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Party Plan: Earth Day Party

This Earth Day, invite your friends and family over to celebrate brighter days, blooming buds and taking care of the Earth!

For eco-friendly inspiration, start with some handy tips and tricks, including Types of Sustainable Foods and How to Keep the Earth a Greener Place.

Make your home party-ready with Natural Ways to Make Your Kitchen Sparkle and Tips for a Naturally Beautiful Bathroom.

Our recipes will fit right in for Earth Day and beyond with fresh and delicious ingredients. Try the Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Lime Dressing as a main course or a side, whip up some Homemade Hummus and Mexican Hot Chocolate Yogurt Dip for easy additions to your appetizer lineup, and finish off with Seedling Cupcakes for a cute and tasty dessert that pays tribute to our planet.

Finally, every party needs festive decorations! Learn how to make a DIY Herb Planter, a Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeder or these DIY Yarn Balloons in bright springtime colors.

How to Keep the Earth a Greener Place

How to Keep the Earth a Greener Place

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

Most people agree that preserving the environment is ethical and wise, but it can be difficult to break certain habits to go green – or simply greener. Putting a plan into action is a great way to train your mind to act in the environment’s best interests.

It breaks less favorable habits and makes you feel good about your positive impact. From the food we buy to the way we clean our homes, there are so many things we can do to preserve the world in which we live.

Ride Your Bike or Carpool
It’s amazing how far you can go on foot or on a bicycle! Most households use multiple vehicles for transportation, and most of us are in the habit of driving everywhere – even to locations that are an easy 5-10 minute walk or bike ride. Reserving the use of your car for trips that aren’t within walking or biking distance is a great way to stay healthy while helping to preserve the environment.

But not everyone has the luxury of biking, walking or taking public transit to work. For those of us who don’t, buddying up with co-workers as carpooling is cost effective and it reduces your personal carbon dioxide output throughout the year. Condition your mind to know that small adjustments like sharing a ride can have a sizable impact over time. Ask around the office to find out if the company you work for reimburses for carpooling – many do! Small monetary kickbacks for sharing a car to work can add up!

Bring Reusable Bags to the Grocery Store
Most people have a plethora of reusable grocery bags because they’re handed out at events and are very inexpensive to acquire. I keep at least four in my car at all times so I can rely on these canvas or cloth bags for lugging my groceries when I go shopping instead of returning home with lots of plastic or paper bags. When I do end up with plastic or paper bags from the store, I save them for future use or recycle them.

For transporting fruit and vegetables, I bring washable vegetable bags to the store or farmer’s market rather than using the single-use plastic bags found in the produce section. I can rinse out my reusable bags and use them time and again.

Shop the Outer Perimeter of the Store
We’re told to shop the outer perimeter of the store — the meat and produce sections — to stay healthy, and doing so is better for the environment as well. Fresh produce and meats require less packaging and therefore have less of an impact on the landfill. When given the option, choose sustainably raised meats from eco-friendly farms.

Additionally, if you live in a climate that’s conducive to maintaining a garden, growing your own produce is a cheap, fun and rewarding experience, while having a positive impact on the environment. It reduces the amount of trips you take to the grocery store, is sustainable and eliminates the need for plastic bags to transport the goods.

Store Leftovers in Reusable Containers
Rather than place your leftover food in sealable plastic bags or using loads of plastic wrap or foil, put your leftovers in sealable containers. I even put chopped vegetables in containers instead of relying on storage that just gets thrown away.

Recycle and Compost
So many bottles, packages, boxes and containers can be recycled. It takes almost no effort to toss recyclable packaging in the recycle bin rather than the trash, so this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint – by making sure your waste is re-purposed rather than sitting in a landfill. I pay close attention to which brands use recycled materials in their packaging and I feel good about selecting those brands over others that are less environmentally conscious.

You can also save your organic waste, like fruit peels or vegetable scraps, and compost it. Even if you don’t use the compost in your own personal garden, having your own system to process biodegradable material is a marvelous way to do your part to reduce the volume of landfills.

Cleaning Products
You can clean your house with a simple vinegar solution rather than store-bought aerosol cleaners, which are harmful to the environment. Use reusable washcloths rather than paper towels to minimize the amount of waste generated from regular cleaning. You might also consider using environmentally-friendly paint, home furnishings and carpet to ensure that your home is free of volatile organic compounds.

Wear Green
Although the clothing industry has improved its environmental impact in recent years, it still has a long way to go. The jean industry is one of the dirtiest in the United States, yet we continue buying pair after pair. Buying used from thrift stores or exchanges is a good choice when purchasing clothing. When buying new, select brands that use recycled materials in their garments. Choose jeans made by companies that use friendlier dying processes, and be sure you only buy what you need.

Living a green life and setting a good example for your friends and family is exceptionally rewarding. Sure, we only have one life to live, but being cognizant of the damage we cause the planet can motivate us to be as helpful to the environment as possible. All it takes is a little extra time and some research to make your life as green as you can. Preserving nature so that future generations can enjoy it is worth the additional effort!

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Which Foods Are Most Eco-Friendly?

Which Foods Are Most Eco-Friendly?

Created by: The Simple Truth Blog

Our day-to-day decisions can make a big impact on the environment—especially what we eat. Consider buying these types of foods to reduce your carbon footprint!

Organic: Organic foods are specifically produced and grown to reduce water waste, protect the soil, and protect air quality.

Local: When food is grown and sold in your region, it doesn't have to travel far. This reduces carbon emissions from the transportation for non-regional foods.

Produce: All fruits, veggies, grains, and lentils emit less carbon during production than animal products. Tomatoes, broccoli, beans, tofu, and nuts are all great low-emission foods.

Dairy and Eggs: Chicken, eggs, and milk have lower carbon emissions, but be sure to purchase the ones marked organic, cage-free, or pasture-raised and antibiotic-free.

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Dietitian’s Corner: What Makes Produce “Clean?” Understanding Pesticide Use and Safety

Dietitian’s Corner: What Makes Produce “Clean?” Understanding Pesticide Use and Safety

Created by: By: Allison Kuhn, MS, RDN, LD
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with The Little Clinic (inside select stores)

There’s no shortage of hot topics for food and nutrition today. One that comes up often is pesticide use on fruits and vegetables. Most people know that we need to eat more fruits and veggies for our health, but are the pesticides used to raise our produce safe?

How do we know for sure? There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding this issue, so let’s learn more about the science, philosophy and practice of growing produce in today’s world.

  1. A farm, the most natural place around? When you visualize how plants grow in nature, it’s fundamentally different from the practice of farming. In farming, we take a single crop and grow it on a large scale, all in one location. Wild plants tend to grow in smaller patches, surrounded by other diverse plants. When we grow a single fruit or vegetable, we make that plot of land much more vulnerable to pests without the wild ecosystem in place surrounding it. Wild onions can’t feed the world, so we need to keep our food safe and farms thriving. This is an important thought to consider when evaluating the safety of farming today and the need for pest control as part of it.
  2. Is safety all relative? We tend to think of things as good or bad, safe or unsafe. While this may be true in many situations, when we evaluate the safety of foods and the chemicals or ingredients that go into food, we have to think a bit differently. Take water, for example. Water is technically a chemical compound, composed of hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Water is essential for life and human survival. However, too much water can be bad for you – consider the case of an intense marathon runner who replenishes with water alone while losing sodium (another essential nutrient) through sweat. Pretty soon, their body will be out of balance!

    This is a good example of the thinking behind toxicology, the branch of science that evaluates pesticides, including natural ones used in organic farming. At a certain level of exposure, a pesticide can do harm. However, they’re only allowed to be used at a rate set well below any threshold of causing harm (generally hundreds of times lower) in an effort to ensure safety.
  3. What can you do? Even if you know that pesticides are highly tested and regulated, you may still have concern. The good news is that simply washing produce – at least 30 seconds under cool running water – can remove a majority of residual pesticides on the skins of fruits and vegetables. Peeling or scrubbing fruits and veggies can reduce them even further. Additionally, as produce is stored, pesticides tend to naturally degrade. Tests have shown that the use of produce washes, soap or other detergents is no more effective at reducing pesticide residues than water alone.

For more information about dietitian services, visit http://www.TheLittleClinic.com/Dietitians

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Keeping Fruits & Veggies Fresh

Keeping Fruits & Veggies Fresh

Created by: The Seventh Generation Blog

All picked produce gives off a harmless, tasteless, odorless gas called ethylene—some in greater quantities than others.

Ethylene is what helps produce ripen, but since some fruits and vegetables produce ethylene in greater quantities, it's important to know how to store your fruits and veggies to keep them from ripening each other too quickly.

If you do want to speed up the ripening process, apples and bananas can help! Place unripe peaches, avocados, or plums in a closed paper bag with an apple or banana to quickly ripen them. Keep already-ripe produce away from apples and bananas.

Many fruits and veggies are cold-sensitive, meaning that the fridge can make them lose flavor and moisture if you store them there before they're ripe. Never refrigerate potatoes, onions, winter squash, or garlic. Keep them in separate containers or apart from one another in a cool, dark, dry cabinet to keep them for a month or more.

Keep all fruit and vegetables whole while you store them, since even something as simple as de-stemming apples can lead to mold build-up that can spoil the whole bunch!

For more info on where and how to store your produce, click here.

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Get Your Home Party-Ready in 3 Steps

Get Your Home Party-Ready in 3 Steps

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

There isn't always time to do a thorough cleaning when guests are on the way, so these tips can help make your home look tidy quickly!

1. Focus on the entryway and the rooms they'll see first, shaking out the welcome mat and dusting the console in the entryway. Sweep the floors, making sure to clear any gathered dust under sofa and chair legs.

2. Add shimmer and shine with a polished silver bowl, vase, or candle holder to the coffee table, mantel, or a side table. It'll make everything look shiny and new!

3. Since your guests may stop in the bathroom, take a moment to wipe down the sink and counter, close the shower curtain, get out the colorful guest towels, and place a flower from the garden in a small vase on the vanity.

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5 Expiration Dates to Check Right Now

5 Expiration Dates to Check Right Now

Created by: The Seventh Generation Blog

These common household products have expiration dates that are often overlooked simply because we don't think of checking them. Refer to this handy list to see what could be expired in your home right now!

Cleaning Products: Cleaning products may not "go bad," but over time they can become less effective. Most products will last at least one year when stored in a cool, dark place, but check the manufacturer's suggestion, as it may vary by product.

Toothbrushes: It's best to replace toothbrushes every three to four months to keep the bristles from getting too flat or worn out—and therefore less effective.

Fire Extinguishers: These necessary but often overlooked items can last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, so be sure to check yours to see when it needs serviced or replaced. Also be sure to check the pressure gauge every month—if the needle falls in the green range, it's good to go.

Cosmetics: Old makeup just doesn't work as well—but the main problem is the build-up of bacteria over time. Exposure to this bacteria can make old makeup cause skin irritations.

Smoke Detectors: Despite changing the battery life, most smoke detectors have a standard shelf life of 8-10 years. Since many don't have the manufacturing date printed inside, write the date of purchase on the inside of the smoke detector the next time you buy one.

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Natural Ways to Make Your Kitchen Sparkle

Natural Ways to Make Your Kitchen Sparkle

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

These essential chores don't need chemicals to get the job done. Try them out to get your kitchen sparkling.

Clear clogs in the sink by pouring half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of plain white vinegar. Cover the drain with a wet rag, wait a few minutes, then pour in a saucepan of boiling water.

If your garbage disposal is smelly, toss a few lemon or orange peels in and grind them up. It'll disinfect and add a fresh scent.

Line your toaster tray with foil so that you can easily remove any crumbs that accumulate. They can cause a burnt odor

You can easily clean the vent hood over your oven by taking off the metal filter, soaking it in hot, soapy water, then placing it in the dishwasher.

Since food can damage knife blades, clean your knives immediately after each use—but keep them out of the dishwasher, where the high temperatures can be harmful. Mild soap and water work just fine.

In the oven, pour salt on any fresh stains to absorb the food and allow the mess to be wiped clean. To get at tough stains, sprinkle with baking soda, spritz with water, and let sit overnight. Oven racks can be cleaned with steel wool to remove any grime.

Sealed hardwood floors just need a mop dampened with water and some natural all-purpose cleaner. Ceramic tiles only need warm water.

Grease stains on the wall can be removed with a clean rag, hot water, and a little liquid dish soap.

Have a microwave covered with food residue? Place a clean wet rag inside and turn on the microwave for one minute. The steam will let you wipe down any grease stains and food residue quickly and easily.

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Keep Your Entryway Clean

Keep Your Entryway Clean

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

First impressions are important—which is why it's a great idea to keep your home's primary entryway clean and happy.

Make use of a doormat and boot tray to catch any mud, rain, or slush before it gets too far inside the house. Don't have a boot tray? Grab an old cookie sheet.

To clean up any muck on the floor, fill a bucket with ¼ cup of your favorite all-purpose cleaner and 1 gallon of warm water. Mop the area, then mop again with plain hot water and allow to air-dry.

Coat racks and benches are great for storage and keeping coats, boots, or other gear off the floor.

A big basket (especially one that fits inside a bench!) keeps winter accessories like hats, coats, and mittens organized and out of the way.

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Natural Stain Remover Guide

Natural Stain Remover Guide

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

These three types of stains are common in the spring and summer! Use the tips below to clean them out of your clothes gently but effectively.

For tough grass stains, apply laundry detergent directly to the stain and let it soak in for a few minutes. Then lightly scrub the soiled area with an old toothbrush and wash as usual.

For mud and dirt stains, let any mud dry into dirt, then remove the dirt with an old toothbrush or plastic knife. Rinse in cold water. Apply laundry detergent to the stain, let it soak for a minute or two, then wash as usual.

For pollen stains, shake the clothing to remove as much pollen as possible, then wrap tape around your fingers (sticky-side out) and gently dot at the stain. Apply laundry detergent to the stain, let it soak for a minute or two, then wash as usual.

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Tips for a Naturally Beautiful Bathroom

Tips for a Naturally Beautiful Bathroom

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

These tips will help keep your bathroom clean and sparkling!

After you shower, spritz the shower and tub with a natural cleaner, then wipe down the walls from top to bottom with a damp cloth. One part white vinegar to two parts water will do the trick. To scour old marks away, sprinkle with baking soda, then use a nylon bristle brush to scrub.

When facing the dreaded ring around the tub, mix equal parts salt and white vinegar, spread the paste on the spots, and let sit for an hour. Scrub away with bristle brush.

To clean dirty grout, dip an old toothbrush into a mix of equal parts oxygen bleach and water, then scrub until the lines brighten.

Once a month or so, remove everything in the medicine cabinet and wipe down the shelves with warm water and a bit of liquid dish soap. Weed out the products you don't often use before putting them back in the cabinet.

Half a cup of distilled white vinegar can help remove stubborn rings in the toilet. Let it sit for a few hours (or overnight) before giving the bowl a swipe with the toilet brush.

To unclog the drain, pour half a cup of baking soda, then half a cup of white vinegar down the drain. Wait a few minutes, then pour some boiling water down after it.

Cleaning the floor only takes warm water and a bit of all-purpose cleaner on your mop. Make two passes over the floor, then go back and do one more pass with clean, warm water.

For a natural air freshener, fill a spray bottle with water, three drops of lemon oil, and two drops of eucalyptus oil. Shake vigorously before spritzing.

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Eco-Friendly Grill Cleaning

Eco-Friendly Grill Cleaning

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

To get the most out of your grill, clean the grate after each use.

Use a grill brush to remove any large pieces of food residue. Make a paste out of three parts all-purpose cleaner and one part Mrs. Meyer's® Surface Scrub. With a clean paintbrush, coat the paste on the grate and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the grill covering with a strong stream of water and a scrub brush.

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A Chemical-Free Way to Clear Clogged Sinks

A Chemical-Free Way to Clear Clogged Sinks

Created by: The Seventh Generation Blog

You don't have to resort to commercial-grade cleaners that are harmful to your drain and the environment! Instead, try this natural, effective solution.

Start by boiling a pot of water, then pouring it down the sink and letting it drain completely. Then pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a half a cup of vinegar. Cover the drain opening and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. Then, uncover and flush again with another pot of boiling water. For tougher clogs, you may need to use a plunger and some elbow grease.

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Seedling Cupcakes

Seedling Cupcakes

Created by: Elisabeth McKnight, Bella the Blog

These cupcakes are almost as cute as they are delicious, and they make the perfect treat to celebrate Earth Day!

45 min. | Prep Time: 5 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Easy
 
Cupcakes:
  • 1 box cake mix
  • 1 box (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate pudding
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

Seedling Cupcakes11

Topping:
  • 1 can Kroger Rich & Creamy Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • 1 package (14.3 oz.) Oreo Cookies, for topping
  • Fondant leaves or gummy worms, for topping
Directions:
  1. Follow the directions on the cake mix package, mixing the ingredients in a large bowl until combined.
  2.  
  3. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter and bake at 350° F for 20 minutes or until the cupcake top bounces back after pressure is applied.
  4. Frost with chocolate frosting and dip the top of the cupcake in crushed Oreo Cookies; top with the fondant leaf to serve as a seedling. If desired, add a gummy worm or two.

Seedling Cupcakes9

Tip:

I pulled the chocolate cookie part off of each Oreo, so I had no white filling in my "dirt."

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Marinated Cannellini Bean Salad Jars

Marinated Cannellini Bean Salad Jars

Created by: Hannah Hagler, Champagne Lifestyle

The solution to soggy packed lunches? Mason jar salads! This one combines cannellini beans, tomatoes, red onion and arugula in a delicious dressing.

10 min. | Prep Time: 10 min. | Serves: 1 | Difficulty: Easy
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 4 cups arugula
  • ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
  • ¼ small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp. mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
Directions:
  1. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, garlic, thyme, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil, continuing to whisk.
  2. Add the beans to the dressing and toss.
  3. Evenly distribute the beans among four mason jars (1 pint size preferred).
  4. Add tomatoes, red onion and arugula.
Tip:

Use large-mouth jars for easy access to your salad. Screw on the lids and store the jars in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat.

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Roasted Beet and Garlic Hummus

Roasted Beet and Garlic Hummus

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

For those of us who love slathering just about anything with hummus, this version is otherworldly… a supercharged vitamin and protein-packed dip of your dreams.

45 minutes | Prep time: 15 minutes | Serves: 4 people
Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Simple Truth Organic® Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed  
  • 2 small beets
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Simple Truth Organic® Tahini
  • ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ⅛ tsp. red pepper, optional
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. feta cheese crumbles
  • 3 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Wash the beets and pat them dry. Chop them into ¼”-1/2” slices and place on a large strip of foil. Fold the foil over the beets, creating a packet. 
  3. Slice the top off a bulb of garlic, drizzle it with olive oil and add it to the foil wrap. Place the packet of beets and garlic on a baking sheet and roast 40-45 minutes or until juices are seeping out of the beets. Remove the packet from the oven and allow the beets and garlic to cool.
  4. Add all the ingredients except the oil to a food processor. Process until smooth. While the food processor is running, drizzle the olive oil slowly through the top spout and continue to process until it's creamy. You may have to stop the food processor a few times and scrape the sides to get everything to blend together.
  5. Sprinkle feta cheese and pumpkin seeds over the top of the hummus. Serve with fresh raw vegetables, chips or crackers.

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Chicken Avocado Salad

Chicken Avocado Salad

Created by: The Simple Truth Blog

This fresh, flavorful salad makes a delicious weeknight dinner or a side salad for a spring get-together.

Cook time: 8-12 min | Prep time: 35 min | Serves: 4 | Yields: 4 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 package Simple Truth Organic® Thinly Sliced Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 cup Simple Truth Organic® Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Simple Truth Organic® Baby Spring Mix
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package Simple Truth Organic® Grape Tomatoes
Directions:
  1. Place the chicken breasts in a plastic bag, and add the olive oil and lemon juice. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and avocado.
  2. Place the chicken on a preheated grill pan and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 2 minutes and rotate the chicken 45 degrees to create grill marks. Let cook another 1 to 2 minutes, then flip. Cook again for 2 minutes, then rotate 45 degrees to finish cooking. The internal temperature should be at least 165°F.
  4. Assemble the salads: Place the spring mix in the bottom of a bowl and top with a chicken breast. Garnish with sliced avocados and tomatoes. Serve with your family’s favorite salad dressing.

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Vegetarian Quinoa & Bean Chili

Vegetarian Quinoa & Bean Chili

Created by: The Simple Truth Blog

This hearty chili is delicious and filling. Serve warm with toppings like diced avocado, cheese, or crushed tortilla chips.

Cook time: 1 hour and 15 min | Prep time: 10 min | Serves: 8 | Yields: 8 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organi® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Simple Truth Organic® Sweet Corn, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Simple Truth Organic® Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Simple Truth Organic® Oregano Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup Simple Truth Organic® Quinoa
  • 1 cup Simple Truth Organic® Vegetable Broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Simple Truth Organic® Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Simple Truth Organic® Great Northern Beans, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) cans Simple Truth Organic® Red Kidney Beans, drained
Directions:
  1. In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about seven minutes.
  2. Add garlic, pepper, corn, chili powder, cocoa, cinnamon, oregano and salt and sauté for another minute. Add quinoa, broth, tomatoes with juice, and beans.
  3. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for an hour.

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Kale Salad with Edamame and Tomatoes

Kale Salad with Edamame and Tomatoes

Created by: The Seventh Generation Blog

We love this salad with edamame, tomatoes, and dried cranberries, but you can make it however you want! Kale is a versatile leafy green that’s also delicious with pumpkin seeds, roasted beet, diced apple, carrots, and more.

Cook time: 0 min | Prep time: 5 min | Serves: 2 | Yields: 2 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 bunch kale
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
Directions:
  1. Wash and tear the kale leaves away from the stem. Stack them on a cutting board and slice into strips that can be easily picked up with a fork.
  2. Place the kale in a bowl; add the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt. Massage the kale with your hands until it starts to change to a deeper green and looks wilted.
  3. Add the edamame, tomatoes, and cranberries. Divide into two bowls and serve.

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Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Created by: The Seventh Generation Blog

A great alternative to French fries, these sweet potatoes will make a splash at your next barbeque or family meal.

Cook time: 12 min | Prep time: 5 min | Serves: 4 | Yields: 4 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pound sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 medium), sliced lengthwise in ½-inch slices
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, honey, cilantro, shallot and pepper until blended.
  2. Prepare the grill for medium-heat cooking. Brush sweet potatoes on both sides with dressing. Place sweet potatoes on the grill.
  3. Grill, covered, about 6 minutes on each side or until tender and charred. To serve, slice in strips and drizzle with remaining dressing.

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Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb Pie

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

While rhubarb is actually a tart vegetable, it’s most often used with fruits in pies, cobblers, and crisps. Here, it shines on its own—unless you want to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Cook time: 1 hour | Prep time: 15 min | Serves: 8 | Yields: 8 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • Pie dough or 2 packaged 9-inch pie crusts
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped**
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb with sugar, salt and flour. Pour the mixture into pie shell and dot with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust and pinch edges. Brush dough with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
  3. Place pie on lowest rack in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F, and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Let cool before serving.
Notes:

  • – **If using fresh rhubarb, trim ends and cut lengthwise into 1/4" pieces. Remember—only the rhubarb stalk is edible! Trim the roots and leaves completely, as they are poisonous to humans.

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Yogurt Dip

Mexican Hot Chocolate Yogurt Dip

Created by: The Simple Truth Blog

This dip is perfect for your favorite fruits or shortbread cookies. The pairing you choose is up to you!

Cook time: 0 min | Prep time: 5 min | Serves: 8 | Yields: 8 servings
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Simple Truth Organic® Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic® Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. Simple Truth Organic® Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Simple Truth Organic® Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Simple Truth Organic® Semisweet Chocolate Chips
Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne. Fold in chocolate chips.
Notes:

  • – For serving: Simple Truth Organic® Animal Crackers, Simple Truth Multigrain Rice Crackers with Sea Salt, sliced apples, sliced bananas

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Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Created by: Elisabeth McKnight, Bella the Blog

Looking for an easy, kid-friendly craft? These small bird feeders use ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard along with items you can find around the house or yard.

For the coating, you can use any assortment of nuts you have lying around, or you can use up any stale cereal you need to get rid of (the crumbs at the bottom of the cereal bag work great too)!

These bird feeders are a bit messy to make, so be sure to lay down some parchment paper and have wipes on hand for those sticky peanut butter fingers!

Things You'll Need:
  • 1 pine cone
  • 1 jar peanut butter
  • Chopped nuts or crushed cereal
  • String

Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeders1

Directions:
  1. Begin by securing the pine cone to the string (so you can hang it once you're finished).
  2. Simply coat the pine cone in peanut butter and roll it in your chopped nuts or crushed cereal. Once the pine cone is complete, hang it outdoors and wait for the little birds to come.

Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeders4

Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeders3

Simple Pine Cone Bird Feeders6

If you or a little one has a nut allergy, stick with crushed cereal for the coating and substitute honey for the peanut butter.

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Decorate for a Garden Party

Decorate for a Garden Party

Created by: The Simple Truth Blog

There's nothing quite like kicking back and enjoying the beauty and serenity of the outdoors, especially when in the company of great friends.

No matter how big or small your garden may be, there's always room to entertain, and a few decorative touches can make a big difference.

Lighting and décor can transform any outdoor space. Consider using tiki torches, lanterns, or holiday lights to create a more relaxed atmosphere. To add a bit more color, place a floral arrangement in the center your table.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs (especially if they're from your garden!) will make your menu shine. Try dropping a strawberry or two in wine white or champagne to give it a little fruit flavor. Parsley, basil, and mint leaves can all be used to garnish meals, as well as the rims of cocktail glasses. Serve beverages that enhance the organic food pairings and don't forget to include non-alcoholic options like sparkling water or fresh-squeezed juices.

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DIY Yarn Balloons

DIY Yarn Balloons

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

Everyone loves balloons! Follow these directions to make them out of yarn in springtime colors to add a little pizzazz to your party.

What You'll Need:
  • White craft glue
  • Balloons
  • Yarn in any color
Directions:
  1. Start by combining glue and water in a bowl until the mix has the consistency of acrylic paint.
  2. Take a balloon and blow it up halfway (around 5” in diameter).
  3. Take a few handfuls of yarn and submerge them in the glue mixture. To avoid tangling, wrap it around your hand first.
  4. Take the wet yarn and wrap it in random patterns around the balloon. To ensure that everything is covered with glue, dunk your yarn-covered balloon in the glue mixture. Remove any excess liquid with a gentle squeeze.
  5. Make sure your yarn balloon is completely dry. Hang it overnight or set it on wax paper for 12 hours. The balloon should feel stiff. Once everything has dried completely, go ahead and pop the balloon, then pull the scraps out. You can use the decorative yarn balls in a garland, or use them to add some color to a fruit bowl.

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DIY Herb Planters

DIY Herb Planters

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

Are your tin cans heading to the recycling bin? It's time to reroute them to your windowsills, countertops, and porches as herb planters.

What You'll Need:
  • Tin cans (soup cans or small coffee tins)
  • Herb plants
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Precision knife
  • Seed Packets
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Decoupage matte adhesive
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Marker
  • Potting Soil
Directions:
  1. Empty the cans and remove labels and any leftover adhesive. Flip the cans over and make 5 or 6 small holes in the bottom. This will serve as a water drain.
  2. Cut or tear the seed packets into small pieces, reserving the seeds. Then dip the paintbrush in the decoupage and coat sections of the tin can with glue, applying the seed pack pieces as you work your way around. Apply another coat of decoupage on the outside of the seed packages to seal it.
  3. Once the can is completely covered, check to ensure that all the seed package paper fragments have been coated with decoupage. When everything has dried, fill the can halfway with potting soil. You are now ready to plant your herb. Be sure that the plant base is no more than 1 inch below the top.
  4. Paint the popsicles sticks or dunk them in paint. Once the popsicle sticks dry, take the marker and jot down the name of the herb so you don't mix them up. Now place your planters in sunlit spots around your home and you're good to grow!

View Party Plan: Earth Day Party

Upcycled Bird Feeder

Upcycled Bird Feeder

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

Add some homemade beauty for your flying friends this spring out of an empty plastic bottle to make an upcycled bird feeder. If you use a plain container, try painting it or wrapping it in vinyl adhesive paper.

What You'll Need:
  • Empty, clean container
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • Twine
  • Birdseed
  • Black Marker
  • Funnel
  • Small utility knife
  • Small-eye screw
Directions:
  1. Wash the empty container with soap and water. Make sure all residue has been removed and avoid using any harsh chemicals.
  2. With a permanent marker, make a mark halfway down the plastic container. Turn the plastic bottle around and draw another mark 3/4 of the way down on the opposite side.
  3. On the opposite side of each asterisk mark, draw a circle big enough to fit the handle of one of your spoons. Each circle should be around 1/2 inch lower than the marked spot on the other side.
  4. Take your utility knife and cut along the asterisk lines. Then cut out the circles. Then grab your spoon and feed it through the hole, handle first. Then push it through the smaller opening on the other side. The spoon head will serve as a feeding platform for the birds.v
  5. Put your funnel at the top of your container and slowly pour birdseed through the opening until your container is 3/4 full.
  6. Screw the small-eye screw into the lid of your container and recap it. The twine will be used to hang your feeder from a tree. Heavy-duty twine is preferable.

View Party Plan: Earth Day Party

Seed Starting Kit

Seed Starting Kit

Created by: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Products

Looking for fresh spring gift ideas? Surprise your friends, family, and neighbors with a can of ready-to-plant herbs.

This easy-to-make upcycled gift will give them a head start on their spring garden. Once the herbs emerge, they will be ready for sharing.

What You'll Need:
  • Empty tin can
  • Hammer and screwdriver
  • Potting soil
  • Pebbles
  • Herb seeds
  • Glue stick or tape
Directions:
  1. Wash your tin can inside and out to remove all residue.
  2. Flip the can upside down and punch a few holes with the hammer and screwdriver.
  3. Place a layer of small rocks or pebbles at the bottom of the can. Then fill it ¾ the way with potting soil.
  4. Place 2 or 3 seeds just beneath the surface. Once they are buried, cover them with a thin layer of soil.
  5. Water your seeds. The soil should be damp, not soaked. Make sure to keep the soil moist. Now place the can in an area where it will receive plenty of natural light.
  6. Decorate and label your can. Once your herbs have emerged from the soil, your gift will be ready to go.

View Party Plan: Earth Day Party

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