One of my favorite things to do on Sunday is take a trip with my kids to our farmers’ market to stock up on fruits and vegetables for the week. My baby looks around in awe and my older daughter helps me load up on veggies, listing off ingredients like kale, beets, spinach, potatoes, and fresh herbs that I try to buy every week.
A few years ago this was not part of my world. I passed by a ton of farmers’ markets, but the apples I saw there seemed just like the apples in my grocery store. I didn’t understand the complicated dynamic of our food system, nor did I realize how many chemicals, pesticides, and hormones were introduced into our food. The reason why? Nothing was/is labeled to tell us (the public) that this was/is happening.
It wasn’t until I became a mother and read more to (try) to understand exactly what is placed into our food, that I viewed food in a completely different way. It terrified me to learn about the chemicals bred into crops and the proliferation of GMO foods taking over the industry. As I mashed up my daughter’s food, I started to understand that feeding her the avocado, pear, apple, or spinach that I prepared might be laced with harmful ingredients. But what also became clear to me was that my purchases were both supporting the system and allowing it to succeed by making even more money off people like me who didn’t truly understand it.
It took time to figure out exactly what I should focus on in terms of organic eating weighed with what I could afford. I learned more about my local food co-op, scouted deals on milk and other dairy products, and then shopped at another organic grocer if I saw a cereal, fruit, or a particular yogurt on sale. Soon after, I started incorporating weekend trips to my farmers’ market. I was excited by how much better the fresh fruits and vegetables I cooked with tasted, and I loved meeting the farmers and members of the community that were involved in selling the food.
As a way to support the community, shopping at local farmers’ markets is a great way to ensure a smaller carbon footprint, as well as support the community businesses and farmers. I also love the experience of taking my girls to the market as a fun way to focus on positive eating habits and help them learn more about healthy food. This has been remarkable with my four year old who loves to talk about the herbs, spices, and vegetables she sees, and even grabs the raw kale and eats it!
With the colorful collection of farmers’ market veggies, I like to prepare meals that will last 2-3 days to help make dinnertime a little easier. For months we’ve made a vegetable-packed pesto pasta (see recipe below) that the entire family loves. My daughter even calls in our “famous pasta.”
Eating well is all part of the path to living mindfully, and by educating yourself, being active in your community, and making small changes you can understand what you are eating and where your food is sourced from. Knowledge is power, and with food it also means your health and longevity.
Vegetable Packed Pasta
1 box of pasta of your choice (I usually use a whole-grain one)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 long carrots, cut up
1 zucchini and/or squash, cut up
1 red, yellow, or orange pepper, cut up
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of kale, thick stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
3-4 sprigs of fresh basil, cut up (can be dry)
3-4 sprigs of sage, cut up (can be dry)
1/2 cup fresh pesto (see recipe here)
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese, optional
Cook pasta as directed on the box. While the pasta is cooking, start preparing the vegetable medley. Using a deep saucepan, add the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and kale. Keep on a low flame as you add in the remaining vegetables (carrots, peppers, squash, zucchini), fresh herbs, and pesto. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, turning it periodically. When the pasta is done, add it to the veggie mixture and let cook together for about 10-15 minutes. Add in the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and serve!
~ Serena Norr of Mama Goes Natural
A Brooklyn-based writer and mom of two, Serena Norr believes living naturally doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Serena also serves the managing editor of Momtrends and the creator of Seriously Soupy, a Web site devoted to soup making. She loves to cook, travel, explore the city with her kids and learn more about green living, which she chronicles in her blog, Mama Goes Natural. Follow her on Twitter as @MamaGoesNatural.
The first moment you lay eyes on your newborn baby is indescribable and for most parents, you literally feel like your heart might burst from an explosion of love. Of course, you’ll also think your baby is the most beautiful there ever was (and most respectful friends and family members will obligingly agree).
But then…the flakes appear. And, your perfect little darling looks like she has bad dandruff. A classic case of cradle cap.
According to WebMD, “cradle cap is an oily, yellow scaling or crusting on a baby’s scalp. It is common in babies…is not a part of any illness and does not imply that a baby is not being well cared for. Cradle cap is not harmful to your baby and usually goes away by a baby’s first birthday.”
Luckily, cradle cap is extremely easy to safely treat at home. Here’s how:
Step 1: About a half hour before tubby time, rub your baby’s scalp with a plant-based body oil. Massage gently and let the oils soak in and loosen the skin cells for about 20 minutes.
Step 2: Gently scrub your baby’s scalp with a soft-bristle baby brush to loosen and remove the scales. You can also use a fine-tooth baby comb to work the scales out of your baby’s hair. Keep a clean towel and bowl of warm, soapy water nearby to wipe and rinse the comb or brush as needed.
Step 3: Bathe your baby as usual, washing the oil away using a gentle, non-toxic shampoo.
Voila! No more flakes distracting from the delicate beauty of your little darling!
Do you have any natural tips for treating cradle cap?
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before undertaking any course of treatment, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.
The month after I had my first baby, I realized I should have thought to put more storage options on my registry. Living in San Francisco means that every square foot is precious and storage space is limited. I needed to organize meticulously, so that I would always be able to find the next size clothing or toys as my little girl grew. At the same time, I needed to have a space reserved for outgrown clothing and toys. Now that I have two children, the need for places to put things seems to have quadrupled, so I am always on the lookout for good storage options! I want storage that functions properly, is stylish, and—ideally—eco-friendly!
Here are the storage options I’m eyeing for my home right now:
1. Dwell Studio. Their gorgeous printed boxes are made of coated canvas that is Phthalate & PVC free.
2. 3 Sprouts Storage Bins. Charming AND responsible? Yes! My girls would love these animal storage bins, and they are 100% organic cotton canvas.
3. P’kolino Storage Chest. I love that this has all the space for toys inside, and when you close the box, it doubles as a chalkboard!
4. Bamboo Storage Box. Perfect to store kids’ socks or accessories, this sleek bamboo box is made from renewable and sustainable bamboo.
5. Charming Basket. This basket was created in Senegal, West Africa by artisans using environmentally friendly, sustainable materials. It would make a beautiful addition to a nursery.
6. Rectangular Sea Grass Bin. Bold colors made from durable, natural sea grass, these would be my ideal option for craft supplies.
Another fantastic option is to use the stylish Honest boxes we receive on our doorstep every month! We love recycling and could the design be ANY cuter? Best of all, it’s free to us!
Or get creative like Erin and DIY by using supplies you already have in your house!
Hope this helps your search for storage!
- Kate & Erin
Katie (Kate) Brightbill lives in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters. Out of her love for mini fashion and writing, she created a blog called Style Smaller with her cousin and good friend, Erin Taylor. Erin is also from the Bay Area and in addition to her role as a wife and mother, she owns an event design business, and a custom and vintage rental company. Follow them on Twitter @stylesmaller.
Introducing your babies to solid foods is an exciting (and messy) time. From the first spoonful to the 100th, it’s a joy to see your child’s expression as she discovers new textures and tastes. The memory alone makes you laugh, right? Because children supposedly form food preferences by the age of two, introducing them to a variety of flavors as a baby is a great way to set them on the path of healthy eating.
One easy way to do this is to prepare homemade baby food. When we were first-time parents, the idea of making our own purée seems daunting. But even those who weren’t comfortable in the kitchen found steaming and blending fruits, veggies, and meats to be pretty simple. In fact, we were amazed by how many servings one sweet potato could produce. Talk about a great bargain!
After you consult your pediatrician about when to introduce your baby to solids, there are many great sources for tasty organic recipes and feeding tips. Jessica adapted age-appropriate meals from the Organic Baby & Toddler cookbook, while other Honest team members turned to Weelicious for easy natural recipes.
When making her own baby food for Honor and Haven, Jessica had fun creating savory purée to expose the girls to more complex flavors—like beans made with chicken broth, olive oil, garlic, and sea salt that then get mashed. Sarah liked serving her son puréed asparagus or pears and peas, which she thinks influenced his love of eating all things green as a toddler. And Jen still preps antibiotic free turkey in a skillet, blends it with some garlic, pepper, and ginger, then mixes it with sweet potato, mango, and millet for a dish her baby gobbles up.
Weelicious creator and author Catherine McCord similarly focuses on making quick, easy, nutritious recipes using fresh but minimal ingredients. She decided to share her passion for homemade baby foods after her experience with feeding her first child. “I spent hours on the internet researching feeding tips and fresh, healthy recipe ideas, but came up short. I found myself having conversations with friends who struggled with the same issues and I quickly became their go-to girl for baby and child-friendly recipes,” says Catherine. Now thanks to that self-described “Aha!” moment, parents like us can find endless inspiration for healthy eating.
To get you started, Catherine has shared three Weelicious recipes for your budding baby foodie.
Spiced Carrot, Brown Rice, and Parsley Purée
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Preparation (Total Time 46 minutes)
1. In a small saucepan, combine THE rice and water.
2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Add the carrots to the rice, cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes. You will still have some liquid in the rice, this will help with the puréeing.
4. Transfer rice, carrot, parsley and cumin to a food processor, puree until smooth adding additional water if necessary and serve.
“Eat Your Greens” Purée
1/2 cup peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup chopped baby carrots
1/2 cup green beans, ends removed
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen (frozen organic veggies are a great staple to have on hand for whipping up baby food!)
Preparation (Total Time 10 min)
1. Put sweet potatoes and carrots in a steamer over boiling water, cover and cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add remaining ingredients and steam for another 3 minutes or until fork tender.
3. Put in a food processor and puree.
4. Cool and Serve.
5. To Freeze: Place in BPA-free trays or storage cubes (we like Wean Green) and freeze for up to 3 months.
1/2 mango, peeled & diced
1/2 cup blueberries
Preparation (Total Time 2 minutes)
1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth.
* For an extra treat for you, toss all of the ingredients in a blender with 1/2 cup of milk for a delicious and nutritious smoothie!
Visit Weelicious for additional healthy options, including baby food, toddler, and family recipes. Or check out our great ideas for making natural food fun through gardening, cooking, and preparing school lunches.
Recipes and puree images courtesy of Catherine McCord and Weelicious.