Morable Blanket BambooAs a mother to two little ones, “Mom” swaddled both babies from birth to 12 months in a Miracle Blanket®. They slept better, more comfortably and secure, and eased our worries that a blanket would cover their tiny nose or mouth. Now that her youngest is one year old, swaddling has now been replaced with footed sleepers, just as an eco-friendly swaddling blanket has made its debut! (why does that always happen!?) Regardless – the Miracle Blanket® makes it a breeze for anyone (new moms and dads, grandparents, visiting aunts and uncles…) to swaddle your little one properly and with ease.

Miracle Industries, LLC, the inventors of the award-winning Miracle Blanket®, have designed the Cool Bamboo Miracle Blanket®, the first eco-friendly swaddling blanket to join the company’s line of best-selling swaddling blankets.

Cool Bamboo Miracle Blankets® are made from a super-soft bamboo-cotton blend (70% bamboo and 30% cotton). “Mom” is a big fan of anything that is made of bamboo! It is extremely soft and just lovely next to the skin. The silky smooth fabric is stretchy, odor and stain-resistant, breathable, and lightweight, making it perfect for swaddling during the warm weather months and year-round according to Michael Gatten, CEO and founder of the dad-invented Miracle Blanket®.

“We know many families are conscientious about the environment and rightfully so. That’s why we have been working hard to give these families an eco-friendly swaddling solution – and not just any solution – but a solution that also happens to be the #1 pediatrician recommended swaddling blanket on the market today,” says Gatten. “While the fabric is different, the one thing that remains unchanged is our guarantee that Miracle Blanket® will give your baby (and mom and dad) a good night’s sleep.”

The new Cool Bamboo Miracle Blanket® is available for $32.95 on www.MiracleBlanket.com and at authorized Miracle Blanket® retailers worldwide. Please visit www.MiracleBlanket.com for more information.

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

Roasted Pepper, Goat Cheese and Beet SaladFrom the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield, IL comes this incredible salad with a medley of flavors (Moroccan Coffee Spice! Pomegranate Molasses!) to tantalize the taste buds! You will want to hit your local farmer’s market for the ingredients to make this over the weekend! Yum!

Roasted Beet, Orange, Pistachio and Goat Cheese Salad with Walnut Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette

Ingredients

4 large beets
4 oranges
¼ cup pistachio nutmeats
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, sliced
2 tsps Moroccan Coffee Spice or ground cinnamon
¼ cup walnut oil
2 tsps pomegranate molasses
2 tsps honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preparation

To roast the beets, peel them, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for approx. 1.5 hours or until just tender to a paring knife. Cool completely before slicing. For the salad, arrange beet slices on serving platter. Cut the oranges into segments and add to the beets. Sprinkle the beets and oranges with the sliced shallot and minced garlic. Sprinkle with Moroccan Coffee Spice. Combine the oil, molasses and honey in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together and pour over the salad. Garnish with pistachios and fresh goat cheese.

Yields: Approx. 8 Servings

*Recipe and image courtesy of BNBFinder.com.*

 

KaleSalad_RabbitHillFrom the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, VT comes this raw kale salad that has a complexity of flavors that make it a stand-out dish at any gathering this summer!

Raw Kale Salad with Pickled Apples, Black Barley, Walnut Brittle, and Curry Vinaigrette

Ingredients

Ingredients & Preparation of the Walnut Brittle:

1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water & ¼ tsp distilled vinegar (mixed)
¼ cup walnut pieces
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Baking soda

Preparation

In a shallow pan, lined with parchment paper, spread walnuts. Set aside.
In a sauce pan, heat water/vinegar and sugar until light brown.
Remove from heat, add salt & baking soda. Stir well. Pour liquid over walnuts. Allow to cool. Chop into pieces and sprinkle over completed salad before serving.

Ingredients & Preparation of Pickled Apples:

3 cups water
3 cloves
2 cups Champagne vinegar
3 allspice berries (or ¼ tsp ground allspice)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon peel (not zest, peel strips from 1 lemon)
1 vanilla bean, split & scraped
3 apples, cored, diced
1 cinnamon stick

Preparation

Combine all ingredients except apples in a sauce pan, over high heat. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes. Place apples in a large bowl, pour liquid over apples. Allow to pickle overnight. Save some pickling liquid for the vinaigrette recipe below.

Ingredients & Preparation of Curry Vinaigrette: Will need blender

1 medium onion – diced
2 Tbsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 Bay Leaves
5 Cardamom Pods (or ½ tsp ground)
1 tsp Fenugreek
3 Cloves
½ cup Coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup & 1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1 tsp peppercorns
½ cup Apple Pickling Liquid (recipe below)

Preparation

Sauté onion and spices in 1 Tbsp Grapeseed oil until tender.
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Set aside.
Serve at once or keep warm.

Ingredients & Preparation of Black Barley:

2 cups of Black Barley
½ cup onion, finely diced
2 qts vegetable stock or water
2 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp Grapeseed oil

In a medium size sauce pan, heat oil on high heat
Sauté onion and bay leaves until onion is clear
Add barley and toast lightly (until it smells like toasted bread)
Add vegetable stock (or water) and simmer until tender
Drain liquid and chill barley

Preparation

Prepare & Assemble Salad:

4-6 cups of chopped kale, center ribs & stems removed, washed well

On individual serving plates, place even portions of barley and kale. Add apples. Dress with vinaigrette. Sprinkle top with crushed walnut brittle.

*Recipe and image courtesy of BNBFinder.com*

Ava Home 1Mom” has a new favorite when it comes to green cleaning products – Ava Anderson Non-Toxic! The Ava Home collection will keep your home clean but not toxic, and for “Mom,” who has two little ones, this is of the utmost importance. However, not all “green” cleaning products are created equal, and we were pleasantly surprised by the efficacy of the entire Ava Home line when testing out the products at Tiny Green Mom.

First thing to note – the incredible aroma of the cleaning products! The essential oil blend are not only powerful cleaning agents, but they make your home smell incredible right from the first spray! All of Ava’s Home products are a strong blend of the gentlest natural surfactants, minerals, and enzymes plus an essential oil blend of peppermint, lavender and tea tree oils which offer strong cleaning results without harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrance. They are the safest and best eco-friendly cleaning products on the market, and are human & pet safe as well. The ingredients are as follows: deionized water, fatty acids from plants, coconut oil, folic acid, sustainably-sourced minerals and enzymes, essential oil blend of peppermint, lavender and tea tree.All ingredients used in Ava Anderson Non-Toxic products score a ‘0’ on the Cosmetic Database’s toxicity scale- the lowest number you can be awarded.

Ava Home 2

Our favorite was definitely the All Purpose & Glass Cleaner! Blended with gentlest natural surfactants, minerals, enzymes and essential oil blend of peppermint, lavender and tea tree oils, this powerful cleaner gives strong cleaning results without the use of toxic chemicals and artificial fragrances.

We also adored Ava’s Dish Soap, which made cleaning dishes a much more relaxing experience due to the armoa! Made from naturally derived minerals, organic enzymes and biodegradable soda ash, Ava’s Dish Soap will clean your dishes without leaving toxic chemical residue.

For greener cleaning in the bathroom, the Hard Surface & Bathroom Cleaner is both family and pet safe, and cleans tough to clean areas easily!

What we also found interesting to note is that Ava Anderson is a young, savvy eco-entrepreneur! This talented and smart young woman founded Ava Anderson Non-Toxic when she was only 14. Now at 19, her collection of organic, non-toxic products enjoy a large celebrity mom following including Alicia Silverstone, Kelly Preston and Laila Ali.

To learn more about the entire Ava Anderson Non-Toxic collection, visit avanaturals.com.

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

CouscousSalad_BigMillFrom the Big Mill Bed & Breakfast in Williamston, NC comes this fresh summer salad that features a bevy of lively veggies all mixed into couscous!

CousCous Salad

Ingredients

1 10-ounce box plain couscous
½ teaspoon sea salt plus more for the cooked couscous, if desired
2-3 small spring onions & tops, chopped
5 or 6 radishes, diced small
1 small pickling cucumber or ½ English cucumber
1 medium size red, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 15-ounce can chick peas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen green garden peas
1 small (2.25 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
Several fresh mint leaves, minced
Juice of 4-5 lemons
1/3 cup olive oil
Handful of grape tomatoes, halved and reserved

Other things you can add: ½ cup fresh snow peas, cut in half or ½ cup blanched green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

(Note: This salad can be as colorful and as interesting as you make it)

Preparation

Cook couscous according to package directions, adding the sea salt to the water. (If you do not have directions, do the following: Put 2 cups of water and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add 1 ½ cups couscous and cover. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.)

Stir in the diced onions, radishes, cucumber and pepper. Add the chick peas, garden peas and olives. Stir in the minced parsley and mint. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, both to taste. If needed, add more of both.

Serve chilled over a bed of leaf lettuce. Just before serving add the halved grape tomatoes. If you plan to keep some of the salad, do not add the tomatoes to the entire salad, just to the portions that you plan to serve.

Yield: 8 1-cup servings – This salad will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

*Recipe and image courtesy of BNBFinder.com.*

Mother Earth Article Image5 Modern and Green Lifestyle Habits for Your Infant

Becoming a parent does not mean that you have to give up on living an eco-friendly lifestyle. In fact, making green lifestyle changes now will help to teach your child about the importance of caring for the environment from the very beginning. Whether you are currently living green or are considering a few eco-friendly changes in your lifestyle, here are five creative and modern ideas that will be better for the environment and your baby.

Consider Breastfeeding

Recently, more mothers have made the switch to breastfeeding due to the health benefits that breast milk has for babies. However, this decision also has several important benefits for the environment. By breastfeeding, you will be able to reduce waste and water consumption by not having to purchase and wash bottles or mix up containers of formula.

Choose Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering has come a long way compared to the diapers your grandmother might have used in the past. Today’s cloth diapers can go right in your washer and come with easy fasteners that make diaper changes a snap. Choosing cloth diapers can eliminate the waste of disposables while also being easier on your pocketbook.

Prepare Homemade Baby Food

Once your baby is eating solids, you will want to make sure they receive all the benefits of the seasonal produce you find at your farmer’s market. Making homemade baby food is simple. Just gather your favorite organic fruits and vegetables, and steam them until they are soft. Then, give them a whirl in your blender until they reach the texture your baby prefers. Once pureed and frozen, homemade baby food can be stored for several months so that you always have a fast and easy option for meal times.

Walk with Your Baby

Running errands with your baby in tow will be much better for the environment and more fun if you opt for a walk. Whether you snuggle your baby close in a carrier or choose the convenience of a stroller, walking in the beautiful weather will help your baby to develop a love for the outdoors early on. It can also help you to lose that extra baby fat.

Use Natural Cleaners

Once your baby has arrived, you can look forward to cleaning up messes all the way up to their teenage years. Be sure to stock up on some natural cleaners, like baking soda and vinegar, so that you can protect your baby and the environment from harmful chemicals. Just like homemade baby food, many natural cleaners are better and more effective than their commercial counterparts.

Bringing a new baby home is always accompanied by many changes; however, this transitional time offers many opportunities to implement a few lifestyle changes that are better for your family and the environment. By choosing to make your own baby food, use natural cleaners and reduce the amount of waste your family produces, you will be on your way to living healthier while also making a difference in the environment.

Eco-Home5 Easy Ways to Conserve Water and Energy at Home

Although we won’t soon run out of viable energy sources, that doesn’t mean that plenty of households aren’t seeking ways to cut back on the type of energy that leaves rampant pollution and waste in its wake (especially since alternatives can help to cut monthly expenses). As for clean drinking water, most people are aware of the fact that the planet’s resources are limited on this score. And if you are a concerned citizen, you might be looking for a few good ways to start conserving water and energy in your home. Luckily, there are tons of ways to conserve both, and you can do a lot more than shutting off lights when you leave a room or taking showers instead of baths. Here are just a few easy ways that you can make a big difference when it comes to consumption, cutting your carbon footprint and your utility bills simultaneously.

1. Low-flow toilets. One of the best and easiest ways to conserve water in your home is by decreasing every flush by half. The average low-flow toilet is comparable in price to standard toilets. And believe it or not, they’re not that difficult to install on your own thanks to online tutorials (although you could save yourself some trouble by shelling out the dough for a plumber). In addition, your water provider may offer some kind of rebate if you send in a copy of your receipt, so you should definitely call to find out. And of course, you can find products that come with two different options for flushing so that you can go low-flow for liquids and still get the flushing power you need for solid waste.

2. Faucet solutions. A lot of water is unnecessarily wasted when you leave the tap running, and we’re all guilty of doing it while we brush our teeth or prep the veggies for dinner. But there are a couple of handy solutions that can help you to conserve here. You might start with aerated faucets for your kitchen and bathrooms. These products force air out of the tap along with water in order to reduce consumption without making your spray totally weak. And you can also consider motion sensor faucets that stop the flow of water when you walk away.

3. Lawn treatments. Your lawn can suck up a lot of drinkable water that should be saved for human consumption. But there are several solutions. You could start by adding native, drought-resistant plants to your yard that need less water to survive. And you can aerate your lawn (punch holes in it periodically with a length of rebar) so that it retains more moisture. But if you really want to cut back on water consumption, consider using a cistern to collect rain water and dew for your landscaping. Or go all out and install a gray water system that turns your waste water into sustainable hydration for your lawn.

4. Energy audit. When it comes to reducing your energy consumption, the best place to start is by learning just where waste occurs. Call your local power provider (or an independent operation) to perform an energy audit. From there you can fill leaks and gaps in your insulation in order to ensure that your bought air isn’t getting out.

5. Energy-star. The Energy-star website (www.energystar.gov) is designed to help the average homeowner learn about products and practices that can reduce power draw. With items ranging from energy-efficient appliances, electronics, light bulbs, and HVAC systems to windows and doors that curb leakage, you’ll find plenty of solutions meant to help you conserve. You’ll still have to look elsewhere for tax credits for high efficiency systems, but this site can give you all the information you need to at least begin decreasing the amount of energy you need to run your household.

Quinoa summer saladThis fresh, lively salad is perfect for packing on a summer picnic! “Mom” is a big fan of quinoa since it is a wonderful source of protein, and Alter Eco is an organic variety that is also non-GMO!

Quinoa Summer Salad

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Alter Eco Rainbow Quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 or 2 lemons)

Preparation

Rinse Quinoa thoroughly in cool water and drain.

In a medium saucepan combine quinoa, salt and 3 cups water. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add corn, cover and cook until water is absorbed.

Let cool, then transfer mixture to large serving bowl. Toss well with fork, fluffing quinoa. Add basil, peppers and onion. Stir in oil and enough lemon juice to give salad a distinct lemony edge. Adjust seasons to taste.

Flank Steak Sliders _ WillisGravesFrom Burlington’s Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast Inn in Burlington, Kentucky comes this summer recipe for sliders. “Mom” loves the Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salsa that accompanies the recipe!

To make the flank steak sliders, marinate two flank steaks for two days, grill them outside, and then cool the meat in the refrigerator before slicing it for cold summer sandwiches. The Inn tops them with a a mixture of sour cream (24-ounce container) and Meyer’s horseradish (8-ounce bottle), and serves them with Spicy Black Bean and Corn salsa (recipe follows).

Flank Steak Sliders

Ingredients

Herb and Soy Sauce Marinade
Source: Favorite Foods of Wyoming, Ohio

1 1/2 cups salad oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Preparation

Combine all ingredients and mix in blender; makes 3 1/2 cups. Marinate meat for 3 hours or longer.

Spicy Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Ingredients

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
5 fresh corn ears, boiled (“Mom” prefers organic corn)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin, or more to taste
1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the tomatoes. Cover and chill at least two hours or up to overnight. Just before serving, stir in tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 6 to 8 cups.

*Recipe and image courtesy of BNBFinder.com.*

Green-Light-Bulb5 Benefits of Switching to Solar Lighting at Home

Going green in the home can be a learning process, and if you’re not careful (or particular) it can also get pretty expensive. But for the homeowner that is interested in reducing pollution and waste, cutting consumption, and doing something to protect the planet from the destruction of mankind, this form of personal responsibility becomes not only an obligation, but a lifestyle choice. And one of the absolute best ways that a homeowner can transform a house to a carbon-neutral state is to choose solar lighting options, whether that means simply using natural daylight as much as possible or installing solar panels to illuminate the entire home day and night (not to mention provide for other energy needs). In truth, there are all kinds of benefits to making the switch to solar lighting.

1. Save money. If we’re being honest, money is always a major consideration. Your home is not just a place to hang your hat; it’s also an investment that you would one day like to see a return on. And as you may be aware, solar panels are a pricy addition to any property, at least on the front end. But they will definitely show a return, especially if you enjoy a particularly sunny climate. You will see immediate savings on your energy bill, you may be able to sell excess power back to the grid, and down the road your home will appeal to a demographic that is willing to pay a little more for eco-friendly amenities. So you’re going to make your money back, and probably more, in the long run.

2. Save the planet. Even more important that saving a few bucks, of course, is doing your part to save the environment. By choosing solar lighting options you are reducing your own reliance on manufactured power from the grid. This may only seem like a small and inconsequential gesture, but as more and more people do it, a real change can go into effect.

3. Teach your kids. Most parents want to instill a sense of social and environmental responsibility in their kids, and utilizing solar energy to light your home can provide the opportunity to impart a lesson along those lines. Leading by example, rather than having a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude, speaks volumes and your kids will get the message loud and clear – environmental protection is important.

4. Increase value. Solar panels could cost you anywhere from about $25,000-50,000, depending on the size of your home and your energy needs. But they can also increase the value of your home. For one thing, they will help to attract a specific subset of buyers that are seeking homes that run off the grid, and these people may pay more for what you have to offer. But even beyond that, the fact that you’re selling a home that has no energy bill is a big draw.

5. Vote with your consumer dollars. Any consumer society is based on the simple principle of supply and demand, and by opting for solar lighting you are telling the power company that their services aren’t needed. Of course, you don’t have to go all out with solar panels. You could also purchase CFL lights and open windows in order to cut consumption. But nothing says you’re against power companies like swearing off them altogether and opting for alternative energy.