Luscious and rich, this mousse is both Vegan and Raw – and you would never know it! It is simple to make, as well, and can be ready in minutes! Yum!

Chocolate Mint Mousse

Ingredients

1 pitted and peeled avocado
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract flavoring
1/2 cup water (add small amounts incrementally if more is necessary to blend)
Fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
5 to 6 fresh mint leaves

Preparation

In a blender, mix all of the ingredients until creamy, no chunks. Scoop into serving bowls and garnish with fresh strawberry slices and mint leaves. Enjoy!

You can also freeze the mousse for later for a deliciously divine frozen delight.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Carolyn Scott-Hamilton of The Healthy Voyager.*

Ahhhh…let your soles relax… you have no idea how comfortable doing everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or brushing your teeth can be when standing on an Imprint™ Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mat! Your feet will never be the same – you will want to cover your entire floor in wall-to-wall comfort mats! These are now a favorite of “Mom’s” and are simply an absolute “must-have” in any eco-conscious home.

PVC and toxin-free, the mats add a stylish, chic look to any kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or yes, even the garage, and provide extraordinary comfort to you entire bosy. The mats are environmentally-friendly, non-toxic and are manufactured without the use of phthalates, formaldehyde, or heavy metals. Plus, because they are waterproof and washable, they don’t trap dirt, hair and debris like a throw rug!

Imprint™ Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mats are available in a variety of styles and colors to suit your decor, as well as different sizes depending on your space. “Mom” is in love with the Cobblestone look!

To learn more about how the Imprint™ Anti-Fatigue Comfort Mats can reduce your fatigue by up to 60%, or to shop online, visit www.imprintmats.com.

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

Is Your Furniture Eco-Friendly?

Have you ever stopped to consider just how much impact your furnishing may have on the environment? Probably not. Most people don’t put too much thought into the green factor when they purchase home décor; they’re more concerned with the comfort, quality, and cost of the pieces that they’re going to use day in and day out. And yet, you’ll be surprised at how many options there are for the eco-friendly fashionista looking to create a stylish home with green furnishings. Here are just a few ways that you can cut your carbon footprint when it comes to decorating your home, creating spaces that are comfortable, functional, and healthy for your family and the Earth.

1. Reclaimed furniture. If it doesn’t come home with you, it may be on its way to the landfill, so give it some thought before you write-off second-hand. Many pieces will be refurbished, but even if they aren’t, there are many ways to make a piece work for you. Kitchen tables can be sanded and refinished, couches and chairs can be reupholstered, and bedroom sets can be painted to give your space a fresh new look that will cost you a lot less than new and significantly reduce the impact of your purchase.

2. Recycled materials. Many furnishings these days are being made with recycled materials such as wood, plastic, and glass (just to name a few). Chairs, tables, and even lamps that are 100% recycled can grace your home and add a little pizzazz to a room with their innovative design. Coffee tables are a good place to start, and you can find options created from airplane wings, skateboards, CDs, computer parts, bicycle tires, and even dishwasher drums. These make for a great, green conversation piece. But you can also find items that look completely normal, so that no one would even know they’re composed of recycled materials.

3. Bamboo. More than other types of wood, bamboo provides an eminently eco-friendly option for furniture, flooring, and housewares. It is fast-growing (it takes 3-5 years to reach full height), unlike hardwoods that can take upwards of 30 years to regrow. But bamboo is sustainable in another way; it is also a drought-resistant plant, so it needs a lot less water to flourish. Plus, it is gorgeous.

4. Concrete. Admittedly, there are not a lot of furnishings you’d want to make with concrete, no matter how eco-friendly the material is. But it’s great for benches (especially outdoors) and even chairs, and it could also be used as a tabletop surface or for shelving. Remember those makeshift cinderblock shelves you used in college? The modern version made from molded, polished, colored concrete is way more stylish. And you might be surprised by the many interesting, beautiful, and functional pieces you can find for use in your home.

5. Organic fabric and filling. The greenest option when it comes to furniture is to keep what you already have. But you can easily change the look of many furnishings by reupholstering or simply creating slipcovers. If you choose this option, make sure to use eco-friendly organic fabrics and fillers that reduce the amount of chemicals seeping into the ground, water, and air.

These are not your typical cupcakes! Brimming with fresh apples & cinnamon, and topped lovingly with sharp Vermont Cheddar Cheese, these make a great breakfast on-the-go!

Fresh Apple ’n’ Cheddar Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 recipe Fresh Apple Cake
24 Vermont sharp Cheddar cheese slices
Toasted walnut pieces (optional)

1. Prepare Fresh Apple Cake as directed; do not cool.
2. Top each cupcake while still warm with 1 cheese slice; top with walnuts, if desired.

Fresh Apple Cake
1⁄2 cup butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose soft-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
Paper baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.
3. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apple.
4. Place paper baking cups in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of The Big Book of Cupcakes, presented by Southern Living.*

Mom” at Tiny Green Mom is thrilled to announce that the Winner of the Fei’d Skin Care Giveaway is Eva K! We hope that your skin is brighter and more illuminated after using Fei’d every day! Thanks to everyone who entered this eco-fabulous giveaway!

*Image provided by Fei’d Skin Care.*

The Trend Toward Green Education

There are two ways in which education has gone green: not only are campuses being built in a manner that is consistent with conservation and eco-friendly innovations, but educators are also doing their part to inform children about the impact they have on the Earth as a way to help them reduce their carbon footprint from the outset. As a parent, you can also play a role in helping to ensure that your child’s education is greener. By packing organic lunches, purchasing recycled paper products (notebooks and so on), and doing home tutoring on your own (rather than hiring a home tutor), you can easily cut back on the impact that your child’s education is having on the environment. But if you’re curious as to just what is going on in schools, here are a few of the trends that are taking over the education system.

1. Recycling programs. Nearly every school in the nation has taken the initiative to install recycling bins and educate kids about the importance of using them. With receptacles for glass, aluminum, and plastic in place, children have the opportunity to do their part with little effort. And many schools also encourage children to go to the recycling center (via field trip) as a way to help protect the Earth even as they earn some extra money for their school.

2. Conservation. There are many ways to conserve, and all of them are becoming more appealing with utility prices going up and the cost of products coming down. Schools that want to conserve energy may encourage the use of natural lighting (as in, the sun) whenever possible and install energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They might also opt for low-flow toilets in restrooms, as well as motion-sensor faucets and recycled towels and tissue.

3. Local food. Anyone who has eaten lunch from the school cafeteria no doubt has not-so-fond memories of questionably-colored hot dogs and crusty mac-and-cheese. These days, however, things are improving on the food front. Many schools have listened to complaints from parents about the health level of their fare and begun contracting with local farms and co-ops to provide fresh fruits, vegetables, and even animal products. Kids get fresh, natural foods out of the deal, local businesses are supported (small farms often do less harm to the environment), and the pollution from shipping and storing frozen foods is nullified.

4. Science fairs. This venue has always been a forum for innovation, but in the past several years, more and more relevant science revolves around ways to reduce pollution and waste in manufacturing, transportation, energy, and so on. The students of today are working on solutions for tomorrow, and being raised and taught with an environmental consciousness will certainly color their choices when it comes to scientific advancement.

5. Green building. Not too many schools have yet gone this route, although there are many newly erected campuses that have embraced an eco-friendly attitude by building with local materials, incorporating sustainable sources of energy (solar, wind, water), including native and drought-resistant plants, and conserving and recycling whenever possible. Some are even starting to offer green transportation in the form of alternative-fuel shuttles or incentives for staff to purchase green vehicles. In short, they’re doing everything they can to ensure that the future of the planet is secure for the students they are currently educating.

Tired of oatmeal or cereal in the morning? Perk things up with this healthy and filling porridge topped with pecans, pears, and a hint of both cinnamon and cardamom!

Wild Rice Porridge with Cardamom, Pecan & Pear

Ingredients

2 cups cooked wild rice
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for serving (“Mom” prefers Soymilk Creamer)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving
Pinch fine salt
1/2 cup dried pear slices (apples, apricots, or any dried fruit can be used), medium dice
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation

Combine the rice, cream, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream has reduced slightly and the mixture is hot, about 7 minutes.

Add the pears (or other dried fruit), pecans, and cardamom, stir to combine, and cook until the pears have softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, stir to combine, and spoon into bowls. For a little extra richness, drizzle another tablespoon of cream and a little honey on top.

*Recipe and image courtesy of CHOW.com.*

If you focus on being the best you can be,

When you look in the mirror, you’ll like what you see.

Peer deep inside, and find the true you,

The other stuff’s easy-peasy to do.

We’re each made different, and what makes us unique,

Are our very own dreams, how we love, think and speak.

It’s what makes us special and helps us learn,

So embrace who you are. Now it’s your turn.

When you’ve had a hard day and can’t find your smile,

Remember, once in a while, we’re all crocodiles.

Believe in your heart you’re the very best you,

And you’ll be successful in all that you do.

This feel-good story written by Claire Gutschow, of Fei’d Skin Care (what can’t she do!?), and Sarah Spatz, is a great tool when teaching little ones about self-esteem! It is a gentle reminder that we are all unique and special, just the way we are. So celebrate your “you-ness” – whatever that may be!

Claire Gutschow’s skin care company, Meld Labs, is funding and publishing the distribution of this book to children’s organizations in 3rd world countries. Meld Labs is committed to building self-confidence in kids in need, and doing so with humor and a story that we can all see an aspect of ourselves in at times. Claire invites you to read this story with your own children, and tell them again that you love them just the way they are!

To order a copy of this delightful children’s tale, click here.

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

Mom” is LOVING these new Pasta Pots from Bialetti! Cooking spaghetti and other noodles just became a whole lot easier and safer with these innovative pasta pots that feature a locking built-in strainer. Sheer genius – these pasta pots will make any foodie or aspiring chef want to create a multitude of pasta dishes! Plus, the pot is also great for boiling sweet corn with ease as we head into summer!

Plus, Bialetti just introduced three bold, brightly-colored pots in this season’s must-have colors, which includes Orange Spice, Blue Cheer, and Purple Passion. Just having these happy-go-lucky pots hanging on display makes your kitchen seem more cheerful!

Unique Features Include:

· Featuring a distinctive oval shape, they are designed to handle the length of uncooked spaghetti and lasagna noodles without breakage.

· When in use, the Pasta Pots feature an innovative lock-on lid with built-in strainer, eliminating the need for a colander.

· Made of aluminum to allow for advanced heat conduction and safe handling when cooking. A non-stick interior contributes to evenly cooked pasta every time.

· Available in a 5-quart size in three of this year’s hottest colors: Purple Passion, Blue Cheer and Orange Spice.

Mom” loves how the Purple Passion pot makes such a statement in her kitchen, and how much easier cooking pasta with a built-in strainer is now – no mess, no fuss, and doing it all with style!

For more information on Bialetti, and their modern cookware collections, please visit Bialetti.com.

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

How To Make the Perfect Bowl of Pasta

Pasta is one of the staples of the American diet, but it need not taste like a staple. “It is so much more than just grabbing a jar of generic sauce at the store, boiling some water and mixing it all up in a bowl,” said Dave Hirschkop, the namesake of the Dave’s Gourmet line of sauces and veteran pasta and sauce aficionado. “There are subtle secrets in every step of the process, from choosing the sauce, boiling the water, and plating the finished meal that can take an everyday dull meal and turn it into a gourmet dining experience.”

He should know. His sauces have been named tops in the industry by the Sofi Awards two years running, making him a recognized expert in designing the perfect bowl of pasta. His tips include:

Choosing the Pasta – If you want a great pasta experience, choose a variety of pasta that receives the sauce and spices well. Thinner more delicate shapes should pair with lighter thinner sauces. Pick pasta made from durum wheat and a slightly rougher pasta or shaped pasta holds the sauce better.

Choosing the Sauce – Good marinara is made primarily from tomatoes, not tomato paste. If your sauce ingredients list paste, water or sugar as the first ingredient, then you need to put the jar down slowly and back away from it. Some sauces make a better base so don’t be afraid to doctor it with meat, cheese, or fresh veggies. Also, to keep your pasta love life interesting, experiment with different flavors of sauce (tomato cream, butternut, wild mushroom, etc.).

Boiling the Pasta – Use plenty of water, add salt to it, and never put dry pasta in the water until it has reached a rolling boil. Stir occasionally and, once the pasta nears the minimum cooking time on the package start tasting it. Take the pasta out when it is al dente or a little firm. The pasta will continue to cook a little after you take it out.

Heating the Sauce – For an even more flavorful pasta dish take the pasta out of the water a few minutes early and let it finish. When you strain the pasta, do not run water over the pasta unless you are making a cold pasta salad. Make sure to strain really well as nobody likes watery pasta. Place a ladle of sauce at the bottom of your serving bowl before dumping the cooked pasta in. Then, ladle generous amounts of sauce into the bowl, and toss the pasta so the sauce is evenly distributed. Then you can add extra sauce to each plate according to your dinner guests’ taste. You might want to garnish each plate with some fresh cooking in the sauce.

Plating the Pasta – When you strain the pasta, do not run water over the pasta unless you are making a cold pasta salad. Make sure to strain really well as nobody likes watery pasta. Place a ladle of sauce at the bottom of your serving bowl before dumping the cooked pasta in. Then, ladle generous amounts of sauce into the bowl, and toss the pasta so the sauce is evenly distributed. Then you can add extra sauce to each plate according to your dinner guests’ taste. You might want to garnish each plate with some fresh basil or even parsley. Freshly grated Parmesan or Parmesan Reggiano is a great touch and tasty.

Preparing the Bread – The bread is important, because at the end of the meal, a good textured bread can be used to soak up the excess sauce in the plate. To make the most of the bread, bake it for 6-8 minutes at 350 degrees. This will make for toasty nooks and crannies that will capture the sauce in your plate without letting the bread go limp or soggy. Garlic bread can also be a delicious alternative.

“A great pasta meal is all about the details and the creative flair,” Dave added. “If you take care to pay attention to those details and put forth a tiny bit of extra effort, every pasta meal at home can be a gourmet meal you can be proud of.”

About the Author

Dave’s Gourmet is the result of Dave owning and managing a small restaurant near the University of Maryland, which taught him a lot about preparing food and satisfying customers. He uses that experience with Dave’s Gourmet, which after 18 years has grown into a maker of more than 70 award-winning gourmet food products.

*Images provided by Dave’s Gourmet and Bialetti.*