Archive | BPA alternatives

Onyx Stainless Steel Canister Contest

Sponsored by: Onyx

Hosted by: Southern Krazed

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It’s no secret that I love stainless steel and glass materials. Why? Stainless steel is a highly sustainable and trusted material for families concerned about materials breaking down over time and chemicals leaching. Stainless steel in a busy kitchen is the perfect choice and I’m super excited to be one of the bloggers involved in this canister give-away hosted by Southern Krazed and sponsored by Onyx.  My family has the largest of this canister set parked next to our sink collecting kitchen scraps for compost. The uses for canisters are endless – read more to discover why.

About Onyx

Onyx products are made with high quality food grade stainless steel and are fairly priced. Stainless steel is durable, environmentally safe, and versatile.

We are excited to bring you this amazing 6-piece Onyx Stainless Steel Canister Set Giveaway! These canisters are made of 18/10 stainless steel and are perfect for storing sugar, flour anything you can think of! They are safe and environmentally friendly! The set includes a 1 qt., 1.5 qt., 2.3 qt., 3.6 qt., 4.9 qt., and 6.9 qt. canister.
Would you love to have this beautiful stainless steel set for your own kitchen? Well, our VERY generous sponsor, Onyx, wants one of our lucky readers to have that chance! That way you can see how great they are for yourself! So, let’s get on to the giveaway!

One lucky winner will win this

Onyx Stainless Steel 6-Piece Canister Set ($170 value)!

Giveaway ends 8/6/14 at 11:59 pm ET! Open to US and residents 18+ and older.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are in love with stainless steel products as much as I am and would like to browse and purchase other items, please visit HERE.

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to US and Canada 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Should My Family Be Using Silicone?

When food and products are put on the market without real testing, it’s up to parents and consumers to complete their own. Yes, silicone was FDA approved in 1979 but we are unsure if there’s been follow-up since as it’s really evolved as a ‘go-to’ material in recent years. Silicone is widely used in bake-ware, dishware, and freezer molds and the fun colors and price point have helped increase it’s popularity in family kitchens all across North America. There are many stores that promote and market silicone as a wonderful sustainable option… so is it?

The problem with using silicone to manufacture products is that it doesn’t have an end of life (EOL). The strategy of how to properly dispose or recycle silicone wasn’t implemented with the wide roll-out of silicone products. I called the largest recycling depots in the greenest cities I could think of across North America, I could not find one that recycles silicone. So when you market a product as waste-free, but it ends up in the trash, then landfill, is it sustainable? So the environmental effects of the silicone revolution in my opinion are not the best.

What about health effects? My research of silicone started from the fear it could possibility be leaching when heated at high temps or put in the freezer. For parents of pre-teens and older, we remember the recalls, uproar, and frustration when we discovered all plastics weren’t created equal. It turns out there are different types of silicone, but unlike plastic, silicone isn’t labelled or coded with symbols because there is no point to it having recycling codes.  To keep it brief, the type of silicone you want to be using is called platinum rather than tin based which are usually cheaper (price and quality), not suitable for skin contact, and cured pieces have a shorter life as they loose their elasticity.  Here are the benefits of platinum silicone:

– platinum is added as a catalyst and there are no by-products

– little shrinkage, high chemical resistance (dimensional stability)

– high resistance to high temperatures and aging

– environmental odorless and non-toxic

Silicone itself is a rubber material composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. With the different ways to form silicone, the difference is if fillers have been added to change properties and reduce cost. Many experts say if you twist your coloured silicone and see white bending than the silicone you are using contains fillers and is the cheaper quality (tin) silicone.  But if you are using silicone in the kitchen, especially heating it at high temps (microwave, dishwasher) or freezing (making ice or popsicles) it’s important to talk to the manufacturer and ask what type of silicone they’ve used to make the product. If they have NO idea, ask how the silicone is cured in the manufacturing process. The options I found for this process are : platinum-catalyzed cure system (or called an addition system), a condensation cure system (also called tin based cure system), a peroxide cure system (medical products produced from this system), or an oxime cure system.

Experts have been concerned that the process of adding colour to silicone might disrupt inert properties of the polymers, but manufacturers I’ve talked with that have tested for any breakdown from adding colour say that is incorrect. If this concerns you, stick to plain silicone commonly used to keep stainless steel or glass containers air-tight.

I hope this helps you answer the question “should my family be using silicone?” To summarize, if you are concerned about what happens to that silicone ice cube tray after it starts to smell or breakdown, you can not recycle silicone in most recycling depots in North America. There isn’t research to support how long silicone takes to decompose in a landfill. It’s a natural element made from sand and rock, but if containing fillers and colorants – I would assume these are a problem for the earth to absorb.

It also appears that similar to plastic, there are different types of silicone. It’s unfortunate for consumers that our Governments don’t mandate these types be coded at the bottom of all products. If you love using your silicone bake-ware, etc., take the time to call the manufacturer and inquire about what type of silicone is used. You are looking for the word platinum for a higher quality. Also, ask what the manufacturer is doing to close the loop of the end-of-life for silicone with recycling efforts.

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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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Eco Easter Ideas

It seems like most things these days, making something yourself is the best way to avoid toxic nasties. Easter is no different and so I’m excited to share some DIY projects inspired by the Dilly Dally Kids display window (for DIY Easter decorating), egg dying, and Easter egg hunt ideas that minimize waste and traditional Easter junk.

Let’s start with the display window ideas that got me excited to write this article. When it comes to the wonderful world of Pinterest and DIY I try hard not to take on projects that just aren’t obtainable. So when I saw pictures of this feather garland made by Dilly Dally Kids – I knew I wanted to photograph it, write about it and try it. Owners Tyler and Claire hung feathers to twine with clothespins – don’t you love the effect? I even collected a  few feathers from the beach with the kids so that a memory and real feathers could be included in this decoration.

Also displayed by DDK (Dilly Dally Kids) store owners are beautiful paper mache eggs. And for parents looking to minimize or eliminate purchasing more plastic eggs this year to hold treasures, paper mache eggs would be a great addition to an egg hunt. I found an easy DIY tutorial for this using hodgepodge & tissue paper via Pinterest. Here is the inspiration from DDK’s window and look how beautiful the paper mache eggs look nestled in gorgeous nests made from willow branches and a sprinkle of feathers. Imagine a forest walk to collect all of these treasures?  This is so inspiring to discover and decorate with pieces of nature gathered to create unique Easter decor!

Can we talk about Easter morning and one easy, Eco way to reduce plastic crap? Get your kids moving and working for their Easter treasures! The hunt my kids have loved over the last few years didn’t include little trinkets in each egg for the kids; rather a clue to where the next egg could be found. And at the end of the hunt my kids would find one sustainable gift from the Easter Bunny. Last year the kids found fishing rods and I think this year it will be tennis rackets. Anything that promotes keeping them active and playing outdoors I’m all in favour for. For the younger crowd that still delight in discovering toys – check out these adorable wooden bunnies & chicks from DDK. This line of wooden toys is from Europe, each one handmade and painted. You could create a nest similar to the one featured above (in mini form) and arrange these little friends for your sweeties to find.

Now that my sons are a little older (ages 9 and 10) the Easter Bunny sends them all over the neighborhood Easter morning. Pictures taken from a camera or handwritten clues leading kids from egg to egg to a figure in a neighbor’s garden, traffic sign, unique fence/door/garden decoration in the neighborhood is really fun and awesome for the kids. They go running from clue to clue – not thinking about chocolate or candy. They are on the hunt and using their mind, body, and energy to uncover each clue. This is the part of Easter my kids talk about every year and I love it. For my younger kids, the Easter Bunny sets up their hunt in a forest trail. It keeps them safe from traffic and the eggs are scattered along the forest floor and they also lead the kids to a more sustainable Easter gift rather than lots of little trinkets.

My last Easter tip is for parents that have the traditional egg dying craft with kids. With my new found love of using beets to dye icing, play dough, and to eat – I find it easy to dye using vegetables from my fridge. But one drawback to organic colours is sometimes they are not as bright or exciting as artificial. If you are looking for a kit to give you more of a colour spectrum, but still keep the process natural – check out these great egg dying kits! Lucky locals to Vancouver still have lots of time to stop by Dilly Dally Kids on Commercial Drive to pickup thoughtful selections of chocolate, toys, egg dye kits and totally adorable Easter books!

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DIY Toothpaste & Oil Pulling

You know those moments in your life where you try something new and think “why haven’t I been doing this for years?” Well that’s going to happen after you try making your own toothpaste and oil pulling. There are lots of homemade toothpaste recipes on the Internet but recently I saw a post from Homestead Wannabes and the frothy finished result encouraged me to whip up a batch! It’s been slightly modified which you need to do in the essential oil world…it’s very difficult to source food grade essential oils which kept me back from making my own toothpaste for quite a while. I didn’t want to order expensive oils online when I didn’t know what the result would be.  But when I purchased organic vanilla for baking recently,  I noticed a peppermint flavor in the baking section with only two ingredients: organic sunflower oil and organic peppermint oil so I purchased a bottle to flavor my toothpaste. This recipe combined with oil pulling made my teeth feel very slippery and clean – much more than using traditional toothpaste or store bought organic brands.

Homemade Toothpaste Recipe modified from Homestead Wannabes:

Ingredients:

4 tsp Bronners liquid peppermint
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp xylitol
1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavor

Directions:

Boil water and add 2 tablespoons into a blender. Add Bronners, coconut oil, xylitol, and peppermint flavour and blend until frothy (few minutes). Store in air tight container.

So there you have a very easy homemade toothpaste recipe. Kids will not mind the taste of this recipe and the cost savings is monster. I can’t tell you how happy I am to not purchase $6-7 organic toothpaste brands on a regular basis anymore. Why do I insist on organic toothpaste for the kids? Two years ago I pulled all fluoride from their dental routine. You can read why here.  And since it’s been two years I can address the issue parents and grandparents worry about the most with not giving kids fluoride – do we experience more cavities? We have seen a decrease in cavities so for our family – there is not a link with tooth wellness and fluoride for us. And if we got into a routine of flossing I think we could have near perfect success at our routine appointments.

Now I can talk about my own dental health. It’s not great because I didn’t have a cavity before starting to have kids in my late 20s. So for the past 10 years I really had a false sense that not going to the dentist I would be okay. Well that’s not the case..I have cavities and a root canal that need to be looked at. But before I re-book my appointment to talk to a dentist – I’m going to spend a few months trying restorative measures with my own teeth and oil pulling is something that really interests me. ** And I’d like to thank my friend Susan for posting oil pulling information to the Mommy Footprint Fan Page – it has been very encouraging!! **  Here are some benefits of oil pulling in my own words and I’ve also linked to a Dr. Mercola video that goes into more depth.

Oil pulling with sunflower or coconut oil changes the PH balance in your mouth and bacteria prefers an acid environment, therefore minimizing tooth decay..
Oil pulling with coconut oil seems to have the most health benefits and helps fight cavities and gingivitis – sunflower or sesame oil is also used for oil pulling but it increases your Omega-6 oils which isn’t needed.
Coconut oil also helps heart health, skin, and gut health.
Oil pulling limits germs that cause plaque accumulation and tooth decay before they spread through your bloodstream to the rest of your body.

How do you oil pull?  It makes me wish it was called oil swishing or something less mysterious than ‘pulling’ because it’s SO EASY!  And it’s not gross tasting either…a very easy process. You take a tablespoon (or less to start) of compressed, unrefined coconut oil and put it inside your mouth. I keep mine stored in my cheek until it melts. Then you start ‘pulling’ or swishing the liquid (combined with your saliva) through your mouth. I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the floor while oil pulling (do anything that doesn’t require talking) for approx. 20 mins. I was worried about gagging on the oil but it was not an issue. It’s important not to swallow the oil  just keep swishing it around until you are ready to spit. When it’s sufficiently ‘pulled’ the oil will appear a milky white and should be spat into the toilet or garbage. I’m finding with using so many personal care recipes that contain coconut oil, my bathroom sink is getting plugged quite often so better not to cause further blockage by spitting in the sink.

Making your own toothpaste and oil pulling are two personal care products that really live up to the hype of DIY!  I will make another homemade toothpaste recipe that contains baking soda now that I have the main ingredients on hand and will post back. But the frothy recipe within this article is a fantastic introduction to DIY toothpaste because of the great taste! And that’s important when introducing to kids.  And I’m excited to see how long the frothy texture lasts so I can take a batch to my dentist. He totally supports all my requests to only x-ray if needed (not routinely), not to give the kids fluoride treatments, discussions on dental sealant and cavities. And when I mentioned that I’d be trying to make my own recipe he thought it was very cool!  Nothing like finding holistic support in the middle of a traditional pediatric dentist office that give me the support to feel like I’m making the right decisions with dental care for my kids.

To read all the articles on my journey to more holistic dental care for my family – check out:

Holistic Dentistry & Mercury

Holistic Dentistry & Greener Toothbrushes

Xylitol and Natural Dental Care

 

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