Organic Southwest Black Bean Salad with Mango and Avocado

We are making festive and delicious Organic Southwest Black Bean and Mango Salad that can be used in a variety of ways. It is great as dip with chips or veggie rounds, put it top of mixed salad greens for a light, vegetarian lunch, or put over fish, shrimp or chicken. 

THE RECIPE ~INGREDIENTS
15 oz. can Organic black beans, drained & rinsed (can use Kidney or White Beans) 
15.25 oz. can Organic whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
2 small Organic Avocado cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2  Organic mangos cut into 1/2 inch cubes (can substitute 4 Peaches)
1/2 small Organic red onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces(can substitute white or green onion)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped (can substitute green or yellow pepper)
1 jalapeño pepper, destemmed, seeded & finely chopped (optional use ½ or less to taste)
4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (can use bottled)
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder (option Chipotle Chili Powder) 
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. of salt

1 - Combine the black beans, corn, mango, avocado, onions and jalapeño pepper. 
2 - Separately -  Whisk together the lime juice, chili powder, black pepper and salt
3 - Pour over the salad mixture
4 - Mix gently to coat
5 - Serve with chips, atop lettuce, or over fish, shrimp or grilled chicken breast 

Also for a heart healthy version use NO-Salt Beans and Corn. 
This is great for parties or picnics and can be make ahead of time. It will keep for three days since the lime juice keeps the avocado from turning brown.

Please post your favorite variation.

Basic Care for Indoor Orchids That Will Have Your Plants Blossoming

Here are 5 Basic Tips for growing orchids indoors. You will find by following these simple care instructions your orchids will be thriving and blossoming over and over again. 

1 - TEMPERATURE. The ideal room temperature is 65 to 75 degrees. 

2 - LIGHT. Place orchids in bright light but AVOID direct sunlight.

3 - CONTAINER - Always use a pot that has holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. The last thing you want is to have an orchid sit in water. 

4 - WATER - Water about twice a week. Always check first to make sure the soil has reached a dry point. It is simple to check, just place your finger about an inch in the soil if it is dry give your orchid a little water. 

5 - HUMIDITY - Orchids prefer a bit of humidity. If your home is dry simply use a spray bottle and lightly spray the orchid a couple of times a week. 

These basic tips are all you need to keep your indoor orchid gracing your space with beautiful flowers. 

An Organic Halloween - Affordable Healthy Treats for Trick or Treaters

Click the Photo to Play the Video

Click the Photo to Play the Video

Goblins, ghosts, princesses and pirates are about to come knocking on your door.  What can you give out this Halloween that will satisfy both your organic lifestyle and all those sweet tooths? Hmmmm stick around and find out.  

They may say Trick or Treat but we all know it’s the treat they really want. This year why not hand out organic goodness. Sweet and fun, these choices will bring a smile to everyone's faces.

Let’s start with Chocolate, the go-to favorite. An affordable option is Equal Exchange Chocolate.They have mini organic chocolate bars that are also Fair Trade

Lollipops are also a fun treat and Yummy Earth Lollipops are easy to buy in bulk as you can get a 150 pops for about $18 or get the five pound bag for bigger savings.

The combo of sweet and gummy is always a popular choice. Pick up kid size pacts of Surf Sweets Gummy Bears, you can buy enough for Halloween or save more and buy a case. Use the leftovers for lunch bags and after school snacks for about fifty cents a bag.

Glee Gum is another great option, their Halloween assortment comes in 21 mini boxes, in a variety of flavors for under six bucks.

Hey, what about Brownies, while not a typical Halloween offering, Clif  Z Bar has a chocolaty Organic brownie that is very tasty. A package of 36 is about $25 and contains essential vitamins and minerals.

These treats are great alternatives for Halloween, keep in mind that they can also replace conventional treats throughout the year. We have added links and buying info from our searches in the YouTube description but prices can change without notice so it’s best to do a current search for your own comparison. Please click video to see the links, and hey, why don't you Subscribe while you are there.

We have not been paid to endorse these products, we simply found them to fit our criteria for organic living and of course they passed our taste test too.

Bonus Tip

If you want to give something that can provide fun without a calorie count, try a Goody Bag. With a trip to the dollar store you can create a festive bag of treasures that will prolong the Halloween fun. Great items to include would be themed stickers, coloring books with crayons, animal rings, bubble bottles, animal masks, puzzles are just a few ideas.

You can stuff these bags to your heart, or budgets content.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween everyone

We would love to hear your comments. Until next time, Be organic and be healthy.

 

Start Eating Organic without Increasing Your Grocery Bill

Organic Roost

The health facts, taste, the feel good local buying practices are all great reasons to start buying organic food. There are plenty of ways you can start eating an economical organic diet. Here are my top five tips… let’s get to it.

1 - Buy Frozen - Organic Frozen Fruits and vegetables are a great way to save a few dollars. They retain the majority of their nutrients and flavor allowing you to enjoy your favorites through the year. So hit the freezer section first.

2 - Buy in Bulk - Most health food stores and even farmers markets will have bulk bins of many items including things like nuts, cereals, grains, and beans. Your wallet will thank you, plus it just feels good not throwing away excessive packaging… that’s a bonus for sure.

3 - Shop at Co-ops and Farmers Markets.  These are great ways to not only save some money buying organic but you get to talk to people that actually grew the food you are buying, or at the very least someone who knows the farmers themselves. It creates a closer connection to your community and great dinner conversations. Unless you are forbidden to talk at the table like I grew up… just kidding Mom.

4 - Eat and Buy in Season - There is nothing better than a fresh strawberry in June or Butternut Squash soup in October. You will find that prices of produce is much cheaper when it is in season. So eat those strawberries like candy in the summer then freeze a few quarts for a treat over the winter, you will save a bundle compared to buying them throughout the year.

5- Store Brands - As of this filming there are several large store chains that carry their own line of organic foods. These include Aldi, Stop & Shop, Giant, Walmart, Target and of course Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Buying these brands offers great savings. Wegman’s, a chain that is centric to New York but quickly populating to other states, has gone a step further, and started their own organic farm to help stock their shelves with more organic options.

Here’s a bonus option to save and it’s a no brainer… you can grow your own. It saves you the most and it’s a lot of fun too. So go get started on your next shopping trip. Eating organic is not all or nothing. Your body and mind will thank you. Even if it is just one or two organic items this week, it’s a start.

Until then...Be Organic and Be Healthy

I Want USDA Certified Organic Seafood... So How Can I Get It?

In today’s blog we are going to find out why it’s so hard to find organic seafood. I love Seafood  Why is there no USDA certified organic seafood? And how can a salmon with a “regular” organic label be two to four times the price of it’s farm raised pal laying beside it. You can Watch the Video Here:  https://youtu.be/TdtiQQfRV_0

Organic Roost

Here’s the scoop… Seafood is yet to carry a USDA Certified Organic label, but the good news is, that it’s on the horizon.

Going to the market for organic fish, will likely leave you disappointed. Either you realize it is non-existent or the limited selection is priced like it’s gold-plated. That’s because the only seafood with an organic label comes from Norway and other faraway European countries at this time… unless you’re watching this in Norway than it’s not so far.

The United States sees that the Organic demand is more than just a brief trend and have heard the cries to begin certifying seafood. And they are working on it. Really... they are!

Proposing standards for farm raised organic seafood is on the Department of Agriculture's agenda this year in 2015. They have begun reviewing the recommendations from the past ten years and are beginning to outline the certification requirements for seafood. Then it will be a matter of time before the practices of the fish farms are revised to meet the new USDA standards for Certified Organic labeling.  Among the U.S. seafood that could be covered are salmon, tilapia, catfish, shrimp, mussels, oysters and clams.

Some opinions of the farm raised seafood industry, or who I’ll call fish farmers, are that the cost of the feed alone will be so expensive that the market will not bare the price tag of organic seafood. Well, that will be for you, me and  the rest of the organic shoppers to decide though.

For now, when I want to enjoy some tasty seafood selections, I personally buy something that is Wild Caught.  Hey wait, you might ask, why isn’t Wild Caught seafood organic from the start? That’s a Great question. Unfortunately, there is just no way to monitor if that fish has eaten a 100% organic diet, therefore making it impossible to give wild caught seafood the official USDA Certified Organic Label.

Until then… Be Organic and Be Healthy


Wash Those Nasty Chemicals Off Your Produce With These Easy Tips

Today we are going give you three of the best ways to clean and remove the chemicals from your fruit and vegetables. Giving you a healthier, tastier experience.

Organic Roost

Have you noticed that an ordinary conventionally grown apple has a layer of wax on it that can be thicker than the actual skin? Well, the waxy part is very noticeable, but did you know that there are all kinds of invisible chemicals on the outside too? Most all conventionally grown food from apples to zucchini have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides throughout its growing process. Then they’re dipped and sprayed again after they are harvested to prepare them for travel to your grocery store. Don’t misunderstand me here, Organic food can also have natural pesticides on them, and when removed, can make them taste much better too.

Cutting the skin off would work but in a lot of fruits and vegetables, that is where most of the vitamins and minerals are… what a dilemma. So if you want healthier, cleaner, better tasting fruits and vegetables try these options.

Option One - The Water and Vinegar Wash. this is economical and it proves your grandmother was right. Vinegar is a great natural cleaner for so many things, including your chemical coated produce. With a four to one ratio of water to vinegar, let your fruit soak from 20 minutes to one hour. Then rinse thoroughly with water. There is no vinegar taste left behind and you will be amazed - and a little grossed out from the dirty brown liquid that is left in the bowl.

Option Two - Homemade Lemon Spray. This is another do-it-yourself, natural method, using items you probably already have in your kitchen. You mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a clean spray bottle. Spray the fruit and produce generously, let stand for about 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. It’s that easy.

Option Three -A  Commercial Wash. These can be found on the shelf at your grocery store. On average, these washes cost about 5 to 7 dollars a bottle. You will need to follow the directions based on the brand you choose. Just be careful and read the ingredient list prior to purchase, make sure that the ingredients are natural. If harsh chemicals are in the wash itself, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Personally, I find the vinegar and water to be the easiest and cheapest solution.

These methods do take a little time, but like anything new, once you make it a routine and clean all your produce at the same time, it will become more efficient and much healthier than trying to scrub those chemicals off with a paper towel or brush in vain.

Don’t take the out of sight, out of mind approach to nasty chemicals on your food. Clean them, enjoy them and feel good about what you are doing for your body.


Be Organic and Be Healthy.

GMO’s & GE’s - Is There a Difference?

As we educate ourselves, we find there are a wide variety of terms to describe organic and conventional food. In this Blog we are going to delve into the difference between a GMO and a GE, no not the electric company... Genetic Engineering.

Since the 1990’s it has become very common for our food to be genetically engineered or GE for short. The FDA defines genetic engineering as “the name for certain methods that scientists use to introduce new traits or characteristics to an organism.” An example of this would be herbicide resistant corn or milk from cows injected with milk production boosting hormones. Not to be confused with a GMO, which stands for genetically modified organism. GMO’s have been around since the dawn of time.

Hold the phone how can that be true - I just started hearing about GMO’s in the last few years. Well the term GMO is quite broad. You see if two plants in nature exchange pollen via a bumble bee, the wind or a hummingbird, that is technically modifying an organism. Of course where the mass production of food is concerned, there is a very specific definition for a GMO, as we have come to know.

A GMO is the result of a laboratory process with test tubes, incubators, syringes and lots of trial and error along the way.

It’s kind of like asking you and your grand-mom to define a tablet, one will say a stack of bonded paper the other will say a thin touch screen computer. Both are right, but today, and for our purposes, when we say GMO, we mean the test tube version.

So there are differences in GE’s and GMO’s - they are subtle differences, but differences nonetheless. And these will come into play as they pass more labeling measures in upcoming years.

That is where NON-GMO’s come in. The Non-GMO Project has done a great job of promoting and labeling verified Non-GMO products. They are the official and only trusted label at this point that certifies NON GMO. But beware - there are also products that simply include Non-GMO, or “Natural” on their label and this is not regulated by anyone, essentially allowing any product to promote itself and appear healthier than it really is.

This is the Official Non - GMO Label

Let’s take a minute here to define why Non-GMO’s are not considered organic. It is because although not engineered or modified in a lab, Non-GMO’s  can be farmed with the use of synthetic pesticides, weed killers, growth promoting hormones, other drug and chemical residues and even human sludge, that’s right the stuff you flush can be taken from a waste water management plant and used as fertilizer.


Many want us to believe that they can’t possibly feed the population without GE’s and GMO’s, that is simply untrue in my opinion. The decision seems to be more about labor-less food and profit. Mass produced, insect resistant, growth promoting, chemical driven seeds and animal hormones brings the cost of our food down. But as more research is done about the ill effects of GE’s and GMO’s on our bodies and our long term health costs, along with the toll it takes on our environment, more countries across the globe are restricting or outright banning their use. To me, that speaks volumes.

Until next time, Be Organic and Be Healthy~!

What Does Organic Really Mean?

When you decide to live a healthier, greener lifestyle the first thing you will typically change is the food you eat. Going from either processed to natural foods or in most cases from conventionally grown to organic produce and meat. What does organic really mean though?  In the United States the Department of Agriculture created the National Organic Program.

This program defines that food which is grown or raised without any synthetic substances can be certified organic. In other words… less potentially harmful Chemicals, from seed to harvest. 

The specifics include restricting genetic engineering, GMO’s or ionized radiation processes in any stage of the growth or process of the food, that animals are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, and crops are grown without the use of most chemically based pesticides, petroleum or sewage based fertilizers. 

What is a GMO you ask? Well, a GMO or (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Sounds bad for you from the start. 

Neither the National Organic Program or the United States government will state if organic food is in any way more nutritious or safer than conventionally grown or raised food, but there are plenty of scientists that will shout it from the rooftops. YES, organic food can provide more vitamins and minerals to better fuel your body and will prove, the absence of the pesticides, growth hormones and the like will keep harmful chemicals from taking a toll on your energy levels and your overall health. 

Until next time...Be Organic and Be Healthy~!