Archive | FOOD AND DRINK

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Make Your Holiday Dinner Party More Sustainable

Our annual holiday dinner and white elephant party is quickly approaching! It is definitely my favorite part of the holiday season, next to watching Eben and the mister open their gifts. It is always a wonderful night full of family, laughter and fun. The white elephant gifts we picked this year are next level! We try ever year to make our holiday dinner party waste free – here are some of our tips so you can make your holiday party waste-free too!

1. Ditch the Disposables
While it can seem easier to serve the holiday meal or cocktails using disposable plates, cups, napkins and flatware, I highly recommend skipping it. Not only is it wasteful, it’s expensive and costs the enviornment a ton when you fill up the garbage can. Even if you don’t have china or a full set of dinnerware, use can use your daily dishes and dress them up with cloth napkins and a fabulously decorated table. It really only takes a few minutes at the end of the night to load the dishwasher and you save a ton of trash in the process.

2. Start from Scratch
When it comes to preparing a meal for your family – especially during the holiday season, it’s always amazing if you can start from scratch. Not only will the meals taste even more delicious, there will be minimal packaging waste since you are making everything from scratch. I suggest putting together a menu of 4-5 dishes and then making those items from scratch, this way you won’t be terrbily overwhelmed, but you will be left with a meal that your guests won’t forget!

3. One Dessert Only
I have a rule when it comes to holiday dinners or any dinner party, I only make one dessert. I have a couple of delicious recipes that are simple to make and always a huge hit. I pick one and only one to make. I have found that we have less food waste at the end of the night and we aren’t left with a ton of desserts once the guests go home.

4. Plan for Your Leftovers
I try to convince the mister to only make enough food for the holiday dinner – however, we are always left with at least a week of leftovers. Sometimes we get tired of having the holiday meal over and over again for days on end. Instead, we package up some of the leftovers to go home with our guests – or put a menu plan in place to use those leftovers in a different way. For example, every year the mister makes turkey matzo ball soup with the leftover turkey! Amazing! Nothing is worse than throwing food away, so have a plan in place to prevent that.

5. Go Reusable!
When it comes to gift wrap, I am a huge fan of reusable bags that can be used again and again. If gift bags aren’t your thing, then I suggest choosing a recycled wrapping paper that can be recycled at the end of the day. If you receive a gift that isn’t wrapped in a recyclable or reusable paper, you could keep the paper to use in those crafty projects you plan to do with the children after the holidays!

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite eco-friendly way to make your holiday dinner party more sustainable?

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Organic Stone Fruit While It’s in Season

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It’s stone fruit season! Wondering what stone fruit is? Stone fruit is any type of fruit that has a single seed or pit – for example; apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries. Any time a particular type of fruit is in season, it’s a great idea to buy in bulk and stock up. There are several great ways that you can get the most out of the stone fruit that you purchase. It just takes a little creativity and a few different ways to preserve the stone fruit and you can enjoy it all year long. Read on for my 6 favorites ways to get the most out of these sweet fruits.

#1: Bag It!
We recently purchased a large quantity of organic stone fruit – however, there were several pieces that were not ripe. To ripen them up quickly so that we could use them, we put them in a paper bag for a couple of days. Works like a charm.

#2: Grill It!
It’s grilling season too and a fantastic way to enjoy stone fruit is fresh off the grill. Peaches grilled quickly on each side and then topped with organic vanilla ice cream is an amazing fall treat. You won’t be disappointed and it is a super fun dessert for those get-togethers.

#3: Add It!
Stone fruit isn’t only good on it’s own, or as a dessert – it tastes amazing when added to the main course. I like to add cut up stone fruit to salads, salsas, and side dishes during the summertime. It’s adds a ton of flavor and a pop of color to our meals. The possibilities are endless!

#4: Can It!
While purchasing stone fruit in a large quantity while it is in season is a great idea, what if you can’t use it all before it spoils? Can it! Stone fruits can be used in jams, syrups and salsas, so why not get to cooking and preserve some of that sweetness for later in the year. Can you image a yummy stone fruit syrup, salsa or jam during fall, winter and spring?

#5: Dry It!
Who doesn’t love dried fruit? What could be better than dried peaches or apricots. You can either dry the fruit in the oven at 200° F for three hours or use a food dehydrator to get the job done. Dried fruit lasts a long time and will be perfect as a lunch box snack during the school year.

#6: Freeze It!
Whatever stone fruit you have leftover should be frozen before it spoils. Frozen stone fruit is amazing in smoothies and desserts, just remove the amount that you need from the freezer and enjoy!

5 Spooky Fruit and Vegetable Halloween Treats for Healthy Kids

Halloween is my favorite holiday – mostly because it is an anything goes, don’t hold back, get as creative as you want holiday! I have been adding a little spookiness into Eben’s snacks by getting creative with fruits and vegetables. He seems to enjoy these “sweet” treats just as much as a sugary alternative – maybe even more. Read on for 5 spooky fruit and vegetable Halloween treats that I have used as inspiration for celebrating the holiday with my healthy kid.

#1: Jack o’Lantern Fruit Plate
This may be one of the easiest treats in the bunch – simply peel, cut and arrange a selection of organic strawberries, clementines, blueberries and grapes and you have a Halloween treat that is sure to please everyone!

+ Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate
+ via Wholesome Dinner Tonight

#2: Veggie Skeleton
Looking for a fun way to get your child to eat more vegetables this autumn? Look no further than this adorable veggie skeleton. This, along with the Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate would be perfect for your child’s class Halloween Party or your family’s spooky get together!

+ Veggie Skeleton
+ via Feeding Four Little Monkeys

#3: Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
Yum! These goodies are definitely calling my name – I bet the bananas would be even better if they were slightly frozen! These would be great for a kids party – just grab and go.

+ Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
+ via Kid Party Food Ideas

#4: Apple Teeth Treats
While these little yummies might take a little more time to prepare – I bet they are worth all of the compliments you would get at your Halloween party.

+ Apple Teeth Treats
+ via All Recipes

#5: Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
I want to whip up a batch of these yummy sweet potato fries to go with Halloween dinner. Not only does my family love them – but the spook factor will win them over for sure.

+ Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
+ Babble

How to Make Organic Instant Oatmeal for Cool Fall Mornings

how-to-make-organic-instant-oatmeal-for-cool-fall-mornings
I love oatmeal on cool, crisp fall mornings! Am I the only one? You can make your own organic instant oatmeal packed with flavor in a few simple steps taking your regular oatmeal from ho-hum to yum-yum. Read on to learn how you can make organic instant oatmeal and wake up to goodness tomorrow.
Step 1: Bake It!
Preheat the oven to 350°, spread 4 cups of organic old-fashioned rolled oats on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Step 2: Pulse It!
Pulse in a food processor until coarsely chopped.

Step 3: Mix It!
Mix in a cup of your favorite oatmeal add-ins such as; almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and coconut.

Step 4: Store It!
Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Step 5: Boil It!
Stir boiling water into a cup of your organic instant oatmeal until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 6: Enjoy It!
Oatmeal is my favorite on cool, crisp fall morning – top with a honey too!

 

How to Make Organic Dried Apple Slices this Fall

Many of you may have a family apple-picking adventure on your fall calendar. During our evacuation from Hurricane Irma last week, we were able to visit our favorite apple orchard is The Historic Orchard at Altapass in North Carolina. We had so much fun hiking through the orchard picking and eating apples as we went!

If you find that you have more apples then you know what to do with after your orchard trip, you can make simple, dried apple slices. These treats are perfect for the school lunchbox. Read on to learn how to make these simple treats in a couple short steps.

What you will need:

– organic apples
– cinnamon

Directions:

Dehydrating: Line your food-dehydrator shelf with parchment paper. Cut your apples into super-thin slices and arrange the slices on the shelves of your food-dehydrator. Sprinkle with cinnamon and either dehydrate at 135° until crisp.

Baking:
Line a baking sheet with a reusable mat or parchment paper. Cut your apples into super-thin slices and arrange the slices on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in the oven at 225° for about 1.5 hours.

Do you make apple slices during the autumn season?