Friday, October 30, 2009

The Great Pumpkin. Or, what to do with all that candy.

Don't want to rot your kid's teeth with all that sugar? Not to mention all the bad stuff that's in your average Halloween candy. I just heard that over a billion dollars a year is spent on Halloween candy! That's crazy!! When I heard that, it made me sad that all that money is going to support something so incredibly unhealty. I'm all for treats--really I am. Just not frankenfood and dyes and gmos, etc. And I can't help but think how great it would be if all that money was going into the organic foods industry instead.

Anyway, here's what I do. I tell my son he can take 2 or three pieces out of his loot. Then we put the rest in a paper bag on the porch for the Great Pumpkin. The Great Pumpkin takes the candy during the night and leaves behind a small gift for my son to discover in the morning. It makes for a really fun tradition and the gift can be anything from a new pair of jammies to whole grain cookies to a small toy. Do You have any special tricks for keeping unhealthy treats away?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nicobella Organic Chocolate Confections: The Grown Up Treat

Nicobella Truffles are an exciting grown up treat, confirming that decadence can also be healthy. They caught my eye because I noticed the Pumpkin Chai truffle, and thought--how festive! And healthy! Created by Nichole Dandrea and produced by Theo Chocolates, Nicobella Vegan Confections come in a box of six interesting, original flavors.

Each truffle contains ingredients known for their antioxidant clout, like blueberry and green tea. My personal favorites are the Pumpkin Chai (of course!) and the Blueberry. I'm super big on not sacrificing health for my treats, and quality, healthful organic ingredients not only make things taste better, but allow you to feel good about eating it.

Keep a stash of these on hand for Halloween and really treat yourself. They'd also be great for Thanksgiving or make a wonderful gift for vegans and just anyone who loves deep rich good taste. For 15% off a 3-box purchase, enter the promo code: TREAT (ends November 7).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Berlin inspired Pumpkin Soup

While hanging out in Berlin a few years ago, I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Abendmahl (translation: Last Supper). You would never know from the website, but it's one of the most bizarre and creative restaurants I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. To give you an idea, the desserts at one time were all murder scenes--and they were ingenious.

The last time I was there, it was about this time of year and a bit cold outside. I ordered Pumpkin Soup and it was so wonderful I was determined to come home and recreate it. Which I did! Every time I make it, it brings me fond memories of Berlin. Here is a very loose recipe if you care to give it a try. I throw in a couple of cans (totally optional) because getting the meat out of a pumpkin can be time consuming. Feel free to just use more fresh pumpkin.

Loose Recipe:
1 small onion, chopped
1 sugar pie pumpkin
2 cans organic pumpkin (I like Trader Joes BPA free cans)
vegetable broth
salt and pepper
dash of cinnamon
soy cream

Chop pumpkin into small pieces--I find it easiest to put the pumpkin, whole, in the oven for 45 minutes, then the meat comes right out. Saute chopped onion. Add pumpkin and broth, and seasonings. Let simmer until color and flavors deepen. Add soy cream into bowl last (it's not a good idea to add the cream to the pot as it curdles).

Charlie and Lola Halloween Sticker Book

Lola is having a hard time deciding what to be for Halloween. She's not alone! My son changes his costume idea pretty much daily. We've run the gamut from ghost, alligator, astronaut to wizard to name a few. It's actually kind of fun to watch kids change their minds and become enchanted with new ideas, however fleeting.

In the pages of My Halloween Sticker Stories, Lola contemplates costume ideas, grows a pumpkin from seed, and deals with a big disappointment in a positive way. The book comes with a couple of pages of stickers which is always exciting for my four year old. You can't go wrong with Charlie and Lola and they are extra fun on holidays.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spun City Organic Cotton Candy

When is the last time you had cotton candy? For me it's been years--I don't even remember. As a little girl, it was my absolute favorite. I'll never forget watching that stick swirl around those big machines growing that spool of cotton candy. I'd slowly pull off a piece, savoring the smell. Then I'd let it melt on my tongue--pure magic.

In my quest for some healthier options for Halloween candy, I stumbled across Spun City Organic Cotton Candy. The flavors and colors are fruit and vegetable based, and it's certified organic--no artificial colors, preservatives, or dyes. So while it's not exactly on par with broccoli, I think it's fine for an occasional treat. There is something to be said for the nutritional value of emotion.

I told my son, "I have something very special to share with you, this was was my favorite treat when I was a kid." I tore off a little piece and said, "Just let it melt in your mouth." He was completely fascinated, just like I was (and still am). There's nothing else like cotton candy.

My favorite flavor is the Cherry Vanilla. It smells and tastes wonderful--not overpowering. A whole bag (big enough to share) is 110 calories, which I think is miniscule. You can find it at the Natural Candy Store.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dreamy Dandelion Dishes

My son has a dandelions fetish--after they turn into those wonderous wish blowing puff balls. He spots one, and as though he's never seen one before, lights up and runs to snatch it up. That kind of being-in-the-moment is inspiring and I love watching him fill with joy over these little marvels of nature. Even though Fall is here, there are still some left, and they are still greatly prized.

When I saw these dishes at CB2, I didn't hesitate to buy them for my son. We use them every day and they bring a little nature and childlike awe inside. I love them and wanted to share them with you before they are all gone. The photo above is all I could find, but if you click on the link, you can see some much better images.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Calming Blue Bamboo

This print, by Frank Carter, is on my wall. I find it deeply soothing and pleasing to look at. Sometimes it stops me dead in my tracks. I've had the pleasure of hanging out in bamboo forests and for me it was a magical experience that I hold dear in my memory.

With the holidays coming up fast, I have to catch myself when excitement turns into stress and overwhelm. One of my tricks is to focus on a calming image, or conjure one up in my mind. They say that true peace does not come when you're meditating, but when you are able to find it amidst chaos. I'm still working on that! What are Your tools for calm?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Organic Halloween Candy

Need some organic candy for your green Halloween? The Natural Candy Store has a huge variety of healthier alternatives to mainstream candy. Gummy worms sweetened with organic fruit, organic lollipops, and fair trade chocolates are just a few options they have in a wide variety. Here you can find gluten free, allergen free, vegan organic treats for your kids and trick or treaters. Why expose them to toxic dyes and chemicals when we don't have to? My son went bananas over the gummy worms and we are still working on a goodie bag filled with super yummy organic candies. Check them out HERE.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Buddha Fruit

I've been eating salad for breakfast a lot lately. My favorite Fall salad and breakfast salad is Pear-Arugula-Pecan with a maple vinaigrette. Check out these Buddha pears! I don't know if I could cut into one of these, they're too cute. A guy in China got the bright idea to create them with the fruit grows it is shaped into these serene meditators. Can you imagine strolling through a grove of these?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Organic Essence Shea Butter: My favorite Body Cream

It's that time of year where you really start looking around for lotion. At least I do. But a decent body cream, that's truly organic and free of toxic chemicals is not an easy thing to find. Organic Essence is a super eco friendly company (their biodegradable packaging is unheard of) that makes the most luxurious body products that really are good for you and the earth. Their Vanilla Orange Shea Butter Cream completely fits the bill with its comforting smell and yummy texture.

Shea Butter comes from the African Karite Nut and is known for its healing properties. Organic Essence Shea butter (the key ingredient in the cream) is hand made by a group of women in Ghana who literally crack open the nuts, cook them, and grind them into a paste in a centuries old process. Traditionally the paste is formed into balls and carried in hand made baskets.

Organic Essence Shea butter is ethically sourced and supports 600 women in Ghana with fair trade wages. If a fraction of body care companies were this responsible and green, it would have a huge impact on the earth and its inhabitants. Organic Essence is setting a wonderful example and by supporting them we can encourage other companies to follow suit.

It is just a little spendy for my budget (though ridiculously cheap when you consider what goes into it), so I've been wondering how I'm going to continue my habit. I recently spotted it on at a pretty big discount, so I will be using this all winter long. A little goes a long way, so even if you pay full price, I think it's still a great value. Their lip balm is also fantastic, so check that out too.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Raw Revolution Bars: Organic. Vegan. Raw. Fabulous.

Raw Revolution bars are among the best raw bars I've tried yet. I promptly ordered two cases after trying the Raspberry Chocolate and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (seriously--it really tastes like it to me). Next on my list are the Coconut Agave and the Spirulina. These are great to have in your bag for those moments when you're out longer than you thought and need some fuel, or just when you're craving something sweet and yummy but want to stay health conscious. They'd also be great for those on a gluten free diet and just anyone wanting to eat clean.

Raw Revolution bars are the brainchild of a single mom who made these as healthy snacks for her son. Friends soon encouraged her to start a company--a daunting task for a busy nurse and mom of an active toddler--but she did it, and here we are today with this great option.

My four year old considers them candy bars, so they have to be kept out of reach or he will eat as many as he can before I discover him in his little trail of wrappers (twice now). I don't know how he can even finish one, I never can. They are super filling and satisfying and the perfect blend of everything.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A World of Adventures for Game Night

Need something new and exciting for game night? A World of Adventures from Haba is a wonderful way to spend an evening bonding with your child. It's got enough going on that older kids and adults will find it enjoyable as well as that European charm.

Where were games like this when I was a kid? HABA's games are created by people who really understand the way children think and allow imaginations to soar. They're creative, original, and non-toxic. I would have gone crazy for this game and I have to say, even as an adult I am enchanted by it.

HABA's A World of Adventures is actually comprised of four games which can be played individually or together as "The Great Adventure." Two of the games are more difficult and each take between five and ten minutes to play. All of the components are absolutely beautiful to look at.

The first game, Journey Through the Jungle, takes you through the jungles of South America where you'll encounter ancient Inca temples using color recognition. Game two, Expedition to Antarctic, utilizes memory skills to travel across a treacherous ice desert as the adventurers try to make it to the igloo. The third game, High Above the Ravine, is a dice game where the goal is to get across the dangerous bridge and make it to camp. For the last game, Across the Volcanoes, players hurl wooden raindrops at the volcano while moving across the terrain as quickly as possible.

The peices are wooden figures that your child might want to play with outside of this game, they are extremely well made and attractive. The boards are like works of art. This is one of the most visually appealing board games I've ever seen.

I highly recommend A World of Adventures. If you get one new game this year, consider this one. This game is educational, embraces different cultures, geographic themes, and the spirit of adventure and travel as well as cognitive skills. I can't say enough good things about it. Way exceeded expectations! Ages 4+ and available HERE.

Friday, October 16, 2009

FRESH The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook by Sergei and Valya Boutenko

You better have some free time when you pick up this book, because it's hard to put it down. Just like their mother, Victoria Boutenko, Sergei and Valya have a way with words. Both talk about their journey to raw foods, and tell the story of how they were able to reverse life threatening medical problem and go on to thrive. They discuss challenges like how to eat raw while traveling, how to get children interested, and maintain a healthy diet in a world where that's not always so easy.

The Boutenkos are so far ahead of their time in nutritional wisdom, but draw from the oldest and most simple, instinctive knowledge. Once they point to it, it's as plain as day and you wonder, how did we ever get so far away from this?

The first quarter of the book is full of insight and information. The rest is comprised of recipes that are accessible and loosely written as to encourage experimentation. At one point they talk about how odd it is that we even need recipes with measurements to consume raw foods. How is it we are the only species who don't know instinctively how and what to eat?

This book is thought provoking and filled with great ideas for yummy food. There are some beautiful photos, but not that many. Normally I like my cookbooks to have a photo accompanying each recipe, but this book is so rich that it didn't bother me. Maybe the Boutenkos will one day do a hardcover traditional photo laden (un)cookbook? I look forward to more from this knowledgeable, inspiring family!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Eco Diva Needs Your Vote

My dear friend Elena, the Eco Diva is in the running to become the Green Girl. Here is her essay--with a link at the bottom to vote. She's a green mommy who could do some real good in this position!

Growing up in NYC, the number of people, cars and stuff being consumed each day never ceased to amaze me. I always wondered ‘where does all this stuff come from, and would it just keep coming endlessly?’

Now, as the mother of a small child, who has traveled from Russia to NY, to California, and now landing in the Pacific North West, I can see that the resources will not just keep coming. That it is up to each of us to care of our own little circle of influence and to try each day to take steps in the right direction.

Today, my daily fuel and my passion is to empower other women to make informed choices in their daily lives from mascara to bedding.

Recently my family has lost a dear friend to ovarian cancer. Another cousin is battling breast cancer. My own mother has now been diagnosed with skin cancer.

Each of these women works with products that are riddled with toxic chemicals that have yet to be banned by the FDA. Two of these women have been in the the beauty industry for over 20 years. The very industry that promises to make us beautiful and more youthful, is slowly making us sick.

My mission is to show women another way. This is what I write about each day on my blog. This is what I talk about with the women in my life. I am living proof that you can be sexy, stylish and choose eco-friendly and non-toxic options for yourself and your family. I don’t need to scream it to the world from a soap-box – but I would love the chance to show how I walk my path, peacefully, and try to set an example each day with each choice I make.

I am not perfect, but I am ready to share my journey and get you moving towards green & gorgeous to become the EcoDiva in your own life.

I would be honored to have the opportunity to become the Green Model and represent this amazing move towards a healthy more sustainable future in beauty and fashion. I would be honored to receive your vote."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Vanishing of the Bees

All over the world, bees are disappearing. This is alarming on many levels, the most basic being: no bees--no food. The Cooperative is distributing this film as part of their Plan Bee efforts. This issue with the honey bees is grave and many believe that they are, like the mercury laden fish, canaries in the coal mine. It's a problem that must be solved--for our very survival.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Aeromax Astronaut Costume great for Halloween and Everyday Play

What I love about Aeromax costumes is that they are so well made they can get passed on from kid to kid and never see a landfill. They come in a complete range of sizes and wide variety of themes: firefighter, doctor, pilot and other positive roll models. They're so authentic they look like the real deal.

My son got the astronaut suit and watching his face light up with excitement was really fun. These are great Halloween costumes, but also wonderful for everyday play. The bright orange works as a good strategy for keeping an eye on your child when trick or treating becomes crowded. The suit comes with a NASA cap and other accessories are optional, you can find them HERE.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Navitas Naturals Pomegranate Power

It's pomegranate season and I love seeing these magical fruits in the produce section. They're a little work, but those glistening ruby seeds inside are worth the effort. Pomegranates are filled with powerful antioxidants and are known as a superfood because they are so nutrient dense.

If you don't have time or any fresh pomegranates handy, there other ways to get the nutrients and yummy flavor pomegranate contains, in the form of powder from Navitas Naturals. Organic Raw Pomegranate Power is a good thing to have on hand for smoothies, baking, and un-baking. I also like things like this for when I'm sick and need a boost--it's comforting to know it's in the pantry.

If you watch Charlie and Lola, you know that Lola has a big fondness for pink milk. Mix a spoonful of pom power in a glass of almond milk or hemp milk, a little agave nectar, and you have a fun and healthy treat for the munchkins and yourself.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Festival Of Bones by Luis San Vicente

Halloween is almost here, happily, but there is another holiday that is every bit as exciting and in many ways even cooler than Halloween: Dia De Los Muertos--Day Of The Dead. This is one of my favorite holidays and such a beautiful way to celebrate life and our loved ones who have passed on. In Mexico, Dia De Los Muertos is celebrated from October 31 through November 2nd. At our house it is celebrated on November 1-2nd.

Children respond to this not with fear, but curiosity and excitement. My son loves Day of the Dead and welcomes the chance to hear stories about relatives he never got to meet. He's also quite happy to partake in the special foods, music and decor.

The Festival of Bones, by Luis San Vicente, is a great way to introduce children to this holiday. The artwork is fantastic. We have three other Day of the Dead children's books, but this one is my favorite. I love that it is bi-lingual and the illustrations are incredible. In the back of the book are some fun facts about the holiday, and recipes for Sugar Skulls and Bread of the Dead. I highly recommend this book. Festival of Bones is published by Cinco Puntos Press where you can also find a variety of bi-lingual books for kids.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stanley Thermal Bottle and the Pumpkin Patch

Today we went to a pumpkin farm. Kids love this. I love it too, all the beautiful colors--the trees, the pumpkins, the gourds...just gorgeous. It was also really chilly. I knew it was going to be cold, so I brought along my Stanely Thermal Bottle. What a luxury! I got to have piping hot green tea in the middle of the pumpkin patch.

I have the .5qt classic Stanley thermal bottle, which is a lot more than it sounds like. At the pumpkin patch, I shared with a friend, drank plenty myself, and still had some left when I got home--still steaming hot about six hours later. They make bigger ones, but this is the perfect size to slip in a backpack. It's well made and sturdy and looks very cool. Stanley thermal bottles have a hard core quality that I love, as though they could be run over by a truck and still be fine.

The only thing I'm not crazy about is that the lid, which also doubles as a cup, is lined with plastic. Why not just stainless steel? The rest of the bottle is stainless, however, and it is the nicest one I've seen, so I'm willing to over look it, but I do hope they re-think that part of the design.

I plan to take mine Trick or Treating, filled with spicy hot apple cider. This is the kind of thing that will last forever and really comes in handy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Simple Shoes Eco Friendly LAYabout Slippers

Slipper weather is here! Time to slip on something warm to keep those tootsies toasty. I have just discovered the cutest slippers ever and they're eco friendly to boot. Simple Shoes LAYabout slippers are so cool you'll want to wear them everywhere.

They're charcoal gray with burgundy accents and buttons made of coconut (they come in other colors too). Organic fleece cotton lining and the over the ankle bootie style makes them warm and comfy. The picture is cute, but they're even better looking in person and are flattering on the foot. Sustainable, adorable, and comfortable is the ultimate slipper trifecta--these slippers and a hot cup of tea and you're all set.

Simple Shoes are an environmentally responsible company down to their eco friendly boxes. Using recycled materials like paper and soda bottles, water based (not petroleum based) glues, and natural latex footbeds, they take great care to make sure their shoes are made with sustainable materials. They're my new favorite shoe company, I wish I'd known about them sooner! You can check them out HERE.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009

    Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar and Organic Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

    We make these pumpkin muffins every year. They make the house smell wonderful and my son can knock them back like crazy. I have mixed feelings about sugar. It's not the best thing for you, but I think it makes a world of difference if you buy organic unrefined and also if you eat it in moderation.

    Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar is my pick. It tastes great, way better than white sugar, and Wholesome Sweeteners is an environmentally friendly and Fair Trade company. I use this for all recipes requiring sugar. Before organic unrefined sugar came onto the market I just didn't bake at all, period. Once in a while, for a holiday, I would come up with something made with brown rice syrup or some alternative sweetener using whole grain flour, but generally abstained because I just don't like white sugar or white flour.

    Since this has been on the market, I've been baking up a storm. I always use the purest ingredients I can find, organic, and whole grain--that way I can feel good about eating something with some nutrition and it tastes better too. It's a great way to ensure my son has wholesome ingredients while still getting a treat every now and then.

    Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
    (modified from a recipe in Vegan With a Vengeance)

    Whisk or Sift together:
    1 3/4 Cup organic Whole Wheat Flour
    1 Tbsp Baking Powder
    1/4 tsp. Salt
    1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
    (may add additional spices
    such as ginger, or nutmeg)

    Cream together:
    1 Can organic Pumpkin
    1 Cup organic Sugar
    1/4 Cup Oil
    1/2 Cup Soy Milk

    Mix together and add
    1 Cup chopped nuts and/or
    1/2 cup raisins.

    Mix and pour into muffin tins, bake for approximately 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until it passes the knife test. There are all sorts of variations you can do with these--vegan chocolate chips are great in these, cranberries, more or less with it!

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

    What's October without the Great Pumpkin? I watched this all while growing up and it is such treat watching my son delight in this timeless show. Back in the day, we had to wait with bated breath for this to come on television just once a year. Now, I see this all throughout October and somehow it never gets old. It's a quiet, reserved cartoon as opposed to some of the louder flashier ones out now. As old as it is, it's refreshing and heart warming. Pop some pumpkin muffins in the oven and curl up with the munchkins for some sweet October fun.

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Fabulous Fairy Finery Wizard Costume and **FABULOUS GIVEAWAY**

    Fairy Finery is that company you wish was around when you were a kid. Their stuff is spectacular and eco friendly. Handmade by Moms here in the US, these are costumes that seem made by your grandmother--if she worked for the theatre. They look professional but still have that made with love vibe.

    The wizard costume looks like something out of a movie, it's magical and would make anyone feel like a real wizard. Fairy Finery costumes are completely non toxic, washable, high quality (garment quality, not costume quality), and are known for their cone shaped hats that never droop. Theatre groups and schools buy them and moms with hard playing kids appreciate the durability.

    What I love about these costumes is they are not just for Halloween--I recommend Fairy Finery for a green Halloween costume you can use all year. Their costumes would make great Christmas or birthday presents as well. Creative play is great for children and fosters imagination, and costume like this is meant to be passed down through generations and loved dearly. Another thing I like about Fairy Finery is their great selection for boys. It's easy to find dress up clothes and costumes for girls, but sometimes it's a little harder to find for boys, and boys love to dress-up too!


    The Fairies at Fairy Finery are offering a free Wizard Hat and Wand (your color choice) to the winner of this giveaway. To enter, just go to Fairy Finery, pick out your favorite costume and leave a comment here. You can enter multiple times by: 1. subscribing to Eco Mama's Guide and/or 2. adding Eco Mama to your blogroll, and/or 3. tweeting about this giveaway. Just be sure to leave a comment for each thing you do (each comment equals one entry). Winner will be notified by October 20th so that you can have it for Halloween. Good luck!!

    Sunday, October 4, 2009

    Health Benefits of PUMPKIN

    Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.
    Simone Schwarz-Bart

    This time of year, we go a little pumpkin crazy at our house. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pasta, muffins, and on it goes. We look forward to it all year and savor the smells and special foods through November. Right now I have a huge tray of pumpkins and squash on our dinner table--a pumpkin bouquet.

    There's a lot more to pumpkins than good looks and flavor. Pumpkins are indigenous to the US and were once a Native American staple. Nutritionally, they're packed with good stuff like vitamins A and C, B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate, among other nutrients. They're said to be good for blood sugar metabolism and provide immune support.

    We like organic sugar pie pumpkins and have been buying them at the Farmers' Market for the last two weeks. They're smaller and easier to carry and are sweet, flavorful, and go a long way for their size. One sugar pie pumpkin makes a small pot of soup or a pie or muffins for instance.

    Buy pumpkins that are heavy for their size and solid with no soft spots. If you don't have time for fresh pumpkin dealings, Trader Joes has some great canned organic pumpkin (their cans are among the very few that are BPA free) for under two dollars that I use every year with great results in baking.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Book Review: Everyday Raw by Matthew Kenney

    Everyday Raw may not seem so every day for everyone at first glance. Some of us are a little intimidated by dehydrators and cracking open coconuts on the kitchen counter. Kenney addresses this right off the bat, "Everyday raw food does not necessarily translate to simple," he says, "...raw food will never be as easy as opening a can or popping something in the microwave. But there are ways to streamline the challenge, and that is what this book is about--preparing restarurant quality flavors in less time." I think he nails it.

    I like Kenney's less-is-more approach to ingredients and his commitment to seasonal, local organic produce. Matthew Kenney is a traditional-turned-raw foods chef who has had his own restaruants and written other cookbooks. His passion for food is found on every page--this is a serious foodie who understands the chemistry of food and aims to save readers time by having already gone through the process of experimentation to come up with just the right flavors. That doesn't mean he wants us to be locked into a recipe--he encourages further exploration.

    It may seem a little complicated at first for beginners, but I'm a beginner too, and I just find it exciting. I don't mind unusual ingredients like Maca or Goji Berries--the only thing I wasn't familiar with is Tocotrienols (a powder supplement). For people used to preparing more elaborate raw foods, the book probably will seem more like every day fare.

    If you do want something nourishing fast, the smoothie recipes are magnificent. There are also salads, soups, salsas and things that don't need dehydrating. The ingredients in his recipes are carefully chosen while textural dimension creates interest and depth. There are many beautiful photos--one for almost each recipe which I find hugely helpful and enticing.

    The desserts are gorgeous. I think I will try the Pumpkin Pie this year for Thanksgiving. The Key Lime Tartlets, Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Hazelnut Tart will have your stomach growling, so make sure you don't look at this book hungry. There's a chapter on breads and crackers, spreads and sauces, and main dishes.

    Kenney says raw food is "so simple and obvious that we have made it complicated in order to find its core again." I think this is very true. This book is a great contribution to the raw food world and I recommend it. You can go to Kenney's website to learn more.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray

    I always wonder if my plastic ice cube trays are leaching chemicals into my ice cubes. After a bit of searching, I finally found some made of stainless steel. HealthE Goods stainless ice cube trays have a cool retro look and work great. They're not flimsy like the old school trays (that were made from aluminum) and they freeze up the cubes faster than plastic. As far as I know, these are the only stainless ice cube trays out there. You can find them HERE.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009


    It's hard to get past how adorable this game is. Panda bears and little bamboo trees--too cute. But there's more to Battelo than meets the eye. HaPe International's Bamboo Collection is pure genius. Designed by a team of UN qualified teachers, scientists and engineers for the combined good of children and planet, it does not fail to deliver.

    It's non-toxic, made of sustainable materials, and very well constructed--the kind of thing that can be passed down. The game itself is smart and involves strategy and memory. Players move their panda around the bamboo tiles collecting bamboo leaves. The first to fill their panda's backpack with a leaf from each tree wins. What a fun way to increase cognitive skills. My four year old loves this game and so have all his friends. The box is sturdy and stores the game very nicely.

    Battelo would make a great gift or just a nice game to add to your collection for family game night or rainy days. Highly recommended. Ages 3+.