Healthy Homemade Snack: Whole Grain "Cookies" (Updated Recipe)

Three months ago I posted the recipe for our favorite on-the-go snack:  whole grain "cookies."  Since then, I have tweaked the recipe a bit, and this is now my preferred version.  I switched to all honey, after writing this post about sweeteners.  I also added another egg for more protein (why not?), and a little more milk, so they would be more cakey and less crumbly.  This makes them a bit less messy for my toddler to eat.  I also use double the raisins now after a failed experiment with chocolate chips (my toddler picked them out, which was extremely messy).

Avoiding Phthalates in Deodorant and Everywhere Else

I've been searching for a less-toxic deodorant for my husband for years.  My husband has gone along with most of my green upgrades pretty willingly, but he insists on having a deodorant that is up to the task, and so far the less-toxic deodorants have largely not worked for my husband.  Now I am willing to let a thing or two slide here and there, but I have not let go of my quest for a new deodorant for my husband for one major reason: he often sleeps with our kids, and after they sleep together, I can smell the fragrance of his deodorant on my kids.  Which means the fragrance is on them.

Best Bib Ever: Giveaway and Review

Best Bib Ever from kidsstore ($19.95 + $3.00 shipping)

My nearly 2-year-old loves to feed herself but has not always been fond of wearing a bib.  About 9 months ago, she started tearing off her bib 0.5 seconds after I got the Velcro done up at her neck every single time I put it on.  I did try once seeing if I could wear her down by putting on the bib over and over again each time she tore it off, but, in the end, she won that battle of the wills.  I tried various solutions.  The most effective was putting a too-big shirt I didn't care about over her clothes.  But she hated this and it was annoying to put on and take off.  So mostly, for the last many months, she has worn no bib. In addition to staining her every shirt, this has also meant that rice, couscous, and quinoa ended up in every nook and cranny of her body as well as her booster seat.

Things I Avoid Eating

image credit: Adam Fields

Here are some things I like to avoid eating:
  1. Synthetic hormones (found in conventional meat and dairy products)
  2. Antibiotics (found in conventional meat and dairy products)
  3. Dioxins, PCBs, PBDEs, DDT and other environmental pollutants (found in fatty animal products)
  4. Mercury (mainly fish high in the food chain)
  5. E. Coli, Salmonella, etc. (a possibility with any meat or produce)
  6. Pesticides (conventional produce)
  7. Genetically modified organisms/ GMOs (nearly all processed foods, and many other conventional food products such as corn and oil)
  8. Food additives (non-food ingredients added to packaged and processed foods) including: artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, preservatives
  9. Imitation food/ manufactured food substitutes: margarine, high-fructose corn syrup
  10. Plastic

10 Half-Year Resolutions

This post is my contribution to the June Green Moms Carnival: Half-Year Resolutions, hosted by OrganicMania.  

In April, I set three Earth Day Eco-resolutions. I am proud to say, that I have accomplished two of the three goals:  stop using single-use plastic produce and shopping bags; stop my junk mail.  But I still haven't accomplished the first goal: make my own yogurt.  The Green Moms are setting some half-yearly resolutions, just in time for summer, when the weather is wonderful and everything seems possible.  So making my own yogurt is at the top of my list now.  I also came up with nine more resolutions for 2011.  As you can see, I like to stick with small, doable goals, rather than grandiose visions of all that could be.  If I even accomplish half of these, I will consider this exercise a major success.

For many of these goals, I could use a little advice or guidance (see the questions at the end of each goal).  Please add your wisdom in the comments!

New Dirty Dozen and Other Weekend Links

The big news is that EWG published their new Dirty Dozen (and Clean Fifteen). Here is the cute printable guide. I prefer to print out the full list. Each year, EWG ranks pesticide contamination of popular fruits and vegetables based on their analysis of 51,000 tests for pesticides on these foods, conducted by the USDA and the FDA. You can read more about the methodology here.  A few facts that will make your head spin (from EWG):

  • As a category. peaches have been treated with more pesticides than any other produce, registering combinations of up to 57 different chemicals. Apples were next, with 56 pesticides and raspberries with 51.
  • A single celery sample was contaminated with 13 different chemicals, followed by a single sample of sweet bell peppers (11), and greens (10).

If you value this kind of information, please sign EWG's petition telling the USDA to stop funding a California-based pro-pesticide, big agriculture group, which has accused EWG of discouraging produce consumption (P.S. The USDA has also not yet released the latest pesticide residue data). Consumers aren't smart enough to make up their own minds about pesticides, so the argument goes, and all this information just scares them unnecessarily! This is the same argument used for not labeling GMOs, by the way.  If only we could actually trust the USDA to make decisions in the public interest, instead of acting like the lap dog of Big Ag.  In the meantime, give me the information please.

In other breaking news, the USDA has replaced the Food Pyramid with My Plate.  Definitely more useful, but personally I won't be looking to the USDA for eating advice anytime soon.  Check out this awesome comparison of what the USDA recommends you eat versus what foods they subsidize.  Love that USDA!

A few more reads:
Another reason to eat organic meat.
Tips for avoiding food poisoning without toxic chemicals.
And a fun instead of depressing one: finds at the antique shop!

Happy Father's Day!

Decadent Whole Grain Pancake Breakfast

Here's a little Father's Day brunch idea for you.

We love love love pancakes at our house.  I could do an entire whole grain pancake series.  It is now strawberry season (hooray!), so we've been having this decadent version of pancake breakfast one or more times per week.

This is a double recipe.  Why even bother making the single recipe?

Celeste Blake Designs Gallon-size Reusable Bag Giveaway & Review

Reusable gallon-size bag from Celeste Blake Designs,
$13.95 (incl. shipping)

About 7 months ago, I ran out of quart-size and sandwich-size bag disposable plastic bags simultaneously. As I pulled the last one or two baggies out of the box, I resolved to stop buying disposable baggies and find reusable alternatives to replace them. Since then, I have tried and reviewed numerous reusable food bags, and I am proud to say that I have not purchased any more disposable plastic bags since then.

But. . . I am still using disposable gallon-size bags. Until recently, I didn’t know of a suitable reusable alternative.

Winner and Weekend Links

The winner of the Nothing But Soap natural laundry soap giveaway is: Heaventaste!

Thank you to all who participated.  If you are like my sister, now that you know you didn't win, you can go ahead and make your purchase from Nothing But Soap.  Amber has great prices!

And if you haven't done so already, remember to enter the giveaway for a set of stainless steel straws made by Etsy shop The Mulled Mind.  There will be 2 more Etsy giveaways in June as well.  Stay tuned!

A few reads for the weekend:

Five Easy Steps to a Greener Life

This post was inspired by Healthy Child Healthy World's 5 Easy Steps. Here are my suggestions for 5 easy, practical and affordable steps towards a less toxic, more eco-friendly home.

Take off your shoes at the door.
Does your child spend a lot of time on the floor, maybe even licking the floor? Taking off your shoes keeps a lot of man-made toxins out of your house, off your floor, off of little kids' hands and out of kids' mouths. Removing your shoes is especially important if your home has wall-to-wall carpet. I am a slovenly housekeeper, but vigilant about shoes off at the door. I feel like the latter somewhat compensates for the former.

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws by The Mulled Mind (Giveaway and Review)

Image from The Mulled Mind

Etsy discovery #5,044: stainless steel straws. Can you imagine? There is a person who makes stainless steel straws by hand from home. This is the joy of Etsy.

There is just one Etsy store that makes stainless steel straws, and it is The Mulled Mind.  The Mulled Mind is owned by Heather Melling of Massachusetts, a mechanical engineer who is using her skills to help you kick your disposable plastic straw habit.

Making Purchases Using Consumer Search

As you may have ascertained from this blog, I am a bit of a research junkie. When it comes to making a major purchase (to me, major purchase = $50 or more), this propensity of mine goes into overdrive. One of my favorite resources when agonizing over a purchase is Consumer Search. According to their own description, they:
  1. Collect the best reviews (review sources include professional reviews such as Consumer Reports, Cooks Illustrated, and magazine articles, as well as consumer/user ratings from online stores such as Amazon)
  2. Analyze their picks (considering each source's relative credibility)
  3. Recommend what to buy

The Perfect Child's Cup

The Sanctus Mundo 8 oz. Stainless Steel cup.
Available from MightyNest for $7.95

During the last several years, we have been trying to eat and drink less plastic by seeking alternatives to plastic dishwarefood storage, cookware and bakeware.  Although we've been using stainless steel sippy cups and water bottles for years, a suitable alternative to the plastic child's drinking cup has long eluded me.  Until a month ago, my children were almost exclusively using IKEA polypropylene cups for their drinking cups.  This practice violated several of my own plastic rules, including avoiding using plastics with food (particularly liquids, which have the potential for greater leaching); avoiding using plastic children's products; and never putting plastic through the dishwasher.  We always put our IKEA cups through the dishwasher, because I am just far too lazy to hand wash several plastic cups every single day.


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