Monday, August 31, 2009

Protect the Princess

My daughter, like most babies, loved to put things in her mouth when she was younger. It is developmentally appropriate for babies to explore their surroundings this way. I was always looking for safe items that she could play with that was not harmful. It got much easier when that phase was over and I didn't think I had to be so concerned about her toys. However, when all of the recalls that were made in China started to occur, I became more vigilant about what she was playing with.

Now in her 3's, one of her favorite things to play is tea party. She is a such a little princess and loves to pretend, set the table, and have a "grand lady tea party." Undoubtedly, I am always her grand lady friend that joins her in a spot of tea with our other guests which are either stuffed or sing a happy tune when you pull their strings.
She is so good at pretending that the plastic items were always touching her mouth which led me on a search for a safer tea set that was still charming and of

I'm excited to share my find with all of you that have or know a little one that likes to play tea party. The set is made by Green Toys, a company that sells all "made in the USA" products. That makes this mom smile! And, better yet, no BPA's, phthyalates, or lead paint. Way to go Green Toys! Where can you buy it? Will Dill.
Wild Dill products are organic, fair trade, sweatshop-free, natural and recycled. They have the sweetest website and I just read that you can now save 15% off your next order by signing up for the Wild Dill newsletter.

Here's to sipping tea,playing pretend, and protecting the princesses!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Come Visit My Farmer's Market!

I so enjoy waking up early on Saturday mornings and heading over to the Kapiolani Farmer's Market (held at KCC). For those of you who don't live here in Hawaii, it's a beautiful location with the Pacific Ocean all around and famous Diamond Head Mountain so close you could reach out and touch it.
As soon as I pull up, locals and tourists armed with reusable bags and stainless steel water bottles, are lining up for some of the freshest produce and delicious food around.
After I slather the sunscreen on my daughter and myself, we are off to our first stop, Pacific Cool to buy ginger drinks. I like the ginger cooler which is ginger juice with agave syrup, seltzer water, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprig of basil.
Then, we are off to Nalo Farms to buy watercress and other greens. Nalo greens, grown in Waimanalo, are served in many fine dining restaurants on Oahu. Next door is Aloun Farms, one of the biggest farms in Hawaii, that has the sweetest watermelons around. They are also home to Hawaii's only pumpkin patch.

Wow Tomatoes, another great vendor, grows very sweet organic tomatoes, that tastes delicious on a sandwich or in a salad.
Now we usually are getting hungry from all the fabulous smells in the air and head over to Two Hot Tomatoes for their zucchini and green tomatoes lightly fried and super wonder there is always a line! I love making homemade pesto with all the fresh herbs I buy from Ma'o Farms, in Waianae. You have to come early to their tent because they sell out fast!
All of my lettuce is bought from Maunawili Greens. It is hydroponically grown butter lettuce that melts like butter in your mouth. I recently discovered from chatting with these lovely ladies that their organic sprouts are a super food and a must on your salad.

My stroller is now pretty loaded, but one more stop to buy some Hawaiian flowers for my table. Oooo, they smell heavenly!

Some other vendors that are fabulous are~
North Shore Cattle Co. grass fed beef - I usually cannot resist their burgers.

Taro Delight-makes very tasty smoked taro (it's a wonderful dip for parties and taro is very nutritious for you)

Fresh from the Farm Eggs - you can taste the difference!

'Licious Dishes raw food - ...yum!

Try their lasagna. They also have a
store in Honolulu.
Kaiulani Spices - the owner is a sweetheart who makes any food come alive with her exotic spices

With all of the fresh produce and yummy treats, I am always a little more excited to go home and cook...I'm eating my pesto, tomato, and goat cheese sandwich right now!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Karma Organic Nails

Living in sunny Hawaii and always wearing "slippahs" (that's flip flops for all the non-locals) I go through a lot of toe nail polish. Four years ago, I learned more about the harmful chemicals in nail polish and tossed most of my rainbow chemical concoctions, to search for safer brands. Now, I am even more careful what I buy because my daughter want to paint her toes too.

I like Karma Organics own line of non-toxic, chemical-free (no toluene, formaldehyde, or DBP), and cruelty-free nail care products. They are a spa located in Ridgewood New Jersey (not too far from where I grew up).

Karma also carries an organic mixture soy Polish Remover that is 100% Biodegradable, soy and corn based, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, free of Petroleum, and all from crops which support American farming. They are packaged in recyclable glass bottles and comes in lavender, tea tree, or unscented.

This gives me another reason to fly back to the east go to this spa with my Jersey friends!

A New Chapter on Vitamins

There are so many different types of vitamins found everywhere nowadays-from grocery stores, convenient shops, an explosion of online sellers, to even bottled water. Due to our mineral depleted soil, poor dietary habits, and environmental pollution, people need to take additional vitamins and minerals, usually in a pill form. But which ones are the best. The best for your body is determined by what your body actually can absorb from the supplement and is able to use.

Research has shown that whole foods are more bio available for your body. This is how God designed us-to get our nutrients from foods, not necessary pills. So, when doing my research on vitamins I found New Chapter, a company from Vermont that has a vast array of supplements all from whole foods. They are committed to protecting the environment and delivering quality products that are derived from organic foods.

One of my favorite's is their Whole Omega comprised of Omega 3’s, 5, 6’s, 7 and 9’s from wild salmon. This omega contains all of the good fats that benefits our brain, heart, and eyes. They also help with the immune and digestive systems. I definitely feel the difference from taking Whole Omega.

They have many more impressive products on there website that you can read about and a Naturopathic Physician that can help answer all your questions.
These are vitamins you can feel good about taking!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Take a break-FREE Organic Dinner!

To all my hard working readers that strive to eat healthy meals and provide them for your families, I have a dinner for you!!!
My husband loves cooking and I enjoy cooking, but sometimes you need a break.
I recently tried Helen's Kitchen USDA organic GMO free foods, found at my Whole Foods market. This is a gourmet line of dinners that are good for you and tastes amazing.

The other night my family and I decided to try these 'lishes dishes while watching a movie. The farfalle and basil pesto was creamy, delicious, and totally satisfying. The red thai curry was very authentic and the mac and cheese...we never tasted because my daughter confiscated it.
All I can say is Thank-you Helen:)
The best part is all of you will have a chance to take a break from the kitchen and

WIN 2 of Helen's organic meals of your choice!

All you have to do is reply to this blog post telling me you want to be eligible to win your tasty dinners by September 3rd. The winners will be notified on September 4th. GOOD LUCK!!!

*if you like what "Mommy's Favorite Things" is all about please click on the "follow" button to your left of the page:)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Put a TWIST in your cleaning

I love a green clean house. With so many new and safer cleaning products popping up everywhere, I thought I would share some of Mommy's Favorites...

What is "Bon Appetit", "House Beautiful", and "Everyday with Rachel Ray" saying about cleaning green?
Twist! They are all twisting- are you?

Twist makes naked sponges, loofah sponges, bamboo cloths and more. But here is the real twist - they are natural and Eco-friendly cleaning tools without the harmful chemicals and dyes other sponges and cloths contain. I use their loofah sponge to wash dishes and their super soft bamboo cloth to dust. Their packaging can be converted into bird feeders and mobiles~ what a great way to encourage people to recycle! They are sold at Target, Whole Foods and many local grocery and specialty stores.

A question I am often asked is how can you kill mold, mildew, bacteria and fungus with natural products? There are several essential oils that will do the trick. Something I just found at the "Made in Hawaii Festival" this weekend is "Green Max Pro."

I loved the story behind the product and just had to try it. Jeani, the maker of Green Max Pro, was poisoned with chemicals where she worked and prayed to God for a cleaning solution that she wouldn't react to. He gave her the recipe for this amazing cleaner. It's made of organic kelp, tea tree and grapefruit seed extract and it smells like fresh peppermint. It's even safe enough to use on your skin as a bug repellent. I have been spraying it everywhere in my house! It REALLY works!

Here's to you and safe cleaning:)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tea by the Sea

 is utter bliss to sip a great tea accompanied by yummy delectable treats, while watching the sea. It's even better when what you are eating and drinking is good for you.
I was getting ready for an afternoon tea at a friend's house and wondering what to make. Since, I have been writing about the goodness of blueberries, I decided on blueberry pie...the healthy way! I used Wholly Wholesome organic whole wheat crust from the freezer section at my whole foods market. It made the process so much easier and also semi homemade. The crust was outstanding and now I always keep one pie shell in my freezer for a quick dessert. Also, Wholly Wholesome makes a fabulous frozen blueberry pie!
Drinking tea, especially herbal and green tea has tons of antioxidants. Just ask Dr. Eric Braverman. he is a big advocate of drinking tea because it's full of nutrients, especially polyphenols. These antioxidants can improve your health. "Studies have shown that tea drinkers, those who consistently drink two cups or more a day, have:
• A lower risk of cancer
• Healthier intestinal flora, which inhibits bacteria
• A lower risk of heart disease
• Improved their glucose tolerance, preventing diabetes
• Continuously detoxified their liver," states Dr. Braverman in Lose Weight and Stay Warm with Tea.

So, how was the high tea by the sea? It was simply lovely. I drank a cup of green tea while eating hamachi and other sushi (all loaded with omega 3) and then had a cup of roobis tea while eating the delicious blueberry pie. So sit back have a cup of tea and don't feel guilty having a piece of this pie because this high tea is an antioxidant afternoon!!

Blueberry Pie
4 cups of blueberries
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey
4 tablespoons of whole wheat flour or tapioca flour
1 tablespoon of orange juice or a squeeze of lemon juice
1 (9-inch) wholly wholesome pie crust

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
In a bowl, Mix washed and dried blueberries with flour, then add the sugar and honey and orange juice. Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie shell. Another trick is to buy a second pie shell, defrost and roll the dough out and cut into strips and lay it in a lattice pattern across your pie. It really adds a homemade touch.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour and let it cool before serving.

Friday, August 21, 2009

NONI for better health

When walking past Noni trees, it's hard not to notice the peculiar shape of a Noni fruit. They are prickly, bumpy, and thrive in Hawaii's rich volcanic soil. I have only recently started to take Noni as a supplement after hearing the remarkable makeup of this funny looking fruit. I decided to try it after reading "Force of Nature," by Laird Hamilton (one of the world's greatest big-wave surfers). After reading that Laird takes Noni ... I decided to take Noni too. (Ha! Ha!)
I mean here is a guy who surfs gigantic waves and has to be in peak condition, so if this helps him- I'm game.

I have to admit, even just a sip is really strong and tastes horrible. I mix it with water or juice and swallow it down. The benefits are extraordinary, it has a strong medicinal alkaloid called proxeronine that aids damaged cells in healing. Noni has also been known to purify blood from toxins, help digestion, and make your immune system stronger. The brand I take is Hawaiian Herbal Blessings from Haiku, Maui. If you have ever been to Haiku, then you know how beautiful and lush it is! Their Noni is 100% pure and organic with no other juices or fillers and is fermented for 3 to 4 months before pressing following a 2000 year old Hawaiian tradition (I like that part). They also sell amazing smelling Noni lavender soap!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Breakfast on the Beach

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It's also especially nice when you can savor the time to eat it. This morning was one such morning that we enjoyed homemade scones with jam while watching the waves. I have made these simple scones before but what made them irresistible was the jam. I am not a preserve connoisseur but there is a difference between jelly and jam. Jam is made from whole fruit including seeds and fruit skin which gives it a thick chunky spread. It also contains more vitamins and minerals than jelly and is less sweet. Jelly is sweeter and made from the fruits juices so it's thinner and has an even spread.

I prefer jam and tried Crofters fruit spread. A fruit spread has even more fruit and contains one-third less sugar than jam. The super fruit spread had- raspberries, yumberries, with cherries, and red grapes. Anything that includes yumberries as an ingredient has to be good. It is delicious and good for you too, containing lots of antioxidants and is USDA organic. The packaging is attractive with 4 jams in all covering 4 continents and their unique flavors and ingredients - Asia , Europe, North America, and South America. So, all and all, my scones were good but the super fruit spread was better.
2 cup organic flour (you can use 1 cup white and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup organic 1/2 and 1/2
1 organic egg
3/4 tsp salt
dried fruit
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix and add butter. In a separate bowl, mix cream with egg then add to the dry mixture. (put in dried fruit if desired). Mix well and roll dough out. Then and cut into triangles . Bake for 15 minutes

Eco Craft: Recycled Numbers

We made these numbers yesterday out of leaves, scraps of materials, and the labels off of cans. What a great way to teach your child numbers, collaging, and about recycling all at the same time. It also makes a lovely wall display when finished.

Materials needed:

a hard price of cardboard
pieces of anything outside or inside your home that is relatively flat and easy to glue...the possibilities are endless!

*buttons work great too

note: for a very young child, make sure not to use small items. Larger materials work better and parents do the cutting :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Safe Bleach?

When washing whites, regular detergent just doesn't cut it (if you know what I mean). Bleach always seemed like a necessity for bright whites. But there are alternatives that are better for you (and your lungs) and also the environment.

One of my favorite bleach alternatives is "pure oxygen whitener" by Eco Store ( a New Zealand company). It works great without unhealthy chemicals- no phosphates, chlorine, petrochemicals, or dyes.

I also use their dish washing powder. Again, no toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your health or cause skin irritation, just plant based surfactants, mineral salts, and essential oils. Did you know that using a dishwasher uses less water than hand washing. What a great excuse to run it!
Happy and Healthy Cleaning:)

Lose Weight Eating Blueberries

Good Morning,
Yes, It's true...You can actually lose weight around your mid section by adding 1/2 cup of blueberries to your diet every day. Not only will they help you get trim, but they are also high in antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body.
"Blueberries activate a gene that is responsible for burning belly fat while also turning down a gene that stores fat," describes E. Mitchell Seymour, research scientist at the University of Michigan.
Yea! That is good news because blueberries are delicious and easy to add to your day-fresh, frozen, or dried.
The picture above shows a great way my fabulous husband makes mangoes and blueberries fun for our daughter. We call it fruit checkers. It will also impress your brunch guests!
Have fun with your fruit today!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hum Hum and Quackers !

"Hum hum and quackers" is the name my daughter used to call one of her favorite snacks - A.K.A. Hummus and crackers.

Hummus tastes good and is good for you. Kids love to dip their crackers and veggies in it, while getting protein and omegas in their diet. Of course, adults love it too.

One of my favorite crackers to dip in hummus is "Mary's Gone... Crackers." They are popping up on shelves in grocery and health food stores everywhere. The crackers are super crunchy and tastes great but best of all they are wheat free, gluten free, and trans fat free. They come in different flavors and all contain nourishing ingredients such as brown rice, quinoa, flax seeds, and sesame seeds.

Easy Hummus Recipe:
1 can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and combine ingredients in food processor. Blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add a few tablespoons of water if it's too thick. Garnish with parsley. And dip away:)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exfoliate Exfoliate

Exfoliating once or twice a week is a good practice for clearer smoother skin. It gets rid of dead skin cells to show a softer and younger skin. Your choice of an Exfoliant comes in different forms and some can be rough on delicate facial tissue, so be picky on what product you buy.

Mommy's Favorite: DERMA E Microdermabrasion Scrub

It is gentle and "utilizes a crystal blend system to remove dead skin cells and absorb excess oils. Markedly diminishes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and retexturizes your skin, leaving it silky smooth. The crystal blend used in this product is a large molecular structure and is therefore not bio-available to the body, so there is no possibility of absorption through the skin."
Derma E is an excellent company that has a full line of topical skincare products. They don't use animal testing and their products are pH balanced. Derma E uses recyclable packaging, uses non-GMO ingredients and is paraben free. They are featured in a ton of magazines and have won numerous awards.
Check out Derma E's website. They offer FREE samples of their products.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Healthy Happy Green Baby

I have too many favorite baby things to write in one post, so I will spread them out over the next few weeks.

Today, let's talk organic baby clothes. Online baby boutiques are popping up everywhere. So, why buy organic? Conventionally grown cotton contains pesticides and chemicals that may cause rashes and eczema on sensitive skin. Organic cotton is natural, breathable, and softer and better for the environment.

One of my favorite online baby stores is Organically Grown , they carry the sweetest baby clothing and accessories for boys and girls. Check out their cute clothes.

If you do not buy organic, make sure you wash your baby's new clothing a few times before wearing them. Baby laundry detergents smell great, and who doesn't want their bundle of joy smelling like baby powder. However, that smell probably contains perfumes, dyes, and other chemicals, so opt for a fragrance free detergent/fabric softener or one that contains natural essentials oils like lavender.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Banana Pumpkin Bread

Since it was raining today and my daughter loves to cook, we decided not to let our over ripe bananas go to waste.

I am always looking for ways to make a good recipe more nutritious. So, I decided to add pumpkin to an old banana bread recipe and make some substitutions with a few ingredients. It was an experiment but turned out great.

Here are are few of the ingredients I added:
  • Buckwheat flour - according to Dr. Andrew Weil, it's a superfood. It's one of the healthiest sources of complex carbohydrates and is high in all eight amino acids, it’s close to being a complete protein and is gluten free.
  • Pumpkin - rich in vitamins and minerals, especially beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Honey - high in minerals
  • Xylitol - lower in glycemic index, helps prevent tooth decay
  • Walnuts - high in omega 3 fatty acid, good source of protein

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1/3 stick of organic butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup honey or agave
1/2 cup xylitol or organic sugar
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour or white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup of buckwheat flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 can of pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, stir banana, eggs, butter (or oil), pumpkin, honey and sugar. Mix the rest of the dried ingredients and stir into the banana mixture. Add chopped walnuts if you desire and pour batter into the greased pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I had to bake it for an extra 15 minute- so check using a knife or toothpick to see when its ready.
Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Are What You Breathe

We breathe all the time, all day long. We breathe approximately 17,280 breaths in a day (on average, depending on activity level). But what are we breathing? Sometimes city traffic fumes, smoke, or other contaminants. Our bodies tell us automatically that this air smells bad and it's not good for us. Our reaction is to get away from the toxic smell.

But what happens when we are indoors and the air smells fine? Is it fine? Research shows there are many sources of indoor air pollution in homes and workplaces. People spend most of their time indoors. So, what can we do about it?

NASA and ALCA did a study where they tested 19 different common houseplants for their ability to remove pollutants from the air. The good news is the plants did a great job cleaning up the air quality. Having plants in your home or workplace will add Feng Shui to the space, look beautiful, sometimes smell nice, and make you healthier!

The recommended plants for your home are below:

1. Philodendron scandens `oxycardium',
2. Philodendron domesticum, elephant ear
3. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana',
4. Hedera helix, English ivy
5. Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
6. Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig',
7. Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii',
8. Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
9. Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
10. Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa', peace lily
11. Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron
12. Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen
13. Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm
14. Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant
15. Dracaena marginata , red-edged dracaena

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The O.N.E. and only!

Drink More Water!

We hear this from our mothers, our doctors, and our friends. There are a lot of people walking around in a dehydrated state. People often mistake the signs of thirst for hunger and usually crave salt, (interestingly enough) which will make them even more thirsty. They might make a quick stop for a caffeine beverage or a soda, which will further dehydrate them.

The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 120 lbs you should be drinking around 60 ounces of water a day. That is roughly 7.5 glasses of water. When you exercise your body needs more and could benefit from an electrolyte balanced drink. Before you grab a sports drink, I have a healthier and better tasting alternative: coconut water! It tastes awesome and is good for you too. It has more potassium, magnesium, and calcium than other sports drinks. The brand that is my favorite is O.N.E coconut water. Okay, I know I live where coconuts flourish and they are literally everywhere but O.N.E you can find on Amazon, in your local wholefoods or health food stores, or on their website.

When my daughter is playing outside in the hot sun we always have some on hand. They have other flavors like cashew berry, coffee berry, and acai. Coconut water is the natural way to stay hydrated and to replace lost electrolytes due to exercise or illness. It's a great thing-enjoy:)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Carrot Ginger Soup

This is my favorite soup to make because it tastes great, its pretty easy, and my daughter loves it. Carrots are good for you because they help maintain healthy vision, immunity, skin health, and help aid in cancer prevention.

When we come home from the beach we love to get snuggled up in comfy clothes and enjoy a hot bowl of soup. The recipe can be made without ginger also

Organic Carrot Ginger Soup

1lb of organic carrots sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
3 c organic chicken or vegetable broth
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
11/2 inch thick piece of ginger
1/2 c organic milk
sage, salt, pepper to season

First, saute onion and garlic in olive oil then add broth carrots and ginger bring it to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook until carrots are tender about 20 minutes. Let it cool and then add 1/2 cup of organic milk (this makes it more creamy) sprinkle of sage, pepper, salt and puree' and serve.

Carrot on Foodista

Nightshades Got You Down?

I have been doing some research on nightshades and thought I would share my findings:

What Are Nightshades?

Tomatoes, white potatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers- chili and paprika, and eggplant are all part of the Nightshade Family. Also a part of this species is tobacco and some other toxic plants. Some nightshade plants are ingredients found in narcotics.

What's the big deal?

Studies have found that nightshades contain high levels of alkaloids. High alkaloids can cause bones to excrete calcium and other minerals from the body. Studies have found arthritis symptoms in patients were lessened when eliminating nightshades from their diets.

Wait a second - aren't these fruits and vegetables good for you?

Yes, they contain lots of vitamins and tastes delicious but remember to be aware of your body. Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Moderation is key and most people have no reaction to eating nightshades. Talk to your doctor if you have arthritic symptoms or joint pain and your diet is high in these plants.
**Google nightshades to find out more

Saturday, August 8, 2009

80,000 Chemicals in Everyday Products, But Who’s Counting (No One) | Healthy Child Healthy World

80,000 Chemicals in Everyday Products, But Who’s Counting (No One) | Healthy Child Healthy World

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No Plain Jane!

Always on a quest to find stylish yet comfortable shoes, beautiful but practical handbags, and pure natural glamorous makeup- I'm getting closer with one of my new makeup favorites, Jane Iredale. Jane has worked with the Hollywood stars and has developed a pure and beautiful line. With many awards like Allure's 2008 Best of Beauty award, what's so different about her makeup? There are no fillers, preservatives, perfume, or FD+C Dyes. It is a concentrated pigment, has a minimum allergy risk, is oil free, and contains 24 KARAT food grade Gold Dust! Now that is exciting.
So, what's in my makeup drawer from Jane Iredale? Her "So-Bronze 2" bronzing powder. It's light and luminescent with a sun kissed finish. There is nothing plain about Jane's makeup. I also think her sweet 15 eye shadows, displayed like an artist's palette in a gold case, is dazzling.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Baby Chef

Since my husband and I enjoy cooking, it's natural that our three year old wants to share in our culinary desire also. She wants to stir, pour, name it. So we got her a child set of kitchen tools from IKEA, an apron, and a step stool.

Move over Rachel Ray! Food Network watch out!
My 3 year old can cook!

We make a lot of "creations" together and this is a quick snack she likes very much. The possibilities are endless for this snack, so use whatever healthy dried or fresh fruits, nut butters, and/or veggies you have. The bread we used is one of my favorites :
Rudy's ancient grain spelt bread. We love this bread because it tastes great and contains sesame, sunflower and flax seeds, different grains, and 4g of protein. For a round face use their Multi grain with flax English muffins. We just tried them today-Excellent! It also has a slight sweet taste and is soft inside when toasted. This recipe makes for a great activity at birthday parties. Because they are making a face it's kind of an art project too- so have fun!

Silly Monkey Recipe

slice of Rudy's bread or English muffin (great for fiber)

banana slices (great for potassium)

frozen or fresh blueberries, strawberries (antioxidants)

dried goji berries (antioxidants:beta-carotene and zeaxanthin)

almond or cashew butter (high in protein and calcium also cashew butter has been known to prevent plaque on teeth)

honey (contains minerals :copper and magnesium)

flax seeds (high in omega 3)

****an alternative to honey substitute natural jam, agave nectar, or black strap molasses
and ENJOY!!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Falafel Lettuce Wraps

We try and eat a few meatless dinners a week. I made this last night and it's so fun. I chop up cabbage, carrots, and sprouts. I use lettuce cups and Ezekiel pitas to hold the falafels and sauce.
Also, hummus works great instead of tahini sauce or in addition.


1 can chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 cups grape seed or canola oil
Mint leaves, for garnish

Tahini Sauce:
· 3 tablespoons tahini
· 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
· 1 tablespoons honey
· 2 tablespoons water
· 1 teaspoon Bragg's amino
· 1 teaspoon lemon juice
· 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
· Pinch garlic/parsley salt
***Put all ingredients into a bowl and whisk

Put chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, salt, cumin, tahini and lemon juice into a food processor and blend. Then add flour and baking powder and blend again. Roll into balls and fry all sides until golden brown, ***drain on paper towel and serve plain, in a pita, or lettuce wrap

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's For Breakfast?

I have asked myself this question every morning for a long time now. I want something that is good for my body that will give me energy but not too filling. Too many carbohydrates for breakfast will make me tired so my body tends to do better with more protein in the morning

Everyone is different, but one thing that research has shown is eating a good breakfast is important. So, these are some of my favorite ways to start the day.

I never underestimate the power of a shake, especially if I'm going to workout in the morning. I have tried quite a few protein shakes and really like Fit Food Lite (vanilla) by Health Masters. It is 100% Bio active whey protein from New Zealand sweetened with xylitol. I have had the privilege of speaking with Dr. Broer, the founder behind this great protein shake and learned a great deal about the benefits of whey. I am happy to say that it fills me up and I feel great with tons of energy.

Later on in the morning I'm ready for an omelet or yogurt with fruit. I really like yogurt and my favorite is Oikos by Stonyfield. This Greek yogurt is strained which makes it rich and creamy and easier to cook with because it's less likely to curdle when heated. It also has twice the protein than regular yogurt, lower in lactose, and its organic. It comes in a lot of yummy flavors but I prefer plain topped with berries.

My daughter loves smoothies, so below is a recipe for her good morning smoothie:

Good Morning Smoothie
1/2 cup of yogurt (Oikos)
1/2 cup of frozen berries (we use blueberries and strawberries)
1/4 cup of acai juice (or favorite juice or water)
half of a frozen banana

Blend together and serve. Happy drinking:)

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Finer Things

Needing to buy a special gift? Or maybe just looking for that beautiful piece that is just.... soooo you?

There are jewelry stores everywhere you look but are they selling conflict free diamonds and gems? Are they mined and cut in an ethically responsible way? Are they eliminating dirty mining by using renewed metals? Probably not, but I have found a fantastic jewelry company that does. Brilliant Earth has beautifully designed rings, stunning diamonds, and an array of fine jewelry.

You can also express your unique individuality by creating custom jewelry that suites your tastes and budget. They are based out of San Fransisco and gives 5 percent of its profits to local communities in Africa harmed by the diamond industry.

Now that is a good thing:)

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