Don’t you just love the name of this dish? Hearty and filling, this lovely take on couscous from Back to the Roots showcases the pearl oyster mushroom beautifully!

Moos-cous (Mushroom Couscous)

Ingredients

1 T. olive oil

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

1 cup chopped pearl oyster mushrooms

1 cup uncooked couscous

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

2 green onions, chopped

Preparation

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the onions. Saute the onions, turning frequently, until translucent (about 3 or 4 minutes). Add the mushrooms, continuing to turn them frequently, to cook for another 4 minutes. In a separate pot, heat the chicken stock until boiling. Add the couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Let the couscous stand for 5 minutes, then take off the lid and fluff the couscous. Toss in the onions and mushrooms. Top with green onion pieces and serve. Serves 4.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Back to the Roots.*

Crispy Green® Crispy Cantaloupe

Here’s a great way to work in a serving of fruit for National 5-A-Day Month! Healthy, wholesome, and just plain yummy – the newest offering from Crispy Green® is Crispy Cantaloupe! Made using all-natural, freeze dried cantaloupe slices, the end result is a crispy snack that is rich in fiber for on-the-go! Crispy Cantaloupe is high in both Vitamin A & C, and does not contain preservatives, fat, cholesterol, or additional additives. At only 40 calories per serving, which is one bag, you can literlly eat the entire package without guilt!

All Crispy Green® products are created using a sophisticated freeze-drying process where water is removed from the fresh fruit in a cold (freezing) vacuum condition, leaving behind the true essence of the fruit in a light and crispy texture – the ultimate snack! Crispy Green® is available in Crispy Apples, Crispy Asian Pears, Crispy Cantaloupe, Crispy Mangoes, and Crispy Pineapple. If you are doing any hiking this Fall, Crispy Green® makes an excellent snack to pack that will not spoil!

To learn more about Crispy Green®, to locate a retailer near you, or to order, visit www.crispygreen.com.

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

Easy Tips to go Greener in Every Room of the House

Eco-friendliness is a hotly debated topic due to the effects of climate change and global warming. Many homeowners are opting for a greener approach to their home life in an attempt to prevent further damage to the planet. There are a lot of ideas being thrust at homeowners telling them how they can make their home more eco-friendly. Rather than being bombarded with an abundance of information on how to completely change your life it’s better to gradually go greener. Why not try using one simple green tip for each room of the house?

Bathroom
The bathroom may not seem like it has much potential in the way of being green, after all this is where litres of water are used daily. So many homes are guilty of a leaky bathroom, which is an incredible waste of water and electricity. Regularly checking the basin and bath taps and the toilet can help to prevent the chance of long-term leaks. Leaking taps and toilets don’t only waste water they could be responsible for topping up your electricity and water bills – now – that’s a real incentive for some quick DIY.

Kitchen
Become self-sufficient in the seasoning of your food by growing your own herbs. Not only will this provide you with a constant supply of fresh herbs (which are miles better than their dried counterparts) the oxygen that plants produce also improves air quality – vital for human health. Herb plants are generally low maintenance, just place them on the windowsill and keep them regularly watered and out of reach of mischievous household pets.

Home Office
If you have a study or home office then stock it with plenty of eco-friendly stationery. Many office supplies companies offer recycled stationery for the same or a similar price as their non-recycled counterparts. Don’t forget to avoid printing out unnecessary documents and always recycle waste paper to reduce deforestation.

Garden
Some homeowners are opting for artificial greenery in their garden due to their convenience. Grass requiring no maintenance may seem like an ingenious invention, however this is depriving insects and birds of their natural habitats. Artificial grass can be expensive too so you can save yourself some money by keeping the real deal. If the thought of mowing the lawn makes your eyes water and nose itch then why not pay one of your children or neighbour a small amount every week to cut it? This means you can keep your lavish greenery and give your child a money earning opportunity.

Bedroom
The bedroom, much like the bathroom may seem like a difficult room to turn green. Organic bed linen could be the solution to the lack of your eco-friendly inspiration. It’s free from chemicals and other additives which are often present in regular mattresses and bed linen – enabling you to sleep easy knowing you’re helping the planet.

Living Room
Although energy saving light bulbs may seem like an obvious and overrated option, they’re really as valuable as they’re made out to be. Many people like to leave their living room lights on during their absence to deter burglars – this can be a great waste of energy and a huge contributor to high electricity bills. If you feel you really must leave a light on for added security you should definitely switch to energy saving light bulbs as they carry a longer life and don’t consume as much electricity.

Going green can be a big lifestyle change, but once you have been initiated as an eco-friendly home and can see the benefits you can begin to introduce even greener habits. If you’re ready to save the planet and some hard earned cash then consider going green to keep your cash flow in the black.

*Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Like a Greek salad, but served warm and toasty, right out of the oven, this Greek Zucchini Bake is ready in 45 minutes from start to finish!

Greek Zucchini Bake

Ingredients

PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
3 small zucchini, sliced thin (3 = 3/4 lb)
1 cup fat free small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup Egg Beaters® Original
1 cup Italian seasoned croutons, crushed slightly
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Stewed Tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese with garlic and herbs

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place zucchini in medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover; microwave on HIGH 5 minutes. Drain well, patting dry with paper towels. Layer zucchini in bottom of baking dish.

2. Combine cottage cheese and Egg Beaters in same bowl; mix well. Spread cottage cheese mixture over zucchini. Top with croutons and drained tomatoes; sprinkle with feta cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

3. Bake 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes more or until bubbly around edges and set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

*Recipe and images courtesy of ReadySetEat.com.*

Shea Terra Organics has done it again! They have made “Mom” fall head over heels for yet another one of their gloriously natural and just plain fabulous products! Boasting the healing power of certified organic shea butter infused with cape lavender and chamomile essential oils, the Calming Baby Shea Butter Smoothee is a must-have in any home with wee ones!

Created by Tammie Umbel, founder of Shea Terra Organics and the mother of 13 children, this lovely cream was obviously made by someone who knows babies! Gently glide over baby’s tender skin to moisturize and soothe any dry, scaly patches from eczema, diaper rash, cradle cap – you name it! It smells divine and a little goes a long way!

The Calming Baby Shea Butter Smoothee makes a wonderful gift for any new or expecting mom, and will definitely be appreciated! To learn more about Shea Terra Organics and their amazing line of organic products for the whole family, visit www.sheaterraorganics.com.

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

How to Plan an Eco-Friendly Baby Shower

Do you have a baby shower to plan for an eco-friendly mother? Well, here are several tips that can help you give her a memorable and fun day, and that will make her and Mother Earth very happy.

1. Stick to creative gifts.

This might sound like a cliche, but the best gifts for new mothers are usually those that take time and effort to make. Think about it. How many clothes do newborn babies actually need? Not a lot. So, giving mothers healthy meals in freezer containers that are reusable would be worth so much more to them. After all, new moms need to eat healthily as they relax and enjoy their new babies, right? So, how about throwing a casserole shower instead? Encourage all of the guests to bring easy meals and healthy casseroles in reusable containers that the mother can keep for this. This is sure to keep the baby shower fresh, upbeat and green.

2. Get rid of everything disposable.

Although they might be convenient, do not use any disposable plastic forks and spoons or paper plates at the baby shower. Use cheap melamine plates instead. You can even encourage all of the guests to take some of them home, so you don’t need to wash them. If you want, you can also put heirloom dishes to use instead or hold the baby shower in an actual restaurant if you can afford it. In the end, the choice is yours.

3. Encourage less packaging, if any at all.

Encourage all of the guests to use cloth wrappings and reusable gift bags for their gifts and remind them to write their names on removable cards, too. To really get the guests in the mood, you can give prizes out to the most creative and eco-friendly packaging, as well. To get inspiration for this yourself, just read some books or learn about Japanese wrapping. It’s fun!

4. Go organic.

If you decide to serve your own food, make sure it is organic and locally grown. Fruits tend to be the best choices in this department since pregnant women will have no trouble eating fruits, no matter how green they might be.

5. Go green with the invitations.

Instead of sending out invitations through the mail, use electronic invites instead and ask people to respond through email. Not only will you reduce paper waste this way, but the mother you are throwing the shower for is sure to appreciate the effort.

Yes, it is completely possible to give green moms a fun baby shower and set a great example of eco-friendly stewardship while you’re at it. All it takes is a bit of preparation and some creativity and you can have the most environmentally friendly baby shower on the block.

About the Author

Derrick Webb is an experienced blogger who writes a variety of topics including database development. He is also a writer for Toledo web design , a firm that provides SEO services and web design for small businesses.

*Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

As we head into Fall, eggplants are in season, and what better way to showcase them than in this Roasted Eggplant Salad?

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Ingredients

1 large eggplant, peeled if desired, cubed (1 large = 6 cups)
PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 can (15 oz each) garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup light Italian dressing
1 bag (10 oz each) chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place eggplant in large shallow baking pan; spray with cooking spray. Toss to coat; spread in single layer. Bake 15 minutes or until tender, stirring 2 times.

2. Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients, except lettuce and cheese, in large bowl; mix well. Add eggplant; toss together. Divide lettuce evenly between 4 serving plates. Top evenly with eggplant mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Or, refrigerate eggplant mixture and serve chilled.

*Recipe and images courtesy of ReadySetEat.com.*

Heart Disease Risks for Moms in Their 30s Through Their 60s

For many moms, the needs and responsibilities of their families means putting their own needs on the back burner. But ignoring their own health can puts moms at risk for heart disease down the road.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death, touching one in four women, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. The American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee reported that women have a 28 percent increased risk of death in the first year following a heart attack, compared to men.

Some women can predict the likelihood of heart disease because of a family history of conditions, such as abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weakening or swelling of the largest artery in the body running through the abdomen. But many women also can control factors pointing to a higher risk of heart disease, including high blood-pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, poor diet, smoking, being overweight and physical inactivity.

It’s never too early to learn how to reduce the risks for heart disease. Here is what moms need to know so they eventually can evolve into healthy grandmothers:

The 30s

It’s easy to believe youth grants immunity, but the rate of sudden cardiac death for women in this age range increased 21 percent in the 1990s, much faster than for men in the same age range, reports the journal Circulation. Even if a woman does not appear to be at immediate risk in her 30s, many are having children at this age. The complications some experience during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or low-birth-weight babies, may point to cardiovascular disease in the future. Women with these conditions should consider managing their risk factors for heart disease more aggressively. In addition, smoking greatly increases the risk of heart attack for women younger than 45, and smoking in combination with the use of birth control pills increases a woman’s risk by at least 20 times.

The 40s and 50s

Though menopause is a natural occurrence for women between the ages of 45 and 50, medical experts believe the loss of estrogen may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. Other factors that may contribute to the increased risk include changes in the walls of the blood vessels, which encourages the formation of plaque and blood clots; changes in the level of fats in the blood; and an increase in fibrinogen, the protein that helps blood clot, according to WebMD.com. Though it at one time was believed that hormone replacement therapy was a solution to the loss of estrogen, recent research has shown that perhaps it’s more harmful than helpful. The Women’s Heart Foundation reports that women are two to three times as likely to die following heart bypass surgery, compared to men. Women ages 40 to 59 are up to four times more likely to die from heart bypass surgery than men in the same age range.

The 60s and older

The American Heart Association reports low-levels of good cholesterol (HDL) are a stronger predictor of heart disease death in women than in men older than 65.

*Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever had broccoli salad at a picnic or a salad bar? Between the mayo, the bacon, and the cheese, a half cup can have 300 calories and 30 grams of fat. Sure, broccoli is a superfood, but even it can’t save that salad.

Chef Meg Galvin kept the crunch of the salad but decided to start from scratch with this recipe. Most of the fat is gone, and in its place is a salad that’s full of interesting, healthy ingredients. Slivered, toasted almonds replace the bacon but retain a slight smokiness to the dish. A vinaigrette replaces the mayo, while tomatoes bulk up the salad.

You can leave the broccoli raw or slightly steam it in the microwave. Don’t overcook it, though—it should still be crunchy. If you have any salad left, pack it for lunch the next day.

Wheat Berry and Broccoli Salad

Ingredients

3⁄4 cup wheat berries, washed, soaked in 3 cups cool water for 12 hours or overnight

3 cups broccoli, chopped (1 1⁄2 pounds)

1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1 1⁄2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

For the Dressing:

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp white-wine vinegar

1⁄4 tsp black pepper

4 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp finely diced shallots

Preparation

1 hour 15 Minutes to Prepare and Cook (plus overnight soaking, see Note)

1. Drain the wheat berries, discard the soaking liquid, and place the wheat berries in a medium-size saucepan with 21⁄2 cups of water.

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until berries are tender but still have a slight crunch, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If you hear the wheat berries popping in the pan, quickly add more water.

2. Steam the broccoli in a microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a large mixing bowl, add the tomatoes and the hot wheat berries, and stir to combine. Pour lemon juice over the mixture.

3. Make the dressing. Combine the mustard,vinegar, and pepper in a blender or food processor (or in a bowl if using an immersion blender). Process and slowly pour in the oil to emulsify. Stir in shallots. Pour the dressing over the wheat-berry mixture and stir to combine.

Garnish with the almonds.

Makes 6 Servings: 1 cup per serving

Note: Forget to soak your wheat berries? Boil them for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 1⁄2 hours, until they reach the desired chewy texture.

Per Serving: 138.2 calories, 4.6 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 55.1 mg sodium, 21.1 g total carbs, 4.9 g dietary fiber, 5.1 g protein

Reprinted from The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose The Weight (c) 2011 by SparkPeople, Inc. Permission granted by Hay House, Inc., New York, NY 10033. Available wherever books are sold.

Meg Galvin is a World Master Chef and Healthy Cooking Expert at SparkPeople.com. Her new book, The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight, will be released October 4, 2011. For more information please visit: http://www.sparkpeople.com.

Photo credit: Randall Hoover Photography

What’s not to love about a company that brings their food back to basics? For a healthy snack anytime of the day, as a hearty breakfast cereal topped with soy, almond, hemp, or organic low-fat milk, or as a topping for yogurt, fruit, or oatmeal, BEAR NAKED® Granola is just that – bare naked! Just plain, wholesome goodness with NO Artificial Flavors, NO Cholesterol, NO Hydrogenated Oils, NO High Fructose Corn Syrup, NO Preservatives, Og Trans Fat! Yes, they are considered “bearly processed!”

BEAR NAKED® Granola is offered in four distinct, delicious combinations, including Fruit and Nut, Maple Pecan, Heavenly Chocolate®, and Banana Nut. Need a quick chocolate fix after dinner, without feeling guilty? A small handful of Heavenly Chocolate® should do the trick! Yum!

Why fall in love with BEAR NAKED® Granola?

Made with REAL whole grain oats, luscious fruit and hearty nuts

All natural ingredients you know, love and can actually pronounce

Vegetarian friendly (and the BEAR NAKED Fit® is Vegan friendly, too!)

Kosher certified

Enjoy it with yogurt, fresh fruit or just Bear Naked

Mom’s” favorite from BEAR NAKED®? Their BEAR NAKED Fit® Vanilla Almond Crunch! Placed on top of lemon-flavored organic Greek yogurt it is a perfect midday snack!

With the kids back-to-school, having some bags of BEAR NAKED® Granola in the cupboard to tuck in lunches or keep handy after school is a must! If you are up for some healthy baking, granola cookies are always a treat!

To learn more about about BEAR NAKED® and their wide array of healthy granola, trail mix, cereal, and cookies, visit www.bearnaked.com.

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