Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Buy Sustainably Raised Food?

8 Reasons to Support Sustainability


According to New York Times bestselling author Jo Robinson, grass-fed beef has two to six times more
omega-3s than factory farmed, grain-fed meat. Omega-3 is a “good” fat that helps our cardiovascular system, our brain function and may help prevent cancer. The concept of sustainability also involves eating
local, which means buying food from a farm as close to you as possible. This cuts down on the length of time
between when the food is harvested or processed and when you eat it. After being harvested, food begins to
lose nutrients, so the less time between the farm and your dinner plate, the more nutritious the food is for you.

Tastes better

Most people claim that sustainably raised food simply tastes better. For example, today’s industrial-raised turkeys are injected with saline solution and vegetable oils to try to improve “mouth feel.” Years ago, a cook only had to put a turkey in the oven; today, the bird must be marinated, deep fried or brined to try to counteract the lack of flavor and dryness inherent in the meat.


Sustainably-raised animals are treated humanely and are permitted to carry out natural behaviors such as rooting in the dirt and pecking the ground. Factory-farmed animals are crammed together in unsanitary conditions, where they suffer horribly and are often sick. Most never see sunlight and their feet never touch the ground. These unhealthy animals are then processed and their meat sold to you.


On unsustainable factory farms, thousands of animals excrete tons of waste every week. Millions of gallons of this untreated waste are often held in open-air lagoons and pollute the surrounding air, land, and water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hog, chicken, and cattle waste polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states during the 1990s.


Workers on factory farms operate in very dangerous conditions. Some have been overcome by gases from manure lagoons and have died. They are often paid minimum wage and have no rights or say in their job. Employees on sustainable farms are paid a fair wage and are treated with respect.

Rural communities

Sustainable farms are an integral part of the community, where money made on the farm is filtered back into local businesses. Studies have shown that factory farms can tear apart rural communities through job loss, depressed local economies and significant health risks

Fossil fuels and energy use

Raising animals on factory farms takes a large amount of oil—to grow and harvest the crops that feed the animals, to fueling the ventilation systems and electricity in the barns in which they’re held, to the transportation costs to move the animals the long distances they travel. This increases our dependence on foreign oil and foreign countries. Oil is also a non-renewable resource—meaning it cannot replenish itself. Some researchers have estimated that the planet will be out of oil within 50 years.

Saving family farms

Since 1950, over 2 million farms that raised hogs have disappeared. If this continues, we might lose all our farms, except for a few industrial facilities that will dictate what we eat—or we may have to rely on other countries for our food. By eating sustainably, you’re supporting a true American tradition that’s part of our cultural heritage—the small, independent family farmer.

These are just a few reasons to eat sustainable food. Find out more by visiting Sustainable Table at

All information courtesy of sustainable

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Super Awesome Zucchini Bread

When I first came upon this recipe on 101 cookbooks, I was skeptical, curry powder in zucchini bread? I wasn’t convinced I would love it, but I was intrigued enough to try it, and I am glad I did, it is awesome, super awesome in fact. Even the kids loved it, anytime I can sneak extra veggies into their diet it is a total win. Here is my adaptation of the original, I hope you like it!

Super Awesome Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves (14 servings)


1 cup chopped walnuts (save a few to sprinkle on top)
1/4 cup coconut oil (virgin & unrefined)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (if you don’t have this just sub more sugar or maple syrup)
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large zucchini, grated, skins on (squeeze out excess moisture in a clean kitchen towel, fluff up before using)
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. curry powder

Preparation Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter two loaf pans, dust them with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pans with a sheet of parchment. If you leave a couple inches hanging over the pan, it makes for easy removal after baking. Just grab the parchment "handles" and lift the zucchini bread right out.

In a mixer, beat the coconut oil and yogurt until fluffy. Add the sugar and rice syrup and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini (low speed if you are using a mixer).

In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and curry powder. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition.

Fold in the walnuts. Save a bit to sprinkle on the tops of the zucchini loaves before baking for a bit of texture. Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist, not unlike a butter cream frosting.
Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Make sure it is level in the pans, by running a spatula over the top of each loaf. Bake for about 40-45 minutes on a middle oven rack. I like to under bake my zucchini bread ever so slightly to ensure it stays moist. Keep in mind it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the oven as it is cooling. Remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pan for about ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling - if you leave them in their pans, they will get sweaty and moist (not in a good way) as they cool.
Makes 2 loaves. 14 servings.
Nutritional Data: 1 serving = Calories 249; Total fat 7.0g; Saturated fat 0.9g; Trans fat 0; Cholesterol 35mg; Sodium 322mg; Total carbohydrates 40.5g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 18.9g; Protein 7.1g

Monday, September 17, 2012

Parsley Pesto

parsley pesto
Parsley Pesto is a fresh twist on the traditional basil pesto,
great for those who have an abundance of parsley or who find basil too strong of a flavor.


2 cups parsley (leaves only, well packed)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
lemon juice (fresh squeezed, from 1 lemon)
grape seed oil
unrefined sea salt
crushed red pepper
black pepper


Toast pine nuts, place pine nuts in dry pan over medium heat, stir occasionally until golden but watch carefully so pine nuts do not burn. Place pine nuts on a plate to cool.
Once pine nuts are cooled, place pine nuts, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Sprinkle with salt and peppers. Drizzle with oil. Begin blending, scraping sides and adding oil until desired consistency, I ended up using 1/4 to 1/3 cup oil. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Use immediately or freeze for future use.

Serving Suggestions

Meatless Monday
Toss pesto with whole wheat pasta and serve with grated Romano cheese and a mixed green salad. 
Parsley Pesto Shrimp Scampi
Take 2 tbsp. Parsley Pesto and toss with 1 pound raw peeled shrimp. Marinate shrimp in pesto for 20 minutes, place shrimp in ceramic oven-safe dish, spread into single layer, dot top of shrimp with butter and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until shrimp are pink.
Serve with rice or couscous and mixed greens. Yum!!

I love to hear your feedback, leave a comment!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Clean Green: All Natural Laundry Detergent recipe

clean green series

The Dangers Of Commercial Laundry Products

The smell of clean laundry used to be one of my favorite smells in the world, the tropical fragrance of the detergent and fabric softener had the power to transport me to a faraway beach, even if only for a fleeting moment. I loved laundry, or so I thought, but then my love affair with laundry came crashing to a halt.
It turns out laundry detergent and fabric softener are toxic,  despite advertising that tells you your clothes are sparkling clean and fresh. There are many chemicals in laundry products, including phenols, optical brighteners, bleach, surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, and fragrance. Today our focus is on 1,4-dioxane, probably a lesser known chemical. The EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as a Group B2, probable human carcinogen.
The Huffington Post Reported,
Last fall, Women’s Voices for the Earth commissioned lab tests on 20 cleaning products and found that “problematic” levels of 1,4-dioxane were detected in original formula Tide detergent (63 parts per million) as well as fragrance-free Tide Free & Clear (89 ppm). Significantly smaller amounts of the chemical were found in Bounce Free & Clear dryer sheets (less than 1 ppm). Women’s Voices for the Earth along with other organizations presented Procter & Gamble with the findings and demanded action. A petition was even created in an effort to pressure P&G to do something. As reported by MNN family blogger Jenn Savedge back in February, the campaign is primarily focused on Tide Free & Clear given that the product is promoted by P&G as a "healthy" detergent ideal for newborns and babies.
The company’s response? Don’t sweat it, folks. There's no reason to freak out. “We are many, many levels of magnitude below the levels that are considered any level of safety risk,” Tim Long, a Procter & Gamble toxologist said in response to the findings, which, as of now, have not prompted the company to reformulate Tide. Although Tide is not currently on the chopping block, P&G has continually reformulated other products in an effort to lower levels of 1,4-dioxane and other potentially harmful ingredients. In 2010, the company’s line of Herbal Essence shampoos were reformulated so that they contained less than 10 ppm of 1,4-dioxane.
This information prompted me to look for safer alternatives that are still effective. The first recipe I found came from, it is a effective recipe but it uses Fels Naptha, which after further research I found has some mildly toxic ingredients including Titanium dioxide, another possible carcinogenic. So I reformulated the recipe and here is what I came up with using castile soap rather than Fels Naptha.

All Natural Laundry Detergent Recipe

Makes 2 Gallons Detergent

Ingredients & Supplies

1/2 Bar Castile Soap, grated
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing soda
Bucket (large enough to accommodate 2 gallons)
Large Pan
Long Handled spoon
2 clean, empty gallon containers


Put 4 cups of water and grated soap in large pan, stir occasionally over medium heat until soap is completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add Borax and washing soda, stirring until dissolved. Add 4 cups hot water to the bucket and then soap mixture, stir. Add an additional 6 cups plus 1 gallon of water to the bucket and stir well. Let cool and pour into empty gallon containers. Use 1/2 cup per load.
You may notice this recipe comes out pretty thin, but I am not as worried about the viscosity of my detergent as I am about its toxicity. If you would like a thicker detergent try the recipe with Fels-Naptha.

The Huffington Post
Natural News