theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Pop, pop, pop….Homemade Popcorn

Not too bad after a little sea salt and some melted unsalted butter.

Okay, I know for some people they are probably thinking: “You’re writing a post on homemade Popcorn? That’s easy to do! Why write about that?”

But as someone trying to go from mainstream junk food happy america to real food I’ve never made homemade popcorn. Unless you count the popcorn we made when I was little with the popcorn machine we had. That was years ago. I’ve always found the idea so intimidating for some reason. It seemed hard because  DH and I have eaten microwave popcorn for years. So easy. Unwrap the plastic, unfold the bag, and pop it in the microwave. And besides, what could the harm be with a bunch of corn kernels? (Ha! I forgot I live in America. We even know how to make fruits and vegetables unhealthy. How sad. )

Well, I recently read an article in a newspaper

that I found outside our local Whole Foods Market called Natural Awakenings, that had me thinking I would give HM popcorn a go. To put it simply, some microwave popcorn bags contain a coating called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is a substance known to cause cancer/and or lung disease in laboratory animals. There is also some controversy on the “butter” used in many microwave popcorns. It is thought that some of these “butters” contain diacetyl, a common food flavoring agent  that can cause lung disease. Scary!

So…..bring on the organic homemade popcorn. I just used the general directions in the article I read about microwave popcorn.

Oh boy!

I’m more of a recipe kind of gal.

Getting ready to heat up my Canola Oil. I used 4 Tbs. of oil and heated on medium heat in a medium size sauce pan.

I know the lids not the right size. I grabbed it in a panic because I forgot to add a lid to start with. Uh oh!

But in the end, it was pretty tasty and pretty inexpensive. A quarter cup of seeds yielded a HUGE bowl or popcorn. And did I mention how easy it was?

 


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Organic Baby Remedies

After a walking migraine for almost 3 days straight (seriously would not wish this on my worst enemy) I think I can finally see well enough to tell you about this great little article I found recently in the August issue (can you believe I just said August!) of Babytalk magazine. Btw, Babytalk magazine is a free magazine that touts itself as “straight talk for new moms.” That would be me folks.  I would say it’s somewhat similar to American Baby magazine but I feel that the articles are a bit more informative and less commercially/mainstream, which I happen to love.

So trying to be as green a mama as possible, and firmly believing that some of the ways and practices of our ancestors are worth reconsidering, I perked right up when I saw the title “Grandma’s Home Remedies.” I perked up even further when I saw that physicians ( namely the infamous Dr. Robert Sears, author of “HappyBaby: The organic guide to Baby’s first 24 months” and “The Baby Book“) had been consulted for their take on the different remedies and gave the logical explanation behind the remedy. Love! Knowing that if I tried these remedies whenever they might strike in the future that I wouldn’t be exposing my DD to possibly unneccessary chemicals-love, love, love!

***Please note I am not a physician, nor an expert  on treating babies (obviously, I am going to be a new mom). If you decide to try these remedies, you do so at your own risk and the outcomes are your sole responsibility. Okay, now that I’ve protected myself in our sue happy american society, lets move on shall we?

Without further ado, here are a couple of my favorite ideas that I plan on trying if and when they are needed.

“Don’t Hold the Onions.”

  • Concern: Your child has a fever and the next dose of medicine isn’t for a couple more hours.
  • Grandma’s remedy: Cut an onion in half and place each half into one of your child’s socks. Put the socks on your child, with the cut sides against the soles of your baby’s feet. Leave them on for a few hours or until the fever breaks.
  • What the doctor said about this: Onions are part of the allium group so it has anti-inflammatory and other medicinal properties so it makes sense that this could help, and honestly how could it hurt? (Other than the fact that it might stink!)

“Go for the garlic.”

  • Concern: Child is tugging on her ears, and a trip the pediatrician confirms she has an ear infection.
  • Grandma’s remedy: Place a drop of warm garlic oil into the child’s sore ear.
  • What the doctor said about this: He actually recommends this to his patients since the AAP recommends waiting and seeing with so many manufactured antibiotics in order to avoid the child building up a resistance to them. Garlic is actually a natural antibiotic, it helps the infection as well as the pain. Dr. Sears specifically recommends using mullein-garlic oil eardrops as a first line of defense (available at herb-pharm.com). For a baby you place one drop in the ear (2 drops for a toddler) after you warm the bottle under your arm.  Let the oil sit for about a minute or longer if possible and then let it drain out naturally. Repeat 3 x a day until symptoms are gone. Then follow-up with your doctor.

Sounds interesting,huh? Would love to hear if you try these and they work as I assume I won’t have the opportunity for at least a few more months. I doubt I’ll have the guts to actually try them out until my DD is at least a few months old and I’ve gained my “mother legs.”  (And it seems that so many things are not recommended for a newborn’s system that I feel a bit paranoid about trying them too early.) But I am so excited that natural remedies are gaining more spotlight. It just makes sense to me that God would give us things in nature to help us.

Have you tried any other home remedies that worked for you? Would LOVE to hear them!


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Buying Organic: When it’s Worth that extra Buck or Two

Do you ever have such a great day that you think you might actually need a tutorial on how to land from 50 feet in the air? I seriously could have used it myself yesterday-we got to see an u/s of  our first baby due in September. My heart was blown away, but as I was drifting down in a bubble of happiness I remembered that we had one other stop before we headed back home. The grocery store. And not just any grocery store but Whole Foods Market. Now I’m thankful for WF, especially when spring has not yet sprung and there are no Farmer’s Markets to speak of and my summer garden is merely a twinkle in my eye, but whew it sure can cause your pocket-book to take a hit. **Note to self: Must learning canning and freezing techniques this summer.

So, in order to give my baby (not mention dear old self) the best nutrition minus nasty chemicals all while trying to save a buck or two, I refer back to my list of the “Dirty Dozen.” (Insert ominous sounding noise here.) I’m guessing you might already have seen this list but possibly not referred to in this way. It’s the name given by the Environmental Working Group to fruits & veggies known to have the highest amounts of chemicals in them. There is also a list known as the “Clean 15”.  These include produce that have relatively lower amounts of chemicals in them. So if you can’t afford to buy every last bit of your food organic these lists will at least let you know where you get the most bang for your nutritional dollar.

I think the easiest way to keep track of what’s what is to download and print the small pocket-sized list offered on the EWG website. If you have an iphone they also have a free app that you can download. (Oh you lucky soul!)  I carry the print version right behind my debit card in my wallet. It has saved us more than a few dollars and headaches trying to remember if something was worth that extra dollar or two.

One other thought to help you know if something is worth buying organic or not is to consider how much of it your family consumes. If you eat, say a ton of tomatoes, then even though it’s listed as one of the Clean 15, it MIGHT  be worth it to buy organic just because of the sheer volume consumed.

Also consider buying frozen fruits & veggies over fresh ones when out of season. The idea is that frozen produce is grown and picked at peak growing season for that particular item so less chemicals are used to grow it than the fresh ones available now because they are being grown out of season and trucked from far away.

Here’s the list below. Do any surprise you?

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (imported)
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear

Clean 15

  1. Onion
  2. Avacado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

There’s also a complete list of where all the different fruits and veggies rank, if you click here.