Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Convenient Green Products

Convenience.  That's what it's about these days.  Pre-packed, pre-cooked, ready to go products make our lives easier, but don't always have the greenest concepts in mind.  Here are a few products that can make lives easier, save us a few bucks, and are eco friendly.

The Modlet, for example, plugs into your outlet and automatically shuts off the power based on your scheduled needs.  It can tell when appliances are and are not is use saving you tons of energy, and then sends the power consumption use to your computer, which can result in saving a few bucks on your next electric bill.

http://themodlet.com/
With e-reader products out on the market, new technologies are being created to produce ways to keep these electronics charged.  One of the most recent inventions-the Solar Kindle Lighted Cover.  It uses solar energy to keep the charge of the lit screen so you can continue to read for hours.


http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Lighted-Cover-Kindle-Controller/dp/B006E95V8M

Other new technologies include the EcoNavi appliances by Panasonic.  These appliances use "intelligent sensors" to optimize the appliances' performances. The EcoNavi air conditioner, for example, monitors where everyone is located and adjusts its performance to optimize cooling the room.

http://panasonic.asia/ecoideas/ecoproducts/econavi_air_conditioner.html

And then there are a few products out there that aren't so technical, but are equally convenient.  Eco Bamboo Pet Wipes are great for when Fido doesn't quite need a bath, but his paws need to be cleaned before he comes back inside.  Or the idea of giving your cat a bath, is simply out of the question.  These all natural wipes help eliminate dirt and odors with a simple swipe.


http://www.petco.com/product/115772/Petkin-Bamboo-Eco-Pet-Wipes.aspx
Looking for other products that can reduce your carbon footprint and make life a little easier?  Try EnergyStar CFL light bulbs.  Chloroflorescent lights use up to 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer.  An obvious no brainer why you should switch!  And simple reusable grocery bags create less plastic waste, but are also bigger than standard grocery bags, and usually easier to carry.  Less time wasted lugging groceries in the house = more time for you to do other things.

Let us know what green products make your life easier!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meatless Monday-Snacks

Meatless Monday isn't about one meal that day... or even three meals.  It's about giving up meat and seafood for the whole day, snacks included.  Though most of us wouldn't think about meat sneaking into our snack time, it can somehow find it's way into our lives through pizza bites, chicken tenders, shrimp cocktails, and other sneaky appetizers.

Today we have a few recipes for some healthy and meatless snacks that can also serve as appetizers, breakfast, and dessert.

Our first recipe can be a great way to kick off or end your day.  This fruit parfait is filling enough to hold you over until lunch and is sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Amanda, from Kevin & Amanda, shares her brand preferences, but any plain or vanilla yogurt will work.  And you can reinvent this recipe over and over again by swapping out the fruit, yogurt, or granola flavors.

Maybe you're just looking for something light to snack on after work or to satisfy your salty side.  These smoky kale chips from Food Network.com not only offer 2 grams of protein AND fiber, but kale has currently been added to the list of "superfoods".  Check out more benefits of kale on The World's Healthiest Foods website.  To make kale chips, simply remove the ribs and tear leaves into smaller pieces (not too small as they will shrink).  Toss with olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika and place on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.

Want another quick snack?  Hummus and pita chips can be a yummy snack or can be used as an appetizer. It literally takes 5 minutes and a blender to make, but if you're on the go, it is readily available at your local grocery store in multiple flavors.  If you are looking to try a homemade version-check out this great one from Susan at The FatFree Vegan Kitchen. She says her family puts this on everything-breads, crackers, carrots, etc.

A blender or food processor will also help you with this next tasty treat, frozen fruit pops.  The kids will love them and you can be happy that they are getting all sorts of wonderful nutrients and vitamins.  Much like the parfaits we discussed earlier-keep these treats around all year by swapping out the fruits for whatever is in season.  These 3 flavors from Home Beautiful sound delightful.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meatless Monday: Recipes for the Whole Day

It's Monday again and we hope you are participating in Meatless Monday.  We have 3 great recipes for you to try for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Let us know how you like them!

 
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It not only fuels you for your morning routine, but it can kick start your metabolism.  Try this healthy and hearty Baked Oatmeal recipe from WholeLiving.com with your morning coffee or give a bar to your child as they wait for the school bus.  Did you know that oatmeal is considered one of the most satiable foods, meaning it keeps you feeling fuller, longer? (See recipe on WholeLiving.com link above).

 
As lunch time comes around, you want something that will fill you up without weighing you down.  Nothing is worse than eating a big calorie filled lunch that makes you want to nap, rendering you unproductive for the next hour or so.  Try this Veggie-Stack Pita Pocket to keep you going!  Again, this is a great, nutritious meal you can pack in your child's lunch box, or would make a fast meal if you are in a hurry.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup grated manchego or pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced or 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 10 to 12 whole-wheat pita minis (3 inches), lightly toasted

Directions

Combine the chickpeas, water, cheese, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor and puree until completely smooth, about 5 minutes. While the motor is running, pour in the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and velvety. Season with pepper, to taste.
Spoon a scant tablespoon bean spread into toasted pitas. (Put remaining bean spread in an air-tight container.) Add avocado and cucumber slices, or other vegetables of choice and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Wrap in parchment or butcher paper, and pack in a plastic container to keep from getting squished. Pack in a lunch box and send to school.
TIP: Remaining bean spread becomes a dip for vegetables or pita chips, or as another dimension layered in your child's favorite cold cut sandwich.

 
 
As your day winds down, it's time for a satisfying, but easy to make dinner.  This Spinach Walnut Penne is the perfect ending to your Meatless Monday and leftovers provide a delicious lunch for the next day.  (Note:  Fleischmann's® Made with Olive Oil Spread can be substituted with olive oil, butter, or a butter alternative.)

Ingredients

2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano-No Salt Added, undrained 2 cups dry multigrain penne pasta, uncooked

2 tablespoons Fleischmann's® Made with Olive Oil Spread
1 pkg (6 oz each) baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

Combine broth, undrained tomatoes, pasta and Fleischmann's in large skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook 15 minutes or just until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in spinach and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with walnuts and cheese just before serving.


Bon App├ętit!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Have a Happy Green Mother's Day

Mother's Day is just around the corner and there's no reason why we can't celebrate your mom and Mother Earth at the same time.  We'll share a list of gifts and activities that will satisfy mom without making a huge impact on the environment.  With some thought and creativity, you can make this Mother's Day, one of the best ones yet!

Instead of the typical Mother's Day brunch, why not treat mom to breakfast in bed or make her a meal yourself?  Need some recipe ideas?  Try these from Delish.com.  A picnic in the park could also be a nice activity if the weather is warm and dry, or take mom to a local winery and buy her a bottle of her favorite wine.


Does Mom have a garden or yard that needs some work?  Give her the day off by pulling weeds or planting some new flowers.  Planting a new herb container garden will give her something she can use over and over again. 

What if Mom is out of town or has passed?  Plant a tree in her honor in your yard or a local park.  You can visit that tree each year, and if Mom is just out of state-take a picture in front of it and send it to her as an annual tradition. 
If you are not spending Mother's Day with your mom, send her an eco conscious gift she'll love, like spa basket that includes a comfy robe made from 100% organic material paired with some eco friendly bath products. 
Or send Mom her favorite tea in this cute bamboo tea box from Target.




Is Mom more of the chocolate type?  These chocolates from John and Kira's have ingredients sourced locally from urban gardens in the Philadelphia area that are completely organic.



No matter what you do or what you get your mom, you know she'll love it as long as it comes from the heart, and really isn't that one of the reasons why Mom is so great?  Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Clean and Green Bath Time

New parents learn quickly that the purpose of bath time isn't just to get your little one clean.  It's about bonding.  As children get older it also becomes something of a play time activity for them.  So it's important that while we spend time in the bathroom, we don't forget to be aware of the impact it may have on the environment.

Americans are considered the cleanest people in the world due to daily showering.  Although this keeps your friends and co-workers happy that you smell nice, bathing everyday is not necessary.  This also applies to babies.  The recommended bathing needs of a newborn is every other day and can even be done through a sponge bath.  Soap, for the most part, isn't even needed.  When soap is needed, be sure to use something mild and natural.  Look for products that are perfume and dye free so as not to irritate baby's sensitive skin.  Burt's Bees and California Baby are known for being natural and even listing every ingredient on their products so you know exactly what you are using.

 












Once your baby's umbilical cord stump falls off, you can begin washing baby in the sink or in a baby tub.  Remember though that your kitchen sink harbors lots of germs so thoroughly clean it with a non toxic cleaner before use.  Once you make it to the age where you can bathe your baby in the tub and it becomes more of a playtime, you can introduce some eco friendly bath toys, like these found on Lilsugar.  Make sure you let bath toys dry out after bath time to prevent the growth of mold and periodically clean them with a natural, non toxic cleaner, or homemade solution like vinegar and water.

Once bath time is over, use organic cotton towels to dry baby off.

For Bath Time 101 check out: South Point Pediatrics Blog