Monday, June 25, 2012

Meatless Monday:Fruit Focus

Today's edition of Meatless Monday will focus on fruits.  Summertime yields some great, fresh fruits that you can buy in your produce section, local farmer's market, or even get from a berry picking adventure of your own!  Let's start with some fruity recipes to get your day going...

Puffed Cherry Pancakes-courtesy of

1 teaspoon(s) unsalted butter, divided
unsalted butter
1/2 cup(s) low-fat milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1/2 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour (see Tips) or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon(s) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
1 pinch(s) ground cinnamon
2 cup(s) halved, pitted sweet or sour cherries, fresh or frozen thawed, drained
1/4 cup(s) sliced almonds
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place 1 teaspoon butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or ovenproof nonstick skillet and transfer to the oven to melt the butter.  Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small pan or in the microwave. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon and whisk to combine.  Remove the pan from the oven, tilting it to coat the bottom with butter. Add cherries in a layer. Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle with almonds.  Bake the pancake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 wedges. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired. 
Or try these Fruit and Pecan Granola Bars, which are great for school (or summer camp) lunches or on-the-go snack time.
1 large egg
 1 large egg white
 1 cup(s) light brown sugar
 1 tablespoon(s) canola oil
 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
 1 1/2 cup(s) toasted oats
 2/3 cup(s) chopped dried cranberries or golden raisins
 1/4 cup(s) chopped pecans
 1 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-by-11-inch pan with foil. Coat with cooking spray.  Whisk egg, egg white, sugar, oil, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in oats, cranberries (or raisins), pecans, and flour. Spread in prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool; cut into bars with a lightly oiled knife.
For lunch, these easy Apple, Peanut-butter and Raisin Sandwiches from Williams-Sonoma are healthy and delicious.

10 tbs. peanut butter
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 10 rings, each about 1/4 in. thick
2 tbs. raisins
2 tbs. granola 

Spread 2 Tbs. of peanut butter onto half of the apple rings.  Sprinkle each with 1 Tbs. granola and a few raisins.  Cover each of the remaining apple rings to form sandwiches.  Makes 5 apple sandwiches.
Teriyaki Tofu & Pineapple Kabobs from PreventionRD, are a great way to introduce your kids to tofu.


1 (14-oz) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1 large pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes (1 tbsp set aside for sauce)
1 large red or orange bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 large onion , sliced into wedges
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp honey
1 pinch red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange tofu cubes on the baking sheet and mist with olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, while you chop the veggies for the kebabs.  Thread each of 7 bamboo skewers with tofu, cubed pineapple, bell pepper, and onion and place in baking dish.  Simmer soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes 3 minutes in skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced tablespoon of pineapple and garlic to skillet, and simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.  Pour sauce over kebabs, and bake 20-30 minutes, turning once to keep kebabs coated in sauce. Yield: 7 large skewers.
And we can't forget about ending our meal with a tasty treat.  Try this Kiwi Granita from cool, fresh and fruity way to end your Meatless Monday!

6  kiwi fruits
1/3 cup of water
50 g sugar (just shy of 1/4 c.)

Add kiwi to the blender and mix until smooth, add water, sugar and mix again.  Place on a level surface in your freezer and freeze for 2 hours, stirring and scraping with a fork every 20 minutes to break up the ice crystals. Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour more.

For more great Meatless Monday recipes-follow our Meatless Monday Pinterest board!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Having a Green Father's Day

Father's Day is just around the corner and we're sure Dad could use something better than a pair of socks.  Here's a few ideas for eco friendly gifts that Dad is sure to love!

Go the DIY route...
How about a personalized coffee mug that he can use at home or at work, featuring his children's smiling faces?  You can get this done at most film developing stores, drugstores, or there are a ton of great companies online like that offers various style for $15-$25.  Or if he has some old sports or concert tees that aren't being worn, or have seen better days, why not make a t-shirt memory quilt?  Check out EcoKaren's blog for a great tutorial.

The Quilt Loft
Don't have the time to put into a DIY worries!  Here's a few more ideas for any dad.

If he's a businessman, try this great computer bag from Greensmart, featured on Abe's, available in 4 great colors.
Or for the avid golf dad, Wilson has a bag made from recycled material that saves landfills 12 gallon-sized plastic bottles each!  Want to take the golf game to another level of green?  Walk the course.  It will give you both some great exercise, plenty of quality time to chat, and it saves the gas and/or electricity to power a golf cart.

Want to get Dad some new threads-try this great polo from Earthtec featured on that is made from half recycled cotton and half recycled polyester.  And if he likes to lounge around the house on the weekends,  give him a soft, comfy robe from Coyuchi, made from organic cottons and linens.  There are several varieties from waffle weave to furry terry cloth.


Give him a new wallet, like this one from Modernstyleorganicliving that's made from recycled inner tubes.

Or maybe Dad needs to be pampered a little.  Bull Dog natural skincare, also available on Abe's Market, has a great line of products that will keep him looking great!

If you plan on spending the day with your dad, do something fun and eco friendly, all while enjoying the outdoors, like taking a bike ride or plan a picnic.  Whatever you give him or whatever you do, celebrate your dad and have a very happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Sizzle: Heat Protection

We know being out in the sun for too long can cause a nasty sunburn if we neglect the proper skin protection.  We sometimes forget though, the harm the heat alone, can cause our bodies.  It's important to remember that children don't sweat like adults, so keep this in mind and monitor them whether they are playing in a sports game, on the playground, or with you on the beach and in other hot climate settings.

For more information about exercising in the heat, check out
 The University of Missouri's Q & A article

We are going to touch on 3 heat issues that can not only cause pain and discomfort, but can even lead to death if left untreated.

The first of these 3 issues and the least hazardous, are heat cramps.  Although these are extremely painful, they are not a life threatening issue. Heat cramps are cause by a lack of adequate fluid intake during vigorous exercise in warmer than usual conditions. If Sally's soccer tournament occurs during the summer's essential you keep an eye on her fluid intake. If she experiences heat cramps-find a cool place for her to rest and have her drink fluids. Sometimes massaging the cramped muscle can help, but be aware that it is incredibly painful so be cautious to her needs.
A more severe heat concern is heat exhaustion, which can occur due to inadequate fluid intake and simply from being out in the heat too long. You may see symptoms including dehydration, weakness/fatigue, headaches, nausea, clammy skin, hyperventilation, and irritability. If any of these symptoms occur, seek the indoors and loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool (not cold) bath to reduce temperature and call your doctor if you are too tired or ill to eat or drink anything. Be aware that heat exhaustion can escalate to a heat stroke, which can be fatal.

For more information about heat exhaustion visit

Finally, the most severe heat concern is a heat stroke. Heat stroke is when your body loses the ability to regulate its own temperature and it can be fatal. It sometimes is the result of overdressing and participating in severe physical activity (ex. helmets, padding, baseball pants, etc. can contribute to higher core temperatures). Heat stroke can also occur if a child (or pet) is left or becomes trapped inside a car on a hot day. Cracking the window does not make a huge difference in the car - please don't leave your child or pet in the car unattended, especially on a hot summer day. Temperatures inside the car can reach more than 20 degrees warmer that the outdoor temperatures. Call 911 if your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms: flushed, hot skin, but not sweating; body temp of 105 degrees or more; severe headaches, weakness, dizziness, or confusion; extreme fatigue; seizures; decrease responsiveness; loss of consciousness. If these symptoms are apparent-call 911 and get indoors or find shade. Remove clothing and douse with cool water and do NOT give them fluids.

Summer outdoor activities are fun, but should be monitored.  Try finding some downtime in the shade or indoors to prevent any sun or heat issues.  Best wishes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Sizzle: Sun Protection

Summer is here and we all have tons of great outdoor activities and vacations to be had, however it is important to be aware of powerful sun and its affects on your skin.

It's hard to believe that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during the course of their life. Most of the harm we do to our skin comes during our first 18 years of life.  It's important, as parents, we introduce and establish a good sun protection routine with our children.  There have been some new studies stating that it is okay for parents to apply sunscreen to areas of skin exposed to the sun, on children under 6 months.  You should consult with your pediatrician for further information about these studies.

Keeping your young ones in the shade and minimizing outdoor activity during 10AM to 4PM can help minimize the stronger rays from damaging their sensitive skin.  It is important to know that every skin type (fair, medium, dark) can become sunburned.  It's also worth noting that days that are windy, overcast, and cooler can still yield sun damage.  Sunscreen can and should be worn year round and it's best to apply a SPF of 30 (or higher) 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE you go outside.
When applying sunscreen, it's important that you apply everywhere on the body, including feet, hands, neck, ears, lips, and even your scalp!  Not sure how much to use?  1 oz. is the recommended dosage (about a shot glass full) all over, including underneath straps.  Wearing a wide brimmed hat helps keep the sun off your face and neck.  There are some cute hats for your baby, with ear and neck flaps. Get them used to wearing it before your trip to the beach, so they are not fighting you on wearing it the whole time.  Same goes for sunglasses.  Look for 100% UV protection.  And you know little Billy wants to look and act just like Dad, so lead by example and wear a hat and glasses while outside too.

For more info on selecting sunglasses for your child visit
If you or your little one has sensitive skin, look for zinc oxide on the list of ingredients-signaling that it is noncomedogenic, meaning it won't clog your pores.  Speaking cosmetically...don't think that the mineral based makeups and makeup featuring SPF in it, is adequate coverage.  Regular sunscreen needs to be applied (or look for a moisturizer with SPF) before you apply your regular makeup.  And don't forget to check the expiration dates on your moisturizer and sunscreen because they can go "bad" just like the majority of beauty products out on the market.  Same rules apply for aloe vera products...they too can expire.
Speaking of aloe vera, let's face's going to are going to get sunburned at some point.  We try our best to use sunscreen, but we lose all track of time, and it happens and it can be miserable.  It's important that you do not peel or scratch your flaking skin, which can lead to infections.  Try to drink extra fluids, pop an ibuprofen or two, and use some aloe or other moisturizing creams to return moisture to your burnt/dried skin.  Check with your doctor on what recovery measures you should take for young children and infants.

With the correct sun protection routine in place, you can enjoy all the perks of the warm weather and the activities it brings.  Have a wonderful summer and check back for the next Summer Sizzle post-Heat Protection.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meatless Monday: Summer Salads

It's Monday again and we're so happy you're taking the initiative to go meatless one night a week.  Going meatless has many advantages, benefiting both your health and the environment.  Today's post focuses in on delicious summer salads that can be great on their own or as a side. 

The first group of salads incorporate the wonderful fresh fruits of your produce section, farmer's market, or even your own personal garden.  Mix and match when new fruits come in season.

             The Apple-Pomegranate Salad from features fun flavors
1 Apple
Seeds of half Pomegranate
1 Gems lettuce
Sunflower seeds
1 Chicory heads

Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon Juice

Or try this simple salad with a few ingredients to kick up a side dish at your next bbq.'s Watermelon and Arugula Salad will satisfy you on a hot summer day.

5 cups arugula, packed
8 cups watermelon, cubed
1 1/3 cups feta cheese
1 tbs fresh mint, chopped
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Whisk oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Place arugula, watermelon and feta in a large bowl, and drizzle vinegar and oil mixture and chopped mint over it. Toss.
2. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes before serving.

These next few recipes are available at (along with a ton of other great stuff)!  Why not try one out?!
Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Apple Pear Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Berry Delicious Salad

And here are a few more salads, minus the citrus and fruits (and yes we know tomatoes are technically fruit), that will still satisfy your hunger pains...

Basil Tomato Salad from

small baguette or French roll
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small head green leaf lettuce, torn (6 cups)
3 cups fresh basil, torn
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved, or chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions for dressing:
In small screw-top jar combine olive oil, finely shredded lemon peel, lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, and ground black pepper. Cover; shake well.

Directions for salad:
1. Prepare Lemon Vinaigrette; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Split baguette in half horizontally. In small bowl combine olive oil and garlic. Brush onto cut sides of baguette. Cut each bread piece lengthwise into 3 or 4 breadsticks. Place on baking sheet. Bake 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted. Transfer to wire rack; cool.
3. In large bowl combine lettuce and basil. In 3- to 4-quart glass canister or desired container layer greens, tomatoes, pine nuts, and cheese . Serve with breadsticks and Lemon Vinaigrette. Makes 6 servings.

Or how about the Green Bean Salad from

1 lb fresh green beans, washed, tips removed and cut in half or thirds
1 pint cherry tomatoes or 3 small heirloom tomatoes, washed
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
1/8 cup sherry vinegar
fennel pollen, sprinkle
salt, sprinkle
fresh cracked black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Have a large bowl of iced water close by. Remove the beans from heat, drain and immediately rinse with very cold water, to stop cooking then add the beans to the iced water. Let sit about 10 minutes. Drain, lightly pat dry with some paper towels and then set aside. Combine olive oil, sherry vinegar and shallots in a small jar, cover with a lid and shake, shake, shake. Set aside. Cut tomatoes; if using heirlooms, cut in half and then quarter each half. If using cherry tomatoes, cut in half, small ones I keep whole. Put the beans and tomatoes in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil mixture, sprinkle with fennel pollen, salt and pepper. Toss with salad utensils. Season with more pollen, salt and pepper, if needed. Toss again, if needed. Serve. Eat.

All of these look so yummy-which one will you try?