Mama’s Monday Favorite: Plum Organics Baby Food

In our quest to find healthful, tasty, organic food to feed our babies, we stumbled upon Plum Organics baby food. Plum Organics offered everything we were looking for; gently cooked baby food made with fruits and vegetables, wholesome toddler food, and bite sized snacks made with organic fruit and whole grains.

Our babies’ favorites are the Just Peaches (4 months and up), the Pumpkin and Banana (6 months and up), the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal breakfast meal (8 months and up), and the Blueberry, Oats, and Quinoa Mish Mash (toddlers). The sweetness, texture, and overall flavors satisfies hunger while providing important nutrients. We must confess, we like to eat them too!

Plum Organics is so dedicated to serving up healthful food and making the experience great for parents and children that they partnered with Boon and created a dispensing spoon designed specifically for their portable pouches. The spoon attaches directly to the pouch and makes serving easy.

Reasons why we feed our babies Plum Organics:

  • certified organic with 100% pure organic fruit
  • non-GMO ingredients
  • nutrient rich
  • no high fructose corn syrup
  • no added sugar, juice, colors or flavors
  • no trans fats
  • no artificial ingredients
  • BPA-free packaging
  • convenient portable pouch
  • child-safe cap, reseals for flexible portions
  • meat and vegetarian options

Plum Organic baby foods cost around between $1.40 and $1.19 each and are available online and in stores like Target, Whole Foods, and Babies R Us.

Have your baby or toddler try some today!

– Mama

** Plum Organics provided the product for review.

The Green Challenge – Day 3

Join me on this Green Challenge – Thirty Days of Serious (and Silly) Green Commitments! Each day, I’ll challenge myself to introduce a new green thing in my life, and I invite you to get on the bandwagon to make a difference. If all goes well, we’ll be living a greener life that will continue well beyond this Earth Month!

I’m a vegetarian most of the time, which means we eat a lot of beans and legumes in our house. But there are three not-so-green aspects to this lifestyle habit. First, most canned beans travel a great deal to get to my table, and because they’re packed in water, they are somewhat weighty for their size, thus increasing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their transport. Second, they’re packaged in tins which require a lot of energy to make. While we recycle these tins, there are less energy-intensive packaging methods. Third, the tins are usually lined with BPA (bisphenol-A) which is a hormone-disrupting chemical that’s bad for humans and wildlife.

My solution: switch to cooking my own beans. I’ve discovered that you can add a seaweed called kombu to a crock-pot full of beans and instead of soaking the beans overnight and then cooking for 4 hours or more, you just turn it on high and they’re done in about 2-3 hours (no soaking required!). Sure, this will require a bit of energy to run the slow cooker, but they’re very efficient little appliances. And since I can purchase organic dry beans for much, much less money than canned non-organic beans, I gain two added benefits: feeding organics to my family (preventing the use of agricultural chemicals), and saving money!

“Your descendants shall gather your fruits.”
— Virgil

– Lucy

Mama’s Monday Favorite: Eel River Organic and Grass fed Beef

I love meat, especially when it is organic and grass fed.

After a long week working, I love to indulge in a nice juicy steak. But after watching Food, Inc. several months ago, I was faced with a decision, either switch to organic, grass fed beef or stop eating meat. Since not eating meat is what I consider a miserable option, I did the next best thing. Switch to organic, grass fed beef.

After recovering from sticker shock of the price (remember my $80 Thanksgiving turkey?), I decided to give it a go. I noticed that the color of Eel River Organic Beef is much more red and the ‘redness’ is not caused by spraying the meat with a red dye. (Spraying meat with a red dye is a common used practice that most butchers engage in). Organic and grass fed beef has less fat than their feed lot counterparts. This is an added bonus because it will decrease the time I need to spend worrying about the size of my waistline.

I really liked the taste of the meat. Organic beef tastes more fresh and was more tender. I can definitely tell the difference between organic and non-organic beef.

Nutritionally speaking, organic and Grass fed Beef has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain-fed animals. Organic and grass fed beef also contains from three to five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.

Still not convinced that you should try organic and grass fed beef? Maybe the ‘fat’ statistics will seal the deal.

  • Meat from grass-fed cattle is lower in total fat than feedlot-raised animals.
  • Research shows that lean beef actually lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Typical annual consumption of beef per person is 66.5 pounds.
  • Switching to lean grass-fed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year. If all Americans switched to grass-fed meat, our national epidemic of obesity might diminish.

– Mama

**Mama’s Monday Favorite is the sole opinion of Mama. No monetary compensation was received for the feature. If you have a product that Mama might absolutely love, send Mama one of your products. If she likes it, she might list it as a Mama’s Monday Favorite.

Mama’s Monday Favorite: Cascadian Farm Organic Honey Nut O’s

hunny nut os

A few weeks ago, my daily supply of fiber consisted of 3 scoops of organic oatmeal, a few scoops of organic granola, an organic apple, a serving of steamed organic broccoli, and a few navel oranges from the tree in my backyard. I had assessed the situation and determined that I needed to add more fiber to my diet. My biggest question was, “What type of fiber did I want to eat, and could I find a tasty, organic version of it?” I headed to my trusty Whole Foods Market to see what I could find.

My first stop in the store was the cereal aisle. I haven’t eaten cold cereal in a few years, but I know eating cereal is an easy way to increase my fiber intake. The cereal aisle in Whole Foods Market is not an ordinary cereal aisle. I couldn’t find any of the cereals that I ate when I was a child, and there were no ‘surprise toys’ or mystery packages neatly hidden inside the cereal box to tempt me. After spending nearly 10 minutes surveying my options, I choose Cascadian Farm Organic Honey Nut O’s.

And boy what a great decision that was. The Honey Nut O’s was a tasty blend of honey and almonds. The box contained 10.4 ounces of cereal. The box didn’t last past day 5. The taste of the Honey Nut O’s was pleasantly sweet but the sugar didn’t leave a sticky residue on my teeth like a box of sugary, sweet cereal with sticky marshmallows.

I didn’t miss receiving a free toy either.

– Mama

**Mama’s Monday Favorite is the sole opinion of Mama. No monetary compensation was received for the feature. If you have a product that Mama might absolutely love, send Mama one of your products. If she likes it, she might list it as a Mama’s Monday Favorite.

Really Savoring: Making the Most of Expensive Organic Chocolate Treats

“Don’t eat that so fast!” I caution. “These tiny nibbles of chocolate heaven cost me about $2 each!”

Given the cost, I’d better really taste them so as to not waste the experience. No rushing through this morsel!
I decided to splurge this holiday season and buy some Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified chocolate treats for the family. I can’t afford to be buying organic or fair trade chocolate for all of our cocoa requirements at this point, but I figure now and then, for a treat, it’s a great way to be mindful of what goes into our treats and to honor the work being done by growers of cacao around the world.

Sadly, cacao, which is what cocoa and other chocolate products are made from, is a not-so-earth-friendly agricultural industry. To get the most from the land, many growers, big and small, clear existing forests to make room for cacao plants. But then the exposure to sun and loss of water from lack of undergrowth stresses the plants, so the farmers are required to heap on chemicals for nutrients and pest control, and use up enormous quantities of water to keep the plants well hydrated. This combination of overuse of water and chemicals degrades local ecosystems and may make the growers unwell, too.

Organically-grown cacao, on the other hand, is cultivated within an existing forest canopy, so the diversity of the forest is not lost. This also helps to reduce water loss due to evaporation, maintains an ecosystem for local wildlife, reduces the need for fertilizers and pest control, and prevents soil loss due to erosion. It’s the way nature intended chocolate to be grown, and is healthier for farmers, too.

Of course, all of this requires more work and yields smaller crops, hence the heftier price tags on organic chocolate. But during this, the season of giving, I’m happy to make the investment. Just wish I could afford it all year round.

– Lucy

Mama’s Monday Favorite: Mary’s Free-Range Organic Chicken

MarysOrgLogo Mama is a huge fan of Mary’s Free-Range Organic Chicken. Mary’s organic chicken:

  • Contains No Added Water
  • Is Gluten Free
  • Is fed a Vegetarian Diet
  • Contains No Preservatives
  • No Antibiotics Ever
  • Raised Without Added Hormones

But really, does all this matter? You bet it does. I had a friendly little ‘chicken-cookoff’ with a friend of mine who thinks organic chicken and regular chicken tastes the same. We both made baked chicken breasts (my kitchen), using the same ingredients but when we had our friends taste it, all but 1 of them liked mine better (and I think her husband, the lone voter was a little biased).

All of Mary’s chickens grow naturally with plenty of room to roam in a caring environment on ranches in sunny California. Mary’s Chickens are fed a high quality vegetable protein diet with no animal by-products or additives. Mary’s Chickens are never debeaked. < — Happy chickens come from California too!

Mary’s Free-Range Organic Air Chilled Chickens are processed and cooled individually using cold air, rather than the more commonly used method of placing the chickens in a communal bath of water. This air chilled method prevents the absorption of water, greatly reducing any potential of bacterial cross contamination.

– Mama

**Mama’s Monday Favorite is the sole opinion of Mama. No monetary compensation was received for the feature. If you have a product that Mama might absolutely love, send Mama one of your products. If she likes it, she might list it as a Mama’s Monday Favorite.

Thanksgiving: A season of sharing or spending

turkey dinner This year, I’ve decided to have an organic Thanksgiving dinner. I made my list, checked it twice and went to Whole Foods to buy my bounty.

My first stop was the produce department. I stocked up on fruits, veggies, and nuts. I was pleasantly surprised at the hustle and bustle in the store. There were carts everywhere, people bumping into each, and a few grumpy customers. Next stop, I went to the fresh juice bar. It has been a few days since I consumed my last glass of 32 ounces of Carrot, Apple, Beet juice and my body is in serious withdrawal. Just for kicks, I ordered a quart of fresh orange juice too. After the juice bar, I made my way upstairs to buy the turkey and eggs. I proudly go to the butcher counter and ask if they have any organic turkeys that weigh about 22 pounds. (I’m cooking dinner for 10 people and we are BIG eaters). The butcher went to the ‘back’ to see what size turkeys they had. He came back with a turkey that weighed 22.6 pounds. PERFECT. He placed the turkey on the scale and pushed a few buttons. A few moments later, the magic number appeared. 82 dollars!! My heart skipped a beat and my stomach dropped. I felt like I was on one of roller coaster rides at Magic Mountain. In order to buy this turkey, I’m going to have to make some serious changes for the month of November…turkey sandwiches for a week? Peanut butter sandwiches the week after Thanksgiving?

Did I really want to buy the $82 turkey? Yes. I’m sticking to my guns. It is important to continue to buy organic food and support the cause of sustainable eating.

– Mama

Oh no, please don’t let it be the flu

This morning I woke up with a tingle in my throat. My first thought was, “Oh no, I hope I don’t have the flu”. Had my diet of organic vegetables, organic fruit, organic meat, fresh squeezed juice, popcorn, and the occasional french fry or two failed me? I hoped not. As I gulped down a potent elixir of fresh squeezed lime and lemon juice and a few echinacea tablets, I wondered how I would make a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people while fighting a sore throat and fever.

Much to my delight, the tingle in my throat turned out to be a simple dry throat. My lemon and lime elixir wet my whistle enough to make the tingle go away. My diet of organic food had not failed me. I’ve waged a preemptive strike against the cold and flu.

Join me in my War Against the Cold and Flu Season.

– Mama

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