Hot Plate For Your Hot Date Recipes

Melissa, January 28, 2013

Try out these fantastic recipes submitted by our lovely followers:   Creamy Garlic & Herb Shrimp Linguine Recipe By:  Tara Elias 220 g linguine, uncooked 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted 3 Tbsp. Italian Dressing 1 lb. (450 g) frozen uncooked deveined peeled large shrimp, thawed 1/2 cup (1/2 of 250-g tub) Herb & Garlic Cream Cheese Spread 2/3 cup chicken broth 2 Tbsp. Parmesan grated cheese 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook 3 to 4 min. or until shrimp turn pink, stirring frequently. Transfer to bowl; cover to keep warm. Add peas, cream cheese spread and broth to skillet; cook and stir on medium heat 4 min. or until cream cheese is melted and sauce is thickened. (Do not let sauce come to boil.) Drain pasta mixture. Add to sauce with shrimp mixture; mix well. Top with Parmesan and parsley. —————— Tastes great with white wine and a salad.   No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Squares Recipe By:  Tara Elias 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 1/2 cup granulated sugar – divided use 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed 1 (21-ounce) can cherry filling and topping 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl; mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Let crust chill while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Put cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, lemon peel and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into prepared crust. Combine cherry filling and almond extract. Pour over cheese filling. Refrigerate, covered, ready to serve. Makes 9 servings.     Carrot Soufflé Recipe By: Marlissa Tutaj Ingredients: 2 pounds baby carrots 1 quart of Trader Joe’s Free Range Chicken Broth, or Imagine Free Range Chicken Broth 3 omega 3 eggs 2 tablespoon minced onion 1/2 cup coconut oil 1 tablespoon coconut flour 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup pure maple syrup Process: Cook carrots until soft in free range chicken broth. Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, combine pureed carrots, onion, lemon juice, melted coconut oil, coconut flour, salt, cinnamon, pure maple syrup, and eggs. Beat all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a 2 quart souffle dish, lightly greased with coconut oil. Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes, center should be firm to the touch before eating. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired, and serve. *Carrots may be cooked and pureed hours ahead adding lemon juice and covering tightly until ready to mix other ingredients. You also may bake the souffle, freeze it, and reheat it.     Alfredo Penne Recipe By: […]

F is for Fragrance

Melissa, January 23, 2013

If it stinks, it stinks. Perfumes and anything with the ingredient “fragrance” that we use everyday can contain a dozen or more secret chemicals not listed on labels, such  parabens, phthalates and other synthetic compounds that experts label as harmful to our bodies (and our water when washed away). These chemicals can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt hormones. This includes body lotions, laundry products, and even some kids toys. As for air fresheners, don’t mask odours with toxins – open the windows, that’s as fresh as it gets!  Read the Fragrance Report listed on the Environmental Defence website and find out the health risks of the secret chemicals hidden in your fragrance. TAKE ACTION mist yourself, your stuff, and the air with clean products like Graydon’s Multi Mist This blog series is created from “The Alphabet of Avoidance” by Lisa BordenLisa Borden, champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.”. You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Recycling Competition: Glass vs. Plastic

Melissa, January 20, 2013

Let the ultimate recycling challenge begin!  When we discuss environmental benefits of materials we must also consider the recycling capabilities.  Here are some things that I have discovered. When glass is recycled it uses less energy than manufacturing glass from sand, lime and soda.  With this said every tonne of waste glass that is recycled into new items saves us 315 kg of carbon dioxide! Glass 1 Plastic 0 When glass is recycled it has nearly infinite possibilities for secondary uses.  Plastics have a high molecular weight. Bottom line- heating plastic alone is not enough to dissolve a large molecule so plastics must be with as close to the same plastic as possible in order to mix efficiently.  If you think of how many plastic items you have in your home and categorize them into the 7 Plastic Identification Codes (normally found at the bottom of product) and then categorize them by color you will see how difficult it can be to match plastics up for recycling. Glass 2 vs. Plastic 0 Due to the recycling capabilities of glass it reduces the volumes of waste sent to landfills (when everyone ensures they actually recycle instead of tossing it in the garbage). While the different types of plastic can sometimes be separated it often weakens the plastic too much to be used for all applications. Glass 3 Plastic 0   When a recycling program says that they will accept glass into their program they do not have a large list of exceptions. When a recycling program accepts plastics they often have a large list of plastic products that cannot be accepted.  Please contact your local recycling program for more information on what they will take! Glass 4 Plastic 0 I am starting to feel like I need to give plastic a point!  I really did research this using my best unbiased frame of mind.  I did find that some manufacturers are starting to use biodegradable plastics.  Unfortunately only a small amount of biodegradable plastics are able to degrade without emitting harmful chemicals into the environment.  Another problem with biodegradable plastic is that it becomes somewhat mummified in landfills and can take decades to degrade.  Hmmm. Judges? Glass 4 Plastic 0 You know what; I think we are going to call this one a shutout.  Stay tuned for the next recycling competitions between team Glass and team Plastic. Final score: Glass 4 Plastic 0

Be Part of the Solution – Let’s Put an End to Childhood Obesity

Melissa, January 17, 2013

Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in our country. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it has more than tripled in the last 30 years. In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. And that is a BIG, BIG problem. Sadly, I’m guessing this doesn’t come as much of a shock to anyone reading this. The issue is that we know children are not getting the activity they need, yet we act surprised by the consequences.  It’s time for a solution and I have one. First, let me tell you a bit about who I am and why empowering people  to grow and thrive is my driving passion. I’ve had the good fortune to study Dance Education at NYU and take my love of dance and acting to Los Angeles where, for 18 years, I enjoyed my time as a television and film actress  Eventually I realized I no longer wanted to be just a character in other people’s stories. I wanted to grow something –something that could make a big difference to future generations. So, back to graduate school I went to study Developmental Education. I trained and started teaching yoga – and found that I was drawn to yoga and kids – it was a natural fit. While teaching and training the younger generations, it really hit me that kids needed a more exciting form of exercise than their teacher or caregivers were able to provide. But there wasn’t a lot of material or curriculum to support yogis and classroom teachers to guide and entice kids to get moving or embody self-care and regulation skills. So I did what all spirited entrepreneurs do – I created my own. How do I provide teachers and parents with affordable, engaging and educational active play that develops children’s physical fitness as well as social and emotional self-care? How do I make it possible for all children to get the recommended 90-120 minutes of daily exercise – the lack of which is one of the roots of this obesity epidemic? I am already doing it in the classes I teach in –person.  How can I deliver these classes to everyone and inspire them the way my mom inspired me with all her totally fun creative dramatics, play, dance and sports when I was a kid.   All those expressive, embodied experiences had given me: a sense of self, confidence, health, fitness and an awareness of how to take care of my mind and body.  And now I wanted to pay it forward… This is where Move with Me Action Adventures was born. I realized I could create and produce fun and stimulating videos that give parents and educators a way to introduce movement to children, making it a part of their daily routine.  In past generations, children were encouraged to play outside, even in inclement weather.  But life looks very different today. There are many single parent households as well as working mothers, which also […]

E is for Eco-Bullying

Melissa, January 9, 2013

Screaming with your arms flailing at an eco-sinner who is standing in the next aisle asking for their grocery items to be double plastic bagged makes you an eco-sinner, too. Rather than being angry and finger-wagging, promote eco-education with kindness and understanding (plus, charm always gets you further anyway).  A great way to do this is by watching and sharing  Annie Leonard’s “The Story of Change”. The 6 minute online film explores what effective change-making looks like. In particular, it focuses on the fact that the biggest movement comes from a commitment to working together and how that commitment turns into action. Being aware is the first step, and the more people are aware, the more people will want to do their part.  As Desmon Tutu once said, “Don’t Raise your Voice, Improve your Argument”.  TAKE ACTION practice your kindness skills This blog series is created from “The Alphabet of Avoidance” by Lisa Borden. Lisa is a champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications, and she believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.” You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Tickling Your Little Food Critics Taste Buds with Flavour

Melissa, January 2, 2013

Starting solids with your baby is an adventure for both you and your little one. You have the opportunity to shape your child’s taste buds and long term health and well being from their first taste of food and your little one gets to explore taste and texture and gets to play with food – something only babes get to do. When starting solids I recommend using real food; it really is the best choice. I also suggest introducing foods on a three to four day schedule – only one new food every three to four days. This allows you to see if your little one has any reactions to the food being introduced. If you follow this introduction schedule by time your baby is seven months he should have tried six or seven different foods. Some he will like; others maybe not. The key is to keep trying; it can take time for some tastes to be accepted. Now that your baby is enjoying a variety of foods you can begin to have a little more fun with his food preparation; meaning you can begin to combine some flavours to tickle his tiny taste buds a bit more. Here are some wonderful combinations many babes in my Made by Mommy cooking classes have enjoyed: Dried apricot and pear Avocado and banana Banana and blueberry Raspberry and apple Apple, pear and blueberry Butternut squash and apple Carrot and apple Carrot and raisin Sweet potato and broccoli Apple and dried figs Beet and apple There are two ways to prepare combination purees; the first simply remove one cube of each food from your storage of homemade baby food in the freezer, defrost and mix by hand before serving. For example you might try a dried apricot and pear puree – remove a cube of each from the freezer and once defrosted mix well and let your baby enjoy. This worked well for us when we began mixing foods as we were not committed to the same combinations, we could mix and mingle flavours as we liked.  The second way is to prepare the puree with the two foods, for example if you are making carrot and apple puree, steam both foods and then puree together. Voila you have a baby food tray of carrot and apple puree. Either way your baby gets to enjoy a new flavour – yum!!!! Does your little one have any favourite flavour combinations?

G is for Giftwrap

Melissa, December 12, 2012

Being eco means not buying and wrapping everything up in sight without thought. According to the Use Less Stuff Report, wrapping paper and shopping bags alone account for about 4 million tons of trash annually in the US. Even the production of it all causes harm – think of all of that ink and paper. Gift wrap is used for only such a brief time, and it’s not even recyclable! Some may think reusing old gift wrap or giving an unwrapped gift is being lazy and cheap, but you can just use being “eco” as an excuse (to save money and our planet). Get creative with wrapping by using reusable bags, old newspapers or magazines, tea towels, scarves, shoelaces to tie, old buttons or cut up textiles, and tree-free cards or make your own. The bonus is that you are giving so much eco-ness along with each gift!    TAKE ACTION Tempered glass containers are perfect to hold your homemade cookies and jams. It’s the gift package that keeps on giving.  Wrap up your presents in a reusable, durable, foldable, machine washable bag made from 99% recycled content- it’s gorgeous gift wrap and a gift, all in one Instead of throwing yesterday’s paper in the recycling bin, why not use it to wrap today’s present?   This blog series is created from The Alphabet of Avoidance by Lisa Borden. Lisa is a champion for change, mom of 3, and owner of Borden Communications, and she believes, “If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention.” You can follow her on twitter @LisaBorden for rants, raves, inspiration and information.

Tomato Sauce Plus

Melissa, December 5, 2012

I often find parents come to me with many challenges in regards to feeding their children. One of the biggest is vegetables! For some reason their children won’t eat them. I offer many suggestions to make vegetables more appealing – involving your children in food preparation, serving just a taste of a vegetable they don’t like, serving new vegetables alongside favourite foods. And while these are all great suggestions, sometimes it is necessary to get some vegetables into our children a little faster than these suggestions might work. I will admit up front, I am not a big fan of hiding vegetables, but sometimes you need to do that while you are in transition. This is a great sauce to serve over pasta that your children will gobble up. I do suggest serving some other whole vegetables on the side, but you can feel good if they only eat the sauce, knowing just how many vegetables they did eat. Tomato Sauce Plus 1 cup red lentils, rinsed, picked over and cooked in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes (bring to a boil and then simmer), drain and set aside 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 small zucchini, chopped 1 small or ½ large cauliflower, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped ½ red pepper, chopped 1 tbsp basil 1 tbsp oregano 1 small can diced tomatoes 1 jar of tomato sauce 1 small can tomato paste Pasta of your choice   Heat olive oil in pan; add garlic and onion and sauté until soft.  Add zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, red pepper, and stir for a few minutes.  Add basil and oregano, mix well. Add tomatoes and sauce bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add tomato paste to thicken sauce if necessary. Remove from heat, add red lentils and mix well. Using a hand blender, blend sauce to a smooth consistency. Serve over pasta of your choice. Enjoy!

5 Quick Holiday Tips

Melissa, December 3, 2012

I love the holiday season! The friends, parties, traditions!! The one thing I don’t love is the over indulgence that we often see during this time. Here are my 5 tips to stay eco-chic this holiday season: 1. Creative Wrapping: Get creative! Wrap in something that people would also love to be gifted, like a Lunch Cube or a dish towel! 2. Portion Control: The easiest way for me to use this is to grab a ‘real’ plate at a party. I find that if eating off disposable dinnerware you are often tempted to go back for more, even after you have trashed the first plate. If you are using a real plate the chances of you refilling or grabbing a new plate will be lower… 3. Give Activities: Instead of giving material gifts this year try giving ‘activities’. Like park passes, swimming lessons, truffle classes (that will be used asap;), rock climbing memberships, etc. 4. Help Out: Donations and volunteering are a great way to help even out this now consumer driven holiday season. You will notice that it is almost difficult to get in to volunteer in the month of December so instead of going in for a 1 time show, sign up to volunteer for the year. Get some friends together and take over Tuesdays Soup Kitchen duties. There are tons of ways to help those in need and tons of us to do it so lets all pitch in and brighten someone else’s holiday season. 5. Decorate Wisely: Thankfully a lof of our decorations are family heirlooms that will never be thrown away or replaced. Really think of what you are buying just to use for a few weeks of the year. Try making your own decorations with your families. Surprise them with some cool homemade advent calendars! Have a safe & happy holiday season!

Holiday CONTEST!!

Melissa, December 1, 2012

Now is the time for all you Do-It-Yourselfers to SHINE! We love watching everyone’s DIY gifts on pinterest and wanted to share some of our faves….and offer some holiday gift suggestions that won’t break the bank or fill the landfills. To Enter: Post your picture on our facebook wall OR email them to us at to post for you. We will be pinning these on pinterest as well under our DIY Holiday Gifts board! Submissions with Wean Green in the picture will be given double entries!! If you need some ideas don’t forget to flip through our gift guide above! Winners will be drawn randomly on midnight December 15, 2012. Prize: The winner will receive $50 gift certificate for Babybot and a set of Wean Green!

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