These Peach Cobbler Cupcakes are made with fresh Georgia Peaches and are a delicious morning snack or dessert!

Peach Cobbler Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 C flour (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature (“Mom” prefers organic)
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 C sour cream (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C fresh Georgia peaches, roughly chopped (about 2 medium-sized peaches)

Preparation

1. With a fork, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
2. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl for 1 minute until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract until blended.
4. Mix in flour mixture.
5. Fold in peaches.
6. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full.
7. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (“Mom” prefers organic)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Makes 16 cupcakes.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-owned business dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans.*

Healthy Tip: Try Meatless Mondays

There’s a new initiative, called Meatless Mondays, to help you improve your health. By eating plant-based foods in place of meat just one day a week, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

In fact, a recent Harvard University study found that by replacing saturated fat, found in animal foods, with foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (such as canola oil), the risk of heart disease was reduced by 19 percent. And adopting such a diet could save you money, as a plant-based diet tends to be less expensive.

Serving a meatless meal that your family will enjoy starts with taste. Meat is appealing because of its savory taste, called umami. Umami is also naturally found in some vegetables (such as mushrooms and beans), dairy products and fish. Substituting another umami food for meat will help satisfy the desire for meat protein.

Here are some tips to help you eat meatless on Mondays or any day of the week:

• Build your meal around whole grains and vegetables, which will fill you up with their fiber and texture. Follow the USDA’s guidelines—divide your plate so that half of it contains vegetables, one-quarter is whole grains and one-quarter is protein of some kind.
• Use inexpensive canola oil in place of butter and other saturated fats. Canola oil is cholesterol free, trans fat free, low in saturated fat as well as high in unsaturated fat and omega-3 fat.
• Try new recipes such as this flavorful umami-filled Mushroom Loaf.

Mushroom Loaf

Ingredients

Canola cooking spray
1⁄2 cup canola oil
16 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons ground sage
1 1⁄2 cups cooked brown rice
1⁄2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 cup oat bran
1 cup wheat germ
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons mustard

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 9×5-inch loaf pan with canola cooking spray.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. Once the onions are transparent, add ground sage and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the mushroom mixture until thoroughly blended. Spoon into prepared pan, pressing down mixture to flatten top. Bake for 50–60 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Top with fresh sage leaves, if desired.

For more information, visit MeatlessMonday.com. For canola oil information, visit NorthernCanola.com.

*Article courtesy of NAPS.*

Gluten-free and vegan, these stuffed mushrooms are light and perfect for serving at an appetizer at any party this summer!

Gluten-Free Pine Nut Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

24 large button mushrooms
1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup pine nuts, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. organic salsa
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 chives, finely chopped

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking dish with nonstick baking spray.

Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Set mushroom caps aside; discard stems.

In a small skillet over medium heat, cook onion in olive oil until translucent, approximately 6 minutes.

Add cooked brown rice, quinoa, carrots, pine nuts, salsa, sea salt and pepper; cook until warm, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using a teaspoon, transfer rice mixture in each mushroom cap. Slightly over-stuff mushroom caps with rice mixture.

Place stuffed mushrooms in a single layer on prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven; garnish with fresh chives.

Serve warm.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Amie Valpone, Culinary Nutritionist and Personal Chef – The Healthy Apple.*

Two lucky winners will be chosen to win the eco-fabulous Almond Cleansing Lotion by Weleda for gently cleansing parched summer skin! Luxuriously soft, this soothing organic cleanser leaves the skin refreshed and clear.

Product Features & Benefits

• Hypoallergenic and fragrance free
• Formulated specifically for sensitive skin
• Made with organic almonds cultivated in Spain
• Gentle sweet almond oil hydrates your skin and delicately protects against drying
• The essential fatty acids in almond oil restore your skin’s natural balance and protective barrier
• Organic sweet almond oil and plum kernel oil are among the key ingredients
• Dermatologically tested
• 100% certified natural from NaTrue

Weleda products are available at Whole Foods, select natural health food stores and at usa.weleda.com. Select products are also available at Target.

From June 18th – June 30th, you can enter to win daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the Weleda Almond Cleansing Lotion Giveaway!

To obtain extra entries:

Follow Tiny Green Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

Visit Weleda on Facebook. Please leave a comment below to let us know you have stopped by their page to learn something new! This is only valid for one entry.

Follow Weleda on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Blog about this giveaway. You must have a link to this giveaway in your blog post. Please leave a comment with the link to your blog post. This is only valid for one entry.

The Weleda Almond Cleansing Lotion Giveaway ends on June 30th, 2012 and is open to the US only. Please leave your email address in each comment, and make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom can’t wait to announce the winner of this fabulous giveaway!

Add Some Life To Your Plate With Healthful Recipes

For those people looking for a better-for-you change to their eating habits, the Mediterranean Diet, frequently touted by dietitians, includes foods that can boost overall health and even help prevent some diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Olives and olive oil, the main sources of dietary fat in the Medi­terranean Diet, contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyphenols, which contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporating these foods into your daily diet can have a positive impact on your overall health—without sacrificing flavor.

There are many small steps you can take to reap the health benefits of olives and olive oil while enjoying the flavor they bring to dishes. For instance, try replacing butter with olive oil, satisfying salt cravings with a few olives versus a bowl of chips, or choosing a side salad drizzled with an olive oil vinaigrette in lieu of French fries when dining out.

One easy, delicious recipe you can make at home is Edamame Hummus. Edamame, soybeans harvested prior to hardening, are used extensively in Asian cuisine and provide the foundation for this dip. Blend the protein- and fiber-packed edamame with olive oil, fresh kale or spinach, garlic and lemon juice and pair with pita wedges or crispy vegetables. The hummus can also be used as a better-for-you spread on sandwiches and wraps—perfect for a lazy day at the beach or an afternoon picnic.

Opting for healthier choices throughout your day will make your heart and waistline say, “thank you.” For additional olive- and olive oil–inspired recipes, and for a full report on the health benefits of olive oil and olives, visit www.addsomelife.org.

Edamame Hummus

Ingredients

1 (13-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
1⁄4 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
1⁄2 cup firmly packed fresh kale or spinach
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin or plain olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Vegetable dippers or pita wedges, if desired

Preparation

Combine edamame, onion and 1⁄3 cup water in large saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer covered 8 to 10 minutes or until all the edamame is very tender. Remove from heat.

Pulse garlic in food pro­cessor until well chopped. Add kale; pulse until chopped. Add edamame mixture, including liquid. Blend until finely chopped. With machine running, add olive oil and lemon juice. Serve with vegetable dippers or pita wedges. Also great on chicken or fish.

16 (2-tablespoon) servings
Total Time: 15 minutes

*Article courtesy of NAPS.*

Gluten-free and vegetarian, these crispy little bites are simply delightful!

Crispy Quinoa Bites

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup uncooked black rice
2 large eggs
1 cup Vidalia onions, finely chopped
1 cup dairy-free shredded mozzarella cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup grape tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
2 chives, finely chopped, for garnish
2 cups of homemade tomato sauce, for serving

Preparation

Cook quinoa and rice according to package directions. Prepare muffin pan with nonstick baking spray.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa and rice with remaining ingredients, except chives and pasta sauce; mix well to combine.

Transfer quinoa and rice mixture to prepared muffin pan. Using a tablespoon, fill each muffin cup to the top, then using a spatula, press down on the mixture to create a flat surface.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; set aside to cool for 15 minutes. Using a teaspoon, gently remove rice and quinoa snacks from the muffin cups.

Transfer to a serving platter; serve with a sprinkle of fresh chives and a side of tomato sauce for dipping.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Amie Valpone, Culinary Nutritionist and Personal Chef – The Healthy Apple.*

Seeking the perfect snack blend of salty and sweet? Crum Creek Mills Brilliantly Blended Soy Nut Mix has it all – plump sweet raisins, organic chocolate chips, soy nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds! This high protein and high fiber organic snack mix comes in convenient single serving packs for tucking in lunchboxes, backpacks, purses and more – making it the ultimate mix for hitting the trail for an afternoon hike or just healthy snacking anytime.

Why do we love Crum Creek Mills Brilliantly Blended Soy Nut Mix? It is:

  • Organic
  • High in fiber
  • High in protein
  • Contains only 6 net grams of carbohydrates per serving
  • Conveniently packaged in 10 single-serving packs (1 oz. each)
  • Trans-fat and cholesterol-free
  • Vegan

To learn more about this affordable and delicious snack mix, visit CrumCreek.com.

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

Whether for packing a healthy lunch at work, or serving at a summer barbecue, this delish dish from The Zone Diet is a crowd-pleaser!

Chicken and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

5 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry, sliced if large
5 cups romaine hearts, washed, dried, and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded, and diced
4 small Roma tomatoes, cut into small wedges
3/4 cup red onion or sweet white onion, cut in thin rings
2 cups no-salt-added black beans, cooked and drained
1 cup bottled artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup capers, drained
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
12 ounces cooked skinless chicken breast, cut into strips, or 18 ounces deli-style chicken breast, sliced

Dressing

5 1/3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons fructose powder or 1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth
1/4 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or ground black pepper
2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or red pepper

Preparation

1. Layer and divide chicken and black bean salad ingredients among 4 serving plates or large bowls with snap-on lids.

2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake until smooth. Spoon the dressing over the salads just before serving, or divide among 4 small bottles. Cover and refrigerate for pack lunches.

*Recipe and image courtesy of The Zone Diet.*

Knowledge Is Power: The Importance of Environmental Education in Schools

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie or The Waltons, when it came to the kids, if there’s one thing that didn’t need to be a concern, it was when it came to the importance of environmental education. The children usually walked (miles) to school, fished as a form of entertainment and when it came to farming, it was a something that was considered to be a household activity.

We are light years away from that now. In many ways, that’s a good thing, but in others, it has cost us. One of the main reasons that people are becoming more and more concerned for today’s youth is that technology has consumed many kids to the point of them obsessing over their cell phones, tablets and Facebook accounts. Matter of fact, one study cited that while many children spend as much as six hours per day either in front of a TV or computer screen, in turn, the only spent about four minutes a day outside (walking to and from their bus stop, no doubt).

Yet, because we all live in the environment and rely on it for so many things as it relates to our own well-being, it’s vital that kids are taught about the importance of environmental education. Here are three reasons why.

It separates (environmental) facts from fiction. Did you know that over 45 million adults believe that our oceans is our main source for fresh water and that over 130 million of them believe that hydropower is the top energy source for those living within the United States? Some may not feel like it’s a big deal to be misinformed about this kind of information unless you’re competing on Jeopardy, but the fact is that it’s hard to expect tomorrow’s generation to be eco-friendly if they don’t have the proper information as it relates to how to keep the environment thriving.

It causes them to excel in several subjects. Several studies have cited that when a child regularly participates in environmental education, whether in class via various online courses, it not only (understandably) increases their scores in science, but also in reading, math and social studies. It also helps to develop critical thinking as well as basic life skills. Plus, being that the well-being of the environment has become one of the most prominent issues of the 21st Century, research has also revealed that environmental education plays a vital role in preparing many young people for their future career paths; many of which will deal directly with the environment whether it’s being a biologist or zoo keeper, a meteorologist or environmental consultant or the dozens upon dozens of jobs in between.

It’s better for their holistic health. With all of the information that has been coming out lately about the state of obesity within this country, especially as it relates to childhood obesity (roughly 16-33 percent of today’s youth are considered obese), this should be enough reason to want to mandate environmental education for children. By appreciating the outdoors (via studying about it and learning in it), children are able to take in fresh air, get Vitamin D from the sun, exercise, and that’s not all. Studies also support that increased outdoor time also is beneficial to their cognitive functioning and emotional well-being. Plus, it increases their own levels of self-discipline. All of which are foundational for a being a healthy and responsible adult.

The Pear and Blue Cheese Salad with Port Dressing is a delicious blend of toasted nuts, blue cheese and fresh pear offered at Peacock Garden Café, the historic, garden-inspired restaurant in Coconut Grove. Family-friendly and packed with flavor, this salad is sure to please with its tasty port dressing and fresh ingredients.

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad with Port Dressing (featured at Peacock Garden Café)

Recipe by: Executive Chef Oscar del Rivero

Ingredients

Port Dressing

1 qt port wine

4 oz of red wine vinegar

4 shallots, minced

3 cups olive oil blend

1 cup dried cherries
Salad

1 oz. romaine lettuce

1 oz. radicchio, sliced

1 oz. endive, cut into ½ inch

½ pear, sliced

2 oz. walnuts, toasted and chopped

2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

2 oz. port dressing

1 ½ oz. dried cherries

Preparation

1. Reduce port in a saucepan over low heat with the cherries untilwell blended.

2. Combine lettuce, port dressing, half of the walnuts and bluecheese.

3. Season with salt and black pepper.

4. Top with reserved blue cheese, nuts and pear slices.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Executive Chef Oscar del Rivero at Peacock Garden Café.*