Yogurt Parfait “Dessert”

Does this dessert look good?  It’s very healthy, packed with protein, live and active yogurt cultures, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Kids would be turned off if they heard that and probably some adults as well.

Presentation is important for a “dessert” like this that’s not a traditional dessert. (too healthy).  I used one of my crystal stemmed glasses (that hasn’t been used in years) to make it seem like a fancy dessert.

I must admit that it’s probably going to taste different than it looks because it doesn’t have any added sugar, but you can add stevia for sweetness.  I think it’s good without any added sweetness, but not everyone will agree with me.  You can always substitute your favorite yogurt and/or add Stevia.

This dessert does have the natural sweetness of the organic strawberries, but the yogurt is tart and isn’t your typical sweet yogurt taste. It’s plain organic, 100% grassfed yogurt without any added sugar.  So this dessert has no added sugar.

Toppings can vary.  The pumpkin seeds are organic that have been roasted and lightly salted with sea salt (I like the salty taste that the seeds add to this).  You could substitute organic blueberries or raspberries instead of strawberries.  Both are yummy!  But most of the time, I prefer just the yogurt and pumpkin seeds.  There’s something about the tart and salty tastes together that I like.

I buy these products at Natural Grocers, which I frequent several times a month.  Pictured below are the brands I buy, but you could use your favorite brands.  The Maple Hill Yogurt also comes in flavors such as blueberry, maple, etc., that are sweetened.

Sometimes, I have a taste for something a little sweeter so I might add stevia.  But my favorite thing to add is a little bit of chocolate syrup.  Not just any chocolate syrup, though.  The brand below is organic.  I don’t think my grandchildren like it near as much as the regular name brand chocolate syrup, but I like it.

I’ve included the nutritional content of the organic chocolate syrup so you can check out the sugar content.  I usually just add one teaspoon to my yogurt.  The nutritional info is for two tablespoons.  Since one tablespoon equals three teaspoons, what’s listed on the label is for six teaspoons.  You can do the math and figure out how much sugar you want to add.  I plan to experiment sometime soon and make my own chocolate syrup using organic chocolate powder, vanilla, and organic stevia.

As you can see, this is a very simple non-traditional “dessert,” but it’s very healthy and loaded with nutrition.  You can use your favorite yogurt, and if you have some fancy glasses or bowls, simple yogurt can seem like something special!

Healthy Organic Sleep starts a Healthy Day!

Nothing beats waking up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer your day, and nothing helps you better than a great night’s sleep. You’d be surprised at how hard good sleep is to come by whether it be your mind not being able to shut off or an uncomfortable mattress.

If your issue is the mattress, you most likely get online and start looking in to new mattress options and that’s when things get worse. Did you know about all the toxins and glues that are in a normal mattress? All the harmful off gassing? I didn’t think so, now you can’t even sleep a wink on the uncomfortable mattress you have because you can’t shut your brain off thinking of what’s seeping in to your system.

I’m exhausted just writing that…. Time to look for healthy alternatives!

After a lot of searching, an organic mattress is the way to go: healthy, comfortable and durable. Here’s my only problem: I’ve been a big fan of memory foam and the idea of going back to a mattress that causes my pressure points to flare up again isn’t really appealing. Imagine my delight when I found Essentia which is like Tempurpedic but natural: Essentia organic memory foam mattresses are latex based and have none of the toxic chemicals found in traditional memory foam.

It’s everything I need in one healthy mattress! Essentia showrooms in the US are the only place you can get a real feel for them but I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll be opening a location in Texas soon.

* Guest Post

Gardening

Someday, I want to start a small organic garden. Ages ago before we had kids, we had two tomato plants that produced an enormous amount of the most delicious tasting tomatoes. A few years ago, however, when I tried container gardening on our deck, animals would come during the night and take bites out of our green tomatoes. That was so frustrating!

Whenever we do have a garden in the future, I would like to have a compost tumbler because I’ve read about how great they are. And I definitely want to have some protection around all of the plants to keep hungry critters from ruining our produce!

Gardening

Some day, I would love to have a garden again, even a small garden.  While I was growing up, my parents raised a large garden every year.  They grew so much produce that they would give some away to friends just about every week.  When my husband and I were first married, I had a small garden where the tomato vines were the best producers.  Since then, I tried doing container gardening a few years ago, but I became frustrated because many mornings I could see bites taken out of my green tomatoes while they were still on the vines.

I entertained the idea of a greenhouse, but then there’s still the problem of pests.  I’ve read a little bit about hydroponics and a tiny bit about aeroponics.  If I were to start a garden again, I might be interested in something like that.  That way, I wouldn’t be bothered by hungry animals taking bites out of my plants and pests would be greatly reduced.

Organic Fruit Basket

For those special occasions, here are some good ideas for organic gifts that are edible.  The organic gift basket is quite impressive with a good assortment of  fruit.  The “Simply Organic Fruit” comes in a nice basket that would be great to use for many other things.  Check out  The Fruit Company’s great selection of other organic fruit gifts.

Pesticides Kill Living Organisms…So We Eat Pesticides Anyway?

Something about the fact that pesticides kill living organisms makes me wonder what effect they have on humans.  Of course, they’re not going to kill us, but logic tells me they can’t be good for us.  It only makes sense to me that they would affect us negatively in various ways.   When you read articles online, there is a considerable amount of concern about high levels of pesticides being on some of our food.

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, there are twelve produce items they call the “dirty dozen” because of the high amount of pesticides on them.  This list was based on test data from the USDA.  If at all possible, the EWG says to buy these 12 in organic form or buy in a very limited quantity from time to time.  If organic is too expensive, then choose something off the “Clean 15” list on the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.  Here is a list of what they consider to be the twelve worst fresh produce items as far as the amount of pesticides on them:

  • Celery
  • Peaches (check farmer’s markets and ask if pesticides were used)
  • Strawberries (I watch for Krogers to put organic on sale)
  • Apples  (I buy organic either at Target or Brookshire’s.  The peeling is so healthy, and it defeats half the reason for eating apples if they have to be peeled because of pesticides.)
  • Blueberries (we buy organic at Sam’s)
  • Nectarines
  • Bell Peppers  (I buy organic at Central Market or when Krogers puts them on sale)
  • Spinach (we buy organic on sale either at Central Market, Krogers or Tom Thumb)
  • Kale
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes (I try to buy organic at Central Market, whichever kind of organic potato is the best price)
  • Grapes (imported)  (I don’t buy imported, only domestic)

Organic produce can be expensive, but if you watch the grocery ads then you can usually find it on sale, especially during the summer, at one of the grocery stores that carries organics.

We have been so busy, but our plans are to start a small garden using something similar to the Square Foot Gardening Method.  We hope to plant potatoes, okra, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and green beans.  So, we’ll see how that goes!