Tuesday, March 30, 2010

FREE Granola Bars to be Awarded Soon

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Image courtesy of Natures Path, all rights reserved

Time is running out, folks. If you're wanting to get in on the granola bar giveaway, you better get your comments in quick. What? You say you've forgotten what to do? Here's the deal. Get going! The clock is ticking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Potato Peeling Made Easier than Ever!

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Amazing Potato Peeling Trick
by Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island
(Dawn Wells)
This is new to me, although perhaps not you. Have you got any time-saving tricks or cooking tips that you would like to share? Hit that envelope icon at the bottom of the post and SHARE! (Yes, Charlene, I'm talking to you; this was made for your site)

Want more? Try this:

Calling all picnic lovers: Be sure to stop by and check out my latest post at Central Florida Green Guide, where I am talking about Greening Up Your Picnic.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Meat Minimization: A Compromise for Omnivores and the Environment

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(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2010
Braised Pork Chop Dinner
to be Shared with Hubby
Now that my husband and I are mostly empty-nesters, I find that dinner for two is often dinner for one. By that I mean that we have begun to watch our health and our waistlines by implementing the fine art of sharing meals. Are we crazy?

Tell me; do you think the plate above appears to have a large meal on it? It clearly is more than I needed for dinner tonight. By splitting each serving, it still looks like a plentiful dinner to me. Look below, and see if you think so too:
(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2010
One half for each of us...
I have not yet done the dishes from this meal. I'm stuffed. How can I complain that half a pork chop was not enough? Certainly I did a good job in the vegetable category: broccoli, carrots, celery, mashed potatoes, and there are veggies in the chicken and rice soup I braised the chops in--onions and celery. 

Simple dinner; simple concept. Fewer calories + less meat=more room for veggies. I particularly like that I can build in more variety to each meal. Instead of serving one veggie, I've got 4 in this dinner. 

I have been applying this concept to our home-cooked meals for a while now. Surprisingly, we're able to do it when we dine out as well. We simply order one dinner and ask for a second plate. It's our solution to the over-sized portions that restaurants are serving these days.  What's more, we're reducing our meat intake, while increasing our vegetables. That's always a good thing.

No, we're not yet vegetarians. But who knows what the future will bring. 

Have you read this book by Michael Pollan? The Omnivore's Dilemma is a fascinating education about our industrialized food chain. Scary sometimes, but nevertheless very informational. If you're one who likes to know where your food really comes from, I highly recommend it. Thanks, Lauren, for providing my copy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

OJO's Favorite Organic Picks: Breakfast in a Hurry--Cereals, Hot and Cold

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Breakfast in a hurry!
America's favorite breakfast is still cereal. Yogurt is gaining, but it hasn't won the battle yet. Personally, I enjoy a combination of granola and yogurt. On a chilly day, when time allows, hot oatmeal can't be beat. And there are so many ways to dress it up for variety: raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, molasses, honey, brown sugar, nuts, granola, fresh fruit and berries...only your imagination can stop this list.

Our favorite brands, tried and true, are:
  1. Bob's Red Mill Organic Rolled Oats (gluten free available also)
  2. Arrowhead Mills Bite Size Shredded Wheat Cereal (sweetened and plain)
  3. Publix Greenwise Honey Nut Toasted Oats Organic Cereal
  4. Cascadian Farms Organic Purely O's
  5. Cascadian Farms Granola, Oats and Honey
If you're like my hubby, you have to have a healthy, organic banana every morning. Slice it up atop your Purely O's, pour on some organic milk and add OJ: Breakfast is read to go.

Whatever your favorite from this list, high fiber will be there to keep your digestive system chugging along at a nice pace. Adding nuts and fruit to breakfast will only improve the action.

One last word. Every nutrition and diet expert on the planet touts the virtues of eating a healthy breakfast. Skipping breakfast is simply not an option. If you're in that big of a hurry in the morning, at the very least, grab a couple of granola bars and a juice box to go. Check out my contest for a free box at Lets Talk Granola Bars. If you're really into granola bars, there's another contest going on at New Kid on the Green Block, and you can get in on that action too: Where Has YOUR Granola Bar Been? Hope to hear from you soon, and don't forget that breakfast tomorrow morning....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

OJO's Organic Favorites: Flour, Pasta, Rice and Sandwich Bread

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America Can't Live 
Without our Carbs

Imagine an America without its carbs. Where would we be? Thinner; that's for certain. But also a bit less productive, as we need carbs for energy. Don't get me wrong; this blog is not about losing weight. What it is about is eating healthy, and higher fiber is your ticket when it comes to these carbs.

As you can see, my family's favorite pastas are all white. That's bad when it comes to nutrition and fiber. I do have a cure for the fiber dilemma. I sneak Benefiber into the sauce, adding fiber there, where no one even suspects it lurks. Hehe!

When making breads and baking with white flour, I use the same technique. I have yet to find it affects the flavor, texture or color of a recipe, so I continue to enhance the fiber value of many of my recipes.

Here are the names of the favorites I am listing in this edition of my OJO's Favorite Organic Picks:

  1. Rice Select Organic Texmati Rice (Long Grain American Basmati)--This rice has a wonderful fluffy finish that is reminiscent of rice made in a rice maker. Never sticky!
  2. DaVinci Organic Pastas--Penne, Bow Ties, etc.--I love this brand for 2 reasons (a) It is usually cheaper, and (b) I can find it in many traditional groceries.
  3. Montibello Organic Capellini and Fettucini--We're fans of Capellini and Fettucini, as opposed to Spaghetti. Montibello consistently has our favorites in stock at nearby healthier food stores, so they get our business.
  4. Speaking of pastas, I should mention a couple of others. When I find the need to focus on gluten-free, we have enjoyed Quinoa brand pastas, which turn a beautiful sunflower yellow when cooked.  We have also found DeBoles Artichoke flour pastas to be fairly tasty. I do suggest you check for your preferred 'al dente' earlier than their directions advise.
  5. King Arthur 100% Organic Flours: All Purpose, Bread, and Whole Wheat are all excellent and widely available. My one disappointment is that they are hard to find in 5 lb. bags :-(
  6. Like most American families, sandwiches are a frequent lunch item, especially on weekends. The best organic Whole Wheat bread I have found that is sold fresh is Nature's Own Organic, All Natural Honey Wheat.

Despite the fact that carbs are too heavy in our American diet, they are important to our healthy nutrition. If calories and nutrition both rank high on your list of concerns, I recommend you cut your servings in half and be sure to use healthy toppings that are rich in vitamins. Tonight's dinner at my home is a simple pasta and sauce--rich in garlic and onions and topped with organic grated Parmesan. Add a green salad and you're in business.
(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Juggling Organic Blog Names


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Simple message for all you readers out there that are not using a subscription service to receive my posts: Please note the subtle change in my website address (URL):


Write it down, bookmark it, copy it onto your hand--whatever it takes to remember it! I had to juggle multiple technology issues to get this name change done, so hopefully it will always remain the same, forever and ever. Amen!

Subscribers should not see any change in deliveries, but if you do, please let me know at CarrieLeaJohnson@gmail.com or leave me a comment at the link below:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

OJO's Favorite Organic Picks: Oils, Condiments and Seasonings

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I don't know about you guys, but I am finding this new series rather liberating. It's nice to finally let loose and tell you what I'm really eating--name brands and real information. I hope YOU are finding it helpful.

The biggest challenge on today's list was the soy sauce choice. My husband's taste for sushi and other asian foods made this selection quite important. He has a particular palate when it comes to soy sauce, so we tried a few before settling on Shoyu.
  1. Spectrum Organic Canola and Olive Oil
  2. Seasonings by Simply Organic, Frontier, 365 Organic
  3. Spectrum Organic Vinegar
  4. Alessi Sea Salt for the table
  5. Hain Sea Salt for cooking
  6. McCormick Organic Extracts
  7. Organic Shoyu Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
  8. Publix Greenwise Organic Ketchup
  9. Woodstock Farms Organic Dijon Mustard
  10. Drew's Organic Salad Dressings
I'd like to hear from you guys. Have you found some better choices, or perhaps more affordable? Click the comment link at the bottom of this post and sound off. I'll be glad to know you're reading.
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