This is another fabulous recipe that uses SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener instead of sugar – tart and tangy Apple Crisp! This classic recipe can be found in Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More! For more recipes usingSweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener please visit the website.

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

Filling:

7 to 8 cups chopped apples (peeling is optional)

3 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1 to 1 1/2 tsp powdered stevia leaf or 1/2 tsp powdered stevia extract

2 tbsp whole wheat flour

3 tbsp natural peanut butter (optional)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup organic apple juice or blend

Topping:

1 cup rolled oats

2/3 cup chopped nuts and seeds

1/4 tsp powdered stevia extract

3/4 tsp stevia concentrate

2 tablespoons oil

Preparation

Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish.

Place the apples in a large mixing bow. Stir in the lemon juice. Mix the vanilla, stevia leaf or stevia extract, flour, peanut butter (if using), cinnamon, and salt into the apples.

Pour the fruit juice into the bottom of the dish. Spoon in the apple mixture.

Mix the oats, chopped nuts and seeds, stevia extract, and stevia concentrate together in a bowl. Sprinkle and stir in the oil. Spread the topping over the apples so it is evenly distributed.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. If the topping gets done before the apples, cover pan with foil the last 15 minutes of baking.

Option: Topping substitute: 1 1/2 cups of granola. Mix 1/2 cup of the granola into the apples, and spread the rest on top. No need to add stevia sweetener or oil from topping recipe above – granola already has sweetener and oil.

Check out Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More! for more exciting recipes using SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener.

Creamy, refreshing, and naturally sweetened with SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener instead of sugar, this Mango Papaya Smoothie will definitely hit the spot this summer! Typically called a Mango Lassi in India, this unique drink is just one of the many recipe offerings found in Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More!

Mango Papaya Smoothie

Ingredients

1 quart mango or papapa juice (or use a blend)

1 cup plain nonfat organic yogurt

1/3 to 1/2 tsp. powdered SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into tall serving glasses and serve. Tasty!

Check out Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks and More! for more exciting recipes using SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener.

*Image provided by SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener.*

Add a hint of flavor to your water, tea, coffee and more with new SweetLeaf™ Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™! From SweetLeaf Stevia® Sweetener comes an exciting line of flavored stevia drops that contain no calories, no carbohydrates, and no aspartame! These tasty little drops are conveniently packaged in tiny droppers for travel or for tucking into your bag or purse while on-the-go, and can be added to plain water, seltzer water, sugar-free yogurt, smoothies, hot chocolate and any other food or beverage where you desire a touch of sweetness and flavor. SweetLeaf™ Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™ are also safe for diabetics. To learn more about stevia, please click here.

The drops come in the following flavors: Apricot Nectar, Chocolate Raspberry, Cinnamon, Chocolate, English Toffee, Grape, Lemon, Peppermint, Root Beer, Valencia Orange, and Vanilla Creme. There is something to suit every taste and every food combination. (without the calories and without the guilt!)

To find a retailer near you, or to order online, please visit the website.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Research shows that parental involvement in developing their children’s love of literature is critical to raising lifelong readers. As family schedules are reorganized to begin the school year, now is a great time for kids and parents to be sure they incorporate reading into their daily routines.

Below are some fun and practical ways to make reading a normal and natural part of family life and encourage kids of varying ages to get reading-ready as they head back to the classroom and prepare to dive into books all year long.

Tips for Back to School Reading and Beyond

Source: Reading is Fundamental, www.rif.org

• Book graffiti wall – Put up a piece of poster paper and label it the “Great Book Graffiti Wall.” Have your children draw a pattern on the paper to make it look like a brick wall. Then encourage them to draw pictures and write recommendations based on the books they have read or are reading.

• Record your child’s favorite book – A cassette recorder is one way to enable younger children to enjoy a favorite book again and again. Grandparents, parents, older brothers, or sisters can record their favorite stories on tape or the whole family can join in and play different characters.

• Read around the world – Help develop geography and reading skills by making a faux passport and a copy of an oversized world map. Each time you and your child read a story about a different part of the world, color in that country on the map and stamp the passport. Continue the activity by doing research on the countries, reading the newspaper and watching the news.

• Share your stories – Telling stories from your personal life is a fun way to teach values, pass on family history, and build your child’s listening and thinking skills. Your child might someday want to write the stories down in a book for a class project.

• A special nook – Create a special place for you and your child to read. It could be a favorite chair, a couch, a child’s bed, or outside under a tree or by a lake.

• For all ears – Read aloud to your children, even after they’ve learned to read on their own and are attending school. Young readers enjoy listening to many books that they can’t yet master and teenagers like to hear old favorites. Encourage kids to describe the pictures or take turns reading aloud with you. Even though kids may also read books in class, spending additional time reading their favorite literature with you is also important.

• Regular intervals – Set aside a special time each day that you and your child devote to reading. Before bed, at breakfast, and before dinner are common times for many families with busy school and activity schedules. For example, your child can read to you while you wash the dinner dishes or you can read to your child from the newspaper as she eats her breakfast. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day, you’re encouraging lifelong reading.

• Caught in the act! – Show your child that reading just isn’t for the classroom. Let your kids catch you reading whenever possible. Try making a game of it. One way might be to create “I caught you reading!” coupons. Each time they “catch” a family member reading they present them with a coupon. At the end of each week, hold a drawing to award a family member with a prize.

• A library of her own – Build your child’s affection and respect for reading by helping her create her own personal library. Designate a space on a bookshelf or a special box for books. Add new books to the collection by either getting books already finished by an older child or by going to the bookstore together.

• Everyday opportunities – Newspapers, magazines, hardcover, and paperback books may be obvious reading choices, but don’t dismiss road signs, menus, billboards, cereal boxes, and lots of other everyday items. Read aloud anything with words and present reading as a way to discover the world.

Source: Reading is Fundamental. For more tips on encouraging your child to read, visit www.rif.org.

RIF and Macy’s have teamed up to create Book a Brighter Future, a national partnership to raise awareness and support of children’s literacy. Through July 31, Macy’s customers can give $3 and receive a coupon for $10 off one purchase of $50 or more at any Macy’s store nationwide. All proceeds will benefit RIF, the nation’s oldest and largest literacy non-profit. www.bookabrighterfuture.com

Mothering Magazine is offering readers a FREE 12 oz Klean Kanteen Water Bottle with the purchase of any b0ok! Stay hydrated AND educated in the midst of summer – gotta love that!

Click here for more information.

*This is not a paid advertorial. Please see disclosure.*

It’s HOT. July 22nd, the middle of summer, and there just isn’t a cool place to go except the air-conditioned rooms of your own home. Hopefully you have AC! If you don’t, and even if you don’t turn yours on, here is a refreshingly cool recipe that “Mom” found on Stonyfield Farm’s website – a Lemonade Smoothie! Don’t you feel a bit cooler already?!

Lemonade Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup prepared lemonade (“Mom” used organic, or Simply Lemonade is another great option)

1 cup chopped seedless watermelon (the local farmer’s markets have some GREAT deals on watermelon right now)

1 cup Stonyfield Farm Low Fat Plain Yogurt (“Mom” likes to use fat-free)

2 cups of ice

Ingredients

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Thanks Stonyfield Farm!

An organic version of an old favorite from Newman’s Own Organics – Fig Newman’s™! The delicious fig bars you loved as a kid are now available in three organic varieties, including Low-Fat, Fat-Free, and Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free. This is the first natural fig bar that is made with organic figs, organic unbleached wheat flour, and organic sugar that contains absolutely no hydrogenated oils!

These are oh-so tasty and make a great afternoon snack for you and your little ones – paired with a glass of soymilk or organic milk, they are definitely going to be a hit!

To locate a retailer near you, or to purchase online, visit their website.

*Company generously provided samples & images for this review.*

Aspartame: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Mom” found this informative article by the renowned Dr. Mercola that really hits the major points home about the long-lasting and damaging effects that aspartame can have on our bodies. According to researchers, this substance can trigger or worsen chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. This article is definitely worth reading – please click here to view the full article.

In addition, Dr. Mercola offers a FREE report titled, “ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: MORE SOUR THAN YOU EVER IMAGINED” that you can obtain here.

For those desiring to sweeten their coffee, tea, and other beverages, try using stevia instead! This all-natural, zero-calorie sweetener that comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant is 30 times sweeter than sugar. It can also be used for all of your cooking and baking needs in place of sugar or artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame.

*This is not a paid advertorial. Please see disclosure.*

Fresh, fast, and full of fiber – say that ten times! This heart-healthy recipe makes a super easy and delicious side dish that can be whipped up in minutes!

Tiny Green Mom’s Two-Bean Salad

Ingredients

1 can organic black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can organic pinto beans, rinsed and drained (or red kidney beans – your choice!)

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (approximately 3 ears of corn)

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups chopped Roma tomatoes, seeded

1/3 fresh cilantro, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Preparation

In large bowl, mix all ingredients. Chill 1-2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Dark chocolate paired with roasted almonds, peanuts, & cashews, plus dried cranberries, blueberries, and cherries – what’s not to love about this all-natural mix from SunRidge Farms? A handful or two of this delightful mix will satisfy any craving for a salty and sweet snack, PLUS the Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Mix provides protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The newest creation from SunRidge Farms, this high-energy mix contains absolutely no hydrogenated oils, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. Simply put – SunRidge Farms’ Berries and Chocolate Antioxidant Mix won’t last long in the household!

To learn more about SunRidge Farms, or to locate a retailer near you, please visit their website.

SunRidge Farms is committed to organic and natural snacks, staples, and confections that are healthy for people and the environment. All products, including the newest Antioxidant Mix, are made in a sustainable, solar-powered manufacturing plant in Pajaro, California, and are shipped using the company’s fleet of biodiesel delivery trucks.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*