Ketchup Doesn’t Grow in a Tube: #Kidsinthekitchen

One of the first foods that I questioned on my organic quest was ketchup. I have loved ketchup my entire life, primarily because it counted as a vegetable in my home and got me out of some sticky situations involving canned green beans. Anyone who had something to say about MY ketchup needed pretty compelling evidence that I should not continue to apply a layer to my chicken sandwiches and then smear them through the gobble-worthy goop.

The average bottle of ketchup does come from tomatoes, which is great because tomatoes are loaded in vitamins like C and K. However, the third ingredient is generally HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. This sludge makes the ketchup taste great, but it’s got a bad rap in the organic community for dozens of reasons. My main beefs with HFCS are that the body is not able to process it and that it comes from genetically modified corn (GMO.) Basically, when we consume HFCS it stays in our body and creates blockages that can lead to obesity, heart disease, or cancer. I don’t want any of those things for myself or my family, so now that I’m aware of the ingredient I can take simple steps to avoid it. For one thing, I can buy organic ketchup. Generally organic ketchup still has sugar because that’s what takes your average tomato from marinara to ketchup, but the sweeteners are derived from plants and not modified with chemical processes so our body is able to process them. I also like organic ketchup because it has no GMO ingredients. In my book, anything that kills bees is NOT a good thing for our planet. Except my dog Baja, who I forgive for his bee cravings because he generally picks the ones who would otherwise eat my deck.

Firmly rooted in my decision to abstain from conventional ketchup whenever I can (although I do cave from time to time like last night at Moms Night Out because… French Fries), I finally mustered the courage to make my own. Making something from the food in jars cookbook by Marisa McClellan has been on my to-do-list for more than a year. The reason that it has taken me so long is that I am terrified of canning. Even after three in-person demonstrations with the lovely Marisa herself, I still don’t have the gumption for canning. But a few days ago, I thought to myself how long I keep ketchup on my refrigerator door and wondered- what if I bypass the whole step of canning and just keep it chilled?

When my backyard tomatoes turned ripe in abundance, I gathered them with Hannah’s help. She even took a picture of me during our harvest. I love the way she sees me.

eco incognito tomato harvest

 

Audrey took the prime role of ketchup assistance and helped me toss tomatoes into our cast iron pot with onions and red peppers for a good, long boil.

ketchup baby

After the boil, we smushed the tomatoes through a sieve to separate the seeds and skins.

baby chef

Back into the pot, the tomato soup received a healthy dose of sugar, vinegar, molasses, and spices. Of course I didn’t have the right ones for the recipe on hand, but I did my best.

cast iron ketchup

WOW! The smell of this ketchup is intoxicating. I never thought I could love ketchup more, but making my own has shown me the truth. It’s like I had a ketchup baby.

Ketchup in a Cast Iron Pot

Ingredients

  • 8 pounds roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP Molasses
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed

Instructions

  1. Boil the tomatoes, onion and red bell peppers for 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the skins, bay leaf, and seeds, then return the pulp to the pot.
  3. Add cider vinegar, sugar, molasses, garam masala directly to the mixture. In a spice bag, infuse the crushed cinnamon stick, mustard seed, and pepper flakes into the pot.
  4. Simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes until it is thick.
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Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

 

 

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Young Living Enrollment Bonus $20 GIFT CARD

Young Living Oils are my personal key to a green lifestyle. I was not always the type of person who could whip up my own bugspray, or massage her baby’s feet or even considered the effects of the ingredients in my cleaning supplies. Nor did I ever consider taking my own personal hygiene into my own hands and preparing a DIY beauty regimen. But, in a short 9 months having essential oils in my home, I feel like I can do it all. In the time it took me to get used to essential oil applications, I could have grown a baby. In fact, I’ve already done that twice, so is it really that hard to believe that I could have become a self-proclaimed oil aficionado?

To be fair, there IS something in the air around here. I have been diffusing daily for about a month now, in addition to my general routine of cleaning with essential oil based products, so I really feel that my house is full of rejuvenating scents. I’m harnessing all this positive energy and business building opportunity and sharing these gifts with you. For one week only, from September 9-16, 2014, any new distributors (who purchase a premium starter kit) under me will receive a $20 paypal gift card as my THANK YOU. 

Now is a great time to enroll because the Premium Starter Kits include 2 upgrade oils: Sacred Frankincense and DiGise. Check out what you get for $150:

YL Premium Starter Kit

If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to know a little bit about the oils before ordering, especially if you are considering taking this on as a business venture. I love their “Seed to Seal” guarantee, which affirms their stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants. Read more here…

As much as we can learn online about oils from amazing resources like the Oily Family Facebook group for Young Living Distributors, the real knowledge comes from experience. How do I feel when I diffuse oils every day for a week? Do certain oils smell better than others? Where can I apply oils to feel direct topical relief from stress or athletic injury? Only you will know what works best for you and your family. Plus, what works for me may not work the same for you so I wouldn’t want to make any promises. But, I am always willing to share about my experience using these oils every day.

Before you order, remember that Essential Oils have SO MANY uses that we could never list them all. I think that’s one of the main reasons we can be intimidated before making a purchase. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 “umbrella” concepts to show the broad applications for these amazing oils. You can do anything with yours and I can’t wait to hear how you use them all over.

5 simple steps

For this week only, I will send a $20 Paypal Gift Card to anyone who signs up as a distributor after clicking this link and orders a Premium Starter Kit. Remember, you can get started for as little as $40, but this special gift from me to you is only available for those who order a Premium Starter Kit for $150 as shown in the picture above. 

 

*only valid for new enrollees under #1894323. please allow up to 6 weeks for your gift card to arrive via email. no hokey pokey business y’all. let’s keep it clean here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Suite: Barley Sheaf Players

Support local arts in Exton by seeing a play at Barley Sheaf Theater!
Last weekend I had the delightful pleasure of watching the Barley Sheaf players perform California Suite. The dynamic cast of 12 acted out a myriad of personalities one might encounter on a spy cam in a luxurious hotel near LA.
photo from Barley Sheaf Players

photo from Barley Sheaf Players

Deep inside the room, we watched as exes reconciled on behalf of an estranged child, a raucous night threatened a marriage, a foreign movie star prepared for awards night and a pair of tennis enthusiast couples fought off the blues of a lengthy group vacation. The intimate portrayal of what really happens behind hotel doors sparked from a showcase of terrific actors. Between each scene, a vivacious maid cleared the space with an inspired musical sweep.
The stage designer Wayne Grinwis created a picture-perfect replica set and Michele Murphy’s costumes helped each character look the part. I sincerely congratulate DirectorsLindsay Franklin, Allie Greet, Andrea Grinwis, and Christine Robinson and the cast and crew on a fantastic production! Eco Incognito gives the play a green thumb.

Catch it for the next two weeks:

California Suite runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. from September 5 through September 20.

Reservations are available either online at www.barleysheaf.org or by calling the box office at 610-363-7075. After California Suite, the Barley Sheaf Players’ season continues with Accomplice, opening October 17. For more information about these shows and The Barley Sheaf Players, please visit their web site at www.barleysheaf.org.

Real Food Diet #kidsinthekitchen

Earlier this week I started a program called 40 Days to a Personal Revolution to ignite my yoga practice in preparation for teacher training later this fall. You might wonder, “What the heck does this have to do with kids in the kitchen?” Although, the primary focus is on yoga, our health relates so heavily to the foods we eat that they recommend practicing a discerning diet of primarily real, whole foods. A few years ago, when I first read a recommended yogi diet I thought, “OMG I’m going to starve.” Surprisingly, I have learned over the better part of a decade that healthy eating doesn’t feel anything like starvation.

To kickstart my 40 days, I took the recommendation to have a fruit fast. A day of eating only fruit seemed like a simple enough challenge with the abundance of watermelon and peaches from our CSA. Little did I know that my husband, Zac, had baking plans up his sleeve for a Labor Day weekend celebration. I decided to qualify Apple Pie and Banana Bread as items that would count in my fruit fast. It was too hard not to take a taste after an afternoon joyfully stirring, mixing, and baking together as a family.

daddy daughter baking

 

Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

 



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Greenfest Philly Sunday September

This Sunday I’m heading down to Headhouse square with the girls for Greenfest Philly. I’m so excited to see the event and to check out all the activities for the whole family. We are planning to go to kid’s yoga, the clothing swap, and the bug tasting, among many other fun booths. 

One of the main reasons I love getting out and meeting people who are active in green living is that there is always a tremendously positive energy in the crowd. The event is free and open to the public, but there is an option to buy a GREENFEST CARD for $30 with great bonus perks. Check it out!
greenfest philly

Yoga Journey: 40 Days to a Personal Revolution

Today is Day 1 of my 40 Days to a Personal Revolution. This September day is bright and beautiful. I am so grateful for the abundant harvest that contributes to my energy. This fall I am following Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days to a Personal Revolution guide in preparation for my yoga teacher training this fall. I’m planning to check in and share some of the experience along the way. Here are my thoughts today:

Yoga Journal

 

Tree PoseFollow my #balancebasics journey this month with some amazingly inspiring yogis on Instagram. 

 

#kidsinthekitchen CSA: Join the Food Revolution

This may come as a shock to some people, but I never make my kids eat their vegetables. In our home, vegetables come in such abundance that I have enough on my proverbial plate just eating them myself. You see, we host a Community Shared Agriculture pickup point (CSA), so every Tuesday our home becomes a mini farmers market, per se. The logistics aren’t exactly the same, but the overall goal is to connect families with farms in the area and provide a hearty share of honest to goodness food.

veggie tray

For me, the best part of our CSA is connecting our community of food enthusiasts. Many of us are motivated by such authors as Michael Polan (In Defense of Food) or Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) to eat food from local sources. His rules, “If it comes from a Plant, eat it. If it is made in a plant, don’t” certainly apply for us and are easy to follow thanks to the amazing work of our local farmers. We are all benefiting from an abundant harvest of organic veggies like tomatoes, corn, eggplant, onions, potatoes and more. Each week, I am inspired to try new recipes and to forge family favorites that we will pass through the generations. All these recipes carry my personal seal of approval – not a commercial.

CSA pickup

Earlier in the season, Hannah and Audrey were so curious about the food that they climbed the mountainous walls of boxes and tore through my share to inspect every vegetable. Thank heavens for the watermelons that satisfy their appetites every week from our fruit share. Now, the regularity has calmed their eagerness and instead they fall into helpful roles unpacking veggies for our members. Nothing brings me greater joy than to see their curiosity bloom into understanding about nature’s finest offerings.

lancaster farm fresh coop pickup

Since they are such active participants in our CSA activities, I interviewed the girls about our CSA last Monday to give you a child’s perspective on what happens in our backyard.

Me: Tomorrow is Tuesday, our CSA day. It’s my favorite day of the week. What do you think will happen in the morning?

Hannah: First we get boxes from Danny, then we eat them NOM NOM NOM.

Audrey: DANNY! (SQUEEEEL)

M: That’s right girls, Danny is going to bring the truck with all the food to our house. What do you think will come in the boxes?

H: Matoes and watermelons and peppers.

M: What about corn, do you like corn?

H: Yes, I eat them like this NOM NOM NOM.

A: CORN! (SQUEEEL!)

M: Will your friends come get their food?

H: Yes, and I help them pack it in their bag. And then Dan comes and he eats it like this NOM NOM NOM.

M: (Laughing) You know, we sure are lucky to have such great friends and an abundance of food. I’m happy to share it with you girls.

It’s funny to me how naturally I have fallen into a role as an organic food activist. No longer do the challenges of eating apply to this once picky eater. I have such a strong love for food that it is hard not to be grateful for every bite. I truly do count our blessings at every meal, and during every pickup day, because the ability to provide this kind of nurture to my family is what fills my heart with love and vitality.

Do you have questions about joining our CSA in West Bradford? Check out www.lancasterfarmfresh.com to learn more.

Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

 

Thanks for joining our weekly link up of the fun and educational experiences our kids can have in the kitchen.  Exploring creativity with food, crafts, activities and lessons not only expands your child’s learning and imagination, it provides quality time together for family bonding.

By linking up you are agreeing to be added to the #kidsinthekitchen email list. You will only receive a weekly reminder of the link party and possibly any special announcements that we think you’d enjoy or benefit from.

Your email address will NOT be shared with anyone else.

 

Thanks for joining our weekly link up of the fun and educational experiences our kids can have in the kitchen.  Exploring creativity with food, crafts, activities and lessons not only expands your childs learning and imagination it provides quality time together for family bonding.

By linking up you are agreeing to be added to the #kidsinthekitchen email list. You will only receive a weekly reminder of the link party and possibly any special announcements that we think you’d enjoy or benefit from.

Your email address will NOT be shared with anyone else.

 

 


#Envirokids Contest with Sea Turtles in Coast Rica from Nature’s Path

A few weeks ago I found out about an amazing contest from Nature’s Path to visit Costa Rica in March 2015. Imagine working side by side with a team of researchers to help these sea turtles by restoring their natural habitat on the beautiful Costa Rican coast. I, for one, would love to have an opportunity like this so I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that someone I know will be walking those sandy beaches next spring. The best part of the trip is that it includes a stop at a chocolate farm!

Are you interested in entering the contest? Read more to find out how.

EnviroKidz Envirotrip contest graphic

Let’s face it, we’d all love to hang out with these guys, right?

Green_Turtle

I find sea turtles incredibly adorable. The way they coast through the water brings me such a sense of peace. I have only ever seen them in captivity, but I would love to see them in their natural habitat.

When I think of all the other amazing wildlife present in that ecosystem, I can’t help but image I’ll get to see these adorable guys, too.

Sloths

I sincerely hope that you have a chance to take this trip or at the very least you have a chance to enjoy some delicious Nature’s Path treats. This company, primarily focused on providing organic food, offers a great array of breakfast and snack bars. We thoroughly enjoyed our gift basket. There is nothing sweeter than waking up to my two year old asking for her breakfast by the animal on the box. “Mama, want some monkeys!”

EnviroKidz Back to School Snacks Giveaway - prize graphic (1)

Check it out… EnviroKidz is sending three lucky families on an EnviroTrip to Costa Rica to help save the sea turtles at SEE Turtles, a non-profit wildlife conservation travel operator in the beautiful OSA peninsula.  Three lucky winners and their families (three groups of 4 people) will get an all-expense paid trip to Costa Rica in March 2015.  They will spend three days working with Costa Rican organization Latin American Sea Turtles to catch endangered green and hawksbill sea turtles in the Golfo Dulce, a beautiful gulf located alongside the Osa Peninsula. They will help researchers set out nets, measure the turtles, and collect important data before releasing them back to the water. In addition, the winners will participate in a mangrove restoration project, helping to plant two species of mangrove trees that are critical to turtles and other wildlife of the Gulf. Finally, the winners will visit a chocolate farm to see how the world’s favorite treat is made!

Ten runner-ups will receive EnviroKidz gift baskets.
To enter and find official contest rules, visit www.EnviroKidz.com.
Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Nature’s Path via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Nature’s Path or MomTrends. 

Namas Day: A Yoga and Wellness Festival in West Chester

Join me in West Chester on Sunday October 19 for a full-day yoga experience. Namas Day comes to the Sykes Student Union to offer an array of workshops to yoga enthusiasts of all levels.

Namas Day

One of my greatest joys in yoga is experiencing the practice with others. Think of the difference between listening to a CD or going to a concert with your favorite band. We need these group experiences to share and celebrate our collective love of the practice. I remember the first time I truly felt and acknowledged the energy between a yoga peer. I had been attending yoga classes at Power Yoga Works for the better part of a year when a woman settled into the mat next to me with a vibrant energy. We exchanged names and smiles before starting the class. The energy that carried her through our rigorous asanas motivated me to deepen my regular practice. After class she let me know that she had just returned from a yoga retreat with Baron Baptiste. For her, the experience was transformative and I am so grateful that she radiated that light to me in our shared practice.

Now, it is time for West Chester to experience that energy and positivity that comes from more than 400 people joining together to share a day of yoga. This fall’s lineup features 17 workshop leaders, including Prana Flow® instructor Deanne Caputo providing insights on the ancient healing art of Ayurveda; Baptiste Certified Teachers Colleen Devirgiliis, Robyn Freeman, Don Myer lending instruction of their art of vinyasa and assisting; and ashtanga warrior Alison Donley, director of West Chester University’s student yoga curriculum, leading students through breath and mind connection. Athletes will benefit too with practices led separately by sports coaches Ed Harrold and Cara Bradley. For those into the edgier side of yoga, check out Christine Hebestadt and Lex Peters’ acrobatic yoga and “the tattooed yogi” Justin Reilly’s spiritual lift off into arm balances and inversions. View more at namasdayphilly.com/presenters/.

 

Festival-goers can expect to visit an array of local wellness businesses in the marketplace and receive “swag bag” giveaways. Businesses interested in supporting Namas Day can join sponsors like Whole Foods Market, for which a portion of the proceeds will support the Transformation Yoga Project.

 

Namas Day registration is currently open, and early bird discounts are available through September 7. Sessions will close when they are filled. For registration info and complete festival details, visit www.namasdayphilly.com To get the low down on the big day, please “like” Philly Area Yoga on Facebook and with Namas Day on Facebook.

Mason Jar Milk Shake #kidsinthekitchen

simple homemade ice creamHold onto your aprons. This recipe is going to knock the socks off anyone in your kitchen. When I wrote my 2014 Summer Bucket List a few months ago, I eagerly included homemade ice cream in the scope of memorable activities for our family to complete. My earliest childhood memory is of finding $20 and using it to buy ice cream, so I reflect a lot on my favorite frozen summer treat. This year I was inspired to make our own after a series of events led me to a greater understanding of milk and the ways we use it.

Our family drinks a lot of milk. So much, in fact, that we make weekly trips to the farm to collect 2-3 gallons. When I first started researching raw milk and then the processes of culturing it into yogurt or cheese, I hungrily thought of all the ways to use the liquid gold. Until my family drank it all.

One of the things that intrigues me the most is watching the separation take place as milk turns to cream or butter. This is a process that I’ve watched unfold a dozen times in abandoned sippy cups around the swing set. From time to time, when the milk set out for a few too many hours, I wondered what I could do since it seemed a shame to waste that milk. The fact is, it is great for cooking, so I reserve it to make pancakes or pour into soup for a rich flavor.

Milk experiments aside, the joy of ice cream making is one of the simplest pleasures to experience on a hot summer day. Call it ice cream, call it gelato, call it a milk shake; the end result is sugar milk and you really can’t mess it up. There is even a nifty freezer attachment for the kitchenaid that will do the work for you. But, if you are looking for a way to while away that last half hour before dinner, what better way than to shake up some ice cream?

Here’s what I discovered in our mason jar ice cream experiment:

First, it is possible to freeze ice cream in a mason jar. Second, the consistency is different than store bought, but on a hot day it’s hard not to love it. Thirdly, this didn’t work as well as I had hoped. There is truly magic in the kitchenaid attachment, so I recommend using a true ice cream maker instead of a mason jar. All in all, I loved the ease of just using a few simple ingredients and making something my kids really enjoy. Of course they loved pre-sampling the mix-ins of pecans and chocolate carob chips.

To make your own ice cream, simply freeze a mason jar for 24 hours.

mason jar ice creamPour in 2 Tbsp of sugar and 1 cup of milk into the frozen cup.

kid shaking ice creamShake for a few minutes, then return to the freezer and intermittently shake it.

ice cream in a jarIt will freeze in less than 1 hour.

ice cream in a jarEnjoy!

Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

 

Thanks for joining our weekly link up of the fun and educational experiences our kids can have in the kitchen.  Exploring creativity with food, crafts, activities and lessons not only expands your child’s learning and imagination, it provides quality time together for family bonding.

By linking up you are agreeing to be added to the #kidsinthekitchen email list. You will only receive a weekly reminder of the link party and possibly any special announcements that we think you’d enjoy or benefit from.

Your email address will NOT be shared with anyone else.

 

Thanks for joining our weekly link up of the fun and educational experiences our kids can have in the kitchen.  Exploring creativity with food, crafts, activities and lessons not only expands your childs learning and imagination it provides quality time together for family bonding.

By linking up you are agreeing to be added to the #kidsinthekitchen email list. You will only receive a weekly reminder of the link party and possibly any special announcements that we think you’d enjoy or benefit from.

Your email address will NOT be shared with anyone else.

 



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