Monday, July 27, 2009

Great organic deal!

Had to share a recent find: Hi Health has Sensible Foods Apple Harvest snacks on sale for $1 per bag! (And they taste good!) The convenient, crunch-dried snack is 100% certified organic, fat free, gluten free, GMO free, no added sugar and preservative free. I went a bit crazy, but that's okay. Check out other flavors available and stock up while supplies last!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summertime snacks

I've heard a lot of moms (and babysitters) asking what kind of healthy but fun treats to give their kiddos while they're home for the summer. I put together a few easy, organic, (and healthy!) snacks to keep them ready for all of those summer activities. Enjoy!

Ants on a Log (a trusty favorite) Organic peanut butter, organic celery & raisins *You can find store-brand organic peanut butter lines that are a bit cheaper than the traditional organic lines (Safeway, Albertsons, Frys, Trader Joes, etc.). Organic celery is important, since it is one of the top 12 vegetables with the highest pesticides. You can always dice up the celery and add it to some gazpacho or something else yummy. See Organic Arizona - Resource for all things organic in Arizona: Organic on a budget Pt. 2

Frozen grapes Speaks for itself. Buy your favorite organic grapes, rinse 'em off and pop them in freezer bags and freeze. One of my favorites during the summer.

Frozen fruit yogurt pops
(5 LOVE these! Courtesy of Nazarina of Giddygastronome.com) 1 bottle organic orange juice 1 can peaches in light syrup 1/2 cantaloupe approx. 4 strawberries 1 banana 2 apricots 3 peaches 2 oranges 2 small containers organic, vanilla Greek yogurt 1/4 cup evaporated milk 2 tsp. honey Grab some organic Greek yogurt and buy some of your favorite fruit from your local farmer's market; i.e., peaches, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, etc. Puree the fruit and mix with the yogurt. Blend with remaining ingredients. Fill up popsicle mold of your choice and freeze overnight. Voila! Yummy, cool AND healthy. Every now and then I'll throw in some shredded coconut and pretend I'm on a beach somewhere :)


Raspberry Sorbet / Slush For those that can't eat dairy, this is a great alternative to the fruit yogurt pops. You can alter the sugar content to your liking. 2/3 cup superfine sugar 1 cup water 23 oz. pureed raspberries 1/4 cup lime juice Mix lime juice with raspberries. Combine sugar & water in medium saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat to cool. Mix puree and cool sugar syrup. Pour mixture into a square pan. Freeze for approx. 1 hr, remove and scrape mixture, return to the freezer and repeat 2-3 times.

Cheese chips
A tasty alternative to chips. Buy slices of your childs favorite organic cheese. (Swiss seems to cook better). Preheat oven to 325. Cut up slices into chip-sized chunks. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how well you want it done.

Monkey Treats Popsicle sticks, bananas cut in half, crushed organic cereal or nuts, melted (organic) semi-sweet chocolate chips. Insert popsicle stick into flat (cut) part of the banana. Freeze for about an hour. Dip banana in melted chocolate then roll in nuts or crushed organic cereal. Wrap the treat in wax paper and freeze until chocolate is melted. Enjoy!

Veggies 'N Dip (or fruit)
Cut up a bunch of colorful, organic veggies/fruit and pair with organic light dressing, hummus or yogurt.

If all else fails, stick with watermelon - you can't
go wrong!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Planting Calendar for the clueless

If you're like me, you have no idea what to plant, when to plant it, etc., when it comes to your organic garden. Dave, The Garden Guy posted this planting calendar to make your gardening life easier. It's extremely user-friendly and offers tips to help you maintain your greenery.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summertime

Some more quick tips for the summer....

We live in the desert and it's 100+ degrees; perfect for drying your clothes outside. Grab an old-fashioned clothes line and some laundry pins and take advantage of the sunshine. PLUS, save on energy costs by not running the dryer and avoiding heating the house up while doing so, (especially when it's 100 degrees at 8 at night). Just make sure to bring it in when you see the black monsoon clouds rolling in - your neighbor doesn't want your undies stuck in their trees or cacti.


Adjust your watering. You may have to bump up watering for your organic garden during the summer, but make sure you're doing it when it's most beneficial. Don't water in the middle of the day - it will evaporate before it gets a chance to get to the roots. Stick to early am or evening.


Photo: © Jonathan Wood / Getty Images

While we're talking about our organic gardens or plants... spread some organic mulch around to help retain that water, (especially if your yard is as hard as ours).

I know I've mentioned it before, but fans make a HUGE (and cheap!) difference in cooling rooms. They can allow you to bump up the air a couple of degrees, while still feeling cool.

Take advantage of the monsoons! Free watering! :) But make sure to turn off watering systems so you don't flood your backyard.
Hope everyone is staying cool!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kudos!

I'm so excited to see the local grocers coming out with their own lines of organic canned goods. I've been especially impressed with Fry's and Safeway with their 'store brands' of organic canned goods. It's supply and demand - if you're local grocer doesn't offer a wide selection, let them know! Hopefully, other stores will follow their lead and realize that families want to be healthier but want a more wallet-friendly way to do so. We have to think long term - the health choices we make now will effect our wallets and lifestyles in the future (i.e., the cost of reactive medicine after your already sick vs. proactive health measures).
I know I've said it before, but I've received a lot of questions from friends and family memebers... you don't have to eat all organic - just do what you can. The small changes will add up to a big difference.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me...


Sorry to be such a slacker lately --- just put the house up for sale and things have been crazy (as usual). I completely forgot to blog about the awesomeness that is Schnepf Farm's organic peaches! I did make it out to their U-Pick though. Although they're not officially labeled 'organic', they are local, (a 4th generation family farm...still in existence in AZ!) AND they're grown with the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. (I picked enough peaches to have peach pie, crepes, ice cream, cobbler, shakes, etc., for months.) You can even lease your own peach tree for a year! (Seriously thinking about it...)

I highly recommend checking it out next year --- and while you're at it, head down the street to the Queen Creek Olive Mill (organic olive goodness...). Schnepf also offers cool, four course dinners in their peach orchard, courtesy of some of the valley's finest chefs. Check out their site for the next date.
Can't wait until next year! I promise I will be on the ball next time :) (And hopefully, I'll have a bunch of new peach recipes!) Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

HOT! HOT! HOT!


I'm sure you've noticed the 100+ degree oven outside already. APS and SRP have posted some helpful tips to reduce energy consumption, save you money and keep you cool this summer.

My tips: drink LOTS of water and provide lots of water for your pets, (if you think you've had enough, drink more!), head north for a break from the temps, enjoy monsoon season (RAIN!!!), invest in fans, lots of fans, -and- find your local pool or make friends with someone who has one! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

R.I.P. mini garden...

So...after a month or so, I've decided to start over in my pursuit of my mini container garden. We had an over-watering incident and I don't think the poor veggie & herb stubs are going to recover. (Pair that with our 'glorious' summer temps at 100 degrees and the poor things just couldn't hack it...tear). I'm a little bummed, I have to admit, but I'm determined (and stubborn enough) to start over and try it again. I would post pictures, but it's quite a sad sight, so I'll spare you that.

In loving memory of Mini Garden #1...
(I think a little "Taps" playing in the background is appropriate)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Push the pedals

Don't forget, May 11th-15th is Bike to Work Week! Air up those tires, bust out that helmet and get pedalin'! I know it's a bit toasty out, but just think of the pollution you'll keep out of the air, AND the great workout you'll get, (bathing suit season is here after all).

Photo Courtesy of Trek Bikes & MtbikeAz.com

Friday, May 1, 2009

Do It Green


Check out the D.I.G. (Do It Green) event this Saturday from 8am-2pm at Haus Modern Living at Camelback and Central in Phoenix.

What is CSA and what's the big deal?

In all the talk about organic, you may notice the term CSA being thrown around. Another way to stick to an organic lifestyle (and to support the local growing community,) includes buying locally grown, organic products.

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, organization is essentially a group of individuals or families that purchase a a share of crops prior to a growing season from a local farmer(s). In return, the farmer(s) will designate a portion or basket from the crop each week to each contributing member. This usually is a mix of whatever fruit or veggie is seasonal. This 'method' can usually end up saving families money and allows for more efficient meal-planning --- most CSA's offer a schedule ahead of time so ya'll know what you're getting. I also love that you get a variety of stuff --- (if you're like me, you tend to get in to a routine picking and preparing the same kinds of veggies every time). This has allowed for some great recipe experimentation/concoctions in our house.

Some CSA communities even offer free delivery...though not every community has this option available and you may have to drive to a drop-off or meeting point to pick up your produce on specific days. However, if you're looking to support farmers in your area and want to ensure a more healthy lifestyle for your family, a CSA group may be the way to go. For more information and to find your local CSA, visit Local Harvest.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is relevant to our lives now more than ever. Our daily choices can either make or break our environment for future generations. I know there's a LOT of advice out there involving living a more eco-friendly lifestyle and it can be quite overwhelming. Start out small if you can --- Every bit helps.


Here's a list of environmentally friendly tasks you can easily accomplish in your family without going broke. I'm sure we've heard of some of these....
  • Have you seen those reusable grocery bags in stores? They're all fairly cheap (between $1-$2 each) and nearly every store has them. Better yet, go to Michael's (or any craft store or dollar store) and pick some plain ones out and let your kids (or you!) decorate them using paint, markers or iron-ons. Fun art and environmentally-conscious project all in one!
  • Switch a few of your light bulbs out for CFL's. A lot of utility companies (APS in Arizona) are offering discounts on CFL's at Home Depot.
  • Grow your own veggies/fruits/herbs. I'm about 2 weeks into my gardening endeavor --- nothing exciting happening yet. It's a great way to ensure what you're eating isn't tainted with pesticides and other chemicals and give you a better appreciation for nature and the food we eat.
  • RECYCLE! I know a lot of communities don't offer recycle bins so this may be a bit more difficult, but if your community does, take advantage of it! The City of Phoenix offers large recycling bins.
  • With our triple digit Arizona summer quickly approaching, it's easy to flip the switch on that A/C. Consider installing (or using if you don't!) a ceiling fan in the busiest rooms in your house. The circulating air will make it feel cooler in the room. If that's not an option, try installing a programmable thermostat so your air isn't running when you're not home. You can find them at the hardware store between $25-$70 depending on how hi-tech you want to go.
  • Switch to Cold Water detergent. You'll save money and energy by not heating the water.
Here's a list of Earth Day happenings around Arizona (and some Earth Day stuff you can do at home too). I know it's going to be 90+ degrees outside, but hopefully you can get out and enjoy it. It's up to us to make changes today for future generations.

Clean Air Days (Tucson)
ASU Global Institute of Sustainability (Tempe)
Earth Day Crafts
Earth Day 5K & Green Expo (Tempe)
For the Earth Corporation (Phoenix)
Earth Day Celebration (Phoenix Country Day School - Paradise Valley)
Every Day is Earth Day (Scottsdale)
Earth Day (Phoenix)
Qwest Earth Day 2009
Earth Day Phoenix 2009 (Phoenix)
Preservation for Generations (Scottsdale)
Quiessence Restaurant & the Farm at South Mountain Veggie Dinner & Tour
Disney's Earth Movie
Do Just 1 Thing (Martha Stewart)



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One of the nation's "Greenest" universities here in AZ

Did you know that Arizona State is one of the first universities in the nation to offer a School of Sustainability? I had no idea - and I have several ASU alum friends who had no clue (ahem...).

The school, which opened in 2007, offers degrees in
sustainability at all levels (B.A./B.S.-Ph.D.) and hosts a variety of seminars and events with the eco-conscious in mind, including growing organic food on campus.
"Our mission is to bring together multiple disciplines and leaders to create and share knowledge, train a new generation of scholars and practitioners, and develop practical solutions to some of the most pressing environmental, economic, and social challenges of sustainability, especially as they relate to urban areas." ~ ASU School of Sustainability
A very belated congrats to ASU in their efforts to promote a more organic lifestyle in the next generations of Americans.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Maybe I don't have a 'black' thumb!

I found this awesome gardening "tool" in my quest to plant an organic garden of my own:

It's called the EasyBloom Plant Sensor. Basically, you stick it in the ground where you want those herbs and veggies to grow and it analyzes everything from temperature to drainage. After about 24hrs, plug the device into your computer's USB port and the EasyBloom will tell you which plants (from a database of 5,000!) will thrive well in your soil environment. (SWEET!) It's an investment, (it's $60), but I think it's well worth it when you consider how many trial and error things I've planted that have totaled well over $6o.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Organic Housekeeping

Organic Housekeeping: I've heard rave reviews about this clear and concise book by Ellen Sandbeck. In it, she provides tons of valuable advice for organic cleaning in the home and why it's important to avoid so many of the chemical cleaners we're all guilty of using on a daily basis (I'm the WORST offender with my Lysol, etc.). I'm headed out to buy my own copy today!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

30 Days, 30 Ways...Tips for going green

To celebrate Earth Month, Whole Foods is sending a 'green' tweet a day. Follow them on Twitter: WholeFoods

Carefree Farmer's Market Weekend Event

This weekend only, the Carefree Farmers Market will be open Friday - Sunday during the Sonoran Festival of Fine Art in Carefree, AZ. Usually only open to the public on Fridays, the farmers market will feature local growers and products (some organic!). Admission is free and the weather should be great!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Roadrunner Park Farmer's Market


A friend of mine just told me about a cool farmer's market in in the north Phoenix / west Scottsdale area at Roadrunner Park on the corner of Cactus and 36th Street (near PV Mall).

She said there are a TON local farmers there with local produce, dairy and other miscellaneous products, along with a variety of local artists showcasing their goods every Saturday. Sweet! AND they accept credit cards... woo hoo! Well-behaved canine family members are also welcome (so, not mine...) and admission and parking are FREE. Double 'woo hoo'! I hear parking can be a bit crazy though, so head out early (starts at 8am and ends at 1pm) and check it out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chemical-Free Kids

Chemical-Free Kids is a great book for parents about the importance of limiting chemicals (dyes, synthetics, etc.) in your child's diet. Check out this interview clip from News Channel 3 in Phoenix with Chemical-Free Kids author, Anthony Zolezzi as well as the CFK website for more information about the book including recipes, facts, sign up for their e-newsletter and the CFK Tip of the Day.






Monday, March 30, 2009

Tackling my garden phobia


After months of putting it off, I decided that now is as good a time as ever to start taking steps towards my goal of having my own garden. Initially, the task seemed extremely intimidating, considering my track record with house plants (I've even killed a cactus! A cactus!!! How can you kill something that doesn't really need watering or anything else for that matter?!)

But after a lot of consideration and encouragement from fellow gardening newbies, I've decided to get over my fear of my 'black' thumb and my the excuses and take a stab at it. I've been eyeing some cool recycled pots / planters at the local gardening store, (they're cheaper than the non-recycled ones!) a bunch of seeds and some starter soil. I figure I can start with a small planter and upgrade as long as things keep growing (fingers crossed!), hopefully leading to more homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs (and less money at the grocery store).

Tara Burner wrote a great article on her blog, Container Gardening, on getting your own garden started (even if space is limited... i.e., live in an apartment). Check out her easy to follow tips. I'll keep you all posted on my gardening endeavor. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Organic Offerings at a Luxurious AZ Resort

The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa in Carefree, AZ - Photo Courtesy of The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa website

In an effort to keep up with a growing demand for environmentally conscious and organic items in resorts, The Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa in beautiful Carefree, Arizona, began introducing a variety of eco-friendly options over the last few years for both guests and natives.

Among their efforts, the resort has been using natural insecticides on the golf course and implementing water conservation techniques throughout the property.


The elegant resort also boasts an Organic Garden meeting and events venue perfect for enjoying organic meals al fresco in our beautiful desert setting. The healthy and organic experience includes organic wine tastings, organic cooking demonstrations and classes utilizing locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables in the Organic Garden, as well as tours of the garden. The garden is host to a variety of herbs, veggies, prickly pear cacti, chili and grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, fig and kumquat trees.

In addition, the resort's retail store, the Golden Door Home Store at el Pedegral marketplace, added Golden Door Spa-inspired luxury products that are also environmentally conscious. The boutique's home and personal care lines include organic cotton towels and bedding, eco-friendly clothing for the whole family and body care products with organic ingredients.

The Boulders Golden Door Spa - Photo Courtesy of The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa website

Every bit helps and The Boulders is definitely doing their part. The resort is absolutely beautiful - a great setting for couples and families. My family has taken many stay-cations at The Boulders during the summer months when rates are lower (and check out spa specials for locals!). Definitely worth venturing to Carefree for a stay.

A big thanks to Debora Bridges at The Bridges Media Group for providing the scoop on the green efforts at The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Herb Box

I know it's been a while, lots of craziness lately. However, I did have the pleasure of dining on the patio at The Herb Box in DC Ranch.

The Herb Box restaurant and catering company boasts a delectable, fresh menu with everything from salads to burgers and prides themselves on using as much locally-grown and produced items (including organic) whenever possible. The company has also been the sole caterer for the Thunderbird's private tent at the FBR Open for the past few years and has received rave reviews from Thunderbirds and guests (I can attest their bartender makes a mean bloody mary to kick off your Open festivities.)


The Herb Box currently has 2 locations in the valley: DC Ranch in North Scottsdale and Shea Blvd in Scottsdale.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dave the Garden Guy...

will be at the University of Phoenix Stadium today beginning at 11:30am to answer all of your organic gardening questions at the Southwest Flower & Garden Show (March 6,7 & 8th).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Easy ways to go green TODAY

It's not local, but here's a GREAT article from SimpleMom green columnist/blogger Maya Bisineer. Some great and EASY tips to live a more 'green' lifestyle.
Bootstrap Your Green Efforts: 10 Ways To Go Green TODAY
We've all heard of the green revolution but it can be overwhelming to figure out on our own what is do-able. I think all of us could incorporate at least a few of these on a daily basis. Every bit helps!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Toxic Produce

Dr. Amy O'Hara from the Derma Health Institute was on ABC 15's Sonoran Living Live this morning talking about organic. Check out her clip here:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Killer bees, black widows and roaches, oh my!

Critters and the desert seem to go hand-in-hand. Killer bees, black widows, cockroaches and scorpions are just a few of the local 'pests' that creep out Arizonans.

But, if you're looking for a pest control option that won't leave chemical residues lingering in your home and is more kid and pet-friendly, look no further. Arizona Organic Pest & Termite Control claims that "it doesn't take nuclear waste to kill bugs," and uses more natural ingredients to kill those unsightly pests.

I'm not an expert on pest control, let alone 'organic' pest control, but I would recommend checking out their website and asking questions. I can't imagine that it's healthy for any member of the family, (four legged included), to be exposed to bug spray chemicals --- or have it circulate in our air long after the house has been sprayed - ick!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dave the Garden Guy

If any of you watch AZ Family Channel 3 News, you will occasionally find Dave the Garden Guy promoting his great organic tips and tricks for all things green.

Dave is known for his organic gardening products and methods. He has a couple of
books and articles for everyone from those of us seriously lacking a green thumb to the pros. You can purchase products online and submit questions for Dave...or call him while he's on the air during his channel 3 segments.

Here's a clip from Dave's segment courtesy of
AZ Family

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jason's Deli offers organic

Jason's Deli now offers 21 organic products! If you haven't been to the deli, it's a must try for the whole family. It's my husband's favorite place to eat --- he's slightly obsessed with their pulled pork and soup combo. They've got everything; soups, salads, pastas, wraps, sandwiches and deserts -- AND now some organic options. Woo hoo!

Find the Jason's Deli closest to you:
  • Phoenix, AZ - Metro Center 10217 North Metro Center Phoenix, AZ 85051
  • Scottsdale, AZ - Shea Blvd & Scottsdale Rd 10605 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85254
  • Glendale, AZ - Arrowhead 17275 North 79th Ave Suite 100
  • Gilbert, AZ - Baseline & Cooper 1065 E. Baseline Rd., Ste. 101 Gilbert, AZ 85233
  • Chandler, AZ - Ray Rd & I-10 7230 W. Ray Rd. Chandler, AZ 85226
Check out the Jason's Deli website for nutritional and menu info.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Another organic CityNorth addition

CityNorth will also be the new home of Green Bone Bakery, in the Nordstrom's court. Green Bone Bakery offers organic, environmentally-friendly or recyclable pet products. Visit the store with your pooch and you may even receive a free treat.


Brady, pouting because he hasn't been to Green Bone Bakery yet

Monday, February 16, 2009

Verde' Maison: A more natural approach to skincare

I've been on the hunt for more natural skincare products for the past few months. I figured that years of slathering chemicals that I can't pronounce on my skin can't be without some consequences. Luckily, someone recommended that I check out Verde' Maison which is about 10 minutes from my house. (yippee!)

The organic skincare store will be one of the new inhabitants at CityNorth, (also at the Promenade), and is dedicated to providing skin and body care "free of parabens, propylene glycol, sls's and petrolatum." Verde' Maison boasts everything from makeup and skincare to inhouse facial and waxing services. They've also been known to have "Cash & Carry" events at their stores offering 13% off of your bill when you pay with cash. Check 'em out!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Got Chocolate?

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Glendale Chocolate Affaire in historic downtown Glendale.




The chocolate connoisseur's heaven featured music, food and the best of the best of local specialty chocolate vendors. We found so many tasty treats; olives, roasted nuts, dips, wine-laced chocolate truffles, fudge (even goats milk fudge! It was awesome!), chocolate coated everything from strawberries, cheesecake, bananas to rice crispy treats and chocolate waffles.


Local favorite
Kokopelli Winery, (and a winery known for using organically-grown grapes), was on hand for purchases (bottles and by the glass) and offered wine and chocolate pairings. I was also lucky enough to get my hands on a 6 flavor, dark chocolate sampler from vegan and organic chocolatier , Wei of Chocolate, which I LOVED.

Courtesy of Wei of Chocolate.com

It's not your typical tasting dark chocolate, but more exciting with it's spices and herbs, (like dark organic chocolate with hints of lavender and other good stuff for their Inner Peace flavor). And just think, new research suggests that dark chocolate is actually GOOD for us!

If you're looking for something cool to get your valentine next weekend, or any time for that matter, definitely check out the
Wei of Chocolate varieties. I'm officially hooked!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Organic for mamas & babies

Aside from the organic food choices for children, parents can also find various organic baby products ranging from organic clothing to bedding and toiletries. We all want to protect our little ones, especially when their health is so vulnerable external toxins, pollutants and chemicals. Now, I am by no means an expert on organic anything...and I don't yet have children. However, I have been hearing of some great up-and-coming Arizona companies that are carving out their niche in the organic baby product market. They're all very cool so I would definitely recommend checking out their websites.

Nature Baby Organics - Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nature Baby Organics is a great resource for those parents seeking a more organic lifestyle for their little ones. The owners, Brian and Tammy, started Nature Baby Organics after finding a lack of one-stop organic baby product sites available for their own child. They are a member of the Organic Trade Association and offer everything from eco-friendly nursery furniture and organic bedding to feeding gear, toys and lots of other great finds that are "organic, recyclable, and/or sustainable". You can even get a gift certificate for other moms-to-be or find their wishlist and shop online.


Wildflower Diapers - Another Scottsdale, Arizona-based business focusing on cloth diapers, organic baby carriers and a variety of other eco-friendly and / or organic baby accessories. Wildflower Diapers began when company founder, Shannon, wanted to be able to stay at home with her youngest child and decided to fill a growing need in the community for cute and modern cloth diapers. The company is also a member of the Organic Trade Association and has a showroom in Scottsdale. They even offer cloth diapering seminars as well as workshops to help moms and moms-to-be, (even the dads!), decide which baby carrier is best and how to properly wear them. Gift registry is also available.

Mother's Milk Boutique - Also in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mother's Milk Boutique also offers a variety of organic products for baby and mom. Breastfeeding support groups offered as well as gift registry.

Go Go Natural -Chandler, Arizona - based business. Offers variety of organic baby products. Gift registry, gift certificates and layaway available.

ErbaOrganics - Not technically an Arizona company, (So. California)...however, I've heard wonderful things about this certified USDA Organic line of pampering products for both mom and baby.
Here are a few online support groups for mom's looking to bring a more organic or eco-friendly lifestyle to their families.
Go Green
Organic Living
SemiCrunchy
And check out Ideal Bite to sign up for "free, eco-living tips" for moms delivered to your inbox.

Please let me know if I am missing any other great AZ companies. And thank you for supporting local!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great Farmers Market for Southern AZ

For all of you southern Arizonans out there, here's a great farmer's market for you to find some organically grown products and support the local Arizona economy.

The owner of one of the booths, Yoga Saguaro, even has organic, vegan, fair-trade chocolate in 6 varieties (courtesy of local company, Wei of Chocolate)... yum, as well as a variety of Queen Creek Olive Mill EVOO, and Southwest Bee Supply Mesquite Honey, among other things. And did you know Arizona has a lavender farm in the White Mou
ntains!? Check out the Yoga Saguaro booth for some of their products too. Here 's the schedule for the Yoga Saguaro booth:
Wednesday - Green Valley Market at GV Mall--10- 2 p.m.
Thursday - Tubac Market, Nob Hill, 10-2 pm

First Thursday of the month, Sierra Vista Farmers Market, 10-2pm

Friday at the University of Arizona,
Farmer's Market, Main Gate at 6th St & University, 10--2 pm. Saturday - Rincon Market in Tucson, Old Spanish Trail, 9-2 pm
Sunday - St. Phillip's Market, River and Campbell in Tucson, 9-1 pm
Check out this article from the Green Valley News and Sun and the Yoga Saguaro website for more info.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Olive You

Another great local spot is the Queen Creek Olive Mill. This hidden gem is "Arizona's own working olive mill and farm," according to their website. All olives grown at the farm are done so without the use of pesticides, due to the abundant Arizona heat (apparently, they don't have to worry about the olive flys that are usually predominant in olive farming).

Head out to the Queen Creek Olive Mill for their Annual Olive Festival until February 15th for olive oil, tapenade and wine tastings, as well as live music and tours of the mill. Enjoy lunch out in the olive grove at the olive mill's cafe, del-Piero. You can also buy their products online.

A Healthier (& Organic!) Option for Pizza

Support a local restaurant and check out Pizza Fusion in Mesa, Arizona, where they are "Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time."

The pizzeria features a range of organic ingredients as well as a few wheat-free, lactose-free and vegan options. (Check out the tasty looking vegan, gluten-free brownie, which I hear is amazing!) Their menu also includes a variety of organic beverages, including a few organic beers, salads and sandwiches. They even have cool little hybrids for delivery.



Photo courtesy of Pizzafusion.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A yummy organic beverage



Check out this cool organic giveaway from SimpleMom: Choffy.

According to their website, this functional beverage is made from 100% organic
cac√£o beans and is full of antioxidants and other great minerals, (without any sugar, dairy or other chemicals). Drinking a chocolate beverage without all of the "side effects," (i.e., sugar, fat, having to spend hours at the gym to work it off), um, yes please!

Check out
Choffy's website for more information (they even have a recipe to make your own Choffy Gelato...yum) and enter to win Simple Mom's giveaway to start your own stash.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Organic on a budget Pt. 2


We're all looking to be good stewards of our money, especially in the given economy. As mentioned in a previous post, a more wallet-friendly way to switch to an organic menu includes buying products that typically have a higher concentration of chemicals.
According to Dr. Alan Greene M.D. , author of Raising Baby Green, the following is a list of items that should be priority in your quest for organic: (Dr. Greene's Organixc RX)
  • Milk - “When you choose a glass of conventional milk, you are buying into a whole chemical system of agriculture,” says Dr. Greene.
  • Potatoes - "In recent USDA testing, the Environmental Working Group found that 81% of potatoes still contained pesticides after being washed and peeled, and the average potato had the highest total amount of pesticides of all of the 43 fruits and vegetable tested."
  • Peanut Butter - "More acres are devoted to growing peanuts in the U.S. than to any fruit, any vegetable, or any nut (peanuts are legumes, like beans or peas). More than 99% of these acres are conventional. Peanut Butter is the leading use of all these acres of peanuts."
  • Baby Food- "If I were going to pick only one time of life to eat organic, it would be from conception through age 3. Our bodies and our brains grow faster during this period than at any later time. Babies eat more than adults, pound for pound, and they are more vulnerable to environmental toxins. The EPA has concluded that carcinogens average 10 times the potency for babies than for adults, with some chemicals up to 65 times more powerful. The EPA does not yet have a formal policy addressing babies' exposure to chemicals that affect their bodies in other ways, such as their hormones, immune systems, or their brains - even though babies are clearly more vulnerable."
  • Ketchup / Catsup - "Just switching from conventional to organic catsup could significantly increase the nutrients in America's diet and decrease conventional tomato farming methods...And you might want to think about switching to organic marinara and pizza sauce at the same time."
  • Cotton - "...according to some studies, cotton accounts for 10% of all pesticide use, 25% of all insecticide use, and more total insecticide use than any other crop. And those used are among the most toxic. The World Health Organization estimates there are 25 million global poisonings and 20,000 deaths from all pesticides each year, not to mention the enormous damage to wildlife. Cotton is a major contributor."
  • Apples - "Consistently named as one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables, apples make my list because they are more popular than the other fruits and vegtables on the list... In 2005, apples were the second most commonly eaten fresh fruit after bananas) and the second most commonly used in fruit juice after oranges), making them the biggest pesticide concern among fruits. Apples are a major source of our exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which some studies suggest are linked to decreased intelligence and increased attention problems in kids, as well as changes in hormone levels for some adults."
  • Beef - "I suggest replacing conventional beef either with grass-fed organic beef, or with a variety of other plant or animal sources of protein, such as organic eggs, garbanzo beans (a huge source of plant protein around the world), quinoa (a wonderfully complete protein), or soy."
  • Soy - "More than 72 million acres are planted in soy. Soybean pesticide use in the US ranks second only to corn. In recent years soy has been the domestic crop found most contaminated with organophosphate pesticides. Beyond this, soy leads the way in genetic modification, with 87% of the soy planted in the U.S. genetically modified (62 million acres). Choosing organic is one way to be sure the foods you eat are GMO-free."
  • Corn -"More pesticides and more chemical fertilizer are used to grow corn in the US than any other crop. Most of the corn, almost 50 million acres of it, is GM corn."
  • Wine - "In my opinion, the closest thing to a Fountain of Youth nutrient may be resveratrol. It is found in the skin of red grapes, and has been shown, in at least some circumstances, to have gentle antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, neuroprotective, anti-aging, and life-prolonging effects... In testing, organic wines average 32% higher resveratrol levels than their conventional counterparts."
  • One other way to save: buy generic. Many stores are beginning to come out with their own generic brands of organic foods. Some to check out: Archer Farms (Target - some AF products are organic, but not always wallet-friendly), O Organics (Safeway), Whole Foods generic brand, Trader Joe's brand, and Wild Harvest (Albertsons). Keep an eye out for your local store to come out with its own organic brand.
Check out this link to the Organic Center's pocket guide to produce. Use it to identify which fruits and veggies should be purchased organic to reduce dietary pesticide exposure.

By choosing to purchase these items (or products with these ingredients), you will most likely be lowering your total concentration of consumed chemicals. Makes sense.

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Do You Really Need to Buy Organic"

Check out this interesting and relevant audio podcast from Bon Appetit Magazine (December 25, 2006).


The interview features New York University nutrition professor and author of What to Eat, Marion Nestle discussing her book and her thoughts on organic.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A little vino...



Arizona has some wonderful wineries around the state. Among them, you can find a few organic wines available.





Kokopelli Winery
Produces a variety of organically grown grapes
Grown in Bonita Valley, north of Wilcox, AZ
Wines available in grocery stores, as well as their two bistros located Chandler & Surprise




Granite Creek Vineyards, L.L.C.
100% Certified Organic Grapes, Sulfite-free wine
Chino Valley, AZ
Purchase wines at winery or local stores

In our quest for a more organic, chemical-free lifestyle, you may also want to look for wines with "no added sulfites" or "low in sulfites". Sulfites are chemical preservatives added to wine to prevent oxidation and bacterial growth. They've been linked to headaches and a variety of allergic reactions. Another FYI - European wines typically have more sulfites than American-made wines. And white wines require double the amount of sulfites than red wines. (Note, that some sulfites occur naturally due to the fermentation process.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, the USDA has strict guidelines using the term organic on the labeling of products. Since many winemakers choose to include sulfites in their wine (other than those naturally occuring), you may need to look for wines labeled "using organically grown grapes".

In addition to the Arizona wines, there are quite a few organic / organically grown wines that are worth mentioning and trying out for yourselves: (in no particular order)
  • Sanford Winery, Pinot Noir, 2000
  • Bonterra Vineyards, Syrah, 1999
  • Badger Mountain Vineyards, Riesling, 2002
  • Guy Bossard, Muscadet's De Sevre Et Maine, 2001
  • Frey, Syrah 2001
  • Frog's Leap, Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1999 (organically grown, not certified)
  • Topolos Piner Heights, Zinfandel, 1999
  • Lolonis, Chardonnay, Redwood Valley, California 2005
  • Domaine Montanet-Thoden Bourgogne, Pinot Noir, 2005
  • Trader Joe's Organic Syrah
  • Rosenblum's Black Muscat Gallagher Reserve, Alameda, California, 2004
Remember that, like non-organic wine, you may need to try a few to find your niche.

Let me know if there are any other great organic wines we should be trying!

Hollywood goes Organic


Check out Sprig.com's, "10 Organic Diet Secrets of the Stars"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Go Organic?

According to the Organic Center's Mission Organic 2010 website,
  • On average, organic produce contains about 30% higher levels of antioxidants. (Find out more about antioxidants and why they're vital to your health --- I HIGHLY recommend learning more about this health buzzword that's being touted in everything from produce to skin care products)
  • Organic farming helps fight climate change because soil treated organically absorbs more carbon.
  • Organic food is safer and more nutritious than conventional food, and you can be assured that organic food will never be irradiated or cloned
The Organic Center has created a video explaining the health and environmental benefits of a more organic lifestyle.

Serious Science, Serious Benefits


Monday, January 12, 2009

Organic on a budget

You may be thinking, "Great! I would love to eat healthier and not consume a chemical cocktail every time I eat or drink...but I can't afford it. Did you miss the memo, we're in the middle of a recession!?"

How can you make the most of an organic lifestyle while still sticking to your budget?

It's not about being perfect, but rather making subtle changes
in your lifestyle. You may have to take at look at what spending priorities mean in your life; do I really need a $5 drink from Starbucks everyday to "survive"? Do I HAVE to have the latest tech gadgets? Do we have to eat out a couple of time a week? To each his/her own. However, according to Laura Klein, publisher of OrganicAuthority.com, you can make the transition to organic without busting the bank.
  1. Commit to buying your favorites, organically
  2. Check out the organic food sections of your market to get to know which products you'll be buying on a regular basis - Safeway, Bashas, Albertsons and Fry's all have a "health" section, but selection may be limited. Also, try Whole Foods, Trader Joes, AJ's, Fresh & Easy, Sprouts & Sunflower Market
  3. Use a grocery list! - we should ALL be doing this, organic or not - eliminates those impulse buys, like those 3 bags of Dove Dark Chocolates that ended up in your cart because they were on sale....
  4. Prioritize your shopping list - and know where 'organic' counts (we'll touch more on this in the future)
  5. Look for organic generic or private labels from your supermarket chain
  6. Shop bulk
  7. Buy local & in-season - see Local Harvest link
  8. Don't rule out non-organic when it comes to local farmers
  9. Buy organic coffee and tea
  10. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) - check out the Local Harvest website link under resources
  11. Don't see it at your favorite grocery? Ask!
  12. Grow your own, organically! (This option isn't really an option for us in the desert - our ground is way too hard!)
  13. Buy Online - search for internet deals on organic products
  14. Check for local organic delivery services - Some located around Arizona include: Matt's Organics - Tucson,AZ (they have organic gift baskets too!), Boxed Greens - Tempe, AZ (they have everything from produce to pet food and household goods), Nature's Garden Delivered - Scottsdale, AZ (also includes coffee & tea and pet food)
  15. Spend a little more now and save your health later - you are what you eat! Think of it as preventative wellness - as opposed to the normal reactive medicine we engage in after we're sick
  16. Commit to eating out less - we should ALL be doing this regardless of our diets = more money in the bank for things that count!
  17. Think about your values when you shop
Check out OrganicAuthority for more information.

What does "Organic" mean?

I'm not going to lie, I was initially clueless about 'organic'; what it meant, what the standards are, what to look for (deciphering the organic "code" from manufacturers), the pros & cons of organic products, etc. Luckily, there are some GREAT resources online for all of us organic newbies. Here's a little breakdown...

The term
organic is often used these days to describe food or materials grown without the use of pesticides, antibiotics or other harmful chemicals. The USDA created The National Organic Program in conjunction with The Organic Foods Production Act, whose responsibilities include ensuring "that the organic agricultural products they purchase are produced, processed, and certified to consistent national organic standards. The labeling requirements of the NOP apply to raw, fresh products and processed products that contain organic agricultural ingredients."
What does this mean to me as a consumer? Crops are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals to preserve shelf life. Ideally, animals raised as organic are supposed to be free from antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, consume only organic feed and are free to roam (vs. living in cramped cages or pens their whole lives).

Unfortunately there is still much debate on what percen
tage of a product can be certified organic -AND- many companies are still using the term "organic" loosely on products that really should not be labeled as such. Not all organic products are created equal.

There are four categories of "organic" according to the FDA guidelines;
  • 100 % organic - may bear the USDA label shown above
  • Atleast 95% organic - may say "organic" on the label & may use USDA seal
  • Atleast 70% organic - may say "made with organic" followed by 3 specific ingredients & may use USDA seal
  • Less than 70% organic - may only list those organic ingredients on side or back ingredient panel, but not on the front and may NOT use USDA seal
Check out NOP Guidelines for labeling guidelines for organic products and Quality Assurance International.
What about "natural" products?

Many companies have jumped on the health bandwagon, and in attempts to get a cut of the burgeoning health and wellness industry, have used natural as empty marketing terminology to lure unsuspecting consumers. The term "natural" is not interchangeable with organic. According to the FDA, "the term 'natural' has not been defined in FDA's law...or in FDA's regulations," (FDA website). So watch out for products claiming to be natural (no matter how 'earthy' the packaging may look) --- read labels and if you have any doubts, contact the company's customer service for clarification.

Welcome to Organic Arizona!

A Resource for the Organic Life in Arizona

The term "organic" has recently become a trendy topic in our culture. With the many pesticides, preservatives and chemicals being blamed for illness, disease and antibiotic resistance, its no wonder we are becoming more aware of what we put into our bodies.

My itch to dive into organic was a combination of health and environmental reasons...that, and I didn't like that I couldn't pronounce or understand half of the ingredients I was putting into my body on a daily basis. In my own quest to migrate toward a more organic lifestyle, I found that resources for organic "newbies" like myself were sparse. I didn't know where to begin --- there's SO much information on the internet it's overwhelming! It seems like anyone and everyone has been touting the benefits of going organic but I wasn't sure which resources were legit and what the standards were for using the label "organic" for consumer products and/or services. It may not be financially feasible to go 100 percent organic in your life, but every bit counts!

I am NOT by any means an expert on the subject and there are still many uses in which the term "organic" is debated... However, I have tried to provide an array of resources for you to be informed consumers in your search for a more organic lifestyle. Enjoy!