Friday, December 28, 2012

Hempseed Apricot Chews [Recipe]

I found this recipe when doing the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart in January. I searched Whole Foods recipes for vegan recipes and decided to try making these Hempseed Apricot Chews. I have made them several times since January and each time, I fall more in love with them. The flavors meld together after one or two days, and the chews become even tastier. The best thing about the recipe is that you can add/remove the spices to your liking.

For a healthy, satisfying treat, try a bite of the Hempseed Apricot Chews. And if you do not like at first bite, put them in fridge, and try them tomorrow.

Hempseed Apricot Chews
Adapted from a Whole Foods recipe

Dairy free

Gluten free
High protein
No added sugar

Wheat free

Yields: 16 squares

3 cups (about 1 pound) dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
1 cup shelled hempseeds
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract (I used regular organic vanilla extract)
2 tbsp protein powder (I used Tropical Traditions hempseed protein powder)

Optional: other spices like cinnamon, cloves, or cayenne for a spicy kick.

*Katie's adaptations/notes in blue

  1. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until mixture forms a chunky paste (this takes a little while, be patient).  Make sure that the total amount fits into your food processor before you begin.
  3. Transfer to lined pan and press with spatula to create even thickness.
  4. Cover and chill until firm, at least 1-2 hours, and then cut into squares for serving.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Nutrition Info
Total servings: 16 squares
Per serving (1 square), based on my calculations of above ingredients

130 calories
2.7g total fat
0g saturated fat
0mg cholesterol
15mg sodium
18.5g carbohydrate (2.4g dietary fiber, 13g sugar)
4.3g protein

Hempseed Apricot Chews are a great source of energy and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as protein. These tasty little squares are a perfect on-the-go snack. They will even satisfy your sweet tooth!

This recipe was adapted by All Natural Katie based on another recipe. If you post the recipe on a blog/website, please link back to the original post or cite the original post. If you see this Hempseed Apricot Chews recipe anywhere else, please email me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Eco-Friendly Guide to Surviving Conventional Holidays

Although I enjoy spending time with the extended family, the holidays are a tough time for me. This Christmas, we are away from home for 5 days. There is no composting, no recycling, and no idea what ingredients were used in dishes or what dishes will be served. Add the fact that I am vegetarian and I am currently eating a high-protein diet to the mix and things start to get really crazy. What is a greenie to do when spending the holidays with her "conventional" relatives? Here is my eco-friendly guide for surviving "conventional" holidays.

First and foremost, put aside some of your eco-friendly philosophies just for a few days. Doing this presents the biggest challenge for me as my eco-friendly philosophies are a big part of my values and beliefs. Over the past couple of years, I have slowly been able to relax a few rules here and there. I can control some things (like bringing a couple vegetarian and organic side dishes), but I cannot control other things (whether scraps are composted or not). I also cannot control or judge other people's food choices. Going in with this mindset helps me to be at ease with practices and mindsets that I might disagree with.

Second, offer to bring one or two dishes or desserts. I can control what ingredients I use and I know there will be something I feel 100% comfortable eating. I always bring Cranberry Sauce, which I make with all organic ingredients and honey, and another dish or dessert. Check out what I brought for our Thanksgiving meal.

Third, use eco-friendly packaging for food storage/transportation, gifts, etc. Use glass or ceramic dishes, which are more decorate and festive than disposable containers. Gifts bags are most likely to be reused by the recipient, so if you buy an eco-friendly gift bag, you are paying forward and helping reduce the amount of waste that results from holiday gift giving. I also save boxes from packages I receive in the mail and reuse them for gifts.

Now, for some of the other informal things I do to deal with "conventional" holidays:
  1. Spend time in the kitchen while food is being prepared to see the ingredients used.
  2. Compliment a dish and ask what ingredients were used in it to decide whether to eat it or not.
  3. Read the ingredients list on anything that is put out in a bag/package/container.
  4. Bring my own organic, natural snacks and organic, grass-fed dairy items.
  5. Say "no" to certain items; just because there are 10 dishes does not mean you have try all of them.

>> What are your eco-friendly ways for getting through conventional holidays?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Eco Lips Care Kit [Giveaway]

If you have been looking for organic and natural lip balm, look no further! Eco Lips is the answer to lips that are dry, chapped, or just need some moisture. All natural and even organic ingredients. I am very impressed and pleased with the 4 Eco Lips balms that I reviewed.

Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. All entries will be verified. Duplicate and invalid entries will be deleted.

Eco Lips - The best lip balm for the world!
Eco Lips Care Kit (7 lip balms + carabiner, $25 value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Challenge: Cooking Without Small Appliances [#CTWW]

Some might call me crazy, some might appreciate, but only a few will understand. When cooking side items for the holidays, I decided not to use any powered small appliances, only the stove and oven. It's just me, the cutting board, the knife, and the mortar and pestle. Who needs a food processor?!?! Chop the almonds, toast, then grind them up with the mortar and pestle. No annoying sounds of small appliances and no need to clean them. Yes, it takes a little elbow grease, but I can enjoy the relaxing music playing through the iPod speakers.

>> What are some of your eco-friendly tips for reducing impact on the environment?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Quote [#CTWW]

“ . . . the idea of the future being different from the present
is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and
behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting
on it in practice.”

John Maynard Keynes, 1937

Monday, December 17, 2012

Eco Lips Natural and Organic Lip Balm [Review]

Over two years ago, when I cleaned out all toxic body products, a variety of lip balms were thrown away also. I have not really searched for all natural, organic lip balms as I substituted other natural moisturizers like coconut oil, shea butter, etc. However, I have missed lip balm. When I received the Eco Lips package in the mail last week, I was excited to once again have a little tube of lip balm in my purse for quick and easy application. Eco Lips natural and organic lip balms are the perfect solution to dry and cracked winter lips. Not only do you get organic and all natural ingredients (including scents!), but at a very affordable price.

Eco Lips - The best lip balm for the world!

ONE WORLD Lip Balm              ($5.99, 0.25oz)
Eco Lips Gold Lip Balm            ($3.49, 0.15 oz)
Dagoba Roseberry Lip Balm    ($3.49, 0.15 oz)
Eco Tints Tinted Lip Balm                 ($4.49, 0.15 oz)
Source: Eco Lips Store
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
USDA organic and all natural
Ingredients: iron oxides, mica, and titanium dioxide 
Light and moisturizing

Variety of flavors and scents

Reasonably priced

After I opened the package, I took some time reading each of the lip balms and ingredients. I finally decided on the ONE WORLD Lip Balm, Orange Spice Flavor. This lip balm comes in a bigger size than the rest. I love that this lip balm contains Argan Oil, which revitalizes skin and neutralizes free radicals. I have been using this lip balm for a week. I love the way it makes my lips feels. The balm goes on very light, but just enough moisture (no one likes greasy lips!).

I would equate the Eco Lips Gold Lip Balm, unscented, to your every day, winter lip balm. It is the all-around lip balm for soothing healed and chapped lips quickly. This lip balm contains certified organic Baobab Oil. I love that this lip balm is unscented for those who do not want to smell their lip balm all day long or for those who prefer unscented lip balms.

I was most intrigued by the Dagoba Roseberry Lip Balm. Chocolate lip balm! How can you not love that?!? This lip balm contains Dagoba organic cocoa powder, organic raspberry flavor, and organic rosehip oil. Rosehip oil is loaded with omega fatty acids and is great for damaged skin. I would save this lip balm for special occasions because of the chocolate roseberry flavor. The experience is like eating dessert!

Last, but certainly not least, the 
Eco Tints Tinted Lip Balm is a perfect combination of lip balm and lipstick. I love that the color is enough to tint my lips, but not too much where I feel like I'm wearing lipstick. Conventional lipstick has so many toxic and synthetic chemicals. Eco Tins mostly contains organic ingredients, in addition to iron oxides, mica, and titanium dioxide (all three rate 2-3 on Skin Deep Cosmetics Database) to provide the color. I like that I can use Eco Tins Lip Balm when going on a date night or out with my girlfriends as a safer, natural lip tint.

On my last grocery trip at Whole Foods, I looked around the Beauty section to see where I can find Eco Lips lip balms. I love that Eco Lips offers so many USDA Organic lip balms in delicious flavors. 
I highly recommend these lip balms to any lip balm lover and would purchase these myself in the future. The flavors are just enough to please the senses, but not overpowering if you regularly apply lip balm. Eco Lips lip balms are a great green gift and stocking stuffer! Find Eco Lips at your local retailer or buy online.

Disclosure: I received the sample from the company in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. I am under no pressure to return the product to the company or to write this review. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts [Giveaway]

If you have never heard of Soap Nuts, I encourage you to read my review post. I am hooked on these little laundry cleaning powerhouses. I have never felt my laundry be so soft. Plus, they are as green and as eco-friendly as can be. Use them, then compost them. No additives. No fillers. No perfume. All natural. Hypo-allergenic. For sensitive-skin. You can win a bag that will last through at least 80-100 loads below.

Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. All entries will be verified. Duplicate and invalid entries will be deleted.

Soap Nuts, 80-100 load bag, 250g ($10.00 value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Greener, Cleaner, Non-Toxic Laundry with Soap Nuts [Review]

As I have mentioned in previous posts, one of the hardest transitions to green living has been replacing cleaning products with ones that are non-toxic and actually work. I usually go through several, if not more, brands of eco-friendly and green products before I find one that even compares to the toxic brands. I have been eyeing soap nuts for quite some time. I have read many reviews on their effectiveness and have always wanted to try them. If you are looking to remove toxic chemicals from your house, Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts will leave you with greener and cleaner laundry!

Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts    (80-100 load bag, $10.00)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Cleans and soften clothes (no dryer sheets needed)
Bag with soap nuts can get "lost" among the clothes
Natural, non-toxic, green

No additives, no perfumes, no fillers


What is a soap nut?
A soap nut is the shell of a berry that is dried in the sun and resembles a nut. Soap nuts have some of the highest concentration of saponin, which breaks the water surface tension and lifts the dirt of the fabric. Soap nuts also soften your fabric, so there is no need for dryer sheets.

Place 4-6 whole shells (8-10 halves) in the muslin drawstring bag, close the bag securely, and toss the bag in the drum of the washing machine as the water is filling, before your clothes, just as you would add any other laundry detergent. The same 4-6 shells can be used up to 8 times in cold water washes and up to 4 times in hot water washes. For cold water washes, it is recommended to soak the shells in water for 5-10 minutes.

My Experience:
Now that you know a little bit about soap nuts and how to use them, let me tell you about my experience. My husband does the laundry 95% of the time. He was a little skeptical that these little "nuts" would clean our dirty clothes, sheets, towels, etc. I promised him that they would work. I brought the muslin bag and he tossed it into the washes reluctantly. I will be honest that we did not quite know how to tell if the clothes were clean or not (not that we know with other detergents either), but we have been wearing the clothes for one week and I have not heard of any complaints of being stinky. We realized that when transferring clothes from the washes to the dryer, you have to hunt for the soap nuts bag to make sure you take it out. After using the soap nuts, I hug the bag up to dry. The biggest surprise came when my husband took the clothes out of the dryer.  He said that they felt very soft. Unbelievably soft! I do not think that our towels have ever been so soft!

When comparing using Soap Nuts with using powder/liquid laundry detergent, they are just as easy to use. Yes, you have to hunt for the bag when you transfer the laundry to the dryer, but the fact that the soap nuts leave your clothes softer makes them a winner in my book. I would highly recommend Cleaner Planet Soap Nuts to anyone. My laundry feels clean, smells clean, and is softer. And when I'm all done, I can throw the used soap nuts in the compost. Zero waste!

Disclosure: I received the sample from the company in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. I am under no pressure to return the product to the company or to write this review. This product review is based on my personal experiences. This review is objective and completely honest. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...