Planning an afternoon get-together or just grilling outside with your family this summer? “Mom” has compiled a list of her top “must-haves for outdoor kitchens” this summer on SheKnows.com. You can read the full article here.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

The Road to Good Health through Cancer Fighting Foods

The road to a life of eating right and living healthy starts at an early age. A nutritious diet combined with plenty of exercise not only keeps kids active and out of trouble but also goes a long way in preventing cancer. The earlier children begin eating plenty of cancer-fighting foods on a daily basis, the greater their chances of staying healthy for life.

Parents need to make smart food choices about what they feed their kids. Here are some of the top cancer-fighting foods for kids:

Dark Leafy Greens – Collards, spinach and kale are not only bursting with delicious flavor but they also contain both lutein and beta-carotene, which have been shown to help prevent breast cancer.

Tomatoes – Very few foods say summertime like a ripe, juicy tomato. Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to help protect against prostate, breast, lung and stomach cancer.

Cruciferous Vegetables – No kid likes to broccoli but every parent should. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens contain antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce the risk of cancer.

Sweet Potatoes – These unmistakable orange tubers contain a wide variety of vital antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E; they also have a good amount of calcium, copper, iron and potassium. The best part about sweet potatoes, besides the taste, is that kids love to eat them, even without the cinnamon and marshmallow toppings.

Nuts – Almonds, cashews, walnuts, chestnuts and pistachios contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which may help prevent certain types of cancer. Nut-based oils like safflower, corn and soybean oil also contain cancer-fighting vitamin E. Obviously, you’ll want to be sure your child has no known allergies to nuts before feeding him or her anything from this category.

Garlic – Several components found in garlic are believed to help prevent stomach, colon, esophageal, pancreas, skin, lungs and breast cancer. These compounds are most effective and abundant when the garlic cloves are chopped or crushed. Just make sure, your child brushes his or her teeth before their goodnight kiss or else you’ll be getting a strong whiff of garlic breath.

Citrus – The citrus family contains delicious fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. They contain tons of the anti-oxidant vitamin C which is shown to help prevent cancer-causing cell damage.

The best part about the foods on this list is that everything can be grown right in your own backyard. Your kids will have so fun much growing their own garden full of cancer fighting foods. If starting your own garden sounds like a fun project that you and your child would like to accomplish, be sure to check out Garden.com for all your gardening needs.

This recipe comes from Sweet Sass founder Mike Campbell, whose son was a fussy eater when he was young! Sweet Sass is gluten-free, nut-free and dairy-free so perfect for dipping, drizzling, grilling and cooking with for kids with allergies.

Sweet Sass Baked Beans

Ingredients

2 cans Northern Beans
1 can Black Beans
1 can Pinto Beans
1 can Tomato Sauce (15oz)
1 1/2 Cup Sweet Sass Flavor Sauce (Original)
2 Tbsp Molasses
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp Hot Pepper Sauce

Preparation

Clean and drain beans. Mix Tomato Sauce, Sweet Sass, Molasses, Worcestershire Sauce, Brown Sugar, Chili Powder & Hot Pepper sauce. Add beans.

Bake @ 350 for at least 1/2 an hour, or until bubbling and hot.

Serve Hot or Cold.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Sweet Sass Foods.*

Feel guilty for using plastic grocery bags hung on a kitchen doorknob to collect recyclables, and then having to toss it out when it becomes dirty or wet from the contents? Flings® Pop-Up Trash and Recycle Bins now offers an awesome Home Recycle version that is small enough to be kept underneath the kitchen sink, or tucked out of the way in the corner of the kitchen. This award-winning, brilliant household recycling bin is just plain smart – “Mom” loves that the bin can be popped open in an instant, ready to be utilized at the next gathering. Plus, the bins are available in a wide range of patterns to fit the theme of your party or suit your personal style.

Flings® Home Recycle Bins are extremely convenient, portable containers that snap open accordion-style to form a stable, decorative bin for trash or recycling. Flings Bins were designed to make it easier to keep recycling and trash separate in a wide variety of locations and to promote the recycling of items such as bottles and cans. You will no longer be propping up a trash bag in the corner to collect cans and glass bottles at your summer BBQ! Plus, each Flings® Home Recycle Bin can be reused – simply empty the contents into your main recycle bin and the smaller Home Recycle Bin is ready for use again.

Each Flings® reuse saves 60 cans or bottles from the landfill, and minimizes environmental impact. The new Flings® Home Recycle Bin is a smaller 6.5 gallon size when open — as compared to 13 gallons for original Flings Bins. The new Home Recycle Bins can fit under the counter or discretely in a corner, will hold up to 30 cans or bottles, and can be used multiple times before having to be thrown out.

The Home Recycle Bins product line will be available at a growing number of stores nationally as well as online at www.flingsbins.com with a three-pack carton retailing for approximately $5.99.

For more information about the Flings® Home Recycle Bin, please visit FlingsBins.com.

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

How to Teach Your Child About the Importance of Recycling

Kids are, by their very nature, full of questions. “Mom, why does it rain?” “Mom, how does this work?” “Mom, what is this, that, or the other…?”

Although you may not have all of the answers, it’s a great feeling when you explain something to them in a way they can understand – particularly if it’s a complicated question! (We’re thinking, “Why is the sky blue?”)

With that in mind, teaching them about the environment and the importance of recycling is top of any green mom’s agenda, so Enviroco has put together 5 simple ways you can teach your child about the importance of recycling. Before you know it they’ll love the environment just as much as you!

#1 – Waste not, want not

The first step towards teaching your child about the importance of recycling is making it easy for them to understand. Food is a great example. When they sit down to eat, ask them about how much energy has gone into making their food. You can do this in a number of ways.

Where did the food come from? If they say the supermarket, ask them how it got there. Get them them to think about what they are eating and where it came from.

What are they eating? If it comes in a box or packaging, get them to think about what it’s made of. Tell them about how plastic is made and the damage it does.

How much did they eat? If they leave lots on their plate, ask them to think about how where it goes after it’s put in the trashcan…

Finally, if there are leftovers (and with kids there are bound to be) teach them that using up leftovers to create meals is better for the environment (and your bank balance!). If they can see that waste is wasteful with something they can understand, like food, the battle is nearly won.

#2 – Explaining

Explaining greenhouse gases and the build-up of carbon dioxide is certainly a difficult. However, you can go some way towards making them think about it by explaining it in a way they can understand.

Ask them to tell you how they feel when they have been running in the sun. If they say hot and uncomfortable, tell them that’s because they”ve been breathing out a gas called carbon dioxide. But while they can drink water and cool down, the earth can’t do that. The only thing that cools down the earth are green trees. If we cut down trees we stop the earth from getting cool after a day in the sun.

With any luck you’ll see their eyes light up.

#3 – Create fun games

You can help your kids understand recycling by creating a fun games out of it. If they can see that their waste have everyday uses, they’ll be more likely to think before they throw…

Leftover paper makes excellent craft materials – they’ll be more likely to use scrap paper in future

Buy a magnet and get them to find the aluminum cans – if they know aluminum is worth something, they won’t be so quick to throw it away

Make a special compost heap for them to cultivate new plants with eggshells, teabags and banana peel – they’ll learn to love nature

A water-butt in the yard to collect rainwater for watering their new plants shows them they don’t need to always use the tap

If you make it simple for them to see that by throwing something away they lose it for good they’ll be more likely to think before they head to your trashcan.

#4 – Money money money

If you’ve got lots of rooms in your home, your kids are probably little terrors when it comes to leaving lights on, TVs on standby, taps running or windows open.

Explaining where gas and electricity comes from is tricky, so you need to make them think about it in a way they can relate to. Tell them that the longer a light is left on for, the more you will have to pay, come the end of the month. If you have less money you won’t be able to afford things like that new computer game or camping trip. Whatever it is they love, you can be sure that they’ll be more receptive to changing their bad habits.

#5 – Get them online

Your kids are probably more clued-up about how to use the computer than you are. The good news is that there are a whole range of sites out there with fun and interactive games for them to play which will broaden their knowledge of the importance of caring for the environment. Some of the best ones include:

Recycle Roundup on National Geographic Kids
Ollie’s World
Meet The Greens
MyGarbology

So there you have it – five easy ways you can get your kids clued up about the importance of recycling. It doesn’t take much effort, but you can be sure that if they start thinking about their effect on the environment you’ll have set them up for life.

For beautiful results, use both pink and white grapefruit in this refreshing salad courtesy of Whole Foods Market.

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Ingredients

2 grapefruits
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 head Bibb or butter lettuce

Preparation

Using a large knife, carefully peel grapefruits, making sure to remove all of the white pith. Working over a large bowl to catch any juice, cut along the side of each membrane to release the segments and let them drop into the bowl. Add avocados and onion, and toss well. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter, spoon salad over the top and serve.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Whole Foods Market.*

Health Benefits of Watermelon

No summer picnic or BBQ would be complete without the fresh and delicious goodness of watermelons. From toddlers to grandparents, this particular melon has always been a crowd favorite, and with good reason. They’re a little bit messy, which is part of the fun, and they’re definitely scrumptious, yummy, and refreshing on a warm day.

But did you know that watermelons are packed with health benefits? In fact, the entire watermelon—seeds, rind, and flesh—all contain a wealth of goodness for our bodies.

Here’s a look at some of the top reasons for eating plenty of watermelon this year, but don’t tell the kids. We don’t want to spoil their fun!

Antioxidants

Carotenoids, which are antioxidants, are necessary for achieving overall good health. Antioxidants combat and remove free-radicals in our bodies, which cause harm at the cellular level. Fortunately, watermelons are chock full of a wide range of beneficial carotenoids, including lycopene and beta-carotene.

Many health studies report that diets high in fruits and vegetables that contain beta-carotene and lycopene generally result in good heart health. Lycopene is the pigment that gives the watermelon flesh its red coloring, and is a key component in protecting against a variety of cancers including prostate, breast, oral, and lung.

Vitamins and Minerals

In addition to the seemingly endless supply of carotenoids, watermelons are a great source of certain vitamins and minerals that help protect our eyes against macular degeneration, which causes us to lose the center of our field of vision.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re a little more energized after eating watermelon, there’s a good reason. It’s loaded with B vitamins, which naturally produce energy. Watermelon also contains usable doses of magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium helps keep a wide range of bodily systems healthy and functioning properly. This includes keeping muscle and nerves functioning, keeping a steady heart rhythm, strengthening bones, and assisting our immune systems. A diet rich in potassium helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, and is particularly beneficial to people who are sensitive to sodium intake.

Don’t Forget about the Seeds

How many of us heard that old chestnut when we were kids that eating watermelon seeds would cause one to grow in our bellies? This was just a way for our parents to get us not to eat them, but the fact is watermelon seeds are another great source of nutrients for our bodies.

The seeds are particularly high in protein, and are an additional source of magnesium and potassium, as well as calcium, iron, and phosphorous.

The seeds can be swallowed whole as you’re eating the melon, or, if you prefer, they can be toasted in a skillet like you might do with pumpkin seeds. Just toss a handful into a skillet with just enough water to keep them from burning, and cook them over medium heat until the moisture has evaporated. From there you can toss them into a salad, or lightly season them and eat them on their own.

The Rind is more than Colorful

We generally only eat watermelon down to the rind, and then toss it into the trash, garden, or compost pile. But did you know the rind is often used in many other ways? Maybe you haven’t paid particular attention to every item on the shelf at the grocery store, particularly those stores that carry specialty items, but watermelon rinds appear in a range of uses. These include pickled and candied, and even marinated to soften their texture.

They are also high in an amino acid called citrulline, which is known to provide benefits similar to Viagra. That is to say it helps relax dilated veins and restore natural blood flow. Additionally, the rind, when boiled in water to create a broth, is a natural diuretic and particularly beneficial for those who suffer from occasional water retention.

Include plenty of watermelon in your diet, and not just during the summer months, and put all these health benefits to good use. Your body, including your taste buds, will thank you!

About the Author

Tyler is a health and nutrition writer. He is also a writes about TV and entertainment for Cabletv.com.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

This unique spin on the traditional Caprese salad just bursts with flavor and is perfect for summer entertaining!

Grilled Peach Bread Salad

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
4 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
1 Large Shallot (thinly sliced)
6 Large Basil Leaves (sliced into thin strips – chiffonade)
1 1/2 Pounds Peaches (washed, pitted and cut in half)
8 1″ Thick Slices French Baguette
1 1/2 Pounds Yellow Pear Tomatoes (washes and cut in half)
1/2 Pound Fresh Mozzarella (cut into small dice)
Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Preparation

Start your grill.

Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallots and half of the basil into a large bowl. Whisk to combine ingredients and add some kosher salt to taste (you may be adding more salt later so don’t go crazy adding salt here). Whisk ingredients again.

Brush both sides of the bread slices with the remaining olive oil.

When the grill reaches 400 degrees Farenheit, lay the peaches (flesh side down) and the oiled bread on the grill. Don’t walk away from the grill, it won’t take long for the bread to brown. Once the bread browns to your likeness flip it over. The peaches will also brown. When they show grill marks, turn them over. (The skin side of the peaches will blacken a bit and not really brown.) Remove the bread when it reaches your desire of doneness. Remove the peaches when the skins start to turn darker or a bit black.

Cut the bread into 1″ cubes.

Slip the skins off of the grilled peaches and cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Re-whisk the olive oil and vinegar mixture if it has separated and add the tomatoes, mozzarella, cubed bread and grilled peaches.

Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with remaining basil and serve.

*Recipe and image courtesy of MyMansBelly.com.*

Spruce up Your Health, Home, and Heart This Summer

Half a year away from this and next years’ New Year’s resolutions, the motivation for a better you may be falling flat. Whether you’ve hit a plateau, rut, or refusal to step on the treadmill one more time, the onset of summer should be inspiration enough to get you going. Fortunately, summertime offers plenty of refreshing options for getting your health, home, and heart back on track.

Summertime Grilling for Good Health

Grilling meats is a healthier alternative to pan-frying, as fat drips off the meats while cooking. A reduced fat intake can positively contribute to weight management, improved cardiovascular health, and lowered risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Be sure to trim the fats off your meats and choose the leanest possible grassfed cuts. Grassfed meats have approximately 1/3 the amount of fat of regular meat, added heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and the highest possible sources of fat and cancer fighting conjugated linoleum acid (CLA).

Grilling vegetables or veggie meat alternatives is a great idea, as shorter cooking times than sautéing or baking help lock in veggies’ healthy vitamins and minerals. And don’t forget, summer fruits, like peaches, plums, and pineapples, make delicious and healthy grilled desserts.

While grilling has gotten a bad rep over the past few years for cancer-causing properties, there are several steps you can take to ensure the healthiest possible grilling. Coating your meats in acidic marinades, like lemon, vinegar, or white wine, as well as antioxidant-rich spices, like rosemary and turmeric, not only ensure added flavor but reduced HCAs (heterocyclic amines) – which have been shown to cause cancer in animals. Clean your grill before and after cooking with a “green” and non-toxic grill cleaning product and avoid overcooked (especially charred) sections of meat. Electric grills are the most energy efficient grills, gas/propane grills burn the cleanest, and if you just can’t give up that charcoal taste, be sure to avoid charcoal with additives, like coal dust, sawdust, limestone, sodium nitrate, starch, and petroleum.

Maximize Your Summer by Rethinking Your Outdoor Space

Whether it’s a yard, patio, or small balcony, summer is the best time to revamp your outdoor living space. Summer sun is conducive to gardening, so why not grow flowers to admire on lazy afternoons or herbs and vegetables for delicious summer salads? You can’t get more local than your own backyard!

Because of improved weather conditions, summer is also a great time to repaint the exterior of your home. Instead of staring at dirty walls during your 4th of July barbeque, use the cool month of June to refresh your paint. No need to call an expensive painter, Paint Zoom’s Ultimate Professional Painting Sprayer gets the job done quickly, affordably, and with minimal mess.

Don’t Waste Precious Sun Time at the Gym

Take advantage of the mild summer climate by bringing heart-healthy exercise outdoors. Skip the treadmill and go for a jog around the block, say no to spin class with a family bike ride, swim for cardio and strength, or lay your yoga mat on the grass – send your sun salutations to the actual sun for once! The best part, exercising in the sun (with sunscreen, of course!) leaves you with a gorgeous summer glow that is both slimming and muscle defining.

Don’t sing the tune of Nat King Cole’s Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer this season. Instead of devoting the most beautiful months of the year to “soda, and pretzels, and beer,” take advantage of what summertime has to offer your health, home, and heart!

About the Author

Lynn Maleh is a graduate of University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing program. She regularly blogs on a variety of topics, including health, lifestyle, and eco-living.

Photo Links:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccun934/5891465574/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregslandscaping/4843990896/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Warmer weather is on the horizon and that means it’s time to BBQ and eat outside. Pasta salad is a great ‘go to’ side dish that is simple to pack and travel with and can easily be made in large quantities. This pasta salad recipe uses Jovial Foods 100% Organic Whole Wheat Einkorn Pasta. Unlike modern wheat, einkorn contains all the same nutrients, most in higher amounts like essential trace minerals, protein, iron, B vitamins and fiber, and a significant amount of the antioxidant Lutein.

Fusilli with Tuna Pasta Salad

Ingredients

8 oz. fresh tomatoes, diced

3 celery ribs, diced

12 oz. fresh grilled or jarred tuna packed in water

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp. parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

12 oz. Jovial Einkorn fusilli

Preparation

Cook pasta according to directions of package. Drain and place in serving dish to cool, tossing with 1 tbsp. olive oil. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk remaining olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and herbs together until creamy. Add salt to taste. Toss in crumbled tuna fish and mix well. Add tomatoes and celery, mix well. Toss all ingredients together with pasta in mixing bowl.

Notes

A nice variation on tuna would be grilled salmon. Fish can be substituted with 3 boiled and chopped eggs.

*Recipe & image courtesy of Jovial Foods.*