Do you make your own baby food?

I had visions of whirling up organic autumn blends of apples and squash for my babes. And I did, but not for every meal. I made huge batches of sweet potatoes and mashed bananas in my blender, froze them in ice cube trays, and then stored them in zip lock bags in the freezer. It was long process, but I loved reflecting on the fact that making baby food means saving about 90% over the cost of pre-made organic baby food and avoiding the environmental costs of packaging and processing. Still, working nearly full time, not getting enough sleep and having a relatively picky baby motivated to buy jars of organic baby food to save my sanity now and then.
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Family Cookbook Christmas Gift Ideas

Somewhere in the midst of laundry, errands, and picky eaters, I have lost my love for preparing the family dinner. And yet I yearn for mealtime perfection…the image of my children eagerly crowding around steaming dishes of nourishment. Are simple, healthy family dinners even a possibility?

The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time is on my Christmas list. It’s packed with tips, recipes, anecdotes and green tips for a better family dinner. Somehow the fact that Laurie David (producer of An Inconvenient Truth) manages to keep her teenage children at the dinner table is inspiration enough for me.
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Black Friday Giveaway: Win Gluten-free Flours from Gluten-free Gourmand

When company founder Gina Kelley (my sister!) started eating a strict gluten-free diet six years ago, all she really wanted was a good scone.  After a year of trial and error – and baking scones once a week or more – her No. 1 All-purpose Flour was born. She added more flours and baking mixes to her collection, and earlier this year she opened her flour production company: www.glutenfreegourmand.com.

Here we are in 2005. Why 2005? Because for some reason I could not find a more recent photo of the two of us. Back then, Gina (left) was contemplating joining the Gluten-free Lifestyle.
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Five Heart-Shaped Desserts for Valentine’s Day

Yes, Valentine’s Day is two weeks away. And heart-shaped desserts do not have anything to do with “green” or “babies.” But I don’t care! It’s February and time to start thinking of chocolate and cheesecake.

We’ll start with the most obvious: heart-shaped sugar cookies. Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe or try these Heartfelt Cookies from delish.com. There are so many ways to decorate them—sprinkles or frosting or chocolate or jam.

You’ll need some heart cookie cutters.

This one’s from Reader’s Digest: Heart-shaped Strawberry Pavlova.

Naughty Ice Cream Sandwiches from Pinch My Salt.

Of course we can always count on Martha Stewart for the most adorable themed desserts. These heart-shaped meringues with passion fruit curd is just one example. Check out her mouth-watering gallery of Valentine’s Day desserts for more inspiration.
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Easiest Homemade Lara Bar Recipe

Lara Bars are my newest addiction. Unlike most granola bars or energy bars, most of the flavors contain nothing but dried fruit and nuts. However, they aren’t cheap. They usually cost more than a dollar a bar, even if you buy the family pack. (This Lara Bar fruit and nut food bar pack costs $25.21 for 16, which comes out to $1.58/bar.)

Soon I found myself searching for ways to make homemade Lara Bars. I really like the Hot Fudge Brownie Lara Bars from Chocolate-Covered Katie. She has a huge list of Lara bar recipes to try. And these homemade Lara Bars from Foodie with Family look much fancier than mine, which I prefer to simply roll into balls and store in a glass container.
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Toddler Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is packed with useful information for new parents who want to go green on a budget. (Are we biased? Absolutely!) Beyond the cloth diapering advice, tips on buying used gear, and a directory of the best green gear at every price point, we included recipes for homemade baby food.

Since chilly fall days are just starting to descend, we are sharing our Pumpkin Pancake recipe with our online readers. These pancakes can be made ahead of time in big batches and frozen so you can pull them out for easy breakfasts. They’re healthy, delicious, and your tot probably won’t mind if you make a stack of them up for yourself as well.
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Black Bean and Corn Summer Salad Recipe

This recipe is absolutely fantastic, not just as a salad but as a colorful addition to your weekly meal plan. It’s perfect as a filling for burritos along with cheese and refried beans, and also makes a fabulous topping for taco salad, nachos or baked potatoes.  Or if you want to be really creative, you could make southwestern style fried rice.  It’s colorful, nutritious and delicious.  I made a double batch and filled it into various meals for days!

     

  • 2  15 oz cans black beans (or approximately 7 cups cooked homemade beans)
  • 7 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 8 chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
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Homemade Pumpkin Peach Popsicles and Smoothies

Our pantry purge has yielded some fantastic recipes, but this one is my absolute favorite.  My kids declared that these were the best popsicles they’ve ever eaten.  Little did they know there was a secret vegetable lurking within them! The pumpkin really brings out the peach flavor and augments the color beautifully.  Give this a try and your kids will never know!

  • 2 Cups fresh or canned peaches
  • 2 bananas (throw brown bananas in!  Overripe fruit will add the most sweetness)
  • ½ C. apple juice concentrate
  • ½ C. canned pumpkin
  • 1 Cup ice
  • 1 Cup water

Blend it up and add more fruit or juice until you like the taste and consistency.   Serve the first round as smoothies and pour the leftovers into popsicle molds for later.  It truly is delicious!
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Fantastic Wheat Germ Cookies


Three cups of wheat germ have been sitting in my pantry for the last six months.  In my desperate efforts to clean out my cupboards before we move, I found a wheat germ cookie recipe and then tweaked it into utter deliciousness.

Now I shall make these on a regular basis and confidently stride past the granola bars in the grocery store.  These are far less expensive, more nutritious and utterly delicious.

  • ½ Cup butter
  • ½ Cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 Cup cooking oil
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1.5 Cups rolled oats
  • 1 Cup wheat germ
  • ½ Cup wheat flour
  • ½ Cup white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
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Summering with the Green Baby Guide

What were we blogging about three years ago, in the dark ages of July, 2008? I had a two-year-old, Joy had just one baby, and we were one month away from signing a publishing contract for the Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Dipping into Green Baby Guide’s archives, I found a delightful assortment of posts (if I do say so myself), including our most popular post of all time: Flushable Diapers (gDiapers)–What Do You Think?

Some posts helped our readers settle into summer: Finding Free Organic Produce, Simple Steps to Fight Summer Heat and Limit Air Conditioning, A Thrifty Green Favorite: Cloth Swim Diapers, Disguise Vegetables in Fruity Popsicles (another one of our all-time favorites!), and Green Olympic Trials. But then, for some reason, I wrote about making Easy Oats for Two: A Cheap and Nutritious Breakfast for Mother and Child. I’m not sure I’d totally latched on to the idea of making my posts seasonally relevant!
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