Monthly Archives: June 2012

ICED COFFEE

I am not a daily coffee drinker, but I do enjoy the taste AND the smell (LOVE IT)!!!  I definitely enjoy the occasional coffee.  While coffee is acidic, I do not worry about it because the rest of my diet tends to be very alkaline (click HERE to learn more about acid / alkaline balance).

Whenever I have coffee I make sure it is decaf because I tend to get physically ill when I have regular coffee (stomache ache, shaky, etc.) and I am just not a fan of caffeine in general.

Summer is here full swing and that means iced coffees are walking out of Starbucks coffee shops left and right.  The few times I have had iced coffees from coffeehouses my main complaint has been the fact the the ice waters down the strength of the coffee.

Problem solved.  A while back I came across a blog post where someone made ice from brewed coffee.  I don’t remember where I saw it, in fact I am sure I have seen it multiple places/times.  Such a simple idea, yet very effective.

Instead of watering down your iced coffee, your iced coffee gets stronger as the coffee ice melts…brilliant!

INGREDIENTS

Brewed decaf coffee
Stevia  (I used SweetLeaf Vanilla Creme)
So Delicious almond milk
So Delicious Creamer (The hazelnut is my favorite)

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METHOD

Brew the coffee and sweeten with Stevia.  Make sure to sweeten the coffee mixture sweeter than you generally like since the coffee ice will also be sweetening your iced coffee.  Allow the coffee to cool and pour it into ice molds (I used a silicon ice mold).

Once frozen pop some of the ice into a cup, pour almond milk into the cup and add a splash of creamer.

Stir and enjoy…this iced coffee gets better and better as it mixes together.

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Filed under Dessert, Drinks, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

PRODUCT REVIEW – GREEN KID CRAFTS

Penny Bauder, the CEO of Green Kid Crafts contacted me recently about doing a review of their service.  My children have always really enjoyed craft projects, so I jumped at the chance to try their service.

What a gift to be sent pre-organized crafts!  The kids were thrilled when the box arrived and even more thrilled to learn that one of the crafts was pirate themed….Arrrrrr Matey!

For those of you unfamiliar with Green Kid Crafts, here is the description of their service from their website:

With Green Kid Crafts, your child will receive at least 3 inspiring projects each month that will engage them with the world and with nature. Every month is a new surprise and all the crafts are projects kids and parents love! Included are all the materials needed to complete an earth-friendly craft with some parental supervision (some of the tasks will require more supervision than others), instructions, and material disclosure information. The only thing you will need to provide is glue and scissors. Projects are composed of non-toxic, natural, and sustainable supplies. Each project is designed and made by hand, giving 100% love and attention to each one. 

As described above, the kit we received contained three entirely different craft themes:

  1. Pirate Loot – the materials for a pirate hat, making coins, and an eye patch
  2. Wooden wind chimes
  3. All About Me Scrapbook

Of course my buccaneers zeroed in on the pirate craft first.  It was fun to watch the kids work cooperatively on the eye patch.  Once that was done I swooped-in to help my little one make the hat and coins.

In addition to the projects they prepare ahead of time for you, Green Kid Crafts also sends a book filled with more craft ideas to go with the themes.  My son decided to work on one of their suggestions…a pirate map.  He had a lot of fun trying to make it look distressed and my daughter loved the results.

When I first opened the box I thought we would blow through all of the crafts in an hour or so, but as it turns out, we didn’t.  We had so much fun rolling with the pirate theme and ended-up working on it for a few hours…long enough that I was able to put away the other crafts to use on the next two weekends.

I see the brilliance in this service.  There are so many of us out there that really enjoy doing crafts with our children, but don’t have the time or creativity to prepare them.  With Green Kid Crafts monthly service you get three separate crafts each month and don’t have to shop for supplies, etc.  While my first box was a gift from the company, I signed-up for the monthly service (costs $19.95/mo.).  I know my kids will enjoy spending time with me making crafts.

A fun little teaser they have is to include a card in the box cluing you in to the theme for the next month’s craft…

What do you think?  Is this a service you would be interested in???

Click HERE to see some of our GREEN KID CRAFTS!

Click HERE to join.

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Filed under Product Reviews, Services

SPORK ONLINE WINNER

We have a winner!  The winner of the 6 month membership to Spork Online is…

ashcoop

ashcoop – I sent you an e-mail detailing how to collect your prize.  If you have any questions, please e-mail me gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com

A big thank you to all who entered this fun giveaway and a HUGE thank you to the wonderful Spork Sisters.

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Filed under Giveaways, Vegan, Vegetarian

ONE GREEN PLANET – NEARLY FAT FREE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

I am thrilled to share with you some exciting news.  I was recently contacted by One Green Planet and invited to become a contributor.  I am definitely in good company seeing as many of my plant-based heroes are contributors to the site.

My first post for One Green Planet is now live.  My kids went gaga over this pudding recipe (shhhhh….don’t tell them it has 3 cups of zucchini in it!).

Click HERE to go to the post and see the recipe.

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Filed under Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, One Green Planet, Pudding / Mousse, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

A STICKY PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION

As I mentioned a little while ago, I have become a “Pinner.”  Pinterest is such a wonderful source of neat tips and tricks.  One of the people I follow on Pinterest pinned something about natural cleaning solutions and that pin brought me to it’s original source, a blog called “One Good Thing By Jillee.”  I have learned a lot from Jillee these past few months.  Though we don’t follow the same eating plan (her cooking posts aren’t usually relevant to me), her cleaning posts, sewing posts, crafty posts, make your own bathroom products posts, etc. are nothing short of inspiring.

At the beginning of May I received a post in my inbox from Jillee explaining how to remove sticker goo.  I have 30+ jars in my cabinets that need to have their stickers removed.  For some reason I can’t bring myself to even recycle them because I feel like I will come-up with a way to repurpose them for gifts or storage…I have a problem…I am a hoarder of glass containers (and plastic strawberry baskets…is there a classroom in need of these???).

Jillee’s photographic evidence prompted me to give her method a try and it worked like a charm.  I picked a Vegenaise Jar as my first victim.

  1. Peel off the paper / plastic coating (No need to be perfect here)
  2. Run the offending jar through the dishwasher in an attempt to get rid of some of the offending glue (I opted to just run my jar under warm water and scrub it with a scrub brush to get rid of the paper).
  3. Rub a thin layer of PEANUT BUTTER over all of the stickered (Is that a word?) areas.
  4. Leave the jar and peanut butter alone for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Rub off the peanut butter and use the abrasive side of a soapy sponge to scrub off the remaining sticker goo while running it under warm water
  6. Voila…sticker free jar!

It totally worked.  I now have plans to tackle the rest of my sticker-laden jar collection.  I plan on placing them in the sink to soak in warm water so the paper comes off easily and then will lube ‘em all up in PB and be rid of their stickers once and for all so they are ready for whatever I can think of to repurpose them.

Here’s a public apology to all of you who have received gifts of food from me in glass jars covered in brown paper labels because I was too lazy to scrub at the sticker goo for hours.  I promise it will never happen again because I now know how to tackle this problem!!!

And now I finally have a need to purchase the ultra-cheap by icky hydrogenated fat peanut butter…my jars are getting the artery-clogging peanut butter treatment because it is too hard for me to part with my beloved Organic All-Natural PB…but it was worth it for this trial.

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NOTE – I also recently tried this with coconut oil and was happy with the results as well!!!

Click HERE to see Jillee’s original post.

Click HERE to go to my Pinterest Boards.

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Filed under Cleaning, Quick Tips, Vegan, Vegetarian

MICHELLE PFEIFFER HAS GONE VEGAN

Michelle Pfeiffer has recently made the switch to a vegan diet…watch to find out why.

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Filed under Vegan, Vegetarian, Video

CREAMY SMOKEY SPANISH DRESSING

I have been missing Spain lately and wanted to create a dressing/dip/sauce (It is very multi-functional) that would remind me of our summer there and the wonderfully flavorful meals we enjoyed.

This dressing/dip/sauce makes me smile every time I eat it.  I have been enjoying it on salads, brown rice bowls, and as a dip for veggies, gluten-free crackers, you name it.

In my never-ending quest to try and eliminate oil from my diet (click HERE to find out why), I used nuts as the base and thickener for this recipe.  You will be amazed by the wonderfully creamy texture you can achieve using nuts.

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup roasted nuts (any variety)
1 ¾ cups filtered water OR for a creamier dressing, So Delicious Milk of choice
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ Tbs Bragg’s liquid aminos
Heaping ½ tsp hot pimenton…more if you like spice (Spanish paprika)
Heaping ½ tsp sweet pimenton (Spanish paprika)
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs maple syrup
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Place all of the ingredients in your high speed blender (I use my Vitamix) and blend until very creamy and smooth.

NOTE – The dressing will thicken when refrigerated.

For a printable version of this recipe click HERE. .

Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.

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Filed under Dip, Nuts, Recipes, Salad Dressing, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

DISNEY KICKS-OUT THE JUNK!!!

Hurray for Disney…they have done it again!

Many of you may remember that as a family we went on a Disney cruise and I raved about how accomodating they were to my family’s food requirements (if you missed the post click HERE).  Disney is further impressing me by becoming the first major media company to ban ads for junk food on their networkthough the new standards won’t be fully adopted until 2015.

In their June 5th press release, Disney states:

“Under Disney’s new standards, all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned online destinations oriented to families with younger children will be required by 2015 to meet Disney’s nutrition guidelines.   The nutrition guidelines are aligned to federal standards, promote fruit and vegetable consumption and call for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.

The emotional connection kids have to our characters and stories gives us a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives.”

“This new initiative is truly a game changer for the health of our children,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “This is a major American company – a global brand – that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives.  With this new initiative, Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the U.S. – and what I hope every company will do going forward.  When it comes to the ads they show and the food they sell, they are asking themselves one simple question: “Is this good for our kids?”‘

Disney is also partnering with “healthier” companies to promote their products as can be seen in their latest partnership with Subway.  I for one am SUPER PSYCHED to take my daughter to go see the movie Brave and am thrilled to see that the main character is promoting a Subway sandwich meal with fruit (not chips) vs. burgers and fries (though I wished the sandwich was a veggie sandwich!).  Progress, right?  I am beyond excited to see that we are moving in the right direction and rather than poo pooing the fact that Disney considers dairy and meat to be part of a  healthy diet, I choose to take joy in the fact that we are getting there.

“Making healthy eating and physical activity fun is central to creating healthier generations to come,” said Dr. James O. Hill, who worked with Disney to develop its nutrition guidelines, and is executive director of the Anschutz Health & Wellness Center at the University of Colorado.  “Disney is using ‘magic’ – fun and creativity – to encourage kids and families to make positive changes, and it is working.”

For more information on Disney’s Magic Of Healthy Living (MOHL) program, click HERE.

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Images courtesy of the Disney Press Room

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Filed under Children, Education

GIVEAWAY – Spork Sister’s 6 Month Spork Online Subscription!!!

You are super lucky!  The lovely Spork Sisters are providing one 6 month membership to Spork Online as a giveaway!!!  Say what???  I know.  Crazy.

The best news is that this giveaway is open to EVERYONE!!!  So often we need to limit the giveaways to the US and Canada and since this giveaway is online-based it is open to everyone worldwide…yay!!!

I have worked with quite a few people in the vegan world now and I must say that these sisters are top-notch.  So friendly, so knowledgeable, so approachable.  I know you will love their teaching style.

While watching their cooking classes online you forget that you are at your computer and feel as though you have been transported to their kitchen.

I can’t wait to find out who wins!

GIVEAWAY ENTRY DETAILS

  1. Become an e-mail subscriber of Veggie Grettie by entering your e-mail address in the e-mail subscriber box at the top right of the page under the header image of corn chowder (If you are already a subscriber, let me know in the comments)
  2. “Like” Veggie Grettie on Facebook (click HERE)
  3. Follow Veggie Grettie on Twitter (click HERE)
  4. “Like” Spork Foods on Facebook (click HERE)
  5. Follow Spork Foods on Twitter (click HERE)

You will receive ONE ENTRY for EACH task completed.  You MUST leave a SEPARATE COMMENT BELOW FOR EACH of the tasks you complete.

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The contest will run through 6/21/12 midnight PST.  The winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck!

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Filed under Cooking Demonstration, Giveaways, Vegan, Vegetarian

PURELY MANGO POPSICLES

Mangoes rank right up there with dark chocolate in my book.  I will happily eat any and all varieties of mangoes, but Champagne mangoes are insanely delicious this time of year. One of my favorite after dinner snacks is a bowl of frozen diced mango.  I am always amazed by how creamy plain frozen mango is and the last time I sat down with a bowl of them inspiration struck…these need to be popsicles!!! There is no point in even writing down this recipe because there is nothing in these bad boys other than 100% pure mango. Remove the skin, dice-up the mangos, place them in your Vitamix, and puree until smooth as silk.  Pour the mango puree into popsicle molds and freeze overnight. Looks like I found a new after dinner treat! Click HERE to see some super fun popsicle molds…I think I need to get some more. ..  Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Raw, Recipes, Sorbet, Vegan, Vegetarian