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February 25th, 2014

Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Groovy Green Livin Pancakes

It’s National Pancake Week! Time to whip up a batch of your favorite pancakes in celebration.

The back story: the week leading up to Ash Wednesday was traditionally a time to purge your kitchen of all rich and dairy foods. A brilliant marketing major declared that this week would be National Pancake Week- since traditional pancakes are made from dairy products like butter, milk and eggs.

I have to be honest, every week in our house is National Pancake Week. We make a lot of pancakes over here. My kids love making them and I love mixing in secret ingredients such as flax seed, chia seeds and ground nuts.

In honor of this yummy celebration I’ve teamed up with Stonyfield to create some tasty pancakes with their delicious organic Greek yogurt.

My kids love to cook so they were ready to roll up their sleeves and help.

Groovy Green Livin Pancakes

We had some extra time this morning before school so everyone could enjoy their pancakes.

Groovy Green Livin Pancakes

Time to Make the Pancakes!

Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt Pancakes
Author: Lori Popkewitz Alper Groovy Green Livin
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 7 good sized pancakes
In celebration of National Pancake Week try out these delicious pancakes with a touch of Stonyfield Greek Yogurt.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • Extra milk (any type of milk is fine. I used rice milk)
  • Cooking oil (preferably coconut oil or olive oil)
  • Blueberries and maple syrup for topping
Instructions
  1. Mix together in a bowl flour, baking soda, salt, yogurt, eggs, chia seeds and oil. If batter seems too think add milk to reach desired consistency.
  2. Heat a stainless steel or cast iron frying pan without oil for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add light layer of cooking oil to heated frying pan.
  4. Spoon batter into the heated frying pan in the shape of round cakes.
  5. Let cook until bubbles form on the top of the pancakes (generally takes 2-3 minutes).
  6. Flip and cook the pancakes until golden brown on the bottom side, about another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve pancakes hot, with organic maple syrup and blueberries.

Enjoy! What’s your favorite ingredient to add to pancakes?

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

 

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January 27th, 2014

The Naked Truth About Naked Juice: GMOs and More

Groovy Green Livin Naked Juice

See the Naked Juice in this photo? I’ve been drinking it for years. It’s green and made from a mixture of apple juice, mango, spirulina, broccoli, wheat grass and more. I thought it was so healthy. Boy was I wrong.

My kids also love Naked Juice. I was always so thrilled when they would beg for a Naked Juice at the market rather than a candy bar. How could I say no? All that fresh, “natural” juice in one spot. I practically yelled “YES”. I knew it wasn’t organic, but it did the job.

Unfortunately, all of that Naked Juice love has come to a screeching halt. No more Naked Juice for our family.

I wasn’t going to write about this since my friend Katy over at Non-Toxic Kids did such an eloquent job covering all the bases. But then I decided to try to reach a few more folks with this important information.

Let’s start at the very beginning. You may or may not know that Naked Juice is owned by PepsiCo, makers of Pepsi, Tostitos, Tropicana, Doritos and more.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against Naked Juice for using genetically-modified ingredients (GMOs) and synthetic substances in products that were marketed as “Non-GMO” and “All-Natural”.

Naked Juice denies it did anything wrong.

Naked Juice says: ‘Naked juice and smoothies will continue to be labeled “non-GMO,” and until there is more detailed regulatory guidance around the word “natural” ―we’ve chosen not to use “All Natural” on our packaging.’

So that’s a bit of good news. They’ve removed the misleading “All-Natural” claim from their products.

Here are few allegations from the lawsuit against Naked Juice:

  • Although the juice was labeled “All Natural”, Naked juice was found to contain three synthetic ingredients: fructooligosaccharides, fibersol-2 and inulin.
  • Naked Juice was labeling its products as “Non-GMO” when, in fact, it knowingly used genetically-modified ingredients in its products (genetically modified soy).

What we can take away from the Naked Juice lawsuit

  • ‘All Natural’ is an unregulated term that means nothing. Remember that next time you see ‘All Natural‘ on a product. Products labeled ‘All Natural’ can contain GMOs. Until we have legal guidelines surrounding the use of this term there’s nothing to enforce.
  • If Naked Juice did in fact use GMOs while labeling their products GMO-free that’s clearly deceptive and misleading-and certainly not a company I want to support.

This is yet another reason to buy organic products when you can. Organic is a regulated term and there are clear guidelines for products meeting the organic standard.

If you’re interested in learning more about GMOs join a free virtual conference, GMOs: What You Need to Know, from July 27-30 with Stacy Malkan and leading scientists, farmers, medical doctors, business leaders, advocates and wellness experts to learn about the genetic manipulation of our food system, how to avid GMOs and why this matters for the health of your family and future generations. Sign up for FREE HERE.

Is there a Naked Juice alternative?

My kids were pretty upset when I told them no more Naked Juice. They asked about Odwalla as an alternative.

Unfortunately, Odwalla is owned by The Coca Cola Company. PepsiCo, Nestle USA, The Coca-Cola Co. and General Mills, among many others, secretly donated millions of dollars to the GMA campaign to stop Washington Initiative 522, which would require the labeling of all products containing GMOs.

The best alternative: make your own smoothies from scratch.

I know it’s challenging, but do you try to stay away from products made by these companies when you’re at the store?

Photo credit: thisisbossi via photopin cc

January 23rd, 2014

New Year, New Yogurt! You gotta try this Stonyfield Greek

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Greek

There’s nothing like returning from a vacation and finding a fridge filled with organic, nonfat, Stonyfield Greek yogurt. Yet another reason I love working with Stonyfield.

Stonyfield kicked off the new year by releasing a new line of organic Greek yogurt, which now features an even creamier texture and two new flavors, Black Cherry and Cafe Latte. Part of my role as a Stonyfield Yo-Getter and a Yo-Getter Captain is to test out new Stonyfield products and report back to you. I love my job.

Info About Stonyfield Greek Yogurt

Stonyfield Greek is made with delicious organic ingredients. Even better news~ you won’t find any of these in their Greek yogurt:

  • Pesticides
  • GMOs
  • Artificial hormones, or
  • Antibiotics

Stonyfield Greek is a perfect snack-it’s high in protein and has about 120 calories per serving.

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Greek

Stonyfield Greek yogurt comes in two sizes, 5.3oz single cups and 4oz 4-packs, and a variety of flavors including Vanilla, Blueberry, Plain, Super Fruits, Strawberry, Chocolate, Peach Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry, Honey, Lemon, Caramel, NEW Black Cherry and NEW Cafe Latte.

My Stonyfield Greek Yogurt Taste Test

Most of you know that I don’t eat a lot of dairy. However, I do make exceptions for really good ice cream and delicious Stonyfield Greek yogurt. What can I say? I can’t resist.

Thanks to the arrival of the awesome package from Stonyfield  I was able to try out the Blueberry, Strawberry, Super Fruits and Black Cherry. I loved them all. My favorites were the Blueberry and Black Cherry. I also dipped into the Cafe Latte and the jury’s still out. Could be because I’m not a coffee drinker and coffee or mocha flavors generally don’t do it for me.

Groovy Green Livin Stonyfield Greek

Now it’s your turn- you gotta try this #StonyfieldGreek! I’d love to hear what you think about the new flavors and the new creamy taste!

Want to know more? Visit Stonyfield, follow Stonyfield on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Stonyfield sent me a sampling of their Stonyfield Greek yogurt to test. I work closely with Stonyfield as a Yo-Getter Captain and am compensated for this. All opinions in this post are my very own. 

June 24th, 2013

It’s Time for an Applegate Wienervention (Giveaway)

Groovy Green Livin Applegate Organic Turkey Hot Dog

Our family’s been eating Applegate hot dog’s for quite a few years. We don’t eat hot dogs often, but when we do we try to make sure they’re Applegate.

Thanks to the kind folks over at Applegate we were able to have our own ‘Wienervention’ and test out a few different types of hot dogs. Our favorite is The Great Organic Turkey Hot Dog.

Groovy Green Livin Applegate Organic Turkey Hot Dog

Their hot dogs come in many varieties, each wearing an all natural or organic label. As we know, ‘Natural’ is a pretty unregulated term. The folks over at Applegate stand behind their ‘natural’ label by assuring us that:

  • The (beef) hot dogs are simple: just beef, water, sea salt, and spices – and they have much less fat and sodium than other hot dogs.
  • Raised without antibiotics or hormones
  •  From animals fed a vegetarian or 100% grass diet and treated with humane animal standards
  • Free of chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
  • Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives

Groovy Green Livin Applegate Organic Turkey Hot Dog

Friends don’t let friends eat bad meat

Groovy Green Livin Applegate Hot Dogs

Conventional hot dogs can be filled with all sorts of  steroids and chemicals, things you really don’t want going into your body. Abscorbic acid? sodium diacetate? Let’s be frank, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Luckily, you don’t have to. This 4th of July Applegate is going to help you proclaim your independence from bad meat through a Wienervention.

Big news on the GMO front…..

Applegate has committed to removing all GMO ingredients from their products (only 10 remaining) by the end of 2013. Finally a GMO removal time frame that actually makes sense!

GIVEAWAY! Now it’s your turn to win an Applegate wooden cutting board, Chico tote bag and Applegate buttons and stickers!

Applegate Farms Gift Pack

Disclosure: The Applegate product, gift pack, and giveaway have been provided by Applegate. All opinions are my very own.

May 9th, 2013

Review: EVOL Natural and Organic Frozen Meals and Snacks

Groovy Green Livin EVOL

EVOL is love backwards. Did you see that right away when you looked at the logo? I have to admit that I didn’t. I’ve walked by the EVOL display hundreds of times in the frozen section at our local Whole Foods, but it never dawned on me that EVOL was love backwards. I needed my 12, 11 and 9 year old to tell me. Not cool.

Groovy Green Livin EVOL

I love to cook, my husband loves to cook and our kids cook, but cooking doesn’t always happen. This time of year we generally find ourselves sitting on a field most nights watching soccer or baseball with a little karate thrown into the mix. Somehow we manage to pull together an edible meal most nights, but there are those occasional evenings when it’s just not going to happen. On those rare days I like to have quick meal options available. Not fast food, but something that I don’t have to put much thought into.

Enter EVOL. EVOL isn’t your average frozen food. Their frozen meal options hit high on the “healthier food” scale.

  • NOTHING ARTIFICIAL. EVOL’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers.
  • ALL NATURAL PROTEINS. EVOL’s Chicken, beef, pork, eggs and cheese come from animals on US Family Farms that are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and raised without the use of Antibiotics or Hormones.
  • HORMONE-FREE CHEESE. EVOL’s cheese is rBGH, rBST and rennet free.
  • NON-GMO GRAINS, VEGETABLES & OILS. EVOL’s grains, vegetables and oils are GMOFree.

Where is EVOL sold?

EVOL can be found in over 7,000 retailers nationwide such as Whole Foods Markets, Stop N Shop, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Publix.

The back story

You can find the full story on their site, but in a nutshell three talented guys came together to make this company happen. If you’re a Survivor fan you might recognize one of the company’s founders.

What we thought

I’m not a meat eater (unless it’s really expensive turkey -organic and raised without antibiotics) or cheese eater so I wasn’t able to try most of the samples sent over. That didn’t stop my kids from digging in and they gave everything a thumbs up.

My oldest really loved the gluten-free Chicken Enchilada Bowl and my youngest loved all of the burritos.

Groovy Green Livin EVOL Chicken Enchilada Bake

The best part on my end was recognizing every ingredient listed and knowing that most of them were products generally stocked in my fridge. EVOL’s products have no artificial flavors, colors, additives, preservatives or fillers. Nothing but real food.

We did notice that the Chicken Enchilada Bake didn’t look quite like the photo on the front of the box, but that didn’t stop them from eating every last drop.

Other thoughts:

  • The sodium count was pretty high on some of the products-the Chicken Enchilada Bake came in at 630 mg.
  • The bowls are compostable and made from a chemical-free process that uses very little water.
  • The box that some of the products come in is made from recycled paper board.

Bottom Line: EVOL’s products were top of the line when it comes to gluten-free frozen foods. The company is the complete package: solid ingredients including many organic and natural, great sustainable intentions, and great taste according to my kids. I would not recommend eating their products daily since they are no substitute for a fresh, home cooked meal. In a pinch they do the job and they do it well. 

To see there entire line of products click HERE.

If you want to see who’s behind this fast-growing company check out their EVOL Team page. Very cute. Very clever.

Disclosure: I was sent a package of gluten-free EVOL products for review. The opinions in this review are my very own.

January 15th, 2013

How to Save Big in Bulk

Groovy Green Livin How to Save Big in Bulk

Walking up and down the bulk food aisle at your local supermarket can be somewhat overwhelming. There are so many bins to choose from filled with grains, cereals, dried fruits, nuts, spices or baking ingredients. I’ve learned the hard way that I should never head down the bulk food aisle when I’m hungry-that generally leads to a lot of extra bags filled with chocolate and candy!

Why shop the bulk bins?

Buying from the bulk bins at the grocery store is a great way to save money on your food bill, but that’s not the only reason to shop the bulk bins. Here are a few more:

  • Get more bang for your buck
  • Bye bye wasteful packaging
  • Buy only what you need
  • Ability to test out new products without a big investment

Why are bulk bins less expensive?

Bulk foods are generally cheaper than pre-packaged foods because-

  • No packaging needed. All that plastic and paper needed to wrap and protect food is very costly. Bulk foods have no packaging, which in turn reduces the cost of the product.
  • No brand name. There are no marketing or advertising costs needed to sell the products.
  • Less cost for transportation. Bulk products are less expensive to transport since they can be carried in large containers.

How to save big when bulk food shopping

A little planning is needed before you hit the bulk bins.

  • Make a list before you head to the market.  Buying in bulk allows you to buy just what you need. Make a list and stick to it.
  • Bring your reusable bags or containers. The stores generally have plastic and/or paper bags available for carrying your bulk food home. Bring your own reusable bags or glass containers to cut down on waste. Glass Mason jars are a good option.
  • Save on cost by determining the tare weight of your container before filling it. Stores will allow you to deduct the weight of the container (tare weight) from the total weight. Check with the customer service department regarding the stores procedure-they may want to weight the jar or bag for you.
  • Bring a measuring cup or spoons to ensure that you don’t buy more than you need.
  • Look for organic ingredients (generally clearly labeled). Organic products in the bulk bin are generally much less expensive than their packaged counterpart.
  • Take time to compare the bulk bin prices to the cost of prepacked products. In most cases bulk bin prices will be much less.

Do you use bulk food bins? Do you bring your own containers?

photo credit: bcmom via photopin cc

January 11th, 2013

Should I Choose Organic Bedding? Magnolia Organics Review


Groovy Green Livin Organic Bedding

Organic bedding has come up a lot in conversation lately. Seems strange I know, but here’s why. A few weeks ago I had some time to myself so I headed to the store. My youngest son needed new bedding-the cars and trucks weren’t cutting it anymore now that he’s nine. I brought home what I thought was the greatest bedding set for his room. Just as we were about to break open everything we started to talk about chemicals in the bedding.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I’m all about everything in moderation. I know that we can’t be perfectly bright green all the time (at least I can’t). We do the best that we can to keep our families safe. I began thinking about how much time we theoretically spend in our beds. My kids spend a good 10 plus hours in their beds each night. I shoot for a solid 8 hours of sleep or I’m a frightening force to be reckoned with.

Toxins in sheets?

If  bedding has been treated so it’s permanent press, no-iron, crease resistant, shrinkproof, stretchproof, stain-proof, water repellent, water-proof or flame resistant it could be emitting toxic chemical vapors.

Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Most bedding is made from cotton or a cotton blend.

After this realization I was officially driving myself crazy. I couldn’t in good conscience buy any new bedding that could be off gassing toxins. The entire bedding set went back to the store.

Organic bedding

With almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed, what we have in our bedrooms does affect us. Organic bedding doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that regular bedding has.

Organically produced goods must be produced without the use of:

  • Antibiotics
  • Synthetic hormones
  • Genetic engineering
  • Other excluded practices
  • Sewage sludge
  • Irradiation

Now I’m on the lookout for organic bedding. It’s not easy. There are very few cute patterns or colors. Everything seems very neutral. But I decided that was the route I was going to take. So slowly, over time I’ve been replacing our bedding with organic sheets, covers and pillow cases.

Magnoila Organics

Groovy Green Livin Magnolia organic beddingMagnolia Organics offers organic bedding (including crib sets), towels and reusable bags. The company is committed to fair labor, sustainable materials, minimalist packaging, and they keep a close eye on the carbon footprint of each product.

The timing was perfect. The nice folks at Magnolia Organics were kind enough to send me an organic sheet set to try out on my own bed. The sheets are 200 thread count percale and come in a variety of colors, which is unusual for organic sheets. I chose the sheets in a neutral Ecru color.

After washing the sheets I crawled into bed, excited to test out them out. My initial impression was that the sheets weren’t as soft as my previous conventional sheet set.

I’ve been using the sheets for about a month and they are finally feeling much softer. Several times through the washing machine has really helped to break them in. The sheet set is well made and I’m guessing it will be around for a long time.

The price point for these sheets is pretty reasonable as far as bedding is concerned- ranging from $64.99 for a twin set to $79.99 for a king set.

Now on to replace my kids bedding. All in good time.

Do you buy organic bedding?

photo credit: || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL || via photopin cc

Disclosure: I was sent an organic sheet set from Magnolia Organics for review. The opinions contained in this review are my very own.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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Lori on ABC World News

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