Friday, February 17, 2012

Arsenic in Brown Rice Syrup?

There's arsenic in brown rice syrup?!  Brown rice syrup is an ingredient in some organic foods.  This article states that they found arsenic in organic infant formula and organic foods. 

I wonder if my baby's organic formula had this when I had to supplement for a few weeks while pumping milk to build my supply since she was too weak to suck out all the milk she needed.

Since I already check labels for soy ingredients in foods at the health food store or organic foods elsewhere, I will be sure to watch for this because I don't want to take any chances.

Cloth Diaper Trial

Yesterday, I was so excited to get the shipment of my baby's cloth diapers to start using full time.

This was after doing a custom cloth diaper trial through Diaper Daisy.  I did research on all the different kinds of diapers that they offer in their trial.  I felt that "all in ones" and "all in twos" would fit best for my family.  I chose all of those options except for 2 of them since I couldn't find info on them.  I didn't think I would like Applecheeks but included it since the trial lets you select up to 9 different options.  I was thinking that GroVia, Flip or BestBottom would be the best. 

I loved how easy it was to cloth diaper.  I ended up loving Applecheeks the best, mostly because of how trim it was and then for the ease of it.  I think it's trimmer because it comes in two sizes and it's not made to be one size that fits from baby to potty training like most diapers are.   A lot of the diapers made my baby look big bottomed.  Her bum was also elevated when on she was laid on her back.

GroVia & Flip were the next best ones for ease.  But I think the GroVia dug into my baby's belly because she would cry when we sat her up in it.  The inserts for the GroVia took way too long to dry and had to be hung in a way so that there would be sufficient air flow.  Flip didn't have snaps to keep the inserts in place.

Since I liked using theApplecheeks with the prefold laid in it, I thought that perhaps I would be OK with prefolds after all so I did a 2nd trial with prefolds, snappi, covers & pockets.  I didn't like that very much so I ended that trial early and ordered the Applecheeks.  I'm SO glad that I did my research and that I didn't start out with the prefolds or I would have been completely turned off by it.

I loved that Diaper Daisy gave the option to refund your money minus the cost for the trial which was about $30 or you could get store credit.  It was the best deal I found for doing a trial without too much risk.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Breakfast Woes

Feeling a little frustrated with several things. One is how to get LaLa to eat a healthier breakfast. I stopped buying sugary cereal for my kids last year and have since run out of them in food storage.  I do still buy cereal for my husband because he's not totally on board regarding cereal. Unfortunately Squirrel eats those with hubby.

And LaLa refuses to eat eggs or soaked oats with Tornado, hubby and me or even hubby's cereal in general.

Right now she's been eating canned pears and that's not much to hold her but i guess it's better than cereal.  I wish she would least add cottage cheese to the pears but she hates cottage cheese.  Ohh, I just got an idea... I should try getting her to have toast with grass fed butter on it so that she gets her morning "real fat" serving along with the pears.

A couple months ago, I started making soaked oatmeal pancakes once a week hoping everyone would like it.  LaLa refuses to eat that as well and demands regular pancakes. So I guess my next goal is to find a pancake recipe she'll eat. I'm just not sure I want her to eat pancakes everyday since we still have syrup laden with high fructose corn syrup in food storage.   But I suppose that'd be a good way to get rid of it quicker while stockpiling real maple syrup.  At least the pancakes and butter would be good for her.

The next step after that would be finding a good soaked granola cereal recipe so that hopefully that'll be another option for LaLa and the rest of us to rotate through.

I feel better now.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Green Beans

Our green beans have started popping up! I planted lots of these with it's companion plant, corn. I plan to put about half up for Food Storage. I'm trying to decide if I want to freeze or can them. I'd prefer to freeze them because I think they'll have more nutrients. The problem is that our freezer is pretty full with grass fed beef, etc.  Maybe I'll do both unless I get another freezer.
See the bean close to the bottom right corner in the opening of all the leaves?

Another thing I'm debating on is blanching them before freezing but I have a neighbor who doesn't blanch her veggies. Blanching is supposed to stop the enzymes from progressing?  So I'm unsure which to do.  I guess I can try both and see which we like better.

What do you do with your beans?

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Slow Garden Progress

We got a late start because we didn't have our boxes or garden plan ready and the weather was very wet. So our garden is still small and I'm worried some won't turn out such as the broccoli & cauliflower but at least I tried and we'll see what comes of it.
Got our first harvest today besides a few small strawberries here and there! It was a small one but I was glad that something was coming from our efforts. I was able to have a salad with my lunch.

Now our strawberries are bigger and really coming along.  Mmm, my favorite fruit!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chewy Oatmeal Snack

I make this snack on the days that I feel like snacking on store bought crackers that my husband likes to keep around and when I don't have any homemade crackers left.  The delicious homemade crackers doesn't last longer than 2 days in our home.  I need to start making double and freezing the extra.

Chewy Oatmeal Snack
1 T. Peanut Butter (I use MaraNatha Organic Brand)
1 T. Coconut Oil
1-2 t.  Raw Honey
1/3 c. Rolled Oats
a sprinkle of Cinnamon
(amounts are approximate)
optional - add in raisins, etc.

Mix them all together and eat it. It only takes a few minutes and it satisfies my craving.  The real fat from the coconut oil and peanut butter keeps me going until dinnertime.

Now if I could just remember to make double of this to share with Tornado boy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HELP! How to Prepare Organ Meats

I recently ordered a beef heart from US Wellness Meats.  When I went to cut it into pieces and put it in the processor to blend, there were some stiff pieces of what I think was fat?  It seemed like it would be too stiff to process so I cut those off and then I wasn't sure about all the arteries.  So I just went ahead and included those with the rest of the heart.  Then I frozed them into ice cubes.  I didn't prepare them in a certain way like I do with liver by soaking it in lemon juice before processing & freezing.  Should I have done that?

I thought maybe ya'll could comment on what you do for any organ meats so that those of us who have never done it can be more comfortable buying & preparing them.

First, tell how you prep it such as soaking or if it's not needed.
Second, tell if we should be discarding certain parts such as the arteries, fat, etc.   And any other tips you can share.
Lastly, how you cook or eat them.


This post is part of this week's Real Food Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gardening Carnival - Carrots

The Gardening Carnival is in it's second week.  I'm seeking information about organic gardening. I'm going to be trying Square Foot Gardening this year by using Companion Gardening as well. I want to avoid GM seeds and spraying chemicals. I hope that we can all help each other by sharing our research and knowledge about gardening so that it won't be so overwhelming for us first-timers and so that we can have success in this endeavor. Please share any knowledge you have in the comments, feel free to link to your blog if you have info there and to link back here. You can use this picture if you want, unfortunately I haven't been able to figure out how to imbed "Gardening Carnival" into the picture. If anyone knows, would you mind commenting below.

I wanted to focus on carrots for this week's Gardening Carnival. Carrots are the most eaten veggie in our family.  Simple to grab and snack on or add to a meal.
I'm going to format my notes in the following way to be able to go back for future referencing:

Seeds/SqFt - 16
Growing Season - Spring, Summer, Fall and sometimes Winter depending on area.
Indoor seed starting - No, doesn't transplant well.
Earliest Outdoor Planting - 3 weeks before last spring frost.
Location - Full sun but can stand partial shade.
- Tomatoes, leaf lettuce, chives, onions, leeks, radishes, rosemary, wormwood & sage.
- Carrot roots helps with the growth of peas and beans and possibly lettuce.
Non-Companions - Dill.  Store away from apples.
Sprouts - 2-3 weeks
- Plant 2-3 seeds in each 16 spaces in square.
- Water soil & cover square with plastic covered cage.
- Keep ground moist at all times until they're almost mature to grow rapidly & continuously then reduce water so carrots don't crack from overly rapid growth.
- Weed weekly.
- If doing long and thing ones, grow in a taller square foot box.
Weeks from seed to harvest - 10
- Pull those with largest tops
- Pick early when only 1/2 size at sweetest and most tender?
- Scrub with veggie brush but don't peel.  Most of the vitamins are in the peel or close to the surface.
- For a late winter harvest, mulch heavily to keep ground from freezing to protect fall planted carrots.
- Carrot rust fly - onions, leeks & herbs (rosemary, wormwood & sage) act as repellents.
- Rabbits, woodchucks, deer, voles.
Seed Storage - 3-4 years from packet

This is part of this week's Real Food Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gardening Carnival - Sugar Snap Peas

The Gardening Carnival kicks off today!  I'm seeking information about organic gardening.  I'm going to be trying Square Foot Gardening this year by using Companion Gardening as well.  I want to avoid GM seeds and spraying chemicals.  I hope that we can all help each other by sharing our research and knowledge about gardening so that it won't be so overwhelming for us first-timers and so that we can have success in this endeavor.  Please share any knowledge you have in the comments, feel free to link to your blog if you have info there and to link back here.  You can use this picture if you want, unfortunately I haven't been able to figure out how to imbed "Gardening Carnival" into the picture.  If anyone knows, would you mind commenting below.

The first vegetable I wanted to explore for this week's Gardening Carnival are Sugar Snap Peas. These peas are our family's favorite veggie. I was nervous that I would find out that it was genetically modified but as far as I can tell it isn't. Yay! So I plan on ordering a packet from Seed Savers.

I'm going to format my notes in the following way to be able to go back for future referencing:

Seeds/SqFt - 8
Growing Season - Spring, Fall
Indoor seed starting - No, doesn't transplant well.
Earliest Outdoor Planting - 5 weeks before last spring frost, which is usually May 11th.
Location - Full sun in spring; shaded toward summer if possible.
Companions - Carrots, cucumbers, corn, beans, potatoes, turnips, and radishes, as well as many aromatic herbs.
Non-Companions - Onions, garlic, and gladiolus.
Sprouts - 10-15 days
Growing - Plant 1" deep
               - Water & cover in plastic covered tunnel?
               - Never let them dry out but keep the vines dry.
               - Weed weekly
               - Keep the vines trained up the vertical frame
               - Mulch as weather gets warm
Weeks from seed to harvest - 10
Yield - 6 weeks
Harvesting - (Carefully with 2 hands) pick or cut pods off their stems.  We'll surely eat them right in the garden!
If we find any brown overripe peas, which I doubt, we'll throw them into the compost pile.  Or else it will cause the vine to stop producing which we definately don't want!
Problems - wood ashes around the base of vines help control aphids.
Seed Storage - 3-4 years from packet or *Leave the pea pods on the plant until they turn brown and dry for 2-4 weeks then put them in the freezer for a couple of days, to kill any weevils that may have gotten inside, before putting them away for the year. To do that, they need to be very dry. Put seeds in the jar after drying, tightly seal it, then put in the freezer. After removing from the freezer, don't open until the seeds have had plenty of time to return to room temps (to prevent condensation).

End of Season - Plow under or put in compost pile.

* How do you store the seeds from your harvest?  I wouldn't want to put a big jar in the freezer with only a little bit of seeds in.  I'm thinking maybe in a small ziplock bag but that might end up with lots of ice crystals in it.  Or perhaps an homemade paper envelope with other seeds in envelopes in the jar would work better (since they would be like the seed packets)?
* I've read in a couple of places to mix presoaked seeds with legume inoculant powder for an added boost or a larger crop but I'm not sure if the inoculant powder is organic. Does anyone know?  I probably won't do it since I've never done it before and it seems to turn out fine.
* Any tips?  I've heard that you can spray old dishwater on corn to prevent bugs instead of spraying?  Anything in particular you've done that works for peas?
* Am I missing anything?

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Gardening Carnival Kick-Off

I've only tried gardening twice, trying to grow peas and tomatoes.  My oldest son and I loved picking the peas and eating it right in the garden.  One year I added beans, carrots, pumpkins and 1 watermelon.  The beans and carrots didn't turn out.  I think I left the watermelon out too long because it cracked open.  My hubby didn't like the work and cost that went into it so we turned the plot into a playground.

We recently moved to a house with an unfinished backyard and I knew that we were going to finish the yard in a way to try gardening again.  After all, our youngest has had to eat a lot of fresh or canned fruits and veggies because of his dysbiosis over the last few years and because of my food conversion.

I'm going to be trying Square Foot Gardening this time around.  I feel pretty overwhelmed and have been feeling stressed about reading various blogs about gardening.  I've decided to just sit down TODAY and finish reading the Sq Ft Gardening book I bought last year.  Then if I have more questions, I'll look online and seek advice through my Gardening Carnival that I'll be kicking off next week.

The way I'd like to do the Gardening Carnival is to focus on one vegetable each week or possibly 2x/week.  I'll post what I've learned about it and ask you for help on what has worked for you and which varieties you like.  I hope that focusing on one veggie a week will reduce the stress and increase the likelihood of getting a good harvest from it.

Please join me in an attempt to grow an organic garden and take a step towards nourishing our families.  I'd especially love to hear from those who are in zone 5 which is where I think I am.  Though any tips you all can share would be greatly appreciated!

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday.