Tag Archives | make your own granola bars

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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Litterless Lunch Solutions

I’ve been asked for my opinion on what is the best litterless lunch solution for back-to-school and with so many great options it comes down to each lunch solution being compatible with different foods a family enjoys packing. I have several lunch containers from reviews over the years so I thought I’d photograph different combos and share with pictures rather than descriptions – sometimes a visual is more helpful. I do have a few rules I stick to with packing any food for my children (and self) so I’ll list these before the pictures:

– I don’t use plastic. I don’t care if it’s BPA-free, phthalate free, recycled, etc, etc. At the end of the day, I don’t trust plastic or want it near my children’s food.

– Ditto on the plastic for water bottles. I also don’t use aluminum water bottles that have liners. I trust 18/8, stainless steel bottles and these are what I use for myself and children. On hot days, I include a couple of ice cubes (made from stainless steel ice trays) into their bottles to keep water icy cold. This is a great trick for back-to-school and keeping water delicious.

– Stainless steel is my favorite reusable material for back-to-school lunches. I like using single walled stainless steel systems for most days – I find it keeps food at just the right temperature. Ice packs, etc. normally aren’t required. To keep food hot however, double walled stainless steel is needed. All thermos systems I’ve seen that keep food hot, have a bit of plastic around the top. I tried out the Laptop Lunches system from Organically Hatched and like the size for when I pack soup or leftovers for the kids.

– With lunch bags I’m sticking with organic cotton. I wrote an article months ago about non-stick diaper bag liners and discovered some brands contain teflon. It’s really turned me off of lunch bags – no knowing what they are insulated with. I love the Graze bags…I used them all last year when sending kids with a hot lunch and needing somewhere to put a stainless steel utensil.

– I love tiffins. They are my #1 system because I’m very rushed in the morning and don’t have time to work within the set confines or spaces that other systems offer. They are air-tight, fun for the kids to use and we’ve never lost a piece because kids can’t close the system unless the containers, lid, and latch are ready to be secured. I’m also making more items from scratch for lunches so these foods tend to be larger in size and won’t fit into traditional systems. Also note that tiffin is the name for a style of system – it’s not the brand name. There are many different suppliers making tiffins, I can only vouch for and recommend the tiffins sold via Green Planet Parties.

– Encourage your school to only be using reusable products for food, snacks, and lunches. If you’ve been asked to provide plastic sandwich bags with your back-to-school supplies, supply a few cloth bags as an alternative.

Now here are some pictures!  First up, you know it’s going to be tiffins. Here are two pictures so you see how a full apple (or larger whole fruit) can go in the top container because the lid is domed. This picture also shows how you can easily partition a container to separate fruit, veggies, etc. – I use parchment paper.

This sized tiffin is recommended for preschool to all elementary school aged children for back-to-school. A light-weight system that gives plenty of options with three roomy containers.

The next most common question I get asked with back-to-school is how to transport hot food (soup, left-overs, stir-fry, etc.) with back-to-school. In order for food to stay hot you need to have a double walled system. I picked up a Laptop Lunches thermos from Organically Hatched and it’s very roomy, stainless steel, and will grow with your child because it’s not marked with commercialized characters. It’s great to have a lunch bag to accompany a thermos because normally you need a side container of fruit, cutlery, and a cloth napkin to include. I used my Graze organic cotton lunch bags for this all last year when bringing left over Shepard’s Pie for my kids or soup. I love knowing they can be composted when they are tattered and torn. Here is a picture of this system:

My last visual is for parents that love to pack multiple smaller, separate containers for back-to-school. You’ll definitely need a lunch bag to keep them all together. I know parents love the lunchbots. I’ve had them leak on me before, so I tend to gravitate to a container that has clips and a silicone ring; this usually means that it’s airtight. You can find lunchbots here and greentainers (with clips) here:


For tips on navigating through greener back-to-school shopping, check out these articles:

Limit Your Food Packaging: Make Your Own Granola Bars


Save Money & Green Back-to-School Supplies!

How To Bring Green & Healthy Values Back-to-School

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