enjoy on Earth Day:
Pack a delicious lunch of locally grown food and keep it natural by using biodegradable or reusable tableware.
After your lunch spend an hour picking up trash around your favorite area to keep it clean and enjoyable for all.
Enjoy a leisurely walk or hike to explore the wildlife. Bring along a field guide so you can learn about the different plants, tree and animals in the area.
Discuss ways you can lessen your impact on Earth and make a list of resolutions that you would like to incorporate into your everyday routine, such as recycling, energy use, volunteering, cleaning up litter, shopping locally, buying organic, and more. For a list of possible green resolutions see our previous blog, “Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Green Year’s Resolutions.”
However you spend your Earth Day, be sure to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of Earth.
When I think of Easter, I think of a big delicious Easter ham. This year, however, we are having a much smaller family gathering, and we will have so many leftovers! What do we do with them?
OMI tip: Try a farm-to-table approach and buy your ham from a local farmer. Or see if your local grocery store carries (or can order) no-nitrate ham.
Perusing the internet, I have found a meal for every part of the day, from a ham cup with scrambled eggs to a delicious ham, broccoli, and cheese pocket to a light, savory ham and lentil soup. (Veggies, eggs and cheese can be found at local farmers markets and artisan shops, as well.)
Try out these tasty recipes for the week after Easter and let us know what you think.
(Photo Credit: http://www.recipebyphoto.com/breakfast-ham-cups/)
Ham and Cheese Egg Cups
6 free-range brown eggs
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or any kind of cheese you prefer)
2 young organic green onions
12 ham slices, cut a little thick
salt and pepper
Don’t feel limited by these ingredients! You can add just about anything, from mushrooms to tomatoes to spinach to onions, etc. and even top them off with avocado!
Grease pan with non-stick cooking spray; line with ham slices.
Sprinkle cheese inside ham slices.
Pour in the egg mixture (ggs, salt and pepper) beat well with a fork.
Chop small green onion tops and divide among cups.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes
Ham, Broccoli And Cheese Pockets
Pizza Dough (enough to make 2 large pizzas)
6 tablespoons grainy mustard (optional)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups organic broccoli florets, cut small
1/2 pound ham, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Lightly dust a cookie sheet with fine cornmeal or line with Silpat or parchment paper.
Combine mozzarella and cheddar cheese and set aside.
Divide pizza dough into 6 equal-size balls.
Roll each ball into a thin circle. Make sure to keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel while working.
If using mustard, spread 1 tablespoon all over circle. Place 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese mixture on half the dough. Top cheese with 1/3 cup broccoli and 1/6th of the ham. Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese.
Fold dough over the top to form a pocket and press all the air out. Seal the edges using a fork.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Brush olive oil on the top of each pocket and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light brown.
(A great option to freeze and eat later, or all week for lunches!)
(Original recipe courtesy of Serenabakes)
Delicious Ham and Lentil Soup
3 cups organic chicken broth
3 cups water
1 medium organic onion, cut into thin wedges
1 ½ cups chopped organic celery
1 ½ cups thinly sliced organic carrot
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
6 ounces cooked ham, diced
1 ½ teaspoons dried organic thyme, crushed
3 cups shredded fresh organic spinach
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved
In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine broth, water, onion, celery, carrot, lentils, ham, and thyme.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Stir in spinach. Ladle into bowls. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.
(Original recipe courtesy of bhg.com)