Category : Natural and Organic Food

Natural and Organic Food Recipes

Making yogurt without a yogurt maker A.K.A. Crock Pot Yogurt

I looked at yogurt makers a few years ago, but dismissed the idea because of the cost and space issue, as well as mixed reviews.  When I saw this blog post about making yogurt in your crock pot, I knew I had to try it.  We go through tons of the stuff.  We eat it plain, with a little fruit, or with a drizzle of agave nectar.  It’s the only thing my son will eat with gusto!

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Baby Food Made in the USA Natural and Organic Food Review

Happy Baby Organic Finger Food for Babies


I’ve made baby food for both of my children, but commercial finger foods still come in very handy when kids are learning to self feed.  Easy to pick up and melt in their mouths quickly, letting them get used to picking things up and “chewing.”
Happy Baby Food wasn’t available when my daughter was little (at least, not in my area!).  I ended up redeeming points through the Stonyfield Farms rewards program for coupons.
The stores where I shop price the puffs between $3.19 and $3.29 and the yogurt melts between $3.49 and $3.69.  Toys R Us also sells this brand in my area.  It looked like the prices for the puffs were maybe 50 cents higher than Gerber (but contain 40% more product).
The puffs remind me of Gerber’s puffs, except that Happy Baby doesn’t add sugar (they’re sweetened with 100% fruit juice & have half the sugar content of Gerber).  They have apple, banana and greens flavors, and they come in green packaging
The puffs are made with organic whole grains, fruits and vegetables and are fortified with vitamins and minerals.  The whole ingredient list for the banana flavor is: organic rice, organic whole oats, organic wheat, organic apple juice concentrate, organic whole grain brown rice, organic wheat starch, organic banana; vitamins and minerals: ascorbic acid, citric acid, di- and tri-calcium phosphate (calcium), mixed tocopherols (vitamin e), ferric orthophosphate (iron), vitamin d3, niacin (vitamin b3), zinc oxide, d-calcium pantothenate (vitamin b5), riboflavin (vitamin b2), thiamin mononitrate (vitamin b1), pyridoxine hcl (vitamin b6), vitamin b12, folic acid
I chose the banana mango flavor yogurt melts, but they also have Strawberry and Mixed Berry flavors.  We’ll try those later once my son has been introduced to all of the ingredients.  Gerber also has yogurt melts, but since they weren’t around when my daughter was a baby, I haven’t tried them. I compared the nutrition content to Happy Baby’s and it was pretty similar, except that Happy Baby was a bit higher in protein and some vitamins, as I can recall. They are also organic.

Oh.  Em.  Gee.  These things are so good.  I could eat a whole bag myself (if they weren’t so darned expensive).  Especially since there’s only 120 calories in the whole bag!  They’re organic and contain live, active cultures, but no preservatives, chemical fertilizers, or genetically modified ingredients.  There’s also no soy, gluten or wheat, and they’re sweetened with organic cane juice.  They’re freeze dried and melt quickly in baby’s (or Mommy’s) mouth.
The whole ingredient list for the banana mango flavor is: Vitamin D fortified culture pasteurized organic nonfat milk, organic banana, organic evaporated cane juice, organic mango, organic tapioca, pectin, organic locust bean gum, inulin, natural flavor, live and active cultures streptococcus thermophilus, bulgaricus, lactobacillus acidophilus, B. lactis, lactobacillus paracasei, lactobacillus rhamnosus.
I’ve also seen the baby food pouches at Toys R Us and the cereals at a few stores.  They also make Happy Tot Pouches, Happy Bites Meals and Happy Baby frozen food cubes.  I missed the boat on that one, I had that idea as I was making my daughter’s food 4 1/2 years ago!
If you sign up for the newsletter, you can receive coupons for Happy Baby products when they send the newsletter about every three months.
In conclusion, I would like a truck load of Happy Baby yogurt melts to be delivered to my door.  :-p
Last minute addition:  After I wrote this (but before I published it) I spent a bunch more time on their site.  I’m still a big, fat chicken when it comes to contacting companies, but I thought some of you (me included) might be interested in more of their products.
Happy Family is sponsoring a very generous review and giveaway (unfortunately not a truck load of yogurt melts!), so you will definitely want to stay tuned for that in a few weeks!  I think I may turn the review into a play date/taste test!
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Natural and Organic Food Review

Ricemellow Fluffernutter


Go ahead and make a corny joke about this being “fluff” in my blog.  However, this fluff is anything but “corny.”  In fat, it has no corn syrup at all!
Regular marshmallow fluff contains: corn syrup, sugar syrup, dried egg whites and vanillin or Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Egg Whites, Artificial Flavor, Cream of Tartar, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Color (Contains Blue 1), depending on brand.

I found this 10 oz package of Ricemellow Creme by Suzanne’s Specialties at my grocery store, for just under 5 bucks.  Outrageous compared to regular fluff I know, but it contains only brown rice syrup, soy protein, natural gums and natural flavors. 

The only sweetener is the brown rice syrup, there’s no corn syrup, no cane sweeteners, no refined sugars. There’s also no gluten, no animal products (it’s vegan), no fat, cholesterol, added salt, preservatives or artificial additives.

Despite the lack of preservatives, the jar is good until August.

To be honest, with all that, I didn’t have high hopes for it’s taste!

A two tablespoon serving has about the same nutrition facts as it’s corn syrup-y cousin.

When I opened it up, it wasn’t what I expected to see and I was thinking I was going to end up throwing away this $5 experiment.

I cautiously gave it a sniff.  Hmm…smells pretty good.  Sweet.  *sniff*  Almost like a melted marshmallow.  Reminds me of something I can’t put my finger on.

I put a teeny bit on a spoon and gave it a taste.  It was pretty good!  Sweet, a bit like fluff, but much lighter and airier.  I had hubby taste it, and my daughter too.  Both liked it. 

They both thought it had a consistency more like whipped cream than fluff.  My daughter said “It’s TOO YUMMY.”  She also hugged it to herself and said “It’s mine and I’m going to eat it ALL UP because I love it SO MUCH.”  She also told me she liked it better than regular fluff, but later told me she wasn’t sure.

I made a ricemellow creme fluffernutter.  (It’s a little messy since I didn’t use a clean knife to cut it)

It was definitely lighter and easier to spread than regular fluff.  My daughter gobbled her half of the sandwich.  I did too, and while it was tasty, it just didn’t have that gooey, gloppy meld-with-the-peanut butter texture that I love in a fluffernutter.
I will definitely continue to buy this for my daughter, but I will probably still buy the old fashioned stuff every now and again, when I get in the mood for some gooey goodness!
On another note, I ended up buying some brown rice syrup to try to use in place of corn syrup.  I found a great recipe for home made marshmallows I want to try (though I’m going to try them with corn syrup first to work out kinks, the brown rice syrup was expensive!!)
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Natural and Organic Food Review

C is for cookie


No, this isn’t about diapers, but who doesn’t like cookies?  In all seriousness, I hope no one minds if I talk about other natural/green/earth friendly etc. products every now and again. 
I have a ton of diaper, diaper related and baby “stuff” reviews coming.  Also giveaways for Rockin’ Green, Five in a Row Baby Legs and Inspired by Finn Baltic Amber Jewelry.  In fact, go enter my current giveaway (if you haven’t already) for Lil’ Outlaws Wipe Solution, Almost Heaven Diaper Company Wipes and a FuzziBunz changing pad!
For now, If you’ll indulge me, I’m talkin’ ’bout cookies!  Chocolate chip to be exact.  I use shortening in my pie crusts and my chocolate chip cookies.  I just can’t get the same loft and texture with butter alone.  I’ve heard some people say they use lard, but considering that I gagged a little just typing that, lard (*gag*) is out.
So last time I gathered up my ingredients for good old CCCs, I had a newcomer to the crowd.
I saw Spectrum Naturals Organic All Vegetable Shortening in the organic section of my grocery store more than a year ago, but at $6.99 for 24 oz (if I am remembering the price correctly!) and no coupons in sight, I hesitated. 
I took a closer look at the package and decided to give it a try.  It is Non-hydrogenated, USDA Organic, Kosher, and contains one ingredient: Mechanically pressed organic palm oil.  Compare that with Crisco’s ingredient list: Soybean oil, fully hydrogenated palm oil, partially hydrogenated palm and soybean oils, mono and diglyerides, TBHQ and citric acid (antioxidants). 
As far as nutritional stats, Spectrum’s 1 Tbsp (13g) serving has 110 calories, 13g fat, 6g saturated fat, 2g polyunsaturated fat, 5g monounsaturated fat.  Crisco’s 1 Tbsp (12g) serving has 110 calories, 12g fat, 3g saturated fat, 6g polyunsaturated fat and 2.5g monounsaturated fat. 
I usually use half butter and half shortening in my cookies.  Typically, I weigh the shortening on a piece of wax paper to avoid having an icky measuring cup (and for more accurate measuring).  The Spectrum has a much drier, wax-like texture, making it a little tougher to dole out.  It didn’t have the creamy, greasy texture of shortening.  I was actually worried about it creaming in my mixer, but it worked just fine.  I’m wondering how it will work using it in a pie crust where I have to “cut” it into dry ingredients, but I will give it a try.  Same with using it to grease pans!  *edit* I used this again on a day when it was warmer, and the texture was much more crisco-like.
The package says: “When we say our Organic Shortening is good, we really mean good.  It’s better for your body than ordinary shortening because it’s never hydrogenated, has zero grams of trans fat, and is made  from palm oil, which is naturally cholesterol free and a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fat.  Even better are the dozens of small family farmers in Columbia who cultivate and press our palm oil in an environmentally sustainable manner.  It’s good for you, the farmers and the earth…just imagine what it does for a pie crust.”  High Heat up to 450, 0 grams trans fat, cholesterol free, Less saturated fat than butter, vegan – dairy free, Kosher – KSA, Gluten Free.
In the end, the proof is in the pudding…err…cookies.
The cookie dough mixed up wonderfully & looked (and tasted, tee hee) no different than usual.
The cookies were the perfect fluffy, golden brown.

The perfect mix of crispy & chewy I love so much!


glurf wur sl guf..

*Gulp*  That is, they were so good, they didn’t last long!!

In my opinion, this is a great choice for anyone who is avoiding hydrogenated oils.  I can’t wait to try making a pie crust with it!

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Baby Food Natural and Organic Food

Yum! (or Poison! depending on who you are)

>I’m a terrible photographer, even with a little knowledge and an expensive (borrowed) camera.  Still, I thought these apples and plums baking were worthy of a quick shot with my point-and-shoot.

I know I started this blog to write about cloth diapers, but I think I’ve veered off that path enough already to write about homemade baby food sometime.

So stay tuned kiddies!

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