Elder Berries — Nature’s Cold & Flu Fighter!

elder berriesA helpful overview on one of our favorite family-friendly cold/flu-fighting natural remedies: Elder Berries!

Elder Berries for Cold and Flu Prevention – Mothering Community.


Homemade Baby Food Made Easier

When it was time for us to start our little one on solid food purees, I was pretty certain that I wanted to go the “homemade route” and make it myself.  I did my research and found that I would likely save money in the long run… AND it would allow me to make sure the food our kiddo was eating was as freshy and healthy as possible.  Staring at a mound of sweet potatoes, a large boiling pot, a strainer, my food processor, and at least an hour’s worth of cooking and cleaning ahead of me, I began to realize that there had to be an easier way.

Happily, I can report that the right tools can help making your own baby food a doable and stress-free affair.  Here are some of my favorite gadgets & resources from my homemade baby food-making adventure:

Beaba Babycook

This little gem is a steamer/blender combo that allows you to achieve fruit and veggie purees in about 20 minutes.  All the parts are top-rack dishwasher safe (though I used my so often I hand washed a lot) and its incredibly small footprint (smaller than a toaster) won’t take up all of your kitchen counter space!  A helpful tip I found when researching my purchase was to unscrew the water tank cap and let the tank air out in between each use.

Beaba Multi-portions

These BPA-free, flexible silicon pods hold seven 1/4-cup portions – allowing you to easily cover and freeze batches of your lovingly-made food and then pop out the amount you need when it is eatin’ time. (I would freeze batches and then store the frozen portions in glass freezer containers or freezer bags.)  Dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe…and (bonus!) adorable.

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THINGS I LIKE: LunchBots Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers

Why I like it: 

In addition to being super cute, these storage containers won’t leach harmful chemicals, like BPA, into your food (like plastic) and are incredibly durable (unlike glass).  Only bummer is you can’t stick them in the microwave, but they do have a thermal insulated version, so food can be pre-heated for your voyage.  Cost around $15-$20 each, depending on size.

Organic Food Cheat Sheet

Choosing to buy organic food is a double-whammy of goodness – – not only is it healthier for your family, but it also helps support a more sustainable environment and economy.  With that said, I know budgets are tight and sometimes a special shopping trip is needed to find organic produce, (Local Harvest is a great resource for finding a farmer’s market near you).

I recommend buying organic when you can – – but when you can’t, you can use Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to help remember The Dirty Dozen – the 12 fruits and veggies that have been shown to contain the most residual pesticides and are the most important to buy organic.

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines (imported)
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatos
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale / Collard Greens

The Clean 15 – the fruits/veggies least likely to test positive for residual pesticides – are safer to choose conventionally grown: Onions, Sweet Corn, Pineapple, Avocado, Asparagus, Sweet Peas, Mangoes, Eggplant, Cantaloupe (domestic), Kiwi, Cabbage, Watermelon, Sweet Potatoes, Grapefruit, Mushrooms.

You can get the nitty-gritty on the research and data about your other favorite fruits/veggies on EWG’s website.