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Archive for Healthy Living

July 31st, 2015

Cool Off With This Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Cool Off With This Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt Recipe Groovy Green Livin

Thanks to Stonyfield and YayLabs for making this post possible!

My three boys are finally back from overnight camp. Four weeks flies by, but it’s also an eternity. They had a fabulous time, as they do every year.  While fun was had by all they do seem happy to be home and sleeping in their own beds. I know I’m happy to have them back.

We’re spending our days readjusting to being together after 4 weeks apart. It’s been hot with temps in the 90’s over the past few days. We’re working hard to come up with a list of fun activities to keep everyone entertained and cool during the last few weeks of summer vacation.

When the Yay Labs SoftShell Ice Cream Ball was sent our way to test out we were all thrilled.  I initially thought we would use it once and that would be it, but it has provided hours of entertainment.

Cool Off With This Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt Recipe Groovy Green Livin

We opened the box together and it was fun to discover the bright orange ball inside. We spent a few minutes trying to figure out how this ball would somehow help us make frozen yogurt and ice cream. We picked out a recipe for vanilla frozen yogurt and then decided to add some much needed chocolate chips. The recipes were so simple. We had all of the ingredients so a trip to the store wasn’t needed, except for the rock salt . Rock salt is added to the outer chamber along with ice. After reading a few other reviews of the Yay Labs SoftShell Ice Cream Ball I was under the impression that getting the rock salt wouldn’t be a big deal. I was wrong. I went to 4 supermarkets and none of them had rock salt. I finally ended up ordering it from Amazon. Another reason I love Amazon Prime.

The rest of the frozen yogurt creation was simple. Here are the basics:

Frozen Yogurt

  • 1 pint of flavored or fruit (Stonyfield of course!) yogurt
  • Optional: Plain yogurt may be used, just add 1/3 cup of sugar or 1/2 cup of honey. Fruit may be added instead of sweetener.

Fruit Sorbet

  • 1 pint of Fresh Juice
  • Add Sugar to taste.

The chocolate chip frozen yogurt was delicious. We needed to add a bit of honey to help with the taste.

CHOCOLATE CHIP FROZEN YOGURT RECIPE

The instructions said to add the ingredients to the stainless steel insert, add the ice and rock salt to the exterior compartment and then roll the ball for about 10 minutes (no dropping kicking or throwing allowed!). We checked at the 10 minute mark and it wasn’t ready. It ended up taking us about 20 minutes in total. Simple and delicious.

Cool Off With This Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt Recipe Groovy Green Livin

Want to try your own Yay Labs SoftShell Ice Cream Ball? Order one HERE for $35.00.  Sign up for Stonyfield printable coupons HERE.

 


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Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks!

 

 

July 16th, 2015

10 Recipes to Spice Up Tempeh

 

10 Recipes to Spice Up Tempeh Groovy Green LivinFermented foods are becoming a staple in our house. With my kids away at camp for a few weeks it’s been much easier to add interesting food to our menu without any heavy sighs or groaning. I’ve been working hard to add fermented foods to my diet over the past few years. Some additions have been easier than others. There’s a large glass jar of organic sauerkraut in my pantry and I can’t bring myself to try it.

Tempeh is relatively new to those of us in the west, but it’s been a staple for hundreds of years for many living in Asia. It’s made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a rectangular patty. The consistency is similar to that of a  veggie burger and it has a textured and nutty flavor. Many use it as a meat substitute in dishes. I’ve used it in chili, stir-fry and on the grill. As with any soy product, it should be eaten in moderation.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, here are a few interesting ways to add some spice and flavor to tempeh

Balsamic Maple Glazed by Meghan Telpner

 Get the full amazing recipe at http://www.meghantelpnerblog.com


Get the full amazing recipe at http://www.meghantelpnerblog.com

 

Vegan Whole Wheat Roasted Tempeh and Veggie Pizza by Elephantastic Vegan

VEGAN WHOLE WHEAT ROASTED VEGGIE & TEMPEH PIZZA

Tempeh & Kale Steamed Gyoz by Produce on Parade

http://www.produceonparade.com/produce-on-parade/tempeh-kale-steamed-gyoza Produce on parade

Lentil Tempeh and Sweet Potato Chilli by Produce on Parade

LENTIL, TEMPEH, AND SWEET POTATO CHILI Produce on Parade

Ginger Sesamme Tempeh Lettuce Wraps by Connoisseurus Veg

Ginger Sesamme Tempeh Lettuce Wraps by Connoisseurus Veg

Chimichurri Temeh by 40 Aprons

Chimichurri Temeh by 40 Aprons

Black Bean Tempeh Tacos by The Garden Grazer

Black Bean Tempeh Tacos by The Garden Grazer

15 Minute Brussels Sprout & Tempeh Stir-Fry by In Pursuit of More

15 Minute Brussels Sprout & Tempeh Stir-Fry by In Pursuit of More

‘unbelievably vegan’ baked tempeh from change your food, change your life

‘unbelievably vegan’ baked tempeh from change your food, change your life

Sesame Kale Glow Bowl from The Glowing Fridge

Sesame Kale Glow Bowl from glow bowl

Have you tried tempeh? What are some of your favorite ways to eat it? 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


photo credit: Orange Tempeh via photopin (license)

July 6th, 2015

It’s Time to Stop Refrigerating Your Onions

It's Time to Stop Refrigerating Your Onions Groovy Green Livin

We eat a lot of onions during the summer. There’s nothing like a barbecue with grilled Vidalia onions (so simple and so delicious) or caramelized onions.

I just learned something new that will free up space in my refrigerator: onions don’t need to be refrigerated. When they are kept in the refrigerator they lose their crispness and become soft.  I’ve also noticed that everything stored in the same refrigerated produce bin with onions starts to acquire their smell and taste.

How to Store Onions

  • Your onions should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place with plenty of air circulation. A pantry or other dark, cool cabinet generally works well.
  • They also like to stay in the mesh bag from the store. This bag allows for air circulation.
  • Keep them out of plastic bags. When they’re kept in a plastic bag the air can’t circulate and this will shorten their storage life.

Keeping most onions out of the fridge works, but here are a few caveats:

  • Cut onions DO need to be refrigerated
  • Peeled onions DO need to be refrigerated
  • Refrigerate sweet or mild onions that have a high water content. This will extend their shelf life. Make sure to use a low humidity setting to keep them dry.

Also, them away from potatoes. The moisture and air emitted from the potatoes can cause onions to rot.

Here are a few of my favorite onion recipes for you to enjoy over the summer:

What’s your favorite way to eat an onion? Do you like them raw or cooked? 

Cutting onions and crying seems to go hand-in-hand for most of us. HERE are a few tips for keeping those tears at bay when chopping an onion.


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photo credit: First via photopin (license)

June 18th, 2015

The Countdown to Summer Has Officially Begun! Bring On the Chips and Dip

The Countdown to Summer Has Begun Groovy Green Livin

The countdown to summer is here. Believe it or not, my kids still have a few days of school left thanks to the never ending snow days.

I’m ready to kick back and enjoy some quality family time.

I have my summer bucket list in place and a few good books to read. I’ll be doing plenty of work, but won’t be writing quite as often. Come and find me on Instagram. I’ll be sharing some of my summer adventures over there. I would also love to see what you’re up to.

Our BBQ gets a lot of action during the summer months. It’s so easy to grill and create a meal that everyone likes. While we’re waiting for the grill to fire up we generally put out a few healthy snacks to keep everyone happy. Cut veggies are a family favorite. We mix it up with different arrangements and unique vegetables.

Summer Groovy Green Livin

It’s summer! Bring on the chips and dip

We also love putting out different types of chips. I’ve been a Late July Organics fan for quite some time. I was first introduced to their fabulous chips when I was in New York for a BlogHer/Stonyfield party.  Here are a few things I love about the company:

  • Late July Organic Snacks is a family owned and operated company that cares deeply about family and the integrity of their products.
  • All their products certified USDA organic and proudly wear the organic seal.
  • Their research and development team includes their two sons- ten-year-old Stephen and six-year-old Benjamin.

My favorite Late July Organic chips are their Late July Organic Snacks Sea Salt by the Seashore Multigrain Tortilla Chips. Have you tried them? They have Organic Flax, Organic Millet, Organic Brown Rice, Organic Quinoa, Organic Amaranth in them with just the right amount of sea salt.

The Countdown to Summer Has Begun Groovy Green Livin

The cut up veggies and the chips wouldn’t be complete without something to dip them in. Thanks to Stonyfield for coming to rescue. This Creamy Hummus recipe made with Stonyfield Greek yogurt is just what we needed.

What’s your favorite healthy snack during the summer? Don’t forget to come and find me on Instagram.

 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


Disclosure: I am a Stonyfield YoGetter Blogger Captain and receive products samples and/or compensation for sharing Stonyfield news and products with my readers. I was given a sample of Late July Organic Chips and Stonyfield Yogurt for this article. I was already a fan of the products, and as always, opinions are my own.

photo credit: Vegetable colors via photopin (license)

June 15th, 2015

My Ultimate Summer Bucket List

my ultimate summer bucket list Groovy Green Livin

In one short week summer officially begins for our family. I’m looking forward to the change of pace and lack of schedule during the summer months. The transition from spring to summer isn’t always an easy shift for me, but I’m determined this summer to try a few new things that will keep me motivated and focused on enjoying every moment.

My Ultimate Summer Bucket List

Try something new. I’m thinking a new hiking trail or running route could work for this one. Or maybe something more extreme like kneeboarding or wakeboarding.

Do paddle board yoga. And lots of it. I started practicing paddle board yoga a few years ago and generally do it a few times over the summer. This summer I’m shooting for more often. Paddle board yoga is a combination yoga on a paddle board and yes, you’re in the water. It’s a pretty intense core workout and great way to stay in shape if you’re away from the gym.

Cut way back on sugar. Did you know that 80% of the 600,00 items sold in grocery stores have added sugar? Also, sugar can be addictive. In a study, 43 cocaine addicted laboratory rats were given the choice of cocaine or sugar water over a 15 day period. 40 out of 43 chose sugar. This summer I’m going to cut back on the amount of sugar I’m eating. I’m not going to cut it all out because I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for me. Being conscious and limiting my sugar intake is the goal.

Try Whole30®. As part of my sugar detox I’m also going to try The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom. I just bought the book and it’s still sitting on my kitchen counter, but I’m committed to trying it over the summer. I did a 21 day detox and loved it so I think I’m up for this challenge. Think of it as a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system. Let me know if you’re up for trying this with me.

Find a bug repellent without DEET that actually works. For the past few years I’ve been on mission to find a bug repellent that’s safe and actually keeps the bugs away. It’s been no easy task. I’m a mosquito magnet. This year I’m sticking with Buzz Away and Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent. Fingers crossed that I don’t get eaten alive.

Stay off my lap top when my kids are around. I’ve been working on this throughout the year and done fairly well. Over the summer it’s not as easy since my kids are around during the days and I have work to do. Waking up on the early side or staying up late gives me those extra hours to get my work done without impacting my time with my kids. I’m very grateful to have a flexible job.

Put that phone down. I just read a great article in the Washington Post, 5 lessons my tween has taught me about social mediaMy favorite piece of advice was  “Put your phone down”. Sometimes I find myself taking photos of the most absurd things, just for the sake of posting something on Instagram. It’s so important that we remember to live in the moment and it’s just as important to remember that everyone doesn’t need to see what you’re doing every waking moment.

What’s on your bucket list this summer? 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting this site!

photo credit: Shounan_Cloudy_day_45 via photopin (license)

June 9th, 2015

How to Make a Summer Camp Survival Kit

How to Make a Summer Camp Survival Kit Groovy Green Livin

Summer camp is right around the corner. It’s hard to miss the 6 empty duffel bags sprawled across my floor.  They are ready to be filled with summer camp essentials ranging from underwear to handheld water-misting fans.

Packing for three kids headed to overnight camp can be somewhat daunting, but it somehow all works out in the end. Everyone makes it to camp and has what he needs.

Most camps provide a packing list, which helps guide the packing process. In a few short days it will look like a bomb went off in our house, with piles of clothing and other necessities waiting to find their way into the appropriate duffel bag.

Each year I try to create a list of must-haves for those families looking for safer camp supplies and other essentials.

Here are a few to add to that camp survival  kit (*affiliate links):

Toms of Maine Toothpaste 

I’ve added Tom’s of Maine Fluoride Free Children’s Toothpaste to our survival kit this year. Many flavors have been tested and Silly Strawberry is the only flavor that my kids will use, so we’re sticking with it.

Garden Goddess Organic Sunscreen and Babyganics Sunscreen

This year I’m adding a new sunscreen to my list of favorite sunscreens. My kids actually like it and don’t complain. Can’t beat that. Goddess Garden Kids Natural Sunscreen is our sunscreen of choice for camp this summer. The ingredients are safe and it doesn’t go on thick and white. In addition to the regular tube of sunscreen is also comes in a pump bottle and a spray bottle. I’m not a fan of spray sunscreens, but if you’re going to use one this is as safe as it gets.

Another option is Babyganics Mineral-Based Sunscreen which doesn’t contain PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances or nano-particles.

Emily Body Lotion and Soap

We use Emily Baby & Adult Skin Soother (Unscented) Groovy Green Livin Emily body lotionfor everything including bug bites, rashes and eczema and Emily Super Dry Skin Soother for those really dry patches of skin. I’ll also be sending a bar of Emily Skin Soothing Soap (Unscented). I love the smell of this soap.

Mabel’s Labels Clothing Labels 

Groovy Green Livin Camp Supplies

I’m a big fan of Mabel’s Labels for labeling clothing. Everything that goes to camp has to be labeled or it won’t make it home. My favorite labels are Mabel’s Labels Tag Mates, which stick directly onto the clothing tag and don’t come off. I also love the Limited Edition Camp Combo Packs, which includes a variety of labels (the shoe labels are awesome!).

Stationary to Write Home

There are a few different options when it comes to stationary. I always try to make it simple for the camper so they’ll hopefully write home more often. If you have a younger camper this Bunk Junk Sports Fold Over Stationeryis great. They can check off a few boxes and send it home with a lot of valuable information. For older kids who want to write more Bunk Junk Sports Stars Fold Over Stationery is perfect.

Babyganics Bug Repellent

There are two brands of bug repellent to add to your summer camp survival kit. I’ve been using  a DEET free bug repellent called Buzzaway  for a few years and it really works well. I’m also trying Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent. If you’re looking for natural ways to treat bug bites take a peek  HERE.

Babyganics Shampoo and Body Wash

If you’re looking for a safe shampoo that your kids will probably use try Babyganics Shampoo + Body Wash . With no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, fragrance or dyes, this is a perfect choice for a non-toxic summer!

My camp essentials list changes a bit each year as new products are released and formulations change. Here are a few summer camp posts from years past:

 


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*Thank you to Goddess Garden Organics, Babyganics and Emily for sending products to review. The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting this site!

photo credit: DSC_9177 via photopin (license)

June 4th, 2015

Are There Toxic Chemicals Hiding in Your Child’s Car Seat?

Hazardous Chemicals Found in Popular Child Car Seats Groovy Green Livin

Many young children spend hours in a car every week strapped into a car seat. When my kids were infants they basically lived in their car seat. I would drag them from activity to activity strapped in. The car seat snapped directly into the stroller during those first few years of life. If they fell asleep in the car I would bring the entire car seat into the house and let them continue their nap in the seat.

In a new study released today by the nonprofit Ecology Center  (at the consumer-friendly site, www.HealthyStuff.org) the findings show that some of our favorite car seats are filled with toxic chemicals.

Looking back, I wonder how many hours my kids spent in those car seats on a daily basis? And to think I was strapping them into their car seat to protect them, not to expose them to toxic chemicals.

CHILDREN’S CAR SEAT STUDY

The Ecology Center tested 15 infant, convertible and booster car seats and found that while most seats still contain dangerous chemicals, some companies have taken big steps towards reducing chemical hazards.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of seats tested contained hazardous halogenated flame retardants and over half contained non-halogenated organophosphate flame retardants, some of which are hazardous as well. The study finds the hazardous flame retardant chemicals and alternatives used by companies are poorly regulated, putting consumers at risk, and questions the fire safety benefit of using these chemicals. Top rated companies in the study, Britax and Clek, have been aggressively implementing policies to reduce hazards in their products while still meeting all safety standards.  The poorest performing company was Graco.

The study is the fifth in series of studies identifying poorly regulated chemical hazards in car seats since 2006. HealthyStuff.org has tested 377 car seats in the last 9 years.  Added flame retardant chemicals are not bound to the car seat materials and thus are released over time. Infants, toddlers and children can be exposed through inhalation, ingestion and dermal (skin) absorption of these chemicals.

According to Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, this is one more example of how the lack of regulation in cars has resulted in car interiors having some of the highest levels of hazardous chemicals, including flame retardants.

Here’s what The Car Seat Study found:

Graco’s Nautilus 3-in-1 car seat in Matrix, according to Ecology Center’s research, is one of the most toxic car seats.

Best 2014-15 Car Seats:

  • Britax Frontier and Marathon (Convertible)
  • Clek Foonf (Convertible)

Worst 2014-15 Car Seats:

  • Graco, My Size 65 (Convertible)
  • Baby Trend, Hybrid 3-in-1 (Convertible)

Other brands with products tested include: Chicco, Cybex, Dorel Juvenile Group (Eddie Bauer, Safety First), Evenflo, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego. To see if your car seat is on the list take a look HERE.

Here’s what you can do

  • Find a safer car seat. Check in with the retailer directly and ask about their use of toxic flame retardants.
  • Use your dollars and your voice to let car seat manufactures know that toxic flame retardants in car seats are unnecessary and unacceptable.
  • Occasionally vacuum the car seat and your car. According to Consumer Reports, this will help limit the amount of dust, which is where chemicals released from the seat or vehicle’s interior may settle.

Is your child’s car seat on the list? How can we get car seat manufacturers to remove toxic flame retardants from their products?

 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


 

 

 

 

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

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