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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

As we are in the middle of moving, I unfortunately have not had a lot of time to post anything about being green lately. I apologize, but things should be settled in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a lil' story and a picture of our son.

We as a family often go to the parks in our neighborhood. Some of the parks are a few miles away. In the effort of being green, my husband and I either bike, put our son in the stroller, or in his wagon to go to parks or sometimes even grocery shopping. Depending on the destination we use different contraptions. Recently, we went to the park closest to us, which is about half a mile, and put our son in his wagon. Needless to say, he absolutely loves it. Every little bit we do to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions will go a long ways for our next generation!

Lovin' His Wagon...

For more Wordless Wednesdays, check out Jolly Mom, Extraordinary Mothers, 5 minutes for mom



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Brownie Pudding

My husband and my son are avid chocolate lovers. Brownies have never really been on our menu, until recently. We haven't made brownies in such a long time since it usually comes in packages. This recipe literally takes at most 45 minutes to prep and bake. It's super easy and made from very simple ingredients. My husband & son absolutely love it!

BROWNIE PUDDING

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened coca powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
__________________________

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups boiling water
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VANILLA ICE CREAM (optional)

My husband is particular about his chocolate, and we use Ghirardelli Chocolate cocoa powder. It is all Natural. You should be able to find it at your local grocery store.
___________________________________________

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease an 8x8x2 inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir in milk, oil, and vanilla. If you'd like, fold in the walnuts. Pour the batter onto the baking pan and spread evenly.



In a different bowl, combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, and the boiling water. Pour the water mixture over the batter.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Let it cool for an hour before serving. If you would like to reheat the brownie pudding, microwave for about 30 seconds (per piece) or leave in a warm oven for about 10 minutes.

Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream if desired. ENJOY!


and... last but not least...
can't forget my little helper!


Where's my pudding?

In this recipe, I used mostly organic and a couple natural ingredients mostly from Whole Foods Market. Check to see if there is a store near you.



Stuffed Cornish Game Hens, CROCKPOT STYLE!

Cooking from scratch and using all natural / organic ingredients can be quite a challenge. Not to mention, the time it takes to cook. Some cases, you have to actually tend to what you are working for a long periods of time. Realistically, in this day and age, it is so hard to find the time to be able to stay in the kitchen, let alone anytime to yourself. Ever since I've had my son, I've come to find that my crockpot is my best friend! You can actually cook some very nice meals, and all you have to do is prep it which can take nearly 15 to 20 minutes, and just walk away.

Tonight, we made Stuffed Cornish Game Hens. Below is the recipe and pictures. ENJOY!


STUFFED CORNISH GAME HEN

Ingredients:
Any stuffing recipe or package or....
1 cup cooked wild rice

3 teaspoons of citrus zest (I use orange, sometimes lemon)
4 cloves of garlic

2 - 1 to 2 pound game hens, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups vegetable or beef broth
1 cup red wine

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper



If using rice, cook the rice. After cooking the rice, add your choice of zest and the garlic. Mix.


In a small bowl, stir together the beef broth, red wine, mustard, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Set aside.


Stuff the game hens with the rice or stuffing.

Heat a large pan with the olive oil and butter over medium heat. DO NOT USE HIGH HEAT. Add the game hens and sear them on all sides to brown. Transfer the game hens (head down, or sew the bottoms) into your crock pot. . After placing the game hens in the crock pot, pour the liquid mixture over the top of the game hens.


Cook in crock pot on HIGH for 3 to 5 hours.

Serve with your choice of vegetable, with the stuffed WILD RICE (or stuffing of choice) and GAME HEN.


Bon Appétit!

In this recipe, I used all organic and natural ingredients mostly from Whole Foods Market. Check to see if there is a store near you.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

We went to Vasona Lake Park in Los Gatos yesterday afternoon to enjoy nature and the outdoors. Nothing like enjoying nature! It reminds us how important it is to be eco-friendly as much as possible, so the beautiful things we see today do not diminish.

Father like son...


For more Wordless Wednesdays, check out Jolly Mom, Extraordinary Mothers, 5 minutes for mom


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tropicana w/Cool Earth - RESCUE THE RAINFOREST!


We, as a family enjoy drinking Tropicana orange juice often. Not to mention it's "100% Pure and Natural". Recently, I've come to find out every Tropicana carton / drink you purchase, and register on their site, they will save 100 sq. FT. of the rainforest! Rainforest is dissappearing fast and causing our climate to change.


Facts About Rainforests:
On average, an area of the rainforest roughly the size of Los Angeles disappears every month.
Destruction of the rainforest sends vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. About as much as all the CO2 emitted by the US every year. And it’s accelerating at a rapid pace. [1,2].
The deforestation makes room for cattle ranching and farmland for crops such as soya or palm oil. [2,3] But the money from these activities offers only short-term gains. Rainforest soil is thin and fragile and, once cleared, its ability to support crops significantly deteriorates. [4]
Rainforests are worth much more when left standing. They have an international carbon value far greater than their farming worth, and when managed sustainably, can generate a good income for the local economy.
Footnotes:
1. Raupach, Marland, Ciais, Le Quéré, Canadell*, Klepper, and Field; Global and regional drivers of accelerating CO2 emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, June 12, 2007 vol. 104 no. 24 10288-10293
2. IPCC (2007) Working Group 1, Chapter 7; Couplings Between Changes in the Climate System and Biogeochemstry. www.ipcc.com The Eliasch Review. Climate Change: Financing Global Forests. 2008.
http://www.occ.gov.uk/activities/eliasch.htm
3. Asner, Knapp,Broadbent, Oliveira, Keller, Silva; Selective Logging in the Brazilian Amazon. Science 21 October 2005: Vol. 310. no. 5747, pp. 480 - 482
4. Buol, Hole, and McCracken; Soil Genesis and Classification. 1997. 4th edition. (The Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa.)

I have made an account on their Site under Eco-friendly Mommy to support their cause. Every carton / drink you purchase, has a code on it which you can register. I've registered 4 cartons thus far. For each one you register on this Site, they will save 100 sq. FT. of the rainforest. Let me know if you would like to join our group. I will send you an invite from our account. You can reach me at ecofriendlymommy@gmail.com

Also, if you are looking for a place to recycle your cartons, go to the Carton Council.


GREEN TOYS Review & Giveaway


A mom fellow blogger at 8-muddyboots is hosting a wonderful giveaway from GREEN TOYS.
She is offering a toy from GREEN TOYS as part of the giveaway, and they are truly eco-friendly! If you're looking for a toy for that special little one, check out their site! It is very neat.



Thursday, May 14, 2009

UV Skinz Reversible Bucket Hat Review and Giveaway!


Mommy-mommo currently has a giveaway for a Reversible Bucket Hat by a company named UV Skinz. Check it out.


Monday, May 11, 2009

CLOTH Diapers V.S. DISPOSABLE Diapers

Being a parent in today's day and age, it is so hard to find the right kind of diaper for your child in this competitive market! So many options...

My husband and I weren't sure if we should use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. We thought, using disposable diapers just fills up the landfill, and statistics say we dispose 18 billion diapers a year! The plastic liners do not biodegrade, therefore just fills up the landfills. It is a very scary thought. But... if you use cloth diapers you're using a lot of electricity and water to clean/reuse the diapers. Which is better? It has been a very difficult topic / decision for us. Below are the GREEN options we considered. Perhaps, it may be some information you already know, but this is what we were able to find.
  • CLOTH DIAPERS

    There are many different companies and brands that make different cloth diapers. It is quite a big market and you can choose many. One brand we found that we almost used was called Bumkins. They are Made in the USA and are 100% American materials & manufacturing. They are Free of Vinyl, PVC, Phthalates, & BPA. Not to mention, they have a different variety of cloth diapers. All in ones, Contour Diapers, Bamboo Diapers, Flat Cloth Diapers, Diaper Covers (for when your babies/toddlers goes swimming). They are absolutely stylish and adorable! Bumkins also has many other accessories such as bibs, washcloths, towels, organic items, & more!

    Gerber also makes organic flat cloth diapers. I hear the absorbency is very good for a cloth diaper, and people have used them for burp cloths instead of diapers...

    There are other companies too... I will list some of them, but I have not done thorough research yet on these brands since they are fairly newer. (i.e. - Kushies, FuzziBunz, Happy Heiny's, bumGenius)

  • HYBRID DIAPERS
    (Our Son in the BROWN gDiaper)

    There are hybrid diapers out there! Now, my husband and I do use these with our son. They are called gDiapers. We absolutely love them because the diapers are cloth & very cute, and the disposable liners you put inside are plastic free, biodegradable, & flushable! There is the diaper cover which is made of cotton, then a plastic liner holder that snaps inside the diaper cover, and inside that liner holder, you lay your disposable liner. The disposable liners are very absorbent and are great quality. You can put your wet liners in your compost bins or boxes and they will biodegrade, or... just flush them! The liners will not fill up the landfill, but you will need to wash your liner holders and the diaper covers time to time. But... the washes will not be as frequent since you will not be soiling the whole diaper every time your baby does their duty. They have starter kits that include all the instructions, and they come in size Small, Medium, or Large. Check them out...


    Kushies also makes flushable and biodegradable liners, but have not used them myself. However, it is still viable "GREEN" option! They say you can line them in your cloth diapers and even in your disposable diapers.

  • DISPOSABLE DIAPERS

    SEVENTH GENERATION is a wonderful company that makes eco-friendly products. Their diapers are great! We have actually used these, and they have a cloth like feel, instead of like some of the conventional disposable diapers. They are Chlorine Free, Hypoallergenic, & Fragrance and latex free. They are Made in the USA. They come in Size 0 to 6. They also have training pants as well. Have not used the training pants yet, but I probably will in the near future!

    Earth's Best has been around for a long time. They make a variety of baby products, even food. My husband and I have actually used these diapers and still do. They have the best absorbency. We use these on our son during the night since it has wonderful absorbency and keeps our baby dry longer. They are Chlorine Free, Latex & Dye Free, Contain Natural absorbency materials (corn and wheat), and they are made with Renewable resources and fewer petro chemicals. These diapers are Made in the USA as well.


    Nature Babycare is one of the best and award winning brands that make baby products. They have especially won numerous awards for their diapers. These diapers are also 100% chlorine free,non oil based, and made from renewable materials. Nature babycare products are based on natural and renewable materials instead of plastic, therefore the diapers have a soft and cloth-like feel.

    Why is CHLORINE FREE important? It doesn't contribute to the dioxin pollution and also helps avoid diaper rash.

    These are our findings, when we did our research. We definitely recommend doing your own research and see what works best for you and your family.

BUYING DIAPERS


When our son was born, my husband and I found ourselves driving to the store almost every week to buy diapers! The cost of gas and the costs of diapers alone were adding up! It was ridiculous and not to mention, so bad for the environment! The less we drive the better. I found a store online that has great deals for diapers. It's called DIAPERS.COM! How original and simple is that? They will give you FAST & FREE Premium Shipping for any order over $49. I ordered the diapers on a Friday and received them Monday evening! We live in California, and if you do as well... you do not have to pay the sales tax! They are offering $10.00 off your first order of diapers and this applies to new customers only.

The discount code is: KMDE4755

Check out the site. They don't only have diapers. They have apparel, toiletries, food, and many other items.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Feeding Your Baby HOMEMADE ORGANIC Foods

Before our son was born, my husband and I decided to make a goal of feeding our baby only homemade organic foods and breast milk for his first year. We even made sure I ate mostly Organic & Natural Foods while I was pregnant. I must be honest, I did derail a bit from the "organic" diet due to cravings. We were very picky even about the clothing! We wanted all organic / NOT made in China (since there were so many recalls).

Feeding your baby ORGANIC foods can be very vital and important. For one, when you make your own food, you know it is less processed and made right in your own kitchen! Two, when you use organic ingredients, you can have a peace of mind knowing your baby is not eating all the harsh chemicals (i.e.- pesticides, hormones, bleach, etc.) when eating food. Three, you have the freedom to make all sorts of baby food, the way you want for your child.

Anyhow, we did our due diligence to do as much research as we can to make sure we accomplished our goal about giving our child the best nutrition possible. Below are a few things we used that were helpful to us.


One thing we came by was a book by Lisa Barnes, the petit appetit COOKBOOK (Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler). Lisa actually resides in San Francisco. Her book has even won the iParenting Media Award. This book is not only a cookbook but talks about raising your child healthy & naturally in today's day and age. Plus, the recipes are very simple and easy to follow. We absolutely love this book!


Second thing we used a lot is our food processor. There are many food processors out there, and any of them will work fine. I've found that smaller ones are better because they are easier to wash and to maintain since you will be using it frequently. We use our small black & decker that my mother-in-law purchased for us.


Third, after processing the food after it's cooked, we put it in the freezer. In order to do so, we found freezer trays to store baby food! Yes, you can use regular ice trays as well, but I've found it's hard to find ice trays that have a cover on them. Therefore, I purchased these. Also... more importantly they are BPA & Phthalate FREE! They are made by a company called KidCo. Each section has approximately 1 oz. servings. There is also a writing space that is wide enough to be able to label your trays with a dry erase marker. Plus, they are dishwasher safe.


Last... but not least, sometimes when we were on the go and had to go some place, we transferred one serving of the food we wanted to give to our son and put it in this Kidco Feeding Dish. You put your frozen pieces in the tray, and by the time you get to where you are going, they have already defrosted. It has worked wonderfully for us, especially when we have gone out to dinners or an outing some place. This dish is also BPA / Phthalate FREE. It comes with a spoon to attach to the tray, and is microwave & dishwasher safe.

Yes, they do sell Organic Baby Food in a jar, but we decided not to go that route. Reasons being... you don't know what they actually put in the jar since you did not pack it yourself (yes... that does kind of sound paranoid, but it's so true!), might have some bacterial contamination since there have been many recalls on even organic baby foods in jars, and because it's jarred it is somewhat processed. There are many options out there, but this is what we did and worked for us. Definitely do your own research and see what works best for you and your family!


Discovery Toys HAMMER AWAY toy, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

My husband's cousin, MOMMY-MOMO, has a giveaway currently for a Discovery Toy! The giveaway ends Friday, May 15th. Check it out...

mommy-momo


Organic / Natural Toiletries

Sometimes it is hard to find organic / natural toiletries for a good price. My mother-in-law has found an online store called, Grand Strand Organics. Check them out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Understanding "ORGANIC" Food Labels


When my husband and I first went shopping for organic / natural foods, we definitely did not know what we were doing. If only we knew what we know now! It can be confusing at times when something on the shelf at a grocery store will say it is Organic... and yet, it does not have perhaps the USDA Organic stamp on the packaging. So... what does that mean?

  1. USDA LABEL
In order to be a certified organic food producer, USDA requires all American growers or food processors, if labeling their food organic, their products must be all or at least 95% organic in order to use the official USDA organic label.

The food producers may not use the following materials or practices:
  • Toxic Synthetic Pesticides and Fertilizers
  • Sewage Sludge
  • Fresh Manure
  • Irradiation
2. GENERAL ORGANIC FOOD LABEL INFO :
  • 100% organic
    All ingredients are organic.
  • Organic
    At least 95% of ingredients are organic
  • Made with Organic Ingredients
    At least 70 percent of ingredients are organic
  • Organic label on information panel, but not on front of the packaging
    Less than 70% of ingredients are organic
For more tips on shopping organic foods for yourself and especially your little ones, check out Petit Appetit.

You can also find more helpful label information at From My Motorhome to Yours.


Our Introduction to the GREEN LIFE...

Around the home, my husband and I make a dual effort to make sure things are all natural/organic/eco-friendly, even right down to our toothpaste. Few years ago, my mother in-law came down with cancer and during her recovery, she shared with us about some of her findings about being organic and natural. To be honest, when she first told us about her findings, we didn't think much of it at first. Then, she purchased a book for my husband (her son), one year for Christmas called, Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About, it totally changed our outlook on the food we ate and not to mention our lifestyle! That same year, right after Christmas, we emptied all of our cupboards, refrigerator, pantry, and even some things in our medicine cabinet, and threw some of it away and gave some of it to the local food drive and friends. We went out and spent nearly $1000, in one weekend to get all organic or natural spices, baking goods, meat, toiletries, dog food, you name it! We have never turned back since (although... my husband will slip in a few unhealthy things here or there...). We are so thankful, Pam (my mother-in-law), shared with us her findings of living the lifestyle of being organic and natural. We feel much better and not to mention, knowing we're not eating all those processed foods is comforting. It's scary to think the vegetables we were eating were radiated, our cooking flour was bleached, what kind of chemical did they use to color the drinks? Not to mention preservatives? We've been trying not to only eat green but also live a green lifestyle since Christmas of 2004. It has been a slow and gradual process, but still trying to strive our goal of being completely 100% green... if that is possible.


Baby & Children Clothing - CRAZY 8


While... I try to buy my son organic clothing at stores, it has been quite a challenge finding clothing in his size that is 100% organic cotton. As much as I am a firm believer in buying all organic, I also think it's important to show awareness in the spirit of being green. I purchased three of these shirts from a store called Crazy8. They have very cute and unique clothing for children of all ages. By the way... these shirts happen to be on sale for $3.99 to $4.99 right now! Perfect for the summer.


Our Son on Earth Day!




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