Archive | July, 2013

Watermelon Slushie Recipe

I love trying recipes for my children that replace artificial non-healthy alternatives. I’ve always wondered why convenience stores don’t offer a juice form of slurpies, but I guess giving kids a clean slushie isn’t a priority. Well in this house it is, so although my kids hardley ever drink slushies from the conveience store, I wanted to have a healthy alternative lined up in case it becomes a regular request. And I’ve tried this on not only my kids, but teenage friends and the overwhelming appreciation for this watermelon slushie was thumbs up across the board – delicious! You seriously need to try this recipe!!

So get ready to make a non-GMO version of a convenience store slurpie but with clean, whole food! Another bonus to this recipe is having a great option if you get a bunky watermelon. You know when you spend a lot of money on a full watermelon and you crack it open and the inside is mushy, whitish, and doesn’t taste great? It’s so frustrating because you can’t see the inside of the watermelon before you buy it (although my Italian brother-in-laws all know how to pick great melons from tapping the exterior). This happened to us yesterday and instead of getting frustrated, I just opened it up, removed as many seeds as possible, got out my ice cream scoop and started making watermelon balls. I put the balls in a large glass dish (didn’t even cover them) and froze for a couple of hours. I always have frozen bananas chopped up for smoothies in the freezer, so once the watermelon froze, we made delicious slushies. Can’t believe how much the kids love them!

How To Prepare:

Chop or freeze 2 cups of watermelon
Freeze 1 banana (peel and chop before freezing)
Add 1/2 cup of water
Add 2 tablespoons of 100% maple syrup
1 lemon – cut the lemon in half, squeeze out the juice and carve out the interior

Add everything into a blender and stir until blended well. Pour into glasses and drink fresh. If your kids enjoy freezies or slushies then this recipe is a must try! The refined sugar, dye and carbonated pop from traditional slushies can be avoided and kids won’t miss them once they try this alternative.

Related Posts: 

Chia Seed Freezer Jam

Make Your Own Granola Bars

 

 

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Kids Deserve A Healthy Start In Life

This article is a guest post by Maggie MacDonald, toxics program manager at Environmental Defence. If this is your first introduction to Environmental Defence, they are an organization that inspires a greener and healthier life with government, business and people. They are doing great work on studying human body burden pollution and more research is demonstrating how widespread the issue is. Please watch the below video and read Maggie’s post to bring attention to the problem that our children are being born pre-polluted.

A pregnant mother often wonders “Will my baby have my eyes? Her father’s nose?” But she probably doesn’t think too much about whether her baby will be born with her grandmother’s DDT or PCBs. Nor should she have to.

But our new report, Pre-Polluted: A Report on Toxic Substances in the Umbilical Cord Blood of Canadian Newborns, shows that even in the mothers’ womb, the developing fetus is exposed to a slew of dangerous chemicals – chemicals that might have health effects like cancer, lower IQ or thyroid problems later in life. We cannot see with the naked eye that Canadian children are born pre-polluted, but our latest results demonstrate just that.

Environmental Defence tested the umbilical cord blood of three newborn babies from the GTA and Hamilton, and found each child was born with 55 to 121 toxic compounds and possible cancer-causing chemicals in their bodies.  We tested for, and found at low levels, PBDEs (flame retardants), PCBs, PFCs, Organochlorine pesticides, dioxins and furans and mercury and lead – chemicals that are pervasive and persistent in our environment. Of the 137 chemicals found in the umbilical cord blood, 132 are reported to cause cancer in humans or animals.

All Canadians have a right to live in a clean, healthy environment. If evidence that babies – who are especially vulnerable – are burdened with a toxic chemical load before they are born is not enough to signal a change must be made, we don’t know what is.

Moms: it’s not your fault. When it comes to reducing toxic pollution, government, industry, and the public all have a role to play. When scientists and government agree that a substance is toxic to human health, it must be phased out as soon as possible. Currently, chemicals like certain PBDE flame retardants can still be contained in imported furniture, despite plans for prohibitions having been announced by the federal government several years ago. Industry often takes action before bans are announced, but there are many chemicals still in products that businesses should stop using, like phthalates and PFCs (non stick coating chemicals). The public can make a difference by refusing to buy products that contain toxic “chemicals of convenience” and by letting decision makers in government and business know that it’s time for a change.

There are also things you can do at home to reduce your exposure. Simply mopping or wiping down furniture and floors to rid your home of dust can have a positive impact. Many toxic substances are persistent and can lurk in dust, even long after being banned! You can help reduce the amount of hormone-disrupting flame retardants, DDT, and PFCs in your home by wiping away the dust bunnies.

Environmental Defence is asking the federal government to move towards improving chemical regulation in Canada, to protect the health of all Canadians. We’re asking companies to proactively remove toxic chemicals from their products ahead of government plans to phase them out.

You can help too! Read the report to learn more, take action by signing the petition, and keep visiting Environmental Defence to find out more about how you can get involved.

All Canadians live downstream of the history of our industrial society. Let’s make sure that stream is clean, for our children and future generations.

 

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Coconut Fiber Cocoze Sandals Contest

I’ve been on a mission for a few years now. Find a pair of flip flops or something easy to slip on during the summer that isn’t cheap or plastic. I’d be rich if I had a dollar for every person that suggested I just go to the Mall and buy a pair of plastic sandals. The one problem with that? They are made from PVC (cheap plastic that can’t be recycled) and this plastic doesn’t just cause huge damage to the earth but gives me a headache from the smell. But the company Cocoze has solved my dilemma and I love my coconut fiber sandals. I’m super excited to tell you why and lucky to be hosting a contest so you can try a pair!

I’ve waited 3 weeks before writing the review after receiving the shoes because I wanted to make sure the fabric piece at the toe of the sandal was secure enough to handle the punishment I put footwear through. I’ve had many a pair of sandals break at this part of the shoe (all plastic) and was worried the fabric wouldn’t be strong enough. I’ve had no issues. But I’ve kept the sandals out of the mud and water. They are not water shoes. If they get wet it’s not a problem for them to dry out, etc. but you don’t want to go wading into the ocean with them on. This hasn’t been a problem and I’ve gone on longs walks, run around my daily activities, sand, park, dirt and no issues.

I’ve also been asked frequently if they are itchy. They look like they would be scratchy from the picture but a benefit with the shoes made from coconut fiber is they exfoliate dead and dry skin from the bottom of your feet. Coconut fiber is naturally antibacterial, allows your feet to breathe, and regulates temperature. This sandal design is made to produce happy feet but if you are really sensitive, this might not be a great feature for you. I’ve had no issues and love the texture.

Back to my original issue of not purchasing plastic flip-flops. I really like purchasing non-plastic footwear when possible and because of the winning combination of materials used to produce these shoes (coconut fiber and the other is a question to be entered into the contest so you’ll have to check out the cocoze.com site) you can actually compost these sandals into your garden at the end of their life. This was probably the coolest part of getting a pair of these sandals . . . getting a great answer to the question “where will these go at the end of their life?”.

And now you all think Cocoze is amazing and want a pair to buy I have to tell you that they are only available when Cocoze is at sustainable markets or events so follow their Facebook Fan Page to find out where they’ll be selling them next!  An online component is currently in development so you won’t have long to wait.  But they are offering a pair to a lucky Mommy Footprint reader so enter the below contest and good luck! The give-away is open until August 3, 2013 to all residents in North America.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Chia Seed Freezer Jam

Everyone says making jam is so easy. I’ve asked many people about making my own jam and when I ask what recipe they follow, I always get the same response “use the recipe on the back of the Certo box”. But what if you could avoid this step and incorporate a super food as a substitute? You would probably think this is a good idea. . .  especially when you can easily make Chia Seed Jam and subtract the pectin, sugar and preservatives.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

– 100% maple syrup
– Fresh lemon
– Chia seeds
– Fresh Berries
– Canning or glass jar for storage

The only thing I needed to purchase for this recipe was fresh chia seeds – I picked the Barleans brand for convenience.

Instructions:

Soak 3 tablespoons of  chia seeds in 1/2 cup water. <picture below of how the chia seeds form a gel>
When seeds turn into gelatin form (happened in about 15 mins) add in 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
Wash 2 cups of berries. I used 1 cup of strawberries and 1 cup of blueberries. With the grainy texture of the chia seeds, using raspberries might have been too overwhelming with a ‘seeded’ texture for our first batch.
Put chia gelatin mixture and berries into the blender – mix until well blended like a smoothie.
Let the jam gel overnight in the fridge and start using.

I’ve done some research on using lemon juice as a preservative and because this recipe contains this ingredient, it could be frozen to be used as freezer jam. It’s not appropriate as a canning jam. This recipe honestly took a total of 20 minutes to make and 2 cups of berries makes the perfect amount so this jam could be made fresh.

What do I love about this jam? The amount of refined sugar called for in traditional jam recipes is GMO and very sweet. I was expecting to at least need honey, but the syrup was enough. I’ve been wanting to use my new Weck glass jars so this was a fun added bonus! Enjoy making this jam while the berries are fresh, local, and in season!

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How To Find Safer Sunscreen For Kids

Okay guys – we’ve got this! The confusion seems to grow every year with how to pick a safe, mineral based sunscreen for your family. I’ve realized it’s easier to explain what ingredients you want IN the sunscreen rather than explain which ones you don’t want in the sunscreen. I could tell you for another year to avoid oxybenzone, Vitamin A (called retinyl palmitate or retinol) and all these ingredients you can’t pronounce but instead it’s going to get really easy. If you want the safest sunscreen (in my opinion) look for one ingredient in the active ingredient list: Zinc Oxide. What does that mean? You’ll get the whitish tinge to your skin but for me, I don’t mind this trade-off because having only Zinc Oxide listed in the active ingredients mean that UVA/B rays are effectively blocked at the skin’s surface.

With the explosion in so many new mineral (organic) based sunscreens on the market, there are actually very few that only have the Zinc Oxide as the only active ingredient. That is why this little tip is going to save you hours of time and research.  Do you have a fussy teen or husband that doesn’t like the whitened look of Zinc? Hold tight there is a solution for them too!

So for little kids, in order of importance for sun care the preference would be to cover up – stay in the shade and wear protective clothing to block UVA/B rays. This was pretty effective when my kids were younger but now we spend our days at pools, water slides and my oldest is going to camp and all of my kids are refusing to wear sun shirts this year. My girls want to show off their bathing suits and my sons are self conscience of wearing sun shirts this year. So while this was a great form of defense against the sun in previous years, this year it’s not working. Thankfully for this summer, they are so happy to not have to wear the protective clothing, they aren’t complaining about the whitening sunscreen they’ve been wearing. I use Badger sunscreen. But I can see the whitening issue becoming a problem with my pre-teen next summer so I’m sensitive to this problem if you’ve got family members that don’t like the look of only having a zinc based sunscreen. Your loophole around this is using a sunscreen that has both Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide in the active ingredients. The Titanium Dioxide mineral soaks through the skin to deliver sun protection for UVA/B rays through the skin (not all UVA rays unless Zinc Oxide is also an ingredient). It’s important to mention you need both the Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals because Titanium on it’s own won’t block all UVA/B rays. But this is a good alternative for anyone who still wants solid sun protection, without the whitened look on the skin.

So this is easier right?  And for me, I just like what Badger does with education and transparency. They also re-formulated and produced non-nano sunscreens last year so they get my vote. Check out My Little Green Shop if you need sunscreen to finish up this hot summer!  They always have great shipping deals & are a trusted sponsor of Mommy Footprint.

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