Final Organic Challenge: You Are What You Eat Giveaway

Summer and I have been participating in an Organic Challenge, and well honestly, she’s been doing most of the work. I LOVE you Summer truly I do!! Over at Baby Center, there is a forum all about living organic and feeding your baby, and children organically. They talk about all kinds of things, like formula feeding organically to buying organic produce. I haven’t participated as much in the forum as I should, because it’s a wealth of organic information just waiting for all of us. So go check out the Easy Organic Living program, that happens to be co-hosted by Healthy Child Healthy World and Baby Center with Stonyfield as the sponsor.

4/20 CHALLENGE: You are what you eat – so what are you eating?

By Summer!

Our modern diet is more complicated than ever before. More and more families are choosing natural and organic foods to protect their family’s health. You can too by taking simple steps.

Your challenge: Spend a few minutes this week learning about your food. Read a label!

Directions:

Pick at least one convenience food your family often eats.

Read the entire label. What health claims are being made? Do you know what they mean? What are the ingredients? Do you recognize them?

Next time you’re at the store, look for a product that has the USDA Organic Seal. What are the ingredients? Do you recognize them?

I am a label reader. I like to know what’s in my food and I chose whether or not I want to purchase what’s inside my food. I even read the labels provided in the books are my deli counter and bulk food bins before purchasing new products. When I first started it took a lot of time. If you’re just now starting to read labels, I recommend going to the store later in the evening without your children. There are fewer shoppers and fewer distractions, so it’s easier to have your cart sit in one place while you have 2 or more processed foods off the shelf and in hand for comparison.

My choice for this project was macaroni and cheese. This is one of the major processed food we purchase often and in bulk. My kids love it so much we purchase mac and cheese from Costco. Costco use to carry the Annie’s Classic Mac & Cheese, but my local Costco store no longer carries it so we’ve started purchasing the Kirkland Signature brand over the alternative offered at Costco, Kraft.

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The first thing I inspect on a label is the ingredients. I don’t like fully or practically hydrogenated oils also known as Trans Fats. I also don’t like high fructose corn syrup also known as corn sugar. I prefer foods without dyes, added color, or flavors (unless done so naturally, which is listed on the label). Those rules stand firmer when I’m purchasing for my kids.

The ingredients:

Kirkland Signature – ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT (semolina (wheat) flour, wheat flour, niacin [vitamin B3], iron (ferrous sulfate), thiamine mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid [vitamin B9]), WHEY, NONFAT MILK, RICE FLOUR, PURIFIED SEA SALT, WHEAT STRACH, NATURAL FLAVORS, CITRIC ACID, CHEDDAR CHEESE (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), SOYBEAN OIL, PAPRIKA EXTRACT (color), TURMERIC EXTRACT (color).*

Annie’s – ORGANIC WHEAT MACARONI, CHEDDAR CHEESE (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, non-animal enzymes), WHEY, BUTTERMILK, SALT, CREAM, NATURAL FLAVOR, NATURAL SODIUM PHOSPHATE, ANNATTO EXTRACT (for natural color).**

Kraft – ENRICHED MACARONI PRODUCT (durum wheat flour, wheat flour, niacin [vitamin B3], ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid [vitamin B9]), CHEESE SAUCE MIX (whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, calcium carbonate, sodium tripolyphosphate, cantains less than 2% of citric acid, sodium phosphate, lactic adic, milk, yellow 5, yellow 6, enzymes, cheese culture).***

Further ingredient investigations:

What are semolina and durum flours? Semolina (Triticum Durum) is not truly a grain, but is the milled endosperm of Durum Wheat. Semolina is most commonly used in the manufacturing of pasta. Semolina is high in Gluten therefore, it is high in protein.[1]

What is sodium phosphate? Sodium phosphate is a generic term for the salts of sodium and phosphoric acid.[2]

What is calcium carbonate? Calcium carbonate is a chemical compound. It is a common substance found in rock in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid, but excessive consumption can be hazardous. [3]

What is sodium triphosphate? Sodium triphosphate is an inorganic compound. It is produced on a large scale as a component of many domestic and industrial products, especially detergents.[4]

What is Yellow 5? Also known as tartrazine. A study commissioned by the UK’s Food Standards Agency found that when used in a mixture of other preservatives, increased levels of hyperactivity in children were observed. Many foods contain tartrazine in varying proportions, depending on the manufacturer or the cook in charge, although nowadays the trend is to avoid it or substitute a non-synthetic dyeing substance.[5]

What is Yellow 6? Also known as Sunset Yellow FCF. Yellow 6 is a synthetic yellow dye, manufactured from petroleum. Although there are reports it can induce an allergic reaction, this is not confirmed by scientific research.[6]

The claims:

Kirkland Signature – “Our all-natural cheese sauce is made from real cheddar cheese.” *

Annie’s – “Good source of Calcium; Good Source of Protein; Good Source of Vitamin B1; Good Source of Folic Acid; 0g Trans Fat; 100% real cheese”** “Made with organic pasta; NEW: Classic Mild Cheese Taste!; No Artificial Anything!”*

Kraft – “Good, sharp cheddar cheese; Mixed with macaroni and browned lightly on top; Golden rod powder sauce mix” “Now even cheesier! That’s why more kids and moms love the one in the blue box. Right down to the bottom of the bowl.” ***

Both Annie’s and Kraft offer whole wheat and organic options in addition to other dietary options such as Annie’s makes rice noodles. For this review and research I have basically compared parallel products.

For my own family we’re going to convert to homemade versions and buy less Macaroni & Cheese in bulk boxes.

 

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Enter To Win:

Baby Center Organic Gift Basket filled with LOTS of Organic Goodies and free product coupons

To Enter:

Please tell us what you are if you are what you eat. Summer said she’s Mac and cheese, I’m a bean burrito!

Extra Entries:

Please vote for Our Family Picnic (extra entry for every vote, every day)

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Final Organic Challenge: You Are What You Eat #Giveaway @MomStart http://t.co/ba5XA3D

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This giveaway ends May 9th. All rules can be found under giveaway rules.

 

 

References:

*Retrieved personally from the box.
** Retrieved from the Annie’s wedsite. [http://annies.elsstore.com/view/product/popup/?id=36272]
*** Retrieved from the Amazon Fresh website. [http://fresh.amazon.com/product?asin=B000PXZZQG&qid=97271793&rank=1&sr=1-1&tag=title]

1. http://www.purcellmountainfarms.com/Semolina%20Flour.htm 16 April 2011
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_phosphates 16 April 2011
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate 16 April 2011
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_triphosphate 17 April 2011
5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartrazine 17 April 2011
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset_Yellow_FCF 17 April 2011

About Summer:

Summer is the President of our Local MOMS Club chapter, she is the mother of two adorable active boys, and is always thinking of ways to help others. She is a friend, a wife, and always busy as all mommies are. She is very active on Facebook, addicted to Geocaching and very interested in organic and green living.

Organic Challenge Number 2: Invent a Snack Outside-In Strawberry Shortcake Dippers Recipe

This week the challenge over at the Easy Organic Living program, that happens to be co-hosted by Healthy Child and Baby Center with Stonyfield as the sponsor is to Invent a Snack using at least one organic product. If you want to participate, follow these simple steps:

Come up with a list of simple ingredients

Consider different ways to use those ingredients

Try it, will the kids eat it?

Share it! Post it on your own site and leave the link in the comments, or e-mail it to louise@looksblue.com and I’ll forward it to Healthy Child Healthy World  for you.

Healthy Child will be choosing a mix of recipes from the recipes submitted and share them with BabyCenter visitors and Healthy Child and Stonyfield will share the recipes on their sites as well.

Here is what Summer Came up With:

Outside-In Strawberry Shortcake Dippers Recipe

Outside-In Strawberry Dippers

Though this recipe is simple, it does take time. I have been trying to keep my family’s food box-free by making everything fresh from whole ingredients at home. I avoid foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup or corn sugar, and Hydrogenated Oils for foods I don’t make myself (out of a box or processed foods).

If you’re looking for some simple short cuts try using premade dough that you can roll out and cut. Or for the dough you can use already shaped biscuit dough and use a serrated knife while the dough is cold and slice into thin circles.

However this is a fun recipe to let the kids help with as they can use the stand mixer, roll the dough, and cut the circles instead of just simply adding ingredient to the bowl. My 4YO even tried to help make the pockets, which is great for fine motor movement. I love cooking with my children; they get to learn more about me and I get to teach them lifelong skills that extend past the kitchen.

clip_image004Simple Dough

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups flour
1 egg
1 cup water, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. In your Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the Dough Hook attachment place flour and salt in bowl. Begin to mix on the STIR setting.

2. While mixer is stirring, add ½ cup water slowly. Add egg. Add other ½ cup water.

3. Allow dough to stir until dough ball forms and is moist on the outside. Remove ball and discard ruminants in the bowl. Divide ball into quarters.

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Filling

INGREDIENTS:
1 ½ pounds organic strawberry flesh, cut into chunks
3 full size honey graham crackers, finely crush

DIRECTIONS:

1. Gently stir strawberries with graham cracker crumbs.

Dip

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Nutella (or as desired)
1 tablespoon sugar

clip_image008DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients and whisk together using Kitchen Aid stand mixer with Wire Whip attachment until thick. Keep refrigerated.

Construction

1. Flour a clean counter top and roll out 1 dough quarter to 1/161/8 inch thickness. Flour surface and rolling pin as needed.

2. Use biscuit cutter (or 8oz glass inverted) to make dough circles.

3. Fill dough with about ½ tablespoon of strawberry filling. Fold circle in half around filling (taco style).

4. clip_image010Pinch edges firmly together sealing filling inside dough.

5. Repeat 1-4 until dough is gone.

6. Completed Outside-In Strawberry Shortcakes should be stored in-between towels to prevent drying while constructing (and cooking) other pockets.

 

Cooking

1. Bring a 5 quart pot of water to a rolling boil.

2. Place 7-10 Outside-In Strawberry Shortcakes into the water.

3. Remove with slotted spoon when floating (about 2-3 minutes).

clip_image0124. Place Outside-In Strawberry Shortcakes to towel to dry water off the exterior.

5. Place cooked pockets into a boil and drizzle with 2 tablespoon of butter (or as needed) to prevent sticking. Gentle stir or swish Outside-In Strawberry Shortcakes to evenly coat all pieces.

Outside-In Strawberry Shortcakes are best served a little warmer than room temperature so the butter is not congealed on the cake.

Yields about 4 dozen at 1/8 inch dough thickness

Here’s how they turned out! You be the judge on their tastiness:

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We will receive a gift basket for participating in the program and will be giving one away at the end of the program as well. This is part of the Easy Organic Living program co-hosted by Baby Center and Healthy Child Healthy World and sponsored by Stonyfield.

About Summer:

Summer is the President of our Local MOMS Club chapter, she is the mother of two adorable active boys, and is always thinking of ways to help others. She is a friend, a wife, and always busy as all mommies are. She is very active on Facebook, addicted to Geocaching and very interested in organic and green living.

Take An Organic Challenge with Me: Save Money Shift Money

Summer and I decided to take part in a few Organic Challenges over the course of the next two months as part of the Easy Organic Living program, that happens to be co-hosted by Healthy Child Healthy World and Baby Center with Stonyfield as the sponsor. My husband and I are big fans of Stonyfield yogurt, we fed it to both children when they were little. My contributor Summer, many of you love her already, has inspired me to try using more organic in our lives. We are lucky in the area we live in; we have so many farms at our disposal and even Costco carries a lot of organics. Before I started reading Summer’s contributions here on Mom Start, the only reason we ate any organic was because it was a great price at Costco.

This Week’s Challenge is,

organic groceriesSave a dollar here, Shift a dollar there!

Everyone including me is under the impression that it takes a bigger budget to eat organically. The Easy Organic Living program is challenging us to start buying organic for the same price you would normally spend. For the next week try using some of these tips to save money to use on organic products.

Try Buying in Bulk

Use or freeze your leftovers for later use.

According to the USDA, 14 percent of all the food that we buy ends up in the trash, adding up to almost $600 thrown away each year.

Don’t buy soda, and use reusable cups for the water you drink

Buy the Whole Chicken instead of the pieces separately

Buy fruits and veggies that are in season, you’ll save a lot of money that way

You can save up to $130 or more per year by shifting to seasonal produce (i.e., apples in the winter, plums and nectarines during the summer).

Eat Less meat

If you were to cut meat out of your diet once a week and replace it with a vegetarian option, you could save about $250 per year for a family of four.

Why should you participate in this challenge?

You’ll focus on how much money you are spending thus saving yourself some money

You’ll shift your budget to support a healthier lifestyle

Your family will be eating organic food avoiding potentially harmful ingredients

 

In less than one week, I’ll tell you how I’m doing in the challenge and introduce you to the new challenge. Please leave comments and tell me how you are doing working on organic changes in your life.

 

 

 

I received a gift basket for participating in the program and will be giving one away at the end of the program as well.