Mom” recently had the opportunity to review Applegate Deli Meats through Green Moms Meet, and wow, did the meats make for an excellent healthy lunch choice! For those who enjoy turkey, ham or salami sandwiches, but worry about consuming nitrates and other artificial ingredients, Applegate is the way to go! Applegate natural deli meats are humanely raised without the use of antibiotics, and are free of nitrates, nitrites, and other artificial ingredients.

Mom” made a delicious chopped salad with the Applegate Natural Roasted Turkey Breast – her husband ate almost the entire bowl! If you have leftovers, this salad packs well for lunch the next day.

Tiny Green Mom’s Chopped Salad

Ingredients

2-4 oz. Applegate Natural Roasted Turkey Breast, chopped
1/2 bag of organic romaine lettuce, chopped
2 organic celery sticks, chopped
1/2 ripe, organic tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 can organic chick peas, chopped
10 kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 – 1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cage-free eggs, hard boiled and chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp. freshly chopped dill
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2-4 oz. provolone cheese, chopped
Salad dressing of choice (“Mom” prefers balsamic vinaigrette)

Preparation

Place eggs in cold water and bring to a boil, letting the eggs boil for 18-20 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool running water. Set aside until cool, and then chop.

Mix all ingredients in a large salad bowl, adding chopped eggs and cheese last. Top with salad dressing of choice. Serve and enjoy!

For those who do consume humanely raised meats, Applegate offers these top 3 delicious choices:

Applegate Marinated Black Forest Ham is marinated in sugar and spices and prepared in the tradition of true German Black Forest hams: slow cooked with a hearty smoking. Moist and delicious, each 2-ounce serving of Natural Black Forest Ham provides 10g of protein with only 50 calories and 1.5g of fat.

Applegate Natural Roasted Turkey Breast is low in fat and high in protein. Plus, it’s free of chemical nitrites and antibiotics.

Applegate Natural Genoa Salami is arguably the most famous variety of Italian dried sausage in the United States. Using a traditional recipe and time-honored methods,Applegate sausage makers have crafted a salami that the New York Times declares to be, “Wonderfully garlicky and richer in flavor than (those) made with nitrites.”

To learn more about Applegate, or to locate a store near you, please visit www.applegate.com. You can also visit
their Facebook page or follow Applegate on Twitter.

Please Note:

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the MomsMeet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Why Teaching Your Child Organization Is So Important

The most important skill a child can acquire is the ability to organize. Organization of time and resources is key to academic success that continues to be important throughout the life of your child. Students sometimes fail or perform below their ability because they lack the skills necessary to organize their time, prioritize assignments, keep track of assignments, complete them and turn them in.

Saves Time

People spend about ten minutes a day looking for lost or misplaced items. How much time is spent going back home to retrieve a forgotten item? How many times have you had to leave your job to take forgotten homework, books or athletic equipment to a child who forgot them? How much homework time is lost because your child cannot find what he or she needs to study or complete assignments? Designating a time and place for homework is important in fostering organizational skills.

Helps the Brain Learn More Effectively

When items are organized in certain patterns or routines are established, the brain functions more effectively. When information is structured well, it makes complex information easier to understand and internalize. Prioritizing, an important component in organization helps the student focus on crucial information and filter out distractions.

Reduces Stress

Trying to locate lost homework, backpacks, school books or notes is especially stressful in the morning when trying to leave for the day. In the evenings, a household is quickly disrupted if your child remembers the spelling test right before bedtime. How many times have children suddenly remembered they needed supplies for a project?

At school, students who are constantly trying to find order among the disorder in their desks or backpacks may not only experience stress, they may induce stress in others as well. Trying to find notes for class in a messy backpack instead of using the time for last minute review before a test can adversely affect their test score.

Organization is a Life-Long Skill

Organization is important for academic success starting in elementary and throughout a person’s college career. Teaching children organizational skills helps them to become self-reliant and responsible. These skills will serve them well into adulthood. Recent surveys have shown that disorganization in the workplace results in lost time, which means lost money. An employee is paid to work, not look for lost items. The time one spends looking for items translates into lost productivity and thus poor job performance.

Organizational skills taught, fostered and reinforced consistently at an early age become an invaluable advantage for a lifetime.

About the Author

Jennie owns and operates several self storage units in Long Beach CA. When recommending storage facilities to friends and family in Baltimore MD, she recommends Extra Space Storage in Baltimore.

This lively dish is sure to please even the pickiest eaters – fresh, homemade pesto is always a treat!

Pesto Shirataki with Cherry Tomatoes and Green Beans

Ingredients

2 (8 ounce) packages House Foods Tofu Shirataki (macaroni shape)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup steamed green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preparation

In the sink, rinse Tofu Shirataki well under water. Drain and pat well using paper towels. Add to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes; drain well.

Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and oil in a mortar and pestle or food processor and blend until a paste forms. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and pulse until smooth. Toss pesto, cherry tomatoes, and green beans with the cooked noodles.

Serves 2.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin.*

Your Child’s Grandparents: Keeping Their Assisted Living Homes Green

In this day and age nearly everyone is concerned with protecting the environment. Every living and working space can be made more green. Assisting living quarters are no exception. In fact, making grandparents’ homes more eco-friendly not only safeguards the environment, but their health and that of everyone who spends time with them, especially small children. Below are some tips on how to make and keep assisted living spaces green.

1. Monitor temperature. More energy efficiency can be easily accomplished by regulating the home temperature. It is often assumed that seniors enjoy much warmer environments. However, that may not always be the case. Ensure that the temperature is actually comfortable for grandparents. Environments that are too warm are actually unsafe as they provide a welcoming place for viruses and insects to thrive.

Close off rooms that are not used regularly. Then also use other ways to increase warmth by using tree shading (which also works to help with cooling), blankets and warmer clothing. A thermostat that is merely kept a few degrees lower can make a huge difference in energy consumption and costs.

2. Change to CFL light bulbs. Because these bulbs cost more, they are still overlooked by many people as a source of positive environmental impact. The lighting quality is better which makes it easier for elder grandparents to see and puts less stress on their eyes. Many are surprised to learn that electricity is conserved with the newer bulbs so that bills are reduced as much as 90 percent.

3. Install an air purification system. EPA studies have concluded that clean air ducts will naturally contribute to energy savings, as well as improve the indoor air quality. Also, clean air enhances heating and cooling efficiency. This is better for overall health and the environment while reducing energy costs.

4. Use Eco safe cleaning products. The first advantage of using environmentally-friendly products for cleaning is that natural cleaners contain almost no irritants. This makes it far more comfortable for anyone who is sensitive or has allergies or an illness. They are also designed to be just as effective, if not more so at removing dirt, germs and odors as traditional products.

Also, natural cleaning products are disposed of much more safely, making them additionally beneficial for the environment. All of these aspects make them a better choice for the residents in assisted living quarters, the people using them and, in keeping with guidelines followed by popular senior living communities like Atlanta-based Dogwood Forest, the health of visitors too.

5. Recycle. Waste is not only costly, but clearing it away helps make a cleaner environment. When glass, plastic and paper is compartmentalized for disposal, it is easier to keep the space cleaner since other items containing germs can be discarded more easily.

Also, many of the recycled items are used in making other products, further reducing the amount of waste in landfills. If there is not a common recycling program at the assisted living facility already, it could be easily instituted and made available for everyone to use.

6. Discard old electronics. Many people enjoy keeping older equipment such as stereos, radios and sewing machines for sentimental reasons. However, these relics often use a great deal of energy. In addition, most of them were not designed with safety in mind, so they could be a hazard to have around smaller, visiting grandchildren. Having them donated to a conservatory of some kind, or taking them to a proper recycling center, will go a long way to adding green value.

Adjusting grandparents’ assisted living spaces to be more green not only helps the environment and saves on costs, but is a great way to teach everyone involved by example. Keeping the home clean and safe for them also insures it will be clean and safe for visiting grandchildren.

About the Author

Ann Bailey is a green-home enthusiast and contributes this post on better environments for homes for the assisted living environments of Dogwood Forest. Based around Atlanta, Georgia, the senior communities provide clean, comfortable and secure housing for long-term, short-term, and memory-care family members and grandparents.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/natapics/2313888476/

Tofu – it truly is so versatile! Here it is, made into a delightful and delicious Tiramisu! Who knew?!

Tofu Tiramisu

Ingredients

2 cups brewed coffee
1 (14 ounce) package House Foods Organic or Premium Tofu Medium Firm
1 cups sugar plus 3 tablespoons, divided
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
14 ounces hard lady fingers
2 tablespoons cocoa
Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

Preparation

Add 3 tablespoons sugar into hot coffee and stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Drain and add Tofu Firm to a food processor; blend until completely smooth (about 1 minute).

Add egg yolks and 1-cup sugar in a bowl and whisk until fluffy and light yellow in color. Whisk in the tofu until smooth and well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt with an electric hand mixer until they reach medium stiff peaks. Fold into the tofu mixture.

Dip the ladyfingers into the hot coffee and lay them into a single layer in a 9×13 glass-baking tray. Make sure you don’t completely soak the cookies, as you want to retain some crunch. Spread a layer of the tofu on top, and dust lightly with cocoa powder. Repeat layering with cookies, tofu, and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with shaved dark chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for 3 hours so the flavors can marry.

Serves 8.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin in partnership with House Foods Tofu.*

How Teachers Can Conduct an Energy Audit in the Classroom

As it relates to the eco-friendly movement, while we, as adults, are doing all that we can to protect our environment, the reality is that it’s our children who will be the ones leading the “going green” platform in just a few short years. This means that if they don’t have the proper tools and information needed in order to do so, in some ways, we all could pay a very hefty price.

This is why it’s so important that teachers do their part to instill certain energy efficiency values into their students within the classroom. One way to do that is by conducting energy audits. We have included five ways that they can do that in a way that’s easy as well as educational for their students:

Lights out. Being energy efficient is about using resources wisely, right? On the top of that list would be the amount of electricity that is used and one way is via the lights that are on in the school building. Encourage your students to provide ways to use as little light without compromising their need for it as much as possible. This can include opening the blinds, turning out the bathroom lights when they leave it or only using the overhead lights in the classroom when they’re absolutely necessary.

Plug in. The modern classroom is very different than it used to be. A room that was once filled with books now has computer monitors. So, of course, it causes the electricity to be used more than ever before. Ask your students what can be done to use less electricity. Make suggestions like turning off computers at the end of the day and unplugging items that are not in use. Also, consider providing incentives for when they opt to read a book than go online to do their research. If they get into the habit of being more responsible with electricity at school, it is sure to “rub off” at home too.

Heat up (or cool down). Whoever was the master in urban planning at your school, there’s a great possibility that they made sure that there were accommodations like central air and heat. However, just because it’s available, that doesn’t automatically mean that it has to be on the entire time that school is in session. Ask your students about ways that central heat and air can be less utilized. In the spring and summer months, this could include opening up the windows and letting a breeze in or providing recycled water bottles (with water in them) to keep them cool. Although it’s kind of unavoidable to go without heat in large parts of the country during the winter months, fall is an ideal time to speak with the parents about encouraging the kids to come to class in layered outfits and to even use time in class to show kids introductory lessons on knitting, crocheting and upcycling clothes so that they can prepare to keep themselves warm without having to turn their central heat up too high. With whatever it is that you choose to do, just remember that the more creative that you get with your eco-friendly approach, the more excited your students will be to follow through as they come up with some innovative ideas of their own.

As we head into Fall, whipping up seasonal favorites with the spices and flavors reminiscent of the holidays always brightens a blustery day! Try these tiny, individual cheesecakes for a special dessert!

Individual Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Ingredients

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature (“Mom” prefers organic)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour (“Mom” prefers organic)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs (“Mom” prefers organic, cage-free eggs)
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. Seasonal Coffee-mate Pumpkin Spice

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300° F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with foil liners; coat liners with nonstick cooking spray.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, flour, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Transfer 1/2 cup batter to a medium bowl. Add pumpkin and Coffee-mate; stir until blended.

Divide white cream cheese batter evenly among prepared cups; top evenly with pumpkin batter. Swirl batters with butter knife.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until just set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Coffee-Mate.*

This gluten-free and paleo inspired recipe that is sure to please even the sugariest of sweet tooths without sacrificing the waistline.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake With Maple-Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

Cake:

1 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup Justin’s Maple Almond Butter (If you don’t want to buy maple almond butter, use plain + 1 tablespoon maple syrup.)
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Frosting:

1/3 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional:

Pecan halves or whole almonds for garnish.

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Make the cake. In a medium sized bowl, combine all the cake ingredients and mix thoroughly to combine. Pour into an 8×8 oven-safe baking dish. Bake until completely cooked through, about 30 minutes.

3. Make the frosting. Place the coconut butter and coconut oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat until softened, but not melted. The length of time you need to nuke it will depend on the temperature in your house, so start with 30-second increments and repeat until you get the right consistency. Place the coconut butter and oil in a large mixing bowl, then add the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy with a standing or hand mixer. If you don’t have a mixer, go at it with a whisk… and good luck to you!

4. Assemble! Allow the cake to cool completely. Completely. For real. When you’re sure it’s cooler than Mr. Mike Ness in Red Square in February, you may cut it into 9 or 16 squares. Dollop a spoonful of frosting onto each square and top with a nut. Do not snarf your cake yet – save it for Thanksgiving dinner!

5. Chill out. When all squares are frosted, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The frosting will firm up in the fridge and the texture transforms into a confection. Serve the cake squares chilled or at room temperature.

*For more delicious gluten-free and paleo recipes like this one, visit Melissa Joulwan’s web site The Clothes Make The Girl and learn more about her cookbook Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat.

Photo credit: David Humphreys.*

As temperatures drop and schedules get busier this season, warm, hearty comfort food feels like a necessity. With a few new ideas and versatile ingredients, satisfying dishes can avoid the unhealthy pitfalls of typical heavy fare. Including fresh fruits and vegetables, such as the sweet, tropical mango, can add a burst of flavor and a nutritious twist to your favorite family meals.

Chicken with Spiced Mango Rice fits the bill for a hearty, flavorful weeknight dinner. With just five minutes of hands-on preparation and 15 to 20 minutes of cooking, this sweet and savory meal is ready in less than half an hour. It is also a well-rounded meal of protein, whole grains and fresh produce all in one dish.

Mangos, one of this dish’s key ingredients, provide more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals, are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and are rich in fiber—all for just 100 calories per serving. In fact, mangos provide 100 percent of daily vitamin C, an antioxidant that promotes healthy immune function, which is important for busy families during cold season.

Since mangos are available year-round, they are an exciting addition to the cozy staples of autumn and winter. Their natural sweetness is a versatile and welcome counterpart to seasonal favorites like sweet potatoes, slow-cooked beef and pork dishes, or winter squashes. Warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg also complement the fruit’s distinct sweet-floral and tropical flavor.

When selecting a mango, color is not always the best indicator of ripeness. Instead, squeeze the mango gently. A ripe mango will give slightly, similar to a ripe peach or avocado. Keep unripe mangos at room temperature on the countertop and they will continue to ripen, becoming sweeter and softer over several days.

Once ripe, mangos may be moved to the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to five days. Mangos can also be peeled, cubed and stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months. When cutting a mango, always wash the fruit and use a clean cutting board and knife.

Many filling foods may satisfy a craving yet fall short in providing healthy fuel for this hectic time of year. Instead, make over family dinners with fresh mango, using these simple and familiar techniques to create crave-able, exciting and wholesome meals.

Chicken with Spiced Mango Rice

Ingredients

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened if very thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (8.8-ounce) package wild rice, such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Whole Grain Medley Brown & Wild Rice
2 large, ripe but firm man­gos, peeled, pitted and diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1⁄3 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
1⁄8 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon allspice

Preparation

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Stir together rice, mango, onion, pistachios, cranberries and spices in a medium foil pan or on a very large piece of heavy-duty foil. Place about 1⁄3 cup of rice mixture in the center of each chicken breast. Bring in the ends and sides to enclose, then tie with kitchen string to seal in filling. Grill over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side, then place chicken on top of remaining rice mixture. Cover with foil or seal foil package, leaving room for air to circulate. Grill for 5 minutes more. If desired, slice chicken into medallions to serve.

*Article courtesy of NAPS.*

Getting the benefits of freshly squeezed juices is as easy as ABC with this delicious recipe!

Easy as “ABC” Recipe

Ingredients

4 Apples
40 Blueberries
25 Cherries

Preparation

Press through a juicer, stir to mix the flavors, serve, and enjoy!

*Recipe and image courtesy of Omega Juicers.*