Category Archives: organic

Move over Pumpkin: Sweet Potatoes are here!

There are all kinds of veggies that make their way out during the fall season.  Pumpkin is the all time favorite. It’s the king of the fall veggies. Everything turns pumpkin—POOF! Just like Cinderella’s carriage.  There’s Pumpkin cereal, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Crackers,Pumpkin Stew, Pumpkin Biscotti, Pumpkin Ice Cream.  The list goes on and on.  One local market has over 22 varieties of pumpkin flavored products.  Yes, 22!  Over-kill?  Well, I suppose they have to strike while the iron is hot.

For me, the fall is more about subtlety.  No need to crack yourself over the head with pumpkin everything so that you’re sick of it by the Thanksgiving Day.  Autumn lasts about 60 days.  Sixty wonderful days of leaves changing, brisk winds and cozy sweaters.  So what’s the rush?

The sweet potato is one of those veggies that doesn’t get its time in the spotlight as it should.  It makes an appearance at the Thanksgiving table, but then it’s quickly gone.  But why?  What’s not to love about the sweet potato?  Why shouldn’t they be a part of your healthy lifestyle?

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In a one-cup serving, sweet potatoes have the daily recommended value of:
● 214% of Vitamin A
● 52% of Vitamin C
● 50% of Magnesium
● 36% of Copper
● 27% of Potassium
● 26% of Fiber

In addition:
● Has Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients
● May improve blood sugar regulation
● Filled with Antioxidants

Wow…all that and it tastes good!  Score!

We’ve eaten sweet potatoes several different ways.  Mashed, roasted, fried and even in pie.  But what about a delicious breakfast bar? One filled with oats and quinoa?

Behold my Sweet Potato Quinoa Oat Bars.  These little delights will have you in love well past the autumn season, well into winter!!!  They are delicious, gluten free, and the quinoa is packed with protein to keep you fuller, longer.  I can’t think of anything better!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Oat Breakfast Bar
Makes 16-18 Bars

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Ingredients:
2 cups quick oats
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa
1 15 oz can sweet potato
3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey, raw organic
1/3 cup almond butter (or favorite nut butter-I used cashew)
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon, heaping
½ tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp ginger
Optional:
½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
½ cup raisins

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8”x8” baking pan with parchment paper in the center only.  Grease the sides.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: oats, quinoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a second smaller bowl, mash bananas to a smooth texture. Set aside.

In a third bowl, whisk eggs together until scrambled. Add vanilla, honey, nut butter and sweet potato puree; combine. Add mashed bananas to wet mixture and blend together (a spatula works best).

**TIP**Steps 2 and 3 and be combined if using a blender. Add all wet ingredients to blender.  Blend for 20-30 seconds on medium speed until all ingredients are combined.  The only difference is you will get a smoother texture, since the banana will become pureed instead of smashed.**

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Now combine the wet and dry mixtures together. Batter should not be too runny. If it is, add more quinoa or oats until desired texture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until bars are golden brown and firm to touch. Remove and let cool completely in baking pan. Cut into 16-18 squares. May store in fridge for up to 4 days or freeze.

These can easily be made into muffins. I use silicone liners, but traditional liners will work as well. The batter typically makes 16 muffins, but you can make them smaller if you’d like, just reduce the baking time.

These are so easy to make and so satisfying! I usually make large batches of them and freeze.

They warm up perfectly in the microwave, or thaw in the fridge overnight.

Remember to give thanks to the sweet potato as well. Don’t let pumpkin have all the fun!!!

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Happy Baking!

 

Top 15 Organic Items at Costco!

I’m not someone who strictly follows an organic lifestyle. I stick to the Dirty Dozen and look for pesticide free items at my local Farmer’s Market. I choose organic vs. conventional solely due to the fact that the crops are not sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides. Isn’t that reason enough? On Fridays I go to my local Farmer’s Market. Not only can I find organic and pesticide free produce, I enjoy talking to the vendors/farmers and actually knowing where my food is coming from. I can’t always get there, and when I’m in a pinch I go to Costco. With the amount of greens that my husband and I eat, it makes sense to buy in bulk. Did you know that Costco is known for being a top supplier of organic products? Yep, it’s true. Tons of organic items from produce, to canned diced tomatoes and even olive oil. Costco has even gone as far as to label their organic items in green so you can identify them quickly. Smart and effective!

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Organic Eggs 24 ct $6.99 Kirkland
I eat eggs tons of different ways and they are a must in our household. Typically, I buy an organic, grass fed, no hormone feed egg, which is what the Kirkland brand offers. Eggs are filled with protein, 6g, and at only 70 calories I can have two!

Bananas 3lbs $1.99 One
We joke that we have monkeys living in our house because of the amount of bananas we go through. And at this price, it’s ok! Bananas are great to bake with, eat alone and pop into a smoothie. Oh, and don’t forget a quick dairy free ice cream! Bananas are packed with a ton of nutrition like 422g of Potassium, 17% of needed Vitamin C and 20% of Vitamin B-6.

Romaine Hearts 6ct $3.49 Earthbound Farms
Lettuce is great to have in the house at all times. It’s not only good for salads. I put mine into smoothies, grill it, and more importantly it’s become my substitution for bread/taco shells. Lettuce is full of water which is great for hydration and, believe it or not, one serving of romaine will cover you in Vitamin A for the day, at 148% of the daily recommended serving.

Power Greens 1.5lbs $4.59 Earthbound Farms
The mighty mix of kale, spinach and chard! This bag is filled to the brim with 290 mg of Potassium, 2g of Protein, 90% of recommended Vitamin A and 60% of Vitamin C. I love this mix and use it in things like smoothies, sauteed with onions and, as a salad base. TIP: Toss into the freezer as is and use at a later date in a smoothie, if you’re unable to use it all at once. They freeze and store great!

Baby Spinach 1lb $3.59 Fresh ‘n’ Natural
Spinach is actually a part of the Dirty Dozen. It soaks up all the toxins that are placed into the ground making it important to purchase organically. Again, a powerhouse green, spinach is packed with all the good stuff like Potassium at 167 mg and Vitamin A at 56%. It, too, is great in salads, smoothies and as a quick sautee.

Blueberries 18oz $7.49 Rainier
Anything that shade of blue has to be good for you! What’s great about blueberries is that they have 4% of fiber per serving, satisfying you and giving you a lasting fullness. They are packed with 114 mg of Potassium and 24% of the recommended serving of Vitamin C. These little gems can be topped onto yogurt, put in overnight oats or salads, and are perfect for desserts. Only 100 calories for a cup too! Blueberries come off and on the Dirty Dozen list, so go with the good stuff!

Carrots 5lbs $4.59 Bunny Luv
Baby carrots are my go to when I want something crunchy and need a quick snack. One medium carrot gives you 203% of your Vitamin A serving. Just one carrot! I love having the baby ones around for salads, stews, smoothies and soups.

Broccolette 2lbs $5.49 Earthbound Farms
I love broccoli, but what I love even more than broccoli is broccolette/broccolini. These are great on the grill, roasted in the oven or steamed. So tender and perfect for any meal. I barely use any seasoning on them, just S&P and enjoy! Broccolini has 6g of Protein per serving and 196% of Vitamin C at 117 mg.

Squash Mix 3.5lbs $5.99 Green Wave
Zucchini and yellow squash is a must in my house. I eat them with eggs, grill them, and now there’s thezoodle’ wave! One cup of this gives you 35% of your Vitamin C for the day and 325 g of Potassium. Not to mention other minerals like Magnesium and Phosphorus, which are great for the body!

Green Beans 2lbs $4.99 Green Wave
An entire cup of green beans contains only 31 calories and is filled with Fiber, Potassium and Vitamin C. This veggie, along with most, is so versatile. Right now Beans are in season and we eat them weekly. Try pickling them! Perfect for a snack on a hot evening!

Coconut Oil 5.2lbs $26.49 Kirkland
This is A LOT of coconut oil and comes in two 2.64 lb containers. I highly recommend storing in a cool dark space or splitting with a friend. The quantity seems like a lot but at a fraction of the price for one small container at your local market. Coconut oil is great for so many things: Cooking, dressings, grilling and baking. Not to mention all the homeopathic healing it has!

Chia Seeds 2lbs $8.79 Nutiva
Cha cha chia! I eat chia seeds every single day! Love them. They’re great in my overnight oats and so many other things like homemade granola, chia pudding, salad dressings and smoothies. An ounce serving of chia seeds has 138 calories and has 10g of Fiber, 115 mg of Potassium and 23% of Magnesium. A little goes a long way!

Quinoa 4lbs $14.79 Nature’s Wild Grains
Living a clean lifestyle, I’ve taken out white potatoes and rice but I need a little ‘starch’ every now and again and quinoa fits the bill. There a lot of debate out there if it’s a seed or not…but I’m sticking with seed! Quinoa is great in muffins, stir fries, and salads. 2.8g of Fiber and 4.4g of Protein are only a few of the benefits that quinoa has to offer.

Diced Tomatoes 8cans $6.35 Kirkland
I don’t usually recommend canned products, but every now and again I have to bend because it’s not summer year round and I cannot get fresh all the time! These are a great staple to have in the pantry for sauces and stews. Lycopene is what causes that deep red color and is the best source of antioxidants.

Honey 1.5lbs $13.79 Kirkland
Organic honey is not always easy to locate at such a great price. This product comes in 3 bottles for easy storage and usage. Honey is a natural substitution for sweetener and great to add to just about anything! I use it in sauces, dressings, chia puddings, smoothies and with just a cup of hot water and lemon.

There are many more items at Costco that are organicfar to many for me to list. But these are great daily staples many can benefit from. Remember, every Costco store is different. Prices and items will vary! A Costco in one direction from my house has Kombucha and the one in the other direction doesn’t but has Acai.

Look for the green signs!
Happy Shopping!