Archive for December, 2009

Recipe: Leeks and Greens Soup

 

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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This tasty green soup will keep you warm and healthy this winter.  Homemade soups are a stable in our house in the winter.   Soup is fun because you can get creative with it.  I like to make soups with seasonal foods when possible.     Eating warm foods can also make you feel more full faster than eating colder foods.

3 Tbs Butter

1-2 Garlic cloves

1 Onion

1 Leek

8 oz Brussels sprouts (i used frozen to keep the cost down)

4.5 oz green beans

5 Cups organic vegetable stock

1 Cup frozen peas

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp coriander

4 Tbs organic heavy whipping cream

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute over low heat until soft.  Slice the white part of the leek thinly and set aside.  Slice the remaining leek, the brussels sprouts and beans.  Add all 3 to the saucepan along with the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the peas, seasoning and lemon juice, simmer 10-15 minutes.   Let the soup cool then process in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Pour back into the sauce pan and add the reserved leek, boil for 5 minutes, until the leeks are soft.  Adjust the seasoning if needed, add the cream and heat gently.  Serve and enjoy!  Servings:  6, Total time:  1 hourI sometimes top with mozzarella cheese.  I like to make a double batch and freeze some for later.

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Wordless Wednesday Meets Santa

Jack went to the New Albany Fire House to meet santa, do crafts, and donate a toy to another boy in need. 

Jack liked Sparky

Jack liked the trucks

Jack didn't like Santa

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A Homemade Holiday Gift

 
Healthy Home

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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Nothing beats a homemade holiday gift.  Recently, Denise Pickenpaugh came to our New Albany chiropractic office to teach a class on making homemade, all natural soy candles.   Soy is a great alternative to the traditional and unhealthy paraffin candle.  Paraffin candles emit carcinogens into the air.  Have you ever seen the black soot inside of a half burnt candle container and thought about that entering and depositing in your lungs too?  According to a CBS News article “Paraffin, which comes from the distillates of wood or petroleum, can be more toxic than gasoline”.    Planet Green states that the fumes from paraffin candles are similar to those from burning diesel.  Even OSHA lists paraffin as causing irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.  There are many benefits of soy candles over traditional paraffin candles.  Soy candles produce no black soot on walls, ceilings, and the candle container.   Soy beans are renewable, sustainable and grown in the US.  Making or buying soy candles supports American farmers.  Soy candles are non-toxic and non-irritating for people with breathing problems (and for those who don’t want to get breathing problems).   Also, each soy candles is unique and different.  Every soy field is different, with different soil and different properties therefore every candle is unique!  If buying a soy candle look for the percent soy on the label.  A candle can be labeled soy with little soy in it.  Look for 85-100% soy.   I had a great time at the candle making class and learned a lot.  I’m so excited to make some candles for friends and family this year (did I just give that away?).    So here’s what you need to know:

Materials:

  • Decorative container
  • Wick
  • Soy wax flakes
  • Scent
  • Hot glue gun
  • Double boiler
  • Scale
  • Liquid thermometer
  • Chopsticks or skewers

Make your Candle:

  • Heat water in the base of a double boiler to 125-135 degrees (maintain that temperature throughout process).
  • Use the scale to weigh 2lbs of soy wax flakes and place in double boiler
  • After wax is completely melted, add 2 oz of scent (1oz/lb wax) to the waxCook 15-20 min, or 20-30 if using vanilla or another heavy oil
  • In the meantime, use a hot glue gun to attach wick to the bottom of the container. 
  • Use a small wick for 1-2 inch diameter container, medium wick for 2-3 inch diameter, large for 3-4 inch and X-large for 4-5 inch diameter.  For larger containers double wick but be carefulot to place the wicks too close or they will drown each other out.
  • Pour wax into container.
  • Use chopsticks or skewers to hold the wick in place by lying them on top of the container on either side of the wickLet the wax dry, 12-24 hours
  • Trim the wickReady to gift or burn and enjoy!

Look for all natural ingreadients localy at Makes Scents Candles in Pataskala.

Delightful

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The Green Choice: Real or Artificial Christmas Tree?

Growing Up Green! Welcome to the weekly series, Growing up Green.  This will be your eco-friendly stop for green, all-natural, toxin and chemical free tips for your family.   Learn simple and meaningful ways to make your children’s environment a little safer for their health and the earth.
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Image from apartment therapy

This has been a long time debate with strong supporters on both sides.  There are pro’s and con’s to both real and artificial trees but after breaking down the data there becomes a clear Green Star.

 Artificial Christmas Tree

Green:

  •    1 tree last for years, on average 6-9 years
  •    Savings on gas to and from tree farms yearly

UnGreen: 

  • Most trees are petrolium-based and are made of plastics, including toxic and non-biodegradeable PVC and metals
  • They will therefore sit in landfills for hundreds of years
  • Older trees may contain lead.
  • Significant resources are required to provide energy for factories to produce artificial trees
  • 85% of artificial trees are made in China according to the National Christmas Tree Association

Real Christmas Tree

Green:

  • Real trees do not cause deforestation, most come from tree farms
  • Tree farms provide natural habitat to animals
  • Tree farms absorb CO2 and emmit fresh oxygen.
  • Christmas trees in the US provide enought oxygen for 18 million people daily – wow!
  • Tree farms help prevent erosion
  • Real trees can be treecycled into mulch for your garden, learn more about treecycling here.  Find a location near you here.  In Columbus, Ohio bring your tree to SWACO for drop off.   Contact here or here for pick up.     If you would like to take home the mulch from your tree try Kurtz Brothers.

UnGreen:

  •  Gas required driving to the tree farm each year
  • The use of pesticides and herbicides on the trees (except on organic farms)
  • Trees purchased in areas that cannot grow them, where the tree must travel a distance to make it to the tree lot (however travel from state to state uses less resources than traveling overseas)

The Green star goes to….. the real tree!  Read about different types of trees available and care for your tree.  Also check out these top 10 Christmas Tree myths.

 Family History

My family has had a long tradition of cutting down our own tree.  As a child we went the day after Thanksgiving 45 minutes down the road to a tree farm.  We hunted for the perfect family tree.  I usually wanted the largest tree possible with long, soft needles, such as the white pine.  My mother usually went for a smaller fir tree with short, strong, and stiff needles.  We have alternated over the years through different types.  I enjoyed watching my dad cut down our special tree.  My dad took out the back bench of our van and sometimes let my sisters and I sit in the back with the tree (probably not the safest idea, but we thought it was soo cool at the time).  We kept the tree outside for a few weeks before brining it in to decorate.  My dad played Christmas music and made popcorn while decorating the tree.  Eggnog and hot chocolate were often part of the event.  My mom always did the lights and we all helped with the ornaments.  It was a fun family tradition.

 The Next Generation

Family Fun

Last weekend we headed 20 miles to Homestead Farm  in Alexandria, Ohio.  We had such a positive experience last year that it was a no-brainer to head back to the same farm this year and hopefully many years to come.  Jack thoroughly enjoyed the tractor ride to the field.  Tractors and trucks are very exciting to Jack.  We enjoyed a pleasantly sunny and warm day and plenty of trees to choose from.   We found a winner right away but explored the field for a while to enjoy the fresh air before heading back to the barn.  We chose a 7ft white pine; perfect for the spot we planed for it in our home.  Its amazing how much smaller the trees look outside compared to in the house!  Into the field

The winner

Tractor Ride

After the tractor ride back to the barn we enjoyed a warm cup of hot chocolate and cozy fire.  We brought our tree home and put it in water immediately at the recommendation of the staff at Homestead.  It guzzled quite a bit the first few hours then slowed.  Jacked helped mom put the lights on and Dad helped with the ornaments.  Jack tried to take off the ornaments as fast as we put them on.  There are an unusually large amount of ornaments on the top of our tree with a desolate base.  Ever time Jack takes one off we place it up higher.  And of course we played Christmas and burned a fire while we worked!  I can’t wait to see Jack’s face light up when he sees our tree on Christmas morning!  I think it will probably be even more exciting and rewarding than experiencing it as a child myself.  Read more about American Tree Farms

Homestead

Having fun

Having fun

Find a farm near you to cut down your Christmas tree in Ohio

Trivia:  Who developed the first artifical christmas tree in 1930?  Answer

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Baffled by Sugar

Healthy Home

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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Options for Sugar

The sugar aisle in the grocery store is the most confusing and frustrating for me.  So many choices, UGH!!  I don’t like so many choices, it brings out my indecisive side.  Do I go with regular white, brown, Raw, Demerara,

Turbinado, Rapadura, Sucanat, Stevia???  Where do I start?  What’s the difference?  Is one cup of white sugar the same as 1 cup of Rapadura or Turbinado, or Raw?  I’m getting a headache!

After putting in several hours of research here is a synopsis of what I found and a handy chart to tuck in your re-usable shopping bag when at the store.

 “White” & “Brown” Sugar

Let’s start with the traditional refined white sugar.  If you guessed this is the worst and most unhealthy, you are correct!  White sugar has been heated and filtered to the max, not to mention, bleached, so that all nutrients and molasses is filtered and heated out and what is left is fine white crystals with no nutritional value.  Brown sugar goes through the same process but with some of the molasses or caramel coloringbeing added back in (at different ratios for light/dark).

 Turbinado Sugar

This sugar is produced when the juice from crushed sugar cane is extracted and evaporated with heat.  The sugar crystallizes and is spun in a centrifuge.  This removes additional moisture and molasses (the nutrient dense portion of sugar).  A small amount of molasses remains.  Turbinado often comes from Hawaii, one company that produces a form of turbinado is Sugar In The Raw, out of Maui, Hawaii.

 Demerara Sugar

(Washed Raw Sugar) is processed similar to Turbinado.  The name Demerara is from the Demerara River in the Guyana region where this sugar was grown.  It has similar nutritional value to Turbinado.  They are both a light brown, large crystal sugar.  An example of Demerara is here.

 Muscovado Sugar

A dark brown sugar from sugar cane after evaporated, heated, pan-evaporated in the sun, and finally pounded.  It retains a lot of nutrients and is tends to be hold extra moisture, therefore it may take some experimenting before using in baked goods.  Muscovado comes from Mauritius, an island of the coast of Africa.

 Organic Whole Cane Sugar

(formerly Rapadura)

This is an unrefined and unbleached sugar by Rapunzel, harvested in Brazil.  Organic Whole Cane Sugar is not separated from the molasses during the squeeze-dried process.  It is known for a unique caramel flavor.  It can be substituted for white sugar in a 1:1 ratio.  The Rapunzel is very eco-conscious and has been since 1974.  They grow and purchase through the Hand in HandTM Fair Trade program.   Rapunzel works with local small farms in South America and contributes to educational, health and environmental programs in the local community.

 Sucanat

Sucanat stand for SUgar CAne NATural which is a brand name of this first whole, unseperated, unrefined sugar sold in the US. Sucanat comes from whole sugar cane from Costa Rica.  The sugar cane is crushed, the juice extracted and heated then hand-padded dry.  They are certified Fair Trade and Organic.  I have read several sources that state that for a period of time Sucanat  removed the molasses and then added it back in, therefore no longer “whole”, but have since reverted to their original practices.    I have not confirmed this information with the company but have read it on several sites.

All of the above sugars can be subsituted in a 1:1 ratio for white or brown sugar or used in coffee and other beverages.  I have tried Demerara and now moved onto Rapadura.  I like their green practices and consistant product.    I feel liberated to know that I know have more nutritions and healthy staples in my cubbards.  I only wish I would have found these jewels years ago.   Most of these sugars can be purchsed in bulk online at Azure.

Below is a handy chart I found at The Center for Process-Free Living.

Amounts based on 100 grams White Sugar Raw Brown Sugar (Sugar in the Raw) Sucanat Rapadura
Minerals
Potassium (mg) 3-5 15-150 570 600-1,000
Magnesium (mg) 0 13-23 8.7 40-100
Calcium (mg) 10-15 75-95 110  80-110
Phosphorous (mg) 0.3 3-4 37 50-100
Vitamins
A (IU) 0 0 <20 120-1,200
B1 (mg) 0 0.01 0.007 0.023-0.1
B2 (mg) 0 0.006 0.55 0.06-0.15
B6 (mg) 0 0.01 0.27 0.02-0.05
Niacin (mg) 0 0.03 0.7 0.03-0.19
Pantothenic Acid (mg) 0 0.02 0.33 0.34-1.18

Have you tried any of these sugar alternatives?  What has been your experience?

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