Archives for April 2013

30 Healthy Mexican Recipes for Cinco De Mayo

30 Healthy Mexican RecipesCinco De Mayo is just a few short days away and I LOVE any excuse to eat Mexican Food! I’ve gathered up 30 Healthy Recipes for Cinco De Mayo to help you celebrate.

STARTERS

Looking for great Mexican flavor in a drink that even the kids can enjoy? Make a pitcher of Green Tea Mock-jitos.

If you’ve got company coming, you can’t go wrong with Mexican Layer Dip and this looks so lovely in a trifle bowl.

You’ll need salsa, so take your pick from Salsa Fresca, Garden Fresh Salsa, or Easy Salsa.

Then, whether you are serving it as a dip, or a condiment, here is a great recipe for Organic Guacamole.

*Bonus Tip* Do you know How to Keep Guacamole Green?

TORTILLAS

I have been dying to make these Soft Homemade Tortillas.

SOUPS

A classic soup to make for Cinco de Mayo is Southwest Taco Soup Need gluten-free? Try this recipe for Gluten-Free Taco Soup.

Don’t forget these other classic soups like Spicy Black Bean Soup or Posole.

MEXICAN MAIN DISHES

To make a really great Cinco De Mayo meal, you could start out by making Homemade Tex-Mex Enchilada Sauce. Then use it to make Cheese Enchiladas or Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas. Tempting, no?

Looking for something out of the ordinary? This Mexican Chicken and Pasta Skillet looks good as does this recipe for Tinga – something I’ve never tried.

Two of our family favorites are Tortilla Pie and Cheddar Corn Bake.

When I eat Mexican out, I’m always tempted by the chimichangas. Much healthier are these Homemade Chicken Chimichangas.

We frequently do breakfast for dinner. I’ll make a play on breakfast like these Black Bean Cakes. Or, I love to serve an egg dish like Huevos a la Mexicana or Frijoles Rancheros.

BEANS

You seriously can not have Mexican food without some sort of beans. I like to make a batch of Pinto Beans in the crockpot and use them for Homemade Refried Beans or to make a Vegetarian Burrito Bowl that is sooooo much cheaper than what you get a Chipotle.

You can’t go wrong serving classic Black Beans and Rice for Cinco de Mayo.

TACOS

Tacos are a Mexican staple that are quick and easy to whip up. Especially if you keep Homemade Taco Seasoning on hand. Use it to whip up Simple Chicken Tacos, quick and easy Oven Tacos or even Grilled Fish Tacos.

What will you be serving this Cinco de Mayo?

New Ibotta App: How to Get Rewarded for Natural and Organic Purchases

ibotta app

There is a new way to get rewarded for your natural and organic purchases from either your iphone or android phone. It’s called ibotta and it is free to download. I’ve got the lowdown for you and it is actually a very easy way to get cash for purchasing your favorite products!

Here’s why I like it:

  • If you don’t like carting coupons to the store each week, this is a simple way to earn a little extra cash for your purchases.
  • If there are tasks you don’t want to perform (I didn’t post the Tazo offer to my Facebook page) you simply don’t earn as much.
  • No newspapers to purchase, no clipping of coupons, no full page ads with your printable coupons

Here’s how it works:

  • Load the FREE app onto your phone.
  • Complete tasks on products before shopping. By tasks I mean answering a simple question or tweeting about the product.
  • Head to the store and actually purchase the items you completed tasks for.
  • After shopping, press Redeem to verify your purchases. You’ll need to take a picture of your receipt to verify your purchases. You will also need to scan the barcodes of the products.
  • Within minutes, ibotta will send cash to your paypal account!
  • Want to earn even more? Check your Bonuses and Store Extras for additional earning opportunities.

For a limited time, when you sign-up and become a new ibotta user, you can earn an extra $2 if you redeem at least 2 offers within the first 2 weeks of signing up.

I suggest taking the picture of your receipt and scanning your products as soon as you get out to your car. Bing. Bang. Boom. Money in your paypal account.

 

 

7 Food Documentaries to Watch Now

7 Food Documentaries You Must Watch.jpg

This past weekend, my husband and I had a strange conversation. He was reading the paper and asked me if I’d heard of this company ‘Monsanto’.

Huh?

Of course I have! Monsanto is one of the main reasons I elect to purchase organic food. If you’ve never heard of Monsanto, it is time to get educated!

In the course of our discussion, we realized since I was the one buying and preparing the food, I was the only one educating myself and making decisions for my family. I wasn’t including my husband in the discoveries I’ve made about our food system.

We had a great discussion about our food supply and over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with him some of my favorite food documentaries.

If you are looking to educate yourself on the food we eat, I’d recommend watching these 7 food documentaries:

Hungry for Change – Are we being manipulated by the diet, weight loss and food industry? This is a smart movie starring Jamie Oliver sets out to prove healthy eating leads to better living.

Food Inc – This movie is an expose about the food industry. Questions about feedlots? Questions about GMO crops? This is one to watch. This is a great introduction to ‘Monsanto’ and how they are completely altering our food supply.

Food Matters – If this film sets out to prove the saying, “Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food” – Hippocrates. We are what we eat. Watch this and see if you agree.

Fresh – Are you interested in reforming our food supply? Fresh gives good, basic information about what is happening with our food supply.

King Corn – It is mind boggling how many products contain corn. Not corn-on-the-cob, but corn that has been processed and used to make so much of our food. Learn how corn is the basis of our entire American diet.

Forks Over Knives – This movie poses the question: If we eliminate or limit refined, processed and animal based foods, can we eliminate or reverse disease? What happens when we follow a plant based diet?

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch these movies FREE!

What movies would you add?

How to Grill Zucchini

How to Grill Zucchini

How to grill perfect zucchini every time.

Grilled Zucchini is so simple to make but the taste is out of this world delicious. When your garden becomes overrun with squash, this is a great way to cook it and use it up!

If you are looking for the simplest way to cook up a bunch of zucchini, look no further than your grill. Zucchini grills up easily and results in a tasty side  – or even main – dish.

How to Grill Zucchini

  • Cut the zucchini to about a 1/2 inch thickness either on the diagonal into large rounds, into triangular pieces, or into lengthwise pieces. If you are slicing your zucchini, I suggest using a mandolin for uniform pieces.
  • There is no need to peel the zucchini or remove the seeds. Peeling is a personal preference.
  • Heat the grill to medium high heat.
  • Mix 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Brush the zucchini with the olive oil and garlic mixture.
  • Put the slices directly on the preheated grill.
  • Cook until brown on all sides – about 5 – 7 minutes per side. Zucchini should be tender.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This is a basic grilling recipe that results in great flavor every time.

However, there may be times when you want to add a bit of a flavor boost to your zucchini before cooking it.

Perfectly Grilled Zucchini How to Grill Zucchini

Optional Flavor Boosts for Grilling Zucchini

  • Add finely chopped onion and parsley to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Or, add finely chopped rosemary and oregano to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Or, add about 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar to the olive oil and garlic.
  • Omit olive oil and garlic. Mix approximately 1/4 cup miso with a splash of mirin and a tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and baste zucchini during grilling.
  • After grilling, you can brush zucchini with a mixture of lemon juice and finely chopped mint.
  • While zucchini is still hot, grate fresh Parmesan cheese over it.

Grilled zucchini is excellent served hot directly off the grill. However, if you end up with leftovers, stuff into a pita with some hummus for a delicious sandwich the next day.

Have a favorite way to serve grilled zucchini? I’d love to hear it!

Fizzy Homemade Ice Tea

Fizzy Homemade Iced Tea

Are you wondering about the “Fizzy” in this Homemade Ice Tea Recipe? Well, have you seen the new “Fizz” that was released by Honest? 

Honest is now owned by Coca Cola. And what they have released is a far cry from their beginnings when they produced organic tea.

The new cans of “Fizz” have pictures of oranges, lemons, limes, and cherries on the front. But there is no actual juice in Fizz. But there is “flavoring”.

Honest used to be a tea company – but their new “Fizz” has no tea in it.

Essentially, “Fizz” is a no calorie drink with nothing good inside.

Here’s my version of “Fizz”. It includes both tea and actual fruit juice. I can’t say it is zero calorie, but it’s nutritional value is not a flat line ZERO. Instead, you’ll get antioxidants from the green tea and it will be naturally sweetened when you use an organic 100% fruit juice concentrate in this recipe.

Speaking of calories, you can control the amount of tea/fruit juice concentrate you add to your sparkling water. Want less calories? Use less. Need a sweet jolt? Add a little more.

Fizzy Homemade Ice Tea

Ingredients

  • 4 green tea bags
  • 12 ounce can organic frozen juice concentrate any flavor
  • Sparkling water
  • Fresh berries (optional)

Instructions

  1. Steep the green tea in 2 cups of boiling water for two minutes. Remove bags.
  2. Add frozen juice concentrate to the tea and stir well.
  3. Refrigerate and chill.
  4. To serve, fill an 8 ounce glass with ice. Add 1/4 cup tea mixture. Top off with sparkling water. Add fresh berries if using.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/fizzy-homemade-ice-tea/

So will you try the homemade version of Fizzy Ice Tea? I hope you do. This is a huge favorite with my kids.

30 Tips to Use in Your Organic Garden

Organic Gardening Tips

Will you be gardening this year? I’m watching the blowing snow as I write this and am dreaming of the day I can get back to the soil and harvest fresh, ripe produce!

I’ve rounded up 30 Tips you can use in your organic garden. Here’s to warm temperatures, fertile soil, and abundant produce!

At my house, I have raised beds. You can see my garden layout here. If you are planning your garden, here’s a bit more inspiration:

Planning Your Organic Garden:

Here’s a wonderful resource for an Edible Garden How-To.

Keeper of the Home shares How to Plant a Garden That Works For Where You Live.

It’s good to remember that Tiny Gardens Can Grow Anywhere.

Mom Prepares has a list of Decorative Shrubbery You Can Eat.

Have you failed at gardening in the past? Make sure you read these tips on How Not to Fail at Gardening. Good, common sense to starting your garden.

Think you have no room for a garden? Good Girl Gone Green has plans and the low down on Planting a Sustainable Front Lawn Garden. The results are beautiful!

Planning What To Grow:

Now that you’ve got a garden spot, what will you grow?

For first time gardeners, here are Easy Vegetables to Grow. My family favorites? Radishes (shocking, right? but true!), beets, zucchini and tomatoes.

Looking for more advice? Frugal Farm Wife lists her Easy Grow Garden Picks.

The Creative Christian Mama shares her Favorite Herbs to Grow. Please make sure to include some herbs in your garden. Mint grows with no help at all and makes the best tea!

Don’t forget about edible flowers! This Chick Cooks has a list of  Edible Flowers to Grow in Your Garden. Marigolds are always in my gardens and I’m adding nasturtium this year.

If you saw my garden plan, you saw I have a bed that gets partial shade. Here are 40 fruits, vegetables and herbs that grow in partial shade.

How to Save Money on Your Garden:

As you start planning your garden, remember Craig’s List Equals Cheap Plants

Bideshis No More has a brilliant idea for a Community Plant Trade. Fill your garden by trading your extras! No one to trade with? May I suggest finding a local garden forum online? Most have these types fo plant trades.

And of course, remember to upcycle.

Glass Bottles border flower bed

Starting Seeds:

Starting your own seeds helps keep your gardening costs low. Here are a few tips for seed starting.

Smithspirations has a guide to Deciphering Seeds and what terms like “open-pollinated” and “heirloom” really mean.

When it comes to seed starting, Green Bean Gardens has an excellent resource for Seed Starting.

Eliza K shows how to take my least favorite packaging (hint: the apples at Costco) and turn them into mini greenhouses.

Have you made eggshell planters before? Here’s how to do it. These can go right into the garden and they provide extra nutrients for your seedlings.

Vegetable Tips:

If you are including growing potatoes on your list (and this year I am!) remember these Planting Potato Tips from a Master Gardener.

Here’s the low down on Planting Snap Peas from a Life in Balance.

Everyone wants to grow delicious tomatoes. Here is Tomato Growing 101.

If you are planting peas, you’ll need to build a Pea Trellis.

Pea Trellis

 Eliminating Garden Pests and Weeds:

Emily from Random Recycling shares how to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden Naturally.

Small Footprint Family has how to Control Fungus Gnats Organically 

Here’s my tips for How to Kill Weeds Organically.

Weeds Killed Using Boiling Water

Composting is a Key Element to Organic Gardening:

Living Crunchy has instructions on How to Make Your Own Compost Bin. 

Red & Honey has a guide on How to Start a Successful Backyard Compost.

Your Gardening Friend tells How to Take Care of Compost Worms.

Tools:

Here’s a seriously brilliant idea for Storing Your Gardening Tools by A Seed Inspired! When planning your garden, you may want to implement this idea.

Learning and Yearning shares Why Rototillers May be More Harmful than Helpful in an Organic Garden

The first thing that will go in my garden – sugar snap peas – will be planted as soon as this new snow moves out. Are you growing a garden this year?

Healthy Lemony Zucchini Risotto

Lemony Zucchini Risotto

This Healthy Lemony Zucchini Risotto recipe is the perfect Spring comfort food.

I don’t know what the weather is like where you are, but it is 34 degrees here in Colorado. At the same time, my bulbs are starting to come up.

This recipe’s bright flavors speak of the warm weather to come, but the creamy, comforting risotto satisfies the craving for a hearty dish.

We eat this recipe as a main dish with just a side salad. The recipe feeds our family of four a healthy portion that manages to keep us satisfied.

Serve it for Meatless Monday or you can use it as a side dish if you so choose. Sprinkle it with Parmesan cheese, or leave it off for a vegan meal.

Healthy Lemony Zucchini Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • zest and juice of one lemon

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion in olive oil for 3 minutes.
  2. Add arborio rice and stir for two minutes.
  3. Stir in 1/2 cup broth. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed.
  4. Continue until you have 1 cup of broth remaining.
  5. Before you add the remaining broth, add the grated zucchini. Stir and cook for two minutes before adding the last two 1/2 cups of broth.
  6. Once all liquid has been absorbed, add the zest and juice of lemon.
  7. Serve with Parmesan cheese if you choose.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/healthy-lemony-zucchini-risotto/

I’m ready for zucchini out of the garden, how about you?

Healthy Lemony Zucchini Risotto