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Pumpkin Bread Time!

pumpkin bread recipe

My kids and I love quick breads.  When they were young, my cousin made a sweet potato bread at Easter.  My daughter, about 2 1/2 at the time, devoured it!  I have been making it ever since.  My youngest children even requested it as the special snack at preschool for their birthday. 

With fall approaching, it’s time for sweet potato bread.  I originally made this with – yes, sweet potatoes that I cooked myself.  Then I discovered plain canned pumpkin!   Even organic!  So much easier!  

NOTE:  If you like this recipe, stock up on the pumpkin now.  Most stores only carry it in the fall.

The original recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking – Pumpkin Bread recipe.  I have altered it slightly over the years to add a little more nutrition.

Pumpkin Bread


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (if you don’t have pastry flour, regular whole wheat or white flour is fine)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

4 TBSP unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (can use sweet potatoes or squash)

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Grease a large 9 x 5 inch  (8 cup) loaf pan.  
  3. Mix dry ingredients together, set aside.  Combine milk and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until well blended
  5. Add eggs one at a time.  Add pumpkin, blending until just combined.
  6. Add flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the milk mixture (in 2 parts).  So, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 milk, rest of the flour.
  7. Fold in ground flaxseed meal and walnuts (if using)
  8. Pour into prepared loaf pan
  9. Cook until done, about 55 mins.
My kids get so excited when they smell it cooking.  The whole loaf is usually gone in a day!  It is a big hit with anyone we have shared it with as well.

This is particular loaf pan is wider and a little longer than a normal loaf pan.  I had one from my grandmother and found another one at a thrift store!  Yeah!  They are difficult to find in stores so raid your Grandma’s old pans!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

This post has been shared at Snacktime Saturday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Good Eatin’ Hop, Seasonal Celebration Sunday, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Your Green Resource, What’s Cooking Wednesday




Healthier Fudge Bars

Healthier fudge bars recipe

I am always on the lookout for quick easy snacks to have on hand.  I have been experimenting with various granola bar type snacks for a while now.  Recently, I have been playing around, combining different recipes and came up with this.  They taste like similar to fudge, but are much healthier.  Or at least not as bad as traditional fudge!

Healthier Fudge Bars

1 cup pitted, unsweetened dates

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup cooked quinoa*, cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
pinch of salt

  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor.  
  2. Blend until ground finely and mixture begins to stick together.  About a minute or 2.
  3. Line a loaf pan with cereal bag liner or waxed paper.  
  4. Put mixture into loaf pan and press firmly into pan with another piece of cereal bag (or waxed paper)
  5. Chill in the refrigerator for about 10 mins.  Cut into 12 bars.

You can keep these in the refrigerator or the freezer.  They are great to add to lunches straight from the freezer.  They thaw really quickly.

* To cook quinoa – place quinoa  in a pot with water in a 1:2 ratio – 1 part quinoa, 2 parts water.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for about 15 mins.  Let the quinoa cool completely before using in this recipe.  I normally cook 1/3 cup dry quinoa and end up with about a 1 cup cooked.

Using an online nutrition calculator, each serving has the following:

Calories – 127

Total Fat – 4.8 g
Dietary Fiber – 3 g
Sugars – 10.2 g
Protein – 3 g

It seems like a lot of fat and calories for such a small bite.  But consider what a piece of actual fudge has!!!!  It’s like triple.

I have been experimenting with other flavor combinations as well.  More are coming soon!

What are your favorite snacks?

This post has been shared at Monday ManiaFugal Tuesday TipTeach Me Tuesday,  Living Green TuesdaysFrugal Days Sustainable WaysGood Eatin’ Recipe Hop, Penny Pinching Party, Super Link Party, Healthy 2D Wednesday, Weekend Link Up Party, Snacktime Saturday, Simply Natural Saturdays.


Plastic Planet {Friday Film Fest}

Plastic Planet film review

Plastic Planet’s director and producer Werner Boote shows us his journey across the globe to discover answers to his plastics questions.  As a young boy, he was introduced to plastics earlier than most.  His grandfather was one of the early manufacturers of plastic in Germany.  Werner now wonders what exactly is in plastic and is it harmful.  These are questions he poses to many world experts and lay people around the world.

What is in plastic?  No one knows.  It’s proprietary.  I didn’t know that. Even the manufacturer of a beverage cannot know exactly what the bottle of their beverage contains.

In an eye-opening exercise, he asks several people to empty their houses of everything that contains plastic.  Although the amounts vary, every person is surprised at the amount of plastic in their homes.  Even the hut in India contains plastic.

Werner interviews several people from Europe.  It was interesting for me to see that Europe deals with the plastic problem just as America does.   It was very interesting and disturbing at the same time to see mostly non-US citizens, companies and the like talk about  (or deny as the case may be) the problems with plastics.  I am so used to seeing US companies driving the “you don’t need to know, it’s OK trust us” train.  I am not sure if I feel better or worse knowing it’s happening in Europe too.

Honestly, I found Bag It more interesting and relate-able.  And, I dislike admitting this, but the subtitles and heavy accents of some of the interviewees made it a little difficult for me to follow the film in certain spots.  I had to concentrate on understanding the words that I might have missed the meaning.  I sound like an entitled American.  Certainly not what I mean, but that is how I felt.

Have you seen Plastic Planet?


Forks Over Knives {Friday Film Fest}

Forks over knives review

Can a whole-food plant-based diet be the answer to your health problems?  Forks Over Knives makers think so.  This documentary chronicles several doctors in their discoveries that animal proteins are making people sick.  Specifically, they are instrumental in the progression of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.  The film also follows several individuals diagnosed with these diseases as they use their diets to rid their bodies of the ailments.

It’s no secret that diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer have been on the rise for decades.  This film asks why?  Very compelling evidence is given which suggests that the rise of animal protein consumption since the 1950’s is to blame.  Study after study shows this in the film as several doctors discuss their findings.  The two most notable doctors are Dr T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Dr Campbell’s research in China led to 1000’s of correlations that eating animal proteins can increase the risk of certain cancers.  He believes that only a low percentage of cancers are caused by genes alone.  One of the more shocking pieces of evidence for me was the graph of “Mortality from Coronary Artery Disease”.  In the early 1900’s, coronary artery disease accounted for very few deaths.  As meat consumption rose, so did the deaths.  Drastically, in 1945, when meat was scare because of the war, the deaths plummeted!  After the war, guess what, they began to rise again.  Another shocker for me was the before an after pictures of an artery, the only change being diet.

The results experienced by the individuals who change their diet are amazing.  One woman reverses her diabetes.  Another man is no longer taking any medication for his cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.  I also loved seeing that the Mixed Martial Arts fighter and firefighter were vegan and strong as anyone!

Overall, I thought the movie was informative.  At times it was repetitive.  They came to the same conclusions over and over again.  Personally, I think some of the evidence could have been exchanged for more detailed information on the whole food plant based diet.   I had a difficult time figuring out what I would be eating.  I know, no animal proteins, I get that.  But now what do I eat – almond milk with my cereal, salads with beans, ….. I am an “examples” person.  Give me a sample days menu and I can get it and go from there.  I know many people out there eat a more vegetable based diet.  I have tried, but find it difficult to find meals that my whole family enjoys. 

The website to my rescue!  The website offers several books, recipes and a blog as resources for changing your diet.

As far as showing it to your children – I think they will be bored. There are a few references to sex and operation room scenes that may be of concern.  As with any of these films, watch it first and decide for your children.

Of course, if decreasing your morbidity isn’t enough for you, the film also speaks of how raising animals for human consumption is wreaking havoc on the planet.  According to the United Nations, the meat producing industry  generates more greenhouse gas emissions  than transportation.

Popeye always said “Eat Your Spinach”, right?

What did you think?

Please leave you comments or if you are a blogger feel free to link up a post.

If you’d like to join the Friday Film Fest, take a look at the complete list of films.
Up next week is Fresh.

This post is shared on Your Green Resource.


Dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally: Lessons Learned From Our First Attempt

In our family, we always have reddish-brown Easter eggs.  We are Armenian and the Armenians dye their eggs this color using yellow onion skins.  My aunt still does this every year.  It’s not the most exciting for kids though.

This year I finally took the plunge and made my own natural dyes.  It was a lot more work!  But the eggs came out pretty cool.

First of all, plan to prepare the dyes early in the morning or the day before you decorate the eggs.  The dyes take a while to make, plus they will need a few hours to cool.

Choose Your Colors

There are plenty of websites out there listing different spices or veggies that make certain colors.  

We kept it pretty simple this year and did 4 colors.

RED – 1 can of beets and cranberry juice (in place of water) – Lesson #1: Ours turned out more ugly brownish grey.  Next time I wold try using fresh beets and more of them.

DARK ORANGE – 2 TBSP chili powder – Lesson #2 – Use more Chili powder

YELLOW – 2 TBSP Turmeric

BLUE – ½ of a head of red cabbage (chopped) Lesson #3 – Turned out great!

Other color choices:

GREEN – spinach, blueberries

BROWN – strong coffee

PINK – cherries

Anything that stains your hands could be used.
Note:  If you remember your preschool color combinations, you should be able to make green by combining yellow and blue, purple with red and blue.  I tried to do this, but totally forgot my color combos and mixed red and yellow thinking it would make green!  Oh well, on the bright side it did make orange. 
Make the Dyes

Lesson #4 – Definitely plan on doing this early in the morning or the day before.
Add the color ingredient of choice to 2 cups of water and 1 TBSP vinegar.  Simmer on the stove for 20 – 30 mins.  Strain the liquid and let it cool to room temperature.

Lesson #5 – Turmeric “stains” your pot.  I think it’s actually that the turmeric is really hard to get off.  Make this color last!

We used rubber bands to create stripes.  We tried to use white crayons to draw on the eggs before dying them, but that didn’t seem to work so well.

Lesson #6 – Rubber Bands worked well, white crayons not so much

Our Results

From left to right – Red cabbage, Turmeric, chili powder, beets.
None of us were impressed with the beets.

Lesson #7 –  The red cabbage dyes the eggs pretty quickly.  The rest we let sit in the coloring overnight in the refrigerator.  Turmeric did well, but something weird happened with the others, especially the beets.

Lesson #8 – Would totally do this again!

For more green Easter ideas, check out Big Green Purse’s Easter Blog Carnival!

Have you ever used natural dyes?

Update 4/7/12:  For more ideas on how to dye Easter Eggs naturally, check out Kelley’s Passion for Nutrition.

This post is part of Frugal Days Sustainable Ways and Crunchy Betty’s Outside the box Tuesday.


Coconut Oil: It’s Good For More Than You Think

Coconut Oil:  Good For More than you might think

Coconut oil has been getting more popular for it’s natural healing benefits.

When I first heard of Coconut oil, images and smells of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil from years ago popped into my head.  Coconut oil is much different and is being regarded as very beneficial for health in so many ways.
Coconut oil has been described as “the healthiest oil on earth” by some.  Many people believe that coconut oil can help with such health problems as kidney stones, fever, flu, burns, colds, constipation, nausea, rashes, dry skin and dandruff to name a few.

Inside The Body

What makes it so healthy?   It is 92% saturated fat –the bad fat.  However, coconut oil is comprised mainly of medium-chain fatty acids.  Most of the oils we use are long-chain fatty acids which are large (as their name suggests) and are difficult for our bodies to break down.  Thus they are stored as fat.  The difference – medium chain fatty acids are smaller and are more easily digested and burned for energy.  For this reason, it can help with weight loss when used in place of other oils.  Medium chain fatty acids also have a positive effect on cholesterol and help protect the heart. Coconut oil also contains lauric acid that is believed to have antimicrobial properties and aid in dealing with certain bacteria and viruses.

Outside the Body

Moisturizer – Coconut oil makes a great moisturizer.  You can mix it up with other oil or use it straight out of the jar after showering.  It is absorbed quickly by your skin.  Coconut oil is also antimicrobial and a natural germ fighter so it could help with skin irritations.  (Please consult a physician first).  I have been whipping coconut oil and a little vitamin E with my hand mixer and using it as a moisturizer and eye makeup remover!  It is incredible.
Conditioner – Coconut can be used as a deep conditioning treatment for hair and scalp.   Massage into your scalp and leave on for at least 30 minutes, or longer, then wash.  If you are suffering from dandruff, coconut oil could also help.
Lip balm – I use coconut oil as an ingredient in homemade lip balm.  It works great.  Straight coconut oil could be used in a pinch as well.
Remove Glue Residue – Use to remove glue residue from a sticker on a glass container.  Mix equal parts coconut oil with baking soda, let it sit for a minute then scrub.  This works pretty well.
Wrinkle Prevention and Wrinkle Reducer – Rub a little coconut oil on your skin.  It helps to strengthen the connective tissue delaying wrinkles.

Deodorant – Coconut oil on its own can be used as a deodorant.  It is even more effective when mixed with cornstarch (or arrowroot powder), baking soda and essential oils (optional).  Update 8/10/12: I have been using this combination for the past few months with great success!

As with anything, there are some who are not so convinced that coconut oil is a miracle cure all.  It will be interesting to see what new research brings.  I can personally vouch for the benefits to the skin and hair.  It is amazing!  And for the price, it makes a wonderful natural moisturizer.
Coconut oil is widely available at grocery stores.  Market Basket carries Spectrum organic expeller pressed virgin coconut oil in the international foods aisle.  My favorite lately is the coconut oil from Trader Joe’s.  It is $5.99 for a 16 oz jar and it smells like coconuts!  Which I love.  I emailed Trader Joe’s to get a little more info on their organic virgin coconut oil:  Our Coconut Oil is made from sustainably grown coconut palms.  The oil is extracted through cold pressing and only filtered to remove large particles and considered highly unrefined.”  

Have you ever used coconut oil? 


This post has been submitted as part of Frugal Days,Sustainable Ways at Frugally


Luscious Lip Balm Made Easy

Lip Balm Made Easy {The Greening Of Westford}

I really like making my own products – whether it’s food, cleaning, or personal care products.  I like to cook and be creative and this feeds that passion.

Lip balm is so simple!  There are tons of recipes out there.  This is one that I made with my daughters and some of their friends.  It is girl approved!

The basics are really simple – melt a combination of oils together, add scents (optional), pour into a container.
You will use a combination of oils that are liquid and solid at room temperature.  The amount of each will determine the consistency of the resulting balm.

Basic Recipe

1 TBSP beeswax
1 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 tsp Vitamin E oil
scent (optional: try extracts you use for baking like vanilla, coconut or peppermint, essential oils, or honey)

Yields about 1/2 oz.

    Melting ingredients for lip balm {The Greening Of Westford}
  1. Melt the beeswax and coconut oil.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  Whatever you use, you may need to designate as “lip balm making” use only and the beeswax if difficult to clean out.  If you have a bowl you are willing to sacrifice, use that over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).  I sacrificed one of our many mugs.  I set it in a shallow pan of water.  You will need to stir the mixture.  An old Popsicle stick works great.
  2. Once the oils have melted, add Vitamin E and scent (if using).  
  3. Place in a container and cool.
Some Tips:
  • Vitamin E is great for the skin and acts as a preservative.  
  • Honey adds a nice creaminess to the lip balm.  If you use it, you will need to stir until the mixture begins to cool. Otherwise the honey will separate.  You will also need to reduce the Vitamin E slightly.
  • Once the lip balm has cooled,  test it out.  If you don’t like the consistency or want more scent, you can remelt the mixture and add whatever it needs.  For example, more peppermint oil for a better scent or more liquid oil to make it softer.  Go light on the liquid oils and scent at first.  It’s easy to add more of these later, but you can’t take it out.
Remelting lip balm to add more scent or make smoother {The Greening Of Westford}
Because these were in metal tins, I just dropped them into the hot water to remelt.  I wouldn’t try this with plastic containers.

Here is another variation that was popular with the girls.

Chocolate Mint Lip Balm

1 TBSP beeswax
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP coco butter
1/2 tsp honey or jojoba oil (or other oil)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp of Vitamin E
few drops peppermint essential oil or extract

Yields about 2 oz.

  1. Melt the beeswax, coconut oil and coco butter slowly.  
  2. Once the oils have melted, add peppermint oil.  Remove from the heat and add honey/jojoba oil, cocoa powder, and Vitamin E.  Stir until mixed thoroughly. 
  3. Place in a container and cool.
Sources for ingredients
Beeswax can be found at Debra’s Natural Gourmet, Nissitisett Apiary and online.  Make sure you get pellets.  Beeswax is extremely hard so it will be difficult to break off the correct amount if you get a big hunk.
Coconut Oil is available at most grocery stores, including Hannaford, Market Basket and Trader Joe’s.
Vitamin E can be found at any grocery or drug store.
Essential oils are available at GNC and online.
Extracts are available in the baking aisle of the grocery store.
Any small container works well.  I purchased small 1 oz tins online, but I also used old cosmetic containers and a contact lens case!  Baby food jars would be a little big and not extremely portable, but a good option as well.
Flavor options for homemade lip balm {The Greening Of Westford}
We tired vanilla, lime, coconut, peppermint, plain honey,and chocolate mint.  We loved them all!
Have you ever made your own lip balm?


Head Lice: Give Me The Pesticides!

A recent Greene Westford Column reprinted here.

If you are faced with this predicament, you might want to make a beeline for the pesticides. Take a deep breath and read on for some facts and alternatives that may make more sense.

My head starts itching at the beginning of the school year when the lice information sheet comes home. Approximately 6 to 12 million cases of lice occur nationwide each year.  Westford is not immune.  I have already heard of a few cases this year.
This is probably one area where you think, “I am not taking any chances.  Give me whatever will kill those things!”  I was right there with you, until I started to do some research. 
Permethrin and pyrethrin are the most common chemicals used to treat lice currently.  They are pesticides.   They are meant to kill live insects by attacking their nervous systems.  Do you think they know the difference between humans and insects?  Not sure I want to take the chance.
If you are still itching your head and thinking, “I still want the pesticide!”  Think about this. 
  • More and more evidence is showing that some strains of lice are becoming resistant to these pesticides. 
  • The pesticides only kill the live lice.  If the eggs are not removed and hatch, a second application will be needed. 
This information is also conveyed by the Westford Board of Health in their information sheet.
As yucky as they are, lice are not a health hazard and not responsible for spreading any disease.  The itching accompanying a lice infestation is caused by a reaction to the louse’s saliva.  Lice need a host to survive and for their eggs to hatch.  They cannot fly or hop.  They cannot survive on pets.
To Prevent Lice:
  • Remind your children not to share hats, scarves, personal hair care items, coats, anything that can come into contact with your head or hair.
  • Keep your hat, coat, etc away from others.
  • There are some that believe that lice do not like hair products.  Adding gel or hair spray could deter lice.
  • Wear long hair in a ponytail or braid.
  • It is believed by many that tea tree oil is effective in preventing lice.  Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic properties.  There are several tea tree oil shampoos on the market.  If you choose one of these, make sure it uses pure essential oils and contains 5 drops per ounce of shampoo.   
NOTE: Tea tree oil should not be used in pure form on babies, young children or pregnant women.  Consult your Physician first.
Alternative Treatments:
I am not a doctor.  I am a mom who does not want lice in my home.  I also want to protect my children from pesticides as much as possible.  If your child gets lice, call your pediatrician for treatment options.  I called mine.  They recommend a non-toxic method called the Nuvo method for treating head lice. 
This method uses Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.  Large amounts of the cleansers are used to completely drench the head and scalp.  The excess is combed out and the hair and scalp is completely dried with a hair dryer.  Drying the cleanser on the hair essentially shrink wraps any live lice, suffocating them. 
I have also heard of people using olive oil in a similar manner as the Cetaphil.  Again, the head is covered in large amounts of olive oil and left on overnight.
Both of these methods only kill the live lice.  Any eggs will not be harmed.  For this reason, it is recommended that you repeat these treatments 1 or 2 more times, at one week intervals, to kill any eggs that hatch and/or remove the eggs (nits).  Westford Public Schools have a “no nit” policy, meaning that your child must be checked by the nurse when returning and must be nit free.
These alternative treatments rely on suffocating the live lice and interrupting their life cycle.  No chance they will become resistant to that!  

This post is part of Frugally SustainableYour Green Resource and Home is Where the Heart Is.


Ways To Avoid Pesticides in Produce on a Budget

Ways To Avoid Pesticides on a Budget

Conventional produce has pesticides even after washing.  Ideally it would be great if you could buy organic for all of your produce.   However, that’s not always possible – either you can’t afford or can’t find organic produce for everything you eat.  Now, what do you do?  
The Environmental Working Group has created a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides which ranks pesticide contamination for almost 50 popular fruits and vegetables.  The 12 most contaminated foods are called the ‘dirty dozen’.  They include apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines (imported), grapes (imported),  sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries(domestic), lettuce, spinach, kale/collards.   There is also the ‘clean 15’ which are the 15 least pesticide ridden.  They include onions,  sweet corn, pineapple, avocados, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), mango, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, mushrooms.  
The obvious answer is to buy organic for the dirty dozen.  If that is not an option, the EWG still says “Eat your fruits and vegetables!  The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.”  Aim to reduce your pesticide exposure if you can’t totally eliminate it.  And let’s face it, eliminating it totally is probably going to be pretty tough.
Here are other ways to reduce your pesticide exposure:
  1. Buy from a local farm that is organic or uses other methods of pest control.  With summer approaching, farmers markets will be everywhere!
  2. Don’t buy the dirty dozen as frequently.  Even if you reduce the amount of strawberries you eat by half, that’s half the amount of pesticides.
  3. Exchange one of the dirty dozen for something lower on the list, ideally the clean 15.  For example, choose sweet potatoes over regular or cantaloupe/watermelon for peaches or nectarines.
  4. Try organic frozen varieties of the dirty dozen.  They are often less expensive.  I love this for smoothies.  Plus, it helps to satisfy the craving for that fruit, which means I don’t need to buy it fresh as often.
  5. To reduce residual pesticide, wash your fruits and vegetables well. 
  6. Do some pricing research.  You can find organic produce at pretty good prices if you look around.
  7. Take a look at other areas where you can save money so you can shift some of your budget to organics.
  8. Grow your own!
  9. Take a look at what you eat the most and concentrate on reducing the pesticides on those.  For example, even though carrots are not in the dirty dozen, they are still pretty high on the list and we eat lots of them.  I choose to buy these organic.  Costco used to have them at a fantastic price.  But I haven’t seen them in Nashua for a month!
Here are some specifics I have found:

Celery – I have seen organic for not much more.  You could just leave it out of your recipe, or substitute chopped cabbage, cucumbers or water chestnuts for the crunch and celery seed/salt for the flavor.  If you do buy organic celery and won’t use it all, try freezing it.   I have chopped celery, frozen it and used it in soups with much success.

Apples – Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s regularly have organic apples.  Since they keep so long, I stock up when I can.  Also, remember to buy organic applesauce.   Trader Joe’s has reasonably priced unsweetened organic applesauce that even my sweet tooth daughter loves!
Blueberries (Domestic) – Sounds odd, but try to look for imported blueberries.
Spinach –   For cooked dishes, broccoli is an option which is also high in carotenoids, vitamins A and C and folate.   If you can use frozen, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have organic frozen spinach at a reasonable price.
Kale/Collard Greens– I see organic kale at Hannaford quite regularly for not much more.
Potatoes –Try sweet potatoes.  They are more nutritious too.  I recently bought organic potatoes at Hannaford for the same price as non-organic.  The only difference being that I had to buy them in a 5 lb bag instead of choosing them individually.  Trader Joe’s also has them at a reasonable price.
Grapes (Imported) – I have been buying domestic grapes at Hannaford.  Although from January until about April, they are not available so we don’t buy as many grapes.
Just knowing which ones are high in pesticides will help you make better choices.  I often find myself opting for the lower pesticide fruits and veggies automatically now.  There are still plenty of great options that do not need to be organic. 
As a general rule of thumb, items lower on the pesticide scale tend to be fruits and veggies with thick skins that you do not eat – melons, mangoes, pineapples, grapefruits, kiwi, peas, corn.  Of course then there are cranberries and eggplant that mess that up, but it’s a start!
In case you still can’t remember all this, there is a pocket guide!  As soon as I posted this, the EWG updated their guide for 2011.  This post has been updated for the 2011 EWG guide.

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.





What’s In That Apple? | Greene Westford

In case you haven’t heard, I am nowing writing a weekly environmental column for an online local newspaper – WestfordPatch. My latest column is on pesticides in produce. It’s probably old news to most of you, but if you know someone who isn’t quite as green, it might be a good intro.

‘The Dirty Dozen’ and Avoiding Pesticides in Produce

Let me know what you think!


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