Tag Archives: organic

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Imagine it:

You come home from a long, tiring day at work, not feeling well and desperate for sleep. You have to cook dinner, get your toddler bathed and tucked into bed, and get everything ready for the next early morning. Then you remember with horror: you signed up to bring muffins to school tomorrow.

It happened to me, the night before my son’s first Halloween party. Why, oh why, didn’t I just sign up to bring juice boxes!? (This is my first child, so I’m still learning…)

I knew they had to be pumpkin, and they had to be cute. So I sat down to do some quick Googling and find something I could pull off by morning. That’s when I found it: the 2-ingredient pumpkin muffin recipe (visit Sweet Verbena for the post I found.)

Is it possible that I’m the last person in the world to know about this fabulous recipe? If so, color me humbled. If not, I hope you love it as much as I do!

Here’s what you do:

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 cake mix (white, yellow, spice or carrot)
  • 1 15-oz. can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix both ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well blended (batter will be thick).

Line muffin pan with paper liners; fill liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20–25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.

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That’s right – no eggs, no oil, nothing. You don’t add anything to the mix but the pumpkin. It’s ingenious, and it’s delicious. The perfect cross between a moist, dense muffin and a yummy cupcake – and you’ll still get to bed on time. ;)

I knew I had to decorate these, and lately I’ve struggled with how to make things fun for kids without using tons of awful, yucky dyes. I’ve come up with a solution that seems like a good compromise to me (at least until I find affordable, natural dyes that actually work.)

I whipped up a quick batch of cream cheese icing with real ingredients (butter, 10x sugar, almond milk, cream cheese and pure vanilla.) I piped a small rosette on the top of each cupcake, then topped each with a mini Nutter Butter/Hershey’s Kiss acorn. (Thanks to the hubby for running to the store!) …and voila! A perfect little fall accent that can be eaten or popped off, depending on dietary preferences.

 

They received a resounding thumbs up from my coworkers (who affectionately nicknamed them “muffcakes” and the kids at school loved them. The director even texted me for the recipe! Now I just have to decide if I really want her to know how easy they were… ;)

A few side notes:

  • This recipe is a great way to add a healthy dose of nutrient-rich pumpkin to a fun treat, AND it’s easy enough that your toddler can help with the mixing!
  • Depending on the price of the cake mix and pumpkin you find, these cupcakes are very affordable. (Mine were organic and worked out to .16 each before decorating.)
  • It’s the perfect time of year to cook up some fresh pumpkin to store in the freezer. Just premeasure into 15 oz containers, and you’ll have a nice stash to whip up easy muffins all year long. (This is our plan, since we try to avoid cans whenever possible.)
  • This also works with chocolate cake mix, although I haven’t tried that one yet. I hear it’s heavenly, though!
  • These are especially good for folks like me, who use few eggs and little dairy and often don’t have them on hand.
  • If you prefer to use an organic cake mix, you may have trouble finding a spice-flavored variety. If you choose to use white or yellow, add 1 Tbsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice so you don’t miss out on that yummy, spicy pumpkin flavor.

Have you ever made 2-ingredient muffins?

 

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Natural Greens Review and Giveaway Ends 11/10

 

I think I might have superpowers, and you can have them, too!

Let me explain…

Eating healthy with NO fridge for 5 whole weeks? Nearly impossible! But now that the new fridge is in the hizzy, I finally feel like myself again! I went out and stocked up on tons of fresh fruits and veggies, but I think I may have gone a little overboard. So what to do with all the extras? Juice them! And since I have been feeling a little sluggish and tired lately, I thought I’d take a chance on a product designed to provide a boost of vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients and essential Omega 3 fatty acids from cold-milled Golden Flax. (Phew! That’s a mouthful!)

Antioxidant Natural Greens from Tropical Traditions is a premium dietary supplement, featuring  3 different blends in one delicious and nutritious berry-flavored powder:

  • Quality Fiber Blend
  • Delicious Greens Blend
  • Organic Vegetable Blend

Now I’m definitely not an advocate of juicing or supplementing instead of eating a healthy diet. But since my diet contains lots of whole foods already, I thought it couldn’t hurt to add a little punch to my morning juice or smoothie, especially since it’s so easy to do. Just add a scoop of powder, and blend it in. It mixes easily, with no weird, powdery taste. And no artificial ingredients – because I have a strict no-tolerance policy for junky stuff in my health food, natch.


 

So, how do I feel? I feel good! Ok, so maybe not exactly like a superhero, but pretty darn good. A litle more alert, a little less pooped. Sure, that could be just because I’ve been making an effort to do something good and healthy for my body. That tends to make me feel better all on it’s own. And I’d hate to make any kind of health claim, because, well, we’re all different. But what I can tell you is that the pleasant berry flavor of TT Greens Supplement makes it truly easy to get used to, and it doesn’t ruin the lovely juices and super yummy smoothies I put it in.

And that’s KEY to a product like this because, as I’m sure you can guess, in order to reap the benefits, you have to be able to actually get the stuff down the hatch.

So, with Tropical Traditions, drinking green is easy! Score! :D Now, to figure out whether I can add my Floradix into my juice, too. (That really might catapult me into superhero status, and frankly, I’m not sure I am ready for that kind of pressure.)

Want to try Tropical Traditions Antioxidant Natural Greens?

Enter to win it!

**This giveaway is closed. Congrats to Gaby, with comment #6!**

Mandatory Entry: Tell me your favorite green vegetable. (That’s it! Easy as asparagus!) Leave your answer in a comment below, and please be sure to leave me your email address in EACH comment.

Optional entries (one entry each):

  • Follow ABCs and Garden Peas via GFC, and leave a comment below letting me know your GFC name.
  • Like ABCs and Garden Peas on Facebook, and leave a comment below with your Facebook name.
  • Like Tropical Traditions on Facebook, and leave a comment below with your Facebook name.
  • Visit Tropical Traditions and tell me one other product you’d like to try in a comment below.
  • Leave a comment on one of my other non-giveaway posts, and leave a comment below letting me know which post.
  • Tweet about this giveaway using the share button below (tweet must contain a link to this post), and leave a comment below with a link to your unique tweet. (May be done once daily.)
  • Post this giveaway on your Facebook page using the share button below, and leave a comment below with your Facebook name.

 

The entry period for this giveaway is open until Nov. 10th, 2011 at 8pm. A winner will be chosen on or around that time via Random.org, and notified via email. Winner must confirm win with an email response within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Residents of US only, please. I received a product sample for review purposes, but all thoughts expressed are my own, honest opinions based on my personal experience with the product.

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Filed under giveaways, Green Living, Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food, Uncategorized

My son, a cupcake, and a major parenting dilemma.

We just finished our third week of daycare, and things are swimming right along beautifully! :D

(Can you tell we’ve been watching a lot of Nemo lately?)


I expect that there will still be bumps in the road, and yes, there is a lot of crying in the morning during the dropoff. But – and this is pretty dang amazing, if you ask me – the director of the daycare has been sending me a text message when little man settles down (which is usually about 5 minutes after I leave) and she’s even been sending me photos on my phone! I’ve been able to steal of glimpse of art projects, snack breaks, and big smiles throughout the day, and it’s made SUCH a difference in my adjustment (it’s harder for us than it is for them, right?)

For this mama who works 60 miles away from that daycare, a photo to calm my nerves midday is absolutely priceless!

But then, on Friday, I got a different kind of text message. It struck fear into my very soul.

“Project today is decorating cupcakes. We’re going to eat them at lunch. Wanted to check with you to see if its OK. We can take him into another room if you want.”

Oh dear. Ohdearohdearohdear. What do I DO!?

Well, I say NO of course! I tell her to take my son as far away from those evil things as she can. Wrap him up in bubble wrap and don’t even let him hear you say “cupcake”!

Yeah, right. If only. (I did NOT tell her that.) I chilled out for a moment, and thought about it, and ran it by my coworkers (One of whom called me a food freak and mocked over the cubicle wall in his best teacher voice “Oh no, little man, you go into the closet by yourself and play with a carrot.” Haha. :| )

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that I go to pretty good lengths to make sure my family eats the most natural diet possible. We fall off the wagon once in a while, but when it comes to my son, I’m pretty vigilant. He gets his fair share of treats, but they’re always healthy, “real food” ones, and he really hasn’t had any cake other than on his first birthday, 11 months ago.

But it’s not the cupcake itself I have an issue with. Really. As I’ve explained to my mom a bunch of times – he can have cupcakes. And cookies. And ice cream. And all the good stuff that I sure as heck grew up with and loved. He just gets pure, natural versions of them.

THIS is my real fear:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll admit: Cupcakes are happy food. Ingredients ending in “5 & 6″ are not. :(

And even though I knew (as my coworkers dutifully pointed out) that one cupcake never hurt anyone, there was one thought I just couldn’t escape: If you say you believe in something to your very core, what does it say about you if you buckle when that belief is challenged? Who are you, really, if you let that happen?

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Can you guess what I did? Cupcake or no cupcake?

What would you do?

 

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Filed under Green Living, Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

A new life for us.

Well, my small break from blogging ended up being a whole lot longer than I had expected.

Even though I had tons to write about, I honestly just didn’t feel like it.

I’m not sure why. I should be jubilant. We’re finally in our new home, and a whole world of possibilities awaits us, but I’m feeling… weird. :???:

Maybe it’s because we still have the old place to deal with, and we have to replace the entire septic system to the tune of about $10,000 before we can sell (which I have NO idea how to even start.)

Or, maybe it’s because we gave up TV, my internet service is spotty, and I’m really, really not used to having a long weekend away from work. Although I should relish the break, I’m feeling seriously disconnected. :(

It could be because we’ve discovered our new pink-rose encrusted bathroom is merely a facade, and it doesn’t work at all. Until we can renovate, I’m resigned to using the basement shower, which is nice – except for the creepy crawly centipedes down there. Yeah. Not cool…not one bit.

It doesn’t help, either, that we missed out on this year’s garden due to trouble with our settlement date, and now it’s nearly fall. All our really big plans for the new homestead won’t start taking shape until the spring…which seems lightyears away.

There are lots of reasons why the past week has left me feeling a little funky. I had no idea where to begin a blog post, because I couldn’t wrap my head around what exactly was bugging me.

But then yesterday, I think I figured it out.

We went back to the old place to tend to the lawn and pick up a load from the garage, and it hit me.

Like a ton of bricks, actually.

An overwhelming sadness for what I was losing. Who knew I’d care AT ALL about leaving that old, raggedy, broke down shack? I hated that place! Truly hated, at times. My husband and I fought over it. We never had people over, because there just wasn’t room. We had spiders galore, I didn’t trust the safety of the heat or electrical systems. The ceiling almost fell in on my head. The kitchen was awful. I could go on and on…

But, when faced with leaving, I remembered. I remembered the first time I went there with my husband-to-be after I hadn’t seen him for nearly 2 decades, and I remembered remembering the love I had for him as a silly teenager.

I remembered the summers we spent there, getting to know each other again, planting the garden and seeing the fruits of our labor, talking about how, someday, we hoped to raise our children to share that same love.

I looked out at the overgrown garden, teeming with weeds and who knows what else, and I remembered the day he proposed to me there, under the trellis filled with purple-flowered yard-long beans.

But most of all, I reminisced about the last time I had seen the little nursery quite that empty. It was when we were getting ready to welcome our son. I sat in there and rocked, dreaming about him, in the same chair I would sit and rock him in for endless hours over the next 2 years, nursing his little self all hours of the day and night.

The first two whole years of his life were spent there. I became a mother there. The most important, life-changing, self-affirming moments of my entire life happened there. My son’s first days, first steps, first words. And yes, my little boy’s love of being out in the garden, plucking the first pear tomatoes and eating berries by the fistful started there, too. He didn’t know it was a rickety old house that his mama was ashamed of. He just knew it was the place where kitties played, birdies sang, fish swam in rain barrels and good things to eat grew abundantly.

We moved further out into the country with very specific intentions, and we look forward to fulfilling our dreams here. But that doesn’t help so much this week, when the isolation is very new, my community seems so very far away, and my memories are locked up in an old, empty mobile home with only a few odds and ends hinting at the new lives that were started there.

As we got ready to leave, my son bolted up the hill toward the garden as he always has, looking for tomatoes to steal. I followed behind, stopping at the blueberry patch on the way. A sweet surprise – the last handful of the season’s berries – waiting for me. I choked back not just tears, but a full-blown sob as I picked them. My little man squealed with delight as he popped them all into his mouth, and I realized that while we planted many seeds at that old place, we get to take the most important ones with us.

Now, back to blogging. Onward and upward!

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Filed under Green Living, Home & Garden, The Everyday, Uncategorized

Hungry Toddler Hop #2

I think we’re all pretty much in agreement that toddlers love:

  • food that comes in fun shapes
  • food that comes in fun colors
  • food they can DIP!

So, we should agree that they should probably love this Red Lentil Dal recipe with pita triangles and grape tomatoes, right? ;)

It’s a hit in my house! Try it in yours and let me know what you think! (Bonus: only one pan to clean up!)

I found this recipe at Vegetarian Times. Find it HERE.

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Food is fun, right? Help us spread the word!

I invite you to link up your favorite toddler-food-related post (old or new) – lots of toddler moms want to hear from you! (Tell your friends, too!)

There are no real “rules” to this hop, but I do have a few small requests:

  • If you are able, please grab the code below and post it so your readers can hop from one blog to the next.
  • Please try to keep a “healthy” focus:) If you don’t have a healthy recipe, tips and helpful hints on making mealtime easier, productive or more fun are welcome!
  • Please follow and comment freely as you hop. We all like new followers!
  • I can’t tweet or promote from work, so please hit the share buttons below so we can all get lots of fun new recipes!

Bon appetit, little ones!

Linky will remain open until midnight on Tuesday, August 9th.

 

 

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food