Simple advice for a better life.

Unsafe Toys for Kids

Go GreenToys, toys, toys, and more toys for kids.  We all love buying toys for our children and grandchildren.

There are so many to select from, to keep them fun, educational, and most of all SAFE.

Buying toys seems like an easy task, but it does require some research and common sense.

Today I will share another tip from ecomii.com, to put a bug in your ear, to keep in mind for your next toy shopping trip.

Today’s Tip: Avoid Unsafe Toys for Tots

What?

Protect your baby’s health by forgoing plastic toys, which may contain PVC, lead, cadmium and other dangerous substances.

How?

Only purchase toys made from upressed wood and organic fibers like cotton and hemp.

Why?

Children are at the highest risk of toxic poisoning, because their skin is so absorptive.

Plus, we all know how they love to chew.

Did you Know:

In the EU, soft plastic toys are banned from children under the age of THREE, because the phthalates (“softeners”) used, are highly toxic.

Please be a smart consumer and read the labels on the toys you are about to purchase.  Do additional research before making the final decision, to keep your babies safe and healthy.

Breakfast Minni Quiche -  one servingMini Quiches are a perfect addition to your family’s breakfast menu, or a group brunch.

You can make them vegetarian, or add your favorite meat, such as bacon chips, cooked ground turkey, ham, Italian Sausage, etc.

I made mine with leftover ham, and all the remaining egg whites I had from making a double batch of Khrusty (Angel Wings).

You can also use your favorite veggie.   I used red and green peppers, and onions.  I would have loved some mushrooms, but did not have any on hand at this time.

Breakfast Minni Quiche - serving- cross section

Don’t they look yummy???  They were excellent.  Great to prepare ahead and freeze, to use for a quick breakfast on the go.

I froze mine for over a month, thaw them in the fridge overnight, heated one in the microwave, and one in the toaster oven.  They both tasted like  freshly made.  The one from toaster oven had a crispier texture.

This recipe was shared with me by a young lady who loves to cook healthy meals, and enjoys trying new recipes.

Breakfast Minni Quiches

It makes 6 muffin size quiches.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup milk (whole or low fat)
  • 4 slices bacon, fried and chipped (or 1/3 cup of your favorite cooked meat)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, sauteed (I used green and red peppers)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions, sauteed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (regular or low fat)
  • 1Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from a pan, and chop to chips.
  2. Saute onions until transparent, add mushrooms, or other veggies, and saute until wilted.
  3. Whip egg whites until frothy.
  4. Fold in all remaining ingredients.
  5. Spray 6 muffin cups with cooking spray, or grease with butter or vegetable shortening.
  6. Spoon egg mixture evenly into the cups.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the quiche, comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven, cool for couple minutes, remove from pan, and serve.

For freezing, cool them completely, wrap each in foil, or arrange in a freezer bag, or container, and freeze for later use.

Thaw in the refrigerator, and warm up before serving.

Breakfast Minni Quiches - just baked

This is how they look like just baked. Nice and puffy.

Breakfast Minni Quiches - cooled off

Don’t be disappointed when they drop down, after cooling off.  That is perfectly normal.

You will invert them for serving,  as shown in my first picture, and garnish with additional chopped fresh veggies, for an appetizing look.

Enjoy.

Blueberry Coffee  CakeThis sheet cake recipe is low fat, quick and simple to prepare, not very sweet, and pairs perfectly with a fresh cup of coffee, or tea.

A co-worker shared this recipe with me, and since the ingredients are so basic, it is easy to make this cake anytime.

I make it more often during blueberry season, since  this fruit is priced more reasonably at that time.

This recipe calls for vegetable shortening, but you can also use butter or vegetable oil, depending on how low fat you wish to keep it.

Also, whole milk, or low fat milk, can be used with the same reasoning.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs + 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco), butter or oil
  • 1-1/2 cups milk, whole or low fat
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups blueberries

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour withe the baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, except blueberries.
  3. Mix well, to form a smooth cake batter ( 5 minutes).
  4. Fold in blueberries.
  5. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 x 2 sheet cake pan.
  6. Preheat the over to 350 degrees F.
  7. Pour cake batter into the pan, and even out the top with the back of a spoon.
  8. Prepare topping, sprinkle on top of the cake batter.
  9. Bake 50-60 minutes.
  10. Cool in the pan, before cutting.

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup soft butter, or margarine (I use butter)

Directions:

  1. Sift together all dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.

Blueberry Coffee Cake - serving

Enjoy, and share it with someone.

Looking forward to your comments.


napoleon strawberry dessert servingI love the creaminess of the custard filling in a Napoleon dessert, the flakiness of the pastry layers, and the sweetness of the glazed top, accented with dark chocolate.

Today was a perfect day to make this delicacy for my family.

It was an easy project, thanks to Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry dough, instant pudding mix, my home grown strawberries, and fresh whipped cream.

If you are looking for a quick, delicious, and impressive looking dessert, you will love this recipe (listed on the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry packaging).  I made some minor adjustments to their recipe, to suit better my taste.

Makes 9 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (use only 1 sheet)
  • 3 1/2 oz Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix and Pie Filling (1 small package)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream for whipping
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate (1 square), melted
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 2 drops of rum extract

Directions:

  1. Take out one Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry sheet, and thaw at room temperature, until ready to handle (about 40 minutes).
  2. Using a pizza cutter, cut into three pieces, lengthwise, along the folds.
  3. Cut each long piece across into three equal pieces (single servings).
  4. Grease two baking sheets (I use Crisco), and set above cut pieces on there, spacing them slightly.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Bake on the middle oven rack, for 17 minutes.
  7. Remove from the pans onto a wire cooking rack , and cool completely.
  8. Cut each square horizontally, to make three layers of pastry.
  9. Set aside.

Pudding filling:

  1. Pour 1 cup of cold milk into a medium size bowl.
  2. Pour in the pudding mix.
  3. Whip for few minutes, until creamy pudding forms.
  4. Set aside.

Whipped Cream:

Use a small bowl,pour in 1 cup of cold heavy (whipping) cream.

Whip until firm peaks form.

Fold into the pudding mixture.

Cover and refrigerate for now.

Sugar Icing:

  1. In a small bowl, add 1 cup of powdered sugar.
  2. Add 2 tsp of milk, and 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract.
  3. Mix all well, to form glaze.
  4. Set aside.

Strawberries:

  1. Prepare strawberries by removing the green leaves, rinsing and drying them.
  2. Slice into thin slices (1/16 inch think).
  3. Set aside.

Puff Pastry for Napoleons Puff Pastry piece

Dessert Assembly:

  1. Starting with the bottom layer, spoon 1/4 cup of pudding filling.
  2. Arrange strawberry slices around the edges, with the pointy ends outward.
  3. Dab some pudding mixture on the bottom of a second pastry layer (for better hold), and place on top of the strawberries.
  4. Spread 1/3 cup of pudding on top of this layer, and arrange strawberries slices as before.
  5. Spread the sugar glaze on top of the last layer, dab some pudding on the bottom of this layer (for better hold) and place over strawberries.
  6. Repeat the above process with all remaining pastry pieces.

Chocolate topping:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt 1 oz of dark semi-sweet baking chocolate, mix in 1 tsp heavy cream, and 2 drops of rum extract.
  2. Remove from heat, and drizzle over the sugar iced top layer of each dessert. (I placed the melted chocolate in a freezer zip lock bag, made a small pin hole in the corner, to form a thin chocolate flow for decorating the tops). I also, drizzled some chocolate on the bottom of the dessert plates, before setting the Strawberry Napoleons on it.

Enjoy this creamy, super yummy dessert.

Go GreenKids love coloring with crayons, but also with their favorite magic markers.  There are variety of those on the market, but some are not a safe as you might think.

As a parent you try your best to keep your children safe and healthy.

You feed them organic food, buy safe toys, and now you should read a tip about safe markers, posted by ecomii.com

Today’s Tip: Make Your Mark as  a Parent

What:

Protect your kids from toxic fumes by avoiding alcohol or solvent-based magic markers.

How:

Choose safe, water-based markers instead.  Look for seals of approval from the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI-AP), or American Society for Testing and Materials ( ASTM).

Why:

Alcohol and solvent-based markers – such as permanent markers – contain dangerous chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and acetone, and children are especially susceptible to them.

Did you know:

If safety wasn’t reason enough, did you know that water-based markers are much easier to clean up?

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