Category Archives: Children

15 MINUTE ORGANIC KIDS PIZZA!

This one is for those nights when you say “what are we going to eat?” while staring blankly in your fridge. Even better when you have children complaining in the background. The best part is that THEY CAN HELP and it becomes fun for everyone. This also helps clear the fridge “extras” out and you can vary it so many ways for each adult or child with ease. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not because EVERYONE LOVES PIZZA!!!!!!!

What you will need:

Healthy bread, bagels or round pitas. They get hidden, so anything healthy works
Organic tomato sauce and favorite spices (Cheapest at Costco)
As many vegetables, frozen or fresh as you or your kids want! Some of our favourites are : spinach, peas, corn, carrot, zucchini, peppers, kale, green onion and sautéed onion. (garden fresh is a bonus!)

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It is sooo simple – once you finely chop up or grate the vegetables (smaller for wee ones, larger for adults) quickly sauté the harder ones such as onion and peppers for a couple minutes to soften. While sautéing, top the base with tomato sauce and spices, then have each person sprinkle their favourite colours on their base. Finish with grated cheese and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or until browning at the edges. You may choose to broil the cheese if you prefer it sizzling on top! Slice the pizza into appropriate bite sizes for the kids and then sit and eat and feel good that you are DONE DINNER!

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Organic Healthy Hummus

This recipe literally came about because I opened some chickpeas for a snack for my daughter and couldn’t decide what to do with the rest of the can – DUH -make hummus for the first time ever! I have been meaning to make this for ages and am so excited to share my Friday night dip with you all. What better snack for kids than veggies and homemade hummus. This can be varied a few different ways depending on what you have in the cupboard, but the main recipe is solid.

Secret ingredient = NUTRITIONAL YEAST! Sooo what is Nutritional Yeast and why haven’t I used this before you ask? Start sprinkling it on anything! Popcorn is a great place to start but the “vegan cheese” flavor and non-yeast properties make it a must have item in the house.

“Nutritional yeast is packed with nutrition, particularly B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. It’s low in fat, gluten-free (check specific brands for certification), and contains no added sugars or preservatives. Because vitamin B12 is absent from plant foods unless it’s added as a supplement, nutritional yeast that contains B12, such as Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula, is a great addition to the vegan diet.” (lowfatveganblog)

A few of the ingredients including my recycled nutritional yeast shaker

A few of the ingredients including my recycled nutritional yeast shaker

What you will need:

1 15oz can (standard size) of organic chickpeas
the juice of 1 organic lemon
1/4 c organic tahini (available at most grocery stores, often on sale)
1 large clove of organic garlic (try to avoid chinese garlic)
2 tbsp organic olive oil/favorite oil/part flaxseed oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (try the bulk section if you can’t find it anywhere else)
1/2tsp himalayan salt
1/2 tsp cumin
optional: dash of cayenne pepper or paprika to sprinkle color on top

In your blender or food processor (we used the Vitamix) add the tahini and lemon juice and blend until very smooth and even, about a minute. Then add in everything else and mix very well until smooth and creamy looking. You may choose to add more garlic or more oil to reach your desired taste and consistency.

What it looks like completed

What it looks like completed

For toddlers, steam some carrots, broccoli and cauliflower to use in lieu of a cracker or chip. Older kids can skip the steaming and go right for their favorite veggies like peppers, cucumber and celery. Our 13 month old tried to drink the bowl. I would call that a success! Store refrigerated for a few days, if it lasts that long!

Organic chips from Nester's Market come in blue and red for extra pop

Organic chips from Nester’s Market come in blue and red for extra pop

Let me know if you try it!

Adapted from an inspired taste recipe

Homemade Organic Sweet Potato Fries

I literally have been eating this so often that I keep putting the food in my mouth before remembering to take a picture of it!!!

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Arguably my favorite meal- local beef with organic raw cheese over organic lettuce

Kid and adult friendly- here it is:

For 2-3 servings I use (what I make for lunch and eat by myself somedays!):
3-4 organic potatoes
1-2 sweet potatoes or yams
Organic seasoning mix
Paprika or cayenne pepper
High heat organic oil like coconut

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Sweet potato, yam and organic potato mix – an oil spray jar is ideal for this task

1) Heat oven to 375
2) Peel and cut into fry shapes, the smaller the faster it will cook.
3) Oil the pan lightly. Toss fries onto tray. Drizzle evenly with oil (toss them around) so that they are all coated lightly. Season as you wish.
4) Put in oven and flip every ten minutes until browned on a few sides, about 30min.

Hint: if you love crispy fries, pump up the heat to 400+ for the last ten minutes.

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What they look like during first flip (about 10 min)

Serve with your favorite mayo dip or just salted with ketchup. Best addition to your homemade burger night.

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Completed and ready to eat!

Watch out for “Mum” or “Mom” Marketing!

I AM OVERWHELMED with the amount of products aimed at parents to “practice how to snack” or making a drink “just for moms”. That is called creative target marketing. Snacking isn’t practiced, you just give them food and they do it and drinks for moms include water and a variety of other clean beverage choices, no need for flavoring, vitamins or other fancy looking ingredients. I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention the following new and popular offenders:

Organic Mum Mums (I won’t even look at the non-organic)

Ok without going too crazy lets review the main ingredients:

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JAPONICA RICE: white short grain germ-removed rice
SUGAR: number 2 ingredient!
POTATO STARCH: a very refined starch extract from potatoes for thickener, tolerates higher temperatures than corn starch
SEA SALT: processed salt with no minerals intact

Now look at the vitamins, fat and calories chart – do you seen any benefit to them at all? I see some sodium and some sugar alongside almost no calories or protein. As much as they aren’t “that bad”, they are good for children in any category. Something worth considering.

Healthy Day-Stable Alternatives? (meaning you can take with you and not worry it will need go bad) Organic sprouted bread, brown rice cakes, homemade baked goods without sugar, using fruit or reduced sugar. On the fresh side, some carrot sticks will last quite nearly a whole day just fine and are great for teething, gnawing or sucking on! (at least they might suck some real vitamins out of it haha)

Next, the newest offender, that isn’t organic yet but worth talking about, is the Similac Mom Beverages. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They suggest this to PREGNANT mothers! Read it for yourself:

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Again, sugar listed second. Both GM friendly soy and corn are listed multiple times. The vitamins are synthetic proven by the “dl” prefix, artificial flavor and color listed, and then there are the words you can’t pronounce. My favorite part is the mention of coconut oil as an intolerance, but not listed as an ingredient. This is me taking apart ONE ingredient. I chose the last one- cyanocobalamin because I didn’t even know what is was. Let’s learn together:

“If your vitamin label says cyanocobalamin, it is a cheap, synthetic chemical made in the laboratory that is produced with cyanide. Low-end vitamin manufacturers use this to claim that their product “contains vitamin B-12.” They won’t tell you that this form of B-12 is bound to a toxic cyanide molecule that must then be detoxified from your body by your liver.”

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036367_vitamin_B-12_cyanide_cyanocobalamin.html#ixzz2KC3dPcLt

Also everyone is into the Omega movement, including myself. But it helps to know that the ideal ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3 is 1:1 or 2:1. We have an average intake of 10-20:1 in our American diets. This drink is 7 times to the negative of the ideal ratio. But if you didn’t know what ratio to look out for, this would look like great information! Well marketed indeed.

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How else can I say “PLEASE DON’T LET FRIENDS WHO ARE PREGNANT, OR NOT, DRINK THIS!”. This also goes for most every faux beverage supplement, protein, vitamin powder mixture out there including the replacement category like Body By Vi which is made with sucralose (Splenda). Just stick to water, some fresh juices, regular treats like milkshakes once in a while and smoothies from frozen fruit. I will make it my mission to help every mother, father and child out there to eat whole foods for the rest of my life but it will only help if you become aware and share! Be sure to study the ingredients carefully before purchasing. There are clear reasons to avoid to the profit-driven poorly-constructed shelf-stable “snacks” parents are flocking to.

Any other popular scary items marketed to moms you’ve seen lately?

The “best” cloth diaper advice

I’m going to call this post “ORGANIC BUM CARE 101”. Why am I posting about diapering on a health and wellness blog you ask? Because I care about everything chemical and diapers are a big one. Not only do they leach them into the baby’s skin but also into the environment and landfills which I care about deeply. And if you are reading this right now, you probably do too. Aside from where to buy organic meat and what to feed our children, the other big question I get asked almost weekly is what kind of cloth diaper to use. Now, after writing at least a dozen individual responses in the past couple months, I can amalgamate them into ONE place, filled with thorough thoughts and information.

Background

I have a 10 month old daughter who we decided to use cloth diapering on from the beginning. I spent about 8 months studying, learning, touching and researching all of the brands I could find. Since then, a few people have seen my success posts and “joy of cloth diapering” if you will, so when they reach time to have a babe of their own I immediately get a message! I absolutely think everyone can do this.

I don’t think there is much need for me to review ALL OF THE MANY BENEFITS of cloth diapering but I do want to mention the lack of knowledge about the 50+ chemicals that are present in plastic diapers. They leech directly into the baby’s skin and are a cause of rashes and irritation that are covered up with more chemicals (diaper creams). Rash care should be simplified to edible organic oils like olive, almond or coconut oil and lots of fresh air, with extra changes, until cleared up. Options include taking the diaper off for nap time if they don’t move around too much, or having play time in the bath tub or outside in the grass diaperless! Baby powders have fragrance and are of no need.

The “Other” Disposable Diaper

Some people choose to get biodegradable diapers like Seventh Generation and I think they are PERFECT for travel and long outings or even overnight care, however they still have two major flaws. They are the most expensive diapers out there. Also, they aren’t environmentally perfect. Some brands dye their diapers a light brown to make it “look” like a natural fiber. Who knows what else there could be but let me make it clear – biodegradable is the next best choice!

The “perfect” cloth diaper

-no snaps(velcro preferred by most moms and snaps add bulk)
-not bulky(many kids clothes won’t fit the all-in-one sizes)
-has separate inserts(easy to carry around, smaller wet bag needed, can make them yourself inexpensively)
-has lasting outer shells (so you need fewer diapers overall)
-easy to wash
-look cute!
-function with minimal leaks
-dry quickly

So without further adieu, I am happy to share my TWO favorite brands of cloth diapers I have ever come across. Keep in mind, I haven’t seen every brand in the world and anything similar to the functions of these two brands are considered equal!

G Diapers (click to read more)

Gdiapers.ca sizing

Gdiapers.ca sizing

This is the brand I ended up buying, on sale and even found some on clearance! Regardless of price, I love them because I only need 6 diapers of each size small, medium and large (skip the newborn unless you have premies and potty train before the xl). So the starter kit for 6 with inserts or a box of biodegradable disposables is $150. We have a 10 month old and she is still in mediums with room to spare so this year cost the average person $300 plus extra inserts in diapering. CHEAP! I highly recommend making your own inserts as their brand is sub-par for absorption. The other reason I love them – you don’t need pants in the summer! They are a stretchy cotton feeling fabric. I have so many pictures of pants-less baby:

Who needs pants?

Who needs pants?

And they often have special prints such as XO’s for around $24:

2013 print

2013 print

What we don’t like: sometimes the breathable plastic liner gets stinky if you can’t disinfect it in the sun. Costs $3 to replace each one as they get stained/stinky.

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SoftBums (click to read more)

These are the first all-in-one system that seemed to avoid the bulky, snappy, ugly problem! They have pull strings inside to change the size of the diaper called Slide2Size and they go from TINY to 40lbs! They also have a snap in liner that is removable, which we love!

The Echo

The Echo

It’s not as easy to make the liners unless you forgo the snap in part or sew that on (I’m sure someone has done it!) but it’s certainly worth a look at the brand. I’ve been told the cotton liners absorb the best and the bamboo ones are the softest so you might want a few of each! Each Echo costs about $22 and the Omni shell about $25. Also with CUTE prints:

Animals!!!

Animals!!!

What we don’t like: has no plastic liner inside so once you wet through the liner, you have to change over the entire diaper.

What you should do: TOUCH, SHOP AROUND, ASK, BORROW and BUY USED! Don’t waste your time testing out disposables and adding to the already over-burdened landfill – just commit and join the happy life of a crunchy green earthy dirt loving life! The technology has really made it easier than ever. I promise! What brand you do love???

Dessert for a Big Person vs. a Little One

I get asked frequently for different ideas to feed kids and babies eating solids. I always lean on the side of simple for everything I prepare. Parents often have little or no time to make elegant fancy snacks and that is all the more reason to use whole foods more often- less work!

Now is a good time to start thinking about what fruits you want to stock up on in the summer. They get quite expensive during the winter, and although I’m a fan of eating seasonally, frozen fruit is an ideal snack for kids and for smoothies. Try a bowl of frozen blueberries instead of ice cream for your next movie night.

My dessert tonight (excuse the imperfect iPhone pics):

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Organic zucchini cake from scratch with hemp hearts, Camino cocoa and trader joes chocolate chips!

Harper’s dessert tonight: (10 months old)

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Our own frozen fruit from local summer supply and Costco organic mango chunks.

Takes about 30min to thaw which is perfect to break up the digestive process from dinner. ALWAYS eat your fruit alone is possible. Yum!

Superimmunity for Baby and Kids

A simple way to increase the immune boosting nutrients little ones need! Next time you make fruit purees, add a handful of spinach and some high quality superberry vitamin C powder. During the winter you may also want to supplement a quality vitamin D3 if your children don’t see much sun. Please use the recommended intake as per the bottle instructions or health care provider. If there is extra illness in the air, or you notice it coming on I wouldn’t hesitate to throw in a drop or two of echinacea.

My personal favorite recipe for one serving:

Half an organic pear
Half an organic apple
Handful fresh organic spinach (Costco)
2 drops of liquid D3 (health store)
1/8 tsp of camu camu powder (bulk foods or health store)

Steam fruit lightly (the least amount of heat and water, just to soften). Blend all ingredients until desired consistency and serve warm or cold. Taste it! It’s awesome. At Christmas I might try beets to make a green and red dip for pancakes or french toast. HOW FUN!

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30lb of berries make 1lb of powder – 12 times the RDA in ONE TEASPOON!!!!!

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Spinach, apple, pear sauce. Great for pancakes!

from my iPhone.