It’s time to start preparing for what will be served on Thanksgiving, and the answer to an overly cooked, dry turkey is here! Now you can make a perfectly cooked, moist and delicious Thanksgiving Turkey using the Ronco Rotisserie Oven. The constant rotating of the rotisserie means that your turkey is continually basting as it cooks, while the high intensity heat means that you get the delicious, crispy skin you’re looking for on Thanksgiving Day! At “Mom’s” house, we prefer the D’Artagnan Organic Free Range Turkey for our Thanksgiving feast!

The Ronco Rotisserie Turkey

Brine Ingredients

1 teaspoon of Kosher salt per pound (make sure you use Kosher salt, sea salt and table salt will make your bird too salty)
1-2 tablespoons of cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Instructions

1. Mix together brine.
2. Remove neck and giblets from defrosted turkey
3. Using a paper towel, completely dry the inside and outside of your turkey.
4. Generously rub brine all over the outside and cavity of your turkey
5. Allow turkey to brine in the refrigerator, uncovered, in a large pan for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
6. When ready to cook, pat down skin with a paper towel to remove excess moisture, but not the salt brine
7. Place on to Rotisserie spit and cook for 12 minutes per pound. If using a meat thermometer, allow turkey to reach 165 degrees F.

Allow your turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Tips from the Experts at Ronco:

For this recipe, which we’ve coined The Ronco Rotisserie Turkey, we used simple dry brine and cooked it in our 5500 Rotisserie (though you can use any of our rotisseries) for about 2 ½ hours. The result was a deliciously seasoned, moist, yet crispy Thanksgiving masterpiece. Dry brining works by opening the pores of the meat, allowing the natural juices to make the meat more moist, while crisping up the skin. I personally prefer a dry brine to wet because of the results and simplicity. A dry brine is basically 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat and any other seasonings you may want to add, however salt alone does the trick as well. The following recipe is what I used. Feel free to mix it up with your favorite seasonings.

On a side note, do not use a dry brine on a Kosher Turkey. It has already been pre-salted and will result in an overly salted bird.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Ronco.*

This Halloween, offer trick-or-treaters healthier versions of favorite treats and snacks that they are sure to enjoy! “Mom” has compiled her picks for the upcoming festivities that are tasty and keep little ones away from overly sugary, processed treats. Both kids and parents alike will love these treats!

Pure Organic Fruit-and-Veggie-Strip-Strawberry-ApplePure Fruit & Veggie Strips

Hand out a healthy snack that both kids and parents will love this Halloween! The Pure Fruit Snack product line now offers Pure Fruit & Veggie Strips made with wholesome fruit and vegetable ingredients, with no added sugars, artificial sweeteners or preservatives. The Pure Fruit & Veggie Strips come in two yummy flavors including Strawberry Apple and Wildberry Apple. Our toddler gobbled them up, loving both of the delicious flavors! We were able to sneak in a bite of both and had to agree – they were really good!

Pure Fruit and Veggie Strips are certified organic, non GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy free, kosher and made with fruit and vegetable juices and purees. The company uses no cane syrups or cane sugar, no artificial flavors or colors and the fruit snacks are produced in a peanut-free facility. The snacks retail for $1.09 for 1 bar/strip and $19.20 for a box of 20. Available at various Whole Foods nationwide, Sam’s Club or online at www.thepurebar.com.

Crispy Greens Crispy Fruit GroupCrispy Fruit Snacks from Crispy Green

Scare away the ghoulish consequences of unhealthy treats this Halloween by providing Crispy Fruit snacks from Crispy Green! Freeze-dried to perfection, these snacks are 100% pure fruit, nothing else! Kids love to munch on these delectable and satisfying treats – and so do moms and dads! With seven great flavors to choose from in convenient snack-size pouches, it’s a snack you can take anywhere and will be a welcome addition to any child’s trick-or-treat stash! These crispy little packs of delightful fruit were quickly devoured in “Mom’s” household, as they satisfy your snack attack with their light, crispy texture and fresh fruit taste. Our three year old loved the Pineapple, Asian Pear and Mango flavors the most! The best part is that you can recognize the fruit since it has been freeze-dried! Crispy Fruit Snacks contain no additives or preservatives, no fat or cholesterol, no skins or cores, and are Non-GMO Project Verified. At only 55 or less calories per serving, this is the ideal little snack to tuck in treat bags, lunch boxes, or backpacks! www.crispygreen.com

Justins Maple Almond Butter Snack PacksJustin’s Snack Packs

Hand out wholesome, tasty snacks this Halloween! Dip into Justin’s Snack Packs, which are sure to wow parents and kids alike. Each pack comes with gluten-free pretzels, in three decadent flavors, including Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Maple Almond Butter and Classic Almond Butter. Yum! www.justins.com

Justins -BaggedMinisJustin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups

If you want to give out a healthier version to an old favorite, peanut butter cups, Justin’s Organic Mini Peanut Butter Cups are bite-sized treats of pure perfection for the candy lover in you that is looking for an organic treat to indulge yourself, I mean trick-or-treaters, in! According to Justin, “they’re every bit as tasty as my regular peanut butter cups with the added benefit of being smaller, more shareable, and let’s face it, more adorable.” Right now, Target is offering them in a bulk-size bag perfect for stocking up before Halloween, and if you use the Cartwheel App, you can save a bit, too! www.justins.com

Annie's Halloween Bunny GrahamsAnnie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams

We are crazy about Annie’s line of products at ‘Mom’s‘ house, so these single-serving packets that contain a mixture of honey and chocolate flavored bunny grahams made with organic wheat are perfect for handing out to tiny trick-or-treaters this year! Hopefully there will be some left over to tuck in lunchboxes next week, too! Annie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams can be found at Whole Foods Market as well as Target. www.annies.com

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this article.*

Witch Hand 2Here’s a scarily healthy treat on Halloween! Fun to put together and almost too spooky to eat, these Pistachio Chewy Bite Witches’ Fingers are made with nutritious ingredients, such as pistachio kernels, almond milk and dried cranberries!

Pistachio Chewy Bite Witches’ Fingers

Ingredients

6 Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips
Dash sea salt
12 dried cranberries
1/2 cup Setton Farms Roasted Pistachio Kernels, finely ground

Preparation 

Unwrap all chewy bites and cut each chewy bite in half lengthwise. Gently press the two halves together, with the stickiest sides facing each other, creating one long strip. If desired, to create thumb and pinky finger, leave two halves short. Set aside.

Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl.

In a small pan, bring almond milk to a boil. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit for about 20 seconds to melt chocolate. Add sea salt. Whisk until smooth.

Dip long Pistachio Chewy Bite strips into chocolate mixture and then sprinkle or roll in pistachios immediately. Place on wax paper lined plate and top each strip with 2 overlapping dried cranberries at the tip. Set aside for about 20 minutes to firm up.

Yields 6.

(C) Spork Foods, 2015

About Pistachio Chewy Bites
With two main ingredients, Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios and cranberries in a delicious and nutritious bite-size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart-healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great on-the-go protein snack. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. These nutrient-rich snack bars provide a great balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat for sustainable energy. With 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and healthy fat, the individually wrapped bars are the perfect one stop shop.

Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Bristol Farms, Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc. They are also available online at Amazon.com and Puritan.com.

Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50
Website: http://www.pistachiochewybites.com

About Spork Foods
L.A.-based sisters and celebrity chefs, Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods are vegan chefs that own a Los Angeles-based gourmet cooking school. The culinary duo are also cookbook authors and work with some of Hollywood’s elite including Emily and Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Kristin Bauer van Straten, and Alicia Silverstone.

ID-100120230Top 5 Eco-Baby & Toddler Gifts for 2013

The holidays are here, and it is time for “Mom” to reveal her top eco-friendly gifts for babies and toddlers! The five items below will delight and surprise both parents and children this season!

KicKee Pants Blanket

KicKee Pants Ruffle Blanket
Wee ones will love to snuggle up with this super-soft Ruffle Blanket from KicKee Pants! Made from soft Viscose from Bamboo fabric, the blanket is the ideal combo of stretch and softness. Great for swaddling or for cuddling as your child grows – this will surely be a favorite for years to come! Available in a variety of solid colors and cozy prints. www.kickeepants.com

Dots on Tots

Dots on Tots Flap Hat
Celeb-loved line Dots on Tots has the perfect stocking stuffer for babies this season – the organic cotton Flap Hat! Made from 100% certified organic soft baby cotton, the Flap Hat is double layered for warmth, and seamless with a soft Velcro (hook and loop) closure on the flaps. The hat is a must-have for chilly weather! Made in the USA with low-impact dyes, the Flap Hat is available in white, blue or pink in either cotton or sherpa fabric. www.dotsontots.com

Baby Mantra

Baby Mantra Skincare Line
Safeguard your baby’s sacred bedtime bath with Baby Mantra, a new baby skincare line made of top quality, all-natural and organic ingredients. Lush formulations pamper mom and baby alike, without the harmful chemicals and carcinogens often found in mainstream products. For the perfect gift set for a newborn baby this season, Baby Mantra offers four toxin-free products to protect, pamper and soothe, including the Newborn Shampoo & Body Wash, 3-in-1 Baby Bubble Bath, Shampoo & Body Wash, Calming Massage Oil, and Calming Lotion. The line can be found at Walgreens, Amazon.com, Drugstore.com and Diapers.com. www.babymantra.com

Lullabag

Cloud b Lullabag
Little ones will be snug as a bug all winter long in the Cloud b Lullabag! This gorgeous, extremely comfy sleep bag helps keep your baby’s body temperature just right throughout the night, making for better, longer sleep. Used in place of loose blankets and bedding, it is a safe alternative that helps to reduce the risk factors associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation. The Lullabag is available in fleece, bamboo/cotton and pointelle in a variety of prints in sizes S-L. www.cloudb.com

Green Toys Rocket

Green Toys Rocket
Your future astronaut will love pretending to blast off into outer space while being socially responsible this holiday season with the new Green Toys Rocket, which is made from recycled materials and is free of toxins. The fully equipped, 2-in-1 set includes a detachable top capsule and two astronauts that sport molded spacesuits, helmets, and dual-tank backpacks. Powered by a main booster and three auxiliary fin boosters, the Rocket has a large door that flips down to double as a set of steps up into the main cavity, while the detachable nose cone capsule has its own door that opens to reveal buttons, dials, and more. $24.99. www.GreenToys.com

*Companies generously provided samples and images for this piece. Top image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Fairy Tales Hair Care GroupThe kids are back in school…time to start weekly head checks for lice! A recent survey by Fairy Tales Hair Care found that while 93% of parents teach their children the basic prevention tips such as not sharing hats, helmets, brushes and combs, only 56% of parents do a weekly head check. With 12-15 million cases of head lice reported each year in the U.S., these head checks are important!

Fairy Tales Hair Care Nit Picking Comb

Studies have shown that a proactive check for lice and their eggs in “hot spots” can help to minimize a lice outbreak. Lice lay eggs (nits) in warm, moist areas around the head. These include behind ears, nape of the neck and at the part lines. By checking these areas with a metal comb designed to remove nits, parents can stay ahead of an outbreak. Lice expert and founder of Fairy Tales Hair Care Risa Barash, recommends the Fairy Tales Terminator Comb as the stainless steel, micro-grooved teeth are gentle on the scalp and catch the smallest of nits.

To assist parents, Fairy Tales Hair Care, makers of the bestselling Rosemary Repel lice prevention products, shared the following easy tips to prevent the spread of lice. While we don’t really like to think about lice on our little ones’ heads, prevention is the best treatment for this all too common issue. A video tutorial and additional tips on lice prevention and removal using chemical free products such as Rosemary Repel and Lice Good-Bye can be found on www.fairytaleshaircare.com.

Lice Prevention Tips

  • Avoid sharing personal items such as hats, combs and brushes, hair accessories, towels, pillows, and ear buds. If you must share an item, such as an athletic helmet, wipe it down with a wet cloth before use
  • Herbs such as rosemary, citronella and tea tree have been proven to repel head lice; the smell keeps them away
  • Keep long hair pulled up in a braid or pony tail
  • Avoid daily hair washing when possible. Lice attach more easily to clean hair
  • Use hair care products that repel lice naturally with ingredients such as rosemary oil, citronella oil and tea tree oil
  • Store each person’s personal items such as jackets, backpacks, hats and scarves in separate cubbies or a sealed bag

For more information on lice treatment and prevention, please visit www.FairyTalesHairCare.com.

5 Tips For a Greener Christmas

The holiday season gives you a chance to share joyful experiences with your friends and family. However, it’s easy to overlook the negative impact the holiday season brings to the environment, from wasteful wrapping paper to needless energy consumption. Through simple changes, you can reduce your own impact and still have a merry holiday season.

1) Rethink Your Gifts

Completely changing your old gift-giving habits can help save the environment. First, think carefully about the environmental impact of each gift that you plan to buy. If a gift comes with a wasteful amount of packaging, consider purchasing an alternative gift instead. In addition, don’t feel pressured to buy a new gift from a store for each person on your list. If you’re skilled at a particular handicraft, such as pottery, consider making your own gifts. Also consider gifts that help the environment, such as adopting a tree in the rainforest or giving a gift to an environmental non-profit in a friend’s name.

After you have purchased your gifts, don’t rush out to buy new wrapping paper. Save gift bags and high end shopping bags throughout the year and embellish them with materials from around your home. You can use paint, buttons, ribbons and other crafting supplies to decorate your homemade packaging.

2) Decorate with the Environment in Mind

Your festive decorations should reflect your commitment to protecting the environment. Start by replacing your old Christmas lights with LED lights. These modern Christmas lights will reduce your energy consumption and still look fabulous on your home and tree. You can use an electric timer to make sure your lights are only on for a few hours each night.

Unless you already have enough decorations to reuse this year, you may need to add a few decorations to your collection. Instead of buying new decorations at the store, try to come up with your own ideas. A walk through your backyard or local park may yield tree branches and pine cones you can use in wreaths and garlands. You can also create your own decorations with paper and fabric.

3) Holiday Card Alternatives

If you normally send out hundreds of holiday cards to your family and friends in all corners of the world, consider taking a different approach this year. For relatives who live thousands of miles away, you can send out digital cards that will save you money and help the environment. For those loved ones who live closer to you, think about making your cards with materials you already own. By using old magazines, calendars and wrapping paper, you can make festive holiday cards in an afternoon of fun.

4) Reuse and Recycle

During the holiday season, you’ll likely need to dispose of a large amount of trash. However, you should try to recycle or reuse anything you can. For example, if you carefully open your presents, you can save the wrapping paper and bows to use next year. Old gift boxes are useful no matter the season. If you can’t find a use for old packaging, make sure to properly recycle it. You can also avoid accumulating waste simply by shopping wisely throughout the season. Take your own shopping bags to the store, and avoid buying gifts with excessive amounts of packaging.

5) Plan Your Meals

In addition to paper and plastic waste, you may end up with some food waste during the holidays. If you plan out each of your holiday parties in advance, however, you can avoid buying too much food. Start your approach by making a list of the food you need for each party. If you end up with too much food after a party, consider bagging up small portions to give away to the guests. You can also store the leftovers in your fridge to eat later.

About the Author

This article was written by Philip J Reed on behalf of the Redstone College Wind Energy Technology Degree program.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

How to Make Recycled Material Christmas Ornaments With Kids

One of the true pleasures of the holiday season for many parents is taking the time to sit down with kids and create cards and gifts for family and friends, as well as ornaments to hang on the tree and treasure in the years to come. And for many families, the craft store can provide nearly unlimited options. But if you’ve decided that it’s high time you started living more sensibly and doing your part to protect the planet for your tiny tots, then perhaps you’re on the prowl for craft materials that do less harm this year. In other words, you might be looking for a few good ways to create Christmas ornaments using recycled materials. And here are some cool ideas to get you started.

If the majority of your crafts tend to be of the paper variety, you’re in luck. You can find all different kinds of recycled paper products to make your Christmas crafts more eco-friendly this year. For one thing, you could start by using the scrap paper in your own home. Have the kids color on it to cover any print and then fold and cut to create unique snowflakes to hang on the windows, walls, or even the Christmas tree. Even old magazines can provide you with fun paper options here. You might also look online for recycled card stock if you need something stiffer for ornaments like holiday theme photo frames to hang on the tree or seasonal cutouts (snowmen, reindeer, etc.) that the kids can decorate.

Of course, you might want to do something a bit more three-dimensional. Popsicle sticks are one handy craft item that can be used in a number of ways and if you are the planning type you might save them from the kids’ summer obsession with frozen treats. This way you’ll have them on hand to create God’s eyes or even a miniature manger for your nativity scene. Another fun and easy craft that kids of all ages can do involves using leftover twist ties that comes with your trash bags or recycled ones from your bread bags. All you have to do is make a bunch of about twenty, tie one around the middle, and then fan them out in all directions to make a starburst. Add a string and you can hang them on the tree or mantle. You might also put them in a hurricane glass with some tinsel for a table centerpiece.

And if you save spaghetti and jam jars, these can also be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can throw in pine cones and small pine branches that you pick up outside your house to create rustic, decorations to place around the house. Or if you’re looking for a little extra illumination (but you’re not quite ready for solar power from Brisbane to Boston), you can use a little decoupage glue and colored tissue paper salvaged from presents throughout the year to make opaque designs on your glass jars. Then all you have to do is place tea light candles inside for festive, custom lighting. As you can see, there are all kinds of crafts you can do with the kids to create holiday ornaments and décor with recycled materials. You’re pretty much only limited by the scope of your imagination.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that the brand new Tom’s of Maine Naturally Clean Toothbrush would soon be placed in there! Looking for healthier stocking stuffers this year? Alongside all those goodies and sweetss, consider adding Tom’s of Maine new Naturally Clean Toothbrush, a chemical-free option that’s good for your smile and for your world. “Mom” is a longtime fan of Tom’s of Maine products, and her young daughter only uses the Children’s Silly Strawberry to brush her teeth! The toothpaste is flouride-free, dye-free and all-natural, making it an excellent choice for little ones!

Why choose Tom’s of Maine new Naturally Clean Toothbrush?

•Natural benefits include a BPA-free and dye-free plant-based handle made from renewable castor oil plants and colored with mineral-based pigments.

•The toothbrush also performs with multi-height bristles to clean between teeth and along the gum line and an angled neck for accessing hard-to-reach areas.

•Consumers can recycle the toothbrush through the Natural Care Brigade created by Tom’s of Maine and TerraCycle, which recycles packaging that may otherwise end up in a landfill into useful products like picnic tables and park benches.

This season, give the gift of good dental hygiene – a welcome present for any age!

The Tom’s of Maine Naturally Clean Toothbrush can be found at TomsofMainestore.com and will be available at health and specialty retailers nationwide in January.

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

Here’s a festive and appreciated earth-friendly stocking stuffer idea! Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, the aromatherapeutic eco-conscious home care line, is now offering delightfully scented Holiday Candle Tins! Available in two seasonal scents, including Orange Clove and Iowa Pine, these exclusive tins cost an affordable $2.50! “Mom” is absolutely loving the Orange Clove, which fills the home with a warm and rich aroma.

 

In ddition to the tins, Mrs. Meyer’s is also offering a “Season’s Cleanings Set” in both Orange Clove & Iowa Pine. This will be a welcome gift for anyone who wants to be a little more green in the New Year!

Mom” is a long-time fan of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, which as you may know is an eco-friendly, affordable line of aromatherapeutic household cleaners, laundry care and baby products that combine hardworking, naturally occurring ingredients and essential oils that are tough on dirt, yet gentle on your home and earth.

The entire line is available in garden-fresh scents of Basil, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Geranium, Baby Blossom, Bluebell and Rosemary. We love that the products are biodegradable, packaged in recyclable bottles, don’t include ammonia, chlorine bleach, parabens or phosphates and are never tested on animals. The line can be found at both Whole Foods and Target. Learn more at www.mrsmeyers.com.

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

Here’s an eco-fabulous gift any woman on your gift list this season will love – the new Indulgent Body Lotion Kit from Weleda! Featuring the four rich, luxuriously soft new lotions, including Weleda Citrus Replenishing Body Lotion, Sea Buckthorn Replenishing Body Lotion, Wild Rose Pampering Body Lotion, and Pomegranate Regenerating Body Lotion, this is the perfect present to pamper Mom, Grandma, your best friend, or your favorite office pal! It makes an appreciated and lovely gift.

Why do we love the new Indulgent Body Lotion Kit at Tiny Green Mom? Each scent is crisp and clean, and the lotions leave your skin feeling extremely soft and radiant. Plus, each lotion offers an unique formulation for different skin types.

You can find Weleda products at your local Target store, or you can purchase online at Weleda.com. Full sizes (pictured above) of each lotion are available, as well!

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