Featuring both raisins and pumpkin, these moist cupcakes pack a nutritious punch, and will definitely be a hit with the kiddos this Halloween! Easy to prepare, making Pumpkin Raisin Party Cupcakes can be turned into a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy together!

Pumpkin Raisin Party Cupcakes

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (“Mom” prefers unbleached, organic flour)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup canola oil
4 eggs (“Mom” prefers cage-free)
1 can (15-ounces) pumpkin (“Mom” prefers organic)
1-1/4 cups Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
Decorating sprinkles, if desired (“Mom” prefers to use Nature’s Colors Party Decoratifs by India Tree.)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
Combine all ingredients except raisins in a large bowl.
Beat on medium speed until well blended, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in raisins. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire rack to cool completely. Spread frosting on cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

Frosting: Beat until smooth 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup softened butter, 3 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 to 3 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add orange food coloring, if desired. (“Mom” prefers to use Natural Decorating Colors by India Tree.)

Makes 18 cupcakes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sun-Maid.*

For a healthy, hands-on activity this Halloween, parents and kids can put on a pair of Skrub’a scrubbing gloves to clean both the inside and outside of the pumpkins being carved. Both playful and functional, Skrub’a scrubbing gloves turn what some consider a chore, such as cleaning the dirt off of root vegetables, into a family activity.

Skrub’a gloves come in colors associated with a specific vegetable, but all gloves can be used to clean every type of produce. Children’s sizes come in pumpkin color (of course!) with an adorable Jack O’ Lantern design, as well orange for carrot or brown for potato. Adult size gloves are available in orange for carrot, green for vegetable and brown for potato. Skrub’a gloves are made of durable, food-safety-tested, hygienic nylon, and are imported from Denmark. Each pair costs an affordable $6.99 a pair for kids and $9.99 a pair for adults.

To learn more, visit www.fabrikatorsusa.com. Skrub’a gloves can be purchased at Amazon.com, www.chefini.com, as well as local retailers.

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

Tis’ the season to go green! It is time to start thinking about gift-giving during the holidays, and Tiny Green Mom is now accepting earth-friendly must-haves for everyone on this year’s gift list. From green beauty finds for Mom or planet-friendly gadgets for Dad to the newest eco-friendly toys, books and games for baby & kids, we want to feature your product.

Submissions are being accepted now through December 15th, 2010. Please use the contact form to submit your product for review and feature, or you can email “Mom” directly at tinygreenmom at gmail dot com.

For any further questions about the policy for product submission on Tiny Green Mom, please review the disclosure. Happy Holidays!

Looking for a creative way to have some fun with your daughter this Halloween? If you have an Olivia fan in the house, skip the store-bought costumes and spend mommy-and-me time crafting an Olivia costume, thanks to Nick Jr.com. Felt, a striped shirt, a hat, basic craft supplies and a big imagination are all you need to transform your daughter into the fun, 6 3/4 year old little girl Olivia. Help your little one dress just like her inspirational friend and turn trick-or-treating into a big adventure!

Nick Jr.com helps outline the entire process from start to finish – complete with a list of supplies needed to create an Olivia costume, most of which can already be found around the home! For face paint, check out Luna Organics Pixie Magic Face Makeup to put on a pale pink face, just like Olivia.

For more fun, DIY costume ideas for Halloween this year, visit NickJr.com.

Luna Organics Pixie Magic Face Makeup offers parents and children a non-toxic alternative to costume make-up this Halloween! “Mom” was ecstatic to find this line of all-natural face powders, perfect for painting your little fairy or clown’s face without worry! Each convenient, reusable kit contains five organic, hypo-allergenic face powders, with a variety of bright colors to let your child’s character come to life! The Luna Organics Pixie Magic Face Makeup Kit includes Blue Fish, Pinky Piggy, Deep Purple, Green Day, and Cool Cat colored powders, complete with glitter for a magical, sparkly touch. In addition, two tiny sponge applicators are tucked inside, and can be used for multiple uses. The best part is how easy the face make-up is to remove. Simply wet a tissue or washcloth, and wipe-off!

Not just for Halloween, Luna Organics can be used for dress-up or play anytime! In addition to the Pixie Magic Face Makeup Kit, Luna Organics offers an Animal Medley Face Makeup Kit and the larger, Rainbow Face Makeup Kit. To learn more about these all-natural face powders, or to order, please visit ecomom.com.

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

Check out this healthy snack mix from Nature’s Path®, perfect for noshing on during your Halloween bash!

Optimum Slim Curried Party Mix

Ingredients

1/3 c. vegetable oil

2 TBS. mild Madras curry powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

3 c.s Nature’s Path® Optimum Slim cereal

1/2 c. un-toasted, shelled pumpkin seeds

Preparation

Place rack on bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line a lipped baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, blend oil, curry, cumin, garlic, salt, and cayenne (if using). Add cereal and pumpkin seeds; toss to lightly coat.

Pat into a single layer on baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes. Stir. Continue baking until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. (Take care not to burn.)

Cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

This recipe was created especially for Nature’s Path® by Lorna Sass, the award-winning cookbook author of Whole Grains, Every Day, Every Way and Whole Grains for Busy People.

*Image and recipe provided by Nature’s Path®.*

Mom” had the distinct opportunity to interview Peggy Cross, the entrepreneur behind EcoTensil, a company on a mission to reduce the amount of “one-taste waste.” Peggy is an inspiration to us all to think about each action we make, even the seemingly small ones, and how they do add up to the bigger picture.

Tell us about your eco-inspired company.

Our new Ultra-green tasting spoon, EcoTaster Mini, is made from a silky smooth paperboard (feels like a milk carton). One easy fold creates a sturdy and fun spoon. It’s 100% biodegradable, renewable, recyclable, and composts in just a few weeks (while we love all biodegradable utensils, others can take over 6 months to biodegrade). EcoTasters are great at in-store samplings, events, trade shows, etc. Our full-sized EcoTensil is great for serving up anything from a big bowl of yogurt or frozen yogurt to a hot cup of chili. SpoonLidz comes attached to the top of single-serve cups, like yogurt. Great for lunch packing!


How do you choose to go green in your own life?

Since my business has become a huge part of my family’s life, we hope to replace the tons of plastic used for one bite, then lives for centuries in our oceans and landfills.

Besides this, we’re avid recycler/composters. At events I am the recycling maniac who puts the big “Recycle please” sign on the paper bag to try to get everyone to put their cups and forks in it!

Guilty green pleasure?

How can something green be guilty?!

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Stick to your green guns. Persevere. We are trailblazing and frequently we are pushing against the current, but the currents are shifting our way, and we are helping make that happen!

*Image courtesy of EcoTensil.*

Curl up on the couch or around the fireplace for some good, old-fashioned storytelling this Halloween! Pop some popcorn, grab a favorite blanket, and pick a story to share from The Barefoot Book of Giants, Ghosts and Goblins. Filled with folk tales from around the globe, and featuring gorgeous illustrations, each story is unique to the country it is set in. Children and adults alike will be amused by these tall tales, and the book includes a storytime CD, read by Jerry Nelson. If you just want to sit back and enjoy the stories with your little ones, pop in the CD, and you can all listen together! As the stories are not frightening, just entertaining, even younger ones can listen along without feeling scared.

What is most notable is that each story is written exactly how a person in that particular country speaks. From Scotland to China, and everywhere in between, you can really get into the characters! “Mom” thoroughly enjoyed that these adventuresome stories ended in the way that folk tales typically do – happily ever after!

The Barefoot Book of Giants, Ghosts and Goblins is available online on ecomom.com.

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

Halloween is an exciting time in a child’s life, filled with treats, parties, and the fun of being a favorite cartoon character or superhero for a day! However, for those children with food allergies or sensitivities, Halloween can be a harrowing time. What is underneath that wrapped candy bar could very well cause an allergic reaction, putting a damper on any trick-or-treating.

Here are a few tips that Katie Corl, author of The Pesky Peanut, feels are the most helpful for parents of children with various food allergies at Halloween.

Scare Away Food Allergies this Halloween – Tips to Keep Little Ghosts & Goblins Safe

1. With lots of school Halloween parties, make sure to check treats for cross-contamination.

2. Supervise all younger children at parties to make sure they do not eat anything they are allergic to, or accept candy from their friends that has not been checked for ingredients.

3. When out trick-or-treating do not let children eat candy before you can inspect it.

4. Make sure to have an emergency kit on hand!

5. Avoid individually wrapped candy with no ingredients listed.

6. Beware of popcorn balls! Many of these seemingly harmless treats are manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts. Some, but not all, facilities that process popcorn process peanuts, as well. It would be wise to read labels prior to purchasing. Halloween = popcorn balls galore!

The Pesky Peanut can be found on Amazon.com via Arundel Books, here.

For a little healthy Halloween fun with the kiddos, make these delicious Jack O’ Lantern Smoothies, from Horizon! October may have turned into a month filled with sugary treats and big bags filled with candy, but the fall also brings with it a bountiful harvest of good eats – such as pumpkins, squash, cranberries and apples! Don’t forget to take a trip to the Farmer’s market in your area to pick out the fruits and veggies of the season or to enjoy a cup of fresh cider.

Jack O’ Lantern Smoothie

Ingredients

4 navel oranges

1/2 cup Horizon Organic® lowfat milk

1/2 cup Horizon Organic plain fat-free yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 Tbsp. honey

Preparation

Cut a thin slice of peel from the bottom of each orange so it will not roll. Slice off the top 1/3 of each orange. Scoop out the inside with a serrated knife and grapefruit spoon. Put pulp, and juice (without seeds) into blender with milk, yogurt, vanilla, and honey, and blend well.

Decorate orange like a Jack-O-Lantern with decorations of choice – Tiny Green Mom likes to choose more nutritious items, such as raisins.

Cut a hole in each cap and insert a straw. Pour blended smoothie into Jack-O-Lantern oranges, place caps on top, and serve. YUM!